Have you noticed they've quit arguing about some things?
About whether or not mainstream media is biased against the right?
About whether or not the fighting in Iraq is winding down signalling long-awaited good news for America?
Now we're just one step away from a breakthrough understanding that will help the American administration avoid yet another one of those pre-doomed Oslo, Camp David, Wye River and upcoming Annapolis "mideast peace summits" that repeatedly make America look like a boy scout feverishly helping old ladies across the street who don't want to go.
This conflict is different.
Germany and France had three wars between the late 19th and mid-20th centuries. Neither the French nor the Germans wanted everybody on the other side dead. Argentina and Chile had their conflicts. Again, neither side wished the obliteration of everybody else on the other side. Neither do the Indians and Pakistanis, the Tamils and the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka, the Serbs and the Albanians, the Russians and the Chechens and every other etcetera in the world. Except one!
Israel does not wish the extermination of all Arabs. Alas, however, the Arabs — even if they only admit it to each other — do indeed want the death of every single Jew and the shoving of the nation called "Israel" into the sea.
New York columnist Sidney Zion understood this first and kept expressing it best over the years. Sidney was asking right after President Carter's Camp David summit in the 1970s, "Can you really imagine Yassir Arafat being happy running the post office in Nablus?"
Sidney gets it. The so-called Palestinians want, not merely the "West Bank" and "part of Jerusalem" but the entire state of Israel with all Jews dead. Sorry. The more you know about this, the less you quibble. I say "so-called Palestinians" in honor of a great book entitled, "The Brigade" by Howard Blum. It's the widely untold story of the Jewish Brigade that gathered itself together in World War II and begged for the privilege of fighting with the British against the Nazis. The recruits were from the territory that is now Israel, which didn't come into existence until three years after the war. Guess what those Jewish soldiers called themselves; "Palestinians!" And why not? They were from a place called "Palestine."
The notion of Arab "Palestinians" was an invention of Israel's adversaries after the Six-Day War of 1967. It was to cast the Arab losers as victims who were neither Egyptian nor Jordanian, both of whom have plenty of "homeland." Prior to that war there was no confusion. The residents of Gaza were Egyptians and those who lived in the West Bank were Jordanians.
The Jews until 1948 were the Palestinians. And, by the way, if a Palestinian state is so ardently to be desired among the Arabs, why didn't Jordan and Egypt just wave an imaginary wand and declare one? That's all they would have had to do clear up until June 5, 1967, Day One of the Six-Day War?
Sometimes the most important compliments received are totally silent. Has anybody noticed how little anguish has been raised because Israel has nuclear weapons; many of them, and has had them for a very long time? There was much more anxiety about France getting the nuclear bomb in the early 1960s than Israel. France was called "irresponsible!" Why is there no international fear about the nuclear bomb in the hands of Israel? For the same reason there's so little fear of the solid cop with a revolver strapped around his waist.
The biggest change in the Middle East in the closing days of 2007 is something sports fans may understand as well or better than the political scientists. Israel has its mojo back!
How many gallons of ink have been invested wondering whether or not a once-great quarterback will ever again throw the same laser-precision touchdown strikes he did before his slump? Or whether a once-great pitcher repeatedly knocked out of the box will ever regain his control?
Not all quarterbacks and pitchers answer affirmatively on the playing field. Israel has!
If we're to believe the unofficial, widely-believed, widely-leaked and widely-managed reports of what happened in northern Syria on Sept. 6, 2007, then Israel is right back in its almost supernaturally winning groove.
That groove includes, but is not limited to, the defeat of five Arab armies that ganged up to abort the tiny Jewish state as a new-born in 1948, the 1967 simultaneous destruction of five Arab air forces on the ground, turning Saddam Hussein's nuclear plant in Osirak into a smoking crater and taking the Entebbe Airport in Kampala, Uganda on July 4, 1976, liberating all the hostages and returning to Israel with but one single casualty, the older brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, later prime minister of Israel.
Entebbe was a solid. We knew all about it before nightfall on July 4, 1976. Whatever happened on Sept. 6 of 2007 in northern Syria is somewhere between a gas and a liquid. At first Syria denied anything and everything. Be reminded! Never believe anything about the Middle East until it's officially denied.
We piece together that Israeli intelligence learned that North Korea was "outsourcing" part of its nuclear program to Syria and conducting nuclear manufacture on Syrian territory. Israel wanted American approval before going in and bombing the plant. America said, "We want more proof." Whereupon Israel provided that proof. Some stories tell us Israel got the proof by satellite photography. Other accounts claim Israeli commandoes actually entered the Syrian-North Korean installation and made off with the hard evidence! In either case, Israeli intelligence; once praised and later scorned is now once again taking bows to thunderous applause.
Israel then poked out the eyes and deafened the ears of a fabulously expensive air-defense system Syria had just purchased and installed from Russia.
Barbra Streisand got it wrong. The luckiest people are not "people who need people." The luckiest people are the ones who can entertain themselves for an entire evening just imagining the conversations going on after that high-tech knockout between Damascus and Moscow!
Israeli planes then went in and did to that plant in Syria what they'd done to Saddam Hussein's nuclear plant in 1981. Israel has a habit of concealing combat success. During the Six-Day War, Israel managed to keep the destruction of all its enemies' air forces and the successful blitz through Sinai totally secret for a whole day and a half. Likewise, this time Israel also initially said nothing.
Syria came out with three totally different stories in rapid succession. Syrian sources said nothing was hit, then an empty military installation was hit, then an empty warehouse was hit.
In the 1950s New York's famed Tammany Hall leader Carmine Desapio left a paper bag with $65 thousand dollars in cash in the back seat of a taxi. (Over a million in today's dollars!) The driver recognized one of his passengers as Desapio and tried to return the money. Desapio had no choice. He had to pretend the money wasn't his and it must have been left by an earlier passenger who apparently showed no interested in recovering it. Same thing here. Neither Syria nor North Korea could dare complain out loud that Israel had annihilated their collaborative nuclear installation.
In the summer of 2006, Israel's enemies sensed that the aura of Israeli super-competence had been shattered by Hezbollah's 34-day war against Israel in southern Lebanon. Israel's friends sensed the same thing. There was much hand-wringing among Jews worldwide.
Had valiant little Israel lost it? Had their brilliant military fortunes expired? Were the young Jews doing the fighting now somehow less dedicated than their fathers and older brothers who scored those earlier Israeli victories? Was the Zionist dream, cherished by Jews for two thousand years, doomed after just 59 years of fulfillment?
The international press was full of Hezbollah's promises to ramp up the fight again the following summer. With the following summer now ripened into deep fall, there's been no Hezbollah attack on Israel and zero media wonderment about "Where's Hezbollah?"
The world now speaks about Israeli military intelligence and competence in those comforting laudatory tones of old. The return of Israel's mojo is great news for freedom, America and, of course, Israel. It's terrible news for al-Qaida and the like. After all, this long after 9/11 America was supposed to be demoralized and Israel was supposed to have been expunged from the map.
Scriture tells us the mighty Samson lost his strength when Delilah tricked him out of his rich long hair.
In addition to learning how to turn the desert green, Israel has apparently learned to regrow hair in a hurry.
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