Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3016 (since 2012-06-23 07:13:37)

Showing comments 2600 - 2501

  • In 'breathtaking' UN vote, Obama changed his policy on Israeli settlements, making them a war crime -- Finkelstein
    • Mooser: ...with his cabinet and staff providing a very Kremlin-like cheering-and-jeering section

      In your imagination the "Kremlin" has "cheering and jeering" sections?

    • Mooser: A 37% popularity rating, and suspicions of a treasonous connection with Russia (not to mention the immediate attempt to take benefits away) is no way to start out a Presidency.

      A truism, if there ever was one.

    • Mooser: [Sibiriak] “Trump cannot say it for political reasons (as Keith pointed out.)”

      Except he just did, in the “news conference


      Huh, not following you. Just a moment ago you wrote:

      [Trump] cannot say he didn’t get Russian help during the campaign.

      I agree with you that he cannot say it.

      Then you turn around and claim he did say it?

      He conceded that he believed the Russians did the hacking, and he said the released info was damaging to Clinton.

      That's not Russian help?


      Can you say Trump is in a position to not be damaged by his ties to Russia?

      Of course, he can and has been damaged by various allegations about ties to Russia.

      What ties do YOU think Trump has to Russia?

    • Annie Robbins: [Sibiriak:]What do you imagine could possibly be the upcoming “colin powel phase of the drama?”

      presenting hard evidence...

      Not sure what you are talking about. The intelligence community has already submitted their comprehensive report and there are no future plans --or demands-- for any one else to submit hard evidence (and nobody claiming such hard evidence exists).

      Now that Trump has accepted the intelligence community's conclusions, there is no longer any partisan disagreement on the Russia's guilt regarding hacking.

      Are there any prominent progressives/liberals challenging those conclusions and demanding more evidence? Sanders? Warren? Anyone?

      It seems to me the case is all but closed on the Putin-hacking claim. Democrats and progressives are powerfully motivated to back that claim since it strongly helps delegitimize Trump. (The opposite was true with Bush/Iraq War/WMD etc.)

    • @Annie

      Thanks for the MOA link.

      I had read about the Chalupa sisters and the Ukrainian nationalist angle elsewhere while investigating CrowdStrike.

      Largely off topic for MW, I realize. (Although, it's all interconnected!)

    • Annie Robbins: wiki: In July 2003, following the March invasion of Iraq, the CIA said in a report to Congress that “We are not yet at the point where we can draw comprehensive or final conclusions about the extent of Iraq’s prewar WMD program.”[12] It repeated this language in its report in January 2004.[13]

      [emphasis added]


      And it's a very different situation with the Putin/hacking claims: the CIA has drawn comprehensive and final conclusions.

      Extremely unlikely they will be reversed.


      and you’re comparing that with a scandal that is not even finished unfolding. we’re not even at the colin powel phase of the drama yet.

      What do you imagine could possibly be the upcoming "colin powel phase of the drama?" With Trump admitting "the Russians did it", the drama is essentially over as far as the Putin-hacking claims go.

      talk to me in a year about what’s “enthusiastically embraced"

      It's embraced now. And I can't envision any big no-WMD-were-found type future discovery that's going to exonerate Putin.

      Can you?

    • Mooser: [Trump] cannot say he didn’t get Russian help during the campaign.

      Trump cannot say it for political reasons (as Keith pointed out.)
      But YOU are not so constrained.

      Two simple questions:

      Do you believe Trump got Russian help during the campaign?

      If so, what evidence do you base that on?

    • Annie Robbins: the WMD thing didn’t happen over night

      I don't thing that's a good analogy. When WMD were not found that was devastating evidence against the claim that Saddam had WMD.

      What possible devastating evidence do you think can possibly emerge that Putin did not hack the DNC/Podesta and otherwise interfere in the U.S. election?

      It's almost impossible to imagine the Intelligence Community reversing their long and detailed, part classified, Putin- hacking reports.

      And given the nature of hacking, there won't be any big breakthrough new evidence from other sources exonerating Putin .

    • Mooser: and [Trump] cannot say he didn’t get Russian help during the campaign


      Exactly my point when I started with "Trump folds". Did you forget that?

      Once he admits he believes the unsubstantiated assertion that the Russians did the hacking, and then argues that the released info was damaging to Hillary, he cannot credibly say that the Russians did not help him.

      He did make the point: if the Russians preferred him over Hillary, what's wrong with that? That's a question for you as well. Not a rhetorical one, either.

      Trump cannot say he’s not involved with the Russians,

      What do you mean "involved with the Russians"?

    • Annie Robbins: [Sibiriak]The major difference is that the Iraq War was a partisan issue. Across the board, liberals and progressives opposed Bush and the war and enthusiastically embraced the notion that WMD lie was a lie.

      [Annie:]that’s not my recollection. at the beginning lots of so called liberals supported the war. at least in the media and the punditry. the left, or far left didn’t but there was a swell of support for the war as i recall. the WMD thing didn’t happen over night.


      You are predicting a major reversal along the lines of the "WMD thing". I'm saying that is unlikely to happen. No way of proving either of us right or wrong now regarding the future. As I wrote, we'll have to wait and see.

      I agree there was establishment liberal support for the Iraq war in the beginnning (and some continuing till now). I agree "across the board" was an overstatement.

      But there was MAJOR liberal/progressive opposition to the Iraq War from the very beginning. And that opposition steadily and rapidly grew.

      At no time was there any significant support for the Iraq War among progressives .

      It WAS a partisan issue from the get go. I don't think that's a controversial statement. You can add all the nuances you want to that, by all means go ahead, but that basic fact remain, and that was my main point.

      Equally true: alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election is NOT a partisan issue. Democrats and Republicans by and large agree that Russia hacked the election.

      So do most progressives --but not all. I go to many progressive sites and that sentiment is by far the majority one.

      You can dispute that if you like. (I know there are dissenters.)

      But let me ask you this: can you name a single prominent progressive or liberal leader-- Sanders, Warren et al.-- who has come out with strong statements against the Russia-hacking theory, against the credibility of the intelligence community in that regard, against Putin demonization, against Russia-demonization?

      That's not a rhetorical question.

    • Annie Robbins: if trump wanted a NFZ in syria, it’s likely none of this russia demonization would be going on, none at all.


      I have to strenuously disagree. This Russia demonization LONG predates the events in Syria and very much transcends them. While you are correct that Syrian events are an important factor, there are many other factors--U.S. hegemony in Europe; U.S. military/ideological hegemony; NATO expansion; nuclear expansion, arms sales, neoliberal trade and investment; BRICS opposition etc.--all of which have converged to make anti-Russia ideology and policy a structural feature of the entire U.S.- led "world order".

    • annie: there’s nothing unprecedented about a foreign country messing with our electoral process


      Not sure if you are responding to me, but to be clear, I never made such a claim and "messing with our electoral process" is absolutely NOT the issue I was referring to in terms of precedence.

    • Tillerson, of course, backs the lies about Russian aggression in Georgia, Ukraine, Crimea and Syria.

      Tillerson ever so slightly non-committal on Russian election interference, but being bullied.

      Hope he just plays along to get confirmed.

    • Keith: And yet some folks deny that this villification is unprecedented.

      I suppose you'd have to go back to era of McCarthy and Hoover to find some precedents for the current anti-Russia fever -but, yeah, the deep state's current nefarious attempts to undermine a U.S. president does seem unprecedented (Kennedy's assassination?), certainly a defining historical event with wide-ranging ramifications many people seem to be underestimating.

      (As I type: Tillerson playing it safe his hearing: emphasizing radical Islam/China threats with boilerplate anti-Russian talking points. Cardin trying to nail him on Putin/Russia with a slew of lies. Bastard.)

    • Mooser: I have to admit you are right.

      Almost anything Trump does won’t be as bad as what Hilary Clinton would have done.

      [...] Anything he does will be much worse than what Hilary would have done.

      Are you trying out various straw man formulations? Just curious....

    • eljay: According to this article, Trump was mocking the reporter but not his disability.

      Thanks. That's the same argument that is made in the video I posted above, and which RoHa made. It actually is quite compelling.

      From the article you cited:

      Some liberals went even further and freeze-framed a millisecond of the Trump video at the exact moment when his hand went into a flexed posture. Then they dishonestly put this screen capture side by side with a picture of Kovaleski’s flexed hand. Thus, you saw the following photo spread like wildfire over social media with commentary condescendingly and horrifyingly excoriating trump as a monster. [emphasis added]

      Liberal/progressive ME analyst Juan Cole uses that exact single-frame image juxtaposition in an article posted January 9.

      "Meryl Streep calls out Trump: Having Bully-in-Chief Coarsens whole Culture"

    • just: You appear to be hoping for the best with Trump, Sibiriak


      Not really. I just don't like false accusations. If Trump didn't mock the disabled reporter, there's plenty of other things to attack him on.

      UPDATE: I might have to take back my previous statements now that George Clooney has come out in support of Streep.

      The intellectual rigor and moral rectitude of the extremely woke Hollywood Elite can't be in any serious doubt, can it?

      I can’t wait for Clooney’s upcoming film about the White Helmets:

      Clooney said that bringing public attention to the bravery of people such as the White Helmets was one good way he could use his public platform.

    • Annie Robbins; are essentially accusing one of our commenters of being a russian operative.

      No, I was essentially presenting in a satirical way what such a false and malicious accusation might look like.

    • Material deleted from my CrowdStrike Falcon Overwatch 3.1 post was mostly from:

      Intelligence Community Assessment 6 January 2017 Office of the Director of National Intelligence

      Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution

      I highly recommend reading Annex A which outlines the Intelligence Community's objections to RT news network reporting.

    • Annie Robbins: Sibiriak, when you quote directly from a site please cite the site and indicate when there are breaks or cuts in the text

      Sorry about that. It wasn't meant to be a direct quote, but rather a parody of the original material, slightly altered and/or re-ordered to fit an imaginary satirical context.

      I will re-post some material in normal fashion.

    • CrowdStrike Falcon Overwatch 3.1
      Warning: Russian media manipulation operation detected.
      Level 5: High Confidence

      Keith [Кит]: Russian Operative

      [Aliases: Old Bear/старый медведь, Angry Seattle Bear/ злой медведь из Сиэтла]

      I have provided a link to Paul Craig Roberts [Russian operative detected ] discussing this very issue on the Keiser report[Russian propaganda network RT detected].

      What’s going on?


    • RoHa: Streep is working hard to cement the fake “fact” that Trump was mocking the reporter’s disability.


      Seems that way. (Just briefly looked at several videos--I'm open to counter-arguments)

      This video makes the case that Trump was not mocking the reporter's disability, but rather showing him being flustered when he allegedly tried to backtrack from his story:

      "Media Exposed: Donald Trump Did NOT Make Fun of a Disabled Reporter"

      (Trigger warning: tedious anti-Liberal narration)

      Interestingly, it shows Trump using similar mocking gestures to caricature Ted Cruz, who is not disabled (physically) . Looks like they might have been just part of his non-discriminatory mocking gesture repertoire.

    • Mooser: I can’t understand how anybody can be surprised by Trump ‘folding

      Who said they were surprised?

    • Annie Robbins: i think history will record...

      Btw, genuine history is one thing, "American mythology" quite another. Historians may record that hard evidence was never presented, but the question is, will the notion that Putin interfered in the election become bi-partisan, widely believed conventional wisdom. I think there is a very strong chance now that it will.

    • Annie Robbins: like saddam had WMD’s is now cemented into american mythology?

      We'll see. The major difference is that the Iraq War was a partisan issue. Across the board, liberals and progressives opposed Bush and the war and enthusiastically embraced the notion that WMD lie was a lie. The MSM eventually agreed with that assessment, as did the U.S. intelligence community.

      In contrast, the Putin-Stolen election thesis is bi-partisan, embraced by huge numbers of progressives and liberals in alliance with neocons and neolibs; the MSM is backing it 100% as well as the U.S. intelligence community.

    • @Keith

      Yes, I know the forces at play, and I agree with you...

      Still, this FAKE FACT-- that Putin hacked the DNC, Podesta et al , stole the U.S. election, and virtually installed his preferred candidate-- will now be cemented into American mythology, into "the West"'s mythology, believed, apparently, by most everyone, right and left, conservative, liberal, progressive, and woven into the larger, incredibly malevolent demonization of Russia, with all its disastrous consequences.

      Next up, massive censorship?

    • Trump folds:

      "Donald Trump 'not denying Russia was behind hacking campaign', says Priebus "

      "President-elect’s incoming White House chief of staff says Trump ‘accepts the findings’ of a report on Russian interference in the election"

    • Erik East: NF doesn’t buy into the ‘Israel Lobby’ thesis, judging by his criticisms of Walt and Mearsheimer’s landmark book. Unfortunately for NF, this thesis perfectly explains why Pres. Obama didn’t abstain/vote for the 2011 UNSC resolution on Israeli settlements


      That depends which "Israel Lobby" thesis you are referring to.

      In his book "Knowing Too Much", Finkelstein writes:

      In the last chapter it was shown that American Jews kept Israel at arm’s length until the June 1967 war, when it became Washington’s strategic asset in the Middle East. It has been argued in recent years that Israel ceased serving American interests after the end of the Cold War and instead has become a burden for Washington. The alleged divergence between Washington’s continuing support for Israel and its real strategic interests has been attributed to the baleful influence of the Israel lobby.

      The most widely cited version of this argument is The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, by John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.1

      * * * *

      [...]The premise of Mearsheimer and Walt’s analysis is that the core interests of Washington and Tel Aviv no longer overlap. They acknowledge that Israel did constitute a “strategic asset” during the Cold War because it “helped contain Soviet expansion in the region.” However, they maintain that since the collapse of the Soviet empire it has become a “strategic liability.”3 The future relationship of American Jews to Israel partly hinges on the points at issue.

      If the analysis of Mearsheimer and Walt were correct, it would only be a matter of time before more fissures opened up in the relationship between American Jews and Israel. However ferocious its bark, no domestic lobby jeopardizing pivotal American interests could long withstand the pressures to back off exerted by elite groups and their ramified circuits of power.

      Should a contest of wills ensue between the Israel lobby and American elites , it would inevitably trigger a revival of the “dual loyalty” charge that American Jews dread and on which they remain vulnerable. Rather than risk their hard-won gains in the United States, experience suggests that American Jews would distance themselves from Israel in the event of a conflict of interests.

      It might be supposed that, even if Israel did become a major liability, those many American Jews occupying strategic posts in the polity and economy would put a brake on any concerted elite action targeting Israel’s domestic pressure group. But it flies in the face of historical experience that these privileged Jews would jeopardize American interests, of which they themselves are prime beneficiaries, in order to shield the lobby of a foreign power—even one composed of “family” members—from which they draw no benefits

      It happens however that the probability of a clash pitting American Jewish supporters of Israel against basic U.S. interests is fairly remote.

      Contrary to Mearsheimer and Walt’s contention, Israel remains a strategic asset as it projects and protects American power in a region of critical importance to the United States.

      [KEY POINT: --Sibiriak]

      A conflict of interests does exist, however, between the U.S. and Israel on the secondary issue of resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict, and here the Israel lobby exerts considerable influence over policymaking in Washington.

      It is quite likely that on this local issue conflicting interests will put an ever-greater strain on U.S.-Israeli relations, making American Jews feel increasingly uneasy, and this process could be accelerated by recent developments including the Arab Spring.

      But the core interests of Washington and Tel Aviv still mostly intersect. The analysis of Mearsheimer and Walt, which rests on the premise that Washington’s primary objective in the Middle East during the Cold War was checking the Kremlin, overlooks continuities in American foreign policy that straddle the Cold War and the concomitant overlap of U.S. and Israeli strategic aims in the region. [emphasis added]


      If you read that carefully, you will realize that Finkelstein denies neither the existence of the "Israel Lobby" nor it's considerable power. What he does do, however, is make a critical distinction between U.S. core interests, which DO NOT conflict with a strategic alliance with Israel, and Israel's local interests vis a vis the Palestinians which DO conflict with U.S. interests. Regarding the I/P issue the Israel Lobby does indeed wield its considerable power against U.S. interests.

      (And please note: "U.S. core interests" refers to interests defined by U.S. elites and pursued through their "ramified circuits of power", rather than some objective "what's best for the American people." )

      Since the 2011 and the 2016 votes deal with the "secondary issue of resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict," Finkelstein would have no problem affirming the critical influence of the Israel Lobby on Obama's actions.

      (The above remarks are intended as a clarification of Finkelstein's position, not an endorsement of it.)

    • Credit where credit is due: Trump is standing his ground!

      The House speaker, Paul Ryan, called Assange “a sycophant for Russia” on a conservative radio show and GOP Senator Tom Cotton told MSNBC that he had “a lot more faith in our intelligence officers serving around the world … than I do in people like Julian Assange”.

      The comments followed tweets from Trump on Wednesday morning in which he approvingly repeated Assange’s claim that the Russian state was not the source of the hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta, published by WikiLeaks during the election.

      “Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’ – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!” one Trump tweet said. Another quoted Assange as describing US media coverage on the issue as “very dishonest”. Trump added: “More dishonest than anyone knows.”

      Perhaps the only real bright spot in the impending Trump presidency is his commitment to lessen tensions with Russia, and--ironically-- it is liberals and progressives (not all but many) who are joining hands with neocons and neolibs in a New Cold War Alliance to makes sure that doesn't happen.

      Strange bedfellows is one thing; this is political bestiality.

  • Love in the age of Trump
    • ritzl: You argue like “this time it really means something” (sneer quotes if that’s where the confusion lies) whether you used those words specifically or not.

      No, I haven't argued that "this time it really means something".

      If you are going to sneer at me, which I really don't mind at all, please sneer at my actual words, not a paraphrase you concoct.


    • That’s even worse than the worst Israeli two-state proposal.

      Correction: ritzl's TWO-state scenario is in fact very similar to the extreme right-wing Israeli proposals:

      I do not believe in a second Palestinian state beyond what we have in Gaza,” [Naftali] Bennett told the paper, saying that instead he proposed a staged end of Israeli military rule in Area C while offering full Israeli citizenship to the 80,000 Palestinians living there.

      For their part Jewish settlements in the West Bank would be incorporated into Israel while the remaining areas under Palestinian administration – known as Areas A and B – would be given a degree of autonomy short of statehood. [emphasis added]

      The strange thing is that he shares Bennett's view that this is a positive development.

      I really hope that all the good people like ritzl who believe this think it through a little more.

    • ritzl: So yeah, technically two states, but for the sake of discussing the critical/big issues in this thread, one state consisting of WB-Israel. Hope that helps


      Yes it does. Thank you.

      Two states is two states. It's not a technicality. There are millions of Palestinians in Gaza. And the population is rapidly expanding.

      And your TWO state scenario leaves out the Palestinian refugees, needless to say.

      Gaza and the refugees ARE critical/big issues.

      [ritzl: Nobody wants Gaza. It will be orphaned

      False. The Palestinians have NEVER accepted the permanent orphaning of Gaza.

      And I'm surprised that you think such a reality would be a promising development--the Palestinian "state" shrunk down to the tiny Gaza strip. All the rest, absorbed by Israel. Great.

      That's even worse than the worst Israeli two-state proposal.

    • ritzl: your original/ongoing contention that IL will force a two state outcome.

      I've never once made such a contention.

      Please stop strawmanning.


    • ritzl: ftr I have said for years now that Gaza will NOT be part of any incorporation of Palestine into the combined state. Gaza will likely be the standalone Palestinian state for Palestinians to make of what they will.

      Thank you for pointing that out. I recall now this statement of yours back in Aug. 2015:

      I’ve written before that I believe Gaza will be the Palestinian state . Nobody wants it as part of anything – including the PA. That seems to me to be the path of least resistance in all this, and on the upside would give Palestinians a potentially resource-rich place to pour their considerable and pent-up abilities and energies to make magic. Separating Gaza makes WB annexation more likely for the reasons you list.

      [emphasis added]

      The problem I'm having with your position is: On many, many occasions you have asserted the inevitability of a "ONE state reality". Yet you simultnaeously assert a TWO state reality: a Palestinian State in Gaza + Israel including the WB

      A few examples:

      [ritzl: ] Two states is just never going to happen, or if it does, contrary to the conventional wisdom, one state will have to happen first.

      * * *
      Imho the annexation inertia won't be countered by the nascent, yet ultimately overwhelming, rights dynamic before Palestine is absorbed into a single state. In the end, "the moral arc of the universe" (firm believer in that), wins via the like-to-like (Apartheid/Hafrada) clarity, awareness, and legal precedents that the annexation vision of the new state will bring.

      * * *

      I'm just hopeful that whatever the new single state is called becomes (can become) one with equal rights.

      * * *
      ..the inevitability of one state is completely separate from these current two state gyrations.

      * * *
      But you're right it doesn't matter anymore. One state is here.

      * * *

      No sane or otherwise clear-thinking person/leader/government/Zionist can on one hand "push" for two states, and on the other hand accept this level of ongoing integration as "natural" or as anything other than a confirmation of the inevitability of one state. [emphasis added]

      It's impossible to reconcile all your talk of a ONE state future with your prediction of TWO states.

      Even more unfathomable is your suggestion that this new TWO state reality--a Palestinian state in Gaza + Israel w/WB-- can, if equal rights are obtained in the new Greater Israel, somehow represent a "win" for the so-called "moral arc of the universe", a great win for justice, equality, and the human spirit.

      In fact, such a TWO state outcome would represent the final, irreversible political fragmentation of the Palestinian people (split between Gaza, Greater Israel, refugee camps/diaspora.)

      It would represent the final, irreversible nullification of the Palestinian people's most fundamental right: the right to self-determination on their own territory.

      It would represent the final, irreversible nullification of everything the Palestinians have fought for since at least 1917.

      Moral arc? Really???

      (Not to mention the fact that a Palestinian state[let] in Gaza would most likely be a FAILED state, a humanitarian disaster, given the lack of land, exploding population, and a host of other problems.)

    • ritzl: So let me ask you… What’s different now with two states that makes you believe that “this time it’s for real?”


      I don't believe "this time it's for real". Where did I write that?

    • Maghlawatan: High performing Israelis just leave quietly and educate their kids in normal societies...


      If the best and the brightest Jews, the most open-minded, liberal, and secular ones, leave Israel for the great western tracts of normality, like Trumpian America, the result may not be "collapse" but simply further consolidation of Israeli militarism , fundamentalism and chauvinism.

      Also consider:

      "Survey says brain drain from Israel has halted "



      According to public opinion polls, the main motives for leaving Israel have not been the political and security situation, but include desire for higher living standards, pursuit of work opportunities and/or professional advancement, and higher education. Many Israelis with degrees in scientific or engineering fields have emigrated abroad, largely due to lack of job opportunities. From Israel's establishment in May 1948 to December 2006, about 400,000 doctors and academics left Israel. In 2009, Israel's Council for Higher Education informed the Knesset's Education Committee that 25% of Israel's academics were living overseas, and that Israel had the highest human capital flight rate in the world.

      However, an OECD estimate put the highly educated Israeli emigrant rate at 5.3 per 1,000 highly educated Israelis, meaning that Israel actually retains more of its highly educated population than many other developed countries.

      In addition, the majority of Israelis who emigrate eventually return after extended periods abroad. In 2007, the Israeli government began a programme to encourage Israelis living abroad to return; since then, the number of returning Israelis has doubled, and in 2010, Israeli expatriates, including academics, researchers, technical professionals, and business managers, began returning in record numbers. Israel launched additional programmes to open new opportunities in scientific fields to encourage Israeli scientists and researchers living abroad to return home.

      These programmes have since succeeded in luring many Israeli scientists back home.
      [emphasis added]

      According to demographer Pini Herman, this circular migration has been an economic boon to Israel. Israel does not have the technological, academic, and other infrastructural resources to absorb its disproportionate number of highly trained and skilled population, second only to the United States.

      As a result, many Israelis have worked overseas for extended periods of time. Upon their return, they have often attracted or repatriated with them to Israel new infrastructure, such as that provided by companies like as Intel, Google, Microsoft, and IBM. [42]

      [emphasis added]

    • Maghlawatan: Israeli collapse is a system issue


      It's easy to make comforting deterministic predictions of "collapse" without providing any concrete scenarios (will brainwashed-since-birth batshit crazyIsraeli Jews just give up their homes, their dreams and their nukes and voluntarily flee?) and without any providing any time frame --10 years, 30 years, 100 years?

      (I'm sure capitalism will inevitably collapse, it being a system issue as well. The world's ecosystem too, another system issue. )

      So, we just have to sit back and wait for Israel to "collapse."

      Maybe your right.

      But what if it doesn't? What if it lingers on, or somehow evolves and adapts?

      Is there a plan B?

    • ritzl: , if they annex completely around your “non-annexed” areas they have annexed those as well.


      1)It's doubtful that Israel can annex completely around Gaza.

      2)Surrounded non-annexed areas remain occupied but not annexed. "Annexation" has a specific meaning: a state's application of civil jurisdiction/municipal laws over the territory in question. And in the case of the WB, Israel will most likely offer citizenship and to the Arab Palestinians in annexed areas.

      But you are absolutely correct: "either way they do it (whatever bits they do or don’t deign to formally annex) they have 2M+ Palestinians in former Palestine under their control and without rights – aka [legal definition of] Apartheid. "

      It's a horrific system of human oppression. An evil "matrix of control", to use Halper's term.

      I just think that more obvious wrong means more likely action to resolve that wrong.

      I'm just a little concerned about the widespread faith in "worse before better", a faith in the inevitable bending of an "arc of history" toward justice; the faith that that the more Israel succeeds in denying Palestinians their rights and expropriating their land, the better it is for the realization of just, peaceful, egalitarian single democratic state. I think that kind of faith-based thinking, while inspiring, may have some negative potential as well.

      In any case, what specific actions to "resolve that wrong" are you suggesting will become more likely?

      I asked you previously:

      [Sibiriak December 24, 2016, 9:46 pm:] What possibly could be the conditions attached to international sanctions on Israel?

      If the conditions are Israel complying with UN resolutions, then that would be in your view a “retrospective application”, since all the UN resolutions and the ICJ “Wall” opinion are unequivocally oriented toward the two state concept. [See Finkelstein's latest analysis of res. 2334 at MW]

      So what would a “prospective application” actually look like, in terms of the conditions put on sanctions?

      Sanctions will be maintained until Israel does X?

      What would that X be, if not compliance with UN resolutions ?

      Can you give me any idea at all?


      Perhaps you might have time now to respond?

    • ritzl: I hope the Palestinians in soon-to-be annexed Palestine can survive the pain


      I'd worry much more about the millions of Palestinians who live in never-to-be-annexed areas.

  • Terrorism: How the Israeli state was won
    • No, dear Mooser, the Palestinians were not among those "championing Zionism."

      They preferred not have their land stolen, their national aspirations crushed, and their lives made a nightmare by ethnic cleansing, massacres and terror.

      But we knew that, didn't we??

    • Tom Suarez: Bigots were Zionism’s avid fans—it was the anti-Semites who championed the Zionists.

      I thought there were a few philo-Semites championing Zionism as well; not to mention a smattering of Christian Zionists; a few calculating British imperialists too. I even read somewhere that there was some genuine concern about anti-Semitism, Russian pogroms and the like... hmmm....

      Gertrude Bell, the famous English writer, traveler, archaeologist, and spy, reported, based on her personal experience, that those who supported Zionism did so because it provided a way to get rid of Jews.

      Well, if Gertrude Bell said it, that settles the matter.

    • Thanks! I'm going to buy the book. I log in. I select the Kindle version.

      Oh noooooo!!

      "Kindle Edition This title is available to UK customers only."

    • yonah fredman: This piece is propaganda.


      No, it's an anti-Zionist polemic. A prosecutorial case. The most damning facts and interpretations are laid out, along with illustrative exhibits. A prosecutor is under no obligation to dwell on complicating factors, confusing details or exculpatory evidence. One-sidedness is a prosecutorial virtue, not a vice.

      It's up to others such as yourself to take up the defense, if you so wish. You seem to have made a good start.

    • Bar Kochbar: So this is my constructive solution [...] Swop the refugee card for the settler card,

      Great idea. Quite reasonable. The problem is: the Palestinians WERE willing to swap the refugee card and offered to do so in various negotiations (largely symbolic "right of return" + compensation/international aid; land swaps allowing some but not all settlements to be annexed by Israel), but the Israeli's WERE NOT willing to compromise on the settlements.

      What you are describing is the international two-state consensus, ACCEPTED by the Palestinian leadership, Arab states, and most of the world; REJECTED by Israel.

      The Israelis have never negotiated in good faith. They have never come around to accepting the idea of a genuine, sovereign Palestine next to Israel.

      The "peace process" has never been anything except a Zionist fraud used as cover for continual expansion.

    • (cont.)

      Fwiw, after giving accounts of the killings and terrible atrocities, Segev provides this overview of the events:

      Sixty-seven Jews had been killed. Most were Ashkenazic men, but there were also a dozen women and three children under the age of five among the dead. Seven of the victims were yeshiva students from the United States and Canada. Dozens of people had been wounded, about half of them women, and quite a few children, including a one-year-old boy whose parents had both been murdered. The American consulate reported that nine Arabs had been killed. 20 The Hebron Jews were buried in mass graves; the survivors, including the wounded, were taken to Jerusalem.

      * * * * *

      David Ben-Gurion compared the massacre in Hebron to the Kishinev pogrom, and he would later use the Nazi expression Judenrein to describe Hebron after the Jews left. “The pogrom was committed by Hebron’s Arab masses,” wrote Rehavam Ze’evi, who edited a book on the event. “All the Arabs of Hebron did this,” he noted, “[ w] ith the exception of individuals who provided shelter for their Jewish neighbors.” He added the Hebron massacre to the historic roster of anti-Jewish persecutions. “Pogroms, slaughters, and massacres have been part of our nation’s history in their Diaspora and now this horrifying spectacle has been repeated in the Land of Israel,” he wrote. 22 But he was wrong.

      The murder of Jews in Hebron was not a pogrom in the historic sense. Unlike attacks on the Jews of Eastern Europe, the authorities did not initiate the Hebron riots, and the police did not simply stand aside. Raymond Cafferata did his best, but the Hebron police force was just too weak to be effective. Thirty years later David Ben-Gurion wrote, “What can a lone British officer do in a city like Hebron?” He could have been writing about British rule in Palestine as a whole. The British could do very little.

      The riots struck at the professional honor of the men responsible for law and order in the country and also violated their sense of fairness. Eric Mills, assistant chief administrative secretary, said that one of the bitterest moments of his life was when he, an Englishman, saw what had happened under the British flag. At the same time, the police forces’ actions to save the Jews did not necessarily reflect sympathy for the Zionist enterprise. Cafferata wrote to his mother that he would not be surprised if there was another outbreak of violence and Palestine became a “repetition of the Irish show,” unless the government accepted some of the Arab demands. He believed the Arabs would not be satisfied with anything less than a revocation of the Balfour Declaration, and he criticized the government for refusing to do this.

      The attack on the Jews of Hebron was born of fear and hatred. The Muslims believed the Jews intended to violate the sanctity of Islam, and that the Zionists wanted to dispossess them of their country. According to the American consulate, the Jews were also murdered for economic reasons, as merchants and as moneylenders. 24 The Arabs hated them as foreigners— most had come from Europe and America. And a few probably attacked Jews out of some appetite for murder, without any clearly defined reason. Many of the rioters were not from Hebron but from the surrounding villages.

      Most of Hebron’s Jews were saved because Arabs hid them in their homes. The community confirmed this, writing, “Had it not been for a few Arab families not a Jewish soul would have remained in Hebron.” The Zionist Archives preserves lists of Hebron Jews who were saved by Arabs; one list contains 435 names. Over two-thirds of the community, then, found refuge in twenty-eight Arab homes, some of which took in dozens of Jews. “Arabs were hurt defending their neighbors,” one Jew testified afterward. Dr. Abdal Aal, an Egyptian doctor, received a letter of gratitude from Colonel Kisch for the assistance he rendered the Jews of Hebron; in addition to the care he gave the wounded, he himself protected an entire family. 25 [pp. 324-25]

      * * * * *

      The violence spread across the country; Arabs even tried to penetrate Tel Aviv. The British called in reinforcements from Egypt and Transjordan, but despite the additional forces the atrocities continued. Events in Safed were much like those in Hebron. Colonel Kisch met five girls who had seen their parents murdered. 29 Arab spokesmen reported acts of terror perpetrated by Jews, including the lynching of Arab passersby and the murder of women and children. In a few cases, the Arabs claimed, Jews attacked people who had given them refuge. The Jewish Agency investigated some of these charges and concluded that “in isolated cases” there were Jews “who shamefully went beyond the limits of self-defense.” One memorandum reporting that Jews had broken into a mosque and set sacred books on fire bears a scribbled note: “This unfortunately is true.” When the violence finally subsided, 133 Jews and 116 Arabs were dead: 339 Jews and 232 Arabs were injured. 30

      (pp 326-327)

    • (Cont.)

      Segev gives this account of the massacre rumors being spread in Hebron:

      At 2: 45 [Raymond Cafferata, British Police Superintendent in charge at Hebron] reported nothing unusual, but having heard of the trouble in Jerusalem, he decided at 3: 00 to station three of his men at the outskirts of the town; their task was to search for weapons in the cars coming back from prayers in Jerusalem. The passengers who stopped spoke of what was going on there, and the rumor that Jews were killing Arabs spread quickly.

      People soon began gathering at the municipal bus station, intending to travel to Jerusalem. One man, Sheikh Talib Markha, made a speech. Cafferata went to the station to persuade the crowd that the rumors were baseless; as he approached, Sheikh Markha fell silent. Everything was quiet in Jerusalem, Cafferata lied, estimating the crowd at around seven hundred. He sent some men to patrol the Jewish houses and went along as well, taking eight mounted policemen with him. Cafferata noted that many Jews were standing on their roofs or balconies. He ordered them into their homes, but they ignored him. [emphasis added] [p. 319]

      The fact that many of the Arab Palestinian rioters were from villages outside of Hebron also suggests the rumors were not product of a Zionist conspiracy since it is doubtful that Jewish Zionists had the necessary presence in those villages to spread rumors.

    • @jaypali

      Tom Segev (not a Palestinian source, of course) gives a detailed account of the Hebron riot in his book One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate . Imo, it lends credence to Tom Suarez’s conjecture.

      First of all, it should be noted that there was plenty enough chaotic violence in Jerusalem the day before the Hebron riot to provide an impetus for rumors of a massacre.

      Brief excerpt:

      [Tom Segev:] In the early-morning hours of Friday, August 23, 1929, thousands of Arab villagers began streaming into Jerusalem from the surrounding villages. They had come to pray at the Temple Mount; many were armed with sticks and knives, and the city was filled with a sense of tension and violence. Harry Luke, as acting high commissioner, requested reinforcements from Amman. Toward 9: 30 the Jewish merchants began closing their stores. About an hour and a quarter later, the mufti promised the Jerusalem police commander that the worshipers were carrying sticks and knives only out of fear that the Jews might try to create some sort of provocation. When one of the preachers made a nationalist speech calling on the Islamic faithful to fight against the Jews to the last drop of their blood, mufti al-Husseini urged his community to keep the peace. 1

      At roughly 11: 00 A.M., twenty or thirty gunshots were heard on the Temple Mount, apparently intended to work up the crowd. Several hundred worshipers swarmed through the alleys of the marketplace and began attacking Jewish pedestrians. Edwin Samuel, Luke’s secretary, was in his office, not far from the Nablus Gate. The sound of the mob was indistinct and seemed to come from far away; Samuel at first thought he was hearing the buzz of a swarm of bees. 2 A crowd had gathered beneath his window. Luke quickly got the mutfi on the phone and demanded that he take control of his people. The mufti came to talk to the mob, but Luke’s impression was that the religious leader’s presence was not calming people down— in fact, it seemed to be having precisely the opposite effect. Later, the mufti explained that by the time he’d arrived, the crowd had been joined by Arabs injured by Jews, which made keeping the peace very difficult. Edwin Samuel remembered the flash of the rioters’ daggers glinting in the noonday sun. 3

      At midday, Edward Keith-Roach was on a tour of the Old City. Near the Jaffa Gate, he saw a Jew running for his life, followed by a crowd of Arab thugs waving sticks. Yitzhak Ben-Zvi also saw a man fleeing from a gang— he may have been the same one. Ben-Zvi had been sitting in the Zionist Executive office on Jaffa Street. At first he was told that the worshipers were dispersing quietly; then he heard there were problems. He rushed to the Jaffa Gate, where he met the man, bloody and injured. Before being rushed to the hospital, the man managed to tell Ben-Zvi that he had been sitting in the doorway of his son’s shop when the first of the worshipers came down from the Temple Mount and pounced on him. 4

      While this was taking place, the tensions had reached the Jewish Mea She’arim neighborhood, and two or three Arabs were murdered there. A report from the American consulate, which documented the events in nearly minute-by-minute detail, determined that the killings occurred between 12: 00 and 12: 30. Afterward there was much controversy over whether the day’s first victims had been Jews or Arabs. 5

      Violence spread quickly throughout most of the city and into its suburbs. [p. 315 ]

    • @Tom Suarez

      I'd love to buy the book. Do you know if it will be coming out in Kindle or other eBook form?

  • Resolution for 2017: Stop substituting 'the occupation' for 'Zionism'
    • echinococcus: Your list is trying to smuggle a number of established, abundantly documented and undiscussable transgressions along with a couple of “exactly the same kind of rhetoric neocons and liberal interventionists use”.


      No, nothing was "smuggled", whatever that means. And most of them are used by neocons/liberal interventionists, not just a couple. I know you are focused on Palestine, but try reading some of the neocon/lib attacks on Russia. Putin committing "genocide" in Syria--didn't you hear about it?

      The point is: I suggest powerful, emotionally-charged, already well-understood and familiar condemnatory language that is indeed accurate --rather than the far less emotionally charged, somewhat pedantic and unfamiliar "settler colonialism" which requires reams of explanation.

    • @MHughes976

      To give a concrete example, self-described "liberal Zionist" Peter Beinart asserts that the Palestinian people have their own right to self-determination in their own state in Palestine, i.e. he rejects the notion that only Jews have an inherent right to sovereignty in the Holy Land.

      Does that mean he is in fact not a Zionist at all, in your view?

    • @Arby

      Good points.

    • Keep "settler colonialism" for the academic sphere.

      For the general public, go with"Apartheid", "illegal occupation", "violations of international law". "humanitarian crisis," "human rights violations", "war crimes", "ethnic cleansing", "genocide", "state terrorism". "far- Right regime", "right-wing Nationalist regime", "ethnonationalist", "religious extremists", "neo-fascist", "anti-Western", "illiberal", "anti-democratic", "rogue state", "Netanyahu's Israel" (like "Putin's Russia"), etc.

      In short, use exactly the same kind of rhetoric neocons and liberal interventionists use when they want to delegitimize and demonize a state.

    • MHughes976 : Zionism to my mind is the belief that people who are Jewish, and they only, have an inherent right to a share of sovereignty in the Holy Land, others only by the grace of the true heirs.

      So if someone does NOT believe that, but nevertheless supports the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, he/she is not a "Zionist" in your view??

    • Tom Suarez: Rather, the occupation is a symptom, not the disease itself.

      True. "The occupation" is a concrete policy , a concrete reality. "Zionism", on the other hand, is an ideology (or more precisely, an umbrella term for a complex of ideological currents) which has led to the policy. So it would be a blatant category error to "substitute 'the occupation' for 'Zionism'."

      Get rid of the “occupation”, and it will be a rude morning after when you realize that the problem itself has not changed.

      You wildly overstate your case. Getting rid of the occupation would mean getting rid of a massive amount of oppression and suffering. Getting rid of the occupation would also mean the current de jure state of Palestine would become a de facto state. Those would be huge changes.

      Getting rid of the occupation would mean the achievement of the first goal of the BDS movement. The other two goals--

      Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

      Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality.

      ---would remain unfulfilled, of course. But that hardly nullifies the achievement of the first goal. To return to your metaphor, eliminating symptoms is not an insignificant achievement at all: eliminate all a disease's symptoms and the presence of the disease becomes of minimal concern.

      Also, I do not agree at all about the geographic parameters of the occupation being somehow universally (or even casually) agreed upon.

      I never said anything about universal agreement. What I said was: " the boundaries of Occupied Palestinian Territory have been clearly specified by the UN and International Court of Justice. "

      That's true. The ICJ in its 2004 "Wall" opinion stated unequivocally that the dividing line between Israeli territory and occupied Palestinian territory was the 1949 "Green Line." I'd be happy to quote for you verbatim from the Court's opinion, if you wish.

      Regarding the UN itself, there have been multiple UN resolutions calling for a two-state settlement of the conflict based on the 1949 Armistice lines (aka "Green Line" / "pre-1967 borders").

      There have been ZERO UN resolutions calling for a two-state settlement based on the original res. 181 recommendations after those were not backed by the UNSC, not implemented, and superseded by the UN- sanctioned 1949 Armistice Agreements.

      Likewise, there have been multiple UN resolutions condemning Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory (defined by the 1949 "Green Line") including East Jerusalem.

      There have been ZERO UN resolutions condemning Israeli settlement in territory inside the "Green Line" but outside res 181 recommended borders which Israel acquired during the 1948 Nakba.

      To be even more specific, the principle of the inadmissibility of a state's acquisition of territory through war has only been applied by the UN/ICJ to territory acquired by Israel in 1967. It has never been applied to the territory acquired during the 1948 Nakba. There are both legal and political reasons for this which I can go into detail on if you wish. But it in any case, it is simply a fact.

      In sum, it is indeed quite accurate to say the boundaries of Occupied Palestinian Territory have been clearly specified by the UN and International Court of Justice. . Whether those boundaries are just ( I don't think the are) is an entirely different question.

    • ritzl: it’s Occupied Palestine, not the derisive, dismissive, hasbara-culture terminology of “the occupied territories.”

      You need to brush up on your "hasbara culture" a bit. "Occupied territories" is not "hasbara-culture" terminology. There is no "occupied Palestinian territory." There are no "occupied territories" of any kind. There is no occupation, period. It's all "disputed territory."

    • Let's be real: opposition to the term "occupation" is really opposition to the two-state idea.

      Ending the occupation* would leave Zionist Israel intact in the short term, making its democratic transformation a separate phase in the struggle.


      *The BDS Movement: "International law recognises the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan Heights as occupied by Israel."

    • Classic example:

      Op-Ed: There is No "Occupation"

      by Morton A. Klein, National President, Zionist Organization of America

    • @Tom Suarez

      1) Belligerent occupation is quite well-defined under international law, and the boundaries of Occupied Palestinian Territory have been clearly specified by the UN and International Court of Justice.

      That's not to say that other uses of term "occupation" are not possible, or that one must agree with the UN/ICJ. Some people, for example, argue that all of Israel is "occupied" Palestinian territory as well. However, the fact remains that there is a clear legal and international consensus on the meaning of the term, which allow it to be used with precision in that regard.

      As Jonathan Ofir puts it:

      " The whole world recognizes that Israel is an occupying power. This is completely uncontroversial."

      2)If the term "occupation" has so obviously worked in Israel's favor, why then has Israel has been so vehemently opposed to its usage? The term is anathema to expansionist Zionists. They flat-out deny that there is any occupied territory at all-- it's all "disputed territory" .

      Again, Jonathan Ofir:

      A few days ago, a video interview with Alan Baker, Israel’s former ambassador to Canada (as well as military prosecutor and senior legal adviser in the Israeli army’s international law division), was released, under the title: “International Law Expert: Israel Is Not an “Occupier.”

      In the interview, released by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Baker makes the essential claim that Israel is not an occupier, because he says that international law defines occupation as “one power occupying the lands of a foreign sovereign”.

      But Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Regulations (HR) states that a “territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army,” and according to their common Article 2, the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 apply to any territory occupied during international hostilities. Baker calls the West Bank “disputed territory,” as does Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

      * * * * *

      [Israeli] adventurism is not only about expansion – it is about spinning and twisting international law to serve this adventurism – with deceit.

      In 1967 Israel took on the adventurism which even some of its own leaders first feared (after having ethnically cleansed most of the territory from most of the Palestinians in 1948) – the conquering of further territory with a large Palestinian population, one which now, with Israel’s Palestinian citizens combined, counts as many Jews as non-Jews, despite various and ongoing campaigns of ethnic cleansing since.

      Israel tries to hide these occupations in various ways, with various spins.

      In 2005, Israel, under PM Ariel Sharon, did the famous “disengagement” from Gaza, the “significance” of which was elucidated by Sharon’s security adviser Dov Weisglass as “the freezing of the peace process.” Yet even this “disengagement” proved to be mere spin.

      Whilst the Israeli government claims that Gaza is no longer occupied, both the UN, and even the United States regard it as “occupied”.

      Israel also seeks to obscure its Golan occupation. After a promising oil test drill last year, Israel worked arduously to try to have the United States endorse its illegal annexation of the Syrian Golan, also conquered in 1967. In his meeting with Obama, Netanyahu reportedly claimed that Syria was no longer a functioning state, allowing “for different thinking.” In a bizarre, first-ever cabinet meeting atop the Golan heights earlier this year, Netanyahu simply vowed that “the Golan will always remain in Israel’s hands. Israel will never withdraw from the Golan Heights.”

      There’s nothing to be in doubt of regarding the Golan – it’s Syrian territory. Not “disputed territory.” Not “disengaged from” territory as Israel would have it spun in other locations it occupies. And yet, we are told in no uncertain terms – that this Syrian territory, occupied in an uncontroversial way (and illegally annexed in 1981), is part and parcel of Israel.

      * * * * *

      Tell the Palestinians in the West Bank that there’s no occupation. Tell the Gazans. Tell the Syrians. Tell everyone. There’s no occupation. Repeat it again and again. There’s no occupation. It all becomes “Israel”, and Herzl’s ‘dream’ is turned into ‘reality’ by brute force and propaganda.

      [emphasis added]


      Again I ask, if the idea of "occupation" is so favorable to Israel, why the vast, longstanding, multifaceted, furious Israeli propaganda campaign to deny the reality of occupation?

  • Netanyahu's holy war, and the coming Jewish schism
    • Kindle!

      We didn't start the fire
      It was always burning
      Since the world's been turning

    • Thanks Annie for the French translations. I agree, this is an important story. Maybe even an explosive one.

      I may be way off base here, but I wonder, is it possible that elements of the Israeli political Establishment (deep state) might be acting to take Netanyahu down, or at least clip his wings, with a criminal investigation, before he takes Israel completely over the cliff??

    • "Knowing Too Much" IS available at Amazon.

  • UN resolution on settlements is a step back for Palestinians
    • Nsaway: Thank you for the good discussion. I think it was useful


      Yes, thanks. I found it useful as well. I'm tempted to reply to some points you just made (eg. about the rather non-specific "enhance maximum territorial contiguity" language ), but I'll let you have the last word.

    • (Cont.)

      Needless to say, the "Roadmap" and the entire "peace process" has been a total fraud from beginning to end, and there will be no meaningful negotiations ever unless and until massive pressure is put on Israel to negotiate in good faith.

      Does that mean res. 2334 is meaningless?

      No. I think Norman Finkelstein explained quite well how such resolutions can " become a political force if you know how to mobilize a public on their behalf...", as Israel did with the Balfour Declaration etc.

      See more at:

    • (Cont.)

      [Nsaway:] You [...]state that S/2003/529 [the “Roadmap] “calls for a negotiated final agreement on the major settlement”. I don’t see that anywhere in the text (neither minor nor major settlements).

      The “Roadmap” clearly calls for negotiations for a final agreement, including the status of settlements.

      I used the phrase “major settlements” only to distinguish the settlements subject to a “freeze” from the post 2001 “outposts” which were to be immediately dismantled.

      These “major settlements” (use whatever term you wish) were NOT to be dismantled immediately, but rather have their final status determined by negotiation.

      [the "Roadmap":] ... a final, permanent status resolution in 2005, including on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements [emphasis added]


      [Nsaway:] I am willing to grant that this is weaker than a call for straight up dismantlement of settlements (though again, that’s certainly a reasonable interpretation). However, regardless of how you interpret it, you’ll be hard pressed to argue that it’s not a stronger call than the language used in UNSC 2334.

      Not hard pressed at all. It is not a stronger call. It calls for a freezeon settlement activity; it calls for negotiations to determine the final status of the settlements.

      That is no stronger than 2334.

      If anything, res. 2334 (2016) is much stronger than resolutions 1515 (2003) and 1850 (2008) which explicitly endorsed the “Roadmap”.

      In your own words, the “Roadmap”:

      […]doesn’t reiterate that settlements are a flagrant violation of international law, doesn’t refer the 4th Geneva convention, doesn’t discuss the inadmissibility of territorial acquisition by war, and many other settlement-specific statements that we see in prior settlement-specific resolutions like UNSC 465, as well as UNSC 2334. [emphasis added]

      I think anyone who compares res. 2334’s strong anti-settlement language to the Roadmap’s lack of such language, enshrined in res. 1515 (2003) and res. 1850 (2008), will be hard-pressed not to see res. 2334 as a step forward both in tone and focus.

    • (Cont.)

      [Nsaway: ] you seem to have hinted in your reply that there are other resolutions as well beyond S/2003/529 [the "Roadmap"]

      Yes. In addition to res. 1515 (2003), res.1850 (2008) explicitly endorsed the Roadmap’s call for a freeze on settlement activity and a negotiated final agreement on all core issues, including settlements.

      [Res. 1850:]

      Welcoming the 9 November 2008 statement from the Quartet and the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Understanding announced at the November 2007 Annapolis Conference, including in relation to implementation of the Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,

      * * * *

      2. Supports the parties’ agreed principles for the bilateral negotiating process and their determined efforts to reach their goal of concluding a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues, without exception, which confirm the seriousness of the Annapolis process;

      3. Calls on both parties to fulfil their obligations under the Performance-Based Roadmap, as stated in their Annapolis Joint Understanding, and refrain from any steps that could undermine confidence or prejudice the outcome of negotiations;

      4. Calls on all States and international organizations to contribute to an atmosphere conducive to negotiations and to support the Palestinian government that is committed to the Quartet principles and the Arab Peace Initiative [emphasis added]


      KEY POINT: The move away from the call to dismantle all settlements, enshrined in res. 465, to calls for a settlement freeze and bilateral negotiations to determine the settlements final status was consolidated in the Quartet’s “Roadmap” and enshrined in 1515 (2003), res. 1850 (2008).

      Thus it is incorrect to say that the recently passed res. 2334 was a "step back" from res. 465. That "step back" had already occurred in 2003, more than a decade before res. 2334.

    • [Nsaway:] First, as you know very well, S/2003/529 is not a “settlement-centric” resolution.

      Thanks for your very thoughtful and detailed response.

      To be precise, S/2003/52 is not a resolution. It is a letter from Kofi Annan to the Security Council transmitting the text of the “Roadmap”.

      Letter dated 7 May 2003 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council

      I have the honour to transmit to you herewith the text of a road map to realize the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, as affirmed in Security Council resolution 1397 (2002) (see annex). The text has been prepared by the Quartet — consisting of representatives of the United States of America, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United Nations — and was presented to the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority on 30 April 2003. I should be grateful if you would bring this text to the attention of the members of the Security Council.

      (Signed) Kofi A. Annan


      The “Roadmap”

      While the Roadmap is not “settlement centric”, it nevertheless marks a definitive shift from the call to DISMANTLE ALL Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory to a call for 1) a “FREEZE” in settlement activity and 2) a NEGOTIATED AGREEMENT on the settlements’ final status (excluding post 2001 “outposts”):

      Settlement Freeze:

      [The “Roadmap”:]

      GOI immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001.

      • Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements). [emphasis added]

      Negotiated Final Status Agreement:

      [the “Roadmap”:]

      A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel's readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established, and a clear, unambiguous acceptance by both parties of the goal of a negotiated settlement as described below. The Quartet will assist and facilitate implementation of the plan, starting in Phase I, including direct discussions between the parties as required. A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors.

      SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: Convened by Quartet, in consultation with the parties, at beginning of 2004 to endorse agreement reached on an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders and formally to launch a process with the active, sustained, and operational support of the Quartet, leading to a final, permanent
      status resolution in 2005, including on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, SETTLEMENTS;
      and, to support progress toward a comprehensive Middle East settlement between Israel and Lebanon and Israel and Syria, to be achieved as soon as possible.
      [emphasis added]


      UNSC Resolution 1515 -- November 2003

      Resolution 1515 endorsed the “Roadmap” stressing the bilateral negotiating process to resolve all the “core issues”, which include, of course, Israeli settlements.

      [Res. 1515:]

      2. Supports the parties’ agreed principles for the bilateral negotiating process and their determined efforts to reach their goal of concluding a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues, without exception, which confirm the seriousness of the Annapolis process;

      3. Calls on both parties to fulfil their obligations under the Performance-Based Roadmap, as stated in their Annapolis Joint Understanding, and refrain from any steps that could undermine confidence or prejudice the outcome of negotiations; [emphasis added]

    • Nsaway: I previously said, political actors come and go. There’s no reason to believe that under different political actors, the politics would remain the same.

      That's a good point. Thanks for stressing that possibility/necessity of new and better Palestinian leadership.

      [Nsaway:] But now, to have those politics (i.e. not insisting on dismantlement as the law should dictate, and incorporating language that potentially allows Israel to keep at least existing settlements through negotiation) be enshrined into an international law document like a UNSC resolution constrains or weakens the future politics.

      This is the key point of disagreement in terms of this resolution. I think the politics of "not insisting on dismantlement ...potentially allow[ing] Israel to keep...settlements through negotiation"--those politics were already enshrined more than a decade ago in international law documents such as UNSC res 1515 and others. Therefore, res 2334 is not the significant step backward you make it out to be.

      On the other hand, res 2334 is a step forward in delegitimizing Israel and legitimizing BDS.

      The furious Israeli reaction confirms this.

    • Nsaway: [in the article:][...]the language in UNSC resolution 465 “calls upon Israel to dismantle the existing settlements [emphasis added]

      * * * *
      [from comment above: ] But now, to have those politics (i.e. not insisting on dismantlement as the law should dictate , and incorporating language that potentially allows Israel to keep at least existing settlements through negotiation) be enshrined into an international law document like a UNSC resolution. [emphasis added]


      1) You seem to be overlooking UN resolutions that were passed after res 465 which abandoned the straight up call for settlements to be abandoned.

      Specifically, in 2003 the UNSC passed res. 1515 which endorsed the "Quartet Performance-based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" (S/2003/529).

      Res. 1515:

      “1. Endorses the Quartet Performance-based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (S/2003/529);

      “2. Calls on the parties to fulfill their obligations under the Roadmap in cooperation with the Quartet and to achieve the vision of two States living side by side in peace and security;

      As you may know, the "Roadmap" calls for for a freeze by Israel of all settlement activity, including “natural growth”, and the dismantlement of all settlement outposts erected since March 2001 , and it calls for a negotiated final agreement on the major settlements .

      And notably res 2334 specifically recalls res 1515.

      The point is this:

      More than a decade before res 2334, a UNSC resolution had already explicitly adopted the "Roadmap" call for a freeze to the major settlement activity, rather than the wholesale dismantlement of ALL settlements, and for a negotiated final status agreement which would potentially allow Israel to keep at least existing settlements through negotiation. .


      2) The fact that the settlements are illegal has never nullified the Palestinian right to negotiate a final border agreement that could include adjustments that the parties mutually agreed to. Such a negotiated final agreement had been the legally enshrined in the UN sanctioned 1949 Armistice Agreement (negotiations originally being with Jordan, of course.)

    • continued:

      because they specifically refuse to distinguish between the settlements and “Israel proper” when calling for BDS against Israel


      Of course, I agree that BDS calls for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel itself, not just the settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

    • Nsaway: ...the foundational principles of BDS as proclaimed by the BNC in 2005 are implicitly opposed to this clause, because they specifically refuse to distinguish between the settlements and “Israel proper” when calling for BDS against Israel


      In 2005, the BDS Movement's first goal was:

      [Israel] Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall”

      However, in 2010 that goal was changed to:

      [Israel]: Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall. [emphasis added]

      In 2016 it was changed once again to:

      [Israel] Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall.

      [Followed by the "fine print":]

      “International law recognises the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the Syrian Golan Heights as occupied by Israel. As part of its military occupation, Israel steals land and forces Palestinians into ghettos, surrounded by checkpoints, settlements, and watchtowers as supplemental to the illegal apartheid Wall. Israel has imposed a medieval siege on Gaza, turning it into the largest open air prison in the world. Israel also regularly carries out large-scale assaults on Gaza that are widely condemned as constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity.” [emphasis added]


      The latest version simply displaces the reference to the 1967 occupation to the "fine print", therefore it doesn't constitute a substantive change to the 2010 version.

      It's fair to say then that for a decade or so, the BDS Movement has in fact distinguished between occupied Palestinian territory defined by the pre-1967 "Green Line" and Israel proper.

      In order to gain the broadest support possible, BDS does not take a position on whether there should be one or two states in the I/P territory. The demand that Israel end its "occupation and colonization of all Arab lands " could easily have been interpreted as a call for the end of Israel and the creation of a single Arab Palestinian state. So that wording was changed to reflect BDS' principled avoidance of the one vs. two state issue.

      Furthermore, BDS claims to be a "rights-based" approach based on international law , and international law recognizes only territory captured in 1967 as "Occupied Palestinian Territory." Thus, the revision of the first demand was necessary in order to bring it in line with international law.

      Cf. "Why do Zionists falsely claim BDS movement opposes two-state solution?" by Ali Abunimah

    • Nsaway: it’s clear to me that facts on the ground did win

      It's clear to me too. My point isn't that facts on the ground didn't win politically. They did. But they won more than a decade ago.

      This resolution doesn't add anything to the victory. It doesn't change the law. It doesn't change the politics. It doesn't do anything except reflect the unchanged law and the long-ago changed politics. If you think it somehow "enshrines" the politics in some new way, so what? They are what they are.

      A large portion of the settlements will never be dismantled. Period. Under any scenario.

    • Nsaway: I interpret that as the international community giving up on demanding the dismantlement of all settlements


      But the international community, the Palestinian leadership, and the Arab States gave up on demanding the dismantlement of all settlements long ago . Therefore, this resolution isn't itself a new step backward; is only reflects that previous backward step taken more than a decade ago.

      Keep in mind that law and politics are too different spheres (closely related, of course). In terms of international law, nothing has changed whatsoever. All the settlements etc. are illegal, period.

      Keep in mind also that the principle of land swaps does not imply that ALL the settlements will be annexed, as envisioned by the Israeli leadership. Any land swaps must be agreed upon by BOTH parties. While the Palestinian leadership/Arab states have agreed to the principle of land swaps, they have never said that every settlement will be included in a swap.

      As I quoted above:

      In the same meeting where he conceded East Jerusalem, Qurei told Livni that the PA “cannot accept the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel, Giv’at Ze’ev, Ephrat and Har Homa settlements”.

      That was in 2008. In 2016, the UNSC in Resolution 2334 makes clear that:

      [...] it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations"

      This absolutely precludes unilateral Israel annexation of occupied Palestinian territory; it absolutely requires Palestinian agreement to any changes to the "Green Line" border.

      You quote UN resolution 465 passed in March 1980. In 1980 there was only a small fraction of the illegal Jewish settlers that there are today. Expansionist Zionists believed that by creating seemingly irreversible "facts on the ground" the international community would eventually have to come around to accepting the new reality in its entirety.

      But this resolution makes it clear: no changes without Palestinian agreement. Period. Decades of creating new facts on the ground have not created any new facts in international law.

      As Chaim Shalev wrote in Haaretz:

      Resolution 2334 shatters the government-induced illusion that the settlement project has been normalized, that it passed the point of no return, that it is now a fait accompli that will remain unchallenged.


      That's an important step forward.

    • a person regarded as effeminate or cowardly.


      Uh oh....

    • Nicolas Sawaya: "[...]incorporating legal language that would allow Israel to keep whatever settlements already exist beyond the 1967 lines “through negotiations” ...]

      joemowrey: Thanks for this. We begin to see that this token gesture by Obama, not vetoing the resolution, is just another of his slimy cons. He gets to look like some kind of hero while actually weakening the U.N. position on settlements. Classic Obama three-card-Monty slight of hand. This guy is a master.


      There's no "sleight of hand"-- it's all out in the open. Rightly or wrongly, negotiated land swaps have been an explicit part of the international two-state consensus for a very long time. . The idea has been long been embraced by Arab states and the Palestinian leadership.

      [2013] Arab states back Israel-Palestine land swaps
      Qatari PM says Palestinians and Israel can swap land rather than stick to 1967 borders

      [...]Speaking on behalf of an Arab League delegation, Sheikh Hamad appeared to make a concession to Israel by explicitly raising the possibility of land swaps.

      However, it has long been assumed that these would be part of any peace agreement.

      * * *
      [...]"The Arab League delegation affirmed that agreement should be based on the two-state solution on the basis of the 4th of June 1967 line, with the [possibility] of comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land," [Kerry] told reporters after the meeting at the Blair House, the US president's guest house. [emphasis added]


      [2013] The Fatah Central Committee has accepted the Arab League’s latest proposal authorizing land swaps with Israel.

      Although PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat initially said that this was not a new idea and that the proposal was presented in coordination with the Palestinians, some Fatah and PA officials have come out against the land swap plan.

      Other Palestinians said the Arab League did not have a mandate to speak on behalf of Palestinians and offer territorial concessions to Israel.

      Opponents of the land swap idea said they were against it because it would “legitimize” settlements in the West Bank by allowing them to remain under Israeli sovereignty in a final deal between Israel and the Palestinians.


      [2014] PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: “In principle, we do not oppose the principle of land swaps , on the condition that they [the territories] are equivalent in size and value.


      [2011] "The biggest Yerushalayim" PA offered to concede almost all of East Jerusalem, an historic concession for which Israel offered nothing in return.

      The unprecedented offer by the PA came in a June 15 trilateral meeting in Jerusalem, involving Condoleezza Rice, the then-US secretary of state, Tzipi Livni, the then-Israeli foreign minister, Ahmed Qurei, PA's former prime minister, and Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator.

      Qurei: This last proposition could help in the swap process. We proposed that Israel annexes all settlements in Jerusalem except Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa). This is the first time in history that we make such a proposition; we refused to do so in Camp David.

      Erekat went on enumerate some of the settlements that the PA was willing to concede: French Hill, Ramat Alon, Ramat Shlomo, Gilo, Talpiot, and the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s old city. Those areas contain some 120,000 Jewish settlers. (Erekat did not mention the fate of other major East Jerusalem settlements, like Pisgat Ze’ev and Neve Ya’akov, but Qurei’s language indicates that they would also remain a part of Israel.)

      * * *

      Palestinian leaders took a more principled stand on other major settlement blocs in the West Bank. In the same meeting where he conceded East Jerusalem, Qurei told Livni that the PA "cannot accept the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel, Giv’at Ze’ev, Ephrat and Har Homa settlements".

      All of those (with the exception of Har Homa) are located deep in the West Bank, and their inclusion in Israel would be ruinous for the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state. Ariel, for example, is nearly halfway to Jordan, connected to Israel by an 18km stretch of highway 5.

      But dismantling these settlements is also not an option for the Israeli government. Ariel is a major industrial zone with nearly 18,000 residents. Ma’ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, is a fast-growing "bedroom community" of 30,000 people "[...]

      * * *

      [...]There is a third option, which Palestinian negotiators raised in several meetings: those Jewish settlements could be allowed to remain as part of the future Palestinian state. Ahmed Qurei made that suggestion to Tzipi Livni several times in 2008, including this exchange in June:

      Qurei: Perhaps Ma’ale Adumim will remain under Palestinian sovereignty, and it could be a model for cooperation and coexistence.

      Livni: The matter is not simply giving a passport to settlers.

      The Israeli foreign minister refused to entertain the idea. “You know this is not realistic,” she told Qurei in May.

  • A bi-national, democratic state is the only option Israel and Kerry has left us with
    • JLWarner: Almost every “democratic” state is bi-national

      Or multinational, to be precise.

      Cf. Nationalities and regions of Spain

      In Spanish jurisprudence, the concept nationality appears for the first time in the current constitution, approved in 1978, and after much debate in the Spanish Parliament.[8][9]

      Although it was explicitly understood that the term made reference to Galicia, the Basque Country and Catalonia,[4][5][8][10] the constitution does not specify any by name. Between the strong centralist position inherited from Franco's regime and the nationalist position mainly from the Galicians, Basques, and Catalans, that term came about as a consensus and was applied in their respective Statutes of Autonomy once all nationalities and regions acceded to self-government or autonomy and were constituted as autonomous communities.

    • Meanwhile, the ICC's credibility --and finances--are under attack:

      Top lawyer warns withdrawal of countries and limiting of funding threaten future of tribunal – and entire post-1945 settlement

      Three African states have begun withdrawing from its jurisdiction, raising fears that a succession of others will follow suit. Russia has removed its signature from the founding statute, the Philippines and Kenya are openly contemplating departure and key member nations – including the UK – have limited its funding.

      * * *

      [...]The most immediate threat is the move by Burundi, South Africa and the Gambia, which in the last quarter of 2016 have all served notice of intention to withdraw, citing complaints that ICC prosecutions focus excessively on the African continent.

      Their exits, which will come into force a year after they served notice, will leave 121 member states that have ratified the 1998 Rome statute. China, the US, India, Russia, Indonesia and Israel are among those who have refused membership.

      * * *
      Bensouda urged support for the court’s proposed 7% increase in its annual budget of just over €147m. There was, however, concerted resistance to the plans even from normally supportive states, which pared it back to 3%.

      Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both criticised resistance by the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and other countries to the increase on the grounds of the global financial crisis and inefficiencies in the court.

      * * *

      The ICC – motto “peace through justice” – has opened 10 full-scale investigations since 2004 into former presidents, politicians and warlords, all but one involving crimes allegedly committed in Africa. The only non-African investigation is into claims of war crimes in South Ossetia after the conflict between Russia and Georgia in 2008.

      The ICC’s 10 separate, preliminary examinations cover a broader geographical area: Afghanistan, Burundi, Colombia, Gabon, Guinea, Iraq, Nigeria, Palestine, the Gaza flotilla and Ukraine. The Iraq examination is into the conduct of British troops following the 2003 invasion; the Afghan inquiry could target both US and Taliban forces.

    • A just resolution will only come when Palestinians and their Israeli allies come together pro-actively, in good faith and with a determination to resolve the situation justly.

      For all Halper's hardcore realism regarding the "matrix of control", this is a liberal pipe-dream.

      How many real Israeli allies do the Palestinians have? What power do they have? Israel has slid into ethnocentric madness. Its delusional to think that the "good faith and determination" of a minuscule progressive alliance can produce a just solution.

      Outside pressure from the international community is essential, even if states are acting in "bad faith", and the result is less than fully just.

  • Why Obama waited 8 years to take on Netanyahu
  • The formal end of the two-state solution
    • yonah: I favor annexing the west bank and in a timely fashion giving all its inhabitants full citizenship.

      The annexation will be declared illegal and condemned by the international community. The impetus for punitive action will increase dramatically.

      And most likely:

      1) The Palestinians will not accept it; they will not accept the denial of their right to self-determination; they will not accept the division between WB and Gaza; they will not accept citizenship under those terms; they will revolt.

      2) Israel will have to declare some form of martial law. It will be the same belligerent occupation, de jure and de facto.

    • yonah: The one state solution (minus gaza)

      There can be no one state solution minus gaza.

      The result would be neither a single state nor a solution.

      Also consider:

      Gaza's population will more than double in about 30 years, signaling even more serious economic problems ahead for Palestinians in the small enclave if the conflict with Israel is not resolved, a U.N. official said on Tuesday.

      Andres Thomsen, of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), told Reuters "it will be very hard to imagine that you can create the right conditions for (economic) growth that can accommodate this dramatic population increase", without easing Israel's Gaza blockade.

      He was commenting on a new UNFPA report examining demographic changes and opportunities for development in the Gaza Strip and Israeli-occupied West Bank.

      The report forecast an increase in Gaza's population of 2 million to 4.8 million in 2050, outpacing that of the West Bank, where the number of people is predicted to rise from the current 2.9 million to 4.7 million.

    • Maghlawatan: Gaza is occupied BY Israel

      Yes. My point.

      It is occupied by Israel. It is not a part of Israel.

    • Gaza is certainly a separate polity from Israel .

      Israel and Gaza do not form a single state, neither de jure or de facto.

    • "one state reality and occupation.”

      A contradiction in terms. Occupation implies two states, one occupying, the other occupied. A single state cannot "occupy" part of itself.

      Palestine is a de jure state, occupied by Israel--> "Occupied Palestinian Territory."

      In any case, Gaza and Israel are not a "one state reality." Gaza is a separate Palestinian polity under Israeli blockade.

      Perpetual occupation is the official policy of Israel

      Indeed. One state perpetually occupying another. The peace process is dead, but the two state idea lives on--until the Palestinians renounce statehood and their right to self-determination on their territory.

  • Hear O Israel these parting truths -- John Kerry
    • “These hard truths remained untold for eight years because of fear

      Actually, they are very soft truths , and they had been repeated many times--the are the gist of the well-known "international two-state consensus."


      As a road map towards a two-state solution, Kerry offered six principles.

      1. Secure and recognized international borders between Israel and a viable, contiguous Palestine, based on 1967 lines with mutually agreed equivalent land swaps.

      [Israel gets 78% plus of historic mandatory Palestine. "Land swaps" is diplomatic-speak for Israel getting to keep major settlement blocs." --Sibiriak ]

      2. “Two states for two people, Jewish and Arab, with full equal rights for all citizens,” where each can achieve their national aspirations.

      [The "two states for two peoples" formula recognizes a Jewish right to self-determination in Israel and the Jewish character of the Israeli state. --Sibiriak ]

      3. A just, agreed, fair and realistic solution to the Palestinian refugee issue, including compensation and acknowledgment of suffering, as well as international assistance in finding permanent homes. The solution would need to be consistent with two states and “cannot affect the nature of Israel.”

      [In other words, very few Palestinian refugees, if any, will get to return to Israeli territory. Israel's Jewish super-majority will not be threatened. --Sibiriak ]

      4. Jerusalem as the capital of both states, with access to holy sites for all, acknowledging the sentiment that the city should not be divided again.

      5. Ending the occupation while satisfying Israel’s security needs. Israeli security must be guaranteed, but Palestinians need to be able to live in freedom and dignity in a sovereign state, even without a military of their own.

      [ How can a state be considered sovereign if it does not have the right to defend itself militarily, like all other states?? --Sibiriak ]

      6. End the conflict between Israel and neighboring Arab states, enabling the creation of an “absolutely groundbreaking” security structure in the region.

      [What's this "groundbreaking security structure? Permanent entrenchment of U.S. military domination of the region? --Sibiriak ]

  • John Kerry gives the 'separate but not equal' speech to Israel
  • 'Focus is on Palestinians,' says New York Times, but it quotes only one
    • Misterioso: Setting aside his growing relationship with Syria and Iran, I find it hard to believe that Putin will be stupid enough to pick up America’s leavings and alienate what in 20-25 years will be 3 billion Muslims worldwide...


      Russia's policy toward Israel/Palestine is clear: support the international two-state consensus while developing stronger economic and military ties with Israel.

      And don't forget, Russia is in a deadly war against radical Islamism, with multiple terrorist attacks on Russian soil. And consider: Russia's concern not to alienate 3 billion Muslims didn't stop it from leveling Grozny.


      "Russian PM Medvedev in Israel to boost trade ties"

      "Over the last years, we did not develop our economic cooperation as well as we could have hoped. The current state of affairs - trade turnover between Russia and Israel stands at around $2 billion," Medvedev told Israeli TV station Channel 2.

      "That’s not much and we used to have a trade turnover some 30 percent bigger than that but it shrank because of the global economic crisis and the devaluation of the ruble, as well as because of the decrease of imports into Russia," he said.

      "Our two sides can reach a very fair level of trade relations," he said. "I’m not even mentioning here the large energy and gas projects we’re considering at present."


      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a joint press conference in Jerusalem with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday afternoon during which the latter described how he felt at home every time visited Israel.

      During the conference, Medvedev spoke about the shared values between the two countries while highlighting his country’s obligation to combat anti-Semitism and as well as the mutual obligation to face common challenges.

      First and foremost it is terrorism that threatens the entire globe but here, in your area, it is felt particularly harshly. The Russian Federation also suffers from terror and it is part and parcel of the same thing.

      In light of this fact,” he said, “we have to fight terror together and that relates to security cooperation. With joint efforts we need to destroy the seed of terror which lies in the hands of ISIS.”,7340,L-4877405,00.html


      Russia and Israel are about to sign a free trade agreement in the very near future, Russian Deputy Agriculture Minister Sergey Levin told TASS on Friday after talks with his Israeli counterpart.

      “We’ve discussed the prospects of forming a free trade zone, which the government plans to put on paper within the shortest period of time,” Levin said, adding that the issue had also been discussed at a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

      Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel confirmed his intention to go ahead with the plan very soon.

      The two sides agreed on reciprocal purchases of agricultural products, setting up joint ventures and the introduction of agricultural high-tech, Levin said. Russia would like to increase its sale of wheat, beef and eggs to Israel, while Israel, a world power in agricultural technology, is ready to share its expertise with its Russian trade partners. [emphasis added]

  • Scenes from a neoconservative meltdown
    • echinococcus: Not a realistic evaluation of this group’s values. Expansionism they have no objection to. “Not a US ally”, on the other hand, is real hard.

      You missed the point entirely. The objection is not to expansionism per se, but to how Israel expansionism endangers U.S. interests and U.S. security. "

      [Paul Pillar: For the United States , it is all negative, in terms of instability, prospects for violence, the stimulation of extremism, and the United States being resented and targeted because of its role in permitting the settlement enterprise.

      With American conservatives/Republicans the belief is very strong: Israel IS a U.S. ally--especially in the War on Terror and the War against Militant Islam.

      Paul Pillar know this mindset very well:

      Paul R. Pillar is an academic and 28-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), serving from 1977 to 2005.[1] He is now a non-resident senior fellow at Georgetown University's Center for Security Studies,[2] as well as a nonresident senior fellow in the Brookings Institution's Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence.[1] He was a visiting professor at Georgetown University from 2005 to 2012.[1] He is a contributor to The National Interest.[1][3]

      That's why he frames his argument against the settlements, not Israel per se. Smart move.

      Basic rule in the art of persuasion: It's better to appeal to the already deeply held beliefs and values of your audience than try to completely overturn them.

      The latter is what fools and moral purists try to do. I wish you luck with your endeavor.

    • atlantaiconoclast: , we must systematically dismantle this myth and show that Israel is indeed NOT an ally.

      Given the deep conservative/Republican sympathy for Israel is -- "three-quarters of Republicans (75%) say they sympathize more with Israel (just 7% say they sympathize more with the Palestinians) " [Pew Research]-- a more politically shrewd appeal to conservatives might involve an attack on Israeli expansionism, rather than an all out attack on Israel itself.

      For example Paul Pillar:

      Anyone with a concern for Israel’s security and well-being should be aware that the continued colonization of the West Bank through expansion of settlements does not correlate positively with such security and well-being.

      To the contrary, it detracts from Israeli security. It involves an added burden on the Israel Defense Forces, and it is the most visible part of an occupation that is by far the biggest stimulus and support for those intending to do Israel harm.

      Anyone concerned with U.S. interests should be aware that the United States has no positive interest in the settlements or in the religious or local economic motivations that have stimulated their growth.

      For the United States , it is all negative, in terms of instability, prospects for violence, the stimulation of extremism, and the United States being resented and targeted because of its role in permitting the settlement enterprise. [emphasis added]

    • @Atlantaiconoclast: I peruse conservative and mainstream columns regularly, and I am telling you, Israel’s greatest is the unchallenged meme that it is America’s best friend!

      From your reading, would you say another conservative/mainstream meme is that (radical) Islam is one of America's worst enemies, not to mention an enemy of "Judeo-Christian civilization", and that the pro-Israel and anti-Islam memes work together synergistically?

  • Trump appoints ex-Israeli settler to oversee peace process
  • Netanyahu ignored US warnings and brought Israel's 'international isolation' on itself -- Ben Rhodes
    • @ritzl

      [Sibiriak December 24, 2016, 9:46 pm:] What possibly could be the conditions attached to international sanctions on Israel? If the conditions are Israel complying with UN resolutions, then that would be in your view a “retropsective application”, since all the UN resolutions and the ICJ “Wall” opinion are unequivocally oriented toward the two state concept. So what would a “prospective application” actually look like, in terms of the conditions put on sanctions?

      Sanctions will be maintained until Israel does X?

      What would that X be, if not compliance with UN resolutions ?

      Can you give me any idea at all?

      No response? Shall I conclude you're completely stumped?

    • echinococcus: No quarrel with any of that. But it has no relationship at all with the two obviously undeniable points that I listed.

      The relationship is: if your two points are undeniable, then there is no reason to "throw the baby out with the bathwater", i.e. to deny entirely the validity of the right to self-determination of peoples , as MHughes seems to want to do (he calls it an "alleged" right which is not justifiable).

      Just because Zionist Jews had no right to self-determination in Palestine doesn't mean such a right doesn't exist for others, there and elsewhere.

    • echinococcus: there are totally undeniable negatives: [regarding the right to self-determination of peoples]

      Which makes one wonder why one would want to deny the existence of such a right when it is central to the Palestinian case , both legally and in the court of public opinion.

      The International Court of Justice, for example, relied heavily on the right of self-determination of peoples in its declaration of the illegality of Israel's apartheid Wall.

      Excerpts from the Court's opinion:


      88. The Court also notes that the principle of self-determination of peoples has been enshrined in the United Nations Charter and reaffirmed by the General Assembly in resolution 2625 (XXV) cited above, pursuant to which

      "Every State has the duty to refrain from any forcible action which deprives peoples referred to [in that resolution] . . . of their right to self-determination."

      Article 1 common to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights reaffirms the right of all peoples to self-determination, and lays upon the States parties the obligation to promote the realization of that right and to respect it, in conformity with the provisions of the United Nations Charter.

      The Court would recall that in 1971 it emphasized that current developments in "international law in regard to non-self-governing territories, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, made the principle of self-determination applicable to all [such territories]".

      The Court went on to state that "These: developments leave little doubt that the ultimate objective of the sacred trust" referred to in Article 22, paragraph 1, of the Covenant of the League of Nations "was the self-determination . . . of the peoples concerned" [...]

      * * *
      149. The Court notes that Israel is first obliged to comply with the international obligations it has breached by the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (see paragraphs 114-137 above). Consequently, Israel is bound to comply with its obligation to respect the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and its obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

      * * *
      159. Given the character and the importance of the rights and obligations involved, the Court is of the view that all States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. They are also under an obligation not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction.

      It is also for all States, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to see to it that any impediment, resulting from the construction of the wall, to the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination is brought to an end.

      [emphasis added]


      What's to be gained by denying that the Palestinian people have a right to self-determination? They need to avail themselves of that right far more than the Israelis who already have gained UN recognition of their state.

    • talkback: What RoHa was trying to say is...

      Thanks for elucidating his views.

    • Dan: Have you changed your mind re the phrase “basic demands of justice” or did your “Bingo!” apply only to the first part of the sentence...
      It certainly applies to the first part of the sentence.

      I hold to my point that "strict justice" for Palestinians would mean undoing all the injustices inflicted on them by Zionists (and not only by Zionists, but by the British, by the U.S., by Arab states, by the UN et al.)

      Basically, Palestinians had their right to self-determination denied and they were screwed out of their country, ethnically cleansed out, locked up in an apartheid cage and so on. And I think those injustices go way back before 1948. I've been doing some reading about Zionist land acquisition in Palestine during the Ottoman period and under the British and it is apparent that you have to understand the injustices of those early days to understand the later ones.

      "Strict justice" for the Palestinians would mean undoing all of that. Not possible, imo.

      It's also not clear whether obtaining "strict justice" for the Palestinians would not entail new injustices against others, thus making "strict justice" strictly impossible.

      I don't claim to have been perfectly consistent in all my remarks about "justice"-- my ideas are a work in progress and many posts are fired off without sufficient care --so I appreciate your pointing out my self-contradictions.

    • Mooser: [Sibiriak:] “Where we disagree is on whether “strict justice” is actually achievable. I don’t think it is.”

      And what, may I ask, is your plan to produce enough Zionist Jews, willing to do what needs to be done to immortalize this injustice.

      Since I have no desire to "immortalize this injustice", I have no plan whatsoever in that regard.

      Just because I don't believe 100% "strict justice" -- dismantling Israel, expelling millions of Zionist Jews, returning all of Palestine to Palestinians etc. -- is achievable that does not mean I believe a some good measure of justice is not possible. I think it is. I support BDS and most other efforts in that direction.

      "Strict justice" isn't the only human value either, btw.

    • @ Dan

      Thanks for the links. I've read quite a few books and a slew of articles on the right of self-determination. I'm quizzing RoHa (Socratic method) because its become apparent to me he has no idea what he is talking about when it comes to international law.

      From your first link:

      Self-determination is act of a particular people or an ethnic group to exercise its sovereign right to become an independent state and to decide on the form of state (including the system of government). The former, regarding independence, is called external self-determination and the latter regarding choices of the form of the state system internal self-determination. [emphasis added]

      RoHa's notion that the term "people" in self-determination clauses in international law refers to the "all the people resident in a territory” is simply wrong and completely unworkable in any case.

    • RoHa: “All peoples have the right to self-determination” means “all the people resident in a territory” [...]

      * * *

      California would count as a territory if the people of California wanted to exercise a right of sd as Californians.


      So, according to your theory, we now get"

      "All peoples have the right to self-determination ” means

      “all the people resident in a territory who want to exercise a right to self-determination (as a people of that territory) have a right to self-determination."

      That's what you think the right of SD means in international law? Really?

      And that holds for any piece of territory anywhere? Would it hold for Northern California, according to your theory?

      And, in your theory, is a plebiscite necessary and sufficient to determine if the population in any territory have a right to self-determination?

      If a territorial population does decide to exercise such a right, what does that right entail according to your theory? For example, do they then have a right to secede from a larger state?

    • RoHa: ““All peoples have the right to self-determination” means “all the people resident in a territory”, not ethnic/national/etc. groups.

      Not exactly.

      But please explain. How do you define "a territory"?

      Is California "a territory"? Or does "a territory" have to be all the territory of a recognized state?

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