Israel: Deal With The Devil

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October 19, 2011: For the first time since 1985, Israel has exchanged imprisoned Palestinians for a captured Israeli soldier (Gilad Shalit). Back then, three Israelis that had been captured during the 1982 war with Lebanon and Syria were exchanged. Each Israeli freed required that 350 Palestinians be released. Over the last three decades, Israel has released some 7,000 Palestinians and other Arabs to obtain the freedom of 16 Israelis. That's 438 Arabs per Israeli.

While Palestinians proclaimed this lop-sided swap as a great victory, it's actually another sign of continued Palestinian decline. Since 1985, or 1948 (when Israel was created), Palestinians in particular, and Arabs in general, have continually failed to deal with their inability to cope. Israelis, in contrast, have coped very well, and this only angers the Palestinians and Arabs in general, even more. Most Israelis believe that no Israeli should be abandoned to the enemy. The Arabs, in contrast, have sold out the Palestinians several times, and the corruption and double-dealing among the Palestinians is a growing source of unrest within the Palestinian community. It was this attitude that sparked the "Arab Spring" uprisings this year. But there was not much Arab Spring unrest among the Palestinians. There was some talk of eliminating corruption, but the fixation on the destruction of Israel remained center-stage.

In the half century before 1948, there had been dozens of similar territorial disputes throughout the world that had been settled. But not the Palestinians. They have managed to redefine the concept of victory and defeat. But economic, political and cultural success has eluded the Palestinians. Worse, most Palestinians refuse to acknowledge that they even have problems. Instead they blame others and demand that Israel be destroyed and Jews (who have lived in Israel continuously for over 3,000 years) be expelled from the region. Now Hamas is urging its followers to take greater risks to grab more Israeli soldiers and civilians. If they are successful, the Israelis will be forced to adopt the "no-negotiations" approach to terrorism that most nations use. That will increase the violence between Israelis and Palestinians. But as long as the Palestinian internal (Arab language) media continues preaching the destruction of Israel as the only solution to the dispute, that is where it is going.

Only 477 Palestinian prisoners were freed on the same day that Shalit was released. The other 550 will be released over the next few weeks. Many of those released were convicted of killing Israelis via terrorist acts. Some 300 were serving life sentences for murder. The worst of these (40 so far) were not allowed back into the Palestinian territories, but were forced to go into exile (in Syria, Turkey, Jordan and Qatar.) The U.S. opposed the release of some of these Palestinians, because their attacks had killed Americans. The families of Israeli victims are protesting as well, as some are going to court.

Most of the terrorism occurred after 2000, when the PLO rejected an Israeli peace offer because radicals insisted it was not enough. That began over a decade of Palestinian terrorism against Israel. Within five years, the Palestinian terrorism campaign had been neutralized (mainly by sealing off the Palestinian territories from Israel), but not before thousands of Israelis had been killed or wounded. As a result, about 6,000 Palestinians are in Israeli prisons because of terrorist activities. Hamas has declared that it will kidnap more Israelis in order to get the rest of these Palestinian "heroes" freed. Many of those freed for Shalit agree with this strategy and are calling for more terrorist attacks.

Egyptian elections for parliament are to take place in stages between late November and early January. Presidential elections will take place later in 2012. The armed forces are temporarily running the country, and most Egyptians believe that the military leaders (who have long been corrupt) are seeking to protect many of the corrupt politicians and others who benefitted from decades of dictatorship. So while the Mubarak dictatorship is gone, most of those who ran it, and grew rich from the corruption, remain in business, ready to buy the new members of parliament and continue as before.

Israel has growing problems with its own religious and nationalist extremists. The religious conservatives want lifestyle rules imposed on non-religious neighbors. Israeli settlers are defending Jewish settlements in the West Bank by force. The army now has to be careful which soldiers are told about operations against law-breaking settlers, to prevent leaks.

October 18, 2011: Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was exchanged for 1,027 Palestinians. Shalit was grabbed by Hamas five years ago as he was patrolling the Gaza border.

October 10, 2011: Fighting between Christians and Moslems in Cairo, Egypt, left 24 dead and over 200 wounded. Christians were demonstrating against Moslems attacking churches in the last week. Islamic conservatives have been hostile to Egyptian Christians for over a thousand years. Over ten percent of Egyptians are Christian, descendants of those who converted two thousand years ago, and refused to convert to Islam after the 7th century Arab invasion. Many Egyptians fear that this Islamic radical violence is a foretaste of what all Egyptians will have to deal with when Islamic conservatives seek to get their candidates elected.

October 8, 2011: The army found two fake bombs in the West Bank. There has been increasing violence by Palestinians against soldiers, including the use of fire bombs.

October 5, 2011: Hamas is locked in a struggle with the UN over how UN supported schools should be run in Gaza. Hamas wants their anti-Semitic propaganda as part of the curriculum, along with more Islamic religious instruction. The UN refuses, because foreign donors will stop giving if Hamas has its way.

 

 

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