Grab That Cash With Both Hands and Make a Stash

Steven den Beste has retired from political blogging, but he wrote a very interesting post back in 2004. In Up Against The Wall, Steven points out the moment when US foreign policy shifts so far as our stance on the Palestinians.

President Bush gave a speech in June of 2002 where he pledged support for the formation of a sovereign Palestinian state, but only if they first renounced terrorism. One of the conditions for this was the dismantling of organizations that currently perform terrorist acts, and even organizations which conducted terrorism in the past. This obviously isnít going to happen as long as the Palestinians are eager to elect openly genocidal terrorist organizations to head their government.

Steven makes a lot of really interesting points in his post, and I urge you all to take a few minutes to read the whole thing. (Steven clarifies some of his points in this follow up post.) There is, however, one aspect to Stevenís original essay that I would like to focus on here.

Steven predicted a nasty civil war between various Palestinian factions as soon as the Israeli security barrier was completed. This would come to pass as support for the various Palestinian terrorist groups would dry up when they could no longer perform the one function for which they were created: attack Israeli targets.

Open civil war never broke out, even though there were some indications that the situation was getting ever more desperate. Money was very scarce, and it was obvious that things couldnít hold together forever.

Terrorists connected to Hamas dug a half mile long tunnel under the security barrier in order to carry out a nighttime raid on June 25. After killing two Israeli soldiers and capturing a third, the terrorists fled back across the border.

This prompted a massive reaction from the Israeli military, with high level Hamas leaders being deliberately targeted. This is why it would seem odd that gunmen from the Iran sponsored Hezbollah terrorist group would stage a copycat raid, capturing two Israeli soldiers of their own. If Hamas is getting plastered, why would Hezbollah want to attract a similar amount of attention?

The key word here is ďattentionĒ. The Hamas raid took a fair amount of planning and a great deal of work, since half mile long tunnels are not something you can dig out in a weekend. Killing two enemy soldiers and capturing a third is not worth the cost in and of itself, but such an act would reap dividends if it got the donations flowing again. Hezbollah probably decided to launch their own raid because they wanted some of that sweet, sweet murder money for themselves.

If viewed in this light, Israelís military response is a bad idea in the long run. Vigorously attacking your enemies will only convince supporters of terrorism to fork over the support that the Palestinians need to keep any pending civil war at bay. On the other hand, refusing to act might also have been seen as a sign that Israel is weak and on the ropes, which would have convinced the donors that they should keep funding Hamas anyway. Might as well show strength if that is the case.

It could very well be that Stevenís prediction of a Palestinian civil war can still come true. We will just have to wait and see.

I came across this post over at Murdoc Online while I was writing my own. He makes note of the fact that the expected condemnation of Israelís military operations has seemed tepid in the extreme, and the Israelis are even receiving some encouragement from the Anglosphere. Could this be part of a broader strategy to take care of the Iranian nuclear threat?

Iím not sure about that. While I have little trouble believing that the decision was made to take advantage of the situation, it looks to me like Murdoc is suggesting that an unlikely amount of scheming and deal making was done before the fact.

Go ahead and scroll down to the bottom of Murdoc’s post. He has a few links that might be of interest.

3 thoughts on “Grab That Cash With Both Hands and Make a Stash”

  1. James: Thanks for the link.

    While I believe that a bit of scheming would be required for my first crackpot theory (that the US has give Israel the green light to go after Hamas and Hezbollah), I don’t think any scheming would really be necessary for the Europeans to sit back, let Israel do (or at least start) the dirty work against Iran, and then denounce them after the threat is removed.

    In large part, that’s what happened during the Cold War. A fair amount of protest to US troops and nukes, but not enough to stop us because they knew we were protecting them. Then, after the fall of the Soviet empire, not only lack of appreciation but they practically deny that the threat was ever really that great.

    All that being said, it’s just an idea I tossed out there. I’d like to think we’re being visionary and pulling strings like that, but I don’t know.

  2. Murdoc, you make the Europeans sound so… French. The Germans do so love the French though, and keep trying to join them up in national matrimony.

  3. That speech of Bush’s was clearly & self-consciously set in the tradition of Winthrop’s “On Christian Charity.” Of course, it was open in the way a Christian and perhaps not a Muslim would understand, but the verses were from Deuteronomy. This view of the life well-lived helped me to see, then, where and why Bush was headed. It made some of his later choices seem part of that coherent vision, not of the city on a hill but of a city on a hill.

    The great irony & tragedy of that speech, echoing Winthrop’s and going to the same Biblical verse was the conclusion of both:

    This moment is both an opportunity and a test for all parties in the Middle East: an opportunity to lay the foundations for future peace; a test to show who is serious about peace and who is not. The choice here is stark and simple. The Bible says, “I have set before you life and death; therefore, choose life.” The time has arrived for everyone in this conflict to choose peace, and hope, and life.

    Whatever the Puritans faults might be, they clearly chose life. The same does not always seem true of the Palestinians.

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