Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Israeli Settlers and the Gaza Campaign

Some folks, during all the faux debate and recrimination over Israel's Gaza incursion - which has been decried as a "disproportional" response by the world community - might have noticed arguments suggesting Israel's "settlement policy" as the root cause of the conflict.

Gershom Gorenberg, at Foreign Policy, places the blame on Israel and the settlements, in "The Other Housing Crisis":

The settlers’ growing power makes it harder for any Israeli leader to act. The head of the Shin Bet security agency recently described “very high willingness” among settlers “to use violence—not just stones, but live weapons—in order to prevent or halt a diplomatic process.” He was articulating a country’s half-spoken fears: Withdrawal involves more than the social and financial costs of moving hundreds of thousands of people. It poses the danger of civil conflict, of battles pitting Jews against Jews.

The more settlers, the greater the danger. The longer the wait, the more settlers. The more settlers, the more hesitant politicians are to talk about evacuating them, much less do anything else about them. It’s anybody’s guess where the point of no return lies.
There's an eery timing to the publication of Gorenberg's essay, which prompted the editors to publish and update by Gorenberg:

At the moment, the temptation is to look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a zoom lens that shows the battles in Gaza up-close, in detail. But a zoom lens flattens the picture you see, and entirely leaves out the panoramic view.

In the panoramic view, Israel’s strategic problem remains ending its rule over the Palestinians safely, in order to avoid the alternative of an unstable binational state. That means leaving the West Bank, and giving up settlements.
The update is dated January 5, 2009, and thus it's hard to believe that Gorenberg would fail to mention the international condemnation of Israel's right to self-defense, or Hamas' slaughter of civilian "human shields" for diaboloical propaganda purposes.

In a post earlier this week, hardline leftist blogger
Matthew Yglesias also attacked Israel's settlement policy, where he extrapolated the case to Gaza, arguing that the strip is functionally equivalent to "an Indian reservation."

With his inimitable flair,
Rick Moran smacks down all this talk of "panoramic views" and "Indian reservations":

The illegal outposts set down by radical Israelis who believe the Bible gives them the right to the land (and which George Bush has demanded the Israeli government remove) are not fueling the violence in Gaza. They are an excuse and not the proximate cause of the rocket barrages. It is pure sophistry to infer that anything except a virulent, nauseating strain of anti-Semitism is what keeps the Palestnians at war with Israel. They hate the Jews because they are Jews and any other greivance they have is pure gravy – sauce for the goose. And their single, animating, national ambition is to kill as many as they can while hoping that someone can come along and kick the Jews out of Israel for them.

This appears not to be complicated enough for Israel’s enemies on the left as there just isn’t enough nuance for their tastes. No good international conflict is possible unless there are “root causes” and “underlying dichotomies” to sink one’s teeth into. The idea that they have nothing to do with the matter at hand is of no consequence. When things are too simple, it is best to try to complicate them by raising straw man arguements or, better yet, just make sh*t up as Yglesias does with his “Indian reservation” analogy.
Gorenberg, who lives in Jerusalem, wrote on the prospects of Israel's military end game last week at the Los Angeles Times. His tone of condemnation against Israel in that piece is about the same. Readers can check the link and make what they can of the argument. As an outside observer, not being on the ground in Israel, it's hard for me to identify with an effort to find so much balance and Jewish complicity. That's why I find it valuable to read Israeli bloggers who are unashamed to lay out the stakes for the survival of the Jewish people in Eretz Israel.

See also, Powerline, "Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is?.


Libby said...

...it's times like this that make me glad i don't have condoleeza rice's job...

AmPowerBlog said...

Bounces! Libby!

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...

Do I know what time it is?? Uh... lemme check my watch. I think it's a quarter to the apocalypse. :)