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117 responses to “Israel votes”

  1. zorronsky

    Israel doesn’t want peace it wants Palestine and has since its inception.

  2. Integer Tone

    Yeah, Zorro. That’s why they pulled out of Gaza adn the Sinai, eh?

    IT

  3. Peter Hollo

    I see we already have intelligent commentary.

  4. wbb

    The Hamasisation of Israel’s polity proceeds apace. Spiral politics.

    This requires external mediation. (Duh!) After its 8 years in the wilderness, all eyes are back on the USA.

  5. Brendon

    I liked it when the Israelis fired on a French convoy going into Gaza just after the ceasefire. Some wag wrote the headline:

    Hamas fires rocket from French Convoy.

    We just lost nearly 200 people and 700 homes. And its a catastrophe.

    Gaza – with a population of just 1.5 million – lost 1,300 and over 3000 buildings.

    Something to consider.

  6. Brendon

    The differences would be domestic. Who has the larger social programs, etc…

    They all seem eager to send their fighter bombers over Gaza

  7. Michael

    Will be very interesting to see how YB perform. Current predictions are that they may become the 3rd largest party in Israel, and Leiberman might get a significant ministerial post.

  8. Brendon

    Leiberman. Hmmmm?

    If Israel is voting for an extremist like that, its time to cut them loose. His idea of stripping Arab Israelis of citizenship if they refuse to pledge a loyalty oath and accept the Aryan nature of the Master Race in der Faderland…..sorry, a loyalty oath to the Chosen People in Israel is troubling, indeedy.

  9. Adrien

    The swing to the extreme right is worrying but the idea that we should ‘cut them loose’ is akin to saying that the Gazans have it coming ’cause they voted for Hamas. In extreme situations like this people tend to polarize to extremes. It’s best if the rest of us don’t follow suit.
    .
    But for some reason this issue always reproduces the same lack of moderation everywhere it goes.

  10. Oz

    “If Israel is voting for an extremist like that, its time to cut them loose.”

    There was an Israeli commentator on Lateline (I think) a few days ago pointing out that the policies of all the parties, once they’re in power, towards the Palestinians, are essentially the same. They just put on smiles for the international community and “Regret civilian losses”.

    With the rise of Lieberman that mask will be ripped right off exposing the ugly hatred that feeds Israel.

  11. patrickm

    There are now strong indications in the MSM that we are only weeks from the release of Marwan Barghouti and a significant truce agreement with Hamas on the way to a rapid end to the failed war for greater Israel.

    But Mark thinks ‘…it’s unlikely that any possible result will do all that much to restart the peace process,…’ when every result will lead to an end to a failed war!!

    Ask yourself; how goes the war for greater Israel?

  12. mitchell porter

    May I ask what interest the people who read and comment on this post have in Israeli/Palestinian affairs? For example, are you just interested in the facts, or do you favor one sort of outcome over another? If so, what sort of outcome?

  13. Brendon

    If Marwan Barghouti is released in a prisoner swap deal with Hamas, then it is a bad blow for Fatah who will be left out and sidelined. Israel would already know that.

    That means only one thing if past history is a guide: Israel will turn its made-in-America military machine on the West Bank. It will be like 2002 again.

    Greater Israel increases every year. Bit by bit. They just cleared a lot of land in Gaza. Building permits are flying around in the West Bank.

  14. Oz

    [For example, are you just interested in the facts, or do you favor one sort of outcome over another? If so, what sort of outcome?]

    The sort of outcome that stops thousands of innocent people, on both sides, being killed.

  15. patrickm

    Brendon; What are you on about? Marwan Barghouti will lead Fatah and reform it! MB will win the coming Palestinian election for President and reunite Gaza with the West Bank.

  16. Brendon

    patrickm,

    whether Marwan Barghouti reforms Fatah is not as important as what Israel will do. In 2006 they increased settlements in the West Bank. So to in 2007. And in 2008 they increased by an even bigger margin. During that time they blockaded and bombed Gaza all the while.

    Whats happening in the West Bank this week in 2009:

    “The Israeli army and municipality of Jerusalem on Monday demolished two homes located near the old city, both owned by a Palestinian family. Witnesses said that Israeli troops surrounded the Shofat area before bulldozers demolished the homes of the Ghith family.

    Israeli authorities maintain that the homes were built without the required planning permits. Since Israel occupied the city of Jerusalem in 1967, Palestinian residents have rarely been given permission to build homes, yet funding and the construction of hundreds of homes in illegal Israeli settlements continues in and around Jerusalem. Meanwhile, eight Palestinian civilians were kidnapped by the Israeli military during Monday?s pre-dawn invasions which targeted several parts of the West Bank.” http://www.imemc.org/article/58734

    Same old same old.

  17. John Passant

    I wonder if Lieberman is a fascist in the real meaning of the word. I need to think about this.

    Maybe not, but he is an extremist who talks about taking a step futher than the other extremists in Likud, kadima and Labour.

  18. Brendon

    I don’t know if fascist is the right word either. Seems a bit genteel for a man who says

    “It would be better to drown these prisoners in the Dead Sea if possible, since that’s the lowest point in the world,”

  19. Brendon

    Matter of fact I’m finding hard to believe that a man who could say such a thing could get a vote, let alone be one of the movers and shakers of the election. What is going on over there?

  20. patrickm

    So ‘Same old same old.’ is Brendon’s answer to the question ‘how goes the war for greater Israel?’ Yet the US will no longer fund this war (even if it could) and nobody believes there is any prospect of expelling the Palestinian people nor returning to an era when any race of people would sit at the back of the bus.

    Brendon; it ain’t going to end in a Zionist victory. Zionist dreams of establishing greater Israel is coming to an end get use to the idea that they are attempting to hide their defeat.

  21. Brendon

    patrickm,

    you are talking sense. Meanwhile, the good people of Israel are electing the very type of leaders that will take Israel in the opposite direction of what you think is the best path. Netanyahu, Beiteinu, and Leiberman will have a big say in the future government. Clinton disowned Netanyahu after Netanyahu did all he could to destroy the Oslo Accord. Netanyahu is on record as saying there will be no Palestinian state. Beiteinu and Leiberman are just racist rabble.

    Who said anything about these thugs being successful. But like others before them, before they go, they will cause a lot of misery.

  22. Katz

    Yet the US will no longer fund this war (even if it could) and nobody believes there is any prospect of expelling the Palestinian people nor returning to an era when any race of people would sit at the back of the bus.

    And yet the much more expensive “war for bourgeois democracy” in Iraq and Afghanistan allegedly progresses with great strides.

    What a strange, looking-glass world our Maoist fellow-travellers inhabit.

  23. Comrade Tovya

    Peace process? There has not been such a thing in a long time. In order to get peace (no matter who we elect) we must also have a willing party to make peace with. The Arabs have voted for the destruction of the Jewish State over and over, so I do not think “who will make peace” is a fair question.

  24. Michael

    I suspect the best outcome for peace would be a Netanyahu led govt in a coalition with Lieberman as FM.

  25. yeti

    yes Michael, as in “they make a desert and call it peace”.

    Comrade Tovya, the Arabs only demand what they are entitled to under international law – the territories captured in 1967.

  26. yeti

    actually Michael you may be right in one sense… the more openly fascist the Israeli government is, the more politically difficult it becomes for Obama to defend funnelling billions of American funds into its violent and illegal apartheid regime. so in that respect I actually think a Likud victory might actually be the better outcome. if there’s going to be fascist apartheid anyway then it’s better off naked.

  27. Michael

    Yeti,

    That was my line of reasoning.

    Netanyahu’s past record was one of pissing off the US President.

    If you look at the times that the US has pressured Israel, it has tended to come under hard-right Israeli govts (Begin in 81(?), Netanyahu in ’90’s).

    And that’s not because the policies are so much worse, it’s just that they are presented in terms far less palatable for US domestic consumption.

  28. yeti

    A Netanyahu-Lieberman coalition is looking likely.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/02/20092110226591860.html

    Kadima gets one more seat than Likud, but the balance of power lies with Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, which has pushed Labor into forth place by running on a platform to deny citizenship to Israeli Arabs considered “disloyal” to the Jewish state.

  29. Adrien

    Comrade Tovya – Peace process? There has not been such a thing in a long time. In order to get peace (no matter who we elect) we must also have a willing party to make peace with. The Arabs have voted for the destruction of the Jewish State over and over, so I do not think “who will make peace” is a fair question.
    .
    Indeed. And Israelis must square with why that actually is. I don’t fault with the establishment of Israel but from the point of view of Arabs it’s understandably a sore point. All this has been covered a billion times so I’m not going into it.
    .
    Naturally the only reasonable way to peace is for the Palestinians to accept that Israel’s not going anywhere. But Israel’s policies don’t help either. Until the Palestinians can actually get their economy together you’ll never get rid of Hamas.
    .
    Yeti – the Arabs only demand what they are entitled to under international law – the territories captured in 1967.
    .
    Which Arabs? What Arabs? Some want peace. Some want to wipe Israel off the map. And that’s true as well. The specter of the ridiculous anti-Semitic conspiracy theory regularly throws its shadow over that whole region.
    .
    Trouble is both the Israelis and the Arabs say: Yes it’s a terrible situation (point figure across the divide) it’s their fault.
    .
    It’s the typical zero sum game. ‘Peace’ means victory. I suspect no-one will get anywhere until, weary from endless bloodshed, two sensible people emerge on both side able to lead their respective countries to sanity. ‘Til then….

  30. patrickm

    So a person calling themselves ‘Comrade’ turns up and speaks of ‘Arabs’ thinking no one will notice the Zionist racism. This ‘comrade’ comes direct from a time warp when Palestinian was not even mentioned by Zionists enthusiastic about launching their war for greater Israel. This time warp is still common in large parts of Israel and among their soon to be removed settlers in the West Bank (but perhaps not so common among the now ex settlers from Gaza).

    In this time warped view ‘they’, the demographic problem people in the ‘land without people’, are all just Arabs and these Arabs can live anywhere in Arab lands, they don’t have to live where they currently live, it’s really all the same. Thus the brilliant idea that Zionists could launch a war for greater Israel in 1967 and seven days later rest and start celebrating the great ‘victory over the Arabs’. Forty two years later the world is revolted by this racist little entity that was in 1967 often thought of as plucky little Israel and ‘Comrade’ is rightly shunned by all progressives as the obvious racist that he or she is.

    ‘Comrade’ questions the ‘Peace process?’ and explains ‘There has not been such a thing in a long time.’ because ‘In order to get peace (no matter who we [Israeli’s] elect) we must also have a willing party to make peace with.’ BUT ‘The Arabs have voted for the destruction of the Jewish State over and over, so I do not think “who will make peace” is a fair question.’ And ‘Comrade’ is right. The proper question is who will be the Israeli PM that brings to an end their failed war! At this stage it appears that Netanyahu will play NIXON.

    People like ‘Comrade’ still think that Palestinians will live in a state that is not equal to Israel. But all such thinking is completely delusional. There can be no unilateral end to the war, and those who think that Palestinians will not have rockets because only the Israeli’s can have rockets are relics from an era when Rosa Parks could be charged for not moving.

    All the ‘Comrade’s’ that still remain who believe the Israeli’s can control Palestinian borders are still to be informed by Netanyahu or Livni that the truth is they can’t do that anymore than they can control Lebanese borders.

    How goes the war, launched in 1982, into Lebanon? What’s that? Ended in total failure? Years of utterly futile Zionist war making! But yet the Lebanese still aren’t electing suitable peace partners! Anyone recall Hezbollah. A comprehensive settlement on the Lebanese border has been achieved but somehow we are not to notice this and the ‘Comrades’ want to distract us by all their shouting about Iran (safely thousands of k’s away from the real enemy, those pesky ‘Arabs’ that still live in the occupied territories and in refugee camps beyond those borders).

    ‘Comrade’ may still be delusional but the alternative Zionist leaderships are not. If you think that Iceland is an economic basket case stop for a minute and get your head around Israels predicament.

    The new government will now ‘discover’ that the partner for peace is Marwan Barghouti. The failed war for greater Israel will be brought to an end despite any delusions still suffered by settlers and their supporters. Despite all the electioneering Netanyahu can’t do any worse than the current leadership or he will end up being dealt with for war crimes. History is moving on! Whatever happened to that incredibly powerful white dominated South African regime? The Israeli election has changed nothing, but we can all be grateful its now out of the way and they can get back to ending the war.

  31. Comrade Tovya

    Yeti:
    No, a large block of the Arabs actually have been quite open with their goal of “driving the Jews into the sea”… they will not settle for getting Gaza and the West Bank. They do not hide this fact, and they have always been quite open with the intentions.

    Adrien:
    While you and I may differ significantly, the gap between up really isn’t as large as some people may think.

    I agree on the aspect of getting the Palestinians’ economy together. They do need to have a viable monetary system, no doubt.

    I think the Palestinians big weakness is leadership, or the lack thereof.

    Hamas and the PA/PLO/Fatah both hold their people back for political reasons… which is sick. They do deserve to those things that we in the Western world take for granted.

    I love all human beings, and I would love to see nothing more than for the Arabs to love me as well.. I really mean that.

    The original mandate called for Jordan to be the Palestinian state and Israel/The West Bank to be the Jewish state. I think that plan should still be implemented, because the Hashemite dynasty has no legal right to Jordan (historically speaking that is).

    The irony is, before the 1967 war, the Jordanians and the Egyptians were in control of the so-called ‘refugee camps’ and they did nothing either to ease the suffereing of their Palestinian Arab breathren.. and that is a tragedy. G-d forbid that anyone ever ignore the plight of any suffering people.

    Patrick:
    Please do not paint a picture of me when you do not even know me. I love the Arabs… they are of the same blood as myself. How could I hate a people who come from Avraham like myself? G-d forbid such a thing.

    And honestly, people such as yourself have no idea how the settlement movement in Israel really feels. None of us in Israel or abroad hate the Arabs… I actually have a great deal of respect for their zeal.

    It doesn’t mean that I won’t defend my family or my brethren.. you’ll have to forgive me but we Jews have been getting beat, oppressed, and murdered for too long. It got old 2000 years ago.

    The true tragedy is that our Torah specifically outlines that the Arabs (a.k.a. Ishmaelites) DO have a legitimate covenant with the same G-d as us, and I respect their right to control the entire middle east…. we Jews simply want our small sliver of land on the Mediterranean. We are just fed up with being surrounded by people who’s primary goal in life is to drive us all into the sea. Their Quran is not as kind to us as our Holy books are to them.

    Once again, that is a tragedy.

    Long story short, please do not make prejudgments as you will find that you are quite often wrong. I respect the Arabs and their rights to live anywhere they choose (including the Land of Israel I might add!) but I nor any other G-d fearing Jew can allow them to do such as long as their goal is our death.

    We just want to be left alone, that’s it. I swear that I nor anyone else in the nationalist camp want anything other than that. But with that being said, people cannot expect us to be continuously backed into a corner and expect us to not react. No nation on Earth would allow such a thing.

  32. Tony D

    Lol I wanted the far-right nutjob to win – irony complete

  33. margaret cassar

    In 1969 Golda Meir said, “There is no such thing(sic)as Palestinians.” The inhumane treatment of Palestinians since then shows she was not alone in holding this view.Palestinians are not seen as deserving human rights.

    I am sure Comrade Tovye is aware of the many ways the Israeli government controls and humiliates the Palestinians. He professes to love Arabs.I would like to know if this love results in any attempts to improve the lives of the Palestinians in Gaza.

    A look at maps showing the relative sizes of Israel and Palestine from 1948 to now shows that this conflict is all about the real estate. It does not matter who wins the election Palestinian land will be stolen for Israeli use.

  34. FDB

    Comrade T:

    “None of us in Israel or abroad hate the Arabs”

    You cannot honestly believe this. I respect what you have to say about your own views, but this is surely a sweeping generalisation. That sort of thing is going to get you ignored if you’re not careful.

  35. Michael

    The popular refrain of “Death to the Arabs” must be a declaration of love, Comrade?

    Back on topic – Netanyahu is the favourite for PM. But that is only half the battle. He then has to form a coalition. That’s when the real horse-trading will begin and the far-right YB will look to cement its status as the No.3 party in Israel.

  36. yeti

    It’s funny that an overwhelmingly powerful occupier feels itself entitled to greater assurances of security than those that it has brutally occupied for decades.

    At any rate, it is a ridiculous proposition that Israel cannot negotiate because the opposite side wants to drive them into the sea.

    The opposite side demands nothing but that Israel obey international law. The following have demands of Israel consistent with international law (the 1967 borders) are:

    The Fatah leadership
    The Hamas leadership
    the Arab League – that is, every Arab government.
    the UN General Assembly
    the International Court of Justice (World Court)

    If you subtract the USA and Israel, then there exists is a total global consensus on how to resolve the conflict: a simple recourse to international law. In this sense it is not a complex problem, but rather it is probably the simplest ongoing conflict in the world at present.

    It is voted on in the UN General Assembly every year – “Peaceful Settlement on the Question of Palestine”. And every year the votes are the same.

    The entire world votes for a return to the 1967 borders. The vote is practically unanimous, on the order of something like 160 for to 6 against. The exceptions are Israel, the United States, and several Pacific Island microstates like the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru and Palau (for whom the payback for voting this way probably constitutes a substantial fraction of government revenue).

    For a couple of years under Howard Australia put itself into this shameful list (an extreme example of the extent of Howard’s arse-lickery for Bush) although fortunately not any more.

  37. Adrien

    I think that plan should still be implemented, because the Hashemite dynasty has no legal right to Jordan (historically speaking that is).
    .
    The legal right of a state is grounded in a bunch of people being able to lay exclusive claim to a territory by force. Perhaps you’re religious and would, of course disagree, but a secular humanist I perceive no higher authority than human beings.
    .
    As I tell anti-Zionists who ask me if I support the state of Israel, I say: Yeah it’s there isn’t it?
    .
    Thing is there are two narratives at play here. Yours and the Arabs. Quite often you can read them and never realize they’re talking about the same thing. For example, they might say there was an entirely other original plan.
    .
    Personally I feel that the best solution was to create a Jewish homeland in Bavaria. Now they couldn’t claim it unjust. But of course there’s traditional reasons for it to be otherwise. Okay. Welcome home. Don’t feel bad that your neighbours hate you. Is traditional. Everybody hates everybody else there.
    .
    It’s in the water or something.

  38. Adrien

    So a person calling themselves ‘Comrade’ turns up and speaks of ‘Arabs’ thinking no one will notice the Zionist racism.
    .
    I haven’t seen any racism. If you actually believe in peace try and put your money there too. The ‘r’ word is inflammatory and overused.
    .
    It’s funny that an overwhelmingly powerful occupier feels itself entitled to greater assurances of security than those that it has brutally occupied for decades.
    .
    Indeed.
    .
    But let’s not forget that surrounding neighbourhood is hostile and that on that scale Israel is the one that’s potentially overwhelmed. Just sayin’.

  39. Comrade Tovya

    margaret cassar:

    Golda Meir was actually referring to what members of the Arab league and Arab historians stated.

    If they want to be called “Palestinians”, that really doesn’t bother me… heck, I’ll call them whatever they want, but it doesn’t change the fact that Arab in Israel have more civil rights that in any other nation in the Islamic world. Jews on the other had, we get zero rights and a dhimmi status in their countries.

    As for your relative size argument, it’s baseless. Israel, the lone Jewish nation in the world is a very small part of the Islamic world as well, but that didn’t stop the surrounding Arab nations from invading it 3 times.

    So, we can debate other things all day long, but the “size” argument just doesn’t hold up.

    FDB:

    I am referring to the religious nationalists. No, Torah observant Jews do not HATE Arabs. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not best friends of the Arabs, but we certainly accept their right to exist. Our holy Torah reveals a special covenant with G-d and Ishmael as well. Who would I be to hate someone who has a covenant, a pact with the same G-d as myself? G-d forbid such a thing.

    Michael:

    I don’t know what in particular you are referring to, but I find this point to be mute as well. During the Cast Lead Operation, their were protests all around the world, and people held signs, chanted, and sang “death to the Jews”, “Hitler should have finish what he started”, “Palestine: From the river to the sea”, etc,etc.

    I hope we understand each other now?

    Yeti:

    Don’t even start with the global consensus argument. It wasn’t so long ago that the global consensus was that poor Africans were subhuman and only good for being slaves. So, because the world thought this on a consensual level, that makes it right?

    Of course not.

    Adrien:

    Obviously you and I don’t agree, but I have a good deal of respect for you because your arguments are very civil and well thought out… and I appreciate that, I really do.

    I hope you find success in all you do! Be Blessed.

  40. yeti

    and now the global consensus is that slavery is wrong. as is apartheid.

  41. yeti

    Adrien, you need to look at the facts. The position of the surrounding countries is that relations with Israel will all be completely normalised when Israel abides by international law and returns to its 1967 borders.

  42. yeti

    I haven’t seen any racism.

    Comrade Tovya compares the world community’s opposition to apartheid and military aggression to the defence of slavery and the belief that Africans are subhuman.

    It’s worse than racism, it’s dementia.

  43. Michael

    I don’t know what in particular you are referring to….” – Comrade

    This,
    None of us in Israel or abroad hate the Arabs” – Comrade.

    I guess this could be blamed on a Pollyannerish world view, except that you clearly don’t suffer from this in relation to others,
    and people held signs, chanted, and sang “death to the Jews”……etc,etc.” – Comrade.

    And it’s not just “Death to the Arabs” that is a popular refrain. Graffiti left behind by the IDF on it’s various forays, and especially around Hebron by the settler-extremists, convey a range of other charming sentiments – ‘expel th Arab enemy’ , ‘Arabs to the gas chambers’ etc. So your statement that “none of us in Israel” hate the Arabs seems a little difficult to reconcile with the observed reality. These sentiments are strongest among the followers of YB and Leiberman, which is cause for concern.

    Final results are in; K-28, Li-27, YB- 15, La -13, Shas – 11, Arab parties – 10.

    Netanyahu still appears to be in the box seat with Leiberman positioned as the king-maker.

    Next week should be interesting.

  44. margaret cassar

    Comrade Tovya

    No one can doubt your commitment to the cause of Zionism and the large amount of time you have available to devout to the cause. However do you have sufficient time to re-read your work? Probably not. Your grammatical errors are forgiveable but your delusions about the state of Palestine are inexcusable. Palestinians exist. They are intelligent human beings with rights and needs.

    The arrogant tone you employ in much of your writing does not further your cause.It makes you appear like a bully and an oppressor. There again maybe that’s appropriate.

  45. Adrien

    Comrade Tovya – Obviously you and I don’t agree, but I have a good deal of respect for you because your arguments are very civil and well thought out… and I appreciate that, I really do.
    .
    Well thanks for that. There are people who’d disagree with you, perhaps violently. And I’m used to getting shitloads of abuse on the Israel thing.
    .
    However I’d like your comment on one thing. It seems to me that Israel’s foreign policy has been undergirded by something pretty simple – you hit us and we’ll hit you back twice as hard. This is understandable. I’m disinclined to think I’d be different in the same circumstances. However I’m not sure it’s working anymore.
    .
    Granted it’d be difficult to deploy a more conciliatory policy considering Hamas’ position but don;t you think it might be time to at least consider such?
    _

    Yeti – The position of the surrounding countries is that relations with Israel will all be completely normalised when Israel abides by international law and returns to its 1967 borders.
    .
    Um yeah?
    .
    US clients like Jordan and Egypt might say that. It’s worth noting however that the culture of Egypt, a police state, says otherwise and the most ridiculous anti-Semitic nonsense flourishes there. But Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Iran… ?

  46. yeti

    I notice that you are leaving the question open. Tell me specifically what policies of what actors you think justifies the totally illegal occupation and colonisation of territory beyond the 1967 borders and the subjection of a foreign population to apartheid-based military rule?

  47. Adrien

    Tell me specifically what policies of what actors you think justifies the totally illegal occupation and colonisation of territory beyond the 1967 borders and the subjection of a foreign population to apartheid-based military rule?
    .
    Well it’s subject to (sometimes violent) disagreement Yeti but as far as I’m concerned rights are only meaningfully granted by the state. Natural Law advocates will tell you that rights and law must be sourced somehow outside. Altho’ this is something that’s hard to disagree with ontologically (where do the concept of rights come from?) the fact remains that one only has rights in places where such are granted. The right to a legal representative, the convention that one is innocent until proven otherwise etc will not obtain in, say, North Korea.
    .
    Hence, geopolitically, the question of a nation’s rights viz other nations is thorny. One may argue that the UN grants rights. But as the UN is incapable of enforcing its edicts except via the general agreement of its member states this is doubtful. What punishments will be meted out to the United States, the United Kingdom and us, for example, because we violated international law and invaded Iraq? I put it to you: none.
    .
    Additionally the question arises what did the UN do to enforce international law in the light of persistent defiance by Saddam Hussein? The answer: not much. Ditto Israel.
    .
    So by what right does Israel occupy the Palestinian territories? By the most ancient right granted by the law of the fist. Naturally there are those in Israel who maintain that God grants them the right. There are Muslims who say likewise. But as God has not recently made any direct proclamations on the subject I’d rather rely on a human authority.
    .
    There is no human authority.
    .
    My thoughts on these matters are more fully expounded here.

  48. yeti

    so might makes right basically. at least you’re honest about having the same moral standards as the Axis.

  49. yeti

    ????? ??, ? ?? ??. ???? ??? ??? ????? ?? ??????? ??? ???? ?? ? ?? ??? ?????????? ????????. ????????.

  50. Adrien

    So might makes right basically. at least you’re honest about having the same moral standards as the Axis.
    .
    You’re making the same error that the Elizabethans made with respect to Machiavelli. Machiavelli describes how the Medici operate and thereby is held to endorse their tactics. This he did not do.
    .
    I didn’t say that I think might should make right. What I said was that this is still essentially what happens. The UN was founded to, among other things, create a peaceful interaction between states, a sort of post-Westphalian global civilization. But naturally this is easier said than done
    .
    Bithynian sophists will call it as they see it. However the entirety of civilized history is that of restraining naked force, restricting it to rules and thus providing for liberty. When these rules falter the force returns as post-revolutionary circumstances almost always show. In war rights are negotiable out the barrel of a gun.
    .
    I’m not saying that it’s a good thing or even an inevitable thing that states should continue to infringe upon each other’s sovereignty. However the issues are thorny and not resolved. One can lambast the US for invading Iraq (and I do) but that doesn’t change the fact that Iraq scoffed at its obligations under international law to a mostly ineffective UN and that it routinely abused the rights of its own people (abused their rights? Ha! What rights?).
    .
    I disagree with Bush’s actions and find his recourse to human rights arguments for final justification to be grossly hypocritical. However at the same time I must admit that the US did manage to depose a viscous dictator. Something that the UN cannot do.
    .
    If we are to create international civilization it is simply not enough to make idealistic platitudes to non-existent rights. This is akin to expecting universal complicity with civilized standards amongst a population when the law is merely a suggestion and no courts or police exist to enforce it.
    .
    I’ll see your Thrashy-macho and raise you a Cicero: Vi Victa Vis
    .
    Q. What force restrains the force of states? A. Only other states.

  51. Adrien

    That all said it is worth reminding people that this latest fracas in Gaza was preceded by the launching of rockets into Israel. Something they persist in doing. If Indonesia was throwing bombs at us we would be within our rights to go to war against them.
    .
    Just sayin’.

  52. yeti

    Let’s stop beating around the bush. Is the occupation right or wrong? You seem to be saying that it is right because Israel is strong enough to get away with it.

    Would you support a “coalition of the willing” to force Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories, the same way that Saddam was forced to withdraw from Kuwait in 1991?

    Of course such an coalition would not be necessary, all that would be necessary is that Obama turns off the money-and-weapons tap until Israel respects international law.

    Now you might call Israel’s Axis-like attitude to international law “normal”, but actually in the modern age Israel’s behaviour is quite exceptional. What other state has gotten away with maintaining a colonial occupation on foreign soil for decades?

    It is worth reminding you that the launching of rockets into Israel was preceded by forty years of illegal colonial occupation, something Israel persists in doing. And the latest round of rockets into Gaza followed a ceasefire of many months which Israel violated and Israel broke.

    Now if Indonesia occupied Australia, evicted us from our houses and established apartheid military government here we’d be within our rights to fire rockets at them. And I’d even say that other countries would be within their rights to fire rockets at them on our behalf. Would you disagree?

  53. Katz

    The question is, whose sovereignty is Israel usurping by its occupation of the West Bank?

  54. adrian

    “If Indonesia was throwing bombs at us we would be within our rights to go to war against them.”

    Simplistic and utterly inappropriate comparison.

  55. yeti
  56. Katz

    That document mentions the Golan Heights, but not the West Bank.

    The question still stands.

  57. yeti

    Did you get as far as the title?

    “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem”

  58. patrickm

    Yeti is right this CT is more than just a garden variety racist defined by the fact he is a Zionist and Zionism is racism. He does appear to western progressives in 2009 as a person gripped by dementia. He convinces no-one with his ‘duty postings’ that avoid the real arguments and instead puts forward the state sponsored spin. That is the nature of the time warp that he lives in. You only have to list the issues he runs from; but why bother?

    Israel has just had an election and the old united Israel of 1967 is nowhere to be found in 2009. Forty two years of failed aggressive war for the attempted conquest of greater Israel has changed the country and appeared to push it further to the right. But the Israeli labor left of 1967 was very far to the right and completely delusional as they planned and launched their war. Now even Netanyahu’s Likud knows that the Golan Heights is next cab off the rank to be handed back.

    In 1967 the mighty regime of South Africa still had many crimes before it. Portugal still had colonies. Australia’s ruling elites had only just sold out the people of West Papua to the Javanese ruling class. Civil rights in the U.S. and Northern Ireland were just coming to a boil that would not retreat and return to normal. Whitlam selling out the people of Timor for a quarter century of mass murder was still a decade in the future. The world has changed a great deal since the Australian ruling class of that era followed the U.S. into the war to prevent democracy in Vietnam, and this CT direct from the time warp appears demented to our 2009 eyes.

    Privileging of one race above another leads to back of the bus thinking and or ‘separate development’, and great ‘worry’ among the racists about demographic problems when one in five of your countrymen are the ‘wrong’ kind! It leads to a country that permits the one sort born in Melbourne to come and live but people born there and terrorized out of their own homes not permitted to return! (CT possibly / probably emigrated from the old USSR). The right of return is the classic demonstration of racism imbedded in the very nature of Zionism.

    Zionism is a vile movement running out of wriggle room in the conduct of their now 42 year old war for greater Israel. Progressives around the world shun those that hold to this racism, but that’s not the issue. What can the Zionists that have just been elected in Israel now do about their failed war? Will the U.S. continue to fund its prosecution? Will the international community continue to construct buildings in the West Bank and Gaza for Israeli politicians to order destroyed every few years as collective punishment for not moving to the back of the bus when told to do so? Will Lebanon have normal relations with Israel or just peaceful relations without much interaction? Will Egypt stay a tyranny or will the Muslim Brotherhood come to power and peacefully shun Israeli? Why would the neighbours not just conclude a peace treaty and leave Israel alone?

    CT says ‘We just want to be left alone, that’s it. I swear that I nor anyone else in the nationalist camp want anything other than that. But with that being said, people cannot expect us to be continuously backed into a corner and expect us to not react.’

    The whole world got around to meddling in the affairs of the South Africans who just wanted to be left alone, so I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting to be left alone to deal with your Arab problem. But anyway Israel’s ruling class wanted to be part of a vibrant globalised capitalism and like everybody everywhere else has to ride the downward bust in the same way that the boom was ridden up. Mass unemployment is coming to Israel irrespective of who forms the new coalition government.

    The great superpower that established and propped up Israel is in steep decline and now has recognized interests in ending all former indulgence to expansionary Zionism. The U.S. can not be blamed by the Zionists for pulling the rug, after all they were given nearly forty years till Bush said time’s up this is occupied territory and the occupation must end! The rapidly weakening USA under Obama is unable to reverse this conclusion. Mitchell is being sent because he is the message. Time’s up, and the U.S. ruling elite will increase the pressure to ensure that U.S. interests are central in U.S. ‘spending’ (or should that be borrowing).

    The negotiations to form a new Israeli government capable of ending the failed war have now begun, and we must recall that Kadema is a party that only recently came directly out of Likud, so who knows what will break when all the deal making is done. It maybe that either party might find a few more defectors after an extended period of negotiations and I would guess that an extended negotiation is probable. But the important point to keep in mind is that neither Livni or Netanyahu will be wagging the U.S. as a tail. The U.S. is demanding an end to the war and will achieve this during Obama’s first term.

    The collective punishment and mass murder of ‘cast lead’ has reduced the Palestinian people to a point where the situation can’t get any worse for the people of Gaza! Zionism has done its worst. The ‘Comrades’ who would willingly do worse, will not be enabled to do so. ‘Comrade’ might like to look to his own ‘job’ and ensure he has an employer because the world does not want what Israel is producing.

    The PLO is recognized internationally as the political entity that speaks on all issues concerning the sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory and in international refugee camps. That occupied territory is defined by the borders crossed in 1967 that does not include Syrian territory in the Golan Heights.

  59. Katz

    Did you get as far as the title?

    “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem”

    Did you get as far as reading to the end of the title?

    Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, G.A. res. 51/190, 51 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 49) at 176, U.N. Doc. A/51/49 (Vol. I) (1996).

    This document isn’t about sovereignty in the political and diplomatic sense of the word at all.

    So,

    1. Whose sovereignty did Israel usurp in the West Bank when they occupied in 1967?

    2. Where in the cited document does it state that Israel was usurping Palestinian sovereignty in 1996, at the date of the promulgation of the document?

    The sovereignty of the West Bank (but not the Golan heights, which is clearly Syrian territory) is a very complex and cloudy issue under international law.

  60. yeti

    I would say that as far as the West Bank is concerned, Palestinian sovereignty was jointly usurped between Israel and Jordan in 1948, and wholly by Israel following 1967, after which Jordan relinquished its claim and recognised that of the PLO (if my memory serves me correctly, Jordanian sovereignty over the West Bank was only ever formally recognised by UK and Pakistan, and Israeli sovereignty there has never been recognised by anyone, including Israel).

    At any rate, whatever “ambiguity” that existed at the time of the 1967 war has since been dealt with in a long list of UN Resolutions which have codified the world community’s virtually unanimous attitude toward the legalities of this matter and by this stage there is nothing cloudy about it whatsoever.

    Israel has no legal claim to any of the territories (the inadmissibility of acquiring territory by force being the foundation of international law), and Jordan and Egypt have long relinquished their claims and recognised, along with the rest of the world, the right of the Palestinians to the sovereign, independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, the same state that was proposed in the original UN partition plan that granted Israel its sovereignty as an independent state.

  61. Katz

    At any rate, whatever “ambiguity” that existed at the time of the 1967 war has since been dealt with in a long list of UN Resolutions which have codified the world community’s virtually unanimous attitude toward the legalities of this matter and by this stage there is nothing cloudy about it whatsoever.

    That is a contentless sentence.

    The United Nations has never recognised the existence of a Palestinian state, much less defined the boundaries of this state.

    Don’t misunderstand me. From the point of view of ethics, the behaviour of Israel with regard to the occupied and annexed territories is indefensible. However, it is insufficient to seek to condemn Israeli behaviour in regard to occupation of the West Bank by reference to UN resolutions and interpretations of relevant treaties, mandates and the like.

  62. yeti

    The UN recognises the PA as the diplomatic representatives of the Palestinian people (the PA has a non-voting status in the General Assembly). The position of the UN and World Court is clear that a sovereign Palestinian State SHOULD exist in the West Bank and Gaza strip (boundaries defined in Resolution 242), the fact that it doesn’t yet exist (and hence cannot yet be recognised formally) is down to the presence of an illegal military occupation that refuses to allow it to exist, NOT to any “ambiguity” on the UN’s part.

    The status of the territories from the UN’s point of view is that they are Occupied Palestinian Territories (capital O,P and T), the fact that the UN recognises the reality of an ongoing occupation in those territories rather than the non-reality of an independent sovereign state in the territories does not in any way compromise the UN’s attitude toward the “Right to Exist” of this state, or to the illegality of the occupation that refuses to allow it to exist. It is an extremely peculiar argument to say that it does.

    And just to be clear I am not seeking to condemn Israeli behaviour simply by reference to the UN resolutions, treaties etc. Rather I am referring to these treaties to point out that there exists a simple solution to the problem that virtually the whole world has agreed on. This makes it a much easier conflict to solve than many others that exist in the world today (despite the efforts of those who wish to pretend that it is actually complicated) and it makes it easy to identify who is preventing the conflict from being solved – the US and Israel, by force of arms.

  63. yeti

    The United Nations has never recognised the existence of a Palestinian state, much less defined the boundaries of this state.

    To put it more simply, the reason they have never recognised the existence of a Palestinian state is that a Palestinian state has never existed (~~duh),

    but they have recognised the fact that the only political entity with a legal right to exist within the boundaries of the territories captured by Israel in 1967 is a Palestinian State.

  64. Katz

    To put it more simply, the reason they have never recognised the existence of a Palestinian state is that a Palestinian state has never existed (~~duh),

    That’s not simple, it’s simplistic.

    The United Nations is competent to recognise or refuse to recognise the existence of nations. For example, the UN recognised the existence of Israel, but for a couple of decades refused to recognise the existence of the People’s Republic of China.

    The UN does not recognise the existence of any state of Palestine because it cannot. It declines to because it chooses not to recognise any state of Palestine.

    but they have recognised the fact that the only political entity with a legal right to exist within the boundaries of the territories captured by Israel in 1967 is a Palestinian State.

    This is true, but it is not recognition.

  65. patrickm

    As a result of the use of a the U.S. power of veto while one U.S. administration after another ever since 1967 has referred to ‘disputed territories’, the UN has been prevented from recognizing a Palestinian state in the areas invaded and occupied by Israel including East Jerusalem. However no country (on memory) has recognized any annexation of any of the territory by Israel and George Bush ended former U.S. policy by referring to the territory as occupied and stating that the occupation must come to an end.

    The fact that the UN recognizes the PLO as the authority that speaks for the Palestinian people and negotiates with the occupation authorities on their behalf is the only relevant issue. The State cannot be recognized before the U.S. ends their veto or a settlement between the occupiers and the PLO is concluded and is then ratified by the UN.

    Ethics are not at issue. States that launch wars specifically for the conquest of territory cannot be considered ethical entities. The war for greater Israel is such a war. There are no annexed territories accept in the eyes of the aggressor state. Not even ALP government’s led by the likes of Bob Hawke have recognized Israeli annexations. All such annexations are ‘illegal’ and in any event irrelevant as an end to the war cannot be achieved without acceptable (to both parties) swaps of territory, and these swaps are well known including the requirement for a corridor.

    The U.S. has come along way and Obama is practically unable to reverse these changes and revert to referring to disputed territories as Clinton and all the rest did. Thus the outlines of the defeat are now known, and the process for formally concluding this defeat in train. This is not to say that it will not still drag on for a couple of years, and even then the process of extracting settlers for another couple of years. Nor is it to say that a withdrawal from the Golan Heights will not probably come first (it most likely will).

    But the imminent release of Marwan Barghouti and some 1300 other Palestinian POW’s and hostages in exchange for a long term cease fire and opening the crossings with Gaza, and most importantly inviting international observers to monitor events is not business as usual. The dramatic reality of these events is being essentially hidden by references to ending ‘smuggling’ of weapons across the border with Egypt (a border no longer controlled or by any agreement monitored by Israel) and obtaining the return of 1 Israeli POW.

    From this point on Hamas has no reason to launch demonstrative rockets provided Israel forces keep to their side of the border as they now do to the north in the case of Lebanon, and in the other part of the south with Egypt. This agreement ends the insulting period of the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and removal of those settlers.

    The Palestinian Authority will in some form of partnership with Hamas (negotiated by the Palestinians alone) control the Palestinian side of this border.

    This new reality leads directly to the requirement to end the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in an acceptable peace agreement, as failure to settle would produce a humiliation of the current PA and would quickly see the electoral success of Hamas in the remainder of the Palestinian territories. Unilateral actions on the part of Israel are not going to work anymore than it can be said to have worked with Gaza.

    The real negotiations are now completely on the side of the Israeli political parties because it is they who have to make a decision. The Palestinian politicians cannot agree to any deal that would be unacceptable in a referendum and no people will accept any second class status in respect to their neighbour. If the Israelis fail to make a decision the Israeli position will continue to deteriorate and international pressure will intensify as events will not stand still. It therefore follows that an Israeli government of national unity is the most likely outcome of current negotiations following the elections.

    Netanyahu would no doubt like to play Nixon during this period but we will just have to be patient to see what the shape of the government ends up being. In the mean time big events are unfolding as predicted, still ‘led’ by Olmert (but with the approval of both Netanyahu and Livni) and these events have essentially unavoidable consequences.

    The ‘external circuit breaker’ that Mark presents in the intro to this thread as almost a throw away hope, HAS already happened in the changed U.S. policies. While these processes of concluding a failed war in these circumstances take an extraordinary long time from the perspective of any progressive (mainly because of the internal divisions still within Israel) and incorporate such vicious events as the Christmas bombing and all the rotten political spin to hide the defeat they are not historically surprising.

  66. yeti

    of course it isn’t. who said it was?

    there’s no state there to recognise, so they don’t (and can’t) recognise a state.

    instead they recognise the illegality of the occupation, and the exclusive right of the people of the occupied territory to form their own sovereign Palestinian state in the territories now occupied.

  67. yeti

    before you bring up the PRC again- that wasn’t a case of the UN recognising a state that didn’t exist, that was a case of not recognising a state that did exist (or more accurately, of recognising the Taiwan government’s claim over the mainland).

    To use a more relevant example, the UN didn’t recognise East Timor as an independent state while it was under Indonesian occupation. This wasn’t because there was a state that they chose not to recognise, it was because there was no state.

  68. patrickm

    Yeti; Kuwait was ‘annexed’ by the Baathist tyranny of Iraq but the US along with everybody else refused to recognize it and Kuwait retained it’s seat all along. Timor was a question of the US approving the Indonesian annexation of a former Portuguese colony after it became independent. If the US (and Australia) had said no you don’t it would not have suffered from the butchery inflicted by the Javanese kleptocracy (so that there was no little southern Cuba near Australia). There WAS a state that was not recognized by the US just as much as Kuwait remained a state under occupation because it was recognized by the US.

  69. Liam

    Patrickm, as yeti says: recognition of statehood ≠ recognition of national right to self determination. They’re two very different things.

  70. yeti

    Patrick, may I ask what makes you so sure that the release of Marwan Bargouti is “imminent”? That would be big news and I haven’t heard anything about it.

  71. Katz

    Take the famous (November 1967) Resolution 242 for example. Different parties wrangle over the precise meaning of the wording. If there were a determination on the part of the UN to make it clear to Israel that Resolution 242 required Israel to end the military occupation of all occupied territory, it would be a relatively simple matter to pass a slightly reworded resolution.

    But this is clearly not what important members of the UN want from Resolution 242. Indeed, France was most explicit in its determination that the resolution did not require Israel to withdraw from all occupied territory. Israel has exploited this loophole with brutal determination.

    In the absence of a resolution that clearly orders Israel out of (all the) occupied territories, it is not very useful to pay much attention to subsequent pious references to “Palestinian sovereignty”.

  72. Rob

    yeti @ 70:

    See here.

  73. yeti

    Because the armistice line from the 1949 conflict was an irregular border, the wording of Resolution 242 allowed for the parties involved to undertake “minor” and “mutual” adjustments to the line to which Israel was to withdraw. It was never intended to grant Israel an exception to the illegality of acquiring territory by force, which is headlined in the resolution. Of course it would be nice if the Security Council issued another resolution to clarify things, the problem is that the veto-wielding US has, since the time of Kissinger, been firmly on the side of continued Israeli occupation, and basically single-handedly blocking the peace settlement on which the rest of the whole world has agreed upon.

  74. Adrien

    Yeti – Let’s stop beating around the bush.
    .
    I’m not beating around anything Yeti. I’m being precise.
    .
    Is the occupation right or wrong?
    .
    It’s wrong. Firing rockets at civilians is also wrong. Occupying other people’s lands is also wrong. You wanna understand Israel/Palestine? It goes like this: 2 rights = A big Fat Endless Wrong.
    .
    You seem to be saying that it is right because Israel is strong enough to get away with it.
    .
    No there’s a distinction to be had between a moral assessment of a geopolitical situation and the recognition that, in geopolitical situations, the moral standard to which we hold individuals within states has never obtained between states. I would like to see this change. However the standard peacenik jerk o’ th’ knee: No War! Whaddawewant? Slogans, chants, marches and no real understanding won’t cut it.
    .
    For example:
    .
    Now if Indonesia occupied Australia, evicted us from our houses and established apartheid military government here we’d be within our rights to fire rockets at them. And I’d even say that other countries would be within their rights to fire rockets at them on our behalf. Would you disagree?
    .
    No I wouldn’t. I do say however that persistent resistance to Israel’s existence will not result in the elimination of the Israeli state. It will result in more bloodshed. Almost every country on this Earth was established when one group of people tolchoked another. Let’s not forget that the Israelis lost this land 2000 years ago and never forgot. According to Scripture (not historically accurate true) they’ve lost it and regained it something like four times. They are not going anywhere. So the rockets are pointless.
    .
    Of course such an coalition would not be necessary, all that would be necessary is that Obama turns off the money-and-weapons tap until Israel respects international law.
    .
    Not sure about that. But it’s not going to happen why bother going there?
    .
    It is worth reminding you that the launching of rockets into Israel was preceded by forty years of illegal colonial occupation, something Israel persists in doing. And the latest round of rockets into Gaza followed a ceasefire of many months which Israel violated and Israel broke.
    .
    Again when people discuss this issue they feel obliged to mention only the iniquities of one side. I try to look at it from both points of view, to, in the words of Atticus Finch ‘get in their shoes and walk around a little’. Now if some criminal lunatic got hold of one of the world’s most power military-economic states and used it to put me and mine to death – slowly, I would probably do what the Jews did. I’d say fuck this we’re getting a place of our own and we’ll fuck anyone who gets in the way. I’d probably think exactly along those lines. Can’t blame ’em.
    .
    However if that lot then landed on my home, bulldozed my village and rendered me a second-class person at bet – yes I’d launch a resistance – as my Irish ancestors did.
    .
    And when would the Statute of Limitations on ‘My Land’ run out? Well look at the Jews, 2000 years but they went back. What I’m concerned about now however is with what is possible. One thing that is not possible in my view is to have any official mea culpa viz occupation or terrorism etc from either party. What remains is to achieve peace and that’s difficult enough.

  75. Adrien

    Would you support a “coalition of the willing” to force Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories, the same way that Saddam was forced to withdraw from Kuwait in 1991?
    .
    In ’91 the ‘coalition of the willing’ was the UN being unusually effective. If Israel were to actually live up to the slanders flung at it by such as Green Left Weekly and perpetrate genocide I’d say: Yes. Personally if it was practical I’d support a UN force consisting entirely of troops from, say, China, people with no interest in the he-said, she-said of ME politics. Come in, kep order, keep rockets from flying over the border, ensure that Palestinians can trade etc.
    .
    Israel has no legal claim to any of the territories
    .
    When you write that. you are referring to a jurisdiction, but what jurisdiction do you refer to? International law? Who enforces this? Well if you have a clear villain, a risk of usurping the balance of power and a vital resource at risk then you can count on the UN. Otherwise it’s paralyzed by it’s unwieldly structure and its Byzantine complexity.
    .
    Thing is that law is law only if it’s enforcable. One of the problems with politics is that there’s tendency to write unenforcable laws thus eroding the status of law in general. In geopolitics states act in their interests. If Israel just flat out invaded the whole lot and drove all of the Palestinians out the UN would not be able to stop them. Only an army could. And that army would act if it was in the interests of its state to do so.
    .
    Palestinian sovereignty was jointly usurped between Israel and Jordan in 1948
    .
    There was no such thing as the Palestinian state in ’48. It was an Imperial protectorate as it’s been almost always since time began. So ‘sovereignty’ is problematic. That doesn’t mean I think it’s okay to pinch their land. As I said above the correct solution to the Jewish homeland thing was Bavaria or some other part of Germany (or Poland or Ukraine). Those places couldn’t, as Palestinian Arabs can, claim they didn’t have it coming.
    .
    Too late now.
    .
    Whatever the claims to moral grace, and both sides can make them, it simply doesn’t matter. Occupations’s bad, so is economic embargo. So are rockets into suburbs and so is suicide bombing. It’s all bad.

  76. FF

    Is it too late. Or something different.

    Around 1.5 million Israelis are relatively recent déclassé, unskilled immigrants from Russia at least half of whom are secular or non-Jewish.

  77. Adrien

    It’s a good point FF. Also there’s a projection that Arab Israelis will outnumber Jewish ones sooner or later.

  78. yeti

    Of course it’s not too late.

    I’m interested in how to solve it.

    We could wring our hands and talk about Bavaria, ancient scripture, the British mandate, Chinese peacekeepers, and the case of the missing “the”, and philosophise about how international law is not really law because there are no international police to enforce it, etc. Or…

    we could make practical suggestions!

    Of which the most practical at this stage is a two state solution on the 1967 borders, which the whole world is agreed upon, which the whole world votes upon almost unanimously every year, and to which the only obstacle is the intransigence of the US and Israel, who value the racist, criminal colonisation of the West Bank more than they value peace and international acceptance.

  79. Adrien

    Yes very good Yeti. Everyone know that. And yet somehow one or the other side persists in snatching war from the jaws of peace every time.
    .
    Practical solution? A classic bit of music comes to mind.
    .
    And also next time an entire people is subjected to Holocaust type horrors remember: They don’t need a country, they need therapy.

  80. Katz

    Of which the most practical at this stage is a two state solution on the 1967 borders, which the whole world is agreed upon, which the whole world votes upon almost unanimously every year, and to which the only obstacle is the intransigence of the US and Israel, who value the racist, criminal colonisation of the West Bank more than they value peace and international acceptance.

    How might this intransigence be expressed by the US and/or Israel?

    And now another practical question:

    Who in the world is prepared to accept the consequences of that intransigence in order to insist on the settlement of which you speak?

  81. yeti

    How might this intransigence be expressed by the US and/or Israel?

    The voting record in the General Assembly is a pretty good indication. if you are interested in the diplomatic history, there are several books on the subject, which I have referred to in previous threads here. As for your second question, maybe you can repeat it in English.

  82. yeti

    Okay, I presume you’re asking, why doesn’t the world community put its money where its mouth is? Why do they just pass resolution after resolution from the air-conditioned comfort of the UN headquarters, and never cut ties, divest or impose sanctions? That’s a valid question. The whole world (bar Israel, US and several South Pacific island states) knows that it is wrong and illegal, yet they stand by and do nothing. Why? Because of the massive disparities of power involved, I’d say. It has a lot to do with the dominance of America, the fact that Israel is rich and powerful and has a lot to offer, the fact that the Palestinians are poor and powerless and have little to offer, the fact that their leadership has been taken over by collaborators like Abbas, the fact that the Arab dictators are all in the pay of the US, the highly effective efforts of the pro-Israeli lobby internationally, and the fact that people like us aren’t pressuring our governments and institutions enough to take a principled stand on the matter.

  83. Katz

    The sovereignty of the West Bank (but not the Golan heights, which is clearly Syrian territory) is a very complex and cloudy issue under international law.

    QED.

  84. yeti

    hardly. maybe you can say who you think sovereignty belongs to, if not the Palestinians.

  85. Katz

    My opinion doesn’t matter.

    The opinion of the UN does.

  86. yeti

    you don’t even have an opinion by the looks of things, you just want to play devil’s advocate dress-up games. but the opinion of the UN, and of the World Court, is perfectly clear. It couldn’t be clearer! Israel has no title to sovereignty over the territories. the only people who do are the Palestinians. you are confusing the unfortunate fact that most member states, who see nothing in it for themselves, can’t be arsed taking action to enforce this opinion, mainly thanks to them not wishing to provoke the US (which vetoes anything against Israel in the Security Council anyway), with the utterly wrong notion that the legal status of the territories is somehow ambiguous.

  87. Katz

    you don’t even have an opinion by the looks of things, you just want to play devil’s advocate dress-up games.

    More evidence of your inattentive reading.

    Don’t misunderstand me. From the point of view of ethics, the behaviour of Israel with regard to the occupied and annexed territories is indefensible.

  88. patrickm

    Yeti; your point is that the issue is clear and of course it is clear. Katz is wasting your time with his word games where he wants to pretend that it’s ‘a very complex and cloudy issue under international law’.

    The Palestinian people have made it perfectly plain that they will not be ruled by the ruling class that lives the other side of the Suez Canal, and the doddery tyranny there has renounced all claims to ruling over the Palestinians many decades ago; the same applies to the shaky ruling class that rules on the other side of the Jordan River. Those regimes have enough trouble attempting to keep their own people from participating in the bourgeois revolution now spreading throughout the region. Of course Palestinians will rule themselves and of course those other regimes will fall to their people.

    But don’t think for a moment that Abbas (one of the founders of Fatah) is any sort of quisling or tyrant, though he will however now become (like Bush and Olmert) yesterday’s man as Marwan Barghouti steps forward and more firmly unites the Palestinian masses. Abbas has had a very hard row to hoe as did Arafat before him. They were always prepared to continue the struggle. Fatah did become corrupt and the new ‘youth brush’ led by MB will clean it up but don’t hold Abbas to blame given the incredibly difficult struggle that has been his lot in life.

    There are fools that will try to tell you the Palestinian leadership ought to have settled for the bone that Barak was throwing them all those years ago, but consider how the situation has got far worse for Israel since then and this will continue to be the case.

    The negotiation to reunite both directly occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank and indirectly occupied Gaza is going ahead right now with Abbas actually leading and the Israeli government once again outflanked.

    Self evidently the Palestinian people will not be ruled by the Israeli ruling class and any army and settlers that they send forth from the other side of the 1967 border. One must note that these forces have now withdrawn completely behind this border in the case of Gaza and Egypt and Lebanon and one ought draw the conclusion they will have to do so (except by a mutually negotiated agreement) in the case of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as well.

    The United Nations recognize the PLO as the representative body of the Palestinian people from THIS defined area and those Palestinians still in refugee camps in other countries.

    The politically united Zionists launched a war to grab land and establish Greater Israel. They were supported and funded by the U.S. that were at the time trying to prevent the Vietnamese from conducting free and fair elections and running their own affairs. The U.S. met with stunning failure and so have the Zionists that rule Israel. No amount of U.S. funding and political support via veto power at the UN has altered the reality of this war with ‘facts on the ground’ and state sponsored terrorism, and their unity is now quite clearly shattered over the issue of expansion, and instead being reformed over the issue of ending the war without appearing to be defeated by reforming the public perception of what the war is all about. People who spread the idea that it’s ‘a very complex and cloudy issue under international law’ only assist in concealing the real war and the real defeat we are witnessing.

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/obama-touted-as-the-answer-to-israels-impasse-20090216-898g.html

  89. Adrien

    Patrick – Those regimes have enough trouble attempting to keep their own people from participating in the bourgeois revolution now spreading throughout the region.
    .
    Interesting.
    .
    I’ve often wondered what would happen if you dropped acid and read green Left Weekly. Now I know.
    .
    Bourgeois revolution? O-kay!

  90. Michael

    An interesting Israeli Govt coalition possibility has emerged – Kadima and YB as an anti-religious grouping. Though they will struggle to get 61. K+L with YB as the glue is a possibility, though not a very stable one.

  91. Adrien

    Yeti – It couldn’t be clearer! Israel has no title to sovereignty over the territories. the only people who do are the Palestinians. … can’t be arsed taking action to enforce this opinion, mainly thanks to them not wishing to provoke the US (which vetoes anything against Israel in the Security Council anyway)
    .
    This is what I was talking about. Making resolutions is all very well. But making them reality is a different matter. First there’s the fact that any state that is in violation of UN resolutions will often have at least permanent member of the UNSC as a buddy. Then there’s the ‘what is to be done question’ that we’ve all still failed to answer.
    .
    Rwanda, Somalia, Bosnia? All FUBAR.
    .
    The question of sovereignty is pertinent. No nation is going to simply hand over command of its troops to an international force. There will be chain-of-command qualifications that’ll probably render the whole thing useless. Remember forcing a state to withdraw its armed forces from a territory requires armed force. Who will expend blood and treasure to do so?
    .
    And then of course we have to consider that the IDF is one of the best military forces in the world and possesses nuclear weapons.
    .
    Fab. And we haven’t even addressed how one deals with a government that is dependent on a foreign state for its income and is dedicated to religious warfare.
    .
    There is no procedure for dealing with this situation. I suspect such procedures will evolve over time provided of course that the UN doesn’t go the way of the League of Nations.

  92. patrickm

    Adrien; have you noticed free and fair elections in Iraq and Lebanon and Palestine? Don’t you recall what happens when people get the right to actually vote for their government? Don’t you agree the rest of the region is a collection of tyrannies? Don’t you remember when Israel was held up to be the only democratic country in the region? Things are changing.

    BTW Its been decades since I’ve done the first and pesudoleft publications like GLW are hardly likely to produce a revolutionary analysis that can actually predict what is happening anywhere in the world let alone the ME.

    I didn’t notice you predicting that that MB would be released shortly after the Zionists finished with their last round of mass murder and their bourgeois democratic election. Why didn’t you see it coming?

  93. Michael

    The other interesting claim about the post-election horse-trading, is that in response to the above, Netanyahu is trying to woo Labor and Kadima into an anti-Lieberman coalition.

  94. Adrien

    Things are changing.
    .
    Sure but ‘bourgeois revolution’ is somehow not quite it.
    .
    Iraq for example does have elections but those elections are almost always fought on ethno-religious lines. I’m a little worried about what will happen when the Yanks pull out. I see trouble brewing. Palestinians in Gaza voted for Hamas hardly a repository of good governance. Good governments don’t fire rockets into their much stronger neighbours households. When you do that they tend to get irate and, like, invade your country and shit.
    .
    There’s also talk of a Shi-ite, Suuni civil war ripping thru the area. Not to mention a lack of something akin to a strong middle-class. So I’m a little disinclined to see the situation in a London-Paris c.1800 kinda light.
    .
    Could be wrong. There are positives too. But….

  95. yeti

    When you do that they tend to get irate and, like, invade your country and shit.

    Got cause and effect backward there. Israel invaded forty years before the rockets in question.

  96. An observer

    This is interesting. IDF identifies majority of casualties in conflict and – lo and behold – 2/3rds appear to be Hamas fighters.

    Could it be that the casualty figures have been spun somewhat? Who would want to do that? Certainly it’s something the free press wouldn’t tolerate!

  97. Katz

    When the UN, as the supreme deliberative body of international law, bases its denial of Palestinian self determination on an interpretation of the word “the” (as in Resolution 242) it is self-mystification for the rest of us to pretend that in international law “word games” aren’t important.

    Practically, this means that Palestinian self-determination is highly unlikely to be achieved by UN action. The most that can reasonably be expected from the UN is that its important bodies (the General Assembly and more crucially the Security Council) will endorse a change that has happened on the ground. (The example of the PRC demonstrates that sometimes even that form of UN recognition can take a long time to achieve.)

    Thus, the onus is on the political leadership of the Palestinian people to find an effective means to make it intolerable for Israel to continue their military occupation of the West Bank. So far, the political leadership of the Palestinian people have failed to find an effective means to make occupation an impossible task.

  98. yeti

    When the UN, as the supreme deliberative body of international law, bases its denial of Palestinian self determination on an interpretation of the word “the” (as in Resolution 242)…

    Something that never happened. Stop wasting everyone’s time.

  99. yeti

    Oh, an “observer”, citing the IDF as a source of objective information on its own atrocities. I wonder who that could be.

  100. Katz

    Shorter yeti, “Denial always works for me.”

  101. Liam

    If you read someone billing themselves as having a more accurate analysis than the GLW, you might be reading a bad book.

  102. yeti

    Shorter Katz: “I’ve never looked at the diplomatic record”.

    Show me where the UN or World Court have formally denied Palestinian self determination. They have been quite explicit that the only people with a title to sovereignty in the territories are the Palestinians. That doesn’t sound like denial of self determination to me. Show me where they have granted Israel an exception to the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force.

  103. yeti

    Little Green Footballs, almost as credible as Pajamas Media.

  104. Katz

    “Formal”… nice weasel word.

    To quote you:

    Why do they just pass resolution after resolution from the air-conditioned comfort of the UN headquarters, and never cut ties, divest or impose sanctions? That’s a valid question. The whole world (bar Israel, US and several South Pacific island states) knows that it is wrong and illegal, yet they stand by and do nothing. Why? Because of the massive disparities of power involved, I’d say. It has a lot to do with the dominance of America, the fact that Israel is rich and powerful and has a lot to offer, the fact that the Palestinians are poor and powerless and have little to offer, the fact that their leadership has been taken over by collaborators like Abbas, the fact that the Arab dictators are all in the pay of the US, the highly effective efforts of the pro-Israeli lobby internationally, and the fact that people like us aren’t pressuring our governments and institutions enough to take a principled stand on the matter.

    I couldn’t have put it better myself.

    Formality means nothing if it perpetuates tolerance of Israel boots on West Bank ground.

  105. Andrew Reynolds

    This is not too far wrong.

  106. yeti

    the onus is on the political leadership of the Palestinian people to find an effective means to make it intolerable for Israel to continue their military occupation of the West Bank. So far, the political leadership of the Palestinian people have failed to find an effective means to make occupation an impossible task.

    I do agree with this wholeheartedly. But don’t pretend that they haven’t got international law on their side. They do, but in the absence of an international police force to take Israel to task, the unambiguous law has no physical force. The powerful states are unwilling and unable to take on the extremely powerful USA-Israel axis in order to help the Palestinians, who don’t offer them anything. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t recognise the right of the Palestinians to self determination, or the illegality of the occupation and settlements under the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions. That is clear as crystal, not a cloud involved. The World Court ruled on it in 2004, and the General Assembly votes on it every year, and the only countries that vote against it are the US, Israel and a few Pacific microstates (Marshall Islands, Nauru etc). Actions to enforce the law are vetoed in the Security Council by the US, which has proved its utter contempt for international law in recent years quite well. But that doesn’t change the reality of the law. It doesn’t make it ambiguous.

    So what should the Palestinians do, given the absence of the international law police coming to their rescue, given that they are up against such overwhelmingly powerful enemies? That’s a serious question. I found this talk quite interesting:

    “The Israel-Palestine Conflict: What we can learn from Gandhi”

  107. Katz

    Yes, Finkelstein’s suggestions point in the correct direction.

    I’d like to add my idea. Palestinian authorities could encourage young adults from rich countries to come and live among the Palestinians for a time and to confront illegal settlers on the ground in non-violent ways.

    This would be something of a replay of the US “Freedom Summer” of 1964 that seared the image of the apartheid South so deeply into the minds of US northerners and the rest of the world.

    The government of Israel would be faced with a difficult dilemma to know what to do with young, rich white folks in the face of the world’s media.

    Palestinians must in the end liberate themselves, but this strategy may serve to focus world attention in a more favourable way on the Palestinian plight than it has been so far.

  108. yeti

    Palestinian authorities could encourage young adults from rich countries to come and live among the Palestinians for a time and to confront illegal settlers on the ground in non-violent ways.

    With video cameras, obviously.

  109. Katz

    Yes, that’s the strategy. It needs to be multiplied by 1000. And Israeli authorities must be compelled to enter the fray on the side of the illegal settlers.

  110. yeti

    Obama’s learning the ropes at any rate.

    HELEN THOMAS: [D]o you know of any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: …With respect to nuclear weapons, you know, I don’t want to speculate.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/09/us/politics/09text-obama.html?pagewanted=12

  111. patrickm

    Andrew Reynolds – the best description of the article you’ve linked to is mostly diversionary junk however we can salvage this one sentence and build something of an analysis on it.

    ‘It took an explosion of Palestinian resistance, in the intifada (uprising) of the late 1980s and the far more lethal one of 2001-03, to convince Israel that this was an illusion.’

    The fact is that Olmert and co are meeting this very day on the issue of the release of the most prominent leader of the intifada, Marwan Barghouti, who is already nominated for the next presidential election. At the same time the Palestinians are meeting in Egypt over issues of co-operation that will imv effectively and rapidly lead to the formation of a government of national unity (with Fatah undertaking even more reform of the corrupt elements and Hamas promising discipline and democratic conduct on their part) and thus they will reunite Gaza with the West Bank and East Jerusalem and end the period of siege on Gaza at the same time.

    The Israeli Government will have been forced to end the siege of Gaza with no agreement other than that the Palestinians will now control their side of the border and the Israeli government will have nothing more to say about the border between Palestine, Gaza and Egypt. The attacks by Israel and the pin prick rockets in return (or even the other way around if people want it that way) will now stop within the 18 month cease fire agreement between Hamas and Israel, and international monitors are about to arrive to report on any breaches.

    We are about to see the release of the first of the almost 1300 Palestinian hostages and POW’s and the release of the 1 Israeli POW firstly into Egyptian hands for perhaps a few days. BUT the next Weeks + events are to be read in the context of the Zionist leadership ending that which has always been ‘an illusion’.

    The U.S. do not want much delay in the next substantial stage of talks that cannot resume unless they proceed from what has already been effectively agreed during the Olmert period with Livni as the chief negotiator. There will be no resumption unless that is the case and there will be a resumption of talks. The U.S. intends to end this war and all that requires is the Israeli side getting their act together to make the decisions that they must.

    The U.S. will not be pleased if delaying tactics are again employed that will only lead to a third intifada with predictable results. The U.S. intend to prevent any third intifada from breaking out because it would not serve their interests, and would only set the final settlement back a couple more years. (but in no way alter that settlement in favor of the Israeli side) Nothing of any substance is to be gained by delaying a settlement longer than over the ‘decent’ period of the next two years or so.

    During the next few months while people ‘regain their breath’ over what just went down after the election we could expect the U.S. to open up the issue of Syria and a settlement of that issue is well understood.

    So with the caveat ‘that there are many a slip ‘tween cup and lip’, odds are shortening on the formation of a government of national unity in Israel and a comprehensive settlement achieved in the next 18 months.

    That all being said, while I have understood that this is what the draining the swamp U.S. policy has been leading towards since the end of 2002, the pace seems like cold treacle (still compared to events of the previous 30 odd years); even so, I have been surprised by events taking far longer (timing is a classic fault of amateurs and the inexperienced) than I thought but not by the direction of ME events.

    However with the world’s capitalist system now slipping into utter chaos I think there is more incentive than ever before for the U.S. and the Israelis to speed the treacle up. Who needs this distraction if you are the U.S. ruling elite scrambling around trying to hold your core business together?

  112. yeti

    You’re quite optimistic patrick, but none of these developments are putting a hold on Israel’s frenzy of illegal settlement building:

    Monday

    Israel has taken control of a large area near a prominent settlement in the Palestinian West Bank, paving the way for a possible construction of 2,500 settlement homes, officials have said.

    Oded Revivi, the mayor of Efrat, said on Monday that the Israeli military has designated 425 acres near the settlement of about 1,600 families south of Jerusalem, as so-called
    state land two weeks ago.

  113. Michael

    The latest speculation on coalition building is that Leibermann is going to support neither Livni, nor Netanyahu for PM. This would leave only Netanyahu with a real shot at forming Govt with a religious-right coalition of around 65.

    One view of this is that Leibermann is taking a strategic approach, judging that YB is on the rise and might enjoy greater success in future elections allowing it to take on a senior, rather than junior, role in a future coalition. Whether his supporters, who are mostly thought to have expected Leibermann to support Netanyahu, are so patient is another matter.

  114. Adrien

    Yeti – Got cause and effect backward there. Israel invaded forty years before the rockets in question.
    .
    Oh fer Chrissake!
    .
    You know what I mean, perfectly well. What is to be gained by firing feeble rockets into Israel? Nada. A wise government wouldn’t do that. End of story.
    .
    BTW – The Zionist invasion of Palestine started a hundred years ago give or take. Is that bullshit? Yes. Anti-semitism, European imperialism, religious fundamentalism, suicide bombs and economic embargoes are also all bullshit. It’s a big mess, no-one is innocent and the blame game works about as well as Israel’s policy of vengeance. Stop fighting, get a country together and leave it to the Culture Wars of the late 23d century.
    .
    in the absence of an international police force to take Israel to task, the unambiguous law has no physical force.
    .
    Hoo – fuckn’ – ray!

  115. Adrien

    Katz – When the UN, as the supreme deliberative body of international law
    .
    The UN is a cluster of institutions. What you probably mean is the ICJ. This is part of the apparatus of the UN naturally and subject to the UNSC which a big problem right there. The ICJ says Israel bad, Israel says fuck off, the ICJ refers the matter to the UNSC and the US kicks ’em in the teeth.
    .
    Joy!
    .
    Practically, this means that Palestinian self-determination is highly unlikely to be achieved by UN action
    .
    It is likely to be achieved by the Palestinians. Self-determination begins at home.
    .
    It would be good if the boneheads in Israel realize that people are a lot less likely to blow themselves up at your Bar Mitzvahs if they’re too busy creating prosperity – http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1694477,00.html
    .
    It would be likewise good if the Jihadist boneheads that pass for the govt in Gaza realize that Israel might not be so inclined to block imports of CO2 into Palestine if Hamas weren’t so determined to acquire weapons with which to make half-arsed attempts at a war they can’t possibly win.
    .
    It’s your fault.
    .
    No it’s your fault.
    .
    Shut-up! It’s both your faults.

  116. wbb

    Peace is breaking out in Palestine! Obama effect? Or is Netinyahou a closet dove?

    GAZA, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) — Israel on Wednesday allowed limited shipments of cooking gas into Gaza for the first time since two weeks, Palestinian officials said.

    Mahmoud al-Khozendar, deputy director of the petrol stations owners’ union in Gaza, said the amount of cooking gas is insufficient so the people would only be able to get half the amount they need.

    To overcome the crisis, al-Khozendar said, Israel must allow 10,000 tonnes of gas into Gaza in one week.

    The deliveries of cooking gas came as Israel opened its commercial crossing points for the movement of aid convoys and petrol into the Hamas-controlled territory.

    450 liters of industrial diesel, needed for power plant in Gaza which is working on half-capacity, are scheduled to be shipped to the only power station.

    Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2007 after Hamas took over security installations there.

  117. Michael

    Leibermann has opted to support Netanyahu. With a catch – only if Kadima is included.

    Livni earlier ruled out a K-L coalition, any Govt including Leibermann and any chance of a rotating govt. But that has undergone a subtle change. Now she rules out participation in a govt “that does not advance peace”. I think this means that a coalition with Likud is now on the cards and it’s just a matter of working out the important details, like who gets which ministries, and the exact formulation of words that will allow everyone to claim that they stuck to their promises.

    This seems a bit more likely than a religious-right coalition of L-YB-Shas-UTJ etc.