Israel and Palestine- any (good) ideas?


by Rumbold
27th April, 2008 at 4:02 pm    

How would you bring peace to that area?


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  1. El Cid — on 27th April, 2008 at 4:18 pm  

    oooh. This one could run and run.

  2. Nav — on 27th April, 2008 at 4:27 pm  

    By way of economic incentives and the promise of a 2 state solution I’d sway the Palestinians into rejecting the temptation of supporting groups like Hamas and by way of international pressure on Israel, I’d hem in their tendency to carry out retaliation attacks inside the territories that only antagonise the ordinary Joe Palestine and hence exacerbate this useless bloody cycle.

  3. Anas — on 27th April, 2008 at 4:38 pm  

    Following international law.

  4. Munir — on 27th April, 2008 at 5:23 pm  

    The I/P conflict is easily solvable. Based on Resolution 242. Return to pre-1967 borders with recognistion of Israel by all Arab states.

    However Israel simply isnt interested and would never accept.It has no motivation to make peace.

  5. Anas — on 27th April, 2008 at 5:26 pm  

    Yep and the Arab League including Iran has made it clear that it will give full recognition to Israel on the basis of a return to pre 67 borders.

  6. Shamit — on 27th April, 2008 at 5:28 pm  

    First and foremost, create an international peace keeping force – under UN command led by an Indian or Chinese Commanding Officer – as they have no direct sides and are considered allies by both Israel and Palestinian/Arabs. Put them in the border between Israel and Palestine. There remit would be stop any more settlements on the Israel side and create a no – man’s land of few kms on either side.

    Second, a two state solution wont be viable until there’s a stretch of land that connects West Bank with Gaza which currently there isn’t. That would mean resolving the Jerusalem issue — a city considered to be birth place of 3 religions. Get a troika with representatives of all three religions to administer the city as an international city — law and order to be maintained by the same UN force.

    Third, get together a private sector and voluntary organisations under the auspices of the UN and the Middle East Envoy’s office but headed by someone like President Clinton & King Abdullah of Jordan who are widely respected across Middle East and Israel.

    The World Economic Forum has taken up some initiatives to do this and focus on education and delivering public services to the Palestinian people. The focus needs to be on creating economic and educational opportunities and developing a viable solution for those refugees still stuck in camps in various Arab countries. Its sad the Arab nations use the Palestinian cause for rhetoric but except for Jordan have refused to give them citizenship – thus making those refugees state less.

    4. Change the narratives in class rooms in schools on both sides — we published an article from Avi Sharabi a few months ago on this –which highlighted how the adult narratives slowly get entrenched in the minds of the children. You can read it here

    I think this is a good start but there needs to be political will on part of the media and politicians alike across the international community to put pressure on all those including Hamas to accept the right for Israel to exist as well as idiots like benjamin YAHOO as i call him.

    That may be a good start what do you think –

  7. leon — on 27th April, 2008 at 5:54 pm  

    Oh god not again…Rumbold, what sparked this post, any news you wish to share with us?

    oooh. This one could run and run.

    Tell me about it.

    Following international law.

    Nice dream…

  8. Cover Drive — on 27th April, 2008 at 6:36 pm  

    The vast majority of Palestinian people and Israelis want to live in peace but their leaders stick to their intractable positions. The US has a key role in any solution because it is the only country that has the power to exert any pressure on Israel. Whatever solution, which is definitely not going to be an easy and will involve painful compromise on both sides, there has to be buy-in from the Jewish Lobby in US, which is very pro-Zionist, and therefore considerable effort has to be made to convince them for the need for a solution. Otherwise we could see the current situation continuing indefinitely.

    If a Palestinian state does ever come into being I’m not convinced that will be end of all the trouble. There will always be tensions between Israel and a Palestinian state.

  9. Chairwoman — on 28th April, 2008 at 12:24 pm  

    Third, get together a private sector and voluntary organisations under the auspices of the UN and the Middle East Envoy’s office but headed by someone like President Clinton & King Abdullah of Jordan who are widely respected across Middle East and Israel.

    Excellent suggestion. Apart from the one, I hope, deliberate mistake that you left in to see if we were awake.

    Where’s the Jew’s place in this scheme?

  10. sonia — on 28th April, 2008 at 12:52 pm  

    What an odd question. ( sorry Rumbold) Its like asking a sparring couple how YOU would fix their problems? YOU Can’t – unless they want to. And even then, You can only do what any relationship counsellor can do – urge them to talk to each other and put away their hatred, to recognize both will suffer otherwise.

    Till both of them can agree to do that, and keep that up, (i.e. not start fighting when one says actually this was all your fault!) ain’t nothing going to happen. Even to have an amicable divorce, both parties need to agree to make it as smooth a process it can be. I.e. for violence to not be involved.

    There is no rocket science about this – its simply a very difficult cycle to break out of, specially when some people are clearly enjoying the violence and the power and some haven’t got any hope left. rallying what has become a disparate group of people, and not really “just” two sides, is also a major complicating factor.

    of course, as Cover Drive noted above, if you happen to be the USA, you might have some strings to pull thanks to the money used to pay for military, and also anyone else who has an interest in fanning the flames and keeping it up the fight( lots of people in that boat really) – if they happen to be influential religious leaders, then they have a role to play in dousing those flames.

  11. bananabrain — on 28th April, 2008 at 1:46 pm  

    how about this: ban the nation-state.

    it should make little difference what a country is called, given that neither israel nor palestine ought rightly to be given any religious status by their relative proponents.

    arabs should be able to live anywhere – tel aviv, haifa, jerusalem, wherever. but, contrariwise, jews have to be able to live in hebron, nablus and ramallah. forcible separation of jews and arabs, christians and muslims cannot be the ultimate solution. jews who want to live in the *religiously defined area* of “eretz yisrael” should be able to do so – from the nile to the euphrates, as we used to, BUT!! BUT!! BUT!! nobody, repeat NOBODY should make the mistake that *eretz* yisrael should be identified with *medinat* yisrael, the *state* of israel. nor should islam define the area as “waqf”. arabs and jews alike must have full and equal CIVIL status within both the jewish-administered areas and the arab-administered areas. in short, religion must be separated from BOTH nation-states. jews must not live as dhimmi under shari’ah and arabs must not live as a discriminated minority in israeli civil society. for this to happen, of course, palestinian civil institutions need to reach the level of their israeli counterparts and then both need to surpass where they are right now.

    as far as the palestinian refugees are concerned, a just solution would be for the arab states to compensate them with the assets confiscated from the half of israel’s jewish population that started as refugees from the arab world – supplemented by israeli reparations, as well. however, a wholesale “right of return” to anywhere in the current state of israel will have to be contingent upon a workable and attractive right of return for israel’s iraqi, syrian, and other middle eastern jewish communities to their countries of origin. there is a relationship here that has never been acknowledged.

    jerusalem will have to be administered as federal/international territory, whereas its religious sites will have to be administered according to the applicable religious laws – this isn’t actually a big problem, to be honest and there’s already a workable plan for doing so which came out of the oslo accords. however, it can be either BOTH, or NEITHER the capital of the israeli and palestinian civil entities. frankly, i think the religious side is a bit more important than where political embassies go. this would also split the political from the religious leadership of both sides.

    i have no idea how all of this is to be achieved, or how you get there from here without tying nearly everyone in the middle east up and taking all their arms and armaments away. plus the entire region will probably have to be demilitarised and, furthermore, the global arms industry (including israel’s, the US’s, UK’s, russia’s, france’s and everyone else’s) will have to go into decline. obviously, this will include a demilitarisation of the jewish settlements and their opening to non-jews, ditto arab villages, plus getting rid of that blasted wall and all the horrid paraphernalia of the occupation – and not just physical, but mental, for all sides.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  12. marvin — on 28th April, 2008 at 2:31 pm  

    “The vast majority of Palestinian people and Israelis want to live in peace”

    Really?

    The number of Palestinians who support attacks against Israelis continues to rise and more than half of them favor suicide bombings, according to a poll published this weekend.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1208422645447&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

  13. Cover Drive — on 28th April, 2008 at 5:00 pm  

    marvin:

    It is worrying that increasing numbers of Palestinians support terror attacks, but that also reflects worsening conditions for them in the heavily militarised occupied terretories and an urgent need to tackle their problems. The situation is particularly dire in Hamas controlled Gaza due to restrictions imposed by the Israeli government. Like most human beings ultimately Palestinians DO want to live in peace without military oppression. Jews already have the protection of the state without having to revert to crude means.

    Whatever the polls may say the fatality rate among Palestinians is greater than Israelis:
    http://www.ifamericansknew.org/stats/deaths.html

    4,719 Palestinians v 1,044 Israelis since 29 September 2000.

    The numbers do not include the sizable number of Palestinians who died as a result of inability to reach medical care due to Israeli road closures, curfews, etc. So if you’re a Palestinian you’re four times more likely to be killed in an attack than an Israeli.

    bb:

    Good idea but seems a pipe dream considering the current stalemate.

  14. bananabrain — on 28th April, 2008 at 5:15 pm  

    yes, at the moment it’s a pipe dream, but people need a vision to get around. i’ve not come across a non-extremist palestinian or arab that can’t get behind this particular endgame. the question, however, is how to get to there from where we are now. i’m sorry i don’t have a better idea about how that might happen.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  15. marvin — on 28th April, 2008 at 6:50 pm  

    Cover Drive, with mottos created by the democratically elected Hamas government like “You love life, We love Death”, you would expect far higher casualties on that side. These people are willing to blow themselves up, hopefully taking a number of Jews with them too.

    What would happen if the Palestinians renounced terrorism tomorrow and all accepted the state of Israel alongside a Palestinian state?

    Why are there Israeli checkpoints? Without these security measures many more Israeli civilians would be dying.

    No citizens of any country would vote in a government that would not implement effective security measures in the face of wave after wave of suicide bomber.

    Why don’t the Palestinians stop trying to murder the Israelis?

    Of course Israel should not be provacating by building new settlements on the disputed territories. But this cannot used to justify the murder of people. You can demolish a house and build a new one.

  16. Cover Drive — on 28th April, 2008 at 7:37 pm  

    marvin

    What makes you believe there will be wave after wave of suicide bombers? There are plenty of towns within Israel that are mixed and yet you don’t see suicide bombers blowing themselves up. If a suicide bomber is determined to blow himself up a military checkpoint is not necessarily going to stop him. Isn’t free movement within one’s own country a basic human right? You may be interested to know that Middle East envoy Tony Blair has suggested removal of key roadblocks: http://www.reuters.com/article/middleeastCrisis/idUSL2828361

    I agree there are extremists and extra security precautions are necessary but segregation is not the answer. Most public places in Israel including bars, restaurants and shopping malls have quite adequate physical security nowadays and I think that’s sufficient. I’m against segregation of people like what happened in South Africa. It only creates anger in the mind and the cycle continues.

  17. marvin — on 28th April, 2008 at 9:39 pm  

    Hamas, and Islamic Jihad and various other factions, and individuals are constantly trying to attack Israeli civilians. If they weren’t there wouldn’t be any road blocks.

    Isn’t it a human right to be free from attack? Do people really realise that if Israel stopped defending herself she would suffer greatly, and cease to exist. Massacres would occur.

    Hamas and Islamic Jihad do not live in Israel. You refer to Arabs who live within Israel. They are not segregated like in South Africa as you suggest. They enjoy equal human rights, medical care, education, etc which is unparalleled anywhere else in the region.

    Most Palestinians support suicide attacks against Israelis. This needs to change. How can Israel dismantle all the checkpoints when this is the reality that they face?

    Whatever Israel does is wrong in the eyes of the world. Strangely, most intellectuals in the West rarely see any accountability with the Palestinians, only with the Israelis.

  18. Rumbold — on 28th April, 2008 at 9:59 pm  

    Sonia:

    I was just wondering if anyone had any good ideas.

  19. Rumbold — on 28th April, 2008 at 10:10 pm  

    Sonia:

    I didn’t mean to sound curt. My rationale for the post was that often an I/P post contains some news story, which causes everybody to immediatly take sides on it. This post was an attempt to get around that (at least for a few comments).

  20. digitalcntrl — on 28th April, 2008 at 10:29 pm  

    Probably the best explanation of this convoluted issue…

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/oslo/

    IMO however, Israel is probably willing to remove the settlers from the occupied terrorites and give a portion of Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. The real problem is the issue of the right of return to Israel proper. There is no way the Jewish state would accept an ever increasing muslim population.

  21. MaidMarian — on 28th April, 2008 at 11:55 pm  

    Cover Drive –

    Just to throw it out there. Is the US Zionist lobby really all that, or are they just very good at getting mass letter writing campaigns going? I am always very suspicious of jingoism at a distance of about 5000 miles.

    In 2000, the Jewish vote (not the lobby, the actual voters) turned out very much for the Gore/Lieberman ticket for presumably obvious reasons. In 2000 we had a US President who, electorally, owed less to the Jewish lobby than for a long time.

    Pardon this bit of a ramble! I think that what I am getting at is that we do not need to give the US lobbies power and influence. We need to radically reduce it and put the self-important jingoistic website blowhards of all nationalities in their place. Politicians should be able to say no.

    Oh – 2 state solution on 1967 borders. That simple. But whatever solution is reached, we should be ready to accept that that it may not be a model of democratic purity.

  22. Refresh — on 29th April, 2008 at 12:07 am  

    Here is an article which really puts it straight:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-israel-is-suppressing-a-secret-it-must-face-816661.html

    Its time to acknowledge the generosity of the Palestinians.

  23. Avi Cohen — on 29th April, 2008 at 5:20 am  

    Peace is easy to achieve its just there isn’t the political will on either side.

    Thus the first step is to rid the region of poor leadership and then a just solution is achievable.

    Does anyone here think that Olmert or Abbas can bring peace?

    Also the USA needs to stay out of this as politicians in the USA are not helpful and simply holding things up.

    In addition both sides need to recognise each others rights and respect them. It isn’t happening in either case.

    Externally the ledaership and people of both communities need to support rather than hinder peace.

    The settlers can stay where they are and take Palestinian citizenship if thye wish to stay in the land thus giving that state a Jewish population.

    It is easy but the will is lacking.

    Both sides need to become integrated in the region rather than facing outwards (Israel to the West and the Palestinians to the East).

    Marvin – if you read the surveys carried out by Israeli media then you’ll see that Jews can be as bad as Arabs and hatred is on the rise in both communities and not one as you try and portray.

    Chairwoman – Jews have the USA (Clinton) as their cheerleader according to some opinion. The problem for Jews is that they are so reliant on the USA on the world stage that people just assume they’ll be represented by them. Thus in order to achieve independance requires Jews to promote their own causes and not rely on the USA – longer term a better strategy. I know it sounds odd but the way most people think is that the USA will represent Israel!

  24. digitalcntrl — on 29th April, 2008 at 9:27 am  

    I have always been a fan of history…although it does not answer the question posed on this thread, it was still quite interesting…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Mandate_of_Palestine

  25. Cover Drive — on 29th April, 2008 at 10:20 am  

    marvin:

    Officially roadblocks are meant to stop terror attacks but in practice they humiliate a civilian population. There are hundreds of roadblocks in the West Bank, most of them deep in the Palestinian heartland, which refutes Israeli claims that the roadblocks are primarily for security reasons. There are roadblocks between Palestinian villages, between village and city, between city and city and especially outside Jewish colonies to prevent Palestinians from travelling on Jewish-only roads. Human rights organisations have recorded numerous cases of abuse by Israeli soldiers at roadblocks. The most common form of abuse is to leave Palestinian motorists and individuals stranded at a specific roadblock for a long time, some times for hours. What has that got to do with preventing terror attacks?

    I respect Israel’s right to defend its citizens but I don’t agree with the humiliating abuse at roadblocks.

    MaidMarian:

    Even if Jewish Americans are more likely to vote for the Democrats the Jewish lobbies do have an influence on US foreign policy. They regularly meet members of Congress and share views with them.

    In an ideal world America would not interfere in talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders but America is the biggest supporter of Israel in terms of trade and defence. Without external pressure I doubt Israeli and Palestinian leaders would seriously sit down and would make any progress.

  26. Chairwoman — on 29th April, 2008 at 10:55 am  

    Avi – I agree with nearly everything you’ve said (that must be a first :-) ), but Bill Clinton? Despite the fact that he’s the most attractive male public figure of my age on the planet, he represents, if he represents anybody at all, American and Western interests. He’s not Jewish, and he most certainly is not Israeli.

  27. MaidMarian — on 29th April, 2008 at 11:09 am  

    Cover Drive –

    I certainly agree with your last sentence. Like I said earlier, any solution will not be a model of democratic purity. It will be more or less imposed, frankly that may not be such a bad thing.

  28. Anas — on 29th April, 2008 at 2:11 pm  

    Sonia, interesting analogy you make between I/P and a domestic situation gone wrong. Presumably given your words you’d be quite happy not to interfere in a situation where a husband was repeatedly physically abusing her wife, keeping her locked up, starving her?

    The fact is there is a simple — and in fact ethically imperative — way of perhaps not solving, but of vastly ameliorating the situation in I/P, returning it back to something like normalcy: and it’s simply for Israel to move back to its pre-67 borders and end its occupation (regardless of whether the Palestinians stop their attacks, etc, or whatever ethically odious, two wrongs make a right argument the Israel-firsters make) .

    The problem with this solution, and the reason why it’s not a solution, is that Israel doesn’t have to do that, it has a chance to annex the land it wants, and all it has to do is bear a few civilian casualties here and there while graduallly destroying Palestinian society, murdering its children, humiliating, starving and crippling its people, colonising/stealing their land, and in classic colonialist style, installing and propping up systems of collaborators (Indeed, Moshe Dayan summarised it so well: “We have no solution, you shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave, and we will see where this process leads. “). And hopefully at the end of the process they’ll end up with a few Indians(i mean native americans)neatly confined to their reservations, and maybe after that’s happened, in a few decades more it can offer a sincere apology to the remnants of the Palestinian population living in their sheep pens.

    Israel has almost total military dominance, it has the backing, ideological (in fact the almost total aquiescence of the Western Media), diplomatic, military, and financial of the whole Western world, esp the world’s sole superpower, and the tacit support of most of the Arab world’s puppet leaders. So I ask again, what incentive does Israel have from its position of preeminence to stop this process of permanently wiping Palestine off the map, and taking the land it wants(which after all many religious Israelis claim is theirs by divine sanction)? All it needs to do is keep up this pretence of a peace process with the quislings in the PLO, rely on the Western media’s masking of Israel’s almost complete history of rejectionism and play on the demonisation and hatred of Muslims in the West (aided of course by the stupidity and immorality of groups like Hamas targeting Israeli civilians, and of course they can always rely on that moron Ahmadinejad for some choice sound bites). It’s a no-brainer.

    It’s funny, in my naievity I’d assumed that intelligent people who I’d thought would have been clued up on the history of Imperialism (except they don’t teach it in schools for some weird reason) would have been able to make out the analogies for themselves, but they don’t. It’s obvious what’s happening, it happened in the Americas, in Australia, its happening now in Tibet, but people seem to be so blinded by the fact that the imperialist power are Jews, a people who have suffered from centuries of persecution, and the victims are Muslims, who are nasty brutes. It’s so that even people whose families only a few generations back had been caught under the yoke of British Imperialism are completely clueless. And this is why I’m so interested in I/P and its portrayal in the Western media (something for which I’m so often derided on here): aside from Iraq or Afghanistan, I can think of no other situation which so graphically and so vitally illustrates that Imperialism never ended, that it’s an ongoing thing.

  29. Matt — on 29th April, 2008 at 2:47 pm  

    I’ve got an idea: stop pretending that for something to work it will have to work tomorrow. As hard as it is, we have to be patient until the peace-loving Palestinians realize they can’t have peace for themselves by blowing up Israelis, and the peace-loving Israelis realize they can’t have peace for themselves by torturing Palestinians. In the meantime, the best the rest of us can do is to not inflame matters. (And that means this “Jewish lobby” talk has to stop.)

  30. Matt — on 29th April, 2008 at 2:49 pm  

    I’ve got an idea: stop pretending that for something to work it will have to work tomorrow. As hard as it is, we have to be patient until the peace-loving Palestinians realize they can’t have peace for themselves by blowing up Israelis, and the peace-loving Israelis realize they can’t have peace for themselves by torturing Palestinians. In the meantime, the best the rest of us can do is to encourage dialogue and understanding while not inflaming matters. (And that means this “Jewish lobby” talk has to stop.)

  31. Avi Cohen — on 29th April, 2008 at 2:57 pm  

    Chairwoman – thank you for your kind words. I didn’t suggest Bill Clinton – Shamit did but when you queried I tried to explain why – namely people tend to put USA and Israel interests together and hence people like Bill Clinton get mentioned.

    I don’t think Bill is the right person as when he was president the two sides were close to agreement and Bill wasn’t forceful enough in coming to an agreement.

    There was an excellent article in Hareetz by one of the Israeli negotiating team members and he said that the US tended to act like Israels Lawyer which was harmful and continues to be harm Israeli interests.

    This is the reason I said the USA needs to stay out of it as they cause great harm to peace prospects.

    By all accounts now Syria and Israel are ready to complete agreements on the Golan but it is being held up by you guessed it – Bush.

    However that said I think Sharon and Olmert have relied too much on Bush and Bliar which has caused Israel great harm and the chance of a lasting peace.

    Equally Abbas relied on the Arab world and Europe (to a lesser degree) and that caused the Palestinains great harm and the chance of a lasting peace.

    What I find so strange is that both sets of populations know almost 99% of what the peace is and yearn for it but it still eludes them.

    But I do have to say that this issue which is a sore on the world stage is causing great harm to Jewish and Muslims interests and they need to get this deal done.

    What is even worse and such a tragedy in my opinion is that with two well educated populations these two people could be an economic force is a region awash with money. So much so that they wouldn’t need anyone else.

    The whole thing is tragic and crazy. But we all have a duty to assist the push for peace and to speak out when either is wrong.

  32. sonia — on 29th April, 2008 at 3:17 pm  

    30 – spot on Matt.

  33. Anas — on 29th April, 2008 at 3:30 pm  

    The widespread nature of Matt and Sonia’s “let’s leave em to it” attitude among the public in the West is pretty much what’s given the Israelis a free hand in Palestine to carry out their brutal and savage policies; and allowed our politicians to quietly (sometimes not so quietly) give their support to ethnic cleansing and state terrorism knowing how it’ll play back home. I bet the Chinese wish the Western public had the same attitude with Tibet. It amazes me how people can blithely ignore the extent of our complicity.

  34. Avi Cohen — on 29th April, 2008 at 3:46 pm  

    I think the public in the West actually support an angreement – well most Europeans do. It is the Governments who are unwilling to help resolve this.

  35. soru — on 29th April, 2008 at 4:40 pm  

    It’s obvious what’s happening, it happened in the Americas, in Australia, its happening now in Tibet

    One of the key characteristics of imperialism as a relationship between two countries is that it is non-transitive. A invades, colonises or rules B. Things happening the other way round is intrinsically ludicrous, the stuff of satire, or propaganda too blatant to not be laughed at.

    Tibet is not going to invade and occupy Beijing, no aboriginal army was ever going to march on London, the name ‘Congolese Belgium’ doesn’t have a wiki entry.

    When you have countries that are more or less peers trading territory based on the outcome of wars, like 19C Germany, France and Austria, different rules apply. Treating one side as absolutely and unconditionally wronged against by history has, in the 20C, not proved a useful or productive historical perspective.

    I suppose you recognise this, and feel the need to address it by claiming all-powerful status for Israel, so Israel versus Jordan, Egypt and Syria is the same kind of thing as 19C Britain versus some African tribe.

    It is quite a common view, and might be more common were it not such utter transparent nonsense.

    The figures for population, GDP, military sizes, budgets, and technology levels are easily available on the web, from multiple sources. Estimates for combat effectives are more controversial, but you would have to regard the Israeli weekend warriors as military gods, and arab professional soldiers as a bunch of spear-chucking primitives, to bring the potential sides to parity.

  36. bananabrain — on 29th April, 2008 at 4:48 pm  

    and it’s the entrenched, vitriolic and doctrinaire positions of grandstanding israel-bashers (and their arab-hating counterparts) that allow the idiots in charge to shrug and say “well, you know, they’ll hate and try and kill us whatever we do, so we might as well just do as much damage as possible”.

    such positions are absolutely no help at all, routinely demonising one side whilst doing nothing whatsoever to produce a workable solution for the region. you can bang on for as long as you like about all the “isms” in the book, but if you want anything to change, something other than “ooh, let’s just continue saying what we were saying before except louder” will be needed. have some bloody imagination!

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  37. douglas clark — on 29th April, 2008 at 4:54 pm  

    Soru,

    I think we can be about 99.99% sure that Israel has a nuclear capability, which tends to weigh a bit in the balance.

  38. marvin — on 29th April, 2008 at 4:57 pm  

    Matt,

    Good point, these things will take a loooong time.

    “Peace in Israel by torturing Palestinians”

    That’s as bas as talking about the Jewish lobby.

    There’s all sorts of lies spread about Israel, and saying Israel is torturing Palestinians IS inflaming the matter IMO.

  39. Anas — on 29th April, 2008 at 4:57 pm  

    I was talking Israel(and the US) v Palestine, not the whole Arab world, Soru. Are you telling me Palestine could conceivably march on Washington (since IMHO Israel is a US proxy in the ME) or even Tel Aviv? Basically you’re just strengthening what I wrote above. Anyway I think you mean Symmetric rather than Transitive, if I can remember my Maths.

  40. Cover Drive — on 29th April, 2008 at 5:21 pm  

    Jewish lobby groups do exist. It is not a figment of my imagination or some anti-Semitic conspiracy that I am trying to peddle. A new one called ‘J Street’ representing liberal Jewish voices in America has recently been launched:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7349371.stm

    J Street will campaign for a two-state solution. The group wants to act as a counterweight to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac).

  41. bananabrain — on 29th April, 2008 at 5:41 pm  

    just in case anyone forgets, there’s also a not insignificant arab lobby in washington. and for all the talk of the israeli nuclear option, the arabs have a far more effective and upfront lobbying tool – it’s called oil. the israelis have nothing comparable. and it’s never been “israel and the us vs palestine” – the arab/muslim world has made it abundantly clear that they expect to be part of the equation. well, fine. let them do something positive rather than jut using the israeli/palestinian conflict to deflect attention from their own miserable level of development and governance.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  42. Avi Cohen — on 29th April, 2008 at 5:58 pm  

    It is a myth to say oil is a weapon and the Arab lobby is anything as powerful as the AIPAC Lobby. If the Arabs had an effective lobby you wouldn’t see Senators, Congressman and Presidential Candidates lining up to make ever more extreme statements on behalf of Israel.

    It is actually the USA and the associated lobby groups that hold up an agreement. Need I remind you of the power of the Evangelical Movement that the Israeli right is in bed with and their demand that Israel get no pressure.

    AIPAC has an endowment of $100 million to fight the fight.

    And you say Israel doesn’t have lobby groups!

    Israel has the most powerful lobby groups in Washington. The Oil Lobby to which you refer is for Oil Companies not Oil States.

    If you want a resolution to this issue then these people need to be muted first.

    I think the W&M paper finaly exposed the power of these lobby groups.

    Next you’ll be telling us Israel didn’t spy on America!

  43. soru — on 29th April, 2008 at 6:00 pm  

    Anyway I think you mean Symmetric rather than Transitive, if I can remember my Maths.

    You are right about that, if nothing else:-) Dammit, I knew that stuff once.

    The US relationship with Israel certainly isn’t zero, but it isn’t all that stronger than that with Saudi Arabia alone, even discounting the rest of the arab world. It’s just like one of those times in 19C European history when one continental country temporarily had the backing of Russia or Britain, and so went round declaring themselves to be invincible. In historical terms, thats just a blip: one months headlines could change things around completely. Think, say, a coup in Saudi arabia, Iran testing a nuke, US helicopters evacuating the last marines from the Baghdad embassy, or any number of other slightly surprising but nowhere-near impossible things.

    I was talking Israel(and the US) v Palestine, not the whole Arab world

    That’s one way to frame it, but not a vey useful one, in my view. Imperialism is an outcome of war, you can’t talk about it in anything other than the units in which warfare has, and would happen. Doing anything else is as meaningless as talking about Surrey being oppressed by Essex.

  44. Ms_Xtreme — on 29th April, 2008 at 6:18 pm  

    Easier said than done – from thousands of miles away.

    Firstly, the Palestinian mindset needs to change. We need some liberal and knowledgeable imams running the mosques to teach people that suicide bombing is WRONG. Long process, but the fruit in the end will be sweet for generations to come.

    Secondly, Israel needs to find another way. Bombarding residential areas with tanks in the hopes of killing one or two terrorists – isn’t helping much. This only causes more resentment and hostility amongst the crew. Their military is strong enough and rich enough to find another way to find and destroy terrorists.

    Lastly, we’re all dreaming. Wake up.

    Bye.

  45. bananabrain — on 29th April, 2008 at 6:20 pm  

    avi:

    It is a myth to say oil is a weapon and the Arab lobby is anything as powerful as the AIPAC Lobby.

    sometimes i wonder what planet you live on where AIPAC controls everything and oil doesn’t count for anything. haven’t we even just seen a new lobby group develop to put a different point of view?

    Need I remind you of the power of the Evangelical Movement that the Israeli right is in bed with and their demand that Israel get no pressure.

    you need not. i agree with you about the evangelicals.

    AIPAC has an endowment of $100 million to fight the fight.

    so? and how much money do you imagine the oil lobby has?

    And you say Israel doesn’t have lobby groups!

    er, no i didn’t. you’re imagining things again.

    Israel has the most powerful lobby groups in Washington. The Oil Lobby to which you refer is for Oil Companies not Oil States.

    and, of course, you presumably believe that oil companies are not subject to the influence of the oil states? do me a favour.

    If you want a resolution to this issue then these people need to be muted first.

    so, basically, the US political system has to be changed to get rid of vested interests and lobby groups? i don’t think that’s awfully likely.

    I think the W&M paper finaly exposed the power of these lobby groups.

    oh, for feck’s sake, you’re giving me those two? way to go on the objectivity, mate.

    Next you’ll be telling us Israel didn’t spy on America!

    why would i be doing that? surely everybody spies on everybody. i would consider it very stupid of the US and UK not to spy on each other, to say nothing of the israelis and anyone else.

    soru:

    the thing about war is that it has outcomes. the arabs started it with the israelis several times and got their arses kicked (eventually in the case of ’73) every time. the israelis got their arses kicked in lebanon – however, the arabs still seem to think they can turn the clock back without actually putting anything substantive on the table. the same goes on israelis trying to get the palestinians to stop fighting – there has to be something worth stopping fighting for, now it’s obvious that they won’t stop fighting simply because they can’t win. the palestinians have, to my mind, made the very effective point that they won’t knuckle under no matter what and for that they deserve to be taken seriously given that israel is not prepared (fortunately and, in my opinion, thank G!D) to just kill everybody and present the world with a fait accompli. i don’t expect the israelis to get credit for that, by the way, just as i don’t expect the palestinians to get credit for realising that blowing up buses is no way to get people onside (apart from imbecile lefties who will forgive them anything) but if people are to get behind a vision they need a vision to get behind. personally, when we see the palestinians making overtures to their potential jewish citizens and the israelis rectifying the injustices done to their arab citizens we might see some fecking progress.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  46. Avi Cohen — on 29th April, 2008 at 6:55 pm  

    BB – you’re in denial. Everyone knows the power that AIPAC wield. If the Oil States had so much power why was Dubai Ports stopped by Govt from buying US Ports?

    Some power huh?

    AIPAC can influence policy in the ME to the degree that no other lobby can.

    I guess Iran as an Oil state had such influence that Hilary said she was prepared to nuke them for Israel. Yep some influence.

    Show me where the Oil Lobby has beaten out the Israel Lobby?

    Last I saw the Israel Lobby was pushing an agenda endorsed by many in Washington to overthrow those powerful Oil States such is the influence of their lobby.

    If the Oil State Lobby is so powerful why won’t Bush listen to them and pressure Israel? Because he knows they have no power.

    That is why in the Senate and Congress the members toe and ever increasing pro-Israel line that is more extreme than most Israelis want.

    I didn’t say that AIPAC controls everythign but unlike you I don’t dismiss their power. They are the most powerful lobby group in the USA.

    Here are some numbers for you:

    The Centre for Responsive Politics (CRP), which monitors the role of money in US politics, says pro-Israeli groups and individuals have already donated more than $845,000 to presidential candidates in the 2008 campaign – 70 per cent of it to Democrats.

    In the entire 2004 presidential campaign pro-Israel interests contributed at least $6.1 million to federal candidates and parties.

    “Money translates into influence in Washington, so generally the interests that spend the most money are going to get the best access and results,” says Massie Ritch, communications director at the CRP.

    And it is outside of the presidential race and in congress, which holds the purse strings on the key area of aid to Israel, that the lobby makes its financial mark.

    Aipac and other groups spent more than $1.5 million on federal lobbying in 2006 and more than $1.25 million in the first half of 2007, meaning that this year could be a record one for the lobby.

    The pro-Israel lobby accounts for about one-quarter of all foreign policy lobbying on Capitol Hill, the CRP says.

    That is more than the Arab Lobby combined for one country. So 25% of money spent on foreign lobbying is spent on one country alone – you tell me what planet you live on?

    How many Congressman or Senators have been relected or elected who criticise Israel?

  47. Avi Cohen — on 29th April, 2008 at 7:09 pm  

    And BB from the planet you live on what you fail to see is that the blanket of protection this lobbying provides means that Israel isn’t going to think it needs to make peace.

    This is why the biggest foreign aid and military subsidy goes to yep Israel.

    Arab States with the so called powerful lobby have to pay for weapons. Israel without oil gets them paid for courtesy of the US Tax Payer.

    When budgets for US States were cut as were foreign aid bugets then the only budget increased was yes the aid to Israel this at a time when federal government cut aid to California! So yes even the local sattes couldn’t lobby as powerfully as AIPAC.

    Good ole Govenor Arnold supported an increase in aid to Israel and a decrease aid to California. So some suppirt for the Arab lobby huh!

    Arnold refused to meet with a Muslim Lobby Group and meets regularly with Jewish lobby Groups. So some feckin influence huh.

    Rudy Guilliani who denied freedom of speech to a Palestinian is an ardant advocate for Israel and has never done any such thing to anyone else. That is a basic right and that isn’t granted. Read the old NY papers and you’ll see.

    Trust me you really don’t want to go down this road of denial that Israeli Lobby Groups are not powerful they are. You may want to read the book by Paul Findley on this subject.

    To achieve peace means that this lobbying needs to feck off and stay out of the way on both sides causing simply put it is causing human misery on both sides and personally I hate the idiot Congressman and Senators that partake in this.

  48. Matt — on 29th April, 2008 at 8:59 pm  

    The Israel lobby is nothing more than a myth, and a deeply antisemitic one at that. Unfortunately, the Israelis using torture isn’t.

  49. Anas — on 29th April, 2008 at 9:53 pm  

    Oil may well be an important lobbying tool, but I think whatever power it has is channelled into the service of enlisting US support in propping up corrupt, unpopular totalitarian Arab leaders, allowing them to leech off their countries’ oil wealth and thereby allowing the steady flow of the black stuff around the world– I don’t think righting wrongs in Palestine or anywhere takes a high priority over self-preservation. The US has bought off the acquiescence of the Saudis (my first sentence is as good a summation of Saudi-US relations as any I can think of), of Egypt (who are complicit in Israel’s starvation of Gaza), and other desperate Arab leaders.

    The US relationship with Israel certainly isn’t zero, but it isn’t all that stronger than that with Saudi Arabia alone, even discounting the rest of the arab world. It’s just like one of those times in 19C European history when one continental country temporarily had the backing of Russia or Britain, and so went round declaring themselves to be invincible. In historical terms, thats just a blip: one months headlines could change things around completely. Think, say, a coup in Saudi arabia, Iran testing a nuke, US helicopters evacuating the last marines from the Baghdad embassy, or any number of other slightly surprising but nowhere-near impossible things.

    I’m having trouble following your argument Soru. The US relationship with Israel is that it sees Israel as a heavily fortified, heavily militarilised proxy outpost neccessary in case of such eventualities as you mention: to mitigate the inherent uncertainties of relying on the stability of the princely gulf states — whether this is good for Israel itself in the end who knows; what is true is that the Palestinians have been sacrificed for the cause of the unimpeded flow of oil. So that I can’t see how this isn’t just a replay of the European imperialism of the past 500 or so years. Whole groups of people who had the misfortune to stand in the way of a superpower and its lust for gold or oil or land either lose everything or else find themselves ground into dust.

    That’s one way to frame it, but not a vey useful one, in my view. Imperialism is an outcome of war, you can’t talk about it in anything other than the units in which warfare has, and would happen. Doing anything else is as meaningless as talking about Surrey being oppressed by Essex.

    It’s an accurate way to frame it in that it is the Palestinians who are having their opportunities for viable statehood eroded into nothing, right? But I don’t understand what your saying: if Essex turned Sussex into a big open air prison camp, was starving, imprisoning its population, to get extra water to beat the hose pipe ban or something your analogy would make sense but otherwise… And anyway you might say imperialism is an outcome of war, but isn’t it not also that war is an outcome of imperialism, how else can you view Iraq? But I don’t get what you mean by your focus on war anyway; the Palestinians/Arabs got their arses kicked by the Israelis so they deserve the West Bank and Gaza? What?

  50. Sunny — on 29th April, 2008 at 10:24 pm  

    Lastly, we’re all dreaming. Wake up.

    Bye.

    Ms_extreme – the voice of abrupt sanity.

  51. Area 51 — on 29th April, 2008 at 10:35 pm  

    Oh look, Avi Cohen is cutting and pasting from al-Jazeera.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/71B0C3D9-B04C-4717-88D8-33FBE1F1533A.htm

    What a surprise!

  52. soru — on 29th April, 2008 at 10:49 pm  

    the thing about war is that it has outcomes. the arabs started it with the israelis several times and got their arses kicked (eventually in the case of ‘73) every time.

    The myth of Israeli hyper-competence is interesting, as it has so many fathers:

    1. Academic leftists, who need to believe it to be true in order for their theoretical models of imperialism to be applicable.

    2. Arab Kings and dictators, who need an excuse not to start a war that they might not win, and that presumably wouldn’t gain them anything except new problems.

    3. European and American liberals, who think persuading everyone it is true will reduce the likelihood of another such war. As a side benefit, if it is true, you don’t have any worries about ending up having provided support for the ethnic cleansing of Jews, which would be a bit of a faux pas, given European history.

    4. Arms manufacturers, who want clients to believe that the latest model of whiz-bang weapon demoed by the IDF obsoletes everything else on the market.

    5. Romantic Israeli nationalists-in-exile and nationalists-by-proxy, who need a hobby and social activity. This includes the famed Zionist lobby, which in it’s current form is something very like the kind of people who organised ‘widow’s and orphans’ funds for the IRA in Chicago pubs, just with bigger collecting tins. Ask any of that lot just how cool, ruthless and awesome the IRA were…

    6. Ordinary patriotic Israelis, for the usual reasons that apply in any not-completely-broken country.

    7. Christian-Zionist Armageddon-freaks: it’s not a proper final battle unless both sides are properly impressive

    8. Racists and Western cultural-supremacists like Victor Hanson, who has this whole thing about Israel being Sparta.

    9: Islamic Crusaders issuing a call to arms: why bring religion into it unless the enemy is near all-powerful, can’t be defeated by anything less than a level of total dedication that impresses Him Upstairs? Look at what the original Crusaders said about their enemies: unlike most war propaganda, it was all about the enemies overwhelming material strength, that only moral virtue and righteousness could prevail against.

    With all those different reasons to support it, from so many disparate political groups, it’s no particular surprise it is so persistent, despite the absence of any particular evidence to support it.

  53. soru — on 29th April, 2008 at 11:16 pm  

    he US relationship with Israel is that it sees Israel as a heavily fortified, heavily militarilised proxy outpost neccessary in case of such eventualities as you mention: to mitigate the inherent uncertainties of relying on the stability of the princely gulf states

    Damn, I was searching for a 10th group to round out the list for ages, and then you went and posted it while I was filling out the others.

    There is a certain element of the self-described ‘US foreign policy elite’ who appear to actually think that way, give every appearance of actually swallowing that crap. Arrant nonsense, obviously: there is no conceivable circumstances in which such a thing would actually be beneficial to any kind of remotely rational US self-interest. Unlike say diamonds, you can’t profitably extract oil from a war-zone: do the math on the cost of a tanker or pipeline versus a RPG.
    I suppose if you actually believed jihadist hordes were about to sweep into Europe, then the fortress bit might seem useful: there probably are people in washington ‘think tanks’ who are that stupid.

    But, hopefully, most aren’t: it survives as an idea not because it makes rational sense, but because it sounds clever, complicated and ruthless, so saying is a way of marking yourself as part of the establishment elite.

    It’s really important not to take such people seriously.

  54. Anas — on 30th April, 2008 at 12:12 am  

    It’s less to do with Jihadist hordes than the ugly spectre of friendly regimes (read compliant) in the oil bearing states being replaced by unfriendly ones, and maybe even…whisper it…nationalisation of the mineral resources in those countries, at least that was the biggest fear in the last century. Then like in Iraq invasion becomes a viable option and that’s when having an Israel in the region, or even if the US’s long term strategy works, an Iraq with pliant regime installed with a residuary US army presence, makes complete rational sense. Otherwise you have to ask, why the >$3 Billion in funding?

  55. Anas — on 30th April, 2008 at 12:19 am  

    The Israelis did kick the Arabs arses in those wars, tho it was close in 73; indeed the fact that Israel won is the only evidence you need, Soru. But the myth of Israeeli hypercompetence/invincibility is fast losing ground after Hezbollah’s recent stunning victory, perhaps the biggest kick in the balls for imperialism of the last decade. If only there were more Hezbollahs, and more Hassan Nasrallahs in the Arab world instead of the craven spineless leaders they do suffer from — then we would be much closer to a solution.

  56. Area 51 — on 30th April, 2008 at 12:37 am  

    If only there were more Hezbollahs, and more Hassan Nasrallahs in the Arab world

    Anas nails his terrorist colours to the mast!

    What a “solution”.

  57. Avi Cohen — on 30th April, 2008 at 8:05 am  

    Area51 – So suddenly we’re censored from using Al-Jazeerah are we? I did a quick search via Google and it came up but hey I guess for you only Fox News is reliable given your one sided bias – now there’s a feckin suprise.

  58. soru — on 30th April, 2008 at 10:22 am  

    The Israelis did kick the Arabs arses in those wars, tho it was close in 73; indeed the fact that Israel won is the only evidence you need, Soru.

    The planet you come from sounds pretty interesting. In your world, were there Indian Zeppelins narrowly defeated in a close run thing, miles from London? Tell me more.

    If only there were more Hezbollahs, and more Hassan Nasrallahs in the Arab world instead of the craven spineless leaders they do suffer from — then we would be much closer to a solution.

    Thing is, from a certain point of view, that is true. It would take 20 or 30 years, and cost at least 20 Iraq wars worth of lives, quite likely a lot more. Cities may burn in nuclear fire, camps of refugess would stretch from Tehran to Haifa, angry men with guns would rule every nation, two generations across the whole region would lead lives that contained 20% less joy, and 40% more sorrow. And that’s the if they won – success is not guaranteed. But the Arab world, militarily, probably could expand it’s territory by a few hundred square miles, gain the ownership of a few squalid refugee camps filled with those Jews who couldn’t escape.

    Anyone who said that couldn’t be done is either deceiving or deceived, for one of the above reasons, or some other. The question that actually needs to be asked is this:

    is that what you want?

  59. Avi Cohen — on 30th April, 2008 at 11:36 am  

    The major problem is that both sides look to extremes for leadership and think in terms of wars and how close they came to winning or losing.

    The mentality needs to change to think in terms of peace and how both can prosper.

    The current mentality is a massive failure and simply saying we need to continue down this road and we’ll win won’t work.

    Both sides need to change mentality.

    Nasrallah and Sharon are cut from the same cloth and both failed leaders; they simply posture a sense of military victory.

  60. douglas clark — on 30th April, 2008 at 11:54 am  

    Soru,

    Cities may burn in nuclear fire, camps of refugess would stretch from Tehran to Haifa, angry men with guns would rule every nation, two generations across the whole region would lead lives that contained 20% less joy, and 40% more sorrow.

    That is an excellent point. It’s also assuming the big boys didn’t get involved and blow us all to kingdom come. Hilary Clinton has said some fairly pretentious and stupid things just recently.

    The Middle East, if you take a fairly wide view of it, is the most volatile place on the planet. It seems to have the ability to suck the brains out of folk, especially Presidential candidates.

  61. bananabrain — on 30th April, 2008 at 11:57 am  

    BB – you’re in denial.

    funny, that. my positions seem a lot more reasonable to both sides than yours do.

    Everyone knows the power that AIPAC wield.

    oh, “everyone” does, does “everyone”? have you talked to “everyone”? sheesh.

    If the Oil States had so much power why was Dubai Ports stopped by Govt from buying US Ports?

    er, security? diplomatic power and influence does not equate to carte blanche, as you ought to know.

    I guess Iran as an Oil state had such influence that Hilary said she was prepared to nuke them for Israel. Yep some influence.

    yes, obviously, because all the oil states are one monolithic bloc and they all have equal levels of influence, both the ones at war with america and the ones who aren’t and, of course, what a politician says in front of a friendly crowd to try and get elected really, really counts, doesn’t it?

    Show me where the Oil Lobby has beaten out the Israel Lobby?

    everywhere outside the US?

    Last I saw the Israel Lobby was pushing an agenda endorsed by many in Washington to overthrow those powerful Oil States such is the influence of their lobby.

    just as i suspect the medical lobby is pushing an agenda to overthrow the powerful tobacco lobby and so on. that is called politics.

    If the Oil State Lobby is so powerful why won’t Bush listen to them and pressure Israel? Because he knows they have no power.

    because, he’s got more important and urgent things to deal with, like iraq.

    That is why in the Senate and Congress the members toe and ever increasing pro-Israel line that is more extreme than most Israelis want.

    you’re very good at making categorical statements that express what “everybody” seems to know, aren’t you?

    I didn’t say that AIPAC controls everything but unlike you I don’t dismiss their power. They are the most powerful lobby group in the USA.

    i don’t dismiss anything but your suggestion that AIPAC has it all its own way when that’s clearly not the case. and as for your claims about their power, how about the evangelical lobby? the gun lobby? the defence industry lobby? the wall street lobby? the hollywood liberal lobby? the automotive lobby? the airline lobby? come on, this is where we get into paranoiac territory – next you’ll be telling us AIPAC secretly controls all these other lobbies.

    The Centre for Responsive Politics (CRP), which monitors the role of money in US politics, says pro-Israeli groups and individuals have already donated more than $845,000 to presidential candidates in the 2008 campaign – 70 per cent of it to Democrats.

    yet you’re telling me that bush and the evangelical republicans are the ones in the pocket of AIPAC?

    The pro-Israel lobby accounts for about one-quarter of all foreign policy lobbying on Capitol Hill, the CRP says.

    i don’t know why this surprises you. look at student unions in the UK – how much of their foreign policy debate involves israel? surely rather out of proportion to its relevance to british students. as a result, the pro-israel lobbies of various types get involved in order to protect their interests. as usual, the squeaky wheel gets the most grease.

    How many Congressman or Senators have been relected or elected who criticise Israel?

    oh, i don’t know, why don’t you go and ask the voters of michigan with its large arab-american population? then compare that with, say, new york? i think the views of your electorate may have a little to do with it.

    frankly, avi, even anas appears to have a more realistic view of things than you. on the other hand:

    So that I can’t see how this isn’t just a replay of the European imperialism of the past 500 or so years. Whole groups of people who had the misfortune to stand in the way of a superpower and its lust for gold or oil or land either lose everything or else find themselves ground into dust.

    except, of course, that jews wanted to go back to israel before the US became a superpower and wanted to go back there despite its lack of natural resources and, of course, the jews were from everywhere, not just europe. i can see why you think this imperialist/colonialist narrative has some validity and, in the case of the original utopian socialist zionists and, to some extent in the case of herzl, it was part of the “mission civilisatrice”, but again, it fails to take into account the fundamentally visceral and religious relationship between the jews and our homeland – something which has ended up surprising everyone, which in turn surprises me – you only have to recognise the importance of the land of israel in jewish worship, thought and life to understand why it couldn’t be, say, uganda as herzl was prepared to agree.

    But I don’t get what you mean by your focus on war anyway; the Palestinians/Arabs got their arses kicked by the Israelis so they deserve the West Bank and Gaza? What?

    sorry, perhaps i wasn’t clear – the arab states, in their vainglory, thought they could take by force what they were unprepared to stoop to negotiating for. they were wrong. if they want the stuff they lost back, they’ll have to negotiate for it in good faith and offer something in return, not just expect stuff won in a fight they picked to given back as of right – the egyptians eventually acted on this, the syrians realise it but are reluctant to pay the price. the jordanians have come to their own arrangements and the lebanese have few positions that are not in fact subject to iranian or syrian policy. palestinians, on the other hand, are a different matter entirely and deserve an equitable settlement both from the israelis and from their arab “brethren”. in short, they have fought long and hard and have secured a place at the negotiating table as a result. what i am suggesting is that the circle may be assisted in being squared by the remittance of confiscated jewish assets from arab lands to the palestinians.

    soru:

    The myth of Israeli hyper-competence is interesting, as it has so many fathers

    i agree and, like so many other myths, it contains some truth, but not as much as people think. in fact, your number 10 is in fact the israeli defence and intelligence community, for whom it has obvious propaganda advantages but which is now being challenged in the wake of the lebanon withdrawal, the threat of mass low-tech rocket attacks and the failure of much of israeli security policy to secure quiet in the territories. i think, in other words, that it has run its course and now they’re having to wake up and smell the coffee. on the other hand, there is an equally interesting counterpart idea that is held up by many of the same groups, the “tiny israel in a sea of arabs” idea. obviously this has a certain amount of truth in it, but it can certainly be used by everyone concerned (including the arabs) to further their own ends.

    Unlike say diamonds, you can’t profitably extract oil from a war-zone: do the math on the cost of a tanker or pipeline versus a RPG.

    and the cost of maintaining the security and settlement infrastructure of occupation for the israelis is not without economic impact which is not lost on those who are less than fundamentalist about it. in the end, it will be money, not blood and fire, that solves this.

    If only there were more Hezbollahs, and more Hassan Nasrallahs in the Arab world instead of the craven spineless leaders they do suffer from — then we would be much closer to a solution.

    indeed, anas – but the solution would be a much more one-sided and bloody one and, moreover, it would not help the palestinians one little bit. like soru says, is that what you want? would that satisfy your arms-length desire to be revenged by proxy upon the israelis, no matter what the consequence to the palestinians? certainly, it’s what the palestinians have become used to. that is why i keep saying that people like you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  62. Anas — on 30th April, 2008 at 12:33 pm  

    Thing is, from a certain point of view, that is true. It would take 20 or 30 years, and cost at least 20 Iraq wars worth of lives, quite likely a lot more. Cities may burn in nuclear fire, camps of refugess would stretch from Tehran to Haifa, angry men with guns would rule every nation, two generations across the whole region would lead lives that contained 20% less joy, and 40% more sorrow. And that’s the if they won – success is not guaranteed. But the Arab world, militarily, probably could expand it’s territory by a few hundred square miles, gain the ownership of a few squalid refugee camps filled with those Jews who couldn’t escape.

    Anyone who said that couldn’t be done is either deceiving or deceived, for one of the above reasons, or some other. The question that actually needs to be asked is this:

    is that what you want?

    Huh? I guess it would take too long and prove too arduous and frustrating a task to explain *exactly* what I meant, given our politics are so different. But look at it this way: if it wasn’t for Hezbollah, the South of Lebanon would still be under Israeli control — which is a good thing unless you think the Israelis have a better right to run Lebanon than the Lebanese.

    For me the example of Hezbollah shows how a relatively small guerilla movement can defeat the might of one other most powerful and well equipped armies in the world, not only through sheer courage and bravery but incredible skill and acumen (tho the Iranian funding and weaponry don’t hurt none either) — we already have angry men, if we want to repel imperialism what we need are angry men with more brains.

    If groups like Hamas had some of the wisdom and foresight of Hezbollah or had leaders with the standing of Nasrallah and were able to challenge Israel’s might for example in the occupied territories, or the US occupation of Iraq, the Imperialists in Washington, and the Occupiers in Israel would find themselves forced towards the negotiating table rather than reflexively choosing to shower villages with bombs (which was my essential point).

    The ever reliable M Shahid Alam had an excellent article on Hezbollah’s win on Counterpunch recently. I found the last three paragraphs particularly optimistic:

    It appears that the weapons gap that had opened up in recent decades between Western powers and the weaker, technologically backward nations may be closing. How rapidly this happens will depend on the willingness of Russia, China, North Korea, Iran ­ with other countries getting ready to join them ­ to make these weapons available to movements of resistance. Alternatively, if these countries hesitate, the arms smugglers will step in to provide this service. Once anti-tank, anti-ship and shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles can be bought on the world’s illicit arms markets as readily as AK-47s, this will begin to alter the fortunes of resistance movements battling great powers.

    In the late nineteenth century, the advanced Western nations had opened a lethal weapons gap with their automatic weapons: this gave them a quick, nearly costless colonization of Africa and Southeast Asia. When that gap began to close in the interwar period, it gave an impetus to resistance movements in Indonesia, Vietnam, Kenya and Algeria. Already weakened from fighting their own fratricidal wars, the Western colonial powers retreated: and the Third World was born.

    Will the twenty-first century herald the dawn of another era of gains for movements of resistance across Asia, Africa and Latin America?

    …and I doubt there will be any refugee camps filled with Jews because unlike the Palestinians, a large number of whom live in squalid festering refugee camps, the Israelis have enough firepower, nuclear or otherwise as a deterrent to make that scenario utterly implausible(unless you believe that poisonous hideously racist lie that the Arabs/Iranians are willing to sacrifice a few million of their own people in a nuclear Armageddon to attack the Israelis and quench their blood lust against the Jews)

  63. Avi Cohen — on 30th April, 2008 at 12:33 pm  

    BB Try reading this:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/23/AR2005052301565.html

    AIPAC Facts:

    Another fact sheet announced that this is the “largest ever” conference, with its 5,000 participants attending “the largest annual seated dinner in Washington” joined by “more members of Congress than almost any other event, except for a joint session of Congress or a State of the Union address.”

    APIAC Telling Clinton what to do:

    http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/AIPACClinton.html

    Congressman Jim Moran Said:
    “To take an example from these past few months of the Israel Lobby exercising its power, liberals in the House of Representatives in the spring of 2007 sought to include in the defense-funding budget an amendment that would require specific authorization from Congress before the Administration could use the defense budget monies for a military strike at Iran. The amendment failed. Most liberals in the U.S. today oppose preventive wars in general and a military strike against Iran in particular. So who supports such a move? The answer is: the right wing government of Israel and its champion in the U.S., the Israel Lobby.”

    BB – “everywhere outside the US?”
    Have you been everywhere then to check this? You complain if I say everyone but don’t apply the same rules to yourself.

    So there are more Arabs in Michigan but the votes oin NY, California, Florida and so forth carry more weigth than Michigan and even in Michigan they aren’t Pro-arab.

    As single lobby AIPAC is wiedly recognised as the most powerful lobby group in US Politics by many commentators. You’re in denial.

  64. Anas — on 30th April, 2008 at 12:42 pm  

    indeed, anas – but the solution would be a much more one-sided and bloody one and, moreover, it would not help the palestinians one little bit.

    Actually my point was the opposite. It’s only when Israel reaches the point when it realises it has to negotiate, that its position of absolute dominance in Palestine has been challenged that there will be any chances of peace, read the long post I wrote on Israel’s lack of incentives for peace. At the moment Israel has free reign to do what it likes in Palestine, oops killed another family there, oh no mowed down another bunch of children there, sorry no fuel or food for you naughty Gazans. Or take the example of Lebanon, imagine if Israel had achieved the unquestioned victory it had desired, or if Hezbollah hadn’t managed to repel them from South Lebanon all those years ago. The situation there would be pretty grim for the Lebanese there now under occupation. So sadly, sometimes the only way to stand up to a bully is by speaking to him in the language he understands best.

    like soru says, is that what you want? would that satisfy your arms-length desire to be revenged by proxy upon the israelis, no matter what the consequence to the palestinians?

    ??? I’m not even gonna answer that.

    certainly, it’s what the palestinians have become used to. that is why i keep saying that people like you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    Thanks, I love you too.

  65. soru — on 30th April, 2008 at 2:20 pm  

    For me the example of Hezbollah shows how a relatively small guerilla movement can defeat the might of one other most powerful and well equipped armies in the world

    See, this is where you are confused. If A defeats B, A is more powerful than B (unless, perhaps, it was clearly a fluke, exceptional and non-repeatable circumstances). You can’t have it both ways, be the victim and the victor.

    1973 alone really should have ended any talk of israel being an imperial power – yes they won, but it was clearly nip and tuck. Change one general, one ally, one weapon system and it could easily have had a different outcome. Add in 1983 and everything since, you have to maintain a quite impressive level of wilful ignorance and bigotry to hold such a position. It starts to resemble a BNP supporter ranting about ‘lazy immigrants stealing our jobs’, supporting any negative statement about some enemy, no matter how much they contradict each other.

    To address something someone said upthread: you don’t get any prize for winning a war. What counts in terms of power is a perceived ability to win (or at least avoid losing) a hypothetical next one.

    Victory is just a demo, a proof of concept.

    Israel doesn’t have that, and is unlikely to regain it for anything but the briefest of periods. I think most Israelis realise that, but that message needs to spread to the settler movement, the US lobbies, western newspaper columnists, political activists, and so on.

    As, in the long run, the stronger military power, the arabs and Iranians have the responsibility for choosing the path of peace or the path of war. That means more than vaguely saying something nice about peace one day, it means seriously coordinating, organising, achieving it. Nothing less counts.

    Bystanders like us europeans could at least avoid misadvising them about the likely consequences of the two paths.

  66. bananabrain — on 30th April, 2008 at 5:27 pm  

    anas:

    But look at it this way: if it wasn’t for Hezbollah, the South of Lebanon would still be under Israeli control — which is a good thing unless you think the Israelis have a better right to run Lebanon than the Lebanese.

    you seem to be missing the part where actually now the south of lebanon is not under lebanese control, but iranian control. and certainly the syrians haven’t given up yet either. either way it is pretty doubtful whether the lebanese themselves have any control. besides, the israelis WITHDREW under barak! hezbollah had no *motive*, no reason to provoke the 2006 summer war other than to do the bidding of the iranians. how can you possibly ignore that?

    a relatively small guerilla movement can defeat the might of one other most powerful and well equipped armies in the world, not only through sheer courage and bravery but incredible skill and acumen (tho the Iranian funding and weaponry don’t hurt none either)

    yes, it takes such incredible skill and bravery to hide your weapons dumps underneath kindergartens, such acumen and courage. what it takes is not giving a rat’s arse about anything except the determination to defeat the enemy, no matter what. in this case the israelis didn’t have this determination and the price they would have had to pay was too high, consequently they lost. the strategic calculus has now changed in favour of those able to best wage a low-intensity war. in such a situation, the overwhelming military superiority of israel’s tanks, planes and hi-tech evaporates, as the chap you quoted from counterpunch clearly realises. but then again, hasn’t this been true since vietnam and a host of other “liberation struggles”?

    If groups like Hamas had some of the wisdom and foresight of Hezbollah or had leaders with the standing of Nasrallah and were able to challenge Israel’s might for example in the occupied territories

    what, you mean by lobbing rockets over the border continuously? i thought that was exactly what they were doing. 4000 so far this year alone.

    unless you believe that poisonous hideously racist lie that the Arabs/Iranians are willing to sacrifice a few million of their own people in a nuclear Armageddon to attack the Israelis and quench their blood lust against the Jews

    hmm, let me think. are the (shia’h, persian) iranians willing to sacrifice a few million of “their own” (sunni, arab) in order to beat the israelis. i wonder. either way they win – there end up being less sunni arabs to fight in the long term, so i would have thought that would make perfect sense to them. you seem to be ignoring one of the longest and bloodiest hatreds in the middle east – that of the persians for the arabs, which dates back to the islamic conquest. before that, the persians were one of the most powerful empires in the world, dating back to antiquity. we were there, remember. we remember the persians. just ask the greeks.

    See, this is where you are confused. If A defeats B, A is more powerful than B (unless, perhaps, it was clearly a fluke, exceptional and non-repeatable circumstances). You can’t have it both ways, be the victim and the victor.

    yes, soru, but remember, jews are both capitalist bloodsuckers and communist multicultural adulterators. they don’t have to be both the victim and the victor – the israelis just have to be at the same time aggressive megalomaniacs and cowardly weasels and i am sure that can be arranged in rhetoricville.

    avi:

    Another fact sheet announced that this is the “largest ever” conference, with its 5,000 participants attending “the largest annual seated dinner in Washington” joined by “more members of Congress than almost any other event, except for a joint session of Congress or a State of the Union address.”

    so, basically, now you’re quoting AIPAC marketing material at me? when was the last time you took their information at face value?

    Have you been everywhere then to check this? You complain if I say everyone but don’t apply the same rules to yourself.

    perhaps now you realise how ridiculous it is.

    and now, “whatreallyhappened.com”? a cursory look at their site reveals that their page on “jews against zionism” is basically entirely full of figures and pictures supplied by, yes, you guessed it, neturei karta. what else? oh yes, a cosy little bit of holocaust denial, too:

    What begs examination is whether the inmates at those camps died of the typhoid epidemics that swept across Germany towards the end of the war, or whether there was a deliberate program of extermination.

    so, clearly, this is a source i can trust. or perhaps i should ask my father-in-law if his entire family were killed by typhoid, or if in fact they were gassed. you know what, avi? i’m starting to think that perhaps i ought to put quote marks around your handle again, if you failed to spot something that would be obvious to anyone jewish.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  67. Avi Cohen — on 30th April, 2008 at 6:01 pm  

    BB – sorry I didn’t see the rest of the site. My mistake. I will be more careful in the future.

    As regards AIPAC I am not saying they control US Policy but what I am saying is they have a lot of influence.

    In order to achieve peace and I’ve said this all along both sides need their respective diaspora to promote peace not a policy of blaming the other.

    Peace is entirely achieveable in I/P almost 99% of the deal is done and both populatiosn accept that despite the posturing. In fact I’d say they are closer to an agreement than the situation was in Northern Ireland but the final push isn’t there.

    My worry is this is now very badly affecting Jewish – Muslim relations and the finger pointing has gone from largely the I/P issue to religous finger pointing.

  68. Anas — on 30th April, 2008 at 6:22 pm  

    yes, it takes such incredible skill and bravery to hide your weapons dumps underneath kindergartens, such acumen and courage

    Have you got any reference for that claim, that Hezbollah hid their weapons dumps underneath kindergaartens?

  69. bananabrain — on 30th April, 2008 at 6:36 pm  

    what’s the point? there is an entire industry out there apparently dedicated to proving that hizbollah’s rockets contain nothing but flowers, chocolates and childrens’ toys and that anything to the contrary is made up by alan dershowitz. you wouldn’t believe me, i’m sure – any evidence that came from the israeli side would be immediately denounced as fake.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  70. Anas — on 30th April, 2008 at 7:11 pm  

    I would like a link or something so I can make my own mind up, because i have never heard Hezbollah accused of hiding weapons stashes underneath nurseries before — not even from pro-Israeli sources.

  71. Anas — on 30th April, 2008 at 7:22 pm  

    Plus as I recall Human Rights Watch “found no cases in which Hezbollah deliberately used civilians as shields to protect them from retaliatory IDF attack”.

  72. Area 51 — on 30th April, 2008 at 11:09 pm  

    HRW’s review of Hezbollah operations during the 06 war is available here. It is hardly a ringing endorsement.

    …On July 15, around 7 or 8 a.m., according to her surviving relatives, Zahra Abdullah told them that she spotted three Hezbollah fighters carrying weapons and rockets behind her home, hiding the weapons in blue blankets. She again confronted the fighters, telling them, “Please, there are kids inside this home.” One of the Hezbollah fighters turned his automatic weapon on Zahra, and told her to “shut up and go inside.”

    Lovely people, Hezbollah.

    Note too Hezbollah’s reaction to HRW.

    Anyway, for those who claim to care about UN resolutions, they have long called for the disbanding and disarmament of Lebanese militias.

    Hezb doesn’t care, that’s for sure, and is busy rearming north of the Litani. The UN says as much here (first link) (see paragraphs 34 to 49).

    Anyone who supports Hezb is no friend of human rights.

  73. Anas — on 1st May, 2008 at 3:18 pm  

    Thanks Area 51, I was quoting from this earlier HRW report from 2006 which I referenced in something I wrote a while back on the Lebanese war. And yes, I accept that Hezbollah may well have used civilians as shields — and I condemn that as well as Hezbollah’s attacks on Israeli civilians. I’m not a blind apologist for any country or organisation, and I don’t romanticise Hezbollah.

    But, with that in mind, the HRW report *is* interesting for its summary of the whole issue of Hezbollah’s use of human shields — especially with regard to the common perception of Hezbollah’s routine use of such tactics :

    On some occasions, our research shows, Hezbollah fired rockets from within populated areas, allowed its combatants to mix with the Lebanese civilian population, or stored weapons in populated civilian areas in ways that violated international humanitarian law. Such violations, however, were not widespread: we found strong evidence that Hezbollah stored most of its rockets in bunkers and weapon storage facilities located in uninhabited fields and valleys, that in the vast majority of cases Hezbollah fighters left populated civilian areas as soon as the fighting started, and that Hezbollah fired the vast majority of its rockets from pre-prepared positions outside villages. On the question of whether Hezbollah intentionally used civilians as “shields”—that is, whether Hezbollah forces not only endangered civilians in violation of the duty to take all feasible precautions to spare civilians the hazards of armed conflict but also deliberately deployed among civilians with the aim of protecting themselves from attack—a serious laws of war violation, we found a handful of instances but nothing to suggest a widespread practice.

    For the reasons set forth below, Human Rights Watch’s assessment of Hezbollah’s practices does not support the Israeli contention that Hezbollah violations were the principal cause of Lebanese civilian casualties. Responsibility for the high civilian death toll of the war in Lebanon lies squarely with Israeli policies and targeting decisions in the conduct of its military operations.

    Does that mean that no friend of Israel can honestly claim to be a supporter of human rights?

    Oh yeah and Israel never uses human shields, or places weapons factories or anything like that near civilian settlements does it?

  74. Mike — on 20th May, 2008 at 9:53 pm  

    It is very simple.

    These guys are in a war with each other. After one side beats the tar out of the other side and wins the war there will peace. One side wins and the other side surenders.

    And then the conflict (for the most part) is over.

    Important…The winners need to help the defeated to get back on their feet once the war has ended. This tends to help ensure a relatively peaceful coexistance for the two partys over the long term.

    This is the nature of man in this world. Talks and deals are productive only after one side has a major victory. For a complete stop to the conflict a total victory is required.

    It is that simple.

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