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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:59 AM
Original message
The Green Line is the border
With one stroke of a pen, Education Minister Yuli Tamir managed to restore to the public agenda the basic question that should not have been marginalized in the first place on the validity, significance and legitimacy of the Green Line. The decision is an ideological one, as was the decision to erase the 1949 cease-fire line from textbooks.

---

A country needs recognized and agreed-upon borders, and in their absence, it would be sentenced to generations of war. One of the sources of the disasters that befell Europe in the 20th century is the 100-year war for political and cultural reunification of Germany, which ended in the strongest country in the heart of the continent not having borders it considered final.

---

From its inception, the Jewish nationalist movement was guided by the feeling that the earth was burning beneath its feet. In order to save as many people as possible it was necessary to conquer the land. Building a national home and establishing independence served this basic goal, and until 1967 it was proved possible to achieve all the Zionist goals within borders that existed until then. There was no need to move eastward: The territories are a burden, a moral, political and financial millstone around the neck of Israeli society.

The disengagement from Gaza showed most Israelis shared this opinion. And in spite of the personal pain they felt over the expulsion of people from their homes, the majority understood that the occupation is unnecessary and unjust. Who knows this as well as the education minister? She is working within her province to implement principles and policies for which she was elected. If only the same could be said of the entire government.

Haaretz
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Tom Joad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:03 AM
Response to Original message
1. Israel has a border? But if the border is the Green line...why does the
Wall stray miles from that... and annex Palestinian land into Israel? Why are tens thousands of Israelis on the Palestinian side of the Green Line, living under Israeli sovereignty?
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furman Donating Member (363 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:03 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. The Green Line is not an official border
The Green Line an armistice line denoting the approximate positions
of the military as of the conclusion of the Israeli War of Independence of 1948.
This war was started by the neighboring Arab countries when they refused to accept the
UN Partition resolution of 1947 and the presence of a Jewish state in the region.

When provoked into another war in 1967, Israel conquered all of the West Bank and Gaza.
Israel therefore has control of the territories until a negotiated
final settlement with official defensible borders is completed.

UN Resolution 242 calls for "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict".
Note that the wording does not say "the territories", or "all of the territories".
The wording was meant to be ambiguous because it was well-known that the 1949 armistice line is not considered defensible.
Final borders are to be negotiated in the final stages of a peace settlement.

And why shouldn't Jews be allowed to live anywhere they want?
To insist on expelling Jews from the disputed territories would be considered racist.
The number of Jews in the West Bank is a very low percentage (10-15% I believe?) of the total population.

Israel has not annexed any "Palestinian land".
The security fence is meant to be a temporary measure until a final settlement is negotiated.
Israel has given back land and changed borders in the past and they are willing to do it again for genuine peace.

The problem has been with the Arabs and Palestinians, who have never been interested in a true peace with their own state.
Their leaders use the call for a Palestinian state as a propagandist ruse for their real goal, which is the expulsion of the Jews from Israel and the establishment of a single Arab state consisting of the disputed territories and Israel proper.

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Tom Joad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. why shouldn't Palestinians be allowed to live anywhere they want?
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furman Donating Member (363 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I can't answer for the Arab countries who don't want them
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 02:46 PM by furman
but as for Israel, they want to retain their Jewish character, so need to limit its quota of non-Jewish citizens.

Similar immigration policies exist in almost every single country in the world, especially in the twenty-one states where Islam is the official religion.

Even the Catholics have their own state, the Vatican. The Pope is their theocratic leader.

In Israel, there is no official state religion. People have freedom to observe any religion.

Perhaps the Arab countries don't want to take in Palestinians because the refugee situation and the "Right of Return" serve as a festering sore to advance their cause of demonization against Israel.
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UndertheOcean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Yeah , like the immigration quotas implemented by the US at the dawn of the 20th century , quotas ..
that ensure that the majority of immigrants are white Europeans ..I get your drift.

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nicoll Donating Member (76 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. How can you get it so wrong
Has the magistrate pointed out it is against international law for Israel to built settlements on the occupied territories. You seem to think this is okay, but what if the boot was on the other foot and the arabs had come out on top in the 1967 war. The green line was still there, but because the arab countries had superior military strength they had gradually moved Palestinians onto Jewish land. So much so that over 500,000 were residing on Jewish land and they had complete control of Jerusalem. Would you still say that it was racist to want the arab population to go back to arab land, or would you say that it was fine. The thing is because you are justifying the right of Israel to settle its citizens on the occupied territories it means that you are setting a bench mark for any future conflicts between Jews and Arabs. You have to follow international law in this other wise you just have the rule of who ever is the strongest military country in the region. The state of Israel has been around in its present recognized size for almost 40 years and Israel is stronger than its arab neighbors at the moment, but what about in the year 2067, 3067.

Israel has to look at the long term. There is a strong possibility that in the year 2067 that arab countries could be stronger than Israel militarily, or at least the same level and have nukes. Israel has to stop the rot now and start to follow international law to have any chance of peace in the region. It may be hard now to do this, but in the long term it is the best option for future security of Israel in the Middle East. When ever I have looked at the conflict I always remember that there was a massive gap of well over a thousand years between old Israel and Israel at the moment. Forty years is peanuts in comparison to this and always makes me look at what it will be like in another hundred years or more. What is needed is stability, peace and Israel to make those hard choices now to be able to achieve them both in the Middle East in the future.
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Phx_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:16 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. Funny that in your post you don't mention
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 11:22 AM by Phx_Dem
any "hard choices" the Palestinians need to make. Why is that?

FYI--despite what others may think, most of the settlements are legal.

Article 6 of the Mandate:
"The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands not required for public use"
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. The Mandate, Sir, Lapsed In '47
The operative body of law is now the Geneva conventions, under which it is a violation for a country to move its people onto occuppied territory. It is also a violation of the customary usages governing military occupation for the occupying authority to seize land save as necessary for the immediate security of its occupying forces, and a violation for it to upset existing titles and ownership: both these things lie behind most establishment of settlements in the lands over-run in '67.
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Phx_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #14
30. Professor Stone disagrees with your assessment
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 03:37 PM by Phx_Dem
It is often claimed that settlement by Jews in the administered territories is in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Professor Stone was the author of the treatise Legal Controls of International Conflict, which included an extensive commentary on the Geneva Conventions. Here he discusses their applicability in the Territories.

Perhaps the central current criticism against the government of Israel in relation to its administration of the territories occupied after the 1967 War concerns its alleged infractions of the final paragraph (6) of Article 49, of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of August 12, 1949. The preceding paragraphs deal with deportation or transfer of a population out of the occupied territory. The final paragraph (6) reads as follows. "The occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into territory it occupies."

It has been shown that there are solid grounds in international law for denying any sovereign title to Jordan in the West Bank, and therefore any rights as reversioner state under the law of belligerent occupation

Not only does Jordan lack any legal title to the territories concerned, but the Convention itself does not by its terms apply to these territories. For, under Article 2, the Convention applies to cases of occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, by another such Party. Insofar as the West Bank at present held by Israel does not belong to any other State, the Convention would not seem to apply to it at all. This is a technical, though rather decisive, legal point.

It is also important to observe, however, that even if that point is set aside, the claim that Article 49 of the convention forbids the settlement of Jews in the West Bank is difficult to sustain.

It is clear that in the drafting history, Article 49 as a whole was directed against the heinous practice of the Nazi regime during the Nazi occupation of Europe in World War II, of forcibly transporting populations of which it wished to rid itself, into or out of occupied territories for the purpose of liquidating them with minimum disturbance
15
of its metropolitan territory, or to provide slave labour or for other inhumane purposes. The genocidal objectives, of which Article 49 was concerned to prevent future repetitions against other peoples, were in part conceived by the Nazi authorities as a means of ridding their Nazi occupant's metropolitan territory of Jews - of making it, in Nazi terms, judenrein. Such practices were, of course, prominent among the offences tried by war crimes tribunals after World War II.
If and insofar, therefore, as Israel's position in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) is merely that of an occupying power, Article 49 would forbid deportation or transfer of its own population onto the West Bank whenever this action has consequence of serving as a means of either
(1) impairment of the economic situation or racial integrity of the native population of the occupied territory; or
(2) inhuman treatment of its own population.

http://www.aijac.org.au/resources/reports/international...

I referenced the wrong info in my last post, thx for pointing it out.


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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. You Will Note The Date Of This Material Is 2003, Sir
The World Court, asked by the United Nations for an advisory opinion on the question, has after hearing arguments including those pressed by the gentleman you cite, ruled that the Geneva Convention does apply to the areas over-run in '67 and occupied ever since. That is the state of the law on the matter, and my position is simply that of the tribunal. The gentleman's arguement on the meaning of the artcle in question, furthermore, is false. Not only deportations for slave labor or expulsions of disfavored native elements were envisoned by it, but programs of colonization, which were engaged in in occupied territories in the west of the Soviet Union, and under the Lebensraum rubric, envisioned for the future on a grand scale. Among the conditions he posits for making the article applicable in his view, it would be very difficult to argue that the settlement program does not have the effect of impairing the economic situation of the native population. Not only the loss of land but interference with agricultural activities and water supply is far too well documented to admit of much arguement on that score.

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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #32
35. Perhaps I am looking at the wrong advisory opinion.
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 05:46 PM by msmcghee
The only one I have found is dated July 9, 2004. This specifically addresses the legal consequences of the wall - not the "settlement program" or the question of borders. It's title is:

LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF A WALL IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

Is there another advisory opinion of the World Court I should look for. Or better yet, do you have a link?
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. You Will Fnd It Contained In The Opinion, Ma'am
"The Court determines the rules and principles of international law which are relevant to the question posed by the General Assembly. The Court begins by citing, with reference to Article 2, paragraph 4, of the United Nations Charter and to General Assembly resolution 2625 (XXV), the principles of the prohibition of the threat or use of force and the illegality of any territorial acquisition by such means, as reflected in customary international law. It further cites the principle of self determination of peoples, as enshrined in the Charter and reaffirmed by resolution 2625 (XXV). As regards international humanitarian law, the Court refers to the provisions of the Hague Regulation of 1907, which have become part of customary law, as well as the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949, applicable in those Palestinian territories which before the armed conflict of 1967 lay to the east of the 1949 Armistice demarcation line (or "Green Line") and were occupied by Israel during that conflict. The Court further notes that certain human rights instruments (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) are applicable in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

"The Court ascertains whether the construction of the wall has violated the above mentioned rules and principles. It first observes that the route of the wall as fixed by the Israeli Government includes within the "Closed Area" (between the wall and the "Green Line") some 80 percent of the settlers living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Recalling that the Security Council described Israel's policy of establishing settlements in that territory as a "flagrant violation" of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Court finds that those settlements have been established in breach of international law. It further considers certain fears expressed to it that the route of the wall will prejudge the future frontier between Israel and Palestine; it considers that the construction of the wall and its associated rgime "create a 'fait accompli' on the ground that could well become permanent, in which case, . . . would be tantamount to de facto annexation". The Court notes that the route chosen for the wall gives expression in loco to the illegal measures taken by Israel, and deplored by the Security Council, with regard to Jerusalem and the settlements, and that it entails further alterations to the demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It finds that the "construction , along with measures taken previously, . . . severely impedes the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self determination, and is therefore a breach of Israel's obligation to respect that right".

"The Court then considers the information furnished to it regarding the impact of the construction of the wall on the daily life of the inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (destruction or requisition of private property, restrictions on freedom of movement, confiscation of agricultural land, cutting off of access to primary water sources, etc.). It finds that the construction of the wall and its associated rgime are contrary to the relevant provisions of the Hague Regulations of 1907 and of the Fourth Geneva Convention; that they impede the liberty of movement of the inhabitants of the territory as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and that they also impede the exercise by the persons concerned of the right to work, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living as proclaimed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Lastly, the Court finds that this construction and its associated rgime, coupled with the establishment of settlements, are tending to alter the demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and thereby contravene the Fourth Geneva Convention and the relevant Security Council resolutions."

Note such statements as "the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949, applicable in those Palestinian territories which before the armed conflict of 1967 lay to the east of the 1949 Armistice demarcation line (or "Green Line") and were occupied by Israel during that conflict" and " Recalling that the Security Council described Israel's policy of establishing settlements in that territory as a "flagrant violation" of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Court finds that those settlements have been established in breach of international law" and "finds that the construction of the wall and its associated rgime are contrary to the relevant provisions of the Hague Regulations of 1907 and of the Fourth Geneva Convention". No court would have cited law it did not conclude apped to the sace, and dong so is a statement, and a ruling, that the Conventin applies to the area and people inquestion. It cannot beruled it applieds only to the wall, the wall is cnsidered in light of it because it applies to the area.

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/SZIE-62QPZ...
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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #36
45. Legal opinions are just that.
The US election of 2000 shows that even the most esteemed judges are fully capable of seeing the world through their own ideological lenses.

The World Court is an extension of the UN. In this case the UN General Assembly requested the "legal advisory" to bolster their previous but dubious assertion that Israel has no legal claim to the West Bank. If not Israel, then who does? The West Bank was taken by Israel in a defensive war. Like any other nation taking land in a defensive war from an attacker - Israel can annex the West Bank if it chooses. Those are the rules the nations of the world with large enough armies to enforce it - live by. That's why Germany was dismantled after WWII and why the allies imposed new governments on those nations with strict rules that they still live by.

It's a simple rule. Start a war. You could lose your nation if you have one. Your rights and freedom if you don't.

Israel has chosen not to take the West Bank and instead, hold it as a trading asset for a peaceful solution for the hopes of Arab Palestinians for an eventual state.

As you know, I place great importance on the principle that the only way that peace can exist is for states and parties to a conflict to not physically attack the other. Taken in a defensive war not of Israel's choosing - IMO Israel is fully justified in disposing of the West Bank in any way that suits the Israel state.

The attack against Israel that resulted in Israel's possession of the West Bank was a gross violation of this most fundamental international law. Israel's possession of the West Bank is based on the right of self-defense, as is the erection of the wall on the West Bank. Recognition of the pre-1967 border (which was not a recognized national border) would be a defacto reward for Arab Palestinians, in whose name the attack against Israel was made - and who have been attacking Israel ever since then from inside that zone. All that too is a violation of International Law and principle.

Whether the World Court, requested by the UNGA, constituted of many of the worlds worst dictatorships, says that Israel has no right of self-defense or not, is immaterial. Israel will continue to exercise that right.

While the UNGA will wring its hands over this, such hand-wringing is no more than political posturing. Israel will continue to defend itself - having learned long ago that the UN has no stomach for such things as actually preventing conflict. And having also learned that the UN will have no problem even denying Israel to the right to self-defense.

When push comes to shove this august world body will prove to be as impotent as it has always been. It will soon get back to wringing its hands over the 400,000 plus civilians killed in Darfur, and doing nothing about that either. And, it will do nothing for the same reason - violent Islamists are not to be confronted on their rampage to reshape the world, even if a small peace-loving nation needs to be sacrificed occasionally.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #45
49. A Legal Opinion By A Court With Jurisdiction, Ma'am, Is The State Of The Law On The Matter
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 11:34 AM by The Magistrate
Whether one agrees with it or not is of no consequence. Any future court proceeding, certainly any international court proceeding, touching on this question, will commence by consulting this opinion, and will take it as precedent regarding the applicability of the Geneva Conventions to the areas over-run in '67, and Israeli actions in administering them.

None of the points you raise, and we are in agreement over many of them, has any applicability to the question of whether the Geneva Accords apply to Israeli administration of the area and people over-run in '67. Israel has every right to exercise a military occupation of that area and people, but it has an obligation in doing so to abide by the laws governing military occupation, and there is now in existence a court ruling that defines the extent of these laws, that removes much legal question over which were applicable.

Your statement that Israel can annex these areas if it chooses to is simply wrong as a matter of law. That annexations were engaged in as recently as 1945 under conditions of force majeur does not alter this: the state of internation law today, and at the time of the '67 fighting, forbids acquisition of territory in war, and contains no exemption for territory over-run in the course of a war conducted in legitimate self-defense.

The borders of Israel between '49 and '67 received de facto recognition when Israel was accepted as a member state of the United Nations in 1949. This unavoidably recognized Israeli sovereignty over signifigant areas of land originally envisioned as part of the Arab Zone in the '47 Partition, and to question the standing of the borders at that time is to open a debate you probably would rather not see treated seriously, namely the legitimacy of Israeli rule in those portions of that country. But if you raise the notion of Israel's borders not being quite fixed with an eye to expanding them further, you necessarily put into play the view that they could be contracted to no more than those areas designated as the Jewish Zone by the '47 Partition of the Palestine Mandate, on the same ground.

In the portions of the originally envisioned Arab Zone that remain outside the boundaries of Israel in place on its admission to the U.N., it is hard to see that anyone has a right to exercise sovereignty other than what political leadership the people of Arab Palestine should choose, however foolishly or well and by what whatever means, to accept at its head. That was certainly the intention of the United Nations when it partitioned the territory that was its to dispose of as it saw fit in '47. Claims by Jordan and Egypt to sovereignty over portions of the original Arab Zone were roundly rejected in the period between '49 and '67. Rightful military occupation does not convey sovereign title to the occupier.
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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 11:44 AM
Response to Reply #49
51. It is my opinion that such pronouncements as in your last post . .
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 12:07 PM by msmcghee
. . are only that and that the reality is far different.

The reality is that if there is to be a resolution of the West Bank it will be settled according to a peace treaty that will be signed by Israel and some legitimate spokesman for the Palestinians - who is able to adequately enforce such an agreement on the Palestinians it speaks for.

That treaty will establish the start of the Palestinian state whose borders will be confirmed by that agreement.

Without that agreement Israel will continue to administer the West Bank as it sees fit according to its needs for self defense.

The World Court has no power to change that, short of the UN sending an armed force into the West Bank against the IDF. The idea that the UN would use a military force to dismantle a defensive wall that has succeeded in greatly reducing terrorist attacks against a peace-loving democracy - while standing by to watch a half-million innocent civilians get slaughtered in Darfur - is amusing at best.

Neither will the World Court have anything to say about the wording of the agreement that will eventually be signed between Israel and the new Palestinian state. This "advisory ruling" of the World Court will disappear into the dustbin of history where all such posturing eventually ends. It's only use will be to remind the world how far the UN has gone to renounce its role as an honest broker for peace in the world - as if the world needed any more of those.

Do you really think that the UN will declare that peace treaty illegal and will not recognize the new state of Palestine - because the World Court legal advisory of 2004 was not followed properly in drafting that agreement?
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #51
53. It Is Always A Pleasure To Be Seen As A Naif, Ma'am
One multiplied by the rarity of opportunity to indulge in it....

The ruling of the court, the legal fact, that the the Geneva Conventions apply to the lands and people over-run in '67, and to the Israeli exercise of military occupation there, has no bearing whatever on any peace agreement that might be mutually accepted in future by the state of Israel and an established political leadership of the people of Arab Palestine. Such an agreement would no more be put aside over that ruling than it could be viewed as invalidating that ruling. The things are wholly seperate.

For the record, it is my view that while the element of the ruling recognizing the Geneva Conventions apply to the case is an excellent one, the court was in some degree of error in its rulings on the application of the right of self-defense by Israel under these rules. Not that my view matters in assessing the state of the law established on the question: that is, and will remain, a matter for competent courts to assess and decide. But that element does seem to me weak, and vulnerable to successful rebuttal in some possible future proceeding. The ruling that the Geneva Conventions apply to the area and people and administration by Israel of same, though, is iron-clad, and its over-turning in future is vanishingly unlikely.

The inaction of the United Nations, and the world, regarding the genocide in Sudan is both an outrage and a disgrace. There are binding treaty obligations that oblige that body, and the nations of the world in arms, to compell a halt to it, and to prosecute those at all levels responsible for it.
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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 03:05 PM
Response to Reply #53
56. If you noticed, I prefaced my whole post with . .
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 03:09 PM by msmcghee
. . "It is my opinion that . . ".

I don't believe that you are a naive person. I would even say that your depth of understanding of these matters is probably better than mine in most respects.

However, after reading your posts on the matter I decided I needed to learn more about it. I read several articles yesterday from both sides. I came to the conclusion that the World Court ruling on the matter is mostly political posturing that will have little to no effect on the final outcome . . which, as I predicted would be a peace treaty between Israel and a new Palestinian state that would finally resolve the issue of the borders between the two.

I could be wrong. You could be right. Predicting the future is not easy. I would not call someone a naif who disagrees with my prediction of future events. It's not easy to understand a person's emotions in these short essays called posts. Please bear in mind that my disagreement does not imply disrespect. I always try to disagree respectfully as long as others treat me the same.

And feel free to correct my assessment from the limited reading that I did yesterday. The World Court advisory ruling could have immense importance in the shaping of the future of Israel/Palestine relations and the terms of any peace treaty they might sign - which I think is your position - although right now I don't think so. My assessment could indeed be naive.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #56
58. Let Me Assure You No Offense Was Taken, Ma'am
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 03:41 PM by The Magistrate
By my understanding of the matter, the ruling simply establishes as a general proposition that the whole body of international law dealing with conduct of states in armed hostilities does apply to the area, and as a matter of detail, that the security barrier, in its present position, does not meet the test of legitimate self defense. That last is the matter the court was asked to advise on. Some of its reasoning in reaching that latter conclusion does not impress me very well, and one or two of the minority opinions seem more sound on the matter.

It does not seem to me the ruling will have much real effect, and certainly none on any future treaty that may be signed by the leaders of Arab Palestine and Israel. It does confirm what has long been maintained by most students and informed observers, that the program of settlement in the area pressed by Israel is a breach of applicable international law, and that annexation of territories in the area by Israeli fiat is illegitimate. But there was not ever much real doubt on that, only a series of what amounted to defense briefs for Israel by various partisan figures. The decision does not compell any remedy: the court in responding to a request for advice has no power to order anyone to act. Action is up to the Security Council, and it will take none. The negotiators of the Palestine Authority are free to enter into any arrangement with Israel concerning land and settlements they find desireable and acceptable, providing the Israelis do too, and both sign off on it at the end. The fact that the law forbids acquisition by force has no effect on an agreement freely arrived at between the interested parties.
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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #58
59. I'm always pleased to find agreement with you.
Here are some further personal opinions on the matter. I find the whole idea behind this advisory ruling ludicrous.

Israel has been under continuous attack in an avowed attempt to destroy it by parties whose admitted strategy is to kill innocent Israeli civilians. Several thousand of them have died so far in that attempt since May of 1948.

That effort has morphed through several wars and strategies though the purpose has remained the same. Israel has tried various measures including check points and rigidly enforced border crossing regulations, targeted killings of militants and their leaders, evacuating large areas (Gaza) and other measures.

None of those worked very well. Finally, a temporary wall that separates some Palestinians from some Israelis has worked to reduce the Israeli fatalities.

But the World Court says that such a wall is beyond the bounds of self-defense. If the Fourth Geneva Convention is used to deny the right of self-defense to a nation not seeking armed conflict with another - it should be ignored by Israel as it will be in this instance.

The Fourth Geneva Convention was designed to apply to states in conflict. States have borders and assets within them that are at risk during armed conflict waged by those states. States have leaders that are subject to war crimes. When a state is attacked by groups of armed militias with none of those elements at risk - it is already at a disadvantage. Placing Israel under Fourth Convention laws in this case is meant to place Israel at further disadvantage legally. I'm not sure how exactly this ruling will affect Israel though I hope not much.

The effect of this ruling will still have ominous repercussions, however. It degrades the moral basis of the whole concept of international law which is first and foremost a recognition of the difference between self-defense and armed aggression. The cause of world peace and the credibility of international law as a tool for peace has been greatly damaged by that ruling IMO.

Just my opinions.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-19-06 12:27 AM
Response to Reply #59
68. One Small Point, Ma'am
Had the security barrier been erected on the Green Line, it is quite likely that, on that specific point, the Court might well have ruled otherwise than it did. It is not the barrier itself, but where it is placed, and the consequences to people under military occupation in their own land this imposes, that dictated the ruling it was not a legitimate act of self-defense. Since the barrier encloses settlements of Isaraeli citizens outside the Green Line, as well as a goodly amount of other land, and persons, under military ocupation, it constitutes a de facto annexation: though proclaimed to be temporary, there is no particular reason to credit this claim, or even if it is credited the intent is that it be temporary, to expect that it will in the event prove to be so.
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eyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-19-06 12:41 AM
Response to Reply #68
69. Problem is that that wasn't whatthe ruling said
they didn't rule that specifically the barrier could not be justified on grounds of self-defense since it wasn't on the Green Line (a rather foolish claim in itself, since international law allows the construction of defensive structures on occupied territory). What they rules was that Israel could not invoke self-defense as a justification because Article 51 of the UN Charter does not apply to the conflict; an interpretation under which any Israeli military activity beyond the Green Line would be illegal.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-20-06 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #69
77. That Is Not Quite What The Ruling Says, Sir
What the ruling says is that claims that the course of the barrier are required by considerations of self-defense are insufficient to outweigh the various harms done to the members of the occupied populace directly affected by it. It does note that the self-defense provisions of the U.N. Charter do not apply, since the threat being defended against arises from the territory under occupation, and not from a foreign state, but goes on to recognize, in paragraph 141, that Israel is indeed under attack and that states have both a right and a duty to protect their people from attack.
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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-20-06 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #45
73. Umm....
to bolster their previous but dubious assertion that Israel has no legal claim to the West Bank. If not Israel, then who does?

Ummm... Palestine? Am I missing something?
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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-20-06 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #73
74. I think that to understand my reasoning here . .
Edited on Wed Dec-20-06 02:10 PM by msmcghee
. . it's first necessary to accept that Israel has a legal (and moral) claim to Israel. I realize we differ on that point - but if you want to understand my reasoning try to imagine what the world would look like to those who agree with me on that - which pretty much includes everyone in Israel, the EU and the US including the vast majority of Democrats and our leadership - and many others throughout the world.

If a nation is attacked with the intention to destroy it by massed armies - repeatedly from the same territory - in almost all cases where this has occurred in history, such land is simply taken by the defender in an expansion of their own borders if they have the military power to do so. It makes no difference whether such land is part of a state or an unclaimed territory. Legitimate self defense is a recognized moral and legal motivation for territorial annexation.

In this case, the territory in question was offered to the present Arab inhabitants of the land by the UN in 1948 in order to create the recognized state of Palestine there. Since 1948, the inhabitants have repeatedly refused to accept that offer, for the reason that it would require them to sign a peace treaty with, and recognize, the state they have repeatedly tried to destroy - Israel.

So as not to be accused of oversimplifying in that last para - polls indicate that a slight majority of Palestinians would now prefer a two-state solution and peace with Israel. However, armed militants opposed to such an arrangement create the political reality that makes such an agreement impossible at this time.

Despite that Israel would be justified morally (in the eyes of many in the world) and has the power to enforce an outright annexation of the WB, Israel has not done so. Israel has instead placed the civil administration in the hands of the Palestinians themselves and Israel says they have no intention to annex. They are there primarily to prevent further attacks on Israel.

I would agree that the establishment of settlements there was probably a bad idea for several reasons. OTOH I can understand, under the circumstances, why many in Israel, after 60 years of suicide bombs and attacks against Israeli civilians coming from this area - might think that the best solution would be to simply remove all the Palestinians to surrounding Arab states that do recognize Israel and that have signed peace treaties with Israel - and turn the WB into part of Israel.

The only difference between that and the way that such problems have been dealt with historically for thousands of years in this region (and how it is being dealt with right now in Darfur) is that the Palestinians would not normally be given the option of leaving and would simply be slaughtered. In a place where patriarchal cultures and vengeful religious doctrine place immense value on such things as perceived humiliations such wholesale murder can perhaps be understood. That more practical approach at least ensures that the aggrieved parties don't come back a few years later to kill you and reclaim their land - which they certainly would.

Fortunately (or not), Israel has decided to deal with the matter in a more civilized and enlightened way - which itself could account for the intransigence of the problem. Israel has decided to hold the WB in trust for the future state of Palestine - to be handed to the Palestinians as soon as enough of them decide that having their own state is worth giving up their passionate hopes for the eventual destruction of Israel.

Despite Mr. Magistrate's protestations regarding the fine points of international law - when someone's life is at stake they will make choices according to their best interest as long as they have the military power to do so.

There is no state of Palestine. It is waiting for people to show up who are capable of statehood and the responsibilities that come with it. That is the reality of the Mideast that we see unfold daily.

To avoid any accusations of bigotry, I do not think that all Palestinians are incapable of statehood and the responsibilities that come with it. Just that the political balance in Palestine is still tilted against them, unfortunately.

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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-20-06 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #74
78. You May Forgive Me, Ma'am, Since You Have Invoked Some Earlier Comments Of Mine
Edited on Wed Dec-20-06 08:51 PM by The Magistrate
For weighing in at this point, and perhaps renewing our exchange here.

The question of whether Israel has any legal claim to sovereignty in the lands over-run in '67, as opposed to a right to maintain military occupation of them, and an obligation to abide by the laws relating to such occupation, turns not on "fine points of international law," but involves basic, and very broad elements, of international law. These quite clearly indicate that Israel has no claim to sovereignty in those places.

You have stated that in your eyes, and those of many others, Israel would be "justified morally" in annexing these territories. We have gone several rounds at various times about the worth of morality as the standard for action in state affairs, and my disdain for it as a guide. This is a pretty fair example of why my position on that question is what it is. Many people would view Israeli annexation of those territories as an extremely immoral act, and offer a number of grounds for their position, ranging from viewing profit by conquest as wrong to the dictates of their religion forbidding surrender of lands where it prevails to control of those of another faith. These people hold their views with comparable conviction of their righteousness to your's, and display every bit as much certainty they are right and you are wrong as you would display in maintaining the reverse. Where is the ground, mutually agreed on by persons of such contrasting conviction, upon which someone can say to either "you are right" and "you are wrong", and expect acquiesence from both to the decision? Indeed, so long as parties to a conflict each assert conviction of moral right as their basis for action, settlement by any means but force, by any event but the most decisive and bloody and demoralizing of victories by one side over the other, will be an impossibility.
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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-20-06 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #78
79. Please don't apologize for jumping into . .
Edited on Wed Dec-20-06 10:55 PM by msmcghee
. . any discussion with me. If I wanted to limit my discussion to any specific persons here I would use PM's. My purpose for participating here is to attract intelligent responses and yours certainly qualify despite our disagreement over some of the important matters you raise. You have raised two areas of disagreement; Israel's legal rights to sovereignty over the WB (and Gaza for that matter) - and the place for morality in deciding such matters.

I'll answer them both in this post as the answer for both derives from the same place in my mind.

First, let's dispel with a side issue you mention. The idea that religion and morality are necessarily connected is a sham promoted by hucksters, con artists and hypocrites. Religion can be a wonderful source of ideas about morality - but so can business or baseball or any other enterprise that two or more people engage in. We naturally develop and honor such rules because they make life much more enjoyable.

Morality is the sense that we have about the right way and the wrong way to treat others. Why should we have such notions? Morality must have an adaptive advantage or humans who had some nascent moral tendencies early on in human history would have died out. It seems likely that groups of humans who developed some sense for morality had better reproductive success. That probably means they lived longer lives, were healthier, had more children, were better able to care for their children and raise them to adolescence, etc.

Over the last 10,000 years human societies have grown from hunter / gatherer units of a couple hundred persons in extended family alliances - to societies like present day China of 1.3 billion persons - living under a common set of rules, a form of morality that governs how members of the state treat each other.

The idea that nation states would agree to place themselves under such a common set of rules regarding how they would treat other nation states is fairly new. The UN was only created in 1945. And the rules themselves and the means of enforcement are dubious at best. The UN has become a political game and its rulings are ignored for the most part when they don't suit someone who fields a decent army.

Which means that whatever states decide to do regarding their treatment of other nations will in reality be self-imposed. For that reason, your claims regarding Israel's "legal" right to annex the WB (or not) are meaningless. The laws you would apply to Israel are only applicable to those states who wish to abide by them - so they are meaningless unless there is some set of UN states ready to enforce them militarily.

You won't find such a set of UN states - any more than Israel found such a set of UN states in 1948 or in 1956 or in 1967 or in 1973 or last summer when Hisb'allah attacked Israel from Lebanon or last month when militants attacked Israel with rockets from Gaza - or yesterday when they did the same thing. So, when it comes down to it the UN and its "International Laws" is actually a joke - except for those who find some temporary advantage to them.

Fortunately, despite such a dismal record in history some nation/states do have some sense of right and wrong in international relations. These are states that generally adhere to a few basic principles both domestically and internationally. These states try to recognize the human rights of its citizens without discrimination. They have systems that allow government to proceed according to the consent of the governed. They don't attack other states except in self defense.

No state in the world has a perfect record on most of these simple items. But I'm willing to give a lot of respect to any state or even any organized group aspiring for statehood who give it an honest try. I'm on their side. That's a selfish decision on my part. That's because I don't like death and destruction. I like life and prosperity and happiness to reign in the world. That's a world where my kids and my grandkids are not going to have die some horrible death or injury in some foreign hell hole like Normandy or Iwo Jima or Mogadishu or Srebenica.

When I rank nation/states on my scale of morality Israel ranks pretty near the top of my list. Israel gives its citizens their rights and Israel has never attacked another state or group except in self defense. Since Reagan and Bush II, they are certainly above my own country in that rank. Unfortunately, I can't think of one Arab / Muslim state I would even place in the top half of that list.

Since I live in a democracy I am responsible for the actions of my country in the world. That means I have a moral duty to speak out about what I think is right and wrong and how my nation should conduct itself. I believe first and foremost my nation should condemn immoral states that threaten others with violence. I think my nation should isolate and punish those states economically and do everything possible to persuade them to live in peace and not threaten war in the world by attacking other states.

States and groups that do initiate violence against others should be dealt with harshly IMO. We should never become apologists for them because history shows that will encourage them and lead to worse death and suffering down the road. If we don't do that we become part of the problem - just as the UN has become part of the problem. I'm ready to make these difficult choices because I love peace and I know that as long as there are assholes who think they can get away with it - peace must be won by the sacrifice of good people. That's the way its always been.

When a state attacks another that is a very serious breach of my sense of morality. That state loses all rights of sovereignty IMO. After sixty years of attacks to destroy the state of Israel and after sixty years of refusal to even recognize the existence of the state of Israel and after sixty years of suicide bombers and rockets and mortars and artillery and after sixty years of teaching kids that Jews are pigs that deserve to die - IMO Israel has far more than reasonable justification to dispose of the WB as Israel sees fit according to Israel's defensive needs.

Any international laws that one would invoke on the matter are laughable and if you don't believe me show me the army that's ready to enforce them.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-21-06 12:50 AM
Response to Reply #79
82. It Is True Enough, Ma'am
Edited on Thu Dec-21-06 01:08 AM by The Magistrate
That international law is fairly weak on enforcement. It is, as a practical matter, enforced on the weak and on the defeated, and that sporadically. There are tribunals for the Balkans and Rwanda; none for Indonesia or Nigeria: the SS stood in the dock, and the NKVD handled half the prosecution. The idea that law regarding the relation and conduct of states would ever be enforced by anything other than a powerful state, and that only as it served its interests, is certainly a new one, and international law will always depend on the willingness of powerful states to enforce whatever a court a may decree, whether on others or upon themselves.

The idea that law should regulate the relation and conduct of states is, however, a good one. The twentieth century may stand as a decent illustration of the dangers and horrors the absence of such a system fosters. The codes of law in place, though mostly without any regular mechanism for enforcement against those who choose to disregard them, are good codes, that in the hands of impartial jurists would produce beneficial results. There is something to be said for the promulgation of a proper code of behavior, and cultivating a feeling that it ought to serve as the guide for action. In civil life, law is obeyed in fact more through a sense there is a duty to be law-abiding incumbent on a citizen than it is through a practical fear of consequences for breaking it: indeed, the great secret of criminal life, what seperates the criminal from the rest, is the knowledge rooted in experience that most breaches of law will not be punished, and the great fact of civil society is that if even a sizeable minority simultaneously disregards the law, there is no means to vindicate it against their number, and all order collapses like a house of cards.

The real value of international law at this point is that its statutes do constitute a more or less neutral and objective standard against which actions can be measured. One can look at the actions of parties to a conflict, and assess whether they conform to this standard or do not, and regard the actors as law-abiding or criminal in consequence. In my view, Israel comes out pretty well on this score, and certainly better than its adversaries. Matters of killing and bodily harm are of far greater weight than matters of property, and in the exercise of violence, Israel is far more law-abiding than its opponents: the overwhelming preponderance of the violence aimed at Israel has been explicitly aimed at killing non-combatants, the nearest to a sustainable charge against Israel is that it is not always as careful as it should be in engaging combatants; Israel's wars have been in legitimate defense against aggression, with the exception of the Suez venture, and the latter stages of the first invasion of Lebanon.

The use of law as a mere rhetorical club and propagandist's device is something we clearly both deplore. No partisan of one side has the slightest right to invoke law against the behavior of his or her opponent unless also willing to apply law with equal strictness to the behavior of the side he or she supports. Just about every routine propagandist's cry of "war crimes" against Israel founders on this principle, but so does a good deal of propagandizing on behalf of Isarel founder on it. In speaking on this matter, it has always been my endeavor to measure the acts of all participants to the same standard, which is my understanding of what the relevant law is.

To engage the speculations on the nature and development of morality you have put forth takes us somewhat far afield, and we will doubtless continue in much disagreement. My difficulty with your view is not owing to maintaining a view that there is no such thing as morality, or that it is not an important element of societies and cultures, or that it is some un-natural veneer. It is that standards of morality, and their underpinnings and internal logics, vary so greatly among people, both as cultures and among individuals, that there is no good reason to assume any two people mean the same thing by "this is right" or "this is wrong". It is quite possible for a person to do something that to him is the highest moral duty he knows, and for me is grounds to shoot a man through the head and bill his family for the bullet. When two groups are engaged in hostilities, the chances that something like this is the case are much higher than average, and the possibility that they can be brought to agreement on what is morally right and morally wrong is too small to mention. The problem is compounded by a peculiarity of moral thought, which is the conviction shared by almost everyone who subscribes to a moral system that it is the right moral system, and those moral systems that do not match up with it are wrong wherever they vary from it. Many carry this a further step, and concieve it their duty to impose their correct morality on those afflicted by a wrong morality, with or without their consent, and often even go farther and seek to require the abjuring by others of their moral system in favor of assent to the one they adhere to. Persons convinced they are absolutely in the right have in my view done far more harm down the ages than persons out for plunder and pleasure: the wicked may be satiated, the righteous cannot rest. All of this inclines me to make few appeals to morality, and consider most appeals to it pretty dubious.

My mention of religion, though, was not a side issue. Being myself about as irreligious as they come, it is certainly not my view that morality and religion are connected, but that view is one literally billions of people do not share, and the view held by many that the highest moral duty is living in accordance with the religion they profess, and performing as its dictates direct them to, cannot be waved out of existence, certainly not if one wishes to understand and calculate and predict their behavior in likely circumstances. My life has included some unlikely encounters, and on several occassions people have told me with a seriousness and sincerity that appalled me what they were certain was their moral duty in accordance with the dictates of their religious convictions. One of the misfortunes of the conflict we are, at bottom, discussing here, is that such people can be found on both sides of it, and what they conceive as their moral duties in regard to it are absolutely incompatible.
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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-22-06 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #82
95. Thanks for the great post..
Edited on Fri Dec-22-06 04:17 PM by msmcghee
I can't find much here to disagree with - yet I know we do have some fundamental areas of disagreement. Consider this my attempt to distill those down into an area that we might focus on more profitably.

I am a strong advocate for the rule of law. I consider it one of the most profound concepts of civilization that has immensely improved the lives of countless millions who have enjoyed its benefits. Unfortunately, the practical application of such powerful concepts to the improvement of the conditions of mankind is subject to the same deceits and errors that plague all human institutions - that they will be construed for evil purposes rather than for good ones.

It is my (perhaps) peculiar view that the essence of the application of the rule of law in this regard resolves to one simple principle - the difference between aggression and self-defense. To me, the worst possible crime and affront to the hopes of peaceful people everywhere who have selflessly and voluntarily submitted themselves to the rule of law with the best of intentions - would be to construe that rule of law in such a way that the aggression of a warlike state against peaceful people is rewarded - and that a peaceful state's attempt to defend itself from aggression is punished.

While the rule of law can be a powerful force for good in the world, its very nature as an agent for the potential use of force against parties who subject themselves to it - makes it also an extremely malevolent force for evil, chaos and injustice in the world when misconstrued for the benefit of those evil purposes.

If the rule of law can somehow be defined by the UN to mean that a group of terrorists pledged to the destruction of the state of Israel should be given any legal claim to the disputed territory from which they launch their attacks - and to the detriment of Israel's ability to defend itself from those attacks - then that is a law that has been subverted for evil purposes IMO.

I fail to see why the opinion of the UN in this matter should not be fully scorned. This is a body that ignores the deaths of 500,000 civilians in the Horn of Africa - while it issues declaration after declaration attesting to the brutal manner in which Israel defends itself from ongoing terrorist attacks. It must be noted again here that Israels' manner of defense has resulted in but a small fraction of the deaths and injuries to Palestinians than has occurred between parties to any Arab-Arab or Arab-Western conflicts in this region of any similar scale or purpose - throughout recorded history to the present day.

I fully respect the rule of law. Not the rule of thugs and criminals who despoil and use the rule of law as a bludgeon against their peace loving neighbors - as shackles to prevent their neighbors from defending themselves against their aggression.

Many international conflicts are complex and difficult to sort out. I got dizzy trying to follow that last civil war in Lebanon. In this case it is simple. One side has declared its intention to destroy the other, has attacked it repeatedly over sixty years and teaches their children the worst racism - an advocation of the death of all Jews.

The other side has never attacked the other except in defense, (I accept your characterization of the Suez War a deviation from that) has a large population of Palestinians in Israel who they treat with respect - and has never made claim to the land of Palestine except in the context of that disputed portion that they are willing to negotiate as part of a lasting peace treaty - as is called for by Res. 242.

I just can't see any gray area here. It is my love of the rule of law that prevents me from acknowledging the legitimacy of the current UN body in this regard - and its criminal disrespect for the very concept of the rule of law.

I invite you to convince me that when the rule of law is subverted for evil purposes - that peaceful nations should submit to it anyway so that rogue states with the worst intentions who have no respect for the rule of law except as a weapon against their enemies, who attack innocent civilians with the purpose of killing as many as possible - will benefit and be better able to attack their peaceful enemies and kill their civilians.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-23-06 01:03 AM
Response to Reply #95
97. You Have Set Me a Pretty Task, Ma'am
Edited on Sat Dec-23-06 01:08 AM by The Magistrate
For as you observe, we do agree on a great deal, and are more on the same side of the larger dispute than not, yet there are indeed some signifigant areas where we do not seem to see anything near to eye to eye.

Allow me to commence by stating my agreement that the concentration of the United Nations on this dispute, and within that dispute on Israeli wrong-doing, is wrong, and wrong to the point of working to undermine the very concept of international law and laws of war. Should someone have available, a thousand years hence, only a record of U.N. Security Council resolutions as their basis for compiling a history of world crisis in the last half of the distant old twentieth century, they could not possibly produce anything even a moderately attentive person who lived through the period could recognize. The cold fact is that, important as it is for those directly affected, the conflict between Israel and Arab Palestine constitutes little more than a rounding error in the sum of human suffering and displacement attendant on armed conflict criminally conducted in the twentieth century. A policeman who makes a few misdemeanor arrests while a multitude of felonies occurs on his beat calls the enforcement of law deeply into question, and invites the neighborhood to disregard it and deal irregularly with the felons at best, and entices them into commitment of felonies themselves, secure in the expectation these will pass un-punished as well, at the worst.

A key to some of our disagreement, and perhaps resolving it to a greater degree, may lie in your use of the word "terrorist". You may have noticed the absence of that word from my comments, and it is deliberate. The reason for that absence is that the term is essentially meaningless: people use it to indicate violence towards a political end they disapprove of, in the hopes of getting the audience to share their disapproval without much thought, since it is generally agreed that, whatever it might mean, it is a bad thing, and to be universally deplored. When a term indicates through its usage more about the person employing it than it does about the thing that person purports to describe by its usage, there is something strange and very different from what is normally understood as communication going on. Again, the standard of criminal or not criminal with reference to applicable law is much superior, for it conveys information about the thing described, and can be checked for accuracy. To argue that something is falsely called terrorism in all cases boils down to stating "but I approve of this violence, because I agree with the end it seeks, and even if it is very bad and cruel, the end it seeks redeems it by its goodness." But it is quite possible to recognize that a side in a conflict one sympathizes with more than the other has done a criminal act under law, and even to recognize that an act of the side one opposes is not a crime even if you would far rather it not have been done. Neither recognition requires a change in allegiance, though it may require a forthright acknowledgement that the side one aligns with is, on balance of the totals, a greater violator of the law than the side one opposes. Persons who are not concerned with appearing angels in combat with demons can manage that without undue difficulty, appealing to other grounds for the allegiances they are moved to.

The usage of "disputed territories" is another that troubles me a little, but for another reason, namely that in fact there is no dispute at all regarding those territories. No portion of them belongs to Israel, and no portion of them can be Israel's save by mutual agreement between Israel and representatives of the people of Arab Palestine empowered to cede that portion of them to Israel. That is simply what the law on the question dictates. There is no doubt whatever the intent of the United Nations in 1947 was for two states within the area of the Palestine Mandate, one Jewish and one Arab, and at that time it can hardly be sensibly argued the organization was showing any bias against Israel. The criminal behaviors down the years you point to, which have certainly occured, are the actions of individuals, who ought to be punished as individuals, but they cannot be visited upon the whole of the people as a punishment consisting of the forfeiture of rights all peoples are considered to enjoy, and that the United Nations in its partition of the Mandatory Territory clearly granted, and intended that people to enjoy. It is impossible to emerge from study of the history of this conflict, going back to its commencement early in the last century, with the view that the people of Arab Palestine have, until very recently, enjoyed even a whiff of real self-determination in their political life, which commenced with dominance by aristocratic families and passed on to men with guns whose popularity, even when genuine to some degree, cannot be seperated from the capacity for coercion they enjoyed in a lawless condition. People cannot be held responsible for decisions they did not make, and actions they did not perform themselves.

It might, Ma'am, be worth indulging in the thought experiment of what benefits Israel itself might derive from a situation in which Arab Palestine was a state, even if ruled by leaders hostile to Israel. A great deal of mud might be removed. For instance, if a Hamas government ruled a state of Arab Palestine, who could question that its gun-men constituted the armed force of that state? They would be as assailable as any Israeli soldier. An infiltration into Israel in civilian clothes for assault on Israeli civilians would be beyond sensible argument an act of perfidy, and subject any with command authority, up to the head of the government, with liablity for trial and confinement on conviction.
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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-23-06 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #97
98. It does seem we may be getting closer to . .
. . understanding where our most fundamental differences lie. In this post I will focus on your concerns about my use of the admittedly loaded term "terrorist".

You say, " . . people use it to indicate violence towards a political end they disapprove of, in the hopes of getting the audience to share their disapproval without much thought, since it is generally agreed that, whatever it might mean, it is a bad thing, and to be universally deplored."

What you say is true enough although that was not my purpose in using the term. Certainly you don't mean to say that that is the only reason people use it.

The problem is that any thread here can reliably produce dozens of posts - all implying some moral equivalence between Israel and those who attack Israel. This results in a framing of the conflict that greatly relieves the Palestinians of responsibility for their actions.

Such posts imply that these are two parties each pursuing perhaps understandable goals in an honorable way so as to minimize the death and suffering of innocents - and that each side should be given respect for those efforts so that we can simply look objectively at the grievances on each side to determine some fair resolution.

Indeed, when seen through that prism, it seems that Israel is occupying Palestinian land and the Palestinians are resisting. What could be simpler? If Israel leaves Palestinian land then the world will be right again.

But that completely leaves out the most significant and central element of that conflict - the element that many of Israel's opponents would like to obscure. The Palestinians, as represented by any of several militant organization over the years, has continuously stated that their actual intention is not to have sovereignty to the West Bank and Gaza. It is to rid all the Mideast of Jews.

Lest anyone mistake these declarations for hyperbole, the totality of their actions has indelibly driven the point home. They have refused on more than one occasion to accept sovereignty over those territories - because in their own words, such acceptance would require them to acknowledge the legal existence of Israel.

For another proof, if sovereignty of Gaza and the West bank were their actual goals, the last thing they would do is use those territories to launch terrorist attacks against Israel. Such attacks virtually demand that Israel establish a permanent police force in those territories along with the fences, walls and check points - and the seething hatred of Israel that those are bound to produce.

In addition, as Mr. pelser so effectively points out, Israel has removed itself from Palestinian (and Lebanese) territory more than once only to be rewarded with stronger and more vicious (terrorist) attacks on Israeli citizens.

The Palestinians have chosen as their primary means of ridding the ME of Jews - to indiscriminately attack Israeli civilians with the intent to kill as many as possible. This is not an occasional rogue action - it is their stated policy that they have embraced, pursued and celebrated, waxing and waning in intensity, for sixty years.

That is the definition of terrorism. Loaded or not, it can be applied to the Palestinians' actions (and those Arab states who occasionally join the fray on their behalf) without reservation. To fail to acknowledge the reality of terrorism as their primary means of waging conflict - is to mischaracterize the actual nature of the conflict.

Further, it is my belief, that if the Palestinians did not have as their goal the elimination of Jews from the ME, and if they did not embrace terrorism as their weapon of choice in achieving that goal - that the IDF would not be in the West Bank today and that Palestine would probably be a fairly prosperous Arab state living in peace with its neighbors.

It seems to me that sometimes loaded terms are needed to describe loaded tactics and loaded motivations.

Nonetheless, I want to be sensitive to your concerns and I will try not to use the term terrorist or terrorism unless the context of my statement absolutely calls for it. But when I do, you will know that I am not trying to attach an emotional label that others will judge without consideration of that context. I will be trying to attach an accurate definition that is necessary to the discussion.

(Thanks for the great discussion. I'll need some more time to consider the rest of your post.)
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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-23-06 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #97
99. Your next concern is my use of the phrase . .
. . "disputed territory" to refer to the West Bank. You assert: "The usage of "disputed territories" is another that troubles me a little, but for another reason, namely that in fact there is no dispute at all regarding those territories. . . No portion of them belongs to Israel, and no portion of them can be Israel's save by mutual agreement between Israel and representatives of the people of Arab Palestine empowered to cede that portion of them to Israel. That is simply what the law on the question dictates."

My use of the term "disputed territory" acknowledges that it does not now belong to Israel - but it also recognizes that Israel has a legal and justifiable claim to some portion of that land and until such claims can be resolved they should more properly be referred to as "disputed" territories. "Disputed" is a neutral term that gives neither side any pre-ordained rights to it by its usage.

While you do not state what better term you would prefer, the only other term in common use, is "occupied territories". I would point out that this prejudicial term is used by Israel's enemies for another of those "framing" tactics - which, judging by its now common usage by news commentators and others, has been quite successful. It of course implies that Israel is "occupying" someone else's land. Simply by calling it "occupied territory", Israel's right to establish borders by future negotiation that include some portion of that territory as stipulated by Res. 242, are effectively negated, semantically.

I base my claim that - Israel has a legal and justifiable claim to some portion of that land and until such claims can be resolved they should more properly be referred to as "disputed" territories" - on several points which are very effectively summarized on the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs website:

http://www.jcpa.org/jl/vp470.htm

********************************************
. . .

Under UN Security Council Resolution 242 from November 22, 1967 -- that has served as the basis of the 1991 Madrid Conference and the 1993 Declaration of Principles -- Israel is only expected to withdraw "from territories" to "secure and recognized boundaries" and not from "the territories" or "all the territories" captured in the Six-Day War. This deliberate language resulted from months of painstaking diplomacy. For example, the Soviet Union attempted to introduce the word "all" before the word "territories" in the British draft resolution that became Resolution 242. Lord Caradon, the British UN ambassador, resisted these efforts.Since the Soviets tried to add the language of full withdrawal but failed, there is no ambiguity about the meaning of the withdrawal clause contained in Resolution 242, which was unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council.

Thus, the UN Security Council recognized that Israel was entitled to part of these territories for new defensible borders. Britain's foreign secretary in 1967, George Brown, stated three years later that the meaning of Resolution 242 was "that Israel will not withdraw from all the territories." Taken together with UN Security Council Resolution 338, it became clear that only negotiations would determine which portion of these territories would eventually become "Israeli territories" or territories to be retained by Israel's Arab counterpart.

Actually, the last international legal allocation of territory that includes what is today the West Bank and Gaza Strip occurred with the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which recognized Jewish national rights in the whole of the Mandated territory: "recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." The members of the League of Nations did not create the rights of the Jewish people, but rather recognized a pre-existing right, that had been expressed by the 2,000-year-old quest of the Jewish people to re-establish their homeland.

Moreover, Israel's rights were preserved under the United Nations as well, according to Article 80 of the UN Charter, despite the termination of the League of Nations in 1946. Article 80 established that nothing in the UN Charter should be "construed to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments." These rights were unaffected by UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of November 1947 -- the Partition Plan -- which was a non-binding recommendation that was rejected, in any case, by the Palestinians and the Arab states.

Given these fundamental sources of international legality, Israel possesses legal rights with respect to the West Bank and Gaza Strip that appear to be ignored by those international observers who repeat the term "occupied territories" without any awareness of Israeli territorial claims. Even if Israel only seeks "secure boundaries" that cover part of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, there is a world of difference between a situation in which Israel approaches the international community as a "foreign occupier" with no territorial rights, and one in which Israel has strong historical rights to the land that were recognized by the main bodies serving as the source of international legitimacy in the previous century.

. . .
****************************************

Since I mostly base my understanding of Israel's rights regarding this "disputed territory" on these points and since you apparently disagree, perhaps you could list whatever disagreements you have with them.
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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-23-06 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #97
100. Regarding your final paragraph . .
Edited on Sat Dec-23-06 06:59 PM by msmcghee
. . you offer an interesting thought experiment.

I certainly don't think I have any great insights into the matter as I spend many hours of my life each week just trying to better understand the history of the conflict and the real motivations of the parties. It is the Israeli's lives and future that are at risk - and I have a long way to go.

Your understanding of the matter however is probably better than mine - so I will read your suggestions with interest but defer my judgment for now at least.

:thumbsup:
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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-24-06 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #97
101. I have thought about that last paragraph overnight and . .
Edited on Sun Dec-24-06 03:20 PM by msmcghee
. . then some. I have some additional thoughts that I might throw on the pyre.

While I still don't presume to make suggestions to those whose lives are on the line on both sides in this conflict - I don't mind engaging in a little "what if".

Your thesis seems to be that with an actual state and political lines of authority well-laid-out in public view - that it might be easier to find someone to blame when criminal acts such as entering Israel in disguise to kill civilians occur.

Following that line - I'd say OK, assume such a crime has been committed. Do you envision the UN or some other body sending troops in to this new Palestinian state to arrest this leader? Do I see UN troops marching in to the Whitehouse to arrest Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld because of the egregious violations of human rights such as torture and assassinations that have occurred as a matter of US policy since our invasion of Iraq?

No. And likewise I suspect that whatever violations against Israel might occur in such an instance - the excuses will just shift from "We don't have control over that lawless faction" to "We can't be responsible for every jihadi who carries a grudge for all the Jewish oppression we have suffered over the years".

So I am skeptical that statehood will provide any significant increase in accountability. I would remind that Lebanon, for example, has been a recognized state and member of the UN since 1945 and has harbored militias and individuals who have indiscriminately attacked Israeli civilians periodically throughout those decades.

Do I see UN troops marching in to Beruit or Southern Lebanon to arrest the Hisb'allah gunmen or their leaders who were responsible for the most recent of those attacks last summer? Does the world have some clearer picture of responsibility for the kidnapping and murder of the IDF soldiers patrolling their own side of the line - or any greater desire to do anything about it? No again. The murdered IDF are still dead and the kidnapped soldiers are still kidnapped (or dead) no-one knows.

The world only became sufficiently angered to take some action when Israel, in the face of no interest at all by the UN in the violations that had been committed, appeared to be causing too much damage to the infrastructure of the state that had harbored and enabled the attackers - while missiles were being fired into Israel every day.

But, in the same spirit of speculation - I often wonder what would happen if some intelligent and philosophically inclined Palestinian - one without an armed militia to feed - were to declare that the time had come to end the calls to destroy the state of Israel and instead to seek a true and honest peace - for the benefit of the millions of innocents on both sides of the green line.

And what would happen if significant numbers of Palestinians expressed disillusionment with their current leadership and wanted this person to lead them to a just peace - perhaps using the last negotiations at Taba as a starting basis for that agreement - a treaty that would end the conflict and result in both states living in cooperation and peace.

Am I being a cynic of the worst sort - or just a realist - when I suggest that this person would probably not live out the week. Either way, I would guess that not too many people in the world would be surprised at such an outcome. I would also guess that every one of us would love to have the Palestinians themselves show us how ignorantly wrong and shortsighted we were.
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Ken Burch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #4
46. Catholics don't have a Right of Return for Vatican City.
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 10:04 AM by Ken Burch
There's 900 million of them and there's no way they'd fit.

The reality is that Palestine was NEVER "a land without people". There were continuous Palestinian Arab communities that existed for centuries. The idea that Arabs just showed up in the 1880's as part of CAMERA/FLAME's mythical "unrelenting Arab campaign" is bullshit.

Israel would lose nothing if it at least admitted that Palestinians did have a real claim to large areas of the Mandate and that injustices were done in intentionally displacing large numbers of them in 1948. The Shoah was real, and so was the Nakba. And while the Jewish people did and do deserve a place of safety, it was never fair to punish Palestinians for the crimes of Christian Europe.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. It Might As Well Be, Mr. Furman
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 04:24 PM by The Magistrate
It was accepted as the boundaries of the Israeli state accepted into the United Nations a few years after the '48 war. Its final positions were subject to the various M.A.C. negotiations shortly after the Armistice, and so are not, strictly speaking, simply a cease-fire line.

It is true the official position is that the security barrier is temporary, and no claim is being made to land beyond the Green Line it encloses. But there is little reason to imagine it will not prove permanent, or that the Arab Palestinian owners of land west of the barrier will continue to own it as the years stretch on. This is a place and situation in which the proclaimedly temporary has a way of hardening into permanance.

It is all very well to make pious noises on the lines of "why shouldn't Jews be allowed to live anywhere they want?" But this is not an abstract exercise in libertarian self-actualization. Under international law, it was and is illegal for Israel to settle a portion of its population on the land under its military occupation since '67. Whether it is racist or not to urge that the Israeli settlers retire from the Jordan valley is quite beside the point. Their presence there is a standing provocation, and their continued presence there in some future state of Arab Palestine would be a standing bait for pogrom, and standing enticement for Israel military rescue in wake of same. The situation would simply be unworkable, at least by human beings constituted as they are and have been to the present. Right or wrong, they are going to have to pull up stakes and head back into Israel proper, and sooner or later this is going to happen, in one circumstance or another. Where something is inevitable, the wise course is to get what benefit can be derived by doing it before it is forced, when it can still be painted as a thing of value freely offered.

It is certainly true that the original goal of Arab leadership was the expungement of Isarael entirely. This is no longer wholly true, as a matter of state policy, for such neighbors as Jordan and Egypt. There is little doubt that the people of Arab Palestine would be willing to settle, however unhappily in some instances, for a state of Arab Palestine alongside the state of Israel, just as a majority of Israelis would accept such a resolution to the conflict.
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. amusing at best...
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 10:59 AM by pelsar
the calls that state "international law" means israeli must return to the 67 borders..or why cant israelis live in the westbank....or all the refugees and their "next of kin" must be able to return to their original village etc or my personal favorite: until justice is done, there will be no peace

all of those absolutes have nothing to do with solving the conflict.....they're simply slogans. Intl law runs a distant second to potential genocide or continual attacks on a israel by its neighbors....a lot of good intl law did, when hizballa is involved...seems to me they kind of ignored the intl border.

the conflict will be solved by pramatic viewpoints that take into account the emotional aspects. Not give in to them, but symbolically deal with them. There will be no justice for all, there will be no pure 67 border retreat......the end game is pretty clear to most of us, its just a matter of getting rid of the cheerleaders on the side who dont understand it, the extremists, who feed on them, and then dealing with the details.
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breakaleg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. What is the end game that is so clear to you?
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. the end game ...
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 01:53 PM by pelsar
assuming the fanatics in iran and hamas an hizballa and hebron dont do anything incredibly stupid:

basic return to 67 border with adjustments to give israel the larger settlements blocs with the PA getting empty land from israel pre 67. Monitary compensation to the palestenians who left, monetary compensation to the jews who left the arab countries.

Jerusalem in some shared format.

a few palestenains return to the pre 48 homes for symbolic reasons..and some jew who wish it to live in Palestine...each giving up their previous citizenship (or some variation of that)

thats how its going to end, if us moderates and liberals have our way.
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breakaleg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Which settlements to you believe they will get to keep? And why?
Aside from the fact they are already there. Israel has claimed they were temporary, for security and all that shit and they could be removed. Why not all?
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. cities are hard to move...
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 02:09 PM by pelsar
and moving thousands of people cause major disruptions to lives and the economy...and the social fabric of israel. Most of the israelis who were forced out of gaza remain unemployed, have health problems etc. Israel simply wont agree to tearing up their own society for the palesteains.

No doubt the small more isolated ones will be removed or "sold" to the palestenians. As far as "which settlements"....i'm far from an expert on the geography of them, and wouldnt know more than the major cities (Arial, Ma'ale Adummim, etc), and those that i have "visited."

This 'end game" is clear to both the palestenains and israelis its just a matter of getting there.
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breakaleg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. But if they were temporary, then Israel must have considered that when
they built them - being illegal and all.

I know it will seem simplistic to you. But considering it's a violation of international law, it's doesn't seem right to allow Israel to benefit from its illegal activity. And driving such a solution down the throats of a people that already feel they've been done wrong, won't go far for peace. Assuming that's Israel's real goal. From what you describe, it seems more like a lust for land.
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. consequences for one actions...
and responsablity for ones actions......there was a war, jordan lost, new facts were created.....thats how it is.

One can easily argue that it was wrong for the arabs to try to annihilate israel in 48 and 67...guess you can say that if anyone had the "lust for land" it was those arab countries.....makes it a bit more complicated doesnt it?

your right, your view is simplistic because it shows only one side....show the other and its no longer black and white.. Once you get over that, and look at the situation today: 2006, thats what has to be dealt with.

since israel has already offered other parts of israel (land) for the cities built in the westbank, it pretty much destroys the "lust for land" arguement
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breakaleg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:20 PM
Response to Reply #21
24. Looking at maps of the West Bank
it seems the settlements cut it in half just East of Jerusalem. How much access with they want throughout the West Bank? Wouldn't it be easily for Israel's security if they were completely out of the West Bank rather than maintaining some settlements?

The problems it the settlers. They believed in their government and moved into these areas and now they may be asked to leave. It sucks to be them. But they have to get compensation from Israel, not the Palestinians.

The reason it's not black and white is the view that they are already living there, communities established, let them stay argument. Well, all that does is legitimize Israel's actions which with respect to the settlements have been illegal. I don't see why Israel should get away with that at the expense of the Palestinians.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. There Are Some Settlements, Ma'am
That are by now integral parts of the metropolitan expanse of Jerusalem, amounting to bedroom communities in its suburbs. These are probably going to be retained, and regularized by some form of compensation in money or land. The disruption of doing otherwise is something no power is going to accept unless compelled by force majuer, and that is nowhere on the horizon in this matter. It may be wrong, it may be right: that will not matter.
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breakaleg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. What if it makes it so difficult to swallow for the Palestinians that they won't?
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. they already have.....their leadership (PA)
perhaps you missed those interviews the Taba agreement etc. The land swap has been agreed to.


and when they're ready, its up to the leadership (PA) to "sell it"...thats what leaders do, as will the israeli leadership.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #26
29. In That Case, Ma'am, They May Continue The Futile Course They Are On Now
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 02:41 PM by The Magistrate
And can do so in the certain knowledge that the next offer made to them will be even more unfavoreable. That has been, after all, the whole pattern of the conflict from its commencement. Every act of rejectionism by the Arab Palestinian polity has been followed by conflict leaving the condition of that people more straitened and offering less prospects than had existed for it prior to the indulgence in the rejectionist line. If this course is persisted in it will become impossible to salvage even a vestige of that people's legitimate aspirations: indeed, there is ground to fear it might be already too late to do this. That would be a matter for great regret, but like the downward spiral of an alchoholic or a compulsive gambler, must strike many who observe it as more self-inflicted than otherwise.
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breakaleg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. You are right, of course.
My question really is why is it that Palestinians have to accept less and less while Israel continues to expand the settlements? Meanwhile, as more time passes, they use the excuse that it's too late now to dismantle them, when they never should have been put there in the first place?

I know their actions are clear. Those settlements aren't going anywhere. But they've claimed all sorts of things as an excuse for their existence and always claimed they were negotiable. Yet here it seems they aren't actually up for negotiation. As Pelsar said, the end is clear (to some, I guess).

So, given that they were illegal in the first place, why must the Palestinians be the only ones that have to compromise?
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. In Things Like This, Ma'am, Raw Power Matters
The side with less of it will of necessity have to compromise accordingly. The alternative, as you agreed, is simply to press on to utter ruin.

"Deserve's got nothin' ta do with it."
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breakaleg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. Ok. If that's their position, then I'd rather they wouldn't sugar coat it, or
disguise it as something else or pretend it's something less than what it is. I'm really tired of all of the lame excuses as to why Israel deserves to steal and keep someone else's land.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #34
37. It Is My View, Ma'am
And sugar-coating is certainly not my custom.
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newyorican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 09:31 PM
Response to Reply #33
61. Yes, raw power does matter..
..obviously.

Is there anyone here who believes the pendulum of who holds more "raw power" is frozen, locked in place?

It already moves, at it's own pace to boot.

Best to negotiate a settlement from a position of strength, than to negotiate from a position that can be seen as degrading.

In that, the party that has held most of the cards has failed.
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:48 PM
Response to Reply #31
38. why the palestenains have to 'compromise"...
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 11:49 PM by pelsar
well for one, it is they who insist upon "victory through violence" and they keep on losing. As written above by The Magistrate, so clearly, they have continued use of the same strategy with its consistent results, of them having less and less. They are simply bearing the consequences for their actions.

Life is based, not just on strength but on winning and losing, punishment and award etc. The Israelis are certainly not going to "award" the palestenains 100% of the westbank when the cost to israel is very high. The compromise is some land from israel pre 67.....and the more the palestenians fight, and the more they lose, the less israel will be willing to give....and the more miserable their lives will become, as history has shown. (gaza being a good example)

asking why, really isnt relevant, that question goes 2 ways, why were the jews massacred, why weren't (arent) they accepted, etc etc etc. The question is more to the point, of when will the palestenians switch philosophies and make the best of their situation instead of employing a strategy which has been a losing one for the last 50+ years.
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breakaleg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 01:11 AM
Response to Reply #38
39. How ironic.
You say Palestinians insist upon "victory through violence". Doesn't Israel as well? Isn't that how they got where they are?

I guess what's good for one side, isn't good for the other - especially where Israel is concerned.
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 02:23 AM
Response to Reply #39
40. welcome to the world....
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 02:26 AM by pelsar
countries are born via violence...at least thats the ways its been since time began....the jews and israel are no different...and to think so or to expect so is to place the jews as something other than normal humans....i doubt you want to go there.

the Palestinians made some poor choices and continue to do so....i hate to sound trite, but life isnt fair, never was, ask the american indians, jews, Tibetans, Muslim Chinese, Shiite muslims in iran, Sunnis in saudi arabia, the blacks in america, whites of zimbabwa and a zillion other peoples and social groups that dont get what they want and deserve.

the Palestenians made their choices, gambled and lost...gambled again and lost again...they can keep on trying..and keep on losing or they might, like so many other peoples, make the best of their situation, just as the jews did in 1948, they too didnt get "all they wanted", the difference was, that once they accepted their lot, they started to build a society that was as best as they could.

Its an example the palestenians might want to follow...thats the lesson of "whats good for one side is good for the other"...the philosophy of making the best of ones environment.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. Doubtless We Share The View, Mr. Pelsar, Amusement Is Where One Finds It
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 12:21 PM by The Magistrate
Morbid curiousity over what might make me grin in the coming hours is about my only reason for waking in the mornings.

"No Justice, no Peace!" is to my view one of the sillier sloganeerings to have ever gained wide currency, right up there with "If you could see tomorrow as it looks to us today!" which was the basis of an auto-maker's advertizing some years ago here. Both convey about the same degree of objective meaning, in the same granduer of candy wrapper. Where there is enduring conflict, it is precisely because there is no agreement on what justice is regarding it, and anyone employing the slogan actually means by "Justice" the triumph and vindication of my view in the matter, and by "Peace", "Victory".

Still it remains a fact that the settlement program is a breach of international law, and a transgression of the regulations governing legitimate military occupation, which Israel has rightfully engaged in for neigh on forty years. That is simply a fact, without moral or emotional signifigance in and of itself. The beauty of Law as a standard for judgement is that it can be pretty readily and objectively ascertained whether a thing is or is not legal, while the morality or emotional signifigance of something cannot be so readily agreed on, differing greatly as these things do from person to person and place to place. While it is true some are willing to distort Law, or to subject only one side to its requirements, these things do stand out as obvious blemishes, and gain little traction for enforcement.

Viewed simply as a question of strategy, it is very hard to make any arguement that the settlement program is currently of strategic benefit to Israel, and much easier to make the arguement that it is a strategic liability. Its illegality has some bearing on this, for it does weaken the standing of the state diplomatically and politically somewhat. This would be of scant account if it also brought some signifigant military benefit, but it does not. Depth of ground in defence against a conventional army's assault is no longer a signifigant factor in the situation, as it was forty and even thirty years ago. What the settlements do is provide a standing irritant and provocation to the native populace of the area, and constitute potential targets for attack isolated in a hostile land, that require considerable military exertion to protect.

It is true enough that a final settlement will see some alteration to the post '49 border, particularly in the environs of Jerusalem, where development is both close in to the line, and has reached a pitch it would be difficult if not absurd to attempt reversal of. These adjustments will have to be regularized by compensation in money and land. But the whole network of settlements deeper into the area, and particularly the outposts of fanatics, will necessarily have to be removed, and as a practical matter, there can be no question of their remaining on the territory of a state of Arab Palestine. They certainly cannot be employed to hamper the contiguity of such a state, or compromise its authority over its eastern border. Nor can the state of Israel have the shadow of a right to maintain, in a state of Arab Palestine, military outposts on that state's eastern border.

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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #12
18. my argument with the intl law...
and the settlements is simply that a good lawyer can argue any side of the case and make it convincing. As I understand most people may believe the settlement are illegal, but then most of the people believed the world was flat. I wouldn know if they illegal or legal, given that my reading of intl law is pretty weak, i would say they are "serious problem"

If we are to go by "the law" then we must presume innocent until proven guilty no matter how "simple" the case may be. At any rate, outside of the rantings of the fanatics on both sides and their cheerleaders, i find little to have the purity of a single answer.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #18
22. A Good Lawyer, Sir, Can Indeed Argue Anything
But a good lawyer cannot argue successfully that the settlements are not a breech of international law, not any longer. There is now a World Court decision that the Geneva Convention, which Israel has signed, does apply to the areas over-run in '67, and to their administration by Israel. That is precedent, that will be upheld in any future court proceeding on the subject. The portion of the Geneva Convention that forbids a country to establish its people on an occupied territory is quite clear, and does not admit of much weaseling, by however skilled an advocate. The variety of subsidies settlers enjoy, and the Israeli government's general refusal to enforce fully its own laws on the matter, establish beyond convincing rebuttal the activity is one engaged in by the government, and no mere private venture.

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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #22
47. Saying that means nothing.
Israel took the West Bank in a defensive war. Israel will dispose of the West Bank as Israel sees fit.

The UN is free to put together an army and impose its legal opinion on Isreal if it wishes. Of course, such a proposition is laughable. The UN can't even impose it's will in Darfur.

The West Bank will be disposed of as part of a lasting peace agreement with Arab Palestine - as Israel always intended. Foolish efforts like the political posturing of the World Court will do nothing but postpone that day of settlement further out into the future and make such negotiations more difficult.

Even world bodies can not violate basic principles of morality with their laws and legal posturing without suffering the consequences imposed by reality. When they do, you get things like the War on Drugs. Like the UN treatment of Israel on the West Bank through various resolutions and now "legal advisories", such posturing makes matters much worse and results in far greater suffering and deprivation than the original problem caused.

I know we disagree on this so I'm not trying to change your mind. I'm just pointing out the reality - which we now both get to watch unfold over the coming months. I invite you to come back a year from and show me how my view was so wrong today.

:thumbsup:
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #47
50. It Means Both Nothing And Everything, Ma'am
It is not going to be enforced, the principle of Old Hickory's "Justice Marshall has made his decision, let him enforce it!" clearly being in operation.

It is the state of law in the matter and certainly on the basic element of the applicability of the Geneva Conventions, it is good law.
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eyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #22
52. To be frank,
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 12:50 PM by eyl
the World Court's opinion was significantly flawed, and in part based on what seems to me ignoring the black-letter text of the Geneva Conventions (see my more detailed argument here, and the discussion here) as far as applicability of the GC is concerned.

Also, AFAIK the ICJ, unlike most domestic courts, is not bound by precedent - each case is viewed individually.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #52
54. To Address Just One Item, Sir
The people of Arab Palestine are not, you will surely agree, nationals of Israel, nor are they nationals of any state not a signatory of the Conventions. Since they are certainly "in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals", a category to which it is explicitly stated the Conventions apply, and yet do not fall into the specifically excluded class mentioned later, it is hard to see any real paradox. They are stateless persons, and the rarity of stateless persons in the modern day does not constitute a paradox. Stateless individuals were pretty common in the thirties and forties, and a number of persons who were no longer citizens of any country came under control of occupying powers during and after the Second World War.

You may forgive me for taking this opportunity, Sir, to state something of my puzzlement over why some are at such pains to attempt to establish that the people of Arab Palestine are not protected by the body of international law governing the conduct of states enaged in armed hostilities. What good purpose is served by carving out from the billions on the planet a few millions of persons to be viewed as outside the pale of Law?
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eyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 03:19 AM
Response to Reply #54
62. Given that
the treaty was written within the paradigm of state-vs-state conflict - that is, everone is a antional of some state, which has the binary condition of either being a signatory or not - it's fairly clear in my mind that the Convention is meant to apply to signatory states (among other things, that gives non-signatories an incentive to join).

Note that stateless people are not beyond the pale - there is a whole section of the Convention (either part II or part III) which applies to everyone, regardless of their state's signatory status.

As to why the argument. Speaking for myself, to some extent I find the discussion itself interesting. Beond that, however, given that Israel is continously being accused of international law, it seems to me to be important to determine what that law actually is - because many of the so-called experts (including some HR organizations) seem to stretch it well beyond what the law states when condemning Israel (and, to be fair, others).
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 03:14 AM
Response to Reply #8
41. Cheerleaders? You mean those folk who claim Israeli settlements are legal? n/t
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 06:02 AM
Response to Reply #41
43. my definition of cheerleaders...
are those who "egg on " the palestenians to keep on using violence, make excuses for their targeting of civilians, blame israel of all their problems (including wife beating) etc while they stay on the sidelines......
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 06:26 AM
Response to Reply #43
44. So there's no cheerleaders on the Israeli side?
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 06:29 AM by Violet_Crumble
If that's the case, it appears yr definition is a very one-sided one. And I tend to strongly disagree with what you call *blaming Israel for everything*. From what I've seen, it usually means anyone who doesn't hold Israel blameless for things like bombing electricity supplies etc...
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #44
48. my definition...
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 11:03 AM by pelsar
.....for those jews who support the extreme settlers I also see them as "cheerleaders"...people who blindly follow others and no matter what they do cheer them on.

that definition applies to those who support "Palestinians resistance" when it includes suicide bombers and kassam shooters..thats a black and white issue. The suicide bombers and missile shooters have made it very clear who their targets are: civilians anywhere any time.

that does not compare to the sonic booms, the electrical station the artillery the missile assassination attacks. For all of those follow a patten of attempts not to harm the civilians while stopping the kassams....in the end, the facts show they were foolish. The only thing that actually forced a lessening of the kassams and the pseudo cease fire was a re invasion of gaza. It was only then + artillery that actually hit buildings that forced the hamas/PA to send out their forces to try to half the fire.

However for those of us who are actually involved: looking to kill children and other civilians while blowing one self up, is a very different world from the one I know, where we try very hard not to shoot at those not involved...cheerleaders dont differentiate.
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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. That last sentence makes my head spin.
"There is little doubt that the people of Arab Palestine would be willing to settle, however unhappily in some instances, for a state of Arab Palestine alongside the state of Israel, just as a majority of Israelis would accept such a resolution to the conflict."

I have a lot of trouble reconciling that statement with my reading of events as they have unfolded there in the last several years. It seems to me that Palestinian-Arabs have a higher priority of occupying all of the original British Mandate territories including present-day Israel - and that they believe that accepting a separate state would require them to politically forgo their larger aspirations to have a Mideast devoid of Jews.

Rather than me list the many reasons why your statement doesn't make sense to me - I'd really appreciate if you could just list one or two of the most significant reasons that you believe your statement to be true.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Over The Years, Ma'am
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 12:42 PM by The Magistrate
There has been a good deal of polling data lodged in my mind from the reading which indicates that the majority of Arab Palestinians, like the majority of Israelis, would accept a two-state solution on some grounds approximating the borders in place for Israel between '49 and '67. Things do break down a bit as detail is approached in questions like Jerusalem, but this does not affect the general question. It is also true that, in conditions of on-going hostilities, majorities of both peoples support violence against the other, but the numbers are such that it is impossible to read them except as indicating that a great proportion of both peoples are both willing to prosecute a war they are now engaged in, and willing to accept a compromise peace. This suggests a great many people simply want the damned thing over, and do not much care whether this is achieved by military victory or negotiated settlement.

It is true that there are sizeable militant bodies among the Arab Palestinians that want more than this, and express the willingness to continue fighting till this is achieved. The victory of Hamas in the election, though, should not be mis-read as whole-hearted popular endorsement of its platfrom regarding Israel. Hamas did not achieve a majority of the popular vote, and had Fatah held together as a single faction, Hamas would have very few people in the Parliament. Further, a proportion of the vote for Hamas was a species of protest vote in the "turn out the rascals" class, motivated by distaste for Fatah corruption and ineptitude in administration and providing services.

It must also be pointed out that there are elements in the polity of Israel that express an unwillingness to stop short of a "Greater Israel" comprising the whole of the Mandatory territory. These have had a good deal of influence on government policy over the years, and on occassion representation in the government, such that, though definitely a minority, and none too popular among the general run of Israelis, they cannot truely be dismissed as a wholly fringe element.
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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. here is one recent poll with a extensive breakdown of Palestinian opinion
"Polling Data

Some believe that a two-state formula is the favored solution for the Arab-Israeli conflict, while others believe that historic Palestine cant be divided and thus the favored solution is a bi-national state on all of Palestine where Palestinians and Israelis enjoy equal representation and rights. Which of these solutions do you prefer?

Two-state solution: an Israeli
state and a Palestinian state
52.4%

Bi-national state on all
of historic Palestine
23.6%

No solution
9.4%

One Palestinian state
7.4%

Islamic state
2.9%

Others
2.0%

Dont know
1.0%

No answer
1.3%

Source: Jerusalem Media & Communication Center
Methodology: Interviews with 1,197 adults in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, conducted on Jun. 21 and Jun. 22, 2006. Margin of error is 3 per cent."
link:

http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/index.cfm/fuseaction/vi...
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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #13
23. Thanks for the informative reply.
That's one of the best explanations of the election I've read and I will try to open my mind to see the election through this new, more nuanced window.

I've always suspected that some part of the Palestinians must certainly wish for any peaceful settlement that would allow them to get on with their lives in any kind of normal way. I also know that some part will accept nothing but a Mideast free from Jews. This post helps me imagine where the different grades of that exist in Palestinian society.

So does the link and polling data from DC. Thanks to both of you.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:29 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. Thank You For The Kind Words, Ma'am
You will be aware my expectations for human-kind run pretty low, but it does seem an enduring lesson of history that people do by and large prefer peace and prosperity to war and destitution, and will opt for the former decisively if given half a chance to do so by conditions around them. Generally matters like this are a question of getting leaders and hot-heads out of the path of the herd, which will tend to its affairs quite nicely without their interference....
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 04:35 AM
Response to Reply #6
42. About those pious noises...
It is all very well to make pious noises on the lines of "why shouldn't Jews be allowed to live anywhere they want?" But this is not an abstract exercise in libertarian self-actualization.

And if it was the pious cry should actually be "why shouldn't everyone be allowed to live anywhere they want?" And in real life, very very few people can live anywhere they want when it's outside the borders of the country they're a citizen of. It's got nothing to do with whether someone's a Jew, and apart from the piousness of the noise, I find the attempts to make it a Jewish issue quite clumsy....
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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-19-06 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #2
70. The same reason Palestinians can't live anywhere they want
And why shouldn't Jews be allowed to live anywhere they want?

If the Arabs and Israelis were to give up their medieval need for racially and culturally homogenous countries, Jews and Palestinians could live wherever they want. But Palestinians don't want (many) Jews in Palestine and Jews don't want (many) non-Jewish Arabs in Israel. So as it is, the reason Jews can't live wherever they want is the same reason Palestinians can't live wherever they want: because the people currently living there don't want them there.

To insist on expelling Jews from the disputed territories would be considered racist.

But the expulsion of the Palestinians from those same lands wasn't?

Israel has not annexed any "Palestinian land".
The security fence is meant to be a temporary measure until a final settlement is negotiated.


If you believe for a second that Israel will fence in land and then give it back in a negotiation, I have a cakewalk in Iran to sell you. Israel and Palestine have, in my opinion, lost all credibility as honest negotiators here: Palestine for continued violence and Israel for continued settlements.

Tom Toles had a cartoon about this. Some figure representing Israel was saying something like, "There's no reasoning with these people. I must decide where on their land I'm going to build a fence to shield me from their inexplicable anger."
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furman Donating Member (363 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-19-06 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #70
71. Responses
Jews in the West Bank
The number of Jews in the West Bank is quite small compared to the total population.
By comparison, Arabs make up about 20% of Israel, over one million people.
Israel is far fom "culturally homogeneous".
Only the far-right wing has made noise about population or land transfer of Israeli Arabs.
Most Israelis find that idea abhorrent.


Expulsion of Arabs from Israel
Over 600,000 Palestinians fled Israel in 1948 at the behest of the Arab countries who invaded in response to Israel's declaration of independence. It is a myth that Israelis forcibly expelled so many Arabs after the UN partition resolution of 1947.

There would probably be few if any refugees had the Arabs accepted the partition resolution in 1947.


The Security Fence
Israel has already made several significant modifications to the fence in response to cases brought to the Israeli Supreme Court.
The current route of the fence encompasses only about 7% of the West Bank.

Israel has made extensive concessions for peace in the past. I see no reason to believe they would not in the future should a genuine opportunity for peace arise.

Keep in mind that there would be no need for the fence at all had the Palestinians chose a route of peace rather than terror.
The decision to build a fence came only after hundreds of terror attacks massacred over a thousand Israeli citizens.
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-20-06 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #71
75. You just repeated a myth...
Over 600,000 Palestinians fled Israel in 1948 at the behest of the Arab countries who invaded in response to Israel's declaration of independence.

That's just as much a myth as claiming all the refugees were forcibly expelled. Over 600,000 refugees did not flee on the behest of Arab countries. There was a mixture of forced expulsion and fleeing out of fear at what was happening to neighbouring towns and villages...
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furman Donating Member (363 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-20-06 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #75
76. Only a small number of Arabs were expelled or terrorized, the rest fled voluntarily
The overwhelming majority of Arabs either fled in fear or because they were encouraged to by the Arab leaders who were so confident of being able to destroy the nascent Jewish state.

There was absolutely no systematic ethnic cleansing of Arabs as you may be insinuating.
In fact, Jewish leaders were calling for the Arabs to stay and become equal citizens in the new state of Israel.
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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-21-06 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #76
80. I'm sorry, I apologize for being rude. but that is pure nonsense
Edited on Thu Dec-21-06 01:06 AM by Douglas Carpenter
And these kind of comments are extremely hurtful to the victims and the families of the victims of this great tragedy.

Let me quote former Israeli Foreign Minister and Israeli historian Shlomo Ben-Ami (who I might add is an ardent Zionist) from Scars of War Wounds of Peace, the Israeli-Arab Tragedy, page 25-26

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Scars-War-Wounds-Peace-Israeli-Ar...

"The idea of transfer of Arabs had a long pedigree in Zionist thought. Moral scruples hardly intervened in what was normally seen as a realistic and logical solution, a matter of expediency. Israel Zangvill, the founding father of the concept, advocated transfer as early as 1916. For as he said, ' if we wish to give a country to a people without a country, it is utter foolishness to allow it to be the country of two people...."

"The idea of transfer was not the intimate dream of only the activists and militants of the Zionist movement. A mass exodus of Arabs from Palestine was no great tragedy, according to Menachem Usishkink, a leader of the General Zionist. To him the message of the Arab Revolt was that coexistence was out of the question and it was now either the Arabs or the Jews, but not both. Even Aharon Zislong, a member of the extreme Left of the Zionist Labour movements, who during the 1948 war would go on record as being scandalized by the atrocities committed against the Arab population, saw no 'moral flaw' in transfer of the Arabs...But again, Ben Gurion's voice had always a special meaning and relevance. At a Zionist meeting in June 1938 he was as explicit as he could be. 'I support compulsory transfer. I don't see in it anything immoral.' But he also knew that transfer would be possible only in the midst of war, not in 'normal times.' What might be impossible in such times, he said 'is possible in revolutionary times.' The problem was, then, not moral, perhaps not even political,it was a function of timing, this meant war"

and from page 43:

" Benny Morris found no evidence to show 'that either the leaders of the Arab states or the Mufti ordered or directly encouraged the mass exodus'. Indeed Morris found evidence to the effect that the local Arab leadership and militia commanders discouraged flight, and the Arab radio stations issued calls to the Palestinians to stay put, and even to return to their homes if they had already left. True, there were more than a few cases where local Arab commanders ordered the evacuation of villages. But these seemed to gave been tactical decisions taken under very specific military conditions..."

From page 44:

"The first major wave of Arab exodus in April-May 1948, essentially in the wake of the Dir Yassin massacre that was perpetrated by Lehi and Irgun with the Haganah's connivance and the unfolding of Plan D, might perhaps have taken the leadership of the Yishuv by surprise. But they undoubtedly saw an opportunity to be exploited, a phenomenon to rejoice at -- Manachem Begin wrote in his memoirs, The Revolt, that 'out of evil, however, good came-and be encouraged. 'Doesn't he have anything more important to do?' was Ben-Gurion's reaction when told, during his visit to Haifa on 1 May 1948 that a local Jewish leader was trying to convince Arabs not to leave. 'Drive them out!' was Ben-Gurion's instruction to Yigal Allon, as recorded by Yitzak Rabin in a censored passage of his memoirs published in a censored passage of his memoirs published in 1979, with regard to the Arabs of Lydda after the city had been taken over on 11 July 1948....Plan D, however, was a major cause for the exodus, for it was strategically driven by the notion of creating Jewish contiguity even beyond the partition lines and, therefore by the desire to have a Jewish state with the smallest number of Arabs.

The debate about whether or not the mass exodus of Palestinians was the result of a Zionist design or the inevitable concomitant of war could not ignore the ideological constructs that motivated the Zionist enterprise. The philosophy of transfer was not a marginal, esoteric article....These ideological constructs provided a legitimate environment for commanders in the field to encourage the eviction of the local population even when no precise order to that effect was issued by the political leaders. As early as February 1948, that is before the mass exodus had started but after he witnessed how Arabs had fled West Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion could not hide his excitement."

from page 42:

"The reality on the ground was at times far simpler and more cruel than what Ben-Gurion was ready to acknowledge. It 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, at at times atrocities and massacres it perpetrated against the civilian Arab community. A panic-stricken Arab community was uprooted under the impact of massacres that would be carved into the Arabs' monument of grief and hatred."
_____________________


Map showing the massive destruction of Palestinian towns after al-Nakba in 1948 - link: http://www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Maps/Story572.h...



.
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-21-06 12:32 AM
Response to Reply #80
81. Thanks for posting that, Douglas...
I'm going to do a cute little linky to Amazon here and suggest to Furman that he read The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited by Benny Morris.
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furman Donating Member (363 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-21-06 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #81
84. "For the record" by Benny Morris, The Guardian, January 14, 2004
This article written by Benny Morris in 2004 about the publication of "Birth Revisited" backs up my statement.
I said that there were expulsions committed by the Israelis, but the majority of Arabs fled for other reasons.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,1122425,00.ht...

For the record
In 1948, thousands of Palestinians fled their homes in what is now Israel, and became refugees.
Both sides have blamed each other ever since. But new documents show neither is entirely innocent, argues Benny Morris
January 14, 2004
The Guardian

...

Birth Revisited describes many more atrocities and expulsions than were recored in the original version of the book. But, at the same time, a far greater proportion of the 700,000 Arab refugees were ordered or advised by their fellow Arabs to abandon their homes than I had previously registered. It is clear from the new documentation that the Palestinian leadership in principle opposed the Arab flight from December 1947 to April 1948, while at the same time encouraging or ordering a great many villages to send away their women, children and old folk, to be out of harm's way. Whole villages, especially in the Jewish-dominated coastal plain, were also ordered to evacuate. There is no doubt that, throughout, the departure of dependents lowered the morale of the remaining males and paved the way for their eventual departure as well.

...

the problem wasn't created by the Zionists but by the Arabs themselves, and stemmed directly from their violent assault on Israel. Had the Palestinians and the Arab states refrained from launching a war to destroy the emergent Jewish state, there would have been no refugees and none would exist today.

...



See also this Google cache of MEMRI's Special Dispatch No. 310 (I can't find a link to it on MEMRI's site)
The Arabs Are Responsible. Post-Zionist Historian Benny Morris Clarifies His Thesis
...
"Morris had different plans. He knew exactly what was in store for his audience: a surprise, a big surprise. he told them that the Palestinians have been obstinately refusing to accept any compromise since the 1930's. They refused to accept the 1937 Partition Plan of the Peel Commission (a Jewish State on 20% of the Sharon and Galilee regions of territorial Palestine), they rejected the 1947 UN partition plan (an Arab state on 40% of the territory), they did not even want to hear about Sadat and Begin's <1979> Autonomy Plan (which was a part of the Camp David Accord and which was never implemented), and they rejected Bill Clinton's generous offer (which included 95% of the West Bank). To make a long story short, the Jews always agreed whereas the Arabs always refused to accept them, and the blame falls squarely on the Palestinians. They have been making historic mistakes for seventy years now, and there is a price for historic mistakes"

"Yes, the Palestinians are to blame. And this is true not only because they rejected Ehud Barak's generous offer but also because they are unwilling to come to terms with Israel's existence here. They want to throw into the ocean, and anyone who holds a different opinion is mistaken. These are the words of the Historian."
...
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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-21-06 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #84
88. Ben-Gurion was a "transferist" and Benny Morris doesn't think he went far enough
Haaretz interview of Benny Morris by Ari Shavit,

(thanks to Englander for making this post on 12 Dec 06)

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=3...

Survival of the fittest

By Ari Shavit

>snip

Ben-Gurion was a "transferist"?

"Of course. Ben-Gurion was a transferist. He understood that there could be no Jewish state with a large and hostile Arab minority in its midst. There would be no such state. It would not be able to exist."

I don't hear you condemning him.

"Ben-Gurion was right. If he had not done what he did, a state would not have come into being. That has to be clear. It is impossible to evade it. Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here."

>snip

The next transfer

You went through an interesting process. You went to research Ben-Gurion and the Zionist establishment critically, but in the end you actually identify with them. You are as tough in your words as they were in their deeds.

"You may be right. Because I investigated the conflict in depth, I was forced to cope with the in-depth questions that those people coped with. I understood the problematic character of the situation they faced and maybe I adopted part of their universe of concepts. But I do not identify with Ben-Gurion. I think he made a serious historical mistake in 1948. Even though he understood the demographic issue and the need to establish a Jewish state without a large Arab minority, he got cold feet during the war. In the end, he faltered."

I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying that Ben-Gurion erred in expelling too few Arabs?

"If he was already engaged in expulsion, maybe he should have done a complete job. I know that this stuns the Arabs and the liberals and the politically correct types. But my feeling is that this place would be quieter and know less suffering if the matter had been resolved once and for all. If Ben-Gurion had carried out a large expulsion and cleansed the whole country - the whole Land of Israel, as far as the Jordan River. It may yet turn out that this was his fatal mistake. If he had carried out a full expulsion - rather than a partial one - he would have stabilized the State of Israel for generations."

I find it hard to believe what I am hearing.

"If the end of the story turns out to be a gloomy one for the Jews, it will be because Ben-Gurion did not complete the transfer in 1948. Because he left a large and volatile demographic reserve in the West Bank and Gaza and within Israel itself."

In his place, would you have expelled them all? All the Arabs in the country?

"But I am not a statesman. I do not put myself in his place. But as an historian, I assert that a mistake was made here. Yes. The non-completion of the transfer was a mistake."

And today? Do you advocate a transfer today?

"If you are asking me whether I support the transfer and expulsion of the Arabs from the West Bank, Gaza and perhaps even from Galilee and the Triangle, I say not at this moment. I am not willing to be a partner to that act. In the present circumstances it is neither moral nor realistic. The world would not allow it, the Arab world would not allow it, it would destroy the Jewish society from within. But I am ready to tell you that in other circumstances, apocalyptic ones, which are liable to be realized in five or ten years, I can see expulsions. If we find ourselves with atomic weapons around us, or if there is a general Arab attack on us and a situation of warfare on the front with Arabs in the rear shooting at convoys on their way to the front, acts of expulsion will be entirely reasonable. They may even be essential."

Including the expulsion of Israeli Arabs?

"The Israeli Arabs are a time bomb. Their slide into complete Palestinization has made them an emissary of the enemy that is among us. They are a potential fifth column. In both demographic and security terms they are liable to undermine the state. So that if Israel again finds itself in a situation of existential threat, as in 1948, it may be forced to act as it did then. If we are attacked by Egypt (after an Islamist revolution in Cairo) and by Syria, and chemical and biological missiles slam into our cities, and at the same time Israeli Palestinians attack us from behind, I can see an expulsion situation. It could happen. If the threat to Israel is existential, expulsion will be justified."

link to full interview/article in Haaretz:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=3...

.
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furman Donating Member (363 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-21-06 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #88
92. So Benny Morris says that population transfer may be justified in certain situtations
Why don't you guys jump down Morris's throat for saying this?

Most of the posters here seem to find the idea of population transfer abhorrent under any circumstances.
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-21-06 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #92
93. Most people here do find population transfer abhorrent...
You don't? I'd be very interested to hear yr views on it and whatif any you consider to be acceptable circumstances...
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furman Donating Member (363 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-22-06 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #93
94. I find it abhorrent as well n/t
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-22-06 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #94
96. Thanks for clarifying that n/t
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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-21-06 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #84
89. Mr. Barak certainly NEVER made the Palestinians any generous offer
Edited on Thu Dec-21-06 11:29 AM by Douglas Carpenter
(I have posted this before -- but I think it remains relevant):

the simple reality is that with the possible exception of about 10 days in Taba, Egypt in Jan 2001 the Palestinians have never been offered anything remotely like a reasonable settlement in the past decades. Even then at Taba there is no evidence that they were presented with an offer. But there were possibly viable discussions which Israel unilaterally terminated on January 28, 2001. The Palestinians certainly never rejected a reasonable settlement.

The ink wasn't even dry from signing the Oslo Accord in September, 1993 and Israel was engaging in the most massive settlement expansion project in its history, along with building the Apartheid roads and imposing closure policies which devastated the Palestinian economy. Oslo was actually used as a pretext to justify closure policies which made a viable economy virtually impossible. And this was well before one single suicide bombing ever occurred; this first happening in Afula on April 6, 1994. In September of 1993 there were a total of about 95,000 Israeli settlers living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. By 2000 the number had increased to the multiple hundreds of thousands. Estimates range between 300,000 and 400,000.

When the Israeli and Palestinian delegations met in the summer of 2000 for final status talks, the only offers the Palestinians were given were so outrageous that even a lead negotiator and the Israeli Foreign Minister Schlomo Ben-Ami has said very clearly that he would have rejected the offer if he had been Palestinian. links:
http://www.democracynow.org/finkelstein-benami.shtml

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1113

It was not until the very final days of the Barak Labor government and under tremendous pressure from President Clinton did the Israeli government get serious about a credible offer.

Unfortunately with Mr. Sharon who was widely expected to win the election pledging that he would not honor the agreement and then Mr. Barak deciding to distance himself from the Taba negotiations, Israel--not the Palestinians unilaterally withdrew from the Taba talks on January 28, 2001. It must be said in fairness that Israel was just a couple weeks away from the election at that point:

Here is a link to the European Union summary document regarding the Taba talks first published in Haaretz on February 14, 2001:

"Moratinos Document" - The peace that nearly was at Taba

"In the current reality of terror attacks and bombing raids, it is hard to remember that Israel and the Palestinians were close to a final-status agreement at Taba only 13 months ago."

By Akiva Eldar

Ha'aretz
14 February 2002 - link: http://www.arts.mcgill.ca/MEPP/PRRN/papers/moratinos.ht...

snip" This document, whose main points have been approved by the Taba negotiators as an accurate description of the discussions, casts additional doubts on the prevailing assumption that Ehud Barak "exposed Yasser Arafat's true face." It is true that on most of the issues discussed during that wintry week of negotiations, sizable gaps remain. Yet almost every line is redolent of the effort to find a compromise that would be acceptable to both sides. It is hard to escape the thought that if the negotiations at Camp David six months earlier had been conducted with equal seriousness, the intifada might never have erupted. And perhaps, if Barak had not waited until the final weeks before the election, and had instead sent his senior representatives to that southern hotel earlier, the violence might never have broken out."

link to the rest of Mr. Eldar's analysis as well as complete summary documents known as the "Moratinos Document"

http://www.arts.mcgill.ca/MEPP/PRRN/papers/moratinos.ht...
_________________________________

link to a summary of what was actually offered to the Palestinians at Camp David in the Summer of 2000:

link:

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1113

"The annexations and security arrangements would divide the West Bank into three disconnected cantons. In exchange for taking fertile West Bank lands that happen to contain most of the regions scarce water aquifers, Israel offered to give up a piece of its own territory in the Negev Desert--about one-tenth the size of the land it would annex--including a former toxic waste dump.

Because of the geographic placement of Israels proposed West Bank annexations, Palestinians living in their new independent state would be forced to cross Israeli territory every time they traveled or shipped goods from one section of the West Bank to another, and Israel could close those routes at will. Israel would also retain a network of so-called bypass roads that would crisscross the Palestinian state while remaining sovereign Israeli territory, further dividing the West Bank.

Israel was also to have kept "security control" for an indefinite period of time over the Jordan Valley, the strip of territory that forms the border between the West Bank and neighboring Jordan. Palestine would not have free access to its own international borders with Jordan and Egypt--putting Palestinian trade, and therefore its economy, at the mercy of the Israeli military.

Had Arafat agreed to these arrangements, the Palestinians would have permanently locked in place many of the worst aspects of the very occupation they were trying to bring to an end. For at Camp David, Israel also demanded that Arafat sign an "end-of-conflict" agreement stating that the decades-old war between Israel and the Palestinians was over and waiving all further claims against Israel"

snip:"In April 2002, the countries of the Arab League--from moderate Jordan to hardline Iraq--unanimously agreed on a Saudi peace plan centering around full peace, recognition and normalization of relations with Israel in exchange for a complete Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders as well as a "just resolution" to the refugee issue. Palestinian negotiator Nabil Sha'ath declared himself "delighted" with the plan. "The proposal constitutes the best terms of reference for our political struggle," he told the Jordan Times (3/28/02)."

read full article:

The Myth of the Generous Offer
Distorting the Camp David negotiations -- link: http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1113
__________________________

Here is a link to very long 43 page pdf file summary. The article is neutral and dispassionate. It gives a very calm and rational critique of all sides:

Visions in Collisions: What Happened at Camp David and Taba
by Dr. Jeremy Pressman, University Connecticut

link:

http://www.samed-syr.org/CampDavidAndTaba.pdf
_________________________

The Arab Peace Initiative (Also known as the Saudi Peace Plan)

It was unanimously affirmed by the Arab League and immediately endorsed by the Palestinian leadership in March 2002 and very recently reaffirmed. However, more or less the same plan has been offered by the Arab League and enthusiastically endorsed by the Palestinian leadership going back much, much longer.

link: http://www.mideastweb.org/saudipeace.htm

"The Council of Arab States at the Summit Level at its 14th Ordinary Session, reaffirming the resolution taken in June 1996 at the Cairo Extra-Ordinary Arab Summit that a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East is the strategic option of the Arab countries, to be achieved in accordance with international legality, and which would require a comparable commitment on the part of the Israeli government.

Having listened to the statement made by his royal highness Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, crown prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in which his highness presented his initiative calling for full Israeli withdrawal from all the Arab territories occupied since June 1967, in implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, reaffirmed by the Madrid Conference of 1991 and the land-for-peace principle, and Israel's acceptance of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, in return for the establishment of normal relations in the context of a comprehensive peace with Israel.

Emanating from the conviction of the Arab countries that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for the parties, the council:

1. Requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well.

2. Further calls upon Israel to affirm:

I- Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.

II- Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.

III- The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

3. Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following:

I- Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region

II- Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.

4. Assures the rejection of all forms of Palestinian patriation which conflict with the special circumstances of the Arab host countries

5. Calls upon the government of Israel and all Israelis to accept this initiative in order to safeguard the prospects for peace and stop the further shedding of blood, enabling the Arab countries and Israel to live in peace and good neighborliness and provide future generations with security, stability and prosperity

6. Invites the international community and all countries and organizations to support this initiative.

7. Requests the chairman of the summit to form a special committee composed of some of its concerned member states and the secretary general of the League of Arab States to pursue the necessary contacts to gain support for this initiative at all levels, particularly from the United Nations, the Security Council, the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the Muslim states and the European Union."

link: http://www.mideastweb.org/saudipeace.htm
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furman Donating Member (363 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-21-06 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #89
90. As I have responded before, this is revisionist history
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Mr. Ackerman's article is an example of how Palestinians distort facts for their propaganda campaign.

To refute the mainstream opinion of what happened at Camp David and Taba, one must contradict people
like President Clinton and Dennis Ross, the chief U.S. negotiator during the talks and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace.

I suggest you read this well-sourced article offering a more accurate portrayal of history.


Camp David 2000
http://www.peacewithrealism.org/pdc/campdave.htm

One important goal of Palestinian disinformation is the rewriting of history. By saying often enough that things happened one way when they really happened another, one turns history into a propaganda tool.

<snip>

Another important one is the Camp David negotiations of 2000. It is commonly known that Yasser Arafat turned down a well-considered offer proposed by President Clinton and accepted by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak that would have created a Palestinian state. Instead of making any counter-proposal, the Palestinians launched a wave of violence that grew into a bloody terrorist war lasting now almost five years.

The great lie - The revisionist version of events - is that Arafat was justified in rejecting the proposal because it would have left him with an unviable state of disconnected "cantons" or "bantustans." This distortion of history has become a popular myth, repeated by many Palestinian sources and on many pro-Palestinian web sites. It exists today on the FAQ of the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department:

Why did the Palestinians reject the Camp David Peace Proposal?

For a true and lasting peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, there must be two viable and independent states living as equal neighbors. Israel's Camp David proposal, which was never set forth in writing, denied the Palestinian state viability and independence by dividing Palestinian territory into four separate cantons entirely surrounded, and therefore controlled, by Israel.(3)

As will soon be demonstrated, this statement falsifies history. The reason for the falsification is clear: it is to hold the Palestinians blameless for the terrorist violence that has brutalized the Israeli civilian population over the past several years. Many of those who promote this idea would like people to believe that the Palestinians had no choice but to resort to violence, having exhausted negotiations as an option.

<snip>

The truth is that an early Israeli proposal might have been construed to specify cantons, but was far from the final proposal Israel made. However, this is the only Camp David map the Palestinians display, which constitutes a clear and blatant misrepresentation of what Israel actually offered. (One might very reasonably ask: If it was so obvious the final Israeli offer deserved rejection, then why the need to distort it?)

As negotiations progressed, the Palestinians would bargain in a manner the Israelis found troublesome. Instead of presenting proposals of their own in response to what the Israelis offered, the Palestinians, especially Arafat, would hang back and wait for Israel to make successively better offers. To be sure, the Israelis engaged in their share of foot-dragging and attempts at manipulation, par for the course in any complex negotiations. Nevertheless, the Palestinians' pattern emerged as a distinctive and consistent strategy. They would pocket Israeli concessions, wait a while, then use those concessions as a new point of departure without having produced any counter-offer. Or they might just belittle the Israeli concession and, without offering anything in return, demand the Israelis come up with something more "reasonable." In effect, they had the Israelis negotiating against themselves. Even Robert Malley, an apologist for the Palestinians, admitted these Palestinian methods and gave them a descriptive name: "Palestinian salami tactics."(8)

<snip>
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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-21-06 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #90
91. I will take the written record of the European Union notes as
Edited on Thu Dec-21-06 11:35 AM by Douglas Carpenter
reasonably accurate history, especially given that all the negotiators at the talks -- on all sides -- agreed that they were accurate:

Here is a link to the European Union summary document regarding the Taba talks first published in Haaretz on February 14, 2001:

"Moratinos Document" - The peace that nearly was at Taba

"In the current reality of terror attacks and bombing raids, it is hard to remember that Israel and the Palestinians were close to a final-status agreement at Taba only 13 months ago."

By Akiva Eldar

Ha'aretz
14 February 2002 - link: http://www.arts.mcgill.ca/MEPP/PRRN/papers/moratinos.ht...

snip" This document, whose main points have been approved by the Taba negotiators as an accurate description of the discussions, casts additional doubts on the prevailing assumption that Ehud Barak "exposed Yasser Arafat's true face." It is true that on most of the issues discussed during that wintry week of negotiations, sizable gaps remain. Yet almost every line is redolent of the effort to find a compromise that would be acceptable to both sides. It is hard to escape the thought that if the negotiations at Camp David six months earlier had been conducted with equal seriousness, the intifada might never have erupted. And perhaps, if Barak had not waited until the final weeks before the election, and had instead sent his senior representatives to that southern hotel earlier, the violence might never have broken out."

link to the rest of Mr. Eldar's analysis as well as complete summary documents known as the "Moratinos Document"

http://www.arts.mcgill.ca/MEPP/PRRN/papers/moratinos.ht...

__________________________

Here is a link to very long 43 page pdf file summary. The article is neutral and dispassionate. It gives a very calm and rational critique of all sides:

Visions in Collisions: What Happened at Camp David and Taba
by Dr. Jeremy Pressman, University Connecticut

link:

http://www.samed-syr.org/CampDavidAndTaba.pdf
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Phx_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-21-06 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #80
85. So where did the Palestinian Arab-Israelis come from?
They sneak back into Israel after the "ethnic cleansing"?

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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-21-06 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #85
87.  a minority did indeed stay in Israel and remained under military
occupation until 1966 -- after that major concessions were made to them

"The Palestinian Refugees
The events of 1947-48 created a serious refugee problem. Based on Resolution 181 the Arab state would have 725,000 Arabs and 20,000 Jews; the Jewish state 498,000 Jews and 407,000 Arabs and the international zone (Jerusalem and environs) 100,000 Jews and 105,000 Arabs. In fact, the result was quite different"

"Of the Palestinians living in what is now Israel proper on January 1, 1948, approximately 85% were refugees by December 31. Most ended up in Jordan, Gaza or the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, or Kuwait. (During 1948 the population of Jordan more than doubled to 850,000"

University of Michigan:

http://www.umich.edu/~iinet/worldreach/assets/docs/isra...
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Englander Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-21-06 03:55 AM
Response to Reply #76
83. No, that's not correct.
TEN YEARS OF RESEARCH INTO THE 1947-49 WAR
The expulsion of the Palestinians re-examined


Fifty years ago the UN decided to partition Palestine into two states, one Arab, one Jewish. The ensuing Arab-Israeli war ended with Israel expanding its share of the land by a third, while what remained to the Arabs was occupied by Egypt and Jordan. Several thousand Palestinians fled their homes, becoming the refugees at the heart of the conflict. Israel has always denied that they were expelled, either forcibly or as a matter of policy. Israels "new historians" have been re-examining that denial and have put an end to a number of myths.

By Dominique Vidal

>snip

Military operations marked by atrocities

In "1948 and After" Benny Morris examines the first phase of the exodus and produces a detailed analysis of a source that he considers basically reliable: a report prepared by the intelligence services of the Israeli army, dated 30 June 1948 and entitled "The emigration of Palestinian Arabs in the period 1/12/1947-1/6/1948". This document sets at 391,000 the number of Palestinians who had already left the territory that was by then in the hands of Israel, and evaluates the various factors that had prompted their decisions to leave. "At least 55% of the total of the exodus was caused by our (Haganah/IDF) operations." To this figure, the reports compilers add the operations of the Irgun and Lehi, which "directly (caused) some 15%... of the emigration". A further 2% was attributed to explicit expulsion orders issued by Israeli troops, and 1% to their psychological warfare. This leads to a figure of 73% for departures caused directly by the Israelis. In addition, the report attributes 22% of the departures to "fears" and "a crisis of confidence" affecting the Palestinian population. As for Arab calls for flight, these were reckoned to be significant in only 5% of cases...

In short, as Morris puts it, this report "undermines the traditional official Israeli explanation of a mass flight ordered or invited by the Arab leadership". Neither, as he points out, "does uphold the traditional Arab explanation of the exodus - that the Jews, with premeditation and in a centralised fashion, had systematically waged a campaign aimed at the wholesale expulsion of the native Palestinian population." However, he says that "the circumstances of the second half of the exodus" - which he estimates as having involved between 300,000 and 400,000 people - "are a different story."

One example of this second phase was the expulsion of Arabs living in Lydda (present-day Lod) and Ramleh. On 12 July 1948, within the framework of Operation Dani, a skirmish with Jordanian armoured forces served as a pretext for a violent backlash, with 250 killed, some of whom were unarmed prisoners. This was followed by a forced evacuation characterised by summary executions and looting and involving upwards of 70,000 Palestinian civilians - almost 10% of the total exodus of 1947- 49. Similar scenarios were enacted, as Morris shows, in central Galilee, Upper Galilee and the northern Negev, as well as in the post-war expulsion of the Palestinians of Al Majdal (Ashkelon). Most of these operations (with the exception of the latter) were marked by atrocities - a fact which led Aharon Zisling, the minister of agriculture, to tell the Israeli cabinet on 17 November 1948: "I couldnt sleep all night. I felt that things that were going on were hurting my soul, the soul of my family and all of us here (...) Now Jews too have behaved like Nazis and my entire being has been shaken (10)."

The Israeli government of the time pursued a policy of non- compromise, in order to prevent the return of the refugees "at any price" (as Ben Gurion himself put it), despite the fact that the UN General Assembly had been calling for this since 11 December 1948. Their villages were either destroyed or occupied by Jewish immigrants, and their lands were shared out between the surrounding kibbutzim. The law on "abandoned properties" - which was designed to make possible the seizure of any land belonging to persons who were "absent" - "legalised" this project of general confiscation as of December 1948. Almost 400 Arab villages were thus either wiped off the map or Judaised, as were most of the Arab quarters in mixed towns. According to a report drawn up in 1952, Israel had thus succeeded in expropriating 73,000 rooms in abandoned houses, 7,800 shops, workshops and warehouses, 5 million Palestinian pounds in bank accounts, and - most important of all - 300,000 hectares of land (11).

In "1948 and After" (chapter 4), Benny Morris deals at greater length with the role played by Yosef Weitz, who was at the time director of the Jewish National Funds Lands Department. This man of noted Zionist convictions confided to his diary on 20 December 1940: "It must be clear that there is no room in the country for both people (...) the only solution is a Land of Israel, at least a western Land of Israel without Arabs. There is no room here for compromise. (...) There is no way but to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighbouring countries(...) Not one village must be left, not one (bedouin) tribe."

http://mondediplo.com/1997/12/palestine


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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-21-06 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #70
86. The comparison between Israel
and virtually every Arabic nation I can think of is so specious, that it's a bore to refute.

Israel is not racially and culturally homogenous. Sorry, you can't make that claim about a country where over 20% of the population is not Jewish, indeed is largely of Arab descent. Can you think of one Arab nation, outside of Lebanon, that has a large minority religious population?


I posted an article about Israel building a Muslim Prayer Room at Ben-Gurion airport this morning. It is unimaginable that any Arab nation would recognize the religious needs of minorities in such a manner.

Now, I agree with you about the Fence, and, the annexation of land, the treatment of Palestinians in the OT, etc., but the insistance that Israel is just a Jewish version of Islamic countries is simply inaccurate in the extreme.
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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 02:21 PM
Response to Original message
55. Sharon's Wall was a great success, to my surprise
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 02:30 PM by IndianaGreen
It should be relocated and placed on the Green Line. Israel should then withdraw behind the Green Line, and let the Arabs sort their problems by themselves without any interference from the West.

As to Jerusalem, the world community must guarantee freedom of travel for religious pilgrims. Prior to the June 1967 war, Jews were prevented from traveling to Arab Jerusalem to pray at the Wailing Wall. This must not be allowed to happen again.

Israel should also give up the Golan and the Shebaa Farms to Syria and Lebanon, respectively.

Why would Israel do this? Because America won't be there to help her! Thanks to the FUBAR situation in the Middle East that Bush has created, there is going to be a disintegration of several of the countries created by European colonialism at the end of World War I. The American people will be so sick of the Middle East, and so angry at those responsible for getting us into the Iraq debacle, that there won't be a stomach for a faith-based foreign policy.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #55
57. I don't see the point
of these kinds of prognostications. Yes,some awkwardly forged countries- be it by 20th century western colonialism or by the U.S.S.R., have and will fall. But you can't know what the result will be, anymore than one can predict what the American people will do. There are way too many variables to make these kinds of specific predictions.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #55
60. Me too.
Worked much better than I thought it would, against the suicide bombers anyway; the tale is still to be told about rockets. And if it were built where it ought to have been, there could be no sound argument against it.
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eyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 03:22 AM
Response to Reply #60
63. Just as a point of information
Edited on Mon Dec-18-06 03:26 AM by eyl
the rockets haven't been coming from the West Bank where the barrier is.

As for objections if it were on the Green Line - I remind you the howling that went up (here, among other places) when the barrier cut off some of East Jerusalem's inhabitants from the western part of the city - though that meant it was closer to the Line than it would have been otherwise.
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #63
64. no rockets from the westbank..
eyl dont know if you saw the interview with our favorite al aska leader in jenin (zakawri) from channel 2. When asked why there were no kassams from the westbank he said it was the constant pressure from the IDF....there was no place to manufacture them.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 09:32 AM
Response to Reply #64
67. I have to ask: why would you believe anything he says?
Would you not expect him to say what best serves his own interests and least serves yours? I don't mean to annoy you, I just don't get it. True, he might be an idiot, but still ...
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-19-06 03:15 PM
Response to Reply #67
72. zakarwi...
hes been interviewed several times on israeli TV over the years and comes across as very honest...he doesnt say "nice things"...and he is far from being an idiote. He comes across as person who honestly believes in his cause.

in fact i give him far more credibility than most israeli and palestenians politicians....
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 08:23 AM
Response to Reply #63
65. I know, but they might. The barrier will do nothing to stop rockets.
There is not really anything that will stop rockets, although some of the high-tech things they are working on might have some effect.

One might theorize about why that is so, I suppose, but lets not. The example of Gaza is more apt, the rockets have been coming from Gaza for a long time, over the wall. Gaza has been a prison for a long time now. One of the supposed benefits of removing the settlements from Gaza was that the rockets would stop, which is a silly idea. The rockets will stop when there is a sound government with the means and the motive to see that they stop, just like Egypt or Jordan or Syria or Hezbollah when they don't want to. It is a question of motive and control.

As for the howls of outrage, you may expect howls of outrage no matter what you do. A wise man does not determine his course by the words of his enemies, but by where his true best interest lies. The reasons for putting it on the Green Line have nothing to do with the idea that everyone will applaud, and everything to do with being within your rights in the matter, with not causing further just outrage.
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eyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 08:31 AM
Response to Reply #65
66. quite true
but there are also reasons for deviating form the Line - in particular in the Jerusalem area (which is where most of the deviations take place, and where almost all the affected Palestinians live.
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