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Angering Arabs for Dummies,
June 18, 2002 6:21 PM   Subscribe

Angering Arabs for Dummies, By Ariel Sharon. "Israel will respond to acts of terror by capturing PA territory," says Sharon. How, exactly, will this stop the bombings? Sorry for the I/P post, but this seems fairly important.
posted by fnord_prefect (34 comments total)

 
At this point neither Sharon nor Arafat is willing to do anything to stop the terror, not really. There's a lot of blame to go around while the children of Palestine and Israel are being led to the slaughter.
posted by artifex at 6:50 PM on June 18, 2002


I don't understand how people can call Sharon a war hawk, war monger, monster, etc... when Israel has the capability, the technology, and - arguably - the provocation to completely obliterate their enemies, and despite all that there are still palestinians ALIVE today. How anyone living in Isreal and watching news of one bombing after another can maintain a semblance of composure... control their anger... how they aren't all marching - running - to the palestinian territories with every deadly weapon they can find to lay waste to whoever they encounter, is almost completely beyond me.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:55 PM on June 18, 2002


Goodness... I suppose the Israelis should just use harsh language in their own defense? Treat those who are determined to murder Israeli civilians to a harsh dose of moral indignation?

In just what way does their plan make them dummies? I think that phrasing of that post is more than a little provocative.
posted by John Smallberries at 6:56 PM on June 18, 2002


Is there such thing as Angering Israelis for Dummies? Apparently 3 bombings a week isn't enough.

How will this stop the bombings? By offering a deterant. Thanks to the crazy liberals of the world, it's tough for Israel to make deterants.
posted by askheaves at 7:03 PM on June 18, 2002


Anyone who thinks grabbing more Palestinian land will stop the suicide bombings hasn't been paying attention. I think it's obvious from this move that Sharon is getting desperate. Opportunists like Netanyahu are nipping at his heels, the cost of the intifadah to the Israeli economy is skyrocketing, and despite all the aggressive responses, Israelis are less safe now than when he took office. Look for the attempted expulsion of the Palestinian people soon and for the terror on both sides to increase.

Of course, Israeli politicians could finally stand up to the small minority of racist, fundamentalist Jewish settlers who refuse to give up their plans for owning all of Eretz Yisroel. That, too, would lead to more violence; some fundie settlers have already promised to fight against the Israeli army if it tries to move them from their God-given mountaintop fortresses.

Grabbing more land? Sharon is really desperate.
posted by mediareport at 7:34 PM on June 18, 2002


In the interest of adding some variety to one of these Mideast posts, I'd like to know where people think this conflict will be one year from now. It seems to me that the average Joe's prediction about where the conflict would be today a year ago would have been largely correct- at stalemate. No significant political developments, a number of half-hearted peace initiatives by the U.S. (each accompanied by a suicide attack intended to disrupt it), and gradually escalating Israeli military responses. I wouldn't have predicted that it would have erupted this much, since it wasn't on as many people's radars back then, but the broad outlines seem to have been easy enough.

What are your predictions now??
posted by gsteff at 8:06 PM on June 18, 2002


I don't understand how people can call Sharon a war hawk, war monger, monster, etc... when Israel has the capability, the technology, and - arguably - the provocation to completely obliterate their enemies, and despite all that there are still palestinians ALIVE today.

I think you are confusing war monger with genocidal maniac. The fact that there are only 3X as many palestinians dying as Israeli's in this intifada hardly makes Sharon, the man who instigated it with a deliberate provocation for callus political gain, into a dove. He traded both Israeli and Palestinian lives for power. Much the same way Yasser has.
posted by srboisvert at 8:13 PM on June 18, 2002


To get the ball rolling: Palestinian elections get Fatah/Arafat reelected in his new theoretically diminished Presidential position (candidates from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc total less than 25%). Suicide attacks continue for the next 6 months or so at about the same rate as now (one major attack/month), not accelerating due to the military measures Sharon is taking now. U.S. indecision continues, due to our support for Democracy and Arafat's democratic reelection, along with our desire to shore up mideast support for the Iraq invasion. The vaunted U.S. sponsored peace conference occurs, with neither Sharon nor Arafat attending... each side brings a specific proposal, and real progress is made towards resolving the sticking points (along the lines of a right of return/settlements exchange). U.S. puts heavy pressure on Israel to make territorial concessions, which Sharon indicates he may do, hurting his standing in Israel and prompting the reelection of Netanyahu in the Israeli elections later in the year. All hell breaks loose.
posted by gsteff at 8:15 PM on June 18, 2002


I don't know about reality, but my hopeful prediction is that some time a Palestinian leader will read about non-violent resistance. One of the only things giving Sharon's government the support that it has is the fact that Hamas and the rest of the peace-haters are giving him the moral high ground. Imagine how the world would react if the IDF started forcibly removing non-violent Palestinians from their own land without any cause. This, I think, is how Palestine could become a state.

Of course, Hamas will settle for nothing less than "pushing the Jews into the sea," so I doubt that my prediction could ever come true. Thus, there shall always be conflict down there, the US will always support Israel and we, the people, will suffer for it. Just because some people won't sit down.

Shame, really.
posted by fnord_prefect at 8:22 PM on June 18, 2002


I dunno if non-violent responses would really work at this point.

Remember, the first intefada was largly non-violent, and what did it acomplish? Jack-squat.
posted by delmoi at 8:48 PM on June 18, 2002


The first Intifadah acomplished quite a lot -- it set in motion the process which led to Oslo, which was the first time that the Israelis agreed to translate the right of Palestinian self-determination (that they'd always acknowledged at law) into facts on the ground, and the Palestinians agreed that the fact on the ground of Israeli permanence inside the 1967 borders should be acknowledged at law.

I actually don't think the Israeli position has changed much at all in the past 10 years: it is, and has been, thus: "if there is a Palestinian leadership which will acknowledge our legitimate interests and secure our people against attach by radical Palestinian elements, we will negotiate with them to seek Palestinain self-determination in the West Bank and Gaza."

There is no such Palestinian leadership anymore. When the PA reduces the Hamas leadership's cozy Gaza houses to rubble, then there may be something to talk about.
posted by MattD at 9:05 PM on June 18, 2002


The Palestinians don't want their own state, they've been offered it a few times but keep turning it down. What do they want? Just interview a few of them and find out. They want total destruction of Israel and death to all jews. At least the last time Israel took control of PA land, the suicide bombing rate fell off.
posted by ArkIlloid at 9:19 PM on June 18, 2002


The NYT article has some pretty horrific indications of how reckless the far-right politicians who govern Israel are ready to be (reckless = inimical to the long-term interests of Israelis):
  • Sharon's cabinet minister Landau: "Arafat is of course no different than bin Laden. The P.L.O. and the Palestinian Authority is equal to the Al Qaeda." (Reality check: the bombing was carried out by Hamas, which violently opposes Arafat's policies, while any resources with which the PA might provide security cooperation have been destroyed by the IDF.)
  • MK Kleiner says: "For every Jew who is buried as a result of an attack, we must make sure 1,000 Palestinians are killed." (Reality check: This genocidal maniac doesn't really deserve an answer. Just remember—tangentially, perhaps—how little audacity will get you charged for treason in "democratic" Israel if you're an Arab MK whose family has resided in present-day Israel for 700 years continuously...)
Sadly, this was predictable. This kind of Israeli right-wing rhetoric is a victory for Hamas and a black cloud for the future of Jewish Israelis.

they've been offered it a few times but keep turning it down
This rhetoric is tired and perverse. Israeli Jews have never offered Palestinians a state on anything remotely like all the land on which they were currently the predominant population! (What kind of "offer" was the 40's partition that would take, and did take, vast stretches of land inhabited overwhelmingly by Palestinians and make it "Israel"?) Even if stepped-up settlement and continued right of "return" and full land-ownership rights for Jews only in Israel (and the new policy announced today) shrink the extent of Palestinian land further, Israelis still won't yield it to its population. There is only one possible outcome of this Israeli policy: the end of the idea of a Jewish state as Jews and Arabs become more and more intertwined in an apartheid state.
posted by Zurishaddai at 9:28 PM on June 18, 2002


The taking of Palestinian land will do little to stop the bombings, but Israel has very few options. The current (last 4-5 months) of bombings have much more to do with internal Palestinian power struggles than an attempt to gain bargaining ability with Israel. Sometimes a bad decision is better than none at all. gsteff-I think your prediction is spot on, but Netanyahu will not be elected. Did anyone feel a bit of guilty pleasure on hearing of the bomber who "failed" and caused no injures?
posted by mcchesnj at 9:40 PM on June 18, 2002


P.S. I realize that in most people's imagination and the current conventional wisdom, the Camp David talks are an obvious example of a fair and rejected offer of a Palestinian state. See my recent NYRB links.

The short and long of it is, Israel's present belligerent stance, and especially its mockery of the principles of Oslo (which, no secret, Sharon always hated) makes Palestinians rightly dubious that any "state" will end the might-makes-right military occupation. As Saeb Erekat (I think) said recently, the Palestinians don't want a "state" that features incursions, assassinations, home demolitions, random violence against Palestinian civilians, suspension of due process, etc.
posted by Zurishaddai at 9:44 PM on June 18, 2002


Israeli Jews have never offered Palestinians a state on anything remotely like all the land on which they were currently the predominant population!

Don't like the current offer? Send in a few suicide bombers, that's sure to get negotiations going.
posted by ArkIlloid at 9:53 PM on June 18, 2002


Especially with Israelis! They don't go for the intellectual stuff. It is much better to bully them and put the pressure on, because thousands of years have shown that the Jewish cave in at the first thing! (wink) If you were Palestinian, would you want your son or daughter to be a bomber? The current attacks on Israel are not justifiable or moral. The Palestinian people do have valid grievances, but this is not the way to have them addressed.
posted by mcchesnj at 10:28 PM on June 18, 2002


This is long overdue. Israel needs to enforce consequences. Those consequences should be massive and permanent. That doesn't mean killing people, it does mean emptying and flattening towns. Restraint isn't working. Buildings can't be martyrs.

Israel is the front line of the war for the future. Justifying Palestinian terrorism is parallel to justifying September 11th. Rewarding terrorism is unconscionable and will have grave consequences. How long before radicals start blowing themselves up in an American shopping centers or at baseball games? If we cave into terror now, what will we say or do then?

The longer this goes on the simpler it gets.
posted by joemaller at 10:43 PM on June 18, 2002


This is quickly turning into the usual dueling projectile-vomit-fest, although some of the earlier posts made some good points.
posted by artifex at 11:37 PM on June 18, 2002


Justifying Palestinian terrorism is parallel to justifying September 11th.

Instead of ridiculous kneejerk comparisons between Palestinian violence and 9/11, you should try looking at Algerian resistance to French colonial occupation during 1954-62:

"Tactical use of terrorism dragged the French into the reactive trap of bloody reprisals against the general population, which served to galvanize the Algerians and strengthen the revolution."

"The cruelty and brutality of French colonial forces and the government's inability to find a political solution turned world opinion against France."

"The French government was caught between a colonial policy based upon racism and exploitation, and its place as a standard-bearer of democracy."

"De Gaulle returned to power with the support of the political extreme right but...announced a referendum allowing Algerians to choose their own destiny...De Gaulle's move was seen as betrayal by the colonials, the extreme right wing and certain parts of the military."

Does any of this sound familiar?

Almost all Palestinian terrorism has roots in specific problems that blind supporters of Israel refuse to address. Colin Powell gets it: "Something has to be done about the problem of settlements. The settlements continue to grow and continue to expand." And you really believe the answer to Palestinian resistance is Israel attempting to control even more land -- while its economy is already tanking from the current strain?

The longer this goes on the simpler it gets.

Sticking your head in the sand really helps, doesn't it?
posted by mediareport at 11:50 PM on June 18, 2002


Sharon defined victory as security. Anyone who has heard of von Clausewitz can tell you that the first step towards victory is to deny it to your enemy.
posted by vbfg at 3:55 AM on June 19, 2002


Unfortunately, it's the extremists on both sides of the conflict that are setting the agenda. The majority of Palestinians could probably get along fine with the majority of Israelis if the settlers would stop stealing their land, and most Israelis probably wouldn't mind having Palestinian neighbors if the suicide-bombings would stop. There's a minority on each side that's hell-bent on the destruction of the other, and they're the ones making the headlines.

Both sides need to reign-in their fanatical extremists.
posted by Loudmax at 4:22 AM on June 19, 2002


[Anyone who thinks grabbing more Palestinian land will stop the suicide bombings hasn't been paying attention. ]

That depends on the borders. If Israel gets to the point that they are willing to expel all the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank to Jordan (Jordan is nearly 50% Palestinian as it is) then they will have improved their defensible position quite a bit.

Of course this would bring nearly universal condemnation of world-opinion. Wouldn't really be that big of a change from the flak they get now though.
posted by revbrian at 5:18 AM on June 19, 2002


In a part of the world where it is fashionable and respected to carry out homicide bombings, and where people are breeding for just the purpose of creating a potential bomber.

I’m surprised more bombings don’t happen more often.
posted by Qambient at 7:04 AM on June 19, 2002


In a part of the world where it is fashionable and respected to carry out homicide bombings, and where people are breeding for just the purpose of creating a potential bomber.

I’m surprised more bombings don’t happen more often.
posted by Qambient at 7:06 AM on June 19, 2002


and where people are breeding for just the purpose of creating a potential bomber.

Yes...damn those filthy Palestinians for having children. They're all terrorists I tells ya!

Qambient, Metafilter doesn't need filth like this...
posted by thewittyname at 7:59 AM on June 19, 2002


fashionable? fashionable?
"and where people are breeding for just the purpose of creating a potential bomber."

um...ok..you know what? my cabinet informs me that at this point, nothing short of personal attacks and questioning of your intellegence will suffice.

so, with deep regret i have to inform you that you are on my list as a member of the "axis of stupidity", and as such will be recognized as a complete and total fucking idiot.
posted by das_2099 at 8:32 AM on June 19, 2002


...And another bombing, this one 3 dead, according to local news. CNN doesn't have details yet.
posted by SpecialK at 9:58 AM on June 19, 2002


here's SDB's take! and he references (invokes?) clausewitz :) although there seems to be some inconsistencies with US foreign policy. apparently it gives palestinians 'hope', which makes them a 'tougher nut to crack', at least from an israeli (and military) standpoint.

for me, i don't think there is a military solution because it assumes combatants and non-combatants, which obviously isn't all too clear. the sad irony i think is that to remove the will to fight in a tit-for-tat strategy really takes both societies down to 'lowest common denominator' tactics. and like i think the costs are visible in their economies, not to mention their humanity.

are the costs too high? i dunno, but it does seem that each step towards victory becomes ever more pyrrhic.

if a lasting peace is to be established it seems they'll have to eventually address economic and social issues. loss of 'control' may seem unpalatable (esp for the obsessive/compulsive types :) but it's also the first step towards genuine interdependence! which is what i think the region needs pretty badly at this point.

btw, i came across this phrase recently on disinfo in an article about civ III that i think kind of sums up the situation: "The power to dominate and destroy through the sharp blade gradually supplants the view of power as the capacity to support and nurture life."
posted by kliuless at 10:21 AM on June 19, 2002


Obsessing about one side's violence or another is not helpful. It's easy to be outraged by Palestinian terror bombings, they are clearly sick and wrong, turn the stomach of any lover of humanity, and hurt Palestinians just as much as Israelis, as every attack brings a fresh round of retaliation. At the same time, it is easy for those on the Palestinian side to be outraged by the numerous crimes against the Palestinians, from theft or destruction of property to murder to extra-judicial killings.

With both sides violating norms of acceptable behavior in the civilized world (and if you don't see that both sides are doing this, even if one side's actions are, in your opinion worse, or somehow more justified, than you are not part of the solution) it is necessary for the major powers to impose a settlement, with force if necessary. What other conflict has the potential to mobilize huge armies, disrupt the energy supply, hurt the financial markets, and generally make the world a more dangerous place? Why intervene in Kosovo and not here? Since most people in the world agree that both sides are more-or-less nuts, and since it is entirely obvious that they cannot work it out themselves, what is the resistance to forcing a settlement? If the world is willing to commit troops to Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Korea, and other such hotspots, why not here? Is there another part of the world that demands internatonal action more?
posted by cell divide at 10:43 AM on June 19, 2002


"Yes...damn those filthy Palestinians for having children. They're all terrorists I tells ya!

Qambient, Metafilter doesn't need filth like this... "

you are right it doesn't. its too bad that it is the way it is in that part of the world.

having children = not bad
having children and allowing them to idolize homicide bombers = bad
seeing groups of children tell reporters that it would be a great honor to be a martyr for palistine in that way = bad

If you wish to be a martyr for your cause there are more honorable ways to do it.

Without taking the lives of others.
posted by Qambient at 11:48 AM on June 19, 2002


I agree with mediareport that a study of the Algerian war of independence is a great teaching tool not only for how it's done but also, what a messy business it really is, especially after it's over. The successes of the FLN, the betrayal of the 'founding fathers' and the mess Algeria finds itself in fourty years later prove that very little in life turns out as people might imagine. As for imposition of a settlement by outside forces: well, that's what the UN did when they created Israel, when they divided Korea and Vietnam, etc. One side always gets the short end of the stick and fights a guerrilla action, full circle and it's back to square one. This problem may never be *solved*.
posted by Mack Twain at 12:04 PM on June 19, 2002


Quambient: are you going to support your claims or can I just take it as read that you were spouting ignorant, racist drivel.

I see more evidence to support the claim that you are a "a complete and total fucking idiot" than that of the Palestinians "breeding for just the purpose of creating a potential bomber"?
posted by niceness at 12:12 PM on June 19, 2002


As predicted months ago, Israel will have to completely re-occupy the territories, clean out the bombs, and secure the borders with Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. After a period of mayhem, that will calm things down. Then its up to the Palestinian Arabs to prove themselves civilized.

Oh. By the way. In the next two weeks, I would recommend arresting Yassar Arafat and parachuting him into Syria or Iraq. Alternatively, just shoot him: he's earned it many times over.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:28 PM on June 19, 2002


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