Jerusalem Barrier Approved
July 11, 2005 4:35 AM   Subscribe

Israel's Cabinet has approved final details of a barrier to surround Jerusalem "redrawing the disputed city's boundary and shifting its demographic balance in favor of Jews." The Jerusalem Post declares this to be "most dramatic change [in Jerusalem's borders] since 1967." The decision means Israel is taking lands claimed by the Palestinians for a future state, including traditionally Arab east Jerusalem, the intended Palestinian capital. In addition, the UNRWA (pdf) reported that other negative impacts on the Palestinain population include "logistical problems of access, proximity of schools" for Palestinians and that "access of refugees to secondary and tertiary care in Jerusalem hospitals will be severely hampered." Dr. Gerson Baskin of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information wrote in 2003 "It is time for honesty – the security barrier may have started in its conceptual phase as a security barrier, but in its translation into reality it has been manipulated to be a political border." Is this another nail in the coffin of the peace process, a necessary and constructive step towards a solution, or an encouraging development in the ultimate conversion of Jews to Christianity and the second coming of Christ?
posted by three blind mice (65 comments total)
 
[unhappy but resigned to supporting the "terrorists"]
posted by NinjaPirate at 4:53 AM on July 11, 2005


The sentence "Jerusalem, the Holy City to us all, should become the city of peace" sounds like a load ***. I'm under the (linkless) impression that walls have a respectable success rate historically.

(1) making bombings more difficult will decrease the number of bombings, directly removing many Israeli gov. counterattack excuses.

(2) fewer bombings, and (even unsubstantiated) feelings of security, will make Israeli people (and eventually gov.) more conciliatory.

(3) the wall creates a final de facto national boundary, i.e. no more silly haggling over stupid details (like Jerusalem).

So the question isn't about right or wrong, or the location of the Palestinian capital. The important questions are: Will the wall still work? How many Palestinians has Israel put on the wrong side of the wall? How permeable does this wall now need to be? Can Isreal politically afford to grant citizenship to Palestinians inside the wall? etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:23 AM on July 11, 2005


"most dramatic change [in Jerusalem's borders] since 1967."

That quotation (second link) is from a January 2004 article, so it certainly does not apply to this latest redrawing of the line.

Can Isreal politically afford to grant citizenship to Palestinians inside the wall?

Yes, because the point of the wall seems to be moving from being purely a security barrier to defining a final border which will leave Israel with a clear and permanent Jewish majority, thus avoiding the demographic time bomb that would exist in a greater Israel with a major Palestinian population that would grow into a majority.
posted by beagle at 5:46 AM on July 11, 2005


Yes, because the point of the wall seems to be moving from being purely a security barrier to defining a final border which will leave Israel with a clear and permanent Jewish majority

Which violates almost every negotiation toward peace in the last few decades. The issue of Jerusalem is one of the three major issues that require discussion and negotiation among both sides, not complete military takeover. Hooray, more murders from both sides to come and another notch for Israel in its increasingly-ironic refusal to acknowledge another nation's right to exist.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:02 AM on July 11, 2005


I don't believe much in the demographic time bomb mainly because high fertility rates are (usually) the product of the status of the female population. When they have limited access to education and contraception they are then limited to certain jobs and roles. That's why in Israel the fertility rate is less than in West Bank/Gaza.

The thing is for a Palestinian state to survive in the long term fertility rates will have to drop as well and start dropping fast.

Also: For the first time in 2000 years Israel now has the largest community of Jews in the world.
posted by PenDevil at 6:09 AM on July 11, 2005


Good. ASAP. B'H!
posted by ParisParamus at 6:13 AM on July 11, 2005


The reality is that any real Palestinian state will be all or part of Jordan, with a little tail consisting of parts of the West Bank. Which is precisely what it would have been 30 or 50 years ago, had Israel not been targeted for liquidation by its surrounding "neighbors."
posted by ParisParamus at 6:16 AM on July 11, 2005


That quotation (second link) is from a January 2004 article, so it certainly does not apply to this latest redrawing of the line.

Maybe so beagle. My Google-Fu is not as strong as other Mefites, but I could not quickly find any comparison between what was proposed in 2004 and what was approved yesterday. My assumption is that the Israeli cabinet approved what had been earlier proposed - without modification. I (and the thread) would benefit from clarification or additional information.

Your points are well-taken jeffburdges. I linklessly agree that seems clear that the "security fence" has had the same positive effect on keeping Palestinians (good and bad) out as the Berlin wall had on keeping East Germans in. In this regard, it may have a positive psychological impact on the Israeli population (both with regard to terrorism and demographics.) But considering the positive impact on the Israeli population without giving pause to consider the potentially negative impact on the Palestinian population seems to be more of the same one-sided thinking that plagues this debate.
posted by three blind mice at 6:20 AM on July 11, 2005


Maybe so beagle. My Google-Fu is not as strong as other Mefites, but I could not quickly find any comparison between what was proposed in 2004 and what was approved yesterday.

This is from the Palestine Media Center, so it's blatantly partisan, but since you asked, their claim:
The revised Wall route will mean some 55,000 Palestinians of east Jerusalem will no longer be able to travel freely throughout the holy city.

It will now cut through four of the Palestinian neighborhoods of Shuafat and Kufr Akab as well as the Qalandiya refugee camp and Anata on the outskirts of the city.

The Wall leaves some 55,000 Palestinians on the West Bank side, while including the largest illegal Jewish West Bank colony of Maaleh Adumim, with close to 30,000 illegal Jewish settlers, on the Israeli side.

The Jerusalem Wall extends 40 miles and was originally approved in January 2004 as part of the partially completed 680-kilometer Wall across the West Bank, which the Hebrew state occupied in 1967. On February 20 2005, the Israeli government approved an updated route for the Wall in the West Bank, which confiscates about 8% of the West Bank area and annex it to the "Israeli" side when completed.

Only about 25 percent of the total 84 km of the planned Wall in Jerusalem is completed, The Jerusalem Post reported.

A recent study on the ramifications of the Wall by a Jerusalem think tank has found that as many as 65,000 Jerusalem Arabs will need to pass through the military passages and checkpoints along the Wall going up in and around Jerusalem on a daily basis.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:30 AM on July 11, 2005


XQUZYPHYR writes "so it's blatantly partisan, but since you asked, their claim:"

How can simple verifieable facts, and that is all you quote, be "blatantly partisan"? Or are you saying they are outright lying, so the facts quoted are all false and useless (and then I'd aks why bother quoting them)?
posted by nkyad at 6:34 AM on July 11, 2005


Thanks XQUZYPHYR.

nkyad, the site is clearly, blatantly partisan so there might be a reason to question the accuracy of the "facts" cited therein. Nevertheless, it seems that the links and associated commentary I provided in the FPP and the border which was approved might not match one-to-one.
posted by three blind mice at 6:44 AM on July 11, 2005


The PMC may have a partisan bent, but in this instance they quote at least 2 Israeli sources and are mainly stating facts, so they let's take them at face value.
posted by beagle at 6:45 AM on July 11, 2005


Three blind: your contention would be valid 30, or even 20 years ago. The wall is actually a ratcheting up of meaures; desperation, perhaps, even. And completely justified.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:45 AM on July 11, 2005


blatantly partisan

Pretty much the same "facts" in a Jerusalem Post story, so take your pick.
posted by beagle at 7:00 AM on July 11, 2005


ParisP: your contention would be valid 30, or even 20 years ago.

And my contention is? I don't think I taken a side in this thread.

As I see it, the wall is a ratcheting down of measures. It proves to me how utterly useless military force has been as a means of defending even a small population from teenagers with explosives. The wall represents a military defeat of historic proportion. It is a retreat into the ghetto. It is sad to see Jews constructing their own concentration camp, living behind walls and barbed wire because they are unable of finding a way to live peacefully with their neighbors and incapable of defeating them.
posted by three blind mice at 7:36 AM on July 11, 2005


or an encouraging development in the ultimate conversion of Jews to Christianity and the second coming of Christ?

Been reading the "rapture ready" board again, huh?
posted by telstar at 7:38 AM on July 11, 2005


Representatives of Hamas, the Fatah movement and Hezbollah have all stated at various times that they do not recognize Israel's right to exist and feel the only acceptable long-term Arab goal is the complete destruction of Israel.

As far as I can tell from Google, in the areas where the wall has gone up, not one Palestinian suicide bomber has successfully crossed it and killed Israeli civilians.

I'd say a little inconvenience is worth it if lives are saved. As long as Palestinian terrorist groups aren't interested in peace, the wall should go and stay up.
posted by zarq at 7:53 AM on July 11, 2005


As I see it, the wall is a ratcheting down of measures.

I guess it would be, if the barrier stayed on the Israeli side of the border. As it is, it consistently annexes Palestinian land and water rights in the interests of a religious state, and is an act of (militarily-backed) aggression.
posted by carter at 7:54 AM on July 11, 2005


As long as Palestinian terrorist groups aren't interested in peace, the wall should go and stay up.

I totally agree. Use the legal borders. A fence around your yard will keep your neighbor's dog away from your kids; you're not allowed to run it through his living room.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:01 AM on July 11, 2005


XQUZYPHYR, I don't think Israel demonstrated an inability to recognize the right of existence of a Palestinian state at Camp David in 2000, or during the Wye accords in 1998, or when they signed the agreement at the White House in 1993. The absence of negotiation and counter-offer by Arafat at Camp David, on the other hand, and the ensuing intifada, do not amount to open arms on the part of the Palestinians.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:05 AM on July 11, 2005


XQUZYPHYR, I don't think Israel demonstrated an inability to recognize the right of existence of a Palestinian state at Camp David in 2000

Then you clearly didn't look at the map.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:12 AM on July 11, 2005


As it is, it consistently annexes Palestinian land and water rights in the interests of a religious state, and is an act of (militarily-backed) aggression.

If the Palestinians hadn't a collective penchant for much more visceral acts of "aggression", I venture a bet that the wall wouldn't be there in the first place.

I hate the wall. It's godawful ugly. A stain on an otherwise beautiful landscape. But the fact is, the bus bombings aren't happening any more. When terrorists blow themselves up, by and large, it's at checkpoints. Whatever else is being done with it, and I agree with you that it should have been built on the greenline, it's primary function was and is security.

If Canadians started crossing the border to blow up American buses, I promise you a similar blight would mark the 49th parallel. Any territorial concessions or economic advantages the more powerful American state would wring from the Canadian people after it's imposition would be a secondary factor, as these are.

For balance, NinjaPirate, you might have mentioned the historic land transfer to the Palestinians which will happen in about a month...the carrying out of which may rip the Jewish state apart.
posted by felix betachat at 8:16 AM on July 11, 2005


Conveniently leaves out the parts of the Negev that Israel was offering as compensation. And, I might add, I would not go so far as to advocate without reservation Barak's offer - I don't know enough about it and wouldn't be so presumptuous as to assume that I have all the facts and considerations at hand. Arafat's unwillingness to make a counter-offer, to engage in any kind of negotiation, spoke volumes to me about his position on peace and his "acceptance" of a Jewish state.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:17 AM on July 11, 2005




ack, threeblindmice, sorry.
posted by felix betachat at 8:17 AM on July 11, 2005


XQUZYPHYR, I don't think "the legal borders" are all that clearly defined. To use your metaphor, there don't seem to be any impartial surveyors for this neighborhood. Therefore the boundaries of the yards are disputed.

Pushing the metaphor to absurdity, I note that the yard boundaries were brought into dispute by the entirely unreasonable action of everyone on Israel's "block" banding together to kill their new neighbors. Let's not forget that when we go around talking about "acts of (militarily-backed) aggression."
posted by Invoke at 8:21 AM on July 11, 2005


My Google-Fu is not as strong as other Mefites.

Aren't the Mefites one of the lost tribes?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:28 AM on July 11, 2005


What JeffBurdges said. Good fences make good neighbors ... and anything that leads Palestinians, voluntarily or not, to recognize the unachievability of conquest (demographic or military) of Israel, is a good thing for Palestinian prosperity.
posted by MattD at 8:35 AM on July 11, 2005


ParisParamus, to quote you: Shut up.
posted by mosch at 8:38 AM on July 11, 2005


Holding a nation hostage in its own land?
Don't worry about it: so long as that nation opposes your occupation and repression with anything more than politics, you're entitled to "victim" status - congratulations on your windfall!
posted by NinjaPirate at 8:41 AM on July 11, 2005


I don't think "the legal borders" are all that clearly defined. To use your metaphor, there don't seem to be any impartial surveyors for this neighborhood. Therefore the boundaries of the yards are disputed.

That's precisely the problem, and also the logic that drives the extremists on both sides.
posted by carter at 8:52 AM on July 11, 2005


Three blind mice, I recognize that its going to make life hard on some people, and I appreciate your sense of irony, but effectiveness in keeping Palestinians out is still the only reasonable metric visible to me. No, I don't believe conservatives Israelis use that metric, but it is the metric used by the Israeli majority, so its position is close. If the left had played hardball with Arafat and built a wall years ago, they could have placed it more fairly, but instead they clung to the kind of irrational "city of peace" nonsense we still see today.

XQUZYPHYR, Why should I care if the Palestinians are (politically) unhappy with the boarder? As far as I can see, all that I should ever care about is (a) quiet and (b) that the rest of the West Bank is given an opportunity to develop into a technologically advanced civilization, eventually with women's right, etc.

Attempting to move on to the legitimate case against this particular location, there is fear that decline in house prices outside the wall will encourage many Arabs to move to Jerusalem. Does it matter? Would leaving a bit more outside might keep it from devaluing so much? Would it have been better for Israel to annex all of Jerusalem? I doubt the last proposition, as the conservatives would likely have done so if viable (although one should never rule out conservative stupidity). I would be happy to hear talk abou the first two propositions, specifically would it be reasonable to modify the wall to put more Arab infrastructure outside (without putting this one settlement outside, which is presumably symbolic to the conservatives).

Anyway, my personal feeling is that this will work irrespective of talk of schools, infrastructure, Palestinians crossing the boarder, or division of families. It's all peanuts compared to the Berlin wall. BTW, prior to the Berlin wall, the CIA had analyzed the situation and concluded that a wall was impossible. So look forward to eventual peace and the wall coming down in 50 years (after both sides have regained civility).
posted by jeffburdges at 9:10 AM on July 11, 2005


zarq writes "not one Palestinian suicide bomber has successfully crossed it and killed Israeli civilians."

Could be they are just going for the low hanging fruit.
posted by Mitheral at 9:26 AM on July 11, 2005


jeffburdges writes "Anyway, my personal feeling is that this will work irrespective of talk of schools, infrastructure, Palestinians crossing the boarder, or division of families. "

Obviously it will work - not because it is a good idea but because it is backed by a massively superior military force. Funny you keep talking about the Berlin Wall. Do you think it was such a good thing?

jeffburdges writes "So the question isn't about right or wrong, or the location of the Palestinian capital. The important questions are: Will the wall still work? How many Palestinians has Israel put on the wrong side of the wall? How permeable does this wall now need to be? Can Israel politically afford to grant citizenship to Palestinians inside the wall? etc."

Sorry, I can't help but put this words in the mouths of any white American talking about the Indian problem in the XIX century or any white South African explaining why the bantustans would finally solve all problems.
posted by nkyad at 9:30 AM on July 11, 2005


Good fences make good neighbors ... and anything that leads Palestinians, voluntarily or not, to recognize the unachievability of conquest (demographic or military) of Israel, is a good thing for Palestinian prosperity.

I don't think you understand how condescending that sounds- Oh, how dare those savage Arabs, well we'll just have to give them time-out until they can play nice with the other children.

Good fences do make good neighbors. And bad fences kill people. And it will continue until you start realizing there isn't only one side in this that "refuses to recognize the unachievability of conquest."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:32 AM on July 11, 2005


How can defenders of the wall not admit that, even if one were disposed to grant the practical utility of it, putting it inside Palestinian territory is unacceptable theft? jeffburdges, do you have a response to this?
posted by languagehat at 10:01 AM on July 11, 2005


I would agree that it would be "unacceptable theft", if the property lines were clear and unequivocal. They simply aren't. It would be so much easier if they were.
posted by Invoke at 10:11 AM on July 11, 2005


Three Blind Mice, what is up with your last bit about converting Jews to Christianity?
posted by caddis at 10:32 AM on July 11, 2005


Invoke is right in regards to the property lines, they really never have been - at least with the Palestinians they haven't. The 49' armistice was an attempt to create borders which we all know went to hell in 56' when the war broke out. It wasn't until 79', under the terms of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty that an attempt was made to clarify borders (Israel giving back the Sinai peninsula to Egypt). But the Palestinian issue was never resolved and obviously continues along that path. I guess the question is (in regards to this aspect of the conflict), how far back to we go to determine who justly owns what?
posted by j.p. Hung at 10:33 AM on July 11, 2005


I think a really, really good way to encourage the end of hostilities over nebulous borders is for one side to take a hard-line stance and simply start muscling in on places whereever they feel like it. Especially when the results of muscling in will further impoverish and endanger the already impoverished and resentful civilian members of the enemy. Especially, especially when the enemy doesn't have an organized army and operates out of largely uncoordinated terrorist cells who draw their members from resentful, impoverished, unemployed civilians.

History has clearly shown that the best way to deal with a guerrilla enemy force that blends in with and is aided by the civilian population is to indiscriminately impose "big stick" policies on everyone, civilians and terrorists alike. Because, y'know, if your policies lead to an enemy civilian's kid dying because he can't get the kid to a hospital fast enough or the civilian losing his job, that civilian will totally be cowed and definitely not get angry and decide to retaliate.

TRULY THESE IDEAS ARE BRILLIANCE DEFINED.
posted by Anonymous at 10:55 AM on July 11, 2005


schroedinger, I think your entirely wrong. It's exactly the opposite thing that .... *realizes it's sarcasm*
Nice one.

So what recent event happened that could be seen as vaguely connected to some of these goings on?

Not that I blame the Israelis. Anyone meddling in my backyard I'd tell to F-Off too.
But it does tend to make everyone lose sight of the objectives.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:18 AM on July 11, 2005




Will this wall keep the Zionists in as well as keeping the Arabs out?

And "Also: For the first time in 2000 years Israel now has the largest community of Jews in the world."

Have most of the world's people with some claim to Judaism or Jewishness agreed yet on what "a Jew" is?
posted by davy at 12:01 PM on July 11, 2005


Smedleyman, I think a large part of the problem is each side believes the other is doing the backyard meddling. And the real difficulty is that both sides have a pretty good case.
posted by Anonymous at 12:07 PM on July 11, 2005


Will this wall keep the Zionists in as well as keeping the Arabs out?
Immediately? No. In the long term, quite likely so, which is why, within the Israeli political spectrum, most of the opposition to the west bank wall comes from the right-wing.

schyler523: classy.
posted by kickingtheground at 12:17 PM on July 11, 2005


"demographics" yeesh.

"Zionism" is the last grasp of the racialist policies of the early part of the 20th century, and has no place in the modern world. Sorry.
posted by delmoi at 12:17 PM on July 11, 2005


Wow, the depths some people will go to condem the Jews - good on you Schyler523 - bravo for the Nazi comparison, was wondering when that would come in here. Definitely comprable, what with the Jews blowing up Germans while they were eating bratwurst. And blowing up Germans wherever they could. And declaring war on the Germans several times? Of course they didn't. There's a bit of a difference.

Question - outside of the barrier/fence/wall, what else stopped the Palestinians?

Second question - if the Israelis are building a wall to keep themselves in and the Palestinians out, what stops all of the other countries of the Middle East from aiding their poor Palestinian brethern economically, so their poor, ravaged society can be fixed? What stops the Palestinians themselves from doing this?

Third and final question - why is it the obligation of the Israelis to keep the land open to people who have said for more than 50 years that they stand for the destruction of the Israelis themselves?

On preview - Delmoi - isn't Vatican City one of those "racialist" states? Isn't Saudi Arabia? How about the Phillipines, where non-Natives can't own property without majority stakeholder ownership by a native? Certainly that's racialist? They should be abolished too, I assume? Or is it only wrong if Jews do it?
posted by swerdloff at 12:24 PM on July 11, 2005


And how could I miss this one? Isn't the proposed "Palestinian" state a Racialist one, Delmoi? Since selling land to a Jew carries with it the death penalty?
posted by swerdloff at 12:28 PM on July 11, 2005


swerdloff: your rhetorical point is valid: Israel isn't the worst offender. However the "we're not as bad as them" argument is a weak one, and your conclusions are neglecting the situation's giant power imbalances.
The reason the Palistinians will not be able to just "help themselves" with Israels handout is that the route apparantly segregates them from major employment centres, water sources, and traffic connections.
posted by Popular Ethics at 12:57 PM on July 11, 2005


nkyad, "Property is theft" (Marxish) and "What do I care what colour my cat is as long as it hunts mice" (Chainaish).

If it the wall will work with superior military power, it is justified, not because superior military power is inherently justified, but because so many more "socially just" solutions have failed (with superior military threat). Face it, social justice is just b.s., I wanted to believe it too, it failed. It will continue to fail, for good reasons. That does not mean the left is wrong. Read Peter Singer's a Darwinian Left for a real understanding.

As for white Americans or indians, there is really only one thing that matters: technological and scientific progress. American Indians failed, Europe won. This was a good thing. Its time for a repeat performance, but the winning seat is wide open (China, Europe, etc.), but I can tell you the winners won't be rules by religious zelots.

I'm all for preventing Bush and the PNAC from gaining a stagnant military world hegemony. But I also oppose silly a Marxist based moral hegemony. Marx was very very good at understanding monarchy influenced history, but we have moved beyond that now.

Anyway Israel is no threat to our legitimate dreams of Chinese technological progress threatening America & Europe into massive scientific & technological investment, but after a few more decades Israeli (and Indian) progress might just force the Arabs to adopt modern science and actually evolve for a change.

Yes, all the social geniuses were leftists, but their ideas have failed because they did not understand Darwin, power of tradition, sexuality, memes, etc. Move on, find new idea. We haven't lost, the conservatives are progresses-less and will give us plenty of opportunity to try again, but we need new ideas, not Marxism rehashed as "social justice" bs.

P.S. Schroedinger, sarcasm provides no serious arguments that this attempt will fail. East Germany delt quite effectively with a guerrilla enemy which could neither be opposed nor actively supported by the west. But have conservative Israelis put too many Palestinians on their side of the wall to buy off? Schyler523, we all know about the vague Israel-Nazi parallels, but Israel doesn't want to conquer the whole middle east nor does it gas people, so we don't care, deal with it. We'd protest the idiots ocupation of Iraq years before we'd even wink at Israel.

P.S.2 I'm happy to listen to anyone who can talk about actual chances for success or failure of the wall with the currently proposed boundary. Seriously people, we know Israeli conservative are full of bs, there is a real chance to shave years off the peace process if the wall can be optimally placed, but no one is making serious arguments for a good place. All I see is hope from the pro-wall side and b.s. from the anti-wall side, but no middle ground of move the wall a km here and there.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:58 PM on July 11, 2005


*works hard to ignore blatantly racist post*
jeffburdges: All I see is hope from the pro-wall side and b.s. from the anti-wall side, but no middle ground of move the wall a km here and there.

OK, this gave me a chuckle. Regardless of your position, claiming that moving the wall a few kilometres constitutes reasonable middle ground is kind of like saying "At least the prisoners can choose where to be hung!"
posted by Popular Ethics at 1:14 PM on July 11, 2005


schroedinger - agreed.
That's pretty much what Wolfensohn said.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:31 PM on July 11, 2005


swerdloff:outside of the barrier/fence/wall, what else stopped the Palestinians?

Peace talks. Promises of economic development. It's not like the suicide bombings started as soon as the ink dried on the Balfour Declaration. The Oslo Accords of the early 90s were a promising time, and the problems that arose later occurred when both Palestinians and Israelis grew dissatisfied with the rate of progress--killings continued on both sides, the Palestinian economy collapsed (the Oslo accords were supposed to help the economy), Rabin got assassinated (reflecting Israel's move towards the right), and Israel doing stuff like, y'know, taking land away from Palestinians and not paying them for it 'cause they wanted "buffer zones" around settlements wasn't helping anything.

Progress. Progress stopped the Palestinians. People who have food and jobs and a place to raise their family are not quite as willing to jump around blowing themselves up.


what stops all of the other countries of the Middle East from aiding their poor Palestinian brethern economically,

Oh, yes, now that's a straw man. C'mon, dude, pointing out the discrepencies between what other Middle Eastern politicians say for popularity and their actions doesn't have anything to do with Palestinian legitimacy.


What stops the Palestinians themselves from doing this?

Golly, after the Civil War what stopped blacks in America from raising through the economic ranks? They're just lazy, obviously.

So, like, y'know, systematic discrimination does nothing for a people's ability to earn money in a society. The Palestinians started out poorer than the Jews who moved in, and only got poorer as they lost more control of their land and their economy. Some of the land was bought out, some of it was forcibly taken, the situation's complicated but the point is when you have a richer population move in they're going to displace the poorer population on all levels of society, and if the two populations start fighting and the richer population excludes the poorer population from many areas of work and education while maintaining control over the government and economy, the poorer population is just gonna keep getting further and further screwed.


why is it the obligation of the Israelis to keep the land open to people who have said for more than 50 years that they stand for the destruction of the Israelis themselves?

Uh whu-buh? They did? Because I'm pretty sure they didn't. And I'm pretty sure they would say the Israelis stand for the destruction of the Palestinians, and I think the Palestinians would be as wrong about that as the Israelis are about the Palestinians. 'Cause man, for every thing the Palestinians have done to the Jews, the Jews have done to the Palestinians. Palestinians have the suicide bombers of the Intifadas, Israel had Deir Yassin and shit like the King David Hotel bombing. Palestine's got Hamas and al-Aqsa, Israel had Irgun and Lehi. That's not getting into what crimes the Israeli Army proper's committed. My point is that you can't point at one side or the other and say "They're the bad guys, they're trying to eliminate us, we're just fighting back."

Yes, the old fanatical Arab nationalist movements and the current militant Islamic movements emphasized race, culture, and religious differences as reasons why the Jews are evil--kind of like the way fanatical Zionists believe the Jews have a God-given right to take over as much of Israel as they please and to hell with anyone else. But those movements are ideological--the real basis, the reason people started hating each other in the first place, that was land. Land and money. Israelis and Palestinians aren't genetically programmed to hate each other; their cultures aren't based on hating each other. Those things arise as a result of prior conflicts and get exploited by power-hungry bastards who prefer to play on people's fears and prejudices to keep themselves in power rather than finding an actual solution.

This post is getting long and rambling enough, but let me clarify that I'm not down with bulldozing houses or blowing up buses, people buying up other people's land is part of a market economy but the initial land issues were more complicated than that.

jeffburdges: Palestinian terrorism is supported by outside forces, though. And East Germany's ability to control guerrillas wasn't simply due to a wall, it was because it was run under an effectively totalitarian government. If you're willing to wipe out large numbers of people and hold the rest to insanely strict laws under threat of inhumane penalties, you can deal with most terrorist threats.
posted by Anonymous at 1:52 PM on July 11, 2005


*hat off in the presence of schroedinger*
That was very well said.
posted by NinjaPirate at 2:23 PM on July 11, 2005


Schroedinger - I don't agree with all of your points, but they are well thought out and well presented. Hats off.

I will take issue with only one bit - "the old fanatical Arab nationalist movements and the current militant Islamic movements emphasized race, culture, and religious differences as reasons why the Jews are evil" - and call for their genocide the world over. And they're the folks who run the country. And kill anyone who disagrees as a collaborator.

Otherwise, in the main, I agree. I'm not sure I'd liken King David and Deir Yassin to today's intifadah, but I can see why you would.

Incidentally, should we expect the right of return to Russia, Germany, France, and the rest of Europe for the Jews any day now? And the return of all precious objects from the families who looted them? And the return of all lands confiscated by the state? Because if that's what the Jews in Israel are being asked for, why isn't the rest of the world?
posted by swerdloff at 4:55 PM on July 11, 2005


why isn't the rest of the world?

Aren't they? And would it be wrong if they did? In my opinion, they absolutely should. And they have done quite well on some fronts in recovering objects and land from Germany and Austria.

And kill anyone who disagrees as a collaborator.

The collaborators who get killed are (almost always) those who specifically provide intelligence to the Israelis who then use it to assassinate leaders and terrorists, often killing innocents in the process. There are many, many people who openly disagree with Hamas et. al. in the West Bank (less in Gaza)... you don't get killed for disagreeing...
posted by chaz at 5:28 PM on July 11, 2005


...or an encouraging development in the ultimate conversion of Jews to Christianity and the second coming of Christ?

Uh, what?

Is it a joke? A reference to something? I don't get it.
posted by sellout at 5:44 PM on July 11, 2005


ParisParamus, to quote you: Shut up.
posted by mosch at 8:38 AM PST on July 11 [!]

That wasn't helpful in dealing with PP. Visit MeTa and read the long thread regarding him. You'll note that in this thread, unlike most (and subsequent to the recent MeTa discussion), he was completely ignored by all but you and one other user. Ignoring him may well be the best plan: it's not like newbies are going to read his spew and think he represents MeFi. They'll inevitably come to the same conclusions as you.

posted by five fresh fish at 6:09 PM on July 11, 2005


swerdloff, I absolutely agree that extremist movements like fundamentalist Islamic militancy need to be eliminated. Maybe where we differ is on how they should be eliminated? I believe public, across-the-board actions that hurt moderates as well as the fanatic leaders and followers, 'cause if someone feels like they're getting attacked for something they didn't do they're more likely to listen to the twisted extremist logic and take the unjust persecution as proof the enemy's evil. I think building things like the wall, the harsh curfews and barriers, and knocking over refugee camps create more terrorists than they eliminate. You can kill off 10 baby-killers hitting a house with a missile, but if the explosion causes one toddler to die that's what everyone's going to remember. It's like that on both sides.

Instead, I think the best way is to eliminate their silent base of support by addressing those reasons people turn to those black/white movements in the first place: poverty, fear of cultural invasion, large economic disparities between the warring groups, etc. Building walls, both physical and psychological, does not promote understanding, and as hippy-dippy as it sounds I believe that's what the general population of both sides needs. Most of the population. Some of them just need a good slap across the face.


Incidentally, should we expect the right of return to Russia, Germany, France, and the rest of Europe for the Jews any day now?

I believe there was work that went to getting property back from Jews who lost it during the Holocaust and the WWII era. But the countless years of persecution? No, and it isn't fair, and it sucks. But I think there are some points where people have to bite their lip, realize life isn't fair, and roll with the unfairness for the greater good.

The Palestinians obviously need to give up the idea that they're going to get back 100% of the land they lost, or even 50%. The right-of-return may be a crucial part of their identity, but they've gotta gut it if there's going to be peace. They've gotta focus on things besides the land that draw them together as a people (things that are not militant strains of Islam or Arab nationalism). Even if your great-grandfather was driven off his farm by another guy's great-grandfather, you can't tell the current residents to leave. They didn't drive the tank. It's unfair, but unrealistic.

By the same token, Israelis should probably accept that even though the Jews as a people/culture/race/religion/whatever have had an enormous amount of shit done to them by nearly everyone in the world and never received compensation for it, it doesn't make it OK to do that shit to other people. And that in this case, making some concessions like drawing back settlements, giving up the buffer zone land, being more open to Arab Israelis integrating into their society, and sacrificing a bit and letting the Palestinians establish some autonomy could end up benefiting them. You lose a few settlements, but how many Israeli lives do you save through avoided conflict?

I know though it's very different to talk about understanding and acceptance and compromise and actually be in the area facing an Israeli or Palestinian parent whose kid is dead and they're crying for blood. It's hard to be critical of your own people and condemn their violent actions when it seems like the other guy would like nothing better than to gun everyone you love down. The peace process is slow and incredibly precarious. That's why news stories like this upset me, because taking one step forward can take a decade, but you only need a month to take ten steps back.
posted by Anonymous at 6:21 PM on July 11, 2005


jeffburdges writes "Face it, social justice is just b.s., I wanted to believe it too, it failed. It will continue to fail, for good reasons. That does not mean the left is wrong. Read Peter Singer's a Darwinian Left for a real understanding." [and a lot of other things]

I believe at this point I can't add much to schroedinger posts, but I'd like to address your specific mention of Singer's book and your apparent faith in Social Darwinism - Singer has one or two good insights, but in the end the book results in a bunch of useless generalizations and oversimplifications. As for Social Darwinism, beware it is mainly if not solely a justification for racism - it starts with (to use an expression you seem to like) bullshit like "As for white Americans or indians, there is really only one thing that matters: technological and scientific progress. American Indians failed, Europe won. This was a good thing." and ends in mass unmarked graves. Social Darwinism is no more than a form of intellectual fraud that simply transposes one idea from biology into sociology ("the survival of the fittest") and uses it to justify the superiority of the local oppressor (the white man, mostly - I think this is the first time I see it used to justify the Israel-Palestine standoff).

As it is, when you say "We haven't lost", I don't really know who "we" is. I know I am certainly not included.
posted by nkyad at 8:55 PM on July 11, 2005


PS: I'm looking forward to the Gaza give-back, if only to see the Palestinians no longer be able to benefit from Israeli generosity and subsidies in electric production, and various other public services. Maybe things in the territories have been kept artificially less wretched than they should be; maybe then the good Palestinians will turn on a Hamas freaks and get the place under control?

How pathetic that people still blame Israel for the plight and brainwashing of Palestinians.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:48 PM on July 11, 2005


Racism sucks.
Sadly, it seems "anti-semitism" trumps "racism", so no matter how blatant Israel gets, they can never be called racist.
posted by nightchrome at 11:23 PM on July 11, 2005



Soaring art, heavy heart: A Palestinian man seems dejected
as he sits next to a whimsical stenciling on Israel's separation barrier
in the West Bank village of A-Ram.

Israel's Cabinet acknowledged that the wall will cut off 55,000 Palestinian
residents of Jerusalem from their city.
    - Photo: AP/Oded Balilty
posted by Dunvegan at 2:14 AM on July 12, 2005


"It is sad to see Jews constructing their own concentration camp, living behind walls and barbed wire because they are unable of finding a way to live peacefully with their neighbors and incapable of defeating them."

They are perfectly capable of defeating them, but the method involved would double godwin the discussion.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:10 AM on July 12, 2005


criticism of bad Israeli government policy is not anti-semitic, but claiming that it is - repeatedly and loudly - has often been, and continues to be, an effective method of silencing people who speak out against those policies.

and many people send money to other countries, and that includes American Jews who send massive amounts of money to Israel, including to so-called 'settlers' who some would say are squatters.

way too many people forget that when Jews fled European Christian oppression in the Middle Ages, they found a home with their Arab cousins and lived in relative peace and security for hundreds of years.
posted by TrinityB5 at 9:50 PM on July 12, 2005


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