The Israeli elites have for a while already been struggling with a major crisis which really could represent an ‘existential threat’ to the state of Israel. No, not Ahmadinejad’s never spoken words about ‘wiping Israel off the map’ or the non-existing Iranian nuclear weapons program (no member of the IAEA has ever succeeded in developing nuclear weapons), but the demographic time bomb which has been ticking with increased speed since many years already. This problem has become so acute now as to now make a two-state solution both impossible and irrelevant.
Besides a higher birth rate for Palestinians, several additional factors have contributed to the current crisis including the occupation of the Occupied Territories, the creation of numerous Jewish settlements inside these territories, the gradual dismemberment of the territorial continuity of the West Bank by means of colonies, ‘Jews only’ highways, the ‘separation wall’, the many checkpoints, military bases – all these factors have contributed to a de facto annexation and incorporation of the West Bank into Israel proper.
Decades of strategic miscalculations for the sake of petty political and ideological interests by all the successive Israeli governments have made the separation of the West Bank from Israel simply impossible (check out this high resolution map by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem to fully appreciate the situation as it was in 2002).
Late in the game, having finally decided to act on this threat, the Israelis withdrew from Gaza and turned it into an open-air prison under their total control. This ‘solution’ resulted in the rapid takeover of Gaza by Hamas and a systematic campaign of rocket attacks from Gaza against nearby Israeli villages. Whatever the merits (or lack thereof) of this approach, it simply cannot be repeated with the far larger, richer and strategically important West Bank. But even assuming some kind of ‘magical’ Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank – nothing would be solved by it. At best, it would give more time to the Israeli Jews to decide what to do with the 1/5th of the Israeli population inside Israel proper which is Palestinian.
The Israeli elites have begun to open address this issue by contemplating some rather minor land swaps between Israel and the future Palestinian state as shown in this Al-Jazeera report:
Still, this is clearly a case of way too little and way too late. More importantly, the real threat to Israel is not demographic but moral.
Modern Israel was mainly created by secular, left-leaning Jewish intellectuals who wanted it to be democratic, egalitarian and politically progressive. While they were definitely willing to terrorize their Arab neighbors and make land grabs at every opportunity, they did not want their country to turn into the kind of neo-Fascist society which, often, they had fled from.
Over the years, however, the influx of very different kind of Jewish immigrants and the constant wars with their Arab neighbors hardened the nationalist and outright racist tendencies of the Israelis and the idea that “Arabs only understand force” became tacitly accepted mainstream public opinion. As the violence reached new heights, even more violence was seen as the only possible way to deal with the Arabs. There is, however, only so much violence any nation can inflict outside before it starts using the same methods inside its borders.
Broadly speaking Israel stands now at a crossroads of two fundamentally different and mutually exclusive development models:
1. Israel can choose to remain a ‘Jewish state’ at all costs. In this case it will either have to reign down even more violence and terror on all the Palestinians living inside its real (as opposed to legal) borders, or it will have to find a way to expel them. In this scenario Gaza will have to be turned into a Gulag, the West bank into an assortment of ‘mini-Gazas’ completely surrounded by Jewish settlements and IDF posts, and the Israeli Arabs living inside Israel proper will have to live under an Apartheid-like regime. Inevitably, this policy will only result in more violence and more bloodshed, the Israeli society will gradually turn into South African -type of system in which democratic rights are limited to one ethnic group and the rest of the society will live in constant violence, terror and repression.
2. Israel can choose to remain a democratic state at all costs. In this case it will have to openly recognize that a separation into two sovereign entities is simply not feasible and that Jews and Arabs will have to live together not only in the Middle-East, but inside Israel also. In this scenario, Israeli Jews will have to make the same fundamental decision which the White South Africans did: to give up their race-based privileges for the sake of a democracy enjoyed by all its citizens regardless or ethnicity or religion. Conversely, like South Africa’s ANC, the Arabs and Palestinians will have to come up with some project which can be acceptable to Israeli Jews.
Two truly seminal books have been published last year which discuss this crucial issue: Jonathan Cook’s Blood and Religion which looks at the current situation and which proves that contrary to Jimmy Carter’s claims, Apartheid also very much exists inside Israel, and Ali Abunimah’s One Country which offers a fascinating blueprint of how a ‘one state’ solution could be achieved and why it would address the needs and hopes of both Arabs and Jews.
These two short books are an absolutely essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the fundamental reasons behind the choice Israel begins to tackle with. Together they prove beyond possible doubt that any ‘two state’ solution is already stillborn. They also show that Ahmadinejad was factually and logically correct when he, quoting Ayatollah Khomenei, said Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad (“The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time”).
No state, including Israel, can hope to achieve piece if it is based on racial discrimination and a systematic use of violence. Fully realizing this, a group of intellectuals (including Palestinians and Israelis) published the following declaration: (original text and list of signatories here)
For decades, efforts to create a just peace for Palestinians and Israeli Jews have failed. The current crisis has further set back hopes for a political solution to the conflict. In this context, a group of scholars, journalists and activists met in Madrid, at the invitation of Universidad Complutense de Madrid, for five days of intensive discussion on alternatives to this ongoing impasse, framed by their belief that a democratic state in all of historic Palestine provides the only moral and practical basis for a just, sustainable peace.
Presentations were informed by the understanding that the attempt to partition historic Palestine, regarded by the major powers as a solution to the conflict, has failed to bring about justice and peace or to offer a genuine process leading towards them. It was argued that the two-state approach encourages separation where equality and coexistence are imperative.
Participants presented the two-state approach as failing to take into account physical and political realities on the ground and presuming false parity in power and moral claims between the two peoples. Discussions ranged through many other issues including the forms of domination Israel exercises over the Palestinians and the racist practices this entails, such as ethnic cleansing, forms of apartheid, a legal system in Israel built on ethnic discrimination, and the denial of the Palestinian right of return, as well as how to define the rights of Israeli Jews. The discussions considered ways of reframing the question in terms of a struggle for equality and justice, equal citizenship for all the people in the land, and decolonization. Participants debated interpretations of international law, the nature of the conflict, Zionism, the role of religion, and re-imagining national identities.
Many issues for further discussion, action and research emerged, including forms of internal and international solidarity with Palestinians (such as boycott, divestment and sanctions), the lessons from other similarly structured conflicts including South Africa and Northern Ireland, rethinking the relationship between state and citizen, and how to organize a post-conflict society so that it provides a secure and dignified life to Palestinians and Israeli Jews. The participants shared a commitment to engaging deeply with these issues, in the context of their commitment to a democratic solution that will offer an enduring and just peace in a single state, and invite the widest possible participation in this quest.
In contrast, the vast majority of politicians and commentators, as well as the corporate media, are totally ignoring this issue and are persisting in upholding the delusion that a two state solution is still feasible. This is why only fully pliable and obedient Palestinians are invited to any talks and why the upcoming Annapolis Conference will pretend to seek the outline of a possible ‘solution to the Palestinian problem’ without ever addressing the real issues underlying the conflict. This is also why we can only expect one thing from this conference: more of the same, only worse.
The Annapolis conference is, it should not be necessary to say, a complete charade. Whether or not it is a ruse (bound to fail) intended by the US to win over “the Arabs’ prior to an attack on Iran, as some fear, is beside the point here. What seems indisputable is that this farcical “Peace conference” is designed to keep up the pretence that Israel ‘wants peace’, and that a ‘two-state solution’ is still possible.
Like you, I am one of the growing number of people who believe Israel has no intention of making the slightest territorial ‘concession’, and I also believe that the best hope for the Palestinians lies in exposing the ‘two state solution’ for the sham that it is, and entirely re-thinking their struggle, fashioning it into a non-sectarian, inter-ethnic civil rights struggle, as in Northern Ireland in the 70s, and RSA for many decades. However, given the woeful nature of Palestinian leadership over the past century, it is by no means clear that they will succeed in re-orienting their national struggle.
“Modern Israel was mainly created by secular, left-leaning Jewish intellectuals who wanted it to be democratic, egalitarian and politically progressive.”
I have to take issue with this somewhat. Sure, Israel was intended to be “democratic, egalitarian and politically progressive” – for Jews, and Jews alone. The native population of Palestine (whose existence the early Zionists were of course well aware of) was an inconvenience, a huge obstacle to Zionism that had to be got rid of one way or another. No nation built on such foundations could ever hope to be anything but an immoral enterprise. And such has indeed resulted.
Most Israelis and Palestinians want peace, and really want the other to succeed and prosper.
The idea that Israelis and Palestinians don’t like each other or aren’t willing to sacrifice to help the other make it is a slur against both good peoples.
Vineyard, do most Palestinians want a desegregated single state? Do they want to live in the same neighborhoods, work in the same locations, and have their kids go to the same schools as Israelis?
If so, why don’t you think Israelis don’t yearn for the same thing. Segregated living is boring and can get on anybody’s nerves after a while.
Perhaps the most important question is this:
After Israel withdrew from Gaza. many people including Thomas Friedman were hopeful that Gaza might become another Dubai. Yet this isn’t happening as quickly as most hoped and many expected, to the great sorrow of Israelis, Palestinians and the rest of the world alike.
Why does everyone think this hasn’t happened yet? What can the Palestinians, Israelis and the rest of the world do to transform Gaza into another Asian tiger? I think we can all agree that this is what the vast majority of people around the world want.
If Gaza becomes another Dubai or Hong Kong, it could transform the middle east. It will likely lead to irresistible pressure on the part of Israelis and Palestinians to complete economic integration within all of Palestine (and the middle east more generally) as quickly as possible.
To use your words Vineyard Saker, it could spur a wave of deregulation and prosperity throughout the middle east. This would enormously benefit the whole world including us Americans. It would also strike a body blow against the forces of darkness that seek to tear down the greater middle east—the Takfiri Jihadi extremists.
Seeing a bunch of foreigners become more prosperous and deregulated than us American would likely lead to Americans demanding much greater deregulation and freer markets here at home. To some degree it already is. Witness the rise of Ron Paul.
For all these reasons, most Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans are strongly rooting for Annapolis to succeed. It’s too bad Hamas isn’t participating though.
“many people including Thomas Friedman were hopeful that Gaza might become another Dubai.”
Yeah, and some people also think the earth is flat.
“Why does everyone think this hasn’t happened yet?”
Umm…. maybe because Gaza is under full Israeli occupation and has been for decades, is suffering from an appalling sanctions regime where even vital humanitarian supplies are under embargo; it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world; it doesn’t have millions of dollars of oil revenues; its people have no freedom of movement because of the Israeli occupation; schools are shutting because Israel stopped paper from text books from arriving and teachers have not been paid for months; there is deadly factional fighting and rivalry.
I could go on but I think you’ll get the picture as to why comments such as “Gaza could have been another Dubai” are profoundly moronic and not deserving of the remotest serious consideration. Even were it in any way possible, you’d have to be foolish to think that Israel would ever permit an ‘economic miracle’ on its doorstep.
“Experts in the West and ordinary people in Arab lands have understood for many years that the United States does not have an independent policy toward the Middle East. President Jimmy Carter, a man of good will, tried to use American influence to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the source of dangerous instability in the Middle East. However, Israel was able to block Carter’s attempt, while blaming Yasser Arafat. Carter’s plan would have given rise to a Palestinian state. Israel did not want any such state, because obvious military aggression is necessary in order to steal the territory of an official state with defined borders. It is much easier to steal land from a non-state.
By preventing the rise of a Palestinian state, Israel has been able to continue with its theft of the West Bank. Palestinians who have not been driven out have been forced into ghettos, cut off from schools, hospitals, water, and their olive groves and farmlands. In a recent book, President Carter called the existing situation “apartheid.” Carter was demonized by the Israel Lobby for his use of this word, but some experts consider Carter’s choice of words to be an euphemism for the continuation of what I. Pappe and N. G. Finkelstein call “the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.”
It remains to be seen how much more blood and treasure Zionist fanaticism will extract from Americans. But one thing is certain: the Israel Lobby is far too powerful for America’s good and Israel’s.
Forty years ago the Lobby was sufficiently powerful to force President Lyndon Johnson to cover up the intentional Israeli attack on the USS Liberty that resulted in 34 Americans dead and 174 wounded. Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared: “No American President can stand up to Israel.”
Forty years later the Israel Lobby is able to reach into Catholic universities and to overturn tenure decisions. The courageous scholar Norman Finkelstein was denied tenure at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, because he is an effective critic of Israeli policies.
In America today academics and intellectuals who fail to toe the Lobby’s line are unlikely to receive support from conservative or liberal foundations. Even Mearsheimer and Walt’s article, “The Israel Lobby,” commissioned by the Atlantic Monthly and from which their book evolved, had to be published overseas in The London Review of Books when the Atlantic Monthly’s editors’ courage failed them.
American patriots who glorify in their country’s status as the “sole superpower” have much to learn about the subservience of their country’s foreign policy to a tiny state of five million people.
Irish Eyes, your comments are discourteous. They betray a complete lack of understanding about the good Israeli and Palestinian people.
In the real world that the rest of us live in, 1+1=3. When someone else is more successful and prosperous, so are we. Google’s success has benefited the whole world, not just its founders.
If you had a choice between two scenarios:
1) you made 20 K and your neighbor made 10K
2) you made 30 K and your neighbor made 100K
What would you choose? The vast majority of people around the world would choose option 2. Israelis are no different. Just imagine how much Israel would benefit if Gaza entrepreneurs founded several companies that went public on the NASDAQ. Try to imagine how much Israel would benefit if a smart Gaza techie figured out the next transformative innovation in bi-fuels, or if Gaza universities started producing Nobel Laureates. Isreal would benefit enormously by proximity to this economic juggernaut. Imagine how much both Gaza and Isreal could benefit from collaborating with each other. Imagine all the amazing companies that could be created by Gaza residents and Israelis working side by side as co-founders, co-innovators, and co-ideation leaders.
Irish Eyes, get over your self destructive cynicism and imagine. Also listen to the song “Imagine all the people, living for today”
Cynicism is the subtle enemy that eats us alive from the inside out with a thousand small cuts. Open yourself up to the possibilities. Realize the divine infinite possibilities within yourself and the world around you.
Many of the most successful Israeli entrepreneurs, scientists, doctors, artists and innovators are Palestinian Israeli citizens. Just look at any graduating class of Israeli PhDs, or the top employees of any Israeli tech company. Palestinians are far more capable than you give them credit for. And Palestinians and Israelis are remarkably alike.
“it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world; it doesn’t have millions of dollars of oil revenues” We all know that all the natural resources under the ground are insignificant compared to what lies between our ears. Human capital is vastly more important and valuable than “oil revenue.” Wealth comes from our ingenuity and spirit, not from natural resources. That is why the wealthiest parts of the world (Hong Kong, Singapore, Silicon Valley, Shanghai, Taipei, Tel Aviv, Western Europe, New York, Bangalore, Boston) don’t have “oil revenue.” More people is a good thing. Densely populated areas lead to more prosperity.
If you had to choose between stealing someone’s land or getting VM Ware stock, what would you choose? I thought so. Like you, the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians are not interested in “stealing” each others’ land.
The Israelis haven’t been in Gaza since their unilateral withdrawal. Why can’t Gaza import and export through the sea and Egypt?
“there is deadly factional fighting and rivalry.” Who is doing this? How can the rest of us help the good people of Gaza crush these dark forces.
In the short run, Gaza remains desperately poor, and the Gaza government generates little by way of tax revenues. The question is how can the rest of the world help Gaza get on a parabolic growth curve.
i’;m sorry if my comments appeared ‘discourteous” but there is just no way to put a ‘polite’ gloss on the idiocy of the ideas you are expressing.
You and Flat Brain are inhabiting a fantasy world where a desperately poor, overpopulated, embargoed strip of land UNDER FULL MILITARY OCCUPATION can, overnight, hey presto turn into another Dubai or Singapore, simply because a few squatters have been dragged away – literally kicking and screaming. You may consider that anyone who points out the absurdity of this notion is ‘cynical’. I would say we are realistic.
“Try to imagine how much Israel would benefit if a smart Gaza techie figured out the next transformative innovation in bi-fuels, or if Gaza universities started producing Nobel Laureates. Isreal would benefit enormously by proximity to this economic juggernaut”
Uh huh. That’s why Israel has put the strip under complete embargo, allowing – with the connivance of the EU – only the bare minimum of humanitarian supplies (very strictly defined) to enter. I presume you have also read recent stories aobut how Israel has prevented Palestinian students with scholarships abroad to leave? Yup – Israel is doing all it can to help create this fantastical ‘economic juggarnaut’.
“Densely populated areas lead to more prosperity.”
“The Israelis haven’t been in Gaza since their unilateral withdrawal.”
“Why can’t Gaza import and export through the sea and Egypt?”
Ask your Israeli friends.
“The question is how can the rest of the world help Gaza get on a parabolic growth curve.”
Here’s a few starting points.
1) End the economic embargo on the Palestinian people.
2) End the Israeli occupation of ALL Palestinian land (not just the unwanted Gaza strip)
3) If Israel does not comply, let them know that they will suffer the consequences.
But why do I guess that that isn’t quite what you and Flat Brain have in mind?
Irish Eyes, your comments are discourteous. They betray a complete lack of understanding about the good Israeli and Palestinian people.
Anand -while you are welcome to post your ideas, however ill-informed, on this blog, you are not welcome to tell others, in particular those who actually understand what they are talking about, that their comments are inappropriate, in particular when they have the patience and grace to actually try to put you in touch with the real world.
You cannot just parrot the official US/Israeli propaganda line and expect people not to point out to you how vacuous and Flat Earth Society -like yo sound.
To be honest, you should welcome the opportunity to actually learn something from Irish Eyes and not waste your breath arguing with her or act offended.
The idea that Israelis and Palestinians don’t like each other or aren’t willing to sacrifice to help the other make it is a slur against both good peoples.
Right. As shown by the uninterrupted love-fest in the Middle-East since the creation of Israel.
Ireland use to be a poor country in the mid 1980s. It has experienced an economic miracle since then, and is now one of the richest countries in the world.
Ireland had few natural resources and little foreign help (aside from access to foreign markets and investments). What it did have were amazing people.
If Ireland can do it, so can Gaza. Those who run down the people of Gaza and tell them that the can’t do or achieve their own success are not the friends of Gaza.
BTW, the richest places in the world are densely populated cities.
You are right that Israel should withdraw from the West Bank. I like you still believe that a two state solution is possible. But Gaza shouldn’t wait for that to happen to start “deregulating” and becoming a prosperous free market economy. In fact, economic prosperity in Gaza would likely accelerated movement towards a Palestinian state, as well as good relations between Israel and the Palestinian people.
Vineyard, you contradict yourself. You favor a 1 state desegregated Palestine. This suggests that you agree with me that Israelis and Palestinians would benefit enormously from living together and working with each other. This suggests that you believe in the ability of both people to live side by side in peace, harmony and prosperity.
Some dark forces have mostly but not entirely caused the conflict in Palestine. Most Palestinians and Israelis want nothing to do with them. The extremists on both sides do not reflect the silent majority on both sides that yearn for peace and brotherhood/sisterhood with their fellow human.
Irish Eyes, aren’t Thomas Friedman and his “Flat Brain” ideas very popular in Ireland? Ireland is the ultimate demonstration of those ideas in practice (what country is more free market than Ireland?). “Flat Brain” is a type of rock star and cult hero in India (He wrote his flat world book while living in India . . . . India inspired him to write it.) He is also very popular in China and across Asia where most of the world’s people live. He isn’t as popular in the Arab world yet.
One trend that I have seen around the world recently is that the rest of the world is increasingly more free enterprise, free trade, and pro-deregulation than America (where we have a resurgence of protectionist nonsense and big government.) I think that the rest of the world including Ireland is right.
“You cannot just parrot the official US/Israeli propaganda line and expect people not to point out to you how vacuous and Flat Earth Society -like yo sound.” The Flat Earth society propaganda line that I am following is very popular in the rest of the world. Poor foreigners see the “Flat Earth Society” as their ticket out of poverty. “Flat Brain” is the largest populist movement in the developing world today. They see Shanghai, Seoul, Ireland, San Diego etc. on their TV sets and when they surf the web; and they want to live like that too.
To get back to the main point, how can the rest of the world help Gaza?
I think that Israeli, North American, European, and East Asian taxpayers (the Arabs including the Gulf States won’t help much, but we should plead with and beg them anyway) should fund a marshal plan to help Gaza become another Dubai. This plan should be conditioned on tough reforms to be implemented by the government of Gaza (including deregulation, reducing corruption and violence, judicial system reform, and increased efficiency in government spending programs.) All restrictions on Gaza’s export of goods and services should be lifted. As should all restrictions on non-military imports.
The rest of the world should help train and equip a quality police force for Gaza that can maintain the peace and eliminate Jihadis. The Israelis should realize that the Gazan people and their government are Israel’s allies, friends and well wishers. Israel should allow the Gaza police to manage all customs, and border enforcement.
The trust, partnership, and benefits across the middle east from a successful Gaza will accelerate efforts to achieve the same in the West Bank. Gaza, however, with its high concentration of very talented people as well as access to the sea, Egypt and Israel has an advantage.
I’m reluctant even to respond to you, anand, because you don’t seem to even read what I wrote, and your head is so firmly in the clouds that I doubt anything I say will ever make a difference. But I’ll give it one last shot..
“Ireland had few natural resources and little foreign help”
You really need to do some research before posting. Ireland got MASSIVE amounts of aid from the EU. I don’t know how much, but it was in the billions of pounds. Also, you overlook the little fact that Ireland is not under military occupation or subject to an international trade embargo.
“BTW, the richest places in the world are densely populated cities”
So are the poorest places.
“Most Palestinians and Israelis want nothing to do with them”
Given that your knowledge of the relevant facts is so very poor, I wonder how on earth you can presume to speak for “Most Palestinians and Israelis”.
“Irish Eyes, aren’t Thomas Friedman and his “Flat Brain” ideas very popular in Ireland?
Dunno. I’ll bet that at least 99% of Irish people have never heard of that inconsequential hack.
“The rest of the world should help train and equip a quality police force for Gaza that can maintain the peace and eliminate Jihadis.”
Wonderful. The ‘rest of the world’ should basically equip a police force for the security of … Israel. BTW it’s noticable that you don’t recommend any such moves to restrain the criminal actions of the Israeli military.
But then Flat Brain wouldn’t approve, would he?
I think that Israeli, North American, European, and East Asian taxpayers (the Arabs including the Gulf States won’t help much, but we should plead with and beg them anyway) should fund a marshal plan to help Gaza become another Dubai
LOL! Since Gaza is Hamas controlled you are essentially advocating a worldwide campaign to fund billions of dollars to a ‘terrorist organization’. That kind of talk can land you in a secret Pentagon dungeon with the label ‘enemy combatant’ glued to you hood and its not like your much beloved US citizenship cannot be revoked ‘a la Demjanuk’ :-))
(just kiddin’ – relax)
Free market or “flat brain” ideas are very popular in Ireland. You are right that Ireland received substantial transfers in absolute terms from the EU but modest as a % of GDP. But the transfers that Ireland received as a % of GDP are far less than the transfers that Gaza has received from foreigners every year for decades.
The Irish miracle was completely out of proportion to the EU transfers that they received. The EU transfers coincided with Ireland’s rapid growth. But correlation isn’t causation. The Irish people are primarily responsible for their own success. Note that Spain, Portugal and other countries also received transfers. But they didn’t grow as fast as Ireland.
Regarding sanctions, please provide some additional information. Until Hamas assumed office, didn’t Gaza have significant freedom to export and import as it wanted? What sanctions were imposed on Gaza between 1967 and the early 2000s? I believe that Israeli personnel manned Gaza’s customs, and did a lousy job at it (holding up shipments with paperwork, bureaucracy, and sluggish execution.) That is why I propose that Israel hand off this function to highly efficient and corruption free Gaza customs officials answerable to a duly elected governing authority.
After Hamas took office, the international community significantly reduced financial transfers (foreign aid grants) to the PA pursuant to a declaration by Hamas affirming Israel’s right to exist in the pre 1967 borders and condemning all terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. Hamas blew it by not having their lawyers and word smiths draw up and negotiate a convoluted statement (that would confuse the bejeezus out of most normal people around the world) that all sides could live with.
Did the US and EU also restrict imports from or non-military exports to Gaza after Hamas assumed office? I didn’t know that they did. Could you please describe what the current policy on imports and exports is?
I think we agree that Gaza’s police should exercise all security (they already do this) border, and customs functions. Israel should transfer the later two functions as well.
Most people everywhere love peace and prosperity, and root for the success of others. Most people around the world are good. Why would Israelis and Palestinians be any different? I think a couple rabble rouser trouble makers on all sides have caused most of the trouble.
BTW, Hamas says that Al Qaeda represents a grave threat to the Palestinian people. OBL and Zawahiri have blasted Hamas in the harshest words many times. Many in Hamas want to form an alliance with America to fight AQ and other dark jihadi Takfiri forces. Many in the US security establishment are open to the idea, but Israel has incorrectly blocked it, misunderstanding Hamas’ good faith. I think that Hamas’ idea requires careful consideration. Hamas is far far better than the crackpots in AQ.
I also believe that Hamas knows that they have to improve the Gaza economy and governance to be reelected. They care more about this than fighting Israel. This provides an opening to negotiate with them. I wish Hamas and Fatah had negotiated a national unity government. But that didn’t happen. I think that US officials should talk to Hamas about how we can both pursue our mutual interest: economic growth and improved governance in Gaza, and fighting the dark Takfiri extremists. Some Isrealis may initially misunderstand and not realize that this is in Israel’s interests. But we should still do this anyway motivated by our love and loyalty to our Israeli friends (and to the Palestinians for that matter.) America’s policy of avoiding direct on the record talks with Gaza is a mistake.
Vineyard wrote “LOL! Since Gaza is Hamas controlled you are essentially advocating a worldwide campaign to fund billions of dollars to a ‘terrorist organization’. That kind of talk can land you in a secret Pentagon dungeon with the label ‘enemy combatant’ glued to you hood and its not like your much beloved US citizenship cannot be revoked ‘a la Demjanuk’ :-))”
I disagree with the current policy, as do many hard nosed members of America’s security establishment. I think that many within Hamas are open to peace and prosperity. We (America, Israel and the world) have to reach out to them. Israel has excessive paranoia, caused by the many jihadis who really do want to destroy the state of Israel. Israel must overcome its fear and reach out to Hamas. Barring that, we Americans should talk directly to Hamas.
That said, there are hard line factions within Hamas who genuinely seek the destruction of the state of Israel, and support terrorism directed against civilians. The more moderate majority within Hamas will have to deal with these extremists.
Personally, I don’t get why some Israeli settlers want to live in segregated settlements in the West Bank. It makes no sense. Palestinians and Israelis should live side by side in desegregated neighborhoods in the West Bank.
“the dark Takfiri extremists.”
LOL! Why not the ‘light Takfiri extremists”? Where did you pick up the “Takfiri” word though? Do you even know what it means?
Anyway, goodnight anand, and sweet dreams. No doubt you’ll have them – you seem to be living in one big dream..
I mean the forces of darkness.
Are you saying that the Takfiris are the forces of light? The Takfiris believe that they know the truth and the light, and have to interpret and enforce the will of God over everyone else by force. They believe in the forcible conversion of all “lesser muslims” and non-muslims to true Islam. The word Takfiri comes from the rejection of the true Islam by muslims who have seen and known the truth and rejected it.
Takfiris have engaged in terrible atrocities, primarily against other muslims, for over a millennia. Excluding the Congo, Angola, Latin America, organized crime and ordinary crime, Takfiris attacking other muslims account for most of the violence in the world today.
OBL and Zawahiri, the most popular Takfiris today, frequently call for supporting the sunni arab Sudanese government and Janjaweed tribes in their war against “lesser” black African Darfur muslims. They also call for attacks against UN and African Union peacekeepers in Darfur. They are also calling for attacks against many other countries around the world (Takfiris have killed thousands of people in Thailand.)
“Anyway, goodnight anand, and sweet dreams. No doubt you’ll have them – you seem to be living in one big dream..”
Well aren’t we all. Morpheus said it well: “I can only show you the door, you have to walk through it.”
“All I offer is the truth.”
“Where did you pick up the “Takfiri” word”
Former head of India’s equivalent of the CIA:
“Musharraf has so far not told his people and the international community that Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organizations in the tribal areas have been increasingly targeting Shias and Christians. Captured Shia members of the para-military forces are being treated with brutality and killed by beheading or by cutting their throats. Shia members of the civil society are also being targeted. The FM radio stations have been indulging in the most horrible anti-Shia broadcasts. Shias are being projected as American agents in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. They are alleging that the majority of the prostitutes in Pakistan are Shias and projecting the Shias as the sect of the prostitutes in the Ummah. A highly reputed school for poor tribal girls run in the FATA by a Christian missionary organisation was targeted and forced to close through intimidation. There are no Buddhists in the tribal areas, but many historical Buddhist heritage sites are there. These too are systematically being attacked. Al Qaeda is trying to replicate Iraq in Pakistan by exacerbating the already existing divide between the Shias and the Sunnis in the civil society as well as in the Army.”
This article is also a must read from the same author B. Raman—former head of India’s RAW.
When will the world face up to the genocide against Shia and demand that it stop? When will we all realize that we can’t stop AQ from attacking and killing all of us without stopping AQ from killing Shia, Sufi and other lesser muslims around the world.
I suspect we all know that the Takfiri represent the biggest national security threat in the world today (for every large muslim and non-muslim country alike.) And yet no global leader presents a holistic strategy for how the world can collaborate together to beat back what we all agree are the forces of darkness. No global leader is stepping up to tell us the bitter truth, and the tough fight that awaits all of us.
Instead we all waste our time with minor and meaningless skirmishes between people who basically agree with each other, share common values and interests, 95% of the time. For example Israel and Palestine. Instead of coming up with creative ways to prosper and succeed together, and to lead the global effort the beat back the Takfiri menace, the Palestinians and Israelis waste their time with their meaningless fights over nothing.
OBL and Zawahiri blast Hamas (and to a lesser degree Fatah) every chance they get. In fact, they seem angrier at Hamas than Israel. BTW, Hamas has hit AQ hard and killed many of them in clashes with them. :-) Israel and the rest of us should be congratulating Hamas, and work with them to send all the AQ linked/Takfiri nut jobs back to where they belong.
This is a goal that the entire world can unite behind, and work together to achieve. A true global populist agenda.
Raman’s second article link: http://saag.org/papers25/paper2451.html
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“I. Ehud Olmert,
Commit myself to
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