Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What Might Have Been?

The Daily Beast has a lengthy article about Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was left incapacitated after a stroke more than four years ago. It suggests that things might have been significantly different had he not suffered the stroke; particularly the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and relations with the Arab world.

I think it's an absolute given, but not necessarily for the reasons stated.

The article claims that Sharon had relented to the fact that there must be a 2-state solution, but it seems to ignore the possibility that Sharon might have chosen to retaliate far sooner to the Hamas terrorism in the form of thousands of kassams and mortars fired at Israel from the very territory that Sharon disengaged from; Gaza.

Early and prompt action from Israel could have short circuited the terrorism before it gained fertile ground in Gaza enabling Hamas to overwhelm Fatah and assume control over Gaza. His successor, Ehud Olmert, failed miserably to deal with the terror threat, and when he did- both in the Hizbullah War and Operation Cast Lead, allowed political constraints to dictate the terms of Israel's military campaign, and not the military objectives of destroying Hizbullah (or Hamas) and their military capabilities. Both groups remain a mortal threat to Israel's existence, and both are preparing for the next phase of their war against Israel at the time and place of their choosing.

That there is no peace process is a direct result of the fact that Israel doesn't have a partner in peace among the Palestinians. Both Hamas and Fatah seek Israel's destruction, furthering propaganda aims to indoctrinate the latest generation of Palestinians to refuse anything less than Israel's destruction by any and all means, including forcing Israel to assume a right of return that would simply overwhelm Israel by sheer force of numbers.

All the while, Israel's concessions from the time of disengagement to now have been to remove Israelis from territory where Jews have lived for centuries. That is a most odious form of ethnic cleansing and one that shows the lengths to which the peace process has become a farce. The Palestinians simply refuse to accept Jews living in their midst, and instead demand all of Israel, not merely a return to pre-1967 borders.

In fact, the Palestinians have twice been offered nearly all of the West Bank plus Gaza and other territorial concessions, but have refused to even make a counter proposal. The Palestinians instead engaged in terrorism and an intifada. That is not a sign of a peace partner, but rather a party tied to Israel's destruction.

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