Condi's wishful thinking

by Ted Belman

Condi's speech at Saban Forum was in need of fisking.

[...]Disengagement was a testament to the character and the strength of Israeli society, especially to the men and women of the Israeli Defense Forces and the police service, whose noble conduct during this painful event set a standard to which all democratic nations should aspire.
Yes it was and they should.
And the effective cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians was both impressive and inspiring.
Somehow I failed to notice any cooperation to speak of let alone one that was “effective” or “impressive and inspiring”.
Disengagement can be a great step forward on the path to a different Middle East.
It is strange that Ms. Rice and the Left put forward “disengagement“ as the answer in Israel whereas they argue integration everywhere else as the answer. Furthermore she doesn’t mean it because she then demands that Arabs be allowed to work in Israel and the economies of the two groups be integrated. If it be “disengagement” let it be total disengagement. But this would undermine the Roadmap and its demand for viability.
It creates an opportunity for the Palestinians to secure their liberty and build a democratic state.
The Palestinians have always had such an opportunity but rejected it in favour of the war against Israel. They don’t need another “opportunity”. They just have to turn their swords into ploughshares. Israel isn’t stopping them.
At the same time, the changing nature of the Middle East can reinforce the democratic aspirations of the Palestinian people and deny the enemies of reform their favorite excuse for coercive rule and unconscionable violence.
One could argue that any positive democratic signs are temporal at best and an illusion at worst. One could also argue that there is a different take on the “changing nature of the Middle East” namely, that al Qaeda is on the rise; witness the bombings in Iraq Sinai and Jordan; witness also infiltration of Gaza and the West Bank by al Qaeda and Hezbollah; witness also the mortal threats from Iran; witness also the growing pressure in the US to bring the boys home.
These positive developments will not jeopardize Israel's security; they will enhance it.
Easy for her to say. Of course she doesn’t mean this for the foreseeable future because she knows full well that terror and violence will follow as night follows day. What she means is that peace, if it can be obtained, will bring peace.
After all, true peace is that which exists between peoples, not just between leaders.
How can there be peace between the peoples so long as the Arab world and the Palestinians continue to incite hatred.
Now, if Palestinians fight terrorism and lawless violence and advance democratic reforms -- and if Israel takes no actions that prejudge a final settlement and works to improve the daily lives of the Palestinian people -- the possibility of peace is both hopeful and realistic.
All true but it has always been true and has never happened. What reason is there to believe that it will happen now. Are the Syrians, Iranians, Wahhabists and terrorists turning to peaceful coexistence? Why would the Palestinians? Sure it is possible but to bet on it is to bet on a long shot with maybe 9 to 1 odds. But if they don’t which is much more likely, “the possibility of peace” is neither “hopeful or realistic”.

This mantra, “and if Israel takes no actions that prejudge a final settlement and works to improve the daily lives of the Palestinian people” drives me around the bend. Only Israel is not permitted to take such actions. The Quartet has put Israel in a straight jacket, demanding that Palestine be created, viable and contiguous. Is this not prejudging the final settlement. They have demanded that Jerusalem be subject to negotiations. The UN has passed many a resolution prejudging the final settlement. The Palestinians continue to build in the west bank without permits or condemnation. They continue to commit violence against Israel. Are these not actions that prejudge settlement?

Greater freedom of movement is a key for Palestinians, from shopkeepers to farmers to restaurant owners and for all seeking early easier access to their economic livelihood.
But for the violence perpetrated by Palestinians there would be no restrictions on movement and no harm to the economy. To deny Israel the right to have checkpoints is to deny Israel the right of self defense. She is making the checkpoints out to be the problem and not the violence. Some war on terror.
And let us be very clear about one other matter: Dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism is essential for peace because in the final analysis, no democratic government can tolerate armed parties with one foot in the realm of politics and one foot in the camp of terrorism.
Quite so, so why not insist on it as a starter.
Israel's neighbors must demonstrate their concern for peace not only with rhetoric but with action. We encourage them -- Egypt to enhance its cooperation with Israel on basic security issues. And we call on all Arab states to end incitement in their media, cut off all funding for terrorism, stop their support for extremist education, and establish normal relations with Israel.
To require Israel to make the first moves is to legitimate the expressed grievances of the Arabs. It is Israel that is sorely in need of goodwill gestures, not the other way around.

Ted Belman
416-256 7597

Our special thanks to the author for submitting this article. A. G. S.