Wednesday, February 23, 2011
No Settlement in Sight
During a week in which half the Middle-East was in flames, the diplomatic chatter over a UN condemnation of Israel's so-called "settlements" showed just how irrelevant Western diplomacy is to the real issues in the region. The riots in Bahrain, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Iran were not about a few Jewish villages on one side of a line on a map that has been redrawn half a dozen times in the 20th century. The trouble with the Muslim world does not lie in the vineyards of the Judean Hills, the glass factories of Ariel, the academies of the revived Maccabean town of Modi'in Illit, the solar panel plants of Nazareth Illit, the dairies of Carmel or the fruit orchards of Gush Etzion. Ever since ten Arab nations lost a war to Israel over six days in the spring of 1967, too many diplomats have acted as if it were its responsibility to fix the Muslim world. In 1973, Israel was set up to lose a war in order to bolster Muslim self-esteem. But Israel still won and while its people buried more of their dead this time around, Muslim self-esteem did not noticeably improve. In the early 90's, Israel was pressured into providing an autonomous territory for Islamo-Marxist thugs who had been trained and equipped by its neighbors to carry out terrorist attacks on its citizens. And year after year, for almost two decades, Israel has been held responsible for all the problems in the region because it has been unable to achieve a lasting peace with the terrorists.
Only a few weeks before the rioting started, American diplomats and journalists were being told by Arab leaders that a solution to the Palestinian problem would stabilize the region. It would be interesting to go out into the streets of Cairo, Manama, Tripoli and Tunis to find out how many of the rioters would be willing to go home if there were a Palestinian state tomorrow. The answer would be none. Palestine has never been anything but a myth used as a channel for Muslim anger. Like Al-Andalus or the Mu-Pan-Li myth, (which Muslims use to claim that they were the first discoverers of America), Palestine feeds the Muslim ego and its sense of victimization. And like all xenophobic myths, its emotional teeth cannot be pulled by any amount of appeasement or concessions.
The reason Western intelligence didn't see this coming, and Israeli intelligence did, is that the West was successfully gulled and deceived by Arab leaders who insisted that the only real source of regional instability was Israel. And now even when half a dozen cities are burning, Western diplomats wrangle over a few Israeli towns and villages as if they were the real threat to peace. European leaders like Sarkozy, Merkel and Cameron may be proclaiming the failure of multiculturalism, but they are still unable to stop pandering to it anyway.
When New Zealand's Clarke government wanted to sell some sheep to the Muslim world, Wikileaks reveals that it staged a crisis with Israel. Such second-hand bigotry has since become commonplace as nations already drowning in violent Muslim immigrants, queue up to inveigh against the peach tree orchards, olive groves and wineries of Israel's native inhabitants. But European leaders aren't selling sheep to the Saudis, they are selling themselves. The ancient cities of Europe have their own settlement problems. And it is not too difficult to foresee an age when London, Paris, Berlin and Rome are as Muslim as the former Constantinople.
Ceding towns and cities to the Islam has not worked out for Israel or for Europe. And while many Americans may not be aware of the Little Mogadishus and the Dearbornistans in their own country, the fruited plain and the purple mountain majesties set from sea to shining sea, are bringing forth mosques and terrorists out of the ground like thorns. The secular republicanism of France has faltered in the face of millions of angry Algerians and Moroccans. And Albion's bid for a multicultural New Britain has been overwhelmed by Pakistanis and Egyptians. Germany grits its teeth at the Turks and it is not the cold that sends shivers up Sweden's spine.
Israel is a convenient whipping boy for European leaders who know this can't go on, but also believe that it must. Their assents to denunciations of Israel by such solid UN citizens as Libya, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are acts of moral cowardice by men and women who would rather collaborate than lead. It is easier to condemn the settlements of Israel, than the settlements of Europe. Barking about the Jews of Judea and Samaria requires no courage, standing up to the Muslims of Birmingham, Goutte-d'Or or Essen does. Jews may write angry letters to newspapers, but Muslims lop off the heads of newspaper cartoonists.
And what goes for the millions of Muslims scattered across Europe, goes double for the billion or so Muslims of the globe. Western leaders have no clue what to do about the rush of events in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. But they still know how to push the automatic 'condemn' button when it comes to Israel. These events have shown the impotence of the post-colonial Western order when it comes to dealing with the Muslim world. And faced with that impotence, the gaggle of politicians, diplomats, foreign policy experts and journalists who in a space of a month have proven that they know less about the region than any child, revert to the known. To the proven and failed methods that are safe, because they are useless.
As the Camp David accords, the original treaty that paved the way for all the others, is being disowned by Egypt's liberals, the push for a settlement goes on. A settlement with Mahmoud Abbas, who refuses to stand for elections, gets most of his money from America and is about as popular as Mubarak was in Egypt. That Abbas looks exactly like all the tyrants who are being overthrown across the region has yet to come up, because it's another of those inconvenient observations. The last time Condoleezza Rice pushed for democracy, Abbas nearly lost his head to Hamas. No one will be making that mistake this time. Instead Israel is expected to turn over half its capital and large portions of its country to a flimsy dictator who remains in power only by the grace of American assault rifles and an Israeli blockade of Gaza.
With the Egyptian peace treaty going down in flames, Israeli leaders would have to be out of their minds to stake half their country on a deal with Abbas, an unpopular terrorist group's office boy. Signing an agreement with an Arab leader is like buying stock in a bankrupt company. And Abbas' stock is that of a telegraph company after the invention of the telephone. The only thing left to do is lay down the law, but a leader with the brass to do that is as hard to find in Israel, as in Europe. They exist, but are invariably treated as dangerous warmongering pariahs on every continent, when the real dangerous warmongers can be found shouting the Koran from the floor of every mosque.
For America and Europe, the settlement comes down to the settlements. A term that has been defined so far down that Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities on earth, is now being called a settlement. Turn them over to the terrorists and there will be peace, the diplomats and the pundits pant. But is there actually a way to settle this?
Israel could sign yet another agreement with the terrorists. But which terrorists. Like a Sheikh in a preschool, there are too many to choose from. There is Abbas, who might be willing to negotiate and sign an agreement, but won't abide by it. Then there's Hamas, who run Gaza and will eventually run the rest of the Palestinian Authority, but the only agreement they're willing to sign is a temporary truce. Islamic Jihad won't even go that far. Jaysh al-Islam, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Israel, has condemned Hamas as a bunch of Zionists for offering a temporary truce. Instead it's bombing coffee shops in Hamas run Gaza, because all the other terrorist groups have cornered the local market on everything else.
The pundits assured us a month ago that if Israel signs a deal with Abbas, it will stabilize the region. Now that the region is burning, they tell us that if Israel doesn't sign a deal with Abbas, he will be overthrown by Hamas. And then if Israel doesn't sign a deal with Hamas, it will be overthrown by Al-Qaeda, and then if Israel doesn't sign a deal with Al-Qaeda-- that is proof positive that Israel doesn't want peace. Somehow the burden is never on the alphabet soup of Muslim terrorist groups to reach an agreement, but on the civilized nations who must somehow find a way to accommodate them-- instead of shipping the whole bunch back to Egypt, Jordan and Syria marked, 'Return to Sender'.
Israel can dig up Hitler's corpse, wrap a turban around his skull and sign an agreement with him, and it still won't make a bit of difference. Land for peace is as dead as Goebbels and twice as useful. So is blaming Israel for the New Brownshirts and Blackbeards striding around Berlin, London and Paris as if they own the place. Bashing the Jewish state may sell sheep to the Saudis, but it won't make the 16 million Muslims of Europe sit up and Baa. Instead the Muslims are the ones holding the shears.
The Muslim world's problem is not in the vineyards of the Judean Hillside, but in the demons fluttering around their own skulls. The Arab Street is angry, but it's been angry even before it had actual streets. Perpetual anger is not righteous, it's just plain mental. People who are angry all the time are not in the right, they are out of their minds. For too long the Arab Muslim world has solved all of its problems by blaming them on someone else. This hasn't resolved a single problem, but it has led to most of the wars fought over the last 50 years.
Now quite a few of them have decided to pile together all their social dysfunction and cultural malaise into one heap and call it a Caliphate. Women will know their place, so will Jews and Christians and anyone else who doesn't lift his arse high to heaven five times a day. That will fix the Muslim world, about as well as Nazism fixed Germany and Communism fixed Russia, but as usual it will get a lot of people killed. It already has from Russia to Israel to America to Afghanistan to Iraq, to less likely places like Thailand, the Philippines and Nigeria. And it won't stop there. Because for all the talk of settlements, there isn't enough wine in the Judean Hills to put a stop to all this-- even if someone could talk the Muslim world into drinking it.