Thursday, February 17, 2011

Camp David destabilized the Middle East??? (updated)

The rhetorical hoops that Israel bashers force themselves to go through get ever more convoluted. Here's a really egregious example, from Patrick Seale in Foreign Policy:
Israel has been unnerved by Egypt's revolution. The reason is simple: it fears for the survival of the 1979 peace treaty - a treaty which by neutralizing Egypt, guaranteed Israel's military dominance over the region for the next three decades.

By removing Egypt -- the strongest and most populous of the Arab countries -- from the Arab line-up, the treaty ruled out any possibility of an Arab coalition that might have contained Israel or restrained its freedom of action. As Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan remarked at the time: "If a wheel is removed, the car will not run again."

Western commentators routinely describe the treaty as a ‘pillar of regional stability,' a ‘keystone of Middle East diplomacy,' a ‘centerpiece of America's diplomacy' in the Arab and Muslim world. This is certainly how Israel and its American friends have seen it.

But for most Arabs, it has been a disaster. Far from providing stability, it exposed them to Israeli power. Far from bringing peace, the treaty ensured an absence of peace, since a dominant Israel saw no need to compose or compromise with Syria or the Palestinians.

Instead, the treaty opened the way for Israeli invasions, occupations and massacres in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, for strikes against Iraqi and Syrian nuclear sites, for brazen threats against Iran, for the 44-year occupation of the West Bank and the cruel blockade of Gaza, and for the pursuit of a ‘Greater Israel' agenda by fanatical Jewish settlers and religious nationalists.

In turn, Arab dictators, invoking the challenge they faced from an aggressive and expansionist Israel, were able to justify the need to maintain tight control over their populations by means of harsh security measures.

One way and another, the Israeli-Egyptian treaty has contributed hugely to the dangerous instability and raw nerves which have characterized the Middle East to this day, as well as to the sharpening of popular grievances, and the inevitable explosions which have followed.
Yes, Patrick Seale is really trying to argue that Camp David caused wars, regional instability and somehow caused Arab regimes to mistreat their people.

It takes a mind that is thoroughly twisted by hate to come up with such a scenario.

In Seale's worldview, Israel is, always has been and always will be the aggressor in the Middle East.

He does not seem to have noticed that in the thirty years before Camp David there were 4 regional multi-front wars between Israel and its neighbors; in the thirty years since there have been zero.

He bizarrely regards one of the single most successful military adventures of all time - Israel's bombing of Iraq's nuclear reactor, which was designed purely to help Saddam Hussein build an atomic bomb and caused few casualties - as just another example of Israeli aggression.

He similarly regards Israel's bombing of a secret Syrian nuclear site, which no sane person believes was being built for peaceful purposes, as another example of Zionist aggression....

And it is something that Israel wouldn't have dared to do if Egypt was not at peace with Israel!

I'm surprised he didn't put Entebbe in his list of how Camp David "destabilized" the region.

Yet he even goes beyond that and blames Israel for how Arab dictators treat their people! I guess Seale pines for the good old days of Nasser and Assad and Saddam and Gaddafi pre-Camp David, when they treated their people so darn well!

Any way you look at it, the haters seem to check their capacity for rational thought at the door when bad things can remotely be related to Israel by some Rube Goldberg chain of illogic.

(h/t YV)

UPDATE: Zvi in the comments adds:

Number of Egyptians killed in the wars against Israel in the 3 decades prior to Camp David:

* 1948: total Arab casualties were 8000-15000
* 1956: 3000
* 1967: 10000-15000
* WOA 1967-1970: 6000-13000
* 1973: 8000-18500
* And more, killed in 3 decades worth of localized clashes

Number of Egyptians killed in wars against Israel in the 3 decades since Camp David:

* zero

Zero. That's right.

By a staggering coincidence, "zero" also describes precisely how much Patrick Seale really cares or understands about the real interests, freedom or happiness of Arab people in the Levant.

Maybe Patrick Seale doesn't care that the Camp David accords have kept tens of thousands of young Egyptian men (not to mention Israelis) from being pointlessly killed in an endless stream of senseless wars between heavily-armed nations. Maybe he doesn't care that tens of thousands of Egyptian and Israeli mothers don't have to mourn the deaths of their precious children, their husbands, their brothers, their fathers.

Maybe Patrick Seale doesn't grasp that the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel gave Jordan the courage to keep the peace, and kept Syria from engaging in hot wars that would have become increasingly bloody and destructive over time.

Maybe Patrick Seale doesn't bother to consider the historical context - the Camp David accords took place, after all, against a backdrop in which two massive nuclear-armed superpowers were still engaged in proxy wars all over the world, but even these two superpowers were becoming increasingly worried about the potential consequences should a war between Egypt and Israel spiral out of control. The world is not a radioactive ruin today. Maybe we would all have evaded such a fate anyway.


Maybe, in his haste to attack Israel, Patrick Seale doesn't feel a need to stick to the facts. For example, he claims that since Camp David there have been "massacres in the ... Palestinian territories." This claim is simply a lie.

But there have been massacres in Syria since Camp David. The Syrian government murdered 30,000 people at Hama a couple of decades ago. That didn't happen because of Camp David. There have been massacres without number in Iraq, as Syrian- and Iranian-trained terrorists infiltrated that country and slaughtered hundreds of innocent civilians at a time. There have been massacres in Yemen, and the Sudan. Unlike Israel - or Egypt, for that matter - the Baath in Syria and the Islamists around the region continue to practice destabilization, horror and slaughter on a near-weekly basis.

Seale ignores the fact that what has always driven the violence between Israel's neighbors and Israel is the utter refusal of a gang of greedy and brutal Arab dictators (like Bashar al-Assad and his father), as well as sociopathic control freams and xenophobic terrorists (like the leaders of Hamas, as well as Yasser Arafat) to accept any future in which Israel exists, or to stop specifically arming terrorists to slaughter Jewish civilians.

It's really that simple.

Maybe, in Seale's dreamworld, compromising with the Assad regime on the Golan looks like be a good thing - as if anyone who has compromised with Baathists on security matters has ever benefitted from doing so. Ask the Lebanese.

Maybe, in Seale's fantasies, Syrian-North Korean nuclear weapons facilities, kept secret from the IAEA, were less "destabilizing" than a peace treaty.

Or maybe, if you wish to become a water-carrier for Syria's Baathist regime like Patrick Seale, you are required to check your conscience and love of the truth at the door. This man is Hafez al-Assad's personal biographer and is married to the daughter of Hafez al-Assad's ambassador to the US. Not that he's tied to the regime or anything... .

The Camp David accords encouraged stability and sanity in the region, preventing bloodshed and enabling leaders and citizens to plan their futures without the virtual certainty of a major war every 10 years. It is Seale's patrons who do everything in their power, as they have done for decades, to create chaos and bloodshed. They do this in the service of their own personal power, grasped and held at gunpoint and by arresting an beating down peaceful dissenters. They are butchers at home, and they are butchers abroad. They are men without conscience.

Which brings us back to zero. By another astonishing coincidence, "zero" is the sum total of Patrick Seale's credibility.