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"...either Arafat brings justice to [the suicide bombing victims] and fights terrorism, or we will have to do it ourselves."
December 3, 2001 9:41 AM   Subscribe

"...either Arafat brings justice to [the suicide bombing victims] and fights terrorism, or we will have to do it ourselves." Has the War on Terrorism created a precedent for any state to assult/invade another state which has perpetrated a terrorist attack on them..? [more inside]
posted by Neale (48 comments total)

 
The US is now in a precarious position politically on the Israel/Palestine conflict, having firmly decared itself to support military action against any Government that harbours terrorists. Now Israel is readying itself to use this defence for strikes it performs against the Palestinian Government. Bush has been careful not to blame Israel or Palestine, but if it came to an escalating war between the two states, would the US be politically powerless not to side "against the terrorists"?
posted by Neale at 9:41 AM on December 3, 2001


I think the precedent for any state to assult/invade another state which has perpetrated a terrorist (or any other type of) attack on them existed long before 9-11.
posted by revbrian at 9:48 AM on December 3, 2001


of course it does. the us is supposed to be a role model, right?
posted by manero at 9:48 AM on December 3, 2001


Palestine is not a state. Sharon just accused Arafat of being behind the suicide attacks, and Eagleburger said two minutes ago that he doesn't think Arafat wants an agreement because, for one thing, Arafat knows he won't be able to govern an independent Palestine.
posted by techgnollogic at 9:51 AM on December 3, 2001


Israel zealots have not attacked America because they believe we're on their side. If we started retaliating against both sides, We'd end up with twice as many terrorists on this side of the Atlantic trying to get their respective points across with blood.

We can't detach ourselves. We can't side with violent Palestine extremists. We can't side with violent Israel extremists. We're already involved and engaged in a battle that has been going on in one form or another for millenia. And I think extremists on both sides think we've already taken sides. America's screwed no matter how you look at it.

Anybody still think the Afghanistan conflict going on now won't escalate into World War Three? Personally, I'm beginning to wish we could put the Iron Curtain back up. Things were better when the wars were cold.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:04 AM on December 3, 2001


It's quite obvious Israel is our dog in this fight. And telling them to "restrain themselves" after 25 of their civilians died is pretty tough for us to do after 9.11.

Which leads me to wonder this from left field: Where's China? They have been as quiet as a mouse.
posted by owillis at 10:10 AM on December 3, 2001


I don't remember the UK bulldozing villages in Northern Ireland when the IRA was letting off bombs on Oxford Street.
posted by Mocata at 10:12 AM on December 3, 2001


It's quite obvious Israel is our dog in this fight. And telling them to "restrain themselves" after 25 of their civilians died is pretty tough for us to do after 9.11

This is precisely the problem. We have a dog in a fight where no one ought to have a dog. Instead we ought to be the dog-catcher, and force both side to accept a political solution-- a military one may be salve on the Israeli wounds right now, and it's hard to argue with that, but it won't solve the problem.

Furthermore, since Sept. 11th, 174 Palestinians and 61 Israelis have been killed, including 5 young children blown up by an Israeli bomb placed in a residential area last week. Should the Palestinians have retaliated with more violence after that? Of course not. Strong US action is needed, because frankly we are the only state that can make a difference there. It's in our own best interest to be fair and incredibly tough.
posted by cell divide at 10:21 AM on December 3, 2001


Israel zealots have not attacked America because they believe we're on their side. If we started retaliating against both sides, We'd end up with twice as many terrorists on this side of the Atlantic trying to get their respective points across with blood.

Who besides the US is or ever was on the side of the Israelis, and when did they ever strike out against nations jjust for not being on their side? Please support your declaration with some sort of evidence.
Even trying to think like an anti-semite would, I still can't recall an event that fits your description.

==
It's quite obvious Israel is our dog in this fight. And telling them to "restrain themselves" after 25 of their civilians died is pretty tough for us to do after 9.11

This is precisely the problem. We have a dog in a fight where no one ought to have a dog.


Geez, a world without special interests, allies and foes is like a world without...humans.
posted by BentPenguin at 10:32 AM on December 3, 2001


Where's an orbiting mind-control laser when you need it?
posted by fleener at 10:35 AM on December 3, 2001


Without siding with one group or the other, I came across a poll taken just this past week (I forget the poll takers but it struck me as objective) among Palestinians said that some 45 percent of Palestinians thought suicide bombing was ok and good. Further, the poll indicated that a largbe number of Palestinians identified more closely with Hamas and Hizbollah than with Arafat as a leading foce.
What this suggests, then, is that putting pre;ssure on Arafat will not do much to bring about peace. In fact, if you Google Hamas and go to their site, you will see that peace is not at the present moment a part of their agenda.
posted by Postroad at 10:38 AM on December 3, 2001


I say, take out Arafat, and let the chips fall where they may. Get it over with, already!
posted by ParisParamus at 10:41 AM on December 3, 2001


This is the Palestinian (Fatah) response That group under PLO-Arafat:


http://www.arabia.com/news/article/print/english/0,4973,100018,00.html
posted by Postroad at 10:48 AM on December 3, 2001


A response from London
posted by dydecker at 11:06 AM on December 3, 2001


A response from journalist Abunimah.
posted by dydecker at 11:18 AM on December 3, 2001


Which leads me to wonder this from left field: Where's China?

Sitting in the catbird seat....
posted by rushmc at 11:29 AM on December 3, 2001


cell divide said:

Strong US action is needed, because frankly we are the only state that can make a difference there. It's in our own best interest to be fair and incredibly tough.

Hmm...I agree. But it won't happen. Too many monied interests in the US are on the side of the Israelis. Read "The Holocaust Industry" by Norman Finkelstein.

Keep in mind that Israel uses American-made weapons of war, bought with American tax dollars that have been given to Israel. Every year Israel receives something around 130 billion dollars a year from the US...a remarkable amount goes into warfare...Israel does have one of the largest, most modern armies in the world. Kinda a mini-US.

Which is exactly the problem. The US has always wanted a strong presence in the Middle East. Considering everybody else hates us, Israel is the only chance we got. It's just unfortunate that they suck so bad.

Did you know that Israel is the only state in the world that has destroyed American armed forces (in a sneak attack, no less!) and was not retaliated against? Did you know that Israel is currently ignoring dozens of UN sanctions against it?
posted by taumeson at 11:42 AM on December 3, 2001


----I say, take out Arafat, and let the chips fall where they may. Get it over with, already!

Yeah, then hit Sharon. Nothing will be achieved while these two are still on the scene.
posted by Ty Webb at 11:46 AM on December 3, 2001


"Every year Israel receives something around 130 billion dollars a year from the US"

Uh, actually that would be closer to 6 billion (including loan conversions, military, and economic aid). I believe 130 billion is the total amount of aid since 1950.
posted by cell divide at 11:52 AM on December 3, 2001


I'd say the U.S. is (rightly) going to side against the group that intentionally targets and blows up innocent men, women and children.

And the envelope please ...

And that group would be -- the Palestinians.

Thanks for playing.
posted by darren at 12:03 PM on December 3, 2001


Lots of nonsense piling up: in aid (money) 3 billion to Israel and 2 billion to Egyptthis year.
In non-money: Israel buys stuff from US. We spend to keep planes and troops in Kuwait and in Saudi Arabia...
Israel has announed that it is beginning to phawse out all money sent them in aid and will no longer ask for it or accept it. (over a 5 years period of time)..And Egypt?
The Liberty thing has been shown to be sheer nonsense. Sorry I don't have the sources to hand but think of it this way: the Israelis are said to have purposely attacked the ship to conceal atrocities they were committing on their enemies during a war. In other words, they do an atrocity in order to cover up an atrocity, and the ship belonged to a long time supporter who shipped arms in a big hurry in order to help them in a dire situation.
posted by Postroad at 12:05 PM on December 3, 2001


cell divide: It's in our own best interest to be fair and incredibly tough.

How can the US be fair in the US when, due to their own policies, they have declared "war" on any government that continues to harbour terrorism, of which, undoubtedly, Palestine does. And the Palestian spokepeople made a grave error of judgement when they tried to justify the bombings by blaming Israel for forcing the extremists hands through Israeli occupation. That type of rhetoric is a dead-dog at the moment; there is no longer, at least in US eyes, any excuse for terrorism.

What does this mean? I've heard a lot of US officials say (and I paraphase), "This is no time for talk - Arafat must act." However, no US offical has stated what the US's position is if Arafat does not go hard and fast against his own people.

The US is looking to get dragged into a long, very bloody battle in the Middle East between these two states, unless some sort of accord is struck extremely quickly.

owillis: Where's China? They have been as quiet as a mouse.

I'm pretty sure China quitely sanctioned the US's approach.

BentPenguin: Who besides the US is or ever was on the side of the Israelis

33 of the UN members when they voted to set up the Jewish Israel state post WWII.
posted by Neale at 12:40 PM on December 3, 2001


Neale: Its sad that you had to go back to 1948, but since you brought up the UN, see also res 242 and, of course the infamous Zionism=Racism thang.

The bottom line is, if the Bush Administration is losing patience with Arafat, then you know the low-down (classified) info makes him out to be an SOB.

In hindsight, they should have taken Madagascar over Palestine, which only serves to prove that with Real Estate, Location Location Location isn't the sole consideration like everyone says it is... (hope its not premature to start using gallows humor)
posted by BentPenguin at 12:55 PM on December 3, 2001


Lots of disinformation in this thread, including the somehow, the PM of Israel is an extremist. Is George Bush an extremist because we are hunting down the Taliban, et al in Afghanistan? Then there's the canard about masacres in Lebanon--carried out by Christian Arabs, albeit while Israel occupied the South of Lebanon. In any case, he wasn't in his helecopter when it exploded. Too bad.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:02 PM on December 3, 2001


Uh, actually that would be closer to 6 billion (including loan conversions, military, and economic aid). I believe 130 billion is the total amount of aid since 1950.

Woah, I can't believe I got so mixed up. You're right, of course, and I knew that...it got lost going from my brain to my fingers.

Lots of disinformation in this thread, including the somehow, the PM of Israel is an extremist.

Um...Human Rights Watch would beg to differ. Read about it here. Sharon was responsible for huge massacre in 1982 that wasn't just one skirmish, but a 3 day battle where they "terrorized the residents".

About the USS Liberty...I'm not going into the motivations or anything...because it could be drek. I personally believe that the Israelis got over zealous...but I'm leaving a wide margin for conspiracy.

From www.ussliberty.com:

The attack has been a matter of controversy ever since. Survivors and many key government officials
including Secretary of State Dean Rusk and former JCS Chairman Admiral Thomas Moorer say it was
no accident. Israel and its supporters insist it was a "tragic case of misidentification" and charge that the
survivors are either lying or too emotionally involved to see the truth.

Israel claims they mistook our ship for the out-of-service Egyptian horse carrier El Quseir
and that we brought the attack upon ourselves by operating in a war zone without displaying a flag. Not so.
We were in international waters, far from any fighting, and flew a bright, clean, new American flag.


deeper in:

. . . Chief Melvin Smith, would come up to the bridge and ask if I had seen the aircraft's markings to confirm his own electronic observations: "Not to worry," he would say, "Each time they circle we can hear the pilot telling his headquarters that we are an American ship."
posted by taumeson at 1:20 PM on December 3, 2001


How can the US be fair in the US when, due to their own policies, they have declared "war" on any government that continues to harbour terrorism, of which, undoubtedly, Palestine does

I believe they declared war on states which harbor international terrorists. Palestinian terrorists are not international, they focus on the state which occupies their land, a state which rules most of their day-to-day existance.

33 of the U.N members, and probably most of the people in this thread, myself included, support the idea of Israel and the creation of an Israeli state. However none of them, including the United States (in word if not in deed) supported the way Israel was founded (forcible removal of some citizens, expansion of UN partition, massacres, entire villages razed).

Some would say the U.N partition plan was flawed from the start, as it is very difficult to build a racially-pure state on top of land where close to 1 million people were living. However it's disingenuous to say that 1948 approval of a Zionist state equals approval of the policies that have followed, including the present occupation.
posted by cell divide at 1:25 PM on December 3, 2001


Taumeson, that's a rather tentative set of accusations. I think that, when you throw in Sharon's half-victory in the Time Magazine defamation suit (Time was found to have defamed him about the Lebanon incident, but without the "actual malice" needed to collect damages), you have, at best, allegations, puffed by the Hate Israel crowd. It hardly makes him the mass murder Yasser is.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:37 PM on December 3, 2001


Whoa, ParisParamus. Bordering on inflammatory rhetoric there.

There are many many Jews even in Israel who would agree that Sharon has a history of brutality. Calling Arafat a mass murderer and then apologizing for Sharon really does nothing to advance the dialogue (and does much to betray your prejudices).

Do you consider Menachem Begin a terrorist/mass murderer? Or was he rather a freedom-fighter?
posted by mapalm at 1:47 PM on December 3, 2001


I would consider the actions of Begin and collegues legitimated by the creation of Israel. Also, I would cut some slack to Sharon due to Israel having been in a continuous state of war since its creation. Of course, I don't know the truth beyond a relatively sketchy level (as you do not). As for Israelis thinking he has been brutal, (1) he was elected Prime Minister; and (2) there's a decent number of people in the United States who think it's brutal for US troops toto be killing people in Afghanistan right now: so what?

Also, Arafat is a mass murderer.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:57 PM on December 3, 2001


P.S.: perhaps "legitimated" is the wrong word. A better word is exonerated.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:01 PM on December 3, 2001


"I'd say the U.S. is (rightly) going to side against the group that intentionally targets and blows up innocent men, women and children. " Some might say Israel is doing the same thing to the Palestinians.

As for Sharon NOT being an extremist. Come on. That's like saying George Bush isn't a conservative. Sharon has a history of inflammatory rhetoric and actions and is a polarizing person for both camps for those very reasons.

I am not "for" the Palestinians, but as it's been said before, lots more Palestinians are being killed than Israels. The Palestinians were removed from their land, aren't citizens in their own land, don't have basic rights, live in horrible squalor, and have no representation in the government that controls every aspect of their life. (Sounds like Apartied in South Africa!) What on earth do you expect them to do? Until both sides grow up and realizes the other side isn't going anywhere and stops pointing fingers ("He's not doing anything for peace!" "No-HE's not doing anything. " "No, he has to do it first!" ) they aren't ever even going to come near peace.
If you don't give the Palestinians something to live for, they aren't going to value life.
posted by aacheson at 2:04 PM on December 3, 2001


Until both sides grow up... they aren't going to value life.

What would you like the Israelis to do?
posted by ParisParamus at 2:11 PM on December 3, 2001


Invite the Palestinians into a representative government, make them citizens, allow them to live in cities and work, give them schools as good as Israeli schools, give them something to live for.
posted by aacheson at 2:19 PM on December 3, 2001


Invite the Palestinians into a representative government make them citizens, allow them to live in cities and work, give them schools as good as Israeli schools, give them something to live for.

As part of Israel? That would spell the end of Israel, demographically. The Palestinian Arabs of the territories are ruled by a wholly undemocratic PA, so I think they've pretty much demonstrated their lack of interest in democracy. Besides, why is this Israeli's "duty"? Israel has spent huge amounts of funds on the territories. Israel provided schools, universities, and jobs (I suppose this has slowed down since the violence has picked up). Israel has done more for Palestinian Arabs than all the neighboring countries combined (and way more than Egypt or Jordan ever did, or attempted to do). That you don't know this is a failure of the media to provide a balanced view of things.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:35 PM on December 3, 2001


-----I would consider the actions of Begin and collegues legitimated by the creation of Israel.

Just as many will consider the actions of Arafat and Hamas legitimated by the creation of Palestine. Walked right into that one, didn't you?
posted by Ty Webb at 2:35 PM on December 3, 2001


I would consider the actions of Begin and collegues legitimated by the creation of Israel.....A better word is exonerated.

ParisParamus:
There are many (I'd say most) people on both sides of the conflict in the Middle East who want peace, and who are willing to let go of prejudice and ill-will and contemplate finding solutions in new ways. I say this with all respect: you do not seem to me to be one of those people. It is opinions like these which are in the minority on both sides, and which do nothing constructive. But as in any conflict, extremists eventually fall to the side as reasonable voices come together.

What would you like the Israelis to do?

End the occupation. Now.
posted by mapalm at 2:43 PM on December 3, 2001


But you have to admit that Sharon's actions, be he war criminal or not, are perfectly warranted by America's moral justification for the Afghan offensive. I suspect that if there were not a war on terrorism and state sponsors of terrorism at the moment, the immediate Israeli reaction to this weekend's bloodshed would have been a great deal more forceful. Sharon is trying to make a point to the world here. And I'm afraid he's succeeded.
posted by dlewis at 2:48 PM on December 3, 2001


Okay ParisParamus, I'll bite. What do YOU think the Israelis should do? Do you feel that continuing their current Israeli courses of action are eventually going to "win?" Do you believe that the Palestinians will eventually give up and leave?
When you say that The Palestinian Arabs of the territories are ruled by a wholly undemocratic PA, so I think they've pretty much demonstrated their lack of interest in democracy, just because they haven't had a democratic government in the past doesn't mean they won't ever want it. I bet that if Sharon offered them a real power-sharing part in the government, that they would probably take him up on it. But that would have to be a real, honest power-sharing democracy.
Put that possibility of power sharing under the "cold day in hell" column.
posted by aacheson at 3:54 PM on December 3, 2001


Israel has done more for Palestinian Arabs than all the neighboring countries combined (and way more than Egypt or Jordan ever did, or attempted to do).

-- be that as it may...does anybody know exactly WHICH countries were dismantled to form Israel? I'm sure chunks of Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, right?

There wasn't really anything needing doing for the Palestinian Arabs before Israel was created...they were citizens of Arab states, right? I'm reaching here, but it seems to be a situation analogous to kicking people out of a park when the community gets a bit more gentrified... they were fine before, but now that a community has come about, they become villified.

Here's a backgrounder on the creation of Zionism. Educational.

And yes, dlewis...it seems that Sharon's actions ARE warranted by America's current stance against "terrorism". How unfortunate...makes you wonder exactly where the coincidences end and the conspiracies begin.
posted by taumeson at 4:01 PM on December 3, 2001


Taumeson:

Palestinians are part of what is known as Palestine. West of the Jordan River, South of Lebanon, North of the Sinai. It is a distinct entity, known for centuries, and is not part of any other Arab country. A Jordanian, for example, does not consider him/herself a Palestinian, and vice versa.

The other Arab countries in the region were created by France, Britain and Russia carving up the spoils of the Ottoman Empire following WWI. Like always, they drew arbitrary lines and called the new states "Syria," "Saudi Arabia," etc.

Palestine, being the disputed region that it was, fell to Britain as a Mandate (read, a colony), and it was administered by the Brits until they threw up their arms, packed their bags, and headed home...but not before they promised the land to both the Arabs (McMahon Letter) and the Jews (Balfour Declaration).
posted by mapalm at 4:27 PM on December 3, 2001


mapalm:

That's exactly what I was asking...so basically, it was a British Mandated region that became Israel?

How f'd up is that? Promised to both the Arabs and the Jews. There's a problem there.

Btw, I had heard that Britain didn't exactly throw up their arms in disgust...Israel booted them out....if you read the history I posted a bit ago, it mentions how Israel waged a type of guerilla war against the British Gov't until they left.

A right-wing group of Jews took up a ‘terrorist’ struggle against British forces
posted by taumeson at 5:05 PM on December 3, 2001


Prediction: YA will be gone (either assasinated or kicked out) even before Amazon.com goes Chapter 11.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:10 PM on December 3, 2001


paris, could be true, pretty funny way of putting it but might not be wrong! Although they've predicted the man's death for the last 30 years-- he's nothing if not a survivor, to the Palestinians' and the Israelis' dismay.
posted by chaz at 7:24 PM on December 3, 2001


Taumeson:

Yes, there were extremist Jews who did indeed wage a terror campaign against the British, from the end of WWII till the British departure in '48. These Jews were technically not part of Israel, as the country didn't yet exist, but rather were residents of Palestine. An important distinction.

The extremists were members of various right wing militias, most notably the Irgun (aka IZL, or "Etzel") and the Stern Gang. Menachem Begin (later a PM of Israel) was a leader of the Irgun. These militias, along with the standing "army" (Palmach), and the umbrella militia (Haganah) were all subsummed into the Israel Defense Forces in the summer of 1948.

Most notorious of the terror campaigns against the British was the bombing by Irgun of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946, killing 91 people, including 15 Jews.

These terrorist acts did a lot to convice the British to abandon Palestine.
posted by mapalm at 7:31 PM on December 3, 2001


he's nothing if not a survivor, to the Palestinians' and the Israelis' dismay.

He's still there only because the Israelis think the alternatives are worse. Or so they thought until now.

I suspect that like the Taliban, Hamas and Hezb.... would be easier to get rid of than their PR makes us think. A combination of relatively limited military action against Syria, plus massive airstrikes against the aforementioned terrorist organizations (their their Palestinian subsidiaries) would quiet things down to a mangagable level.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:27 PM on December 3, 2001


I'm a little confused. Didn't Israel give Palestine some land, and then steal it back? Wasn't there a Camp David Agreement where Israel said they would get out? Is blowing up buses with innocent people in it any different than shooting missiles at cities with innocient people in it or, for that matter, bombing villages with innocent people in it? Why do we sell arms to Israel, and at the same time hope for some sort of peaceful agreement between Israel and Palestine? How is killing the leader of a government or movement going to solve anything? Won't there just be a successor, same as the old boss? How can we say that one side is a terrorist state and not root out and destroy them as "evildoers?" If Palestinians are evildoers just like the Taliban, why aren't we bombing them? Isn't Iraq full of evildoers? Pakistan? Are we going to actually root out and destroy all the evil in the world, at least evildoing terrorists? Will there be any more? Will Israel or the Palestinians turn against us and bomb us like the Afghans did? Was it really the Afghans? Is there any proof? Where is it? Why can't we see it, when the governments of many countries, including Pakistan - where the Taliban originated - have seen it? What are the Palestinians and the Israelis fighting over, exactly? The Gaza Strip? Bethlehem? Bragging rights?

Jesus fucking Christ. I hate this world.
posted by swift at 9:50 PM on December 3, 2001




Jesus fucking Christ. I hate this world.

This religion thing can get to you after a bit, eh Swift? :)
posted by vbfg at 5:02 AM on December 4, 2001


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