Since it's been a while since we had an Israel/Palestine thread...

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
*BUMP*

In case I didn't make the title of this thread eye-catching enough, the gist of the news piece is that Bush has said "Israel must end occupation of Arab land to enable the creation of a viable Palestinian state", which seems a pretty unequivocal statement that the US will not indulge Israel indefinitely. Anyway, I thought it was worth mentioning! Anyone?
 

vimothy

yurp
Since that would involve both the Israelis and the Palestinians making concessions, do you think it likely?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
Since that would involve both the Israelis and the Palestinians making concessions, do you think it likely?
I'm sure many Palestinians would, but whether their leadership would is another matter.

But that's by-the-by, Israel is the side with the all the advantages in this conflict - political, economic and military - so as far as I can see it's up to Israel to make concessions first.
 

vimothy

yurp
I'm sure many Palestinians would, but whether their leadership would is another matter.

But that's by-the-by, Israel is the side with the all the advantages in this conflict - political, economic and military - so as far as I can see it's up to Israel to make concessions first.
It's a bit unrealistic, though. You might want the Israelis to make unilateral concessions in the face of status-quo response from the Palestinians, but will they? I doubt it.

I'd also question whether many or most Palestinians really do want to make concessions. There are polls on stuff like that. What do they say? For instance, Fatah basically get bribed to become "moderate" by Israel and the US. They use this money to provide kick-backs to their constituents (i.e. winning coalition supporters) in the form of private goods. This hasn't made them very popular for, I think, two reasons. Being moderate is not what the people of Palestine want. A corrupt government is not what the people of Palestine want. I don't see any way round this impass.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
If Israel starts to make some concessions - such as leaving illegally-occupied land and scaling back on the roadblocks and trade restrictions - I think support (from Palestinians) for a more concilliatory, less hardline government would grow. The way things are, it's hardly surprising there's widespread support for a hardline party.
 

vimothy

yurp
If Israel starts to make some concessions - such as leaving illegally-occupied land and scaling back on the roadblocks and trade restrictions - I think support (from Palestinians) for a more concilliatory, less hardline government would grow. The way things are, it's hardly surprising there's widespread support for a hardline party.
Has that happened in the past? No, I don't think so.

Multilateralism and unilaterlateralism both produced the same outcome, i.e. no outcome whatsoever.
 

bruno

est malade
i don't think it matters what palestinans do, frankly! if hamas is there or not, if they suddenly become loving buddhas, whatever they do they have no freedom of movement, no power beyond the capacity to reproduce, and even then it is undermined by the harsh conditions of life in what is essentially a concentration camp. israel will never give up the territory acquired in 1967 because it feels it was acquired legitimately, it is integral to the national mystique. it will never really oppose settlements because arabs are vermin on soil that is theirs by ancestral right, it falls in line with the silent policy of ethnic cleansing and erasing of palestinian arab identity. i predict they will advance little by little until the hordes self-destruct or agree to have their 1 cm squared state, and if along the way by some miracle they attain enlightenment and renounce all struggle israel will fabricate a pretext to maintain this state of hostility which is requisite for expansion and eventual total victory. i don't see a way out of this.
 

vimothy

yurp
i don't think it matters what palestinans do, frankly! if hamas is there or not, if they suddenly become loving buddhas, whatever they do they have no freedom of movement, no power beyond the capacity to reproduce, and even then it is undermined by the harsh conditions of life in what is essentially a concentration camp. israel will never give up the territory acquired in 1967 because it feels it was acquired legitimately, it is integral to the national mystique. it will never really oppose settlements because arabs are vermin on soil that is theirs by ancestral right, it falls in line with the silent policy of ethnic cleansing and erasing of palestinian arab identity. i predict they will advance little by little until the hordes self-destruct or agree to have their 1 cm squared state, and if along the way by some miracle they attain enlightenment and renounce all struggle israel will fabricate a pretext to maintain this state of hostility which is requisite for expansion and eventual total victory. i don't see a way out of this.
Not quite. The Palestinians have bargaining chips -- at the very least, the power to fire rockets at Israelis, the power to cause them to become isolated and condemned, etc.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
Not quite. The Palestinians have bargaining chips -- at the very least, the power to fire rockets at Israelis, the power to cause them to become isolated and condemned, etc.
But even if Fatah were to gain overall control over the Palestinian territories, they wouldn't be able to stop attacks (on Israel) by Hamas or Hizbullah, as Palestine is such a fractured, desperately disorganised country thanks to decades of Israeli aggression. Whereas when the IDF launches this or that campaign, it does so as the military representative of Israel's government. So the Israeli leadership can say it will make withdrawals or other concessions (or could if it wanted to, I mean) but by the very nature of the fucked-up-ness of Palestine, Abbas unfortunately cannot make equivalent promises about the actions of various factions he has no control over, and who may in fact be deeply antagonistic towards him.

Edit: not really sure where I'm going with this, except to point out that you can't talk about "the Palestinians" as a single military/political entity in the same way you can talk about "the Israelis".
 

bruno

est malade
Not quite. The Palestinians have bargaining chips -- at the very least, the power to fire rockets at Israelis, the power to cause them to become isolated and condemned, etc.
the power of palestinans to fire rockets will disappear when they themselves have left these lands, i think israel is prepared to see it through. as for condemnation, it doesen't seem to have dampened their spirits so far, jews and israelis in particular pride themselves of having learned to live with hostility. the important thing is to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, they seem to have done this very well.

I'd also question whether many or most Palestinians really do want to make concessions. There are polls on stuff like that. What do they say? For instance, Fatah basically get bribed to become "moderate" by Israel and the US. They use this money to provide kick-backs to their constituents (i.e. winning coalition supporters) in the form of private goods. This hasn't made them very popular for, I think, two reasons. Being moderate is not what the people of Palestine want.
sadly this is true, the whole thing about moderation is that it hasn't got them anywhere either, and since the second intifadah i doubt many people remember what it was like to live in (relative) peace. those that do know that in a state of calm people can start living their lives again, paving the way for eventual understanding, and this would undermine israeli and palestinian narrative.
 

bruno

est malade
But even if Fatah were to gain overall control over the Palestinian territories, they wouldn't be able to stop attacks (on Israel) by Hamas or Hizbullah, as Palestine is such a fractured, desperately disorganised country thanks to decades of Israeli aggression. Whereas when the IDF launches this or that campaign, it does so as the military representative of Israel's government. So the Israeli leadership can say it will make withdrawals or other concessions (or could if it wanted to, I mean) but by the very nature of the fucked-up-ness of Palestine, Abbas unfortunately cannot make equivalent promises about the actions of various factions he has no control over, and who may in fact be deeply antagonistic towards him.

Edit: not really sure where I'm going with this, except to point out that you can't talk about "the Palestinians" as a single military/political entity in the same way you can talk about "the Israelis".
i have doubts about this. a lot of the interviews with hamas spokesmen and fatah people give hints of a deep sympathy amidst the apparently irreconcilable differences. perhaps they each play a role in the same way settlers and moderate israelis play a role? the difference could be in method. i suspect the 'fucked-up-ness' and the fact that palestinans are not very good at public relations may contribute to this perception of total fragmentation.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
You think? I'd got the impression there was basically a pretty deep rift in Palestinian politics. But then, I'm just going on what I see on the BBC for the most part, I don't follow this as closely as some.

My main point was that there's just one IDF (although of course many settlers are also armed) which enacts the will of the Israeli government, whereas in Palestine there are many (para)military groups with different political allegiances.
 

bruno

est malade
occupied territories is the magic word, this is the main thing. the emphasis today is on islamic radicals vs moderates, tomorrow it will be something else, but one forgets that the common objective is to break free of occupation.
 

woo

New member
i hope i have been following this thread correctly... i am new to this.

You think? I'd got the impression there was basically a pretty deep rift in Palestinian politics. But then, I'm just going on what I see on the BBC for the most part, I don't follow this as closely as some.
there is a massive rift in palestinian politics. the people do not know what to do and more importantly who to follow. the fractions which lie within factions politically is immense. i think this is why they are so easily occupied (putting aside that everything is controlled for them, water, even the seeds that they plant in the ground, roads, all of this and more, and obviously access to tools of resistance) the fact that they are such a divided society, lost in ideology and leadership. on one side you have hamas who will not admit israels existance and will do anything to kill its state. to act as a counter part to this there is fateh. vimothy is correct is stating that they are so very currupt and for this reason compromised. in this individuals lose faith. there is so much political confusion is palestine. the only strand of certainty that i found in my interactions with peolple in the west bank is that they are suffering and do not care how this stops, so long as it does, somehow, someday.

Since that would involve both the Israelis and the Palestinians making concessions, do you think it likely?
concessions will be difficult to attain from the palestinian side because (and rightly so) they have been through so much torture. not only phsyically. the daily humiliation which they face is awful, and these are such proud people. children grow up with aggression problems, there is over population, not enough schools. they live an occupied life an do not how to breath another existance. the situation perpetuates with every second psychologically. i cannot speak for anyone, i gather my opinions through conversations which i have had with friends in palestine and others. most admit that israel is now existing and do not think it is worth trying to deny its stamp on the world map. but that the occupation must end.

what will happen if it was to... i do not know what freedom could be to people who have never had this. the entire situation is an absolute mind field.
 

bruno

est malade
great post, very depressing. did you visit israel? if so, what is the perception (via media) of life in the west bank?
 
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N

nomadologist

Guest
...I just saw this on news.bbc and it looked worth commenting on:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7181658.stm

So does anyone think the US will try and make Israel actually, you know, do anything about this?
Dude is totally trying to ensure that his foreign policy legacy isn't remembered solely for being a disasterously nightmarish failure. Reminds me of Clinton firebombing Afghanistan directly after the impeachment/just before his second term was up and it was obvious the republicans would win the presidency in the upcoming election.

Don't think it will work on that front, and I'm not sure there is any real intention of following through with these obviously empty threats. The U.S. is in no position at the moment to waste foreign-policy-expenditure alloted funds on Camp David 2.0, even if we were anywhere near as influential on the Middle Eastern scene as we were for the version 1.0. If it does for some strange reason start to work, it will be left up to the next president to actually sort out what to do about securing a meaningful-but-not-too-expensive role in creating a Palestinian state. Despite the lucrative potential that exists in terms of the prospect of building infastructure and setting up a puppet democracy in order to economically colonize yet another nation in that region, the risks are too great. And any fiscal conservative is fully cognizant of this, I would imagine.
 
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vimothy

yurp
the only strand of certainty that i found in my interactions with peolple in the west bank is that they are suffering and do not care how this stops, so long as it does, somehow, someday.
Sadly, the actions of the Palestinians make this less likely, IMO. I'm also continually struck by the massive failure of Arafat after the first intifada, who was surely one of the worst things that could happen to the Palestinians. But it's not suprising when viewed in the light of Bruce Bueno de Mesquita's theory of political economy. In that spirit, I give you his suggestion for creating an institutional incentive for peace:

“In my view, it is a mistake to look for strategies that build mutual trust because it ain’t going to happen. Neither side has any reason to trust the other, for good reason,” he says. “Land for peace is an inherently flawed concept because it has a fundamental commitment problem. If I give you land on your promise of peace in the future, after you have the land, as the Israelis well know, it is very costly to take it back if you renege. You have an incentive to say, ‘You made a good step, it’s a gesture in the right direction, but I thought you were giving me more than this. I can’t give you peace just for this, it’s not enough.’ Conversely, if we have peace for land—you disarm, put down your weapons, and get rid of the threats to me and I will then give you the land—the reverse is true: I have no commitment to follow through. Once you’ve laid down your weapons, you have no threat.”

Bueno de Mesquita’s answer to this dilemma, which he discussed with the former Israeli prime minister and recently elected Labor leader Ehud Barak, is a formula that guarantees mutual incentives to cooperate. “In a peaceful world, what do the Palestinians anticipate will be their main source of economic viability? Tourism. This is what their own documents say. And, of course, the Israelis make a lot of money from tourism, and that revenue is very easy to track. As a starting point requiring no trust, no mutual cooperation, I would suggest that all tourist revenue be [divided by] a fixed formula based on the current population of the region, which is roughly 40 percent Palestinian, 60 percent Israeli. The money would go automatically to each side. Now, when there is violence, tourists don’t come. So the tourist revenue is automatically responsive to the level of violence on either side for both sides. You have an accounting firm that both sides agree to, you let the U.N. do it, whatever. It’s completely self-enforcing, it requires no cooperation except the initial agreement by the Israelis that they are going to turn this part of the revenue over, on a fixed formula based on population, to some international agency, and that’s that.”​
 

vimothy

yurp
By the way,

Despite the lucrative potential that exists in terms of the prospect of building infastructure and setting up a puppet democracy in order to economically colonize yet another nation in that region, the risks are too great. And any fiscal conservative is fully cognizant of this, I would imagine.
I don't know why you continually refer to Bush as a fiscal conservative. Bush is the exact opposite of a fiscal conservative. Bush is a compassionate conservative, a big-government conservative, a floating pork-barrel projects down the stream conservative.
 
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