Beauty, and Peace
There is much
smoke amidst the fire of the Arab-Israeli conflict. In order to
evaluate what's happening, it's critical that the foundation be
properly set. Seemingly sensible conclusions stemming from false foundations are themselves false.
Authority spin specialists pepper Americans daily with the notion that the current
intifada is about land; if Israel would only end it's
occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, there would be peace.
simple: Just leave, and the violence will end. But it's based on
a questionable foundation.
the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights in the aftermath of the 1967
war, in which three Arab armies attacked from all sides with the express
purpose of annihilating the Jewish state. After successfully beating them
back, Israel occupied some of the lands used to stage the attacks in order
to deter future aggression from those same staging areas. (There's
something to be said for the concept that if you start a war and lose,
you shouldn't whine about it.)
Note that this
occurred in 1967. The Palestinian Liberation
Organization (PLO) was created in 1964, with it's stated mission the elimination of
the state of Israel. Yasser Arafat's personal terrorist cabal of the
time, Fatah, also predates the occupation of the territories.
(and Fatah's) formation had nothing to
do with Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza--in 1964 those lands
were occupied by Arab forces, not Israeli forces. The Gaza strip was
Egyptian territory, and the West Bank was part of Jordan.
noting that those Arab occupiers of the West Bank and Gaza never offered
their Palestinian brothers their own state.)
The "land" spin
is further compromised by two events in recent
history. The first is the rejection by Arafat of the final Clinton
peace proposal. In it, Israel agreed to a sovereign Palestinian
State on over 90% of the occupied territories, with part of Jerusalem as it's
capital--something that no other Israeli government had ever come close to
negotiators--and a meaningful percentage of the population of the occupied
territories--thought that this was a terrific deal that should be
signed. But there was a
clause in that agreement that Arafat wouldn't accept--that the violence
had to end with Palestinian acceptance of Israel's right to exist.
had their land for peace deal. They had won. But Yasser
Arafat's extremist aim was not a
Palestinian state; it was the destruction of Israel. So he walked
out and homicide bombers began to murder Israeli babies in their strollers.
The second event
is an actual example of the intent of the terrorists. Two decades ago
Israel invaded southern Lebanon in a defensive maneuver. Various terrorists
groups (first Arafat's PLO, then Hezbollah) had been staging attacks on
northern Israeli towns from bases there. Israel
entered those areas in order to create a buffer zone wide enough that
terrorist rockets couldn't be sent into Israeli schoolyards. There
they stayed for 20 years.
Harangued by the
UN, two years ago Israel finally agreed to pull out, with the promise that there would
be no more terrorist attacks launched from southern Lebanon.
reward? According to the Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer:
was not mollified. While its ostensible mission was the liberation of
Lebanese territory, it did not disband. On the contrary. It occupied south
Lebanon, imported huge new supplies of weapons from Iran and began
sporadic cross-border attacks on Israel.
"Hezbollah has killed Israeli soldiers situated in Israeli territory. It
kidnapped three soldiers who have never been seen since. Just one month
ago, infiltrators from the Hezbollah territory shot and killed seven
Israelis on a road in northern Israel. And now, since the end of March,
Hezbollah has embarked on a serious and deadly escalation, firing rockets
"Hezbollah is armed with 8,000 Katyusha rockets. Practically all of
northern Israel lies under its guns. They are ready for firing.
Hezbollah's spiritual leader, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah,
threatened Monday to hit Haifa with Katyusha rockets if Israel dared to
respond to Hezbollah attacks."
like the current situation, doesn't it. Seems like a perfect test
case for the concept, doesn't it. Israel gave up the land.
Peace was promised.
peace." You tell me, what is the fruit on the tree?
writes in Newsweek Magazine, "...after the experiences of
Oslo, Israelis know (as should the rest of the world) that the real
division among Palestinians is not between those who want peace in the
Western sense--as a point after which the world lives free of tensions
with a consciousness of reconciliation. In reality, the number of
Palestinian leaders holding this view is minuscule. The fundamental
schism is between those who want to bring about the destruction of Israel
by continuing the present struggle, and those who believe that an
agreement now would be a better strategy to rally forces for the ultimate
showdown later on."
Israel is far
from blameless in all this. But she is willing to trade land for
peace. However, the current Palestinian leadership seems to hold to
their long-stated goal of peace with Israel eliminated from the map, not
peace with an officially recognized Israel next door.
paraphrase Shakespeare: Yasser Arafat, thou wantest peace as thou
art beautiful. And as we all know, thou ain't beautiful. To paraphrase Forrest Gump: Ugly is as ugly does.
Conclusion: See Shakespeare paraphrase.