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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 31, 2003

Letters to the Times

In the NY Times today, the letters page had a wealth sense about Israel. Three of the four letters were supportive of Israel. The fourth had a depressingly Jewish name as its author. You can find letters under the title of "The Israeli Vote: What Was the Message?" Yoni Rosenzweig argues:
"You would be hard pressed to find a country that would make a different decision — elect a leader who promises concession to a perceived aggressor — when the enemy shows no inclination for a peaceable solution. To Israelis, the choice lies with the Palestinians: give up your brutal leadership and tactics or watch the sovereignty — once within your grasp — evaporate."
Exactly. That sentiment flies directly in the face of yesterday's NY Times editorial, "Ariel Sharon's Paradoxical Victory." The Times wonders:
"The strong Likud showing was something of a paradox, considering that opinion polls show that a consistent majority of Israelis favor exactly what Mr. Sharon has not done so far — remove most Jewish settlements from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, establish a clear and defensible national border and help set up a Palestinian state next door."
It's not clear that this is what polls show; it is clear that this is what the Times thinks is equitable. But however generous Israelis are, they are apparently not suicidal. That's a point that the Times can't accept. Douglas Altabef contributes another valuable observation:
"The fallacious assumption underlying Gadi Taub's "pick your poison" scenario for an Israel that has not withdrawn from the West Bank (Op-Ed, Jan. 29) is that Palestinians are incapable of changing. This mind-set has always beset the peace movement: the future is solely a function of what Israel chooses to do."
That assumption underlies much of the conventional wisdom about the Middle East. At least from the West. Taub's column, "The Results are in and Peace Lost" is an obnoxious amalgam of left wing pieties that have been so prevelant in analyses of the Middle East: "Arafat and Sharon are partners out to destroy peace; Israel's hold onto communites in Yesha and Azza make peace impossible; only Mitzna had a realistic solution to the problem; etc." It's the end that really gets my goat:
The rejection of Mr. Mitzna's plan, coupled with Mr. Sharon's clear victory, could be one more step toward turning Israel into another Lebanon.
Given the proliferation of Lebanon originated suicide bombing into Israel; this is a bad joke. The surrender to the PLO/PA has, unfortunately done a lot to turn Israel into Lebanon. In Labor's successful campaign in 1992 it promised to take Gaza out of Tel Aviv - a reference to the killing of 15 year old Helena Rapp. Instead by giving the PLO/PA territory and room to operate unimpeded, Oslo brought Lebanon into Israel.
To it's great shame the Times also published "The Wrong Words" by Abdel Monem Said, which claims:
"The historical bond between the United States and the moderate Arab states and mainstream Arabs in general contributed to the stability of the Middle East. For half a century, the bond worked well — to thwart Communist expansion in the cold war, to contain the waves of Iranian Islamic revolution and to end in 1991 Saddam Hussein's radical and regional ambitions."
Notice not a word of the aid that the US gives to Egypt (Said is Egyptian) or an acknowledgement that the so-called moderate Arab states consistently vote against American interests in the UN. What's changed is that America - I think - is starting to see that there is a terrible cost to be paid for ignoring evil. America won't simply turn a blind eye to its totalitarian sometime allies in the Middle East simply because they have a lot of oil.
Cross Posted to David's Israel Blog