Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

"You realize, this means war." (Daffy Duck)

When Israel withdrew from Gaza, I remarked (and cited to brighter minds than mine for authority) that it would give the Israeli army greater military room, since it would finally be able to wage war state to state. That is, Israel could no longer be publicly castigated as an occupier waging war on a helpless population. That seems, in fact, to be precisely what is happening. The Palestinians, having launched a massive rocket attack on Israel, are shocked, shocked, that Israel has responded with an aggressive military attack and, by doing so, say the Palestinians, "force[d] a ceasefire to collapse." Captain Ed has the appropriate take on the increasing room to act that Israel has, now that Gaza is on its own:

As I wrote yesterday, the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza brought an entirely new set of circumstances to the use of military force. The abandonment of the settlements and the removal of Israeli troops took away the excuse of a 'legitimate fight against an unjust occupation' that the UN allowed the murderers and terrorists of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to spew for killing women and children in pizzerias and buses. It makes such rocket attacks open acts of war, for which the government nominally in control of the territory must take responsibility. That means that the Israelis have every right to respond to an attack on their country when presented with such a casus belli, and they have done so. The Palestinians appealed to the US, which has all too often yanked a diplomatic leash on Israel, but not this time. The BBC reports that the American response, translated from Diplomatese, says, "Don't expect us to pull your bacon from the fire this time." The EU and UN, useless as ever, appealed to "both sides" for "restraint", instead of forcing the Palestinians to take responsibility for security in Gaza. Had the Palestinians not fired 40 rockets at Israeli cities, then this reponse would not have happened.
Regarding the bizarre Palestinian world view, that allows them to say that a ceasefire is in place despite their rocket attacks against Israel, but that it is broken only when Israel retaliates, have I got a book for you. It's not a new book, so it doesn't have a bone to pick in the current world struggle between the West and radical Islam, but it's certainly a prescient book. It's called The Arab Mind and was written thirty years ago by Raphael Patai, a famed Arabist. The book is definitely dated in in its dependence on Freudian analysis, but it's also fascinating in that it attempts to dissect characteristics of Arab culture -- and to do so by relying in large part on writings from Arab intellectuals examining their own culture. What was striking was how much of what Patai said about traditional Arab culture (and he says it with a fair amount of affection and respect) explains what we see today: the mob violence, the "Arab Street," the misogyny, and the weirdly delusional thinking. This last was was best illustrated in Patai's book by King Hussein's own story of how an Egyptian general, in 1967, prevented the Jordanians from responding appropriately to Israeli military action during the Six Day War, because he could not bring himself to acknowledge the fact that Israel had almost immediately decimated the Egyptian airforce. Modern Americans may have a better grasp of the nexus between pride, honor and delusion when they think of the Iraqi spokesman in the initial days of the war who amused the West tremendously by speaking of Iraq's total victory over the Americans, even as American tanks rolled down the streets behind him. The book makes clear that this man's approach was not one man's insanity, or even the delusional thinking that results from living in a totalitarian state but was, rather, a byproduct of an ancient culture that often values words over deeds (hence the prevalence of the extreme verbal threat) and that loves words so much that the statement of victory is often tantamount to victory itself.