Monday, August 20, 2007

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty

I had the following exchange with a friend of mine who is a Zionist. I figured you would appreciate what I had to say.

My friend wrote me the following:

just to reiterate, i'm for the settlers and soldiers to be evacuated, and for soldiers' ability to go after terrorists and other threats. i'm also for israel to keep early warning stations as they see fit. i'm just not for this whole matrix of control over a hostile won't convince them to change their ways, so it's unsustainable and pointless if israel can find just as effective means of self-defense. how don't care how it's viewed by them, they won't be able to penetrate israel and that'll be the best message to send.

This was my reply:

I understand why you believe in evacuating most of the West Bank, but to briefly outline why I do not believe it to be a fruitful platform...

  1. Technically speaking, the 'hostile population' already is under the control over the thugs of the Palestinian Authority. In fact, times were best for this hostile population when Israelis were in control in the '80s, pre-Oslo.
  2. To that end, the IDF is in there not to 'control' the hostile population, but rather to secure the Israeli population AGAINST the hostile population. Yes, road blocks can be crap, but we know when they were put in - after the Intifada. They were not, repeat, NOT, there pre-Intifada. As such, we have to evalualate them not from whether or not it is hurting Israeli psyche to be 'in control' over a hostile population, but rather, whether they are effective. If you look at the extreme drop in suicide bombings, then yes, they have been effective to at least some degree. I would be in favor of dropping anything ineffective, but ONLY if it is ineffective.
  3. It is a human rights nightmare to just evacuate tens of thousands (if not many more) of Jews from the holiest part of Israel. There is not the infrastructure nor the sympathy to care for what will be homeless people. The settlers evacuated from Gaza have been reduced to living in trailers, the kids still, two years later, are not enrolled in schools.
  4. If we were to evacuate the West Bank, then it is a guarantee that our holiest sites will be 100% destroyed. I am not so cool with our history and heritage being destroyed. We need only examine the example of Gaza, and the wholesale destruction of the ancient synagogues there.
  5. As far as my understanding, the missile defense system will not be effective if the missiles come lobbed RIGHT over the wall, and they are certainly still at a test phase in general. The technology is not as effective as rooting out the terrorists in the way the IDF currently does.
  6. WHY should Jews have to evacuate Jewish holy land (which they were slaughtered in in 1929, as you know), and Arabs are allowed to live in Israel? Honestly, if THAT is the philosophy of the JEWISH state - population exchange ONLY for Jews - then that rewards bad behavior. Rewarding bad behavior encourages bad behavior. And it makes me believe that if there is to be a population exchange, let's make it even - let's tell all Arab Israelis they have to declare they are a Zionist (and that their kids must join IDF), or they will be given money to leave. I do not believe it right or just to have a one-way population exchange.
  7. Was the IDF set up to forcibly expel Jews from their homes? Having the IDF do such a thing undermines confidence in the IDF. There already is a concern about draft dodging, and such policies will only increase draft dodging.
  8. None of this will change the opinion of the world, nor the Palestinians, nor the Arab Israelis, about Israel. If anything, it will make them more vigilant, rather than less. They will see that their actions lead to a reward. As such, if the goal is to curb the impulse to commit acts of terror, that is not achieved.
  9. If the goal is to be more militarily effective, I do not believe that would be achieved, either. Let's examine: why are there no rockets being launched through the West Bank, but there are rockets being launched from Gaza? Answer: because of the vigilance of the IDF in rooting out the Islamist terrorists in the West Bank. THAT is the reason. You take away the IDF presence, and there will be, almost as a guarantee, an upsurge of terrorism and rockets being launched at Israel. The missile defense system is still in the test phase and cannot be relied upon and is no substitute for what the IDF does now. Meanwhile, the West Bank sits right on top of MAJOR POPULATON CENTERS of Israel! Thus, leaving the West Bank in the way you propose would expose the population centers, and make them less, and not more safe. And this is under the pretense of assuming that the IDF had to forcibly expel tens of thousands of Jews from their homes - and there is NO Jewish presence in the West Bank (save for the few settlement blocks).
  10. Let's examine another scenario. Let's pretend that there is a Jewish presence in the West Bank. Let's pretend that the IDF leaves, and the Jews are told that they can stay, but they will be under the auspices of the corrupt, thug-like Palestinian Authority. These settlers will be armed, as they are now, and will certainly act to defend themselves and their homes. It will be like the Wild West. And a tenet of the IDF is to protect Jews in the world, wherever they may be. (most famously seen in the bravery during the Entebbe hijacking) So the IDF still has jurisdiction over these Jews and still would have a duty to defend them - only they will not be able to be as effective in doing so, having ceded power and control over to the Palestinian Authority. There would be massacres.
  11. The bottom line is that Israel has only two logical paths it can follow if it seeks to avoid a human rights nightmare for its Jewish citizens. One is to remain constantly vigilant. Remember what Wendell Phillips said: "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." When I was in Israel, every soldier I saw, I cheered. I told them that I was grateful for their protecting my freedom. What they do is really amazing. We mustn't, and they musn't, buy into the propoganda that they are doing it "only" for the "ungrateful" settlers. We musn't, and they musn't, buy into the propoganda that they are "controlling a hostile native population." (these people are no more native than the Jews, if anything, they are less native, but that is another story) We cannot let THEM dictate the terms over how we see this, and we have to realize that if we remain eternally vigilant, there may be no peace in our lifetimes. We have to resolve ourselves that the only way towards peace is to do something that no one is willing to do, because it may break the very soul of the Jewish state. And that is to follow Kahane's advice and have a wholesale population transfer. This is the only longterm solution towards peace. If we are not willing to do it, as we are not (and as we shouldn't be, because I think it would break the soul of the Jewish state), then we have to acknowledge that peace is not possible with a foe whose goal is ultimately annhilation. Maybe a sizeable chunk of Palestinians can live in peaceful coexistence. Maybe. But not today, and not in three-five years.

If we are not going to follow Kahane's advice (I want to underline the fact that I do not believe we SHOULD follow Kahane's advice), then we have to look at how to dismantle the hate education system which produces programs such as "Farfour, the Hamas mouse," and "Nahoul the bee," teaching children the joys of shahid, martyrdom. We have to dismantle the hate education system which teaches children that Jews are subhuman. And if that is taught in Israel, certainly that too should be dismantled. The problem is not the people, it is the culture. There needs to be a wholesale change of culture, so that peaceful coexistence is possible. That cannot happen in our lifetimes, and we should resolve ourselves to that; maybe it can happen in the lifetimes of our children.

What do you all think about what I have to say?


Michael said...

I want to do proper justice to an excellent post, so I will comment more fully tomorrow.

For now, I'll just say that I think you are right, that Israel cannot practice expulsions (of Jews or Arabs) and survive the internal convulsions.

That said, however, doesn't mean that Israel should ever let the "palestinian refugees" in.

Eitan Ha'ahzari said...

I agree with what you had to say to your friend for the most part, Red Tulips.

Render said...

Attawoman RT.


Michael said...

I still haven't forgotten to write about this post, but life's been rather busy at my end for a while.

It'll be the subject of my next long post, soon...