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Bloggingheads: The U.S. election and the fate of Israel-Palestine

Mitt Romney sparked controversy during his visit to Jerusalem last week, thanks to a series of comments he made about Jews and Palestinians. Naturally, his comments about Palestinian culture being inferior to Jewish culture, and God’s unfavorable bias against Palestinians, angered many Palestinians, who are worried that Romney could win the election.

However, does that make Romney the preferred candidate for Jews or Israelis?  In this video produced by Bloggingheads.com, Matt Duss from the Center for American Progress and I discussed Romney’s visit to Jerusalem and its consequences, the U.S administration’s policies in the region, and the viability of the two-state solution.

Related posts:
Romney visit: Hitting the ‘Palestinian punching bag’ again
Romney’s trip shows us his non-approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict
Jewish Democrats use rightist tactics to attack Romney on Israel

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    1. Jehudah

      “The fate of Israel-Palestine”
      A correction is called for here, lest the editors of the +972 wish to mislead their readers: “Palestine” – the name of a territory, never a nationality or a state – was legally partitioned some time ago. In 1921 77% of “Palestine” was handed over to the Arabs. Located east of the Jordan River, the Arabs, subsequently, renamed their part Jordan, since “Palestine” is not an Arab term.
      The following year, 1922, the League of Nations accepted the handover but assigned the remaining part of “Palestine”, 23% of it, located between the Jordan River and the Med. Sea, to be “the national home for the Jewish people”, in which no other national group may exercise national rights, and Jews may settle at will. The Jews, subsequently, renamed that part of “Palestine” by the Jewish traditional name of the country: Israel.
      The League of Nations’s act – part of international law – was then adopted by the United Nations and etched into its Charter, Article 80, as an irrevocable act.
      Upon the departure of Britain from “Palestine”, 14 May 1948, “Palestine” ceased to be. And, since this is the case, one is puzzled, why refer to a territory that has been and is no longer part of reality?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Jehudah

      P.S. The UN adopted the decisions of the League of Nations in 1945, upon the establishment of the organization as a replacement for the League of Nations.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Jack

      Palestine refer to the territory and the people who govern it, the PA.

      Also of curiosity what UN resolution is Israel based upon?

      Reply to Comment
    4. Jehudah

      Two points:
      1) If “Palestine” here refers to the Palestinian Authority, why don’t we call it the “Palestinian Authority” or PA in short?
      2) Israel’s legal basis is found in the San Remo conference, 1920, whose language, although not legal, is found earlier, in the Balfour Declaration of 1917; the League of Nations decisions, 1922; and the United Nations Charter, Article 80, 1945. And, since the Mandate for Palestine ended at 14 May 1948 Midnight, Israel came into being on that territory that had been assigned to the Jewish people as “the national home for the Jewish people”

      Reply to Comment
    5. Jack

      1. Why would we? Do we refer to Likud when talking about Israel?
      2. Again, which UN charter is Israel based upon? Arent they based on any resolution?

      Reply to Comment
    6. Jack

      I meant, Un resolution not charter

      Reply to Comment
    7. Jehudah

      Two additional points:
      1) Any party in Israel is just that, a political party that operates within the context of the liberal democratic nation-state of the Jewish people, Israel. Thus, the name to which we refer when we refer the political entity of Israel is Israel. Similarly, we don’t refer to any political entity anywhere on earth by the name of a leading political party at any given time; we rather refer to the political entity, and in the case of the Palestinian Authority it is the Palestinian Authority, which its leaders chose to use.
      2) The UN doesn’t resolve to set up states; it merely accept states to membership in the organization. Israel was set up first and foremost by the Jewish people and the leadership of the non-violent (not pacifist, mind you) national liberation movement of the Jewish people: the Zionism movement. It was set up, however, based on international law in place at the time, including the UN Charter, Article, 80, of 1945.

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    8. Jack

      1. PA is also a political party so why did you then asked why we didnt refer to palestine as PA?
      2. So what legitimicy is Israel based upon? I mean you deny that theres not even a palestinian people nor area but fully recognize such for Israel.

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    9. Richard Witty

      I speak of the West Bank and Gaza as Palestine, not as Israel.

      The land was never designated to Israel by any international law, but the West Bank and Gaza are regarded by international law as occupied.

      The only question that is unanswered is whether the West Bank will be a Jordanian Arab state, or a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza, and a Jordanian state on the East Bank.

      San Remo is no longer authoritative for anything. UN Resolution 242 is though.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Jehudah

      Following my first post, above, it should be clear to us: the term has always referred to the residents of Palestine, i.e. the residents, of all nationalities, who resided in “Palestine” prior to “Palestine” having been legally dissolved.
      “Palestinians”, prior to the de jure 1921/22 partition of “Palestine” and until the de facto partition of the territory in 1948, consisted of Jews, Arabs, Armenians, Circassians, Greeks and even Roma (Gypsies). It was not a coincidental that the League of Nations decisions of 1922 assigned the 23% of “Palestine” to be “the national home for the Jewish people”, and referred to the right of the rest of the population as “the non-Jewish population”, thus, including all who resided in the country, and not only Arabs.
      Perhaps it is time we began to use the proper terminology so as to allow for it to reflect reality and not the wishful thinking of some.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Jehudah

      “PA is also a political party”
      No, it is not a political party. It is rather the name of a political entity in which a number of political parties operate, the most dominant of which is the Fatah.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Jack

      No you are thinking of PLO.
      You need to answer question number 2 though. Could you do that?

      Reply to Comment
    13. Carl

      Jehudah, I’m in desperate need of a dead horse to flog: can I borrow one?
      Could the channel moderators be a bit more proactive in clipping off-topic postings as there’s an awful lot of irrelevance to skip through at the minute: the comments are making the same points time and again, irrespective of the what the initial article is about.
      Much obliged.

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    14. XYZ

      As I have stated here in the past, most people in the world couldn’t care less about the Palestinians and and the settlements. They know the Palestinians TWICE turned down offers to “end the occupation” and give them an independent state and everyone remembers their bloody suicide bomber campaign. Here is a report about how the EU, the biggest whiners about the Arab-Israeli conflict are upgrading relations with Israel:


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    15. Jack

      Maybe you could tell us those two times when palestinians have rejected to solve the conflict based on UN resolutions?
      1. A palestinian statehood on Gaza, Westbank.
      2. East Jerusalem as its capital
      2. A settlement for the refugees

      You cant because there have never been such a case.

      Reply to Comment
    16. XYZ, most people in the world these days couldn’t care less about Israel. Compare this to when the terrorists killed the Israeli Olympians, when the world’s compassion was on Israel’s side. What happened since then, I wonder?

      Could the incredible disproportionate deaths in Lebanon2, and Cast Lead1 have anything to do with it?? Now, most people in the world (and most countries in the UN) would be very happy for there to be a 2-state solution. Most countries, more and more, hate the current Israeli government, because it is plain to see that Likud dreams of a Greater Israel, not a just and secure peace. But like in physics, an unsteady state can’t last forever….unless Israel strives for good relations with its neighbors, there will undoubtedly be massive bloodshed on all sides within the next few years. What should we do about this, beyond complaining and saying, like you, “it’s their fault”??

      Reply to Comment
    17. Richard Witty

      It was nice to hear Aziz’s actual voice.

      There is still hope.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Jehudah

      “They turned offers twice…”
      Actually, the Arabs of the Land have rejected many more offers and opportunities presented to them in order to achieve an accommodation of peaceful coexistence with the sovereign nation-state of the Jewish people:

      1) 1920, San Remo peace conference, rejected
      2) 1922, League of Nations decisions, rejected
      3) 1937, Peel commission proposal, rejected
      4) 1947, UN General Assembly proposal, rejected
      5) 1948, Israel’s offer, rejected
      6) 1967, Israel’s offer, rejected
      7) 1978, Begin/Saadat offer, rejected
      8) 1995, Rabin’s Contour for Peace, rejected
      9) 2000, Barak/Clinton peace proposal, rejected
      10) 2005, Sharon’s gesture, rejected
      11) 2008, Olmert/Bush peace proposal, rejected
      12) 2009 to present, Netanjahu’s proposal for direct peace talks, rejected

      With this patter and record of rejections – most of which, incidentally, have been both verbal and accompanied by intensified forms of terrorism against the Jewish community of the country, one can only conclude that intent has never been, on the part of the Arabs of the country, to achieve AN ACCOMMODATION OF PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE with an independent nation-state of the Jewish people; preferring the adherence to the PLO’s Charter of Israel’s demise.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Jack

      …and you get the same question I asked XYZ at 8:31.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Jehudah

      “Maybe you could tell us those two times when palestinians have rejected to solve the conflict based on UN resolutions?”

      All the peace offers and opportunities that I listed above have been based on international law – including relevant UN resolutions – and bilateral agreements that had been reached by the parties based on international law; ALL OF THEM!!
      Yet, the pattern of rejections, spanning nearly 100 years, speaks out very loudly!!
      It is high time Israel’s detractors, for the sake of being intellectually honest, should begin to ask the proper questions of the relevant people responsible for the perpetuation of conflict instead of continuing to chew on the same slogans that hold no real water and serve no one but those making their living on the perpetuation of the Arab Israeli conflict…!!

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    21. Jack

      Please specify which offers that were based on the post at 8:31.

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    22. Jehudah

      “Please specify…”
      Perhaps, instead of expecting others to do the homework for the poster, who obviously appears to lack much information and knowledge about the subject at hand, the poster applies himself to such a task. And, when finished, the poster can share with us his enlightening and learned observations.

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    23. Jack

      Apparently you cant tell me which offers because there is none. There is something called the burden of proof and you clearly statuated that you have no proof for your arguments.
      My point is. There has never been an offer by Israel to accept the solution based on current resolutions.

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    24. Jehudah

      Carl — is your proposal the expression of “progress” and “fee speech”: shut up those who don’t line up with the party line? This reminds me of Stalinism. Is this what you prefer to see rather than an intelligent, factually based rational discourse regarding the very issues raised in the remarks by the two gentlemen…?? Sadly, your proposal to ban a fellow poster says more about who you are and what you stand for than about that fellow poster…!!

      Reply to Comment
    25. Prometheus

      1. A palestinian statehood on Gaza, Westbank.
      Palestinian statehood was offered and turned down multiple times
      2. East Jerusalem as its capital
      3. A settlement for the refugees
      These demands have nor historic neither legal backing.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Jack

      1-3 Thats not the question. Questions at 8:31. Dont cherry pick now.
      Also world is upheld by international law, not by historical argument of whom lived where some 2000 years ago.

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    27. Jehudah

      “East Jerusalem as the capital” of a future Palestinian state.
      Let us note, no part of Jerusalem, ever, has been the capital city of any people but that of the Jewish people; since the Jewish king, King David, set it up as such more than 3,000 years ago.
      And, during the only time in history during which the Arabs ruled over Jerusalem, between the years 1948 and 1967, they didn’t set up an independent Palestinian Arab state in the territories now they demand, and they didn’t proclaim Jerusalem as its capital city.
      The question, therefore, is: On which legal and moral basis can the very same Arabs now demand that Jerusalem is turned into their capital city…??

      Reply to Comment
    28. Jack

      Dont you read comments here? I just told that the world is upheld by international law, not by whom lived where 2000 years ago.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Prometheus

      August 7, 2012
      8:31 am
      Maybe you could tell us those two times when palestinians have rejected to solve the conflict based on UN resolutions?
      1. A palestinian statehood on Gaza, Westbank.
      2. East Jerusalem as its capital
      2. A settlement for the refugees

      You cant because there have never been such a case.
      Again – Palestinian statehood was offered and turned down multiple times, even before UN.
      Palestinians have no rights whatsoever to demand capital in Jerusalem, neither they have a right to return refugees into territory of Israel.
      Obviously ##2 and 3 was never offered – and won’t be ever, but instead of living peacefully in a state for the entire nation of Palestine in WB and Gaza with capital in Ramalla or Gaza City or elsewhere they thought that they could push Jews out.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Prometheus

      “I just told that the world is upheld by international law, not by whom lived where 2000 years ago.”
      Actually Jews never completely abandoned Judea.
      You might dislike the fact that we turned from minority into core nation, but that’s fine, no-one cares.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Jack

      Thanks for acknowledge that no such offer have been made and will never be. Clearly pave the ways for sanctions on Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Jehudah

      “Actually Jews never completely abandoned Judea”.
      Contrary to some “narratives”, i.e. fictional short stories designed for political expediency, the country in question has not only been the home of a people, the Jewish people, form some 4,000 years, Jews have maintained continuous presence in it for ALL of these years. But some, who don’t like this fact, attempt to re-write Jewish history. Indeed, some even deny the very existence of the Jewish people and its civilization of Judaism, of which the country in question has been its cradle.
      Perhaps it is time to rationally question: who are the indigenous people of the Land: Arabs whose civilizational origin is Arabia, or Jews whose origin is Judea…??

      Reply to Comment
    33. Jack

      Jehudah, Prometheus,
      Its 2012, Judea cant be find on a map today.
      Persia, Ottoman and Bysants were also regions of the past. Does iranians have the right to the Persian area today? Does the turks have the right to the Ottoman area? Does the europeans have the right to the Bysant area? Just checking.

      Reply to Comment
    34. XYZ

      Harvey Stein-
      I agree with you completely at least in some sensethat “people don’t care about Israel”. That is normal and it is to be expected. The emotional “I love Israel in my guts” which many pro-Israel people in the US expect from their President and which they claim Obama lacks IS NOT IMPORTANT. Israel is treated as any other country is treated….it should be and is looked upon by other countries in the sense of “how does our relations with Israel affect our strategic interests and what business opportunities exist for commerce between us”. That is what the EU is looking at. The Palestinians are one gigantic failure AND IT IS ENTIRELY THEIR FAULT. They never tried to build a real state infrastructure and simply live off international handouts (please don’t give me “they can’t develop because of the ‘occupation’…the Jews built a state infrastructure under a very restrictive British occupation before 1948….and for that matter, Hong Kong built a prosperous society under 150 years of British occupation”.) The whole Arab world is imploding, all the non-oil rich Arab states are poverty stricken and going backwards, while other formerly underdeveloped countries like South Korean, Vietnam, China, India, Taiwan, Brazil and others are moving ahead. Everyone in the world sees this and is looking for countries that can give them opportunities. Israel is one of them.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Prometheus

      You analogy is irrelevant.
      Again – Jews have always lived in Israel ever since they came here from Egypt.
      Consider it reconquista if you please.

      Reply to Comment
    36. XYZ

      You really don’t understand, do you? Everyone knows Israel offered the Palestinians a state in 2000 and again in 2008 and carried out a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 which blew up in our faces. Yes, we hear perpetual whining from the pro-Palestinians people that “ISRAEL DIDN’T OFFER ENOUGH”. Do you seriously think most people in the world care about the minutia of the terms? They know a state was offered and it was repeatedly turned which means….and hear me clearly…THE PALESTINIANS PREFER KEEPING THE OCCUPATION GOING OVER GETTING AN INDEPENDENT STATE. That is what everyone sees.

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    37. Jack

      Just like Prometheus admitted there has never been such an offer. Move on.

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    38. Jack

      Of course its irrelevant to you, along with international law. You use double standards.

      Reply to Comment
    39. Jack

      Aziz make a very good point at 13-14, namely that palestians are getting desperate and more and more of them understand that they are basically getting cheated.
      This radicalize people and the region, and it weaken the western allied PA.

      So when Romney completely diss and ignore palestinians and recogize Jerusalem as a capital and when EU upgrade its relations with Israel, it sure will be a backlash further down the road.
      What benefit this irrational aproach? Is it mere the fact that no one dares to raise objection? Europeans dont even dare taking another approach than the US.

      Reply to Comment
    40. Richard Witty

      The principle of consent of the governed still stands.

      So long as the Palestinian majority on the West Bank define themselves as Palestinian, then they are Palestinian.

      So long as the majority prefer to self-govern as a state, but are prohibited from doing so by whatever combination of diplomatic machination and military occupation, then that violation of the fundamental principle of democratic institutions remains.

      Its a religious mistake, a sin, to violate that. Its a religious mistake, a sin, to suppress a people generally for the actions of a minority. Its a religious mistake, a sin, to act to provoke a majority.

      There is no valid scriptural basis that justifies preemptively harming the residents of an occupied people.

      Reply to Comment
    41. Jehudah

      From the Washington Post: A difference beyond question / By Richard Cohen
      I do know, though, that if you eliminate what would certainly be condemned as a racist explanation — Jews as inherently smarter than non-Jews — then you are left with culture: There was something in the Jewish experience — 1,000 or so years of persecution and being shunted into dishonorable occupations such as money lending — that prepared Europe’s Jews for the onset of capitalism. Countless books have been written to explain this phenomenon, which continues to this day with Israel’s intellectual domination of its region. In his new book, “The Future of the Jews,” Stuart E. Eizenstat provides an example: “Between 1980 and 2000, 7,652 patents were registered by Israelis in the United States.” The figure for the entire Arab world? 367.
      The cultural difference between Israel and its Arab neighbors is so striking that you would think it beyond question. But when Mitt Romney attributed the gap between Israel’s economic performance and the Palestinians’ — “Culture makes all the difference,” he said in Israel — the roof came down on him. PC police the world over raised a red card, giving him demerits for having the temerity to notice the obvious. Predictably, Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator and a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, denounced the statement as “racist.” It was, of course, just the opposite.
      This is a complicated matter. It’s true that the West Bank is under Israeli occupation and parts of Gaza have been pounded into rubble. It is also true that for years the Palestinians benefited from jobs in Israel. It is true that a good many educated Palestinians live in the diaspora, but it is also true that the early diaspora consisted of Palestinian Christians fleeing Ottoman repression. (There are about 500,000 Palestinians in Chile.)
      Still, for all the caveats, Arabs themselves recognize that they have a cultural problem. The Arab Human Development Report of 2002 singled out three “deficits” of Arab society that are “obstacles” to progress. One was the lack of political freedom; another was the narrow knowledge base; and the third the status of women. All of these vary across the region — Saudi Arabia’s women are forbidden to drive — but nowhere in the region are women as free as they are in the West or, for that matter, Israel. In all of vast Arabia, about half of the potential workforce is poorly educated.


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    42. XYZ

      You don’t reallly believe that every self-defined group has the right to an independent state, do you?

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    43. Richard Witty

      I believe that the Palestinians do.

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    44. Jehudah

      “I believe that the Palestinians do”.
      But, the Jewish people, a people of 4,000 years whose cradle of civilization of Judaism is the country in question, and the home of this people in which it has maintained continuous presence does not…??

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    45. Richard Witty

      We both deserve a state, based on the green line.

      The continuous presence (from majority to very small minority) is NOT a valid basis of self-governance.

      The only valid basis of self-governance is majority in a region that desire to self-govern.

      The only other options are to forcefully remove, or to suppress, neither of which are sanctioned as a permanent relationship in Judaism.

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    46. Jehudah

      “We both deserve a state…”. Indeed! And, fortunately, international law has provided for it. We simply have to abide by it: 77% of “Palestine” being an Arab state, and, only 23% of “Palestine” being a Jewish one. The first, located east of the Jordan River, while the latter between the Jordan River and the Med. Sea. This is international law, as was spelled out by the League of Nations in 1922, and was adopted by the United Nations and etched into its Charter, Article 80, in 1945.

      Reply to Comment
    47. Jehudah

      P.S. “We both deserve…”, yet, I didn’t read the poster accepting the Jewish people’s RIGHT to exercise the universally accepted right of all peoples to national self-determination and independence. One wonder, why deny it of the Jewish people…, and only of the Jewish people….??

      Reply to Comment
    48. Richard Witty

      You are flailing Jehudah.

      If Palestinians self-identify as Palestinian, and comprise a majority in their region, then they deserve to form a self-governing state.

      Its not that complex.

      The best that Israel could possibly do would be to establish good relations with the people and the political leadership of that state.

      I don’t know how you came up with your assertions, whether from rabbi, political party, what.

      San Remo has NO relevance per any law. It is precedent to the British mandate only. That is the only thing it defined. Great Britain transferred all of its mandatory responsibilities to the UN, and then the UN voted partition per resolution 193, which defined then legal borders.

      A war was fought, and the borders were modified in a temporary armistice, which evolved into a defacto international concensus of prospective border.

      In 1967, the six-day war resulted in Israel occupying land that had been designated as Arab land, without specifying whether that was to be Jordanian (accepted by UN after the 48 war) or Palestinian (assumed after Jordan renounced claim to the West Bank).

      There is literally NO legal basis to assert that any of the land is Israel’s for the picking. Israel is serving as a temporary occupier only.

      Further, the messianic interpretations of Torah, that imply that this is the messianic preparatory time, are innaccurate per Torah. The prerequisite to any right to settle is to fulfill the commandments, and in the way that the author of Torah intended, whether rabbinic interpretation has authorized a particular interpretation or not. The rabbinic tradition may have nailed the interpretation and emphasis necessary for Jews to serve humanity as “a nation of priests”, a “light to the nations”, or they may have missed incidental and critical and even fundamental interpretations and emphasis.

      I personally think that they at least incidentally missed it, if not much more materially.

      Certainly, the materialization (idolatry) of emphasizing possession of the land over the single-focused worship of the ONE, and ethical application sufficient to be worthy “nation of priests”, is off. ANY rabbi that assigns the conquering of the land, over keeping the commandments, is revising Torah (a very great sin).

      Reply to Comment
    49. Aziz,
      I am getting old, but you have already done more than I ever have. I have read your 972 pieces with interest; and I have heard, this recording, something of your family history. I cannot really understand what it is like to live with the perils of your land’s future.
      I think we all understand that things will get considerably worse before getting better. You will have to resist violence among your own, and violence has become tragically portable in technology. This conflict is not just about your people, which makes it yet harder; its about the human ability to form a constitution of some kind under unending duress, a duress shared among Israelis and Palestinians. That people like you exist is a reason for believing that, not a solution, but a resolution will someday be pathed.
      Never underestimate people’s need for mythology. In the US, Israel is mostly myth, from Old Testament stories partly understood to the modern birth and trajectory of Israel partly understood. Unilateral support of Israel is part of many’s salvation; and few will tear down their fortress of salvation.
      The comments on this post are mostly irrelevant. That is what I have come to understand of nonviolence. There are no programs of right and wrong; such are there to trip you down. Nonviolence is difficult because there is only the present, no past to explain ourselves away. Only the present harm, on all sides, from any side. The destructive ones must not be allowed to define reality. Easier said than stood. Yet here you are, standing.

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    50. Jehudah

      “The destructive (violent, JBI) ones must not be allowed to define reality”.
      Sadly, however, it has been precisely the destructive/violent ones who have managed to perpetuate the Arab Israeli conflict since the day violence, in an orchestrated fashion, became part of the conflict. This took place in April, 1920, during the Nabi Mousa ceremonies in Jerusalem during which the leadership of the Muslim-Arabs led their followers to perform a mass slaughter – pogrom – among the children, women, men and he elderly Jewish community of the city.
      From that point on the organized violence carried out by the Muslim-Arabs – not by the Christian-Arabs or the Druze-Arabs of the country, mind you!! – spread to other locales, where Jews lived, and some of those places were, as a result, cleansed of Jews who lived without any protection what-so-ever, neither by the British authorities nor Jewish armed groups.
      It was then that the Jewish community began to develop defensive forces, whose purpose, goal and name are still found in the in the Israel DEFENSE Forces (IDF).
      It is high time the war-of-attrition-through-terror that commenced in 1920 and perpetuated by the Muslim-Arabs of the Land ceased if Arab and Jew, if the Muslim-Arab world and the sovereign nation-state of the Jewish people, Israel, are ever to reach an accommodation of peaceful coexistence.

      Reply to Comment
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