Israel, Palestine, and Cosmopolitan



Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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138 Responses

  1. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    There’s no point in talking unless both people are talking in some kind of good faith.

    Talks are excellent for the Israelis – they’ve been using them as a delaying action ever since Oslo, a way of saying “Look! Progress is being made! We really do want peace!” while they continue pouring money into building settlements that serve no other purpose than annexing ever-larger chunks of Palestine and making any kind of geographically contiguous state impossible. You can’t hold peace talks while deliberately taking actions to make peace impossible.

    Stopping the settlement construction is a minimal condition for peace talks to mean anything. Without that, talks are just a deliberate delaying action, intended to produce no resolution.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to KatherineMW says:

      I’m pretty sure that the months where everybody yelled that they were done talking did a lot more damage to the cause of working things out than the months where they were talking all the time.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Jaybird says:

        If the Israelis aren’t talking, then at least they can’t fake that progress is being made, and the rest of the world is willing to pay a little more attention to the fact that progress isn’t being made.

        The UN vote – symbolic as it may be – probably wouldn’t have gone as strongly Palestine’s way if the talks had been continuing, even if the talks were achieving nothing.

        The “cause of working things out” isn’t going to be served purely by talking. It’s only going to go somewhere when the Israelis decide that they actually want a viable Palestinian state in preference to other options. Currently, the Israelis greatly prefer settlements, fragmenting Palestine as much as possible, pushing the Palestinians into a few small areas of the West Bank, and annexing the rest. Negotiations serve their ability to claim they’re not doing that – which is detrimental rather than beneficial to peace, as it reduces the already very slim chances of the Israelis being called to account.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to KatherineMW says:

          To be perfectly honest, I don’t know that Obama will be a good president to oversee anything *BUT* peace talks.

          Let’s say that Israel starts using drones against Palestinians who may or may not have been firing rockets and/or having weddings.

          What in the world can 80% of the left say to Obama? “You shouldn’t use drones against people”?Report

          • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Jaybird says:

            I’m not sure what this is a propos of. It doesn’t seem related to my comment.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to KatherineMW says:

              Oh, sorry. I didn’t complete my thought. Given the stuff that has happened in the past, even if Palestine said “you know what? We just want to get to the business of governing ourselves, water treatment, education, commerce… forget the whole ‘death to Israel’ thing. We’d rather deal with day to day reality from this point”… there wouldn’t be Peace.

              The Peace would have to make ten or twelve people who are also sitting there at the negotiation table also look good.

              It’s not about Israel anymore. It’s not about Palestine. It’s *ENTIRELY* symbolic.

              Of course, there are enough rocket attacks to make the point moot… but the only progress that will be made is the progress that we *SAY* has been made.

              And neither Israel nor Palestine is in charge of that anymore. They’re pawns in somebody else’s game.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Jaybird says:

                Palestine has gone past the “death to Israel” thing. Abbas is completely in favour of a two-state solution on the 1967 borders. They don’t have the option of just focusing on “governing themselves, commerce, water treatment…” because 1) they don’t have autonomy over their exports and imports; Israel controls their trade and 2) Israel controls their water supply and is using FAR more than their share of the water agreed on in the Oslo Accords, with the result that there’s already been a permanent reduction in the amount of groundwater available, so the central water issue in Palestine is not treatment (I drank the tap water in Ramallah and never felt ill) but the shortage of water due to Israel stealing it.

                I don’t want anybody being able to claim that progress has been made until progress is actually made. The negotiation smokescreen does nothing but harm.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to KatherineMW says:

                Well, there are the occasional rocket attacks… please understand that even though you and I know that they’re little more than nuisances, they may appear to be a different form of communication to others.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

                HOw many of those rockets are coming out of the West Bank Jay? Out of curiosity…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

                I dunno. I hear “rocket attacks on Israel” and I pretty much roll my eyes and stop reading.

                I imagine that most come from Gaza because if any significant number happened in Jerusalem you just know that a non-zero number would end up hitting the Dome on the Rock and that’d turn into a shitstorm.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        “Who you gonna believe? Me or your own lying eyes?”

        Talking – dialogue – is a form of action which can lead away from mutual agreement of the basic facts in play even tho it can also lead agreement despite the facts. What you’re advocating in this post is actually the strategy that Israel already claims to be implementing. The problem, of course, is that Palestinians are skittish about commitment, allergic to the vulnerability of compromise, and they have a problem controlling their temper.

        Perhaps a better model to describe the I/P dynamic is that of a benevolent master trying to tame a wild dog. Dialogue is certainly useful, but won’t achieve anything useful until Israel actually treats Palestinians as an equal partner. A party worth kissing rather than kicking.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to KatherineMW says:

      The Jews of the Yishuv have dealt in good faith with the Arabs of Israel/Palestine/the wider Middle East since the late 19th century and were met with rejection every time. After WWI, after the Peel Commission, after WWII and Israel’s War for Independence, and after the Six-Day War and Yom Kippur War. The Arab response has always been “No Israel, No Israel.” Some hide this message and some say it openly but its been the same.

      Even after Oslo, Arafat was offered basically everything he wanted by Barak and rejected it in favor of Intifada II, which recent documents and statements have revealed was pre-medited. The Olmert government was willing to give even more than Barak was, relinquishing control over the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem to the Palestinians and got rejected. When Sharon withdrew from Gaza, the response was war rather than something more constructive. Abbas demanded a halt to settlement construction, Netanyahu halted settlement construction and things went no where because Abbas made more demands.

      Its Arab leadership in general and Palestinian leadership in particular that argues in bad faith and that keeps trying to refight Israel’s War for Independence. When Arab leadership negotiated in good faith like Sadat or like King Hussein of Jordan, the Israeli government responded in good faith even when Israel was under dreaded Likud leadership like it was during the talks with Sadat.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to LeeEsq says:

        “The reality on the ground was that of an Arab community in a state of terror facing a ruthless Israeli army whose path to victory was paved not only by its exploits against the regular Arab armies, but also by the intimidation and at times atrocities and massacres it perpetrated against the civilian Arab community. ”

        -Shlomo Ben-Ami, Oxford trained historian, author, and former Foreign Minister under Ehud Barak.

        That’s before 1948, starting as early as early as 1929 with the pre-Israel Jews of the Yishuv. It was ethnic cleansing and it was immoral.

        Both sides in the conflict are filled with sinners acting on behalf of innocent, peaceful people: there are also illegal and oppressive settlements, torture, the careless bombing of thousands of children, etc.

        B’Tselem documents a lot of atrocities as listed here:'Tselem#Human_Rights


        The question of who is to blame for the Camp David and Taba failures is widely disputed and is very complex. See this debate between Finkelstein and the aforementioned Ben-Ami, who blames Arafat, while Finkelstein says it is more the Israeli negotiators fault, but they seem to agree that blame should be apportioned on both sides.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Shazbot5 says:

            Whenever Democracy Now! has to pick a side between a democracy and a non-democracy, it always surprises me when they take the side of the latter.Report

            • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird says:

              Yeah, it’s like taking the side of the black South Africans against democratic South Africa.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                “democratic South Africa” your ability to say this with a straight face should be able to get you a job with State.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird says:

                One could (and many do) make a case that Israel is also equally undemocratic because of the occupation of the West Bank (for decades and decades) where people are under the control of the Israeli government, but without a vote.

                But you are nitpicking and throwing up red herrings. This is all you ever seem to do on almost any issue.

                Your point about Democracy Now was wholly irrelevant to what was said in the cited debate on the show. Your attack on my use of the word “democracy” was irrelevant to my point that Democratic governments often need to be opposed and are occasionally (often) guilty of mistreating people in places without democratic government or when they dispossess people in territory thatthey control, as in South Africa and Israel. (Surely you agree, despite your absurd nitpicking and red herrings.)

                I submit that you like to change the subject and nothing more.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                One could (and many do) make a case that Israel is also equally undemocratic because of the occupation of the West Bank (for decades and decades) where people are under the control of the Israeli government, but without a vote.

                Without a vote? I think you need to read a little bit more about Fatah, HAMAS, and stuff like this:


                How’s this for an opening sentence? “Palestinians voted in local elections in the Israel-occupied West Bank on Saturday, their first vote for six years and one with little choice, out of step with democratic revolutions elsewhere in the Arab world.”

                I’m willing to say that the equivalence you’re trying to draw is a false one.

                My dislike of Democracy Now! notwithstanding.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird says:


                You can’t see that I mean “Aa vote that would affect how Israel, which occupies the region in the voters live, treats the Palestinians.”

                Thanks for being charitable and trying to distract from what is relevant.

                I believe I’m done here for today. If anyone else wants to spend their day knocking down fallacious and irrelevant points from Jaybird, feel free.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Jaybird says:

                Shazbot is right, Jaybird.

                It’s not the Palestinian government that makes most of the decisions that affect Palestinians’ lives. It’s not the Palestinian government that dictates where they can go, what roads they can use. It’s not the Palestinian government that tells them they’re not allowed to have homes, or wells, or solar panels on their land, and then destroys those things when they do. It is not the government of Palestine that drives them from their lands to enable further expansion of settlements. It’s not the Palestinian government that determines what products they can sell internationally, or what products they can import. It’s not the Palestinian government that bars them from working their own fields with a barrier going through – not around – the West Bank. It’s not the Palestinian government that makes them go through checkpoints to travel between the West Bank (Palestinian) and East Jerusalem (Palestinian). It is not the Palestinian government that has jurisdiction over the resources of the Dead Sea (which are very lucrative), the farms along the Dead Sea (likewise), and most of the water in their land.

                The government that rules over the Palestinians is the government of Israel, and the Palestinians have no vote in its elections. On that basis, there is a good argument that Israel is not a democracy, as a major proportion of the voting-age people it rules are disenfranchised.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                A vote that would affect how Israel, which occupies the region in the voters live, treats the Palestinians.

                I could see how voting for a political party that has a charter that calls for the destruction of Israel might change how Israel treats the Palestinians.

                Or, I suppose, a party that calls for Peace and co-existence.

                Which did the Palestinians vote for?Report

              • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to Jaybird says:

                So you agree that the West Bank is controlled by Israel but the people of the West Bank don’t get a vote about how Israel will

                That is horribly unjust and wrong and should be stopped.

                Surely, the Palestinian government’s and many Palestinian groups’ actions are also unjust and wrong.

                Two wrongs do not make a right.

                The more and more I debate this, I think that some people want to argue about who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. That is, I hear people arguing that even though the settlements are awful, the Israeli’s are the good guys.

                This is infantile. Both sides are filled with people with good and bad motivations, who often act immorally. There are no good guys.

                Rather, each immoral and unjust action must be condemned and none are justified as responses to other immoral actions. We should condemn terrorist attacks, over zealous responses that kill civilians, torture, settlements and ethnic cleansing, on BOTH sides.

                You could argue that the U.S. are the good guys too. But that doesn’t matter when we’re arguing about: going to war in Iraq or Afghanistan, the drone killings, torture, etc.

                There are no good guys and bad guys. There are individual actions and policies that need to be discussed on their own merits. To wit, the settlements and the oppression of the Palestinians in the West Bank is a deeply immoral action. The severity of the blockade in Gaza is awful, too.

                The fact that the Israeli’s are “the good guys” doesn’t make those actions good.

                Not at all.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Your position seems to be that Israel won’t end an unjust and immoral occupation, combined with ethnic cleansing and settlements, leading to (already happened, really) apartheid until the Palestinians hold a less angry attitude. But the Palestinians would be justified for all the same reasons in claiming that they won’t stop attacking Israel or calling for its destruction until Israel ends the occupation and the settlements.

                If one side is justified in immoral actions as a response to the other’s immoral actions, then so too is the other side, and thus both parties would be acting rationally. Of course, that is absurd.

                BTW, I am willing to call a refusal by the Palestinian government to accept the existence of Israel within the 67 borders immoral. Are you willing to call the occupation and the settlements immoral, too?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Shaz, my position is not that two wrongs make a right.

                It’s that the Palestinians don’t particularly strike me as acting in good faith with regards to Israel.

                The argument always seems to be that when Israel does something wrong, it’s a monumental violation of human rights, an atrocity, a holocaust, apartheid, you’d think the Jews, of all people, would understand being oppressed… and when Palestine does something wrong, it’s well of course I don’t condone suicide bombing but you have to understand that the Palestinians have legitimate grievances and to look at any given suicide bombing without a deeper context of victimhood, agency, and historical dynamics is to approach the debate without many of the necessary pieces of context to this very small part of a much larger conflict.

                Personally, I’d prefer if Israel unilaterally pulled back to 1968 borders tomorrow. Once the Palestinians finish burning all of the Jewish buildings, we can have a conversation about how we seriously need to look at the deeper context of the Palestinians burning Israeli buildings.

                Then we can have serious conversations about disproportionate response to minimal damage from rocket attacks and the deeper context of, seriously, non-state agents firing missiles into Israel and how a military response would be inappropriate to what is, effectively, the act of a lone person with a well-founded grudge. Maybe a group of them. But it’s a law enforcement issue that should be addressed by the legitimate democratic government of Palestine rather than the apartheid government of Israel.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to Jaybird says:


                I don’t want to strawman you, so I accept your clarification that you believe Israel is wrong to occupy and settle the West Bank.

                Which well-known reputable critics of the Israeli occupation, who believe that the settlements and occupation are immoral, believe that suicide bombings and acts of terrorism are morally justified?

                Please cite names and quotations if at all possible.

                IMO, the vast majority of people who criticize the Israeli occupation (in the mainstream of the debate anyway) and settlements and oppression of the Palestinians are also quite ready to condemn suicide bombings as immoral (and also counterproductive).

                Who are the people on TV, radio, and with widely read famous blogs who think suicide bombings are morally defensible?Report

              • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Sadly, I have no sound now on the old ShazIIe.

                Can you write out (or paraphrase) what she says or doesn’t say in the video that you find dishonest, misleading, false, etc.?

                Sorry to be demanding.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Who is saying “morally defensible”? I’m saying that you need to understand the deeper context of the suicide attacks and refusing to take this deeper context into account is an act of willful blindness.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’d also say that the U.S. was a democracy in 1791, but an immoral amd racist democracy with slavery, so too South Africa.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                Um, lets see. Last time I checked Israeli Arabs sat in the Knesset, served in the Israeli government in all positions from minor bureaucratic posts to the Supreme Court and in the IDF. In fact, an Arab Israeli Judge, George Karra, provided over the trial of ex-Israeli Moshe Katsav for rape.


                Meanwhile, more people have been killed in the recent conflict in Syria than the entire Arab-Israeli conflict since 1948.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Yes, Israel does some many things (so do the Palestinians, IMO).

                But Israel’s government and some of its people also do many bad things in the conflict with the Palestinians.

                Doing good things, like being pro-gay rights, doesn’t make the bad things (like torture, the settlements, the road blocks, the crushing blockade of Gaza, etc.) into not bad things. We should criticize the bad things even while commending the good things.

                That’s like saying the U.S. is more accepting of gays or Muslims or women, so they can’t be the bad guy in the specific action of drone attacks on citizens.

                Both sides have been represented by people and contained members who acted immorally. As ben-Ami puts it, no one is free of sin here, except Jesus, if he existed, ha!Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                I mean “many good things” in that first sentence.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                pro-gay rights does not mean what you think it does, I’m pretty sure.Report

            • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird says:

              Or like taking the side of the innocent victims of drone attacks against the democratically elected U.S.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                Is there anyone who isn’t on the side of innocent victims? Like, even Dick Cheney is on the side of innocent victims.

                The problem is the people who aren’t in favor of democracy that we were actually targetting with the drones… and how they’re so much of a problem that “collateral damage” is an unfortunate hemming and hawing and Bush did it too.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Dick Cheney voted against sanctioning South Africa for apartheid.

                I submit that even if he said he was for protecting the innocent victims of apartheid, he very much was not.Report

            • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird says:

              Also, the debate seemed to not be biased strongly in either direction.

              I get that Democracy Now is a pretty left-leaning show, and I don’t watch it regularly, so maybe it is awful, but this debateis between two smart academics, with lots of evidence on both sides.

              I don’t know much about the show in general, but that link has good info from two smart and interesting academics.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                The “Democracy Now!” with which I am familiar is a radio show carried on NPR stations. It’s carried here in town, anyway.

                They’re pretty infuriating when it comes to the Israel/Palestine argument.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Can you cite some segment they did that we should find infuriating.

                I don’t know it, but am pretty sure I have also seen it on TV, or maybe I hallucinated while watching radio.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                I’m not going to go digging through stuff that happened during the 2nd Intifada but I’m sure you can imagine stuff that would bug me.

                Discussions of Israel detaining ambulances in search for bomb belts, for example. Failing to point out the times that Israel found them but merely discussing the times that Israel didn’t. That sort of thing.

                I mean, you are willing to call them “pretty left-leaning” (I’m willing to be that our baseline of “down the middle” is likely to diverge pretty heavily). Just trust me when I say that their reporting is ideological in nature.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Fair enough.

                But has Goodman lied or obfuscated about any issue on the show?

                Glenn Greenwald is pretty leftist, too, but it’s common for his anti-U.S. arguments to be cited approvingly here.

                Is Goodman materially different from Greenwald?

                I’m asking seriously. I don’t know the answer.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Listen to any given show of hers.

                You’ll hear her include tidbits of information in any given report that give a very… interesting… context to the report and, if you read a report from anywhere else, you’re as likely as not to find that she left out something that other folks might consider pertinent.

                I wouldn’t say “dishonest”. That gives the wrong impression.

                She’s ideological.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Can you give an example of her being less reliable than, say, Greenwald, who is also (similarly) ideological?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                You misunderstand my argument.

                Here’s a perfect example of something she does:

                It’s a story about how Israel backed off of a story where they showed a rocket being loaded into an ambulance. Israel admitted that the footage they had was *NOT* of a rocket being loaded into an ambulance.

                The first mention of the story was how Israel retracted it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Can you write out (or paraphrase) what she says or doesn’t say in the video that you find dishonest, misleading, false, etc.?

                Shaz, I must not be clear at all. I am saying that she withholds information that she does not see as pertinent and that she adds information that she does and that this editorializing that she engages in is in service to an ideology.

                I have given you the above example, with a link, to *TEXT* that encapsulates my issue.

                To ask me whether or not Israel did or did not retract the story is to demonstrate that I am failing to communicate what I mean when I say that she withholds information that she does not see as pertinent and that she adds information that she sees as pertinent in service to an ideology.

                I am afraid that I cannot communicate my thought more clearly than I have already attempted to do.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird says:


                I would be interested to hear you attack the things said in the show. But the general attack on the show itself is just irrelevant and useless.

                The moderator said little, and the disputants are very well known figures, so the fact that it was on that show is immaterial.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                Eh. It’s like if I said “Don’t argue against Rush Limbaugh in general. Argue against the interview he played on his show!”

                Would it matter if he were the moderator?

                Because Amy Goodman was the moderator for this debate… and I respond to that about as well as I imagine you’d respond to a debate moderated by Glenn Beck. “Just pay attention to what the people said! They have credentials!”

                And you could point out that the fact that they agreed to be on Beck’s show in the first place was a warning sign.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m sure I could argue thatsome specific thing Rush Limbaugh said is false, and ot would be fallacious to say it is wrong just because he said it.

                Of course, since there are so many documentable instances of Rush obfuscating and even lying, he is no longer a reliable source of information at all.

                I get that you disagree with Goodman or her show, but is she a demonstrably dishonest source, as Limbaugh is?

                Or is she more like a Greenwald, who is very zealous, but also at least minimally honest and reliable?Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to LeeEsq says:

        If citizens of another country showed up in, say, Massachusetts and said, “This is ours now! We’ll be nice and split it half and half with you – we get to set up our own state in our half,” do you think most Americans would be all right with that? Do you think they’d become more all right with that if, when they resisted that claim, they were drive out of their homes with military force and never permitted to return?

        The Palestinians have openly accepted Israel’s existence since Oslo. That turned out to have been a bad bargain because, as the weaker party, formal recognition of Israel was their sole bargaining chip – with that granted, and the Palestinians’ promise not to use force to defend themselves, Israel really didn’t need to make any further concessions, so it didn’t do so. When the time period given in Oslo for the end of the occupation and the creation of a Palestinian state had passed – the occupation continued, Israel had massively expanded settlements through Palestinian land since Oslo, and for all practical purposes the Palestinians were no closer to statehood. So yes, that provoked the Second Intifada. It may be true that violence won’t do the Palestinians any good, but attempting peacemaking hadn’t done them any good either, so they’re kind of between a rock and a hard place.Report

        • Avatar Brooke Taylor in reply to KatherineMW says:

          It should be obvious to even the most casual observer that Israel’s refusal to stop building settlements is a big sign that it was never serious about peace in the first place. Israel should have long ago dismantled the settlements and brought its colonists home if it truly meant to negotiate in good faith. It never did.Report

          • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Brooke Taylor says:

            I know. The extent to which people ignore it or brush it aside bewilders me. If you intend for a territory to be part of a different state in future, you don’t make an overwhelming effort to settle your own citizens there – especially not citizens who are vehemently opposed to ever being governed by a nation other than your own.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to KatherineMW says:

      You can’t talk with people of Hamas.

      “The Palestinian people never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”-Abba Ebban

      Israeli’s said they would take the UN Patrition Plan in 1947, the Arabs refused. The only thing that will please the Arabs is the complete eradication of Israel and any Jewish presence in the Middle East.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to NewDealer says:

        I don’t know if that’s exactly fair. The main thing that they’ve had to do recently is move to the Big Leagues. They’ve been put in charge of governance and dealing with stuff like day-to-day operations is much less interesting/romantic than making bomb belts and giving speeches about the glories of blowing up in a library.

        The dynamic that I don’t particularly like is the marriage between state and non-state actors allowing the state actors to explain that, jeez, we wish we could keep a better leash on these non-state actors but, hey, you know how non-state actors are… BUT DON’T YOU DARE DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT YOURSELF BECAUSE THAT WOULD VIOLATE OUR SOVEREIGNTY!!!

        In addition to being a dangerous game in the first place, it’s unsustainable.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

          Hamas uses their control over the Gaza Strip to fire a barrage of missles, i.e. make war as a state against Israel, and oppress women and anybody who disagrees with them.

          Meanwhile their sometime ally in the war against Israel blames the recent massacre of Muslims in Burma on Jews:

          At what point do we get to call a duck a duck.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

            I ‘unno, at what point do you call apartheid apartheid?
            I’ll give you yours if you’ll give me mine.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kimmi says:

              You know people keep calling Israel an apartheid state but they keep ignoring all the Israeli-Palestinians, to use the term of the moment, in Israeli universities, that hold elected and appointed officials through out the Israeli government, and who serve in the IDF. An Israeli-Palestinian judge provided over the trial of the Jewish President for rape. How many white officials were convicted by black judges in South Africa during Apartheid? Meanwhile, Jews were expelled from the surrounding countries wholesale and the vast and vicious Jew-hatred in the Muslim world is completely ignored at best or at worst justified?

              Do you really think that the Jews of the Middle East would have be peacefully incorporated into the polity of the Middle East and North Africa without Israel? Are you really that naive? The surrounding states are absolutely horrible with their minorities. Iraq and Turkey persecuted the Kurds. Egypt is trying to rid itself of its Christians. The least said about the LBGT community the better. Israel is a beacon of minority rights compared to any of the surrouding countries.

              Without Israel, the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa would be another community for the majority to persecute and for dictators to use as a distraction. Without Israel, the same fate would fall to the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe. I suspect that you would find an excuse.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to LeeEsq says:

                You know, people keep calling the U.S. a slave holding state, but they ignore all the blacks who are free people and only focus on the slaves.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Shazbot3 says:

                Words have meaning. The level of participation of Arabs in Israel life is above and beyond that of Afticans in apartheid or African-Americans during Jim Crow. Omar Bargouti, the head of the BDS movement was educated at the University of Tel Aviv. Many other Palestinians have also been educated at Israeli institutions.

                I have no idea what you want. You seem to think that if Israel did not declare independence in 1948, Palestine would have evolved into a multicultural democracy. There is no evidence for this. You focus on all the bad in Israel as you see it, ignore the good and all the problems in Arab countries.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Seriously, you’re going to continue with this?

                The concern is not that Arab or Muslim citizens of Israel are disenfranchised and ruled, ultimately, by an occupying government.

                The moral concern is that Arab residents of the West Bank are disenfranchised, while their land is being settled in acts of ethnic cleansing.

                It is good that Israel has not barred all Arabs from citizenship within the 1967 borders. But that good thing doesn’t make the bad things happening in the West Bank any less bad.

                This is sort of absurdly obvious that I feel bad having to explain it to you. I conclude that you are immune to reason on this subject and will cease responding.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

                You’re not concerned with the degree of ghettoization of Palestinians in Israel?

                You’re not concerned over the “legal immigration by daylight” of Palestinians from the west bank? (aka live in palestine, work in israel)Report

      • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to NewDealer says:

        “The only thing that will please the Arabs…”

        Here we have that problematic “essentialism” referred to a while ago in an OP.

        Better to say “Some Arab governments, such as…” or “A majority of Arabs” or “A small and powerful bloc of Fundamentalist Muslim Arabs, such as…”

        I submit that thereis no single X, such that X will please all Arabs.

        Please note how awful it would be to say “Blacks are criminals” and then defend that by saying that you mean a higher percentage of blacks than whites get convicted of crimes.

        I think it is also especially misleading to attribute common motivations to large groups. Some Arabs in some countries think X because of A, while others think X because of P, etc.

        Also, please note that there are 300 million Arabs in the world living in very different places. (If it is a single ethnicity, it is the second largest ethnicity on earth after Han Chinese.) Thereis a lot of heterogeneity in Arab thinking, so gross generalizations are likely to be untrue. This is even more true of the Muslim world, which is composed of 1.4 billion people.

        So please stop saying “The Arabs think…” We all do stuff like this, but it has to stop.Report

    • Avatar Brooke Taylor in reply to KatherineMW says:

      The Israelis have done an excellent job of buying time to complete their de facto conquest of Palestine. They can afford to delay because they have all the weapons, all the money, and a significant upper hand in international support.

      What should be clear to us now in the 21st century is that Israel was a bad idea from the beginning. Transplanting hundreds of thousands of foreigners into a land without the permission of its inhabitants has never been recipe for success, except where success could be assured through brutality, and that’s exactly what Israel has done. It is the last hurrah of old-style European imperialism.

      Israeli intransigence and foot-dragging has essentially killed any chance the two-state solution might have had to create two real, viable states. There is an inherent impossibility in Israel’s desired identity as a “Jewish and democratic” state. To be Jewish, it must eschew democracy; to be democratic, it must abandon Jewish identity. The best we can hope for now is that Jewish privilege in Palestine can be dismantled quickly and peacefully, rights of the Palestinians to equality and sovereignty in their land recognized and protected, and a state of all its citizens built in place of Israel and the Occupied Territories.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Brooke Taylor says:

        And where were the Jews supposed to go after the Holocaust? It is not exactly that they were welcome back in their native Eastern European countries. Jews that survived the Holocaust and tried to reclaim their old property in Poland were lynched.

        Israel exists whether people want it or not. The country is not going away easily.Report

        • Avatar Kimmi in reply to NewDealer says:

          No. In blood and pain. Oh, wait, that’s already happened.
          Don’t worry, it could hardly get worse.Report

        • Avatar Brooke Taylor in reply to NewDealer says:

          They could have gone to the US, Canada, or any other Western country that was taking post-WWII immigrants. However, the US and its allies did not want to be in a position to absorb than many refugees and so they gave away someone else’s land instead.

          It’s completely wrong to demand that Palestinians should have to pay for European anti-Semitism, European genocide, and European wars, with their own territory. While the sun was setting on colonialism everywhere else in the world and while those colonies were finally being dismantled, the colonial project of Israel was just being imposed upon an entire people who did not want it. Their objections and cries for help were ignored. What choice did they have but to fight those who would steal their land? Why, in this one instance, are we asked to believe that it was “fair” and “reasonable” for them to agree to give up the best half of their ancestral land to foreigners who had no real claim to it?

          Israeli national mythology is particularly pernicious when it comes to this point. It would have us believe that a population of people who needed a homeland could revive a claim on a land that was conveniently “empty” just for them. They’ve wiped away the entire narrative of the hundreds of villages that had to be destroyed to impose this state, the stolen homes and land, the refugees torn from their own homes to make room for refugees from another continent.Report

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    Dude, this post is, like, totally…Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

      I will say, honestly, that reading Cosmopolitan had me feeling this weird despair. It’s like, if I wanted to make a magazine that would make everything worse, I couldn’t imagine making a more pernicious magazine than that one.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Shouldn’t this post be called Israel, Palestine, and Rootless Cosmopolitans?Report

  4. Avatar Glyph says:

    Oh, sure, YOU try talking about it, when he comes home after “working late”, and he totally has the smell of Gaza strippers all over him again.Report

  5. Avatar John Howard Griffin says:

    I think you’re right (correct), Jaybird, but for a different reason. It’s not the talking, so much as it’s the willingness to compromise (and then actually compromise), that’s important here, don’t you think? Will talking lead to compromise? Not necessarily. Will not talking lead to no compromise? Not necessarily.

    I agree that the talking part is important, though there is a part of this that always makes me think about honorable intentions. We’re talking about humans, after all.

    I’ve always chalked it (lack of honorable intentions) up to “my God is bigger than your god” stuff. I was always more of a “My god, it’s full of stars!” kind of guy, though, so maybe I just don’t understand it.Report

  6. Avatar Will H. says:

    More kissing between talks is likely to help, I’m thinking.

    One of the coolest posts anywhere ever.Report

  7. Avatar clawback says:

    Well, this Cosmopolitan business might work ok, but I think we should try just denying that any problem exists. There is no Middle East conflict, anyone who says there is one is getting rich off that theory because he probably got paid once for making a speech, one guy once colloquially referred to a policy strategy as a “trick” so that means he’s trying to trick us, and anyway, even if there is a Middle East conflict we should leave it alone because otherwise we’re messing with the free market in international conflicts which always solves its own problems.

    Maybe this way we can get some support for just staying the hell out of it.Report

  8. Avatar zic says:

    I never knew Cosmo could be so profound; but I haven’t looked at it (aside from the cover, which is always invading my line of sight at the grocery-store checkout line) since about 1982.

    But I have to ask: did you have a cosmo before reading cosmo? I’m sure a pink cocktail helps with world peace.Report

  9. Avatar Steve S. says:

    What Israel and the Palestinians are willing to do is almost entirely irrelevant. The single most important step that could be taken toward a solution would be for the United States to end its absolute and unlimited diplomatic, financial, and military support of Israel. If that were to happen the way forward would make itself evident in the following months, for good or ill.Report

  10. Avatar Burt Likko says:


  11. Avatar Damon says:

    No one’s interested in actually getting anything done. Meanwhile, the more orthodox believers (jews and muslims) produce more and more children, effectively breeding out the moderates.

    It’s going to get real interesting in the next few decades. There really won’t be any solution to this problem until one side gives up or gets obliterated.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Damon says:

      I think that a lot of people have no idea exactly how much damage the 2nd Intifada did to the Peace Process. I mean, above and beyond the whole “9/11 happened in the middle of it and Americans now have *CONTEXT* for Palestinians blowing up on buses that they didn’t have before” thing.

      The Peace Process asks of Israel stuff that the US would see as out-and-out irrational. “Let’s sit down with Al Qaeda and hammer out what it would take for us to live in peaceful co-existence. We’d stop doing a handful of things, they’d stop doing a handful of things, and life could go on.”

      “But that *DOES* sound nice!”, I hear you say. Yeah. Too bad the AUMF doesn’t allow for it.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

        The 2nd intifada was the cruellest and most cowardly petty thing Arafat ever did to his people.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

        It’s worse than that, the anti-Zionists ask Jews to refrain from actions that would be logical in other persecuted groups. We are asked not to have a nationalistic reaction to the exclusions and persecution we had to endure. If we were any other persecuted group, a nationalist reaction would be celebrated or at least understood. However, since we are Jews it’s. not tolerated.Report

        • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

          No. You are asked not to piss off the diving board.

          Jews of all people should know where that winds you up.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kimmi says:

            Ah, this is the classic response “Jews of all people should know”. Nobody would say this to any other disadvantaged group unless that person was a racist. They would tell African-Americans not to feel anger at White Americans for the persecution they endured. They wouldn’t tell LBGT people to endure the norms imposed on them by heterosexuals. Jews of all the persecuted groups are expected just to endure and bear whatever beatings we get. We are to be victims and nothing else.Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to LeeEsq says:

              One thing I heard a lot in discussions of gay marriage and gay rights more generally, particularly when support was low among African Americans, was “black people of all people should know.”Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chris says:

                Yes but these response typically comes up more with Jews and Israel rather than anything else. The anti-Zionists ignore the perilous state of Jews in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa including the fact that we narrowly avoided Holocaust II within a decade of the Holocaust because Stalin luckily died. The Doctor’s Plot was supposed to be the first step in the a campaign to put all Soviet Jews in slave labor camps in the Russian Far East, that is to kill them. They also somehow thing that the Middle East would have ended up as a bunch of cosmopolitan, multi-cultural democracies if Israel did not exist despite all evidence to the contrary.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to LeeEsq says:

                including the fact that we narrowly avoided Holocaust II within a decade of the Holocaust because Stalin luckily died. The Doctor’s Plot was supposed to be the first step in the a campaign to put all Soviet Jews in slave labor camps in the Russian Far East, that is to kill them.

                I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but that’s hyperbole. It is true that the Doctor’s Plot targeted mostly Jews, and was followed by a wave of officially sanctioned antisemitism, but there’s no real evidence of a plan to send the Soviet Jews to Siberia in the 50s, and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast project which was supposed to set up a Jewish Soviet state in the Russian Far East was pretty much given up almost 2 decades earlier (and moving there was supposed to be voluntary, as an outlet for the rising Jewish nationalism of the first few decades of the 20th century).

                This really has no bearing on the current discussion, of course. I recognize that Israel’s existence and present condition have to be seen in the larger historical context of Jewish oppression in Europe and elsewhere, but I think there’s enough of that already that there’s no need to add to it by treating largely disproved rumors as fact.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

                Also, I want nothing to do with an actual discussion of the conflict in the Middle East. It’s been my experience that the only people who participate in such discussions are completely blind to the perspective of the people who disagree with them. It, along with abortion, produce more pointless and unproductive online discussions than pretty much all other subjects combined.Report

            • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

              I use a JEWISH TERM to explain a situation, and then I expect Mr. Putz to understand me?

              Ha, maybe it is me who is crazy?!!?

              Jews bulldoze peoples homes. Jews evict people. Jews are the agressors. Jews kill innocent children of PEOPLE WHO ARE SPYING FOR THEM! And they do it Live On Air!

              I don’t know what the fuck you confess to on Yom Kippur, but when I say “we have killed,” I damn well am referring to every single fucking palestinian the Israeli Jews have killed.

              … Did you not think I was Jewish?

              Oh, and pulling the race card was probably a mistake. “Come down from the trees” is one term that Jews use to describe other jews in Israel. Come off it man. Jews don’t got no room to talk about racism until they clean up their own house. (yeah, a good deal of my relatives in Israel are Sephardic. Yemeni to be precise.).Report

        • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to LeeEsq says:

          “a nationalist reaction would be celebrated or at least understood.”

          I find the Jewish desire for a homeland very understandable. Given that the home they picked already had people on it who were cleansed from the land, I do not celebrate the actions taken to obtain said homeland. I condemn the actions as immoral, as the taking of native land in this country was immoral.

          I think the question is now that Israel has become one of the more powerful country’s in the region, whether its actions should be judged as such, not as a country that forever remains a victim because of the oppression some of its citizens endured in the past.

          Should the average Palestinian’s desire for violence be “understood” or even “celebrated?” Maybe the former, and certainly not the latter, as long as we condemn any support of violence or violent actions as immoral while we sympathize, psychologically, with the awful oppression, fear, and poverty that resulted in the support of violence. So too with the oppressed Jews fleeing the holocaust.Report

          • Avatar Brooke Taylor in reply to Shazbot3 says:

            The desire for a homeland is understandable, but there was simply no place to put Jewish refugees and survivors in a new country. The dispersal of the Jewish Diaspora was so widespread that you couldn’t really justify carving off a chunk of anyplace else and declaring a Jewish homeland there.

            Palestine was already inhabited by a people with their own history and their own, more substantial, ties to the land, not to mention their own national ambitions. These people made clear to the British that they had no interest in ceding part of their land to settlers from other continents. I can’t underscore enough how fundamentally wrong it is to steal one person’s homeland and give it to another because there is a sense that the latter group is owed something for its suffering.Report

  12. Avatar North says:

    The Israeli situation can be an obnoxious conundrum and one that I’d hazard defies even the wisdom of Cosmo. The problem is that people view the conflict as having two actors when, in fact, the situation involves many more. Each side, the Israeli’s and the Palestinians, have their own sub-factions with their own conflicting interests. Ironically in some cases even over the last couple of decades some factions have reversed rolls even across the divide.
    Consider Arafat. Here we have essentially a swindler profiting enormously from the conflict. Arafat was running a con on his own people, the Israelis and especially the world profiting from his position while doing little to resolve the conflict. Indeed the man lacked the political courage or really the desire to resolve the conflict. When presented with, in essence, almost all of what the Palestinians can reasonably expect to claim by Clinton and Barrack he instead walked out and ignited the second intafida. Why? Because he liked things the way they were, he faced significant penalties from the hardliners if he cut a deal and he was a craven self interested pol.

    Now, with Arafat whisked off to Allah’s embrace the roll of political con man has hopped aisles over to Bibi Netanyahu. Here again we have a politician who has profited enormously from opposing resolution of the peace conflict. He’s made much of his career out of throwing wooden shoes into the peace process. He’s on record bragging about undermining the Israeli government’s ability to honor its commitments to the peace process. He certainly doesn’t want to move forward on the peace process: his entire government rests on a foundation supported by the Israeli hard right. If he tried he’d loose his Prime Minister slot and that is something Bibi is blatantly loathe to risk. So faced with probably the most rational, helpful and constructive Palestinian administration in the short history of the PA he stalls and expands settlements jacking up the pain of the eventual settlement.

    Worse of course are the non-cynical actors. The Israelis are saddled to the settler right, the Palestinians to the abhorrent fanatics of Hamas and other revanchist Palestinian rejectionists. The ultimate problem that keeps the peace process stalled and on cinder blocks is that both of these rejectionist wings have the ability to shut the peace process down and they both use that ability liberally. The Israeli settlers use violence against Palestinians, settlement expansions and direct threats (political threats, not violent ones mind) against their current administrations to derail the process. The Palestinian rejectionists similarly can derail the process simply by precipitating violence against Israeli’s. Sadly these actors are true believers, they both possess delusional or abhorrent end scenarios for the conflict that they work towards.

    The Israeli settlers delusionally assume that if they expand the settlements enough they can somehow push the Palestinians into ghettos and then somehow dragoon Jordan into absorbing them into itself (and they’d eject Gaza into Egypt similarly). When confronted with the utter unlikelihood of this they allude to sooner or later ethnically cleansing the Palestinians out of the land they occupy.

    The Palestinians rejectionists are if anything even more incoherent on one hand and yet more rational on the other. They delusionally assume that somehow their continued resistance will allow them to somehow, magically, drive the Israeli’s to powerlessness so they can slaughter and exile them en masse. Yet on the other hand they somewhat rationally predict that if they can stall a resolution long enough the demographic balance will become so bad that Israeli will begin moving into an apartheid situation that could actually lead to the dissolution of the state of Israel (it is that latter threat that is a genuine one to Israel and one that most rational Israeli’s and friends of Israeli’s take seriously and advocate the two state solution to forestall).

    So talking is nice but understandably somewhat pointless. Bibi has no desire for a resolution and both the Israeli and the Palestinian right wingers are vigorously pressing their veto buttons. My own hope is that the Israeli polity will eventually tire of Bibi’s antics and elect a real leader who can resolve this mess before Abbas and Fayid lose power and the Palestinians (despairing of the Abbas nonviolence strategy) cycle to either another charismatic rook like Arafat or worse a violent kook like Hamas.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

      I’m of the impression that a 3 state solution would be pretty sustainable (have a Gaza, have a East Palestine/West Bank, have an Israel). There’s too much money involved for that, though. Hamas and Fatah would each rather alternate control of all of it than maintain control of half of it.

      Meanwhile, each of Hamas and Fatah have said things recently enough that… well, we understand why African-Americans aren’t particularly inclined to vote Republican, right? And yet we keen and wail over Israel’s reticence to deal with Hamas or Fatah.

      I rather suspect that it will all end in a bloodbath… and if it’s a bloodbath the Israelis win, the game will continue shortly after the armistice is signed. If it’s a bloodbath the opposition wins… well. That’ll probably be one of those monumental historical events that will make 9/11 look like the capture of Fort Okanogan.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

        Israeli’s have been using the awful things Palestinians say as an excuse for ages. It’s pretty much irrelevant, just like the awful things Israeli’s say about Palestinians. Politically that’s just fig leafing for the basic dynamic: the most invested actors don’t want a peace resolution. The most powerful actors don’t want to cross the most invested actors.

        I’m skeptical that it’ll end in a bloodbath unless Israel slides so far rightward that it’ll be unrecognizable in which case I can say to hell with both of them, let the barbarians kill each other. My fear is that the Israeli’s are gonna actually let their settlers destroy the state by apartheiding the West Bank. Israel depends entirely on trade and has a highly mobile capitalist class: if the international community actually decided to deplore them (instead of just mewling about deploring them like it does now) Israel would empty out like a bucket leaving only the religious fanatics and true believers to kill each other.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North says:

          Israel is not moving rightward. Everybody kept predicting that Israel’s last election would be a great victory for the Far right but it wasn’t. The victors were the center-left parties and the current government has nobody from an Ultra-Orthodox party in it.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq says:

            I’m happy to agree at least partially with you. The election turned out a nice surprise for centrists. I think this could be attributed, at least partially, to how the election focused primarily on domestic issues. The Israeli polity still says that a two state solution is the preferred outcome but they also are increasingly doubtful that one is possible.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

            Israel’s media is far more lefty than Americas.

            That said, what the fuck do you say about a country that kills its allies in cold blood?
            And then has the temerity to broadcast it live???Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North says:

      I disagree strongly with this analysis as it pertains to the Israeli side. The settlers are a red hearing. There hasn’t been an expansion to any settlement in a long time and the Israeli government has demonstrated that they have what it takes to dismantle them if they think its necessary as Gaza withdrawal demonstrated. I also disagree with the portrayal of Netanyahu as some blood thirsty sociopath. Israeli reaction to Hamas’ terrorism has been much more restrained under him than it was under his predecessors. He has demonstrated that he can accept a bad deal from his perspective like he did for the release of Shalit. What Netanyahu is not willing to do is enter into a grand bargain that would basically mean nothing for Israel. Like the rest of Isreali society, he has grown cynical of Palestinian leadership.

      And more good reason. I believe that the evidence demonstrates that nearly all Palestinians are in the rejectionist camp and that their allies, Muslim or Western, keep encouraging them on in their rejectionism. There are no shortages of examples of people who are ostensibly pro-Israel to basically make a great sacrifice for nothing. I can’t think of any pro-Palestinian person encouraging the Palestinians to make any compromise or sacrifice. The message to the Palestinians from their allies is to be obstinate and fight on to the bitter end regardless of the cost. What then Palestinians and their allies want is the destruction of Israel. Anything else would be a tremendous miscarriage of justice to them.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Certainly you’re welcome to disagree.

        Unless you’re using a very carefully narrowed definition of “settlements” then your assertion that none have been expanded in a long time is false. The settlements have been expending in both size and number for decades now. East Jerusalem, for instance, has been pretty much entirely ringed with them. Certainly the settlements can be removed but if anyone is earnest in such willingness then why keep building them when you know they must be abandoned?

        To be clear I did not call Bibi a blood thirsty sociopath. I called him a craven political opportunist which he is. If it were not for Israel’s relatively modern and developed governmental system I suspect he’d be on par with Arafat for self serving conniving. Bibi has been forming governments and gaining power based on settler support since the mid nineties. He’s quite obviously incapable of entering a deal that’d involve removing the settlers; his government would fall if he did.

        Speaking personally I have only the most vague and clinical interest in the Palestinian’s welfare. They’re an oppressed people who have been badly treated by history (and by their own bad decisions) and they have warped priorities and views due to that. My own passion is the welfare of Israel and, like an y clear eyed supporter of that country, I can see that disengagement from the demographic time bomb of the territories is essential for securing the future of Israel. We do not live in the 1960’s. Israel has no neighbors capable of threatening her in a manner that the settlements in any way address. The Israeli’s could unilaterally pull out of the West Bank and they’d be ahead in the game even if they got not a single concession or promise from Abbas or any other Arab figure.

        When you find yourself holding a ticking bomb in your hand the correct thing to do is discard that bomb. You do not ask your neighbor who hates you what he’ll give you in exchange for discarding the bomb. You DO NOT strap the bomb to your chest with duct tape and then ask your neighbor who hates you what they’ll give you in exchange for you wrapping the duct tape around yourself more slowly.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North says:

          I think that most Israeli’s want out of the West Bank ASAP and realize that permanent occupation is not possible. The issue is that they basically don’t trust Palestinian leadership, whom they view as outright elimination or too cowardly to do anything.

          As for the Settlements, Israel never intended to give up Jerusalem since the conclusion of the Six Day War. It’s a lesson learned cr how Jordan treated Jewish sites during their rule over the city. I believe that the Israelis never intended for a perfect swap.

          Sorry for my comment about Netanyahu but a lot of people view him as evil incarnate when he isn’t.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq says:

            I concur that a lot of Israeli’s want out of the West Bank. The thing is there doesn’t necessarily need to be any trust of the Palestinians in order to get Israel out of the West Bank. Israel can simply leave. They don’t want to of course.. they want to get something in exchange.. they want the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a sovereign Jewish State, they want them to renounce the desire to bring the descendants of Palestinian refugees back to Israel proper, they want many things. I wand a solid gold Escalade; it is not rational for me to stand under a bridge that’s about to collapse and demand said Escalade in exchange for my walking out from beneath it. The act of removing myself from danger is, in of itself, its own reward. Anything beyond that is gravy. Israel extricating itself from the West Bank is, in of itself, its own reward. The excuses they offer to not do so are born of stubbornness, brinkmanship and an unwillingness to face up to the unpleasant task they’ve created for themselves (extracting shrieking moon bat settlers from the territories).

            My point remains that the settlements are expanding. Current Israeli government policy subsidizes and incents Israeli’s to move into the territories every day. The morass Israel is immersed in is deepening and much of this is by Israel’s own actions. It is rational for Israel’s Palestinian counterparts to question its’ willingness to quit the territories when Israel’s every action suggests otherwise.

            Quite alright about Bibi. I have no affection for the man but I don’t consider him a sociopath. He certainly doesn’t warrant the title Evil Incarnate. Heck, I don’t think he’d even rate Evil’s butler.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North says:

              My ultimate feeling is that eventually Israel would do to the West Bank what it did in Gaza, withdraw and leave the Palestinians to govern it as they please even if they use it as a launching pad against Israel. It won’t exactly be like the Gaza withdrawl, I think many settlements close to the Green Line are going to be incorporated into Israel but those away from the Green Line are going to be given the choice of leaving or staying and risking it.

              I don’t quite get Bibi hate. Even those who are inclined to hate all Israeli politicians because of thier beliefs seem to reserve a special place for Netanyahu. The hatred directed at him seems much more personal than that aimed at Sharon or Olmert or any other post-Oslo Israeli PM. Even Begin, the founder of Likud, didn’t get this level of personal hatred.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to LeeEsq says:

                The Gaza settlements were minimal.

                Not so the settlements in the West Bank. They are already unmoveably large and apartheid is already in effect, IMO. If not, that will be the situation within the decade, as Beinart et al. have effectively argued.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Shazbot3 says:

                People on the Pro-Palestinian side weren’t treating Gaza settlements as minimal when they existed.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Minimal in the sense of small enough to be easily removed.

                They were still very (not minimally) immoral.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to LeeEsq says:

                BTW, I am not Pro-Palestinian.

                I think both sides have actors and representatives who have behaved immorally and the best solution going forward, obviously, requires both sides to sacrifice.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Nu. Some people carry grudges. Bibi is an idiot. I’m not sure if he’d know a grudge if he saw one coming. Kinda like Mayor Luke, come to think of it…Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kimmi says:

                Netanyahu has many negative traits but stupidity isn’t one of them. While not dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the best of ways, he is keeping violence and death to a minimum. Israel’s response to the current chaos in the surrounding countries has also be appropriately muted, just reminders for others to stay away from Israel. His response to the recent fire from Gaza was nothing compared to what other politicians have done. Netanyahu is also one of the few leaders in the developed world that implemented the correct response to the Great Recession, making Israel one of the countries not to suffer from much economic hardship, which also helps the Palestinians.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Endorsing Romney was an act of total stupidity.
                don’t bite the hand that feeds you.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to LeeEsq says:

                “While not dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the best of ways, he is keeping violence and death to a minimum.”

                That claim needs a justification.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

                “Keeping violence and death to a minimum” == Operation Cast Lead???

                Da Fuq?

                I’d say more, but I think I’m out of here. You’re clearly being an apologist.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Netanyahu has succumbed to the fallacy of amor fati. Israel doesn’t have to make any concessions to peaceful coexistence with anyone.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

                My ultimate feeling is nuclear armageddon.
                Any questions?


                Who fires the first shot?
                Discuss among yourselves!Report

              • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq says:

                I earnestly hope that you are right. Moreover I hope it happens soon. If only that ten times damned blood clot hadn’t felled Sharon*.

                *Mea Culpa moment, I originally thought Sharon was a right wing yahoo, he proved me quite wrong on that account. Right wing he might have been but turns out he was thinking the long game.Report

        • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to North says:

          “I have only the most vague and clinical interest in the Jews’ welfare. They’re an oppressed people who have been badly treated by history (and by their own bad decisions) and they have warped priorities and views due to that. My own passion is the welfare of Germany.”

          Sounds worse, no? All I did was switch the names of the groups involved.

          IMO, you aren’t racist, but the claim you made was pretty horrible as stated. I am sure you would be happy to revise it.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Shazbot3 says:

            Actually no, it didn’t sound any worse to me. A person who has friends and associations with Palestinians and views Israeli society as objectively backward with regards to human rights, women’s rights, gay rights, corruption etc… (while noting the historical issues that have caused those things and that impedes its ability to evolve out of that state) could say such a phrase and I wouldn’t bat an eyelash.

            On an intellectual level I think Palestinians have a right to self determination. I think they have legitimate claims to the lands they dwell on and are entitled to the same human rights as Israeli’s. Emotionally I feel no empathy or emotional connection towards them. If Israel were to unilaterally disengage and leave the Palestinians entirely to themselves I’d probably not think about them again or pay much mind to them.Report

            • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to North says:

              You wouldn’t find a person who made the revised claim (that I obviously do not agree with) to be a moral monster and the worst sort of racist?

              I would.

              The revised claim literally says the person making the claim is more concerned about the welfare of one ethnicity over another.

              I’ll revise again:

              ““I have only the most vague and clinical interest in the welfare of slave Negroes. They’re an oppressed people who have been badly treated by history (and by their own bad decisions) and they have warped priorities and views due to that. My own passion is the welfare of white America.”

              Is that morally monstrous enough?Report

        • Avatar Kimmi in reply to North says:

          Israel has its own demographic timebomb. Disengagement simply pushes day of reckoning back.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kimmi says:

            This isn’t actually true. The Arab birthrate in Israel and surrounding countries, including the Palestinian territories, is decreasing while the Jewish Israeli birth rate is one of the highest in the developed world. Immigration from Europe is also increasing. The UN figures that in Israel Proper, the Jews will remain in the majority for a long time based on current trends.Report