Enemy's Enemies

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New at Reason: Jonathan Rauch says Israel's struggle is morally equivalent with America's.

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  1. Mo,

    Good post. While Rauch leans heavily on the lack of current negotiations and the intransigent nature of Hamas’s charter, he ignores the fact that Hamas exists within and is ostensibly fighting for a geographic entity that has at least a plausible grievance with a potential remedy. One can argue all day over whether the founding of a Palestinian State would or wouldn’t end or effect the level of Palestinian terrorism aimed at Israel, but at least the potential is there. Whether or not stationing troops really had a motivational effect on Al-Qaeda, there’s obviously no way to reasonably negotiate with them or anyone associated with them at this point.

  2. I think a lot of people are morally confused about terrorism because they conflate why someone fights with how someone fights. This confused viewpoint is best summed up by the saying, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Different people have different perspectives on the merits of any particular armed struggle, therefor, each perspective will define who is and who is not a terrorist separately.

    But if terrorism is defined by how one fights, then labeling someone a terrorist acquires a concrete and non-relative meaning. It has long been a cross-cultural doctrine that combatants should always seek to minimize the harm their fight causes to non-combatants. Terrorism as a tactic stands this conversion on its head, seeking to cause the maximum harm to non-combatants possible. We can easily tell who is or is not a terrorist by merely observing the tactics that they use and endorse.

    Individuals and groups who intentionally and premeditatedly attack non-combatants outlaw themselves regardless of how just their cause might be. They have no claim on the protections of law or custom.

  3. Shannon,
    I agree with you in principle, but when you break the problenm down, it’s a lot more complex than simply saying, “Killing of civilians intentionally = bad. Killing of civilians because they were near a bad guy = ok.” Especially in a country like Israel, where every citizen is, was or will be a conscript.

    I agree that the targeted killing of civilians is horrible and hail our new precision weapons as a way to reduce collateral damage. But we have the luxury of being able to avoid killing civilians. And it is a luxury. If a big, beefy guy tried to attack you, Shannon (I’m assuming, possibly incorrectly, that you aren’t an advanced martial artist), and you knew he would kill or rape you. Would you avoid kicking him in the family jewels because “that’s dirty” or would you do everything to prevent him from asserting his will on you? I know it’s a loaded question, but the point remains, it’s easy to go on about how the Palestianians should fight fair, tank to tank, plane to plane, against Israel, but they don’t have the technology or production capability.

    What is interesting is the return of civilian targets in the evolution of combat strategy. Even old guerrilas avoided civilians. Slavery used to be “noble” because it was a way to deal with POWs that didn’t involve a pile of skulls. Then you had the big armies on the field and the sieges of castles, where the civilians were tertiary concerns. Even in the days of the revolution up until WWII, civilians were essentially ignored, at most private property was destroyed to weaken your enemy’s war machines. Once the bombers came into vogue, civilians became legitimate targets in order to sap the enemy’s will to fight. Now it is bad, bad , bad. The one thing in common is that the techniques that are “allowed” were the ones in use by the ones writing the history books. The basic story is, if one can achieve their goals, with the technology available, without killing civilians, that solution is preferrable to one where civilians are necessarily killed. Since I was raised in that culture, my beliefs overlap. But one cannot ignore there is a constant reworking of legitimate targets in war based on technology and the POV.

    Both sides are fighting for their lives and survival. That’s why this fight is so brutal and bloody. If you fight an enemy backed into a corner they will fight you to the death and will not surrender. A cornered animal or enemy is not to be taken lightly.

  4. Mo’s latest post makes me think of The Fog of War, in which McNamara says that our WWII generals knew that if we lost, they’d be tried as war criminals. I recommend seeing that movie.

  5. Rauch’s analysis is wrong beyond belief.

    Israel’s struggle is to create a religious and ethnic majority state, a Jewish state, on a territory where one didn’t previously exist.

    That’s not America’s struggle, Rauch. Don’t conflate the two.

  6. Shady seems to miss the point that if Israel were REALLY to apply the same targeting strategy, there wouldn’t be any arabic Palestinians at all.

    The only reason there is still a conflict is that the Israelis are 99% restrained from acting in kind.

  7. Every point in Jonathan’s article is just wrong. I can’t believe I read it in Reason and I can’t believe it’s so well received by Reason readers.

    The people of the Mid-East are determined to kill each other. There will never, can never, be peace in the Mid-East for that reason. Immersing ourselves in that perpetual conflict and adopting their “Your murders justify our murders” strategy can only bring unending violence upon ourselves.

  8. …if the US were battling native americans
    …whose land was just taken by force from them & their fathers

  9. The killing of Yassin is one time that you won’t hear me get upset over Israeli military action. The guy was a terrorist leader.

    However, in general I admit to having qualms about “extra-judicial killing.” I see the point that assassinating the leader of your enemy is far more humane than a massive invasion that kills a bunch of civilians as well. But I also think a civilized country should have some sort of process for deciding when to apply that sanction.

    I don’t know whether it should be a trial in absentia, or the decision of some specially appointed body, or whatever. But there should be some sort of process to avoid a very slippery slope that comes when one person has the sole authority to make that decision.

    Also, Mr. Rauch’s point about being at war should be tempered. Yes, we are in a situation where we can’t always capture every enemy with a warrant and put him on trial. Some people will have to be killed in the field. But for those whom we do capture, there should be due process of law at some point.

    Before the hawks start screaming, let me remind you that if you’re so confident that somebody is guilty, then you shouldn’t be afraid to let the evidence be examined in a judicial process. If you aren’t making mistakes, you have nothing to fear from due process, right?

    Also, some might wonder why I don’t object to killing a guy in the field but I do object to holding him indefinitely without any sort of judicial process. Well, there’s a difference between a dangerous guy in the field who can’t be captured without assuming unacceptable risk, and a guy in custody who is under control and no longer poses a threat.

  10. The only reason there is still a conflict is because the Israelis are restrained? How stupid.

    One might as well opine that the only reason there is still a conflict is because Israel receives on the order of $2 billion annually of U.S. taxpayer dollars to maintain it’s military.

    http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/US-Israel/U.S._Assistance_to_Israel1.html

    No, there’s a conflict because none of the policians have the balls to step up and create a solution, including forcing the Israelis to provide their own security.

  11. trainwreck,

    Re your first post, if you’re saying that the state of Israel should never have been founded in the first place, I agree.

    But in the year 2004, what Israel is fighting for is its survival, with security, essentially no different from what the US is fighting for.

    Don’t forget,the US’s fight against our own geography’s indigenous population was equally immoral in many ways.

  12. Jason is right,

    Thank you, Israel, for not killing more innocent civilians caught up in your modern day colonization. Your leaders get a free pass for their “restraint”.

  13. trainwreck and Shady again miss the point:

    “No, there’s a conflict because none of the policians have the balls to step up and create a solution, including forcing the Israelis to provide their own security.”

    If the Israelis were left to create their own solution, and the survival of their nation depended on it, and they were to adopt the same level of restraint as their opposition, all of the Palestinians would be dead. If you don’t believe that, you either have a gross misapprehension of what the Israelis could accomplish militarily by themselves or you have spent too much time appreciating the restraint of terrorists.

    Shady’s comments should read: Thank you Israel for not doing unto the Palestinians as they are trying to do unto you. When busses of civilians and cafes and shopping centers explode in Jerusalem with the intent of causing maximum civilian damage, your leaders choose not to maximize civilian damage in kind.

  14. Jonathan Rauch wrote:

    Yassin, it is often noted, was a political and spiritual figure rather than a bomb-builder. He was a charismatic leader…leaving the operational details of bombings to shadowy subordinates. All true. And true in equal measure of bin Laden.

    What?? This statement is the result of Jonathan Rauch’s trying to maintain a tortured similarity between Al Qaeda and Hamas visa vie their relevance to the US. The fact is, that there is heavy evidence that bin Laden, unlike Yassin, is very much involved in the operational details of attacks.

    The reasons for correctly labeling Sharon as a “terrorist”, every bit as much as Arafat and Yassin deserve to be categorized as such, is not this assassination. Rather, it is the appalling death toll of innocent Palestinian civilians at Shaon’s hands, far greater in numbers than total Israeli deaths. In fact, more Palestinian children have been killed than all Israelis.

    This toll does not include the theft and destruction of property of Palestinian civillians which in part in parcel of the occupation and has accelerated with the wall.

    Hamas’s founding covenant, issued in 1988, is a chilling document. The document drips with anti-Semitism.

    Sharon is guilty of racism as well as he has backed “Jews Only” housing laws on government land in open discrimination against Israel’s 20% Arab population!:

    http://www.eto.home.att.net/jewsonly.html

    http://www.newsfrombabylon.com/article.php?sid=1779

    How might the Palestinians ever expect that Sharon would deal in good faith with them when this is how he treats Arabs who are Israeli citizens? It’s amazing that the state that perennially receives, by far, the most US foreign aid tax dollars is headed by someone who pursues racist policies against its own citizens. This racism, along with the “Greater Israel” idea, is consistent with the fundamentalist Judaism espoused by the religious nuts that Sharon has made political league with in Israel.

    Whether by Israel, Palestinians, or both, Hamas must be defeated, crippled, co-opted, or marginalized, or there can be no peace.

    Peace is not only possible, but very likely when the occupation ends. For our part, we can ask our government to stop financing it. Even if peace were not in the offing, there is
    no good reason for the Israeli government to receive tax dollars from the US to maintain a murderous and thieving occupation which endangers innocent Israelis as well.

    Yes, but so is the war against militant Islamism. And our side didn’t start it.

    What a ridiculous concept for a war! If our government casts the net wide enough there is just is no end to the enemies we can make. If “militant Islamism” were really the target, the government should have armed Sadam instead of attacking him since he persecuted Iraq’s militant Islamics with out mercy.

    It’s our government’s reckless and stupid foreign hyper-interventionism brought on the unjustifiable 9/11 attacks and our government is certainly not “our side” in some contrived war.

    Hamas has connected the dots?even if many people, including many Americans, have not.

    Jonathan Rauch is neglecting the statement of Hamas that they will not target Americans as part of their revenge. This is an act of restraint that we should be grateful for since it was the US government that financed the weaponry that was used in both Yassin’s assassination and also in maintaining the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestinian land.

    Our governments approach to Al Qaeda should be to hunt them down and kill them so that they can’t do it again, and avoid tragic diversions such as the Iraq war.(long advocated by neo-con backers of the Sharon regime’s agenda) Also, the government should avoid interventions that make attacks like 9/11 more likely.

    Hamas is not an enemy of the American people. It is the enemy of the Israeli government and that whole situation could be made less lethal by ending the occupation, and terminating our government’s financing of it would be a big step in this direction.

  15. I deplore violence against anyone, whether they be combatents, civilians, children, or dictators. The constant violence leveled against the Palestinian people through occupation far exceeds the pockets of violence caused in Israel by palestinian guerillas. The numbers speak for themselves.

    “When busses of civilians and cafes and shopping centers explode in Jerusalem with the intent of causing maximum civilian damage, your leaders choose not to maximize civilian damage in kind.”

    So by your logic, violence is measured not in absolute lives lost or structures destroyed but by a ratio of the lives lost and structures destoyed divided by the potential might of the one causing the violence? “Might makes right” is often the final argument for much of Israeli agression.

    Very well put, Rick, I would like to hear Mr. Rauch respond to your well reasoned points.

  16. “So by your logic, violence is measured not in absolute lives lost or structures destroyed but by a ratio of the lives lost and structures destoyed divided by the potential might of the one causing the violence? “Might makes right” is often the final argument for much of Israeli agression.”

    The calculus is wrong. Violence is violence. What I take exception to is the idea that the Israelis are acting like the Palestinians. If they were, there would be no Palestinians.

    As for might making right, there is that whole issue of Israel being invaded – how many times?The Palestinians are certainly employing a similar argument when they blow up shopping malls, too.

    I love how the logic works. Palestinian terrorists blow up malls, Syrians and Hamas alternate shelling Israeli cities from the Golan Heights. When the land is taken to secure it, THAT is the crime. When the land is given back, shelling starts again, and more shopping centers blow up, so the land is taken again.

    Beautiful how we can all sit here and act like the Israelis just out of the blue decided to occupy the West Bank for no good reason. None of that matters as long as we can make bold statements about the Israelis being terrorists, I suppose.

  17. Rauch is neglecting the claim by Hamas that they won’t target the US, but Rick Barton is neglecting their earlier claim that they would.

    Prey tell, what on earth would convince them to change their minds?

    “Peace is not only possible, but very likely when the occupation ends.”

    Well, hell, Barton. Who knew it was that easy? I know, you must have gotten that from history. You know, the last time the Israelis gave back land taken when THEY were invaded. Nothin but peace and sunshine.

    “How might the Palestinians ever expect that Sharon would deal in good faith with them when this is how he treats Arabs who are Israeli citizens?”

    You’re right. You’d almost think they’d rather have someone more moderate running Israel. Oh, they did! Then, out of the blue, a hawk was elected. How did that transpire again?

  18. There are many similarities between what Israel faces and what the US faces.
    As I said in different thread, the US should have put a mushroom cloud over Baghdad before midnite Eastern of 9-11.
    My suggestion is that governments can either out-terrorize terrorists or retreat. There is no middle ground. It’s like a chess game where the terrorists might as well say “check,” even if it may be early in the game.
    As an anarchist, I’m in favor of governments retreating because they are the Mother of all terrorism. But I was willing to theorize that a government COULD out-terrorize.
    Since governments, since 9-11, have proven wimpy, the only recourse is for them to wither/ retreat.
    To retreat, they should get troops out of foreign countries, stop building walls, sell off embassies, stop giving or receiving “aid,” withdraw from the UN because it is just a political cover for increasing the size of governments, etc.

  19. At 20:38 on 5-Apr-2003, “Ruthless” writes:
    >As I said in different thread, the US should have put a mushroom cloud over Baghdad before midnite Eastern of 9-11.

    Ummm, actually, by this logic, the correct locale to place such a cloud would be Jerusalem – sure would save humanity a whole lot ‘o’ grief. “Holy Land?!? Ha! NONE a ya assholes get it now!”

    At 14:06 on 5-Apr-2004, “Mo” writes:

    >If a big, beefy guy tried to attack you, Shannon (I’m assuming, possibly incorrectly, that you aren’t an advanced martial artist), and you knew he would kill or rape you. Would you avoid kicking him in the family jewels because “that’s dirty” or would you do everything to prevent him from asserting his will on you?

    Um, actually, depending on the art, an attack to the groin is completely acceptable… as is biting, pinching, spitting, … (and, by way of ethical disclosure, I train in just such an art). Then again, we ARE talking the difference between “sport” and “combat.”

    That being said, it is a tough stretch from the “98 pound victim vs. 280 lb. rapist” metaphor to the current situation in (Israel)Palestine.

    JMJ

  20. “Israel has the right to defend itself, the rub is that the Palestinians do too. Both sides go beyond mere defense and try to sap the will to fight from the other.” -Mo

    Well, that is, more or less, the objective of any combatant side in a war. Once you are in a war, being purely defensive will only result in unending attack. The only way to end a war in favor of your side is to convince the enemy that their continued attempts to end the conflict in their favor will cost them too much.

    “…it’s easy to go on about how the Palestianians should fight fair, tank to tank, plane to plane, against Israel, but they don’t have the technology or production capability.”-Mo

    Then perhaps the Palestinians should not be fighting this war at all, if they cannot come up with better tactics than blowing up public buses, restaurants and such. That rationalization is basically, the ends justify the means, but, to my mind, this means criminalizes the ends. As long as the Palestinians use terrorism as a tactic of war, they justly deserve none of their political desires. There is a right way and a wrong way to do things, even in war. Terrorism is the wrong way, and cannot be rewarded.

  21. Jason Ligon:

    “Rauch is neglecting the claim by Hamas that they won’t target the US, but Rick Barton is neglecting their earlier claim that they would.
    Prey tell, what on earth would convince them to change their minds?

    For what ever did, we should be thankful in view of the fact that it was the US government that financed the weaponry that was used in both Yassin’s assassination and also in maintaining the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestinian land.

    Financing the occupation has got to be one of the most immoral and counter productive foreign policy mistakes our government has ever made. If we want things to get better for both the Palestinian and Israeli people, as well as stopping our government from making us look like shameless hypocrites, and to make it tough on the extremists on both sides, we should contact our congress people and tell them to quit financing the Israeli occupation:
    http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

    “You’d almost think they’d rather have someone more moderate running Israel.”

    More moderate? Just someone who isn’t a racist barbarian would be an improvement.

  22. He makes a convincing argument throughout the article that, as he summarizes, “what America is doing against Al Qaeda and what Israel is doing against Hamas are the same kind of thing.”

    But when he tries in the last two paragraphs to make the two fights into literally one and the same, as the sub title given the article implies was the primary point, he’s stretching.

  23. My only qulam about the Yassin killing is that he was in Israeli custody only years ago. He didn’t start leading terrorist attacks after his release and I’m sure this will make prisoner exchanges that much more difficult for Israel. Israel has the right to defend itself, the rub is that the Palestinians do too. Both sides go beyond mere defense and try to sap the will to fight from the other. That is what is leading to a Hatfield and McCoyesque cycle of revenge from both sides.

    Their battle and ours are not one and the same however. Our enemies may have significant overlap on a Venn diagram, but Israel’s problem is a good old fashioned battle over land, while ours is the relatively more modern (but still old as dirt) battle of economic and ideological influence. To wit, all our Islamist enemies hate Israel, but all of Israel’s Islamist enemies do not hate us (and if they do, it is merely because of our one-sided support for them).

  24. This was an enlightening article.

    I am curious as to who should be extrajudicially killed in response to triple the number of civilian deaths in Palestine as in Israel.

  25. Jason Ligon:
    Beautiful how we can all sit here and act like the Israelis just out of the blue decided to occupy the West Bank for no good reason.

    No Jason, there is a reason but the occupation isn’t a reaction, it’s the fruition of a long standing plan of Israeli extremists:

    Winston S. Churchill III in 1973 asked Ariel Sharon, “What is to become of the Palestinians?”

    Sharon’s answer: “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in twenty-five years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.”

  26. fyodor:

    So as not to address your points at all, why do you keep calling me James? This has been going on for a year now …

  27. “How many arabic palestinians were in the region before they started migrating to counteract the migration of the jews into the region?”

    750,000 were moved out in an episode of brutal ethnic cleansing.

    BEFORE the palestinian arabs migrated to counteract the growing number of jews who were migrating to the region. This would be before there was a state of Israel to displace anyone.

  28. Uh, sorry Jason. I really don’t know why I keep seeing James, guess I skim over the names of posters to get to the important stuff, like what they’re saying. But as Dale Carnegie says, nothing sounds as sweet to our ears as the sound of our own names, so apologies for the unintended slight.

  29. fyodor:

    I was mostly joking, but I admit to confusion at so consistently being James. 🙂

    “First a genuinely curious question: when was this first time that Israel gave back land?”

    1956 Israel takes Gaza and all of the Sinai to secure the waterways from Egyptian blockade.

    1957 They give it all back.

    1967 Egypt again militarizes the Sinai and prepares to cut Israel in half by moving through the West Bank with the help of the Jordanians, Israel interdicts and hands the Egyptians, the friendly Jordanians, and the Syrians thier butts in Six Days.

  30. Ahem, Jason,

    Perhaps the best answer to your question,

    “How many arabic palestinians were in the region before they started migrating to counteract the migration of the jews into the region?”

    would be:

    “A hell of a lot more than there were Jews.”

  31. Jason,

    Thanks for info on the 1956 incident and ensuing return of land (which I read only after making my last post, in case you’re wondering why I made no mention of it there). I’d often heard about the Suez Canal incident, but I didn’t realize it involved Israeli taking of the Sinai.

    It’s too bad Israel remained in denial about the eventuality of a Palestinian state during the time between when Jordan renounced claims to the West Bank and the onset of the first infitada, which seemed to show Palestinians that violence was their only solution. Truly a missed opportunity.

  32. MJ
    I don’t think the Palestinians can quit fighting the war just because they don’t have the means. I think that Sharon’s plans as stated by Rick Barton is to slowly eliminate the Palestinian state, much like the Hamas would “drive the Israelis into the sea”. So they either fight the Israeli soldiers and don’t even make a dent, or they blow up buses and coffee shops and make a tiny dent.

    Thoreaou,
    In a war there should not be trials, you kill your enemy unless they surrender. Trials are for citizens within your country.

    Also I tend to think that assasinating a leader is counter productive. If the leader of a country makes war on your country, you should not go after the leader, you go after the whole country and they either surrender or change leadership and make peace. It may or may not be fair, but a country or a people are responsible for the actions of their leader.

  33. Ruthless,
    I responded to your nuclear idea in the other post. Mostly I think that the best way to respond to Bagdad would not be to use a Nuclear bomb, but maybe carpet bombing would have been cool. If you use nukes freely, you let everyone know that they need one.

    However, a nuke over Jerusalem would sure solve a lot of problems. Hate to do that to such a neat place though. I wonder; couldn’t we just forcefully move all the Palestinians and Israelis to Haiti. That place is a shithole and couldn’t get much worse. If anything it would be an improvement to the Haitians.

  34. “So they either fight the Israeli soldiers and don’t even make a dent, or they blow up buses and coffee shops and make a tiny dent.”-kwais

    So, to your mind, it is OK to deliberately target civilians if you have no other way to make a “dent”? Under that logic, for what reason should the stronger group act with any restraint when fighting the weaker?

    The rules of warfare, such as they are, exist to limit atrocities on both sides by mutual deterrence. If the Palestinians are unrestrained in their choice of targets, why should the Israelis be limited in theirs? When one group engages in terrorism, they are begging for extermination, and if they are truly greatly weaker then their foe, it is only their enemies’ morality that prevents genocide.

  35. “And, our government should not be rewarding the state terrorism that the Israeli government inflicts on the Palestinian people by continuing to underwrite it with our tax dollars.”-Rick Barton

    The US support of Israel largely comes from Carter’s attempts at peacemaking between Israel and Egypt (who also gets support). Less publicized is America’s humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, but I guess that would get in the way of a good hateful rant, wouldn’t it?

  36. MJ-

    My understanding is that a lot of aid given to the Palestinians goes into the pockets of their kleptocrat-in-chief Arafat. You’ll get no arguments from me against cutting that aid off.

  37. Yes, the people who say “blow them all up and let god sort it out” are exactly the kind of rational, free thinkers that have good, human grasp on the situation.

    Think a little deeper, people. Close your eyes and imagine, just for a second, that your mother, father, or children live in one of the cities you so want to see destroyed.

  38. “No Jason, there is a reason but the occupation isn’t a reaction, it’s the fruition of a long standing plan of Israeli extremists:”

    Yeah, yeah, Rick. Now, why in 1973 would an Israeli military commander feel that way? Must be his evil coming out. The palestinians had done absolutely nothing to precipitate such comments. There is no context except Israeli aggression.

    At least Shady is honest enough to say that there shouldn’t be any Palestinian jews at all, and THAT is what this is all about. Hamas agrees with Shady. The position that the multiple invasions of Israel don’t matter nor does the shelling from the Golan Heights, nor do the bombing raids from the West Bank, nor does the fact that Israel gave back the land once only to be attacked on two fronts AGAIN, is just a wee bit pat for my taste.

    If you argue that arabic palestinians should have all the land and that jewish palestinians should not be there at all, at least I can understand where you are coming from.

  39. Shady,

    You are talking about capability and I am talking about will. All I am saying is that if the Israelis were similarly committed to killing civilians, things would look MUCH worse for the Palestinians. The only reason there aren’t more dead Israelis is that they run more successful military campaigns, even though they are targeting key personnel instead of blowing up everyone while fighting an enemy with no such qualms.

    Also,

    How many arabic palestinians were in the region before they started migrating to counteract the migration of the jews into the region? Why are the new arab palestinians more rightful owners of the land than new jewish palestinians? When all of palestine is considered, let us not forget that international agreements carved out a state for arabic palestinians, and it is now called Jordan. Arabic palestinians control more than 3/4 of the original land of Palestine, and no one griped that the Jordanians displaced their neighbors. Why is it okay for Trans Jordan to be created as a political entity, but not Israel?

    As for the occupation, I think that Israel definitely needs to withdraw from those lands, but these arguments that there is no reason for them to be there neglects who was trying to drive whom into the ocean. Starting a fight you can’t finish can have bad consequences. Starting two is probably even less advisable.

  40. MJ,
    After the GWII started, there were a lot of cries from Egyptians to cut off the aid. They know they’re whipped, have no desire to invade Israel, they feel they don’t need the money to keep the peace and cutting the aid off would hurt Israel more than Egypt. Heck, I’d love to see the aid cut off to both too, Egypt will benefit because that will be less money lining the Mubaraks’ (Hosni and his damn son) and maybe the people can more easily overthrow the government.

    There’s your solution fyodor, cut off the money to all parties and let God figure it out. He started it. 🙂

    P.S. I do like the wall and withdraw idea a lot better than most of the current alternatives. The fotress technique always eases negotiations.

  41. Wow, we can see what books you are reading. Despite the oft mentioned Mark Twain quote, there were plently of PEOPLE (Palestinian Jews, Palestinian Muslims, Palestinian Christians) in Palestine. These people have a right to self determination on the land they and their parents grew up on. This is the basis of all international human rights law. Migration and the displacement of indigenous people is a warcrime, and for good reason.

    To say that any jew has a right to displace indegenous palestinians (of any stripe) flys in the face of human rights. The zionist justifications not withstanding.

  42. “Terrorism is the wrong way, and cannot be rewarded.”

    And, our government should not be rewarding the state terrorism that the Israeli government inflicts on the Palestinian people by continuing to underwrite it with our tax dollars.

  43. James Ligon,

    A few points.

    First a genuinely curious question: when was this first time that Israel gave back land?

    Now for the pointed questions.

    If Jordan was created for Palestinians, why did the UN also create a Palestine (separate from Israel)? And what jurisdiction did those international agreements you spoke of have over those in the area in the first place? Were the occupants of the land party to the agreements? I don’t think so, in which case I’m not sure the “agreements” were valid.

    Everything I’ve read (including info written by Israel supporters) indicates there were 600,000 Arabs there before the large Jewish immigration spurred by the Zionist movement against a small Jewish minority. Nothing I’ve read has indicated that that Jewish minority had any problems living there until the Zionist movement came which of course had as its stated goal a Jewish state. A state called Palestine does not imply ownership by one ethnic group; a state called Israel does. While the situation has certainly changed in many ways, I don’t know if there’s any evidence that Arabs would have been so hostile to Jews (ie, drive them into the sea) had it not been for the Zionist movement and its essential goal of displacement. I know there are some theories that they wanted to coexist with Arabs, but I think it’s clear that they wanted to do so only as masters of the land. They only made up about 1/3 of the population at the time Israel was founded, and the main argument against “right of return” now is that it would demographically “destroy” Israel.

    Now, I know there are arguments in the opposite direction, too. I know Israeli Arabs have much more say in their government and more rights and freedoms than most Arabs in the surrounding nations. As an American, I wonder why any of them should give a shit about living in a nation established for a particular ethnic group as long as there’s democracy. Making war on Israel was obviously not the preferred way for gentlemen to address a disagreement (understatement intended). And the current bombing campaign is vile and counter productive and contributes to nothing but a never ending cycle of violence.

    But you make the same mistake in the opposite direction as the Israel critics, you look at only one side of the issue. Palestinians feel a great wrong has been done them, and they’re right. The establishment of Israel was not a nice thing. People really truly were barbarously kicked out of their homes. Sure, I think they should forget about the wrongs of the past and move on. But that’s easy for me to say, as whatever we say is for all of us.

    I think the US should not be arming Israel, but not because I think Israel is wrong and the Palestinians right, but rather because it shouldn’t be our business and once you choose one side, regardless of whether they’re more right or less wrong than the other side, you become responsible for their transgressions comitted with your aid. I would rather be responsible only for my own transgressions, thank you.

    But I hesitate to recommend withdrawing military aid right now as it would have the appearance of appeasement, which I’m not too enthused about.

    So there you go. The rest of you are all wrong because you’re all one-sided. I’m the only one willing to take a truly objective look at all sides of the issue. And I don’t know what the fuck to do!!! 🙂

    Or rather, 🙁

  44. “What I take exception to is the idea that the Israelis are acting like the Palestinians. If they were, there would be no Palestinians.”

    I don’t think you are giving the Palestinians the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure if the historical and political roles were reversed, instead of killing all Israelis, the Palestinians would be civilized enough just to implement apartheid and force Israelis into a ghetto to break their soul one dead child at a time, just as the Israelis do now. Israelis are acting like a people that has killed more children then the other side has killed people. A people with an elected, democratic GOVERNMENT that has KILLED more CHILDREN than the other side has killed people. Once again, I don’t want to subtract from the terrible cost Hamas and other groups have inflicted, but to ignore the grevious crimes of Israel would really not be doing justice to this situation.

    “Beautiful how we can all sit here and act like the Israelis just out of the blue decided to occupy the West Bank for no good reason.”

    They out of the blue decided to occupy the rest of Israel. Unless, of course, you consider a need to reinterpret 3000 year old scripture to be something better than “out of the blue”. Theirs is a religious justification, security is just their international talking point.

  45. Jason Ligon:

    “Yeah, yeah, Rick. Now, why in 1973 would an Israeli military commander feel that way? Must be his evil coming out.”

    What ever, it obviously isn’t out of concern for the safety of Israeli civilians. Putting Israeli colonizers in Israeli-only colonies on Palestinian land is not consistent with their well being. They are just pawns to be used for the fulfillment of expansionist dreams.

    Remember, the great bulk of “settlers” in Gaza were moved there from the Sianni. If they wanted compensation, they had to go to Gaza.

    It’s not just any Israeli military commander. It’s Sharon, who years later would support discriminatory laws for housing on government land against non-Jewish Israeli citizens.

    “How many arabic palestinians were in the region before they started migrating to counteract the migration of the jews into the region?”

    750,000 were moved out in an episode of brutal ethnic cleansing.

    “As for the occupation, I think that Israel definitely needs to withdraw from those lands…

    Great, now lets get our tax dollars to withdraw from those lands as well.

  46. Jason Ligon:

    “Yeah, yeah, Rick. Now, why in 1973 would an Israeli military commander feel that way? Must be his evil coming out.”

    What ever, it obviously isn’t out of concern for the safety of Israeli civilians. Putting Israeli colonizers in Israeli-only colonies on Palestinian land is not consistent with their well being. They are just pawns to be used for the fulfillment of expansionist dreams.

    Remember, the great bulk of “settlers” in Gaza were moved there from the Sianni. If they wanted compensation, they had to go to Gaza.

    It’s not just any Israeli military commander. It’s Sharon, who years later would support discriminatory laws for housing on government land against non-Jewish Israeli citizens.

    “How many arabic palestinians were in the region before they started migrating to counteract the migration of the jews into the region?”

    750,000 were moved out in an episode of brutal ethnic cleansing.

    “As for the occupation, I think that Israel definitely needs to withdraw from those lands…

    Great, now lets get our tax dollars to withdraw from those lands as well.

  47. Jason:

    “BEFORE the palestinian arabs migrated to counteract the growing number of jews who were migrating to the region.”

    Ok; now I know what you’re asking. Sorry about that. I’ll look into it and post back here if I uncover anything. They wouldn’t be Palestinian Arabs if they migrated in, right? If it happened I’m sure it was at the behest (coercion?) of one or more of the surrounding regimes. It doesn’t sound like the kind of thing people would do of their own volition.

  48. MJ,
    Have you heard the refrain; ‘There are no rules in love and war’?

    The Palestinians do what they have to and what they can get away with in order to win, or in order to survive, and the Israelis do the same. I am sure that some, including Sharon would use equal force against the Palestinian people if he could get away with it.

    I am not saying it is right or wrong. That is just how it is. It is us vs them on both sides over there. I try to think of what I would do if I was a Palestinian, of if I were a Jew over there, and I really don’t know.

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