Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fitzgerald: The Times tells us what to think about Israel and Syria

In the Times a few days ago Ethan Bonner notes that most Israeli "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 he quotes Dore Gold: "In a world in which Iran is on the march and extending its influence from Lebanon to Iraq, for Israel to consider giving up the Golan barrier would be a strategic error of the highest order."

But, having given that side its due, he gives more weight to those who think what Olmert is doing is just the ticket:

"On the other hand, many other [how many other?] Israeli officials and analysts see great benefits for Israel. Syria is a prime sponsor of Hezbollah and provides it with rockets and arms, many from Iran. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have headquarters in Damascus, and Israel will seek, in these negotiations, to have them closed.”

And he ends with this, that is not attributed to the beliefs of "many others" but stated, as if it were a fact of which we have all taken judicial notice:

To pull Syria out of the orbit of Iran and return it to the more pro-Western world of Egypt, Jordan and even Saudi Arabia would be a major victory for Israel. A real peace treaty with Syria would bring Israel significant advantages in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

Let's see if we agree with Ethan Bonner that pulling Syria "out of the orbit of Iran" and returning it "to the more pro-Western world of Egypt, Jordan and even Saudi Arabia" would constitute a "major victory for Israel."

It would be a "major victory for Israel" if Syria's bad relations with Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia were bad for Israel, and if Syria's possible good relations with Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia would be good for Israel. But why would that be?

Are Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia in any sense "pro-Western"? True, Egypt and Jordan both accept, and wish to continue grandly to accept -- and will be furious if there is any interruption in their ability to accept -- billions (in the case of Jordan), and tens of billions (in the case of Egypt) in aid, which they regard as their due, their Jizyah (and so do, increasingly, the donor Western nations). But why, in what way, can they be called "pro-Western"? Do they collaborate with the West? Do they do the West's bidding in any way that does not already conform to their interests? When have Jordan or Egypt or Saudi Arabia ever done anything to placate or please the West that they would not already have done out of their own calculated self-interest? Was Saudi Arabia being "pro-Western" or "anti-Infidel" when it paid for arms for the muhajideen in Afghanistan?

Is Egypt being "pro-Western" when it pretends to urge the Sudan to rein in the Janjaweed? Or is it, in fact, giving a nudge-nudge wink-wink to a fellow member of the Arab League, perfectly entitled, in the view of Egypt's Arabs, to do what it wants with the black Africans under its control, Muslim and non-Muslim?

Is Egypt, is Jordan, is Saudi Arabia, more willing to contemplate the long-term existence of the Infidel nation-state of Israel, or did the first two sign "peace treaties" in the same spirit as Muhammad signed his agreement with the Meccans at Hudaibiyya in 628 A.D.?

Do you think that Saudi Arabia is more willing to accept the notion of Israel than is Iran? Or do you think there is no important difference in their deep and implacable hostility to a Jewish state on territory once possessed by Muslims, and what's more, a state in the middle of Dar al-Islam?

When Syria went to war in 1973, and before that, in 1967, it was "in the orbit of Egypt." Would not Syria be more likely to collaborate in the future with Egypt and with Jordan if it were pulled back into that "orbit of Egypt" rather than allied with Shi'a Iran? And isn't Syria, allied as it is with Shi'a Iran, more likely to cause problems for the Sunni Arabs in Lebanon, and hence with Sunni Arabs elsewhere, and hence contribute to a Sunni-Shi'a divide within the world of Arab Islam? And isn't that a good thing for Infidels, including the Infidels of Israel?

It is not obvious at all that Israel would be better off with Syria "in the orbit of Egypt" and its fellow Sunni Muslim states once again.

But this is stated as accepted truth in the course of what is, after all, supposed to be a report by a reporter, whose job is one of telling the readers about this Israel-Syria negotiation is taking place, and what may be its subject, and the varying opinions of Israelis on the notion of giving back the Golan. His job is not to tell readers of the Times that if the negotiations are successful, and Israel gives up the Golan Heights this will, of course, "pull Syria out of the orbit of Iran and return it to the more pro-Western world of Egypt, Jordan and even Saudi Arabia" and "would be a major victory for Israel."
This is not gospel truth. This is a guess, and not an educated one either, from a reporter who, like so many reporters for the Times, does not know the meaning of the phrase ultra vires.

He could look it up.

Thanks Dhimmi Watch

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