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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

♪ 132 Palestinian legislators on the wall... ♪...132 Palestinian legislators ♪

...You take one down...

Oops, I'm getting ahead of myself.

I didn't realized how upset I was about the subject of yesterday's post until I saw some of the rationalizing and historical amnesia represented in some of the comments.

People, this is not an issue that requires thinking in shades of gray.  It is a binary I/O decision tree up and down the line.

Are we at war or at peace with the Palestinians?

The Palestinians want to force Israel to relate to them in an open forum as if they and we are two countries at peace who are simply having a border dispute.  In such a case any demands/offers made publicly or privately by them must be considered part of an ongoing negotiating process.  Under such circumstances to ignore an offer to negotiate is viewed by the outside world as obstructionist and lacking in good faith.

However firing missiles over the borders of a sovereign nation is a clear casus belli according to any definition.  Israel is under no obligation to negotiate borders, populations or any other aspect of a potential settlement while under military attack.  Any country that would continue to negotiate while under direct military attack would be negotiating a surrender to a hostile enemy, not an amicable compromise with a peaceful neighbor.

Are the Palestinians entitled to the protections of the Geneva convention?

Quite simply, No.  The Palestinians want Israel to relate to them as an autonomous nation with all the protections provided under current conventions.  However They do not conduct themselves according to any existing conventions (i.e. excluding civilians from conflict, honoring the neutral, inviolate nature of hospitals and ambulances, etc.), and most importantly they do not dress their active combatants in uniforms with recognizable insignia.  Therefore they (the leaders and the combatants) are not entitled to protection under current conventions of military conduct.

Clear so far?  Good.

So after listening to some of yesterday's hand-wringing comments ("we're doing everything we can... there is nothing else we can do... what would you suggest, David...") I posted my plan for stopping the Qassams in two easy steps.  But since most people don't read the comments I decided to re-post it here in the light of day:

Treppenwitz's 2-Step Plan for Stopping the Qassams

Step 1:  Send a public message to the PA and Hamas leadership telling them that starting tomorrow, for every single day that even one Qassam falls inside Israel, one member of the PA/Hamas Leadership (including the Palestinian Legislative council) will be targeted with one of our much more accurate missiles.   

Step 2:  Make good on that threat.

I figure we will probably burn through two, maybe three PLC Ministers before they figure out we're not bluffing.

And puleeeze don't tell me that such a move would open up our leaders to attack.  Not only did the Palestinians remove that taboo when they murdered our Tourism Minister in a Jerusalem Hotel back in 2001, but it's probably about time that the lily-white people making the decisions in our government started sharing some of the risk with the rest of us colored folk.

Make no mistake, the PLC absolutely has the ability to make the missiles (and other hostile acts) stop any time they want to. We just haven't given them a compelling enough reason to do so... yet.

Qassam missiles, like suicide belts, cost money to build and deploy.  Even if one accepts the hypothesis that some of the funding for Palestinian weapons originates in places like Syria and Iran, those countries aren't sending the money and materials directly to Mohammad Q. Shahid.  It is being sent to administrators, planners and strongmen who are either in the PLC or have a first-hand connection to someone who is.

As I said to a commenter yesterday, the IDF practice of shooting expensive artillery shells into vacant lots and open fields after the Qassam crews are long gone is worse than futile.  It makes us look weak and ineffectual... something nobody can afford to do in time of war.

And talking about a massive ground offensive to reoccupy the northern Gaza is just silly.  It would be roughly analogous to a massive police task force being sent into a bad neighborhood to arrest all the drug dealers and junkies.  It wouldn't touch the big fish who control the supply of both drugs and money... and within days a new crop of dealers and junkies would be back on the street conducting business as usual.

In short, if we're at war (and I challenge anyone to show me a working definition of the word that doesn't fit our current situation), then it's time to use our military might... intelligently.

If our enemy is an irregular force that refuses to comply with existing conventions and rules of engagement, then it's time we informed them that they do not enjoy the protection of such rules and conventions.

If they want to talk... great, let's talk. But the moment something that originated on their side of the border blows up on our side... the time for talk is over.  Full stop.

C'mon everyone... sing it with me...

♪  "132 Palestinian legislators on the wall...♪... 132 Palestinian legislators.  You take one down..."

220_45

Posted by David Bogner on June 21, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

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what a week of powerful posts, David. I just linked to the whole week. thanks, as usual, for your thoughtful posts.

Posted by: timna | Jun 21, 2006 3:09:59 PM

It may take rockets raining down on Dizengoff for the majority of Israelis to accept the degree of ruthlessness that will be needed to defeat the Arabs. ... and 'ruthless" is an awfully harsh term.

Today, too many deny the state of war that exists. Asking them to "defeat" a "negotiating partner" is futile... They must first recognize that their "partner for peace" is, in fact, the enemy. The "Partner for Peace" is doing everything within its power to destroy Israel, and doing NOTHING to build a lasting peace. We ignore it at our peril.

For the Arab side it is Peace WithOUT Israel, not Peace WITH Israel.

The choices are bleak, but, in the end, there is no getting around the fact that the Arabs will have to be defeated... The alternatives are unacceptable: Either Israel will surrender or be destroyed.

Nothing short of defeat will convince the Arabs to give up their dream of driving the Jews into the sea. Until the majority of Israelis come to that conclusion, there is little to be done except absorb Arab bombs.

The country elected a government that is tired. Appeasement is the work of tired people.

Posted by: Oceanguy | Jun 21, 2006 3:29:21 PM

I agree with your plan 100%.

Let's get started today!

Posted by: A Simple Jew | Jun 21, 2006 3:51:53 PM

Woah! Politics on treppenwitz?! Times must be grim indeed.

Good posts.

BYS

Posted by: BooYakaSha | Jun 21, 2006 4:01:52 PM

Toyed with avoiding the topic as I am short on time but....

Interesting idea, definitely preferrable to carpet bombing a refugee camp. Can I assume that the plan would be to target the legislators with the most dubious history and try to leave someone with some credibility who would be in a position to negotiate and enforce a truce should they see the error of their ways?

Posted by: lisoosh | Jun 21, 2006 4:19:10 PM

Right now they continue to test to see how much Israel will put up with. They will push and prod until a real response is given.

I think that your plan has merit.

There must be consequences.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 21, 2006 4:24:37 PM

Great post and I'm with you all the way. One question will you make the notation to that song available any time soon? I'd prefer a full blown orchestral arrangement if you have the time...thanks.

Posted by: Jewish Blogmeister | Jun 21, 2006 5:12:40 PM

Timna... That's me... the sacred cow slayer. :-)

Oceanguy... I've only recently come to the conclusion that it really doesn't matter what our neighbors want and think. We are only obliged to respond to their actions. Israel has to become a deaf street fighter. People can talk sh*t to their heart's content and we can let it just wash over us unheard. But the moment they make a move to hurt us it's time to fight until the threat no longer exists.

A simple Jew... One problem. I'm still not an MK.

BooYakaSHa... I tried to stay away but they keep dragging me back into the swamp. :-)

Lisoosh... No, actually that's the great part. While we would be using pinpoint accurate laser-guided missiles to target the PLC Ministers, the actual person designated for evaporation would be selected randomly by pulling a name a day from a big lotto-style air machine. Since they use such a random weapon (the Qassam) it is only fair that we try to respond in an equally random manner.

Jack... Up until now they have been doing exactly what the Iraqi terrorists have been doing. They have been careful to keep the number and severity of attacks well below the response threshold. This allows them to continue to kill while keeping the enemy population frozen with indecision. My idea is to reduce the response threshold to a nice round number. '1'.

Jewish Blogmiester... I'm going to call Avremy G and ask him to add it to his library over at Notable Ideas.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 21, 2006 5:15:03 PM

Ahh! Now you've made it interesting. I certainly hope that the balls would be retrieved by a suitably voluptuous and scantily clad young lady. Or perhaps for variety a ripped young man in a speedo.

Posted by: lisoosh | Jun 21, 2006 5:25:42 PM

At the risk of starting a flame war, I think that those of us who are parents have an easier time seeing things in black and white when it comes to children's safety. About two nanoseconds after our children are born we know that if it is in our power, our kid comes first - except when it comes time to send him off to serve his country, in which case it is up to G-d. Those who have not experienced this primal experience see things in a more subtle way.

Posted by: westbankmama | Jun 21, 2006 5:38:13 PM

Your analogy of drug dealers is particularly apt. The PA leadership is nothing less than an organized crime syndicate. But sadly they're more than the Cosa Nostra -- they're "the Mob" on a mission from Allah.

This makes it all the more imperative that Israel do nothing that these thugs can interpret as weakness. If the PA leadership suffers retaliation every time they attack, then the Palestinian people have cause to doubt that Allah is all that pleased with their terrorism. But if the attacks go unanswered (or worse, win concessions from Israel), then the Arabs will interpret that as divine approval of their jihad.

Posted by: Bob | Jun 21, 2006 5:56:44 PM

And what happens after Pali leaders with brown streaks on their pants give us a "hudna" for... how many weeks?

Until they are taken out by another set of leaders.

What happens when it dissolves into a medley of insurgent groups - which is already happening - and the semblance of structure under the PA evaporates?

We're already having trouble finding someone to address our threats to.

What happens the morning after?

We go back to the table and make nice again, like the Oslo bait-and-switch and subsequent meltdown never occurred?

This is still a war about borders, about Israel's existence.

It's not a "solution" unless it resolves that core dispute - or moves us closer to resolving it.

That means certain goodies get taken off the table, and facts are established on the ground.

Like annexation and transfer of hostile populations.

Posted by: Ben-David | Jun 21, 2006 6:05:59 PM

I've had a plan to solve the Gaza problem for quite some time. Anchor 1000 garbage skows outfitted with engines and fuel at the beach and start shooting on the Eastern edge of Gaza. Have the soldiers advance westward steadily.

Posted by: Scott | Jun 21, 2006 7:01:34 PM

Please, no more amazing posts this week - I have no time to spend enjoying the dialogue from such thought-provoking topics!

Your note today seems to have a weak link, in that it relies on the, as you put it, "pinpoint accurate laser-guided missiles." So far this week, and in the past at times, these missiles do not live up to that description.

Would you be willing to support your solution even with errant, sometimes misfired or misguided ones?

Posted by: Yonah | Jun 21, 2006 7:45:29 PM

I'm old school I favor the smell of napalm in the morning

Posted by: dave | Jun 21, 2006 7:57:02 PM

LOVE the title of the post.

The plan seems very reasonable. Israel used to target the Hamas leadership before... what happened?

Posted by: Irina | Jun 21, 2006 8:31:17 PM

Jewish Blogmeister asks:

"One question will you make the notation to that song available any time soon? I'd prefer a full blown orchestral arrangement if you have the time...thanks."

It's a great idea. Psychotoddler has already proven himself worthy of the task. I'm happy to write the lyrics.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jun 21, 2006 8:41:07 PM

Amen David. I feel like screaming when people get stuck in analysis paralysis.

I will also say that it's easy for me to support your idea while sitting in my house in Atlanta.

Posted by: Alice | Jun 21, 2006 9:16:56 PM

I totally agree. I have basically been saying the same thing for a while; make a statement then actually follow through! If only the government would take this as seriously as they did with Gush Katif and Amona... Hey, maybe we can get the Hamas / PA leadership to start wearing orange.....

Posted by: David | Jun 21, 2006 9:45:34 PM

I posted this comment on yesterday's discussion before I realized it was the main topic of today's discussion:

Matlabfreak... A ground invasion would be the equivalent of a police task force going into a bad neighborhood and arresting all the corner drug dealers. It does nothing about the big drug kingpins and does nothing about the supply side economics of the whole drug selling proposition. See my comment to Sarah for my plan.

I never said 'my' plan would work in the long run; merely that it was what I had seen/read/heard of what the IDF was preparing. Israel has a long history of going for tactical solutions for strategic problems. Heck, in the US's 'war on drugs', they've been doing exactly what you said (vis a vis arresting the little guys), to little overall effect. Countries are short-sighted, especially when under intense public pressure to show immediate results.

I am not convinced that your method of controlling Kassam fire would work... but I know it will never be implemented. So why bother discussing it?

And I think that everyone - no matter their political orientation - would agree that the only way to indefinitely stop attacks of this sort is to make it so that the Palestinians honestly don't want to carry them out (and not under threat of return violence, which is Israel's current tactic). I have no clue when or how this will happen, or even if it is possible. But all other solutions are band-aids at best.

Ender

An addendum to flesh out my hesitation about your plan's efficacy (even if Israel were to be willing to try it out):

Your argument acknowledges that it is dependent on a number of factors to work:

1) The PLC must be in a position to halt attacks.

You have suggested (correctly) that the funds and materials to manufacture and deploy Qassams need to come from somewhere, yes? You have (again correctly) reasoned that most of these funds are channeled through Palestinian government sources.

However, your argument hinges on the assumption that the PLC can control all of the funds, all of the Qassam attacks... something I am rather skeptical about. If they could control 99 of 100 attacks, I would be delighted. But that extra one rocket will be all it would take for Israel to start assassinating PLC members again, by your plan.

Essentially, one moderately-equipped terrorist from any group (including Islamic Jihad, which isn't too chummy with the current leadership) can completely destroy the PLC leadership.

There are always steps they can take to try to stop all attacks, but those steps will almost certainly remove them from power permanently, making Israel lose whatever leverage they had. Either way, the plan fails.

2. Your plan assumes that Israel will be able to find and cleanly eliminate the PLC legislators. We know from past experience that missile attacks can go awry, with devastating consequences. Are we willing to accept such high levels of collateral damage? Secondly, as soon as this policy is announced, most of the PLC legislators (including all of the worst, nastiest ones) will immediately disappear. Oh, we may be able to find them as time goes on, but it will lose its deterrence and our ability to couple their deaths to a Qassam attack immediately prior to the assassination. Then, how would it be functionally different from Israel's current assassination campaign against terrorist leaders? We would just be broadening the definition of 'terrorist leader'.

3. Your plans assumes that the PLC is full of self-interested, rational beings. I have no doubt that most are self-interested (though there are probably a few honest martyrs), but rational? Heh.

Anywho... I'm not saying your plan is really any worse than any of the other ones out there, nor that it wouldn't have some deterrent value. But I doubt it would be a real solution... and the cost Israel would pay - in international favor, in its own grief over causing unprecedented levels of collateral damage, and in making any progress towards a final solution - would be horrendous.

'course, I don't think we should negotiate with them, either. This problem poses few easy strategic or tactical solutions that are workable.

Posted by: matlabfreak | Jun 21, 2006 11:26:21 PM

Sure, I'll sing it with you gladly. Just give me a few moments to warm up ...

Posted by: Rahel | Jun 22, 2006 12:49:07 AM

Thank you, David, for the interesting posts all week (even if I had to get my tissues out yesterday). Your blog always reminds me of the daily courage of the Israelis.

Posted by: Lucy | Jun 22, 2006 2:49:04 AM

Simple and direct. I like it.

Posted by: Elisson | Jun 22, 2006 5:46:54 AM

And I think that everyone - no matter their political orientation - would agree that the only way to indefinitely stop attacks of this sort is to make it so that the Palestinians honestly don't want to carry them out (and not under threat of return violence, which is Israel's current tactic). I have no clue when or how this will happen, or even if it is possible. But all other solutions are band-aids at best.

An argument could be made that wars end when one side is so thoroughly militarily defeated that it lays down its arms.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 22, 2006 8:46:06 AM

But Jack, unless the sides don't wish to continue fighting, there will be another war, until one side is either entirely destroyed or there is a fundamental shift in how the side views matters. Honestly, given the number of Arab-Israeli wars, is this that hard to believe? The Arab nations weren't cowed after 1967... rather, the humiliating defeat required that they plan yet another war. Some countries (Syria) still haven't learned, despite having their asses handed to them on far too many occasions.

Yes, yes, you're going to give me that old story about how if you beat someone sufficiently, they really will convince themselves they don't want any further fighting. All I can say is that I'm not convinced. Far too many age-old enmities between countries have stuck around despite devastating wars for me to believe that simply beating someone will do the trick.

No, a military defeat is only effective if it goes hand-in-hand with a fundamental shift in the psychology of your enemy. In some cultures, the simple fact of a defeat will do this... in others, further inducements are needed.

This does not mean that we should rule out military options, or that a military intervention is not part of the solution. But to put our faith in a solely military solution when it is clear that more will be needed for a lasting peace is foolish. Solely military solutions can yield security (at least for a while)... but peace is a whole 'nother issue that requires the cooperation of one's enemies.

Posted by: matlabfreak | Jun 22, 2006 9:00:32 AM

Bravo, Trep, Bravo.

No more of this halting response. It's a war. Treat it like a war.

I love your direct approach and I wish someone over there would take it to heart.

Keep telling it like it is.

Posted by: Tracey | Jun 22, 2006 9:29:30 AM

Matlab freak:

However humiliating the defeats have been, none were complete. The UN has always stepped in at the last moment to keep the Arabs from utter defeat... How else would it be possible for Egypt to annually celebrate Victory Day over the Jews in the Yom Kippur War.

The bottom line: The Arabs have yet to be defeated, the war(s) will not end until they are.

Posted by: Oceanguy | Jun 22, 2006 2:44:51 PM

Lisoosh... I've heard that an offer has already been extended to Yolanda Vega! :-)

Westbank mama... And we have a Prime Minister who has one son who refused to serve and a daughter who volunteers with an organization that actively endangers soldiers in the field. Is it any wonder he's a little hazy on priorities?

Bob... When you're on your game, your comments are solid gold. Good one!

Ben-David... I am starting to get the impression that I could say the sky is blue and you would bring an argument. For the record I am enjoying our exchanges less and less... mostly because your tone has become increasingly confrontational. that having been said, I am done waiting for Palestinian society to solidify and for a strong leader to take charge. It seems silly to spare their leadership with the mistaken idea that beheading the PA will lead to further anarchy. The leaders are responsible for the violence and terrorism and it is the leaders who must feel the response. Populations are never going to be transferred (at least not Arab populations), so get over that idea. We have waited for years to have a majority of the terrorist warlords sitting in the warm light of legitimate power. This is something that they want to risk losing only slightly less than they want to risk losing their lives. It's one thing to be an underground leader scraping by on crumbs of funding. as a PLC Minister you can divert some serious money to your Swiss bank account... and this fact alone will make them avoid tipping the apple cart. If Israel starts deliberately targeting the decision makers I am 100% sure that the decisions they make sill begin to change.

Scott... That sounds suspiciously like their plan to push us into the sea. You've added the small improvement of a garbage barge, but not much more. Not helpful.

Yonah... We're not talking about bombing Dresden or even randomly lobbing missiles into densely packed areas. Statistically a certain number of even the most accurate missiles are going to either miss their target or cause collateral damage along with the intended target. I'm OK with this. War sucks, but if someone on their side has to die so that someone on my side can live, I'm OK with that.

Dave... It smells like... victory. :-)

Irina... Since they came to power we have been mostly avoiding it and concentrating on the second tier terrorists or those who are not in the government. I think this is the opposite of what we should be doing. These Hamas guys finally have a stake in the game. Before they had nothing to lose. Now that isn;t the case.

Doctor Bean.. I've heard you sing. You'll forgive me if I reserve the right to only accept medical advice from you. :-)

Alice... This decision tree is independent of geographic factors. Someone in Atlanta can see as well as someone in Sderot that we are at war and need to act like it.

David... The kernel of truth at the center of your joke is that there are many people in government today who really feel that religious settlers are a more dangerous and immediate threat than the Palestinians.

Matlabfreak... "I am not convinced that your method of controlling Kassam fire would work... but I know it will never be implemented. So why bother discussing it?" Do I understand you correctly that for an idea to be discussed it must first have a certainty of being implemented and also of being successful? Right now I think that think tanks of every color should be churning out any and every possible scenario rather than letting the same tired political hacks sit there in the Knesset like deer in the headlights. "the only way to indefinitely stop attacks of this sort is to make it so that the Palestinians honestly don't want to carry them out." Now that the people in power are actually officially the ones calling the military shots, I think painting a bullseye on all 132 of them would have a profound effect on their desire to continue waging war. Remember, not one of the suicide bombers or kassam crew members is a first generation relation to someone in power. Not one. We need to move the threat tot the top of the food chain. As to the accuracy of the missiles. Considering that theirs have no guidance package whatsoever I'm not overly concerned with the occasional collateral damage or missed target. You spoke of a splinter group that might want to have PLC members targeted firing missiles or something other kinds of attacks. I don't think you realize what an iron fist the PLC is capable of imposing if they want to. DO you really think that the entire population of Gaza, Judea and Samaria willingly agreed to torpedo their economic livelihood and turn their lives into a living hell? Do not underestimate the power that can be wielded by these strongmen via a well motivated group of enforcers.

Rahel... Eeek!!! Kol Isha!!! [ducking and running] :-)

Lucy... I'll assume you are referring to the bravery needed to get into the car and drive here among all the crazy drivers. :-)

Elisson... Hellfire: When you care enough to send the very best. :-)

Jack... Anyone who says otherwise probably also sends their kids to sports programs where neither side actually wins or loses... because that might scar someone's self esteem. :-)

Tracey... I keep calling but nobody is picking up.

Oceanguy... I actually think that it is only the leaders you need to back into a corner with the big gun. Now that all the major dirtbags are in the government there is no more finger pointing or plausible deniability when an attack is launched.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 22, 2006 3:38:31 PM

Most revered Treppy:

I like you.

Posted by: Lioness | Jun 22, 2006 4:59:03 PM

First off David... I want to stress that I am not an expert, and this is all in the spirit of debate, not criticism. As always, I find your post well-written and thought-provoking.

Do I understand you correctly that for an idea to be discussed it must first have a certainty of being implemented and also of being successful? Right now I think that think tanks of every color should be churning out any and every possible scenario rather than letting the same tired political hacks sit there in the Knesset like deer in the headlights.
Pardon my inexact speech. I don't think one can effectively assess the likelihood of something working without first having a detailed analysis done. However, it is more than easy to see that your idea will never actually be implemented by the Israeli government (something that you yourself acknowledge), making it a bit of a moot point. If there was a shred of a possibility that they might end up doing something like this, I'd say by all means propose it.

Now that the people in power are actually officially the ones calling the military shots, I think painting a bullseye on all 132 of them would have a profound effect on their desire to continue waging war.
*shakes head* Sure, that'll convince 132 people, and maybe another few hundred close relatives and such. Will the PLC then be able to convince several million others to agree with them? I'm skeptical. It requires more than threats to change this psychology... that is, unless Israel is willing to threaten the lives of every single Palestinian, and shows itself capable of carrying out those threats (something I think both you and I would abhor as a solution).

Considering that theirs have no guidance package whatsoever I'm not overly concerned with the occasional collateral damage or missed target.
Moral equivalency is always a silly argument, David, and I'm surprised you pulled this one out. If you could convincingly argue that your methods would be the most 'moral' - disregarding the methods of the other side - while still achieving the needed result, I would happily endorse your plan (at least on these grounds). But as we've seen in the last week, even with the IAF's increased vigilance and care in attacking terrorists in urban areas, more than a few 'missed targets' are going to cause unspeakable harm.

*steeples fingers* I suppose my feelings about this issue can be summarized thus: If there is an imminent threat, then Israel should act decisively to neutralize it, no matter the collateral damage. Thus, attacking launching crews, cars full of Qassams, etc., is a legitimate practice (though of course efforts should still be made to minimize CD). Yet attacking terrorist leaders (and PLC legislators, though I'll admit the line between the two is more than a little blurred) is not dealing with an immediate threat, but rather trying to develop a strategic solution. As such, the actions of the IAF are far more 'voluntary' in nature, and should only be carried out in a manner that all but eliminates CD.

We know that when push comes to shove, they can be careful about this... it just takes longer. A statistic I saw in some paper (uh... either JPost or Ha'aretz some time back): "In the first two years of the uprising, non-combatants made up roughly half of all the deaths from Israeli assassination air raids, air force chief Eliezer Shakedi said this month. Last year, civilian casualties represented only 3.5 percent."
That change happened because the IAF was choosy about where and when they attacked, something they could afford to do with strategic, rather than tactical threats. Your plan instead calls for immediate (and thus bloody) retribution... something I think is poorly defensible from a moral standpoint.

I don't think you realize what an iron fist the PLC is capable of imposing if they want to.
I don't. Please, enlighten me. Do you have any proof that you're right? (ie, that they can easily control 100% of Qassam fire without losing their positions) I should remind you that few of the Palestinians (even the leaders) had much choice about their lives being turned into an 'economic living hell'. That was decided by terrorist attacks, the structure of the Palestinian Oslo economy, corruption amongst PA politicians, and Israel's reasonable responses/closures in the wake of such attacks. I don't think this is something that they feel can be blamed on their government (whether or not it should be), but rather on the Israelis. If the Palestinians were ever to make the connection between their miserable existences and their inept governance, they would overthrow them... not cower from 'enforcers'.

Posted by: matlabfreak | Jun 22, 2006 8:57:06 PM

Oceanguy:

I don't want to hijack David's comments, so this will be my last word on our disagreement (feel free to track me down elsewhere for a more in-depth discussion, if you so desire):

However humiliating the defeats have been, none were complete. The UN has always stepped in at the last moment to keep the Arabs from utter defeat... How else would it be possible for Egypt to annually celebrate Victory Day over the Jews in the Yom Kippur War.

The bottom line: The Arabs have yet to be defeated, the war(s) will not end until they are.

Oh, come on. You don't call 1967 a humiliating, complete military defeat (at least of the Egyptians)? Their entire air force, most of their armored corp, and over ten thousand soldiers were all destroyed. At the cost of 300-some Israeli soldiers, a handful of planes, and some tanks. Israel carried out every one of their objectives, with or without UN intervention (though I'll admit they were hurried in their execution of these objectives due to fear of UN pressure).

And the Yom Kippur War was a face-saving measure for the Arab world... they weren't utterly defeated as in 1967, which is why they continue to celebrate it every year.

Ender

Posted by: matlabfreak | Jun 22, 2006 9:35:34 PM

But to put our faith in a solely military solution when it is clear that more will be needed for a lasting peace is foolish.

I agree with that, but there is a lot of evidence to support the premise that a complete military victory goes a long way.

When is the last time you saw the Japanese attack anyone.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 23, 2006 8:23:38 AM

Ben-David... I am starting to get the impression that I could say the sky is blue and you would bring an argument.
- - - - - - -
YOU'RE WRONG!!!

For the record I am enjoying our exchanges less and less... mostly because your tone has become increasingly confrontational.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

THAT'S NOT TRUE!!!

...and anyway matlab and others have already made the same point I have.

Don't get me wrong - I certainly don't think the Pali leadership should be spared any misery.

But a "solution" it ain't.

Your suggestion shares the boxed-in vision of post-Oslo thinking, which substitutes short-term tactics for keeping the wolves away from our doors in stead of a strategic approach to winning this thing.

This is largely a result of the PC coronation of Palis as perpetual victims - which undercuts Israeli sovereignty and chains Israel to the mercy of the Palestinians, and leaves us begging and/or hunkering down and waiting to be accepted by them.

But the truth is that we are engaged in a 100 year long, elbows-out, shoving match for sovereignty over this area. Punctuated by periods of relative peace - not coincidentally, these periods of relative calm came after manifest, crushing, decisive Israeli victories.

It most definitely contains elements of a war of attrition against the Arabs who live(d) here.

Call it "ethnic cleansing by nibbles, dribs and drabs".

And now that Oslo-era PC thought has almost completely undercut the legitimacy of Zionism - you'd still be judged part of this battle, still be considered an oppressive occupying ethnic cleanser even if you'd made Aliyah straight into a beachfront Herzliyah duplex.

Posted by: Ben-David | Jun 23, 2006 5:54:07 PM

Late to the party, but...

I think this is a very good, thought-provoking idea. The points against that the PLC has little true control are decent, but... in the end, I think you're right. Since Israel seems unwilling to respond with an all-out assault as would be done in any other country that was being hit by rockets of another government, this would be the next best idea. It reinforces the idea to the international "community" three important points: 1) If the PLC is the "government", then attacks by their people are attacks of a foreign entity; 2) That makes them fair game; and 3) If it doesn't work, an all-out attack is next.

Great post.

Posted by: Ezzie | Jun 25, 2006 6:53:20 AM

Lioness... [waves membership card in the Trep-Lioness mutual admiration society]!

Matlabfreak... There is certainly enough empirical evidence to establish that the OSLO/Appeasement method is not working. Mine is a different route that certainly deserves a try. And I wasn't suggesting moral equivalency. They use a completely random weapon knowing that it will almost certainly hit civilian targets. Our 'randomness' is far more deliberate. The crux of our differences on this discussion rests on the definition of "an imminent threat". The First sign that Hamas intended to make good on its campaign pledges was our cue to act decisively against the people calling the shots... not the cannon fodder firing them.

Jack... But the Germans after WWI is an object lesson of the dangers of completely destroying a country without giving it hope of rebuilding.

Ben-David... there is nothing short term about vaporizing the leaders who are orchestrating the terror war. There is much evidence that the typical Palestinian on the street would much rather go back to the quiet Pre-Intifada days than live under threat of daily violence.

Ezzie... See, that wasn't so hard! Why are so many other people having such trouble with this concept?

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 26, 2006 12:17:35 PM

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