Wednesday, June 25, 2008

2nd Intifada forgotten

The second Intifada, which started in October 2000 and ended in October 2004, is barely being discussed or written about. It has been marginalized and pushed out of public discourse. Books about it are hidden away at bookstores. Political journals barely mention it. The media forgot it. Cultural institutions ignore it. The amnesia in relation to the second Intifada is surprising in the face of its high casualty toll and the heavy price it exacted from Israel's society and economy, as well as the ruin it brought to Palestine and the Palestinians. What then is the reason for this amnesia, which borders on denial? The human desire to ignore a sequence of events that undermines and breaks away from convention. Once it's over, we all rush to repress it from our consciousness and return to the comfort of the familiar, acceptable, predictable, and normal.

The second Intifada contradicted and disproved two basic assumptions, axioms almost, which were commonly accepted at its outset and end. The first one: Economic prosperity brings peace. The second one: Terrorism cannot be defeated by force. Both these arguments were and still are deeply rooted in our collective perception and instigate the leading narrative when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both axioms are politically correct and provide an orderly doctrine for analysis and interpretation.

Bidding these arguments farewell means abandoning viewpoints we have become accustomed to and heading into the unknown. Therefore, so many prefer to forget that there was ever an Intifada here and ignore its lessons. However, that which is repressed will resurface - it always does.

The second Intifada broke out at the zenith of Palestinian economy prosperity. The fruit of the Oslo Accords finally started trickling down to the poor and neglected strata in the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinian standard of living skyrocketed, money was readily available, tourists flocked to the whole of the Holy Land, foreign investors discovered cheap and skilled Palestinian labor, and Palestinian merchants discovered the purchasing power of Israeli consumers. These achievements were erased on one clear day in October 2000. The second Intifada cost the Palestinians an economic loss of a generation. It will take at least 10 to 15 years before the per capita income in Palestine will return to its level on the eve of October 2000. ...

And what for? For nothing. After all, there is no arguing that Israel scored an overwhelming and unpredictable win in the second Intifada. Hundreds of articles written in its midst warned Israel's leadership against attempting to fight terror by force, because the failure is guaranteed: The regular army of a democratic state would never defeat terror-resistance-guerilla groups that operate within oppressed civilians like fish in water. This is what we learned from Cuban genius Che Guevara and Vietnamese genius Ho Chi Minh.

In the absence of any other choice, Israel ignored the strategic warnings. In an integrated move, which included assaults on urban terror headquarters, assassinations of the most senior terror leaders, and the extensive deployment of human and technological intelligence means, Israel defeated its enemies. The unbelievable happened - and was repressed after it happened, particularly after Ariel Sharon's hospitalization.

Meanwhile, the false conviction that "a terror organization cannot be defeated" has paralyzed the Israeli government ever since Hamas came to power; at the end, we shall be forced to recognize the state of Hamastan, instead of Hamas recognizing us. Did the Intifada ever happen, or was it just a bad dream?

More here



77 % of Israeli Arabs want to stay in Israel : "Seventy-seven percent of the State of Israel's Arab citizens would rather live in the Jewish state than in any other country in the world, according to a new study titled "Coexistence in Israel". The survey was conducted by the John Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University with the assistance of researchers from Haifa University."

A good start: "Republican Sen. John McCain: Quit taxing ethanol gasoline from Brazil at $20+ a barrel. Corn ethanol is over-subsidized and protected by a protectionist tariff on sugar ethanol from Brazil of 54› a gallon. At 42 gallons a barrel, that works out to $22.68 a barrel. McCain wants to stop that. In addition to a prize of $300 million for the person who comes up with a way more efficient car battery for plug-in cars, McCain wants to drop the duty on sugar ethanol. It's called free trade"

Bigoted NYT: "The New York Times loves to review porno books, while ignoring best-selling conservative authors. The Encounter Books publishing house will no longer send advance books for review to the New York Times. Encounter publisher Roger Kimball wrote: "Of course, the editors at the Times are welcome to trot down to their local book emporium or visit to purchase our books, but we won't be sending gratis advance copies to them any longer." The reason? Despite having several best-sellers, the NYT never reviews an Encounter book. Or Mark Steyn, for that matter."

Railways inadequate in the home of railways: "Passengers face acute overcrowding on key railway routes because capacity will be exhausted many years before any new lines could be built, according to Network Rail. The infrastructure company is to commission a study into the costs and benefits of new lines on five inter-city routes. But it admitted that a high-speed network was unlikely to be built soon because of funding constraints and environmental concerns. The company is expected to focus on a few short stretches of track operating at conventional speed to relieve the worst pinch points on long-distance routes, including London to Peterborough, Rugby and Swindon. Iain Coucher, the chief executive of Network Rail, said that the Government's plan for expanding rail capacity by 22.5 per cent by 2014 would be inadequate on some routes, which are growing by 10 per cent a year. He said: "Clearly some routes will grow more than that and there may be a problem. The most congested parts of the network are about 80 miles out of London. People used to be prepared to travel for 45 minutes and now it's an hour and a quarter." The high cost of housing in London and fuel prices were two of the factors contributing to the continuing strong growth in demand for rail travel."

Krugman gets something right: "The New York Times economics columnist is right about universal home ownership: It burst the housing and lending markets, and it made no sense. OK. So Paul Krugman is taking a swipe at President Bush for saying, in 2002, "Owning a home lies at the heart of the American dream." Fine. But in the hands of the government, dreams become nightmares. Pushing uncreditworthy people - the irresponsible - to buy houses at low-interest rates did 2 things. It drove up demand for houses, which shot housing prices up. It imperiled the lending industry. In his column today, Krugman asked the pertinent questions: "Why should ever-increasing homeownership be a policy goal? How many people should own homes, anyway?" Some people are meant to be renters, he wrote. True. Some of us no more want home-owning responsibilities than we do root canal"


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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