Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Been There, Done That in the Middle East

By Victor Davis Hanson

With much fanfare, President Barack Obama announced a new effort to end the endless Israeli-Palestinian struggle -- by naming a brand-new Middle East envoy, former Sen. George Mitchell.

The announcement was underwhelming, to say the least. For 40 years, we've seen such serial envoys, communiqu├ęs and peace conferences -- and the little that followed from them.

Can anyone distinguish Annapolis, Beirut, Camp David, Geneva, Madrid, Oslo, Taba or Wye River -- and all the other places that hosted much-heralded but failed meetings that we can no longer even recall?

Then there the billions of dollars (well over $100 billion) and euros for peace given by the United States and Europe to Egypt, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians over the last half-century. Not to mention all those ballyhooed United Nations decrees -- Resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1515 and others -- likewise lost to our collective memory.

The Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai nearly 30 years ago was supposed to have led to a general peace.

So was the withdrawal from Lebanon. So was the withdrawal from Gaza.

We also used to hear that the Israeli-Palestinian struggle was "really" about Egypt's ruler Gamal Nasser (1956-1970) and his pan-Arabic movement. Then it was really about the Cold War and the Soviet Union. Then it was really about Saddam Hussein and Iraq. Now it is really about Iran.

Well before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised to destroy Israel, Saddam said the same thing. And well before Saddam, Nasser promised destruction of the "Zionist entity." And so on with almost every Middle East strongman dating back to Israel's creation.

The current "benchmarks" and "roadmap" toward peace in the region simply follow earlier failed formulas with similarly catchy names.

Remember all those brilliant American statesmen, like the current George Mitchell, who were sent over to find the "missing peace" but came home empty-handed -- James Baker, Philip Habib, Gen. James Jones, Henry Kissinger, Sol Linowitz, Condoleezza Rice, Dennis Ross and Gen. Anthony Zinni?

And then there's former President Jimmy Carter, who always seems to be loudly advising everyone to read his latest book to learn how they can solve the crisis.

In the early 2000s, we were told that peace would come when the old calcified rivals -- Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat -- vacated the scene. Their passing would allow a new generation of leaders on both sides to negotiate without the ghosts of the 1967 or 1973 wars. Instead, new leaders gave us new wars in Lebanon and Gaza.

While the names of Palestinian terrorist organizations multiply over the years, the agenda of destroying Israel remains mostly unchanged.

There has been no resolution to the last 40 years of fighting between Israel and the Palestinians, because Israel after 1967 has decided not to return all of its battle-won territories on the West Bank until the Palestinians there accept Israel's right to exist.

Israel has felt that if it gives all the conquered territory back, too many Palestinians will see that not as magnanimity, but as a sign of weakness, and we would be back to square one before 1967: Israel inside its 1948 borders -- with yet another new generation of Palestinians promising to finish the job and push the Jews into the sea.

Most everywhere else in the world, wars lead to defeat for one side and victory for the other. The issue, brutally or not, is resolved on the battlefield. Look at the fate of a Saddam Hussein or a Slobodan Milosevic.

But in the Middle East nearly alone, war breaks out and immediately hysteria follows before one side can win and the other lose. "Peace" is imposed, and then we are back to the same old unresolved hatred, terrorism -- and the next war.

In such a bleak landscape, what will Barack Obama do?

Probably what Presidents Carter, Reagan, Clinton and the two Bushes tried to do -- the same old so-called "land for peace" deal: Israel is supposed to go back to something approaching the pre-1967 borders, and the Palestinians, with their brand-new state, on the West Bank must promise that this time they will really let Israel be.

Good luck.

So, for now we watch for a new "Mitchell Plan," another conference somewhere, more billions in aid, new names for old terrorist organizations, and more pious speechmaking at the U.N. Then soon the next administration will come in to power, with the next peace plan, the next new envoy -- and the next new war.



IF TWO U.F.O.'s SIMULTANEOUSLY LAND, one in Mecca, the other in Washington D.C. and Declare to All Earthlings...That Tiny Israel Does Indeed Have An Equal Right To Exist & Prosper...And That This Is A Final...Solid Gold Devine Revelation...AND WARNING...And To Stop This Ugly & Stupid Perpetual War...Before The Creator Really Loses HIS Temper...And That All Previously CLAIMED Rules & Laws To The Contrary Are Hereby Declared...

Null & Void...

then Maybe...just Maybe...the Religious Quacks Will Listen! reb


Anonymous said...

Greybeard says...

"Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness..."
and, "Satan Is The Author of Confusion..."

But Who Among Us Has The Time to Search Out All of the Ancient Writings of the Past, and the Wisdom to discern the difference between the "true" and false prophets from Zoroaster, Moses, David & Daniel to...The Disciples of Mohammad, or even...

Nostradamas, Edgar Cayce, Joseph Smith, Dawin, or Gallileo...or our
modern UFO "true believers"?

"Ezekiel Saw The Wheel, Way Up In The Middle Of The Air..."

. * . * . * .

You may curse me for my honest skepticism if you like...gba

- Greybeard Al -

Anonymous said...

Victor Davis Hanson is a personal favorite; his ability to summarize
the Israeli-Palestine dilemma is both accurate, and also a crystal-clear analysis, without hyperbole.

If you like his style, I would recommend reading another article by this author, 'The Apocalyptic Style' that I found in FRONTPAGEMAG.COM - see Columnists.

Charlie, Oak Ridge, Tenn

Anonymous said...

Acknowledgements: 02/16/09

In Advance Of The Next Two Posts...(#70-#71)

"Roots of the Gaza Conflict" and "Now They Call Me Infidel" by Nonie Darwish, I wish to acknowledge a deep gratitude to several people:

Firstly, to my wife Nell of 57 years, for her uncommon tolerance & patience with my 'magnificent obsession' with this three-years long Informative S/H Weblog.

Secondly, to Mohamed Fadly's kindness, and also his boldness, sincerity and generous comments here, responding to my queries relating to his Islamic Faith, and his studies of Sharia Law.

Next, to the authors of contributed
interviews & articles, esp. to Frank Gaffney, Jamie Glazov, John Perazzo, plus many others, and the great courage and firm resolve displayed by the Arab-American
author/lecturer Nonie Darwish*.

*All of these four (above) were found in countless hours in researching...