Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Palestina Irredenta

As for the German nation, it needs charity from neither Mr. Churchill nor from Mr. Roosevelt, let alone from Mr. Eden. It wants only its rights! It will secure for itself this right to life even if thousands of Churchills and Roosevelts conspire against it.
Adolf Hitler, in the Reichstag, declaring war on the USA, 11 December 1941.
The Palestinians, Jack Kelly states in his excellent Real Clear Politics column today, have taken off the mask by giving Hamas a majority of seats in their recent parliamentary elections. If Mr. Kelly is correct, it just goes to prove that the Palestinians have a positive genius for stupidity. Yesterday, the British newspaper Guardian’s online edition ran a very well-written position statement by a Mr. Khalid Mish'al, described as the chief of the terrorist organization/political party Hamas’s “political bureau.” This document, reprinted online at the Los Angeles Times website (both available via Real Clear Politics), quite candidly sets out Hamas’s position.

Mr. Mish’al assures us that when Palestinians went to the polls last week, they were “well aware of what was being offered…and chose Hamas because of its pledge never to give up the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people…” More fools they. Nothing if not confident, Mr. Mish’al says that “Hamas has been elected mainly because of its immovable faith in the inevitability of victory…” and states that “… our cause is no less worthy, our determination is no less profound; our patience is no less abundant” than the “peoples of Vietnam and South Africa.”

Hamas is all about war. According to Mr. Mish’al: “[w]e shall never recognize the right of any power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights. We shall never recognize the legitimacy of a Zionist state created on our soil…” Well, Mr. Mish’al, then you, and all those who are fools enough to follow your party, and possibly millions of other innocent bystanders, mostly Palestinians and Arabs -- are going to wind-up very dead.

Hamas represents the lethal convergence of two Palestinian political trends; the resurgence of Islam as a political force, supplanting the secular Nasserist nationalism of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah; and the continuing Palestinian desire to wipe Israel off the map, rather than make a deal with it. To be sure, Arafat and Fatah, when not playing terrorist, never did more than flirt with a deal, or talk around one. Fatah never sold out completely the wish-dream of driving the Zionists into the sea.

In diplomatic terms, the Palestinians have never been satisified with what Israel and the West have had on offer: some kind of an undoing of the results of the 1967 Six Day War. What the Palestinians want is an undoing of the Nakba (disaster) – the Israeli War of Independence of 1948.

Relations between states, however you pretty them up, are essentially still conducted on jungle rules. The Arabs can have Palestine from the Jordan to the sea, if they can but get it. Similarly, Germany can drink the waters of the Pregel; have Silesia, Posen, Pomerania, and Alsace-Lorraine back; rename Wrocław, Breslau once again; and, make Kaliningrad, Königsberg once more -- if it can only win a world war. France can have Belgium and the Rhineland – if it beats Germany and England; the Cherokee can recover northern Georgia, large parts of the Carolinas and east Tennessee, if they can but throw down the United States. The Austrians can have Pressburg back, should they thrash Slovakia. The processes that changed the ownership and names of all these places were all every bit as tragic and drenched in tears as the Nakba. It can all, every bit, be undone in return for mountains of treasure, oceans of blood, and eons more misery.

Nobody can deny that the Palestinian people are in an unenviable position. But they were offered half a loaf, in 1948. They scorned it, gambled on arms, and lost. The Palestinians learned nothing, and in 1967 they blustered like Mr. Mish'al today and blundered themselves into another war, and lost again. Now, the Palestinians, by choosing Hamas, have again chosen war. If Mr. Mish’al is serious about Hamas’s stand, they will get it in spades.
Mr. Mish'al proclaims that Hamas is "immune to bribery, intimidation and blackmail." Maybe, but how will it do against F-16's, 5.56 mm ball, and 155 mm H.E. ? Do the Palestinians, and the Arab nation, really have a death wish ? Israel has nuclear weapons. It really is double or nothing this time, and I know how I'm betting. If there is going to be no Zionist state in Palestine – there is going to be no Palestine, period.
The Palestinians are cheerfully, heedlessly, gleefully driving Israel to the far right, and ensuring that the US and Europe will regretfully avert their glances while the Israelis turn the West Bank into a giant prison/abattoir. The Palestinians have taken off the mask, and Hamas, like Chancellor Hitler for the Germans in the Reichstag, can bleat about the "legitimate rights of the Palestinian people" and can proclaim the impending suicide of Palestine to the skies if it wants. A Netanyahu government – certainly a good possibility now, is going to, in Mr. Kelly’s words again, take off the gloves.


Dymphna said...

Well, you and Mr. Kelly pretty much said it all, didn't you?

Since I couldn't possibly say it with more clarity than you have, I simply posted an excerpt:

No Zionist State = No Palestine

eteraz said...

there's some evidence in today's wash. post article by hamas that they would accept a bi-national solution. by the way, why do we talk about israel/palestine issues in term of 'solutions.' not right.

Robert Schwartz said...

All of this assumes that Hamas will be delivered the Palestinian state apparatus, such as it is, intact and timely. I do not think that assumption will hold up. I think it much more likely that there will be an extended armed struggle (what you white people call a civil war) between Hamas and Fatah. Them old Fatah boys won't be jumping off their gravy train unless they are pushed. The like result would be a series of zones controlled by warlords. eventually, but not too soon, the Israelis, Egyptians and Jordanians will pick up the pieces. Egypt gets a protectorate over Gaza. Jordan incorporates most of the West Bank, and Israel gets borders. the Palestinians get the trash an of history.

El Jefe Maximo said...

If Hamas is willing to accept a "bi-national" solution, that's the first sign of grey matter from them I've actually seen.

As for talking of "solutions" rather than "right," I'm a little wary of the term "right." When "right," not to mention, "justice" gets invoked, people generally start dying in big bleeding batches. I'll take cynical diplomatic solutions anytime.

Actually, I tend to agree with Mr. Schwartz about Fatah not exiting the stage gracefully. I wonder, though, how much of the Fatah security apparatus is actually loyal to Fatah, and how much of it will try to work their passage with Hamas by turning on the old bosses ?

Robert Schwartz said...

I think that westerners fail to understand the degree to which Arab societies are controlled by family, tribe, and clan. Men belong to Hamas or Fatah, not because they subscribe to the parties catechism, but because that is who their family, tribe, clan is allied with. these alliances may change, but the underlying rivalries will not.

I do not think that Hamas will try to co-opt Fatah, because this is also struggle between factions for finite resources. Hamas cannot put its thugs on the payroll without removing Fatah's thugs.

It will either be war or Fatah's thugs will accept starvation. I bet on war.

lmg said...

Hamas entertaining a two-state solution is the worst possible development. It just returns us to the charade-quo-ante of a terrorist "armed wing" that is disavowed by and totally controlled by a "political wing" of the same organization. IOW, a fig leaf that puts us right back where we were, with the whole world funding a terror war against Israel, with no hope of an ending.

eteraz said...

i tend to think that if hamas goes for the bi-nation state, we should support it. because it would require for them to merge their bombers into a 'nationa' military. soon they'll realize that their military doesn't match up with israel's. so they'll broker an economic deal and become a bangladesh to israel's india. the lack of economic parity is unfair, sure; but peaceful? oh yes.

El Jefe Maximo said...

If Hamas would, up front, accept some kind of bi-national deal; the road to peace would be three quarters traveled, because Israel would then have to negotiate seriously on borders, and on Jerusalem.

But as matters stand now, if the Hamas seriously continues either with its present rhetorical position, or adopts some version of the Fatah method of dancing around the point, then they give the Israeli far right carte blanche to continue with the separation wall wherever they feel like putting it, and they have no serious pressure on the Israelis to reduce the settlement activity. Sharon was making a start on that -- the successor government is going to make him look positively dovish, at this rate.

As for whether a Palestinian state could be economically viable, I would imagine that it will be difficult, without the means for people to seek employment in Israel, and without Palestinians having the use if the Israeli ports. Another reason for Hamas, or whoever, to think seriously about how to end this conflict.

Also, I don't forsee the Israelis accepting the return of the 1948 refugees and their descendants, at least in large numbers. Those who did not opt to resettle elsewhere and tried to return to the West Bank and Gaza could swamp the place. The Israelis, the Americans, and the Europeans would no doubt be expected to pay something to address this matter.

Small size should not necessarily be a barrier to viability, but this pre-supposes good relations with the neighbors. I would think that a West Bank/Gaza Palestine, at peace with Israel,would have much more going for it than Bangladesh, maybe as go-betweens between the rest of the Arab middle east and Israel.

But if Hamas, and more importantly, Palestinian and Arab opinion as a whole, does not and cannot accept the bi-national solution, the future just seems incredibly bleak to me. Yes, they can take the cue of the western left and try to spin the argument that Palestine is the new South Africa; and, who knows ? Plenty of the gullible here and in Europe will buy it. I think this just delivers Israel to the spiritual heirs of Meir Kahane.