The Israel / Palestine Thread

757

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#1
In my opinion this is a blinkered statement; a one sided view that ignores any wrongdoing by the Israelis. How the Israel government is treating the Palestinians is unethical and illegal. I assume you know this and I’m just stating the obvious. Or maybe you deny this, in which case, there’s no arguing with you. I respect that you would have your reasons and that you come from a place of great experience, but I’ll continue to disagree nonetheless.

If the Israelis were offering to build a desalination plant for free, and to a schedule that would make a difference, then I could see an argument for the lack of pragmatism. But really, the South African leadership involved just sound hopelessly unprepared, so it matters not who offers to sell them the technology they need. They probably would have ended in the same place. There’s nothing to be gained in adding hypocrisy to weaken their BDS position. I feel the argument of Israeli tech is a pro-Israeli narrative that is unhelpful and the wrong focal point.

As for grandstanding, I do think it is grand that they are standing up for the Palestinians. I admire their unwavering support. And as a mediator who could have made more of a difference, the US have proven to be ineffective. So I hope more support the movement or show their support in other ways. I seriously doubt Israel will come to an end because they’re forced to negotiate reasonable and humane terms.

Ignoring the Palestinian-Israeli problems, the Cape Town water crisis should be focused on learning the lessons on what happens when water security is not prioritised.

Anyway, thank you for taking the time to respond.
- Mod Edit -

Please read post #2 from Mara below. He started this thread and lays out the ground rules. I moved @757 's post from the other discussion to this thread because his observations are very solid and should be part of any conversation on the topic.

- Rah -
________________________________________


I don’t typically say anything in these forums, preferring to observe and learn what I can. However, having been to Israel five times in my life and considering my current profession deals almost exclusively with international law (law clerk), I must object to your statement concerning Israel doing anything “illegal.” Eugene Kontorovich is a professor at Northwestern who deals extensively about this issue from a legal standpoint. The link below is a brief lecture regarding the subject.


That being said, seeing human beings suffer should never be easy and I hope the first part of my comment didn't suggest that I was callous toward their plight. I’ve traveled to the West Bank and talked with Palestinians, people who have hopes and dreams just like us. My dad remembers being able to walk through Gaza years before the Israeli’s forcibly removed their own citizens in an effort to create two states for two people. Sadly, the Palestinians democratically elected Hamas and have suffered extensively as a result.

Full disclosure: I am pro two-state solution.

Just my .02
 
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Marauder06

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#2
Israel/Palestine is one of a handful of topics that regularly causes people to lose their minds when they're discussing, but we're going to give it a shot based on the level of interest displayed in the "South Africa" thread.

Ground rules: this thread is for purposes of discussing issues directly related to the conflict in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. If you can't have rational, logical discussions related to this topic, stay out of this thread. Avoid sweeping generalizations. Focus on the arguments and don't make things personal.

...and if you're not well-informed about this subject, then you should probably be asking questions instead of making statements. Making statements about things you don't know a lot about is a sure way to end up getting embarrassed on this site.
 

Marauder06

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#3
Here's a primer to start of the discussion. It's literally only Wikipedia-deep but contains some interesting background.

Additionally, I know there are members who have spent time on the ground in Israel, Palestine, or one of the surrounding nations who might have some useful things to add.
 

CDG

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#4
Israel has certainly utilized tactics that some/many may consider brutal and/or unnecessary. However, when you are a country of that size, surrounded on all sides by enemies, what other tact should you adopt? Would the "Neville Chamberlain" bring about results? Sure, it would bring a semblance of peace. That is, if you consider Israel being completely wiped out to be a viable path to a tenuous peace amongst Arab ethnicities who likely would be engaged in constant war with each other were it not for the common unity of effort provided by the existence of a Jewish state. Israel does what it needs to in order to survive, and it doesn't get bogged down in how people feel about it. Particularly people who have never lived under the pressure the Israelis live under. I think it's laughably ignorant to argue that Israel has any other choice but to conduct itself in the way it has since 1948. The Palestinians are among the world's best at playing the victim card and pretending they are innocent in this, but they have brought it all on themselves. I personally do not believe a two-state solution is viable in the long term. So we are left with the option of continuing to support Israel, or taking the Michael Scheuer advocated approach of leaving them to fend for themselves. The religious right in the USA has always made strong arguments for supporting Israel based on biblical history. I don't agree with using religion as a justification for anything, but in this case I believe the ends help justify the means. I think continuing to insure the existence of Israel is in our national security interests, and I could care less what happens to the Palestinians. Some may view that as cold, or lacking empathy, and you would be correct. I just don't have enough fucks to give to waste them on the Palestinians, particularly when they bring nothing to the table.
 

Ocoka

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#5
I've never been to Israel, but I've been a lifelong student of Israel and its wars and have spoken twice to Netanyahu on the phone...including a conversation in 1991 which was rudely interrupted by a scud missile attack. The ironic thing was that the shortwave radio in our office in Tampa was tuned to Radio Tel Aviv and he heard the incoming missile warning from our radio through my phone...before the sirens went off in T.A.! He had to excuse himself to go don a gas mask.

Anecdotes aside, I agree with what @CDG has written. Israel, in years past, surrounded, vastly outnumbered by hostile states massively supported with arms from the USSR (Syria & Egypt, specifically); Countries when not in actual war with Israel, aided, abetted and gave safe haven to Palestinian terrorists who made it standard practice to kill and maim innocents, soft targets. Under those circumstances, with that kind of power arrayed against you, swift and punishing retaliation is called for.
 
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AWP

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#6
I've never been to Israel, but I've been a lifelong student of Israel and its wars and have spoken twice to Netanyahu on the phone...including an interview in 1991 which was rudely interrupted by a scud missile attack. The ironic thing was that the shortwave radio in our office in Tampa was tuned to Radio Tel Aviv and he heard the incoming missile warning from our radio through my phone...before the sirens went off in T.A.! He had to excuse himself to go don a gas mask.
Of all your anecdotes, this is a Top Three contender.
---
I fully support Israel, but the one thing that will never sit right with me is the USS Liberty attack. That whole thing stinks.
 

CDG

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#7
Of all your anecdotes, this is a Top Three contender.
---
I fully support Israel, but the one thing that will never sit right with me is the USS Liberty attack. That whole thing stinks.
The Liberty attack is one of those incidents that we will likely never know the truth about.
 

Ocoka

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#11
Not defending by any means the Liberty affair. Israel's engaged in a number of activities most Western nations would consider illegal, aggressive and in violation of nation/state sovereignty...and I would point specifically to Mossad Kidon operations in Europe, the ME and elsewhere. I don't think anybody would ever consider Israel as an "innocent" player. But there's dirt under everybody's carpet. Especially in the ME.
 
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Serenity

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#12
Okay, previous thread locked. So I’ll continue here. I’ve been busy at work, so haven’t gotten back to this. I probably won’t sufficiently respond to standard here anyway. I simply don’t have the energy to. You mods can berate, ban or give me that Marine Chop thingy, but it makes no difference. And for the record, I didn’t feel destroyed (unless you were talking about my work week so far) or embarrassed.

So on the matter of sweeping statements, that was my problem with the statement Palestinians being their own number#1 oppressors. It was sweepingly unfair to me. I was wrong to use the term blinkered and it’s just generally the wrong way to express my sentiments. But to me, it represented exactly what CDG stated above. We all know this view. He doesn’t care as indicated by himself. So why even discuss? But it’s not for me to assume what @Marauder06 thinks.

I was interested in learning of BDS in the SA thread. I did not know about this, so call me ignorant as much as you like. I don’t care, although, I did ask others I know who actually keep up with news and they weren’t aware of it either. Even with the Cape Town water crisis, I actually noted how news.com.au articles did not mention it. Interesting how the Australian articles didn’t make a fuss about BDS at all as far as I saw.

I don’t follow the Palestinian situation obsessively. To be honest, I hate going back in history and reading about the grievances on either side. In the past, when the Palestinians do get onto the news, I would watch multiple channels and note the differences in coverage, I remember watching a documentary on the appalling conditions in Gaza, and I would also speak to my friend to see how he’s feeling. I’ve known him for over a decade and we do not make this our topic of choice. But when we do talk, I can appreciate how he feels about the Palestinians’ lack of a State, and how poorly the media covers a Palestinian-Israeli conflict from their point of view. When you have it pointed out to you, you start to notice the bias in the captions, the way a situation is presented, and it comes down to the idea that in a lot of mainstream news, the value of a Palestinian life felt less that that of an Israeli. That’s just my assessment. During the 2014 Gaza War that was covered in the news, the number killed according to wiki was:
  • 2,205 Palestinians (including at least 1,483 civilians)
  • 71 Israelis (including 66 soldiers)
  • 1 foreign national in Israel
I remember watching the coverage then, and thinking how the world didn’t really care. How I wished more people protested loudly. And then one day I walked passed this little sign hanging limply off a barrier in protest. That was it. How very sad.

I do feel this might be a result of how Palestinians might fear protesting too loudly and too publicly and drawing unwanted attention. Since then, it has stuck with me how little sympathy the Palestinian’s get. I hope we start seeing more change as other countries take a lead and replace the US. So I do like reading these articles Abbas tells India PM he seeks multi-country peace mediation

@757s vid I’ve not watched, but I will. It’s just too long for now.

It is nice to see SS has started this thread. I’m really not so much about arguing and rehashing about the events leading to the current situation, I feel all those discussions are about finding reasons for not getting along. These topics don’t interest me, if I’m honest. The current events definitely so and anything that might remind people that the Palestinians need help too.
 

Serenity

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#13
Oh crap...that’s a tl;dr post. I was rambling. But honestly, I don’t really care if it fits whatever criteria was set. I was just finishing from my previous thought process. I assume I will now get some lecture on Thread lock etiquette. It’s now 3.27 am, I need to get to sleep after I finish one more email!

I’ll go back to lurking.
 

Ooh-Rah

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#14
Okay, previous thread locked. So I’ll continue here. I’ve been busy at work, so haven’t gotten back to this. I probably won’t sufficiently respond to standard here anyway. I simply don’t have the energy to. You mods can berate, ban or give me that Marine Chop thingy, but it makes no difference. And for the record, I didn’t feel destroyed (unless you were talking about my work week so far) or embarrassed.
You have already been asked (multiple times) not to respond in these threads with "poor me, nobody loves me" passive aggressive comments; so you begin your response with a paragraph of them?

Comments like this are so disrespectful to the staff and the board overall.
Oh crap...that’s a tl;dr post. I was rambling. But honestly, I don’t really care if it fits whatever criteria was set. I was just finishing from my previous thought process. I assume I will now get some lecture on Thread lock etiquette. It’s now 3.27 am, I need to get to sleep after I finish one more email!

I’ll go back to lurking.
You are restricted from posting in this thread for 48 hours.
 

757

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#15
I am glad I could add something useful to this discussion. I will attempt to continue to do so while respecting the complexity of the situation.

The last time I was in Israel, I was there to attend a counter-terrorism conference at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya. That conference was eye-opening, and I strongly encourage anyone who has even a cursory interest in the subject to look into the school. The conference reinforced some things I already knew, introduced some concepts that I was unfamiliar with, and asked some questions I was unprepared to answer.

“Peace will come when the Palestinians love their children more than they hate the Israelis.” –A good Israeli friend of mine.

That same friend was a tank commander in the IDF. One night he was stationed along the Gaza border. He got a call that three individuals were heading toward the Israeli fence (the border between Gaza and Israel proper). Through his night vision he could make out that two had weapons and all three were carrying bags, most likely full of something destructive. Finally they entered the Israeli side of the fence and began to dig along the dirt road used by IDF patrol vehicles. A short time later, the machine guns of two tanks opened fire killing all three. The following day the bodies were recovered with materials to create at least one IED, maybe more. The oldest was most likely no older than 18 and the youngest possibly as young as 12.
Why did those teenagers cross the border hoping to kill/maim Israelis? Maybe they were taught to hate the Israelis and simply wanted to. Sadly, most likely their parents or loved ones were threatened by Hamas. Hamas intentionally places civilians around military targets. The article below contains videos from non-Israeli sources during the most recent conflict within Gaza relating to the topic of human shields. Foreign journalists reveal Hamas false front

I have written a lot and out of respect for those reading this I will conclude this segment by saying two things. 1) The rank and file Palestinian citizen are the true losers in this conflict. Israel takes great strides to defend its citizens whereas Hamas threatens or puts its citizens directly in harm’s way. 2) I do not fully agree with my friends comment. There is an Arabic village east of Jerusalem called Abu Gosh (it contains some of the best food you will ever find). You will find no borders there, no hatred, no fighting between Jews and Arabs. I believe this can be replicated if both sides act in good faith.
 

Ocoka

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#17
... To be honest, I hate going back in history and reading about the grievances on either side..."
Then how can you possibly understand what you're talking about? The only way to understand the issue is to learn how it came about. I'm astonished by this statement.

"...and how poorly the media covers a Palestinian-Israeli conflict from their point of view. When you have it pointed out to you, you start to notice the bias in the captions, the way a situation is presented, and it comes down to the idea that in a lot of mainstream news, the value of a Palestinian life felt less that that of an Israeli..."
Again, many here would argue with justification that the bias is exactly opposite of what you have stated.
 
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J.S.

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#18
Again, many here would argue with justification that the bias is exactly opposite of what you have stated. For decades Israel has been condemned unfairly in the media while it's enemies are given sympathetic portrayals.
A prime example of anti-Israel bias in the media is the infamous BBC headline, "Three Palestinians killed after deadly stabbing in Jerusalem." Those three Palestinians were shot by police after they stabbed an Israeli civilian. At best it's careless reporting with clear bias, at worst it's deliberate misinformation.

I personally believe in the two-state solution, but there is a pro-Palestine slant in many mainstream media outlets.
 

Fl_Ag

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#19
First, I want to say thanks to@757 was starting this thread. This is a subject I'm passionate about and always seeking more information on. I was following closely in the SA thread and doing my own fact-checking on the side. Although my stance is almost a close mirror of @CDG's, one of the books I have sitting on my desk, waiting to begin, is a pro-Palestinian analysis on the conflict – trying to better understand the “other side.” I’m starting that one up after assessment in a few weeks. Second, @Ocoka, you're opening post on this thread is legendary - holy shit.

Now into some actual content. @Serenity, I appreciate your willingness to present the opposing side. Yes, those numbers from 2014 suck, they really do. However, as @757 beat me to it, Hamas is notorious for placing civilians around military targets and military personnel/structures/resources in civilian population centers and that quote from his IDF friend is actually a bull's eye analogy for just that. And yes, there are still a lot more Palestinian military casualties over Israeli military casualties – the Israelis are damn good fighters. If you review the metrics from the Yom Kippur War, Israeli military casualties were a small, small fraction compared to its enemies. If we’re going to discuss asymmetry or abuse of one side by the other, I don’t believe we should be citing military casualties and the way you presented your numbers skews your own point. I hope that is neutral because I mean it as such. I’ll present the numbers from that war if anybody cares for them.

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but this is what I’m tracking: the pattern over the last two decades has consisted of mainstream uproar over Israeli settlements, Israel disengaging those settlement efforts, and an extremist group stepping into the vacuum almost instantaneously to harbor fellow extremists and function as a staging point for violent attacks in Israel and the surrounding areas. The most notable example is, you guessed it, Hamas. Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005 and by2007 the Fatah state was overrun by Hamas who has since controlled the area and we are all-too-familiar with what those nut cases are capable of. A second example is Hezbollah’s shit show. Israel occupied a portion of Southern Lebanon in response to the group’s attacks on Northern Israel resulting in mass civilian casualties. Following the UN’s outrage, Israel withdraws in 2000 and has since had to deal with terror and murder on its northern border stemming exclusively from Hezbollah.

Nowadays it seems that the hot topic is Israeli settlements in the West Bank. If Israel officially disengaged its settlements there, I’d be willing to bet a whole lot of money that a terror organization, or possibly one disguised as a political party, would appropriate the fresh territory.

So, back to @CDG’s point, Israel does what is necessary to keep its people safe. It’s not pretty and from what I hear from folks who have been there, it is quite sad (I have not yet, but am planning a Greece/Israel dive trip this Summer with some extra time to absorb the culture in Israel), but at the end of the day it’s effective and for Israel and if it's legal, then that's all that matters. Everyone feel free to fact-check me and correct any misinformation.
 

Serenity

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#20
Then how can you possibly understand what you're talking about? The only way to understand the issue is to learn how it came about. I'm astonished by this statement.



Again, many here would argue with justification that the bias is exactly opposite of what you have stated. For decades Israel has been condemned unfairly in the media while it's enemies are given sympathetic portrayals.
Yes, I get this. I am actually deliberately not getting into details on my feelings about the past events. I don’t think it’s helpful, I suspect it will make some people here angrier. If you were to put yourself in the shoes of a Palestinian and walk through history yourself, how would you feel and what would you do? It’s not that I don’t care, because I see the arguments on both sides. I want the current situation to improve, I want the two state solution. At this stage, I do place greater blame on the Israelis with the continued entrapment and settlement business, every time I read the news, it’s comes across to me that the Israelis are unrepentant. But there’s always this underlying message that Palestinians have caused this situation on themselves. I find this really unfair.

I’m supposed to be working but sneaking on here, I’ve not read @Fl_Ag ’s post, I feel I need to be properly focused. I’ll read it later when this awful work week ends.
 
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