In Shift, U.S. Says Israeli Settlements in West Bank Do Not Violate International Law

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Jaybird

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 AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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  1. Avatar Dark Matter
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    says:

    1) Trump is doing this for narrow political gain
    2) NYT is drastically overstating Trump’s involvement “because Trump”.
    3) I don’t think us acknowledging the facts on the ground lowers the posibility of peace.
    4) I think the facts on the ground do, but we had lots of decades before the settlements without peace so maybe that posibility was always zero.
    5) I’ve yet to see that the various hardline groups opposed to Isreal (i.e. the majority) would be willing to accept anything less than the destruction of Isreal.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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      says:

      1) is all anyone needs to know.

      The American people gave Trump the authority and power to make life and death decisions for millions of people around the world.

      And he uses it like a sociopathic toddler for whimsical personal gain or grudges.

      For a nickel, or a idle bit of flattery, he would greenlight the carpet bombing of Israel. Or the Palestinians, or South Koreans, it doesn’t really matter to him.

      This is who and what he is.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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        says:

        Calling the reality on the ground “the reality on the ground” isn’t a “life and death decision for millions of people”.

        Big picture I’m not sure he’s wrong here.

        Isreal is at war. They don’t have settled borders. While it would be nice if those weren’t the facts, they are the facts.

        Attempts to take Isreal to task in some court of “law” which looks the other way for Arabic Countries’ vast human rights abuses doesn’t seem like it’s helping the cause of peace. Forcing everyone involved to face the realities of the situation seems like it might, and that includes the reality that Isreal isn’t going to be destroyed in a court room.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
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          says:

          And that excuses Israeli seizure of lands outside its agreed to borders how exactly? The Israeli’s agreed to the borders in the 1948 UN agreement. They have been violating those borders since, and in the last 30 years doing so violently by destroying property belonging to non-Jewish citizens.

          The Palestinians greatest mistake was not signing the agreement the UN brokered for their state in 1949. Had they done so two generations of warfare could have been vastly reduced.

          And to be clear the US picked a side around 1950 or so. And It wasn’t the side of the Palestinian Arabs who reside in that land and have just as much claim to it as Jews.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Philip H
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            says:

            The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews. Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey threw out a million Greeks and Algeria a million Frenchman.

            Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese and no one says a word about refugees. But in the case of Israel , the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single one.

            Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis. Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious, it must sue for peace.

            Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world. Other nations, when they are defeated, survive and recover but should Israel be defeated it would be destroyed. Had Nasser triumphed last June [1967], he would have wiped Israel off the map, and no one would have lifted a finger to save the Jews.

            No commitment to the Jews by any government, including our own, is worth the paper it is written on. There is a cry of outrage all over the world when people die in Vietnam or when two Blacks are executed in Rhodesia . But, when Hitler slaughtered Jews no one demonstrated against him. The Swedes, who were ready to break off diplomatic relations with America because of what we did in Vietnam , did not let out a peep when Hitler was slaughtering Jews. They sent Hitler choice iron ore, and ball bearings, and serviced his troops in Norway .

            The Jews are alone in the world. If Israel survives, it will be solely because of Jewish efforts. And Jewish resources.

            Yet at this moment, Israel is our only reliable and unconditional ally. We can rely more on Israel than Israel can rely on us. And one has only to imagine what would have happened last summer [1967] had the Arabs and their Russian backers won the war, to realize how vital the survival of Israel is to America and the West in general.

            I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish, the Holocaust will be upon us all.

            Eric Hoffer, 1968

            Israel was attacked by various Arab countries three times, and in each of those times, Isreal was victorious. That a besieged Isreal took, held and defended that land gives them the deed to that land.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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            says:

            And that excuses Israeli seizure of lands outside its agreed to borders how exactly?

            “Agreed to” means there was an agreement, presumably one that would have let Israel live. There wasn’t and there isn’t. Israel doesn’t have “agreed to borders” even now.

            Given that and the various wars, there doesn’t need to be an “excuse”.

            The Palestinians greatest mistake was not signing the agreement the UN brokered for their state in 1949. Had they done so two generations of warfare could have been vastly reduced.

            Partly agreed. “The Palestinians” weren’t offered to sign because the various nations that existed then didn’t include Palestine.

            If the various groups of Arabs had agreed then “Palestinians” would be minorities in the various groups that border Israel, and as minorities in Arabic states they might even a lot worse off than they are now.

            And It wasn’t the side of the Palestinian Arabs who reside in that land and have just as much claim to it as Jews.

            The US isn’t going to sign onto a 2nd Holocaust, and with that written into the charter of one of the major sides it’s really tough to see why we’d back them. Or why we should.Report

            • Avatar Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
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              says:

              No one is asking anyone to sign on to a second holocaust. Even the PLO said it would back down from its stated declaration of wanting to destroy Israel if its demands for a nation were met.
              Jordan, Syria, and Egypt all recognize and support Israel’s right to exist. That’s over the top hyperbole designed to shut down actual conversation and debate. So thanks for that.

              We are not talking about Israel responding to aggression from outside its borders – this is a conversation about Israel taking lands from non-combatants by force because those people are not Jews, and thus apparently not deserving of living on or deriving sustenance form lands that they as individuals and as a collective people they have owned, used and occupied for generations. Lands Israel agreed were not its own when it signed the 1948 agreement, or the Egyptian peace accord or even the more recent agreements with the Palestinians.

              That aside I find it sad – predictably sad – that the defense of Israeli occupation and destruction is basically “the world didn’t defend Jews in Europe and so they can destroy whoever they want whenever they want.” If you really want mid eastern peace, Israel has to be held to account like everyone else.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                Jordan, Syria, and Egypt all recognize and support Israel’s right to exist.

                That is indeed progress. Now all we need is everyone else.

                That’s over the top hyperbole designed to shut down actual conversation and debate.

                Artical 7 of Hamas’ charter: The Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, ‘O Muslim, O servant of God, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas#Antisemitism_and_anti-Zionism

                There’s quite a bit more on that link (and the actual charter has a lot more that reads the same) with various members explaining that yes, it means what it says. It’s toxic enough that I’m not going to repeat it.

                Big picture there are two ways forward. First, some sort of land for peace deal with Israel/Palestine becoming normal countries with set boarders and so forth. The West backs this idea, sometimes Israel does, various other groups do.

                The 2nd way forward is Israel is destroyed and it’s people killed or whatever. This is backed by various organizations with guns and it’s been attempted several times. It’s also the theory behind the suicide bombings and so forth, i.e. if terrorized enough the Jews will flee.

                The backers of the first way often put on rose colored glasses and pretend the 2nd way doesn’t exist, or that it’s backers aren’t serious. However every time we’ve gotten serious about peace that 2nd way forward has been the rock that sinks peace plans because making peace with Israel would mean making peace with Israel. This was showcased for almost 40 years before the settlements became a thing.

                Obviously they don’t have the power to actually destroy Israel. Equally obviously it doesn’t take that many corpses to convince the locals they’re pretty serious. Further when look around the ME we see lots of examples that the rose colored glasses shouldn’t be on.

                If you really want mid eastern peace, Israel has to be held to account like everyone else.

                I am neither Arab nor Jew. If I had to live in the ME it would be as a minority, and BY FAR the safest/best place for me to do so would be Israel. I find it weird that we’re supposed to hold Israel up to some ethical standard which is a lot higher than any of it’s ME neightbors and doesn’t reflect it’s situation.

                And who is this “everyone else” who you’re “holding to account” in the ME? There’s a VERY long list of human rights abuses going on right now including multiple genocides. Israel is argubly the most ethical and restrained of the ME countries, certainly if we count corpses.

                “the world didn’t defend Jews in Europe and so they can destroy whoever they want whenever they want.”

                The Jews is Israel mostly don’t come from Europe. After the creation of Israel, the ME countries kicked out their Jews. It was a “leave or die” thing, very much the sort of thing you’re squeaking about now but on a larger scale. Those Jews in large part fled to Israel. That’s their current population.Report

  2. Avatar InMD
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    says:

    I actually don’t see this as a shift at all. The last time there were any consequences to Israel from the US for doing what they’ve been doing was the Bush I administration.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD
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      says:

      Trump turned what we do from “hypocritical” to “official policy” with the wave of a piece of paper.

      (Don’t just look at what this does for Israel today. Look at what this does to the President who comes after Trump.)Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Make him (or her) less hypocritical?

        Don’t get me wrong I disagree with it but if Trump has been good for anything on the foreign policy front it’s transparency on our actual positions. Maybe someone who disagrees can raise it as an issue and be accountable for doing something different, or not as the case may be.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD
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          says:

          Well, his successor will have to make a decision:

          1. Keep things the same.
          2. Change them back.

          (I assume that there isn’t a third way.)

          See also: The embassy moving to Jerusalem.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            I welcome that. My preference remains staying out entirely but at least support for total annexation by Israel, no more fig leaf about the peace process is something we can have an honest conversation about, including whether it’s really something the US tax payer should be funding.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to InMD
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              says:

              My preference remains staying out entirely but at least support for total annexation by Israel,

              Israel won’t do “total annexation”. Israel isn’t going to be forced to accept territory and people it doesn’t consider it’s own, especially if that means accepting internal terrorism from a population that despises it and has openly vowed to commit genocide on it’s people.

              If we assume Israel ever faces the choice between annexation and ending the occupation, then they’ll take what they want (i.e. formally decide what they have is what they’ll keep) and let the Palestinians sort themselves out with what’s left.

              There will be patches of land which no one really wants, maybe run by strong men, and we’ll see dysfunctional micro-states like Gaza is now.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to InMD
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          says:

          In diplomacy, ambiguity and speaking with double meaning is a good thing.

          Consider the Shanghai Communique in which a deliberately worded statement that “there is only one China and Taiwan is a part of China” allowed all three parties to be satisfied while they all understood the facts on the ground to be different.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            That assumes there is some sort of deal to be made involving us. There isn’t.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            allowed all three parties to be satisfied while they all understood the facts on the ground to be different.

            Years ago the company that runs/creates “Sesame Street” tried to set up a TV program that would have children from both sides playing on the same street. Sort of a Peace-101 for children. The adults kept coming back to the issue of “who owns the street the children are playing on”. Eventually the company had to create two different programs. The core problem is they don’t want peace. They don’t want even the concept of accepting the other side.

            Israel isn’t going to accept vague statements which will be interpreted by the other sides radicals as encouraging murder. They’re not going to sign up for their own destruction at some vague point in the future… even if the people who don’t have their lives on the line think that day will hopefully be put off indefinately.

            My high school teacher suggested we need a land saw to resolve this, to seperate them so they stop killing each other and creating fresh reasons to shed blood. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiTM2HQ0g98Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    DarkMatter and Saul have the right part of it. The main effect of this is that Israel is going to become an even more polarized topic outside Israel. The parts of the Left that see Israel as an “illegitimate white colonial settler” state are feeling very vindicated because of Trump’s political actions towards Israel for Evangelical benefit in the United States. They will put pressure on mainstream liberal and center left political parties to take an anti-Israeli stance.

    The people that use anti-Zionism to get away with anti-Semitism will feel emboldened to be even more anti-Semitic. Not only will they say that Israel is an illegitimate white colonial, settler state, they will say that the Jews are the most vile white people of all time. All of this will combine to put Diaspora Jews in a very tough spot. There will be pressure to completely abandon Israel. Anti-Semitic attacks will be ignored in the name of anti-Zionism. Divisions in the Jewish community will grow more stark.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq
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      says:

      I see this in conjunction with the slow moving collapse of American strategic position in the region, beginning with the Iraq War and continuing.

      From what I can see, on almost every measure the Likud/GOP alliance has made both nations weaker, more isolated and imperiled than before.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
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      says:

      I understand why Jews don’t see themselves as white. Europe, man. Jeez.

      I’m just not understanding why they should expect POCs to agree with them.

      It’s 2019.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to LeeEsq
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      says:

      I saw this UK poll a few days ago in which Labour voters were far more opposed to trading with Israel than China (and to a lesser extent this was true of LibDems). Apparently one of these countries has a questionable human rights record and controversial borders.

      https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2019/11/15/who-do-voters-want-trade-after-brexitReport

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to PD Shaw
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        says:

        IMO, the Left sees Israel as being more solvable than China because you are dealing with much smaller population population numbers. They also see Israel as being more artificial as an entity. So with just enough divestment, they believe Israel will cave and let the Palestinians go free or even cease to exist. China is seen as tougher demographically and having more of a history.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to LeeEsq
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          says:

          Oh please. Cut the Cr@p. No one affiliated seriously with the BDS movement wants Israel to cease to exist. No one wants Israel destroyed. And no one sees Israel as illegitimate colonizers. Israel is as legitimate a country as any created since then – unless you are arguing that all the nations created by eastern Europe’s recent splits and the various African nations fragmenting are also illegitimate.

          What we do see is Israel (primarily its Zionist elements) inflicting on Palestinian Arabs exactly the same type of biggoted secondary status and destructive seizures as were inflicted on European Jews. Part of the reason the West Bank and Gaza are the way they are is because Israel has forced them to become modern day Ghettos. Add in Israel’s penchant for illegally taking land belonging to non-Israelis by force, and its no wonder the Palestinians engage in terrorism. They have no less right to exist then the Jewish Israel, and Jewish Israel has no more right to exist then they do. continuously bulldozing olive groves and houses to drive people out is never good optics, and even the legitimate Arab nation states in the region who have time and again affirmed Israel’s right to exist are weary of those tactics.

          And the US does no favors by spouting off all the time about not picking regional winners but funding significant portions of Israel’s defense force as well as propping up dictatorial regimes in Saudi Arabia (and all in the name of cheaper oil).Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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            says:

            I admit: I *ADORE* seeing “Nobody is arguing X!” opinions out in the wild.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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            says:

            No one affiliated seriously with the BDS movement wants Israel to cease to exist.

            No, they don’t want Israel to stop existing, but what they do want has no relation to the reality where Israel lives. The reality is Israel pulled out of Gaza and things got worse, not better. The reality is Israel has to measure peace plans and relations with the Palestinians by the number of dead or terrorized Jews it’s expected to create.Report

  4. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    says:

    On a completely related note:
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/china-signs-defense-agreement-south-005403276.html

    South Korea signed a defense agreement with China, in a sign of fraying ties to the US.

    As I said before, if I were a Taiwanese or Israeli I would be looking for my passport. The US is no longer a reliable ally.Report

  5. Avatar North
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    says:

    Ugh, it’s a terrible policy inasmuch as it’s enabling the Israeli’s to indulge in their worst impulses. Much like sitting next to an alcoholic friend and handing the bottle after bottle of cheap brandy. If the Palestinians ever get a clue and decide to dump their demands for a state and simply demand representation in the state that they currently live in instead the Israelis are gonna be in shit deep.

    But at least Bibi is getting a payoff for his naked attempts to turn Israel into a partisan issue.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
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      says:

      The Israelis won’t have a problem. The Palestinians are future doctors who will take care of their children, future teachers for these kids, and future wives and husbands for these Israeli children to date.

      There’s a lot of human capital being underutilized! The GDP of the new normal would jump 35% overnight.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Oh, certainly, potentially anyhow, but the Jewish character of the new normal would drop 35% overnight too and since that margin encompasses the existing margin between Jewish and non-Jewish Israelis that’d cause major heartburn for them. Especially as the new majority might not be down with the idea of their home being a Jewish ethno-state.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
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          It’s hard to believe that ethnostates are still a thing. We’re a month and change away from being able to say that it’s 2020.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            Ethnostates are and will remain the norm for the foreseeable future in the old world. Arguably the fall of communism has only accelerated the process, including in the ME. I don’t begrudge the Israelis wanting theirs but they need to decide what they’re going to be and accept whatever the consequences of that decision are. All we’ve done is allowed them to have their cake and eat it too while providing the Palestinians the perfect excuse to radicalize.

            The sooner we get to a place where it ain’t our phone ringing when these people want to talk the better.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to InMD
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              says:

              What InMD said.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to InMD
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              says:

              All we’ve done is allowed them to have their cake and eat it too while providing the Palestinians the perfect excuse to radicalize.

              Without the US, Israel is a regional powerhouse which doesn’t need to answer to a foreign master. I don’t see why they’d be less brutal and more willing to be killed by their fellows. My expectation is they’d have to up their level of brutality, a lot, to stay where they are because they’d have fewer resources and less reason to hold back. My other expectation is from their point of view that would be the lesser evil compared to the alternatives.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Well the Israelis have a lot of reason to hold back- they’re a tiny nation parked on a modest square of desert land. They are entirely dependent on foreign exchange. If the Israeli’s, say, ethnically cleansed the West Bank and drove the Palestinians with much slaughter into Jordan and the EU and the rest of the West actually embargoed them they’d be in pretty rough shape really fast. I wouldn’t say they’d be wiped out but they’d be in a real pickle.

                That’s why the Israelis are so twitchy about the whole BDS movement even setting aside the naked antisemitism of the current BDS movement.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to North
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                Our examples on the ground are Libya and Sryia.

                There is a world of difference between “the Israelies lose some of their quality of life and GDP” and “the Palestinians are better off”. What Israel is doing to the Palestinians is expensive, the alternatives are cheaper but worse.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                I dunno, dragging their settler nuts out of the West Bank and doing a Gaza with it would probably be cheaper and better and would secure the country for the foreseeable future. But that’d involve taking on their own people which is never fun.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to North
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                But that’d involve taking on their own people which is never fun.

                That’s 400k out of 8.7 million (6.6 million Jews).

                It’d be roughly the same as us deciding we need to hand New York State over to the American Indians and we’re going to need to force a population move.

                Stalin could force something like that on Poland after WW2 at gun point, a democracy probably can’t do that to their own people.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
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                That’s 400k out of 8.7 million

                So 4.6% of the population is being appeased by violent oppression and illegal land taking. Thats like oh, I don’t know, a right wing political party ditching the Constitution in favor of authoritarianism because 27% of voters voted for the President representing that approach to government.

                In other words minority rule.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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                So 4.6% of the population is being appeased by violent oppression and illegal land taking.

                IMHO Israel is poorly served by it’s governmental system because it’s very easy for 5% of the vote to end up “king maker” for the rest of the system. That 5% cares deeply about the settlements, huge amounts of the rest of Israel doesn’t.

                However the big driver for this is the lack of any good alternatives. The Arabs don’t want peace, they want a war where they win. This long predates the settlers. Israel standing up to the settlers for peace is hard but they’ve occasionally been willing to do so. Gaza and Clinton’s Peace Accord’s offer are examples.

                Israel could stand up to the settlers for peace. They can’t stand up to the settlers so terrorists can build a country/powerbase that will still be at war with Israel.

                The Palestinians have done a good job of convincing Israel that they’re serious about accepting no solution less than the destruction of Israel. That nothing is going to make them happy. From Israel’s point of view, since there are no solutions that lead to peace the Palestinians might as well be unhappy with less. That makes the 5% happy and the unhappy groups already wanted everyone dead so whatever.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Dark Matter
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                I never said they’d cease to exist as a country without us. Like you say they would still have the strongest conventional military in the region plus a nuclear deterrent. What we do is shield them from the natural diplomatic consequences of their actions. Because of us they’re allowed to be both nominal Western democracy with normal trade relations and a high standard of living but also a sponsor of radical religious fanatics engaged in brutish sectarian civil war over territory.

                This is what I mean when I say that if we didn’t run cover for them they would eventually have to chose. Like many of our engagements in the ME our presence stymies the forces that might actually push the conflict to some conclusion. As long as Tel Aviv doesn’t have to sacrifice whiskey and sexy for Hebron to get its weapons there’s no reason to compromise and the Palestinians get the perfect excuse to elect Hamas.

                And hey maybe they’d be able to swing it so that they’d have it all anyway. If that’s the case then, well good for them. But they know without us the possibility of becoming South Africa is very real. Suddenly they’d have to either find a way to make an accommodation or start forcing the rich, liberal, and secular parts of the country to make some trade offs for the ambitions of the settlers. Which again, all their call, and none of our business.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to InMD
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                says:

                As long as Tel Aviv doesn’t have to sacrifice whiskey and sexy for Hebron to get its weapons there’s no reason to compromise…

                What “compromise” is Israel running away from? Land for peace was offered and rejected.

                The bulk of the problem comes from the things they can’t compromise on.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to InMD
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                Because of us they’re allowed to be both nominal Western democracy with normal trade relations and a high standard of living but also a sponsor of radical religious fanatics engaged in brutish sectarian civil war over territory.

                IMHO the settlers are small beer. What they’re doing is nasty and not helpful, but the overall situation is so bad it probably doesn’t actually hurt either. Wave a magic wand and retroactively erase them from history and we’d still have the same problems, more or less to the same degree.

                To satisfy the people who are convinced peace is workable, i.e. the ones pointing to the settlers as the core problem, we could have another round of “let’s make peace with the Palestinians, oops, they’re serious about wanting to destroy Israel”. It’s been a decade or two since we’ve done that so maybe it’s time again.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Dark Matter
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                I don’t care if peace is workable, and if it is it won’t involve US brokering.

                If the Israelis feel it’s in their interest to ethnically cleanse the occupied territories or take all the good areas and leave the Palestinians with a bunch of Bantustans incapable of self sufficiency that’s up to them. But they shouldn’t be allowed to do it with American loans, aid, weapons, and protection in international bodies where the US has a seat at the table. This is literally all I care about, not having anything to do with it.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            Not been paying attention to Europe lately? Catalonia and Scotland come to mind quickly. Then there’s Northern Ireland, where they may go back to shooting over which ethno- they’re going to be.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
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            Poland has a lot of Poles, to the point of being mono-cultural. The laws are set up so it’s impossible for me to get married to a Pole in Poland without me making a serious effort to prove I’m going to become a Pole myself. Which is to say “impossible for me to get married in Poland”.

            Most of the countries we’d hold up as examples on how to behave (i.e. high-trust) are actually mono-cultural ethnostates under the surface.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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            Not playing this game.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
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              says:

              Think that’ll be sustainable over the long term?

              I mean, it’s one thing to silence the people on the right by pointing out that neo-Nazis also want the US to be an ethnostate and they bring up Israel and they’re neo-Nazis.

              I’m not sure that the people on the left who are comparing Israel’s relationship with the Occupied Territories to Apartheid South Africa will be particularly swayed by the threat of being compared to neo-Nazis.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    The context here is that no one has been able to form a coalition government in Israel and the country is looking at round 3 of elections.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw
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      The other context is that the Israeli Left entirely collapsed after the wave of suicide bombings that racked Israel in the late 1990s and early aughts. The average Israeli believes that the suicide bombings stopped only because Israel took a glove comes off approach after Hamas released a barrage of missiles after the Gaza withdrawal and negotiating with the Palestinians will lead to nothing.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        That country is NOT well served by their election system. Letting fringe parties play kingmaker is why the settlers got big, and there are other issues.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        The average Israeli believes… negotiating with the Palestinians will lead to nothing.

        The better proof was Clinton’s peace conference. Arafat was offered a country if he’d make peace, he said “no” without making a counter offer.

        The problem from Arafat’s point of view was peace with Israel meant he’d be killed. He’d have to be point man in telling the descendants of the refugees that they’d their lives on hold for generations for no reason. That Israel isn’t going to be destroyed, it’s going to be accepted. Up until then he’d been promising everyone everything, and that included that all the refugees would go home, which is impossible unless Israel is destroyed and it’s people killed or driven away.

        We’re stuck on the question of whether or not the Jews get a country.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Dark Matter
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          says:

          No we’re not, that was answered definitively in the early Aughts when the Israelis slapped the intafida down. The live question is what to do with all the Palestinians the Jews displaced while making their country, how much more land the Jewish state gets to take and if it also has to take the people who are on that land.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to North
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            says:

            The live question is what to do with all the Palestinians the Jews displaced while making their country

            Stop treating their children and grandchildren and great-grandchild as “Palestinians the Jews displaced” and the problem goes away. We don’t do this for any other conflict, and for good reason.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Dark Matter
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              says:

              Eh, I’m talking about the ones living in the area Israel is working on taking right now more than their refugee descendants in other countries. If the Arab nations were anything but the dysfunctional disasters they are the Palestinian refugees in those countries would have been absorbed long ago.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Think Bibi will be able to pull it back out again if it goes to a third election? Even with a corruption charge on the books?Report

  7. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    Does ANYBODY actually thing the Israeli / Palestine “problem” will end any other way than a massive number of once side dying? If you do, you’re a fool. This is one of the reasons genocide continues down through humanity’s history….it works.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Damon
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      says:

      A massive number of one side has already died. And it hasn’t solved anything. It has emboldened the other side to continue killing and taking whats not thiers.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        A massive number of one side has already died.

        “A massive number”? How many civilians has Israel killed this year if we exclude it’s semi-perm war against terrorism?

        BTW, let’s look at Israel’s neighbor.

        In the last 8 years in Syria, starting with a population of 21 million they’ve had roughly half a million dead (2%), 6 million displaced (30%), and another 5.5 million refugees (26%). That includes thousands of people tortured to death by the authorities.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Dark Matter
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          says:

          And even if we narrow the focus to just Palestine, one of the wiki articles I read said a thousand people have been tortured to death (and more killed) in the Palestinian vs. Palestinian Fatah–Hamas conflict (sources differ, some say an order of mag less). I was surprised I hadn’t heard of this but I guess business as usual isn’t really news.

          But there could very easily be a lot more corpses on the ground from internal Palestinian politics than from anything to do with Israel.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Dark Matter
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            says:

            In 2019 it looks like the Palestinian deaths were 131 – 2 girls, 7 women, 24 boys, and 98 men.

            UN data on casualties, which has all kinds of nifty features to click on.

            Given a Palestinian population of 4.685 million, 131 would represent a “homicide” rate of 2.80 per 100,000. If all they had to worry about was getting killed by the IDF, that would rank them somewhere between Wisconsin and North Dakota as violent places to live.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to George Turner
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              says:

              Really good link George.

              For everyone else, that link is all Palestinians dead by Israel but attempts to exclude combatants.

              There have been 5,556 fatalities total since 2008. 44 were settler related. The bulk of the fatalities are during the wars.

              Their definition of “boy” is “18 years old or under” which is not great. The other thing that stands out is the lack of female corpses. It’s not quite a 90/10 split but whatever. Which implies these numbers overstate the number of non-combatants.

              These sorts of statistics, especially compared to basically anything going on in the ME… like the hundreds or thousands of people dead/tortured in the Palestinian’s internal politics, make me question why Israel is being held up as the big worst guy in the room.

              Edit: And the bulk of the deaths is from “air launched explosives”, which lines up with the whole “war” thing.Report

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