The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

That’s just sick, or “we haven’t had a good Israel-Palestine flamewar here yet… let’s hope I don’t start one”

July 16, 2008

I don’t post a great deal on Israel-Palestine issues. I basically want to see a peace deal that involves an equitable variant of the two-state solution and that empowers moderates on both sides. I don’t have much sympathy for those who want to paint the conflict in black-and-white terms, and I get sick of the way that advocates of one side or the other spotlight the various infractions of their opponents.

But f*ck it, this is just sick:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is currently visiting Malta, welcomed the prisoner exchange and sent his greetings to Kuntar upon his release from Israeli prison.

Abbas’s Fatah party organized a rally in Ramallah to celebrate the release of Kuntar and the return of the remains of Mughrabi. “This is an historic victory over Israeli arrogance,” said Ahmed Abdel Rahman, a top Fatah official and advisor to Abbas.

He described Kuntar as a “big struggler” and Mughrabi as a “martyr who led one of the greatest freedom fighters’ operations in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

He added that on this “important” day, Fatah “salutes Hizbullah and its leaders and fighters.”

Fahmi Za’arir, a Fatah spokesman in the West Bank, said his party was proud of all those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the Palestinian “revolution and people.” He
described the attack carried out by Mughrabi and Kuntar as heroic and legendary.

Kuntar was among those given a hero’s welcome by the Lebanese state.

To understand what’s wrong with this picture, read this and this–but only the latter if you can deal with the sadistic murder of a preschooler.

The Israeli government should never have agreed to this swap. No matter what the Jewish religion holds about the remains of its adherents, they’ve taken another step towards empowering Hezbollah and demonstrating that violence is the best way to extract concessions from them.

And yes, both sides have bloody hands concerning children. That’s not the point.

UPDATE: better posts, better commentary available at the usual suspects’.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.