Si Facile

Dr. Tony Klug tried to persuade us in a recent article in CiF that the Iranian problem can be circumvented if only Israel would accept the Arab Peace Initiative. What Dr. Klug did not point out, of course, are some of the more problematic aspects of that initiative such as the fact that it is not a negotiated agreement and therefore Israel is not a party to its wording. It is, in fact, a ‘parachuted’ or imposed initiative which its authors are so far not prepared to submit to negotiation of any kind, despite the fact that some of its clauses are deeply problematic for Israel. The mammoth in the room is, of course, that Hamas has not signed up to the initiative and indeed the day of the birth of the Arab Peace Initiative was also the day of the bloody terrorist attack by Hamas on the Park Hotel in Netanya. Some Hamas officials have been very clear about their view of the initiative:
The spokesman for Hamas in the Palestinian parliament, Salah al-Bardawil, told Haaretz, “we will not agree to recognition of Israel or peace with it [as it appears in the initiative]. We have no problem with the part of the initiative that calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and the right of refugees to return.”
Beyond this, Dr. Klug also manages to completely ignore the proxy wars which Iran is waging throughout the entire Middle East in Lebanon, Gaza, Israel, Iraq and Yemen. In addition, the links between Iran and Al Qaida are becoming clearer, as is the fact that any nuclear weapons which Iran may acquire would be unlikely to be aimed at Israel alone.
This ability to be willingly blinkered to the wider realities of the Middle East is reflected in some of the comments below the line in this article where posters deliberately misrepresented the true nature of Iranian proxies Hamas and Hizbollah.


11 Jan 2010, 12:24PM
Hezbollah are Lebanese, they were set up to resist Israeli attacks on Lebanon. They were part funded, armed, and supported by Iran in the same way that Israel is part funded, armed, and supported by the USA.
Well said. Israeli supporters would misrepresent anything to justify violence. Thus Hamas and Hezbollah become simple tools of an evil Iran with no other purpose than total Israeli destruction, instead of resistance groups who only exist at all because of previous Israeli violence and intransigence (or in the case of Hamas, Israeli money) and whose main purpose is to get Israel to give back land it’s taken.


11 Jan 2010, 12:42PM
Iran openly supports Hezbollah and Hamas, which are both democratically elected. The West back dictators and israel which has frankly terrible record itself with the treatment of palestinians.
lets not forget that is was ISRAEL who orginally backed hamas


11 Jan 2010, 11:43AM

I don’t believe that Iran is in the habit of waging war or for that matter engaged in the casual act of doing away with Arab peoples. They’ve got serious internal horror with enforcement of such extreme sharia law. It’s no joke.
Yes they do have a proven record of support for Arab minority groups with extremely militant attitudes, directed at the usual suspects who prefer to describe them as terrorists. As if they themselves were pure as driven snow.
It is perfectly rational to conclude that from their point of view it’s quite reasonable to seek a deterent (presumed) as the immediate neighbourhood is hardly what might be considered secure. Sort of a zero tolerance strategy.
Something the naughty boys, they know who they are, with their toys will understand.


11 Jan 2010, 12:08PM

A very good article which sums up the realities of Iran and proposes reasonable and concrete steps to try and improve things. Excellent.
Unfortunately this bit
But that would require Israel to halt and reverse its invasive and self-destructive colonisation programme in the West Bank.
makes progress all but impossible and further conflict inevitable.

It is simply intolerable, and can you blame Israel for wishing to deny nuclear weapons to a regime which supports terrorists who actively try to destroy it? Surely not.

Yes. If a situation being intolerable made any difference then Israel would have lifted the siege of Gaza. Your argument, by definition, assumes that Iran would give nuclear weapons to terrorists to detonate in Israel. The author has clearly stated why this would be a catastrophic idea for the Iranian regime as it would result in their complete destruction. If you really believe the Mullah’s are suicidal, and not just people who expect others to be suicidal on their behalf, then you must have a serious problem differentiating propaganda from fact.
Israel want’s to be top dog so it can feel “secure”. The trouble is it’s insecurity is a state of mind as much as any real threat from outside, and only national psychotherapy can fix it. Over the past 30 years they’ve attacked or invaded their neighbours countless times and it’s not made them feel one jot more secure, even as the actual threats have retreated to the point of invisibility. Now it’s become dogma to think that any kind of negotiation or withdrawal is a sign of weakness, even though constant aggression brings nothing but death and hatred.
So yes, blame Israel for it’s oft repeated threats to attack Iran. All they’re doing is helping support their enemy and a state of conflict behind which they can continue to take land and justify their own violence. They could withdraw from the Golan Heights and seek a real peace with Syria. They could withdraw from Shebba Farm and at a stroke remove Hezzbollah’s excuse for a military wing. They could tear down the wall and stop building on the West Bank – removing illegal settlements – and risk peace with Palestinians. They could have honoured the ceasefire and lifted the siege of Gaza to negotiate with Hamas, but that would mean removing settlements on the West Bank as part of a deal.
They don’t want a deal. Israel wants conflict and land even more than the mad mullah’s, for perfectly rational reasons if you think constant war is rational.


11 Jan 2010, 12:14PM

TheHebrewHammer –
“Iran already attacked Israel via Hezbollah”
Hezbollah are Lebanese, they were set up to resist Israeli attacks on Lebanon. They were part funded, armed, and supported by Iran in the same way that Israel is part funded, armed, and supported by the USA.
JamesSmith993 –
“Iran are run by crazy jerks. They are the problem.”
“Irrational people need to stop blaming Israel for what other people do”
Irrational people need to stop supporting the ‘crazy jerks’ in Israel irrespective of what they do. They are the problem.


11 Jan 2010, 1:32PM

Why is Israel insecure? Is it a natural thing? Does Israel have a national psychological problem?
There are understandable causes without going back too far. The Holocaust for one, and the past concerted efforts of Arab states for two. The trouble is that this situation no longer exists, except in the minds of, apparently, most Israeli’s. I take your point about past injustices, but cannot accept that that is a reason to perpetrate further injustices.
The portrayal of Israel as a constant victim is also totally false, but has become a default position. How can it be that despite all the death meted out by the IDF, with no one seriously able to oppose it, Israel is still a victim in it’s own eyes, under perpetual threat of destruction? This is a psychological problem, and one which is both played upon and magnified by a hard line religious faction determined at all costs to build a greater Israel without any Palestinians in it. The most troubling aspect is that after the recent attack on Gaza Israel began telling itself it had no choice and not confronting the fact that it’s own conscript army has just killed 1400 civilians. If ever there was a tragic end to self delusion, this is it. You can kill people but not kill them.
And Israel’s pre 1967 borders were 9 miles wide at their thinnest point. That’s a third of London! This was an incredibly vulnerable position to be in against neighbours intent on destroying it, and is precisely why Israel will never return to those ridiculous borders.
But it’s neighbours aren’t able or intent on destroying it anymore, and those that wish it harm could be nullified (as this article points out) by negotiation, something that’s never seriously been tried since the deal with Egypt. You call these borders ridiculous, but only only because Israel wants it to be. That’s the land available. Live within it peacefully. Do you think Palestinians feel less vulnerable with no borders at all except tanks and walls?
So is Israel insecure? Yes. I hope you understand why. There has not been a systematic attempt to destroy the Palestinians – believe me, if there had, Israel would have been successful – there hasn’t been a systematic attempt to destroy many.
Yes, I understand, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok because it’s still largely false. There has not been a systematic attempt to destroy Palestinians, although it seems sometimes the Israeli’s expect people to celebrate this as an expression of kindness. Just because you could have killed everyone in the house but left 2 family members alive isn’t kindness. What there is is a totally careless attitude to non Israeli lives.
And what there has been is a systematic attempt to take land. As much and as fast as they think they can get away with without the Americans getting too upset. If that means bulldozing houses and killing people then so be it.
So maybe the first step has to be a complete acceptance by all Arab and Muslim states of Israel’s right to exist. Once we have that, perhaps Israel can make some land concessions.
You still require expressions of intent from one side before making any of your own. There is no evidence that Palestinians promising to preserve Israel will result in the slightest concession from Israel. The West Bank has not seen a single rocket launch in I can’t remember how long, yet the noose only tightens as the settlement expansion continues despite all the words. Walls, checkpoints, and road blocks are the reality. Just because it’s much worse in Gaza doesn’t make this good or the IDF not an army of oppression.
It seems clear from your otherwise reasonably worded post that you have no intention of expecting Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders and intend to preserve as much of the settlements as possible, which is broadly in line with the Israeli government. Ok, but please don’t hide behind the mask of “security” to explain a land grab justified by a religious fiction, one that has lost Israel it’s humanity in order to claim a few handfuls of dirt.


11 Jan 2010, 1:39PM

Israel has been doing what it does for quite a while now. I think if you’re commenting on the unfairness of this or the fact that Israel doesnt get pulled up by the international community via sanctions for instance then you are wasting your time.
Israel does these things and the price they seem willing to pay is the occasional suicide attack (which further and further decrease the longer the wall gets) and occasional rocket attacks (which are met with aggressive tactics using fighter jets and gunships). Israel does these things with the backing of most Western powers under the banner of its right to defend itself. This is how it is.

Europe has deemed East Jerusalem to be the Palestinian capital. This is where those who have Palestinian interests at heart should look to. Legitimise Palestine, look to force through repair and redevelopment of its infrastructure. The border as defined by the wall isnt going to change but there is a chance through economic investment to build on what currently exists in Gaza and the West Bank on the Palestinian side of the wall. If a Palestinian school is paid for with Western investment, Hamas arent going to refuse it just because nothing is being done about illegal settlements. Islamic factions will continue to attack the border created by Israel but the popularity of this will dwindle eventually. Plus i suspect these factions will bow to the will of Hamas ie they only get to operate on their say so and it is Hamas after all who control the tunnels where the factions are able to bring through arms. As for how measured Israel’s response to attack is met once Westerners are financing the buildings in their sights is anyone’s guess.


11 Jan 2010, 2:50PM

itsikdewembley –
“Training up terrorists and supporting them is not something USA does with respect to Israeli relations.”
It depends on how you define ‘terrorists’. No matter which side you’re on, the ‘terrorist’ is always on the other side. So from the point of view of the Lebanese and the Palestinians, the IDF are ‘terrorists’, and the USA are involved with their funding and training.
Any armed group intent on killing you is likely to instil a bit of terror in most people.

11 Jan 2010, 1:17PM
Furthermore why is hamas branded as terrorists and not the israeli govt/army
look at the pre-conditions they want them to agree too
1) recognise israel- when has israel ever recognise a fully sovereign palestine state
2) denounce arm resistence- i didnt knw israel was going to give up its nukes, tanks, and continuing bombing by air force
3) agree to past agreements- Hamas av already said it willingness to a two-state solution. Whta has israel done to meet the agreement- since 1993 settlements av double

Of course the more the Western bon ton ‘progressives’ from all walks of life manage to convince themselves that the one and only problem in the Middle East is Israel, the more distant any kind of way out of the present problems is likely to become. At the same time, this mode of facile thinking is exactly what is putting the West itself in danger from extremists who have more in their sights than a few settlements, but comprehending that demands a level of thinking of which so much of the Left sadly no longer appears to be capable.

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