Middle East

The Third Intifada

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One of the great underreported stories in the Middle East right now is the growing popularity of nonviolent tactics among Palestinians defending their property rights and freedom of movement against the Israeli "security fence." Doug Ireland describes some of the approaches being used in the village of Bilin:

Bilin is remarkable for the creative non-violence with which its residents have carried out demonstrations against the destruction of their community and the confiscation of their lands to build it. They have conducted demonstrations while placing themselves in handcuffs, as the Lebanon [Daily] Star reported—so it could not be said they were throwing stones at the Israeli occupying army. They have sent their minor children to demonstrate in front of the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem—since their mothers and fathers were not allowed to enter Israel. They have chained themselves to trees about to be uprooted to make way for the Wall. Demonstrators have sealed themselves in large metal water barrels placed in the way of the construction crews erecting the Wall of Shame. They have held mock funerals of white-draped coffins, each inscribed with the name of human values that should be respected—Justice, Fairness, Humanity, Courtesy, and the like. They have created a mock security fence, placed themselves under it, and handed out leaflets in Hebrew to the Israeli soldiers begging them not to destroy their village and answer non-violence with violence. Israeli peace activists from groups like Gush Shalom (the Israeli Peace Bloc) have flocked to Bilin to join in these peaceful, nonviolent protests. The response to this nonviolence by the Israeli army has been disproportionately violent—tear gas, rubber bullets, live bullets, night-time raids of homes in Bilin. When attacked in this way, the Bilin protesters have responded with balloons filled with chicken dung—an insulting, but hardly lethal response.

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  1. You are right about “under-reported.” The only stories I recall hearing about involve the killing of Americans who cooperate with the nonviolent resistance, and the cheers that go up from right wing sites whenever one of these killings occur.

    Yes, cheers. Google “Rachel Corrie.”

  2. Call me crazy but i think the israelis are building this wall to protect some property rights of their own here.

  3. Joe,

    You’d get the impression from those articles that the U.S. is at war with the Palestinians.

  4. Chicken dung? That could lead to E coli! What about the children?!?

  5. What sites are you talking about? I googled her about found a bunch of sites for a foundation, as well as wikipedia article. The few sites that I found to be critical of her just said she was a naif. Who’s ‘cheering?’

  6. FYI, throwing chicken dung on me is considered an act of violence.

    I’m sure MLK would have received good press throwing chicken dung at Birmingham cops.

  7. Jesse Walker, it’s cute the way you put the words security fence in scare quotes. Really, there’s no need for an argument when you have creative punctuation! The only problem is that the security fence is doing exactly what it intended to do: it’s reducing the number of terrorist attacks and the resulting carnage.

    Is it not the libertarian position that the government has there to defend citizens against invaders who would murder them? If this is not a legitimate purpose of government, what is?

    On the effectiveness of the security fence, see here and here.

  8. My thougts exactly, mr. cipher.

  9. I suspect joe is referencing Little Green Footballs. However, I wouldn’t say Charles actually “cheered” her death, merely that he pointed out that most of the coverage of Corrie was wrong (she wasn’t targeted, the death was ruled accidental) and the ISM isn’t exactly the paragon of non-violence. A number of folks connected with the ISM have, shall we say, spontaniously combusted around large populations of Jewish people.

  10. It is to bad Palestinian didn’t try such tactics 30 years ago when they might have done some good. Instead, they embraced the commission of premeditated war crimes as a celebrated means of armed struggle. Now it is very difficult to fault the Israelis for whatever property abuses they might commit in building a fence intended to prevent the commission of war crimes. The non-violent protest will have very little impact on the Israeli electorate at this point as they won’t be seen as an sincere attempt to avoid violence but rather as a tactic the Palestinians were forced to after violent means failed.

  11. joe was probably referring to freerepublic.

  12. C-cipher/Mark Neyer,

    Well such is the paradox of the whole conflict. Both sides have wronged the other, both sides see themselves as fighting for their rights, and in many cases are. I wondered about Jesse’s quotation marks too. I’m not aware of any reason to doubt that security is Israel’s primary purpose for erecting the wall. But it’s fucking with innocents’ rights at that same time, and it’s hard to shake the impression that Israel seems unconcerned about that.

  13. So let me get this straight Shannon. You support the US using force to remove one bad guy for security reasons, leading to the death of thousands of innocent Iraqis, but if the Palestinians fight for their independence and autonomy they are wrong? Isn’t there a slight dissonance between these two positions? Violence is ok for me, but not for thee.

    Besides, it’s not like the Israelis have proven to be completely reasonable in this entire situation either. This is a positive move and has been much needed. It also would not be happening if Arafat was still alive and kicking.

  14. cipher,
    Who invaded who?

  15. I can’t argue with the Israel building a security fence just do it on their own property. But that gets to the heart of the question doesn’t it? A 100 years ago there wasn’t an Israel. But with the Zionist movement and the aftermath of WWII millions of jews moved to what is now Israel, created a country, and basically have treated the indigineous people like shit. If someone kicked you out of your house and “let” you live in a tent in your backyard then you’d be pissed off with them, and their big brother down the street who finances them.

  16. fyodor,

    You’re making the moral equivalence argument, which is fundamentally flawed. There is no paradox.

    The only thing one really needs to know about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is this: If the Palistinians convincingly put down their weapons tomorrow, they’d have their own state the next day. If the Israelis convincingly put down *their* weapons tomorrow, they’d cease to exist the next day.

    Everything else is window dressing.

  17. Well, I’m not sure if you can call Rachel Corrie’s actions “nonviolent resistance.” She was nonviolently protecting weapons-smuggling tunnels, wasn’t she? She was probably a dupe, and if so, I feel sorry for her.

  18. If the Palistinians convincingly put down their weapons tomorrow, they’d have their own state the next day.

    This is true. The question is what that state would look like. If someone came into Southern California and kicked out everyone from Orange County, there’d be plenty of fighting. Even if they offered to give them autonomy in Hisperia.

  19. It is to bad Palestinian didn’t try such tactics 30 years ago when they might have done some good. Instead, they embraced the commission of premeditated war crimes as a celebrated means of armed struggle.

    Actually, Shannon, the first intifada consisted overwhelmingly of nonviolent tactics, though it was the stones and molotov cocktails (directed at military targets) that got the headlines.

    The second intifada, of course, was radically different — and radically despicable. If Bilin is typical of the third, that has to be a good thing.

    Jesse Walker, it’s cute the way you put the words security fence in scare quotes. Really, there’s no need for an argument when you have creative punctuation!

    It certainly hasn’t made the Palestinians more secure, and surely their lives and liberty count for something as well.

  20. Incidentally, it looks like some resistance of the violent sort has just occurred: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4676257.stm

  21. wsdave, Probably more like histoplasmosis.

  22. I was referring to free republic, lgf, the Corner, and various columns I’ve seen.

  23. Obviously, Israel needs to summon the U.S. Supreme Court to set these Palestinians straight on “property rights”.

    joe, thanks for reminding me of Rachel Corrie. I needed a good laugh, and that idiot always gets a chuckle out of me.

  24. What is this “moral equivalence argument” that I supposedly made? That everything is morally equivalent? Israel started the problem by kicking lots Arabs off their land to make possible a Jewish state that would not have been possible with an Arab majority population and which half or more of the population did not want. Where’s the morality in that? Anyway, unless you think a wronged population has the right to do anything it wants in self-defense, it’s pretty obvious that both sides have been in the wrong. I understand where you’re coming from when you say that Palestinians would likely have their own state if they only put down their arms. I feel that way too. But is it true? It’s not so obviously true to the Palestinians, who have to face their own securities problems first hand.

  25. It is to bad Palestinian didn’t try such tactics 30 years ago when they might have done some good.

    Through this whole bloody mess I have always felt that the Palestinians need a Ghandi. Compare and contrast N. Ireland with the American South for quality of stability and peace, as well as success in garnering outside support.

  26. This is true. The question is what that state would look like. If someone came into Southern California and kicked out everyone from Orange County, there’d be plenty of fighting. Even if they offered to give them autonomy in Hisperia.

    The problem with this Mo is that about 70% of the arab refugees left Israel not at the end of an IDF gun barrel, but with the encouragement of Arab leaders of the time. They told the refugees that they were going to rid the land of the Jews.

  27. Allow me to amend my last post to say Israel created the problem by declaring a state dedicated to their own religion and ethinicity which likely made kicking out Arabs inevitable, which indeed proceeded to happen, albeit after the Arab nations initiated a war to prevent this political entity. Etc, etc, blah X 3. Was it moral to declare the state of Israel despite so much local opposition? Highly questionable. Were the Arabs right to initiate violence to prevent it? No. And both sides have infringed on the rights of the other since.

  28. Nathan,

    Where do you get that 70% figure from? Can you tell me how leaving one’s home constitutes forfeiture of it? And are you conceding that 30% of the Arabs who left were kicked out?

  29. The only problem is that the security fence is doing exactly what it intended to do: it’s reducing the number of terrorist attacks and the resulting carnage

    It is to bad Palestinian didn’t try such tactics 30 years ago when they might have done some good.

    It’s easy to forget that there’s a big difference between “Palestinian People” and “Palestinian Terrorists”.

    I’ve got Christian missionary friends who tell me how wrong the picture most Americans have of what’s going on in Isreal.

    According to them, most folks – Jew AND Palestinian – get along just fine. They do business together, work together and for each other, and demonstrate daily how possible it is for them to get along peacably.

    Enter politics, the media and radical Islam and there you find the turds in the punchbowl.

    Yes, the intifadas, occupations, border disputes, war with neighbor countries, refugees and suicide bombing are very real.

    But to lay the blame completely at the feet of the “Palestinians” without acknowleging the impact of disasterous mistakes by Isreali hardliners (remember Sharon’s trip to the western wall?) or the fact the the Palestinian leadership is corrupt and rarely acts in the best interests of the Palestinian people is flatly disingenuous (sp?).

    That some local Palestinians heavily impacted by The Wall have taken a relatively non-violent approach should be applauded – especially after the past 30 years.

    It’s to our own press’s shame that they don’t get off their asses for anything less than a bombing where people die in great numbers.

  30. Fyodor,

    As usual, I like your analysis a lot. Question I have been struggling with for a couple of years now:

    Do you think that the international effort setting up the state of Israel was a natural result of Western European plans that had been set in motion prior to WWII, or do you think of it more as an (unacknowledged) Holocaust reparation of sorts?

    I, myself, don’t know the answer to this question. I do think the answer is relevant to what is fair now.

  31. It [the security fence] certainly hasn’t made the Palestinians more secure, and surely their lives and liberty count for something as well.

    Well, the Palestinians didn’t exactly have a lot of terrorists spilling in from Israel, unprovoked, to murder their men, women and children.

  32. Israel started the problem by kicking lots Arabs off their land to make possible a Jewish state

    The problem goes back further than the Palestinian exodus. The problem began with the mass immigration of Jews to Israel, as a result of the Zionist movement, and later the Holocaust. By the time Israel was declared, before the Palestinian exodus, Jews were already the majority in the area they would have received under the 1947 UN Partition Plan. The botching of this plan (in which both sides played a role) is the mistake primarily responsible for the current mess.

    The world has spent nearly 60 years now basically trying to get the two sides back to that plan, constantly foiled by the hardliners on both sides who never agreed with it.

  33. Allow me to amend my last post to say Israel created the problem by declaring a state dedicated to their own religion and ethinicity

    That’s probably the biggest mistake of all. Setting up the country in such a way to guarantee the rights of all people of Jewish descent is far different than setting up a state that is blatantly discriminatory to those of non-Jewish descent. Arabs are constantly fighting for political rights within Israel. This should not be the case, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this is one of the primary things that contributes to the continuing animosity of the Arabs against the state of Israel.

  34. The non-violent protest will have very little impact on the Israeli electorate at this point as they won’t be seen as an sincere attempt to avoid violence but rather as a tactic the Palestinians were forced to after violent means failed.

    I’m not sure that the path that the Palestinians take to get to non-violent protest is relevant. They had grievances, and were using wrong methods to air those grievances. Now they are using the right methods. Their motivation for using right methods is not particularly important. Indeed, if we really think that non-violent protest is the right way, then we should be more accomodating to those who chose those methods.

    Its all well and good to expect people to choose non-violence over violence out of the goodness of their heart, but it seems to me that we’d be well advised to be a little more favorable to those who choose non-violence, regardless of why they chose it.

  35. Do you think that the international effort setting up the state of Israel was a natural result of Western European plans that had been set in motion prior to WWII, or do you think of it more as an (unacknowledged) Holocaust reparation of sorts?

    It probably would have happened in a slower and more orderly manner had the Holocaust not occurred. The Holocaust (and anti-semitic attitudes in Eastern Europe in general) greatly increased the number of Jews immigrating or wanting to immigrate to Israel. With the Arabs nearing a state of revolt and Jews in the area starting to commit what could be called terrorist acts against the British, the Brits decided to wash their hands of the whole mess, and turn it over to the UN to figure out what kind of state should be there. The rest is history.

  36. Well, the Palestinians didn’t exactly have a lot of terrorists spilling in from Israel, unprovoked, to murder their men, women and children.

    I suppose that’s true: the Israelis who murder Palestinian men, women, and children were “provoked.” Of course, the Palestinians who murder Israeli men, women, and children were “provoked” too. As other commenters have pointed out, you can trace the mutual provocations all the way back to the initial land-grab of 1948, with innocent people getting killed all along the way.

  37. Some jewish people bought some land from some people that did not call themselves Palestinians. No crime there.

    They invested in this swamp land and made it valuable.

    They decided to create a government, that is not based on a religion. Not every citizen is Jewish. All citizens have equal rights. Did this land already have a functioning government? Did the jews have rights in this government?

    Neighboring countries invaded. Some of the non-jewish citizens left the nation because of the promise of plunder when the war was over. They chose their side. The losing side.

    Israel expanded its nation in an act of defense. The lands they took are theirs. They chose to give them back. That was their choice.

    The fence protects Israel from people that want to destroy it. The only question here is whether or not Israel has the right to exist.

  38. “Obviously, Israel needs to summon the U.S. Supreme Court to set these Palestinians straight on ‘property rights’.”

    Of course! That’s the solution. It’s patently obvious that all the land on the West Bank and Gaza would yield greater tax revenue if it were taken from its poor Arab owners and given to affluent, productive Israeli owners. So the Israelis can ethnically cleanse everthing in the old mandate of Palestine with a clean conscience. (For that matter, they should be able to annex all of Jordan, Syria, and Egypt too, since I doubt the wogs living there are putting that land to its highest and best use.)

  39. you can trace the mutual provocations all the way back to the initial land-grab of 1948

    Goes back way further than that, Jesse. The Arab attacks on Jewish immigrants go back to the 1920s. By the time of the Great Uprising in the 30s, both Arabs and Jews were carrying out terrorist attacks targeting the other group’s civilians.

  40. My father in law at the time had a great solution for dealing with the middle-east – build a huge freak’n wall around them. Every few years or so, we pull out a brick to see if they’re still fighting. If so, then push the brick back in.

    But then where would we get all that icky black stuff?

  41. Goes back way further than that, Jesse. The Arab attacks on Jewish immigrants go back to the 1920s. By the time of the Great Uprising in the 30s, both Arabs and Jews were carrying out terrorist attacks targeting the other group’s civilians.

    True! I hereby revise my statement: “You can trace the mutual provocations so far back that I lose track.”

  42. Do you think that the international effort setting up the state of Israel was a natural result of Western European plans that had been set in motion prior to WWII, or do you think of it more as an (unacknowledged) Holocaust reparation of sorts?

    Dave W.
    I know this was addressed to fyodor, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to throw in my 2 cents. I don’t think it’s entirely one or the other. I believe it’s a combination of the two. The wheels had been turning for the state due to the Zionist movement and the British have a long history of drawing arbitrary lines in the sand (no pun intended) to create nations, oblivious to the problems these unnatural borders create. I believe the aftermath of the Holocaust sped up this timeline and induced the British to attempt to give Jews their own state partly as reparations. Remember, in early Israeli history, the most active Israeli allies were the Brits and the French, I believe, largely due to guilt over the Holocaust.

    Would there be a better outcome had the nation been allowed to evolve more organically, as it had prior to WWII? IMO, yes. You would not have had the cases where Jews had their property seized and were kicked out of many Muslim nations in retaliation. As madpad said, the people of the three religions (the Christian Palestinians are often overlooked) would end up coexisting quite well.

    A great deal of the problem, IMHO, was due to the forced nature of this agreement which allowed the other nations in the area to attempt to flex their muscles and polticize the issue and turn it into a military conflict. Nasser was a big instigator of these problems, with his pan-Arab rhetoric. Without the Westerners imposing their will in the region, I don’t think Nasser would have had the support of the other nations due to a lack of propaganda. However, Nasser was able to use the creation of Israel and fit it into the story of centuries of European meddling in Arab affairs and got support from local governments to begin war on Israel. Once that happened, well, you know the rest.

  43. It probably would have happened in a slower and more orderly manner had the Holocaust not occurred. The Holocaust (and anti-semitic attitudes in Eastern Europe in general) greatly increased the number of Jews immigrating or wanting to immigrate to Israel.,/i>

    From my limited-value perspective as a person too young to remember and relatively unschooled in history, I have a problem with this version of the history.

    It seems to me that the state of Israel would have been a lot more useful in 1938 than 1948. See, my thinking is that persecuted Jewish people, being denied immigration to UK or US in 1938 could have fled to Israel instead. The situation doesn’t seem like it was as serious in 1948 because Hitler was dead and the Holocaust had ended.

    If the British were serious about creating Israel to the Holocaust, then they would have done it when it could have helped more. All this makes me suspect that Israel was more of a lip service thing prior to WWII rather than a real plan. It also makes me suspect that it is the British who were really paying a reparation in 1948, albeit paying it relatively painless by using colonial land to make the payment, rather than Sterling or Ireland.

  44. “Neighboring countries invaded. Some of the non-jewish citizens left the nation because of the promise of plunder when the war was over. They chose their side. The losing side.”

    Yeah, clearly none of them fled because their homes were in the middle of a fucking war zone. Anyone who left that zone hoping to come back after the end of hostilities deserved to lose their house.

  45. (must… use… preview… button)

    fyodor

    Where do you get that 70% figure from?

    The 70% comes from MiddleEastFacts.com (an admitedly pro-Jewish site) but it jibes with the history of the time (see here for more info).

    Can you tell me how leaving one’s home constitutes forfeiture of it?

    Can you tell me where I claimed that? My post was in response to you saying:

    Israel started the problem by kicking lots Arabs off their land to make possible a Jewish state that would not have been possible with an Arab majority population and which half or more of the population did not want.

    Every arab wasn’t kicked out of the country. Many left of their own accord. Granted it was because they either wanted to avoid what they saw as the inevitable bloodshed or they really believed certain people who assured them they would be home soon enough after the jews were driven from the land. Nevertheless, the vast majority of them were not kicked out of the country.

    And are you conceding that 30% of the Arabs who left were kicked out?

    Well, DUH. Simple math dictates that. Am I condoning it? No. Simply pointing out that you’re portrayal of the subject is decidedly one sided. Funny how the almost equivalent number of Jewish refugees from neighboring arab countries during that time doesn’t raise your ire. I guess if Jews get kicked out of their country and are forced to resettle in Israel that’s perfectly acceptable.

    There’s plenty of blame to be spread around that part of the world right now…. actually, for many, many years as others have pointed out.

  46. “All this makes me suspect that Israel was more of a lip service thing prior to WWII rather than a real plan.”

    No, it was a real plan all right. The Brits made the promise in the middle of World War I, in the hope of firming up Jewish support (both inside and out of the UK) for British war aims. After the war, though, they ran up against the annoying fact that the people who actually lived in Palestine were about as eager to have an influx of Jewish immigrants as the Sioux were to having a bunch of palefaces settle in the Black Hills. The Brits tried their best to be fair to both sides, and ended up making no one happy. (Similarly, the U.S. government tried to be fair to both the Sioux and the white settlers, with equal success.) The Brits could have allowed massive Jewish immigration in the 1930s, but that would have provoked open rebellion from the Arab inhabitants. Finally, the Brits threw up their hands in despair and decided to bail and let the Jews and Arabs fight it out among themselves. (Almost simultaneously, they did the same thing in India, but at least in that case they hadn’t created the problem by inviting the Moslems in with promises of a “Muslim national home.”)

  47. Currently 2/3 of the just under 5 million Palestinians are crammed into the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The rest live in Jerusalem. The 5.3 million Jewish population has the rest.

    The question may become increasingly moot as the Arab-Palestinian population continues to grow at a rate far outpacing the Jewish one.

    The Jewish leadership knows this. The wall is an obvious reaction to it. It is still a ridiculous enterprise that robs resources and imflames the situation without giving a foreseeable, long-term out for the State of Isreal.

    Certainly Palestinian terrorists have done their part to justify extreme reactions by Isreal. But the Isreali government, after Rabin’s assasination, quickly backed away from it’s own deals with the Palestinian leadership that had resulted in a quieting of the violence.

    Our own government’s relations with the Isreali government have been strained precisely because of unjust measures – including this wall – against the Palestinian people.

    Walls don’t last. The Great Wall of China, The Maginot Line of France and the Berlin Wall all fell or were breached.

    It may stand as a temproary hedge against terrorism. But it’s NOT a solution. Isreal needs to focus on solutions.

  48. Nathan,
    The interesting thing is if you read the works from the early Zionist movement, they foresaw this problems. The three ideas for a Jewish homeland were Israel, Uganda (I believe) and Argentina. I don’t think it was Hertzl, but many felt that moving to Palestine would cause the precise problems that are present today (not that Uganda or Argentina would be better, but at least it wouldn’t revive tensions from when Ismael was sent off to the desert) and Uganda or Argentina would be preferable. It doesn’t make them culpable, but the early Zionists foresaw this problem before they jumped in.

  49. Apparently there was just a terrorist attack in Israel that killed several teenagers at a mall. Fucking sick.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050712/ap_on_re_mi_ea/israel_explosion

  50. Make that “a couple”..

  51. Paul,

    You’re the one making the moral equivalence argument. The Israelis are living on land they stole from the Palestinians. And if the Palestinians “convincingly put down their arms,” they’d get a state, all right. They’d get a Palestinian Bantustan with all the strategically important locations carved out of it, and Israeli control of the major highways and the Jordan River. Israel would love to have a nominally independent “state” to supply migrant farm labor.

    I know Palestinians who still carry around the keys to the houses that were stolen from them in 1948. The refugee camps are laid out according to the towns in pre-1948 Palestine the inhabitants come from, and sometimes according to the individual streets they lived on.

    There’s a passage in one of the Psalms that reads “May my right hand forget her cunning, if I forget thee, O Jerusalem.” It concludes with a blessing on anyone who dashes the Babylonians’ little ones against the wall. So a longing to return to one’s home, and hatred of those who stole it, is not a new thing.

    Try to imagine, if you can, what the situation would be like in occupied France today if the Nazis had won WWII. My guess is that a lot of people in the Resistance would be suicide-bombing civilian settlers in German colonies. For that matter, if the U.S. were occupied by a foreign invader, I expect a lot of good ol’ boys in pickups would be strapping explosives to themselves. And before you even get started, I don’t believe that such killing of civilians is right. But any would-be occupier of a foreign people had sure as shit better figure on it happening.

    It’s real easy for the dominant power, with an overwhelmingly superior conventional army, to set the rules for “legitimate” political engagement.

  52. Nathan,

    Every arab wasn’t kicked out of the country. Many left of their own accord.

    Might we assume they would have liked to come back?

  53. Anyone who left that zone hoping to come back after the end of hostilities deserved to lose their house.

    well, yeah. if there’s a conflict in which your land is in jeopardy, and you decide to leave rather than defend your land, then guess what? you don’t have your land anymore.

    obviously, at some point you decided your life was more important.

  54. Might we assume they would have liked to come back?

    fyodor might we also assume the Pope’s ass smells.

    Both of which have squat all to do with the original argument.

  55. You know…just to turn this over to hypotheticals for a minute, what does either side realistically expect, want or think might happen?

    ISREAL: That Palestinians, Arabs, and the whole Middle East will just accept Isreal as a state with no give by the side of The Chosen people? Sure, they’re used to anti-semitism and blame everything on that irrationality. But seriously, can’t they look inward for a few minutes and try to see if they’re doing something counter productive.

    Like Dr. Phil says, “How’s that workin’ for ya’?” My guess is that somewhere, there’s a Likud hard-liner who’s thinking to himself, “You know? Maybe we should try a different approach? I just wish I could say that to someone and not risk exile”

    PALESTINIAN-ARAB: That the Jews will just give up and go home? All 5 million plus? Or that they can wipe the Hebrew race off the face of the earth without the U.S. retaliating and turning the entire region into a sheet of molten glass?

    Without getting into the blah-blah about the irrationality of the theocracy under which both exist, surely at some level someone’s got to be thinking of an end-game here.

    Any thoughts?

  56. Another thing about Israel and the Jewish people who went there after WWII – a big reason everyone (ie, europe and america) was ok with the formation of Israel was because nobody wanted the Jews that had been dispersed by the holocaust, either. Unfortunately, jews have been persecuted since the beginning of time, so it wasn’t like the US was begging to have all the poor souls displaced by the war come here. Ditto every other country in europe.

    I also have to believe that a small part of it was because jews are god’s chosen people, according to the bible, and a lot of folks believe in the bible (although this theory is pretty much mine alone).

    Thanks Mo, Seamus, and phocion for filling me in on some of the details.

  57. Well madpad, sometimes I think we should just cut to the chase and turn the whole area into glass now. But the laws of unintended consequences, and my conscience, make that idea seem really bad. I’m just sick of both sides claiming how right they are and how wrong the other is, and all the apologists that jump on the pile.

  58. Israel started the problem by kicking lots Arabs off their land to make possible a Jewish state that would not have been possible with an Arab majority population and which half or more of the population did not want. Where’s the morality in that?

    During the early Arab riots during the mandate period, Arab population and economic indicators were increasing/improving, and the Arab standard of living was increasing faster in Palestine than elsewhere. Jewish immigration and investment probably improved the lives of local Arabs, and would probably have continued to do so had the Arabs not decided to follow a path of violence.

    While in general it is true that the Jews came to Palistine and “took over”, it also seems true that the Jewish immigration resulted in Arab immigration. Point being, if your Arab great-grandpa came to Palistine because of oppertunities resulting from Jews, it is kinda hypocritical for you to be calling the Jews invaders today . . .

  59. “Both of which have squat all to do with the original argument.”

    So, let me get this straight, Nathan: If you voluntarily go on vacation, I have the legal and moral right to come take your house? If not, then why would people who fled their property because it was in a warzone have less of a right to seek the return of their property?

  60. honestly it seems to me that it doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong in the least. this thing passed the point of no return ages ago. it isn’t going to end until either israel is gone or its rich arab neighbors are crippled to the point that they’re no longer a threat to it. in other words, this is all going to end in war.

    i think the israeli government realizes this, and they don’t want to give the arabs an(other) advantage before the game even starts… like a palestinian state within marching distance of jerusalem.

  61. “well, yeah. if there’s a conflict in which your land is in jeopardy, and you decide to leave rather than defend your land, then guess what? you don’t have your land anymore.

    “obviously, at some point you decided your life was more important”

    So I guess zach agrees that the Greeks who fled the Turks in Northern Cyprus forfeited any right to their homes (as did Serbs who fled from the Krajina in Croatia, or who fled from Kosovo after NATO proved unable to protect them from Albanian ethnic cleansing)?

  62. Nathan, do you think the Kuwaitis forfeited all claims to their houses when they fled Kuwait after the Iraqis invaded?

  63. You know, as a Christian myself, I can understand and appreciate the allegiance to both the Jewish culture and the state of Isreal.

    But isn’t wanting them to adopt methods leading to long-term, effective solutions part of that support?

    I support Isreal, but not blindly. Supporting them – for a variety of reasons, not the least of which includes a shared heritage – doesn’t mean excusing wrong-headed actions that lead to greater problems.

  64. So, let me get this straight, Nathan: If you voluntarily go on vacation, I have the legal and moral right to come take your house? If not, then why would people who fled their property because it was in a warzone have less of a right to seek the return of their property?

    because it was in a warzone. they left because they valued their lives more than their property. so they kept their lives and lost their property. i wouldn’t be happy about it either, but it’s not a question of right or wrong anymore, it’s war.

  65. Joe, if you googled it (presumably you did, or you wouldn’t know how well that would work), can’t you just provide actual links to actually celebratory comments? Or did you just want to slip that in there, like saying, “Liberals celebrate when Americans die. Yes, celebrate. Just google ‘September 11’.”

    Leaves a strong impression on the impressionable, doesn’t it?

  66. Try to imagine, if you can, what the situation would be like in occupied France today if the Nazis had won WWII. My guess is that a lot of people in the Resistance would be suicide-bombing civilian settlers in German colonies.

    Actually, it would be very much like France under German occupation, prior to major resistance. The French Resistance was not very active until it was clear that the Allies were winning. If Germany won, the French Resistance would have withered quickly. Further, the only “German colonies” would be in the contested border areas where the language was already German.

    It is instructive that more Poles fled to England to fight the Nazis than Frenchmen; and that most Frenchmen who did flee during Dunkirk, etc., did not enter the fight against the Nazis. The Jean Barts of the world are good at putting the focus on heroic French resistance, ignoring all the French who fought on the Nazi side, ignoring the vast majority who either collaborated or did nothing.

    The SS division that perished in Berlin with Hitler was in fact the French SS division. They faught heroically, but for the other side.

  67. Zach-
    Do YOU think the Kuwaitis forfeited their homes when they fled the country after the Iraqi invasion? If not, how do they differ from the Palestinians?

  68. well, yeah. if there’s a conflict in which your land is in jeopardy, and you decide to leave rather than defend your land, then guess what? you don’t have your land anymore.

    Uh, isn’t that what the whole conflict about.?People that left or got kicked off their land fighting to get it back.

    I also have to believe that a small part of it was because jews are god’s chosen people, according to the bible, and a lot of folks believe in the bible (although this theory is pretty much mine alone).

    There are a great deal of conservative Christians that believe this. I’ve gotten into huge arguments with some of my friends about just this.

  69. So I guess zach agrees that the Greeks who fled the Turks in Northern Cyprus forfeited any right to their homes (as did Serbs who fled from the Krajina in Croatia, or who fled from Kosovo after NATO proved unable to protect them from Albanian ethnic cleansing)?

    i’m not saying it’s a good thing, but yes. maybe in the moral sense they ought to retain rights to their property, but in the real world, rights only exist within a body capable of enforcing them.

    if we retained a right to land after refusing to fight for that land, in any real way, there would be no need for war at all.

  70. True! I hereby revise my statement: “You can trace the mutual provocations so far back that I lose track.”

    It does make a difference, because the “it started in 1948” version means the Jews alone provoked the problem and bear most of the blame. The way I see it, the history of provocations goes something like this (I won’t go back to 66AD because that’s just getting crazy):

    Late 1800’s: Jewish immigrants start to piss off Palestinian Arabs by moving into “their” land (owned by the British) and setting up villages. They’re also buying land from British land owners and evicting the Palestinian tenants. This wave of immigration is the first provocation, but it seems to be a legal provocation by any libertarian immigration policies I’m aware of. Jewish immigration would continue at more or less ever-increasing rates for decades — some legal immigration under British law, some illegal.

    Early 1900’s: Palestinian Arabs aren’t liking some of the rumblings they are hearing about a Jewish state. The Arabs also begin to agitate for independence from the Ottoman Turks. Near the end of the first world war, the Balfour declaration is issued, saying that the Brits approve of setting up a Jewish state there someday, but also saying that the rights of non-Jews on the land should not be infringed in any way. It also doesn’t imply that the whole area will be a Jewish homeland.

    1920’s: With Jewish immigration increasing, the Arabs can tell which way the demographic wind is blowing. It’s looking like the Jews, through sheer population growth alone, might one day gain control over their land, and the Arabs will only have a minority say in the government, if that. Extremist Arabs start to carry out small-scale attacks on Jewish settlers. This is the first clearly wrong provocation. Also, Transjordan splits off from Palestine, and Britain rules that area out for a Jewish homeland.

    1936: The Great Uprising begins. A flood of Jews escaping fascist Europe push the Arabs to the breaking point. Arab nationalism sweeps through the area (possibly funded by European fascists), leading to both non-violent (strikes, protests) and violent Arab resistance against the immigration. Jews respond with terrorist attacks of their own. Both sides kill hundreds. Britain puts forth a two-state recommendation during the uprising, and both sides reject it.

    Holocaust and after: During and after the Holocaust, huge numbers of Jews want to move to Palestine to escape persecution. The British have immigration restrictions on Jews to Palestine so the situation doesn’t get out of control. The restrictions fail to keep floods of Jews from immigrating, and maybe worse, piss off the Jews in Palestine enough that they figure it’s time to take serious action to get a Jewish state. Jewish terrorist (or if you prefer, insurgency) groups start attacking the British. The Brits rightly see the tinderbox they have in Palestine, and bail.

    Israel founded: The UN comes until the scene and comes up with the 1947 partition plan, which gives both Jews and Arabs majorities in their own states and sets aside Jerusalem as an international zone. The Jews accept the plan (but not the extremists), and the Arabs don’t and immediately start rioting and terrorism. The Jewish terrorist groups are still around as well, and get back to work against the Arabs.

    The Jews then figure, if a two state solution isn’t acceptable to the Arabs, screw it, and they declare independence. The surrounding Arabs invade, the Palestinians in Israel get out (or get pushed out, depending on who you ask), and yadda yadda yadda, we’re at where we are today.

    Go ahead and correct my timeline if you think I messed up.

    By this point in the story, just about everyone has committed war crimes, and you have a problem that is basically unsolvable. There’s little reason to go beyond 1948; by then, the modern stage is set, in its most basic elements. I can’t even figure out which side “started it.” That’s why blaming one side or the other doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s also nonsense to say things began in 1948. By that time, both sides were already up to their necks in blood.

  71. Uh, isn’t that what the whole conflict about.?People that left or got kicked off their land fighting to get it back.

    not really. the conflit is about religious hatred.

  72. I support Isreal, but not blindly. Supporting them – for a variety of reasons, not the least of which includes a shared heritage – doesn’t mean excusing wrong-headed actions that lead to greater problems.

    If Israel returned to the pre-’68 borders, it would be giving up what little stratigic buffer it has. Given the past behaviour of its foes, that would be very foolish indeed.

    Most of Israel’s “wrong headed actions” are dictated by real world security concearns.

  73. theOneState,
    Actually, when the Corrie incident first happened the majority of the commenters there said quite a few things to the effect of “she deserved it”. Not to mention some people made some quite vile mosepads with bulldozers and such like that.

    By the way, one of my pet peeves is the belief that non-violent resistance alone will prevail if you have a moral argument. This is not true. MLK, Ghandi and Mandela did not exist in a vacuum. There were violent, sometimes terroristic, alternative groups fighting for the same cause as these proponents of non-violence. he reason the non-violent movements succeeded was that there was an unplatable violent alternative, so the governments decided to deal with the non-violent parties to encourage that behavior. The problem with the Palestinians is that there hasn’t been a large, politically powerful and visible non-violent movement to complement the violence that spurs the local government into action.

  74. By this point in the story, just about everyone has committed war crimes, and you have a problem that is basically unsolvable. There’s little reason to go beyond 1948; by then, the modern stage is set, in its most basic elements. I can’t even figure out which side “started it.” That’s why blaming one side or the other doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s also nonsense to say things began in 1948. By that time, both sides were already up to their necks in blood.

    You have a good timeline. But it is worth talking about 1968, since the land Israel siezed that year is the focus of much debate. However, when someone like Arafat gives up much of what he claims he wants (as he did at Camp David back in the Clinton days), you get the point that the demands made don’t really go to the heart of the issue . . .

  75. Britain puts forth a two-state recommendation during the uprising, and both sides reject it.

    The British were in control. If Britain wanted a 2-state solution, it only had to order that in 1936 when lots of Jewish refugees needed a place to go. In light of the fact that the British were in charge in 1936, the above-quoted statement makes no sense to me.

  76. Mo – well, I figured that other people do believe that, but you know how it is around here…you’ve got to try and predict how someone’s going to attack some assertion that you make and put in a disclaimer or something. 🙂

    But that’s one of the reasons why I believe we support israel as much as we do. Because really, the whole thing is such a mess it might be better if we left them to their own devices.

    People then say, “but then israel would be destroyed.” To which I reply that I wish I could care, but I can’t too much. Not that I want to see innocent people killed – far from it. But it seems like a compromise between simply nuking the whole area and helping this madness to continue.

  77. Dave,

    The Peel Commission recommended that plan in order to quell the violence of the Great Uprising. However, because neither side accepted it, it wouldn’t have stopped the violence, and thus Britain abandoned it.

  78. Given the past behaviour of its foes

    You mean getting into pointless wars and losing? I don’t know about Syria, but the political will of Egypt to enter an armed conflict with Israel is nil. Especially when you consider the new trade agreement signed between the two nations. Considering that Egypt was the primary instigator of the early conflicts, Israel’s security from foreign invaders is pretty solid.

    zach,
    This is a war over land with a religious element.

  79. By the way, one of my pet peeves is the belief that non-violent resistance alone will prevail if you have a moral argument.

    That’s one of my pet peaves, too.

    The problem with the Palestinians is that there hasn’t been a large, politically powerful and visible non-violent movement to complement the violence that spurs the local government into action.

    The Jews would have to take such a movement seriously, which is to say, trust its intentions. That would take a long time, given the inherent security risks.

  80. The way you describe it, phocion, it almost sounds biblical.

  81. Nathan, do you think the Kuwaitis forfeited all claims to their houses when they fled Kuwait after the Iraqis invaded?

    No, Mo, but then again I wasn’t claiming that the Arabs forteited claims.

    Also, you’re analogy’s a bit off. Remember, quite a few of the Arabs left because they were under the impression that friendly governments were going to do the Jews what ultimately happened to them, i.e. force Jews to forfeit their land.

    Now, does that automatically relieve those Arabs of their claim to their property? Of course not. Am I going to chuckle at the irony of the situation? Hell yes. When you abandon your land for the express purpose of facilitating the taking of someone else’s land and it suddenly goes all pear-shaped on you, you’re not going to garner much sympathy from my direction.

  82. In the scheme of things, why did Britain care about the Great Uprising?

    By 1936, wasn’t it clear already that Hitler was a bigger problem for Jewish people than even the “Great” Uprising?

  83. This is a war over land with a religious element.

    this is obiously a war over religion – and nationalism and race, all of which are intertwined in the middle east – with a land element. to prove my point all i need to do is point to the lack of material value of the land in question.

  84. Dave W.:

    Sure the Brits could have ordered that, but they then would have to deal with the fact that the low-level terrorism they were already dealing with would have exploded into out-and-out civil war–with both sides shooting at the Brits as well as each other. The Brits would probably have had to cut and run and leave the Arabs and Jews to kill each other, as in fact they did some 12 years later. That wouldn’t have been what the Brits would have regarded as a solution, and a solution is what the Brits in 1936 the Brits were still hoping to find.

  85. You mean getting into pointless wars and losing? I don’t know about Syria, but the political will of Egypt to enter an armed conflict with Israel is nil. Especially when you consider the new trade agreement signed between the two nations. Considering that Egypt was the primary instigator of the early conflicts, Israel’s security from foreign invaders is pretty solid.

    The political will of who in Egypt?

    In ’73, Israel came damn close to loosing. If they gave up the land they seized in ’68, it is entirely possible that they could loose a future war . . . and the first one they loose will be the last . . .

  86. In the scheme of things, why did Britain care about the Great Uprising?

    About 200 British people were killed during it, by Arabs pissed off that the UK was continuing to allow Jews into the region. If extremists in Puerto Rico started killing off US officials there, I think the US would care about fixing it.

    By 1936, wasn’t it clear already that Hitler was a bigger problem for Jewish people than even the “Great” Uprising?

    Sure. That’s why Jews were flooding out of Europe into Palestine at the time, raising the tension in that area even further.

  87. Seamus,

    Sounds like Israel is somebody’s reparation then. The only relevant thing that changed between the Great Uprising and the UN Resi is that 6 million dead Jewish people thing.

  88. When you abandon your land for the express purpose of facilitating the taking of someone else’s land and it suddenly goes all pear-shaped on you, you’re not going to garner much sympathy from my direction.

    and what i’m saying is, when you voluntarily leave land that is or you know is about to be contested militarily, as opposed to asserting your natural right to protect it militarily; and then cry about your lost land after the fact; and especially, if you decide to take your aggression out on innocent civilians after the fact; you’re not going to garner much sympathy from my direction, either.

  89. So, let me get this straight, Nathan: If you voluntarily go on vacation, I have the legal and moral right to come take your house? If not, then why would people who fled their property because it was in a warzone have less of a right to seek the return of their property?

    Jesus, you have the reading comprehension of a chimp. The argument I’ve been making has dick all to do with what’s right or wrong with who owns what. It was simply to do with the statement:

    Israel started the problem by kicking lots Arabs off their land to make possible a Jewish state that would not have been possible with an Arab majority population and which half or more of the population did not want.

    Which is demonstrably false. It?s a hell of a lot more complicated than that. Some Arabs were booted from their land. Many more left for various reasons, but not at the end of a rifle or court order. The “Israel was created by booting a bunch of Arabs off of their land” story is childishly simplistic (not to mention incorrect) at best, propaganda at worst.

    Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who cares. It?s a mess that has no clear cut solution going forward if all sides are going to cling forever onto old blood feuds and tit-for-tat crap.

    As I stated before, there’s plenty of blame to be spread around.

  90. “By 1936, wasn’t it clear already that Hitler was a bigger problem for Jewish people than even the ‘Great’ Uprising?”

    Actually, no. In 1936, Kristallnacht hadn’t even yet occurred, much less the Holocaust. Laws had been passed depriving Jews of citizenship and voting rights and forbidding them to marry or have sexual relations with Aryans, but they weren’t yet required to wear yellow stars, nor had laws been passed aiming at the “aryanization” of Jewish-owned businesses. Generally speaking, the situation of Jews in Germany in 1936 was probably still much better than that of, say, blacks in the American South.

  91. So, Zach, are you implying by your arguements that Israel has no inherent right to exist?

  92. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who cares.

    exactly.

    It?s a mess that has no clear cut solution going forward if all sides are going to cling forever onto old blood feuds and tit-for-tat crap.

    which they are. so there is no good solution, but it’s pretty clear (to me) how it’s going to end.

  93. “Sounds like Israel is somebody’s reparation then. The only relevant thing that changed between the Great Uprising and the UN Resi is that 6 million dead Jewish people thing.”

    No, more relevant is the massive post-war influx of Jewish immigrants into Palestine, despite the best efforts of the British to keep them out (knowing they would just be adding fuel to the already existing fire). Finally, the Brits decided it was hopeless, threw their hands up in despair, and told the U.N. General Assembly they were welcome to try to do something, because the British had exactly nothing to gain by staying.

    BTW, I find it interesting that after WW2, people thought the experience of the Holocaust made the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine essential to Jewish security, but in fact the history of Israel makes it clear that the Jews would have been much more secure (and would have provoked much less hostility) if they had all come to the United States instead of Palestine.

  94. The Israelis are living on land they stole from the Palestinians.

    This is simply wrong on so many levels.

    First, the fiction of “the Palestinians.” As a political entity, there is not and never has been a Palestinian nation. Palestinian is a convenient political fiction for the ethnic mixture of Arabs, Jordanians, whatever, who happened to live in what is now Israel.

    Second, the myth that the Israelis “stole” anything. The original Israel was created by the folks who had the legal/political authority to do so – the Brits, with the endorsement of the UN. The creation of Israel itself was not stealing from anyone, much less a non-existent Palestinian nation/people.

    To assert that, as a political matter, the creation of Israel involved the theft of land from the Palestinians, is, to put it kindly, a series of semantic and category errors.

  95. Nathan,
    It was Jennifer, not I that made the Kuwait analogy.

    Don,
    The government, most of the populace. I’m sure there are quite a few Islamic extremists that want to remove Israel, but people remember butt kickings of that magnitude (not to mention Israel is far better equiped to whup up on Egypt than it was in 73).

  96. Sorry about that Mo. Ranting duely directed at Jennifer.

  97. Seamus,

    Fair answer. let me try a different question: if the British were concerned about Palestinian Arab opposition in 1936, then why not in 1948? Had Arab resistance lessened in the interim? Had Britain (or its successor in this matter, the UN) given some kind of concession to the Palestinian Arabs so that the Great Uprising problems went away for a time?

    I am still not clear on what changed for the British between 1936 and 1948.

  98. Thanks for answering above, S. Should have awaited yr answer.

  99. Just a couple of quotes:

    David Ben-Gurion(1938) “after we become a strong force, as a result of the creation of a state, we shall abolish partition and expand into the whole of Palestine”

    Menachem Begin(1948): “The partition of the Homeland is illegal. It will never be recognized. The signature of institutions and individuals of the partition agreement is invalid. It will not bind the Jewish people. Jerusalem was and will forever be our capital. Eretz Israel (the land of Israel) will be restored to the people of Israel, All of it. And forever”. “

  100. Jews would have been much more secure (and would have provoked much less hostility) if they had all come to the United States instead of Palestine.

    Or if the Jewish state had been placed right at the situs of the Holocaust where it belonged (belongs?).

  101. “Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who cares.”

    Right! The question is, why is my government (and why am I, as an American tax payer) involved in this Charlie Foxtrot at all?

  102. I am still not clear on what changed for the British between 1936 and 1948.

    Purely speculation on my part, Dave, but I suspect is had to do with Great Briton wanting to get out of the colonial game ASAP, as opposed to anything specifically to do with Palestine / Israel issues.

  103. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who cares. It?s a mess that has no clear cut solution going forward if all sides are going to cling forever onto old blood feuds and tit-for-tat crap.

    Nathan,
    Right you are. It’s sad. That’s why during my first 100 days as president I’m implementing operation King Solomon. Both sides have 30 days to come up with a mutually agreed upon arrangement or I fire off the ICBMs and “cut the baby in half”.

  104. So, Zach, are you implying by your arguements that Israel has no inherent right to exist?

    no country has an inherent right to exist. inherent rights don’t exist. land is obtained through war, and then (ideally) a set of rights are decided upon by the people. if you believe that you ought to have certain rights, and you don’t presently have them, you can fight to gain land and thus grant yourself certain rights in your own territory. you don’t have any rights in territory that someone else controls, except for those rights that they choose to give you.

    for instance, i can talk up a storm (and often do) about the legal rights that people in the U.S. ought to have, even according to our own constitution. but i realize that what rights i have in reality depend entirely upon what is decided in the governmental process.

  105. now to the question of whether or not i think israel ought to have the right to exist, the answer is, i don’t know. but fortunately (for me), it’s not my war to decide.

  106. Mo

    I’ve always wanted to deploy the Disney Option ™, personally:

    Give the population a month to get the hell out of Dodge, carpet bomb the area, pave it and sell it to Disney. Everyone gets the right to return, they just have to pay at the turnstiles like the rest of us.

    Its a small f**king world after all.

  107. Most of Israel’s “wrong headed actions” are dictated by real world security concearns.

    Don’t really agree with that, Don.

    Many folks (myself included) see Isreal as creating some of the very problems. After Oslo, most Palestinians lost land and businesses as Isreali settlements continuted to expand.

    Now, I’m no expert but when you promise withdrawals from certain areas under agreement and then – instead of withdrawing – continue to expand, the folks you’ve made an agreement with probably aren’t going to trust you.

    Yes, some 295 Isrealis were killed between Oslo and the 2nd Intifada. But 405 Palestinians were killed by Isreali soldiers.

    Now I’m in no way saying the Isrealis are all at fault nor am I excusing terrorism.

    But I am saying that the Isreali government, under hardliners, has taken some approaches in the name of defense that may have actually worsened their situation over the past 10 years.

    So much so that it has strained our own relations with them. Simply put, they are not trusted to keep their promises any more than Arafat was.

  108. “now to the question of whether or not i think israel ought to have the right to exist, the answer is, i don’t know. but fortunately (for me), it’s not my war to decide.”

    Thanks for the explanation. You’re not a U.S. citizen then?

  109. to clarify, i said:

    …as opposed to asserting your natural right to protect it militarily…

    as i said above, there are no inherent or natural rights. when i said “natural right” here i was just emphasizing that i believe defending your own land military is morally defensible.

  110. good point patrick. whether or not it should be, this whole thing may well ultimately be up to us.

  111. “let me try a different question: if the British were concerned about Palestinian Arab opposition in 1936, then why not in 1948? Had Arab resistance lessened in the interim? Had Britain (or its successor in this matter, the UN) given some kind of concession to the Palestinian Arabs so that the Great Uprising problems went away for a time?”

    The concession the Brits gave in 1936 was not going forward with partition. They were certainly concerned about Arab opposition in 1948, but the way they decided to deal with it was to bug out rather than attempting a solution. Arab resistance certainly hadn’t lessened in the meantime — quite the contrary. Nor, for that matter, had Jewish resistance (such as the blowing up of the King David Hotel). The Brits finally realized that there really wasn’t anything they could do to make things better (whether for themselves, for the Arab or Jewish inhabitants, or of potential Jewish immigrants), so they proceeded to shake themselves free as quickly as they could from the tar baby they had so imprudently grabbed hold of in 1917.

  112. First, the fiction of “the Palestinians.” As a political entity, there is not and never has been a Palestinian nation. Palestinian is a convenient political fiction for the ethnic mixture of Arabs, Jordanians, whatever, who happened to live in what is now Israel.

    RC,

    I see this argument trotted out all the time on right-wing sites, but I question both its accuracy and its relevance. There were no Palestinians in 1800, if by Palestinians you mean one distinct, united, Arab nation — that is true. Nor were there Jordanians, Iraqis, or Saudis. The entire area was populated primarily by Arabs, many of which were nomadic or tribal. The modern nation-state and its associated nationalism was a foreign European concept in this part of the world. When geographic borders were imposed on the region by the outside world, the area that is now Israel became known as Palestine, and nationalist feelings began.

    Today, in 2005, there ARE such things as nationalistic Palestinians, just like you see nationalism among the Iraqis and Jordanians. It’s not so much an invention of political convenience as a direct result of the rise of the nation-state in the Middle East. Thus, I don’t see how your point is relevant. If you are implying that these people have no right to their own homeland because the nationalism concept is relatively new to them, or that they are somehow Saudis trying to get the land back through false flag tactics, then I have to vehemently disagree with you.

  113. OT – Bravo to everyone for having an intelligent, civil discussion without this thread devolving into anti-Semetic remarks or accusations of the same. 100+ comments and 90% are on topic and insightful. This is why I come to H&R.

    Oh and what phocian said regarding the existence of “Palestinians”.

  114. phoicon – Your history of the region has a fairly large gap in it, namely the three thousand
    years of Jewish history in the land of Israel. It’s because of this that dicussions of pre-1948 mandate policy is pointless. Jews have an historical claim to Israel and if the Palestinians think that they have a claim to the same land it needs to be discussed between the two groups without referencing what the British government did in 1936.

  115. …and then you go further back, and you see that the jews wrested israel from the evil hands of the tribes that were living there at the time (all those “ites”), according to the bible at least.

    my point is again that this is really a religious struggle.

  116. Mark Fox,

    I sincerely hope no other groups will begin staking claims to the land they lived on 2000 years ago. I think in any realistic context, modern Israel can only be dated back to the Zionist movement of the late 1800’s. Whether or not the Zionist movement was justified by ancient historical or religious claims I think is quite immaterial after over 1500+ years of Arab dominance of the land, at least to anyone who doesn’t have some kind of religious stake in the outcome.

  117. Your history of the region has a fairly large gap in it, namely the three thousand

    Good lord, you’ve got to be kidding me! If the Palestinians lose their claim to the land after leaving for a mere decade or two, what claim do people that left land for millenia have?

    I will wait here patiently as Mark hands over his house to a local Indian tribe so they can promptly build a casino on it.

  118. Jews have an historical claim to Israel and if the Palestinians think that they have a claim to the same land it needs to be discussed between the two groups

    Substitute Native Americans for “Jews” and USA for “Palestinians” and you can easily see how ridiculous this logic is in light of int’l standards of repose.

  119. I return to my previous hypothetical rambling about what either side considers a realistic (if not rational) end to the lunacy.

    10 million people live on a patch of land that the Arabs would consider worthless if for no other reason than the Jews want it and the Dome of the Rock is there.

    It’s got no oil, lot’s of arid desert, a salt filled lake in which nothing can live and poor farmland (so much for the fertile crescent).

    Fully half hates the other half and want’s it to die or otherwise go away (pick your half).

    Since there’s no rational or realistic way that’s going to happen, at some point reality has to come into the equation.

    With all due respect, while the Palestinian terrorist might have a theo-philosophical reason for their actions, their goal of wiping the Jews from the face of the earth (or simply leaving) makes them crazy as shithouse rats.

    Unfortunately, the Isreali hardliners approach is hardly what anyone whould call “effective”…let alone rational.

    Both side make a credible religious and heritage claim on the property (to Zach, while your point is excellent and accurate, those “ites” have so far declined to join in the fray).

    So at some point, some one’s going to have to pull their head out of their ass and say, “What’s it going to take?”

  120. what’s ridiculous is the idea of the groups discussing it and coming to a happy resolution. unless everyone spontaneously stops caring, this is going to end in war.

  121. Both side make a credible religious and heritage claim on the property (to Zach, while your point is excellent and accurate, those “ites” have so far declined to join in the fray).

    So at some point, some one’s going to have to pull their head out of their ass and say, “What’s it going to take?”

    sadly, what it’s going to take is a lot like what happened to those “ites” in the bible.

  122. Yeah, Mo, 122+ posts and nothing nasty so far. Probably won’t be anything nasty, either. I used to try to read an Exxon Mobil chat site when I owned that stock but under each topic would be several hundred vicious posts spitting vitriol. The word ‘Goos’ would come up frequently. Had a hard time figuring that one out.

    It was a terrible site for Exxon Mobil related news.

  123. Zach,

    Unfortunately, if forces (including my deluded, Armageddon-obsessed fellow Christians) have their way, I fear you’re right.

    Sadly, while the Palestinian-Isreali conflict is big enough as it is, The larger Arab nations, the Rapturites, the militant Islamisists, the Russians, the Chinese (and everyone else hungry for oil) is exploiting it for position and gain.

    It probably won’t end well.

  124. madpad, the U.S., too. sadly, anyone who’s anyone more or less has to, because of that black stuff.

  125. Sounds like we could enhance US security if we could figure out a way to make the black stuff irrelevant, in favor of procurement of marginal bombs and marginal warplanes.

  126. Dave W.

    Sounds like we could enhance US security if we could figure out a way to make the black stuff irrelevant, in favor of procurement of marginal bombs and marginal warplanes.

    The problem is has been very, very, very, very, (did I mention) very difficult to figure out how to make that black stuff irrelevant. And, contrary to what the general population thinks, it hasn’t been for the lack of trying. Billions have been spent by governments, universities and private businesses looking for alternatives. Its damn difficult and will continue to be. That doesn’t mean we stop looking, but for all intents and purposes that black stuff is here to stay for quite some time.

  127. If we stacked dollar bills spent on US warplanes and US bombs, next to a stack of the dollars US gov’t spending on consumer, non-military alternative energy research (in other words, not nuke sub research), which stack of bills would be taller? How much taller?

    Prioritize.

  128. Sounds like we could enhance US security if we could figure out a way to make the black stuff irrelevant, in favor of procurement of marginal bombs and marginal warplanes.

    we could also enhance US security by creating a giant energy shield around the country. or hiring martian mercernary UFOs to patrol our borders. or convincing everyone to like us.

  129. If we stacked dollar bills spent on US warplanes and US bombs, next to a stack of the dollars US gov’t spending on consumer, non-military alternative energy research (in other words, not nuke sub research), which stack of bills would be taller? How much taller?

    who cares? we could conceivably spend three times the military budget on alternative energy and still come up with nothing.

  130. three thousand years of Jewish history in the land of Israel

    For thousands of years the plot of land now known as Israel was controlled by neither arabs or jews. From Alexander the Great to Britian’s colonial empire, one empire after another took control over a land whose population ranged from 90-99% Arab. I have no idea how one can give the jews or the arabs sole historical claim to the land.

  131. If we stacked dollar bills spent on US warplanes and US bombs, next to a stack of the dollars US gov’t spending on consumer, non-military alternative energy research (in other words, not nuke sub research), which stack of bills would be taller? How much taller?

    So you believe just throwing money at the problem will solve it (you don’t work for DCPS by any chance, do you). Technical problems do not get solved by money alone. You cannot will a solution. That particular problem has been pondered over since oil was first discovered. Its a very, very tough technical nut to crack and it will continue to be. Billions of private and public funds will continue to flow to that research. Hell, take the entire Pentagon budget and put it towards alternative fuel research. I doubt you would end up getting much closer to the solution in the long run. (Reason has touched on this before)

    What you would do, however, is waste a metric assload of cash. Its not as if giant gov’t funded initiatives have a sterling history of fiscal responsibility.

  132. who cares? we could conceivably spend three times the military budget on alternative energy and still come up with nothing

    or we could spend 1000X more on warplanes and still get annhilated in a world war (a real world war!!!) when the oil runs out. That seems to be the default approach.

  133. Jesse:

    One of the great underreported stories in the Middle East right now is the growing popularity of nonviolent tactics among Palestinians defending their property rights and freedom of movement against the Israeli “security fence.”

    The reason that the noble struggle of these people against this theft by the Israeli government, financed by our government, goes underreported is the overwhelming pro-Israeli government bias among US media. But, this seems to be changing and we’re witnessing that change right here at Reason.

    Nathan:

    The problem with this Mo is that about 70% of the arab refugees left Israel not at the end of an IDF gun barrel, but with the encouragement of Arab leaders of the time.

    This is complete a- historical nonsense! Approximately 750,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes in an ethnic cleansing that was planned and murderously brutal. (See: Image and Reality of the Israeli-Palestine Conflict by Norman Finkelstein) Finkelstine covers the Israeli government myth of a large exodus at the behest of leaders in other Arab nations. The Israeli government and its supporters even created stories of radio broadcasts urging the Palestinians to leave their homes emanating from other Arab nations. There were no such broadcasts.

    Don:

    If Israel returned to the pre-’68 borders, it would be giving up what little stratigic buffer it has.

    You mean “pre-1867 borders” but these borders vis a vis the occupation of Palestinian land have nothing to do with a “buffer”. What a curios buffer it is that a government puts its civilians into. The occupation is about theft by a government.

    RC Dean:

    Palestinian is a convenient political fiction for the ethnic mixture of Arabs, Jordanians, whatever, who happened to live in what is now Israel.

    WTF? Not even the most rabid Greater Israel types repeat the “there are no Palestinians” lie any more!

    The 750,000 people who were forced out had lived there for centuries. There is even a Palestinian dialect of Arabic!

    http://www.zajel.org/article_view.asp?newsID=1140&cat=20

    http://lang.rice.edu/langmedia/collection_asia/lm_jordan/joIndex.html

  134. Most of this thread, while fun, has blunted the original story…that it’s nice (for once) for Palestinians to try a little non-violent civil disobedience.

    Here’s hoping that they…

    A) Don’t give up too soon in favor of the violent stuff that’s NOT effective.

    B) That the non-vilolent tactics ARE effective

  135. Most of this thread, while fun, has blunted the original story

    I know, madpad. But I mentioned it at the start of my comment.

  136. I wrote

    “You mean “pre-1867 borders”

    Of course I meant “pre-1967 borders”

    Sorry about that.

  137. “From Alexander the Great to Britian’s colonial empire, one empire after another took control over a land whose population ranged from 90-99% Arab.”

    The land didn’t become predominantly Arab until after the Arabs had conquered it, which was quite a few centuries after Alexander the Great. The Jews were the majority population there under Alexander, under the Seleucids, under the Hasmoneans, and under the Romans.

    (BTW, after the debacles of 70 and 135 (after the latter of which Jews were forbidden to live in Jerusalem), many Jews dispersed to other countries, but they still probably constituted the majority of the population of Palestine. After the Roman Empire became Christian under Constantine, however, the population of Palestine became predominantly Christian, probably through the conversion of many or most of the Jews living there. By the time of the conquest of Palestine by the Arabs in 638, it is probable that most of the inhabitants were Christians. Over the centuries, however, the population became more and more Moslem, again probably through conversion. This would mean, then, that to the extent that Palestinian Arabs can truthfully assert that recent Jewish immigrants have driven them from the soil they’ve lived on for hundred of years, it’s because they themselves are descended from Jews. (I wouldn’t want to repeat this anywhere governed by the Palestinian Authority, though.))

  138. or we could spend 1000X more on warplanes and still get annhilated in a world war (a real world war!!!) when the oil runs out. That seems to be the default approach.

    …you must realize how little sense you’re making.

    warplanes give us a proven strategic advantage. you on the other hand want us to throw all of our money at something that may never exist, instead of something that gives us a proven strategic advantage. and you think that this mythical technology, once obtained, will suddenly eliminate the need for a military? as if islamists will say to each other, “the Great Satan doesn’t need oil anymore, they’re OK by us now!”?

    if we’re going that way, screw oil alternatives. i bet if we throw enough money at it, we can invent with a warp drive, or yeah, a death star! then no one will fuck with us! or hey, an Anti-Terrorist Death Ray!

  139. Rick Barton, I didn’t mean that personally or regarding your post in particular.

  140. I can’t even figure out which side “started it.” That’s why blaming one side or the other doesn’t make any sense to me.

    A while back I wrote that I consider myself neither pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian, but pro-civilian. I got some e-mail telling me that this was an empty slogan, but I really don’t think there will be peace over there until there’s a movement of both Israelis and Palestinians against the homicidal fanatics of both tribes.

    Along those lines, I should note that many Israelis have joined these nonviolent protests against the wall, and that the Palestinians leading the protests have also been critics of the corruption and brutality of the PA. I should also mention, this being a libertarian site, that one of the strongest forces for peace is peaceful trade. When my wife worked for the Jerusalem Post, she did a story on a group whose aim was developing trade between Jews and Palestinians; their chief focus, if I remember correctly, was finding Israeli investors for Arab business ventures. This was pre-Oslo, and I wouldn’t be surprised if in a small way it helped make Oslo possible. (Needless to say, the “security fence” makes such exchange more difficult.)

    It’s important to understand the history, and sometimes it’s fun to debate it. (I’m sorely tempted to ask R.C. how Israel could be innocent of theft when Israelis directly seized homes, businesses, and land from individual Palestinians.) But if a solution ever comes, it won’t be because everyone finally settles on a historical narrative they can get behind. It will be because a large number of both Israelis and Palestinians decide it’s time to create a new historical narrative of their own.

  141. madpad,

    I know, I agree that the interesting original topic of the thread sort of got spaced. I was just saying that I brought it up again.

  142. Seamus,
    Of course Arabs and Jews are related. Arabs are, supposedly, decended from Ishmael and Jews from Isaac. We’re cousins. Back in college, my Jewish friend Dave and I had the unbeatable* beer pong team “Team Semite”. Official motto: No one can stop us when Arabs and Jews unite.

    * Ok, we had one loss.

  143. Jesse,
    Well put.

  144. Jesse,

    Tears are welling up.

  145. i don’t know any middle eastern that can hold their liquor. i guess they’re out there.

  146. What Jesse said! Which was:

    I consider myself neither pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian, but pro-civilian.

    And Jesse provides examples of capitalism and other humane activities on the part of both Palestinians and Israelis despite of the actions of their governments.

  147. I am still not clear on what changed for the British between 1936 and 1948.

    Big war, Dave. You may have heard of it? Some people call it “WWII.” (Yes, I’m being snarky.) The point is, what changed for Britain had nothing to do with Israel per se; what changed for Britain is that they could no longer afford their empire. They were abandoning lots of places.

    As for the “3000 years” thing, I agree that trying to base claims on events from millennia ago is ridiculous. But it is important to note that there has been a Jewish connection to the area for that time. (Part of the Arab propaganda strategy has been to deny such a connection entirely. To treat Jews solely as Europeans who arrived in the 20th century. Some Arabs take it to the extreme and deny even a historical connection, claiming, for instance, there was never a temple in Jerusalem.)

    Phocion, your timeline is fine, but one thing that needs to be noted — and this ties into the Palestinians’ lack of ethnic identity in 1948 — is that the refugee problem was a deliberate creation of Arab states as a propaganda weapon. If they hadn’t been trying to create a Palestinian people, we wouldn’t be in this boat now.

  148. An important part of that new narrative is embracing the two state solution. The other options are extermination/expulsion of one of the two groups (unacceptable), or one state (impossible since it will always be rejected by the side currently at demographic disadvantage). The two state position is the only one that rational, well-meaning people can have. The others need to be ostracized and shut out of the debate.

    We’re in a historic time now, when both governments have officially embraced the two state solution, and majorities of both peoples have been polled as supporting it. Obviously the details are not minor and need to be worked out. But if all sides can commit to two states, and do so honestly, that’s a tremendous start. Unfortunately, large Israeli and Palestinian minorities, as well as huge segments of people in the Middle East, US, and Europe can’t yet bring themselves to say “Yes, two states. It’s the only plan that makes sense,” for reasons that range from the religious and emotional to simply not knowing basic facts. Overcoming that crowd is a tall, tall order.

  149. If there are any awards for the most moving comment on a Mid-east blog thread topic, I want to nominate Jesse’s 5:29 comment.

  150. Phocion, your timeline is fine, but one thing that needs to be noted — and this ties into the Palestinians’ lack of ethnic identity in 1948 — is that the refugee problem was a deliberate creation of Arab states as a propaganda weapon.

    People hotly debate that, just like people debate how and why the refugees left. I was trying to summarize the things that really can’t be argued by either side, yet still shed light on the origins of the problem. Seems easier to build common ground that way.

    I don’t think Jews and Arabs will ever find common ground over the details of the exodus, but I don’t think you need to, at least at this point in the peace process. There should be some kind of right of return, but it will have to be a compromise. Demographics have made it impossible for the UN to snap its fingers and have everyone go back to exactly where they were pre-1948, or even pre-1967. Those opportunities were squandered by people who didn’t put peace and honesty first, on both sides. Will this generation squander their historic chances? Where it’s feasible, Israel should accommodate return and try to get back to the old borders, and it has to be more than a token effort. The PA needs to stamp out terrorism, and that has to be more than a token effort.

    If those things were happening, a security fence wouldn’t have to be an issue. Without laying blame for it on either side, its existence is a symptom that the people who don’t honestly believe in two states still have too much power in the region.

  151. If the British were serious about creating Israel to the Holocaust, then they would have done it when it could have helped more. All this makes me suspect that Israel was more of a lip service thing prior to WWII rather than a real plan.

    The problem with this statement is that it assumes that the British or anyone else cared what happened to the Jews prior to the release of information about the Death Camps after WWII. Benjamin Disraeli notwithstanding, the British were as antisemetic as anyone else when it came right down to it.

    It seems to me that a wall built on Israeli land would be a fairly good way to establish a boundry that both sides can get used to. But, since the Israeli government wants to look the other way as Jewish settlers force their way into the West Bank and Gaza, it’ll never work. Unless of course they plan to shove the Palestinians across the Jordinian border and build the wall there…

  152. Evidence that the occupation is the fruition of a long standing Israeli government plan for theft was provided when Winston S. Churchill III in 1973 asked Ariel Sharon, “What is to become of the Palestinians’ land?” Sharon answered: “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.”

  153. The problem with this statement is that it assumes that the British or anyone else cared what happened to the Jews prior to the release of information about the Death Camps after WWII. Benjamin Disraeli notwithstanding, the British were as antisemetic as anyone else when it came right down to it.

    Right. That is the part of me that thinks the State of Israel is best considered as a reparation.

    The part of me that thinks Israel is *not* a reparation is the part that observes that nobody calls it a “reparation.” I am not sure why the label doesn’t fit, but trying to keep an open mind on this.

    Well, I guess with some of the above posters, it was because they feel like there was going to be an Israel, Holocaust or no Holocaust. Don’t think I buy this. I mean, if 1936 Britain was really just waiting for a time when Israel creation would be peaceful and painless, I think that was just their curious Edwardian way of saying (and believing): “Ain’t gonna happen.”

  154. phocian,
    The problem with the two state solution is the 800 lb gorilla in the room. Jerusalem. Either both of them need to get it, my prefered version of this is the highly decentralized federal system with a Jewish state, a Palestinian state and the Jerusalem and surrounding communities state (including areas like Bethleham) or a three state solution (broken out like the federal state but each is completely autonomous). I see pushing for a two-state solution as unworkable because the side left out of Jerusalem will not agree (though I can see the Palestinians eventually forced to concede it away).

  155. Personally, I think the one-state option would be best — as long as the political structure of that state resembles Switzerland’s.

    But it’s not my call to make.

  156. “There should be some kind of right of return, but it will have to be a compromise.”

    It could, for example, provide for monetary compensation of those Arabs who lost their homes. (That’s what was done, BTW, in the case of the population transfer between Greece and Turkey in the aftermath of WW1.)

  157. Jesse,

    Ideally I’d like a one-state solution too. Why should it matter if someone is Jewish or Christian or Muslim? We should all live in peace and vote for the guy who promises the lowest taxes. But it’ll never happen because it would mean the end of the Jewish state and Israel will never agree to it. The two-stater seems to be the best realistic move at this time and for the foreseeable future.

    Mo,

    I’d be happy with the old partition plan for Jerusalem: the city and its environs under some sort of international control. I agree that you can’t have a two state plan where one state controls Jerusalem. The Jerusalem issue is where the the dumb religious aspect of the disagreement really shines.

  158. The Israeli, land grabbing, Apartheid wall is illegal just as the occupation is illegal. You can call it, describe it in all the detail you want as I suppose. Ignorance is bliss. How many of you have been there and seen what is really going on?
    2nd mamma

  159. Shem – if you scroll back (a lot I know), you’ll notice that I said something very similar to your “Benjamin Disraeli notwithstanding, the British were as antisemetic as anyone else when it came right down to it.” In fact, I claimed that nobody wanted the jews, so they let the israel thing happen. And it was a good idea because 1) look at how bad the jews got fucked in WWII and 2) we don’t have to take them in.

    That’s why, David W, it’s not really reparations, and it’s not really legitimate, but it is what it is. I just can’t believe nobody saw what a huge fucking issue this would become (ok, people saw it, but enough ignored it).

  160. Lets not bicker and argue about who killed who.

    Here’s a solution.

    We’re Americans, not Isralies or Palestinians.
    Let’s just wash our hands of the whole mess and not support either side militarily or financially(nor any other countries on earth for that matter). Without our substantial involvement maybe they’ll realize that their world is a little smaller and they need to play nice with each other. Otherwise let them blow the shit out of each other. It’s not our problem.

  161. (See: Image and Reality of the Israeli-Palestine Conflict by Norman Finkelstein) Finkelstine covers the Israeli government myth of a large exodus at the behest of leaders in other Arab nations.

    Norman “The Chomsky of the Israel/Palestine Conflict” Finkelstein? Pardon me, but I wouldn’t exactly call Finkelstein’s work authoritative. He seems to be just as agenda driven as the “Holocaust Industry” types he writes about.

  162. Jesse,

    The religious canton system in Lebanon worked pretty well, also, until it was destabilized by Palestinians that Hussein evicted from Jordan.

    I had a similar view of South Africa before the end of apartheid: turn the Orange Free State into an Afrikaner homeland, carve up the Transvaal and Natal and add them to the Bantustans, and let the Cape be a multi-racial state. The homeland system was potentially the nucleus of a genuine federal system, if the whites hadn’t been allowed to gerrymander the blacks onto a disproportionately small amount of shitty land.

  163. Nathan,

    I’m afraid that your objections to Finkelstein are owing to the fact that his findings argue against your agenda. Finkelstein is an honest historian. He seems to revere the truth. If you want to try to attack his work, you should probably actually read the book first. Image and Reality of the Israeli-Palestine Conflict is the most authoritative volume on the history of the conflict extant.

    Finkelstein rendered a remarkable service by demolishing the fake-evidence filled nonsense of Joan Peters which was, amazingly, repeated by Dershowitz in his equally fraudulent The Case For Israel.

    Finkelstein also has written a book that exposes the Dershowitz fraud. Read about it on Prof. Finkelstein’s site:

    http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=11

  164. I’m afraid that your objections to Finkelstein are owing to the fact that his findings argue against your agenda.

    Wow Rick, you’re a mind reader too. You seem to know exactly what I’m thinking. Quick, guess how many fingers am I holding up.

    And what agenda windmill am I tilting at?

    Fact of the matter is I have read some of Finkelstein’s work (although not Image and Reality…) and I wouldn’t exactly say he’s the most unbiased historian on the planet, and he certainly seems to have an axe to grind, especially with the Israeli New Historian movement. I have seen as much criticism of Image and Reality as I have of Morris’ The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, and I’ve only seen the label “authoritative” used for Image and Reality used in reviews from pro-Palestinian / hard left publications. (I’m sure you can explain that away like Finkelstein does by claiming the book has been buried by the Holocaust Industry he writes about.)

  165. Nathan,

    Your comments on this thread concerning the magnitude and nature of the ethnic cleansing that the Palestinian people suffered certainly run counter to even the findings of Morris and the other Israeli New Historians.

    If you really think that the only folks that like Image and Reality are “pro-Palestinian and hard left publications” you aren’t keeping abreast with the literature for sure.

    And BTW, you cited some source that made the ridiculous assertion that 70% of the Palestinians left voluntarily. You called the source “Pro Jewish” What in the Hell does that mean?? Certainly you meant to say “Pro Israeli government” or at least “Pro Israeli”. The idea of a site being pro-Jewish vis a vis a political question is absurd.

  166. I am finding this discussion highly informative but also deeply depressing. I always thought things were a hopeless mess in the Middle East but now I’m staring into an endless abyss.

    The way I look at it, right or wrong, the Arabs are always going to hate us while we fund and arm the Israelis. Every time Israel performs a “surgical” strike they are using our technology. We might as well have “made in America” stickers on all the bull dozers and bombs.

    Interests here are so profoundly powerful we will never assume a position of objectivity or neutrality. We are so deep in this shit there is no way out.

  167. Zach,

    Are you saying that the oil might not run out?

    Or are you saying that we can handle the fact of the oil running out without a really big war (and without alternative energy)?

    If you are saying either of these two things you are wrong.

    If, on the other hand, you are saying that high-confidence short term measures are always preferable to speculative long term measures, then I think your strategy’s event horizon is too short and it will probably going to get blind-sided big-time by in the long run by the problems your strategy finds too speculative to acknowledge.

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