Respectful Insolence

Fellow traveler in the fight against Holocaust denial Andrew Mathis asks whether Israel has adequate justification for its recent attacks in Lebanon and Gaza based on “just war theory.” Basically, he finds that Israel meets many of the criteria, but fails in proportionality of response and using force as a last resort. However, he finds that Hezbollah and Hamas fail to meet these criteria by an even greater degree. I’m not sure I agree with all of it (for instance, I wouldn’t be nearly so hard on the Lebanese government, given that it really doesn’t have the power to rein in Hezbollah or prevent it from launching rockets at Israel, thus provoking Israel; I’m not sure how Lebanon could have kicked Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon, given its weakness; and I think Israel has probably reacted more disproportionately than Andrew does), but it’s interesting reading.

Comments

  1. #1 epador
    July 18, 2006

    Paradox has intrigued me for years. Here is one that I haven’t seen addressed:

    For years Hamas and Hizballah have killed and maimed civilians by the tens and hundreds at a time, soldiers at checkpoints, and those attacking them. Measured responses ensued. Now that there were separate, military actions aimed specifically at soldiers on patrol, there is a monumental response.

    Personally, I think the time for military action is long overdue. Unfortunately, the Persian and Syrian instigators have not been at the receiving end, thus this war by their proxy will not end the conflict.

  2. #2 Mandy
    July 18, 2006

    I’m still figuring out what a “proportionate” response to terrorists is supposed to look like, and if said response wouldn’t serve only to prolong the conflict, not resolve it.

    But hey, what do I know? I’m only a stupid Israeli who wants to live.

  3. #3 Ktesibios
    July 18, 2006

    Orac, you win today’s grammar Nazi sweepstakes for a mistake I’ve seen just one too many times today.

    It’s not “reign in”, it’s “rein in”. This refers to someone who is riding a horse pulling back the reins to make the horse slow down or stop.

    “Reigning” is what a king or queen does, that is, to sit around for the tourists to gawk at and perhaps holler “off with his head” every once in a while.

  4. #4 TheProbe
    July 18, 2006

    From my point of view, the issue is simple. Terrorists are like a cancer. Leave some behind and they return. Remove all, and you have a chance for a cure. In this case, removal of Hizbollah from Lebanon may allow the Lebanese to actually develop the ability to control their country.

    As for the timing issue, does it not seem a tad strange that Iran’s nuke program is off the front page?

    Oh, and from my POV, Syria no longer counts. They are fast becoming a client state of Iran.

  5. #5 Orac
    July 18, 2006

    Come on, man. My grammar and spelling are better than at least 95% of the bloggers out there, so much so that in the past an altie has even commented on it as evidence that I can’t be who I say I am, his rationale being that there’s no way I could have the time to write that much content that mistake-free. Just because I make a mistake late at night while posting a quick comment,I get the flame, rather than the other places where you’ve seen this error?

    Spelling and grammar flames are quite lame and not likely to win you points on this blog or anywhere. The times that I’ve succumbed to the temptation on Usenet (and then only for very egregious cases over many posts), I’ve always regretted it. Next time around, I can only hope that you’ll restrain yourself.

    Oh, and to make you happy, I’ll fix the mistake.

  6. #6 Orac
    July 18, 2006

    From my point of view, the issue is simple. Terrorists are like a cancer. Leave some behind and they return. Remove all, and you have a chance for a cure. In this case, removal of Hizbollah from Lebanon may allow the Lebanese to actually develop the ability to control their country.

    Yes, but, to extend the metaphor, when you treat a cancer, one of the concerns is not to damage too much of the surrounding normal tissue. This is a big concern in radiation therapy, for instance, where the idea is to irradiate as little normal tissue as possible. I agree that no nation on earth would tolerate rockets raining down on them (how’s that Ktesibios?) from another sovereign nation (or cross-border raids from that nation) for long. I’m also quite sure that Iran and/or Syria are likely to have had a hand in this latest provocations. The problem is that the present response may be causing so much collateral damage and death among Lebanese who are not sympathetic to Hezbollah that it may in the long run do more harm than good, in essence killing more innocent civilians than Hezbollah fighters. Targeting civilian infrastructure (like the Beirut Airport) seems to me to have been overkill.

    It’s definitely a tough call.

  7. #7 Webs
    July 18, 2006

    If you want to end the war over there and quickly, the US should get off it’s ass and pull back on the pro-Israeli policies, and put economic sanctions on Israel. Groups like Hezbollah and Hamas exist because of what Israel is doing to the Palestinians and the Middle East. I live in a small mid-western town with a population of about 125,000. In a space smaller than my city, Gaza Strip, there are 1,376,289 people that are caged in with a wall that was funded by our tax dollars that was said to be illegal by the world community. When Israel pulled their people out of Gaza, that was funded by US tax dollars, $6 billion. With military checkpoint everywhere allowing the control over Palestinians, where they go, when they go there, and to conduct searches at will the Palestinians have few freedoms.

  8. #8 Roman Werpachowski
    July 18, 2006

    The Lebanese government couldn’t rein in Hezbollah? Well, they have Israel to do the job for them.

  9. #9 Penny
    July 18, 2006

    the US should get off it’s ass and pull back on the pro-Israeli policies

    Well, that would certainly end the war, because in about a week all the jews in the middle east would be dead.

  10. #10 Hyperion
    July 18, 2006

    *”Groups like Hezbollah and Hamas exist because of what Israel is doing to the Palestinians and the Middle East.”*

    Except that Israel had completely pulled out of Gaza before Hamas launched an attack into Israel against an Israeli military base and killed and captured Israeli soldiers, and launched rockets across the border at Israeli cities.

    Similarly, Israel had pulled out of southern Lebanon, behind a UN-drawn border line that everyone except Hezb’ullah recognized, back in 2000.

    So at the time that Hamas and Hezb’ullah launched these attacks, there were no Israelis, no soldiers or settlers or anyone, in Gaza or Southern Lebanon.

    *”Targeting civilian infrastructure (like the Beirut Airport) seems to me to have been overkill.”*

    Actually, it’s hard to say. From a purely legal standpoint, it was a valid military target, as I presume that it was capable of launching military jets, being an international airport. The Israeli Air Force couldn’t know whether the Lebanese might launch fighter jets (unlikely, though), or whether the airport might be used as a landing and refueling area for Syrian jets should Syria enter the conflict.

    In hindsight, yes, it does appear to be overkill. Even though legal, it doesn’t appear that Hezb’ullah was operating from there or that it was, at the time, part of the battle. That being said, the first plan for an Air Force when hostilities begin is to neutralize any airfields that could be used to launch jets, as well as any anti-aircraft weaponry.

    What does concern me, though, is that regardless of what they’re saying, every action taken by the IDF has been exactly what you’d expect in preparation for a seige or invasion. They destroyed the roads in and out, as well as the bridges, instituted a naval blockade, bomed the airport, and taken out communication and power infrastructure.

  11. #11 Roman Werpachowski
    July 19, 2006

    Well, that would certainly end the war, because in about a week all the jews in the middle east would be dead.

    Nah. Israel would survive anyway. Their history shows they are a tough nation. Of course, USA deserting Israel would be a bastardly move.

  12. #12 ParanoidMarvin
    July 19, 2006

    Webs:
    “Groups like Hezbollah and Hamas exist because of what Israel is doing to the Palestinians and the Middle East.”

    You know, webs, the lovely thing is the simplicity of what you propose. Of course, it’s only simple because it is so detached from reality. I’m considered an almost radical left winger as an Israeli and I’m still trying to find you to my left through a long range telescope.

    And after some garbage throwing, some things to think about. First of all, just to state my view on the subject, here is my preferred solution (which sadly will never happen), and that is a complete withdrawal through a treaty from all territories captured in 1967 (including East Jerusalem), leaving the settlements in place sans settlers, as monetary renumeration.

    There are a lot of problems with this position on my side, but here are some of the other side’s:
    1) almost all Palestinians, even the secular left wingers, have not given up the right of return. This means letting Palestinians return to their old houses in Haifa, Yaffo, West Jerusalem, and anywhere else actually. Notice: these are territories lost in 1948 when the Palestinians opened war on the temporary state established after the removal of the British mandate. The Palestinians were joined by all surrounding Arab nations when Israel declared Independence. Israel won. The inability of the Palestinians to come to terms with that is one of the saddest issues here, since even supporters of a peace settlement can’t support this. It is perfectly clear to the world, but not to the Palestinians, that if you start a war and lose it, you can’t complain about lost territory.

    2) While the Hamas and Hizbullah are in part Israeli creations, they are also part of the fundementalist resurgence in the Islamic world. Notice: we withdrew from SOuthern Lebanon, and this withdrawal was ruled as fullfilling U.N. proclamation 425. Hizballah kept on attacking. What would sanctions to us aid with that?

    Anyway, while I’m as quick as anyone to call the Israeli side a bunch of war mongering idiots calcified into inaction, I’m also very quick in admitting that the only thing we have going for us is that the Palestinians are even dumber then us politically.

    And answer me this: after we withdrew from Gaza, and destroyed all settlements, the EU gave vast amounts of money to construct modern high rise neighbourhoods on the cleared areas of land. A year later, all that happened is rockets on Shderot, and a lot of internal struggling, while the money was stolen. Why do you think that is?

  13. #13 Pat
    July 19, 2006

    Is it possible ParanoidMarvin, that the arabs were first provoked in this conflict? After all the Holocaust was neither of their making nor their problem as such. Yet foreigner powers, under pressure from zionist terrorists and the collective european guilt, bowed and gave them land that didn’t even belong to these foreign powers in the first place (you did read “zionist terrorists” right. The complete repertoir of terrorism: letter bombs, checkpoint attacks, tossing grenades from cars into market places full of civilians, bombing of computer trains full of civilians, assasination of foreign diplomats, crude roadside bombs or IED’s as they are now fashionably called… etc) Can it be that a land such as Israel was carved out by terrorism? Terror seems to have played a central part at least. Israel has shown through personal experience that terrorism can pay or at least be part of the equation. In light of this it is hard to view Israel as a mere “victim” of terrorism when it itself has resorted to such tactics in the past. Perhaps owning up to their own darkest past will enlighten Israelis as to how they should shape their future beyond the “siege”. Something like a “truth and reconciliation commission” is perhaps called for. Blue helmets at the very least, that idea is 40 years overdue.

    Another thing you said struck me:

    “Notice: these are territories lost in 1948 when the Palestinians opened war on the temporary state established after the removal of the British mandate. The Palestinians were joined by all surrounding Arab nations when Israel declared Independence. Israel won. The inability of the Palestinians to come to terms with that is one of the saddest issues here, since even supporters of a peace settlement can’t support this”

    If I ventured with that logic onto the First Nations of Canada and their grievences (i.e. “Hey, you lost. Give it up already”) I would be branded a bigot, a racist, a colonialist and would quickly and rightfully find myself in very lonely and inhospitable waters. Perhaps even 6′ under. A “people-should-know-when-they-are-conquered” mentality is indeed incompatible with our times. Do you know what Maximus replies to his officer? “Would you, Quintus? Would I?”

  14. #14 ParanoidMarvin
    July 19, 2006

    Pat –
    If you want to play the game of who started first, where there are no winners, then we should only look at the 1929 riots in Hebron which are widely acknowledged as the first major conflict between Arabs and Jews. In that conflict, Arabs slaughtered Jewish neighbors who lived there for hundreds of years (it was one of the Jewish communities surviving in Israel since the Diaspora).

    As for the terrorists – let’s look at the differences:
    The Israeli Hagana gave up the Etzel and Lechi terrorists to the British (it was called the Season – read it up), and after the state was established the paramilitary groups were quickly brought down at the risk of a civil war.
    Israel then spent some years building a community.
    Contrast that with the behaviour of the Palestinian authority.

    I truly believe that we should own up to our darker past, and that we should reconcile. However, I do realize that we are facing foes (not all of them, but the Hamas certainly) that will only be happy if the Jews just left here. Now, would you give all the territories to the First Nations and move back to Europe? Thought not. Why should you suppose that we should do the same.

    You should know that a Palestinian declaration that the right of return is off the table and that they will be satisfied with a state in the 67 borders would put Israel in a corner, as a warmongering state. I really really hope that they do that some day, but currently they seem to be doing everything in their power to help the extremists in Israel, which disgusts me immensely. Currently, all I have is idiots on both sides, with me and the palestinian moderates in the middle. Whee, what fun.

  15. #15 Roman Werpachowski
    July 19, 2006

    ParanoidMarvin:
    It is perfectly clear to the world, but not to the Palestinians, that if you start a war and lose it, you can’t complain about lost territory.

    Doesn’t it also apply to the territorries Israel won in 1967? It was a preemptive war which saved Israel from being attacked by Syria and Egypt.

  16. #16 frumiousb
    July 19, 2006

    1) almost all Palestinians, even the secular left wingers, have not given up the right of return.

    Funny, that. You live somewhere your whole life, in the country where your parents and grandparents live, get pushed off by terrorist actions by a group of outsiders who claim your country is really theirs based on a fantasy novel which has gotten confused for a history text, and damn if you don’t want to go back. Those Palestinians are so unreasonable. Why can’t they be happy in their refugee camps.

    It is perfectly clear to the world, but not to the Palestinians, that if you start a war and lose it, you can’t complain about lost territory.

    Isn’t there a document which addresses this issue? mmm… lemme think… oh yeah! The Geneva Convention! Signed by Israel! I think it says something about land grabs in war being illegal, making it perfectly clear to the world, but not to the Israelis, that if you start a war and win it, you can’t take the losers territory.

  17. #17 Webs
    July 19, 2006

    Hyperion: Except that Israel had completely pulled out of Gaza before Hamas launched an attack into Israel against an Israeli military base and killed and captured Israeli soldiers, and launched rockets across the border at Israeli cities.

    First of all they did pull out yes, but they still left the Palestinians in their cage, and they still control the Palestinian economy, which is pretty much no existent after Israeli forces chopped down all the Olive trees the Palestinians had and controlled everything that comes in and goes out of Gaza. As far as the attack, it was fueled by the actions of the Israeli’s that have captured prisoners they would not return.

    ParanoidMarvin: not sure what to quote here. You call me out, but fail to refute anything I have said.

    Sure Israel pullled out of Lebanon, but they didn’t give them back all the land, and the still hold the mountain in Lebanon, that was originally part of Lebanon’s land.

  18. #18 Pat
    July 19, 2006

    “If you want to play the game of who started first, where there are no winners, then we…”

    I didn’t know it was a game and didn’t you fire the first salvo? a full post BEFORE mine:

    “these are territories lost in 1948 when the Palestinians opened war on the temporary state established after the removal of the British mandate”.

    Then insult to injury:

    “Now, would you give all the territories to the First Nations and move back to Europe? Thought not. Why should you suppose that we should do the same”.

    Where in my post did I write anything that would lead you to believe that that was an actual proposition of mine? Did I not CLEARLY state:
    “…I would be branded a bigot, a racist, a colonialist and would quickly and RIGHTFULLY find myself in very lonely and inhospitable waters”. (emphasis added)

    I wish that you read my entire post again and make the appropriate corrections. I REALLY hate being credited with things I never said.

    I belive you are frustrated and have had this argument probably on a perma-basis for years. But somehow you are reading into my post things I have not written much less insinuated. Perhaps you are trying to finish an argument with a long gone foe? Perhaps but I assure you I am not that person. Please read posts with more care lest you accuse others of things they didnt say.

    “Israel then spent some years building a community.
    Contrast that with the behaviour of the Palestinian authority”

    Did they really ever get a glimps of statehood back in that day? Was there any promise of statehood for them back in that day? . Not in the way people where were falling over themselves to give land that didn’t belong to them to the Israelis. When did they have a functioning “Authority”? Did people fall over backwards to help them build one? Where are the 6 billion$ in aid for the Palestinians? Ever heard of winning hearts and minds? Don’t ask your closest ally, they don’t have a bloody clue. They understand the individual words but don’t grasp their combined meaning. The reason why Israel keeps referring to “the Palestinian terror” is because Israel FAILS accross the board to make the simple yet crucial distinction between what is essentially a criminal element and a civilian population at large. If the Palestinians at large stand accused for the crimes of a few and have to suffer the wrath of Israel and the world COLLECTIVELY, you are in effect leaving them with NO CHOICE. The “terrorists” and the joes are in this TOGETHER weather they like it or not. Need I point out that the collective punishment of a civilian population ALSO violates the Geneva Conventions? Israel can claim to be in “the fight of its life” all it wants, there are NO excuses for war crimes just as there are NO excuses for blowing up packed commuter trains. The independant and functioning state of Israel should held to higher standards and I pray that ALL the terrorists in this sorry affair are dragged before the international criminal courts. Sharon is excused; he’s unfit to stand trial for his direct involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacres.

    Canada is paying through its nose today to right past wrongs . And the fact that Canada is righting its wrongs makes terribly pround of my little whimpy country. Can we do more? Yes, MUCH more! Peace is cool in my eyes. Don’t you think that the world and Israel owe the Palestinians at least that much.
    Now here’s a troubling thought that came to mind but I’ll dare to write it down. Perhaps we could descend a Holocaust onto the Palestinians and then shortly before we do the last ones in we can, out of our collective guilt, carve out a piece of Israel (without asking of course) and let the remaining Palestinians get on with nation building. What is so troubling with that thought is that it has already begun to rear its ugly head. The ghetto’s walls are already in place.

  19. #19 ParanoidMarvin
    July 19, 2006

    One by one:
    Roman – there is a big argument about that one. However, her I take the real politik stand. We’ll give up the land we took after 1967 and in return we’ll finally get acknowledgement for the 1948 borders. BTW, the longer the Palestenians delay with doing this, the easier it makes the land grabbing by Israel.

    Webs – the only one claiming that Havot Shab’a and Har Dov are Lebanese are the Hizballa and the Syrians, while all international maps before 1967 show that this is Syrian territory. Read UN 1559. (YEs I know that my gov’t has failed to read 242 and 338, enver said they weren’t idiots and war mongerers).

    FrumiousB – again, I make no apologies for Israel being here, and I see no way of reading your post that would imply that any solution not completely removing Israel would be a just one. Yes, I would be happy with a secular Palestinian-Israeli confederation where all Palestinians get equal votes. Do I think for a minute that this is practical? No, since extremist Islamism is on the rise in places where they can’t find Israel on the map. That being said, a complete withdrawl to the 1967 borders would make me very happy. As to your second point, I was talking about 1948 and not 1967. In 1948 the Geneva accords were not in effect and didn’t apply anyway, since Israel did not start the war. Do you also think that East Prussia should be returned to Germany? What about Elsas-Lorraine? Or is it only Israel that is the problem? Oh, and the refugee camps – why is it that there are still refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria? Could it be that it is better to leave the refugees in the camps to channel all unrest to Israel?

    Pat – Didn’t get your point. What do you think we should do at this point? Again, I’m for withdrawal from the territories, and some sort of reparations (of course, you’ll have to explain why Jews being chased out of the Arab countries in 1948-1956 shouldn’t get reparations). I’m stuck in the middle between one gov’t and one mob of vigilantes who’d rather fling bombs at each other. I’m just not willing to have the entire blame shifted on Israel just because it was more successful.

  20. #20 Webs
    July 19, 2006

    Marvin, I think the real reason why Israeli’s and Palestinians living together would never work, is because Palestinians feel their land was taken from them and was never Israel’s in the first place. So what your proposing would not be agreeable with many for that simple reason.

    AS far as you international maps go, as soon as I find one, I would be interested in looking at that.

  21. #21 ParanoidMarvin
    July 20, 2006

    Webs – I’m fully aware of the Palestinian viewpoint, and I can even sympathize on a purely personal level. However, it is clear that short of another holocaust Israel isn’t going anywhere (although looking at internal trends it could be falling apart in several decades, but that’s another discussion). Now you can either stay bitter forever, or do what Israel did.

    Why do I bring Israel up? Israel is a nation of refugees. There was a small population there around 1935, and since then this population was augmented by refugees (until ~1960). Most new israelies in those years were refugees from Europe or from Arab countries. Most of them did not sit around in refugee camps and waited for the European and Arab countries to give them back their houses and property, but just rolled up their sleeves and got on with it.

    Now you can go this route, or you can keep on dreaming a dream that will never come true. You can force your leader to use the funds given by the EU, and build yourself up, or go the other route.

    Again, looking around me I see a large number of people, that when faced with a Palestinian Authority which actually puts effort into reconstruction, declares that the right of return is off the table, and says that it recognizes the state of Israel within the 1967 borders, would be positively inclined to a generous peace settlement, and would pressure the israeli gov’t more effectively.

    .

  22. #22 Roman Werpachowski
    July 20, 2006

    The point is really simple: if you, as a state, host an organization which kidnaps other states’ citizens and are unwilling or unable to rein in this organization — expect the other state to do it for you. Period.

  23. #23 pat
    July 20, 2006

    Well my first point was to address this item you mistakenly credited me with:

    “”Now, would you give all the territories to the First Nations and move back to Europe? Thought not. Why should you suppose that we should do the same”

    by saying how much I HATE being credited with things I didn’t say/type.

    Then this newest attempt at crediting me with an idea not my own:

    “of course, you’ll have to explain why Jews being chased out of the Arab countries in 1948-1956 shouldn’t get reparations”

    By demanding that I answer that question you imply that I have stated “something” to the contrary. I haven’t. Answer? Compensation for all.

    The other half was an attempt at addressing your assessment of the “behavior of the Palestinian authority” in light of Israel’s “better terrorist” track record. I tried to paint a picture of a PA without much authority after all. With no International backing for the concept of a Palestinian state beyond public blather. I tried to paint the situation of an entire people that has no ability to prop up any PA with the minimum of authority under which to disband militias in the first place. The siege and collective punishment of their entire people have fostered the hopelessness and pointlessness of being a Palestinian which in turn drive thousands, upon thousands of them right into the hands of the only employer in town: “the cause”.

    Israel can fool itself all it wants. One day they are just going to have to wake up and realize that they are dealing with occupied territories and a people under siege. The Israelis are living under a “siege” mentality but fail to grasp that they are the ones besieging. They are the only ones with a functioning government and therefore fool themselves when they think they can demand of the PA any concessions. What is the PA to do? It is a NON-government. This criminal treatment of an entire people is what unites them in the first place. When innocent civilians are lumped together with criminals for collective punishment you only create a breeding ground for more “criminals” and that’s Nation Building 101. Israel must realize that it is the only side that has the luxury to make concessions. You think you are surrounded by idiots but forget that you have already identified some friends, namely the Palestinian moderates. It’s at your fingertips…
    Let me try to spell it out: If you think you’re at war, Identify your enemy but most importantly YOU MUST IDENTIFY YOUR FRIENDS. As long as Israel’s friends are part of the collective punishment you can kiss peace’s ass goodbye. The collective punishment of a civilian population is not only a war crime but it is also bloody stupid if your objective is peace. So give them their damn country, pull out, pull back, stand down, start a Marshall sort of plan for the occupied territories and start kissing. Peace won’t happen overnight but slowly the Hamas, Hezbolla and all the other fanatics on either side will slowly loose cannon fodder as people start to find better things to do. Don’t let a terror attack throw you off and resist the temptation to blame it on THE PALESTINIANS. Keep cool, identify the culprits and target them and only them. This idea that civilians can be sacrificed in war makes me want to vomit. The 20th century’s worst new term was “collateral damage” and people still throw it around as though it was unavoidable. Only for the lazy!!

    To sum it up for the sake of clarity the biggest obstacle to peace is:
    ISRAEL’S CRIMINAL AND STUPID HABIT OF COLLECTIVELY PUNISHING THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE FOR WHAT ARE ESSESSIALLY CRIMINAL ACTS BY A FEW

    Come on Marv! Have some courage! You’re the one with a country! Show us Israel’s moral fortitude!

    Ps: the only reason Israel is more successful is because it is “propped up” with foreign money. If that’s your idea of success…

  24. #24 ParanoidMarvin
    July 20, 2006

    Pat –
    I’m all for your plan of
    “So give them their damn country, pull out, pull back, stand down, start a Marshall sort of plan for the occupied territories and start kissing”.

    I want to make something clear – I’m not absolving Israel of its reprehensible behaviour in terms of collective punishment and settlement building, I just want to show you that the arguments you are making are about as naive as the arguments the right wing makes in Israel.

    Just a few practical problems and a history lesson:
    a) After the 1993 Oslo accords the Palestinians had a police force which had a large numebr of guns, and the authority to police Jericho and Gaza. Under the vigilance of this police force there was a large wave of shooting attacks on Israeli civilians. You can claim that they were justified blah blah blah. Fact is Rabin would have had an easier time implementing more and more drawbacks if he didn’t have to contend with the growing public resentment after the attacks. The only time this police force was used to curb Hamas excesses was in 1996 when Israel plainly said that it would enter the entire territories and attack Hamas itself if the bombing of busses didn’t stop. The PA had authority then, it chose not to use it until threatened.
    B) funds – Israel got reparations from Germany and aid from the U.S. in the 1950s. It used it to build universities, cities, factories, and roads (yeas and also an army, nobody’s perfect). THe democratically elected PA got funds from the US, Saudi Arabia, and the European nations. Most of this money has been funneled into buying weapons and Private checking accounts. Yes, we both got funds from others, see the different use we put them to.

    Again – answer my question:
    What would the PA have to loose by declaring that the right of return was off the table (but not renumerations), and that the 1967 borders are accepted as a basis for negotiations? What would the PA have to lose by using the funds since the Gaza withdrawal to build housing complexes on the former settlements? For a Marshall plan to work, there has to be a will to implement it.

    I’m in no way absolving my country of its crimes, and I realy hope that a large number of generals and officials end up visiting the Hague. I’m just saying that had the PA behaved in a more rational manner, we would be the one lacking legitimacy for our actions. It is much easier to justify the collective punishment of a curfew on the territories when whenever this curfew is lowered Israelis are killed.

    Again – here is my stance – tell me where I’m wrong.

    Since Israel is here to stay, in some form or another, the Palestinians will have to come to terms with this and the fact that the refugees will not be returning anywhere here. All their leaders have to do is too finally acknowledge this, and behave as nation builders and not perpetual revolutionaries. As I said, I’m begging them to put the Israeli gov’t in a corner by behaving in a less violent manner. The Israeli gov’t left Gaza and the new gov’t got elected on the premise of leaving most of the west bank. You can say that this is not enough, and I agree with you, but even this won’t happen when the first response to the withdrawl is not an attempt at bettering conditions in Gaza but an allowance, either by will or by incompetence, of attacks on Israeli cities.

    There will never be peace here until my gov’t gives up the dream of the greater Israel (which we have started to do) and the Palestinians come to terms with the existence of Israel in some form or another. Shifting the entire blame on Israel is as bad as shifting the entire blame on the Palestinians.

  25. #25 pat
    July 20, 2006

    To answer your question Marv; I’m not sure the Palestinians have anything to loose with that proposition It simply depends on who you’re asking, which is the itty-gritty of my point.
    You’re a decent bloke with the right ideas. The only place I guess where we have disagreement is in our interpretation of what the PA is. I understand that your impression of the Palestinian Authority is that it is, as implied by the name, a government with Authority. The “power” to enforce the law, protect and police its citizens and a “mandate” to enter negotiation on behalf of the Palestinians. I think this is where you and I see different things. Where you see “Palestinian Authority”, I see “Palestinian Anarchy”. Where you see Palestinian Stonewalling, I see Palestinian Disorganization. Where you see Palestinian Mobs, I see Palestinian Hopelessness. I believe what you see is also what most of the world sees and that is why this whole non-sense is allowed to fester and probably will do so for decades to come.
    A demand is made on the Palestinian Authority and when nothing comes of it we lament the “Palestinian” Stonewalling tactics. Israel might as well pick a hovel at random and deliver to the peasant inside their demands. The result would be the same. When the peasant predictably fails to deliver they can denounce the “Palestinians” as Incompliant!
    For this most densely populated part of the world we have reserved the most brutal treatment imaginable. They are not protected; they are not governed; they are not visited; they not remembered. They are only then spoken of when a looney blows himself up on the street. After being collectively labeled terrorists in the popular folklore they swiftly become war statistics when they get in the way of the retaliatory rain of hellfire missiles recklessly fired into the ghettos. The Palestinians I’m speaking of are those that wish nothing more than a little bit of air to get on with the thing that the more fortunate human beings on this planet get on with: life. For them it’s not even on the menu. Some fortunate few have jobs that require hours of commute through a maze of security and always staring up the barrel of a gun. The rest is stuck behind with absolutely nothing to do, milling about the plazas playing backgammon perhaps. Everyday a new faces popping up to play. Perhaps a store just got flattened because it was on the ground floor of a house in which they found a terrorist. Or maybe a job was lost because last weekend some terrorist blew himself up in front of a discotheque in Haifa and now the gates to the cage are locked indefinitely. So they play. But even backgammon gets boring after a while and Hamas is about to march down the street with a bunch of dead bodies anyway. Maybe they’ll join the Hamas parade; they seem to have something to do after all. Somebody will shove guns into their hands. They will fire wildly into the air and for a brief moment they will feel strangely “alive”. They will like their new “job”.

    Israelis are the only ones with the luxury of having a government that has the power and authority to actually run a country and do all the things you’re foolishly expecting a non-entity to deliver. The Palestinian Authority is a mirage. The real Palestinians can’t meet your demands because while they were dodging a missile intended for some terrorist they forgot what they were. The Occupied Territories is a humanitarian disaster zone. They need disaster relief. Imagine demanding from the disaster stricken the cessation off all looting, pillaging and raping as a condition for disaster relief! The Palestinians need to be pulled from the clutches of anarchy. Victim-related-get-out-of-shit-free-card notwithstanding, Israel must start reversing its policy of “ethnic ranching” and as director of the largest human ghetto and greatest man-made human disaster of our times it has no time to waste. I am talking about Israel’s soul here.
    I once heard Shimon Peres say years ago in an interview that I can no longer locate, that the greatest threat to Israel was peace. He said that because Israel was born into war and grew up on war, it never had a moment to pause and ponder the meaning of “Israel”.
    Perhaps the government of Israel supports the illusion of a “Palestinian Authority” so it can pretend to be politicking all the while buying “time” and brownie points on the home front. Naaaaah! That would be a conspiracy!

  26. #26 pat
    July 20, 2006

    Why are my comments being screened?

    “Thank you for commenting.
    Your comment has been received and held for approval by the blog owner.

    ยป Return to the original entry”

    I haven’t had this happen before

  27. #27 pat
    July 20, 2006

    was I insolent?

  28. #28 ParanoidMarvin
    July 21, 2006

    The thing is, the PA wasn’t always like that. At the beginning, it had the guns and money to do something with itself (1993-1995). It failed since Arafta couldn’t get out of the permanent revolution. Then came Netanyahu which jointly collaborated (not by will, by deeds) with the extremists on the Palestinian side to completely tare up the PA.

    That changed some months ago. They have a democratically elected gov’t that has done nothing to stop the shooting of rockets from Gaza into Israel, nothing has really changed. The Islamic Jihad movement was doing the shooting, and tha Hamas did nothing to stop it.

    Notice my position: I’m saying that we Israelis are far from perfect, but the Palestinians are making it very easy to stay that way.

    As to my “impression”. It’s not an impression, it is the result of reading both Israeli and tranlation of Arab newspapers, and actually living in this hellhole. I expect you to give me some credit.

  29. #29 pat
    July 21, 2006

    I do give you much credit and I know your position. It takes courage to admit to one’s own wrongs, but it really isn’t about who is more right or more wrong. It is about who is in a position do DO something about it and Israel alone is in that position and from my humble point of view, “democratically” elected or not, the real Palestinians have only a bunch of mafiosos to choose from. Either they elect thieves (Arafat and his Ilk) or rocketeers (Hamas) because they are forced to make a choice. 2 generations of lawlessness will take a while and much nerve to undo. If you’re as left of left as they get then perhaps it’s not enough of a hellhole to stop the nitpicking. Isn’t the devil is in the details?

  30. #30 ParanoidMarvin
    July 21, 2006

    Really didn’t understand your sentence at the end, but if I did get the gist then here’s my answer.

    First, i’m not left of left, but what we call a pragmatic left leaning person. Radical lefties in Israel are of the fluffy sort – where the Palestinians are clean and honest and the Israelis are the root of all evil. I tend to regard both sides as shitheads, but recognize that the “who’s the biggest shithead” contest is an awful waste of time. I’m trying to stay focused on some solution.

    About the details, here’s the problem: The Oslo accords were couched in vague generalities of goodwill and were sorely lacking in details, which led to a whole bunch of mayhem. I think that now we need details and lots of them, and we need affirmations couched in a clear and precise language, and not vague sentences.

  31. #31 pat
    July 21, 2006

    Yeah those Oslo Accords, those Camp Davids…nothing but negotiations with mafias. What a fart in the wind. I gave you my humble opinion. Beyond that I can only wish you all the best Marv, and I really do.

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