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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:51 AM
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The real meaning of defensible borders
A regional peace deal, including normalization, as promised by the Arab peace initiative, would confer more security than a few thousand dunams in the Jordan Valley.

By Shaul Arieli


History teaches that the country, or the nation, has no "historical borders." Borders, after all, "changed several times according to circumstances," Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and David Ben-Gurion wrote in 1918.

Borders and their definition are a product of human interests. In response to the Peel Commission's proposals in 1937, the Jewish Agency, headed by Ben-Gurion, took into account long-term interests. It asked that the Jewish state receive defensible borders - borders that could be defended against rifles and machine guns, but also against "sophisticated weaponry, heavy artillery and airplanes." Though the agency wanted to give the country "strategic depth," its proposal envisioned about 10,000 square kilometers, just 40 percent of Israel's territory under the 1967 borders.

The expansion of Israel's size by a factor of three after the Six-Day War did not deter the Egyptians from attacking Israel and exacting a steep price in terms of human life, as part of the concept "better Sharm el-Sheikh without peace than peace without Sharm el-Sheikh." Saddam Hussein sent us all into sealed rooms in 1991, without moving a single tank westward. Over the past decade, Hamas and Hezbollah have regularly sent Israelis into secure rooms, and everyone knows that during the next war, more civilians than soldiers will be wounded, despite the Iron Dome and Arrow anti-missile systems.

The 21st century is different than the 20th, regarding limits on the use of force, as well as threats, technology and the legitimacy accorded to liberation struggles. As a result, the importance of technological capabilities and controlling territory, as parameters under the concept "defensible borders," has lessened. Or, as U.S. President Barack Obama put it, with technology alone, Israel will find it hard to defend itself in the absence of real peace. Thus the meaning of "defensible borders" should be expanded to include nonmilitary considerations.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/the-real-meaning-of-defensible-borders-1.368464
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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 09:03 AM
Response to Original message
1. As long as the current leadership remains in place
I see no way for any kind regional peace deal being adopted.

It's sad to say this, but I cannot imagine the two sides sitting down and reaching an agreement.

Do you feel more hopeful?
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 09:18 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Do you feel a Kadima/Meretz/Labor coalition could sit down with Hamas/PA and cut a deal? n/t
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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 09:33 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. I think there needs to be different leadership on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides
I have no faith in either side being able to sit down and make a deal as their governments are currently constituted.

I think that an Israeli coalition like the one you describe (with Likud not in the picture) would be able to make a deal with a similarly peace-oriented Palestinian coalition (with Hamas not in the picture).

All signs indicate that Hamas would do very poorly in an election - which is probably why they have prevented one from happening since they came into power.

I do believe that it would be possible (though certainly challenging) for a Likud-free Israeli coalition to make a deal with a Hamas-free Palestinian coalition.
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 09:39 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. So why couldn't Kadima close a deal with the PA in 2007-08? n/t
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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. I'd say the two big reasons were domestic issues on both sides and Jerusalem
Generally speaking, I think the status of Jerusalem is generally the most challenging component of any peace agreement. Hard-liners on both sides (and even not-so-hardliners) tend to draw a line in the sand over Jerusalem. When push comes to shove, it seems like this is often where potential agreements fall apart.

More significantly though, I think that the combination of Olmert's weakness and the June, 2007 Hamas takeover of Gaza made it especially difficult for any serious deal to be reached over those two years. Plus the US was only half-heartedly engaged and had a president who was not especially interested or knowledgeable.
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shaayecanaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. They came closest at Taba...
when both sides said that they could have reached a deal in a few weeks. Pity, really.

Kadima was originally conceived as a party that would be wet on domestic issues but moderately hawkish with respect to the Arabs. Now that Labor has been virtually annihilated, they have begun to criticise Likud from the left on both domestic and foreign policy, essentially occupying the political space that has been vacated by Labor. It wasn't necessarily the case, however, back in 2007.

I suppose the question for the Palestinians is what do they do, given that the Israeli government does not want peace and the US is not particularly minded to apply any pressure on them.



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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 04:07 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. You really buy that? Olmert offered more than what Barak offered at Taba...
...and Abbas claimed the gaps were still too wide - after more than a year of negotiations, not just a couple weeks at Taba.
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shaayecanaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-21-11 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #8
15. You could have said the same at the start of the Camp David accords...
I think it would have been interesting had the talks been allowed to run their course.
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #3
11. Agreed!
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. No, I'm no more hopeful than I was in the days of Sharafat n/t
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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. That's a new one!
Never seen the "Sharafat" reference before in this context.

Google only reveals that Sharafat is a 1970 Hindi film.

Did you make that term up or read it somewhere?
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I'd like to take credit for it, but I remember seeing it used here long ago...
..and at around the same time my tutor at uni was using it as well. It's a good one :)
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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Did a little more digging - looks like it originated with Amos Oz
Amoz Oz NY Times article from 2002:

History will never forget their offenses, because the solution is here, visible, manifestly clear before us all. Every Israeli and every Palestinian knows that this land will be divided into two sovereign nations and become like a semi-detached two-family house. Even those who loathe this future already know, deep in their hearts, that all this is inevitable.

I suspect that even the Siamese twins, Mr. Sharon and Mr. Arafat -- I now call them ''Mr. Sharafat'' -- know this. But fear and stagnation stifle them both. They are living under the dominion of a bloodstained past. They are hostages to one another, so much so that the entire historical dynamic of the conflict of the Middle East has become captive to their fears, their immobility.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/12/opinion/two-stubborn-men-and-many-dead.html
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Lithos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-21-11 09:53 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. There is another reference
Edited on Tue Jun-21-11 09:54 PM by Lithos
Obviously not the intended one, but another relevant reference...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharafat,_East_Jerusalem

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Alamuti Lotus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #1
13. that "current leadership" bit
I swear this is a different line of argument than shira, or at least I hope so anyway.........

What about Labor or Kadima in the past would suggest anything different than what there is now? If anything, they'd be bombing something at the moment or at least have twice already by now just to establish their credibility -- while he has his quite obvious flaws, if taking things strictly on the surface (which I never recommend), Netanyahu is one of the least warlike leaders in the whole history of the modern State of Israel. A hubritic clown surrounded by more or less insane twits, with a fan club to match (many here, indeed), but he's basically "all talk" when it really comes down to actual affairs.
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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 06:58 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Most of Likud still basically rejects the idea of an independent Palestinian state
Livni (on behalf of Kadima) has said that it is vital that one be established.

I think one of the reasons why Labor and Kadima have found themselves engaging in military actions has to do with the fact that they have come the closest to making peace with the Palestinians - and whenever a deal has seemed possible (or in some cases when conversations have begun) the more radical elements will do something horrific in order to scuttle the chances for peace - which often leads to a military response and an escalation and the end of any hope for an agreement.

With Netanayhu there are no peace talks for any radicals to attempt to scuttle.
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