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Peace in the Mideast - What a concept.

As a resident of Maine, the yearly host of the "Seeds for Peace" camp, I have spent considerable time debating the pathways to peace in the conflict between Israel and its neighbors.

What I've noticed is the tendency for this debate to become entrapped in the circular arguments of who has the true "legitimate" or "historical" right to its geographical claims.

The following diary is an attempt to move beyond this debate, to forge a pragmatic solution that serves the interests of the US first (in the spirit of McCain's "My Country First" slogan!) and Israel second.  What a concept.

We could forever spend time justifying Israel's historical right over its present territory, and forever denouncing the legitimacy of a Palestine presence, much less a Palestine nation.

I would rather deal with the realities that exist now, regardless of historical claims. Whether justified or not, I accept the presence of Israel within its originally UN mandated borders. And, whether legitimate or not, I acknowledge a movement in favor of an independent Palestinian nation.  The support for this movement is continuing to transcend both generations in time, and national boundaries in space.

Rightly or wrongly, "Palestinian Nationhood" has become a favorite cause of all disenfranchised, militant or otherwise, throughout the Mideast and beyond. When elder US statesmen like Jimmy Carter begin comparing Israel's actions to South Africa's apartheid, you then realize that Israel is losing the propaganda war.

Let’s move away from the never-ending debate over legitimacy claims on both sides and search for a pragmatic solution.  In this context, I will define how I am Pro-Israel.  As a US citizen, my world view is inexorably affected by my desire for peace and prosperity in my own country.  How to achieve this was forever changed after the trauma of 9/11/01.  Before then, I took peace and prosperity for granted – at least within my own borders.

I want the same thing for Israel.  I want lasting peace and continual prosperity for Israel.  This is my "pro-Israel" hope.  To achieve this, I would lobby for what I call "positive disengagement" from Israel.  My goal would be for the US government to publicly take a stand against the continual encroachment of West Bank settlements by Israel, including a withdrawal of those already settled in violation of existing UN mandates.  Ideally, I’d like to see a stand against all settlements outside of the original UN mandated border.  Either way, I doubt that Israel would comply.  With non-compliance, the consequence would be a termination of all military contracts and foreign aid.

While this may seem less than friendly to Israel, it’s really a form of tough love.  I want to see Israel prosper, but I don’t think it’s going to happen unless the US can publicly extricate itself from its no-win relationship with Israel.  The US has the strongest military in the world and Israel has the strongest military in the middle east.  Neither country needs to fear a more objective, neutral and independent relationship.  It’s no surprise that the US has been ineffectual in facilitating any long term peace agreement with Israel and the people in Gaza or the West Bank.  Any influence we could have in that area is completely subjugated by our current dysfunctional relationship with Israel.

I’m not inferring that our "positive disengagement" with Israel will influence its actions.  In fact, I regularly read Israeli political blogs, and I find many voices sharing the same opinion:  that Israel does not want to be told what to do by the US and that the US can keep its military and foreign aid.  Whether Israel changes or not, at least the US would be able to step away from the harmful consequences of the past relationship.  We could then rebuild our relationships with the majority of moderate Mideast nations, regardless of the type of government.  The most strategically effective weapon against the Islamic militants is complete marginalization.  If militants and their message are no longer accepted within their own country or region, they have no place to go.  This is more powerful than any military might, and has recently been demonstrated in the significant collapse of Al-Qaeda strength in Iraq by the collective will of the Sunni factions, identified as the "Awakening Councils".

As we rebuild and strengthen our relationships with Israel’s neighbors (both friends and enemies), the dynamics in that region will change.  With an increased sense of security, Israel just may decide to unilaterally withdraw its presence in the West Bank.  With this newly available land, a final solution to the long ignored Palestinian refugee problem can be addressed.  With financial aid and cooperation of neighboring countries, (currently holding refugees), a realistic plan for compensation and resettlement (in various countries) can be developed.  The result of this plan, favorable to Israel, is that it will finally put an end to any continual resettlement claims within the original borders of Israel.  And of course, with Israel’s withdrawal, the US could again offer military and economic assistance, if needed.

As religions and as ethnic people, both Jews and Muslims can point to many times throughout history where their cooperation has led to periods of great economic growth and achievements.  Unfortunately, this recent period of strife has all but obliterated the history of these past harmonious periods.

I am Pro-Israel and my dream is a 100 year anniversary celebration in 2048 in which Israel and its surrounding neighbors have developed a Mideast Union of countries with shared economic and environmental prosperity.  An area whose earliest recorded histories are integrated with the foundations of the major religions in that area.  An area, that in the mid 21st century, could once again lead the world in the universality of the "golden rule".

At this moment, on both sides of the Jordan River, there are young kids on swings and slides, and young kids playing soccer.  It’s for them that I want Israel and all its neighbors, including a viable and contiguous Palestinian nation to work towards this 100 year celebration:  A celebration of one nation’s birthday and a celebration of an entire region’s peace and prosperity.

Update: Thanks for all the comments. This was my first diary and I appreciate the input. Sorry I didn't post a tip jar this time.

Originally posted to ForceForGood on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 09:18 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  No Peace when People are denied food & fuel (12+ / 0-)

    what is happening now is genocide

    •  Did Egypt close off the tunnels? (10+ / 0-)

      "you ought to be ashamed of yourself, person who loves to tell your 'hat story' with OPOL. Grow up."

      by DemocraticLuntz on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 09:26:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  really? (14+ / 0-)

      genocide n.: The systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group.

      I think we can do without the hyperbole, thank you very much.....

      A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

      by Crookshanks on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 10:09:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you serious? (9+ / 0-)

        How can it possibly be genocide when the population levels in both Gaza and the WB have been continually increasing, not decreasing.

        When people such as yourself use words like "genocide" to describe the WB and Gaza all you do is create hatred.

        You shed no light.

        You only spread flames.

        But I suppose you get a certain feeling moral superiority over those hideous Jews who insist upon protecting themselves from constant violence and harassment.

        "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

        by Karmafish on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 10:36:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The definition of the term is not fixed, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Terra Mystica, ForceForGood

          and that's where a lot of confusion - and miscommunication as seems to be occuring here - takes place. I tend to agree with those who see the term as so emotion-generating that it doesn't have much use when real conversation is sought. OTOH, there are many scholars who define the term in such a way that it does apply to what's happening to the Palestinians:

          The following was written by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jewish scholar who coined the term genocide (it's from the wiki on genocide):

          Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.[5]

          Anyone familiar with the long history of the conflict would have to conclude that at least some elements of the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians are consistent with the Lemkin definition.

          But again, I'm not certain that's useful in getting us to a solution. Using words that pack such an emotional whallop is counterproductive in the end. I really liked the approach you initially took in your diary, ForceForGood.

          "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics" - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

          by Wordie on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 04:02:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Calgon - take me away (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Again, I wish I had not responded to the genocide comment.  I admit to feeling somewhat helpless over the recent blockade, affecting both fuel, electricity and food to the Gaza area.  I know it's due to the latest increase in Hamas shelling, and I realize the innocent lives at risk in Israel are as important as the innocent residents of Gaza, who have to endure the effects of the blockade.

            For this reason I am trying to avoid all emotionally charged words, including even "Occupation".  

            One nation's terrorist is another nation's freedom fighter.  

      •  Damn (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dufffbeer, ForceForGood

        And here I was ready to take you seriously, after your serious post, and then you leapt off the deep end.

        harps and angels! harps and angels!

        by zemblan on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 07:46:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  a rhetorical misfire (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          arielle, Terra Mystica

          Given the history of the Jewish people before 1948, it's exactly the wrong audience to use the word "genocide" before when describing the Israeli treatment of Palestinians. Under the Israeli occupation, as awful as it is, the Palestinian population is increasing. Under the you-know-whos, the Jewish population didn't do quite as well. Calling the treatment of Palestinians "genocide" before a Jewish audience is to encourage a gut-check that in many cases won't go in your favor.

          harps and angels! harps and angels!

          by zemblan on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:48:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Genocide? (9+ / 0-)

      Do you know the meaning of the word?

      Do you have the slightest idea what you are talking about?

      I would very much recommend that if Gaza wants peace that they release Gilad Shalit and stop shooting rockets into Sderot.

      Israel will protect itself.

      "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

      by Karmafish on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 10:33:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Genocide (13+ / 0-)

        Emotional slip.  I have tried to avoid extreme semantics.  Of course, I'm aware of the daily rockets, but so many, many people in Gaza, who have very little power, and are just trying to survive, are held hostage to such incredibly horrible living conditions.  It's hard not to get emotional.

        •  Many would love to be "held hostage (6+ / 0-)

          to such incredibly horrible living conditions"

          Gaza life expectancy: 73.16 years; right in line with Hungary, and above Brazil, Mexico, Bulgaria,

          Infant Mortality Rate: 19.00/1000 live births, lower, than for instance, Brazil, Mexico, Romania and most of their Arab neighbors (Egypt, Lebanon, etc)

          "you ought to be ashamed of yourself, person who loves to tell your 'hat story' with OPOL. Grow up."

          by DemocraticLuntz on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 10:50:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I understand and I agree. (9+ / 0-)

          I think that it's fair to say that most liberal Jews, such as myself, oppose the occupation of the WB and want to see a thriving Palestine next to, and trading with, a thriving Israel...

          but have you read the Hamas charter?

          The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said:  The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!

          This is why Israel imposed the blockade... and, of course, the rocket attacks.

          "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

          by Karmafish on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 10:50:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, the Likud charter opposes any independent (9+ / 0-)

            Palestinian state, and Likud actually won elections in Israel, so that position can be considered to reflect what many Israelis believe. Lots of people on both sides say outrageous things, that is just how this conflict is right now, and they need to be ignored and marginalized, as hopefully Bibi and his ilk will be.

            •  I'm guessing that the likud charter doesn't call (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              livosh1, zemblan, ForceForGood

              for Jews to kill Muslims though.....

              A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

              by Crookshanks on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:10:08 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  They don't need to, they have much greater (10+ / 0-)

                military power, they need to maintain as much international legitimacy for the status quo as they can, so announcing an agenda to kill Arabs would hurt them. On the other hand, Hamas needs drama, instability, and sudden change, and it needs to draw people's attention to a crisis that would get swept under the rug, as happened with the massive in settlement construction during the 90s, when Israel was supposed to be negotiating with the Palestinians over where they would be allowed to build settlements, if violence weren't putting it in the news all the time. By stating categorical opposition to an independent Palestinian state, they are at the very least supporting the eventual ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Those Palestinians aren't going to leave their homes without a lot of "persuasion".

                •  I suppose, but no one here supports Likud. n.t (4+ / 0-)

                  "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

                  by Karmafish on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:19:34 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  well, for starters, I've never known Israel (6+ / 0-)

                  to worry much about "international legitimacy" (whatever that means).

                  As far as the independent Palestinian state goes, let's see what happens when they stop landing rockets on Israel, shall we?

                  I've often wondered why the Palestinians don't borrow a page from Mandela or Ghandi.  It would seem to be more likely to get them favorable press than blowing up pizzerias filled with civilians.  But what do I know....

                  A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

                  by Crookshanks on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:20:58 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's what I've wondered ... (6+ / 0-)

                    "you ought to be ashamed of yourself, person who loves to tell your 'hat story' with OPOL. Grow up."

                    by DemocraticLuntz on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:21:30 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  you can't ask (4+ / 0-)

                    the victims to protest the way you want them too. "If only they were more moral resisting the immoral violence we perpetrate on them, THEN we would recognize their rights."

                    How repulsive.

                    •  It's not a matter of "how we want." (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      DemocraticLuntz, ForceForGood

                      It's a matter of what works. There has been a decision by the Palestinians, at the national policy level, to prefer terrorism over negotiations. It was a tragic mistake sixty years ago, and it's still a tragic mistake.

                      The road to the Palestinian state is clear. It's also clear that, as a matter of national policy, the Palestinians have not taken that road. That doesn't justify everything Israel's done, but it does mean that if Palestinians really wanted to help themselves, the first thing they need to do is turn their rig around.

                      harps and angels! harps and angels!

                      by zemblan on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 07:53:21 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Victims? (3+ / 0-)

                      Yes, the Jews of the Eastern Mediterranean have been the victims of constant Arab attacks going back to at least '29.

                      The misery of the Palestinian people is due entirely to the failure of the Arabs to accept a Jewish state in their midst.

                      "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

                      by Karmafish on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 08:57:05 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  you will never (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        make peace with your attitude. Israel is the occupying power, not the other way around. Israel displaced 750,000 Palestinians, not the other way around.

                        Israelis are not the victims of dispossession. Israel is the nuclear, occupying power which tortures and imprisons thousands of Palestinians in its horrific jails.

                        One Israeli life is worth how many Palestinians?

                        The misery of the Palestinian people is due to the policies of the Israeli state--its occupation and ethnic cleansing. Why don't you ask Palestinians who they feel is responsible? Do you not believe them? Do you think their voices don't matter?

                        You really are repulsive.

                        •  Leave out the calling him repulsive and then (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Terra Mystica, ForceForGood

                          I agree with you

                          But personal attacks on either side of the issue are not helpful

                        •  See, the problem is that people (0+ / 0-)

                          like you seem to live in this very simplistic, black and white world in which you have these good and perfectly innocent people over here (we can call them Palestinians) and these evil and militaristic people over there (call 'em Jewish-Israelis).

                          What I would like to suggest is that it is far more complex than that and that the situation is not entirely the fault of the Evil Ones.

                          I mean, why is there an occupation?  The answer to that is the 6 Day War which was an entirely defensive war on Israel's behalf in which they acquired the WB and Gaza for security reasons.  Now, personally, I think that Israel needs to get the hell out of the WB, but if it had not been for Arab military aggression the occupation would never have taken place to begin with.

                          Now, of course, you can point to the refugee problem and castigate and vilify Israel for that if you wish.  But the refugee problem happened because the Arabs started a civil war at the end of 1947 because they opposed the UN partition plan.  We also must remember that there was a more or less equivalent number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands, as well.  The difference is that Israel took in its Jewish refugees, while Egypt and Jordan stuck the Arab refugees in camps.

                          "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

                          by Karmafish on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 03:21:00 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  You really beleive that lie? (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        I feel sorry for you.

                        "We let the special interests put their thumbs on the economic scales." - Barack Obama

                        by Lefty Coaster on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 11:56:25 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Of course, I believe it because it happens (0+ / 0-)

                          to be true.

                          the Jews of the Eastern Mediterranean have been the victims of constant Arab attacks going back to at least '29.

                          Is this, or is this not, true?  In 1929 Jews were slaughtered by Arabs in Hebron.  The Hebron Massacre.  Then, of course, 1948, 1967, 1973.

                          The misery of the Palestinian people is due entirely to the failure of the Arabs to accept a Jewish state in their midst.

                          This is also true.  If the Arabs had accepted the UN partition then Palestine would have become a country.  But they didn't, did they?

                          So please explain to me what I have said that is false.

                          "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

                          by Karmafish on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 03:42:31 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Your historical fiction is laufable (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            The misery of the Palestinian people is due entirely to the failure of the Arabs to accept a Jewish state in their midst.

                            This is a reality based site, so this transparent self serving lie completely discredits you.

                            "We let the special interests put their thumbs on the economic scales." - Barack Obama

                            by Lefty Coaster on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 07:33:09 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Lefty, if you wish me to take you seriously (0+ / 0-)

                            you need to make an actual argument.

                            It is obvious to anyone who knows anything of I/P history that the Arab governments, as well as the Arabs of mandated Palestine, opposed the UN partition.

                            Do you deny it?

                            Not only did they oppose it, but they threatened war because of it.

                            Do you deny that, as well?

                            Well, they made good on their claim and they prevented the state of Palestine from coming into being.

                            Here is Morris, 1948: The First Arab-Israeli War, page 65:

                            The Arab UN delegates denounced the resolution (UN 181, the partition resolution - my note) and declared that any attempt to implement it would lead to war.

                            And they were as good as their word.

                            Not everything in this conflict is the fault of Israel or the Jews of the Yishuv.  Some of it, much of it, is the fault of recalcitrant Arabs who could not bare the thought of a tiny Jewish country in their midst.

                            So sorry, but the world community, via the UN, disagreed.

                            "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

                            by Karmafish on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 08:51:53 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't take you seriously enough to waste (0+ / 0-)

                            my time with someone so heavily indoctrinated to make the claims you do.

                            "We let the special interests put their thumbs on the economic scales." - Barack Obama

                            by Lefty Coaster on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 05:49:18 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Another substance free comment from Lefty. (0+ / 0-)

                            Do you, or do you not, deny that the Arab governments opposed partition?

                            Do you, or do you not, deny that they threatened war if the UN was to approve resolution 181?

                            This is not about "indoctrination," nor ideology.

                            It is about established facts that you are unable to accept, apparently.

                            "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

                            by Karmafish on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 11:43:41 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  Nothing.. (2+ / 0-)

                    Mandela was a violent man, after realising the futility of peaceful struggle when no-one listens to your voice.

                  •  They have stopped firing rockets at Israel, (3+ / 0-)

                    mostly, and they have seen benefits from doing so, mostly not.

                    Per Ehud Barak:

                    "For almost six months, the children of Sderot and Gaza-area [communities] have been going to school under skies clear of Qassams, except for short term violations. These breaches are also intolerable, but we must weigh every matter separately."  


                    Yet the blockade continues.

                    A reasonable person would look at that glaring contradiction and wonder what the Gazans really need to do to get Israel to lift the blockade (act of war).  What game is being played here.

                    It's pretty clear that reciprocity and incrementalism isn't to be forthcoming by the Israelis.  That either suggests that no actions will be good enough, or that a total refrain from launching rockets (and agreement to all Israel's terms) will result in a magical, simultaneous, total cessation of war by Israel and a complete and sincere respect for the borders of Gaza (i.e. everything the Gazans want:  oil and gas rights, fishing, territorial waters, airspace, modification of Camp David to cede complete control of the Egyptian border to Egypt, international recognition as a state, etc.).  

                    This current cease fire is a test to see if Israel can be trusted to honor its agreements - whether or not Israel is a viable "partner for peace."  So far it's the proverbial "epic fail."  If Israel did show some will to adjust the blockade as Hamas has reduced rocket fire to almost zero, they might actually be seen as serious about peace and some major breakthrough could be had.  As it stands, not so much.

                    "You may already be a wiener!" Anonymous

                    by Terra Mystica on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 06:09:46 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Technically, Likud merely supports (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  livosh1, Crookshanks, ForceForGood

                  permanent status-quo.

                  "you ought to be ashamed of yourself, person who loves to tell your 'hat story' with OPOL. Grow up."

                  by DemocraticLuntz on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:21:10 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Also in the Hamas Charter (7+ / 0-)

            From Article Eleven:

            The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgement Day.

            From Article Thirteen:

            Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion.

            From Article Thirty-One:

            Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions - Islam, Christianity and Judaism - to coexist in peace and quiet with each other. Peace and quiet would not be possible except under the wing of Islam.

            In short, as a religious imperative, Islam must rule every inch of Palestine.

            Democrats: Members of the Democratic Party working to advance democracy; Republicons: Members of the Republicanist Party working to advance Republicanism

            by word is bond on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:07:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  israel does a great job protecting itself (9+ / 1-)

        already, especially against all these annoying hungry kids and evil fishermen. Clearly, one shalit is worth hundreds of kids, not to mention a ton of fish. What with the self-evident fact that all palestinian kids are terrorists-to-be. Might as well thin their numbers through well-administered mal-nutrition.

        •  Your remark is entirely unproductive. (8+ / 0-)

          What I suggest, in the best interest of the Palestinians of Gaza, is that they give up Shalit and stop shooting rockets into Israel so that Israel will no long have any justification for maintaining the blockade.

          If you wish to see further suffering in Gaza than shooting Qassam rockets into Sderot is the way to go.  

          "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

          by Karmafish on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:33:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ah, isn't that always the solution? (5+ / 0-)

            Once everyone stops fighting against the occupation, the occupiers will be satisfied and leave.

            Has that ever happened before?  Is there a single historical instance of it happening?  I'm serious - is there?

            Should our Iraq policy involve not withdrawing until every last insurgent stops attacking US forces?

            Should Americans have stopped resisting British troops with uprisings so that the British would leave?

            There is not a single instance in history where a territory has been occupied, the natives have stopped resisting, and as a result gained their freedom.  Not one.  

            Now - I am saying the Israelis would still refuse to withdraw if they stopped being attacked?  That's not the point I'm trying to make.

            However, the premise that occupied Palestinians who perceive they are in a war for their freedom are going to stop attacking Israel is historically a ludicrous one, and therefore setting it as a precondition for change guarantees a stalemate; it ensures that generations more of innocent Israeli citizens will be attacked, and generations of Palestinian civilians will be mired in occupation and suffer the effects of collateral damage.

            I think that is unacceptable.  I'm sorry you disagree.

            The all purpose reference for every Obama surrogate and supporter

            by ShadowSD on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 04:46:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, actually, it did happen. (4+ / 0-)

              Israel left the Gaza in 2005.

              Of course, then Hamas got elected and they started raining down rockets into Israel.

              The problem here, of course, all goes back to the stupid decision in '47 to deny the UN partition plan.  If the Arab states had accepted an Israeli state next to a Palestinian state then we would not presently be having this conversation.

              But, noooo.

              Oh, the horror of a Jewish state on the Eastern Mediterranean.

              One good thing, tho, is that Egypt and Jordan are now at peace with Israel.  The Palestinians can have peace, as well.

              It's up to them.

              "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

              by Karmafish on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 08:40:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Israel leaving Gaza without leaving the West (5+ / 0-)

                Bank isn't an end to the perceived occupation, so that's a pretty flimsy premise; even though Gaza and the West Bank are not contiguous, the Palestinian plight is generally viewed by Palestinians as a united cause, all in-fighting and geographic locations aside.  Indeed, until the Palestinian territories are a sovereign nation, they will not act like one, and this is the heart of the problem.

                Don't you think it's interesting that there has been an Israeli state for sixty years, and in all that time a Palestinian state has yet to come to fruition; the reason given is that violent Palestinian behavior does not warrant them being recognized as a state, despite the fact that them not having a state is the root cause of their behavior.  

                People of any ethnicity, race, or religion who do not have representation in their own sovereign nation will resist.  They will be violent.  This is not a surprise.  

                The question is that, knowing all this, do we let the cycle continue and put the responsibility for change on something we know will not change on its own.  Doing that is accepting the stalemate, accepting that future generations on both sides will suffer, because well, "it's up to them".  

                The fact is, no peace has ever come from uttering the words "it's up to them."

                It's up to all of us (and unfortunately - as a matter of pure pragmatism - it is particularly up to those of us whose societies have resources, stability, and the control over their own people which only comes with sovereignty and order)

                We can either accept this reality, or relax reassured with the smug superiority that only they resort to terrorism, only their children resort to violence, only they blow themselves up and target civilians; all true, but is there really anything reassuring about that?  Acts out of desperation  will be present twenty years from now - just like they are present now and were twenty years ago and twenty years before that - if the desperation is still present; do we wager the next generation of Israeli and Palestinian children on what is an impossible bet, that we will do nothing to change that desperation yet expect different results?

                The all purpose reference for every Obama surrogate and supporter

                by ShadowSD on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:18:58 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Very, Very well said, Shadow (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ShadowSD, sortalikenathan

                  I admit to fully agreeing with your sentiment.  
                  However, I believe that Karmafish would see it differently.

                  If we didn't share different views about this, negotiation would not be needed.

                  My hope is that, once these differences are on the table, we can then work to define a viable negotiating path to the peace, stability and prosperity goals that we all want.

              •  Clarification of events (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                snakelass, ShadowSD, sortalikenathan


                We may not agree on the same negotiation path, but I believe and trust in your comments.  To save time in personal researching, help me with this one question.  Immediately after Hamas won in the Gaza elections, which came first:  an increase in rocket firings or the arresting and detaining of Hamas elected officials by Isreal forces?

                This past 60 years has seen a continual pattern of miscommunications and missed opportunities.  Despite what Hamas has done in the past, or said publicly, and despite what it states in its charter, the US and other allied countries, missed an opportunity to stand up for the principle of democracy by recognizing the elected status of Hamas.

                Instead, the US and Israel took the moral high road and ignored (and even arrested) the Hamas elected representatives, due primarily to past aggressive actions and Hamas's unwillingness to recognize Israel's right to exist.  If anything, I believe this played into Hamas's hands.  In recognizing their elected status, we could have immediately defused the strategic advantage they were hoping for.

                And yes, I agree with your overall sentiment that the Palestinians have committed many more "missed opportunities", and, ironically, the responsibility for correcting these mistakes continues to fall only on Israel.

                So be it.......It's now 11/14/08 - where do we go from here?  That's what I'm trying to explore.

  •   after Rabin was shot, I'm 95% pro israel (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dansmith17, ForceForGood

    I began to look at the pro-israel crowd a bit differently.

    Why would they take down such a good man? He had come so far and actually made progress with the Palestinians.

  •  I think you're conflating (8+ / 0-)

    the 1947 UN partition borders with the 1949-1967 armistice borders. The partition borders gave Israel  three non-contiguous sections comprising less than half of the mandatory territory, and nobody's seriously considering returning to them; the armistice borders gave most of the territory to Israel.

  •  interesting clip about the settlements (4+ / 0-)

    from al Jazeera

  •  Don't know where you get this part (14+ / 0-)

    "My goal would be for the US government to publicly take a stand against the continual encroachment of West Bank settlements by Israel, including a withdrawal of those already settled in violation of existing UN mandates.  Ideally, I’d like to see a stand against all settlements outside of the original UN mandated border.  Either way, I doubt that Israel would comply."

    You doubt Israel would comply? Right now, 40% of Israelis want these settlements to end, and even some of the settlers themselves want out.

    This is an internal Israeli position, one that can clearly be affected by the way the US negotiates the issue.

    Obama is in a very unique position, as his administration can directly influence the outcome of the next election cycle in Israel. While no date has been set, the 'expected' time frame is late January, early February.

    This will be interesting, to see how the Likudnik/Netanyahu extremism in Israel is handled by the Obama administration. I'm much more hopeful that Kadima and Livni, and reasonable people are able to win out over religious extremists and hateful crackpot settlers in Israel.

    I think there's already a fair number of people in Israel who want to withdraw from these contested settlements. But if Bibi gets in, all bets are off. MIT degree and perfect English be damned, he's truly as dangerous as the most insane right wing radicals from anyplace on the planet. I don't trust him as far as I can throw him.

    2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

    by shpilk on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 09:44:30 PM PST

  •  Even Arab states concede more than "UN mandated (9+ / 0-)

    borders" to Israel.  The 1947 UN mandated border, originally accepted by Israel, was greeted by war from all Arab states and never existed as a border.

    The 1948 armistice line for Israel (including west Jerusalem and other lands that have been part of Israel since its inception) is recognized by all Arab League nations in their peace initiative, and has been the basis for all negotiations with Palestinians.  It is this line, with some mutually agreed-upon adjustments, that will be the basis of any agreement. The so-called UN mandate is irrelevant.

  •  The Very Best Effort We Can Make For A (6+ / 0-)

    Permanent peace in the Middle East is to be serious about energy independence.  Israel is a nuclear power with a robust economy.  Once the glut of petrol dollars stop pouring into the region, and once the world's economic superpowers stop making colonial ententes with the sheikdoms there, the pressures on Israel's borders will ease precipitously, and the Israelis will face their own internal pressures to solve their civil rights crisis with the Palestinians.

    And like the drowning man, who, in despair, Doth clutch the frail and weakly straw --Thomas Horatius Delpho

    by terry2wa on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 09:58:43 PM PST

  •  I disagree (6+ / 0-)

    Obama will maintain his support for Israel as many previous Presidents have done (he has shown nothing but strong support for Israel). The reality on the ground is that Israel relies heavily on U.S. aid and influence to maintain it's military force. There is nothing wrong with expecting more active peace efforts from Israelis, but withdrawing aid threatens Israelis security. I, along with many other Jews, are not confident that Middle Eastern countries will leave Israel alone. Perhaps they will be emboldened by these hypothetical threats from the U.S. and push for more Palestinian terrorism. In any case, the old boundaries cannot be used, but a more modern geographic approach will be needed. I do think in a few years Israelis will be more open to allowing Palestinians to have nationhood and land, but this depends on Palestinians taking control of their politics and removing radicals (along with Israelis).

    This independent, economic conservative, Jewish, white, male, college student supports Obama. Why are PUMA's having so much trouble?

    by MoshebenAvraham on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 10:06:19 PM PST

  •  Actually, Israel isn't expanding or building (5+ / 0-)

    any new or existing settlements. I know because I know people who live or want to live there and can't buy new homes.

    But why should Jews not be able to live in, say, Hebron? Jews had lived there for thousands of years until 1929. Why should it be illegal for an American suburb to exclude Jews, but ok for an Arab state to engage in blatant religious discrimination? I'll believe that peace has arrived when I can buy a house in the old city of Hebron safely and legally.

    •  Why can't you buy a house in downtown Baghdad? (5+ / 0-)

      No one is stopping you, right?

      This is a non sequiteur. The argument is not against Jews living in those places. The argument is against people who believe God gave them the land building armed and fortified camps, often dividing Palestinian homes from their farmland or water sources, and, once they reach a certain size, supported by the Israeli military.

      Many Palestinians would love to see Jews come back to places like Hebron, but living there like normal residents, not in armed camps.

      •  Here's a suggestion for that goal..... (3+ / 0-)


        Stop fucking shooting at them.

        •  if they stopped (5+ / 0-)

          being fascists and racists, and seizing land illegally and shooting Palestinians, maybe they would be welcomed differently.

          Until then, illegal settlers are legitimate targets.

          •  I don't even know where to start.... (5+ / 0-)

            ....and given your post history on this subject I probably shouldn't even bother, particularly in light of the fact that you've just openly advocated murdering settlers, but hey, I guess I'm just some sort of masochist, huh?

            You need to first of all look at the governmental structure of the state of Israel.  Notice the lack of secret police, corporate entanglement and the rest of the hallmarks of fascism.  You might also notice that the Palestinians and the Israelis are the same race.  

            You need to then read up on a bit of history.  The land that was seized was seized as a result of an invasion.  The problem with your statement is that Israel, being the nation that seized the territory in question, was not in fact the nation that was invading.  They're entirely justified in claiming a buffer zone from territory that was used to invade them.  They have also presented a perfectly reasonable means for the nations in question to get that territory back.  Only Egypt and Jordan have taken them up on the offer.  (Psst.  You'll notice that Israel did in fact keep up their end of the deal.  Or more likely you won't.  This doesn't make it any less true that they did.)  

            The Palestinians might also want to consider not blowing up cafes and schools if they don't want to get shot.  Just a thought.  Unless you're going to try to establish cafes, schools and other unarmed soft targets as being legitimate military targets?

            Yeah.  Good luck with that.

            •  Well, "legitimate" is problematic, but (7+ / 0-)

              in the sense that any military target can be legitimate, as I understand it, the settlers are. That is, attacking them is not a war crime. It is definitely not a good thing, but it should not be seen as comparable to the rocket attacks on Sderot or Israeli airstrikes that kill civilians.

              As for racism, races are largely fictional categories anyway, so if someone believes a group of people is inferior to them because of a physical difference like having darker skin (which is certainly true vis a vis Israelis, especially those of Ashkenazi background, and Palestinians, at least on average), that is racism, no matter what you or I think about the validity of the racial categories.

            •  don't start (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              weltshmertz, ForceForGood

              I know your posts as well. They defend the most abhorrent behavior on behalf of the Israeli state. Whereas you expect people to condemn Palestinian attacks against civilians (which I do), you do no such think when it comes to Israeli state terrorism. You only make excuses for it.

              Thanks for your "advice". But you might want to look into the definition of the words settler-colonialism and the historical responses to it by occupied peoples.

              •  If you consider..... (0+ / 0-)

                ....Israel defending its own civilians to be 'abhorrent,' then I guess you'd have a point.  The fact remains that when the rockets stop flying out of Palestinian territory, the Israeli counterattacks stop.  This of course means that the Pals have to stop killing Jews, however, and we can't have that now can we?

                You're an apologist for terrorism.  Nothing more.

                •  Stay in the present and look to the future (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Corwin Weber

                  And this is why we need to accept where we are now and think about negotiated solutions for the future.  In its most dispassionate view, we have a "situation" and we want to encourage a cooperative search for a solution that starts with a consensus over a mutually agreed goal and explores the avenues for getting there, with the widest range of acceptability.

                  •  In the present.... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    ....Israel is still dealing with rockets from Gaza.  The Palestinians are still being defended by their dupes on this side of the Atlantic.  Israel is still the bad guy for shooting back.  Hamas is still in power, and is still sending bombers over the border.  They're also loudly complaining about security measures that make it more difficult for them to do so than was previously the case.  The aforementioned dupes even today shriek about the disparity in casualties, and ignore the fact that before the Israelis got so much practice at avoiding incoming rockets, the disparity was much less.

                    The future?  This whole situation could be dealt with quickly and easily.  Israel has extended the means to do so.  Palestine has yet to take them up on the offer.  They show no signs of doing so in the foreseeable future either.  So what's left?  How do we convince the Palestinians to love their children more than they hate Jews?

                    •  Yes, the propaganda war wages on (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Corwin Weber

                      I hear you.  
                      Please expand a bit on what the "means to do so" is.  In other words, what exactly is the offer that Palestine has yet to take up.  If, the offer is too broad or too detailed to discuss, please provide me with a reference for me to read.  If you feel there is something viable "on the table" I seriously want to know what it is.

                      •  Recognition of Israel. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        That's been the sticking point.  Given that the occupied territories were originally taken by Israel as a result of having been invaded through them, I don't think that demanding that the invaders recognize Israel's basic right to exist in any borders before releasing the territory is all that unreasonable.  So far, only Egypt and Jordan have taken them up on it.  (And got their territory back, oddly enough.)

                        •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Corwin Weber

                          I don't think the request is unreasonable either.  There is much written about the subtle differences among the phrases:  "Recognize Israel", "Recognize Israel's existence, and "Recognize Israel's right to exist".  The latter implies a judgement as to the propriety of a group of people establishing a nation in an area that previously had no clear national sovereignty.  I personally don't think we can force that statement.  Maybe something a little less emotionally charged like, "Recognize Israel's existence".  This is probably closer to the truth, since many Palestinians will probably never accept the "rightness" of Israel's presence, but they will accept the reality of Israel's existence.  Let's find the phrase that works for both parties, and move on.

                          The "Huh" part in the title refers to your not answering my question: What exactly is the offer that Palestine has yet to take up?

                          •  Recognition..... (0+ / 0-)

                   a legal term.  It's a matter of international law.  It's a question of having normalized diplomatic relationships and formally recognizing the sovereignty of a nation.  Currently if I remember right, only Egypt and Jordan have done so with regards to Israel.  Hamas hasn't.  Neither has Hizbollah.  

          •  Fascists and racists? (8+ / 0-)

            You are very misguided.

            Israel is a multicultural country with more individual freedom than any other country in the entire Middle East.

            In Jordan, Jews are not allowed to own land.  In Israel, plenty of Muslims and Arabs live prosperous and peaceful lives with their Jewish neighbors.

            There is a degree of defacto descrimination, but nothing like you see in Saudi Arabia or Iran.

            You are quite simply mistaken and to call Israel "fascist" does nothing but promote hatred and, thus, violence.

            I recommend against.

            "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

            by Karmafish on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:26:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes yes (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lefty Coaster, weltshmertz

              I forget. Israel is a paradise for Arabs. Equality, fraternity, and liberty for all in the "Jewish" state, where the law of return applies to all. Oh wait, that's right, it only applies to Jews.

              But what were you saying about discrimination again?
              Yes, Arabs in and out of Israel are beloved. And i'm the flying spaghetti monster.

              You folks are seriously delusional.

              •  I'd rather be an arab female in Israel than (4+ / 0-)

                one in Saudi Arabia.....

                A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

                by Crookshanks on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:54:58 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm not defending Saudi Arabia (4+ / 0-)

                  nor will I defend Israel. They both suck. Why don't you ask an Arab female in Israel how she feels about it?

                  •  at least in israel I can talk to her without (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Corwin Weber, ForceForGood

                    needing the permission of a male relative first.

                    A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

                    by Crookshanks on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:57:44 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  diversions (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      weltshmertz, ForceForGood

                      are the only way apologists for Israel can defend Israeli racism. "Well, it's worse over THERE...therefore when we do it, it doesn't matter as much!"

                      Gee, that's some solid moral ground you're on.

                      •  I'm not claiming to hold any moral ground, (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Corwin Weber, ForceForGood

                        I'm only interested in seeing Israel survive as a free and independent state.  Given that she's surrounded by nations which remain at war with her and whom have many times her population I can't really blame her for having a siege mentality.

                        And I stand by my "diversion" -- whine all you want about "racism" -- but the typical Arab has far more rights living in Israel than in most of the other countries in that region.

                        A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

                        by Crookshanks on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:03:35 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  bullshit (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          weltshmertz, ForceForGood

                          live in your delusional world, but know that it is just that. "whining about racism"...I love that, because speaking out against treating others like second class citizens is "whining". And clearly you have no capacity to hold moral ground, nor does the ISraeli state. I'm glad you admit at least that morality doesn't matter to you.

                          And you certainly should worry about Israel. Israelis routinely talk about the "demographic time bomb" of its Arab citizens. Unless it ethnically cleanses the rest of the Arabs within its borders, the Arab minority will become a majority this century, and every Israeli knows that. So good luck with figuring out how to get rid of the minority you claim is treated so well.

                          •  I'm dismissing it as whining and hyperbole (4+ / 0-)

                            because I've seen real racism up close and personal.  What's going on in Israel is anything but.  It's an extremely unfortunate situation brought about by the unwillingness of her Arab neighbors to so much as acknowledge her right to exist.

                            Where did I say that Israel should "get rid of" her Arab minority?  All I pointed out was that her Arab citizens have a much better life in Israel than they would in most of the neighboring countries.

                            A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

                            by Crookshanks on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:14:39 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  yes (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            because you've surveyed them to know that.

                            your speculation has no validity.

                          •  *yawn*, then neither does yours (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Corwin Weber, ForceForGood

                            your speculation has no validity.

                            BTW, interesting that you accuse me of a "diversion" while throwing out loaded words like "ethic cleansing", "fascist" and "racism".

                            I love the hypocrisy too.  Israeli civilians are apparently legitimate targets in your mind.  I'm guessing you don't hold the same view of Palestinian civilians.

                            A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

                            by Crookshanks on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:39:14 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  settlers who seize land illegally (3+ / 0-)

                            in occupied territories are legitimate. They are usually armed. Have you been to Hebron? Check out the settlers there and report back please.

                            I'm against violence against everyone. Israelis living in pre-167 borders should not be targeted. But settlers colonizing land illegally on the West Bank? They have no right to be there, and I imagine they understand what the consequences of their actions are.

                          •  I don't even have to contradict you.... (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Corwin Weber, BFSkinner, ForceForGood

                            .... you do a remarkable job of doing it for me.

                            I'm against violence against everyone

                            Until then, illegal settlers are legitimate targets.

                            A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

                            by Crookshanks on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:47:27 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  lol (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            weltshmertz, ForceForGood

                            you're an idiot. really.

                            Settlers are acting illegally. I do not wish violence on anyone. But if you act illegally under international law, you reap the consequences.

                          •  I agree (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Corwin Weber, BFSkinner, ForceForGood

                            But if you act illegally under international law, you reap the consequences

                            That's why the Palestinians are continuing to suffer.  Once they stop violating international law by launching rockets into Israel they will stop reaping the consequences.

                            you're an idiot. really.

                            Well, that's one way to "win" arguments I suppose.

                            A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

                            by Crookshanks on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:56:40 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  international law? (4+ / 0-)

                            international law stipulates resistance to occupation is justified. You're wrong on that one.

                            You don't seem to care that the occupation is illegal. That's the crux of the problem.

                            It'll always be about the occupation. Until Zionists figure that out, there will never be an end.

                          •  no, I don't particularly care that you (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Corwin Weber, BFSkinner, ForceForGood

                            think the occupation is "illegal".

                            Sovereign nations have a duty to protect their citizens.  Until the Palestinians renounce the likes of Hamas (whose stated goal is to kill Jews) then Israel is completely justified in taking measures to further her own self-defense.

                            It'll always be about the occupation. Until Zionists figure that out, there will never be an end.

                            From where I stand it will always be about the violence.  Until the Palestinians figure that out, there will never be an end.  Try borrowing Ghandi's playbook for awhile -- you'll likely find it to be more successful in obtaining a Palestinian state than blowing up pizzerias.

                            A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

                            by Crookshanks on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 01:08:48 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You know, this is kind of an odd thing to suggest (4+ / 0-)

                            Try borrowing Ghandi's playbook for awhile -- you'll likely find it to be more successful in obtaining a Palestinian state than blowing up pizzerias.

                            That is basically saying, let us shoot at you for a while without shooting back at us and then maybe we will change our minds. That's not really a reasonable thing to ask people. It would be one thing if Israel were making some serious move in exchange like dismantling the settlements, but they are not doing that, they have been expanding them.

                            In any case, Ghandi's nonviolent movement worked because the threat of effective violence was there, in the background, if his movement failed. There had been "mutinies" of Indian troops against the British government before, there could be again. For the same reason, Americans practically canonized Martin Luther King Jr after (but only after) groups like the Black Panthers raised the specter of a violent mass movement. Before that, he was quite a controversial figure.

            •  Calling the Israeli government fascist (9+ / 0-)

              and racist is just calling a spade a spade. Unless of course locking people up without charge just because they look muslim isn't fascist or racist.

              I am an Arab that lived in Israel, and my life was not prosperous, nor peaceful, nor were the Jews in any way my "neighbors". They treat us like second class citizens in every way. I had to go to school every morning with an Israeli police officer pointing a shotgun at me, as I and all the other arabs waited at a traffic light for 15 minutes while all the cars from the jewish neighborhood went through.

              And I was one of the lucky ones. Some of my friends needed 4 hours to get to school(living 10 miles away).

              This is all just the tip of the iceberg though. There was other good stuff going on too, such as cutting off our water and electricity.

              Of course, you wouldn't know, or care, about any of that.

              I just don't appreciate you supporting Israels policies in my name, or the names of the hundreds of thousand of other arabs who are being oppressed in Israel every day.

              •  drizek, I am sorry. (8+ / 0-)

                I truly am.

                I had to go to school every morning with an Israeli police officer pointing a shotgun at me, as I and all the other arabs waited at a traffic light for 15 minutes while all the cars from the jewish neighborhood went through.

                I do not doubt you.

                I am an American Jew, so I cannot know the situation on the ground for Israeli Arabs.  What I do know, however, is that the violence and the hatred has been ongoing since, at least, '29 and that the suicide bombings and the wars have turned Israel into... well... what you have experienced.

                I don't know your politics, but in my opinion Israel must get out of the WB and do what is necessary to see a free and independent state of Palestine.

                I wish you well.

                "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

                by Karmafish on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:02:16 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  btw, I also want to say (6+ / 0-)

                that your voice is needed.

                We very much need Arab Israeli voices in this conversation.  It's terrifically important.

                But, it is my sincere hope that your voices will be voices of peace, rather than anger... rather than hatred.

                Voices that help us gain clarity.

                Liberal Jews, who care about Israel/Palestine, need your help.

                Help us bring peace by adding a peaceful voice.

                "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

                by Karmafish on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:14:07 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Will anyone listen? (7+ / 0-)

                  look at this thread. Look at the justifications being made for the occupation and the racism against Palestinians and Arabs.

                  When I point it out, I'm told I'm wrong. You defenders of Israel have such a huge blind spot, it is deeply offensive. You undervalue Arab experiences; you expect everyone else to condemn terrorism, yet justify terrorism practiced by the state. You pretend that there is an equal power balance between Israel and the Palestinians it rules over, and there is no such thing.

                  If only this site were truly progressive.

                  •  there are blind spots on both sides.... (5+ / 0-)

                    ... the difference is that nobody on this side is claiming to have a superior morality.

                    I try my best to view the situation from the Arab perspective.  I'm not without sympathy for their plight -- I just think there are better ways for them to address the injustice than blowing up pizzerias and launching rockets at civilians.

                    A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

                    by Crookshanks on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:48:03 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  yes (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      by defending the occupation and justifying war crimes.

                      •  says the person who defends attacks against (4+ / 0-)

                        Israeli civilians.....

                        A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

                        by Crookshanks on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:57:38 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  armed settlers (3+ / 0-)

                          are hardly civilians.

                          •  now who is rationalizing violence? - n/t (5+ / 0-)

                            A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

                            by Crookshanks on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 01:09:35 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Hamas isn't a recognized military. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Hence, they're also civilians.  They are, however, heavily armed and by your logic are just as valid targets.

                          •  Hamas (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Terra Mystica, ForceForGood

                            is the elected government in Gaza, so to its people, it is the military. Just because your precious Israel doesn't recognize it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.


                          •  Careful not to let comments like that push (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            sortalikenathan, ForceForGood

                            your buttons.  A lot of this is intentional.  It's hard to tell the difference sometimes.  Just sayin'.

                            "You may already be a wiener!" Anonymous

                            by Terra Mystica on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 06:07:33 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Then.... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            ...they're perfectly valid targets to shoot back at, now aren't they?

                          •  I never said Hamas was not (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            a valid target.

                            Civilians in Gaza are NOT legitimate targets. Israel seems to consider the entire population of Gaza to be legitimate targets.

                          •  If they're armed, they are.... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                   your own standard.

                            Bit hoist on your own petard, here, ain'tcha?

                          •  You're quite dense (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Terra Mystica

                            Palestinians in Gaza are not occupying Israeli land, now are they?

                            Settlers are ILLEGAL occupants, and they are ARMED. They are not the same as civilians in Gaza.

                            Now, if you have a problem with the people of Gaza exercising their democratic rights, that's YOUR issue. I do not support Hamas attacks into pre-1967 Israel. And neither do I support Israeli collective punishment of civilians. I'd like to think we can agree on that.

                            But the you want to keep on defending them? It'll just continue to reveal what a wingnut you are.

                          •  Except for one little problem..... (0+ / 0-)

                            ....Gaza hasn't been occupied for several years now.


                          •  Isn't Gaza (0+ / 0-)

                            part of Palestine (which includes the West Bank?)

                            Palestinian land is still occupied. Sorry to inform you. People in Gaza are Palestinian. 1+1=2.

                          •  Israel.... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...pulled out of Gaza almost four years ago.  (And got an increase in bombings and rocket attacks for their trouble.)

                          •  I notice (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Lefty Coaster

                            you didn't respond to my point. Israel still occupies the West Bank, and while it removed its settlers, it did not "pull out" of controlling the airspace and water off the coast. Israel never considered its pullout an end to its engagement in Gaza, nor did it recognize a Palestinian state.

                            Palestinians live in Gaza AND the West Bank. In other words, Palestinians in Gaza consider the West Bank their homeland as well. Similarly, a Palestinian in a refugee camp in Lebanon feels the same way. For all of them, the struggle for independence continues.

                            I know the cottage cheese method of dividing Palestine (we gave back Gaza! We should get bonus points! Forget about what we're doing on the West Bank and East Jerusalem...) might appeal to a colonial mentality. But in the real world, true independence actually matters.

                            Try to think a little harder, you're embarrassing yourself.

                          •  And if the Palestinians..... (0+ / 0-)

                            ....would acknowledge Israel's basic right to exist in any borders, there wouldn't be any occupied territories.

                            They have yet to bring themselves to do this.

                          •  Palestinians (0+ / 0-)

                            aren't occupying Israel. The onus is on Israel.

                            The only people whose "right to exist" is threatened with extinction is Palestinians.

                            Israel has nukes, have you heard?

                          •  Israel.... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...isn't occupying Gaza anymore either.  What exactly did that get them again?

                            Oh, yeah.  More rockets.

                            The onus is on the aggressor here.  That wouldn't be Israel.

                          •  of course it is (0+ / 1-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Hidden by:

                            as long as it occupies Palestinian land and evicts Palestinians from their homes, it is the aggressor.

                            You have basic comprehension deficiencies. Palestine is not just Gaza, it includes the West Bank. Gazans and West Bankers are ONE PEOPLE. Get it?

                            I'm sick of your idiocy. Israel is a nuclear power occupying another people who have a right to resist occupation.

                            That's all there is to it. You should direct your energy to putting pressure on Israel to stop its egregious human rights violations before critiquing an occupied people's right to resist.

                            Right wing zionists like you are so repulsive.
                            I'm done with your stupidity.

                          •  OK Sortalike,Corwin, and Crooks (3+ / 0-)

                            This recent thread spur is a perfect example of why we need to acknowledge our different "observations" of the same event and use that knowledge to find a mutually acceptable path for negotiation.

                            Our different observations, are not mortar shells to be lobbed at each other - good metaphor, eh?
                            It is nearly futile for us to look back and agree on who is the defender, oppressor, terrorist, freedom fighter, occupier or victim.

                            Sure it feels good to get it out, but at the proverbial end of the day, we're like Siamese twins after a knock-down drag-out fight.  We're still in this together.

                            I'm going produce another diary (with a poll) that will hopefully advance the cause of keeping this dialogue "solutions based".  

                            Will it make any difference to spend time working on a pathway to peace in the Mideast in this particular arena?

                            How could a bunch of do-gooders, yapping on a website, have any effect in this area, especially considering the trail of failures, consuming hundreds of thousands of hours spent by thousands of diplomats, politicians and technocrats over the past 60 years?

                            At this very moment, millions of non-specialists across the world are networking their help in various volunteer capacities to solve critical issues in health, physics, astronomy, etc.
                            Why can't we do the same in the world of international relations?

                            More to come.......

                          •  Corwin (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            is hardly a do-gooder. (See bigoted comments of his above). Just took me awhile, he is clearly a bigot.

                          •  We Welcome All Bigots! (0+ / 0-)

                            Hey, I wouldn't call anyone a bigot, since it rarely changes anything.  If the person truly is not a bigot, then shame on me for the mis-label.  If the person is, I doubt my name-calling is going to change his/her mind.
                            But, bigots on both sides are crucial to this discussion!  The acid test of a negotiated compromise is that it fails to please all bigots, but, provides a mechanism for achieving a common goal without forcing all parties to think alike.  Thankfully there are different opinions here.

                    •  Where is the claim to superior morality? (6+ / 0-)

                      "Nobody on this side is claiming to have a superior morality." Sounds like a Palin-esque elitist argument, to defend Palestine is now to claim moral superiority?

                      You cannot place the entire burden of pursuing peace in a volatile region on a people with no economic, security or military capability. That is not claiming moral superiority, it is simple common sense.

                      Do you think its realistic to ask the moderate Palestinians to control violent extremists in their region given their current infrastructure? I'd like to see ONE rational defence of Israel that doesn't begin with something like 'well the arabs should stop killing children in pizzerias'.

                •  What does that mean? (8+ / 0-)

                  If by voice of peace you mean "a brown guy to use as a mouthpiece for our propaganda", then thanks, but no thanks.

                  Reading through your posts, you seem to just be spreading pro-israel propaganda and not at all looking for any sort of peace.

                  Heres some clarity:

                  First of all, I am not an Arab Israeli. I am an American. The Israelis do not consider me a full citizen. I had an ID, and it said "arab" on the upper left hand corner, just in case whoever was racially profiling me at the time had any doubts.

                  Second, I have never met an Arab that supported the Israeli governments policies towards the palestinians, nor any palestinian woman who wouldn't move to Saudi Arabia in a heartbeat if she could afford to, or was allowed to(Fun fact: other arabs treat Palestinians as second class people too).

                  Third, simply opposing Likud doesn't cut it.

            •  Israel (4+ / 0-)

              is an apartheid state. Its policies against both its Arab minority (which it restricts from buying land in certain areas) and the Palestinians it occupies are fascist. It routinely imprisons and tortures Palestinians without bringing charges. Palestinians have no legal recourse when their lands are seized, and when they are evicted from their homes illegally.

              You can pretend all this doesn't exist because it will ruin the false image you have in your head of your beloved Israel. But like it or not, it is an occupying power, and with that comes all the morally corrosive consequences (including attempts to justify its unjustifiable behavior--"we are threatened with extinction! that is why we must torture!"--never mentioning they have nuclear weapons and are the most powerful military in the region).

              But keep believing your fairy tales. Do me a favor. Visit the west bank and let me know what you see.

              •  Million dollar questions, all. A lot of armchair (3+ / 0-)

                imperialism in this thread.

                "You may already be a wiener!" Anonymous

                by Terra Mystica on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:23:31 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  This is precisely the kind of nonsense (6+ / 0-)

                that must constantly be debunked.

                You are wrong.

                Israel is most certainly not an "apartheid" state.  Nor is it Jim Crow and it is most certainly not Nazi Germany.

                Gawd, you silly anti-Zionists need to quit with the ridiculous rhetoric and polemics because it helps no one.

                Let's talk about South African apartheid and compare it to Israel.

                In apartheid South Africa, black people could not vote, yet in Israel there are Arab members of the Knesset.

                In apartheid South Africa, black people could not share hotels or restaurants or hospitals or universities with white people.  Yet in Israel Arabs share all such facilities with Jews.

                So, really, what I am saying is that you are flat-out wrong and you should stop spreading around the hatred.

                Unless, of course, you like spreading hatred.

                (It leads to violence, ya know.)

                "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

                by Karmafish on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:43:59 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  he wouldn't want that.... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Karmafish, Corwin Weber, ForceForGood

                  .... he's against "violence against everyone"

                  (Except those that he deems to be "legitimate targets")

                  A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

                  by Crookshanks on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:50:16 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Israel is an apartheid state (7+ / 0-)

                  I've been there, seen it, and was treated like shit as an Arab.

                  Speak to Arab Israelis. Let them tell you for themselves. Ask Nelson Mandela. Ask Desmond Tutu. Ask Amira Haas. Read Palestinian literature. Understand the Palestinan experience of checkpoints, imprisonment, and torture. Understand the evictions in East Jerusalem, the restrictions on building that are targeted against one group of people. Understand the Law of Return. Understand the prison system of Israel. Understand the sub-standard health care services and education services offered to Arabs. The Knesset? Arabs are highly under-represented, and their token representatives are accused of treason for trying to speak freely. They are told to shut up and clean bathrooms.

                  I'm sorry, either you've never been to Israel or you are just willfully ignorant.

                  •  two can play this game.... (4+ / 0-)

                    Understand the Israeli experience of being invaded three times.  Understand the Israeli experience of living in daily fear of suicide and rocket attacks.  Understand the fear of being surrounded by nations that deny your right to exist and whom outnumber you heavily.  Understand the Jewish experience of the Holocaust and a history of racism directed towards Jews that goes all the way back to the time of ancient Rome.

                    We could do this tit for tat all night but I don't think it's likely to be productive or helpful.

                    A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

                    by Crookshanks on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 01:03:00 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Your experience, observations and judgments (4+ / 0-)

                    have great validity and merit full consideration.  I do agree that there is inadquate attention given to the serious social, economic and political deprivations that you and others have described about Arabs living in Israel.

                    I do have real concern, however, when you make such broad declarative condemnations without any hint of balance -- suggesting that there are no elements whatsoever within Israel that are committed to principles of greater justice and tolerance ... and not simply about Palestinians or Arabs, but also those who practice more liberal Jewish traditions who chaff seriously under the political influence of the more orthodox right.  Haaretz, at least to my less studied view, seems to provide a good example of this type of alternative voice within Israeli society.  


                    Rome is burning ... put down the fiddle.

                    by ancblu on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 01:32:09 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I have great respect (7+ / 0-)

                      for Israelis who oppose the occupation and work within their society for justice and for greater equality (Gush Shalom, for example). They exist and they are to be commended and supported. They oppose the actions of their state at great risk to themselves. And I'm also very aware that within Israel itself, there is far more openness about this debate than here.

                      Ha'aretz is just a newspaper, and is not particularly liberal. It airs opinions from all perspectives.

                      And what do you mean by balance? That we are to make accommodations for people who support the occupation? the settlements? discrimination against minorities?

                      Nobody ever said that all Israelis are racist. My criticism is directed at the policies of the state, which are undeniably discriminatory.

                      As for the debate here, I imagine that progressive Jews (of the Tikkun magazine variety, or Jews Against the Occupation) would be outraged by the opinions of people here justifying the occupation and claiming that Arabs within Israel are not discriminated against.

                •  there you go again (5+ / 0-)

                  you completely ignore everything that is said and you go back to repeating your boilerplate.

                  Most Arabs living in Israel do not have citizenship, and cannot vote.

                  Yes, Israeli social institutions aren't the problem. The only time an arab doesn't feel like a second class citizen in Israel is when they get cancer.

                  No, I don't like the use of the word apartheid. It isn't that Israel is better than apartheid South Africa, it is that the issue in Israel is different.

                  Having a conversation is not spreading hatred.

              •  more reckless hyperbole (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Corwin Weber, ForceForGood

                Israel is an apartheid state

                As long as you take, as a precondition, the idea that words are meaningless.

                harps and angels! harps and angels!

                by zemblan on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 08:27:10 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  "fascists and racists" (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Corwin Weber, ForceForGood

            See, this, at root, is the problem. I think you honestly believe we're supporting "fascists and racists." You'd hit the roof if we called you an antisemite, but we're supposed to just let an accusation like this bounce off.

            harps and angels! harps and angels!

            by zemblan on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 08:23:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, yes. They kicked the Jews out of (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Karmafish, BFSkinner, ForceForGood

        "you ought to be ashamed of yourself, person who loves to tell your 'hat story' with OPOL. Grow up."

        by DemocraticLuntz on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:10:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  WHAT? (5+ / 0-)

      Perhaps you mean that the government of Israel has been able to detach itself from the continual illegal encroachment of settlements - but the encroachment continues.

    •  are you friggin serious? (5+ / 0-)

      what is this, a right wing site?

      •  Nothing like the double think (9+ / 0-)

        of the pro-Israel "progressives". They will spend hours talking about how horrible George Bush is for what is going on in Iraq, and then go and defend Israel when they do things that are even worse. Throwing people in jail without charge? Terrible OR necessary for security. Torture? A war crime OR every country has a right to self defense.

        I bet if you look through their post histories, you will find posts defending Israels right to drop clusterbombs on children, and then some ranting about how evil the republicans are for not passing SCHIP.

        •  absolutely (7+ / 0-)

          it astounds me, seriously. Mention the word "occupation" and they have a fit. Talk about illegal settlements and they talk about how egalitarian Israel is. It's like an alternate universe. Anyone who criticizes them is either an anti-semite or an apologist for terrorism. Not surprising though...they are the AIPAC Democrats. I'd rather associate with the Jews Against the Occupation Democrats. But that's just me.

          •  the settlements are a major issue and I haven't (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            seen anybody (in this particular discussion) defend them.

            The occupation is unfortunate, but how do you see it ending as long as the Palestinians continue to launch rockets into Israel and allow suicide bombers to operate from their territory?

            Do you think that the United States should be shy about occupying Mexico if extremists were using it as a launchpad for attacks against us and the Mexican Government was unwilling or unable to stop them?

            A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

            by Crookshanks on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:19:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The occupation (6+ / 0-)

              is more than "unfortunate". It is illegal. By defending the occupation, you are defending the settlements. They go together. You act as though the occupation only exists to defend pre-1967 Israel. The settlements were intended to create facts on the ground that would allow Israel to expand its size. They were strategically placed to make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible. Palestinians have never been an existential threat to Israel. But Israel has virtually eliminated the chance of a Palestinian state every coming into being. Now tell me again, whose existence is threatened?

              •  you can call it illegal all you want but the fact (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                livosh1, zemblan, BFSkinner, ForceForGood

                remains that the occupation isn't going to end until the violence does.

                And once again, you are putting words into my mouth.  Where did I say that Israel's existence was threatened?  Her security is threatened by rocket attacks and suicide bombers but her existence would seem to be quite secure at this moment in time.

                A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

                by Crookshanks on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:54:23 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  This will never happen. (9+ / 0-)

    With non-compliance, the consequence would be a termination of all military contracts and foreign aid.

    And this is why I throw up my hands when I/P diaries get put up for discussion.

    Who, specifically, is going to offer this as the stick in a carrot and stick policy who is currently in a leadership position in any branch of the Democratic majority?

    Forget for a minute the debate over 'is this a good idea or not'? Just as a possibility as a pure political gambit. Who would push this?

    I don't know what Democratic Party that you see, but the one that I see in the majority of both Houses of Congress and the White House isn't going to get behind enacting any binding policy that cuts Israel off cold as a consequence of non-compliance with any diplomatic initiative. Sure, such a hardline would get the attention of both sides of the divide, and so its novel to float it in a hypothetical discussion like this one, but its also a complete and utter fantasy.

    It's a complete political non-starter.

    Who is going to get behind that? Argue strongly for it?  

    Harry Reid? Nancy Pelosi? President Obama?

    I don't think so.

    When these sorts of plans are floated as a possible policy, you have to take into account the actual players and their beliefs who would be called on to enact them. I can no more see President Obama proposing such a policy than I can see him appointing Ron Paul in charge of pruning the Federal budget.

    There is nothing in his history that says he believes this kind of approach is the way to go. In fact, I see the exact opposite. I see a President who is going to continue the traditional relationship between Israel and the US for the duration of his, hopefully, two terms in office.

    Rahm Emmanuel being appointed to be Barack Obama's chief of staff is not exactly a sign that a President Obama is interested in such a move. Quite the opposite. It's a sign that a traditional relationship with the Israeli government is going to go forward. If there is anyone in DC who would see this as an existential threat to Israel, it would be Emmanuel. So, why appoint him to such a public position if your intention was to enrage him? The angry resignation and the scathing exit from the administration in the most public way possible would be the stuff of legend in DC.  

    The answer is, you wouldn't.

    But you would give him such a high profile position if you (besides seeing him as qualified for the job) both held similar beliefs on the subject of our relationship with Israel, and you wanted to reassure traditionally strong pro-Israel voters in the US, that you were going to continue the traditional relationship.  

    There is a reason that no American President has ever pushed such an obvious and simple threat for non-compliance, its not politically viable because nobody in actual power who could propose such a policy views it as such.

    Where the Israeli Right is in a pickle is this:

    The Obama Administration is not run by the American Enterprise Institute or the Heritage Foundation, its run by grown-ups. Bill Kristol is not going to get into anybodies head at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave anymore. Career diplomats and serious policy wonks only need apply.

    If Benjamin Netanyahu comes into power, and he begins pushing an extremist policy, he will be treated like Obama's other political opponents. Obama will say all the right things, keep his cool, not do anything rash, and allow him to destroy himself politically.

    While Israel has a lot of allies, the hard Right of the Israeli political spectrum does not. Joe Lieberman is the closest thing, and he isn't calling the shots on Americans foreign policy.

    That guy lost an election and is back in the Senate.

    You know its going badly for wingnuts when they denounce the Politico as liberally biased.

    by LeftHandedMan on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 10:30:29 PM PST

    •  Amen Bro... (4+ / 0-)

      I'm looking for action that could possibly be construed as beneficial to Israeli interests.  If the Israeli lobby could get their heads around this, then the political motion falls into line.
      Yes, it's the old land for peace argument, but, eventually it's the one that will pervail.  One more generation of this nonsense and the children's children are going to be asking, "What the hell are we doing".

    •  You're right, but... (2+ / 0-)

      the "two-state solution" isn't going anywhere, either.  We're up to at least three distinct, sovereign entities--Israel, Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and some sort of reconcilable Hamas in Gaza--and the notion is receding fast (behind Sharon's Wall).

      It's time to rethink the strategy in the Mediterranean Middle East, and the place to start is actually the Syria-Lebanon-Israel nexus.

      It's the microeconomy, stupid!

      by chinshihtang on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:14:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  False premise (7+ / 0-)

    Israel is not the focus of Mideast affairs right now.  Iran is.  Our invasion of Iraq is what destabilized the region and it had next to nothing to do with Israel or anyone else.

    The moderate Arab countries and Turkey and the Saudis are scared shitless of Iran with no strong Iraqi buffer or an Iranian nuke, it's why they wouldn't let us use their territory to invade.  They know Israel isn't going anywhere and from everything I've heard are working with the Israelis to contain them. Bluntly, the Arabs want the Israelis working with us to destroy the Iranian nuke program.

    On the subject of settlements, it's easy to think of them as the small enclaves of houses on the West Bank, which from what I've seen and heard 90% of Israelis would be fine exchanging for peace.  The problem is there are several places, especially east of Jerusalem that are built up city(like Chicago) that just don't make sense to carve off and abandon, both from sheer numbers of displacement and topographically how they connect.

    In any case I think it's up to the Israelis and Palestinians to decide between them where there border is, not someone at the U.N. in 48 or an American politician.  You say we should disengage but have a stated strong position on a major issue in negotiations?

    Personally I think we should continue our assistance to Israel, work with the Palestinians to create an economy that doesn't rely on them being someone else's labor or tourism, help create a viable Palestinian government even country(specifically defined borders has never been a requisite of nationhood), and work to bring desalinization technology to both sides to end the water crisis.  If they can come to agreement we should be there with the checkbook, just like we were for Egypt.

    •  But Palestinians can't have a working economy (7+ / 0-)

      with the settlements still there, carving up the territory and restricting mobility, not to mention the checkpoints and other effects of occupation, and the blockade in Gaza. And short of a strong leftward shift in Israel, Palestine will not be free of this brutal, stifling occupation unless Israel is pressured by threats to at least reduce economic and military aid.

      •  because if there's anything the last 50 years (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        have taught us it's that threats and bullying are effective on Israel......

        unless Israel is pressured by threats to at least reduce economic and military aid

        A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

        by Crookshanks on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:15:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So it's bullying not to give Israel as much aid? (4+ / 0-)

          How does that work? Israel is entitled to a certain amount of my tax dollars, or what?

          •  israeli is "entitled" to as many of "your" tax (4+ / 0-)

            dollars as your representatives in Congress deem fit to give her.

            If you don't like it you can try and vote them out of office -- good luck with that endeavor.

            A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

            by Crookshanks on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:26:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, I guess that's what this site is for, (6+ / 0-)

              electing better Democrats who will at least make foreign aid to Israel contingent on their seriously pursuing a resolution to the conflict.

              •  strip israel of every single dime of foreign aid (0+ / 0-)

                and you still won't force a peace deal.  In the final analysis, Israel has nuclear weapons and doesn't need a dime of our money to maintain them.  You might want to reconsider the wisdom of dictating terms to a nuclear armed state or putting her back against the wall.

                And as far as electing "better" Democrats -- like I said, good luck with that.  Most of the American populace supports our relationship with Israel.  Until the Palestinians wise up and stop murdering civilians I don't think this is likely to change.

                A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

                by Crookshanks on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:39:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It has been done in the past. (5+ / 0-)

                  Ike put tremendous pressure on Israel to withdraw from Gaza and Sinai and they did in 1957.

                  Nixon reduced military and civilian aid in order to influence negotiations.

                  Bush the elder emargoed delivery of F-16. and reduced aid and refused loan gaurntees to influence Israeli behaviour.

                  NB they usually have R after their name.
                  It all happened before the Christian right became so prominent and they decided that the end times were coming.

                  Realistically will depend on what happens in Israeli election.
                  BiBi comes to power, re occupies Gaza and attacks Iran I can see Barak reacting, short of that he is going to take the traditional Democratic position of gentle persuasion but nothing else.

              •  No, what this site is for is (6+ / 0-)

                first of all, electing Democrats, and secondly electing better Democrats, but this site has never taken the position that a better Democrat will have a particular stand on matters affecting Israel. The Front Page has expressly stated that it will not take a position on I/P.

                The reasons are obvious: A consistent and substantial majority of Democrats and of all Americans support Israel against any threats to Israel's safety. While many of us (whether our primary sympathies are with the Palestinians or the Israelis) oppose Israeli settlements and Israeli policies affecting the West Bank and Gaza, it is clear that just about every I/P discussion at dKos drives the participants further apart rather than helping them find common ground. This is perhaps the major wedge issue afflicting this site; it is not what we are here to do.

                Democrats: Members of the Democratic Party working to advance democracy; Republicons: Members of the Republicanist Party working to advance Republicanism

                by word is bond on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:54:59 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  If many of us oppose settlements and WB policies, (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  snakelass, heathlander, ForceForGood

                  then what is the argument? Nobody is arguing that we should not defend Israel against real threats, that is a straw man.

                  Either we oppose these things and would support measures that would end them, such as making US aid, or a certain amount of US aid, conditional on Israeli policy being in line with its promises and the "road map" or whathaveyou, or we don't oppose them and this is empty rhetoric. I see a lot more complaints of "oh noes it will divide the community!" than actually substantive disagreement.

                  •  To be clear (0+ / 0-)

                    My comment was directed to your statement defining "better Democrats" in terms of a particular policy on foreign aid to Israel. I believe the Kos community's view of a "better Democrat" has to do with transparency, responsiveness to public opinion rather Washington insiders, and a progressive but pragmatic approach on issues where we have a consensus (such as gay rights and universal healthcare, but not, for example, gun control).

                    While I believe the Kos community's prevailing sentiment is opposed to the settlement movement and many aspects of the occupation of the West Bank, I don't think there is any consensus that the proper approach is simply to pressure Israel, as by cutting back on foreign aid.

                    A coherent and effective approach to resolving the conflict will require the participation and affirmative commitment of all parties concerned - Israel, its neighbors, and more than one faction of the Palestinian community. The United States (and others) will need to offer incentives in addition to applying pressure. For example, a successful outcome will require financial and technical support from the United States (and others) for the economic development of the Palestinian state.

                    So the argument, I think, is not on what the eventual outcome should be, but how it can be achieved. A "better Democrat", as understood by this community, is not one who believes it can be achieved, or initiated, by measures directed against only one party to the conflict without also addressing the legitimate objectives and concerns of that party and the other parties involved.

                    Sorry to be so tardy in my response. Real life intervened.

                    Democrats: Members of the Democratic Party working to advance democracy; Republicons: Members of the Republicanist Party working to advance Republicanism

                    by word is bond on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 09:29:24 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Hold on there, buddy or lady. (3+ / 0-)

            Egypt gets almost as much US cash as does Israel... let's just remember that.

            "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

            by Karmafish on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:48:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  It's not going to happen, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          snakelass, Eiron, ForceForGood

          because the U.S, defense industry would go broke it there was peace in the middle east.  We send hundreds of millions of dollars worth of armaments to Israel.  There is no way that Defense contractors are going to allow peace in that region.  We send all this shit to Israel. Israelis often don't even unpack the crates, they just send them off to whomever buys them. Its cash carry.  Their biggest clients are countries like China. It is a lucrative enterprise. The contractors get paid, the Israelis get it for free, the buyers get it for cheap.  The only one that really pays top dollar is the U.S. taxpayer.  Yes, it us who have to pay for it and in addition of having to pay for all this we have had hear all the bullshit from American Jews about how their giant bulldozers are getting persecuted by patriotic Palestinian children throwing stones and launching home made rockets.  Give me a fucking break, time for a change.

    •  umm, what makes you think the Turks are (2+ / 0-)

      "scared shitless" by Iran?

      A PBS mind in a Fox News World | -1.75/-4.00

      by Crookshanks on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:14:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If anybody can do it, it's Barack. He's fearless (3+ / 1-)
    and he owes nobody any favor. He has the spine of steel as Biden said. Most people, Hillary Clinton for one, are thinking inside the box established by conventional wisdom and the idiotic punditry. It comes down to dumb talking points, e.g. Irael has the right to defend itself or terrorists hate us because of our freedom or talking with the enemy shows weakness etc... It's totally stupid and dangerous because it strengthens the box. Barack must think outside the box as he always does whether it's small government vs big government and stupid arguments of the type. The first premise is Israel cannot have peace and security while spawning extreme conditions for the Palestinians. They cannot police people that are not their own citizens. They must help create a legitimate and independent Palestinian government and then help them with their own law enforcement, including creating a competent military. Israel must give up the idea of expansion and land grabbing based on some ancient myth. It's counterproductive and illegal. Stop the endless occupation NOW. They have the power to do this. It must start with the Progressives inside of Israel. Keep in mind that American Jews and Zionists will try to sabotage this. Keep in mind also that these very people are the ones working against peace and security for Israel since they have no problem with the daily desperate struggle of the Palestinians and the conditions that undoubtedly help spawn extremism and terrorism. People of Israel, it is your time. Accept the challenge. Work with President Obama. This is our time. Love & Peace.
  •  Ya know, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dufffbeer, zemblan, ForceForGood

    I love I/P diaries and I have to say, they are much more civil than they used to be.  I remember when shergald and mattes were here spitting flames.

    What I see in the comments of this diary is fucking shangri-la compared to dKos I/P circa '06.

    I also want to say how proud I am of Israel.  I know of no other country that has prospered so much under perpetual harassment and challenge.

    A hundred years ago the Yishuv (the Jewish community in Palestine) was a tiny, struggling group of farmers; now they are the strongest and most developed country in the Middle East.  It's really quite a story and I, for one, could not be more proud.

    It is sad, of course, that the Arab governments, and the Palestinian people, refused to accept the country of Palestine in '47, however.

    What a shame.

    "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

    by Karmafish on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:54:09 PM PST

  •  Re: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karmafish, somtam, ForceForGood

    Whether justified or not, I accept the presence of Israel within its originally UN mandated borders.

    If land conquered in a purely defensive war should be returned, perhaps the U.S should cede all the territory acquired in wars of aggression?

    "Your stupidity gets in the way of any rational discussion." Barney Frank to Bill O'Reilly

    by Endangered Alaskan Dem on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:06:53 AM PST

    •  America usually does. (2+ / 0-)

      Japan, Germany, Italy, Phillipines, Cuba are all independant countries all previously conquerd by US.

      If US keeps the land i.e. California, New Mexico, Arizona the residents become US citizens with votes and all other benefits.

      That is the problem either Israel gets out of the West Bank or Israel incorporates the West Bank but if so they have to incorporate the people as full citizens.

      Israel has existed for 60 years.
      For 19 years it has had the boundaries of the armistice of 1948.
      For 41 years it has incorporated the West Bank but in a strange semi-independant part of the state.

      41 years is a long time for a temporary occupation.

      Post the Civil War "Reconstruction" lasted 12 years, how would history have been different if Federal troops had stayed in the South till 1905 with no sign of leaving, and the majority of the Southern population were not entitled to vote in federal elections into the 20th centuary.

  •  This diary proposes flawed means to good ends (10+ / 0-)

    The eventual outcomes that this diary envisions for Israelis and Palestinians are excellent.  They are, in fact, the same outcomes contained in every reasonable peace proposal.

    However, the diarist's method of achieving those outcomes is absurd, because it contains a huge gap. The diarist expects all these wonderful things to happen without any affirmative acts on the part of the Palestinians other than to move into a vacuum created by Israel.

    Sorry, it doesn't work that way. The adage that "it takes two to tango" applies not only to starting fights, but also to ending them. Israel cannot make meaningful peace happen unilaterally, because meaningful peace requires an affirmative commitment from both sides. Moreover, Israel won't try to make peace happen unilaterally; from their standpoint, that approach failed in Gaza.

    An American role in achieving a resolution to the I/P conflict will require the patient application of reason and carrots. Applying sticks to one side of the conflict (an approach reminiscent of McCain's idea of foreign policy) is doomed to fail.

    Democrats: Members of the Democratic Party working to advance democracy; Republicons: Members of the Republicanist Party working to advance Republicanism

    by word is bond on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:07:51 AM PST

    •  I understand what you are trying to say, but at (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snakelass, ForceForGood

      what point does your counsel extend inward as well.

      When you write:

      An American role in achieving a resolution to the I/P conflict will require the patient application of reason and carrots. Applying sticks to one side of the conflict (an approach reminiscent of McCain's idea of foreign policy) is doomed to fail.

      How does that square, to you, with how Israel relates to the Palestinians?  Or perhaps more specifically, why do you think think that the human nature you accurately identify, doesn't apply in the I/P relationship.

      If someone could answer these question, it might go a long way toward understanding on this issue, and here specifically.  Me, I'm completely in the dark on this "do as I say, not as I do" conflict resolution approach.

      "You may already be a wiener!" Anonymous

      by Terra Mystica on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 12:53:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A vicious cycle (0+ / 0-)

        Of course I believe that all the parties concerned would be better off, and more effective in reaching their goals, if they didn't resort so readily to the use of force.

        Despite protestations of willingness to negotiate, and occasional acts of forebearance, both Palestinians and Israelis are engaged in a vicious cycle of threats and violence. Built up over time, the result has been a mutual lack of trust that I think is the greatest obstacle to a peace that most people in both communities want.

        I don't see either side pulling back on the use of "sticks" without incentives and assurances from outside parties, notably the US. I'm hopeful that the Obama administration, unlike the outgoing White House crowd, will engage in constructive measures to that end.

        Apologies for the late response - real life intervenes sometimes.

        Democrats: Members of the Democratic Party working to advance democracy; Republicons: Members of the Republicanist Party working to advance Republicanism

        by word is bond on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 10:46:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The bizarre thing (5+ / 0-) everyone realistic pretty much knows more or less what the final agreement is going to look like- essentially the parameters Clinton offered before leaving office.  How much time is wasted before that happens is up in the air?

      Obama's strategy is likely to be pushing both sides hard on this from the get go.   And a place like this is where a good Secretary of State would help.  He'll almost surely have a Mideast Envoy devoted fully to this.  But yes, peace takes two.

    •  Not really a stick! (0+ / 0-)

      I don't think you can imply that the failure in Gaza was due to a unilateral move for peace by Israel.  The problems we are observing in the current conflict will not be solved by a single piecemeal gesture.  Unfortunately, without a complete plan, there was a suspicion by the Palestinians that the Gaza withdrawal was part of an underlying strategy to secure even more of the West Bank.  Arresting and incarcerating many of the duly elected Hamas officials didn't help matters, either.

      Positive Disengagement is not meant to be a threat or punishment.  For this reason it's not something that can be "sprung" on Israel.  In fact, I see it as a concept that needs to mature from the bottom up, and ultimately be accepted by Israeli lobby groups in the US.

      But the point of my first ever diary, was not to create an instant solution in a vacuum.  In introducing the concept, I expected (and got) countless comments that immediately veered away from the initial topic and, instead, revisited past actions to justify personal beliefs in who's "right" and who's "wrong".  The battle lines were quickly drawn, and the old arguments surfaced about who is the victim, the oppressor, the terrorist and the freedom fighter.

      That's all good - I would call it Stage One: The Cleansing Process!  Now we can move on.  I hope to, in my second diary, move further onto the negotiated pathway.  You are right-on about affirmative commitment.  This is not meant to be only Israel's responsibility.  For a successful outcome, all significant issues must be resolved, not merely tabled.  The responsibility (compensation or otherwise) for final resolution of refugees living in limbo will fall proportionally on Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.  There are significant governance issues that will obviously be addressed in connection with any agreement by Israel to redefine its borders in a way, which creates the possibility for a viable, contiguous national area in the West Bank and still provides security for Israel.

      The points you made in your comment are all helpful in this cause.

  •  while I suppose I'm pro-Israel (4+ / 0-)

    in the sense that they've created an interesting culture and consistently create interesting technology, we need to remember why we're in the Middle East and supporting anybody with military aid in that part of the world.

    IT'S THE OIL!!!

    While demand destruction combined with the collapse of market manipulation has resulted in the lowest price for oil and its derivatives (e.g. gasoline) we've seen in years, peak oil is for real, the long-term price trend for oil is up and most important, burning the stuff is likely to be terminally bad for humans in the not-so-long run.

    We need to scale up our use of green fuels for transportation, scale down the use of oil, and start closing our military bases and pulling out our troops everywhere in the Middle East as our oil usage is displaced by replacement supplies and new technologies.

    I favor trillions for transitioning for alt-renewable energy, not a cent for military programs for that part of the world.

    As we stop supporting the oil monarchies in the Middle East by buying their oil, we also stop supporting the ultimate financial source for Islamic terrorism and attacks on the Israeli nation-state.

    I look forward to dealing with Israel and any  nations in that region that replace their oil-based extractive economies with high-tech-based economies as customers and as vendors.

    But once we're out of the oil business as customers, I see no further national security interest for the US in that part of the world. They live there, we don't, let them settle their affairs in any way that amuses them.

    Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

    by alizard on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 03:27:51 AM PST

    •  A lot of things are happening in the Gulf nations (3+ / 0-)

      and, for reference, these are the same people who brought us al-Jazeera (Qatar) and a female Jewish ambassador to the US (Bahrain), with various schemes to promote green energy and link to the rest of the world. I've been hearing about various railroad schemes that would link the Persian Gulf nations to Europe, India, and East Asia. These things will keep puttering along even with the current crises, and they underscore what a tragedy it is that Israel attacked Lebanon in 2006 and destroyed infrastructure all over the country (not just in the south where Hezbollah was holed up). Better communications and the alleviation of poverty will bring peace, but the military industrial complex and the war parties in Israel and the US want to sabotage these efforts or at least stall them.

  •  Israel and the electric car (5+ / 0-)

    Israel is light years ahead of the US in government commitment and policy supporting alternative energy.

    I think selective, positive disengagement is needed.  If the US were more critical of Israeli policies and actions that we view as counterproductive and harmful to regional stability, while remaining supportive of policies and actions that are productive, our credibility and effectiveness on the geo-political stage would improve.

    It might be an alternative to full divestment and boycott, which is where this thing is heaaading.

    Carrots and sticks, just like "normal" diplomatic relations

    Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

    by Eiron on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 05:04:32 AM PST

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