<em>Guest Post by Jonathan Wallace</em>: Barriers to a Two-State Solution

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Jon settlement pic1.1.jpg
Jonathan Wallace is a member of the staff of the New America Foundation.
One week ago, Steve Clemons wrote a post on this blog involving Zbigniew Brzezinski and Mustafa Bhargouti that discussed Palestinian human rights, and specifically the freedom of movement within the occupied territories. I have been traveling around Israel the past week and spent yesterday touring the Israeli settlements of the West Bank. What follows are my impressions of what I witnessed in the area around Ramallah.
My guide to the settlements of the West Bank was Dror Ektes, an expert on Israeli settlements in the West Bank who heads efforts to challenge the illegal seizures of Palestinian land in the Israeli court system for the human rights organization, Yesh Din.
I was shown numerous Israeli settlements in the area. Some were for orthodox Jews only, while others were secular in nature. Some would not look out of place on Main Street, USA. As we drove deeper and deeper into the territory, the settlements became more Spartan and heavily fortified. Illegal outposts or “pre-settlements” dot the hills of the territory. Most of all, I noticed the fences. Everywhere, there were fences, checkpoints and razor wire, marring a would-be picturesque geography. The fences stretched all the way from the top of the hills down to the roads in the valleys. While the fences enclose the settlements, they also serve another purpose; they often block Palestinian access to their own private property.
Settlements (or outposts) such as Ofra and Migron use fences to appropriate land from Palestinians in an extrajudicial manner, thus allowing the Israeli settlers to expand their settlements on land that was not given to them by the State of Israel.
As I traveled through the West Bank, and moved from settlement to settlement with my guide, it became clear that the infrastructure, built by the Israeli State, was actively working against a two-state solution. Israeli-only roads were built between settlements, but had the effect of bisecting the West Bank and isolating many Palestinian communities from their larger villages or towns. Since I was in a car with Israelis, we were able to take the Israeli-only Highway 443 that had been built on what used to be private Palestinian land. My guide explained that these roads, built for the convenience of Israelis, disrupt or completely sever Palestinian transportation and is one way that the settlers/state try to marginalize the 90% of the West Bank population that is Palestinian. A Palestinian state in the West Bank may be still-born if it cannot ensure freedom of movement for its citizens and property rights which are basic functions of a state.
The de facto borderlines, fences, and walls that have carved the West Bank since Oslo have created a situation, which increases the friction among Israeli settlers, the state of Israel and Palestinians. In response to further and further incursions by religious and secular settlements, the Israeli State has acted in a manner that is both unfair and humiliating toward the Palestinian population in the West Bank. By building more security fences, checkpoints and Israeli-only roads on Palestinian land, Israel encourages the imagery of occupation and apartheid.
The current policies only seem to reinforce Palestinian humiliation, galvanize extremists, and undermine the democratic character of the Israeli state. In the end Israel, being pushed by a vanguard of zealot settlers, is creating facts on the ground that may make a Palestinian state that includes the West Bank impossible to achieve.
A balkanized West Bank, with Palestinians separated from one another by Israeli roads, fences, and checkpoints, will increase Palestinian marginalization and eventually lead to violence against those that perpetuate the occupation. It is an under-publicized impediment to peace, but it may prove to be a lasting one.
— Jonathan Wallace

Comments

47 comments on “<em>Guest Post by Jonathan Wallace</em>: Barriers to a Two-State Solution

  1. arthurdecco says:

    Forgive me, Kathleen, I’m not made of nobler stuff like you are – (your clay feet, notwithstanding). (wink) I hold a grudge against those people who abuse me.
    I too, read Sweetness’ claim where she claimed to be opposed to the settler movement but I flat out don’t believe her – she’s not doing anything about this scourge or she would have provided us with the specifics. She was only dissembling. IMO, it was blather designed to temper the vile inclinations that were being exposed in the rest of her vitriolic post.
    Besides, I believe anyone who chooses to attack the messenger bearing awkward truths rather than dealing with the substance of their argument deserves no quarter. No respect. Ever.
    I haven’t always thought this way, but after literally years of being subjected to exactly the same thuggish responses as the one you have just read from Sweetness, I’m no longer willing to turn the other cheek or look for excuses for their rudeness. For me, at this point in my life, it’s just rude behaviour that deserves to be vigorously attacked. Head-on.
    (I’m guessing I’m going to keep on being the type “A” personality with an attitude I’ve grown into as I’ve aged. I’m thinking I would have made a lousy diplomat. lol)
    questions: There are NO distinctions to be made between the various segments of “Settlers”. They’re ALL living on stolen land. Anyone who justifies and excuses the theft of Palestinian land and the brutal suppression of its people by claiming that, after all, it’s the government of Israel that is “subsidizing” some of these land thieves to live in the West Bank is as much of a problem as those taking part in the pillaging. You just joined Sweetness at the bottom of the pile in my estimation.
    And to have a logic-challenged poster like you accuse me of being a “bold, unapologetic racist” for saying so just reinforces my less-than-stellar opinion of you.
    Is there nothing that could convince you that ALL of this scenario is WRONG? – That justifying it on any level is immoral? – Even criminal?
    To thinking, informed, reasonable people Israel is a pariah – a state outside the law – outside of all moral boundaries in their treatment of the people who actually own the land the Israelis have stolen, are in the process of stealing, or still covet.
    There are NO distinctions to be made – no hoops we need to jump through – no rationales that can explain or justify the actions of the “Settler” movement Or the Israeli government, itself. And that applies to the simple act of picking up the keys to their house from the real estate agent, if there is such a thing as a real estate agent in the West Bank province of Palestine.

    Reply

  2. questions says:

    There are distinctions to be made, as always. Some settlers are as nasty as ArthurDecco says. Some settlers are subsidized and so they settle. Not racist, not nasty, but subsidized. Please keep all such distinctions in mind when you write so that you avoid becoming a “bold unapologetic racist” yourself. Remember that if your government paid you to leave, to live somewhere, to do something, you might just do it. According to today’s paper, even Julia Child was a spy. We are all part of this and demonizing others to save yourself is unthinking at best. Much better would be to find a way to end the settlement policy and then to encourage the settlers to move elsewhere — subsidies got them in, possibly subsidies could get them out.

    Reply

  3. Kathleen says:

    Arthur.. thanks boodles for your compliments, but you should talk to my kids… they’ll clue you in on my big clay feet.
    Sweetness did say she was opoposed to the settlers..that’s good start….let’s nourish that and see if we can be supportive…it ewill get us further in bringing about a peaceful resolution to focus on our points of agreement… just a thought.

    Reply

  4. arthurdecco says:

    Kathleen, I envy you your pacific inclinations and your deep-down goodness – goodness that just seems to seep through this hard, unforgiving medium. I’m always silently thanking you for your calmness AND your insight when I should be typing those impressions out loud…
    Thank you.
    Now, moving on to a much more noxious matter:
    Sweetness, (what an oxymoron! YOU, with THAT name! lol)
    Instead of dealing with the points of my post, Sweetness, you went to where all confused and nervous blinkers go when cornered – to clutching their cognitive dissonance hard to their breast – to spitting lies and shouting nonsense to distract anyone waiting for a thoughtful answer away from the fact they have nothing left in their empty quiver of facts to fire back at cha,
    except…
    You fashioned a pathetic ad Hominum attack strung out of lies and deliberate, dishonest misrepresentations to drape around my shoulders. You chose vitriol over rationality. And contempt over everything else. That’s not a response. That’s stupid.
    You don’t have to like me. You don’t have to respect my opinions. But stop lying about me. Stop lying about Professor MacDonald. Stop lying about Israel. Stop lying about yourself. Stop lying!
    I contribute honestly to the issues raised here. It’s not my blog. I don’t really think it appropriate to pontificate on subjects of my own choosing while I’m a guest on someone’s site.
    As for my opinions of Zionism specifically, or Jews generally – when it’s pertinent I bring those opinions to the conversation as you very well know. And neither you, with your vicious method of side-stepping the FACTS contained in my last post about the venality of the Israeli “Settler” movement, or anyone else who gleefully giggled along in agreement with your bitchy, teenage gurl hubris should be thinking that another unimaginative Screeeech – (yours being only the latest in a never-ending series of gratuitous, grimy personal attacks/assaults directed my way by people too nervous to deal directly with the points raised in my posts, is going to prevent me from bringing up unpleasant facts whenever they’re pertinent.
    That ain’t gonna happen, gurl.
    Peace.

    Reply

  5. Katheen says:

    Sweetness..Arthur… we all make a difference in the world.. many unsung heros making big differences in small ways every day… what we all need to do is stop viewing each other as enemies… in order to reach fair agreements..we must be capable of listening to the other side and respecting each other as equals, which is not say we sholdn’t exopress outrage at injustice, but we should all try to understand the other side… in the end it’s the only way to stop the killing and dying.
    I have no idea what the right solution is.. I merely proposed a vheicle by which a fair agreement might be reached by those directly involved who will have to live with the results. ..each side has to know that neither side will get everything they want because we cannot change the past, so we have to begin with respect for each other, assessing the situation as it is today and doing our best to take each other’s needs into consideration….simple but not easy.

    Reply

  6. Sweetness says:

    Actually, Arthur, as has been shown–and is still there for all to
    see if they so choose–your problem is your views about Jews.
    Forget Zionists. Forget Israel. For YOU, Arthur, the problem is
    Jews and their “influence” on Western civilization. You’ve said
    this outright. In short, you’re either an anti-Semite or simply
    like to espouse anti-Semitic views. Strangely, though, you’re shy
    about saying what you really feel here…but have no
    compunction about spewing your brand of hate up there on the
    Canadian blogs.
    So frankly, your moral condemnation of me, or anyone else, falls
    on deaf ears and should. It’s laughable, and the joke is on you.
    At bottom, your sick man. But here goes anyway…
    Sweetness said: “The Israeli settlers are a BIG problem, maybe
    THE problem, at least on the Israeli side…”
    The Israeli “settlers” are a teensy-tiny sliver of the problem,
    Sweetness. It’s YOU and people who think like YOU who are the
    BIG, HUMUNGALOID problem. If YOU stopped supporting and
    started aggressively condemning those who support the settler
    movement, the settler “problem” would disappear. Along with
    the “settlers”, themselves.
    Sweetness: Actually, Arthur, I work against the settler
    movement with my money and my time. What do you do other
    than spread Kevin Macdonald’s pseudo-scientific, anti-Semitic
    tripe for which he’s been roundly denounced by virtually
    everyone in his discipline, including its founder? You seem
    strangely shy about sharing your TRUE views here and what truly
    motivates you. Why not let it out for all to see and debate?
    (And let’s call them what they actually are, shall we? They’re NOT
    settlers – They’re bold, unapologetic racists, they’re women-
    kicking bullies and bone-breaking thugs, they’re stone-cold
    killers, they’re delusional land thieves claiming a direct line to
    gawd while they’re demanding a free lunch on someone else’s
    dime.
    Sweetness: See above.
    “Settlers”…bah…go to hell with your “settlers” nonsense!)
    And until YOU all recognize and publicly acknowledge the
    puissant evil that lives deep in the heart of the state of Israel,
    AND until YOU loudly refuse to support their heinous, criminal
    acts against those who oppose their collective crimes, YOU and
    the rest of the Borg-like contingent of Israeli supporters who are
    always hand-wringingly lying about them here will continue to
    be THE BIG PROBLEM – and not only “on the Israeli side”, but on
    ALL sides.
    Sweetness: As you might expect, I don’t regard Israel as the
    great Satan. But I will say this, it is people like YOU who
    convince me that there really is a need for a Jewish state. I’m
    done with you, Arthur. You’re a sick, slimey individual. Nothing
    more to say about it.

    Reply

  7. arthurdecco says:

    Add your name to the list, Sweetness…
    Jewish International Opposition Statement Against Attack on Iran
    12/08/08 “ICH” — – Efforts to beat the drums of war for an attack on Iran’s nuclear reactor facilities are promoted in both the USA and Israel scenes. The recent New York Times opinion piece of July 18th, written by the Israeli historian Benny Morris, serves to consolidate those political forces. The Jewish opposition here expresses our outrage in order to forestall this horrendous proposal.
    That clamour for war with Iran has met not only popular opposition but also runs counter to the quiet diplomacy that has engaged Iran in ongoing relations with the UN nuclear agency, as well as economic trade talks with the USA itself. Israel is also committed to a cease-fire that has held now for a month’s time, to the relief of both the populations of Israel and Gaza. In light of the developing political atmosphere of reason and negotiations, the militarist mindset has pumped up its rationale for war attempting to create the preconditions for a further war. Morris seeks to fabricate such prior conditions arguing,
    “They are likely to use any bomb they build, both because of ideology and because of fear of Israeli nuclear pre-emption. Thus an Israeli nuclear strike to prevent the Iranians from taking the final steps toward getting the bomb is probable. The alternative is letting Tehran have its bomb. In either case, a Middle Eastern nuclear holocaust would be in the cards.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/18/opinion/18morris.html
    This promotion of inevitability plays on Jewish and Israeli memory of the Nazi Holocaust in order to garner any and every source of support for an Israel military strike against Iran, provoking a reaction and leading to a further war by drawing in the USA. This is particularly deplorable in view of the fact that 16 US intelligence agencies concluded that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program and has not had one for five years.
    We extol the heroic courage of Israel’s nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu, joining our voices to his in condemnation of Israel’s illegal stockpile of nuclear warheads and support the call for a nuclear-free Middle East.
    The mindset calling for a war of mutual annihilation as a solution to security is astoundingly self-contradictory. Only the fabrication of a Nazi-like threat seeks to provide any credibility to such a call to war, much like the rationale for occupation that perceives a Palestinian plot to drive Jews into the sea. The reference to Iranian ideology (Islam) as the source of confrontation does not stand up to scrutiny, since the political challenge to Israel by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is not a call for extermination, despite any mistranslation.
    We seek security for all concerned by affirming the right of all to security. While we lend no credibility to the prospect of an inevitable conflict, we nonetheless object to the hysteria promoted by the Iran-bashers who are now desperate in their repeated false starts to create another unnecessary war. The attempt to oblige Iran to comply with Security Council resolutions loses its legal, diplomatic and political force as the United States and Israel consistently ignore UN diplomacy and World Court decisions, relevant to the question of Palestine. We call upon all opposed to a military confrontation with Iran to write their governmental representatives demanding that the State of Israel subject its nuclear facilities to international inspection and sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) as has Iran, rather than issue threats of war.
    Further endorsements may be added by sending in a message to saalaha@fokus.name
    Initiators:
    For further information;
    Stanley Heller http://www.TheStruggle.org mail@TheStruggle.org
    New York
    Prof. Dr. Fanny-Michaela Reisin
    Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in Middle East – EJJP
    http://www.juedische-stimme.de
    mailto:mail@juedische-stimme.de
    Germany
    Abraham Weizfeld
    saalaha@fokus.name 514.284.66.42
    Interim Administrative Secretary, Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians
    Loze mir alle leiben mit shytvis un shulim
    Montréal
    Organizational Co-signers :
    Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians
    jewish.alliance@yahoo.ca
    Colorado Jews for a Just Peace
    Granny Peace Brigade Philadelphia
    Germantown Friends Meeting, Peace & Social Concerns
    Independent Jewish Voices Montreal
    Jewish Voice for a Just Peace, Switzerland
    Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods
    New Profile
    a feminist, pluralist Israeli movement of males and females who wish to transform Israel from a militaristic society to a civil-ized one. http://www.newprofile.org
    Women in Black
    San Francisco Bay Area in Oakland, California
    Women in Black (Vienna)
    Co-signers :
    Paula Abrams-Hourani
    Women in Black (Vienna) and
    Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East (EJJP-Austria)
    Miriam Adams
    New Mexico
    Prof. Ammiel Alcalay
    CUNY Graduate Center & Queens College
    Henry Ascher, MD, PhD, Assoc. Professor
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    Tsela Barr
    Madison Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace
    Abigail B. Bakan, Ph.D., Queen’s University
    Canada
    Judith Bernstein
    Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue Group Munich
    Murray & Marcia Bernstein
    Brooklyn, NY
    Rudolf Bkouche
    vice-président, l’Union Juive Française pour la Paix
    Mark Robert Brill
    As a Jewish Canadian (and inhabitant of the same planet as any and all who may read this), I
    Wholeheartedly endorse the statement in opposition to the Benny Morris article which appeared in the New York Times urging an attack on Iran.
    Neither as a Jew, nor a human being living in this age of myriad pressing concerns which threaten the existence of our species, can I condone the insanity of the current policy of the present United States & Israeli administrations which at least states as its belief that the Iranian nuclear program is a threat to world security. (Though I must credit the authors of those policies to be intelligent enough to know full well the dishonesty of such a stated belief so therefore must further condemn them for such cynical manipulation).
    In fact, the by far greater threat to world security is and has been for some time now the actions of those above-named states.
    Shelley Berlowitz
    Jewish Voice for a Just Peace
    Switzerland
    Judith Butler
    Berkeley, California
    Paola Canarutto, physician
    Chiacchiera con i tuoi amici in tempo reale!
    http://it.yahoo.com/mail_it/foot/*http://it.messenger.yahoo.com
    Italy
    Lorenzo A. Canizares
    Harrisburg, PA
    Union Organizer
    Smadar Carmon
    Toronto, Canada
    Prof. Noam Chomsky
    James Cohen
    Dept. of Political Science
    Université de Paris VIII (France)
    Viviane Cohen
    Woman in Black, Paris France
    secretaire nationale of the UJFP.
    I endorse your statement against war on Iran . Definitively.
    Stephen Conroy, B. Com.
    Montreal, Canada
    Mark Cramer
    Professor Université Paris-Jussieu and Sciences-Po (Paris)
    Mike Cushman
    Secretary LSE University and Colleges Union Branch (personal capacity)
    Uri Davis (Dr)
    MAIAP: Movement Against Israeli Apartheid in Palestine
    Richard Lee Deaton, Ph.D., LL.B.
    Ottawa, Canada
    James Deutsch, M.D., Ph.D.
    Judith Deutsch, M.S.W.
    Jean M. Entine
    Interim Chair Jewish Voice for Peace
    USA
    Dror Feiler
    Composer, musician, artist
    Chairman, European Jews for a Just Peace (www.ejjp.org)
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Pnina Feiler
    Reg. nurse, Israel
    Deborah Fink
    Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods
    Joel Frangquist
    San Francisco, CA
    Member of Jewish Voice for Peace, Bay Area chapter
    Racheli Gai
    Tucson Women in Black
    Miriam Garfinkle M.D.
    Sheila Goldmacher,
    Member, Bay Area Women in Black Study Group
    Sherna Berger Gluck
    Professor Emerita, California State University Long Beach USA
    Sue Goldstein
    Toronto
    Women in Solidarity with Palestine
    Julius Gordon
    Tucson, AZ
    Please add my name to the list of violent dissenters with Benny Morris, who proposes the start of a nuclear war in the Middle East. Based on his NY times article it appears that Prof. Morris, who at one time was considered a valuable scholar in Middle East history, has suffered a dissociative disorder. How else to explain the patent lies (no intelligence service in the world..) that a rational historian would never allow to be printed under his name.
    Tony Greenstein
    Robert B. Gross
    Suffern N.Y.
    Batja P. Guggenheim- Ami
    St.Gallen Switzerland&
    Chanan H. Guggenheim-Ami
    St. Gallen Switzerland
    Members of the Israel- Palestinian Dialogue Group ‘Olivenzweig’ St. Gall CH
    Evelyn Haas [ oldleft@hotmail.com ]
    Abe Hayeem
    Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
    Dr. Annette Herskovits
    Writer, California, USA
    Fred Hirsch
    Executive Board Member Plumbers and Fitters Local 393, Delegate to the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, Delegate to the Santa Clara and San Benito Counties Building and Construction Trades Council
    I endorse the statement wholeheartedly.
    Benny Morris thinks the unthinkable. His article justifying a nuclear strike against Iran speaks the unspeakable. Such an action could and probably would open humanity’s door to the abyss – a monstrous step toward the end of human viability on Earth.
    Shame on the New York Times for admitting such barbarity into the public discussion as normal discourse.
    Israel’s unchecked development of nuclear weapons, with the help of apartheid South Africa, was an affront our legacy as Jews – a sharp stick in the eye to the population of the planet. Weapons of mass destruction indeed!
    Any nuclear threat today is despicable.
    Louis Hirsch
    Chicago, Illinois
    Dr. Tikva Honig-Parnass
    Jerusalem
    Tamzin Jans
    Brussels, Belgium (in Libya)
    Jake Javanshir
    I endorse your stand of no attack on Iran. I am an Iranian Jew, living in Canada. If anyone should be stoped of aggression, it’s Israel not Iran.
    Dan Judelson
    Secretary , European Jews for a Just Peace
    Gilda Katz
    MSW, RSW, Toronto
    Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta
    citizen of Canada and Israel
    Mira Khazzam
    Montreal, Canada
    Alisa Klein
    Israeli and U.S. Citizen
    Jason Kunin
    Toronto
    Rebekah Levin
    Oak Park, IL
    Joseph Levine
    Dept. of Philosophy
    Univ. of Mass
    Amherst, MA
    Abby Lippman, PhD, Professor
    Montreal, Quebec
    Antony Loewenstein
    Sydney, Australia, journalist/author
    Leslie Lomas
    Colorado Jews for a Just Peace
    Moshé Machover
    London, UK
    Dr Sabetai Matsas MD
    Athens, Greece
    Hilda Meers
    Writer
    member of Scottish Jews for a Just Peace,
    Aberdeen Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,
    Grampian Senior Citizens Forum
    Peter Melvyn
    Vienna, Austria
    Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in Neareast
    Brigitte Meyer
    Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue Group St.Gallen, Switzerland
    I fully support the content and spirit of this statement. Real security can only come from peace.
    Dorinda Moreno
    Fuerza Mundial Collaborative
    Dorothy Naor Ph.D.
    Israel Naor
    Israel
    My spouse and I both endorse the statement and fervently hope that reason rather than emotions and war profiteering will hold sway.
    Diana Neslen
    United Kingdom
    Joan Nestle
    Alex Nissen
    Senior Educator / Coordinator
    Israeli/Australian
    Women in Black Melbourne
    Prof. Judith Norman
    Jewish Peace News
    Prof. Bertell Ollman
    Dept. of Politics, NYU
    New York, New York, USA.
    Karin Pally
    Women in Black-Los Angeles
    Jean Pauline
    Oakland, California
    Daniel Pines
    Karen Platt
    member of Jewish Voice for Peace, Albany, CA
    Laurie Polster
    Jewish Voice for Peace/Bay Area
    Oakland, CA
    Yakov M Rabkin
    Professor of History, University of Montreal
    Israel’s elites disdain – to their own peril – the Mishna that praises as a hero someone who knows how to turn an enemy into a friend.
    Naomi Rankin
    I fully support the content and spirit of this statement. As a Jewish Canadian with cousins in Israel, I am interested in real security for Israel, and that can come only from peace.
    Bruce Robbins
    Columbia University
    Stewart M. Robinson
    retired Prof of Mathematics
    Professor Jonathan Rosenhead
    Secretary, British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP)
    Prof Andrew N. Rubin
    Georgetown University
    Washington, DC
    Molly Rush
    PUSH PA. United for SinglePayer HealthCare
    Health Care for All PA
    http://www.healthcare4allPA.org
    Margot F Salom (BA Soc Work, M Phil)
    Palestinian & Jewish Unity for Justice & Peace
    Stop this madness – What has happened to Jewish ethics?
    Shay Salomon
    Tucson, Arizona
    Marlena Santoyo
    Philadelphia, PA, USA &
    member of Jewish Voice for Peace
    Yom Shamash
    Jews for a Just Peace
    Vancouver, Canada
    Cindy Shamban
    Berkeley, CA
    affiliation: Jewish Voice for Peace
    Avi Shlaim, FBA
    Professor of International Relations
    St Antony’s College
    Oxford
    Rich Siegel
    Musician, Advisory Board Deir Yassin Remembered
    Teaneck, NJ USA
    http://www.deiryassin.org
    Andy Silver
    Cary, NC
    July 27 letter to the Raleigh News & Observer. It was not published.
    America is no place for satire. The New Yorker Obama cartoon went over like a John Kerry joke. Now some are responding seriously to the column by Benny Morris, “Soon, strike on Iran” (N&O, July 20), which presented a case for another pre-emptive war with the cogency with which Jonathan Swift proposed that Irish poverty be relieved by devouring babies.
    Morris’s proposal is as insane and as devoid of humanity as Swift’s “modest proposal.” It should convince any sane person of the insanity of attacking Iran.
    I doubt, however, the sanity of all discussion of Iran’s nuclear threat. The existing nuclear threat in the Middle East comes from Israel. Israel’s arsenal is controlled by the same Israeli government that dropped a million cluster bombs in southern Lebanon only for the purpose of killing and maiming farm families that wished to return to their land. Israel’s bombs provide the motive for surrounding nations to seek nuclear weapons. The only way to prevent nuclear proliferation in the Middle East is to create a nuclear arms free zone. In return for Israel’s dismantling its nuclear arsenal and agreeing to strict inspections by the IAEA, other countries in the region should make similar commitments.
    Jonatan Stanczak
    The Freedom Theatre, Jenin refugee Camp
    Roger Tucker
    http://one-state.net
    Richard Wark, PhD.
    Durham, North Carolina
    Dr. Samuel Wiener
    Jewish Voice for a Just Peace
    Switzerland
    Judith Weisman,
    Toronto, Canada
    Suzanne Weiss
    Not In Our Name (NION) Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism
    Toronto
    Evan Weissman
    Denver, CO USA
    Playwright and Nonviolence Teacher
    Célie Weizfeld Castelijn
    Montréal Kébèk
    Roger van Zwanenberg (Dr)
    Chair & Commissioning Editor
    Pluto Press
    Further endorsements may be added by sending in a message to saalaha@fokus.name

    Reply

  8. arthurdecco says:

    Sweetness said: “The Israeli settlers are a BIG problem, maybe THE problem, at least on the Israeli side…”
    The Israeli “settlers” are a teensy-tiny sliver of the problem, Sweetness. It’s YOU and people who think like YOU who are the BIG, HUMUNGALOID problem. If YOU stopped supporting and started aggressively condemning those who support the settler movement, the settler “problem” would disappear. Along with the “settlers”, themselves.
    (And let’s call them what they actually are, shall we? They’re NOT settlers – They’re bold, unapologetic racists, they’re women-kicking bullies and bone-breaking thugs, they’re stone-cold killers, they’re delusional land thieves claiming a direct line to gawd while they’re demanding a free lunch on someone else’s dime.
    “Settlers”…bah…go to hell with your “settlers” nonsense!)
    And until YOU all recognize and publicly acknowledge the puissant evil that lives deep in the heart of the state of Israel, AND until YOU loudly refuse to support their heinous, criminal acts against those who oppose their collective crimes, YOU and the rest of the Borg-like contingent of Israeli supporters who are always hand-wringingly lying about them here will continue to be THE BIG PROBLEM – and not only “on the Israeli side”, but on ALL sides.

    Reply

  9. Sweetness says:

    The 1967 borders seem logical…or as logical as one can get.
    You’ve really done a lot, Kathleen, to make the world a better place,
    and I admire you for it immensely. I wish I’d made the same sort of
    contribution…

    Reply

  10. Kathleen says:

    Of course both sides would have to agree to a UN Observed referendum and to abide by the results… tha’t s the whole point. .. I don’t have any prespuppositions and I know mistakes were made by all involved in one way or another, none of which can be undone.
    As I mentioned in an earlier thread, when I was particpating in the UN Commssion for Human Rights, in the 1980’s, I was asked by the Ethiopian Ambassador to be a liasion between them and the Eritrean Liberation Front. I made the same suggestion which they accepted and abided by for 25 years, now they’re back to hosiltites.
    The 1967 borders seems to be the most recent sore point that could be resolved.. I can’t speak to events a longer time ago…..
    I agree.. a lot of countries were “formed” by unjust means…I have no right answers about any of them…

    Reply

  11. Sweetness says:

    My point was that both parties would need to agree to a
    referendum and to abide by it. If you get to THAT agreement,
    then you’re pretty much there–I have no problem with that and
    think it would be a good idea, as far as I understand it.
    However, I think you’re presupposing the change you want to
    bring about. But maybe I don’t know what is involved in such a
    referendum.
    I’m referring to the partition plan in 1947-ish, which was
    rejected not only by the Palestinians, but by the rest of the Arab
    world, pretty much, wrongly or rightly. (If you think they were
    right to reject that partition and right to fight and to keep
    fighting after they lost–well, then, okay, end of discussion.) In
    fact, I believe there were a couple of other, prior proposals that
    involved even less land than the partition. The Palestinians
    agreed to a two-state solution in about 1988, after the conflict
    had been in swing for a long time and attitudes were already
    hardening in Israel. Not an excuse, but I think true.
    [There is also the irony, I think, that the occupied territories
    were, previously, “occupied” or controlled by Egypt and Jordan–
    but then the dispute was about Israel proper, which held to be
    Palestinian land.]
    The Israeli settlers are a BIG problem, maybe THE problem, at
    least on the Israeli side–a very bad development and one I
    hope Israel can resolve with some political courage on
    someone’s part. Maybe Tzipi, hard to say. Otherwise, I fear,
    Israel is headed down the tubes one way or another, along with
    the Palestinians who are already in dire straits. Unfortunately,
    given the parliamentary system there, and the control the small
    parties exert, the extremists can wag the dog. Not sure how to
    break through that impasse. Very, very bad.
    My point is not that Israel has MORE right to exist than any other
    country–but that she has AS MUCH right to exist as many other
    country’s whose right to exist is never called into question, as
    Israel’s is and has been. So, from a moral standpoint, if one
    were to say, simply, that the Israelis pushed the Palestinians out
    their land; they have no “right” to it; I would say that the same
    goes for the countries in the Western Hemisphere; and those
    countries were created were created with much less justification,
    morally, than Israel.

    Reply

  12. Kathleen says:

    Again, I’m not talking about a thrid party forcing a decision on anyone… I said a UN Observed referredum on the question, meaning that Palestinians and Israelis would say what solution they prefer….that decision should be made based on what is in the best interests of those directly involved, not outside interests….
    I don’t know what you mean when you say that Palestine could have had a state… they were an exisitng country and now they aren’t…. they have been wiped off the map…..they agreed to a two state solution, but Israeli settlers, not happy with the land already expropriated by Israel, keep encroaching and making it impossible for Palestinians to live a peaceful life with their borders and walls and checkpoints.
    Hopefully, the rigteous Israelis currently opposing their Neo-Con gov’t, as we oppose ours, will prevail and a fair and ewquitable solution can emerge and flourish…
    I don’t understand why Israel should have more right to exist than any other country… you lost me on that one….but eventually, the residents in Palestine/Israel will have to prefer peace and prospeity to this ever-bleeding problem. Why can’t Israel abide by the 1967 borders? Why must they continue to encroach? There’s the rub.

    Reply

  13. Sweetness says:

    But it is “forced upon” if the citizenry of the country don’t agree
    to it–that is, if it’s decided by a third party. No? Unfortunately
    or fortunately, Israel is a country with a government and
    citizenry, and they get to decide their future, even if others don’t
    like it.
    Yes, the Palestinians did have Israel forced on them. But they
    also had the option of a state of their own–a point that’s often
    drowned out in the din. To which many argue, at bottom, that
    the Jews had NO right to ANY of the land–that they were and
    are simply interlopers, colonizers, invaders, what have you, who,
    from a moral standpoint should be the beggers, not the
    choosers. Given the Jewish presence in the land for millennia,
    albeit a minority one, I don’t think that dog hunts.
    Frankly, from a moral standpoint, Israel has just as much right to
    exist–probably more–than every country in the Western
    Hemisphere. And a number of others in other parts of the
    globe. So, aside from the fact of my own ethnicity, it is hard for
    me to see Israel–it’s very existence–as the great Satan as
    some here clearly do.
    A binational state would, I think, require a major change of heart
    on the part of everyone concerned. Natively being a “rootless
    cosmopolitan” type of Jew, I find it very appealing, though, if the
    two sides could agree to it.

    Reply

  14. Kathleen says:

    No one is talking about forcing anything, although Palestinians certainly had Israel forced upon it…. and yes, the point of the atricle was a bi-national state. Not being Palestinian or Israeli, I don’t know which of the proposed solutions is best for all concerned… that decision, as I suggested, upthread, should be resolved by a UN Observed Refferendum on the question.

    Reply

  15. Sweetness says:

    “It seems I’m not the only one who thinks the “One State
    Solution” should be reconsidered…..this from Reuters…”
    Heavens no. The Palestinians have ALWAYS wanted a one-state
    solution. The problem was that, certainly in the early days up
    to, say, 1988, that one state eliminated Israel. The problem with
    it now is that it ignores the desires of the citizens of Israel and
    would need to be forcibly imposed (something that many
    commentators here wouldn’t mind). Trying to impose the
    solution will make the current conflict 1000% worse, despite the
    pretense that the US could solve the problem without firing a
    shot.
    However, if the Israelis were to agree to that solution, a
    binational state, perhaps modeled on Switzerland, I, personally,
    would have no objection (not that my voice counts in any case).
    And yes, the two-state solution seems to be getting more and
    more remote with the settlements, etc.

    Reply

  16. Kathleen says:

    It seems I’m not the only one who thinks the “One State Solution” should be reconsidered…..this from Reuters…
    PA: We May Demand Binational Israel-Palestinian State
    10/08/08 “Reuters” — – Senior Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia said Sunday that the Palestinians may demand to become part of a binational state if Israel continued to reject the borders they propose for a separate country.
    Qureia, who heads Palestinian negotiators in U.S.-brokered talks with Israel, told Fatah party loyalists behind closed doors that a two-state solution could be achieved only if Israel met their demands to withdraw from all Palestinian territory in accordance with 1967 borders, a reference to land in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip that Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War.
    “The Palestinian leadership has been working on establishing a Palestinian state within the ’67 borders,” Qureia said.
    “If Israel continues to oppose making this a reality, then the Palestinian demand for the Palestinian people and its leadership [would be] one state, a binational state,” he added at the meeting held in the West Bank town of Ramallah.
    Qureia’s comments were carried in a statement issued after the meeting.
    The chances of achieving a peace deal before the expiration of Washington’s deadline, when U.S. President George W. Bush leaves office next year, have dimmed since Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced last month he planned to resign in the coming weeks due to multiple corruption investigations underway against him.
    Despite the Israeli political crisis, Olmert, who has vowed to pursue peace efforts until he leaves office, met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last week. The two are said to be planning additional talks later this month.
    But months of discussions have produced little visible progress on key issues of the conflict such as who would control Jerusalem, a city both Israel and the Palestinians want for a capital, and the future for millions of Palestinian refugees.
    A Palestinian official said Qureia told Sunday’s gathering he thought the peace talks had hit an impasse.
    The unsuccessful efforts to realize the goal of a separate state has touched off debate among Palestinians for months, including as to whether they should seek instead to merge into a joint state with Israel.

    Reply

  17. Kathleen says:

    Glad you liked it arthrudecco…this link has a great picture of Gallilee..
    The world renowned Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish died today in Houston, two days after having heart surgery. Born in the Galilee in 1941, his family lost their home and lands when the state of Israel was created in 1948. In the land of poets and prophets, Darwish was called “the heart and tongue of the Palestinian people.” He was 67.
    Astory about his death and his epic poem The Speech of the Red Man are posted at http://www.thecornerreport.com
    –Gale Courey Toensing

    Reply

  18. arthurdecco says:

    Thanks for the link to the SS Liberty story, Kathleen. It was a modest ray of well-intentioned hope shining in our dark and reckless world.

    Reply

  19. Kathleen says:

    Shooting Back: Israeli occupation filmed by 100 Palestinian cameras..
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2008/jul/30/beaumont.palestine
    A picture’s worth a thousand words…

    Reply

  20. JohnYorke says:

    A fundamental cause exists that perpetuates this endless confrontation. Essentially, the lack of any clearly defined process for its termination guarantees its continuation. There is, as yet, no universally perceived formula, no recognised agenda that will obtain satisfaction in the matter.
    For any final resolution to come about, some agreed procedure must first be firmly set in place, one that responds effectively, demonstrably and without bias to whatever might cause deviation from such a purpose.
    It’s never going to be easy to satisfy both sides of this equation.
    So, why bother?
    Why not let the situation resolve itself?
    With a little help from all concerned, this seemingly eternal conflict could be ended with sufficient closure to ensure it stays that way. Sometimes, the thorniest problems will respond only to the most basic of solutions. In this instance, the problem and the solution may have been but mirror images of each other all along.
    http://yorketowers.blogspot.com

    Reply

  21. Kathleen says:

    If we ever do have a President Obama, I would hope that he brings Palestinian and Israeli leaders back at Camp David,ASAP.. I think most important, he needs to treat them equally, not favor Israel… that would go a long way..but I think he should be really tough and tell them to obey the UN Resolutions and vacate the occupied teritories or forfeit their allowance of $16 million/day. Then I think we need to fund UN Peacekeepers to oversee the withdrawl of seetleors/Israelis for the OT and have a UN Oberserved referrendum on a one or two state solution….
    I’ve seen first hand the disrespect with which we treat Palestinian leaders. At the UN Commission for Human Rights in Geneva in 1989, when Arafat addressed the body, the US Mission was not present… They do this when Native Americans address the body too. I knew when Arafat spoke, the cameras would be panning to the empty US Mission seats to make that point, so I went and sat there myself to make the point that some Americans disagree with our gov’t’s actions… and to prevent the cameras from constantlly showing an empty US Mission.

    Reply

  22. David says:

    Sweetness wrote:
    “I’m hopeful a president Obama
    will work on the conflict full time for the 8 years he has and that
    a Palestinian state can be birthed, as dismal as the prospect
    seems to be now, and a comprehensive peace achieved.”
    I don’t know if it is possible for zionism to be a just a transitional phase, except in the sense that while it has been the guiding principle for the creation and existence of Israel it can and must be abandoned if there is to be peace, especially now that American “Christian Zionists” have decided that Revelations not only should be taken literally but that it is an accurate and desirable geopolitical playbook, compounding the potential for disaster. But I hope that your hope will prove well founded. It really is the only thing worth hoping, and working, for. Any other course really spells disaster for all parties in this debacle, including the side which believes, misguidedly, that it can win, and in fact is winning. No one ever wins anything on this kind of hate-based, militaristic trajectory. The victories are always fleeting, and the ultimate consequences always devastating. Neither Israeli nor Palestinian children deserve the world being forged for them.
    As far as the theologies being applied in the Middle East are concerned, the various parties need to grow up. The reigning doctrines homicidally immature. When I say grow up, I mean both intellectually and morally, which I fear orthodoxies are ultimately antithetical to. Fair-minded non-sectarian humanists offer much more promise for a better tomorrow.
    Yeah, I guess I did ramble a bit. But amen to the hope you proffer, Sweetness. It transcends some of our differences.

    Reply

  23. Carroll says:

    Posted by Sweetness Aug 08, 3:46PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    You are too dishonest in your postings and replies for me to bother discussing this with you any longer. And I have no idea what your reference to swimming pools is about. But the facts on Roosevelt and the St Louis are the facts.
    Sorry the facts don’t fit your america killed the jews myth.
    Your comments are always so full of personal insults and resentment toward any of us non jews who discuss the unpleasant truths about the US-Israel-Palestine deal and you accuse me of “probably being the kind who would not have protested “the nazis. O.K. we get that you hate the non jewish world and blame us for all the travails of the Jews. But the fact is most of the world is not jewish so if that is your attitude you are in for a world of hurt.
    So someone who doesn’t go along with your lines on the US-Isr-Pal deal are the kind who would have been nazi collaborators?
    You are sick.
    And don’t bother coming back with your usual defense line of ..look at the nasty evangelicals, look at the nasty Palestines, look at the nasty nazis….”aren’t they all guilty and morally disgusting too” and the “Johnny did it too Mommy”… crapola moral triangulating.

    Reply

  24. Sweetness says:

    Carroll…
    Feel free to blame the US-Israel relationship for anything that
    goes wrong with America. You will be as insane as the people
    who blamed the Jews for everything in 1939–same shit,
    different bucket. I’m sorry; it just isn’t true. Fuel prices are not
    going up because of Israel. The swimming pools in LA are not
    going dry because of Israel. And yet that is clearly what you
    were suggesting and what Rabble was saying outright.
    I normally don’t like to compare crimes to say which one is
    worse. But since you did, I will, too. As far as the “longest
    running crime on our books,” ah, hardly. If you want to call US
    support for Israel a crime, okay; I don’t, but go ahead. But at its
    worst, it’s a 60-year-old crime. Doesn’t compare to a 400-
    year-old crime for the enslavement of human beings and its
    enshrinement in the law of the land. Done away with only after
    650,000 deaths in the Civil War. Followed by over a 100 years of
    Jim Crow, disenfranchisement of citizens, lynchings …extending
    up through the time we were children. Nor does it compare to
    the literal decimation of millions of Native Americans, including
    your native Cherokee. Blacks still form our bottom tier on
    almost all measures, and we are still debating Obama’s
    blackness, even though he is just as much white as black.
    I make no excuse for the horrors going on in Palestine, but this
    comparison is obtuse. Especially when you consider the Jews, or
    Zionists if you will, were fleeing oppression, centuries old itself,
    while Americans were chasing after it for their own
    aggrandizement and nothing more. Frankly, had Hitler not
    shoveled 6 million law-abiding individuals into the gas
    chambers, there would be no Israel, Herzl and the others
    notwithstanding. So much for trying to take over the world.
    A bit closer to home, I doubt you would have been ringing the
    bell on the actions of Germany because: a) you seem to be
    content with what our government did or didn’t do as is, at least
    according to your recent post on the subject; b) your interest in
    the Middle East appears to date back just to 9/11 (if I read you
    correctly) and not much earlier. IOW, from the date the US got
    its ox gored. And c) given all that, I guess I have to wonder
    whether you and your family were marching for civil rights in
    your own back yard, helping the freedom riders, back in the
    day. Or are there limits to your demands for justice.
    Anyway, I do agree with your last paragraph, in part. There is
    much the US could do to end this conflict. Rather than cut off
    aid, we should use it as a lever. I’m hopeful a president Obama
    will work on the conflict full time for the 8 years he has and that
    a Palestinian state can be birthed, as dismal as the prospect
    seems to be now, and a comprehensive peace achieved. My
    view, a bit complicated, is that Zionism is a transitional doctrine
    and will evolve, or even dissolve, as the need for it diminishes.
    If peace can ever come, the two states will eventually become all
    but merged.
    [Tony Karon seems to think that anti-Semitism is dead. He’s
    reading different papers, I guess. It appears to be on the rise in
    Europe. It was virulent in Russia. It’s been pretty bad in
    Argentina. Until we’ve had a generation or two in which the
    threat really is nil, I think many Jews, even non-Zionists, will feel
    a bit queasy about nailing shut the back door. Just my guess.]
    However, I don’t agree with your suggestion that Israel is solely
    responsible for making peace or for agreeing to workable
    parameters, and I’m not at all convinced that the Palestinian
    leadership is simply waiting for Israel to come around.

    Reply

  25. Carroll says:

    Posted by Sweetness Aug 08, 9:30AM – Link
    “One sees this a lot in Carroll’s comments.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yes you do and you are going to keep seeing it until this unholy allience between Israel and the US that makes it possible for Israel to do what they do in Palestine and do what they did in Lebanon ends. Without American support Israel couldn’t do this.
    I know you don’t get my disgust with this but let me describe it in way you might be able to understand…suppose you found out your husband not only had a mistress of long standing, but that he also knew all along that she was a serial killer and covered up for her.
    That is exactly how I feel about my government’s betrayal of America by bringing Israel into our American home and supporting and even encouraging and protecting it’s crimes.
    The disgust I feel toward Israel is surpassed only by the disgust I feel for my own government and the people who set up this affair and cover up the true nature of it.
    It’s not only that I feel sympathy for the occupied Palestines, which I do, but I am enraged that my country is part of it.
    America has plently of sins to answer for but the Israeli one is the longest running crime on our books and ranks right up with our history of buying and selling blacks.
    I don’t think you’d be objecting if this was 1939 and I was ringing the bell on the actions of Germany and the nazis. Which btw a lot of people did but they wern’t listened to until it was too late. Well, it’s getting too late for the Palestines and the Israeli ethnic cleansing or whatever you want to call it of them also.
    This is the one single conflict we could end tomorrow without firing a shot by simply withdrawing our unconditional support of Israel. That makes it all the more disgusting.

    Reply

  26. Jonathan Wallace says:

    Thanks for reading the post. To answer the two questions above, there is not much tension between the so called ‘quality of life’ settlers (who purchase a house in a settlement because it is cheaper than Jerusalmem) and the religious settlers. The religious ones tend to me more adventureous in their settling, occupying land farther and farther away from the Green Line and the Seperation Wall. They also tend to be the ones who cause the most fuss in the Israeli political system.
    Dror Etkes is well known already in the settlement establishment. He has been featured in The Economist and his name was published also in the Israeli media. He is a man with strong principles and an astounding amount of knowledge of the West Bank and I am grateful that he took the time to show me around.

    Reply

  27. Carroll says:

    Posted by Questions Aug 08, 7:32AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Everything you said is right…but if you read all the comments when those issues are posted by Steve you can see we scream just as loud about the injustices and greed in our own country and government.
    Of course our protest don’t stop it any more than our protesting Israel’s crimes stops them.

    Reply

  28. jonst says:

    POA,
    Actually, I had the over/under at post 12. So, that’s not bad is it? It went all the way to the 15th post.

    Reply

  29. questions says:

    POA,
    You miss the point of the posts, but at least you’re not swearing at us for a change. The real issue is that there is a tendency among many people to locate evil elsewhere so that they can be certain that they, themselves, are not evil. When the Holocaust is treated as singular, as the only genocide there’s ever been, then those not part of the Holocaust ensure themselves a clear conscience. Nevermind that the moving and wiping out of portions of humanity seem to be constants in history and even we US citizens seem to be ever involved in the dirty deeds. The lack of awareness of one’s own involvement or complicity in or benefit from the worst that people do is problematic to me.
    I read your post about your restaurant friend. It was touching. And if you can see so personally what anti-Semitism does to people, I’m not sure why you have a harder time seeing the other side of it. Just what kinds of thinking lead people to need to drive out the Jewish people around them? Well, scapegoating, refusing to see complexities, always finding a “Jewish angle” to a story, worries about dual loyalties, purity concerns– these and more can feed into ignorance and lead people to some atrocious behavior (in the sense of “atrocity”). So when I, and I would guess Sweetness and WigWag, read posts here that keep finding Jewish angles and simple answers to complex issues, I/we get nervous. After all, I/we are more likely to be driven out of my/our restaurants than some others.
    From my reading here, I have found that no one has accused anyone of harboring deep anti-Semitic views; rather, it has been pointed out that some arguments and some posts seem to be borrowing from some traditional anti-Semitic lines. Better not to use those tropes.
    And please remember, no one is saying that Israeli policy towards the Palestinians is angelic and must be defended. In fact, I think there’s universal agreement that the situation is untenable and we have to find ways to alter current policy and recognize that humanity must be respected. But in trying to figure our way through the thicket, we are better off not using language that hearkens back to old anti-Semitic tropes; rather we need to recognize that Israel is a state behaving just the way states do, even the United States. I don’t think there are so many miles between the postitions stated here. I think there is deep discomfort though in how those positions are stated.

    Reply

  30. Matthew says:

    This post shows that more and more American thought-leaders are going off the reservation and getting information directly from the ground. This is a terrible blow to the Hasbara strategy of having the IDF press office “educate” Americans about the facts of life for Israelis and Palestinians.
    Great post. I particularly liked that fact that it didn’t try to prejudice the reporting with “balance,” i.e., allowing some Zionist official spout lies without challenge.
    I always encourage Americans to visit the West Bank WITHOUT some Israeli official or some functionary from an American Jewish organization.

    Reply

  31. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hmm, it had to happen. Of course someone is trying to turn this into a thread about “anti-semitism”. Gee, what a suprise.

    Reply

  32. Sweetness says:

    “t’s important to fight the tendency towards seeing “Israeli
    exceptionalism”. There are no historical exceptions. I don’t
    mean in any way to justify Israel’s policies, but I find it
    disingenuous, dangerous, and sickening to locate all faults out
    there, and none right here at home. We are as unkind, as nasty,
    as brutal as anyone else right here at home.”
    The problem–or one of them–I’m afraid is that nothing
    “satisfies” the way “Israeli exceptionalism” satisfies. It becomes
    an all-purpose explanation for the mess we’re in.
    One sees this a lot in Carroll’s comments. Just look at the
    thread on gas prices. After asking what I thought was a
    reasonable question–if we’re so short on gas and oil, why are
    we exporting it–her real passion comes through: the jet fuel
    we’re selling to Israel. Never mind that the jet fuel we sell to
    Israel has NOTHING to do with high gas prices here. Never mind
    that we export MUCH more oil and fuel to other countries. No;
    Israel is the thing that’s responsible for the middle class
    squeeze. There’s just no emotional percentage in noting that
    Canada and Mexico are the principal recipients of our oil. It’s
    sort of the Rabble Rouser argument: No water in the swimming
    pools–it must be Israel’s fault.

    Reply

  33. Sweetness says:

    “t’s important to fight the tendency towards seeing “Israeli
    exceptionalism”. There are no historical exceptions. I don’t
    mean in any way to justify Israel’s policies, but I find it
    disingenuous, dangerous, and sickening to locate all faults out
    there, and none right here at home. We are as unkind, as nasty,
    as brutal as anyone else right here at home.”
    The problem–or one of them–I’m afraid is that nothing
    “satisfies” the way “Israeli exceptionalism” satisfies. It becomes
    an all-purpose explanation for the mess we’re in.
    One sees this a lot in Carroll’s comments. Just look at the
    thread on gas prices. After asking what I thought was a
    reasonable question–if we’re so short on gas and oil, why are
    we exporting it–her real passion comes through: the jet fuel
    we’re selling to Israel. Never mind that the jet fuel we sell to
    Israel has NOTHING to do with high gas prices here. Never mind
    that we export MUCH more oil and fuel to other countries. No;
    Israel is the thing that’s responsible for the middle class
    squeeze. There’s just no emotional percentage in noting that
    Canada and Mexico are the principal recipients of our oil. It’s
    sort of the Rabble Rouser argument: No water in the swimming
    pools–it must be Israel’s fault.

    Reply

  34. Questions says:

    JohnH writes:
    How many Americans would sit idly by as their land was ripped from under their noses? How long would they tolerate being lectured to about having to peacefully resolve their differences when no process for addressing their grievances was ever put in place or even contemplated? For many Americans, the thought of having their land expropriated, even with fair compensation, is anathema when the government is doing it to serve private development interest. A recent Supreme Court decision allowing states to engage in such behavior drove people in many states to enact laws prohibiting such behavior.
    The political class talks a good game about the rule of law and the sanctity of private property. But when it comes to following their “principles”, hypocrisy rules again, at least when it comes to fair treatment of Palestinians.
    I’d suggest that maybe the subprime mortgage mess is an illegitimate seizure of property from numerous Americans who merely put up with it because it seems legal at some level. A lot of people, especially African Americans, were targeted by mortgage companies and pushed into deceptive loans they really didn’t need and really didn’t qualify for. The result is a huge loss of wealth for the African American community.
    I’d also suggest that New Orleans post-Katrina is a massive land grab as well.
    Urban renewal and zoning can function as land grabs, too. Compensation is often nowhere near adequate for the lost ties to land and community.
    Think about block busting and red lining, too.
    I’d recommend that we remember how this country was founded and just how much land was seized from Mexico.
    And I’d recommend we pay attention to how much labor power we “steal” and land we expropriate through ruination around the world by supporting totalitarian governments in order to maintain access to extractive minerals.
    And I’d recommend that we pay attention to the destruction of Appalachia through cut and fill operations. We destroy people’s property, even without direct seizure, and we offer no compensation.
    It’s important to fight the tendency towards seeing “Israeli exceptionalism”. There are no historical exceptions. I don’t mean in any way to justify Israel’s policies, but I find it disingenuous, dangerous, and sickening to locate all faults out there, and none right here at home. We are as unkind, as nasty, as brutal as anyone else right here at home.

    Reply

  35. Carroll says:

    This is on another Israeli related subject but I want to throw it in anyway because I have said everything that can be said on the Israel-Palestine occupation 1,001 times already.
    Isr is now threatening Russia? LOL!
    Further on in the JP article the Israelis insinuate that the US would naturally join them in any military action against Russia.
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1218104239541&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
    Israel warns Russia: We’ll neutralize S-300 if sold to Iran
    By YAAKOV KATZ
    If Russia goes through with the sale of its most advanced anti-aircraft missile system to Iran, Israel will use an electronic warfare device now under development to neutralize it and as a result present Russia as vulnerable to air infiltrations, a top defense official has told The Jerusalem Post.
    The Russian system, called the S-300, is one of the most advanced multi-target anti-aircraft-missile systems in the world today and has a reported ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12 at the same time. It has a range of about 200 kilometers and can hit targets at altitudes of 27,000 meters.
    While Russia has denied that it sold the system to Iran, Teheran claimed last year that Moscow was preparing to equip the Islamic Republic with S-300 systems. Iran already has TOR-M1 surface-to-air missiles from Russia.
    Mixed media reports have emerged recently regarding the possible delivery of the system to Iran. Two weeks ago Reuters quoted a senior Israeli official who said the system would be delivered to Iran by the end of the year. In response, the Pentagon released a statement rejecting the assessment and saying that the US did not believe Iran would get it in 2008.
    According to the Israeli defense official who spoke to the Post, “no one really knows yet if and when Iran will get the system.”
    A top IAF officer also said this week that Israel needed to do “everything possible” to prevent the S-300 from reaching the region.
    “Russia will have to think real hard before delivering this system to Iran, which is possibly on the brink of conflict with either Israel or the US, since if the system is delivered, an EW [electronic warfare] system will likely be developed to neutralize it, and if that happens it would be catastrophic not only for Iran but also for Russia,” the defense official said.”
    Meanwhile Israel serenades the USA with their national anthem.
    Suicide is Painless
    Through early morning fog I see
    visions of the things to be
    the pains that are withheld for me
    I realize and I can see…
    [REFRAIN]:
    that suicide is painless
    It brings on many changes
    and I can take or leave it if I please.

    The game of life is hard to play
    I’m gonna lose it anyway
    The losing card I’ll someday lay
    so this is all I have to say.
    [REFRAIN]
    ‘Suicide is painless
    it brings on many changes
    and I can take or leave it if I please.
    …and you can do the same thing if you please.”

    Reply

  36. Carroll says:

    This is on another Israeli related subject but I want to throw it in anyway because I have said everything that can be said on the Israel-Palestine occupation 1,001 times already.
    So now Isr is threatening Russia? LOL!
    Further on in the JP article the Israelis insinuate that the US would naturally join them in any military action against Russia.
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1218104239541&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
    Israel warns Russia: We’ll neutralize S-300 if sold to Iran
    By YAAKOV KATZ
    If Russia goes through with the sale of its most advanced anti-aircraft missile system to Iran, Israel will use an electronic warfare device now under development to neutralize it and as a result present Russia as vulnerable to air infiltrations, a top defense official has told The Jerusalem Post.
    The Russian system, called the S-300, is one of the most advanced multi-target anti-aircraft-missile systems in the world today and has a reported ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12 at the same time. It has a range of about 200 kilometers and can hit targets at altitudes of 27,000 meters.
    While Russia has denied that it sold the system to Iran, Teheran claimed last year that Moscow was preparing to equip the Islamic Republic with S-300 systems. Iran already has TOR-M1 surface-to-air missiles from Russia.
    Mixed media reports have emerged recently regarding the possible delivery of the system to Iran. Two weeks ago Reuters quoted a senior Israeli official who said the system would be delivered to Iran by the end of the year. In response, the Pentagon released a statement rejecting the assessment and saying that the US did not believe Iran would get it in 2008.
    According to the Israeli defense official who spoke to the Post, “no one really knows yet if and when Iran will get the system.”
    A top IAF officer also said this week that Israel needed to do “everything possible” to prevent the S-300 from reaching the region.
    “Russia will have to think real hard before delivering this system to Iran, which is possibly on the brink of conflict with either Israel or the US, since if the system is delivered, an EW [electronic warfare] system will likely be developed to neutralize it, and if that happens it would be catastrophic not only for Iran but also for Russia,” the defense official said.”
    Meanwhile Israel serenades the USA with their national anthem.
    Suicide is Painless
    Through early morning fog I see
    visions of the things to be
    the pains that are withheld for me
    I realize and I can see…
    [REFRAIN]:
    that suicide is painless
    It brings on many changes
    and I can take or leave it if I please.

    The game of life is hard to play
    I’m gonna lose it anyway
    The losing card I’ll someday lay
    so this is all I have to say.
    [REFRAIN]
    ‘Suicide is painless
    it brings on many changes
    and I can take or leave it if I please.
    …and you can do the same thing if you please.”

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I’m curious.
    Can someone tell me if Dror Ektes is going to be subject to harrassment, retaliation, or loss of freedom of movement for his part in giving Jonathan Wallace such an honestly guided tour?
    I imagine Steve’s posting of this commentary has more than a few phones in Israel ringing off their hooks. And my bet would be that Dror better watch his back.
    I’m also curious if membership in “Peace Now” is openly admitted, or even advertised, (such as bumper stickers), in Israel. I would wager you wouldn’t wanna tour the settlements in a car sporting a “Peace Now” bumper sticker.
    Perhaps, time allowing, Jonathan might be kind enough to respond.

    Reply

  38. JohnH says:

    Every once in a while, the reality of what is happening in the Occupied Territories sees the light of day. Thanks to Jonathan Wallace for letting some light in and to Steve for posting his comment.
    Questions noted that “they seem to seize Palestinian property at will.” I would only add “without compensation.” I believe it was Peace Now that did a study several years ago, and found that about 40% of settlement land in the Occupied Territories was never paid for. Such a deal! Except if you happen to be a Palestinian land owner.
    How many Americans would sit idly by as their land was ripped from under their noses? How long would they tolerate being lectured to about having to peacefully resolve their differences when no process for addressing their grievances was ever put in place or even contemplated? For many Americans, the thought of having their land expropriated, even with fair compensation, is anathema when the government is doing it to serve private development interest. A recent Supreme Court decision allowing states to engage in such behavior drove people in many states to enact laws prohibiting such behavior.
    The political class talks a good game about the rule of law and the sanctity of private property. But when it comes to following their “principles”, hypocrisy rules again, at least when it comes to fair treatment of Palestinians.

    Reply

  39. David says:

    Since Israel is actively and aggressively doing what it is doing in the Occupied Territories, which as was noted above makes an independent Palestine a blue baby, and since Palestinian babies continue to be born and a very real demographic time bomb is in the making for Israel/Palestine, Israel’s current facts on the ground seem to me to be destined to eventually produce much larger facts on the ground that will result in Israel, with its population of 3 million, ultimately being demographically overwhelmed, one way or another. Enlightened Israelis understand this, and understand the immorality of what is being inflicted on the Palestinians, but they apparently have about as much influence as did those of us who knew (not thought, knew) we were being lied into an idiot war crime in Iraq.
    Problem for the Israelis is that there is no ocean between them and what they are doing, and no place else for them to go. They needed to decide 30 years ago that harmony between the Israelis and the Palestinians was the only viable longterm solution, and they needed to do absolutely everything they could to make the situation more just, more harmonious, and more amenable in every way to a better future for both Israelis and Palestinians.
    Apparently they thought it was 19th century America all over again, and they were free to relate to the Palestinians the way we related to the Native Americans.
    Jimmy Carter is Israel and Palestine’s best friend, so of course he is reviled, including by the person I support for president.
    Sometimes I think Billy Budd got it right in “Billy in the Darbies”: “But aren’t it all sham?” Still, I can’t linger too long on that thought – it’s a dead end street.

    Reply

  40. Mr.Murder says:

    Do the actions described not constitute being a rogue state?

    Reply

  41. Carroll says:

    I find it impossible to be diplomatic in commenting on the Isr-Pal situtation. I can’t think of anything beside the Iraq “lie war” that disgust me more. In fact I think it disgusts me more than Iraq does because of the decades we have financed it and allowed it to continue.
    The Israelis are the world’s new 21st century midget nazis, that is all there is to it, plain and simple. They are not going to change. The Israel one state solution with Palestines as citizens of it would do nothing but create even more of a aparthid country with Palestines treated in the same manner Blacks used to be treated in the US.
    You cannot teach, reason with, or trust the Israelis. For 40 years the US has told them not to build settlements and for 40 years they have built settlements. Every year they steal more land and strangle and rape Palestine in defience of every international law and standard of human rights known to the world.
    Why anyone would believe they would allow Palestines the same rights as citizens as Israeli Jews is beyond me. It isn’t going to happen in a One State. Israel is a racist, cultist, tribal driven state. They are exactly like in mentality and actions the radical Islamist segments of the ME that we call terrorist.
    If there is ever a Palestine state, which the Palestines are entitled to btw, it will have to be created by force against Israel.
    Since the US is too immoral and corrupt to do the right thing in Pal-Isr I wish whatever terrorist, freedom fighters or ME groups may be up to the challenge, the best of luck in rectifying this on going horror. And while they are at it they can take out our Israeli occupation and genocide aiding and abetting congress. They are both a moral abomination to decent Americans and people around the world.
    Too bad we don’t have an Ike on the horizon in the US to deal with Israel. If we did the Israeli game would end tomorrow and the US zionist groups that funnel money to the illegal settlements of Israel would be sitting in the same jail as the Muslims accused of sending money to the Islamic terrorist.

    Reply

  42. questions says:

    As the US starts moving to “majority minority” it’ll be interesting to see how we handle some of these same issues. We already have freakouts about language and immigration issues. How repressive will communities get as they face the shifts in political power?

    Reply

  43. Joe M. says:

    The two-state “solution” should be totally abandoned. It is time for the Jews of Israel to face the reality that they must end the racist formation of their state and grant all Palestinians citizenship in Israel. Being a colonial state on Arab lands will never prove stable, unless there is full equality between Jews and Arabs.
    A one-state solution would also solve the problem of settlements, as they would no longer need to be exclusively Jewish. By simply making Israel and Palestine one country, there is no need to any major re-organization of populations, it simply becomes a legal matter of recognizing rights.
    The two-state hypothesis is already dead and this must be recognized. Resolution 242 is the bare minimum that Palestinian leaders will accept (the Palestinian people expect more, as they are not controled by American and Zionist dictates), yet 242 is not possible for the Jews as it forces a removal of some 500,000 illegal settlers and the division of Jerusalem.
    Grant the Palestinians full citizenship in Israel. Allow the right of return, just as Israel currently has the “law of return”. It is the only solution. End Jewish racism and colonialism.

    Reply

  44. Paul Norheim says:

    questions,
    thanks for your tip about Makdisis book. I want to read it. And I
    think your post sadly express the difficulties and depressing
    obstacles in this conflict. Even Perez encouraged or allowed an
    increase of settlements after the Oslo agreements. Then Israel got
    leaders like Netanyahu and Sharon. And perhaps Netanyahu will
    return and make things worse. All my life this conflict has been
    going on (I`m born in 1962), and it`s roots are much older. And I
    see no reason for optimism.

    Reply

  45. questions says:

    Have not finished the Saree Makdisi book on Palestine and the occupation, but I have the sense he’s making the same point. There is no possible second state given the way that settlements cut up the land and given Israeli control over transportation, border crossings, building permits, water, and even fishing (for Gaza). But given the “demographic time bomb”, there can’t be one state either. What a mess. They seem to be locked in a perpetual Jim Crow society with a vengeance. Some settlers are as out of control as any lynch mob, and they seem to seize Palestinian property at will. They teach their children to hate at an early age.
    CounterPunch had a piece the other day about a group of Israelis who are trying to ship in supplies to Gaza as a show of solidarity. It’s a small glimmer of something.

    Reply

  46. Katherine Tiedemann says:

    Welcome to TWN, Jonathan!
    You wrote mostly about the friction between Palestinians and Israelis over the settlements, but I wonder, is there any tension between the Orthodox and more secular Jewish settlements? What was your impression of that dynamic?

    Reply

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