Abbas’ Demands


Not coming any time soon to a Texas Hold 'em Poker Tournament near you!

Not coming any time soon to a Texas Hold 'em Poker Tournament near you!

During a speech in Baghdad, “Palestinian” President Mahmoud Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen) stated that in order for negotiations to continue between his government and Israel, Israel’s new government would have to “accept the creation of a Palestinian state, stop construction in West Bank Israeli settlements and remove army roadblocks crippling life in the West Bank so that we can resume dialogue in order to reach a political solution.” This statement, at first glance, appears more than reasonable. After all, why should he try to engage with people who don’t recognize his “people’s” right to statehood, and are attempting to undermine that statehood. However, on closer examination, this statement is practically laughable.

First, the crippling of the West Bank has less to do with roadblocks than with a lack of economy. While a part of the poor economy can be blamed on Israeli security measures, such as roadblocks and checkpoints, and an additional part can be blamed on competition from other Arab states (after all, how different are the goods produced in Gaza City from those in Cairo, or those in the West Bank from those in the East Bank), the far larger part is that of the “Palestinians.” P.A. laws are not written in a way which secure property rights, thereby going against the Coase Theorem, and preventing investment. Think about it, would you invest somewhere where you weren’t sure the government or some other strongman would one day just claim it for their own, and you would have little or no legal recompense to get it back. Moreover, with low education, even minor innovations, such as the use of newer tractors or agricultural techniques are not implementable. Furthermore, regardless of whether you think there is an inherent right in armed militias in the “Palestinian territories,” there nonetheless exists a situation in which a manufacturer cannot be certain that his (and this is not meant to be non-politically correct, but realistically, I have yet to have read a report about a female manufacturer in the West Bank) goods will even make it to market, forget in a timely manner.

Second, why would the Israeli government want to stop building settlements when they are a useful bargaining chip? If he wants settlements dismantled, or wants them to stop being built, he should be negotiating for it. Now, I’m not saying that its right for Israel to keep constructing settlements, but frankly, its strategically smart for the Israeli government to keep building, so as to put pressure on the “Palestinians” and bring them to the negotiating table. It’s not as though terrorist attacks aren’t occurring and that Israel is simply ignoring a large population. With each new settlement or settlement expansion, the message is: talk to us now, for in a few years, there will be little or nothing to talk about. In essence, it is establishing an “Iron Wall.”

Third, regardless of whether it is fair, “Palestinians” are not in the position to be issuing demands. If the Israeli government chooses to, and can find a country which will take them, the government could, though illegally**, to transfer the entire Arab population of the West Bank, thereby removing the whole question of “Palestinian” statehood in the regions of Judea and Samaria. While I am not advocating such an action, it seems to me that the Abbas should be trying to convince Israel to talk to him and to help establish his state, rather than leave his people at risk of not having one. That is, of course, if his goal is the establishment of a Palestinian state, something of which this author is not so sure.

 

**Thanks to P.J. for pointing out that I had misremembered the Geneva Convention! :)

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92 Comments

  1. P.J.

    4/7/2009 at 12:55 am

    “If the Israeli government chooses to, and can find a country which will take them, the government has every right, under the Geneva Convention, to transfer the entire Arab population of the West Bank, thereby removing the whole question of “Palestinian” statehood in the regions of Judea and Samaria.”

    Leaving aside the many, many other objectionable things about this post, what the hell are you talking about? Which Geneva Convention allows for transfer? Certainly not the Fourth, which explicitly prohibits mass deportation. You can’t just say stuff that’s demonstrably false, dahlia.

  2. Tom Morrissey

    4/7/2009 at 3:32 am

    Settlement construction is bringing Palestinians to the bargaining table? And the evidence for this is…. The rockets raining down on Sderot?

    A policy of settlement-building with a threat of mass deportations would do little more than morally justify violent resistance.

  3. Karim

    4/7/2009 at 4:05 am

    The most interesting news on your page was what to wear in hot summer nights NIGHT MOVES american apparel,
    Go see Vals Im Bashir you might learn something, but then again people like you always see it the way you want to…

  4. dahlia

    4/7/2009 at 4:07 am

    P.J.: “Nevertheless, the Occupying Power may undertake total or partial evacuation of a given area if the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand.” That is from the Fourth Geneva Convention. I think it can be argued fairly well that this principle could apply here. Once again, I’m not advocating it, but merely stating that it exists.

    Tom Morrisey: If you wish to use Sderot as an example, I believe it should be noted that in 1994 Israel withdrew from Gaza, with the exception of the Gush Katif, from which Israel withdrew in 2005. So, should we take form this that the dismantling of/withdrawing from settlements, also, causes rocket attacks?

    Also, when did I advocate that? I’m not. I’m simply pointing out that I think its ridiculous that Abbas is making demands and saying that he’ll refuse to negotiate if they are not met, given that it is far more in his interest that negotiations continue, than in Israel’s, assuming that his goal is a Palestinian State, and not simply the destruction of the State of Israel.

  5. dahlia

    4/7/2009 at 4:11 am

    Karim: I have many friends who were in Lebanon (I even know some Lebanese who were living in the country at the period in which Israel was there). I am quite familiar with their stories. Moreover, as someone who studied Middle East Studies as one of my majors during undergrad, I am, also, familiar with the entire history of Lebanon. However, I’m not sure of the relevence of the PLO using Southern Lebanon as a launching pad for attacks against Israel, and Israel’s subsequent response, with the help of the Phalanage (though frankly, it would have been more effective had they approached the Shia population, as the Shia suffered from the PLO’s tactics as well), to a discussion of the West Bank and Mahmoud Abbas.

  6. Tom Morrissey

    4/7/2009 at 4:43 am

    Dahlia, your proposed alternatives are sheer fantasy for a variety of reasons, including a lack of will on the Israeli right. And if you think the correlation of forces, as the Soviets used to say, weighs in favor of Israel at the moment, you may be alone in that judgment. The Obama adminstration has and will support every one of Abbas’s demands. Abbas has plenty of leverage, and the Palestinian resistance has never been stronger.

  7. Pingback: Topics about Education » Jewlicious: Abbas’ Demands

  8. Elijah

    4/7/2009 at 6:09 am

    I can see where the opening of the borders into Israel would stop the rockets because not so long ago when the borders were open for the palestinians to work and trade in Israel that there wasn’t any rockets, because they could suicide bomb the Israeli women and children, killing and maiming far more effectively than just blowing up the dirt oround sederot:
    BUT WAIT THATS WHY ISRAEL SEALED THE BORDERS IN THE FIRST, THAT MUST MEAN THE PALESTIANS HAVE SHOWN THAT THEY WANT TO KILL ISRAELIS WITH OR WITHOUT THE BORDERS CLOSED.
    SOOOO’ THEY ARE NOT NEGOTIATING OPENING THE BORDERS FOR PEACE BUT TO MORE EFFECTIVELY MURDER AN INNOCENT POPULACE.
    THE PALESTIANS CAN TWIST THE TRUTH WITH THEIR SPEACHS AND PROPAGANDA ALL THEY LIKE BUT THEIR ACTIONS ARE A MATTER OF FACTS RECORDED IN HISTORY FOR ALL TO SEE.

  9. elixelx

    4/7/2009 at 6:34 am

    Wasn’t it the execrable and now-mercifully-dead-and resting-in-pieces Rantissi who once said that if Israel gave back the Golan heights; returned to the 1948 ceasefire lines; destroyed it´s conventional and nuclear weapons; sent back to their own countries all the Israelis who were not there before 1948; returned Jerusalem to the Palestinians; denied the right of return for Diaspora Jews; stopped calling Israel a Jewish State; and, Whew! paid reparations amounting to 6Trillion British Pounds (no devalued dollars, thank you!) that then, AND ONLY THEN would Hamas seriously consider talking peace to Israel!
    When I heard that I said “Dead Man Talking!” and within days he was the late Abdel Rantissi….
    So Mr. Abbas better watch out what he demands, lest he not live long enough to see his speeches in print!

  10. xisnotx

    4/7/2009 at 6:36 am

    Dahlia, check out:

    World Bank Says Israeli Restrictions Stifle Palestinian Economy
    voanews.com/en...

  11. dahlia

    4/7/2009 at 7:23 am

    xistnotx: I’m familiar with the concept… however, as an undergraduate I was a research assistant to a professor who was researching movement and access in the West Bank and its implications on the Palestinian economy. Form the pure economics the clear conclusions where the ones I wrote above. No raod blocks would clearly increase the Palestinian economy. No one can reasonably argue against that; roadblocks make transporting goods take longer and increase unpredictability. However, this really is a secondary issue. The real issue is that there is very little industry in the West Bank. If you look at the data form the PCBS (Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics), you’ll find very little industry, a mostly rural/agricultural economy, and an economy in which most businesses have less than 4 employees, the majority being single individual firms.

  12. dahlia

    4/7/2009 at 7:24 am

    Tom Morrissey: perhaps you are correct; i shall give your point some thought.

  13. Elijah

    4/7/2009 at 7:42 am

    First of all it isn’t the Israeli’s who suicide bombed themselves into separation of peoples and economies, IT WAS THE “PEACE SEEKING” MURDERERS (palestinians) who brought this on themselves, actions for which they refuse to renounce until Israel is annihilated regardless of the borders, land, or anything else. THERE IS NO INTELLIGENT “PROFESSOR EDUCATED” SELF EXULTING TWISTED ARGUMENTS THAT CAN CHANGE THE hamas STATED AND AFFIRMED GOAL OF DRIVING ISRAEL INTO THE SEA AND NOT STOPPING UNTIL THAT IS ACHIEVED. SAY WHAT YOU WANT FROM YOUR COLLEGE CESSPOOL LECTURNS SO CALL EDUCATION, THE UNDENIABLE AND UNCONTESTED FACT IS THAT IT IS THE palestinians who have the INSATIABLE appetite for blood, even their own children’s.

  14. larry pryor

    4/7/2009 at 7:46 am

    Apartheid is the operative word here. The Israeli violently seized the land that they claim as their “homeland”. They acquired it by massacring innocent palestinian people and terrorizing the rest of the population into flight. Once they had cleared a significant portion of the land of non Jews they used massive amounts of European money to build a powerful modern conventional army. They used this army to expand their territory with more terror and violence. Their goal is a racially pure “homeland” where Jews would have extensive rights over all other people in the region.

    To this end they have an ongoing campaign of concentrating the Palestinian population in strategic areas or camps in other words concentration camps. Occasionally the prisoners in these camps are able to strike out at their captors with whatever primitive means is available. When this happens the Israeli sysyematically slaughter hundreds of men women and children as a “warning”. They also blow up sewer systems, schools, hospitals, administrative buildings and ambulances.

    In the most recent terror attack they used phosphorus napalm like weapons. When these weapons explode in the air over its victims it rains down burning pieces of phosphorus. When these land on a child or a man they burn down to the bone consuming flesh. There is no way to stop it. The Israeli used these horrific weapons in congested civilian areas guarranteeing that civilians would be killed. They did this as a sign of the contempt that they have for the world community. The world community should return the favor.

    No amount of Jewish racism can cover the stink of this up. Judaism is being radically transformed into Judeofascism. The perfect compliment to Hamas and Islamofascism.
    A curse on both your houses.

  15. Elijah

    4/7/2009 at 7:58 am

    The Jewish State goes back to the time of ABRAHAM where GOD ALMIGHTY (not some satanic sent “allah”) Then the country was call the land of Canaan NOT Palestine, which comes from philistine which NEVER had ANY claim to the Holy Land, IT WAS ONLY AFTER THE ISRAELIS WERE CONQUERED BY THE ROMANS AND DRIVEN TO THE FAR REACHES OF THE GLOBE DID THE philistines OCCUPY AND TRY TO STEAL THE HOLY LAND FROM THE TRADITIONAL AND RIGHTFUL OWNERS AND GUARDIANS, THE ISRAELIS. NO AMOUNT OF HATEFUL SPITEFUL CESSPOOL TWISTED LIES CAN TRULY CHANGE HISTORY.
    And may the fleas of a thousand armpits infest you’re your camels (wives). LOL

  16. larry pryor

    4/7/2009 at 8:14 am

    Dahlia is deluded but seems well intended. She refers to the joint slaughter of hundreds of women and children in the concentration camps of Sabra and Shatilla by the Israeli and their fascist allies the Phalange of as less “effective” than it would have been if the Israeli had teamed up with the Shia. Is she thinking that with the help of the Shia they could have slaughtered thousands of children and women? Though Dahlia goes to great lengths to seem educated she puts forward the idea that the Shia would ally themselves to the Israeli for ANY purpose. She has all the right catch phrases but she doesnt have a clue. She is oblivious to her own racial chauvinism.

    Elijah and Elixelx I can deal with together. Please read these post carefully. These men are desperate racists. They are filled with explanations of how they are not responsible for the horrorific acts that they commit. They will carefully explain to you how it is alright for them to being frothing at the mouth and calling for the annihilation of millions of people. They will explain how its ok to bomb hospitals, ambulances, sewer systems, phone exchanges, orphanages—– virtually any target they choose. They will explain how it is alright for Israeli storm troops to shoot anyone they see– after all anyone could have a bomb right? That includes infants,
    men fleeing the battle, women, people helping the wounded virtually anybody they choose to kill anywhere in the world if there is any chance that will prevent harm to a Jew.

    This is the essence of their vision. Racism pure and simple. My people are worth more than your people. God said so if you want to get particular.

    Every racist group in history has said the same thing.

    It wasnt right then. It isnt right now.

  17. larry pryor

    4/7/2009 at 8:23 am

    The Jewish state lasted no more than 3-400 years total. If the Jews have a valid claim to Palestine then so do I. My ancestors were British. The British held the land for longer than that during the crusades.

    The reality is that the Jews were a group of tribes among hundreds of tribes in the area. Any of those tribes has as legitimate a claim as the Jews. Arabs has controlled the area for thousands of years. If your claim is based on use then the Arabs have a much more legitimate claim.

    The only valid claim that the Israeli have is the racist one. God gave it to my people and he told me to kill you if you take try to take it away.

    Not much to go on here
    At least it is logically consistent.

  18. Elijah

    4/7/2009 at 8:29 am

    Self serving half truths (LIES AND PROPAGANDA DISTORTIONS) “wasn’t right in the past and it today like it always has and always will fail it’s propagators.
    THE ISRAELIS WERENT TARGETING CIVILIANS (CAN’T SAY THAT OF THE palestinians) they were targeting the “brave and noble” hamas cowards as they brave and nobly coward behind their women and children to shoot at the Israeli soldiers of which they were not afraid of.

  19. David

    4/7/2009 at 8:37 am

    The Jewish arrogance voiced in this article is the root of the problem.

  20. Elijah

    4/7/2009 at 8:49 am

    The land of Israel has NEVER been totally dispossessed of Jews, therefore by your own argument as they were there first before the “arabs” than they have the just cause of the “RIGHT OF RETURN” to their lands which the arabs “occupied” and as racist as they are against any culture but their they tried to drive the RIGHTFUL people of that land to which the arabs are still trying to do today, THE FACTS OF HISTORY HOWEVER INCONVENIENT TO YOU ARE FOR ALL TO SEE, REGARDLESS OF YOUR RACIST APARTHEIDED DISPLEASURE.
    PS: Watch out for them fleas tonight when you crawl into bed, you might want to delouse your beaten downtrodden enslaved “wife “ before she lights herself on fire for having to sleep with a islam, sewage cesspool, belly crawling coward. OR she can just be a human shield for her big brave man.

  21. Elijah

    4/7/2009 at 8:54 am

    The Philistines were worthless in King David’s day and the only change is they have become even more worthless. They couldn’t beat the Israelis them and they still can’t and NEVER will.

  22. Elijah

    4/7/2009 at 8:55 am

    WATCH OUT FOR THEM FLEAS

    LOL LOL LOL

  23. larry pryor

    4/7/2009 at 8:59 am

    The Israeli were absolutely targeted civilians. They knew that the Hamas men were in secure positions in the city, hardened positions. They knew that the only people available to bear their wrath were women and children. They fried them alive knowing full well that the only likely victims would be women and children. They prevented access to the wounded resulting in the death of those wounded civilians. To claim ignorance stinks of cowardice. Rabbis at the front lines encouraged this racist massacre. They told Jewish Soldiers that this was a race war, that they could legitimately target civilians because they were all supporters of Hamas.

    The War Crimes go on and on. Now they are even debasing Judaism to justify their lust for land.

  24. larry pryor

    4/7/2009 at 9:13 am

    Now Im getting long winded but I cant help bringing up the recent Lebanon war. That was when the Israeli perfected this technique. When they found that they could not defeat Hezbollah on the ground they resorted to carpet bombing the civilian Shiite neighborhoods. This of course resulted in “collateral” deaths of hundreds of women and children.

    When the Israeli go to war they systematically kill large numbers of women and children because they are targets of opportunity in a race based war. Since racial dominance is the issue at stake killing a militant or killing a civilian are morally equivalent. The logic is undeniable. Once you take racism into your heart it’s internal logic will tear apart the fabric of your morality, your humanity.

    This explains the seething hatred in these comments.

    I take back my comment about cursing both your houses.
    I only wish you peace.
    I only wish you peace

  25. oh dear

    4/7/2009 at 9:25 am

    perhaps we shouldn’t be taking seriously anything written by someone who has also written about whether ‘your rabbi is hot or not.’ and who believes that an undergraduate education makes you an expert in a field of study. and who condescendingly feels the need to put palestinans in quotation marks.

  26. simon

    4/7/2009 at 9:54 am

    Leaving aside all that has been said, without ignoring all historical and or religious facts, one must ask one simple question: whose land is it anyway?
    Jews claiming the Holy Land as their promised land…BUT…do these multitudes of Christians that convert to Judaism, do they have any right to claim what it is not theirs and fight and die for it?
    As for the Moslems who invaded this land some 1400 years ago, and now the majority if compared with the few remnants of Christians who were forced to relocate because of the arrogance and false claims of both Jews and Moslems alike. BUT…in light of what has happened in the Holy Land some 2000 plus years, this would make a logical arguments that the Holy Land is and must always be considered Christian. It is in Nazareth that Mary received the enunciation of giving birth to a boy that shall be named Emmanuel. It is in Bethlehem that Jesus was born. It is in the fourth corners of the Holy Land that Jesus walked and preached salvation to His own whereby His own rejected him. It is in Jerusalem that the Jews asked for Jesus Blood and demanded that HE be crucified, saying that His Blood is on them and on their children. It is Bethany that Jesus raised Lazarus from a four days physical death. It is in Cana of Galilee that Jesus turned the water into wine…and the list goes on and on…NOW…did Moses enter the land? NO. Did Mohammed enter the land? Moslems believe a story if researched, then it would show that their story is full with holes. The Holy Land then must have only one with the right, the DIVINE RIGHT to call it HOLY and protect it from being turned into in fiery furnace by the JEWS and the Moslems…Enough deception and enough blood shed between Jews and Moslems…let the spirit of Peace that Jesus preached unite them so Jews, Christians and Moslems could live together…it could be done if Jews stop their story of being the chosen (probably chosen to correct them and bring them to do things right) and Moslem fanaticism that what is taken by force must be retained by force…Why can’t the world come to grip with the real functions of their humanity?

  27. P.J.

    4/7/2009 at 9:58 am

    ““Nevertheless, the Occupying Power may undertake total or partial evacuation of a given area if the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand.” That is from the Fourth Geneva Convention. I think it can be argued fairly well that this principle could apply here. Once again, I’m not advocating it, but merely stating that it exists.”

    Dahlia, that is absolutely absurd. Read the rest of the paragraph. “Persons thus evacuated shall be transferred back to their homes as soon as hostilities in the area in question have ceased.” That doesn’t allow permanent transfer. It’s about clearing an area for a short period during a war.

    I really think you need to take this sentence out of your original post. The rest of what you’ve written is offensive dumb, but this is factually wrong.

  28. simon

    4/7/2009 at 10:01 am

    My remarks were guided by convictions, like everyone else. But spare me if you are ultra conservative-blinded by error and bigotry or even hate to others, simply because they do not meet your standards or skin color or background. My comment is directed to those who would open their minds before opening their mouth. My final word: Ye shall know them by the fruits of their labor.

  29. simon

    4/7/2009 at 10:08 am

    As for abbas and all those who preach peace…the Holy Land to many of its inhabitants, be it Christian or Moslem, were better off before being allowed to roam the Holy Land and transform it to a den of thieves and hooligans. A word directed to the intellectuals: have you ever heard that a government can be formed under occupation? Then what is the real deal?

  30. Elijah

    4/7/2009 at 10:20 am

    YOUR FINAL WORD ??? HA HA HA
    HERES GOD”S FINAL WORD
    Rev 20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
    Rev 20:8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
    Rev 20:9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
    Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
    Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

  31. themiddle

    4/7/2009 at 10:53 am

    Wow, leave for a few hours and all hell breaks loose.

    Just for the record, it’s the Palestinians and Jordanians who, historically, have ejected or sought to eject every single Jew from the land under their control. Not the Jews.

    Racism and bigotry have nothing to do with this war over land. Period. There is the dimension of faith and “tribalism” if you will, but neither side has been fighting because of racial issues or bigotry.

    These days, particularly on the pro-Arab side, there are indeed many voices which can be considered bigoted or outright anti-Semitic, and you will also hear some Israelis speak in crude and bigoted terms about Arabs, although in much smaller numbers, but this is the result of the evolution of this conflict and not its basis or foundation.

  32. simon

    4/7/2009 at 11:11 am

    Elijah…
    IT WAS THE “PEACE SEEKING” MURDERERS (Palestinians) who brought this on themselves, actions for which they refuse to renounce until Israel is annihilated regardless of the borders, land, or anything else (how would you defend yourself if every conceivable persuasive measure has been exhausted to rid your family from the danger of being exterminated?”

    SOOOO’ THEY ARE NOT NEGOTIATING OPENING THE BORDERS FOR PEACE BUT TO MORE EFFECTIVELY MURDER AN INNOCENT POPULACE.
    (What do you consider or how would you classify Israelis killing Palestinians “cold blood”

    The Jewish State goes back to the time of ABRAHAM
    (Here were these borders; I need know my history and geography better)

    They couldn’t beat the Israelis them and they still can’t and NEVER will. (What makes you so sure that they could not?)

    THE ISRAELIS WERENT TARGETING CIVILIANS (CAN’T SAY THAT OF THE Palestinians)
    (Have you been exposed to the media that explicitly and objectively revealed inhumanity at its worse in Gaza and elsewhere?) That is not to say that there were subjective reporting and plenty of it as well.

    If you agree that the right of return applies to every Jew, would you not also agree that the inhabitants of the Holy Land have the same right…at least they will be placed in areas expropriated and exploited by hundreds of thousands of Christians who converted to Judaism, accepted in the Jewish mainstream in order to fight Israel’s wars against well established countries)

    What makes you say that the Palestinians are worthless…who provides with notion that I or you are better than any Palestinian?

    Now going to revelation to justify your claim is considered as a cop-out. Pursuing a logical form of intellectual argument needs you to dive deep within yourself and ask the same questions any oppressed human entity would pose before your very eyes.
    It is always easy to fill the blanks, but it is not always the right word we use to fill in the blanks. Thank you for thinking with me and please spare me from considering peoples’ thoughts as funny or wrong just because they do not meet with your convictions and beliefs.

  33. Tom Morrissey

    4/7/2009 at 11:15 am

    Care to address the post, Middle?

  34. oh dear

    4/7/2009 at 11:17 am

    themiddle, you have been effectively indoctrinated by the us media. congratulations.

  35. froylein

    4/7/2009 at 11:19 am

    To re-phrase George Burns, it’s too bad that all those that know how to solve political conflicts in the Middle East are too busy commenting on blogs.

  36. P.J.

    4/7/2009 at 11:41 am

    I’m surprised that the Jewlicious regulars aren’t concerned by dahlia’s statement that the Geneva Convention allows transfer. You can be as reactionary as you want, but demonstrably false claims in support of the expulsion of Arabs from the West Bank strike me as deeply irresponsible. A lot of people read this blog.

  37. Pingback: Mixed Multitudes - My Jewish Learning: Exploring Judaism & Jewish Life » Blog Archive » Who Are You Kidding?: A Not So Funny Post

  38. themiddle

    4/7/2009 at 12:00 pm

    Tom and P.J., I have to research the assertion about transfer. Like P.J. I had never heard of this clause permitting transfer of a population, but I’m not an expert on international law.

    It also strikes me as false to suggest that this is leverage of any sort over the Palestinians. This is not a point of concern to them at all and it shouldn’t be as Israel has no designs on population transfer and even if it were, the international community wouldn’t permit it.

    With respect to other points raised in the article, I’ll say that I agree that roadblocks are not the reason the Palestinian economy isn’t thriving. They may affect it to some degree, but there are far deeper problems at stake and Dahlia is right to indicate that the economy is still rural/agricultural. Having said that, even if the roadblocks prevent development of the economy, they also play a critical role in preventing suicide bombings and are therefore necessary.

    With respect to continuing to build settlements as leverage for Israel, as I keep writing, Israel needs to stop all settlement growth east of the Fence and, in fact, get those settlements to become empty communities with all their inhabitants west of the Fence. Then they can negotiate over which part west of the Fence Israel gets to keep and what they have to give up to the Palestinians in return. The settlements are a waste of money and resources and end up being a barrier to separating the two nations from each other. There is no positive outcome from the continued construction of settlements east of the Fence and probable within about half of the eastern part of the area west of the Fence.

    Right now, everybody is waiting to see what the new Israeli government is planning to do, and it makes sense that all of the key players are floating announcements and making claims. What matters is what is being said behind the scenes and what Netanyahu’s real intentions might be. It’s too early to know.

  39. abel

    4/7/2009 at 12:01 pm

    just tell me when someone denies the son of christ came to die for us. i’ll be preparing for then, you guys can fight about what you learned in school now.

  40. froylein

    4/7/2009 at 12:11 pm

    “Evacuation” is clearly not the same as “transfer” = deportation and is also aimed at different groups of people.

  41. themiddle

    4/7/2009 at 12:34 pm

    I’ll add one more point. The Palestinians are in a position to issue demands, in contrast with what Dahlia wrote above. Not only do they have the ear of the media and the international community, but more important, Israel must treat them with respect and as equals. It’s clear which side has the military advantage, but nobody is going to achieve a settlement by treating the other side as inferior.

  42. noam

    4/7/2009 at 1:36 pm

    It has been a long time since I read such a arrogant article. Read this and understand why the Israeli side is not able to move towards any kind of solution.

  43. themiddle

    4/7/2009 at 1:48 pm

    Oh give me a break, Noam. You read one voice and suddenly all of the “Israeli side is not able to move towards any kind of solution.” Would you like me to trot out former minister Shlomo Ben Ami and see what his feelings are on the subject and what he, as a key member of the Camp David and Taba team believes and has said publicly? Would you then say that reading him you cannot understand why the Israeli side isn’t receiving serious counter-proposals from the Palestinian side which is the key obstacle to peace?

    Come on!

  44. noam

    4/7/2009 at 2:37 pm

    Themiddle

    It is not the narrative I question here. Dahlia’s views in this post are so out there, that I don’t see much point in debating. It’s the tone. The tone is the classic Israeli “first the Arabs should behave” attitude. It is nice to remember Ben Ami (who left Israel and doesn’t represent anyone or anything), but we have a new foreign minister, you know.

  45. themiddle

    4/7/2009 at 3:12 pm

    Yeah, I know, and the fact that Lieberman’s foreign minister doesn’t mean that Israel is behind him or that he’s qualified for the role, it means that coalition building is complex in Israel. When Livni was FM, she also didn’t represent the “Israeli tone.” She’s a politician who received a certain role in the government because of inter-party and coalition concerns.

    Does the fact that the police is all over Lieberman, especially since it became clear that he’d be a player in the elections and the government also tell us something about the “Israeli tone?”

    Forgive me, Noam, but the Israeli tone I know is one where Israelis would give up a tremendous amount to live in peace side by side with neighboring Arabs and Palestinians. That many are disheartened after so many years of war and violence, not to mention evidence of a desire to prolong the conflict or destroy Israel as a Jewish state by the Palestinians, is not surprising or unusual. There is a war going on. When you say the classic line is “first the Arabs should behave,” if what you mean is that Israelis first want the Arabs to concede that a Jewish state may exist in Israel with the most important part of Jerusalem under its or joint control, then yes, that is the Israeli tone. How evil.

  46. dahlia

    4/7/2009 at 6:34 pm

    noam: i am hardly arguing that the “Arabs must behave in order for the great arrogant Israel to talk to them.” However, I am a student of security. It is far less iteresting to me when the Israeli government says something silly than when other governments do, and thus I write about those. If you wish, I will try to make a better attempt to point out the foolishness of Israeli actions in other articles. I do not think Israel is without foolish actions or stupidity. I simply think that this was a foolish statement by Abbas.

    Froylein: correct you are. I simply think that once an action is done, even if it is meant to be short term, it is quite difficult to undo.

    themiddle: I agree that they have the media’s, (and the White House’s) ear, yet when it comes down to it, they need the state. I think Israel ought to treat them as equals, if only in that you should never underestimate your adversary, whether it be in warfare or at the negotiating table. But why issue demands? Why not work to achieve a future?

    P.J.: thanks for the comment. I reread the Fourth Geneva Convention and you are completely correct. Well done! However, I also noticed that Israel doesn’t appear to be a signatory on it. This may have change, though; do you know anything about this?

    oh dear: I didn’t write that article. Furthermore, I don’t claim expertise on a subject, I simply claim background knowledge. Even once I have my PhD, I don’t think that necessarily makes me an expert on all things, but, hopefully, will make me an expert on one very specific thing.

    larry pryor: are you claiming that the Israeli army is involved in genocide? Further, check your facts, about massacres (if you have some free time, I recommend PBS’ documentary, “The 50 Years War”).
    Moreover, I ought to point out that the Shia population of Lebanon didn’t always hate Israel. They may not have liked Israel, but there was certainly a period where they hated the Palestinians more.

  47. P.J.

    4/7/2009 at 10:54 pm

    “**Thanks to P.J. for pointing out that I had misremembered the Geneva Convention! :)”

    Ugh.

  48. noam

    4/8/2009 at 2:04 am

    Themiddle – I really don’t get you. If Liberman doesn’t represent Israel – and nor did Tzipi Livni – and both are only there because of some strange political arrangements, than who does? Even our PM got less than 25 percent of the vote. I think you are making life way to easy for yourself.

    As for “the Israeli tone” – well, it is clear we see things differently, and since Israel’s elected officials don’t represent Israel, there is no way I can even try to prove you wrong. That’s way I was talking about THIS article, saying it is an example of Israeli arrogance.

  49. noam

    4/8/2009 at 2:19 am

    Dahlia – I don’t see what you being a student of security has to do with the fact that you are only interested in what the Arabs do or say. I don’t even understand how to response to such claim.

    As for the Forth Geneva convention: since you brought it up in your post – and as justification for transfer, on top of all! – it is strange, to say the least, that you claim now the convention is not valid to the case, since Israel never signed it.

    (Just to make things clear: Israel signed the 4th Geneva Convention on Dec 8 1949, and ratified it on July 6 1951. Israel claims that the Convention is not valid in the West Bank, since it is not an “occupied territory”. The rest of the world doesn’t accept this interpretation.)

  50. themiddle

    4/8/2009 at 2:44 am

    “Themiddle – I really don’t get you. If Liberman doesn’t represent Israel – and nor did Tzipi Livni – and both are only there because of some strange political arrangements, than who does? Even our PM got less than 25 percent of the vote. I think you are making life way to easy for yourself.”

    I said they don’t represent the “Israeli tone.” Reread my comments. Maybe this is the point, Israel has many voices and when you bring up some sort of generalization like “Israeli tone,” you’re trying make them all into one. As for votes, yes your point is correct, Israel is a fractured country politically and it’s hard to find unity behind any politician.

    Here in the US, the two party system also divides the country and during the Bush years there were many Americans who distanced themselves from his Presidency. Unlike Israel, however, his Secretary of State was selected by him to serve him, not by some power play by a coalition party imposing its 12.5% of the national vote into perhaps the second most important role in the gov’t. Does 12.5% of a population describe the “national tone,” Noam? Or are you making it too easy on yourself?

    Considering the slippery way you excused yourself from addressing my previous comment about the Israeli tone, I’d say you ARE making it too easy on yourself. Of course, the joke is that you sort of represent the extreme side of the Israeli tone about which I’m speaking but since it would oppose your point to acknowledge this, you have to evade my point.

  51. Tom Morrissey

    4/8/2009 at 3:44 am

    The Right, not Noam’s friends, won the last election; the Right gets to shape the ‘tone’. Is this post a species of the kind of thinking we can expect from it over the next few years?

    Middle, we’ll remember your profession of ignorance of international law the next time you opine about it, as you have so often done in the past.

  52. themiddle

    4/8/2009 at 7:41 am

    :frown:

    Um, did I say anything inaccurate?

    As I wrote (accurately), I had never heard of such a law before. Dahlia, on the other hand, not only made the assertion, but defended it by quoting the Geneva Convention (“Nevertheless, the Occupying Power may undertake total or partial evacuation of a given area if the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand.” That is from the Fourth Geneva Convention) which made me wonder if there was information or something I didn’t know about this.

    Then I proceeded to reject the claim on different grounds. So your problem is that I made an honest statement of ignorance or that I didn’t research the topic and then claim I knew?

    Either way, when I do “opine,” I tend to research the matter first, so feel free to hold my feet to the fire whenever I opine.

    The rightward shift in the recent election can be attributed to several factors that have nothing to do with the “kind of thinking” seen in this post.

    First of all, take it easy on Dahlia. I don’t know her, but she’s new to blogging, is clearly still formulating political positions and is going to make missteps when she writes. A couple of responses like she’s had to this discussion and she’ll have to do some serious thinking about what she believes and why and in the process will become more knowledgeable and confident about what she believes and how she expresses it.

    This post leaves her open like a sitting duck and while it seems you, P.J. and Noam are having a lovely party taking potshots at the young woman, I take the view that she’ll become a better writer as a result.

    While I understand the potshots at Dahlia, I fail to understand how you and Noam continue to extrapolate from this essay a conclusion about Israeli political culture. Since when does one opinion piece become representative of a country or a culture or a “tone” that supposedly belongs to an entire country where the voters were split among numerous factions?

    I also fail to understand why there is such a brute parsing of the last election by a couple of folks here who usually show a more nuanced understanding of current events. Need I point out that since the previous election, Israelis had been through two wars which they perceived as being launched by the enemy, watched as their goodwill exchange for two kidnapped soldiers was in fact a swindle of murderers who deserved no reprieve for two murdered soldiers, saw thousands of rockets continue to rain down on Israel even after the disengagement from Gaza, watched as yet another soldier was kidnapped and not even permitted a visit from a Red Cross worker just to ensure that he’s alive, learned the party and coalition in power were rife with corruption and troubles with the law, watched as Israeli Arabs supported Israel’s enemies in wartime, read how Israel’s Arabs wanted to form a constitution that rejected history and certainly the idea of a Jewish state, watched the Palestinian leadership become more extreme in the form of an election in Gaza of Hamas, the brutal expulsion of Fatah and the PA from Gaza, and in pronouncements from the eunuch WB leadership delaying serious concessions while giving lip service to peace and maintaining heavy pressure on Israel on the international diplomatic arena, etc.

    Can all of these items and some others explain a shift to the right in the electorate? Sure. Is it a massive shift? No. Does it teach anything about the “Israeli tone?” No.

  53. noam

    4/8/2009 at 9:14 am

    The middle,

    First, regarding the post: I think the comments here were fair game. Dahlia should take responsibility for her words and views, even if she is new to blogging (so am I, BTW).

    On the matter itself: I won’t go into why I don’t agree with your narrative – it can take the whole Passover, and I’m sure you have some good arguments. In general, I don’t see Israel – the region’s superpower – as the victim you think it to be, but I am ready to leave it there. I also agree that it is very hard to put the finger on an abstract concept like a national “tone”. That’s why we tend to look at governments – what they say, and even more important, what they do. The last governments did nothing to promote the peace, but at least it has been saying the right things. But have you been listening to what’s coming out of Jerusalem recently? No two state solution (ever, says Netanyahu), no negotiations, yes for settlements. Why don’t you take Bibi, Liberman and Barak (who opposes negotiations as well) for their words? why don’t you think they represent the Israeli public? Have you become so used to defending Israel against antisemitism and criticism, that you don’t see what’s happening in your own back yard?

  54. themiddle

    4/8/2009 at 9:39 am

    Noam,

    Barak is the person who brought Israel to the offer on the table at Taba.

    Netanyahu, for all of his bluster, signed the Hebron Accords and took the IDF out of Areas A, leaving the PA to their own devices.

    Lieberman isn’t going to remain in the government much longer. The police is after him. His next in command is the former ambassador to the US and a very different type of speaker and thinker.

    If I want to look at what governments do, then we might want to wait a few weeks and revisit this question. So far, other than some bluster, it’s been too early to know what the government will do. Obama is a wild-card here and Israeli acquiescence to American pressure (just like at Wye) is a very possible outcome regardless of any assertions made by Israel’s politicians today.

    Do you forget why Israel had to become the “regional superpower?” It needed to be able to counteract the enmity of several Arab neighbors. Even today, it has to be concerned about what happens in Egypt after Mubarak dies, about whether Jordan’s monarchy can remain in control, about the Iranian bomb program, about Assad Jr. using Hizbullah as his proxy again, etc. The IDF is a necessity because Israel is isolated in its corner of the world. I view that as strength, but also as strength born of necessity.

    Have you become so used to criticizing Israel at every turn that you fail to see the reasons behind what exists in Israel and Israeli society? Have you completely obliterated the positive aspects of the society in which you live because of your focus on the negative aspects?

    I am critical of Israel and its flaws. When I’m critical, however, I try to keep things in perspective. It seems to me that you’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    By the way, you may be new to blogging like Dahlia, but just because today you have an advantage over her, hubris won’t serve you well tomorrow. We all make mistakes, we all have bad posts, we all have days when people take us to task for what we’ve written. I’ve had many days like that and so has everybody here. So will you.

  55. Tom Morrissey

    4/8/2009 at 10:26 am

    I like Dahlia’s contributions. I value the blog because it’s always placed a high value on freedom of speech– including a time-honored tradition of posters and postettes going after each other hammer and tongs.

    Strong criticism shouldn’t be confused with an effort to shut someone up. If you contribute here, you better have thick skin. So while I’m tempted to suck up to Dahlia as you have (and coming from a single guy like me, it’d be a lot more compelling, let’s face it), the best advice is, enjoy the ride and don’t take it personally.

  56. P.J.

    4/8/2009 at 10:31 am

    I’m all for developing as a writer and a political thinker. Not to be too snide, but dahlia has some developing to do. That said, if you’re going to do it on a group blog with an audience of over 20K/month, you better be ready to get hit.

  57. Tom Morrissey

    4/8/2009 at 11:49 am

    Even David Price got sent down, astonishingly, to Durham.

  58. themiddle

    4/8/2009 at 12:07 pm

    P.J., fair enough.

    Tom, I am not sucking up to anybody. I don’t even know Dahlia’s email address. But it can be tough for somebody new to Jewlicious to face this type of criticism.

  59. Tom Morrissey

    4/8/2009 at 12:45 pm

    Middle, if you can’t charm your way into getting her e-mail address, there’s not much to be done, really.

  60. noam

    4/8/2009 at 12:47 pm

    The middle,

    The police is not after Liberman because of his views – which I believe sits right at the heart of the Israeli consensus, but let’s not go there again – the police is after him because of corruption cases, so this doesn’t prove anything on the issues we discussed. And I think Danny Ayalon is just as bad, but maybe that’s only me.

    Again, I don’t want to play the “blame game” regarding the failures of Camp David and Taba, but as you can guess, I don’t think only the Palestinian side is to blame (I don’t blame Barak alone as well). The question now is what do we do with an Israeli government that rejects the two state idea and want to go on building settlements. That’s the real issue. Should you defend this government? As an American, do you support American pressure on Israel? I have my answers on these matters, but I can’t get yours (nor the rest of the writers on this site). That’s why I am saying you are taking the easy way out. I didn’t mean you don’t have good arguments, because you do. I meant that blaming the Palestinians is easy – but we have other matters on the table now.

  61. themiddle

    4/8/2009 at 1:14 pm

    Tom, I’m married. What is the point of asking or charming my way into getting her email other than making another friend? And I don’t have time for another friend right now because I’m busy debating Noam on whether Israel is evil or not.

  62. themiddle

    4/8/2009 at 1:23 pm

    Noam, the police has had a file open on Lieberman for years. It’s heated up now because of the elections. Don’t kid yourself, they have been gunning for certain politicians for years. It’s scary and inexcusable.

    Again, I don’t want to play the “blame game” regarding the failures of Camp David and Taba, but as you can guess, I don’t think only the Palestinian side is to blame (I don’t blame Barak alone as well).

    Any time you want to have this discussion, I’m happy to do so. I do think one side is more responsible for the failures of those talks and it’s the side that once again refused to negotiate a compromise and therefore once again does not have a state.

    The question now is what do we do with an Israeli government that rejects the two state idea and want to go on building settlements. That’s the real issue.

    The first thing we do is wait.

    Obama is very powerful right now and he’ll apply pressure. Faced with actually LEADING the country, Netanyahu will find that it was much easier to sit in opposition and make big speeches. Everything changes now. Even Sharon recognized this reality and Netanyahu is no Sharon.

    Should you defend this government?

    Noam, there are posts on this site, written by me, that are extremely critical of the previous government and even one saying that parents should not agree to have their sons enlist in the IDF until the IDF shows that it has taken the mistakes of Lebanon II to heart and implements corrections into the system.

    In other words, I do not shy away from criticizing those who deserve criticism even if they are in the Israeli government. This ain’t a hasbara operation and it ain’t ZOA. I try to call it as I see it.

    As an American, do you support American pressure on Israel?

    Depends. Sometimes the pressure is stupid, like forcing Israel to let Hamas run in the Gaza elections. It can be wise at times. So the answer is, show me what pressure and I’ll tell you. If it’s the Arab plan of 2002, I’m concerned about the inclusion of UNGAR 194 as a basis for the agreement.

    I have my answers on these matters, but I can’t get yours (nor the rest of the writers on this site). That’s why I am saying you are taking the easy way out. I didn’t mean you don’t have good arguments, because you do. I meant that blaming the Palestinians is easy – but we have other matters on the table now.

    Ask and you shall be answered. We also have archives going back years. Put in search terms like 194 or 242 or Six Day War or my fave, Hamas and Sperm, and you’ll come up with a lot of information.

  63. noam

    4/8/2009 at 2:03 pm

    Fair enough, but how do you do the quote thing?

  64. themiddle

    4/8/2009 at 2:17 pm

    Write < blockquote > at the beginning of the phrase and then < / blockquote > at the end. Without spaces.

  65. james

    4/8/2009 at 2:36 pm

    Does anyone have an answer to the questions raised by Simon? I am fascinated by those who struggle to make Israel look good! That is in no way to suggest that the Palestinians are better off that there couterparts, the jewsish Armies are no more than mercenaries and warriors fighting for America’s survival by sacrificing her own people, that of course includes shalit!

  66. noam

    4/8/2009 at 2:44 pm

    tnx. happy passover

  67. Tom Morrissey

    4/8/2009 at 2:57 pm

    Middle, the Pope has asked me to pass along best wishes to our Jewlicious friends for a happy Passover.

  68. themiddle

    4/8/2009 at 4:20 pm

    Tom, please tell the Pope that we wish him and all of his flock a good Easter.

    Tell him also that he’s welcome to guest post on our site any time.

  69. froylein

    4/8/2009 at 4:51 pm

    Tell him also that he’s welcome to guest post on our site any time.

    You’re aware that this could be arranged way sooner than have CK eat a beef burger?

  70. themiddle

    4/8/2009 at 5:27 pm

    Not if we show him the the Dancing with Matisyahu video.

  71. froylein

    4/8/2009 at 5:51 pm

    Ah well, self-degradation is part of Maundy Thursday liturgy for Catholic clergy.

  72. Simon

    4/9/2009 at 4:50 am

    Ah well, self-degradation is part of Maundy Thursday liturgy for Catholic clergy.

    Is that really what Maundy Thursday is all about?

  73. Tom Morrissey

    4/9/2009 at 11:58 am

    I’d call it self-humbling, Simon, as in the re-enactment of Jesus’s washing the feet of his apostles.

    Here’s a chance to hype one of my all-time favorite pieces of music (despite its pretty explicit anti-Semitism), Carlo Gesualdo: Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday (1611).

  74. froylein

    4/9/2009 at 3:13 pm

    That’s part of what Maundy Thursday is about; the other part, so not to ruin the spirit of that week, is celebrated on the Corpus Christi holiday.

    Protestants, BTW, don’t do the footwashing thing. It goes in line with Luther’s and Melanchton’s demand of absolute obedience to authorities.

  75. froylein

    4/9/2009 at 4:58 pm

    Och, CTC, shouldn’t you be in bed already? Shall I sing you a lullaby?

  76. themiddle

    4/9/2009 at 6:27 pm

    You’re talking to the air again, Froylein.

  77. Tom Morrissey

    4/9/2009 at 8:04 pm

    Just got back from Mass– successfully dodged the foot-washing for yet another year….

  78. froylein

    4/9/2009 at 9:51 pm

    Middle, then I’ll have to sing you a lullaby….

  79. themiddle

    4/9/2009 at 11:31 pm

    You can try, but there are other ways to get me to sleep.

    I meant a rich dessert, of course.

  80. froylein

    4/10/2009 at 1:39 am

    I make a wicked dark chocolate mousse with spiced sour cherry compote and fresh strawberries. Fancy?

  81. themiddle

    4/10/2009 at 3:48 am

    Just the strawberries please. I’m feeling a little full. Thanks.

  82. froylein

    4/10/2009 at 7:59 am

    Let’s wait till June, cause then I can buy locally grown ones that are not only so much better in taste but more environmentally friendly, don’t destroy ecosystems native to Southern America and northern Africa and don’t force farmers native to those regions into poverty. :)

  83. Tom Morrissey

    4/10/2009 at 11:08 am

    NB, froylein, Middle says he’s married– though that means different things to different people, obviously. (I don’t mean to intrude.)

  84. themiddle

    4/10/2009 at 11:22 am

    It means I’m available. To my wife.

  85. froylein

    4/10/2009 at 11:30 am

    I wasn’t going to steal Middle from Mrs Middle. :)
    I’m taken myself as far as I can tell.

  86. Tom Morrissey

    4/10/2009 at 11:38 am

    froylein, Muffti’s moved on. It’s time you did, too.

  87. froylein

    4/10/2009 at 11:40 am

    Muffti’s never been the one, Tom.

  88. Tom Morrissey

    4/10/2009 at 11:44 am

    Passover notwithstanding, denial is not a river in Egypt.

  89. froylein

    4/10/2009 at 11:47 am

    Think of Muffti and me as of twins separated at birth: we get along at a distance, can’t stand each other in person, and would make an awesome topic for a Disney film.

  90. froylein

    4/11/2009 at 11:47 am

    See, I can invite Middle for coffee / tea & cake.

  91. Tom Morrissey

    4/11/2009 at 12:12 pm

    Spike his coffee with something and see if he loosens up.

  92. froylein

    4/11/2009 at 12:17 pm

    I think Middle’s a pretty chill person to begin with, no need to serve him booze.

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