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May 14, 2001
5:45 AM   Subscribe

"Peace? Peace? We don' need no steenken' peace!" Israel rejects freeze on continued building of illegal settlements in West Bank and Gaza; Apocalypse at eleven...
posted by m.polo (57 comments total)

 
Of course - because we couldn't have the Palestinians thinking that violence solved the problem. And we wouldn't want Israel to have to agree to any new terms when the Palestinians don't. They're going to go tell their mom now - no fair changing the rules in the middle of the game!
posted by binkin at 6:22 AM on May 14, 2001


I finally located the clearest article available online that discusses the current uprising. Written by an Israeli anthropologist, it cogently tracks the truth behind the violence. I urge anyone who is interested in this issue to give it a chance and read it. It's concise, to the point, provides meaningful statistics, and is short on the angry rhetoric that usually accompanies these kinds of things.

here is the article

I think it's really important for anyone involved in this conflict (that includes all Americans whose tax dollars finance much of what you see) to know the facts behind the atrocities committed by both sides. I hope that this thread can provide meaningful debate about the framework for peace, and not catcalls describing the latest outrage from the other side.
posted by FPN at 6:40 AM on May 14, 2001


Dear FPN: I suspect that what you consider the clearest article on Israel and the Arabs is but a left-win approach within Israel to the situation rather than an an opbjective view . Clearly there is no real aobjective view but as is so often the case, a version of the truth and one that you accept.
I am opposed too to the building of settlements. The right-wing in Israel claims that this is disputed land and that if the Palestinians are not going to negotiate a peace than they have an equal claim to the land.
Now I am not suggesting for a moment that that is The Truth but merely noting that the view of the Left is not at this time prevailing in Israel.
Note too that even the Left in Israel rejects the Palestinioan claim of the Right of 3.5 million Arabs to return to a land where some 700,000 had left. That issue is where the peace talks broke off.
It is, no doubt a mess, and I appreciate your raising the issue for discussion.
posted by Postroad at 6:50 AM on May 14, 2001


Postroad: I would argue that the left-wing approach in Israel is much closer to an 'objective view' than the right-wing approach. However, you are 100% correct in stating that the left-wing approach is all but dead at this day and time in that country. From what I have seen though, public opinion changes rapidly there.

But actually the article is more concerned with how we reached this point, not what we should do now.

You are also correct in stating that clarity is objective. However I have read a great deal on the subject, as well as attended lectures and conferences on all sides of the issue. It is my view that the large majority of the facts in this article are correct, and even more important, they are unknown to most.
posted by FPN at 6:59 AM on May 14, 2001


I've posted this link before: it is a history of the region as seen by the American Jewish left. An excellent statement on the political course the Palestinians ought to follow can be found in this Edward Said article.
posted by talos at 7:16 AM on May 14, 2001


FPN, thanks for the link. It adds immeasurably to my appreciation of the details of the present situation. It's all but impossible in the US to be opposed to Zionist policies, past and present, without being excoriated as anti-Semitic but it's difficult for me to see how anyone can review the historical basis of the present conflict and come out in favor of Zionism.
posted by m.polo at 8:20 AM on May 14, 2001


Thanks to all for the links to the well-reasoned articles. I've been looking for just this sort of thing, with no luck, because despite NPR's extensive coverage of the situation, I lack perspective on the issue, for the most part.

Thanks again.
posted by binkin at 8:51 AM on May 14, 2001


Zionest policies?, is zionism right-wing alone. why, if you ask someone on either side, can their be no peace? Because there never will be peace. Perhaps a non-violent co-existence. To have a "left or right" view is a little...well after the fact. the right controls the military and they ensure the safety of israel. period. Look what happened to Rabin and he was a hero, beloved. I have never met a more determined people, determined to secure the right to live.
posted by clavdivs at 8:52 AM on May 14, 2001


Far be it from me to want to be one-sided in this or in just about any issue, and thus here is Sharon on his policy:
and that said, is there a "left" in any Arab country? a position that differes from the government's? I have read countless times in Arab sites that only the destruction of Israel will be acceptable. Example: in www.arabia.com, Jerusalem is referred to as "occupied Jerusalem" over and over.
posted by Postroad at 10:47 AM on May 14, 2001


Kind of off topic, but it's really odd to see how biased American news media is about Israel/Palestine. Here in NZ, it seems so much more balanced and unattached. More footage of Palestinian children being gunned down, for example -- something you don't see too much of in the States. Causes a real gut reaction when you see Israeli storm troopers marching down the road, opposed by nothing but children with rocks.


That may have something to do with the extremely low number of Jews here.
posted by benbrown at 2:59 PM on May 14, 2001


...so you live in...New Zeland?...and you monitor U.s. media bias...new zeland is beautiful. sheep and apples aside, space is the issue...look at Israels size ,they are surrounded, and yer for-fathers THE BRITISH EMPIRE, had alot to do with blocking An Israeli homeland. But we all saw the need after the smoke cleared and the cameras came. Is it Hummas(The organization not the food) that belives in war with the west at all costs until all westerners are "Gone"?
posted by clavdivs at 4:15 PM on May 14, 2001


shalom
posted by clavdivs at 4:16 PM on May 14, 2001


Postroad:

referring to Jerusalem as occupied Jerusalem (which the old city certainly is) is in no way advocating the destruction of Israel.

Remember that Jerusalem has only been in Israeli hands for 34 years.

If it said "occupied Yaffo-Tel Aviv" then you'd have a point.

It's next to impossible to find an Arab intellectual (who would most likely comprise the left that certainly exists, but not in the American media spectrum) who advocates the destruction of Israel, as if a thing were possible in the first place. It is also rare to find this sentiment among average learned people in the Arab world. Certainly there is a lot of anger of the horrible treatment of the Palestinians, though.

And actually most of the repressive regimes in the Arab world are not held in high esteem by their people. The idea that they support their despots is a Western engineered concept rooted in convenient racism. The reality is that they're like people in all countries with terrible leadership-- they may not like it, but what difference can they make? The Palestinian uprising is very scary to these despots, because it's mobilizing the people to do something, which is why you see repression of pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Morocco and elsewhere. But that's a whole different topic.

Most of the time, the idea that all Arabs are hell-bent on destroying every last Jew is used by Israelis to justify their actions in the shred of land the Palestinians have left-- it's difficult to convince the Israeli people that it's necessary to defend occupied land unless the proposition that the enemy 'wants it all' sounds feasible. Not that there are those that don't 'want it all,' but the vast majority would be happy with a viable, independent state with decent living conditions free from persecution, the same as every other people in the world, the same as the Jews wanted in 1948. Another factor that is often ignored is that historically Jews (who have been persecuted in every corner of the earth) found their most stable, secure, and pogrom-free homes (if not the most wealth) in the Arab world before 1948. The cultured, democratic Europeans are the ones with the Holocaust and hundreds of other mini-holocausts on their hands.
posted by FPN at 4:29 PM on May 14, 2001


Not that there are those that don't 'want it all,' but the vast majority would be happy...the same as the Jews wanted in 1948.

This is a CROCK if only because there are no Arab countries with democracies through which you would know what most Arabs think. Get real.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:38 PM on May 14, 2001



posted by ParisParamus at 4:39 PM on May 14, 2001


Ah, the beat goes on. Arabs do not want (in general) the destruction of Israel? Take a look at WWW.Arabia.com discussion sections. And that is not even the far out sites.
Note: if you turn to the longish ad to the left of the original link, and begin clicking away, you will find out why this piece appears on that sponsored page.
The notion that Israel has only existed for 50 years seems rather an odd thing to say. though this is a fact, it is a state and recognized by all the countries of the world, though onlky Egypt and Jordan (having made peace with Israel) even put the State on the map they use.
Israel was created out of the Mandate, with both Russia and the U.S. agreeing with the vast majority of nations to make two states. The Palestinians turned this down (they would have ended up much larger in land than they now have) had they accepted.
Though clearly I defend Israel I am fully aware of many of its fault and shortcomnings.
As for New Zealand, take a peek at the Mauris before letting us know how bad the Israelis are. And after all, there have always been Jews living in the Holy Land. This is not the case with N.Z.....but this is the way of the world, as witness our grabbing of large parts of Mexico.
posted by Postroad at 5:36 PM on May 14, 2001


Postroad: I'm getting sick and tired of your efforts to talk rationally about Israel. Mefi members are not interested in rational discussions on this subject and dismiss out of hand such facts as the reality that there that there is no Palestinian people, only Arabs living in and near Israel; that Mr. Arafat was born in Cairo; and that Mr. Arafat runs a kind of mafia.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:53 PM on May 14, 2001



posted by ParisParamus at 5:54 PM on May 14, 2001


FPN: It's next to impossible to find an Arab intellectual (who would most likely comprise the left that certainly exists, but not in the American media spectrum) who advocates the destruction of Israel, as if a thing were possible in the first place. It is also rare to find this sentiment among average learned people in the Arab world.

Except that the problem is, as with the rest of the world, the number of "intellectuals" and "learned people" is nothing compared to the number of whatever you call the rest. The Arab world has its share of whatever the Arab equivalent of Joe Sixpack is, doing whatever the Arab equivalent of believing that the WWF is real is.

It`s these people that kind of make Israel nervous.

[OT] This seems like the abortion issue in that, if it has any real meaning to you, you gravitate to an extreme position to protect your middle ground. See the two recent Mefi abortion discussions for examples of this.
posted by chiheisen at 6:45 PM on May 14, 2001


"As for New Zealand, take a peek at the Mauris before letting us know how bad the Israelis are"

Maori.
And they don't give us that much trouble anymore ha-ha.
posted by Catch at 7:29 PM on May 14, 2001


It`s these people that kind of make Israel nervous

Yes, I agree with you. But does nervousness mean much in the face of reality? Israel has stockpiled 200 nuclear warheads, has one of the best-trained militaries in the world, has better weapons than virtually any other country in the world, and has the world's most powerful country behind it every step of the way.

So if we agree that "Joe SixPack" of the Arab world may make idle threats about the destruction of Israel, does it really make a difference since a. that person has no intention of actually doing anything about it, and b. even if he did, there would be no government (save Syria and Iraq) that would ever in a million years take him up on it, and c. even if they did they wouldn't stand a chance and they know that?

The question is, does Israel have the right to kill, maim, and torture the Palestinians (who, ParisParamus, do exist, despite your repetition of Ethnic-Cleansing propraganda) because they are nervous about these attitudes in the Arab world?

If you think the answer is yes, then that's your perogative, maybe you can attempt to convince me. Personally I think this image of the blood-thirsty Arab has been shoved down the Western throat in order to justify the repressive, fear-driven tactics of the Israelis. But I am certainly open to hearing a better defence than I could give. In contrast to what you say, chiheisen, I do think there is an opportunity on a forum like this to learn something, and find some middle ground.
posted by FPN at 2:46 AM on May 15, 2001


The question is, does Israel have the right to kill, maim, and torture the Palestinians (who, ParisParamus, do exist, despite your repetition of Ethnic-Cleansing propraganda) because they are nervous about these attitudes in the Arab world?

It's tragic your reasoning faculties are so binary. The people styled Palestineans exist, have dignity and a right to a peaceful existence. But they their right to their own state is dubious. Too bad you don't know the history of the Middle East.

And do Israelis have a right to defend themselves when wacky irrational people send mortars and bombs into their school yards; and brainwash their young to throw rocks in a "war" they can't win?
posted by ParisParamus at 3:57 AM on May 15, 2001


Paris, I am interested hear why the Palestinians do not deserve their own state. I have studied Middle Eastern History, and I can't say I have come across anything which would proclude this idea.
posted by FPN at 4:22 AM on May 15, 2001


I don't preclude the idea either, FPN. It's just that the current Palestinean take on a Palestinean state is one superceding Israel, which is unacceptable.

The other thing is that the term "Palestinean" only goes back to the 1960's. There's this whole outrageous mythology that Israelis "stole" Palestinean land, which is a crock because most people who consider themselves Palestineans are actually refugees, or the children of refugees from other parts of the Arab world. And as I said, Yassar Arafat is from Egypt. So the whole Palestinean thing seems to be suspect

I think the best thing is for the Israelis to wait out the death of the Arafat (however it comes about), and then see whether there are Palestineans who want to co-exist with Israel, or just want Israel. It's obviously complicated, but on balance, the Palestineans are a lot more wrong than the Israelis.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:12 AM on May 15, 2001


P.S., FPN: see today's New York Times Web site, top right, for today's installment of Palestinean propoganda. In 1947, the only people called Palestineans were the Jews living in what is now Israel.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:24 AM on May 15, 2001


ParisParamus, mate have you been smoking crack?

Uhh, Palestinians had lived in the region previously known as Palestine for over a 1000 years.

Yes, they're refugees from Palestine! Many people fled their homes as a result of the various conflicts since 1947 and weren't allowed to return.

If Jews were the only people living in Israel/Palestine in 1947, who had Zionist movement been purchasing land from?

Who did the British Imperial gov. try to moderate between?

Who did Israeli people have a war with in 1947?

Who lived in the old city of Jerusalem?

Thats what angers me about the Israeli right, you don't learn lessons or even remember your own history.

Yes, by all means defend your view, what you're doing is exactly the same as German neo-Nazis saying the holocaust never happend.
posted by Rips at 9:49 AM on May 15, 2001


Hey Rips, the Arabs living in Palestine in 1947 were, well, Arabs, not "Palestineans," and there weren't that many of them. And no, there not mostly refugees from the territory now know as Israel. And I'm actually somewhat left of center politically, so feel free to discard your generalizations. Yes, the thread has reached the Nazi comparison. Too bad.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:02 AM on May 15, 2001


I`d never say that it`s right to fire rockets into houses. I`d also never say that it`s right to blow up a bus full of school children because you don`t like their parents. Neither Israel nor the Palestinians is exactly sitting on moral high ground here.

Nor is either side an ethnic group. For the most part, the classification of "Jewish" as an ethnic group is a contentious issue everywhere but with white supremacists. To call "Israeli" or "Palestinian" an ethnic group seems to me to be the same as calling "New York Italian" a distinct ethnic group. "Italian", sure. But "New Yorker" is not an ethnic group. (Though if I`m wrong on this, please feel free to correct/ignore me)

As for the issue of why Israelis/Jews might be a bit worried about the common man in the Arab world, I have a few things to offer. First is that Jews (which includes me, so this may be more than a bit self-serving) have something of a reason to be paranoid, given history (very stong cultural memories of lots of people who want to kill Jews, despite the fact that, historically, the regimes who were most humane to the Jews were those of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs and those immediately following them).

Second is that, as much as there may be silent dissent for the despots of the region, there is also a lot of support (evidenced by Saddam Hussein Keychains and what have you, though I can`t find a link). Note also that one way to build support is to go after Israel. During the Gulf War, Iraq launched missles into Tel Aviv not to destroy strategic houses and suburbs, but to try to goad Israel into the war, thus forcing apart the coalition because none of the other Arab states would have stood by while Israel attacked Iraq.

Third, note that one of the reasons Pokemon given for banning Pokemon in Muslim countries is that it is "Jewish" or "pro-Jewish" or "has Jewish meanings." These statements are coming from the governments, not the common man. Would this not be a worry to a state that is known throughout the world as a Jewish state? That`s why they stockpile weapons. That`s also part of why they`re paranoid.

This, of course, doesn`t necessarily justify anything, it just explains why Israel is nervous.

Is there any reason why there couldn`t be a "non-affilated" state where we currently have Israel and the Palestinian authority? I`m sure people have reasons for not liking this idea, but I`d love to know what they are.

Re polarization: I`m not at all saying that nobody learns anything at at Mefi. The point was more that nobody seems to start in the middle ground, and very few people stay there. And it`s not just Mefi. It`s true for this sort of issue everywhere. Maybe this topic would be better left to MetaTalk.
posted by chiheisen at 6:46 PM on May 15, 2001


Paris, you just laid out some ideas I've heard intermittently over the years and always hope I'll never hear again: some variant of the idea that Palestine was more or less empty when Israel was created (whether it be "there was nobody living there," which I've heard stated, or just "there weren't that many of them") and therefore ripe for the taking. Do you have any sources that back up those assertions? How few is few enough to justify taking away a people's country?
posted by rodii at 7:10 PM on May 15, 2001


Rodii, I wrote "and there weren't that many of them," which is true; the whole of Trans-Jordan and Israel was sparsely populated (as compared to today).

Israeli was duly created under international law. So what do you mean by "taking away a people's country"? does the existence of Jordan constitute "taking away a people's country"? I don't understand.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:18 PM on May 15, 2001


I know what you wrote: I quoted you directly.

You're dodging the question. How sparsely populated was it? What about the cities? How sparsely populated does it have to make it OK to establish a state without the consent of the people living in that territory? You make it seem as if Palestine was just a blank slate before the establishment of Israel. I doubt that but I'm willing to hear evidence.

"Duly created under international law" is another discussion. I'm sure there are arguments about the legitimacy of the Mandate. I'm not really up to speed on that issue though.

(Please realize that this is not an attempt to start a flame war. I'm honestly interested in your answers.)
posted by rodii at 9:04 PM on May 15, 2001


chiheisen, wouldn't you say "middle ground" would include acknowledgement that Israel is surrounded by millions of Arabs whose despotic governments make the erasure of Israel their official foreign policy, and that these countries are the primary allies of the Palestinian Authority? How about that however foolishly, the former government of Israel offered the Palestinian Authority about 95 of what it wanted, and this was turned down?

And sorry. They ain't gettin Jerusalem.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:14 PM on May 15, 2001


You make it seem as if Palestine was just a blank slate before the establishment of Israel. I doubt that but I'm willing to hear evidence.

No, not a blank slate. Not in population, and not politically. It had been part of the former Ottoman Empire under British control. If you're not willing to recognize either of those authorities as legitimate, I'm not going to convince you here.

And honestly, I am not an expert on Mideast history. End of thread for me; I would hope someone else would speak up here....
posted by ParisParamus at 9:29 PM on May 15, 2001


There were aproximately 800,000 Palestinians living in Palestine in 1948. They owned between 96% and 93% of the land. The UN offered them 45% of the land, and they refused. By the time the dust settled from the 1948, the new state of Israel held 77% of the land, and 418 Arab villages had been levelled to the ground. The remaining shred, the West Bank, the Gaza strip and Jerusalem, was annexed by Israel in the 1967 war. Immediately after that war, the United Nations passed resolution 242, which required Israel to leave the areas captured by War, which is already International Law. Instead, Israel did the opposite, by putting heavily armed, fanatical settlers into heavily guarded settlements, usually right next to existing Arab towns and villages. To make room for the settlers, hundreds of Arab homes were destroyed, and over 200,000 acres of fruit trees were uprooted and destroyed, as were the farmers who made their living from them.

These facts are documented in several places. For the 1948-1967 history, the best work is by Chomsky, The Fateful Triangle, Noam Chomsky (Boston: South End Press, 1983)


If you want to find out what happened next, and why the peace process failed, check out the article I linked at the top of the thread. There will always be those who rely on deception and lies to get what they want, and often in this world, that strategy works. However I believe that it is in Israel's best interest to acknowlege the truth, and strive for justice. As a supporter of Israel, I hope that their society will one day be able to look at itself in the mirror and do right by the Palestinians. Without truth and justice, however, this will be impossible.

The clearest path to peace is to rely on International Law and the United Nations. You cannot accept that the UN created Israel without accepting its resolutions later in the game. I have no doubt that a peace process built on International Law would bring a lasting peace to the region. Without international pressure on both sides, however, this will not happen.
posted by FPN at 3:48 AM on May 16, 2001


Thank you FPN !

Its good to know not everyone is a fanatical maniac and can back up their thoughts with evidence :)

ParisParamus's rants left me feeling ill and hopeless regarding how young Israelis or Jews may feel about and know their own history.

Its good to know there are a few calm & sane voices still around despite the current bloodshed.
posted by Rips at 9:28 AM on May 16, 2001


If Noam Chomsky is the basis for your assumptions about the Mideast, I pity you. His brilliance is in linguistics.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:14 AM on May 16, 2001


So give us better ones!
posted by rodii at 2:24 PM on May 16, 2001


So give us better ones!

How about the Left of Israeli politics which has, based on the conduct of the Palestineans last year, pretty much changed it's mind and given up on Yasser and Co.?

Rodii: cutting to the chase, why don't you just tell the people on what terms Israel has the right to exist.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:33 PM on May 16, 2001


amen parisparamus on the chomsky take. That would be an alarming model to use all the time. (chomsky that is)
posted by clavdivs at 8:59 PM on May 16, 2001


I wouldn't use Chomsky as a model all the time, but he has studied the Middle East with great intensity and has written soundly and thoroughly on the subject. As a jew, he has a personal interest in the situation, yet he has applied the same rigid standards he applies to all the other brilliant work he has done. You may not like his conclusions, but his research is impeccable.

As for the Israeli left, they are the same people who allowed 100,000 more illegal settlers to move into the West Bank after signing peace accords with the Palestinians promising they would do no such thing (among numerous other breaches of trust). So I'm not sure if they are the best group to hold up as a barometer of what is right and wrong.

Paris, I can understand yours and many others' frustration with "Yasser and Co," but can you try to imagine his and his peoples' frustration with his supposed partners? At the very least, you could read the article I linked at the top of the thread-- there is more than enough concrete evidence that the "peace process" was a sham from the start, and that the Palestinians were in no way offered "95% of what they want"
posted by FPN at 2:06 AM on May 17, 2001


FPN, I don't think you've answered the question about Israel's existence. Also, there seems to be in the Palestinean/Israel threads on Mefi almost a total lack of recognition that (1) Israel is surrounded by countries of hundreds of millions of people bent on Israel's destruction (the last mention of this fact actually discussed it as a "maybe," as opposed to a given reality) (2) that these countries are using Palestineans to further their ends and (3) that the Palestineans have broken many aspects of the Oslo accords.

So it's really tempting to just write Mefi off when it comes to this issue.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:10 AM on May 17, 2001


What was the question Paris? You mean the one you directed at Rodii about on what terms Israel has a right to exist? I think it has the same exact terms as any other state in the world, respect your neighbors, enforce but do not expand your borders, etc. I don't think anyone has brought up Israel's right to exist except for you, though.

As for Israel being surrounded by millions of people who are bent on its destruction, I think this is a worthy topic of debate. I'll back off my previous statements about the average Arab probably not caring all that much because I have no way of backing that statement up. For the moment I'll also chuck the points I made earlier in the thread about the inability of these hundreds of millions to actually do anything about it, lest they kill themselves in the process.

Instead, let's assume that what you say is true. Now why is it that these countries are so angry with Israel? Is it because they inherently hate Jews? As I previously mentioned, anti-semitism in the Arab world was sporadic at best before 1948, and certainly Jews have had their best treatment in the world (outside the United States, perhaps) in the Arab world before 1948. Thousands of Jews lived in peace and prosperity in Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Yemen, and other Arab countries prior to the war of 1948.

Could it be that these countries are angry with Israel because the Nationalistic government of that country has systematically destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians? Invaded Lebanon, shelling Beirut and killing hundreds of civillians? Massacred entire villages? Bombed Iran outside of war? Developed nuclear weapons?

I am not saying that all of these actions were unjustified. Certainly Israel has the right to pursue its own foreign policy. However when you establish your state through force, maintain it through force, have a well documented history of torture and human rights abuses, then turn around and justify these actions because of the reactions you get, it rings hollow.

Could it be that Arab countries actually have genuine grievances with Israel, and that Israel's best chance for stability and peace would be to address these genuine problems? It makes it very difficult for the anti-Jewish minority to gain any support unless there is clear evidence of wrong doing. To assume otherwise is ignorant at best, and deeply racist at worst.
posted by FPN at 4:53 AM on May 17, 2001


Is it because they inherently hate Jews?

YES.

Could it be that Arab countries actually have genuine grievances with Israel, and that Israel's best chance for stability and peace would be to address these genuine problems?

NO, it is not possible. Take Syria's new "leader," who, during an audience with the Pope saw it fit to accuse the Jews of persecuting and aiming to destroy (or something like that) both Christians and Moslems (that the Pope said nothing in response, well, he's an old frail man).

Not in the foreseeable future, and probably not in our lifetimes will Israel, and Jews in general be able to rely on anything but the threat of force to secure its existence.

To assume otherwise is ignorant at best, and deeply racist at worst.

Actually, I would suggest you check out the Arab press, controlled and filtered as it is; the references to Satan; the sources of funding for terrorism. Sorry, but you haven't a clue.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:23 PM on May 17, 2001


Paris, I don't know what you're on me for. I don't have an agenda here. I'm just trying to get you to put some facts up to support your claims.
posted by rodii at 3:10 PM on May 17, 2001


Rodii: really, nothing personal.

You're asking me to encapsulate decades of demostrated hatred, punctuated by wars, acts of terrorism, trade embargos, and other hostile acts.

I give up.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:54 PM on May 17, 2001


???

Paris, you perplex me. ALL I have asked you to do is provide backup for this statement: "there weren't that many of them" (Arabs in Palestine/Palestinians)--and at first I asked you to clarify for me what the significance of that would be, but I've given up on even that simple request. I haven't asked for arguments about Israel's right to exist, haven't asked you to encapsulate anything (though I'm thinking of something right now), I'm not disputing your claims about Oslo or Syria or the Israeli left or ANYTHING. I'm simply asking you to provide one thing: a population figure for Palestine circa 1948. The figure of 800,000 was put on the table; you rejected it (illogically, by some non sequitur about Chomsky's brilliance being in linguistics) but when asked for an alternative, all you have to offer is evasions, rhetoric, and vague mutterings about the awfulness of MeFi.

Either you have facts or you don't. It's simple. If you don't, and you were basically talking through your hat earlier, admit it. If you do, what are they?

I don't care anymore. It was a side issue to begin with. It wouldn't have changed anyone's mind. But whatever respect I might have had for your rationality on this issue has pretty much been extinguished by your weaseling.
posted by rodii at 5:54 PM on May 17, 2001


Rodii: no weaseling; just distraction with life.

I would go with 600,000, not 800,000. Moreover, it's important to remember that most of those individuals were from Gaza and Jordan, and never from the territory of Israel. Perhaps you fail to realize that from the Palestine from which Israel was created was also created Jordan.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:04 PM on May 17, 2001


Gaza is about the size of Paramus. 418 Arab villages were destroyed. 4.5 million Palestinians now live in diaspora. Trust me, Paris, people are not as illogical as you seem to think they are. They don't spend every waking moment moaning for a homeland that they didn't really lose. People don't live in refugee camps by choice.

Anyway, it is attitudes like yours that are leading Israel to doom. You have no evidence for hatred towards Jews except for what has happened after 1948, after 67, after 73, yet you insist that force is the only option, never considering that perhaps it was force that brought Israel to this position in the first place. You distort (or rather, ignore) facts and try to pretend that the Palestinian people don't exist. All of this is characteristic of someone in denial. I hope that one day you realize that for Israel to truly succeed and prosper, she needs to re-think her policy of force against civilians, occupation, torture, and human rights abuses. If Israel becomes a good neighbor in the middle east, it will take power away from the hate-mongers. Right now it is only feeding their hatred.
posted by FPN at 2:34 AM on May 18, 2001


Trust me, Paris, people are not as illogical as you seem to think they are. They don't spend every waking moment moaning for a homeland that they didn't really lose. People don't live in refugee camps by choice.

Rodii: you disregard the reality that there is no democracy in the Middle East, and that according to you, there should also be no despotic, mafia-like regimes surrounding Israel.

You also completely disregard that an Arab Palestinean state was offered in the UN in 19848, and the Arab Palestineans said NO. "TRUST ME."

Today's Palestineans are angry, and justifyable so, but their anger should be directed towards Arafat and the other thug regimes of the Middle East. Today's Paleastinean Arabs are Jealous, because the only place an educated, or semi-educated place a person would want to live in the Middle East is Israel.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:42 AM on May 18, 2001


Of Israel's 4 closest neighbors, only one could be considered a despotic regine (Syria). Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt all have various forms of democracy. None of which is as advanced as Israel's, but they are hardly despotic or thug-like.

Palestinians are angry with Arafat for his terrible and corrupt leadership, and they do direct some anger at other Arab governments as well because of their lack of concrete action in support of their cause.

However I imagine their primary anger will always be directed at the people who displaced them from their homeland, and the army that has occupied the remaining shred since 1967.
posted by FPN at 6:17 AM on May 18, 2001


Of Israel's 4 closest neighbors, only one could be considered a despotic regime (Syria)...

Since Lebanon is in the back pocket of Syria, you're only partially right. So you're 50% accurate. Except this is not baseball, so that is not a very good average. Moreover, Egypt is disturbingly unstable politically and has done little since the late 1970's to establish relations with Israel. This is unfortunate since Egypt would clearly benefit from Israeli trade and technology to modernize.

However I imagine their primary anger will always be directed at the people who displaced them from their homeland, and the army that has occupied the remaining shred since 1967.

I guess you are speaking of the armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan? Ditto in 1973. Also, ditto in 1948, since these that is when these countries blatantly encouraged Arab Palestinian to reject the offer to set up an Arab Palestinian state and to leave Palestine so that Arab armies could erase the Jews there (including those who had been there for hundreds of years). Well fortunately, those Arab armies failed (but not for not trying).

As for Israel being a good neighbor, I think it's gone way beyond showing good faith. It returned the Sinai. It has, at least to the extent it can, given Gaza to the Palestinian Authority. It has arguably compromised it security by giving limited control over much of the territories to the Palestinian Authority. It has the only modern economy in the region and would love to trade with its neighbors. It has made serious progress in normalizing relations with Jordan (already one "Palestinian state") To ask more of Israel is absurdly unfair.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:46 AM on May 18, 2001


the only place an educated, or semi-educated place a person would want to live in the Middle East is Israel.

...except if he is an Arab...

these countries blatantly encouraged Arab Palestinian to reject the offer to set up an Arab Palestinian state and to leave Palestine so that Arab armies could erase the Jews there

Not an iota of evidence for that exists, it is a myth perpetrated by the lunatic fringe of the zionist movement. What, 700,000 people listened to the call of foreign governments and left their homes behind carrying belongings and babies along?
As for Palestinians: Here's a quote (from the link I posted earlier in this discussion) from Edward Said, a Palestinian intellectual who considers Arafat to be a quisling president and the PLO to be an organization out of touch with the Palestinian people:
Although every human rights declaration in the world today (including the UN Charter) gives a people the right to resist by any means when it is under military occupation, and the right for refugees to return to their homes, it is also the case that suicide bombings in Tel Aviv serve no purpose, political or ethical. They too are unacceptable. There's a huge difference between organized disobedience, or mass protest, on the one hand, and simply blowing up yourself and a few innocents, on the other. This difference has to be stated clearly and emphatically, and engraved in any serious Palestinian program once and for all.

How's that for "violent"?
posted by talos at 10:30 AM on May 18, 2001


Actually, there are a fair number who live in Israel, vote, and have a quality of life several quantums better than anywhere else in the Arab world. Wonder why that is...

Not an iota of evidence for that exists, it is a myth perpetrated by the lunatic fringe of the zionist movement. What, 700,000 people listened to the call of foreign governments and left their homes behind carrying belongings and babies along?

So what really happened, and when, precisely, did it happen?
posted by ParisParamus at 11:26 AM on May 18, 2001


By the way, without labeling them as necessarily "illegal," I do not think additional settlements should be built.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:40 AM on May 18, 2001


Rodii:

No, Paris, not rodii.
posted by rodii at 1:20 PM on May 18, 2001


Back. Sorry Rodii. Sorry for all the death, too.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:43 PM on May 20, 2001


Paris, your question is broad, but basically...

When the Zionists invaded, several militias were formed, which went from village to village fighting, and on occaision massacring civilians. The most famous of these is Deir Yassin, which, by the way, was one of many villages taken by the Zionists that was outside the UN designated state.

What's interesting about Deir Yassin is that both Arab and Jewish leaders greatly exaggerated the amount of death and destruction there. Arabs wanted to encourage the voulenteers from Iraq and Syria to fight, and the Jews wanted to scare the Palestinian population into running. The irony is that the Arab villagers mostly just heard the Arab accounts of rapes and untold brutality, and instead of inspiring the Syrian and Iraqi fighters, it had the effect that the Zionists wanted, and people fled.

Historians now think something like 90 (as opposed to the accepted historical figure of 250) men, women, and children were massacred at Deir Yassin. What's also interesting is that all the attention paid to Dier Yassin by both sides has overshadowed some of the larger massacres that happened during the war.

But, from that incident, we can get a microcosm of what happened. Zionists militias such as the Stern Gang expelled and killed some Arabs, while others heard about the killings from Jews and fled, and larger numbers heard trumped-up tales of the killing from the Arab media and fled. Nothing in the region is simple.

As for the notion that the Arabs missed their chance by not accepting the UN 2 state partition, well, hindsight is 20/20. If you owned 90% of your house, and someone tells you, well, you can have 45% of it instead, what would you do? The Palestinians thought they would be repatriated within days and were, ironically, waiting for the UN or USA to do something about it. Many of them died years later in refugee camps with the keys to their houses still around their necks.
posted by FPN at 3:59 AM on May 21, 2001


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