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Sunday, April 22, 2007

A time for war

I still remember the first time I ever took a bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  As the bus plodded up the winding Jerusalem/Tel Aviv highway, we passed several groups of wrecked armored cars/trucks that sat on or near the spot where they had been destroyed trying to break through the Jordanian Legion's blockade of Jerusalem during the war of Independence.

Wreck1

Each one of these iron wrecks sits surrounded by wildflowers and meadow grass that waves lazily in the summer breeze.  But the bucolic setting can't disguise the fact that each one of these wrecks marks the spot where a group of volunteers sacrificed their lives trying to bring supplies to the beleaguered residents/defenders of Jerusalem.

Armoured_wrecks_j_ta

There are many things to which Israelis and veteran tourists become jaded over time.  Many of the archaeological and holy sites lose some of their 'specialness'... and landmarks associated with many of Israel's wars seem to blend into the scenery.

But for me, these wrecked vehicles never fail to evoke the same strong emotional response I felt when I first saw them in 1983.

You see, from 1948 until today there has been a chilling continuity in our country's willingness to place its young men and women behind armor plating in order to safeguard them from our enemies (both external and internal) while ignoring what such a weak and defensive posture says to our bloodthirsty foes.

Even Israeli Arabs who were once nominally neutral, if not somewhat loyal citizens have become a dangerous fifth column in our midst.  It isn't that they have any particular gripe with Israel.  They are simply throwing their lot in with the side they perceive to be winning. 

Anywhere you go in this small country you will see armored IDF jeeps (Sufas), Hummers, trucks and personnel carriers ferrying solders from place to place.  But less obvious are the IDF ambulances that are also armored because their humanitarian nature has never been respected by our enemies... the same enemies who spew chapter and verse of Geneva conventions and International law at every real or imagined Israeli transgression.

Even more insidious is the fact that nearly all civilian commuter and school buses that travel within firing distance of our enemies have armor plating and bullet-proof windows.  This isn't some hysterical precaution... these buses are regularly targeted by Palestinians with rocks, Molotov Cocktails and gunfire.

During the height of the last Intifada, most commuter cars that traveled in the 'territories' replaced their fragile glass windows with rock-proof polycarbonate windows, and many people (myself included) commuted to and from work wearing bullet proof vests.

In Sderot, where daily rocket attacks continue despite a one-sided cease-fire, our feckless Defense Minister (who nominally calls Sderot home) sees a perfectly workable solution in reinforcing the roofs of the city with iron bars and concrete armoring rather than targeting the source of the ongoing bombardment in Gaza!

Like the burned out wrecks that sit silently along the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, none of these armor solutions has proved particularly effective against the efforts of a determined enemy... and in fact seem to have simply increased the enemy's desire to strike.  Nearly every week we read about explosive devices being set off and/or thrown at IDF and civilian vehicles.  Some cause damage... others death.

But one thing that hasn't changed since the War of Independence (a war which many insist is still being fought) is that we and our enemies operate under completely different rules of engagement... a disparity that renders armor nearly useless. 

It is worth noting that the war this past summer began when Hizbollah fired upon an Israeli armored vehicle patrolling the border with Lebanon from within sovereign Israeli territory.  Also worth mentioning is that a large proportion of Israeli casualties during the war came from Hizbollah's ability to exploit our confused and overly-tentative rules of engagement to fire armor-piercing weapons at our aimlessly-wandering tanks and personnel carriers as if at a carnival shooting range.

I bring these things to your attention because at 8:00PM this evening a siren will sound all over Israel.  At that moment men, women and children will stop whatever they are doing and stand silently to remember the 22,305 people who fell fighting to make the Zionist dream a reality.  A staggering 233 of them fell during this past year!

Quite a few of the (too many) families who have lost family members in Israel's wars will have already positioned themselves in military cemeteries near their loved-one's graves and will join the siren's wail with their own lamentations. 

Honor guards from all of the combat units will have representatives standing watch on Mount Herzl over their fallen comrades, and as one, the country will pause to contemplate the wasted potential of every man and women killed before the future arrived... a future where the false security of armor would no longer be needed.

I honestly don't know what to think when our young soldiers still drive around within their own borders inside armored vehicles and wearing ceramic body armor while our enemy's combatants parade fearlessly in the streets of Gaza City and Ramallah in shirt sleeves. 

I don't know how to weigh the fact that our children travel to school in armored buses and learn their lessons only steps from bomb shelters while our enemy's children sit securely in their classrooms learning blood libels about me from textbooks bought and paid for by the U.N..

One thing is clear, though.  No amount of armor can begin to safeguard the current and next generation of Israelis from harm.  The only thing that can accomplish that is a sea change in the very rules of engagement under which we operate. 

We have steadfastly refused to behave as a country at war, thinking that if we only provide a convincing illusion of peace it will hasten the arrival of the real thing.  While we have forced our soldiers to act under the rules of engagement appropriate for suburban policemen and our civilians to behave like sheep, our enemies have broken every rule of civilized warfare and blurred erased any meaningful distinction between civilian and military targets.

I'm not suggestion that we begin deliberately targeting non-combatants in the current/ongoing war.  But I don't see the wisdom of gathering each year to mourn our war dead unless we have the courage of our convictions to finally fight this war. 

Our enemies are not shy about naming their objectives and declaring the war in which they are engaged a holy one.  They openly exhort their fighters to inflict maximum damage on the Zionist entity, and even the 'moderates among them claim the right of armed resistance as sacrosanct.  They fire rockets and mortars at us over the border from their autonomous territory and violate our sovereignty at every opportunity to plant bombs,carry out attacks and kidnap our citizens.

Doesn't any of that pass even the most tentative definition of a war?  If the answer is 'yes', then why are we raising another generation of Israelis to believe that they need only hide behind the armor for a little while longer and diplomacy will bring a solution?

I, for one, will be standing silently with head bowed at 8:00PM this evening to remember the soldiers who fell in the defense of my country.  But while I stand in respectful silence my mind will be wondering how our leaders can have the gall to attend this year's ceremonies even as they till the ground for the next crop of Israeli dead that will be plowed under in the coming year.

We don't need some foreign doctrine to tell us how to behave as a nation.  Ecclesiastes was but one of many of our own voices throughout the ages whose wisdom has admonished us that 'hows' are not nearly as important as recognizing the importance of the 'whens'.  Quite simply there is a season for everything.

There is, indeed, a time for peace and a time for love. 

I would be willing to bet anything that many of the men and women who died horrible deaths inside those iron wrecks that line the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway though the time of peace and love was waiting for them just around the corner (if not at the top of the hill).  Yet here we are more than half a century later and we ignore the reality all around us, a reality that tells anyone with the wit to pay attention that the time for hatred and war is still very much with us (though we refuse to act accordingly).

The best way we can honor the war dead this year is to promise them that we will finally come out from our armored hiding places and bring the war to our enemies, where it rightly belongs.

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Posted by David Bogner on April 22, 2007 | Permalink

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Comments

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David -

I'm certainly very disappointed in our country's leadership.

But driving many of the same roads as you, I get a different feeling.

If you remember the shootings on the tunnel road at the beginning of the last intifada, many of the residents of Gush Etzion and Efrat were very scared. We wouldn't travel at night, often only by bulletproof bus. Friends would never come visit. And then we put up the barriers on the bridge. Ugly, yes. Did we do it in response to our enemies? Yes.

But you know what? It worked. No more shootings on the bridge. And people felt comfortable going to work. And visitors returned to Gush Etzion. And the real goal of our enemies - to cause us to give up the dream of living here - wasn't achieved.

Would it have been better if we could accomplished it without barriers and armor? Sure. It would also be better if we could guarantee our statehood without sacrificing every year precious young lives. But this is the cost of our return to history.

Posted by: Dave (Balashon) | Apr 22, 2007 1:49:41 PM

Dave... You, yourself have indicated that the only way you and I can make the 15 minute drive into Jerusalem - the capitol of our country - is because the government erected massive concrete fortifications along the problematic portion of the route. You don't see a problem with that? You also ignored the fact that the fortified tunnel road was created at enormous expense because the Arabs had chased us off the old road that went through Bethlehem and past Dihesha. Had we stood our ground there we would never have come to a point in time where we had to create a subterranean passage in order to arrive at our destinations in one peice. As to your statement that the sacrifice of young precious lives was "the cost of our return to history", I would ask you this: Why does every other nation that comes into being get to pay a one-time initiation fee for admission to this club while Israel has been forced to pay its membership fee in endless annual installments?

Posted by: treppenwitz | Apr 22, 2007 2:06:58 PM

Hi Trep,

Sorry. No witty comments today. I agree with you that our total and absolute lack of leadership is the problem. But I will also say, as a longtime Zionist but brand new Oleh, that the optimism that I still have for our future is boundless. See, I see a wall or a tunnel, and I think "Damn, I wish we wouldn't need that, but man, I'm living in Israel!" Maybe I just haven't lived here long enough, but I hope I never lose that feeling.

Posted by: dfb1968 | Apr 22, 2007 2:45:04 PM

What more can be said, other than "incredibly well-written, solid post?"

As usual, it seems.

Posted by: tnspr569 | Apr 22, 2007 2:57:30 PM

sea change in the very rules of engagement under which we operate.I think that says it all right there Dave. Great post!

Posted by: Jewish Blogmeister | Apr 22, 2007 3:26:38 PM

You ask two questions.

The first one is political - what are the people living in this country willing to do? What parties do they vote for? What do they feel is the best way to achieve security? These issues are ones that you discuss here often and are the core of the Israeli political debate.

But to your second question:

"Why does every other nation that comes into being get to pay a one-time initiation fee for admission to this club while Israel has been forced to pay its membership fee in endless annual installments?"

We've been asking that question for a long long time. All of the Bible, the Talmud and every other book haven't managed to give a fully satisfying answer.

Posted by: Dave (Balashon) | Apr 22, 2007 4:15:41 PM

There is a great dichotomy in Israel today. There those, like you,who believe in strength and in taking the fight to the enemy and others like Peace Now and the Troika of Olmert-Peretz-Livni who beliive in appeasment and retreat. As long as this diachotomy exists and our people are divided the enemy will see that as a "chink in our unity armor" and will exploit the weaknesses to its advantage. It is time for the people of Israel to unite under the banner of victory. Dump the Troika and elect leadres who are not affraid to take the fight to the enemy. We have paid a high price for our land now is the time to enjoy it in peace and prosperity.

Shavua Tov.

Posted by: Allan | Apr 22, 2007 5:33:24 PM

And the left wing politicos in
the USA and in Israel, you
know, like Shalom Achshav, think
we should have rachmonas for the
Palestinians. Foy!
-Schvach

Posted by: Schvach | Apr 22, 2007 7:21:03 PM

David,

It's probably not my place to speak here, but I've never been shy....

Ok, you pointed out the problem, so what's the solution?

Let's face it. You're dealing with an enemy that won't quit. They will never negotiate in good faith. Israel will always be in their sights. Their religion, their education, their mentality all lead them to a 'do or die' philosophy. They often fight to the death and their deaths inspire the next generation to carry on with the struggle. How do you beat that?

Israel can beat them, but the only guaranteed way to do that is to do to them the very thing they want to do to you....commit wholesale slaughter and drive the survivors into the sea. The Palestinian areas would have to become ghost towns. Israel would have to toss aside its values and become a thugocracy in order to beat the thugs. You would also have to utterly destroy the surrounding Arab countries, who would go berserk and come at you in droves. And....of course....the UN would side with the Arabs....of course.

That's what it would take to make the Arabs cry uncle. My guess is that many people know this, but aren't willing to say so openly for fear of being accused of having Nazi ideals, an accusation already made toward Israel by the Western Left. But is Israel willing to do that? Will Israel ever be pushed to the point that people will finally say 'Enough!' and get down to a very bloody business? Is the cure worse than the disease? Would it ever be justified?

P.S. Hindsight is 20/20, but IMNSHO, Levi Eschol and Moshe Dayan missed an opportunity to deal with this issue at the end of the Six Day War. With all those West Bank Arabs headed for Jordan to escape expected Israeli vengeance, the IDF could have given many more a shove. "You're Jordanian citizens, your country attacked us and we won. Pack up and head east with the rest of them....now."

Posted by: K Newman | Apr 22, 2007 8:59:19 PM

It's been a long road from Connecticut, hasn't it? How is it that Israelis who were born in Tel Aviv are so much farther from the battle lines than a Yank like you?

Posted by: Bob | Apr 22, 2007 10:52:43 PM

When a nation's national anthem is called The Hope you wonder whether it is literal or figurative.

Posted by: Jack | Apr 23, 2007 1:07:23 AM

Yes. Faster, please.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Apr 23, 2007 1:39:11 AM

my father pointed those armored cars out me when we visited israel as a kid. i always look for them every time i visit on the way to jeruslem from the airport. when i went with my wife to israel (her first trip), i made sure to point them out to her.

a while back there was a proposal to remove them. i was very disappointed that someone would even think of this.

Posted by: ari kinsberg | Apr 23, 2007 5:48:03 AM

Great post, David.

Posted by: Miss Worldwide | Apr 23, 2007 12:19:37 PM

amen trepp...amen

Posted by: marallyn | Apr 23, 2007 5:43:24 PM

I'm a 50 year old American citizen, living and working in New York City. Italian on my father's side and eastern European on my mother's side, nevertheless born a Jew and proud to be a Zionist. We're kindred spirits, you and I. Unfortunately, many in our respective governments grew up here in America, children of the 60's and 70's. We were encouraged at that time to "tune in, turn on and drop out". Liberalism flourished then as it does today and it destroys the will to prosecute the destruction of our common enemies. There are three things that we must change if we are going to prevail: 1)develop and bring to market alternative energy resources like hydrogen fuel cells and super hybrid autos that get 100-500 mpg. Closing the oil spigots will be like turning a garotte around the Arab's necks. 2)develop and groom talented PR folks who can tell Israel's side of the story in a passionate, robust and convincing way. 3)achieve exponential enemy casualties for every Israeli citizen kidnapped, wounded or killed and trumpet those results for all the world to hear. Israel refuses to parade her dead in front of the media, refusing to televise her pain around the world. This is a mistake that must be corrected soon. The Israeli point of view must be broadcast with impassioned and eloquent conviction. Today, the world hears only our enemy's side, with silence coming from Tel Aviv. And what do you think will happen to the Arab street without their despotic regime's huge reserves of cash? The regimes will fall hard and quick. The arab street will rebel, looking to allah for salvation, but this will lead in short order to a modernization of islam, with moderate thought prevailing. This is a 40 year plan, and it will not arrive cheaply; the costs born from R&D and lives sacrificed. We've buried our heads in the sand for way to long. Hope will not help us achieve peace. Strength of will is the only path we should travel.

Posted by: Dave Richards | Apr 23, 2007 6:35:55 PM

Once again, in the immortal words of Pogo, we have met the enemy and they are us. Great post, David.

Posted by: psachya | Apr 23, 2007 8:53:16 PM

BTW, I agree wholeheartedly with K. Newman's final statement. The Palestinians aren't the only ones who rarely miss opportunities to miss opportunities. (Last summer's chance to wipe Hezbollah off the map comes to mind.)

Posted by: psachya | Apr 23, 2007 9:05:03 PM

Those burned out armored trucks on the tzomet of Shaar Hagay always evoked a strong feeling in me as well. In this post, you put those feelings into very eloquent, relevant words.

Posted by: RaggedyMom | Apr 23, 2007 11:01:06 PM

Hi Dave AKA Trep,

I try to be a force of positive energy in this world and contribute kindness and optimism as my "public face."

However, I also beleive in speaking my mind and fighting for what I beleive is right no matter how hard that is or can be. I'll pay the cost that needs to be paid when the bills come due.

I love your posts and draw inspiration when you live the same way that I strive to do.

Bless you and your family.

Thanks for an amazing post that captures just how I feel and just what I beleive (and share with you).

Am Yisroel Chai.

Shalom,
Maksim-Smelchak.

Posted by: Maksim-Smelchak | Apr 23, 2007 11:43:14 PM

Hi Bob,

I can't answer for David, who is more than capable of aswering you for himself, but I wanted to reply to you.

[[[It's been a long road from Connecticut, hasn't it? How is it that Israelis who were born in Tel Aviv are so much farther from the battle lines than a Yank like you?]]]

*** Why are so many immigrants to the USA the first groups to sign up for the US military and go to war for their new adopted country? ***

There are many answers to that question and the one you posed about Connecticut-origin Israelis.

I would posit to you this answer: PERSPECTIVE.

New immigrants AKA Olim often have the best perspective on what they've gain (by moving), what they've lost, and what their choice to emmigrate from the home to which they were born means to them.

Almost every one of the Olim (Israeli immigrants) who moves froma Western country makes serious sacrifices to do so. Almost every one of them could earn more money and live in greater security and relative phsycial prosperity than they chose to have in Israel.

They moved because they felt that their lives had to have meaning and they needed to stand with their family.

Folks several generations in often forget those hard choices and can grow more jaded than such Olim.

Natives of any country also tend to take for granted what they have. And by that, I mean the immaterial things that they can't hold, but are worth as much or more than physical possessions. That definitely holds for residents of the USA.

Perhaps that can help you to understand.

Shalom,
Maksim-Smelchak.

Posted by: Maksim-Smelchak | Apr 24, 2007 12:04:19 AM

I don't know if this is too critical to be welcome here. If it is, I have no objection if you remove it.

But the fact of the matter is that the world is interconnected and much of the world is frankly unsympathetic to Israel.

Even Israel's great friend, the United States, has qualms and reservations about a Zionism which regards all of mandatory Palestine as ripe for settlement. And we face great pressure from within and without to bring about a division of land in the interests of peace.

Israel is entitled of course to go its own way as a nation. But Israel is dependent on outside assistance and help and so it can't simply make policy about war and peace on it's own, even with an American administration as understanding as that of George Bush.

I think that's the rub. Right or wrong, Israel's interests appear to her friends as sometimes divergent from theirs. They may be wrong, but that's how it seems to them. And if they are wrong, Israel of course will suffer much more than they will. But that doesn't mean that they will be uncritical supporters or that Israel can afford to ignore them.

Can Israel survive on her own as a sovereign nation? Would it be better for her to try?

Posted by: Jeff | Apr 24, 2007 7:25:20 AM

This is all so very sad and depressing. I have trouble understanding how people can live with such ongoing violence from my sheltered, bubbled life.

Posted by: The Misanthrope | Apr 24, 2007 3:53:34 PM

Hi Jeff,

[[[...a Zionism which regards all of mandatory Palestine as ripe for settlement.]]]

I'm not sure which Zionism you mean... there are many different forms of Zionism, but the main tenant is not settlement, but simply self determination and the right to exist.

I might also suggest to you that you study more about the full territory of historical Mandatory Palestine.

Most of Mandatory Palestine is now a country called Jordan. It was intially known as Transjordan when the British installed a Saudian Arabian chieftain there who had lost out to the Saud Family.

Almost no Zionist (maybe 1% if that much...) in any shape, way, or form regards Jordan (the majority of Mandatory Palestine) as "ripe for settlement."

Shalom,
Maksim-Smelchak.

Posted by: Maksim-Smelchak | Apr 24, 2007 5:59:59 PM

Can Israel survive on her own as a sovereign nation? Would it be better for her to try?

What do you think it has been doing. Israel's existence is not contingent solely because the US considers it to be an ally.

Posted by: Jack | Apr 24, 2007 6:46:38 PM

Maksim:

Thanks for your friendly and civil tone. You make a good point. I knew that the British had detached Transjordan from mandatory Palestine and administered it as a separate entity...it's hard to find a workable, neutral term for "mandatory Palestine minus Transjordan" or "pre-67 Israel plus the 'territories'."

The point of course is still valid. It concerns settling in territories mostly populated by hostile Arabs and not part of Israel proper.

Jack:

But Israel requires a large amount of aid from America to survive. If Israel wants the aid, it needs to be deeply responsive to American interests. That is the cause, I think, of much of what this talented blogger is complaining about.

Posted by: Jeff | Apr 25, 2007 1:41:57 AM

To Marallyn Apr 23:
Don't you think a major part
of Israel's, and for that matter of Jewry's, problem is that much of the world refuses to accept Jews as winners? I think Israel's penchant for appeasement stems in large measure from this fact, and not just from a fear of the non-Jewish world's fondness of labeling us bigots.
-Schvach

Posted by: Schvach | Apr 25, 2007 1:46:41 AM

Jack:

But Israel requires a large amount of aid from America to survive. If Israel wants the aid, it needs to be deeply responsive to American interests. That is the cause, I think, of much of what this talented blogger is complaining about.

Jeff,

That is not entirely accurate, but let's assume that Israel cannot survive without American aid.

By your reasoning any country that receives American aid should be deeply responsive to American interests, yet that is not the case.

Look at Egypt. What does American aid "buy?" What does Egypt do besides take American dollars and foment dissent.

Posted by: Jack | Apr 25, 2007 9:12:46 AM

Jeff:
With all due respect, what would you have Israel do? Pull back from all the territories? They offered practically all that to Yasser Arafat, and he turned it down cold. Give the Palestinians their own territory, with an eye toward further concessions? Actually, the Israelis did that last year, giving Gaza to the Palis on a silver platter. They even left the regional greenhousing industry completely intact, so that the new country would have an economy. Result: the Palis destroyed the greenhouses within days of the takeover, then used Gaza as a base for unrelenting shelling of Israeli towns, particularly Sderot. They then elected to be represented by Hamas, a terrorist organization that refuses to even pretend that peace with Israel is possible. David's point (if he'll permit me to presume) is a simple one - it has become clear to everyone who is not in denial that the Palestinians are not interested in land-for-peace; they are interested in land. All of it. And blood - particularly Jewish blood. All David is saying, I believe, is that we need to abandon the fiction that negotiations with those folks, at the present time, will lead to peace. Appeasing them will work no better than it did with the Nazis in the 1930's. Israel needs to commit itself to the war that is already being waged against it. If its present leaders won't do it, I think Israel needs some new leadership. And regarding possible American condemnation, I don't think George W. Bush, or indeed any of his Democratic opponents (with the possible exception of Barack Obama) will ever abandon Israel, even if they strongly disagree with individual policies. In any case, Israel must ultimately do what is in its own best interests. If that means declaring war - or acknowleging that was already exists - then so be it. And if, as you say, Israel does not have the ability to declare war on its own, it might as well close up shop and save the Palestinians the trouble. Part of being an independent country is having the right to declare war when deemed necessary, without asking permission. And, sadly, it's necessary now, which was the point of the whole post.

Posted by: psachya | Apr 25, 2007 9:27:04 AM

schvach...i would love to discuss this with you at length...come visit my blog and send an address...have a great day

Posted by: marallyn | Apr 25, 2007 9:37:32 AM

Jack,

Israel's defense budget is huge for a country with a population of only ~7,000,000. Without US Foreign Military Financing (FMF), the IDF would be in trouble. That funding allows the IDF to be far ahead of other nations in the region in terms of capability and that gives Israel a vital edge. Israel can do a lot more to provide for it's own defense, but the economy would take a substantial hit.

As for Egypt, American aid buys a lot more than you think. First of all, it helps to keep Mubarak in power and not a radical Islamic regime. Second, we control the flow of repair parts to much of Egypt's military equipment. Third....and this is a big one....the Egyptian government listens to us because we control the purse strings for many things. Dump them and they'll align themselves with the Russians (again) and more importantly, the Chinese. The later have cash to spend on influence in the region and would be overjoyed to take on Egypt as a client state. If that were to happen, Egypt would become far more dangerous to Israel.

There is a precarious balance of control over the Middle East. The situation as it now stands is about the best that can be done under the circumstances. At the moment, the only nations that are rattling their sabers at Israel are Iran and Syria. Egypt, Jordan and the rest of the past participants in wars against Israel are not making any warlike moves. That's what US money and influence has bought.

Posted by: K Newman | Apr 25, 2007 4:38:19 PM

Egypt, Jordan and the rest of the past participants in wars against Israel are not making any warlike moves.

Maybe not overt moves, but I wouldn't necessarily characterize them as promoting peace.

I prefer to see blatant saber rattling. It is better to know exactly where we stand than to engage in silly games.

Posted by: Jack | Apr 25, 2007 8:02:22 PM

"Maybe not overt moves, but I wouldn't necessarily characterize them as promoting peace."

Promoting peace is a whole different subject. Egypt and Jordan aren't massing forces on the border or conducting a blockade of the Strait of Tiran. Israel has formal relations with both countries and tourists cross the border out of Israel to visit both. Would you prefer another War of Attrition?

Saber rattling often leads to all-out war. If not anything else, one side might have a go at the other to save face.

Posted by: K Newman | Apr 26, 2007 7:16:39 AM

Very astute observation on your part about Israeli Arabs. They scent blood in the wind.

The problem of course, stems from the `67 war. Israel should have repatriated the Jordanian citizens living in East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria back to their home country and simply annexed that land.

And in the negotiations with Egypt and Sadt, part of the deal if the Egyptians wanted Sinai back should have been the resettling of the Arab inhabitants of Gaza in another location.

I won't even discuss the stupidity of enfranchising Arafat via Oslo. Didn't the Labor government have a clue as to what would happen?

If the Israelis are not willing to treat the Palestinian Authority as a hostile entity, unite and go to war, we can unfortunately look for more of the same...as they get stronger.

Jabotinsky was right.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter | Apr 26, 2007 11:22:57 PM

We've been asking that question for a long long time. All of the Bible, the Talmud and every other book haven't managed to give a fully satisfying answer.

That is because that is the wrong direction to look. MacArthur, Petraeus, Sherman, Lee, Grant, are the people you should be reading. For in their minds and actions, were the solutions.

You're dealing with an enemy that won't quit. They will never negotiate in good faith.

The Japanese in WWII were said to never quit. To never surrender.


They surrendered. Emulating American actions does not guarantee victory, but it does guarantee breaking the quagmire of stasis.

They often fight to the death and their deaths inspire the next generation to carry on with the struggle. How do you beat that?

Psychological attacks. Inflicting fear and terror. Propaganda attacks and networks.

Israel would have to toss aside its values and become a thugocracy in order to beat the thugs.

If that actually happens, then Israel will have proven herself false and unworthy by Total War standards. For if America can come out of using the first two nukes on human targets, with more freedom, prosperity, and peace, then this means if Israel cannot, she is not worthy.

I think that's the rub. Right or wrong, Israel's interests appear to her friends as sometimes divergent from theirs. They may be wrong, but that's how it seems to them.

This dynamic can perhaps best be described by the relationship between Arabs and Kurds in Iraq, with American combatant commanders. Iraq's interests depend upon American decisions. And yet Iraqis have a far greater say and influence on American decisions, both political and military, than Israel does. Why? Because Iraqis fight and bleed with their US counterparts, against a common foe, while Israel refuses to allow any US military force to participate in joint ops, on the basis that any shedding of American blood for Israel would be horrendous and shameful.

There are degrees to alliances. To their strength. And it is based upon many things. Political, economic, and military. Cultural as well. While the US has a far greater cultural affinity for Israel's system of governance and values, Israel does not share America's military philosophy. Which strangely means that America's relationship with Iraq is closer, if more chaotic and unstable, than our relationship with Israel. Which fundamentally means that Israel cannot acquire the support she needs unless she is willing to go all out, but going all out means a stronger alliance with America.

Posted by: Ymarsakar | Apr 28, 2007 6:54:44 PM

Watched 'O Jerusalem' yesterday... It all makes sense now. Boy, I'm I slow! :-)

Posted by: Rami | Nov 7, 2007 2:14:06 PM

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