View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Friday, December 19, 2003

So Much for the Big Fist Theory

When Israelis reacted to Arafat's declaration of war by electing Ariel Sharon, Leon Wieseltier famously called Sharon "nothing but a big fist," while still defending the Israelis' choice of him to lead them through this time. Now, by declaring his intention to take the first steps to imposing a unilateral settlement, Sharon has shown a subtlety denied of him by his critics.

Sharon can't afford to offend the US, of course, so he needs to cloak these moves in the guise of "implementing the road map," and denying that the fence will be the permanent border. There probably will be adjustments. But the inexorable logic of the fence is that Israel can't spend time or lives defending those Jews on the other side. Deacon at Powerline considers this "something for nothing." Sharon's too good for that. The implied threat is that everything behind the fence is defensible, and if you don't cooperate, we'll just hold onto it, forever if need be. Any honest appriasal would, by those criteria, make the fence the permanent border. After all, it does seem to be working, which it why the Islamofascists are screaming so loudly about it.

The other thing this does is relieve Israel of the burden of providing security to the Palestinian population centers. So far, the PA has refused to confront Hamas and Islamic Jihad, instead allowing them to do their fighting, while ceding more and more popular support to them. Either the pathological society that the Palestinians have become rights itself, or it devours itself. But Israel can't determine that, and with the fence, it can finally, relatively safely, get mostly out of the way.

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