I haven’t had the time to jot down a word on two on this blog in a while; the reason being that I’m simply at a loss for words. What is happening in the already volatile region ails me to no end. From Gaza to Iraq and now to Lebanon, things are deteriorating from bad to worse. Israel’s actions in Lebanon are yet another form of collective punishment that the Jewish State has so skillfully mastered over the years, with the latest example being Gaza where dozens of civilians, including women and children, have perished. Someone, somehow, must put an end to the carnage. It really is beyond comprehension.
What Hizbullah did was provocative and stupid. I see it as Hizbullah’s way of flexing their muscles. They say their attack across the border was to show solidarity with the Palestinians. What I see is that they not only drug their whole country to the bring of war, and killed civilians from both sides of the conflict, but, ironically, they have managed to distract the world’s attention away from the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Lebanon occupies a special place in my heart. I have visited this beautiful country so many times and every time I go there I fall even more in love with this breathtaking place. I have a number of Lebanese friends who I admire greatly and have the utmost respect. My heart goes out to you in these very difficult times. My heart also goes out to the Gazans who are also being bombarded for the actions of one group who also chose the now trendy regional game of muscle flexing.
My heart also goes out to the Iraqis who are now immersed in a civil war. My heart also goes out to the Syrians, the Egyptians, the Jordanians, the Somalis and eventually to humanity itself for what we are witnessing nowadays is a sheer insult to our state of being.
I started reading some of the links you put down but they’re just too long. I’ll try to read the blog link you gave me later and reply to the richard.
I share with you the concern over the rise of Islamic groups for several reasons, one of which is the association of religion with poltics which I am so much against, and that’s one of the reasons I am against the foundation of Israel to start with.
I don’t like to criticize the US foreign policy for all of our problems, but when it comes to the strngthening of Islamic groups in arab countries, America has to share the blame. The Islamic Brotherhood group in Egypt was founded in 1928 but it has little support from Arabs until the 1970s when Anwar al-Sadat, a US ally in the region that time and withb the apporoval of the US , gave them all the support they needed until they got into sensitive places in the giovernment and exerted a significant effect on the Egyptian and Arabic society until this day. Al-Thawahiri and Muhammad Ata and Shaik Omar Abdil Rahman are just some of the Islamic extremists who were the results of such support Of Islamic groups in Egypt.
In Jordan we also noticed the same change, with Isalmic Brotherhood almost taking over the country in the 70s and 80s. Saudi Arabia …. same story. Arab- Afghans fighting the russians in Afgahnistan… same story. Eventually those Islamic groups had an outstanding popularity and a huge amount of funds from oil-rich countries and local governments, all with the approval of the US. It’s obvious how the Islamic groups grew very dtrongs in countries which had strong ties with the US like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia at the same time Islamists were jailed and killed in large numbers in other countries like Syria and Iraq. I blame many corrupt Arab leaders for that but it’s sad to see how many Americans don’t recognize this fact.
Now please tell me, why do you think Israel has the right to exist? Why do you think that Jews have the right to have their own country?
Not a single Arab country believed in that. Palesteniand did not and do not believe in that? If the US believes in that, they should give the JEws a piece of Texas to establish their own country. Why do Arabs have to pay the price for the foundation of Israel when they don’t believe in its existence in the first place?
I admire your attempts to relate world problems to acme problems. Quite creative! Bravo! That was good!
However, I have to disagree with the point your argument. Israel withdrew from Lebanon and that did not disempower Hezbollah as those advocating appeasement predicted. Instead, they became more popular than ever before. Worse yet, they are now far more heavily armed than ever before. The decision-makers in Israel who withdrew from Lebanon six years ago have now placed Israel’s population in much more danger than they were prior to the withdrawal.
Now we hear the appeasement argument being made all over again for the Shebaa Farms. If only Israel will withdraw from the Shebaa Farms, Hezbollah will lose any logical basis for further resistance.
I’ll tell you right now, if that is the only action taken against Hezbollah, it won’t work. No part of Iran is occupied by Israel, but that doesn’t stop the ayatollahs from wanting to drive the Jews into the sea. Similarly, the only thing that would take away the “logic of resistance” for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah would be the complete and utter destruction of Israel; they need no further justification. Those who claim that giving back the Shebaa Farms or withdrawing completely to the 1967 boundaries is going to make Israel safer are fooling themselves and attempting to fool others in the process.
Sadly, I’ve heard some rumors that Condi Rice is, starting to press Israel to give Lebanon the Shebaa Farms in upcoming negotiations. I don’t know if it true or not. I hope not, because it wouldn’t be wise. If it is true, I suppose we will get yet another example, besides the ones provided by south Lebanon and Gaza, of how appeasement just doesn’t work.
You might argue that attacking terrorists only creates more terrorists, but it appears as though appeasing terrorists creates still more terrorists – and more dangerous terrorists.
Israel previously negotiated with Hezbollah in prisoner exchanges. It must be kept in mind that those prisoner exchanges made during the 90’s have now resulted in the deaths of eight Israeli soldiers besides the kidnapping of two other soldiers. Israel may or may not get the two kidnapped soldiers back (I fear they may already in Iran), but they cannot negotiate for the return of the eight dead soldiers.
This is an excellent example of the basic premise that negotiating with terrorists doesn’t work. If Israel acquiesces to Hezbollah on this issue, there will be future kidnapping attempts, more casualties, and more public relations victories for Hezbollah.
To give you a real-life analogy of my own, let us look at criminal kidnappings in Mexico versus the United States. Due to the fact that the U.S. has adopted a tough line with kidnappers, and will not negotiate with them, kidnapping is a relatively rare crime in our country. Kidnappers in America have to weight the low probability of a payoff against the high probability of being arrested. By contrast, Mexicans (along with other Latin Americans) frequently pay kidnappers off.
Failing to pay a kidnapper in any country may result in the murder of the kidnapping citim, but negotiating with kidnappers will, in the long run, lead to far more deaths.
Here is an article on kidnappings in Mexico. Due to a culture of appeasement, 50% of all kidnappings worldwide now take place in Latin America and Mexico ranks second only to Colombia in the Americas.
Sorry, but if I were an Israeli, I’d be mad at those who sold us on the idea that withdrawing from occupied territory would lead to peace.
In any event, you state the following:
Israel needs to change its tactics.
How? It is the same question I’ve asked here and elsewhere before, but I still have yet to hear a single response. How should the tactics be changed?
The question I asked before is still open to anyone who wants to take a stab at it, it isn’t merely a rhetorical question. I’m looking for honest solutions:
Again, I ask the question I’ve been asking all along. If you think Israel’s response is ‘disproportionate’ then give me a response that will result in the two kidnapped soldiers being returned safely, will not award a PR victory to Hezbollah, and will lead to a cessation of further aggression from Lebanese guerrillas. I have yet to hear a single concrete suggestion.
i take it that you believe that when Israel “defends” its self, it’s doing a smart thing. am I right?
If I were Israeli, I would be so upset with my government.
You see, lets say for example you have an acne problem. You decided to get rid of this acne with one of the most popular treatments out there Pro Active Solution. I am sure you have heard of that stuff. Its on TV all the time. Any how, you decide to use Pro Active to get rid of your acne. But wait, it has been two months, and so far, your acne is still there. And in fact, the Pro Active has irratated the acne, causing redness, dryness, and even more break outs. It has now been seven months since you used this stuff, and still your acne is there. Obviously, you are using the wrong treatment for your acne. Most likely you are allergic to Benzoyl Peroxide (spelling?) thus, you should reconsider the treatment.
This acne story is something I went through. Now, what does this all have to do with Israel? Israel wants to make sure they can live without terrorism and suicide bombings. Do you actually think their treatment to cure this is working? Hmmmm, no it does not work. In fact, the way the Israeli government acts is all irritating their problem, and creating more acne…I mean hatred for the government thus more “terrorism”
Israel needs to change its tactics. That is the only way things can change. This on going murderous collective punishment is only breeding more hate. Lets just say, Israel has just created a new generation of suicide bombers.
And if I was Israeli, I would be upset with my government.
I cant believe I comapred this to my old acne problem. But then again, what do you expect of me at 2 in the morning.
You’re looking for solutions, but I look back at what could have caused the problem. Hizbullah and Hamas and other Islmaic fundemantal groups were established in the 1980s. They had extremely low popularity among Arabs before that.
Fundamentalism is a growing trend throughout the Muslim world, from Indonesia to Morocco. You need only look at the shift occurring in Egypt, for instance. Take a look at these pictures and compare them to the growing Islamist tendencies in Egypt today. From a secularist point of view, Egypt is regressing socially (I understand that viewpoint will not be shared by the Muslim Brotherhood and Co., of course):
Besides, Hamas owes its ascent in no small part to the corruption of Fatah.
You’ll always find crazy people among Arabs
And among all people. But the fact is that you’ll be hard pressed to find as much well-organized craziness among, say, Christians or Jews as among Muslims.
but believe me there are plenty of Jews who don’t want to see any Arab living in Israel. There are plenty of Jews who want their country to occupy neighboring countries.
Maybe, but so what? Such sentiments find little concrete expression. Israel has been moving to relinquishing occupied territory, not expanding it.
Had Israel withdrawn in 1967, the situation could have been much different. Yaser Arafat always declared
Here is a piece of literature I recommend to all people on the other side of this debate:
As you can see, Israel has indeed offered such solutions before, often requesting nothing more than a guarantee of peace from surrounding Arab countries, but the Arabs have time and again rejected them.
You cannot solve the problems of the Middle East without going back to history because history is behind it all.
I depart with you on that point. History has become an insurmountable obstacle to peace. History is fine, but we must also contend with present reality. That reality is that there are two people, both numbering in the millions, who have to find a way to live side-by-side. Neither of whom can vanquish each other – at least not in good conscience. That reality needs to be urgently addressed. It is much more important thing than history.
People and especially Americans should recognize that Arabs and Palestenians paid an extremely high price for the foundation of Israel,
Palestinians and Arabs paid a high price? Sorry, I don’t consider the greater Arab world to be a victim in this conflict. It was largely a result of Arab aggression that you have the refugee problem that exists today. The Arabs are victimizers and, to this day, they continue to use the Palestinians as pawns in their war against Israel. Look at how the “Arab brothers” of the Palestinians continue to treat refugees in every Arab country where they exist, with the sole exception of Jordan.
I agree that the Palestinians have definitely been victimized over the years, but I don’t attribute this strictly to Israeli policy. The Arabs have a very large hand in today’s problems also.
Here is a website for you. Read through some of the articles concerning Palestinians and Arabs by Richard Landes and you’ll understand my mentality, since I largely concur with him. On the right hand side of his front page, you’ll see different categories of articles. I recommend reading a few of the items under “Conspiracy and Hidden Hands,” “Pallywood,” “Honor-Shame Culture,” “Moral Equivalency” and “Arab-Israeli Conflict”:
If nothing else, I think you’ll be entertained and might enjoy discussing your grievances with Mr. Landes.
You’re looking for solutions, but I look back at what could have caused the problem. Hizbullah and Hamas and other Islmaic fundemantal groups were established in the 1980s. They had extremely low popularity among Arabs before that. Tell me about one country that has been occupied for six decades and witnessed what the Palestenians have wtinessed without having violent groups arise among them. You’ll always find crazy people among Arabs but believe me there are plenty of Jews who don’t want to see any Arab living in Israel. There are plenty of Jews who want their country to occupy neighboring countries. Palestenians and Arab hate Israel and this hatred is so justified. They were dragged into peace treaties by corrupt leaders that they did not choose.
Had Israel withdrawn in 1967, the situation could have been much different. Yaser Arafat always declared , since the 1960s, that Palestine should be a land to followers of the 3 religions. There are still Jews living in various Arab countries depite the mass betrayl of most Arab Jews who immigrated to Israel after 1948.
You cannot solve the problems of the Middle East without going back to history because history is behind it all. People and especially Americans should recognize that Arabs and Palestenians paid an extremely high price for the foundation of Israel, a price that other people should have paid for.
Tell me how can Arabs force Israel to obey the UN resolution 242 without using force??
I don’t know. But I do know they aren’t going to get Israel to follow any resolution by using force. At this point in the game, it is the extremely violent and terroristic nature of Palestinian society itself that makes it hard to concede anything to the Palestinians. Demonstrating that they have some capacity for peaceful coexistence with Israel, and that Israel can trust them as neighbors if the Palestinians attain an independent state, and that Israel will not, if it makes a suitable deal, have to continue putting up with Palestinian terrorism indefinitely, would put the Palestinians a long way towards getting what they seek.
But I don’t think the Palestinians can be trusted to do that. I think even if Israel were to withdraw to the 1967 borders completely, the violence would just continue. Israel will have gained nothing from such a ‘peace process’ just as it has gained nothing by withdrawing to the 1967 borders in Gaza and south Lebanon. In fact, I think it would get worse. I think Iran and Syria would arm Hamas the same way they’ve armed Hezbollah. Terrorist groups such as Hamas would only be emboldened by any retreat on Israel’s part.
Arabs continue to have a mistaken view of the usefulness of terrorism. For instance, many Arabs think that Hezbollah drove Israel out of south Lebanon. I think this is mistaken. Israel had no inherent interest in south Lebanon. The default behavior of Israel would be to withdraw from south Lebanon if and when they felt safe to do so. I believe that Hezbollah, far from driving out its southern neighbor, only extended Israel’s stay in Lebanon for a few more unnecessary years.
Hezbollah claimed the retreat from south Lebanon as a victory and will claim, and will now claim, in contradiction to that claim, that the reinvasion of Lebanon is a victory for them also. The greater Arab world also views this whole process as a contradiction also. They view it as a process of Israel being driven out by Hezbollah actions and then having to come back due to further actions by Hezbollah.
I think that sort of thinking, which is prevalent among Arabs is more than a little silly. I don’t view the situation in the same way. I don’t see anything paradoxical here. Israel was forced to stay in south Lebanon much longer than it otherwise would have, because Hezbollah was a continuing threat. Once the leadership in Israel thought they could withdraw from south Lebanon, without greatly endangering Israel’s security (and with promises from both the central government of Lebanon and the United Nations to disarm Hezbollah), they withdrew. Occupation was a waste of time and resources for Israel.
Now, due to the failure of the United Nations and Lebanon’s governments to make even a half-hearted attempt at disarming Hezbollah, Israel once again faces a security threat to the north. Hezbollah, with the help of Iran and Syria, has greatly increased in strength since Israel’s withdrawal. Israel must once again invade Lebanon.
You see, violence in these sorts of situations will only delay satisfactory solutions.
Since Arabs are, for the most part, incapable of simply assuming that all the Israelis want is the ability to live their lives in safety, without the the threat of terrorism, they are forced to engage in all sorts of foolish conspiratorial thinking to explain what they see as Israel’s contradictory actions. They always have to assume there is something more imperialistic about Israel’s objectives.
I hear Arabs floating such idiotic ideas as the notion that Israel really planned this whole invasion from the beginning and simply used the kidnapping of soldiers as a pretext to reoccupy south Lebanon. Some leftists and Arabs are also claiming the kidnappings never happened, and that the whole thing is a conspiracy orchestrated by Israel. (Even though Nasrallah admits he kidnapped the soldiers! Duh!) Of course, they never bother explaining how Israel benefits merely by occupying Lebanon. How exactly did they benefit from occupying Lebanon last time? It was an enormous waste of resources for seemingly little gain. Why did Israel withdraw in the first place? They don’t say. Arabs never trouble themselves with thinking through the logical implications of such kooky theories. They seem to believe that occupation of land by Israel is an end to itself and are blind to all contrary evidence.
Arabs engage in the same fallacy that the moonbat left of the western world is so fond of; namely, that it isn’t the truth that matters, it is the seriousness of the charge.
Tell me how can Arabs force ISrael to obey the UN resolution 242 without using force??