May 24, 2007


Israel's wasted victory: Six days of war followed by 40 years of misery. How can it ever end? (The Economist, May 24th 2007)

Part of the trouble was the completeness of the triumph. Its speed and scope led many Israelis to see a divine hand in their victory. This changed Israel itself, giving birth to an irredentist religious-nationalist movement intent on permanent colonisation of the occupied lands (see article). After six days Israel had conquered not just Sinai and the Syrian Golan Heights but also the old city of Jerusalem and the West Bank—the biblical Judea and Samaria where Judaism began. In theory, these lands might have been traded back for the peace the Arabs had withheld since Israel's founding. That is what the UN Security Council proposed in Resolution 242. But Israelis were intoxicated by victory and the Arabs paralysed by humiliation. The Arabs did not phone to sue for peace and Israel did not mind not hearing from them. Instead, it embarked on its hubristic folly of annexing the Arab half of Jerusalem and—in defiance of law, demography and common sense—planting Jewish settlements in all the occupied territories to secure a Greater Israel.

The six-day war changed the Palestinians too. They had been scattered by the fighting that accompanied Israel's founding in 1948. Some fled beyond Palestine; others became citizens of the Jewish state or lived under Egypt in Gaza and Jordan in the West Bank. The 1967 war reunited them under Israeli control and so sharpened their own thwarted hunger for statehood.

Democrats seem singularly unwilling to learn the lesson that while we excel at war we're dreaful at peace. Having won a war we ought to just leave posthaste.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 24, 2007 2:18 PM

Silly. Really inane. The article confesses its own vacuity in its closing paragraph.

Just say yes to victory. This issue is not one to be settled by speeches and majority votes.

Posted by: Lou Gots at May 24, 2007 5:24 PM

The point of all our wars is to allow the majority to vote.

Posted by: oj at May 24, 2007 7:00 PM