Saturday, April 13

Two Views of the Israeli-Palestinian War

Mark Steyn's trenchant piece in the Telegraph and Bill Buckley's more detached wisdom make for an interesting contrast, but I think that they complement more than they contradict each other. Mr. Steyn's instincts are right on target and his argument crackles with wit and emotion while Mr. Buckley raises some timely questions. The latter may be opening himself to accusations of moral equivocation, but I do not think too much should be read into the concerns he voices. I prefer to read his piece as broadening and tempering the pro-Israel position without ever dreaming of abandoning it. Just because Israel's grievances against Arafat and all Palestinian terror-mongerers are justified does not in turn justify any and every retributive act Israel takes. There is a difference between rooting out terrorism and declaring war on all Palestinians. The former is justified even if it necessarily results in some civilian deaths, the latter is not. To a significant degree, the Palestinian authority is responsible for Israel's blurring of the line between legitimate terrorist targets and civilian targets by indiscriminately encouraging homicide bombings by youths, whether they are already part of an organized terrorist group or not. But if Israel is to maintain the moral high road it must not only make this distinction in its military operation it must show the world that it is making this distinction. That is what I take Mr. Buckley to be saying.

As for my position on the Middle Eastern Problem and my preferred solutions? Stay tuned.