“Its too early to tell”

By Ted Belman

The New York Times has just published an Op-Ed, Forced to Get Along by Mark Helpren.

[..] After Anwar Sadat’s spectacular trip to Jerusalem in November 1977, the press, mistaking cynicism for wisdom, was skeptical [Love that sentence]. After all, in the first 25 years of its existence, Israel had had to fight Egypt four times. But the past was no guide to the future, for in the last 30 years the peace of Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat has been unbroken.

Yet, at the time, few people were able to see the way ahead even as it was clearly illuminated by the facts. Educated opinion was attentive to the vicissitudes of negotiation rather than to the structural imperatives that would eventually prevail. Nearly bankrupt, its population swelling, recently divorced from the Soviet Union, irrelevant to the third world and having reclaimed its honor by partial success in the 1973 war, Egypt was predictable. So were its rivals: a front of radical Arab states and the Palestinians.

By analogy he suggests that the time is right for Olmert and Abbas to cut a deal.

For him, every disaster has a silver lining.

As America blunts its sword in Iraq, it has relieved Iran of much anxiety in regard to its own vulnerabilities, set up a predominantly Shiite government in Baghdad, and made the Arab world more receptive to Iranian views.

He even argues that Hezbollah and Hamas have overplayed their hand.

Contrary to the received wisdom, last summer Hezbollah overplayed its hand. Israel emerged shaken but with few casualties and an economy that actually grew during the hostilities. It took 4,000 of the vaunted Katyusha rockets to kill 39 Israelis, they did little material damage, and not one has been launched in the year since the war. Israel showed that upon provocation it could and would destroy anything in its path, thus creating a Lebanese awakening that has split the country and kept Hezbollah fully occupied. Though Hezbollah is rearming, it remains shy of Israel.

Hamas, too, has overplayed its hand, which has provided the opening from which a Palestinian-Israeli peace may emerge. For the first time since 1948, a fundamental division among the Palestinians presents a condition in which the less absolutist view may find shelter and take hold.

And then makes a silk purse out of Mahmoud Abbas.

In his view, it is the Palestinians who are beleaguered and under the gun and not the Israelis who see hostile forces gathered around them who are arming for war.

What I liked best is his support for my theory that the US ordered Abbas to take a dive in Gaza. and here and here.

In economically besieged Gaza, Hamas is corralled by Israel, Egypt and the sea, its apparent strength exaggerated by Mr. Abbas’s decision not to fight on this battlefield but rather to profit by its loss, much as did King Hussein in regard to the West Bank in 1967.

He manages to put a positive spin on all negative forces or events or to ignore them and comes up with the conclusion

This is extraordinary and it is where we are now: on the verge of a rare alignment of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the leading Arab nations and the major powers.

It is clear to me that the MSM including the NYT is doing their level best to back the Saudi Plan. They are choosing illusion over reality, capitulation over victory.

If only they shared the skepticism of Chairman Mao who said when asked about the effects of French Revolution, “Its too early to tell.” The same goes for the peace agreement with Egypt.

July 19, 2007 | 3 Comments »

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3 Comments / 3 Comments

  1. Strange coincidence. I just sent this letter to Helprin:

    Re: “Forced to Get Along” (Should read: The Best of All Possible Worlds)

    Dear Mr. Helprin:

    WHEN considering President Bush’s new plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians…

    Since you start with a hat tip to Bush, the censors at the Times would never have let your piece see the light of day if it did not serve a higher purpose: marching Israel over the brink.

    Anwar Sadat’s spectacular trip to Jerusalem…

    Wipe that tear from your eye, Mark. It was motivated by Israel’s destruction of his army, its capture of the Sinai, and an IDF position 60 miles from Cairo, not the softening of his heart. From Ramses to Mubarak, no Egyptian leader could ever allow Arab history to record he lost anything to the Jews. Ergo, a “peace” Bush toadies and Bush bashers leverage as a precedent even while Egypt supplies weapons to Hamas in Gaza for use against Israel.

    Israel emerged shaken but with few casualties and an economy that actually grew during the hostilities.

    Are you planning to move to Kiryat Shemona, Karmiel, or for that matter Sderot or Ashkelon, any time soon? Hurry. Right now, it’s a buyer’s market. With “such a victory” – set in motion by Sharon’s brilliant strategic withdrawal from Gaza – large swaths of “Israel proper” have in effect become severed from the country, no man’s lands Israelis no longer feel safe to inhabit. Voila! Tiny Israel tinier than ever. With such a victory, and one or two more like it, defeat is unnecessary – and the Arabs know it.

    Oh, still on the subject of victory. Our two nations are so much alike that it sends chills up your spine. The U.S. too has had only a few casualties in Iraq – just 3618, and counting, – yet the Dow hit another record high today. Wow!

    Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader and Palestinian president, is weak in many ways, but he has decisively isolated the radicals.

    I never knew Claremont had a fellowship in comedy and produced court jesters. Abbas “decisively isolated the radicals” the way Dunkirk decisively isolated the Nazis on the European continent. Granted, an imperfect analogy. Churchill denied the Hun the French fleet, but before Abbas fled, he was good enough to transfer his US-supplied arsenal, and related intelligence, to Hamas without a fight.

    … the chief pillars of rejectionist policy lie flat…

    Witnessing America on the verge of being ejected from Arab soil, Israel forced to defend on three fronts, and both unwilling and/or unable to confront the Persians, the chief pillars of rejectionist policy lie in wait, biding their time reading the Times, confident both are on their side.

  2. I happen to agree with the not often perceived fact on the status and condition of Egypt before Camp David Accords. This is why it to me seems incomprehensible why Begin agreed to give up All of Sinai and the first ever Israeli Retreat? Why he agreed to dismantel permanent jewish towns and farms and set a precedent for the future? Apparently we had all the strong Bargaining chips and American backing to boot.(American People and congress and NOT Carter and the State Dept.).

    From 67-82 Israel had invested Billions of dollars on infrastructure and many military bases in the Sinai. I emphasize that we had already invested to bulk of what we needed before Camp David. But we controlled all the oil discoverd in Sinai and the off shore which at that time provided over 60% of our needs and this without further exploration or development of existing fields. We did discover the Ah Tur fields but did not develop them near their potential. Sinai already had enough proven natural gas reserves to supply Israeli Industry for a hundred years and this without further exploration.

    Israeli exploitation of Sinai existing oil and gas resources saved the Israeli Government between 67 and 82 many billions in scarce foreign currency and one could make a case that the free energy we took from Sinai more than offset the costs of maintaining Sinai by the Israeli Government. I must emphasize that these figures do not take into consideration expansion of existing gas and oil fields then and not taking into consideration the true potential of Sinai and off shore potential. ( A Canadian Oil Engineer related to me that the potential of oil in the Sinai and off shore was equal to Iran).

    Sinai is rich in many important and mineral commodities but need further exploration and development.

    Israeli Hydrologists at that time found a deep underground Lake of clean water that they determined would serve at least a million people and agriculture unlimited.

    Tourism potential: Nowhere in the world can one find more beautiful pure clean sea (coral) and white fine sandy beaches.

    Security buffer is obvious and Israel had unlimited territory for land and air, training of IDF Today the IAF trains in Turkey and Kurdistan as we dont have enough land territory for them.

    What did we get? About three billion a year which for most of that period. America has deducted principle and Interest for Phantoms we purchased as the Proud but stupid Begin refused to accept as a grant and insisted Israel pay for them ;so we did and so we still are. This is the Same idiot traitorous Begin who gave away our economic independence, political independence, set precedents for other territorial withdrawals, set the precedents for settlement evacuations in the future, and armed our primary potential adversary Egypt with the same and in some cases even more advanced American Weapons and advanced Systems, as we get from America.

    A question by NYT writer if he were objective would be Since we have peace with Israel, why would Egypt whose per capita income is less than 500 dollars a year need 6-9 billions of dollars in weapons ea. year since Camp David? Who are their Enemies that they should spend so much at the expense of civilian economy? The obvious answer is Israel; and extended logic would also dictate the presumption that they have been methodically preparing for the next round and dont expect to be defeated again.

    What did Israel get from all this? A flag flying in Cairo when the Egyptians allow it to fly, and a few diplomatic jobs! I cant see any more !

    Name one other country in the world that would give up what Israel did for a Flag?

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