It’s probably the most undiplomatic word. It’s negative. It’s absolute. It’s unmistakable. It’s simple.
And, sometimes, it’s so necessary. Both to say and to hear.
Whenever there is a dispute, there is a push for the matter to be settled diplomatically, by talking, by compromising, by finding a mutually acceptable agreement. The idea is that if both sides make concessions, both will end up with less than they want, but enough that they can live with.
It’s a fine, noble sentiment. But it is based upon the assumption that both sides are reasonable. That is sadly not the case. Especially in matters larger than a few individuals.
Here’s an example:
“Bobby, Joey, you two have been angry with each other for a long time. Too long. It’s time you two talk things out and find a compromise you can each accept. Let’s start with you, Bobby. What do you want?”
“I want to kill Joey.”
“That was very brave and very honest of you, Bobby. Good for you. Now, Joey, what do you want?”
“I want to not be killed.”
“You’re very brave and honest, too, Joey. See how much you two have in common? Now, let’s find a compromise so that you both get a little of what you want. Joey, how about if Bobby just beats you up for a while?”
That’s the middle ground argument, carried to its extreme. Bobby gets to beat the crap out of Joey, just not kill him. The deal for Joey gets even worse if Bobby decides that while Joey is still woozy from the beating, he might as well kill him.
If that seems a little parallel to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it was deliberate. For example, witness the ongoing-for-years rocket bombardment of Sderot, in Israel. As long as no one gets killed or too badly hurt, the world really doesn’t think that the attacks are that big a deal. And if someone does get killed, Israel hits back and gets slammed for its “disproportionate response.”
The problem with working out a compromise is that the fundamental demand of the Palestinians is simply not acceptable to the Israelis. They want all the land. Preferably, with all Jews dead so they can’t come back and try to reclaim it.
Don’t believe me? Hamas, in its very charter, proclaims that as its goal in Article 13:
Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight. “Allah will be prominent, but most people do not know.”
Now and then the call goes out for the convening of an international conference to look for ways of solving the (Palestinian) question. Some accept, others reject the idea, for this or other reason, with one stipulation or more for consent to convening the conference and participating in it. Knowing the parties constituting the conference, their past and present attitudes towards Moslem problems, the Islamic Resistance Movement does not consider these conferences capable of realising the demands, restoring the rights or doing justice to the oppressed. These conferences are only ways of setting the infidels in the land of the Moslems as arbitraters. When did the infidels do justice to the believers?
“But the Jews will not be pleased with thee, neither the Christians, until thou follow their religion; say, The direction of Allah is the true direction. And verily if thou follow their desires, after the knowledge which hath been given thee, thou shalt find no patron or protector against Allah.” (The Cow – verse 120).
There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with. As in said in the honourable Hadith:
“The people of Syria are Allah’s lash in His land. He wreaks His vengeance through them against whomsoever He wishes among His slaves It is unthinkable that those who are double-faced among them should prosper over the faithful. They will certainly die out of grief and desperation.”
Remember, Hamas is the duly-elected governing body of the Palestinians, and enjoys tremendous popular support. To extend the stated principles of Hamas to a majority of Palestinians is simply recognizing the validity of the voting.
The Palestinians want all of Israel. Israel offered nearly all of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, along with lots of other concessions, to Yassir Arafat when he was the Prime Minister. Instead, he walked out and started the Intifada.
The Palestinians say “we want this, we want that, we want the other thing.” And the world says “well, will you settle for this? How about this and that?”
The world needs to say “No.”
Actually, the world needs to say nothing and let Israel say “No.”
Let the Palestinians make their outrageous demands. Israel can stand there and say “No.” Then, when the Palestinians resort to yet more terrorism and attacks, the Israelis can retaliate, then say “the answer is still no.”
Sooner or later, the Palestinians have to stop embracing their victimhood and grow up. They have been kept a perpetual underclass for generations, made paupers and mendicants and savages so their Arab “brothers” can continue to use them as excuses for their continual hostility towards Israel. And the UN hasn’t helped in the least — the Palestinians are the only people on earth with a dedicated UN body of their own committed to keeping them as refugees and pariahs. OF COURSE the UN bureaucrats aren’t going to help the Palestinians stand on their own — those bureaucrats know full well the meaning of “don’t kill the job!”
They are not getting Israel “back.” It’s simply not gonna happen. No matter how many suicide bombers they send, how many rockets and mortar shells they fire, no matter how many other acts of violence and terror they inflict — the Israelis ain’t going nowhere. They’ve been chased out of every other corner of the earth (including Arab nations — roughly the same number of Jews fled from Arab nations to Israel as Palestinians fled in the other direction, but you don’t hear them whining about reparations or the right to return or anything), but now they’re back in their homeland, where they got their start a couple of thousand years ago, and they’re there to stay.
(I once read a rather profound observation: the reason Israel has won all its wars with its Arab neighbors is because it has to. If the Arabs lose, they go home and get ready for the next war. If the Israelis lose, they’re all dead.)
Another example would be in the area of American race relations. There’s a movement among black Americans to demand reparations for slavery and oppression.
Here’s my answer: No.
The government, essentially, has no money beyond what it takes from citizens. Therefore, any reparations paid out will come out of the pockets of Americans — like me.
I’ve never owned a slave. Neither did my parents. I’ve never benefited from slavery or oppression. I’ve never been a member of the Ku Klux Klan or any other racist group. I’ve personally denounced and opposed bigots and racists. Hell, back in 1992 a group of Pat Buchanan supporters threatened to throw me through a plate glass window when I pointed out some very unflattering things about their guy.
But reparations, to me, means “we’re going to take money from you because you look like the people who did bad things a long time ago, and give it to those who look like those who suffered those bad things.”
A thousand times No.
I will not compromise on this. Because here, a compromise would involve “OK, we’ll only take a little money,” and I find the idea so odious that I reject even a single red cent.
As I said, there are some things that are so odious that one simply cannot find a compromising position. Further, there are some principles that are so important, that they cannot be diluted or weakened.
And the sooner the parties involved recognize that, the sooner they can move on to finding a true, final, and tolerable solution.