Humans have a great capacity for accommodation. After you work in a barn for a while, you don't notice the smell. This normally adaptive capability can be lethal.
The most dangerous aspect of hydrogen sulfide results from olfactory accommodation and/or olfactory paralysis. This means that the individual can accommodate to the odor and is not able to detect the presence of the chemical after a short period of time. Olfactory paralysis occurs in workers who are exposed to 150 ppm or greater. This occurs rapidly, leaving the worker defenseless. Unconsciousness and death has been recorded following prolonged exposure at 50 ppm.
Consider the Oslo accords. Palestinians were supposed to put an end to terror. Grandiose pronouncements and handshakes on the White House lawn announced a new era. Then there were a few little "incidents" - a stabbing here, a Molotov cocktail there. Israel did not react, because these "trivial" incidents could not be allowed to upset the march of worldhistorical inevitability and progress. Then there were more incidents, and yet more, until buses were exploding in Jerusalem and people were exploding in Dizengoff square. Each new level of violence and breaking of the peace was just a tiny bit beyond the last, so that at any stage, it didn't seem to be "good form" to leave the game or to react and feed the "cycle of violence." To be sure, there were always warnings that "the next time" or "if the terror does not stop" Israel will have to act to defend its citizens. Eventually, we got to the so-called Second Intifada. That too developed gradually. As each suicide bombing and atrocity was only a bit worse then the last, it never seemed that there was sufficient provocation to react. This mode of gradual escalation is ideal for a terror campaign. By its nature, terror is intermittent. The initial objective of terror is not immediate physical conquest, but rather to create fear that disrupts normal life. It is a form of intermittent negative reinforcement, and therefore it is very effective. One terror attack a month can be as effective as ten, because you never know when the next one is coming.
It took a series of barbaric bombings in March 2002 to finally bring a response by Israel. The bombings and the terror however, had become a way of life. The world got used to the idea that the Palestinians have a legitimate right to blow themselves up in Israeli discotheques, pizza parlors and hotels. The terror was the "accepted" reality, and therefore Operation Defensive Wall and the security fence that stopped the terror were stigmatized as "aggression" and "human rights violations" and a "land grab."
Now Israel has embarked upon a brand new "cease fire" with the Hamas rulers of Gaza. This arrangement begins with an "acceptable" level of mayhem. Gilad Shalit, abducted from Israel, remains in captivity. The smuggling of arms, which was supposed to have been stopped, continues. Israel warns that if the smuggling continues, it will not keep the cease fire. PM Olmert announced that the IDF will act if the smuggling continues. But the smuggling has gone one for two years and the government has continuously threatened to "do something," never setting a deadline for when they would "do something." By this time, both the smuggling and the threats to stop it have receded into the background noise.
The "cease fire" is only a few days old, but already, the Hamas have turned up the level of the Hydrogen Sulfide gas in the chamber. Palestinians fired a mortar shell into Israel. Just one little mortar shell. Nothing to get upset about, surely. The truce is still holding. Actually, that means that Israel is observing the truce, while the Hamas are doing what they please. There is no sign that anyone in the Israel government was in any way perturbed by this little mortar, or thought that it is necessary to react, to protest, to warn, to set down a red line. How many such mortars a week will be "an acceptable level of violence?" Will we allow five mortars, but invade Gaza if there are six? How many mortars would you allow to fall on your town?
Israel has also allowed the game to be set up in a complicated way that almost guarantees that the truce will degenerate. The truce does not include the West Bank - in theory. Therefore, Israel is free to strike at terrorists in Nablus. But the Islamic Jihad in Nablus, which agreed to honor the cease fire, only agreed to honor it if Israel refrains from striking in the West Bank. Of course, Israel carries out arrests in the West Bank because the Palestinians never implemented an essential part of the Oslo agreement, the Wye accords and the roadmap - to disarm terrorist groups and arrest terrorists. That is another aspect of the insane modus vivendi that was accepted by gradual accommodation.
The Oslo accords were supposed to bring peace. Instead, through gradual accommodation, they devolved into a nightmare setup where Israel makes concessions in return for increased terrorist attacks. In a few months, we may find that the "Gaza Truce" deal involved Israel giving up the right to defend itself in Gaza, in return for continuing terror attacks and arms smuggling. What a great deal!
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Replies: 2 Comments
What's the matter with bringing terror to the terrorists? Israel can't look to the world for help, so obviously the criticism of the world is meaningless. Hamas just has to be made responsible for any terrorism emanating from Gaza. There are ways to intervene in weapons smuggling. What's the matter with booby trapping contraband munitions headed for Gaza?
Howard Wolf, Wednesday, June 25th
Hamas reminds me of Ford's car plant management.
They'd do a deal with the union for so many cars per hour on the track (production line) and very carefully they would increase the speed second by second. Eventually the workers would notice that they could no longer keep up. The union would time the track and challenge Ford's management, who tried to deny it. There would be a strike. Then more negotiations, then back to the track and back to the same old game. Eventually the relations got so bad that Ford could barely produce any cars at all.
Fortunately someone in Ford woke up and got in some new management. But the new managers had to build a relationship with the workers from the low level the old managers had left behind - it took years.
No one won, everyone lost and there were so many lost opportunities for good profits and wages.
Rod Davies, Tuesday, June 24th
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