January 22, 2007

Jumblatt Challenges Hezbollah

Lebanese Druze leader and Member of Parliament Walid Jumblatt has had enough of Hezbollah's ongoing "carnival," as he puts it, and threatens them with massive counter-demonstrations that may take place in the same physical space.

Jumblat, addressing Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said "I advise you to accelerate your party's approval of the international tribunal because in three weeks we have a major event. The third anniversary of the Hariri assassination." "We wish it would be a binding occasion for all the Lebanese. We don't want it to be an occasion for discord when the masses head to downtown Beirut to declare their opposition to (Syrian) hegemony," Jumblat added.
Also worth noting is this:
In outlining his opposition to Hizbullah's Islamist agenda which, like that of Iran, calls for the destruction of the state of Israel, Jumblat said: "We do not support the elimination of Israel. We support the two state solution" by which a viable Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital can live in peace near Israel.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, Hassan Nasrallah accuses the March 14 government of being an Israeli Mossad tool that wishes to expel the Shia from Lebanon. If I were a Lebanese Shia I'd hate the elected government, too, if I believed that hysterical nonsense.

This is the sort of phantasmagorical political environment "the opposition" lives in, and has been raised on.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 22, 2007 04:00 PM
Comments

What was the reason for Jumblat's mention of Israel? Was it relevant at all to the main point about Hezbollah's demonstration. I realize that MJT gave it the appearance of equal time in the excerpt, but how much of the original speech did the point occupy? Was it a throw-away line, or are these things never throw-aways (i.e., is it that the mere fact that Israel was mentioned significant)?

Posted by: dontgetit at January 22, 2007 04:51 PM

I don't know. The context isn't there.

I just found it an interesting line because you rarely hear people in the Arab world say it. Obviously March 14 bloc doesn't want to destroy Israel, but they rarely mention it in public. They usually say nothing about Israel at all because they are so often accused by Hezbollah and the Syrians of being Zionist tools.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 22, 2007 05:05 PM

The bit about Israel came towards the end of his press conference. It was in his response to Nasrallah.

I'll translate the segment:

"We say this as a last note to Sayyed Hassan: you want Israel eliminated, that's your business. It's not in our rhetoric to eliminate states. Our rhetoric which we've learned is the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, side-by-side with Israel, along with the return of the refugees and Jerusalem as capital of that state. If you want to eliminate it, out of Lebanon, that means you want to eliminate the Lebanese formula and the Lebanese entity with its variety and diversity and its formula as established by the Taif Accord. This Accord was supported by [late Shiite mufti] Sheikh Muhammad Mahdi Shamseddine. We are not for the elimination of the Lebanese entity. We are with 'Lebanon first' as Saad Hariri said."

Posted by: Tony at January 22, 2007 05:25 PM

Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital

Good luck with that, as my understanding is that Jerusalem is already taken as a country's capital.

Posted by: Carlos at January 22, 2007 05:26 PM

In the context of recent reports of past and renewed Israeli 'conversations' with Syria, mediated by the Swiss (uh oh! I liked it better when the earlier reports said Germans) Jumblatt reportedly said Nasrallah initiated the war to give Syria a better bargaining position in the talks, which had been ongoing for some time.

From Ha'aretz: Meanwhile, the leader of the Druze community in Lebanon, Walid Jumblatt, Monday accused Hezbollah of waging the summer war for Syria and Iran in order to improve the Syrian bargaining position. He said the Lebanese paid the price for talks that Syrian-American businessman Ibrahim Suleiman had conducted with Israelis.

"Does that not shame Hezbollah to be used at the expense of Lebanon and the Lebanese?" Jumblatt asked. Jumblatt is considered a moderate in the Middle East regarding relations with Israel and an opponent of Syrian involvement in Lebanon.

Seems a bit excessive -- and it was always my impression Assad had a sort of groupie-like crush on Nasrallah, and was not the one calling any of the shots.

If reports hinting that the broader Alawite leadership is pressing very hard to talk to Israel and pronto, hoping to distance Syria from Iran before the **** hits the fan, and reconnect into the broader Arab ME, then Iran wouldn't have loosed HB on Israel to help Syria either -- maybe to hurt it and interrupt the talks, which apparently did happen. I saw a report that HB pretty much acts as the local gang bosses for a region of Southern Iran, an extension of the IRG. Syria may be feeling like Iran has taken a pretty new Mediterranean wife.

Some of the concepts suggested by people involved in the Israel-Syria talks are simply amazing for the region (and yes, totally pipe-dreams) like turning much of the Golan into sort of a shared Syria-Israel parkland. I am glad to be going to the Golani in March, camera in hand, before it is gone forever (one way or another).

Posted by: Pam at January 22, 2007 05:42 PM

Carlos, Waleed is actually talking about the lands occupied after 1967

Posted by: Alawna at January 22, 2007 07:08 PM

Man this prying Syria from Iran crap really has a grip on people's heads... it's absolutely hilarious what wishful thinking will do to people. People so want to believe this crap that they'll willfully delude themselves.

Posted by: Tony at January 22, 2007 07:12 PM

Maybe we should destroy Jerusalem(forever this time) so nobody has an excuse to fight another pointless war. It would ease the pressure if jews, christians and muslims didn't have a little spot on the earth to squabble over. You could take the rubble and either build up a palestinian state or drop it on them. It's a political solution, not a military solution.

The Quit Acting Like Retarded People Map for Peace. TQALRPRMP.

Posted by: mikek at January 22, 2007 08:35 PM

Jumblatt's interesting. He has a naturally and famously pro-Israel constituency inside Israel, yet he put a lot of pressure on them to become traitors when the second Intifada erupted.

Obviously, no one expects the Lebanese Druze to be pro-Israel, but now that he's wised up to his own local jihadist menace and the Syrian/Iranian gorillas on the block, he seems to be maturing a bit in his thinking.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at January 22, 2007 09:20 PM

I don't like the idea of destroying Jerusalem, but I do like the idea of a Middle East solution being called TQALRPRMP no matter what those letters stand for. It just seems appropriate somehow.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 22, 2007 09:21 PM

Michael, I've always wondered why the Druze of Lebanon seem to be generally so anti-Israel (not the extent of Hezbollah) while the Druze living in Israel (with the exception of the Northern Golan) are so happy to be active citizens. I know the Druze's religious philosophy dictates that they be loyal citizens of whatever state they happen to belong to but from an outsider's perspective, the dichotomy is a bit striking. Can you speak to this?

Posted by: zellmad at January 22, 2007 09:43 PM

It's not just that the Druze are loyal to whatever state they live in (which is true), but they are also (and this is sort of the same thing) political weathervanes. They deliberately situate themselves right within the mainstream of the country.

It tells you something about Lebanon, then, that Walid Jumblat is basically a neocon now that they Syrians are out. And he goes out of his way to say he does not want to destroy Israel -- which, let's be honest here, is a big understatement. He would say more if he could, but it isn't safe, so he doesn't. He has to be within the mainstream, and can't the side of any fringe group.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 22, 2007 10:39 PM

I met Jumblat, by the way, and will publish my interview with him. Everything he said was so very slowly and carefully calibrated before he said it. He speaks with extraordinary measure and caution.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 22, 2007 10:40 PM

"Good luck with that, as my understanding is that Jerusalem is already taken as a country's capital."

Yes. And I wonder how many Muslims would accept Mecca, i.e. their holy city, being the capital of a Jewish state. But they have no problem making the same demand from the Jews, even though the Muslim claim to Jerusalem was is the same as the Jews' is: they took it in a war at some point.

I figure Jumblatt wants to say a lot more, but just squeezes in as much pro-Israel rhetoric as he can. Whenever Hizbullah prove that their anti-Israel side is nuts, Jumblatt (and maybe other pro-Lebanese leaders) see an opportunity to promote peace with Israel a bit. It's a lot easier to accept Israel as a non-enemy if Israel's enemy is openly violent and wants to kill you.

I hope he is referring to "Palestinian" refugees in Lebanon returning to Jordan or the West-Bank. No way will Israel ever allow millions of extremely hostile people to move into Israel and start killing Jews (and Druze, incidentally).

And as for Jerusalem as the capital of an Arab state. He can forget it. The Jews of the old city will never be driven out by the Arabs again.

The times where one could expell or eliminate Jews at will are over. The sooner the Arab world gets that the better.

And I hope Syria will some day understand that the same rule applies to Lebanon.

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at January 23, 2007 02:26 AM

"It would ease the pressure if jews, christians and muslims didn't have a little spot on the earth to squabble over."

Jerusalem was no such spot until first non-Jewish Christians and then non-Jewish Muslims decided to make it one.

If you destroy it, the people who want a spot to squabble over will find another one. They did the last time.

Mecca used to be such a spot. If it seems as if it isn't any more, it's because the Muslim got rid of all the other religions that were based there.

I think the key point is that Muslims must understand that Jerusalem is to Jews (and Christians) what Mecca is to Muslims.

Muslims can do to Jerusalem what they want, if they agree that Jews and Christians doing the same thing to Mecca is also fine.

If Muslims don't want Jews and Christians to visit Mecca, then Muslims should stay away from Jerusalem and PROVE that such a restriction is completely acceptable.

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at January 23, 2007 02:30 AM

even though the Muslim claim to Jerusalem was is the same as the Jews' is: they took it in a war at some point. (Andrew Brehm)

The Palestinian claim is based more on length of presence. Those wars you are talking about took place in 640 (against the Byzantines) and again in 1187 and 1244 (against the Crusaders).

But, it is worth noting that though only 10% of the World War One Palestine population was Jewish, Jews have in fact been the largest group in Jerusalem since the mid 19th century, so a good 150 years. The point I am trying to make is that it doesn't have to be either / or, but can be and / and - both have a claim.

I hope he is referring to "Palestinian" refugees in Lebanon returning to Jordan or the West-Bank. No way will Israel ever allow millions of extremely hostile people to move into Israel and start killing Jews (and Druze, incidentally).

Most serious peace plans, even from mainstream Arab states (such as the Saudi one) couch the refugee question in terms of a "just settlement" for the refugees rather than physically moving millions of people back to places where their grandparents once lived. I imagine that Jumblatt is enough of a realist to think in these terms as well.

And as for Jerusalem as the capital of an Arab state. He can forget it. The Jews of the old city will never be driven out by the Arabs again.

Again, noone who is serious suggests kicking the Jews out of the old city or indeed East Jerusalem.

Neither the 2000 Taba proposals (the closest the two sides came to a peace plan) or the subsequent Geneva accords had this, just the opposite really - there was a recognition that demographic realities need to be taken into account.

However, both plans and the Clinton Camp David proposals in 2000, accepted the principle of Palestinian and Jewish capitals in Jerusalem - and from what I understand a lot of Israeli politicans are in favour of removing some of the Arab suburbs of Jerusalem from the city as a way of solidifying the Jewish majority.

So the principle of two capitals is fairly widely accepted. What's under dispute is the boundary and custody of holy places, in particular the Temple Mount.

Posted by: Dirk at January 23, 2007 04:40 AM

I don't think the disposition of Jerusalem really matters to radical Islam, in the end.

You could take all the Jews in Israel, transplant them to Manhattan, call it "Jew York", and that would become the new global "hot spot" for the Muslim murdering of Jews.

Radical Islam won't be appeased, I think, until Jewish folk are eliminated wherever they are on the globe.

I mean, did the Nazis stop once they'd "cleansed" Germany of its Jewish population? No. They exported their "Final Solution" across a European continent that was, sadly, all too willing to hop on the bandwagon - as long as the Germans were doing the wet work. I think radical Islam will be much the same, given any opportunity.

And here we have Ahmadinetard furiously squirreling away his radioactive nuts for a coming atomic winter.

I wouldn't feel so secure about "Jews never being pushed out of Jerusalem again". Not in the face of the global dithering in the face of the Iranian nuclear menace.

Posted by: Nate at January 23, 2007 06:07 AM

"Again, noone who is serious suggests kicking the Jews out of the old city or indeed East Jerusalem."

But that is exactly what happened when Jordan took the area in 1948. I somehow doubt that a Hamas- or even Fatah-led "Palestine" would treat Jews better than Jordan did!

"I understand a lot of Israeli politicans are in favour of removing some of the Arab suburbs of Jerusalem from the city as a way of solidifying the Jewish majority."

Yes. I have seen East-Jerusalem. I have no problem with it becoming a part of an Arab state, although I think it is too late now, what with the security wall going around rather than through it. The Arabs sort of missed the chance when they declared war after signing a peace treaty.

Don't forget that the holy sites are now accessible by everyone (unless their own countries forbid them to travel there), while under Arab rule before 1968 they were not. I don't see why Israel should give up territory it won in a defensive war AND that contains Jewish holy sites that Jews were not able to visit before the victory.

The choice I see is between:

Israeli rule (everyone has access to holy sites and non-Jewish citizens have the same rights as Jewish citizens; Israel won the place when attacked).

Arab rule (Jews have no access to holy sites and Jewish citizens will either live as second-class citizens or be expelled or eliminated; Arabs got the place in exchange for a peace treaty they broke).

I don't see how the second option is an acceptable choice.

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at January 23, 2007 06:33 AM

"Most serious peace plans, even from mainstream Arab states (such as the Saudi one) couch the refugee question in terms of a "just settlement" for the refugees rather than physically moving millions of people back to places where their grandparents once lived."

Very good. Let's settle the issue. I assume a Jewish refugee is worth as much as an Arab refugee.

There have been about the same number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries as there were Arab refugees from Israel. Let's forget that the Arab refugees were hostile to the non-Arab population while the fleeing Jews did not participate in attacks on non-Jewish citizens of their respective countries and let's treat the two groups as equals.

My proposal:

Let the Arab countries decide how much the refugees should receive in compensation. What is a fleeing Palestinian Arab worth to them? How much did he lose? Let them be as generous as they think.

Israel will then pay that amount to a democratic non-violent Arab Palestinian state.

And the Arab countries will pay the same amount to Israel to cover the Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

THAT would be a "just settlement". But I doubt that is what they are looking for. "Just" for them means "except the Jews", I am sure.

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at January 23, 2007 06:39 AM

The Palestinian claim is based more on length of presence.

If length of presence is their criteria, then the Jews win it hands down. Jews have been a major presence in Jerusalem for 3,000 years, and a majority since the mid-1800s. In the 1800's, for example, Jews constituted 52 percent of the Old City population in East Jerusalem and were still inhabiting 42 percent of the Old City in 1914. In 1948, before the war, those numbers were even greater, with 100,000 Jews in Jerusalem, with 60,000 Arabs. A joint Jordanian-Israeli census reported that 67.7 percent of the city’s population in 1961 was Jewish-- that was before the '67 war. So neither numbers nor length of time support palestinian claims to Jerusalem.

But notice the Arab penchant for the bold face lie when they deny the bond between Jews and Jerusalem; Arafat and other Arab leaders insisted that there never were Jewish temples on the Temple Mount. They also claim the Western Wall was really an Islamic holy site to which Muslims have historical rights. Putting their rhetoric into action, they sabotage and destroy archaeological evidence, even at the holiest place in Judaism – the Temple Mount.

Posted by: Carlos at January 23, 2007 08:48 AM

"If length of presence is their criteria, then the Jews win it hands down."

If your data is true (and I have seen similar reports), then I really want to know what the Arab claim is, besides "we want it".

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at January 23, 2007 09:22 AM

MJT: I met Jumblat, by the way, and will publish my interview with him. Everything he said was so very slowly and carefully calibrated before he said it. He speaks with extraordinary measure and caution.

I'm looking forward to reading your interview with him. You say he speaks with extraordinary measure and caution, and I'm sure he does, nevertheless, I'm constantly amazed at what he does say publically. I guess I'm surprised that Hizballah hasn't killed him.

Posted by: Renée C. at January 23, 2007 09:23 AM

"I'm surprised that Hizballah hasn't killed him."

They perhaps think that the Druze as a whole might take revenge?

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at January 23, 2007 09:44 AM

"If length of presence is their criteria, then the Jews win it hands down. Jews have been a major presence in Jerusalem for 3,000 years"

Not for 3000 years. 3000 years ago and they were not a majority then but for 70 years.
Other majority arguments are totally false.
Read here before you talk like you know something:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine

year:1800
Jews:7000
Christians:22000
Muslims:246000

Posted by: Alawna at January 23, 2007 09:47 AM

In response to a few of the comments:

Andrew, I agree that the Jews expelled from Iraq, Yemen et al in the 1950s need to be taken into account. As I said, I don't think anyone actually thinks Israel will accept a few million refugees being resettled within their borders.

As (I think) Amos Oz said, that would mean there are indeed two states within Mandate Palestine - two Palestinian ones.

On compensation I see some kind of international fund to deal with the issue - the problem is much wider than an Arab / Israeli one after all.

Carlos and Alawana - the exact amount of time each group has resided in Jerusalem / Israel / Palestine is over thousands of years is I see it irrelevant.

Alawana, I accept your figures for 1800. But by 1860 you'll find Jews were the largest group in the old city.

But we can keep score until the Cows come home. The fact is both have been there for long periods of time (the recent past included) and both have a claim.

Andrew, yes, the Jordanians did expell the Jews from the old city in 1948. But that's not a solution the majority of mainstream Arab leaders seriously supports today - there is a realisation that Israel is a fact of life and is here to stay.

Granted, the 'street' in countries such as Jordan thinks differently and does genuinely believe that the Jews can be pushed into the sea

Posted by: Dirk at January 23, 2007 10:03 AM

Muslims:246,000

Maybe you should read first, because we're talking about the city of Jerusalem, not the entirety of Palestine. I cite you Jerusalem figures and you switch to palestine figures. You mix them up to confuse the two. I'm going to take a wild guess, you're an Arab?

Stick to the topic at hand-- JERUSALEM. The Jews have been a majority there since the mid-1800s, and a presence since King Davd. You're figures don't contradict that.

Posted by: Carlos at January 23, 2007 10:14 AM

Dirk, I agree that talking about old historical claims is not helpful. Jews won't go back to where they don't feel safe and I think pals should understand this(I am a Palestinian and undestand their sufferings in the diaspora). I believe the solution is simple and it is to give back lands occupied after 1967 without drawing spider lines between cities and villages.
As a son of a refugee myself, I know at least one third of the refugees would not want to come back. This can also be regulated without causing chaos.
Just hope that somebody else other than HAMAS and Fath will win next elections like Hanan Ashrawi for example.

Posted by: Alawna at January 23, 2007 10:17 AM

"Several changes occurred in the mid-nineteenth century, which had long-lasting effects on the city: their implications can be felt today and lie at the root of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict over Jerusalem. The first of these was a trickle of Jewish immigrants from the Middle East and Eastern Europe which shifted the balance of population so that Jews formed the largest religious group in the city by the 1844 census."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Jerusalem

Posted by: Carlos at January 23, 2007 10:21 AM

Carlos, yes I am an Arab.
And why chose 1800? Why not earlier dates?
Year:1553
Jews:1,958
Christians:358
Muslims:11,750
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Jerusalem
So forget about historical claims.

Posted by: Alawna at January 23, 2007 10:25 AM

And why chose 1800? Why not earlier dates?

I'm fine choosing earlier dates too because that would show that even though there were periods during which muslims were a majority, you'll still find longer periods of Jewish majorities.

And that doesn't even address who has had the longest presence:

Jews = 3,000 years, muslims = 1,300 years.

Posted by: Carlos at January 23, 2007 10:33 AM

Well, I am not interested in historical claims as I said, but your last comment makes Jews who lived in Jerusalem natives to it like Indians in the US and suggests that Indians have the right to establish a state there. Even if a handful of Jews lived in Jerusalem for 2352345345 years, its culture have been dominated by Christian then Arab culture for 1400 years.
This is not useful really. Stick to Lebanon news.

Posted by: Alawna at January 23, 2007 10:44 AM

and suggests that Indians have the right to establish a state there.

If the indians could ever accomplish such a thing they would certainly have a historical claim. That's all I'm saying.

Posted by: Carlos at January 23, 2007 11:05 AM

Still people will divide sharply in judging this.
My point is that historical claims won't help make peace for both sides because it is not only history that is important. There are people who lost homes and lands and won't be satisfied by listening to "my people used to live here for 3000 years" when they did not see a Jew till the Zionist migration began.
Implementing 242 will be more than enough for the Palestinians and Israelis.
Also giving east Jerusalem to any side will naturally also include freedom of entrance to this city from both sides(a city where both sides pray).

Posted by: Alawna at January 23, 2007 11:25 AM

Let's see what a well-known historical document, the book of Nehemiah says. Nehemiah was sent by Artaxerxes from Persia to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem around 444 BC. Nehemiah was a governor under Artaxerxes, also attested to by the Elephantine Papyri which also names Sanballat as governor of Samaria and Gershem as an Arab chieftan.

When Sanballat and Gershem saw that the Jews began to repair the walls of Jerusalem, they were unhappy and accused the Jews of rebelling against the king. Nehemiah told them, "The God of heaven will give us success...but YOU HAVE NO PORTION, RIGHT OR MEMORIAL (OR HISTORY) IN JERUSALEM."

So, apparently, the Arabs have been trying to get in there or claiming some right to Jerusalem for almost 2,500 years.

Posted by: annea at January 23, 2007 11:33 AM

"I think the key point is that Muslims must understand that Jerusalem is to Jews (and Christians) what Mecca is to Muslims."

THey probably do understand it, but what the Jews want is not considered important.Only what Muslims want matters.

I think the Christian crusaders had a similar attitude.

Posted by: Don Cox at January 23, 2007 12:04 PM

Trackbacked on The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 01/23/2007

Posted by: David M at January 23, 2007 12:36 PM

Arabs are from Arabia, not Eretz Israel (I know everyone calls it "Palestine", but I see no reason to use an arbitrary Roman designation that was chosen deliberately to make everyone forget it had always been a Jewish country). The Nabateans had a presence in the area that is now Jordan, centered on the city of Petra, but the Arabs, as a nation, did not have any significant historical presence in Eretz Israel until the Muslim conquest. It was only then that Islam became the dominant religion and Arabic the dominant language. It was the same wherever the Muslims conquered: the existing population was slowly Islamized and Arabized. It is, therefore, an historical anachronism, as well as being utter nonsense, to posit that the non-Jewish population of Eretz Israel were Arabs before the Arabs actually got there. They were primarily an amalgamation of Greek and Aramaic-speaking pagans and Christians. For example, the original pre-Muslim inhabitants of Iraq are the Assyrians, who are Christian and speak Aramaic; and the Copts in Egypt, who are also Christian, were there long before the Muslims came.

Islam believes that any land once ruled by Muslims is an Islamic waqf and is therefore always Muslim, regardless of whether or not infidels may (temporarily) rule it. Islam has built into it the idea of "supercessionism", the belief that Islam has come to replace both Judaism and Christianity, the "imperfect" revelations that preceeded it. This is why Islam appropriates not only the Jewish and Christian prophets as their own, it steals the Jewish and Christian holy places as well. That is why the Al Aksa mosque was built on the Har ha Bait in Jerusalem and why the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople was turned into a mosque, all to disposess the previous owners and assert Muslim ownership. In the same vein, Islam also believes that it has a right and a duty to make war on infidels to impose Islam on the entire world. This the reason for the Muslim jihad against the West. It has nothing to do with what the West may or may not have done.

It is in this context that Muslim claims on Eretz Israel must be viewed. The Jews do not have a right to Eretz israel because they are infidels who have unjustly (re)conquered Muslim land. The existence of Israel in any shape or from, therefore, is illegitimate. The same goes for Al Andalus in what is now Spain.

Anyone who says that the Arabs are actually sincere when they say they have "recognized" Israel are either being ridiculously naive or deliberately duplicitous. Even the so-called "Saudi Peace Plan" calls, IIRC, for Israel to withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines (that is, the pre-June 1967 lines) in addition to allowing anyone the PLO defines as a refugee return to their supposed homes within Israel itself. This is not recognition of Israel, it is a recipe for the destreuction of Israel in stages, which has always been the PLO plan.

Jews know what they can expect from Muslim Arabs. It happened all over the world in the Arab lands after 1948; it is even happening right now in Yemen to the few Jews who are still left there. And the Christians know it too: as the Islamization of the PA continues, Christians are fleeing in droves. Ironically enough, the only country in the ME where the Christian population is increasing is Israel. How's that for an historical irony?

I am sure that the Arabs and Muslims all over the world feel very strongly about Israel. So what? Why does anyone think that their imperialistic fever-dreams of Muslim hegemony should be given any consideration whatsoever? The Arabs have 22 countries where Arabic is the dominant language and Islam is the dominant religion, or, in some cases like Saudi Arabia, the only religion that is permitted. More land the Arabs don't need.

Posted by: Ephraim at January 23, 2007 12:45 PM

Dirk:
"Andrew, yes, the Jordanians did expell the Jews from the old city in 1948. But that's not a solution the majority of mainstream Arab leaders seriously supports today - there is a realisation that Israel is a fact of life and is here to stay."

Likely not, but that is what is going to happen, if we are lucky. I think it is more likely that the Jews who happen to fall under an Arab jurisdiction will simply be killed.

I trust the Jordanian government a lot more than the other Arab governments and the "Arab street". And if the Jordanians expelled Jews, then very probably because doing so was good enough for the Arab street and better than leaving the Jews for the Arab street to deal with.

Alawna:
"Jews won't go back to where they don't feel safe and I think pals should understand this(I am a Palestinian and undestand their sufferings in the diaspora)."

I always thought that Palestinian Arabs, whether Israeli such or those in the territories should understand why the Jews do not want to live under Arab rule. To me it seems like they complain about the same thing: that they live under somebody else's rule.

"I believe the solution is simple and it is to give back lands occupied after 1967 without drawing spider lines between cities and villages."

Why? Why exactly should Israel give back land it captured in a defensive war? Who else does such a thing? What does Israel get in return? Peace? Israel would only get what the world owes Israel anyway, in return for land.

No way. I am all for an Arab state in Palestine, but I don't see why the Arabs who tried to destroy Israel should get their attacks "for free", with everything returned when they finally decide to stop the attacks.

Here's my solution, taking into account the unfortunate security wall that Israel is building:

1. Gaza: Independent Arab state on its own, economically linked to Egypt and/or Israel.

2. West Bank (minus Jerusalem and minus areas on the wrong side of the fence): Second Arab state, economically linked to Jordan and/or Israel. Israel will also have to withdraw from settlements (including in Hevron).

It will be understood that the reason Israel gives up these lands is not because of some Arab right to them (that right did exist but was lost in war). Israel will simply do for the Palestinian Arabs what neither the Egyptians nor the Jordanians had done before: give them a state and help them start it.

3. Golan: Remains a part of Israel. Syria attacked Israel and lost the Golan heights which Syria used to shell Israel from. That is just tough luck. Happened to my country of birth as well. The Syrians can get used to it just like I did. In contrast to the Palestinian territories the Golan heights are not needed by anybody else for anything important.

4. Jerusalem (except the old city): Before the unfortunate security wall was built I would have argued that East-Jerusalem should have been part of the West Bank state. But I don't think the wall could be built through Jerusalem. East-Jerusalem Arabs would have West Bank state citizenship and a work and residence permit in Israel.

5. Old city of Jerusalem: Since no Arab state can or wants to guarantee safe access to the holy sites while Israel can and does, and since Jerusalem is THE Jewish city, and since Mecca should always be Muslim (and Jerusalem Jewish), and since Jerusalem was won in a defensive war, and since Jews have lived in the old city for 3000 years, and since the status quo is what it is it will be a part of Israel.

That's what I currently see as an acceptable solution. It will change after the next attack.

"and suggests that Indians have the right to establish a state there."

Yes. And incidentally, if the US denied the Indians the right to live there and persecuted them or expelled them, if the US (again) tried to exterminate them, and kept attacking them and killing them; and if the Indians would have to be afraid of bombs every day; I hope I would totally support their right to found their own state at their original tribal location.

Sometimes life has to come first.

"Implementing 242 will be more than enough for the Palestinians and Israelis."

Well, why not. I guess it is up to the Arabs to initiate "termination of all states of belligerency" since Israel seems to sign peace treaties whenever possible.

Israel is willing to withdraw from occupied territories. It's up to the other side to follow the resolution as well.

If the resolution is interpreted to mean ALL territories occupied then I'm afraid it is a joke. It was a joke in 1967 (no such demand was ever made concerning any other country that was attacked and won territory in the conflict, and I don't see why Israel should be treated differently) and it is certainly a joke after two intifadas, since the resolution was written before those and certainly didn't allow for war to be declared on Israel again and again.

Between Palestinian Arabs and Palestinian Jews (Israelis) am quite open for compromise (since the Palestinian Arabs were victims of the other Arab governments just as much as the Israelis were, even though Palestinian Arabs often seemed to support the attacks), but I don't see what Syria has to do with it. Syria simply attacked another country and lost. I don't see why they should get anything back at all.

I am open to almost any solution that recognizes the fact that attacking another country, even a Jewish one, is WRONG and that doing so CAN cost land and that the world is not simply giving the lost land back to the attacker just because the attacked country happens to be Israel.

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at January 23, 2007 01:38 PM

Alwana: "Even if a handful of Jews lived in Jerusalem for 2352345345 years, its culture have been dominated by Christian then Arab culture for 1400 years."

Alwana, thank you for your surprising 'moral clarity' on this subject. By this argument, Israel is perfectly justified in "dominating" Arab culture with Jewish/Israeli culture. After all, they won the war(s), didn't they? So what is the Arab street complaining about?

Posted by: zellmad at January 23, 2007 02:23 PM

Resolution 242 most definitely DOES NOT require Israel to give up all of the land it won in June of 1967 and withdraw to the pre-June lines. Anyone who says that it does is either ignorant, stupid, or lying.

242 was written specifically so that it would NOT say "the territories" or "all the territories". This was quite deliberate, and was done in regoginition of two things:

1) The "borders" that existed propr to June '67 were not borders in the sense that they were recognized by any of the Arab countries who attacked Israel in 1948. They simply were where the armies were when the fighting stopped. The Arabs never recoginzed them as Israel's borders becasue they did not recognize Israel. An armistice is not a peace treaty. Of course, the Arabs reneged on every single one of their committments under the armistice agreements.

2) The UN recognized that Israel's "borders" were a result of Arab aggression and would have to be rectified. Therefore they saw a post-1967 peace treaty as a way of giving Israel reasonable borders. That is why they deliberately omitted "the" or "all of the" from the text of the resolution and referred only to "territories". In this sense, the withdrawal from Sinai fully meets the requirements of 242.

In any case, border rectification and a "just settlement to the refugee question" (there is NO mention of the "right of return" or any other such rubbish) are only to take place in the context of a negotiated peace treaty. Until that happens, Israel is not rquired to give up anything at all. Yet the Arabs demand that Israel give up land that it won as a result of wars imposed on Israel when the Arabs flouted the very UN resolutions that they now demand Israel must honor. There are no words in the English language that can do justice to such high-handed arrogance and hypocrisy.

Posted by: Ephraim at January 23, 2007 02:28 PM

I was talking about how historical claims are irrelevant posting against an argument that Jerusalem is for Jews because they have been there for 3000 years even if not a majority most of the time.

Posted by: Alawna at January 23, 2007 02:38 PM

Andrew it is nice to write back.

"Why? Why exactly should Israel give back land it captured in a defensive war?"

Israel started the war with preemptive strikes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-Day_War
But even if it was a defensive war, it was and still illegal to confiscate lands taken by war starting from the last century.

Posted by: Alawna at January 23, 2007 03:16 PM

Israel started the war with preemptive strikes.

Preemptive strikes against Arab armies poised on Israel's borders and ready to strike at a moment's notice doesn't qualify as starting a war. But it does qualify as finishing it.

Posted by: Carlos at January 23, 2007 03:31 PM

The "borders" that existed propr to June '67 were not borders

Correct. The lines Israel crossed in '67 were a cease fire line from the '48 war-- not legally recognized borders. Today the Arabs count on people's ignorance of history and pretend the Green Line is an official border that the Israelis have violated. Nonsense. There is no real border between Israelis and palestinians. Never has been.

Posted by: Carlos at January 23, 2007 03:36 PM

Alawna:

Israel didn't "start a war" in 1967. Ever since the creation of Israel, the Arabs had been in a state of self-declared war with Israel. Until Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1977 NO Arab state had recognized the legitimacy of Israel's existence. Even today, Jordan and Egypt are the only Arab states which have formally recognized Israel and entered into diplomatic relations. All other Arab states are still in an official state of war with Israel. As such, Israel is within its rights to take any and all measures it deems necessary to defend itself against such states (Iran included, even though they are not Arabs).

Therefore, one can characterize the relations of Israel and her neighbors up until 1977 as a state of self-declared war by the Arabs on Israel. This state of war existed since the founding of the state; therefore one can characterize what happened in June of 1967 not as a war but rather as a battle in an Arab war against Israel that had been going on since 1948. Since the Arabs had declared war on Israel in 1948, had not recognized its existence, and had flouted all of the armistice agreements they had signed, Israel was well within its rights to fight back at any time with no extra provocations required.

However, if you do not agree with this, then it is still Egypt which commenced hostilities: Israel had warned Egypt that closing the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping would be considered by Israel as a causus belli; therefore, when Egypt went ahead and did exactly that they in effect declared open war on Israel. The subsequent Israeli attack on Egypt was thus simply Israel's response to a clear and unambigous act of war by Egypt.

Posted by: Ephraim at January 23, 2007 04:27 PM

Israel is, to my understanding, the only nation required to relinquish land taken in war -- defensive or otherwise -- in modern times.

Israel was attacked TWICE by Syria across the Golan -- what does it take, "three times' a charm"?

When the UN starts condemning the Chinese and demanding they get out of Tibet and so on, then the UN can talk about Israel. And I love how no one anywhere is allowed to talk about Turkey and the Armenians... and the world docilely complies. Israel really needs to hire the Turkish PR firm.

Now some Arab textbooks are trying to say not only were Jews never in the current Israel/ Palestine area -- ever -- but neither was Jesus, so the Christians also would have no rights. As I recall, the PA long ago also claimed that Jordan was rightfully their territory -- and they will certainly return to that claim if it ever becomes convenient. Hamas had a websight for kids saying that retaking Spain was the task designated for the next generation of Palestinians. And people say the Israelis are after more territory!

BTW -- There's a very good article about using genetic claims, and also 'historical precedent' claims, to try to establish territorial rights in the magazing MJT's friend Noah works for, Azure. Basically, for all the reasons of tortured revisionism seen above, precedence claims to territory are ultimately rather silly -- and genetic claims are thus far all very bogus science.

I did find it interesting the Kurds and Israelis appear to be closely linked genetically. Intelligent, independent, stubborn and persistent people no one else in the vicinity seems to like all that much.

Posted by: Pam at January 23, 2007 06:54 PM

"Israel is, to my understanding, the only nation required to relinquish land taken in war -- defensive or otherwise -- in modern times."

Just out of curiosity, what countries have been allowed to keep land won in war "defensive or otherwise" in modern times?

Posted by: NM at January 23, 2007 08:21 PM

USSR, China. Not sure anyone but Israel has been attacked and actually gone on to win a war decisively, come to think of it. Nor can I think of a country that attacked militarily and gained territory other than China/Tibet.

Had Israel lost ground to Jordan, let's say, or Syria (both relatively new, colonially-crafted states) in either '67 or '73, no one would have raised a perpetual fuss about returning a square centimeter of land to whatever was left of the state of Israel.

Posted by: Pam at January 23, 2007 09:12 PM

The problem, Pam, is that the people who live in the West Bank and Gaza are not citizens of Isarel. They are still in limbo, citizens of nowhere. Israel must either nationalize these people or leave. Israel doesn't want to nationalize them, for obvious reasons, so that means they have to leave.

There's an old saying about this problem:

1. Greater Israel
2. Democracy
3. Jewish majority

Pick two.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 23, 2007 10:14 PM

Oh, I do understand that. If it was safe to do so (and was my decision!) I'd dump Gaza and West Bank in the Palestinian's laps in the blink of an eye. Heck, Israel offered the WB back to Jordan, but Jordan wisely declined.

But the Golan is not Gaza or the WB, and I view them as unrelated issues. My comments were not about 'The Territories' but about the Golan. It has several thousand Druze, and the rest of the 20,000 or so people there are Israeli Jews. I strongly resist giving the Golan back to Syria. A) they gambled it in attacks on Israel and lost X 2, and B) strategically it is essential to Israel.

Sure, if it somehow meant an absolutely iron-clad guarantee of a stable and durable peace, then you'd have to cede it, but I don't believe for one second that the future of this Syrian gov't is stable over the next 5 or 10 years, even if the current leadership was genuinely looking for peace -- which is, IMO, just a wistful fantasy.

Posted by: Pam at January 23, 2007 10:40 PM

They could buy them a one way trip to any arab country. We all know that Arabs support the palestinians. How could they be left alone while every arab swears his honor on their plight:):):)

My plan is still pretty sweet. Make peace and live well or we will throw parts of Jerusalem on you. Do you want part of the stupid temple and stupid wall landing on you? Do you really want it?

Posted by: mike at January 23, 2007 11:36 PM

Michael, once again you have completely misread the situation. "Willfully obtuse" is a great phrase, perhaps you should ponder on it a bit.

What happened today is what happens when a government comprised primarily of billionaire Sunnis systematically excludes participation from Christians and Shiites by rigging elections.

What happened today is what happens when a prime minister ignores a demonstration--a la marie antoinette--of 1.5 million people in a population of 3 million. Sanioura is asking for a revolution, and he may get it.

ALL acts of violence perpetrated today were petpetrated not by Hezb, not by FPM, and not by the Army. ALL acts of violence were perpetrated by the LF, the PSP, and the FM.

Sanioura can solve all of this with the wave of a magic wand by agreeing to a new electoral law, and new elections. Do you have any thoughts as to why a government would resist a fair electoral law and new elections? Hmm?

Shame on the world that has placed Lebanon in a position where a terrorist group like Hezbollah is asking for elections, and being called terrorists for daring to make the demand.

Posted by: John Lennon at January 23, 2007 11:47 PM

Alawna:
"Israel started the war with preemptive strikes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-Day_War"

I assume the Arab armies that appeared at the borders while the Arab leaders called for Israel's destruction were coincidence?

"But even if it was a defensive war, it was and still illegal to confiscate lands taken by war starting from the last century."

It never was illegal to confiscate lands taken by war. Heck, I grew up in Germany. Don't expect that I would believe that losing land to the winners of a war is something strange that never happens to anybody unless they fight the evil Israelis.

(Sorry for the bluntness; but growing up in American-occupied West-Berlin surrounded by Russian armies, a few miles from land lost to Poland in WW2 sort of gave me a different perspective from yours. And no, I am not angry at Poland, Russia, or the US. I am angry at Germany for starting the war.)

It WAS a defensive war.

And taking land by winning a defensive war is NOT and never has been illegal.

And I do understand the problems that come with losing a war and losing land. I have been there too.

But if some Germans decided to blow up Polish kindergartens in revenge or if West-Berliners had decided to throw stones at occupying American soldiers, I can tell you that my position would be a lot more anti-German than it already is.

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at January 24, 2007 01:23 AM

"Shame on the world that has placed Lebanon in a position where a terrorist group like Hezbollah is asking for elections, and being called terrorists for daring to make the demand."

I figure you didn't notice what Hizbullah did in Israel and Lebanon and thus couldn't come up with another explanation for why somebody would call them "terrorists"?

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at January 24, 2007 01:24 AM

"Just out of curiosity, what countries have been allowed to keep land won in war "defensive or otherwise" in modern times?"

Russia
Poland
Jordan (although they lost it again)
Egypt (ditto)
Pakistan

(The list is not supposed to imply judgement of the victories.)

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at January 24, 2007 01:29 AM

"I strongly resist giving the Golan back to Syria. A) they gambled it in attacks on Israel and lost X 2, and B) strategically it is essential to Israel."

I second that position, although I'd add:

C) There is no underprivileged population who would have a claim to become independent, like in Gaza and the West Bank.

D) Golan is a nice area and I doubt Syria could or would come up with enough reparations to make up for what Israel lost due to wars started by Syria. Golan is a good beginning of a financial reconciliation.

E) Golan will send a signal to the peoples of the world that attacking other countries is still somewhat expensive. Germany got that message. At least one Arab country has to get the message too.

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at January 24, 2007 01:33 AM

Was it my bad hearing or just me because i could swear i heard Jumblat claiming that hizballah's "pure" weapons are the ones to free Jerusalem, on Quds Day in 2005!

You get a nice green toaster if you could make this clearer to me...because im confused beyond...you get the point. Elaboration = toaster.

Posted by: Ji77a at January 24, 2007 02:18 AM

re:Comments about Native Americans

Peace Treaties are most often the result of some battle or war fought. In the Middle East, however, the homes and properties of Jews (and others) were repeatedly confiscated with a knock on a door or with the murder of one or more family members causing others to flee and become refugees. Apparently, in the view of some Muslims no fought war = no treaty = no reparations = no right to own property or govern for any of those Natives. Essentially, thousands of years of history in the Middle East for hundreds of thousands of surviving Jews were in effect declared irrelevant by many Muslim governments.

Similarly, many Native Americans never fought in any war but nevertheless were displaced for one reason or another. But here in the United States documentation of a historical tribe within federal borders = land allocation with deed but without fee to those Natives by the federal government. All reserved lands naturally are found within one or another of the States but no state governs a tribal reservation.

http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0192524.html

That the United Nations acknowledged displaced Jewish refugees, the British Mandate and relatively small land allocation related to their indisputable history throughout the many lands of the Middle East, and their right to govern that allocated land, is hardly an obtuse idea. Would the French or the Natives of any European nation not object to being governed in their historical lands by Muslims with a knock on their doors? The historical difference---Jews scattered throughout the Middle East and North Africa could not defend their homes militarily but Europeans have in the past and no doubt will continue to do exactly that.

For those who remain ethically challenged the arguments against the Jewish State of Israel persist.

Posted by: JAS at January 24, 2007 11:12 AM

>>>what countries have been allowed to keep land won in war "defensive or otherwise" in modern times?"

China (Tibet).

Posted by: Carlos at January 24, 2007 12:08 PM

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