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Hey, look over there!

One common theme among government detractors is the accusation that the current administration is engineering a foreign conflict for the sole purpose of distracting the populace from domestic concerns. Nothing unites a people and gets them to overlook problems at home like a nice, juicy external threat.

It's a non-partisan theme, too. It's being used against George W. Bush over Iraq; it was used against Bill Clinton over the Balkans, Mogadishu, and various strikes against Al Qaeda; it was used against the first President Bush over the first Gulf War; and it was used against Ronald Reagan and his moves in Grenada -- and those are just the administrations I personally recall clearly.

But never in history do I know of a government using this tactic so openly, so brazenly, so flagrantly, as the Palestinian Authority.

In the elections last year, the Palestinian people had a choice between Terrorists A (Fatah, a bunch of corrupt, stealing terrorists) and Terrorists B (Hamas, a bunch if Islamist terrorists). They'd given Fatah a chance, and they'd failed miserably to achieve much of anything besides persuading the world that they were "moderate" terrorists (and lining their own pockets), so they figured what the hell, let's give Hamas a try.

In most civilized countries, when a party loses an election, they lick their wounds and prepare for the next race. Or they contest the election in the courts.

But when the political parties are also terrorists, they tend to react like terrorists: a low-grade civil war emerged, with in-fighting between the two killing Palestinians by the score -- occasionally each other, frequently innocent bystanders.

Then someone (I think it was Hamas, but I'm not sure) got the bright idea: "Hey, why are we killing each other? We should find some common ground where we both agree -- let's go back to killing the Jews!" This is the one unifying element in Palestinian culture.

Well, "go back to killing Jews" is a bit inaccurate. Despite the frequently-touted "cease fires" and "truces" and the like, neither side had ever really stopped in the first place. It was just shuffled down as a priority.

Hamas, then, decided the best thing they could do to end the infighting was to resume the large-scale attacks on Israel. They figured that if they poked at Israel enough (translation: killed, wounded, or kidnapped enough Israelis), sooner or later the Israelis would hit back -- hard -- and then they could rally the Palestinian people to set aside their internecine squabbling and unite against the common enemy (translation: stop killing each other and go back to killing Jews).

So we have the current situation: an escalation of the rocket attacks on southern Israel, especially Sderot (which hasn't stopped in years, despite all the truces and cease-fires), increased attempts at terrorist attacks, and in general going through the books for definitions of "casus belli" and giving 'em all a try.

So, what is the world's response? Do they condemn Hamas for this cynical play? Do they state that the world will never reward such open aggression?

Nah. These are the Palestinians, after all. They can't be held to the same standard as we do civilized people. They act that way because they can't do any better.

It's the Israelis that we can make demands of. So we have the situation now where the rest of the world that urges them to "show restraint," to "avoid escalating the situation," to "respond proportionally."

I guess the theory is that if the Israelis just sit there and take it, eventually the Palestinians will grow bored with killing Jews and go back to trying to kill each other. Or, perhaps, the world prefers dead Israeli civilians over dead Palestinian terrorists.

When Israel pulled out of Gaza completely, it was an opportunity for the Palestinians to show just what they would do if left to their own devices. And they took it for that -- the Gaza strip became the new front line for terrorist attacks against Israel, as they beat their plowshares into swords while demanding the rest of the world give them the food they were no longer reaping (as well as more swords).

"Restraint" and "proportionality" are nice, pleasant, civilized words. But they are more honestly translated as "let them kill you more slowly" when applied to Israel. And they certainly have not worked so far -- unless the goal is to maintain a certain level of Jew-killing.

And the longer I watch the whole situation, the more I think that just might be the goal of a large part of the world.


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Comments (10)

Yep, that about sums it up ... (Below threshold)
marc:

Yep, that about sums it up JT.

They are subhuman savages t... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

They are subhuman savages that deserve the silence of the grave ...

What is proportionate respo... (Below threshold)
Ben:

What is proportionate response?

It seems to me, that if someone was shooting rockets into my town, any response that fell short of eliminating the rocket threat-regardless of the damage caused by that response- is insufficient. If the Israelis eliminated the rocket threat, and continued to fire, THAT would be disporportionate!

Ben

Dam joos; all the trouble i... (Below threshold)
kim:

Dam joos; all the trouble is their fault.
=======================

Yes, the liberals are aidin... (Below threshold)
lindsay:

Yes, the liberals are aiding and abetting the destruction of Israel. They seethe with anti-semitism.

I guess the theory is th... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I guess the theory is that if the Israelis just sit there and take it, eventually the Palestinians will grow bored with killing Jews and go back to trying to kill each other.

I'm pretty sure that's not the theory.

Or, perhaps, the world prefers dead Israeli civilians over dead Palestinian terrorists.

If only this choice were true! Where do we go to kill the terrorists and no civilians? And how much ammo are we allowed to bring?

But seriously, unless someone has a real plan to stop terrorist attacks, they have to continue the sisyphean task of trying to create a Palestinian state and some amount of peace. And every time Palestinian rockets fly, it pushes that rock back down the hill. Every time Israel brings the hammer down in response, it rolls that rock back down again. It's a sad state of affairs that there is no control in the territories, no one to reason with who has the power to exercise restraint, and Israel is left holding the bag, but what the hell can you do? Israel is the adult, the civilized one. If they don't exercise restraint, no one will, and where does that lead?

And of course it's also Isr... (Below threshold)

And of course it's also Israel's fault that the Palestinian terrorists in Lebanon are robbing banks and killing people too. Don't forget to blame them for that.

If Jimmah is done bashing h... (Below threshold)
TR19667:

If Jimmah is done bashing his own country, maybe he and Kofi could broker a deal to end this.....bwaaahhhaaaaaa.

That's a joke folks. Just a joke.

At this rate it will be Bil... (Below threshold)
kim:

At this rate it will be Bill and Molloch Brown. That's no joke.
=============================

mantis,To answer you... (Below threshold)
rockindoug:

mantis,
To answer your last question, it leads to the utter destruction of what's left of the Gaza Strip and the ability of Hamas and Fatah to wage war. The Allies won WWII by grinding down both the Axis armies and their economies until their leaders cried "uncle".

You're exactly right that the Israelis are acting like adults and the Palestinians like small children. However, it does not matter what kind of example the Israelis set, the Palestinians will continue to act like children. Israel is limited only by it's ability to project it's power and by it's ability to keep 50.1% of it's population (and world opinion) in support of its policies.

The Israelis essentially have only one realistic option for a long-term peace: utterly destroy the Gaza Strip as it currently exists and completely rebuild it (a Middle-Eastern Marshall Plan), because there are no Palestinian leaders that can order and then enforce their people to quit fighting. Israel, however, cannot do this as worldwide public opinion would turn against it and it's own population would throw out whatever leadership ordered it.

The Palestinians know that Israel cannot unleash all-out war to the extent that would annihilate the Gaza Strip and kill or capture the majority of terrorists. They will continue to take losses, much more than the Israelis ever will, but these losses are worn as a badge of honor by the "poor Palestinians" standing up to the "evil Israelis". See how the media focused on the helicopter attack in Gaza last week that killed six terrorists but basically overlooked the terrorist rocket attack against the high school in Sderot that instigated the response. The "established rules" of the conflict are that the Palestinians cannot lose and the Israelis are forced to play but cannot win--where exactly is the incentive for the Palestinians to change what they're doing?

Until there is an incentive for the Palestinians to change their tactics to achieve their goals, they will (along with a sympathetic international media) continue to make small attacks against Israel to prop up their morale and sap that of Israel, knowing that there is currently no downside to their strategy.




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