Monday, May 26, 2008

Fitzgerald: Olmert the Golem and the Golan

The Golem of Hebrew legend is a creature who is formed of inanimate clay, but is wonder-working and beneficent. However, in modern Hebrew slang the word “golem” is used, presumably because only the “made from inanimate clay” part is implicated, to refer to someone who is stupid, who is a fool. It is hard to believe that at this moment Olmert, the current Prime Minister of Israel, whose popularity level is below 10%, who is widely seen has having been responsible for unnecessary Israeli casualties toward the end of the 2006 war against Hezbollah, who is now under investigation -- as he has been so often in his life -- for suspected corruption, and who is, therefore, pulling a Sharon, attempting to divert attention from his legal troubles, is trying to win at least some temporary popularity for his putative peace-making by agreeing to discuss the possibility of handing back the Golan Heights to Syria.

But the Golan Heights are not Olmert’s to hand back. Unlike the Jewish villages in Gaza, a place Israel never formally annexed, the Golan is different. It has been so annexed, and Olmert has no power -- or should have no power -- to undo that formal annexing. The Golan Heights were annexed, that is, they became part of Israel, because they are critical to Israel’s survival. For those heights one looks down on the Sea of Galilee. When Syria possessed it, they could, and sometimes did, rain fire on the Israeli villages and kibbutzim below. It contains 15% of the water on which Israel depends. It is incredibly difficult to seize. Israel did it once, during the nearly-miraculous conditions of the Six-Day War, but those conditions will never occur again, and the notion that if the Syrians misbehave that the Golan Heights can be re-taken is both silly, and cruel to Israeli soldiers, who are not treated by their own foolish governments with the solicitousness they deserve. If Syria does not obtain the Golan Heights back by inveigling Israel to give it back, Syria will never be able to get it back any other way -- and should not.

Yet we now hear that this awful Israeli government, with so many confused and incapable people (save for the one good appointment Olmert did make, which was Daniel Friedmann as Minister of Justice, for Friedmann has decided to rein in the runaway Israeli Supreme Court, which Aharon Barak taught to go off on frolics and detours of its own whenever it felt like it), has for months been having “indirect talks in Turkey” with Syria. On Al-Jazeera the Syrian Information Minister, Muhsin Bilal, claims:

We received commitments and messages from the Israeli government and the Israeli prime minister that guarantee, via the Turks, that he knows what the Syrians want….He knows that the whole of the Golan Heights will be returned to Syria and that Israel will withdraw to the lines of 4 June 1967.

Syria is an enemy of Israel. It is a country with a Sunni Muslim population of 70%. Some of its Christians, furthermore, are what have been called “islamochristians,” that is, people who, because they are Arabs (or consider themselves to be Arabs), are wedded to the idea of “Uruba” or “Arabness.” This hyperconsciousness of being “Arabs” reinforces -- despite their being Christians -- their support for Islam-based causes, such as the destruction of the Infidel state of Israel.

Imagine another war, for there will be another war of the Arabs against Israel. The only question is when, and with what countries involved, and with what kind of weaponry. Now imagine that you are an Israeli general. And you still possess the Golan Heights, and you look down on Damascus, about 40 miles away. Syria may be a threat, but it won’t be the kind of threat -- ever -- that it would be if the Golan Heights had been given away in 2008, as a last fateful act of a regime, morally and geopolitically bankrupt and incapable of coming to grips with, or even beginning to fashion a policy towards, the Islam that, we now know, explains the Lesser, and Permanent, Jihad against Israel.

But imagine Israel stripped of the Golan, and with Syrian troops, and all kinds of weapons of war, on the Golan Heights, overlooking that Sea of Galilee.

Amazing, isn’t it, that at this very moment, when the Druse who live in and near the Golan, on both sides of the border, are -- because of the spectacle of Hezbollah’s repeated attacks on the Druse in Lebanon, attacks presumably supported by Hizballah’s supporter Syria -- most likely to be receptive to the idea of permanently choosing Israel as the state they prefer to hold the Golan, that at this point Olmert and Livni choose to let out news of their “discussions” with Syria.

There are, as there always are, clearer heads. In Israel, many of these clearer heads belong to no-nonsense military men. They know, as Olmert apparently does not, the value of possessing the Golan Heights: “many strategists and generals have said that giving up the strategic advantage of the Heights in exchange for promises or even written treaties [!] makes no sense.”

And two-thirds of the Israeli public opposes the surrender of what is now part of Israel.

But there are those who, despite all the evidence of all the negotiations, and all the peace-processing, and all the treaties, that Israel has ever been party to, that somehow this negotiation, and this peace-processing, and this obvious “truce” treaty (even if it is wrongly identified as a “peace treaty”), will lead to a different result than what the long catalogue of Israeli folly in such matters suggests will be the inevitable result.
Thanks Dhimmi Watch

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