In the Washington Post, Carter speaks of the ‘more likely’ solution: one state

on 101 Comments

I bash the Washington Post op-ed page all the time. Well today they do an important service, publishing the great Jimmy Carter, summing up his four recent trips to the Middle East, the last as a member of the "Elders," a group of statesmen who are trying to calm the waters. In this piece, Carter acknowledges a reality that Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel and progressive Zionists too are resisting, but that Netanyahu/Sharon/Olmert/Barak have established, a single state between the river and the sea and, yes, a struggle for democracy and an end to the dream of a Jewish state. Three cheers for the Post for publishing this milestone in non-Zionism:

We saw considerable interest in a call by Javier Solana, secretary general of the Council of the European Union, for the United Nations to endorse the two-state solution, which already has the firm commitment of the U.S. government and the other members of the "Quartet" (Russia and the United Nations). Solana proposes that the United Nations recognize the pre-1967 border between Israel and Palestine, and deal with the fate of Palestinian refugees and how Jerusalem would be shared. Palestine would become a full U.N. member and enjoy diplomatic relations with other nations, many of which would be eager to respond. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad described to us his unilateral plan for Palestine to become an independent state.

A more likely alternative to the present debacle is one state, which is obviously the goal of Israeli leaders who insist on colonizing the West Bank and East Jerusalem. A majority of the Palestinian leaders with whom we met are seriously considering acceptance of one state, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. By renouncing the dream of an independent Palestine, they would become fellow citizens with their Jewish neighbors and then demand equal rights within a democracy. In this nonviolent civil rights struggle, their examples would be Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

101 Responses

  1. potsherd
    September 6, 2009, 10:52 am

    It’s important that Carter says “the more likely alternative,” not the more desirable.

    And while the Israelis will scream that this means the death of “the Jewish state,” they’ll have only themselves to blame.

    • Shmuel
      September 6, 2009, 11:08 am

      Actually I think that one state is more desirable than likely, but desirability is in the eyes of those directly concerned – namely Israelis and Palestinians. As an ex-pat Israeli, I have some interest myself, and certainly consider it the most desirable solution. I applaud Carter for constantly learning and adapting his views – a remarkable achievement at any age. His current assessment goes well beyond the rather tame view he presented in “Peace Not Apartheid” – vilified by Zionists who had never read actually read it, but were appalled by the association (even in the negative) of the dreaded A-word with the “only democracy in the Middle East”.

  2. Richard Witty
    September 6, 2009, 11:16 am

    The single state would not last.

    It would inevitably result in civil war, and then partition, likely with larger portion Israeli than currently.

    The idea that Zionists will simply drop their current state and vision, is ludicrous.

    When Carter spoke of “likely” he referred to the likud vision of gradual annexation as likely. The very said aspect of that, is that it would not result in a single democratic state, but that likud would isolate Banustans, and permanently.

    • Donald
      September 6, 2009, 11:33 am

      That may all be true, Richard, but Carter is also right–if the Israelis find themselves working against “one man, one vote” they have only themselves to blame. And truthfully, one man one vote is the moral solution, or would be, if it weren’t for the fact that “The idea that Zionists will simply drop their current state and vision, is ludicrous.” I’ll also grant that equally fanatic Palestinians, if there are enough of them, could also prevent this truly fair solution from working, and so it would lead to civil war as you say. But the problem is fanaticism on both sides–what’s interesting is that the anti-democratic fanaticism on the Israeli side is an essential ingredient of mainstream Zionism.

      “When Carter spoke of “likely” he referred to the likud vision of gradual annexation as likely. The very said aspect of that, is that it would not result in a single democratic state, but that likud would isolate Banustans, and permanently.”

      Permanently, because there would never be enough Israelis willing to fight for “one man, one vote” under those circumstances?

      • Citizen
        September 6, 2009, 12:13 pm

        Good question, Donald; let’s see if and how Witty answers it. And would the USA support any majority of Israelis unwilling to fight for one man, one vote?

      • Citizen
        September 6, 2009, 12:13 pm

        Good question, Donald; let’s see if and how Witty answers it. And would the USA support any majority of Israelis unwilling to fight for one man, one vote?

      • n
        September 7, 2009, 7:15 am

        Get that, for once in our lives, Witty has nothing to say.

    • potsherd
      September 6, 2009, 11:42 am

      The Likid vision of gradual annexation is indeed the most likely outcome, since leaders like Barack Obama will not act to prevent it and Jews like yourself will do whatever you can to prevent anyone from acting to prevent it.

      And when the Zionists then begin to complete their program of ethnic cleansing by driving out all the remaining Arabs, which has always been part of their plan, people like you will continue to fear offending them by suggesting a boycott, while wringing your hands in regret, lamenting that nothing could be done.

      And the Zionists have started another new settlement in the Jordan Valley, intended to house the settlers from Gaza, as the most likely to resist another uprooting.

      With every step, the end becomes more inevitable, yet no one acts to stop it.

      • Citizen
        September 6, 2009, 12:20 pm

        I wonder what Arab Israelis will do, if anything except continue to pay taxes, if
        when Israel bombs Iran… What if that turns into a WW3? And the same with the Arab nations if the Arab Street bolts from their ruling regime families? And the USA,
        after we rush in to help Israel, especially if the aftermath of the Israeli bombing leads to high gas prices to cement the double dip depression and then some, and calls eventually go out for a revitalized military draft? I think we are coasting there now on all wheels.

    • doug
      September 6, 2009, 1:00 pm

      When Carter spoke of “likely” he referred to the likud vision of gradual annexation as likely. The very said aspect of that, is that it would not result in a single democratic state, but that likud would isolate Banustans, and permanently.

      Indeed, that seems far and away the most probable. Followed in decreasing probability, transfer, then the unstable and almost impossible one state solution.

      Of course the Banustans have to be maintained by force amidst increased international oprobrium. This is one of the reasons Israel wants us as embedded as possible in the M.E. Iraq was the watershed. As American exceptionalism decays amidst economic decline the situation in 20 years or so looks bleak. For both America and Israel. What is to be done?

      • Citizen
        September 6, 2009, 1:42 pm

        Hard to see what Obama is waiting for regarding Israel’s nose-thumbing at his public call for something as minor as a total settlement freeze in the overall scheme of it all.

    • sandra
      September 6, 2009, 2:01 pm

      “The idea that Zionists will simply drop their current state and vision, is ludicrous.”

      Yes well it is their ludicrous vision that has caused these zionists fanatics to establish so many facts on the ground that a palestinian state has become a joke. There is no way, unless one removes half a million insane settlers, that anything fair for the Palestinians can be negotiated. Israelis are thinking that they can simply keep building and building and ultimately force a few millions of Palestinians on a square inch of land and call that land Palestine and the world would be stupid enough to accept this. Carter is the only one with enough courage to point out what is happening and the consequence of it namely a two state solutionthat is no longer a viable solution. It is the Israelis themselves who made it impossible. Better to concentrate of human rights within a single state.
      I fear for Carter. I can’t imagine what they will do to him to now.

      “likely with larger portion Israeli than currently.”

      that’s a good one.

    • Shingo
      September 6, 2009, 4:46 pm

      The sad fact is that Israel’s policies have made the one state solution not only innevitable, but the only likely outcome.

      By creating isolated and permanent Bantustans, Israel will have confirmed it’s status as an aprtheid state.

      • potsherd
        September 7, 2009, 8:10 am

        And the US will continue to deny it and support the racists.

  3. Oscar
    September 6, 2009, 12:17 pm

    I find it a strange notion that so many support the one-state solution. We’ve seen what has happened in Israel proper — Arab children on a per-pupil basis get one shekel for every five spent on Israeli children, the third-class citizen status of Arabs in state-supported jobs/purchase of land, how Israelis are routinely exonerated by Israeli courts for killing Arabs. What gives anyone the sense that a single state solution is even feasible? You will have instant South Africa in the 1970s with an arrogant bully-state that will use political means to push Palestinians from their homes and into sea, so they are free to claim “Sumaria” and “Judea” as the Greater Israel, the entirety of which would be a Jewish state subject to Liberman’s “loyalty oaths.” I see this as no solution at all.

    • Shmuel
      September 6, 2009, 12:34 pm

      A one state solution would obviously require a strong constitution and mechanisms (probably external as well as internal – at least at the beginning) to prevent discrimination. Furthermore, the ratio of Jews to Arabs in a single state would be more or less equal (as opposed to 80/20 within ’67 borders today) – actually favouring Palestinians to a certain extent, depending on how the extent to which Palestinian ROR is realised. One man one vote and no de jure definition of the state as preferring any one ethnic/religious group would certainly go a long way to correcting the current state of affairs in terms of resource allocation, jobs, courts, etc. No solution is perfect or easy. To have any chance of working however, certainly in the long-term, a solution must offer maximum justice and maximum equality. Forget the extremists. Moderates won’t stand for a solution that is patently unfair.

    • Citizen
      September 6, 2009, 1:45 pm

      But in a one state scenario the voting population will be nearly evenly divided, and presumeably there will be a western style Constitution regarding equal rights under the law.

    • wondering jew
      September 6, 2009, 3:47 pm

      “Arab children on a per-pupil basis get one shekel for every five spent on Israeli children”. Before I accuse you of making up facts, please provide a source for this information.

      • tree
        September 6, 2009, 4:32 pm

        Before you accuse someone of making up facts, why don’t you look it up for yourself?

        I did and this is what I got as the result of my search:

        From Ha’aretz, Education Gap divides Jerusalem into East and West

        Figures obtained by Haaretz show a deep discrepancy between the education systems’ budgets in East and West Jerusalem.

        Last year, NIS 577 was spent on each primary school student in the predominantly-Arab eastern section of the city, compared with NIS 2,372 for a student in the mainly-Jewish western part. In preschools, spending per student in West Jerusalem was 2.7 times that of East Jerusalem, and in special education 2.5 times.

        The primary student budget figures in Jerusalem map out to a 1 to four discrepancy.

        And also from Ha’aretz, Who’s afraid of educated Arabs?

        It has long been the case that Israel’s Arab students have performed significantly worse than their Jewish peers. The reasons for the gaps range from socio-economic disadvantages (more than half of Arab families are below the poverty line, more than three times the rate of Jewish families), to cultural biases in the standardized curricula (more lessons on Jewish heritage and religion), to the hard fact of unequal budget allocations – the state invests roughly $200 per Arab pupil annually, versus $1,000 per Jewish pupil.

        There’s your one to 5. Perhaps you owe Oscar an apology? Perhaps you should be more open to facts you don’t like, instead of assuming they are “made up”? Perhaps you should learn more before assuming you know what you are talking about?

        Oscar’s only error was using the term “Israeli children” when he really meant “Jewish children” since the Arab children in Israel are Israelis, too.

    • wondering jew
      September 6, 2009, 5:56 pm

      The situation in Jerusalem is lamentable and should be remedied. But nonetheless the inference by Oscar was that this is the situation throughout Israel, which the article does not prove and which I suspect is not the case.
      As you are probably aware East Jersualem represents an anamolous situation in which the residents have not accepted Israeli citizenship and do not vote, because they feel to do so would recognize the occupation. As residents of annexed Jerusalem they receive the benefit of Israeli socialized medicine, but the Jerusalem municipality neglects them. As nonvoters the Jerusalem municipality feels that it can neglect them, without suffering at the polls and therefore they take advantage of the situation as cited in the article.
      Nonetheless the statement by Oscar is made referring to the totality of Israel and I believe this is not the case and Oscar and yourself should not take the situation in Jerusalem and claim that it represents the totality.

      • wondering jew
        September 6, 2009, 6:02 pm

        I assume that the major investment in education is done on the municipal rather than on the state level. But if the state is investing one fifth per Arab student this is shameful and should be remedied. I apologize.

      • wondering jew
        September 6, 2009, 6:55 pm

        I assume the major spender in education is the municipality and probably most Arabs live in poor municipalities. I have also discovered that there exists (or existed) something called priority areas, to make certain areas (cities?) eligible for state funds and adalah sued in the supreme court because very few Arab areas (cities?) were included in these priority areas and thus they were being deprived of funds. The supreme court ruled in favor of adalah, but maybe this practice is continuing.

      • Citizen
        September 6, 2009, 7:00 pm

        Re: “I assume that the major investment in education is done on the municipal rather than on the state level.”–Wondering Jew


        “Funding for government-run education comes primarily
        from the central government, and, to a lesser extent, from lo-
        cal councils or municipalities, private organizations, and par-
        ents. Arab schools, on average, receive proportionately less
        money than Jewish schools from each of these sources.”

        link to


        A report published Last March, showed that the government invested US$1,100 in each Jewish pupil’s education compared to $190 for each Arab pupil.
        link to

        Again, a report published last March revealed that the government invested $1,100 in each Jewish pupil’s education compared to $190 for each Arab pupil. The gap is even wider when compared to the popular state-run religious schools, where Jewish pupils receive nine times more funding than Arab pupils.

        There is also an official shortfall of more than 1,000 classrooms for Arab children, though Arab organisations believe the problem is in reality much worse. In addition, a significant proportion of existing Arab school buildings have been judged unsafe or dangerous to children’s health.
        A recent survey by Merchavim found that the segregation among pupils was mirrored by segregation among teachers. Despite some 8,000 Arab teachers being recorded as unemployed by the education ministry, only a few dozen work in Jewish schools, mainly teaching Arabic, even though the Jewish system is suffering from staff shortages.

        link to

        According to official data released as recently as late 2004,
        the Israeli government continues to allocate less money per
        head for Palestinian Arab children than it does for Jewish chil-

        Arab schools are still overcrowded, understaffed, and
        sometimes unavailable.

        On average, they offer far fewer facili-
        ties and educational opportunities than those offered to other
        Israeli children.

        The greatest inequalities are found in kin-
        dergartens for three- and four-year olds and in special educa-

        Of Israel’s Palestinian Arab citizens, 80 percent are Muslim, 11 percent
        are Christian, and 9 percent are Druze.

      • Oscar
        September 6, 2009, 8:52 pm

        W-J, I appreciate that you did hold back on your temptation to accuse me of making up facts until Citizen was able to provide you with the citation, and your apology is appreciated as well. I have no interest in making up facts to support my posts and I have a sense that the high-information people who visit this site are of the same mind.

      • Michael Weiz
        September 7, 2009, 8:34 am

        wondering jew – I don’t think it’s too unfair to say that, if you see a “rational person” making an allegation against Israel, the chances are that it’s true. That 2nd-class citizens of Israel get some tiny fraction of the educational budget that 1st-class ones get was not going to be surprising.

        Some of these claims may be impossible to prove (like the rather old details of the Swedish organ blood libel) and are probably not worth persuing. But the shriller the response the more self-satisfied we can be as we nod sagely to ourselves.

  4. Sin Nombre
    September 6, 2009, 12:37 pm

    The big problem I have with the kind talk that’s going on now, well represented by Carter’s piece, is that in its airy theoretical nature it isn’t pushing the discussion where it needs to go in terms of framing the questions Obama ought to be thinking about. And in my opinion what he ought to be thinking about is what happens when all the present shilly-shallying goes on too long and the Palestinians and maybe Hizbullah get fed up and we get yet another giant spasm of violence over there?

    Obama said awhile ago that he expected a peace agreement in two years, and yet he’s allowed himself to get into these stupid intricate talks about just how long a building freeze should last and just what is a freeze and what isn’t and about Jerusalem and blah blah blah for months on end now. This is whistling past the graveyard.

    Sooner or later, no matter how much we bribe the PA, the masses over there are gonna say enough is enough and revolt, and Hizbullah may too and the rest of the arab world gets inflamed and then Obama is really going to have a helluva thing on his hands. Maybe with oil prices shooting skyward and thus wrecking any economic recovery that will be going on. And almost certainly this will affect the U.S. military situation in the ME, possibly tremendously. (How can any Iraqi or Afghani or Pakistani gov’t be seen as siding with the U.S. when it sides with Israel in any such violence, as it must?)

    In my opinion the public discussion ought to get way more harder-edged, so that the questions to Obama get harder-edged too and he knows this is something that could make his entire tenure a failure. Right now everyone is speaking as if the subject was some mere historical debate concerning whether we should see the Holy Roman Empire as really Roman or not or etc. The reality is that the Palestinians have the power to push things to their limits and if they do Obama is really going to find out how he can be pushed to automatically and totally support Israel, and the arab and moslem states will take the opposite tack and the ball will really go up then.

    If Obama’s really a serious guy he better figure this out himself, because the public discussion of this stuff does tend to make it seem as if it has no real consequence. And yet indeed the leader it may have the most consequence for is not any Palestinian or even Israeli leader, but Obama above all. And yet right now he’s acting as if this stuff is all just small and very distant potatoes. So if it does end up biting him in the ass he’s got nobody to blame but himself.

    • DG
      September 6, 2009, 1:10 pm

      But as the confrontation over the settlements has shown, he’s also going to get bitten in the ass if he stands up to the lobby. And it appears that that scares him more than the prospect of perpetual war in the Middle East–
      Obama’s Peace Plan

      (And from a politican’s point of view, it’s probably a wise choice. Maybe he can trade with AIPAC for a few health care votes in return. Besides, what president doesn’t look good dressed up in a “Commander in Chief” uniform?)

    • Shmuel
      September 6, 2009, 1:16 pm

      Sin Nombre,
      Why is one state talk any more pie in the sky than two state? We need vision of a future solution, as well as immediate goals. Obama needs framing on both these issues – neither of which is being addressed in any serious way at the moment.

      • potsherd
        September 6, 2009, 1:44 pm

        What is needed is action to bring a just solution about. The will to act is more important at this juncture than the actual details of the solution.

        At the moment, the only ones acting are the Zionists.

      • Shmuel
        September 6, 2009, 3:27 pm

        Absolutely potsherd, but I also consider talk of one state action, because it questions the very idea of a “Jewish state”. Why does it have to be that way? Is it just? Is it democratic? Is it sane? These questions are anathema to most westerners and certainly most western politicians. The fact that Carter brings it up and points out the duplicity of Israeli governments paying lip service to a two-state plan while doing everything they possibly can to sabotage it on the ground, is significant. The settlement freeze is directly related to the issue of Israeli duplicity – promising two states and then making such a solution impossible. Carter is telling Obama and all those obsessed with two states (only because Israel insists on its “right” to a racist state) that if that’s the way the Israelis want it, fine, but that leaves only two possibilities: one democratic state, or a pariah apartheid state. Come to think of it, that was the title of his book.

      • Sin Nombre
        September 7, 2009, 12:01 am

        In response to my original post Shmuel wrote:

        “Why is one state talk any more pie in the sky than two state?”

        Because it’s not immediate enough an issue. We, and Jimmy Carter, and all the other mild-mannered commentators on the I/P issue, and even Ehud Olmert can sit and talk airily (or even otherwise) until we are blue in the face about Israel ultimately being faced with a one-state solution and being forced to extend full civil rights to all the arabs under its jurisdiction, but in terms of encouraging or supporting any immediate or even near-term action it’s meaningless, and thus it might as well be pie in the sky.

        The fact is that it is almost impossible to think of things coming to that point in anything less than a matter of decades. All Israel has to do is continue doing what it has been perfectly happy doing for the last forty years which is refusing to formally annex the occupied territories so it can note that the arabs within same are not its citizens, period. And just as it has also done over the last forty years it can at the same time continue its colonization of those territories and take other actions that at the very least put the Palestinians in a worse position and may well ultimately make large numbers of Palestinians leave due to hopelessness.

        So where, given this, does the pressure upon it come from to formally annex those territories and extend those rights? From the U.S. and the U.S. only; again history has shown that same is the only real source of pressure that means anything to it. And thus, given the current state of Israel’s influence in Washington, even if you started today again I can’t see the kind of total sea-change it would take for Washington to start pressuring Israel to grant citizenship to the arabs in the O.T.’s taking place in anything less than 10 or 20 years.

        Of course this does not mean I’m disparaging those who want to talk about a one-state versus a two-state solution or etc., etc.; indeed I’ve done so myself and it is interesting to peer into the future and thing about how things might play out. But such talk does nothing I think to either encourage or support either the U.S. or Israel to do or not do anything right now. Absolutely nothing in history, human nature, politics in general, politics in particular in terms of the U.S. or Israeli systems, or indeed anything else leads me to believe that suddenly decision-makers are going to start really thinking in the long term.

        Moreover I’d also point out the lame circumstances in which the whole “one-state” idea seemed to spring (or at least come to prominence): Ehud Olmert’s famous words about same of course. Thrown out by him as he was on his way out, disgraced, desperate to in essence apologize to the Israeli populace for seeming to be too soft via arguing that this one-state boogyman made him do it. And how much did it work? Well we of course know who was elected in his stead, and the fact is Olmert’s own party isn’t even talking about the idea anymore, nor indeed so far as I can see is *any* Israeli party concerned about that supposed threat. It’s just too far down the road for them who are the ones supposedly threatened by it, then think about how far down the road it seems for anyone else.

        What’s needed instead here in the U.S. at least is talk of the potentially imminent instead of the long-term possible future, elsewise I fail to see how we expect any of our politicians to get serious about things. Talk about another outbreak of violence or war over there, and the consequences for our troops in the ME and the possible destruction of the idea of ever withdrawing same. Talk about the incredible costs involved with same. The enhanced possibility of terrorism directed at the U.S. The distraction from our domestic issues and the possible destruction of our ability to pay for their solution. The incredibly immediate and huge issue of what a spiking of oil prices could do to this country and our economy. The wreckage possible to Obama’s tenure and posterity just as Vietnam wrecked LBJ’s despite his Great Society ideas. And on and on.

        Indeed I think that a lot of the passion one sees about this issue in the U.S., such as here, or wherever the issue is mentioned in fact, stems from the fact that people *do* see the I/P conflict as having great and manifold consequences and potential dangers. And thus I think that concentrating on what *might* happen at some far point in the future doesn’t even do justice to that passion, much less do anything to actually spur or support real action.

        And if Obama is on board with this thinking—which at least he seems to recognize given his own words about how a peace deal is urgently needed in two years—well then while he doesn’t need encouragement then at the very least he needs some support. Intellectual support bolstering the case for urgency, and political support showing other politicians and AIPAC and etc. that they just can’t stand in his way without possibly being identified as stalling if not actually working against U.S. interests.

      • Shmuel
        September 7, 2009, 12:51 am

        Thanks for the detailed answer, SN. I agree with your assessment. I also believe however, that a two state solution or any other peace-oriented solution for that matter, is no more immediate or realistic, yet everyone – Obama included – continue to harp on about it. The settlement freeze (yeah right) is not about stopping land-theft, oppression or apartheid, or enforcing international law. It’s about getting “peace” talks back on track, road map, blah blah blah. The entire setup suits Netanyahu to a tee.

        Not being an American, my perspective is a little different from yours, but BDS, pressure on our politicians, etc. to stop Israeli violence now – by all means. But if peace talks and solutions are on the table anyway, we have to talk about what’s flawed in the proposals and why. The whole two-state approach is symptomatic of the way in which Israel and its illegitimate demands are treated by western liberal society. A little truth please, a little holding of Israel to the same standards of democracy and human rights we expect in our own countries. I see talk of one state as part of that, as a refusal to accept the axiom of a Jewish state and all that entails.

    • Citizen
      September 6, 2009, 1:47 pm

      I share your concerns about the likely playout if Obama does not at least stick
      to his goal of a total settlement freeze for starters.

    • potsherd
      September 6, 2009, 6:55 pm

      If a solution to this problem depends on Obama, we might as well start preparing for WWIII.

    • Sin Nombre
      September 7, 2009, 9:00 am

      Shmuel wrote:

      “Not being an American, my perspective is a little different from yours, but BDS, pressure on our politicians, etc. to stop Israeli violence now – by all means. But if peace talks and solutions are on the table anyway, we have to talk about what’s flawed in the proposals and why.”

      Well of course one can’t deny your logic that if you are talking about a peace deal you must then talk about its possible substance. But I think your point about different perspectives is a great one and contributes to my points too. That is, as an American while of course I’d like to see peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians in the final analysis I care far more about U.S. interests. And this is why all the talk about one state or two or etc., etc. strikes me as being at least one giant step away from reality. Not only just in terms of what seems theoretically possible between the I’s and the P’s is such talk distant at best, but from my American perspective I really don’t think my country should care very much. And certainly not enough to be sacrificing any of its interests on the altar of either.

      Accordingly that’s why I see Carter’s piece and all the others similar to it as, in a sense, even maybe being harmful in terms of continuing to distract from what matters to us. “No no,” the effect of the article tends to be, “don’t bother your U.S. minds with U.S. interests, instead let us continue to try to persuade the oh-so-precious Israelis and/or the oh-so-precious Palestinians what their best interests are” and blah blah blah.

      And that is a giant step away from what’s helpful. Continuing always and endlessly to essentially say “oh gee you Israelis and/or Palestinians, here’s yet another argument supremely concerned with your freaking interests as if for some mysterious reason your well-being is the be-all and end-all our existence.”

      Well, I say, screw their interests, or at least screw ’em down to where they belong on the U.S. radar screen which is way way way down. Somehow we’ve gotten sucked into this ridiculous assumption that what’s good for the Israelis or even for the Palestinians ought to constantly be on our minds, as if helping one or the other or both were the real purpose this country exists.

      Screw ’em both I say, at least to the extent noted above. Change the subject from endless talk about how to reach the unreachable Ultima Thule of peace between them and start talking about U.S. interests and the interests of all the other states in the world rather than theirs. And then maybe watch them start to get some sanity too. If Israel wants to go and steal all the Palestinian land let it, but then let it contemplate doing so without U.S. support, and contemplate trying to sustain that without U.S. support in the face of the reaction from the world and the arab states. Potential annihilation tends to focus people’s attention. And some equal talk to the Palestinians from the arab states that support it could well help too; abuse them of any revanchist dreams of reversing 1948 and tell them to goddamn unless you accept something less than your ultimate ideal you are on your own too, period.

      That kind of talk would be helpful I think. And indeed I think having it out there to some clear, prominent degree is in fact even absolutely necessary to make all the other talk about one state or two states or etc. really relevant and timely. Without it otherwise we might as well be college freshmen, sitting around a bong and talking about what it would be like to go walking on the sun.

      • potsherd
        September 7, 2009, 9:20 am

        The key is in withdrawing American support.

  5. VR
    September 6, 2009, 1:20 pm

    “Obama said awhile ago that he expected a peace agreement in two years, and yet he’s allowed himself to get into these stupid intricate talks about just how long a building freeze should last and just what is a freeze and what isn’t and about Jerusalem and blah blah blah for months on end now…”

    Exactly, however the most obvious result of this veer is accepting the contrived “facts on the ground” as a reality that cannot be changed. It is the old “rule” of might makes right, and “possession is 9/10’s of the law,” when it is patently illegal. So even the process at the outset is totally bogus. This only spells one thing, if you are thinking of getting anything of substance out of the Obama administration on this subject, forget about it.

    • Citizen
      September 6, 2009, 1:49 pm

      I agree with your assessment. What is Obama waiting for in light of his public declaration to the world a total settlement freeze is needed now for any progress at all?

  6. VR
    September 6, 2009, 1:48 pm

    In fact, the idea of the “freeze” is an implicit license, that is why you see the rush to expand. Trust me, this is how these reprobates think, the freeze issue is a green light for more of the same. Do I think the Obama administration was duped? No, they are complicit. You all should have realized this when Obama was campaigning, when he said nothing during Operation Cast Lead except hurry up and finish before my inauguration, and it should have been sealed when you saw who his “trusted crew” was, but with each passing signal it was “go Obama!”


    I call this the Audacity Of Bullshit. Look, the man does not even support his own people – he swallows a beer and that is supposed to show you everything is OK. It was not like anyone was not saying anything, but their voices were muted with no visible platform as they exercised their “free speech,” while Obama tells the languishing black population to “pull up your pants.” I mean, what the hell did you think you were going to get?


    That is all I have to say

    • Citizen
      September 6, 2009, 2:12 pm

      Damn, V, that’s a mouthful. Let’s see, he did speak out against Shrub’s Iraq war, but that was before he was running for POTUS. OTH, he did not speak out against the GAZA massacre when he could smell POTUS in his nostrils; Israel did hurry up and finish its massacre at the most convenient time for Prez Obama. And let’s see, before he knew the facts he declared the cops acted stupidly regarding his buddy, and then, as you say, had a beer with his buddy and the stupid cop, declaring that a learning
      opportunity for the nation. And, on the one hand he tells the blacks to pull up their own pants while simultaneously encouraging Acorn, viewing them as part of the
      new federal government. I also recall he threw the white side of his family under the
      bus at various times; then he pulled them out and trotted them around, depending
      on which audience he thought he was reaching.

      I guess the way to always look at what Obama says (as opposed to what he does) is
      to ask yourself while he is reading from the teleprompter, or caressing a contrived
      audience, is Who will like this speech’s rhetoric and examples? And, who will view
      them as deceptive? I guess you could apply that test to any politician on the stump,
      Hitler’s speeches were also carefully tailored at each point in his career. I guess
      what I am saying is what we have to keep our eyes on is what any politician actually
      implements at any stage of career, as juxtiposed to what they said before in office.
      Gradually, when it comes to high office strivers you have to look at their track record very closely. Unfortunately, this takes a lot of time and most people are already worn out after their work day and only want entertainment to prepare
      for the next workday. That’s where the chattering class is trump. All banal, but

      • Citizen
        September 6, 2009, 2:13 pm

        Should read: (as opposed to what he does AND does not do)

      • VR
        September 7, 2009, 1:33 am

        That is a valid point citizen. Especially this example –

        “And, on the one hand he tells the blacks to pull up their own pants while simultaneously encouraging Acorn, viewing them as part of the
        new federal government.”

        I suppose I should study this a bit more, in light of the fact that I hear many right leaning older folks having a coronary about Acorn. I’ll try to study this more carefully, the “saying and doing” aspect, and try to remember who Obama is pandering to when he speaks.

  7. ImTirtzu
    September 6, 2009, 6:04 pm

    What’s a Bantustan?

    • homingpigeon
      September 7, 2009, 10:20 pm

      Apartheid South Africa set up ten or so little “republics” within its contiguous territory as “homelands” for the various ethnic African groups. One, Bophuthatswana, was itself divided into ten enclaves scattered all over the place. Token sovereignty was given, resulting mainly in the Bantustans being able to set up casinos, show porno, and set up some arrangements for white south africans to experience some whoopie with black africans. These were dissolved when apartheid ended.

  8. Richard Witty
    September 6, 2009, 11:38 pm

    The common thread of Gandhi, King, and Mandela is that they each affirmed as primary “love thy enemy”.

    Are they going to get there? Is solidarity going to get there?

    • Koshiro
      September 7, 2009, 2:41 am

      Nonsense. Gandhi and King primarily employed nonviolence because they believed it to be effective (and Gandhi was most certainly not motivated by Christian philosophical ideas.) Nelson Mandela even spent a lot of time in prison for refusing to give up the right to armed struggle.

      • Richard Witty
        September 7, 2009, 6:32 am

        Look into their lives. Civil disobedience was always self-assertion, but the common thread between the three is a willingness to respect the “other”.

        It is revisionism that describes their attitudes as solely tactical.

        And, that they sincerely respected the “other”, that created the conditions by which their opponents could trust them to reconcile, and make effective transitions while achieving good relations with their former oppressors.

        South Africa didn’t transform only because it was right, but because it was also possible, and by the compassionate character of the leaders.

      • potsherd
        September 7, 2009, 8:17 am

        Ask Witty how he plans to get the Israelis to respect the Palestinians, when every poll only shows an increase in Israeli racism and the desire to expel every Arab.

        There is no use appealing to the good will of the Israelis – there is no good will there, only racism, land lust, religious fanaticism, and the steadfast refusal to admit that any of the problem is their own fault.

      • Citizen
        September 7, 2009, 9:23 am

        How has Israeli action since 1967 (ignoring 1880 to 1967) ever showed respect for
        the Palestinian Arabs? Every new encroachment of settlement “facts on the ground”
        declares in no uncertain way the contrary. Similarly, the matrix of Israel’s disparate
        discriminatory treatment of 20% of its citizens. Not to mention the Gaza massacre
        over the turn of this year.

      • Koshiro
        September 7, 2009, 12:27 pm

        There is a world of difference between a basic willingness to respect people on the “other side” and “loving your enemy”. You are confusing nonviolent struggle with no non-struggle.

        See, what you seem continually to be asking is for the Palestinians to just take everything Israel does to them lying down, without any kind of resistance, and for the rest of the World just to watch without any kind of pressure to Israel. And you apparently want us to believe that this will somehow “allow” Israel to suddenly reveal their generous and respectful side and present the Palestinians with statehood and freedom as nice gifts.

        Even if that were believable, it would still be incredibly condescending and arrogant. But it is most definitely not believable. Banking on Israel’s generosity is, in light of everything that happened in the last 40+ years, a ridiculous idea.

      • Richard Witty
        September 7, 2009, 2:36 pm

        The dominant attitude towards the Palestinian factions, which is often generalized into “the Palestinians”, is of an assertion of deception.

        Many feel duped by Palestinians’ assertions that they accept Israel and Israelis, when in fact, their “acceptance” is perceived as conditional on Israel not existing.

        I personally don’t know. I do know about the left, that the left is relentless, and is now not willing to apply conditional criteria, that instead the hatred for Israel, for Zionism, has been adopted and is now unconditional.

        And, in that setting, Israelis hunker down, even the progressives.

        You really should read Gandhi, King and Mandela in their own words. They did each adopt a “love your enemy” approach, but also “love your own” and “love justice”.

        Only in the words of revisionists, is their attitude solely tactical.

        Consider that Gandhi undertook two fasts unto death, to stop rioting first against British, then against Muslims.

      • Richard Witty
        September 7, 2009, 2:37 pm

        You confuse an objection to your comments, with an objection to act.

      • Koshiro
        September 7, 2009, 4:00 pm

        Suffice to say, I did, and you’re wrong. (And “solely tactical” is a strawman.) Especially about Mandela and Apartheid SA.

        By the way, I’m still curious: What do you suggest the Palestinians do? And the rest of the world? I always hear what they are not supposed to do: No violence, no sanctions, no resistance, no nothing. So… what?

      • Shingo
        September 7, 2009, 4:05 pm

        Well put Koshiro and thank you for pointing out the the blatant dishonesty in Richard’s position. They say that the definition of insanity is to repeat the same behavior, hoping to expect a different outcome, yet richard expects us to belieev that this is precisely what should be done to convinve Israel to change policies it has held for 60 years.

        It’s akin to suggesting that givign a heoin adict more drigs and more money will lead to their rehabilitation.

      • Richard Witty
        September 7, 2009, 4:23 pm

        What do I think “THE” Palestinians should do?

        I think Palestine is best served by developing their institutions of state and economy, as Fayyad is undertaking.

        In the world of influencing public opinion, I think the Palestinians should work to inform the two constituencies that object to their progress, that they:

        1. Have RENOUNCED terror as a tactic permanently, and desire to co-exist.
        2. Have experienced great trauma, and need and desire to self-govern in a viable state
        3. Accept that Israel exists, and as Israel (who cares if its called “The Jewish state”, and respect the trauma that European Jews experienced from the early 30’s until 1948, that compelled the migration to Israel and formation of state.

        The three need to go together. Education in an environment of threat by Palestinians, would produce the same result as current.

        I’d help. I’d put time into authorship of materials, public presentation, and facilitation of discussion (as I’ve done in the past).

        Any BDS, any terror in the background, I and most Jews of my generation (that are still Jews) will abstain, except in private conversation. (Yesterday, I drove my son to his Lubavitch yeshiva in Brooklyn. I asked him “if Jews acquired title to land in an environment of forced sale from Palestinians, is that considered a valid exchange according to halacha?” The parallel is the forced sale of my wife’s father’s family carpet factory in Hungary, required to be sold in a three week period, in 1940. Was that a valid sale? No.)

        To argue with the orthodox, you have to speak their language, that the questions of ethics are relativ to Torah practice. So, I can do that, with some study. Phil could do that, with some study.

        Stated with contempt, the questions don’t even get to consideration.

      • robin
        September 7, 2009, 5:01 pm

        Richard, I see this statement as deeply problematic: “Any BDS, any terror in the background, I and most Jews of my generation (that are still Jews) will abstain”. So even if there are only, say, two Palestinians practicing violence, you will not publicly support Palestinian rights?

        Can the actions of individual Palestinians negate the human rights of the whole population? Can they negate your responsibility to support those rights? I say of course not. What do you say?

        The irony here is that the worse Israel makes conditions for the Palestinians, the more likely it is that more of them will turn to violence in desperation. This should make the issue more, not less urgent for us.

      • Richard Witty
        September 7, 2009, 5:18 pm

        I agree with you that the situation is urgent. I strongly disagree with the fears that Obama is inneffective. Because of his presidency (not because of Walt Mearsheimer, or Norman Finkelstein, or Phil Weiss, or even J Street – though I think they bear a large credit), the dialog on Israel/Palestine has changed.

        If McCain were president, and Netanyahu prime minister, what do you think the situation would look like now?

        I expect that there would be no demonstrations in Beilin, because the villages would just be moved, and that rather than experiencing any contreversy in approving 450 units (today) in Maale Adumin, the whole 5 miles between Maale Adumin and East Jerusalem would be claimed and permitted.

        So, being urgent, rather than screw around with one-state fantasies, and BDS vanity resistance, the parties should get off their asses and develop the materials to present to Israeli and American Jewish populations, dialog, mediate, argue halacha.

        Thats if anyone wants to succeed at persuasion.

      • robin
        September 7, 2009, 5:59 pm

        Ugh. I wish I had not written that last sentence, because you seem to have responded to it at the expense of my main point.

        Do the actions of individual Palestinians somehow negate (or have any bearing on) our responsibility to stand up for Palestinian human rights as they are violated in our name?

        And by the way, I haven’t mentioned Obama. But I agree with you that he is doing good work, by U.S. president standards. We should demand better, but I don’t think we can expect better at this point given the political realities he has to deal with.

      • robin
        September 7, 2009, 6:03 pm

        And also by the way, I wrote another response to you in that thread from several days ago. If you’re interested, perhaps we could continue that discussion in a more recent thread.

      • Richard Witty
        September 7, 2009, 9:13 pm

        If there are only two Palestinians practising violence, I would regard that as a rare exception, that deserves attention, but should not be interpreted as the intent of “the” Palestinians.

        The point about the necessity to persuade is critical. And, the suggested means to persuade is critical.

        There are many that regard the Israelis as so inconsequential that force is the “only thing they understand”, but that is false, inhumane, and negligent.

        That the left has NOT seriously undertaken non-polemic education, is a great tragedy, a great negligence. I’m in that, but I’ve failed because I can’t pursue an effort that Hamas and Hamas solidarity will use as an opportunity to assume power and/or to disrupt peace efforts.

        If I were free to conduct Israeli foreign policy, I would shut down 75% of the roadblocks unilaterally. I would state clearly that Israel intends to renounce sovereignty over the entire West Bank, and will cooperate to facilitate a coherent transition in governance to the PA, and will arrange for a mutually consented court process to adjudicate all land claims from 1947 on (including claims by Jews for titled property in the West Bank, in the minority of cases that that applies).

        But, while the PA has asserted its willingness to live as a good neighbor to Israel (some of them anyway), Hamas certainly has NOT.

        Democracy occurs in the present. Seeking a democracy of the past, is a fascist exercise, whomever applies it, and regardless of whether they are the big fish in which little pond.

      • robin
        September 7, 2009, 10:55 pm

        Richard, I don’t think most people are trying to make the point that “force is the only thing Israelis understand”. Rather, it is that no group of people voluntarily surrenders power and privileges without some form of pressure, even confrontation. Be it Israel, Algeria, the U.S., South Africa.

        The U.S. civil rights movement, for one, involved a range of tactics, most of which (like those of the armed Black Panthers) were not designed to “buddy up” with southern whites. Indeed, it produced an enormous backlash. And it worked. Without pressure and confrontation, it is easy for those who hoard power and privileges to rationalize their behavior.

        Israel has been doing that for 60 years. They have certainly faced confrontation, but paired with strong encouragement from the world’s superpower. We are trying to chip away at that source of enabling, so that Israel feels isolated the way South Africa did before the end of apartheid. Do you think the black population appeared peaceful and friendly to white South Africans at that point? The Palestinians will never seem peaceful or friendly enough to Israeli leaders if there is nothing to gain from (or lose from not) comprimising.

        We are not advocating violence. BDS is nonviolent pressure, like most of the civil rights movement. And yet you talk about some sort of western Hamas solidarity, as if that exists. Our solidarity is with the Palestinian people, who deserve justice no matter what any faction says or does. The violence in Israel/Palestine hurts both sides (none more than the Palestinians). But the SYSTEM of control oppresses only Palestinians, and sets Jews above them as rulers. And as long as that’s true, there will be a conflict.

      • Richard Witty
        September 8, 2009, 6:52 am

        In contrast Robin,
        My assessment is that if you make a people isolated, that they will act as isolated people do.

        Maybe some satisfactory result will occur as a result of BDS. BUT, BDS as currently articulated is vague in goal, and vague in range of method.

        Your hope that BDS is the means to communicate to Israel that they do “something” (who knows what specifically) to reduce oppression, is a little wishful thinking. (Its similar to what I’m accused of.)

        The bedfellows in the BDS movement include those that do NOT “love thy neighbor”, but seek punishment in all forms on Israelis and supportive Jews (supportive in any way).

        They demonstrate a worse form of political discourse.

        Historically, in the times when non-violent civil disobedience has been successful, it was applied by people that definitively renounced violence as a means, and renounced punitive approaches as a means. That is not the case with the mass of the current BDS advocacy.

        They include Hamas shifting from terror as CHOSEN means, to BDS as chosen means.

        A tactic for them, not a commitment of character.

      • Richard Witty
        September 8, 2009, 3:03 pm

        I hear self-talk from you Koshiro.

        Do you have any experience with domestic violence? How about mediation?

        Mediation doesn’t work all of the time, but it works more than it doesn’t work. In contrast, force usually doesn’t.

        If you don’t understand that Israelis ARE traumatized by terror incidents, then you’re just not paying attention.

        The traumas are mutual, if not equal. None are.

        As neither is disappearing, the ONLY option to resolve the conflicts are by mediation, not by agitation.

      • robin
        September 8, 2009, 3:38 pm

        Richard, it seems to me that your position on Hamas is that of an Israeli extremist. The corresponding Palestinian position would be: Israel’s unconscionable acts in the past and racist political discourse show that anything it does now is a tactic, not a commitment of character.

        If Hamas adopts unarmed struggle as a tactic against Israeli occupation, it is reclaiming the moral high ground as an organization, just as Israel would be by ending siege and occupation. The leaders may remain bad people, with bad goals even. But both sides have an obligation to deal earnestly with the other. An agreement is impossible otherwise.

        It is not only morally bankrupt to demand these kinds of things from only one side. It is truly unrealistic, wishful thinking.

        It is obvious that many Israelis benefit in some way from occupation. The problem is now that the consequences of NOT dealing earnestly with the other side are politically palatable (maybe even a benefit) to Israeli leaders. Maybe not so if they included a loss of U.S. aid and international boycotts.

      • Richard Witty
        September 8, 2009, 8:25 pm

        I don’t believe that Hamas will ever negotiate with Israel. They seem to prefer a state of struggle, to a state of peace.

        Every position in which either Hamas or the Israeli right are dominant will be a position of status quo, or in other words a state of struggle, in which each believe that they will benefit from civilians’ suffering and threatened.

        Its not that they are “bad people”. (I personally distinguish the leadership of the militia from the leadership of the much larger social service wing.) The problem that I see with Hamas is actually in interpretations of Islam, that admire the state of struggle. The same term is used in MANY primary ideologies, including radical leftist ideology (class struggle – not class victory), radical Islam (jihad – spiritual/moral/military struggle), tantra (meaning “spiritual struggle” – Subhash Chandra Bose was a follower of Shiva – not the sexual tantra), orthodox Judaism (a similar concept of inner warfare between good and distraction from good).

        The state of struggle, a spiritual metaphor applying the language of war – determination and willingness to endure discomfort, when applied in the real world, includes a state of insecurity for the masses of civilians.

        I think a state of struggle is relevant to make qualitative change from a state of disturbed homeostasis to a state of equilibrium homeostasis. (Homeostasis is a state of order resulting from conflicting forces in balance. The body maintains homeostasis of cell chemistry, even as the composition of cells change from hungers to excess to hungers to excess).

        Other than that temporary condition of change, a state of struggle is not relevant, not a virtue.

        That differs from the neo-anarchist view that a state of struggle, even in chaos, IS the desirable state, the state of excitement.

        So, I criticize Hamas’ and the left’s common admiration for opportunity or enjoyment through struggle (at the expense of civilians, who need order and stability).

      • robin
        September 8, 2009, 9:48 pm

        That sounds reasonable to me. I think that criticism would be even more relevant if Israel ever allowed Palestinians the opportunity for order and stability.

        I am more optimistic about Hamas. For one thing, they did negotiate the cease-fire of last summer, and upheld it through continuing blockade. (Of course the collapse of that cease-fire was complicated, but the November Israeli raid into Gaza was certainly part of it.) For another, they are more-or-less abiding by a cease-fire right now. The explanation seems to be that they feel obliged to give the population a break after the invasion.

        And I think this speaks to an important truth which should temper your pessimism a little. As Hamas becomes more of a political organization (rather than a resistance army), it needs to become more responsive to the views of those ordinary Palestinians who, in normal times, require order and stability. For votes, and for the large-scale cooperation and consent that any government needs to operate effectively. Governing is a moderating influence on them. As it was on Fatah/PLO, who are now the moderates! And as Israel still greatly constrains and infringes on their power, they have a lot to gain (for themselves and their public) by negotiating with it.

        Now, as long as there is inequality between Jews and Palestinians, there will probably be more radical fringe groups popping up. But the better conditions get, the better the trends look, the easier it will be to isolate those groups. Israel will have more Palestinian cooperation in stopping them. (The PA is already policing militants on Israel’s behalf in the West Bank, and Hamas did some of that during the cease-fire.) And that’s also part of the importance of working toward a comprehensively just solution, like the bi-national state–to undermine those motivations for disruptive struggle.

      • Richard Witty
        September 9, 2009, 10:15 am

        The hope is that Hamas will consider itself political, and entirely renounce militia operations. But, using Hezbollah as a model, that has not been the case.

        Hezbollah still periodically engages in street fights with contending parties in Lebanon, as does Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank. (On a positive note, Hamas did recently fight a fairly intense street fight with a jihadist organization in Gaza.)

        In Israel’s eyes, and what should be the world’s, including the progressive view, Hamas’ 16 year history of terror as primary means of “resistance”, still overshadows their 8 months of civil disobedience.

        There is 0 possibility that the Israeli electorate will consent to a bi-national state in anything less than a decade, and then ONLY if there are literally NO terrorist incidents in that time, and very intentional efforts at genuine reconciliation between the communities, and then it is a remote possibility.

        And, the only likely means to get there is through a two-state process anyway. If that ends up as a mid-point in a longer consented process, wonderful.

        There is NO POSSIBLE jump to either a single democratic state or a formal bi-national state.

        There can be a sequence to two sovereign states adopting relatively open borders, but with the presence of any jihadist orientation among Islamics, and with relatively open access to Palestine first, with easy transit into Israel, that prospect is also remote.

        The only path forward is acceptance, and universal acceptance. And, that means acceptance of Israel.

      • robin
        September 9, 2009, 3:33 pm

        I don’t know that Hezbollah is the right comparison. They haven’t had to make agreements with Israel in order to secure a political sphere in which to operate. What I meant to suggest before was that, if Hamas started a process of negotiations with Israel, they would be making a political investment in that process and its results. It would be against their interest to undermine it, and in their interest to uphold it.

        And as for a binational state, I wasn’t talking about a jump to that from the current situation. Certainly we are not close to that happening. I was merely talking about advocacy for that as a long-term goal. However, Carter’s piece here does raise some questions about the two-state solution being more viable even in the short-term. The settlers will pose a problem no matter what, but evacuating them is an almost impossible task.

        If we were going to move more directly toward a bi-national state, the first step could be annexation of the entire West Bank/Gaza to Israel, which could be framed as a gain (although most Israelis will surely not welcome the people). I also worry a little bit about a two-state situation entrenching itself and ultimately deferring a more just and peaceful arrangement. But if that is truly the available road to greater Palestinian freedom (and I agree it probably is at this point), then we must take it. Let’s just not contribute to a consensus that says nothing else is possible or even acceptable to discuss.

      • Shingo
        September 9, 2009, 4:13 pm

        So typical of you Ricahrd,

        You hope is that Hamas will consider itself political, and entirely renounce militia operations, but you don’t seem concerned about whether Isral will renoucnce occupation, land theft, enthnic cleansing and aprtheid do you? Israel are becomming so obsessed with maintaining their enthnic puirty these days, they are running ads to doscourage mixed marriages.

        As always, it’s all up to the Palestinians and the Israelis should not be held to account.

        Hamas, like Hezbollah, are a product of Isreali occupation, and nothing more. Neither would exist were it not for Israel. Hezobollah is a sound model indeed. When Isrlae stay on the Israeli side of the border, Hezbollah are no problem. The reason you don;e like Hebollah is because like Hamas, they resits occupation. You refer to that as terror.

        It’s a lie to accuse Hezbollah of engaging in street fights with contending parties. For years, Hebollah has shown great restrint against those that there seeking to deliberately provoke it into a reaction. Similrly with Hamas, Hamas respond to US and Israeli sponsored coups that aim to overthrow it.

        Hamas’ so called 16 year history of terror, was nothign more than a resistance to 40 year sof Israeli terror, but onyl Hamas shoudl remince terrorrism right Richard?

        Israeli electorate probabyl won’t consent to a bi-national state, but they are moving unstoppably in that direction and they will find Jews wil soon be a minority. Terrorism is an excuse that keeps on giving, that justifies the land theft, the enthnic cleansing. As Chomsky said, if you want terror to stop, then you simply stop feeding it. Israel insisnts on continuously dishing up a banquet.

        You know as wl as anyone else, that a two-state solution is dead.

        The only sequence to two sovereign states adopting relatively open borders, is to begin with the dismantlement of the settlements, which will never happen.

        You ramble on with platitudes about the only path forward being acceptance, and universal acceptance, but the only thing that comes to mind is the acceptance of Israel. How about we start with the acceptance of the state of Palestine by even allowing it to happen as oposed to resiting the idea, as Israel hsa done for 60 years?

    • Koshiro
      September 7, 2009, 4:45 pm

      What is “developing” their tiny semi-autonomous specks of land going to do about Israeli occupation? What does it even have to do with Israeli occupation, however meritous increasing prosperity on a very low level may be? Nothing, that’s what.
      So much for that. As for your other suggestions:

      1. This is again, a demand about what they should not do.
      2. & 3. Are things which they already did.

      So what you basically require – again – is that the Palestinians “abstain” from something which might be a hassle for Israel. And grovel properly about it, I guess. Of course, Israel does not need to make any similar moves. They will just accept the Palestinian surrender in good grace and then show their incredible generosity, right?

      See, this condescending, arrogant, and most of all, incredibly naive depiction of reality is why many people, including me, have given up on the idea that the Israeli establishment can be moved anywhere by goodwill. Only pressure will help. I wouldn’t care how much you’d pout if sanctions were imposed on Israel – I only care about the effect they will have on the Regime – which would, for proper sanctions, be considerable.

      • Richard Witty
        September 7, 2009, 5:21 pm

        Predictable reply Koshiro.

        “We already tried that”.

        In fact, that isn’t true. Again, the three must exist honestly and confidently to persuade. Otherwise, the Palestinians will be engaging in war, and be responded to in kind.

        We know that you’ve adopted that view that only pressure will succeed, and that conclusion will make EVERY effort a failure.

        You like terror as a means?

      • Richard Witty
        September 7, 2009, 5:22 pm

        Noone is saying grovel. If you interpret renouncing terror on civilians as groveling, then you live on another planet, to quote Barney Frank.

      • Shingo
        September 7, 2009, 5:33 pm


        This statement underlines why an honest discussion is impssible with Ricahrd.

        “Otherwise, the Palestinians will be engaging in war, and be responded to in kind.”

        You see Kopshiro, in Roichard’s mind, any violence that ensues si alwasy the fault fo the Palestinians and anything Israel does is always a response to violence (ie. self defense).

        Then he patroinisingly puts thsi qusrion to you:

        “You like terror as a means? ”

        Igornoring that Israel was founded on terrorism and that Israel went on to elect 2 terrorist leaders to the office of PM.

        As for renoucing terro on civilians, should we expect Israel to do the same? I remind you what Ze’ev Shiff (Israeli journalist and military correspondent for Ha’aretz) said about that:

        “The Israeli army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously. The army has never distinguished civilian from military targets, but has purposely attacked civilian targets.”

      • Richard Witty
        September 7, 2009, 9:16 pm

        Try it Shingo. If you are truly concerned for Palestinians’ improvement.

      • Koshiro
        September 8, 2009, 3:18 am

        Yes, Richard, you did say “grovel”. Just now. Sure, you clad it in words like “honestly and confidently”, which will of course be left to Israel – or you? – to measure. “Hmmm… that wasn’t honest and confident enough for our tastes”. Yeah, I can picture it.

        And of course, all without any similar demands placed on Israel itself. In short words, the Palestinians – and the world at large – are to surrender to Israel and plea for mercy – and they better do so “honestly and confidently” or they won’t be heard.

        Your advice is basically akin to telling a wife who is subjected to daily abuse by her husband a.) to promise him never to lift a hand in defense, or call the police and b.) to “honestly and confidently” plead him to stop. The husband, of course, has the right to decide what “honestly and confidently” means.
        Furthermore, you advice the police, the neighbours, and everybody else who could possibly be involved to do nothing at all – except maybe suggest to the husband in carefully chosen words that he should maybe consider not beating his wife, lest he be upset.

        In such a scenario, I would see two possible reasons for your behaviour: Either you are incredibly naive and blind to injustice – or you are actually on the husband’s side because he’s your best buddy and want him to get away with the abuse.

      • Shingo
        September 8, 2009, 5:52 am

        Again, you hit the debate right out f the park.

        You strike on one very glaring point, a trait which many Isreli aplogists seem to argue. Israel is irrational, violent, brutal and over reactive, but rather than try to confront this agression, Richard Witty argues that we should do anything we can to avoid upsetting or provoking Israel. The argument being that whatever Isrle is or does is a reality and that we should make no effort to change that behaviour, but rather to placate Israel.

        I would be curious Richard, for you to come up with an example of how obseqeousness and submission coerced an occupying power to reverse it’s policies. Does a team who is winning (at least in their mind) forfeit the game becasue they feel sorry for the other team? Do criminal gangs give up crime out of remorse and pitty for their victims?

        Please Richard, tell us what example in history do we draw upon that would reflect your recipe for success?

      • Richard Witty
        September 8, 2009, 6:59 am

        I’m glad that you brought domestic violence as the model.

        If violence is occurring, you stop the violence first, but NOT by escalating violence.

        Then, you determine if the parties desire or need to remain in relationship. In the case of Israel and Palestine, it is a need, as the two communities will continue to reside as neighbors.

        If they need to remain in relationship, then the appropriate approach is mediation, in a mutually safe environment, with the goal of identifying an intersection of concerns, a plausible reconciled outcome.

        Mediation will be unsuccessful if the goal is punitive or disregards one party’s needs as prerequisite.

      • Koshiro
        September 8, 2009, 7:42 am

        Are you effing serious? In a case of regular domestic abuse you would actually dare to speak about “one party’s needs”?

        In such a case every halfway decent person would do the following:
        1. Call the police.
        2. Try to keep the husband from continuing his violence.
        3. Offer whatever assistance the wife might need to help her break free from her abusive marriage.

        One would certainly NOT…
        1. Try to keep the police away by telling them they should tend to other, more serious crimes.
        2. Give the husband carte blanche to beat his wife to the brink of death in “self defense”, should she ever dare to try and resist.
        3. Tell the wife to try and find out why exactly her husband is beating her, and to modify her behaviour to be “less provoking”.

        And by the way: It does not in the least matter if the wife is an innocent, beautiful, and sensitive person or a grumpy, whiney old hag. Justice is justice, even for the less than likeable.

        You can say what you will about the situation in Israel proper – but regarding the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, things are crystal clear: There is a perpetrator – Israel. And there are victims: The Palestinian population of these territories. There are no “two rights” here. There is a wrong and a right.

      • Richard Witty
        September 8, 2009, 12:43 pm

        Why did you respond to my post in such a knee-jerk manner?

        Read my comment again.

        There are many domestic violence cases that are the stereotypical abusive drunk man wailing on a victimized wife.

        And, there are MANY domestic violence cases that are mutual domestic violence.

        And, in some of the mutual cases, the parties have a path to separate, and in some they don’t.

        What do you do when they don’t? Israelis and Palestinians do not have the option to separate (short of one complete population evacuating, which I hope we both agree would be an undesirable outcome). They both live there, and they both have been traumatized by the other.

        The only solution is the mediative approach, the acknoweldgement and assertion of the others’ needs, and the creative negotiation to shift the relationship to mutually accepting.

        Its tough to in a mutual trauma situation, but still the name of the game currently, whether in a single state or two-state.

        In a two-state situation, the populations would be relatively separated, so the mutual traumas would have time to lighten up.

        But, NOT if Hamas and their solidarity choose the approach of heightened pressure, rather than reduced.

      • Koshiro
        September 8, 2009, 1:12 pm

        Oh, come on!

        Mutual trauma? Mutual domestic violence?

        Are you blind? Do you truly not see how incredibly, almost absurdly one-sided this conflict is? On one side you have a high-tech military machine which can – and does – kill hundreds in a matter of days, the most sophisticated blockade/control regime ever and a settler population armed to the teeth. All backed by the world’s sole remaining superpower. One the other side you have an impoverished population, imprisoned in tightly controlled ghettos, without any military capability whatsoever beyond a few AK-47s and 18th-century-level rockets.

        And don’t talk to me about Israel’s “needs”. The “needs” of Israel, as defined by its current leadership, and indeed its entire political apparatus, are, quite simply, incompatible with the Palestinians’, not to mention with basic human rights.

        By the way, the Palestinians’ “needs”, as defined by their leadership as above, used to be incompatible with Israel’s need to exist. But guess what – this has changed. Since I am not naive, I know what brought about this change – pressure. And since I am not a bigot either, I am fairly certain that what we need after the Palestinian change of attitude is an Israeli change of attitude – and that it can, in all likelihood, be brought about by the same means.

        One need only apply your calls for non-pressure, and “creative negotiation” in the other direction to see how shallow, and ironically unempathical they are. Take the pressure off Hamas? Lift the blockade? Negotiate with them? Listen to their “needs”? How ’bout that? Yeah, that’s right. Never. They need pressure to be nudged in the right direction. Maybe they do. But it’s all futile and moreover, incredibly unjust, if pressure – no doubt infinitely less brutal, though – is not also applied to Israel.

      • robin
        September 8, 2009, 4:17 pm

        Richard, I agree with everything you said in your 6:59am post on the domestic violence theme.

        Where we may disagree is that I (and Palestinians) regard occupation and siege as violence. So, in your outline, those need to be given up just as much as Palestinian terrorism/armed resistance as a prerequisite to final status talks. (Although there should obviously be talks in which both sides agree to suspend violence.) Palestinians have done that for periods. Israel has never suspended its armed occupation.

        And also, mediation (led by the U.S. and Israel) has consistently disregarded Palestinians’ needs–human rights and equal status–or considered them inferior to Israel’s. Not only does Israel insist on its right to a Jewish-supremacist state in the majority of Israel/Palestine (negating that equivalent right for the Palestinians), but it has insisted on annexing territory outside of its borders. It has not considered Palestinian refugees’ human right to return to their native land. It has not considered Palestinians’ need for territorial contiguity (which I would guess Israel considers a need for itself). And it has not considered Palestinian-Israelis’ right to equality under the law.

        If the Palestinians sacrifice some of these needs/rights for a bantustan state and peace, it is a credit to their desire for peace and their capacity for sacrifice. It may also be a testament to Israel’s continued dominance over them. But it is our job to advocate for their rights in full, so that they might get the fairest deal possible. And not to demand that they accept less.

      • Richard Witty
        September 8, 2009, 8:30 pm

        I have met some Palestinians that I personally consider saint-like in willingly experiencing discomfort to advocate for peace and a common good.

        They still have their experience of being displaced and the humiliating imposition of roadblocks and imprisonment without due process, and many others.

        But, they have their spiritual convictions to regard the “other” (the oriental) as human, their neighbor whom they love as their neighbor, even as they are enraged by them.

      • Shingo
        September 9, 2009, 7:35 am

        You’re obfuscation all to obvious.

        On one hand, you insist that the only way forward is negotiation and mutual respect while arguing that there is no point involving Hamas because, no matter what Hamas do or agree to, they are not interested in peace. You are a hypocrite and a bigot.

        Hamas HAVE agreed tot a 2 state settlement – Israel rejects it. Hamas HAVE agreed not to stand in the way of the Arab Peace initiative – Israle has rejected that too. Yet your argument remains that Hamas are the ones not to be trusted.

        You insist that Hamas want the struggle to continue, when in fact, Hamas have proposed a long ceasfire, while Irael has stated that it regards a long ceasfire as a threat to it’s strategic interests.

        Given these fact, which you cannot refute, your biggoted and Islamophobic fallback position is that Hamas’ interpretations of Islam means they are forever incapable of peace.

        The state of struggle phylosophy that you describe could just as easily be ascribed to Israel, but as always, you contuine to insist that Israel’s extremism and radicalism should be placated, not resisted, confronted or even reversed. In your mind, it’s up to the Palestinians to make things right and asuage the Israelis.

        You criticize Hamas’ and the left’s common admiration of the struggle becasue the side you suport is not the one struggling and has never been. As Koshiro pointed out, you support the husband who abuses his wife, and your prescription to avoiding further abuse is not to piss him off.

      • Richard Witty
        September 9, 2009, 10:32 am

        I’m sorry to say, but Hamas 16 year history of terror, and their current state of deferred civil war with the PA, is a great deterrent to any prospect of trust.

        I get that you are into pushing forward, and that any idea that conflicts with that is a distraction, an obfuscation.

        And, I conclude that that approach is an approach of long-term conflict, that harms all parties more in the process, than any benefit that could remotely arise in the success of the effort.

        I see a much greater opportunity for Palestinian improvement and dignity through assertive reconciliation (assertive in advocating for their own needs, and assertive in deliberately considering others’), than through resistance.

        I see resistance as a willingness to through innocents into the line of fire, as occurred in Gaza in 2008. I regard Hamas’ militias hiding while Gazan civilians suffered, as not a sign of courage. And, I regard Hamas militants’ decision to shell Israeli civilians, as adolescently misguided, reckless, and with others’ lives.

        I appreciate the discipline that they have demonstrated during the cease-fire and after unilaterally. It is a description that they are capable of self-control.

        Try something different than what has not worked. You state that Palestinians have tried acceptance and it only resulted in their subjugation.

        Is that true in fact? Are you willing to ask yourself that question skeptically? I think that you’ll find that individuals were willing to commit fully, most leaders hedged (Arafat for example), and that many resented any inference of acceptance of Israel.

      • Shingo
        September 9, 2009, 4:31 pm


        You harp on about Hamas’ 16 year history of terror, while delibrately ignoring the far more brutal terro that Israel has unleashed. It’s always the Palestinians who are to blame after all and it’s up to the Palestinians to placate Israel and win her trust while Israel massacres Palestinians, steals their homes and drives them from their land.

        Truly mind boggling.

        You are the master of distraction and obfuscation.

        You ramble on as though this were a squabble between two evenly matched sides with equal say in the eventual outcome, which is blatanly false. Yes, all parties are hardmed, but one is harmed immeasurably more than the other.

        Palesitnians have tried “assertive reconciliation” but short of means of projecting power through influence or force, that “assertive reconciliation” wil merely be ignored, as it has always been. I can’t even suggest you are deluded or naiive, because you know better, so you must be simply pushing the Hasbarab line.

        You then proceed with your lies, which have lng since been debunked, such as the assertion rhat Palestinians put innocents into the line of fire in Gaza 2008, when in fact, it was revealed that the IDF were the ones using human shields and what’s more, innocents happend to be living in the line fo fire that Israel chose to unleash.

        You lie about Hamas’ militias hiding while Gazan civilians suffered, as though to suggest that they should stand out on the open and take a bullet from the cowardly IDF pilots who sit in cockpits of F-16 fighters thousan of feet in the air.

        You lie about Hamas militants'” decision” to shell Israeli civilians, whiel ignoring that Hams held to a ceasfire for 4 months whiel Israel were violating it. Israel not only vilated the key agreement behind the ceasfire, but then vilated the ceasfire on Novemebr 4th. You know this too Ricahrd, but you will continue to lie, probabyl hopeing that you wil convince comeone of your revisionism and propaganda.

        Are you also forgettign the 7,700 shells Israel fired into Gaza over the 12 months following their withdrawl? I appreciate the discipline that they have demonstrated during the cease-fire and after unilaterally. It is a description that they are capable of self-control. Wasn’t that too adolescently misguided and reckless?

        Yes, it is afact that Palestinians have tried acceptance and it only resulted in their subjugation. One need only look at the facts. Arafat accepted Israel and Isrel responded by expanding settlements and killing more Palestinians.

        Your talking points are tired and outdated Richard. It’s time to rethink your arguments.

  9. javs
    September 7, 2009, 12:36 am

    They should have complete settlement freeze and build a road that has 4 lanes each side with a palm tree boarder inside a cement divider. Each side would have sets of seven lux condo (5story) with adjecent store fronts and parkway on both sides of this road. Continue with this untill the sea where a fishermans work style concrete pier out to boarder point. Internationalize the old city ( no exclusivity/ nato $ un security.
    Hold elctions for gaza and west bank separate with no current heads allowed to seat.
    Only if …and then a cow jumped over the moon.
    They need people that are for the people in office in both parties. The current brainwashing and idiological fervor has created mass amounts of people ( just as in the u.s.) that come home from these military outings to kill their family or do something hanous. Religon should not be allowed in the current capacity to link up militarily with idiologies as they have been doing in the past…you would expect the public to get some say so with truths rather than make believe. Example : the seized ship by massoud with alledged weapons going to iran. We need to take care of the USA and stop allowing our country to be used as a separate religous entity made up of senile olde folks with crazy schemes and paranoid dillussions..or are they really?
    Maybe there may be some real examples of how repeated verbal stimuli be it truth or lie will be concreted in the minds of an entire soceity like an experimential control gone a rye. Lets hope future heads will prevail with something besides more weapons.

  10. javs
    September 7, 2009, 12:40 am

    But I can bet my bottom dollar nothing will be solved or done…..again. Could all these people be deprogrammed to love instead of hate ..via subliminal messages hidden in common everyday just may sway a public view…..sound familiar.

  11. The Hasbara Buster
    September 8, 2009, 10:15 pm

    Richard Witty in a nutshell:

    1) If the Palestinians resort to violence, even in response to much greater violence, negotiations can’t begin because they’re behaving violently. End result: it’s the Palestinians’ fault.

    2) If the Israelis resort to violence, even if unrelated to any security concern (such as grabbing land, stoning schoolchildren, clubbing shepherds, shooting nonviolent demonstrators), then there’s a failure on the Palestinian side to effectively communicate to the US and the world that violence is being used against them. End result: it’s the Palestinians’ fault.

    The fact is that the PA is already delivering peace in the West Bank. It has crushed Hamas using a very efficient US-trained police body, it has restored something resembling law and order and it has got the economy moving. How is Israel returning the favor?

    By building a new settlement in the Jordan Valley where not a single Jewish civilian was living up to now.

    This is not the result of the Israelis being afraid to negotiate with someone deceitful or any other of Richard’s preposterous theories. It’s the result of the Israelis wanting to grab an ever larger portion of the West Bank.

    • Koshiro
      September 9, 2009, 6:54 am

      I think you pretty much nailed it.
      These double standards would be bad enough if the sides of the conflict were roughly equal. It becomes especially odious for favoring the side which is obviously vastly materially superior.

      Notice that we do not hear one beep from Richard about my questions in this regard: Why not lift the Blockade? Why no calls for non-violence on Israel’s side? Where is the open negotation offer to Hamas?

    • Shingo
      September 9, 2009, 7:33 am

      It get’s better HB.

      Richard argues that BDS against Israel is a bad idea because it will isolate Israel, leading to Israeli becoming more extreme and less co-operative. BDS will play right into the hands of the right wing radicals. While the blockade of Gaza is a reality we should accept, the consequences and escalation in violence that would ensure from BDS, would be the entirely the fault of those who supported BDS.

      Meanwhile, Israel continues to blockade Gaza, a blockade that is more extreme than BDS would ever be. Nevertheless, the Palestinians are supposed to rise above it and communicate to the world their willingness to forgo violence. Israel’s policies are not to blame of course, because, well, just because. Any failure on the part of the Palestinians to appease their oppressors would be entirely their fault, regardless of whatever military action Israel were to undertake in the mean time.

      Last but not least, should this policy fail, it will be becasue the palestinians haven’t tried hard enough.

      • Richard Witty
        September 9, 2009, 10:58 am

        Actually, the accurate summary of my views is that non-aggressive approaches by Palestinians are POSSIBLE, that involve independant institution building, independant and inter-dependant economic development, so that Palestinians can improve their lives now on the course to a viable and vibrant state.

        The assertion of non-violence is not a defeat, but a statement of will and character. Positive, and nearly certainly responded to in kind if sincere. And, also nearly certainly, the results will continue to be frustrating and not resemble what one demanded, but will resemble what is needed to live well.

        The signifance of renouncing punitive measures, is that a solution that results from consent, rather than force is nearly always far superior, by any reasonable criteria.

        The choice to adopt punitive approaches, is a choice to delay sovereignty and almost all other reasonable goals.

    • Richard Witty
      September 9, 2009, 11:02 am

      If you’ve read my postings on other sites, that include religious neo-orthodox Zionists, my comments stated that I regarded the settlement expansion as a land-lust, and particularly in conflict with Jewish teachings.

      Both communities need the encouragement to pursue the higher ground.

      The insistence on resistance, and accepting violent resistance as part of the palette (even if it results in unnecessary harms to civilians), is a commitment to the lower ground.

      It brings everyone down. YOUR words, YOUR advocacy.

      • Koshiro
        September 9, 2009, 4:24 pm

        While the insistence on oppression, and accepting violent oppression as part of the palette is… what?
        I ask again: Why not lift the Blockade? Why no calls for non-violence on Israel’s side? Where is the open negotation offer to Hamas?

      • Donald
        September 9, 2009, 7:55 pm

        Yeah, the problem with Richard is that he is constantly calling for nonviolence on the part of Palestinians, but not from the Israelis. In fact he initially supported the Gaza War, only objecting that it became too indiscriminate. So much, then, for nonviolence as a philosophy. Richard simply has a double standard and you will never get him to acknowledge this. He thinks he is showing his fairmindedness when he criticizes the rightwing settler movement, but he’s just scapegoating. So long as the sins of Israel can be placed on the far right, it means that liberal Zionists have nothing to apologize for.

        I agree with him that Palestinians should try an exclusively nonviolent approach, but the difference between Richard and myself is that Richard uses Palestinian violence as an excuse for Israeli oppression and he won’t demand Israeli nonviolence. He will never hold Israel to the same moral standards he holds Palestinians–he will condemn Palestinian terror as inexcusable, while totally ignoring the fact that Israel’s very existence as a majority Jewish state was due to numerous acts of terror. And he condemns Hamas and its violence towards fellow Palestinians, never ever mentioning the desperate worry that the American and Israeli governments felt when it appeared there might be a unity Palestinian government after Hamas won the elections. The civil war had “made in America and Israel” written all over it, but again, because that doesn’t fit Witty’s preferred propaganda model, he never mentions this. Ever. Deceit and violence and insincerity don’t matter unless they can be blamed on his favorite bad guys.

        It’s depressing talking to Richard. What he says about nonviolence and reconciliation is true, but he ruins everything with his double standards. One wonders how common his style of thinking is.

      • robin
        September 10, 2009, 4:36 am

        Richard I think you’re basically wrong here when you suggest that many people in the West are accepting of, or have anything to do with terrorism. We don’t encourage it, aren’t responsible for it, and have no magical ability to stop it. Israel could do a lot to stop it, however, by undermining potential terrorists’ motivations through humane policies. That doesn’t provide a guarantee it will stop, but like renouncing terrorism, it constitutes a moral obligation in itself.

      • Shingo
        September 10, 2009, 4:46 am


        Richard is a typical Zionist apologist who defines terrorism as violence perpetrated against Israel. By definition, Israel’s terrorism is not terrorism but always self defense or a justified and measured response to wanton agression.

        The irony of Richard charges is that he not only accepts terrorism as perpeptraed by Israel, but justifies it.

        You point out an obvious flaw in his arguments. If Israel wanted terrorism to end, they would simply have to release Palestine from the opression they have been under for 60 years. In fact, he himself argues that sanctions against Israel woudl only serve the interests fo the extremists and radicals, but simulatenously argues that the blockade on Gaza is necessary and that the Palestinians in Gaza should simply learn to live with it and do so peacefully.

        He is a monumnetal hyprocrite and purveyor of double standards.

  12. ImTirtzu
    September 9, 2009, 10:46 am

    If current demographic trends continue, a one state solution will mean the end of an Arab state. This is because while Arab census numbers are doctored and inflated by over a million, the Arab birthrate is decreasing into a freefall while Jewish religous can have average 7 babies per family.

    • Shmuel
      September 9, 2009, 11:41 am

      The whole point of one state is that such racist (and sexist) demographic arithmetic won’t matter.

      • Richard Witty
        September 9, 2009, 4:11 pm

        Of course it matters.

        If it results in one half of the population perceiving that they are externally governed, that is a problem.

  13. potsherd
    September 9, 2009, 4:32 pm

    In a binational state, the group that rules will be the group that best submerges its differences among itself and presents a unified front. Despite the current divisions between Hamas and Fatah, I would still count on them to form a united bloc, long before I would expect it of the Israeli Jews, whose differences are fundamental.

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