The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

              NY Times Editorial Wrong Again
One of the New York Times editorials today criticizes the Bush Administration for its tacit support of Israel's expansion of "settlements" in the West Bank. And as is usual for the New York Times Middle East reporting, they get things completely backward.
While designed to provide a short-term boost to Israel's embattled prime minister, Ariel Sharon, this cynical change in administration policy will have important long-term costs. It will further demoralize Israeli and Palestinian moderates, frustrate Washington's closest European and Middle Eastern allies, and undermine the American-backed road map peace plan, which, though a long shot, is the only current peaceful political alternative.
The continued reference to the "road-map" willfully ignores the facts on the ground - the road map is dead. It was killed when the Palestinians refused to abide by the first step, namely disarming and dismantling the terrorist organizations. Everything afterwards is irrelevant. To pretend otherwise is simply dishonest.

The Times then dives into the deep end of the pool of Middle East ignorance.
Settlements are such a sensitive matter because they cut directly to the core of the Israeli-Palestinian issue - the ultimate division of the land of Palestine.
This is the standard leftist view of the conflict that if we just partition the land (again), the Arabs will stop their war against Israel. Israel gave up all of the Sinai to Egypt in exchange for peace. And while Egypt is no longer technically at war with Israel, it is not at peace either. The Egyptian army trains with one goal in mind: war with Israel. The editorials of the government controlled press are no different in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic invective than the virulence emanating from the Hizbullah press or the Syrian or Iranian press.

The key point that the Times misses is that this conflict is not about land and not about settlements. It is, and has always been, existential in nature. Arabs continue to believe that Israel is an interloper on Arab land and must be destroyed. This is clearly shown by the fact that the Arabs believe, and openly state (if only the New York Times listened) that even Tel Aviv is a "settlement" to them.

Continuing in the vein that surrender by Israel is the only thing that will bring peace, the Times goes on to say
No one step by Israel would be likely to do more to restart peace talks and isolate Palestinian terrorists than announcing a genuine freeze on all settlement construction.
So the Times's prescription for restarting "peace talks" is Israel's acceding to the demands of the terrorists. This is about as inane as it gets, but typical for the Times. Does the Times really think that agreeing to one demand of the terrorists will not encourage them to continue terrorism in getting more concessions, in the belief that their tactics work?

The blame for this type of thinking rests on the lack of historical knowledge and perspective of the Times editors. Never mind the actual legal status of the West Bank (or lack thereof). If settlements are the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, why is it that there were constant terrorist attacks against Israel even before Israel captured the West Bank in 1967? If the settlements are the key issue, why were they left out of the Oslo Accords? And if the goal is a democratic Palestinian state, why would they be so opposed to Jews living in their midst? What the Times and the left proposes, in its opposition to "settlements", is the ethnic cleansing of Jews from land that is part of the historic homeland. The problem is not the settlements; the problem is the continuing refusal of the Arabs to accept Israel. Until that changes there will not be peace, no matter what Israel does regarding the settlements or anything else.
|| Nudnik 8:48 AM
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