The myth of the occupied territories

I’m beginning to think that incrementalism is one of the most dangerous things out there, whether it’s the way Obama leaks out the truth about his big lies or the way in which the jihadists keep asking for little things from us — no pigs, no dogs, no occupied territories.  As to that latter bit of incrementalism, Charles Krauthammer reminds us of the big lie behind the current theory that the whole problem with Israel is the occupied territories  (so that, if she just gave them up, everything would be hunky-dory, with no further demands against her):

[In the 1948 War of Independence, which had all the Arab nations massed at 650,000 Jews] Israel prevailed, another miracle. But at a very high cost — not just to the Palestinians displaced as a result of a war designed to extinguish Israel at birth, but also to the Israelis, whose war losses were staggering: 6,373 dead. One percent of the population. In American terms, it would take 35 Vietnam memorials to encompass such a monumental loss of life.

You rarely hear about Israel’s terrible suffering in that 1948-49 war. You hear only the Palestinian side. Today, in the same vein, you hear that Israeli settlements and checkpoints and occupation are the continuing root causes of terrorism and instability in the region.

But in 1948, there were no “occupied territories.” Nor in 1967 when Egypt, Syria and Jordan joined together in a second war of annihilation against Israel.

Look at Gaza today. No Israeli occupation, no settlements, not a single Jew left. The Palestinian response? Unremitting rocket fire killing and maiming Israeli civilians. The declared casus belli of the Palestinian government in Gaza behind these rockets? The very existence of a Jewish state.

Israel’s crime is not its policies but its insistence on living. On the day the Arabs — and the Palestinians in particular — make a collective decision to accept the Jewish state, there will be peace, as Israel proved with its treaties with Egypt and Jordan. Until that day, there will be nothing but war. And every “peace process,” however cynical or well-meaning, will come to nothing.

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  • jj

    I was going to send you that link, Bookworm – you got there before me!

    Dr. Krauthammer is generally the brains of whatever room he’s in.

  • Ymarsakar

    If you don’t kill your enemies and if you don’t make them go on their knees in surrender to you, don’t be surprised they come back with some friends to jack you up later.

    Israel’s crime is not its policies but its insistence on living.

    Israel’s crime is that Israel hasn’t used nuclear fire and public executions on captured Palestinians to cleanse this world of those enemies of humanity.

    Israel can build her fence and pull out of Gaza and uproot their own people’s settlements all they want. So long as they keep acting like vermin waiting to be stepped on, it will just buy them a few years until the next generation of Palestinians grow high enough to wear suicide vests.

  • Mike Devx

    As I keep thinking about the problems in the Middle East, one thing keeps occurring to me.

    The current heightened conflict in the Middle East seems to have two main driving events: The resurgence of jihadist Islam to reconstruct a Caliphate, which gained force in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and the establishment of Israel by the U.N. in 1948. (I think that was the date).

    What strikes me is that we seem to think that we have become immune to long-term historical influences. We’re modern, we’re technological, we’re advanced… and so EVERYTHING is new, and we can simply and safely completely ignore history, and the tides of history. I think our viewpoint that modernity and technology make history irrelevant is a bad viewpoint, based on illusion.

    By this I mean the following: We think that fifty years is a LONG TIME for these conflicts to simmer. By the historical standards of the Middle East, this is not a long time. In fact it is a very short time. Americans seem to demand a solution to Middle East problems within, say, every two years. I’m beginning to think that our short-term-results-based myopic view is simply ridiculous.

    Just as the Clinton-Obama party feud should be allowed to play out until at least June 10th, instead of needing to be resolved NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW this very minute! …
    so too I think the Caliphate-based rise of jihadist Islam, and the Palestinian issue, will simply require decades (at a minimum) to resolve. This is a long-term struggle that at times will flare up into war, over and over and over. Each phase of war will hopefully only involve a relatively small military sacrifice (ie no nukes, no bio warfare, no 100,000 soldiers dead).

    I’ve decided that my sense of history indicates that nothing gets solved quickly in the Middle East. Simply changing the direction and the tone of discussion in Iraq the way we have, in six years, may be viewed as a miracle of speed. I’m ready to be incredibly patient. I’m ready to state: My lifetime is not the be-all and end-all of historical struggles. I don’t NEED to see this resolved this year, next year, nor even in my lifetime. I’m simply not that important. The historical sweep must be taken into account. We have to be prepared to be pleased but not ecstatic about our successes, and disappointed but not crushed by our failures. Long-term resolve, long-term commitment, steady unrelenting pressure towards progress is what is required. And the next phase in the game is to remove Iran’s nuclear ambitions from the table, and to foment insurgency within Iran’s borders. Long-term, the mullahs must fall. This may require military intervention on some scale this summer, but again, we do not have to WIN, or at least not resoundingly. This is not WWII.

    As always, I’m aware I might be totally off here. If anyone thinks so, that’s fine.