Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Defeat of Terrorism Key to Middle East
says New Gingrich

In a lengthy treatise published in the Summer, 2005, issue of The Middle East Quarterly, Newt Gingrich sets out his analysis and suggested solutions for the problems in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. [Thanks to BenS and AlanP for the link]

His description of the problems is sound: corrupt Palestinian leaders have made the lives of most Palestinians miserable by stifling economic growth and by stealing much of the aid money and the taxes collected on their behalf by Israel.

He emphasizes, with detailed descriptions, that in the face of constant terrorism threats, Israelis have shown remarkable patience.
Israel has spent the last fifty-seven years trying to protect itself within a system in which every Israeli action is described as a provocation and every Israeli retaliation is described as disproportionate and inappropriate.
Gingrich says the burden of preventing terrorism lies with the Palestinians:

The burden for preventing terrorism should rest on the Palestinian Authority. Western governments should not bestow the privileges of governance without its responsibilities. The Palestinian Authority should be held accountable for all violence coming from its territories, and Israelis should be compensated by the Palestinian Authority for all acts of terrorism. The rules of normal international behavior should apply to both sides.

The bias against Israel is now so decisive that no one even asks why Israel has killed Hamas leaders who would be alive today if Arafat had kept his word and locked them up. The result is a vicious circle. First, Israel should not suffer the loss of its innocent citizens murdered by terrorists and simultaneously bare the burden of blame for self-protection, nor should Israel be expected to sit down and talk with the people it knows are co-conspirators in trying to destroy it. This is what the Oslo and roadmap processes have brought to Israel.
Gingrich's proposed "strategy" is fourfold:
  1. both Western governments and their Arab allies should recognize that there is a real war underway between a minority of the Palestinians and the Israelis. This minority of Palestinians has one goal: to destroy Israel. It is impossible to negotiate with this group, and it is equally impossible for the Israelis to engage in rounds of diplomacy when their women and children are being brutally murdered in an ongoing dance of death and destruction.
  2. the goal must be to establish safety for the Israeli people. It is the duty of a government to protect its own citizens.
  3. it is important to recognize that the vast, but intimidated, majority of the Palestinian people would like to live in safety, health, prosperity, and freedom. Most Palestinians do not want their children living in war torn neighborhoods surrounded by poverty and devastation. They do not want to live their lives under the heel of a corrupt, brutal, and incompetent dictatorship.
  4. protecting Israel and developing a peaceful Palestinian leadership has to precede any lasting diplomatic solution. Instead of focusing on diplomacy, the White House and State Department should develop two parallel tracks, one for helping Israel defend itself and the other for helping the Palestinian people develop a better future.

Unfortunately, his suggestions for achieving these goals (which he misnames "strategies") are unclear and weak. They cannot be implemented so long as Hamas is given any semblance of legitimacy, nor can they succeed so long as the anti-Israel bias is rampant in Palestinian schools.

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