When I was very young, people were accustomed to saying that the only two certainties were death and taxes. Over the years, there’s a third item that could be added to the list: Every American president will try and fail to bring peace to the Middle East. Obama is merely the latest to put it at the top of his to-do list. My guess is that four or eight years down the road, long after he has managed to cure the leper and raise the dead, it will still be at the top of his list.
I hate to be a pessimist, but I see no reason not to be. While the folks in Gaza didn’t have two great choices during their last election, much like the electorate here in the U.S., they opted for the greater of two evils, much like the electorate here in the U.S.. They voted for Hamas, a terrorist group sworn to wipe Israel off the map -- the actual map, that is, not merely the fantasy maps they use in their schoolbooks.
It confounds me when people in America and non-Muslims in Europe attempt to find a moral equivalency between Israel and her enemies. For one thing, they invariably find Israel culpable. Israel may not always be right, but that’s far better than always being wrong. I mean, how does anyone living in a civilized nation dare argue on behalf of people who treat their women as chattel and who treat Christians and Jews even worse?
The same bigots who condemn Israel for killing Arab children when they respond to countless missile attacks never seem to condemn the Arabs for either firing those missiles or for using women and children as shields when Israel finally retaliates.
Israel has had nuclear weapons for a good number of years, but has never once used them. Is there anyone anywhere who honestly believes that if Israel’s enemies had nuclear capability, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem would be anything but moonscapes by this time?
Those who claim to find a moral equivalency between the two sides in the Middle East are those who, themselves, have no sense of morality. Decades ago, Abba Eban observed that Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. He was of course referring to their failure to seek a peaceful resolution. But it isn’t peace the Palestinians want. Neither is it statehood. Even Clinton, who had Yasser Arafat sleeping in Lincoln’s bedroom far more often than Lincoln ever had, got the Israelis to offer up 97% of what Arafat was demanding. The way Arafat stormed off, you would have thought the Israelis had asked to have sex on a first date.
People who believe that Israel was wrested from the Arabs by the U.N. in 1948 are simply ignorant of the facts. Zionists had been buying up desert property at wildly inflated prices for several decades by then. All that happened in 1948 was that the U.N. recognized Israel as a sovereign state. Although the Arabs were invited to remain where they were, they were told by Egypt, Lebanon, Transjordan, Syria and Iraq, to leave so that the invading forces wouldn’t have to worry about collateral damage when they eradicated the Jews. The departing Arabs were assured that they’d soon be free to return and share in the spoils. At the time of the invasion, Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, left no room for doubt when he declared: “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.” That was 61 years ago and the grandkids and great-grandkids of those who fled and wound up in Gaza are still waiting for that Great Come and Get It Day.
Recently, Pat Buchanan, sounding, as usual, an awful lot like Jimmy Carter, wrote a piece advising Israel to surrender still more land for peace. Well, why not? It’s always worked so well in the past. Whenever I read Buchanan on the Middle East conflict, I find myself wondering if his solution to the problem of illegal immigration in America would be to hand Texas, Arizona and California, over to Mexico.
Perhaps next time, just as a change of pace, Mr. Buchanan might consider giving the Arabs the benefit of his wisdom. Perhaps something along the lines of “In case you haven’t noticed, it’s 2009, not 1009. Stop behaving like bloody savages!”