The Hezbo Cong

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Or Feyadeen West? Quite a big difference there.

Saddam's informal guerilla force caused havoc along U.S. supply lines in Iraq for a couple weeks, but also managed to get themselves splattered by superior U.S. firepower in spectacular numbers. The Viet Cong, of course, harassed and frustrated U.S. forces in Vietnam for years. Only the overreach of the Tet offense—in which the North conveniently killed off the South's best fighters and potential future rivals—ever, really, neutralized the Cong.

If Israel is fighting Feyadeen-like fanatics in south Lebanon, then yes, a few more weeks should do the trick. But if the IDF faces something like the VC, this conflict will drag on until Hezbollah wants to end it.

Thus far one sign that Hezbollah is a few notches more accomplished than the Feyadeen is its ability to avoid casualties. Guerilla armies need to avoid them both because of their small numbers and the experience gap between veteran fighters and wide-eyed supporters of the cause.

Another more Cong-like attribute of Hezbollah has been its ability to withstand airstrikes. "They really cannot be destroyed from the air. There's really no alternative but to send in ground forces," said Maj. Michael Oren of the Israeli Defense Forces.

Ground forces it is then.

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  1. Piffle. No matter how accomplished Hezbollah is, this conflict will never end. The hats and flags might change, but the people of the Middle East will go on killing each other forever. Nothing can change that.

  2. Hezbollah surfs. Charlie didn’t. That’s the fundamental difference.

  3. Jeff,

    The Fedayeen got splattered because they took on three U.S. divisions. Had there just been an air campaign, they would have come through fine. The fact is that if you stay in your hole, don’t turn on your radar and ride it out, air campaigns are very ineffective at doing much of anything beyond making the civilians miserable. NATO bombed the crap out of Yugoslavia for over 90 days and had almost no effect on the Yugoslav military because the Yugoslavs were smart enough to disperse and not turn their radars on. The problem with that strategy is that when I ground force shows up, you will be overrun without concentraiting your forces. Once you concentrait your forces, then the air forces have a big fat target. Without a ground invasion, the Israelis will not defeat Hezbolloh.

  4. “The hats and flags might change, but the people of the Middle East will go on killing each other forever. Nothing can change that.”

    Yes, all human behavior is predetermined. Especially middle eastern. It’s in the (lack of) water.

  5. “Hezbollah surfs. Charlie didn’t. That’s the fundamental difference.”

    I’m ROTFLMAO at that line, but does it mean you think Hezbollah will lose?

  6. Al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader issued a worldwide call Thursday for Muslims to rise up in a holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza until Islam reigns from “Spain to Iraq.”

    What? Me worry?

  7. Yes, all human behavior is predetermined. Especially middle eastern. It’s in the (lack of) water.

    The region has been at war since Abraham favored Isaac and ran Ishmael into the desert. Four thousand years is a heck of a lot of history to reverse.

  8. “The region has been at war since Abraham favored Isaac and ran Ishmael into the desert. Four thousand years is a heck of a lot of history to reverse.”

    That and mad jealousy. The Muslims will never forgive the Israelis for building a nice country in a land full of shitholes. The clean, efficient, modern country that is Israel just points out the failure of the countries around it. It is always easier to burn your neighbors house down then trying to build your own.

  9. In regards to the original post, something that many of the analysts seem to be willfully ignoring in the public discussion over whether Israel can “wipe out” Hezbollah is that the Israelis already spent 15+ years occupying a substantial chunk of southern Lebanon and fighting Hezbollah. If Hezbollah wasn’t destroyed by that (and arguably was empowered by it), then I don’t see what even two months worth of bombing Lebanon is going to accomplish.

    Further looking at history, the only way the Israelis were able to get rid of the PLO presence in Lebanon was by driving all the way to Beirut and even then they were assisted by the fact that most of the PLO’s membership was composed of non-Lebanese with marginal local support. As much as the US likes to pretend otherwise, Hezbollah is a broad-based political movement with deep indigenous connections to Lebanon.

  10. Al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader issued a worldwide call Thursday for Muslims to rise up in a holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza until Islam reigns from “Spain to Iraq.”

    Wait, I thought we were supposed to rise up in holy war against Europe, er, I mean the US?

  11. That and mad jealousy. The Muslims will never forgive the Israelis for building a nice country in a land full of shitholes. The clean, efficient, modern country that is Israel just points out the failure of the countries around it. It is always easier to burn your neighbors house down then trying to build your own.

    Right. That’s the same reason that Native Americans were pissed at the US during the 19th and 20th centuries. If Israel’s so clean, efficient and modern, then why do they need to be the largest recipient of US foreign aid. We don’t give the UK or Japan foreign aid and they’re modern, clean and efficient (well, some parts of the UK aren’t clean, but whatever).

  12. Err, why does Zawahiri want Spain?

  13. He wants to party in Ibiza.

  14. “Err, why does Zawahiri want Spain?”

    Paella on the beach.

  15. Mo,

    To compare the Indians to the Palestinians is to betray an almost unbelievable but not surprising ignorance of history. First, the Egyptians or the Jordanians or the Syrians never lost any land to the Israelis, so why are they so pissed off? Oh yeah they care so much about the Palestinians. Yes, cared so much about them, they stuck them in refugee camps and refused them legal entry into their country.

    Why isn’t there a Jewish refugee problem? Because the Israelis took in the 100s of thousands of Jews who forcibly expelled from Arab countries after 1948. Huge Jewish communities that were 1000s of years old were destroyed. But, Israel took the refugees in. The Arabs did not. That is why we have a refugee problem. We can talk about a right of return for the Palestinians right after we talk about a right of return for Jews back to Arab countries. Ha, fat chance.

    Let’s talk about the Palestinians a bit. What was Palestine like before the Zionists started to arrive at the turn of the 20th Century? It was a Ottoman shithole that was economically dying and had a decreasing population. The Jews went to most God forsaken pieces of desert and brought irrigation and development. They didn’t steal the land from the Palestinians, they took the land the Palestinians and Ottomans were too stupid and lazy to use. The Palestinians were only expelled after the entire Arab world declared war on Israel and all of the Jews were expelled from Arab countries.

    If you have ever been to Egypt or Jordan and then crossed the border into Israel, you would understand what I mean by a clean efficient society. Egypt for all of its charms, which are many, is totally corrupt dirty and poverty stricken. Israel is just like the U.S. in many ways. Further, the average Arab Israeli citizen lives better than 99% of Arabs in the rest of the middle east. The Israelis are so horrible that their Arab citizens live better than nearly every Arab not part of a royal family does. Same land, just different people.

    The Arabs are failures. Their societies are failures, the governments are failures, and their religion is a failure. The existence of Israel, this tiny country with no oil, little land, and not much more water, is nothing but a giant reminder of their failure. That is why they hate Jews and hate the Israelis and ultimately hate Americans; our success and their failure.

  16. One factor to keep in mind is that this entire conflict is occurring in an area roughly 18 miles deep and 30 miles wide. (30km x 50km in Canada) The entire country of Lebanon is very small. Comparing this Indochina with an area roughly the size of Western Europe, is a bit silly.

    Only the overreach of the Tet offense — in which the North conveniently killed off the South’s best fighters and potential future rivals — ever, really, neutralized the Cong.

    Not really accurate. The VC bested Westmoreland because he never targeted them choosing, instead to attack the large scale incursions from north via Laos and Cambodia. The Marines, operating in the costal areas, did target the VC using small unit tactics like ambushes and teaching those living in hamlets how to defend themselves. The Marines largely destroyed the VC in those areas long before the Tet offensive. After Westmoreland got promoted to where he could do less damage by Nixon, Abrams introduced the Marine tactics to the rest of the country and largely secured it internally.

    Despite the mythos, the problem in South Vietnam wasn’t a wily enemy operating locally but a near infinite stream of attacks from the North which was protected and supplied by the Soviet Union and Mao’s China. No matter how severe their casualties or their defeat, they just raised more soldiers and sent the down.

    Another more Cong-like attribute of Hezbollah has been its ability to withstand airstrikes

    This is because they (1) use human shields and (2) have really good bunkers. Neither of these give them any mobility (which was the NV’s true power.) The Israeli can just lock down the area with airpower and then go in and dig the Hez out.

    They really cannot be destroyed from the air

    As I noted last week, the pattern of Israeli airstrikes strongly suggested that they never thought they could accomplish their goals by air power alone. The pattern of strikes indicated that they sought to immobilize the Hez in order to pin them down for a ground offensive.

    Ground forces it is then.

    As I predicted. This is a plan that the Israeli have had in their files for a long time. They are not making it up as they go along. Only those who view warfare some type of symbolic performance art seem confused by all this.

  17. “Only those who view warfare some type of symbolic performance art seem confused by all this.”

    That is awsome. You are exactly right though. You can hide in your bunker and within the civilian populations and survive just fine until the ground forces show up. Then, you have to mass or get overrun. Once you mass, then the air power kills you.

  18. As much as I’d like to use Apocalypse Now to parse all of my political and military observations, I don’t really have a strong opinion about who will ultimately prevail. In the short term, I think an Israeli occupation will be successful. In the long term? No telling. I’m beginning to suspect that there may be a general war in the Middle East in the not-too-distant future. If that does happen, there may be some surprises about who is on whose side.

    On the other hand, nothing seems to really change over there, so maybe the status quo–such as it is–will be maintained. Jews killing Arabs, Arabs killing Jews. Good old-fashioned, internecine warfare.

  19. re “In an effort to curb malicious comment posting by abusive users, I’ve enabled a feature that requires a weblog commenter to wait a short amount of time before being able to post again. Please try to post your comment again in a short while. Thanks for your patience.”

    If all you’ve got for a blog server is a bunch of squirrels that only accept comments about 30% of the time, maybe its not a good idea to also lock commenters out when they make multiple attempts at posting comments. Just saying…

  20. That was a very educational post Mr Love.

  21. Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. The French, English, Germans were unsuccessful quelling “terrorists” in these countries. The Romans had a modicum of success with a two-fold plan, crucify everyone and offer full Roman citizenship to the survivors – which meant sanitation, commerce, wealth, protection and security, education, medicine, and the “cushy” life (as cushy as 2000 years ago could get). We are not half as aggressive as the Romans nor are we offering anything of value/cushy life to sedate the population into compliance. The outcome of this fiasco is absolutely clear and has been played out repeatedly. Air campaigns and ground forces will NOT stop this.

  22. That and mad jealousy. The Muslims will never forgive the Israelis for building a nice country in a land full of shitholes.

    What a load of crap … But it isn’t surprising coming from John. Dubai is far nicer than anything Israel built and you don’t see many Arabs fighting in Dubai. The fight has nothing to do with what the Israelies built. I’m sure if they built it in Germany, Palestinians won’t be complaining.

  23. “Israel didn’t steal the land from the Palestinians, they took the land the Palestinians and Ottomans were too stupid and lazy to use.”

    Now that’s a doctrine I can really get behind.

    Assuming they were paid Fair Market Value, of course. And there was a comprehensive development plan first.

  24. The Palestinians were only expelled after the entire Arab world declared war on Israel and all of the Jews were expelled from Arab countries.

    John, you seem rather prescient to imply that Arabs would not have been expelled were it not for Jews expelled from Arab nations. Leaving aside the “do two wrongs make a right?” question which could be endlessly pointed at both sides, would it not have been impossible to create a Jewish homeland without a significant Jewish majority?

  25. I suppose Israel could pursue its Manifest Destiny and conquer the entire region. With Arab Reservations (and casinos) in the Rub’ al Khali.

    Now I don’t advocate that option, but it does have historicity.

  26. They didn’t steal the land from the Palestinians, they took the land the Palestinians and Ottomans were too stupid and lazy to use.

    I believe that was the excuse used to justify taking land from the Native Americans, who were wasting the land by living as hunter/gatherers instead of farming it as civilized people would.

    I’m quite sympathetic for Israel, being, as you point out, a western state in the middle east. But there’s something truly un-modern about creating a state around the ideal of ethnic purity. It’s as perverse and anachronistic for the Zionists to want an ethnically pure state as it is for the Aryan Nation.

  27. “First, the Egyptians or the Jordanians or the Syrians never lost any land to the Israelis, so why are they so pissed off?”

    I believe this wins the prize for most historically ignorant statement ever made on Hit & Run.

  28. This is because they (1) use human shields

    It would appear the “human shields” are not acting much as shields.

  29. the people of the Middle East will go on killing each other forever. Nothing can change that.

    Seventy years ago, you could have said the same thing about Europe.

  30. And John, what’s this stuff about Arabs being failures? Now I’ll gladly discuss why cultural and institutional differences have led to Arab nations without oil being less prosperous than the West. But calling the lot of ’em failures, I believe the charitable word for that is — prejudice.

  31. John,
    Without the billions in aid every year from the U.S. it would be the same shithole like most of the other ones around. You said it yourself no oil, little water and land, what could their economy be comprised of “Bagels”.

    Also, if Israel are such a humanitarian kind and took in all the expelled jews then why not all the expelled christians. After all it was the U.S.(mainly christians) who gave them the money and power to do so for their jewish brethren.

    Oh yeah, I forgot, if you aint jewish you aint shit.

  32. John,

    And there will never be peace in the Middle East as long as Israel keeps on grabbing more land.

  33. “Without the billions in aid every year from the U.S. it would be the same shithole like most of the other ones around. You said it yourself no oil, little water and land, what could their economy be comprised of “Bagels”.”

    What a load of bullshit. Israel has a higher GNP than Egypt, Jordan Lebanon and Syria combined. Its only because of a lousy $13 billion dollars a year worth of aid? IN addition, Egypt gets nearly as much aid from the U.S as Israel does, yet doesn’t seem to do anything with it. Moreover, most of the aid to Israel is military aid, which would not be necessary if it wasn’t for the Arabs trying to kill them.

    “First, the Egyptians or the Jordanians or the Syrians never lost any land to the Israelis, so why are they so pissed off?”

    I believe this wins the prize for most historically ignorant statement ever made on Hit & Run.”

    Oh really SR, when exactly did Egypt own Palestine? During the time of the Pharos? Jordan lost the west bank and Jerusalem but that was after it launched a surprise attack on Israel in 1967. Moreover, just try to hand back the Palestinians to Jordan. Hah. The Jordanians would take it back if you paid them. I am sorry you get your history from the Protocols of Zion.

    “Dubai is far nicer than anything Israel built and you don’t see many Arabs fighting in Dubai.”

    Dubai is the size of a postage stamp and has nearly as much oil as Kuwait. No shit they built a nice place for the tribe that lived there and 1000s of imported labor from the sub-continent they brought in to make the trains run on time. Go to any Arab country that is not completely overrun in oil and they are shitholes and some places, Saudi Arabia, are shitholes even though they are overrun with oil.

    Go to Israel, it is a beautiful wonderful country and ten times better than Jordan, Egypt or Syria.

    Fyodor,

    As far as two wrongs making a right. No it doesn’t. But the fact is that it has been sixty years now. You can no more have right of return for return for the Palestinians than you can give the plains back to the Sioux or Georgia back to the Cherokees. You need to be realistic. You also need to be realistic in understanding that the rest of the Arab world could not care less about the Palestinians. They hate the Jews because of their success. If Arabs were so concerned about the Palestinians, there wouldn’t have been a refugee problem, they would have allowed them entry the way the Israelis did the Jews who were expelled.

    To claim that the existence of Israel is to deny the huge and deep problems in Arab societies and the enormous corruption and oppression of their governments. Further, even if the existence of Israel were the problem, the only solution would be its destruction. If Israel ceased to exist and there was not a Jewish state, the Arabs and the Palestinians would kill every Jew in Israel. That is hardly a solution.

  34. Sigh. I don’t know why I wade into this, but here goes.

    To compare the Indians to the Palestinians is to betray an almost unbelievable but not surprising ignorance of history. First, the Egyptians or the Jordanians or the Syrians never lost any land to the Israelis, so why are they so pissed off?

    Uh, Gaza Strip, formerly Egypt. West Bank, formerly Jordan. Golan Heights, formerly Syria. And I’m ignorant about history? This doesn’t count the stuff taken and given back, like the Sinai (which was a boon for Egypt, Israel’s strategy of settling all over the land they capture to slow down invasions created the gorgeous beach resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Dahab, I appreciate it greatly).

    Oh yeah they care so much about the Palestinians. Yes, cared so much about them, they stuck them in refugee camps and refused them legal entry into their country.

    As you said, these countries are poor corrupt places. They can’t even properly take care of their own citizens, why should they be responsible for refugees?

    Why isn’t there a Jewish refugee problem? Because the Israelis took in the 100s of thousands of Jews who forcibly expelled from Arab countries after 1948. Huge Jewish communities that were 1000s of years old were destroyed. But, Israel took the refugees in. The Arabs did not. That is why we have a refugee problem. We can talk about a right of return for the Palestinians right after we talk about a right of return for Jews back to Arab countries. Ha, fat chance.

    I do not condone the expulsion of Jews from their ancestral homes. However, to say that Israel pulled them in purely for humanitarian reasons rather than demographic reasons is naive. Ben Gurion said, “Within then the next twenty years, we must have a Jewish majority in Palestine.”

    Do you even know what the Palestinians are asking for in right of return? They want to be able to go back and legally purchase their houses that some still have the keys for, but they can’t even do that. I guarantee you if the Arab countries were given the option of granting right of return to their Jewish communities in return for right of return for the Palestinians, the Arab countries would agree to it faster than you can say, “The sixth sick sheikh’s sixth sheep’s sick.” I also guarantee Israel would balk at it.

    Let’s talk about the Palestinians a bit. What was Palestine like before the Zionists started to arrive at the turn of the 20th Century? It was a Ottoman shithole that was economically dying and had a decreasing population. The Jews went to most God forsaken pieces of desert and brought irrigation and development. They didn’t steal the land from the Palestinians, they took the land the Palestinians and Ottomans were too stupid and lazy to use. The Palestinians were only expelled after the entire Arab world declared war on Israel and all of the Jews were expelled from Arab countries.

    Actually, the Palestinians were expelled first, but as fyodor said, it doesn’t matter, two wrongs don’t make a right. Not to mention the old trope that Israle was all bought is only true of a significant minority of the land, the rest was taken the old fashioned way, armed invasion.

    The fact that it’s a shithole doesn’t mean it can be rightfully invaded. Isn’t that the whole argument behind eminent domain, improvement of the land over current usage? Not to mention, relatively wealthy European Jews, Holocaust reparations and foreign aid did a lot to help enrich the country.

    If you have ever been to Egypt or Jordan and then crossed the border into Israel, you would understand what I mean by a clean efficient society. Egypt for all of its charms, which are many, is totally corrupt dirty and poverty stricken. Israel is just like the U.S. in many ways. Further, the average Arab Israeli citizen lives better than 99% of Arabs in the rest of the middle east. The Israelis are so horrible that their Arab citizens live better than nearly every Arab not part of a royal family does. Same land, just different people.

    I know plenty of well off Arabs that live in Arab countries that earned it through harwork and brain power. Their governments are partly to blame, the culture of blaming it on former colonial masters are partly to blame and the people themselves are partly to blame. If Israel were so self sufficient, they wouldn’t need to be America’s biggest welfare case.

    The Arabs are failures. Their societies are failures, the governments are failures, and their religion is a failure. The existence of Israel, this tiny country with no oil, little land, and not much more water, is nothing but a giant reminder of their failure. That is why they hate Jews and hate the Israelis and ultimately hate Americans; our success and their failure.

    I’m not even going to dignify this part with a response and let the rest of my statement address it.

  35. John,

    Although there is some resentment of the success of the Jewish people, Muslim resentment against Jews is much deeper. It is a religious matter. Unfortunately, our Abrahamic religions promote a lot of hate and intolerance.

  36. Dubai is the size of a postage stamp and has nearly as much oil as Kuwait. No shit they built a nice place for the tribe that lived there and 1000s of imported labor from the sub-continent they brought in to make the trains run on time. Go to any Arab country that is not completely overrun in oil and they are shitholes and some places, Saudi Arabia, are shitholes even though they are overrun with oil.

    Only 30% of the UAE’s GDP is oil and natural gas, they’ve done an amazing job diversifying their economy. They’re a major financial hub, construction is big and they’re building fisheries. It ain’t just mineral wealth and it’s very well run. Not to mention its area is 4 times that of Israel.

  37. Herb,

    I think there is a lot of truth to that. The point is that no amount of repatriation or groveling by Israel is going to change it. The hatred has to do with Muslims more than it has to do with the Jews. Who the hell are we kidding when people bemoan the plight of the Palestinians in Israel? Try being an Arab under the Shah or a Shia under Saddam, a Kurd living anywhere. On the scale of tragedy, the dispelling of the Palestinians from Israel is about 90th on the list of atrocities committed in the middle-east over the last 100 years. The whole idea that we could just have peace if it wasn’t for those pesky Jews is at best completely naive and at worst downright anti-Semitic.

  38. Not to mention, $13 billion represents 10% of their GDP, it ain’t exactly pocket change.

  39. “Only 30% of the UAE’s GDP is oil and natural gas, they’ve done an amazing job diversifying their economy. They’re a major financial hub, construction is big and they’re building fisheries. It ain’t just mineral wealth and it’s very well run. Not to mention its area is 4 times that of Israel.”

    Dubai is also one of the more moderate countries in the area. I don’t Dubai launching suicide bombers or declaring war on Israel. True, if you get over your hatred of others’ success you too can be successful. If Dubai can do it, why not Syria or Jordan?

    Further, you can’t underestimate the head start the oil wealth gives the. Israel has none of those advantages. Further, Israel is a freer society. Tell me with a straight face that you would rather live in Dubai than Tel Aviv. No way.

  40. John,
    Let’s see, no income tax, the fact that American expats are free to do as they wish, the beautiful beaches and the distinct lack of terrorist attacks. I’d take Dubai in a heartbeat*.

    Don’t you think the lack of desperation and economic success has something to do with the lack of extremist attacks. If I had a life of economic security and safe environment for my family, I wouldn’t be driven to fighting or extremism, Paletinians have neither. There’s a reason why Palestinian Americans don’t blow themselves up in pizzarias.

    * That’s even before I discount points for the discrimination I would face as an Arab.

  41. joe,

    Assuming they were paid Fair Market Value, of course.

    Unfortunately, those who sold land to the pre-1948 Jewish immigrants were not paid fair market value for the land. The Zionist paid significantly above Fair Market Value for almost all the land they acquired. Recall that prior to 1948 the region was ruled first by the Ottomans and then by the British. The Jews had no means of coercing locals into selling them land. The locals knew they could charge a premium and they did. Most non-Jewish locals also benefited from the economic boom that the jewish immigrants created. For nearly 40 years prior to 1948, Palestine stood as the only Arabic region to have positive Arabic immigration. The Zionist must have not made life to terribly hard for their neighbors.

    bones,

    Air campaigns and ground forces will NOT stop this.

    The Israeli are perfectly aware of this. Israeli are profoundly aware that they face an enemy which can regenerate itself nearly infinitely. Instead of expecting a definative solution for all their woes, they seek to cripple Hezballah enough that either Lebanon or the U.N can assert true control over the region. Barring that, they hope to destroy enough assets that they can get some breathing space for a time. No one has any delusions that this operation will end decades of conflict. They merely hope to trade a large problem for a small one.

    fydor,

    Arabs would not have been expelled were it not for Jews expelled from Arab nations…

    No Arabs were ever “expelled” from Israel. That is an odd little argument that arose only in the late-60’s. The proof of that no organized expusion took place is the remaining 15% of Israeli citizens who are Arabs. Minor tit-for-tat attacks carried out by extremist on both sides have been conflated into a program of state sponsored ethnic cleansing. It never happened.

    chris,

    Without the billions in aid every year from the U.S. it would be the same shithole like most of the other ones around.

    Jewish areas prospered long before Israel’s founding and long before the U.S. or anyone else provided them foreign aid. Israeli has two things that the Arabic world lacks:(1) enormous human capital in the form of a highly educated and highly industrious culturally western population (Sephardic Jews, those culturally Arabic, don’t fair so well) (2) Functioning modern institutions like liberal-democracy, banks, a stock-market, universities, etc. Israel has a GDP of $155 Billion and receives $2.5 billion in US aid. Egypt has a GDP of $92 Billion and receives $2 billion. (Since 1979 the aid amounts between the two countries have set ratio). Israel’s aid mostly offsets it military cost.

    Also, if Israel are such a humanitarian kind and took in all the expelled jews then why not all the expelled christians.

    They have taken in some. Most Christians fleeing Arabic lands prefer to just keep going onto the West. Why move into the crosshairs?

    After all it was the U.S.(mainly christians) who gave them the money and power to do so for their jewish brethren.

    Hmmmm, no. Israel’s foreign support comes almost entirely from the Jewish diaspora. Private contributions from non-Jewish US sources are very minor and very recent.

    Herb Schaffler,

    And there will never be peace in the Middle East as long as Israel keeps on grabbing more land.

    Israel as returned over 90% of the land it ever seized beyond the 1967 border. In the last 20 years, Israel has done nothing but surrender land, always on the assurances of the Ivory Tower types that it would by them peace. Don’t you ever watch the news?

  42. John,

    You seem to be getting quite a few things wrong, what with not realizing that 10% of Israel’s GDP is made up of US aid, forgetting that Israel once controlled the Sinai, not realizing the actual size of Dubai, etc.

    Others have also pointed out that the “right of return” is the right for Palestinians to move back to Israel, not necessarily to get their seized properties back. Israel’s reason for accepting large numbers of Jewish refugees while pushing out the Palestinians was to create an ethnically pure state, one of the explicitly stated founding ideals of Zionism.

    If you want a good parallel, look at apartheid South Africa. Everything you said about Israel in the middle east can be said about South Africa on the African continent. South Africa was (is) the richest, most economically successful nation on the continent, but it was built on a corrupt base of ethnic purity and seized property. Likewise Israel.

  43. The Zionist paid significantly above Fair Market Value for almost all the land they acquired. Recall that prior to 1948 the region was ruled first by the Ottomans and then by the British.

    They only purchased 1/8 of the land Shannon.

  44. The Zionist paid significantly above Fair Market Value for almost all the land they acquired. Recall that prior to 1948 the region was ruled first by the Ottomans and then by the British.

    They only purchased 1/8 of the land Shannon.

  45. They only purchased 1/8 of the land Shannon.

    What are you going to be telling him next, Mo? That his mother isn’t a virgin?

  46. Am I the only one who noticed John’s flawed logic here?

    “As far as two wrongs making a right. No it doesn’t. But the fact is that it has been sixty years now. You can no more have right of return for return for the Palestinians than you can give the plains back to the Sioux or Georgia back to the Cherokees. You need to be realistic”.

    How do you justify the creation of Israel then? How do you justify a Jewish right of return? It seems clear that you believe Jews have more intrinsic right to Palestine than the Palestinians. Why? Objectively speaking, I’m not hostile to the Jewish state, I’m just not comfortable with your uncritical rubberstamping of every Israeli action and your blanket condemnation of the Arab world.

  47. “Oh really SR, when exactly did Egypt own Palestine?”

    To refresh your memory, John, your statement was: “First, the Egyptians or the Jordanians or the Syrians never lost any land to the Israelis, so why are they so pissed off?” (emphasis added)

    Egypt: The Israelis seized the Sinai Peninsula twice (1956 and 1973).
    Jordan: As you admit, the Israelis seized the West Bank (1967).
    Syria: The Israelis seized the Golan Heights in 1967.

    Thus, your original statement is completely wrong. All three nations “lost…land” to Israel at various points in time. The fact that the Egyptians later got their land back and that Jordan renounced its claim to the West Bank (meanwhile Israel has all but formally annexed the Golan Heights) does not make your original statement correct.

  48. John,

    You did not address what I actually said. I didn’t even bring up the Palestinian right of return issue. FWIW, I don’t know if Israel “should” grant that or not, but it wouldn’t be as impossible as you claim. Not all the land vacated by Palestinians is being used, and compensation could be substituted for cases where it is. Anyway, my only point is that you blame the Arabs for everything and Israel for nothing and part of that is to implicitly claim that the Palestinian expulsions which paved the way to the Jewish state were merely a response to Jewish expulsions from Arab countries, which I maintain is presumptuous in the extreme.

    Re: If Arabs were so concerned about the Palestinians, there wouldn’t have been a refugee problem, they would have allowed them entry the way the Israelis did the Jews who were expelled.

    I’ll agree that the continued Palestinian status as refugees is reprehensible, but that doesn’t mean it’s proof that the Arab states don’t really give a damn about the Palestinians. But before I expound on that, allow me to make clear that I sure don’t know NOR CARE what’s actually going on the minds of the heads of those states. Even if they’re merely cynically appeasing their populace, my point is that maintaining their refugee status IS SEEN in the area (whether or not it should be) as the correct thing for them, including, most likely, by the Palestinian refugees themselves. We don’t hear them complaining much that the Arab nations won’t take them in, rather they see the solution to their status as being a return to where they once lived and owned land taken from them. Now personally I consider that a foolish position, but its validation by Arab governments hardly demonstrates abandonment of the Palestinians by those governments as it’s what the Palestinians want.

    If Israel ceased to exist and there was not a Jewish state, the Arabs and the Palestinians would kill every Jew in Israel.

    That’s rather presumptuous as well.

    Shannon Love,

    No Arabs were ever “expelled” from Israel. That is an odd little argument that arose only in the late-60’s. The proof of that no organized expusion took place is the remaining 15% of Israeli citizens who are Arabs. Minor tit-for-tat attacks carried out by extremist on both sides have been conflated into a program of state sponsored ethnic cleansing. It never happened.

    I don’t know if we’ll ever know the details as clearly you claim to, but I ask you: could a Jewish homeland have existed without a clear Jewish majority? Such a majority did not exist in 1948.

  49. Whoops, that should also be 1967 for the Sinai, not 1973!

  50. Another reason why Palestinians are fighting, is because they are treated like second class citizens in Israel. I don’t buy the position that they are fighting out of jealousy for the Israelis’ success anymore than I buy Bush’s claim that terrorists attacked the Twin Towers out of jeaslousy.

  51. Israel siezed the West Bank from Jordan in ’67, but Jordan siezed the WB for itself after the 1948 war.

  52. Herb Schaffler,

    Another reason why Palestinians are fighting, is because they are treated like second class citizens in Israel.

    Really, why is it then that suicide bombers come from Gaza or the West Bank instead of Israel proper. The number of terrorist attacks carried out by non-Jewish Israeli citizens is vanishingly small. When they get upset they complain to their elected representative.

  53. “They really cannot be destroyed from the air”

    Actually yes they can. If Israel decided to be as barbaric as the enemy they are fighting, they could simply bomb the hell out of the entire place and destroy everything in their path, to hell with any civilians that ignored the warnings. But they aren’t and they won’t.

    Israel is jumping through the hoops to try to limit civilian deaths…civilians that hezbollah has placed in the line of fire…and people on this thread are arguing over Israel’s right to exist?

  54. Now that’s a doctrine I can really get behind.

    Assuming they were paid Fair Market Value, of course. And there was a comprehensive development plan first.

    Okay, I laughed. Hard. That was funny.

  55. I blame this all on Winston Churchill.

  56. “Israel is jumping through the hoops to try to limit civilian deaths.”

    Uh huh. They must really suck, then, because civilian deaths in Lebanon from Israeli fire have topped 600 so far. That’s what happens when you pancake apartment buildings.

  57. Let’s see, no income tax, the fact that American expats are free to do as they wish, the beautiful beaches and the distinct lack of terrorist attacks. I’d take Dubai in a heartbeat*.

    Yeah, but Dubai has Michael Jackson, so that knocks it down a bit.

    Seriously, does Dubai have much of a military? I just wonder if they’re on some terrorist target plans for being so chummy with American expats.

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