Haggai's Place

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Your humble narrator is...
...a research analyst at a think tank in the Washington DC area. Born in Israel, raised in Kentucky, movie fanatic and sports nut.
My first-hand account of the Palestinian divestment conference at the U. of Michigan

:: Saturday, January 03, 2004 ::

Cat blogging with a sigh of relief
Close call, but the Cats pulled out a 61-56 win over North Carolina at home today. After a mostly dreadful first half, UK played a mostly excellent second half, although both teams were doing a lot of choking in the last few minutes. A rather miraculous 3-pointer in the last 30 seconds clinched it for the Wildcats, and it's just in time to pull off a big win, with conference play starting next week.
10:44 PM
:: Wednesday, December 31, 2003 ::
So these are "the facts"?
Others are already commenting on this Instapundit post (the EU is waging a "proxy war" against Israel and America? WTF?), and I just want to chime in on one specific point. He claims that "closing off [Palestinian terrorists'] funding via shutting down Saddam is a good start" to dealing with them. There's no doubt that Saddam supported Palestinian terrorist groups, but as far as I know, he was no more than a fairly distant 4th place among regimes that do so. I should check the ICT site for more info on this, but as I understand it, Syria and Saudi Arabia give quite a bit more logistical/financial support to anti-Israel terrorist groups than Saddam did, and that everyone else is pretty far behind the real #1 state sponsor of Middle East-specific terrorism, Iran. Claiming that the fall of Saddam will "close off their funding" bears little resemblance to the reality of external funding for Palestinian terror.
6:11 PM
:: Tuesday, December 30, 2003 ::
Unilateral withdrawal, Sharon-style?
From last week, this is part of Yossi Alpher's take on Sharon's recent hints about withdrawing from some settlements:
Sharon, along with many on the political right, appears finally to have understood the demographic problem and the dangers of direct ongoing occupation. He wants to disengage. The architect of the settlement movement in the West Bank and Gaza over the past 25 years is indicating that some settlements will have to be "redeployed"...

One characteristic of Sharon's approach has not changed at all: he did not present a realistic strategy for peace. First he "hijacked" the fence and distorted it from a legitimate means of self-defense into a political tactic for creating a Palestinian bantustan. Now he has hijacked the idea of disengagement and dismantling of settlements--which was originally intended by the left to rescue Israel demographically but without in any way prejudicing future negotiations concerning East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley--and seeks to reconstitute it as a rationale for fencing in the Palestinians and grabbing the rest of the West Bank. Like previous grand designs of Sharon, this one too will backfire.
Almost nobody in their right mind has ever disputed the potential problem of demographics for Israel with regards to the territories, so there really isn't any sudden epiphany here on anybody's part. The political winds in Israel are going in the direction of at least some sort of unilateral steps beyond the fence, and with an already detached US administration facing the challenge of a re-election campaign, the timing is appropriate for this sort of thing, as Alpher points out:
[T]he projected timing of these unilateral moves--spring and summer of 2004--is not accidental: it coincides with the peak of the US presidential election process, when Sharon calculates that both US President George Bush and his democratic opponent will be too busy cultivating the pro-Israel vote to pressure him into carrying out the positive part of his initiative (redeployment, dismantling settlements) without the negative (an eastern fence, semi-annexation of the Jordan Valley).
I would add that it's not just about the pro-Israel vote, but also about any administration that's facing an election wanting to keep potentially time-consuming and difficult foreign policy problems off the table as much as possible.
2:34 PM
:: Sunday, December 28, 2003 ::
Lousy development on the basketball front yesterday, as the Wildcats lost to Louisville, a particuarly painful team to get beat by. Spoiled Kentucky fanses don't like losing at home to the arch-rival, do they, precious? Noooo, no, especially not with that nasty Pitino coaching them...

Sorry, devolved into Gollum mode for a minute there. I'll be OK, really, life goes on.
12:29 PM

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