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“No thanks. We’d rather sit in the dark.”

There are enemies of everything Israeli who are like the storied Jewish mamas who prefer to suffer in darkness because suffering is more comfortable, suffering –and anger about the past—is what they are used to. That’s the simile that comes to mind as, gasp, good news rears its unexpected head in the West Bank and in Israel proper.

Ethan Bronner’s piece about the new oasis of cooperation in Jenin in Friday’s New York Times should warm the cockles of anyone with a heart. Normally, any piece about Israel or the territories that appears in the New York Times is greeted immediately with a host of passionate, cranky bloggers from the Israel-can-do-no-right crowd (as well as the Israel-can-do-no-wrong crowd). It is interesting that, thus far, the Bronner piece has been greeted mostly with silence.

Due to a number of factors in Jenin, Bronner reports:

“Civilians are planning economic cooperation — an industrial zone to provide thousands of jobs, mostly to Palestinians, and another involving organic produce grown by Palestinians and marketed in Europe by Israelis. Ministers from both governments have been visiting regularly, often joined by top international officials. Israeli Arabs are playing a key role.”

The article notes an infusion of Palestinian citizens of Israel into Jenin and its economy. They are playing the role many had long hoped they would play: a bridge between Israeli Jews and Arabs in the territories. And Bronner gives well-deserved, long-delayed credit to the Jewish and Arab Israelis of Gilboa, a region next to Jenin, whom co-existence advocates cite as a model of Arabs and Jews figuring out how to respect each other’s cultures and build a common future.

To his credit, Philip Weiss, normally a harsh critic of mainstream Israeli and American Jews, praised the article and the news it conveyed. But a Google search reveals that, by and large, pundits who are hostile to everything connected with Israel are saying…nothing.

I suspect it is a stunned, bewildered silence. Productive cooperation between the occupiers and the occupied, and possible models for cooperation between two states, has no place in the worldview of those who think Mahmoud Abbas and his people are “collaborators” and Israeli stooges, and that peace talks are just “fig leaves” to hide the ongoing colonization that, we are told, is the real motive of the Israelis.

One finds that perspective expressed eloquently on, for example, The Electronic Intifadeh.There, even the “Arab Peace Initiative” is judged to be “one terrible example of offering free concessions to the Israeli position without any demand for reciprocation.” One finds it on One State Solution and other sites that attract those who believe that two states are an impossibility, the Israelis have completely colonized the West Bank and precluded the possibility of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state, the only answer is a secular, bi-national state. Many of them describe Palestinian citizens of Israel the same way the ultra-right in Israel describes these citizens, i.e, people who cannot possibly be integrated into a majority Jewish state or shape a common destiny with fellow citizens who are Jews.

My purpose here is not to rehash the one-state vs. two-state debate or to castigate all of those who support the former. There are credible arguments for both. It may well be, indeed, that it is too late for two states, it is yesterday’s solution, and supporting it is like pushing for the break-up of Bell Telephone, or a road through a ghost town that was deserted long ago. I, for one, haven’t given up quite yet, in part because there is no practical alternative. But that’s a discussion for another time and place. Today, my purpose is to note the reaction –or lack of reaction—of the Israel-revilers and one-staters when there are glimmers of hope that the Israeli government and Palestinian Authority can work together for the betterment of both peoples. I predict that either the stunned silence will continue, or that we will see a spate of commentaries about the manner in which Bronner ignored Israel’s “crimes.”

The imperatives of daily life are forcing cooperation and the movement of buyers and sellers from one side of the Green Line to the other side. The same imperatives have prompted Jews and Arabs in Gilboa to defy skeptics and try to create a wholly new kind of Israeli identity.The imperatives of finding an enduring solution are prompting more cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli security forces in the West Bank.

There is at least a chance that what is happening in Jenin and Gilboa can be replicated elsewhere, isn’t there? There is at least a possibility that what has long been the missing link in the peace chain –trust—can be forged, town by town, bit by bit. And it is not unreasonable to believe that such cooperation could be institutionalized if a viable Palestinian state were established, and borders were fixed, with or without security barriers. Yes, we are a long way from moving from here to there. Even one step in the right direction is better than standing still, or reeling backwards.

But the situations in Jenin and Gilboa are discomfiting to those who have convinced themselves that anyone connected with the Zionist entity cannot be trusted, and there is no future for Palestinians living next to –or within– a majority-Jewish state. They don’t know how to cope with the news that Palestinians in what used to be a hotbed of West Bank radicalism are now trying to figure out how to work with, rather than against, their neighbors. They don’t know how to deal with an Israeli cabinet minister like Isaac Herzog, a Zionist blue blood, who says every Israeli Jewish student should learn the Koran and that real quality of opportunity for all citizens of Israel –not just de jure equality—should be the norm.

Something very similar happened in 2005, when the Rand Corporation released its fascinating proposal for a contiguous Palestinian state, where cities would be connected in an “arc” and linked by high-speed transportation. I’ve searched news archives to determine the reactions of one-state advocates and other critics of the Oslo process. There were a few objections. Mostly, there was silence. The idea that a functioning Palestinian state was indeed possible, with enough planning and money and creativity, simply could not be acknowledged, let alone disputed.

It is, apparently, impossible for some to wrestle with –let alone overcome– the instinct to sit in the dark and the gloom, furious about the past, convinced that mainstream Israeli Jews are constitutionally evil, natural-born oppressors who cannot be trusted. In my community, we are very familiar with this psychology. We encounter it all the time from those who say “the Arabs” will never stop trying to destroy “the Jews,” and compares anyone who thinks otherwise to Neville Chamberlain. Meanwhile, in Gilboa and Jenin, real people who live in the real, imperfect, but malleable world have important work to do.

66 thoughts on ““No thanks. We’d rather sit in the dark.”

  1. This is welcome news, similar to what I reported in an earlier thread about the Arabs of Hevron renewing contacts with their Jewish neighbors in Hevron and Kiryat Arba. Whether this really heralds a new “realistic” approach by the Palestinians towards peaceful relations with Israel is a whole other question. On the one hand, I have maintained that ultimately, a modus vivendi of this type will be reached, in the absence of a formal peace agreement which is unattainable, but on the other hand, we have seen this before.
    Arafat arrived in the Palestinian territories in 1994. He immediately set about building a terror infrastructure which soon began a chain of suicide bombings. After Rabin was murdered, Peres took the opportunity of disarray in the Right-wing camp to order a quick withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Arab cities. It was announced publicly that Arafat had given the green light to HAMAS to carry out a new series of suicide bombings (this was reported openly in the news media, MK Benny Begin raised it with then Prime Minster Peres on the floor of the Knesset, and IIRC Peres simply dismissed it). The bombings occurred in early 1996 with hundreds of casualties. Clinton berated Arafat telling him that he would bring about the defeat of Peres in the upcoming elections. Arafat ordered a halt and a partial crackdown on HAMAS. Peres lost the election anyway. Arafat maintained calm for the next three years as Netanyahu was in power. He did this for two reason…(1) he apparently feared that Netanyahu would send the IDF back into the Palestinian areas thus endangering his regime and (2) Arafat felt he needed to strengthen his control of the Palestinian population.
    We saw the same things then as the article about Jenin reports now…new projects, Jews visiting Palestinian areas, economic development. Even though ominous reports were coming out saying Arafat was poised to open a full-scale war of terrorism against Israel, proponents of Oslo said “look at all the tourism projects going up (in anticipation of the year 2000)…would someone planning to go to war invest so much?”. Apparently the answer was yes, the war broke out in late 2000 after the Palestinians had profited as much as possible from the tourist boom.

    What we are seeing today could be just another lull done for tactical reasons. It is hard to keep a population on a war footing for a very long period of time (the poor residents of Gaza are still in this situation). Abbas may feel he needs to improve the economic situation in order to weaken HAMAS. We certainly must hope that this is a real change. We could tell by seeing what sort of propaganda is being disseminated by the state-controlled Palestinian media. Are they telling their people that peace is a hand, or are they maintaining their old Judeophobic message? History makes me rather skeptical.

  2. The most I would respond to Y Ben-David is that maybe it should have remained quiet, a fact on the ground, becoming frequent, a fabric to the point that it became the norm. (Both Israelis and Palestinians distrust each other, and can respond with incredulity.)

    He should be aware that daily, West Bank Palestinians experience thousands of imprinting “small” infractions at checkpoints and in the invasive presence of the wall, even some resulting in civilian deaths.

    Growing numb to that is also not a suitable Jewish alternative.

    Olmert stated yesterday, reported in Haaretz, that the idea of a Greater Israel (from sea to river) is DEAD. I’m sure he’s right.

    I read yesterday also that Sari Nassibeh and Ahmed Queria have both shifted their objectives to a single-state, willingly Israel if thats how it turned out, but with full civil rights to all long-term residents. One-person one-vote, within the single state from sea to river.

    I respect both of them, and expect that they each would support the efforts in Jenin and Gilboa.

    I think their modified position however is despairing, and counter-productive.

    The path to a single state is the work in Jenin and Gilboa, multiplied fifty thousand times.

    The path to a peaceful two state solution is the work in Jenin and Gilboa, multiplied 25,000 times.

    Its ok if there is silence, probably better than widely expressed rage. I’m surprised that Abunimeh would be critical of the collaboration, and then with a straight face argue that he is advocating for a peaceful single state respecting minority or majority rights.

  3. “I read yesterday also that Sari Nassibeh and Ahmed Queria have both shifted their objectives to a single-state…”

    I don’t believe that Qureia and Nusseibeh have started to push for a one state solution. Rather they are merely trying to scare Israelis into accepting a two state solution by using the demographic argument. Nusseibeh said the same thing at a Peace Now rally in the late 1980s about the possibility that if a two state solution is not reached then Palestinians will move onto the one state solution. This may very well happen, but it hasn’t yet.

  4. Thanks, Greg. I mostly concur with your understanding of Nusseibah’s position. But while it is true that he is trying to “scare” Israelis into accepting a two state solution, he is also expressing the cold, hard facts about the options for moderate Palestinian nationalists, facts that Mr. Ben-David does not want to accept.

  5. Dan, when I got your message about a post called “No, thanks. We’d rather sit in the dark” that “might annoy me” I was sure it was about progressive Jews not making their voice heard and letting the right-wing Jews dictate the tone of the debate on Israel/Palestine. As I believe this is indeed the case and also consider myself guilty of just such behavior – not enough activism, staying “in the dark”, etc – the thought hurt my conscience.
    Now I see your intention was just the opposite… What can I say: you’re right, of course – such examples of cooperation and coexistence are exactly what “progressives” – both “one-staters” (here, by the way, is an excellent critique of the term) and “two-staters” – should laud as the model for the future. There is a reason, though, that I would not jump from joy and trumpet about it at every corner: while such cases are really too rare to be considered an emerging phenomenon, they give too much comfort for people who don’t want anything to change. For example, our friend Y Ben David will read this and convince himself and would make us believe that in reality the occupation is not that bad, that we have not been destroying the lives of millions of people, that with some “feel-good” limited cooperation the peace will be attained. He’s been driving this point home for many posts now without ever addressing the day-to-day plight of people whose only crime was to be born Palestinian. I think there is quite enough of this “feel-good” stuff in the media, especially in the US; it is the other – harsh, unpleasant stuff that is lacking. I am not talking about the blogosphere but the main-stream media. When did you last read a truly critical article on Israel in the NYT, for example?

  6. To Peter D and the rest:
    All of you keep saying “the current situation is bad, there MUST be a way out with a reasonable compromise”. You are projecting your own values on other people who don’t share them. You want to improve the lives of the Palestinians, so you assume that Abbas and HAMAS want to do that as well. Well, they don’t. The Arab goal is to eradicate Israel. The existence of Israel is an unbearable humiliation to them, it is living testimony that Islam’s claim to legitimacy, its triumphalism , is wrong.
    When Palestinian poet Darwish died recently, everyone claimed he was a “moderate” who supported the “two-state solution”, yet in his poems he kept talking about how the Jews would disappear just like the Crusaders did. Thus, he wasn’t interested in true peace and reconciliation, and I think this is a pretty fair portrayal of the Palestinian leaderships views.
    As they see it (and not as I see it), they are winning. Olmert, who came out of the Likud, is now saying that Israel has no choice but to accept the Palestinians territorial demands, something he never would have said 5 years ago. Sharon was saying similar things before he left the scene, although he was tellling the Right that he was destroying Gush Katif “in order to save the rest”, even though Dov Weisglas himself said fairly recently that Sharon was not telling the truth then and that he intended on giving up most of the rest of Judea/Samaria.
    The Arabs look at these “tough Right-wingers” capitulating and say “let’s keep up the pressure, they’ll fold up completely eventually and we will get everything for free, without any concessions on our part”. This is their plan, keep up the pressure, keep up the demands and we will get it all. Yes, I know about Abbas’ interview with Akiva Eldar in Ha’aretz in which he hinted at concessions regarding the so-called “Palestinian right of return”, but he himself said there “FIRST, you recognize the rigth of return, THEN we will discuss numbers” Of course, recognition of the right of return is an admission by Israel that it committed a crime by bringing itself into existence. After all, it was the Arabs who started the war, and it was they who are responsible for the refugee problem, yet they want us to take the responsibility. Sure, Leftists like Yossi Beilin say we should “after all it is only words and it will assuage their pride”, but that is NOT the case. It is not only a matter of admitting huge numbers of refugees, but Israel would be required to pay huge indemnities to the countries that took them in and to the refugees themselves “in compensation for their suffering”. Do you believe Olmert could accept this? Thus, even though he has more or less accepted their territorial demands, that is just the beginning.
    Thus, contractual peace is NOT possible no matter how much you may want it. Abbas is doing well, he is getting large amount of aid money, he is feted around the world as a “moderate”, so why should he endanger his position by making concessions that will brand him as a traitor by the Arab world. All he has to do is wait, he figures, and the Arabs will get everything in the end.

  7. Actually, Abbas has recognized Israel, and speaks of his admiration for Olmert, not spoken as a ruse.

    Israel will likely need to compensate many individual Palestinians and collectively Palestine for the forced taking of land, and most importantly prohibition from asserting claims in Israeli courts in the early 50’s.

    It is important to restore the title of the land from contested to consented.

    Its possible, and therefore necessary. Prior, it wasn’t possible.

    You’d have to read more Y Ben David, to say with certainly what “Palestinians want”. It conflicts with your earlier statements about Hebron rabbis attempting to reconcile with their Palestinian neighbors.

    The wonderful acknowledgement of your earlier suggestions re: Hebron reconciliation, was that Palestinians are human beings, worthy of the respect that reconciliation implies.

    Your comments about the never-ending liability actually support Abbas’ insistence on dealing with ALL of the issues currently, to settle this thing once and for all.

    And, then move on. You seem to hold on to the vision of a greater Israel. It won’t happen.

    I didn’t realize the relevance of Dan’s earlier post of Judahist versus Jewish state, but from Y Ben David’s comments, it appears that the groups that he supports will be unlikely to support peace, in favor of more militant or rhetorical Biblical assertions of God permanently granting title to Jews to all of the holy land.

    I’m not sure that its possible to religiously assert the humanity, the spark of God in all beings, and simultaneously strategize to steal others’ land in the name of “keeping my commandments”.

  8. Y Ben David

    Of course, recognition of the right of return is an admission by Israel that it committed a crime by bringing itself into existence. After all, it was the Arabs who started the war, and it was they who are responsible for the refugee problem, yet they want us to take the responsibility.

    Suppose we accept your line about “them” starting the war: where did you hear that a side that starts a war deserves to be ethnically cleansed from its homeland? In fact, Geneva Convention prohibits retaining territory acquired as a result of war activities not to mention permanently expelling native population. These are war crimes. In fact, you’ll be the first to trumpet the ancient right of the Jewish people to return to Eretz Yisrael from which they were expelled by the Romans as a result of the war they started (only not 60 years ago, but 2000!). Why what’s good for the Jews is not good for the Palestinians? (This is, of course, tongue in cheek, since the Roman expulsion never took place; there is not a serious historian today – including right-wind (pro)Israeli ones – that won’t admit that this is just a myth, no more.)
    Y Ben David, I called you a racist more than once and you continue to supply evidence that I was justified in doing so. If you imagined just for a second yourself to be a Palestinian and not a Jew and honestly ask yourself if the Palestinians claims are justified, you’d admit that they are, since you call such Jewish claims justifiable. But the fact that you deny the Palestinians the same treatment and rights that you reserve for the Jews shows you’re a racist and a Jewish supremacist.
    I also suggest that you read and reflect on this excellent post by the Magnes Zionist. Try to honestly answer his questions.

  9. Peter D-
    (1) You can call me a “racist” all you want, I couldn’t care less. I am not interested in getting compliments from so-called “progressives”, I am interested in the truth.
    (2) The Romans BEGAN the expulsion of the Jews from Eretz Israel…the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) in Jerusalem began the period of spiritual exile. Large numbers of Jews were taken into slavery as a result of the two wars with the Romans, however a significant Jewish population remained. The final expulsion, which pretty much ended the the large, organized Jewish community in Eretz Israel was done by the ARABS as a result of the Muslim conquest.

    (3) You see a contradiction between the renewal of Jewish-Arab dialogue in Hevron with my claim that the extremists in the Arab world call the tune on the political level. I do not see this as a contradiction. The Arabs in Hevron who support the dialogue have been threatened, but they belong to clans powerful enough to stand up to the threats, apparently. The leaders in fact manipulate the “extremist” rhetoric for their own purposes. Benny Morris’ book “1948” points out that the most extreme group, those allied with the Mufti and the Husseini clan, were denouncing the Jews, organizing violence against them AND SELLING LAND TO THE JEWS AT THE SAME TIME!. There is one’s official position, and then there is what one does behind closed curtains. Abbas’ statement that he “likes” Olmert should be taken with a grain of salt like most statements of politicians. Actions speak louder than words. Has he made any real compromises to his friend?

  10. Y Ben David,
    if you’re so interested in truth, care to supply us with the source to your remarkable assertions in (2)? I wouldn’t hold my breath, because, of course, these claims have nothing to do with any serious historiography. Neither Romans, nor Arabs, Mameluks or Turks who had in various periods controlled the Palestine were ever known to expel the native populations of the lands they conquered. In fact, probably, the only two examples of forceful removal of large number of civilians from their lands in Palestine in the last 2000 years are the Israel’s expulsion of the Palestinians and the Palestinian expulsion of a much smaller number – no more than 10,000 – of Jews from Gush Etzion, Atarot, Neve Yaakov and the Gaza strip.
    (3) – an excellent point – was raised not by me, but by Richard and I’ll let him reply to you, if he wishes. What I did ask you and got no reply was why the alleged forceful removal of Jews from their land 2000 or even 1400 years ago entitles them to return to this land while a forceful removal of the Palestinians from their land 60 and 40 years ago does not.

  11. Of course, the ultimate irony could turn out to be the theory that the Palestinians of today may well be more genetically related to the ancient Jews than the diaspora Jews, since a large number of ancient Jews never emigrated from Eretz Yisrael and assimilated with the incoming Arabs, I have no opinion on the validity of this theory: to me, the belief that, as the direct descendants of people that lived in EY 2000 years ago, we’re justified in removing the more recent native population of this land is an abomination anyway, regardless of whether we’re indeed genetically related to the Jews of old, if we were forcefully removed from the land or left on our own accord etc.

  12. Peter D.

    The Arabs/Muslims may not have engaged in a single, one-time expulsion of Jews from Eretz Israel, but they squeezed out non-Muslims through use of their discriminatory dhimmi tax and other laws oppressing non-Muslims. The same thing is going on today, non-Muslims are being pushed AT THIS VERY MOMENT from Iraq and the Palestinian-controlled territories. The Jewish population in Eretz Israel dropped precipitously in the period following the Muslim conquest.
    Some Jews have abandoned their Jewish identity throughout history, no doubt SOME Jews converted to Islam after the Muslim conquest, however I doubt the Palestinians of today are largely decendents of those Jews because there has been an influx and outflow of non-Jewish populations in the country ever since before Biblical times. Interestinly enough, David Ben-Gurion and his friend Yitzhak Ben-Zvi (later President of Israel) used this argument in the US during the First World War in order to claim that there wouldn’t be friction if the Jews tried to set up a state in Eretz Israel, they also claimed the Palestinians were supposedly “long-lost Jews” and they would supposedly welcome their long-lost brother Jews returning home. It didn’t work out that way, but politicians will say anything to get what they want.

    Regarding the “Palestinian refugees”. They have no moral right to return. The UN voted to set up two states, one Jewish and one Arab in Eretz Israel in 1947. The world (or at least the part represented in the UN which admittedly did not include large parts of the Third World) recognized the rights of the to do so. The Jews accepted this, the Arabs rejected it. They announced they would use force to block it. They announced openly that it would be “ethnic cleansing” on a grand scale (See Benny Morris’ new book “1948”). Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League said it would be a gigantic massacre, like that of the Crusades and the Mongols. Fortunately, they lost. Several hundred thousand refugees took off. AGAIN NOTE-THE WAR WAS STARTED BY THE ARABS-IT WAS THE ARABS WHO COMMITTED AGRESSION AND ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CREATION OF THE REFUGEE PROBLEM. As I said, they have no moral right to return, certainly no more than the Germans expelled by force from Pomerania, East Prussian, Silesia and the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia after World War II, since it was German aggression that started the war. Regarding “inadmissability of acquistion of territory by force”, this is referring to armed aggression, not defensive action. That is why Silesia and Pomeranian were taken from Germany after the War and given to Poland and German East Prussia was divided between Poland and the USSR.
    Ethnic cleansing, forcible expulsion of population or “transfer” have been done numerous times in the last century WITH INTERNATIONAL BACKING. Millions of Hindus and Muslims were uprooted with the Partition of India in 1947, there was a similar mutual expulsion of Greeks and Turks in their respective countries in the early 1920’s, large numbers of Serbs, Bosnians, Croations, Albanians and others were uprooted during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990’s. No one is talking about letting the refugees back, there have been no UN resolutions to that effect. All these were accepted by the international community, possibly reluctantly, but were accepted post-facto. It is the same with the Palestinians.
    You assume that it was the intention of the Zionist movement to “remove” the native population. This is not so, although it admittedly did make things easier. Had the Arabs not attacked, there would have been no “refugee problem”. The responsibility is on THEIR shoulders.

  13. “Has he made any real compromises to his friend?”

    Yes, he’s established rule of law in the regions that the PA controls. All of the factions now face accountability for initiated or planned violence against Israel.

    The majority of intended violence against Israel is discovered and prevented by the PA security, not by Israeli.

    You don’t need to adopt the language of “ethnic cleansing” to uphold the rights of Palestinians that left or were forcefully removed from the regions of battle in 1947-48-49. That they desired to return to their individual homes that they held title to (even if relative or unperfected title), is enough to leave the status of title on all abandoned lands as contested (rationally contested), not consented.

    Law is color-blind. Decree is color-“ful”.

    Just to clarify, Y Ben David, it definitely appears to a high level of confidence, that some in leadership roles definitely did desire the Palestinians to be forcefully removed, and considered no other alternative.

    The problem with your characterization, is the same problem with the anti-Zionist characterization. That is that it is constructed of generalization, decree. “It was started by “THE ARABS””. Clearly, there are differences among Arabs. And, also clearly, there were valid grievances and threats the different Arab factions, and pan-Arab community faced.

    Even if those grievances were not reconciliable then, they are now, and to fail to be willing to do so is a moral negligence.

    For title questions, the appropriate venue for sorting through the various conflicting claims is in a color-blind court system, applying the principles (not the decrees) of the law of the land.

    That consistent color-blind application is a test for both Palestinian and for Israeli courts, otherwise its not rule of law but rule by dictum.

    Some of the features of rule of law that are relevant are:

    1. Color blind equal due process before the law
    2. Ability to present one’s case in court (not by proxy unless by explicit choice)
    3. Ability to appeal

    Even if this results in overloaded court system.

    You do get that to retain a democracy that has a Hebrew or Jewish majority to any level approaching permanence, it will require fair partition.

    The concept of Greater Israel is dead, as Olmert referred.

    Its not a solution. If settlers wish to live in Palestine, as Palestinian civil citizens they should be permitted to (whether they call the land Judea or Samaria, is their choice).

    To entirely exclude Jews from Palestine would genuinely be an ethnic cleansing, short or long-term.

  14. Y Ben David

    The Arabs/Muslims may not have engaged in a single, one-time expulsion of Jews from Eretz Israel, but they squeezed out non-Muslims through use of their discriminatory dhimmi tax and other laws oppressing non-Muslims.

    Backtracking, all of a sudden? So, it not ”the final expulsion […] done by the ARABS” anymore? Also, care to explain how the dhimmi tax leveled at non-Muslims managed to “squeeze out” only the Jews, but not, say, the Christians?
    Are you keeping straight face while writing this? Because if anything it is such “soft ethnic cleansing” practices (actually, even worse) that Israel is using now on the Palestinian population in the territories and that you yourself advocate in order to encourage them to move to Jordan or wherever. So, what you consider to be the Arab (or is it Muslim?) expulsion of Jews from EY is just the recipe for the current Israel’s expulsion of the Palestinians from their homes. Also, the situation of Israeli Arabs, while much better than the situation of their brethren in the territories, is still of a large scale discrimination when it comes to resources, land, employment and education. So, by your logic, the State of Israel is engaged in an expulsion of its Arab citizens.

    Whichever way you look at it, you’re contradicting yourself. If the Jews were not forcefully expelled but left of their own accord, what would be the justification for them to come back? And how could it be stronger than actual and more recent expulsions of the Palestinians?

    Regarding the “Palestinian refugees”. They have no moral right to return. The UN voted to set up two states, one Jewish and one Arab in Eretz Israel in 1947. The world (or at least the part represented in the UN which admittedly did not include large parts of the Third World) recognized the rights of the to do so. The Jews accepted this, the Arabs rejected it. They announced they would use force to block it. They announced openly that it would be “ethnic cleansing” on a grand scale (See Benny Morris’ new book “1948″). Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League said it would be a gigantic massacre, like that of the Crusades and the Mongols.

    The usual crap with the quotes around Palestinian refugees suggesting they aren’t really refugees in YBD’s eyes (I wonder whether he’ll feel the same being one of them).

    So, you decided that they have no moral right to return? Funny, the same UN that you bring here as the authority to which the Palestinian Arabs were supposed to submit and allow the creation of the Jewish state in Palestine actually did recognize this right with its resolution 194. Of course, to expect intellectual consistency of you would be too much…

    Next, what on earth allows you to use the quotes from some Arab leaders as a justification for a wholesale expulsion of hundreds of thousands of civilians? Where did you acquire this kind of moral standards? What if I brought you quotes from some Jewish leaders that call for mass murder or transfer of Arabs – will Arabs be justified in expelling the Israeli Jews for those? Looks to me you never progressed in your views from an angry teenager.

    Regarding “inadmissability of acquistion of territory by force”, this is referring to armed aggression, not defensive action. That is why Silesia and Pomeranian were taken from Germany after the War and given to Poland and German East Prussia was divided between Poland and the USSR.

    No, not because of that, but because Russians could do whatever they wanted. But we’re not talking about bad things committed by other nations, but about bad things committed by Israel. And defensive and offensive are too fuzzy concepts to be a criterion for such items of the international law. For example, would you agree that Lebanon was entitled to protect itself against Israeli attacks in the last war? What if the Lebanese army were actually much stronger, invaded Israel and conquered, say, the Galilee and expel all the Jews from there. How would you like it?

    Ethnic cleansing, forcible expulsion of population or “transfer” have been done numerous times in the last century WITH INTERNATIONAL BACKING. Millions of Hindus and Muslims were uprooted with the Partition of India in 1947, there was a similar mutual expulsion of Greeks and Turks in their respective countries in the early 1920’s, large numbers of Serbs, Bosnians, Croations, Albanians and others were uprooted during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990’s. No one is talking about letting the refugees back, there have been no UN resolutions to that effect. All these were accepted by the international community, possibly reluctantly, but were accepted post-facto. It is the same with the Palestinians.

    You used the word “mutual” and it is important. If the Palestinians and Israelis agree on the specifics of the return of the refugees then nobody in the world would try to overrule them. And, again, stop hiding behind bad things that happened elsewhere, concentrate on those in Israel/Palestine. Crimes of others are no justification for committing your own.

    You assume that it was the intention of the Zionist movement to “remove” the native population. This is not so, although it admittedly did make things easier. Had the Arabs not attacked, there would have been no “refugee problem”. The responsibility is on THEIR shoulders.

    The intention is irrelevant – only the results matter. I don’t assume anything and for me the actual intention does not change anything. As to the intention there has been a lot of discussion. You might want to check out these quotes and decide for yourself.

    Arabs attacked, but it was Israel that expelled and later did not let the refugees return. So, clearly, the responsibility is Israel’s. By your logic any country that is attacked by another would be justified in going into that country and forcefully removing its population – an absurd claim.

    Ahh, YBD, am I wasting time on you? It is clear that in your eyes Israel is incapable of doing anything wrong – that is, to the Palestinians or Arabs: for example, if the same Police that shot dead demonstrators against the wall in Bil’in as much as steps on a settler’s pinky, you catch a fit. That’s because for you people are divided into some sort of castes, with the religious settlers at the top, the rest of Israelis a little below and the rest of humanity below that, with the Arabs at the very bottom. This way you can call the same things but done to different castes “crimes” in one case and “justified actions” in the other. If you have a shred of intellectual integrity in you, you should think about it and draw conclusions.

  15. I am certainly an unintended target of this post as I have been relentless in my criticisms of Israel. I don’t agree with the “silence” of good news about a watershed moment of co-existence; in fact, the one-state solution NEEDS these examples of co-existence in order to push for the solution to gain steam.

    I read the piece and it is an excellent ray of light in so much darkness. I dare to say I am still very pessimistic about a peaceful resolution to this conflict but I would more than welcome more initiatives such as these to avoid the (somewhat) inevitable bloodbath.

  16. There is no chance of a perfectly peaceful resolution to the conflict. There are too many in too many places (Arabs AND Jews) with legitimate grievances, and decades of mutual harm, to assume that angers will magically vanish.

    That is why the structure of the political component of the solution is important.

    But, only as a means to support the interpersonal and inter-communal reconciliation.

    A successfully designed partition realizes the optimal degree of self-governance.

    One of the dangers of over-assertive rhetoric is that it negates that the reconciliation is primarily social, and NOT political. Its in people and peoples, NOT in powers. That is the great hope of examples of concerted effort for conciliation.

    Political only is overly simplistic, to the point of being an habitual intoxication.

  17. Peter-
    Yes, the dhimmit tax squeezed out the Christians too. The Middle East, before the Muslim invasion was Christian. Today, Christians are a tiny, dwindling minority.
    I note you ignore the Arab threats to wipe out the Jews of Eretz Israel. They start the war, they attack the Jews, they threaten to wipe us out to a man, they lose, and yet you say the Jews are the agressors, and that ample historical precedents that agressors have to pay for what they did somehow doesn’t apply to the Arab/Israeli conflict. Tell me, would you support Germans creating terrorist groups attacking Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic in order to have their refugees return? What about the Indians attacking Pakistan for the same reason?
    There also was a MUTUAL exchange of populations, the Jews of the Arab countries were either expelled forceably (Egypt 1956-gee, that “progressive” Nasser did that one!) or were pressured into leaving, generally with just the clothes on their back, as a result of terror (e.g. Syria) or threatened violence. There is your population exchange…no different that India/Pakistan, Greece/Turkey, ex-Yugoslavia, etc.
    I see also that you agree with the Muslims who say the Bible and Jewish history are a fraud. There wasn’t an actual one-time “expulsion”, so Jewish history and memory is a “lie” in your eyes. Jewish history talks of “Exile” and that is what the Romans and Arabs brought. If you don’t consider that “exile”, then most of the Palestinian refugees are really NOT refugees since only a relatively small minority were actually forced out of their homes, most left in a panic on their own.

    You might as well reconcile to it, NO Israeli gov’t is going to agree to implementation of the Palestinian Right of Return. People like you who keep insisting on it make peace much harder to achieve because you are encouraging the Arabs to hold out for something they are never going to get.

    Richard-
    What is your source for the claim that the Palestnians are preventing most terrorist operations against Israel. I saw an article in Ha’aretz a couple of days ago saying that was NOT the case, that indeed there has been some improvement on the situation in the streets of Judea/Samaria with less violence there, but they said in the article that the Palestnian Authority is not doing anything against the terror infrastructure. They will pick up suspects that Israel demands, but they usually “escape” from custody within a few hours.

  18. If you want to understand how the Arab side views the “peace process” game, I came across an excellent article by Dexter Filkins in the New York Time, 7 September 2008, called “Right at the Edge”. Actually, the article is about Pakistan and its relationship with the Islamic extremist Taliban movement that controls the border area with Afghanistan. The Taliban sends fighters to attack the NATO forces in Afghanistan as well as Afghani gov’t forces. Pakistan, although committed to the American “war on terrorism”, just doesn’t seem to be effective in its fight with the Taliban.

    Filkins explains :” For years the survivial of Pakistan’s leaders has depended on a double game: assuring the US that they were vigorously repressing Islamic militants, and in some cases actually doing so, while simultaneously tolerating and assisting the same militants….. When the game works it reaps great rewards: billions of dollars in aid to boost the Pakistani economy while at the same time using these Islamic proxies to extend Pakistan’s reach into Afghanistan and India (Kashmir).”
    Later in the article, Filkins quotes a former Pakistani gov’t official who was asked why the Pakistani military support to the Taliban whom they are supposed to be fighting: ” the reason is for money; after the 9/11 attacks, the Pakistani military concluded that keeping the Taliban alive was the surest way to keep Pakistan alive”.

    Now, if you replace, for example “Pakistan” with “Egypt”, and “Taliban” with “HAMAS” and/or “The Muslim Brotherhood”, the article comes out the same. Same with the FATAH’s Palestinian Authority. Nominally they are bitter enemies with HAMAS…they may actually hate them, but having HAMAS take over Gaza was the best thing that ever happened to Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (the PA had far more armed men in Gaza, but they didn’t put up much of a fight)…even though they are running a chronic deficit that the US and EU are tired of financing, Abbas and his PM Fayyad (a “technocrat ecnomist”) tells the Americans “you have to keep giving us money or else HAMAS will take over”. Same with Mubarak and the Americans. Sure, his official state media is full of vicious Judeophobia and anti-American propaganda praising the attacks on the American in Iraq, but he tells the Americans they have to keep giving him money, or the Muslim Brotherhood will take over. Same with Egypt’s relations with HAMAS…HAMAS could never have taken over without explicit Egyptian help, because they openly move weapons through the Egyptian Sinai to the Gaza Strip. This way Egypt can claim its border with Israel is “quiet”, yet it maintains a proxy war with Israel by way of HAMAS in the Gaza Strip, and the Americans and Israelis reward him for playing this double game.
    The Saudi “peace plan” is another version of this. The Saudi need American military support, yet they teach their people to hate Americans, Jews and Christians. Syrias “peace negotiations” are yet another example….he conducts negotiations and is rewarded by the EU while simultaneously swallowing up Lebanon by means of his HIZBULLAH proxies.

    None of these people are really interested in “peace” and couldn’t care less about the welfare of the Palestinian people. This is why contractual peace is unattainable…this game is simply too profitable for the leaders involved. A real peace would weaken their bargaining leverage.

  19. Y Ben David,
    Why do you use the term “THE ARABS” to describe very various political sympathies and strategies.

    The various Arab powers and communities are no more monolithic than the “Israel Lobby”.

    There are some common sentiments and goals that apply to most Arabs, but your comments extend beyond that range.

    In a word, you generalize.

    And, as I stated earlier, there are MANY prominent Arab leaders that genuinely seek peace with Israel, even if their attitude is of reluctance or some distrust and with conditions.

    That is identifiable and navigable. It doesn’t happen with generalization.

    I assume that you are not speaking here as a leader of orthodox concerns. To the extent that the leadership of orthodox community generalize (similarly to your statements), rather than analyze, they will have potentially deterred peace rather than enhanced it.

    Its important. Nothing is permanent in the world, and peace is fragile.

    In the food business (that I work), if there is a product that could easily spoil or taste or appear wrong, that is where we have to pay more attention, more specific attention.

    We cannot conclude, “oils can oxidize, therefore we will never use oils in out recipes”. We have to conclude, “oils can oxidize, therefore we have to pay extra and more concise care with how we design recipes, how we test whether the recipe designs are actually done, how the product is stored in our and customers’ facilities.”

    More specificity. More care towards a benevolent goal.

  20. Hi, I found your blog on this new directory of WordPress Blogs at blackhatbootcamp.com/listofwordpressblogs. I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, i duno. Anyways, I just clicked it and here I am. Your blog looks good. Have a nice day. James.

  21. Richard-
    The Arabs certainly refer to themselves as a collective, an “umma”. There is an Arab League. They have a common language, and basically a common religion. There was, and is, a political movement called Pan-Arabism which they all pay at least lip service to.

    I am aware that Israelis can travel to some Arab countries, such as Morocco and some places in the Persian Gulf. But please give me a list of Arab leaders who have said the Jews have a right to national self-determination in Eretz Isael and this view is reflected in their local media which is controlled by the government, in other words, they do NOT propagate Judeophobia in this media.

  22. Peter D,

    You think that Mr. Ben-David should ignore anything bad that happened in other countries as a defense. Well in international law there is the concept of “customary law,” which corresponds to the concept of common law under British and American law. What it says is that if something is a widespread practice, a customary practice, it becomes de facto law.

    After World War II ethnic German minorities were expelled from most central European countries, partly as revenge and partly as defense against any future Hitlers using them as a justification for interference and dismemberment of Germany’s neighbors as Hitler did with Czechoslovakia and Poland. In 1947, following the partition of the Indian subcontinent religious minorities were expelled from the wrong side of the line so that ethnic cleanising occurred on both sides. Ethnic cleansing was a norm of international relations in the 1940s, particularly by those countries that had experienced foreign aggression and ethnic cleansing by the other side.

    This may not be a moral argument, but the Zionists wanted to be a nation like other nations, i.e. one treated and acting in accord with Western or European norms.

    And I agree with you, Israeli Arabs do suffer from discrimination–just as Jews suffered from discrimination in Arab and Muslim countries (as well as in Europe of course). The creation of the state of Israel left fewer people being discriminated against as many fewer Arabs remained under Jewish control than Jews had been under Muslim control. I advocate a return to the 1949 borders as this would leave Palestinians to control their own lives. And the end of the conflict COULD begin a process of reconciliation and an end to anti-Arab discrimination within Israel.

  23. Y Ben David

    Yes, the dhimmit tax squeezed out the Christians too. The Middle East, before the Muslim invasion was Christian. Today, Christians are a tiny, dwindling minority.

    How is that about a non-sequitur? You weren’t talking about “today”, you were talking about Jews disappearing from EY in following the Muslim invasion a millennium and a half ago because of the tax. I, by the way, did not dispute the Jewish emigration from EY one way or another. In fact, for you, accepting the theory of Jews emigrating from EY because of adverse economic conditions is a self-goal, since then the justification for the Jews to return to EY dwindles, especially since the Christians, apparently, were more steadfast in the face of the same adverse conditions and remained much more numerous before the Zionist aliyas.
    I also made clear I would not accept any of the alleged stories of the Jewish expulsion or squeezing-out of EY as a justification for expulsion of the more recent native population. Because it’s just not moral, that all.

    I note you ignore the Arab threats to wipe out the Jews of Eretz Israel.

    I did not ignore, I just reject these quotes as justification for ethnic cleansing. Defensive war is alright, I have no problem with that.
    You, on the other hand, ignored the quotes from Jewish leaders going back to the dawn of Zionism about their intent to transfer the native Arab population of Palestine.

    They start the war, they attack the Jews, they threaten to wipe us out to a man, they lose, and yet you say the Jews are the agressors, and that ample historical precedents that agressors have to pay for what they did somehow doesn’t apply to the Arab/Israeli conflict. Tell me, would you support Germans creating terrorist groups attacking Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic in order to have their refugees return? What about the Indians attacking Pakistan for the same reason?

    There are few recent historic precedents of wars being fought and aggressors paying price in territory and transfers of population. Of the ones that are there most are considered war crimes, genocides etc. Each situation is different. You bring the case of Sudeten Germans expulsions as if these were benign and justified acts, while of course it was still a terrible tragedy for the people involved. From Wikipedia:

    The number of expelled Germans in the early phase (spring-summer 1945) is estimated to be around 500,000 people. These expulsions and forced resettlements were associated with excesses and even murders of Germans, e.g. during the Brno death march (“Brünner Todesmarsch”, the forced march of some 20,000 German inhabitants of Brno toward the Austrian borders at the end of May 1945). There were about 24,000 known deaths directly related to the expulsion (this includes murders as well as suicides or deaths from disease, old age, etc.). More than 62,000 German people were reported missing by relatives, but their deaths could not be verified.

    As I said before, you are using other people’s crimes to justify yours. This is just like being caught stealing and saying: “But look, other people steal too, and some even more than I!”

    There also was a MUTUAL exchange of populations, the Jews of the Arab countries were either expelled forceably (Egypt 1956-gee, that “progressive” Nasser did that one!) or were pressured into leaving, generally with just the clothes on their back, as a result of terror (e.g. Syria) or threatened violence. There is your population exchange…no different that India/Pakistan, Greece/Turkey, ex-Yugoslavia, etc.

    Still hiding behind bad things done by other people? Regarding Jewish flight from the Arab countries there has been a lot of controversy, since it is highly likely that Israel was involved in acts of sabotage and terrorism designed to cause anti-Semitic waves in those countries and encourage Jews to emigrate to Israel. You might want ot check out Naeim Giladi, for example. In Egypt there was also Lavon Affair, if you didn’t know. That said, I am not justifying what happened to the Jews in the Arab countries. but I reject this as a justification for forceful removal of Palestinians.

    I see also that you agree with the Muslims who say the Bible and Jewish history are a fraud. There wasn’t an actual one-time “expulsion”, so Jewish history and memory is a “lie” in your eyes. Jewish history talks of “Exile” and that is what the Romans and Arabs brought.

    What do you mean, exactly, the Bible and Jewish history are a fraud? I am an atheist an don’t take the Bible literally, of course. Jewish history the way you understand it is certainly a fraud at least in some aspects. But whatever I think of the Bible and the Jewish history, it doesn’t really matter, because, I repeat for the god-knows-what time, quoting my own comment above: to me, the belief that, as the direct descendants of people that lived in EY 2000 years ago, we’re justified in removing the more recent native population of this land is an abomination anyway, regardless of whether we’re indeed genetically related to the Jews of old, if we were forcefully removed from the land or left on our own accord etc.
    That said, Roman exile did not take place and this is not an Arab propaganda but a view shared by all serious historians today. As to the Arab “exile”, we discussed it above and I said that Israel uses much worse practices on the Palestinians.

    If you don’t consider that “exile”, then most of the Palestinian refugees are really NOT refugees since only a relatively small minority were actually forced out of their homes, most left in a panic on their own.

    I wonder what sources you rely on speaking of “small minority”. I suspect, on none. From Hagana sources via Wikipedia:

    At least 55% of the total of the exodus was caused by our (Haganah/IDF) operations.” To this figure, the report’s compilers add the operations of the Irgun and Lehi, which “directly (caused) some 15%… of the emigration”. A further 2% was attributed to explicit expulsion orders issued by Israeli troops, and 1% to their psychological warfare. This leads to a figure of 73% for departures caused directly by the Israelis. In addition, the report attributes 22% of the departures to “fears” and “a crisis of confidence” affecting the Palestinian population. As for Arab calls for flight, these were reckoned to be significant in only 5% of cases…

    But regardless, these people are still refugees, since even those that left in panic were fleeing the war and should have been given the right to return to their homes once the hostilities were over. In my opinion, Israel’s refusal to abide by the UN resolution 194 is the real Nakba: removals of population and refugees are indeed common in times of war – it is not letting those refugees return that is the anomaly.

    You might as well reconcile to it, NO Israeli gov’t is going to agree to implementation of the Palestinian Right of Return. People like you who keep insisting on it make peace much harder to achieve because you are encouraging the Arabs to hold out for something they are never going to get.

    No, I’ll be fine with whatever Israel and Palestinians agree upon and I don’t insist on this – I just highlight the fact that from a moral point of view the Palestinians definitely have this right. I agree that Full Right of Return will probably not be recognized, and it is also true that not all the Palestinians living in Diaspora are interested in returning. I am almost sure, however, that no peace will be achieved without a reparation agreement. Those eligible Palestinians that decide not to return would be entitled to compensation etc.

  24. Oops, the formatting of the previous comment went terribly wrong. The last quote from Wikipedia ends with “in only 5% of cases…”

  25. Tom,
    I understand what you are saying about the “common law”; however, note that YBD is not saying, “look, bad things happened, but it was a common law of the time”, rather, he says “it was a common law of the time” but denies that these were bad things! I was pressing him to accept the fact that from the moral point of view the expelled Palestinians have much better case to return to their homes than Jews who were or were not expelled from their homes millennia before that.
    Unfortunately, I am wasting my time because for Y Ben-David what is moral depends on your nationality and religion.

    I realize that the final pragmatic agreement between the two people – if ever reached – will be short of universal justice. But I disagree with the point of view that moral arguments should not bear on this final agreement. This is because a peace agreement that is not seen as just by both sides – not “absolutely just”, but “just enough” – will not hold. And for this to happen, the Israeli society needs to start to realize that what happened to the Palestinians in 1948 and ever since at our hands is indeed a huge injustice, a catastrophe, Nakba. This will make certain concession more politically feasible and peace more achievable. Unfortunately, very few people in Israel and Jews in general see the situation in this light. Partly, we are too accustomed in our mind to be the ultimate victims, so that admitting that we could cause great suffering to other people seems totally impossible. Partly, it’s racism and Jewish supremacism that is, unfortunately, too widespread among us (case study: Y. Ben-David). And, of course, admitting past crimes opens the door for demands of reparations, and who likes that?

    Regarding the strife for justice as opposed to peace, I recommend this post by Jerry Haber.

  26. “That said, Roman exile did not take place and this is not an Arab propaganda but a view shared by all serious historians today. As to the Arab “exile”, we discussed it above and I said that Israel uses much worse practices on the Palestinians.”

    Who is it that doesn’t believe that Jews were exiled from Israel by Romans?

    My understanding is that it did occur.

    “I realize that the final pragmatic agreement between the two people – if ever reached – will be short of universal justice. But I disagree with the point of view that moral arguments should not bear on this final agreement.”

    There are substantial moral arguments that support Zionist views.

    One aspect of the “they were always there” suggestion, is that no change is possible, that there is no possibility of accepting or making room for minorities that desire to continue to self-identify.

    In the coming centuries (as in the last), there have been large migrations. Certainly the prospect of global warming suggests that large numbers of distinct peoples will be forced to move. Those that continue to value their traditions and identity will want to preserve that. (Those that don’t care to, is their business.)

    If no room is afforded, then suppression of those that were victims to hurricanes, floods, drought, disease, will be permanent victims (rather than temporary).

    It conflicts with both the Palestinian “we were always here, noone else can be” and with the neo-orthodox “God gave this land ONLY to us”.

  27. Peter –
    You said:
    ———————————
    A further 2% was attributed to explicit expulsion orders issued by Israeli troops, and 1% to their psychological warfare.
    ———————————–
    Thank you for bringing proof that only a small minority were actually expelled at gunpoint. The fact that others left as a result of “Israeli military operations” is NOT “EXPULSION”. There were also Israeli military operations all over Judea/Samaria/Gaza in 1967 and few Arabs fled at the time. Thus, the refugees who left in 1948 as a result of “Israeli military operations” were NOT forced out, they left on their own volition, whether due to panic or just desire to get out of the way. Jews also were in areas where there were “Arab military operations”, some left, others didn’t. You don’t consider them refugees, do you.

    You are also unjustifiably using a few instances of groups using tactics to scare Jews in Arab countries to leave to try to claim that Arab Judeophobia, threats and murders served as the main reason for the Jews leaving (in addition to true Zionist/Jewish love of Eretz Israel) were not the primary source of Jewish flight from the Arab countries. I have heard a phony bomb scare was used in Baghdad by Israeli agents to encourage the Jews to leave in 1950, but everyone there had actual memories of the Farhud massacre of Jews in 1941, so the threat was still real. Don’t forget Saddam Hussein’s public hanging of several Jews in 1970.

    Richard-
    Yes, G-d gave the land only to us as our sovereing territory, but as you will note in the Bible, non-Jews did live in the country and had their rights recognized. The Balfour Declaration was given on this basis, and so you see even many non-Jews and atheists recognize this too, not just “Orthodox Jews”.

  28. Title and sovereignty are different.

    Modern sovereignty is based on the consent of the governed, not on transcendant decree.

    It doesn’t matter at all to me whether the migration of Arab Palestinians out of the warzone in 1947-48-49 was due to intented expulsion or do to voluntary moving out of a warzone.

    For two reasons.

    1. Any speculation on our part after the fact will be unreliable, AND that nearly certainly there were multiple causes, multiple intentions at play.

    2. Most importantly though, the FACT that Palestinians that had vacated land in 1947-48-49 were not permitted to return to Israel to assert their claims following the conflict, and that legislation was passed expropriating land that was abandoned, add up to a forced taking, not a voluntary renunciation.

    It is still unresolved.

  29. Y ben-David

    Thank you for bringing proof that only a small minority were actually expelled at gunpoint. The fact that others left as a result of “Israeli military operations” is NOT “EXPULSION”.

    Don’t be silly. When they bomb a city like they did with Jaffa or Haifa and people leave, then, yes, they did not literally leave at gunpoint, but you must be crazy not to admit they are refugees from a war. When Israel bombed South Lebanon people there left not technically at a gun-point, but, rather, at a missile- or bomb-point. That doesn’t make them any less “refugees” ( the same goes for Israelis leaving at “Katyusha-point”, of course.) Which part of ”at least 55% of the total of the exodus was caused by our (Haganah/IDF) operations” don’t you understand?
    And I repeat, there are refugees in times of war, that’s a given. Sometimes as a result of war-crimes, sometimes as natural consequences of war activity (see Uri Avnery’s testimony). Not letting these refugees return is the big issue here (Richard, I am glad we concur on this). You, however, won’t admit they are refugees, because they are Arabs, apparently.

    There were also Israeli military operations all over Judea/Samaria/Gaza in 1967 and few Arabs fled at the time.

    What are you smoking? In 1967 there were several hundred thousand Palestinian refugees, some displaced for a second time since 1948. Additionally, there were about 100,000 people forced out of the Golan Heights, their villages destroyed – a fact rarely remembered today.

    Jews also were in areas where there were “Arab military operations”, some left, others didn’t. You don’t consider them refugees, do you.

    Re-read (if you ever read it in the first place) my comment above: ”[…] the Palestinian expulsion of a much smaller number – no more than 10,000 – of Jews from Gush Etzion, Atarot, Neve Yaakov and the Gaza strip” Of course I consider then refugees. I, unlike you, strife to apply the same moral norms and definition to all races, nationalities and religions.

    You are also unjustifiably using a few instances of groups using tactics to scare Jews in Arab countries to leave to try to claim that Arab Judeophobia, threats and murders served as the main reason for the Jews leaving (in addition to true Zionist/Jewish love of Eretz Israel) were not the primary source of Jewish flight from the Arab countries.

    Tried to parse this sentence several times and I still don’t understand what you wanted to say. If you asked me whether without creation of the State of Israel the Jewish exodus from the Arab countries would happen, then my answer is: why would it? They lived there for centuries. Of course it was the wave of, as you call it, Judeophobia, brought about by the creation of the State of Israel, the tragedy of Nakba and, apparently, the sabotage and terror activities of Israel in these Arab countries (specifically designed to incite the anti-Semitism) that created the problem of the Jewish refugees from the Arab countries. Do I justify the pogroms, animosity, economic and other measures that forced many Jews to flee? No, I don’t.

    I have heard a phony bomb scare was used in Baghdad by Israeli agents to encourage the Jews to leave in 1950, but everyone there had actual memories of the Farhud massacre of Jews in 1941, so the threat was still real

    Pogroms and massacres of Jews happened in many places throughout the centuries, so, the Arab world was not an exception. If anything, there were less such events in the Arab and Muslim world than in the Christian world. However, for most part, these pogroms did not produce mass exoduses of Jews.

    Richard

    RE: the Roman exile, read, , for example, for a good discussion.

  30. In the comment above, the paragraph starting with “You are also unjustifiably using” and ending with “were not the primary source of Jewish flight from the Arab countries” is a quote from Y Ben-David’s comment.
    I wish there were a preview button, to prevent bad formatting. Sorry about that.

  31. Peter D,
    The Magnes Zionist referred article did not in any way prove your point. It merely stated that what many people believe might not have happened.

    Your exageration of that into “everyone knows”, is a false one, a replacement of one faith for political purposes over another stated as invalid because it later served political purposes.

    So doubt away if you like, just don’t equate doubting with knowing.

    That the reason that Palestinians left/removed from land as little as 60 years ago is indeterminable now (in fact), suggests to me that ANY assertion as to why Jews left then Palestina 2000 years ago would remain a much grander speculation.

    Don’t let political purpose create your “facts”.

    Arguing about whom is the greater victim or how, is off the point. It accomplishes no improvement to Israeli or Palestinian welfare. It does not accomplish the perfection of title of reasonably contested SPECIFIC land claims. It doesn’t serve to clarify the borders nor relationships between states and peoples.

    I actually don’t concur that “letting the refugees return” is the big issue. I think it is an odd issue as the specific land itself is now a home to current residents and to force people off their homes is not a remedy but only a pendulum swing of harm. If in most cases individual Palestinians were not able to return to a past reality, or to their prior titled land practically, then the right of return accords only the right emigrate to a political jurisdiction. What is the point of that right?

    Why would a grandchild of a former resident of a non-existent Arab village seek to reside in a slum near a new Jewish dominated commercial and cultural town? Wouldn’t that be just an expression of anger made permanent, and a permanent real problem?

    The only solution that would suggest to me that a right of return would be plausible (rather than a breeder of resentment) would be to establish some new healthy Arab towns within Israel, for the newly Israeli citizens.

    “They are refugees”. A grandchild of a refugee in Lebanon is only a refugee because the Lebanese won’t offer those born on Lebanese soil, citizenship. Palestinian residents of Jordan are Jordanian citizens, simply. Even Palestinian residents of most of the West Bank are allowed to travel under Jordanian passports and receive many benefits afforded to Jordanians.

    I get the rhetoric, but at some point a piece of ice melting in your mouth is more cool water than ice.

    A more important effort would be to help them become healthy individuals and communities, rather than permanent refugees, and permanently angry.

    The right of return, and orchestrated through agitation, is not the only path to that.

    Israel has an obligation to restore to health what it caused or allowed to deteriorate. But, not to return to a past, which is now no more, literally.

    A “justice” that is only punitive, is not as much “justice” as one that it is restorative.

  32. Richard, real quick, I said “for example”, and you are welcome to search for more evidence to my assertion. You might also note that the MAgnes Zionist referred to an academic article by Yisrael Yuval and you’re welcome to check it out, if you can lay your hands on it. Jerry himself is a professor of Jewish studies and if you follow his blog a little bit I’m sure you’ll come to trust him and his assertions. He wouldn’t say “To this day, most lay people, Jews and non-Jews, accept the myth of the exile, whereas no historian, Jew or non-Jew, takes it seriously” lightly. I don’t have time now to supply more links, but from my bookmarks, here is another one, for example, from Prof. Israel Bartal, the “dean of the humanities faculty of the Hebrew University”, almost literally supporting Haber’s words:

    Although the myth of an exile from the Jewish homeland (Palestine) does exist in popular Israeli culture, it is negligible in serious Jewish historical discussions. Important groups in the Jewish national movement expressed reservations regarding this myth or denied it completely.

    BTW, Bartal’s article is a critique of a recent Shlomo Sand book “When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?”, which also talks about the Roman exile as a myth. However, Bartal obviously does not dispute that assertion, but rather “the assertion, according to which an entire chapter in Jewish history was deliberately silenced for political reasons”.
    I think I brought quite enough evidence to support my claim, You might also want to ask yourself what is the source of your knowledge about the Roman exile. Did you read about it in any serious and not outdated historical book? Or is it just something that you, like many others, just always heard and never questioned the validity of?
    I also repeat that this is not really important to me in the context of our treatment of the Palestiinians. Exiled or not, we behaved and continue to behave badly towards them.
    With the second part of your comment I mostly agree. I will try to post a more detailed reply later, short on time right now.

  33. “So doubt away if you like, just don’t equate doubting with knowing.”

    I don’t have specific assumptions about the Roman exile.

    My sense is that Jews have both voluntarily migrated, been persecuted and opted to leave as a result of gradual pressure AND periodically been directly forced to leave nearly all communities in which they lived.

    The fact that there is a diaspora of self-identified Jews throughout the world is enough. We are a people. However we came to understand how we became a people is enough.

    For example, on Passover, there is a founding story of slavery, redemption, migration, emigration, physical struggle.

    It doesn’t matter to me if that is literally true as we repeat annually.

    It is now a founding reference, a river that runs through us, with literal, figurative, and prayerful meaning.

    We are Jews, and through story and prayer have an affinity with the land Israel, as well as the figurative and more mystical meanings (that serve as the same solid ground as physical land in ways).

  34. I unforunately wrote:
    ——————————————
    You are also unjustifiably using a few instances of groups using tactics to scare Jews in Arab countries to leave to try to claim that Arab Judeophobia, threats and murders served as the main reason for the Jews leaving (in addition to true Zionist/Jewish love of Eretz Israel) were not the primary source of Jewish flight from the Arab countries.

    ———————————————–

    Obviously I fouled up. What I meant to say was the whereas there were some instances of “provocations” by pro-Israel agents to try to scare local Jewish populations in Arab countries to leave, there was enough reason to fear outbreaks of real violence, such as the Farhud in Baghdad, and the anti-Jewish riots in Aleppo, Syria to give the Jews reason to leave.

  35. Richard, I return to your post above:

    I actually don’t concur that “letting the refugees return” is the big issue. I think it is an odd issue as the specific land itself is now a home to current residents and to force people off their homes is not a remedy but only a pendulum swing of harm. If in most cases individual Palestinians were not able to return to a past reality, or to their prior titled land practically, then the right of return accords only the right emigrate to a political jurisdiction. What is the point of that right?

    It is a huge issue because millions of people still live as refugees and despite all our desire for them to forget and reconcile with that fact are apparently patient enough for wait for their return. It is a huge issue because we managed to convince ourselves of our righteousness, while committing some of the worst injustices towards the Palestinians; this, in turn, made us even more blind to the continuing and worsening things we keep inflicting upon them, as well as reluctant to consider that for the just peace to be possible it is necessary to rectify at least to some extent the injustices of the past. The more I examine the history – that is, the true history, not the version I was taught in school in Israel – the more I doubt that creating of the State of Israel was the best thing to happen given the situation; maybe those lone – too prophetic and thus misunderstood – voices that called for a bi-national state back then were right…
    Now, while the Palestinians will not be able to return to their past, there is still a lot that can be done: in Haifa, for example, a whole Arab neighborhood of Wadi Salib lies in ruins (it was a home to Mizrahi Jews whom the state put in the abandoned Arab houses and a scene to the notorious riots of 1959 against the discrimination and neglect of Mizrahi Jews at the hands of the state) – it could be restored and resettled with Palestinian refugees. There are ruins of Arab villages all over the place – why not let people return and rebuild them? You make it sound as if the return of the Palestinian refugees automatically translates into displacement of the current Jewish population – but this is a red herring. Nobody talks of that; the refugees should be given lands and houses; when possible, the original ones, when not – new ones. By the way, Ghassan Kanafani – a Palestinian writer assassinated by Israel for his involvement in the PFLP – wrote a book “Return to Haifa” in which a family of Palestinian refugees returns to Haifa to find a family of Jewish refugees from the Holocaust living in their house; the author with his characters does not call the expulsion of the current inhabitants. This was back in 1970!
    So, when you ask “what is the point of this right?” the answer is: “because this is what the victims want and they are entitled to justice”.

    Why would a grandchild of a former resident of a non-existent Arab village seek to reside in a slum near a new Jewish dominated commercial and cultural town? Wouldn’t that be just an expression of anger made permanent, and a permanent real problem?

    A red herring again. If the solution is to put the refugees in slums, then this is not a solution indeed. The real solution is to create infrastructure – housing, economic, educational, employment – geared towards accepting the most urgent cases of the refugees with the goal of expanding it eventually to the maximal possible number of eligible persons. Just like the Department of Absorption for the Jewish olim.

    The only solution that would suggest to me that a right of return would be plausible (rather than a breeder of resentment) would be to establish some new healthy Arab towns within Israel, for the newly Israeli citizens.

    Bingo! What made you believe I wouldn’t be for that in the first place?

    A grandchild of a refugee in Lebanon is only a refugee because the Lebanese won’t offer those born on Lebanese soil, citizenship. Palestinian residents of Jordan are Jordanian citizens, simply. Even Palestinian residents of most of the West Bank are allowed to travel under Jordanian passports and receive many benefits afforded to Jordanians.

    While I in no way justify the treatment of the Palestinian refugees at the hands of their Arab brethren (with some exceptions, Saddam’s Iraq being one), this is not our business. We, as the party responsible for the crime, cannot hide behind injustices done to our victims by others. Imagine, Richard, that somebody came to your mother’s house, kicked her out on the street and took her house. While you’d be considered cruel and inhuman if you did not take your mother in or, say, put her to live in your cellar while waiting for her original property rights to be restored, it doesn’t change the fact that whoever kicked her out of her home in the first place needs to be brought to justice.
    Being a “rootless cosmopolitan” myself, I am also amazed and somewhat awed at the Palestinians attachment to their land, hearing stories of generations of Palestinians passing along keys to their nonexistent bustans and houses. And it pains and disgusts me that the same people that say that the settler Jews coming from USA or Russia are so attached to Eretz Yisrael that they cannot live nowhere but the territories, contemptuously dismiss this attachment as a political gimmick born out not out of genuine desire of the Palestinians to return to their former land but out of some transcendent desire to spite the Jews, to “spoil it” for us (Y. Ben-David, I am talking to you too here).
    Finally, I will quote Aryeh Amihay from his thoughtful blog “Mostly on Israel” :

    The solution must be the fruit of a value-based recognition, a conscious choice not to withhold basic human rights of groups of people by the state. A solution must include not only the end of occupation, but also the foundations of rehabilitation of civilian Palestinian society, in recognition of Israel’s responsibility to the current situation. The notion that any agreement, regardless of its contents and details, is good, bears severe consequences, including the disastrous results of the Oslo Accords, evident to this day. Focusing the discussion on the military control and the separation of the nations while ignoring issues of society, economy, culture and education implies the perpetuation of the situation as it is. To be sure, it is convenient for Israeli society to have beside it a Palestinian society that cannot pose a match for its technological superiority. I would not be surprised to learn that military and defense experts in Israel consider Palestinian Higher Education a military threat on Israel, since knowledge can be easily diverted for military purposes (as Israelis know all too well). But a serious effort for true peace must include in it an endeavor for literacy and a higher level of education in the population as a whole.

    Education is a huge issue, and that is why the recent stories of Israel shutting down any ways for the young Palestinians to escape their miserable existence in pursuit of education to the US are some troubling and serve as proofs that those that call the shots in Israel are not really interested in any peaceful of just resolution.

  36. To the extent you are committed to a “justice” that emphasizes restoration of the health of Palestinian communities, rather than a “justice” that emphasizes punishment for Zionists for desiring to survive and self-govern, we are allies (more than accepting).

    To the extent that your proposed remedy is punitive in orientation rather than restorative, we are opponents.

    The habit of the left and the left/right is to avoid the responsibility to propose healing, and ONLY complain. Its a negligence, and because the political attitudes and “stands” harbor a negligence, ends up harmful and mean.

  37. Richard and Peter D-
    You both missed the point. The point is NOT “restoring healthy Palestinian communities”. That is not their goal now. They will tell that that can’t happen as long as Israel exists. PERIOD. They can not accept the existence of a Jewish state. They say so. If you ignore this, then you will spend your time spinning your wheels on useless arguments that lead no where.

    You think Jews and Arabs could live in peace together in a unitary state? Tell me, how are the Palestinians doing themselves (I mean how well run and peaceful are the territories they now control)? Okay, you want to say “you can’t expect the Palestinians to have a normal civil society because Israel is nearby”. Then answer the following: How are Algerians doing themselves? How are Lebanese doing themselves? How are Iraqis doing themselves? How are Christian minorites doing in Muslim majority societies where everyone identifies himself as an “Arab”?
    Weren’t the Jews and Palestinians together in a unitary state before 1948? How did that work out?
    Was there an alternative to partition?

    Although the Israeli Left and later the Right has crossed red line after red line in making concessions to the Arabs, they will never be able to accept the Arab demand for large-scale implementation of the Palestinian “right of return”. I believe the whole “peace process” will fall on that issue, not the territorial one. That is the reality of the situation.

  38. “They will tell that that can’t happen as long as Israel exists. PERIOD. ”

    There you are wrong. Some do and some don’t. You have to make the effort to actually find out, rather than continuing to generalize if you want your politics to be humane.

    Don’t confuse me with Peter.

    I agree with you as to the unlikelihood (near impossibility) of peace in a single state, and consider partition a far more democratic approach than a single state.

    So, in that you are agreeing that the concept of “Greater Israel” is dead. Thank you.

    The next question is what is peace and what is justice that results in peace?

    1. Mutual acceptance
    2. Restoration of the rule of law in each community including legal (rather than religious decree) basis of title to individual property. Achieved through perfecting title mostly by compensation, but again, NOT by decree.
    3. Assistance with the commitment to health.

  39. Richard-
    I am not sure what the concept of “Greater Israel” means, but when you state that “if I admit that the concept of Greater Israel is dead”, I can not agree with you. As I have stated previously, according to the Oslo Agreements, large areas of Judea/Samaria are off limits to Jewish settlement. That is a fact. However, other areas are not off-limits, and I support the continued building of Jewish communities there, as indeed is occurring now.
    I have also stated that I believe that should Assad, Abbas, and Kings Abdallah of Jordan and Saudi Arabia were to carry out a Sadat-like visit to Jerusalem and state that they are willing to make full peace in return for a complete return to the pre-67 lines and add that they are willing to completely drop the demand for the Palestinian “right of return”, NO Israeli goverment, even one of the Likud-Right would be able to refuse. However, this will not happen, because the Arabs will not agree to make peace on those terms. This means the current situation will continue indefinitely, and Jewish settlement and development will continue both in pre-67 Israel and in Judea/Samaria where it is possible. There are no perfect solutions for the future. I have faith that if Israel does what I said, the Arabs will eventually (I don’t know when), give up their attempts to eradicate Israel becuase they will realize Israel is too strong and that the ideologies, both secular Pan-Arabism and now Islamist Fundamentalism have led them to dead ends and they will finally turn to developing their own countries and stop trying to wipe out Israel. There will be peace only if Israel continues to build settlements and refuses to make territorial concessions, while working to strengthen the Jordanian-Israel Condominium that will eventually arise in Judea/Samaria. This will also turn the refugee problem, which today the Arabs view as political weapon, which is inherently insoluble, to a humanitarian which is .

  40. Sorry-I meant to say that the Arabs will eventually realize that the Pan-Arabist and Islamist-Fundamentalist ideologies that have entranced them for decades are dead ends and have failed them.

  41. Y Ben David,
    Are you Sarah Palin, and don’t know what the “Bush doctrine” is. Greater Israel is the concept that the land from the river to sea is Israel, or further, given by God to the heirs of Abraham.

    Abdullah has already treatied with Israel and demands and threatens nothing. You should read, please.

    A limited right of return is not a disaster for Israel.

    The only disaster is encouragement of the fanatics on both sides, rather than encouragement of the moderates.

  42. Richard-ANY recognition of a Palestinian “Right of Return” is a disaster for Israel, because it means Israel is acknowledging that that creation of Israel was a crime, even though it was the Arabs who started the war. Yes, Yossi Beilin and other “progressives” have tentatively pushed getting Israel to accept it, their argument is that “its only words, it will stroke the Arab’s ego if we accept it”, but they know full well that that is not true, and that it would open a real Pandora’s box to endless demands against Israel. I don’t believe any gov’t could accept it.

    I mentioned King Abdallah of Jordan in this mythical delegation of Arab leaders to the Knesset not because he really has any real influence in the conflict, but because he is respected in Israel for keeping the border quiet, so his presence would appear to strengthen the “peaceful” image of the group of Arab leaders.

  43. It acknowledges that it was war, and that it is no longer war.

    The big events subsequent to the war were the large laws passed in the early 50’s, prohibiting return to the former warzone, and then siezing abandoned lands.

    It denied the former residents their day in court, and that status remains.

    Thats a question of property, not of sovereignty nor of current right to return.

    But, if a court determined that the removal was aggregious enough to warrant removal of current residents as the most benign remedy, then those individuals or heirs should be able to reside on land that a court determines that they own.

    Most cases would not result in forced removal of current residents, as more harm than good would result, and instead choose compensatory remedies.

    If I physically fight with someone attacking my wife, and in that defense, I harm them more than is necessary, I have done a wrong, and should at least apologize, and restore their health.

    I think what you are describing Y Ben David is the fear that you and Israel feels to even inquire into, “did I harm unnecessarily, even in the midst of just defense?”

    And, if you find that you did wrong, or that you are the beneficiary of another doing some wrong, then the best thing to do before God is to acknowledge it yourself, and make it right with the person wronged.

    The least that will happen, is that they will see that you are attempting to make things right, and likely be willing to work some things out, more than incidentally.

    Maybe they’ll be contrite about being the prospective beneficiary of a wrong as well.

    Denial stops that process.

    You don’t have to worry about the objective word “crime” (with the threat of judicial punishment), as distinct from the word “wrong” (with only a relationship to work out).

  44. Richard,

    I think you touched upon something I’ve been meaning to articulate.

    Perhaps why much of the criticism from the left is such a turn-off is that it’s all too often rooted in punitive justice as opposed to restorative justice. Or maybe just punitive period.

  45. Richard-
    What we are doing here is negotiating above the heads of the Palestinians. You are not taking into account how they see things and what they really want. You are talking about “righting a wrong” (something I don’t agree with) and not “admitting a crime”. BUT THAT IS HOW THE PALESTINIANS VIEW IT. If we accept the “Right of Return” we are admitting a crime AS THEY SEE IT and we are opening ourselves to endless demands. This is because they don’t view the refugee issue as a “humanitarian problem” as you do, they view it as a political weapon, and will use it as such if we give them the opportunity.

  46. How do you know how “they” see it?

    I’ve spoken to many Palestinians (leaders, negotiators) that do not speak in those black/white terms.

    They do speak of conciliation with those that sincerely desire to reconcile. They rationally don’t want to make fundamental compromise with those that have harmed them and feel no sincere acknowledgement of even reluctant harms.

    It is YOU who are not conducting the self-inquiry. You are not even inquiring privately to determine if you are a beneficiary of a wrong, or even of a condition.

    This is the time. Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur. This is not the time for blinders and worry about who will hear you.

    Do it privately, but really inquire. Its necessary.

  47. Richard-
    Whom have you spoken to? Are you aware that what they tell you is not necessarily tell their own people? They are trying to get something out of you, so they tell you things you want to hear. That is the nature of politicians. They are in a war and part of their war is to undermine the enemy side with false promises. Now, if you could show me that in their own internal propaganda they were telling their own people that it was time to stop the war, and as much as they might not like Israel, they have to live in peace with us, that would be different. But “moderate” Abbas tells his people each “Naqba day” that the creation of Israel was the “worst crime in human history”. Someone who keeps harping on that theme is not going to turn around and make “traitorous” concessions to that same enemy.

  48. “They are trying to get something out of you, so they tell you things you want to hear.”

    Of course. But that statement says more about you than it does about me.

    It says that you cannot distinguish light grey from dark gray, or a light rain from a hurricane.

    Abbas has ALREADY made the primary “traitorous” concession. That is to negotiate face to face as peers, to sign agreements, to cooperate with Israeli intelligence (limited to areas of mutual responsibility), to formally recognize Israel.

    Its already done. Your distrust is a sliver of what has already occurred.

    Again. Take the opportunity of your prayer-life (private) to inquire of your own character and attitudes. And, actually research what has occurred, so that you know.

    Religion should be an appeal to conscience and the best of what we are, not an exercise in rationalization and conformity.

  49. Arafat did all the “moderate” things you attribute to Abbas. Where did that lead to? Death and destruction on a massive scale, far worse than what had happened during the pre-Oslo Israeli occupation period in Judea/Samaria/Gaza.
    Even Shimon Peres, in a internet question and answser period, admitted a couple of years ago that Arafat had no intention of reaching a peace agreement in spite of “face-to-face negotiations, recognition of Israel, etc, etc”. Of course things can change, but the change is going to have to come from the Arab side and they are going to have to tell their own people that times have changed. This has not happened yet.

  50. Y Ben-David,
    You were stating that Abbas does not want peace at all. Now you are saying accurately, that he will not accept what Israel is currently offering.

    Abbas is one prominent leader within Fatah and the PA, that sincerely rejected armed struggle in favor of negotiation and convincing, rather than forcing.

    I find that approach principled, laudable, post-war.

    I also regard his backbone as worthy of respect, not of condemnation.

    Each of the features articulated, Israel could accept. None of them result in the catastrophe of a single state, in which Jews are either harshly dominating (over 49%) nor dominated (by 51%).

    I would state the acknowledgement of the equivalent of the right of return in different language, as I’ve stated.

    That the important process is to accomplish two distinct things that are each within earshot:

    1. Establish SOVEREIGNTY of Palestine, and clarity of Israel’s borders, at approximately the 67 borders (adjustments only by genuine mutual consent. (I assume that Israel will only consent to Israeli sovereignty over the Wailing Wall and Jewish majority portions of Jerusalem).

    2. Establish court adjudicated protocols for the perfection of title to ALL individual title claims on either side of the green line, emphasizing the principle of preserving current homeownership over forced removal.

    In this way, the right of return is acknowledged in a way likely satisfactory to the vast majority of Palestinians, the assertion of Israel functioning under rule of law is confidently established, and the weight of dissent shifts to isolate terror and other fanatics, rather than condemn Israel.

  51. No, I stand by what I said. Abbas does not want peace at all. However, due to his dependence on American and EU handouts he has to go through the motions of conducting negotiations with Israel, just as Assad is doing. Both are rewarded handsomely for their theatrical performances. Why should they endanger themselves by making concessions when they are rewarded for just showing up and marking time?

    What you claim is “satisfactory” for the Palestinians is your own opinion. You are again doing what I said above, you are negotiating for them in their name, assuming that since you are a reasonable person who wants peace, they must be also.

  52. They have a political maze that they negotiate, same as Israelis.

    You’ve only restated your distrust, but nothing that supports that that distrust is anything but itself talking to itself.

    Everything stated here is my opinion. I am not the controller of the universe.

    Egypt is rewarded by the US. Palestine is not yet. Assad is not yet.

    If they sign a treaty, they will be likely to, if the US has any money, time, or anything to commit.

    For strictly security reasons, the maze of settlement blocs for example is a FAR LESS defensible boundary than the green line. Both are vulnerable.

    The only secure region would be either:

    1. An island
    2. A country with diplomatic relations and at an attempt at least to be at peace with its neighbors.

    Even the rectangle of Greater Israel from sea to river, still borders an intimate Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and a condemning Europe.

  53. Richard-The Palestinians TODAY receive money from the US and EU. Assad has gotten international recognition for his pals’ HIZBULLAH coup in Lebanon and is now a respected “international statesman” which he wasn’t before Israel agreed to negotiate with him.

  54. Richard-I forgot to add that the majority of the operating budget of the Palestinian Authority comes from handouts from the Europeans and the US. Each year they warn the Palestinians that this can’t go on for ever and that they had better start collecting taxes and putting their budget in order, and each year the Palestinians refuse to do these things and then say “if you reduce your handouts then HAMAS will take over” and the EU and US continue paying their dhimmi tax, or “protection money” if you prefer. The Palestinians really have them over a barrel. This is the same game Dexter Filkins wrote about in his article about Pakistan..they set up a terrorist organization (in their case, the Taliban) and then tell the Americans that they had better give them billions of dollars to “fight” the organization they themselves created. Mubarak also uses the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt the same way to blackmail the Americans. Interestingly enough, the Palestinians’ “brother” Arabs refuse to give them money…after all, why should they…make the dhimmis pay up!

  55. Whats the point of that “reasoning”?

    You claimed that you “knew” that Abbas was not sincerely pursuing peace and the establishment of two states, each a good neighbor to a good neighbor.

    I claim that you don’t know that in the slightest, that you have suspicions, distrust, but not knowledge.

    When a state, they will have the real-life test. Its necessary for the Palestinians to have a real-life home, real-life economy, real-life human dignity.

    Same as you require.

    It is the responsibility of the Israeli government to ensure that Israeli civilians are safe (all Israeli civilians).

    It is contrary to the responsibility of the Israeli government, that that be accomplished by oppression of another community (and pass laws, frequent roadblocks, prohibition from travel, annexation of lands, blind eye to violence on Palestinian civilians is an oppression, beyond a necessary evil).

    Use your God-given skill at imagination and negotiation to do right, rather than to rationalize habitual wrong.

    If having done your absolute best to negotiate a fair and just outcome, you rationally conclude that it is impossible (not just doubted), then maybe you’ll have a point.

    You haven’t shown that to me yet.

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