The vexed state of Israel. Limited Inc has not commented on Israel -- or if we have, we've forgotten it. The suicide bomber attacks yesterday have elicted a pro-Israeli response in the press that was as predictible as Pavlov's pups salivating to Pavlov's bell. Here's the WP's Howard Kurz:
"By the president�s logic, we should be going after the fanatics tolerated by Yasser Arafat too.
After all, what they have been doing in Israel -- prompting the dramatic retaliation this morning by Ariel Sharon�s government, which fired helicopter missiles near Arafat�s headquarters -- is little different from what Osama�s henchmen did in New York and Washington."
Actually, by the President's logic we should be going after the fanatics who cross from Pakistan to India to blow up things, but the press is much too polite to point this out.
The intractible, never ending story here is that Israel is not like the US. Here's an item that Kurz did not find worthy of comment that happened during the holidays:
"IDF forces laid the bomb that accidentally killed five Palestinian schoolboys in Khan Yunis on Thursday, the army announced last night.
The IDF had remained silent over the cause of Thursday's deadly explosion except to say no tank had fired a shell in that sector. OC Gaza Strip Brig.-Gen. Yisrael Ziv is participating in the inquiry, but he himself may have been behind the decision to lay the bomb."
The easy condemnation of the suicide bombers, which quickly becomes condemnation of Yasser Arafat, simply ignores Palestinian death tolls that aren't in the hundreds.However, Palestinians can't ignore them. Escalation is a strategy embraced by such as Yisrael Ziv, and Sharon himself, who owes the presidency to it.
Well, the reader might say, isn't this merely the tit for tat death toll politics Limited Inc has already condemned? Is this really the best Limited Inc can do about the meatchurning deaths of 25 innocents in the cafes and shops of Jerusalem and Haifi?
Well -- no. We can't rise to this ocassion. We can't neatly fold the moral horror -- the human horror -- into the politics. The Kurzes of the world have the advantage of selective indignation and the tv images to back it up. We do think that the pressure on Arafat is pointless if there is no pressure on the IDF. And we think that pressure is not going to come unless the Palestinians challenge the system -- not by strapping bombs to cars, but by taking those five Palestinian murders seriously. Arafat's failure is not that he tolerates Hamas, but that he doesn't seem to know how to respond to the IDF. And the breakdown which begins with the collapse of an independent judiciary able to curb the military in Israel soon spreads to the Israeli method of retaliating -- sending missiles blindly into Gaza, to the applause of American pundits. They are applauding madness. Limited Inc fails to get on the team, this morning. Sorry guys. We refuse to credit madness with reason.