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Int'l court rejects Palestian appeal - and Palestinian statehood

The International Criminal Court released a statement on Tuesday rejecting Palestine’s petition to investigate allegations of Israeli war crimes in the 2009 Gaza war, known as Cast Lead. With the fairly predictable decision, Israel avoids another round of international opprobrium. But there is also a symbolic meaning: another failure for Palestine’s unilateral statehood bid. The decision is a clear political signal, not just a purely legal decision reflecting “objective” international norms.

The Palestinians appealed to the Court over three years ago, immediately following the war, based on a provision that even states that are not members of the ICC can petition. But as noted in an informative Foreign Policy article, the ICC was stuck for over three years about what to do.

Now, following the practically-defunct Palestinian unilateral statehood bid, the Court has ruled that it does not have jurisdiction – and its reasoning hinged on whether Palestine could be considered a state at all.

“The issue that arises,” the document reads, “is who defines what is a ‘State’ for the purpose of article 12 of the Statute?”

Who indeed? The general international criteria for statehood, such as the 1933 Montevideo convention, is one guide: a permanent territory, a defined population, a government and the ability to enter into relations with other states. Palestine has all of these, although the first one is compromised by Israeli land grabs and the occupation in general. However, the Palestinian government can’t really claim the traditional monopoly on the legitimate use of force, given highly unstable Hamas-Fatah relations even despite the attempts at reconciliation. So international norms don’t provide a clear answer.

What about outside actors? The ICC acknowledged the recognition of international actors: “The Office has been informed that Palestine has been recognised as a State in bilateral relations by more than 130 governments and by certain international organizations, including United Nations bodies.” But the Court chose to decide based on the General Assembly’s definition of Palestine as an “observer,” instead, rather than a state and thus waived jurisdiction.

Given these uncertainties, I have argued that even without UN admission, the unilateral bid could have triggered a process of the international community – and the Palestinians – de facto treating Palestine like a state.

A spate of international recognitions prior to September, then Palestine’s acceptance into UNESCO in October 2011 sent just such a signal: that if the normal route to statehood was blocked by politics, history would still take its course.

Then the momentum died. Now the centrality of the Palestinian state is wavering even among Palestinians; instead of being an overriding, unifying national goal, the state concept is increasingly seen as another policy option among others, associated with a specific political leadership about whom the population has grave complaints already.

In this environment, a favorable decision by the ICC could have had been a meaningful statement of legitimacy for the faltering State of Palestine.

There is a precedent. Even when international norms are stacked against a disputed state entity, an international court can rule in its favor when the zeitgeist is right.

When Kosovo seceded from Serbia in 2008, though secession is generally seen as a violation of international norms, hardly anyone could blame the battered province. Still, leveraging the power of states, Serbia initiated a request for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to rule on the legality of Kosovo’s secession, through the UN, where Kosovo was not (and still isn’t) a member. The initiative was overwhelmingly supported by UN member states. Yet historic sensibilities favored Kosovo. The ICJ ruled that the declaration of independence did not violate international law (stopping short of ruling on the concept of secession).  The ICJ’s decision gave Kosovo a boost of international legitimacy that has solidified its position.

De facto Palestinian statehood, as I’ve repeatedly argued, would have its benefits. It would have helped portray Palestinian statehood is an historic inevitability. That would make it harder to roll back the two-state solution, and the two-state solution in turn could hold off the prospect of a one-state apartheid, or a new Palestinian strategy of demanding one-person, one-vote in Israel.

While it would be terribly painful for me personally to see Israel face an international tribunal, it’s worth considering that accepting the petition could also have left the Palestinians open to investigations of war crimes for firing rockets at civilians, putting both sides under scrutiny. Further, it might have been a small victory for the Fatah’s policy of non-military strategies to oppose the occupation, in terms of internal politics.

Instead, the ICC’s decision is a stance against the logical historic progress towards Palestinian statehood. Israel used the opportunity to showcase its pick-and-choose approach to international authority by accepting the decision, with “reservations.”

One small (albeit symbolic) step against two states is becoming one large step towards a totally different paradigm.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. XYZ

      Creation of an independent Palestinian and Palestinian self-determination were never the goals of the Palestinian political and terror groups. Creation of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, even assuming that Israel were to withdraw completely to the pre-67 lines wouldn’t even begin to solve the problems of the Palestinians and more than that, would not serve the struggle of the wider Arab world against Israel for which the Palestinians are merely the front-line fighters (cannon fodder?). The problem of the Palestinian refugees would then remain and that can only be solved, as far as the Palestinians are concerned by returning all of them to Israeli territory, something Israel will never agree to. The idea of having the refugees return to the territory of the Palestinian state is a complete non-starter for the Palestinian leadership for two reasons…(1) there is no room for them, and more importantly, (2) they are aliens who have no place in West Bank society. Sending them there would ignite a bloody civil war (the FATAH-HAMAS West Bank-Gaza struggle is a microcosm of what would be a much larger conflagration) because the question of who is going rule the West Bank would then arise and the existing population would never want aliens to new the area to take power away from them.
      So we are back at square one.
      In spite of the all the lip-service people and governments around the world pay to the Palestinians, I am convinced most people in the world now realize that it is not possible to create a Palestinian state under current conditions, that the Palestinians do not want a compromise peace with Israel on terms Israel and the world can live with (i.e. no right-of-return of the refugees) and that unilateral declarations of a Palestinian state would not accomplish anything except perhaps ignite a war. It seems even President Obama, the President most sympathetic to the Palestinians of all time, now understands this.

      Reply to Comment
    2. aristeides

      100% politics. The AIPAC government in Washington has turned away from open UN vetos and now works behing the scenes, threatening and bribing other members to betray the Palestinian cause.

      .
      This was of course the intended outcome all along, despite the protestations that Palestinians recognition was merely symbolic and would have no real implications. As we see, it would have had profoundly real implications.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Noam W

      Dahlia this is a very thoughtful political analysis, but I think, on a legal level, your analysis is a little off.
      .
      I am not aware that the PA has not declared its own statehood. It has threatened to do so a number of times, but has limited itself, so far, to declaring its right to statehood. That is not the same thing. Furthermore, in terms of recognition, there are bilateral relations between the PA, but they are not state level relations. The Palestinians have missions, not embassies. Maybe these seem like small semantics, but they make all the difference legally – because they are the difference between recognition of sovereignty and lack thereof.
      .
      In light of all of this, I think expecting the Prosecutor of the ICC to accept the Palestinian petition was not realistic.
      .
      BUT – the Prosecutor has provided the PA with a clear road-map to ICC membership, that circumvents the US veto. Of course the ICC Prosecutor’s legal opinion does not bind the UN (different organizations), but if you think that ICC oversight of the conflict is a good thing, I think the Palestinians’ road is laid out before them to walk down.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Jack

      Easy, what palestinians need to accomplish is to become a a non-member state which is no match.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Anonymous

      So now both the UNSC and the ICC have decided that there is no Palestinian state. If you all value international law so much, you will recognize this as well, since those two bodies are the closest thing to producers of international law that exist on this planet.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Jack

      Anonymous,

      Of course there is no palestinian state today. There is occupied palestinian (authority) land by Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    7. the other joe

      Noam, the Palestinian State has been declared. 15 November 1988, to be exact.

      And some countries recognise Palestine as a state and have full embassies. Non Arab full Palestinian embassies include Malaysia (IIRC) and some South American countries.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Noam W.

      The Other Joe – thank you. I did not know there were full embassies in Latin America or Malaysia. If you can post the source for this information I would be interested.

      The declaration in 1988, though, I am afraid is not quite good enough. While we can have a serious discussion today on whether the territory under PA control today fulfills the criteria of a state, there is no doubt that in 1988 there was no state to declare.

      Reply to Comment
    9. the other joe

      Noam, I guess it is a philosophical question as to who determines when a state is a state. As far as I am concerned, if a people living in a place (with significant historical ancestry in that place) declare themselves to be a state, they’ve declared themselves to be a state – even if nobody else recognises them as being a state. Which is what you asked – cf whether they had declared themselves a state. Of course, one can argue about whether any body represented the Palestinians before the creation of the PA, but frankly that seems like semantics to me.
      .
      As to the embassy issues, google is your friend. For example – Haaretz on the Brazilian Palestine embassy http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/brazil-hosts-first-palestinian-embassy-in-americas-1.334581

      Reply to Comment
    10. Rodrigo

      The Palestinians have many entities and that confuses many people, including I am guessing Palestinians.
      .

      The PLO declared a state of Palestine in 1988. The PA was created by an agreement between the PLO and Israel, but contractually without regard to the previous declaration of the state of Palestine. The PLO missions around the world have been recognized as representing Palestine, but their connection to the PA are indirect at best. For example, the observer seat at the UN is that of the PLO/Palestine, not that of the PA.
      .

      The argument made to the ICC that the PA has the right to appeal to the ICC on Gaza is based on two things:
      1) the ability of the PA to accede to the Rome Statute as a state with Gaza as its territory
      2) the recognition of a state of Palestine by many members of the international community.
      .

      Even if one accepts that Palestine as a state was declared in 1988, it has little relation to the PA as it exists today. This is before even entering the question of whether the PA actually controls Gaza or that Palestine owns Gaza.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Noam W

      Gentlemen, Please do not get me wrong here. I too believe that Palestine has a right to become a state.

      But there is a gap between my aspirations and the legal standards of what a state is.
      .
      Jack, with all do respect to wikipedia, which is great for finding out who the Caesar who preceded Nero was, or any other such trivia, it is hardly a reliable source for contested geo-political and legal questions. I too have a link for you:

      http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/72347/july-31-2006/the-word—wikiality
      .
      The Other Joe, it really is not a philosophical question. Or rather, the question of sovereignty and when it is deserved, is a very interesting philosophical question – but that is not the measure by which the Prosecutor of the ICC made his decision. He used legal criteria, which we may or may not like, but those are the tools with which he is required to make his decisions.
      .
      Englebert, you are correct, there are many nations that do not recognize Israel yet. and the number of countries needed to recognize a state to make it a state is absolutely not a clear rule in international law. I do not think that Palestine needs Israel’s, or even the US’s recognition to become a sovereign state. The amorphous definition used by most scholars is sufficient recognition to allow the new state to be able to participate as a member of the international community. Hardly satisfactory, I know – but so is the paradox of sovereignty in general.
      .
      One last thing, depsite Aristeidis’s comment, the Prosecutor of the ICC has no reason to single out Palestine. The people who work at the international criminal tribunals (I can say this from personal experience) generally care very much about human rights violations – that is why they chose this profession in the first place. Neither Israel nor the US are members of the ICC and though they can of course exert pressure from the outside, they do not fund the ICC and do not have a vote in the institution, and therefore their power to affect the decisions made by the Prosecutor are limited. I really think the Prosecutor made a sound legal decision here. And, as I said in my earlier comment – because all that Palestine needs is a GA resolution (where there is no US veto), the road to recognition of statehood and then to ICC membership is, relatively, not so difficult.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Jack

      Noam,

      If you read the Wikipedia link you would get all info on which states that have embassies and have recognzied Palestine. I thought this was something you were looking for?

      Reply to Comment
    13. Noam W

      Sorry Jack – I thought you posted it for the argument that Palestine is a recognized state – thanks!

      Reply to Comment
    14. Noam W.

      This time your Jack your wikipedia entry is no good. Israel and the US have both refrained from ratifying the treaty.

      They are not voting members of the assembly of member states, nor are they bound by the treaty’s obligations.

      Reply to Comment
    15. All – I do think a certain point has been overlooked; my main theme is that the ICC ruling does not reflect only the objective use of legal, or even political science criteria of statehood – objectivity may not even exist in this case. Political theory is full of approaches to the topic of what constitutes a state, sovereignty, the different forms of sovereignty and who confers it. International law seeks clarity, but it’s just one avenue. My point is also not to trash the ICC as hopelessly political (like Israel’s MFA does: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2002/6/Israel%20and%20the%20International%20Criminal%20Court). Rather, international politics are influenced by perceptions, psychology and spirit of the times as much as by ‘objective’ criteria – and when those winds aren’t clear, they help provide the direction. the ICC is not necessarily biased, but it operates in a political context in which the current decision was considered more prudent – but it could also have been otherwise. If not with respect to statehood, then through some other interpretation or loophole. Again, consider the surprising Kosovo judgment of the ICJ – secession is clearly counter to international law. Yet the court came out on its side.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Jack

      Noam,

      I didnt claim US nor Israel had ratified it.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Noam W

      Dahlia – you are absolutely right. I think, also, that there is a certain language which people who practice in specific fields speak which creates common understandings of reality – at least as it plays out within these fields.
      .
      Maybe it is because I live within that culture, but I had very little doubt that Kosovo’s right to declare independence would be recognized, and I had no doubt that the Prosecutor would not accept Palestine’s bid until a formal act of declaration of statehood by the PA was made, which was accepted either by the UNGA, or by a vast majority of states that make up the assembly of member states of the ICC.
      .
      I do not know if that is what you mean by political context or not. But I admit that, because I live in a world of legal arguments, my ability to distance myself from this way of thinking is sometimes limited.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Noam,
      I believe the Palestinians have a right to have the Israeli war crimes investigated on moral grounds. The fact that they try to make that happen by accepting international rules is wonderful, but it’s not the crux of the matter.
      Dahlia wrote:
      “While it would be terribly painful for me personally to see Israel face an international tribunal, it’s worth considering that accepting the petition could also have left the Palestinians open to investigations of war crimes for firing rockets at civilians, putting both sides under scrutiny. ”

      This quote expresses very well the asymmetry of the situation: a Palestian rocket leaves a mouse hole, an Israeli rocket creates a hole which easily fits a 3-story building.
      The propaganda on military and legal issues wants us to believe that we have two equal partners. The blacks and the Native Americans did horrible things to their oppressors, but now we generally agree that in the light of the disproportionate injustice, they were right to defend themselves with all means against a far more powerful oppressor/invader.
      It would be wonderful if Palestine were recognized as an independent state, but right now the issue is: will we stand by and watch this politicide, or will we let reason triumph over narrow minded exceptionalism.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Noam – I never said I was surprised. Actually I wrote “predictable.” With Kosovo – not totally surprised, but I think it cd have gone either way too.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Noam W

      Engelbert, you cannot subvert the law to make a legal argument. I am not arguing here that law is always, or even most of the time, just. I am saying that the whole point of criminal investigations is to enforce the law. If you violate the law to punish, you are no better than the law breaker.
      .
      Regarding asymmetry – I do not know enough about the history of native Americans or black slaves. But regarding Israelis and Palestinians, if you presumption is that because Israel is stronger, it is ok for Palestinians to commit war crimes (such as firing rockets, even small ones on civilian population centers) than there is a wide gulf between us. War crimes are not morally justifiable – not when perpetrated by Israel to retaliate against the Palestinians, and not by Palestinians to retaliate against Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Jack

      Engelbert,
      As soon as palestinians are recognized by the general assembly ICC will look into this case. This is nothing new really, and that ICC blocked it this time was them probably just following the law. This is also a reason why Israel keep rejecting a palestinian state.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Noam,
      If I beat my child, I am to blame, even if it hit me or threw a stone at me. I am stronger and responsable for it’s well-being. Israel has an obligation to take care of the populations of occupied territories. If it provoques willingly violent reactions to justify its policies, then it is more to blame than its victims, yes.
      If that means a gulf between us, so be it.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Jack, I think you are right. But will it ever happen?

      Reply to Comment
    24. Jack

      Engelbert,

      I think its a very big chance, in fact there is nothing externally stopping palestinians in the general assembly (no US veto).

      Reply to Comment
    25. Noam W

      Engelbert – Palestinians are not children. When they commit a crime they should be held responsible. A better analogy would have been, when you slap your friend and he slaps you back, are you responsible.

      The answer is yes if he slaps you back, but not if he slaps your child.

      I did not say that Israel is not to blame for the suffering it causes Palestinians. I also do not think that Israeli politicians are particularly astute when they goad Palestinian reaction.

      I am saying, however, that there are legitimate reactions and illegitimate reactions. Killing civilians is wrong no matter who does it and no matter how asymmetric the situation. Anything else is justifying terrorism.

      Reply to Comment
    26. aristeides

      Noam W – I think it isn’t a question of the ICC singling Palestine out, but the cirumstances in which Palestine exists, which are singular. And not of its own doing. Palestine would have been recognized as a state if not for the actions of its enemies, one of which is the very party they are calling on the court to indict.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Noam, terrorism is of course a concept invented by the oppressors to justify their own terrorism.
      A kassam landing in the Negev desert does not have the same impact as white phosphorus in a crowded civilian area. You are comparing apples and oranges, just as Dahlia did in the quote I gave.
      “Killing civilians is wrong no matter who does it” I fully agree. It logically follows that killing more civilians is worse than killing a few.
      By stopping killing so many, Israel would also stop the few on its own side. They are in power, not the Palestinians. Palestinians have no other choice than to react. But it seems that in Israel “peace is the best defence” is regarded as a sign of weakness.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Noam W.

      Aristeides I think we can agree on that.
      .
      There is, btw, another risk associated with the recognition of PA as Palestine – it is entirely unclear whether this recognition would include only the areas under the PA’s control (insofar as the PA has control), or the entire are East of the 1967 border.
      .
      This should present a much greater challenge to you – because you think Palestine should include the entire territory between the River and the Sea. Since most countries and international organizations recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the area West of the Green Line, they could not very well recognize that the Palestinian state could include that area.
      .
      Recognition of Palestine that is only East of the Green Line would do a lot to cement a two state solution.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Y.

      Dahila,
      .
      In many ways, the biggest enemies of this path are the Palestinians themselves and their supporters. It is telling that even in this thread, the most enthusiastic supporters are the Israeli Left types…
      .
      For example:
      .
      http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=264729
      .
      “Earlier this week in Cairo he said the PA leadership wrote to Netanyahu, “You have made the PA a non-authority. You have taken away from the PA all its commitments and what it was doing and supervising. Now we have been left with nothing.”
      .
      Actual states don’t argue they need to receive internal authority from other states, or that they control nothing. And I could just as easily taken half-a-dozen other statements and actions with the same effect.
      .
      If the PA wishes to continue in this direction, they cannot afford to hedge for ‘one state’ or for other claims vs Israel. But that’s just not going to happen. Indeed, one of the reasons the UNGA process was shelved was because they convinced themselves it would somehow impact claims of refugees…
      .
      P.S. What happened at Kosovo was quite different. The court merely ruled that making a declaration of independence was fine so long as it didn’t contradict UNSC resolutions. This criteria even the ‘State of Achziv’ would pass.

      Reply to Comment
    30. sh

      “A kassam landing in the Negev desert does not have the same impact as white phosphorus in a crowded civilian area. You are comparing apples and oranges, just as Dahlia did in the quote I gave.”
      .
      Not really. A terrified populace is a terrified populace. When stuff is landing on you, the fear is the same. It’s hindsight that tells you whether it was a tin can or a chemical weapon.

      Reply to Comment
    31. SH, by now the hindsight of the people of Gaza and the people of Siderot should be pretty clear, no?

      Reply to Comment
    32. Jack

      Regarding use of terror or even force itself.
      -
      Its interesting to note how the western states, well even Israel (atleast vocally) supported the arab uprisings even when they commited terror and human rights violations even giving them weapons and other warfare-related support. Just look at Syria, Libya. But when it comes to Palestine, well then they are not supporting the 60 year old uprising but instead call for sanctions, arms embargo. Palestinians arent even allowed to throw stones. So international law isnt that important as it seems only when it benefit the states with power.

      Reply to Comment
    33. aristeides

      Noam W – by “you”, whom do you mean? If it’s me, I have never stated that Palestine should include the entire territory from the River to the Sea. That WAS Palestine.

      Reply to Comment
    34. Leen

      NOAM W, I completely agree that killing civilians no matter what is wrong.
      However, this is what I have to point out, if you look at the background of many of the suicide bombers and Hamas/Islamic Jihad recruits, they often come from extremely poor families who have lost their homes and have been brought up in violence from the other side. I’m not saying it makes it right or justifies their actions, because it doesn’t, what I am saying is one must look at the root of the problem instead of what is on face value.
      For instance watching a documentary Children of Gaza, one boy saw his own father and brother killed in front of his eyes, and his own home demolished. throughout the documentary, he was just preoccupied with avenging his father’s death, even going on to say that when he grows up he will be a freedom fighter. I can’t fault the kid for thinking that way.
      Many of the people who do take up violent means is because their way of life is meaningless, they saw too many violent things in their lives, and they have many personal tragedies and their only way they feel they can beat their oppressor is by any means necessary and that includes violent means.

      What I mean is, if the Palestinians did not live in such dire and horrible conditions, their livelihoods meaningless, suffering from many personal tragedies, I do not believe they would take up arms against Israel, and would not make them vulnerable to recruits.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Leen

      @Sh, ‘Not really. A terrified populace is a terrified populace. When stuff is landing on you, the fear is the same. It’s hindsight that tells you whether it was a tin can or a chemical weapon.’

      I have to disagree Sh, while I do agree both aspects are terrifying, but phosphorous weapons have irreversible consequences.
      I’ve seen violence from both sides, to be honest based on my experience, I would rather deal with suicide bombings than seiges from the Israeli army (thankfully I have never been confronted with use of chemical weapons).

      The sad part is again based on my experience, when a suicide bombing occurs, in minutes the streets are flooded with police and ambulances and that is a source of comfort. What was heartbreaking for me to see in Gaza was that the people who were rescuing others from phosphorous bombs were regular passerbys.. no police, no ambulances, no nothing.

      Reply to Comment
    36. John Yorke

      It seems that, ever since way back, there has been the need for a truly impartial court to act as judge, jury and executioner on the core issues surrounding this seemingly eternal Arab-Israeli dispute.

      But, even when attempts have been made to have it so, the results have been patchy at best and non-existent at worst. The murky world of power politics has successfully intruded upon each and every occasion and the situation itself has long become too polarised to admit of any rigorous verdict acceptable to those involved. As for enforcement of such verdicts, the overall history of the region is so complex and fragmented that it’s impossible to know just where to start.

      If judgements cannot be rendered and the force of law is powerless even if they could, then there is no real hope for justice in the matter – and the consequences of that are plain for all to see.

      Unless a system perceived as totally unbiased and transparent in its dealings can be installed, the chances of ending this conflict successfully recede virtually to vanishing point.
      But some means of doing so must be found. And quickly, before it becomes too late to do anything at all.

      http://yorketowers.blogspot.com

      If we are content to always let smoke and mirrors determine the outcome of this 64 year-old struggle and not let in the cold, harsh light of day, then we mustn’t be too surprised if it continues, unabated and incapable of resolution.

      Reply to Comment
    37. sh

      Leen, Engelbert Luisz, I was trying to show what happens in the heat of a moment, not afterwards. The fact that Gazan civilians are sitting ducks for an hyper-equipped army that can take potshots at them that not only erase them from the face of the earth but also reduce their area to smoking ruins, all from the safety of an office with a computer, has not escaped me.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Noam W

      I apologize Aristeides – I thought you were advocating for a one state solution.
      .
      Leen – we will have to agree to disagree. This is a very deep philosophical and sociological discussion, on human responsibility and why we behave the way we behave.
      .
      I am not saying that I do not understand what motivates people to act violently. I am saying that this motivation does not justify or excuse their actions.

      Reply to Comment
    39. XYZ

      I believe it is a myth that suicide bombers are “poor people who have no hope for the future”. Many middle class and well-to-do people including the 9/11 terrorists have become suicide bombers. There are also quite a few who are coerced into it. This was true, BTW of the kamikazes in Japan in World War II. Many were told that their families would be disgraced if they didn’t “volunteer”. The well-to-do who do this are doing it out of hate or anticipation of getting 70 virgins. IT is not necessarily viewed as a political act.

      Reply to Comment
    40. Noam W

      XYZ for the sake of this discussion, there is very little similarity between Kamikaze and terrorists who blow themselves up.

      Kamikaze attacked military ships which are legitimate targets. They committed no crime.

      It isn’t the suicidal aspect of the attack that we are discussing here, but the intended victim.

      Reply to Comment
    41. Noam W.

      Jack – still neither an excuse or a justification.

      Reply to Comment
    42. Jack

      Noam W,
      Where did I say that?
      My response was directed to XYZ who used lies deliberately or not regarding the topic.

      Reply to Comment
    43. Leen

      @Sh, I understand what you mean, during the moment a terrified crowd is a terrified crowd, but seconds after the realities are different.

      @Noam, I don’t think any of that justifies it at all either. I wish Palestinians weren’t vulnerable to recruits and realize that targetting civilians is wrong and does nothing but harms their cause and takes away innocent lives. Yet to be honest with you, I don’t believe they are mentally capable of fully realizing this. However, I do believe that Palestinians in general are turning away from violent means and embracing non-violent measures.

      Reply to Comment
    44. Noam W.

      @Jack – just sayin’

      @Leen, I am trying to write what I am about to write very carefully – but I think your approach is somewhat paternalistic, and borderline orientalistic.
      .
      I understand it comes, at least from you, from a positive place, but I still think that not holding Palestinians (or anybody else for that matter) to the same patterns is the precursor to the colonial mind-set which sees them as lesser beings that need our “white” guidance.
      .
      I am sure that is not what you meant – I am saying how it can be read, and why I would not want anybody to say about me that they do not believe I am mentally capable of fully realizing anything.

      Reply to Comment
    45. Beholder

      >However, I do believe that Palestinians in general are turning away from violent means and embracing non-violent measures.
      _
      To achieve what goal?
      Is there any defined goals over which majority of the Palestinian society has consensus?
      Hardly.
      Some want pre-1948 borders, some – pre-1967, some are sworn to kill all jews, some (voluntarily) cooperate with SHABAK and MOSSAD.
      These are sending teenage suicide bombers, while those are helping to stop them.
      _
      I repeat my question: Is there any defined goals over which majority of the Palestinian society has consensus?

      Reply to Comment
    46. Jack

      Beholder,
      “I repeat my question: Is there any defined goals over which majority of the Palestinian society has consensus?”
      -
      A majority support two state solution. Compared to Israel there is a more homogenous society on this subject.

      Reply to Comment
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