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

January 02, 2003


The New York Times' editorial board has some wishes for the new year in the realm of public policy, one of which is:

Given a magic lamp, we might wish for stable, responsible democratic regimes in Iraq and North Korea for the new year. But for an idea that's doable, our foreign policy choice is dismantling Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Just as terrorism is the greatest Palestinian obstacle to Middle East peace, so the settlements established in territories captured in the 1967 war are the greatest Israeli obstacle. They deprive the Palestinians of valuable land and water and deny them geographical continuity. They are hard for Israel to defend against Palestinian attack, and they make it impossible to establish a clear, secure Israeli border.

For all these reasons, the United States — which has lately ignored the issue — should press Israel to start reducing a settler population that's doubled in the last decade to 200,000 (without counting 200,000 in East Jerusalem). Israel's cooperation would show that it is serious about a two-state solution and, if matched by reciprocal concessions on the Palestinian side, would strengthen the prospects for a durable agreement.

Forget about the nonsense of 200,000 settlers in "East Jerusalem". I can't conceive of a reasonable argument for advocating the evacuation of Jews that live in Jerusalem neighborhoods, contiguous with the rest of the city, solely because they extend a little over the 1967 border. And the same people who advocate, as a moral issue, the evacuation of such Jews fromt heir homes and neighborhoods, are the first ones to scream bloody murder when it is suggested that Palestinian terrorists, forget about the cvilian population- terrorists, be exiled. But the mass expulsion of Jews from their homes is a tenable, even moral position in their eyes. Always has been, and, unfortunately, it seems, always will be.

Note the arguments in this article about focusing on the Israelis instead of the terrorists in Iraq, North Korea, and Ramallah. Behold the magnificance and subtleties of the left's great non-simplistic morality. The Times' argument is thus: we can't fight the great evils, because they're pretty powerfull. So lets pick on the Jews, that's always been fairly easy. That's towering morality for you. Thank heavens the Times editors haven't succumbed to moral simplism, you know, the kind that actually advocates acting upon your convictions. The kind that doesn't advocate picking on the righteous side of a conflict (Israel) because the murderous, immoral side (Arafat, Hamas, et al) are too powerfull to deal with. The kind that is actually capable of distinguishing, in its simplicity, between perpetrator and victim, and doesn't issue a blanket condemnation of all violence, no matter its impetus, because it lacks a moral framework for evaluating different behaviors. God save us from our moral "sophisticates", and those that refuse to confront evil because it's too strong. And we're the chickenhawks. Well, at least we're willing to stand up for our beliefs, to protect ourselves from agressors. At least we aren't just chickens.

cross posted at BIUblog