One state, two states and the art of the possible

Palestine topographical map
Palestine topographical map

Whether one believes that negotiations for two states in Israel/Palestine have failed or have yet to be undertaken, it is clear that the peace process of the past two decades will not lead to a just and lasting solution. Israel is unlikely to relinquish the internal and external advantages it perceives in continued occupation and will not seriously address the refugee question (which it perceives as an “existential threat”) of its own volition. On the other hand, none of the international actors capable of compelling Israel to reach a viable solution (first and foremost the United States) seem particularly motivated to do so. In the meantime, the systematic violation of Palestinian rights continues – in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and among the refugees.

There seems to be a consensus within the Palestinian solidarity movement (but not necessarily in Palestinian society) that the best way forward is non-violent action, along the lines of the protests against the Separation Wall, prisoner hunger strikes, grassroots boycott initiatives, etc. Although non-violence is merely a strategy and not an end in itself, the history of such struggles and the philosophies behind them are profoundly rooted in ideas such as equality and civil rights. It is thus natural that many exponents and supporters of what has effectively become an international movement, envision a future of pacific co-existence and equality – and what political framework could be more suited to the realisation of such a vision than a single democratic state “from the river to the sea”? This is particularly true of western supporters and activists, generally to the left of the political spectrum, with little use for nationalist sentiments – whether their own or Palestinian. So why not a United States, an Australia or a South Africa in Israel/Palestine? The fact that a great number of Palestinians would like to see a Palestinian Arab state (and have made historical political choices in that direction) does not seem to affect this vision, both because it is based on universal principles (whether those directly involved like it or not) and because there are indeed Palestinians and even a few Israeli Jews who share a similar vision.

The debate tends to focus however, on the relative feasibility of the one versus two-state paradigms. Those in favour of the two-state solution cite the aspirations of a majority of Palestinians and Israeli Jews (to live in their own states) and long-standing international consensus, while those who advocate a one-state solution cite the “facts on the ground” that Israel has created over the past 45 years in order to render partition impracticable.

But what is the likelihood that either solution will be realised, under the current Israeli and Palestinian leaderships or under any conceivable alternatives? The one-state idea is certainly utopian, and the two-state approach tends to range from the unviable (Bantustans, lack of access to Jerusalem, no solution for the refugees) to the utopian (full Palestinian independence, equitable land swaps, contiguity within the West Bank and between the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, Palestinian sovereignty in East Jerusalem, a just solution for the refugees).

In such a seemingly hopeless situation, we look to historical precedents, from India to Algeria to the U.S. South, for inspiration and hope. How can one force the privileged and the powerful to relinquish their power (and their fears), to enfranchise the powerless, the oppressed and the occupied? It’s been done before, why not in Palestine? How are the situations similar and how do they differ? Yet, previous successes (or at least the replacement of one kind of violence and dispossession with another) in no way assure the success of this particular struggle.

Norman Finkelstein isn’t exactly optimistic, but he believes that we are currently at a crossroads, that a reasonable settlement (two states) is now “possible—not certain, not even probable, but still possible”. The solution he outlines is certainly reasonable, but is it possible? Can Israel really be compelled by Palestinian non-violence (supported by an international campaign) to establish a Truth and Reconciliation style commission to find a just solution to the refugee problem (other than U.S. and European-funded compensation and the possibility of resettlement in the Palestinian state – a solution unlikely to be accepted by any credible Palestinian representative)? Can Israel really be compelled by Palestinian non-violence to remove enough settlements to create a contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank (“safe passage” to Gaza is actually not the thorniest problem)? And what about access to and from Jerusalem – an even more complex issue than divided or shared sovereignty – in light of Israeli settlements built both within and around the city’s gerrymandered municipal boundaries? This was one of the primary objections of Palestinian negotiators to the Clinton Parameters, and no satisfactory answer has ever been provided by subsequent U.S. administrations or Israeli governments.

Other factors of course include political circumstances and trends within Israeli and Palestinian societies – an increasingly oppressive and authoritarian climate in Israel, Palestinian disunity, Israeli repression and largely successful disinformation, etc. - that would seem to preclude even an unreasonable solution, let alone a reasonable one. And then there are Israel’s allies: the U.S, the rest of the Anglosphere and Europe. One need not get into the endless debate over the precise degree of influence exerted by the Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy to realise that it is highly unlikely that any U.S. administration would attempt to force Israel to achieve anything approaching a “reasonable solution” (Clinton Parameters and road maps notwithstanding), and Europe is too guilt-ridden and subservient to strike out on its own, assuming that a European stand opposed by the U.S. could actually achieve anything where Israeli is concerned.

Realistically, I find it hard to believe that we are at a crossroads and I fail to see even the shadow of a possibility of reaching a “reasonable solution” in I/P.

So where does that leave us and, far more importantly, where does it leave the Palestinians? I am convinced that the most realistic position at this point in time is to relegate solutions to the realm of dreams and visions – worth indulging from time to time, but not to be confused with real problems and real objectives – and to focus on consciousness, education and the principles that will necessarily form the basis of any lasting solution. In terms of more immediate goals, there is the siege on Gaza, ongoing dispossession along the route of the separation wall and in the West Bank in general, the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem, and other abuses of Palestinian human rights. International attention and campaigning may achieve small but significant victories in these areas, while helping to raise awareness of the ongoing violence and injustice in Palestine. Both the strategy and the stated goals of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (principles of equality and justice rather than illusions of expediency) strike me as particularly suited to this purpose. Were Israel to show signs of willingness to reach a truly reasonable solution, in good faith, I have no doubt that the BDS movement would dissolve or, at the very least, adopt new goals and a new strategy geared toward realistic resolution. Until then, it does well to stress justice, equality and human rights, evoking other struggles that embody those values in the popular imagination.

About Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel

Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel is a Canadian-Israeli translator living in Italy.
Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, One state/Two states, US Policy in the Middle East | Tagged

{ 87 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. homingpigeon says:

    Good thinking. Any solution will require a transformation in the way people think. Those of good will must help each other along.

    I had to go to Disneyworld recently. That phenomenon is yet unprocessed in my bewildered mind, but I learned a new word – “imagineer.” It’s what they call the people who think up and design their rides and displays. We should be imagineers for the outcome in Israel/Palestine.

    • chet says:

      “..Any solution will require a transformation in the way people think.”

      Exactly.

      IMHO, the USS Liberty attack was a watershed moment in US history — instead of the Gov’t exacting revenge for the murder of its servicemen and the US MSM expressing maximum outrage for this betrayal, the president, Congress and the military conspired in one of the most massive cover-ups in history – all aided and abetted by the MSM. For the first time, the extent of Jewish political influence and of domination of the media was exposed – this domination has increased to the extent that the most powerful man on Earth is hamstrung by it and every TV or newspaper journalist lives in peril of dismissal for the slightest criticism of Israeli actions or policies.

      For me the only hope for this “transformation” lies with the re-election of Pres. Obama – once re-elected he will be free of the necessity to kowtow to AIPAC and can use the power of “the bully pulpit” to neutralize the overwhelmingly pro-Israel MSM. Two problems – getting re-elected and eventually making the choice of taking on these extraordinarily powerful forces.

      In making the Cairo Speech, he clearly showed that he was highly motivated to deal with the I/P issues, so I believe that when relieved of his present-day constraints he will focus on the issue again, if for no other reason than his legacy.

      If anyone else has any ideas as to how to achieve the “transformation”, kindly advise.

      • American says:

        “If anyone else has any ideas as to how to achieve the “transformation”, kindly advise.”

        Swat teams & Assassins. Fast,efficent and less expensive than elections.
        Just kidding…ha,ha…..sorta.

      • homingpigeon says:

        Transformation? Be a race traitor, de-tribalize, de-racinate, defect from your class, make love to someone from another ethnic group, or better yet a citizen of an “enemy” country.

        And no, don’t vote for Republicans or Democrats. I vote Libertarian even if they put a monkey on the ballot, but psychologically breaking out of the two-party paradigm is such a step forward in itself that I applaud voting for any third party or independent.

  2. ahadhaadam says:

    Never ever assume good faith or good intentions from the Apartheid State of Israel. BDS should be dropped only after a complete solution has been implemented, not just declared.

    History tells us that whenever someone assumed good faith on behalf of Israel, they were always proven wrong. It happened right after its founding when Israel accepted “in principle” allowing refugees back in order to be accepted into the UN, but then after being admitted, it reneged and turned it into a principle not to let refugees back.

    It continued with the peace treaty with Egypt that mandated a solution to the Palestinian issue, only to see Israel invade Lebanon in order to prevent such a solution and of course continued with the Oslo Accords that Israel violated and deployed an exist strategy from after it realized its benefits.

    Anyone who assumes good faith on behalf of Israel is either naive or worse, harbors a hidden agenda.

  3. seafoid says:

    In such a seemingly hopeless situation

    I don’t see it as hopeless. Israel is going to crash. They are pouring everything into the status quo and it is built on sand

    Israel is fragile even though it looks solid.

    link to haaretz.com

    “Be prepared for a situation which is going to be complicated, through no fault of your own, but for which Israel is not well prepared. Can Israel determine the price of oil? No. Can Israel determine interest rates in Europe or the United States, or the deficits? No”

    Does the world need YESHA or the Third Temple? No
    Can Israel determine how the world views the occupation? No
    Can Israel force people in europe to buy its exports? No
    Does Israel have a Plan B? No

  4. eljay says:

    IMO, the most significant obstacle to a resolution to the I-P conflict is “Jewish state”. As long as Israel and its Zio-supremacist defenders remain wedded to the idea that Israel must be a supremacist state of and for Jews – rather than a secular, democratic and egalitarian state of and for all Israelis, equally – no peaceful resolution can or will be reached.

    • Fredblogs says:

      The opposite is true as well. As long as the Palestinians reject the idea that after all the peacemaking is done there will be a Jewish state for the Jews, there will never be peace. I think you are right as well though. I think as long as the Jews want a state of their own there will never be peace. We just differ over who we think should change their position.

      However you are wrong about a secular, democratic, and egalitarian state. That will never happen no matter what. It will either be a Jewish state or a Judenrein state, no in between is possible.

      • seafoid says:

        Fred

        Once the Israelis have to choose between their economy and their ideology there will be peace.

        • Hostage says:

          Once the Israelis have to choose between their economy and their ideology there will be peace.

          I agree. I’m always fascinated when people talk about infrastructure as if that constitutes irreversible “facts on the ground”. 10 minutes after the occupation ends Palestinians will be using all of that Jewish infrastructure, in exactly the same way people all over Europe continued to use “Roman” roads, aqueducts, and other infrastructure after that Empire came to an end.

          The settlements only look viable and irreversible because they benefit from civil and criminal impunity and financial incentives. Many activists concentrate their efforts on merely symbolic or indirect forms of BDS. A few have started to attack anyone who suggests pressing for state and international criminal and civil sanctions. Lets review the 9 July 2005 Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS):

          We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.

          A single lawsuit involving a Hamas terror attack resulted in 1.3 billion dollars of PLO assets being frozen for several years by a Court here in the US. After the UN upgrades the status of Palestine, it will have the requisite legal standing to determine the legal framework that applies inside its territory. Its courts will be able to award judgments to those harmed by the settlers and the settlements, and they in-turn will be able to pursue claims against the assets of those responsible in 160+ courts around the globe. Palestine will also be able to press for international sanctions against the Israeli Central Bank to help stop subsidies to the illegal colonial enterprise.

          Recall all of the things that Michael Sfard mentioned in “The legal tsunami is on its way” link to haaretz.com

      • eljay says:

        >> Fredblogs @ June 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm

        Thanks, Fraudblogs – you ol’ hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist, you! – for so eloquently driving home my point.

  5. Dan Crowther says:

    …”….and to focus on consciousness, education and the principles that will necessarily form the basis of any lasting solution. In terms of more immediate goals, there is the siege on Gaza, ongoing dispossession along the route of the separation wall and in the West Bank in general, the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem, and other abuses of Palestinian human rights.”
    ————-

    In other words, all we can do is bear witness. Im trying to see this going a different way, but from my outside perspective, it looks like Israel has a total hammer lock on the land “between the river and the sea,” and we are fast approaching the hundred year mark for the state of israel. i just cant see any state or international body forcing israel to let palestinians en masse return 100 years after the fact. When the Israelis talk about facts on the ground, they arent just talking about the physical occupation of the land, they are also talking about “the clock” that gets re-set; every second occupied territory remains “jewish” the likelihood of it staying that way increases, after all, we are dealing with the ancient, uncontested “natives” of the land.

    What does “Palestinian Arab State” mean? A state where Palestinian Arabs are the Israeli Jews? Im not sure I follow.

    • What does “Palestinian Arab State” mean? A state where Palestinian Arabs are the Israeli Jews? Im not sure I follow.

      It means a state in which the linguistic, cultural, religious, historical, national ethos is Palestinian and Arab – as opposed to a binational state. It means a place in which Palestinians can express their specific national aspirations.

      • Dan Crowther says:

        Thanks Shmuel. I guess I am still looking for clarity regarding “their specific national aspirations” – I assume the government would be secular, as there are different religious affiliations among Palestinians. I agree with your views regarding what “we” can do, but people should be well informed on what they are actually supporting. Finkelstein has a point. I dont think there is anything wrong with outsiders saying their support is dependent on the goals of “the movement”.

      • seafoid says:

        I would be very surprised if the “cultural, religious, historical, national ethos” of Israel turned out to be “Jewish”. I think the experience of people like Danaa proves that much of it is very flaky.

        It’s whatever you can get away with. It’s whatever mishmash is required to run militarism in a shtetl . It’s a landgrabbing ethos where you neglect education and the poor . I don’t recall any historical Jewish sage building a career around an interpretation of the torah that says shaft the poor. The historical stuff is mostly artificial. The Ashkenazim are linked to Hebron. Sure they are. I have a second hand car I’ve been trying to sell for a while.

        I think it is because so much of Zionism is sellotaped together that I don’t see Israel as a credible long term fact.

        And the Zionists can’t live without the palestinians. they’ll end up falling in love with them . Just watch

        • Mooser says:

          “And the Zionists can’t live without the palestinians. they’ll end up falling in love with them “

          You know, I think you are right, seafoid. When can Israelis ever resist adding insult to injury?

      • RoHa says:

        “It means a place in which Palestinians can express their specific national aspirations.”

        Do Palestinians actually have “specific national aspirations”, or is this just a Zionist fantasy?

        • Do Palestinians actually have “specific national aspirations”, or is this just a Zionist fantasy?

          I don’t think there is any doubt at this point that Palestinians do have specific national aspirations (see e.g. the Palestine National Charter, considering the historical role of the PLO). Zionism was certainly a catalyst in its development (again, see the Charter), and has a conflicted relationship with it – sometimes clinging to it and sometimes denying its existence.

          I have mentioned Danny Rubenstein’s The Fig Tree Embrace before. Rubenstein compares Palestinian and Zionist nationalism and the ways in which the two have influenced each other.

        • homingpigeon says:

          I agree with the point but come to the opposite conclusion. The national state is vile treif and the concept should be thrown into the dustbin of history by both Israelis and Palestinians.

  6. piotr says:

    The summary is that under current leadership AND current geo-political distribution of power, no solution is possible. But neither is permanent. What are the trends?

    The most visible trend is the geo-political distribution of power is changing. Russia rebounded from its decline, China is the economic power house at par with EU and USA, India is catching up, etc. Between West and East there is Muslim world where West is in the process of loosing the previous abilities to determine the course of events.

    100 years ago the colonial paradigm was that who cares what do woozy-woozy think given that they do not have Gatling guns. New World Order/American Century paradigm is that we have a pyramidal order: USA on top, the rest of the West in the next tier, and the rest of the world follows what the West wishes if they have any common sense. ONLY the West can provide the markets and technologies to develop, and only the West provides attractive model of the society and, last but not least, the gap between weapons that woozy-woozies have and Western arms is as big as when Kitchener got the title of Lord of Khartoum. In that paradigm, if you know how to manipulate your position in Washington, D.C. you will get everything you want.

    So the question is if the current Israeli leadership got the best ticket on the board of the best ship in the world, and in spite of minor difficulties this ship will REMAIN the best, or if Titanic may face more troubles in the future. Damn the icebergs, full speed ahead?

    • aiman says:

      “Between West and East there is Muslim world where West is in the process of loosing the previous abilities to determine the course of events.”

      I wouldn’t be too sure. Honest words from The Daily Mail of all places: link to dailymail.co.uk

      It’s [the Arab Spring] not simply uprisings by ground-down peasants against tyrants who repress them. It’s about a transfer of power to rival clans and/or religious groups. And about a continuation of the old, U.S.-Russia Cold War stand-off.

    • AllenBee says:

      re Russia and China, there are some extremely important facts Americans remain willfully ignorant of: Russia and China have roots of origin and relationships with Iran that are several millenia deep and Silk Road wide; far more extensive than US “special relationship” with Israel.

      Re Iran-Russia relations — (h/t Andreas Schmidt ) –

      Vladimir Putin on Iran, Russia and Zoroastrianism , 31 October 2007:
      “I don’t consider myself a specialist of Persian literature, which I
      regret, because everything I hear or learn is very interesting despite
      being fragmented. This also concerns the history of Iran, a part of
      world history. Iran is initially a world power that spread from the
      near East to India, and even included some parts of the former Soviet
      republics.
      Iran is a country of protoreligion, Zoroastrianism. Some specialist
      consider it an eventual source of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.
      But according to some studies, Zoroastrianism was born on Russia’s
      territory, in the south Urals. And followers of this great religion
      ended up on the territory of Iran after a great migration. This is to
      say that the histories of our two countries and the roots of their
      cultural exchange are much deeper than can be imagined at first. That
      gives security that our two countries will always be able to
      communicate on any problem, since we understand one another.”

      and

      Maksud Djavadov on Iran-Russia relations in historical perspective, March 2010

      How does this relate to Iran-Russia relations? When the USSR collapsed, Russian political elites totally capitulated to the Western model of society and statehood. However, because the Western capitalist system was exploited in the early 90s and caused vast corruption, human rights violations and crime, a large segment of the Russian society became disillusioned with this model. Many Russian intellectuals revived Eurasianism as an alternative and some saw Iran as an existential ally of Eurasianist Russia due to its Islamic system of government. One staunch pro-Islamic Iran ally was the head of the intergovernmental division of the Defense Ministry, General Leonid Ivashov. He viewed the course that the Russian leadership was taking as tragic and due to his disagreements with it, General Ivashov was forced to retire in 2001. The fact that a high ranking Russian military official was a staunch Eurasianist shows that Eurasianism has a broad support base among the Russian elite. If Eurasianism were properly supported by the Muslim world, Russia could turn into a strategic partner not only of Iran, but of the broader Muslim world. Currently Eurasianist forces in Russia are not as active as they were in the mid-90s; however, they still have a reasonable presence on the Russian political scene.

      Islamic Iran should, therefore, actively pursue the revival of Eurasianist forces or at least their values in Russia in order to establish a durable partnership with Russia based on the Islamic principle of Dar-al-Sulh which the Prophet Muhammad (s) implemented during the migration of Muslims to Ethiopia. Eurasianist Russia is the only guarantee that Iran-Russia partnership can become durable and strategic.

      re Iran-China relations:

      Hua Liming in China Daily, 07 June 2012

      ” . . .Sino-Iranian relations are one of the oldest bilateral relations in the world and valued by both sides. For the past 41 years since they established diplomatic relations, both countries have experienced domestic changes; but their friendship has withstood the test of time and continued to advance. The foundations for their friendship are that China has never intervened in Iran’s domestic affairs and their economies are complementary, offering huge potential for cooperation.

      The US hopes to enlist China’s help in dealing with Iran, but that’s impossible because China will never join the zero-sum-game between the US and Iran. As two leading economies in the world, the increasingly mutual independent China and US share many interests in common, of which nuclear non-proliferation is one. But it is also in China’s interest to maintain normal, friendly relations with Iran. . . .”

      Russia and China are not so susceptible to the bully tactics and bribery of the I lobby as are the supine US Congress.

      The world is a bigger place than this island between the Atlantic & Pacific.

      • American says:

        Re: Russia and China

        That’s a pretty plain statement by China …Good info AllenBee.
        I think China and Russia could make Isr’merica back off the ME and Israeli interest considerably if they were to take a hard line.
        When the zios step on their toes they just might do that.
        There would be a big difference in zionist pushing a US war on Iran and a US war on Iran that would have China and Russia on Iran’s side.
        Russia and China should huff and puff more loudly so the public starts to think about that possibility.

        • piotr says:

          I think that what is slowly brewing is Eurasian Monroe Doctrine. All-out conflict with USA is not a step that Eurasian countries would undertake lighly, but it seems to me that both China and Russia set some markers, lines that would goad them to action. And attack on Iran is such a marker.

          In which case they just need to flick fingers. FUBAR is already prepared. Pakistan already feels closer to Iran than to USA. After Russo-Chinese flick of fingers, Muslim Central Asia will be as prohibited for NATO military transit as Pakistan (where the government would perhaps accommodate NATO, except for the popular anger caused by the drone attacks). AND insurgents get much better weapons. AND new front of insurgency: the parts of Afghanistan with largest Iranian influence are currently most placid.

          There would be still airlift. But can you airlift enough fuel and ammo? As NATO troops (really, only Americans) would be getting low on ammo and fuel, insurgents will be getting missiles, targeting vehicles, helicopters and airports. This could be a very awkward and bloody retreat.

          —————-

          Concerning Slavic people and Zoroastrianism, this is quite unnecessary speculation. Balto-Slavic is closer to Indo-Iranian than to Celtic-Germanic-Italic. More importantly, there is some Eurasian cultural-racial continuum.

        • AllenBee says:

          American, that seems to be the proxy war that’s being waged in Syria: Russia is staring down Hillary Clinton’s designs on Bashir Assad’s government.

          Russia’s Lavrov has said a dozen times, Russia is not in the business of choosing winners, just trying to stop the killing long enough to force sides to talk to each other and sort out their own problems.

          Since the moment a relatively peaceful protest movement flared in Homs ~ a year ago, U.S. State Dept has been outspoken in its determination to replace Assad.

  7. notatall says:

    Without the billions in U.S. aid, the problem would not exist. The task, therefore, for Americans, is to halt all U.S. assistance to the Zionist state (not merely the “occupation”). As Wendell Phillips said, All the slave asks of us [northerners] is to take our foot off his neck. He will do the rest himself.

  8. edwin says:

    If we put aside Palestine for a moment, Israel is in deep trouble. It is a society with declining education with a privileged class that could become too large for the society to support.

    Demographic changes, haredi refusal to teach core subjects, lack of investment in Arab education, poor teaching quality, disciplinary troubles in the classroom, brain drain, eroding budgets for academic research. These are just some of the severe problems facing Israel’s education system, threatening country’s existence

    link to ynetnews.com

    Israel seems to rely on conflict and racism in order to hold itself together. Even ignoring the I/P conflict, it seems that the country is not sustainable in the long run.

  9. iamuglow says:

    “Realistically, I find it hard to believe that we are at a crossroads and I fail to see even the shadow of a possibility of reaching a “reasonable solution” in I/P.”

    Wonderful post. Very realistic IMO.

    As ejay says above, I don’t see any reasonable solution being possible until the ideology of ‘Zionism’ is fully discredited and put in the dust bin of history. Maybe the best way foward to do that is ‘consciousness & education’.

    • seafoid says:

      There is today not even the shadow of a possibility of reaching a “reasonable solution” in the Israel-Palestine conflict

      Think about northern Ireland in the 1970s or South Africa in the 1980s.
      power always seems eternal. The people in charge always seem to know what they are doing. But it’s more like the Wizard of Oz in cases where injustice drives the money flow.

      • Think about northern Ireland in the 1970s or South Africa in the 1980s.

        Not fair choosing your examples with the benefit of hindsight, seafoid.

        • seafoid says:

          Does this sound familiar ?

          Take a look where you’re livin’
          You got the Army on the street
          And the IDF dog of repression
          Is barking at your feet
          Is this the kind of place you wanna live?
          Is this where you wanna be?
          Is this the only life we’re gonna have?
          What we need is

          (an alternative Israel )

          They say they’re a part of you
          But that’s not true you know
          They say they’ve got control of you
          And that’s a lie you know
          They say you will never be
          Free free free

          Israel is so far from having this level of consciousness.But there is no other way.

          link to youtube.com

          The Unionists had to compromise. The Afrikaners had to . And the Jews will. The days when Jews decided everything are not going to last and Israel is not ready for it. Israel isn’t ready for anything, really.

          You are not special. You are just another self obsessed collective who don’t want to change.

          Afterwards it will take years to work out the pain you have inflicted on the Palestinians but I don’t think you will have any choice.

        • seafoid says:

          The other thing is once Israelis give up on the IDf and the fear the IDF uses to control them they’ll discover that there is only one group that understands what the Land means the way they do . And it won’t be the Jews in LA . It will be the Palestinians. If it was a Hollywood movie they would be the girl in the wonky glasses who was systematically tortured (mistakenly) in the basement for years who turns out to be a stunner and saves the flawed hero from his erectile dysfunction problem.

      • iamuglow says:

        I dunno if those are good comparisons. The % of “whites” in SA was what? 10%? What were there 6 out of 32 counties in N.Ireland?

        Israel seems more analogous as modern day colony in the Americas. Clearing out the indigenous people, making a society the excludes the natives.

        • seafoid says:

          Ulster was cleared of natives as well. They were driven into the mountains, the conquerors were chosen by God and nobody had ever suffered like they had. They were technologically advanced and clean and loyal to the Empire and superior to the Taigs. It’s always the same crap with colonialism.

          Like the Scots planters in Ulster and unlike the English in the US the Jews built their colony on the land of a people who couldn’t be wiped out by the diseases they introduced.

          I wouldn’t give Israel 40 years. Their narrative is already full of holes and their economy is too open to fit with the mental and physical shtetl they seem to be confining themselves to.
          If BDS doesn’t turn up at this years Olympics it will in 2016.

          Their economic model is based on cheap oil. They are at the end of a long imperial supply chain. They couldn’t survive 2 years on their own.

          Their dependence on nuclear weapons is a sign of how much diplomatic traction they don’t have.
          Last year’s trashing of the Israeli embassy in Cairo was a sign of things to come. They aren’t accepted in the region and when TSHTF they will have to negotiate.

        • lysias says:

          Interesting first paragraph in the Wikipedia entry on Taig:

          Taig is a derogatory term for an Irish Catholic. It is mainly used by sectarian loyalists[1] in Northern Ireland and Scotland. It has been used in sectarian slogans such as “Kill All Taigs” (KAT), “All Taigs Are Targets” (ATAT) and “Any Taig Will Do”.[1] The latter was painted on murals by loyalist paramilitary prisoners during “The Troubles” and implied that all Irish Catholics were legitimate targets.[1]

          Those slogans should remind people here of stuff that has been going on in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

        • seafoid says:

          Taig is supposed to be a version of Tadhg which is an Irish Gaelic first name.

        • lysias says:

          I’ve known people named Tadhg in my mother’s home village in County Kerry.

  10. Mooser says:

    “I am convinced that the most realistic position at this point in time is to relegate solutions to the realm of dreams and visions”

    Spoken like a true Israeli! Of course, where there is no vision the pilpuls vanish as the good book says.

  11. David Samel says:

    I am of two minds on this. On the one hand, Shmuel is right to suggest a focus on some of the more egregious aspects of Israeli behavior that are causing great misery now on Palestinians. On the other hand, Norman Finkelstein is right when he says that postponing the issue of Israel’s legitimacy and existence does not work, because inquiring minds want to know (although I think Finkelstein offers the wrong answers and his analysis is deeply flawed.)

    It seems to me that an insistence upon equality for all peoples regardless of ancestry, one of the three fundamental tenets of BDS, is an idea that would gain traction. Should we avoid the implications of that demand? IMO, that means that any governmental entity that is incapable of providing such equality should be opposed. Isn’t the Jewish State such an entity?

    I think Shmuel fears that devoting too much attention to eventual solutions, none of which seem obtainable in the near future, will simply prolong Palestinian misery that can be at least ameliorated in some ways. That’s a moral position, but it is hard to tell if he’s right. He wants to push the discourse in the right direction, but how best to do that? There is a very short distance between demanding equality and ending the Jewish State’s inherent preference for Jews. Not making that connection leaves one vulnerable to Finkelstein’s criticism of coy-ness – he asks “who are you trying to fool?” While making the simple connection may turn some people off, as does the accusation of apartheid, maybe repetition of what is a logical and moral and factually-based position is the best course.

    • iamuglow says:

      When Finkelstein asks “who are you trying to fool?” he seems to be speaking for himself. He doesnt want to be part of a movement that goes ‘that far’. Its not because he truly believes its strategic a mistake or goes against the consensus.

      As you say “what is a logical and moral and factually-based position is the best course.”

  12. RE: “I find it hard to believe that we are at a crossroads and I fail to see even the shadow of a possibility of reaching a ‘reasonable solution’ in I/P… International attention and campaigning may achieve small but significant victories… Both the strategy and the stated goals of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (principles of equality and justice rather than illusions of expediency) strike me as particularly suited to this purpose.” ~ Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel

    MY COMMENT: I concur!

    ALSO SEE: lan Pappé: the boycott will work, an Israeli perspective ~ Ceasefire Magazine, 6/16/12

    (continued) . . . After almost thirty years of activism and historical research, I became convinced that the balance of power in Palestine and Israel pre-empted any possibility for a transformation within Jewish Israeli society in the foreseeable future. Though rather late in the game, I came to realize that the problem was not a particular policy or a specific government, but one more deeply rooted in the ideological infrastructure informing Israeli decisions on Palestine and the Palestinians ever since 1948. I have described this ideology elsewhere as a hybrid between colonialism and romantic nationalism.[1]
    Today, Israel is a formidable settler-colonialist state, unwilling to transform or compromise, and eager to crush by whatever means necessary any resistance to its control and rule in historical Palestine. . .
    . . . Even before one begins to define more specifically what such outside pressure entails, it is essential not to confuse the means (pressure) with the objective (finding a formula for joint living). In other words, it is important to emphasize that pressure is meant to trigger meaningful negotiations, not take their place. So while I still believe that change from within is key to bringing about a lasting solution to the question of the refugees, the predicament of the Palestinian minority in Israel, and the future of Jerusalem, other steps must first be taken for this to be achieved.
    What kind a pressure is necessary? South Africa has provided the most illuminating and inspiring historical example
    for those leading this debate, while, on the ground, activists and NGOs under occupation have sought nonviolent means both to resist the occupation and to expand the forms of resistance beyond suicide bombing and the firing of Qassam missiles from Gaza. These two impulses produced the BDS campaign against Israel. It is not a coordinated campaign operated by some secret cabal. [Nor is it a "cult". - J.L.D.] It began as a call from within the civil society under occupation, endorsed by other Palestinian groups, and translated into individual and collective actions worldwide. . .
    . . . there is really no other alternative. Any other option—from indifference, through soft criticism, and up to full endorsement of Israeli policy—is a wilful decision to be an accomplice to crimes against humanity. The closing of the public mind in Israel, the persistent hold of the settlers over Israeli society, the inbuilt racism within the Jewish population, the dehumanization of the Palestinians, and the vested interests of the army and industry in keeping the occupied territories—all of these mean that we are in for a very long period of callous and oppressive occupation. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to ceasefiremagazine.co.uk

  13. Daniel Rich says:

    By now it’s: One State, Two States, the art of Three impossibilities. Whatever will transpire, I will not be sustainable.

  14. Keith says:

    SHMUEL- “Realistically, I find it hard to believe that we are at a crossroads and I fail to see even the shadow of a possibility of reaching a “reasonable solution” in I/P.”

    I agree, and have always stressed that the immediate goal should be to provide as much relief to the Palestinians as possible as soon as possible. Much as I respect Finkelstein, I don’t see much hope for a just solution, be it one state or two, as long as American Jewish Zionism is such a potent force. The ideological requirements of Zionism won’t permit it. That is why Joel Kovel and others speak of overcoming Zionism as a necessary precondition for meaningful long term solutions to progress. As for the efficacy of “agnosticism” in regards to Israel, I think that Finkelstein’s argument may have merit to the degree that a reasonable position has not been articulated, or that the BDS movement is associated with the positions of the better known leadership.

    What should the BDS position be? First, that the state of Israel does exist and the goal is not to deny the recognized existence of the state of Israel, rather, it is to bring humanitarian relief to a wronged and abused people under occupation by working to lift the siege of Gaza, etc. Second, while Israel currently exists and currently describes itself as a Jewish state, the BDS movement does not recognize “Jewishness” as intrinsic to the state of Israel, religious and/or ethnic criteria hardly appropriate criteria for determining citizenship, equality before the law or freedom from discrimination. Finally, the BDS movement is composed of people with varying opinions concerning the nature of a just solution to the problem, however, meaningful negotiations are not possible at this time due to US/Israel intransigence combined with overwhelming power. Therefore, under these circumstances, the current goals of BDS is to work for the elimination of specific abuses of the Palestinian people.

  15. libra says:

    Finklestein may be optimistic about a two-state outcome but he does have both a sense of urgency and a belief that the Palestinians themselves hold the greatest weapon in mass, non-violent resistance. In this, BDS would surely have a major supporting role but it does not relegate the Palestinians to being passive actors to their own fate. I find this preferable to Schmuel Sermoneta-Gertel’s alternative which seems to put more emphasis on BDS.

    Where I disagree with Finkelstein is in not encouraging the Palestinians to break free of the two-state mindset. Surely it is beyond doubt that the Israelis have turned the natural desire of the Palestinians for their own state against them by seducing them into an endless “peace process” whilst continuing to dispossess them from their own land. The great irony here is that Jewish-Israeli’s probably have an even greater desire for a two-state outcome even as they make this less and less probable.

    I believe the Palestinian position would be much stronger if they coupled their campaign for equal rights with a clear acceptance of a single-state. But they need to disarm the Zionist accusation that by doing this they are destroying “the Jewish state”. The simplest way is by offering the Arab peace-plan as an alternative for the Israelis to choose. Maybe this would suddenly look less utopian.

    • the Palestinians themselves hold the greatest weapon in mass, non-violent resistance. In this, BDS would surely have a major supporting role but it does not relegate the Palestinians to being passive actors to their own fate. I find this preferable to Schmuel Sermoneta-Gertel’s alternative which seems to put more emphasis on BDS.

      The primary actors will always be the Palestinians themselves, and whatever legitimacy and power BDS may have stems from the fact that it is the kind of support that the Palestinians themselves have asked for. The Palestinian struggle needs international support, but such support would be pointless without Palestinian resistance and “sumud”.

  16. sardelapasti says:

    One of the very few lucid analyses to date and possibly the best wording of the common goals and perspectives common to Palestine solidarity. The remaining question is: how effective can this exercise be in avoiding to think about the coming, ineluctable explosion of extreme violence?

  17. Parity says:

    Homingpigeon: “We should be imagineers for the outcome in Israel/Palestine.”

    There are some creative plans for solving the conflict. One is Parity for Peace–two states with sovereignty over the whole territory that was once Mandate Palestine, forming what international law calls a condominium. People can live anywhere they want to in the shared territory. Each state governs its own population in personal matters. The two states share governance equally on all matters that relate to the territory, economy, foreign affairs, security, defense, and inter-communal relations. See http://www.parityforpeace.org for details.

    Others have suggested that areas that are 95 % Jewish be the Jewish state, areas that are 95 % Arab be the Arab state, and mixed areas, including Jerusalem, be a condominium.

  18. gazacalling says:

    Great post, very hardheaded analysis. I agree completely.

    Don’t underestimate the power of dreams and visions to capture the imagination. This might seem totally impracticable or impossible, but that is not the case. It’s the battle of the imagination in which political battles are won or lost even before they begin.

    In the battle of the imagination, Israel is slowly bleeding. This imperceptible movement is going to determine everything in the future. By the time it is clear, Israel’s oppression will have already lost.

  19. Taxi says:

    Okay okay okay, so Shmuely put down a nice bit of essay and everyone here talked and talked and talked ’bout a one state or a two state solution, with israel somewhat still in the picture – but frankly it’s all a waste of time. I just spent the last ten days in Cairo and am now back in Lebanon (for the summer before returning back to my home in LA) and I can tell ya’ll NOBODY over here talks ’bout a peaceful solution. Everyone here believes war is the only option and everyone here believes it’s the war they were born to fight and win. Nobody wants the ashkanazim or it’s usa poodle around their backyards no more and not even for an extra second – everyone is sick and tired of waiting for this so-called negotiated solution. Everyone is thinking about their grandchildren’s grandchildren and see the future of the middle east as eventually peaceful cuz there ain’t gonna be no israel soon enough and they’re gonna make sure of this.

    Even the most civilized and equitable solution is UNACCEPTABLE to the people of the middle east at this stage. Israel has shed the blood of TOO many of it’s neighbors, and their families and societies are looking for their ‘honorable revenge’ even if it takes a thousand plus years (read the sunni-shia conflict). Arabs are even more tribalist than your staunchest (pretend) tribal ashkanazim jew. Arabs don’t need a whole tribe around them to encourage their tribal sensibilities and code of behavior. They’re born with it and they live it and wish to die by it.

    I’ve spent some 30 years myself looking for a peaceful solution and in all honesty it’s been a huge waste of my time. There ain’t no way in hell the zios are gonna give up ANYTHING or change ANYTHING. Only a total crushing of their army and a total collapse of their economy can be of value for any ‘vision’ of peace in the future. And this is completely plausible.

    Just reading the Arabic writing on the wall for all you honcho analysts out there.

    Yes it woulda been nice to have reached an agreement in a peaceful way. But that’s just utterly impossible now. Take for instance the Egyptian people’s rage at everything israeli, despite them having a so-called peace treaty for the past 30 years. You cannot impose yet another ‘peaceful’ solution on a people that need to see justice through avengement. They tried it, this western way of negotiating for peace, and it just don’t work and so therefore they’ve gone back to their tribal instincts: an eye for an eye. Other Arab neighbors of Apartheid israel feel exactly the same way too.

    It’s not that they want war, it’s just that they’re so disillusioned by this elusive promised peace that they feel that there ain’t no other option but for total war. They don’t want their grandchildren’s grandchildren to inherit the humiliation that multiple Arab generations have suffered from under the dictates of zionism. They wanna clean up the mess of their own impotence to preserve a somewhat tribally respectable reputation in the minds of their grandchildren’s grandchildren.

    Like an Egyptian friend of a friend said to me last week: I would rather die fighting today just so the sahyooniyeh (zionists) don’t make my grandchildren feel the way I’ve felt all my life: an Egyptian slave broken by the jewish pharoahs.

    And my Egyptian friend’s mother said to me on my last night in Cairo: So long as we crush the zionists, we don’t care if we get nuked.

    Don’t count on a peaceful solution, people – it ain’t never coming no more.

    • Don’t count on a peaceful solution, people – it ain’t never coming no more.

      I thought that was my point. A military solution seems at least as unlikely however. From your description, your friends don’t seem particularly convinced of the feasibility of a military solution either, but feel that fighting your way to failure is better than talking your way there.

      • Taxi says:

        “A military solution seems at least as unlikely however. ”

        I disagree. War in the mideast is inevitable, Shmuel. Despite their internal conflicts, Syria is ready, Lebanon is ready, Palestine is ready, Iran is ready – they’re all waiting for the Egyptian giant to loosen his shackles some more before the war ducks are all lined up.

        Not forgetting here of course that Russia is ready to supply as much armory to their Arab friends as USA is already supplying israel. The fight for the next superpowerdom will take place in the mid east. China will play the contradictory two-pronged role of both peace-maker and arms supplier, in the hope that a war between Russia and USA will make it’s ascent to superpowerdom that much smoother.

        The I/P conflict is now much much much bigger than just between israelis and Arabs.

        My Egyptian friends don’t feel that they’ll be “fighting their way to failure” – you shouldn’t be so dismissive of their will this time round Shmuel. And even if it all ends up in failure, which is highly unlikely in my estimation, these people want to die knowing at least they tried and tried and tried and tried and died standing up and not on their knees. How their grandchildren will be perceiving them is much more important to them than death or failure.

        There will be a war coming, and it’s coming sooner than later.

        • Taxi,

          War may be inevitable (whether initiated by Israel or otherwise), but a solution brought about by war is not. Like Norman Finkelstein, you are suggesting that we are at a crossroads – a point at which a solution (whether military or negotiated) may be possible. I just don’t see it.

        • Taxi says:

          War IS inevitable my friend, no “may be” about it.

          The outcome of the war will determine the shape of the “solution”. Even if the whole Arab world takes a giant hit, israel stands to lose everything in such a war – and us Americans stand to lose our hegemony in the mideast, including by the way, our control of Saudi and Emirati oil (such a war will unseat the House of Saud and their Emirati cabal too).

          It’s a war where everyone will lose something, but israel will lose all.

          And I don’t think we’re at a crossroads in the slightest: the whole region, including israeli eggheads, have already determined and believe that war is the only way left forward, regardless of the price and the outcome. And it looks to me that the Arab psyche is more ready for this inevitability than the israeli psyche.

          What will ashkanazim do with their zionism at that point, where will they ‘house’ it? Somebody needs to write an article or two on these very plausible questions.

        • seafoid says:

          “I just don’t see it.”

          Do you think that the status quo can go on for another 50 years?
          Do you think the Gaza situation is sustainable ?

        • Do you think that the status quo can go on for another 50 years?
          Do you think the Gaza situation is sustainable ?

          No, I don’t think the situation in Gaza is sustainable, although the status quo or something very similar to it it is likely to go on for quite some time. What I don’t see at this point is the possibility of a military solution, of the kind Taxi is suggesting. It’s hard to say what the next stage in Gaza will look like, but a military defeat of the “sahyooniyeh” that will allow Palestinians in particular and Arabs in general to dictate the future political structure of the region does not seem very likely – despite the “tribal instincts” of people like Taxi’s friends.

        • Taxi says:

          Shmuel,
          I hope you’re not resentful that the word ‘sahyooniyeh’ was used in my post – it’s merely Arabic for zionism – though as you can understand, it has very negative connotations in the Arab world.

          All I gotta say ’bout the “future political structure of the region” is: prepare to be shocked and awed by the unexpected (Berlin Wall, 9/11 etc). And prepare to accept a mideast without zionism and without israel.

          The way things are going, it would be foolish not to consider such a probability – not to prepare for it.

        • Taxi,

          I wasn’t resentful of anything in your comment, least of all the word “sahyooniyeh”. Thanks for the perspective from Lebanon and Egypt.

        • David Samel says:

          Taxi, for all your anti-zionist ranting, you somehow manage to echo one of their most racist sentiments: “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” Your version: “So long as we crush the zionists, we don’t care if we get nuked.” The Zionists who troll MW and similar cites for proof that Arabs are a bunch of murderous thugs must have loved that one.

          It’s not that I cannot understand the hatred. The brutality of the Israeli regime does infinitely more to incite such hatred than all the clerics and schoolbooks Israel accuses of “incitement.” Israeli Jews express widespread hatred against Arabs over “terrorism” that is a small fraction of the violence they dish out. Ditto with the American response to 9/11. Why should it be any different? For that matter, US attacks throughout the Middle East unquestionably give rise to anti-American hatred. link to nytimes.com

          Still, your optimism that Israel, with its high-tech military and hundreds of nukes, 100% supported by the most advanced military in the history of the world, can be militarily defeated is absurd. You are extrapolating from your friends’ feverish sentiments that multiple Arab states will send their armed forces into a suicide mission. Do you think the US also could be defeated on the battlefield? And frankly, your own bloodthirstiness for war in which hundreds of thousands or millions of innocents will be incinerated and dismembered is even worse than your misguided optimism.

          I think Israel does face an existential threat, but not from any military. It faces the same threat apartheid South Africa faced: the notion that freedom and equality are non-negotiable.

        • Taxi says:

          Thanks for your time and your measured considerations, Shmuel.

        • Sumud says:

          I think Israel does face an existential threat, but not from any military. It faces the same threat apartheid South Africa faced: the notion that freedom and equality are non-negotiable.

          I agree with David’s text that I quote above.

          Taxi ~ I know you are only relaying others opinions, but I think they would be wiser to adopt the Iranian viewpoint here: the long game – there is little to do but observe.

          Israel is imploding in not-so-slow motion: smart Israelis are leaving and what is left is increasingly fascist. Short of a miracle, Israel will self-destruct with one final attempt at completing the Nakba started in 1947. Because Israel’s brakes are off this will rapidly turn genodical, and America will finally be forced to turn away, or also go down in flames like Israel as world pariahs.

          American hegemony is much less stable than it appears. From Tom Dispatch:

          The Decline and Fall of the American Empire : Four Scenarios for the End of the American Century by 2025

        • Taxi says:

          David Samel,

          “So long as we crush the zionists, we don’t care if we get nuked” – Egyptian great grandmother.

          Why can’t the Arabs have their own Masada mentality too eh? You want a great grandmother to die knowing that her great grandchildren are gonna be slaves to the merciless, violent, greedy sahyooneen? Would your grandmother sacrifice herself for your children? Cuz that Egyptian grandmother is willing to sacrifice herself for hers. You wanna knock that, be my guest – for sure she don’t care what you think and neither do millions living in the region. Besides, its a quote deary, not MY words.

          The rest of your post is raging – and you should direct that rage at the zionist violators of numerous human rights, not at the people who are reading the writings on the wall.

          How many nukes do you think israel can use before it’s complete and utter destruction? You honestly think israel is outta military reach just cuz it’s got nukes? You don’t think the Damona Plant can now be compromised? You forget that the turning point in the balance of power was the 2006 war with Lebanon. You’re raving about the old formula dear – it ain’t like that no more. The scales continue to be tipped to israel’s disadvantage whether you like it or not and it don’t matter nothing that it’s got America’s support. There are other giant players on the scene now (read Russia and China’s support for Iran and Syria – read also Pakistan’s fervent loathing of israel). Yeah like I already said, it ain’t just about israel and Palestine no more. Oh if it were only still that simple.

          You wanna live in a cocoon and think of israel as invincible – go ahead and indulge yourself in your own brand of “misguided optimism”.

          The irony of ironies is that innocent mideasters are already being “incinerated and dismembered” – what difference to them if it’s by drone, by uranium-tipped cluster bombs or by nuke?

          Really dude, you honestly think israeli leaders have been putting the lives of their grandchildren before their greed for land and power? It sure don’t look like it to me. So take your hissy fit and your fears for israel’s existence and put it in a pipe!

          There will be war, not because I say so, but because of israel’s love for war and pestilence.

          ‘Live Free or Die’, Americans are proud to say. So what’s your problem with an Egyptian saying it? Prejudice?

        • Taxi says:

          Shmuel,

          The Iranians are fortunate two-fold in that they do indeed possess the exceedingly patient temperament of a carpet weaver, and secondly, they are geographically distant enough from israel not to smell the stench of their zionist armpit with every raise and swing of whip. This puts them, the Iranians, in the position of spectator to the vile and violence – not the direct receiver of it: not the victim.

          The Palestinians, Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese, the Egyptians: they have all been in the direct path of the spiky zio whip and have deep and unhealed wounds to show for it. The wisdom of patience aside, their reality is constantly governed by a seething unaddressed injustice done to them. They are victims. Their voice is croaky and hoarse, even disturbing and often war-like, but so what? Why are we always trying to shut up the injured?

          I believe in letting the victim express their grief, their bereavement and their moribund melancholics, express even their nihilism, without my judgement and with my total emphatic empathy.

          I don’t apologize for this, my morality.

          And let’s be clear here, having personally been in two war zones – in Jerusalem when the ’67 war broke out, and again in south Lebanon in ’96 during Operation Grapes of Wrath – I can most definitely attest to the white-knuckle terrors and incomprehensible horrors of war.

          And at the same time, I am realist enough to know that war, as a last resort, is sometimes a must.

          For people in the direct path of the violence of israel, BDS is good and appreciated, but not moving fast enough. This is the Arab victim’s perception and it’s valid and I can understand that cuz after sixty-four raw years of being under the killing whip, time becomes of the essence – and patience therefore becomes a life-threatening indulgence. Obsolete.

          We’re living in the eleventh hour of the Arab-Israeli conflict and there’s no sense in denying it, intellectualizing it, politically-correctifying it or pacifying it with genteel salon manners. Unfortunately, for all the endless discussion and analysis by millions of smart and well-intentioned I/P thinkers, so far no one’s come up with any good ideas on how to change the course away from war. Simple as that. War is coming. Unfortunately.

          And I’ll be on the victim’s side. Fortunately.

        • seafoid says:

          “Still, your optimism that Israel, with its high-tech military and hundreds of nukes, 100% supported by the most advanced military in the history of the world, can be militarily defeated is absurd”

          David

          The Jewish state would have died years ago without its nukes and US veto.
          The nukes are fabulous but there is one flaw- they are useless to defend against a bank run. The Jews will eventually be forced to negotiate. And then they’ll have to get rid of the nukes.

          The shtetl on the Med is built on sand.

          and what does “high tech military” mean anyway? The tactics the IDF uses in the OT are straight from the 14th century.

        • American says:

          “Do you think the US also could be defeated on the battlefield? “….. David Samel

          Just want to point out something here. The US can actually be defeated….it’s called war by attrition. The type of fighting typical in Afghan right now is a good example of that. The Russian learned it when they had their go at Afghan, but evidently the US didn’t see the lesson there.
          You can wear down and exhaust a superior force if you keep at it long enough…iow, if you are willing to make more sacrifices than your opponent.
          The US could be defeated by this in the ME because first, the US wouldn’t use nuclear bombs in the oil regions for obvious reasons and second, the Arabs have 1000x’s the tolerance for long term suffering and loses that Americans do and the Israelis have zero ability to withstand loses.
          So if America actually got into a war, even leaving out Russia and China, with a coalition of Arab countries they would have to eventually do it on the ground. You couldn’t just bomb them and think you’re gonna walk in and take over without resistance…doesn’t work that way. And once on the ground you are looking at decades of guerrilla fighting so there never is any win.
          Iraq was still killing Americans even as some troops withdrew, they are still killing the ones left, and still having their own civil war. The Taliban will still be in Afghan long after we have given it up.
          The only way America wins in the ME or wins anything for Israel is by putting in US friendly dictators and rulers that will control their populations and even that doesn’t always last as we saw the last time Iran dethroned their US CIA installed puppet ruler.
          For all the US’s expensive war toys, drone, bombs, computer assisted killing, magic eyes…it cannot win a ground war of death by a thousand cuts on it’s fighting forces.

        • American says:

          I think Taxi has a point in her pasisons.
          People need to consider for example, how American boys go gung ho off to war over lands they never even heard of before.
          Not all of them stay gung ho once reality sets in …but then they aren’t fighting for their own homes and families are they?
          So Arabs if they fighting for their own freedoms or land, would be even more fierce about it.
          Consider that more Americans were killed in the Civil War than Vietnam.
          When you get to the level of the fight, those doing the actual fighting, passion rules and it will stand things that sane reason won’t stand.

        • RoHa says:

          “People need to consider for example, how American boys go gung ho off to war over lands they never even heard of before.”

          It is really depressing that they haven’t heard of those lands. Do they learn anything in school?

    • Djinn says:

      Do you think there might be a little selection bias in the people you’re talking to Taxi? I say this because while I met many who agreed with you in Gaza, the WB & Lebanon (no recent trips to Egypt so I can’t comment on the prevailing views there) they were a small minority in the overall scheme of things. I’m not overly convinced this ‘who cares if we die as long as we kill many of our enemies is particularly accurate or helpful.

      • Taxi says:

        Every poll taken in the Arab world regarding israel tells us that people are choking on the injustice.

        Yes they are Arab people everywhere who are cooler headed than that, but I’m afraid at this stage of the game, they represent a minority.

        • Djinn says:

          There is a HUGE difference between choking on the injustice (I certainly never once met anyone whilst in the ME/Northern Africa who would disagree with that) and being resigned to death and war as long as they get to take out a few of the enemy as well (sorry if I’m reading your post the wrong way this appeared to be what you were saying).

        • Taxi says:

          Why don’t you go to some Arab countries tomorrow and put the question to them personally. I did, I’m reporting their answers back here. It seems that people out there in the mideast have had their fill of “chocking” by now – they’ve about reached their limit. Let’s see some of you here on MW choke for 64 years FIRST before YOU guys decide that Arabs should just continue to put up with choking, be quiet and eat sheet so as to NOT UPSET YOU with their turmoil and bereavement!

          WTF people?! The extremism of israel’s continuous crimes against millions of people is provoking its victims into a desperate and extreme reaction. Why don’t you go tell israel to stfu instead of it’s victims?!

          And Djinn, they don’t want to “take out a few” – they want zionism completely outta their region – make of this what you will. It’s THEIR region and they don’t want cruel colonialism ruling them no more.

          You honestly think Americans would put up with a brutal 64 year occupation without resistance, without extremism? Get a grip!

        • Djinn says:

          I’ve spent rather a lot of time in the ME (mostly in the the WB and Gaza) most recently 6 months ago. You are shouting at the wrong person.

          Wanting to see the end of Zionism is AGAIN very different to your original position.

        • Hostage says:

          Wanting to see the end of Zionism is AGAIN very different to your original position.

          Suicide bombings are a very common feature of military occupations. The Tamil Tigers and Vietnamese didn’t employ the practice because they were Arab or Muslim extremists. They did it because the conditions of every day life had become unbearable and the general population had lost hope. That same situation is manifested in prisoners who are willing to die as a result of a hunger strike.

          Western interventionism and autocratic regimes in Asia have brought about suicide bombings over the years in Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Yemen Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The same could be said for the breakaway Republic of Chechnya and the Russian Federation. What Taxi is saying is that tempers are running high and that non-violent resistance only works when it stirs the rest of the world to take some sort of concerted action. Nothing remotely like that is on the political horizon.

        • Michael W. says:

          Hostage,

          Where does the Sunni-Shia bloodbath in Iraq come in here? Why would a Sunni strap himself with a bomb and blow himself up in the middle of a Shia pilgrimage? I don’t think it is particularly Islamic, just mad. Yea, I know – the Americans occupied Iraq. But how does that make Iraqis blow up other Iraqis?

        • mig says:

          Hostage :

          Suicide bombings are a very common feature of military occupations.

          Yup, Duke university Chicago did study about that. 95 % of cases are connected to military occupation.


          link to youtube.com

          link to youtube.com

          Database here :

          link to cpost.uchicago.edu

        • Hostage says:

          Hostage, Where does the Sunni-Shia bloodbath in Iraq come in here?

          Many of the attacks have secular political, rather than religious motives. Those factors usually are a result of the occupation and frustration with those who are viewed as collaborators or its beneficiaries.

          One of the main objectives of the invasion and occupation was regime change, with benefits that were intended to accrue to western interests. In the majority of cases the individuals are trying to destroy the newly installed western-backed regime. So, they are targeting others who they view as collaborators. Here is an extract from Gilbert Burnham, Suicide attacks—the rationale and consequences, The Lancet, Volume 378, Issue 9794, Pages 855 – 857, 3 September 2011:

          Suicide bombing is a misnomer because little evidence exists for the perpetrators having psychopathology or suicidal thinking. A common motivation for suicide attacks is retribution, especially for individuals with personal losses, or communal losses with which bombers identify. A sense of humiliation, dishonour, injustice, or deprivation of expected rights and privileges are powerful motivators. Palestinian suicide bombers during the second intifada grew up as children during the first intifada, and many shared a sense of defeat and humiliation. Conflict over territorial or national control has been a traditional driver for suicide attacks. Examples include the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s 22-year bombing campaign in Sri Lanka, and attacks by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey.

          Suicide attacks are effective because they show great commitment to a cause. Where there is widespread suffering and anger, attacks can further inflame and radicalise popular opinion, draw financial support, and help to recruit new individuals to terrorist groups. Groups organising suicide attacks hope for a strong reaction from authorities to further strengthen their image. Suicide attacks can arise from competition between insurgent groups attempting to build their public stature. Fear, anxiety, and demoralisation of civilian populations and a perceived loss of protection and legitimacy from government are important goals of suicide campaigns. Although religious motivation has played a part in many individual acts and bombing campaigns, religion has had a primary role in suicide attacks only in the past two decades.

          Although suicide attacks are largely politically motivated, criminal elements can take advantage of the chaotic environment they create for extortion and exploitation. In Iraq, suicide attacks are done by three main groups that all seek destruction of the state, but for different reasons. The first group are former Baathists and former members of Saddam Hussein’s regime who lost positions in 2003. Their resentment has led them to promote state collapse, with suicide bombing as one tactic. A second group that supports suicide attacks are those closely identified with Sunni or other groups whose anger comes from the political ascendancy of Shia and Kurdish Sunnis in Iraq. Both groups draw on popular resentment towards the presence of an occupying power, and capitalise on a historical sense of injustice dating back to the creation of Iraq as a British colony. Although superficially Islamist, both groups are essentially secular.

          The third and most vigorous users of suicide attacks are the Jihadi Salafis. Their goal is the destruction of the secular state and elimination of roles for non-Sunnis. They seek an Islamic state that is based on the practices of early Islam, sweeping away later traditions of Islamic jurisprudence and elements of democracy. Taliban-controlled Afghanistan was previously a haven for these organisations. Jihadi Salafis are connected with other jihadist organisations in Jordan, Indonesia, Yemen, north Africa, Europe, and elsewhere, not only to share skills and techniques but to enable effective channelling of motivated and educated recruits to Iraq. The killing of Muslim civilians, viewed as apostates and collaborators, is accepted as unfortunate but unavoidable by Jihadi Salafis in their bid to destroy the secular state.

          In the same issue of Lancet, Madelyn Hsiao-Rei Hicks, et al., Casualties in civilians and coalition soldiers from suicide bombings in Iraq, 2003–10: a descriptive study, estimates that 10 percent of the known casualties were attributable to suicide bombing and that children and women made-up a disproportionate share of the victims. link to thelancet.com

          The overwhelming majority of casualties were obviously caused by the Coalition forces, not suicide bombing.
          link to bbc.co.uk

          See also: Fred Kaplan, Western Targets: The Iraqi insurgency is still primarily an anti-occupation effort.
          link to slate.com
          Meeting Resistance: New Documentary Follows Iraqis Fighting U.S. Occupation of Their Country
          *http://www.democracynow.org/2007/10/18/meeting_resistance_new_doc_follows_iraqis
          *http://www.meetingresistance.com/

  20. libra says:

    Taxi: War is coming. Unfortunately.

    Unfortunately? No Taxi, you are positively relishing war and for you it can’t come soon enough. You can’t see a peaceful resolution because you don’t want one.

    And I’ll be on the victim’s side. Fortunately.

    Yes, the truth revealed by your typo. You are someone who can contemplate total war, even with nuclear weapons, and believe the Palestinians would emerge as victors from the carnage. What folly. Contrary to what you believe, you simply have no idea what you are talking about. You are a laptop warrior no different to any neocon.

    What is worst about people like you is that you fail to see how violence is the language of Zionists. It is what they are prepared for. It’s why they continue to stoke conflict in the Middle East. The last thing they want is to be surrounded by 300 million prosperous people.

    Oh and Taxi, please don’t lecture us on political correctness. As testified by your comments archive, you are the very epitome of the European/white equals bad – brown equals good dichotomy at the heart of Western political correctness. It is you who patronises the very people you claim to support.

    • Taxi says:

      Got your political teen angst off yer chest dear libra? Well goodhollyhoe for you.

      Keep your blinkers on and wag your finger if you must, but don’t expect others to tiddle to your fiddle.

      You didn’t present me with a single argument to refute that war is inevitable at this stage. The two sides aren’t even sitting down in the same room to negotiate about the negotiations for Pete’s sakes – and while there’s no move towards a compromise, the forces of war move headlong on. That’s how war and peace work, buddy – it’s just the way of the world. Not Taxi’s way. Take it or leave it.

      And why do I get the sense that you secretly like the message, just not the messenger?

    • you are positively relishing war…for you it can’t come soon enough… You can’t see a peaceful resolution because you don’t want one. .. You are someone who …what you believe, you simply have no idea what you are talking about. You are a laptop warrior…What is worst about people like you is that you fail.. you are the very epitome… you who patronises the very people you claim

      ad hominem much libra? do you have any argument besides that?

      • libra says:

        Annie, since when did you believe in the inevitability of war? War sometimes may be likely but inevitable? In the near future there may be war between America and Iran but if someone argued that this is inevitable, that one side or the other deserved it, how much credibility would you give them? And how strong an argument would you demand against such warmongering?

        But if you want to take warmongers seriously, then I cannot see any regional power which could confront Israel militarily with any confidence of winning. Hezbollah in Lebanon is a potent and proven foe if attacked but is not an offensive threat. Syria is otherwise engaged. Jordan is not antagonistic and lacks a large military. Saudi Arabia has on paper a potent airforce but is too reliant on western support to mount a credible attack, even if it was motivated. Egypt is simply not a credible threat at the moment. Not only is it in the throes of a political crisis but Sinai is demilitarised, giving Israel ample warning of any offensive build-up.

        At a greater distance, Iraq has been neutralised. Israel has antagonised Turkey which is certainly a major conventional power. But Turkey would appear to be playing a long game in the region and has nothing to gain, and much to lose, from engaging Israel militarily. Besides, being in NATO would also be a huge complication for any offensive action against Israel.

        That leaves Iran. There are many who tell us that Iran is hell bent on acquiring nuclear weapons with which to annihilate Israel. I certainly believe Iran is capable of developing nuclear weapons but I am not convinced they want anything more than that theoretical capability. But if they did produce physical weapons then I believe they would be for deterrence purposes. I simply do not believe they would risk self-destruction to attack Israel with nuclear weapons.

        Now this analysis only holds for the medium term. But within the predictable time frame, Israel has neutralised any significant military threat. Rather, in my view, it is likely to be the player who initiates or provokes military action, perhaps to push through radical solutions in the West Bank such as “transfer”.

        But whilst in this medium term outlook I believe Israel has the strategic upper hand, this is unlikely to hold for the long term. However hard Israel tries to hold it back, prosperity will arrive across the region reducing Israel to a relative economic minnow. At some point it will need to become an active economic participant in the region to have a viable future. Failure to come to an equitable settlement with the Palestinians will threaten this.

        At this point would its newly powerful neighbours initiate force against Israel if it was still mistreating Palestinians? I still doubt it, the infrastructure of a prosperous Middle East will be fragile (e.g. desalination plants) making the cost of war extremely high. But this would be the period of greatest danger. Especially if Israel has already effected “transfer” and is thus a complete pariah.

        It’s a future I hope Zionists think about and have something better than the Samson Option as an answer. But like Taxi, you don’t need to worry. The fall out is unlikely to reach California. Unless Israel sends some nukes towards Moscow in a final thermonuclear Masada. That’s something surely only a rapturist would look forward too (but should I take them seriously too?).

        But really the above is just more armchair strategising. You could argue against any detail of my cursory analysis. But I challenge you to imagine a scenario where Israel is vanquished but the Palestinians remain to take the prize. A rational state actor would need confidence in that before initiating war. My analysis doesn’t preclude war but I see nothing to conclude it is inevitable. Nor do I see Israel being defeated in any such war. But Israel has a strategic problem based on geography and population size that ultimately it cannot answer by military means alone.

        Sadly, all this is a diversion from discussing the power that a mass non-violent struggle for equal rights could achieve for the Palestinians in the nearer term. Does Israel have a credible answer for that?

        • Taxi says:

          Libra,
          Even the CIA said that israel has a present but not a future. You confuse analysis with vitriol – really cuz you don’t like the analyst. And your own analysis is based on zionism remaining untouched, living the high life in the mid east forever. You ought to visit the region and check the pulse with your own hands. I have no doubt you’ll see a very different picture.

          What’s astoundingly ignorant about your analysis also, is that you think it’s a war just between israel and Palestine – but the next war is gonna be Arab versus israeli (that’s Arab christian and moslem), as well as a battle field for the current competing wanna superpowers. You would like it for the Arabs to wait and wait for israel to execute its intended ‘transfer’ plan before they react against this vile colonialist maneuver – and you want the Arabs to react with genteel dialogue and head-lowered requests for equality. I find this prejudice of you as I don’t think for a minute that you yourself would submit to this kind of violent repression if your family and property were on the line. YOU my dear are the keyboard warrior – not a clue ’bout the jungle out there, not a clue ’bout raw survival instincts or the human condition in times of strife and war.

          By the way, you don’t have to drop many bombs on israel to empty it out, as proved in the 2006 war where the WHOLE of the norther region was emptied out in a handful of days – that’s a third of the country running away down south and into five-star shelters or psychiatric wards.

        • Annie, since when did you believe in the inevitability of war?

          by all means offer me a copy paste of something i wrote to support this allegation. oh right, you can’t. how bout not making it personal, or is that too far out of range?

          i do not think a person who believes in the inevitability of war as a war monger.

          I challenge you to imagine a scenario where Israel is vanquished but the Palestinians remain to take the prize

          hmm. off the top of my head, the US population, including our military, gets sick of their representatives taking marching orders from israel. this might not happen until we’re in even more debt to china who pulls the plug on lending us the money to fight proxy wars. afghanistan is one thing (we are fighting a war in afghanistan that benefits china iran..not so much) but china will not keep funding us forever.

          anyway, the US becomes cashed out and …. somebody..maybe china…discovers a new energy source. well, not new..just a cheap/free way to access it and oil becomes so last century. to make a long story short, we either can’t or won’t fund israel or those regimes you call ‘not antagonistic’. as far as i know israel has always survived on theft and handouts. when the free ride stops, lots of israeli who are pacified with a free ride will either leave or become even more religiously fanatical which in turn will motivate more people leaving. like women who do not like riding in the back of the bus.

          israel is vanquishing itself more and more everyday.

          and that’s only one scenario. predicting inevitabilities is not my forte, but i do not believe israel can rid palestine of palestinians and continue to exist.

          israel does not deserve the holyland, not the way it has been acting. it’s a very new country and it’s gotten off to a terrible start, it’s an unsustainable situation that is a blight on mankind. things will either get better, or not.

          so it is not for us to ask how israel will go down, better to answer how israel will improve. why don’t you tell us how israel will get better and heal itself, because at this stage that’s what looks like an impossibility.

        • Michael W. says:

          Taxi,

          Don’t you think the Arabs are too divided to mount a coalition against Israel? It has been a long time since Nasser and that ended up in a disaster. And it’s not just pro-Israel regimes that are being shaken. Assad is being shaken as well. Gaddafi was removed (Palestinian Israeli MKs visited him not that long before the Libyan revolution started).

          Another point – Hezbollah did empty the north for about a month, but for how long? And if Hezbollah blankets Israel with rockets all the way to Tel-Aviv, wouldn’t that make the Israelis even more ballistic than they were in 2006?

          In short, I don’t see the whole Arab vs. Israel battle coming any time soon (though who ever saw the Tunisian revolution and the Egyptian military junta coup?), nor they emptying Israel with any force they can muster.

        • Taxi says:

          Michael W,
          The judeafication of Jerusalem, the eventual implementation of the zionists’ ‘transfer’ plan especially in jerusalem: this is a unifier of the Arab world. When push comes to shove, and when it looks like israel’s about to steal the 3rd holiest site in islam, you will see both an overnight unity and a focused rage from the Arabs, including from the oil Arabs, despite their despotism and distance from the holy land.

          There are even weapons in Gaza that can now reach tel aviv – all around occupied Palestine are missiles aimed and waiting: from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, even far away Iran. For every “ballistic” israeli attack, a “ballistic” Arab response from all directions has been promised. Israel going “ballistic” on its neighboring Arab civilian targets used to be a bigger concern for the Arabs till the 2006 war when israel lost its deterrence capabilities. And be mindful here that it took some 4 months after the end of the 34 day assault on Lebanon before isreal’s northern colonials dared to return to their homes.

          The israelis may still have the bigger guns, but they are no longer invincible. They can no longer live up to their self-made myth of courage and muscle. And they know it.

        • Michael W. says:

          Taxi,

          Nasser said the same thing you are saying now in May of 1967. Do you still want to beat the drums of war?

        • Taxi says:

          Michael,
          No deary, Nasser didn’t say the same thing back in ’67. Conditions back then were way way way different for both sides of the fence.

          What is wrong with ‘some’ people on this blog?! When did gritty analysis become equal to beating the drums of war?!!

          Really now folks, grow up and face the hard glaring facts: israel is hated in the mideast because of it’s incessant mass murder and land theft, ongoing for the past 64 years – NOT BECAUSE TAXI SAYS SO!!!!! And at this stage, the people at the receiving end of the greed and boot of israel have empowered themselves some both psychologically and materially and they ain’t taking it no more. This is a FACT that only fools will deny or argue with.

          I do not apologize for my powers of articulation, which evidently are confusing and upsetting some faint-hearts on MW. Go ahead believe what you want, but from where I’m sitting, a tsunami is heading towards israel and ONLY israel’s to blame. It’s called cause and effect – a universal law, a phenomenon that no one on the planet can reverse or mollify – and no one can escape, be they ‘chosen’ or not!