PDA

View Full Version : The Intra-Israeli Mideast Peace Debate


Bloggingheads
04-10-2008, 07:52 PM

ch504352
04-10-2008, 11:02 PM
The fundamental tension here is that Shmuel isn't sincerely committed to ending the settlements and Daniel is. They never broach the issue directly, of course, but it's there. No wonder they have such different security perspectives, and no wonder Daniel is far more convincing. Shmuel strikes me as the worst sort of apologist. He's forgotten his own rationalizations and is left with arguments that are as immoral as they are wrong.

Wonderment
04-10-2008, 11:04 PM
Another classic example of how extraordinarily difficult it is to get Israelis like Shmuel to a) see what's at stake; b) abandon failed and unsustainable policies; c) empathize even minimally with the plight of Palestinians; d) abandon self-righteousness and paranoia for a nanosecond; or e) acknowledge the crimes of the occupation.

Shmuel claims he doesn't want to re-argue the past but rather look to the future. But there is no future in his vision! Just an oppressive commitment to the status quo ("let's talk again in 20 years!")

כל הכבוד ותודה רבה לדן

Thank you Dan for your patience in putting up with Shmuel's intransigence. I have spent 40 years listening to apologists of the occupation and the settlements, and I know how hard it is to not run screaming from the room.

nojp
04-10-2008, 11:22 PM
we have had Americans and Israeli discuss the matter
and we have now had two Jews discuss the matter
how about an Israeli and a Palestinian do some talking
oh and by the way show a map map of the plan
US media never shows a map of the proposed two state
solution but always decries Palestinians for not agreeing to it.

let the Palestinians dig water wells for the same depths as there occupiers'
that might be a start for peace.

bjkeefe
04-11-2008, 12:27 AM
That was pretty instructive for me. Thanks to both Daniel and Shmuel for that.

Two questions, for those who know more than I:

1. I did not understand what they were talking about at the beginning (where they were agreeing, even) when they said that when Bill Clinton left office, the Clinton people "took their peace plan with them." Presumably, the working papers, etc., were copied to all participants; i.e., wherever the talks were left when the Clinton team left should not have been a mystery to the Israelis and Palestinians involved in the negotiations. Presumably, also, the Bush Administration could have gotten whatever it wanted from the previous American team. What does it mean to say the Clinton people "took their peace plan with them," then?

The fundamental disagreements between the two make me wonder if there will ever be any real progress. I mean, these guys are ostensibly on the same side. Makes the American electorate's view of the situation in Iraq look positively harmonious by comparison. So, question 2:

2. My naive take on the diavlog was that Daniel's case made more sense; i.e., whatever is being done now is not working, or at least, is not working fast enough. For those who know, where does Shmuel's position fall on the spectrum of Israeli opinion, and about what percent of Israelis agree with him? That is, is his position considered moderate or extreme? Does a sizable chunk of the population agree with him, or is it a minority which has enough just clout to cause the status quo to be maintained?

piscivorous
04-11-2008, 01:39 AM
Is Mr. Levy always so angry. It looks like he ate a couple of lemons.

bjkeefe
04-11-2008, 02:11 AM
Is Mr. Levy always so angry. It looks like he ate a couple of lemons.

Are you just saying that because you don't like him, or his point of view? Shmuel did not exactly look like he was grooving on gumdrops, either.

Eastwest
04-11-2008, 02:11 AM
Shmuel's intransigence is so emblematic of why things can only get worse while such attitudes and policies keep receiving unqualified US support.

Daniel Levy's argument is very brave and so superior both morally and practically. It is only this sort of "balanced" approach which stands a prayer of bringing something resembling peace. There's finally got to be heavy involvement of a neutral third party.

Shmuel's attitude is functionally no more constructive than that of Jihadi wingnuts. It's attitudes like his which in fact feed an endless stream of new recruits into suicide belts and rockets. He's in effect the very worst enemy of the Israeli state.

I wish the US was brave enough to say privately, while really meaning it: "Excuse me, you clowns have caused us so much grief for so damn long. There really are limits to how much of this BS we're going to stand for. A phased-withdrawal of support for this could occur, you know."

Shmuel moves me closer to agreeing with the President Carter "apartheid" analysis as well as that of the authors of the recent "Israeli Lobby" piece.

EW

piscivorous
04-11-2008, 03:21 AM
I am probably closer to Mr. Levy's point of view than Mr. Rosner's but not to his personality. From my perspective it was Mr. Levy that started the cat fight then got angry and put on a pout. He often tried to talk over and above Mr Rosner and didn't really seem to be even listing.

Wonderment
04-11-2008, 03:36 AM
My naive take on the diavlog was that Daniel's case made more sense; i.e., whatever is being done now is not working, or at least, is not working fast enough. For those who know, where does Shmuel's position fall on the spectrum of Israeli opinion, and about what percent of Israelis agree with him? That is, is his position considered moderate or extreme? Does a sizable chunk of the population agree with him, or is it a minority which has enough just clout to cause the status quo to be maintained?

As someone who knows Hebrew and has been following the conflict all my life (I'm one year older than Israel), I would place Shmuel right in the center, maybe even a bit center-left. Michael, who lives there, will probably check in and can do the calibration better than I can, however.

Shmuel writes for Ha-Aretz -- the NY Times/Washington Post of Israel -- so some might characterize him as more leftish (although the paper has journalists way to the left of him, like Amira Hass and Gideon Levy).

Dan is a lot more in the minority peace camp, but the Geneva Accords, which he promotes, has considerable acceptance in Israel (on paper, anyway).

The good news is that there is a general consensus in Israel that the occupation must end and a viable Palestinian state must emerge. The bad news is that the parties are not even remotely close to pulling it off.

Of course, most Israelis like to pretend all of Israel is Jewish Israel, even though Arab Israeli citizens make up almost 20% of the population. So to the extent their opinion counts, it cancels out the hardcore right wing that supports the Settlers.

Wonderment
04-11-2008, 03:39 AM
Daniel Levy's argument is very brave and so superior both morally and practically. It is only this sort of "balanced" approach which stands a prayer of bringing something resembling peace. There's finally got to be heavy involvement of a neutral third party.

True, but it's not likely to be anyone running for president in the USA. McCain and Clinton are virtually indistinguishable from Bush on Israel, and Obama is also doing his damndest to prove he can out-AIPAC AIPAC. Today, he distanced himself from Jimmy Carter's proposed talk with Hamas leadership, saying that the US should not negotiate with "terrorists." (What ever happened to the "I will talk to anyone" Barack?)

Eastwest
04-11-2008, 04:46 AM
Re Wonderment's: (in response to my "There's finally got to be heavy involvement of a neutral third party."
True, but it's not likely to be anyone running for president in the USA.
Well, that should be obvious to anyone not living in a cave for the last 60 years! Since when would any Palestinian do anything but die laughing at the idea that ANYBODY from the US could be credibly "neutral"?

As for:
I would place Shmuel right in the center, maybe even a bit center-left.

Well, precisely, and that's somewhat my point: If even the center or mildly center-left are as arrogant and intransigent as that, then there's next to no hope at all. (After all, the settlers are just wacko and really have to be written off as bereft of genuine moral credibility by anyone with half a brain.)


BTW, nice to see you cop to my perennial take on Barack being every bit as much a slick-dance politician as all the rest of them.

No angels anywhere on the dance floor(s). Anywhere.

EW

Wonderment
04-11-2008, 06:58 AM
BTW, nice to see you cop to my perennial take on Barack being every bit as much a slick-dance politician as all the rest of them.

Don't jump to conclusions. I support Obama as the best of the three candidates left standing. I will work hard to help get him elected, but my support has never been unconditional, and I criticize his stance on many issues.

If he happens to fail to get the nomination, I'll support Hillary or any other Democrat on the planet. McCain would be catastrophic. Maybe not worse than Bush, but catastrophic nonetheless.

gwlaw99
04-11-2008, 11:10 AM
The major problem with Daniel Levy's argument is that history proves him wrong. Hezbollah is a perfect example when you want to see how the other Iran proxy army, Hamas, will act.

Look at the unilateral withdrawl from Lebanon to the UN mandated border. As soon as they left, the UN mandated border isn't good enough. Now there is Sheba farms. In other words , the Israelis completely withdrew and then Hezbollah moved the goal posts and started a war. Was the political dynamic changed in lebanon? Did Hezbollah dissapear? No. Hezbollah is stronger and better armed and more belligerent than ever.

Mr. Levy is living in a fantasy land in which Hamas suddenly becomes neutered as soon as the Israelis surrender. I think the lesson of Hezbollah is the most instructive.

bjkeefe
04-11-2008, 11:20 AM
Thanks to both Michael and Wonderment for answering my questions.

Joel_Cairo
04-11-2008, 11:49 AM
The major problem with Daniel Levy's argument is that history proves him wrong. Hezbollah is a perfect example when you want to see how the other Iran proxy army, Hamas, will act.

Hamas is not an Iranian client. They don't need the money. It's Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad who answer to Iran.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
04-11-2008, 11:50 AM
gwlaw99,

Neither the government of Lebanon nor Hezbollah ever accepted that the Shebaa farms was Israeli...there was no changing of the goalposts. The Lebanese government at the time of the Israeli withdrawal stated that it did not accept that the withdrawal had been completed.

The UN Security Council did accept the Israeli withdrawal, but it is wrong to say that Lebanon ever did, and then "moved the goalposts."

We should also not lose sight of the fact that when we say the Shebaa Farms is "disputed" it is disputed whether it is part of Lebanon or part of Syria. Either way it is occupied by Israel. At times Syria has supported the claim of Lebanon that the territory is Lebanese.

So, gwlaw99 if your point is that Israel withdrew to the satisfaction of the U.N. security council and this has not been accepted by Hezbollah, you are correct. But there was no moving of the goalposts by Lebanon.

In the case of the Palestinians it is ridiculous to argue, as some do, that one should expect attacks from Gaza to stop after Israeli withdrawal. Not only is Gaza in all important ways still completely controlled by Israel but as long as Israel is occupying the West Bank, it would be silly for resistance to occupation to stop.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

gwlaw99
04-11-2008, 12:37 PM
Hamas is not an Iranian client. They don't need the money. It's Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad who answer to Iran.


Hamas Gets $50 M Boost From Iran
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/16/world/main1501210.shtml

"The UN Security Council did accept the Israeli withdrawal, but it is wrong to say that Lebanon ever did, and then "moved the goalposts."

Then Lebanon is in violation of International Law not Israel.

"We should also not lose sight of the fact that when we say the Shebaa Farms is "disputed" it is disputed whether it is part of Lebanon or part of Syria. Either way it is occupied by Israel."

Which it is entirely entitled to do under international laws as the victim of Syria agression when Syria started shelling northern Israel from the Golan in 1967 after the Syrians were led to believe by the Egyptians that Israel's airforce was destroyed.

Eastwest
04-11-2008, 12:49 PM
On Wonderment's:
Don't jump to conclusions. I support Obama as the best of the three candidates left standing.

I can respect that. (Hillary's no angel either. And, yes, McBush's election would be beyond horrible.)

EW

Eastwest
04-11-2008, 01:11 PM
On Mvantony's:
Why exactly do you think Shmuel is intransigent? Because of his belief that achieving success requires that the parties proceed slowly and carefully (in spite of past failures)? Or because you don't believe that Shmuel truly is interested in a compromise with the Palestinians (i.e., he's lying)?

I trust he doesn't think he's lying and I would hate to phrase it that way even if it were true. Still, he's at least not being honest with himself by insisting on carrying on ad nauseum the same approach which never has worked and frankly can't work.

Mr. Levy actually articulated the "minor variations in 600 apartheid checkpoints, etc." problem. There is no solution in a plan that's predicated on a scenario inevitably continuing to visit endless humiliation on the Palestinians. There is no morality to either side anymore. One can never justify rockets or suicide vests. Still, every one of those vests has a label inside: "Made in Israel, since 1948."

EW

AemJeff
04-11-2008, 01:21 PM
On Mvantony's:Still, every one of those vests has a label inside: "Made in Israel, since 1948."

I think I agree in broad outline with what you're saying, but I also think the overall history is way too ambiguous to justify the above.

Mammal
04-11-2008, 01:35 PM
....is that he does not explain what happens when Israel withdraws and is then met with barrages of Qassam rockets (or worse) from the West Bank. His answer is that "it won't happen" because the casus belli (as he sees it) will be gone. But what if it does happen? So confident is Levy, he does not even bother addressing that possibility. After watching the rocket barrages after the Gaza pullout (which Levy at least attempted to address), and after the Lebanon pullout (which he did not address, and which is a stronger case because Israel REALLY did withdraw), it seems like wishful thinking to put that much faith in his theory.

We saw quite well the "international support" of Israel's response to Hezbollah after it defended against Hezbollah's depredations, notwithstanding Israel's internationally certified withdrawal from Lebanon.

I like Levy. And in a perfect world, I'd love to chart a course like he proposes. But it really flies in the face of experience. Unfortunately, there really are no answers.

rfannan
04-11-2008, 01:42 PM
Although I generally favor Levy's position, there is a point with which I agree with Shmuel. Levy argues that the violence is likely caused by the occupation and if the occupation ends, there is a good chance that the rocket attacks and the suicide bombings will end. Shmuel contends that this is a big gamble. The gamble might be worth taking but it is still a gamble. The majority of Israelis want, as their primary goal, the ending of rocket attacks and suicide bombings. Previous interim agreements with the PLO were never sufficient to stop the suicide bombings (whether Arafat coudln't control his people or whether he did not discourage the bombings is debatable). But if the end of the occupation and the creation of a two states still leaves a disaffected Hamas shooting rockets and sending suicide bombers into yeshivas, the Israeli people will be outraged and will renege on any agreements made. It still makes sense to take the gamble but I am not fully convinced that Levy's proposals will stop elements of the Palestian people from killing Israelis.

Eastwest
04-11-2008, 02:15 PM
On AemJeff's (referring to my comment [it wasn't mvantony, btw] about suicide vests being manufactured in Israel):

I think I agree in broad outline with what you're saying, but I also think the overall history is way too ambiguous to justify the above.

"Ambiguity" is bivalent here:

1) The history itself is really not so ambiguous, if one troubles to study it a little, making sure to go all the way back to how the state of Israel was formed in the first place and the essentially genocidal treatment of the Palestinians at that point by military men such as Rabin, etc. It's painful to confront and so, sure, much more comfortable to leave befogged by imperfect recall.

2) Moral ambiguity. The Palestinians lost it via deliberate slaughter of innocents and, so, frankly, it's hard to feel sympathy any more. But Israel has lost it as well in more ways than I care to articulate here.

I think I have to agree with the comment: "There really are no answers." Well, actually, there are answers alright, but so long as nobody will listen to them, it just presages an endless death struggle in which no side can ever really be victorious.

EW

Jyminee
04-11-2008, 02:37 PM
One can never justify rockets or suicide vests. Still, every one of those vests has a label inside: "Made in Israel, since 1948."

By using 1948 instead of 1967, do you mean to imply that the very existence of the state of Israel is a casus belli? If so, why should Israel withdraw from the territories--the casus belli will still exist, and the attacks will continue.

popcorn_karate
04-11-2008, 02:51 PM
Yes, that is the essential issue.

Israel got into the colonial game late. Here in America, we committed a thorough enough genocide that we don't have to worry about the original inhabitants issues.

Another way of looking at it - The Jews came back to violently retake the land based on 2000 year old stories - the palestinians still have living people that remember being kicked off their land and still have the deeds to specific proprerties. Why are they going to roll over and play dead for the israelis?

Israelis need to either fully commit to their genocide of the palestinians, or accept that they are just people like everyone else - not the chosen of god with special dispensation to other people's land.

gwlaw99
04-11-2008, 02:54 PM
Israel got into the colonial game late.

Your premise fails because almost half of israeli jews are arabs.

AemJeff
04-11-2008, 02:58 PM
The reference to mvantony was a bad edit on my part. Regarding the "ambiguity" I think we differ on the usage of words more than on the substance.

popcorn_karate
04-11-2008, 03:06 PM
It matters not in the least if you have some nit-picky reason to dispute my argument. neither of us will be making or denying peace in the middle east.

but can you explain what your point has to do with a palestinaian that was kicked off his land ( that he still has the deed to) so jewish people could make their state? even if some of those jews look a lot like him?

you sound like Schmuel - "the occupation is no longer an issue (to me)". good for you Schmuel! but the palestinians may see it otherwise....

Eastwest
04-11-2008, 03:08 PM
On Jyminee's:

By using 1948 instead of 1967, do you mean to imply that the very existence of the state of Israel is a casus belli? If so, why should Israel withdraw from the territories--the casus belli will still exist, and the attacks will continue.

Certainly a valid question as there will always be an element treating 1948 as a perennial casus belli. Fortunately, however, (and this has been the subject of careful polling), the majority of Palestinians are willing to trade peace for individual claims settlements. Can't remember the figure, pretty cheap really, like $20,000 each.

But as long as Israel insists on taking all the choice water and choking the lands acquired in 1967 with suffocating restrictions, that's the one casus belli which will never be defused. Only utter and complete withdrawal back to pre-67 stands any chance of bringing peace.

Under that circumstance, the violent minority can eventually be squashed by their own people. Lacking that, forget it.

As Levy pointed out, continuing the current ad nauseum slow negotiations foot-dragging is no less a gamble. In fact, it's guaranteed to fail and generate perpetual slow-motion carnage and bitter aggrievement on both sides.

EW

Wonderment
04-11-2008, 04:32 PM
Mr. Levy is living in a fantasy land in which Hamas suddenly becomes neutered as soon as the Israelis surrender. I think the lesson of Hezbollah is the most instructive.

Levy is in a fantasy world?

Shmuel thinks the Settlement regime is "not an issue" because Sharon dismantled some in Gaza, paying off the Settlers and relocating them (often to the West Bank) while continuing to construct NEW SETTLEMENTS.

Overall Settlement population has GROWN markedly since the withdrawal from Gaza and construction/expansion of new settlements continues. Well over a quarter of a million Israeli Jews now live in Apartheid Palestine.

In the Oslo period alone ("peace" process), the illegal Israeli settlement population DOUBLED.

In addition, the Apartheid Wall, which stole more land outside Green Line Israel, has been constructed to make ghettos of Palestinian communities as part of the "non-issue."

Also, Shmuel believes the Bush administration is committed to solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict before next January!!!!!

Who is living in the dream world?

AemJeff
04-11-2008, 06:06 PM
though I would have preferred that it stay on or within the Green Line

I think you're absolutely right about the lack of an analogy with apartheid. However the above isn't nothing. The way that the damn wall has been built with no apparent regard even acknowledgment of Palestinian rights is tragic and a real blot on the Israeli record.

Wonderment
04-11-2008, 07:02 PM
...given a deal that's satisfactory to both sides, Israel will dismantle settlements in the West Bank, and (I'd add) return 100% of the land (once land swaps are taken into account) that it took control of in 1967. Do you seriously doubt this? I

Yes.

If so, on what grounds?

Lack of evidence that it's so.

It does not follow from Sharon's unilateral "disengagement" from Gaza that Israel will dismantle the West Bank settlements, much less make an appropriate land exchange.

It's true that such ideas have been proposed, but nothing has been done to bring them to fruition. On the contrary, the disengagement made things worse. Israelis today are more skeptical of further withdrawals than they were pre-Gaza. Gaza itself is far worse off. An already unsustainable and occupation has degenerated into near utter hopelessness.

Shmuel's recipe for Israel to sit back and wait for Palestinians to produce a nation of Bill Gates and Gandhis is ludicrous. Dan warned him what would happen: Palestinians will move AWAY from accepting a two-state solution and insist on simply ending Apartheid and becoming citizens of Israel (with a non-Jewish majority). And that's the best-case scenario!

Whatfur
04-11-2008, 08:08 PM
First I did find the dialog very interesting.

I have to say that I am in Mr. Rosner's camp while at the very least I think Mr. Levy seems to have too much invested in his own opinion while much more should be invested in reality. Because the reality is that the withdrawal he proposes WILL be as much (more) of a fiasco as Lebanon and Gaza.

Levy kept bad mouthing the Gaza withdrawal methodology and those who came up with it (maybe rightfully so) while touting some methodology of his own...which...funny...he never quite got around to explaining. I'd be happy to listen to his big idea and maybe it would change my mind. Rosner is referred to as an "apologist" above, but to me it sounded like Levy was more of the "apologist"...for the Palestinians. He wanted to point at Rosner and say that he was proposing more of the same, while he himself wants to ignore the fact that when honest attempts have been made to try to move forward; the Palestinians have reacted with "more of the same". Generally, violence, and stupidity.

Rosner's front-end "institution building" idea to me IS something different which I assume the goal being creating a single cohesive entity with which to continue peaceful progress. Sounds pretty rational considering the irrational behavior we have seen from the Palestinians. I guess, that is a big point with me; the Palestinians DO have to earn things because of their past actions. Levy wants to give them a pass while fantasizing that just exiting (using his plan of course) from the occupied territories will make them less violent and less stupid. I think not.

Rosner's idea needs some micro-management though with clearly outlined goals (and penalties?)...with the ultimate goal something the Palestinians would be happy with.

Without the details of either...Levy's point of leaving the occupied territories to gain a better (moral?/legal?) position in the overall argument, falls a little short. Sorry, but I just kind of hear the Palestinian response when handed the territories being "Eff you very much".

Eastwest
04-12-2008, 05:12 AM
On Mvantony's:

Next time Daniel should go beyond holding up a pamphlet containing the ideas, and tell us what they are

Alternately, you could try listening closely to the diavlog in which case you'll notice that he made his position much more clear than you caricature with your "pamphleteering" indictiment, this even in spite of the fact that Shmuel did his utmost to keep Levy from filling out his points.

But this is common, isn't it? When folks have to sit and listen to a POV with which they have intense disagreement, then it's all too common to simply "tune it out," and then deny that anything meaningful was said.

EW

Wonderment
04-12-2008, 06:57 AM
The 2003 Geneva Accord or Initiative is detailed in this wikipedia article:

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

My understanding is that it was mailed to every household in Israel a couple of years ago.

"Amongst its creators are Israeli politician Yossi Beilin, one of the architects of the Oslo accords, and former Palestinian Authority minister Yasser Abed Rabbo."

Also endorsed by Jimmy Carter and reportedly by Marwan Barghouti (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marwan_Barghouti)

Wonderment
04-12-2008, 07:01 AM
Also (Source Ha-Aretz):

Fifty-eight former presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and other global leaders, among them former presidents Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union and F.W. de Klerk of South Africa, issued a statement expressing "strong support" for the plan. Other world leaders who voiced their backing included King Hassan III of Morocco, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Clinton.

Speaking at the start of ceremony, former U.S. president and Nobel laureate Jimmy Carter hailed the accord as offering an end to bloodshed, while Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey dubbed it "a little light in the darkness."....

The proposal was met with furious disapproval by the Sharon government, which accused Israelis involved in the initiative of trying to act in place of a democratically-elected government. "

Inovajon
04-12-2008, 03:04 PM
At 24:40 Shmuel makes the following point:

"Israeli Leaders, and this is something sometimes people forget, they don't have responsibility for the Palestinian people"

While it seems Shmuel is sincere in his belief, he is simply wrong.

By virtue of the occupation, under international law Israeli leaders have very specific responsibilities, as an occupying force, to the Palestinians including:

The maintenance of law and order including protection of the fundamental human rights of the inhabitants
The provision of food, medical care and facilitation of relief assistance
Limited introduction of Penal legislation
Limited legislative powers
Administration of Criminal Justice
Limited detention (internment)
Prohibition of coercion, torture and other forms of brutality
Prohibition of deportation and transfer

The crux of Shmuel's argument is that the Palestinians have not developed the institutions necessary to control acts of terrorism and therefore provide for Israeli security. In other words Shmuel wants the OCCUPIED Palestinians to provide for the security of the OCCUPYING Israelis. This is an absurd and contradiction of established International law. Of course every Israeli settlement is by definition illegal as it relates to both UN resolutions and international law. Israelis (and Americans) who hold with Shmuel's point of view, that Israel must wait until the Palestinians establish the institutions necessary for law and order in Palestine before withdrawing from occupied territory, are taking a position which is illegal by definition. More importantly the position is impracticable.

The development of International Law has occurred out of a general recognition, through centuries of experience, that it is not possible for an occupied people to develop the required institutions for civil society. By virtue of the Israeli occupation, the Israeli government and not Palestinians are required to keep the peace, dissuade violence and maintain order for both the Israelis and the Palestinians. Whether Shmuel realizes it or not, this is the point. Israel must withdraw from all occupied territory before the Palestinians will be able to develop the institutions necessary for peace and security.

International law defines Protected persons under occupation and they are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honor, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats there of and against insults and public curiosity. Women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honor, in particular against rape, enforced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault. The occupying power assumes responsibility for the security and well-being of the occupied territory’s inhabitants. Article 43 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that: “The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.”The Occupying power must ensure that any armed group allied to them fully respect international humanitarian law.

International law has developed a framework which, while assigning to the occupying power the authority it needs to administer the territory it controls, at the same time codifies the rights of the occupied territory’s inhabitants. International Law applies to any occupying power for the sole fact that it is in control of a foreign territory, whatever the reason for this situation. The provisions of the law on belligerent occupation are found in international humanitarian law, also known as the laws of war or the laws on armed conflict. As such, they take into account the military and security concerns of the occupying power, balancing them against the rights of those who find themselves under its authority. The sources for the obligations under international humanitarian law applicable to belligerent occupation are found in: The Hague Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague Convention) and its annexed Regulations respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague Regulations) of 18 October 1907; The Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention) of 12 August 1949; Article 75 of the 1977 Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I); Rules of customary international law. At the domestic level, the provisions of international humanitarian law have been translated into instructions for members of national armed forces in military manuals. They include manuals for the armed forces of the UK (The Law of War on Land, Part III, 1958) and the USA (The Law of Land Warfare, FM 27-10, Department of the Army Field Manual, 1956). In line with international humanitarian law, any occupying power is also under the obligation to respect the provisions of the human rights treaties to which the country whose territory is partially or totally occupied is a party.

Whatfur
04-12-2008, 06:49 PM
First...

The FIRST responsibility of Israel's leaders is to its own citizens. International laws are only as good as their ability to have both sides in a conflict recognize them. And speaking of apologists, I see where the international law listing supplied here does not include references to those that address terrorism, kidnapping, random mortars etc...

Second, the statement...

"The development of International Law has occurred out of a general recognition, through centuries of experience, that it is not possible for an occupied people to develop the required institutions for civil society. "

is B.S. There are few comparisons (like NONE) in history that aptly describe whats going on in this conflict. To equate the one cherry-picked statement of Schmuel's and turn it into this attempted point is quite a stretch.

The Palestinians have shown no ability to take positive advantage of Israels attempt's to de-occupy, instead they have shown their inability. I mean...what a grand exhibition of nation building has been shown in Gaza? What would make anyone think that full de-occupation would produce anything close to a situation where "institution building" would be what they would immediately turn to.

Bottom line is...to me Rosner's approach rightfully, logically, looks to control the situation while attempting to move forward with hopes of positive results while enhancing Israel's security ...while Levy's is more of a throw the ball over the fence and see what happens approach. Haven't we already seen what happens?

travis68
04-12-2008, 08:21 PM
Great diavlog.

For the people who think that the withdrawal from Lebanon shows that withdrawing from the West Bank will be equally bad, you need to propose what would have been superior to a withdrawal from Lebanon. I am not sure that many Israelis would want to be still occupying southern Lebanon right now. So even taking into account the 2006 war, withdrawing from Lebanon was the *right* thing to do.

In fact the 2006 war showed Hezbollah that Israeli would take seriously any incursions. Hezbollah and their people suffered grievously so consequently there haven't been any further attacks. It is highly likely that an Israeli withdrawal to internationally recognized border would create the same dynamic as in Lebanon: the ruling power would have something to lose from any conflict, although it may have to be taught that lesson once.

The alternative, as people have pointed out, is that eventually the Palestinians will demand to join Israel, and then Israel will be no more.

Wonderment
04-12-2008, 08:35 PM
The alternative, as people have pointed out, is that eventually the Palestinians will demand to join Israel, and then Israel will be no more.

And who would say no? What if a Palestinian Gandhi or MLK really does emerge, who says, "We simply want peace and democracy. We renounce violence. We just want an end to Apartheid and a recognition of our right to be Israeli citizens. We want the right to vote and a voice in a new constitution."

What's the argument against that outcome? Apartheid is good? You HAVE TO take whatever Gazastan or WestBankastan state we dump on you?

Inovajon
04-12-2008, 08:50 PM
Whatfur says, "The FIRST responsibility of Israel's leaders is to its own citizens." Bravo on stating the obvious.

I assume from your use of the conditional "first" that you agree with me; Israeli government officials do in fact "have responsibility for the Palestinian people."

Now that we've established both that Shmuel's statement was incorrect and that you and I only disagree in the matter of the degree of that responsibility, what measure do you propose we use to establish that responsibility if not International law?

If you reject international law, by what right do you condemn terrorism and violence against civilians or do you?

AemJeff
04-12-2008, 09:01 PM
What if a Palestinian Gandhi or MLK really does emerge, who says, "We simply want peace and democracy. We renounce violence.

Wonderment this seems like a tragically remote possibility. Palestinian children are spoon-fed hatred and grotesque caricatures of Israelis and Jews from grade-school. Hamas' power is predicated on violent opposition to Israeli rule. The PA is weak and at least tacitly supports a lesser version of Hamas' hatred. Anything is possible but the Palestinian leaders and the Israeli right are allied in their need to throw gasoline on the conflict, each owing its vitality to the other. My guess is that it's more likely that Israelis will moderate first, but Hamas, particularly, is adept at modulating the Israeli mood, so even that seems far-fetched.

Whatfur
04-12-2008, 11:28 PM
Excuse me Inovajon, but based on your first response, I can't see how you could fault me for coming to the conclusion that you obviously needed the obvious stated for you.

As far as your second post, well...you have enough trouble making your own points so I would appreciate you refrain from attempting to speak for me.

I don't reject international law...just feel it is trumped by a country's own need to provide security for its people and those laws must not put one country at a disadvantage when the other party has absolutely no respect for those laws. Its not that difficult of a concept.

deecue
04-13-2008, 12:38 AM
I agree with what a lot of people are saying on this board. Shmuel's option is long term and deals with what he sees as expectations that are ratcheted up way too high such that when reality intervenes negotiations have to start from square one. It seems he would rather see an authority develop on the Palestinian side that has its own "institutions" and that can enter a relationship of trust beyond even the level of Rabin/Arafat. Although Abu Mazen seems like a functional leader in the West Bank, how much credibility does he have?
Daniel's option seems worthwhile, but like Shmuel's is rather vague; although since it is represents the largest departure from conventional wisdom it encourages closer scrutiny. Daniel's option could possibly work given a UN force with the right mandate and with the trust of the Israeli people and government and the Palestinian people along with strong backing from other regional powers. In regards to his reading the border problem as the root of things, imo he's right. The problem is that Israel's compromise would not satisfy or come close to including or addressing the most hostile Palestinian elements, which are exactly the ones that Israel would like to address (or maybe quash?).
All that being said, I'd like to make a basic query: Why is this called an occupation? Seems like a more accurate description would be a mass ghetto-ization of a quasi-nation. Maybe if it were an actual occupation things would be simpler. Maybe the only real endgame here is when either an actual occupation comes to pass or when the most violent Palestinian elements coalesce to become the most powerful and legitimate broker. Maybe the problem is that the Israelis and Palestinians are too moderate for their own good. That's probably three maybe's too many.
As always, this is very real and very urgent and real depressing.

HAGTBG
04-13-2008, 03:20 AM
This was a meaningless discussion; one between two center-left and left wing Jewish Israelis. Cut out of the discussion was the entire right-wing of Israel, which is, if not a majority, comparable in size to the left. A discussion where one person can seriously think the Israeli government should not care whether Israelis/settlers are shot at while traveling in the West Bank, is one not grounded in the real concerns or moral duties of the Israeli State. Whether the occupation is right or not, the State owes a duty of safety to its citizens.

I always find it amusing when you have two left wing Israelis debate about the best agreement with Palestinians and then debate which of them is paternalistic in their proposed solution. When obviously they both are. One example: when Daniel Levy said the Palestinian attacks were caused because occupation is a "casus belli" (act of war). Put aside whether it is or is not a causes belli, there are many arguments that its not - contrary to what Mr. Levy asserted - but lets assume it is. His use was both pretentious and erroneous; a legal right does not mean that right is the basis for an attack. Legal causes of war happen often but are often not acted upon (such as when Iraq launched Scuds at Israel during the Coaltions was with Iraq in the 1990s) and wars are launched without legal basis or with a thin veneer of justification. Only someone entrenched in a secular elite could be so disconnected to realize that it is not law but national interests (or other factors) that are the real basis for war. To assert that attacks would stop when the occupation does is disproved by Gaza and, regardless, is no more then an assertion. He assumes he understands the Palestinian masses/subgroups. But his reasoning shows that assumption to lack basis. An Israeli government would be foolish to rely on it.

I post this here, to your request for a discussion between an Arab and a Jew because I also want to state how meaningless such a discussion would be. Daniel Levy is intellectually a Zionist (I mean this in the Israeli sense and not the Arab/leftist caricature) but is evidently so into his own sub-clique that he's lost his connection to the greater Israeli polity. To have two elitist subgroups discuss this is meaningless. You need an Israeli with some sympathy to the settlements ... someone who represented a far larger segment of the population on the matter ... talking to the group that represents the Palestinian majority ... Hamas. I have no desire to see two elitist sub-groups representing 10% of the populations talk so we can all think there is progress or agreement when there's none.

A very different conversation then these two.

Wonderment
04-13-2008, 04:23 AM
Wonderment this seems like a tragically remote possibility.

Let me rephrase then with a somewhat gloomier scenario:

What if a large majority of Palestinians simply conclude (say 80-20%) that a 2-state resolution of the conflict is neither viable nor even desirable.

What if they say, "No thanks" to a separate state? The chaos and violence continues, as does the occupation and the Settlements (the Apartheid West Bank regime and the failed Gazastan zone), but moderate Palestinians argue, "We want and have a right to Israeli citizenship. End Apartheid now."

Then what?

AemJeff
04-13-2008, 12:32 PM
Likud may have some moral responsibility toward the settlers; I don't see why the Israeli government, generally, should feel a need take responsibility for the inflammatory actions of belligerent religious fanatics. Protecting them as they withdraw from the settlements would be good, I guess.

AemJeff
04-13-2008, 12:53 PM
moderate Palestinians argue, "We want and have a right to Israeli citizenship. End Apartheid now."

I don't agree with the "Apartheid" label. The Palestinians are in an awful position stuck between fanatics on both sides; but the analogy to South African racism is a pretty bad fit, IMHO.

Giving them Israeli citizenship would make the dissolution if the Israeli state inevitable. Whatever anyone believes regarding the morality involving the creation of that state, it's a current fact and has been for generations, at this point. It can't be wished away, and arguing that it should enable its own end can't be seen as a viable argument.

Two states seems like the only potentially viable path - and the fanatics on both sides are doing everything they can to block the option. Where energy should be spent, again IMHO, is on doing everything that can be done to nullify the fanatics. What exactly that means - excuse me, but - I do not fucking know. And I think generations of people will continue to suffer because people a lot smarter than I am are no closer to a solution than that.

Wonderment
04-13-2008, 05:03 PM
I don't agree with the "Apartheid" label. The Palestinians are in an awful position stuck between fanatics on both sides; but the analogy to South African racism is a pretty bad fit, IMHO.

"Apartheid" is not a perfect analogy, but just as, at some point in history, South African Apartheid became intolerable to the rest of the world, the same may happen for the Settler-Occupation regime.

Giving them Israeli citizenship would make the dissolution if the Israeli state inevitable.

Why? It just would become a secular democracy with an almost 50% Jewish population. The Jewish part of the state would remain far better educated and far wealthier for a couple of generations and have many advantages.

Two states seems like the only potentially viable path - and the fanatics on both sides are doing everything they can to block the option.

Some prominent former Zionists, like Meron Benveniste, former mayor of Jerusalem, and Ilan Pappe, who was political science prof at U. of Haifa for 23 years and now teaches in U of Exeter in England, think the window of opportunity on two-state has already closed.

Let me be clear, I, like you, support a two-state resolution of the conflict. I'm just very skeptical that the parties can pull it off.

And I think generations of people will continue to suffer because people a lot smarter than I am are no closer to a solution than that.

I agree. There is no shortage of smart people who have been pulling their hair out for decades trying to find a resolution, but the funny thing about unsustainable situations is that they can't be sustained indefinitely.

AemJeff
04-13-2008, 10:18 PM
Why? It just would become a secular democracy with an almost 50% Jewish population. The Jewish part of the state would remain far better educated and far wealthier for a couple of generations and have many advantages.

Three reasons I can think of. One, the raison d'etre for the state of Israel is as a Jewish state. If it were to become defined in a more heterogeneous way, its identity would be critically undermined. Whatever the merits of creating a Jewish state on that soil, I would strongly argue that a Jewish homeland is a thing worth having. Secondly, the demographics would create a majority Palestinian state in just a few generations. Lastly, the political consequences of Palestinian and Arab hatred for the Israelis would create forces that would make the state untenable in short order.

Wonderment
04-14-2008, 04:25 AM
Three reasons I can think of. One, the raison d'etre for the state of Israel is as a Jewish state. If it were to become defined in a more heterogeneous way, its identity would be critically undermined. Whatever the merits of creating a Jewish state on that soil, I would strongly argue that a Jewish homeland is a thing worth having.

Homeland doesn't necessarily equal state. We can, for example, support Kurdish, Basque, Quebecois or Navajo homelands and rights to self-determination without a state. We can also have binational or multiethnic states. There are lots of models that might work.

The Zionist state has had an unresolved Palestinian refugee problem for 60 years. And counting. It has had the occupation and settlement problem for 40 years. And counting. That's a long time and a lot of misery.

All I'm saying is that if the Zionist state model becomes too dysfunctional, dangerous and unsustainable, a one-state model may become a more attractive alternative both to a majority of Palestinians and to the international community.

HAGTBG
04-14-2008, 05:18 PM
The Israeli government bears responsibility because these are communities of Israelis in communities that were established with varying levels of support by the Israeli government. The settlement of the West Bank started under a Labor government - not Likud. Moreover, even if the Israeli government had opposed the settlements every step of the way they still owe a duty of defense to their citizens. A nation that silently watches its citizens gets slaughtered when it can do something about it is not a nation you'd probably want to be a part of.

Moreover, nationalism still has great traction throughout the world and has many positive elements (as well as some bad ones). Remember that 'Jew' at the end of the day is a word derived from Judean and the Judean lands were mostly in what has been called since 1948 the West Bank. The inner-(Jewish-)Israeli disagreement with the settlers and their backers is based more on utility then on rights (specifically, on the need for peace for the nation at the expense of ancestral land mostly peopled by others now). If you are only looking at the settlers as being based in some small fringe you probably don't understand the movement.

HAGTBG
04-14-2008, 05:24 PM
Of course there was. The UN position was (and remains) that Sheba Farms is Syrian territory. This was relevant towards the completeness of the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanese territory.

Through some slight of hand that the world body did not accept, Syria, Lebanon and Hizbollah wanted to keep the pressure on Israel and provide a pretext for continued Hizbollah attacks on Israel from Lebanese territory.

hilaire de sauveterre
04-14-2008, 05:29 PM
Please, please do not have Mr. Levy on bloggingheads.tv again. His petulance is exceeded only by his arrogance. His hectoring style of argument is crude and classless, irrespective of its substance. Not to mention his smug, overeducated-middle-middle-class accent, which makes me break out in hives. He is unwatchable.

bjkeefe
04-14-2008, 05:37 PM
Please, please do not have Mr. Levy on blogginheads.tv again.

Just for the record, I like David Levy. I can see how others might not, but I just wanted to register my vote in the other column.

AemJeff
04-14-2008, 05:46 PM
Most of the support for the settler movement is directly traceable to the actions and policies of Ariel Sharon.

Moreover, even if the Israeli government had opposed the settlements every step of the way they still owe a duty of defense to their citizens. A nation that silently watches its citizens gets slaughtered when it can do something about it is not a nation you'd probably want to be a part of.

Your characterization is somewhat charitable I think. The settlers are deliberately and maliciously occupying land that Israel had ceded to the Palestinians. These folks are clearly taking the law into their own hands. The moral responsibility of the government to defend them is not what you describe.

The second paragraph of your post seems like an attempt at morally justifying the settlers actions. The appeal to nationalism is pretty unfortunate in the light of history. The "ancestral lands" riff is weak. Should the Celts have a national claim on Wales? Please.

If you are only looking at the settlers as being based in some small fringe you probably don't understand the movement.

It's the extreme right-wing using religious justification for what amounts to belligerence bordering on racism. What don't I understand?

HAGTBG
04-15-2008, 11:18 AM
Most of the support for the settler movement is directly traceable to the actions and policies of Ariel Sharon.

False. Sharon was a major settler supporter (well, of most settlements) within the Israeli government. Settler support in the general public has little to do with Sharon's policies.

The settlers are deliberately and maliciously occupying land that Israel had ceded to the Palestinians.

Again, untrue. Israel has not ceded the land to the Palestinians; Israel is negotiating with the Palestinians concerning that land. In addition, settler occupation is deliberate but not malicious. Some of their treatment of Palestinians is malicious - you'll get no argument from me on that - but that is different then living there per se.

The appeal to nationalism is pretty unfortunate in the light of history.

Then you have a rather one-sided view of history IMO. Nationalism is often quite good. Hence I support the USA, for example, and not a world government.

The "ancestral lands" riff is weak.

Because you write it, it must be true.

Should the Celts have a national claim on Wales?"

Should they?

Anyway, I don't recall that a majority in Wales has long supported the killing of Celts, that the government of Wales made the sale of land to Celts a capital offense, that the opposition in Wales (which is actually a majority of the polity) supports the eradication of all Celtish influence everywhere in the UK, or that the Celts need to fear that the people of Wales would work with other powerful hostile governments to destroy the Celts.

Those considerations would make Celtish nationalist concerns stronger.

It's the extreme right-wing using religious justification for what amounts to belligerence bordering on racism. What don't I understand?

A religious justification is the only justification? Ariel Sharon was not a religious man in the traditional use of such terms and was probably the most famous settler supporter. There are many others. Peres used to be a supporter - he was initially the most important supporter in fact. Rabin as well supported it. Olmert, publically at least, is a supporter of most of the main settlements to this day. They (were and) are supporters not because they were intending to be, as you put it, malicious. Settlement building has its roots in defense and nationalism as much as religion. Opposition to it, as much in utility as any of your moral arguments, as I wrote in a prior posting. At this point 10% of the Israeli population is in land Israel captured in 1967 and that is a consideration as well. I don't know what "bordering on racism" means; certainly thats a claim without moral weight.

AemJeff
04-15-2008, 07:03 PM
Settler support in the general public has little to do with Sharon's policies.

"Settler Support" is a right-wing phenomenon. It's more widespread the further right and the more towards religious Zionists you look. Gush Emunim (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gush_Emunim) is explicitly, fanatically religious and even the followers of the Kook (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zvi_Yehuda_Kook)s seem to be having some second thoughts. Sharon's actions and policies, up until the time that they weren't (the founding of Kadima (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kadima) I would say), were among the prime movers putting policy support behind the Settler movement. I don't know to what extent Likud's leadership were true believers. It's clear they saw support for the movement as being in their interest.