There's reason why I seem unconvinced that there is a purely diplomatic solution to the war on terror. I've been watching relations between Israel and every other country in the Arab world, off and on, for almost a half-century.
At first, I had some sympathy for the Palestinians. For some reason, they couldn't move to other nations in the region, and seemed to be forced to live in restricted areas in and around Israel.
Then I noticed a difference between how the two groups acted in warfare.
The Israeli military killed Palestinian civilians: because Palestinian military leaders, sniper positions, and rocket launchers were placed among or behind civilians.
Heroic Palestinians launched attacks on strategic buses and shopping malls, and destroyed tactical restaurants, hotels, a disco and a pizzeria. In one daring attack, two teenage boys were beaten, stoned, dismembered, and tucked away in a cave.
And that's just highlights of victories over the Israeli oppressors, since the Oslo Accords, signed September 13, 1993.
The defenders of Palestine forced the Israeli occupiers (as they've been described) out of the Gaza Strip two years ago. My understanding was that there was an agreement that Palestinians there would stop firing rockets at Israelis.
To their credit, the Palestinians didn't kill Israelis in rocket attacks as often for quite a while. Then, recently, they stepped up the bombardment of Israel. Israel declared the Gaza Strip an "enemy entity."
Predictably, Hamas criticized the Jews. "This Israeli step is a clear indication of military escalation against Gaza," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.
There's a lesson here.
Many people in the Middle East are upstanding citizens, interested in their families and livelihood, and willing to be sensible.
On the other hand, quite a few people and organizations there have worked long and hard to establish a reputation for bloodshed and destruction, and for treating cease-fires, truces, and peace agreements as opportunities to re-group and re-arm.
With a track record like that, it's hard to put a great deal of confidence in
- Iran's assurances over their nuclear program
- Syria's assurance that they don't have a nuclear program
- The International Atomic Energy Agency's ability to inspect and negotiate the truth out of the mess