NEWS BLOG (WSAU) To state the obvious, no other nation is asked to endure what Israel has. No other nation would be expected to allow an uninspected flotilla of supply ships to land in occupied territory it controls. Suppose Israel announced that it was organizing a peace caravan to bring supplies to the small, beleaguered Jewish community in Iran. It would be a non-starter. What if China announced it wanted to send humanitarian aid into the lawless mountains of Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban? Or if the U.S. were to send ships to Chechnya as their rebels fought with Russia? These acts would be seen as the provocations that they are. They would not be tolerated by other nations. But Israel is a special case.
Everything else will play out according to form. There will be no broader war. The surrounding states don’t want it. Turkey, a NATO member, will be restrained and will ultimately broker the fragile agreements that deescalate the situation. An inquiry at the UN will criticize Israel for disproportionate use of force. Israel will give these reports the exact weight they should give to an international organization that puts Libya and Saudi Arabia on its human rights commission. The U.S. will continue to hold its best ally in the middle east – the region’s only democracy – at arms length. The White House will wish someone other than Benjamin Natanyaho was in charge. Netanyaho will hope Obama loses seats in Congress in 2010, and then loses the White House in 2012. All of this is standard and predictable.
The more interesting developments are among the Jews on the street across the U.S. And there’s some interesting reporting on the self-delusions that have grown within American Judaism. ( Read Harold Meyerson’s op-ed in today’s Washington Post here: http://tinyurl.com/24gkw77 )
It is easy to be a dove from 2,000 miles away in New York. Your feelings might be different if you live in Kerem Shalom, where rockets from the rooftops in Gaza can hit your house.
The facts on the ground are this: Palestinians were offered almost all of the occupied territories to form their own nation-state when Bill Clinton organized detailed peace talks. Israel was even willing to enter into limited negotiations on the status of Jerusalem. Yasir Arafat walked out of those talks. Since then Palestinians have voted out their moderate (yet corrupt) leaders, and have given a governing majority to Hamas, whose charter calls for the Israel’s distruction. Hamas in the south and Hezbolah in the north are proxies for Iran and Syria, not partners for peace. Yet Israel has still held open the possibility of negotiations with hostile terrorist groups. The end result of those yet-unfruitful talks would be a Palestinian nation that would have very limited economic prospects, who's main export would be terror attacks against its neighbor. If Israel ever invaided to stop that unacceptable situation there would be a true international incident, as surely an independent Palestine would immediatey enter into protection treaties with other Arab states.
This is the national defense situation that Israeli military and political leaders face every day. Natanyaho is a bunt instrument at a time when negotiation isn’t possible. “We regret the loss of life,” he said yesterday, “but we will never apologize for our right to defend ourselves.”
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau