Israel/Palestine discussion

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yedidyak
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yedidyak » Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:01 am UTC

Two hours in to humanitarian cease fire, rockets landing in the south.

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Paul in Saudi
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Paul in Saudi » Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:33 am UTC

Yeah, I saw that. This is a Bad Thing as it indicates the Palestinians do not have enough command and control to turn off the rockets at will.

BTW, that iPad app that alerts you to incomings is enough to make anyone a complete basket case. It is bad enough rockets are being fired, but this fool thing makes everyone jumpy all the time. I am not sure it is worth having, but I have always had a fatalistic opinion of indirect fire.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yedidyak » Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:40 am UTC

Paul in Saudi wrote:Yeah, I saw that. This is a Bad Thing as it indicates the Palestinians do not have enough command and control to turn off the rockets at will.

BTW, that iPad app that alerts you to incomings is enough to make anyone a complete basket case. It is bad enough rockets are being fired, but this fool thing makes everyone jumpy all the time. I am not sure it is worth having, but I have always had a fatalistic opinion of indirect fire.


The idea is that you can set it to alert for the area you or your friends and family are in. Also, there's been a lot of cases in the last week where people went to shelters a few seconds before their houses were hit, or before shrapnel fell where they were.

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Paul in Saudi
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Paul in Saudi » Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:35 pm UTC

Oh,it has settings? I did not see that, but I suppose your interest is more practical than mine.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Paul in Saudi » Thu Jul 17, 2014 6:02 pm UTC

Three more Palestinian children killed. This time they were feeding the birds on the roof of their home.

Grumble.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby mosc » Thu Jul 17, 2014 6:57 pm UTC

Paul in Saudi wrote:Three more Palestinian children killed. This time they were feeding the birds on the roof of their home.

Grumble.

It's war, the only one who's happy is the undertaker. When both sides loose their stomach for bloodshed something can change. Hamas has made it abundantly clear that they can stomach more so more we get. I'm not a blade one side and say the other is totally innocent and the current conflict is far from the only one in history but the reasons for continuing this current futility are fairly one-sided.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby charliepanayi » Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:17 pm UTC

mosc wrote:
Paul in Saudi wrote:Three more Palestinian children killed. This time they were feeding the birds on the roof of their home.

Grumble.

but the reasons for continuing this current futility are fairly one-sided.


Not really.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Mambrino » Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:25 pm UTC

BBC: Israel starts Gaza ground offensive, journalists told to evacuate.

When there was ground invasion last time (I guess I was maybe in high school?), what I remember is that there were practically no Western journalists present; news seemed to have only video material of reporters filming each other, IDF personnel and Gaza border from some hilltops and proportionally insane, uncomfirmed death toll figures.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby engr » Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:13 am UTC

Mambrino wrote:When there was ground invasion last time (I guess I was maybe in high school?), what I remember is that there were practically no Western journalists present; news seemed to have only video material of reporters filming each other, IDF personnel and Gaza border from some hilltops and proportionally insane, uncomfirmed death toll figures.


I've seen some photo materials from Gaza during the last few days, and... I wish I could unsee them.
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Paul in Saudi
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Paul in Saudi » Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:05 am UTC

As I said, it would be better to do something that would work than to do something just to do something. Does anyone think a ground invasion would work?

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby BattleMoose » Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:07 am UTC

Paul in Saudi wrote:As I said, it would be better to do something that would work than to do something just to do something. Does anyone think a ground invasion would work?


If you mean work as, in stopping the rockets (or at least very much decrease them) then yes, it will work. Just as it did the last time. Its expensive though, unpleasant and unpopular and not good for international relations. Some Israeli soldiers are likely to die too.

Its a difficult choice, do you tolerate being bombarded by rockets or invade. Realistically I think those are the only two options?

After the invasion and the IDF has done some stuff, they will withdraw and there will be a period of relative peace until there is a new rocket offensive with a new ground invasion, repeat.

EDIT:
Perhaps the real problem here is that there is only strong international pressure when there is real violence. This is the power of the violence, the international community cares. When there is limited violence the rest of the world couldn't care despite there being a nearly century long conflict going on.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yedidyak » Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:16 am UTC

Paul in Saudi wrote:As I said, it would be better to do something that would work than to do something just to do something. Does anyone think a ground invasion would work?


The current ground invasion isn't to stop the rockets, those are mostly in built up areas that the IDF has no interest in trying to enter. It's to stop the tunnels.

There's a huge network of tunnels under and out of Gaza, one of those was used to capture Gilad Shalit a few years ago. Another opened yesterday morning just outside the town of Kerem Shalom in Israel, and 13 Hamas terrorists armed with a lot of RPGs and light weapons climbed out. Luckily in that case the army noticed them very quickly and a major disaster was averted.

This operation is to find and destroy those tunnels.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Paul in Saudi » Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:57 am UTC

Well, a few days ago, Bibi (consider the source) said the goal of the operation is to permanently demilitarize Gaza. We should keep this in mind. Now that know what the heck Israeli is trying to do, we can determine if they have finished doing it, of if they have failed doing it. It is a pretty tough goal. I do not see how it can be done without major urban combat over a period of a year or more. We shall see. I am often wrong.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby elasto » Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:32 am UTC

And the score so far:

- 258 Palestinians killed, the vast majority civilians
- 1,370 Palestinian homes destroyed
- Tens of thousands of Palestinians displaced
- One Israeli has been killed

Go go good team?

I don't know what the answer is to this situation is, but I know what it isn't: Killing civilians causing friends and family of the deceased to join up with the extremists is the very definition of self-defeating

(It would be nice if Israelis could get Palestinian 'terror' in perspective: The average Israeli is more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than a missile, and many hundreds of times more likely to die in a random traffic accident. But human nature is to have an exaggerated fear of dramatic deaths and to demand 'something be done to stop it' - despite the fact that if Israel had apportioned the funds it has spent on this military campaign towards, I dunno, healthcare, it would save more Israeli lives. Especially when factoring in that every militant killed spawns an unknown number of new ones as I say.)

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Paul in Saudi
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Paul in Saudi » Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:25 pm UTC

You are mistaken. An American woman visiting Israel died of a heart attack while under rocket attack. A rabbi was killed by a rocket while visiting the troops. Now an Israeli soldier has died of some sort of battlefield activity. That is three Israeli dead.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yedidyak » Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:35 pm UTC

Do we judge morality by death rate now?

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:36 pm UTC

elasto wrote:(It would be nice if Israelis could get Palestinian 'terror' in perspective: The average Israeli is more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than a missile, and many hundreds of times more likely to die in a random traffic accident. But human nature is to have an exaggerated fear of dramatic deaths and to demand 'something be done to stop it' - despite the fact that if Israel had apportioned the funds it has spent on this military campaign towards, I dunno, healthcare, it would save more Israeli lives. Especially when factoring in that every militant killed spawns an unknown number of new ones as I say.)


The reason the deaths are so low is because 1) the Israelis hide from the rockets, and 2) medical care is such that serious wounds aren't fatal.

The Palestinian civilian deaths would be much lower if the rockets weren't launched from civilian areas (isn't there some Geneva Convention rule against launching attacks from civilian property or something?). But that would make it easier to kill the launchers, so of course they don't want that. The fact that civilians die too and Israel gets blamed is a bonus.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:08 pm UTC

yedidyak wrote:Do we judge morality by death rate now?


Er, don't we always? I mean, a serial murder who kills 30 people is judged much more harshly than a murderer that kills one. The morality of an action is intimately linked to the amount of suffering it causes or is likely to cause.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yedidyak » Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:11 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
yedidyak wrote:Do we judge morality by death rate now?


Er, don't we always? I mean, a serial murder who kills 30 people is judged much more harshly than a murderer that kills one. The morality of an action is intimately linked to the amount of suffering it causes or is likely to cause.


Ten times as many Germans died during WW2 than Americans. Does that mean the Nazis were right? Its a stupid way to measure morality in a war.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby charliepanayi » Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:31 pm UTC

yedidyak wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:
yedidyak wrote:Do we judge morality by death rate now?


Er, don't we always? I mean, a serial murder who kills 30 people is judged much more harshly than a murderer that kills one. The morality of an action is intimately linked to the amount of suffering it causes or is likely to cause.


Ten times as many Germans died during WW2 than Americans. Does that mean the Nazis were right? Its a stupid way to measure morality in a war.


This war isn't WW2, and you know it.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yedidyak » Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:34 pm UTC

Of course not, that wasn't the point I was making at all, and you know it. One side is doing everything to protect its civilians, the other is doing everything to raise its casualties. Death toll is a stupid measure of morality.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:41 pm UTC

yedidyak wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:
yedidyak wrote:Do we judge morality by death rate now?


Er, don't we always? I mean, a serial murder who kills 30 people is judged much more harshly than a murderer that kills one. The morality of an action is intimately linked to the amount of suffering it causes or is likely to cause.


Ten times as many Germans died during WW2 than Americans. Does that mean the Nazis were right? Its a stupid way to measure morality in a war.


Well, World War 2 wasn't solely between Germany and the United States... In fact, about 85% of the people who died in WW2 were on the Allied side, primarily Chinese, Poles, and Russians. So that isn't really a good comparison anyway. In fact, one of the reasons why the Nazis are considered so evil is because of their systematic elimination of civilians. And regardless of the justness of the Allies cause, that's not to say that they didn't commit atrocities or war crimes either. They just didn't get punished for them because they won.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:46 pm UTC

Umm... Actually, it kind of is an extension of WWII.

In the 30's, the Nazis spread their propaganda among the British and French possessions, and many Arabs adopted it. Suddenly, Jewish communities which had existed as more or less part of the Arab world for centuries became 2nd class citizens or worse. When Israel was created, the Arab world ethnically cleansed the Jews from their territories (entire communities don't just leave out of their own free will). The land seized from the Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews totaled something around 4 times the size of all of Israel, including the territories. This kind of ended the idea that Israel would just be a part of the Arab world where Jews lived in, sort of like an Indian Reservation or something, rather than today where Israel is separate.

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Paul in Saudi
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Paul in Saudi » Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:20 pm UTC

Well, keep in mind I keep a running tally of American mass killings for each year. It appear I like to make lists and I have a morbid streak.

But keep in mind that many here are Christians or or were raised in the Christian tradition. We have a long philosophical tradition of debating what is a "Just War." While the subject is mind-numbing its complexity, one key is the concept of "proportionality." To Muslims and Jews, I suppose these might be foreign concepts. But many of us here do have this sort of idea in our cultural DNA.

But of course one of the folks upstream asked specifically if the fact that more Germans than Americans died in WWII indicated that the Nazis were right. Of course the basic logical fallacy here is that the number of Allied nationals killed in that war was greater than the number of Axis nationals killed. But this is a gross measurement (to make an unintentional pun).

Just war requires proportionality in that no more force may be used than that is required to win. Running up the score is not allowed.

So, with this cultural background, many of us wonder if Israel is using only the force required to win, or if it is using force that does not really advance its cause. Frankly, it seems that the Israelis may be hurting people and breaking things with no other object in mind at all.

But of course trying to impose one culture's norms on another culture is foolish.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby charliepanayi » Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:50 pm UTC

yedidyak wrote:Of course not, that wasn't the point I was making at all, and you know it. One side is doing everything to protect its civilians, the other is doing everything to raise its casualties. Death toll is a stupid measure of morality.


I like how you insist that Israel isn't responsible at all for all the dead people on the Palestinian side, but the Palestinians are completely responsible for the dead on both sides.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:51 pm UTC

Given that the Israelis haven't won, by your logic they should use more force.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:03 pm UTC

charliepanayi wrote:
yedidyak wrote:Of course not, that wasn't the point I was making at all, and you know it. One side is doing everything to protect its civilians, the other is doing everything to raise its casualties. Death toll is a stupid measure of morality.


I like how you insist that Israel isn't responsible at all for all the dead people on the Palestinian side, but the Palestinians are completely responsible for the dead on both sides.


That seems like an overstatement.

Though, yknow, the side that uses human shields, suicide bombers, etc does reasonably bear some responsibility for dead on it's own side. At least those they directly cause, at a minimum.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Paul in Saudi » Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:37 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Given that the Israelis haven't won, by your logic they should use more force.



No, not really. Use force if force will work. Use as much as you need, but no more. If other parts of state power will get the job done, use them first.

The issue is not the use of force. The issue is not killing people and breaking things. I am no pacifist; I have used force myself. The issue is the efficacy of the use of force. It does not seem to me that Israel is following a wise course that will lead to victory. They seem to be following the same path that has failed before.

Kill people and break things if need be. In my tradition, it is unjust and unwise to use force in a way that causes needless suffering.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:41 pm UTC

Force will work if enough is used. "Enough" might be tantamount to "genocide" though. If there is no alternative that works, by your own logic Israel would be "right" in killing hundreds of thousands.

Personally I think Israel and Egypt should just dig a 40 ft deep ditch at the Gaza/Egypt border, connected to the Mediterranean. Something really difficult to dig under. That would cut off the tunnels. Not tunnels, no rockets. No rockets, Israel can ignore Gaza, Hamas loses support, and long run things get better.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Paul in Saudi » Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:49 pm UTC

No, one may not use force when other forms of state power can reach the same result.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:09 pm UTC

Pray tell, what would work besides the repulsive option?

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:42 pm UTC

Good faith negotiations with the Palestinians?

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:56 pm UTC

Already tried that. Barely worked with Fatah. Not with Hamas.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:06 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Already tried that. Barely worked with Fatah. Not with Hamas.


They've been involved in negotiations with the Palestinians at various points, yes. That's not what I said. There is no reasonable metric under which Israel can be said to have been bargaining in good faith.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:59 pm UTC

So what is your definition of "negotiating in good faith"? Because if it's "1967 Borders", Israel didn't have peace prior to having the territory, so there is little reason to assume they'd have peace returning to those borders.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yurell » Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:06 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:They've been involved in negotiations with the Palestinians at various points, yes. That's not what I said. There is no reasonable metric under which Israel can be said to have been bargaining in good faith.


To be fair, there are sticking points that seem to be exceptionally hard to get around regardless of whether the negotiations have been 'good faith' or not.

For example, Israel assumes that Israel being a Jewish state is not something they need to bargain for, it's a default. To the Palestinians, such a thing would be tantamount to declaring non-Jews living in Israel second-class citizens, and they weigh such a thing as extremely costly at the bargaining table. On top of that, both sides have different ideas of where negotiations should begin — Palestine thinks it should be back with the old borders, while Israel with mostly the current ones. This means that the Palestinians are starting from the view that Israel needs to give up something in return in order to maintain many of the settlements, while Israel sees giving up the settlements1 as concessions and wants compensation.

So good faith aside, neither group agrees on either the value of the other's demands nor the starting place for negotiations. In order to even begin negotiations, they have to agree on these, which neither side is willing to do because to each it would be a concession that needs to be made in the negotiations themselves. And without powerful leaders that can make these sorts of decisions, regardless of what that means for the polls, the status quo will continue.

1 When you plant down a settlement, it becomes a bargaining chip. Ten, twenty, thirty years down the line? That bargaining chip has grown very expensive, to the point it cannot be moved, and many Israel simply will not give up, and Palestine won't accept remaining.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby LaserGuy » Sat Jul 19, 2014 2:21 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:So what is your definition of "negotiating in good faith"? Because if it's "1967 Borders", Israel didn't have peace prior to having the territory, so there is little reason to assume they'd have peace returning to those borders.


Well, for example, any negotiation involving Netanyahu is currently pointless, as he completely rejects Palestinian sovereignty as an acceptable outcome for Israel. That alone makes good faith negotiation impossible.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby elasto » Sat Jul 19, 2014 3:25 am UTC

yedidyak wrote:Do we judge morality by death rate now?


Um. Well, a proportionate response is fundamental if you want enemies and neutral parties to view your actions as reasonable, but that wasn't really my main point at all.

As explained by quite a long paragraph my main issue is with the efficacy and pragmatism of Israeli actions.

Rocket attacks are really no longer an issue now. Yes they will occasionally kill but there are far more mundane ways Israelis get killed and a wise government will move on to those instead.

The wall around Israel was a good plan. Iron Dome was also good. If tunnels are starting to become an issue, then pairing the wall with a deep ditch and/or extending the wall under the ground would be much better than the current strategy.

Here's a radical solution: Buy the whole country off. Negotiate with a surrounding nation for a large patch of land and build the Palestinians a brand new, top of the range paradise city and give the Palestinians as long as they want to move in - on condition that they give up their rights to Israeli land and citizenship. Even if many of the current population refuse out of pride or religious fervor, their children or grandchildren will eventually take up the offer.

If you balk at the cost, consider that Israel currently spends $18Bn a year on defence. If the conflict lasts another 40 years Israel could spend a quarter of a million dollars for every Palestinian man, woman and child and still come out ahead. Heck, the US spends $600Bn a year on defence. Building a city like that would be chump change in comparison.

(Ok, so Israel would still need a sizable military but it's an illustration of the money already being wasted here on warfare that cannot achieve its stated aim: If a bank robber takes a hundred hostages, you don't kill everyone and then say 'oh well it was the bank robber's fault' - you find another way. If militants operate from civilian areas then you find a more creative way to deal with them than more violence which just creates x militants for every one killed.)

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Jul 19, 2014 3:32 am UTC

Are you sure that X militants for every militant killed is greater than 1?

As for bribing the Palestinians, wouldn't work. High fertility rates and all.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Paul in Saudi » Sat Jul 19, 2014 3:36 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Pray tell, what would work besides the repulsive option?



Beats me. That is one reason why I am no longer in that line of work. What do you think?

But we can proceed from a few givens. First off, the genocidal solution so many here toss around is simply a gruesome fantasy. Next we have to accept that history has shown us what does not work. So that means we have to do something else.

OK, so what is something else? I dunno. But it is easy to argue that most other policies followed by either side would have led us to a better situation than the one we find ourselves in.

So you say I am being vague. You are right. Let me give you some thoughts. They may be wrong. They are difficult to implement and are long-term. Most big projects are like that.

At some point the Palestinians will need to have a single government. It is hard to cut a deal with two enemies. Further, this government will need to be strong enough to impose its will on its people. This is the only way it could have a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. Fragmenting and weakening the Palestinian government has only reduced the "delta" between its power and authority and that of the crazies.

We have to drain the support base of the bad actors on both sides. I suppose we can do that through education. I would like to see a few tens of thousands of Palestinian children and (and Israeli children) attend summer camps together. Eventually we could hope for schooling together. (Think how the extremists would hate this. I suppose this is because they understand how such steps would weaken them.) Keep this up for thirty years.

The Israelis need to build up its Arab minorities. They will be a role model for what Palestine could become, a counter-example.

Israelis, maybe starting with Israeli Arabs, need to invest in Palestine. Sure it will take a decade or two until the extremists stop bombing the factories and slaughtering the workers. After all, the extremists will know they are fighting for their lives. Palestine needs to be the richest, happiest Arab country in the world. Rich, confident countries can make difficult peace deals.

But of course this is all fantasy. Perhaps some would argue surrounding Gaza with a big ditch deep enough to keep out the tunnels is somehow more practical.

Still, the present course is well-mapped. We know where it leads. We need to try something else.


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