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It's time for an international force in the West Bank

Since the IDF cannot and will not protect Palestinians from settlers, it’s time to turn over the West Bank to an international force.

An incident in the village of Asira Al-Qibiliya drew media attention on Saturday, since it was captured on B’Tselem’s cameras. A group of Yitzhar settlers tried to raid the village, set its fields on fire, and two of its people opened live fire against the villagers who gathered to defend themselves, severely wounding one of them. IDF gunmen present at the scene did nothing. The IDF Spokesman sputtered something (Hebrew) about “on the face of it, the video does not represent the entire incident.” Absent from the IDF Spokesman was any reference to the arrest of settlers trying to invade a Palestinian village and opening live fire.

The settlers, blindsided by the fact the incident was actually covered, came up with several arguments. They claimed (a) that the fire was started by the Palestinians; that (b) observant Jews won’t light fires on Saturday, and that (c) the raiders were in fact the settlement’s squad of guardsmen.

Dismantling these lies is important in order to expose the settlers’ culture of deceit. As Haggai wrote, an earlier video shows the settlers coming down the hill, and at the time there is no sign of fire. The main video shows the fire very near to the village, and a Palestinian fire-fighting truck. We are, then, asked to believe that as the settlers were coming down, some Palestinians crossed their way and lit a fire behind them. A likely story. If you buy it, I have a seaside house in Jerusalem going for very reasonable rates.

The second lie is easily disproved. Raids by Yitzhar settlers are rather common, particularly on Saturday, as the holy flock is infused with the “extra soul” of the holy day and dies of boredom. Just a year ago, the settlers of Yitzhar were documented (Hebrew) raiding Asira Al-Qibiliya, stoning the residents, and setting a vehicle on fire. Among the pogromchiks was also Yitzhak Shapira, the head of the Yitzhar yeshiva, who is a co-author of the infamous “Torat Ha’Melekh” tract, the manual on gentile-slaying. The settlers said at the time that you can break the sanctity of the Sabbath if you are in conflict with non-Jews. How… convenient. They probably did not think that someone will remember this excuse a year later, and that it’ll come back to bite their latest lie.

As for the third lie: I served in the territories, and I’ve never seen a rapid deployment squad with only three armed men, one of them brandishing a pistol. And just what is the squad doing outside the settlement? Going AWOL?

The settlers, however, are not the issue. The settlers of Yitzhar are a well-known raging bull. The issue is the IDF. Its presence in the West Bank is allowed only because it is an occupying power. As such it is obligated to defend the occupied population. It never managed that, and never tried too hard. Not only does it support the transferring of Jewish population to occupied territories, which is a war crime, and not only does it protect this population (yet another war crime), it consistently allows the settlers to harm persons which according to the laws of war are under its protection. And the laws of war, again, are the only pretext for the IDF’s presence in the West Bank.

Soldiers and settlers in South Hebron (Photo: B'Tselem)

Soldiers and settlers in Mitzpeh Yair, South Hebron. (Photo: B'Tselem)

And it’s not just Yitzhar: settlers attacked Palestinians yesterday near the outpost Mitzpeh Yair, and one of them stole and smashed a video camera held by a B’Tselem investigator and threatened him (Hebrew). IDF gunmen present, again, did not intervene. This has been going on for many years now. In late 2011, after settlers attacked an IDF base, IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai told military reporter Carmela Menashe – who asked him how would an IDF colonel respond to a stone attack coming not from a member of the Chosen People but from a Palestinian – thus: ” I assume, Carmela, that you wouldn’t expect the brigade commander to open fire on a Jew standing in front of him, I am certain you didn’t mean that.”

Which says all there is to say. The IDF can’t, by which I mean won’t, do its duty and protect the Palestinians from the invaders it brought into their midst. Its generals don’t even understand it’s their duty, their first duty, and that protecting the settlements comes last if at all. Given that, and given that the peace process is an unfunny joke, we should campaign for the replacement of the IDF in the West Bank by an international peace keeping force. The IDF has had 45 years to prove it is capable of doing its duty as an occupying force; it failed. It’s time to bring forward a new military force, which can defend the indigenous population from the predatory one.

Related:
WATCH: Settlers shoot Palestinian in head while soldiers stand by

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    COMMENTS

    1. Anonymous

      I’m so glad you’re concerned for the safety of the Palestinians. If only your worry for human life applied to all humans I might take this article a little more seriously.
      .
      But as long as we’re on topic, let’s consider the use of international peacekeepers. They worked so well in Somalia, Lebanon, Uganda, Sudan, Rwanda, Yugoslavia…shall I go on?

      Reply to Comment
    2. caden

      Who do your suggest, martians?

      Reply to Comment
    3. Jogortha

      Yossi has the credit of starting criticism with his own door step. I commend him for having the moral courage & integrity to do that. Maybe one day in the future, people like Yossi & the 972 mag crew will be saluted and recognized as much as we do Vaclav Havel & the other anti-communist dissidents.

      Reply to Comment
    4. annie

      thanks for the english version yossi, somuch easier than reading your blog with google translate!
      i very much agree with you about an international force.
      the Yitzhar settlers are well known freaks. anyone who defends them..well.. water seeks it’s own level. http://coteret.com/2009/12/06/primary-document-settlers-prep-to-terrorize-west-bank/
      btw, wrt the iof, i wrote a post over at MW called the messiah’s donkey. might want to check it out. thanks for everything.

      Reply to Comment
    5. I’m glad you’re clear that the settlers from Yitzhar are the fire-starters, Yossi. As you say, there are both empirical and ideological reasons for inferring this. In fact we have a whole series of incidents in which they claim that Palestinians took advantage of their Sabbath observances to start fires against them, and knowing as much as we do about Shapira (and Ginzburg), we can I think conclude that the whole series has been based on the same deception.
      .
      With regard to the point of your article, an international peacekeeping force in the West Bank would require a UNSCR, and that hardly seems like a realistic possibility. UNSCRs can be vetoed at the draft stage by any one of the five permanent members, and on Mar 27 2001 the US vetoed a resolution proposing exactly this. Since 2002, we can take it that any such resolution would be vetoed automatically by the US under point 4 of the so-called ‘Negroponte doctrine’: “A demand for improvement of the security situation as a condition for any call for a withdrawal of Israeli armed forces to positions they held before the Sep 2000 start of the second intifada.”

      Reply to Comment
    6. Danny

      Yes, time for an international body to take possession of the West Bank – perhaps a NATO-led force that will, at the very least, protect the native Palestinians from the yarmulked interlopers until the latter are removed as part of a peace deal between Israel and Palestine.

      Reply to Comment
    7. XYZ

      An international force could not work. There would be an explosion of violence and they would be caught in the middle and would be paralyzed by the various different interests of the countries they come from. This sort of thing was tried by the UNEF force in the Sinai from 1957-1967 which completely failed to keep the peace, and UNIFIL in Lebanon which sits around with nothing to do except write reports.
      No Israeli gov’t will agree to such a thing and the Palestinians wouldn’t benefit from the inevitable deterioration in the security situation that would inevitably follow their deployment.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Danny

      “No Israeli gov’t will agree to such a thing”
      .
      Here’s the thing – no one will ask the Israeli government to agree or disagree. Israel will be made to comply with a NATO resolution, just like Serbia was in 1998.
      .
      “Palestinians wouldn’t benefit from the inevitable deterioration in the security situation that would inevitably follow their deployment”
      .
      Well, they certainly haven’t benefited from the deployment of the “most moral army in the world” (TM). As YG says, time for an international body to come in and put some fear into the yarmulked hilltop hooligans.

      Reply to Comment
    9. palestinian

      I’m not sure about that but it’s definitely better than the most moral army worldwide (lol)and their cattle of settlers.

      Reply to Comment
    10. It’s true NATO can and will act without UNSC approval, nowadays, but only on US instructions. And short of a revolution in the US, I can’t imagine such instructions being issued.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Let’s imagine a hypothetical scenario in which all the countries neighbouring on Israel were under coordinated NATO/GCC control. It’s a drastic over-simplification, but the general trend is in that direction. In Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt, we see almost uniform efforts by the GCC (which means, basically, the Sauds) to bring their own Muslim Brotherhood based parties to power, whether by the proverbial ballot or bullet. And it does seem that NATO is behind this. In my opinion, the US has given up its attempts to control the region directly, and has decided to trust the Sauds to do it, which doesn’t say much for the US’s sense of global responsibility, but there it is. Now, the question becomes, does Israel have some sort of tacit understanding or secret deal with the Sauds, regarding the thorny question of the Palestinians?
      .
      Personally, the scales fell from my eyes regarding the real attitude of the Arab rulers to the Palestinians when I read the books of Said Aburish, who is a Palestinian himself, and spent decades in the murkiest depths of the region’s politics. His view is that none of them actually care about the Palestinians as such; they merely use the Palestinian issue as a populist diversion, while as far as possible directing the energies of their own refugee Palestinian communities elsewhere. Even Iran, I think, sees the Palestinian issue largely as a means of asserting its own Islamic credentials to lead the region. But my guess would be that there will be a behind the scenes deal between Israel and the Sauds regarding the ‘final solution of the Palestinian issue.’

      Reply to Comment
    12. XYZ

      This argument is leaving out a vital point. “Palestinian” makes sarcastic remarks about “the settlers”, but he doesn’t mention his suicide bombers (are the Palestinians “the most moral ‘victims’ in the world?). This who discussion focuses on the supposed crimes of the settlers, but what about the whole general security situation and the various armed militias in the Palestinian camp. Take for example, the recent deterioration in the situation in Jenin, which lead to the shoot-out at the house of the governer who then died as a result of the shock. What is an international force going to do about that. The main reason for the relative quiet in the West Bank (relative to the chaotic period that accompanied the suicide bomber offensive) is due to the IDF arresting terrorist operations BASED LARGELY ON INFORMATION GIVEN THEM BY THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY. Did you hear that?

      Reply to Comment
    13. XYZ

      Important to repeat RB’s comment:
      ———————————————–
      Personally, the scales fell from my eyes regarding the real attitude of the Arab rulers to the Palestinians when I read the books of Said Aburish, who is a Palestinian himself, and spent decades in the murkiest depths of the region’s politics. His view is that none of them actually care about the Palestinians as such; they merely use the Palestinian issue as a populist diversion, while as far as possible directing the energies of their own refugee Palestinian communities elsewhere. Even Iran, I think, sees the Palestinian issue largely as a means of asserting its own Islamic credentials to lead the region. But my guess would be that there will be a behind the scenes deal between Israel and the Sauds regarding the ‘final solution of the Palestinian issue.’
      ———————————————-

      There, in a nutshell, is the whole truth about the Arab-Israeli conflict. THE ARABS DON’T CARE ABOUT THE PALESTINIAN, just like they don’t care about the slaughter in Syria and just like they didn’t care about the slaughter in Iraq, post-Saddam ,or his terror state before his ouster, and just like they didn’t care about the civil wars in Lebanon and Algeria and Somalia.
      Why a society that claims that “all Arabs are brothers and all Muslims love one another” is for others to speculate. Remember when Somalia fell apart in the 1990’s? Everyone ran to the US for help, not the Arab League. That says it all.

      Reply to Comment
    14. XYZ, I didn’t say “the Arabs don’t care.” I was referring to “the real attitude of the Arab rulers” — the rulers, not the people. None of the rest of the paragraph makes sense if you ignore that.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Kolumn9

      An international force isn’t going to work. If it tries to support one side the other will shoot at it. A couple of dead soldiers later and their home countries are asking why they are there in the first place and how long they are going to stay. As such, it it will be stuck in its barracks most of the time afraid that either the Jews or the Arabs would attack it. It will be incapable of preventing terrorism into Israel, Arab violence against the settlers, or settler violence against Arabs. It would just watch from the sidelines as the Arabs and settlers kill each other. I can’t even imagine the credible mission parameters for such a force or the rules of engagement.
      .

      This is even before taking into account the fact that no such force is going to be put together for lack of both interest and capacity in the world. The US is the only country with the capacity to carry out such a mission and even that assumes Jordanian cooperation, and it seems rather unlikely that it would. Any plan for this that relies on the UN or NATO can be shelved since the US isn’t going to play along. It is also silly to expect an international force because an Arab got shot with a rubber bullet in Samaria when no such force is available when dozens of Arabs are getting killed daily in Syria. Campaign for an international force in Judea and Samaria all you want. Such a proposal is unlikely to find much support at the policy level because it is completely unworkable.
      .

      @rowan, you keep making the mistake of thinking that the Saudis and the MB are bedfellows. This is just ignorance of the facts. The MB hate the Saudis. The Saudis were allied with Mubarak. The Saudis are allied with King Abdullah in Jordan against the MB. The Saudis *might be* supplying the MB in Syria, but only as an anti-Iran action.

      Reply to Comment
    16. max

      Well, RB, there’s only one Arab country by which you could infer what would the ‘people’ do, and that’s Lebanon.
      The fate of the Palestinians in Lebanon is arguably the worst of all.
      Was this not in one of your books?

      Reply to Comment
    17. XYZ

      No, the Arab PEOPLE DON’T CARE. Now that the dictatorial regimes have been overthrown in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, we should be seeing mass demonstrations against Syria’s repression and weekly killing of hundreds of people. There aren’t any. In Paris and London, where political activism has a long history and there are large Muslim populations, we should be seeing mass demonstrations to stop the killing. We aren’t seeing any. This was true in the past there as well regarding the slaughter in Iraq, Algeria and Lebanon.

      Reply to Comment
    18. XYZ

      Regarding the claim that Israeli authorities turn a blind eye to supposed violence by the settlers, I can only say that the heads of all the security services and the prosecution office are all Leftists and not friendly at all to the settlers. Current IDF Chief of Staff Gans repeatedly stated that he views the settlers as the gretest threat to the existence of the state of Israel. The current police commander in Jerusalem, Niso Shaham reportedly said during the destruction of Gush Katif that his men should beat the heads in of the settlers and should treat the girls as whores (or something to that effect). The current IDF commander in Judea/Samaria is known to be unfriendly to the settlers. The state prosecutors office has indeed prosecuted many settlers for crimes plus put former President Moshe Katzav, every Left/Progressives favorite bad guy in prison.
      The head of the SHABAK had Ha’aretz reporting that “even though he is religious, he is okay”.
      All potential appointees to top security positions are vetted by MERETZ and the Left. None have known “right-wing” credentials, nor could they get to the top if they did. Moshe Ya’alon only shifted his opinions to the Right after he got to the top, and as a result his term was cut short.
      So I don’t see any room for a conspiracy to be “lenient” with the settlers.

      Reply to Comment
    19. K9, you will laugh at this, but in my opinion the MBs only pretend to hate the Sauds. They’re what we call in my conspiratorial neck of the woods, ‘deniable assets’. Here’s how it actually works, according to my own synopsis of Aburish’s statements in his book on Nasser.
      .
      In 1956, the British established contact with the Muslim Brotherhood aimed at overthrowing Nasser … The only success the British propaganda machine achieved was to entice the Muslim Brotherhood to direct broadcasts against Nasser from Cyprus and to accuse him of dragging Egypt “into an abyss.” This was the one thing Nasser feared most; he was convinced that Eden would use the Brotherhood’s network within Egypt to carry out a coup against him. But the nationalisation of the canal was so popular that even the Muslim Brotherhood suffered because it opposed it. Later the pro-Nasser Arab employees of British Broadcasting in Cyprus walked out in protest against London’s policies, and the station, which was financed by the Foreign Office and was not part of the BBC, had to run a reduced service … Later still, (but only briefly) the CIA funded a Muslim Brotherhood office in Geneva, the Islamic Center, which was entrusted with the planning of Nasser’s assassination, codenamed Operation SI/PONY. According to former CIA regional director James Critchfield, Kamal Adham, head of Saudi intelligence and Faisal’s brother-in-law, was a key player in this operation. SI/PONY was aborted at the last minute because the decision on how to assassinate Nasser kept changing. On one occasion the protagonist was arrested, a second would-be assassin failed, and the third gave up … The US prevailed on Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria to give refuge to the Muslim Brotherhood and on Saudi Arabia to give the Brotherhood money. Once secret, these facts about the Brotherhood were revealed in a television interview by Tariq Ramadan in Nov 2001. In fact, for thirty years the Brotherhood was the only legal political party in Jordan, and for most of this time it was the beneficiary of US support. Some of the militant Islamic groups operating in Jordan today go back to that period … It is well to note that in Africa, Israel could count on the support of the Brotherhood against Nasser (Dr Zaki Badawi, interview, London, Jun 2000).
      .
      In 1964, the Muslim Brotherhood issued a fatwa against Arab nationalism that condoned the idea of assassinating Nasser. A year later it almost succeeded. And at the outbreak of the 1967 War Egypt was still recovering from the most serious attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood to overthrow the Nasser government. There were numerous attempts, according to Heikal at least fourteen, including an ambitious one to blow up the Alexandria-Cairo train carrying Nasser. At one point during its campaign the Brotherhood did manage to blow up sixteen bridges. The Brotherhood went further and recruited members of Nasser’s Special Forces. Saudi Arabia acted as financial backer, and the Saudi government and the CIA were cosponsors of the Brotherhood and other Islamists. Saudi Arabia managed to smuggle light arms through the Sudan to the Brotherhood’s Special Apparatus. The US-Islamist alliance created an odd situation which was to repeat itself in later US dealings with Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. Then as now the Americans were acting against Arab leaders who exploited popular Islam against the political Islam backed by the House of Saud, the CIA, and the State Department. Even with Qutb’s books and other writings available to everybody and advocating an unmistakably anti-American Islam, the Americans saw Nasser as more immediately dangerous to their Middle East position and so backed the Islamists against him. The same shortsightedness led the Americans to support Osama bin Laden years later. By the end of the 1960s, US financial aid to the Brotherhood had reached unprecedented levels, with tens of millions of dollars transferred into the Swiss bank account of Said Ramadan, the Brotherhood’s supreme guide. Saudi Arabia joined the US in this policy, and King Hussein of Jordan succumbed to American pressure and provided the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood with logistical support, which included giving them diplomatic passports … Feisal of Saudi Arabia and Hussein of Jordan cooperated more with, and contributed more toward the growth of Islamic fundamentalism than any other leaders in modern Arab history.

      Reply to Comment
    20. caden

      I reiterate, an impartial peace keeping force would be made up of who, exactly

      Reply to Comment
    21. max

      Earlier, we’ve established that success is an indication of conspiracy. We now move to the next level in the initiation: a fight against something reveals the underlying extreme support.
      Which – come to think of it – fits well with and reinforces a common claim: not only did the Jewish state of Israel invent the Palestinian people, it is (behind the scene) their strongest supporter

      Reply to Comment
    22. Very droll, Max. But this follows exactly the same pattern:
      .
      Hamas found its beginnings in the misguided Israeli effort to encourage the rise of a religious alternative that would undermine the popularity of the PLO and Yasir Arafat. The policy was developed in the late 1970s. In addition to hoping to turn the Palestinian masses away from Arafat and the PLO, the Likud leadership believed they could achieve a workable alliance with Islamic, anti-Arafat forces that would also extend Israel’s control over the occupied territories. At the time, the Islamicization of the Palestinian leadership was still very much in its infancy. Islamic Palestinian leaders were eager to accept Israel’s financial backing and an easing on their activities. In 1978, Begin’s government approved an application from a 42-year old quadriplegic religious leader in the Gaza Strip, Sheik Ahmad Yassin, to license his humanitarian organization, the Islamic Association. Under Begin and later Shamir, Israel created, funded and controlled the “Village Leagues,” a system of local councils managed by Palestinians who were hand-picked by Israel to run local city and village administrations. The plan was devised by Sharon, who was Israel’s Defense Minister. Over the objections of many Palestinian Islamic leaders, including the Commissioner of the Muslim Waqf in the Gaza Strip, Rafat Abu Shaban, Israel registered the newly-formed “Islamic Association” which Yassin founded. Israel’s Likud government permitted Yassin to launch a newspaper and to set up charitable fundraising organizations. With funding Yassin raised and with Israeli funds directed through the Village Leagues, the Islamic Association built new mosques, new schools, hospitals and medical clinics. The group established social service and humanitarian agencies and even job creation venues.
      .
      Yassin’s followers won significant influence over the Village Leagues system, which was intended to undermine the PLO’s influence and strengthen the hand of “local leaders” that Likud believed could be co-opted politically. The “Islamic Association” was a shadow organization and prodigy of the Moslem Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hasan al-Bana. The group created a Palestinian branch in the 1930s but waged a mainly rhetorical battle against oppression in the Arab World. Yassin adopted the Moslem Brotherhoods approach toward a slow Islamicization of the region. Yassin and the Islamic Association benefited from a system of Israeli controlled “Village Leagues,” sometimes called Village Councils. The Village Leagues where largely funded by Israel. But the Islamic Association was allowed to raise tens of millions more each year from supportive Arab regimes angry with Arafat. The creation of the Village Leagues was Israel’s first effort to encourage an alternative to the PLO. Sheik Yassin used the money to operate a network of schools, medical clinics, social service agencies, religious institutions and provide direct services to the poverty-stricken Palestinian population. Israel saw benefits in the leagues which became a breeding ground for Palestinian collaborators who were blackmailed or bribed into reporting on the activities of other Palestinians. Many of them held positions of leadership in the Village Leagues and were friendly to Israel. The Israeli military gave the League members protection and widespread powers. As many as 200 of the league members were given weapons training by Israel. Israel’s Shin Bet recruited paid informers from this network and Israeli sources estimated the number of informants were in the thousands.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Danny

      “Current IDF Chief of Staff Gans repeatedly stated that he views the settlers as the gretest threat to the existence of the state of Israel”
      .
      Where did you read that? Can you send a link? I’ve never heard or read anything like that by Ganz. While he’s not a rabid, foam-at-the-mouth rightist, he’s certainly no leftist. According to things he’s said in the past, I peg him at the moderate rightist camp (he’d probably be comfortable sitting in the current government).

      Reply to Comment
    24. Jack

      Israel have rejected an army here. Why?
      Then they cannot keep annexing land and wage wars against west bank palestinians. However I would urge a international force between Israel and Gaza.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Kolumn9

      RB, the times change, the players shift. Nasser was the major enemy of the Saudis, so they provided support to anyone who was his enemy. The same logic applied for the Americans in Afghanistan, and applies for the Saudis in Syria now. Mubarak was a staunch Saudi ally and would have continued to be in power if he was more ruthless. The Saudis would have supported any and all actions to that effect.
      .

      The MB are ideologically against the Saudis and books by Qutb are banned in SA. There is no room in MB’s Caliphate for kings and princes. The Saudis know this and they have a simple and consistent playbook. Support your friends, buy off your enemies if possible, if that is not possible buy and supply their enemies. MB is a heavily ideological and centralized organization but without a single head or tiny leading group that can be bought off. That leaves the Saudis with just one option and they are probably supplying every anti-MB organization with money right now.
      .

      There is no need to look for conspiracies where simpler explanations explain the world.

      Reply to Comment
    26. aristeides

      Here we are going round and round again and always coming back to the same sticking point – nothing can be done to deter/thwart/punish Israeli crimes because the US won’t allow it.

      .
      Clearly, the real problem lies in the US, and in the forces that won’t allow the US to confront Israel. In short, the Lobby. The real problem: the Lobby. The real task: the Lobby.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Kolumn9

      Max, I like where your logic is going. Israeli leftist Zionists invented the Palestinian identity when they realized that there was no ability to transfer the Arabs and they were concerned about the demographic threat if Arabs with no national identity demanded citizenship. Now, by attaching themselves to the two state for two nations solution they can ensure Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state. Isn’t this practically the conventional thinking on 972? Yatta yatta yatta.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Kolumn9

      Aristeides thinks that without any pro-Israel lobby the US would be onboard with supporting an international force to Judea&Samaria. Hahahaha. It wouldn’t happen because the US, nor any other country cares enough to do so. It is not in the national interest of any country to waste money on such a thankless mission that is more likely to end in casualties than any demonstrable success. You think a politician is going to get up and say ‘we should send the marines to go protect Arabs from getting shot with rubber bullets by Jews and leave them there to get shot at by both sides forever because the two sides cant resolve the dispute’. Hahahaha. You people are hilarious.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Jack

      Kolumn9,
      If it wasnt for the lobby Israel would have been economically sanctioned back in the 60s. And if Israel wouldnt have respected the sanctions it would probably have been invaded some years later.

      Reply to Comment
    30. As far as I know, it would be the first time that a nuclear power would be treated as an irresponsible child. Yossi is right of course, but it’s too late. Unless the Israeli population will take a moral stance on the matter of occupation, racism, and ethnic cleansing, there is no hope for change. Zionism has dug a hole in which the best will perish along with the worst.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Alex

      Yossi, quit this charade of pretending that the Arabs make the same distinction of West Bank vs Israel that you do. You know they don’t. They never have and they never will. It’s all Arab land to them and deep down you know it better than most, I think.

      Come back home to your tradition. Our forefathers prayed to merely set foot on the land we call home. We are the realization of those prayers and you are the heir to that incredible legacy. Please, find somewhere to spend this Shabbat and Shavuot whether with family or friends.

      Much love,
      Alex

      Reply to Comment
    32. Shlomo Krol

      No, the international force is not what is needed in Palestine. What is needed is the removal of the illegal settlements, dismantling apartheid and occupation. It’s not the task of the international force to enforce law in Palestine, but of the Palestinian police force.

      Reply to Comment
    33. I’m not sure if people are grasping my argument. We know that the MBs and Hamas were originally funded by the US and Israel, respectively. At some subsequent point in time, we are told, they turned against their masters and became their newest, deadliest enemies. Even the very outspoken Said Aburish contributes to this legend, by calling the original US funding of the MBs a “mistake,” which he says the US repeated with bin Laden in Afghanistan. But the foremost purveyor of this legend is Robert Dreyfuss, in “The Devil’s Game.” One comes away from such books with a sense of irony: if only they had known, etc. But this is what, to give another piece of jargon, is called “a limited hang-out.” It fosters the assumption that even though, in the 1950s, 60s or 70s, these groups were only pretending to be our enemies, now they really are. But in my opinion, nothing has changed. They’re still the same deniable assets they were forty, fifty or sixty years ago. That’s why Sharon gave Gaza to them.

      Reply to Comment
    34. un2here

      If Israel is in the wrong – which after all is what the article is implying – then an impartial peace keeping force would be equally wrong.

      Impartiality is fine up to the point when you reach a conclusion, but after that you’ll need to take action according to your findings – and I think it is safe to say that that point has been reached by a margin by now.

      A hypothetical peace keeping force would therefore need to side with the Palestinians against the rogue state of Israel who is clearly in the wrong. Anything else would be siding with war criminals

      Reply to Comment
    35. Yossi’s inferences on military events are excellent, and I see no reason to disagree with his analysis of the present event.
      .
      Call for an international force is purely rhetorical, another debating point in an endless debate.
      .
      There is one minor lever: “settlers attacked Palestinians yesterday near the outpost Mitzpeh Yair, and one of them stole and smashed a video camera held by a B’Tselem investigator.” If the investigator is an Israeli citizen (preferably Jewish) then the actors were both Israeli citizens under Israeli jurisdiction. The settlers want, need full Israeli citizenship, and that is their long term weak point. Events between two Israeli citizens should be talked as if both citizens import Israeli law into the Bank. At first, this tactic will fail. Then if will fail somemore. Then a lot more.
      .
      Until is doesn’t.
      .
      Long term is all you have right now.

      Reply to Comment
    36. XYZ

      This piece reminds me of the famous joke they made about Mordechai Kaplan, founder of the Reconstructionist Movement of Judaism which is firmly in the Left/Progressive camp (Rabbis Brian Walt and Brant Rosen, both Reconstructionists, are among the premier Israel bashers in the Jewish community today).
      The joke goes like this:
      “Kaplan believes that the Jews are a divinely chosen people whose heavenly dictated mission to the world is to teach everyone that there is no Deity and the Jews are no different than anyone else.”
      Gurvitz and others are frustrated and tormented that the world hasn’t come in and done what they want…i.e. send an international force to patrol the West Bank or better, to push Israel out of the territory. Actually, thank Heaven, the situation in the West Bank is quiet, there are few incidents like the one described in this thread. So is the world really going to dispatch thosands of troops and expend hundreds of millions of dollars from countries in a world-wide recession to make Gurvitz and some others here happy? The Jewish Left-Progressives feel like people in a Twilight Zone episode where they see a great danger but no one else sees it or listens to them. The Left-Progressives feel they are the moral arbiters of the world, they define what is good and evil and they can’t understand why the rest of the world, which isn’t really interested in the Arab-Israeli conflict (sure, everyone would be happy with a compromise peace agreement, but everyone also realizes this is not possible and so accept the conflict as one of those chronic problems that has no solution except to simply tough it out). They are baffled why the world doesn’t accept them as the prophets of our time.
      As I said, there is great frustration on the part of these Jewish Left/Progressives prophets of rage….look at how much time Silverstein, Phil Weiss, MJ Rosenberg, Brant Rosen and others spend worrying about the situation here. It seems to have taken over their lives but they are in reality outside the mainstream of life which doesn’t share the obsessions. They have my sympathy.

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    37. Richard SM

      An international force would be a vast improvement over the present situation, not only protecting the indigenous population from attacks, but safeguarding against any outbreak of violence as a desirable pre-requisite to talks.

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    38. SHLOMO KROL

      UN2HERE,

      The way of thinking in categories of “right” vs. “wrong”, “good guys” vs. “bad guys” is hm…. wrong. The reality is more complicated than this. There are no good guys and bad guys in this conflict, there are two peoples living in one land, which they unable to neither share nor divide. And there is a real tragedy of two nations and of millions of people.

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    39. I’ve read Kaplan’s “Judaism as a Civilization” (1934), and as far as I recall, Kaplan didn’t believe the Jews were “divinely chosen” at all. The most one could say would be that he saw the Jews in a sub-Hegelian way as having been destined by “the cunning of history” (not a personal force) to be ethical torch-bearers for mankind at large. In one of his final books, he defined Judaism as a condition of “ethical nationhood.”

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    40. Piotr Berman

      Obviously, the composition of alternate security force for West Bank is an issue. The most obvious candidate is Palestinian Authority, perhaps mixed patrols, squads with 1/2 members provided by IDF and 1/2 members provided by PA.

      Then there is a set of issues that in USA would be called “zoning regulations”, who is allowed to built what and where. By many accounts, IDF is doing a terrible job. I would propose to replace them with an interim authority staffed by members of some national bureaucracies with the best transparency records, like Finland and Denmark.

      Similarly, to resolve command conflicts for joint IDF/PA force one could add supervisory command with some small military police (say, 1000 people) from countries with best record in respect of avoiding atrocities in hard situations. Say, New Zealand, Fiji and Nepal (or Mongols? no atrocities in the last 700 years).

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    41. un2here

      SHLOMO KROL, it is true that things have gotten increasingly complicated and probably will get even worse before all is said and done – but how that is supposed to save your sorry ass is beyond me. Regarding the West Bank, when I state that “Israel is clearly in the wrong” it is a statement with the hammering weight of the European Union behind it. You have been weighed and the verdict is out. You are of course entitled to an alternate opinion and to ignore every bit of inconvenient advice coming from us, but the systematic destruction of any possibility for establishing the twostate solution means that at the end of the day there will be one state and one state only – and it will not be Jewish.

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    42. Kolumn9

      RB, your argument isn’t so hard to understand, it just simplistically chooses to avoid the fact that the world changes, the players change, and the game changes. That the Americans supplied weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan through Pakistan’s ISI when it was fighting the Soviets doesn’t mean that the US still supports the Taliban when it is blowing up American and other soldiers on the roads. Things change. Perceptions of threats change. Until the early 1990s the main threat considered by the West was the Soviet Union and socialism. For Israel that correspondingly was the PLO, which functioned as a Soviet proxy. Supplying the enemies of the Soviets or the PLO made sense regardless of their ideologies. It doesn’t make sense to support the same people when they are attacking your allies, your soldiers, or blowing up your buses and restaurants.
      .

      Again, your argument is too conspiratorial to make sense. Considering that the US also provided some materials in Afghanistan to al-Qaeda associated elements it would suggest that al-Qaeda still works for the US government and did so on 9/11. Feel free to espouse such a viewpoint, but I will not continue this discussion if you go off into truther land.
      .

      Sharon gave up Gaza because it is a dump that could not be won demographically, but could be isolated permanently and mostly ignored. It has no religious, strategic or sentimental value. Also, he didn’t give it up to Hamas, but to the PA. Hamas won elections and took power in Gaza a year later. Had Sharon been in power the Palestinian elections in 2006 would have probably not taken place as he was unwilling to allow voting in East Jerusalem, which Fatah was going to use to avoid having elections. Permission to vote in East Jerusalem was granted after Sharon went into a coma. Feel free to look at the dates. So you are reaching here…

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    43. aristeides

      Amazing – insight from K9! “Things change. Perceptions of threats change.”

      .
      Indeed they do. For too many years, Israel was perceived, falsely of course, as a heroic state fighting the righteous fight against terrorist Arabs. But things change, and now the world is perceiving more clearly that Israel is an oppressive occupying power, illegally and by force colonizing land to which it has no right.

      .
      More and more, Israel is perceived these days as a major threat to world peace. One of these days, the world will act against it.

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    44. Kolumn9

      It is amazing to me that after the repeated failures of international forces to deal with conflicts people still think they are good for something.
      .

      Get this through your heads. The primary goal of politicians is to get reelected. The primary goal of any force sent on one of these missions is to protect itself. The popularity of foreign deployments goes down over time, especially where the force does not succeed in its primary mission (staying alive) and also in its purported mission. Politicians do not get reelected for sending their forces to die for reasons that can’t be justified on the basis of national security. The only countries that believe their national security is dependent on what happens in the West Bank are those that the Israelis would fight a war to keep out of it. Do you really expect pictures to be popular of international forces using bulldozers to take down houses with crying children next to them? How would such forces justify taking casualties in the process of bulldozing houses?
      .

      This is why settlements work as facts on the ground. They make such proposals impractical. Whether anyone likes it or not, the settlements are there and there they will stay. Any attempt by anyone to even consider sending forces to deal with Palestinian/Settler tensions requires some semblance of partition, which is impossible without taking into account the real situation on the ground, something that for example, the UN refuses to do. It would rather hide behind meaningless words.
      .

      But, its okay. Odds are eventually there is going to be a partition on the ground anyway. It will eventually be carried out unilaterally by the Israelis. The international community can rush to send forces to patrol the new partition lines when that happens, like they clearly are rushing to send forces to Gaza. In the meantime, read some history and international relations theory.

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    45. “It would suggest that al-Qaeda still works for the US government and did so on 9/11. Feel free to espouse such a viewpoint, but I will not continue this discussion if you go off into truther land.”
      .
      Truther land… what a lovely phrase. OK, I shall espouse my viewpoint, and because you won’t continue the discussion, I won’t have to respond to you. Suits me just fine.

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    46. Kolumn9

      Ah, there it is from Aristeides. That threat of the future ‘one day’ when all the wrongs of the world as the Left sees it will be set right. That day is certainly taking its while, but I know that a belief in that day is more a matter of faith then realism, and you gotta have faith. Does that day come before or after the imminent world revolution?
      .

      Then, there is conscious world that perceives Israel as this or that and acts accordingly. Tell me, what does this personified world of yours wear? Is it male or female? Does it wear a tiny miniskirt or a hijab? A soldier’s uniform or a banker’s suit? Does it cry at night because people don’t take it seriously?

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    47. I’m beginning to form the impression that there is a man from the Shin Bet who visits left-wing editors in Israel and says to them: “You know that little left-wing rag of yours? We’re going to let you keep it open, because we believe in free speech, but we’re going to overload your sympathisers two to one with our own frank opinions about your worthless commie fag ideology, how does that grab you, chaver?”

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    48. Kolumn9

      RB, Yep, every comment you don’t like is here because of a giant conspiracy by unseen forces. Perhaps such comments are even automated at this point by an initiative run by the NSA, funded by the Rothschilds and the Bin Ladens. And you are thinking small, it isn’t just this website, but every site you choose to look at that has opinions you don’t like.
      .

      Want to give me a Turing test?

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    49. Nothing “unseen” about them, K9. It’s just that you wear blinkers.

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    50. caden

      Kolumn9, I wish Rowan would let us know who was on the grassy knoll in Dallas. Now that would be news. On the other hand we all know who really pulls the strings, don’t we.

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