In yesterday's column
As long as Iraq loomed as a major threat, one could hear three arguments in Israel. One said no withdrawal from the West Bank and Jordan River was possible because Israel needed a security buffer. Another said withdrawal was essential to maintain Israel as a Jewish democracy. Because if Israel kept control of the occupied territories, there would soon be more Arabs than Jews living in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel. A third said that no withdrawal was tolerable because the Jewish state needed to control all the Jewish land, including the Biblical West Bank.
Friedman brings three arguments concerning the disposition of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Two of them (the first and third) are body issues. They are the issues that mostly concern those who worry about the physical existence of Israel (and the Jewish people.) The second, the fear of Palestinian population growth, is a spiritual issue. It is the approach favored by the Israeli (and American) left. It supposes that Israel must cede a significant amount of land to the PLO in order to avoid losing its Jewish character or "becoming an apartheid state." The "spirit" argument is made in exclusion of the body arguments.
Well yes, Israel may not, now, face a threat from Iraq. But if the occupation is going as badly as Friedman carps, wouldn't that change? Besides as we've seen over the past decade, the PA may not have the capability of destroying Israel by itself, but it can use violence to extract a high price from Israel as a country.
In a sobering assessment, MK Dr. Yuval Steinitz pointed out
a few years ago that the PA may indeed present an existential threat to Israel, especially in conjunction with another Arab army that wishes harm upon Israel.
Finally, targeting the military is not the only means by which a broad series of Palestinian commando attacks could contribute to an effective Arab assault. Terrorist raids on residential neighborhoods or the seizure of national television and radio stations might serve to promote widespread demoralization and civilian flight.
Another set of potential objectives consists of technical installations: the electric power plant in Hadera, the oil refineries of Haifa, the chemical tanks of Gelilot, or the switchboards, transformers, and distribution boxes of the Bezek national telephone company. Power outages, huge blazes near Israel's large cities, and temporary interruptions of communication lines would all serve to paralyze if not cripple Israel in the early phases of a war.
Even if one shows concern for the demographic problem, Former MK, Moshe Arens, recently concluded that
Would a unilateral withdrawal by the IDF, leaving the terrorists in control of the abandoned areas, strike a blow against terrorism or expose Israelis to additional dangers? Some people seem to have forgotten that Israel had already withdrawn from much of Judea and Samaria after the Oslo agreement and that the IDF reentered the Palestinian towns in order to stem the tide of terrorism that was sweeping over Israel. This was never a question
The idea that the IDF can be withdrawn and Israelis can settle down to live peacefully behind the security fence, while terrorism reigns on the other side of the fence is an illusion. Nobody would suggest that having once withdrawn and continuing to suffer from terrorism, Israel would refrain to use of the IDF beyond the Green Line for "demographic considerations."
Demographic considerations play no part in the battle against terrorism. It is a battle for the life of Israel and its citizens. Demographic consideration are valid and legitimate once the permanent borders of Israel are being negotiated. We're not there yet.
In other words, Dr. Arens states what is obvious to most of us who remain undeluded by the prospects of peace in the Middle East. Israel must first tend to it's body; when the body is safe, it can worry about it's soul. By skipping the step of peace, Friedman once again ignores the fact that Israel's good faith has produced nothing but a greater Arab appetite to destroy the Jewish state. Right now Israel must focus on winning its war. When it is, it's body will be secure and only then can Israel afford to consider helping its soul.
Crossposted on Israpundit
and Doubting Thomas
A Charming Friedman Story
Thanks to LGF
there's an article in Jewsweek telling how short tempered Thomas Friedman
is. He doesn't take questions too well.
The recent Geneva Peace Accord exists in some sort of alternate dimension: Representatives from two sides in a conflict hack out an agreement without actually representing either side, or coming to agreement on many of the more pressing issues; a document that will guarantee peace has no provisions for stopping violence. An event last Thursday featured the authors of the Accord; adding to the paradox, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist who always tells us that peace can be achieved no matter what failed to contain his rage when criticized. So step inside this house of mirrors, where seeing a distorted reality is believing emphatically in it, and you'll find yourself taken away by the trip, if only for a while. Dig it.
Crossposted on Israpundit
and Doubting Thomas