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Israel increasingly defiant as the world loses interest in Palestine

From the prime minister down, the Israeli government has effectively dropped the charade that the occupation is temporary, or that it actually fears consequences for its intransigence.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset, November 1, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset, November 1, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel’s leadership wants you to think it is worried about some bold move by President Barack Obama during his lame duck period between the November 8 U.S. elections and his successor’s inauguration on January 20. After all, there’s a compelling argument to be made that it would be bad for Israel if Washington threw its support behind a UN Security Council resolution reaffirming that Israeli settlements are illegal, or one that codifies a framework for an eventual peace deal.

Yet the Israeli government doesn’t seem to be worried at all.

An Israeli prime minister worried about international condemnation of his country’s illegal settlements probably wouldn’t declare that, “[t]here is no government that supports, or will support, settlement more than my government.”

An Israeli government concerned with the world’s perception of its intransigence wouldn’t send the deputy foreign minister (Netanyahu is technically the foreign minister) and parliament speaker to demand the annexation of Israel’s third-largest settlement. “The answer to the international battle over Jerusalem is to impose sovereignty over Ma’aleh Adumim,” Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said Monday.

An Israeli government concerned with preserving the feasibility of a two-state solution wouldn’t promote an extensive rail project to connect West Bank settlements to Jerusalem, which the transportation minister announced on Tuesday. “If someone comes and says ‘we must place an artificial division since [those Israelis] live beyond what was once defined as the Green Line’ — we won’t accept that claim, of course,” Transportation Minister Israel Katz said, defending the plan.

An Israeli prime minister that wants to reassure the international community that his government is committed to a two-state solution, and not using the absence of a peace process to create facts on the ground that would preclude such a two-state outcome, would immediately fire a senior minister who consistently declares that Israel should annex more than 60 percent of the West Bank. Naftali Bennett said just that Sunday — that a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements should trigger the annexation of Area C of the West Bank.

The Israeli government knows that bringing about an end to its military occupation of Palestine has fallen to a record low spot on the world’s list of priorities. Between the war in Syria, the refugee crisis it has created, the accelerating re-polarization of the Middle East into American and Russian spheres of influence, the craziest American elections in recent history, and the world’s awakening to damage caused by the Israeli-Palestinian peace process over the past two decades, the Israeli government is feeling pretty confident that the international community is too preoccupied to pose any serious challenge to its brazen attitudes and behavior.

The truth is that even if the UN Security Council does pass a resolution reaffirming that Israeli settlements are illegal (there are already several saying the same thing), the chances of such a move being backed up by sanctions or any tangible consequences are slim to none. Netanyahu also knows that a UN resolution codifying a framework for a two-state solution can always be manipulated down the line, should peace talks ever reemerge, not that that’s a real fear: Netanyahu has stated clearly, on multiple occasions, that he will not allow a Palestinian state to emerge on his watch. And when he has had his hand forced, he’s always found ways to undermine existing agreements that stood in his way.

Prime Minister Netanyahu may believe that the chances of President Obama taking a bold step to counter the West Bank settlement enterprise are low. Netanyahu also seems to believe that even if his assessment is wrong, that Israel can weather the storm. Even a spiteful Obama, as many Israelis see him, would only go so far — not daring to exert, or even allow, the type of pressure that might make Israel consider changing its behavior, certainly not when there are so many other matters on the international agenda far graver and more urgent than ending the occupation.

Netanyahu’s bet, which is evident in the behavior of his entire government, is that if nobody has come to end the occupation for the past 50 years, he can probably get away with another 10 or 20 years without significant consequences.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Giora Me'ir

      Your points are spot on. Which leaves the Palestinians with two choices. Ask for one state with one person one vote, or widespread violence. Those are the only way to get the world!s attention.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Carmen

      Another great article stating the obvious, which is important to continue as it should help the slow learners out there realize that the GoI has not now and never has had any agenda other than the removal of Palestinians from their land. The west likes to pretend that isn’t the case and continues to scratch it’s head about why ‘israel’ keeps building settlements, the talking about annexation of ma’ale adumim, the building of the 3rd temple, etc., etc., etc., as if that’s the fantasies of the lunatic fringe. These aren’t fantasies, they are plans and the responsibility for the next war in Gaza lies squarely with the west’s impotency. If the shoe were on the israeli jewish population, what would they do? Sit in their houses and wait to die? Give me a break; the ‘pre-state’ jewish authority committed numerous acts of terrorism, but when they did it, it wasn’t terrorism, it was self-determination. It got the world’s attention too, but the focus quickly turned from negative to the beginning of the ‘plucky’ israeli propaganda. Meanwhile, Palestinians resisting being driven from their lands were called ‘primitive’, ‘beasts’, ‘animals’, ‘filthy’, etc., etc., etc. Before anyone thinks trudging out the 1929 Hebron massacre prop, think about the hundreds of jews who were hidden/protected by their palestinian neighbors, and the fact that a rumor spread by the English (or was it really a false flag operation by the zionists) started it or in other words, to create a omelette (iow, a jewish supremacist state), you’ve got to crack a few eggs.

      Reply to Comment
      • AJew

        “Before anyone thinks trudging out the 1929 Hebron massacre prop,……
        ……………………………………………………….
        and the fact that a rumor spread by the English (or was it really a false flag operation by the zionists)”

        Yea, right, because the Arabs couldn’t possibly commit such an act on their own.

        Reply to Comment
        • David

          THE HEBRON RIOTS, 1929:
          In 1925, Vladimir Jabotinsky, a Zionist zealot from Poland, founded the fascistic Betar or Brown Shirts along with the Revisionist Party (origin of today’s Likud) which advocated “revision” of the British Mandate to include forcible Jewish colonization of then Transjordan in addition to Palestine. Such Jewish extremism, along with the racist rants of Rabbi Kook and threats against the Dome of the Rock by Revisionist demonstrators led to the terrible and bloody riots of 1929.

          Vincent Sheean, an eminent American journalist who arrived in Palestine as a pro-Zionist just days before the 1929 riots erupted, was shocked at what he saw: As he later wrote: “I was bitterly indignant with the Zionists for having, as I believed, brought on the disaster…. [W]hy couldn’t the Zionists leave it [Palestine] alone, it would never hold enough Jews to make even a beginning towards the solution of the Jewish problem; it would always be a prey to such ghastly horrors as those I saw everyday and every night….” (Vincent Sheean, Personal History, New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc. 1935)

          Hundreds of Hebron’s Jews were taken in and protected by Muslims. Tragically, 64 of Hebron’s Jews died, but 650 were saved. Throughout the country 133 Jews were killed and 339 wounded while Palestinians suffered 116 dead and 232 wounded.

          Bitterly ironic is the fact that most Jews living in Hebron in 1929 were anti-Zionist. They were the descendants of the Sephardim who had founded the city’s Jewish Quarter near the tomb of the Patriarchs in the 1500s after Jews were expelled from Spain and then welcomed and given sanctuary in the Arab world. Their numbers increased somewhat during the early 1900’s with the arrival of Hasidim from Poland who came to study. Many Muslims who were driven out of Spain by the Christians also moved to Hebron. Prior to Zionism, Jews and Muslims lived together harmoniously in Hebron for 400 years with the Jews always forming a small minority. There were very few if any Christians in the city.

          In 1930, a report issued by a British commission of enquiry attributed the 1929 clashes to the fact that the Palestinians “have come to see in Jewish immigration not only a menace to their livelihood but a possible overlord of the future.” (Another 1930 British report, trying to find a way to reduce tension between Zionist alien Jews and native Palestinians, revealed that there was no additional land available for agricultural settlement by new Jewish immigrants.)

          The friendship that existed between Muslims and Jews in Hebron was attested to by Israeli journalist Chaim Hanegbi, whose great grandfather was the city’s last Rabbi: “My grandfather lived very peacefully with his Arab neighbours…. His family joined the grape harvest every year, and the [Muslim] neighbours cooked kosher food so the Jews could share the feasts with them.” (Canada’s Globe and Mail, February 18, 1997)

          It should also be noted that in the spirit of reconciliation, Hebron’s mayor has stated publicly that he and his fellow Muslims would welcome the descendants of the city’s Jews if they choose to return and replace the Zionist fanatics who are now there.

          BTW, according to the Palestine government (British Mandate), Jerusalem, 1945, Jews privately owned a mere one per cent of sub-district Hebron’s land. Palestinians privately owned 96% and state land comprised four per cent.

          Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            So,

            The Hebron massacre of Jews wasn’t a false flag operation after all. Whew. And Carmen nearly persuaded me that it was.

            And the British were not the ones who spread the rumors. Whew. Carmen nearly persuaded me that they did.

            But it was all the Jews fault, David tells us. It was the Jews fault because Jabotinsky and their followers were fanatics. So of course it was ok for the Arabs to take it out on the non Zionist Jews of Hebron. Have I got that right?

            In any case, we should be thankful to the Arabs because although they murdered ove 60 Jews in Hebron, hundreds of Jews were saved by other Arabs. Instead, us Zionists are so ungrateful. Shame on us!

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            “Instead, us Zionists are so ungrateful. Shame on us!”

            Gustav/AJew – don’t you have enough integrity to speak for yourself? You represent no one else. why do you hate zionists so much?

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            This lady has no shame. She made a fool of herself a couple of posts ago but she comes back for more. She does not even recognise sarcasm. She is a very boring lady. I will just let her talk she does a good enough job to destroy her own credibility. I will say no more 😅

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            carmen
            Friday
            October 28, 2016
            I’ll try this again. My post where I stated that there are numerous so-called spiritual leaders, be they rabbis, imams, priests, ministers, etc., who preach nothing but hate. That doesn’t make it okay for some rabbi to do it just because ‘they do it to’. I had written a very good reply to you early but the geniuses who moderate didn’t post it and I made a point of noting that in another post as below “My 2nd post to you isn’t up for some reason and it was pretty good too. Oh well.”
            Criticism of some rabbis or zionists isn’t condemning all jews. You choose to see it that way. that’s very convenient.
            You can’t explain, like i asked, the meaning of this post to ben: “It means exactly what it sounds like. It means that she thinks that Jewish Rabbis (some at least) are blood sucking vampires who only have regards for Jews. Draw your own conclusions. I take her at face value. But if I am wrong, let Carmen explain what she meant. She does not need you as a mouth piece. Let her speak for herself and clarify.”
            and instead of explaining the above, you announce ‘that’s it for me. I’m getting bored by both of them’. maybe after shabbat you’ll figure out how to answer my questions about the above paragraph.
            (BTW – i don’t need you as a mouthpiece either.)

            AJew
            Friday
            October 28, 2016
            “And you seem to believe that the world revolves around jews. It doesn’t. Why do you do this Gustav?”
            Do I? I thought you were the one who started with the Jews Carmen (at least some Jews). Let me quote what you said:
            “some rabbis claim that jewish blood is more precious than ‘the other”
            I get it though. You didn’t really mean Jews. You meant Rabbis. How ignorant of me.
            Reality check:
            I altered what Carmen said slightly to illustrate how hateful her sentence sounds when applied to Arabs/Muslims and this is how it came out:
            “some mullahs claim that Arab/Muslim blood is more precious than ‘the other.”
            Ben then came along and realised Carmen’s mistake and he applied his usual obfuscatory tactics as a distraction.
            That’s it from me. I am getting bored by both of them.

            Gustav/AJew – when it doesn’t go your way then it’s “That’s it from me. I am getting bored…” or “I will say no more” and then follow that empty promise with copious logorrhea. You say I don’t know sarcasm but you might consider that I’m taking everything you say ‘at face value’, iow that you mean exactly what you write.

            That’s it from me. Let’s see who can keep their word.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            😂

            Reply to Comment
    3. Lewis from Afula

      No European leader will say anything substantive against Israel’s liberation of Yesha. Most Europeans are currently facing the very same Jihadi problems with their own Arab populations. See the terrorism in France, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Germany etc. Bombings, stabbings, rapes, shootings occur almost every day – but simply not reported by MSNBC.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        @Lewis: What’s amusing about this is that the exact opposite theory is invoked when Europeans assert the slightest protest against the occupation: “See, they are afraid of the Muslims in their countries.” Everything is “the Muslims'” fault. Too funny.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Y. Ben-David

      You seem to be dancing around the reason the world has lost interest in the Palestinians. It is not only because of the anarchic situation in the Middle East and the refugee flood into Europe. Your mention of the “damage” caused to the so-called “peace process” glides away from the REASON for the damage. The reason is that the Palestinians REFUSE to accept the 2-state-solution which will involve making a compromise peace, with the biggest compromise the Palestinians would have to make is giving up the demand for an unrestricted “right of return” of the Palestinian refugees which is non-negotiable for them. The settlements are not the issue, everyone knows that if the Palestinians should agree to the compromise peace, they will get an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-67 lines and the settlements would be abandoned. The Jewish holy places in Jerusalem are not even an issue any more because Olmert agreed to give them up (he called it turning them over to ‘international control’ but the international body he envisioned has a majority of Arab member states and so in practice control would be in the hands of the Palestinians, including the Kotel where they will never agree to Israeli control).
      It is the Palestinian who reject a compromise peace and the world knows it. Obama pressed Abbas for a proposal from his side for a compromise peace but Abbas refused to respond. The world have finally come to understand this and this is the REAL reason why the world doesn’t care about the “peace process” any longer. There are numerous unresolved conflicts in the world (e.g. Kashmir, Cyprus) and most people in the world view the Israei/Palestinian conflict as just another one that we all have learned to live with.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        @”Y-Ben-David”: “…Settlements are not the issue….” Thank you for this programmatic recitation of Talking Points from the Prime Minister’s Office Hasbara Section.

        Reply to Comment
      • David

        Reality:

        In 1988, the PLO recognized Israel as a sovereign state within the borders of the 1947 recommendatory only UNGA Partition Plan, Res. 181 (which, for the record, violated the terms of the Class A British Mandate for Palestine and the Atlantic Charter, was never adopted by the UNSC and was grossly unfair to the indigenous Palestinian Arab inhabitants.)

        By signing the 1993 Oslo Accords, the PLO accepted UNSC Res. 242 and thereby agreed to recognize a sovereign Israel within the 1949 armistice lines, i.e., as of 4 June 1967 – 78% of mandate Palestine.

        The PLO also agreed to the US/EU/UN supported 2002 Arab League Beirut Summit Peace Initiative, which offers Israel full recognition as a sovereign state (per UNSC Res. 242, i.e., within its June 4/67 boundaries with possible minor and mutually agreed land swaps), exchange of ambassadors, trade, tourism, etc., if Israel complies with international law and its previous commitments. Fully aware of Israel’s demographic concerns, the Beirut initiative does not demand the return of all Palestinian refugees. In accordance with Israel’s pledge given to the UNGA in 1949 and by signing the 1949 Lausanne Peace Conference Protocol to abide by UNGA Res. 194 regarding the then 800,000 Palestinian refugees as a precondition for admittance to the UN (after being rejected twice), the Arab League’s Initiative “calls upon Israel to affirm” that it agrees to help pursue the “achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem…”

        Along with all Arab states and the PLO, Hezbollah and Iran have also accepted the Arab League’s 2002 Beirut Summit Peace Initiative. Hamas has also indicated its acceptance subject to a Palestinian plebiscite and a corridor connecting the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

        Regrettably, then Israeli PM Ariel Sharon summarily dismissed the Arab League’s peace overture, as did Israel in 2008 and thereafter.

        For the record, other peace initiatives that Israeli governments have rebuffed include: U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers’ The Rogers Plan (1969); The Scranton Mission on behalf of President Nixon (1970); Egyptian President Sadat’s land for peace and mutual recognition proposal (1971); U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s call for a Geneva international conference (1977); Saudi Arabian King Fahd’s peace offer (1981); U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s Reagan Plan (1982); U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz’s Schultz Plan (1988); U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s Baker Plan (1989); and the previously noted 1993 Oslo accords signed by Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that unravelled following the latter’s assassination and subsequent return to power of the Likud party from 1996-1999 under Benjamin Netanyahu; continuation of the Taba II negotiations (2001); the unofficial Geneva Peace Initiative of November/December 2003; and the 2014 Kerry Initiative.

        BTW, As for the much touted 2000 Camp David Summit, working in tandem, Barak and Clinton tried to shove a very bad deal down Arafat’s throat. It could only be rejected. Suffice to quote Shlomo Ben-Ami, then Israel’s foreign minister and lead negotiator at Camp David: “Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well.” (National Public Radio, 14 February 2006.)

        The “offer” made in 2008 by then Israeli PM Ehud Olmert was never seen as serious because it lacked cabinet approval, he was under indictment with only a few weeks left in office, had a 6% favorable rating, and, therefore, couldn’t have closed the deal, even if the Palestinians had accepted it. (Olmert is now imprisoned.)

        Unfortunately, Israel’s response to every peace overture from the Palestinians and Arab states, has been an escalation of illegal settlement construction in belligerently/illegally/brutally occupied Palestinian and other Arab lands.

        Reply to Comment
    5. Bus189

      Yep. Nobody really cares about the Palestinians. Sooner or later the Palestinians will grasp this fact and realize that no savior is coming and they are actually going to have to get realistic about their demands.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        Congratulations on Israel’s Pyrrhic victory. This form the Forward (2013):

        “Jews Now Minority in Israel and Territories”. At that point Israel will no longer be a Jewish state — or, alternatively, will be a Jewish state with a non-Jewish majority that is disenfranchised because of its ethnic identity. There’s a word for that. I won’t say it, but I’ll note that it’s Afrikaans in origin….we’re there already. Comparing the annual Rosh Hashanah population report from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, released September 2, with the midyear (July 1) population figures for the West Bank and Gaza in the CIA World Factbook, it turns out that Jews are now (as of Rosh Hashanah) outnumbered by Arabs under Israeli sovereignty by a grand total of 50,827.

        http://forward.com/opinion/184245/jews-now-minority-in-israel-and-territories/

        Reply to Comment
        • Bus189

          Who cares? There is no chance that one state works, so all you are left with is partition. Gaza City and Tel Aviv are never going to be in the same country. The only question is whether the partition will be on our terms or theirs. And it will be on our terms because we are far stronger and no one cares about them. So the international community is going to huff and puff for a while and then we are going to start seeing something pragmatic to replace partition on the basis of 1967 borders. They will call it a confederation or a Palestinian state with “autonomous” Jewish areas or joint sovereignty in the West Bank or some other nonsense to effectively legitimize the status quo with minor adjustments. Or the Palestinians can continue their quest and get their state recognized internationally and we will dispute the borders indefinitely, which again, is just a continuation of the status quo with minor adjustments. But the overall point is, that we will be here, and they will be there, wherever we decide ‘there’ to be and the IDF will have overall military control. This is how we win. It might take another 50 years to get there and we have lots of patience. Our lives are pretty good as it is. It makes the waiting easier.

          Funnily enough the Palestinian analysts at Al-Shabaka are more pragmatic about where we are than most of the foreigners that comment here. Enjoy: https://al-shabaka.org/briefs/palestinian-authority-unsettling-status-quo-scenarios/

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Love that reading, as “more pragmatic,” this:
            “…forecasts a “status quo+,” an institutionalized system of apartheid and a no-state solution. He also foresees three states – but argues none of this would be sustainable over time.”

            Says it all.

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            “Funnily enough…” I first read “Finally enough” but that was wishful thinking. However, bus189, you never gets old! Pace yourself though (maybe you can work out a tag-team deal with bernie X or lewis from afula).

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zXDo4dL7SU

            Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        @Bus189: Translation: “Knuckle under and surrender, to a humiliating set of non-contiguous bantustans.” Taking advantage of people who can’t defend themselves and who you perceive no one else is defending (because, for complex historical reasons, Israel gets a special pass no one else gets) is a criterion for antisocial personality. “What can we get away with?” It’s the ethos of gangsters.

        Reply to Comment
        • Bus189

          Well, if you want the Palestinians to enjoy the fruits of the status quo indefinitely, I am ok with that as well.

          We are going to act exactly like every other country and extract maximum benefit for ourselves from every situation. The idea that we are supposed to do anything else is one of those silly double standards that is applied to us.

          The Palestinians and their supporters are going to have to make us a better offer than the status quo, not one that is worse. They still haven’t figured that out which explains all the whining.

          Reply to Comment
    6. Ben

      Honestly I think the premeditated Israeli endgame by now, probably titled something like “Finish the Job” and sitting in someone’s safe in the Kirya, is to expertly engineer a massive violent conflagration and commit mass population transfer/ethnic cleansing under the “fog of war” and then claim “we had no choice.” Benny Morris has hinted as much. I don’t know how else to make rational sense of what the Israelis are doing. Unless they are just completely irrational, just nuts, and I don’t buy that. 

      Reply to Comment
      • Bus189

        Don’t be silly. We would never be able to carry out such a plan. And there is no way we would officially write up such a plan. We are pragmatic.

        But we are definitely getting less pragmatic over time so the Palestinians should really think about how they want this to play out.

        Reply to Comment
    7. Bus189

      Pragmatic means accepting that there are limitations to what you can expect to happen under existing conditions. The Palestinians can not destroy Israel, so they have to accept Israel’s existence. The Palestinians can not force Israel to accept the 1967 lines, so they will have to accept that the outcome will not be based on the 1967 lines. The Palestinians can not force Israel to annex the West Bank or grant them Israeli citizenship, so they will have to accept an outcome based on partition. That is the best they can do. There are workable solutions that will grant the Palestinians independence and normal lives that meet all these conditions. But only if the Palestinians accept pragmatism and think about the future, rather than being obsessed with the past and with their dream of destroying Israel.

      There will be those that choose to not be pragmatic and to insist the Palestinians reject pragmatism in favor of magical fairy dust. If thy Palestinians listen to them then the best they could hope for is the status quo.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Double talk, bluster and straw men. Sorry, you are not a normal country. You are now much closer to the former East Germany than you are to a normal country. Normal nations calculate self-interest, but only criminal nations break the law wantonly and brazenly defy the very same Geneva Conventions codified because other people did to you what you now do to other people. So you are most definitely not like just any other country, and are not regarded as such. Cold, hard antisocial dismissal of law and decency is not the normative behavior of 21st C Western nations. You have made of yourselves a pariah.

        Reply to Comment
        • Bus189

          If international law or its interpretation by a biased international community runs contrary to what we perceive to be our self-interest then we shall justifiably ignore it. Governments and countries exist to serve their citizens and not ivory tower high-minded ideals. This is how all countries should and most do act when they are facing challenges. Countries that pursue policies that are fundamentally contrary to their self-interest will not do so for long. Either the country will end the policy or the policy will end the country. We will act in the best interest of our country regardless of how it might be seen from the safety and security of Geneva. We will do so in a measured way that Western countries would adopt when facing the same problems. This has been demonstrated time and time again. Whether on the issue of targeted assassinations, administrative detention, or on migration, we are at first condemned by “normative 21 century Western nations”, who then proceed to take exactly the same measures when having to deal with the same problems. So, from this we see the hypocritical approach of “Western nations” and act accordingly. We shall act on the basis of our interests and our own moral compass. Because the interests of “Western nations” are not our own, and their moral compass is broken more often than not.

          Likewise, we are not going to pretend that all countries in the world are “normative 21st century Western nations”, which is a fundamental assumption of much of the conventions put in place. We live in an area which is not governed by norms that are in any way similar to those that govern “normative 21st century Western nations”. As such we will most certainly not be able to follow those norms. Nor do I really care whether we count as a “normative 21st century Western nation”. The whole premise of judging us by a different standard because of this presumed belonging to such a grouping is artificial. Judging us as if we are located in Europe between Italy and Slovenia is absurd. We are in the Middle East, not in the “West”. So, I hereby renounce our artificial belonging to the class of nations that are “normative 21st century Western nations”. I expect to be judged by the norms of the region in which we are actually located, and by the norms and standards by which all countries in this region are judged.

          As for being a pariah. That dog won’t hunt either. We have excellent relations with the whole world with some disagreements with important powers that do not get in the way of productive cooperation. The idea that Israel is a pariah is entirely in the head of the people that would like it to be so, but alas, that doesn’t match up with reality.

          Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        This is very interesting to see how far right Israelis like you really think. If enough truly have your personal fascist spirit and your professed staying power in this then I think what will eventually happen is the planned forced mass transfer scenario I outlined. You present yourself as someone who speaks, with nonchalance, the cold, hard language of fascism, but you’ll have to see that your population maintains a fascist unity to withstand the siege. I’m betting Israelis at large are still to decent at long last and do not have your Habayit Hayehudi-style fascist enthusiasm and staying power. It will take police state enforcement, against crimes such as “undermining the troops morale.” Though we already see this in nascent form in the practices against Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, it will take going over to the dark side at a much higher intensity. Can you do it?

        Reply to Comment
        • Carmen

          “Can you do it?”

          The GoI has been doing it. Not because they’re correct and have the support of the world (not even the support of all ‘israelis’). They are mostly disliked, disbelieved, not seen as trustworthy and a danger to the rest of humanity because of their MO, the nuclear arsenal and refusal to stop breaking international law. Because their handlers/enablers continue to see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil, and so many in the GoI are more worried about enriching their bank accounts, acting like as well as sounding like nothing more than thugs, a change won’t come without force and then the GoI will most likely commit suicide. I’m sure there’s an underground bunker just for them around here somewhere.

          Reply to Comment
    8. Bus189

      It is cute that you think that I am far right. I vote for centrist parties. I believe in eventual partition and two states for two peoples. I believe in equal rights for Arab Israeli citizens. When you are talking to me you are talking to the pragmatic center, not the far right.

      It is also cute how little you know about Israel. Breaking the Silence and B’tselem are marginal groups that are ostracized by the overwhelming majority of Israelis, both in politics and outside of it. Their messages are not getting through. These groups are simply outside the national consensus and are treated like the European-sponsored anti-Israeli proxies that they are. At most what we should do is simply prevent foreign governments from sponsoring domestic political organizations, which needs to be done to defend local democracy from foreign interference. It is absurd that foreign governments are spending tens of millions of dollars in Israel in support of their diplomatic interests and political causes. But after their foreign government funding is eliminated these groups should have all the freedoms available in democracies to make their voices heard.

      There will be no mass forced transfer. We don’t want to do it. We don’t need to do it. We will maintain the status quo until the Palestinians are ready to end the conflict.

      And I have no idea what siege you are talking about.

      Reply to Comment
      • Carmen

        “It is cute that you think that I am far right. I vote for centrist parties. I believe in eventual partition and two states for two peoples. I believe in equal rights for Arab Israeli citizens. When you are talking to me you are talking to the pragmatic center, not the far right.”

        2 states for 2 peoples huh? And you aren’t far right? Things have gone so far to the right here that the left is the right! It’s funny so many zionists wax poetic about 2 state for 2 people, as if that was a viable solution. There isn’t anything left for Palestinians, not a contiguous land mass so nothing but bantustans interspersed between the hateful settlements and the hateful people who squat in them, running over Palestinian children, killing Palestinian livestock, throwing diapers and garbage into Palestinian wells and shooting at them. Of course that’s what the right wants.

        Most importantly; however, is that elephant in the room with the blue hair. It doesn’t matter what you claim you want Bus189; fearless leader announced to the world there will NEVER be a Palestinian state while he’s in charge. So enough of this charade. It’s nothing but lies and again proves to Palestinians and that little thing called the rest of the world that the borderless ethnocentric, xenophobic zionist state will keep the status quo until hell freezes over or they commit suicide. There is no negotiation with the GoI.

        Reply to Comment
        • Bus189

          You must be clueless about Israeli politics. 2 states for 2 peoples is the Meretz position. And the premise that the settlements prevent the creation of a Palestinian state is nonsense. Some can be removed. It wouldn’t be the first time Israel removed settlements for peace, or the first time it removed them from the West Bank. That state would certainly not be on the 1967 lines, but it would be contiguous if that is actually what you care about. It is amusing that people who want to see Israel destroyed make excuses why two states are not possible.

          Netanyahu is not a king. He is just a prime minister. Nor is he immortal. Nor is he really that popular in Israel. The reason why he is in charge is because very few in Israel believes the Palestinians are interested in making peace. People in Israel will continue to accept and support the status quo until they believe that the Palestinians are actually interested in a pragmatic peace. Anything less on our part would be stupid.

          When the Palestinians accept the principle of two states for two peoples Bibi’s time will be over. It is in the Palestinians’ court to prove wrong Bibi and his ideology of the Palestinians not being interested in peace. Until then it isn’t going to matter if Bibi falls tomorrow because the status quo will remain the rational choice.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “it would be contiguous”

            Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumim are given back and revert to Palestinian control? Or not? If not, you are spouting the purest BS. People can read maps.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bus189

            In this modern day and age finding a dictionary on the internet shouldn’t be that hard. Do you know what the word contiguous means? If you can get from Qalqilya to Hebron without going through Israeli territory that qualifies as contiguous. That does not require ceding Ariel or Maale Adumim to the Palestinians.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben


            “If you can get from Qalqilya to Hebron without going through Israeli territory that qualifies as contiguous.”

            I knew it! I knew this would be your arrogant Israeli answer. In other words, technically contiguous — in a weird board game sort of way, with roundabout snaking paths and tunnels — is good enough for the Palestinian peasants. Functionally non-contiguous, functionally bantustan-ous, but technically contiguous — in the demeaning sense that wildlife corridors across superhighways make land contiguous for endangered animals — is what you demand that the people with whom you expect to sign a supposedly honorable peace deal accept. Got it. Quintessential self-destructive Israeli arrogance. Perfect.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bus189

            Hahaha. Yes. Technically contiguous. Meaning, exactly fitting the definition of the word contiguous. I have no idea what the combination of the words “functionally non-contiguous” means. This is one of those weasel word combinations. There is a RAND corporation proposal called: “The Arc: A Formal Structure for a Palestinian State” which demonstrates that both contiguity and functionality are entirely doable without removing Maale Adumim or Ariel. But instead of accepting peace and working towards it the supporters of the Palestinians are too busy redefining words like “contiguous” and “functional”.

            It is amazing. It is almost like this isn’t about contiguity, or functionality, or a Palestinian State at all. It is about a bunch of excuses why the Palestinians can’t accept peace with Israel even when they are offered what they claim to want. Then they get all high and mighty about how they should get more and start redefining concepts. That is fine. If they prefer the status quo it is their loss, not ours.

            Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        The thing is I think you mis-analyze human nature. Your anthropology is fundamentally mistaken if you think *more* persecution and*more* suppression and brutality over *more* years will “finally” break them. I think it will go in the opposite direction. So that you will not have a 50-year project but an interminable quasi-fascist apartheid state project on your hands. Good luck with that. And remember that previous states’ economic booms under such conditions were superficial and unsustainable. Further back, the Roman imperium sustained itself a very long time but did not have to compete in a modern interconnected economy. Rome taxed its hinterlands. Israel taxes the inhabitants of the meager territories it occupies in all sorts of ways direct and indirect (and funnels taxes away from tax-paying Israelis to subsidized settler freeloaders) but taxing your impoverished Palestinian serfs does not seem like the stuff upon which colonial empires are built. I know Bibi talks tough about high tech and a coldly amoral weapons export industry and you think you are winning on all fronts but it won’t be sustainable as U.S. support inevitably falters as, if nothing else, demographics shift. And China and Russia will not be your friends. America has done much more for Israel than its true interests would dictate. (The same American exceptionalism will eventually lead America to withdraw support to a rogue ally.) China and Russia or whomever will not ever do that for you. Remember, you’re the one who sings the praises of coldly amoral nation states while coldly exploiting an exceptional state that does more for you than its true interests would dictate. Your leaders decades ago were much more far-sighted.

        Reply to Comment
        • Bus189

          You are right. We disagree. I believe that people are eventually pragmatic. When persistently presented with two options, one of which leads to a decent life and one that leads to suffering and destruction they will eventually choose the former. The Palestinians too show themselves to be eventually pragmatic. The recognition in 1988 of resolution 181 by the PLO was an eventually pragmatic move. The acceptance of UNSC242 and the Oslo Accords was an eventually pragmatic move. The actions of Hamas to stop firing of rockets from Gaza by other groups is an eventually pragmatic move. The noises that Hamas makes about potentially accepting a deal with two states are an eventually pragmatic move. Bringing about the second intifada was an eventually pragmatic move. If one zooms out a bit and looks at the region then again one sees that the surrounding states too eventually are forced into pragmatism, and that process hasn’t run its course yet.

          Each and every one of these was driven by an absolute lack of other options. Whether retrospectively you define these steps as “breaking” the Palestinians or the Palestinians gradually adopting positions that are more pragmatic and constructive is entirely ideological. What isn’t much in dispute is that the Palestinians have over time gradually been stepping away from their maximalist positions and that they do so entirely as a result of the lack of any other choice. Of course there is always the choice to resort to violence, but that too has proven somewhat lacking in achievements. And all the steps taken by the Palestinians towards more pragmatic positions are obviously welcome but for actual permanent peace to happen the Palestinians will have to take exactly one step forward – to accept the principle of two states for two peoples. There are lots of formulations that are open to the Palestinians towards gradually accepting the symbolism of something that they can not change in any case. It might be as part of a grand gesture, it could be part of them “testing” Israel, it could be an acknowledgement of something that they can not change, it could be part of a general Arab shift and backed by Arab states. There are lots of ways in which this can happen but so far the Palestinian leadership has chosen to not take this step. And this, in all seriousness, is the primary reason why Bibi and the Israeli center/right (myself included) can claim that the Palestinians are not interested in peace. Because to us it looks like they are not.

          Economically we are doing well. We will probably stumble in the foreseeable future because too much of our economy is based on high-tech which is due for the downward phase of the business cycle. We have other internal economic problems, most obviously the Haredi population which needs to be brought into the labor force. There is progress on that front but it is slow. The Arab population too needs to be turned into an economic asset and that is proceeding far faster than with the Haredim. The growth Israel is currently experiencing is not superficial but it is unsustainable unless we spend far more resources on giving our population the education they need to compete on a global scale. In any case, this is neither here nor there, and has little directly to do with the conflict.

          The Palestinians are not a source of wealth or revenue and overall the conflict is a waste of money. But, in case it wasn’t obvious already, control over the West Bank is not about economics, but about long-term security. Until the Palestinians accept peace with the Jewish State there can be no long-term security. That would be true with a two state solution (in which the Palestinians do not accept a Jewish State or the end of conflict) or with the status quo. The status quo is far safer because a hostile Palestinian state would be far more capable of inflicting damage on us than the disjointed territories currently under Palestinian control in the West Bank. The status quo is the rational choice.

          International diplomacy is constantly shifting. We can not predict what will happen. It is possible, even likely, that eventually the US will start to decrease the support it grants to Israel. We will not agree on the motivations behind the American aid. I think it is primarily selfish and strategic, or at least it was up until the end of the cold war. Since then it is still primarily designed to anchor a status quo in the region. It is true that might change, but I don’t see it happening in the next 10 years. If anything I think US involvement in the region will grow as a result of the end of the Obama administration. And I think much of the public conflict with Israel that the Obama administration strategically engineered will also fade away. Faced with such a change in the American position I believe the Europeans too will scale back their hostility. They too are pragmatic.

          And yeah, we are winning on all fronts.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Well you’re not winning on all fronts, you just detailed fronts on which you are not, and most crucially from your standpoint not mine, you are not “winning” on the demographic front. Which numerically represents your refusal to even now give up the “land without a people for a people without a land” assumption that drove from the beginning the mess in which you’ve gotten yourselves. Talk about “pragmatism.” The Palestinians have indeed shown themselves to be pragmatic and not irrational “Jew haters.” It is funny how the same ideologues who paint the Palestinians as irredeemable, mouth-breathing Jew-hating subhumans in the same breath say the Palestinians are pragmatic. It is this very pragmatism that will prevent them from accepting your functionally non-contiguous bantustan “contiguity.” You’re greedy and cruel, Bus189, and you’re going to over-calculate your hand. You’re bullish on Occupation, Incorporated’s future but the famously pragmatic men of Wall Street have maxims about how bulls and bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bus189

            Yep, we are winning on all fronts. Victory doesn’t mean that all your problems go away.

            We are winning on the demographic front as well. We have removed Gaza from the equation and we have functionally partitioned the high-density Arab areas out of the West Bank. How many Arabs there are in Gaza or in Nablus makes little to no difference to us. We do not rely on their labor or taxes and we do not need anything from.

            In Israel the Jewish majority is a done deal as well as all recent demographics analysis have shown.

            Palestinian pragmatism can only lead them to eventually accept a pragmatic offer from us. Their only other choice is the status quo. Palestinian pragmatism comes in spurts. Two steps forward one step back. And all out of weakness. We’ll wait until the spurt that brings them over the finish line. And they do teach their people to hate Jews and to try to kill them. They think that this is a pragmatic approach to putting pressure on us. It is a sick and backwards approach that will fail them and they are learning that the hard way. If they don’t care about throwing their teenagers with knives at our soldiers then their teenagers will be gunned down and we will feel no compunction over it. No.. Our hand is pretty strong and theirs is very weak. We have lots of time and lots of guidance we can offer them on pragmatism.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “I have no idea what the combination of the words “functionally non-contiguous” means.”

            “we have functionally partitioned the high-density Arab areas out of the West Bank”

            Bus189, you play dumb in one post but trip yourself up in the next when you admit you know very well what functionally non-contiguous means. No one believes the bluster, Bus. Like any gangster you talk tough and you think coldly putting the screws to the Palestinians is a long term winning strategy the world will give you a pass on interminably. I think you are mistaken. But I think you are mistaken not just in the shallow, antisocial, gangsterish manner in which you are calculating this, but in the way Israel and its people lose their souls. Time will tell.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bus189

            Oh please. You asked me about whether the Palestinian state would be contiguous. I said yes. Then you started to try to wiggle out of it with the use of weasel words because the dictionary definition got in your way. And you still haven’t provided any definition of what is functionality contiguous except as a vague ideological reason to remove settlements that do not in fact get in the way of Palestinian contiguity in the dictionary sense of the word.

            Oh, the “world” will not “give us a pass”. Oh, and I am “mistaken” in pursuing a policy that has worked for a hundred years and has given my people back their homeland. Not on practical ground mind you, but on the basis of some vague ivory tower morality. Oh, and we are losing “our souls”. Sounds like religious preaching. God is watching you from the heavens and will bring his wrath upon you! You are doomed to eternal suffering in hell! Save your soul and cleanse yourself of your sins! Progressive Prophets of Doom who are usually atheists but talk about losing souls, dei ex machina, moral universes, and the like are hilarious.

            We shall see. I am sure Obama will do something meaningless on Israel/Palestine in the 70 days left he has in office, but grand speeches will be made and it will probably raise your hopes just to see them dashed again. I am sure you are used to the process already. And we will continue building our homeland until the Palestinians realize they have no options but to deal with us on our terms.

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            “And we will continue building our homeland until the Palestinians realize they have no options but to deal with us on our terms.”

            Actually, it’s going to be like this: We will build on our homeland and the zionists will realize they have no options but to negotiate with us in the way that is for the good of us all. Of course the change is going to be difficult for some of them to accept, but we are a patient people and will persevere. Our future and our children’s future depends on us cooperating with each other as equals, and that’s it.

            I already know you don’t care what I think. 🙂

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Again the persistent posing as both pedantic on the one hand and simple- and concrete-minded, on the other. Gustav does this with dictionary quoting of two words such as “racism” and “nation.” You do it with contiguous and functionally contiguous. As if you did not know that Ariel was placed where it was precisely to create non-contiguity. As if you did not know, you sweet innocent little lamb, that the entire occupation is one giant exercise in non-contiguity. You know, Breaking the Silence is the ultimate crap detector in Israeli society. The canary in the coal mine. The unimpeachable inside authority. Hence the intense hatred for them. Reading the pieces by Yuli Novak and Uri Weltmann are an antidote to all the claptrap about “evil progressives,” and Weltmann especially, about your cold calculation of your “consensus” and that you ones “in the consensus” are the ones who sees your country’s best interests and you are unified and those who disagree are weak minded or traitorous. You come away realizing, ok, these guys in Breaking the Silence are the sober ones, the ones who have freed themselves from the cult, and actually care about such things as decency and fairness and not just because they only “care” about “the Other,” that favorite contempt item of the right wing. Weltmann exposes why even if you don’t care about justice—and you radiate the fact that you don’t—you are missing the boat.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “the ones who have freed themselves from the cult, and actually care about such things as decency and fairness and not just because they only “care” about “the Other,”

            Show us a Palestinian movement that fits that description Ben?

            When you do, come back and preach to us about it then, but not before.

            Let me guess. Ben will come back and point at Abbas and his PLO. What a biased little clown Ben is.

            Reply to Comment
    9. Bus189

      Excellent. The Palestinians can enjoy the status quo. We will enjoy building our homeland. Everyone is happy. And when everyone is ready to resolve the conflict we will sit down around a table and then we will be happy to have the Palestinians run a secular and democratic state next to Israel with equality and freedom of religion, language and culture where the Jewish residents have autonomy with veto power over any major decisions. And Israel, the Jewish State, will be right there ready to help whenever the Palestinians stumble on their way to realizing this dream and to put them back on track. And of course the IDF will watch closely. And everyone will be happy.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        But of course the Palestinian citizens of Israel will get no such autonomy and veto power! But the Jewish “residents” of Palestine will get to camp out with “autonomy” and veto what they don’t like. Marvelous! The quintessential entitlement and arrogance of the Israeli crystallized into its essence. You’re a cartoon, Bus.

        http://www.newsweek.com/israels-aggressive-spying-us-mostly-hushed-250278
        …another former top intelligence official said. “You can’t embarrass an Israeli,” he said. “It’s just impossible to embarrass them. You catch them red-handed, and they shrug and say, ‘Okay now, anything else?’”

        Reply to Comment
        • AJew

          “You can’t embarrass an Israeli,” he said. “It’s just impossible to embarrass them.”

          Ben likes such generalised aspersions against his selected villains but try and embarrass Ben about it. He will immediately put his hand on his heart and swear that not a bone in his body is racist. Now read the UN definition on what constitutes racial discrimination:
          “Discrimination
          Racial discrimination as defined in international law is “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.” 1 ”

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism

          Prediction:

          Now Ben will refuse to read the above definition and feign ignorance by asking the question: since when is a nationality a race?

          Either that, or Ben will just ignore this post and will carry on regardless next time.

          Ben has no problems with ignoring any reality which interferes with his own idea of what reality should be 😯

          Reply to Comment
    10. Great contributions below. Has everyone forgotten Gaza?
      Free of settlements and supposedly part of the future Palestinian entity.

      Reply to Comment
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