Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Aftermath of Gaza

The Conflict Blotter, a blog by a Telegraph journalist Charles Levinson, notices an Israeli intelligence report noting that Fatah is weak, even on the West Bank, its traditional stronghold.

Director of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin and GSS Director Yuval Diskin said Fatah could also lose control of the West Bank to Hamas. “Contrary to what you may think, Fatah is not soundly based in Judea and Samaria at all. The Fatah agencies are fragmented and riven with dissent and there is no hierarchy between them,” Diskin said at the cabinet meeting.

This has created dilemmas for Olmert because while he probably wants to avoiding dealing with Hamas, Hamas has Gilad Shalit. In the auction for Shalit's release, Olmert has tried to pay Hamas in the currency of Fatah and been booed for his efforts, even by the Palestinian side that ought to applaud a prisoner release. Watching developments after Ehud Olmert released 250 Fatah prisoners as earnest to keep alive negotiations for Gilad Shalit after a recording released earlier proved he was alive, Levinson notes that the Palestinians scoffed at the paltriness of the release, the Egptians were infuriated and the Israeli electorate, or at least parts of it, were approving.,

I spoke with one Palestinian who said releasing 250 prisoners is like giving someone a falafel dinner when you owe him one million dollars. Mustapha Barghouti and the former director of the Palestinian Prisoners lobby in Ramallah Khalida Jarar are both reportedly fuming over what they see as Olmert’s meager gesture. ... Hezbollah, for example, known for their tough negotiating tactics with Israel, would never have provided proof of life without something in return.

Hamas is eager for a concrete victory now that it controls Gaza. Negotiations with the Israelis were effectively frozen after Egypt, which had been mediating the talks, pulled its envoys angrily out of Gaza after Hamas’ takeover, but the tape has given new momentum to popular sentiment in Israel that the government secure Shalit’s release whatever the cost. ... Israeli media has reported that Olmert is willing to release 450 prisoners in exchange for Shalit, but that Hamas wants more. Yediot Aharanot reported today that Hamas offered weeks ago to free Shalit in return for the release of Hamas’s entire military infrastructure in the West Bank. “That was an unbearably high price,” the paper’s Nahum Barnea wrote. “It could bring the situation in the West Bank closer to the situation in Gaza.”

An unbearably high price? Hamas can hold out. But whether Olmert will is another matter altogether. Especially now that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has now been reinstated at the heart of diplomacy in the Middle East. Tony Blair has been named the chief mediator by the Quartet between the warring parties.

Taking on a new role as chief "Quartet" mediator between Israel and the Palestinians a day after finishing his term as British prime minister, Tony Blair faces severe complications such as the Hamas takeover of Gaza, the weakness of leaders on both sides, and lingering hostilities after six years of fighting.

The official announcement about Blair's new role was to be made Wednesday, according to an official in Washington. Blair will represent the so-called Quartet of Mideast peace mediators, comprised of the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia.

Such a high-profile mediator, who will be expected to produce dramatic results, can only mean in the light of Hamas' strength and in the general political context, that more concessions will be required of Israel in the future. But to whom will such concessions be made? Any major gives will happen under Hamas' watch and have the political effect of affirming Iran's patronage at the expense of the image of countries like Egypt, creating the ironic prospect that even moves designed to promote "peace" will have the effect of fanning partisan conflict.

Reading over Richard Lugar's belief in the improbability of a democratic, multiethnic future for Iraq, I was struck by the idea that the criticisms apparently applied even more to the idea of unitary "Palestine". Yet this same Palestine was the supposed lynchpin of peace in the Middle East and seems destined to remain so, whatever may result.


Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

several observations:

israel has changed it's spots. if you kidnap a jew dont expect to be rewarded. Expect that MOST of israel/jews know and expect if captured by arabs or moslems their lives are over.

point: hamas has 1, hezbollah has 2, syria and iran hold 1 -2 (a druze and rod arad), not to mention syria holding the remains of cohen.

what HAS changed is now the using of real force DAILY against the palios, let's take a trip down memory lane, just 7 years ago israel would have be hauled up in front of the UN for BULLDOZING an EMPTY house sitting on the gaza/egypt border to get a smuggling tunnel... or if several "palios" were killed planting a roadside bomb (IED) the world would be screaming disproportionate response!

now today...

Israel launches air strikes on gaza, killing 6, nothing, Israel patrols or invades (whichever you prefer) and is shot at, shoots back and kills several more.. NOTHING

dont let the "public" attempts at appeasement fool you... Israel has arrested a couple of thousand palios in the last 18 months... and WILL so call trade a bunch at the right time.

now about these palios israel releases..

Palios in israeli jails are treated actually..... you guessed it quite well...

MANY actually are "turned" in prison and do become informants and or work for israel. Every time israel is forced to do a prisoner release it allows israel to put into the territories hundreds of friendlies...

as for the future of "palestine"? it is dead..

there could be a Palestine/Jordan in the future but the virus of craziness must be burned out 1st

6/27/2007 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

If the "Palestinian peace process" were depicted in a movie, the film's title would be the Son of Frankenstein, in which a corpse composed of various and sundry body parts is repeatedly brought back from the dead and reanimated repeatedly. But nearly everyone has forgotten that the monster's name was not in fact Frankenstein. That was the name of the monster's creator.

Whatever the position on the ground, the idea of Palestine, I think, remains alive in the Western mind. The Western and Middle Eastern political dynamic is what is truly alive, despite the fact that its creation refuses to get up and fetch. Have they secretly written it off, as you seem to suggest, and are now going through the motions?

6/27/2007 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Crazy Marzouq Redneck Muslim said...

Good points Radical Jew and Wretchard.

Salaam eleikum

6/27/2007 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Elmondohummus said...

One tiny critique of your Frankenstein analogy: Frakenstein was self animated and conscious, and did things of his own free will. The Middle East Peace "Process", on the other hand, is nothing more than a corpse on marionette strings, animated by little more than the desperate flailings of European diplomats seeking relevancy.

Which is a severe shame. Both the Israeli and Palestinian civillians deserve more than lip service to peace. They deserve an honest broker who doesn't intentionally blind himself to the depredations of the terror lot, like Fatah and Hamas. But will they get that as long as the Europeans stay involved? No. They'll merely suffer under the flailings of the marionette corpse, and the perception that making the corpse dance the same dance over and over again is progress.

6/27/2007 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Olmert's motive for releasing 250 Pal prisoners is to strengthen Fatah at Hamas' expense. By releasing prisoners as a "good will" gesture to Abbas, with no real quid quo pro he is spitting in Hamas' face. He is trying to divide the two parties and put pressure on H either to weaken them or to force them to accept fewer or different prisoners in exchange for Shalit.

H is in the position that it needs some visible success in order to gain some legitimacy. Their release of the audio tape without any quid quo pro suggests that they are desperate to get the soldier deal back in motion. They would love to claim victory at having hundreds of terrorist prisoners released. Instead Olmert is just giving them away to Abbas (although those released will be at Isreal's choosing and not with blood on their hands or Hamas members). The Arabs will always say that whatever they get is a "meager gesture."

Hamas' inability to get the journalist released even after many boasts, promises, and threats, suggests their weakness and lack of control of their own territory. It's also possible that they wouldn't be able to get Shalit released.

Hamas can hold out

I'm not so sure. Military pressure will be brought to bear against them and it will get awfully lonely in Gaza when they have no friends. OTOH Abbas won't be the one to displace H. That will most likely fall to Israel.

6/27/2007 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...


Palestine seems to have become a vehicle for everyone but the Palestinians. If what we read in the papers is true, it is now a pawn of regional political interests. Hamas says Israel controls Fatah, which I doubt. Possible Israel prefers Fatah, but Fatah has links to other countries in the region. But at any rate, to follow upon the metaphor used above, the marionette is being tugged every which way.

But does the marionette, when it speaks, actually express the sentient speech of the Palestinian people? Maybe not, but it does express the voice of the men behind the curtain, who are in a constant struggle for the levers.

Maybe the reason why the Palestinian-Israeli issue has become so central is that it has become a proxy arena for everybody. In that sense "Palestine" is not about Palestine at all. It is about Israel the regional rejection of it. With that in mind, what posswible shape can a solution take. Counterintuitively, the central issue is probably not about the existence of Palestine at all, but rather the existence of Israel. Under what circumstances will the region accept Israel? How much must the West, or Israel itself have to pay or concede to win regional acceptance?

But Israel has now become a litmus test for domestic Arab politics, inextricably part of the authoritarian/Islamist divide. Under these circumstances, as the situation in Gaza now makes manifest, to act on the Palestinian issue is to participate in the internal politics of the regional nations. Hence, even the release of Fatah prisoners takes on a sectarian color. The Gordian knot has been drawn tighter in an era where no Alexander now has the boldness to cut it.

6/27/2007 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

The Gordian knot has been drawn tighter in an era where no Alexander now has the boldness to cut it. - Wretchard

Indeed. I was born in 1971. As far back as I can remember, this 'knot' has been gradually cinched tighter. Occasionally, the tension has been lessened. But the metaphor holds true, in that a knot doesn't loosen when the rope goes slack.

I've wondered my whole life when Israel will finally lose patience with the Palestinians and cut that knot. I don't believe my own nation would have had the patience of the Israelis.

There are only two ways out, in my humble opinion.
1) Drive the Palestinians out by force, permanently, almost certainly earning the undying condemnation of the world.
2) The Palestinians must learn to put their desire to move forward ahead of their hate.

I can't see either solution occurring any time soon.

6/27/2007 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

To add. . .I just realized that option 2) I listed would mean, basically, that the knot had untied itself.

I wonder if that's possible.

6/27/2007 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

It appears that the Israelis have a 100 year strategy, that they will withdraw into their own borders until the day comes, as Golda Meir put it, that the Palestinian Arabs will value the lives of their own children more than they value the death of the Jews.

Considering that the Palestinian Arabs have been breeding at 400% replacement for some time now that ain't likley to happen even within the 100 years. The Palestinians have received more in international charity per capita than any group of people in history. What have they accomplished? A death culture that harvests its surplus children as its only cash crop.

The problem is intractable until the day comes that Islamic militants are treated by all civilized societies as international criminals and hunted for bounty.

6/27/2007 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

The Palestinians must learn to put their desire to move forward ahead of their hate.

Golda Meir: Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.

In either case, the assumption is being made that Arabs/Palestinians are capable of learning. Something I have yet to see any of them demonstrate.

6/27/2007 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

I think it's quite clear internally that no deal can be made with Hamas, for Israel to survive. Given that everyone in Israel knows that Iran is Hamas's patron, is committed to Israel's destruction, and that the decision has been made to throw Israel to Iran as an expendible nation to achieve peace at any cost.

Israel must know by now that most Dems would probably approve of Iran "wiping Israel off the map" thinking that would solve "the Jewish Question" in the Middle East and assuage Arab/Muslim anger. Most Palestinians and Muslims are probably waiting for the same thing: a nuclear strike by Iran that wipes out Israel.

Therefore the posturing about Hamas and the Palestinians is nothing but a trivial sideshow.

Israel must also know by now that it has no friends at all, and that the world would cheer it's destruction and the death of it's people. In London as much as Tehran.

Therefore Israel must prepare a first strike on Tehran, to destroy not only the nuclear capacity but the ability to rebuild. Yes the Israelis will have to kill tens of millions of Iranians but so what? If they don't they will all die. At some point that will sink in. Particularly since Tehran will have nukes very shortly. Iran says what it means and means what it says. They want to wipe out all Israelis and will soon be able to do it.

I expect a lot of talk and then a nuclear strike at some point on Tehran, by surprise, coupled with an assault on Gaza, to clean it out, with full military force and not a fig about TV and casualties, killing about 40-60% of the military age men and pushing the rest of the population into Egypt, making Gaza a permanent no-go zone where anyone spotted is killed on sight.

That's the optimistic scenario. But given Israeli politics and the reality that modernity tends to breed weakness and feminization (which can be very good, except when dealing with men like Ahmadinejad, or Osama, or Khomeni), far more likely is paralysis. Israeli people being divided, unwilling to act because of the huge cost in Israeli blood and international condemnation, Israeli leaders will simply dither until they are wiped out with their people.

We tend to judge harshly the response of Democracies to the rise of the Nazis, Stalin, Mussolini, and Tojo in the 1920's and 1930's. Probably many of the good things that are due to political equality of women in modern societies: social welfare, caring for the helpless, concerns for the environment; are matched by a complete inability to respond to aggressive, masculine threats such as Fascism, Communism, or Japanese Militarism. Or today, Islamism.

Israel is no more immune than any other nation to the process of feminization. Which leads to dithering and surrender in the face of aggression unless the threat is so large and there is time to fight that women get shoved aside politically. It was no accident that the 1950's in America saw the marginalization and "return to the kitchen" of women after their prominence in the Peace Movements of the 1920's and 1930's.

Bottom line: Blair is there to occupy the public's eye so Iran can nuke Israel out of existence with the approval of the West and the Western Elite in the hope of satisfying Iran.

6/27/2007 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

In either case, the assumption is being made that Arabs/Palestinians are capable of learning. Something I have yet to see any of them demonstrate.

I understand what you are saying, but I think your statement de-humanizes the Palestinians. . and that's a dangerous road to go down, as it excuses the very sorts of behavior we're condemning.

6/27/2007 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

"... liberty can blossom in the rocky soil of the West Bank and Gaza, it will inspire millions of men and women around the globe who are equally weary of poverty and oppression, equally entitled to the benefits of democratic government. I have a hope for the people of Muslim countries. Your commitments to morality, and learning, and tolerance led to great historical achievements. And those values are alive in the Islamic world today. You have a rich culture, and you share the aspirations of men and women in every culture. Prosperity and freedom and dignity are not just American hopes, or Western hopes. They are universal, human hopes. And even in the violence and turmoil of the Middle East, America believes those hopes have the power to transform lives and nations."
President George W. Bush

6/27/2007 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Paliwood theatre. That's all it is. There's no Fatah-Hamas war, just orchestrated fraud for the benefit of the stupid and the corrupt. The sad bit is that Israel's military and political leadership continues indulge the other Taqqiyya co-conspirators in this orchestrated masquerade.

6/27/2007 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...


MJT has a good post up, well worth reading, regards the purposeful media fraud masquerading as journalism:

6/27/2007 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

“Palestine seems to have become a vehicle for everyone but the Palestinians.”

That’s good. Damn good, even by the standards set by our host here.

And to that “everyone” you could add Israel. Terror, chaos, and death from the Syrian border to the western side of Gaza is the only thing that will make everyone there “equal” (the equality of the graveyard) and certain people over here and in Europe happy.

Meanwhile, go over to the Council on Foreign Relations website and see the “Op Ed” by two yahoos there. They assert that we have already lost in Iraq and must manage the defeat. One thing we must do is “Tamp down the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Oh, good! Why did we not think of that before? All those exhortations by Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush for the two sides to have at it in a full-fledged donnybrook were in fact not the way to go. Who woulda thunk? Time to send the striped pants guys out from Foggy Bottom with some “tamp down” orders; ‘bout time, too.

Meanwhile, certain human rights organizations are mad at Israel, again. Seems they are not letting the residents of Gaza flee into Israel to escape the chaos there. Included in that number are some wounded in the Hamas-Fatah shootout. Damn selfish Jews. Don’t they know the thing to do when there is a mad, drunken street brawl between gangs outside your house involving automatic weapons the correct thing to do is open the door and let everyone who wants to come in? Rather than, say, climb up on the roof with your .303 Enfield you bought for $69 at Big 5 Sporting Goods in Santa Barbara and see how many you can take out.

As the saying goes “They make a desert and call it peace.” The Palestinians are doing a good job of that all by themselves.

6/27/2007 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

Israel is no more immune than any other nation to the process of feminization. Which leads to dithering and surrender in the face of aggression unless the threat is so large and there is time to fight that women get shoved aside politically.

this may have been's germany's Jews original affliction allowing them to be so utterly vulnerable to the Holocaust. this surreal event, god forbid, may be equalled in it's surrealness once the beast is again unmasked and the Mullahs true intentions become a moment in time. On a side note I have always found it so ironic that american women have it the best out of any women in the world but could quite arguably be biggest beoches in history (i am happily married with kids but that doesn't change this distinct possibility). it's so un PC of me.

6/27/2007 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

According to a piece in the Wall Street Journal, yesterday I think, the current lack of martial spirit amongst urban Israeli, Tel Avivites in particular, is the consumerization of Israeli society.

Not much to do with feminization, lots to do with materialization.

Wealth is defeating Israel, according to the WSJ piece.

6/27/2007 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

feminization, materialization... it's like trying to distiguish between the effects of poison ivy and poison sumac. they are in the same family and are so similar except for the physical appearance of the leaves (leaves of 3 leave it be).

6/27/2007 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

I wonder, when you come down to it, if Fatah is any more riven than Hamas ? Looks to me like Fatah's just older. The old one is Nasserist, the young one is Islamicist -- otherwise they're both gangs with guns.

Suppose Hamas takes over in the West Bank? That seems harder, if only because there's probably at least somewhat more of a Fatah organization, even using that word loosely, than there was in Gaza, and the Israelis have the place more penetrated intelligence wise than they did Gaza. But suppose they do ? I don't think they'd be much better at administration or less corrupt, than Fatah. And if they escalate their attacks on Israel. . . the Israelis can always out escalate them, unless Hamas drags in outsiders, in which case the wider war that ensues may solve the Palestinian problem in ways Hamas might not like much.

As for Blair,as I said on my own blog this evening, there will indeed be pressure to show some progress, if only because he's high profile, and the Americans (that is, Bush), like him so much. But the fact the Americans like him so much will give a lot of people reasons to see Mr. Blair gets nowhere.

6/27/2007 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Materialism and consumerism both are part of the feminization of societies.

Part of that is very good and likely, critical for a society's overall success. Treatment of women, in the positive sense, correlates highly with that of economic development, fairness, civic life, and so on. Muslim visitors to Europe in the 17th Century were appalled at the position and status of women there, and vice-versa for Europeans in the Levant in the 1200's.

Crusaders found Muslim cruel and un-manly in their treatment of women, Muslims found Austrians and Germans weak and un-manly in their courtesy towards women.

But ... higher levels of material success lead to higher status-seeking, which in turn leads to lack of cohesiveness in society, atomization, and yes, feminization i.e. adopting female values and attitudes as the default for society.

Note the WSJ article had religious Jews making up around 85% of the pilots in the IA. Astonishing and likely the result of the less female-dominated religious vs. secular Jews. Who were quoted in the article as evading service for the ability to further their careers.

6/27/2007 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Those Israeli behaving like Mr Cheney, in the 1960s, having other priorities than military service.

6/27/2007 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Israel WILL NOT allow it'sself to be destroyed.

You can take that bet to the bank.

6/27/2007 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger Brett said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6/27/2007 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger Brett said...

This whole argument smacks of civility verses barbarism… unfortunately, we realize now that barbarism would eventually win out over common decency. It is the very act of threatening indecency that Moe and the gang derive their venom, and we and our feminine counterparts gawk astonished that we should stoop to such low heights. No we are too civilized. The last time we as a society customarily had duels was in the nineteenth century. Some “civilizations” are still threatening to unsheathe the sword; it would be amusing if it was not so pathetic. I can hardly wait until we can, without guilt, lay the scythe of destiny upon these throwbacks to harsher times.

6/27/2007 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger gokart-mozart said...

peterboston 01:06:00PM " until the day comes, as Golda Meir put it, that the Palestinian Arabs will value the lives of their own children more than they value the death of the Jews."

I'm afraid that they ALREADY value the lives of their own children very highly, which is why they push them to shahada, to simultaneously transport them off of this awful rock and into eternal paradise.

What poor, stupid Golda meant was that a day will come when they exchange THEIR values, THEIR religion, and THEIR consciousness for ours. Any Jew in Israel who is staying because he believes this is possible should start looking at real estate in Fort Lauderdale right now.

They are not like us. They can be contained, they can be eliminated, but they cannot be changed into postmodern Western Jews. They love their children, all right. They just love them different.

6/28/2007 04:09:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

this is why the mullahs-with-nukes may actually really appeal to them. Best case scenario: they get a simultaneous rapture like event while fulfilling thier dream of destroying the jews. craziness.

6/28/2007 05:18:00 AM  

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