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Searching for hope on days of unconscionable tragedy

The only thing that can stop the killing, that can turn desperate people from violence, that can stop the creation of new orphans, is hope. Unfortunately, it’s nowhere to be found.

File photo of Jewish Israelis mourning at a funeral for murder victims. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

File photo of Jewish Israelis mourning at a funeral for murder victims. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The most tragic part about the violence that strikes civilians in Israel and Palestine is that it is largely preventable. That is not to say that the victims are in any way to blame for their own murders — of course not. But political violence is a direct result of the political conflict, of the occupation, incitement on both sides, and an utter lack of vision being offered to both Israelis and Palestinians.

There is no justifying the murder of four innocent people. Non-combatants. Parents. Civilians. Human beings. It might make those of us living inside the Green Line feel safer to point out that all four people murdered in the past 48 hours were killed on occupied land, but that is not the reason they were killed. They were killed because they are Israeli Jews, regardless of who they were as individuals. Likewise, the three members of the Dawabshe family, burned alive in their own home as they slept, were murdered not because of who they were as human beings, but because they were Palestinian.

Being murdered because of your nationality, or your ethnicity or religion is the same thing as being killed completely at random. And random violence is terrifying. Even more terrifying is the snowball effect random nationalist violence tends to have in Israel and Palestine. Price tag. Cycle of violence. Revenge attacks. Call it what you will.

Revenge attacks are a misnomer, however, because revenge is not really being sought on behalf of the victims, nor is it directed at the actual sources of violence. Revenge attacks in both Israel and Palestine erase the individual value and worth of each and every one of us as human beings. There are no human beings when it comes to revenge, there are only Jews and Palestinians. Revenge attacks don’t seek justice. They aim to satiate a national appetite for blood, to inflict pain.

Relatives of 18-month-old Palestinian boy Ali Dawabshe, who was killed along with his mother and father when Jewish terrorists set their home on fire, mourn next to his body during his funeral in the West Bank village of Duma, July 31, 2015. (Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Relatives of 18-month-old Ali Dawabshe, who was killed along with his mother and father when Jewish terrorists set their home on fire, mourn next to his body during his funeral in the West Bank village of Duma, July 31, 2015. (Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

So we are left with orphaned children, widowed husbands and wives, parents burying their children. Shouldn’t that pain be enough to stop everything we’ve been doing up until now and try everything under the sun to prevent the next death? Do we really believe that by forcing the “other” to suffer more than we have, that we can actually suffer less ourselves? Do we really believe that vengeance can free us of our pain?

There is no magic pill to stem the spilling of innocent blood of Israelis and Palestinians. Diplomacy has failed. Popular protest movements have resulted in momentarily impressive, but ultimately inconsequential changes. It is easy to argue that violence can be effective, but in the case of Israel and Palestine, it has done nothing but perpetuate suffering, injustice, and more violence.

The only thing that can stop the killing, that can turn desperate people from violence, that can stop the creation of new orphans, is hope. Hope will come from a vision for a better future, a leader or movement convincing enough to make people invest in that vision, and a viable pathway for securing it. None of those elements exist in either Israel or Palestine at the moment. One nation is ruled by a virtual monarch too scared to embark upon a new path. The other is ruled by a man so “visionary” that he has convinced himself there is nothing better to seek for his people.

The only plausible catalyst for a positive, paradigm-shifting change at this point is external pressure. Israel, the party with the most agency to create change, should it desire, has little incentive to alter the way it perceives its cost-benefit analysis. In the current situation, even as random political violence seems intolerable, the risks and sacrifices necessary for embarking upon a just peace don’t appear worthwhile to the majority of the public. The comfort of power and relative stability provided by the status quo of occupation simply feels safer for most Israelis than the risks inherent in change.

What will ultimately change Israel’s calculus so that it chooses to end the occupation? So that it chooses to do its part in ending the cycle of violence? One can only hope that the catalyst is diplomatic and economic pressure, and not more unspeakable violence.

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    1. andrew wirth

      It is true that the only thing that can stop the killing is hope and a vision for a better future, which is lacking in both Israeli and Palestinian societies. “One nation is ruled by a virtual monarch too scared to embark upon a new path. The other is ruled by a man so visionary that he is certain there is nothing better to seek for his people.”
      However, if the problem is a lack of hope, it is, as you point out, lacking on both sides. Palestinians lack the hope that a path of negotiation will ever lead to a viable, genuinely independent Palestinian state. That is why some resort to violence. Israelis lack the hope that the creation of a Palestinian state, particularly in the current chaos in the region, is compatible with their future security. That is why they have little incentive to alter their cost-benefit analyses. That is why they vote for leaders who wont take risks. External pressure might force Israel’s hand but it wont do so via creating hope – in fact, unilateral pressure on Israeli is more likely to destroy the sort of hope that will change voting patterns.

      So by all means advocate for measures that increase hope. If that requires outside pressure, let it be pressure on both sides to take the steps needed to foster hope on the other side. Palestinians are not without “agency” to create the sorts of changes that will encourage Israelis to take risks and depose their “monarch”.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Well said, Andrew.

        Reply to Comment
      • Eliza

        Andrew: ‘Hope’ may be necessary but it is not sufficient.

        ‘Hope’ won’t spring spontaneously from the air; the Palestinians have little cause to entertain notions of ‘hope’ whether they be in Gaza, the W/B, EJ or surrounding refugee camps. They have little power – their greatest asset has been their capacity to survive nearly 50 years of occupation.

        For the moment Israeli Jews seem pretty comfortable – as Omar-Man points out they have ‘the comfort of power and relative stability provided by the status quo of occupation’.

        We have all heard the line about Israelis needing to to feel safe to take ‘risks for peace’ but when Israelis do feel safe, they have shown that, in the main, they ignore the Palestinians and get busy with settlements. Jewish Israelis will only begin to think seriously about ending the occupation when the pain of continuing the occupation exceeds that of ending it. Hopefully, this pain will be primarily economic and diplomatic isolation.

        In other words, things just have to get worse for Israeli Jews (and we all know that it and when this happens, Palestinian deaths and suffering will skyrocket) until there is a realisation that maintaining the status quo is not possible and not in Israel’s interest. Hope really only comes into its own, when we are at rock bottom – because there really becomes no other choice.

        Reply to Comment
    2. andrew wirth

      Eliza, are you suggesting that communities (Jewish or otherwise) do not need to feel safe in order to take security risks, or that withdrawing Israel’s security measures from the West Bank does not represent a risk?

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        No, I don’t think so. What I think Eliza is saying is that “security” and “taking risks” has been for too long now a ruse employed by the settlement establishment. This is clear in the inevitable response of that establishment. They “mourn” with a “build baby build!” grin on their face, the very next day whooping and hollering at the site of the murder, chanting for more settlements and the leaders who do their bidding and translate their orders into popular terms to get the whole Jewish population behind it like Netanyahu and Bennet and Shaked can hardly contain their glee and rush to pin the blame on, you guessed it, Abu Mazen, for “incitement”–the guy who is actually their faithful security contractor in the West Bank. It’s unbelievable the sheer hypocrisy. I think what Eliza is saying is that the risk of the settlements clearly outweighs the risk of withdrawing them to any sane person. So it’s a we want our cake and eat it to whining about “security.” No one not brainwashed believes it anymore. Which brings us to the heart of what Eliza is saying: “We have all heard the line about Israelis needing to to feel safe to take ‘risks for peace’ but when Israelis do feel safe, they have shown that, in the main, they ignore the Palestinians and get busy with settlements.” The Israelis’ past behavior simply undermines their claims about “security.” When the Israelis feel safe they in the main feel smug and content or complacent and say “what’s the problem? Yawn. Some day it will all work out but meanwhile the status quo is excellent.” And sleepily blink their eyes and turn on the latest cooking show on TV. Then, depending on their political orientation, in the main it’s either “What a lovely little occupation we have” or “What occupation?”

        Eliza, obviously I’ve taken the liberty of saying what I think you are saying or interpreted what you said. But of course I’m saying it not you. If in any way I’ve gotten you wrong please correct me. As you know the nationalist banshees will be here any minute now to “correct” me, but I’ll look out for any criticisms from you so as to have a meaningful conversation not a propaganda fest.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          BEN:”If in any way I’ve gotten you wrong please correct me.”

          As usual, Benny, you got EVERYTHIG wrong. Where to begin?

          1. The chronology.

          2. Cause and effect

          3. History.

          4. The scope.

          You and Eliza ignore all of that and you have only an eye on what your Palestinian Arabs need and want. You ignore everything that we need and want. Biased little people like you are full of hatred and you will never bring about peace. All you do is pour oil on the fire because to you, it is all just a big game. You are like pyromaniacs entertaining yourselves at other people’s expense (both us and the Palestinian Arabs).

          The only people who have a hope of bringing peace to this troubled region are sober people like Andrew.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ‘Hope’ may be necessary but it is not sufficient.

            Reply to Comment
        • Jason Kidd

          Ben can’t help himself from his desire to put words in other people’s mouth (of course they always match his view and include such hyperbole and unchecked emotion that are unique to Ben’s signature). A narcissist doing typical things like telling others that his way is the only way. Pathetic and the outsized voice Ben is detrimental to 972 and its readership community.

          Reply to Comment
        • Eliza

          Ben: Thanks – and I basically agree with all you say.

          But in a way (and in answer to Andrew’s question) I do actually think that ‘communities’ probably do not to feel at least a little bit unsafe for there to be any incentive to take risks. Leaving aside the fact that no-one can guarantee absolute safety or security, if we feel safe enough, just why would we want to rock the boat; why would we even see a need for change.

          IMO its only when Jewish Israelis actually do feel unsafe enough, only when their sense of security within the status quo is seriously threatened, that enough of them will want to seek a just resolution of the I/P conflict. Until then, it will be business as usual.

          I agree when you say that the purported sense of insecurity is used by Israelis to push for more settlements, almost sometimes as a punishment. But, there must be many Israelis living within the Green Line who don’t seriously think about Palestinians at all; for whom just the daily grind of living and paying bills etc is all they think about (as it is for most of us most of the time) – if there is no Palestinian protest, if Palestinians accept their current fate in good grace and rely on hope, and hope alone, then why would most Jewish Israelis even know that there is a bit of a problem? The Palestinians will just be totally ignored.

          We all feel the need to disown violence but when have those with power and privilege, even voluntarily given it up without some violence, or at least until they feel threatened. Then they come out with the platitudes about justice and being fine fellows who believe in human rights and justice etc – but generally not before. The best we can hope for is the violence Israel needs to come to its senses is confined to economic boycott and diplomatic isolation.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Eliza too ignores history. She shuts her eyes and blocks her ears she sees only what she wants to see and hears only what she wants to hear…

            Why would we want to compromise she asks (with a straight face) if we feel secure? Funny thing is historically when we compromised we ended up less secure not more secure. Ehud Barak’s peace offer in 2000 begot us the intifada. Sharon withdrew 10,000 of our people from Gaza but instead of some good gesture in return, the rocket fire from Gaza escalated. Take even Oslo, Rabin certainly took political risks at home to bring it about but instead of reduction in terrorism, terror escalated after the Oslo deal was signed. Net result, we now have Netanyahu in government.

            Given that history, what is Eliza’s answer? She wants to increase our feelings of insecurity. Fine then. We have now been conditioned how to react to insecurity. We found that only strong governments like Netanyahu lessen our insecurity and that appeasement does not pay. So, feel free and try to make us insecure Eliza. But whatever happens never try and alter the attitude of your darling Palestinian Arabs. Never under any circumstances try to get THEM to compromise (sarcasm).

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            And one more thing, Eliza. Please don’t over-rate the effectiveness of instilling insecurity in people as a means of inducing them to do what you want them to do.

            Ya don’t believe me? Then you might want to look at how the people of London reacted to the blitz. Did they surrender? Why do you think that we will be different? Do you think we are an inferior stock?

            Reply to Comment
    3. Ben

      Michael Omer-Mann is right that external pressure is the only way. There *is* actually a vision, though. Articulated by one of your best. A Zionist vision no less. But no one is listening to him. And one of your extremists tried to kill him. This is an entirely clear, reasonable, learned, well-articulated vision. By a distinguished expert on fascism. Who has lived through the entire Israeli experience from start to finish. Yes, it will take external pressure to realize it. Little doubt about it.

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.678491

      Here is proof that Zionism can achieve its goals within the Green Line

      Ze’ev Sternhell

      “…Nearly 50 years have passed since then, and the Jewish national movement has reached a dead end. Even now, the center-left, which inherited the intellectual haplessness of the Labor Party, is incapable of putting forward an ideological alternative to the settlement project. Which Knesset member from Zionist Union (never mind Yesh Atid) would be ready to sign a declaration to the effect that what was legitimate before the War of Independence, because it was necessary, ceased to be so afterward, and therefore the settlements are not only illegal, they are also illegitimate and immoral and do not meet any principled criterion, because there is no need for them and they make no contribution to the future of the Jewish people?
      And which of them would be ready to work concretely to disarm this lethal time bomb? Which of them would adopt the liberal approach holding that the historic rights of the Jewish people over the Land of Israel do not take precedence over the human rights of the Palestinians, and therefore the country must be divided fairly? And who will take it upon himself to say that the Jewish state is anchored not in the Bible, but also in the natural right of human beings to be their own masters, and that this right, being universal, applies equally to the Palestinians?

      For the time has come to recognize that the key to the future lies not in history and that the revelation at Sinai can dictate norms of behavior to a tribe but not to a liberal, open society that enshrines human rights.

      Reason alone can mark the way. And reason enjoins us to recognize that the operation to conquer the land ended in 1949, and that the partition of the country that was achieved at the end of the War of Independence must constitute the final separation. Only on that basis will we be able to shape the future. Anyone who does not accept that Zionism was an operation to liberate a people and not to liberate sacred stones, a rational political act and not a messianic eruption, will condemn Israel to degeneration, if not to annihilation in a bi-national state, or, in other words, to a permanent civil war. Today’s Jerusalem is a good example of what can be expected in the future.

      For a center-left bloc to emerge that has a chance to lead the society, it must build itself around an explicit decision: that Israel has no territorial claims beyond the Green Line.

      Naturally, this approach requires symmetry and mutuality from the Palestinian side: The Green Line is the final border, so there will be no Jewish settlement in the West Bank, and also no Palestinian return to within the borders of the State of Israel. Border modifications can be entertained; they are a matter for negotiations about peace and about land swaps, but they are not the determining principle…”

      —————-

      There are other, less Zionist and non-Zionist, visions competing with this, of course, and the competition is healthy. Sternhell’s vision may be impossible to achieve at this point. Take your pick. But you must choose. There are not visions more Zionist than Sternhell’s that are not exercises in self-delusion. Meanwhile one can only hope alongside you and with you Michael,that “the catalyst ultimately manifests as international diplomatic and economic pressure, and not more unspeakable violence.”

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “Naturally, this approach requires symmetry and mutuality from the Palestinian side: The Green Line is the final border, so there will be no Jewish settlement in the West Bank, and also no Palestinian return to within the borders of the State of Israel. Border modifications can be entertained; they are a matter for negotiations about peace and about land swaps, but they are not the determining principle…”

        This is an example of how people like Ben ignore history. They pretend that this is their visionary solution which we steadfastly refuse.

        Now here is reality: it has been tried twice before by two of our past prime ministers and all we got in exchange was grief. Why? Because an intact viable Israel was/is unacceptable to the Palestinian Arabs both historically and still today. To them it isn’t about border adjustments. To them it is still their old vision of a Muslim Arab state from the river to the sea. A heroine of Ben’s sums this up well. Let me quote her again…

        “But the West Bank is not Palestine. I see the Galilee, al-Quds [Jerusalem], Haifa and Acre also as part of Palestine. We can ask for independence when we have reunited our land. After we have gained control over the air, the sea, the borders, we can be independent.”

        Those are Sawsan Khalife’s words. She is the one who is taking over from Noam Sheizaf as the editor in chief of this magazine and Benny, wished her well.

        Her words and his, say it all.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          As I said, Gussie, there are competing visions. Take your pick. Times a running out. Neither you nor I know what Ms. Khalife intends exactly despite your divination and tea leave reading, or how she would respond were Israel to actually put Sternhell’s vision into action without bullsh*t. Decisions, decisions. The clock is ticking.

          “We can ask for independence when we have reunited our land.”

          It’s an enigmatic statement isn’t it? “Reunite.” And “ask.” Sounds nonviolent to me.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Benny, here is Ms Khalife’s quote again…

            “But the West Bank is not Palestine. I see the Galilee, al-Quds [Jerusalem], Haifa and Acre also as part of Palestine. We can ask for independence when we have reunited our land”

            It is from an interview which is on-line. In it, she is critical of Abbas because of his quest for independence. In her above sentence, she makes it clear that asking for independence for Palestine is premature before all the lands including Acre, Al Quds and Haifa become parts of a “reunited land”. If that means non violence to you then you are further gone than I thought you were…

            Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          And as I also said, Gussie, and as your reply demonstrates, “no one is listening to him.” And they who are not listening will regret it someday.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            No one is listening to him? Two of our prime ministers were ahead of him on that vision. One offered it to Arafat and we got an intifada for it. The other offered it to Abbas and he got silence in response.

            So who is not listening to whom, Benny?

            Reply to Comment
    4. Ben

      Amira Hass:
      “Weakened by Israel, Abbas could do nothing to prevent fatal attacks
      The Palestinians see their president’s actions, or lack thereof, as resounding failure and defeatism at best, and conscious collaboration with Israel at worst.

      …As expected, Naftali Bennett rushed to place responsibility for the Old City murder on Abbas and the PA on Saturday night. In the eyes of the Palestinian public, this placement of responsibility only emphasizes Abbas’s pathetic situation. He doesn’t even go to Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa. He cannot leave roads passing through the Area C in the West Bank without permission from and coordination with Israel, and still Israel holds him responsible for what happens within its own areas of security control. The way in which Israel makes Abbas a laughing stock, in the eyes of the Palestinian public, only weakens his arguments against using weapons even more…”

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Yes, same old story. Israel made us do it.

        It has been thus for 100 years. Abbas or no Abbas, the preferred method of Palestinian Arabs to resolve their political aims, has been the use of terror. It hasn’t worked 100 years ago, it does not work now and it will never work. All it has been causing is grief. Grief to us and grief to them because we won’t be taking it laying down.

        When will they learn?

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          “Abbas or no Abbas, the preferred method of Palestinian Arabs to resolve their political aims, has been the use of terror.”

          Simply false.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Yep false. It’s all in my filthy Zionist imagination. I am just making it all up. See what we are up against Andrew?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Andrew’s fine, Gustav. What Andrew wrote is quite fine. What Eliza wrote and what I wrote only complimented what Andrew wrote and engaged him in discussion, challenging one aspect of it. Don’t try to pit Andrew against us, or us against him. That’s manipulation. I have no interest in it and neither does Eliza I’m sure. Eliza wrote that hope is necessary but not sufficient. It was just an extension and qualification of what Andrew wrote. And very civil, and intelligent. So stop making everyone your black and white ally or enemy, and everyone with you or against you and everything all or nothing.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            This is what Andrew asked Eliza…

            ANDREW:”Eliza, are you suggesting that communities (Jewish or otherwise) do not need to feel safe in order to take security risks, or that withdrawing Israel’s security measures from the West Bank does not represent a risk?”

            Of course she did not respond. What a surprise. Andrew essentially said that yes, Israel has security considerations to consider which you are always in the habit of dismissing. But now you agree with him because he said it not me? Ok, I can live with that.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Asaand….he does it again. Another black and white, all or nothing gem, salted with at least three phony characterizations: Eliza the one who refuses to answer, Benny the dismisser, Benny the agree-er….

            Reply to Comment
    5. Gustav

      Aaaaaand…

      1. Eliza did not respond.

      2. You did dismiss me when I mentioned our security issues.

      3. As for Benny the agree-er? Nah, I never said that about you. But I do recall calling you a dishonest person who is in denial. I stand by that.

      Nothing black and white about all that. Those are self evident facts.

      Reply to Comment
    6. andrew wirth

      Ben
      You claim to know a lot about what Israelis think: what they fear, what they don’t fear. Please let me know what are your sources of data. Opinion polls? Extensive interviews with Israelis? Living amongst Israelis for extended periods?
      You seem to take the veneer of normality in Israeli society like “cooking shows” as evidence that there is no fear or distress. Is that a profound analysis.

      You are comfortable characterising Israeli responses to loss with by using the word “mourn” in quotation marks, and that they do so with “grins on their faces” and their anguish is dismissed with terms such as “whooping and hollering”. This is dehumanising.

      I am not sure how any of that is in the spirit of meaningful conversation.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        1 of 3 –

        Thanks, Andrew. I don’t claim to know more than anyone else who reads Israel’s press and outside sources, and has friends in Israel that they speak to or correspond with almost daily. I am in frequent communication with Israelis. And visit them and they me. They are my friends.

        Regarding the “veneer.” I assume a substantial level of fear and distress among Israelis. How else would Netanyahu be able to manipulate them? (Does the average denizen of Tel Aviv struggle with fear and distress and deprivation like the Palestinians under occupation do on a daily basis? Does the average settler? That’s a whole other question.) But is the reigning “normality” in Israel a veneer or something more basic? Well, Gideon Levy does not think it is simply a “veneer.” It’s more complicated and troublesome than that. He understands that it is a form or burying one’s head in the sand.

        “The settlers won, and it was a worthy victory. They just wanted it more, so they won. They tried harder…. The State of Tel Aviv remained mired in complacency…the almost comatose majority. The settlers won because Tel Aviv never actually cared about winning. While the Tel Avivians busied themselves with the price of cottage cheese and the housing crisis (only when the weather was nice), the people of Beit El fought a wild fight for unchecked expansion…. Most Israelis have never been there, and they’re not really interested in what goes on there..who feels like doing anything about it? Israel is busying itself with vanity. Please do not disturb.”

        “The curtain has come down on the peace process…Life in Israel and the West Bank settlements is back on track, a life of freedom and accomplishment, reality shows and circuses, entirely untouched by the occupation.
        The same cannot be said for the Palestinians: They have none of this, and for them every delay in a solution to the conflict only extends their suffering, humiliation and tribulations…. The only way still open for the Palestinians to remind the Israelis of their existence and their plight is the way of violent struggle. All other paths have been blocked. If the Gaza Strip doesn’t fire Qassam rockets at Israel, the Gaza Strip doesn’t exist. And if, in the West Bank, yeshiva students aren’t abducted, then the West Bank disappears from Israel’s consciousness.
        Abductions or murders are aimed at puncturing Israel’s intolerable complacency, and as such they should surprise no one. In the past few months, this complacency has reached new, inconceivable heights.
        Just look at the nonsense that has captured Israel’s attention. …we continue to live between Benjamin Ben-Eliezer’s safety-deposit box and the kiss of Ahi and Anna on the Israeli version of “Big Brother.”
        That’s the annoying nature of the occupation. It will chase after us, even if we bury our heads even deeper into the sand.”

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          BEN:”for them [the Palestinian Arabs] every delay in a solution to the conflict only extends their suffering, humiliation and tribulations….”

          So why aren’t they willing to sign a peace deal which would end the occupation?

          BEN:”The only way still open for the Palestinians to remind the Israelis of their existence and their plight is the way of violent struggle.”

          Correction! That is the way to keep the occupation going. Their “violent struggle” was the thing that CAUSED the occupation. In fact, the violent struggle started out as an attempt to snuff out Israel and that violent struggle preceeded the occupation.

          BEN:”All other paths have been blocked. If the Gaza Strip doesn’t fire Qassam rockets at Israel, the Gaza Strip doesn’t exist.”

          Really? How about trying to live in peace and build their own lives instead of teaching their kids to hate Jews and try to destroy Jewish lives in the vain hope that they will scare us into leaving our lands and giving up on building our state?

          BEN:”And if, in the West Bank, yeshiva students aren’t abducted, then the West Bank disappears from Israel’s consciousness.”

          And you think that by continuing to commit their atrocities against us which they commenced 100 years ago will put them into our consciousness in a good way? That it will cause us to sympathsize with them?

          BEN:”Abductions or murders are aimed at puncturing Israel’s intolerable complacency, and as such they should surprise no one.”

          I’ll tell you what does not surprize no one Benny. It isn’t surprizing that you came out of your closet and you now fully own up as an avid advocate of terrorism. Be careful Benny. There are consequences to terrorism including to those who advocate it.

          Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        2 of 3 –

        Regarding what I am “comfortable with characterizing” and it being allegedly “dehumanizing”: First and foremost, I did not characterize Israeli responses as such, I characterized the settler establishment’s responses as such. Contained in your question is the unspoken assumption that they are the same. These people of the settler establishment do not live in Israel. They live in occupied territories. Any number of native Israeli writers have characterized the extremist settler vanguard as a dehumanized and dehumanizing group of fanatics. Israeli friends of mine make similar assessments but have a range of opinions and don’t all think alike. Because I don’t live in Israel I’m disqualified from joining the debate?

        Regarding the settler dance (“whooping and hollering”) — despite my rhetorical flourish I don’t think I got the facts far wrong:

        http://972mag.com/israeli-settler-couple-killed-and-the-band-plays-on/112239/
        “The Right, whose settlement expansion agenda has run roughshod through the West Bank for nearly five decades, says the attack demands further settlement expansion. On Wednesday, about 50 families made a pilgrimage to a new site they call “Shalem” – meaning whole – in the same area as the attack, dancing and celebrating the future settlement. Thursday evening, the family was killed on that road. Friday morning, right-wing websites announced a march to the site in response. It’s a settle-die-and-settle dance.”

        By the way, Naftali Bennet is demanding that settlements be built after every Palestinian attack. While Amira Hass writes that Palestinian forces allow young people to approach Israeli soldiers not in order to step up the violence, but as a way of allowing them to let off steam, hoping to avoid escalation.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        3 of 3 –

        As for the “build baby build! grin on their face”, I did not have to imagine that from scratch. There is a settler who habitually comments on the Haaretz site with this name: “BUILD BABY BUILD!” His celebratory response to every challenge.
        These folks do exist and they do act this way. And they are not atypical outliers. So am I being dehumanizing to point that out this reality? Is it not “angelizing” to whitewash these folks? I am wondering if you are trying to tell us that aggressive settlers, complicit in an oppressive 48-year occupation, are all mostly “jes folks like you ‘n me, that’s all” and so if I “understood” them I would be kinder and gentler and “see all sides” and so do the thing they most want: to be ignored? With all due respect that sounds like someone reading from the Idiots Guide to Whitewashing the Occupation:
        http://972mag.com/the-idiots-guide-to-whitewashing-the-occupation/111533/

        There are hundreds of crudely dehumanizing comments on this site about Palestinian Arabs. You have not, as far as I’m aware, told anyone here that they seem to know everything about “the Arabs” and inquired after their sources. Should I hear in that non-response of yours an inference that dehumanization of Jews is a graver and more pressing matter than the dehumanization of Arabs? Gustav, curiously, assumes the right to assume that the absence of a response from Eliza is an evasion or a capitulation. Should I get to assume the same right of assumption in regards to you? (I don’t think I should–the question is rhetorical.)

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          BEN:”Because I don’t live in Israel I’m disqualified from joining the debate?”

          You live in America Ben. America too, like Israel has enemies. If I use some piddly American publication which was established by those who hate America, and constantly berate what America and Americans are about to the point of dehumanization, would I be qualified to argue with Americans who would leap to defend America and tell them that even though I am not American, I know better than they?

          Did that answer your question Benny?

          BEN:”Gustav, curiously, assumes the right to assume that the absence of a response from Eliza is an evasion”

          Yes, Benny, how dare I assume that the absence of a response after one puts one’s foot in one’s mouth and gets exposed for doing that, is an evasion? What was I thinking?

          BEN:”or a capitulation.”

          I never said that you or the likes of Eliza would ever capitulate. You never do. You people insist on holding onto your nasty stupidity, I know that you’d never capitulate. You are “brave” internet warriors who rejoice in your petty hatred against us.

          I did however say that you are unable to defend your propaganda once you meet someone who knows the history of this conflict.

          Reply to Comment
    7. andrew wirth

      Ben
      Sternhell also said “Naturally, this approach requires symmetry and mutuality from the Palestinian side: The Green Line is the final border, so there will be no Jewish settlement in the West Bank, and also no Palestinian return to within the borders of the State of Israel. Border modifications can be entertained; they are a matter for negotiations about peace and about land swaps, but they are not the determining principle.”
      Do you agree with this statement?

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Yes I agree except Sternhell is being too categorical perhaps when he simply says “no return.” In regards to both border modifications and Palestinian return, in regards to both, “they are a matter for negotiations about peace…but they are not the determining principle.” There has to be room for discussing some limited symbolic return just as there has to be room for discussing land swaps. No one will flood Israel and upset the “demographic balance.” Maybe absolutely no return will in fact be negotiated but in that case he who then also does not adhere to Sternhell’s “The Green Line is the final border, so there will be no Jewish settlement in the West Bank” wants something for nothing.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          BEN:”There has to be room for discussing some limited symbolic return”

          Why Benny? You say that Israel is an “apartheid state”. Why on earth would your Palestinian Arabs want to “return” to an apartheid state? Why are they so keeeeeen to live in “an apartheid state”. Could it be because they know full well that it isn’t an apartheid state and they’d love to live in a first world country and enjoy all it’s trimmings? And this stupid “apartheid” label is just a smear? A form of blackmail? Like… give us what we want or we will give you a bad reputation and blacken your name. A kind of protection racket, eh Benny? Want us to lay off, then bow to our demands, eh Benny?

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