TCS Daily


Spare the Rod, Spoil the Peace

By J. Peter Pham & Michael I. Krauss - April 28, 2006 12:00 AM

The Bush administration announced earlier this month that the United States was ending direct financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA), now that the terrorist group Hamas is installed at its helm.

According to State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, "Because the new Hamas-led Palestinian government has failed to accept the Quartet principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel, and respect for previous agreements between the parties, the United States is suspending assistance to the Palestinian government's cabinet and ministries."

Despite the fact that McCormack simultaneously announced that the U.S would actually increase aid to the Palestinians via United Nations and other agencies by 57 percent, howls of anguish and rage were not slow in coming from the PA and its friends. Taking talking points from a February 20 Washington Post op-ed by former President Carter, PA officials argued that the suspension of aid would bankrupt the government and equated this to punishing "innocent people" for engaging in a democratic process. PA President Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen) complained that the Palestinians "should not be punished for their democratic choice." Calling Washington's and the European Commission's cut-off of aid "blackmail," PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniya complained that the West's move "will increase the suffering of the Palestinian people."

Unfortunately, Washington and its partners appear to be at least partially seduced by this faulty logic, as they are upping the ante for so-called "humanitarian" agencies (including the notorious corrupt and anti-Semitic UN Relief and Works Administration (UNRWA), profiled in "Humanitarians for Hamas").

One can appreciate the administration's dilemma: having made "democracy" the cornerstone of its Middle East policy, it was caught off-guard when Palestinians used their franchise to bring Hamas to power. Since then, apologists have argued that voters did not support Hamas because of its commitment to destroy Israel, but as an alternative to Yasir Arafat's corrupt Fatah. Alas, this explanation is as delusional as the Hamas Covenant. Numerous liberal-minded candidates ran and were roundly rejected by the Palestinian electorate. For example, the reformist Third Way movement, led by Salam Fayad (a well-respected former PA finance minister and World Bank official) and Hanan Ashrawi (a former PA spokeswoman and well-known human rights advocate) came in sixth in the popular vote, eking out enough votes to secure 2 seats in the legislature. By contrast, Hamas won 74 of the 132 seats. Even the fringe "Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa List" of the ultra-violent Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine won 3 seats.

Prime Minister Haniya has said, "the world should respect the choice of the Palestinian people." We fully agree. That's why we advocate going further than the U.S. government and the European Union have. We should cut off both direct assistance to the terrorist-led PA, and any indirect assistance that would make life "normal" under Hamas. Yes, this might harm Palestinian civilians. Had Hamas seized power through illegitimate violence, it would be ethically complicated whether harsh sanctions are appropriate. But these terrorists came to power through the "choice of the Palestinian people." The world would best show its respect for that sovereign choice by demonstrating that free choices have consequences.

Israel's decision to boycott the Hamas-led PA government was termed a "declaration of war" by Hamas itself. But of course just the opposite is true: it is Hamas's election that constitutes a declaration of (continued) war against Israel -- witness the sickening justifications delivered by PA government spokesmen for ongoing "martyrdom" operations against innocent Israeli civilians like the recent attack on a Tel Aviv sandwich stand, as well as the less-than-wholehearted "condemnation by PA President Abbas.

An entrenched Hamas regime runs counter to the precondition for success in our project of transforming the region, i.e., the renunciation of violence followed by the adoption of democratic processes. Ever-increasing sanctions might anger the Palestinian populace, but would also lead them to see that their vicious choice was a costly one. Maybe upon reflection they will realize that a terrorist leadership, rather than bringing them any closer to their dream of a viable state, will turn back the clock. Only when both the voters and leaders are willing to face the reality that any Palestinian state must recognize and live in peace alongside Israel can peace be possible.

Legally and morally, neither the U.S. nor Europe owes the Palestinians any assistance -- much less hundreds of millions of dollars worth on a continuing basis. There are plenty of needy causes to which to devote the scarce humanitarian resources of our overburden governments: Darfurians subject to genocidal campaign by an Islamist government, Congolese trying to recover from "Africa's World War," Tibetans sitting in exile in India, etc. The only justification for our governments' paying good money to the PA is our national interest in a stable Middle East -- and we are hardly getting our money's worth if the dividend is a casus belli against Israel.

At the moment, the Palestinians see no incentive to modify their hard line positions. By sparing the rod, we spoil any prospects for peace over the long run.

Michael I. Krauss is professor of law at George Mason University School of Law. J. Peter Pham is director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University. Both are academic fellows of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.


74 Comments

The stern father approach
Maybe when we're bringing the blessings of democracy to places that don't think the way we do, we could help them out a bit on their first election or two. We could put an "OK" next to the name of the candidate they're supposed to pick, and a circle with a slash through it next to the name of the unacceptable candidate. That way they wouldn't have to get too worked up about participating. They could just go through the motions and get a little "I voted!" button.

Nice...
use of sarcasm but a little misplaced.

Democracy has responsibilities and the when the people have power they should feel the effects of electing a terrorist organization into power.

The world did not approve of Bush being re-elected yet I voted for him anyway. I was prepared to deal with the teeth-gnashing and anti-Americanism from the world community. The Palestinians should take responsibility for electing murderous thugs into power and quit blaming it on everyone else.

Their rights and ours
I agree totally with the author, the Palestinians have the right to elect anyone to lead them, even a terrorist organization like Hamas, but equally the US and Europe have the right to cut off funds.
They have no inherent right to this money and in a democracy the people must be responsible for their decisions.

Blind arrogance
The blind arrogance of this article simply leaps off the page:

"An entrenched Hamas regime runs counter to the precondition for success in our project of transforming the region, i.e., the renunciation of violence followed by the adoption of democratic processes."

What's important is the "success in our project of transforming the region". To hell with what the Palestinians want. As Tom Lehrer sang years ago:

For might makes right,
And till they've seen the light,
They've got to be protected,
All their rights respected,
'Till somebody we like can be elected.

I'm still amazed.
Why do we send money to people that hate us? I can't forget the news clip showing the Palestinian women signing and dancing in the street when the news of 9/11 was announced there.

The rest of the Arab OPEC countries have plenty of money. Why don't they take care of their 'brothers' who are in need?

Think of all the needy U.S. citizens that don't have health insurance!

Charity begins at home. To hell with our enemies.

Blind ignorance
The blind ignorance of your comment leaps off the page:

>"To hell with what the Palestinians want."

You were being sarcastic but your statement is exactly right. Because what the Palestinians want is the total destruction of Israel, a democracy, and the Jews slaughtered. Not that this makes any difference because the Fatah party wanted the same thing but the liberal press was much better at hiding that fact. Hamas is more of an in-your-face terrorist group.

Well said
Until these bozos get off their hard line stance, the Pals should be treated appropriately; that means no more foreign aid from Europe or the U.S.

are you nuts?
Or just a terrorist backer?

I believe the Palestinians can do whatever they want and more power to them; but so can the west. The U.S. should shake hands, say good luck and pull all funds and help of any kind out of there. If they want to play games they can play by themselves.

To: tlaloc
If you were trying to quote me (20232570) I didn't say "Palestinians", I said "enemies". Not that they don't fall into that category, I just don't enjoy being misquoted.

Spare the rod? Spare the US citizenry from the immorality, evils, of foreign aid.
The government the Palestinians elected is not the real problem. The government the Israelies elected isn't either. The evil force at work here is the robbing of US Citizens by their congress for the stupidity of foreign aid.

If we stopped this idiotic notion that we have to give money for no goods and services and just let private citizens make contributions this nation would have a simpler, more consistent and less violent foreign policy.

Through trade NOT aid the US maintains great relationships with current and former adversaries all over the world. These relationships include: Britian, Germany, Japan, China, India, Chile, Sourth Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia, New Zealand. Those countries where aid is given more often from the US to the counties but not always: Israel, Pakistan, Mexico, North Korea, most of Africa, Venezuela, etc.

Ummmm...
why do you think I was quoting you? I was responding to telophase's comment on the article.

To: tlaloc
Read "I'm still amazed". Sorry if I assumed in error.

roy thinks brown people are to stupid to have elections

what the palestinians want
Is the destruction of Isreal and the expelling of all Jews from the Middle East.

I'm guessing that you approve of their plans.

Murderous thugs
I suppose it's an irrelevant detail that the Hamas truce has held for the past year and a half, while the IDF continues to send missiles into urban streets to kill their leaders. Does that not resonate with you?

True, Islamic Jihad has committed a couple of bombings. But you should know they are not under anyone's control-- most particularly Hamas.

It's the same old story. When it's your guys doing the indiscriminate killing it's always justified.

I wonder where roy is getting these lies from?

The essence of stupidity
You noted "McCormack simultaneously announced that the U.S would actually increase aid to the Palestinians via United Nations and other agencies by 57 percent"

So if you celebrate the killing of Americans, as Palestinians manifestly did on 9/11. . .

And then you knowingly elect avowed killers who encourage terrorism and openly state their goal as total destruction of a neighboring state and massacre of its people. . .

You get rewarded by being sent more money from the American treasury.

It is no wonder that the world scorns us. To paraphrase a less than noble fictional character "we're behaved like fools, and we've come to a fool's end."

What do the Palestinians want?
They seem to want eternal war with Israel.

That being the case perhaps we can agree that the Palestinians should get exactly what they want.

Straight from the Hamas website
Or his buddies in Lebanon

To: MarkTheGreat
Roy gets his information at school, where he is presently cramming for a test Monday on "See Spot Run".

the meaning of democracy
Congradulations to the Palestinians. They have elected the body that they want to represent them. They have no more excuses. It is one thing when a people have no choice in their government. Then we can feel sorry and compasion for them; and give them charitable aid. However, now that these people of spoken, and spoken clearly we no longer have any excuse for continuing to "give" to a people that so clearly want to harm and hurt us. Being a "democracy" does not give a people a "pass", it merely allows them to be accurately represented. Now that we know that they are truly an evil people, it is time to hold the entire "palestinian nation" and its "people" to account.

To: MichaelY
AMEN!

The destruction of Israel?
Funny thing. If Hamas is an in-your-face terrorist group, how is it they've been able to maintain their truce for well over a year in the face of Israeli provocations?

The real problem with the Pals is they have no sense of self-presentation. Israel commits horrible acts upon them to prevent their ever becoming a viable state, and all they do is jump up and down shouting "Israel must be destroyed". Such quotes play into the mindset that keeps them under the boot.

Contrast Ariel Sharon, who made a career out of playing them like a violin. He made no threats, he just quietly started putting settlements of the most jingoistic Israelis all across the West Bank-- making a nonsense of any two state solution. The guy was a chess player, not a kid shouting threats in the streets. A viable Palestine existing beside a viable Israel became an impossibility, with those settlements in place. So they must be removed as a precondition for any real peace process.

It will never happen voluntarily, you know that. Thus the Hamas stand. The only option Israel has left for Palestine is the single state solution.

I couldn't agree more
I have always wondered why the arab nations don't really seem to care about these guys. I think this proves why. Nobody wants them because no one whats to put up with their BS.

You know Roy...
you can always provide some dates and sources for these attacks by the IDF.

As one of the most scrutinized fighting forces, the IDF films its operations itself in order to fight the propaganda spread by moral relativists such as yourself. I am sure you have no problem equating a fanatic who blows himself up in the middle of a pizza parlor and a targetted missile strike on a terrorist leader. Some of us choose to make a distinction between the two.

If you would like to present particular cases I would be happy to look them over.

So now...
Hamas is not a serious terrorist group? I wonder if their Americans, Israelis, and Lebanese victims would agree with you.

I do like how you make it all Israel's fault. They are the provocateurs. It is their fault that the Palestinians wish to exterminate every last one of them.

You paint a picture that the Palestinians are just angry teenagers in the street shouting slogans. What a fantasy world you live in. I guess the rocket attacks, random shootings, and suicide bombings is just that brash stage that most teenagers go through? Give the boys time, eh? They'll grow out of it.

Your take on the situation shows that you know damn little of the situation much less who the actual players are. Once again you show the skill of making murderers into the merely misunderstood and the victims into villians. Good show.

You need more evidence?
I've fallen out of the habit of documenting these kinds of charges. No one ever reads my refs anyway, as their feelings are fixed. But in order to maintain such sentiments one does have to ignore half the evidence. This evidence is abundantly available to those who look.

Right now there is a concerted effort to convince Israelis that the targeting of civilian populations for retribution is contrary to the Geneva Conventions. Lots of luck there. The campaign is largely unreported in the US press, but you can begin reading about it here:

http://www.btselem.org/English/Press_Releases/20060416.asp

I would assume that even though the Hamas truce has held for over a year, you still blame them for any attack by Islamic Jihad or by some person of unknown affiliation. Why?

Finally, I do not draw a distinction between combatants who intentionally kill random individuals and combatants who fire recklessly into crowds of bystanders to impress them with a show of force. They're both criminals.

Read a story about a little girl:

http://counterpunch.org/levy04152006.html

Okay...
Looked at your first source. Pretty nice. The usual liberal "war crimes" screed. Hey, since those brave souls who attack Israeli citizens, and who hide within homes and use their families as shields, are themselves violating the Geneva Convention and are the actual war criminals.

As for your other source... it's Counterpunch and can thus be dismissed.

What actual news sources do you have of the IDF's "reckless" behaviour?

What a bone head
So just read B'Tselem.

You could tally up the numbers of Israeli civilians killed by shaheeds, for instance, as opposed to the number of Palestinian civilian killed by the IDF. Since September of 2000 it has been running around one to three.

You could also compare the amount of Palestinian land taken and property destroyed without compensation, with the amount the Pals have stolen from the Israelis.

Then you could do the same comparison with the water. Israel has carefully left the P's destitute with no means of self support, so they can apply leverage in times like these.

You don't have to lie about it
You know, the Zionists didn't have to come there if they didn't want to start trouble. They had a reputation for being trouble by 1908 or so. By 1936, everyone was screaming mad at them. The only reason they are still there is that Palestinians aren't very effective in defense of their own freedoms.

You would debate more effectively if you didn't put lies into my mouth. I never said Hamas was "not a serious terrorist group". They have in the past been very serious promoters of terrorist activity-- as was Menachem Begin in his youth. But they have been elevated to a position they did not really intend to attain, and they are now figuring out how to grow into it.

Meanwhile the truce they began well over a year ago still holds. Shaheeds there may be, but not from Hamas. The killing continues primarily on the part of the IDF now.

Did I say Palestinians are just angry teenagers? No I did not. It is true that most of their teenagers are very angry. You would be too, in their place. If I were in their place I would not attack Israeli citizens. I'd go for the military personnel.

In fact, if anyone ever came to America to do to us what the Israelis have done to the Palestinians, I'd catch their soldiers outside of the bars and skin them alive. I have no idea why the P's have not responded the way the Afghans did to the Russian occupiers.

Responsibility
Roy,

It works this way. Hamas is now effectively the democratically elected govt of Palestine. Hamas' policy is the elimination of the state of Israel. The elimination of Israel is thus the official foreign policy of Palestine. We do not support any such policy and therefore should feel fully justified in not providing any support to Palestine or its citizens or any organization which does provide support.

To: shoes2
Roy has been in a bad mood ever since someone spilt mustard down the back of his favorite "cross burning" outfit.

If you say so
First, I'm curious. Whatever happened to shoes1? Are you related?

Second, I think you make far too much of the oft repeated dogma that Hamas wants to "eliminate" the state of Israel. They have announced that in the past, and have not repudiated it. But they are now, for the first time, in a position of responsibility and must begin to act responsibly without betraying the ideals they have espoused. Therefore don't hold your breath waiting for an apology.

Actions speak louder than words. Hamas has held their end of a unilaterally declared truce, despite constant provocation. That means something to me.

Yet daily we get stories like this:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4961706.stm

It's all very one sided. Israel never mutters threats-- in fact they mouth lofty words about Palestinian self determination. But at the same time they carefully remove anything that can be used to build a Palestinian economy and thus a viable state. They routinely confiscate and destroy, for instance, ambulances. For instance, vital records and hard drives. They know the fundamentals a society requires in order to function, and are silently bent on erasing the Palestinian identity.

I would agree whole heartedly that anyone who also would just as soon Palestine not be there should withdraw financial support. They can just put it out in the open: enemies forever.

Meanwhile the truce still holds, as "suspected terrorists" are rounded up at gunpoint and removed. Poor defenceless Israel, armed only with a nuclear arsenal and formidable occupation force, is not currently being imperiled by the current Hamas leadership, who points only fingers.

I agree...
that you are quite the bonehead.

I have seen the statistical breakdown of deaths on both sides. If you would like to educate yourself on the reality of the situation, please go here:

http://www.ict.org.il/articles/articledet.cfm?articleid=440

As it stands, you are ignorant and seemingly proud of it. Like most relativist liberals would side with groups of murderous thugs simply because they stand against US and Israeli interests. How childish.

>"You could also compare the amount of Palestinian land taken and property destroyed without compensation, with the amount the Pals have stolen from the Israelis."

Do you compensate people for destroying their property when they allow that property to be used as bases of operations for terrorists and murderers? Does it make any difference that the Israelis have given back portions of land in exchange for peace? An exchange that has been quite one-sided considering the Palestinians refusal recognize Israel's right to exist. Do you even know how the Israelis came into occupying Palestinian lands in the first place? I doubt you do if Counterpunch is the place you get your views.

>"Then you could do the same comparison with the water. Israel has carefully left the P's destitute with no means of self support, so they can apply leverage in times like these."

Correction, the Palestinians have left themselves destitute with no means of self-support. How? By refusing every offer, every chance to negotiate peace with Israel. Why? Because Arafat and several Arab leaders have poisoned the minds of the Palestinians over the decades to believe that they will someday own it all and that the Jews will be wiped off the map of the Middle East. A crime has been perpetrated on the Palestinians, Roy but the saddest part is that it was perpetrated by their own people.

to: roy_bean
I am amazed! You seem to know all about the Mexicans, the Palestinians, and the Israelis. You know how they think, what they want, and what their plans are. I am impressed.

Keep up the great work.

Reality = Lies...
at least to the willfully ignorant such as you Roy.

Time for some corrections... as usual...

>"You know, the Zionists didn't have to come there if they didn't want to start trouble. They had a reputation for being trouble by 1908 or so. By 1936, everyone was screaming mad at them. The only reason they are still there is that Palestinians aren't very effective in defense of their own freedoms."

1. So the Zionists went to their ancient homeland because they just wanted to "start trouble"? Interesting take although highly simplistic.

2. The only reason Palestinians have any freedoms is if they live within Israel's borders. Although I am sure you believe Fatah and Hamas are paragons of democracy.

>"They have in the past been very serious promoters of terrorist activity-- as was Menachem Begin in his youth. But they have been elevated to a position they did not really intend to attain, and they are now figuring out how to grow into it."

Once again you show your amazing skills at moral relativism. Truly astounding this one is. Begin was a terrorist? Please give me some sort of justification for this charge and perhaps some facts if that isn't too difficult a concept for you to grasp.

>"The killing continues primarily on the part of the IDF now."

Damn straight. That excellent wall they built really pulled the teeth out of the suicide bombers. The IDF killing terrorists and murderers really isn't anything to be sad or ashamed about Roy.

The rest of your screed just highlights that you have lost any moral compass you once possessed. As time goes by you seem to get worse and worse. Soldiers are terrorists. Terrorists are merely misguided, oppressed youths.

>"In fact, if anyone ever came to America to do to us what the Israelis have done to the Palestinians, I'd catch their soldiers outside of the bars and skin them alive."

I doubt this. I doubt you would do anything to preserve our country that engages in, and supports, all sorts of heinous acts that you believe we do. That fact you have nothing you stand for (standing against everything doesn't mean you stand FOR anything Roy) says you wouldn't have the guts or conviction to do so noble a deed. Truly pathetic.

You forgot...
the Iranians and Cubans.

Hmmmm...
>"They routinely confiscate and destroy, for instance, ambulances."

Does it matter that a great many terrorists get through the checkpoints by using ambulances? No. Just take what the BBC says, a very Jew-friendly news source, as the truth without looking into it.

Classic Roy.

we have read your references
It just that we usually find that they come from extremely biased and or untrustworthy sources, or they don't say what you claim they say.

The first qualifies on both counts, so I didn't bother reading the second.

of course
If all you ever read is one sided screeds written by active partisans, it's not surprising that you fail to get an accurate picture of what's going on.

In other words, roy is doing what he always does.

roy now reads minds
Let's see, roy admits that one of the central tenets of Hamas has always been the destruction of Isreal.

Roy also admits that Hamas, to this day, has not repudiated their earlier calls for the destruction of Isreal.

Yet roy tells us, that since Hamas now runs the govt, that they secretly have decided to renounce their previous conviction, it's just that they don't feel the need to tell the world about this renunciation.

After all, they have mind reader roy, who is willing to do it for them.

what the palestinians want
Is the destruction of Isreal, and the death of the jews.

Why do you feel that we should cater to people who have such views?

truce
They've maintained the truce, only if you ignore their provocations.

Hamas has no choice
They must kill jews. The jews aren't dying fast enough on their own.

The peripatetic polymath
Why thank you! I try.

You know it all too, if I may say so. And I'd be much happier with the direction our country is going in if the average voter took the trouble to know it all. It's hardly a character deficiency, but more an increasing necessity nowadays.

You betcha
Ask me anything. Bolivians? No problem.

You see, it's all in the written record. Synthesize everything being written, form across the political spectrum. Then ask yourself which p.o.v. is likely to represent the notions of real people, not stick figures.

Plus, I've traveled to half those places. People are the same all over, except that some are riding up in first class, while others are pulling the coach.

So I say
Roy,

First, shoes is, was, and always will be, 1 or 2 refers to where I post from

Second, the elimination (no quotation marks required) of Israel is Hamas' (and others') dogma, not mine. Repudiating the stance would go a long way towards establish themselves as a responsible state and could force the US, perhaps properly, to back down from any boycott of assistance to Palestine.

Third, the point of remembering history is to avoid repeating it rather than use it an excuse for continuing the present bloody status quo. I freely admit both sides have responsiblities for the SQ. However, my sympathies lie more with Israel as a demonstrably responsible, reliable and largely democratic state. The popular elections in Palestine notwithstanding, I think the rubric 'Trust but verify' or something like that. Your symphathies, from what I gather from your post, lie more with Palestine. They have surely been poorly used, not always just by Israel.

Impassioned words
I'll be the first to acknowledge that something had to be done about the Jewish situation in Europe. Things were ugly there. But you can forget the "homeland" business. For whatever reason, they hadn't lived in Palestine for two thousand years, and they were newcomers there. They should have behaved themselves as guests. Instead they go around like they own the place. and instantly wear out their welcome AGAIN. This was not bright.

To throw out the people who actually did live there, in order to make room for more Jews from Europe, proves them no better than their oppressors. No one suffers but the Jews. Everyone else is not worth considering. This kind of thinking destroys the natural sympathy people ever felt for them.

Neither Fatah nor Hamas are paragons of democracy.

Yes, Menachem Begin was a terrorist. In fact he was the original terrorist in Palestine, being the first to blow up innocent civlians for the purpose of inciting terror. You have never heard of the King David Hotel?

The IDF kills more civilians, and intentionally does so, than do the various shaheeds. This has been the case since the beginning of the Second Intifada, These targeted assassinations target entire houses, killing whoever is inside. The IDF is no better than the worst of men, and deserves no better consideration. They must stop if they are to be admitted to the community of nations.

http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200505_Take_No_Prisoners.asp

You presume that anyone targeted as a "suspected terrorist" is in fact a murdererer, when in fact we know nothing of the sort. By definition no shaheeds are thus uncovered. And if they mean by terrorist one who hates Israel, that's 100% of the population. This one sided war will not end well for Israel. Nor do they deserve our sympathy.

Soldiers who kill ordinary people in the lands they occupy are war criminals. They may win for a generation or two but ultimately no such despotic state survives. It's only a matter of time until they are driven back. I smile at the notion you consider me unpatriotic for not supporting such people. As a human being, I have no choice but to stand witness against them.

To: roy_bean
Great speech!

Where are you going to go? You don't belong here. When you get to England, Scotland, France, or wherever, you will need to get on another boat o take you somewhere else. If you believe in the Bible, roy, you're going to end up in the same place that you keep raving on about. But here's a secret: The Islamists can't throw you out because they've only been here since around 600 A.D. (Get that significance of A.D,?)

If your intelligence equalled your bigotry, you could be another Einstein.

Happy N. Trails

Recognizing Israel
Thanks for clarifying the numbers. I was beginning to think shoes was spreading.

We do agree on some things. The Pals have been used, misused and abused by everyone concerned. The Arab world has been pleased to allow the situation to fester, with no country but Jordan truly taking in the refugee population. Much of this would appear to have genuinely antisemitic reasons.

However the first responsibility would have been for the Zionists to have made some accomodation to the existing population, instead of using chicanery and deceit to squeeze them out. My sympathies lay with the Pals, not because they are so sympathetic (they're not) but because imperial land grabs are always evil. The Cherokee found themselves in the same position, living on land that suddenly became valuable to strangers with more devious ways.

I can kibitz from the balcony, as you can, but it's really Hamas' call. They can recognize Israel and dicker over the size and shape of the remaining twenty percent of their one-time half a loaf, or they can say the deal still stinks, and they want no part of it. In their place, I would not negotiate with treachery. But that's just me.

Maybe in another twenty years, subsequent Israeli governments may prove themselves more noble than they were under Sharon, but it'll take that long to get the taste of evil out of the P's mouths.

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