Skip to comments.David Warren: Gaza explained
Posted on 08/20/2005 7:36:12 PM PDT by Lando Lincoln
In arrogant moments, I think of myself as one of the few people dissecting the plot in the Middle East. But there are days when I think I should hang up my marble slab. One of them occurred this week, when I read a column by David Frum (in Il Foglio, the Italian edition of the Wall Street Journal) explaining why Ariel Sharon decided to withdraw all Israeli settlements from Gaza -- even at the risk of fomenting something like civil war in Israel itself, and alienating key political allies. It was a move that could not be explained by American pressure, nor by Israeli domestic political pressure, nor by military necessity.
It utterly mystified me. I thought to myself, Surely Sharon cannot be so stupid. He's never been this stupid before; he is genuinely wily. And he knows just what will happen. He knows the Arabs will not accept the withdrawal as a peace opening. They will take it as a desperate retreat. He will get no more credit from Europe and the international media than Israel ever gets for anything. Far from it: they will play up the angry Palestinian reaction. And in Gaza itself, the Palestinian militias will stage a big, psychopathic victory parade -- the way they did when Ehud Barak voluntarily withdrew Israeli forces from Lebanon, only bigger -- and funded by the UNDP. Hamas and Fatah will step up the rocket attacks on Israel proper, and the Palestinian Authority will try to rekindle the Intifada. I can imagine Barak being so stupid, I cant imagine this in Sharon.
And what has been happening is exactly what I expected. As one Palestinian put it to a reporter of the Jerusalem Post (no less), speaking for most if not all: "Of course this is a victory for the blessed Intifada. Had it not been for the Kassam rockets and suicide bombings, Israel would never have thought of running away from our lands. The disengagement proves that the only way to liberate our lands is through the resistance, and not at the negotiating table."
So why, why, would a loyal Israeli leader, to say nothing of sane, not only allow all this to happen, but trigger the events? As I wrote above, Mr. Frum has nailed it.
Mr. Sharon, as everyone else who understands the background situation, is fully aware that, Post-occupation Gaza will become a Mediterranean Somalia: an unstable failed state in which gangs compete for power and extremist Islam finds a sanctuary.
But by allowing this to happen, he puts an end to the silly game, in which prevaricators in the West and across the Muslim world attribute every Middle Eastern disorder to Israels supposed refusal to allow a Palestinian state. He is now prepared to let them have that state, unconditionally, and let the world see why it should never have come into being.
Let the foreign ministries of Europe now panic about this triumph of Islamism on Mediterranean shores. Let the Egyptians now panic, as Israel removes the watch that protected Egypt as well as Israel from Islamist insurgency. Let Egypt and Jordan be compelled to send their own troops, respectively, into Gaza, and soon the West Bank. Let them take over Israels thankless task -- or suffer the consequences of it not being done. (The Egyptians have already sent into Gaza their first 750 troops to replace the IDF.)
For that matter, let the international community of professional apologists for Palestinian terrorism now drop their pretensions, and let the world know that what they actually demand is the annihilation of Israel.
Let Israel secure itself within the most defensible available frontiers, and complete the Wall it has been building.
In his Washington Post column, Charles Krauthammer spells out the security implications of this: the need for a mechanical system of retaliation for each Kassam rocket or other incursion that finds its way through or over that Wall.
This Frum theory is, I am now convinced, the only one that fits the facts. It cannot be welcome to the U.S. State Department, who, judging from Dr. Condoleezza Rices most recent roadmap bleatings, are either not in the loop, or pretending not to be.
Let me add, that the Israelis are, on this theory, returning to their much more successful survival strategy, pre-1967. It was, similarly, to seal the borders on the ground, and meet each successful Arab incursion with a brutal and unambiguous retaliation, on ten times the scale. This worked, wonderfully, in securing peace and quiet. Will it work again?
The author and Frum are wrong.
Rice (and Bush) are pushing for the security wall to come down and for free transit (of terrorists and weapons) to the West Bank. Jane's pointed this out in their analysis, which is far more knowedgeable than this "he must have something up his sleeve" article.
The author is also wrong that "Egyptians have already sent into Gaza their first 750 troops". Those troops are in the Sinai on border with Gaza, in Egypt, not in Gaza.
Sharon has gained nothing and risked much with this folly.
As ol' Abe might have put it: "When your enemy has a powerful desire to hang himself, why not oblige him with some rope?"
In late 2003 only four countries voted against the U.N. resolution demanding that Israel halt the construction of the security barrier in the West Bank.
One of them was the U.S..
I don't think this makes much sense. A more plausible theory is that Sharon was involved in political corruption, and needed to placate the leftists who control the Israeli courts and justice system or they would have sent him to jail.
I don't know whether that's true or not, but at least it has a certain plausibility.
After all, the Arabs have been living in violence and political squalor all over the Middle East for decades, and the news media have had no trouble whatever pretending that these problems don't exist or are someone else's fault. Why would the Gaza strip suddenly be an exception. Any problems that arise are certain to be blamed on the Jews, or on western colonialism, or the fat cats in the oil industry, or on Haliburton, or on you name it.
"We are currently in the midst of a complex and difficult diplomatic campaign. I turn to the western democracies, first and foremost the leader of the free world, the United States. Do not repeat the dreadful mistake of 1938, when the enlightened democracies of Europe decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia for the sake of a temporary, convenient solution. Don't try to appease the Arabs at our expense. We will not accept this. Israel will not be Czechoslovakia. Israel will fight terror. There's no difference between 'good terror' and 'bad terror' just as there is no difference between 'good murder' and 'bad murder.'
Another difference: this Israeli government has been building the basis of an alliance with China, just in case things with the U.S. get really, really bad. I would hope it never comes to that. I would hope the American people and American Congress, who overwhelmingly support Israel, will use the American system of checks and balances to reign in President Bush's pro-Arab policy if necessary. Finally, yes, I think the analysis in the article is pretty close to the mark.
Read Condi's interview with the NYT last week.
She called the security wall a "problem" and said that Israel must allow transit between Gaza and the West Bank.
I don't make things up. That's what she said.
"Rice (and Bush) are pushing for the security wall to come down and for free transit (of terrorists and weapons) to the West Bank"
Disagree. The Wall won't stop the transit of weapons and terrorists into the West Bank (they're already there anyway). It stops their transit from the West Bank into Israel proper.
I think you may underestimate the value Israel will gain by being compared to an independent Palestinian state in Gaza. It will be so chaotic and brutal and poor - despite billions from the Europeans - that its example will insulate Israel from calls to withdraw from the strategic parts of the West Bank (which will be behind the Wall) for the foreseeable future.
The referenced Frum column makes clear that the Egyptians are border guards; obviously Warren knew that.
Yeah, "the world" will regret the forming of a terrorist state in Gaza. "The world" never regrets the mistakes it makes. The "war on poverty" convinced Libs that big Gov't is not the answer, too.
I hope you're wrong about a budding alliance with China. Such an alliance would be based solely on short-term political/military considerations, and could be abrogated by either side whenever the situation changed sufficiently.
In contrast, the ties between Israel and the US are built on shared values and deeply help conviction. Israel would be foolish to throw that away (as they risk doing every time they send spies into the US or try to sell weapons to China).
The Road is the border. My understanding is that the 750 Egyptian troops will be on the Egyptian side of the border.
If I am wrong, I will be happy to admit it (and please show me a source), but I believe I am correct on this.
What an idiot this guy is. I can just hear him writing after Munich, "The Sudetenland is now Hitler's problem. It will be Hitler's to police now. The Czechs are fortunate to be able to wash their hands of it. Chamberlain understands the international situation."
These stupid, stupid people. They are absolutely witless.
The Security Wall and free transit are two different issues.
The Wall (beyond the 1949 cease fire line border) prevents Palestinian terrorists from sending in suicide bombers into Israeli cities. It has been a resounding success, stopping almost all homicide bombing activity. Rice did not demand the whole Wall come done, but suggested that it will need to come down in places, or be moved (closer to the 1949 "Auschwitz" border).
The transit issue is that Israel is supposed to construct a highway between Gaza and Palestinian areas in the West Bank. "Free transit" is being requested.
Either of these moves will be disastrous for Israel and I hope they say "No" to both.
There is NO Israeli alliance with China.
There are some small weapons deals.
To suggest there is an "alliance" is very misleading.
Israel would never willingly throw away the alliance with the United States. However, if the U.S. (by this I mean the Bush administration) were to stab Israel in the back and end the alliance Israel would have little choice but to find other allies for its own survival.
Israelis, by and large, have very strong ties to America and a very strong emotional connection to the U.S. In many ways Israeli culture now imitates American culture strongly. We have no cultural ties to China. Again, such an alliance would be forced on us, never chosen.
As far as spies are concerned, I think you will find that most of your allies spy on you and vice versa.
There is no alliance yet, no. There have been a number of articles in the Israeli press suggesting that China would like such an alliance and that the current Sharon government has laid some groundwork.
Again, such an alliance would only come about if something drastic happened to the U.S.-Israeli alliance. Considering Secretary Rice's recent statements I can now actually see that as a possibility.
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