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January 27, 2011

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What possible incentive do the Israelis have to make concessions? It's been made abundantly clear that Israel will do as it pleases, and the American taxpayer will provide it with the necessary wherewithal to do it. Everything else is theater.

For how much longer can otherwise intelligent people continue to pretend otherwise?

So, how long will it take before we get rid of the "the-Palestinian-side-cannot-be-trusted-and-therefore-we-cannot-ask-anything-of-the-Israeli-side"-meme? Or. is this, in some 13-dimensions-type-of-chess way, proof only Israel really, reallly, really, really wants peace.

The only thing that prevents this leak from being an absolute disaster for Israeli support in the US is the fact that things like the offer that Erekat made have gotten no publicity. (Ignore the detail that it would likely have been hard/impossible to sell to the Palestinian people. That isn't relevant, since it was rejected.) If they had been publicized in the US, it would be a matter of justifying Israel's refusal to take Yes for an answer. Which, while some would doubtless try, would be a pretty hard sell.

The 1949 Armistice lines have no support in international law or in any Treaty. If fact, the agreements that define the 1949 lines quite specifically say that they are not national borders. The Arab diplomats of the time emphasized this.

I don't know whether these Palestinian leaks are the real thing. The PA denies it. But if true, it means that the leadership is in a very different place than their people. The PA media (TV and newspapers, etc) have been leading the Arabs in one direction and going in another. The result would be a sabotaged agreement.

And this adds importance the background question: How long can the PA remain in charge if there is a new Arab state in the West Bank?

Must admit Fred, I thought you were going to come with something stronger than that. This must really have you off balance, huh?

I don't think the problem is solvable. The maximum State of Palestine the Israelis are willing to offer is substantially less than the minimum State of Palestine the occupants thereof are willing to accept. (How many people believe that the PA could have successfully persuaded their own people to accept the leaked proposals? I don't.)

I don't see how it ends except in war, genocide and ethnic cleansing. It appears to me that each side would prefer a violent solution to a negotiated one, and they're both just biding their time until it comes. Iran's nuclear program just adds another level of potential violence.

It appears to me that each side would prefer a violent solution to a negotiated one

Are you sure about that? Seems the Palestinian side was willing to make concessions, and then additional concessions, and then more.

Is this creeping apartheid or slow motion genocide?

Is this creeping apartheid or slow motion genocide?

Is there a difference?

So far, it's apartheid, but not creeping.

Whether it devolves into genocide depends entirely on whether the extremists on one side or the other manage to get control of the weapons necessary to do so. So far, nobody on the Palestinian side has access to such weapons, and the fanatics on the Israeli side haven't gotten into positions where they can control them.

I wouldn't bet the ranch on this situation lasting forever. But I suspect that the Palestinian fanatics get control of the necessary arms second -- i.e. too late.

Not being able to read all links on the phone, Is there a possibility that this level of pacification has ALREADY empowered Hamas (in Palestine) and that we are the only ones that are just finding this out?

"they’re more like supplicants for peace."

Based on the missiles, they're terribly incompetent supplicants for peace, then.

Based on the missiles, they're terribly incompetent supplicants for peace, then.

One of the core practices of those apparently incapable of movement towards peace is this: lump everyone on the other side together, and equate them with their most extreme element.

I mean, do you really think that there's a monolithic, Borg-like Palestinian 'people' who are both negotiating and shooting missiles?

Dude, he can't even tell the people here apart. You think he's going to take the time to distinguish between factions of Muslim brown people?

The first post really makes the important point. The Israelis are in power, and they are using that power against the Palestinians, at the conference table as in the field.

The Palestinians appear to have extremely bad leadership. That is, they are neither developing more power, nor using what power they possess effectively, and this has been a pattern since before Oslo.

A theory I would put forward (in ignorance) is that both the PLO and Hamas were established on the assumption that they would be in perpetual opposition and would therefore never have to take serious responsibility for political negotiations. That would help account for the PLO's extremely feeble negotiations (and correspondingly, Hamas' preference for principle over practicality).

But Creator, how would the PLO negotiate "stronger" or "less feeble" given the power dynamic you identified in the first paragraph? From where would they muster the power to negotiate stronger?

And Brett, do you not see why your statement makes very little sense in the present context?

What Uncle Kvetch said, word-for-word.

@Fred: I think you've asked the wrong questions here. Your questions appear to assume that only the Palestinians will benefit from a comprehensive peace. Let me ask a few different questions:

Should Israel exist as a Jewish state?

Could Israel survive as a theocratic and non-democratic state?

Can Israeli democracy survive the ethnic cleansing of almost half the total population of "green-line" Israel plus the West Bank?

How long can a state that excludes nearly half the people it governs from the franchise continue to credibly present itself as a democracy?

Can the vision of a Jewish State that drives the high-tech entrepreneurial culture of Tel Aviv coexist with the vision of the "hilltop youth"?

The same question goes for Brett: if you believe that peace will only benefit the Palestinians, then it might make sense to say they shouldn't get what they want until they get their act together and stop shooting missiles into Israel. But if you believe that to remain democratic, Jewish, and prosperous the State of Israel needs to make peace, then refusing to negotiate or trying to push for concessions the majority of Palestinians will never accept will do as much harm to Israel as to the Palestinians.

the documents reveal that, not only have Palestinian leaders been willing to compromise, and then compromise further and again, but that the Israeli side of the equation has been the more obstinate and reluctant to make genuine concessions.

That sentence stops short of where it needs to go. The Israeli side has been obstinate and reluctant to make genuine concessions because the U.S. government backs the Israeli government in its intransigence.

As it has chosen also to back Mubarak's dictatorship, for the same reason: to lock in place the "pro-Israel" policy.

Another excellent post by Eric. However, I do think Nell's suggested addendum (in bold in the above comment) is the missing money line.

"The same question goes for Brett: if you believe that peace will only benefit the Palestinians,"

But I don't, and have never suggested that. Peace would benefit them both. It's just that it would benefit the Palestinians much more than the Israelis, because of the imbalance of force. Kind of like Don Knots continually jabbing the Incredible Hulk, and repeatedly getting pounded into the ground in response: Don really needs to stop poking the Hulk, but the Hulk probably would appreciate an end to the annoyance.

Just not enough to give into Don's demands that the Hulk commit suicide...

"As it has chosen also to back Mubarak's dictatorship, for the same reason: to lock in place the "pro-Israel" policy."

They seem to be backing away from him a bit in the last day or two. Biden's comment on the PBS Newshour show a few days ago where he refused to call Mubarak a dictator probably represented their belief (and probably their hope) that Mubarak would be able to stay in power. Now that looks less likely and they're talking about a "review" of our aid policy.

@Brett: yes, yes, we've all heard the meme of the Palestinians as impotent nuisances and Israel as all powerful forever. That bit of wishful thinking has floated around the debate since 1967, and we've all seen it before.

Maybe you could answer the actual and somewhat difficult questions Israeli policies raise. To refresh your memory, I include them again below:

Should Israel exist as a Jewish state?

Could Israel survive as a theocratic and non-democratic state?

Can Israeli democracy survive the ethnic cleansing of almost half the total population of "green-line" Israel plus the West Bank?

How long can a state that excludes nearly half the people it governs from the franchise continue to credibly present itself as a democracy?

Can the vision of a Jewish State that drives the high-tech entrepreneurial culture of Tel Aviv coexist with the vision of the "hilltop youth"?

Please try to answer these specific questions rather than snipping a phrase out and attaching a meme that passed its best before date over two decades ago.

As it happens, I think the state of Israel is in an untenable situation, it's survival as it is presently constituted is, in the long term, impossible. They face either demographic destruction, or the necessity of acts which will end their status as a somewhat liberal democracy.

But isn't it the nature of life, for all of us, that we face long term destruction, and only a choice of demises? That doesn't lead most to decide to make their demise immediate.

The Palestinian attacks on Israel, while the Israelis would be better off without them, are not an existential threat to Israel. Some of what the Palestinians are demanding to call them off? Can't be said of that. The "right of return" would transform a demographic threat into an immediate crisis.

Creator:

[...] A theory I would put forward (in ignorance) is that both the PLO and Hamas were established on the assumption that they would be in perpetual opposition and would therefore never have to take serious responsibility for political negotiations.
Why would you put forward a theory "in ignorance"? There's this thing called "the internet."

It's useful for curing ignorance. Have you considered using it before trying ignorance?

I'm seriously curious as to what kind of reasoning this is. Could you perhaps explain? Thanks.

I have to confess to some ignorance of what your answer would or will be, if you make one.

I'm uninterested in putting forward my "theory" about what your answer might be, though I assure you I have several hypotheses.


"Terry Stops" are already authorized for police that have a reasonable suspicion. Frisking for weapons only requires a reasonable and articulable suspicion that the person detained may be “armed and dangerous”.

These are short of probable cause, and very different from random searches for no reason.


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