Archive for May, 2007

Wipe out Hamas

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

The air strikes in Gaza seem to be getting to Hamas:

In response to Israeli air strikes throughout Gaza against its infrastructure, and the killing of five Hamas terrorists, spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas, Abu Obeida, said that Israel could forget about kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit if it targets senior army or political officials in the group, Israel Radio reported Saturday. — Jerusalem Post

How about “Hamas can forget about its leaders if Schalit isn’t released within 24 hours?”, something that Israel should have said, and meant, months ago.

In typical fashion, the Hamas point of view is that they are allowed to kill Jews, but Jews are not allowed to fight back:

Earlier, a Hamas spokesman said that “Israel has crossed all the lines,” and called on all Palestinian factions to “hit the Zionist enemy.”

My advice: wage total war against Hamas and wipe them out.

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The essential nature of Israel to Jews

Friday, May 25th, 2007

Our metropolitan area has about half a million residents; about 2500 of them are Jews and maybe twice this number are Muslims. The great majority of the rest (the ones that identify as religious) are evangelical Protestants and Catholics.

Recently I had a discussion with a Jewish friend about making alliances. She felt that the Jewish community had much in common with the Muslims, in particular to oppose the aggressive Christian proselytizing that sometimes happens in local schools. I, on the other hand, felt that we had more to gain from an alliance with the evangelical Christians, who strongly support Israel.

Unsurprisingly, this argument hasn’t been resolved and it probably won’t be unless one of us changes some of our much more basic beliefs. She thinks that freedom from religious coercion is important for Jewish survival in the Diaspora. I think that the health of the Jewish state is essential for Jewish survival anywhere. She thinks Israel is just another country, albeit one where a lot of Jews live. I think that our connection to the Land of Israel is the reason for being Jewish at all, even in the Diaspora (and even when the land wasn’t in our hands).

The other day I had another discussion, this time with a person who would call himself a left-wing Zionist, and he said something very illuminating. I said that I thought the problem with Jewish leftists was that they forgot the fundamental principle of the conflict (simply stated, the Arabs want to kill us) and worried too much about the moral issues surrounding the occupation. He explained it differently:

If you ask the question, “How can we strengthen the Jewish state?” then you never get to anti-Zionism. But you immediately understand that the occupation is weakening Israel. If you ask “Is the occupation right?” then you conclude that it is wrong and from there you get quickly to “Zionism is Racism.”

I don’t think I totally agree with him either, but we share a basic belief that the first friend does not, that of the essential nature of Israel to Jews. Possibly this is what’s meant by ‘Zionism’ today.

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The fundamental principle of the Arab-Israeli conflict

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this several times, but it needs a post of its own because so many people just don’t get it. The fundamental principle needed to understand the Arab-Israeli conflict is this:

Principle: Since long before the founding of the state of Israel, the Arabs have never accepted any degree of Jewish settlement in the Mideast, and have fought violently to kill or expel the Jews.

There were massacres of Jews by Arabs even before the Zionist period, as illustrated by the Pogrom of Tzfat in 1834. The Arab ‘riots’ of the 1920’s and 1930’s instigated by the pro-Nazi Grand Mufti of Jerusalem are well known. In between the major wars of 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1972 there were always infiltrations, terrorism, bombings and shootings, etc. In the late ’70’s and early ’80’s, northern Israel was bombarded by Katyushas from Arafat’s enclave in Lebanon; in 1991 Saddam Hussein launched scud missiles at Tel Aviv. More recently there was the epidemic of bombings and shootings of the Oslo years, followed by the horrific suicide bombings of the second intifada, the Katyushas of 2006 and the Qassams from Gaza. And now we have the nuclear threats of Ahmadinijad. I’m sure I left a lot out.

The principle also has an important corollary:

Corollary: It’s not really about the Palestinians.

The entire Arab world plus Iran is arrayed against Israel. Indeed, it’s probably correct to view the Palestinians as a tool of more powerful regional interests in their struggle against Israel (otherwise how is it possible to understand the continued misery of the Palestinian refugees and their descendants, and their poor treatment by their hosts?)

There is also an important definition:

Occupation (when used by Arabs): noun meaning ‘Jews between the river and the sea’.

Although Israelis sometimes talk about the occupied territories of Judea and Samaria or the West Bank, the Arabs always talk about ‘the occupation’. This is because they mean the one that started in 1948.

So the next time somebody complains about the security fence, you can explain why there is a fence. When they say “the occupation is the cause of the conflict” you can point out that the conflict predates the occupation of the territories and even the founding of the state. And when they are upset about Israel violating Palestinian human rights, ask them about the basic rights of Jews to life and self-determination.

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No comment needed

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Mijal Grinberg, Ha’aretz:

Shir-el Friedman, 35, was sitting with her mother on a bench near their Sderot home before she was killed by a Qassam rocket Monday night. Noticing that her mother was cold, she walked home to fetch her a pullover.

There was no siren as Shir-el neared the small apartment where she had resided with her mother. The early detection system had failed. The rocket slammed into a parked car just as Shir-el was walking past it. Her upper body was hit by shrapnel and she fell, losing consciousness in a pool of her own blood.

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Israeli Arab intellectuals are irresponsible

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Evelyn Gordon writes:

The Haifa Declaration, published last Monday by some 50 intellectuals and political activists, is the fourth and final document in a series outlining Israeli Arab leaders’ vision of what Israel should be. The others were the Mossawa Center’s 10 Points, the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee’s Future Vision and Adalah’s Democratic Constitution. Together, these documents’ drafters comprise virtually the entire political, intellectual and civil society leadership of the Israeli Arab community, excluding the Islamic Movement. And their almost identical prescriptions leave no doubt about their common goal.

The main demands are as follows: 1. Establishing a Palestinian state – whose residents would then be given the right to relocate to Israel (and vice versa). 2. Letting 4.4 million descendants of Palestinian refugees “return” to Israel. 3. Repealing the Law of Return, which entitles Jews worldwide to immigrate to Israel. 4. Making Israel a “state based on equality between the two national groups.” 5. Giving Israeli Arabs veto power over issues that affect them.

As Gordon makes clear, implementation of these demands would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state and its replacement by another Arab-dominated nation (in addition to the Palestinian state in the territories), which might contain some Jews. But not for long.

In fact, it’s likely that the long-term result would not be significantly different from that of a military defeat of Israel by the Arab nations and Palestinians, although of course the amount of short-term violence would be much greater in the latter case.

The unfortunate part of this, as Gordon says, is that the writers of these documents represent the “most liberal” Arab Israelis; for example, they condemn the mistreatment of women common in Palestinian society. If they don’t want coexistence — and it’s clear that their demands preclude it — then who does?

As I’ve written before, the radicalization of the Israeli Arabs, about 20% of the population, is one of the greatest challenges facing the state in the near future. It may be the greatest challenge — after all, I can imagine a whole range of acceptable solutions to the Iranian threat.

By making such unreasonable demands, demands that no rational Israeli Jew could accept — more than that, by moving the consciousness of the mass of the Arab population to a point where such demands seem reasonable — the Arab leadership shows itself to be either certain of success or highly irresponsible.

Although they continually express fear that there will be “another nakba” in which the remaining Arabs will be expelled from Israel, they are doing everything that they can to create a situation in which Israel is caught between expulsion and possibly civil war, and destruction.

They are betting that the explosion that they cause will wreck Israel but leave them standing. Not a good bet.

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