May 31, 2003

Towards a Final Solution

Little Green Footballs has this article in the JPost. The money quote from the JPost article is this:

The US administration prepared a list of sanctions it would impose against Israel if Israel refuses to implement the 'road map'.
US officials said the sanctions list includes a reevaluation of Israel's use of US-made weapons in the Palestnian [sic] territories, and the withholding of emergency aid, reported Army Radio.

This is pretty scary, if true, because what it actually does is push Israel towards barbarism. You see, if you are an Israeli leader, you have to be thinking right about now that the Palestinians sincerely want to kill you, your entire family, all of your actual and potential descendants, your fellow citizens and in fact everyone who shares your religion, race or nationality. As a result, you might be unwilling to give substantial concessions in return for vague Palestinian promises of future consideration of possibly making a symbolic gesture. This is particularly true in light of the fact that the same authority which is making those promises is simultaneously awarding money and accolades to Palestinians who kill themselves in an attempt to kill you. This is even more particularly true since the US has spent the last decade pressuring Israel into doing just this, and Israel has given up numerous real concessions and has so far gotten virtually nothing in return.

Now, since Israel is vastly more powerful than the Palestinians, it is reasonable for you to believe that it's worth the cost for the small chance of real peace. But consider, what happens if there comes a demand upon you which would be considered by every Arab to be a capitulation; like, say, removing your security forces from the Palestinian areas? Since it is only through this presence that you've been able to keep the violence from escalating out of control, removing the troops would almost certainly lead to an immediate killing spree.

This demand actually comes fairly early in the "roadmap" process, and is only predicated on the Palestinians stopping the attacks within Israel proper (not within the Gaza Strip or West Bank). Given that the history of "the peace process" has been that if the Palestinians agree to something, they are given credit for it even when they are clearly not living up to their agreements, you as an Israeli leader might think that it is likely that pressure will be brought to bear on you to remove your best protection against Palestinian attacks even while the Palestinians are still attacking you.

In that case, would you refuse to pull back your security, knowing that it would cause the US to impose sanctions against you, or would you withdraw, knowing that you were thus condemning dozens or (more likely) hundreds of Israeli men, women and children to a grisly death? For myself, I know I would keep my security in place, because as an Israeli leader, I would not allow my people to be once more led to the charnel house. If the US actually imposes sanctions in such a case, it is clear that Israel will become weaker over time. The US can impose real restrictions and costs on Israel, and these costs and restrictions would surely weaken Israel at the same time that the Palestinians would be growing stronger, due to the inevitable influx of cash and weaponry that happens every time the "peace process" seems to be making headway.

Now, again assuming you are the Israeli leader in such a situation, do you allow your country to grow weaker while your mortal enemy grows stronger, or do you take action? The reality is, the Israelis are incredibly moral people, and they would almost certainly take a substantial increase in civilian casualties before they would do anything drastic. But eventually, if Israel were to continue both to weaken and to suffer more losses, the time would come to make The Choice: it's us or it's them. This would have to be done before the balance of power shifted too far, and before any external power began to station "peacekeepers" on the ground, or Israel would be unable to take such action without risking its own destruction from its neighbors or from outside forces committed to the "peace process" at any cost.

When the time comes to make The Choice, no human would ever willingly watch his people destroyed, shattered, driven out into a hostile world. Where would the Israelis go, if forced to leave? There is no other place where they would actually be welcomed - not even in the US (not by the millions). At that point, I would rather be anything than a Palestinian, because the might of Israel loosed in such a small area against a lightly armed population would be Old Testament Biblical in nature.

And the blood would not be on Israel's hands, but on America's.

Posted by Jeff at May 31, 2003 11:53 PM | Link Cosmos

Well, it wasn't an entirely serious proposal. That said, when I lived in Calgary, there were a number of people who were very, very upset with the way Canada was trending. I can certainly see circumstances in which Western Canada would become more angry with the East, but I don't realistically expect that there would be any kind of movement to break away from Canada.

Keep in mind that Calgary's Calgary: It isn't even Edmonton, and it certainly isn't Vancouver or Victoria, never mind Regina or Winnipeg. The chances of Alberta seceding from Canada are only slightly more likely than California seceding from the Union, all things taken into account.

As for the main point of your post, I appreciate what you're saying but how else can pressure be placed on the Israeli state? Saying that if sanctions are applied there's a chance that things might go to hell doesn't cancel out the fact that there was a need for sanctions to be placed in the first place. Compare North Korea or apartheid-era South Africa, for extreme examples, Turkey or Greece under their military dictatorships in the 1970s for more relevant ones.

Posted by: Randy McDonald on June 5, 2003 08:16 PM

Pressuring the Israelis is easy.

The question is when will equal pressure be applied to the Stupidstinians to live up to what they have already agreed to?

Posted by: M. Simon on June 16, 2003 02:44 PM
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