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Giving the occupation an expiration date

A way out of the diplomatic dead end.

By Dahlia Scheindlin and Noam Sheizaf

An Israeli Soldier taking away blindfolded Palestinian at Qalandiya Checkpoint (photo: Activestills)

The Israeli-Palestinian negotiation process has reached a dead end. The two-state paradigm has been deemed unrealistic so many times, that mentioning it creates cynicism and bitterness in both societies. But a generally agreed alternative to the principle of partition has not yet emerged.

We therefore suggest a new framework for diplomatic engagement, one that carries with it a clear deadline.

Without diminishing the many facets, layers and problems in the conflict (refugees, land, control over resources, holy sites, sovereignty and national self-determination), one issue is the most urgent and pressing for the region, and it is also the most obvious: ending the military occupation.

Under the current circumstances, even international and local actors’ best intentions in seeking to resolve the conflict have no direction. New political negotiations are likely to be fruitless, disappointing and as a result, dangerous.

Ending the occupation is key to advancing any comprehensive solution, and it carries a special moral urgency.

Defining a unique problem

The occupation presents a unique problem. Israel’s control over Palestinians is an infinite source of violence and instability. It generates daily rage among Palestinians and leaves no one untouched. It crushes any possibility for sustainable economic viability or dignified livelihood. Palestinians are unable to build genuine political institutions, because they are all subject to the sovereignty of Israeli military law.

With regards to ending it, we propose the following definition for the occupation:

1. Ruling a population under military law (including Palestinian self-government, which is circumscribed by Israeli military law).
2. The expansion of settlement rights for one population at the expense of another population. This includes de facto settlement, legislation to legitimize settlement, financial and infrastructural support.
3. A situation in which two people live side by side in the same territory under two different legal systems.
4. The imposition of heavy restrictions on both domestic and international travel on one population while the other is free to travel, settle, and enter and exit international ports at will.
5. Israel’s use of natural resources in the West Bank to favor the Jewish population, while heavy restrictions are placed on Palestinian use of those resources.

In addition to the West Bank, this definition also applies to territories in and around Jerusalem that were annexed to Israel in 1967, since three of the five conditions above apply to them. For the Gaza Strip, “ending occupation” at this stage would mainly mean freedom of movement for goods and people across Gaza’s borders, and lifting restrictions on the entry through and use of land and sea borders.

Two mechanisms: Cooperative and coercive

We envision two possible mechanisms to achieve the goal of ending the military occupation. Either the two sides devote the next round of negotiations to reaching an agreement on how to end it, or the international community must demand and impose an end of the occupation (there is a difference between imposing an end to the occupation and imposing a resolution for the overall conflict, and the latter is not advisable).

In both approaches, an immediate deadline is the key to success. A long interim period may seem more attainable but the bitter experiences of the Oslo years teaches us that lengthy, phased plans are bound to fail due to changes in the political landscape and circumstances on the ground.

In the first, cooperative approach, agreements to dismantle occupation systems and supporting infrastructure should be reached within one year. Ideally, those will be part of a larger agreement on power transfer or sharing.

In the coercive approach, international actors (such as the UN Security Council) should set a deadline for Israel to end military control over the Palestinians; allow full freedom of movement to, from and within the occupied territory (with the exception of entry into the 1949 borders); completely cease using resources from the West Bank, and halt all construction in the settlements.

Naturally, Israel will have to defend itself, and finite military operations can be permitted in order to address specific security threats. But all elements of military control over the entire civilian population must be terminated within one year; or else, Israel would risk diplomatic action or even sanctions.

It is obviously in Israel’s interest to take the cooperative route, rather than risk facing international action against it. The Palestinian leadership will also have strong incentive to join the cooperative process of ending the occupation. Without it, the Palestinians will move further from their aspiration to self-determination. The expiration of the one-year deadline could also entail dismantling the Palestinian Authority; if it simply “waits out” an end to the occupation, the present leadership stands to lose even its current, negligible share of power.

For the international community, setting an expiration date for the military occupation is more practical and immediate than continuing the current tug-of-war with Israel over the settlements and with no clear negotiation framework in sight.

Not an alternative to peace, but a paradigm for progress

Putting a deadline on the occupation is no replacement for a permanent political settlement. It is, however, a far better way of advancing it than anything currently taking place.

Quickly ending the occupation would provide concrete hope for the Palestinian population, stop the creeping annexation of the territories and allow the sides time to resume meaningful negotiations. The Israeli-Palestinian equation will be less defined as oppressor and victim and it would bring the sides one step closer to being equals. Furthermore, we believe that a deadline will advance honest debate in both societies about their respective visions for a long-term settlement, and revive interest in the diplomatic process beyond the walls think tanks and state bureaucracies. These might be the most important outcomes of such a move.

The urgency of the deadline to ending the occupation reflects the urgency of the situation. It must replace the current diluted goal of a “peace-process,” and the double-speak that only ignores, perpetuates or expands problems. A new paradigm for progress is non-negotiable.

Related:
The profitable occupation, and why it is never discussed
Demystifying one-state, acknowledging facts
One or two states? The status quo is Israel’s rational choice

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Aaron Gross

      OK, so you’re counting on a resolution by the UN security council, of which the US is a permanent member with veto power. In that case, why not just have a binding UNSC resolution demanding immediate Peace in the Middle East? In for a penny, in for pound, right? Think about it – Peace in the Middle East, within a year! I’d sure support that.

      To repeat what I’ve said before, Noam’s comment on Dennis Ross’s proposal was very apt: It was the proposal of a schoolteacher, not of a statesman or diplomat.

      Reply to Comment
    2. The Trespasser

      >In the first, cooperative approach, agreements to dismantle occupation systems and supporting infrastructure should be reached within one year. Ideally, those will be part of a larger agreement on power transfer or sharing.

      Palestinian Arabs refused to cooperate in 1919 and nothing has changed since.

      >In the coercive approach, international actors (such as the UN Security Council) should set a deadline for Israel to end military control over the Palestinians;

      What Palestinians? Fatah? Hamas? Islamic Jihad?

      >allow full freedom of movement to, from and within the occupied territory (with the exception of entry into the 1949 borders)

      There is no such borders. Armistice lines are not borders.

      >completely cease using resources from the West Bank

      What resources does WB has exactly? Water? Meaning that Israel won’t be able to supply water to WB.

      >Naturally, Israel will have to defend itself, and finite military operations can be permitted in order to address specific security threats. But all elements of military control over the entire civilian population must be terminated within one year; or else, Israel would risk diplomatic action or even sanctions.

      Nonsense. Without COMPLETE control of population, military operations will continue indefinitely and will cause MUCH more casualties on both sides.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Max

      Questions:

      If freedom of movement does not include the crossing of the 49 armistice lines, what does this proposal mean, functionally, for Gazans?

      What provision is there for the security of Israeli settlers already in the West Bank?

      Likewise, what security can be provided to Palestinians against settler violence?

      How does this proposal halt annexation of Palestinian territory? What is there to stop settlers from continuing to establish new outposts?

      Finally, how is this framed politically to give it a realistic opportunity at negotiations? What’s to stop Bibi et al from saying “the military occupation must be part of the total negotiating picture; ending military occupation before Palestinians make concessions is tantamount to a precondition”?

      Reply to Comment
    4. Kolumn9

      The cooperative approach is unrealistic because the Palestinians have no incentive to cooperate. They will reap the rewards regardless of what they will do and without making any concessions. I am sure you know that so I am assuming it is just there as a decoration.

      The coercive approach is a rehash of every other left-wing article on the matter which thinks Israeli concessions must be forced out of Israel by making it feel insecure as a result of international pressure. There is nothing particularly original there either in that it is still silly to demand that a country make strategic concessions by undermining its strategic security.

      Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        “They will reap the rewards regardless of what they will do and without making any concessions”

        The Palestinians have already made their concession when they effectively forfeited 78% of their ancestral land to the upstart state of Israel. Now it is time for Israel to make reciprocate with regards to the remaining 22%.

        ” it is still silly to demand that a country make strategic concessions by undermining its strategic security.”

        South Africa also thought this way.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          >The Palestinians have already made their concession when they effectively forfeited 78% of their ancestral land to the upstart state of Israel.

          Dude, you are delusional. Palestinian Arabs haven’t forfeited even one square centimetre of Palestine.

          Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          The Palestinians can’t and couldn’t forfeit something that was never theirs to begin with. More to the point, the Palestinians and their supporters still think they deserve all the land and are more interested in a weak Israel that they can eventually destroy than seeing the rise of an independent state of Palestine. This is the reason why the Palestinians have no reason to make compromises and accept peace when they are promised by the international community pressure on Israel in a year. Hence, the ‘cooperative option’ is only in this article as a decoration.

          South Africa’s strategic security was never under threat so your comparison here makes even less sense than usual.

          Reply to Comment
          • Palestinan

            Maybe you are implying the land belongs to “holy” Polish and Russian thieves ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            No, I am explicitly stating that the Palestinians have no sovereign claim on the land of Israel and didn’t exist as a recognizable group until *at least* the 1920s.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinan

            What is the “Land of Israel” ?
            What is a recognizable group ?
            Did the indigenous population in South Africa posses sovereign claim to their homeland ?
            How about other Arab countries ?
            What percentage of land the Palestinians owned ?
            What percentage of land Zionists manged to purchase ?
            Who gave the Zionist immigrants the right to think about immigrating to Palestine ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            1) The land of Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and consists of what is now Israel, Judea and Samaria, parts of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

            2) A recognizable group is one that has a culture, language, national consciousness or some other distinction from other groups. In this case the ‘Palestinians’ are apparently those people that wound up within lines drawn on maps in the capital of Europe and have no distinct differences from the surrounding peoples that became the ‘Jordanians’, the ‘Syrians’ and the ‘Lebanese’.

            3) The blacks of South Africa belonged to many tribes which spent various amounts of time within the borders of South Africa. The ‘blacks’ had no right of sovereignty over South Africa. Most of the tribes had been in the area less time than the Boers. That doesn’t mean that they should be denied self-determination but their claim to any piece of land was equal or worse than that of the Boers unless you wish to discriminate against the Boers based purely on the color of their skin.

            4) see (2)

            5+6) Most of the land of the British Mandate was owned by the government (initially Turkish and then British) since it is desert. Jews and Jewish groups privately owned about 7% and the Arabs and Arab groups privately owned about 25%.

            7) Jews have always lived in Israel. The Turks and the British acting as sovereign over the land of Israel granted many more Jews permission to return to Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • tod

            “The land of Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and consists of what is now Israel, Judea and Samaria, parts of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria”:
            what about other peoples and other promises that their received by their god? why the present day israeli coast between ashdod and ashkelon should be considered the ‘historic homeland of the jewish people’ if it was Never Ever, in its entire history, “Israelite”. You seem to live in the stone age.
            ..
            If Palestinians are an invented people, Israelis should be considered a plastic-fabrication.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            1) A myth

            2) We share many things with other Arabs but we have our differences.Sharing the language doesnt cancel our unique identity.

            3) If a tribe inhabits a piece of land,doesnt that give them any right to it ? I mean your whole claim to Palestine is based on a 3000-year-old myth !

            5+6) Check the UN land ownership map.That “desert” saved southern France from famine!

            7)Who gave Peres the right to immigrate to Palestine ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            1) The Jewish homeland is history. Read some Josephus or any other ancient historian to learn more about the Jewish history in Israel.

            2) I have no idea who ‘we’ is in your case. ‘You’ who wound up behind an artificial border created by the British and the French did not have some kind of unique identity from the people on the other side of the artificial line. Language, culture, history, religions, all the same. People moving and intermarrying across all the boundaries without much of an adjustment.

            3) My numbers are according to the UN data.

            4) The Palestinians aren’t a tribe. They are just Arabs who happened to live in the land of Israel. They include people who have been here for many years and people who moved in the 1920s to get jobs created by Jews. Not being a distinct people they had no right to self-determination from other Arabs. They have become a distinct people as a result of the conflict with Israel.

            5+6) Where do you think my numbers are from?

            7) The British gave Peres permission to move to Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            1)Jews conquered Cana’an,what does this have to do with the so-called “Jewish homeland” ?

            2) We ,the Palestinians,are different than Arabs in Africa,the Gulf region and Iraq.It is true we have few things in common,but our dialect,cuisine,costumes,traditions…are different ,but how would a foreigner know ?!

            3) Although I didnt reject your numbers but it would be helpful if you could share your data.

            4)The Lebanese aren’t a tribe and they were granted the right to self-determination.
            What I dont understand how do you (a colonist) give yourself the right to decide the fate of Palestine,you have no say in it.

            7) Who gave the British(one thief) the right to allow another thief to immigrate to Palestine ?

            See your argument is based on insignificant personal beliefs that you should keep them to yourself.

            Reply to Comment
          • JG

            The land of Israel is the fairytale homeland of the Jewish people. Not more. Get over it and accept that we live in year 2013 and no fucking god lives in burning bushes and offers land to some goatlovers.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            I hope you’ll be struck by a lightning within next 7 days.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            The land of Israel is Israel.

            The land of the Arabs is on most of the rest of the Middle East and North Africa. They have no right to have Israel too. So get over it yourself JG.

            Moreover, if you deny ONLY Jews the right to have their own state, then you are a racist.

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            Wait, hold on, are we for real saying that Israel has a ‘legitimate’ claim based on a god (that cannot be proven to exist) saying you are the chosen people and that it appeared in a fictional book called the Bible?

            When are people going to get over this religious nonsense. I’m not really anti-religion per se but that stuff belongs in the private life.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >Wait, hold on, are we for real saying that Israel has a ‘legitimate’ claim based on a god (that cannot be proven to exist) saying you are the chosen people and that it appeared in a fictional book called the Bible?

            Alleged “fictionality” of Torah is obvious only to those who’ve never studied any of it.

            Science still fails to explain how did DNA appeared first, or even how is it possible that events depicted in Genesis are so well corresponding to modern cosmology theories.

            I’m not a religious man, far from that, however there is a lot of information contained in Torah (only in Hebrew, of course – about 99% is inevitably lost in translation) which does not contradict modern science, while certainly could not be know to people at the time when Torah was allegedly written.

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            ‘Alleged “fictionality” of Torah is obvious only to those who’ve never studied any of it.’
            The Iliad is fictional (it is fictional because there is a heavy presence of mythology and gods/creatures that obviously cannot be proven to exist), yet it talks about events that took place and places that existed. Doesn’t make it any less fictional though. Same thing with the Bible (it is fictional in a sense that ‘god did this’ god did that, while we know God cannot be proven to exist or not exist, but the events that took place probably did).

            I’m not interested in holding a debate about science vs religion because I myself am agnostic where I confer to the idea that we cannot know whether God exists or not. We cannot prove the existence of God nor can we disprove the existence of God. I do not oppose religion, but I think it belongs to the private sphere and in personal lives and it is extremely harmful in a political discourse.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >The Iliad is fictional (it is fictional because there is a heavy presence of mythology and gods/creatures that obviously cannot be proven to exist), yet it talks about events that took place and places that existed.

            You reasoning is illogical.
            The Iliad was considered purely fictional until Heinrich Schliemann had discovered what is now believed to be ruins of Troy, which means that if something is not proven yet, it does not meat that it does not exist or never existed.

            Some of modern technology, for example, mere 4000-5000 years ago, would seem extremely godlike to bronze-age barbarians, as it seemed until less than mere hundred years ago.

            Creatures that cannot be proven to be existed?
            Illogical assumption as well.
            Entire species extinct every day, and what is left – at best – is some carcasses in museum storages.

            >Doesn’t make it any less fictional though.

            So 200 years ago people though that the whole story is fictional and the city of Troy never existed, now people know that at least some part of story is truth. How does it not make it less fictional?

            >Same thing with the Bible (it is fictional in a sense that ‘god did this’ god did that, while we know God cannot be proven to exist or not exist, but the events that took place probably did).

            You’ve never studied the Torah or Kabalah, which is allegedly contain the proof that g-d exists, but you still claim that it is fictional. Can you back your reasoning?

            On the same basis someone who does not know what is electricity is, can deny it’s existence, and explain the electric light as display of some magical or divine powers.

            >I’m not interested in holding a debate about science vs religion because I myself am agnostic where I confer to the idea that we cannot know whether God exists or not.

            Are you afraid to learn something which would ruin your perception of the world?

            Yesterday I’ve had a very interesting discussion with a religious Jew. We’ve been through a lot of issues, starting with with Obama and Syria and ending with Kabala history.

            One of issues was existence of extraterrestrial lifeforms.

            He claimed that Earth is unique because … whatever reasons, don’t remember.

            However, modern science is not able to determine whether the universe is finite or not. If it is finite, than whole new set of physics is required to determine conditions on its boundaries, and it would contradict quantum indeterminacy, for example, so nothing so far suggests that universe should be finite. Newest satellite data shows that universe has a flat topography – it is a mathematical term, I don’t know what exactly does it mean – I’m not a mathematician, however it also suggests that there is no finite universe.

            So, if the universe is infinite, it means that it is full of life – because why would g-d create entire infinite universe just to populate one planet? He brought up Torah, but nothing there suggests that the Earth is unique. Prominent sources suggest that actual creation until Adam took more than 4 modern calendar days.

            Some rabbi about 800 years ago has written that at the beginning g-d created energy and matter and from that – all the rest, exactly as modern cosmology theory claims, etc., etc.

            He tried to argue that obviously not ALL planets are populated, so it is not infinite.

            It was hardest for him to understand that even 1% of infinity it is still infinity. Guy is gonna talk to his rabbi. mwahahahaha.

            >We cannot prove the existence of God nor can we disprove the existence of God.
            Also, we cannot prove or disprove infinity of universe. Sounds similar?

            To prove or disprove something you should at least have a clear definition of object in question.

            Who/what is g-d that you can’t prove or disprove? Old fellow with long white beard?

            XDXD

            >I do not oppose religion, but I think it belongs to the private sphere and in personal lives and it is extremely harmful in a political discourse.

            The Ten Commandments, for example, they belong to private or to public sphere?

            p.s. speaking of proofs, you won’t ever be able to prove to me that you actually do exist, even if we ever going to meet. Does that mean that you do not?

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Whoa there Leen, not so fast. Hold on there.

            I did not use the bible to justify Israel’s existnce, nor religion. I used history, I used the fact that Israel exists today, it existed 2000 years ago (the bible is not the only evedence that it did) and I used the fact that the Arab people have their own lands and they are not at all short of lands.

            Last but not least, I reminded your clownish friend JG (or maybe he isn’t your friend, I don’t really know nor care), that if he denies Jews and Jews alone, our right to a sovereign homeland and self determination, then he is a racist. And I stand by what I said.

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            Babylon existed even further than that. It does not anymore. A lot of the British can trace their ancesteral lineage to Iraqi/Babylonian farmers. They however have absolutely no claim to the Iraq (the Land of Babylon).
            Afterall, all humans originate from the African continent. Yet it is absurd to think that all of us have a claim to Africa.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “Babylon existed even further than that. It does not anymore.”

            Nor are there Babylonians so I don’t know what your point is.

            “A lot of the British can trace their ancesteral lineage to Iraqi/Babylonian farmers.”

            Really? Sounds like a myth but you know what? I believe you.

            “They however have absolutely no claim to the Iraq (the Land of Babylon).”

            Duuuuuuh, because they already have a home in Britain.

            “Afterall, all humans originate from the African continent. Yet it is absurd to think that all of us have a claim to Africa.”

            Whatever Leen. The fact is that people who haven’t got a home seek a home somewhere. And since the Jews were exiled from their home, Judea, 2000 years ago, we were pushed from pillar to post because we did not have a home. So it was natural for us to claim our own home back starting as of about 150 years ago.

            Three more pertinent facts:

            1. Some Jews never left our home.

            2. The exiled Jews never gave up the dream of returning to Zion. It was part of the daily prayers of the Jewish people.

            3. There was and still is room in Palestine for both a Jewish state and an Arab state. We Jews were and most of us are still willing to compromise. The Arabs were not.

            Now can you tell me on what basis do the Arabs claim ALL of Palestine for themselves only?

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            There is a difference between a person of Hebrew origin and a Jew in a religious sense. Not all Jews originate from the Israelite tribes or the Hebrews (and if you say you do, you are again conforming to a religious claim).

            Here’s the link
            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1244654/Study-finds-Britons-descended-farmers-left-Iraq-Syria-10-000-years-ago.html

            And there you go again, using the same old tired religious arguments. When you prove that your God exists and he has indeed promised you a ‘homeland’, come back to me. Otherwise I am not interested, sorry, but religion to me is not fact nor do I believe in a God that has said so.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >When you prove that your God exists and he has indeed promised you a ‘homeland’, come back to me.

            Ok. What would you consider as a sufficient proof?

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Not all Jews originate from Israelite tribes?

            Even your own sentence admits that some do though. And I would say most do. Unless of course you suggest that there were mass conversions to Judaism? If you do, you better prove it because it is a well known fact that Jews don’t encourage conversions. Nor was a great incentive for outsiders to convert because by and large Jews were not exactly treated well by host nations.

            Oh and I did not need your silly link about the origin of the British people. I already answered your point about why the Brits don’t claim Iraq (what a joke). Let me say it again, they already have a home in Britain so they don’t need two homes.

            You however did not answer my question, Leen. Please explain by what right do Arabs claim ALL of Palestine as their own? Are you saying that in 1947 they inhabited every square inch of Palestine? All of the Negev desert too? And that no Jews lived in Palestine? Or did Allah give all of Palestine to the Arabs?

            Reply to Comment
    5. Oriol2

      Sorry, but this article looks to me what people in Catalonia call “inventing bread with tomato” -”bread with tomato” meaning a typical food we eat practically every day-. Of course we all -Trespasser excepted- would like a kind of provisional agreement like the one pointed to in the article. It actually looks like a new variation upon what we could call the “Oslo theme” -mutatis mutandis, and even if you don’t like that name-. But does someone seriously believe that the international powers are going to press Israel into accepting an arrangement like that? If USA or the EU were seriously committed to peace in the Middle-East, they would have forced it in the middle nineties, when it would have been much easier than now. One thing that consistently surprises me in 972mag -I beg your pardon if I seem arrogant- is to find out that there are Israelis who actually believe that there exists something like an “international community” that cares about human rights. Israel / Palestine is not an exception, but a very apparent incarnation of the norm.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        >Of course we all -Trespasser excepted- would like a kind of provisional agreement like the one pointed to in the article.

        It is probably because the Trespasser realizes, unlike you all, that Palestinian Arabs have set their goal as liberation of ENTIRE Palestine.

        And not only that – the Trespasser also respects the sumud of Palestinian Arabs, unlike you all.

        Reply to Comment
        • Arieh

          “It is probably because the Trespasser realizes, unlike you all, that Palestinian Arabs have set their goal as liberation of ENTIRE Palestine.”

          I realise it too Tresspasser. I agree with you.

          What Dhalia and Noam propose is nothing new. That is what Eisenhower imposed on Israel in 1956. He forced Israel to end tho occupation of Sinai unconditionally without forcing Egypt’s Nasser to sign a peace agreement.

          And what happened next? Within 11 years, in 1967, Nasser got rid of the UN “peace keepers” who meekly obliged. He then lined up his troops along Israel’s borders, forced Jordan to do the same and together with Syria promised to drive the Jews into the sea.

          Yes, progressives now come up with all sorts of stories to try and justify what happened and claim that Nasser didn’t really mean it. But it sure felt real then. I remember watching the Arab mobs on newsreels. They were in ecstasy. They crowed that the Arabs are 100 million and they will finish the Jews. They had Jewish looking effigies with beards and payyes hanging by their neck from hanging posts as they paraded and chanted in the streets. Oh and I have a stamp that Nasser issued with his own smiling “benevolent” figure in the foreground and Tel Aviv burning in the background. Yes, I am old enough, I was young in 1967 but I remember all those things. Unlike most of the “progressives” here who were not even born then but have very strong opinions about what happened.

          And this proposal of theirs is no different than the mistake of the Eisenhower administration of 1956. He did it because he was hoping to get the Arabs into the American sphere of influence. But Nasser gladly took advantage of him then promptly sided with the Soviets. Just like a quarter of a century earlier, most Arabs sided with the Nazis. When will the West learn that appeasement does not work? When will so called progressive Jews learn that appeasement does not work? When will Jews learn that when push comes to shove the only ones we can rely on is ourselves?

          Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            I haven’t heard about pre-1967 events which you’ve told about, but obviously nothing has changed since in the Arab society.

            Reply to Comment
          • Arieh

            “I haven’t heard about pre-1967 events which you’ve told about, but obviously nothing has changed since in the Arab society.”

            Let me try and explain that phenomenon this way.

            I am sure that you are old enough to remember the suicide bombing campaign of the Palestinian Arabs between 2000 and 2004?

            You may recall that after a while Israel resorted to tergeted assassinations of terrorist leaders, using so called “smart bombs”?

            You may also recall that some Palestinian leaders while pretending to condemn suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, they justified it through the other side of their mouth by claiming “Israel has their smart bombs and we too have our smart bombs”.

            Now try and search the internet to find which Palestinian leaders made such statements. I tried and I can’t find anything on it. Yet I distinctly remember hearing various Palestinian leaders making such statements.

            All that happened only about 10 years ago yet I can’t find any reference to it. There can be only three explanations for it:

            1. I am just imagining that it all happened like that.

            2. I am just making up baseless propaganda.

            3. A lot of effort has gone into erasing inconvenient truths about old and even recent Middle East history.

            And we Israelis are lax for letting that happen (item 3 that is)

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            I resided in Jerusalem from 1997 to 2007.

            There was a lot of incitement by Arab leaders at the time. Great most was silenced by Israeli TV – for obvious reasons – and only very little of it is available now. I suppose relevant recordings are stored somewhere in archives, but won’t be made available to wide public – a peace have to be made, after all…

            Reply to Comment
          • Arieh

            “but won’t be made available to wide public – a peace have to be made, after all…”

            Do you see peace around the corner anytime soon? They are busly destroying Israel’s image and we store damning statements of their so called peace makers in archives.

            You know what I call that? Fiddling while Rome is burning.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Peace would be (maybe) reachable after some of Arab/Muslim states are dismantled and reorganized, which is only possible to be done at slow pace, one by one.

            Israel’s image is relatively a small price to pay, compared to 80 millions of starving Egyptians, for example.

            Reply to Comment
          • Arieh

            My problem with keeping relevant real historical facts under wraps is that right in front of our eyes, the Palestinian Arabs are being transformed into saints which is clearly a myth.

            And that myth is harmful to us because at the same time, publications like + 972 work overtime to transform us into devils.

            We ignore all that at our own peril, Trespasser because the pen is mightier than the sword.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            The process of Palestinian whitewashing certainly takes place, however it is not important – or would not be important after the independent States of Palestines are proclaimed in WB and Gaza, which IMO is going to take place until next elections.

            Obama must prove that the peace prize found a worthy keeper; Israeli public is willing to forfeit (some of) settlements; lands could be swapped; opinion of Hamas is not going to be asked at all; Egypt is in too much shit and will do as told, in exchange for food; Capital in E. Jlm? not necessary for a viable state; Gaza-WB highway? not until Hamas changes the Chapter.

            You see, all obstacles has been removed.

            Reply to Comment
          • Arieh

            Wow, all I can say is wow.

            And that I hope you will prove to be right about peace. But I am not convinced.

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      • Kolumn9

        Noooo! You are treading on some sacred cows here. The eventual victory of an ‘international community’ devoted to ‘human rights’ is an article of faith in some circles.

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        • Arieh

          Yea, as long as those humans are not Jews. Ooops I meant Israelis. After all, everyone knows that just because progressives don’t like Israel, it does not mean that they don’t like Jews. I should be a bit more careful about how I express myself.

          Reply to Comment
    6. Paul Seligman (@PaulMSeligman)

      Thought provoking and an ending of the occupation should improve many matters for both populations.

      But the weakness of the proposal is that it considers Israel will recognise that it’s “in its interests” to end the occupation if pushed by the international community (and if that would happen).

      Whereas many of the Israeli population and virtually all of its leadership for 100 years and more believe that their long term interest is in settling all of the historic land of Israel (whatever that may be).

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    7. Since the occupation is seen as preventing a resurgence of suicide bombing, and since some flow of people from the Bank to/from Israel will continue (I guess), there is, on assumption, no reason to end the occupation. At least I would take this to be Aaron’s and K9′s view. It is not clear to me that the assumption is valid.

      Only Israel can decide to retract from the occupation. The US will never go along with a Security Council sanction of any bite. I continue to think that the prospect of forced secondary citizenship of Palestinians is the most likely reason Israel may, eventually, withdraw. As to Gaza: it acts as a national wedge preventing negotiation in the Bank. Structurally, it exemplifies war refugees which Israel denies. Which is not to belittle the truncated livelihood and possibility there. Opening Gazan ports might be the best move for altering the ground toward solution. But in the Bank, I see naught by protracted constitutional crisis, with a mirror crisis in Israel proper.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        You forgot that security control over the West Bank is seen as preventing the launching of crude rockets at the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and preventing the stationing of hostile armies on the mountains overlooking the same metropolitan area and cutting Israel in half in case of a war. Suicide bombings are usually used as an illustration of the support that exists in Palestinian society for the wanton murder of Israeli women and children.

        The only country that can force secondary citizenship on the Palestinians is Israel and it would only do so in the case of an annexation. Annexation and withdrawal are contradictory steps so I have no idea how your logic gets you to the point where annexation would lead to withdrawal.

        Reply to Comment
        • The prospect of annexation might lead to withdrawal, not annexation itself; or, further, failed annexation. Palestinians born into an annexed Bank would be de facto secondary citizens. One could declare them something else, but the legal system would have to place them in some category, and it would be effectively that.

          I am aware of the rocket fear. But, much like Dick Cheney, you assume the worst possibility will become reality. This leads to inevitable annexation. One State, in constitutional crisis, both in the Bank and Israel proper.

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          • Kolumn9

            The prospect of annexation becomes real only when the opponents of withdrawal are at their strongest. So, your sequence of events doesn’t make sense. There is also no reason for annexation of densely populated Palestinian areas and even leaders like Bennett don’t call for it. Even if there was partial annexation the court could leave the Palestinians with the exact same legal status they have right now.

            Rockets from areas from which Israel withdraws are a pretty safe bet given that rockets were fired from the two previous areas Israel withdrew from. Rockets aren’t the ‘worst possibility’. They are an educated guess based on existing data. If anything your dismissal of the rocket threat could objectively be dismissed as wishful thinking.

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    8. Shmuel

      This proposal is based on the assumption that the only impediment to peace is the occupation. And that the Arabs already came to terms with the idea of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people which they would be willing to recognise if the occupation ends.

      But what if that is not so? Then it would mean that the Arabs would get a big chunk of what they want, an end to the occupation. Then they would pick up from where they left off in 1948 and 1967.

      They would demand the right of return and if Israel would not comply, they would use that as an excuse to continue their attacks on Israel. Only Israel’s borders would be more vulnerable than the current boundary and 10% of it’s population, the settlers, plus a lot more sympathisers would be totally demoralised and disgruntled. Not a good thing for any country. especially a country that would still have a war on its hands. I would rather have the progressives disgruntled and demoralised. There is a lot less of them in Israel. Less, because Israelis burned their hands too often when either local or foreign progressives tried to implement their counter intuitive weird experiments on Israel.

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    9. gabi

      too nice to be true.

      too easy but lost the human factor.

      who as palestinian patriote will accept it?

      forget, but the palestinian state exists already!!

      supposing that it will be done, what will happen when the first bomb will explode??

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    10. Sabine

      For God’s sake, the Palestinians initiated terrorism between 2000 to 2005. No one in the world lifted a finger to end it. Israel successfully ended it and to this day make sure it doesn’t reoccur. The Palestinians must be punished for their conduct severely.
      Don’t tell me about “Non-Violent Resistant.” Too late now, you should have thought of it before 2000.

      Reply to Comment
      • gabi

        Hops! How can you define the terrorisme? Is it something which inhabit some different from us people, like: palestinians, algerians, north irish…
        I think is it is a patriotic gesture when nothing else was left!! and it was practicides also by jews against british, and in many countries against germans during the WWlI.

        Reply to Comment
        • Sabine

          Suicide bombing is terrorism.

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          • Piotr Berman

            Very good answer! This way we avoid youthful exploits of Israeli national heroes like planting bombs in Arab market places, assassination of UN diplomats etc. etc.

            It is important to have clear morality: we good, they bad.

            Reply to Comment
          • Arieh

            “It is important to have clear morality: we good, they bad.”

            It is also very important to have clear morality: we not all bad, they not all good. Which is the idea that + 972 tries to promote.

            Reply to Comment
    11. O'Sullivan

      This is the waning time of the last, very last chance for any two state solution, but i’m really starting to have my doubts 1. i’m not entirely convinced the palestinians want their own state – even if its the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip, and 2. except for the tiny period of 1948-1967 when this was nearly a purely jewish state, this region has always had various peoples (tribes if you will) inhabiting it under some rule or another. it’s inevitable. but i say – give it a shot so at least the history books will say there was a Palestinian entity for a while at least.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        There is a purely Palestinian Arab ruled entity – Gaza strip. However, instead of focusing on well-being of their electorate, government of Gaza had chosen war.

        I think that this historic experiment can be classified as a failure.

        Reply to Comment
    12. AYLA

      Brilliant, Noam and Dahlia. The only way to address the fact that there is no end in sight to the Occupation is to make it end. The urgency of a deadline, too, has always been good for creative thought and process, even, or especially, when it induces momentary panic. then you push through that and something opens.

      Reply to Comment
      • Shmuel

        “when it induces momentary panic. then you push through that and something opens.”

        Yes, the trap door of the execution scaffolding. And the noose tightens around our neck.

        Reply to Comment
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