Israel/Palestine discussion

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Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Hawknc » Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:13 am UTC

If you have news and articles pertaining particularly to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, please put them here for discussion. This thread will be heavily monitored and flaming, baiting and personal attacks will absolutely not be tolerated. If you can't make a reasonable argument, step back and let someone else have a shot.

If you're not familiar with the history of the conflict, take a moment to read through Wikipedia to get yourself up to speed on the basics.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Josephine » Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:21 am UTC

Good idea.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby EMTP » Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:57 am UTC

The links from the old thread:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1154537.html
http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?ID=170358
http://www.en.justjlm.org/

Bradley Burston has an interesting essay on the conflict between Zionist critics of Israel within Israel, and radical Zionists living abroad:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1153997.html

Interestingly, this dynamic also played out during the Christian Crusades; those living in-country often realized the importance of making peace with their Muslim neighbors, but new arrivals (and European backers) often had no sympathy for that perspective, and wanted a full-on, uncompromising Crusader ethos to prevail (see http://www.amazon.com/Holy-War-Crusades ... 0385721404).

The Crusaders were trapped; they needed the support, but the radical politics that came with them proved disastrous. J street notwithstanding, it's hard to miss the resemblance to America's armchair Zionist hardliners.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yoni45 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:32 am UTC

Well, I guess this was inevitable, although I'm not sure it's going to do much... there's a plethora of various things to talk about in terms of this conflict... Seems like this'd be a recipe for going off-topic while still actually on-topic.

Anyway, an interesting article that seems to have been overlooked by the media...

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1151941.html

Spoiler:
The son of a leading Hamas figure, who famously converted to Christianity, served for over a decade as the Shin Bet security service's most valuable source in the militant organization's leadership, Haaretz has learned.

Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder and one of its leaders in the West Bank. The intelligence he supplied Israel led to the exposure of a number of terrorist cells, and to the prevention of dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Israeli figures.

The exclusive story will appear in this Friday's Haaretz Magazine, and Yousef's memoir, "Son of Hamas" (written with Ron Brackin) will be released next week in the United States. Yousef, 32, became a devout Christian 10 years ago and now lives in California after fleeing the West Bank in 2007 and going public with his conversion.

Yousef was considered the Shin Bet's most reliable source in the Hamas leadership, earning himself the nickname "the Green Prince" - using the color of the Islamist group's flag, and "prince" because of his pedigree as the son of one of the movement's founders.

During the second intifada, intelligence Yousef supplied led to the arrests of a number of high-ranking Palestinian figures responsible for planning deadly suicide bombings. These included Ibrahim Hamid (a Hamas military commander in the West Bank, Marwan Barghouti (founder of the Fatah-linked Tanzim militia) and Abdullah Barghouti (a Hamas bomb-maker with no close relation to the Fatah figure). Yousef was also responsible for thwarting Israel's plan to assassinate his father.

"I wish I were in Gaza now," Yousef said by phone from California, "I would put on an army uniform and join Israel's special forces in order to liberate Gilad Shalit. If I were there, I could help. We wasted so many years with investigations and arrests to capture the very terrorists that they now want to release in return for Shalit. That must not be done."

The story of Yousef's spiritual transformation appeared in Haaretz Magazine in August 2008. Only now, however, is Yousef exposing the secret he kept since 1996, when he was first held by Shin Bet agents seeking to enlist him in infiltrating the upper echelon of Hamas.

Their efforts proved successful, and Yousef was released from prison in 1997. His former handler, who no longer serves with the security service, says Yousef collaborated with Israel because he wanted to save lives.

"So many people owe him their life and don't even know it," said the handler, named in Yousef's book as Captain Loai. "People who did a lot less were awarded the Israel Security Prize. He certainly deserves it."

Loai makes no secret of his admiration for his former source. "The amazing thing is that none of his actions were done for money," he says. "He did things he believed in. He wanted to save lives. His grasp of intelligence matters was just as good as ours - the ideas, the insights. One insight of his was worth 1,000 hours of thought by top experts."

Loai recalled one time when the Shin Bet received information that a suicide bomber was going to be picked up at Manara Square in Ramallah and be given an explosives belt.

"We didn't know his name or what he looked like - only that he was in his 20s and would be wearing a red shirt," he said. "We sent the Green Prince to the square and with his acute sense, he located the target within minutes. He saw who picked him up, followed the car and made it possible for us to arrest the suicide bomber and the man who was supposed to give him the belt. So another attack was thwarted, though no one knows about it. No one opens Champagne bottles or bursts into song and dance. This was an almost daily thing for the Prince. He displayed courage, had sharp antennae and an ability to cope with danger. We knew he was one of those who in any situation - rain, snow, summer - give their all."

With his memoir, Yousef hopes to send a message of peace to Israelis. Still, he admits he is pessimistic over the prospect of Israel signing a peace agreement with the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, let alone Hamas.

"Hamas cannot make peace with the Israelis. That is against what their God tells them. It is impossible to make peace with infidels, only a cease-fire, and no one knows that better than I. The Hamas leadership is responsible for the killing of Palestinians, not Israelis," he said. "Palestinians! They do not hesitate to massacre people in a mosque or to throw people from the 15th or 17th floor of a building, as they did during the coup in Gaza. The Israelis would never do such things. I tell you with certainty that the Israelis care about the Palestinians far more than the Hamas or Fatah leadership does."


In short: apparently the son of the founder of Hamas was one of the Shin Bet's most prominent informers within Hamas over an extended period of time.

He now lives in California, and just recently made his story public. Er... the story doesn't mention that he's in hiding or anything... Could be me, but I'd imagine that'd probably be a good idea for him right now...
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Skid » Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:08 am UTC

Well, let's bring up some of the basic trains of discussion then then.

West bank settlements. Are they crowding the Palestinians out of their native land?

Are unguided rocket launches and suicide bombers valid tactics for the Palestinians to use?

Israeli military operations. Are "civilian" casualties justified? Are they really as high as Palestinians claim? As low as Israelis claim?

Does Israel's government unfairly discriminate against people for their beliefs or nationality?

Is the prevention of suicide bombings enough to justify the existence of the West Bank barrier?

Do we get an undistorted image of the Israeli/Palistinian conflict from Western media sources?
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby theGoldenCalf; » Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:31 pm UTC

Seeing how the previous thread on this subject got trolled to it's early grave, starting this one was a really good idea. Kudos.

Being a very non-political person myself (really, each elections I vote for an ultra-liberal hackey party that's mainly about legalizing marijuana and never makes it to parliament), debating on this issue is not very attractive to me. On the other hand, being an Israeli (Jew) I can't help but having detailed views on the subject, and Skid's questions got me going, so...

West bank settlements. Are they crowding the Palestinians out of their native land?


Absolutely. The settlements in the occupied territories were started - and are still perpetrated - to achieve just that, and are run by right-wing extremists who see it as the will of God, no less (and what God wants, God gets). Being roughly 15% of the population, they have strong lobbies and loud supporters, and bully each and every government since the seventies into a certain amount of support. Even the genesis of the whole settlement enterprise was in partially misleading the leftist government of the time into approving a single settlement as a small religious center. What basically allows this to go on and on is the fundamental perception, which is very common with the Jewish population here, that stating a "biblical right" to the ancient land of Israel justifies any means of exercising this right, which derives the whole world view of military occupation of a civilian population that has no rights and no real government of it's own being fine and dandy. Which makes any consideration of said occupied population being perceived as foolish, which allows settlements to exist and expand.

Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak (leader of the leftist (!!!) party in the government and not a big settlements supporter) approves of new construction in the west bank, contrary to agreements with US government:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1154876.html

Are unguided rocket launches and suicide bombers valid tactics for the Palestinians to use?


Valid? who's to say?. You can get sound, articulate explanations as to why this is their birthright as an occupied population, and similar explanations as to why this makes them bloodthirsty barbarians, both based on a subjective view of morals and a social bias (i.e. pretty much what you see in the news). Ultimately, this does their cause - and the whole situation - waaaaay more harm than good, and stems from the fact that being an occupied population for 40 years, the rule of the land, for them, is decreed by weapon-wielding forces, and society is a lawless mess controlled by violent gangsters and preyed upon by fundamental religious zealots recruiting as much destitute and desperate people as they can to their evil ends. Hence rocket launches and suicide bombers that target civilian population (war crimes). Hence the democratic election of said violent gangsters, the Iran-supported-and-funded Hamas, in a landslide (the whole democratic elections campaign there can be attributed to Bush administration stupidity). The same Hamas who later violently ejected Fatah members (Palestinian party who governs the west bank and opposes Hamas), during a violent Hamas-Fatah clash, out of the Gaza strip, murdering dozens of them including family members and infants (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Rimal_neighborhood_shootings#March_to_December, all incidents cites news articles as sources).

Israeli military operations. Are "civilian" casualties justified? Are they really as high as Palestinians claim? As low as Israelis claim?


Justified? who's to say?. You can get sound, articulate explanations as to why this is their birthright as a nation under constant war, and similar explanations as to why this makes them bloodthirsty barbarians, both based on a subjective view of morals and a social bias (i.e. pretty much what you see in the news).
I personally (at least partially) mistrust any report from either the IDF or the Palestinian authority. Having served in the IDF, I know exactly what an insensitive-uncaring-monster-machine this organization is to anyone, including it's own soldiers and country's population. Having lived the entirety of my life in the middle east, I know exactly how Arab governments and media, erm... "manipulate" the truth to their own insensitive, uncaring ends. Neither is to be trusted and we all better realize that we can never know for sure who is right about what.
As for Israeli military operations, they do their cause - and the whole situation - waaaaay more harm than good, and stem from the fact that being a small nation that has been persecuted and harmed through history and lives in a hostile neighborhood where the neighbors repeatedly try to get rid of them, the overall collective-mental state is one of constant paranoia and aggressiveness, which drives the public support of the use of pretty much any amount of force, which amounts to pretty much any amount of casualties, be they eight, thirty eight or eighty years old, wielding an AK-47, a rock, or a white flag. Anything to feel "secure". Opposing voices from within or from abroad are immediately silenced and disregarded as "antisemitism".

Hezbollah fakes pictures of destruction in Lebanon (2006 war)
http://www.truthtube.tv/play.php?vid=1888

Israeli army and government strains hard to refute allegations of war crimes (which, in turn, are also riddled with lies and exaggeration):
http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=168519

Does Israel's government unfairly discriminate against people for their beliefs or nationality?


Yes. I get tired at the mere thought of having to explicit how and why and give examples (please forgive). What we basically have here is a situation where two different populations live in the land while separating themselves willingly from one another, and having profound, reflexive animosities towards each other, animosities which are lovingly nurtured by a near-century of bloody dispute. Jews are being treated badly in Arab communities and vise versa. Arabs are being discriminated against by Jewish authoritarians and vise versa. As any kind of governance is being executed by the population (at least the ones being given the authority to do so), discrimination is inevitable in this situation. This is sometimes considered by the discriminator as being of the greater interest of his side of the population. It is true that we ride on the same buses, shop at the same markets, learn at the same institutions and vote for the same parliament, but even if we are all given equal rights, the aforementioned situation causes us to be mean to each other very often. Hence discrimination, in all levels, shapes and forms.

Israeli-Arab creator of Oscar nominated film denounces representation of Israel (after close family members suffer police brutality, which frequent the Arab population of Jaffa):
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1154628.html

Is the prevention of suicide bombings enough to justify the existence of the West Bank barrier?


Justified? who's to say? yada yada yada yada yada (i.e. yada yada). The whole idea of treating the situation where suicide bombers attempt to infiltrate Israel and bomb civilians with any kind of barrier is like treating cancer with an aspirin (not to equate anyone to cancer. The situation is the cancer. Not the people). The main problem is that people want to hurt each other, and given that the reason they want to do so isn't treated, they will always find means to this end (e.g. rocket launches). A wall does not stop animosity and bloodshed. It only divides, separates and desensitizes both populations to the "others" being beyond that wall. If the said wall was built on a mutually agreed border line, it would only have been an ugly attempt at border control (which still divides, separates and desensitizes). Being built wherever-they-see-fit, it's another oppression and landgrab, supported by the same state of mind described at answer #1

A wall blocks peace:
http://www.columbiaspectator.com/2010/03/02/israel-peace-not-apartheid

Do we get an undistorted image of the Israeli/Palistinian conflict from Western media sources?


Har-dee-har-har. What you get is a circus show aimed at receiving the most ratings and selling the most products, from the biased mainstream media, and double-moral-ed, one-sided, biased misinformation from the lobbyists and fanboys of each side. If you really want to know what it's like, come live here.

Israel being the victim of bias and misinformation:
http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/israel-a-handy-whipping-boy-for-the-left-2091270.html

Palestinians being the victim of bias and misinformation:
http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/palestinians-painted-as-animals-while-israel-goes-scotfree-20100304-plog.html


Man, am I depressed right now. To counter that, I usually think at how some things in life are just F-ed Up Beyond All Recognition, and how a mortal man is powerless against that, no matter how much self-delusion is involved - and that at the end, what is bound to happen just happens on it's own accord. To me, what-is-bound-to-happen here is a slow realization of both parties that the other is here to stay, and not only so, is one's neighbor and partner in fate. If any side suffers the other will too, same thing for succeeding. This realization, coupled with a faster proliferation of the Arab population than that of the Jewish one, will bring forth a political situation where the land is ruled (probably badly, to judge from what happens now) equally by and for both nationalities, the land and it's government is no longer defined as "Jewish" and belongs to all nationalities equally, all occupied population is given equal rights, and the two main nations slowly fuse into one. There is no other alternative, nor is there any other logical path for things to go down except total annihilation of the area in a nuclear war or something. Sadly, I believe that this slow fusing will be too slow for us to behold it's results in our lifetime.
I need a drink.

Reasons for pessimism about what-is-bound-to-happen (but not in our lifetime):
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1154886.html
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=120040&sectionid=351020202


(edited to actually contain news & articles...)
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby fjafjan » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:59 pm UTC

Okey so I guess I can provide my answers to the question posed, even though i think they by and large are detracting from the question poignant in solving the issue.
Spoiler:
Are unguided rocket launches and suicide bombers valid tactics for the Palestinians to use?

Not valid, it's not a valid tactic. The argument I am tempted to agree with is that it's better to resist in any fashion than not to resist at all, and you cannot fault a people for fighting back against the opressive power. I can see the merits of this arguments, Ireland would never have resolved the real issues there had it not been for the terror campaign, and while I would have liked to have seen a non-violent movement, non-violence campaigns are arguably so difficult and demanding of the people in them that I cannot fault someone for using violence for a legitimate goal. (This is referring to opressive societies, not taxation or whatever stupid analogy people might want to make, in societies where free speech is allowed and democratic means can achieve change)
So are they valid tatics? No. But I cannot judge them more harshly than that (and to call them counter-productive).

Israeli military operations. Are "civilian" casualties justified? Are they really as high as Palestinians claim? As low as Israelis claim?

Why is civilian in quotes? There is ambiguity about some people, but then considering how broadly Israel defines "terrorist" (so for example people in the political branch of Hamas, who in reality have no power to stop terrorism, or no role in enforcing it, might get shot in the street and not get counted as civilian) by and large the people counted as civilians are not controversially so.
But are they justified? International law says no, if we just look at the "collateral damage" and compare it to modern standards (ie we don't look at the fire bombing of dresden and say "well this is better!") it's clearly illegal, or at least based on every human rights organization and the UN. And let's compare Israeli policy when it comes to fighting terror to that of US forces in Iraq But I think the easiest argument that can be made for these killings is illustrated in this graph from B'Tselem
Image
Now suppose that instead of Hamas this had been settlers, shooting Israelis because they were liberals or something. Whatever. Do you think the IDF would have been blown up the coffee shop where some of these settlers were, killing dozens of innocent Israelis? The notion is absurd. And by the same logic, killing dozena and dozens to try and get to these people who might in their "career" kill a single Israeli.

Does Israel's government unfairly discriminate against people for their beliefs or nationality?

No doubt, no real proof is needed, only a simple thought experiment. Two people live in the Gaza strip, one is Jewish, one is Arab. How will Israel treat these people? One will be allowed citizenship, and allowed to live in a settlement. The other will be denied citizenship, nomatter what, and even if he were born INSIDE Israel he could never live in a west bank.
Some clear cut proof
http://www.tadamon.ca/post/649
http://www.caabu.org/pdf/Israeli-Arabs-final.pdf
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/857766.html
http://www.counterpunch.org/cook11302009.html
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7...833307,00.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/b...Arab-Jews.html

In essance it's a seemingly unavoidable consequence of defining the national identity on a racial (to the extent that Judaism is a race) and religious grounds. You can't say this is a Christian state and then treat all religions equally, you can't say "this is a black state" and not discriminate in some fashion.

Is the prevention of suicide bombings enough to justify the existence of the West Bank barrier?

The problem with the West Bank barrier is not so much that it's built, but where it's being built. It's often called the Annexation wall, and if you look at what areas it puts on the Israeli side, there is pretty good ground for that claim.
wikipedia wrote:Parts of the barrier are built on land seized from Palestinians.[39][44] In a recent report, the UN noted that the most recent barrier route allocates more segments to be built on the Green Line itself compared to previous draft routes of the barrier. However, in its current route the Wall is annexing 9.5% of the total area of the West Bank to the Israeli side of the barrier

So if you're concerned about security, build the wall where it will not damage the chance for peace, ie along the internationally recognized border.


Okay, so here are some better questions:
1: What are the major obstacles to peace?
2: Which of these obstacles can we most realistically and expediently resolve, ie let's pick our battles
3: What are the more exact terms of a solution? In other words, let's agree on the internationl consensus on the final status issues, but try and get somewhat more specific as it might relate to the previous questions.

I think the primary answer to 1 is
Israeli settlers and their hatred of Palestinians, included therein the settlements themselves (that aren't much of a problem without the settlers)
Israeli governments lack of commitment to a humane solution
Hamas charter and extermist branches
Annexation Wall/Separation Barrier

Notably excluded from this list is Palestinian rocket attacks that while a source of hatred it has been clearly shown that if offered peace Hamas, as well as previous Palestinian leaderships, are very good at being peaceful. So based on how well Hamas followed that peace treaty, especialyl considering how Israel did not follow it at all, I really don't think this will be a problem in any peace talks.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:01 pm UTC

As a really general request, can we, as best as we POSSIBLY can, for the sake of exchanging information and not being asshats, avoid biased language in this thread? It's virtually inevitable, but efforts to communicate without sneering at people can go a long way.

@fjaf: I think both parties have more than ample examples of violating peace treaties, saying 'based on how well Hamas adhered to *that* peace treaty' is a little dishonest.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Dream » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:16 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:1: What are the major obstacles to peace?

The biggest obstacle is the continued political support for ongoing violence among the electorates of both sides. It keeps the warmongers in charge and prevents real concession by making it political suicide. Change ordinary people's minds, and you allow real political action in terms of concessions. Sadly, people on such a large scale will not be led, except in the most base and emotive ways. Reason and enlightened self interest won't do it. So how to change minds?

Economic development for Palestine, allowing people real options besides extremism, and letting people realise the benefits of peace. There is no point in asking the Palestinians to do anything for the peace process if they're still going to be poor and marginalised after they do it. Show them the prosperity they deserve, and they might well make some serious moves against those holding them in the current cycle of violence.

For Israel, a mirror must be held up to the realities of their actions, so that dehousing and white phosphors and rocketing ambulances and everything else has the impact it should have when the electorate hears what is being done in their name. Since they do hear about it, I would conjecture that Palestinians have been dehumanised in Israel, and violence against them is not seen as being as inciteful and angering as violence against Israelis. To counter this, I would say that cultural links between the two nations must be created and nurtured, with Palestinian voices heard loud and clear in Israel through art and media. It is much harder to ignore a person's death when you're well informed and interested in their home and situation.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Vaniver » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:40 pm UTC

Dream wrote:Economic development for Palestine, allowing people real options besides extremism, and letting people realise the benefits of peace. There is no point in asking the Palestinians to do anything for the peace process if they're still going to be poor and marginalised after they do it. Show them the prosperity they deserve, and they might well make some serious moves against those holding them in the current cycle of violence.
For once, I'm not sure economics is the right way to view the situation. A lot of people will be convinced by increasing prosperity- but keep in mind that the people behind 9/11 were mostly wealthy, educated people. The poor have the most to gain from opening up and peace- it's the elites who would lose power and status when society opens up / warfare lessens who are the trouble. I doubt the Palestinians have much invested in the idea of a caliphate, but it's not clear to me that there's a good economic way to eliminate the people who hate Jews / the West for social or religious reasons. It hopefully will marginalize them- and that may be enough for peace- but I'm not sure.

The other primary problem here is it's a lot easier to get economic growth to follow stability than the other way around. There are various carrots Israel / the international community can offer the Palestinians, but the problem is that most of them would only be palatable if conditional (if there are no attacks for three months, we allow trade, six months, we start funding public works projects, etc.) and the people who would disrupt that process would gain from doing so. This might marginalize the belligerents (If they hadn't launched that attack I could be buying medicine!), or it might support them (The Jews want to build hospitals in our land so they can poison our sick and sterilize our women!).
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Dream » Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:06 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:A lot of people will be convinced by increasing prosperity- but keep in mind that the people behind 9/11 were mostly wealthy, educated people.

Yes, people who had never in their lives known deprivation, at least not like the people of Palestine. Maybe prosperity wouldn't eliminate rabid anti-Israel sentiment, but I bet it would make people pursue their anti-Israel goals by means other than those that would economically ruin their new found wealth. It's not about absolute wealth, it's about being the first in a hundred generations to send your kids to university. That, I think is a powerful motivator.

Vaniver wrote:The other primary problem here is it's a lot easier to get economic growth to follow stability than the other way around.

True where the reasons for instability are economic, but not where those reasons are imposed deliberately. There is nothing absolutely stopping infrastructure being rebuilt in Gaza and the West Bank, only specious reasoning about security for Israel. Perhaps steps towards economic independence along the lines of telecommunications and trade would kick start an upward spiral. They are certainly being withheld deliberately, so why not choose to put them in place and see if that improves matters?
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby aleflamedyud » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:15 am UTC

Yes, people who had never in their lives known deprivation, at least not like the people of Palestine. Maybe prosperity wouldn't eliminate rabid anti-Israel sentiment, but I bet it would make people pursue their anti-Israel goals by means other than those that would economically ruin their new found wealth. It's not about absolute wealth, it's about being the first in a hundred generations to send your kids to university. That, I think is a powerful motivator.

Dream, the Palestinians already have universities. They're the most educated people in the Arab world. In fact, Fatah and Hamas have used certain universities as recruiting farms for decades, since as everyone knows college kids are easier to radicalize than 46-year-old parents.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Le1bn1z » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:02 am UTC

I am shocked at the very, very high quality of posts on these boards. Kudos to all above.

I have three things to say, not because I think they'll shift the debate in any remotley decisive way, but because I think they are often overlooked.

1.) Israeli terrorist often targeted civilians during the the Israeli War of Independence. While the cross-ethnic atrocities between Israeli and Palestinian are well documented, its worth remembering that some Israeli groups targeted British civilians as well as, and this always boggled me, British troops, some of whom had been involved in the liberation of Europe and liberation of the concentration camps.

In a debate that so often devolves into a shouting match over who did what to whom, its worth remembering that Israel, in part, owes its existence to successful terrorist intimidation of a people who, in fact, wished nothing but good for Jewish people worldwide, and had, I think, proved it in the letting of their own blood.

This is not to delegitimize the Israeli state, but rather to remind them that even if one's enemies include terrorists who target civilians, that is not to say that the same enemy cannot rapidly change into a well developed friend, as the British-Isreali experience attests. Furthermore, it is difficult to categorically condemn tactics to which one owes one's own existence.

2.) Like so many independence militant groups, the Palestinian fighers seem not to comprehend the nature of their declared foe and expect to never need to face the consequences of their errors. Israel is a multi-party democracy, with both well-developed dove and hawk factions. Problematically, Hamas has greatly strengthened the hand of the hawk faction by systematically undermining their would-be friends amongst the doves.

One of the core arguments of the doves is that withdrawl from settlements would provide a peace dividend. The ultra-right believe that these settlements are crucial to Israeli security.

When the doves had the upper hand, they managed to pull off a withdrawl and dismantling from Gaza, a major coup for them, as a test case to prove their point. The result? Hamas made Gaza the new hard-base for agression against Isreal and the massive destabilization of the Palastinian pseudo-state as the cherry on the cake.

I do not believe that this was inevitable. However, how it would play politically through the press IS inevitable. I can think of no better way to systematically destroy the dove parties by so thoroughly demolishing the central plank of their plan. Indeed, the hawks can now claim that it isn't safe for the Palestinains for the settlements to withdraw. Hogwash, perhaps, but no more so than the hogwash we find so compelling in the West when it comes to our wedge issues.

It seems to me that if the Palestinians are a state, they, like Isreal, must take responsibility for their strategic planning. It is unreasonable for either side to expect NATO or the USA to unillaterally step in and solve all the problems. If, as a nation, Palestine so completely botches their strategy against Israel, then they ought to know what they are risking. Palestine would hardly be the first nation wiped out in war, and it seems that sometimes they have unrealistic expectaions; not from a moral standpoint, but from a strategic one.

Isreal has its own strategic blunders (well documented, which landed it on a small strip surrounded by utterly antagonized enemies several times the size of the new state, and possessing the one sine-qua-non resource the West desperately needs) but I think that sometimes, because the Palestinians are so easily seen as victims (and they are in so many ways), we forget that they are a nation with responsibility for responsible strategic planning for self-preservation, and that there are consequences for such severe miscalculations.

3.) Even in the absence of any signs of it on the ground, there is still reason to hold out hope. Remember that perpetual war, tyranny and suffering had been the rule in the Balkans for centuries as well. It was AT LEAST as bad as the middle east. Now, even Serbia is looking to joing the EU. Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo have quieted down. If the Balkans can find peace, so too can Isreal.

If I have just stated patently obvious things that everyone already has thought about, I apologise. I have rarely seen so civil and well-informed a discussion on this topic anywhere, or any topic on these boards, for that matter.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Dream » Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:13 pm UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:
Yes, people who had never in their lives known deprivation, at least not like the people of Palestine. Maybe prosperity wouldn't eliminate rabid anti-Israel sentiment, but I bet it would make people pursue their anti-Israel goals by means other than those that would economically ruin their new found wealth. It's not about absolute wealth, it's about being the first in a hundred generations to send your kids to university. That, I think is a powerful motivator.

Dream, the Palestinians already have universities. They're the most educated people in the Arab world. In fact, Fatah and Hamas have used certain universities as recruiting farms for decades, since as everyone knows college kids are easier to radicalize than 46-year-old parents.

I thought the hyperbole there would be clear, given that university hadn't been invented a hundred generations ago. I know there are universities, just as you know that their existence is meaningless to anyone who is struggling to put bread and water on the table. I don't know their specific situations, but I can't believe the institutions are funded, endowed and in some cases unbombed enough to be on a par with anywhere else in the region.

While I don't mean to single you out, I think that your response is indicative of the "Israel" paragraph in my post above. When I've said that Palestinians are economically and educationally disadvantaged, you've replied that they are the most educated people in the Arab world, and have universities. Why is your reaction to a people as self evidently suffering as those of Gaza to claim that they're doing OK? Why minimise the impact of the human interest in the story by attacking its premise, when it's quite obvious that no amount of examples will prove that Palestinians are not downtrodden and bereft of opportunities, because it's just not true? (Stupid double negative, hope that makes sense.)
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby aleflamedyud » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:09 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:
Yes, people who had never in their lives known deprivation, at least not like the people of Palestine. Maybe prosperity wouldn't eliminate rabid anti-Israel sentiment, but I bet it would make people pursue their anti-Israel goals by means other than those that would economically ruin their new found wealth. It's not about absolute wealth, it's about being the first in a hundred generations to send your kids to university. That, I think is a powerful motivator.

Dream, the Palestinians already have universities. They're the most educated people in the Arab world. In fact, Fatah and Hamas have used certain universities as recruiting farms for decades, since as everyone knows college kids are easier to radicalize than 46-year-old parents.

I thought the hyperbole there would be clear, given that university hadn't been invented a hundred generations ago. I know there are universities, just as you know that their existence is meaningless to anyone who is struggling to put bread and water on the table. I don't know their specific situations, but I can't believe the institutions are funded, endowed and in some cases unbombed enough to be on a par with anywhere else in the region.

While I don't mean to single you out, I think that your response is indicative of the "Israel" paragraph in my post above. When I've said that Palestinians are economically and educationally disadvantaged, you've replied that they are the most educated people in the Arab world, and have universities. Why is your reaction to a people as self evidently suffering as those of Gaza to claim that they're doing OK? Why minimise the impact of the human interest in the story by attacking its premise, when it's quite obvious that no amount of examples will prove that Palestinians are not downtrodden and bereft of opportunities, because it's just not true? (Stupid double negative, hope that makes sense.)

I'm not attacking anything, I'm stating facts, and I wasn't talking about Gaza (though Gaza does have a university... that has now been coopted into being nothing more than a Hamas farm).

As to Gaza:

When the doves had the upper hand, they managed to pull off a withdrawl and dismantling from Gaza, a major coup for them, as a test case to prove their point. The result? Hamas made Gaza the new hard-base for agression against Isreal and the massive destabilization of the Palastinian pseudo-state as the cherry on the cake.

THIS. As much as I empathize with the suffering taking place in Gaza, my rational mind remembers that this suffering is, by and large, caused by the Hamas takeover.

Now here's the factual thing: as Palestinian society has broken down and radicalized, opportunities for Palestinians have evaporated. Palestinians were, economically and educationally, better off in the days between the intifadawt than now and better off in the days before the First Intifadah than now.

They started their fight a developing society that felt abandoned by its fellow Arab states and had enough money and education to feel that self-determination was important. In the West Bank that feeling has continued, and they've actually developed their economy and their opportunities quite a bit. In Gaza, the violent mentality of the intifada has taken over entirely and reduced the population to abject misery and privation.

I don't expect that Palestinians should want to be nice to Israel, but I do expect them to act in their own enlightened self-interest. I don't like posts or any other communications that ask their audience to sympathize with the Palestinians on the basis of their poverty and misery since, where they are genuinely impoverished and miserable, it tends nowadays to be the result of their own decisions rather than a condition imposed by Israel. Why would it be otherwise? Israel has no interest in keeping the Arabs poor and ignorant.

It seems to me that if the Palestinians are a state, they, like Isreal, must take responsibility for their strategic planning. It is unreasonable for either side to expect NATO or the USA to unillaterally step in and solve all the problems. If, as a nation, Palestine so completely botches their strategy against Israel, then they ought to know what they are risking. Palestine would hardly be the first nation wiped out in war, and it seems that sometimes they have unrealistic expectaions; not from a moral standpoint, but from a strategic one.

Isreal has its own strategic blunders (well documented, which landed it on a small strip surrounded by utterly antagonized enemies several times the size of the new state, and possessing the one sine-qua-non resource the West desperately needs) but I think that sometimes, because the Palestinians are so easily seen as victims (and they are in so many ways), we forget that they are a nation with responsibility for responsible strategic planning for self-preservation, and that there are consequences for such severe miscalculations.

This is pretty much the thing that constantly ticks me off about Israel/Palestine discussions, online, in real life, and in diplomatic circles. The world appears constantly ready not only to forgive Arab missteps on the basis of their (whole or partial) victimhood but to actually blame Israel.

Gazans are poor? Blame the Israelis for blockading the Strip after a terrorist organization violently took over and turned the entire zone into a war base!

Jerusalem Arab loses his house? Blame the Israelis for the "racist" building laws that made his house illegal in the first place, and then claim with a straight face that he has lived there since forever!

Arab nations, including Palestinian forces, start wars of extermination against Israel? Blame the Israelis for "stealing their land".

PLO and/or Hamas refuse to engage in acceptable negotiations because they believe batshit crazy shit, like that the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem is a Zionist invention? Blame the Israelis for refusing to compromise!

Rocket attacks on civilians? Blame the occupation, and ignore how the people firing the rockets are no longer occupied while the occupied people are peaceful!

Second Intifada starts? Blame the Israeli Prime Minister for visiting the holiest site in Judaism while the Arabs exclusively claim it for themselves.

If I could change one thing about this conflict and the way the world handles it today, it would be to have the world hold the Palestinians, through their official representatives, responsible for their own actions and decisions. Enough with giving the Palestinians a "do-over" every time they make a bad decision by attempting to reset the negotiation parameters to those that existed before.

Oh, and someone please evict the settler scum from the West Bank now. I think those regions are part of the Jewish homeland as much as any Zionist, but as long as they're not under Israeli civilian jurisdiction, Israel has no right to put civilian settlements there.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:12 pm UTC

I think it is evident that there are no good guys in the conflict. Just bad guys.

My solution would be, raise billions and billions and pay Egypt, Jordan, and Syria to take the palastinians and then gives those being displaced massive pay days as well.

For those that refuse to leave for their 'lotto size' winnings, tell them "thats your choice, but in 30 days this land is going to belong to Isreal and you will be dealt with in any matter them deem suitable.

So in short, Palastinian "Get out" but you get a really nice gift basket (AKA "your rich biatch!!") for your troubles.

More importantly, I would like to see America cut off all spending and military hardware support to Isreal. Let them deal with their mess with their own damn weapons.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yoni45 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:28 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:So in short, Palastinian "Get out" but you get a really nice gift basket (AKA "your rich biatch!!") for your troubles.

More importantly, I would like to see America cut off all spending and military hardware support to Isreal. Let them deal with their mess with their own damn weapons.


Are you really under the assumption that forcing the Palestinians out will actually do much to normalize relations with... anyone? Even with the prospect of money? That the neighboring states actually *want* the Palestinians? (Hint: they don't).

Further, cutting off military ties to Israel wouldn't be a particularly good idea either. It's hardly a one-way relationship. Israel is a world leader when it comes to military tech and such, and there's plenty of states out there that would love to do business with it apart from the US (to American detriment).
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby radio_head » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:33 pm UTC

I believe in the one state solution, the only fair solution.

First of all, Israel really has no right to expand or hell, even exist, without the consent of the Palestinian people. The Palestinians are the native inhabitants of the territory, what right does Israel have to undermine this underlying fact?

Here in Canada at least we signed treaties, apologized and now provide benefits for our native people. Israel should follow the same standards.

What should happen over there is really quite simple. All Palestinians should be granted "Israeli" citizenship, and then democracy should be allowed to play its course. Let the people, not the leaders decide. This is the right and fair thing to do.

The world turned a blind eye to the the evils of Israel because of the holocaust, and Palestinians were robbed of their territory, wealth and dignity. Any "terrorism" from their side is SIMPLY retaliation, war. Terrorism is a bullshit term used to undermine their cause. Since Palestine is an unofficial state, the media decides against describing the conflict for what it is.

I don't understand why people believe Israel has a right to exist if the Palestinians were robbed of theirs. They BOTH have a right to exist and co-exist in the same territory, and until negotiations are leveled and equal the conflict will not end, Palestinian retaliation will not end, because it is human nature to respond to injustice.

The worst of it is that the Palestinians are now identified with religious extremism. Middle Eastern hatred for the west can find its roots in this very conflict, and instead of resolving it and living up to our own standards of justice we decide to patch the conflict up through war and invasion. 9/11 wouldn't have happened. Imagine how much money we could save, how many lives we could save, by forcing Israel to take responsibility for its actions, by forcing justice, and by enabling the Palestinians and Israelis, together, to vote for their own fate.

If the Russians or Chinese invaded North America we'd retaliate the same way as the Palestinians. Hell, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour we destroyed two entire cities. Now that's terrorism.

We are hypocritical, prejudice bastards.

That is all.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:41 pm UTC

radio_head wrote:Imagine how much money we could save, how many lives we could save, by forcing Israel to take responsibility for its actions, by forcing justice, and by enabling the Palestinians and Israelis, together, to vote for their own fate.

Because Israel isn't the only party that needs to be held accountable for it's actions?

radio_head wrote:Terrorism is a bullshit term used to undermine their cause.

Whose cause exactly? It's applicable when Israel bombs targets involved in military action, but not when people are deliberately targeting civilian populations to cause... terror?

radio_head wrote:The world turned a blind eye to the the evils of Israel because of the holocaust

I find this to be blatantly untrue; the world at large seems to have no problem writing editorials and publications demonizing Israel for it's actions.

radio_head wrote:I don't understand why people believe Israel has a right to exist if the Palestinians were robbed of theirs. They BOTH have a right to exist and co-exist in the same territory, and until negotiations are leveled and equal the conflict will not end, Palestinian retaliation will not end, because it is human nature to respond to injustice.

I see about three issues with this sentence, but you sum it up for both sides pretty well with your last point, so I just want to agree that yes, it is unfortunately human nature to respond to injustice, and thus, we have the situation in the Middle East.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby radio_head » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:45 pm UTC

Actually, one last thing...

How is that that Israel can have its own war of independence, and Palestine cannot? Honestly there is so much bullshit behind this conflict that I don't even bother discussing it anymore. I've read books and even took a class on this stuff, and the reality is that 60+ years ago the Palestinians were wronged and nobody, except for the neighbouring Arab states, stood up for them. Now all they have is themselves, I don't get why people are so surprised as to what's going on.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:52 pm UTC

radio_head wrote:...the Palestinians were wronged and nobody, except for the neighbouring Arab states, stood up for them. Now all they have is themselves...

So, the surrounding states closing their borders to the Palestinians, and then continuing to keep those borders closed is 'standing up for them'?
This exact topic point was mentioned about four posts ago.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Dream » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:02 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:So, the surrounding states closing their borders to the Palestinians, and then continuing to keep those borders closed is 'standing up for them'?

Yes, the Arab nations used the Palestinian refugee plight as a stick with which to beat Israel, destabilising and demonising them. But they didn't create it, and Israel didn't have to do the same. We could have had about 40 years of fence mending by Israel, but instead we have basically progressively less and less land being left for Palestinians to live on, and their situation becoming worse and worse.

The point is still a critical one, and is central to mine and many people's opposition to Israel's historical actions. The Nakba happened. No one ever, ever made up for it, nor even lifted a finger to try. People died, were dispersed and abused, lost their land, their homes, their dignity, and no one in Israel, Arabia, or the West even tries to make up for it. I can't begin to understand why anyone is in two minds about this. The wrong done to the people of Palestine is not justifiable in any way at all.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:07 pm UTC

Dream wrote:People died, were dispersed and abused, lost their land, their homes, their dignity, and no one in Israel, Arabia, or the West even tries to make up for it.

This is precisely my point; no one has ever really stood up for the Palestinians, and it's unfair to claim that Syria, Egypt, or Jordan have done so. The displacement was caused by Israel, I'm not disputing that, and I'm not suggesting that there's equal blame going around with every country adjacent to Israel, but this;
radio_head wrote:60+ years ago the Palestinians were wronged and nobody, except for the neighbouring Arab states, stood up for them.

Is simply not true, as you just said.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby radio_head » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:06 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
radio_head wrote:Imagine how much money we could save, how many lives we could save, by forcing Israel to take responsibility for its actions, by forcing justice, and by enabling the Palestinians and Israelis, together, to vote for their own fate.

Because Israel isn't the only party that needs to be held accountable for it's actions?


It was Israel that started this whole thing. Palestinians shouldn't be held accountable for a thing, they are retaliating because they continue to face an injustice imposed by Israel and unfairly supported by the US.

Izawwlgood wrote:Whose cause exactly? It's applicable when Israel bombs targets involved in military action, but not when people are deliberately targeting civilian populations to cause... terror?


The "military action" is bullshit.
It's called invasion, and it's still going on to this day.

Palestinians wouldn't deliberately target civilian populations if their rights were respected and their land was rightfully restored to them. Why would they? They just want to be compensated for what was taken from them, they just want what we have and take for granted every single day. They just want what was unfairly & forcefully confiscated returned. Wouldn't you?

What goes around, comes around. Why are you so surprised? Wouldn't you stick up for your country, your people, your land, your home, your family? Both sides are actively terrorising each other, whether it is considered military or not. If you can identify the original aggressor (the original "terrorist"), however, you'll understand the Palestinian cause far more clearly.

This issue cannot be fairly resolved (I underline fairly because it may still resolve itself unfairly) unless the Palestinians are given citizenship and both ethnicities co-exist and together, for better or for worse for whichever side, decide on what to do. Let democracy decide.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Dream » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:24 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:this;
radio_head wrote:60+ years ago the Palestinians were wronged and nobody, except for the neighbouring Arab states, stood up for them.

Is simply not true, as you just said.

The part about the Arab states is absolutely untrue, and whitewashes some terrible (and little known) history. The part about the Palestinians being wronged and nobody but nobody standing up for them (unless you count invading Israel, hardly a constructive and sensible attempt to lend assistance) is true. I really hate the aspect of these discussions that people have to argue with people on the same side of the fence, because that person is fucking things up royally and making everyone concerned look bad.

radio_head, bear in mind that there is a chance this might be our last ever N&A thread on this topic, if it goes badly. Think about that before you post.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby The Reaper » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:46 pm UTC

radio_head wrote:If the Russians or Chinese invaded North America we'd retaliate the same way as the Palestinians. Hell, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour we destroyed two entire cities. Now that's terrorism.

We are hypocritical, prejudice bastards.
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We also melted Dresden. Palestinian combatants aren't only attacking manufacturing areas, however.

If the Russians or Chinese invaded NA, the entire world would have something to worry about, because all 3 countries involved like to play with big guns.
But yea, the whole Israel/Palestine thing seems to be more of a war of attrition. I agree Israel just needs to assimilate the Palestinians with citizenship and such, rather than pushing them off and then acting confused when they hit back. Destroying their enemies with kindness works fairly well.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Dauric » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:53 pm UTC

....And both sides blame each other and demand reparations from each other, and retaliate against each other's retaliation and spill each other's blood, and spill the blood of those outside their conflict....

I'm sure the so-called "Holy Lands" are terribly important to those of you with such fervor, but from where I'm standing the body-count tends to make me wonder just how 'holy' it really f-ing is. I mean... The entire importance of the place is that it is the center of the foundation of a series of faiths that, so I hear repeated time and time again by their evangelists, is supposed to be about peace and brotherhood. I wasn't aware that God's and Allah's love both were "Homicidally Dysfunctional", or that all this talk of Peace is that of an endless grave.

I really don't give a flying shit who's at fault. Either both their damn cultures can either fucking grow up and act their god damn age, or if they must really immolate themselves in fits of childish tantrums punctuated with artillery-fire it would be nice if they could keep it to a dull roar in their own geographical region.

I know it's an oversimplification of the whole socio-political mess, but I don't care about the niceties any more, neither side is seriously discussing the real issues like they actually give a shit either. They're both playing the victim and every talking point is about nothing but blame-shifting and making unreasonable demands. If the earth was a minivan on it's way to DisneyWorld, Israelis and Palestinians are acting like the annoying kids in the back touching eachother and yelling about how the other is touching them. Meanwhile the adults in the van are desperately wishing for a sudden change in custody laws that would allow them to leave the brats on the side of the road (preferably in an Alligator infested part of the Everglades) and not look back.

Both sides want the same piece of land and insist on killing eachother for it we should relocate them all en-masse to Antartica (just to prove the point that there are worse places to be stuck in) and dirty-nuke the holy lands because if they can't play nice together they get their toys taken away for a few hundred-thousand years.

(Yes I know this is entirely unrealistic, but it is a fantasy that goes through my head every time I see this kind of nonsense.)

And I now know what it is that frustrates XKCDers about discussions of Israel and Palestine:

In general we're a pretty intelligent and respectful group of debaters. XKCD forums are nowhere near the blind fuck-tard nonsense that gets spouted on other boards on the internet.

Yet...

Someone posts a thread about Israelis and Palestinians and suddenly our self-imposed decorum gets flushed down the toilet. My sig about a thread derailment comes from a thread about Israel and Palestine! In no other topic on XKCD do people behave so badly as they do over this. Holy Fuck people, it's like the Holy Land really is cursed and just mentioning it causes otherwise intelligent and rational people to devolve in to screaming apes that just learned to beat the crap out of eachother with bones and sticks.



Ahem....

At any rate that's the $0.02 from someone without a 'horse in the proverbial race'.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby nowfocus » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:04 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:But yea, the whole Israel/Palestine thing seems to be more of a war of attrition. I agree Israel just needs to assimilate the Palestinians with citizenship and such, rather than pushing them off and then acting confused when they hit back. Destroying their enemies with kindness works fairly well.


This would never happen due to demographic issues. Israel does in fact want to remain a jewish state, and taking in a massive non-jewish population would affect that.

To me, the most likely solution to the issue will involve some attempted negotiations, with neither side being willing to give enough for the other, followed by some unilateral Israeli action. Israel currently holds all the cards in any negotation, and I doubt they'll give them up to be nice.

Take the Wall/fence (depending on where you are). Built on Palestinian land and through towns for no apparent or fair reason. But, at the same time, very very effective at preventing terrorism, which reduces the number of incursions, which creates a more peaceful day-to-day life for both sides.

Similar to this wall, I unfortunately think the only semblance of peace will be one imposed, not negotiated. Israel will be unwilling to let go of all the powerful cards it holds, and the Palestinians will be unwilling to negotiate an unfair settlement based on its weakened bargaining position. Imagine a basketball game where team A is winning by an impossibly large margin. Team A wants to end the game already with the current score, team B says they'll only end the game if they call it a draw. So they keep playing, with team A playing a game they don't want to be in and team B being humiliated daily in this unfair match up.

Thats basically the current situation in a nutshell.

Edit, expanding the analogy: Ultimately, the only way it ends is when team A rips down the backboards so no one can score anymore. The game will always continue, but it will be impossible for anyone to play.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:05 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:They're both playing the victim and every talking point is about nothing but blame-shifting and making unreasonable demands.
Dauric wrote:Meanwhile the adults in the van are desperately wishing for a sudden change in custody laws that would allow them to leave the brats on the side of the road (preferably in an Alligator infested part of the Everglades) and not look back.
Dauric wrote:we should relocate them all en-masse to Antartica
Dauric wrote:Yes I know this is entirely unrealistic
Dauric wrote:Someone posts a thread about Israelis and Palestinians and suddenly our self-imposed decorum gets flushed down the toilet.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yoni45 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:53 pm UTC

radio_head wrote:Actually, one last thing...

How is that that Israel can have its own war of independence, and Palestine cannot?


Sure they can. It's just that wars of independence carry with them risk of defeat, as well as risk of making life a bitch for those you're representing.

If that's a risk the Palestinians are willing to take, all the power to them. It simply means you don't get to whine when they get their ass handed to them.

radio_head wrote:It was Israel that started this whole thing...


New account... Either you're Rockberry getting over the humiliation, or just as silly. Regardless, "he started it" stops being a valid argument sometime mid-third grade.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Skid » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:29 pm UTC

Note: I've been to Israel twice for three weeks each, and spent most of my time in the west bank, so I've got a little experience with the situation, but I'm also somewhat biased.

Absolutely. The settlements in the occupied territories were started - and are still perpetrated - to achieve just that, and are run by right-wing extremists who see it as the will of God, no less (and what God wants, God gets). Being roughly 15% of the population, they have strong lobbies and loud supporters, and bully each and every government since the seventies into a certain amount of support. Even the genesis of the whole settlement enterprise was in partially misleading the leftist government of the time into approving a single settlement as a small religious center. What basically allows this to go on and on is the fundamental perception, which is very common with the Jewish population here, that stating a "biblical right" to the ancient land of Israel justifies any means of exercising this right, which derives the whole world view of military occupation of a civilian population that has no rights and no real government of it's own being fine and dandy. Which makes any consideration of said occupied population being perceived as foolish, which allows settlements to exist and expand.

Sorry, I can't let this one stand. The vast majority of the West Bank is completely barren. Israeli settlements stick solidly to the hilltops and Palestinians live in the valleys. There are hundreds of square kilometers of empty wasteland just waiting to have the boulders scraped off and irrigation run. (Think of Arizona, but with more rocks. Actually, the whole situation is a lot like the wild west.) If the Palestinians really wanted their own barren hilltop to try to farm nobody would complain. There are dozens still completely unpopulated.

Israeli settlers and their hatred of Palestinians, included therein the settlements themselves (that aren't much of a problem without the settlers)
Israeli governments lack of commitment to a humane solution
Hamas charter and extermist branches
Annexation Wall/Separation Barrier

Notably excluded from this list is Palestinian rocket attacks that while a source of hatred it has been clearly shown that if offered peace Hamas, as well as previous Palestinian leaderships, are very good at being peaceful. So based on how well Hamas followed that peace treaty, especialyl considering how Israel did not follow it at all, I really don't think this will be a problem in any peace talks.

The Israelis really don't care about the Palestinians so much as their own government and liberal extremists causing problems. Of course they wouldn't mind if the rocket launching, bomb planting, and rock throwing stopped, but that really isn't having as negative an effect on their prospering as the fact that they get ordered to stop building their homes and plowing their fields every time the politicians need to appease America.

The separation barrier has reduced the number of suicide bombing fatalities a year from almost 200 a year to 2 or 3. I don't think you're going to convince anyone to take it down until Hamas is fully overthrown.

And your claim that Hamas honored the peace conditions is... I have no idea how you got that idea. It took them months to stop launching rockets after they were offered a cease fire, and their constitution still has the elimination of Israel as its primary goal.

True where the reasons for instability are economic, but not where those reasons are imposed deliberately. There is nothing absolutely stopping infrastructure being rebuilt in Gaza and the West Bank, only specious reasoning about security for Israel. Perhaps steps towards economic independence along the lines of telecommunications and trade would kick start an upward spiral. They are certainly being withheld deliberately, so why not choose to put them in place and see if that improves matters?

You mean like the fact that main town that has been attacked with rockets from Gaza is the same one that supplies Gaza with electricity for free? Or that the sewer pipes donated to Palestinian authority have recently been showing up as the hulls of rockets launched into Israeli territory?

First of all, Israel really has no right to expand or hell, even exist, without the consent of the Palestinian people. The Palestinians are the native inhabitants of the territory, what right does Israel have to undermine this underlying fact?

It's been 60 years. There are now more native born Israelis in Israel than there were Palestinians in the land before Israel was created. Removing Israel will just create a new dispossessed people with an axe to grind. Also, thousands of Jews were evicted from the Arab states when Israel was created, do you think they would be welcomed back with open arms?


The situation is a serious mess all around of course. Politics in Israel are as deranged as in the USA or worse. The West Bank would probably do better if Israel would completely leave it alone and let the Jewish Settlers and the Palestinians work out their own problems. Could probably be done with less bloodshed that way too. Honestly though, Israel has absorbed millions of immigrants in its short history, why can't Jordan and its other neighbors do a fraction of that for the Palestinians?
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby EMTP » Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:29 am UTC

There are now more native born Israelis in Israel than there were Palestinians in the land before Israel was created.


That's a meaningless statistic. There are now more Vietnamese Americans than there were inhabitants of Colonial America. The world's population has grown; that's all it means.

There are more native-born Palestinians than there are native-born Israelis: any given Palestinian in the West Bank and Gaza is more likely to have been born under Israeli rule than the average Israeli Jew.

The length of time Israel has existed is also irrelevant. Slavery existed for hundreds of years in America; South African apartheid lasted for centuries. Israel has failed in its self-conscious attempt to run out the clock on its illegitimacy via "facts on the ground." Without ending Israeli apartheid, they will continue to be an illegitimate.

I think it is evident that there are no good guys in the conflict. Just bad guys.


In general, people have a lot of shortcomings. But it's not true both sides are equally at fault. In general, I think that gets used as an excuse by people who don't want to deal with the problems of justice or our own responsibility to do what's right; it's easiest if there is no right and wrong, only two wrongs.

My solution would be, raise billions and billions and pay Egypt, Jordan, and Syria to take the palastinians and then gives those being displaced massive pay days as well.


Nah, they already tried to buy the Palestinians off. It didn't work well. You'd be better off trying that tactic on Jewish Israelis: they have the highest per capita ownership of second passports in the world. The mayor of Jerusalem
complains bitterly about the thousands of Jews that own vacation homes but have no interest in living there full time. At times when Israel's economy slowed, such has the 1980s, hundreds of thousands of Jews left. In general, Israeli Jews treat Palestine like a toy a rich kid got for Christmas: they have no real attachment to it, but they don't want anyone else to enjoy it.

Buy them off. It'll be easier.

Good article on the latest rejection of the two-state solution by Israel:
Spoiler:
People seem to think I have been imagining a contemptuous attitude toward the US by the Israeli government, or that my concerns about its "Go Cheney Yourself" policy on the peace process are somehow a function of obsessiveness or something that isn't anti-Semitism but is somehow even "darker". But I am not imagining these things. They are real and they are dangerous:

Hours after Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. vowed unyielding American support for Israel’s security here on Tuesday, Israel’s Interior Ministry announced 1,600 new housing units for Jews in East Jerusalem. Mr. Biden condemned the move as “precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now.” ...


http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/t ... .html#more

The Economist adds more detail:

Unlike previous Israeli prime ministers, who built on the open hilltops above Arab population centres in the West Bank and on the edge of Jerusalem, Binyamin Netanyahu and his officials are concentrating on Jewish settlements bang in the midst of them. Car-parks and conservation areas, rich with Israeli symbols, are sprouting across East Jerusalem. Settlers with state protection are opening religious schools there. Scarcely a week passes without an Israeli newspaper heralding new Jewish housing units being built in Arab districts. Israeli archaeologists are scraping away the eastern parts of the city’s Arab surface in search of a Jewish past.


http://www.economist.com/world/middle-e ... _commented
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby mercutio_stencil » Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:51 am UTC

Can I make a suggestion in favor of a civil argument?

Can we please try to avoid using words like 'war crimes' , 'human rights violations', 'Apartheid' and all the other emotionally loaded words that flood these threads. All they do is spew vitriol and promote trolling. We are all rational(ish) people here, and we can have a reasonable debate, if we try to avoid using words designed to raise an emotional response.

As far as my view, I think there is hope. All you have to do is take a walk down the Shuk (Outdoor market) in Jerusalem, and you can see Arab vendors selling t-shirts supporting Hamas, America and the IDF all at the same time. Obviously, they have found a way to resolve the conflict for themselves, and I think it has something to do with Dreams suggestion.

Or, my other idea: Given, both sides have a legitimate ancestral claim to the land. Also given statehood is not a fundamental human right that must be given with all due speed (Look at the Basque, the Scottish, the various native Americans, who all have ancestral rights, but no state). Now, neither side is going to leave, and they can't be trusted to stay there alone (see the last 60 years of history. Both sides have been bad).

The solution? National time out! We (the international community) send both peoples into the corner to think about what they have done. Neither of them gets a state for the time being, but both get the promise that when they are good little boys, they can have their very own state. I nominate the British to play the role of 'harsh school teacher,' they already have experience in the region.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Hawknc » Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:11 am UTC

Guys and girls, I'd like to make the distinction between a thread in SB and a thread here: discussions here should be relevant to a particular item of news. This is not your blog, please don't just post your unsupported opinions for peace in the Middle East in the middle of a discussion and expect that to hold up. Also, inflammatory language doesn't help this thread's chances for reasonable discussion, I hear there's a thesaurus or two online if you're struggling to find suitable words.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Dream » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:32 pm UTC

mercutio_stencil wrote:Can I make a suggestion in favor of a civil argument?

Can we please try to avoid using words like 'war crimes' , 'human rights violations', 'Apartheid' and all the other emotionally loaded words that flood these threads. All they do is spew vitriol and promote trolling.

Controlling language is a classic debate stifling tactic. Especially when that language is used in perfectly appropriate circumstances. Rendering someone for enhanced interrogation is much easier to support than handing someone over to your hired torturers. One is a completely cynical attempt to prevent people from reacting in a manner appropriate to the circumstances, the other is emotive, but entirely appropriate. I'll continue to call a spade a spade in this thread.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Ixtellor » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:56 pm UTC

yoni45 wrote:Are you really under the assumption that forcing the Palestinians out will actually do much to normalize relations with... anyone? .


I don't think you would shocked at how throwing a million dollers at a person makes them forget the past and move on with their lives. (See lawsuits)

I don't really care how Egypt (insert any other country) feels about Isreal thats a seperate issue. The goal should be solving the palestinian/Isreali problem. I believe that showering the Palestinians in gold, would make lots of them ok with leaving.


Even with the prospect of money? That the neighboring states actually *want* the Palestinians? (Hint: they don't)


Did you read the part where I said "pay Egypt to take them"?
I know all about the conflict. Do you honestly think Jordan wouldn't take the Palestinians for say $80 billion? Including the fact that each new 'citizen' comes over as a millionaire -- hence won't need social services and would help the economy.


Further, cutting off military ties to Israel wouldn't be a particularly good idea either. It's hardly a one-way relationship. Israel is a world leader when it comes to military tech and such, and there's plenty of states out there that would love to do business with it apart from the US (to American detriment).


We also miss out on big bucks by not arming Al-Qaeda and Iran. But... oh well.

The political baggage that comes with supporting Isreali militarily is not worth it.
Let other nations reap the 'benefits' of dealing with Isreal. We don't need the heacache anymore (Hint: See 9/11)

Furthermore, I think we can do just fine without them. The day they fly their own planes, I will be more impressed.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby mercutio_stencil » Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:20 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
mercutio_stencil wrote:Can I make a suggestion in favor of a civil argument?

Can we please try to avoid using words like 'war crimes' , 'human rights violations', 'Apartheid' and all the other emotionally loaded words that flood these threads. All they do is spew vitriol and promote trolling.

Controlling language is a classic debate stifling tactic. Especially when that language is used in perfectly appropriate circumstances. Rendering someone for enhanced interrogation is much easier to support than handing someone over to your hired torturers. One is a completely cynical attempt to prevent people from reacting in a manner appropriate to the circumstances, the other is emotive, but entirely appropriate. I'll continue to call a spade a spade in this thread.


Don't you remember Godwin's law? Any time someone has run out of facts to use in their argument, and try to make an emotional plea by comparing the offending party to Hitler, they loose.

And, if you insist, I'm going to demand you scrupulously prove each of your emotionally loaded assertions. Starting with Apartheid, show me where Israel has a set of laws governing it's citizens differently depending on race or religion.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby tzvibish » Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:35 pm UTC

Obviously, some people here aren't taking the mod-hint. There's a pretty clear reason why Isra-stein (which is now a word) threads have been consolidated. Instead of being outlets of information, they are simply soapboxes for the OPs opinion. While this happens all the time, it's never as blatant as in Isra-stein threads. Some discussion is OK, and encouraged, but we all deserve to be booted into SB if we're simply arguing over who's "right" in a century-long conflict.

This thread is a warning. Heed it.

Here's some contributions from the Isra-Stein Peace thread I started a few weeks ago.

- YMCA starts a culturally inclusive preschool in Jerusalem.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OE65R26Jaqk

- Palestinians and Israelis come together in a historic meeting to try and resolve religious deifferences.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1144264.html

-Boxing for Peace (And it's my aunt!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUbphaJg31s

- Learning each other's history to promote empathy and ultimately peace
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/world%20...%20?ref=world
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-Featuring the Comic Strip XKCD!
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby General_Norris » Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:30 pm UTC

mercutio_stencil wrote:Don't you remember Godwin's law? Any time someone has run out of facts to use in their argument, and try to make an emotional plea by comparing the offending party to Hitler, they loose.


I very well remember Goodwin's law. Who doesn't seem to remember it is you:

"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

That doesn't mean that the comparison isn't valid or that it is "emotional". It's just a handy example because everyone can agree that Hitler and Nazism were bad. So you are very wrong.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Dauric » Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:52 pm UTC

And this is why we can't have nice discussions.

The thread started out great, then it passed the Israel-Palestinian event horizon and people started taking sides, resorting to "Did Too"/"Did Not" tantrums, and the modification of the Godwin Law by the "IP Constant" (wherein the length of the discussion needed to reach a 1:1 probability of reductio ad Hitlerum is divided by the IP Constant which seems high enough to increase an XKCD thread's usual low probability, to 1:1 in less than one page.)
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. Later, Garrus was eaten by a shark. It is believed that the Point has perished in the accident. Back to you Bob.
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