Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ashkelon and Bush

You don't need to know your "A, B, C's" to know that the direct hit of a Grad Missile on an Ashkelon shopping center, wounding 15 women and children, will undermine all attempts by Pres. Bush and PM Olmert to concoct a false peace agreement with Pres. Abbas of the PA. According to Olmert in his press conference on Bush's arrival, significant progress has been made by the two sides towards producing a "shelf" agreement of principles related to settlements, right of return and borders (the situation of Jerusalem would be delayed for a later additional agreement). While all this may seem to be useless in light of the rockets fired at civilians in Israel, it may represent fixed positions that future Israeli Govts may find hard to avoid.
The real weakness of any such shelf agreement is that those who have negotiated it have no credibity to do so, after all, its mainly to satisfy Bush (the "lame duck President" syndrome), Olmert, (who is under investigation for corruption) and Abbas (who refuses to compromise on any issue anyway, because he has no power to do so). So aside from all the celebrating for Israel's 60th Birthday, and the festivity of Pres. Peres' conference "Facing tomorrow," nothing of substance is expected to come from this last visit by Pres. Bush to Israel.
The real conflict is between Iran and the West, with Hamas acting as an Iranian proxy in firing rockets into Israel when Bush is visiting, just as Hizbollah is acting as an Iranian proxy when it undermines the sovereignty of Lebanon. The fact is that the only remaining militia in Lebanon that is not disarmed and that does not respond to the orders of the central Govt. is Hizbollah, and this is a Shi'ite militia that responds only to the orders of Iran and Syria. Since the so-called Annapolis process does not address anything to do with Iran it is futile.
There are many of liberal persuasion who see this fault in the process and argue that Israel must negotiate with Hamas and Hizbollah. These include Nadine Gordimer, the S. African Jewish writer currently visiting Israel, who made this a central argument in her article yesterday in the Jerusalem Post, also the well-known Jewish American professionals, Dennis Ross, former Middle East expert of Pres. Clinton (who admitted biasing the US position towards Arafat) and Dan Kurzer, former US Ambassador to Israel (who now advises Sen. Obama). To use the common phrase echoed by Gordimer in her article "peace is made with enemies, not with friends." While that may be true it is simplistic, those who tried to negotiate with Ghengis Khan were annihilated. Should the Jews have tried to negotiate with the Nazis, should the Allies have tried to negotiate with Hitler? Actually, Chamberlain did, and look where it got him! Some people/groups cannot be negotiated with, they are evil and murderous, and so this simplistic liberal cant breaks down when faced with reality, just as Bush's and Olmert's pathetic attempts at peace-making break down when faced with the reality of women and children riddled with shrapnel.


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