Friday, August 11, 2006

Victory for terrorism

One step forward ... two steps back.

We (i.e., the West, Christendom) foil a terrorist plot on Thursday, and then on Friday we surrender to Hezbollah. The Shi'ite pawn of the millenialists in Tehran got what it wanted, an immediate cease-fire (or "hudna," for which there is much precedent in Islam). And, as Andy McCarthy explains, Hezbollah wins de facto recognition as a sovereign entity, by being addressed in a UN document. Here's the best line in his Corner post:
Maybe we should vacate Iraq but have the new Iraqi army and the UN guard the country while we call on al Qaeda to disarm. That's apparently a winning formula, right?
Israel signing onto this is bizarre. The UN as an organization is corrupt (not that that would benefit Israel, no oil-for-food program to buy off), absolutely feckless, and anti-Israel to the core. No guarantee from it is worth the paper it's printed on. Why does anybody think that the UN would lift a finger (or more precisely, take a hangnail in the finger) for a country that it, as a corporate body, quite patently hates?

Don't the Israelis remember the last time they invaded Lebanon to remove a terrorist state-within-a-state (1982)? To be replaced with a multi-national force. How effectual did that turn out -- almost 250 dead Marines (plus another 50-odd dead French paratroopers), prompting the West to flee and provide another example to the Islamists and Muslims that the West was a paper tiger; Syria wound up becoming the dominant power in Lebanon from a decade and a half; and when Israel withdrew from its southern buffer zone in 2000, Hezbollah both filled the vacuum and intensified its attacks.¹

The UN force in Lebanon that was supposed to, among other things, guarantee the security of northern Israel after the Jewish state withdrew from most of Lebanon in 1985, was an objective enemy of Israel and no incident points that out more undeniably than the 2000 kidnapping of four Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah. It's not simply that the kidnappings happened, but that the UN had complicit in it to some degree, hampered Israel's efforts to get its soldiers while at least enabling Hezbollah.

Then there was The Videotape, which the Israelis thought (rightly or wrongly) could aid them, but that (1) UN officials, up to and including Kofi Annan, lied to Israel for months about whether the tape even existed; and (2) when the UN did turn it over, it did so only in an edited version with the Arab faces on it blurred, and still withheld other information.

Ironically, there's also quite recent precedent for feckless foreign forces under a UN flag being responsible for protecting Muslim civilians -- to the detriment of those Muslims. I'm referring to Srebenica, the worst crime committed against Muslims by Christians in my lifetime.

The reason so many of us on the right admire Israel is its splendid indifference to the United Nations (of "Zionism is racism" fame) and the so-called "court of world opinion."² It was a state that acted like a state. That had no globaloney illusions. I mean -- if (1) a president of the US from the more-conservative party is going to prattle about "Islam means peace" and "we want an effective UN" and (2) if Israel, the one nation in the world that must seriously face the prospect of being wiped out overnight, is going to accept the 582357109th UN peacekeeping force as a guarantor of security ... where is the hope for the world?

¹ This all began a decade before Bush even became governor of Texas, for the benefit of the born-yesterday, blame-the-neocons-for-why-they-hate-us set.
² Of course, really just meaning the court of the decadent cosmopolitan elites of the West, their deracinated Third World stooges, and the colonized masses they oversee.


Scott said...

Most liberals (including myself) would like to support Israel. I agree, in general, that it is important to support "Western style" constitutional governments that guarentee fundamental rights in a way similar to our constition.

Indeed, my attitude re. the Middle East conflict was once much like yours. I swallowed the TNR line like a good rational liberal. I proclaimed in earnest that negotiating with terrorists means death to the West. But over the years it became clear that Israel is not negotiating in good faith. If you look at the facts, Israel is unwilling or unable to negotiate a final peace. Israel seems saddled with a 19th century attitude, where the interests of the state take priority over what we Westerners call universal values, such as the right of other peoples to self-determination. You yourself admit this when you say Israel acts like a "state" with no "globaloney" illusions. Israelis have obviously decided upon this path, but that doesn't mean that decent people or international institutions should support them.

I'm referring of course to the treatment of the Palestinian people, which is the prime mover of hostility to Israel. Even now, as we speak, Israel continues to build settlements in the occupied territories, as they did throughout the course of negotiations with Arafat. The new wall being built by the Kadima/Labour coalition effectively annexes 9.5% of the West Bank. Add to this the continued expropriation of water resources in the Gaza strip. Given the way Palestinians have been treated, is it really so far-fetched for Hezbollah to claim that they are in a death-struggle with Israel, and that Israel would annez Southern Lebanon if it could?

Not only have the Isreali people refused to stop colonizing Palestinian land, they have never made a peace offer that meets even minimal standards of justice. The best peace offer they made would have seperated the West Bank from Gaza and provided for Israeli military control of all Palestinian borders.

The basis for a just final permanent status agreement was reached via the Geneva Accord, but the Israeli people have desicively rejected it (only 30% support it--consequently Labour shamefully focuses on economic issues instead of the necessity of a final settlement). Meanwhile, the American people are complicit in this evil through our massive aid to Israel.

Israel will be entitled to support from the West when it 1) stops building settlements 2) negotiates directly with Arab nations (who all agreed in 2003 to "normal relations" with Israel if it withdrew to 1967 borders. Otherwise our support for Israel merely proves to the Arab world that we have no intention of respecting their right to self-determination. It completely undermines our claims to higher moral standards, and it provides a perennial recruiting tool for terrorist organizations. It is indeed no secret why Osama Bin Laden chose to bomb the World Trade Center--the connection between American based financial interests and Israeli interests is clear enough. Living in New York, all you have to do is turn on the TV to see money being raised to build new Israeli settlements.

Finally, like it or not, Zionism as an ideology is tied to racism. When I talk to ordinary Israeli citizens, I am often appalled by how common the "Arabs are animals" view really is. You are a smart guy--so naturally you understand that ideology follows from interest. The interest is the aquistiion of new territory, and the ideology follows from it. How can decent people support a government that continues, in the 20th century, to forcefully confiscate the territory of another nation?

The most typical reply from the rational Israeli hawk to all this is "Palestinians engage in terrorism. How can we negotiate with terrorists?" Well, what do you expect them to do given the circumstances? Obviously we all wish they would adopt Gandi-esque tactics. But peaceful demonstration has its limits--peaceful demonstrations by the Iraqi people didn't succeed in getting us out of there. But violence just might.

If Israel was serious about peace, they could negotiate a final settlement either directly with Arab nations, or with Iran. They don't necessarily have to negotiate with the Palestinians. The Israeli people have the power that comes from superior force--they can make the Palestinians a peace offer, and the Palestinians can either accept or reject it. If the Israelis were to make a just offer, then I'm confident that the opinion of decent people around the world would change accordingly.

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