Palestinians are seeking land without peace

October 1, 2011


While diplomatically inconvenient for the Western powers, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ attempt to get the United Nations to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state has elicited widespread sympathy. After all, what choice did he have? According to the accepted narrative, Middle East peace is made impossible by a hard-line Likud-led Israel that refuses to accept a Palestinian state and continues to build settlements.

It is remarkable how this gross inversion of the truth has become conventional wisdom. In fact, Benjamin Netanyahu brought his Likud-led coalition to open recognition of a Palestinian state, thereby creating Israel’s first national consensus for a two-state solution. He is also the only prime minister to agree to a settlement freeze — 10 months — something no Labor or Kadima government has ever done.

To which Abbas responded by boycotting the talks for nine months, showing up in the 10th, then walking out when the freeze expired. Last week he reiterated that he will continue to boycott peace talks unless Israel gives up — in advance — claim to any territory beyond the 1967 lines. Meaning, for example, that the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem is Palestinian territory. This is not just absurd. It violates every prior peace agreement. They all stipulate that such demands are to be the subject of negotiations, not their precondition.

Abbas unwaveringly insists on the so-called “right of return,” which would demographically destroy Israel by swamping it with millions of Arabs, thereby turning the world’s only Jewish state into the world’s 23rd Arab state. And he has repeatedly declared, as recently as last week in New York: “We shall not recognize a Jewish state.”

Nor is this new. It is perfectly consistent with the long history of Palestinian rejectionism. Consider:

• Camp David, 2000. At a U.S.-sponsored summit, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offers Yasser Arafat a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza — and, astonishingly, the previously inconceivable division of Jerusalem. Arafat refuses — and makes no counteroffer, thereby demonstrating his unseriousness about making any deal. Instead, within two months, he launches a savage terror war that kills a thousand Israelis.

• Taba, 2001. An even sweeter deal — the Clinton Parameters — is offered. Arafat walks away again.

• Israel, 2008. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert makes the ultimate capitulation to Palestinian demands — 100 percent of the West Bank (with land swaps), Palestinian statehood, the division of Jerusalem with the Muslim parts becoming the capital of the new Palestine. And incredibly, he offers to turn over the city’s holy places, including the Western Wall — Judaism’s most sacred site, its Kaaba — to an international body on which sit Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Did Abbas accept? Of course not. If he had, the conflict would be over and Palestine would already be a member of the United Nations.

This is not ancient history. All three peace talks occurred over the past decade. And every one completely contradicts the current mindless narrative of Israeli “intransigence” as the obstacle to peace.

Settlements? Every settlement remaining within the new Palestine would be destroyed and emptied, precisely as happened in Gaza.

So why did the Palestinians say no? Because saying yes would have required them to sign a final peace agreement that accepted a Jewish state on what they consider the Muslim patrimony.  

The key word here is “final.” The Palestinians are quite prepared to sign interim agreements, like Oslo. Framework agreements, like Annapolis. Cease-fires, like the 1949 armistice. Anything but a final deal. Anything but a final peace. Anything but a treaty that ends the conflict once and for all — while leaving a Jewish state still standing.

After all, why did Abbas go to the U.N. last week? For nearly half a century, the United States has pursued a Middle East settlement on the basis of the formula of land for peace. Land for peace produced the Israel-Egypt peace of 1979 and the Israel-Jordan peace of 1994. Israel has offered the Palestinians land for peace three times since. And been refused every time.

Why? For exactly the same reason Abbas went to the U.N. last week: to get land without peace. Sovereignty with no reciprocal recognition of a Jewish state. Statehood without negotiations. An independent Palestine in a continued state of war with Israel.

This is the reason that, regardless of who is governing Israel, there has never been peace. Territorial disputes are solvable; existential conflicts are not.

Land for peace, yes. Land without peace is nothing but an invitation to suicide.

Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group. His email address is letters@charleskrauthammer.com.


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

"Palestinians are seeking land without peace"

This is news?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

And Israelis will use the cover of their disingenuous negotiations to steal ever more Palestinian lands (in addition to the rest of the country, already taken through decades of terrorism and ethnic cleansing.)

jhawkinsf 6 years, 3 months ago

Ethnic cleansing indeed. Fully 20% of Israel is Palestinian. Compare that with the many Arab counties in the region. They have cleansed themselves of Jews. Three quarters of a million Jews were exiled from Arab countries in the years around Israel's creation. Just slightly more than the number of Palestinians exiled from their homes. Though the numbers are roughly equal, very few if any Jews are left in those counties. Compared to the 20% Palestinian population in Israel. And of course most proposals for a Palestinian state are conditioned on the removal of the Jews now there. If it's ethnic cleansing you want to see, look all around Israel. In every direction.

Abdu Omar 6 years, 3 months ago

You are quite mistaken Mr. J ! No Jew has been exiled from any Arab country EVER!!! That is Israeli propaganda or did you just make that up? The Arab countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, etc, all have Jewish populations and they live there free from any prejudice and repulsion. The Arabs in these countries trade with the Jewish merchants and enjoy the trade. Don't try to make problems there.

During the Inquisition in Spain, when the Muslims were expelled, the Jews there fled with them and found refuge in the Arab lands and still remain there unless they have migrated to Israel.

Your ignorance will cause others to believe you. They we will no longer enjoy the truth.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm sorry, sir, but it is you who is mistaken. The U.N. Commission on the Status of Refugees estimated that 750,000 Jews from Arab countries became refugees after the creation of Israel. At the same time, 700,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes in what became Israel. While tragic for both, it's essentially an even swap. As an example, in Algeria, 99% of pre-WW II Jews left after the creation of Israel. For you to assert otherwise is simply not true. If it's that 1% that remained who the Arabs are trading with, that's not much. You are free to look it up. The few remaining Jews in Iraq were put on trial as spies. Iran not long ago touted some Jews in front of T.V. cameras. "Look at our happy Jews". There were a dozen of them.
The biggest difference was that the Jews expelled from Arab lands knew they would never return. They threw away the keys to their homes and made a new life for themselves elsewhere. The Palestinians were told to hold on to their keys, they were promised a quick return by the same counties who said they would drive the Jews into the sea. The same people who encouraged the civilians to leave so as to not impede the conquering Arab armies. They were then put in refugee camps where many still remain. A sad situation, certainly. But not one of Israel's making.
Of those who fled, on both sides, each had their reasons. Flee ethnic tension, flee hostilities, encouraged by your own people to leave. It happened on both sides. It may have been a sad chapter in the history of the region. But it did happen and it happened to both sides. BTW - At about the same time, with the withdrawal of British forces in India and Pakistan, a similar land swap took place. Muslims not wanting to live in Hindu controlled regions fled into modern Pakistan while an equal number fled the other way. And to this day, they too have border disputes. It's a sad remnant of European colonization for centuries. It's very difficult to un-ring that bell.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

It's not good to look into a mirror and realize that you are a political pawn used only for propaganda purposes.

And, it's also not good to believe something you've read from a biased source without also reading opposing viewpoints.

But in the interest of fairness, in many parts of the world opposing viewpoints are not available for the population to use for educational purposes.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

There is nothing like political or any other sort of true equality between Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews, and it takes a good deal of denial on your part to assert that there is. And in the founding of Israel, the founding fathers very consciously drove Arabs out of what would become Israel to ensure that Jews were in the majority.

And regardless of the accuracy of whether Jews were driven out of other Arab countries, why is that Palestinians are obliged to bear the brunt of Israeli vengeance for this purported "cleansing?"

jhawkinsf 6 years, 3 months ago

It's certainly true that Palestinians in Israel do not enjoy full equality. Much like Blacks and Latinos here. Much like women all over the world. Israel is not perfect. Israel has just as many problems with these issues as every other country.
The Palestinians who left their homes, just like the Jews who left Arab countries did so for a variety of reasons. Some civilians fled to escape what they believed would be a future battleground. Those people were encouraged by their own people to flee. Some were brutally shown the door by their adversary. Some simply did not want to become a minority in someone else's new land. It happened on both sides. What is clear now, many who fled Palestine because they were encouraged to by their own people now say the were expelled. It's a too self serving an answer to be accepted on face value. If you look at the book, Bozo, the one I recommended yesterday, you will see quote after quote by Arab religious, political and military figures pleading with the civilians to leave so they would not be caught in the upcoming crossfire. Yes, some advancing Jewish militias expelled Palestinians, but for there to be a universal denial that they fled of their own accord is factually incorrect. The same is true for the Jews who fled Arab countries. Many left on their own, not wanting to live in an area they thought might be hostile to them. Some were shown the door.

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

"Ethnic cleansing" usually refers to mass genocide, not forced emigration.

It's a pretty loaded term to use, especially if you're using it somewhat loosely.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

"Sovereignty with no reciprocal recognition of a Jewish state. "

This is an indication of what a liar Krauthammer is. UN recognition of a Palestinian state would come with the requirement of recognition of all other UN-recognized states, including Israel.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 3 months ago

There are several counties in that region that do not recognize Israel's right to exist. There are several counties that are in a perpetual state of war with Israel. Would the proposed Palestinian recognition resemble that of their regional partners, or would it be a real recognition, with a cessation of hostilities? Of course, you don't know. And neither do I. But if history is a guide, the recognition won't be worth the paper it's written on.
Perhaps that's Krauthammer's point. And the liars are those who promote the myth that the recognition will be genuine.

Abdu Omar 6 years, 3 months ago

Name them. The acceptance of a "Jewish state" is accepting apartheid, is it not? And when do we accept apartheid? Just because they are the "chosen people"? Do we let internation law expire because of Israel?

There should be no Jewish state but there can be Israel. There is no Muslim State or Christian State. What are we coming to? When we separate peoples because of race, religion, and color we have caused the worst to happen. This kind of thinking will lead to another world war. Mark my words.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 3 months ago

Are you saying that countries like Saudi Arabia are open to other religions. The fact is that there are many counties throughout the world that are very homogeneous, with one ethnicity or one religion virtually dominating the entire country. If they do not call themselves a "Muslim country", that's fine. But they are. The same is true with Christian countries where that is the "official" religion. The problem with the "Jewish" state is that very recently, there was a legitimate effort to eliminate all of them. They responded by saying no. And they determined that only they could ensure their own survival, letting others guarantee their survival did not work out. So with many overwhelmingly Christian or Muslim countries, they determined to establish one, small "Jewish" country.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

It's really pretty simple-- once Palestinians accept the same UN recognition that Israel got in 1948, that's considerably more than just a tacit recognition of Israel. If they don't accept the UN declaration of the state of Israel, then the UN declaration of a Palestinian state would be meaningless.

But it would force Israel to begin negotiating with Palestinians on something approaching equal footing, and that's what you really object to, isn't it?

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

That's a good point.

Acceptance of the UN's right to create/recognize a state would inevitably be some sort of recognition of Israel's legitimacy as well.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 3 months ago

Remember what Israel got upon U.N. recognition. War. That's what they got. Plain and simple. Surely you're not suggesting that upon U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state they should receive the same. I hope not. Yes. the plight of the Palestinians is bad. It has been bad for some time. But it could get worse. The same was true for the Jews of 1948. Having suffered in Europe, having been discriminated around the region, they set off to get their own country. They got it but they also got what appears to be an endless cycle of war. Is that the model you wish to emulate? I don't think so. The Palestinians must choose another path to statehood. One that has as a central component peace with it's neighbors and recognition by the region. Unilateralism by Israel led to hostility. I don't believe a unilateral declaration of statehood will lead to a state at peace. It will exacerbate an already difficult situation.

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

It may or may not lead to peace.

That's not really the point though.

Many nations are at war, us included. Being at peace is not a requirement for statehood.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

From 'The New York Post' http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/capitol/what_happened_to_confidence_building_72XwnSFwOmYeYpmxyvZgTO

PA President Mahmoud Abbas says that his side will not recognize Israel as the Jewish national homeland because, well, they already recognized Israel in 1993. This makes no sense. If they have already recognized Israel as the Jewish state then presumaly it costs absolutely nothing to do so again, especially given the incentive which is another moratorium on "settlement" building. If the PA has never and as Abbas declared "will never" recognize the Jewish homeland then let's just cut to the chase, there is really nothing to discuss because the Palestinians do not accept that any land that now constitutes Israel is legitimately Jewish. What do the borders of 2010 or 1967 or even 1948 matter if the PA rejects the notion that any of it belongs to the Jews?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

This is pure desperation-- Arabs of all sorts have pretty much all accepted that Israel is a reality, and will continue to be one.

But as long as Israel can pretend to be under a state of siege, they can continue to hold Palestinians in a real state of siege, and continue to steal more and more of their lands.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

You should write a letter to the editor of 'The New York Post' and let him know that.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 3 months ago

They may or may not have accepted the de facto reality but they haven't accepted Israel's right to exist. Iran, for example, disagrees with the entire concept of UN/multiparty negations regarding Palestine because to negotiate suggests Israel is a valid party in the dispute.

bradh 6 years, 3 months ago

Israel only "stole" the Arab/Palestinian lands after the third time they were invaded. When the Arabs/Palestinians found out that they were losing land, instead of stealing the Jews' land as they'd planned, they stopped invading. Israel hasn't "stolen" any more land since the Arabs/Palestinians stopped invading them.

It's pretty easy to "pretend" to be under a state of siege when you're surrounded by people who have invaded you time and again, who shell you daily and who have said you have no right to exist. I'm not sure why you feel sorry for a group that sends rockets to shell neighboring civilians, shoot rpgs at school buses, and send suicide bombers to blow up buses and markets. It's hard for me to feel sympathetic to terrorists. Israel has shown time and again that they'll loosen restrictions when the Palestinians stop attacking them. The Palestinians have shown time and again that they use those loosened restrictions to resupply their weapons. If Mexico was bombing El Paso daily, we'd clear out the problem very quickly. Yet we complain when Israel shows restraint. We're a bunch of hypocrites.

Why don't we ask Syria to provide a Palestinian homeland? They have more Palestinians than any other nation.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

More from 'The New York Post': http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/cheers_for_mahmoud_silence_for_bibi_EHiHAxf1CHGhdlNMB2TSSO

Netanyahu didn’t come to Turtle Bay, however, to fight over land claims. His main task was to turn the tide: Until now, the Western press and much of the world blamed only him for the lack of peace progress.

Yesterday, he started out his speech by “extending [a] hand in peace” to Egyptians, Jordanians, Turks, Libyans and Tunisians, as well as to those in Syria, Lebanon and Iran, who are fighting against oppression. “But most of all,” he said, “I extend my hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace.”

Netanyahu detailed his own attempts at reigniting negotiations, including -- yes -- an unprecedented freeze of construction in West Bank Jewish neighborhoods.

He also explained Israel’s security needs, saying that after leaving Gaza and receiving missile attacks in return, “We’re not prepared to have another Gaza” in the West Bank.

But those issues, he stressed, will be resolved only in one way: negotiations with no preconditions. “President Abbas, why don’t you join me?” he challenged (as Abbas boarded a plane out of town, leaving a lone Palestinian note taker at the assembly’s hall).

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

No mention of Palestinian security requirements. No mention of the permanent state of siege of Palestinians throughout the region. No mention of the thousands of Palestinians murdered by the IDF and other Israeli security forces. No mention of the ongoing theft of Palestinian lands.

This guy couldn't care less about peace. He only cares about maintaining the status quo, and using it as a cover for driving the Palestinians into the sea.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

Since you understand the situation so clearly, you should be writing for 'The New York Post'.

Abdu Omar 6 years, 3 months ago

Why do you suppose there are missle attacks? These are renegade Hamas lead people who are fighting agains Abbas. This isn't the PA sending those rockets even though they are an attept to stop the settlements. Let's look at the whole aspect of this: First, Israel was created by a grant by Balfour during WWI. What right did he have to give away Palestinian territory? Second, when Israel became a state, recognized in 13 minutes by Harry Truman, they began by annexing more land and that is what caused the first war with the Arabs. They immediately expanded what they were given by someone who had no right to give it. The Arabs are discriminated against and are killed for defending their own land. Their olive trees and groves of fruit trees have be bulldozed because of the building of the wall, on Palestinian ground. Constant building of settlements on Palestinian ground is the road block to peace although Bibi has offered peace with them but refuses to stop building. How fair is that? The Palestians have been accused of throwing rocks at the Israeli troops and they, in turn, shoot the Palestinian children. I know these things because I took a trip there and saw the destruction by the Israelis and the utter fear that permeates the whole land. This must stop, but what do the Palestinians get? A sliver of land that isn't occupied by Israelis?

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

What do you think of the Olmert suggestions?

Is Krauthammer's portrayal of them correct? If so, they seem pretty fair to me - why wouldn't Palestinians agree to them?

Abdu Omar 6 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Krauthammer is Jewish and his goal is to defend Israel at all costs. His reporting is almost true but he leaves out important data so that one is swayed his way. This is disingenuous at best. There are better Jewish writers who really talk facts and not try to build a case for Israel. Some try to report the truth. For example: It sounds great for "Bibi" to offer Palestinians the olive branch. At the same time he is authorizing new settlements to be built on Palestinian land, but he didn't say that did he? He forgot to mention that and this issue is huge in the negotiations.

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

I am also Jewish - so what?

I asked about the Olmert suggestions - what's wrong with them?

And, what's off about the portrayal of the "Bibi" situation - according to the column, there was a 10-month freeze, and the Palestinians never came to the negotiating table.

Why is that?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 3 months ago

You speak of Netanyahu as being disingenuous. I happen to agree. He reminds me of Arafat in that. I recall Arafat coming to the U.N. and pledging peace during the day, and then going to Arabic speakers at night and pledging to continue the violence until Israel was eliminated. Trust is a rare commodity in that region. On both sides and for good reasons.
But it is that lack of trust that compels me to believe that the P.A. has neither the will nor the power to control Hamas and other like minded groups. Therefore, the P.A. is not a legitimate negotiating partner. Can they become one? I hope so. But there is work to be done, work they need to do. As for Israel, I very much believe there was a time when they had leaders committed to peace and leaders who could deliver. That time has passed, though again, it's my belief they could come to power again should the Palestinians get their act together. Israel offered peace and the offered compromise. They did it often and they did it repeatedly. Rejection after rejection followed. Israel then changed course. And I believe they will change course again, if on the other side there is a legitimate partner.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 3 months ago

Ah... Got it, you hate Jews. I was wondering who would be the first poster to let their feelings slip.

Abdu Omar 6 years, 3 months ago

In order to get elected, Netanyahu became hard line against the Arabs. There can be an easy peace if they just look at the facts. One of the facts over looked all the time is that Israel has superior military power over the Palestinians a hundred fold. The PA gets a few rockets, a few guns and grenades and that is about it. Israel has air power equal to the US and a determination to use them if the Palestinian children throw rocks. If the wall was erected on Israeli land, no mention would be made, but they cut off much of the trade and trade routes in the Palestinian land by erecting it on Palestinian land. Remove the wall or replace it on their own land and a major problem is solved. Does Israel really worry about security? No. Why should they? They have the second strongest military in the world and America isn't going to attack them. Their choppers can cut down an entire 20 acre grove of olive trees in a minute. What have they to fear? Really. A few rockets and when Palestine becomes a state, the government will punish those who shoot them into Israel. The recognition of Israel is a moot point since it is there, it is armed and it is ready to take on the world. The Palestinian recognition of Israel has been recorded. The only problem is the SETTLEMENTS which takes away land Palestine needs for its country and the roads to and from them into Israel is another issue. Palestinians are prohibited from using the roads although they are on Palestinian land. There is more to this problem than meets the eye and Abbas is right in wanting to stop the settlements by declaring that it is sovereign Palestinian territory. But Israel wants the land and they refuse to give them up.

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

Your version is like a mirror image of jhawkins.

Of course Israel is concerned about their security, and with good reason.

Why didn't the Palestinians come to the negotiating table during the 10-month settlement freeze?

Abdu Omar 6 years, 3 months ago

During the so-called 10 month freeze, there were other issues going on. The attack on Southern Lebanon. Let me touch on that: Two Israeli soldiers ventured into Lebanon. Hezbollah captured them and tried to make a deal to get Hezbollah and other groups freed from Israeli prisons. But the Israelis didn't want to negotiate because they had the chance to make an international issue out of those two soldiers. They attacked Hezbollah and Hezbollah repelled them. Israel went into a state of shock and couldn't mobilize the Knesset. As I stated in another post on another topic, I am not against Jews. Jews are part of the People of the Book that is revered in the Quran. I am not anti-semitic, partly because I am semitic. But, the world cannot accept nor should the world accept apartheid in any form. A Jewish State is not a good thing for the world. What would happen if say France decided to expell everyone who is not Christian; not Catholic? Where would the Muslims go who were born there and had land and were part of the electorate? Or the Jews or the Non-Catholics? Even their president would be exiled. Apartheid is not good.

Of course there are many more issues than the settlements, ie the Wall, Jerusalem, refugees, and so on. So when everything is equal, every side will be able to negotiate with equal power and that is a good idea for the Palestinians who have never had that going for them. Did someone say "fairness"?

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

What does that have to do with the Palestinian refusal to come negotiate? Lebanon is not Palestine, is it?

There are many issues at any given time in the area between Israel and Palestinians, but if they're allowed to always derail negotiations, there will never be a solution.

Why is it the "so-called" freeze - did they stop building settlements during that time?

Your examples are interesting - is it not in fact up to each nation what their terms of citizenship are, and who they allow to be citizens?

I agree that it's distasteful, but I believe that nations are currently allowed to do that - if Palestine were allowed statehood, would you also require them to accept Jews as citizens if they didn't want to do so?

Anyway, as far as I know, Israel doesn't disallow Arabs/non-Jews citizenship, so it's really not an issue, right?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 3 months ago

Wounded_Soldier - You are either wrong or lying. The two soldiers you speak of were in Israel proper when Hezbollah "troops" came across the border, into Israel and kidnapped them. Look it up. It was quite an embarrassment for the great and powerful Israel. Heads rolled in the military. But it points out a major fallacy. Israel is not so great and powerful. They have significant advantages, the other side has other significant advantages. If the Arabs ever coordinated better, organized and used better tactics, they could easily overwhelm a small country like Israel. israel has been lucky so far. Will their luck hold? Equal power, you ask. Between whom? Israel fought multiple wars against multiple Arab armies. For anyone to reduce this to an Israel vs. Palestinian problem is to overlook the larger context in which this conflict exists. Regional Arab countries must be included as well as the "Arab Street".

Mike Ford 6 years, 3 months ago

what's the issue here? the US did this to indian tribes forever....and when the tribes got footing in the US Court system the US Congress asserted plenary power to abrogate treaties whenever it felt necessary like the Lone Wolf Case of 1903 in the US Supreme Court. Members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy went to the League of Nations in in 1921-22 like the Palestinians to gain justice. In fairness, the Haudenosaunee people never resorted to the violence and rocket launching Hamas and the others have.

It reminds me of the 19th century conflict between the Pawnee and Lakota peoples. The Lakotas were the bosses on the block fighting numerous tribes and the US government being successful most of the time. The Pawnees had the US Government and other tribes and settlers encroaching on them. In the end before removal to Oklahoma in the 1870's. Pawnee warriors had to side with the US Military as scouts to be able to mount a resistence to the Lakota who attacked them with impugnity. The more I looked at the similarities between Israel and the Palestinians and the Pawnee and the Lakota I had to write this. I'd like to see an agreed peace in the Middle East but until one side feels like the other side will stop attacking them and the other side is willing ot acknowledge the other side's right to exist... what can one do?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

In about 1820, my father's family left what is now Germany and went to Russia.

For those not well educated on the subject of European history, before the Franco Prussian War of 1870 - 1871 there was no Germany, there were only a number of German principalities. After Prussia was defeated and no longer existed, Germany came into being.

After leaving the German principalities, there was no talk in my family of leaving Russia and going back to Germany, instead they built a new life in a new country.

Then, between the years 1880 and 1917, the Russian government began to renege on the promises made to the German immigrants, and it became especially bad when the Bolsheviks took over the Russian government after the Russian Revolution in 1917.

So, a large number of Germans left Russia and came to the Midwest of the United States. We feel very much at home here. The only thing that is a bit confusing is when old family stories are retold that mention "the old country". It's often not clear whether it is Germany or Russia that is being referred to.

No one in my family has ever thought of returning to Russia or Germany.

I wonder why Arabs are so different.

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

Because your family didn't think of returning, you then think somehow all non-Arabs never do, and all Arabs do?

Seems like an overly broad conclusion from a very limited sample to me.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

Out of the many tens of thousands of us (that's your small sample), not one of us has ever thought of returning, except perhaps for a very brief visit. We are all more interested in a better life for ourselves and our descendants rather than an attachment to a particular location.

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

Still seems like an overly broad generalization.

I'm sure there are non-Arabs who have an attachment to where they're from, and wish to return.

As well as Arabs who don't, and are happy in a new location.

pizzapete 6 years, 3 months ago

Well, what about the hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews who have left Russia in the last 50 years to return to their "homeland" in Isreal?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

They were not the only ones that left Russia. In fact, there are some that live right here in Lawrence, Kansas.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

The Koran is very explicit in stating that no Muslim is to have a Christian or a Jewish friend. If there is no friendship, how can there be peace?

From the Koran:

The Family of Imran [3.28] Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends rather than believers; and whoever does this, he shall have nothing of (the guardianship of) Allah, but you should guard yourselves against them, guarding carefully; and Allah makes you cautious of (retribution from) Himself; and to Allah is the eventual coming.

The Women [4.144] O you who believe! do not take the unbelievers for friends rather than the believers; do you desire that you should give to Allah a manifest proof against yourselves?

The Dinner Table [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. [5.81] And had they believed in Allah and the prophet and what was revealed to him, they would not have taken them for friends but! most of them are transgressors.

Corey Williams 6 years, 3 months ago

Deuteronomy 17:2-7 says to kill people who worship any other gods.

2If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, 3And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 4And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: 5Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die. 6At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. 7The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.

And the new york post? What a joke. Sorry, but you might as well link to the enquirer or weekly world news.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

Are you familiar with the Talmud? It supersedes the Torah in Jewish Law.

The Torah was written in ancient times for an ancient people.

Corey Williams 6 years, 3 months ago

So it's completely disregarded? Then why is it still around? Why is it in the bible as well? I just wanted to point out that the koran isn't the only book that calls out death for nonbelievers.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

Any complete and meaningful answer to that would require perhaps ten sections, due to the 3,000 character limit in this forum.

But, a very brief synopsis would be to state that the myths told in the Torah have been debated by the rabbis for about seven centuries (except for some very minor editing it was completed in about the year 700 AD), the meaning of the morality behind them of every bit of them has been carefully debated in relation to every other one of the myths and the rabbi's conclusions, and their meaning to the morality of our lives today are the subjects of the Talmud.

Within the last five years, it has been translated into English in 20 volumes, and it is approximately the length of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

And about the Torah, no, it is not disregarded at all. It is the basic myths upon which a very ancient people based their lives in order to become a more righteous people. It is read through once each year (the year 5772 has just begun, by the way) and any possible new meanings that we might glean from it are looked for all the time.

It is in a very vague general way like the Constitution of the United States, in that it is a set of principles to guide us, instead of a statement of present law. We have not thrown away all the copies of the Constitution of the United States in a very vague general way for the very same reasons that the Torah has not been thrown away.

The meanings behind are what is important, and we live in an ever changing world that demands new principles and actions to remain relevant to our lives today.

For instance, in the case of the Constitution, it is no longer legal to own slaves, and women now have the right to vote.

That is the Reform Jewish point of view. Reconstructionist, Conservative, Orthodox, and Ultra-Orthodox viewpoints may differ slightly from some of the statements made above. Or, in the case of the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox point of view, they differ in a very major way, their platform is that the Creation took place in a literal six days, with one day to rest. They are the fundamentalists of the Jewish world.

Your question "Then why is it still around?" is so pedantic that I'm not going to address it.

But about your statement: "I just wanted to point out that the Koran isn't the only book that calls out death for nonbelievers."

You are certainly correct about that. There are a few such books that are extant, but as far as I know, there are no living adherents to the religions that they were written for. The first ones that come to mind are the ones written for the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman gods who demanded death for many transgressions.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

But, I've worked with and had a lot of Islamic friends. They never seemed to mind that I was not a Muslim.

But there are always those who believe that every single word from over 3,000 years ago is actually and literally true, even though it has been translated through a couple different languages and now is written in a language that is very different than our modern English, such as the above text in Middle English.

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

True of all the major religions and some believers in them.

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

One can be at peace, without conflict, and also without overt friendship.

Live and let live.

I don't require everybody be my friend - I'm content if they leave me alone and let me live my life in peace.

As are most people, I would think.

And, your passages say don't take unbelievers "rather than believers" as if there's a choice there - so Muslims might rather have other Muslim friends. Ok - happens all the time with Jews, Christians, white, black, straight, gay, etc. people

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

Many times I have wondered if I am the only poster here that has signed up for and receives free emails from the following websites:




It's very interesting to read differing points of view, while realizing that the truth probably lies somewhere in between.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

p>www.bitterlemons.org is probably the most interesting one. Each email issue covers only one subject. It is in a debate format, where the Jewish viewpoint is presented, then the Arab one, and then repeated.

This is an outline of issue # 29, the most recent one:

'Three speeches, no progress' - Yossi Alpher Abbas will not have created a real Palestinian state; neither will the UN. Netanyahu will not have prevented a Palestinian state.

'Price to be paid' - Ghassan Khatib The polarization of positions between the two parties was starker than ever before.

'Abu Mazen at the UN' - Amnon Lord Abu Mazen caused an international train wreck.

'The new Abbas and the old Netanyahu' - Hani al-Masri President Mahmoud Abbas appears to be a new man.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

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