Wednesday, June 05, 2013

  • Wednesday, June 05, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
Today's fantasy of a better world, courtesy of Thomas Friedman:
With these iron-fisted leaders being toppled — and true, multisectarian democracies with effective governments yet to emerge in their place — Israel is potentially facing decades of unstable or no governments surrounding it. Only Jordan offers Israel a normal border. In the hinterlands beyond, Israel is looking at dysfunctional states that are either imploding (like Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain and Libya) or exploding (like Syria).

But here’s what’s worse: These iron-fisted leaders not only suppressed various political forces in their societies but also badly ignored their schools, environments, women’s empowerment and population explosions. Today, all these bills are coming due just when their governments are least able to handle them.

Therefore, the overarching theme for Israeli strategy in the coming years must be “resiliency” — how to maintain a relatively secure environment and thriving economy in a collapsing region.
So far, so good.

But then his 1990s-think takes over:
In my view, that makes resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict more important than ever for three reasons: 1) to reverse the trend of international delegitimization closing in on Israel; 2) to disconnect Israel as much as possible from the regional conflicts around it; and 3) to offer a model.

There is no successful model of democratic governance in the Arab world at present — the Islamists are all failing. But Israel, if it partnered with the current moderate Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, has a chance to create a modern, economically thriving, democratic, secular state where Christians and Muslims would live side by side — next to Jews. That would be a hugely valuable example, especially at a time when the Arab world lacks anything like it. And the world for the most part would not begrudge Israel keeping its forces on the Jordan River — as will be necessary given the instability beyond — if it ceded most of the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

Together, Israelis and Palestinians actually have the power to model what a decent, postauthoritarian, multireligious Arab state could look like. Nothing would address both people’s long-term strategic needs better.
Let's take these one at a time:

1) The delegitimization movement Friedman refers to is not interested in a peace agreement. They want the destruction of Israel. Their basic demands include the insistence that Israel be forced to accept millions of Arab faux-"refugees" and end the Jewish state. They already regard the PA as a sell-out for not restarting the intifada. This is a variation of the "if/then" fallacy that has been fashionable for decades, but is still around thanks to so-called "experts" like Friedman. In this case the fallacy is that the Israel-haters would be weakened by Israeli concessions, but in fact it is the opposite.

2) Friedman thinks that an Israel whose border is in constant threat of being taken over by Islamists would "disconnect" it from the regional conflicts around it? It would ensure that Israel is surrounded by them! Friedman's bizarre assumption that a Palestinian Arab state would be inoculated from the chaos surrounding it has no basis in reality. Like so many other pseudo-experts on the region, Friedman cannot distinguish between his wishful thinking and the cold reality - in this case, that "Palestine" would be a peaceful, democratic, secular state, inoculated from the Islamist Spring.

Oh, and don't forget Friedman's other "if-then" fallacy here - that the world would allow Israel to keep the Jordan Valley as a buffer if only it would offer the Palestinian Arabs a state. Wasn't that already offered and rejected? The result was nothing less than a six year-long war on Israeli civilians. Again, Friedman is stuck in the 1990s.

3) It takes an amazing amount of willful blindness to ignore Gaza's Hamastan, to ignore the fact that there haven't been elections for so long, to ignore the daily incitement in the PA media, to ignore the fact that the PA's last two prime ministers that the West loved so much were not elected and have no support from the people, and to ignore the daily vitriol between Hamas and Fatah. Friedman's eyes can shut tightly enough to allow an occasional "Sure, there are problems..." right before ignoring them.

The PA has now been around for nearly two decades. Every real accomplishment it has made so far wasn't from its own initiative but from Western pressure. On its own, it would devolve back into a fragmented, corrupt dictatorship that it never truly escaped.

Besides that -the Islamists are winning. To them, democracy and freedom  and human rights are not an end but a means. They are not remotely willing to give their political opponents the rights that they insist for themselves.

The hatred that Arabs have for Israel has nothing to do with "Palestine." Tom - Instead of relying on your Western-educated translators when you parachute into Egypt to pretend to do reporting, read their freaking newspapers in Arabic itself. Even the most liberal, secular Lebanese Christians despise Israel. The wealthy Arabs of Dubai, who don't really give a damn about Palestinians, all agree they hate Israel. Antisemitism - not anti-Zionism, but antisemitism - has been steadily increasing in Arabic media, especially in Egypt and the "new, improved" Iraq.

Their hate is not logical - it is pathological. And it is as much a part of Palestinian Arab society as it is in the fabric of the rest of the Arab world.

To even imagine that any Israeli actions could result in Israel being accepted by the Arabs is a breathtakingly stupid idea.

Luckily, usually Israel is smart enough not to make concessions based on what is literally a fantasy based on ignorance and dreams from deluded Pulitzer-winning "experts."

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