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Direct negotiations: Recipe for prolonging the occupation

The unequal dynamic in the negotiating room guarantees that neither peace nor justice will come out of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said this week that without a complete settlement freeze, talks with Israel will not resume. In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that “Abbas has turned his back on peace with Israel.” Both statements, it seemed, were directed at international listeners, those who still repeat every now and then the mantra that “direct negotiations are the key to resolution of the conflict.”

In fact, right now, direct negotiations are the exact recipe for prolonging the occupation.

There is a strange misconception that have accompanied negotiations – or lack thereof – between Israelis and Palestinians in the last two decades. It has to do with “the goods” the two sides are expected to exchange in a peace agreement: the Israelis, we are told, will hand the Palestinians land, in exchange for  national security guarantees. This is the framework that has accompanied all previous rounds of talks, and failure or success were judged in accordance.

Yet security is the one thing Palestinians cannot give Israel. Israel’s security will be placed at risk by evacuating the West Bank, and nothing the Palestinians say or do can eliminate this risk (one could also argue that Israel’s security would be at risk by continuing the occupation, but this is a separate debate). Any kind of agreement President Abbas signs today won’t guarantee that in five, ten or twenty years, hostilities won’t be renewed. “Peace,” or mutual security, depends on political circumstances and how both leaderships conduct themselves in years to come – not on documents they sign now.

In fact, one can conclude – especially given the outcome of Israel’s 2005 pullout from Gaza, the legacy of a century-old conflict, the economical inequality and the existence of groups that are likely to oppose any agreement – that some form military escalation is a likely scenario at some point in the future. So any promise the Palestinians or Israel make today is worthless on its own, since we cannot anticipate political developments in both societies. The security-oriented debate regarding the withdrawal from the West Bank is mostly a façade or a pretext used to avoid concessions, since no absolute security guarantees can be given to Israel by a second or even third party.

But the Palestinians can give Israel something it needs, and this is legitimacy - legitimacy in the eyes of the international community, and legitimacy in the eyes of most of the Arab world. That is what Israel lacks, and that’s what it was offered in the 2002 Arab League peace initiative: full legitimacy in exchange for a full withdrawal from the land conquered in 1967. Back then Israel declined this offer, so (some) Palestinians have kept hitting it where it hurts, by questioning Israel’s legitimacy in controlling the West Bank or even its right to exist.

This exchange, legitimacy for land, is the real one which dominated negotiations and shaped their dynamic. But there is a fundamental imbalance to this exchange: While Palestinians only receive their “goods” after the negotiations end – if they get them at all – Israeli leaders are paid with legitimacy from the minute they enter the negotiation room.

This is the reason that the Israeli right, which until the early 1990s opposed all contacts with PLO leaders and demanded those holding talks with the organization put on trial, is now courting the Palestinian leadership, asking to negotiate “anytime,” “anywhere,” and “without pre-conditions.” This, as Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman understood, is the most effective way to enjoy national consensus and fight off diplomatic pressure. From the perspective of any Israeli prime minister, and certainly a right-wing one, it is very tempting to stay in the negotiating room forever – postponing indefinitely the near-civil-war that will accompany the evacuation of settlements, while earning the international legitimacy of “the peacemaker.”

This is the exact policy Prime Minister Netanyahu is persuing. Netanyahu is even ready to pay some political currency – remember the partial freeze of 2010 – in order to get Mahmoud Abbas into the negotiating room with him. The American and European effort to get the Palestinian leadership to negotiate, done usually through a combinations of threats and bribes, is the evidence that despite all the angry rhetoric from both sides, Western diplomacy is still pretty much in sync with the main policy objective of the Jerusalem government – namely, to tighten its control over the territories without assuming responsibility for their Palestinian population.

There was an interesting article by centrist pundit Ari Shavit on Haaretz a few days ago. Shavit, who supported Defense Minister Barak in the last elections, claimed that “the old peace is dead,” and called for it to be replaced with a new “peace” vision:

[T]he death of the old peace requires some creative thinking about a new peace…

This new peace won’t be the peace of our dreams. It won’t be the peace that puts an end to the conflict. It will not even be a peace that ends the occupation.

But perhaps this new, modest peace will enable us to forge a path through the storm, to manage the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and somewhat abate it. This new peace could provide Israel’s center and left with a new, relevant diplomatic agenda. Now that the old peace is dead, we must quickly replace it with a new, realistic peace.

It is worth reading the entire article. While the “factual” account with which Shavit opens was destroyed by Akiva Eldar here, the “new policy” Shavit is calling for is already implemented by the Israeli government(s), which long ago replaced the peace process – not with “a new peace,” but simply with “the process.”

Under such circumstances, a Palestinian refusal to negotiate is not only understandable, but even desirable.

——————–

In my next policy post: What makes the occupation the Israeli rational choice

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Noam W

      Noam there is one thing missing from your analysis.

      While a peace agreement cannot guaranty peace in five or fifteen or twenty years, the lack of a peace agreement does guaranty additional belligerence now, and in five years, and in twenty years – there is something to be said for that.

      Bridges need to start somewhere – and a peace agreement is such a bridge that may minimize if it cannot eradicate – the chances of future belligerency.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Aaron

      This was one of those rare articles that actually advances the discussion. Kudos for accepting the difficult fact that a peace agreement will not bring peace. As you say, that in itself is not an argument against a “peace” agreement. There won’t be peace any time soon without an agreement either.
      §
      You’re right that legitimacy is a big issue, but I think you’re wrong that Israel gets legitimacy just for negotiating. Actually withdrawing from Judea and Samaria would get it legitimacy among some Europeans (probably a minority), but that would only last about five minutes, until the next flare-up. How often do people switch their sympathies from one side to another in the middle of a war? And we agree that the war will continue.
      §
      After a Palestinian state is declared, the main political strategy would probably be to undermine Israel’s legitimacy by labeling it a racist “ethno-state,” like apartheid South Africa. Many people are already calling Israel proper, within the Green Line, an apartheid state. That campaign of delegitimation will likely intensify after a peace agreement. Legitimacy, like non-violence, is a concession that can be canceled by the Palestinians at any time.
      §
      Israel cannot win the fight for legitimacy, except by ceasing to exist – that is, by becoming a binational state or a “state of all its citizens.” The world does not grant legitimacy to (perceived) Westerners ruling over non-Westerners. (I’m talking about Arab citizens, not “the occupation.”) Israel’s lack of legitimacy in the West is about what Israel is, not what Israel does. Israel’s loss of legitimacy has much more to do with cultural changes in the West over the last half-century than with anything Israel has done over that time.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Barry Lawhorn

      Be nice if they can get it done finally. But as one comment said, will not last long with Iran still declaring to wipe Israel off the map, The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood wants to get rid of the peace accords with Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Tzippi

      @Barry

      I don’t see what Iran has to do with Palestine or the Arab league (two things Noam touched upon). Last time I checked Iran wasn’t a member of the Arab league. Also, Iran may be talking about wiping Israel off the map but Israel is the only one actively bombing the other- going against international law.

      As for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, they can get rid of the peace accords if they want to. The people of Egypt see Israel as a country which stood by and aplauded its dictator and thus have little love for that country. Good riddance if you ask me.

      But honestly, let us remain on topic. The peace talks will never go anywhere thanks to Israel, its “security needs” and settlements. They are unwittingly walking into a one state solution. Likud, Yisrael Beitanu and Shas are making the BDS and Palestinian arguement more attractive to the international community.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Jazzy

      If you define “security” as the absence of any future war, then you’re right. But I think you’re eschewing nuance here to avoid acknowledging that the Palestinians can give Israel security guarantees by simply assuming the status of a sovereign, which would allow Israel to fight them like a proper enemy. This was a massive security benefit of withdrawing from Gaza – instead of having to raid camps and lose soldiers, Israel can bomb the absolute s**t out of Palestinian cities without any meaningful consequences. Why? Because it successfully sold the idea that Gaza was part of foreign, enemy country. This is precisely why all of Israel’s enemies campaigned vigorously to convince everyone that Gaza was still occupied. If you argued that Netanyahu doesn’t actually have this point in mind, I agree. But it is still worth considering for the sake of future deals post-Bibi.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Passerby

      I’m sorry, Noam. Three times Israel has sat at the table after long negotiations and two of those times Israel did make a final offer. In other words, the Israelis have shown on more than one occasion in very recent history that they are not at the table to receive kudos, but because they want to achieve a deal.
      ——
      On both occasions, Israel extended what it felt were significant compromises from its end. Not only was it giving up Judea and Samaria, it was also giving up eastern Jerusalem and even compromising on the status of all the holy sites. It really is absurd to read your commentary that it’s all one big ruse.
      ———–
      That, however, is not as bad as your recipe for ultimate disaster. First, you say, the Palestinians must receive “the goods.” Then they will be equals at the table and the negotiations won’t benefit the stronger side which is Israel. You deem the ultimate reward not to be land, but “legitimacy” for Israel.
      ——–
      Let’s say you own a start-up with a promising original technology. IBM comes knocking on your door. They tell you that if you sell to them, then you will make millions but if you don’t sell then they will develop the technology on their own or buy a different company that makes similar technology. According to you, the start-up shouldn’t negotiate at all unless it receives the millions first. Then, once they have the millions, they can begin negotiations. That’s great, except that now IBM has lost all leverage. What can it possibly give the start-up? More millions? The start-up is now well funded and properly positioned to compete with IBM in the marketplace.
      ——-
      This is no different. It is ridiculous to call for the Israel to give up the only real leverage it had before negotiations are conducted. That one party is weaker than the other is a normal state in almost all negotiations and the idea is to come to terms that satisfy each side on the basis of what they can do at that time. The Palestinians are experts at negotiating and have managed to take Israel from unequivocal promises to never divide Jerusalem again to a first offer which included a divided Jerusalem, to a second offer that included a divided Jerusalem and internationalization of the holy basin.
      ——-
      That would suggest that even with less authority than Israel, the Palestinians have done extremely well for themselves. In fact, in every negotiation, the Israelis are assured by the Americans that whatever they put on the table will not count if all issues aren’t resolved and so far on three occasions, the Israelis had to start their latest negotiations from where the last ones ended. In the meantime, the Palestinian position did not budge one iota.
      ———
      It seems to me as if your “weaker” side doesn’t perceive itself as weaker or as subject to the rules of negotiations you propose. They are doing quite well.
      ——–
      The reasons for this are that unlike you, the Palestinians actually perceive themselves as a very powerful party in these negotiations and it is the Israelis who are extremely concerned about weakness. The Palestinians believe they have nothing to lose and that time is on their side. They believe they already live under occupation and the occupation is not going to get any worse.
      ——
      In fact, it’s a pretty good occupation as far as occupations go – they have a government, a robust economy, funds from the international community, legitimacy from the international community, a GDP that makes Arab countries envious, an American trained and armed mini-army, an open ticket to any journalist who wants to cover this story, a network of thousands of scholars and other advocates all over the world who take Fatah’s strategic vision and execute it locally at their universities and towns, etc.
      —–
      Mostly, though, the Palestinians believe that time is on their side. If they wait, they believe, then eventually they’ll be able to make the case that Israel’s Jewish minority is ruling over an Arab minority. To the Palestinians, that will be the beginning of the end.
      ——-
      The Israelis, however, don’t feel like they’re in charge here because they also feel the pressure of demographic changes, the pressure of constantly being singled out by the international community, the pressure meted out by American administrations, the pressure of having to send their children to the army with no end in sight. The Israelis feel that if they could just resolve this issue, then perhaps some of the warring they face from Lebanon, Gaza and Iran, with possibly Syria, Egypt and even Jordan on the sidelines, will end. Otherwise, they feel this could erupt at any time and it’s their sons who are on the line.
      ——-
      This is a fear and concern the Palestinians do not have to face at all.
      ———
      I suggest to you that your analysis of the situation is not only wrong, but your solution will lead to a war not unlike 1948. If your analysis is followed, it is a recipe for tragedy on both sides. The best and only solution is to apply full pressure on the Palestinians not only to negotiate but to compromise.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Passerby

      *they’ll be able to make the case that Israel’s Jewish minority is ruling over an Arab majority

      Reply to Comment
    8. Reuvain

      Legitimacy. The Jewish people do not need anyone to bestow on them legitimacy. What is needed is security, and that can only come when the Arabs are ready to truly make peace with the Jewish people.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Tzippi

      @Reuvain

      The Arab league proposed to solution based on the 67 borders and a shared capital. Which mind you is what international law deems Israel’s borders. The Arabs have made peace, now it’s for Israel to stop its ethnic cleansing, occupation and settlements.

      @Passerby

      If you are refering to the times Israel had negotiations with the Palestinians while building illegal settlements on PALESTINIAN land while stating that all settlements and Jerusalem will belong to Israel then yeah Israel has tried to make “peace”. Israel has complaimed it will never give up the West Bank or Jerusalem so please don’t make up lies.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Passerby

      Yeah, Tzippi, I’m referring to those times. Do you happen to recall when Israel controlled all of the Sinai? Or how about when Israel controlled all of Gaza? How about when Israel controlled Southern Lebanon? It seems that when Israel wants to move out, it does. In 2000, 2001 and 2008 Israel put on the table very serious, far-reaching deals to end the conflict with the Palestinians. These deals ALL included an element of removing all the settlements beyond outside of the 5% of Judea and Samaria Israel sought to keep.
      ——-

      Putting it another way, of what the Palestinians claim they want (1949 armistice lines), in the last two deals at Taba and with Olmert, Israel has offered the Palestinians about 97-98% of what they claim they want, including a capital in eastern Jerusalem, removal of all settlements outside that 5% line, and some solution regarding holy sites.
      ——–
      You really need to do better than calling me a liar.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Jan

      Sure Israel wants peace but it wants peace along with taking all the land of the Palestinians or at least as much of the land as they can steal. The occupying Israeli army and the vile settlers cintinue to make life as miserable as they can for the Palestinians in hopes that they will pack up and leave. Even now the Palestinian population of Area C is 2/3 smaller than it was at the start of the Oslo “negotiations.”

      To Israel, regardless of who is in power, negotiations are just a means of telling the world how wonderful the Israelis are while at the same time they are stealing more land. How sad that Amrican politicians buy into Israel’s lying strategy – or maybe they don’t and just know that they have to do what AIPAC tells them.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Tzippi

      Israel pulled out of Lebanon cause they lost the war. They pulled out of the Sinai due to US pressure. If left to their own will they will still be in Sinai, Lebanon and Gaza. As for the offers they gave the Palestinians it was 19% of their ancestral land, no right or return and no Jerusalem. Not exactly anything to brag about.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Aaron

      Reuvain, legitimacy is not an end in itself for Israel. It’s a means to the ends of security (US military aid and UN vetoes) and economic prosperity (no boycotts).
      §
      Jazzy, Palestine will not be a “proper,” de facto sovereign state. It will be like Lebanon in 2006, a weak state which will officially condemn attacks against Israel while it allows Iranian-backed militias to carry out those attacks. Israel’s attacking Palestinian state targets in retaliation would be condemned by the “international community,” just as attacking Lebanese state targets in retaliation for Hezbollah attacks was condemned in 2006. It would also unite the population against Israel, as in 2006.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Jan

      @Passerby- Are you referring to Israel’s “generous offer” at Oslo?
      If the Palestinians had accepted the “generous offer” they would have found themselves living in an apartheid South Africa existence

      The “generous offer” would have given the Palestinians three separate bantustans in the West Bank plus Gaza. Each bantusant would be surrounded by Israel. Israel would control the egress and ingress from the bantustans as well as the air space above it. Of course the Palestinians would be allowed to collect their own garbage but that would be about it.

      All the major settlements would remain and apartheid would be alive and well in the West Bank – even more than it is today.

      Anyone who thinks that Israel wants peace more than it wants more land is living in lala land and needs a wake-up call. If Israel truly wanted peace with the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world they would not have been biling settlements, all of them completely illegal under international law. Istrael has shown its face to the world and the face is ugly.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Passerby

      Jan, I am referring to Israel’s generous offers at Taba and with Olmert. I’m not sure if that’s how they refer to it over at Electronic Intifadah, which is why you might be calling it the “generous offer at Oslo” but really, you need to listen to the propaganda you’re spouting and simply stop.

      ——–

      Tzippi, Israel pulled out of Sinai to make peace with Egypt. Israel pulled out of Gaza of its own volition. Israel pulled out of Lebanon for many reasons but not because it “lost the war.” Unless you’re a Hizbollah operative and you’re trying to boast about a “victory” against Israel. You also obviously have no clue about what Israel offered the Palestinians and you really need to read up on it before you continue to make these remarks. Why don’t you do some reading: http://www.google.com/search?q=olmert+peace+offer&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

      Reply to Comment
    16. shlomo yosef

      Nice Analysis, only issue is that most Israeli’s don’t go to bed craving legitimacy. Land for legitimacy trades a tangible asset for something as intangible as peace but arguably less valuable. Israel is belligerently legitimate, no force will ever remove it without risking its own destruction.

      Legitimacy can be a motivating factor only if Israeli’s make it an electoral discussion. However while Israel is opening up markets in China, India and Russia and cyprus, it fears less from BDS – a western and mid east phenomena that will not effect its new areas.

      The lack of legitimacy might move israel from the solidly western camp into a more non aliened position but still with a special relationship with the US, along side this with Germany and new relations with India, China, Russia and others its legitimacy will not be dependent on the Palestinians.

      This formula works for those who oppose normalization and think that BDS will change the formula – I fear that ultimately Israelis will seek the legitimacy of the west less rather then capitulate as they see it. Legitimacy is less vital then peace even if the PA cannot give it.

      For this reason Israel should be looking to the arab peace initiative that can deliver a better form of peace (all be it without hezbullah, syria as a question mark and Iran as a common foe) rather then just see this as a bilateral step.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Jan

      Your snide remark that I got my information from Electionic Intifada is par for the course. I got my information from Israeli progressive sources who knew what was going on.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Passerby

      Jan,

      What was going on didn’t and doesn’t shift because the source is “progressive” or regressive. The information about what was going on is public and it doesn’t take much to learn what was offered. Some people have interpreted it to mean something completely different than it was, and that’s because they’re in the propaganda business, hence the remark about Electronic Intifadah. Sadly, many “progressive” voices espouse the same views. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, the offers were very fair offers and that they were didn’t matter one bit as far as the Palestinians were concerned.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Steve

      The Palestinian Authority still calls for millions of Palestinians to flood into Israel to make Jews the minority in Israel, via the “right of return” lunacy, correct?

      Until that changes, a permanent peace is impossible.

      If the PA wants to wait 2 hours, or 200 years, so be it.

      Until then, West Bank settlements will keep growing.

      Oh well.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Steve

      By the way, it’s perfectly clear that Mahmoud Abbas and the West Bank are not “desperate” in any way. If you haven’t noticed, they are taking their sweet time when it comes to negotiations. Abbas is perfectly happy, it seems, to wait years more. Desperate people would immediately agree to negotiate with no preconditions and immediately agree to anything even CLOSE to a fair deal. But Abbas wants the “right of return” to erase Israel from existence, so he’ll just keep waiting, forever, apparently. While collecting that paycheck.

      Reply to Comment
    21. directrob

      “millions of Palestinians to flood into Israel”
      .
      Actually the Palestinians that fled when Israel was created are now (unrecognized by the state of Israel) Israeli. That is why they have a right of return. To avoid the flood Israel could compensate the fugitives. It is actually hard to see why that would be lunacy. It would cost maybe 80,000,000,000 dollar.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Piotr Berman

      “Legitimacy can be a motivating factor only if Israeli’s make it an electoral discussion. However while Israel is opening up markets in China, India and Russia and cyprus, it fears less from BDS – a western and mid east phenomena that will not effect its new areas.”

      China and India are quite emphatically opposed to sanctions on Iran, China in particular. “Opening up markets” can be nicely reversed if Israel initiates a nice little war.

      “The lack of legitimacy might move israel from the solidly western camp into a more non aliened position but still with a special relationship with the US…” It was observed that NGO legislation was copied from Belorus and Uzbekistan. This is ‘more non aligned position’, but not the best recipe for maintaining ‘special relationship’.

      “Until then, West Bank settlements will keep growing”. The road to peace through spiteful and obnoxious behavior.

      Back to BDS. This strategy can be effective if Israel and supporters are sufficiently hysterical. So far, they are do more than enough.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Steve

      To DIRECTROB:

      There was a “population exchange.” Israel isn’t giving land to people who may have lived there 70 years ago. Arab countries are not giving land back to the near million Jews who used to live in Arab countries and became refugees but now live in Israel.

      Israel isn’t merging with anybody, just like other countries aren’t, either.

      There’s no “right of return” in this case. It’s done with, long ago, many wars ago.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Steve

      PIOTR BERMAN,
      If the Palestinian Authority wants to just wait around forever thinking Israel is going to someday undo its existence as a Jewish state, they’re in for a long wait. So while they waste their existence away and don’t accomplish anything, Israel will keep being productive and building communities.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Passerby

      Directrob, nice wishful thinking, but it has nothing to do with actual laws or obligations.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Cortez

      “There was a “population exchange.” Israel isn’t giving land to people who may have lived there 70 years ago. Arab countries are not giving land back to the near million Jews who used to live in Arab countries and became refugees but now live in Israel.
      Israel isn’t merging with anybody, just like other countries aren’t, either.
      There’s no “right of return” in this case. It’s done with, long ago, many wars ago.”
      .
      Thats really disgusting. What makes it right to steal land from other Jews?
      .
      What population exchange? The Pals had no say..and many are still refugees.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Steve

      Cortez: The Arab world that surrounds Israel collectively fought full wars against Israel.

      And after the dust cleared, 700,000 or so Arabs weren’t in Israel anymore, and about a million Jews weren’t in Arab countries anymore.

      The end. There aren’t “Palestinian refugees” anymore. They moved in 1948. It’s 2012. That was 64 years ago. Any of them that were 21 back then would be 85 now. So the vast majority are long dead of old age. If the kids of refugees or their kids live in some West Bank town now, that’s their home.

      Also, as an aside, 80 percent of “historic Palestine” became Jordan in the early 1900′s.

      Jew-haters and Israel-haters still want to play the Palestinian “refugee” game because their only goal is to try to move millions of Muslims into Israel so Israel isn’t Jewish anymore.

      Delusional nutcases have tried to convince the Palestinians that someday they can undo Israel’s existence. It’s a shame and I feel bad for random everyday Palestinians led by idiots who want to wait it out forever instead of moving on with their lives like a billion other refugees have had to do in the last 100 years or so of the world’s history.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Cortez

      “The Arab world that surrounds Israel collectively fought full wars against Israel.”
      “And after the dust cleared, 700,000 or so Arabs weren’t in Israel anymore, and about a million Jews weren’t in Arab countries anymore.”
      You mean after they were kicked out of their homeland for which they’ve been on for thousands of years?
      .
      They are still refugees according to the UN and the most of the world including the U.S. Until they are rightfully compensated or allowed to come home the Palestinians are refugees. The Israeli government’s own release of classified files corroborates the notion that they are refugees (regardless if they were forced out through violence or left for safety)
      .
      “The end. There aren’t “Palestinian refugees” anymore. They moved in 1948. It’s 2012. That was 64 years ago. Any of them that were 21 back then would be 85 now. So the vast majority are long dead of old age. If the kids of refugees or their kids live in some West Bank town now, that’s their home. Also, as an aside, 80 percent of “historic Palestine” became Jordan in the early 1900′s.”
      .
      And? this means what? still doesnt discount the fact that we have a large refugee population that is not allowed to return home.
      .
      Jew-haters and Israel-haters still want to play the Palestinian “refugee” game because their only goal is to try to move millions of Muslims into Israel so Israel isn’t Jewish anymore.
      .
      Jew hater? and Israeli-hater? A game? You think its a game to destroy people’s lives and to kick them out of their homes? Jewish culture has an amazing history of mixing and incorporating other cultures and histories into their own. Israel can still be Jewish and Muslim, and Arab and European if it wishes to make the investment in the future and to move beyond the racism and backwards ideology from 19th century Eastern Europe. It is so sad to see how the rich culture of the Sephardic Jews and Mizrahi Jews was swept under the rug for this oppositional identity where anything Arab or Muslim is considered evil. We are better than that.
      .
      “Delusional nutcases have tried to convince the Palestinians that someday they can undo Israel’s existence. It’s a shame and I feel bad for random everyday Palestinians led by idiots who want to wait it out forever instead of moving on with their lives like a billion other refugees have had to do in the last 100 years or so of the world’s history.”
      .
      I’m not gonna respond to this disgusting comment. It disrespects the Jewish culture, semitic people and humanity all-in-one.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Steve

      It’s amazing seeing people twist their own brain in circles trying to justify their excuse for supporting Israel’s destruction as a Jewish state, as all the “right of return” and “one-state solution” people do.
      Sad stuff. Really pretty pathetic.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Steve

      The actual Palestinian “refugees” from 1948 are 99% dead of old age. The CHILDREN of refugees exist, and they were mostly born in the West Bank or other countries, and that’s their home now.

      Just like the Jewish refugees that got chased out of Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and all the other Arab countries are relocated now too.

      And that’s that.

      Reply to Comment
    31. John Yorke

      These latest negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis seem to be taking forever. There appears to be a distinct lack of urgency in reaching a settlement of any kind and a feeling that we’ve all been down this road so many times before and it’s still leading us nowhere.

      Either it’s time to crank up the pace by a quite massive margin or to bypass the whole affair completely and find an entirely new method, one that achieves much the same purpose but is far quicker and absolutely guaranteed to deliver on its objective. This will be peace of a type not normally envisaged by politicians and military minds. It will, however, be the best peace that anyone might ever hope for, given the limitations and uncertainties attendant on the present, lacklustre arrangements.

      http://yorketowers.blogspot.com

      If we really want a solution here and are not prepared to hang about for an eternity to get it, then this would definitely be the best choice for all concerned.

      And, if there’s a better way or one that comes even remotely close, then I would very much like to know about it.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Piotr Berman

      The actual refugees in the aftermath of Bar-Kochba rebelion are 100% dead. Children are dead. Great-grand-grand-grand-grand children area dead. I am not sure if this is the best line of argumentation.

      Reply to Comment
    33. Piotr Berman

      “If the kids of refugees or their kids live in some West Bank town now, that’s their home.”

      Except when it is demolished, crops uprooted, land freshly confiscated, and soldiers plus settlers harass them daily. What is the purpose of settlements? What is the sense of “negotiating” if Israel is not interrupting expansion of settlements, demolitions and other acts of oppression?

      Reply to Comment
    34. Steve

      To Piotr Berman: The average Arab in the West Bank isn’t anywhere near any settlers, doesn’t see them, isn’t affected by them.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Steve

      And the other parts of the West Bank are kept “Jew-free” like the “progressives” want.

      Reply to Comment
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