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View Diary: Without Arafat, Whither Palestine? (264 comments)

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  •  Illegal Occupation? (none)
    FullDisclosure wrote, in part:

    Israel gets rough treatment from me because they've been illegally occupying Palestinian land for over 35 years

    Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza in a defensive war against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.  Israel's occupation of the territory, therefore, is legal at its foundation.  Of course, that does not make lawful all of its conduct as the Occupying Power.

    (Israel is not quite as bad as Milosevic's Serbia.  But the difference is a matter of degree, not kind.)

    If you cannot see the vast qualitative difference between the two, then we are further apart than I would have hoped.

    •  Re: Illegal Occupation? (none)
      "Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza in a defensive war against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.  Israel's occupation of the territory, therefore, is legal at its foundation."

      There are valid questions about just how defensive the '67 war actually was.  (Israel attacked first in the face of troop movements.  There are quotes upthread from Rabin and Begin that say that these troop movements did not telegraph an invasion of Israel, and that '67 was thus an Israeli war of choice.)

      But even if we stipulate for purposes of this discussion that Israel was attacked in '67, they do not have a right to hold that territory indefinitely.

      And they certainly don't have a right to build settlements on that territory.

      ---

      "If you cannot see the vast qualitative difference between (Israel and Serbia), then we are further apart than I would have hoped."

      I think we are indeed further apart than you think.  I am not prepared to value Israeli lives or legitimate aspirations over Palestinian lives or legitimate aspirations.

      Israel is not nearly as bad as Milosevic's Serbia.  But for 25 years now, Israel has been pursuing a strategy designed to result in Israel permanently keeping part or all of the occupied territories.  It's methods are not as harsh as Serbia's methods, but the ultimate goal is the same.

      •  Defensive Nature of the Six-Day War (none)
        FullDisclosure wrote, in part:

        There are valid questions about just how defensive the '67 war actually was.  (Israel attacked first in the face of troop movements.  There are quotes upthread from Rabin and Begin that say that these troop movements did not telegraph an invasion of Israel, and that '67 was thus an Israeli war of choice.)

        Israel's preemptive attack on Egypt met the classic tests for a just war:  At the time Israel attacked Egypt, Egypt already had committed an act of war by blockading the Straits of Tiran, an international water-way.  Moreover, Egypt had expelled the United Nations Emergency Force from Sinai and Gaza and had moved the greater part of its army into the Sinai.  At the same time, Egyptian leaders from President Nasser on down were threatening Israel with war.

        Regarding Jordan, King Hussein entered into a military agreement with Egypt, putting the Jordanian army under Egyptian control and allowing
        Egyptian commandos into Jordan.  Hussein sent 100 U.S.-supplied Patton tanks from the East Bank to the West Bank, in violation of restrictions placed on their use by the U.S.

        Israel nevertheless appealed to King Hussein to stay out of the war.  Instead, on the morning of the first day of the war, June 5, Jordan batteries shelled Israel, both military bases and civilian positions.  Later that morning, Jordanian aircraft  attacked near the towns of Kfar Saba, Kfar Sirkin, and Netanya.  Following the Jordanian air attack, the Syrian and Iraqi air forces launched attacks on civilian settlements in northern Israel.

        Late that morning, the (Jordanian) Arab Legion began massively shelling West (Jewish) Jerusalem.  Targets included Hadassah Hospital, the Knesset, and the Church of the Dormition on Mount Zion.  Over 1,000 civilians were wounded.

        Only that afternoon, after all of these Jordanian attacks did Israel respond in force, attacking and destroying Jordanian airfields.

        Regarding the alleged Begin and Rabin quotations and whether 1967 was a "war of choice."  In a sense, every war is a war of choice:  Israel could have accepted Nasser's closure of the Straits of Tiran and taken its chances on whether he really meant to attack Israel.  The point is that Israel was justified in defending itself, both because closure of the Straits itself was an act of war and because Nasser's expulsion of UNEF, troop movements, military agreements with Israel's neighbors, and violent rhetoric made the threat of war at least imminent.

        One further point perhaps might be made about the alleged Begin quotation.  It is dated August, 1982, that is, after his invasion of Lebanon.  Begin was harshly, and justifiably, condemned in Israel precisely because the invasion was not forced on Israel, it was a war of choice.  Begin, it would appear, was trying to defend himself by saying he had a good precedent for engaging in a war of choice.  Begin's political needs do not burnish his credentials as a disinterested commentator.

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