Soccer Dad almost ruined my day by sending me this link this morning. But he also sent me a link to Carl in Jerusalem's response, which is right on the money. What more is there to say?
I guess, since Carl has covered the facts and fallacies, I just have a few questions. Why is it that the NY Times (in this case) assumes as a given fact that the palestinian Arabs are entitled, with absolutely no quid pro quo on their part, to a state at all, let alone a viable state? Let's leave aside that elephant in the living room that Carl has so clearly pointed out but that almost no one seems able to understand (i.e., that the palestinian Arabs don't actually have much interest in a state of their own -- they simply want to put an end to the State of Israel by any means necessary). Let's assume for the sake of argument that they actually do want a state because, I don't know, they have a separate "identity" and surely anyone with one of those requires a state of their own, even if there are already a couple dozen other states in the region that share their language, their culture, their religion and their ethnic origin. Let's pretend for a moment (because most of the world now does) that there's a reason for this heretofore non-existent state to be brought into existence.
On what basis does the NY Times begin from the premise that this state must be provided without the co-operation of its would-be citizens, without their willingness to enter into a meaningful dialogue with certain of its neighbors, without their agreement even to accept the existence of certain of its neighbors? On what basis is the starting point of the discussion the "right" to have that state be a convenient shape, with "contiguity" between its various territories and (though it's not stated explicitly in this editorial) completely free of Jews?
Let's review: Ehud Olmert, in his folly, has proclaimed that he is ready to do whatever it takes to bring Fatah and Hamas to the bargaining table so that he can bargain away more land for the same false promises that brought us Oslo. He's ready to go to the ends of the earth to secure palestinian Arab participation and cooperation in any future Israeli withdrawals, so long as Hamas will acknowledge Israel's right to exist (as did Arafat) and promise to try to think about reining in terrorism. But if and only if no one takes him up on that offer (and he still hasn't said how long he's prepared to wait), he's going to go ahead and withdraw anyway, to a place of his choosing, and draw Israel's borders there. And to this, the NY Times responds:
That's a recipe for disaster.
Well, I agree, of course, but hardly for the same reasons. The NY Times is aghast because Israel is actually proposing to leave established communities of "settlers" intact, one of them home to over 30,000 people. Israel is actually declining to uproot some 150,000 - 200,000 of its citizens who, in the years that the Arabs have been refusing to even acknowledge their right to live, have built roads and towns and schools and hospitals and synagogues, have planted trees and gardens, laid water and sewer pipes, run electric and phone lines, all those things that people who have an attachment to their land do and which have never been done in these places by anyone else other than Jews -- ever.
Imagine that! Never mind that this fall-back plan does involve uprooting some 50,000 - 100,000 Israelis who have done the exact same thing. For what? Not for the promise or even the suggestion of peace. Not for an end to the conflict and the possibility of safe and secure borders. Just in order to pull back and hunker down in the face of an implacable, insatiable enemy that, as it did in Gaza, will take what it can get, turn it into a wasteland and a war zone, and then come back for more. This, says the NY Times, is unfair -- not to the Israelis who will lose their homes, their communties and their livelihood, but to the Arab palestinians who will have a really tough time establishing a viable state within the land allotted them.
Go ahead. Take a look at that map of Manhattan. And envision the U.S. government removing all U.S. citizens from East Harlem, the Upper East Side and Battery Park City and turning those territories over to Al Qaida and the Taliban. I thank the NY Times for this image, because I think it's extremely useful. Envision that, and tell me about how unfair that would be, and to whom.
Update: Soccer Dad has collected several other commentaries on the NY Times editorial.