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Palestinian Violence Has Their Friends Fed Up:

Amira Hass, a columnist for Ha'aretz, is, as I recall, an Israeli Jew so sympathetic to the Palestinian cause that she decided to live among them. I read her column regularly, and I think it's fair to say that she routinely places the blame on Israel for anything that goes wrong in Palestinian/Israeli affairs. Until today. Though she halfheartedly throws a few shots at Israel, her column is basically a vigorous attack on both Hamas and Fatah:

As Fatah's mirror image, the Hamas government announced it cannot pay civil servants' wages. But it has found ways to finance the large amount of weapons being smuggled into the Gaza Strip and purchased in the West Bank.

Now it will have full "military" control of the Gaza Strip. Will this bring relief to Gaza's 1.4 million residents? Will it improve the health system and ensure employment for university graduates? Will it remove Israel's land and sea blockade?

It may be assumed that the military takeover of Abbas' symbols of "sovereignty" will serve as an excuse for Israel to sever once and for all the remaining civilian and economic ties between the Gaza Strip and West Bank - a political process Israel started in 1991. Because Hamas, like its mirror image Fatah, has no coherent liberation or independence plan for Palestinians in this lifetime.

Contrary to what some VC readers might think, I was a strong supporter of Oslo, and like many others, was confident in the late '90s that a peace settlement was at hand. I was saddened for both Israelis and Palestinians when the latter's leaders turned out not to have reformed, but to be the same terrorist thugs that murdered Israeli schoolchildren in the '70s.

As I alluded to in a previous post, Fatah and Hamas are at root both criminal gangs masquerading as political parties, though I acknowledge that Fatah, at least, has some members who would like to come to terms with Israel. It's taken Hass and other an extra six or seven years to recognize this, but perhaps now that the leftist enablers of Fatah and Hamas finally seem to be seeing the light, a useful turning point has been reached that will allow some sort of silver lining from this whole mess. For example, perhaps with Gaza turning into Hamastan, Israel will be able to make a West Bank-only deal with some combined Palestinian/Jordanian interlocutors that will create a confederated Palestinan/Jordanian state there. One of the great shames of the post-2000 crisis in Palestinian-Israeli relations is that I can't imagine that after years of suicide bombs the Israelis will ever feel comfortable enough to have reintegrate the West Bank into the Israeli economy (which previously paid huge economic dividends for the Palestinians), which means that Jordan will be the key to the economic future of Palestinians there.

UPDATE: Here's what Juan Cole has to say on his blog about the recent violence in Lebanon and Gaza, which can't be attributed to Israel: [ This space intentionally left blank ]

r78:
Since there is a civil war raging between different islamic factions and Gaza and the West Bank, I am mystified about why the US has not yet sent troops into those areas.

If we don't fight the terrorists over there, we are going to have to fight them here.
6.14.2007 10:57pm
Mac (mail):
For those interested in this subject, here is the WSJ's take on a Boston Globe Editorial. Obiously, the Boston Globe has a ways to go to become as enlightened as Ms. Hass.

Palestinian Family Planning
The Boston Globe editorial board looks at the Gaza civil war, and finds it's the fault of the Jews:

The people of Gaza are the true victims of the civil war most of all because the fighting is destroying their future. With the military wing of Hamas poised to seize complete control of Gaza in what Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has rightly called a "coup attempt," Gaza's residents stand to lose whatever hope remained of achieving independence and a decent life in a viable Palestinian state.

The Hamas campaign to eradicate Fatah from Gaza is certainly not the sole cause of Gazans' misery. They long suffered from Israel's suffocating occupation, and then from Ariel Sharon's foolishly unilateral withdrawal in 2005, a move that allowed Hamas to bid for power with the misleading claim that its rockets and suicide bombings had driven Israeli soldiers and settlers out of Gaza.

According to the Globe, Israel is to blame both for its "occupation" and for having ended it--the latter of which "allowed Hamas to bid for power." But "the people of Gaza" are innocent victims. It somehow escapes the Globe's notice that Hamas came to power because Palestinians voted for it. The Globe denies that Palestinians are responsible for their own actions, and thereby dehumanizes them under a pretense of compassion.
6.14.2007 11:05pm
BGates (www):
r78, you must be mistaken. No one in the Muslim world has ever fired a shot in anger unless provoked by American imperialism. Since there is no American presence in the PA, how can there possibly be a civil war?
6.14.2007 11:26pm
neurodoc:
DB: As I alluded to in a previous post, Fatah and Hamas are at root both criminal gangs masquerading as political parties...It's taken Hass and other an extra six or seven years to recognize this, but perhaps now that the leftist enablers of Fatah and Hamas finally seem to be seeing the light, a useful turning point has been reached that will allow some sort of silver lining from this whole mess
In another post you mentioned drinking beer when you were an underage 16-year-old. How about weed, are you still indulging in that? Beer, weed, or some intoxicant must be affecting your cognitive capacities if you really believe that "the leftist enablers of Fatah and Hamas (are) finally...seing the light." Ms. Hass's remarks do not so clearly reflect the "enlightenment" you see in them, and I am quite confident that whatever "enlightenment" may be there in her and her ilk today will not last long. They will be back in sync with the rest of the Left and the Boston Globe soon enough. Any bets on which way the Left will break on this? Noam Chomsky and his crew, so many of them Leftie Jews, will give up on the Palestinians?

BTW, someone should explain to Ms. Hass that the money to pay for those smuggled arms is coming from the so helpful Iranians, who are not very much interested in supporting the Palestinian civil service.

(If you go back to 1983, when Israel under Sharon's command went into Lebanon after the PLO, Evans and Novak wrote an extraordinary column saying that the Lebanese they met in South Lebanon were deliriously happy to have the Israelis routing the PLO, who had been their oppressors. This coming from Evans and Novak, who had never had a fair word to say about the Jewish state, was shocking. Their "enlightenment" was remarkably short-lived, however, and they were soon back to writing consistently anti-Israel screeds.)

How ironic that Israel worries about the outcome of terrorists of secular persuasion (Fatah) fighting terrorists of religious persuasion (Hamas), having once encouraged the latter as a counterweight to the former, and now hoping that the less implacable will prevail over the more implacable. (Of course, Hamas vs Fatah is itself a simplification, since there is always the "military" wing vs the "political" one, and innumerable factions within them to blame/credit for what is going on among the Palestinians.) This may be one counter-example to the ageless "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."
6.14.2007 11:39pm
neurodoc:
BGates, your point is taken, but you must realize that in this context Jews are seen surrogates for Americans, and vice versa. Hamas is calling Fatah forces the "Jew American army," though neither Jews, nor Americans are on the ground in Gaza.
6.14.2007 11:46pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

Here's what Juan Cole has to say on his blog about the recent violence in Lebanon and Gaza, which can't be attributed to Israel:


I think you vastly underestimate Israel haters, and i'm not talking about the Arab version.
6.14.2007 11:49pm
whackjobbbb:
Nice little dig on Cole, Bernstein. A billion and one words over there, and not a word on this? That's how you spot the intellectually dishonest among us, they always shun full examination of their ideas. Cole has always been a poseur.

Ironic that Hamas are the bad guys these days. 20+ years ago, they were the nicety nice guys passing out food and doing good works, and Arafat's gang of murderers scorned them: "We kill jews, and those Hamas pussies pass out oatmeal... so who's the real Palis here?"

So it seems Hamas has now learned how to do the real work required of their station.
6.15.2007 12:43am
neurodoc:
DB: I don't get the mention of Juan Cole. If he says nothing about Israel and its antagonists, that is a good thing, since when Cole does have anything to say about Israel, it is reliably biased against Israel.

Cole, former president of the Middle Eastern Studies Association, did blog on 6/11 about Joe Lieberman being a warmonger and conspiring with Ehud Olmert to contain Iran at the cost of American lives. Would you prefer that he give more time and space to tropes like that one, or occupy himself with Iraq? Surely, you don't expect him to ever be too harsh on the Palestinians.
6.15.2007 12:48am
DustyR (mail) (www):
I visit lots of blogs and haven't seen Juan Cole's name mentioned in, I'd say, 6 months. I thought he'd hung up his keyboard.

This is good, no?
6.15.2007 1:49am
JB:
Neurodoc,
David was using praeterition to point out precisely that--Cole, when he can't say anything bad about Israel, says nothing rather than admit that something in the region could possibly be someone else's fault.

Either you're piling on the praeterition in a much less subtle way, or the post's subtext went right by you.
6.15.2007 2:10am
Alex R:
I could find a number of posts on the Volokh Conspiracy in which one of the VC bloggers insists that they have no obligation to post on any particular issue, even when their readers nag them to do so. Given this, I find DB's snark on Juan Cole rather hypocritical.

Of course, if DB holds an opinion opposed to his co-bloggers, and believes that bloggers do have an obligation to comment on certain issues, perhaps he could make a post or comment explaining this.

(I don't read Cole, but I would imagine that if he had anything interesting to say about the Hamas/Fatah fighting, he would probably do so. It's not like there's nothing going on in Iraq for him to blog about...)
6.15.2007 8:01am
DavidBernstein (mail):
Alex, Cole has a blog on the Middle East, and has blogged extensively on Israel and the Palestinians, and was especially active in blogging the Lebanon War last year, in which he didn't hesitate to falsely accuse Israel of all sorts of things. He's also managed to find time in the last couple of weeks to libel the David Project and other Jewish groups in Boston, and to blog about Lieberman, Olmert and Iran. So, he's certainly not obligated to blog on anything, but sometimes silence speaks more loudly than words.
6.15.2007 8:53am
_:
"terrorist thugs that murdered Israeli schoolchildren in the '70s"... "at root both criminal gangs masquerading"...
"the leftist enablers of Fatah and Hama"

I love Prof Bernstein's consistently objective analysis.
6.15.2007 10:49am
Kevin P. (mail):
I spent a lot of time on Juan Cole's web site wading through a ton of anti-American slime and finding nothing about Gaza. Now I get it.
6.15.2007 11:06am
ejo:
objective analysis-while I realize that is an attempt at sarcasm, he had it exactly right, at least now as opposed to when the suicide run began is Oslo. that is exactly what they are, despite the blinders put on by the left for whatever reason (hatred of jews, guilt over colonialism, radical chic?)
6.15.2007 12:15pm
Alex R:
DB, I see your point, but nonetheless don't think Cole's non-mention of the recent Gaza fighting is all that meaningful. FYI, he does comment on the recent Lebanon refugee camp fighting here.
6.15.2007 12:20pm
BobH (mail):
"Fatah and Hamas are at root both criminal gangs masquerading as political parties."

I hoped they would have a long, bloody civil war, and that both sides would have won decisive victories.
6.15.2007 1:42pm
Henri Le Compte (mail):
David:
If only this were true:

...perhaps now that the leftist enablers of Fatah and Hamas finally seem to be seeing the light, a useful turning point has been reached that will allow some sort of silver lining from this whole mess.

Unfortunately, it seems that people on the Left stopped being influenced by "facts on the ground" a long time ago. They like their fairytale "good witch," and "bad witch" assignments just how they are. The only analysis of Gaza you are likely to see (outside of the political Right), will be limited to lamentations about how "sad" it is that the Palestinians have been "driven" to behave like animals. "See what happens when you put people in cages?" and assorted tripe.

I have never met people with more hermetically sealed minds than you find on the left these days.
6.15.2007 2:12pm
Yankev (mail):

Contrary to what some VC readers might think, I was a strong supporter of Oslo,

Most were. A handful of us warned that it was a tremendous mistake and that Arafat and his henchment remained fully committed to the destruction of Israel and the extermination of her people. Events proved us right. The Rabin government, the Clinton government, the Secular press, most of the dreaded "Israel Lobby" and the non-Orthodox Jewish press responded by vilifying us, whether we lived here in the US or in Israel. When Rabin was assassinated by a criminal nut, the vilification intensified. We tried to warn you, and now? I wish you had been right and we had been wrong.
6.15.2007 2:20pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Professor Bernstein, other than perhaps your description of Fatah (I think they are probably somewhat more moderate than you do), I don't really disagree with anything in your post.

I would say, however, to anyone who has lost confidence in any Israeli-Palestinian peace process, to not discount the importance of leadership. Palestinian radicalism waxes and wanes; right now it is waxing. And the Palestinians have lousy leaders who are inflaming this. (Abbas, who is not inflaming it, unfortunately lost his constituency after the elections that put Hamas in power.)

But at some future point, the Palestinians may have a charismatic leader who can bring the population around to a different solution. (And bear in mind, that leader may have a terrorist past, as many such leaders do-- Marwan Barghouti is one possibility here.) And the one thing I really fear is that so many people have become so pessimistic about the peace process that if that does happen, they won't be able to recognize it and seize the moment.
6.15.2007 3:45pm
Dan Hamilton:

But at some future point, the Palestinians may have a charismatic leader who can bring the population around to a different solution. (And bear in mind, that leader may have a terrorist past, as many such leaders do-- Marwan Barghouti is one possibility here.)


There is nothing to worry about. Such a man if he was to exist would be killed before he could do anything. Remember the terriorists don't want any solution but a final solution to their Jewish problem.
6.15.2007 4:24pm
Yankev (mail):

Abbas, who is not inflaming it,

Would that be the same Abbas whose Fatah party and PA -- before and after the elections that put Hamas in power -- praise suicide bombers and other terrorists as heroes, control who can and cannot deliver the Friday sermons urging the murder of Jews who are the sons of apes and pigs, and whose controlled press and television glrify martyrdom and encourage the killing of Jews?

The same Abbas who acted as paymaster for numerous post-Oslo terror attacks that Arafat planned and paid for?

The same Abbas who has never seen any reason to disavow his PhD thesis in Holocaust denial?

Whose PA publications and maps continue to show a Palestine that occupies every inch of pre-1967 Israel?

Moderation, I suppose, depends on what one is compared to. Yemach shmo and yemach shemam. (May Abbas' name and the names of the other murderers and genocide advocates be blotted out.)
6.15.2007 4:43pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Yankev:

Your argument-- that Palestinian moderates aren't that moderate-- really doesn't rebut my point at all, which was Abbas is not inflaming the current radicalism. Really, in any conflict, anywhere in the world, you can find reasons not to deal with the other side. (One can, for instance, juxstapose Abbas' Ph.D. dissertation and Palestinian maps against Israelis who don't admit that any Palestinians were driven out of their homes during the 1948 war or who don't admit that there is any such thing as the Palestinians.)

The point was simply that Abbas is not fueling the fires of the CURRENT Palestinian radicalism. Not that Abbas is a saint, or that he has never done anything wrong, or that he has never fueled such fires in the past.

I would add one more thing. If an opportunity comes for peace, it will almost certainly come from a Palestinian leader who has "resisted" Israeli occupation in some way, and thus has credibility to lead the movement. That means, there will always be a basis for the Yankevs of the world to say that he or she should not be dealt with. I just hope that if that opportunity comes, your view does not prevail.
6.15.2007 6:03pm
Yankev (mail):
The point was simply that Abbas is not fueling the fires of the CURRENT Palestinian radicalism.
No, he is looking to avoid being killed by a superior enemy (not that I blame him for that) after his attempts to build unity by saying "We should be shooting at the Jews, not at each other" failed. That's not moderate in my book. And if two weeks ago is ancient history to you, I'm not sure what else I can say to convince you.

>If an opportunity comes for peace, it will almost certainly come from a Palestinian leader who has "resisted" Israeli occupation in some way, and thus has credibility to lead the movement. <
I am less concerned with Abbas' past and more concerned that he has never once taken any steps to disavow it or to seek peace; like his mentor Arafat, he is good at saying telling the US and Israel in English what they want to hear, and telling the opposite to his own people in Arabic. Hamas, yemach shemam, for all their evil, can at least be credited for saying the same bloodthirsty things in English that they say in Arabic. When Abbas sings the same "let's make peace" song in Arabic that he sings in English, maybe I'll be willing to listen.


That means, there will always be a basis for the Yankevs of the world to say that he or she should not be dealt with.

See above. It was Arafat's present, not his past, that led me to say that Oslo would be a mistake. At the same time he was telling the US what it wanted to hear, he was broadcasting speeches in Arabic that called for exterminating the Jews and dismantling the Zionist entity.

I just hope that if that opportunity comes, your view does not prevail.

And I hope that the view of those who willfully or naively turn a blind eye toward acts and incitement by Arabs to genocide so long as its against the Jews don't prevail. But it always has so far, hasn't it?

One more time, Abbas needs to be dealt with (but not the way you mean it) not just over what he did in the past, but over what he is still doing now and has never stopped doing except briefly when it is to his advantage.
6.15.2007 6:27pm
Yankev (mail):
If an opportunity comes for peace, it will almost certainly come from a Palestinian leader who has "resisted" Israeli occupation in some way



Is that your word for paying people to invade high schools and slaughter the students, blow up families in pizza shops, blow up worshippers at a Passover seder and civilians riding buses, abducting teenage kids and torturing them to death, and blowing up the doctors and hospitals that gave you free medical treatment for sever burns that you suffered in a stove accident, and invading apartments and shooting the families in them in cold blood Because that's what Abbas does. Or are you talking about the people who actually do it, instead of paying others to do it?

Oh, that's right. Israel should act like a Christian and turn the other cheekl. Eric Hoffer pointed out that Israel is the only nation that is expected to do so. I guess that tells me something about the Dilan Espers of the world, who are so sure they know all about the Yankevs of the world.
6.15.2007 6:33pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Yankev:

"Incitement by Arabs to genocide"? Really, capability matters here. Some or many Palestinians might talk about killing all the Jews, some or even many might even WANT to kill all the Jews, but the Palestinians do not have the capability to kill all the Jews. There will be no genocide here. This is not the 1940's, and the Palestinian Authority, even Hamas, isn't the Nazis. Raising the spectre of genocide is simple paranoia, and paranoia isn't a good justification to eschew peace.

In the real world, peace is made all the time due to strategic advantage rather than an actual change of heart. And sometimes, those peaces hold. (See North Korea and South Korea.)

Peace is made by people who tell their public one thing to sell the agreement, and tell their enemies something else. Again, sometimes, such peaces hold. (See, for instance, President Kennedy telling the American public that he stood up to the Soviets while promising the Soviets he would take missiles out of Turkey and that the Americans would not invade Cuba.)

I say this not to defend Abbas, but simply put, he isn't inflaming the CURRENT Palestinian radicalism. Hamas is. It really isn't my central point, though. You can have Abbas, if you want him, as he isn't relevant to peace right now. But my point is, with your attitude, you will always be able to say that whoever the Palestinian leader is will not be committed to peace. And sometimes you may be right. But if you are wrong, it will come at quite a cost to Israel.
6.15.2007 6:39pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Yankev:

With respect to your second post, I don't know in exactly what form the Palestinian leader's "credibility" with the masses will come. But yes, it might very well come in the form of someone who has supported suicide bombing.

Your argument seems to consist of "BUT YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND, SUICIDE BOMBING KILLS INNOCENT ISRAELI CIVILIANS AND IS BARBARIC, AND YOU CAN'T NEGOTIATE WITH BARBARIANS".

No, Yankev, I understand perfectly. I do not expect Israel to turn the other cheek. I do not expect Israel not to defend itself. But you act as if anyone who suggests that sometimes aggressive response isn't the best strategy, that sometimes you have to deal with people with barbaric pasts or even barbaric presents, that sometimes the contours of one's morality don't work as well as amoral game theory, must be on the side of the barbarians.

Look, someday, some very imperfect, very charismatic Palestinian leader may come along, who has the credibility to make this happen. And Israel has to be open to it; simply drawing bright lines in the sand and saying they cannot be crossed under any circumstances can come at the cost of lasting peace.
6.15.2007 6:46pm
David Maquera (mail) (www):
What a bunch of animals!
6.15.2007 7:23pm
tsotha:
Arafat could not have signed on to Oslo. He would have been murdered upon his return. That's the problem - while many problems in the world are created by individuals, and are amenable to solution with a few cartriges (Zimbabwe, for instance), this one is not. Israel isn't at war with a government; it's at war with a people. And, for various reasons, the traditional solution to this kind of problem isn't in the cards.

Eventually Hamas will be victorious, and attention will be returned to futile rocket attacks, bombings, and impotent fist shaking. One thing I'm quite sure of is there will be no end to it in my lifetime.
6.15.2007 8:36pm
Mac (mail):
Dilan,
You wrote, ""Incitement by Arabs to genocide"? Really, capability matters here. Some or many Palestinians might talk about killing all the Jews, some or even many might even WANT to kill all the Jews, but the Palestinians do not have the capability to kill all the Jews. There will be no genocide here. This is not the 1940's, and the Palestinian Authority, even Hamas, isn't the Nazis. Raising the spectre of genocide is simple paranoia, and paranoia isn't a good justification to eschew peace. "

Yes, reality does matter. Iran wholeheartedly supports Hamas and Hesbollah. (Sp?). Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, possibly in as soon as three years according to the UN group. Europe, as before, is not taking the threat seriously nor are Democrats in this country and a lot of Republicans, but we are taking it far more seriously than they are in Europe.

With a nuclear weapon, Hamas won't have to be stronger than Israel, they can just let Iran nuke Israel. The Irainian president has said he wants to nuke Israel and repeated it. The big mistake the world has always made is not taking evil men at their word. Hitler said exactly what he wanted to do and he did it despite Chamberlin talking to him and extracting a promise for peace. A very short lived promise that Hitler broke immediately and went on doing exactly what he said he would.
Also, Iran is on record saying that they don't care about collateral damage i.e. dead Palestinians in a nuclear attack, as there are a billion muslims in the world and so the loss of a few million doesn't matter very much if Israel is destroyed. I fear that long before your "charismatic leader" scenario comes to pass, someone is going to start lobbing nuclear weapons and we may have a final resolution to the Palestinian/Israeli problem and it won't be a pretty sight.
6.15.2007 9:26pm
Wm. Tyroler (mail):
The Palestinians' friends are fed up with their violence? Really?
6.15.2007 10:03pm
Mac (mail):
Wm. Tyroler,

Thanks for the link. Just amazing.
6.15.2007 11:05pm
whackjobbbb:

(One can, for instance, juxstapose Abbas' Ph.D. dissertation and Palestinian maps against Israelis who don't admit that any Palestinians were driven out of their homes during the 1948 war or who don't admit that there is any such thing as the Palestinians.)


Moral equivalence... still... at long last? The Palis can find some satisfaction in the Israeli courts, I believe, and from the arab politicians in the Israeli democratic government. I wonder how much satisfaction the slaughtered Israelis get from Pali jurisprudence, or their thugocratic, kneecapping government?





Some or many Palestinians might talk about killing all the Jews, some or even many might even WANT to kill all the Jews, but the Palestinians do not have the capability to kill all the Jews. There will be no genocide here.


Well, not until the Iranians spin out enough uranium hexaflouride gas, at any rate.




Peace is made by people who tell their public one thing to sell the agreement, and tell their enemies something else.


Actually, that's most often how WAR is made. There are always sidebar agreements in diplomacy, but the basic thrust must always be clear. There's an old saying in diplomacy: "Know your own mind, and make sure the other guy knows it too." I know the Palis' mind, they've made that plenty clear. The only outlier here is the fools who ignore that and prefer to coddle murderers.




But if you are wrong, it will come at quite a cost to Israel.


You mean more than the many thousands dead to date?




Look, someday, some very imperfect, very charismatic Palestinian leader may come along, who has the credibility to make this happen.


This is the problem. Everybody's always yapping in the ME about the proper "strongman"... that that's what's required in every case everywhere. Always it's personality driven, rather than SYSTEM driven. When you fill your schools with murderous textbooks... full of the pigs and monkeys bile... and drape the streets with murderous imagery... don't be surprised that the charismatic and nearly benevolent figure you mythologize never arises... unless it's a guy who rises to finally execute the genocide he's been reading about since he was 6 years old.

This is all bunk, Esper. Let Hamas shoot their way to whichever portion of territory they want to dominate, and let the Abbas mob have their portion... then the Israelis can go back and start offing anybody who crosses over the lines, as usual. This will go on until the idiots stop crossing the lines and murdering people... whenever that is...
6.15.2007 11:46pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
whackjobb:

You really have to get off this "moral equivalence" kick. Just chanting those two words is not an argument, it is not erudite, it doesn't make you look intelligent, and it doesn't get your off the hook for explaining your position. It is just name calling.

(In any event, I wasn't making a moral equivalence. I was simply pointing out that the opponents of peace on ANY side can point to some unsavory act to say that we shouldn't make peace. That is true no matter how unsavory-- or savory-- you think the act is.)

Whackjobb and Mac:

Ahmadenijad, the last time I checked, is not the leader of the Palestinians. Thus, whatever he says or does really doesn't justify raising the spectre that the PALESTINIANS can commit a genocide. The point about what happens when a Palestinian leader comes along who might be able to deliver peace stands. I will address Iran in a separate post because it is collateral to my point.
6.16.2007 3:27am
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Now, here's a separate post about all the things that are wrong with paranoia about Iran:

1. Israel has a nuclear deterrent. Whatever Ahmedinejad says for domestic political consumption is probably the equivalent of Kruschev's "we will bury you" statement, i.e., not a threat that will be carried out. Ahmedinejad is not going to try to nuke Israel for the simple reason that he wants to live, to maintain power, and to maintain a country to rule. And if he actually is the apocalyptic maniac that people claim, somebody in Iran who DOES want to survive will certainly stop him from doing anything stupid before he does it.

That right there ought to end it. But there are several other problems with the Iran is going to nuke Israel scenario.

2. Iran is not 3 years away from the bomb. Nobody who seriously knows about these things believes this. Enriching fissile material takes a lot of time; doing it clandestinely takes even more time. Even a fairly large centrifuge setup takes years and years. Then, you have to assemble the bombs and get your implosion device working. This is not easy-- North Korea's first test, despite all the time they had, was essentially a dud.

3. Iran-- including Ahmedinejad-- has been desparately trying to talk to the US and negotiate for years. Obviously, Iran knows the price of any serious discussions would be that it would have to give up its nuclear program. There's no way Iran would pursue such a thing if it was simply single-mindedly seeking to destroy Israel.

4. Even if Iran assembled a nuclear bomb AND was willing to use it on Israel, i.e., the worst case scenario, this would hardly be a genocide. The cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bombed with devices of similar power to what Iran might be able to do in 10 years (and delivered by means of B-29 bomber and Norden bombsight, a lot more accurate than any means Iran could practically use to deliver a nuclear weapon on Israeli soil), are inhabited and safe to live in. Yes, an Iranian nuclear bombing of Israel-- in the alternative reality that those who hype the threat that Iran poses lives in-- would be a very bad thing for Israel, but at most, we are talking about a couple of hundred thousand dead, not a second holocaust. Not only would the diaspora remain untouched, but the vast majority of the Israeli population would survive. Given the 200 nuclear weapons that Israel would have at its disposal to attack Iran, the same could not be said for Iran.
6.16.2007 3:37am
whackjobbbb:

You really have to get off this "moral equivalence" kick.


I'm sure that's what you'd prefer, since it undermines all your foolish arguments. Don't hold your breath waiting, however. When you assign moral equivalence between civilized people and murdererous barbarians, rest assured, I won't "get off" calling you on it.




Whatever Ahmedinejad says for domestic political consumption is probably...



Yes... that last word is critical, isn't it?





Iran is not 3 years away from the bomb. Nobody who seriously knows about these things believes this. Enriching fissile material takes a lot of time; doing it clandestinely takes even more time.


Really? We did it about 70 years ago, in the span of a couple years time. The Russians pulled it off 60 years ago. The Chinese... 40-50 years ago as I recall. The dirt-poor state of Pakistan... who have provided everything to Iran... well it's been a good 25-30 years ago for them I believe.

If you're saying it takes a long time to spin out uranium hexaflouride gas, I'm sorry, but you're mistaken. As mentioned, we spun out gas and invented and developed the entire rest of the program... 70 years ago... in just 2 years time. Iran isn't doing anything "clandestinely", by the way, whatever you're implying by that nonsense. In fact, they're actually quite open about their nuclear program. When somebody says they want to control the entire fuel cycle... that's a fairly clear statement, although I don't think you "seriously" know much about this topic.



Iran-- including Ahmedinejad-- has been desparately trying to talk to the US and negotiate for years.


Really? That why they chant "Death to America" in their legislative gatherings each week? Help me out... is there some alternate translation here or something?



Obviously, Iran knows the price of any serious discussions would be that it would have to give up its nuclear program.


They know that... because we've already told them. Problem is, the mullahs don't want to pay that price.




a lot more accurate than any means Iran could practically use to deliver a nuclear weapon on Israeli soil),


Actually, the Chinese miniaturized warhead designs that the Pakis delivered to both Khaddafi and the mullahs... designs currently deployed in the Chinese nuclear force... could be mounted on the Chinese missiles the mullahs already have... FAR more accurately delivered than the nearly 1-mile missed device delivered at Hiroshima.

The technology is fully "implementation ready", assuming (which I don't) you understand the technical significance of that term.




Yes, an Iranian nuclear bombing of Israel-- in the alternative reality that those who hype the threat that Iran poses lives in-- would be a very bad thing for Israel,


Gee... ya' think?
6.16.2007 4:08pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
"Moral equivalence" doesn't undermine anything. It is an attempt to shut down debate by implying that nobody can bring up Party A's bad conduct-- no matter how counterproductive it is-- because Party B's bad conduct is worse.

In the real world, for all sorts of reasons, it may not be prudent for Party A to engage in bad conduct even if that conduct is not morally equivalent to Party B's bad conduct.

Epithets that shut down debate are not arguments, are not productive, and are not made by intelligent people arguing in good faith. They are made by people who either (a) don't have an actual argument to make or (b) know that the real argument that they have is flawed.

Now, to address your arguments in turn:

1. "Probably" is not the concession you think it is. A lot of people argued before the Iraq War that we couldn't take the chance that the inspectors' conclusions were wrong and we had to go to war. As a result, 3,500 brave American servicemembers will never come home to see their families, and Iraq is in chaos (a result, I might add, that empowered Iran to do many of the things you complain of). I am sure you think this is a great result and worth celebrating.

In this world, we can't go to war or refuse to make peace just because of speculation about someone's possible motives. The most likely explanation, given everything above, is that Ahmedinejad is saying the anti-Israel stuff for domestic consumption. It's not prudent to ignore that when it will cost so many lives to do so.

2. You simply have not thought seriously about how long it takes to make a nuclear bomb. Yes, if you have the unlimited resources the US had AND no need to conceal your activities from international inspectors AND no economic sanctions on your country AND many of the best nuclear scientists in the world AND a populace that is willing to make huge sacrifices so that you can fight a war, then yes, it is possible to make a nuclear bomb in less time. But CLANDESTINE nuclear activities take much longer. (FYI, Pakistan basically got the technology ready-made. That isn't happening with Iran.)

How long it takes to centrifuge uranium depends on how large your cascade is. Unfortunately, large cascades would draw unwarranted attention, from Iran's point of view. So they simply can't do what we did.

3. You read way to much into "death to America". Again, we concluded arms treaties with the Soviet Union despite their having said awful things to us. You simply don't want peace. And if you don't want peace, sure, you can point to all sorts of bad things that people say.

Let's make this very clear-- THE US says all sorts of bad things about Cuba, and Iran, and North Korea, and Venezuela. Does that mean those countries should not trust us? Or would you say that maybe those things were said for domestic consumption and that if we made a deal with those countries, we would be trustworthy?

4. You are simply wrong about miniaturization. Pakistan has NO miniaturized bombs. Neither does North Korea. And that technology has basically NOT proliferated. Plus, even if Iran somehow learned HOW to miniaturize, which they have not, it is actually very difficult to do in practice because it involve using very complex arrays of explosive lenses.

There is only ONE way a terrorist or rogue state might get a miniaturized bomb, and it has nothing to do with what Iran is doing in the desert. PERHAPS someone could get a miniaturized bomb from Russia, where the nukes aren't totally secure, in a commercial transaction. If you find evidence that Iran tried to do that, maybe you have a case. Otherwise, you need to stop worrying. Israel isn't going anywhere-- and neither is the Jewish disapora. Stop acting like someone out of "Dr. Strangelove".
6.16.2007 6:46pm
Yankev (mail):

And Israel has to be open to it; simply drawing bright lines in the sand and saying they cannot be crossed under any circumstances can come at the cost of lasting peace.


Dilan, if someone with an unsavory past came along and was willing and able to deliver a lasting peace, I would be all for talking with him -- but not if he was continuing that past into an unsavory present, talking peace to Israel and America while selling his own people on an unending war of extermination. No other country has ever been expected to engage in such suicidal behavior.

The Palestinians could have had a state in 1947, 1948, 1967 and at any time since Oslo, most remarkably Ehud Barak's offer in 2000. Each time they have chose a renewed war of extermination. That they have been unable (thank G-d) to achieve their goal makes them no less dangerous. They have killed, maimed, orphaned and widowed large percentages of Israel's population, crippled her economy with boycotts, security needs, and by forcing her to devote huge portions of her GNP to military expenditure and forcing her military age population to spend months away from the their liveliehoods on reserve duty, both during war and during peace. That they have done so at huge costs to themselves and their own people aggravates rather than mitigates their actions.

The absense of lasting peace is due to one primary cause -- the determination of the Palestinian leadership, with the support of their people, to destroy Israel at all costs. Until that changes, nothing else will. And those who attempt to blame the lack of resolution on supposed lack of flexibility on Israel's part are doing the Palestinians no favor -- they are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
6.17.2007 3:21pm
Yankev (mail):

THE US says all sorts of bad things about Cuba, and Iran, and North Korea, and Venezuela.

Your protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, sometimes moral equivalence is a useful term. I am not aware of the US calling for the abolition of those countries as nations, and the extermination of all of the people of those nations.
6.17.2007 3:23pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Yankev:

You just demonstrated my point about the uselessness of moral equivalence. I wasn't drawing a MORAL equivalence with statements by Iran about Israel; rather, I was saying that any Cuban or Iranian or North Korean official who heard the statements made by US officials could say "you see, we can't make peace with the Americans, they want to overthrow our government and can't be trusted". But that doesn't mean we aren't trustworthy; it just means we say things for domestic political consumption.

In Iran, like in most of the Muslim world, anti-Israel statements establish a leader's credibility. You need to look at actions and not words, or you will always find a reason not to seek peace.

And one other thing-- you continue to overstate what Iran says and does. Iran has NOT called for "the extermination of all the people of" Israel. He has called for the abolition of the state (or more specifically, for it to be "wiped off the map". That is bad enough, but there is a huge difference. Calling for the abolition of Israel is simply not the same as Mein Kampf.
6.17.2007 11:31pm
Yankev (mail):

In Iran, like in most of the Muslim world, anti-Israel statements establish a leader's credibility. You need to look at actions and not words, or you will always find a reason not to seek peace.

Precisely. Which is why sponsoring suicide bombings, missile attacks, shootings and kidnappings of both civilians and soldiers, buying both small arms and heavy arms, building a "security force" several times as large as Oslo permits, inciting genocide in mosques and schools, putting out kids TV shows and songs glorifying "martyrdom", staging radio broadcasts, fake video and still photos to document fictional "atrocities" supposedly committed by the Israelis, say much more to me than do all the protestations that the PLO has changed and wants peace with Israel. thank you for making my point.
6.18.2007 10:20am
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Yankev:

Iran is fighting a low-level, guerilla, proxy war against Israel. Iran's tactics in fighting that war include some that are abominations. That shouldn't surprise you-- indeed, the ultimate object of your position is to keep that war going rather than seeking peace.

The fact that countries that are at war with each other are acting like it is not really evidence that peace is unattainable.

And the broader point is that nothing Iran is doing is particularly out of the ordinary. There are quite rational defensive reasons for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons (think about what is next door), which have nothing to do with launching a first strike against Israel. There are quite clear reasons why its leaders engage in anti-Israel rhetoric, which have nothing to do with launching a first strike against Israel. And there are quite clear reasons why they sponsor anti-Israel terrorism.

And even if I am wrong about all those things (which I am not), they wouldn't have the capability of destroying Israel and "killing all the Jews" even if they acquired nuclear weapons and decided to commit suicide by using them against Israel.

Iran will not destroy Israel or the Jewish people. I wish I could say the same about your paranoia about Iran.
6.18.2007 4:03pm
Yankev (mail):

That shouldn't surprise you-- indeed, the ultimate object of your position is to keep that war going rather than seeking peace.


That abusive lie on your part is beneath contempt and deserves no further answer.


Iran will not destroy Israel or the Jewish people. I wish I could say the same about your paranoia about Iran.

And seventy years ago the NY Times was editorializing that Hitler would never carry out his threats against the Jews because the economic consequences to Germany would be devastating and because the free world would never stand for it.
6.18.2007 9:18pm
whackjobbbb:

"Moral equivalence" doesn't undermine anything.


Of course it does, and it's silly of you to suggest otherwise. You would like to put civilized people on the same plane as barbaric mass-murderers, and when your silliness is pointed out, it undermines your position ocmpletely, so you lash out. Sorry, but that won't keep we the civilized from pointing out your silliness, and its barbaric consequences.






Epithets that shut down debate...


Who's shutting down "debate"? Civilized people "debate" with mass-murderers all the time... in case you haven't noticed. If it suits them both, they will, and do, as we see. But that won't alter the status of either party, obviously. The civilized folks will still be civilized, and the barbarians will still be barbarians.






(a result, I might add, that empowered Iran to do many of the things you complain of).


Um, in case you didn't know, the Iranians were engaging in the development of nuclear weapons long before the Coalition overthrew Sadaam. In fact, our recent understanding of the Iranian nuclear program came as a direct result of that invasion, as it forced Khadaffi to come clean on his program, which exposed the A.Q. Khan network... and the mullahs' participation in same. We wouldn't be here WITHOUT the Iraq invasion, in other words.





In this world, we can't go to war or refuse to make peace just because of speculation about someone's possible motives.


Don't be silly. People go to war and make peace base on possible motives ALL THE TIME.






The most likely explanation, given everything above, is that Ahmedinejad...


Yes, "The most likely explanation..." That IS a critical portion of that statement, isn't it?







2. You simply have not thought seriously about how long it takes to make a nuclear bomb.


No, actually I have, and noted the history above, which you should review, as you seem ignorant of that history.







But CLANDESTINE nuclear activities take much longer. (FYI, Pakistan basically got the technology ready-made. That isn't happening with Iran.)


The mullahs' program isn't "clandestine", as previously mentioned. They freely admit to it, and their pursuit of the full fuel cycle. You seem oblivious to reality.

The goat-herders in Pakistan started from the same place Iran started a few years later, with the same Chinese involvement. Your foolish notion that the mullahs cannot duplicate the Paki model 25+ years later... is ... well... it's foolish.






How long it takes to centrifuge uranium depends on how large your cascade is. Unfortunately, large cascades would draw unwarranted attention, from Iran's point of view. So they simply can't do what we did.


Of course they can, as did the Pakis, the Indians, the Chinese, the Israelis and everybody else. The mullahs don't care about "attention"... open up your newspaper, and observe their open admissions of the existence of the cascade that you're referencing (not that I believe you understand what a cascade is, just purely to address your ill-informed comment).





3. You read way to much into "death to America".


Really? Do you have an alternate translation you'd like to share with us?





Again, we concluded arms treaties with the Soviet Union despite their having said awful things to us. You simply don't want peace.


We concluded arms treaties with the SU as they suited us, when they suited us. However, they did not bring us "peace", any more than coddling mass-murderers will bring anybody "peace".






Let's make this very clear-- THE US says all sorts of bad things about Cuba, and Iran, and North Korea, and Venezuela. Does that mean those countries should not trust us?


They do trust us. The trust us to act on our words, and not your foolish interpretations of theirs or our words.






4. You are simply wrong about miniaturization... that technology has basically NOT proliferated.


False. The Pakis have had Chinese Miniaturized nuclear designs for at least 2 decades, and the Iranians have copies of these (and more recent designs, in fact), which we discovered of course when Kahdaffi turned state's evidence. Additionally, the Pakis and Iranians have LONG had Chinese nuclear capable missile technology, and the mullahs have their OWN version of nuclear missile... produced domestically. They no longer need the Chinese to provide their delivery systems... they have their own, in addition to aircraft delivered systems, and others. The Euros well understand all this, of course, hence Chirac's open threat to the mullahs a year or so ago.






PERHAPS someone could get a miniaturized bomb from Russia, where the nukes aren't totally secure, in a commercial transaction.


Correct. The technology is so prevalent, it may eventually be possible to acquire it on the open market. A.Q. Khan was working towards that, of course.





Israel isn't going anywhere-- and neither is the Jewish disapora. Stop acting like someone out of "Dr. Strangelove".


Well, not until the mullahs finish spinning out that uramiun hexaflouride gas, anyways.
6.19.2007 11:24am
whackjobbbb:

You need to look at actions and not words...


Precisely. We must look at the actions of the barbarians.
6.19.2007 11:27am
whackjobbbb:

Iran is fighting a low-level, guerilla, proxy war against Israel. Iran's tactics in fighting that war include some that are abominations. That shouldn't surprise you


It doesn't surprise me, although your attempts to establish moral equivalency for them IS quite surprising... to we the civilized, anyways.







And the broader point is that nothing Iran is doing is particularly out of the ordinary. There are quite rational


You need to make up your mind. On the one hand, you claim that it's "impossible" for the mullahs to come about with nuclear weapons "clandestinely", and then in the next breath you claim it "quite rational" that they're doing so, thus acknowledging that they are doing so. Which of your 2 conflicting statements would you like to stick with?







And there are quite clear reasons why they sponsor anti-Israel terrorism.


Exactly. The mullahs are barbarians.







And even if I am wrong about all those things (which I am not), they wouldn't have the capability of destroying Israel and "killing all the Jews" even if they acquired nuclear weapons and decided to commit suicide by using them against Israel.


Well, not until they finish spinning out that uranium hexaflouride gas, anyways.
6.19.2007 11:34am