Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Opposing the Lords of War

"If Israel refuses, that means it doesn't want peace. Then the conflict goes back into the hands of the lords of war."the Saudi foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal, in Riyadh on Wednesday


The audacity of the Arab League. As if we're supposed to forget history. We've gone from the "Three NOs" drafted in Khartoum in the late 1960s to Israel being faced with the "Lords of war" if it doesn't accept the Arab world's latest conditions for "peace".

How many lives have been lost - Jewish and Arab - due not to Israeli intransigence when it comes to the peace process, but Arab deceit and duplicity?

* Israel didn't ask for the armies of the Arab League to invade in 1948.

* Israel didn't tell Egyptian president Gamal abd al-Nasser to close the Straights of Tiran and rattle the sabers in May-June 1967, declaring his goal was the destruction of Israel and building up an alliance with Syria and Jordan. That led to the Six-Day War.

* And Israel certainly didn't ask for the Yom Kippur War, a.k.a. the 10th of Ramadan War, in 1973. Surprise attacks of this sort are, generally, unplanned by the side being attacked - in that case, Egypt and Syria attacking Israel.

Drive by the museum the Egyptians erected to the '73 "October War", near Cairo's international airport. It's fucking eerie – especially the way it's lit up at night. It's like the Japanese unapologetically building a massive monument to the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor in '41, or Nazis building a museum glorifying the Final Solution.

Or if you like, you can just go to the Giza plateau on the outskirts of Cairo, and while gazing at the Great Pyramid turn and get a glimpse of 10th of Ramadan City nearby. We're talking about people who named a city for the war they started on October 6, 1973, then lost, and have portrayed as a victory ever since!


There were hundreds, if not thousands, of terrorist attacks emanating against Israel from the Gaza Strip while that territory was under Egyptian occupation from 1948-1967. Before the Gaza Strip was captured by Israel in June 1967. Before "the occupation." The Golan Heights, on the northern border, were used by Syria not as farmland but as a platform for shelling Israeli farms until Israel captured that in '67.

Heck, after launching a pre-emptive strike on Egyptian airfields on a June morning in 1967, decimating that nation's air force in just a few hours as it sat on the ground, Israel begged Jordan, the occupier at the time of eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank, not to enter the nascent hostilities. How did Jordan respond?

By shelling western Jerusalem.

I'm continually baffled by the Arab insistence on "East Jerusalem", as if we should just succumb to voluntary amnesia over Jordan's deplorable activities while steward of that area until it was liberated – yes, liberated – and reunited with "West" Jerusalem by Israel in 1967. We're talking about the Hashemite Kingdom using Jewish tombstones to build roads a la the Nazis, denying access to holy sites to Christians, Jews and Muslims from Israel, etc.

You won't find me compromising on Jerusalem. Too much blood spilled by terrorists on the streets of the holy city, too much of an effort by the Arabs to erase the Jewish history and connection to the city, too much injustice perpetrated against Israel, too much anti-Semitism from those "lords of war". Thank God our Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act some years back. Now's as good a time as any for the president to act on it.

It probably won't happen. But, it's a good time. In fact, it's way past time.


I've no doubt as to the identity of the "lords of war" the Saudi FM was referring to. They are, of course, the sheikhs and despots, the extremists and the imams, many of whom we've propped up over the years, who time and again were the first to choose violence over talking. These "lords of war" are throwing down the gauntlet again, telling the world that if Israel doesn't want what they want for Israel, Israel is rejecting peace.

Were Israel to draft a self-indulgent peace plan, and say the same thing to the Arab League that the Arab League is saying to Israel…how do you think they'd react?

They'd say it's preposterous. They'd reject it. They'd fund more terrorism than they already do to get Israel to capitulate, and the world would call for moderation not from the Arabs, but from the Israelis.

Don't be mistaken - that's not pessimism I'm wallowing in. I'm an optimist.

It's simply acknowledging the way the world works right now. It can change, and in some ways it has started to change for the better already. It's not hopeless. But old habits die hard. If you're looking at affairs in the Middle East through rose-colored glasses, or at Arab regimes in such a manner…check to make sure that it's not blood giving your lenses their tint.

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