Tuesday, February 26, 2008



Jonathon Freedland is right, although I think some of his points need re-weighting.

Nothing is more dishonest and tiresome in the comments than this kind of stuff we read above: "Islamist fundamentalists who declare their goal openly to destroy the state of Israel and kill Jews."

There is simply no possibility that Israel can be destroyed by Islamic fundamentalists. No matter what declarations they may make, the destruction of Israel is simply a fantasy. This is not so because of Israel's willingness to kill and kill and kill, but because of American and other guarantees. It is also so because no Arab state any longer genuinely believes this is a sensible or possible goal.

Israel moved into a bad neighborhood, and it understood this from the beginning, yet it behaves as though everyone should suddenly act as though they lived in Disney-like suburb with white-picket fences. Israel's behavior is explained largely by this delusional expectation.

If Israel had spent half of what it has spent on war over the last fifty years in helping its neighbors and building up their economic status, the region would be a far better place today. And if Israel had been willing to make reasonable concessions to the needs of others in the region, there might well be lasting peace there today.

But no, the response has always been war and assassination and illegal arrest and torture, maintaining "the iron wall." Duplicity has often played a significant role, as in events leading up to the Six Day War, partly engineered by Israel, knowing it could gain an overwhelming victory and considerable patches of land. There is some evidence that the Israeli soldiers kidnapped at the beginning of current events were actually kidnapped in Lebanon on a provocative mission. I have no idea whether this true, but it is far from improbable. It certainly provided an excuse for bombing the hell out of southern Lebanon while again intimidating all other interested parties.

Anyone who reminds Israelis that they really do live in a bad neighorhood (of their own choosing) is simply flattened. But flattening the perpetrators is never enough for Israel. Always it takes the lives of innocents and destroys their property too. It believes, as a further delusion, that such ruthlessness will eventually intimidate everyone for miles around.

I am sure if Israel had its way, the two or three hundred mile perimeter around Israel's border (whatever that is) simply would be paved over.

This is utterly unrealistic. It is just as impossible as the destruction of Israel.

What is the solution? So seemingly simple an act as negotiating with its neighbors and sorting things out. Israel has never yet honestly done this. It presents only an iron wall, bristling with weapons, to its neighbors.

Israel holds all the cards. It has the advanced weapons, and the atomic bombs. The Palestinians and Hizbollah are pathetically weak opponents. Israel always talks peace, but never behaves as though it were anything but a useful word.

The very existence of Hizbollah and Hamas is largely the work of Israel's behavior. Hizbollah grew out of Israel's totally-illegal previous invasion, killing thousands, and occupation of Lebanon. The organization really was what Ronald Reagan might have called one for freedom fighters. Hamas was created in part by Israeli intelligence to offset the influence of the PLO and introduce instability into Palestinian politics.

Now, Israel wants us to believe these organizations are evidence of Islamist wishes to kill all Israelis. Nonsense, and as long as that is the overly-simplified view of them there can be no understanding and no sensible approach to peace. You can't build peace on delusional fantasies.

I said Israel could not be destroyed by anyone, but there is an exception to that statement. Israel could be destroyed by itself.