Monday, November 06, 2006

Deluded in the IDF?

A Jerusalem Post article of October 5 ("IDF: West Bank Terror Could Re-emerge," by Yaakov Katz)claimed that senior defense officials are warning about an eventual escalation in terror emanating from Hamas and Islamic Jihad cells in the West Bank in the face of "the lack of diplomatic progress."

While the article contains no direct quotes to this effect from any senior officers, the implication is that upper echelons of the IDF view "diplomatic progress" as an alternative to Israel's being subjected to a terror offensive.

No doubt during the Oslo years promotions to the highest positions in the IDF were made in part on the basis of political views. And, despite all that has transpired, the delusions of Oslo still have a tenacious hold on some Israelis. But, especially since Arafat launched his terror war in September, 2000, the nation should surely have moved well beyond the point where anyone in a position of authority in the IDF would still fail to grasp basic realities.

There are, of course, no Palestinian interlocutors for diplomatic progress that would improve Israel's security, and any territorial concessions in the foreseeable future will simply provide the terror organizations with better strategic positions from which to launch their attacks.

As the war with Hezbollah this summer underscored, Israel cannot afford the luxury of delusional misconceptions about the objectives of its enemies and the strategic threats they represent.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Times Editors Still Flacking for Hamas

The editors of the New York Times, virtually always willing to ignore or dismiss genocidal rhetoric directed at Jews, do so again in an editorial entitled, "Out of the Mouths of Aides" (September 30, 2006). They advise the Bush administration that, "while words are important," it should turn a blind eye to calls for Israel's destruction conveyed in media, mosques and schools by the Palestinians' Hamas government (and by Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party as well). "[Secretary of
State] Rice needs to make clear to the Palestinians that... she is less concerned with rhetoric than the ability and willingness of any Palestinian government to halt, rather than abet, all attacks on Israel."

The Administration should also, we are told, press Israel to desist from targeting those Palestinians involved in such attacks. In effect, Hamas should be allowed to indoctrinate its constituents and build up its forces during a cease-fire. It should be permitted to prepare for what most Palestinians, according to polls, aspire to: an emulation of Hezbollah's war strategy during the past summer's conflict. Israel, meanwhile, should be pressed to do nothing to forestall
Hamas's war plans.

Why advise such a course, which potentially represents an existential threat to Israel? The editors' rationale is endorsement of the statement by one of Secretary Rice's State Department aides to the effect that, "some sense of progress on the Arab-Israeli dispute is 'just a sine qua non' for getting moderate Arabs and Europeans to cooperate on Iran and the region's many other dangerous problems."

The absurdity of this claim should be obvious even at the Times. "Moderate" Arabs will cooperate on Iran only if they feel sufficiently threatened by that country, in which case they will do so no matter what is happening on the Israeli-Palestinian front. If they don't feel very threatened by Iran, they won't cooperate - again, no matter what is going on between the Israelis and Palestinians. Similarly, if the Europeans see Iran more as a business opportunity than a strategic threat, they will be uncooperative no matter how hard the United States presses Israel on concessions to the Palestinians.

If either the "moderate" Arabs or Europeans suggest that movement on the Israeli-Palestinian front is a precondition for their cooperation on Iran, they do so because focusing on Israel and the Palestinians is an easy evasion of steps against Iran and plays well domestically. Only those ill-disposed to Israel, whether State Department apparatchiks or Times editors, would take such suggestions at face value.

But the tack clearly appeals to the Times, as it allows the paper's editors to skewer two favorite targets at once - the Bush administration and Israel.

The Times' hypocrisy is amplified by another piece of advice proffered in the editorial. "Ms. Rice should be willing to go to Damascus... to tell President Bashar al-Assad that relations can improve if he restrains his clients Hamas and Hezbollah. The Europeans... should make the same trip to warn of real punishments should he refuse."

Can anyone imagine the Times' editors actually supporting "real punishments" of Syria? Have they urged such punishment of Iran now that that country has made a mockery of the August 31 deadline set by the Security Council for stopping uranium enrichment?

Reference to such steps is merely a figleaf for the Times' once more advocating a policy of reaching out to Syria, as well as to Fatah and Hamas; once more urging stale and inevitably sterile and destructive exercises in diplomacy as an end in itself; and once more criticizing the Administration for its refusal to take that path.