Israel & Palestine II: Hope at last?

In this post:

I felt there were some very useful things in the site that Spook linked to (English version at: ) so I looked for the thread Fred was referring to. I found that the appropriate thread: … ght=israel was locked and that there was no continuation, so I’m continuing here. (There was another thread which had a lot of discussion about Israel and Palestine as well as many other issues: I felt that that thread was too broad in scope and in addition had a prejudicial title which I felt inappropriate to the subject I wanted to address.)

I must first say that I wish Israel and the Israeli people peace and happiness. I have for some time believed that some of the actions of the Israeli government have been harmful to the interests of the Israeli people. That is why I was very happy to read the site that Spook linked to.

Soldiers and officers in elite and normal units of the Israeli army and air force, many with combat experience, are part of a movement that refuses to serve in the occupied territories. They are making this stand because they believe that the type of actions that the Israeli government often orders the military to do there are illegal, against basic human morality and contradict the “values that lie at the foundation of the state of Israel”.

Moreover, such actions harm Israel’s strategic interests and damage security;
[i]"the activities we are told to carry out are immoral and have nothing to do with Israel

good post, joesax. the bottom line is that both sides in the quagmire are stuck in their respective isms and cannot get out. this has been going on since 1926. 1949. 1967.2004. it will never get better.

not until a peacemaker emerges on both camps. maybe another generation after Sharon and Arafat are long dead. it takes a village to make peace. so far there are just “enemy camps”

but your post is good. too bad we cannot influence the debate. in the end, it the people who live there, God damn them all for being so stubborn, Jews and Arabs alike, who have to take the final step.

won’t happen. not in our lifetimes.

Let’s hope that this proves as inaccurate as your other predictions.
I really have no idea about the chances for peace. It depends on so many things. But when a grassroots movement like this starts, formed by people who really know what they are talking about, whose loyalty to their people is impeccable and who are willing to go to prison for their stand, one would hope that somebody in power would listen.

I hope so too, Joesax. but by very definition, people in POWER do not listen to the grassroots. never. let me be wrong before i die.

:really: By whose definition? What are you talking about? :?

maoman, you just love to argue, don’t you? and here we are talking about peace.

If i say X plus Y equals Z, and you read that I posted such a formula, you will reposte ASAP and say: “Oh yeh? X plus Y equals Z? Who says? What ARE you talking about?”

That does not a discussion make, Maoman. You read my comment about people in power, just add your yours. be constructive. Stop always being so destructive. Sheesh. What’s YOUR take on the Mid East crisis? Leave formosa out of this.

Strange we cannot find any “disaffected” Palestinian voices, eh? Oh that’s right, they get their throats cut at night for “collaborating” with Israel. Meanwhile, there are entire parties and organizations in Israel that support these peace intiatives with Palestine. That said, I am very sympathetic to Joe Sax’s concerns but one must be careful not to be a “well-intentioned” critic.

Problem: The Palestine Authority is under the control of a gangster/terrorist/thug: Yassir Arafat. No reform is possible. No independent media coverage of Palestine is possible or your news organization loses its license or your reporters get roughed up. Talk peace until the cows come home but until the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist… and I believe that Israel as a democracy which respects human rights is fully cognizant of the problems of being an “occupying” power, hence the wall. I think it is a good idea and one long overdue. This will finally give the Palestinians their own homeland, nation, whatever they want to call it. But after losing four to five wars that they have started, guess what like others they are going to lose some territory. Without a peace treaty, Israel will need to take over land for its national security. Most of this is expected to be along the Jordan River valley which is empty of people. It is desert. Also, why is it that Jews are not allowed to live on the West Bank but 1 million Arabs are granted Israeli citizenship and have 11 members of the Knesset?

Also, I am curious about this whole Temple Mount thing. This is the holiest site to the Jews and also the third holiest site to the Muslims, though of course the holiness of said site has been fairly recent for the Muslims when the political aspects came into play.

What if the Ethiopians would conquer Saudi Arabia and build a church in the Kaaba. Would we be talking about splitting that site between two groups? What about if the Egyptians ruled Rome and built a mosque in St. Peter’s Square, would Catholics be willing to split the site? What if Mexicans became the majority in LA (whoops they already have) and decided to split the city between Mexico and the US? Would Americans allow it? Just curious. On this I don’t really want to venture too much of an opinion. I would merely point out that:

If Palestine (then known only as Arabs) had defeated the Jews, I believe that all Jews would have been killed or expelled. This did not happen with the Palestinians.

If the Arabs ruled over the Jews, there would be no media coverage of the massive killings of Jews that would ensue. There would be no journalist entering the Tel Aviv camps to ask the Jews what they thought of the Palestinian occupation.

So while I sympathize with the Palestinians, these are not two equal groups fighting it out. One is a democracy that allows dissension and media coverage and scrutiny of its actions and activities and its decision-making process is open to public scrutiny. It is a system of courts, laws and rights.

The other is a corrupt dictator that allows no dissent, has no respect for human rights, repeatedly threatens media organizations and pressures them to slant their coverage: Remember the great Jenin Massacre of 52 (32 of which were militants, the others killed by terrorist pipe bombs rather than Israeli bullets). So before we all start wailing about peace, it is not always the highest good. That’s like saying there should be no crime prevention when one is a mugger and the other is an innocent pedestrian since both sides need to have dialogue about the problem. All funding should be cut off to Arafat. If nothing else, it may not stop the terrorism but it would keep him from adding another US$1 billion to his personal fortune. Talk about building palaces while your people “suffer” Saddam style.

Fred, I agree with some of your points and not with others, but my post- and the website I quoted- are focussed on a particular point; that is the belief that serving in the occupied territories necessarily entails performing illegal activities which are not only immoral but also threaten the security of Israel. You haven’t really addressed that. Indeed, with your view that ‘peace is not always the highest good’ you imply that the security of Israel and the lives of the people there are not so important.

If you think those soldiers and pilots were ‘wailing’ about peace then perhaps you should consider their service records and the fact that the younger pilots who had lost their positions wanted to return to active service.

Your analogy with a mugger and a pedestrian is inappropriate: see the points in my post above. Above this is the fact that innocent people from whatever group are not responsible for the actions of fanatics or radicals and should not be punished for the same. We are in agreement on the harm and suffering caused by Palestinian fanatics, but it seems that many Israeli politicians are also rather radical in going against the will of those they represent; “For years a large, stable majority of the Israeli public has supported the evacuation of the settlements.” (From the FAQ page linked above).

Remember that the members of that movement are no strangers to combat: nobody could accuse them of being cowards. They are not ignorant or stupid - many were officers. And they are certainly patriots. They say that ceasing the occupation will be better for Israel. Not a cure-all, but better:
"We do not claim that leaving the territories will magically bring an end to the conflict, but it is preferable by far to staying there, because our being there fuels the hatred

Joe Sax:

I am always loath to get involved in discussions of Israel, but will attempt to address your points. Yes, there are innocents on both sides, but there is no way that you can equate both governments as being morally equal. I agree that they (the soliders you mentioned) were required to perform immoral acts as individuals which is a problem given the morality of the “grand scheme” of things, i.e. protecting the Israeli democracy from the gangsta thugs of the Palestinian Authority. It is a very difficult problem that far greater minds than ours have tried to solve. For this reason, I support Israel’s policy of building the defensive wall and separating the two once and for all. The Palestinians f***ed up big time when they refused the 97 percent offer of the West Bank offered at Oslo. To me, this indicates that the Palestinian Authority is not truly interested in peace but in taking ALL of Israel as well. Naturally, Sharon and the majority of Israelis recognized this and have sought to ensure their defense. Who can fault them here? So Palestine will lose some territory and this is not nice but an international norm when parties start wars and lose them. I expect that the entire Jordan Valley will be lost because of this. Again, however, except for the 30,000 in Jericho, it is essentially unpopulated and necessary to Israel’s defense. Hence, I strongly suspect that it will be taken from the Palestinians.

I would still ask however why Jews cannot live in peace and safety in the West Bank. Why is it this area must be free of Jews while 1 million plus Arabs can live and vote in Israel? That is the crux of the matter. And no, I do not support the settlements, etc. but… that is a minor issue that could have been resolved under the Oslo Accords. Some Palestinians say that the accords fell apart because Sharon visited the Temple Mount. This is the holiest site in the world to Jews and he should not be allowed to visit because it might offend Palestinian sensibilities. Seems to be a bit of a double standard again.


Jewish people should have the right to live in peace and security in the Occupied Territories. It should be as equals though and not as ‘settlers.’ I doubt if George Bush would allow a group of well-armed Mexican ‘settlers’ to live in peace and security in Texas if they showed up one day to avenge the Alamo and re-take the land.

Would you have accepted the future that was offered the Palestinian people if it was offered to you?

To me it’s profoundly ironic that the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave would insist anyone else live as second-class citizens with marginal sovereignty over their own lives and be grateful for it.

One thing to consider is that the process of dehumanization makes it extremely difficult to put yourself in the other person’s place. Dehumanization is the primary modus operandi of evildoers throughout history, which is the reason they’re able to live such schizophrenic lives in which they love their children, treat animals well and still grind innocents beneath their boots.

By the UN treaty, all of Palestine was to be open to Jewish settlement including the West Bank and Gaza Strip. What would happen to those Jews if not in armed settlements. Even when hiking they are frequently murdered. Compare this with the full safety and rights that Arab citizens of Israel enjoy.

Now I understand that the occupation is difficult but who would you blame for the lack of progress in Oslo? Israel? That was the final straw for me. When I saw what the Palestinians had been offered and how they took what Israel offered and then wanted to use this as the MINIMUM that they would ask Israel for, I realized that they were not negotiating in good faith and my concern for the Palestinian cause evaporated overnight. They are on their own. Like the Germans under Hitler, the Italians under Mussolini and the Iraqis under Saddam they will suffer because they have a shitty government, but because they do, must we also require that Israel compromise its safety ala Czechoslavakia when it “negotiated” a settlement with regard to the Sudentenland? Appeasing gangsters like Yassir Arafat only encourage them to ask for more. I believe that is what happened with regard to Oslo and while I am signing off on this issue, I say Israel can do what it sees fit to guarantee its security. I mean we Americans can hardly fight our war on terror and then expect Israel to “negotiate” with the same type of terrorists?

Finally, the immorality of maintaining the occupation pales in comparison with the murderous celebration of terrorism among all sectors of society in Palestine. The whole society is sick. When I see Israelis blowing up civilian targets then I may believe that they are morally equivalent. Until then, the Palestinian psyche is sick and this obsession with proud mothers sending sons off to become martyrs must end.

Where shall we start? How about here:


The very fact that you have to go back almost 60 years ago to July 1946 to find one group of Jews blowing up a hotel proves your point poorly. But soldier on. In the meantime, shall we also draw up a list of Palestinian terrorist activities in say the last 60 days. Oh, I don’t know but what kind of results do you suppose we might find?

Jews 1 Palestinians 1,500?

From today’s National Review ( a Conservative Daily.

Hatred of Israel is the most striking symptom of the Western disease. On the face of it the dilemma there is a no-brainer for any classic liberal: A consensual government is besieged by fanatical suicide killers who are subsidized and cheered on by many dictators in the Arab world. The bombers share the same barbaric methods as Chechens, the 9/11 murderers, al Qaedists in Turkey, and what we now see in Iraq.

Indeed, the liberal Europeans should love Israel, whose social and cultural institutions

We all know where the Roadmap for Public Consumption leads. Can you give us a hint where the real roadmap leads to?

The real roadmap to peace would involve all funding being cut off to the Palestinian Authority. ALL money. Europe in particular will stop having to play these games of moral equivalence whereby Israel is tarred and feathered and a gangster like Arafat is feted when he visits, kissed on both cheeks (and in some cases should I say all four? especially when he visits Chirac and de Villepin?) but this is not surprising giving Mugabe’s warm welcome in France. Why is it that the Europeans seem to be most supportive of regimes that are counter to all their stated goals and values while condemning those that are very good albeit not perfect? Must have something to do with all the Fascism, Naziism and Communism that reigned supreme for so much of Europe’s 20th century. Must be in the blood. Freedom is alien to European thought? I don’t know.

Then, there would have to be recognition that Jews have supreme right to Jerusalem as their holiest city, especially Temple Mount or the Muslims can be forced to open the Kaaba to tourists. Whatever.

Second, the Palestinian Authority must be forced (call it led if you will ala Iraq) to open, democratic processes that are based on rule of law. Until there is any kind of rule of law in Palestine, there is little chance that the government will be anything more than a ganster, inc. institution that it is now.

Third, this hatred this sick terrorist mentality is going to take a generation to eradicate. It is going to be a long hard process. The Palestinians truly are sick. They have had hate preached to them nonstop for 55 years. It will take time to remove this evil from their hearts. I guess if the Germans could do it after their sick experiment with evil then the Palestinians can too?

Is this a roadmap to a solution? It seems more like a one-sided list of demands.

Viewing the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its possible solutions entirely throught prism of terrorism makes as much sense as viewing the entire Iraqi people and the future of Iraq solely in terms of the acts of Baathist and fedayeen terrorism.

Too limited, too one-sided, too destined to failure.

Sorry Spook:

I believe that the Palestinians need to have it driven home to them that Israel is not going anywhere, that they have lost four or five wars that they started and that they are lucky to have anything left of the West Bank or Gaza Strip at all. Given that the site was important to the Jews first and foremost, then they should be allowed access to Temple Mount but only in the context that it is a favor that the Jews are allowing them not that they have the right and certainly not the right to deny Jews access to the site.

Sorry but I do not see anyone whining about the unfairness of Germany losing Prussia, Pomerania, or Silesia, claiming that it was all Hitler and the Nazis, nor do I hear squealing about how Cyprus is being occupied by Turkey nor Lebanon by Syria, nor Tibet by China, nor the Kuril Islands by Russia not Transylvania by the Romanians nor Constantinople and Smyrna by the Turks so what makes this conflict so worthy of outrage? I personally do not care one way or another, but I detect a strong amount of moral equivalence with regard to Israel and its status, and that is why I am engaging in a debate that given its complex religious and political overtones, I would prefer to leave alone. I think I may do that now. Have a great new years.

I understand your reluctance to just bang on each other for the next six months in partisan, rigid fashion and get nowhere. I always hold out the hope though there’s some common ground to be discovered which can be built on. It mystifies me to this day why I have so much trouble finding some mutal agreement concerning the Middle East with people who grew up in the same value system that I did.

You ask why focus on Israel and not Tibet, Cyprus, Lebanon etc.

For two reasons. One, as an American citizen I bear direct moral responsibility for Israel’s actions in the Occupied Territories because the US provides enabling money, munitions and moral support for Israel’s actions. I don’t have such moral culpability for Turkey’s, Syria’s or China’s actions. The other reason is that Israel’s undiminished expansionism is much more destabilizing and dangerous in the Middle East than Syria’s occupation of Lebanon, Turkey’s occupation of Cyprus, or China’s occupation of Tibet.

Are those occupations wrong? Unequivocably yes. It’s nigh impossible to use the bully pulpit to get China out of Tibet though while we’re bankrolling the removal of the Palestinian people from ‘Samaria’ and ‘Judea’ and the influx of our own ‘Han settlers.’ I know because on my many visits to China, whenever I broach the subject of Xinjuang or Tibet, Palestine gets thrown in my face. Since I’m not good at talking out of both sides of my mouth I’ve decided to focus on getting my own house in order first before trying to lecture anyone else about the state of theirs.


Damn it. You sucked me in again. The US is not morally responsible for the Middle Eastern mess ala France and UK. Also the precious UN was involved to a far greater degree and where are the criticisms there?

We give billions to Israel, but also billions to Egypt, the Palestinians (aid, charitable) and Jordan among other Arab States. Where’s the balance? What’s the big deal?

Again, there is a very big difference between the Israeli occupation of the West Bank after three or four invasion attempts by an enemy nation bent on killing every Jew/Israeli and China’s occupation of Tibet, Turkey’s occupation of Cyprus and Syria’s occupation of Lebanon. Can you not see the difference?