You’ll Need Some Coffee Before Tackling This One
Thanks to PatioPundit Martin for pointing me to the latest Michael Kelly hours before I would have found it myself.
Kelly argues that Arafat fights in phases, calibrated for the desired response:
The first major phase of the current war was the Palestinian uprising, or intifada, which began in 1987. The second major phase was an interlude of peace, which centered on a negotiating process that effectively began with the Oslo accord in 1993 and effectively ended with the Camp David failure of July 2000. The third major phase is what is generally called the second intifada, the killing that began when the Palestinians rejected the peace process and returned to active war in September 2000.
Each violent phase has grown more violent — by the Palestinians. The lopsided death counts of Intifada I are much more even this go around. But the key was the relative lack of killings 10-15 years ago. Moral outrage against Israel led to Oslo, which led to Camp David.
At Camp David, Israel of- fered extraordinary concessions. These included the transfer of 88 percent to 95 percent of West Bank territory to the Palestinian Authority, the forced evacuation of 40,000 Jewish settlers, the return of some Palestinian refugees and the surrender of some Jerusalem neighborhoods. Arafat declared this to be not enough.
Camp David was a failure for Israel, for humanity and for the two feckless and self-deluding men, Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak, who brought it to pass. But it was not at all a failure for Arafat and his long-term strategy. Indeed, in the logic of Arafat’s war of phases, “failure” was the necessary opening to the next level of war.
So Arafat has played by Head I Win/Tails You Lose rules — and the world has let him get away with it. Kelly’s solution?
What Israel must do is to adopt its own version of Arafat’s phased war approach; it must pursue peace, or appear to pursue peace, as a phase in the longer war. It must meet Palestinian war with relentless war in return. But, simultaneously, it must become the aggressor in a new peace process — whether or not that process will ultimately lead to a peace Israel can accept.
There’s just one problem here, kids. When you offer (even fake) concessions to Arabs, they see it as weakness and emboldens them to new lows of barbarity. I’m not there yet, but I’m becoming more of a mind that the only way for Israel to protect its borders is to annex the West Bank and expel every last Palestinian.
I hope it doesn’t come to that, but if it does — I won’t blame Israel.