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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Of Arabs and Israelis…

    When Ariel Sharon announced his split from the right-wing, pro-settler Likud party in the late part of last year, I cheered. When he announced an ambitious unilateral peace plan, I was reminded of President Nixon opening the doors to China, the first President Bush’s tax hikes, and President Clinton eliminating Welfare. It was a giant leap forward for peace ‘- only a politician with a military background, who championed for settlers’ rights in decades past, could successfully navigate a withdrawal from Gaza and soon, the West Bank. This is in the same style as Nixon, a rabid anti-Communist, opening trade with China. Many people who were against the Israeli withdrawals are using the recent Lebanese and Palestinian aggression as signs that they were right and that ceding land is only bad for security. I say that the recent wave of violence is a natural part of the political process, one that will eventually subside and may even be necessary for the region to heal.

    While this sounds like an outlandish comment, let’s look at history, briefly. Hezbollah was founded in the early 1980s as a resistance movement, in opposition to Israel’s occupation of Southern Lebanon. Their said reason for existing is to protect the sovereignty of Lebanon. Other Palestinian groups are also said to attack Israel for its occupation and settlements in occupied lands. What better way to engage them in peace by taking away their public reason for resistance?

    Once Israel left Lebanon, Hezbollah continued to exist. Once Israel left Gaza, the violence continued. Israel has done its part and now has the moral high ground with which to wage war. I can remember in the months preceding the Gaza withdrawal, thinking how sharp Sharon was at the time. Once they leave, I thought, the troublemakers in Gaza would be bombed into submission each time they threaten Israelis ‘- within weeks, I was proven correct. Rockets were launched out of the Gaza Strip following the withdrawal. Without any settlers or Israeli interests in the Strip, Israel responded with force, until they had temporarily halted the Palestinian warmaking machine in Gaza. The same thing is happening in Lebanon, although it is difficult to tell.

    Without any troops, settlers, or interests in Lebanon, Israel is free to target and destroy Lebanon’s warmaking apparati. It is clear that we fault the Lebanese state for Hezbollah’s attacks, as Hezbollah holds prominent government positions and is considered a state-sponsored group by many Lebanese who pledge their allegiance to it. The Lebanese, by crossing the border and violating Israel’s sovereignty, have crippled their own nation. After a decade and a half of rebuilding, after both the Syrians and the Israelis left their country, they started a war, and they were not prepared for the consequences. Many lives have been lost, airports have been destroyed, and the power and water grids are in disarray. The Lebanese cannot blame the Israeli occupiers, since there were none to begin with. Hezbollah cannot legitimately call itself a resistance movement since there is no foe to resist. They can only blame themselves for provoking war and now must deal with the realities of this war.

    The International Community, should one even exist, is against Israel. Kofi Annan blamed Israel for deliberately bombing a UN building. It came out nearly 18 hours later that rockets were being fired from the same UN building, and Annan apologized for his remarks. France and Germany are against what they call ‘Israeli aggression.’ The British and the Americans are supporting Israel, citing the fact that their fight against terrorism is really our own. This is hardly surprising and speaks to the fact that little has changed in 70 years ‘- the Anglo-American alliance running interference from the Jews, allowing them to lead lives without fear, while the French and the Germans blame them for the ills of the world. The only difference now is that Europe cannot marginalize the Jewish population from thousands of miles away, especially a Jewish population that has an ample supply of guns and atomic weapons (to this date, Germany does not possess any nuclear weapons, one of the few things that the US and Russia could agree on during the Cold War).

    But none of this matters. The Israelis are receiving their cues from Washington, and the instructions are clear: keep up the fight in Lebanon until they are weak enough to be pacified by an international force. There is no Israeli occupation of Lebanon, as there is no longer an occupation of Gaza. When there is aggression stemming from these places, it is now seen as unprovoked by those with discerning eyes. This makes it much easier for the International Community to authorize peacekeeping forces in these regions, dealing directly with the local governments, calling upon them to cease their hostilities towards Israel.

    International politics is a dance, and the Israelis have finally learned to tango. They gave into the demands of the ‘oppressed,’ and are proving to the world that the concerns of terrorists are illegitimate. These people now have their lands, complete with the power to control their own destinies, and when the opportunity arises, will still pick fights with Israel. The entire world can see it, and it is a little harder now to talk about the plight of the people in Gaza when it is becoming apparent that their plight is their own doing.

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