Local – Global Perspective; an afternoon lecture and discussion in Helsinki, with Member of the Knesset Avshalom (Abu) Vilan, co-founder of Israel’s first active peace movement, Peace
Now Never (IMHO). I have to first start by saying that I greatly respect Avshalom Vilan, he is an Israeli patriot, an army war veteran twice over, the son of a real war hero (during the Israeli war of independence), and his two sons now serve in the IDF.
I was certain that the “invitation only” event promised to be interesting evening, not only because one of the more “well known” Israeli peace activists was speaking, but that I couldn’t wait to hear all the different questions asked as well as asking one of my own, from “Abu” Vilan. I wasn’t disappointed. Avshalom Vilan spoke for over 45 minutes, and did so with amazing passion, but in spite of the passion (while he did have some good points), he couldn’t cover many of the gaping holes in most of his logic.
Example of some of the first points raised:
-The cease fire was a good thing.
-A 34 day war was a mistake.
-International community must do its part.
-Europe now must show its seriousness to be a positive player in the region.
-First time Nasrahallh has admitted his mistake.
-Against any more unilateral moves (disengagement), gives rise to fundamentalism.
-Negotiations are the only way forward.
Right away I can see that most of the above logic is detached from reality, with only Nasrallah’s admission being the exception. How can a cease fire be a “good thing”, if the end result is a Hezbollah (though much weaker) still entrenched into south Lebanon. We now have to wait months for a Unifil contingent to be “fully operational” (Finland has already reduced its contribution from 250 to 200-, set to deploy later this year) while the national army nervously winks to Hezbollah’s silent inflitration back into areas once vacated.
A 34 day war reflects a weakened battle plan against a highly entrenched fanatical foe, it took more than a month to dislodge the Japanese from Iwo Jima, that ended with over 7000 Americans being killed on that tiny island in the Pacific. Lets be a bit more reasonable here. As far as the IC is concerned, Israel has serious doubts whether the Unifil forces can “get it right” this time around. That Unifil forces “tattled” on Israeli positions during the war, does nothing to build Israeli confidence in UN impartiality. Yes Europe must show its seriousness this time around, but how realistic is that? How soon before Unifil becomes once again the top destination for reserve/retired army brass? How long before the flags of Hezbollah can be seen flying alongside the UN flag?
As for Islamist fundamentalism, these racist Islamist bigots need no excuse to exact Israeli blood, their mere existence is reason enough, all else is just excuses for the international community and its media. Negotiations are the only way forward, but only with a state minus a militarized enclave that doesn’tt answer to the federal government. Vilan speaks of trying to moderate the Islamists through elections and carrots, when he should be speaking about their marginalization by the IC. It won’t happen until the idea is given a proper voice and forum.
He raised the following two points;
1.) Negotiate with Syria (the alliance with Iran must be broke, with the US writing a very big check)
2.) Direct negotiations with the Palestinians (by-passing Hamas)
Syria has a dunderhead of a leader right now, who is not able to fight his way out of a paper bag. Katusha rockets and long range missiles dispells the myth that “geography is no longer an issue”. Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian president, is not able to fight his way out of a paper bag. How a democratic state negotiates a lasting peace with a neutered president of the Bahai faith, and whose governance is comprised of a vicious Islamist entitey that loathes the infidel, especially its president, is yet to be explained.
My question went:
“In regards to both the Hezbollah and Hamas, how does a democratic state enter into honest negotiations with an inherently intolerant and openly racist group, whose ideology and existence is based on the eradication of the other? What historical proof is available of this ever happening and ending in success?”
Vilan: “Oh, you weren’t listening to my message, Israel is to negotiate with the state, and by-pass the said groups altogether.
Really? One would have to conclude that the weakened state/entitey is able to counter their influence and power. One would also have to conclude that the states in question, were not responsible for their role in helping these groups successfully thrive in the first place, out of both corruption and fear of violence. In short, the man I admire for both his patriotism and duty to the state of Israel, is a shmendrick. KGS