According to Michael J. Totten, the ruling class of Syria can never make peace with Israel on their own, as they are Alawites – a minority in Syria. If they make peace with Israel, they’ll be considered as traitors and the Sunni majority would revolt and drown the Alawites in blood.
In the following I’ll try to formulate how Salvor Hardin would have dealt with the problem of getting Bashar al-Assad to make peace with Israel.
Since it is Salvor Hardin, the following principles are relevant:
“Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right”
“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent”
The key is to save Assad’s face and convince the Sunni in Syria that by making peace with Israel, Assad really does them good rather than being a traitor.
The plan would be as follows.
A pretext for starting hostilities against Syria could be its hosting and supporting the Hamas leaders, who are opposed to release of Gilad Shalit for free.
Hostile action would be to demonstrate power and ruthlessness by bombing some critical infrastructure, such as irrigation dams or key bridges. However, the hostilities are to be sufficiently surgical that there’ll be no casualties or bodily harm to people.
The next step would be to prevent reconstruction of the destroyed infrastructure as long as there is state of war between Syria and Israel.
Once Syria capitulates and agrees to make peace with Israel and has accepted the humiliation of peace without the Golan Heights returned to it, Israel would extend economic aid to Syria in order to repair and upgrade the infrastructure destroyed during the hostilities. See below.
The biggest problem in carrying out the above plan is international public opinion. One way to counter it is to earmark few billion dollars for rebuilding Syria once there is peace, and arrange for those companies (presumably, French ones) which currently have construction contracts in Syria and are in position to get reconstruction contracts (for rebuilding Syria) to pull ropes and arrange for public relations so that there’ll be support for Israel’s actions.
Recently an American Jew asked me the following question, in view of the news concerning recognition of conversions into Judaism carried out in the Israeli army (IDF):
Hey, let me ask you something. My wife told me that Israel is in the middle of redefining who is a Jew, and that Reform/secular/assimilated people like me wouldn’t be considered Jews any more. Is that going to affect the Law of Return?
My reply to him was:
The law of return won’t be affected, but ability to marry in Israel will be affected, because the Chief Rabbinate has legal monopoly over marriages of Jews (corresponding bodies have monopolies over Christians, Moslems and Druze) and the scandal over recognition of conversions into Judaism (the actual subject worrying your wife) is relevant to getting recognized as Jews by the Chief Rabbinate.
People, who cannot marry in Israel, usually fly to Cyprus to get married there, and then their marriage is recognized in Israel. I have a cousin, who married in Cyprus, just because she was disgusted by the Chief Rabbinate.
The Law of Return explicitly covers non-Jews – if they have Jewish relatives (one Jewish grandparent or a Jewish spouse is enough).
As things look like, few years from now, civil marriages will be possible in Israel, because the group of people, covered by the Law of Return yet cannot marry in Israel, is growing each year (most of them are immigrants from the former Soviet Union and their descendants).
My accounting is simple:The terrorists, who were released in exchange for Elechanan Tanenbaum few years ago, have murdered 29 Israelis by now in terror attacks.
There is no doubt that the terrorists, whose release is demanded by Hamas in exchange for freeing Gilad Shalit, will murder even more Israelis in the next few years.
The only difference among Gilad Shalit and those Israelis is that today we know who is Gilad Shalit, and we can associate with him a photo, parents in distress and a life story. Whereas those dead Israelis are today nameless and we have no way to associate with them a photo, grieving relatives or life story. Only after they have lost their lives, we’ll know who they were.
Another aspect which no one seems to have thought about:Suppose Gilad Shalit is freed in exchange for all those terrorists and returns to live in Israel. How will his life look like under the burden of Israelis who are killed or otherwise put at risk by those terrorists? Won’t he feel obliged to live up to them as they sacrificed their lives to release him? Won’t he be able to enjoy his life as a free man without onerous obligations? Would he be able to live normal life under the weight of obligations to those who risked and sacrificed their lives to secure his release?
Let it be clear. I believe that the Left-wing activists, who protest against the Israeli government’s handling of Gaza Strip in general and the flotilla in particular, are stupid, closed-minded, misguided and effectively are fifth column.
However, none of those attributes justify any form of attack on them by Right-wing activists. Not the smoke grenade, not personal attack on Uri Avneri and his ilk, nothing except for counter-demonstration.
Freedom of expression counts the most when one wants to express highly annoying opinions. Freedom of expression, in particular the freedom to question any of our sacred cows, is one of the foundations of our strength.
Let’s not deprive ourselves of real strength by threatening or silencing those misguided people!
Those days Turkey is rapidly transforming from an ally and friend of Israel into an enemy, to be almost as dangerous as Iran.
The Turkey-related news of the last few days never fail to remind me of the transformation of Anakin Skywalker in “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” into Darth Vader.
I wonder what will be NATO’s stand if war starts between Turkey and Israel due to Erdoğan’s plans to break through Gaza blockade by personally escorting ships and accompanying them by Turkish navy ships.
I am not as optimistic as the article’s author about Israeli chances of winning a war against Turkey, because Turkey has been provided over the years with Israeli military technology. Even today, the relevant contracts haven’t been suspended yet as far as I know.
The only way I see to avoid a Turkish-Israeli war is for the Turkish army to get hold of its wits and overthrow Erdoğan in a military coup, similar to past coups, which happened in Turkey over the years.
To his credit, Goldstone was serious about responding to the allegations made in the article. To the newspsper’s credit, they were serious about giving him the time to put together a comprehensive response. Goldstone seems to have acknowledged the right of the newspaper to investigate his past, and was serious about responding to the allegations without evasions or refusal to respond to embarrassing points.
Assuming the correctness of the facts in his response and in the declaration, which he enclosed with his response, he is not to be faulted for what he did as judge in the Apartheid regime. If Nelson Mandela and his people did not condemn Richard Goldstone, it says a lot about him.
Of course, Goldstone’s report about IDF’s behavior in Cast Lead operation is not equitable. However it is because the law, as it is applied in this case, is not equitable. Goldstone should have added to his report also recommendations for changing the relevant international law so that it is equitable also toward democratic governments having to protect their citizens from bloodthirsty terrorists.
And it turns out that in their infinite wisdom, the Israeli government decided to continue to cater to the impatient, “want to know the results right NOW!!!” segment of the electorate in future elections. Having learned from the experience of other countries, a system based upon near-field RFID tags was chosen for development and deployment.
In the photo, you can see a fenced park. The park had to be fenced in order to ensure that everyone who enters it gets searched for explosives, as a measure against entry of suicide bombers.
Rachel Corrie gave her life in an attempt to prevent the destruction of homes of Palestinian terrorists in Gaza Strip. As you can see from the photo, one can say that she won the effort to force Israelis to forsake open parks if they want to defend themselves against suicide bombers.
In today’s world, no act of legitimate self-defense or good deed by Israel goes unpunished. The story of the woman from Gaza, who tried to smuggle a bomb in her person when entering Israel for medical treatment, is known. Israel is accused of committing war crimes during the Cast Iron operation, nevermind the years of war crimes committed by the other side – the Palestinians in Gaza especially after the Israeli pull out from the Gaza Strip at 2005.
The most recent twist is the accusations that Israel utilizes the medical aid to Haiti as a pretext to steal organs for transplanting.
The best response to this accusation and others related to Israeli aid to Haiti, which I saw so far, is in http://www.rantrave.com/Rave/Israeli-Aid-to-Haiti.aspx. The writer challenges the accusers to compete with Israel and overshadow its aid efforts by efforts of their own.
Whenever you feed people, who could not feed themselves, please do not only shed tears on their bad fortunes. Please do not stop at providing them with a meal.
Please ask them about the circumstances, which prevented them from being self-sufficient.
Then do something to ameliorate those circumstances. Sometimes you can do a lot for the price of a single meal for a group of people.
I suspect that several responses will go along the following lines.
People past retirement age – why couldn’t they save in their retirement funds? Probably they saved and lost the money to crooks or bad investments.
People with disabilities – what inaccessible places and circumstances prevented them from exercising their full earning potential?
Unemployed – probably need vocational training to train for an occupation with higher demand. The expense consists of both tuition, free time for study, and stipend to live on while studying.
Some people will turn out to be lazy bums with feeble excuses – they should NOT be fed.
If you have a lot of money to donate, usually the best way to use it to help those non self-supporting people – is to make it easier for them to train for a better paying occupation.