Sunday, July 23, 2006

David Mack Solves the Problem With Israel--Give All the Land Back--Right!

David Mack is vice president of the Middle East Institute. A commentary he wrote for the McClathchy-Tribune News Service appeared in the Honolulu Advertiser today under the heading, "Mideast today reaps whirlwind of 1967 war."

After considering why all the attempts at peace have failed over the years he offers us the "money quote":
With the benefit of hindsight, it seems to me that the enduring problem is Israel's domination of East Jerusalem and much of its West Bank hinterland and U.S. acquiescence in Israel's decision . . . Israel's determination to hold on indefinitely to occupied territories (ie greater Jerusalem & Golan) . . .has changed the conflict from a conflict of national movements to a conflict of religiously defined political ideologies.
Yes, Mr. Mack, since the debacle of the 1967 & 1973 wars those nations hostile to Israel's existence have used proxies (or "patsies") to do their dirty work for them. First it was the PLO and all of its terrorist spin-off groups, then Hamas and Hezbollah with their Syrian-Iranian connection. It was Iran who changed the equation to a "conflict of religiously defined political ideologies" and the region has been the worse for it ever since.

The "problem" is not, however, with Israel's occupation of land previously held by Jordan or Syria (East Jerusalem was never under any "Palestinian" authority don't forget). The "problem" came before Israel was forced to occupy those regions for self-defense when the surrounding countries attempted to destroy Israel in both wars.

Curiously, Israel signed a treaty with Egypt and gave back the entire Sinai. Not a small gesture. Israel kept Gaza in part because Egypt did not want it and nobody else in the world wanted to administer it either.

After determining that some of the Golan Heights did not pose a security problem for Israel they even gave some of that territory back without a treaty with Syria!

When Jordan renounced its jurisdiction of the West Bank Israel had little choice but to occupy the area . . . who else was going to administer the needs of the Palestinians there and provide for Israel's defense? Saudi Arabia? The United Nations? Nobody wanted any part of that mess, either. Instead, the anti-Israel countries utilized radical Palestinian sentiments to continue their war under the guise of a "resistance movement."

Occupation of southern Lebanon did not even take place until the displaced PLO used the Lebanese "civil war" (instigated by Syria and Iran) as a pretext for attacking Israel from the north. Again, the taking of this territory was an act of self-defense.

With the rise of Hezbollah and its substantial support by Syria and Iran, Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon became too great a liability and they withdrew in 2000, knowing full well that Hezbollah's presence would one day necessitate a future confrontation to destroy them (if no one else was courageous enough to do it earlier).

In 2005 Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, releasing it into the control of the Palestinian Authority which immediately began to permit the launching of rockets into southern Israel from the territory.

Mr. Mack must live in some sort of parallel universe to miss the point that every piece of land that Israel has occupied since independence has been in response to attacks by Arab nations or terrorist organizations funded by them.

When Israel held no land beyond its stated borders . . . it was attacked.

When Israel held land beyond its stated borders . . . it was attacked.

When Israel has withdrawn from land beyond its stated borders . . . it has been attacked.

And now Mr. Mack suggests that if Israel would simply return East Jerusalem to the Palestinians (which Israel cannot technically do since you can't "return" something to someone who never possessed it in the first place . . . they COULD return it to Jordan but Jordan does not want to have anything to do with its security or administration) and the Golan Heights to Syria (who is already shelling and sending rockets into Israel through its proxies in southern Lebanon) and closed every settlement in those areas then everyone would be happy and peace will be just around the corner.

Sorry, Mr. Mack. You've got it all backwards. Israel has proven time and time again that, when its neighbors seriously negotiate for peace, Israel will gladly return all relevant territory.

Until those who seek Israel's destruction are neutralized or removed by either Israel or other regional nations, there will be no question of Israel releasing its hold on whatever occupied land it deems necessary to secure its continuing existence.

Yes, Mr. Mack. It is always Israel who is the "problem" and the United States' acquiescing that exacerbates the matter. If only Israel and the United States were more "reasonable" and less "intransigent" then we would most certainly enjoy "peace in our time."

I'm sure that Neville Chamberlain would wholeheartedly agree with you.