Are Palestinians mad dogs, or crazy like foxes?

It is widely believed that the “draconian” terms that the allies imposed on Germany at the end of World War One contributed to the rise of the Nazis and World War Two, and in a sense this is true, but imposing the terms and then retreating from them under pressure is what really caused the rise of the Nazis, as Étienne Mantoux argues in “The Carthaginian Peace: Or the Economic Consequences of Mr Keynes”

The Versailles reparations were extremely mild compared to the extraordinary brutality with which the Germans treated conquered populations during World War One, and their cost was entirely insignificant, compared to the economic costs the Germans inflicted on themselves in the course of resisting it – for example paying people to not work, paying people to sabotage their own economy. Indeed, Hitler quite correctly pointed this out, in the course of arguing that instead of economic threats, Germans needed to use threats of violence.

The ruin suffered by Germany was a result of them accurately perceiving weakness of will and self doubt among the allies, much like the ruin today suffered by the Palestinians. Keynes’s book “The Economic Consequences of the Peace” was a major cause and manifestation of this weakness of will and self doubt. The successful push of the Germans against this weakness progressively escalated, Nazism, like Hamas, being a manifestation of this success.

Palestinian terror has been highly profitable, as Europe and America seek to outbid each other in paying off the terrorists. So the PLO escalate their demands, and Hamas demands its share of the gravy. In order to get their share of the gravy, Hamas has to prove they are even crazier than the PLO.

The lesson we should have learned from World War II is not only no appeasement, but that early appeasement leads to increasingly intolerable demands and the rise of increasingly extreme factions – that the temptation to appeasement must be resisted when the demands are cheap, arguably reasonable and morally justified, and the threats modest, for yielding will lead to escalating demands and escalating threats, will lead to the rise of factions that are ever crazier, since craziness is working.

We should have responded to German resistance by substantially escalating Versailles, rex talonis, to a punishment that matched German occupation during World War One eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth, rather that making concessions. This would have prevented the rise of Hitler. Since confrontation was working, Germans figured they should elect the most confrontational politician of them all, and at first it worked great.

Of course, confrontation worked at a very great risk of renewing World War I, as Hitler and the Nazis well knew, but the Nazis of course de-emphasized this risk, and when they told the truth to the voters, as they sometimes did, seems that no one listened anyway. Indeed Hitler had a long history of speaking the truth, and not being believed. He would tell the plain truth, then he would imply a lie that people wanted to believe, and people would believe the lie, and forget the truth. Again, observe the similarity with Hamas and the PLO, both of which have told us often enough that a two state solution is only a step towards the total destruction of Israel – and Hamas has from time to time told us that Tel Aviv is only a first step towards Rome. Israeli concessions endanger not only Israel, but also the rest of us.

Stubborn intransigence by the Palestinians needs to be met by cutting off the payoffs, by killing the bagmen who attempt to make payoffs, and if that fails, by imposing on Muslims rex talionis the same conditions as are imposed on Christians in most Muslim countries, not by making ever bigger payoffs.

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