March 31, 2006

Withdrawal symptoms

There is little to disagree with in the Washington Post's A Decisive Election. Well I'd hardly consider it an overwhelming vote further withdrawals and expulsions. I'm more in agreement with E. J. Dionne on the subject. I'd most strongly dispute the last paragraph though

In the absence of Palestinian movement, Mr. Olmert then will seek the support of the Bush administration for a unilateral withdrawal. As the new prime minister sees it, this could involve the removal of some 70,000 Jewish settlers from the West Bank, but also the de facto annexation of other large settlements to Israel, along with 10 percent of the West Bank's land. Such a large Israeli withdrawal would be a major practical step toward a Middle East settlement. But the United States would be bound to ensure that the new border made possible the eventual creation of a viable Palestinian state and that it strengthened rather than weakened Palestinian alternatives to Hamas. Managing that diplomacy may well emerge as one of the greatest opportunities, and challenges, of President Bush's second term.

If the last 12 1/2 years have taught us anything it's that the conflict isn't about territory, or the viability of a Palestinian state. It's about the Arab refusal to recognize the right of Israel to exist in its midst. Until that changes there will be no change no matter how many Israelis are removed from their homes. The best diplomacy in this case is to sit and wait.

The NY Times though is in denial. Like the Post, the Times puts way too much emphasis on Israeli actions as it shows in West Bank Withdrawal. The first paragraph sets the tone

Tuesday's election in Israel was a minor breakthrough. Israeli voters rightfully slammed Likud, the right-wing party of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, casting their lot instead with Kadima, the infant party created by Ariel Sharon, who remains comatose after a severe stroke.
This recalls Thomas Friedman's execrable column after Netanyahu won the premiership a decade ago that concluded "The bad guys won."

The villainization of Netanyahu is one of those inexplicable phenomena. Even by the Times standards he's not that extreme. As PM he pulled Israeli troops out of Chevron and oversaw a large growth in Arab employment in Israel. Yet even now, he is some sort of bogeyman. As an exercise it's interesting to see how the Times treated a real terror organization in "The right way to pressure Hamas

On the wrong side lies the kind of deliberate destabilization that, according to a report by our Times colleague Steven Erlanger, Washington and Jerusalem are now discussing. That would involve a joint American-Israeli campaign to undermine a Hamas government by putting impossible demands on it, starving it of money and putting even greater restrictions on the Palestinians with an eye toward forcing new elections that might propel the defeated and discredited Fatah Party back to power.
In other words even though the Palestinians voted against peace the United States and Israel must respect their choice. The respect that the Times accords Hamas is shocking especially contrasted to the way it dismisses Netanyahu.

Later (in West Bank Withdrawal) the Times writes

While the ultimate solution to the conflict can be only a negotiated one, as opposed to a unilateral drawing of final borders by Israel, a negotiated deal is not going to happen until Hamas repudiates terrorism and recognizes Israel's right to exist. Hamas has yet to earn itself a seat at the negotiating table. But in the meantime, Israel can start to rid itself of its self-created problem in the West Bank.
And if Israel hadn't "occupied" Yehuda and Shomron we'd have peace now? I doubt it. The arguments would be over Tel Aviv Haifa and Jerusalem, if Israel hadn't captured Yesha in 1967.

The next to last sentence is a real puzzler

Whatever borders Israel fixes are not likely to get international recognition, particularly if those borders leave Palestinians cut in half in the West Bank and Gaza and unable to get from one part of their country to another without going through Israel.
Whatever borders Israel fixes will require that Palestinians cross through Israel as there is no other way to get from Gaza to Yesh. So why crossing Israel elsewhere makes a future Palestinian state unviable is beyond me. (And in fact the borders Israel is drawing up, like them or not, allow passage from north to south.) The Times is remiss in ignoring this. But then, Israel is the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East as those smart folks at the Grey Lady know so well.

Mediacrity and Backspin also critique the editorial.

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Related articles about Israel in Soccer Dad.
Related articles about media bias in Soccer Dad.

Crossposted on Israpundit and Soccer Dad.

Posted by SoccerDad at March 31, 2006 4:57 AM
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