If Israel were to destroy every weapon stored in Gaza, it would still be in danger from that tiny, horrid, pathetic strip of what should be prime Mediterranean beach estate. Because the people who live there are so dedicated to hatred of Israel that the passion overrules all other possible interests, such as prosperity. And because more weapons will pour into Gaza almost as fast as they can be destroyed. And the new weapons will be more lethal than the old. And in any case the Israelis will not be allowed to get anywhere near to destroying all existing stocks of weapons because some pretend-truce will be forced on them by world powers of historically perfect moral purity (such as Russia, China, France, Germany …).
This is from an article by Daniel Greenfield at Canada Free Press; bitter, maybe a trifle exaggerated in spots, yet essentially true:
The military, whether in the United States or Israel, does not exist to win wars. It exists to win over the people who don’t want it to win a war. …
In Israel, the last time the military was sent to win a war, was 1973. Since then the military has been used as a police force and to battle militias in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank. In the Territories, the ideal Israeli soldier was supposed to be able to dodge rocks thrown by teenagers hired by Time correspondents looking to score a great photo. Today the ideal Israeli soldier is capable of visiting an American college campus to dodge the overpriced textbooks hurled at him by the local branch of Students for Justice in Palestine or the International Socialist Organization, while explaining why the IDF is the most moral army in the world except for the Salvation Army.
The ideal Israeli soldier, like his American, British and Canadian, but not Russian or Chinese, counterparts, is supposed to avoid Incidents. That means operating under Rules of Engagement which make firing at an assailant almost as dangerous as not firing at an assailant.
The ideal American soldier is supposed to avoid the Taliban, or as one set of orders urged, patrol in places where the Taliban won’t be found. And that’s sensible advice, because if the goal is to avoid creating an Incident, then avoiding the enemy is the best way to avoid an Incident. Unfortunately the enemy has a bad habit of appearing where he isn’t supposed to be and creating his own Incidents, because Taliban and Hamas commanders … actually welcome Incidents. The bigger and bloodier the Incident, the more hashish and young boys get passed around the campfire that night.
American soldiers operate under the burden of winning over the hearts and minds of Afghans and New York Times readers.
Israeli soldiers are tasked with winning over New York Times readers and European politicians.
But some hearts and minds are just unwinnable. And most wars become unwinnable when the goal is to fight an insurgency that has no fear of the dreaded Incident, while your soldiers are taught to be more afraid of an Incident than of an enemy bullet.
Israeli leaders live in perpetual fear of “losing the sympathy of the world”, little aware that they never really had it. The “Sympathy of the World” is the strategic metric for conflicts. And so Israel does its best to minimize any collateral damage by using pinpoint strikes and developing technologies that can pluck a bee off a flower without harming a single petal. But invariably the technocratic genius of such schemes has its limits, an Incident happens, the Israeli leftist press denounces the Prime Minister for clumsily losing the sympathy of the world, and international politicians order Israel to retreat back behind whatever line it retreated to during the last appeasement gesture before the last peace negotiations. And its experts ponder how to fight the next one without losing the sympathy of the world.
American and Israeli generals live in fear of losing political support and so they never put any plans on the table that would finish a conflict. Instead they choose low intensity warfare with prolonged bleeding instead of short and brutal engagements that would finish the job. They talk tough, but their enemies know that they don’t mean it. Worse still, that they aren’t allowed to mean it because meaning it would be too mean.
Incidentism leads to armies tiptoeing around conflicts and losing them by default. Avoiding them becomes the objective and that also makes Incidents inevitable because the enemy understands that all it will take to win is a few dead children planted in the ruins of a building; in a region where parents kill their own children for petty infractions and frequently go unpunished for it.
The more an army commits to Incidentism, the sooner its war is lost. Prolonged low intensity conflicts are ripe with opportunities for Incidents, far more so that hot and rapid wars. And so the hearts and minds, those of the locals and those of New York Times readers, always end up being lost anyway.
War is no longer just politics by other means, it actually is politics with the goal of winning over hearts and minds, rather than achieving objectives. The objectives of a war, before, during and after, have become those of convincing your friends and your enemies, and various neutral parties, of your innate goodness and the justice of your cause. Propaganda then has become the whole of war and those who excel at propaganda, but aren’t any good at war, now win the wars. The actual fighting is just the awkward part that the people who make the propaganda wish we could dispense with so they can focus on what’s really important; distributing photos of our soldiers protecting the local children and playing with their puppies.
Take all that into account and the miserable track records of great armies are no longer surprising. Armies need to prove their morality to win a war, but are never allowed to win a war because it would interfere with proving their morality. …
The war of words, the conflict of images and videos, the clash of arguments, has become the sum of war. And that war is unwinnable because it must be fought on two fronts, against the cultural enemies within and the insurgents outside. An army cannot win a war and win over the New York Times at the same time.
It’s past time for a realistic solution to the Palestinians’ predicament to be found and implemented.
Dr Martin Sherman has a proposal well worth hearing.
He writes at Front Page Magazine:
The Palestinian refugee problem is, to a large degree, an artificial construct. The UN body under whose auspices all the refugees on the face of the globe fall — except for the Palestinians — is the UN Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). A separate institution exists for the Palestinians — the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. UNHCR and UNRWA have widely different definitions for the term “refugee” and widely divergent mandates for dealing with them.
According to the High Commission’s definition, the number of refuges decreases over time, while according to the UNRWA definition, the number increases. This “definition disparity” brings about an astonishing situation: If the High Commission criterion was applied to the Palestinians, the number of refugees would shrink dramatically to around 200,000 – i.e., less than 5 percent of the current number of almost 5 million according to the UNRWA definition.
Moreover, while the mandate of the UNHCR permits the body to seek permanent solutions for refugees under its auspices, UNRWA is permitted only to provide ongoing humanitarian aid for the ever-increasing population of Palestinians. Accordingly, while UNHCR operates to dissipate the problems of the refugees under its auspices, UNRWA activities serve only to prolong their refugee status and thus, their predicament. Indeed, rather than reduce the dimensions of the refugee problem, UNRWA has actually functioned to perpetuate the refugee status of the Palestinians from one generation to the next. It has create an enduring and expanding culture of dependency, while cultivating an unrealistic fantasy of returning to a home that no longer exists.
As long as the Palestinian refugee problem continues to be treated in what former Congressman Tom Lantos called “this privileged and prolonged manner” it will never be resolved. Accordingly, the first step toward the resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem must be the abolition of UNRWA …
Of course the Arab leaders would oppose this move. Far from wanting to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians in their countries, Arab leaders insist on maintaining and even exacerbating it, in order to display it to the world – as a beggar will display his bleeding sores to elicit alms – and blame it on “the Jews”. The idea is to exploit the conscience of the West, thus proving that they themselves have no conscience whatsoever.
Throughout the Arab world, the Palestinians are subject to blatant discrimination with regard to employment opportunities, property ownership, freedom of movement, and acquisition of citizenship. For example, Saudi Arabia in 2004 announced it was introducing measures to ease the attainment of Saudi citizenship for all foreigners who were residing in the country except Palestinians, half a million of whom live in the kingdom.
Similar policies of discrimination are prevalent in other Arab states. A 2004 Los Angeles Times report painted a grim picture of the life Palestinians are forced to endure among the Arab “brethren.” According to the report, Palestinians in Egypt suffer restrictions on employment, education, and owning property, and when Egypt announced in 2003 that it would grant nationality to children of Egyptian mothers married to foreigners, Palestinians were excluded. In Lebanon, meanwhile, nearly 400,000 Palestinians live in 12 “refugee camps,” where crime is rife and clashes between rival Palestinian factions are common. Palestinians cannot own property or get state health care. According to Tayseer Nasrallah, head of the Palestinian Refugee Rights Committee in the West Bank, Lebanon bans refugees from 72 areas of employment, including medicine and engineering. Syria, with a population of 18 million, is a strong verbal supporter of the Palestinian cause, but refuses citizenship to its 410,000 Palestinian refugees. Even in Jordan, where Palestinians comprise nearly 70% of the population, Palestinians complain that they are discriminated against in terms of employment.
When approached on this issue of discrimination against the Palestinian residents in Arab countries, Hisham Youssef, spokesman for the 22-nation Arab League, openly acknowledged that Palestinians live “in very bad conditions,” but claimed the policy is meant “to preserve their Palestinian identity.” He went on to explain with perhaps unintended candor: “If every Palestinian who sought refuge in a certain country was integrated and accommodated into that country, there won’t be any reason for them to return to Palestine.”
As blatant an admission, Hisham Youssef’s, as any we have heard (and we have heard a few) that the Arab bloc uses the Palestinians as political tools.
But according to a survey conducted by the well-known Palestinian pollster, Dr. Khalil Shikaki, most Palestinians were less interested in being nationalist standard-bearers than in living fuller lives. This view resonates strongly with opinion samples gathered by the leading Arab television stations Al-Arabiya and Al Jazeera of Palestinians living in the various Arab states, the vast majority of whom very much want to become citizens in their respective countries of residence.
No surprise there.
This clearly seems to indicate that Palestinian national identity is something more jealously guarded by non-Palestinian Arabs rather than the Palestinians themselves.
It is only the United Nations Relief and Works Agency that allows the Arab countries to continue to keep the Palestinians within their borders in their situation of suspended stateless animation. For while its mandate prevents finding a permanent solution for the Palestinian residents in these countries, it is the ongoing humanitarian aid that it provides for an ever-increasing client population that permits the host governments to sustain their discriminatory policy toward their Palestinian “guests,” to perpetuate their inferior status, and to allow their situation to languish and fester. …
Dr Sherman then comes to the nub of his solution. He suggests that every Palestinian family should be given “a sum of money equivalent to the life earning of an average citizen in countries that could serve as an appropriate alternative place of residence – probably, but dominantly Arab or Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa, or countries with significant Arab/Moslem communities in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.” This, he hopes, would be an inducement to such countries to accept them as citizens.
The money should be given to the individuals, not channeled through their so-called leaders, none of whom has done them any good, and all of whom would certainly reject the scheme on the grounds that the cruel tactic of displaying their suffering must be continued.
After decades of disastrous failure, it should be clear that there is little chance of resolving the Palestinian issue if we continue to consider Palestinians as a cohesive entity with which contacts are conducted via some sort of “leadership.” Efforts should therefore be devoted exclusively towards individual Palestinians and towards allowing them, as individuals, free choice as to how to chart their future. …
How much should be offered?
The scale of the offer would be on the order of the average lifetime earnings in some relevant host country for each family head — i.e. the GDP per capita of such a country multiplied by at least say 40-50 years. (As a comparative yardstick, this would be equivalent to an immigrant bread-winner arriving in the US with 2-2.5 million dollars.)
How likely would they be to accept it?
A November 2004 survey [was] commissioned by the Jerusalem Summit and conducted by a reputable Palestinian polling center in conjunction with a well-know Israeli institute to gauge Palestinians’ willingness to emigrate permanently in exchange for material compensation. Significantly, the poll showed that only 15% of those polled would absolutely refuse to accept any such inducements, while over 70% stated that they would be willing to take the bargain.
Would they then find countries willing to take them in?
For the prospective host countries the proposal has considerable potential economic benefits. The Palestinians arriving at their gates will not be impoverished refugees, but relatively prosperous individuals with the equivalent of decades of local per capita GDP in their pockets. Indeed, for every hundred Palestinian families received, the host country could count on around fifteen to twenty million dollars going directly into the private sector. Absorbing 2,500 new Palestinian family units could mean the injection of up to half a billion into local economies often in dire need of such funds.
With that inducement it’s reasonable to suppose that some countries may be willing to take them in, but there’s no certainty.
How much should each family be offered?
If each family head were offered a relocation grant of between $150,000 to $200,000, this would be the equivalent of several decades, and in some cases centuries, of GNP per capita earnings in any one of a wide range of prospective host destinations (see table). Indeed, even in terms of the average overall world per capita GDP (about $7000 U.S.) – such grants would be the equivalent of up to a quarter of a century GNP per capita. (As mentioned previously, in comparative terms, this would be equivalent to a bread winner arriving in the US with 2-2.5 million dollars.)
How much would this amount to?
The aggregate cost of the proposal would be between $45 – 80 billion (depending on whether the relocation grant was $100,000 or $200,000). Extending the relocation to the entire Palestinian population [not just those on the West Bank and Gaza, but also those in the Arab states] would effectively entail doubling the required outlay to $90 –160 billion.
Where would the money come from?
If international donors such as the USA, the EU or OECD countries matched Israel’s input dollar-for-dollar (which would involve contributing only a miniscule portion of these countries’ GNP), the implementation could be sped up considerably, possible within 5 years, without undue burden on the world economy.
Israel to pay the most then? Here we have a disagreement with Dr Sherman, though we like his idea on the whole. Certainly there is reason for Israel to be a donor, but such a disproportionate contribution would make the offer seem like reparation, endorsing the false version of history - which most of the world has swallowed whole – that the Israelis forced the Palestinians into refugeeship and consequently owe them compensation.
He points out that “the overall cost of [a] ‘two-state-solution’ would, in all likelihood, be far greater.” (And will not be accepted by the Arabs anyway. If ever they accept a “state of Palestine”, they will be accepting borders with Israel, which means they will be recognizing the state of Israel, and that they will not do. All the talk, or talk of talks, on the Arab side is purely to seem compliant with the nonsensical prescriptions of the UN, the EU, and Obama.)
If the world powers would consider Dr Sherman’s idea seriously, that would be a step forward. If they tried it and it worked, it would be a great accomplishment.
However, skeptics that we are, we suspect that the UN, the EU, and in particular Obama prefer, like the Arab leaders, to keep pursuing the fantasy of “the two-state solution” because behind it lurks the hope that if a state of Palestine comes into existence at all, eventually it will enlarge to become the only state between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean. Israel, alone among all the states in the world, has been incipiently de-legitimized, through the persistent work of Islam and the international Left.
Dr. Sherman’s scheme would mean the dispersal of the Palestinians and so their disappearance as a nation. A Palestinian nation would have no more existence than it did before 1948. Many individual Palestinians subjected to apartheid in the lands of their fellow Arabs might not mind too much if the sacrifice of distinctive nationality bought them a better life. But will their choice, their desires, their desperate needs suddenly matter to the champions of their Cause? We doubt it.
Always few in number, the Jewish people have made an enormous contribution to the benefit of mankind – far greater than any other people proportionate to its size. As a people, the Jews have done no harm to others, yet they are hated. They have never wanted to rule the world, yet they are accused of that crazy ambition. Islam openly declares its aim to dominate the world and is not reviled for doing so. Islam has made no significant contributions to mankind, contrary to popular assertions that it made a few way back in the Middle Ages – a claim that does not stand up under scrutiny. And at present Islam is waging a jihad to bring its darkness down over civilization.
The following quotation is not about the general Islamic intolerance of the Jews and their one small, tolerant, democratic state, but about Arab aggression in particular. What the author says is true as far as it goes, but it should always be borne in mind that the Arabs are supported in their genocidal hostility to Israel by the vast Islamic world, a majority of Europeans, and most of the international political left. Even Israel’s staunchest ally, the United States, is trying to impose a ‘solution’ (to its extreme, unrelenting victimization!) on Israel which can only make its struggle for survival more desperate.
From Steven Plaut’s Front Page Magazine article (read the whole of it here):
The Arab-Israeli war is not about land, and it cannot be resolved by Israel’s relinquishing land.
The Arab world already controls territory nearly twice that of the United States (including Alaska), whereas all of Israel cannot be seen on most world maps. When Israel was occupying nothing outside of its pre-1967 borders, the Arab world refused to come to terms with its existence and is no more willing to do so today, even if Israel were to return to those same borders.
The Arab-Israeli conflict is not about Israel refusing to share land and resources with Palestinians but about the absolute refusal of the Arab world to acquiesce in the existence of any Jewish-majority political entity within any set of borders in the Middle East.
This misrepresentation of the conflict serves to prolong it, precisely because it misleads. The Arab world insists that Israel trade land for peace not because it is prepared to in turn offer Israel peace for the land it vacates, but because a smaller Israel will be that much easier to destroy. And even if Israel consisted of nothing more than downtown Tel Aviv, the Arab world would consider it to be an imperialist affront sitting on stolen Arab land – an illegal "settlement." …
"Talks" cannot produce peace in the Middle East and in fact have harmful effects.
There is a Western obsession with the idea that all world problems can be resolved through talking. But how many international conflicts can be said to have been resolved strictly through talking? Especially in the Middle East, there can be no doubt that talking does not resolve hostilities. It makes them worse… The conflict is not about hurt feelings but about the refusal of the Arab world to come to terms with Israel’s existence, period, in any set of borders and regardless of whether Jerusalem remains under Israeli control.
There is no "two-state solution" or "one-state solution" to the Arab Israeli conflict.
The latter solution is particularly popular on the left. Under that scenario, Israel is enfolded into a larger "secular democratic Arab state" with an Arab Muslim majority. It is in fact little more than a prescription for a Rwanda-style genocide of Jews. This is little doubt that a significant number of those proposing such a solution would really like to see this happen.
More important, there is no "two-state solution" to the Middle East conflict. Those speaking about a two-state solution really mean a 24-state solution, meaning the Arabs retain the 22 states they already have, adding a 23rd state of "Palestine" in parts of the West Bank and Gaza and pre-1967 Israeli territories, with Israel remaining the Jewish state – the 24th state in the plan – for the moment.
That such a solution will not end the conflict but only signal the commencement of its next stage has long been the quasi-official position of virtually all Palestinian groups, which have long insisted that any two-state solution is but a stage in a plan of stages, after which will come additional steps ultimately ending Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.
The original partition plan of the United Nations had proposed that an Arab Palestinian state arise alongside Israel in 1948. The Arab world rejected this plan altogether. It had no interest in adding one more Arab Islamic state to its portfolio. It went to war to prevent the creation of any Jewish state.
The two-state solution is no more realistic an option today than it was in 1948. It is ultimately as much of an existential threat to Jewish survival in the Middle East as the one-state solution. Creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel would be a major step in the escalation of the Arab war against Israel’s existence …
About 80% of mandated Palestine was handed over to the Arabs by the British, in violation of the promises made in the Balfour Declaration that Palestine would be a ‘national home’ for the Jews – the grounds on which Britain was granted the mandate. That lion’s share of the territory was then named the ‘Emirate of Transjordan’. It was kept judenrein. Later it became the Kingdom of Jordan. That is the Arab Palestinian State, apart from which there has never, in all history, been an Arab State of Palestine.
Only in the remaining 20% were Jews allowed to buy land and live.
This remnant of mandated Palestine became the legally constituted State of Israel in 1948, in which Arabs live freely. From the moment of its inception to now, it has been allowed no peace by the Arabs.
The root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the refusal of the Arabs to accept Israel’s existence.
The one solution that the Western world has never tried is to pressure the Arabs into normalizing relations with Israel and integrating the Arabs who fled of their own accord during the 1948 and 1967 wars. They should do so now.
The hundreds of thousand of Jewish refugees who were forced from Arab lands were integrated by Israel.
Israel is a liberal democratic state. The Western powers should help it to survive and flourish.
No more Palestinian land should be handed over to the Arabs.
All that remains apart from Jordan of the former mandate of Palestine should be a single Jewish state. Arabs who wish to live in it should do so loyally and peacefully; and those who do not wish to live in it should be assimilated by their fellow Arabs in one or another of the 22 existing Arab states.
No new Arab state should be created.
If you agree, and if you want to do something about it, here is a video for you to watch at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFtts9TfJlA
It needs to be said over and over again: It is not the size of the Jewish state that troubles the Arabs, and Muslims in general; it is the fact that a Jewish state exists at all.
Their only solution to the Arab-Israel conflict is the total elimination of Israel; is and always has been. That is why ‘Peace Now’ and all the treaties and the conferences and the diplomatic missions and the UN interferences and the ‘Land for Peace’ optimism have not amounted to a hill of beans. That is why Arafat turned down an offer that would have given the Palestinians 95 percent of the ‘territorial demands’ they pretended to for a time. That is why all efforts by President Bush, or Secretary of State Rice (who seems grossly to misunderstand the whole issue), or Tony Blair, or anyone else to broker a peace deal are doomed to failure. That is why Israel’s total withdrawal from Gaza made no difference to the constant claim that Gaza is ‘occupied territory’, and why if Israel stops building settlements on the West Bank there will be no cheers, not the least expression of satisfaction from the Palestinians, but only more complaints and more demands, and no doubt active aggression, as there is now from Gaza.
The conflict can only be settled by total victory for the Arab-Islamic aggressors, or such a show of strength by the West as a whole in support of Israel that the aggressors give up.
What is the likelihood of the West so wholeheartedly supporting Israel? Not high. And when the whole of Europe has come to be dominated by its growing Islamic populations – which is very likely to happen – the chances for Israel’s survival will be greatly diminished.
Why this persistent willful blindness on the part of Western leaders to the realities of the conflict?
One may as well ask, why two thousand years of persecution of the Jews?
The Jews are among that minority of peoples who have done no harm to other peoples in all that time. They are hugely benefactors of all mankind. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the Jews – the vast majority of whom were miserably poor and oppressed – were falsely, absurdly, and wickedly accused of plotting to dominate the world. The forgery known as ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ were (as Professor Norman Cohn has brilliantly demonstrated in his book by this name) a ‘Warrant for Genocide’ – the genocide of the Holocaust. The wave of revulsion that went round the world when the Nazi death-camps were liberated and the atrocities committed by the Germans became known, translated itself into an abhorrence of ‘racism’ – but the only people who have not been the beneficiaries of that abhorrence are the Jews themselves.
Now Muslims frequently and openly preach that they desire a caliphate to rule the whole world under Sharia law. Their holy books prescribe world-domination. Their method of achieving it is to carry out acts of murderous violence with the utmost cruelty, such as beheading victims – even young children – or burning them to death; blowing people up en masse in trains, flying planes into office buildings so that workers inside them are forced to choose between incinerating themselves or jumping hundreds of feet to their deaths below. At the same time the jihadists of Islam are using the freedoms and tolerance of the West to infiltrate and undermine it. These things are actually happening. There is no false accusation here, no forged documents. But Islam does not stand accused of the evil aim, the atrocities, the crimes, by Western governments. Now that the plot of destruction and domination is real, the politicians, the majority of the intellectual elites and the ‘fourth estate’ of the journalists shake in their boots and pretend that it is not happening. Now that the threat is real, they are really afraid. They cringe before the monsters who are attacking and humiliating them. Shame on them all!