Saturday, May 17, 2008

And now, for something blindingly obvious

Okay, after days and days of reading about: Nakba, how Iran is going to destroy us 3), how the Taliban is going to destroy us and, how Hezbollah and Hamas are going to destroy us and how the Palestinians are all anxiously awaiting that day, I finally figured out what was really bothering me about the whole thing.

The stupidity of it.

As follows:

1) Israel is a small country

2) Palestinian and Israeli cities are not that far from one another. Furthermore all of the major Israeli cities include significant Arab populations.

3) Nuclear weapons and the related radioactive fallout have not yet reached the level of sophistication that they differentiate between Arab and Jew. If Tel Aviv is nuked, not only is Yaffo toast as well, but based on the size and type of explosion and the prevailing weather conditions, the fallout could conceivably affect Palestinian cities in the Gaza strip. I think it is a fair assumption that, in this case, Israeli medical assistance to the affected Palestinian areas would not be forthcoming. Several of our major hospitals would have been vaporized and the others would be busy treating Israeli wounded. Sure, this might not go over well on the world stage, but at a time such as that, "world opinion" would probably be pretty low on our list of priorities. Or so one would presume.

4) This is not even taking into account any Israeli response. Which, in the case of a nuclear attack, would be (I hope) rather severe. It is not that I am all that bloodthirsty but rather that, after the Holocaust, my worldview in respect to such matters can be roughly described as "if we are going to go down, at least we should take down as many of the bastards down with us as we possibly can". Though, of course, I would prefer that we do not go down and that we do not have to take various others with us. This is in particular because I live in Tel Aviv--aka Iranian Target #1. There is nothing quite like self-interest to keep any random violent tendencies that I may have in check.

5) Hamas has (if the news is accurate) joined up with Iran, who is effectively proposing a plan that has the ability to cause significant damage to the folks in Gaza. As such, if Israel is wiped off the map, so will a healthy chunk of the Palestinian population living in the region.

I can understand the alliance with Hezbollah. Right now, Hezbollah also hits Arab Israelis, but theoretically, at some point they may get their hands on technology which will allow them to aim. In addition, Gaza is not within Hezbollah's range. Therefore, to a certain extent, this alliance makes tactical sense. I say "certain extent" because a conflict with Hezbollah also has the potential to injure the Palestinian population. If they knock out our electric grid....guess who also looses power? I suppose one could look at this as a necessary inconvenience to be suffered in order to achieve an ultimate goal.

But the alliance with Iran does not represent a mere necessary inconvenience. It represents the potential for mass casualties. True, there is all that rhetoric about blessed martyrdom. But I do not completely buy that either; the Hamas leadership seems to be quite interested in keeping themselves alive. Nuclear conflict makes the achievement of that goal significantly more difficult. Of course, I suppose the leadership probably has bunkers.....

So far as I can tell, at this point the average Gazan does not have too much in the way of opportunity to freely express his or her opinion on this matter, much less "vote the bastards out" if he or she disagrees with Hamas' foreign policy. But I do wonder if this has occured to them. I would like to think so. I would like to think that if you peel back the external layer of radical elements, you really would find a core of people who are reasonable, who are not looking for glorious, violent martyrdom, who would choose the companionship of their families over that of the mythical 72 virgins...and in short who consider it to be in their own best interest to stay alive. And who are sensible enough to realize that the Iranian schemes run directly counter to said self-interest.

And who find the whole situation just as insane as I do.


Baila said...

I feel so much better now, Gila.


Don't you know these people don't care if they kill their own people?

Gila said...

Baila --after reading your comment I realized I did not express what I wanted to. So I added some bits.

Unknown said...

What makes the whole thing scary is that they don't really seem to think things through logically.

Look at the way they blow up the border crossing their supplies come in from. The crossing closes for a few days and the truck drivers run off with the supplies, not wanting to bring it back.

I wonder when they are going to hit the power cable bringing them electricity. It must be around that area they are shooting the rockets at, so they are bound to hit it one day.

Anonymous said...

Reading the post and the comments confirms the fact that women should by law be bound to the kitchen, the "they" unlike their tools do know exactly what they do.




Baila said...

Okay, I gotcha.

The Hamas leadership does care about their own asses and probably do have safe places to be in the event of a catastrophe. But they still don't give a hoot about their own people.

I also do believe there has to be reasonable people living in those areas who don't want to die. I think though, there are less and less as time goes on and children are educated a certain way. It is possible that most of the population has become radicalized by now. And we know the voices of the few are weak...

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Gila: Hizbolla shot rockets 2 summers ago which killed Israeli arabs. That didn't stop them. Why do you think Iran cares if Arabs will get hurt or killed by a nuclear strike on Israel?
Gazans shoot Qassam rockets at Israel and quite a few "miss" and don't even leave Gazan airspace (killing and wounding Palestinians). Gazan terror attacks directly affect Israel providing water, food and fuel to Gaza, yet Hamas doesn't care. PA policemen kill Israelis in terror attacks even though it directly affects Israel and US support for the PA...but they don't care. (Well, they cared a tiny drop when they offered PA medals of honor to Palestinian terrorists, and the US got upset).

As Golda Meir said, "[The Arabs] will stop fighting us when they love their children more than they hate [Jews]. Arab civilians are only collateral damage in the eyes of Iran, Hizbolla, Hamas, Fatah, the PA, etc....

(I hope this wasn't too political a statement, but you did write a politicial post!)

Gila said...

Guys--please read what I wrote and stop automaticaly popping up with propoganda.

I am not really interested in whether Hamas, Iran or Hezbollah are particularly concerned with collateral damage. To my mind, it is pretty clear that they are not. In respect to Hamas it is possible that they really do not expect things to get that far--that they will defeat us first with conventional weapons. Otherwise, why bother to stockpile? Sit back and wait for Iran to take care of things.

What gets to me is the ones who are not in power--the ones who are effectively being held hostage. The ones who have little choice but to sit back and watch their children be brainwashed. It is hard to argue with the guys with the machine guns.

Do you never wonder?

Of course, there are those who argue that this applies to Israelis as well and that we are also being held hostage by radical groups and special interests. I believe that these arguments have some basis in reality. To illustrate (and one of these days I will have to find a way to blog this)a few weeks after I left the hospital, I read a newspaper article about settlers going off olive picking in a grove owned by Palestinians (after the owners had been kicked off, of course). I was enraged--absolutely furious. All I could think was "I nearly got killed so these goddamn stupid bastards could pull some Marie Antionnette stunt and pretend to be farmers?"

Before anyone tries to defend these nitwits, please be aware that I look at such justifications in the same way I look at Palestinian justifications for Hamas attacks. Bullshit. Self-defense is one thing. Abuse is quite another. One is justifiable. the other is not.

Or put another way--WE, as Jews and Israelis are responsible for our own behavior. Period. Not Hamas and not Iran. This does not mean that we should sit back and be a bunch of weak patsies. But it does mean that, when it comes to drawing the line between responsible, effective and strong self-defense and needless agression, land-grabs and abuse of power, we are responsible. Period.

Gila said...

To clarify--I also reject as ridiculous the various far-left "really, the other side just wants peace and happiness and bunnies so let us just get rid of the army and be friends" stance.

Sometimes, people really do want to kill you.

Anonymous said...

............please read what I wrote and stop automatically popping up with propoganda...., being a carefull reader I in a way do stumble over this word propoganda nor is it to be found in my Prisma dictionary.
Is it a mix or slang of the word (a)propo(s) and is oganda something in a way related to Uganda?

.........Sometimes people really want to kill you.......

A corrective slap once and a while will be sufficient I suppose.

Unknown said...

" a time such as that, "world opinion" would probably be pretty low on our list of priorities. Or so one would presume......"

Ha. Very funny. Another insanity is that Israelis keep trying to impress "world opinion." Give it up, guys. They won't decide to love you just because you kiss butt, it hasn't happened so far.

As for palestinians, I have a rant on this topic and it goes like this: based on our judgement of Germans during WWII, they are complicit. If you silently acquiece to brutality done in your name, if you are a "good German," you are culpable. If you complain you are powerless and can't do anything, at least try. There are a few Palestinian versions of resisters or refuseniks, but not many. Germans who resisted were in just as much danger and we judge them.

I am going to be blunt here. After decades, hell, over a century, of massacres and bombings and antisemitic propaganda and blatant proud alliances with Hitler and media manipulation and outright lying and attempts to rewrite Jewish history and destroy our historic sites and constantly whining for millions of dollars of foreign aid which is used to buy weapons and line the pockets of terrorist gangs - if they still don't have their act together, fuck em. Israel has no responsibility to them at all.

That doesn't make Israel less moral or "down to their level." It is MORE moral to refuse to keep making excuses for people who are trying to kill you and erase your history and defame you and who do not negotiate in good faith. It is not "just taking care of your own" or "being selfish" or "uncaring" or any of the other guilt-tripping accusations. Israel has amply demonstrated that she has done more than any country should or does: hospitals, universities, food, housing greenhouses, uprooting one's own people, constant self-flagellation, repeatedly removing barriers to let her people be killed and maimed ....

You don't supply your enemies, people who have initiated war with you, who are trying to kill your children, with food and utilities and land. This is not righteous behavior which should make Israelis feel virtuous in the face of provocation. This is deeply immoral behavior. If the Palestinains are complicit in not standing up to their own evils, Israel is complicit in encouraging them. Based on my (inadequate) study of talmud, I doubt our sages would have encouraged it. I think they would have been appalled.
"If someone arises to kill you, kill them first."
"If you are kind to the cruel you will end up being cruel to the kind."
I'm sure there are other verses for and against, but I can make a case that our sages did not think that emotional masochism and refusing to learn from experience were virtues.

I used to feel for the Poor Sad Palestinian Victims of Their Own Terrorists (TM) but enough is enough. No I am not being callous, I am being reserving my compassion for people who are not trying to destroy my people or silently acquiescing with those who are.

Thus endeth Judith's Rant on the Palestinians (TM).

Unknown said...

I should add some boilerplate that no I am not condoning when Jews do the same things and don't we have the responsibility to police our own blah blah blah. Of course we do. Compare the amount of dissent and introspection and attempts to be ethical on both sides. They are not remotely similar and should not be conflated. I believe that approach is called "moral equivalence." Which is a cliche at this point but still applicable. We already do and should continue AND we should hold them to our standards instead of excusing them.

Also, they can if they want. They are not that poor. They have plenty of middle-class entrepeneurial people and the money keeps pouring in from the UN, EU, NGOs, even the US and Israel. If they can set up phone banks for Obama they can organize a decent society.

Unknown said...

I should also add that my rant is not aimed at you Gila or anyone else in particular. It is a response to attitudes and positions we have all seen, so whoever feels the shoe fits should put it on and make their case.

Anonymous said...

Great piece Yehudit, facing your writing allmost makes me wish to be shot.

Anonymous said...

I had a long response prepared but yehudit said it all.

Jack Steiner said...

The middle ground is rarely occupied.