Saturday, August 20, 2005

Attacked From Both the Right and the Left

I've been watching the coverage, both on U.S. and Israeli television, of the removal of the settlers from Gaza. It is honestly heartbreaking. Some of these people had lived there all their lives. If this was part of a peace agreement maybe it wouldn't be so bad. To know that it may end up being a base for terrorism makes me all the more upset. Yes, I've supported disengagement, and yes, I think it was necessary. It doesn't make it any easier to watch.

I have, in my writing both in this blog and in various other online political fora, steadfastly defended Prime Minister Sharon's disengagement plan. In some liberal circles any defense of a Prime Minister from the right, from Likud, is somehow a betrayal even if this Prime Minister is, in effect, implementing what was originally proposed by Labor. He must, of course, have ulterior motives, like perhaps annexing the West Bank.

In conservative circles supporting any withdrawal from Eretz Yisrael is equally a betrayal. Prime Minister Sharon is seen as a traitor by the right. This Beth Goodtree piece is a good example of how much the Prime Minister is being villified for pulling out of Gaza. Since I support him I must be some kind of self-hating Jew and I am effectively supporting the first step in the destruction of Israel. At least that's what some of my e-mail says.

I see both sides as ideologically motivated. I see neither as saying anything vaguely factual. I am not an idealog. I am a pragmatist and I maintain my support.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Why Disengagement Was Necessary

The following was written by an Israeli posting to a conservative forum. He sent it to me as well. I happen to respect him and agree with what he has written so I will post it here,with permission, but anonymously as requested:

In order to protect 8,500 settlers in Gaza we needed as many or more soldiers -- and we still couldn't keep the settlers safe. The situation is untenable and unsustainable. There is no way to adequately protect 8,500 Jews in the midst of 1.3 million hostile Arabs. It can't be done.

If we keep all of the territories Arabs become the majority west of the Jordan in short order. How can we remain a Jewish state and a democracy if we have to incorporate these Arabs into our population? Simply, we can't. This is why the Palestinians started talking about a "one state solution". We can never permit that to happen.

Gaza is a crowded, poor, desolate hole. We tried to give it to Egypt. They didn't want it back. We tried to give it to Jordan. They don't want it either. Nobody does. It is ungovernable and unmanageable.

What Israel needs is secure borders and safety for its citizens. We take away the easy targets for the terrorists and wall them in with the most sophisticated barrier known to man. If the attack from within their walls the IAF can respond without fear of killing any Jews.

Security and demographics both argue for disengagement. If it also, as a side benefit, improves our standing in the world and makes the Palestinians look like barbarians, that is all for the good.

Why the national religious movement enjoys so much support from the American right, and why the American right seems to want Israel to hold onto Gaza at all costs, is totally beyond me.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Taking Responsibility

Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa yesterday became the latest Palestinian official to claim that Gaza will still be "occupied" even after every last Israeli departs. The Palestinians want to have full control of their borders. (The border between Gaza and Sinai, the Philadelphi Road, will be turned over to Egypt under an agreement made between Israel and Egypt.) The want full control of the sea lanes off the Gaza coast and the airspace. In other words, they want free and unfettered access to arms to use against Israel. The Palestinian demands are reasonable under a peace agreement, not when the two sides are still effectively at war.

Claiming Gaza is still "occupied" even without an Israeli presence is also a way for the Palestinians of attempting to escape any responsibility for what follows after the pullout, at least in the eyes of a largely sympathetic world community. If Gaza descends into chaos Israel will be at fault. If Hamas takes over it will be because Israel failed to cooperate sufficiently with the P.A. and failed to "end occupation". If al-Quaeda sets up shop in a major way that, too, will be blamed on Israel. Never mind that there have been reports of links between Palestinian terrorist groups an al-Qaeda for years. The Bush administrations bizarre turn in taking the Palestinian's side in these issues, led by Secretary of State Condoleeze Rice's recent calls for Israel to make the concessions the Palestinians demand doesn't help matters any.

Not taking any responsibility is nothing new for the Palestinians who seem completely unready and perhaps incapable of running a country. The Palestinian Authority demanded that settlements be destroyed rather than using the housing for their own impoverished people. Hothouses and other agricultural development in Gush Katif is being removed rather than being used to feed Palestinians now dependent on international food aid, again as demanded by the Palestinians. The Palestinians have turned down every opportunity to truly end occupation and to have an independent country, preferring war to the incredibly generous offers made by Prime Minister Barak at Camp David and later at Taba in 2000. 97% of the West Bank, all of Gaza, redividing Jerusalem, desalination plants to insure adequate water, and compensation for refugees was simply "insufficient" according to Yasser Arafat and no counteroffer was ever made. The Palestinians preferred to go to war. For what?

The Palestinian media often refer to Netanya or Haifa or Ashdod or even Tel Aviv as the "occupied Palestinian coast". Once again the Palestinians offer Israel only one kind of peace: the peace of the grave.

Now, like it or not, through unilateral Israeli action the Palestinians find themselves forced to govern themselves, at least in Gaza and northern Samaria. They want "occupation" to end? OK, let's give them what they say they want. Israel should stop supplying water, electricity, and health care at a set date. Give the Palestinians enough time to build their own hospitals, power stations, and desalination plants. After all, they receive billions in foreign aid that, up until now, have gone to line the pockets of corrupt officials and to fund their war. If Israel is going to take blame for Palestinian suffering anyway then let Israel stop supporting the Palestinians in any way.

The Palestinians want occupation to end. Fine. Let them start taking responsibility for themselves for once.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A New, Different Audience

Up until now my Israel & Aliya blog has been linked or quoted, as far as I know, only on political websites and blogs, including some sites that have an agenda I seriously disagree with (i.e.: the right-wing conservative forum Free Republic.) To say that I disagree with people there most all the time would be a mild way of putting it. Still, I don't at all mind if American conservatives support Israel. I actually appreciate it. I do want them educated on the issues involved. The larger my audience, the more diverse, the better.

Starting today this blog is being streamed to (Thanks, Mary!) My personal blog and the blog about my pet ferrets have been streamed there for a little while. I avoided adding this blog because I wasn't sure it was appropriate and I didn't want to create controversy. After seeing other political postings and after a discussion on one of the LinuxChix lists that encouraged me to go ahead I asked Mary to include this blog. The discussion reminded me why I like being involved in LinuxChix: it's a group of very intelligent, open-minded women (and some men) who are more than willing to see different viewpoints. So... if you are reading this for the first time from the website, welcome!

Hopefully my writing will prompt some people to do some independent research on the nature and causes of the Israeli-Palestinian and wider Israeli-Arab conflict and encourage people to look at things in a different way that they perhaps might have done before.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Google News To Include Palestinian Propaganda?

In my very first post explaining the purpose of this blog, So Many Lies, So Little Time, I lamented:
So much of the media has bought into the mythology and revisionist history sold by Palestinian propagandists it really does make me ill. For Americans, Europeans, and others throughout the world who have never been to Israel, who do not have any historical context on the conflict, and who do not get their news from a variety of sources tend to accept whatever their favorite media outlet says as the unvarnished truth.
We accept that the web, however, has a tremendous diversity of viewpoints from virtually every perspective. I would never claim that this blog doesn't have a bias though I do try and post factual information and backup my claims with links to source stories when I can find them on the web. Our search engines, however, we assume are unbiased and work to some sort of algorithm that is purely mathematical or logical and free from bias. Indeed, this is the explanation Google uses to make us understand why a search on the word "Jew" yields, as one of the first entries, an anti-Semitic hate site called Google is good enough to apologize for the fact that their search engine parameters turn up hate sites so prominently.

In this context it is impossible for me to fathom why Google would choose to feed equally hateful anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda as if it was news from a respected site. Still, that is precisely what the right-wing web site Front Page Magazine is alleging in an article by Lee Kaplan published today. While I find the politics of Front Page Magazine an anathema to my own liberal values I am also unable to imagine why they would want to smear Google. I am left to conclude that this might well be true. The good news is that the Front Page Magazine is a call to action to prevent this type of change on Google News.

The article states that Google is about to give news agency status to the International Solidarity Movement, which, as their URL implies, is, in fact, a site for international solidarity with the Palestinian cause and, indeed, Palestinian terrorism. While claiming to be a peace movement the ISM has repeatedly leveled false charges and claimed false "Israeli atrocities". That's fine when they are viewed as a Palestinian group. Palestinian propaganda is well known. If, on the other hand, you feed these stories as "news" under the Google name the result is that people believe these big stripey lies are an accurate reporting of the news.

Take the Front Page Magazine article with a huge grain of salt if you like. I certainly do because I don't trust them to be an honest news source. I do, however, believe their call to write Google makes sense. Ask Google about this. After all, if its true then I'll will concede to the inevitability of Farber's Fourth Law: "Necessity is the mother of strange bedfellows." I'll align myself with right-wingers and join them in saying:
If you'd like to contact Google News, email them at
I do think this is tremendously important not only if you are a friend of Israel but if you simply value the truth. Let the conflict with the Palestinians be judged based on fact, not propaganda. I have always felt that the facts weigh heavily on the side of Israel.