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Opinion

Opinion

Status quo poses risks for Israel

April 8, 2011

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While revolutionary fever sweeps through the Arab world, the Mideast peace process remains frozen.

President Obama, burned by early peace efforts, is preoccupied with myriad other problems. Israeli leaders are struggling, with scant enthusiasm, to turn out a new peace proposal.

Uncertainty about the outcome of the Arab Spring makes Israel and Washington uneasy about resuming peace efforts. But Mideast events are moving so swiftly that inaction carries greater risks.

As Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said last month, Israel will face “a diplomatic-political tsunami” in September: If the peace process remains inert, the United Nations will probably vote to recognize a Palestinian state encompassing all of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. “Paralysis, rhetoric, inaction will deepen the isolation of Israel,” Barak says.

So it’s significant that a group of prominent Israelis, including former heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet (the external and internal intelligence services), have just put forward a new peace plan in hopes of prodding their government.

The group, which also includes former military men, scholars, and businessmen, said it was responding to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, a groundbreaking proposal that never got traction in Israel. That plan called on all Arab states to recognize Israel in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders and a settlement of the Palestinian refugee issue on which both sides agree.

The Israeli group is calling for a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, with small territorial swaps. It also calls for Israel to return the Golan Heights. The quid pro quo would be an end to all Arab claims against Israel and full peace.

One of the plan’s backers, former Shin Bet director Yaakov Perry, told the Jerusalem Post that the West Bank status quo presented a mortal threat to Israelis. He says the group wants to counter Israel’s growing international isolation and dispel the notion that the Jewish state is opposed to peace talks.

I think this Israeli initiative serves other important purposes as well.

First, it reminds us that the only territorial basis for an Israeli-Palestinian peace is the 1967 borders with small adjustments. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejects this framework, saying it predetermines the final outcome. But this is the basis on which previous Israeli leaders conducted talks for more than a decade. This is also the basis on which Netanyahu’s predecessor, Ehud Olmert, came close to a deal with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in 2008.

Few Americans are aware of the progress Olmert and Abbas made on defining a future Palestinian state’s borders: Olmert suggested Israel keep 6.3 percent of West Bank land so as to hold on to some settlements, and Abbas offered 1.9 percent, with a compromise possible. The two sides were hung up over whether Israel would keep the large settlement of Ariel, which protrudes like a finger into the waist of the West Bank and makes territorial contiguity difficult.

Olmert and Abbas also agreed that a Palestinian state would be demilitarized, possibly with NATO troops on its border with Jordan. They agreed that Jerusalem would include the sovereign capitals of both states, and they came up with the creative idea of assigning control of Jerusalem’s holy places to a committee of five countries: Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Israel.

The two leaders were still working on the thorny issue of refugees (on which much progress had been made during negotiations when Barak was prime minister, in 2000 and early 2001). Unfortunately, the talks petered out after Olmert announced he would step down due to a corruption investigation, and after the 2008 Gaza war began.

However, the Israeli initiative reminds us that there are negotiating precedents to build on. It makes no sense to start over from scratch, as Netanyahu has tried to do, and reject progress made by previous Israeli leaders. Nor would it make sense for Netanyahu to propose — as many expect — that an interim Palestinian state be declared on little more than 40 percent of West Bank land (minus East Jerusalem). This would only reaffirm an untenable status quo.

And, finally, the new Israeli plan reminds us that the Arab Peace Initiative is still alive — barely. Its chief sponsor, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, is still on his throne, but old and ill. His support is critical, but he might not be around for much longer.

Many will argue, of course, that the downfall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and other uncertainties in the region, make it too dangerous for Israel to gamble territory for peace. Perry, the former intelligence chief, begs to differ.

He argues that, under current conditions, Israel won’t have the option of standing still, so it is better to get in front of international pressure. He believes that the Arab upheavals have created “an excellent opportunity” for Israel to present new ideas that may appeal to an emerging generation of Arab reformers.

Israel does not have the luxury of “sitting on the sidelines anymore,” he told the Jerusalem Post. There are big risks involved, but they are not as great as the risks of doing nothing.

I believe he is right.

Trudy Rubin is a columnist and editorial board member for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Her email address is trubin@phillynews.com

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

The framework proposed here is the only one that has any chance of bringing peace to that region. Let's hope it gets some traction, and soon.

Abdu Omar 3 years, 8 months ago

I think it is up to "Bibi" and he is reluctant because he thinks he can get more land in the West Bank. The Palestinians shouldn't be hasty. Be patient and eventually Israel will be mostly Muslim and Arab as the Arab population within Israel is growing very quickly. The time to call it is now. Let the peace process finish and everyone in the world will be happy. If that should happen, the US wouldn't need to send money and arms hence the terrorists will be happy- no more terrorism? Shouldn't that make America happy?

ignati5 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm afraid Israel is doomed. The "two state" solution is a stop-gap measure until both sides realize that economic integration is the only feasible solution, and that realization will take at least two generations, time that Israel does not have. Somewhere in the depths of the Defense Department's archive there must be a contingency plan to evacuate Israel, which escaped the notice of WikiLeaks. When this plan is finally revealed, the game will be up. BG

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

Let's think outside the box here for a moment. I've got an idea for a whole new approach. First, let's remember that both Jordan and Egypt have peace treaties with Israel. Those look suspect now in light of current events, but let's assume they could be the basis of a broader plan. Israel might be willing to give back almost all those lands, but not to the Palestinians who cannot ensure peace. Give the lands back to Jordan and Egypt. Let those governments ensure the peace. There will be a promise from Jordan and Egypt that the West Bank and Gaza will eventually become a Palestinian state after certain benchmarks have been met. It might take a generation or two, but given the recent history and the prospects for peace now, it might be more likely than the current path. The settlements in the West Bank - they stay. The residents will become Jordanian citizens. And like any minority in any country, they will need the protection of the government. Jordan must do that.
The right of return - Palestinians displaced previously will be given the opportunity to settle in the West Bank or Gaza.
Jerusalem - with a line drawn with a razor, Jewish holy sites will remain in the control of Israel, Muslim holy sites will be controlled by Jordan. What might possibly coax Jordan and Egypt into taking this course? Money, and a guarantee of stability in the region. We might need to guarantee regimes hostile to democracy (Saudi Arabia, wealthy Gulf States, etc.). We need their support and money to make it happen. Flaws in my reasoning - probably a lot. But the current path is going nowhere fast. I'd like to hear the thought of others.

Abdu Omar 3 years, 8 months ago

Well, I will weigh in on this. Palestine needs to be a state now, not in a generation or two. Have you seen their country? It is blown to bits and walls are not even covering a whole house. They live in the streets and are without work or livlihood. No, they need peace now and their own country. Second. Jordan wants nothing to do wth them as they always have had conflicts with the Palestinians over rights to the West Bank. Egyptians are a different culture than Palestinians, too. So it would be difficult. and they don't need babysitters. They need to work together to make a country at peace. They can do it as they must do it.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

You speak about what the Palestinians need to get. I can't argue with you about that. But what are they willing to give? The long held notion has been land for peace. Israel will give up land, and in return get peace. What is clear to Israel and what I agree with is that there is no entity in Palestine that can guarantee peace. Hence, the impasse.
My suggestion probably has many faults. But it's a way to break the impasse. If this goes on for another generation or two, will they look back upon today and complain that we missed so many opportunities?
Bringing Egypt and Jordan back into the equation has pitfalls, as you mentioned. But the question I would ask is were the Palestinians better off and happier under their rule than they are now (pre 1967 compared to post 1967)? Maybe not, but I think maybe they were.
Within the Arab community, there are many factions, of which the Palestinians are one. Jordan and Egypt contain many other factions. But in the end they are all Arab. And living under their rule, with eventual self rule seems to be a better alternative than the current situation. It's not a perfect suggestion, just one that I think is better than the status quo. There is another alternative, that is for the Palestinians to somehow elect a unified government that speaks for all the people and can present itself as a legitimate peace partner.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

" But what are they willing to give?"

The more apt question is what haven't they already been forced to give up?

"that is for the Palestinians to somehow elect a unified government that speaks for all the people and can present itself as a legitimate peace partner."

The Palestinians in Gaza elected a government-- Hamas. And how did Hamas gets initial foothold in that region? Israel gave substantial support to them in the eighties as a counter force to Fatah, in a deliberate effort to promote civil conflict among Palestinians. And it worked.

And what did Israel do when Hamas finally took political power there? They immediately set about undermining them in every way possible, including direct military assaults on not only Hamas, but the civilian population that elected them.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

At least one of the problems for the Palestinians is that they aligned themselves with other Arab forces prior to 1967 that were not interested in peace and were trying very hard to drive all the Jews into the sea. When that strategy failed, Palestinian statehood became their mantra. But the hostilities happened and the Palestinians were not innocent bystanders. You speak of a deadly dance, in a later post. It's not a bad characterization. It was Israel that wanted peace for decades. It was Jordan and Egypt who did not. (remember, the West Bank and Gaza were controlled by those countries prior to 1967) But from the end of hostilities in '67 until many years after, land for peace was on the table waiting for the Arab side to accept.
Can you even tell me when Palestine even came into being? If your answer is never, then the land can be given to them, but it cannot be returned to them.
And I'm curious, how is that a country can lose land in a war of aggression and then somehow the loser dictates terms of the peace. Did Germany and Japan dictate peace to the U.S.? Since the binning of Israel's modern existence, I am unaware of any time when the occupants of the West Bank and Gaza have been willing to accept peace and have been in a position to guarantee such.
Words have powerful meanings and when said often enough, people begin to believe them. The armistice line is sometimes referred to as a border. It is not. Palestine is a name of an area that goes by other names as well. Jews born in Palestine (prior to Israel's existence) are not Palestinians while Palestinians born abroad are called Palestinians. These are facts that run contrary to the understanding of most people because words have been misused so often that they have come to believe them. The situation Palestinians are in now is deplorable. I sincerely wish Hamas would give up it's goal of eliminating Israel and unite with the P.A. under a banner of peace. A P.A. that is able to deliver peace will find peace waiting for them.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Exactly who do you think Palestinians should have aligned themselves? The Israelis, the ones who stole their land through terrorism and ethnic cleansing?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

One additional point, Bozo, you state that Israel gave support to Hamas in the '80's to counter the power of Fatah. I have never heard that (other than from your previous posts), but for the sake of argument, let's assume that's true. During the '80's, both Hamas and Fatah were dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Both specifically had that in their respective charters. Given that, would it not be legitimate for Israel to try to have them fight each other, rather than concentrate on their stated goal of Israel's destruction? If either one had given up it's goal of Israel's destruction, then it would be another matter. While elements of the P.L.O. evolved into Fatah and the into the P.A., they have never been willing to do the real hard work of unifying the Palestinian people under a single banner dedicated to a peace process. Every time one faction calls for peace, a breakaway faction continues the violence. It's a shell game similar to when Jordan attacked Israel and when defeated, somehow this other group springs up without responsibility for the previous groups actions.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

"I have never heard that (other than from your previous posts), but for the sake of argument, let's assume that's true."

It is true-- and that you've never heard it elsewhere is a testament to the narrow sources of information upon which you rely to support your prejudices.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

You didn't address the point, since both Fatah and Hamas were dedicated to the destruction of Israel, wouldn't it make sense for Israel to promote tension between them as a way of deflecting their hostilities away from itself?

Ken Lassman 3 years, 8 months ago

I think it is useful to think outside the box, but also realize that to get anywhere in this situation will take many baby steps. The plan outlined by Rubin in this article accomplishes much: it takes away the main objection of the Arab world by returning the Palestinian lands back to the Palestinians being the main one. Israel faces an increasingly independent Arab world that is uniformly hostile toward Israel primarily because of the 1967 war land grab. Much of the hostility will disappear if this issue is resolved, I believe.

Over time, I think the fractured state of the Palestinian lands will eventually result in their being absorbed into the adjacent countries of Jordan and Egypt, but neither will be interested until the Palestinians get organized into semi-viable, functioning societies again. Even tho both Egypt and Jordan are different culturally from the Palestinians, both have had a Palestinian presence in their countries for decades, so if the Palestinian states become somewhat organized and viable, I believe it would be a win-win situation for their existence to merge with the larger countries.

Where does that leave Israel? Not the best situation, but objectively speaking, what did the gains from the 67 war ultimately provide? A type of uneasy apartheid with their playing the role of prison guards over increasingly traumatized inmates, disapproving neighbors, perpetual vigilance, and a demographic timebomb with the fuse already lit. Israel desperately needs stability as much as the Palestinians, and while the apocalyptic-types are preaching that it's already too late, I beg to differ.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm sorry to say, but your interpretation of the events of 1967 and subsequent events could not be more wrong. In no way can the 67 war be considered a land grab. In the months leading up to that war, Egypt expelled U.N. peacekeepers along it's border. They closed an international waterway (defined as an act of war), mounted troops, tanks, aircraft, etc. along the border and openly stated that they intended to attack Israel. For it's part, Israel attempted to prevent such an attack via diplomatic means. But once hostilities with Egypt commenced, Jordan stood by for two days. During that time, Israel was desperate for Jordan to not enter the war, not wanting a second front. Though they did not enjoy diplomatic relations, Israel sent messages through third parties practically begging Jordan not to enter the conflict. After two days, Jordan did attack Israel. Is that how you define a land grab? In the years immediately following the 67 war, Israel was prepared to give back all the land in exchange for peace. They were met with the infamous three no(s). (No peace, no negotiations, no recognition). Israel had no one to negotiate peace with. Egypt, to it's great credit, finally came forward and offered peace. In exchange for peace guarantees, they got every inch of their land back (except Gaza, which they did not want back). What did Jordan do? They simply abandoned the West Bank. To whom should Israel give the land? To militias hostile to Israel? They did that with Southern Lebanon and got war in return.
Yes, Israel began a settlement policy. Currently 5-7 percent of West Bank's population is Jewish. Should they be uprooted when a peace settlement is negotiated? Perhaps, settlers were removed from Sinai with a peace accord and were unilaterally removed from Gaza. The West Bank settlers represent a much larger number though and it may become infeasible to remove them. The longer the peace process, the more difficult it becomes. Peace could have happened shortly after the 67 war. It was Jordan who refused. You can't blame Israel nor can you define that as a land grab. One final point, you mention returning land to the Palestinians. We should be clear, Israel seized lands from Jordan in a war of aggression. Many countries have done things very similar. Was it Jordan who seized land from the Palestinians, or was it the British before them or perhaps the Ottomans? When exactly did this country called Palestine exist with defined borders? This thing they lost, when did they possess it?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

That history is just too Israeli-centric. Israel was not an innocent in the hostilities of 1967, or 1956, or 1947-48, or any time since then.

It takes two to tango, and Israel has in many, if not most, instances taken the lead in that deadly dance.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

I was responding to a post that had historical inaccuracies as far as the poster"s interpretation of events. Limiting your response to how I reviewed the events (the lead-up to the 1967 war and the time immediately thereafter), do you think I mischaracterized history?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

Are you saying that Egypt did not expel U.N. peacekeepers? Or did they not close international waterways? Or did they not amass troops and weapons across Sinai? Or did the Egyptian leaders not say they were going to attack Israel? Or did Jordan not enter the conflict after Israel urged them not to?
Or on your planet do all those acts of Egypt and Jordan equal a land grab? Frankly, Bozo, my first post in this thread proposed what I thought was an alternate route to a fair peace. I also countered historical inaccuracies in a reply. I'm looking for something constructive in your replies but see nothing. Care to elevate the level of the discourse, rather than drag it down?

Ken Lassman 3 years, 8 months ago

jhawkinsf,

Actually, I stand corrected--I wasn't paying that much attention back in '67, except to see all the tremendous land captures Israel had made, but you are correct--they were attacked first, and the Arab world did not want to allow the Jewish state to exist and were ready to destroy it.

It is a bit disingenuous to say that the Palestinian people have no right to this land just because they have never had a formal state. Much of this part of the world had countries created by the colonial powers who occupied that land, and, lke the Kurds to the north, the Palestinians were split up despite their historically being the same people.

Just as with the Kurds, the resulting history has been rife with injustice and seemingly an insoluble conflict between nations and peoples. It is to the credit of the Israelis that this solution is even being considered and the credit of the Arabs that they have softened their stance toward accepting the Israeli state.

My question to you: assuming that any solution at all is possible, does the plan that Rubin discuss seem doable to you, and if not, what is a more viable alternative?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

As I already said, your history is extremely Israeli-centric, and therefore incomplete. Does that mean that there is no truth to what you say? Of course not, but lies by omission are still lies.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

I'll spend some time guessing what my lies of omission are. Time's up.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

The first is to pretend that history somehow began in 1967-- that the terrorism and ethnic cleansing of the 1947-48 didn't happen. That the 1956 war of aggression against its Arab neighbors wasn't instigated by Israel (along with France and Britain.)

And while there was plenty of provocation by Arabs in 1967, it was Israel who attacked first, not Arabs.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

Or to ignore Palestinian leaders' support of Hitler's final solution (the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem). Or to ignore Arab rejection of The Peel Commission compromise (that would have given each a country of their own in lands where each was the majority), or the Palestinian Uprising, Or, Or, Or, How far back would you like to go, to Biblical times when the last people to enjoy self rule on that land were the Jews. I did not pick 1967 out of a hat. I was responding to someone else's post. My first post in this thread proposed a new track towards what I considered a fair peace. You have added nothing positive or constructive to that discussion. It seems you're only intention is to find fault with others. I've invited you in the past to add something constructive to the conversation. That invitation still stands.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Oh, get over yourself. Your intent here is to support Israel and denigrate Palestinians/Arabs.

There is plenty of fault to be found with both sides, but as long as full-out partisans like yourself refuse to budge from you revisionist histories and rationalizations, nothing will change.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

Why don't you just go back to my first post in this thread. It is what I consider to be a legitimate suggestion for a path to peace. There is absolutely nothing in it that can even remotely be considered pro-Israeli and there is definitely nothing that denigrates either Arabs or Palestinians. You're reading into my posts what you think I'm saying, not what I'm actually saying. Look at your posts, there is nothing constructive, nothing. I've invited you to add something, raise the discourse. You have declined the invitation. Who, exactly, needs to get over themselves?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

If you wanted to be "constructive" you'd stop with the Israeli-centric revisionist histories.

Just because you declare yourself as a reasonable person looking for solutions doesn't make it so, any more than declaring yourself King of France would make you royalty.

As far as your so-called "solution," it's just the same old warmed-over non-starter that Israel has been spouting for years-- Arabs should just move to Egypt or Jordan.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

Clearly you misinterpreted my suggestion. Palestinians would be moving nowhere. Not to Egypt and not to Jordan. It would be a return to the 1967 borders, with Egypt and Jordan assuming control of the lands they controlled prior to 1967. My suggestion has absolutely no one moving. It would delay Palestinian control in favor of Egyptian and Jordanian rule (certainly not Israeli-centric). Israel would cede power to those Arab states with the eventual goal (with timetables) of Palestinian self rule. Again, if you read this as a warmed-over non-starter, you're not looking at it with an open mind.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

It's a variation on the same theme-- Palestinians are just Arabs, so they can be part of any old Arab country.

And how temporary would temporary be? What if the Jordanians decided they liked having control over eastern Palestine? What if Egyptians decide the same about w. Palestine? Those questions may not have much traction for you, but they certainly do for the Palestinians.

And, anyway, the militants who control Israel aren't going to have any part of giving up territory. They'd rather die. And, sadly, there are equally intransigent folks on the Arab side.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

Bozo - You say, "The militants who control Israel aren't going to have any part of giving up territory. They'd rather die. And, sadly, there are equally intransigent folks on the Arab side" What you are saying is that there is no solution possible now nor will there ever be. Have I interpreted your statement correctly? I would like to thank you for your positive contribution to this conversation.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

This is for the moderators--

http://www.fallacyfiles.org/loadques.html

A "loaded question", like a loaded gun, is a dangerous thing. A loaded question is a question with a false or questionable presupposition, and it is "loaded" with that presumption. The question "Have you stopped beating your wife?" presupposes that you have beaten your wife prior to its asking, as well as that you have a wife. If you are unmarried, or have never beaten your wife, then the question is loaded.

Since this example is a yes/no question, there are only the following two direct answers:

"Yes, I have stopped beating my wife", which entails "I was beating my wife." "No, I haven't stopped beating my wife", which entails "I am still beating my wife." Thus, either direct answer entails that you have beaten your wife, which is, therefore, a presupposition of the question. So, a loaded question is one which you cannot answer directly without implying a falsehood or a statement that you deny. For this reason, the proper response to such a question is not to answer it directly, but to either refuse to answer or to reject the question.

Some systems of parliamentary debate provide for "dividing the question", that is, splitting a complex question up into two or more simple questions. Such a move can be used to split the example as follows:

"Have you ever beaten your wife?" "If so, are you still doing so?" In this way, 1 can be answered directly by "no", and then the conditional question 2 does not arise.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

Another non-answer in a long string of non-answers. Let me throw an easy one at you. What's your favorite color? Think you can handle that one?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Sorry I missed your post above, but apparently, you want to pout. So have a wonderful little pity party.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

There are several people posting with legitimate ideas that are intellectually stimulating. Constructive ideas are exchanged back and forth. Yours are, well, not. I can never tell if you're a third grader or suffering dementia.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

So Mister Reasonable is now resorting to name-calling because he's been called for his BS.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

To DougCounty - You're correct about the colonial powers that established borders without regard to the people on the ground. Your example of the Kurds is a very good one. What frustrates me is that Israel is held to a different standard than say, Turkey or Iraq. As I stated, the conditions that Palestinians live under are horrible and should improve. But that won't happen until roads are built, schools are built and jobs are created. And I don't see peace happening until the Palestinians see improvements in their daily lives. That said, they have squandered many opportunities by allowing their leaders to engage in what turned out to be a wrong path. The two state solution that they have been negotiating off and on for decades now have come so close to fruition, only to be derailed at the last moment. If they could conclude it in the manner Rubin suggests, I would say great. My first post suggested another way, should the current path not work out. It's been 44 years since 1967, so to those who say they can't wait a generation or two, I would just say that the current path has taken a long time with no guarantee it will succeed. I just thought my idea was worth putting out there for discussion.

Ken Lassman 3 years, 8 months ago

I think that the Arab world, especially now, will never accept absorption of the West Bank/Gaza territories into Jordan/Egypt without there being an intermediate step of a Palestinian state first. I think down the road, this would be advantageous to the Palestinians once the independent state issue is resolved first. But direct annexation is politically unsavory for the Palestinians, Egyptians and the Jordanians, and the status quo will mean certain isolation and increasing instability for Israel, so it's time for some bold leaders and bold plans in my book.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

Some things you say I agree with, others I don't. First, the best solution is whatever the two sides agree upon. The path they have been on for many years has been land for peace, a two state solution, etc.. The problem is if and I emphasize the word "if" there comes a time when an impasse is reached and another path towards the same goal might be considered. Ultimately, a two state solution must be reached. But could we get from here to there in a way different from what has been talked about for a long time now. If a Palestinian State were ever to emerge, I would see no reason for them to merge with Jordan, Egypt or any other country. My suggestion was for there to be an intermediary step, a transition time, when they would be part of Jordan and Egypt (as they were prior to 1967). Those countries, with existing peace agreements could guarantee peace until such a time as the Palestinians themselves could make that guarantee.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

So what country should Israel temporarily merge with-- you know, in the interest of peace?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

If Israel is unwilling to guarantee peace, then they should merge with some entity that would guarantee peace. If they are unwilling to such, then they are a failed state. Israel does not fit that description.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

If failure to guarantee peace equates to failed state, then Israel failed before it even began, and remains that way.

Ken Lassman 3 years, 8 months ago

An interesting path, which conceivably could lead to more stability--if only Egypt and Jordan would agree to take on the Gaza and the West Bank. I guess what I'm saying is that I see no interest from either country for that to occur, and, considering the populace of both countries are gaining influence and are going to be even less interested in this solution, I give this option even less of a chance that what Rubin is talking about. But I agree that whatever the parties agree to will work , at least in the short run. I just see no interest in Jordan or Egypt for your proposal.

I don't see an independent Palestinian state to be anything other than a transitory situation, as their economic dependence on Israel and/or the Arab neighbors will make it difficult to chart a very bright future. The tiny European city-states are still independent due to their wealth, not from their poverty, and I don't think that the Palestinian people see Lesotho or Swaziland as models to emulate.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

I agree it would be very difficult to get Egypt and Jordan to agree to take back those lands. I would see the formation of an economic zone similar to the E.U. as necessary for the Palestinians to rise to the level of their neighbors. An influx of money from the gulf states would be needed to build an infrastructure, and I see that infrastructure as the benefit that might entice Egypt and Jordan to agree. I believe that the long terms desires of the Palestinians preclude a permanent alignment with those two countries and I do think that given time, a viable Palestinian state could be sustained.
Again, I think most people agree where we are now and where we need to go. It's just a suggestion of a different path.

Ken Lassman 3 years, 8 months ago

Alas, if they would just listen to us, no?

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 8 months ago

The problem is not really a territorial one at all. Why fight a war over Israel (about the size of New Jersey) and the Gaza Strip (about the size of Seattle, Washington)?

It's more of an religious conflict. For example, from the The Koran:

The Dinner Table 4. [5.51] O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.

When there are synagogues in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, as there already are mosques in Israel, there will be peace.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

But in the meantime, it's open season on Palestinians.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Yes, that's a horrible crime-- whoever did it should be tried for murder. I condemn it, like I do all violence, no matter who does it.

"Do you have any idea how much the idea of such an attack pisses me off?"

Well, let's see, Palestinian children die at at least three times the rate that Israeli children do, (and more recently, ten times the rate,) but for some reason that doesn't seem to get much reaction out of you.

Why the double standard?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

If the US would give them a $billion or two for weaponry every year, they might be as chivalrous about murdering kids and other civilians as the Israelis are.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

You still want to stick to the double standard.

Give Palestinians the same billions to build heavily fortified bases and to arm themselves to the teeth that we've given to the Israelis, and they'll develop new strategies of fighting-- just like the Israelis did.

But why do I waste my time? You and many others here are clearly perfectly OK with massive violence, as long as the perpetrators are on the "right team."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm not defending anybody. I condemn all violence, by all sides.

You, on the other hand, see no problem with bombing schools.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Oh, and the Israelis use their kids as pawns, too-- you can bet that there will be more than a few Palestinian kids murdered in retaliation for this atrocity.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

The killing of children on both sides should be condemned in the strongest terms. It does remind me though of something that happened about 3 or 4 years ago. During a time when there was an increase in hostilities, the Palestinian representative to the General Assembly of the United Nations introduced a resolution condemning Israel for the killing of Palestinian children. The Israeli representative introduced a resolution condemning the killing of Israeli children One resolution passed while the other did not. It was the Palestinian resolution that passed and the Israeli resolution that did not. Open season indeed. The killing of any child should always be condemned.

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