Sunday, January 04, 2009

Long Live Palestine!

[my true colors]

After much soul searching, I have changed sides. Like Anonymous, I am now whole-heartedly pro-Palestinian. I am firmly opposed to Israeli military action against Gaza. I want the Israeli army and air force to cease all actions against both civilians and uniformed Hamas fighters. I want to see Gazans safe and happy in their homes. I want Israeli soldiers to go home.

I think the best way, indeed the only way, to achieve these things is for the Palestinians to permanently stop shooting rockets at Israel, to permanently stop sending suicide bombers to Israel, to permanently stop stockpiling weapons to use later, to permanently stop teaching hatred of Jews. That is how we pro-Palestinians can put our agenda into effect.

The Israeli government has already announced that they will accept these conditions. If we can trick the Israelis into not bombing and invading us in return for our not constantly trying to kill them, we could have a decent life.

Speaking as a committed pro-Palestinian to my fellow pro-Palestinians, whaddya say guys? Let's do it.

14 comments:

  1. Fig Newton2:09 PM

    Uh,... OK Jack,...but while you can take Hamas out of the Gaza, can you really take the Gaza out of Hamas?

    It is a virtual certainty that international aid monies and shipments in kind are being diverted by Hamas toward funding and support for attacks against Israel. Direct international aid in the form of welfare-type payments (UNRRA) work counter to establishing peace in Gaza specifically and the Mid-East generally.

    The Palestinians must be given aid that does not easily convert itself into military action against Israel. What aid the Palestinians do receive should be targeted directly at improving agricultural infrastructure and businesses that refine and market such goods and products. Along these same lines, such aid must be channeled through groups that have not taken a hostile position against Israel, this would admittedly result in narrow list of candidates.

    Any Islamist group that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist or engages in attacks against Israel should not receive any aid at all. In the present situation that prevails in Gaza, the Israeli Army should allow humanitarian aid to flow only into areas of Gaza where its distribution and use can be monitored by both Israel and an appropriate international force.

    Speaking of aid to Hamas, every time I fill up a tank of gas I can not help but shuddering at the sense that I am placing a percentage of income into the hands of those that seek the destruction of Israel.

    In any event, Israel will attain its objectives against Hamas, and the sooner this happens the better off the world will be. However, at the conclusion of most recent successful military campaigns there has been a singularly lacking commitment to winning the peace. Once Hamas is dealt with, what plans are being developed to restore some measure of self-sufficient economic activity free from international welfare payments?

    One Palestinian NGO group called Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC) appears to have not taken overt sides in the Fatah-Hamas split. Their literature is not warm toward Israel, however, the group claims to be active in developing sustainable agricultural projects in the West Bank and Gaza. Here is a portion of PARC’s comments in the general area of their website:

    “While continuing to pursue its priorities and long-term objectives, PARC has been responding to the changing needs of its beneficiaries due to changing political and socio-economic conditions. During the first five months of Al-Aqsa Intifada for example, PARC managed to reverse the increase in unemployment rates due to Israeli closure by creating 2,200 job opportunities in a number of villages. This was accomplished through land reclamation and environmental protection campaigns and projects.In addition, and during the same period, it focused its activities on replanting swept (bulldozed) lands and upgrading the agricultural infrastructure by building cisterns and agricultural access roads. “ Link: http://www.parc.ps/about/about.html
    The Annual Reports are worth a read, particularly the 2007 report with its very graphic description of the collapse of the Gaza agricultural economy in the wake of the election of Hamas in 2006. Moreover, the list of supporting partners for this organization is surprising. One finds that the USDA was a partner in a program to send five members of PARC to learn water monitoring techniques at a USDA laboratory outside of Fresno, CA. It appears that this program began in 2005 and has continued in one form or another through 2008. The U.S. State Department has also provided funding it would appear:
    ‘Research Project: Irrigation Management Information System (Imis) with the Arab Agronomist Association
    2006 Annual Report 4d.Progress report. This report serves to document research conducted under a specific cooperative agreement between ARS and the Arab Agronomist Association (AAA), West Bank. Starting October 1, 2005, AAA became the cooperating institution with ARS as a replacement of Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees for CRIS 0210-22310-002-48S. Funding is provided under a reimbursable agreement with the Department of State (CRIS 4001-22310-002-44R) and work is in partnership with Jordan's Ministry of Agriculture (CRIS 4001-22310-002-46S) and Israel (CRIS 4001-22310-002-47S). Water scarcity and competing demands for water have become one of the key barriers to sustainable agriculture production in the Middle East and the West Bank. Under the direction of Dr. James Ayars, ARS Water Management Research Laboratory, Parlier, CA, and Dr. Steven Evett, ARS Soil and Water Management Research Unit, Bushland, TX, the co-operators are working to establish the technological and human infrastructure required to achieve long-term sustained water conservation in the U.S. and Middle East.
    Link: http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/projects/projects.htm?ACCN_NO=409263&showpars=true&fy=2006
    At any rate, what is the endgame? What kind of Relief Plan once Israel’s objectives are achieved?

    Kind Regards,

    Fig Newton

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  2. With all due respect for our beloved Palestinian brethren, once they stop shooting at Israel they are somebody else's problem. If there were ever a group toward whom Israel owes nothing, it is the Palestinians in general and the Palestinians of Gaza in particular.

    What aid they get, so long as none of it is weapons, is of no interest. Let them live and be well, and if we never hear from them again it will still be too soon.

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  3. Anonymous2:33 PM

    Jack,

    Do you really believe the Palestinian question can come down to such a simplistic assertions of aims? The base problems are poverty and resentment. Simply telling someone to stop when they are in a hole doesn't always work. I'm afraid Israel has to make significant concessions (NOT significant really, just live up the 48' agreement and stop conquering Palestinian land in the West Bank) in order for peace to occur.

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  4. Fig Newton3:11 PM

    If I may politely follow up - Jack, you wrote:

    With all due respect for our beloved Palestinian brethren, once they stop shooting at Israel they are somebody else's problem. If there were ever a group toward whom Israel owes nothing, it is the Palestinians in general and the Palestinians of Gaza in particular. (The Kesslernator)

    The United States could have taken this same point of view toward Europe after the First and Second World Wars, but it did not. During and after WWI, the U.S. operated the U.S. Grain Corporation and the American Relief Association (ARA), which continued to distribute seed, grain, and flour (principally). After WWII, there was, of course, the famous Marshall Plan. These relief programs were singularly unique in that, for the most part, the U.S. worked with both its allies and defeated enemies in order to provide aid that would allow for infrastructure and investment to take root. I see no reason why Israel would be averse to such an approach, particularly if it involves taking away fertile ground for Hamas and militant Islamist recruitment.

    WWI's Versailles process, and its half-hearted and awkward attempt to create nation-states in accordance with ethnic self-determenation, failed in part because national divisions did not guarantee the creation of economically viable states. Railroad infrastructure and manufacturing capacity tended to lead from the periphery of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Vienna. The same might be said for the manner in which the Ottoman Empire was dismembered. The lesson is of importance for Israel: the West Bank and Gaza must become economically viable and prosperous enough to not become seedbeds for future generations of Hamas or some other like-minded group.

    The West Bank will always look to Jordan and Israel as economic outlets. The Gaza Strip will always be a part of the Egyptian and Southern Israel economy, for better or worse.

    Israel in its victory, a victory in which the west has a huge stake, can not afford an isolationist policy with its enemies so close at hand.

    Kind Regards,

    Fig Newton

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  5. Fig Newton3:29 PM

    I should clarify this statement since I see I did not word it properly:

    "Railroad infrastructure and manufacturing capacity tended to lead from the periphery of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Vienna."

    What I mean to convey is that manufacturing, banking, and distribution hubs for Austria-Hungary were concentrated in Vienna and Budapest, and to a lesser extent, Prague. While what came to be Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Yugoslavia,inherited infrastructure that moved goods toward the distribution centers of the old imperial economic systems. This infrastructure, after 1919, was very dysfunctional and contributed to the political and economic instability that afflicted Europe in the 1920s and 1930s.

    Kind Regards,

    Fig Newton

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  6. Now who's being naive?

    The Palestinian political entities, Fatah and Hamas, have both been quite clear that they are not interested in concessions. There fundamental purposes, their raison d'etre, is the destruction of Israel.

    Some examples are the Palestinian Covenant, the Khartoum Declaration of Rejectionism, and the Hamas Charter. The leading example on the ground is the Palestinian reneging on the Oslo Accords. Israel has traded land for peace before. Palestkin land is clear enough. Today we see the peace Israel can expect in return for concessions.

    The only long term option is despair. Despair comes from the French and means 'to give up hope'. The Palestinians must give up hope of destroying Israel. All talk of concessions is counter-productive because it gives them hope. T

    They will someday give up attempting to destroy Israel not because they are prosperous, nor because they are not resentful. They will leave off attacking Israel when they finally lose hope of ever succeeding.

    In the meantime they must be shown that the cost to them of continued futile attacks is very high.

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  7. Fig Newton3:54 PM

    Well, if I am naive, than so was George Marshall.

    Do not miss the direction of my argument: Israel must, and will, defeat Hamas. However, when the Palestinians despair of seeking Israel's destruction, let the roots exist for a prosperous Palestine vested in its future in this world - let them not find themselves vested in a future that seeks reward not in a present prosperity but in the spiritual hate and martyrdom that Hamas offers. Let Israel find a way to win both the war and the peace she has fought hard to attain.

    Kind Regards,

    Fig Newton

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  8. I think the Marshall Plan analogy is inapt. The defeat of the Third Reich discredited the Nazis in Germany. The defeat of Japan discredited the militarists there. Neither party had any important constituencies after the war and those they did have were small and easily suppressed.

    The Marshall Plan was proposed in a context in which the old regimes were gone and were no longer supported by the people. It was intended to influence what the successor regimes would be.

    Had the German people remained steadfastly Nazi in defeat, the Marshall Plan would have been simply rebuilding the infrastructure of one's enemies.

    Until there is the same change of heart and politics among the Palestinians, making any concessions at all to them would be counter-productive.

    There really is not much to discuss with rejectionists. Nor with rejectionist populations. When they give up their mania to kill their neighbors, I can see no reason why Europe and the Oil Arabs and the UN should not pour in all the economic aid they want.

    My guess is that not one of them will send a dime to the Palestinians if they give up rejectionism. But that is another story for another day.

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  9. Fig Newton4:22 PM

    Well lets take a look at this:

    For one thing you and I totally agree that Hamas and the rejectionists should be totally defeated; no serious economic reconstruction plan can move forward unless such factions are defeated totally or one runs the risk of "simply rebuilding the infrastructure of one's enemies." (As you put it)

    I am discussing a condition in Palestine where the extremists are defeated and discredited. The Marshall Plan and the earlier aid offered to Europe at the close of WWI, was primarily aimed against communist advances (This is what you meant when you posted that the Marshall Plan "...was intended to influence what the successor regimes[in Europe]would be. Communism did not come out of WWII discredited, in fact communist constituencies in Europe claimed part of the credit for resistance to the NAZI regime (even though they were arguably complicit in crimes of equal magnitude).

    While there should be no concessions to rejectionists, the political road should be open to relief programs that are "intended to influence what the successor regimes [in Palestine] [sh]ould be.

    Kind Regards,

    Fig Newton

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  10. Certainly no disagreement about any of that. I don't there ever has been. Because the issue has never come up.

    The actual question has always been, "Which comes first - the aid or the giving up rejectionism?"

    Giving aid and planning economic integration of the Israeli and Palestinian economies was the logical basis of the Oslo Accords. Aid and economic integration were expect to INDUCE the Palestinians to give up their Jew-hatred. Parts of the Trans-Judean Highway were actually built. They stand today as mute mockery of that idea. The chief sponsor of it was Shimon Peres.

    The basic premise was the long since exploded theory, "If we're nice to them, they'll like us."

    The left, both in Israel and abroad, hold to the notion that the basis of Arab xenophobia is that the Israelis just haven't been nice enough to the Arabs.

    The Arabs themselves deny it. All evidence points the other way, but the left continues to hold to it, because the alternative is to give up their paternalist view of the Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular.

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  11. So why is everybody so afraid to identify themselves. At least put Anonymous1 or 2 so we can tell which stupid comment goes where. Lots of strong opinions from weak people.

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