Before we say anything else, let’s begin by declaring that the six Palestinian murderers of Rehavam Ze’evi deserve the punishment meted out to them when they were convicted of his assassination. They should have rotted there for their mortal lives. While Gush Shalom may have a point in noting that Israel’s prior targeted assassination of the PFLP leader spurred Saadat’s targeted assassination of Ze’evi (“…The [Palestinians] which the army was sent to Jericho to capture or kill are marked…because, when taking revenge for the targeted killing of their own leader…they selected Rehav’am Ze’evi, a general turned politician who was the foremost of Israeli racists and who built a political career upon crude hate propaganda); and that Ze’evi’s far-right, racist political views somehow marked him as not being an “innocent civilian,” I still cannot stomach what Sa’adat did. If it is wrong for Olmert to threaten to assassinate Arafat and Ismail Haniye, then it is equally wrong for the the PFLP to have murdered Ze’evi.
That being said, the IDF’s massive military incursion to arrest the wanted Palestinians was another boneheaded move by Israel in its ongoing war against Palestinians and moderation.
Some Hamas representatives had talked of releasing the six killers from their Jericho jail. But they had made no moves to do so. So the removal by Britain and the U.S. of the security guards (because the two nations claimed that the PA was not upholding its agreement to protect their personnel) who insured the killers would not be freed, became a pretext for typical Israel muscular overreaction. Commentators are noting that the Israeli military operation to break into the prison and arrest the PFLP operatives bore all the mark of a pre-election stunt. This is rather self-congratulatory puffery from Haaretz which proves the point:
…As soon as it [the incursion] was forced upon him by the desertion of the foreign monitors, he had to act. If Ze’evi’s murderers had escaped and given ludicrous interviews to the Israeli television channels, Olmert and his Kadima party would have been badly hurt. He would have been seen as weak, as someone who can only give back territory. Both the left and the right would have had a field day with him. On Tuesday Labor and Likud were forced to praise the “security forces.” Had the operation gone wrong, or if the prisoners had escaped, the criticism from both sides of the political spectrum would have focused on Olmert, not the army.
Kadima’s strategists could not have wished for a more successful operation only a day before the pollsters began their work for the weekend papers. This week’s polls are critical: If Kadima’s slide can be halted at 37 or 38 Knesset seats less than two weeks before the election, then there will be a general sense that the battle has been won.
And whadaya know? A Tuesday poll announces that Kadima has shot back to 42 seats and Labor has sunk to 16 with Likud at 15. You see, cynicism pays dividends in Israeli politics. Though the poll was taken before the Israeli attack on Jericho, I have no doubt that it will add even more seats to Kadima when the next poll is completed.
Speaking of cynicism, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has the temerity to declare there were no political motivations in the attack:
…Mofaz Wednesday dismissed criticism of the Jericho siege as politically motivated.
The timing of the siege was tied entirely to decisions by the Palestinians, and had nothing to do with the fact that elections are two weeks away.
Asked if there was such a link, Mofaz told Army Radio:
In some ways this jailbreak in reverse reminds me of the post 9/11 terror arrests here in this country for which John Ashcroft used to call press conferences in order to showcase his terror-fighting credentials–till many of those detained turned out to be innocent of whatever charges alleged against them. Unlike so many Justice Department terror prosecutions, there’s no doubt that Sa’adat and his henchmen were guilty. But like the ill-fated post 9/11 prosecutions, the Jericho attack will come back to haunt Israel in ways we can contemplate and in ways we cannot yet foresee.
We should note that while Kadima still retains great support according to election polls, that support has been steadily eroding. And most, though not all, of that vote is shifting rightward toward Likud and farther right parties. So the Jericho shuffle was a grand opportunity for Olmert and his security hawks, Avi Dichter and Shaul Mofaz to flex those military muscles in the service of political ends. And given Israelis’ heightened sensitivity to anything that smacks of national security (shades of our own country!), Olmert will score well for this.
Clearly, he didn’t give a crap how this would go over among Palestinians. He didn’t give a crap that it might provoke terror groups like Hamas and Fateh, who’ve been honoring the hudna into blowing off this truce. He didn’t give a crap that Islamic Jihad, which has not honored the truce, will redouble efforts to hurt Israel. And he didn’t give a crap that there might be rampant anarchy and chaos in the midst of the Palestinian protests over this provocation. In fact, one might say (somewhat callously perhaps) that such counter-reaction from the Palestinians would further burnish Olmert’s security credentials since he’d be able to say: “You can’t trust those damn Palestinians to honor their security agreements, so we had to go in and take care of the job; and now look how we’re repaid?” It may play well to such a “running scared” terror-obsessed electorate. In addition, the Palestinian violence will, at least in Olmert’s mind, play well to the international community which Israel is attempting to rally against a Hamas government.
I’m sorry to say that Israeli policy seems to either unintentionally or deliberately sow chaos. Somehow Israeli leaders believe that such chaos is good for them. They seem to prefer it to the tranquility and permanent security that would derive from an actual peace agreement with the Palestinians. To me, this shows the utter cynicism of Israeli policy. They don’t care that this action will probably cost more Israeli lives. They certainly don’t care that it has cost and will cost further Palestinian lives.
The U.S. further tarnished its “honest broker” status between the conflicting parties when it quashed an attempt by Qatar to introduce a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Israeli attack.
All I can say is some days you wonder why you should continue caring about this conflict. It seems so utterly devoid of sanity or reason. How can you try to be reasonable about it in the face of this lunacy? That’s how I feel on a really bad day. Luckily, there are other, better days.
Why am I not surprised to see your take on this action?
Israel had compromised in the first place by allowing these folks to sit in a vacation home rather than a prison. They had the freedom to run their terror organizations from within this prison and did so openly. Israel allowed this to happen as part of a compromise pushed upon them by the Americans in conjunction with the Europeans.
Whether you like it or not, the murder of Ze’evi was an act of terrorism. Ze’evi was not an active soldier but a civilian. His supposedly racist views were not racist (if you read that idiotic cockroach quote IN ITS ENTIRETY you will note that he was not saying they are cockroaches) and since when is racism on anybody’s part a justifiable reason to be murdered. Terrorism, however, is a justified reason for killing the terrorist, hence your attempt to equate the two simply fails. Ze’evi was a civilian. He was also a man who had served Israel loyally for many years and thanks to whom, in part, Israel still stands.
What was Israel supposed to do, let these people free so they can mock justice or perhaps plan more attacks out in the open? Was Israel supposed to agree to let a terror organization that is about to take over the Palestinian government win another victory by releasing men with Israeli blood on their hands? Why, because Hamas wills it or Abbas wills it?
If you murder Israeli civilians, you will be arrested or killed. That is the Israeli position and it is both moral and just. In this instance, they actually did what you advocate. Instead of bombing the hell out of the prison so as to kill these murderous terrorists, the Israelis launched a military operation intended to arrest them.
And yet, you complain about this as well.
So if you disagree with taking steps to arrest murderous terrorists and you disagree with targeting them for death, I presume that what you really want is to have them conduct their murders and attempted murders without any consequences or repercussions. Tell me whether I’m wrong because I’m a little confused as to what an appropriate reaction to terrorism should be in your view.
Richard Silverstein says
This smacks of propaganda rather than serious debate. What is your source for this claim? Are you saying that because Saadat ran an election campaign that he ran a “terror organization” from prison? Last I checked, a huge percentage of those elected to the PLC are either IN Israeli prisons or wanted by Israel. Should they all be disqualified from running merely because Israel calls them criminals?
I understand the justice in Palestine is almost non-existent and that it IS frustrating that Palestinians who’ve violated the law or committed terror are not prosecuted. But busting into Palestinian prisons to detain the ones that might get away is an over the top response to a real issue.
You write as if you doubt that I would accept such a statement. Of course, it was terrorism. Just as the targeted assassination of the PFLP secretary general which spurred the Ze’evi assassination was an act of terrorism.
Now we’re quibbling over details. Sure he was a civilian. But he was a retired general and Knesset member who espoused the most vile views about the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. He most definitely had blood on his hands. But again that doesn’t mean that I approve of what Saadat did to him.
I don’t mind (in fact I approve of) your commending Israeli soldiers who’ve tried to do their duty modestly and respectfully. But your defense of Zeevi is astonishing. If Israel is still standing, Zeevi has had nothing to do with it. It is thanks in no small part to detestable right-wing political grandstanders like him that Israel’s conflict with the Arabs has become the cauldron of hate and violence that it is.
I’m not sure which “cockroach” comment you’re referring to. The one I referred to in an earlier comment in another thread was one made by Rafael Eitan. And his comment was disgusting and the epitome of Arab-hatred. If Zeevi made a different comment let me know what it was.
It isn’t and I don’t think you heard me say anything of the sort. I was criticizing the Gush Shalom position on this when I brought up the issue. So perhaps you’re confusing my own views with those of Gush Shalom.
For one thing, a good start would’ve involved Israel telling the Brits & Yanks that if they left the prison that Israel would go in. I’m certain that would’ve motivated both of them to get this thing resolved. But you see Olmert didn’t want to do that because he realized this was a golden political opportunity. Actually trying to resolve the matter through talk rather than guns was anathema to Olmert. Yet another example of unilateralism run rampant.
Your moral absolutism and certainty is quaint but intellectually bankrupt. If you murder Palestinian civilians you should be arrested (but not killed). But would you be? Nah. Palestinian blood is a whole lot cheaper in Israeli eyes than Israeli blood. In fact Palestinian blood isn’t worth a bucket of warm piss.
I do NOT advocate Palestinians already under sentence for a crime being arrested by the Israelis so they can be retried, resentenced and reimprisoned by them (that is, if Israel even intends to do these things). In American justice, that would be considered double jeopardy and not permissible.
That’s a deliberate misrepresentation of my position and you know it. You may be frustrated with my views but it doesn’t give you the right to take such cheap shots.
“I understand the justice in Palestine is almost non-existent and that it IS frustrating that Palestinians who’ve violated the law or committed terror are not prosecuted.”
“I do NOT advocate Palestinians already under sentence for a crime being arrested by the Israelis so they can be retried, resentenced and reimprisoned by them.”
You are completely mis-representing this action to fit in with your political view. Major-General Yair Naveh, chief of the Israeli military’s central command, said security forces began making plans weeks ago for the raid after learning monitors planned to leave. This was not a spur of the moment political stunt. Undoubtedly it has political repercussions, but it is false to argue that these were the primary motivations.
Israel did not go in and seize people who were serving their sentence justly. Israel agreed to them being imprisoned bt the PA under international supervision. Unfortunately, according to Jack Straw (the British Foreign Minister) “‘The Palestinian Authority has consistently failed to meet its obligations under the Ramallah Agreement. Ultimately the safety of our personnel has to take precedence. It is with regret that I have to inform the House [of Commons] that these conditions have not been met and we have terminated our involvement with the mission.”
Add to this the fact that both Abbas and Hamas had said that they would release Sa’adat (see this article for some analysis http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/694176.html ) then Israel was faced with three options:
1) Let the most high profile terrorist prisoner held in Palestinian Jails go free
2) Arrest him
3) Kill him
The signal that would be sent with having this man go free under Hamas’ government would be extremely detrimental to the situation and Israel’s fight against terror. This was not any old terrorist, but the leader of the PFLP. Therefore, Israel chose the best and most logical option – arresting him. Furthermore, from the sounds of things the IDF carried out a pretty impressive operation, showed considerable restraint in not storming the prison (which would have caused far more deaths on both sides) and managed to capture Sa’adat. Surely the IDF should be praised for carrying out such an effective operation.
Richard Silverstein says
You’re in cloud cuckoo land. Of course the primary motivation is politics. And just because the IDF began plans weeks ago doesn’t mean politics isn’t the primary motivating factor. Or do you mean to say when planning for the attack began there was no election campaign?
Not sure what you mean by “serving a sentence justly.” They were convicted they were in jail. What more do you want? Israel made about as much of an effort to avert this military incursion as George Bush did to avert the Iraq war. Were there any diplomatic consultations with anyone? Palestinians, Brits, Yanks? Why would there be? Olmert doesn’t need to consult anyone. Go it alone. Do it yourself. Unilateralism, that’s the ticket.
You full-fledged, true blue Israel hawks always manage to reduce reality to a few choice selections which flatter your particular argument. I quite clearly outlined above a diplomatic option which I’m certain was never seriously entertained or attempted.
They didn’t storm the prison?? What were all those tanks, bulldozers, helicopters and explosions? A tea party? If you mean, that the IDF didn’t bomb the building back to the stone age and kill everyone inside–well, I guess the path they chose was more restrained than that. But I’m not one to commend the military because they avoided a bloodbath which they needn’t have provoked to begin with.
Hallelujah, let us praise Him (or them)! Seriously, I praise the IDF and the government when it acquits itself honorably and it did not do so in this case.
“They were convicted they were in jail. What more do you want?”
Come on Richard! The international observers had left and both Abbas and Hamas had said that they were going to release them. They were sure to be out of jail and on the run within days, if not hours. When they were in jail being monitored according to the agreements Israel left them there. When they were almost certain to be released they arrested them.
In terms of a diplomatic route, Jack Straw outlined to the House of Commons what had been done: “‘The UK and the US have repeatedly raised our concerns over the security of our monitors with the Palestinian Authority and urged them to meet their obligations under the Ramallah agreement. Unfortunately, there has been no improvement. We therefore issued a joint US/UK letter to President Abbas on 8 March 2006. This letter said that we would have to terminate our involvement with the mission if the Palestinian Authority did not immediately either fully comply with the Ramallah Agreement (which sets out monitoring arrangements) and make substantive improvements to the security of the monitors or come to a new agreement with the Government of Israel. As required by the Ramallah Agreement we informed the Israeli Authorities that we were delivering a letter in these terms.”
The PA did not respond because they planned on releasing the detainees (for complicated reasons which are analysed in the Haaretz article above). Driving away the international monitors was an integral part of this process. Once the monitors left, Israel clearly had to act quickly and that is exactly what the IDF did.
And no, they did not storm the prison. That is why they surrounded it for 9.5 hours, pressuring and waiting for the wanted men to surrender. This was despite the troops being exposed to attack by fire bombs and sporadic gunfire for this whole time. If they’d wanted to get it over quickly they could have stormed into the jail to seize the men. However, in that instance many more would have died.
It requires extreme mental gymnastics to twist this situation into blaming Israel. You could blame the PA for not living up to the agreements, or Britain and the US for withdrawing their observers (although it seems that they gave ample warning), but all that Israel did was mount an impressively effective operation to arrest terrorists that would otherwise have gone free.
Colin has made the case quite well. As he noted, this was coordinated with the Brits and Americans, as Abbas noted ruefully when he complained that the British left at 9:20 and the Israelis arrived at 9:30. This is after months when the British and Americans asked for improved conditions and were ignored by Abbas. This after the pending release of murderers.
Also, I completely disagree with one comment you made above. Killing the PFLP leader was decidedly not terrorism. PFLP had undertaken terrorist activities and weren’t quite done. He was a soldier at war with Israel and he wasn’t just targeting soldiers, although that would have also justified an attack on him.
Finally, this issue of Palestinian sovereignty. If they want it, they know how to try to get it. Until then, why do you support their thumbing their noses at the British, Americans and Israelis…and es[ecially the victims’ families of these people who are now detained by the Israelis.
Finally, this issue of Palestinian sovereignty. If they want it, they know how to try to get it.
That’s utter bullshit, the carrot is dangling on the stick and it’s going to stay there no matter what the Palestinians do.
Amazing how the right can speak so piously about freedom and yet trample it when it suits them. I agree with Richard that ‘theMiddle’ is morally and intellectually bankrupt. The hypocrisy, double-standard, and false injustice he mimicks will ensure we see no end to this conflict.
Richard Silverstein says
They said they were INCLINED to release them, not that they would. It is yr opinion they would’ve been released within “days if not hrs.” I guess we’ll never know now will we?
Which is it–were they “sure” to be out of jail or were they “almost certain” or do I hear “a good likelihood” or perhaps “perhaps would have released them?” And even were they to attempt to release them do you mean to tell me that Israel, with its ironclad control of Palestinian areas like the jail and its surroundings couldn’t have arrested them on their release?
Now, as it is, Israel’s “justice” in trying & reimprisoning them will be tainted by this egregious action. How can real justice be based at the butt of a gun and battering ram?
How do you know what Abbas planned to do? Have you never heard of the difference between a statement outlining one’s absolute intentions and one that merely bluffs or is designed to cater to a domestic audience (the latter two are ones that Israeli right-wing pols are very good at)?
Oh Puhleeze! There are actual photo images of bulldozers knocking down walls, eyewitness descriptions of shells exploding, pictures of tanks setting fires in the prison compound. In my world that is “storming the prison.” In yours, it is having a tea party and inviting Saadat and his friends to join you.
On the contrary, it requires extreme denial of reality to ignore, defend or cover up Israel’s many excesses in prosecuting its “take no prisoners” (though I guess in this case they did take a few) approach to Palestinian relations.
I absolutely DO blame them. As I repeatedly say here, there’s more than enough blame to go round on this issue. I blame the Palestinians for refusing to honor their commitments, the international monitors for not trying harder to resolve the situation satisfactorily, and Israel for its bellicose actions.
Richard Silverstein says
Indeed they had. Ones that were different than IDF targeted assassinations only in order of magnitude and quality of firepower. So if you argue that the PFLP assassination was justified then I have an extremely hard time finding no justification for murdering Ze’evi. As I said, my position is that both murders were wrong. But if you argue one was right then it becomes oh so much easier for the other side to say that their murder was right too.
As had Ze’evi been. And if you’d asked him I’m certain that he would’ve characterized himself as someone “at war with Palestine.” And I’m sure he would’ve had no problem with military attacks against Palestinian militants and civilians. So how precisely does this distinguish the two?
The interesting thing about your position is that it leaves you absolutely blind to the feelings and interests of the Palestinians. When you close yourself off from the mind of your enemy you will never make peace with them. So pls. do not become prime minister of Israel or a general in the IDF. They already have enough blind men leading them.
I think you meant to say that the the Palestinians were thumbing their noses at the Israeli families of the victims of Sa’adat’s terror attacks, but the way you phrased it appears to talk about the families of Sadaat and the other detained prisoners who are victims. That’s an interesting twist on your intended idea though I’m sure you had no intention of expressing any feeling for the Palestinian families affected by this detention.
Mar 7, 2002 – A suicide bomber blew himself up in the lobby of a hotel in the commericial center on the outskirts of Ariel in Samaria. 15 people were injured, one seriously. The PFLP claimed responsibility for the attack.
May 19, 2002 – Three people were killed and 59 injured – 10 seriously – when a suicide bomber, disguised as a soldier, blew himself up in the market in Netanya. Both Hamas and the PFLP took responsibility for the attack.
Apr 24, 2003 – Alexander Kostyuk, a 23-year-old security guard from Bat Yam, was killed and 13 were wounded, two seriously, in a suicide bombing outside the train station in Kfar Sava. Groups related to the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the PFLP clamied joint responsibility for the attack.
May 22, 2004 – A suicide bomber was killed when he detonated an explosive device at the Bekaot checkpoint in the northern Jordan Valley. The commander of the IDF checkpoint was lightly injured, as well as several Palestinians. The PFLP claimed responsibility for the attack.
2. Ze’evi was now a civilian.
3. Do #1 and #2 differentiate between Ze’evi and any PFLP leaders? Absolutely and unequivocally. Ze’evi didn’t target civilians and that’s all the difference in the world.
As for my blindness towards the feelings of the Palestinians, please allow me to be very clear: if I even find it in my heart to excuse or justify the targeting of civilians, then I will have become an immoral person. If by opening my heart to understand the Palestinians, you mean that I should accept any form of their war on Israelis, then I guess I fail in that department. There are many other ways to fight against injustice and/or perceived injustice, including peaceful ones. I can take you back all the way to the early part of the last century, when there was a very small percentage of Jews among the population and certainly no Jewish military force or power…and guess who was targeting Jewish civilians? Should I accept a culture because they are the enemy? This is murder; pre-planned targeting of innocent civilians with the intent of sowing horror and acquiring some sort of bloody revenge. I can reject this culture and hope that you would as well.
And yes, I was speaking about the families of the victims that I list above, although if the families of these PFLP and other Palestinian perpetrators supported their sons and spouses in these actions, they are not deserving of sympathy. If they didn’t know or enable, then sure why wouldn’t I feel sorry for them that they have to watched loved ones in prison. Of course, then I think of them the way I think with disgust of Larissa Trimbobler who fell in love with Yigal Amir. How can they love people who would murder innocent civilians.
Elemental, an offer was on the table in 2000. They could have a state already. They thought that instead of the carrot in the hand, they could have that one and the one in the bush as well.
Oh, and do me a favor and don’t blame me for the perpetual conflict because I support a two state solution. I just refuse to accept the blame for their wars of 1920 through 1948 and then again for their losses in 1967 after which all parties (again) refused to speak to Israel. I also refuse to allow others to control my access to the Western Wall again.
With love and devotion,
The Morally and Intellectually Bankrupt,
Richard Silverstein says
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I don’t at all mean to make light of the tragedies you outline above because they were terrible & the perpetrators deserve to rot in hell for it. But don’t you think that Palestinians look at the violent deaths of their people with the same anger and moral outrage that you feel toward Palestinian militants for these atrocities? And do you deny them the right to feel the same intensity of anger you feel? No doubt you’ll find some way to diminish the Palestinian’s right to their anger. But I don’t. There are more than enough atrocities on both sides for many lifetimes.
The other thing one must always remember is that a single atrocity or even series of atrocities does not exist in a vacuum. There were “atrocities” perpetrated by the other side which subsequent atrocities were meant to avenge. We must remember MLK’s wonderful aphorism: “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth does nothing but leave us blind and toothless.” And both sides in this conflict are blind and toothless from the endless series of bloodthirsty acts and their tit for tat avenging responses.
Ze’evi was the type of politician and general who, if he didn’t exactly rejoice in the deaths of Palestinians, certainly never expressed an iota of fellow-feeling or remorse, even if there were innocent civilians. He was a cold bloodthirsty type. Again, I’m not justifying his killing as I’ve said before. It is not legitimate for any human being to render judgment on such a man by killing him. But I will certainly render a political/intellectual accounting. He was one bad dude.
Yes, that is precisely what I mean and precisely why I say that you are blind to Palestinian attitudes and suffering. BTW, I’m not asking for you to accept or excuse such Palestinian actions as I don’t myself. I’m merely asking that you understand things in their proper context. This would allow you to understand that each side has a deep & legitimate grievance and the only way to alleviate it is by ceasing to point up the deficiencies, perfidy and beastliness of the other side and focus on whatever can get both sides together. For every beastliness you can point out about the Palestinians they can point to at least one or more about the Israelis. It doesn’t get you anywhere except it DOES allow you to feel moral certitude that your side is right (if you can deny the humanity of the other side).
The Bilin Separation Wall protests are perfect examples of non-violent protests by Palestinians and Israelis opposed to the beastly thing. But where has non-violence gotten the protesters? They are regularly beaten by the Border Police who relish their ability to abuse the protesters with impunity. At least one protester has been murdered. I’m in favor of non-violence. When I lived in Israel I protested non-violently against the Occupation & I’d be doing it now if I lived there. But one must ask where does it get you when your opponent is morally obtuse to your message and your suffering?
I deeply regret to say that peaceful protest by Palestinians has about as much moral or political impact on Israelis as a dog taking a piss on a fire hydrant. What happened to the peaceful Israeli protesters in Nazareth several yrs. ago? A dozen or so unarmed civilians were murdered by Israeli forces. And was anyone punished for killing innocent Israeli Arabs? Why would they be? Israel either can’t punish such individuals or refuses to do so.
I bet you can, but I wish you wouldn’t. As long as you’re going back that far why don’t you take it all the way back to Issac and Ishmael and point out the latter’s perfidy or whatever. Where does it get you?
A strange locution. No, you should not accept them because they are the “enemy.” You shouldn’t accept them at all if you choose not to. But one thing you must do is–you must learn how to live with them without both of you killing each other ad infinitum and ad nauseum.
Good. But when do you propose such a solution be actuated? In some vague imagined future? Sharon and Olmert support a 2 state solution too (or so they say). They just don’t seem ready to get there anytime soon (I’ve heard them say maybe in 5, 10 or 20 yrs). For me, this is a nonsensical statement. If you support a 2 state solution you either support it for right here and right now or you might as well support transfer for all I care.
On a completely separate note, how do you ever write any posts at Jewlicious if you’re spending so much time here doing intellectual battle with me?
I have been remiss in my “duties” at Jewlicious. In part it’s out of anger at ck for not fixing the site technically which makes it run slow. We were doing extremely well in terms of traffic generation, and also in terms of the quality of the content we were producing (I can say this humbly because I am only one of seven contributors). Somehow, the site has slowed considerably and this is affecting our traffic, despite my reminders to ck about this. None of us are paid for what we do, so the key satisfaction has been that we have had some impact out there, but if the site runs slow, we lose eyeballs and will have to fight to regain them. Hey, maybe I’m just taking out my frustration on you. 😉
I want a two state solution today. I want it at Taba lines. I even want the Palestinians to have some sort of significant rights over parts of East Jerusalem including the Haram al Sharif. So what? I need them to want to compromise with me without doing it as a step system to trying to destroy me.
My point above is that I may understand the suffering the Palestinians went through and continue to go through. However, I reject the culture of violence that has permeated their ranks. I reject the acceptance of targeting civilians. I reject the antisemitism. I reject the rejection of Israel as a state for the Jewish people who have at least – if not greater – right to express self-determination as the Palestinians. You would like me to see things from their POV, and I want to be clear that it is one thing to see things from their POV and another to accept this culture.
And yes, it does go back a while and you should not discount history of 100 years ago by comparing it to biblical stories. The point I was making is that 100 years ago when Jews represented a significant minority in Mandatory Palestine, the local Arabs felt justified in attacking Jewish civilians and killing and injuring many. I reject that behavior then and find it abhorrent, just as I reject the part of their culture – supported by a majority, according to Khalil Shikaky polls – that accepts attacks against Israeli civilians today. Itbah al yahood.
Israel is far from perfect and has created situations where some peaceful demonstrations have been dispersed in unacceptable ways. However, this is not a consistent manner of handling these events. In fact, the IDF has taken great pains at fence protests to avoid entering into violent conflict with the demonstrators. It happens and some have gotten hurt, but it has also happened that some of these “peaceful” demonstrations became little rock-throwing fests with large surging groups moving in on the police or soldiers who are there.
Either way, you evade the key point which is that I would be able to sympathize and support a peaceful protest movement. The world would respect it. Israel would lose the ability to contest claims made by the Palestinians and would eventually compromise. Instead, we have a violent fight on our hands going back 100 years and every time there’s a surge, Israel ends up with more land and more justification for its control over that land while the Palestinians find themselves taking another step back. Think about that and think about the history. By accepting their culture as it stands and “understanding” it, you may be doing them a disservice.
As for Ze’evi, I will repeat to you again that he did not target civilians and he was a civilian. Both these issues differentiate him greatly from the PFLP leader. Furthermore, we are back to your concept of sterile warfare. He was a soldier who had to fight for Israeli survival in a very hostile area. Just because you want to think that because of his views he was some sort of Rambo nutjob drooling over Palestinian dead, you may wish to consider that he was instead a professional who coldly fought his wars and as has been the tradition of Israeli commanders and the military in general, with a strong desire to avoid collateral casualties among the general Arab population. That was and remains the culture of the IDF despite all the vitriol against that army. That is why Shakedi will boast about minimizing civilian casualties when targeting terrorists and why the IDF will risk soldiers’ lives by warning Jenin residents to leave before the forces enter the area. I’m not just saying this stuff, it is valid and has been part of IDF doctrine since the inception of the army. While they falter and make mistakes at times, this is the over-arching doctrine of that army and it is something of which I, as a Zionist, am proud. Ze’evi was part of that culture.
As for your point about the Palestinians viewing their dead as tragically as Israelis do theirs, I agree. I just don’t understand what they expect would happen if they continue to attack. The Israeli army is much stronger than they are. Again, they should bring up leaders who seek to fight this fight against Israel peacefully. They would achieve their goals far more rapidly, not in small part because of the nature of Israeli culture. Right now, every attack simply removes any legitimacy their claims might have and certainly eliminates the possibility of coming to terms.