Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pots and Kettles

Woody Allen, the man who married his step-daughter, instructs the rest of us on the ontology of disgrace:

"It would be a disgrace and a humiliation if Barack Obama does not win," Allen avers. Well, I guess Allen should know about such things.

Then there was the ethically challenged Charlie Rangel calling Sarah Palin "disabled". Here's the report:

The question was simple: Why are the Democrats so afraid of Palin and her popularity?

The answer was astonishing.

"You got to be kind to the disabled," Rangel said.

That's right. The chairman of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee called Palin disabled -- even when CBS 2 HD called him on it.

CBS 2 HD: "You got to be kind to the disabled?"

Rangel: "Yes."

CBS 2 HD: "She's disabled?"

Rangel: "There's no question about it politically.

Charles Rangel, chairman of the committee charged with writing our tax laws, is being investigated for not paying taxes he claims he didn't know he had to pay. I don't know what kind of disability he thinks Palin has - such an odd word to use in the context. Was it an oblique reference to Palin's youngest child? - but people who write the laws about taxes and don't know what those laws are certainly shouldn't be calling others disabled.


Meanwhile, in Palestine

Strategy Page gives us an update on what's happening in the West Bank and Gaza:

Israel has refused to free 1,500 Palestinians from jail, in return for the release of an Israeli soldier held (for two years) by Hamas. Israel has offered to release 450 Palestinians (mostly low level offenders, not the killers and terrorist leaders Hamas wants). Thus negotiations with Hamas are deadlocked.

Meanwhile, the Israelis have been warning their citizens to beware when visiting nations with large Moslem populations, because Hezbollah has begun a large scale effort to kill or kidnap Israelis overseas, this being the easiest way to strike at Israel (at least according to Hezbollah thinking.)

Hamas is in a downward spiral. Opinion polls show that Hamas would receive only 29 percent of the vote if elections were held today, versus 43 percent for Fatah. The problem is that the economic problems in Gaza (largely the result of Hamas insisting that its main goal is the destruction of Israel) have changed attitudes towards Hamas (but not towards Israel, which most Palestinians still want destroyed, or at least hurt in a big way.) The hatred of Israel by Palestinians appears to be implacable, and unlikely to change any time soon.

There is growing armed opposition to Hamas in Gaza, largely from al Qaeda affiliated groups. But this opposition is not strong enough to really threaten Hamas control. The Hamas reaction to its problems has been to build a police state in Gaza. This is not popular, but Hamas has sufficient support (at least a third of the 1.5 million population) to make it work.

Egypt is concerned that Hamas will provide a base for Islamic terrorists, and their attacks into Egypt. A solution being talked up in Egypt is the takeover and annexation of Gaza. Israel would have to agree to this, and is apparently giving serious consideration to the idea. That has resurrected the old proposal that the West Bank be given back to Jordan (which used to control it, but gave up its claims after the Palestinians decided they were a separate people four decades ago). Jordan already has many Palestinians, who comprise over half their population. Jordan has never been keen on acquiring more Palestinian citizens (the royal family that rules Jordan is Bedouin, and relies on the Bedouin minority to stay in power.)

Meanwhile, Israel has made it very difficult for Palestinians to travel between the West Bank and Gaza. Israeli counter-terror operations in the West Bank are as active as ever, keeping the terrorists neutralized (as they have been for several years).

Israel has supplied Fatah with several thousand assault rifles and pistols, as well as vehicles (armored and unarmored.) Israel has also released about a thousand West Bank residents from jail. Most of these were being held for low level offenses, but the gesture has made Fatah more popular.

The question the Palestinian people must face is, to paraphrase Golda Meir, whether they hate the Israelis more than they love their own children. The only way their children have a future is through peaceful rapprochement with Israel. Endless war will only keep the Palestinians poor and miserable, but that's all that Hamas offers them.