March 27, 2004

Amazing—could the age of mumble mumble be over?

We live in a time when nations have to speak about foreign policy in diplomatic gurble-globble, with all sharp corners covered in a soft padding of lies. ESPECIALLY if the subject is Israel or the Palestinians. Remember when Israel bombed Saddam's Osirak nuke plant, and the nations of the world all publicly condemned this horrid violation of "International Law?" While privately breathing a sigh of relief that the problem was taken care of? (Except probably France, which was building the thing.)

So I was stunned to read this curious tale:

...I was at the Israeli embassy just this afternoon with my Political Science class, and the representatives there were more than happy to explain. One student came out and asked what everyone was thinking: given Israel's recent actions, what is its policy toward a similar, preemptive strike against Arafat?

The presenter worked primarily in educational ties, so we were expecting an answer that denounced Arafat's actions while stating the Israeli hope that peaceful negotiations could reach a solution: your typical diplospeak. But she flat-out said it: Israel's policy of preempting terror attacks through the killing of terrorist leaders remains in place and Arafat is on the list.

Then she talked about the next issue: what happens after the primary Palestinian leaders are gone, the fence is up, and Israel disengages. Then, she said, chaos...

..While Palestinians may hate Israeli occupation with unmatched vigor, they hardly realize the extent the country still provided basic governmental services. Power, infrastructure, and economic development provided by IDF troops and government representatives will disappear. Americans protest the fence saying that Israel wants to starve and imprison the Palestinians, but the truth is rather simple: Israel will accomplish these things not because it wants to, but simply by ending its existing benevolent oversight of the Palestinian regions.

Forced to administer themselves, rather than unite behind opposition to the occupation, the current ties between the PLO and Hamas will disappear. Over some short period of time, evolution will force a new generation of leadership. No longer able to gain support by galvanizing hatred and blaming problems on Israel, the people themselves will have the chance to choose a better way and begin the process of creating a two-state solution.

They will need help, she said, and Israel has always wanted to give it to them. Whether you believe the second part or not, the first is a standard to which Israel should be held. If the country remains resolute, little can stop its unilateral actions in eliminating the current leadership and withdrawing behind the fence. All that will remain is for the international community to focus on the task of delivering aid to the Palestinians when they finally decide to use it wisely. American success in Iraq would go a long way toward demonstrating this possibility...

Posted by John Weidner at March 27, 2004 8:14 PM
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