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Palestinian Unity: peace opportunity or mirage?


A confluence of events has created what might be an opportunity for peace -- or a dangerous mirage.

The most interesting aspect of this opportunity is perhaps on the Israeli side, and may overturn the conventional wisdom that insists that the Gaza disengagement, from the Israeli point of view was a disaster.

When the Oslo accords were signed in 1993, Israeli politicians assured the public that if problems developed, Israel could reverse the situation by military action. People believed that it was worthwhile to "take risks for peace." As it turned out, the situation is seemingly irreversible. The Palestine Authority government that was supposedly elected to make peace with Israel became progressively more inimical to peace, until finally, at the insistence of the US, the Hamas were allowed to participate in elections and they took over leadership of the Palestinian Authority. It is no secret that the Hamas do not want peace, as they say so themselves. Israel found however, that it was faced with a fait accompli in the Palestinian Authority and could do very little in fact to reverse the situation.

During almost the entire period of the Olso accords, and actually, going back before that time to the first Intifada, Israeli reaction to Palestinian violence was limited and governed by a predominant concern: Israel could never really respond to eliminate the basic threat, because in the eyes of "world opinion" -- including the US and the EU as well as China and Russia, Israel was an occupier, morally in the wrong.

This consideration governed responses to acts of terror and violence until the Gaza withdrawal. It meant, for example, that the supposedly mighty Netanyahu could not really react to the infamous "tunnel riots," and in fact had to conclude the Hebron agreement afterwards despite the riots. It mean that when the Bush administration took power in 2001, they initially imposed a spare parts embargo on Israel. It meant that Israel had to respond to EU requests not to take drastic steps following the Tel Aviv Discotheque bombing. It produced the "even-handed" Mitchell Report. In 2002, when Israel finally responded to a series of lethal suicide bombings by attacking terror centers in Jenin, there was a wave of protest from governments, journalists, the UN and NGOs in Europe and the USA, though the Israeli action killed far less civilians than the terror bombings had killed, and helped attenuate the suicide bombing craze.

From the point of view of the Israeli public, it became evident that Israel could not respond to terror attacks without paying a steep price in international public relations. Consequently, it became impossible to take risks for peace, because there would be no way to retrieve the situation if the agreement went bad.

However, the election of the Hamas, coupled with the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the illness of Ariel Sharon, led to a new reality. Whatever Sharon's merits, bad points and policies, he was a bogey-man in most of the Middle East. The US and EU could not side with Ariel Sharon too openly, and Arab governments could not remain indifferent to Palestinian pleas of aggression as long as Sharon was in power. Sharon after all, ate babies, as depicted in the cartoon in the Independent. How could anyone side with the baby-eating Sharon? Ehud Olmert, meek civilian, took over just in time to inherit the disengagement policy and the credit that Sharon and Israel got for it in Western capitals. He also promised a further "consolidation." When Hamas was elected to power, the quartet imposed economic sanctions on the Palestinian Authority.

Coincidentally, the G-8 industrial powers were very interested in making a show of force against Iran and its agents in Lebanon, the Hezbollah, both in connection with the nuclear program, and because of their interest in disarming the Hezbollah in according with UN Security Council resolutions.

The stage was set for the events of this summer, that began with the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit in Gaza on June 25 and the Hezbollah kidnapping on July 12. Unlike the previous period, the "great powers" and even the Arab countries were either approving or indifferent when Israel used force in both cases. In a situation nearly unprecedented in history, Israel had about a month to operate against the Hezbollah with little real pressure or censure except a bad press that somewhat exaggerated civilian casualties in Lebanon. In the same period, IDF began massive operations in Gaza that went largely unnoticed. The world got bored with the Palestinians and the Arab governments washed their hands of the Hamas.

In Lebanon, inept Israeli military and civilian leadership largely wasted the opportunity. In Gaza however, the unrelenting military pressure, out of the spotlights, and the economic boycott of the Palestinian Authority, finally moved the Hamas to compromise and share power with the Fatah in a unity government that should happen any day now. According to Danny Rubenstein, there is not much in this deal for Israel, which is basically power-sharing with the Fatah, and a face saving vague formula whereby Hamas accepts "political realities" without recognizing Israel. In the right circumstances, it could develop into something. Mahmoud Abbas has said now that he is willing to meet and negotiate to "end the circle of violence," as well as "comprehensive peace." He insisted however that the peace would be based on "relevant UN resolutins" and the Arab peace initiative, and it is likely that in accordance with the Palestinian Prisoners Letter, Abbas would demand Right of Return for Palestinian refugees, which is a non-starter for Israel. It is not at all clear that the Hamas would agree to this hypothetical peace treaty in any case.

These positions would have to be moved and shaped to conform with reality. In order for this to happen, pressure must be applied and rewards offered, and this may not be forthcoming. Politically, Ehud Olmert's government has been weakened by the war. The right is "waiting for him." However, he could point out that Israel, due in part to his policies, has broken the taboo against Israeli self defence that was in force for so many years. If Israel takes risks for peace, it will be able to retrieve the situation.

The fact is that right now nobody knows what this Palestinian government is going to be, and what policies it might follow. Very probably, the policies it follows will be conditioned by the incentives - positive and negative - provided by Israel and by the quartet. Therefore a logically consistent, coordinated and cautious policy is the logical way to greet the new developments.

However, instead of this measured response, everyone seems to be reacting in their own knee-jerk reflexive way. Israel greeted the news of the unity government coldly. Foreign Minister Livni said that if Abbas "joins the terror government headed by Hamas, we will have a problem." That is not even a "wait and see attitude."

On the other hand, Ha'aretz editorial asserted:

Israel must not reject this opportunity, sink into its usual interpretation of the new government's platform and ignore voices in the Arab world calling for a renewal of the Saudi peace initiative, which can give hope to the Palestinian and the Israeli public.

The conclusion about negotiating peace is correct, but the editorial undermines its own conclusion:

The Palestinian unity government may not necessarily be a partner with whom Israel can negotiate a permanent settlement. But a permanent settlement is not the only type of relationship possible between Israel and the PA....

In fact, the new Palestinian government does not pretend to say it will bring about a permanent solution.

So where is the peace?? "Shalom Shalom, ve'eyn shalom beyisrael." ("Peace, Peace, yet there is no peace in Israel"). Haaretz also tells us:

Israel has an essential interest in a sustainable, responsible Palestinian government that can take care of its citizens.

That is only true if the Palestinian government is ultimately interested in peace with Israel. If the Hamas are still plotting to eliminate the "Zionist entity" then an orderly Palestinian quasi-state would be much more of a threat to Israel than the present chaos. Nazi Germany would not have been more threatening to its neighbors if it had been less orderly! Why would Israel want to encourage efficient government in an entity that is out to destroy it?

If Israel said "no" reflexively, the European Union may be rushing off in the other direction. Miguel Moratinos was ebullient::

...the unity government between Hamas and Fatah "is a positive step" which demands that the countries of Europe re-examine their stance on the Palestinian Authority.

Moratinos specifically praised articles in the unity government agreement in which Hamas promises to accept the Arab peace initiative mentioned in the road map, honor agreements between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Israel, and cooperate with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in negotiations with Israel.

Still, Moratinos stressed that Europe will "have to examine the new document thoroughly and bring it for discussion in European forums."

Palestinian sources claimed the EU was about to drop sanctions against the Palestinians, which of course was the point of the whole unity government exercise.

European states have signaled to the Hamas government that they intend to lift the economic embargo on the Palestinian Authority once a national unity government is established, according to Ahmed Yusef, political adviser to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

Such a step, without seeing any real change in actual behavior, and without a change in the odious Hamas charter, would be foolhardy if the EU really wants to advance a peace process. Bits of paper that are signed seem to have no value in the Palestinian reality. They are always turn out to be open to "reinterpretation." We can take it for granted that the Hamas have not been converted to either western liberalism or democracy, and that they will give as little as they absolutely can in order to get what they absolutely must have. Therefore, Moratinos' announcement was very naive to say the least, and announcement of the Palestinians that the EU is about to lift the sanctions was alarming.

There might be an opportunity for peace here. However, unless both Israel and the EU show at least the rudiments of intelligent thought and statecraft, the opportunity for peace could very easily turn out to be a very dangerous mirage.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000513.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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Replies: 38 comments

The notion of "taking risks for peace" struck me, since it seems to imply that peace is nowhere near within reach. It implies that peace is not something that is visible "on the horizon" and being worked towards in a predictable and steady fashion, but instead is something that may or may not turn up when a dice is thrown.

I suppose some Palestinian people will always be dissatisfied with anything less than driving Israel into the sea, and other extremist Jewish Settlers will always be dissatisfied with anything less than attacking Palestinians.

There is a always a section of the population which wants peace, (in both groups) and there will always be a section in both groups which is happy to make war with minimal cause.

I think therefore Peace would be far more attainable if not everybody is included in the peace negotiations; instead only those who want peace should be included in negotiating peace for themselves - on both sides.

Posted by Joseph @ 09/14/2006 08:47 PM CST

The problem with that approach is that everyone must keep the peace. A peace that the Hamas and Islamic Jihad do not agree to keep will not be any peace at all. That is a big advantage of a unity government. It provides legitimacy of majority support and keeps the potential troublemakes inside the consensus.

Posted by Ami Isseroff @ 09/14/2006 09:11 PM CST


Why don't you spend a little time actually answering people's comments instead of blabbering on about new topics when they are all really related. Is it because you don't have the brains. Could be??

Posted by John @ 09/15/2006 03:51 PM CST

The situation is not as simple as (those who want peace) and (those who want to eliminate their nemesiss'). Not only is Israel, Palestinians, and Lebaneese involved in the equation; but there is United States, Great Britan, France, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and to a lesser extent, more of a background suppot to the respective factions - Russia, China, Canada..etc...etc. This is a global flash point or fulcrum, if you will. The world powers have placed their bets and everyone is willing to stick their hands in the honey pot to ensure they get the spoils of war. The ties that are entanlged in the continuation of conflict in the middle east are so numerous..(Arms production corporations, Logistical Support corporations, Tactical support industries.....etc etc..). All of these players have deep pockets, as for the US, we have a system of leagalized bribary that is commonplace in our Legislative brach, providing these lobbyists can launder the payoff through some campaign fund to make it appear as though their bribes are not directly benefitting the bribee. Which of course is a syntactical farse. Everyone in the US is well aware that he who has the most money to put on elaborate song and dance routines, or has been surfaced recently: hire thugs to tamper with the voting system, is garunteed to win an election, thus directly benefiting the bribee. I'm sure these scenarios are not restricted to the US. And so my friends, you see, it is not a simple matter of wanting peace, you must fight for it. Not with guns or bombs. But with information. The more we educate and expose the filth that drives our world. The more ire we will raise in our neighbors. The less we will be tolerant of tyrants. The war in the Mid_East will not be won in the Mid-East. It will be won in the home lands of all those that have a buck to be made from perpetuating war. We are all responsible for cleaning our own yards. And as we do so, we will shred the web that holds the world hostage like a squirming fly.

Posted by OMFG @ 09/15/2006 07:02 PM CST


Posted by john @ 09/15/2006 07:09 PM CST


I suppose I was assuming that the potential troublemakers will always make trouble, no matter what happens. If they are more reasonable than that, then I see your point, and agree.

I think I should have a look around the rest of the site; it seems balanced from what I have read so far. I like it.

Posted by Joseph @ 09/15/2006 09:20 PM CST

This is obviously a site that is given to a genuine search for peaceful co-existence between Arabs and Jews and as such I welcome it. Though, I find it interesting to look at the situation through the eyes of Zionists not given to violent expansion, I still find several points of fact which I would regard as myths likely to lead to lead to errors in decision making.

One of the myths that is repeated over and over again is that of the "they want to drive Israel into the sea." I guess that those Israelis who are fully aware of the suffering their state has inflicted on their Arab neighbours, might have reason to suppose that that is what would be the natural Arab reaction. In fact ther eis reason to be more optimistic. History is full of examples of peoples who have been at war and who have subsequently managed to establish a mutually beneficial modus vivendi.

I have recently been reading Ahmed Qurie's "From Oslo to Jerusalem." Qurie, as head of the PLO's negotiating team, recounts the Oslo negotiations blow by blow. He makes a point which I think is very important for those Zionist who are genuinely interested in peaceful co-existence (but not for those still endeavouring to ignore opportunities for peace in order to extract further benefits at Palestinian expense.)

The Israeli delegation pressed him over and over again for recognition of Israel's existence (and thus for legitimacy in the eyes of other Arab states.) Qurie held out. This was not because the PLO had any particular desire to, or illusion that it could, "drive Israel into the sea." It was because it was the only bargaining chip that they held.

For them to give away this chip for ever, all it would take is the stroke of a pen. For the Israelis to deliver on their side of the bargain would involve many physical actions that would take a prolonged period of time. Striking such bargains with democracies - especially those which have a track record of flouting international law - is one which requires much confidence building. Prime Ministers get shot. New ex-generals come to power etc.etc. There is many a slip possible twixt cup and lip.

I think that the number of Hamas members who would not be prepared to negotiate seriously for a firm peace with Israel on a Taba type basis, is very small indeed. A grevious error was made when the election of Hamas was seen as anything more significant than a protest at the corruption that had crept into the PLO and also as a protest at the Likud's failure to show any rewards to those on the Arab side who were in genuine search of a settlement.It was most certianly not a vote for violence and has been mis-represented as such by certain elites who stand to benefit from so doing.

Best regards,

Hugh Steadman.

Posted by Hugh Steadman @ 09/16/2006 07:59 AM CST

I hear that muslim people feel offended by a quotation the pope made in Regensburg. Instead of listening to what Benedict XVI. exactly said (he said that the opinion expressed in that quotation would be too harsh), muslim people once again start to riot all over world. Islamic governments like the palestine demand excusions by the representative of Christ. Do you think you may threaten our pope? How long will our patiency last? Is christianity so weak and? We PAY the Hamas-government, and they are threatening us? This is my answer to all people, that think, their agressions against our western culture and our pope will be accepted: Do not dare to harm the heart of our culture, our you will unite the western civilization in order to stop your Jihad.

Posted by Severin @ 09/16/2006 11:44 AM CST

Sorry Severin,

Speaking for the United States, we are not religious extremeist Catholicism is not the ruling majority and is looked upon by others as a classic novelty. We really don't care if they threaten a pope in Vatican City. That will not unite the western world. And we are divided still by a great body of secular people. So you see, religion is not the glue that binds us, unlike many Islamic ruled nations. No, I'm afraid they would have to destroy our true god...the almighty dollar. And that my friend is tangible and vulnerable. So, until they start threatening our economy, then I'll not loose any sleep.

Posted by OMFG @ 09/16/2006 04:21 PM CST

I have known both Jews and Christians take undue and unbalanced offence at honest attempts to comment on the truth as seen by the observer. Islam is not alone in this tendency. Study closely the words of Ahmedinejad about the annhilation of Israel. The best interpreters have it not as a threat that it was something Iran was planning to do (an attempt that would clearly be suicidal from Iran's point of view, technically impossible and in Islamic doctrine, immoral,) but as a comment on what he thought was likely to occur in future history if the current path of Israeli policy continued to be pursued. (Not an unreasonable view - show me an empire that has not ultimately collapsed or that does not contain the seeds for such collapse within it.)

Since WWII it is interesting to attempt to count the score in the clash of religions. I count approx 10,000 Jews and Christians killed on their home territory by Moslems - and something closer to 5 million Moslems killed on their home territory by Jews and Christians (the current civil war in Dafur could perhaps be counted as doing something towards rectifying the balance.)There were 7000 moslems killed by Christian Serbs at Sevrenicia alone. Half a million Iraqi children dead as a result of UN sanctions (a price Ms Allbright infamously considered "worth paying.") I don't know how many the Russians managed to score when they invaded Afghanistan - but it looks like the US and NATO are getting set to equal their score. Israel has just scored another 1500 odd Moslems in the last two or three months - against less than 50 Jews killed on Jewish soil.

In these circumstances, do you find it that hard to understand why Moslems are so ready to take offence when none was seriously intended? Jews know what it means to face universal persecution and attempts at genocide. As a result Israel has always had an undeniably paranoid world view. Moslems are equally human and we cannot be surprised if they have similar reactions in similar (not identical) situations.

If you want peace instead of hate, the first step is to try and see the world through the eyes of your enemy. If you are really imaginative, you might even realise that he is your brother and that there is desperate need for you to cooperate in saving the human family from its otherwise impending catastrophe caused by rapid climate change and nuclear poisoning.

Posted by Hugh Steadman @ 09/16/2006 11:35 PM CST

Mr. Steadman's claim that 10,000 Christians and Jews have been killed on their own home territory by Muslims seems rather low given that the Muslim Indonesians killed between 60,000 and 200,000 East Timorese during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. I recall that Christian Lebanese civilians also were subject to some pretty severe violence from the various Muslim factions. The Copt community continually cite that those in Egypt are subject to abuse and violence in Egypt. Also it is convenient to forget that the Serb population in the Balkans were victimised by the Hanjar SS (Muslim) during WW2, and not entirely surprising that the Serbs sought vengence when the opportunity arose. In light of what is happening NOW in Darfur where Muslim Sudanese are preparing to massacre the non-Arab / non-Muslim population after years of violence I am left wondering how Mr. Steadman establishes the criteria for his data.

As for Mr. Steadman's assertion that the Palestinians voted Hamas into government in the hope / expectation that Hamas would simply sort out the mess of corruption and put aside their other central policies is both arrogant and absurd. The election of Hamas was fair and democratic, the Palestinian people chose them on the basis of their charter. It is arrogant on our part to assign to this action anything other than what it purports - the Palestinians chose Hamas and all that it encompasses. Has the Palestinian people wanted some alternative then another political party would have emerged - unless the circumstances are that both Fatah and Hamas operate systems which threaten and intimidate anyone seeking to establish an alternative party. If this latter situation is the case then the election was not democratic.
As for recognition of Israel being Palestine's sole bargaining chip that is an absurdity. Recognition of Israel is the key to progression. Palestine's primary bargaining chip is the ending of violence, and something the Palestinians have sought to play on various occassions suspending and the recommencing violence in order to obtain political advantage. Palestine's secondary bargaining chip is the development of rational civilian administration, including a judiciary with an effective appellent system.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 09/18/2006 10:46 AM CST

Rod Davies is correct about East Timor - that is one I missed off my list - but as I said , it was only a quick calculation. The Dafur one, I mentioned. His corrections however fail totally to answer the main purpose of my argument about the huge imbalance between the two scores. That is a point he is perhaps less happy to comment on?

I'd be interested to see how he'd score Israel's contribution to the West's body-count balance sheet. I'm sure its Arab neighbours would find the balance most impressive.

His comments about the Palestinian voters, currently suffering collective punishment for exercising their democratic choice, having had the choice of either voting for Fatah or for Hamas or of creating a third party if they weren't completely happy with the policies of either of the other contenders,is simply ludicrous. Has he ever tried to found a political party at short notice?

There is an Iraqi proverb when it comes to democratic elections - you have the choice of either drinking piss or eating ****. No party is ideal - but you just choose the lesser of the two evils. Everyone knows that all the vast majority of Hamas or Fatah supporters want is to get on with their own lives in peace. For this they need Israel to honour the undertaking it made in 1993 in the Oslo Declaration of Principles - "...a permanent settlement based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338."

Were Israel to have honoured to the best of its ability the undertaking Peres and Rabin had the courage to make, it is most improbable that Israel would have the increasingly serious problem it now faces. But, as no doubt Rod Davies would be the firs tto confirm, the journey from Rabin to Sharon was a deliberate choice of the Israeli electorate. (Though I would accept that, as is nowadays the case in most Western democracies, it was not exactly kept in full possession of the facts.)

Posted by Hugh Steadman @ 09/18/2006 01:45 PM CST

The game of body-counts is frankly pointless, largely because reported body-counts are so corrupted by political posturing that is become meaningless. If there is any lesson to learn from them, it should be that undeveloped and dependent states are stupid in picking fights with heavily armed industrialised western nations. This is particularly the case vis-a-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when it would be so much more effective to use non-violent protest against Israeli troops. The Palestinian violence only serves to polarise the situation, and harden the IDF troops. The only people who benefit from continued violence are those who seek to use nationalism or tribalism or sectarianism to bind their group to the cause. Military activity only works if the nation state can take and hold territory, or deny the enemy the capacity to hold territory. The Palestinian forces since the 1920's have shown themselves to be particularly incapable of achieving this, and thus the Paslestinian leadership should seek an alternative strategy to achieve an independent Palestinian state. That they repeatedly revert to violence despite the benefits of peace is indicative of the degree to which they fear the establishment of a stable democratic civil society with an open and free public administration.
You are absolutely correct that the Israelis chose Sharon. But the Palestinians absolutely cut away the ground from Rabin & Peres feet by repeatedly reverting to violence. What had once been a 70% vote for peace ebbed away.
The Israelis, as Sharon demonstrated, are capable of withdrawing unilaterally from the Occupied Territories, all of it if necessary. They are capable of running a modern civil society that can maintain relations with trading partners, as Israeli export figures show. The Palestinians have yet to demonstrate that they can do the same, and until they do nothing on earth can compel the Israelis to allow cross-border movement of goods and people.
If Israel were to withdraw from the territories, they could put up their hands and insist quite rightly they have complied with 242. In one movement they would have placed the entire onus upon the Arab League and the Palestinians to comply. From that moment onwards everytime the Palestinian armed factions that have been created with the approval fo both PLO and Hamas launch a Kassam rocket into Israel or fire over the border it would be an act of war against which Israel could legitimately retaliate.
There are many people who claim to be "Friends of the Palestinians", yet these people are remarkably silent when it comes to pressing the Palestinians to create a stable civil society. Too frequently they are busy justifying pointless acts of violence against Israelis in the name of legitimate resistance.
As for describing my comments about alternative political parties as absurd. The Palestinian people have had all the opportunity in the world to form such parties, that they haven't done so so far indicates either a lack of will or the presence of a serious threat from either PLO or Hamas. But like the rest of the world one day if they want peace and freedom, the Palestinians will have to stand up and fight for the civil society they allegedly desire. Until that time the legitimacy of the Hamas government and its intentions are determined by the vote and Hamas' manifesto, which seeks to eradicate the Jewish presence in the Middle East. In which case the Palestinians made quite clear to us all that they seek existential war with the state of Israel. In which case, I suggest , the Israelis are quite right to respond with sufficient violence to prevent that ever occurring.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 09/18/2006 10:39 PM CST

Yes Rod, I agree with you entirely that nonviolent resistence to occupation would be infinately more sensible. At Bil'in for instance it doesn't seem to stop the IDF using violence in return, but it certainly increases the moral position of the Palestinians over the Israelis. It is a very big ask - but I would agree with you - it would be by far the best way forward.
I also agree with you about the need for the Palestinians to sort themselves out in their econmy and governance. You have to admit they haven't done too badly when it comes to running dmeocratic and fair elections.

It is Israel's as well as the Palestinians peace and tranquility that is at stake here. Don't you think it would be a good thing if instead of deliberately destroying their economy, their government offices, assassinating and/or imprisoning their leaders etc., Israel actually helped them to get on their feet in order to achieve all those things that you wish them to achieve? To an outside observer Israeli policy towards the Palestinians seems both needlessly brutal and utterly self-defeating.

Posted by Hugh Steadman. @ 09/19/2006 03:51 AM CST

Hugh, From my recollection Israel did much to assist the PNA following Oslo, including tax collection for them. It also continued to make health facilities available to Palestinians, even though the Palestinian economy could not pay for this. Unfortunately the chronically corrupt PNA prioritised the creation of a plethora of armed forces and other state agencies which had little or nothing to do with the creation of a viable state. The PNA used the state and proxy forces to attempt to compell Israel to acquiesce to PNA demands. Not unsurprisingly the Israelis tired of this and progressively withdrew.

The absence of any significant attenmpts to create a stable civil administration and an open judiciary which accords to international standards also inhibited any significant inward investment, and the PNA relied upon continued access to Israeli labour markets. It is notable that the Palestinian expatriates around the world are the best educated and most entrepreneurial of all Arab communities, yet the PNA could not attract investment in the Palestinian economy from them. (This is in marked contrast to Zionist Jews and Israel).

Frankly it would be unbelievably naive to imagine that the IDF would not become brutalised by the events in the territories. Experiences of other armies conducting policing activities in similar situations proves this conclusively. Armies are inherently blunt instruments primarily designed to capture and hold territory.

The Palestinians have been largely betrayed by their friends who have almost positively encouraged them to pursue politics by violence by legitimising the acts of violence, whilst not engaging in any consideration of what the logical outcome of that violence would be. These same friends have further collaborated with the "fascists" in Palestinian society by overlooking the occurrence and impact of Palestinian violence against Palestinians.
It is perhaps a significant mark of success that the Palestinians held a democratic election with open debate and access to a plethora of media sources. What is therefore disturbing is that they voted for a violently sectarian party like Hamas that is committed to continuing with the pre-Oslo war against the state of Israel and the regional Jewish community. Given the openness of that election we can only conclude that the majority of Palestinians were perfectly aware of Hamas' agenda and supported it. (If we were to compare the election of Hamas to the PNA and the 1933 election of the Nazis, we would immediately see that Hamas is much more popular with the voters and its agenda of genocide more overt. However we have no qualms about holding the entire German nation culpable for the election of the Nazis. To suggest that the Palestinians are not responsible has only one explanation and that is that fundamentally imperiaist and colonialist and essentially racist attitudes exist amongst the Western apologists for the Palestinians.)

As I have written before on this site, the success of the Zionists was based on their prioritisation of the construction of a civil society before they obtained national territory. The failure of the Palestinians has been to focus on the acquisition of national territory exclusively, at the expense of building the machinery of state.

The Israelis should not attempt to put in place civil structures for the Palestinians as these would collapse as soon as the Israelis withdrew finally. The Palestinians have to build their own society and own it. There is a lesson from the end of British imperialism that the British left every colony (with the exception of Hong Kong.) as a multi-party parliamentary democracy. Few of these countries have managed to remain so after independence. Simply it had been imposed by Britain and the inhabitants did not value it enough to fight for it.

Even if magically Israel were suddenly out of the West Bank and Gaza, and the shooting stopped between Israelis and Palestinians, this would only be the beginning. Despite the superficial appearances of democracy, Palestine is riven with divisions and sectarianism. There is no legal system that approaches the standards that the international community demands. The constitution establishes a sexist and sectarian hierarchy. Religious minorities can and are victimised with no protection from the state. The ruling elites are totally corrupt, even the allegedly honest Hamas.

In my opinion the Palestinians voted for war by electing Hamas because it is so much easier than having to deal with peace.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 09/19/2006 11:00 AM CST

Just to add another perspective into the the debate of the alternative approaches to establishing a legitimate stance for both the Palestinians and the Israelis; It seems that the Paelstinans would be more likely to take a definitive non-violent stance if they had unconditional support from an active party. By "active party" I mean one that would stand up to Israel if they were to begin taking advantage of a peacefull protest. If the Palestinians cannot trust that the world powers would protect them from an agressive Israeli attack , then they must resort to violent resistance to protect themselves even though it is futile. As for Israel, they cannot take a definitive drive towards withdraw when the Palestinians may, without cause, attack. It seems oth sides are paralyzed from making a true commitment towards peace due to their mistrust of eachother as well as the lack of external support. This is why the US was supposed to mediate the peace process, but I'm afraid our government just does not care enough to actually stick with it and see it through. They are like children, and if any of you have children you know two squablling siblings will not cease fighting on without a mediator or without both being smacked physically stopped by a parent. Both sides need strong supprt from nations that are willing to publicly announce their support and protection. This model has worked for North and South Korea for many years now. They are not exactly friendly, but they don't live in constant fear of one another.

Posted by OMFG @ 09/19/2006 07:22 PM CST

I assume you have never been in Seoul when the air-raid drills happen and everyone rushes into the shelters, or seen the quantity of weaponry that both North and South Korea have pointing at each other. I sensed a degree of fear far greater than anything I have experienced in Israel or the West Bank.

Achieving a separation of Israel and Palestine is a minor detail. It is what happens afterwards that is critical. If there is a return ostensibly to May 1967 with Israel on the western side of the green line and the borders closed, then the Palestinians have a real problem. All movement between Gaza and the West Bank would have to be very circuitous through Egypt or Lebanon / Syria and then Jordan. Trade would be nearly impossible. Access to Israeli labour markets would not be possible. The net effect of this would be the rapid decline of Palestinian society to a level lower than it is today.
The Palestinians would have a choice either start a war as a means of binding the society together and directing attention away from the economic problems; Or attempting to create a stable civil society and negotiating with Israel for access to ports etc; Or simply allowing society to collapse with the rich doing what they can to asset strip the place and then surrendering it by default to Israel.
I think Hamas is trying the first one at present.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 09/19/2006 09:17 PM CST

The North has had heavy artillery pointed at Seoul for over forty years now, sure with that lumming over your head everyday, it's a bit tense. Thus far the North has not reinvaded the south. Isarel and the Palestinian territories can't say the same. Their children may not see their next birthday. The South Koreans are able to progress as a society because they are assured protection, Palestinians and Israelis don't have that luxury. Pull out the booga booga if you will, the facts remain the same. Israel and the regions surrounding it will see no peace until an external entity mediates and enforces a plan for peace, a plan that will take at least 30 years to implement. Without external assurance that your enemy will abide by an agreement, a treaty is as worthless as the paper it is written on.

Posted by OMFG @ 09/20/2006 04:12 AM CST

You may not noticed it in the news over the last decade or so, but very large numbers of North Koreans have been starving to death due it's stupid government policies. North Korea is so enclosed and oppressive that I doubt that we will ever know just how many have died.
No matter how tough the Palestinians have at the moment, they have yet to sink to eating grass as their N. Korean people have done.
N. Korea sustains itself because it has a major friendly neighbour in China. Jordan on the other hand has not always demonstrated such a similarly favourable disposition towards Fatah etc.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 09/20/2006 03:59 PM CST

Yes I have noticed all these things, I did not suggest economic plans, I suggested a peace plan. Economic stability and peace does not go hand-in-hand as is evident by the Korean situation, though I'm sure it is what is driving the stresses between the North and the South. Your comment has only highlighted mine and further given creedence to my point that a "strong willed" external entity steps in and takes the reigns of the situation. If you had actually read my post you would have seen that I said the South is progressing, I made no mention of the North, yet they maint the borders. That is the first step towards peace, I'm sure in time the North will either rid themselves of Kim-Jong, or wait until he dies, and perhaps be able to take their place as a civilized nation. this is the same process that is needed in the middle east. Everything we have tried thus far has not worked. If we have a model that has been proven to work, why not give it a go? Why reinvent the wheel?

Posted by OMFG @ 09/20/2006 06:40 PM CST

The idea that all is calm and non-violenet between the two Koreas is falacious. Both have indulged in aggressive acts each other since the end of the Korea War. Only the cold-war attitude in the USA and China provided for the mass of troops required to maintain the stand-off. The situation remains incredibily tense and there almost constant complaints by neighbouring states that increases in tension could rapidly progress to all out war.
N. Korea only continues as a state due to massive donations by China. I do not see that the rest of the world is so keen to coninue bolstering up a Palestinian state,and it would need that intervention as the neighbouring states would not be necessarily willing to facilitate trade.
What is needed is an acceptance of the two state solution with crossable borders and the presence of parallel administrative systems. Most importantly Palestine needs a stable and open legal system which accords to international standards so that investors will have confidence to fund economic development. Underemployment and unemployment is the curse of the Middle East and elsehwere in the Third World, together with poor resource management. Unless there is econiomic and social development to create emoployment and a modicum of wealth, we can expect to see war after war.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 09/21/2006 12:33 PM CST


You keep providing a solution that is doomed by the chicken or the egg scenario. It is impossible for a nation to gain economic stability (egg) if they are at constant war. They must first reach a state of quasi peace (chicken), so that they may divert their resources to improvement rather than sustaining a state of conflict. The Mid_east region does not seem capable of faostering this quasi peace satte on their own, and so they must have their hand forced to do so. This would be in the best intrest of the entire world as the middle east is a large geographical area that has political reaches in almost all of the eastern nations, as well as a region that is paralyzing the productivity and cooperation of many nations who have allied with one side or the other in the conflict. I'll make it simple, bombs and bang-bang sticks cost money, rebuilding what has gone boom costs money, training people to kill instead of advancing technology costs potential revenue. They will not achive economic stability until they stop warring.

Posted by OMFG @ 09/21/2006 06:42 PM CST

OMFG. In large part I agree with you. But if these "superpowers" impose peace they must be willing to defend that peace. As have the US and China been willing in Korea. I can recognise that the US can impose peace on the Israelis, I just don't know which bloc can impose peace on the Palestinians. There isn't any coherent bloc out there in the post Cold War environment. Europe won't do it, the Arabs can't, there is no USSR anymore. I cannot see that the USA would be willing to get embroiled further into the mess of the Middle East, their army is over-extended already. The UN has shown itself either to be too impotent or corrupt or partial to be deloyed effectively to keep the peace.
Even if both sides put down their guns and the Israelis withdraw totally, if the Palestinian government does not start putting its efforts into building a stable civil society it will not be able to attract any significant investment. Although the world is awash with invetsment funds at present, the investors want relative security.
IMO the key reason that the Zionists were successful is that they had largely constructed the machinery of state before they had a state, and that administration was competent and answerable to the people. The Palestinian leadership focussed almost exclusively on securing territory. When the fighting broke out Zionists logistic management was able to secure weapons for the war and when the war ended they had the basics of state administration in place. The Palestinians had no equivalent structure and couldn't even assert themselves as a national group amongst their so called allies. This is a lessont hat the Palestinians have yet to learn, and the principal barrier to learning it is the woeful absence of objective history. There is just too much self-pity and blaming everyone else.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 09/21/2006 09:33 PM CST

Sorry to intrude between Rod and OMFG, but Rod you need to realize common sense. That common sense is that the Palestinians have no power to ruin a peace treaty. Sure they can commit murder through suicide bombers and other problems, but how different is that from the crime and murder in the United States. First bring peace between two nations, and then logically follow the police work. Isreal is just making exuses, and Rod you want to help them. Palestians have NO MILITARY POWER. Get that thru your heads when talking about peace. Isreal have enough power to go demolish Lebanon, but then they are worried about a few stones and suicide bombers. Please get real. Accept a peace, or at best give a little life and dignity to the Palestinians using Isreali power, and then police your borders to the best of your ability just as any soveirgn nation has to fight crime. Bottom line is all the talking you do does not stop the FACT that Isreal does not want peace. Yes that is a fact not an opinion. I just have proven this fact. A nation with power can bahave as a more powerfull nation and force a peacefull situation. Deal with the crime like all nations do.

Posted by john @ 09/21/2006 11:07 PM CST

In the first instance the Palestinians have military forces and their entire strategy is based on their deployment. Those military forces may not possess aircraft or tanks, but they are armed, they receive pay from the PNA and elsewhere and they do attack Israelis. That Israel has the power to demolish Lebanon is an irrelevance, to date it has not deployed its fearsome arsenal in a total war.
Secondly for there to be peace both sides must implement a cessation of violence. Both Israel and Palestine are guilty of having breached cease-fires. Yet it appears that the PNA etc despite having allowed the military groupings to form either do not have control over them, or are unwilling to exert any control. In both cases it does not create a situation where Israel could reasonably entered into any agreement with the PNA. The suicide bombings, rocket attacks and shootings that seem so insignificant to you are real and have an impact. This violence has singularly destroyed the enormous constituency there was for peace and cooperation amongst Israelis, when the one thing the Palestinians need from the Israelis is goodwill and a desire to work toward peaceful co-existance.
Thirdly the economic and social benefits for Israel of concluding a stable peace treaty are enormous. The constant demand to maintain a vast armed force drains the Israeli economy, despite US aid. Occupation inherently corrupts the occupier as much as it oppresses the occupied, and thus removing the IDF from the territories would be beneficial to Israel.
The Palestinians have it within their power to help create peace. They cannot achieve it without Israeli commitment to peace, anymore than Israel can create peace alone. The so-called liberal left in the West seems to hold the view, and thus validates Palestinian action, that acts of violence against Israelis is legitimate so long as Israel occupies any part of the West Bank or Gaza. These so-called friends of Palestine are one of the major impediments to peace as they encourage the use of violence in place of negotiation and compromise. The worst thing that could happen to the Palestinians as a final outcome of this conflict would be an Israel that retreats behind the Green Line and close the borders. Were this to happen Palestine would wither and die. If you want a Palestine to come into being you should be challenging the Palestinians and encouraging them to put aside violence.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 09/22/2006 11:48 AM CST

To Rod,
I have already proven to you who is responsible for peace. I repeat I have proven it with facts not propaganda. But, just for fun I will respond to you since you have put in very little thought into my argument.

"In the first instance the Palestinians have military forces and their entire strategy is based on their deployment."

You typed that as if I had not already addressed the military problem. United States criminals are also "armed". Actually they might be better armed than the common stone thrower.

"That Israel has the power to demolish Lebanon is an irrelevance"

See again Rod you fail to use common sense. I have already proven that my entire argument of this peace is related to WHO has the power in the region. Therefore the fact that Isreal has power to demolish Lebanon DOES MAKE IT RELEVANT. It is only irrelvent to you because you continue to make exuses and you do not want to hear the truth. ALONG WITH POWER COMES RESPONSIBLITIES. DO NOT TELL ME THAT IS NOT TRUE, BECAUSE YOU WOULD BE HYPOCRITICAL TO YOURSELF AND I. I repeat, the fact that Isreal does have the military power, means that they hold a higher responsibility to act. JUST AS THE UNITED STATES HAS THE POWER to be a huge force in the world. That is why the United States is often looked towards to solve world issues, or to at the very least intervene. So there it is again, please do not downplay the fact that POWER is extremely important for peace. All your points after your first two statements come secondary to the main issue of PEACE FIRST. Isreal's economy is doing just fine. That is another exuse. Is Isreal's economy worse of than Palestinians, or Jordanians, or Lebanon right now. NO.
Selfishness will not bring peace. Take a good look at your thinking and deeply reflect and ANSWER DIRECTLY MY STATEMENTS WITHOUT ADDING TO IT. I like to discuss things, but I do not like when people clutter up debates with several issues before addressing one issue at a time. So your next response should be to answer why you do not think that POWER does have responsibilities, and is a prelude to PEACE. ESPECIALLY IN TODAYS WORLD, I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT MIDIEVAL TIMES. The fact is today when a country has power, they have only TWO choices, to abuse that power, or to sacrifice that power for the better lives of NOT ONLY THEIR CITIZENS BUT other citizens as well. Palestinians are not only held as lower class and a lower life form by Isreal, but they are even treated lower than dogs. Remember that the average Palestinian citizen is living like crap, and all Isreal does is watch. This is extremely analagous to what is happening in Africa. All the world leaders just sit and watch. KEEP WATCHING. WAS IRAQ A MORE IMPORTANT ISSUE THEN WHAT IS GOING ON IN AFRICA, THAT THE USA CAN SEND THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF TROOPS INSTANTLY, AND THEN JUST DO NOTHING AND SIT ON THE SIDELINES WATCHING THE GENOCIDE. When it comes down to politics, 99% of the leaders, are powerhungry, corrupt assshholes who just serve their best interests. And even when a politician is being a little unselfish, they are too damn ignorant to know what to do and how to do it. So politics is and always have been a lost, and ignorant proffession. My proof. Just look at the billions of innocent lives lost and the thousands of wars of human's earthly history.

Posted by john @ 09/22/2006 03:47 PM CST

By the way, I am sure you would like the Palestinians to "sink to eating grass" before their economy turns around and bounce back just as the United States stock market. Rod once again your brilliance shines. You talk about the poor economy of Isreal, yet YOU TYPE that the Palestinians are not eating grass yet. LOL. So are the Palestinians close to "eating grass yet?" If not at what point do you consider the Palestinians economy to be bad enough so that Isreal can just herd them like cows into Jordan. This is my 2nd comment in case you havent' noticed, so make sure you read the first one that I posted 5 minutes ago.

Posted by john @ 09/22/2006 03:57 PM CST

We all have power to a greater or lesser extent because we have agency, that is we are able to make decisions. Human beings are gifted with the capacity for intellectual creativity and analysis. We can observe what is going on around us, analyse those events, and synthesise plans of action.
The possession of material or technological advantages does not inherently place a greater obligation on the possessor of these to take greater responsibility. If that were the case then the basis for all laws would be changed to reflect such advantages, and the materially disadvantaged would be relieved of their responsibility for their actions. Clearly this would not be sustainable. The only source of morale obligation to higher standards may be derived from one party having significantly greater intellectual capacity than another. Unless it is claimed that Palestinians are intellectual incompetants, such an argument is not sustainable.
In the Mid-East peace process, both sides have equal obligations to work towards peace and put aside the tools of war. There is however no requirement for either side to relinquish their developed advantages if such exist. Both sides are required to act rationally in response to the environment they find themselves in, and thus the Palestinians need to behave in a manner which reflects the current power balance. This does not mean they should cease to seek an independent state for themselves, but it does require that pursue their goal in a manner that can reasonably expected to be successful.
What the Palestinians are currently doing will not progress the creation of an independent Palestinian state that exists in peace and cooperation with Israel.
I find it offensive that you suggest that I would derive some vicarious pleasure from the Palestinian economy totally collapsing and the Palestinians being reduced to "eating grass". I am profoundly concerned that if the so-called "Friends of the Palestine" continue to support the Palestinians current strategy wuithout any form of objective criticism that it will bring the Palestinians to the brink of disaster from which they may not be able to draw back.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 09/25/2006 12:03 PM CST

To Rod:
Your qoute:"The possession of material or technological advantages does not inherently place a greater obligation on the possessor of these to take greater responsibility. If that were the case then the basis for all laws would be changed to reflect such advantages, and the materially disadvantaged would be relieved of their responsibility for their actions."

See now we are getting into morals, which is important. You are actually correct on this statement. Possession does not necessarily mean that the possessors are obligated to more responsibility. So what should they do because of what is morally right or wrong. Do remember that a nation with power, as I have stated, does have 2 choices, and that is to help or to be selfish. The point about power that I was making is NOT THAT nations with less power stop following the law. What I was saying is that nations with MORE POWER should help the nations without power to at least have a basic dignified life. Isreal does not have to help the Palestinians, but they should. If they don't then they are being selfish with their power and as I said earlier, they do not want peace. That was my whole argument. Because Isreal does have power, they CAN MAKE PEACE, BUT THEY CHOOSE NOT TO BECAUSE OF SELFISHNESS.

Your quote: "We all have power to a greater or lesser extent because we have agency, that is we are able to make decisions. Human beings are gifted with the capacity for intellectual creativity and analysis."

Yes we are all able to THINK of decisions, but depending on the authority of a government some people cannot ACT ON WHAT THEY THINK.

Your qoute: "Unless it is claimed that Palestinians are intellectual incompetants, such an argument is not sustainable"

No Palenstinians are not intellectually incompetants, agreed, but once again you are confusing independent personal intellectualism with powers of the nations. You have many smart palestinians and Isrealis. This is not a matter of "smartness". It is a matter of "selfishness". As I have metioned.

Your quote: "Both sides are required to act rationally in response to the environment they find themselves in"

Yes agreed again, but what is the environment that the Palestinians find themselves in??? I beleive you know the answer to that. That is why I keep saying that this is not a national state war. Terrorism and suicide bombers and firing a few rockets is the act of people that do not want peace. That does not represent or take away the fact that the Palestinians do want to live in peace. Again the power is with Isreal. You did address the power issue. So now it becomes a moral question?? Should Isreal do what is better for mankind and use their power to make the Palestinians happy with a two state solution that would make the majority of the Palestinians reasonably happy, and then STICK TO THESE BORDERS WITH ISREALI POWER. THAT IS IT PLAIN AND SIMPLE.


Posted by john @ 09/25/2006 05:55 PM CST

Of course Israeli actions are driven by self-interest, altruism is a quality that is missing from nearly all inter-state exchanges.
While this conflict may not be a declared war between two states (yet) neither is it entirely a matter of resisting occupation. The proof of this being that the violence brought to a halt the negotiated withdrawl from the territories, and the only withdrawl since has been the unilateral withdrawl from Gaza. Even this move by Israel did not result in the PNA seeking to end violence emanating from that area, in fact it increased it in line with its stated policies.
The environment I referred to is the social / political environment in which the Palestinians are dependent upon Israel and the international community to be able to sustain their society. Key to the future of Palestine is the recognition that peaceful cooperation is the only way that Palestine can ever hope to be a viable state.
The Israelis can withdraw tomorrow from all the territory they captured in 1967. But if they close their borders to the West Bank and Gaza, and deny even aid agencies the opportunity to cross those borders (i.e. a return to May 1967), the Palestinians will be in real trouble. There is no law on earth that requires the Israelis to permit their borders with any other state to be traversable by their own and other citizens. Were this to occur how would the Palestinians export their goods and to where. How would the aid they are dependent on reach them? Given the extent of anarchy in Palestine at present neither Egypt nor Jordan would want open borders, and they certainly would want to prevent Palestinians migrating en masse to their urban centres.
In addition as described in 242 there is a trade between the various beligerant parties proposed. In return for the Israelis evacuating the territories the Arab League is required to provide recognition of Israel and its right to exist in peace. If we are hoping for the Israelis to seek peace, why would they then want to relinquish their only asset against an uncertain future commitment by the Arab League?
I for one think that Israel should unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank except for Jerusalem and its Jewish environs. Other areas of Jewish habitation in the West Bank should be evacuated. My view is that the Palestinians are so hopeless confused about what they want and how to get, and the political system so corrupt and impotent, that it is not in Israels interest to remain in occupation. Nor for that matter is it in the interests of the Palestinians to have Israel in occupation because it diverts their attention away from establishing a civil state.
Were I Olmert I would order a rapid unilateral withdrawl and then close the border. Then simply wait either for the Palestinians to seek peace and cooperation, or for the first salvo of rockets over the border. The former I would welcome positively, but in the case of the latter I would direct the IDF to unlease total war upon the Palestinian state for a given period and then stop to see if they would like to sue for peace.
It is my contention that one of the fundamental problems in the ME is that the civilian popualtions has never experienced total war as was experienced by Europe and East Asia in WW2. They have therefore not developed the aversion to it that people in the West tend to have.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 09/25/2006 09:43 PM CST

Rod you make this seem so difficult, just give the Palestinians what they want, and then use the power and police work of Isreal to patrol the borders. NO matter how hard it is. Or give make a Palestine that is not split geographically. What is this about total war if they fire katusha rockets. Rod you type as a politician, this is not chess, if people are suffering you fix it. I told you politicians are ignorant and selfish. When Isreal gives Palestinians what they want and be NICE to their neighbors, you would be amazed at what can happen. You still make exuses for Isreal again and again. Peace does not have to be pretty, but it is necessary first so things can get pretty later on. Look Palestinians are just as messed up politically. That is why I hate fixing problems because politicians make it out to be complicated. It is not complicated. A little more heart in politics would go a long way. The common man does not have enough power to solve world hunger, but politicians DO HAVE THE POWER. Again, if the desire and the will is there then it can happen. The common Palestinian citizen just wants to take care of their families and have an independent state, so that needs to be taken into account also.

I would like to make my point in an alternate way because I feel we are going in circles. Trying to negotiate between two politicians will never work. Both sides, Isreal and Palestine have crapy politicians, so the only way to have peace is for both politicians to worry more about the humans living in these nations rather than politics. This won't happen because of human nature. This is why I place PEACE in the hands of Isreal. There will never be an accepted peace agreement. So one has to be forced by the Isreali government, and then simply turn the majority of the Palestinian public opinion in favor of Isreal. The rest of the minor terrorists action has to be delt with with severe POLICE WORK. CRIMINALS NEED POLICE WORK. NATIONS NEED PEACE FIRST. If trade is a problem, then give the Palestinians two land masses that are together. Redraw the maps, if you have too. Sounds complicated, but like I say, if there is a will then there is a way.

One last remark, everything that I have been saying thus far is only possible in an ideal scenerio. That will not happen. I just am solving this issue if Isreal really is a Mother Teresa or something. That does not exist, therefore, there will never be peace. My proof of that, simple, WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HAD PEACE IN THE WORLD, LOL. The problem is human nature. Most if not all humans place their self-interests before others. That is why the world is the way it is. The only hope is for people that do have the material and the power to do something about issues in a non violent manner and in a caring manner.

Posted by John @ 09/26/2006 01:06 AM CST

As someone who works in government I can tell you that politicians are far from complicated, nor do they seek to complicate matters. It is the communities they serve that are complicated, and the societies beyond their boundaries are even more complex.
As for giving the Palestinians what they want, the first question must be "What do they want?". They recently voted for Hamas and its policies. So it is reasonable to conclude that the majority do not simply want peace to support their families.
As for the armed factions to simply suggest these can be dealt with as police actions seriously under-estimates these forces. The Palestian forces are better armed than any terrorist group in the developed world. It is quite apparent that they have access to the Palestinian national treasury and priority in the national agenda over the needy.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 09/26/2006 11:10 AM CST

It is not reasonable to conclude that the majority do not want peace based on electing Hamas. Do remember, since 1967, there where other leaders. EVERYONE WANTS PEACE. The people that do not want peace are the people in power. Of course civilians from both Isreali and Palestinian side wants peace. Who would rather live in war conditions vs. peaceful conditions. Politicians are ignorant and selfish. read my last postings. Palestinian forces are not armed better than Isreali forces are they??? Look Rod the only difference between right now and Isreal giving up some land is just that Isreal giving up some land. Isreal can keep today's situation but give more land back to the Palestinians, and then patrol the new borders as they do now. The only difference that would happen from this scenerio is that you would make more Palestinians happy than right now.

Posted by john @ 09/27/2006 12:51 AM CST

You are absolutely right EVERYONE WANTS PEACE - BUT ON THEIR OWN TERMS. I am certain that all those Palestinians that voted for Hamas want peace. But the peace they want is based on the notion that Israel ceases to exist. There are also Israelis that want peace but on the basis that any notion of Palestine ceases to exist.
Of course it is legitimate to conclude that the majority of Palestinians support the objectives of the Hamas charter, because the majority fo the Palestinians voted for Hamas in an open & fair election. No other statement has equal legitimacy.
If Hamas is unwilling to agree a peace treaty with Israel and seeks to "recover" Palestine through force then the decision to revert to war is a legitimate expression of the Palestinian people. Democracy is like that. In the same way that if President Buch or PM Blair as the legitimate leaders of US & UK decide to head off in a certain direction their choice is an expression of the democratic choice of the US or UK populations.
Most worring of all is that the various political elements amobgst the Palestinians seem unable or unwilling to conclude a peace treaty and deliver their end of it. And if the PNA can't deliver then Israel has no business pretending that it can or wasting any resources on any pointless attempts at negotiations.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 09/27/2006 04:36 PM CST

Rod now you are beginning to be very dishonest.lol.
Your quote: "But the peace they want is based on the notion that Israel ceases to exist."

That is an oxymoron. Does not make sense. You are saying that they want peace, and then in the same sentence you are saying they want Isreal to cease to exist. LOL. Are you finally running out of things to say and to support your statements. Common Roddy, the Palestinians cannot WANT PEACE and at the SAME TIME want Isreal to cease to exist. Stop deceiving yourself and maybe you will find some truth in life.

Your quote: "Of course it is legitimate to conclude that the majority of Palestinians support the objectives of the Hamas charter, because the majority fo the Palestinians voted for Hamas in an open & fair election. No other statement has equal legitimacy."

Rod you are running away from my argument and that is (for the second time), that Hammas was elected ONCE. What happened to all the other political leaders since 1967. They ALL were not Hamas, yet Isreal failed to form a peace.

Your qoute: "And if the PNA can't deliver then Israel has no business pretending that it can or wasting any resources on any pointless attempts at negotiations."


Posted by john @ 09/28/2006 11:28 PM CST

Wanting peace and wanting the elimination of a neighbouring state are both achievable objectives if you believe that one will achieve the other. If the Palestinians could destroy Israel and it's population there would be peace would there not? The Allies in WW2 eventually achieved peace through the wholesale destruction of Germany.
The question about the Palestinian leadership since 1967 is an interesting one. The PLO was the Palestinian leadership refused to countenance any compromise and were determined to recover the entirety of "Palestine". In seeking this they explicitly rejected 242. Israel exploited this stance which enabled them to do nothing towards peace. It was only during the Oslo agreement that the PLO indictated they would recognise Israel's right to exist and exchange for a planned withdraw by the IDF. Unfortunately it took a long time to get the PNA to ratify this. Arafat breached the agreement by arming the factions when he felt he was not getting what he wanted during negotiations. But once armed they ceased to be controllable. There were also issues about differences between what Arafat was saying to the Israelis and the Int'l community and what he was saying to the Palestinians and Arabs. The PNA declined into gross corruption. The Palestinians eventually voted Hamas into power.
It is OK to say that Israel should participate in negotiations with the Palestinians. But if the Palestinians seek to use violence to force a concession then it makes a mockery of a negotiated settlement.
I am under no illusions that the Israelis could have done things better. But ultimately the Israeli government exists to promote the interests of the Israelis, and not their Palestinian neighbours. In the early 1990's there was an enormous Peace bloc in Israel which would have conceded far more than the current administration. It had no significant parallel in Palestinian society. Unfortunately the return to violence by the PLO / PNA resulted in this Peace bloc being dissipated. Palestinian leadership and society is responsible for this total waste of opportunity. It is the Palestinians that want a Palestinian state and not the Israelis, it therefore behoves the Palestinians to act in a manner likely to deliver that objective. Their present actions are very unlikely to achieve this.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 10/02/2006 02:04 PM CST

To Rod,

Your qoute:"Wanting peace and wanting the elimination of a neighbouring state are both achievable objectives if you believe that one will achieve the other. If the Palestinians could destroy Israel and it's population there would be peace would there not?"

You are trying to save face and weasel your way out of the obvious blunder that you have mentioned. That is ok, WE BOTH KNOW that when you made the statement of peace, you are aware that when Palestinians want peace they are not at the same time talking about elliminating Isreal. First, it is impossible, second, it is just common sense. When you discuss peace negotiations Rod, you do not eliminate the other party. NICE TRY THOUGH, LOL.

Your quote: "I am under no illusions that the Israelis could have done things better. But ultimately the Israeli government exists to promote the interests of the Israelis, and not their Palestinian neighbours."



Posted by john @ 10/02/2006 06:36 PM CST

To Rod,

Typing error on the last post, I ment that we should all stop being sellfish, and NOT only serve our interests, but to help others as well.

Posted by john @ 10/06/2006 04:56 PM CST

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