Israel wants war


by Al-Hack
29th June, 2006 at 3:26 pm    

BBC reports:

Israeli troops have detained eight Palestinian ministers and dozens of officials from the ruling Hamas group in raids across the West Bank.

Sixty-four MPs and officials were seized, amid Israeli efforts to secure freedom for a captured soldier in Gaza.

The Israeli army dropped leaflets in northern Gaza urging residents to avoid moving in the area because of impending military activity

What’s to say apart from that Israel has thrown its brains out of the window? Hamas was being undermined by in-fighting and turf wars with Fatah. The Palestinian Authority was playing the right game in getting it to recognise Israel eventually. But that’s all gone now. This is a license to start a full scale war all over again, which is exactly what Hamas and Israel want. How stupider can Israeli leadership get?


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  1. Lebanon and Gaza in Flames at pass the roti on the left hand side

    [...] *Refresh over on Pickled Politics provided this link on comment #148 [...]




  1. sonia — on 29th June, 2006 at 3:39 pm  

    As about as stupid as the other side, and about as stupid as all sorts of people who keep thinking violence will somehow help them out. im a bit confused by your post though – you say ‘..which is exactly what they and the israelis want’ – who’s the they? the palestinian authority? oh dear – if all they want is war that’s what they’re getting..

  2. sonia — on 29th June, 2006 at 3:42 pm  

    In that case – shouldn’t the title of your post be Israel and Palestine want war? or is it trying to be sensationalist so that everyone will leap on it and there will be like a gizillion comments in no time. Or to leave the door open for someone to come and say sth like..why are you focusing on the Israeli aggression when the palestinians also want war.

    Just a thought!

  3. Vikrant — on 29th June, 2006 at 3:42 pm  

    Hmm… well Hamas started it first with the kindapping of an Israeli soldier and murder of an Israeli..

  4. Shaggydabbydo — on 29th June, 2006 at 3:45 pm  

    So, kidnapping diplomats is OK with Israel is it?

    Reap/sow – unfortunatly

  5. Kismet Hardy — on 29th June, 2006 at 3:48 pm  

    Are America still branding Hamas a terrorist organisation, given that they’re in power because they were voted in, to borrow a US word, democratically?

    And how long before Syria get the fuck bombed out of them?

    Have Israel come out as a nuclear power yet?

    I really don’t know the answers

    But I do know http://www.newamericancentury.org means we ain’t seen nothing yet

  6. j0nz — on 29th June, 2006 at 3:56 pm  

    Kismet, you twonk. Nazi germany was voted in democratically. Does that give them legitimacy?
    What you too be supportive of the BNP, or Le Pen’s national Front getting voted in, democratically?

    No of course you wouldn’t.

  7. Vikrant — on 29th June, 2006 at 3:56 pm  

    @sonia: Well Israel and its actions are judged by one set of moral standards while Palestinian actions are judged by other lower set of moral standards… This ittelectual dishonesty is so f***ing annoying. Obiously Israeli government (unlike Indian govt.) doesnt tolerate wanton killing of its civilians.

    On a side note. Vladimir Putin has asked his special services to “liquidate” the killer of its diplomats in Iraq by any means possible. Hell i bet those killers would be begging Americans to let them in Gotmo.

  8. Vikrant — on 29th June, 2006 at 3:57 pm  
  9. j0nz — on 29th June, 2006 at 3:58 pm  

    Well said Sonia #2

    Al-Hack you have stated in your last sentence that both sides want war… but the title is Israel wants war

  10. j0nz — on 29th June, 2006 at 3:59 pm  

    I (heart) gitmo

  11. sonia — on 29th June, 2006 at 4:10 pm  

    j0nz – i had a feeling it might stir up some fuss. :-)

    i think personally if hamas wants to make the transition as the IRA did it ought to try and stop these kidnapping style events. yes they started ( or re-started) it on this occasion as they want the israelis to release their prisoners but as al-hack’s post suggests – if this is going to start an all out war is there any point? would that not de-legitimize any gains made democratically?

    of course it’s quite another thing if everyone just does want a war.

  12. sonia — on 29th June, 2006 at 4:13 pm  

    (unlike Indian govt.) – so true! and the bangladeshi government as well – why they’re happily doing it themselves – :-)

  13. Kismet Hardy — on 29th June, 2006 at 4:13 pm  

    Jonz re: post 6.

    Twonk. What a fabulous word. I love it!

    But to be honest with you, if the BNP were voted in, it means the vast majority of people in the country I don’t live in don’t want me here. I’d do what I do when I go to parties – I’d take the hint and I leave.

    If the majority of people of Palestine want Hamas to run their show, that should be respected. If the champions of democracy, USA, say this doesn’t count, the word means nothing.

    Israel will get America’s full support simply because they like one and hate the other. That’s not democracy. That’s shit-stirring

  14. Amir — on 29th June, 2006 at 4:14 pm  

    How stupider can Israeli leadership get?

    Not much stupider! Hamas are now licking their lips at the prospect of another intifada against the ‘small Satan’.

    The question is: which side will Fatah pick?

  15. sonia — on 29th June, 2006 at 4:14 pm  

    kismet – yeah the PNAC thing – man i don’t see how they can have that up there and say all these things openly – and then when if a ‘dissenter’ type person repeats is dismissed with the slur ‘conspiracy theorist’.

  16. sonia — on 29th June, 2006 at 4:16 pm  

    “Hamas are now licking their lips at the prospect of another intifada against the ‘small Satan’” – well if that’s the case more fool them. what are they interested in – vengeance – or eventual peace? the problem is if no one believes in peace they’ll spend all their time on vengeance. ( note similarity to US foreign policy ;-)

  17. sonia — on 29th June, 2006 at 4:18 pm  

    kismet – your post #13 – brilliant :-) it’s good to witness such badinage.

    i also like the sound of this word twonk..

  18. Arif — on 29th June, 2006 at 4:57 pm  

    I think there needs to be a slightly more lateral strategy to getting this conflict sorted. Issues about who killed/kidnapped/shelled who and who retaliated will go on and trying to be direct in getting to the bottom of this won’t work without people talking to each other with goodwill or accepting neutral arbitration or judgment without preconditions.

    Even talking indirectly about two-state solutions or whatever does not work, because there is an unwillingness to talk by one side or another, preconditions, problems of representation (what they can take pack to their constituencies) and the fact that at least one side can get a lot more just by using force.

    So perhaps there should be a more abstract discussion on principles starting by expressing the moral principles each wants the other side to accept, with the only condition that they must also follow those conditions themselves. I don’t know how this could be enforced fairly, but humour me for a sec.

    Those principles can be discussed, clarified and so on and those which are accepted and not accepted by each side would be public knowledge. Each side would have to justify itself to its own constituency – as well as to the wider world each side wants to persuade to support them, so it could be a key resource for each side to accept more principles of behaviour in order to be seen as “the good guys”.

    In the long term, I think getting a few common principles would have an enormous psychological effect – making discussion easier and reducing fears on the steps to any negotiated solution.

    At a time like this can you blame me for clutching at imaginary straws?

  19. sonia — on 29th June, 2006 at 5:11 pm  

    Nope – and it’s important to keep thinking along those lines, otherwise we all may as well throw in the towel and join in with the violence!

  20. justforfun — on 29th June, 2006 at 5:35 pm  

    Arif – if only both sides were two unified peoples with an agreed goal.

    Arif I know you did not mention religion so this is not a response to your post – but I curse the day religion was brought into this conflict. Religions cannot compromise, there is always one person who wants, after his death to be that little bit closer to God than his fellow men and he will spoil it for all by assasinating whoever negotiates.

    When it was a nationalist struggle in the 70′s then a negotiation was possible,possibly. All I can suggest is that those outside this conflict self censor themselves and religion is never mentioned in terms of this conflict and the world denies it a religious dimension. Then in time perhaps a solution will be found.

    Justforfun

  21. Arif — on 29th June, 2006 at 6:48 pm  

    Justforfun,

    Even without being unified, if the elected leaderships embark on something, it creates the context towards which others must respond. I am assuming that the more hope there is in a just peace, the less propensity there would be to surrender to fear and hate. Some people would want to keep hating, but other people they invite to demonise all Palestinians or Israelis based on the whatever latest cruelty would have more reason to believe that, actually, not all of the other side subscribe to the values the warmongers want to project on them.

    I don’t think we should give up because people have a strong religious identification. They still have feelings and ethical capacities. I’d agree that there will always be people who thrive on confrontation who will continue to think in a black and white way. I suggest clutching at straws partly because I think the focus on serial aggressions and retaliations strengthens them. Also, if there is no common ground for “doves” to refer to, no grounds for hope or visible demonstrations of humanity, then the warriors can project their own worldviews freely.

    In the current conflict I helplessly have to listen to the one-sided propaganda from each side, and from my experience I expect people who don’t want to take sides seem to have no response beyond calling on both sides to refrain from violence. I find that depressing partly because it misses the point – both sides feel that the context of their violence justifies it, and anyway they never claimed to be pacifists, and also anyway their critics are also hypocrites unless they are pacifists. The genuine pacifists are never listened to in any case, even though each side advocates pacifism for the other!

    Still, people are trying as well. I am sure there are many contexts where Palestinians and Israelis are encouraged to talk without being allowed to slag each other off. I guess they just don’t have the drama required to make a news story. I have to hope.

  22. Courtney Hamilton — on 29th June, 2006 at 7:17 pm  

    I don’t think the Israeli reaction to the abduction of one if it’s soldiers is necessarily a ‘stupid’ act, I think is was more of a natural reaction. Indeed, what is Israel supposed to do when one of their own is taken in such a manner? Should the Israeli authorities have just said ‘that’s ok Hamas, we don’t mind you guys abducting one of our soldiers, we won’t do a thing about it’?

    If anything, Hamas has been lucky it doesn’t face the Israeli state of the 80′s or the 90′s, where the Israeli army were a lot more trigger-happy than they are today. In the past, Israel engaged in full scale invasions like Lebanon, where they massacred Palestinian refugees in their thousands. Today, Israel is much more likely to opt for targeted assasinasions. So, if anything, it could be argued that the situation for Palestinians is far, far better for them now, than it was in the past.

    If you (Al-Hack) say that Israel wants war now, doesn’t that pre-suppose that there was a period of peace before then? But, my understanding of events in Israel leads me to believe that there has been no peace in that region since the inception of Israel on May 14, 1948.

    Other than that, this is a very good blog you guys have here – I hope you don’t mind if I put your link on my blog.

    Best wishes.

    Courtney

  23. Refresh — on 29th June, 2006 at 9:25 pm  

    “Israeli missiles pound Gaza into new Dark Age in ‘collective punishment’

    Israel’s hi-tech bombardment has destroyed six transformers at Gaza’s only power station” – The Independent.

    This is the gentler face of Israel.

    The 1980′s was a bit too blunt. But the strategy stays the same.

    Did anyone really think Gaza wouldn’t be re-invaded time after time?

    Is there any excuse that couldn’t be used?

    A family killed on the beach – for Israel is nothing more than a PR error.

    To solve this crisis, you’d want to solve it.

    The truth is Palestinians will never have a partner for peace. Ben Gurion ensured it would be so – a militarised state.

  24. Refresh — on 29th June, 2006 at 9:54 pm  
  25. Katy Newton — on 29th June, 2006 at 10:26 pm  

    Refresh, do you think that the Palestinians are a partner for peace themselves? I’m not excusing Israel but I don’t think the Palestinians have knocked themselves out for peace either. Both sides appear to want war.

  26. El Cid — on 29th June, 2006 at 10:36 pm  

    I agree with the thrust of what you’re saying completely Al Hack. At the end of the day, the Israeli government’s get-tough policy is dumb.
    The Palestinians got the Hamas government they wanted but I doubt that, when cornered by a referendum, they would have voted for that plank of Hamas policy that had been the biggest stumbling block to potential direct negotiations with Israel. That is, the recognition of Israel implied by the acceptance of a two-state solution.
    It could have forced Hamas’s hands and even allowed the leadership of Hamas to change tack AND save face — perfect. We will probably not know now.
    What’s annoying about your posture Sonia is that it smacks of a defensiveness that many Jews adopt at these times just because they are Jewish. It’s just more the same childish shite.
    Buenas noches.

  27. Refresh — on 29th June, 2006 at 10:42 pm  

    The underlying philosophy from the creation of the state of Israel has been expansionism.

    There was a charade being played throughout the 90′s & 2000 concluded it. That was Oslo.

    Israel does not need peace. It should want it as a part of comity of nations. But need it? No.

    What has the Palestinian left for them to offer Israel? Almost the greatest offer of all has already been made & taken. Recognition of Israel.

    A generosity beyond compare amongst anything I can recall – and what did they get?

    What no one can offer on behalf of the people and not be skinned alive – is make the ultimate sacrifice. Renounce the right of return.

    To answer your question – the Palestinians have got to be so pissed off that now the only thing left to do is drive them into the sea. So they have nothing to lose.

    Want war? The don’t have to want. Sneeze and they get bombed. Complain, and houses get demolished.

    For goodness sake just do it. No one’s looking anyway.

  28. sonia — on 29th June, 2006 at 10:42 pm  

    i think katy has a good point up above. and the question is how the people who want peace on both sides ( and we know they exist) can have their voices supported and their attempts not sabotaged by violence on either side.

  29. sonia — on 29th June, 2006 at 10:44 pm  

    el cid = what posture are you talking about? what am i defensive of??!! are you sure you’re addressing the right person or is today the day of misunderstandings?! jeez ligten up this place is tense.

  30. Desi Italiana — on 29th June, 2006 at 10:50 pm  

    “Refresh, do you think that the Palestinians are a partner for peace themselves? I’m not excusing Israel but I don’t think the Palestinians have knocked themselves out for peace either. Both sides appear to want war.”

    WTF– a colonized, military occupied people who have been subject to ethnic cleansing (euphenism is “transfer”) are somehow supposed to be the ones who strive for peace with their oppressors.

    I hate how the concept of “post colonialism” has invaded academia, the media, and people’s minds, as if colonialism is over with and now we are on a path of progress. Now, anytime colonialism takes place, it is never identified as such; it’s always coded in other terms.

    Do you know why Israel will never be a “partner of peace”? Because the very state of Israel has been founded on exclusionist principles– ie, it is a NATIONAL homeland for Jews only. In anticipation of someone bringing up “well, Israel’s Palestinian population is between 15-20%”– actually there is a “red-line” quota of which Palestinians numerically shouldn’t cross in order to preserve the “Jewish Character” of the state. And the red line is actually 20%.

    “But, my understanding of events in Israel leads me to believe that there has been no peace in that region since the inception of Israel on May 14, 1948″.

    Your understanding is not correct. “Peace” in that region didn’t erupt like a volcano on May 14, 1948. Palestinians had already started to resist well before that, ever since they started learning about the Zionist plans to colonize Palestine and establish a Zionist state.

  31. sonia — on 29th June, 2006 at 10:53 pm  

    jewish defensiveness indeed! i’ve not heard anything quite so amusing for a while :-)

  32. Bikhair aka Taqiyyah — on 29th June, 2006 at 11:08 pm  

    jOnz,

    “Kismet, you twonk. Nazi germany was voted in democratically. Does that give them legitimacy?
    What you too be supportive of the BNP, or Le Pen’s national Front getting voted in, democratically?

    No of course you wouldn’t.”

    I guess the difference would be that had these former governments been elected everyone, including you I am sure, would argue that their respective populations had no choice because of unmitigating circumstances of uncontrollable immigration and political correctness and that inspite of the fact that these are racist groups who are now in power the people who voted for them arent racist but embittered. On the other hand, Hamas is a terrorist, and maybe a racist organization who were voted in solely because that population wants to destroy Isreal period. Nuances for the Palestinian vote just doesnt exist. Vote for a racist in Europe, your a vanguard.

    Also, as the destruction contines on the part of the overwhelming power of the Isrealis no one will be quoting the Torah either. Poor Amalikites.

  33. Sunny — on 29th June, 2006 at 11:15 pm  

    That Israel exists and will continue to exist is a given. Al-Hack has said this before too. But as El Cid said too, we were on a verge of a break through here with the Palestinian Authorities trying to out-maneouver Hamas by trying to get them to accept the existence of Israel. Hamas with its infighting with Fatah was losing credibility anyway.

    And then what the fuck does Israel do? Kidnap everyone in sight! What the fuck!? They’re playing into the hands of Hamas! Even my mum came up to me after hearing the news and said she’d given on those people to get anywhere. This is a fucking tragedy. But then I’ve long ago given up on the Israeli govt to use their brains. Hamas never had any anyway.

  34. Ravi4 — on 29th June, 2006 at 11:20 pm  

    Desi Italiana – so your solution is what? the destruction of the State of Israel?

    Refresh – Are you viewing this event through the reductionist lens of “imperialism”/”colonialism”? I hope not. The world is not that simple.

    This Israeli action is stupid. So was the Hamas action that preceded it. At the moment, neither side looks like a particularly good partner for peace.

  35. Sunny — on 29th June, 2006 at 11:24 pm  

    Ravi4 – I can’t remember the last time Hamas actually did anything intelligent or useful. It’s a fucking terrorist organisation. But the very fact there is very little distinguishing the two here, except for Israel’s firepower is the real problem isn’t it.

    Courtney – thanks and link away. You are right of course, there has never really been peace in the region :(

  36. Refresh — on 29th June, 2006 at 11:24 pm  

    Sunny – does it not fit in with someone who doesn’t need peace?

    It is not a tragedy, it is a strategy.

    Hamas was never the issue. The closer Abbas gets to delivering Hamas, the worse it is for Israel.

    I would venture to say, that Israel is not yet fully formed.

  37. Refresh — on 29th June, 2006 at 11:31 pm  

    Ravi4, What lens would you like me to look through?

    Give me yours so I can deal with complex issues.

    Sunny, who helped form Hamas? And why would there be an interest in Fatah and Hamas fighting?

    I was so hopeful for Oslo, and then came Netanyahu followed swiftly by Sharon. Now Olmert has to out-Sharon Sharon.

  38. Chris Stiles — on 30th June, 2006 at 12:57 am  

    Israel exists and it is a given – indeed – and you could have all sorts of philosophical questions based on that one fact on the ground but they are all moot.

    On ze other hand .. between 1967 and whenever the first intifada kicked off, the Israelis could well have made peace on their own terms – as long as it was mostly based on 1967 borders. Could have – it was a possibility, and who knows how things would have transpired.

    I suspect that a non-violent palestinian campaign of civil disobedience – at some time in the early 90s (and pre the second intifada) – could have ‘solved’ things satisfactorialy to all parties, but who knows

  39. Don — on 30th June, 2006 at 12:59 am  

    Sunny,

    ‘That Israel exists and will continue to exist is a given.’

    To you, to me, to most of those here (although I suspect one or two have reservations).

    But not to Israel or Hamas.

  40. sonia — on 30th June, 2006 at 2:24 am  

    sunny aparently the reason people voted for them is because they actually organized things like water and practicalities of living.

  41. Amir — on 30th June, 2006 at 2:56 am  

    Sonia, ;-)
    I’ve just checked out your profile on ‘Desert and Sea’…

    Wow…you’re cute!! Seriously.

    Didn’t see that one coming!

    However, just coz you’re cute doesn’t mean I agree with you. Abolishing the nation-state is a shiite idea. Borderline communism.

  42. Desi Italiana — on 30th June, 2006 at 4:49 am  

    “Refresh” is a man/woman after my own heart…. you are on the money(except for your statement that you were hopeful during Oslo). Israel does NOT want peace. For every Israeli government, “peace” means not having to bother with Palestinians.

    “I suspect that a non-violent palestinian campaign of civil disobedience – at some time in the early 90s (and pre the second intifada) – could have ’solved’ things satisfactorialy to all parties, but who knows”.

    Er…what kind of “civil obedience” are you talking about here? Sitting down in front of the bulldozers? Looking up at the bomber jets flying overhead and spreading your arms, in hopes that some TV crew will catch it? (BTW, the instances that the journalists and photographers have caught incriminating evidence against Israelis on tape, there has been a vociferous “You are all anti-semites!!” thrown at people and governments, ie the tape circulated where the Palestinian father, and then his child, were shot and Israel subsequently accused everyone of being anti Semites).

    Amir: Sonia is right about one of the reasons why Hamas was voted: it has provided strong welfare services, something that is lacking. And I’ll add a thought of my own: maybe the Palestinians voted for Hamas because they were sick and tired of the PLO, which signed away practically everything to the Israelis during Oslo and the Camp David agreements. For those of you who think the Oslo accords were just, think again. Read Edward Said’s “The Peace Process” and a couple of others (including a Palestinian lawyer, Raja Shehadeh) that I know I’m forgetting.

  43. Katy Newton — on 30th June, 2006 at 6:42 am  

    My comment above wasn’t intended to express support for what Israel has done. I think it’s utterly insane and unjustified, so whoever accused me of Jewish defensiveness is wrong. I was just saying that it seems to me that neither party is interested in peace, and whilst I take your point about their grievance, Refresh/Desi Italiana, if neither side is interested in doing that then neither of them have a partner for peace. That’s all.

  44. Desi Italiana — on 30th June, 2006 at 7:55 am  

    Question: when there is utter disparity of the power dynamics between two groups, whereby one group is disproportionately stronger–politically, militarily, and has the unconditional support of major countries–are you saying that the other group should be the one to make pacifying noises? Gestures of peace? Please.

    Following the same logic, one could argue that the Native Americans of North America shouldn’t have been violent towards the Anglo colonial settlers. They should have been peaceful, right? In the history textbooks here, this is how so called “Indian Wars” are framed.

  45. Desi Italiana — on 30th June, 2006 at 7:56 am  

    Having Israel as a “partner of peace”? Yes, I’d like to see that happen.

  46. Vikrant — on 30th June, 2006 at 8:24 am  

    sunny aparently the reason people voted for them is because they actually organized things like water and practicalities of living.

    Having lived in KSA Sonia i must tell ya…NO… such is Arab mentality… Palestinians precisely voted for Hamas because they WANT a war. Most of them still believe they can actually wipe out Israel.

  47. mirax — on 30th June, 2006 at 8:27 am  

    >>Kidnap everyone in sight! What the fuck!? They’re playing into the hands of Hamas!

    Well this is in response to the kidnapping of the soldier – which itself I read somewhere online, was possibly syrian-instigated and carried out without the knowledge of either the Hamas PM or the Fatah President, precisely aimed at scuttling the Hamas breakthrough recognition of Israel. I agree that Israel did not have to go into kneejerk response but that Olmert guy – never been impressed by him, seems simpleminded – needs to prove himself. The Israeli kidnapping of the Hamas legislators is a huge provocation. Israel seems its own worst enemy as far as the PR war is concerned.

  48. mirax — on 30th June, 2006 at 8:33 am  

    Desi Italiana is precisely the kind of palestine supporter -and there are too many such- who contributes a lot of heat but no light to the problem.

  49. Refresh — on 30th June, 2006 at 9:13 am  

    Mirax,

    You can be a bit rude Mirax. I am sure I’ve seen you generate a lot of heat.

    Principally Desi-Italian has reminded you what you don’t want to consider – perhaps its too much effort for you.

    That is Israel is not for peace. Why should it have to deal with the Palestinians at all.

    If underlying the whole problem is that – why would you not want to hear about it.

    The rest is re-arranging the deckchairs.

  50. Maxi lopez — on 30th June, 2006 at 9:25 am  

    Those of you complaining about the abduction should think about the hundreds of palestinian prisoners held WITHOUT charge including women and children. They were abducted and nobody gives a shit. The truth you cannot swallow is that Israel is a zionazi terrorist state that collectively punishes a population because of its race. It was founded by terrorists and continues its terrorist actions. Until the international community finds the guts to say enough is enough, you cannot persecute the palestinians any longer, there is no hope for any peace.

  51. El Cid — on 30th June, 2006 at 10:29 am  

    such is Arab mentality… Palestinians precisely voted for Hamas because they WANT a war. Most of them still believe they can actually wipe out Israel.

    Are you sure Vikrant about this? I mean really really really sure? Aside from Arab chav who dress up their toddlers as suicide bombers, I suspect most would probably just want to feed their families and get on with life, just like everyone else. I may be mistaken but last time I looked, Arabs weren’t classified as a completely different species. I know Hitler tried that line a few decades back, but it doesn’t stand up to closer scrutiny.
    Maxi Lopez: easy with the rhetoric collegui. Yes, Israel was founded by terrorists — a fact too often overlooked. But it doesn’t serve any purpose other than to cause offence to Jews when you call Israel “zionazi”. You are underestimating the horrors of Nazi Germany.
    Sonia: I may have mistaken you for someone else but I still disagree with you on this one, even if our broader views on Israel/Palestine are probably more similar than is apparent on this post.

  52. Refresh — on 30th June, 2006 at 10:39 am  

    El Cid I agree on your comments to both Vikrant and Maxi.

  53. Arif — on 30th June, 2006 at 10:45 am  

    Since we have people with sympathies on both sides on this blogsite, I wonder if any of you would suggest an ethical principle which you would want the other side to take on, with it equally binding the side you sympathise with.

    Just an experiment to see if we can find common ground if we try…

    For example, hostage-taking: would everyone agree that hostage-taking whether of civilians taken into administrative detention by the IDF or IDF soldiers captured by Hamas and Islamic Jihad should be mutually prohibited?

  54. Refresh — on 30th June, 2006 at 10:46 am  

    “(except for your statement that you were hopeful during Oslo)”

    Desi Italiana, I wanted Oslo to be genuine, so we could move on to building a genuinely peaceful and prosperous Middle-East. And I did hope for Israel playing its role as one state amongst many in the region.

    Wanting and getting are two separate things.

    I can’t recall, but was Edward Said opposed because he didn’t see it as a genuine path to peace or was there some other fundamental issue he raised?

  55. Kismet Hardy — on 30th June, 2006 at 10:57 am  

    “I can’t remember the last time Hamas actually did anything intelligent or useful. It’s a fucking terrorist organisation.”

    Why? Because they listen to the anger and hurt of their people and react violently with extreme force and prejudice?

    And that’s different from the Isaraeli government how?

  56. sonia — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:12 am  

    amir – well thanks for the somewhat backhanded compliment! and no worries i don’t expect anyone to agree with me. But erm..borderline communism? – hardly. :-) In my opinion the fundamental problem with communism ( i presume we’re referring to how in the context of the Soviet Union) was not only just the emphasis on a state-centric framework but an incredibly totalitarian state framework. Big trouble and was clearly never going to work. i could’ve told them at the time//..:-)) Personally i’m more interested in libertarian anarchism /anarcho-syndicalism type of thing. ‘abolishing’ the concept of the nation-state may sound radical – but if i were actually going to say that – as opposed to throwing it out there for people to chew over – it wouldn’t refer to for example the administrative level of reality – but instead refer to the conceptualization of a ‘national’ community as opposed to ‘global’ community. So something along the lines of local administration -and notching up the national to a global imagining. ( i’d also like to point out quickly that i’m not a subscriber to homogenous belonging/identity school of thought but rather multiplicity, heterogenous belongings/identities in concentric, overlapping circles idea etc.) Perhaps you might find Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities interesting to read. my point is simply not again – about ‘abolishing’ but rather broadening our understanding of community and the different levels involved. after all people in the national context suggest things like oh if your identity is only ( say) Muslim, then you’re not fully subscribing to the British level of identity, and you’re not fully belonging. or people who suggest we should try and ‘unite’ ‘tribal factions’ with a national identity – and that is after all part of the history of nationalism in countries across the world. i’m not saying that wasn’t and isn’t valid, but my thinking is simply that it may be useful to conceptualize on the next level up – taking in the cosmos/global community. Which wouldn’t need to negate any other belonging – but rather a multiplicity.

    Perhaps it doesn’t make sense to most people who grow up in the confines of one nation-state that is their home and is relatively secure – for example post WWII britain – but for others – such as myself – it may be an interesting line of thought. Local and global. that’s all. and i just wanted to highlight – take the israel palestine issue – it’s pretty clear how one of the major difficulties here is how different people on different sides conceptualize their nation-hood, and resent the other sides take. as a student of sociology and social psychology what im interested in is how our concepts of say nation or tribe are social constructs – and i’m curious to see if we can take our ‘social construction’ to a wider more inclusive level. of course it’s a line of enquiry which i think is worth examining and trying to understand what other people may think about this, and about their understanding of community and what is relevant to them. p.s. according to those what kind of personality are you tests i’m one of these INFP’s who only think and don’t do anything.. – so you don’t have to worry much about me ‘taking over’ and starting a ‘revolution’ if that’s what you’re worried about.. ;-)

    for me it’s more about the symbolism of the groups we construct – and how can we reconsider that, if at all.

  57. Kismet Hardy — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:12 am  

    I’m sorry but even a toddler should be able to spot what’s wrong with this picture.

    One people’s party kidnaps a soldier from the opposition party.

    The other party retaliates by arresting dozens of their opposition’s party members and threatens to assasinate their leader, while blowing the fuck out of anyone in the way

    It’s not a war. It’s a fucking annihalation

  58. mirax — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:14 am  

    >>For example, hostage-taking: would everyone agree that hostage-taking whether of civilians taken into administrative detention by the IDF or IDF soldiers captured by Hamas and Islamic Jihad should be mutually prohibited?

    Good call, Ariff.

    I would modify that to : no deliberate targetting of civilian populations on either side, be it hostage taking, suicide bombing or Israeli extra-judicial assassinations.

    But before that, a fundamental commitment to the process of dialogue and a recognition that a negotiated peace is the only possible solution, that neither side needs to be annihilated.

    Have to run now, will spend some thought on this and get back with other ideas.

  59. sonia — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:18 am  

    oh yes vikrant, i wasn’t suggesting that might not be the case as well, but i was only putting that forth as some practical things that apparently Hamas had been doing in addition to all their other doings. ( i think sunny asked what have they done anyway – and it made me think of Monty Python and the Romans – what have they ever done for us.. :-) )

    i’ve read that bit of info somewhere – of course i’ve no idea if they have really done that, but it was simply reported in the context of well people were fed up with not having basic services and that they felt Hamas had done a better job of that compared to the old days of the PLO. also i can’t remember where i read it so wouldn’t really be able to say if it was neutrally reported or not . the articles seemed to be saying well there are ordinary people who don’t want violence ( in addition to people who may support hamas for more ideological reasons) who voted for H cos they didn’t really see what else was available to them, and they needed water, sanitation blah blah.

  60. Refresh — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:23 am  

    Sonia, Amir – please don’t let this thread go the same way as the others. Interesting though your comments are, I am sure they can be discussed in another forum.

  61. Kismet Hardy — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:25 am  

    The only Palestinian leader Israel and America will be pleased with is one that’s thought of as an Uncle Tom by the Palestinian people and thus hated

    So there’s no point banging on about whether PLO were better than Hamas. Anyone who is elected by the Palestinian people will be someone who will fight for their right not to be fucked over and over again

  62. sonia — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:28 am  

    Arif and Mirax – sounds eminently sensible. and it would be great if both sides could agree – and stick to it.

  63. Arif — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:29 am  

    Thanks for giving this a go, mirax.

    Would you agree to modify “suicide bombing” to read “bombing”? I understand that some people think that suicide bombing is more appalling because they believe it turns the body into a weapon, but others see it as less oppressive than bombing and living to bomb again another day.

    Targeting civilians – might be difficult to prove intention – would bombing in civilian areas capture the principle in a more objective way?

    If you agree to such modifications, the list now:

    1. No hostage taking (including “administrative detention”)

    2. No bombing in civilian areas

    3. No extra-judicial killing

    I will add you fourth as well to invite comments, although I think it goes against the spirit of what I’m trying to suggest – discussing overarching principles to build the very confidence in dialogue and the rights of the other to exist.

    4. Willingness to talk about peaceful solutions with elected representatives, without preconditions, regardless of how much you condemn their policies.

    Would you or others wish to modify, remove or add these principles and give an explanation?

  64. soru — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:30 am  

    ‘It’s not a war. It’s a fucking annihalation’

    To what extent do you think your feelings are based on the idea that war should be, ideally, like a football match, between two teams of equal size and not too different in skill?

    Being a ‘fair game’, being interesting to watch for spectators, and having an unpredictable result gamblers can bet on, are certainly good things for a sport. War has a different purpose.

  65. sonia — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:31 am  

    Refresh – sure – but what is relevant is how people conceptualize their nation which is obviously tied up in the right to a nation is certainly pertinent to the Israel/Palestine issue. Would you not say so? One of the major stumbling blocks to the peace process is not being to align the competing aims.

  66. sonia — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:36 am  

    I think Arif’s points are fair. ‘no bombing in civilian areas’ would cover either israeli army aggression or palestinian suicide bombers. i think that focusing on suicide bombers and saying that’s a problem without saying the same thing about ‘ordinary’ bombing is unfair and hypocritical. so that wording would indicate that bombing full stop is not acceptable – which is an advancement.

  67. sonia — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:50 am  

    Kismet’s point 55 is valid. the reaction is pretty similar – which is of course why peace has been elusive for so long! if you’re locked in a relationship with another person who is reacting in the same way as yourself – both refusing to give ground and reacting angrily – you’re going to stay locked in…

    ( of course one side is seen to have legitimacy as a nation-state and this seems to lend some credibility to their actions in the eyes of a lot of people and some other nation-states. )

  68. sonia — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:54 am  

    el cid im not sure what you think my ‘position’ is and what you’re disagreeing with me about. in any case what you said about “Aside from Arab chav who dress up their toddlers as suicide bombers, I suspect most would probably just want to feed their families and get on with life, just like everyone else. I may be mistaken but last time I looked, Arabs weren’t classified as a completely different species.” i agree completely. i’ve grown up in the middle east and am fully aware of how both sides are demonized when at the end of the day most people are simply ordinary folk. and this kind of demonization and reinforcement by people completely detached from the situation makes it harder for any dialogue.

  69. Kismet Hardy — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:57 am  

    Sonia, I don’t believe two sides have to be as strong as each other like World Cup teams, but I do believe if you’re going to play the game of war, the referee and commentators should be fair on both sides, with the chants and boos of their respective supporters respected.

    If this is the definition of war:

    a. A state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties.
    b. The period of such conflict.
    c. The techniques and procedures of war; military science.

    Nowhere does it state it doesn’t count as warfare if the opposition team are a bunch of gooks battling it out in an orange jungle, a bunch of afghans fighting from their caves or Palestinians strapping bombs to themselves

    If you challenge someone, be it sport or war, you can’t say the other is cheating just because they’re not capable of using your tactics (bombings, backings, propaganda) and shout foul when they fight back whichever way they can

    In war, both sides have casualties. It should happen to those who start the fight killing each other in the battleground, but it isn’t. It’s between stupid soldiers dying for a cause they don’t understand and desperate peasants who’ve got nothing left than to fight and die.

    To end with your football analogy, it’s like Sven and Scolari sending out their players, letting them break every bone in their body, but still sending more, until all the players are used up. Except in war, there are thousands of players to play with and we quickly forget the exact score and wonder when it’ll end so we can watch Strictly Come Dancing on telly

  70. Refresh — on 30th June, 2006 at 12:00 pm  

    Sonia, no its not similar at all.

    You have one party who does not NEED peace. And the other who is being forced to renounce all they have.

    See this http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/5132514.stm

    “Israel has revoked the East Jerusalem residency rights of a Hamas cabinet minister and three MPs detained with dozens of Hamas officials on Thursday. “

  71. sonia — on 30th June, 2006 at 12:06 pm  

    Refresh – angry attitudes on both sides i would say are similar. it doesn’t preclude what you say though.

  72. sonia — on 30th June, 2006 at 12:08 pm  

    Certainly levels of power are not similar obviously -and hence leading to the situation you describe – and how could they be -when one side is supported by the USA? i said this on the CiF site -the US needs to stop interfering and inequalizing the balance – and forcing a situation where as you say – “You have one party who does not NEED peace. And the other who is being forced to renounce all they have.”

  73. sonia — on 30th June, 2006 at 12:11 pm  

    Kismet – i think your point 69 above should be addressed to Soru perhaps? :-) where you say –

    ” Sonia, I don’t believe two sides have to be as strong as each other like World Cup teams, but I do believe if you’re going to play the game of war, the referee and commentators should be fair on both sides, with the chants and boos of their respective supporters respected.”

    presumably in response to Soru’s point 64 – “To what extent do you think your feelings are based on the idea that war should be, ideally, like a football match, between two teams of equal size and not too different in skill?”

    i’ve personal experience of war so i’ll stay out of this one. and no it wasn’t an equal experience at all – but i suppose occupation is a better term really.

  74. Kismet Hardy — on 30th June, 2006 at 12:15 pm  

    Oh yeah. Soru. But I like talking to you more Sonia. You make me all fuzzy and warm inside

  75. soru — on 30th June, 2006 at 12:48 pm  

    kismet: the problem is, for any given set of rules, some members of one or both sides will say ‘if we stick to those rules, we will lose’. Usually that will be the Palestinians, as they are, as you say, very much the weaker side. It would be hard to define a symmetric set of rules that would give them a chance.

    So you see people pushing for obviously asymmetric rules, e.g. muslims not in the team are allowed to help out those on the pitch, but jews or christians aren’t.

    Of course, if in time the Palestinians do become the stronger party, no doubt the situation will be reversed.

  76. Kismet Hardy — on 30th June, 2006 at 1:01 pm  

    So Soru, if we’re going to sit back and say we can’t do anything about Israel taking the offensive, let’s let the Palestinians play their game their way.

    As football managers are always saying: ‘We know we did not play a fair game but it is the scoring of goals that counts’

  77. IgorVovchanchyn — on 30th June, 2006 at 1:10 pm  

    Was There Really An Attack On Israeli Soldiers?

    Did eight Arabs tunnel three blocks in the sand?

    http://judicial-inc.biz/A_ttack_gaza_tunnel_2006.htm

    Doesn’t blood look like it, Zionists caught in another false flag operation more like.

  78. Sunny — on 30th June, 2006 at 1:11 pm  

    Most of them still believe they can actually wipe out Israel.

    Vikrant – a majority of Palestinians accept the right of Israel to exist, according to surveys. Which is why Abbbas was trying to get Hamas to agree to a referendum on Israel’s legitimacy and Hamas was trying to get out of it.

  79. Kismet Hardy — on 30th June, 2006 at 1:21 pm  

    If you’re a teacher or a parent and you’re trying to break up two kids fighting, and this is what’s presented to you:

    Kid A: I want my toy back. If you don’t give my toy back I’m going to break your pencil like I stamped on your sharpener.

    Kid B: You can’t have your toy back. If you touch my pencil I’m going to burn down your room like I smashed all your furniture.

    Really. Which side would you tell to play fair and chill the fuck out?

  80. El Cid — on 30th June, 2006 at 1:38 pm  

    Mummy please, make the bad football analogy go away :)

  81. Kismet Hardy — on 30th June, 2006 at 2:05 pm  

    El Cid, just for you:

    So imagine the Hamas is West Ham. And their supporters are like Hammers. And Israeli government are Chelsea. Now, imagine, if you will, that you are the ball and I am a piece of turf causing the ball to stand awry on the penalty spot…

    I could go on torturing you, but I like you

  82. sonia — on 30th June, 2006 at 2:22 pm  

    :-)

  83. raz — on 30th June, 2006 at 2:25 pm  

    MAY ALLAH BLESS ISRAEL

  84. Ravi Naik — on 30th June, 2006 at 2:57 pm  

    Ok, I will be blunt. I blame this conflict entirely on Israel. There is no comparison between the might and power of Israel against the Palestians. Israel had the opportunity to help Palestine grow and give its people the freedom and the right to live as prosperous as Israel itself. Instead, Palestians were left in misery and were punished severely by the actions of a few terrorist groups. So the mainstream became a dysfunctional group of potential terrorists. Go figure.

    It is a pity, really. Israel is an amazing country that could have brought a lot of good in the Middle East. It is an accomplished country unlike other spoiled middle-eastern countries with oil.

    Gandhi was right when he said that an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.

  85. sonia — on 30th June, 2006 at 3:34 pm  

    “Gandhi was right when he said that an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.”

    I’ll second that.

  86. justforfun — on 30th June, 2006 at 5:32 pm  

    No No No – My quote is much more appropriate.

    “In a world of the Blind – the Deaf Man is King”

    The world is blind and the Isrealis are Deaf.

    Justforfun

  87. Amir — on 30th June, 2006 at 6:02 pm  

    Ravi Naik,

    (I) Ok, I will be blunt. I blame this conflict entirely on Israel.

    That’s too blunt [unless we’re talking specifically about the Hamas kidnappings?] The 1937 Peel Commission’s partition of Palestine, with a tiny Jewish state, was rejected by the Arabs. Result? The 1947 UN partition, with a slightly less tiny Jewish state. This was also rejected by the Arabs and immediately attacked by them. Result? The war of 1948, the seizure of land by Israel and the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes. The Arabs continued to threaten Israel. Result? The 1967 war and an even bigger Israel. Result? Yet another war in 1973, an Arab invasion of Israel, the first really serious threat to the West’s oil supplies from the Middle East, and the beginning of the ‘land for peace’ process. Result? Yasser Arafat: a ‘leader’ who managed to establish a dictatorship over his own people before they even had a state. His vile death-or-glory campaigns made life infinitely harder for the Palestinian populations of Jordan and in Lebanon – not to mention Kuwaiti Palestinians when he chose to back Saddam Hussein.

    (II) Israel had the opportunity to help Palestine grow and give its people the freedom and the right to live as prosperous as Israel itself.

    If Israel went back to those pre-1967 borders tomorrow, the hostility wouldn’t stop. An in-built cycle of violence/counterviolence has been in place since British officials unwisely appointed Haj Amin al Husseini as Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and so encouraged Arab Muslim militants to undermine the Jewish presence in what was then the British colony of Palestine. The last thing Arafat, or anyone else on the Arab side, has ever wanted has been a final settlement of the Israel question. Arafat ran away as fast and as far as he could when faced with such a possibility. Result? The second Intifada.

    (III) Gandhi was right when he said that an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.

    That depends: gouge out both his eyes and he is unable to fight back. Or is this aphorism a sneaky reference to Moshe Dayan? ;-)

  88. Ravi Naik — on 30th June, 2006 at 6:26 pm  

    Amir,

    There is no moral equivalent between Israel and Palestine. Israel is a military power, Palestine is not. Israel can bomb any government building, assassinate any government official, no questions asked. Palestine cannot.

    Israel does because it can. It humiliates because it can. There is no vision behind the Old Testament justice of eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. Hence I found the Gandhi’s quote appropriate.

    Both sides have crossed line, but I still think Israel is the only one who can give hope to Palestians, despite all the efforts of islamists to undermine it. And it’s disheartening to see Israel falling to the same trap, time after time.

  89. Desi Italiana — on 30th June, 2006 at 7:04 pm  

    Mirax:
    “Desi Italiana is precisely the kind of palestine supporter -and there are too many such- who contributes a lot of heat but no light to the problem.”

    Like what, for example? How have I “contributed a lot of heat, but no light”? I pointed out the glaring facts that most people do not even discuss. I, on my part, see a lot of pro-Israel or sympathy for Israel who contribute a lot of nonsensical bullshit without ever pointing out the stark and blatant facts that stand on the ground. Did you not read any of my comments?

    If you think that my strong wording or posts that have a tone is contributing “a lot of heat”, too bad.

  90. Amir — on 30th June, 2006 at 7:24 pm  

    Ravi,

    I am perfectly aware of the ham-fisted tactics of the IDF and the vile atrocities of Ariel Sharon. Scanning the pages of Edward Said’s The Politics of Dispossession, published 10 years ago, and you will read an Israeli policy that never ceased to expand settlement and colonisation even as the most urgent negotiations with European and American statesmen were in progress.

    But to say …“I blame it all on Israel – full stop” is so simplistic that it makes a mockery of everything that went beforehand.

    Your response is hackneyed:

    There is no moral equivalent between Israel and Palestine. Israel is a military power, Palestine is not. Israel can bomb any government building, assassinate any government official, no questions asked. Palestine cannot.

    The arguments about asymmetric warfare could just as easily be used by al-Qaida agents and their sympathisers. Let’s say Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer were angered by the occupation of Iraq or even 80 years of western imperialism. What weapons would they have against the mighty arsenals of Britain and the US? Those men from Leeds had no jet planes or tanks. They too ‘only have their bodies’. Does this, in your opinion, excuse the atrocities on July 7? Palestinian attacks on the occupying army or on paramilitary settler groups are justified; but attacks on settler families or schools are terrorist acts, murder exactly.

    I would also question your pre-modern definition of ‘weakness’. Just because the Palestinians have no daisy cutters or tanks or nuclear weapons doesn’t make them helpless. In today’s postmodern wars, high-spec technology is becoming less and less usable in densely populated civilian areas. Each time a technologically-advanced, heavily armed, regular, state-owned military took on insurgencies – in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Namibia, Eritrea, and Somalia – they were defeated.

  91. Amir — on 30th June, 2006 at 7:41 pm  

    Desi Italiana,

    I, on my part, see a lot of pro-Israel or sympathy for Israel who contribute a lot of nonsensical bullshit without ever pointing out the stark and blatant facts that stand on the ground.

    Much of your criticism directed at Israel has more to do with the existence of the state than with the policies of any of its governments.

  92. Desi Italiana — on 30th June, 2006 at 7:48 pm  

    Refresh:
    “I can’t recall, but was Edward Said opposed because he didn’t see it as a genuine path to peace or was there some other fundamental issue he raised?”

    Said, like many others (who we heard little of when everybody was ooohing and ahhing over the Oslo accords)found Oslo to be deeply flawed. It basically gave Israel absolute control over the “Occupied Territories” which themselves had been fashioned into an apartheid style set up. The economic situation of Palestinians rapidly deteriorated even more as more and more Palestinians slid into deeper poverty after the signing of Oslo. The Accords did not even take into account the issue of refugees, Jerusalem, borders, and absolute sovereignty (control over water, airspace, etc).Read Israel Shahak also, as well as some others.

    Oslo was shrewdly designed to haggle anything and everything from the Palestinians. I wonder if Arafat and Co. bothered to even READ the agreement.

    I have a new found love for “Refresh” and “Kismet Hardy”. I agree with ya’ll.

  93. Desi Italiana — on 30th June, 2006 at 7:49 pm  

    Amir:
    “Much of your criticism directed at Israel has more to do with the existence of the state than with the policies of any of its governments.”

    The two are inextricably linked. See my comment # 30.

  94. Refresh — on 30th June, 2006 at 8:07 pm  

    Amir

    Can I too be blunt?

    Virtually all you’ve presented is official Israeli line. There was always an excuse to fight the Arabs, and always an opportunity to drive more and more of the Palestinians out. And by the way, it was always from a position of strength.

    Its clear to the world, the Palestinians resisted because they saw the plan for what it was right from beginning.

  95. Amir — on 30th June, 2006 at 8:08 pm  

    Desi Italiana,
    In reply to #30

    (I) Do you know why Israel will never be a “partner of peace”? Because the very state of Israel has been founded on exclusionist principles– ie, it is a NATIONAL homeland for Jews only.

    Rubbish. Israel stands – alone in its region – for placing the rule of law above the rule of power. And it is no good blaming Israel for existing when its foundation was a desperate response to mechanized racial murder. Nor is it any good for supporters or opponents of modern Israel to pretend that the National Socialist massacre of Jews did not change the argument about Zionism for as far ahead as it is possible to look.

    (II) Palestinians had already started to resist well before that, ever since they started learning about the Zionist plans to colonize Palestine and establish a Zionist state.

    Are you on hallucinogenic drugs or something? The projected ‘National Home for the Jews’ endorsed by Britain in 1917 was never intended to become a nation. It was to be part of the British Empire, not ruling itself but governed benignly from London, a strategic proxy on the proposed land-route to India and a glacis protecting the Suez Canal from any power that threatened it from the north. Under British government, Arabs were not given the right to rule Jews, and Jews were not given the right to rule Arabs. Zionist Jews, in their vast majority, were happy with this peaceful co-existence.

  96. Desi Italiana — on 30th June, 2006 at 8:09 pm  

    Before any misunderstanding ensues, what I mean to say re: post #93 is that the founding principles of the existence of the state has guided– and in my opinion, will continue to guide– the policies of its governments. It is not enough to simply isolate the polices of Israel without taking into account what shapes and forms its policies, ie expansion, continued construction of settlements, albeit the so-called “withdrawal” (unilateral, btw) from Gaza…but suprise suprise, Gaza continues to get bombed, ever since the “pullout”.

    Now I will peace out. I have to write a gnarly thesis on Desis in Amreeka so farewell, PP.

  97. Desi Italiana — on 30th June, 2006 at 8:13 pm  

    Amir:

    Your stands are, like Refresh has pointed out, positioned on official Israeli line. For me to systematically deconstruct what you are saying would require a Ph.D style response. Furthermore, your responses to what I was saying are simply too naiive and skewed.
    How about you read “The Zionist Idea” by Arthur Hertzberg? You can read what the Zionist thinkers were saying.
    Take care.

  98. Amir — on 30th June, 2006 at 8:55 pm  

    Refresh and Desi Italiana,

    (I) Can I too be blunt?… Virtually all you’ve presented is official Israeli line.

    May I, too, be blunt: What the hell is an ‘official Israeli line’? Please, enlighten me. If I am – as you suggest – part of some nefarious Israeli think-tank, I believe it is your duty to expose me as the huckster I supposedly am. Go on… I dare you.

    (II) There was always an excuse to fight the Arabs

    Is this a piss take? Do you know anything about the 1937 Peel Commission? The 1947 UN partition? The war of 1948? 1967? 1973 Yom Kippur War?

    (III) …and always an opportunity to drive more and more of the Palestinians out.

    Israelis unquestionably perpetrated unforgivable massacres and drove people from their homes. But so did the Arabs: Jerusalem Pogrom of April 1920, Hebron Massacre and the Great Arab Revolt.

    (IV) And by the way, it was always from a position of strength.

    Misleading… before 1967 Israel was overwhelmingly outgunned by its hostile Arab neighbours. After 1967, however, the tables turned when Israel began an illegal and immoral expansion into the West Bank and Gaza.

    (V) Desi Italiana – Your stands are, like Refresh has pointed out, positioned on official Israeli line

    Snide remarks are the tools of a snide propagandist. The continuing struggle for Palestinian self-determination requires an articulate and fair-minded defence – not sour grapes about Israel’s right to exist. As Edward Said so eloquently put it:

    “I have spent a great deal of my life during the past 35 years advocating the rights of the Palestinian people to national self-determination, but I have always tried to do that with full attention paid to the reality of the Jewish people and what they suffered by way of persecution and genocide. The paramount thing is that the struggle for equality in Palestine/Israel should be directed toward a humane goal, that is, co-existence, and not further suppression and denial”

  99. Desi Italiana — on 30th June, 2006 at 9:38 pm  

    Amir:
    “Snide remarks are the tools of a snide propagandist”.

    What is so snide about my remark that you quoted? I’m looking over your version of history, and it is so off and inaccurate, that I don’t know where to begin. And most of my facts are derived from Israelis themselves, Americans of Jewish descent, and Palestinians. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to go through my entire home library, the uni library, and online to refute everything that you have said(PS: my bad for bringing up points and not having time to follow through with a book length response. Will not do it again).

    “Thoughtful” and not snide remarks from Amir:
    “Is this a piss take?”
    “Are you on hallucinogenic drugs or something?”
    ****************************************************
    Look, the version of “history” that you are stating– and yes, I know about all of the events, declarations and so on that you are referring to– are things that even Israeli historians today recognized were either sanitized versions of history, or engineered, and thus do not repeat this ( in contrast to the past; hence, the “revisionist history”). Read Ian Pappe and Israel Shahak.

    “The continuing struggle for Palestinian self-determination requires an articulate and fair-minded defence – not sour grapes about Israel’s right to exist”

    Are you being serious? Based on the things you have written here, one would think that the Palestinian right to self determination is not even legitimate. And do you honestly think your view of the events are an “articulate and fair-minded defense”?

    If these are the kind of positions that are going to be coded as a “fair and articulate” defense of Palestinian as a people, god help the Palestinians.

  100. Amir — on 30th June, 2006 at 10:26 pm  

    Desi Italiana

    (I)Read Ian Pappe and Israel Shahak.

    I have. Israel Shahak’s polemics against Orthodox Judaism are about as reliable as Spencer-Pipes-Fallaci screeds against Islam. Nor do I agree with his stance on Israel’s nuclear-deterrent program. Benny Morris and Tom Segev are much better historians (Efraim Karsh, to be fair, has also written an erudite introduction to the Arab-Israeli conflicts). Pappe is just as crude as Norman Finkelstein, who, lest we forget, is a long-time supporter of Hizbollah and a neo-fascist organisation spearheaded by the far-right Ingrid Rimland.

    (II)I’m looking over your version of history, and it is so off and inaccurate, that I don’t know where to begin.

    Well try. How is my interpretation of history ‘so off’ and ‘inaccurate’? It isn’t. To be honest, you don’t appear to have the foggiest clue about the creation of Israel and what preceded it.

    (III) And most of my facts are derived from Israelis themselves, Americans of Jewish descent, and Palestinians.

    So are mine. What’s your point? ‘Americans of Jewish descent’ is a shady euphemism for Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein – who, let’s be honest, are hardly the most reliable commentators on Israel/Palestine [bar one exception: Chomsky’s fisking of the Kahan Commission in ‘Fateful Triangle’ is a groundbreaking piece].

    (IV) And do you honestly think your view of the events are an “articulate and fair-minded defense”?

    Yes, I do. Give me evidence to the contrary.

    (V) What is so snide about my remark that you quoted?

    Okay, maybe I overreacted just a teensy bit. Sorry. :-)

    (VI) the uni library

    Left-wing students are full of ‘hot air’ when it comes to the plight of the Palestinians. They know nothing about the history of the Middle East, its culture or politics – but choose instead to hijack the suffering of a dispossessed people in order to pursue their own selfish and self-righteous crusade against Israeli self-determination. It’s sour grapes. Pure and simple. Be angry about Sharon/IDF/Eretz Israel/bulldozing/assassinations/kidnapping. Be very angry. But when this emotion is vented against an entire nation of people… then you cease to be a conscientious objector. It turns into vile propaganda. Opposition to the existence of Israel is, objectively speaking, anti-Semitic. There’s no getting away from it.

    (VII) If these are the kind of positions that are going to be coded as a “fair and articulate” defense of Palestinian as a people, god help the Palestinians.

    Defending Israel’s “right to exist” is a pre-requisite for any future compromise. Abu Mazen says the same thing. You, on the other hand, are clinging onto this Manichean view of Israel’s history. Pre-1967 was a very different epoch to post-1967.

  101. Ravi4 — on 30th June, 2006 at 10:47 pm  

    Refresh – Sorry, didn’t mean to sound so patronising. Hate it when people do that to me. So the recipe for my magnificent “multifaceted” lens to look at the Israel/Palestine conflict would include:

    - Expansionism (“colonialism” if you like – ie the settlements) – but this is surely only one small part of what motivates Israel. After 58 years of existence and with the military capability to defeat all its neighbours combined, the only extra territory Israel controls is the West Bank and until recently the Gaza Strip. If that’s pure colonialism it’s a miserable failure.

    - Hyper anxiety, verging on paranoia, about the continued existence/possible destruction of Israel. Based on experience of the holocaust and persecution of the diaspora through history and the repeated Arab attacks until 1973. Reinforced no doubt by the way Israeli/Jewish history is taught and covered by the Israeli education and media.

    - Obsessive religious fundamentalism of influential minority, wanting to (re)occupy the biblical Jewish lands.

    - Chauvinism/racism against Arabs and exclusively in favour of Jews by – probably – a minority.

    - Wish to live in peace with neighbours while protecting against genuine threat of terrorist violence

    Then of course there are lots of other similarly diverse factors motivating the Palestinians too. To demonise or lionise either side and treat either as a monolithic block (eg “Israel doesn’t NEED peace”; “Palestinians WANT a war”) is surely simplistic, reductionist and inaccurate.

  102. El Cid — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:03 pm  

    See what you started Al-Hack, oh mysterious PPickler!
    Hats off to Amir and Desi Italiana for heavyweight ding-dong. Shame neither of you are Israeli nor Palestinian (I assume). Well it beats killing each other ad infinitum.

  103. Ravi4 — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:13 pm  

    Sorry to go on about this again, but Michael Walzer wrote something which perfectly illustrates my point. He said there are four wars being fought simultaneously in Israel/Palestine:

    a) a war by Jewish fundamentalists to “re-“establish an ethnically homogeneous biblical “Greater Israel”

    b) a war by (probably) most normal Israelis to defend a democratic, tolerant Israel, more or less within its 1967 borders

    c) a war by (probably) most normal Palestinians for justice and a viable democratic Palestinian State alongside some sort of Israel

    d) a war by Palestinian extremists to wipe the State of Israel off the map and expel the Jews from “Palestine”

    In fact, there are probably millions of different wars being fought by different Israelis and Palestinians, all situated at different points along a continuum between (a) and (d). Which of these wars are the contributors to this thread fighting?

    And do the warring parties really need a bunch of howling, slavering outside supporters cheering them on to ever greater levels of death and destruction?

    Shouldn’t we instead be doing what little we can to encourage the violence to stop, and to narrow the gap between those at (b) and (c) so that a lasting peace is possible?

  104. Ravi4 — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:15 pm  

    El Cid – you’re right, Al-Hack’s kicked off a good discussion.

    Arif – your four ethical principles for both sides in the conflict are spot on.

    Amir – once again, I find myself agreeing with a lot that you say. feels weird…

  105. Amir — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:19 pm  

    Amir – once again, I find myself agreeing with a lot that you say. feels weird…

    Oh, not again. :-)

  106. Katy Newton — on 30th June, 2006 at 11:56 pm  

    I can’t remember who asked if I thought that the Palestinians should be trying to pacify the Israelis, but I don’t think that at all. I wish people would stop trying to put words in my mouth. The people who talk about Jewish defensiveness are the same ones who spit bile if anyone suggests that Palestine hasn’t exactly been a wholehearted supporter of peace either. When I criticise Palestine it doesn’t mean I’m supporting Israel or vice versa. I don’t think that the Palestinians should be pacifying the Israelis but I don’t think they should be kidnapping Israeli soldiers either. But the fact that I don’t think they should be kidnapping Israeli soldiers doesn’t mean that I think Israel was right to kidnap anyone in return. I don’t think either side is in the right. At the moment I think that Israel is more in the wrong. There have been times in the past when I’ve thought that the Palestinians were more in the wrong, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t think they had a genuine grievance or a right to a homeland of their own.

    I am sick and tired of people thinking that if you criticise one side in this stupid endless war you are automatically a gung-ho card-carrying supporter of the other side, and it is precisely that sort of attitude which stifles practical, dispassionate debate on a subject which desperately needs it.

    I’ll be back for the weekend open thread.

  107. Amir — on 1st July, 2006 at 12:28 am  

    Katy [in response to your most-recent blog piece] – women never learn their lessons!… which is the great for scumbags like me end scumbags everywhere! ;-)

    ‘Amir, why didn’t you call me as you promised?’

    ‘Amir, she’s my best friend? How could you!’

    ‘Amir, I thought you loved me’

    ’Amir, why are you leaving my bed so early on in the morning? Will you call me later?

    Mwahahahahah! I don’t chase em’ I replace em’.

  108. Amir — on 1st July, 2006 at 12:34 am  

    For all you guys, let me recommend a ‘clinching’ one-liner which fools em’ every time:

    I want to change

    Hook, line, and sinker. Gaze into their eyes and say it… ‘I want to change.’ And she thinks straight away: ‘I can help reform this bastard!’

    But she never can! 8)

  109. Ravi Naik — on 1st July, 2006 at 12:50 am  

    “But to say …“I blame it all on Israel – full stop” is so simplistic that it makes a mockery of everything that went beforehand.”

    It is a simple statement, not a simplistic one. Simplistic and totally inconsequential is to keep treating Palestine and its government at the same level as Israel. Simplistic is to keep analysing this event or that event the following week as if it would help us understand who is morally right in this war.

    I am tired of it!

    In retrospect, Israel should have helped build a prosperous Palestine even with rabid anti-zionist groups. Why? That was the right thing to do considering how Israel came about. With the added bonus that people rather than taking solace from terrorist grups (why did this happen in the first place?) as we have now, would have reduced them into fringe groups.

    I am pro-Israel. I believe it has a right to exist, and it is my wish that it can leave peacefully with its neighbours. But I believe that Israel is continuing to aggravate a problem rather than minimise it. And thus I know where to put all the blame considering that it has the power to solve the problem.

  110. Katy Newton — on 1st July, 2006 at 1:05 am  

    Amir, I want to reform you. This time I KNOW it will work.

  111. Refresh — on 1st July, 2006 at 1:11 am  

    Ravi4 – #101 is how I see the population of Israel. I think it was you who suggested I was looking at it through ‘reductionist colonialism’ lens.

    Oddly enough, your #104 is a list similar to one I considered posting except it had 6 categories – in response to Arif’s call.

    But what matters is who runs Israel. Its a militarised state, run pretty much as ben Gurion had planned. Moshe Dayane and Sharon are from that same cloth.

    Should Israel withdraw to 1967 lines – we can move on. Leaving a Palestine with of course full sovereignty over their airspace, water rights etc. as Desi Italiana mentioned. And of course the capacity to enter and uphold their own pacts and alliances with whichever state they chose. Oh mustn’t forget, right of return.

    However that is not the argument. Israel is not looking for peace, they are looking to shed the Palestinians as a problem.

    The question arises as to why Israel thinks it can draw its own borders? – Because they can claim they don’t have a partner for peace?

    Let Israel comply with all the UN resolutions and then we shall see.

    On the question of Israel’s right to exist – I repeat they’ve had the most generous of gestures. Recognition.

    Subsequent destruction of the PA – remember how the Yasser Arafat’s aircraft was destroyed so he could not visit other countries to speak abroad in support of his people. And how his offices were destroyed – with a clear statement that Israel reserved the right to eliminate him. When he was gone, did we see a shift in Israeli attitude? No we got the wall.

    Amir, you approach the argument that anyone who has written critical of Israel’s and actions of Zionism are not worth listening to. Sweepingly.

    You say that Israel was only immoral and illegal in its activity after 1967 is not correct in the least. One example is how it attacked Egypt in 1956 alongside France and Britain – over the Suez Canal. Why would you do that?

    I am sorry I don’t have the time to deal with comparative strengths of the Arab armies (whose arms supply would have been from Britain) that you feel were itching to destroy Israel. But in short, the Arab governments were not at all interested in seeing Palestinian nationalism on their doorstep. To the point that Abdullah of Jordan had met with Golda Meir to offer to take the Palestinians. So perhaps that era isn’t as clear cut as you see.

    Their invasion of Lebanon was to drive the Palestinians into Jordan – where Sharon has always thought where they should be herded to.

    That is why I say – Palestinians do not have a partner for peace in Israel. The general Israeli propaganda typically blame the victim for and of their agression.

  112. Desi Italiana — on 1st July, 2006 at 1:14 am  

    Amir:

    “Well try. How is my interpretation of history ‘so off’ and ‘inaccurate’? It isn’t. To be honest, you don’t appear to have the foggiest clue about the creation of Israel and what preceded it.”

    1.Really? I don’t have the “foggiest clue”? How do I “appear” to be so? I haven’t even given you any counter evidence to the “historical” facts you’ve been throwing out which might give you a clue to what I think is the history of Palestine. So on what basis are you saying this?

    2. Actually, Amir, I don’t want to try and undo your perception of history. First because posting comments on PP (as much as I like it) isn’t going to write my thesis and give me my degree :) . Secondly, when someone says:

    “Left-wing students are full of ‘hot air’ when it comes to the plight of the Palestinians. They know nothing about the history of the Middle East, its culture or politics – but choose instead to hijack the suffering of a dispossessed people in order to pursue their own selfish and self-righteous crusade against Israeli self-determination. It’s sour grapes. Pure and simple. Be angry about Sharon/IDF/Eretz Israel/bulldozing/assassinations/kidnapping. Be very angry. But when this emotion is vented against an entire nation of people… then you cease to be a conscientious objector. It turns into vile propaganda. Opposition to the existence of Israel is, objectively speaking, anti-Semitic. There’s no getting away from it”

    it is basically a waste of my time and useless because then we’d be just having ideological warfare. Your assertions are ideological, and you are coding my opinions as such. So what’s the point? Furthermore, you nor I are in any position to effectively change anything (well, I’m kind of secretly hoping that you are not…)

    sorry for that snarky comment, but based on your responses I had to say it :)

  113. Refresh — on 1st July, 2006 at 1:16 am  

    Katy, leave Amir be. You don’t know where he’s been.

    And where he might go.

  114. Katy Newton — on 1st July, 2006 at 1:22 am  

    You don’t understand, Refresh… I can change him.

  115. Refresh — on 1st July, 2006 at 1:23 am  

    Rather you than me.

  116. Amir — on 1st July, 2006 at 3:30 am  

    Refresh,

    (I) Moshe Dayane and Sharon are from that same cloth

    I totally disagree. Ariel Sharon – a.k.a. The Butcher of Beirut – is a war criminal. Moshe Dayan, by stark comparison, is one of the most courageous, intelligent, eccentric, enigmatic and coveted military superleaders of all time. Today’s IDF [Israeli Defence Force], with its new ethical code written by a committee of soldiers and academics, and with its ham-fisted tactics in the West Bank, would have horrified Dayan. As an indication of the respect in which Dayan was held by his former enemies, the mourners at his funeral included an Egyptian delegation. (For an in-depth biography, I recommend Martin Van Creveld’s superb contribution.)

    (II) remember how the Yasser Arafat’s aircraft was destroyed so he could not visit other countries to speak abroad in support of his people.

    Arafat was a liar, a cheat, a murderer and a crook [pocketing, in the process, foreign aid that belonged to his people]. He managed to be both a killer and a procrastinator, both a Swiss bank-account artist and a populist demagogue, both an Islamic ‘martyrdom’ blow-hard and a snivelling opportunist, and a man who managed to establish a dictatorship over his own people before they even had a state (I recommend Said Aburish’s scathing exposé ).

    (III) No we got the wall.

    A wall (or Security Fence) is one of the most humane forms of counter-terrorism if you compare it to bulldozing, economic sanctions, assassinations, ghetto razing, shelling, etc. It’s a necessary evil. Walls work. They always have done. The Roman wall – the Limus – worked for hundreds of years… the Great Chinese Wall worked, not forever, but for hundreds of years… the wall in Korea has been working for fifty years… the wall between Turks and Greeks in Cyprus is working…. the Berlin Wall worked beautifully (until, that is, the Breznev doctrine was abandoned by Gorbachev). The EU, for instance, intends to erect a barrier on its eastern borders and there are similar fences or walls between Turkey and Syria, and between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, to mention just a few. Why is Israel singled out?… excluding, of course, the wholly legitimate criticism of the Wall’s position (i.e. in breach of the 1967 dividing line).

    (IV) You say that Israel was only immoral and illegal in its activity after 1967 is not correct in the least.

    My comments on #100 had nothing to do with such sweeping moral judgements. I was merely pointing out the obvious fact that Israel’s existential situation changed dramatically from 1967 onwards. Make it Israel versus ‘the Palestinians’ and immediately the sentimental picture is altered. We suddenly saw two peoples, of roughly equivalent population, contesting for one land.

    (V) Desi Italiana – Your assertions are ideological, and you are coding my opinions as such. So what’s the point?

    No, no. I was making an observation (not an ideological assertion). There are knaves and fools on all sides of the political spectrum. My observations about left-wing anti-Zionists could just as easily have been made about paleoconservative anti-Zionists – such as, for instance, Pat Buchanan or the conspiracy-mad Justin Raimondo.

  117. Amir — on 1st July, 2006 at 4:01 am  

    Refresh,

    Katy, leave Amir be. You don’t know where he’s been… And where he might go.

    Refreshi, I’ll take you out to a KFC and buy you the biggest chicken bucket ever. You and me. Without a bib or cutlery, we’ll finish every grease-pumped morsel. Pure carnivorous munch. Making sure, in the process, all those chicken juices and grease-puss-pouches seep down our ravenous faces. Mmmm. Getting you all greased up and lubricated. Smelling – no, reeking – of fried chicken and boiling fat. Afterwards, me and my homeboys will take you back to the crib. We’ll chill out with a few bongs, a few spliffs and a cherry bomb – mixing the chicken fumes with Jamaica’s finest. Upon arrival, I’ll grease you up some more with the KY jelly and a bottle of Vaseline. As I cores your oily skin, I’ll take a few pieces from my donar kebab (preserved in delicate wrapping from a previous week) and massage it into your greasy skin. I’ll play some romantic tunes from Snoop Doggy Dog as I tie you to my bed so I can use my sweaty, dirty, cheese-infested @@@@ to @@@@ you in the @@@@@.

    Howz about it? :-)

  118. Amir — on 1st July, 2006 at 4:03 am  

    Katy,
    Please… reform me
    Love you. xxxx

  119. Ravi4 — on 1st July, 2006 at 7:18 am  

    Amir – yuk. greasy food as aphrodisiac?

    Katy – I’m with Refresh on this one. Stay well away from that Amir.

  120. Katy Newton — on 1st July, 2006 at 7:36 am  

    Well, I must admit that reforming Amir suddenly sounds a lot more untidy than I was bargaining for.

  121. Refresh — on 1st July, 2006 at 9:55 am  

    Sunny – can you please delete that #117 – I’m sure no one would object. Not least Amir.

    I feel physically sick.

  122. Refresh — on 1st July, 2006 at 10:10 am  

    Amir You’ve avoided answering any of my points, and they were:

    Invasion of Egypt by Israel in 1956 (Suez) – WHy?

    Why destroy PA’s aircraft to stop Arafat travelling?

    Why is Israel free to assassinate at will?

    When a Palestinian group did assasinate that tourist minister. What price did the Palestinians pay?

    Should Israel draw its own borders? Should it comply with UN resolutions?

    BTW on Moshe Dayane, you too fell for a well-crafted image – but he was fully behind the ben Gurion expansionist plan and acted on it. Often more desperate to go to war than many in the cabinet. Respect him all you want – but he was a desparate exansionist.

    With your last response I am tempted to think one of two things – you have swallowed official Israeli line, or as Desi says you’re an ideologue. Or you are so widely read, holding it all together is proving difficult ( I think somebody cleverer than on here said something about cognitive dissonance – probably Mirax ).

  123. El Cid — on 1st July, 2006 at 11:16 am  

    The people who talk about Jewish defensiveness are the same ones who spit bile if anyone suggests that Palestine hasn’t exactly been a wholehearted supporter of peace either.

    A-ha, I’ve flushed one out! Thing is, you’re wrong Katy Schmaty. People who talk about a Pavlovian Jewish defensiveness don’t necessarily spit bile if you criticise Hamas, PLO, et al. Not me anyway. And I would argue that the phenomenon I describe as Jewish defensiveness is what often stifles debate. I have come across many British Jews in my time whose instinctive response whenever you criticise the state of Israel is to assume that they are on the frontline of a global war against Jews everywhere, right there at that very moment, regardless of whether they’re in an office in Slough, a pub in Peckham or the flipping U.N. building in New York. Actually, I’ve never been in any of those.
    Before long, it is you who is on the defensive because they are visibly itching to launch their chemical weapons — toxic words such as “anti-semite”.
    leave a stink in the air. I exagerrate of course, but you all know what I is saying, na’ata meen!

    Anyway Katy, given the rounded and balanced woman that you describe, my reference to Jewish defensivesness clearly doesn’t apply to you, so don’t get defensive about it! :)

    And if you look at Sonia’s earlier posts you will note that she — inadvertently, I’m now sure — refers to Palestinians wanting war when Al-Hack’s thread is about the Israeli state. I would also argue that the article couldn’t possibly be entitled “Israel and Palestine want war” since Palestine is not yet allowed to exist — maybe Hamas and Israel?

  124. Chairwoman — on 1st July, 2006 at 12:31 pm  

    Refresh – not getting into this debate as having been around since the inception of the State of Israel, and, of course, being Jewish, my perceptions will be considerably different as they will be based on my contemporary memories, but thought that I would remind you that the Israeli invasion of Egypt in 1956 was in response to Egypt unilaterally annexing the Suez Canal and denying access to Israeli ships or ships transporting cargo to Israel thereby putting it under seige.

  125. Ravi4 — on 1st July, 2006 at 3:59 pm  

    Refresh – I agree with a lot of what you say at #111. But…

    - What’s your understanding of right of return? Do you mean that the millions of Palestinians born outside pre-1967 Israel in the past 58 years should have a physical right to reclaim their ancestral property? Or that they deserve fair, inflation-adjusted compensation for the compulsory more-or-less UN-mandated eviction their parents/grandparents suffered, as should have happened back in 1947? For me it’s the latter. But as you’ve indicated in this thread, a great many Palestinians think it’s the former.

    - Not even Olmert says Israel can unilaterally draw his own borders. He’s saying that the withdrawals are a temporary measure until such a time as permanent negotiated borders can be agreed. I’ve got no doubt he has no intention of returning to the 1967 borders. But no rational person on either side of the argument expects that anyway. The point should be to get to a situation where borders are adjusted so that any territory Israel gains since 1967 (eg to avoid having an indefensibly narrow section in the middle of the country) is compensated for by territory given up to the Palestinians.

    - When you say “Israel is not looking for peace, they are looking to shed the Palestinians as a problem” I don’t see why you pose the two statements as contradictory. You could equally well say “Hamas/Fatah is not looking for peace, they are looking to shed the Israelis as a problem”. Does it matter if this is what either side wants? So long as the end result is fair and is not pursued through despicable brutal means. Both sides are currently failing on the latter criterion.

    - “they’ve had the most generous of gestures. Recognition.” A far as the PLO is concerned, that’s right. Israel should have been more generous in acknowledging this shift. Under Labour/Rabin they were getting there. Under Sharon they weren’t. But Hamas has not offered that recognition has it, even with the latest Fatah/Hamas deal?

    - I agree with your condemnation of the attacks on the PA/Arafat. Amir is absolutely right about Arafat’s failings. But he was the leader of the PA, elected in the fairest elections seen in the Middle east outside Israel (not much of a boast I know).

    - Re Suez – Chairwoman is right about Israel’s overt casus belli, although it doesn’t ring that true given Israel’s Mediterranean coastline. Overall Suez was a dirty war, but the real villains were UK and France who had secretly agreed that Israel should invade in order to justify their own intervention. And the white knight was that vicious capitalist imperialist that you love to hate the USA under Eisenhower, who stepped in to get the UK and France to withdraw, thus saving Nasser’s ass.

    - Egypt and Syria were predominantly Soviet armed, particularly in the 67 and 73 wars. You must surely be taking the piss if you think the 67 and 48 Arab attacks were motivated by anything other than an attempt to destroy Israel. The Abdullah/Golda Meir discussion and serious Jordanian (but not Egyptian or Syrian) disillusionment with Palestinian nationalism were post 67.

    - You’re right about the Lebanon invasion.

    - I agree with you that the Palestinians currently don’t have a partner for peace in Israel. But surely it is equally true that the Israelis currently don’t have a partner for peace in Palestine either?

  126. Ravi4 — on 1st July, 2006 at 4:03 pm  

    Desi – I don’t know if you’re still reading this or off writing your thesis. But, unlike Refresh, everything I’ve read by you in this thread indicates that you think the basic problem is Israel’s very existence. The logical conclusion of what you’ve written here is that peace in the middle east can only come when Israel is wiped off the map. Is that what you think? If not, what is your solution? What steps do you think Israel & the Palestinians should take to secure peace?

  127. Refresh — on 1st July, 2006 at 4:55 pm  

    Ravi4

    Right of return – I’ve no idea what would be just, I lost nothing. Ask the displaced huddled masses. Its not for me or you to decide. One scenario might just be – that right of return to those evicted from the outside of 1948 borders. Phenomenally generous compensation for the rest.

    Olmert is following the Sharon doctrine – he is planning his own borders. If it was not so, then is he suggesting the Palestinians continue to fight for border adjustments? I am not comforted by your assurances. Its this sort of dithering that leaves us all no further forward.

    Why do you say no rational person would expect Israel to respect the 1967 lines? Why ever not?
    You forget 60 years ago Israel did not exist. And presumably no rational person could have expected a state to conjured up out of someone else’s homeland.

    Partners for peace – lets not obfuscate. Israel has shown no intention to sue for peace. And you accept this dithering approach – they are all alike. Lets not waste time on this.

    A fair result – what does it matter how we get there –as long as its not brutal? Well that is really good of you. On the one hand you offer something that’s not fair (because it would not be rational to expect more), and then you are blind to the brutality that has got us here. And there is only Isreal and a football in this game.

    On attacks on Arafat. Is that all you have to say? And you expect me take everything Israel has to say on face value.

    On arming of the Arabs in the 40’s presumably you accept that they were poorly armed, with supply controlled by Britain?

    On Suez – Israel never does anything it doesn’t want –and it was more than a willing partner in the invasion. And Israel’s neighbours should have trusted it after that event (amongst others)?

    I think we have said as much as we need to. I have a feeling if we should continue I will feel even more that you will end putting words in my mouth.

    As for Israel’s right to exist – it’s a fait accompli. That was the whole exercise – creating facts on the ground.

  128. Chairwoman — on 1st July, 2006 at 6:07 pm  

    Ravi4 – this is just a geographical comment, the whole point of the Suez Canal was that cargoes from the Pacific Rim could be off-loaded at Mediterranean ports via the Suez Canal without shipping having to go all the way round Africa,and through the Straits of Gibralter, before being able to dock.

  129. Desi Italiana — on 1st July, 2006 at 7:32 pm  

    Yo Ravi4:

    “Desi – I don’t know if you’re still reading this or off writing your thesis. But, unlike Refresh, everything I’ve read by you in this thread indicates that you think the basic problem is Israel’s very existence. The logical conclusion of what you’ve written here is that peace in the middle east can only come when Israel is wiped off the map. Is that what you think? If not, what is your solution? What steps do you think Israel & the Palestinians should take to secure peace?”

    Nope, absolutely not, I don’t think “Israel should be wiped off the map”. Who said that? Please don’t put words in my mouth. I already addressed this. Read my comment # 96.

    I am saying that one cannot simply pick out certain governmental policies, isolate them from the larger context–ie the reason why Israel exists and what drives its policies– and discuss them. Why are “Refresh” and I arguing that Israel is not a partner for peace and the chances are EXTREMELY slim that it may become so in the future? The example I used earlier– why is there a “red line” quota for Palestinians within Israel? Why is most of the land ownership reserved for Jews? These are very real policies that are enacted for a specific purpose. Israeli politicians have been quoted for saying that this is to maintain the “Jewish character” of Israel. For all the talk about Israel being a “secular democracy”, if these kinds of practices still occured in say, South Africa, the US, Canada (and in some ways, they might, albeit in various mutations) or some other country, would this be lauded as “democracy”? Would they not be described as racist colonial policies? I have a problem with people not calling out what the basic problems are–colonization, racism, expansion, and everything else. Israel is a colonial settler country, and to dress that up in pretty words, or worse, to not even identify and recognize that, is not right; it does not address the core of the problem, and does a grave injustice to those who have suffered the consequences. How many peoples do you know would meekly submit to a group of people who came and established a country upon their homeland, especially invoking claims that reach 2000 years back, based on religious myths? Not many. An example: Gypsies, (who also were victims of the Holocaust, but w/r/t Jewish victims, it is disproportionately pointed out that Gypsies had also been victims) are geographically dispersed, and from my knowledge AND experience, are still persecuted. Some scholarship argues that Gypsies originally came from pre partition India–Bihar, Sindh etc. Now, if they came to India and said “Look, we have been persecuted, we are a dispersed people with no national homeland, we originated here hundreds of years ago, we are establishing a state upon India”, and then proceeded to systematically do so, ie “transferring” or straight out killing most Indians and with time, decimating the Indian population from being a majority to an oppressed minority, would this be ok? Do you think Indians would not be pissed off, aggrieved, try to defend themselves and so on? Should they then strive to “compromise”, relinquish important sufferings? Would their reaction be irrational or illogical?

    But most expect that the Palestinians do this, ie they should not fight back (“renounce terrorism”, but incidentally, state terrorism is OK ie Israeli state terrorism), they should be striving for peace with those that are 50 times more powerful than they are in every way, and be ready for some sort of “compromise” with Israel. In practice, “compromise” meaning Israel gets what it wants and has basically control of everything; not really a compromise at all.

    This is what I am saying. There are specific motivations– which are the basis of its existence– that drive Israeli actions and policies. To not understand this results in:
    1. Not understanding Israeli actions
    2. Not understanding Palestinian actions

    The reason why I am not providing counter evidence to all of the things written here is because from past experience, all you end up doing is going back and forth with posting comments, especially with people who already have their minds made up. Sometimes you cannot change what people think, and for me to refute every single assertion is going to give rise to MORE things I have to refute. It becomes an endless cycle. And I don’t have time for this :)

    For this, I give props to “Refresh” who is attempting to engage in dialogue, and for that I lurve him. I also agree with most of the things he is saying; in a way he is speaking my thoughts.

  130. Amir — on 1st July, 2006 at 9:02 pm  

    Refresh,

    (I) Invasion of Egypt by Israel in 1956 (Suez) – WHy?

    As you know, by 1952, officers in the Egyptian army overthrew the monarchy of King Farouk who had been a close ally of the British. Under the leadership of President Muhammad Naguib, the new government asserted an anti-colonial and nationalist pan-Arab identity. This led to a conflict of interest over the Suez Canal, especially once Israel’s port of Eilat was completed in the mid 1950s. Throughout 1956, tensions increased between Israel and Egypt, with Egyptian fedayeen launching frequent incursions into Israeli territory and Israel launching retaliatory raids into Egyptian territory. Conflict also heated up over the Straits of Tiran. On 1956 July 26, Egypt, under the leadership of Gamal Abder Nasser, announced the nationalisation of the Suez Canal Company. As a result, Israeli forces moved into the Sinai Peninsula, and on October 3, a joint force from Britain and France entered the Canal Zone.

    (I) Why destroy PA’s aircraft to stop Arafat travelling?

    Well, maybe because Arafat was a liar, a cold-blooded killer and corrupt plutocrat…?

    (II) Why is Israel free to assassinate at will?

    Because the assassinated are usually ‘free’ to organise suicide operations against unarmed Israeli civilians – in pizza parlours, nightclubs, shopping centres, synagogues, etc. Palestinian freedom fighters have every right to kill Israeli soldiers on Palestinian land – but they have no business in the murder of little kids, pregnant mothers, elderly citizens and unarmed Jewish men.

    (IV) Should Israel draw its own borders? Should it comply with UN resolutions?

    Permanent borders should be drawn in accordance with UN resolutions: end of occupation, removal of settlements, return of East Jerusalem, real self-determination and equality for Palestinians. The reality, of course, is a lot different: the courageous Mahmood Abbas is being kicked around like a rag-doll; Hamas has no intention whatsoever of recognising Israel; and Ehud Olmert is oblivious to the ‘proportional’ in proportional response.

    (V) on Moshe Dayane, you too fell for a well-crafted image – but he was fully behind the ben Gurion expansionist plan and acted on it.

    Nonsense! Dayan’s policies in the Occupied Territories were originally designed to evade the question of ultimate ownership by permitting normal life to proceed. In the event, these policies were so successful for so long that it surprised even him. It was largely due to them that the Palestinian uprising was postponed by twenty years; had it broken out a decade earlier, neither Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem nor the Camp David Peace Agreement would have been possible. Unlike Begin or Sharon, he realised that indefinite occupation was unsustainable and had to be terminated by whatever means were available: even if doing so would have meant direct talks with representatives of the PLO.

    (VI) Or you are so widely read, holding it all together is proving difficult ( I think somebody cleverer than on here said something about cognitive dissonance.

    I, unlike yourself, am fully prepared to accept the moral and existential complexities embedded within the conflict.

    Amir

  131. Desi Italiana — on 1st July, 2006 at 10:05 pm  

    Ravi4:

    “What steps do you think Israel & the Palestinians should take to secure peace?”

    Sorry, I didn’t address this in my previous response. Will do here:

    It’s not what I think, it’s what the Palestinians think. If it were up to me (and it isn’t), I’d say a ONE state solution, and all Palestinian refugees are given the right of return. All citizens are given citizenship and equal rights, whether Jewish or not. This means that 1) Israel would have to chuck the “Jewish national homeland” and abandon the desire to maintain the “Jewish character” bit, ie. Zionism, BUT 2)this would defeat the very purpose of Eretz Israel.

    But my view is problematically idealistic, and “ideally” and “realistically” are two different things, most of the time. “Realistically” means taking into account the current facts on the ground, in terms of political, economic and military might of one of the actors, the viability of a supposed future state which is composed of two discontinuous territories, having a policy for the Palestinians languishing in refugee camps both within “Palestine” and elsewhere, and a whole slew of other innumerable factors, too complicated to delve into here on this post.

    I repeat, it is up to the Palestinians. Having studied this conflict for years, and based on my experiences of having lived amongst Palestinian refugess, I have seen that there certainly is a wide variety of opinions. One recurring theme that I have heard from everybody, though, is the refugee issue.

    In the meantime, the Palestinians in the “territories” have democratically elected Hamas. As my international law prof. pointed out, the issue is not whether it is legitimate, but whether one agrees with Hamas or not.

    And I truly believe that it should be ONLY the Palestinians and Israelis who should sort out this situation. The US needs to pull out, period. They have already contributed enough to the mess. The only reason they have placed themselves in the role of the “[dis]honest broker” is not because they are a bunch of nice, well meaning people. It is because it is in their political, economic, and military interest. It is entirely legitimate and just that the Palestinians are able to represent themselves and negotiate on their own terms.

    BTW, I get tired of politicians parroting “Road Map, Road Map, Road Map” like a broken record. For those of you who would like to know what exactly it is, here is the link:

    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2003/20062.htm

    Real straightfoward, this “Road Map” and look at all of the things that Israel must do on its part to reach a “compromise” [close "sarcasm tags"].

    Another way to respond to your question:

    As a US citizen, I would like my government(s) to:

    1.stop giving ALL forms of aid to Israel, meaning my tax dollars, military weapon freebies, unconditional diplomatic, political, economic, and military support to the Israelis. Basically, stop facilitating, participating, and fueling this conflict.
    2. Give Palestinians DOUBLE of what the US has given to Israel.

    Short, crude, quick answers, but this response gives some idea of what my thoughts are.

  132. Desi Italiana — on 1st July, 2006 at 10:10 pm  

    “2. Give Palestinians DOUBLE of what the US has given to Israel.”

    I realize that my assertion above seems contrary to my initial position of “the US needs to pull out” of the conflict. What I mean by “giving the Palestinians DOUBLE” etc.. is that I see it as a form of compensation on the part of the US for having thrown its entire weight behind Israel for a LONG time now at the expense of the Palestinians.

    Man, it is too too addictive to post comments…

    Must.Stop.Now.

  133. Ravi Naik — on 1st July, 2006 at 10:18 pm  

    “Well, maybe because Arafat was a liar, a cold-blooded killer and corrupt plutocrat…? Because the assassinated are usually ‘free’ to organise suicide operations against unarmed Israeli civilians – in pizza parlours, nightclubs, shopping centres, synagogues, etc. “

    You see, this is where I usually get lost. Aren’t we suppose to have a justice system that determines who is guilty and who is not? Or do you believe that when Israel bombs, everyone that gets killed is guilty? Next thing you know, you will be saying that everyone that is held in gitmo must be a terrorist because they are imprisioned there (also known as the Colbert principle :) .

    Israel should demand Palestine to hand over people that organised the suicide bombings, or get them by force (they know where they live obviously), give them a trial and then execute them if found guilty.

    “I, unlike yourself, am fully prepared to accept the moral and existential complexities embedded within the conflict.”

    I am sure that is more difficult than living in Palestine or Israel for that matter.

  134. Amir — on 1st July, 2006 at 10:31 pm  

    Ravi Naik,

    (I) Or do you believe that when Israel bombs, everyone that gets killed is guilty?

    No, I don’t. Israeli attacks on Hamas or Islamic Jihad fighters are justified; dropping a bomb on an apartment house in Gaza is a criminal act. Similarly: Palestinian attacks on the occupying army or on paramilitary settler groups are justified – at least they are justified whenever there is an Israeli government unwilling to negotiate; but attacks on settler families or schools are terrorist acts.

    (II) I am sure that is more difficult than living in Palestine or Israel for that matter

    Why? Do you live in Gaza or the West Bank or Tel Aviv? Am I, too, allowed to impose a discursive straitjacket on yourself?

    Amir. :-)

  135. Ravi Naik — on 1st July, 2006 at 10:44 pm  

    “dropping a bomb on an apartment house in Gaza is a criminal act… but attacks on settler families or schools are terrorist acts.

    And the difference between one and the other is?

    “Why? Do you live in Gaza or the West Bank or Tel Aviv? Am I, too, allowed to impose a discursive straitjacket on yourself?”

    You may. But I would be more impressed if we could reach some middle-ground here. :)

  136. Ravi4 — on 1st July, 2006 at 10:50 pm  

    Refresh – oh dear, I tried not to put words in your mouth but obviously failed. If you were referring to my comment #126 addressed to Desi, I was implying that I thought you were someone who did have some hope that Israel could be a partner for peace (eg your comments about wanting Oslo to succeed), not that you were someone who challenged Israel’s right to exist. I hope we can continue to have a civilised discourse about this, although I agree not one which lasts much (or any!) longer.

    I agree with what you say on the right of return.

    I don’t understand your point about “dithering”. Are you saying I should get off the fence and give unequivocal support to one side or the other in this conflict? even though one side advocates suicide bombings against civilians, while the other carries out collective punishment, assassinations and attacks with massive disproportionate harm to civilians?

    I have no wish to reassure you about Olmert’s motivations. For what it’s worth, I too have no faith in him. I was merely pointing out that even he is not saying that whatever territory he withdraws to now should necessarily be the final border. Of course that’s what he wants, but he can’t guarantee that. After all, twenty years ago would Sharon have wanted and would we have expected the Gaza pullout?

    On the 67 borders – Arafat did not expect to return to them, the PA/Fatah negotiators up to the Hamas victory did not expect to return to them. Why do you?

    “A fair result – what does it matter how we get there –as long as its not brutal?” I don’t know what you mean by that. Do you want the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships to love each other and wish each other well? I’d like that too. But if they get to a negotiated peace even while still despising each other, isn’t that a reasonable fall back?

    The brutality that got Israel/Palestine here has got to be compensated for – starting with the 1947/1948 evictions – and those responsible for brutality should be brought to justice.

    “Israel has shown no intention to sue for peace” I agree Olmert is now no partner for peace and bears the main responsibility for the deteriorating situation. But are you saying that this has always been true of Israel – eg even in Oslo? and that it will always be so?

    Attacks on Arafat – I totally agree with your condemnation. Arafat, whatever his faults, was the PA’s legitimately elected leader and it was a crime that Sharon treated him the way he did. I’m not sure what more I can say to make my agreement clear.

    Arabs in the 40’s – yes relatively poorly armed, but Israel had existed for less than a year and was even less well armed when the Arab states first invaded.

    On Suez – I agree with you about Israel’s involvement. That’s what I meant by calling it a “dirty war”. (Chairwoman – my point was that Israel could have got everything it needed to its Med ports without Suez – as indeed it did for the years that Suez was shut.)

  137. Amir — on 1st July, 2006 at 10:53 pm  

    A ‘terrorist act’ is perpetrated by a non-state actor.

    Or, more succinctly: A ‘terrorist’ is a non-state actor who uses violence against a soft target in order to achieve political aims.

    Israel, on the other hand, is a national entity. ‘Criminal’ presupposes a binding legal code or decorum, which may, or may not, be broken.

  138. Ravi4 — on 1st July, 2006 at 10:55 pm  

    Desi – if you say “Israel is not a partner for peace and the chances are EXTREMELY slim that it may become so in the future” then logically what does that imply in terms of the solution to this conflict?

    The ethnic basis of Israel is certainly a big problem, and I had of course heard politicians express a wish to maintain a cap of 20% non-Jews, but I was unaware of any legal threshold of this sort. Is there one? How is it enforced? If this is happening then it is of course a racist immigration policy, akin to the one run by Australia in the 1970s.

    I agree there was massive injustice done to the Palestinians when Israel was created and for all the years since then. But should we not be talking about COMPENSATING for that injustice and punishing the perpetrators? After all, turning the clock back 58 years is pretty much unfeasible isn’t it?

    In short, I’m not sure what solution you’re advocating (if any – no reason why you should have a workable answer to this question after all as it’s stumped everyone else for all these years)

  139. Bijna — on 2nd July, 2006 at 8:11 am  

    > ethical principle which you would want
    > the other side to take on, with it equally
    > binding the side you sympathise with.

    Not using children as meat shields
    while firing missiles or laying anti-tank mines.
    Children should be at school not at the front line.

  140. Bijna — on 2nd July, 2006 at 8:26 am  

    a) a war by Jewish fundamentalists to “re-“establish an ethnically homogeneous biblical “Greater Israel”
    -> solved by retreat from Gaza and ban on new settlements

    b) a war by (probably) most normal Israelis to defend a democratic, tolerant Israel, more or less within its 1967 borders
    -> solved by building Wall

    c) a war by (probably) most normal Palestinians for justice and a viable democratic Palestinian State alongside some sort of Israel
    -> solved by retreat from Gaza

    d) a war by Palestinian extremists to wipe the State of Israel off the map and expel the Jews from “Palestine”
    -> not yet solved

    e) a war by Iran and Syria on Israel using Palestinians as willing peons
    -> happening right now

  141. Chairwoman — on 2nd July, 2006 at 8:51 am  

    I know I said I wasn’t going to get into the discussion but I just want to give a Jewish, as opposed to an Israeli perspective as to why Israel needs to be a Jewish state.

    1) Zionism only actually means the desire for a Jewish State of Israel. The rest of the crap thrown at it, controlling the media, ruling the world, etc., is paranoia at best and maliciousness at worst.

    2) After centuries of being discriminated against with no redress, and discrimination here means having no rights whatsoever. From being abused verbally and physically, loss of all ones possessions, including of course, ones life, droit de seigneur, and having absolutley no security whatsoever, we needed somewhere where we actually had some control over our destiny.

    3) It is in the place that it is because that is the place that as a people we yearned to return to. When Boney M sang about remembering Zion, they had ripped off a Jewish psalm. The haircuts however were all their own.

    4) It is the first place where Jews are allowed to work at whatever they are job they are qualified to do without religious restrictions. Yes, yes, I know they can in virtually every non Islamic country now, but they couldn’t when Israel was formed. As a little point of interest, when I was a girl, there were no Jewish, Black or Asian police, because it was considered that unlike white Britons, we couldn’t be relied upon to be objective if we had to arrest, or give evidence against one of our own. A generation earlier, my extremely clever father was denied a place at Dulwich College as the ‘Jewish Quota’ had been reached.

    None of this excuses heavy-handed tatics by some Israeli administrations, but may go a little way to explain why there is a reluctance for a secular state.

    I could say a lot more, but I’m not here for an arguement, just a bit of information, but I would like to say this. The majority of the IDF are conscripts in their late teens and early twenties. They would rather be out partying than policing a people who want them dead. You’re all a lot nearer that age than I am. I still remember how ones psyche vascillated between meglomania and total terror. If you were a parent, and you knew that there were teenagers with guns and tanks at the end of your street, would you allow your children to throw stones and petrol bombs at them?

  142. Ravi4 — on 2nd July, 2006 at 11:04 am  

    Desi – I didn’t see your posts #131 & #132 when I addressed my last comment to you.

    I agree with you that “it should be ONLY the Palestinians and Israelis who should sort out this situation”. I was just disturbed by the thrust of all your earlier comments which seemed to say that Israel was somehow intrinsically programmed to be aggressively expansionist so was never going to be amenable to a peaceful negotiated solution.

    I also agree that the US has contributed massively to the problem through unquestioning support for Israel. They (and others) should take a much more even-handed approach. I don’t think that should mean totally stopping aid to Israel. I think there should also be a clear commitment to defend Israel – to reduce the justification for Israel’s massive military spending.

    Chairwoman – I do understand the arguments for a Jewish state. But shouldn’t greater secularism be the aspiration for the future?

  143. Sunny — on 2nd July, 2006 at 1:20 pm  

    If you were a parent, and you knew that there were teenagers with guns and tanks at the end of your street, would you allow your children to throw stones and petrol bombs at them?

    Of course I do blame the parents for letting their children get into all sorts of stupidity Chairwoman, but look at the state the Palestinians are put into now. Constant checkpoints, harassment, bombings, sonic booms, little electricity, very high unemployment etc. Don’t you think after years of this the level of resentment makes it harder for parents to control their kids? The best way for Israel to stop people conscripting to Hamas is to give the Palestinian kids jobs. Let them work and make a living instead of hanging around on street corners. But Israel doesn’t even seem to understand something so simple.

  144. Peter H — on 2nd July, 2006 at 2:59 pm  

    Amir,

    When you say, “If Israel went back to those pre-1967 borders tomorrow, the hostility wouldn’t stop”, that’s just wrong. In fact, the Arab League has made such an offer several times, the most recent being in 2002. In fact, no Israeli Prime Minister, inlcuding Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, or Ehud Barak, has ever recognized the pre-1967 borders, even as a starting point for negotations.

    (BTW, I have no problem with adjusting the pre-1967 borders, provided those adjustments be reached freely on a basis of equality and reciprocity. What is NOT acceptable is for Israel is to unilaterally pick the choicest parts of the West Bank to annex).

    As for Hamas, I believe if Israel were to accept the Arab Leage Peace Initiative as the basis for peace, Hamas would either have to modify its refusal to recognize Israel or lose its support among the Palestinian population. As it now, according to Israeli journalists like Akiva Eldar, Hamas is divided between its West Bank/Gaza Leadership (which wants a a 2-state solution) and its exiled leadership, which is heavily influenced by states like Iran and Syria which have a vested interest in perpetuating the conflict. The more Israel besieges the Palestinians for supporting Hamas, the more the exiled wing is strengthened.

    It is noteworthy that while Olmert talks about a 2-state solution, he is taking actions such as annexing the Jordan Valley, creating a “Jewish belt” around Arab East Jerusalem, and placing the Separation Barrier in the heart of Palestinian communities, that make a viable Palestinian state impossible. So it could be argued that while Hamas denies Israel`s right to exist in theory, Olmert is denying Palestine`s right to exist in practice.

  145. Ravi Naik — on 2nd July, 2006 at 4:25 pm  

    “But Israel doesn’t even seem to understand something so simple.”

    What is really so frustrating is that world events are dictated by extremists, not by moderate rational people.

    Each time Israel and Palestine get a peace agreemenet, the so called ‘road map’ to nowhere, you only need a suicide bomber to break that deal. Israel replies with more bombing, the deal is off, and the terrorists win again.

  146. Arif — on 3rd July, 2006 at 5:51 pm  

    Re: Bijna’s post #139 – an ethical principle equally binding on both sides, I think the way you phrase it would be too emotive and one-sided to be common ground: “Not using children as meat shields while firing missiles or laying anti-tank mines. Children should be at school not at the front line.”

    I need to be persuaded by understanding your rationale better.

    Is there a rationale for why it should be children and not people? Also would human shield be acceptable as a less emotive way of expressing “meat shield”?

    Is the rationale to ensure children are at school or to ensure that fighters on both side can be targetted by the other side without harming civilians? For example, would firing from near a working school be allowed because the children are at school?

    If the principle is to ensure children are safe from retaliation by the other side, is that not covered by the prohibition on targetting civilian areas?

    Or do you believe it is a moral principle to make retaliation against violent actions easier – and how would you extend that to both sides? Would firing from an area free from children but then running to a civilian area be prohibited?

    Since firing missiles itself is not prohibited by your principle, do you think both sides have equal opportunity to fire on their targets from areas distant from children – or does this principle significantly favour one side militarily?

    Another reason why it appears to be a principle recommended to promote Israeli military superiority is that laying anti-tank mines are mentioned rather than tanks? It seems a one-sided principle, since only one side has tanks, but tanks are not covered by your principle, but a means for defending oneself from tanks is prohibited.

    Despite these reservations, however, if people sympathetic to the Palestinian cause agree with it or can phrase it in a way they can also agree to, then I’ll happily add it to the list of commonly acceptable principles. Alternatively, Bijna, you can also persuade me it isn’t as one-sided as it seems to me at first sight.

  147. Desi Italiana — on 5th July, 2006 at 10:24 am  
  148. Refresh — on 6th July, 2006 at 9:05 am  

    Europe’s response to the siege of Gaza is shameful

    The Palestinians have no partner for peace. They will only have one if Israel agrees to recognise Palestine’s right to function

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1813447,00.html

  149. Refresh — on 9th July, 2006 at 9:21 pm  

    We are not alone:

    From Johan Hari

    Israel’s real reason for using such extreme violence in the Gaza Strip

    http://www.johannhari.com/index.php

  150. Sarah Vey — on 15th July, 2006 at 1:42 pm  

    El Cid (and Vikrant)

    I have little doubt that the mass of Palestinians do want peace and simply to live. I have difficulty, however, with their squaring of this motive with the election of a government (however good it was in working for their physical welfare) which made no secret of its wish to annihilate Israel. One would think that the average Palestinian who wanted peace would have nothing to do with them.

    But it isn’t so simple is it? There are generations of ingrained hatred and “justification” for this killing, and Hamas is carefully inculcating the same into children in schools in the West Bank and elsewhere, thereby ensuring the future generations of hopeless suicide terrorists. There is something almost biblical in the way in which this seems ensured to continue from generation to generation for them. Why do not the peaceful Palestinians speak out against this?

    Seriously, how can one expect Israel to down weapons and prepare to negotiate with an entity which wants its complete eradication and makes no secret of it?

    I cannot understand this mindset, however hard I try. This seems like madness on a societal scale.

  151. Sarah Vey — on 15th July, 2006 at 2:08 pm  

    Sunny 143: You are right that it is very difficult for hopeless, dejected parents to control their children, but according to my sources, Hamas does take it many steps further. It manipulates (and to my mind exacerbates) their sense of hopelessness. Many Palestinian children are taught in school to long for a “glorious” death by killing themselves and Israelis! In my previous post I mentioned this as a deliberate tactic by Hamas and this has been cranked up more recently. Hamas doesn’t help either by offering financial compensation to the families of those who suicide bomb. Think of the incentive in that for a materially poor Palestinian family.

    This lunacy needs to be stopped in its tracks and it will take much work and willingness on the part of Palestinian parents to protect the basic human rights of their children.

    Israeli children are not taught to hate – I know it because I used to live there.

  152. El Cid — on 15th July, 2006 at 2:25 pm  

    Oi, Vey
    Israeli children are brought up to believe that 70, 80 whatever Palestinina, Lebanese lives are worth just 1, maybe 2 Israeli lives. If that ain’t hate, I dunno what is. War dehumanises everyone. Wake up and smell the napalm

  153. Refresh — on 16th July, 2006 at 1:27 am  

    Sarah

    I’ve just listened (on the radio) to an Ethiopian Jew who left Israel – he could not stand what was being done to the Palestinians. His father went bac to Ethiopia and he himself is now in the UK.

    On a personal note – I had dinner with an American who was passing through having visited Israel in the 80′s. He explained how as a visitor he had been shown by the Israelis how the Palestinians were no better than animals. It struck me that there were officially sanctioned ‘brainwashing’ going on for visitors.

    It absolutely wrecked our dinner. In fact I could have punched his lights out – seeing he was so keen to pass on what he had ‘learned’ about the Palestinians.

    I’ve always thought it was something that needed a serious investigation to see how successful these sessions were – and how it could be exposed.

    I long ago stopped believing anything that came out of the mouths of ‘official’ Israelis.

  154. Refresh — on 16th July, 2006 at 1:43 am  

    The Ethiopian caller to the radio (I mention above) – was so incensed by what he saw that he said he would support any country to attack Israel to put a stop to their actions.

  155. Refresh — on 16th July, 2006 at 1:48 am  

    Sarah – this from the Washington Post:

    “Israeli Textbooks and Children’s Literature Promote Racism and Hatred Toward Palestinians and Arabs”

    Israeli school textbooks as well as children’s storybooks, according to recent academic studies and surveys, portray Palestinians and Arabs as “murderers,” “rioters,” “suspicious,” and generally backward and unproductive. Direct delegitimization and negative stereotyping of Palestinians and Arabs are the rule rather than the exception in Israeli schoolbooks.

    http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0999/9909019.html

  156. Desi Italiana — on 16th July, 2006 at 2:19 am  

    Sarah:

    –”I have little doubt that the mass of Palestinians do want peace and simply to live.”

    –”There are generations of ingrained hatred and “justification” for this killing, and Hamas is carefully inculcating the same into children in schools in the West Bank and elsewhere, thereby ensuring the future generations of hopeless suicide terrorists.”

    –”Many Palestinian children are taught in school to long for a “glorious” death by killing themselves and Israelis!”

    You state earlier that you think that Palestinians want peace. Then, you go on to state that they have been “ingrained with hatred”, etc, etc.

    Please compare your first comment that I copied here with the following 2. Do you really, sincerely, think Palestinians want peace, give what you proceed to say about them?

    This kind of talk is very deceptive (I’m not saying that you are intentionally doing so). Many say “oh, Palestinians ARE entitled to this and that”, but then go on listing their “crimes”. Along the same lines, which doesn’t specifically refer to you, it suprises me to no end when there are those who say “I’m not making excuses for Israel, but….” This is being an apologist– when you say “BUT”, you are making excuses (again, when I say “you”, I don’t mean “Sarah” specifically, I mean in general).

    –”Seriously, how can one expect Israel to down weapons and prepare to negotiate with an entity which wants its complete eradication and makes no secret of it?”

    Please think rationally. Are you suggesting that Hamas– a political group which is numerically inferior and lacks an army, weapons, and defense– can somehow eradicate Israel? How is it that a country of 6 million, that has the 4th most powerful army in the world, one of the best airforces, recieves UNLIMITED diplomatic, political, military, economic support from the world’s superpower– the US– and backed by Junior Partner Blair and major NATO powers, be threatened by countries whose armies and weapons COMBINED could not effectively do anything? Do you think that countires would invite or provide an excuse for disproportionate retaliation?

    –”This lunacy needs to be stopped in its tracks and it will take much work and willingness on the part of Palestinian parents to protect the basic human rights of their children.”

    And since you discuss the subject of basic human rights violations of the Palestinians, you should also add that Israelis should start respecting the basic human rights of Palestinians as well. Check out human rights agencies’ reports on this topic.

    BTW, it’s interesting you use the term “lunacy” when discussing Palestinians, when, Israel has flagarantly invaded Lebanon and bombed its people, airports, and infrastructure, has once again entered Gaza, and basically acting on the “Madman Doctrine” principle. That’s not “lunacy”, though. That’s called “defense”, especially since the US has given it a green light.

  157. Desi Italiana — on 16th July, 2006 at 2:30 am  

    Chairwoman:

    With all due respect, since I understand that you are someone’s mother, and therefore older than me:

    –”It is in the place that it is because that is the place that as a people we yearned to return to.”

    That’s fine, but the “place” chosen was someone else’s home. There were people living there.

    And I don’t want to get into the Biblical and pseudo scientific justifications that Palestine was the “ancient homeland”, but “return to”????

    –”None of this excuses heavy-handed tatics by some Israeli administrations, but may go a little way to explain why there is a reluctance for a secular state.”

    All of the points that you listed actually excuse the “heavy handed tactics by some Israeli administrations” (interesting you put “some”, when it seems to me that all administrations have been more or less the same save for a little variation).

    Furthermore, I have attempted to explain in my posts why I think that “the reluctance for a secular state” is actually the problem. And as long as this type of ideology (religion=nation-state) continues to pervasively persist, there will always be “heavy handed tactics”.

  158. mirax — on 16th July, 2006 at 2:54 am  

    >And as long as this type of ideology (religion=nation-state) continues to pervasively persist, there will always be “heavy handed tactics”.

    Wow! If that is the sum of your analysis, there are quite a few ‘muslim’countries that need disbanding too. Oh sorry, you are not calling for the destruction of Israel.My bad. If you are castigating the ‘racist’ nature of the ‘zionist entity’ as so many are wont to do, then please do look around the globe.

    >>Please think rationally. Are you suggesting that Hamas– a political group which is numerically inferior and lacks an army, weapons, and defense– can somehow eradicate Israel? How is it that a country of 6 million, that has the 4th most powerful army in the world, one of the best airforces, recieves UNLIMITED diplomatic, political, military, economic support from the world’s superpower– the US– and backed by Junior Partner Blair and major NATO powers, be threatened by countries whose armies and weapons COMBINED could not effectively do anything? Do you think that countires would invite or provide an excuse for disproportionate retaliation?

    there is much I could dispute in your paragraph above, but heck it, I am going sailing for the day.So ok, it is ALL Israel’s fault, those jewish mofos. Have a nice day too.

  159. Refresh — on 16th July, 2006 at 3:48 am  

    Mirax – behave yourself.

    I for one would be pleased to see you deconstruct/dispute that paragraph.

    Where is Amir when you need him.

  160. Desi Italiana — on 16th July, 2006 at 8:22 pm  

    Mirax:
    “Wow! If that is the sum of your analysis, there are quite a few ‘muslim’countries that need disbanding too. Oh sorry, you are not calling for the destruction of Israel.My bad. If you are castigating the ‘racist’ nature of the ‘zionist entity’ as so many are wont to do, then please do look around the globe.”

    I’d appreciate it if you would lay off the snarky remarks, ok? :)

    First off, please stop putting words in my mouth about destroying Israel. The next time someone makes that kind of move, I am not even going to respond since I”ve already addressed that in about 3-5 posts.

    Second of all, your call that I should criticize countries who are Muslim is besides the point. This is why: Israel and Pakistan are the only countries in the world that were found on a religion. I am not talking about countries who have an established national religion and/or theocracies– ie Nepal and Iran. These countries were NOT founded on religion.Israel and Pakistan were. There is a difference between a country which was explicitly FOUNDED on religious principles than having a national religion. Not to negate that there are similarities. And since the thread is about Israel and not Pakistan, I have limited myself to the discussion to Israel.

    And I am tired of repeating the same thing over and over again whereby I explain myself, so please read my previous comments.

    “there is much I could dispute in your paragraph above, but heck it, I am going sailing for the day.So ok, it is ALL Israel’s fault, those jewish mofos. Have a nice day too.”

    MOst of if IS Israel’s fault. Who in their right mind would blame the Native Americans in North America for what transpired?

    “Those Jewish mofos”– these are YOUR words, Mirax. Are you suggesting that when I criticize Israel I’m criticizing “those Jewish mofos”? You are conflating Israel,Judaism and Jews. I for one am not. Sure, Israel has for years conflated Israel and Judaism, and as I’ve stated, it is precisely this conflation that is the root of the problem. But not all Jews are Israeli or support it. There are PLENTY of Jews who don’t identify with Isreal, and/or are criticial of it, or don’t feel that Israel is the ultimate defining factor of being a Jew.

    I’m no longer posting any comments on this thread because I don’t want to spend time repeating myself and/or respond to assertions that people put into my mouth or accuse me of.

  161. Desi Italiana — on 16th July, 2006 at 8:38 pm  

    “There is a difference between a country which was explicitly FOUNDED on religious principles than having a national religion. Not to negate that there are similarities.”

    I would like to reiterate that does not mean that there aren’t similarities between theocracies and a country like Israel. On the other hand, there have been few parallels with Israeli history, I think, ie a systematic religious political movement that has been actuated by colonization. The US’ early history (before the Constitution and the First Amendment)comes close.

  162. Desi Italiana — on 16th July, 2006 at 8:52 pm  

    “On the other hand, there have been few parallels with Israeli history, I think, ie a systematic religious political movement that has been actuated by colonization.”

    Now that I think about it, I should specify “few parallels in contemporary history”.

    Anyway, it is 50C degrees plus in my apartment– too hot to sit and post comments. Am giong to walk to the lake with friends, pretend it is actually a sea/ocean, and savor the moment.

    BTW, how is it that everyone can use italics, put quotes in red color type, boldface, etc and I can’t?…. The only thing that shows up on my computer is the “preview” section and it is annoying as hell, as it slows down everything because I have to wait 4-5 seconds to see what I’m writing show up in the comments box (not the “preview”).

  163. Katy Newton — on 16th July, 2006 at 9:00 pm  

    Desi Italiana,

    You put “” and “” on either side of the segment you want to make bold. For itallics you do “” and “” on either side. (Take out the asterisks – I had to put them in to stop the italicising and boldening.)

    PS I appreciate the point you make about Israel’s military power, but the country is actually very small both in terms of population and geography. London alone has a population of 7.5 million. In terms of the immediate area, Lebanon’s population is 3 million, there are 10 million Palestinians, and Syria’s is 19 million.

  164. Leon — on 16th July, 2006 at 9:11 pm  

    Size of the country means nothing if you are essentially a military outpost for the worlds only superpower…

  165. Katy Newton — on 16th July, 2006 at 9:17 pm  

    The fact that America supports Israel does not make Israel a military outpost for it, Leon. But if you take the view that any country which is supported by America deserves everything it gets then the discussion is pretty much over.

  166. Katy Newton — on 16th July, 2006 at 9:29 pm  

    Actually that wasn’t a fair answer to your point, Leon, partly because I didn’t see your source for that comment.

    Chomsky said that America protects Israel because it sees it as a military outpost. I agree that America protects Israel because that is in line with its own interests, and that America may well see Israel as a military outpost in the Middle East. But he did not say what you said, that Israel was nothing but an outpost of America. The fact that America sees Israel in that way doesn’t mean that that is all Israel is. Israel consists of 7.5 million people, many of whom came there to escape persecution in their birth countries and many of whom were expelled, trying to live normal lives – and yes, I know that this makes the way in which the Palestinians have been dealt with even worse. Israel is not a country full of soldiers, although most people must serve in the army at some point, and the Israelis do not secretly see themselves as Americans or as an outpost of America. When you dismiss them as a military outpost of America you are doing them a huge injustice.

  167. Desi Italiana — on 16th July, 2006 at 9:40 pm  

    Katy:

    Thank you for explaining it, but:

    “You put “” and “” on either side of the segment you want to make bold. For itallics you do “” and “” on either side. (Take out the asterisks – I had to put them in to stop the italicising and boldening.)”

    ????

    Alo, does anyone know how to get rid of the preview thingy?? It is really annoying the hell out of me, it is slowing down the whole process, and making typos all on its own.

    Am now going to the stinky lake.Desi

  168. Katy Newton — on 16th July, 2006 at 9:56 pm  

    Oh poo. It is because the website half recognises the codes and tries to make them work. Arse. If you go to the help page on WordPress I think that might show you how to do the codes?

    *baffled*

  169. Leon — on 16th July, 2006 at 10:58 pm  

    I never said it was nothing but a military outpost I said it was essentially. The use of words here is precise and conscience. Please don’t put words in my mouth.

  170. Katy Newton — on 16th July, 2006 at 11:15 pm  

    Clearly I took considerably more time to think about what you said than you did to think about my response. Perhaps you would be kind enough to explain what substantial difference there is between saying that Israel is “nothing but” a military outpost for America and saying that it is “essentially” a military outpost for America.

  171. Katy Newton — on 16th July, 2006 at 11:27 pm  

    Or don’t bother. If you’re going to split hairs on semantics instead of giving me the courtesy of a thought out response then you can do it on your own. I spend too much time defending Israel’s right to exist to people who are more interested in apportioning blame than sorting out concrete problems and not enough time talking to people who do accept its right to exist about how it can be made to act more conscionably.

  172. Leon — on 16th July, 2006 at 11:30 pm  

    I’m not going to argue absurd and falsely constructed semantics with someone who is ‘clearly’ defensive about anything critical regarding Israel.

    That said if you genuinely have an interest of Israels strategic importance to US power I’d STRONGLY suggest reading The Fateful Triangle by Noam Chomsky. In fact, regarding US power and the ME I’d strongly suggest everyone read Chomsky on the subject.

  173. Leon — on 16th July, 2006 at 11:31 pm  

    I would like just like to point out I’d not seen your second post while I was writing the above…

  174. Katy Newton — on 16th July, 2006 at 11:34 pm  

    The person who is relying on semantics is you, not me, and I thought that the point I made about Israel having its own identity was a fair one which you have not answered. I still don’t understand what you meant and I am sorry that you can’t be bothered to explain it. If everyone refused to explain their viewpoint then nothing would ever be resolved, would it?

  175. Katy Newton — on 16th July, 2006 at 11:35 pm  

    I did also say that I was fully aware of Israel’s strategic importance to the US. I just pointed out that Israel is much more than that. I am not sure that I am the one being defensive here. I’m certainly not the one refusing to explain what I mean.

  176. Leon — on 16th July, 2006 at 11:44 pm  

    Sigh…it’s not semtantics but putting words in my mouth does give the illusion that it is.

    By the way I recognise Israel’s ‘right to exist’; a two party state is probably the only sane way out of this mess. What I don’t recognise is the maddening view that Israel is a victim, that it is some poor little defensless state. It’s not, it’s supported in a number of ways by US power (the UN vetoeing linked to elsewhere proves this). It get’s away with a great deal because of that relationship.

    Obviously for it’s people it’s a different matter but I’m not talking about it’s people, I’m talking about it’s governments actions and the power they ultimately serve. I’m talking about power, who has it and how it’s weilded and to what end (and who it’s victims are).

    Anyway, having had this arguement many times in the last ten odd years I will again patiently suggest, those thinking the US views Israel differently to Israels people, read Noam Chomsky.

    Every time I kick myself for even bothering with this subject, I considered writing about it but didn’t know where to begin…also on a personal level it’s just too depressing to cover, especially with how lunatic the world seems to have gone in the last couple of weeks…

  177. Katy Newton — on 16th July, 2006 at 11:48 pm  

    I am defensive about Israel’s right to exist because for many people that is not a given, but I am not defensive about criticism of Israel’s government or foreign policy at all. I am sorry I misunderstood your stance.

  178. Katy Newton — on 16th July, 2006 at 11:57 pm  

    PS: I would like to see Israel as one secular state in which both Israelis and Palestinians governed and participated equally and had a right of return (because both are treated so badly in other countries). But I think that is out of the question in the immediate future because of the level of animosity between them.

  179. Leon — on 17th July, 2006 at 12:07 am  

    Fair enough on your views regarding Israel but think it’s more than that regarding your second post.

    The US gov has a lot to answer for here, when they stop treating Israel as a forward base there’ll be a chance for conflict resolution there. In my view if that changes, not likely, then the two sides have some sane chance of working something out. At the moment the superpowers abuse of the conflict (for their own interests) is just exacerbating the situation.

    Chomsky has alot to say on the subject, much of which I agree with.

  180. Refresh — on 17th July, 2006 at 12:14 am  

    Katy, (#178) agree with you entirely for a whole lot more reasons (all good and progressive) than you give.

    I would add it is not out of the question – it should be the laudable aim of all decent people. The politics that flows from that objective will give us a global vision which is beyond the reach of the vultures wedded to power.

  181. Sunny — on 17th July, 2006 at 1:29 am  

    Well, we’re agreed on something at least, so that is a good start. *phew*

    Desi – I’ll get rid of the preview function for now.
    Saying that, I trust the other Middle East leaders as far as I can throw them. So I stand by my statement :)

  182. Refresh — on 17th July, 2006 at 2:25 am  

    Sunny – this understanding would be a fine opening to a new thread. It’ll be rocky, but it’ll be worth it. Let it explore the animosity and how that can be removed. Let it also explore the forces that work against it. A no holds barred exposition.

    Perhaps Leon may want to do the honours?

  183. Desi Italiana — on 17th July, 2006 at 7:35 am  

    Katy:

    “PS I appreciate the point you make about Israel’s military power, but the country is actually very small both in terms of population and geography. London alone has a population of 7.5 million. In terms of the immediate area, Lebanon’s population is 3 million, there are 10 million Palestinians, and Syria’s is 19 million.”

    How many British did it take to rule a majority of the globe?

    How many British were ruling India (pre Independence) from WITHIN the territory of India? And the British ruling India from overseas?

  184. Desi Italiana — on 17th July, 2006 at 7:40 am  

    “On the other hand, there have been few parallels with Israeli history, I think, ie a systematic religious political movement that has been actuated by colonization. The US’ early history (before the Constitution and the First Amendment)comes close.”

    What the hell am I talking about– the US has certainly welded God and the US of A even after the Constitution. The “Monroe Doctrine”, for example, which also justified the genocide against Native Americans.

    I feel very ashamed for having forgotten this.

  185. Desi Italiana — on 17th July, 2006 at 8:09 am  

    “Saying that, I trust the other Middle East leaders as far as I can throw them. So I stand by my statement”

    Er, “other”….? “Other” meaning non South Asian leaders? South Asia is not part of the geopolitical designation “Middle East”.

    And if this were true– that Middle Eastern leaders are more trustworthy than the South Asian ones– why all the hoopla about Iran having nuclear power? Or Iran is not considered a part of the “Middle East”?

    BTW, just out of curiosity, how many know how to read, write, and understand Farsi? I am asking because I worked in translation for a little over 4 years, and I’ve had first hand experience of how things get mangled.

    Leon: I also like the Fateful Triangle. Another book that I found very informative was Robert Fisk’s Pity the Nation. I quite like Fisk, actually.

  186. Desi Italiana — on 17th July, 2006 at 6:12 pm  

    Seeing the developments in the Mid East, and in an effort to nip whatever criticism there has been of Israel (unlike the US which effectively gave Israel, once again, its unwavering support), the American Jewish Committe (AJC) sent this e-mail out yesterday to those on their listserv.

    It’s also available on their website: http://www.ajc.org/site/apps/nl/content3.asp?c=ijITI2PHKoG&b=846567&ct=875535

    Note how criticism is effectively deflected by various arguments: the 3,500 “Israeli history”, the ancient and ancestral linkages to Israel (never mind the indigenous people– the Palestinians) and the beautiful fruits that Israeli society has bore, pogroms and the Holocaust,”anti Zionism” as thinly veiled “anti semiticism” .

    Sometimes, it amazes me that some would accept religious mythology– Biblical explanations– as the justification for the ownership of Palestine. I don’t think there are other peoples who would be willing to renounce their country/land due to claims made by another people reaching back over 3,000 years. But I’ve already addressed this in my other comments….

    To me, this AJC publication is basically cynical opportunism and manipulation of things like the Holocaust (NOTE: I am saying that the Holocaust is being manipulated to fit a certain agenda; I’m NOT denying the Holocaust took place. Just in case someone might put words in my mouth, something that a few on PP love to do!!)

  187. Tanvir — on 20th July, 2006 at 12:26 am  

    then u get blogs like this that try and stay away from the issue due to pro-israeli bias..
    I cant see al-hack on PP for much longer!

  188. Katy Newton — on 20th July, 2006 at 1:20 am  

    Desi Italiana,

    It is fashionable at the moment to accuse anyone who mentions the Holocaust or antisemitism of manipulation or emotional blackmail. I am not sure why. Part of the reason that Israel came into existence was the fact that six million Jews died because there was nowhere for them to go and no-one to speak up for them. And the Holocaust was the culmination of hundreds of years of state-sanctioned attacks on Jews in Europe and in the Arab states. Jews in Russia, East Europe and the few Arab states that have not kicked them out still suffer antisemitism today.

    These are historical and political facts.

    Why is it manipulative to point out that until Israel came into being there was no country in the world that the Jews could turn to for protection and refuge when they needed it? It is the truth. It doesn’t mean that everything Israel does is right; far from it. In many ways it makes what Israel does worse. But it is still the truth.

  189. Refresh — on 20th July, 2006 at 1:20 am  

    Tanvir – you know I had those very same thoughts today.

    Who is pulling who’s strings – that a global disaster is taking place in the middle east and we don’t have debate?

    Forget Al-Hack – I was thinking that most will be coming to PP for rest and recuperation only – after a hard days debating on other sites.

  190. Pablo — on 20th July, 2006 at 1:25 am  

    Refresh – it’s all a Zionist conspiracy!

  191. Sunny — on 20th July, 2006 at 1:35 am  

    Heh, I see Tanvir is still trying to bait me. But I ain’t biting. Yet. You guys are welcome to scream at other people on other websites about Israel/Palestine/Lebanon. Every day I read stuff and every day I think I should write, and then I stop myself. Maybe later.

  192. Desi Italiana — on 20th July, 2006 at 6:41 am  

    Katy:

    “It is fashionable at the moment to accuse anyone who mentions the Holocaust or antisemitism of manipulation or emotional blackmail. I am not sure why.”

    Did you read the link that I pasted here? This link was specifically sent out on the e-mail listserv on the second day of the Lebanon bombings. What, may I ask is the point of that e-mail in light of what is happening?

    The strategy has been to deflect any criticism of Israel’s policies, actions, and politics by bringing up the Holocaust.

    “These are historical and political facts.

    Why is it manipulative to point out that until Israel came into being there was no country in the world that the Jews could turn to for protection and refuge when they needed it? It is the truth. It doesn’t mean that everything Israel does is right; far from it. In many ways it makes what Israel does worse. But it is still the truth.”

    Katy, do you believe that there may be “founding myths” or narratives that countries like to tell themselves? For example, the US has their own: a persecuted religious minority from Europe who came to “God’s Providence” (America) and the “new Jerusalem” as the “New Israelites”, divine innocence, the American Creed and American Dream and so on that completely obfuscates the Native Americans and African Americans in American history and society. Similarly, there are a few things on that e-mail that are very questionable. Note, I am NOT denying the Holocaust took place; what I am questioning is the story of Israel that is being expressed here, in the context of the current events unfolding.

    It is really freaking exhausting talking about Israel.

  193. mirax — on 20th July, 2006 at 8:47 am  

    >>It is really freaking exhausting talking about Israel.

    Yet you love it so! I wonder why. I guess Darfur aint as sexy.

  194. Katy Newton — on 20th July, 2006 at 9:21 am  

    No offence, but the reason it’s exhausting is because you aren’t making any sense. Do you understand what I mean by “historical fact”? I am not talking about mythology or campfire stories here. It is a fact,not a founding myth, that the Holocaust ended in 1945 and the Partition Plan was adopted in 1947, and that the reason the Western States and the UN supported the Partition plan was because of what had happened to the Jewish people up until 1945. What is your problem with that?

    Incidentally, if you were really interested in understanding why the Israelis behave in the way that they do, you might accept that the systematic extermination of 6 million Jews within living memory might still have some sort of effect on the Israeli national psyche. I repeat that it doesn’t justify what they do and in many ways makes it worse, but if you don’t accept that the Holocaust affected the way in which Jews then and subsequent generations of Jews viewed the non-Jewish world then you are seriously naive.

  195. Refresh — on 20th July, 2006 at 6:54 pm  

    Hah – I don’t think so. Its called Statescraft.

    Israel’s bloody good at it.

  196. Refresh — on 20th July, 2006 at 6:55 pm  

    “Refresh – it’s all a Zionist conspiracy!”

    Hahaha, that old one – I don’t think so. Its called Statescraft.

    Israel is exceptionally bloody and good at it.

  197. El Cid — on 20th July, 2006 at 7:16 pm  

    Katy,
    At last I have found something to agree with you.
    It’s not strictly true that Jews weren’t welcome in no countries — you and your mum and Woody Allen are testament to that — but it’s certainly undeniable that the Israeli psyche is largely explained by the Holocaust (Iran’s Ahmedithingymajig, I suspect, believes this too). However, one could argue that Israel is also punch-drunk on military success, hence its Texan-like arrogance at times.
    Question is, does Israel want to be like that forever, coz dem Palestinian Arabs ain’t going away?

  198. Sunny — on 20th July, 2006 at 7:18 pm  

    Desi – Are you supposed to be having a useful debate or simply throwing our rhetoric for the sake of it?

    Pakistan was born out of some Muslims feeling persecuted from Hindus. Bangladesh was born out of a desire to be independent from Pakistan. Such is history. Move on. People aren’t going to just give up a state because you ask them to. It’s a monumental waste of time to even engage if the debate is going in that direction. Reminds me of stupid childish threads that turn into India/Pak turf wars.

    Let

    it

    go

  199. Refresh — on 20th July, 2006 at 7:28 pm  

    Sunny – hardly something to let go of is it?

    When so much carnage goes on – at a low level constantly and consistently against the Palestinians; and incursions at will of neighbouring countries.

    Assasinations as and when Israel pleases and so on – and that is something that needs to be let go?

    Israel itself is doing harm to itself – read Johan Hari on this very point.

    Mirax – start a thread on Darfur. And lets talk about it. Why it needs to be in the middle of this one, only you can know.

  200. Sunny — on 20th July, 2006 at 7:39 pm  

    Refresh – Remind me again, how many Kashmiris have died since partition? How many wars have started since 1947? How many Kashmiri pundits have been killed or driven out by the Kashmiri militants? How many people have the Indian army “accidentally” killed? How many bombs in India have blown up killing innocent people because of the conflict?

    You think I/P is the only place with constant low level carnage?

    What do you suggest? In the interests of peace India should just annex Pakistan again and decide Independence was a bad idea? The same assumptions that applies there applies in I/P.

    Yes Israel is harming itself, but it’s not like Hamas cares that much about the Palestinians otherwise it wouldn’t constantly attack Israelies with suicide bombs when it knows that will then attract Israeli fighters. IT’s not like Fatah cares that much because it was riddled with corruption.

    People on ALL SIDES are playing politics here to the detriment of innocent people. There’s no point playing the victim card with me because I don’t buy it… not for Hamas/Hizbullah, and not for Israel.

  201. Refresh — on 20th July, 2006 at 8:01 pm  

    What is this victim card you keep talking about – because I’ve yet to understand it.

    What has Hamas got to do with it?

    Israel does not want to negotiate even a 2-state solution. That is the problem.

  202. Katy Newton — on 20th July, 2006 at 8:47 pm  

    El Cid, I sort of take your point. I was thinking more about countries like France and Poland whose long-established Jewish communities were thrown to the wolves when the Germans turned up.

    I am sliding off topic now, but there was also Denmark, where no Holocaust took place because the Danes just weren’t having it. When the Germans tried to implement the yellow star everyone in the entire country from the King and Queen down wore one in solidarity and the scheme was just abandoned – which only goes to show that the idea that it was impossible to stand against the occupying Nazis was a myth. I wonder how many more lives might have been saved if other countries had shown the same loyalty to their Jewish/Romany/homosexual/Catholic/trade unionist citizens.

  203. Desi Italiana — on 20th July, 2006 at 9:47 pm  

    “Desi – Are you supposed to be having a useful debate or simply throwing our rhetoric for the sake of it?

    Pakistan was born out of some Muslims feeling persecuted from Hindus. Bangladesh was born out of a desire to be independent from Pakistan. Such is history. Move on. People aren’t going to just give up a state because you ask them to. It’s a monumental waste of time to even engage if the debate is going in that direction. Reminds me of stupid childish threads that turn into India/Pak turf wars.”

    I’m sorry, sweetheart, but before you pop off, did you read the comment I was responding to in the post that you are taking an issue with? Mirax had brought up why I wasn’t addressing Muslim countries, and so in a short manner, I did. Then I went back to discussing Israel.

  204. Sunny — on 20th July, 2006 at 10:00 pm  

    Desi – I was responding to comment 193, which was addressed to Katy. I didn’t see a reference to Mirax there.

    Particularly: “I am NOT denying the Holocaust took place; what I am questioning is the story of Israel that is being expressed here, in the context of the current events unfolding.”

    My point was we can also question, ad nauseam, the story of why Pakistan was needed or born (was Jinnah just being power hungry, etc), why Bangladesh was born, why Kashmir was given to India… yada yada.

    People have their own reasons for everything, and we can disagree on all of them. But it has little relevance to here and now. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Israel etc aren’t going away (without mass extermination) regardless of whether your narrative differs from other people.

  205. Desi Italiana — on 20th July, 2006 at 10:14 pm  

    Post # 204 is addressed to *Sunny*. Sunny, read comment #158 to which I was responding, which you call a “monumental waste of time to even engage”. And in fact, I said in post # 160:

    “And since the thread is about Israel and not Pakistan, I have limited myself to the discussion to Israel.”

    ************************************************

    *Katy*:

    I’ll tell you what is freaking frustrating and exhausting: writing comments to someone who seems to be having a 2 person dialogue with herself. I am starting to wonder whether you really read what I am saying because you are putting words into my mouth or having a conversation with a fictious Desi Italiana.

    First, earlier in this thread you went off saying that someone was accusing you of “Jewish defensiveness” when no one really did.

    Then, in all of your comments, you talk about the Holocaust and 6 miliion Jews, and then constantly re-affirm at the end, “This is not to excuse Israel”.

    So:

    I had stated EXPLICITLY in comment #186:

    “To me, *this AJC publication is basically cynical opportunism and manipulation of things like the Holocaust (NOTE: I am saying that the Holocaust is being manipulated to fit a certain agenda; I’m NOT denying the Holocaust took place. Just in case someone might put words in my mouth, something that a few on PP love to do!!)*”

    Comment #193:
    “Note, I am *NOT* denying the Holocaust took place; what I am questioning is the story of Israel that is being expressed here, in the context of the current events unfolding.”

    But you accuse me of in comment# 195:

    “It is a fact,not a founding myth, that the Holocaust ended in 1945 and the Partition Plan was adopted in 1947, and that the reason the Western States and the UN supported the Partition plan was because of what had happened to the Jewish people up until 1945. What is your problem with that?”

    This is what I had said and let me repeat this:

    “I am saying that *the Holocaust is being manipulated to fit a certain agenda*; I’m NOT denying the Holocaust took place”.

    Now, you and I agree on something even though it looks like you don’t get it: the Holocaust is no excuse to justify what is happening today. Even you state, REPEATEDLY:

    “*I repeat that it doesn’t justify what they do and in many ways makes it worse*, but if you don’t accept that the Holocaust affected the way in which Jews then and subsequent generations of Jews viewed the non-Jewish world then you are seriously naive.”

    First, what I was drawing attention to in the AJC publication is that they ARE using the Holocaust as an excuse. My problem is when the Holocaust is *cheapened* as a result of utilizing it for *every single thing*. People get immune to the *real* atrocities and destructive nature of the Holocaust when it is invoked tirelessly over and over again in relation to situations that not relevant.This is along the lines of when “the boy cried wolf” and people just stopped listening to him after a while because there was no wolf. I’m NOT drawing an analogy between the Holocaust and the boy crying wolf; I’m saying the effect of repeating something over and over again when it has little relevance is the same.

    Secondly, if you say that “it doesn’t excuse what Israel is doing”, then: WHY BRING IT UP CONSTANTLY.

    *WHY BRING IT UP CONSTANTLY*

    Many of you comments — bringing up the Holocaust and 6 million Jews over and over again, and then adding the disclaimer “this doesn’t excuse Israel”, brings me to conclude that(based on your comments– not you personally):

    1. You are in fact making excuses for Israel, despite your best intentions and disclaimers.

    2. You are having innner conflicts between what you think of Israel and what Israel is doing.

    Take care.

  206. Desi Italiana — on 20th July, 2006 at 10:19 pm  

    Sunny:

    Thanks for the clarification, but:

    “Desi – I was responding to comment 193, which was addressed to Katy. I didn’t see a reference to Mirax there.”

    Ok, but in comment # 193, I never spoke of Pakistan, which you took issue with in comment # 199:

    “My point was we can also question, ad nauseam, the story of why Pakistan was needed or born (was Jinnah just being power hungry, etc), why Bangladesh was born, why Kashmir was given to India… yada yada.”

    I had addressed Pakistan in comment # 160 which was in response to Mirax’s comment # 158. But not in commment # 193 which was addressed to Katy.

    Goodbye :)

    PS. Katy, I hope you do not take my posts personally. I am discussing your comments, not attacking you personally, since obviously I do not know you.

  207. Desi Italiana — on 20th July, 2006 at 10:26 pm  

    Refresh:

    “Its called Statescraft.”

    It is actually called “hasbara” (sp?), Hebrew for literally “propaganda” but could be interpreted as “strategy”. Israeli politicans and officials, as well as their overseas supporters, utilize this term in order to market certain policies, and what not.

    And before someone accuses me of pushing the “Zionist Conspiracy” theory, I’d like to point out that “statecraft” is NOT UNIQUE to only Israel either. Every country does it– the US, India, etc and Israel is not an exception.

  208. Sunny — on 20th July, 2006 at 10:27 pm  

    Grrrrrrr! Desi allow me to explain myself again.

    1) I know 204 was addressed to me. Which is why 205 was addressed to you. Hope that is clear.

    2) In 204, you said: “I’m sorry, sweetheart, but before you pop off, did you read the comment I was responding to in the post that you are taking an issue with?

    My response to that in 205 was, yes I did read the comment you were responding to.

    You were, in comment 193, responding to Katy. In 193, you said: Katy, do you believe that there may be “founding myths” or narratives that countries like to tell themselves?

    That was a response to Katy, and not Mirax. You were talking about “founding myths” etc etc, and my point (in 199) was to say that “founding myths” don’t matter. People have their own reasons for why a state was created, and is now sustained. This applies to Israel was well as Pak/Bangla.

    I hope that clears up any confusion. I don’t see the point of going back to: “well why was Israel created, let’s examine that again shall we?”, because it’s irrelevant.

    You try having that conversation with a Pakistani and see how far you get in talking about a peace process.

  209. Katy Newton — on 20th July, 2006 at 10:28 pm  

    So the very fact that I say that the Holocaust doesn’t excuse Israel’s actions means that I think the Holocaust excuses Israel’s actions?

    Whatever. But, and I hate to point this out to you, the person who brought up the Holocaust on this thread was you, not me. I have never raised the Holocaust in a discussion about Israel before this thread. I pointed out that the Holocaust is the main reason that Israel was created in 1947, and that it is a huge influence on the Israeli psyche. Which of those statements is wrong?

    *baffled*

    But no, I don’t take your posts personally. It’s just discussion.

  210. Katy Newton — on 20th July, 2006 at 10:33 pm  

    Really, if you go back and look at my comments, what you say is not true. I didn’t raise the Holocaust on this thread and I don’t think I have mentioned it on PP before. But it’s interesting that you think it was me who did. Is it because I is Jewish? :-)

  211. Sunny — on 20th July, 2006 at 10:41 pm  

    Ok, but in comment # 193, I never spoke of Pakistan, which you took issue with in comment # 199:

    Sure, not denying that. I brought up Pakistan/Bangladesh as an example of other recently created states for various reasons. My experience has always been, in such discussions, that there is no point endlessly discussing why a state was created. Simply because we weren’t there to know exactly what happened. What is more important is to accept what happened and now discuss what is happening and it’s implications.

    I’d like to close this thread now. I realise there is a demand to discuss the issue in light of current events. I’m not exactly hiding from the debate, but I’d like it to be constructive. Hence I’m trying to formulate how it will be phrased and may write something tonight or tomorrow or over the weekend.

  212. Desi Italiana — on 20th July, 2006 at 10:46 pm  

    Sunny:

    “I’d like to close this thread now.”

    No, wait!!

    “Desi – Are you supposed to be having a useful debate or simply throwing our rhetoric for the sake of it?

    Pakistan was born out of some Muslims feeling persecuted from Hindus. Bangladesh was born out of a desire to be independent from Pakistan. Such is history. Move on. People aren’t going to just give up a state because you ask them to. It’s a monumental waste of time to even engage if the debate is going in that direction. Reminds me of stupid childish threads that turn into India/Pak turf wars.”

    GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRr, likewise!!

    Then if you read everything, why did you say this?!

    Katy:

    “Is it because I is Jewish?”

    Absolutely not. What I am saying is an opinion that has concerned Jewish writers as well (will have to look up the links to provide them for you).

    I DO agree with you on how the Holocaust is part of the Israeli national psyche. What I am drawing attention to, is again, how it is being used in light of the current situation.

  213. Desi Italiana — on 20th July, 2006 at 10:47 pm  

    Close the thread now. I for one have been spending hours writing comments. I need to stop.

    If I don’t, I will be unemployed and homeless without a Masters degree.

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