Inconvenient Facts

Antony Blinken wrapped up a hectic tour of the Mideast on Monday with a stop in Turkey, where Recep Tayyip Erdogan is at odds with Israel. Erdogan last month described Hamas's military wing as "freedom fighters" and is avowedly opposed to Israel's tactics in Gaza. Ankara recalled its ambassador to Israel last week, a move Israel described as "another step to side with terrorists." Erdogan over the weekend called for "an independent Palestinian state, in line with 1967 borders, with territorial

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12 thoughts on “Inconvenient Facts

  1. “If we figure out where this God lives, that’s where we should deploy a nuke.”
    This would be an actual metaphor, that I wish were possible. A minister of a country that is suspected to have nuclear weapons, he should be banished to the place that he wants to nuke.

  2. The Palestinian Authority (Abbas) has been fairly condemnatory of Hamas, and there is talk about the potential for PA to take over control of Gaza after/if Israel eliminates Hamas (as a government and military force). I speculate that some Arab states would like to see Hamas replaced by the PA, if only because Hamas has proved inconvenient for their broader aims. Perhaps an optimistic scenario is that over the coming months, the IDF eliminates Hamas in Gaza, then is replaced by a UN force drawn from Arab countries, and later by the PA for Gaza Palestinians’ next attempt at limited self-rule. I recognize there are many obstacles, not least the PA’s weakness. I imagine the odds would improve if Netanyahu is replaced by an Israeli leader not beholden to ultra-right wing parties and settlement of the West Bank.

  3. It seems there plenty of inconvenient facts to go around. When the West Bank belonged to Jordan, and when Gaza belonged to Egypt, why weren’t the Palestinians given a homeland? If Israel had been eliminated in the 1967 or 1973 wars, would the Palestinians have a homeland? Why must generations of Palestinians continue to be refugees, when there are plenty of Arab states saying they support Palestinians? This is all hard to understand.

    1. Mr H has a brave post comparing the incovenient truths of our ally to our own great nation’s documented atrocities and you try to find others to blame. Look first into your own heart and if you find evil or anger, process it first before you rewrite history with What If.
      It is not hard to understand: reigning terror on innocents is not fighting terrorism. Israel has no exit strategy precisely because they are in denial about their own guilt in having the power to resolve the situation and refusing to use it.

          1. Well, it just goes back and forth sadly. The very unlucky Palestinian civilians are caught in a vice grip between the IDF and Hamas. None of the surrounding Arab countries want to welcome Palestinian refugees.

        1. This is a straw man. Nobody said “Israel, no civilian casualties are acceptable at all. You have to do this without killing anyone other than verified Hamas members, who you’re required to identify ahead of time with 100% certainty, and if a single civilian dies, you’ll lose our support.”

          The bottom line is glaringly obvious: We’re supposed to accept the idea that Palestinian lives are worth less than Israeli lives. What the ratio is is yet to be determined. Presumably, there’s a threshold beyond which this will go from tragic to over-the-top ridiculous, at which point the White House will say “You have to stop now or no more Iron Dome interceptors.” At that point, the ratio will be established. 1:10 or 1:20 or 1:40 or whatever it is.

          Anyone who doesn’t accept that math supports terrorism. See the logic there? No? Me neither. Because it’s absurd.

          1. I am not talking about what is right and “should happen” in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. I am trying to understand what “will happen”.

            What will happen is that this is a war, both Israel and Hamas intend to destroy the other, and they will continue until one succeeds or they are both unable to continue. The political/other forces on each side make it impossible to do otherwise.

            Civilian casualties in Gaza are viewed as irrelevant and even desirable (Hamas) or undesirable but acceptable if felt necessary (Israel). Since there is no way to destroy Hamas without civilian casualties, partly due to terrain and mostly due to Hamas’ human shield tactics, Israel will inflict those civilian casualties.

            Israel’s position is not surprising in a war. In WW2, other-side civilian casualties were not merely irrelevant (all sides) but a strategic objective (US, others). We may think we’ve changed, but get the US (or any country) in a war in which heavy other-side civilian casualties are unavoidable, and we’d inflict away. Indeed, we just spent 20 years doing so, elsewhere in the ME.

            There is, presumably, some point at which Israel’s main ally will force a course change. It wasn’t at 5,000, isn’t at 10,000, probably won’t be at 20,000. There are political/other forces in the US too. Arab-affiliated voters and groups don’t rank high on the national political importance scale compared to Jewish-affiliated. Young voters are important, but yesterday’s elections will have comforted the Dems a bit. Most important, Israel/Hamas has become part of the new global Cold War. For US to compel Israel to retreat would be a US loss to Russia, Iran, China, etc, in the Big Game. So that point, where-ever it may be, is far away.

            Hence I’m not interested in moralizing and blame-allocating over civilian deaths in Gaza, or about any aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is a bottomless debate that makes no practical difference.

            Its like the Fed. The FOMC doesn’t care what we think it “should do”, so more productive to spend time thinking about what it “will do”.

          2. John, For the first time in all the years I’ve been conversing with you, I suspect you may not know as much about something as you implicitly claim to know. Either you don’t understand what this is, or you’re being deliberately obtuse. Either way, I can’t entertain you on the subject anymore than I could entertain you on valuations if I suspected you didn’t understand DDM. So, carry on as you will, because you’re among the brightest subscribers I’ve ever had, but your efforts to contextualize this by way of other conflicts are severely misguided. This is a unique situation (and that’s a late candidate for understatement of the year).

          3. This brings to mind a horribly prescient remark Buna Russian general around ten years ago about US intervention in Afghanistan.

            Something to the effect that the US had no chance of succeeding there. That was because even they could not win there despite the fact that they were not beholden to “niceties” like minimizing civilian casualties which the US strived to do.

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