August 3, 2009

Hamas Pretends Resistance is Futile

Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Meshal told the Wall Street Journal that he’s finally willing to accept a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “We along with other Palestinian factions in consensus agreed upon accepting a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines,” he said. “This is our program. This is a position we stand by and respect.”

Meshal needs to do a lot more than make the right kind of noises to the Wall Street Journal before any of us begin to take what he said seriously.

Yasser Arafat was famous for saying one thing to Westerners in English and something else entirely to Palestinians in Arabic. He spoke so convincingly like a peacemaker to Israelis, Americans, and Europeans that he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. Yet while smiling for the cameras during sham negotiations with U.S. President Bill Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, his own newspapers and schools incited the Palestinian people to murder and war. Not until hundreds of Israeli civilians were killed by suicide bombers during the Second Intifada did most in Israel and the United States understand what Arafat was up to.

It won’t be so easy for Hamas to pull off a similar stunt, and not only because Americans and Israelis — especially Israelis — have heard this rhetoric before and are accordingly skeptical. We also have outfits like the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) providing us with translations of what is written and said every day in the Arabic media. If MEMRI were as well known among journalists and policymakers in the 1990s as it is now, the violent collapse of the Oslo peace process might have come as less of a shock — and might therefore have been less deadly.

Even if Meshal were serious, accepting a Palestinian state along 1967 borders is a start, but it’s only half of what’s necessary. Hamas must also accept an Israeli state on the other side of the Green Line. And Hamas must accept that the Israeli state have a Jewish majority. Israel will no more transform itself into an Arab country by allowing every Palestinian in the Diaspora to settle there than Hamas will allow all the Jews in the world to relocate to the West Bank and Gaza.

In any case, if you want to know what Middle Eastern political leaders really think, pay more attention to what they do than to what they say. Even what they say in Arabic means less than what they actually do. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, for instance, flattered the Iranian government with all sorts of friendly gestures and promises while sending Iraqi soldiers into battle alongside Americans to crush Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Sadr City and Basra. It’s theoretically possible (though highly improbable) that Hamas might at some point continue paying lip service to the cause of “resistance” when speaking to a regional audience while working to convince Palestinians that the perpetual war has been a disaster.

The rockets out of Gaza have stopped, at least for now. That’s something. It’s not as significant as Maliki’s fighting Iranian-backed militias alongside Americans, but it’s something.

Assuming Meshal doesn’t instantly and publicly reverse himself, what Hamas-run schools, newspapers, and television programs say should settle any lingering doubts. Will Palestinian children still be told they will one day “liberate” Tel Aviv, Haifa, and all Jerusalem? Or will the cause be properly narrowed to the West Bank and Gaza? If the Palestinian public — and especially Palestinian children — doesn’t get the message that Hamas is finally willing to accept a two-state solution, what Meshal just said to a Wall Street Journal reporter doesn’t mean anything.

Read the rest in Commentary Magazine.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at August 3, 2009 9:47 AM
Comments

Yasser Arafat didn't have to say or do much to ignite the Second Intifada, it was thanks to Ariel Sharon visiting the Al Aqsa mosque and of course the continued military occupation of palestinian land.
He probably did little to incite the violence, the Palestinians were fed up leading them to the suicide bombings. The Palestinians aren't mindless people that jumped when Arafat told them to jump, they acted as most would people act under occupation just like they did in the first Intifada.

Posted by: Shuk Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 11:47 AM

Shuk: He probably did little to incite the violence

He most certainly did. I appreciate your insertion of the word "probably," which tells the rest of us that you're guessing and don't actually know what you're talking about.

Look. I was one of the hundreds of millions of people who were fooled by Yasser Arafat. He played it well. It's fine if you were fooled, too.

Just remember the old adage: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 11:53 AM

Besides, Shuk, the idea that more than a thousand Israelis and more than two thousand Palestinians ought to die because Ariel Sharon went to a mosque is psychotic. Ehud Barak was prime minister at the time, not Sharon. And he offered Palestinians the best deal on their own sovereign state that they will ever get. Arafat wouldn't negotiate with him even then. At no time in history were Israelis so open to the idea of a Palestinian state. Yet Arafat and the Palestinians chose that time to turn the region into a little Iraq.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, could have destroyed support in the West for the Palestinian "cause" as much as this did. I used to sympathize with the Palestinian side far more than the Israeli side, but not any more. Not by a long shot.

The PLO and Hamas screwed themselves in a big way. The Obama Administration is far more pro-Israel than I used to be. It will be a very long time before Palestinians recover from what Arafat and Hamas have done.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 12:08 PM

Michael,
I'm saying that because it's hard to say for sure without being there in the streets of the West Bank in the beginning of the second Intifada. Were you there in the West Bank at the time of the second intifada to know for sure that it was the words of that idiot Arafat that got the Palestinians to resort to violence against Israel?
I was never fooled by Arafat and he was always a sham in my eyes. He's a total disgrace (as are most Arab leaders in the Middle East) and has destroyed many hopes for the Palestinian people.
You're right, there was no reason and it is psychotic for that many people to die because Ariel Sharon visited the mosque, it was more of a trigger for the violence that was a result of the Palestinian people suffering due to the inadequacy of the Palestinian leadership (PLO/Arafat) and occupation.
The first intifada had nothing to with Arafat, though he hijacked the movement as his own, which is most likely what he was doing with the second intifada, so that he could maintain some control of the Palestinians by siding with them during their release of anger and frustration.
It's too bad they didn't get rid of Arafat and that when the only opportunity to choose otherwise was with Hamas, which has also failed miserably.
probably had little to do with Arafat.

Posted by: Shuk Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 12:22 PM

My apologies, forgot to delete that last line in my last comment.

Posted by: Shuk Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 12:29 PM

No, Shuk, I wasn't there. But I've read plenty of what Arafat's state-run media and schools said at the time. All this has been very well documented, but it didn't occur to me to look at the documentation until after the Oslo process collapsed. That's true for almost everybody.

The First Intifada was far more justifiable than the Second. It convinced the Israelis that they couldn't rule the Palestinians forever, which was necessary and good, and it was almost entirely non-violent, which also was good. Throwing rocks might not be the best way to handle it, but at the end of the day I don't have much of a problem with it.

But the hatred, the incitement, the suicide-bombing, and the rocket wars have effectively destroyed Palestinian society and made the cause itself toxic. And it pisses me off. I'd really like to see an independent Palestinian state at peace with its neighbor, and a secure Israeli state at peace with its neighbors.

But hey, I don't live there. It is not my personal problem. If the majority of people in that part of the world prefer war, they can live in rubble. And when they get tired of rubble and war, Americans like me will be genuinely happy to help. (Or not if help is not wanted.)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 12:40 PM

...they acted as most would people act under occupation just like they did in the first Intifada

Right. Because, obviously, most people resort to suicide bombings when they are under occupation. And it's especially normal to deliberately target the enemy's women and children, while avoiding the enemy's fighters. All perfectly NORMAL behavior.

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 12:59 PM

Thanks for the response Michael, I understand your point. As a palestinian-lebanese growing up in north america and far away from the mess, I hope that both sides move past the rubble, war and misery.

In your opinion, do you think there the one state solution is viable?
This is a little off topic from your article, so if you choose not to respond that's fine.

Posted by: Shuk Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 1:10 PM

Shuk, thanks for bringing the one state solution up. For once, I didn't bring it up ;_)

Hamas is a diverse organization with some factions open to negotiations with Israel. Hamas cannot take a "destroy Israel" stance and hope to win reelection. Palestinians do not want indefinite war with Israel to no end.

Hamas includes many who do not feel that 1967 borders are fair. Some want a two state solution based on the UN partition plan with some property transfers of equal quality. Others seek a one plural free democracy reunification + civil rights solution.

Many Palestinians remain very peeved about the "Custodian of Absentee Property Law" statute that Israelis used to start confiscating Palestinian private property inside Israel (I believe this statute was declared in 1948?) Since 1961, a formal institution, the Israel Land Administration (or, "ILA") has existed to administer many of these "absentee" or confiscated Palestinian properties. The ILA and the Custodian and Absentee Property Law were at the heart of Palestinian grievance before 1967. Since 1967 the "Eretz Israel" statutes pushed the policies into the annexed East Jerusalem sections. Are the "Eretz Israel" statutes even legal under international law? {Soldier No Longer in Iraq from Abu Muqawama is quite an expert in Palestinian and Israeli property laws.}

Hamas' file with Israel deals with 1948-1967 in addition to post 1967.

Personally, I think Obama should explore forming a strategic partnership with Hamas to jointly fight AQ linked networks. Some inside Hamas have proposed this for years.

MJT, I believe that Clinton made the offer at camp david, not Barrack. At Talba the offer on the Israeli side was 100% of Gaza, 95.8% of the West Bank, part of Israel proper as a land swap. The Palestinian offer was 100% of Gaza, 97.6% of the West Bank, and a larger part of Israel proper as a land swap.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 2:33 PM

Shuk,

In an ideal world, a one-state solution might be possible. But Israelis and Palestinians don't want to live together. So, no, I don't think it's possible.

As a palestinian-lebanese growing up in north america and far away from the mess, I hope that both sides move past the rubble, war and misery.

Agreed. I'm also tired of watching Lebanon explode because of this mess. I used to live there, and that part of the problem is a bit personal for me.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 2:40 PM

Anand: Personally, I think Obama should explore forming a strategic partnership with Hamas to jointly fight AQ linked networks.

No offense, Anand, but that's ridiculous and is never going to happen unless the Middle East changes drastically.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 2:42 PM

Anand: At Talba the offer on the Israeli side was 100% of Gaza, 95.8% of the West Bank, part of Israel proper as a land swap. The Palestinian offer was 100% of Gaza, 97.6% of the West Bank, and a larger part of Israel proper as a land swap.

The Palestinians looked at a situation more or less as you described and decided it was the time to launch a terrorist war. It was one of the most outrageous things I have ever seen. The only thing the Palestinians have done that competes was starting a missile war out of Gaza after the Israelis withdrew from Gaza and uprooted the settlements.

The Palestinians will probably have to wait decades for independence because of this crap.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 2:50 PM

Personally, I think Obama should explore forming a strategic partnership with Hamas to jointly fight AQ linked networks.

That's pretty bizarre stuff, anand. HAMAS and Al Qaida are both offshoots (more or less) of the Muslim Brotherhood. Yeah, they've gone their separate ways over the years, but what you are proposing there seems like a scenario where a stranger shows up and tries to get somebody to kill his own brother. How do you envision that happening? In the real world, I mean?

And more to the point... what would be in it for the US? Al Qaida isn't active anywhere that HAMAS is. If we are going to start getting HAMAS to kill Arab terrorists for us, I humbly propose that we bribe them into going after Hezbollah. Hezbollah will turn them into hamburger and declare divine victory, so it's a happy ending for everyone except anand and HAMAS. But the greater good must prevail, right?

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 2:55 PM

"pay more attention to what they do"

Always, everywhere. Or else.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 5:03 PM

There have been many gun battles between Hamas and Al Qaeda; and Hamas has sent out feelers to the US. See the comment section here:
http://www.longwarjournal.org/cgi-bin/mt-comments.r351.cgi?entry_id=8297
After Pakistan, Somalia and maybe the Sudan (where AQ is backing the Janjaweed Sunni Arabs against the Black Darfur muslim Africans); I am more concerned about AQ establishing bases in Palestinian areas than anywhere else. Why?:

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/132575

52% of Palestinians have confidence in Osama Bin Laden. No other country comes close. The only other country where OBL has more support than Obama is Pakistan. OBL is only at 18% in Pakistan (versus 12% for Obama.) In every other country on earth, except Palestine, Pakistan and Nigeria, OBL is extremely unpopular. OBL has some support in Nigeria; but most of his supporters there are pro Obama and pro Americans . . . which leads me to believe they confused the two names.

One response to this poll result would be to wonder why are 52% of Palestinians so much more stupid than Egyptians, Jordanians, or any other Sunni Arabs? Why do they back the filth of the earth like Baba Saddam, Zarkawi and Osama?

Another way to respond to it is to form a form a partnership with Hamas to fight AQ linked networks; and thereby flip Palestinian opinion against AQ linked networks.

We should never forget that AQ goes after many enemies other than the US. For example latest threat to attack China is detailed here: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/08/uighur_terrorist_lea.php
Shouldn't we facilitate others fighting AQ linked networks versus fighting them directly when possible?

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 5:57 PM

There have been many gun battles between Hamas and Al Qaeda; and Hamas has sent out feelers to the US. See the comment section here:
http:/
/www.longwarjournal.org/cgi-bin/mt-comments.r351.cgi?entry_id=8297
After Pakistan, Somalia and maybe the Sudan (where AQ is backing the Janjaweed Sunni Arabs against the Black Darfur muslim Africans); I am more concerned about AQ establishing bases in Palestinian areas than anywhere else. Why?:

http:/
/www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/132575

52% of Palestinians have confidence in Osama Bin Laden. No other country comes close. The only other country where OBL has more support than Obama is Pakistan. OBL is only at 18% in Pakistan (versus 12% for Obama.) In every other country on earth, except Palestine, Pakistan and Nigeria, OBL is extremely unpopular. OBL has some support in Nigeria; but most of his supporters there are pro Obama and pro Americans . . . which leads me to believe they confused the two names.

One response to this poll result would be to wonder why are 52% of Palestinians so much more stupid than Egyptians, Jordanians, or any other Sunni Arabs? Why do they back the filth of the earth like Baba Saddam, Zarkawi and Osama?

Another way to respond to it is to form a form a partnership with Hamas to fight AQ linked networks; and thereby flip Palestinian opinion against AQ linked networks.

We should never forget that AQ goes after many enemies other than the US. For example latest threat to attack China is detailed here: http:/
/www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/08/uighur_terrorist_lea.php
Shouldn't we facilitate others fighting AQ linked networks versus fighting them directly when possible?

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 5:59 PM

Shuk

While I have none of the local experience Michael has, the one-state solution just seems like madness to me, since there is no common identity or loyalty to be invoked. Indeed, quite the opposite. Historian Tony Judt had an essay in the NY Review of Books some time ago advocating it. I critically commented on Judt's piece here.

Posted by: Lorenzo Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 6:05 PM

Anand: 52% of Palestinians have confidence in Osama Bin Laden.

I don't know if that's accurate, but I do know this: The exact same kinds of psychopaths who support Osama bin Laden also support Hamas. It frankly amazes me that this is difficult for you to understand. Hamas is the Taliban of Gaza.

You have a pretty solid grasp of Iraq, so I find your continued defense of war criminals and terrorists elsewhere bizarre.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 6:19 PM

Anand: The only other country where OBL has more support than Obama is Pakistan.

That right there ought to clue you in to the serious problems in the West Bank and Gaza, and why the overwhelming majority of Americans do not support the Palestinian side in that conflict.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 6:23 PM

One state solution?
Together - no.
After one side 'genociding' another - yes.
Why even consider it.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at August 3, 2009 9:19 PM

Needless to say, this whole discussion is a joke. One of the organizing, essential principles of Hamas is the murder of Jews, as I linked in an earlier thread. Cynically dishonest bullshit babbled to the Western press for the transparent purpose of deluding them is less than meaningless. Of course anand eats it right up and resumes his idolatry of Hamas because he shares this annihilationist agenda.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 12:14 AM

Hey, shuck, were the Israelis behind the fraudulent al-Dura photographs? Always gotta blame it on da Jooos.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 12:17 AM

Michael,
Thanks for the response about the one state solution.

Posted by: Shuk Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 4:58 AM

"they acted as most would people act under occupation"

Really? Most people would blow up schools when living under occupation?

I was under the impression that ONLY Palestinian Arabs did that.

I myself grew up under occupation. And neither I nor anybody else I knew ever even considered blowing up a bus or attacking a school or kindergarden. It simply doesn't come to mind.

Takes a special mind to think occupation -> terrorism. It really does.

(Why was there anti-Semitic terrorism before the occupation?)

Posted by: Leauki Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 6:51 AM

I believe there should be a two-state solution. Forget for a moment that there is no precedent in the modern Middle East whereby multi-confessional/cultural states really actually work like, say, Switzerland. I speak of cultural continuity and the justice of the Jewish peoples’ right to have the same sovereignty that so many others have on this planet.

There should be a place for Jews to ensure Jewish continuity into the future. There already are a number of Arab states that, from a cultural perspective, are very similar to Palestinian society. With a Palestinian state of some sort based loosely along the 1967 boundaries, plus taking into account the current existence of Arab states such as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, etc., the Arabs are in an extremely healthy position to maintain their cultural identity well into the future. The same cannot be said for the Jewish people without a Jewish majority state.

The argument, therefore, that a tiny Jewish majority state based on the ’67 borders—which will make Israel about 10 miles along the coastal plain—shouldn’t exist because it somehow prevents Arab-Palestinian from doing the same—is patently absurd. The conflict is not really about Palestinian self-determination, as it is within their grasp should they decide to take it (peacefully). Rather, as many of us know, it’s about the Arab-Islamic refusal to countenance Jewish sovereignty in what they view as the realm of Islam, no matter how tiny. It’s amazing to me that so many in the West have been fooled into thinking otherwise.

If there are over 20 Arab Islamic states, surely there can be one tiny Jewish state.

Posted by: Semite5000 Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 7:39 AM

Really? Most people would blow up schools when living under occupation?

Good point. Jewish terrorists living under occupation would rather blow up trains than schools. A key distinction.

Posted by: Big Jilm Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 7:58 AM

"Good point. Jewish terrorists living under occupation would rather blow up trains than schools. A key distinction."

Still waiting for actual examples of those "most people".

As I said, I grew up under occupation and I am Jewish and I never blew up schools or supported doing so. Perhaps I am BETTER than most people?

Posted by: Leauki Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 8:01 AM

"If there are over 20 Arab Islamic states, surely there can be one tiny Jewish state."

I am still surprised that it is regarded as the "anti-imperialist" position to support Arab rule over the ENTIRE middle east and northern Africa, whereas it is "imperialism" to support independence for natives from Arab rule.

And for some reason "political correctness" never dictates that "Palestine" should be called "Israel" because calling the land "Palestine" ("invader land") is offensive to Jews.

I cannot see why calling the land "Israel" would be offensive to anyone. The Quran doesn't call the land "Palestine" but refers to it only in connection with the people of "Israel".

P.S.: I just read that the richest man in "Palestine" is a "native Palestinian" from Egypt and his name is El-Masri ("the Egyptian").

Posted by: Leauki Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 8:05 AM

Another way to respond to it is to form a form a partnership with Hamas to fight AQ linked networks; and thereby flip Palestinian opinion against AQ linked networks.

Since anand does seem to understand the politics in the area, I assume that he assumes that we don't.

He appears to be trying to sell us a stinky old batch of "the enemy of your enemy can be your friend", telling us to find the sonuvabitch who is “our friend” and pit him against the sonuvabitch who is “our enemy”, a policy that always encourages and empowers terrorists.

He's acting as if he's talking to a bunch of idiots, foreign policy experts, state department rubes, academics and British leaders.

I'm insulted.

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 8:08 AM

Don't get testy - I'm agreeing with you. It appears that you may be correct that "ONLY Palestinian Arabs" blow up schools. For example, Jewish resistance to occupation takes the form of blowing up police stations and trains, but not schools. Clearly Palestinian Arabs are unique in their moral degeneracy.

Posted by: Big Jilm Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 8:10 AM

The Palestinian people created, fueled, and gave moral support to Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah, and a number of other terrorist gangs. What happened to them is the same thing that happened to the good Dr Frankenstein. The monster they applauded got out of control.

It is difficult to feel their pain.

Posted by: Boojum Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 10:12 AM

Hey Little Jism, what were Jews blowing up between 1948 and 1967 while the Arabs were occupying Jerusalem, and dumping garbage and shitting and pissing on Jewish holy places?

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 12:12 PM

Hush, Gary. The grown-ups are talking.

Posted by: Big Jilm Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 12:25 PM

"Don't get testy - I'm agreeing with you. It appears that you may be correct that 'ONLY Palestinian Arabs' blow up schools. For example, Jewish resistance to occupation takes the form of blowing up police stations and trains, but not schools. Clearly Palestinian Arabs are unique in their moral degeneracy."

Police stations are valid targets in a war. Trains might be, if they transport weapons. (If they transport civilians at the same time, the power running the train is committing a war crime.)

Most Zionists were opposed to such violent strategies anyway. And no Jew, as you say, blew up a school with British or Arab children and called it "resistance". (But then Jews never really were very afraid of British school children and the idea of "resisting" them is an idea of a very weak people.)

Posted by: Leauki Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 1:01 PM

Gary,

Cool it, would you.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 2:24 PM

I read the headlines today and face the fact that barbarism unleashed under the pretense of "Islam" is rather disgusting. It is all too easy falling under the sway of emotion. Fortunately, I use enough cabs in NYC to understand this barbarism does not represent the billion Muslims, but it pains me reformation is still decades away at best.

Yes, Leo, one must keep cool, but every senseless murder that adds to the 100,000,000 already slaughtered wins a convert for Spencer. Sometimes I imagine there is a red button I might push that would exterminate every fanatic. I can't say I would never have pushed that button.

Nor can I say say all things are equal no matter the present PCness of political relativism. The last few centuries have been dark chapters in Islamic history and the idea Muslims are merely victims is betrayed by history. The Grand Mufti bet on Hitler. Beheading Genghis Khan's Muslim ambassador resulted in the erasure of the Kwarazmian Empire.

Posted by: maxtrue Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 7:17 PM

"Hush, Gary"

Or to put it another way, "Please ignore facts that don't fit my agenda".

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 11:32 PM

"Cool it"

Cool what? I'm sure you know that what I posted is true, Leo.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 11:33 PM

Hi Michael,

Interesting piece as always, but this time I have a few comments:

1. The idea of "benign" rock-throwing, underdog violence during the First Intifada is not so accurate.

According to Wikipedia, "more than 3,600 Molotov cocktail attacks, 100 hand grenade attacks and 600 assaults with guns or explosives were reported by the Israel Defense Forces. The violence was directed at Israeli soldiers and civilians alike. Intra-Palestinian violence was also a prominent feature of the Intifada, with widespread executions of alleged Israeli collaborators contributing almost half of the death toll among Palestinians."

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

2. "The Palestinians looked at a situation more or less as you described
and decided it was the time to launch a terrorist war."

Yes, and this is how they obliterated the Israeli peace camp in one fell swoop. Before 2001, one of my moderate right-wing relatives was willing to internationalize Jerusalem in return for a genuine peace. After the experiences of the Second Intifada and unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza, most Israelis realize that concessions lead nowhere but to more conflict.


3. "The Palestinians will probably have to wait decades for independence because
of this crap."

I'm not convinced that independence is their top priority, but rather incremental victory over Israel. Maybe this will change once Fateh and Hamas enter the dustbin of history and get replaced by non-violent political parties.

P.S. - I know it's a bit off topic, but are you going to write about the recent Israel-Lebanon tensions and Jumblatt's apparent change of heart?

Posted by: supermontoya Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 11:40 PM

Gary,

I do not have problem with information you posted.
"cool it" is regarding tone of your post.
When you allow yourself to be rude your message only loses in delivery.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at August 5, 2009 4:30 AM

"In your opinion, do you think there the one state solution is viable?"

I know you didn't direct the question at me, but I'll answer anyway, because I think a one state solution IS possible.

But it would be different and not very much like the "Isratine" solutions that float around. And I think that such one state solutions would solve many problems in the middle east and North Africa.

Basically, the one state solution I envision, not just for Israel but for other countries in the region too, would be a nation state for a local people that simply has a large minority (or even a majority) of Arab nationals.

In the case of Israel, the country would be as the Zionists originally envisioned: a Jewish state, with a Jewish national identity, and Jewish and Arab citizens with equal rights and two official languages Hebrew and Arabic, with Hebrew being the "national language" as well. And the citizens of the country should be loyal to THEIR COUNTRY and not cling to some Arab empire they want to found with no regard to non-Arab population groups.

Heck, it worked in Germany with the German-speaking mostly Catholic south and the (originally) Dutch-speaking mostly Protestant north. It worked so well, few people even know that northern Germany has traditionally more in common with the Netherlands than with Bavaria or Saxony. I don't see why it couldn't work with Jews and Arabs in Israel.

And I think the same solution could be applied to the other troubled countries too:

North-Africa should become a federation of bi-national Imazighen (Berber) and Arab states and both languages (Tamazight and Arabic) should be official.

Lebanon could remember its Phoenician roots and possibly try to revive Phoenician just like Israel revived Hebrew. (They could use much of the same techniques and even materials as the languages are so similar.)

Syria must become a nation state for Aramaeans. It will have an Arab majority, but Aramaic should become an official language.

And the same solution might work in Iraq with Kurds, Assyrians, and Arabs. (Assyrians speak Aramaic, but for reasons of national pride they could declare ancient Akkadian a national language of Iraq.)

I am all for such a one state solution. And apart from a general mistrust towards an Arab population that promised extermination of all Jews if they get the chance, I doubt Israelis have a general problem with such a solution.

Ultimately this solution would even accommodate the Arab refugees as they could return to their homes (in the Jewish state, where they will learn Hebrew). When their ancestors moved into the region over a thousand years ago they KNEW they were moving into the Jewish home land. So why not live in it now?

This solution is close to the solution originally envisioned by Weizmann and Emir Faisal. So why not simply do what two smart men tried to do?

But for this to happen the Arabs HAVE to change their attitude toward non-Arab peoples. The onus is on the Arabs. It is they who very clearly have a problem with Berbers, Sudanese African tribes, Jews, Assyrians, Kurds, Syrian Christians etc.. The Arab-Israeli conflict does not stand in isolation. It is just one of many Arab conflicts.

Arab nationalism will have to learn that the world is not an Arab proto-empire waiting to be ruled by Arab rulers and that the middle east is not Arab. And Muslim fundamentalism, very popular among Arabs, will have to prove itself or shut up. Just being able to murder more people than others is not a basis for a claim to power, not if the others are ultimately stronger anyway.

And there will remain Arab nation states too; in Arabia.

And if everything were perfect, Saudi-Arabia would return the land it stole from the Hashemites. Then we'd be back where we could have been if things hadn't gone horribly wrong after 1919.

Posted by: Leauki Author Profile Page at August 5, 2009 6:17 AM

This article implies that the limited economic development in the West Bank in recent years is largely due to Palestine's own efforts, and not due to Israeli policies:

http:/
/palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1030

Any responses?

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at August 5, 2009 1:02 PM

The economy in the territories is better than in some Arab and many African countries. It was also better when the West-Bank was completely under Israeli control.

I assume this is due to Israeli policies, yes.

Posted by: Leauki Author Profile Page at August 5, 2009 2:31 PM

Israel worked closely with Abbas to create a security system totally lacking in Gaza. Better security and less violence led to increased prosperity. Yes, Israel helped this critical factor unfold. Is that enough of an answer for you?

Increased security lead to increased foreign investment. Follow? Unlike Gaza, Jordan also prevented the large scale importation of weapons. Following?

Good, you might get it. Or not.

Posted by: maxtrue Author Profile Page at August 5, 2009 4:34 PM

Leo, it is Michael that allows Gary to act that way. He called me a Nazi bitch and was never banned. Why is it I get the feeling if I did the same, I would be banned?

Posted by: molly Author Profile Page at August 5, 2009 5:31 PM

I have mentioned before that societies are build from the bottom up, not the top down. If enough West Bankers can see the value of prosperity based on economic growth, then they might even unite enough to elect local leaders who agree and support that concept, rather than one based on killing infidels and restoring the Caliphate.
Such a development would mean keeping the forces (metaphorical not only physical) of Iran, Hezb'allah and Hamas far away and changing the educational norm from anti Israeli to something more meaningful and truthful (this includes local media).
Such a move would almost certainly invite foreign investment and the creation strong infrastructure.
My personal feeling is that such a situation is more likely to develop on the West Bank than in Gaza and that there may eventually be an East and West Palestine, maybe.
But if the conference in Bethlehem is any indication, the leaders on a larger level are not yet there.

Posted by: JB Author Profile Page at August 5, 2009 6:27 PM

"Police stations are valid targets in a war"
I think you're wrong there Leauki. Police are civilians and have the same rights and protections as any other civilians.

Posted by: mrzee Author Profile Page at August 5, 2009 7:05 PM

Police play different roles in different places. In Gaza they often play a dual role. And police in Iran? It depends on their behavior.

Leo, if the following is true, then there is a serious escalation in the struggle between the West and Russia. Perhaps Hillary was right after all.

hxxp://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=6210

I don't think Michael is checking his spam folder so I will resort to the old way.......

Posted by: maxtrue Author Profile Page at August 5, 2009 7:54 PM

mrzee, armed police and army are combatants and legitimate targets in war.

One way Israel disrupts private sector activity in the West Bank is the arbitrary confiscation of private Palestinian territory using the "Custodian of Absentee Property Law" statute (eminent domain.) Since 1961, the Israel Land Administration (or, "ILA") has administered many of these "absentee" or confiscated Palestinian properties. "Eretz Israel" expanded these laws to the West Bank and Gaza.

It is hard to convince economic agents to engage in long term investment, and business collaboration in the absence of predictable and enforceable property rights.

Has Israel offered financial compensation to the owners of Palestinian private property for previous IDF military actions in the West Bank? How do business people know Israel will offer financial compensation for future damages?

In this environment, it is expensive and difficult to obtain business insurance.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at August 5, 2009 8:39 PM

"Leo, it is Michael that allows Gary to act that way. He called me a Nazi bitch and was never banned."

Molly,

I do not know what to say. I hope it is because Michael just missed it and I hope Gary will finally apologize.

"Why is it I get the feeling if I did the same, I would be banned?"

Sorry, I do not know why you get this feeling.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at August 5, 2009 9:17 PM

"[Police stations are valid targets in a war]
I think you're wrong there Leauki."

You may be right, but in case of Gaza police for example those guys were directing traffic before lunch and firing rockets into Israel after lunch, then back to directing rush hour traffic again.

I'd say policemen like that are legitimate targets.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at August 5, 2009 9:21 PM

"He called me a Nazi bitch"

I went back and reviewed that thread. The full quote is "filthy evil lying Nazi bitch", prompted by her flat assertion that Israel is trying to "exterminate" Palestinians. Because of that, I will NEVER retract or apologize for that statement, harsh as it is. Sorry Leo. If Michael wishes to ban me, I will accept that - it is his blog and I will still have great respect for what he does.

I also found one small bit of irony in that thread. In one post I pointed out that Palestinians in fact have better living conditions than Iranians in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality and literacy. molly, desperately trying to prove me wrong, made the following statement:

"the Iranians did not just have hundreds of their citizens massacred for...voting the wrong way"
[Note - the ellipsis is molly's own, I did not alter her quote in any way]

I guess that's "OBE" as they say, bwahahaha.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at August 6, 2009 1:43 AM

He called me a Nazi bitch and was never banned. Why is it I get the feeling if I did the same, I would be banned?

That's so weird, molly! Some of your readers called me a nazi. Instead of banning them, you laughed! And then I got banned! But maybe I was just imagining all that, because you couldn't possibly be criticizing about somebody else for acting the same way you do, could you?

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at August 6, 2009 3:37 AM

I think you're wrong there Leauki. Police are civilians and have the same rights and protections as any other civilians.

mrzee, civilian/military has nothing to do with it. It is possible to be in the military and still be a "protected person" and it is possible to be a civilian and NOT be a "protected person".

Police are valid military targets under some conditions. It depends on what kinds of activities they've been involved in. There isn't any hard and fast rule. If police are actively supporting a war effort, they are considered combatants.

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at August 6, 2009 3:42 AM

Craig, I am pretty sure you aren't banned. Sometimes her blog deletes comments in unpredictable ways.

For the record, Molly is not:
-"filthy"
-"evil"
-"Nazi"
-"bitch"
Molly isn't a liar either. She writes what she genuinely believes to be true. If you believe that her statements do not reflect reality, then please politely explain why what she writes is inaccurate. There is never any edge to bad manners.

Yes Khamenei has now murdered hundreds of his own people for "voting the wrong way." I am pretty sure she is no fan of Khamenei.

I am pretty sure Molly didn't argue that the Israelis were trying to kill Palestinians. Rather she meant that many Israelis were trying to persuade Palestinians to move away from Palestine. This is a widely held view among Palestinians.

Personally, I think Palestinians contribute a lot to the Israeli economy (many of the best technologists, graduate students, VCs, and start up team members are Palestinians.) Israelis greatly benefit from the presence of Palestinians in the occupied territories in many other ways, including culture, tourism, business investment opportunities, etc. So I would think that Israelis would want Palestinians to stay in Israel and the West Bank. I would also think that Israelis would want to encourage Palestinians from the occupied territories and diaspora to work, do business and live in Israel proper.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at August 6, 2009 9:46 AM

Molly isn't a liar either. She writes what she genuinely believes to be true.

Well, she said things that weren't true about comments she made, comments I made, and comments others made - on her blog. So if she actually believed those things were true, she's got some kind of mental disorder that affects her short term memory. Or, she's a liar.

Also, she seems to have told you things that aren't true about my "banned" status on her blog. Maybe she banned me (or somebody else did) and then they unbanned me, and now she's telling you that I was never banned. And anand, you know very well that the only reason I ever commented or even read that blog in the first place is because you said she was threatening to ban YOU. I told you several times I didn't want to get involved on that blog and that I didn't think you should care if they banned you or not :)

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at August 6, 2009 2:28 PM
molly: He called me a Nazi bitch and was never banned. Why is it I get the feeling if I did the same, I would be banned?

Well, when you lie down with Nazis, you get up with swastikas.

Perhaps even MJT tacitly agrees that your unceasing support of those "anti-Zionists" who preach and enact policies wherein Jewish men, women, and children are murdered where they work, live, eat, commute, and pray - as a prelude to genocide - is no different than those who supported a certain mid-20th century fascist German party with the same goals. Can you guess who they were?

Posted by: Li'l Mamzer Author Profile Page at August 6, 2009 7:08 PM

"I am pretty sure Molly didn't argue that the Israelis were trying to kill Palestinians. Rather she meant that many Israelis were trying to persuade Palestinians to move away from Palestine."

She used the word "exterminate". The ONLY possible meaning she could have had was that Israel intends to murder every Palestinian, and she was clearly trying to draw moral equivalence between Israel and Nazi Germany. There is NO other possible interpretation of what she wrote.

Furthermore, you know this, anand. All you have done here is prove once again what a compulsive, malevolent liar you are.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at August 6, 2009 11:25 PM

Deliberately skipping all previous discussion - comparing Khaled Meshal to Nouri Al-Maliki is a poor and strange comparison. The lines in the incentive and affiliation tree are nothing alike. For Pete's sake, we were using our soldiers to protect Maliki, protect his allies, and kill his enemies. Turning on the Sadrite militias may, at least in the short term, have been good for Iraq, if only in the sense that it makes the emergence of the dictatorship a less bloody one in the long run, but it was also Maliki putting the smack down on his enemies. He didn't do it for us or for love of free debate. He did it because he thought he was strong enough to do it. Comparing Meshal to the Maliki yardstick is absurd. We don't have US soldiers out their begging Meshal to do things that were in the interests of him consolidating power in exchange for their protection of him and his movement. To put it another way, we're not allies. Of course your allies are going to take more significant risks for you than your, um, hostile powers.

That's only one man's interpretation, of course. Sure, Khaled Meshal's concession - not unique from Hamas, just unique from him personally - is not equivalent to a complete list of concessions that we might ultimately want, and/or need. That doesn't make it insignificant. It's a signal that Hamas wants to talk, and/or deal. I imagine that this is because Syria wants the same thing.

Try to stop doing this magical thinking thing where 'significant' equals 'everything I want'. It's sloppy analysis. Sure, if Meshal ended "anti-Israel incitement", promised to surrender the all rights to refugees, maybe cut the 100% of the West Bank down to accepting 80%, handed over water rights and agreed to cut Viagra commercials with Bob Dole then middle-east peace might be handed to us on a platter. That's rather too high a bar for 'signifigance'.

In conclusion, don't look the gift horse in the mouth this time.

Two further PS's - it's shallow and naive to equate the cessation of Hamas' rockets with Israel's blowing up things up, something even you might have been tipped off to by the seven month interval where this didn't happen, not to mention the years prior to this where such things didn't happen. There's a genuine truce now, A, and B, America has stopped acting like Israel's submissive. The calculus of resistance has changed on more than the cost end. Moving to a nonviolent strategy gives the glimmer of getting more back than a punch in the face.

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at August 7, 2009 6:09 AM

Comment threads are depressing. More leo and anand, less molly and gary rosen. In other words, more discussion of the middle east, less whining and/or endless jihad against your fellow commenters, please.

Gary, as usual, you've some rather amazing nerve justifying your verbal abuse of Molly because she attributes an extremist-like exaggerated view of Israel's hostility to the Palestinians, considering your quote in this very comment thread -

anand eats it right up and resumes his idolatry of Hamas because he shares this annihilationist agenda.

You are a hypocrite who embodies the same fundamentalism, willful misrepresentation slash dubious mind-reading, and hateful intolerance that you claim to oppose. I say that not out of anger, but just as pattern-matching. You only have a problem with extremist rhetoric when it's not coming out of your own mouth. You have no standing to make any complaints about anyone.

Molly, the moderation here is biased. Get over it, or go home. I'm not above whining to the refs, but your approach to it is a futile one. Concentrate more on specific examples, stick to the present rather than resurrecting old crap, and most of all, maintain a higher signal-to-noise ratio. And don't expect the big picture to change. You're free to make a civil case for your point of view using restrained language. That's the best you're going to get.

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at August 7, 2009 7:01 AM

"Police are valid military targets under some conditions. It depends on what kinds of activities they've been involved in. There isn't any hard and fast rule. If police are actively supporting a war effort, they are considered combatants"

That doesn't make police any different than anyone else. Anyone involved in fighting is a combatant and those not involved, are non-combatants.

Just because police carry guns does not make them combatants. That's like the palestinian reasoning for attacking busses and restaurants: All Israelis are members of the army, therefore there are no civilians

Having an air force doesn't make civilian pilots a legitimate target and having an army doesn't make civilian police legitimate targets.

Posted by: mrzee Author Profile Page at August 8, 2009 6:10 AM

That doesn't make police any different than anyone else. Anyone involved in fighting is a combatant and those not involved, are non-combatants.

Hamas is a terror gang targeting civilians for murder. Hamas is therefore itself a legitimate target, wherever they are and whatever function individual elements of the terror gang may have.

Hamas "police" = Hamas = legitimate targets

ID: FIRE AWAY

Posted by: Li'l Mamzer Author Profile Page at August 8, 2009 7:37 AM

ID: FIRE AWAY

IDF: FIRE AWAY

there, fixed it

Posted by: Li'l Mamzer Author Profile Page at August 8, 2009 7:39 AM

mrzee,

When police is just a police, then I agree, they must be treated like civilians.

However, as you put it correctly: "Anyone involved in fighting is a combatant and those not involved, are non-combatants.", then if I may suggest we forgo talking abstracts and get down to particular cases.
I say, Hamas police, for example, is legitimate target. Do you agree or disagree?

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at August 8, 2009 8:38 AM

Li'l Mamzer, civilian members of Hamas are not legitimate targets. Hamas fighters and policeman are military targets in a war.

Hamas is the Gaza government. As a result all public sector governance and social services in Gaza work for Hamas. Many of these civilian employees (including many members of Hamas) oppose terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians.

Any Palestinians is free to vote for Hamas, Fatah, Barghouti (who I greatly admire), or any other political party. Voting for Hamas does not make someone a military target. Joining Hamas' militia or police force does.

I for one hope that war does not break out again between Israel and Hamas. This serves no one's interests. After all, Israel helped promote Hamas in the 1960 and 1970s. There is no reason to believe that Israel and Hamas won't be able to reach some mutual partnership in the future.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at August 8, 2009 10:39 AM

Anand, I'd have to look it up to be sure, but just going from memory I believe the organs of government are considered to be valid targets.

Same with infrastructure, like powerplants bridges, roadways, communications networks, etc.

It's a complex issue, and there are a lot of gray areas. But that's why the Hague and Geneva Conventions exist: to try to make sense of it all.

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at August 8, 2009 11:25 AM

Li'l Mamzer, civilian members of Hamas are not legitimate targets. Hamas fighters and policeman are military targets in a war.

Not to you, of course. That's no shock given your incessant soft-pedal of the Hamas genocidal death-cult, unsurpassed in barbarity on the planet today. Keep trying, though. There are tin-foil-hat rubes out there still wanting to rationalize being in the Hamas fan club.
=====================================

Hamas is the Gaza government. As a result all public sector governance and social services in Gaza work for Hamas. Many of these civilian employees (including many members of Hamas) oppose terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians.

Not buying it. Those who voted for Hamas, and certainly those who work to sustain Hamas, understand full well what Hamas is and what its strategic and operational goals are. Keep trying, though. The more you shill for Hamas, the more vile you come across.
===============================

Any Palestinians is free to vote for Hamas, Fatah, Barghouti (who I greatly admire), or any other political party. Voting for Hamas does not make someone a military target. Joining Hamas' militia or police force does.

You really mean to say that any Palestinian is free to support, promote, elect, and empower an Islamist death cult whose stated aim is to destroy a nation (that's genocide) by slaughtering the inhabitants and taking their land. Nothing wrong with that, now, is there Anand? What is it you greatly admire about Barghouti? His conviction on five counts of murder? As a Hamas supporter, your great admiration for the unrepentant Tanzim killer of Israeli children is no surprise.
==============================

I for one hope that war does not break out again between Israel and Hamas. This serves no one's interests.

It might very. Hamas could be crushed. You see that as a bad thing, don't you, Anand? What is it about Hamas's chokehold on the people of Gaza that makes you hope for its continued survival?
================================

After all, Israel helped promote Hamas in the 1960 and 1970s.

That's standard far-left talking-point drivel. Does that rationalize everything that Hamas has done and become, and publicly aims to do in the future?
==================================

There is no reason to believe that Israel and Hamas won't be able to reach some mutual partnership in the future.

Oh, no, of course not. As long as Israel agrees that its participation in this 'partnership' is to die. Other than that minor sticking point, you have really given us some astute and nuanced analysis, Anand. Kudos to you.

Posted by: Li'l Mamzer Author Profile Page at August 8, 2009 1:34 PM

Anand: "After all, Israel helped promote Hamas in the 1960 and 1970s."

I believe this is common misconception.

First, 60s and 70s are way too early for Hamas.

Second, Mashaal would disagree with you:
www.antiwar.com/orig/rupp.php?articleid=10195

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at August 8, 2009 2:10 PM

For the record, I admire Mustafa Barghouti
http:/
/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustafa_Barghouti
I like Barghouti far more than Hamas. I am not a Hamas supporter, and frequently bash them, including for their poor governance since being elected. At the same time I think Israel and America should negotiate with Hamas.

I also think America should be open to collaborating with Hamas against extremist Takfiris such as AQ linked networks. This does not mean I think America should back Hamas against Israel or encourage Palestinians to vote for Hamas versus Fatah or Mustafa Barghouti.

Leo, Mashaal is embarrassed by some of Hamas' prior history of collaborating with Israel, hence his desire obfuscate that partnership.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at August 8, 2009 4:26 PM

I also think America should be open to collaborating with Hamas against extremist Takfiris such as AQ linked networks.

Let me know when they renounce terrorism and decide they want to make peace with Israel, anand, and maybe we'll have something to discuss :)

This does not mean I think America should back Hamas against Israel...

Well, that's kinda the rub, isn't it? I mean, besides the whole thing about HAMAS being a terrorist group. What do you suppose would happen if the US did make some kind of sleazy "alliance" with HAMAS, and then HAMAS and Israel started going at it hot and heavy again? As of now, the US has never been directly involved in all that crap, but if the stakes get raised that could easily change. And I don't think that would be in anyone's interests.

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at August 8, 2009 6:03 PM

"Mashaal is embarrassed by some of Hamas' prior history of collaborating with Israel, hence his desire obfuscate that partnership."

It is very much possible, however, unless you have something to support your statement I'd call it a speculation.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at August 8, 2009 6:39 PM

"After all, Israel helped promote Hamas in the 1960 and 1970s."

Hamas did not exist until the 1980s. Once again anand proves he is a compulsive liar who just makes things up.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at August 9, 2009 12:52 AM

Even if Israel did help promote Hamas, how's that working out for them now? Maybe empowering terrorists in an effort to 'fight' terrorists isn't such a hot idea.

This accusation only provides more proof that allying with terrorists in an effort to fight terrorists is stupid and self-destructive. This continually failed tactic empowers terrorists and encourages people to mistrust their own plainly incompetent government.

The British Empire used this tactic, and it's one of the major reasons why Britain is a former empire today. The Brits are now in complete economic decline. They rely on Russian and Saudi money to survive, and they bow to Russian and Saudi demands. Do we really want to follow in Britain's footsteps?

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at August 9, 2009 8:20 AM

The reason for Britain's decline was slow technological innovation or total factor productivity growth; and slow population growth. The Brits failed to transform their imperial subjects into British citizens and convert itself into a multiethnic diverse free democracy.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at August 9, 2009 10:20 AM

The Brits failed to transform their imperial subjects into British citizens and convert itself into a multiethnic diverse free democracy.

It's worse than that, anand. Their best and brightest left to start new lives North America, Australia, New Zealand, etc. And the brits were happy to give them a boot in the ass to help them out the door. There are probably 3x more people who are "ethnically" British in the US alone than there are in Great Britain. Birth rates can't even come close to reconciling that.

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at August 9, 2009 10:37 AM

Craig, I agree completely. For the record, I am not anti Brit ;-) I don't think Craig is either.

Any response to a series of Friedman articles about the improving West Bank economy? The latest is here:
http:/
/www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/opinion/09friedman.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

Friedman is arguing that the 4 Jordanian/US trained Palestinian National Security Forces battalions are performing well on the field. Any thoughts regarding the NSF? Could the NSF be expanded in size, assume full responsibility for security in the West Bank (including for Israeli citizen settlers in the occupied territories), and eventually even recapture and administer all of Gaza?

Could the NSF allow Israel to greatly ease restrictions on Palestinians commuting to work in Israel; Palestinians visiting Israel and conducting business inside Israel? Could Israel perhaps grant many work visas and higher education visas to Palestinians from the diaspora and West Bank?

I think that perhaps one appropriate way for Israel to respond to the success of the NSF is to announce that 25% of all Israeli college/university freshman admissions would be reserved in an "affirmative action" type program for occupied territory and diaspora Palestinian students. All the Palestinian students should be given 100% Israeli government paid scholarships.

Perhaps it might be instructive to discuss how much the West Bank economy is improving; and what Israel can do to encourage this. One idea I have is that the Israeli government should provide affordable insurance to Palestinian business people to cover against the risk of Israeli land confiscation, war related battle damage, and terrorist/crime related damage. This would be a way for Israel to demonstrate its confidence in the NSF and Palestinian Authority, and in the safety and business climate in the occupied territories.

If Israeli citizens start having confidence in the NSF, then Israel should suggest that hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in the West Bank become dual Palestinian/Israeli citizens; and that Palestinians should have a right to buy/rent property and visit all settlements in the occupied territories. This desegregation of the settlements might facilitate final settlement negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at August 9, 2009 12:14 PM

anand,

Seems like all your propose solutions boil down to "Israel must give money to the Arabs".

Why exactly can we not start by asking the Arabs to pay money to Israel? That would create confidence among Israelis.

Posted by: Leauki Author Profile Page at August 11, 2009 4:12 AM

1. Bring up the concept of "land for peace" and I will want to know how much land Israel is going to receive in exchange for peace.

2. Bring up the concept of "illegal settlements" and I will want to know whether those rules should also affect Arab settlements in Israel or whether they are rules against Jews only. I will reject any anti-Semitic rules.

3. Bring up the refugee question and I will want to know how much each Jewish and Arab refugee is supposed to receive as compensation. There have been more Jewish than Arab refugees in this conflict. I support equal compensation for each individual.

4. And finally, bring up the question of annexation of land and occupation of Islamic holy cities and I will enthusiastically support any measure designed to convince the Saudis to withdraw from the Kingdom of Hejaz and the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina. I will want to address the holy cities in order of Islamic holiness.

Posted by: Leauki Author Profile Page at August 12, 2009 5:38 AM
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