Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Beauty and the Beast

Now, that the Hamas won the elections, the situation in Israel has changed once more. Each side has new difficulties and goals. Lets take a quick look at them.


1. Budget. PA's annual budget is 1.3 billion $, most of which coming from Europe, some from US and some from taxes Israel is charging for PA. There are 130,000 people sitting on PA's payroll, 40,000 - 60,000 of which are occationally armed and angry.

2. Economy. Hamas promised better future. Now they need to deliver. But how can one build an economy in a state of permanent warfare (the fundamental purpose for Hamas's existence), corruption (which will continue), monopolies (that are too powerful to be dismantled) and economic dependencies?

Israel and Kadima (the ruling party).

1. Conception. The conception was that Hamas cannot win the elections. They did. All intelligence was wrong, all predictions were of track, all decisions were misguided. Who is to blame? What to do to prevent this from happening again?

2. Elections. Still on track for March 28, with Kadima holding a solid lead. How to prevent the public from finding out what role played Kadima-lead government in not preventing Hamas's victory? How to prevent crumbling of the party?

3. Politics. With Hamas at the helm of PA, how can Israeli government justify unilateral disengagement, given that now it can't claim the PA will take care of things? On the other side, how can they negotiate with Hamas?


1. Hamas. How to give PA more money, now that terrorist organization is in charge? How to justify all those years of mistakes otherwise? Same goes for Israeli government.


Hamas is like the bastard child. You can't love it, you can't hate it. It's outlaw, but now it came back to remind of past sins and ask for money. Worse, it killed the firstborn bastard child, and wants the Estate to itself. What to do? How to save face, now that the bastard child threatens to tell the world who he is, or even light up the Mansion?

Here is what will happen. Europe and Israel will slip Hamas in pretty dresses, and try to sell that to the public. Hamas, in need of piles of euros and dollars, will play along, but only just. They will never stop calling for destruction of Israel, or blow people up. It's in their blood. They will only hold out until Israeli elections are over, and Olmert, the disengagement champion, won the race. European newspapers will start writing about reformed Hamas, and all those people that were surprised and terrified by Hamas's win, will start getting used to the fact that Hamas is the new Fatah. The going argument will be "if Fatah could reform, so can Hamas". Of course, Fatah never did, but it wont matter. In Israel Olmert already agreed to negotiate with Hamas. Of course, he mentioned some conditions. But the basics are there. He is ready. Not that Hamas would of course. Getting their hands dirty like that. But that is not the point. The point is, the message to Israeli voter: it is business as usual. Vote. For. Us. Of course, not that giving money to Hamas will make Europe and Israel terrorist sponsoring states. They been sponsoring terrorism for a while now, in form of Fatah. The only holdouts will be US and Arab countries. Iran (technically speaking, not an Arab country) will start sending Hamas new rockets. And maybe a nuclear bomb in a couple of years. Hamas will start diverting public attention from economics to war. Of course, Fatah been doing it for years, so obviously, the war will need to be bigger this time, not to loose anyone's attention. And it is possible. Hamas will take over PA's security forces (he who pays the money is the boss after all), and merge them with their own forces. This will be done under the flag of "putting all militias under one rule" - something that EU and US actually demanded from Fatah to do. This will provide future proof that Hamas is reforming. Instead, they will simply be putting even more terrorists on PA's payroll. This unified army, that can go up to 100,000, will be more then enough to do something atrocious. For example, conquer Jerusalem. Just one city. And then stop, and open negotiations, holding the Jewish citizens hostage.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Holocaust: old and new

It is the International day of the Holocaust today. Today we commemorate the fallen. Everyone, in his own way. Israel's prime minister Ehud Olmert, in a grotesque gesture of supreme duplicity, ordered the transfer of 200 million shekel (about 45 million American dollars) to the new rulers of Palestinian Autonomy. The Hamas.

The same Hamas that does not recognizes the very state the money is coming from.

The same Hamas that many times declared that it seeks the destruction of Israel.

The same Hamas that murdered hundreds and mutilated thousands of Israeli citizens.
Subjects of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. His kinsmen. His relatives.
What kind of dramatic irony is that?

I am overwhelmed and speechless.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The soup that eats like a meal

It is often hard, or even impossible to label things black or white. In terms of math, some are 0, some are 1, but most are well in between. The life, as people say, is not all black and white, there are shades of gray. Indeed, only blind can disagree with that, and I doubt many of them actually would. Yet, when it comes to interpreting what those grays mean in our pathetic human brain, people inevitably try to relate the grays to one of the only two extremes. For practical purposes it is sometimes an inevitable necessity. For many things in this world, like life and death, are white and black, and the two worlds (the gray and the black and white) need to be reconciled.

Here is where the problems start. The approaches to reconciliation are at least two:

1. The soup that eats like a meal philosophy: "trust the gray to be black (or white) because in this case for all intents and purposes, it works just like black (or white)."

2. The soup IS the meal philosophy: "trust the gray to be black (or white) because it's color is a matter of perspective".

While the difference might at first seem subtle, it is in fact as big as differences get. #1 simply admits that sometimes in choice (much like in a war) precision needs to be sacrificed for accuracy. #2 suggests that any choice can be as precise or as accurate as one wants it to be. This assumption not only allows to shift around the point of origin of this "coordinate system", but turn the entire color scale into a complete mix of colors, allowing completely different colors to neighbor each other (while remaining seemingly coherent in one's head). This, I think, is the cornerstone argument of moral relativists. And the source of their confusion. They don't see the choice #1, and assume that the only way to disagree with them is to imagine that the world is black and white. But sometimes all the soup needs is a little bit of steering.