Thursday, May 25, 2006
But it takes a naive sophistication indeed to criticize Israel even for unilaterally withdrawing from territories from which the Palestinians themselves have long demanded withdrawal. At the rate this is going, the next Israeli government could suggest all Jews be forcibly removed from the region, and the Times editorialists would lament the unilateral Israeli assumption of docking rights for evacuation boats rather than the mass swimming exhibition some in the region would have prefered.
So I'll just keep it simple and offer for your blog-reading enjoyment a smattering of sophisticated stupidities -- a sort of Fisk-lite if you will:
Kind of like everyone who wants to boycott Israel or divest from Israel or impose UN General Assembly sanctions, or obliterate the Jewish state in a nuclear attack feels justified in wanting to punish Israelis for the actions of the government they democratically elected. Remember, winning a vote does not automatically confer moral legitimacy and immunity to any and all positions taken by the government thus elected -- case in point, all the tyrants elected with far greater majorities than even Hamas or Israeli governments.
But Mr. Bush should not punish the Palestinian people by endorsing any unilateral proposal -- doing that would punish them for exercising their democratic right to vote.
So unilateral Israeli surrender is fine, as long as it is complete and unconditional. Give up all of the territory now, including areas that weren't even under consideration under final status talks, and then sit back and wait for the Hamas-led Palestinians to decide how to respond to such gratuitous largesse: with Qassams, Katyushas, or Semtex.
Mr. Olmert's proposal has two parts, and the first one is fine: to withdraw Israeli settlers and troops from vast areas of the occupied West Bank. That's a worthy goal, and one that has been way too long in coming.
The problem is with the second part of the proposal: to retain several large settlement blocs in the Palestinian West Bank. That's a recipe for disaster.
And this uncomfortable truth is somehow ameliorated by criticizing even Israel's unilateral pullbacks? Is there any action Israel could take, other than suicide, that could solve this particular problem? It seems to me that some other creative solution will just have to be found, because there is not yet an electoral majority of Israelis in favor of national suicide, although a little self-mutilation isn't out of the question.
Anyone who has ever really looked at a map of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza can see how hard it will be to form a Palestinian state. Even a future Palestine that includes all of the West Bank and Gaza is still going to be in two pieces with Israel in the middle, separating Gaza from the West Bank.
Might the Palestinians consider forming 2 states for themselves instead of one -- the People's Republic of Gaza, and the Chaotic State of West Bankia? It actually could make sense as it would give them twice as many votes in the UN with which to bash their neighbor. It would also allow the New York Times and various news agencies to open twice as many Palestinian bureaus -- a win-win all around.
Until then, I would humbly request the New York Times keep its ever-ready criticisms to itself until such time as it can offer something more constructive to recommend to Israel than immediate and unconditional surrender -- something usually recommended to the party that is losing a war. From reading the New York Times, were it not for Israel's continued and troublesome existence, one could be forgiven for getting the impression Israel had lost every war launched against it.
See also some great points raised by Israel Matzav in response to the same editorial. (And a tip of the hat to Soccer Dad for pointing this out.) IN ADDITION, you owe it to yourself not to miss The Elder's smackdown of this piece; it's a beauty.
UPDATE: More at Daled Amos, Backspin, In Context, Simply Jews and Soccer Dad