Is Israel Falling Apart?





Mr. Wahrman is Ruth N. Halls Professor of History and Director of the Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies at the Indiana University History Department (adjunct in English, Jewish Studies, Cultural Studies).

Foreign observers of Israel tend to focus so intently on the dangers the country faces from its Arab neighbours that they have largely missed an astonishing story that has been accelerating over the past few months: that of the Jewish state’s possible move toward internal collapse. If you consider this an exaggeration, just take note of what the past couple of weeks have brought about. A few days ago the chief of the Israeli police resigned after an investigation that found several of Israel’s highest police officers guilty of corruption and negligence. This came within a week of the forced resignation of Israel’s Chief of Staff from the military because of the fiascos of the second Lebanon war. It was also some ten days after Israel’s minister of justice was convicted of sexual assault while on duty, and a couple of weeks after Israel’s president – who holds a largely symbolic position – resigned temporarily following charges of rape and sexual misconduct. It was also the same day that the head of Israel’s tax authority resigned because of possible corruption charges. In the meantime, several other investigations are still pending, not least two or three directed at the Prime Minister himself, Ehud Olmert, concerning corruption and favoritism. And an appeal to the Supreme Court has already been filed against the minister of police’s choice for a new police chief  – again, because of old charges of corruption of which the nominee had been acquitted only through a particularly narrow benefit of the doubt.

Do these events really presage the collapse of the Israeli system of governance and democracy? There certainly has never been such a deep crisis of leadership in the country that touts itself as the only democracy in the Middle East. The leader of the ruling parliamentary coalition, Avigdor Yitzhaki, said so publicly a few days ago. And the Minister of Education has suggested that all schools devote special classes to the “government crisis”, so that children can speak out about what might well seem to them like a total collapse of all systems that control their lives. Suddenly the Palestinians and the Hizbullah, and even Iranian nukes, have taken a back seat: Israel does indeed seem in danger of imploding from within, at least as a viable democracy.

There are at least two narratives that can help situate why Israel finds itself in such a worrying place on the eve of its sixtieth birthday. For convenience we can tag them by the country’s most decisive formative moments: the story of 1948 and the story of 1967.

The story of 1948 is that of a country that underwent an almost miraculous process of birth and growth despite limited resources. From a tiny nation brought into the world by the twin handmaidens of war and seige, and immediately thereafter deluged with waves of immigration several times greater than its 1948 population, Israel managed to become in almost no time a thriving economic, scientific and military power. This unprecedented leap could not be achieved by following the rules. Not that there were too many rules to follow – even those still had to be created. But the main ethos of Israel’s founding fathers was one of in-the-field activism: to a man on the job – and in those days it was always imagined to be a man, not a woman, undertaking a task that was indubitably essential to the building of the nation – everything was permissible. In those early and exciting days, the most powerful compliment you could give an Israeli leader was to describe him as a “bulldozer”: someone who was right there on the ground, moving mountains and paving roads, unstoppable by anything. Intertwined with the myth of the creation of Israel was a culturally sanctioned encouragement to disregard the rules.

The story continues, typically, that the founding fathers never abused this permission to transcend norms and regulations for their private gain. The supposed proof of this claim, endlessly and nostalgically reiterated, is Yitzhak Rabin’s resignation from his first term as prime minister in 1976. It had been discovered that Rabin’s wife retained a bank account abroad, which was prohibited by Israel’s foreign currency laws at that time: a minor infraction that nonetheless led Rabin to throw in the towel. And yet the disregard for limitations on action, the lack of effective supervisory mechanisms, the advantage of local initiative, and the fact that activities were all undertaken by a small group of people who knew each other intimately, could easily shade into more serious forms of corruption. When Israel’s most legendary soldier, Moshe Dayan, developed a penchant for archeology, not only did he allow himself to take home nearly any antiquity his heart desired, but when this antiquity happened to be sitting on top of Masada – the archeological dig that itself came to symbolize Israel’s success – he had no compunctions about enlisting an IDF helicopter to help lift it off the cliff. Few of these facts were secret; after Dayan’s death the state paid a million dollars to his widow to move his antiquities collection to the Israel Museum, where it should have been all along. Public outrage was minimal.

The story of 1967 is darker. It is the story of occupation. To see the connection, here are two other news items from this past week, though neither has made it into the front pages. The Israeli courts are trying gingerly to evict a group of settlers who used shady real estate manipulation to invade a Palestinian village just south of the Old City of Jerusalem, and who built without a permit a seven story building (inside a traditional village!) for settler families. Meanwhile, inside the Old City, it was revealed that the Israeli government is withholding its formal recognition of the new leader of the Greek-Orthodox Church in the Holy Land, Patriarch Theophilus, because it wants him to sell prime real estate near Jaffa Gate to settlers as a condition for recognizing his official status. Both acts brazenly ignore Israeli law. Based on past experience, however, both are likely to succeed. And such events are common, the tail end of a history of forty years of illegal appropriations under occupation.

The infinite variety of devices through which Israel has condoned and often actively encouraged the breaking of the rules in its drive to expropriate Palestinian occupied land against both Israeli and international law has been documented not only by journalists, scholars and observers on the left: it was also the subject of a thick government judicial document, known as the “Sasson Report,” which created something of a furore when it was handed to prime minister Ariel Sharon in March 2005. Within months, however, the Sasson Report joined the mounting pile of legal and normative documents that have been effortlessly side-stepped by the settlers and their supporters in multiple branches of the government. It was only a matter of time, inevitably, before the lawlessness of the occupied territories – and their support networks throughout the Israeli state apparatus – began infecting Israel proper.

Both stories of disregard for law and norms, the nation-building drive of 1948 and the land-grabbing drive of 1967, have come together above all in one particular figure, mythological already in his lifetime: Ariel Sharon. Sharon was the ur-bulldozer. His name is virtually synonymous with dogged action combined with disrespect for law and authority. His public career as a soldier and as a civilian was built out of repeated acts of disobedience and of establishing facts on the ground; the first Lebanon War is only the most famous and disastrous example. In the occupied territories, nobody did more for the settlement movement than Sharon, who taught its leaders techniques to railroad the opposition. And then he did the same to them, in turn, when he suddenly shifted his loyalties and embarked on his “disengagement plan” in 2004.

It is therefore hardly a coincidence that Sharon’s rise to the highest office in the state  marked a decisive moment in this process of collapse: the moment when corruption and normlessness suddenly seemed to take over the system in all its nooks and crannies. Sharon’s tenure in office was more autocratic than any Israel had previously seen. He bypassed even his own government and ministers through a small cabal of friends and family that came to be know as “The Ranch Forum” (named after Sharon’s private ranch in the Negev, itself a manifestation of quasi-corrupt privilege). It also turned out that Sharon’s unstoppable drive easily bled into self-serving corruption, funneling millions into his family’s bank accounts. And yet, despite the multiple corruption scandals that swirled over his head, Sharon himself remained largely unscathed, saved in part by his mythical status, and in part by his conversion to the disengagement plan which suddenly gave his many critics on the left a surprising stake in his survival. He was also saved, in a sense, by falling into a coma in January 2006: only this personal catastrophe prevented him from seeing a few weeks later his son and political amanuensis, Omri Sharon, being carted off to jail for corruption charges.

So if Sharon’s reign was the epitome of success for the activism of both 1948 and 1967, the reign of his successors has been the time of collapse and of reckoning. With Sharon’s departure Israel has been left with a weak cadre of second-rate politicians, who seem even more puny in the shadow of Sharon’s towering figure and tragic exit. The corrupt practices are all there, but no higher motives can be claimed for them, and no protection from public outrage can be afforded to their perpetrators. They are simply as petty and ugly as they look. Even when Dan Chaluz, the Army Chief of Staff, resigned for reasons ostensibly linked to the failed war in Lebanon, the one act of his that will be remembered with particular public disgust is that even as he ordered the bombing of Southern Lebanon on the 12th of July 2006, he paused to instruct his stock broker to sell his portfolio; a callous, greedy mistake Sharon would never have committed.

So let us ask again: is Israeli democracy in danger? This democracy is young, evolving, and certainly not indestructible. For a while it has been showing clear signs of strain; not least, the inability to maintain reasonable political stability amid the frequent turnovers of ministers and administrations. Now it is showing even clearer signs of deep crisis. According to every survey and poll, levels of popular confidence in the system have never been so low. People are turning their backs on politics as never before. Indeed, the very violence with which the public is pouncing on every falling public figure is a sign of how deep the anger runs. The present void might well encourage those who promise a radical cleansing of the Augean stables in return for a different kind of political rule – and is it such a stretch of the imagination to see them succeeding?

Two figures, indeed, have already been making such a pitch, and should therefore be listened to carefully. Both, probably not coincidentally, are Russian immigrants – and thus even less wed to the Israeli democratic tradition, such as it is. One is a minister in the current Israeli government, Avigdor Lieberman, a self-proclaimed “strong man” with an abiding hatred of the legal system (and a few brushes with it in his past) who has already put forth a suggestion to turn Israel into more of a presidential system with few restraints on the chief executive (as Ben Lynfield reported in the Nation, Dec. 26th 2006). Lieberman’s popularity keeps going up even as that of  the political system falls. But in terms of being the most authentic symptom of how deep the malaise goes, as well as having the greater potential to change the rules of the game, Lieberman pales in comparison to a man who chose this same past week to announce his own arrival on the political scene: Arkadi Gaydamak.

Gaydamak is a Russian born billionaire who owes his wealth in part to shady arms dealings in Angola that led the French to issue arrest warrants for illegal arms dealings and money laundering. Having successfully fended off extradition to France, the oligarch has turned his attention in recent years to philanthropic work in Israel, with a keen interest on using it to create a public image for himself. When it turned out during the 2006 Lebanon war that the government was ineffective in caring for the civilian population under missile attacks in the north of Israel, Gaydamak stepped into the void and set up a ‘tent city’ on the Mediterranean beach for refugees, thus becoming Israel’s most popular public figure at precisely the moment the political class was experiencing its greatest failure. No less dramatically – and Gaydamak has nothing if not a flair for dramatic public relations – when Sderot, a small town near the border with Gaza that is home to Minister of Defense Amir Peretz, was showered with Kassam missiles in the fall of 2006 and Peretz and his colleagues in government were wringing their hands, Gaydamak sent buses to take several thousand inhabitants for a vacation at the Red Sea. Peretz’s angry reaction to this public gesture only underscored how impotent the establishment looked by comparison to this philanthropist with his bottomless pockets.

A couple of days ago Gaydamak announced, in a lavishly organized event, the foundation of a new political party called “Social Justice.” At a moment when all other politicians are seen as guilty, at least by association, for sticking their hand in the till (or somewhere else where it does not belong), the founder of “Social Justice” is the gift that keeps on giving, rather than taking. Gaydamak does not want to enter politics himself – or so he says. Indeed, he cannot even speak Hebrew – his speeches are all translated. What Gaydamak wants, and says almost explicitly, is to use his money to become the king maker of Israeli politics: he wants to choose singlehandedly the next Israeli prime minister. And based on current polls, his ambitions cannot be set aside lightly. But if Gaydamak is convinced that the Israeli electorate is for sale, and if the voters are willing to prove him right; and if this transaction is now happening in the public eye, and met with more applause than dismay; then the problem is not one of the political class alone. Israeli democracy is in severe crisis: the friends of the Jewish state should be mobilizing post-haste to help Israeli citizens, jaded, disappointed and angry as they might be, ensure it is not a fatal one.


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omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

It is NOT a question of what political system will be adopted by the body for governance that will determine the outcome!
It is the intrinsic nature of the intruding body: if indigenous it will merge in its surrounding and integrate there in .
If Alien and unintegrable it will be rejected by the surrounding.
Whether Israel will ever be integrable in its regional surrounding will decide its fate, not its political system.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Questions to Mr Clark
1-Why "dividing the land along some approximate variant of the 1948-67 line";
Why NOT along the UN Partition Plan ?( the only "legal" foundation of Israel's very existence.)
Patently such a division of the land, according to the UN Partition Plan, will unsettle and disrupt Israeli society to a great extent BUT patently NOT more than the virtual destruction inflicted on Palestinian socity by the establishment of Israel in their native land.

2-Why should the "Palestinians will have to agree to bargain away the right to return to properties (in their homeland/my addition) they lost 60 years,"?

Why bargain away a fundamental human "RIGHT" except to preserve the ethnic /confessional majority of the alien intruder in their homeland?

The obvious answer to both questions would be that that reflects the status quo achieved through the use of force which is fair enough as long as the right to reverse that status quo via the same means is maintained.

My point is : as long as the use of force is, or has been, the ultimate arbitrator as to the scope of the "final" settlement ( who gets what) BOTH parties will always be tempted to use it to create new status quo(s) and the settlement will NOT be "final".

The way out?
Either:
-A settlement as envisaged by the international community ie the UN Partition Plan with its own UN legality and semblance of justice BUT preferably a secular deZionized Palestine for both Arabs and Jews.
OR
- more of the same for generations to come.
( the issue is NOT a borders dispute.)


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Why NOT LIKE Switzerland and Belgium!
Difficult for BOTH but NOT impossible.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

I do NOT know about Marx and how authorative and well researched his article is.
However the indisputably far better researched and documented population figures are those included in the American KING-CRANE commission report which stated that ( Note OETA/South is Palestine ):
"The King-Crane Commission Report, August 28, 1919
I. THE REPORT UPON SYRIA

POPULATION ESTIMATES

An estimate of the population of the different districts is added at this point, for a better understanding of the tables and discussion which follow. The figures in all cases must be regarded as only approximate, but may be taken as giving a fairly accurate view of the proportions of the population.

O. E. T. A. South O. E. T. A. West O. E. T. A. East Totals
Moslems 515,000 600,000 1,250,000 2,365 000
Christians 62,500 400 000 125,000 587 560
Druses 60,000 80,000 140,000
Jews 65,000 15,000 30,000 110,000
Others 5,000 20 000 20 000 45,000
Totals 647,500 1,095,009 1,505,000
Grand Total 3,247,500 "

Noteworthy in this repect is that Jews numbered 65000 versus 725000 Arabs, both Moslem and Christian ie LESS than 1 to 10 of the Arab population up to late 1919s.
This natural demographic composition of Palestine was transformed by the FORCED entry of Jews into Palestine , against the declared and unrelenting opposition of the indigenous Palestinan people,through Zionist/British imperialism collusion to establish a Jewish colony in it; the so called "Jewish homeland".

Next Mr Green will be quoting Mark Twain . Or , possibly, Groucho Marx!

Any thing will do to support the historical BIG LIE "A land with NO people for a people with NO land" (The then battle cry of the colonialist and racist Zionist movement.)


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"Having the HISTORY right" in human affairs does not mean, can not mean, as you know Mr. Clarke, expecting identical precedents to guide us towards the future.
Neither Switzerland nor Belgium were born out of the interaction of identical forces!
Nor did the interaction of these forces lead to identical outputs.
The Palestinian question is UNIQUE in that sense; as were the other questions pre their respective resolution.

However I believe that Zionism grave mistake which is rapidly turning into its and Israel’s fatal mistake was to underestimate the reaction to the supplanting of its alien body ( Alien, at least, according to its perception by the indigenous population of the region) in the heartland of the Arab/Moslem world.

Nor did they anticipate the ongoing build up of the reaction against it to include the massive mobilization of the Moslem World against it.

The Arabs have shown enough “sense" to lead some of them to accept Israel, primarily out of defeat in the battlefield and then out of acquiescence to international opinion, to absolutely NO AVAIL. .
I do not expect the Moslems, including "Islamist" Arabs, as distinct from "Nationalist" Arabs, to ever treed the same road of concessions leading to more concessions to NO AVAIL.

What is urgently needed is less Zionist/Israeli arrogance and more farsightedness and a better understanding of history and geography.

Arafat’s historical unforgiveable hyper mistake, that more than any other single act or event gave HAMAS its historical role and raison d'etre and put a well deserved end to FATAH, was to recognize Israel legitimacy without simultaneously getting a parallel and equal (in all life matters) Israeli recognition of Palestinian legitimacy in their homeland.

What Egypt and Jordan achieved through their “peace” was to show and convince everybody here that Israel DID NOT, DOES NOT change with peace ;it only wets its appetite for more
If anything it becomes more insatiable and demanding; witness the settlements construction activity, the Wall, the ascent of Sharon and the starvation of the Palestinians after their respective "peace”.

Zionist/Israeli shortsightedness cum arrogance both aided and abetted by the USA, will lead to its ultimate demise.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Perverted logic, inane conscious willful distortion of history and pathetic wishful thinking...patent self contradiction within several close paragraphs;nothing new nor surprising here... anything will do to advance an other historical mega lie and support a base colonialist cause ....That, Mr Green, who is far from being habibi,is the sum up of your and yours ceaseless fabrication and disinformation campaign.
Lousy try to wiggle out of a LIE.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"Hussein had several sons. Abdullah was not the oldest. " (Green #106781)
Who was the eldest among the sons ??(Note:the term used is sons NOT children).
I see no connection between my questions and your happiness Mr Green !


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

*"live among intolerant," :intolerance of alien usurpation and colonialist aggression and domination is normally called patriotism and legitimate self defence; universally it is considered a sacred duty.


**" narrow-minded,": "open mindedness" to false racist allegations and claims , submission to aggression and to violations of inalienable human rights is normally
called "defeatism".

*** "and violent people.";in the jungle that we all live in the most effective way to resist aggression and roll it back has been, unfortunately but historically , the recourse to violence.

How else would the USA have been driven out of VietNam??
Or France out of Algeria??
Or Israel out of South Lebanon??


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Green

1-The figures as reported in the KING-CRANE commission report @ the link:
http://www.hri.org/docs/king-crane/syria-pop.html;

ARE:

"O. E. T. A. South
Moslems 515,000
Christians 62,500
Druses 60,000
Jews 65,000
Others 5,000"

Which proves the substance of my argument that Jews were a tiny minority in a predomonanly Arab Palestine.
Quibling about the exactness of figures in an "estimate" is NOT the point.
(Figures discrepancies are possibly due to the fact that the table in KING-CRANE about "Population Estimates" would NOT reproduce on HNN as is, spread wise, by Copy and Paste. Try it.)
However the link is there for everbody to consult and draw his own conclusions.

However whether their total was 65000 or 75000 the point is indisputable that Jews were a tiny minority in an overwhelmingly Arab country : Palestine=Filistin and that that small minority turned into a sizable minority as a result of their imperialistiically assisted inavision to, or so called migration into British occupied Palestine AGAINST THE OPPOSITION of the majority of the indigenous Palestinian people.

2-Do you envision reverting to the childish myth that there was NO Palestine with a predominantly Arab population?
Is that NOT an infantile argument?
(Is that the 21st century version of the mega LIE "a land with no people for a people with no land").
Have you NOT noticed that it is much harder to LIE now and for your fabrication to be accepted as truth?

3-Re Mr Crane ; well I guess that President Wilson, who had USA interests solely at heart, appointed the man for reasons Wilson found adequate to the job.
Of course you would have preferred a Zionist Jew instead.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007




Another failed attempt by the , wonder of wonders, Professor ??Eckstein.
Having earlier tried to insinuate that I gave HNN a wrong email address only to be rebutted by HNN and in his long record of fabrications he had the following to say:

"Re: Instability and Israeli Expansionism! (#106862)
by art eckstein on March 10, 2007 at 9:31 AM
Then why, Omar, did you make up the one about the israeli "massacre" of 250 captured Egyptian troops in 1967, something you gleefully put out last week in a very prominent place--and which turned out to be FALSE information which you purveyed to everyone here?

[ Reply ] [ Return to Comments ]

Re: Instability and Israeli Expansionism! (#106997)
by omar ibrahim baker on March 12, 2007 at 1:49 PM
I made up nothing Eckstein.
I simply reposted articles by the Israeli newspapers "Haaretz" and "The Jerusalem Post"; if I recall correctly their names.
What is IT that I made up.
Failure to point out what I made up is indicative of a try at making up something for lack of any thing of substance to say.
NOT unusual!"



[ Reply ] [ Return to Comments ]"

Up to this minute the Professor has failed to "point out" what I ,presumably, "made up" about the subject.
Conclusions to be drawn by others over, inter alia, what has become of academic titles!
No apology is expected or demanded considering!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

What is going on in Iraq between Sunni and Shiite is no more nor no less that what went on in the Civil War of the USA or Spain ...an ugly inexcusable quarrel between "brothers".
Except ,of course, when directed at the USA forces which is part of the rightful and just liberation fight against the alien invader !


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Reisman
I am happy that I made you understand that:
"How else( without violence) would the USA have been driven out of VietNam??
Or France out of Algeria??
Or Israel out of South Lebanon??"

Or, for that matter, the British out of the USA!

To pretend that either was achieved without violence is...
Unfortunately violence has been, historically, the most effective way to repulse alien aggression and foreign occupation.
Sad but true!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

re "insatiability" (#106624)
by Peter K. Clarke on March 6, 2007 at 8:53 PM
Let's see: I think I meant the 20 odd times over the past year or two you have referred to Israel as "expansionist" in the present tense, or some variant of that claim. As though any new territory had been conquered and held permanently AFTER 1967. It is really quite lame, because there are a long list of horrors ACTUALLY perpetrated by Israel over the past 40 years, such that even the most strident of anti-Israeli commentators do not need to, normally and do not, make up non existent horrors.

[ Reply ] [ Return to Comments ]


Re: re "insatiability" and the Wall/Israeli Expansionism (#106635)
by omar ibrahim baker on March 7, 2007 at 1:45 AM
Mr Clarke
I disagree : Israel is EXPANSIONIST in fact/action , in policy and in doctrine driven intent that is by its ideology .
Witness:
1- The annexation of Arab East Jerusalem and surroundings; an actual/factual act of de jure expansionism.

2- The confiscation of Arab held lands in the occupied territories and subsequent construction of settlements there on and the land grab of the Wall ;a patent policy move meant to establish a set of fait(s) accompli(s) leading to de jure annexation in case of a settlement.

The USA of the Bush/Wolfowitz administration has officially supported these "de facto" expansionist moves by declaring its support of the Isaraeli claim that they should be retained, ie annexed, by Israel in case of a settlement.
(Note worthy in this respect is that, to my knowledge, NOT a single settlement was constructed on pre 1967 Israeli held land and the implications of the herd's refusal of the term "occupied territories".)

3-The imposition of Israeli law over the occupied Golan Hights; a preliminary step, the prelude, to future annexation, ie expansion, into Syrian territory .

As a matter of historical fact , law and ideological orientation three major points should be noted:

a- That every single square cm held by Israel beyond its land allocation according to the UN Partition Plan of Palestine is/was an act of expansion into the Palestinian land allocation by same.

b-That all Israeli "peace " plans proposed boundaries way beyond the 1967 "armistice" , "green", line.

c-The various definitions of "the land of Israel" by Zionist dogma and Zionist theoreticians, which range from historical Palestine, as a minimum, to "from the Nile to the Euphrates".
Being the ready made theoretical/ideological/doctrinaire, foundation for future Israeli expansion.

Any way and irrespective YOU DO NOT HAVE to kill MORE than one person to become a killer!One will do.

However I do agree that:"there are a long list of horrors ACTUALLY perpetrated by Israel over the past 40 years" which neither belie nor attenuate its intrinsic aggressively
"expansionist" nature.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"repetition of obvious factual errors"!!
What are you talking about Mr ClsarkeI would like to know?


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Clarke
I disagree : Israel is EXPANSIONIST in fact/action , in policy and in doctrine driven intent and by its ideology per se.
Witness:
1- The annexation of Arab East Jerusalem and surroundings; an actual/factual act of de jure expansionism.

2- The confiscation of Arab held lands in the occupied territories and subsequent construction of settlements there on and the land grab of the Wall ;a patent policy move meant to establish a set of fait(s) accompli(s) leading to de jure annexation in case of a settlement.

The USA of the Bush/Wolfowitz administration has officially supported these "de facto" expansionist moves by declaring its support of the Isaraeli claim that they should be retained, ie annexed, by Israel in case of a settlement.
(Note worthy in this respect is that, to my knowledge, NOT a single settlement was constructed on pre 1967 Israeli held land and the implications of the herd's refusal of the term "occupied territories".)

3-The imposition of Israeli law over the occupied Golan Hights; a preliminary step, the prelude, to future annexation, ie expansion, into Syrian territory .

As a matter of historical fact , law and ideological orientation three major points should be noted:

a- That every single square cm held by Israel beyond its land allocation according to the UN Partition Plan of Palestine is/was an act of expansion into the Palestinian land allocation by same.

b-That all Israeli "peace " plans proposed boundaries way beyond the 1967 "armistice" , "green", line.

c-The various definitions of "the land of Israel" by Zionist dogma and Zionist theoreticians, which range from historical Palestine, as a minimum, to "from the Nile to the Euphrates".
Being the ready made theoretical/ideological/doctrinaire, foundation for future Israeli expansion.

Any way and irrespective YOU DO NOT HAVE to kill MORE than one person to become a killer!One will do.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Green
I ,for one,would like to know the answer(s) to your questions re Abdullah and Hassan.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

All kinds of play on words and irrational "logic" are used to deny the obvious!
That there is a Palestinian Arab people.
The absurdity of Mr Green's assertion (#106688)is best seen if we consider the following:
- You can NOT be a Texan and an American at the same time.
-There is no such place called Texas; it is simply part of the USA.
-Traditionally Americans living in Texas saw themselves as nationals of the USA; ie they are Americans NOT
Texans.

Therefore there is no such place called Texas and, say, North Koreans or Afghanis , are entitled to colonize it and drive away its indigenous population back to the USA.

That Palestine ,and its inhabitants, the Palestinian people, the culture, the arabized land predates Texas and the USA by many centuries of continuous habitation, cultivation of the land and construction should NOT make any difference to the "logic" used to deny the obvious.

There is no such place called Texas.



omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

The late sage ,but devoted Zionist, Abba Ebban had a persistent nightmare that could eventually lead to the collapse of Israel:

"The Levantization of Israel!",

he called it if I remember correctly his own words.
By that he meant that Israel will eventually acquire /be contaminated with the "environmental/regional" endemic diseases/viruses that plague it and has plagued it historically mainly (According to Ebban):
indolence , corruption and the absence of public participation in governance/despotic non democratic rule !

Being the sage man that he was , Ebban, was also quick to note that the region has a strong concurrent inborn self defense mechanism, particular to its indigenous people, against aliens "viruses" ( in this analogy) that is usually triggered by mega challenges and in time of mega crisis enables the region to meet and overcome its historical "indolence" thus enabling it to sand up successfully to the challenge, meet it and defeat it.

He, I recall from various readings of Ebban, attributed the collapse of the Crusaders' challenge to the fact that by being "Levantinez" they acquired the ills of the region without acquiring its concurrent concomitant "immunity" which is particular to its indigenous population.
And having triggered that immunity in its indigenous population by their mere presence, the Crusaders' incursion was bound to fall under the repeated attacks of the resurgent self defense mechanism of the region against ALIENS.

His , Ebban's, nightmare was that Israel might/will succumb to this "Levantization" and rejection of Aliens syndrome.

The symptoms of the "levantization" + (levantization plus) of Israel are more than those already cited in this article to which I will stress (the new disease?) of the huge size, scope ,wealth, influence and reach of "organized crime".

According to Israeli media it seems that "organized crime" is often in the position to "mediate" differences, act as a go between, some criminals and its security organizations.
That is Organized crime has, sometimes, attained an equal standing with its security organizations!
(Haaretz had recently an extremely interesting interview with a senior Israeli judge that touched mainly on this aspect of Israeli life.)

On the other hand the symptoms of the resurgence of the region's "self
defense "mechanism are there for everybody to note; not least Hizb Allah's ability to stand up to and deter/defeat the hugely powerful war machine of the IDF last summer

This could be Phase One in the realization of Abba Ebban's nightmare


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

It does NOT matter much how people are killed or who is killing whom; what really matters is that killing is repulsive and inexcusable paricularly if it has nothing to do with repulsing a foreign invader.

Islam, as an excuse for killing, is no more nor no less sick than other religions or doctrines in the name of which huge killing was perpetrated.

What is going on in Iraq is inexcusable by any standard ; however the point to keep in mind is that it would have been impossible before the Iraqi state was dismantled by the USA invasion of the Bush/Wolfowitz administration!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

I made up nothing Eckstein.
I simply reposted articles by the Israeli newspapers "Haaretz" and "The Jerusalem Post"; if I recall correctly their names.
What is IT that I made up.
Failure to point out what I made up is indicative of a try at making up something for lack of any thing of substance to say.
NOT unusual!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

As correctly pointed out by Ben Gurion Israel had to have "its criminals and prostitutes" to become a "nation".
Now that it has both and much more to boot it will, never the less, always suffer from its deeper illnesses/birth defects which will ultimately determine its fate.

These I deem to be existential in the sense that they will determine the future of its very existence.
**First and foremost is the accelerating and deepening regional rejection of Israel.very existence.
Contrary to Israeli expectations the passage of time did NOT make Israel more "acceptable" to the region. That is despite "official" acceptance via "peace treaties" with Egypt and Jordan and semi official "normalization" with many others .
"Acceptance" of Israel, both "official" and "semi official" has consistently been accompanied by the radicalization of public opposition to Israel.
In Arab countries it is seen by the rise of Islamist rejectionists in both categories; witness the rise of the rejectionist Islamist movement in Egypt and Jordan for the former and in Morocco for the latter and, most remarkably, in Kuwait who owes its "official" continued existence to the USA the guardian of Israel.
Non Arab countries in the region has also turned their erstwhile friendly relations with Israel , often verging on strategic alliances, into cold negative "neutrality" as with Turkey and out right enmity as with Iran.

**Of possibly equal importance is the dawning realization, by the Israeli public in particular, of the limitations of hyper military prowess (last seen in Lebanon last summer) as the means for attaining the "Jewish Safe Haven and “the good life” that goes with it.( The cause d’etre of the Zionist cause and its offspring Israel).
With Israeli present nuclear capability, the imminent nuclearization of Iran and the inevitable overall concurrent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the region “safety”, both personal and communal, has and will become so much harder to attain and the “good life “ , with the threats to Israeli Democracy, farther than ever before

As such both "regional rejection" and " limitations of hyper power" pose "existential" threats to Israel; and none of these is diminishing with the passage of time.!


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Nor I am the only one whose skills need improving, Mr. S. Your History skills, for example, probably could stand some polishing. I say "probably," because I do not recall any of the hundreds of your prior comments I have seen on HISTORY News Network ever discussing History.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Whatever the answer to Mr. Reisman's question above, the likely real reason is "better to go to hell our own way than to go to heaven under someone else's orders." This is the ultimate existentialist rationalizing for nationalism, most of the time, and certainly in the case of Israel-Palestine.

The "prognosis" for this discussion, seen in a million similar discussions prior, is for opposing partisans of opposing nationalisms -both wanting SOLE existence in the same physical territory- to bash each other back and forth, convincing no one, and leading nowhere.

I have a query, therefore. Which of these two will step aside to advocate instead the only viable solution: the "two-state compromise," dividing the land along some approximate variant of the 1948-67 line, accompanied by credible guarantees of peaceful co-existence?

Such a solution will require adherence to something less than total nationalism on both sides. Most Israeli "settlers" will have to abandon their hideously ugly bunkers, Palestinians will have to agree to bargain away the right to return to properties they lost 60 years, and many states of the world ago. And Siamese twin folly of Sharafat during 2000-05 will have to be at least tacitly acknowledged for the collosal waste that it is, as the deal which could have been had in 2000 is finally returned to along with a turn to that great rarity in the Middle East: common sense.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"Some people" have been around here much long than others, and the normal, civilized "benefit of the doubt" thus had a much earlier expiration date.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Thanks, Mr. Crocker, for setting things straight. I do not, however, share the following particular "expectation,"

"The next time Israel is being criticized for some real or perceived transgression and people start hyperventilating about, admittedly far worse, events in Somalia, Sudan, or elsewhere to defend Israel's actions expect to see this phrase on the other side of the argument."

because we fundamentally do not have a balanced "equal attention to both sides" situation here on the HNN comment boards.


What we have here are almost totally unmoderated discussions, open to all comers, effectively giving completely free rein to some subsets within groups of true believers in certain causes, who follow the principle of using quantity of output as a substitute for quality and consistency.

As a purely emperical observation, based on years of experience reading and posting here, "hyperventilating," is not equally distributed amongst the several "camps" of opinion on Mideastern politics and history.

I think the fundamental way discussions are structured here helps produce that sort of outcome on this and several other "hot-button" subjects.

Even if all the present comment-posters were to disappear or undergo magical reformation, others would replace them. There is no sanction here against being historically uninformed, illogical, inconsistent, deliberately obfuscatory or deliberately misleading, excessively repetitive, or irrelevant. There are no inhibitions to interupting, making childish rebuttals, hijacking threads, going onto private soap boxes, or systematically misattributing and falsely labelling other commenters. There is a limited sanction against being rude, which is sufficient to keep the whole thing functioning at a high level of heat and considerably lower level of light.

These problems are then compounded by an editorial penchant for selecting articles inconsistent with HNN's stated missions, and designed -deliberately or otherwise- to provoke a maximum of the worst sorts of abuses listed above. The lack of comment-moderating reinforces this editorial penchant, because balanced and objective articles get vastly lower numbers of comment "hits."

I suppose, in theory, the inherently- encouraged high-heat and low-light attributes might develop in roughly equal measures on opposite sides of controversial issues. It has not worked that way in the actual instance of discussions on the Mideast. If you survey the archives of articles and blogs featured on HNN over past months and years, you will see a diversity but not a balanced diversity. Among several other reasons, I believe that this observable pattern of editorial bias contributes to the fundamental imbalance on the comment boards. The whole playing field is basically skewed before the teams even line up. Sometimes it tilts one way, and sometimes another, but the % breakdown is more like 90-10 than 50-50.

There is no improvement in sight re these problems, and that is why the particular expectation of yours expressed in this thread, and any more general expections of that type, are not realistic, in my view.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I have stated the reasons, the logic, and the history behind my conclusions about what people in the Mideast "want" or "don't want." You come to different conclusions based mainly on polling results, which I consider of secondary reliability. You have lifted numbers out of logistical, social and historical contexts and leapt to conclusions about popular opinion which may prove ultimately valid but have not yet been proven to my satisfaction.

We also disagree on the importance of popular sentiment to policy questions.
There are legitimate reasons for disagreement in this area too. I have made the point, which you have ignored, that the answers to polling questions depends on history as well as on fundamental personal beliefs. I think that one could have used polls amongst Jews in Palestine in 1947 to conclude that they "did not want peace." Not a reason, in my view, to therefore deny forever the possibility of creating a Jewish state in Palestine.


There are no grounds for calling my conclusions, and ONLY my conclusions, "wishful thinking," simply because I do not share your views of the importance of mass psychology to policy decision-making or re the reliability of polls as a gauge of popular opinions and emotions.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"Please support your leading indicator topic."

Why are you asking for this?



My Isreal as leading indicator of increased "falling apart-ness" is a tentative conclusion (I expressed this from the outset as a belief not an established fact).


Would you agree that Israel is on the forefront in many areas, such as hight tech research and applications ?

Would you agree that Israel has faced the issue of Islamic anti-modern pressure earlier, more powerfully and longer than elsewhere?

Would you agree that Israel is not the only country facing increased cheating, disrepect for societal tradtions, general rule-breaking and scandal over recent years?

Would agree that Israel, generally, shares many features with other countries, despite being unique in some key ways too?

If you agree with me on these points, I think my leading indicator conclusion should be at least plausible. If you don't agree on these points, then you might reach a different conclusion.

If you want to have a discussion on the topic of the page, you need to contribute something to the discussion of that topic yourself, and not just ask me to elaborate on my points, or express suprise that an elaboration by me on ONE of my points, does not support another DIFFERENT point of mine.



Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

When you are ready to "engage an argument" relevant to the topic of the page and can manage to do so by starting your own thread, Mr. Simon, we can perhaps have a meaningful discussion. I have seen such miracles occur on very rare occasions in the past.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

With due respect to Mr. Baker, his own family's presumably unwarranted mishaps due to the uprootings resulting from the formation of Israel, and his right to express his views, he is not any kind of official spokesman. His views on Israel are not those of the Arab League, the PLO, the UN, or the "Quartet." Despite his hardline position, it could still be a basis for discussion, however, if he could manage to de-Zionize his rhetoric and if he could realize that no right is absolute. The right to free speech not applying to calling fire in a crowded theater, for
example.

I would certainly agree that right of Arabs to return to properties in Israel lost 60 years ago far exceeds the right of Jews to return to Judea and Samaria 2000 years after leaving. Israel can hardly be expected to surrender the choices parts of itsel, but it needs to compensate Arabs it ethnically cleansed or drove out in fear, and not hide behind a false parallel to Jews who were kicked out of Egypt and other Arab countries. That was not the fault of Palestinian refugees. The outlines of a deal were reached in Geneva in 2003. They are not substantially different than that envisioned by Oslo in the early 1990s, and by Ythzahk Rabin and moderate Palestinians, and by Clinton in 2000. A lot of patient negotiating will be required to get back to 1995, but isn't it time to stop shouting past each other and start talking more constructively?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Einstein was right. There did NOT go the neighborhood.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I would not take Omar Baker's word for it, if he claimed to be "representative of Palestinian Arab opinion" (which I don't think he has ever been so vain as to do.) Still less would I accept ethnic-cleansing-rationalizer Benny Morris "wonderings" about what Arafat might have thought before he died two years ago as representing Palestinian views. Less yet can I accept your bald assertions based on extrapolating Morris's speculations, Mr. Friedman.

Nothing I've ever seen in any of your many long-winded regurgitations on HNN would alter the basic perception from the last election where Hamas and Fatah basically tied. Fatah accepts Israel in its 1948-67 borders (but may hope for a rollback some day). Hamas does not accept Israel at all (but might well do so if there were a face-saving quid pro quo). Some Hamas supporters probably are willing to accept Israel (Hamas's unexpectedly strong showing was clearly in part a protest vote not related to Israel). On the other hand, there are probably also some Fatah supporters who would renege on accepting Israel, depending on future cirumstances. Then is the minority who is neither pro-Hamas nor pro-Fatah, and that group undoubtedly contains both accepters and non-accepters of Israel's existence. The reality is that we will probably never know the true composite "representative" opinion of the Palestinians, concerning willingness or non-willingness to truly accept Israel as a permanent neighbor, UNTIL the Palestinians are finally granted a viable functioning sovereign state as the Jews were in the 1940s. Palestinian and Arab devotion to violence and terror has been a prime obstacle to statehood over those intervening six decades. But, since 2000, no objective observer could fail to assign at least equal blame to the senselessly brutal occupation policies of the Israeli authorities, their continued kowtowing to the lunatic fringe West Bank "settlers," and the treasonous rubber-stamping of almost every detail of these recklessly inhumane policies by a brain-dead U.S. administration and a spineless U.
S. Congress.

The time has come for Israelis to find the courage to try to get back to mode, as in the early 1990s when both sides were able to curb their fanatical extremes and actually negotiate. A policy of endless disproportionate reprisal and revenge is failing utterly, as Rabin realized back then that it would. The Palestinians have never yet failed to blow an opportunity to join the civilized world, but that is not a good reason for apriori deciding to never give them another chance.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

These are good points. Underlying them is the indisputable truth that while Israel is, in some ways, "falling apart" so is most of the rest of the world. The spate of exposed corruption in Israel should not be taken as an occasion for gloating by holier-than-thou parties outside Israel.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Good proposal, Mr. Baker. Just make sure you have the history right.

The core of the European Alps was split between the Austrian monarchy and the Swiss confederation. The "low countries" were divided between Belgium and the Netherlands. In each case, two effectively independent entities mutually accepting each other's permanent existence were recognized and made viable within established territorial divisions.

This approach also is at the core of the two-state "road map," Arab League, UN "Quartet," Mitchell Plan, Oslo Accords, Geneva Plan, "land-for-peace" and Camp David solution for Israel and Palestine. It is time for Israel to dump its religious loony-bin settler-fanatics and get with it. And time for Hamas to shed its own-foot-shooting martyr complex and accept the existence of Israel within negotiated borders approximating the pre 1967 line, so that they can become part of the solution too, instead just part of the problem. These transitions will take some time, which is needed anyway, because there will not be viable American leadership available until the current blockhead clown of a Likud-rubber-stap president retires in disgrace in January, 2009. The blunder of the Arabs in rejecting the 1948 UN partition proposal cannot be undone - Jews are not going to be forcibly removed from internationally-recognized Israeli pre-'67 territory en masse- and Palestinians will have to learn to live with them on their doorstep, but it will be an improvement over endless oppression and terrorist reprisal. Try stepping on board, Mr. Baker. Stop arguing with the "herd". You will never convince them that Zionism is the root of all evil, which I think, anyway, even you realize it is not. Try to find a middle way with sensible and far-sighted Israelis, into which grouping it is hoped that Mr. Reisman falls.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Yes and no, Mr. B.

YES on the idiotic settlements which Likudni propaganda and US dupes thereof would pretend do not exist.

NO on the Wall ("security fence").

The Wall is, of course, BOTH a security measure AND a land grab (the latter aspect being a disgraceful sop to the lunatic settlers) BUT, it certainly does NOT represent a "whetting of the appetite" for more and more. IF the wall is in fact ever completed, it will represent -at least symbolically- a RELINQUISHING of territory. I am not aware of anyone - not even the settler-fanatics towards whom Mr. F's childish calls for "evidence" (of obvious facts, like Arafat recognizing Israel and receiving the Nobel Peace prize as a result) never apply- saying that the wall should be built so as to enclose land BEYOND that seized forty years ago, e.g during the LAST land seizure in Israel's sixty year history.

I can understand, though I disagree with, your steadfast views on matters such as the "right of return," Mr. B., but is hard to understand stubborn and incessant repetition of obvious factual errors. They only make you look foolish.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

This attempt to rationalize the fanatical Israeli settler movement will not hold water. They are the Israeli equivalent of Arab suicide bombers. They are rife with religious lunatics and killers as it is now. I have little doubt that they would be just about as ruthless and bloodthirsty as any band of Palestinian terrorists were the tables reversed, and a Palestinian state occupying, oppressing, and brutalizing Israelis over many decades. Even Sharon (for decades a chief egger-on of those settler crazies) saw the necessity of reining them in in Gaza.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

And I am "waiting but not holding my breath" for people to devote .0001% of the discussion of Israeli-Palestinian history on HNN to the Jews who could not "live in peace" with the Jew Ytzhak Rabin and foully murdered him instead.

I have said many times before and will say it again as directly as possible so there is no mistake. Being Jewish, Buddhist or Zoroastrian or being a partisan for Israel, Upper Volta or an outer moon of Jupiter does not excuse hypocrisy.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Friedman, you are flailing, and it's time to call it a day.

1. I made some comments opening this thread. I made a short observation about the irrelevance of most of this page to the article, acknowledged that I that had been an active contributor to that prior irrelevance, and then made a few relevant-to-the-article remarks about Israel's scandals in international perspective.

2. Nowhere in this thread did I "trash" anybody. I invite you to retract that erroneous statement.

3. You have made no arguments in this thread "against my positions" regarding Israel's scandals vs other countries. So how could I possibly "change the subject" away from somewhere it had never been?

4. I am not "required" to adhere to you or anybody else's ideas of what constitutes "proof" or does not. You certainly make many remarks based on belief or logic rather than pure facts. So do I. It is part of having a normal conversation. It is a matter of empirical fact over many months of prior comment threads, that when I do provide proof or citations, you almost always deny them -no matter what- unless they adhere to your preconceived conclusions. This sort of behavior (there are scores of examples over past years on HNN) does not encourage me to leap to attention each time you scream like a spoiled child for "evidence,"e.g. 20+ times or so, as on this page.

5. You have made three comments already in this thread. None of them are relevant either to the article or to my thread-opening remarks, except insofar as a parrot might be relevant to "wanna cracker". It is extremely probable that you will make a fourth comment in this thread because you are too immature to ever let anyone else have the last word. Look at all the threads and subthreads across this page above if you want "proof" of this. Find me one here, or on any other HNN page ever, where you made a comment, someone else answered, and then you shut up. It will be a needle in the haystack hunt. It might have happened one time in a hundred.

6. I am tired of these childish games.
Goodbye.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

This proves nothing beyond your ability to cut and paste.

What politican anywhere does NOT talk out of several sides of his mouth depending on the audience?

Deeds, not words, are what counts.

Until Sharon went to the Temple in 2000, Arafat kept his terror squads on a rather tight leash despite the resumption of settlements after Rabin's assassination. There was a period in the early 1990s when a lasting peace deal was a real possibility, regardless of reservations, trickery, and inconsistent suppport from both sides.

The trajectory of every leader opposing Jews is not involve a repeat of the "the Holocaust was predicable because of Hitler's virulent anti-Semitism in 'Mein Kampf'").


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

We discussed the Rabin history back on the long-winded session where the German guy thought Ahmindejad was Hitler II.

As for "the topic at hand" what does Arabs living in peace or not peace witheach have to do with scandals in Israel?

Why does Mr. Green's one-sided irrelevancy get a free pass while I, who merely point that blatant one-sidedness, get taken to task?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,165951,00.html

Israeli Troops Forcibly Remove Gaza Settlers

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

MORAG, Gaza Strip — Violence marred the first full day of the forced evacuation of Israeli settlers from their homes in the Gaza Strip (search) on Wednesday.

An Israeli grabbed a gun from a security guard and sprayed a group of Palestinian laborers with gunfire in the West Bank settlement of Shilo, killing three and wounding two, one of whom died later. The shooter was quickly arrested.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (search) denounced the attack as an act of "Jewish terror ... aimed against innocent Palestinians, out of twisted thinking, aimed at stopping the disengagement."

The gunman, identified as Asher Weisgan, 40, from the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rahel, was a driver who transported Palestinian laborers to the industrial zone of the nearby settlement of Shilo every day. At the end of the work day, he picked up the workers and briefly stopped at a security post.

He got out of his car, seized the weapon from the guard at knifepoint and fired from close range on two workers in his vehicle. He kept shooting, killing a third worker and wounding two others outside the car. One of them died later.

In Kfar Darom, several hundred settlers went on a rampage, pushing large cinderblocks off a bridge and trying to torch a nearby Arab house, witnesses said. Israel troops brought the fire under control and tried to push the settlers back into Kfar Darom as Palestinians threw stones.

A West Bank settler in southern Israel set herself on fire and suffered life-threatening burns on 70 percent of her body, police and hospital officials said. The 54-year-old woman was taken to a hospital in serious condition.

Police spokeswoman Liat Nidam said the woman who burned herself carried a sign reading, "Impose a closure on the media, destroy the disengagement, put Sharon before a military court…."

Sharon proposed his "disengagement plan" two years ago to ease Israel's security burden and help preserve the country's Jewish character by placing Gaza's 1.3 million Palestinians outside Israeli boundaries….

Israelis and Palestinians have been cooperating to prevent militant violence during the pullout, though lately Jewish extremists have caused the most concern. Wednesday's attack was the second on Palestinians by Israelis in two weeks. On Aug. 4, a 19-year-old Israeli soldier opened fire on a bus, killing four Israeli Arabs.

Hours after a midnight deadline to evacuate willingly, Israeli soldiers were still forcibly removing defiant settlers from homes and houses of worship throughout communities in the Gaza Strip…

The army said it arrested 52 Israelis headed Wednesday to Homesh, one of the settlements slated for evacuation...

There were few reports of settler violence against Israeli troops, though a brigade commander told FOX News that a female settler had stabbed one of his soldiers with a needle. Overall, he said the operation was a success…

In the settlement of Morag, troops smashed through a cinderblock barricade, forming a human chain to push back a line of settlers. Young protesters set two garbage containers on fire as security forces dragged settlers who had holed up in the settlement's main synagogue to police buses to be driven out of Gaza.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Do you think that when Jews in Palestine were living under dangerous and oppressive foreign rule, without a state of their own, that the Stern Gang and Irgun were only "building homes" and acting in a way "very, very far removed from people who blow other people up" ?

Perhaps the problem here is that you
"merely think you know but you have not done the applicable research" ?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Here is a touch of the Israeli public you, Mr. Eckstein, Daniel Pipes, etc. never want to talk about, and that is only heard from once in a blue moon on HNN:


Good riddance to Gaza, many Israelis say
By Matt Spetalnick Sept 9, 2005

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - One Israeli prime minister called Gaza "a bone stuck in our throats." Another wished it would just sink into the sea. In Hebrew, "Go to hell" sounds almost like "Go to Gaza," an irony some Israelis savour.

With settlers already gone and the army following on their heels early next week, many Israelis are as glad to say good riddance to the tiny coastal territory as the Palestinians are to see them leave after 38 years of occupation.

It's a sentiment that resonates especially among Israeli army veterans with bitter memories of dangerous duty in the Gaza Strip guarding a few thousand Jews isolated from a hostile population of 1.4 million Palestinians.

"Thank God another generation of soldiers won't have to risk their lives for so little reason," said Avi, 46, a former army reservist who served in Gaza in the late 1980s when it was a hotbed of the first Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

He recalls long stints when his unit, sweating in heavy flak jackets, patrolled crowded refugee camps or chased stone throwing youths through rutted streets flowing with sewage.

Israel's presence in Gaza is now ending only after a second, bloodier cycle of violence, this one erupting in 2000. Palestinian fighters traded their rocks for bombs and bullets and the army responded with tanks and helicopter-fired missiles.

To many Israelis, Gaza -- one of the most densely populated places on earth -- had long been a costly liability, with polls consistently showing a majority willing to part with it despite religious Jews' claims of a biblical birthright.

As military casualties mounted, public pressure grew, helping to give Prime Minister Ariel Sharon momentum to uproot Gaza's 21 settlements in a plan he billed as a disengagement from conflict with the Palestinians.

...Some historians say Prime Minister Menachem Begin tried in vain to get Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat to take Gaza back in peace talks that led to Israel's return of Sinai in 1982.

"I would like Gaza to sink into the sea, but that won't happen, and a solution must be found," Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said in 1992.

The next year he signed the Oslo accords with Yasser Arafat, turning over much of Gaza to Palestinian rule but keeping control of settlements covering up to one-fifth of the strip...

Commentators said Israel's silent majority had finally spoken, saying it wanted to give Sharon's plan a chance. Just to be sure, though, Israel is building a high-tech barrier on its border with the strip, expanding a single fence line to three.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I did not mean to suggest that only religious extremists populate the Israeli West Bank settlements. But since Jordan signed a peace deal back in the early '90s and abandoned its claims to the West Bank peace deal, there is no other viable reason for the settlements, except as bargaining chips. When Jews were not able to very effectively use settlements as leverage, in 1946-46 (as Palestinians have not been able to) their extremists resorted to terrorism (as Palestinians often have).

As a decades-long practice, however, clinging tooth and nail to such "bargaining chips" effectively become a means of repeatedly and deliberately torpedoing peace negotiations, which is what I believe settlements and terrorism in fact have been used for.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

These SEVERAL incidents were isolated, I agree, but they prove the sloppy kneejerk one-sideness of your statement about "nothing other than legal," and -more importantly- reveal the ugly face of Jewish fanaticism (erupting not due to 40 years of occupation, but by having to move from one heavily subsidized housing arrangement in Gaza to another in the West Bank) which you (plural) are so deeply and repeatedly committed to denying.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

By your latest "logic," the Holocaust was okay because it happened 60 and 70 years ago.

The issue is whether the Israeli West Bank settlers (or more properly put, the religious extremists on whose behalf they have been settled) have similarities to Palestinian terrorists. To make the comparison a more complete one, one needs to include an apples to apples measure. Since the Palestinians have never had their own state, the proper parallel is when the Israelis did not have a state either. That happens to have been 60 years ago. The Jewish terrorists were much more effective at getting quick positive results. Their state came after only a couple of years. Time for Palestinians to try another tack, I hope you would agree. Or do you prefer another 60 years of periodic war and terrorism?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I did not say that the story about Israelis damning Gaza and calling evacuating it "good riddance" "UNDERMINED" anything you or Eckstein or anybody else said. I said that you folks had avoided the subject of Israeli mainstream public opinion going against Israeli lunatic fringe opinion.


This is called misattribution. I have noticed, to your credit, that -unlike some other posters- you resort to this only rarely, generally when you are desperate. Better to just give up, I would suggest.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

The fact is that Arafat got the Nobel and the Norwegians knew more about what was going on then, during the "Oslo process" than you do now.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

You can repeatedly selectively misapply any Latin phrase you want, but if a poster makes a set of one-sided slams against another poster, in a post which does not address the topic of the page, it is not "invalid" to expose such transparent hypocrisy.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Maybe I missed a needle or two in the haystack here, but, in the seventy five posts above by Mssrs Friedman, Eckstein, and Simon above (constituting nearly half of all those made thus far on the page) I don’t recall a single one discussing the topic of the page (“Is Israel Falling Apart?”). This is not the first time such a mass neglect has manifested itself here on this website’s comment pages.

This strange reluctance to post remarks that are relevant is part of a long term consistent pattern of steadfast devotion to three cardinal principles (regardless of relevance or non-relevance to the topic of the article):

1. Every significant problem faced by the country of Israel is wholly the fault of its Palestinian and Arab neighbors or those who in any way support or are sympathetic to those neighbors.

2. Anyone who, in any way, or for any reason, suggests otherwise must be evil, crazy, or a fool.

3. The only way to persuade skeptics of (1) and (2) is by an unrelenting outpouring of challenges and rebuttals to any deviation or perceived deviation from these two principles. This end, moreover, justifies a grab bag of dubious means.

Certainly, this sort of rigidly uncompromising approach to expounding a point of view can be effective in certain circumstances, for instance, on an IDF raid in the West Bank following targeted “assassinations” by missile or bulldozing of houses and olive groves. It has not been effective on comment pages here. It is more often, in fact, a dialogue-killer.

Against this, it should also be acknowledged, we also have a kind of one man opposition which is at least as steadfast in believing and proclaiming nearly the precise opposite of (1) above. But this opposition is otherwise not symmetrical. Its exponent is somewhat less prone to quickly assume the worst about anyone who disagrees with him, is rather less disdainful of staying on topic, and does not routinely employ a deluge of misattributions, repetitions, obfuscation and trickery as a technique of argument. Like his opponents, he persistently argues, consciously or unconsciously, on behalf of a particular political point of view, as a matter of unalterable conviction and with small regard for effectiveness. Unlike them, his single-minded energies are intended for the ultimate benefit of political entities in his own native land.

Adios,

PKC


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"Thank God another generation of soldiers won't have to risk their lives for so little reason" is the most apt quote from the article I posted. This in NO WAY proves that most Israelis "want peace."

I personally think most Israelis AND most Palestinians DO want peace, but not on the same terms. I also suppose it quite likely that that gap in terms went a quite different way in 1947. But I cannot "prove" this, and neither can a bunch of dubious and uncited "polls." Even if they are unbiased and scientifically representative the ability to get unfiltered views is highly suspect. You might as well try to find out going door to door whether South Central LA thinks justice was done in the OJ case.

What the people "want" is anyway only part of the equation. The real key in Israel-Palestine, at least since the Yom Kippur War, and even more so since the end of the Cold War, has been whether the two sides have compelling leaders willing to face down the fanatics on their respective sides of the line, and whether there is a competent US president to help them do so. In 2000 the weak link of that trio was quite clearly -in my view at least- Arafat. Today it has to be -to ANY open mind- Bush.

Sometime a "weak link" can be pulled along by the momentum of circumstances and the power of the other two. As with Begin in 1979 and Arafat in 1993.

But all of this is off topic, and almost always is on HNN, and most "panel debates" in mainstream media. Instead what we are served up, more often than not, is a pro-Israel jerk (here on HNN, dozens of them) and a pro-Arab jerk yelling past each other about how it is, always has been, and always will be everlasting 100% the other side's fault.

This is predictable, childish, and utterly useless except perhaps as a study in psychological disorders.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"Now you admit that they are not religious zealots."

Where did I say that?

Can't you stop making things up?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

There are no "data" to confront anywhere in sight here. And don't bother not fetching them, they won't prove anything, and were most probably rigged for propaganda purposes in the first place. Or did Gallup, Harris, and Yankelvitch do the polls you can't cite?

According to "polls," 2/3 of Americans thought in 2004 that the 9-11 hijackers were working for Saddam or some such idiocy - but that doesn't prove they will carry such beliefs unaltered to their graves. Only if one wants to argue 'til blue in the face that 2/3 of Americans are themselves incurable idiots would one try to make dubious uncited poll data into some kind of tablet from Mt Sinai.

I don't give a flying leap at the moon about Omar's Israeli documentary. I can read the true story in the New York Times unless they screw it up in which case I'll find it somewhere else if should ever want to. Does it in fact have anything to do with Wahrman's thesis?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Let's see: I think I meant the 20 odd times over the past year or two you have referred to Israel as "expansionist" in the present tense, or some variant of that claim. As though any new territory had been conquered and held permanently AFTER 1967. It is really quite lame, because there are a long list of horrors ACTUALLY perpetrated by Israel over the past 40 years, such that even the most strident of anti-Israeli commentators do not need to, normally and do not, make up non existent horrors.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I see: you misunderstood what I said.
Quelle surprise.

I said: "Jewish fanaticism (erupting not due to 40 years of occupation, but by having to move from one heavily subsidized housing arrangement in Gaza to another in the West Bank)"

I meant: Jewish fanaticism about the Biblical Right to land outside 1966 Israel, erupting ON THE OCCASION of the forced move

You thought I meant: Jews who were fanatically against ever having to move from one settlement to another.

You are dodging to avoid admitting a mistake as you so often do. If you wouldn't exaggerate so often (e.g. "NOTHING other than legal protest") and always -when discussing Israel- in a pro-Likud way (surprise #2) you could dodge less, and these pages could have a few dozen or hundred fewer silly back and forth posts.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

You reveal your age, Mr. F. The defensible borders argument as a justification for holding the whole West Bank, dates from the 1960s when Israel was bordering Jordan on the Western end of Samaria and could hit the Israeli coast with long-range artillery. Jordan withdrew its claim eastward to the River of its name in 1994. End of justification. Long past time to order a new propaganda handbook for rationalizing endless Bantulandization of West Bank. How about terrorism? Remember it? Or else explain please how the New York Times has never reported the long range howitzers and F-xteen fighter bombers of the Palestinian Army and Air Force.

We are also drifting back to Likud-propaganda versus-the-Atlas-makers-of-the-civilized world issue of two weeks ago. Did you really want to go there again?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

What about Sinai ?

Needed in order to secure a "defensible border" in the 1960-70s?

NOT needed to secure a "defensible border" AFTER that?

What changed?

The "lay of the land"?

Moses unparting the waters and re-releasing Noah's flood?

Could it a be... that awful thing, a "treaty"?

Much more pernicious treaties are, than UN resolutions. Those latter devils are always anti-Semitic if America vetoes them but if they offer a convoluted legal BS argument for why every Atlas Maker has been an idiot for 40 years, then of course, they are wonderfully hieroglyphically cryptic tablets of stone from God.





Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I did not say you were an adherent to point 1, Mr. Green. After you have a few thousand posts on HNN like Mr. F, or a several hundred each like Mssrs E and S, you might qualify for such status. A few one-sided comments are not enough to qualify one as a full-fledged and incurably biased propagandist.

I stand by my prior remarks, and they are evidenced by masses of prior comments from these folks over many years on HNN, but do not see what Saudi Arabia has to do with them. It is interesting creative accounting to make foreign tax credits into foreign aid, but why stop there?
Why not count X% of what you fork over every time you fill up the tank at a gas station? Interesting point, but, again, nothing to with Mr. OB who is not Saudi to my knowledge, OR with the issue of people hijacking discussions and policy-making based on the absurd notion that 99% of the blame in a major decades-long conflict must be assigned to one side of the other with the remaining 1% danced around on rare occasions like a man who can't find the bathroom door. OR with the even more absurd, never acknowledged but worshippingly-adhered to myth that the rightwing Likud-like hardline persuasion in Israel is the only tenable political position for an AMERICAN to take.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I take the liberty of assuming, from your very understandable but sometimes grammatically and semantically interesting English that you are an Israeli, Mr. Matik

Apparently, you think Americans have no business lecturing to Israelis. Fair point, in isolation.

But, what about most of the U.S. Congress grovelling for decades in front of AIPAC or its politically functional equivalents?


How about this deal: We will try to curb our lecturing to you (e.g. the 5% of HNN articles on Israel that fall into that category), and you try to get your Likud's (or whatever it calls itself now) dupes and lackeys over here to release their chokehold on our legislators.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Make that Mutik, not "Matik." Sorry, my language skills also have room for improvement. Hope I didn't utter some kind of "four letter" word by mistake.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I said nothing about there being any conspiracies by "lobbys" on Congress. I don't there any of any significance. There is a lot of pressure and a skyrocketing need to raise money. The shameful kowtowing of Congress on many issues, to many nefarious interest groups, does not mean that the grovelling before the Likudnik interests (certainly NOT representing Jews in general, or even anything anywhere close to most Jews) is not among them.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Barak was willing to retreat to almost that pre-June'67 line. And Barak was elected by a sizable margin. You HAVE BEEN fooled, for life it seems, into thinking that rightwing Israeli views -such as land for peace can never work- are the ONLY Israeli views.

For you, such ultra-fear-based dogma is such a gospel truth that you will argue endlessly that Atlas makers across Western civilization for forty years are raving morons for showing the West Bank as occupied territory and not part of Israel. No doubt if Benny Morris or Bernard Lewis were to say so, you would claim they don't know what they're talking about. Or that I am arguing ad-hominen. Or that I can't read. Or that what is plainly on the atlas pages is only in my head. You are absolutely as impervious to reality as Omar Baker. You guys deserve each other.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Well, Mr. E. since you HAVE now bothered, with a lot of cutting and pasting, how about defining the series of three one decimal point numbers for "people" who might not want to try to decipher? Were there three periods of polling, three regions surveyed or what?

Data presentation 101 says that if the detail has meaning then it should be defined.


I stand, in any case, by my views about the basic unreliability of this method of peering to the collective soul of millions of people. For instance, how do we know the collection was done and PERCEIVED to have been done anonymously? (It is otherwise fundamentally suspect). For another instance, the types of questions asked are very prone to all sorts of misinterpretations. This is NOTHING like asking, "if the election were held today would you voter for Mr. X or Mr. Y.?"


If I really thought it mattered decisively, I would look at a dozen other factors before trying to read the tea leaves on these polls. People who wish for or expect permanent war and violence make traceably different daily and long term decisions, for example, than those preferring or expecting reconcilation or benign neglect. I would track choices on education, jobs, membership in organizations, emigration etc., over time.

Your silly ad-hominens about my "beliefs" are a waste of type characters. I stand by my claim that the election results of last year (which came out rather differently than these poll numbers might indicate) suggest a more valid guesstimate of public opinion on peace vs non-peace - and it is lame to pretend than anybody can make more than an informed guess or "belief."


But, DOES this all really matter anyway?

Suppose, for sake of temporary final discussion only, it IS true, as you ASSUME, that most Palestinians really want to continue living in misery in order to be macho against Israel.

What then?

Is the best approach to

1. support policies to confirm those desires by confining them to South Africa Apartheid Era style "homelands" for eternity?

2. put the US ambassador to the UN on autopilot, ready to veto any resolution whenever the Israeli government issues the order?

3. have the US Congress ritually regurgitate whatever AIPAC tells it to?


Or, if you do not endorse these actual practices of the past 6 years in America, what then?

Suppose the numbers in these polls were to invert -flip to two thirds FOR peace instead of 2/3/ against- would you then favor flipping polices 1-3 above so as to effectively provide a rubberstamp for whatever shifting practices the Palestinian authorities are following?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

You talk quite prolificly about "evidence" which you "love" to see, Mr. F.

Is there any evidence for the following "presumptions" of yours about the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre (JMCC)?

"..Palestinian sources who, presumably, intended to show something accurate but which would give the best face to Palestinian Arab thinking"

If the overwhelmingly majority of Palestinians DON'T want to "end the dispute" until Israel magically vanishes, then wouldn't the "best face" show a maximum possible degree of unanimity?

On the other hand, if the polling is slanted in that way, how firm can any conclusions based on it be?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

also describes your use of Latin here


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Not okay. "Best face" for a presumed majoritarian Peace-Hating Palestinian would have to be as anti-Peace, anti-"Zionist" and pro-"resistance" as possible. You goofed. Ask Omar for details. The polls are a croc anyway. Even if the results are valie, it is not an argument for war forever. When a criminal has done his time he gets out. Even if "the polls" say he is likely to strike again. You alert neighberhood watch, and you look both ways before crossing a dark alley. Life in the real world, Mr. F.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Maybe John knows the Latin phrase but

"acceptance of living with Israel by the Arab side" or its reverse
which N. Friedman has just called a
"factual assertion" is no such thing.

Maybe "tuesestupido" ?

The annual number of Israeli civilians killed by Palestinian terror bombers went up or down by X % versus the prior year would be a factual claim (true or false).


By the way, I am not a supporter of David Irving (who has even less to do with the topic of this page than Benny Morris). There are many past posts of mine on HNN which show the contrary.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

You don't see, but I give up.
It was a minor detail having nothing to do with my position or yours.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Fact #1: Irving is a historian
Fact #2: Yeor is not a historian
Fact #3: You will never convince me that either of these is relevant to "Is Israel falling apart?"


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

According to the ever damned but still used Wikipedia, Yeor has written some books ABOUT history. So this makes her about as much of a historian as Irving, although I guess he has a doctorate in the field and she does not.

So revise Fact #2 above to Yeor IS a historian.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Thanks for this link, Mr. Mutik.
My "patriot" in me, as you put, is on alert at this disgusting list. Not sure how AIPAC ducked it, but I never said the Israel-rightwing chokehold was based on money. Money, for example, did not heap slander and insult upon Howard Dean for advocating fairness and common sense. Nor did I ever say you were a Likudnik. My first comment to you assumed the opposite.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I don't what what the hell you are talking about, Mr. M. Do you?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

John, I think your points are valid and well taken. You are arguing here against a brick wall, but the brick wall probably correctly leads to a conclusion that Israelis are, and for many years have been, more willing move from violence to negotiations and more willing to compromise than Palestinians have been. Not uniformly so year to year, but as a long term average pattern.

But, if one wants to obssess on the shifting sands of popular moods (e.g. and ignore larger and more vital geopolitical forces) then the valid historial counter-factual question would be: How would the Israeli vs Palestinian popular opinion comparison look if Arabs been ruling over and oppressing Jews in Palestine for 40 years (e.g. the reverse of the recent actual history) ?

I think the days of the Irgun and Stern gang suggest that the Israeli-Palestinian %-for-peace comparison would then look quite different.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Just thought I'd point that out for the record. I am included in that neglect except here:

Re: Global War on Law? (#106535)
by Peter K. Clarke on March 6, 2007

Expanding on my remarks there, I think it may be true that Israel is somewhat more prone to both
(1) corruption
and
(2) exposing and correcting for it
than other places, but not drastically so.

It is the global trend over time, not place-to-place comparisons at contemporary points in time, which deserves the greater attention and concern. Israel needs to be seen, I believe, as a leading indicator, not an exception.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Right, I have taken a position on the topic of the page. You, in sharp contrast, have done no such thing and are wasting type characters ignoring the topic of the page. Note: the topic of the page is NOT "How many times can Friedman ask for evidence like a broken record?"

The evidence of "culturally sanctioned encouragement" of rule-breaking in Israel is in the article. I suggest you read it for a change and try to rein in your ingrained habit of marking your territory on threads where you have nothing to say.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

The subject line had to change. It was too close to: please live forever in Hell, snowball.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Anything to avoid the topic.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/18/2007

NF and John,
the massacres in Sudan of the southern tribal Africans, non-Muslims, started in 1956, the first year of independence. These massacres continued sporadically but often until a truce in 1972, after which fighting continued at lower intensity, since the truce was only partly honored by the Govt side. This truce lasted until 1983, as NF points out.

NF is making a very important point. Real genocide was going on in the Sudan, yet the "international community," so quick to condemn Israel, had little or nothing to say about it.


N. Friedman - 3/17/2007

John,

My position is that the EU states have a vested interest in retarding efforts to resolve the dispute between Israel and the various Arabs. I think that is clearly the case. Europeans see such as a means to secure oil and valuable construction and technology contracts, as a means to keep terrorism out of Europe (e.g. the decision to let go those involved in the Munich massacre in which Germany staged a highjacking) and as the means to a potential political counterweight to American power.

The evidence for all of this can be found in the documentation related to the Euro-Arab Dialogue and the more recent Mediterranean Partnership. Clearly, European nations are not supporting Palestinian Arabs out of kindness as there are numerous examples where people are oppressed for real, not as a result of a decision to make war, as is the case with Palestinian Arabs.

Think about the lack of support that existed from 1983 to 2000 for Sudanese Christians and animists while 1 to 2 million of them were killed or intentionally starved, when slavery was re-instituted as official government policy - asserted to be a requirement of Islam, no less, by the president of the country, if I recall correctly - , when Christian and animist children were forcibly taken from their parents and forcibly converted to Islam and when food was used as a war weapon in order to force Christians and animists to convert to Islam.

Frankly, Sudanese genocide - the real thing, not Israel's response to Palestinian Arab kamikazi attacks and the suppression of Palestinian Arab society in order to prevent such attacks, would be what a moral foreign policy would have addressed. The reason, in a word, why the Palestinian Arab cause is front and center is oil, a force which has corrupted politics and has corrupted liberal and conservative parties and has corrupted the university - and, in the case of universities, quite literally, with 90+% of funding for Middle East studies coming from Saudi Arabia. People do not bad mouth the source of their funding.

In the case of European countries, a decision was clearly made to support ongoing dispute between Israel and Palestinian Arabs. That is clearly in Europe's perceived self-interest. And, again, the issue derives from Oil and flows into all the other issues I mentioned above with reference to Europe.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/17/2007

John, just by the way, Javier Solana, the EU's answer to Pierre Laval, stopped by in Syria the other day. He promised EU help for Syria recovering the Golan Heights, lost in Israel's just war of defense in 1967. Carolyn Glick in the Jerusalem Post, and I agree, sees Solana's demarche as encouraging Syria to make war on Israel for that purpose, believing that he has EU support. Solana said what he did despite the recent installation by Syria of an estimated 1,000 to 3,000 missiles on their sector of the Golan aimed at Israel. Further, the EU disregards the Syrian murder of leading Lebanese politicians and journalists in order to keep Lebanon in Syrian hands and, recently, in order to prevent an international investigation of Rafiq Hariri's murder by Syrian agents.
In short, Solana is encouraging Syrian war on Israel. This should answer your question above.


E. Simon - 3/15/2007

That is only because correcting your misunderstanding of history only does not count in your book.


John Charles Crocker - 3/15/2007

You said or at least strongly implied that it was a Western plot to prevent peace with Israel. Most of what followed was talk of how you and Mr Friedman think that EU countries are working to prevent peace for Israel.

My question remains.

Do you think it is the policy of the EU and the US to harm Israel and prevent Israel from negotiating peace?

Do you have any real evidence for your conspiracy theory re the Jordanian succession or will it remain entirely unfounded?


Elliott Aron Green - 3/15/2007

John, I looked at the page that you linked to on opensecrets.org.
It overlooks other channels of Arab and pro-Arab influence. It does not mention the contributions of pro-Arab oil interests, nor the big money paid to American politicians such as Jimmy carter, Jim Baker, perhaps to Ramsey Clark, and many others. Consider the speaking engagements of such as Bill Clinton in Persian Gulf emirates [the UAE], etc. Baker's law firm, Baker Botts, gets magnanimous fees from Saudi Arabia which it serves as an official representative in the USA.
As it stands, the opensecret page is rather naive.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/15/2007

John, please read carefully what I said when I first brought the issue of the Jordanian succession. I never said it was a European conspiracy. Perhaps you inferred that, but I did not say it.


John Charles Crocker - 3/15/2007

First you assert, "John, Hussein had several sons. Abdullah was not the oldest."
Now you admit, "I have not checked back on the Hashemite family tree, so you may be right as to the eldest son of Hussein."

I did check the family tree. It is not so difficult to do. You should check your facts before making assertions.

You should also have better evidence before you forward conspiracy theories.

Your initial position was that the change in succession was a European conspiracy to harm Israel, now you imply that it is more likely a US conspiracy. If it is a US conspiracy, is it still for the purpose of preventing peace and harming Israel?


Elliott Aron Green - 3/15/2007

I have not checked back on the Hashemite family tree, so you may be right as to the eldest son of Hussein. However, it is very peculiar that a situation that had stood for decades [that Hassan was crown prince] was changed. Further, Abdullah's mother was British, which might give him less legitimacy in traditional Arab society which is much concerned with ancestry and blood-lines, etc.
Abdullah was American educated. If any outside power or powers influenced the change in heir to the throne, then it was either the USA or UK or both. As you know, Jordan was created by the British empire and was long subsidized by the UK until the USA took over that role, after the 1958 coup in Iraq, I believe. Shortly before Hussein changed his successor, he had been in one of the famous, prestigious American medical clinics for treatment for cancer.


John Charles Crocker - 3/15/2007

http://www.opensecrets.org/news/pro-israel.pro-arab/index.asp


John Charles Crocker - 3/15/2007

Some of the polling data can be used to support multiple arguments as to underlying opinions as is true in most large and complex polls.

The education system is a problem, but it is a second tier problem and not all problems can be addressed simultaneously if progress is to be made.

I note that even with the continuation of that same education system the approval for suicide bombing of civilians has dropped and the opposition for that policy has steadily increased.


John Charles Crocker - 3/15/2007

Why is it you give Mr. Green's speculation and factual errors a pass?

Mr. Green's speculation requires a large and still concealed conspiracy involving European powers secretly controlling the succession of Jordan and that the aim of these European powers is the persecution of Israel. Further in that same post he stated that Abdullah was not Hussein's eldest son (factually incorrect). This speculation and false statement you allowed to pass uncommented upon, however as soon as it was challenged you felt the need to respond. Please explain.


John Charles Crocker - 3/15/2007

I haven't read Littman's book, but I have read a summary it and her position. When I dig myself out from under the reading I have to do for my research I will give it a look, but at first blush it appears to be quite a conspiracy theory and she clearly has an ax to grind.

Her theory sounds quite similar to the "reconquista" theory of Mexico retaking the American SW and then America.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/14/2007

Omar, the Jews made up about 13-14% of the population in 1914 of the areas that the San Remo Conference juridically erected as the Jewish National Home, with the Western geographic name of "palestine." I do not think that 13% or 14% is "a tiny minority" of the population, although a minority to be sure. Next, "Palestine" or Filastin was not the name traditionally used by Arab-Muslims for the country made into "Palestine" by the San Remo Conference. The Arabs-Muslims inhabiting the Land of Israel traditionally saw the country they inhabited as an indistinct part of bilad ash-Sham [Syria or Greater Syria]. Yes, there was a Muslim majority in the country, but they did not see themselves as a separate nationality or people. Further, the country was very sparsely populated for centuries until the late 19th century when the population increased rapidly, including the Jewish population. Jews had always lived in the country. Jews were a substantial part of the population until the Crusades when the Crusaders massacred many or most of the Jews in the country [Prof Moshe Gil]. So the overwhelming Muslim majority [before 1850] was due in part to the Crusader massacres, as well as to Muslim/Arab immigration, to the legal oppression, economic exploitation, humiliation, and persecution of Jews in the country over the centuries by the Muslims/Arabs, etc.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/13/2007

Thank you, Omar, for reminding me of the term OETA-South, which the British used for the Land of Israel before the San Remo Conference [April 1920] set up the Jewish National Home with the territorial name "Palestine." As you know, there was no territory or district called palestine or Filastin by the Mamluk or Ottoman empires, which ruled the Land consecutively from the end of the Mongol invasion in 1260 to the British conquest in 1917. This shows that the geographic name "Palestine" [or Filastin] is not traditional in Arab/Muslim usage, as it is not traditional in Jewish usage. OETA means Occupied Enemy Territory Administration, which the British divided into three parts, OETA-South covering --roughly speaking-- the Land of Israel or what was called after 1920, "Palestine."

Next, let's reexamine the figures you represent as compiled by the King-Crane Commission. There is a big discrepancy between the numbers on the table and your total for the OETA-South.
Your table gives for OETA-South:
Muslims 515,000
Christians 62,500
Druses 60,000
Others [not counting Jews] 5,000
I reach a total of 642,500 for those four numbers. Yet you reach a total of
"725,000 Arabs both Moslem and Christian," a difference of 82,500 more than my total for the non-Jewish population. Could you go back and check your arithmetic? I reach a total of 642,500 for all non-Jews in the OETA-S. Now, if there were 65,000 Jews in OETA-S, as you assert according to King-Crane, then the Jews were MORE THAN 10% of the population of OETA-South according to the figures that you accept.
But let us go further, in 1914, before WW 1, the estimated Jewish population of what later became OETA-S and then "Palestine" was about 75,000. That is, Jews were about 13%-14% in 1914. How and why did the Jewish numbers go down so much during WW One. The Ottoman state deported about 30,000 Jews from the country. Most of them were probably Russian subjects and thus enemy aliens, so the deportation from the country was legal under international law, although I don't think that that was the real reason. The Young Turks seem to have considered the Jews a political threat, although not as serious a threat as the Armenians. However, there was during WW One a real fear of mass murder of the Jews in the country, as attested by the correspondence of Prof A S Yahuda with Jewish leaders in New York [Oscar Straus, etc] on this matter. In short, the King-Crane figures don't reflect the pre-war numbers and percentages of Jews in the population.

As to Charles R Crane, the Crane part of the King-Crane Commission, he was a notorious Judeophobe and admirer of Hitler, as well as the patron of George Antonius, author of the unreliable "Arab Awakening." I wrote about Antonius and Crane in my article in Crossroads [Jerusalem], no. 33 [1992].


N. Friedman - 3/13/2007

Omar,

Let us say, for argument's sake, that what you say is basically all true. What then? I do not see where your argument goes.

First, if those involved had remained in Europe, likely 2 or of 3 of them would have been massacred. So, what can be said is that the migration of these people as individual humans, who were, in the scheme of things, guilty of wanting to make a life for themselves, saved their lives. So, the objection you raise to their migration is, compared to their likely loss of life, an inconvenience that ought to have been overcome by political compromise, not by mindless wars to undo the results of lost battles.

Second, as individuals, Jews who moved to what is now Israel went to a place where they could find refuge. They certainly were not aware, before migrating, that Palestinian Arabs had objections. That may have been foolish and/or naive but that does not make it any less true.

Third, since all mankind owes its rights to land by means of conquest and/or settlement - usually both -, how do we sort these things out? I do not think your argument allows for sorting messes out. I think, instead, that your argument is merely an argument for turning back history, something that never quite works out as hoped. Why? Because the only solution your approach allows is war.

Bottom line: compromise is better than war. War is a waste of life. And life is precious. That is true for Muslims, Christians and Jews. So, whatever the facts of history may ultimately show, wise people look for honorable compromises rather than quixotic war.


N. Friedman - 3/13/2007

John,

The rest is speculation. That includes your speculation that things were done for personal, rather than political, reasons.


N. Friedman - 3/13/2007

John,

Bat Ye'or book Eurabia describes French policy regarding the Arab League states in detail. Unless she is making things up - which she definitely is not - the policy is classically imperial. The means may be a bit different but the goal and activities are directed to creating a Euro-Arab empire led by France. That is one reason why France and its friends are essentially mum regarding the human rights situation in the Muslim regions - i.e. at the very bottom of the world - while being overly critical of, say, Israel, which, by objective standards, comes out fairly well.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/12/2007

but Omar, haven't you forgotten all the massacres perpetrated by Saddam Hussein's government? What about Halabja and the Anfal campaign, both of 1988? What about saddam's use of poison gas? Do you blame that on GWBush? How about the immense slaughter of the Iran-Iraq war?


John Charles Crocker - 3/12/2007

Abdullah was/is the oldest of Hussein's sons.

The rest is just speculation.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/12/2007

Yes, John, I agree that the USA is imperialist. Further, if any outside powers had major influence over King Hussein, it was the USA and UK rather than France [which does enjoy Jordanian permission to set up radio transmitters for Radio France Intenational and Radio Monte Carlo in Jordan]. Of course, Abdullah was Hussein's son, but why did Hussein change the succession away from Hassan after Hassan had been crown prince for so many years? What about the other sons? Was Abdullah the oldest or the most capable? Was he more capable of defending Hashemite interests than his uncle Hassan? In my view, the Western power most hostile to Israel is not France but the UK. I can't prove it to you "on one foot" as we say in Hebrew. There is simply too much history to go over. But I would remind you that the UK violated its commitment to the Jewish National Home embodied in its acceptance of the League of Nations mandate. This occurred openly in 1939 with the White Paper policy curtailing Jewish immigration into the Jewish National Home when the Jews most needed a home. Britain also pressured Balkan states to prevent Jewish refugees from escaping through their territory. During Israel's War of Independence, the UK supplied the Arab attackers of Israel, sent tanks and planes to fight Jews in the battle of Jaffa, while the Transjordanian Arab Legion had a British commander [Glubb Pasha] and British officers, etc. Where did the UK's hostility to Israel go to after the War of independence?


Joseph Mutik - 3/12/2007

Mr. Clarke,
Hate is always lack of knowledge, you are not an exception to the rule. I gave you some information and places to find more. If you want to stick to your hate, feel free, Mel Gibson may offer you a drink. I would be very surprised if you will "make my day" with some signs of understanding, but that's another movie.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/12/2007

I hope John remembers Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Maybe he recalls that at the beginning of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, it was reported that American military aircraft had bombed several buildings in various parts of Bagdad in the belief that Saddam Hussein was hiding in those places. Can we assume that non-combatants were present in those buildings, although saddam was probably not in any one of them at the time of the bombing?
Anyhow, John, don't you think that morality begins at home? If you think that killing non-combatants who are located in the vicinity of legitimate military targets is wrong, then when are you going to complain about how the USA conducts its wars?
NF is right of course about international law. See the Geneva Convention, Article 28 http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/92.htm
http://www.jcpa.org/brief/brief006-13.htm

But let's go farther. If non-combatants repeatedly encouraged, aided and abetted the mass murder bombers who plagued Israel, then are they fully non-combatants? Saddam of course paid Arab families whose sons had committed mass murder against Jews through suicide bombing.


Joseph Mutik - 3/11/2007

Mr. Clarke,
You are incorrigible, AIPAC didn't duck the opensecrets.org, you only have to dig a little more because the level of spending of AIPAC is lown in comparison to the real enemies of the USA. I am around the baby boomer age. I don't know your age but judging by your postings you seem quite brainwashed and hateful towards the Jews. Can you show me any place, here on hnn.us, where you counted non Jews in government positions or in public (or even private) businesses or organizations. Are the Jews, you count, incompetent?


John Charles Crocker - 3/11/2007

Those impose curfews and roadblocks and bulldoze neighborhoods, and send missiles into apartment buildings have responsibility for those actions. You may think that those actions are justified, but to say they have no responsibility for them is ridiculous.

Israel has a right to defend itself but has in some cases been overzealous in that defense. Those overzealous defense measures end up further alienating the population and breeding support for the terrorists.

You seem to think that nothing Israel does has any effect on the attitudes of the Palestinian people. Israeli soldiers could kill every first born or they could give money and medical care and Palestinian attitudes would remain stubbornly fixed.

BTW it is at least as perverse for bien-pensant people living in the comfort of America to deny the oppression felt by those living in the occupied territories.


John Charles Crocker - 3/11/2007

I don't think that you have provided evidence that France is currently pursuing an imperialist policy unless you define imperialism so loosely that it loses virtually all meaning.

I brought up the US merely because what it does can much more easily be characterized as imperialist. It is not a "you too" argument, rather it is a counter example to show what imperialism in its modern form actually looks like.


E. Simon - 3/11/2007

That's right. You've been around here much longer than John, and there was never any benefit to anyone here doubting that you would avoid using facts to support what you say, because the only time you ever have is when it was proved that you took them out of context or misunderstood them in THE VERY NEXT RESPONSE! The expiration time on behavior like that is determinant on how long it takes a pseudonym to realize that he is only fooling - and not being intellectually honest with - himself.


E. Simon - 3/11/2007

Your language skills aren't the only skills that require improvement.


E. Simon - 3/11/2007

Maybe more could be "converted" to your two-sided religion of talking out of both sides of your mouth, were you merely able to marshall facts to support your position. But like any good tele-evangelist you demand adherence to your position (sorry, I meant to say "opinion") first, and take facts and evidence for why you hold that opinion to be secondary, if even admitted to be relevant at all. But most of your posts on this page have revealed that you think facts are utterly unimportant in formulating a position in the first place.

Note to Peter: Media-savvy prophets might have made use of their appearance on television to gain popularity during the 1980s, but this is 2007. The internet requires being able to cite factual evidence to make what you say convincing. It also requires being able to read and being able to avoid mischaracterize others.


art eckstein - 3/11/2007

Israelis have a right to defend themselves from genocidal attackers. For the genocidal attackers then to claim "oppression" as a response to defense-measures is hypocritical. For bien-pensant people living in the safety of Europe to accept that description as somehow an oppression that comes inherently from Israeli conduct is morally perverse.


N. Friedman - 3/11/2007

John,

The assumption that the father simply changed his mind does not seem so simple to me. Rule is power and politics. Power and politics are not merely a family matter, especially in the Middle East. While your idea sounds simple, it is not because what you suggest seems to overlook the reality of power and politics. That, by the way, does not make your theory less plausible than Elliott's theory.

On your other point, noting that France has imperial aims is intended to get at French and European policy. That policy is directed to extending French and European power most especially into the Arab regions. And, to do so, Israel is used as a method to advance French and European influence. To settle the dispute would be to lessen French and European influence.

That the US also has interests - some call them imperial - and in the Middle East as well is true. But, that is not a valid response to my point. My point is about France and Europe. That the US also has motives, while true, does not alter the fact that France and Europe do as well. By the way, your argument is called tu quoque and, in this instance, your argument is not a valid one.


art eckstein - 3/11/2007

In the American Civil War, you did not have religious fanatics attacking religious processions and engaging in mass murder of the relgious as an act of worship. In the American Civil War, there were only very few civilian deaths at the battle of Gettysburg, and they were all accidental. There can be no comparison. THIS sort of thing below has to do with the evolution of sections of Islam into a death-cult: the Khajarite heresy.

Suicide Blast Kills 32 Shiites in Iraq
A suicide car bomber rammed a truck carrying Shiite pilgrims returning from a religious commemoration Sunday, killing at least 32 people a day after Iraqi leaders warned sectarian violence could spread through the Middle East.


Moreover, this sort of merciless hyperviolence has nothing to do with Israel. Again, it has everything to do with a spiritual sickness spreading within Islam.


N. Friedman - 3/11/2007

John,

I think you are confused.

There is no imaginable reason why Palestinian Arabs refused the December 2000 offer or the restatement of more or less of that offer at Taba. That makes them to blame for the circumstances. They, not the Israelis, chose to fight.

Israel has some share of blame when it acts inappropriately in defending itself. But, they do not share the blame for causing the mess. That is not so and it is certainly not shown by your evidence, which is incidental, not causal.

As for the alleged bad behavior by Israel which you cite, I think that such behavior is certainly moral under just war theory. Bulldozing a neighborhood engaged at war but, in the process, not killing off the population is, by war standards, unusually tame behavior. Such is not only moral but it is commendable.

An apartment building containing an arms or an arms factory or was where military leaders were planning their war is a legitimate war target. Such is standard in war. That is why the rules of war make it illegal to have military installations in a civilian neighborhood.

Please do not tell me that Palestinian Arabs have no choice where they locate military activity. They do. See the first paragraph of this letter. They could have accepted a perfectly viable peace arrangement.

In just war theory, if a war cannot be conducted in a legitimate matter, the war is not just, John. That makes the Palestinian Arab war illegitimate because the primary war tactic involves killing civilians and because a reasonable circumstance could be obtained without war, as noted in my initial paragraph.

On Kant's view, the moral thing to do in response to a civilian uprising such as conducted by Palestinian Arabs is to suppress it by any and all means including brutal force - something the Israelis have not employed. Please note: I have not, in the previously paragraph, argued Kant. I have argued standard just war theory. On standard just war theory, if the conduct of a war can only be advanced by primarily illegitimate means, the war cannot possibly be a just war. And, certainly not after a viable state was offered to Palestinian Arabs but then refused by them.




N. Friedman - 3/11/2007

Joseph,

Peter does not often appear to be much interested in learning. He seem more interested in ad hominem attacks. That is what the Likud talk is about. It saves him the trouble of having to grapple with the facts. You might ask him to provide some evidence to show his points. Good luck on that.

As for your point, thank you for the reference to opensecrets.org. It looks like an interesting web site.

I think you have a point that the US spending on Israel is, among all US projects, not as large as asserted. I might add, the military aid given - in the form of troops and bases - to Europe to protect European countries such as Germany from the former USSR dwarfs by miles what is given to Israel.


art eckstein - 3/11/2007

What is not realistic, John, is thinking that people who have been propagandized from childhood with an open sewer of the most violent incitement against their neighbors, and who overtly want that sewer of hatred to continue as the education of their children, want peace with those neighbors.

I note that in the past, similar poll numbers about incitement and "education" went along with 75-77% approval of genocidal suicide-bomber attacks on any and all Israelis, including children.

I think you need to acknowledge the profound ambiguities in the polling situation.


John Charles Crocker - 3/11/2007

"Now, it is true that most Palestinian Arabs have spent their lives being oppressed. That, however, is not Israel's doing."
I think you would have quite a difficult time convincing any Palestinian of this.
Israelis set up and run the checkpoints. Israelis set up and enforce the curfews.
It is Israeli missiles, tanks and bulldozers that demolish Palestinian homes.
It is therefor the Israelis who are resented by the Palestinian people.
You cannot say that this is not the Israelis doing because they are the ones doing it. The Palestinian leadership certainly bears a large part of the blame, but Israel is not blameless as you contend.

If Dr. King had not been there in the civil rights movement and it was instead the Black Panthers and other militants that rose to the fore of the civil rights movement would you then think that African Americans deserved the oppression they faced?


John Charles Crocker - 3/11/2007

Would you please stop using the term large majority when referring to majorities of less than 60%?

Oppression, particularly by an other, leads to higher support for hateful rhetoric and extreme actions.

Your position on peace appears to be all or nothing which will lead to nothing. You refuse to acknowledge any Israeli wrongdoing or blame for the current situation. I have not asked you to apportion equal blame merely to admit that there has been wrongdoing by Israel and that Israel bears some responsibility for the current situation.

That some actions have nothing to do with Israel does not mean that no actions relate to Israel.


John Charles Crocker - 3/11/2007

"If after documents are signed, Palestinian Arabs do not intend to end the dispute, what do you think it really means that they would recognize Isarel?"

Where is your evidence that the Palestinian people do not intend to end the dispute?
You have so far relied on two pieces of evidence. Opinion about making a law against incitement and potential school curriculum. You expand the school curriculum question to mean something broader than what is asked in the poll.

The rest of your post seems to say it doesn't matter what they think anyway and that changing circumstances will not change opinions. You seem to think that people living at peace in their own state will react in exactly that people living under an occupation by an other will react. This in my view is not realistic.


John Charles Crocker - 3/11/2007

Re: the building of the Palestinian neighborhood.
The snipers targeted Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint. The Israelis responded by bulldozing the neighborhood where they hid. Do you think that this is appropriate?

Do you think it is appropriate to shoot missiles into an apartment building in the middle of a residential neighborhood because intelligence points to terrorists possibly meeting inside?

The point here is not moral equivalence as I have stated on numerous occasions, but that Israel bears some share of the blame for the current situation and that they are not free of blame. Israeli actions are at least in part responsible for Palestinian opinions about Israelis. Rather than address this you simply divert by saying well the Palestinians are worse or other Arabs are worse.


John Charles Crocker - 3/11/2007

A phenomenon simply means an observable event. The Jordanian succession was an observable event.

The simpler explanation according to Occam's razor is the one that requires the least number of assumptions. My theory requires one assumption. Mr. Green's theory requires more.

Do you really think that it is equally likely that the Jordanian succession was due to a European conspiracy to hurt Israel, than due to a father simply changing his mind on his deathbed?

Political intrigues may be common, but he made an assertion that he can in no way back up and is frankly ridiculous. You consistently demand evidence from me and others whose views on Israel differ from yours, why do you give this bald assertion a free pass?

So France has imperial intentions, but the US does not? This seems to be a hard position to defend.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/11/2007

first a correction: in my previous post above, the name Blari is meant to be Blair, ie, John Blair, an economist specializing in oil.

second, the issue of oil paid for through the foreign tax credit is relevant to your assertion or insinuation about Israeli [or Likud] control of US policy, and about US $$$ going to Israel. I am saying that much more US taxpayers' $$ went to Saudi Arabia than to Israel over the years. The method of paying for oil as a "tax" entitling Aramco to the foreign tax credit deduction [a dollar for dollar deduction from US corporate income tax] encouraged the rise of oil prices over the years, plus constituting foreign aid to the Wahhabi kingdom. This arrangement was obviously harmful, in my view, to the US taxpayer and consumer. Just incidentally, the Saudis used some of their ill-gotten gains over the years to help finance Fatah and Hamas, etc., not to mention a worldwide forceful proselytizing campaign in favor of Wahhabi Islam. Was it beneficial to America as a whole over the years to operate this arrangement of paying for oil?


Elliott Aron Green - 3/11/2007

first a correction: in my previous post above, the name Blari is meant to be Blair, ie, John Blair, an economist specializing in oil.

second, the issue of oil paid for through the foreign tax credit is relevant to your assertion or insinuation about Israeli [or Likud] control of US policy, and about US $$$ going to Israel. I am saying that much more US taxpayers' $$ went to Saudi Arabia than to Israel over the years. The method of paying for oil as a "tax" entitling Aramco to the foreign tax credit deduction [a dollar for dollar deduction from US corporate income tax] encouraged the rise of oil prices over the years, plus constituting foreign aid to the Wahhabi kingdom. This arrangement was obviously harmful, in my view, to the US taxpayer and consumer. Just incidentally, the Saudis used some of their ill-gotten gains over the years to help finance Fatah and Hamas, etc., not to mention a worldwide forceful proselytizing campaign in favor of Wahhabi Islam. Was it beneficial to America as a whole over the years to operate this arrangement of paying for oil?


Joseph Mutik - 3/11/2007

The simple fact that you mentioned AIPAC it's the proof of the crooked standard you use against the Jews. Lobbying is legal in the USA. As I mentioned before AIPAC lobbies for the lives of the Israeli Jews and I see that you see living Jews as detrimental to U.S. interests. You don't really care about the Mexican and Latin American lobby, Indian, Chinese or Irish lobby, only the Jews seem to bring up the PATRIOT in you. I wonder why? Why don't you count the non Jews in the "The Project for the New American Century"? Why do you suppose that I am a likudnik (to make it very clear, I am not)? By the way the party is called Kadima (forward) but with Palestinian help Likud could be the next main governing party. Why don't you learn something about Israel before hating the country? All my life I voted left or center left (in Israel and in USA). So, Mr. Clarke, suppose nothing! Go to opensecrets.org and you'll see that there are no Jews or Jewish organizations in the "Top Spenders" group but the hatred against the Jews prevails even when the facts can't prove any disproportionate Jewish influence and the only Jewish issue is KEEPING JEWS ALIVE!
You will see on opensecrets.org that the Republic of China (Taiwan) spends more than AIPAC. Another "opensecret" is that China, India, Mexico etc. do not lobby so much directly to Congress because there are large business groups (the Top Spenders) who lobby for them because it's profitable.
Mr. Clarke, I am sure I gave you enough "seeds for thought", if you are interested in thinking, if not stay with your anti-Israeli (and anti-Jewish) bias, we have a first amendment, after all!
Best regards,
Joseph Mutik.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/11/2007

Marx's article on Jerusalem showing a Jewish majority in Jerusalem and the Arab-Muslim oppression of Jews here, was published on 15 April 1854 in the New York Daily Tribune. The article has been reprinted in, among other places, "Karl Marx on Colonialism and Modernization," ed. by Prof S Avineri


Elliott Aron Green - 3/11/2007

As to the Foreign Tax Credit as applied to oil purchases from Saudi Arabia.
--James Ridgeway does explicitly consider this foreign aid. Why? Because the US Treasury explicitly allowed Aramco to deduct payments for oil as if they were tax payments to a foreign govt. Ibn Saud cooperated with this charade by officially calling the royalties paid for oil an "oil income tax." Besides Blari and Ridgeway [Ridgway?], see Leonard Moseley, Powerplay, and other books.


Joseph Mutik - 3/11/2007

Or better "All you wanted to know about conspiracy theories but were afraid to ask". When big chunks of the U.S. territory in NY, PA, NM and much more are legally under native American ownership but illegally settled by Americans why not cover it up by flooding the news with stories about Israeli settlements? Why not flood the news with the AIPAC Jewish conspiracy as a way to cover up the real detrimental business against American interests done by dealings with China and India. Blame the Jews and everyone will be happy.
The list is very long but why bother, the Jew haters will continue the song because it's very advantageous for them, but there is a legitimate question: if there is a conspiracy, who's conspiracy is and against whom?


Joseph Mutik - 3/11/2007

That's another invention of the Jews hating crowd. AIPAC is a one issue lobby: KEEPING ALIVE THE JEWISH ISRAELI POPULATION! No more no less. The $2.8 billions/year Israel receives as aid is peanuts compared to about $40 billion received by Europeans or about $15 billion each by S.Korea and Japan. The U.S. Congress in reality is groveling in front of Indian, Chinese lobbies taking good American jobs overseas or Arab lobbies keeping Americans under the oil blackmail. The "blame the Jews" is always good for covering up the financing of the IRA by the Irish Americans, the Italian Mafia or Russian mafia dealings inside USA. Blame the Jews and be quiet about anything else and everyone is happy.
No Mr. Clarke, the U.S. Congress is submissive to a lot of interests but AIPAC is the cover up for all the shady political and economic dealings with foreign powers against against the interests of the U.S.citizens. There is no Jewish choke hold on American legislators but only brain washed Americans who will keep the fire of anti-Jewish hatred alive.
The choke hold on our legislators (I am an Israeli American) is mostly Indian (through overseas outsourcing) Chinese (through Walmart etc.) and a lot more (you can begin to think for yourself and try to blame the Jews a little less)
Thank you for the name correction and don't worry it wasn't a four letter word.
All the best,
Joseph Mutik.


N. Friedman - 3/10/2007

Art and Peter,

Notwithstanding a truly profound fear of being accused by Peter of joining a proverbial chorus - just kidding [SMILE] -, I could not agree more with Art. He is exactly correct.

If Peter disagrees, let him come forward with facts.

I suspect this will be a repeat of when Peter tried to steer the comments to what he claimed: that Israel is a leading indicator but, when challenged to show such with facts, changed the topic. Pathetic.

And again to Peter: trashing historians you do not like is disreputable. So deal with the facts. Trashing people can be done to any writer including any historian, not just those I like. In this regard, see my reply to your citation of your beloved Juan Cole - the man who has his own special translation of Ahmadinejad's assertion that Israel will be wiped off the map in which, by Cole's translation, that assertion is made to sound oh such very much more polite and respectable - showed that the people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Recall how thoroughly Martin Kramer trashed Cole for seemingly being very careless (e.g. having reverse time causation with Jenin, a non-massacre, having a causal relationship upon the earlier in time 9/11 massacre), at best, but more likely biased so as to put his ideology before facts - at least in the instances Kramer addresses. So, it is best to deal with facts, not whether you hold an historian in high regard.

And, by the way, Peter, I cited for you an article by some very astute left wing writers who seemed quite familiar with the Euro-Arab Dialogue. And, I cited an article by a famous professor of religion (and a liberal one at that), Richard L. Rubinstein - but who has written, with excellent reviews from The New York Times, by the way, on historical matters - who thinks the Euro-Arab Dialogue is a serious thing.

And, lest I be mistaken, I believe that Professor Eckstein also holds that view, as does the well known, except to Peter that is, historian Sir Martin Gilbert. And, evidently, your beloved Niall Ferguson does not seem to object to his endorsement of Bat Ye'or's book about the Euro-Arab Dialogue. Funny thing about that. [Note to Art: Peter seems to think that concern about the EAD amounts to a conspiracy theory because, evidently, he could not find much reference to it on the Internet.]

So, Peter, it is time to stop trashing writers you have not read. Deal with facts. Cite your own facts if you think those we cite are insufficient. But, do not tell me that the writers I think important - such as Benny Morris, Ephraim Karsh, Bat Ye'or, Martin Gilbert, among many others - bring nothing to the table, as you have suggested or hinted again and again.


art eckstein - 3/10/2007

To repeat,as far as I can see, NO ONE here has ever said the following. Mr. Clarke's no. 1:

"1. Every significant problem faced by the country of Israel is wholly the fault of its Palestinian and Arab neighbors or those who in any way support or are sympathetic to those neighbors."

a. I've already dealt with the first part of that sentence. The Israelis have contributed to the problem, and have made some serious mistakes (including in my view moral mistakes on the West Bank); but the primary impetus for the crisis is coming from the Arab/Muslim side, and I will continue to offer factual and logical arguments on this any time someone here proposes or indicates or implies that the primary impetus for the crisis is Israel's fault and not coming primarily from the Arab/Muslim side.

b. I add, concerning the self-pitying bit after Mr. Clarke's "or"...It is one thing to be sympathetic to the humanitarian plight of the Palestinians, which is mostly (though not totally) their own fault, including their destroying via the Second Intifada the economic gains made from 1993 to 2000. It is quite another thing, however, to "support" or be "sympathetic to" the sewer stream of lies from the Arab side, or to "be sympathetic to" and/or "understand" the hyperviolent and indeed genocidal terrorist tactics voluntarily (VOLUNTARILY, as Omar has proclaimed) adopted by the Palestinians.


art eckstein - 3/10/2007

I agree with every aspect of this assessment:

1. The Israelis have made mistakes.

2. But the cause of the continuing crisis lies on the Arab side--the desire to destroy israel entirely. Omar has made this goal perfectly plain.

3. Were this desire not the driving force among the Arabs, the dispute would then be a political and not an existential issue, and could be settled quickly. Fatah was offered that settlement at Taba in late 2000--and Arafat refused it. Some of Arafat's own people were appalled at this decision, as was Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, hardly a friend of Israel.

4. I see the crisis as arising primarily--not totally but primarily--from the attitude and actions of the Arab side. And I also think that partly that attitude and those actions have arisen for reasons not of politics, but out of sheer religious bigotry--dhimmis (Jews) cannot be allowed to "conquer" or control any of the ummah; the proof of this attitude being that the Arabs put up without a peep with far far far worse actions and conduct by Arab govts than ANYTHING the Israelis have ever done, and they enthusiastically SUPPORT terrorism of the most hyperviolent and repellent kind, first against the Israels (where it has a genocidal message) but now even among themselves. As long as I see the crisis as arising primarily (not totally, but primarily from the Arab side, and can cite chapter and verse to prove this thesis (including from Omar himself), I will keep pointing this out to this blog. And I will also keep pointing out the sheer moral perversity of those American and European "intellectuals" who assert that the crisis is the fault of the Israelis-- their allegedly outrageous behavior, or [more honestly] their existence. It isn't primarily the fault of the Israelis (though of course they have made mistakes). If the Israelis had a partner for peace, there would be peace and quickly, as you say, N.F.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/10/2007

Peter, I do not agree with your Point #1 above. I don't blame the Arabs for all of our problems. Olmert and Tsipi Livni and the rest of that government of clowns are quite capable of causing problems without the Arabs' help. I have never expressed an opinion consonant with point #1. Further, I do think it unfair of you to attribute #1 to Messers Simon, Friedman, & Eckstein. I never saw any sign that #1 was their position.
As to the snide remark about one's "native land," meant to praise Omar at the expense of the other three, can you explain something to me? Saudi Arabia is the long time champion recipient of US foreign aid, although this money was given in the past through the device of tax credits for ARAMCO on the basis of the Foreign Tax Credit Act. Can you explain why Saudi Arabia, home of 15 of the 9/11 nineteen, has gotten so much foreign aid --albeit surreptitiously-- over the years? [on this see, John Blair, Control of Oil; James Ridgeway, New Energy.]


Joseph Mutik - 3/10/2007

Mr. Dror Wahrman is another Jew trying to become famous "blaming the Jews" for imaginary reasons.
There are famous Jews like Noam Chomsky or Harold Pinter, who gained celebrity in science, academia, entertainment etc. and afterwards engaged in the "blame the Jews" game for "fit in the Jew hating society" reasons.
Mr. Dror Wahrman tries it the other way around. Since Eighteenth-Century Studies at the Indiana University History Department don't promote one to "sudden " celebrity but a Jew "blaming" Jews does it (at least for a while) he wrote an article falsifying basic history facts about Israel.
First of all the European Jews were thrown out of Europe under the benign collaborative non action of the allied armies (U.S., U.K. and the soviets) When Stalin wanted his prisoners of war back to USSR (in transit to gulag) he got full cooperation from Americans and Brits in forcing them back, but no one moved one finger when the Poles organized pogroms against the returning Jews. Jews and Arabs followed all the rules after 1948 when Israel declared independence. The Jews threw out as many Arabs as they could, though most of the Arabs left the place with the expectation that the Jews will be easier exterminated by the invading Arab armies. In exchange the Arabs threw out most of the Jews from the Arab countries. The new country of Israel followed all the rules in place for a new immigration country. The majority of the Jews from the Arab countries were sent to the southern parts of Israel where the climate was harder and the industry and jobs was almost nil. The European Jews were sent to the northern part of Israel where industry and jobs was easier to find. For quite a number of years the Sephardi Jews (from the Arab countries had very little political representation while the Ashkenazim Jews (from Europe) controlled the political Arena of Israel. Israel had its "rubber barons" too, an example being Moshe Dayan (famous general and minister of defense) who used stolen archaeological pieces (from Sinai and Israel, using army trucks) to decorate his house (others did it too). I am not proud about it but it proves that Israel is a normal country and no one is "chosen" there. I don't think anyone called the American general MacArthur (and Dwight Eisenhower - his subordinate at the time) for killing veterans of the World War I in Washington, DC during the 1920s, but a lot of Jew haters will call Ariel Sharon a "war criminal" without even thinking.
I didn't see articles about the "end of France" when Muslims from the projects rioted about two years ago and, by the way, the minister of interior, who violently ended the riots, is a front runner for the next presidential elections in France. I also didn't see much comments when a former German chancellor was caught with electoral funding fraud or when another had an East German spy as his right hand.
Israel is a normal democracy and it has (had) political crises from time to time as in any normal country.
Mr. Dror Wahrman, a friendly advice, if you can't understand (or for "social" don't want to understand the Israeli politics of the 20th and 21st centuries) stay with the 18th Century Studies and don't join the "blame the Jews" crowd for unmerited fame.
All the best,
Joseph Mutik.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/10/2007

Omar, in your post #106845, you mention something called "Arab east Jerusalem."
In fact, that territorial entity only existed between 1948 and 1967. It resulted from Arab ethnic cleansing of Jews from what became "Arab east Jerusalem" as a result. Jews were driven out of their homes in the Shimon haTsadiq quarter, north of the Orient House & American Colony Hotel, towards the end of December 1947. These Jews were the first group of people in the country who were driven out of their homes in the war and couldn't go back after the war. This Arab-perpetrated act of ethnic cleansing was the first in Jerusalem by Arabs during that war, but not the last. Jews were also driven out of the Old City, an expulsion consummated in May 1948, as well as from other neighborhoods.
Nevertheless, as I pointed out in an earlier post, in modern times, Arabs drove Jews out of their homes in the Old City [outside the Jewish Quarter] as early as 1920, with British encouragement of course. Similar Arab pogroms took place in 1929, 1936-38, etc., in various places throughout the country [including Hebron], with British encouragement or acquiescence.
As to Jerusalem, it should be recalled that Jews have the majority here since 1853 [if not earlier], according to French historian & diplomat, Cesar Famin, whose data was used by Karl Marx in a 1854 article in the New York Daily Tribune.


N. Friedman - 3/10/2007

The above post was directed to John.


N. Friedman - 3/10/2007

CORRECTION:

STRIKE: But, even if Occam's razor applied, you have posed possibilities which cannot be distinguished by Occam's razor neither preferred choice is not any simpler.

SUBSTITUTE:

But, even if Occam's razor applied, you have posed possibilities which cannot be distinguished by Occam's razor because neither preferred choice is any simpler.


N. Friedman - 3/10/2007

Art,

I agree entirely.

On the other hand, I have not stated all that much criticism of Israel because, as I see the matter, such is pointless in a dispute in which the Palestinian Arab side publicly espouses the intention to kill off the Israelis in their entirety. I do not get further than that and believe that were that fact to change, the dispute would settle in a day.

So, in the best of all possible worlds, Israel should not settle land intended for cession. It is counterproductive. The actual circumstances that exist, however, makes that consideration a detail, not a central matter. And, as evils go in this world, it is fairly small potatoes - which is not to say it is the right thing to do.


N. Friedman - 3/10/2007

John,

Occam's razor, as I understand it, concerns choosing between rival explanations of phenomena. I do not believe that we have a phenomena to explain as meant by that theory. Rather, we have a simple fact to be discovered or not. Whatever the fact is, it is.

But, even if Occam's razor applied, you have posed possibilities which cannot be distinguished by Occam's razor neither preferred choice is not any simpler. They are just different possibilities, each which includes complicating assumptions.

There are at least two underlying assumptions in your preference. With respect to preferring the child over the brother, such is an assumption, not a simpler explanation. And, in the Middle East, that assumption is not born out by the public record (see e.g., the royal succession in Saudi Arabia). The other assumption is that political intrigue is the exception. That is also not born out by history. Intrigue is, in fact, a commonplace.

In my view: Intrigue in political succession is a commonplace. Family preferences are also commonplace. Both possibilities seem equally probable to me. But, so does the possibility of a form of mental incapacity that has been kept quiet by the royal family or manipulation of an elderly sick man by a son.

France, at the time of the treaty between Israel and Egypt, refused to recognize it. That is detailed, among other places, in Bat Ye'or's book Eurabia. It is not an immaterial matter. A French foreign policy goal is to recreate the French empire by creating common cause with Arab League countries and to convince the other European nations, via the EU, to follow France's lead. The price for that policy included taking the Arab League position in connection with the Arab Israelis dispute. French foreign policy benefits by keeping that dispute alive as it allows France to seem to be on the Arab side of things while, in fact, merely pursuing French imperial objectives. Such policy, moreover, is likely the policy of most of the other EU nation states - to the extent that they seem to follow the same phenomena.


art eckstein - 3/10/2007

Exactly so.

But if Clarke doesn't know what he is saying, we know the tradition from which these accusations come.

BTW, the accusation that we are inflexible apologists for Israel, and say that Israel is always correct, is, like many of Clarke's perceptions, completely false. I personally have criticized the Israeli West Bank settlements policy many times on this blog.

But like Omar, Clarke seems to live in a pre-empirical world where evidence and facts don't matter.


N. Friedman - 3/10/2007

Art,

Clarke knows not what he means or says. That is the only explanation of why he is incapable of defending his own positions but, instead, merely attacks others. And, somehow I doubt that Clarke intended his comment as an accusation of dual loyalty. While he may well think that, I think his comment was meant instead only to indicate that Omar is sincere - something you and I have asserted repeatedly, notwithstanding the fact that Omar is unwilling to admit facts that are not disputable and which he almost surely knows deep down are not disputable.

As for Clarke's charge that we make it all the Arab side's fault, we do not. We indicate that the Arab side has no genuine interest in reaching a settlement. That is a very different thing. And that is the line which we argue.


art eckstein - 3/10/2007

Clarke writes about Omar, vs. N.F. and myself especially: "Unlike them, his single-minded energies are intended for the ultimate benefit of political entities in his own native land."

This is an accusation of "double loyalty" or rather, even of treason, against nefarious Jews. It has a long and disgusting tradition.




John Charles Crocker - 3/10/2007

I recall reading Abdullah being considered immature and decadent in Jordan when he was in his twenties and early thirties due to his Western lifestyle (appearing in TV programs etc). Hussein did have a change of heart on his deathbed or we would not be having this discussion.

In the absence of contrary evidence Occam's razor should take precedence.

Which do you think fits Occam best?
1) King Hussein, as he lay dying, decided that he would rather leave his kingdom to his son for personal reasons.
2) King Hussein left his kingdom to his son rather than his brother because of a Western conspiracy to stand in the way of peace with Israel.

France's (as far as I can tell) immaterial disagreement with the treaty between Israel and Egypt is weak evidence for Europe not desiring peace between Israel and Arabs. Can you provide a link detailing France's opposition? I spent 5-10 minutes on Google and found no mention of it. The Jewish Virtual Library made no mention of it in their article on the treaty. Do you have any other evidence that EU countries want continued hostilities between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Where is the benefit for Europe in this?


N. Friedman - 3/10/2007

Peter,

That, in my view, is totally meaningless evidence. It tells me nothing about what Palestinian Arabs believe peace to be. And, in this case, since we are not dealing with two truly separate places but a place to be arbitrarily divided with the same population in part on both sides of the line, what both sides means by peace is not an issue. It is the MAIN issue.

If after documents are signed, Palestinian Arabs do not intend to end the dispute, what do you think it really means that they would recognize Isarel?

Obviously, what is taught to people at home, in school and in their religious institutions largely determines what such people later will do. Any reasonable observer reports that schooling in Palestinian Arab territories teaches and does so as part of the every day curriculum (and not just in the Palestinian Arab territories, by the way, but in much of the Arab regions and greater Muslim regions) that Jews are pigs and apes and should be killed wherever they can be found. That is a fact. They are taught that Israel is illegitimate and that Jewish nationalism is inherently evil. That is a fact. And, in sermons at mosque, they are told over and over and over again to go out and kill Jews wherever they can find them. That is also a fact.

If, as part of a peace, the above is not going to change - and that is what Palestinian Arabs state they will not change -, the territory involved is too small for any peace to stick. So, we have Palestinian Arabs stating that as part of peace, the above activities will continue. That means that there can never be any peace as you understand the word, only rests between the fighting.

Consider, John. If you were brought up in a country the size of New Hampshire and were brought up to believe, as an article of faith, no less, that West New Hampshirites are sub-human and ought be killed whenever they can be killed, do you really expect to have peace?

One other point. It does not matter what the majority of Palestinian Arabs want. None of the parties that rule Palestinian Arabs are willing to end the dispute. We have that on good information. One, Arafat walked away from his own proposal and Two, the HAMAS says it will never, for religious reasons, ever make peace. Do you understand, John, what it means when someone turns a political cause into a religious imperative? Think about it.


N. Friedman - 3/10/2007

John,

Oppression is a very, very inexact term. Before the 2000 intifadah began and notwithstanding propaganda, Palestinian Arabs were, by any objective measure, the freest Arab population in or near the Arab regions. That is not to say that they had independence or that they were their own masters. They were not. But - and this is something worth considering since the world has wasted a lot of time on alleged oppression which is largely self-inflicted -, by comparison with Arabs in the surrounding countries, they were by far the freest.

They also had, by far, the best education of any Arabs. They further had the highest or nearly the highest life spans. They were at or near the very top, monetarily speaking, of the Arab regions.

So, your statement does not jive with the facts.

Now, I am not claiming that Palestinian Arabs would have been wrong to seek independence from Israel. I am saying that what you claim is simply not the case.

With that in mind, on this point the Professor is correct and for two reasons. First, the very thing that you think Palestinian Arabs sought - i.e. independence in a viable state - was offered to Palestinian Arabs but rejected by the allegedly more moderate Fatah leadership. Second, the Palestinian Arab side chose instead to make war, a war which had no moral justification whatsoever for two reasons: one, the alleged goal of the war was to obtain the very thing that the leaders of the Fatah - not Israel - had rejected and, two, the actual goal of the war was not confined to obtaining independence but, instead, was directed primarily to Israel's destruction, as the HAMAS stated and as the polling at the time showed (i.e. 48% of Palestinian Arabs thought, during most of the war, that the goal was to destroy Israel and that does not include what the leadership thought since they were allegedly fighting for terms they, themselves, had rejected but, in fact, were obviously fighting for something else).

Now, it is true that most Palestinian Arabs have spent their lives being oppressed. That, however, is not Israel's doing. It is, rather, primarily the doing of the Palestinian Arab's own leaders than by any others. Choosing, as their leaders did, and as documented by President Clinton and by Prince Bandar and by Dennis Ross, to walk away from FATAH's own alleged settlement position - and, as Prince Bandar says, after Arafat's "red-line" was met, Arafat publicly lied about the contents of what had been offered, an offer which Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia enthusiastically called truly avant-garde -, the Palestinian Arabs chose to make war.

In war, life is tough but this war was their own choice, as even Omar admits. So, I cannot imagine what you are thinking, John.



N. Friedman - 3/10/2007

John,

I do not know whether or not it is ridiculous. There is no way to know because King Hussein did not state his reasons. So, your speculation is as good as any other. But, understand, John, yours, as well as Elliott's, is speculation.

On the other hand, that Europeans have opposed peace between Arabs and Israelis has some real substantiation. France actually was opposed to the peace deal made between Israel and Egypt. That is not something imagined. And, France had many supporters in Europe for that proposition.





art eckstein - 3/10/2007

Then why, Omar, did you make up the one about the israeli "massacre" of 250 captured Egyptian troops in 1967, something you gleefully put out last week in a very prominent place--and which turned out to be FALSE information which you purveyed to everyone here?


N. Friedman - 3/10/2007

Peter,

Your problem is that you do not respond to issues. Above, you made a post regarding the article. I responded, requesting that you provide some substantiation for your point. You essentially refused but did so in your usual way, altering the topic and then claiming the article contained the information on your original point. But, in fact, I was interested in your actual original point and was willing to discuss the matter.


art eckstein - 3/10/2007

As Omar has admitted (indeed happily proclaimed), Mr. Crocker, that the use of this weapon is a cultural choice, i.e., it is not a natural response to oppression. What I have described is part of the degenerate and hatefilled culture that leads to that response, and which the Palestinians by a large majority wish to CONTINUE.

What kind of "desire for peace" is it that advocates the education of the young in such hate? And what is the likely impact over the long term? I think you're speculating that the Palestinian education system would change--what's your evidence, other than hope, in the face of a large majority of Palestinians who say they don't WANT the education-system to change? And what would be your response if you saw similar poll-numbers on the Israeli side? Shall we guess? It is just amazing how you always try to find a way to defend the indefensible.

In Iraq you have suicide-bombers blowing up mosques as an act of worship, blowing up students at two universities--SCORES OF STUDENTS KILLED--as an act of worship; or, last week, blowing up dozens of people at a BOOK MARKET as an act of worship. This is mostly done by sunni fanatics, it is aimed not at Jews but at other Muslims, and the perpetrators have ruled the country for 80 years and do not have "a lifetime of oppression" behind them. In Pakistan two weeks ago, a similarly worshipful man BLEW THE HEAD OFF a female politician because the Koran, according to him, forbade the participation of women in political life. He was happy to be arrested. He's a martyr now too. This had nothing--NOTHING--to do with Israel.


John Charles Crocker - 3/10/2007

The evidence regarding school curricula and laws against incitement are I think problematic but secondary. These opinions are likely to change when the Palestinian people have more to lose.

The suicide bombers have also spent their entire lives being oppressed by an other. This has more to do with their violent reactions and their support of violent resistance than their school curriculum.


John Charles Crocker - 3/10/2007

The polling indicates that the majority of Palestinians favor a two state solution with mutual recognition.

What evidence do you require?


John Charles Crocker - 3/10/2007

I know the story. Abdullah was educated in the West and had what was considered in Jordan to immature and decadent (acting on TV etc). My understanding of the matter is that this was why Hussein's brother remained crown prince after Abdullah came of age. Hussein had a change of heart on his deathbed and left his kingdom to his son. Controversial or not the idea that the change was a Western plot to prevent peace between Israel and Jordan or Israel and anyone is ridiculous.

The EU's relationship with Israel is too close for them to do as you say to any great beneficial effect.


N. Friedman - 3/9/2007

Peter,

I see. You make an assertion. I respond asking you to back it up. You then alter what you claimed and claim the original statement is supported by the article - which it is not -. I then point out the obvious, namely, that you had no backing for your original point and then reiterated my request. Now, you change the subject and complain about what I, not you, have done.

I repeat my suggestions:

One. That when you state something, that it be backed up with facts.

Two. That you stop trashing historians and other scholars who hold views that differ from your own.

Three. That you actually address arguments made against your positions instead of changing the subject.

I note that the current post is an example of you attempting to change the topic. Your original post, so that there will be no mistake, stated:


No one is discussing the topic of the article (#106706)
by Peter K. Clarke on March 8, 2007 at 5:12 AM

Just thought I'd point that out for the record. I am included in that neglect except here:

Re: Global War on Law? (#106535)
by Peter K. Clarke on March 6, 2007

Expanding on my remarks there, I think it may be true that Israel is somewhat more prone to both
(1) corruption
and
(2) exposing and correcting for it
than other places, but not drastically so.

It is the global trend over time, not place-to-place comparisons at contemporary points in time, which deserves the greater attention and concern. Israel needs to be seen, I believe, as a leading indicator, not an exception.


Note: I responded by asking you to back up one of your assertions. That was a fair request. I wrote, and I reproduce my entire post:

Re: Please provide evidence and/or data for your position (#106713)
by N. Friedman on March 8, 2007 at 9:03 AM
Peter,

You write: "It is the global trend over time, not place-to-place comparisons at contemporary points in time, which deserves the greater attention and concern. Israel needs to be seen, I believe, as a leading indicator, not an exception."

Fine. You have taken a position. No see if you can support it.


I then pasted a minor correction:

Re: Please provide evidence and/or data for your position (#106716)
by N. Friedman on March 8, 2007 at 9:52 AM
Correction:

Strike: "No see if you can support it."

Substitute:

Now see if you can support it.


My question was perfectly legitimate. Evidently, you have no answer for that question. So, instead of admitting that you spoke out beyond the facts, you turn your mistake into my doing. That takes a lot of nerve, Peter. And, it is not very honorable.

Whether or not you respond, Peter, I intend to hold you to the fire, asking you to back up the nonsense you post on this website.

And, that also goes for when you trash a major historian such as Benny Morris or dismiss a major historian such as Martin Gilbert or a less well known but fine historian like Bat Ye'or.

One thing you are correct about. You have no obligations here - apart from complying with the rules of this website. But, frankly, neither do I. However, what we post places our good faith on the line. Your unwillingness to back up what you claim or admit error or state that you had no facts but still believed such to be the case says something about you.

With the above in mind, I reiterate my request for you to post some evidence to back up your assertions.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/9/2007

N.F., this is all so typical of Clarke.

I especially liked his assertion, elsewhere, of a position for which he had no factual evidence and only the most suspect of a priori reasoning, followed--when you asked with perfect reasonableness for evidence--by the claim that he had backed it up with evidence!! Just amazing.


N. Friedman - 3/9/2007

Peter,

Some more about polling. And, I stand corrected. I had the number slightly wrong. It was only 60% who favor shari'a. Islam's Coming Crusade, by Martin Kramer.





N. Friedman - 3/9/2007

John,

Elliot may have his facts slightly wrong but he is correct that Abdullah was a late add on to be heir apparent. Originally, the choice was King Hussein's brother, Prince Hassan.

It is not really known why Hassan was written out of being heir apparent but that he was is well documented. Even Wikipedia has noted such fact. According to that source:

He died of complications related to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma on February 7, 1999. The King had been suffering from the disease for many years and had been treated at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, United States on a fairly regular basis. Just before his death, he changed his will and the Jordanian Constitution in order to disinherit his brother, Hassan, who had been crown prince for several decades, and designated his eldest son, Abdullah as heir.

Elliott has advanced a theory to explain the change. I have no idea if it is a good one. It may well be.

As for the rest of your comment, it may well be that if the EU wanted to stick it to Israel, it would make imports difficult. However, what the EU more likely wants is to use Israel as a foil to mollify the Arab regions for the benefit of European trade and to unite the various European states. The problem with that approach is that the chickens have begun to come home to roost.


N. Friedman - 3/9/2007

Peter,

You write: I have stated the reasons, the logic, and the history behind my conclusions about what people in the Mideast "want" or "don't want."

Actually, you have not done any of that. You have, instead, merely trashed evidence, as in polling data, as in the scholarship of Benny Morris, as in the scholarship of Bat Ye'or, as in the scholarship of Martin Gilbert, as in any evidence you do not want to hear. Frankly, I have come to wonder whether you have any facts or data to add to the discussion.

Now, if you want us to take you seriously, as we do John Crocker, come forward with facts and data and arguments. Thus far, you have simply not done that. And, there is no pass for your having been a poster for many years. All that means is that you have posted stuff for years. Maybe it is all junk. I do not know.

If you claim a poll is trash, provide an explanation and/or evidence for your position. We do not take your assertions ex cathedra.

In this case, you are talking about polling done of Palestinian Arabs by a Palestinian Arab organization that advocates the Palestinian national cause.

Now, if you ask me, polling by Palestinian Arabs is subject to some doubt. The polling did not explain the rise of the HAMAS. There is, in my view, a reasonable explanation for that. The polling is, I suspect, slightly skewed toward the publicly preferred position of FATAH. So, the polling tends to downplay sympathy for the HAMAS. As a result, not only do we see the popularity of the HAMAS under reported but the related sympathy for HAMAS type views is under reported.

Other polling, as noted by historian Martin Kramer, has shown that 65% of Palestinian Arabs (as well as, by the way, Jordanian Arabs and Egyptians) want the implementation of Shari'a law. Such polling may or may not be more accurate but such far better explains the rise in the popularity of the HAMAS and what is occurring in the Palestinian areas than does the semi-official FATAH polling organs such as is being discussed here.

Now, factoring the polling for its failure to predict HAMAS like sentiments, the polling cited almost certainly downplays support for only an interim settlement. And, such is done by asking questions favoring peace in undefined terms.

One needs to read the supplemental questions to get any idea about what peace might remotely mean. And, if peace does not mean - even in polling that places a good public face on Palestinian opinion - teaching, as Israelis teach in their schools, that the OTHER has legitimacy but rather deserves to be destroyed, there could not be possibly be peace as you and I define it. Rather, there would only be a rest before a new war. And, the same goes for the polling evidence which shows an interest in continuing incitement to violence after a "peace" agreement.

I would ask, with the above in mind, that you provide an actual argument, supported by facts. We shall not take your word for things because you are not entitled to such a presumption of correctness.


John Charles Crocker - 3/9/2007

Abdullah is Hussein's oldest son. He has one older sibling, his sister (Alia). Had Hussein left the crown to his daughter that would have been truly noteworthy. If you disagree with this statement reply with the name(s) of his older brother(s).

The figure I found was from a 2005 article. If the number is 450 million euro, the amount of aid to the Palestinians from Western sources still pales in comparison to aid to Israel from Western sources. Although Japan is not a Western source I will add there total for you. The latest figure I found with a quick search was $100 million in 2005. Total aid to Palestine by Western sources is still dwarfed by total aid to Israel by Western sources. I have not looked up the total aid to Palestine given by Arab and other sources but I would be willing to bet that total Aid to Palestine is considerably less than the over $4 billion in aid Israel has received on average every year since the early 90s.

Israel is far more propped up by than torn down by the West.

"One issue is how the $$ is used."
I couldn't agree more. Approximately 75% of the aid to Israel is military.

As for trade with the EU, the EU is the #1 importer and exporter for Israel. Israel is #24 and #20 for exports and imports for the EU. There is indeed benefit in both directions but the relationship is far more important for Israel.
If the EU really wanted to stick it to Israel, as you seem to think they want to, dropping the free trade agreement and instituting tariffs on Israeli goods and services would be a devastating blow to Israel's economy and a minor inconvenience to the EU economy.


arnold REISMAN - 3/9/2007

PS.
Omar Ibrahim Baker, Thank you for helping me to understand everything I knew about what it is you've been saying/advocating.


N. Friedman - 3/9/2007

John,

People do all sorts of things. However, Peter makes a habit of changing the topic when he is challenged. He does that in lieu of providing evidence for his points.

You state, with reference to Benny Morris' statement that "There is no such hatred for anyone among the Jews or in me":

This statement is clearly false. As is evidenced by some extreme Jewish settlers who have said among other things, "My fence is the range of an M-16" and who attempted to bomb a Muslim girls school. He could have truthfully said that this level of hatred is not so widespread among the Jewish people, but it is not absent.

You misread Morris' statement. His statement was not made in the context of all are of the view. His was a statement about the consensus of opinion. Your corrective, which was not necessary, is not disputed by me.

You state, with reference to Benny Morris' statement that " He rejected the proposals because he and his people want the entire country":

Here I may agree or disagree depending on when it was written and how "his people" is defined. At the current time and if "his people" means the Palestinians (as represented by their majority view) I disagree. I again point to the '06 poll in support of this.

He was speaking as of the time he spoke. Arafat is now dead. Your polling data does not, in my view, show what you claim. It shows interest in an interim arrangement which Muslims call a hudna. I am aware of no polling showing a sizeable percentage of Palestinian Arabs (or Arabs more generally) which shows interest in more than a hudna.

You state, with reference to Benny Morris' statement that "Unfortunately, the destruction of Israel and the right of return of the refugees have become a key component of Palestinian identity, and as long as this component does not vanish, there is no possibility of an historic compromise":

This is the belief of what is now a minority of Palestinians. At the time of his writing it may have been a majority view, but to say that it is a "key component of Palestinian identity" is hyperbole.
That belief does need to be held by a smaller minority than it currently is for lasting peace to have a reasonable chance of success. Palestinian public opinion seems to be moving in that direction at the moment, though that could change as the situation evolves one way or another.


I think you are misreading the polling. I think Morris' statement, if anything, is more true today than at the time he made it. What is different today is that the Palestinian Arab cause has led to substantial suffering on the Palestinian Arab side. As a result, there is greater interest in a break in the fighting. But, Palestinian nationalism defines itself by its opposition to Israel. That is and has always been the problem. Today, the problem has been made far worse because that cause has also more openly been defined as being a requirement of being a true Muslim. That, and not any polling data, is why, at present, there is no basis for a settlement.



arnold REISMAN - 3/9/2007

So, when Sunis send suicide bombers to en masse kill Shiites at prayer in their mosques that is "considered a sacred duty".
When Shiites do the same to the Sunis that "submission to aggression and to violations of inalienable human rights is normally called defeatism" and therefore AOK.
When Hamas bombs a Fatah funeral procession that is "the most effective way to resist aggression and roll it back." And, of course the same is true in reverse while each is "considered a sacred duty".


art eckstein - 3/9/2007

The evidence I presented of Palestinian refusal to punish incitement against Israel or to change the textbooks so that they continue to refuse Israel's right to exist is from 2006. They parallel the same questions asked in 2001, but they are from 2006.

All right, John--only 45% of the Palestinians voted for a Nazi-like party which is now the official government of the PA. What would you say if 45% of the Israelis voted for a party whose overt ideology was that Palestinians have no right to exist and should be expelled from the West Bank and Gaza--or rather, the survivors should be? In Israel, there are such parties, but they are very marginal. In the PA, that's the main stream.

The evidence on Palestinian willingness for peace is, as I have said, ambiguous, highly ambiguous. You have some good statistics, but so do I.

I wish and hope you are correct in your optimistic assessment; it'd be best for everyone. But I think you are, grosso modo, wrong on this, though you have some evidence to support your position.

The point about schools is important: the genocidal suicide bombers of the Second Intifada were raised in a school system that was a constinual sewer of anti-semitic and anti-Israel propaganda; they are the products of that system. The vast majority of Palestinians in the 2006 poll do not want the school system to change that ideology. Figure out the results.


art eckstein - 3/9/2007

That's not the question you asked, Mr. Crocker. The question you asked me--in a conscious parallel with large majority Palestinian support of intentional civilian massacres--was how many Israelis supported the destruction of Palestinian apt buildings and bulldozing of Palestinian neighborhoods." Surely, the answer is: very few! While the answer on the Palestinian side to INTENTIONAL targetting of civilians--men, women, children, Jews and even anyone who LOOKS like a Jew (as we have discussed)--the answer is: a majority of almost 60%.

The correct parallel to the question you are NOW asking, with the addition that these apt buildings and neighborhoods are Palestinian terrorist centers, would be: how many Palestinians support suicide bombing of Israeli MILITARY posts? But it is incorrect and very careless to attempt to compare current Palestinian majority support for INTENTIONAL civilian massacres to Israeli support for hitting TERRORISTS who unfortunately and intentionally place themselves among civilians in violation of international law. And then to say: "See? it's equal, so both are equally at fault, or the Israelis are even worse."

.


John Charles Crocker - 3/9/2007

Yet another claim is made here that cannot be supported by the facts.
"This is the same population iwhich elected the exterminatory HAMAS to be its government, by a significant majority of votes."
How is it that 44.45% represents a significant majority of the votes?
BTW Fatah received 41.43% of the vote so it is not even a significant plurality, unless you feel that anything greater than 3% is significant.

This claim like your claim that a large majority of Palestinians favor military action against Israel after peace withers in the face of the evidence.

Again a majority of Palestinians want a two state solution that recognizes Israel as the legitimate Jewish state, a majority think Hamas should be bound by the Oslo accords and a majority oppose military action by Hamas against Israel.

You may think I give short shrift to the evidence you present, but you seem to ignore any and all positive trends in Palestinian attitudes.

You have offered 5 year old evidence as if it represented the present despite current evidence that directly disputes it. This in spite of the fact that you were made aware of the contradictory evidence 2 weeks ago.

I have said in this and other threads that Hamas is the primary impediment to peace between the Palestinian and Israeli people, but Israel does bear some share of the blame. My disagreement with you is over your failure to accept that Israel bears any share of responsibility for the current situation, your failure to recognize that Israel has done anything inappropriate to the Palestinian people, and your misrepresentation of the views of the Palestinian people (some of which I have detailed above).


John Charles Crocker - 3/9/2007

"I took you task for the formulation of the question, and (as far as I can see) quite correctly--for the reasons I have stated."

Had you looked one paragraph further you would have seen:
"Hamas is clearly an impediment to peace, but Israel has blood on its hands as well. A rocket fired into an apartment building in a residential neighborhood because it is believed that terrorists inside is not appropriate, neither is bulldozing a neighborhood because terrorist snipers hide there."

You should read the entire post before you accuse me of not qualifying myself properly.


N. Friedman - 3/9/2007

Peter,

Again. You are changing the topic.

Try addressing the topic.


N. Friedman - 3/9/2007

Peter,

I want two things from you.

One. That when you state something, that it be backed up with facts.

Two. That you stop trashing historians and other scholars who hold views that differ from your own.

Three. That you actually address arguments made against your positions instead of changing the subject.

In this case, you make an assertion. Where are the facts that support it? Saying that Israel is a leading country in some things does not address your own point which is that Israel is a leading indicator. That requires proof and you have not provided it or anything like it.



art eckstein - 3/9/2007

Also, here (as far as I can see in full) is the question you asked me on your post no. 106684 at 6:07 p.m. on March 7:

"I firmly oppose killing civilians whether it is by suicide bombers or by tanks or by rockets.

"What percent of Israeli civilians supported missile strikes against Palestinian apartment buildings or bulldozing Palestinian neighborhoods? This is the appropriate parallel given the current military and political situation of both parties."

I took you task for the formulation of the question, and (as far as I can see) quite correctly--for the reasons I have stated. Israelis DON'T support the massacre of innocent civilians wherever they can be found; a majority of Palestinians, according to your own evidence, do.


art eckstein - 3/9/2007

What would you say, Mr. Crocker, if 57% of Israelis were currently in favor of continual massacre of Palestinian civilians?

The 2006 figures offer a Palestinian population in which a large majority favors a truce (hudna) at present during which, however, a vile sewer of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda including of the younger generation continues unabated within itself. That includes non-recognition in the school curriculum of Israel's right to exist. Just how does that augur for a permanent peace? Doesn't that suggest something else?

To me it suggests what N.F. has suggested--they're tired of the killing for the moment, their exterminatory intention remains, and they are not ready for peace. This is the same population iwhich elected the exterminatory HAMAS to be its government, by a significant majority of votes. Not even the German population did that with the Nazis in 1932-33. If you want to argue that--in view of the figures I've offered above--that the Palestinian population voted in indifference ot HAMAS's stated positions (i.e., primarily because of "Fatah corruption'), or DESPITE Hamas's position--but isn't Hamas's position exactly what a majority wants in the school curriculum according to these polls?--be my guest.

Again, unlike Mr. Clarke, you offer evidence. This is instead of blind bien-pensant faith and denial off the powerful evidence the other way. But you downplay the grim evidence I have presented way way too much. And you forgot who elected HAMAS .


Elliott Aron Green - 3/9/2007

Omar, I am glad that we both see the Jordanian succession issue as significant. John, Hussein had several sons. Abdullah was not the oldest. Others were older and had Arab mothers.

As to EU aid for the palestinian authority, I believe that the correct amoung of aid is ca. 450 million euro per year since 1994. You agree that EU aid for Israel is minimal and limited to scientific cooperation. As to free trade between the EU and Israel, trade benefits both sides. A high percentage of Israel's imports come from EU states. This is important for the EU since many of their products are overpriced in world market terms, because of the overly strong euro.
The PA also gets money from Arab states and Japan. One issue is how the $$ is used. A headline in one of today's Israeli papers [weekend editions come out on Friday] asserted that much money transferred to Abu Mazen's men by Israel had disappeared.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/9/2007

'Umar, The Arabs invaded and conquered the Land of Israel in the 7th century, between 634 and 640 CE, although Arab troops had fought on the side of the Romans in crushing the two major Jewish revolts against Rome in Judea, the Great Revolt of 68-73 CE in which the Second Temple was destroyed and the Bar Kokhba Revolt of 131-135 CE, after which Jews were forbidden to live in Jerusalem and the surrounding area [polis] by Emperor Hadrian. Eusebios reports on the exile of Jews from the Jerusalem polis renamed Aelia Capitolina [see links]:
http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/05/exile-of-jews-from-jerusalem-polis.html
http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/05/when-and-why-was-aelia-founded.html
http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/08/rome-colonized-jerusalem-region-with.html
Tacitus reported on Arab service to Rome in the Great Revolt:
http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/05/arabs-helped-romans-destroy-temple.html

Nevertheless, `Umar, your answer was quite clever. But "palestine" was not used officially as the Roman name for the Land of Israel before 135 CE, when Hadrian renamed the province of Judea "Syria Palaestina" and renamed Jerusalem [Hierosolyma, Hierusalem] "Aelia Capitolina." The traditional Roman name for the country was Judea [IVDAEA]. As Felix Abel explains, the new name "Syria Palaestina" was part of Roman policy to hurt the Jews and remove the Jewish national identity of the country. So your analogy with Texas does not hold. I agree that one could be both an Arab and a Palestinian Arab at the same time, as the PLO charter asserts [Article I]. But then that means that there is no distinct separate "palestinian people," which was in fact a notion invented by psychological warfare experts. The names "palestine" and "palestinian" had been earlier rejected by the Arabs in the Land, as I pointed out before. Furthermore, traditionally, since the Crusades, throughout the Mamluk and Ottoman regimes, there was no "palestine" and no "filastin" on the ground or in Mamluk or Ottoman administrative nomenclature. The term filastin was used after the Arab conquest up to the Crusades for only the southern part of the country, roughly speaking, what the Romans had called "Palaestina Prima." The early Arab conquerors had called Jerusalem "Iliya" after Aelia.
Traditionally, the Arabs in Israel saw the country as an indistinct part of bilad ash-Sham, Syria or Greater Syria.
`Umar, your clever analogy to Texas does not hold. Good try.


John Charles Crocker - 3/9/2007

Mr. Clarke's argument that you dismissed as tu quoque was injected into a debate between Mr. Baker and Mr. Green both of whom want to place all blame for the current situation in Israel on the side they oppose. Neither of their positions is valid (though Mr. Green's is closer to being based in reality). In the context of that argument Peter's comment was legitimate. If he is using tu quoque arguments in the manner you describe to dismiss valid arguments with diversions it is reasonable to call him on it there, but in this case I think his comment was in bounds.

Something to remember. The next time Israel is being criticized for some real or perceived transgression and people start hyperventilating about ,admittedly far worse, events in Somalia, Sudan, or elsewhere to defend Israel's actions expect to see this phrase on the other side of the argument.

A few problems I have with Morris' argument. He seems to be equating Palestinians with all Muslims and Israel with all Jews.

"There is no such hatred for anyone among the Jews or in me."
This statement is clearly false. As is evidenced by some extreme Jewish settlers who have said among other things, "My fence is the range of an M-16" and who attempted to bomb a Muslim girls school. He could have truthfully said that this level of hatred is not so widespread among the Jewish people, but it is not absent.

" He rejected the proposals because he and his people want the entire country"
Here I may agree or disagree depending on when it was written and how "his people" is defined. At the current time and if "his people" means the Palestinians (as represented by their majority view) I disagree. I again point to the '06 poll in support of this.

"Unfortunately, the destruction of Israel and the right of return of the refugees have become a key component of Palestinian identity, and as long as this component does not vanish, there is no possibility of an historic compromise."
This is the belief of what is now a minority of Palestinians. At the time of his writing it may have been a majority view, but to say that it is a "key component of Palestinian identity" is hyperbole.
That belief does need to be held by a smaller minority than it currently is for lasting peace to have a reasonable chance of success. Palestinian public opinion seems to be moving in that direction at the moment, though that could change as the situation evolves one way or another.


E. Simon - 3/9/2007

I'm always relieved to have you prove my assumptions correct, Peter, when I hear you merely put the last words and ad hominems in - instead of providing a real response to any argument or challenge posed. Thanks for your predictability when it comes to being unable to engage an argument.


N. Friedman - 3/9/2007

Peter,

You wrote before: "It is the global trend over time, not place-to-place comparisons at contemporary points in time, which deserves the greater attention and concern. Israel needs to be seen, I believe, as a leading indicator, not an exception."

Now you write: The evidence of "culturally sanctioned encouragement" of rule-breaking in Israel is in the article. I suggest you read it for a change and try to rein in your ingrained habit of marking your territory on threads where you have nothing to say.

How does this support your point about Israel being a leading indicator? It does not. You are, as is your custom, changing the topic.

Please support your leading indicator topic.


N. Friedman - 3/9/2007

John

My argument is that Palestinian Arabs en masse do not seek peace. Peter, rather than address that point, changed the subject, throwing mud at Israel. Whether or not his point is factual - and note: he produces no facts to support his positions -, it does not address my point while claiming to do so. Such is an invalid argument.

Now, as for the main point, to quote Benny Morris:

Mr. Barakeh: Enough of your hypocrisy. Only one side in the conflict in our region is under the threat of annihilation and that's the Jewish side, and you know it. So it was in 1948 (see, for example, the declaration by Azzam Pasha, Secretary of the Arab League, on the eve of the Pan-Arab invasion of Palestine, about how the anticipated slaughter of the Jews would rival the carnage wreaked by the Mongols during their 13th-century invasion of the Middle East), and so it could also be in the future. The deep hatred among the Arabs of Palestine and the proximate Muslim world for the Zionist enterprise constitutes an infrastructure for such a future genocide. There is no such hatred for anyone among the Jews or in me.

In our region, the side that has been engaging for generations now in the systematic dehumanization of the adversary is the Palestinian side against the Jews - see the Hamas charter and the official political manifests of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who represent at least half of the Palestinians in the territories, which routinely refer to the Jews, in accordance with Islamic tradition, as "sons of monkeys and pigs," "killers of prophets" and as a "lowly people." Yes, I will stick to the definition "savage beasts" to describe suicide bombers who are prepared to massacre dozens or even thousands of civilians in buses and skyscrapers in cities in Israel and the West.

In 1988, I regarded the Palestinian rebellion ("the first intifada") as a legitimate struggle for liberation from occupation. And I believe that most of the Palestinian stone-throwers then saw their struggle that way. This is why I felt it was right to refuse to serve in the territories, and to sit in prison. (Incidentally, I do not recall seeing the names of my morally enlightened colleagues from Ben-Gurion University appearing on the list of refuseniks then, just as I did not come across them during my service in the Paratroop brigades.)

In 2000, the Palestinians, led by Yasser Arafat, began a war that combined the three dimensions I've mentioned and whose ultimate objective is the destruction of Israel (or, "flying the flag of Palestine over the walls of Jerusalem," as Arafat coyly puts it) - just as Saladin destroyed the Crusader Kingdom. In Arafat's eyes, we are the "new Crusaders." This is the main reason why Arafat, in the name of the Palestinian people and without argument on the part of his colleagues, rejected the Barak-Clinton peace proposals of December 2000, which included Israeli withdrawal from about 95 percent of the West Bank and from 100 percent of the Gaza Strip, the evacuation of most of the settlements, and the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. He rejected the proposals because he and his people want the entire country (their intransigence over the "right of return" is not a tactical matter).

And in so doing, Arafat remained consistent with the rejectionist heritage of his people, who in 1937 rejected the compromise proposed by the Peel Commission; in 1947-48, rejected the compromise proposed by the UN (the Partition Proposal); and in 1978, rejected the Egyptian-Israeli compromise (the Camp David Accords, in which the Palestinians were offered autonomy, which would in time have evolved into a Palestinian state).

Unfortunately, the destruction of Israel and the right of return of the refugees have become a key component of Palestinian identity, and as long as this component does not vanish, there is no possibility of an historic compromise. And without a compromise that is based on two states, in the end, only one state will remain here - either a Jewish one without a large Arab minority, or an Arab one with a Jewish minority that will continuously dwindle until it disappears, just as the Jewish communities disappeared from the Islamic world in the last century (after all, what Jew in his right mind would want to live as a minority in an Islamic state headed by the terrorist from the Muqata'a and the wheelchair-bound fanatic from Gaza?).


I do not think that anything said above is subject to any serious dispute. Do you?


arnold REISMAN - 3/9/2007

"If we did not have to live among intolerant, narrow-minded, and violent people, I should be the first to throw over all nationalism in favor of universal humanity."
All you who think in terms of solving the Arab-Jew conflict by changing Israel's governance along the Switzerland or Belgium models should have second thoughts. Jewish Israelis "live among intolerant, narrow-minded, and violent people."
Just look at not one but all of Israel's direct, and even once removed, neighbors.


John Charles Crocker - 3/9/2007

"You left out the crucial causal factor in this Israeli action when you talked about Israel support for 'bombing Palestinian apt buildings' or 'bulldozing Palestinian neighborhoods'"
Re-read my statement and you will find that I did not leave out the intelligence indicating the presence of suspected terrorists in the apartment building or the snipers hiding in the neighborhood. I stand by my view that firing rockets into an apartment building in the middle of a residential neighborhood to kill a few suspected terrorists (with little or no regard for the danger to civilians) is inappropriate as is bulldozing a neighborhood to remove a hiding place for snipers.
As for your argument concerning Syria I refer you to the tu quoque thread.

"...the data I have presented in which LARGE majorities are in favor of military operations against Israel AFTER "peace" occurs."
The polling data you give above does not support this assertion.

62% oppose legislation against incitement does not equal a large majority or being favor of military operations against Israel. The question of school curriculum does not address desire for military action, neither do the questions about visitation.

A majority of Palestinians think Hamas should cease military operations against Israel now (before peace), this stands as direct evidence against your contention that a large majority supports military action after peace.
(from JMCC '06 poll)

"JMCC Public Opinion Poll No. 40, April 2001. That is 73.7% overall in favor of" suicide bombings of Israeli civilians. In the JMCC poll of 2006 the results dropped to 56.2% (22.4% strongly support). This is not where one would like it to be but far different from the figure you used and moving in the right direction. Another positive trend to consider the number opposing such actions has steadily risen from 29.3% in '03 to 38% in '05 and 40.7% in '06.


John Charles Crocker - 3/9/2007

You have made a clear implication that the West wants continued hostility between Israel and Arabs. What evidence do you offer in support of this?
What Western interest do you see being served by this hostility?
If the West wants continued hostility, why the repeated efforts to broker peace? Just a clever cover for PR purposes?

US aid to Palestinians has averaged about $85 million/year since 1993 including 3 direct payments to the PA of 36 mil (94), 20 mil(03), and 20 mil (05). This has included no military aid.

In contrast the US gave an average of over $3.1 billion dollars in direct military aid, $958 million in economic aid, and $72 million in resettlement aid to Israel since 1993.

The EU gave 200 million euro in aid to Palestine (most for humanitarian projects) last year and is considering increasing the amount to 300 million contingent on progress in the peace process (again no military aid). There is minimal direct aid to Israel from the EU (largely in scientific cooperation - some of that from a project that I contributed a small part to), there is however extensive trade through the free trade agreement (over 15 billion euro in 2005 excluding diamonds).

The EU and the US have done far more for Israel than they have done for the Palestinians by virtually every measure. Were it not for the support of the US and EU Israel might not have lasted till today and certainly would not be nearly as prosperous. This support has come at a price and that price is being held to a high standard in its relations with its neighbors (internal and external). Would you trade the military and economic aid and free trade agreements for not being held to that high standard?

What has Abdullah done to negatively impact Israel that is different than what you think Hassan would have done?

I find the idea that a conspiracy is behind a king wanting to leave his country to his son rather than is brother ridiculous. This is the typical arrangement and the switch being delayed to the time it was I understood to be concern about Abdullah's maturity.


John Charles Crocker - 3/8/2007

This is not the formulation used or the one to which I was referring.

Peters argument that began the tu quoque discussion related to virtually all attention on this board being focussed on Palestinian subversion of the peace process and Israeli subversion of the peace process being swept under the rug.

Taking your Republican/Democrat analogy and reformulating it to fit the argument given would be:

Republicans claim that Democrats make illegal use of campaign funds to claim a morally superior position. They do the same thing themselves so they cannot claim a morally superior position based on this argument.

This does not argue that Democrats or Republicans are free of blame rather the argument is that both parties hands are dirty. Such was Peter's argument (as I understood it) about the Palestinians and Israelis regarding the peace process. That is the argument that you called out as tu quoque and prompted my response.


E. Simon - 3/8/2007

Yes, I agree. This is important to point out. Because whereas I may or may not agree or disagree with John on any given point or topic, at least he is willing to bring facts to the table for how he formulates his interpretations, which makes him all the more interesting and worthy to engage and his ideas all the more worthy of considering. Some people, on the other hand, think that their ideas (or "positions") should be heard merely because they have them, which reminds me of the saying about how "opinions are like (insert unsavory body part here), everybody has one." And it is most interesting that those who think that their positions deserve unsupported (and unopposed) airing here, are the ones most obsessed with calling others' positions 'propoganda'. Thankfully, John doesn't do much of that at all.


E. Simon - 3/8/2007

Pointing out that someone can't say anything in support of their position says much more about that person and their position than what is said in their merely taking that position.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/8/2007

John, the United States does give Israel some funding and sells weapons to us. However, the EU does not give us any funding except a minor amount --if I recall rightly-- for participating in joint science research. As far as I know, the EU sells us few if any weapons, although France did supply Israel with fighter aircraft before the Six Day War which was won with those French aircraft. The US did not sell Israel fighter aircraft before the Six Day War.

Your question about motives or interests of the EU, US, Japan to fund the PA is a good question. But it is a fact. Further, this funding does not serve peace in my view.

Yes, I think Hassan would have been more interested in peace than young Abdullah.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/8/2007

Peter, to answer your post #106578.
My mention of Sudan and the manifest Arab difficulty in living in peace with fellow Arabs was a response to Omar and not to Wahrman's original post. I think that my response to Omar was appropriate and relevant to his post.
Now, as far as Rabin's assassination is concerned, I confess that it was not the first political assassination by a Jew. Usually, in the past century, these assassinations were committed by "leftist" Jews like a certain Hersh Lekert in Vilna about 100 years ago who killed the governor of Tambov province for humiliating the Jewish workers, as he said. He was a hero to various Jewish "leftists." I of course do not believe in the notion of a political spectrum, or in "right" vs "left." Jews also assassinated Lord Moyne [British viceroy, as it were, in the Middle East] in 1944 in Cairo. This act led to a certain Jewish-Arab or Zionist-Arab collaboration around the killers' trial. They were executed. Etc.
In Rabin's case, many people were angry with him for creating a situation in which Arab anti-Israel terrorism accelerated and grew seven-fold after the Oslo accords. Nevertheless, many Israelis doubt that Yigal Amir was the sole killer and wonder why someone may have put him up to it, if someone did so.

What I find bizarre is how you, Peter, can equate a political assassination --the killing of one man, after all-- with the kind of mass murder that goes in Iraq, Algeria, Sudan, etc. Your calling me "one-sided" for pointing out to Omar the mutual mass slauhter in Arab states implies that somehow an assassination, however represhensible, is equivalent to the daily massacres in Iraq now or in Algeria a few years ago.


N. Friedman - 3/8/2007

John,

Asserting that Israel has a group that denies legitimacy to Palestinian Arab nationalism is not a reply that addresses whether or not Palestinian Arabs accept Israel. It has exactly nothing to do with my proposition. Yours is a fundamental logic fallacy as Peter's point is an irrelevancy to the point I made because does not make my point more or less likely to be true.

Which is to say, my point is either true or not whatever the truth may be about Israel's population. So, Peter's point does not address the validity of my point. That, no matter how you slice it John, is a fact. It is not something debatable unless we throw out the rules of valid argumentation.

Consider: Person A of Group A argues that proposition Q is true with respect to Group B. That proposition is not in any way refuted by saying that proposition Q applies to Group A. Such is called a tu quoque argument, which is a form of ad hominem argumentation. Such an argument is NEVER valid.

See this explanation:

Tu Quoque is a very common fallacy in which one attempts to defend oneself or another from criticism by turning the critique back against the accuser. This is a classic Red Herring since whether the accuser is guilty of the same, or a similar, wrong is irrelevant to the truth of the original charge. However, as a diversionary tactic, Tu Quoque can be very effective, since the accuser is put on the defensive, and frequently feels compelled to defend against the accusation.

I think this fairly states the purpose of validity of Peter's argument.

See also, Fallacy: Ad Hominem Tu Quoque; and this, where it is stated:

tu quoque

The informal fallacy of replying to criticism by arguing that one's opponent is guilty of something equally improper.

Example: "Republicans claim that Democrats make illegal use of campaign funds. But they do the same thing themselves, so there is no reason to enforce campaign finance laws."

This fallacy is usefully regarded as a special case of the circumstantial ad hominem argument.


So, Peter can either address the point at hand or he can throw mud. He has chosen to throw mud. But, throwing mud tells us nothing about the views of Palestinian Arabs.


N. Friedman - 3/8/2007

CORRECTION:

I should have said "America-friendly," not "American born."


N. Friedman - 3/8/2007

Correction:

Strike: "No see if you can support it."

Substitute:

Now see if you can support it.


N. Friedman - 3/8/2007

John,

You might look into what Elliott is saying a bit more closely. In the case of Sadat, for example, France initially refused to recognize the peace deal. Why? Because it thwarted French policy. It set back their program to bring the Arab world within the French orbit and its program to unite Europe around that issue. This is detailed in Bat Ye'or's book Eurabia.

I am not sure about the doings of the Jordanian royal family. However, it is my impression that Elliott is saying that the American born Abdullah was chosen so that the peace deal would not be thwarted.


N. Friedman - 3/8/2007

Peter,

You write: "It is the global trend over time, not place-to-place comparisons at contemporary points in time, which deserves the greater attention and concern. Israel needs to be seen, I believe, as a leading indicator, not an exception."

Fine. You have taken a position. No see if you can support it.


N. Friedman - 3/8/2007

Professor,

Yes and indeed, John does try to support his views with data and evidence. And he does actually look at the data and evidence pointed his way. He is one with whom it is fun to debate. And, while, like everyone here, he evades and hems and haws, he is far, far better than most. In fact, he is among the best.


art eckstein - 3/8/2007

Mr. Crocker asks:

"Where in the data you presented is there information that points to desire by large majorities for military action against Israel after peace is achieved?"

The answers can be found in the December 2006 poll I have cited, plus the very similar results five years before, when combined with approval of suicide bombing (not asked in the Dec. 2006 poll, as I said):

Of course, those who wish to enjoy wishful thinking will dismiss the data below. But at least Mr. Crocker, you provided some (in my view ambiguous) evidence to support your point, as opposed to Mr. Clarke's bien-pensant faith that the Palestinians want "peace" with Israel.

I would add to you, Mr. Crocker: Targetting terrorists who in violation of international law intentionally situate themselves among civilian human shields as they prepare intentionally to attack civilians (see on this the very strong statements of Michael Walzer the political philosopher) is different from intentionally attacking civilians. You left out the crucial causal factor in this Israeli action when you talked about Israel support for "bombing Palestinian apt buildings" or "bulldozing Palestinian neighborhoods"--and you surely knew this. Given Israeli military power, you surely also understand that if the Israelis had wanted to level all of Gaza to the ground in response to its continual use by terrorists--as, for instance the Syrian govt did at Homs in 1982, leveling the city and killing 20,000 civilians in one week (ONE WEEK), with nary a peep from the of-so-concerned-about-civilians Arab world--the Israelis could do it. They have not done it--yet they still get viciously attacked as brutes by the bien-pensants of Europe and the U.S. for trying to defend themselves.

The disturbing data:

26) After reaching a peace agreement and the establishment of a Palestinian state that is recognized by
Israel, the following are steps that may be taken in order to enhance normalization between the state
of Israel and a Palestinian state. For each of the suggested steps please tell me whether you support or
oppose it:

***************

26-4) Item #4: Take legal measures against incitement against the Israelis
1) Strongly Support 3.4 3.5 3.2
2) Support 32.4 31.3 34.4
3) OPPOSE: 47.2 48.1 45.6
4) STRONGLY OPPOSE: 14.5 14.1 15.1
5) DK/NA 2.5 3.0 1.6

That is, 60% OPPOSE.

***************

26-5) Item #5: Adopt a school curriculum that recognizes Israel and teaches school children not to demand
return of all Palestine to the Palestinians

1) Strongly Support 1.2 1.5 0.7
2) Support 8.6 7.7 10.1
3) OPPOSE 58.6 58.0 59.6
4) STRONGLY OPPOSE 29.6 30.2 28.4
5) DK/NA 2.0 2.5 1.2


That is, 87% OPPOSE.
****************

27) And on a personal level, would you, under conditions of peace, invite a Israeli colleague or
acquaintance to visit you in your home?
1) definitely yes 4.8 5.9 2.8
2) Yes 27.6 27.7 27.4
3) NO: 41.5 39.2 45.4
4) Definitely NO: 25.1 26.1 23.4
5) DK/NA 1.1 1.1 1.0

That is, 68% OPPOSE.

28) And would you, under conditions of peace, visit an Israeli colleague or acquaintance in his home?
1) Definitely yes 4.9 5.6 3.8
2) Yes 26.9 27.1 26.6
3) NO 40.7 38.1 45.4
4) Definitely NO 26.3 27.9 23.4
5) DK/NA 1.2 1.3 0.9

That is, 68% OPPOSE.

[The varying numbers are for overall, West Bank and, lastly, Gaza.]

Source: December 2006 poll by Palestinian Center for POLICY and SURVEY RESEARCH.

One finds basically the same attitude going backward.
What follows is some information from 2002:

14. After reaching a peace agreement between the Palestinian side and Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state that is recognized by Israel, the following are steps may be taken in order to enhance relations between the State of Israel and a Palestinian State. For each of the suggested steps please tell me whether you support or oppose it:

14-4 Take legal measures against incitement against Israel

1. Strongly Support 3.2 3.7 2.4

2. Support 29.4 31.9 25.4

3. OPPOSE:  47.6 45.2 51.5

4. STRONGLY OPPOSE: 15.3 14.1 17.4

5. Don’t Know 4.5 5.2 3.4

That is, 62% OPPOSE.

14-5 Adopt school curriculum in the Palestinian state that recognizes Israel and teaches school children not to demand return of all Palestine to the Palestinians

1. Strongly Support 0.8 0.6 1.0

2. Support 7.4 7.4 7.3

3. OPPOSE 51.7 53.5 48.9

4. STRONGLY OPPOSE 36.3 34.0 40.0

5. Don’t Know 3.9 4.6 2.8

That is, 84% OPPOSE

15. After reaching a peace agreement between the Palestinian side and Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state that is recognized by Israel, would you, under these conditions of peace, invite an Israeli colleague to visit you in your home?

1. Definitely yes 6.5 6.9 5.9

2. Yes 30.5 33.0 26.6

3. NO: 37.0 38.3 34.9

4. DEFINITELY NO: 25.0 20.4 32.3

5. Don’t Know 0.9 1.4 0.2

That is, 67% OPPOSE.

PSR - Survey Research Unit: Public Opinion Poll # 5, Results of Public Opinion Poll # (5)


Q.5 And what way is your feeling about suicide bombing operations against Israeli civilians in Israel? Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat appose, or strongly oppose suicide bombings against Israeli civilians?

STRONGLY SUPPORT 54.4 49.6 62.7
SOMEWHAT SUPPORT 19.3 17.9 21.8
Somewhat oppose 10.1 10.0 10.2
Strongly oppose 5.8 7.8 2.3
Don’t know 7.1 10.3 1.6
No answer 3.3 4.4 1.4

That is, 84% SUPPORT

JMCC Public Opinion Poll No. 40, April 2001. That is 73.7% overall in favor of massacring civilians in Israel proper. In Gaza, the percentage is 84.5%!!!


John Charles Crocker - 3/8/2007

These same powers also finance and arm the Israelis.

"I believe that any Arab leader who really wanted to make peace with Israel would be thwarted by the West."
Like Sadat?
What makes you think this?
What EU, US or World Bank interest do you think is served by continued hostility between Arabs and Israelis?
Do you think Israel is worse off because of Abdullah being in power rather than Hassan?
As for possible conspiracy in this move, would you rather leave your inheritance to your son or your brother?


John Charles Crocker - 3/8/2007

"Oh, a "slight majority" of Palestinians favor the intentional massacre of Israeli civilians, including children. That's great evidence of a desire for peace."
You stated support was greater than 75% despite the fact that less than two weeks ago we had an extensive discussion on this topic where it was pointed out more than once that support for this had dropped considerably (to near 50%). You make an inflated claim of support, I call you on it and you respond with an attack rather than contrition. Why?

So, as long as some terrorists are targeted it is OK to kill as many civilians as is necessary?

At least one neighborhood I can remember was bulldozed because of reported sniper, not rocket, fire.

Where in the data you presented is there information that points to desire by large majorities for military action against Israel after peace is achieved?

Note that a majority of Palestinians are against military action against Israel now according to the latest polling.


N. Friedman - 3/8/2007

Professor,

Peter is playing games, changing the topic as usual. This time, he is not doing tu quoque or ad hominem. He is, instead, a moving target.

Peter refuses evidence without any reason. He attacks scholars rather than engage their evidence. The one thing he does not do is provide his own evidence by which to justify his position.

So, maybe we are all wrong. But, there is no basis to think he is correct because he will not provide any scholarship.

On a related topic, namely, Peter trashing historians who say things he does not want to hear, you may want to read this debate thread. You are in good company, as revealed in one of Peter's posts. Martin Gilbert is not mainstream either.


art eckstein - 3/8/2007

Clarke writes:

"The polls are a croc anyway. Even if the results are valie, it is not an argument for war forever."

1. He denies the mass of polling evidence we have produced--he simply DENIES it, substituting for hard data gathered by Palestinians his own wishful thinking, which trumps poll numbers from Palestinian sources.

2. "if the polls are valie [sic]", Peter, they surely show that YOU are wrong in your assumption that most Palestinians want what YOU consider to be "peace with Israel." I've provided concrete data that this is simply not so. THAT was the issue--your assertions on this, which had no evidence to back them up, just your own wishful thinking, which has now forced you into simply denying actual evidence (!!).

You attempt to slide out of this by turning it into a question of "it's time to stop the war," viz: "it is not an argument for war forever." NO, those polls are not an argument for that--and nobody said those polls were.. What they ARE an argument for, however, is that you are factually wrong in your wishful thinking about Palestinian sentiment, and the Palestinians' own polls show it. That's where we started on this sub-theme.


N. Friedman - 3/8/2007

Peter,

In my endeavor, de minimus is a commonly used term.


N. Friedman - 3/8/2007

Peter,

Again, where is your evidence? Again, the only evidence you site for Palestinian peace wishes is Arafat's nobel peace prize - the same prize given to that other peacenik Kissinger.

It is time for you to put up or shut up!!!


N. Friedman - 3/8/2007

Peter,

You make my case for me. You have not read someone yet you think you can classify her.

Yet, well known historians - evidently not known to you but known to the many others - such as Martin Gilbert, Victor Davis Hanson, not to mention our somewhat known Professor Eckstein how her in high regard. You, who has never read her of course know better.

Sometimes, Peter, I think you are an idiot.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/7/2007

John, it is not simply a matter of Jews and/or Arabs wanting or not wanting peace. Outside powers, particularly the European Union, finance the Palestinian Authority. The US and World Bank do too. I refer not merely to money going to the PA as a state-like body but the money going to Hamas affiliated "universities," etc. I believe that any Arab leader who really wanted to make peace with Israel would be thwarted by the West. Investigate why the late King Hussein of Jordan removed his brother Hassan as crown prince shortly before he died and appointed young Abdullah [whose mother was English and whose education was American] in Hassan's place. Who told Hussein to remove Hassan --and why?


Elliott Aron Green - 3/7/2007

Charles, without engaging in a dispute over what Jabotinsky REALLY believed, I would point out that your use of "palestinian" is an anachronism. In Jabo's lifetime, the Arabs in the country called themselves Arabs. The spokesmen for the Arab side testifying before the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry in 1946 --six years after Jabotinsky died-- argued that there was no such place as "palestine" in history, that the country was simply part of Syria, that "palestine" [Land of Israel] was southern Syria. The notion of a distinct "palestinian people" did not emerge until the 1960s. Traditionally, Arabs saw the country as part of bilad ash-Sham, that is, Syria or Greater Syria. It had no political or administrative existence under Mamluk or Ottoman rule.


John Charles Crocker - 3/7/2007

Tu quoque arguments have their place as I described above. They can be misused as a distraction from substantive issues and in that case they are not valid. If, however, the issue is the relative moral/ethical standing of multiple groups (Palestinian/Israeli, Jewish/Christian/Muslim, American/European etc.) then many if not most valid arguments will be easily characterized as tu quoque.

My understanding of the argument Peter made that you initially dismissed as tu quoque above was an argument of this type. He argued that segments of the Israeli population also oppose peace just a segments of the Palestinian population oppose peace. It is legitimate to counter this argument with arguments about the relative size and power of those groups within their respective societies. Merely dismissing his argument as tu quoque is to deny that both sides have a part to play in the peace process.

As for Palestinian acceptance of living side by side with Israel I refer you to the 2006 polls by JMCC and PCPSR.


art eckstein - 3/7/2007

Oh, a "slight majority" of Palestinians favor the intentional massacre of Israeli civilians, including children. That's great evidence of a desire for peace.

How many Israelis favor "bombing Palestinian apartment houses"?? You think this is an appropriate parallel? Surely the answer to that question is very few! How many favor "bulldozing Palestinian neighborhoods" per se? Surely very few!

If you mean, how many israelis agree to bombing terrorists and terrorist cells planning intentionally to kill Israeli civilians--ANY Israelis, including children, in their racist worldview--terrorists and terrorist cells that intentionally embed themselves among civilians (a violation of international law)--that would of course might be a very different result. And similarly, the results might be different too if you ask, "in favor of bulldozing buildings from which hundreds of rockets have been fired into pre-1967 Israel, intentionally targetting, say, pre-schools-- in order to stop such rocket-firing"

I am sure you knew the difference all along between these questions, but instead cynically or ignorantly or (to be kind) carelessly try to equate the intentional and racist Palestinian targetting of Jews per se (or anyone who just LOOKS like a Jew, as we have discussed last month) with the Israeli targetting of terrorists who are doing that.

As for "peace", as Mr. Friedman pointed out, there is a difference in Arabic between peace and hudna. Many Palestinians are tired of the war for the time being and want time to recuperate. That they are not for peace in any real sense is shown by the data I have presented in which LARGE majorities are in favor of military operations against Israel AFTER "peace" occurs.


John Charles Crocker - 3/7/2007

answer under one sided propaganda thread.


John Charles Crocker - 3/7/2007

The poll to which I was referring was conducted by JMCC.

http://www.jmcc.org/publicpoll/results/2006/no57.pdf
I misremembered the suicide bombing results. A slight majority had at least some support for these. A majority was opposed to military action against Israel as counter to Palestinian interests.

You mischaracterized my argument. I argued that your position, ie that 75%+ currently support suicide bombing of Israeli civilians, is incorrect according to the most recent polling data.

I firmly oppose killing civilians whether it is by suicide bombers or by tanks or by rockets.

What percent of Israeli civilians supported missile strikes against Palestinian apartment buildings or bulldozing Palestinian neighborhoods? This is the appropriate parallel given the current military and political situation of both parties.

Hamas is clearly an impediment to peace, but Israel has blood on its hands as well. A rocket fired into an apartment building in a residential neighborhood because it is believed that terrorists inside is not appropriate, neither is bulldozing a neighborhood because terrorist snipers hide there.

Israeli's fears and resentments of terrorists drive them to these extreme acts just as Palestinian's fears and resentments drive them to support acts of barbarism. Neither side is free of blame and both sides are too much ruled by prejudice and fear.

Unreasonable demands by the Palestinian leadership were largely responsible for them not receiving their own state when the lines were being drawn after the wars and their continued unreasonable demands have made peace unlikely since, but Israel has also done its part to make peace more difficult to come by. Partitioning blame is difficult and I do not see it as 50/50 but neither do I see it as 99/1 or worse as you seem to.

On the bright side the 2006 PCPSR poll shows that 75% of Palestinians support negotiating peace with Israel (22% oppose), 53% want Hamas to implement the "Road Map" (40% oppose), and 66% support a two state solution and mutual recognition of identity (32% oppose the recognition of Israel as the state for the Jewish people in this context). All of these show positive movement from previous survey results in 2004.


art eckstein - 3/7/2007

Mr. Crocker, if you indeed have a 2006 poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research that shows "only" 30-40% of Palestinians favor the massacre of Israeli civilians including children, that will be interesting.

My understanding is that the PCPSR survey didn't ask that question in 2006. Perhaps I'm wrong.

If you can indeed produce that poll, which you evidently consider "good" evidence of Palestinian desire for peace, you need to consider the explosion you would be shouting if an ISRAELI poll showed that 30-40% of ISRAELI public opinion favored the massacre of Palestinian civilians, including children


art eckstein - 3/7/2007

Mr. Crocker, if you have a 2006 poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research that shows "only" 30-40% of Palestinians favor the massacre of Israeli civilians including children, that will be interesting.

My understanding is that the PCPSR survey didn't ask that question in 2006. Perhaps I'm wrong.

If you can indeed produce that poll, which you evidently consider "good" evidence of Palestinian desire for peace, you need to consider the explosion you would be shouting if an ISRAELI poll showed that 30-40% of ISRAELI public opinion favored the massacre of Palestinian civilians, including children.


N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

Peter,

I do not claim you support David Irving. I said you compared Bat Ye'or, a real historian, with David Irving. And, you did so to advance an ad hominem point for purposes of trashing Bat Ye'or. And that is pretty loathsome since you have not read her books.

And, notwithstanding your view, whether a group accepts the legitimacy of another group's position is a question that can be answered "yes" or "no." Or, in simple English, such is a factual assertion when it is directed to the past or present. As related to the future, it is, of course, a prediction based on past facts. In this case, Mr. Morris is correct. You are mistaken.

I think you do not know what a fact is.

You clearly do not know what tu quoque is. Take Logic 101. It will help you. You do not need to study Latin to understand the term, although studying Latin might also help you learn English better.


N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

Peter,

I see. Now polling data does not matter at all. While I am skeptical about polling in consensus coerce societies, it is not totally useless. And, it does support my position, not yours.

On your view, no evidence matters.

I would like to see the basis for your position. Thus far, the only evidence you cite is that Arafat won the Nobel prize - along with that other peace lover Kissinger.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/7/2007

My understanding is that they did not ask the question.


N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

Peter,

The group is a Palestinian group. They have a website. I suggest you review it.

And, I did not say they are dishonest. I said any bias they may have is to show the best face for Palestinian Arabs.

OK?


N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

John,

If your numbers are correct, that hardly alters the validity of the Professor's point. In fact, your version is amazingly supportive. So, your objection is basically de minimus.


N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

John,

I cannot quite let go on this point. Tu quoque is a fallacy and nothing more, whatever value you mistakenly assign it. This is simple logic.

There are valid arguments that can be advanced as to the hypocrisy of Israelis but that is not what Peter has done.

Denying a fact or event to any extent by pointing to the accuser's goals, views, actions, etc. is never a valid argument. It amounts to changing the topic. Pure avoidance.

And note: Peter's line of argument on this page largely consists of denying facts, often by tu quoque and sometimes by ordinary ad hominem attacks.

For example, he denies Benny Morris' factual assertion that, with minor short term exception (that may actually have been a deception - part of the phased plan for destroying Israel that had been earlier formulated by Fatah), there has never been acceptance of living with Israel by the Arab side. According Peter, such a statement cannot be considered because, in Peter's mind, Benny Morris favors ethnic cleansing. Yet, Peter has no evidence to contradict Morris's view. And Morris is an expert on the topic and one who, historically, has been supportive of Palestinian Arabs.

So, now Peter rejects historians who are not politically correct, polling that he mistakenly believes is propagandist even though if it is such, it is biased to support Palestinian Arabs and facts that are not convenient to his position.

What Peter refuses to do is cite his own facts and events and data. Rather, he just assumes that Palestinian Arabs want what he wants. And, he assumes they have his Western orientation and, hence, cannot sacrifice the short term for the long term. He fails entirely to consider the implications of a society that is not modern and mixes religious and political terms together as if they were the same thing.

Peter needs to deal with facts and events. Facts and events are not Likud facts and events. They are just facts and events. Historians are judged by their scholarship, not whether they hold political views that Peter does not like.

Our Peter compares the brilliant historian Bat Ye'or with David Irving. That, notwithstanding positive comment about her by famed historian Sir Martin Gilbert. That, notwithstanding support for her views from famed historian Victor Davis Hanson. That, notwithstanding support for her scholarship by our very own Professor Eckstein. That is what we deal with when we deal with Peter. So, I do not take your comment as well considered.



N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

Peter,

The evidence provided by Art comes from Palestinian sources who, presumably, intended to show something accurate but which would give the best face to Palestinian Arab thinking. So, the evidence, if anything, underestimates hostility to resolving the dispute.

As I have said, you are in denial. You have refused every single bit of evidence that does not jive with your view of what Palestinian Arabs ought to think. You refuse to imagine that people will sacrifice the short term for the long term, as if there were no examples of people doing exactly that over the course of history. So, there is also, on your part, a failure of imagination as you cannot think outside of your own narrow view of what is important in life.

I suggest, since you disagree with the Professor and me, that you cite some facts on which you disagree. You claim that Palestinian Arabs want to end the dispute. Show us data that supports that view. Provide a real argument.

Otherwise, consider that the Professor has a real point. Do that rather than throwing ad hominem attacks as you did with your revolting and disreputable and loathsome comments about Benny Morris and Bat Ye'or. That speaks about you, not about the subject. And, it places you not on any pedestal, I promise.


John Charles Crocker - 3/7/2007

Why do you leave out the suicide bombing question from the 2006 survey?


John Charles Crocker - 3/7/2007

Tu quoque arguments are not necessarily without value.

When side A points to the moral or ethical failings of side B to seize the moral high ground it is entirely appropriate for side B to counter by pointing out the moral or ethical failings of side A.

I don't think that Peter is trying to argue that Israel is entirely or even primarily responsible to continuing hostilities, rather that both sides in this dispute have failed to do all they could or should do to make peace. When the response to that argument is to point out the failings of the Palestinians it is appropriate to respond with the failings of the Israelis.

The relative importance of these failings is where you disagree. You seem to think that any failings by the Israelis are insignificant relative to the failures of the Palestinians. Peter disagrees. An argument of this sort will inevitably involve charges and counter charges most of which can easily be characterized as tu quoque, but that does not render them invalid.


John Charles Crocker - 3/7/2007

Prof you know that the 2006 poll said no such thing. I did not see the 2004 poll you claim gave 75%+ support for suicide bombings of civilians, but we discussed the results of the 2006 poll in another thread and you know as well as I that its results were markedly different. I don't recall the number off hand, but it was less than 50%. If I remember correctly it was between 30 and 40%.


N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

Peter,

I have seen the Barak proposal. It largely eliminated the Arab bulge. It did this by swapping land out elsewhere. This was accomplished ostensibly to avoid having to move large Israeli villages and cities in the captured territories.

So, I am not fooled. You are mistaken.

Neal


art eckstein - 3/7/2007

This is a summary of the data from two weeks ago, for people who may have missed it. Again, this data comes from PALESTINIAN polling organizations, either the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, or Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre (JMCC). Google these organizations, and you will see.

A. from a December 2006 poll:

26) After reaching a peace agreement and the establishment of a Palestinian state that is recognized by
Israel, the following are steps that may be taken in order to enhance normalization between the state
of Israel and a Palestinian state. For each of the suggested steps please tell me whether you support or
oppose it:

***************

26-4) Item #4: Take legal measures against incitement against the Israelis
1) Strongly Support 3.4 3.5 3.2
2) Support 32.4 31.3 34.4
3) OPPOSE: 47.2 48.1 45.6
4) STRONGLY OPPOSE: 14.5 14.1 15.1
5) DK/NA 2.5 3.0 1.6

That is, 60% OPPOSE.

***************

26-5) Item #5: Adopt a school curriculum that recognizes Israel and teaches school children not to demand
return of all Palestine to the Palestinians

1) Strongly Support 1.2 1.5 0.7
2) Support 8.6 7.7 10.1
3) OPPOSE 58.6 58.0 59.6
4) STRONGLY OPPOSE 29.6 30.2 28.4
5) DK/NA 2.0 2.5 1.2


That is, 87% OPPOSE.
****************

27) And on a personal level, would you, under conditions of peace, invite a Israeli colleague or
acquaintance to visit you in your home?
1) definitely yes 4.8 5.9 2.8
2) Yes 27.6 27.7 27.4
3) NO: 41.5 39.2 45.4
4) Definitely NO: 25.1 26.1 23.4
5) DK/NA 1.1 1.1 1.0

That is, 68% OPPOSE.

28) And would you, under conditions of peace, visit an Israeli colleague or acquaintance in his home?
1) Definitely yes 4.9 5.6 3.8
2) Yes 26.9 27.1 26.6
3) NO 40.7 38.1 45.4
4) Definitely NO 26.3 27.9 23.4
5) DK/NA 1.2 1.3 0.9

That is, 68% OPPOSE.

[The varying numbers are for overall, West Bank and, lastly, Gaza.]

Source: December 2006 poll by Palestinian Center for POLICY and SURVEY RESEARCH.

One finds basically the same attitude going backward.
What follows is some information from 2002:

14. After reaching a peace agreement between the Palestinian side and Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state that is recognized by Israel, the following are steps may be taken in order to enhance relations between the State of Israel and a Palestinian State. For each of the suggested steps please tell me whether you support or oppose it:

14-4 Take legal measures against incitement against Israel

1. Strongly Support 3.2 3.7 2.4

2. Support 29.4 31.9 25.4

3. OPPOSE:  47.6 45.2 51.5

4. STRONGLY OPPOSE: 15.3 14.1 17.4

5. Don’t Know 4.5 5.2 3.4

That is, 62% OPPOSE.

14-5 Adopt school curriculum in the Palestinian state that recognizes Israel and teaches school children not to demand return of all Palestine to the Palestinians

1. Strongly Support 0.8 0.6 1.0

2. Support 7.4 7.4 7.3

3. OPPOSE 51.7 53.5 48.9

4. STRONGLY OPPOSE 36.3 34.0 40.0

5. Don’t Know 3.9 4.6 2.8

That is, 84% OPPOSE

15. After reaching a peace agreement between the Palestinian side and Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state that is recognized by Israel, would you, under these conditions of peace, invite an Israeli colleague to visit you in your home?

1. Definitely yes 6.5 6.9 5.9

2. Yes 30.5 33.0 26.6

3. NO: 37.0 38.3 34.9

4. DEFINITELY NO: 25.0 20.4 32.3

5. Don’t Know 0.9 1.4 0.2

That is, 67% OPPOSE.

PSR - Survey Research Unit: Public Opinion Poll # 5, Results of Public Opinion Poll # (5)


Q.5 And what way is your feeling about suicide bombing operations against Israeli civilians in Israel? Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat appose, or strongly oppose suicide bombings against Israeli civilians?

STRONGLY SUPPORT 54.4 49.6 62.7
SOMEWHAT SUPPORT 19.3 17.9 21.8
Somewhat oppose 10.1 10.0 10.2
Strongly oppose 5.8 7.8 2.3
Don’t know 7.1 10.3 1.6
No answer 3.3 4.4 1.4

That is, 84% SUPPORT

JMCC Public Opinion Poll No. 40, April 2001. That is 73.7% overall in favor of massacring civilians in Israel proper. In Gaza, the percentage is 84.5%!!!

Q.12 What about the suicide bombing operations? Do you see them as a suitable response in the current political conditions or do you oppose them and see them harmful to national interests?

I see them as a suitable response in the current political conditions
68.6 63.1 78.2
I oppose it and see it as harmful to Palestinian national interests
23.1 26.4 17.5
I don't know
6.2 8.1 2.7
No answer
2.1 2.4 1.6

JMCC Public Opinion Poll No. 41, June 2001. These are astonishing figures.


********************

Q. 23 Do you accept giving up the "1948 lands" in return for a final solution in which the Palestinian will have their own state in the West Bank and Gaza, with Jerusalem as its capital (1967 borders)?
Yes 16.4 12.7 23.0
NO 72.7 74.7 69.3
I have no idea 10.9 12.6 7.7

JMCC Public Opinion Poll No. 42, Sept. 2001. The question on suicide bombing does not appear. There is a question regarding whether the best strategy is to focus on bombing in Israel, the territories or both.

Q.13 What is your feeling towards suicide bombing operations against Israeli civilians, do you support it or oppose it?

STRONGLY SUPPORT 43.5 39.0 51.4
SOMEWHAT SUPPOR 20.58 18.9 23.2
Strongly oppose 10.5 12.5 7.0
Somewhat oppose 15.5 15.8 15.0
I don't know 7.5 10.2 2.7
No answer 2.5 3.6 0.7

JMCC Public Opinion Poll No. 43, Dec. 2001.

18. What is your feeling towards suicide bombing operations against Israeli civilians, do you support it or oppose it?

STRONGLY SUPPORT 49.2 45.0 56.1
SOMEWHAT SUPPORT 22.8 25.1 18.9
Somewhat oppose 14.7 14.0 15.9
Strongly oppose 7.0 6.5 7.7
I don't know/No opinion 4.3 6.1 1.4
No answer 2.0 3.2 -

JMCC Public Opinion Poll No. 44, March 2002.

Q.11 What is your feeling towards suicide bombing operations against Israeli civilians, do you support it or oppose it?

STRONGLY SUPPORT 38.8 35.6 44.3
SOMEWHAT SUPPORT 29.3 30.9 26.6
Strongly oppose 16.2 16.8 15.2
Somewhat oppose 9.8 9.2 10.7
I Don’t Know/ No opinion 5.2 6.8 2.5
No answer 0.7 0.8 0.7

JMCC Public Opinion Poll No. 45, May 29- 31, June 1-2 , 2002

Q.15 What is your feeling towards suicide bombing operations against Israeli civilians, do you support it or oppose it?


STRONGLY SUPPORT 35.1 29.2 45.2
SOMEWHAT SUPPORT 29.2 28.3 30.7
Strongly oppose 18.3 1.4 18.2
Somewhat oppose 9.4 12.6 3.9
I don't know/No opinion 5.9 8.8 0.9
No answer 2.1 2.7 1.1

JMCC Public Opinion Poll No. 46 , September 21 - 25, 2002.

Q.13 What is your feeling towards suicide bombing operations against Israeli civilians, do you support it or oppose it?


STRONGLY SUPPORT 42.4 37.5 50.9
SOMEWHAT SUPPORT 20.3 20.3 20.2
Strongly oppose 9.3 10.9 6.4
Somewhat oppose 20.5 21.6 18.6
I don't know 5.1 6.3 3.0
No answer 2.4 3.4 0.9

JMCC Public Opinion Poll No. 47, Dec. 2002.

Q.11 What is your feeling towards suicide bombing operations against Israeli civilians, do you support it or oppose it?


STRONGLY SUPPORT 37.8 31.1 49.3
SOMEWHAT SUPPORT 22.1 20.8 24.5
Strongly oppose 11.7 15.4 5.2
Somewhat oppose 18.6 19.6 16.8
I Don’t Know 6.7 9.3 2.3
No answer 3.1 3.8 1.9

JMCC Public Opinion Poll No. 48, April 2003.

Q11. What is your feeling towards suicide bombing operations against Israeli civilians, do you support it or oppose it?

STRONGLY SUPPORT 30.5 24.0 41.6
SOMEWHAT SUPPORT 31.3 33.6 27.3
Somewhat oppose 11.4 13.5 21.8
Strongly oppose 23.5 24.4 7.7
I Don’t Know/ No opinion 2.7 3.4 1.4
No answer 0.6 1.1 0.2

Poll no. 49, October, 2003.

These averages in favor of intentionally massacring Israeli civilians tend to be in the high 50's to the mid 60's in percent. In Gaza, the numbers are higher - often in the mid 70's, percentage wise.

This is empirical data, and it is pretty depressing.  And yes, these polls were all taken during the Intifada.  But the one from 2006 with which I began isn't so different as far as the questions asked go (none about massacring civilians that time).

Anyone--ANYONE-- who asserts on faith the Palestinian population's desire for peace must deal with these depressing data.









art eckstein - 3/7/2007

Clarke writes:

"There are no "data" to confront anywhere in sight here. And don't bother not fetching them, they won't prove anything, and were most probably rigged for propaganda purposes in the first place. Or did Gallup, Harris, and Yankelvitch do the polls you can't cite? "

1. So Clarke complains about not having the data at hand, i.e., about my not posting it from two weeks ago.

2. But THEN Clarke says not to bother to fetch the data from the previous blog because (and here is another statement of faith with no evidence to back it up,just like "I believe the Palestinians want peace") "they won't prove anything." How do you know, Mr. Clarke, unless you read the data which you just complained about not having?

3. This is followed by an attack on the polls as having come from Israeli or pro-Israeli sources. Clarke has no evidence for this accusation. This is quite outrageous and N. F. rightly responds--this data is from PALESTINIAN sources. PALESTINIAN SOURCES. This was made clear two weeks ago and suggests that in THAT debate Mr. Clarke didn't bother reading the data THEN. (!!)

I've watched Clarke operate for several months here. The blind assertions of faith here in the face of empirical data, the refusal to look at the empirical data, and finally the baseless and false attack on the source of the empirical data is his most anti-intellectual and anti-empircal performance yet.




Robert Pierce Forbes - 3/7/2007

An interesting facet of several of these posts--Reisman's and Green's--is the kneejerk response to any criticism of Israel with the assertion that the Arabs are worse. The proper reply to this comment should be, "So what?" If my plumbing has failed and my basement is flooding, how does it help me that my neighbor's basement is worse? And do I really want to define myself solely by comparison with my neighbor?


N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

Peter,

No country intentionally makes a treaty that leaves the country in a difficult position to defend should the treaty break down. If you do not understand that, you are not the bright guy you claim to be.


N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

Peter,

I think my point was correct. I think your comment did not affect my point in any substantive manner. I think you know that.

I also think your point was that those involved were influenced not by fanaticism but by economic factors. You know best what you meant. But, I read your comment as it was written.


N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

Peter,

I make the argument that all countries make. I have no idea what your thinking is based on but it has nothing to do with reality.

In the case of the Sinai, by contrast, there are different considerations including the fact that bringing an army into the desert is difficult. Cutting Israel in half in the Arab bulge would be a lot easier. And, such is the main reason Israel will not retreat to the pre-Six Day War Armistice line.

I think you are fooling yourself.


N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

Peter,

While I am no fan of poling, the polling cited by the Professor was done by Palestinian Arabs with no political connection with Israel. So, if there was a bias, it was intended to show a good face for Palestinian Arabs.

Which is to say, you continue to refuse evidence you do not want to hear.

Note: no amount of evidence affects your views. Not endless speeches by Arafat saying he never intended peace with Israel, not Omar's statements that such is the view of Palestinian Arabs, not the views stated by well known historians such as Benny Morris - who you dismiss as having bad politics - and not polling evidence.

So, what is the basis for your opinion other than the Nobel prize committee, the same group which gave a prize to Kissinger? I would love to understand the evidence you have in mind.


N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

Peter,

I focus on this language of yours: "having to move from one heavily subsidized housing arrangement in Gaza to another in the West Bank) which you (plural) are so deeply and repeatedly committed to denying." That, not religious fanaticism, seems in your mind to be at work.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/7/2007

"I personally think" is not an empirical argument, Mr. Clarke! I've presented DATA to you from PALESTINIAN sources that demonstrate the opposite. You CAN'T just ignore that data by saying "I believe something else". You must confront the data.

It's like you're saying "I believe Omar told the truth about the Israeli documentary on the atrocity." (I'm not saying you ARE saying this, Mr. Clarke--it's an ANALOGY.) That sort of thing is an unacceptable argument unless there is specific evidence provided to support it (and in the case of the alleged "atrocity documentary", as with so much of what Omar retails around here, there of course is no such evidence).


N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

Peter,

The fact is that the Nobel prize for peace was also given to Kissinger and many other non-advocates of peace. And, in Europe, there is a fetish for Palestinian nationalism. So, their judgment is suspect.


N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

Peter,

You write: "But since Jordan signed a peace deal back in the early '90s and abandoned its claims to the West Bank peace deal, there is no other viable reason for the settlements, except as bargaining chips."

The issue is not so simple. The issue to Israelis is to have defensible, secure boundaries. You define such by treaties. Israelis define such by the lay of the land. Such are very different things.

I suggest to you that the Israelis are correct in being concerned about the lay of the land as peace treaties, especially (but not only) in the Muslim regions are very temporary things. The land, thus far, is permanent. So, security depends, over the long term, on having defensible boundaries.



N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

Peter,

You say you personally think that Israelis and Palestinian Arabs both want peace.

Such is a factual claim, not something subject to what you think. And, I might add, it all depends on what is meant by peace.

My suggestion to you is that the two sides understand peace very, very differently. And, what you think is peace is closer to what Israelis think. What Palestinians think peace means is pretty close to what Omar thinks. And, that is what the available evidence supports. Please stop refusing evidence you do not want to hear.


N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

Peter,

Now you are changing the topic. We are dealing with the present, an alleged crisis in Israel, according to the author. Your response to that is to bring up unrelated events - unrelated to the topic of the article and unrelated to the comment to which you were responding -.

Which is to say, you were throwing out trash because you could not defend your original argument.


N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

Peter,

Now you admit that they are not religious zealots. How interesting.

The point here is that there was essentially no real violence, only slightly zealous protest events. That is the opposite of what you originally asserted.


N. Friedman - 3/7/2007

Peter,

You must be kidding. People address your points and then you accuse them when they reply to you.

By the way, tu quoque is a logic concept. I suggest you google it and add it to your array of replies.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/6/2007

Omar retailed last weekend an "atrocity" story about the Israelis allegedly murdering 250 Egyptian pow's in 1967, based on an Israeli documentary film. This story was widely circulated by radicals in the Arab world, especially in Egypt--of course, without seeing the film, for why should one actually have EVIDENCE, in the thinking of such people, when RUMOR suffices to make the ideological point and they are imperivous to evidence anyway, as Omar repeatedly shows? But the documentary film-maker, Ron Edelist, now says the film he actually made shows the exact opposite: that the 250 were armed Palestinian militants not Egyptian pows. "There was no murder of prisoners. It was a battle against Palestinian commandos. The Israeli force was bigger and the documentary is a self-examination into whether Israel used too much force, but it had nothing to do with killing captured soldiers. In Egypt the Islamic extremists are distorting it into an issue to disrupt the peace with Israel."

That's from Reuters.

So once more--as, for instance, in Omar's assurances that the grotesque cleric al-Hilali would be dismissed as Mufti of Australia after his comments about women as "exposed meat"--Omar's assertions to this blog have turned out to be fantasy. In this particular case of an "atrocity", a malevolent fantasy.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/6/2007

Peter, this article says that mainstream Israeli public opinion was for evacuating Gaza.

This helps proves the point that most Israelis want peace, which has always been my position. Of course, the result of the withdrawal from Gaza was its use as a base to fire hundreds and hundreds of rockets into pre-1967 Israel. That was a Palestinian decision. It naturally has consequences concerning the likelihood of further withdrawals in the name of "peace."

And, by contrast too, YOU have yet to answer the multiple polls I have produced which show that most Palestinians support the massacre of Israeli civilians, including children.

Nor have you tried to answer, in terms of prospects for peace, the evidence I have produced of mulitple polls that show that in his triumphant and proud exterminationist position regarding Israel, Omar speaks--as N.F. correctly says--for the majority of Palestinians.


N. Friedman - 3/6/2007

Charles,

You are correct that most of those who live in the captured territories should not be called religious lunatics. However, Peter, who has yet to demonstrate any knowledge of the topic at hand, likes to throw dirt out and then, when challenged, to change the topic.


N. Friedman - 3/6/2007

Peter,

This post further proves my point. It does not undermine anything that Professor Eckstein or I have said.

But, as always, you continue to make bald, undocumented and non-evidenced points that do not stand up to scrutiny.


N. Friedman - 3/6/2007

CORRECTION:

STRIKE: "Now, those who settle in the captured territories have nothing and those who settled in the country back in the 1920's, 1930's, etc., are different groups."

Substitute:

Now, those who settle in the captured territories have nothing to do with those who settled in the country back in the 1920's, 1930's, etc. They are different groups.

In addition: You have not addressed my point that such people are not religious fanatics, for the most part. Such is just another bald, dishonest assertion by you.


N. Friedman - 3/6/2007

Peter,

We are talking in the present tense and you now throw in events from 60 and 70 years ago.

Now, those who settle in the captured territories have nothing and those who settled in the country back in the 1920's, 1930's, etc., are different groups.

So, you continue to engage in diversion. You have not addressed my comments.


N. Friedman - 3/6/2007

Peter,

This is an isolated incident. It does not undermine my main point. And you know it.


N. Friedman - 3/6/2007

Peter,

My accusation is that your comments do not address those in issue. Rather, you evade issues by throwing mud at your opponent's viewpoint. That is called tu quoque. It is an invalid form of argument.


Charles S Young - 3/6/2007

"...rife with religious lunatics..."

Most settlers should not be classified as extremists.

The settlements are paid, as well as defended, by the government. Settlers have subsidized housing. That's how they get people to live in those desolate outposts.

So the settlers are not fanatics outside the norm -- they represent the mainstream attitude of Israel of continuing the dispossession, as expressed through the policies of the elected government.


N. Friedman - 3/6/2007

Peter,

Read a book about that part of the world. Statements such as those by Arafat - where his record is replete over the course of many years of never saying in Arabic that he supported a final settlement and always saying that he supported an interim arrangement - do not fit your view. That is why people like Benny Morris note that there never was real support on the Arab side for reaching a settlement.

You are being ahistorical, failing to follow the facts where they lead. Again: Omar's view is the dominant view and always has been.


N. Friedman - 3/6/2007

Peter,

I post a portion of an article by a man you love to hate, Daniel Pipes. In this instance, I am merely posting his recording of an event, which is beyond question accurate. He reports:

On 10 May 1994, Yasir Arafat gave what he thought was an off-the-record talk at a mosque while visiting Johannesburg, South Africa. But a South African journalist, Bruce Whitfield of 702 Talk Radio, found a way secretly to record his (English-language) remarks. The moment was an optimistic one for the Arab-Israeli peace process, Arafat having just six days earlier returned triumphantly to Gaza; it was widely thought that the conflict was winding down. In this context, Arafat's bellicose talk in Johannesburg about a "jihad to liberate Jerusalem," had a major impact on Israelis, beginning a process of disillusionment that has hardly abated in the intervening years.

No less damaging than his comments about Jerusalem was Arafat's cryptic allusion about his agreement with Israel. Criticized by Arabs and Muslims for having made concessions to Israel, he defended his actions by comparing them to those of the Prophet Muhammad in a similar circumstance:

I see this agreement as being no more than the agreement signed between our Prophet Muhammad and the Quraysh in Mecca.

Arafat further drew out the comparison, noting that although Muhammad had been criticized for this diplomacy by one of his leading companions (and a future caliph), `Umar ibn al-Khattab, the prophet had been right to insist on the agreement, for it helped him defeat the Quraysh and take over their city of Mecca. In a similar spirit,

we now accept the peace agreement, but [only in order] to continue on the road to Jerusalem.

In the five years since he first alluded to Muhammad and the Quraysh, Arafat has frequently mentioned this as a model for his own diplomacy.


I have used bold type to set out quotes that are indented in the original.

In any event, such is your hero, the two-timing Mr. Arafat. That his lying won him the Nobel prize is a testament to the ever growing depravity of Europe. I might add that in Arabic, Arafat had always been blunt in advancing the view that the negotiations were merely a sop for his war to destroy Israel. I might also add that Mr. Arafat was, from early on in the intifadah, not only caught up in the event but he was hip deep in leading it, as the Karine-A incident showed. Even the BBC eventually was faced with the fact that he was funding the intifadah, and most probably with European funds.


Charles S Young - 3/6/2007

Oh come on. Jabotinsky wanted a JEWISH state. In a region that was a majority Palestinian, that required ethnic cleansing. That's the whole point of the state of Israel -- a Jewish state. While the term "ethnic cleansing" was not in vogue, it was the same project. Make Palestine Jewish, not Palestinian. The Jabotinsky/revisionist beef was that other Zionists were stuck in sentimentality and did not appreciate the need for the "Iron Wall" to deal with the Palestinians. "Has ever been known that a people would willingly give up its soil? No more would the Palestinian Arabs yield their sovereignty without FORCE."

"The Islamic soul must be broomed out of Eretz-Yisrael. . . . yelling rabble dressed up in gaudy, savage rags."

Jabotinsky liked to say that Arabs who accepted a Jewish state could stay, as long as Jews were a majority. So any Palestinians who rejected Jewish rule, or threatened to become a majority, were out. Jabotinsky constantly denied that he favored expulsion, that voluntary emigration of Palestinians was preferable. But the practical effect of the "iron wall" was coercion and expulsion, which is exactly what happened. I imagine the Puritans also claimed they were not engaged in ethnic cleansing, but it's what they did.


N. Friedman - 3/6/2007

Peter,

You are now engaging in tu quoque. That is a logic fallacy, if you were not aware of such things.

Here is a suggestion for you. Do some research and write an article for us about Rabin's killing. Then, we might have something to address. The alternative - and what is your norm - is for you to make bald, unsupported assertions that do not stand up to close scrutiny.

In this case, the death of Rabin, more than a decade ago, has not been shown by you to have anything to do with the topic at hand. Maybe it does, but that requires you to present evidence and supporting argument. Do you know how to do research? I wonder.


N. Friedman - 3/6/2007

Peter,

I would love to read some facts that might support your position. So far, what I am seeing is bald assertions. And, my bet is that you are not capable of providing the facts because you do not know them and because you are in error. You merely think you know but you have not done the applicable research.

Now, here is what I believe the fact show: a small portion of those who have moved to the captured territories are religious fanatics. They have organized themselves but, contrary to what you claim, they have opted to support their country, not to place their religious preferences above the political view of the rest of the country. And, as evidence, I remind you that these supposed fanatics did nothing, other than legal protest, against Israel ceding Gaza.

Moreover, the vast majority of those who have moved to the captured territories are not remotely fanatical. And, most of the created villages are along the 1967 Armistice line and were built for political/security reasons, not religious reasons. And, most of these people are not unusually religious although some are - as with any society.

And lastly, the view that people building homes - whether or not on territory you think they ought not be built on - is very, very far removed from people who blow other people up. They are not equivalents, by any moral argument except one advanced by a reactionary of the most extreme form. Let me get to the point: your position is so anti-liberal and so very reactionary. You are equating property with life and that it is immoral and outrageous.

I would remind you of your comments about Benny Morris. Why would anyone take your facts as shown since you hold a clearly reactionary, anti-Liberal point of view, equating human life with property? How very disgusting!!! How unworthy of serious discourse.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/6/2007

You've got it correctly, N.F. That's exactly what I am arguing--with specific evidence in both cases.

best,

Art


N. Friedman - 3/6/2007

Professor,

What you are arguing is that Omar's views are representative of those among Palestinian Arabs while his scholarship is better described as propagandist. If I have that correct, I agree.


art eckstein - 3/6/2007

The evidence that Omar represents the widespread Palestinian view is shown in the polls released by Palestinian polling agencies from 2002 to 2004, and pretty much confirmed in 2006 similar polling, that 75-77% of Palestinians polled were in favor of massacres of Israeli civilians including children. These were polls that expressed those high approval numbers for, for instance, the Maxim Restaurant Massacre (which included 3 children among the 21 civilian dead). These polls were posted in detail on a previous thread a couple of weeks ago.

Omar also retailed last weekend the "atrocity" story about the Israelis allegedly murdering 250 Egyptian pow's in 1967, based on an Israeli documentary film. This story was widely criculated by radicals in the Arab world, especially in Egypt--of course, without seeing the film, for why should one actually have EVIDENCE, in the thinking of such people, when RUMOR suffices to make the ideological point and they are imperivous to evidence anyway, as Omar repeatedly shows? But the documentary film-maker, Ron Edelist, now says the film he actually made shows the exact opposite: that the 250 were armed Palestinian militants not Egyptian pows. "There was no murder of prisoners. It was a battle against Palestinian commandos. The Israeli force was bigger and the documentary is a self-examination into whether Israel used too much force, but it had nothing to do with killing captured soldiers. In Egypt the Islamic extremists are distorting it into an issue to disrupt the peace with Israel."

That's from Reuters.

So once more--as, for instance, in Omar's assurances that the grotesque cleric al-Hilali would be dismissed as Mufti of Australia after his comments about women as "exposed meat"--Omar's assertions to this blog have turned out to be fantasy.




Elliott Aron Green - 3/6/2007

I have published a few articles in Midstream magazine that touch on the issues of real estate in Jerusalem & British policy towards the Jewish holy places.
http://www.think-israel.org/green.jerusalem1900.html
http://www.think-israel.org/green.sanremo.html
http://www.think-israel.org/green.frenchjerusalem.html


Elliott Aron Green - 3/6/2007

I have published a few articles in Midstream magazine that touch on the issues of real estate in Jerusalem & British policy towards the Jewish holy places.
http://www.think-israel.org/green.jerusalem1900.html
http://www.think-israel.org/green.sanremo.html
http://www.think-israel.org/green.frenchjerusalem.html


Elliott Aron Green - 3/6/2007

Thank you, `Umar, a truly sincere shukrun, for explaining that Arab hostility to Israel has increased as the so-called "peace process" has proceeded, rather than diminished. This supports my argument that the Arabs as a whole are not ready to make any lasting peace agreement with Israel on any terms, whether or not acceptable to Israel. Hence, it is counter-productive to peace and justice to offer any Arab political entity territory from which it could launch further aggression against Israel.
Although I sincerely thank `Umar, I remind him that the Arabs can hardly live at peace with each other. Consider especially Iraq and Algeria. Then look at Egypt with its continuing clashes between the ultra-extreme Muslim opposition and the merely extreme Muslims on the government side, not to mention frequent attacks on the Coptic Christian minority. Then look at Lebanon with its sectarian divisions that may flare up again, this time pitting Sunnis against Shi`ites, as well as at Syria where Sunni hatred of Alawites is held down by severe state oppression and brutality. In the Sudan of course massacres --or genocide, if you like-- of the southern tribal blacks, non-Muslim in religion, has proceeded on and off since 1956. We shouldn't forget Sudan, should we, nor its South and West [Darfur]. Let me know, `Umar La Habibi, when the Arabs live at peace with each other. I'm waiting, but not holding my breath.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/6/2007

Can Charles show us where Jabotinsky came out for "ethnic purity"? In fact, Jimmy Carter used that very term on several occasions. Indeed, he used it on the eve of the Pennsylvania Democratic primary election in 1976 in order to win that primary election. Which he did, unfortunately. Now, he accuses Israel of apartheid, which is a lie, whether applied to either side of the Green Line.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/6/2007

I think Leandro is right. Looking over the world, the scene is mostly dismal. The lack of leaders who are admired or admirable, for one thing, whether in developed or developing countries. Consider the USA and the EU countries, like UK, France, Germany, etc. Look at Putin.
In the 19th century, they used to say that economics was the dismal science. Today, with the capability to feed huge numbers of people, undreamt of in Malthus' time, we should amend that to Political Science, as the dismal science, since politics and contemporary history seem so dreadful.


N. Friedman - 3/6/2007

Correction:

I meant ethics, not ethnics.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/6/2007

Omar has a hard time remembering that the Arabs were aliens to the Fertile Crescent --although they did not come from far away. They conquered Israel in the years 634 CE to 640 CE, and the rest of the Fertile Crescent about the same time. The region was unfortunately unable to effectively deal with these destructive aliens and some 460 years later it was conquered by other destructive aliens, the Crusaders. The latter massacred many or most of the Jews in the country, according to Prof Moshe Gil. So the good guys don't always win. By the way, Omar, la habibi, I am terribly flattered that you called me a virus.


Elliott Aron Green - 3/6/2007

Ortner demonstrates the bigotry and ignorance of so many of Israel's critics. He ascribes to Israel a mentality of "aggression and hostility."
Israel's declared enemies, the Arab states, have a centuries-old culture of belief in the virtue of war, especially "holy war," jihad. Physical violence, especially against non-Muslims subjects of the Muslim state, has also long been rampant in Arab-Muslim society, as in present-day violence in Egypt against the Copts. Yet Ortner pins the label of "mentality of aggression & hostility" on Israel. Considering the Arab aggression and violence against Jews in Israel, especially since 1920 with British encouragement, as well as the long history of oppression of Jews in Arab lands, it is no wonder that many people are angry with the Arabs. Nevertheless, we do live together with Arabs [there are some on my street] and there is a deep desire for peace, real peace of course, not some fake concoction of Western diplomacy.


N. Friedman - 3/6/2007

Peter,

You might somehow make some more sense if you cited some evidence. But you do not.

Your comments about the Fatah are contradicted by the fact that Arafat said repeatedly in Arabic, after saying that he accepts Israel in English, that such was merely a tactical move toward Israel's destruction - all in line with the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. And, by the way, Abbas has said the same sort of things in Arabic.

Your comments about Morris are incorrect. He has not rationalized "ethnic cleansing." And, even if he had, that does not make his historical judgment questionable. It would only relate to his ethnics. Evidently, you do not know the difference.

And, the HAMAS follows the idea of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. Your assertions to the contrary have no foundation, other than in your head.

I ask you to find me a Palestinian leader who accepts Israel's legitimacy. Find me one!!!



Elliott Aron Green - 3/6/2007

Wahrman's allegations about illegal land grabs should not be accepted without further investigation by honest and impartial investigators, including historians open to listening to the Other, in this case the oft-maligned "settlers." The Sasson Report --prepared by Talya Sasson, a Justice Ministry official notorious for tendentious anti-"settler" opinions-- ought not to be taken at face value and is not reliable.
For specific examples, I begin with what Wahrman may have been referring to as a "shady" real estate grab south of the Old City of Jerusalem. On the southern slope of the Mount of Olives facing the SE corner of the Temple Mount, a religious Jewish organization bought a plot of land in about 1887. For whatever reason, they did not develop the plot in Ottoman times. During the British mandate, on account of British failure [or refusal] to enforce law and order or protect Jewish life and property in various places [such as Hebron and the Old City], it was considered too dangerous for Jews to dwell in or develop some of the real estate under Jewish ownership. About 1997, the owners transferred title to a Jewish group [funded by Dr Irving Moskovitz] that intended to develop and settle this plot of land. The large plot was mostly empty at the time, although two or three Arab squatters had built houses on it. The Arab squatters were generously paid to leave [claiming for their own safety --their fear of groups like Fatah-- that they were leaving unwillingly]. Subsequently, Jewish young people moved into one of the homes and an apartment building was built on the site, called Ma`aleh Zeytim. I don't see a "shady real estate manipulation" in this case. Perhaps Wahrman advocates apartheid against Jews as does ex-president Carter, by denying the Jewish right to live beyond the 1949 armistice line. Now, if this plot of land is the one Wahrman was referring to, then his characterization of the situation is false and unjust. I should add that I believe that the British mandatory government had a policy of encouraging Arabs to drive Jews away especially from locations near Jewish holy places, as occurred in Hebron, the Muslim Quarter of the Jerusalem Old City [inhabited by many Jews in 1900], and also attested by pogroms in Safed & Tiberias, Jewish holy cities, which did not succeed in driving the Jews out, as did occur in Hebron and the Muslim Quarter.

If Wahrman is referring instead to plots of land south of the Temple Mount in Silwan [Shiloah] village, he ought to recall that Jews were driven out of that village in the 1930s, by Arab thugs under the leadership of Haj Amin el-Husseini, with tacit British acquiescence, if not encouragement. There were several plots of land --of various sizes-- in Silwan owned by Jews [Silwan is also the original location of the city of Jerusalem, thus archeologically significant]. After Israel's War of Independence, Jews were forbidden by law to live in what Jordan named "the West Bank." Certain large plots of land in Silwan owned by a Rothchild charity called by its initials PIKA [I forget the full name] were registered by the former Arab caretaker of the real estate in his own name with the Jordanian land registry authority. This land was successfully claimed in court by the El-Ad or El Ir David organization. Arabs living on these premises were paid generously to move out. Perhaps Wahrman was referring to these real estate plots. Again, Wahrman is writing unjustly, and his reference to factual cases such as Moshe Dayan's grab of archeological artifacts, does not prove Wahrman's claims regarding real estate.
Lastly, there is the case of Hebron. The ancient Jewish community of Hebron suffered a massacre in 1929 with British acquiescence or encouragement. 68 Jews were atrociously murdered. British police on the scene refused to protect the Jews. The survivors were removed by the British from the city which remained Judenrein, leading to my conclusion above about British policy. See accounts about the 1929 pogroms written by Pierre van Paassen and Albert Londres [Le Juif errant est arrive]. Now, the Jews left real estate behind in Hebron which Jews reclaimed after the 1967 Six Day War. Some of this real estate has been resettled by Jews, although Jews were not allowed to move into Hebron until after 1980. Some of this real estate, such as that on which Jordan built a wholesale market, was ordered by Israel's Supreme Court to be vacated by Jews who were living there a few years ago. This decision was considered improper by many Israelis. In any case, Wahrman's article is not merely tendentious and partisan but false.


N. Friedman - 3/6/2007

Peter,

You do not understand. Omar's view is the representative view of Palestinian Arab opinion. In fact, it is difficult to find Palestinian Arabs who, when their talk is stripped of politeness, actually disagree. Such, after all, was Judea Pearl's point in this article. It is also historian Benny Morris' point in this article where, for example, he wrote:

Unfortunately, the Palestinian national movement, from its inception, has denied the Zionist movement any legitimacy and stuck fast to the vision of a "Greater Palestine", meaning a Muslim-Arab-populated and Arab-controlled state in all of Palestine, perhaps with some Jews being allowed to stay on as a religious minority. In 1988-93, in a brief flicker on the graph, Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organisation seemed to have acquiesced in the idea of a compromise. But since 2000 the dominant vision of a "Greater Palestine" has surged back to the fore (and one wonders whether the pacific asseverations of 1988-1993 were not merely diplomatic camouflage).

The Palestinian leadership, and with them most Palestinians, deny Israel's right to exist, deny that Zionism was/is a just enterprise. (I have yet to see even a peace-minded Palestinian leader, as Sari Nusseibeh seems to be, stand up and say: "Zionism is a legitimate national liberation movement, like our own. And the Jews have a just claim to Palestine, like we do.") Israel may exist, and be too powerful, at present, to destroy; one may recognise its reality. But this is not to endow it with legitimacy. Hence Arafat's repeated denial in recent months of any connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount, and, by extension, between the Jewish people and the land of Israel/Palestine. "What Temple?" he asks. The Jews are simply robbers who came from Europe and decided, for some unfathomable reason, to steal Palestine and displace the Palestinians. He refuses to recognise the history and reality of the 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to the land of Israel.


Your problem, Peter, is that you prefer to refuse facts that are discomforting to your world view. That is your privilege. But the fact is that Omar gets to the heart of the matter. You, by contrast, evade the reality that exists.


arnold REISMAN - 3/6/2007

Omar Ibrahim Baker's solution for Israel!
"[P]referably a secular deZionized Palestine for both Arabs and Jews." Like Lebanon was/is for Christians and Moslems (Sunni and Shia)? Like Iraq was/is for fellow Moslems? Like Sudan, Yemen, Syria......?
"When will we [he] ever learn?"
Nevertheless, both in the United States and in Israel, countries he is on record of so demonizing, I will defend his right to publish such giberish.


N. Friedman - 3/5/2007

Peter,

I think Omar is exactly right. It will all depend on the acceptance of Israel or on whether the Arab side continues to view Israel as an alien infection, as Omar views it. That and nothing more.


James Leroy Valinski - 3/5/2007

I find myself wondering if there is not a wider, more far-ranging connection between the several "democratic" nations in the world and this type of internal decay. I am of course talking about the United States and Israel (as discussed here). I am wondering about the impact an expanding globalized economy is having on leadership and their access to vast international wealth and the relationships they have with others who likewise have that access.

It is certainly more than a coincidence that the types of corruption and the heights (or depths if you like) that it has permeated the governmental infrastructures of both Israel and the U.S. are similar. There is also the fact that they seem to be worsening simultaneously. I know that I have been growing more alarmed at the trend here in America both with the increase in the flagrant criminality and the accompanying lack of any effective response to it. It certainly can not go unchecked without bringing the systems down.

And I'd like to stress something that is always ignored when discussing "democracy" here in America: we are a Republic. Granted a Democratic Republic but a Republic none the less. And by definition that is a nation ruled by laws, not men. It was recognized that men are corruptible. In fact it was seen as a certainty. Therefore we should never allow men and men alone to rule. And the trends I have been noticing have been direct attacks on LAW more than anything else. Law is being circumvented, ignored, violated at will and in a far more alarming trend...rewritten. This newest assault, the rewriting of laws, is the most vile because it is in fact creating abominations of law. It creates universally unfair or unjust constructs and calls them law. And then these people who previously had nothing but scorn for law suddenly become it's most vocal advocates as they use it to expand their corruption.

I of course have no solution to all this although I wish that I did. I can only hope that collectively all of us, humanity if you will, will realize the danger we are all facing and somehow find a way to solve it. Discussing it is certainly a necessary first step.


Daniel Ortner - 3/5/2007

Arnold

Hopefully you are right...It seems to me that both America and Israel are suffering from a critical lack of judicial oversight and rule of law.

Israel in particular seems to harken back to the Gilded Age of American politics in terms of its oversight..


Daniel Ortner - 3/5/2007

No one is expecting more of Israel than any comparable democracy. The same people that criticize internal corruption in the Israeli system are those that are critical of the rampant internal corruption in America. In fact, I would argue that they are in many ways concurrent and deeply related.

However, it is clearly true that Israel is in a much more perilous position than America; this applies both internally and externally. We should not forget that America fell into civil war, that france has gone through 5 or 6 various constitutions and governments, and that italy had a complete political party melt down in the 90's. However, these are 'luxuries' that Israel with its political climate as well as its mentality of agression and hostility can not handle easily...


arnold REISMAN - 3/5/2007

If your prognosis for Israel is right and Israel ceases to exist with all Jewish Israelis departing as they did from Gaza, then those remining would turn the country into a shining example of democracy, tolerance, etc, as is the case in Gaza, Lebanon, Sudan, Somalia, and even Syria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, among others. What will be the next big existentialist cause we should conmsider taking on? Please advise.


Ken Donow - 3/5/2007

Discussions of ethnic cleansing make no sense in respect of Israel. For better or worse, Israel is the most ethically diverse country in the region, and one of the most ethnically diverse in the world. The conflict is between religious communities rather than ethnic groups. If it were merely ethnic and racial conflict at issue, solutions would be more easily found.


arnold REISMAN - 3/5/2007

Is it not a bit anti-Semitic to expect Israel to be infinitely more democratic, humane, etc, etc, than are, not just most but all, Islamic states and most of the Christian states?


Charles S Young - 3/5/2007

So the importance of breaking all the rules to seize Palestinian land is.... the challenge it presents to Israeli democracy.

Wahrman suffers from sentimentalism and needs to go back and reread Jabotinsky. You can't have ethnic purity without ethnic cleansing.


arnold REISMAN - 3/5/2007

On the other hand, it was Ben Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister, who said something to the effect, "We will not be a State until we have our own criminals and our own prostitutes."
Yes Israel now has both of those but it also has a vibrant judiciary, law enforcement, and especially oversight, capability. For the facts underpinning this assertion go back to the Dror Wahrman article.


Leandro GFC DUTRA - 3/5/2007

This is so ridiculous, it must have been written in ill-faith.

Granted Israel has its problems, and big ones. But when corrupt politicians are exposed, this is a reason to commmemorate. What would the author want, that it was like its neighbours where corruption is actively encouraged?

Obviously the people will loose some faith in democracy. But in such a dangerous world, there are no systems to have such naïve faith in.


Saiful Ullah - 3/5/2007

Israel being a democracy in comparison to the Arab world means nothing when it persists with it's occupation and appauling human rights. And yet any criticism against the state is oft prone to an anti-semitic accusation, censoring any valid criticism against the state. A collapse internally I suppose wouldn't be such a bad thing. We can see the Arabs have many dire nation- states, yet in the 21st Century Israel persists to be the nation with military interventions against other Middle Eastern countries and peoples, creating climates we don't need.


David Moshe Zohar - 3/5/2007

The crisis is real- but so is a fighting and vibrant press, a brave judiciary, and national auditing (comptroller) plus the many courageous whistle-blowers who are risking their jobs to fight corruption. Add to that the democratic system itself which will enable Israel's voters to change its leadership at the polls. When we look across the borders to our Arab neighbours we can see no such citizenry, no such press, no such democracy. And that gives us strength.


arnold REISMAN - 3/5/2007

Is the glass half full? Or, is it half empty? Given all of the facts, assertions, and interpretations presented by Dror Wahrman, is the conclusion imminent implosion of democracy in Israel or a sign of its vitality?

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