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Post-Biden Snub: Dealing With Israel - Editorial

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: Israel, Palestine, Gaza, West Bank, human rights, freedoms )

Diane V
- 3384 days ago -
FTA :If settlers stay, then what we have is either one state with equal rights for Jews and Palestinians, or one state with no rights for Palestinians - which is what we have right now as far as the millions of Palestinians in the West Bank are concerned


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Pat Prest (50)
Wednesday March 17, 2010, 1:49 pm

Until the States are willing to put the Israeli's in their place and start making demands of their own, things will continue on as usual, for Israel.

Obama, must make it clear that the US will not tolerate their actions against the Palestinians, and no more building, start the peace talks or their backing will be with drawn...

If the US does not stand up and be counted the Israelis will continue the same as they always have.

Diane V M (37)
Wednesday March 17, 2010, 2:04 pm
Hi Pat. I totally agree with you.

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Wednesday March 17, 2010, 3:22 pm

Thank you, Pat!

Rajee Seetharam (138)
Friday March 19, 2010, 6:39 am

Marthe B (9)
Friday March 19, 2010, 7:29 am
Peace?i don't even watch the news about it!how can we have any hope of peace...may be in hundreds of years??i wish it could happen very fast but it seems people out of the place try to decide something and on the ground the real players live in hell and unjustice,some trying desperatly to work for peace and some others only living with hatred ...May God bless them all and give them peace,miracles still happen i believe :)

. (0)
Friday March 19, 2010, 9:25 am
I certainly hope that they will create an equal opportunity for both sides, we are all one at the end of the day.. fruit from the same tree, so we cannot say to either one we do not need each other... talks need to centre around a committment to both sides.. without predjudice

Marilyn K (50)
Friday March 19, 2010, 1:45 pm
There will be no peace until the Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist and learn to compromise with their demands.

Bruce C D (89)
Friday March 19, 2010, 2:01 pm
I agree, Pat, that the U.S. is not impartial in this conflict. It never has been, although many years ago we did seek to curb some Israeli excesses. I think the crux of the problem boils down to a misinformed and under-informed American public. Most here favor Israel, even though they don't fully understand the history and issues. If they realized that it made no sense to alleviate one people's persecution by substituting it for or transferring it to another people, they would probably feel differently (basically, what the U.K. and U.S. permitted, abated and condoned constitutes racism against Palestinians). If racism is wrong against Jews, it is also wrong against Palestinians. Adding to the injustice, blameless Palestinians are being made to suffer and pay the highest price for the persecution of Jews at the hands of Europeans.

Bruce C D (89)
Friday March 19, 2010, 2:03 pm
In 1947, just before Israel declared statehood, only 6% of Palestine was Jewish-owned. How do you justify creating a Jewish state on 50% of Palestine when the land was overwhelmingly under Palestinian ownership and most of the Jews at that time were there illegally or as temporary refugees? Keep in mind that Palestinians had national aspirations since before the Ottoman breakup, long before any Zionists arrived in Palestine, and that the British Mandate made the U.K. responsible for preserving the rights of the indigenous Palestinians. Changing the demographic makeup of Palestine, as the U.K. permitted and initially encouraged, violated the rights of the indigenous people they were obliged to protect. We are actively complicit in this terrible injustice that has been perpetrated upon the Palestinian people, and each passing year we become further complicit with our support and acquiescence towards Israel.

Bruce C D (89)
Friday March 19, 2010, 2:33 pm
Marilyn K.--
So the Palestinians should just roll over and sacrifice all their rights in the name of peace? I suppose you would have had George Washington surrender our rights in the name of peace, as well?

What exactly is it that gives Israel the "right" to exist, but not Palestine, whose land Israel stole to build their nation? Why aren't you pushing for Israel to recognize Palestine's right to exist? What precisely are the further compromises you expect from the Palestinians? Why no mention of any Israeli compromises?

Do you think laws should apply to everyone, or should there be exceptions exempting Israel? If you are unwilling to apply the same laws to Israel, isn't that a form of racism? If you believe laws must be respected and applied equally, that means Palestinians should be granted the right of return.

The barrier to peace isn't the Palestinians--it's always been Israel, something that is obvious to objective, informed observers. It is incumbent upon Israel to offer a fair and just solution, but since their inception they have been more inclined towards expanding their interests and preserving unjust gains. If you read the history, you realize how few Zionists had any care for Palestinian justice even before statehood. And if you were better informed, you'd know how rampant racism still is among Israeli Jews today.

Diane V M (37)
Friday March 19, 2010, 2:48 pm
Thank you to all who commented! (Bruce D. you write so eloquently!)

David R (26)
Friday March 19, 2010, 3:19 pm
Wall Street Journal

MARCH 15, 2010, 7:04 P.M. ET

The Settlements Aren't the Problem
The Palestinians' beef with Israel isn't territorial—it's existential.



I once got an angry letter from Baruch Goldstein's father. Goldstein, remember, was an Israeli settler who in 1994 entered the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and gunned down 29 Muslim worshippers. A decade later, I wrote a column for the Jerusalem Post in which I described Goldstein as personifying Israel's lunatic extreme. The father insisted that his son deserved to be celebrated as a hero. Indeed, his grave site was transformed into a shrine until the Israeli army eventually tore it down.

It's easy to dislike Israel's settlements, and still easier to dislike many of the settlers. Whatever your view about the legality or justice of the enterprise, it takes a certain cast of mind to move your children to places where they are more likely to be in harm's way. In the current issue of the American Interest, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer persuasively spells out the many ways in which the settlement movement has undermined Israel's own rule of law, and hence its democracy. And as last week's diplomatic eruption over the prospective construction of 1,600 housing units in municipal Jerusalem shows, the settlements are a constant irritant to the United States, one friend Israel can't afford to lose.

So it would be a splendid thing for Israel to tear down its settlements, put the settlers behind its pre-1967 borders and finally reach the peace deal with the Palestinians that has been so elusive for so long.

Except for one problem: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn't territorial. It's existential. Israelis are now broadly prepared to live with a Palestinian state along their borders. Palestinians are not yet willing to live with a Jewish state along theirs.

That should help explain why it is that in the past decade, two Israeli prime ministers—Ehud Barak in 2000 and Ehud Olmert in 2008—have put forward comprehensive peace offers to the Palestinians, and have twice been rebuffed. In both cases, the offers included the division of Jerusalem; in the latter case, it also included international jurisdiction over Jerusalem's holy places and concessions on the subject of Palestinian refugees. Current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also offered direct peace talks. The Palestinians have countered by withdrawing to "proximity talks" mediated by the U.S.

It also helps explain other aspects of Palestinian behavior. For Hamas, Tel Aviv is no less a "settlement" than the most makeshift Jewish outpost on the West Bank. The supposedly moderate Fatah party has joined that bandwagon, too: Last year, Mohammed Dahlan, one of Fatah's key leaders, said the party was "not bound" by the 1993 Oslo Accords through which the PLO recognized Israel.

Then there is the test case of Gaza. When Israel withdrew all of its settlements from the Strip in 2005, it was supposed to be an opportunity for Palestinians to demonstrate what they would do with a state if they got one. Instead, they quickly turned it into an Iranian-backed Hamas enclave that for nearly three years launched nonstop rocket and mortar barrages against Israeli civilians. Israel was ultimately able to contain that violence, but only at the price of a military campaign that was vehemently denounced by the very people who had urged Israel to withdraw in the first place.

As it happens, I supported Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, bloody-minded neocon though I am. On balance, I still think it was the right thing to do. By 2005, Israel's settlements in the Strip had become military and political liabilities. But there is a duty to take account of subsequent developments. And the sad fact is that the most important thing Israel's withdrawal from Gaza accomplished was to expose the fanatical irredentism that still lies at the heart of the Palestinian movement.

The withdrawal exposed other things too. For years, Israel's soi-disant friends, particularly in Europe, had piously insisted that they supported Israel's right to self-defense against attacks on Israel proper. But none of them lifted a finger to object to the rocket attacks from Gaza, while they were outspoken in denouncing Israel's "disproportionate" use of retaliatory force.

Similarly, Israel withdrew from Gaza with assurances from the Bush administration that the U.S. would not insist on a return to the 1967 borders in brokering any future deal with the Palestinians. But Hillary Clinton reneged on that commitment last year, and now the administration is going out of its way to provoke a diplomatic crisis with Israel over a construction project that—assuming it ever gets off the ground—is plainly in keeping with past U.S. undertakings.

In the past decade, Israelis have learned that neither Palestinians nor Europeans can be taken at their word. That's a lesson they may soon begin to draw about the U.S. as well. Which is a pity for many reasons—not least because it gives the settler movement every excuse it needs to keep rolling right along.

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Carrie B (306)
Friday March 19, 2010, 3:25 pm
I wish all who spoke here were as informed as Bruce D. Perhaps some here think it would be acceptable for Spain or the UK to tell us that we need to move all Texans out of Texas and return it to Mexico, and while we are at it all Arizonans and New Mexicans should move and give that land back to to the Apaches? We wouldn't stand for that, so why are we so eager and complicit in what is going on in Israel and Palestine? I know it sounds very simplistic, but think about it for a while.

Diane V M (37)
Friday March 19, 2010, 4:09 pm
David R. agreed that the situation isn't territorial but existential. Israel does not want Palestinians to exist. I have read every word of the entire article you posted. I have given over this afternoon to contemplating it. I would share with you that the article is unfortunately filled with falsehoods and half-truths, so many that to do it full justice I cannot do today and for that I do apologize. But what I can say is that what the writer has to say about Gaza could not have been topped by Goebbels himself.

They pulled the few thousand settlers occupying Gaza out, and then they cordoned it off. The starving of Gaza, I have refreshed my knowledge this afternoon, horrifyingly did not begin three years ago, the figure is in fact 10 years of suffering. I leave you with the following from Wikipedia, below. Gaza was not given a chance. It is to this that the people of Palestine responded to in the 2006 elections, and is the cause of the futile home-made rockets being launched. Not the other way around.


Over the period between 2000 and 2006 as a consequence of the Gaza conflict and Israel's ensuing military operations in the Strip, it is estimated that there was a loss of $42,846,895 in Gazan agricultural productivity, due to the destruction of land, trees, vegetables and greenhouses.[11]

The Israel Defence Forces left the Gaza Strip on Sept 1, 2005 as part of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan. An 'Agreement on Movement and Access' between Israel and the Palestinian Authority was brokered by Condaleeza Rice in November 2005 to improve Palestinian freedom of movement and economic activity in the Gaza Strip. Under its terms, the Rafah crossing with Egypt was to be reopened, with transits monitored by the Palestinian National Authority and the European Union. However, only people with Palestinian ID, or foreign nationals, by exception, in certain categories, subject to Israeli oversight, were permitted to cross in and out. All goods, vehicles and trucks to and from Egypt had to pass through the Israeli crossing at Kerem Shalom, under full Israeli supervision[12]. Goods were also permitted transit at the Karni crossing in the north.

However, throughout 2006, the latter terminal remained only partially operational, costing Palestinians losses of $500,000 a day, as less than 10% of the Gaza Strip's minimal daily export targets were achieved. Basic food commodities were severely depleted, bakeries closed and food rationing was introduced.[13]

David R (26)
Friday March 19, 2010, 5:39 pm
In line with "Diane V. McLoughlin" you take a word completely out of context and invent a "new truth". How do you know that we agree on anything? I haven't added my opinion, yet. I have placed a well thought out argument about the biggest problem facing any Israel-Palestinian peace deal. The Hamas charter, with a few quotes from the Quran, directly states that the only way to peace is to kill all of the Jews. They look for the freeing of Tel Aviv. No 2 state solution here. In the West Bank they name a square after the women terrorist that killed 27 civilians including 17 children. Today a Thai worker was killed by those "little old quassams" that don't harm anyone, so why does Israel make such a big fuss? Look anywhere in Hamas controlled Gaza which, btw, is also having strict trade restriction applied by Egypt and one has some childrens mouse charachter dying in a homocide bombing as a martyr.There is no talk of a 2 state solution rather a glorious country living under sharia law. Ask almost anyone who use information from the site you quote and they want a "non-Jewish" State of Israel. Nevermind that Arab citizens of Israel have more rights and freedoms than anywhere in the Arab world. We agree? I don't think so.

Sylvie M (46)
Friday March 19, 2010, 7:36 pm
Amen, Bruce D. ! You've written all I've always thought in your few posts here... It's about time people start to learn the hows and whys of the whole situation of this part of the world and the various populations who have lived on it.
Unfortunately, most of the time, the talks are strongly biased, and the most obvious reason is people are reacting on an emotional reasons rather than on rational ones, based on historical facts from Biblical times up to post WW2.

eileen k (1)
Friday March 19, 2010, 9:28 pm
TX, Pat, for your comment on America's need to put Israel in its place; and, TX, Bruce D. for your most insightful article on the history of the Israeli/Palestinian situation.

I agree with you both. In order to be an honest broker in the peace process, the US must be neutral; not take sides; otherwise, it's not an honest broker. This nation's history of siding with Israel in these negotiations has delitimacized its role as a broker. And, look where this failure has led us; Israel thumbing its nose at the entire international community - including the US - through its illegal colonization of East Jerusalem.

We know what the Israeli plan for Palestine is: wipe it off the map after destroying Islam's third holiest shrine at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and replacing it with the Third Temple. Where will the US be at this point?? It had better stop this insanity before Israel drags the rest of the world down with it in its suicidal run.

The US must choose between peace in the entire Middle East and an Israel that has gone completely nuts. The fate of humanity depends on what the US does to deter further Israeli aggression.

Friday March 19, 2010, 10:22 pm
In complete agreement with Pat. It is time for the US to stop acting as enabling parents to a petulant child. It seems that any criticism of Israel leads to name calling and accusations of antisemitism. This is a very effective re-direction tactic. Also, if Israel wants peace it has to act in good faith and not continue on with construction of more settlements.
I constantly hear accusations against the Palestinians who will not give anything up. What Israel needs to realize is that it cannot negotiate based on what they want, but what the legally are entitled to.

Diane V M (37)
Saturday March 20, 2010, 2:14 am
David R in response to your points:

Hamas: Yes, Hamas's charter is an issue. But it came about under occupation and oppression.
Hamas leadership is on the record as being prepared to deal on peace with pre-1967 borders as the starting point for negotiations.

Hamas abided by the ceasefire in 2008. Israel did not. That would seem to run counter to what most people have been given to believe about the situation.

See CNN:

Likud: The current leadership ruling Israel is controlled by Likud. The Likud charter declares it the right of any Jew to settle throughout the West Bank. Their charter is as hardline as Hamas's. Hamas has demonstrated greater willingness to deal than Likud.

Here is an interesting statistical analysis done in 2000-2001 on media bias in reporting civilian deaths in the region:

On celebrating killing, I share the following youtube of ultra orthodox Jews in occupied East Jerusalem loudly singing songs celebrating the 1994 anniversary of Baruch Goldstein's cold-blooded massacre of Muslim worshipers - 29 dead, 150 injured. The loud party is for the benefit of their Palestinian neighbors.

Yes, a rocket was fired from Gaza and a Thai worker was killed. But what I do not hear addressed is the fact that the 1.5 million civilians of Gaza have been suffering under the weight of a murderous military siege which in reality has been starving them for ten years. Obviously they have no hope left at all. Nobody is going to help them get free of it. So what is proposed? Is the only thing left for them that would be found to be morally acceptable the Masada solution?

On the question of Egypt, yes, this is little discussed. Egypt gets a lot of money from the U.S. Egypt has a tiger by the tail in its internal unrest, as most Egyptian citizens do not agree with the Gaza blockade or the way their country is run. Time will tell how long Egypt's leadership can hold on.

Israel should be a secular state, with freedom of religion protected for all its citizens, as it is in every single civilized country on the planet. For Israel to insist that it is a state of one race, when 20% of its citizens in Israel proper, and millions more people in Gaza and the West Bank are Palestinian, is as bad as Apartheid South Africa calling itself a white country.

Palestinians do not have equal rights, period. If a Palestinian Israeli falls in love with a Palestinian who lives in the West Bank, they can never live together in Israel, because Israeli law forbids the West Bank Palestinian from ever gaining Israeli citizenship. That is only one example of the many ways that Palestinians are discriminated against.

I completely understand how Jews would want to find a place to be able to take a stand and if anybody tries to screw with them, never again! That is not the reason why some of them are there in Israel. Some of them are in Israel because they believe all the land, including Gaza, the West Bank and other bits here and there, was given to them by God. They don't think Palestinians actually have any rights. I disagree.

Marty H (119)
Saturday March 20, 2010, 2:35 am
As you can see, Bret Stephens used to work for the Jerusalem Post!
Need I say more?
The other people on here besides David R. have made honest unbiased comments and of course David is entitled to his opinion as we all are. But anyone who truly can not see how the Israeli Jews treat the Palestinians has to be blind in the form of denial beyond healthy! It is absolutely clear that the IDF type Israelis want the Palestinians completely out and want all the land for themselves. There is devotion and there is stepford mentality that is beyond sensible and mentally healthy!

Let's simplify this; Do you think it was healthy for the Germans to back Hitler just because they were German? What makes some of you think it's healthy to back the IDF/Mossad just because they are Jewish? There is a right and a wrong period. Although that varies slightly from person to person, there are still things that are wrong that should NEVER be backed! Such as treating any other people as inferiors! The world should NEVER back any group anywhere that looks at others as inferiors and Hitler if no one else should make that point quite clear!

Ellinor S (41)
Sunday March 21, 2010, 5:31 am
thank you

Bracha Katz (31)
Sunday March 21, 2010, 8:33 pm
every muslim who is an israeli citizen has all the right as jewish israelis. unfortunately, in gaza or other palestinian owned land, if a jew finds himself there, he's in big trouble. a couple of days ago some unarmed israeli soldiers accidentally went into an palestinian owned part of hebron and we attakeed by a bunch of palestinians. there are other examples with israeli civillians, not even soldiers. a jewish man was driving in jerusalem, he lost his way and drove into palestinian owned land, and he was stabbed. god help us that we should have peace in the middle east and all groups of people should have peace and harmony.

Diane V M (37)
Sunday March 21, 2010, 10:28 pm
Hi Tara l. With respect. Palestinian-Israelis who live in Israel do not have equal rights. If a Palestinian who is a citizen of Israel falls in love with a Palestinian who does not have Israeli citizenship, they can never live together in Israel. But any Jew anywhere in the world as soon as he steps onto Israel's soil, he is a citizen.

In point of fact, Palestinian-Israelis are discriminated against throughout Israeli life. They comprise 20% of Israel's population. Only 6% hold jobs in the pubic service. They are in all aspects treated as second-class citizens.

Those Israeli soldiers you speak about being beaten up in Hebron have no business being in Hebron. They are part of a military occupation which is used to oppress and control the Palestinians while settlers continue to move into and steal Palestinian lands.

The Jewish man being stabbed you provide no information as to the circumstances. No innocent person should be hurt by anybody.

We do not hear you speak to the Palestinians who have been killed by the IDF in recent days. When former Israeli leader Ehud Olmert saw the way occupied Palestinians were treated by settlers he said it was nothing less than a pogrom. I believe the scales fell from his eyes that day.

We do not hear you speak to the issue of the Palestinian children in Jerusalem being rounded up and beaten and held in detention by the IDF to continually make Palestinian residents so afraid that - the hope is - they leave their homes and give up.

If a Palestinian youth lashes out it is because of what is being done to him. Where is your discussion with regard to settler violence against the occupied Palestinians? It is nowhere to be found. If a Palestinian lashes out it is because he has been pushed to the breaking point by Israel. He is not free. He is denied hope. Israel would have nothing to defend itself against if it ceased its program of ethnically cleansing the Palestinian people out of their homes and lands.

As you say, God help you. Not only should god help you. Way down here while we all wait in the meantime, small as I am I am trying to help you. Cheryl and so many others are trying to help you. But no one can help you until you begin to think for yourselves and judge for yourselves and begin to do right by yourselves and speak out against this evil that says Jews have rights and Palestinians do not have rights.

You are all human beings. Jews and Palestinians are all Semites. The irony is that they are brothers by blood. Both share a strong attachment to the land. Both revere strong family and community ties. Both are pious and worship God and revere God. And within both communities are some who are secular and just want to be left to live their lives free from religious coersion or state intrusion. I see little difference between them.

You say god help us. God gave you life. That is how God helped you. Now you are supposed to help yourselves by treating others as you would be treated. It will be difficult. There is fear and mistrust on both sides. But if there is to be peace, must there not be a place where we can say, today, this is the day we will mark as the beginning of peace? It is time for Israel to ask itself, when do they envision that day coming? If not now, when?

David R (26)
Monday March 22, 2010, 12:09 pm
Hysteria, Hperbole and hate!!! Hamas does not in any way shape or form believe in a 2 state solution with one of those being the "Jewish" State of Israel.It says so in there charter. This acceptance you say is a "Hudna" which is a temporary armistice taken from the Koran. Mohammed gave a "Hudna" long enough to get armed and then slaughter the people he made the agreement with. Children are arrested anywhere when they throw stones at cops. Is there discrimination in Israel? Yes, and like any democracy it struggles to correct them but Israeli Arabs have more freedom and rights than in any other Arab country. What country would allow an adversary into there territory because they marry? All wars, unfortunately are about division. The US v Japan, UK v Argentina. In order to carry out wars each side dehumanizes there adversary in order to rationalize killing.

We have, you and I, severe disagreements on the history of the area. There has always been Jews in that area. Mark Twain comments after a visit to Jerusalem, how run down and not populated the area is but in Jerusalem there are many Jews even more than Arab. The land around the Galillee, (pardon spelling no spell check), was bought through Jewish and Zionist organizations from absentee Turkish and Syrian land lords. The entire area was a malaria infested swamp which the early Zionists drained and made into a rich farm land. This helped both the Jews and Arabs because the Arabs also began farming in those areas. Safed is where the Kabbalah was written and has Jewish history dating to the middle ages and beyond.

Once again, as stated brilliantly by Bret Stephens, the problem isn't about settelements it's about existance and the existance of an independent Jewish state. If that is not agreed upon there will be no agreement. Peace treaties between Egypt and Jordan stand because of reliable governments. If Israel were to return the west bank to Jordan and Gaza to Egypt, whom they captured the land from, there would already would have been peace. Another problem is one group of Palestinians may want peace but the other doesn't and there isn't anyone reliable to deal with. Who really speaks for the Palestinians?

Merv Gillespie (30)
Monday March 22, 2010, 5:16 pm

eileen k.

You write this:

“I agree with you both. In order to be an honest broker in the peace process, the US must be neutral; not take sides.”

Followed by this:

“We know what the Israeli plan for Palestine is: wipe it off the map”

“It had better stop this insanity before Israel drags the rest of the world down.”

“The US must choose between peace in the entire Middle East and an Israel that has gone completely nuts.”

And you probably don’t see the glaringly obvious contradiction there and expect people to take you seriously.
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