+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

The dangerous new myth of 'Palestinian defeat'

The idea that Israel must ‘defeat’ the Palestinians by demoralizing them until they accept whatever solution is forced upon them is gaining traction on the Right.

By Nathan Hersh and Abe Silberstein

A Palestinian protester holds a flag as Israeli soldiers look on from beyond the separation wall, Bil’in. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

A Palestinian protester holds a flag as Israeli soldiers look on from beyond the separation wall, Bil’in. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

The idea that instead of negotiating with the Palestinians Israel must first “defeat” and thoroughly demoralize them until they recognize its permanent presence in the region, has emerged from center-right policy circles in recent months. This broad idea takes many shapes, the most of extreme of which is articulated in Daniel Pipes’ front page essay in Commentary Magazine, and will presumably have some appeal to the incoming Trump administration. But if President-elect Trump is serious about sealing “the ultimate deal,” a Palestinian-Israeli peace accord, he will reject this line of thinking. Even in its most moderate dressing, it makes little sense. 

In an article for Haaretz, Einat Wilf, a former centrist Israeli politician and fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, offered a conflict resolution strategy along these lines that, paradoxically, amounts to conflict perpetuation. In Wilf’s words, Israel’s strategy should be to compel the Palestinians to “surrender and acknowledge that they aren’t going to get the whole of Palestine.” 

On this matter, we come as the bearers of good news: Not only did the P.L.O recognize Israel in 1993, it has also not tried to “get the whole of Palestine” in any of the negotiations that have taken place since. Indeed, in their much-condemned “unilateral moves,” the P.L.O. leadership has sought no more than the territorial compromise that underpins the two-state solution — a return to pre-1967 borders, with the possibility of mutual land swaps. The recently-passed United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which was voted through 14-0 with the U.S. abstaining, also condemned terrorism against Israel, and is based on the two-state solution as well. 

Still, there is cause for concern. The recent postponement of municipal elections in the Palestinian territories, for example, should worry all supporters of the two-state solution who want to see strong Palestinian institutions. But the “defeat them” paradigm is wholly inappropriate for anyone seeking a resolution to the conflict.

For one thing, how will Israel “defeat” the Palestinians? It’s clear enough what advocates believe defeat would entail: Palestinian recognition of Israel, a milestone reached over 20 years ago, and the forgoing of any right of return. But if 50 years of occupation, 40 years of settlement expansion, two major wars in Gaza, and the suppression of at least two popular uprisings have not “defeated” the Palestinians, what exactly will?

Furthermore, it is erroneous (and perhaps self-destructive) to define the two-state solution as a defeat for the Palestinians. Doing so characterizes a peace agreement as a situation imposed by Israel and not the result of negotiations. Even as someone like Wilf acknowledges that dividing the land would be the best end result, she frames it as a Palestinian concession to Israel.

Israelis take part in a protest calling for peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Tel Aviv, on August 16, 2014. Thousands of demonstrators gathered on Saturday for a pro-peace rally under the slogan: 'Changing Direction: Toward Peace, Away From War.' (Activestills)

Israelis take part in a protest calling for peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Tel Aviv, on August 16, 2014. Thousands of demonstrators gathered for a pro-peace rally under the slogan: ‘Changing Direction: Toward Peace, Away From War.’ (Activestills)

In other words, this position represents a refusal to negotiate, a stance once referred to as “rejectionism.” It means applying one’s own understanding of a best-case scenario by force — an approach so rigid that any attempt to negotiate it would yield a dissatisfying result.

This represents a crucial difference in the framework of negotiations. In their seminal book “Getting to Yes,” Roger Fisher and William Ury of the Harvard Negotiating Project point to the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel in 1978 in order to distinguish between their negotiating positions and their underlying interests.

Egypt and Israel held incompatible positions during those negotiations: both insisted on maintaining a presence in the Sinai Peninsula while the other withdrew completely. It was consideration of their interests that broke the deadlock. Israel was concerned with security and Egypt with sovereignty, both of which were addressed by demilitarizing the Sinai. The “defeat them” position, conversely, is non-negotiable: the Palestinians must admit total defeat and accept Israel’s position as the final word.

This would be a counterproductive strategy for Israel to follow, considering its interests. Assume, for a moment, that the following analysis of the Palestinian position is correct: Israel is not a legitimate state and the right of return is inalienable. What should Israel’s response be? Continue the occupation indefinitely, thereby making Israel vulnerable to the one-state solution and forcing it to eventually choose between its Jewish and democratic characters? Unilaterally withdraw only from Palestinian areas of the West Bank while retaining control of Area C, a move which will garner international condemnation and bolster calls to reconsider the two-state solution?

The creation of a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines would not be an Israeli gift to the Palestinians, nor a Palestinian surrender to Israel. It will be the product of negotiations or of Israel’s realization that it cannot maintain an occupation forever and benefit from the settlements it built in defiance of international law. Peace can follow from both scenarios; it will not, however, come if independence is seen as a humiliating act for Palestinians rather than an empowering one. It is important for the United States to seek this outcome in any talks it launches or mediates. 

Nathan Hersh has an MA in Conflict Resolution and Mediation from Tel Aviv University and is a former managing director of Partners for Progressive Israel. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Haaretz, and The Forward. His most recent published article was in The Washington Post.
Abe Silberstein writes on Israeli politics and US-Israel relations from New York. His work has previously appeared in Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, and +972 Magazine. His most recent published article was in The Jerusalem Post.
Newsletter banner
Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. Bruce Gould

      In my opinion a lot of Israeli policy thinking is driven by economic factors, but it can’t be said out loud. For example, a lot of the settlers are driven by economic interests – there’s a housing shortage in Israel and homes are cheaper outside the Green Line, and possibly the housing refugees will be harder to dislodge than the religious nuts; the banks also make money off the financing. Harper’s has a good article about this, although you have to log in: “House Hunters Transnational – Israel’s Economic Settlers in the West Bank”: http://harpers.org/archive/2017/01/house-hunters-transnational/

      Reply to Comment
    2. Subhana

      The conflict is about whether there will be a Jewish state in the Land of Israel or not. For the past 100+ years the Palestinians have been against the idea. Any outcome that leaves a Jewish state alive and strategically secure in the Middle East will be seen as a defeat by very large chunks of the Palestinian population. There are very few, if any, Palestinians that have as their utopian outcome the two state solution. There are also very few that see it as a permanent solution. For the most part it is seen as a step towards the ultimate goal – the liberation of Palestine and the forced return of the refugees. This is why the Palestinians are unwilling to accept negotiations on the principle of “two states for two peoples” or to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. Were they to do either of those things they will have effectively forfeited the right of return and will have accepted an outcome that leaves Israel secure and alive. Accepting the principle of two states on the other hand leaves the future open to future wars and continued conflict to try to force the other state – Israel – into changing its nature leading to what many Palestinians want as the ultimate goal – all of “historic Palestine” under Palestinian control. There will be those that will debate this claim, but they will do so entirely tactically because it is entirely self-evident to anyone that reads what Palestinians themselves actually write and follows Palestinian responses to poll questions.

      That brings us to the next point. What is it that caused the Palestinians to accept, even halfheartedly, the principle of a two state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders? It was a realization on their part that they are incapable of eliminating Israel in the current strategic environment. They realized after 1967, 1973 and 1978 that the Arab states are not willing to fight for them any longer and they were too weak to do it themselves. It was weakness that pushed them in this direction. What led the Palestinians to accept Oslo? After their disastrous support for Saddam Hussein in the First Gulf War and after the collapse of their Soviet sponsors the Palestinian leadership was left weak and broke. It was weakness that forced them to accept what was a rather humble offer from Rabin and Peres. They were warned by Edward Said and Francis Boyle that the offer constituted autonomy (or “bantustan” in their terms) and all the important questions were being put off indefinitely. Israel was effectively given latitude to define terms as it saw fit. It didn’t matter. The PLO had no choice but to accept or face irrelevance.

      So, let us please be intellectually honest here and admit that the entire basis of the two state solution is the underlying concession by the Palestinians that their ideal goal of eliminating Israel is not in the cards. A two state solution of any nature that leaves a Jewish state alive will be seen as a bitter defeat for the Palestinians and that is why many voices among them are so opposed to it. As such being overly concerned about whether the Palestinians see the two state solution as a defeat is rather silly. It is a lost cause. No set of Israeli concessions would be sufficient to alter this dynamic. Given the consequences of such a situation on a future Palestinian state it is urgent and crucial that Israel extract from negotiations the ability to defend itself without regard for Palestinian cooperation and should extract from the negotiations an iron-clad commitment from the Palestinians of the end of conflict, with said commitment being codified into international law via the UNSC. While this doesn’t prevent future conflict – nothing would do that – it will put Israel in the best possible condition to win future conflicts and turn revanchist Palestinian positions into illegitimate ones.

      How does one go about forcing the Palestinians into accepting such terms? The only way to do so is to put them in a situation where they have no other choice. That is how it has always been done in war. Victory is achieved when the other side is incapable of continuing the fight. And there is no middle ground here. Either the Palestinians accept a Jewish state in the Middle East or they don’t. If they don’t the war will continue whether we want it to or not. The idea that Israel should make “peace” with Palestinians while they continue to reject the idea that Israel is a “permanent presence” which is what the authors seem to suggest is a rather Orwellian of the idea of peace.

      And as for Egypt… Prior to 1967 the Egyptian position was that the Egyptians would not accept peace with Israel without Israel ceding to Egypt large chunks of the Negev. It was only after 1967 that the Egyptian goals shifted towards regaining the Sinai. And as for Jordan… Prior to the 1967 war the Jordanian position was that Jordan can only accept peace if Israel ceded to it territory on the Mediterranean so that Jordan can build a port. The Jordanians wanted Ashdod. The same for Syria btw. Prior to 1967 the Syrian position was that there would be no peace until Israel surrenders large chunks of the Galilee. Note that the positions of Syria, Egypt and Jordan were considered sensible in Paris, London and Washington at the time. The current strategic environment and the achievable goals of Israel’s foes are defined by Israeli power and tenacity. The same will be true with the Palestinians.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Subhana, whereas Hersch and Silberstein say “it will not, however, come if independence is seen as a humiliating act for Palestinians rather than an empowering one,” you say, “No. Humiliate them. All they understand is strength.” As if the Israelis ever understood anything else either. You think you’re in a position of eternal strength that more sober-minded others assess less glowingly.

        This whole thing of yours is written as if a lasting final status solution depended on eradicating what some Arabs and some Jews will still desire to have if they could get away with it. Only several generations of making peace work will induce these fevers to subside naturally. What? You think the Palestinians also don’t have to worry about some future Jewish Zealots re-invading ‘Judea and Samaria’ when some momentary advantage arises? Are you going to include in your final status agreement this language too?: “Israel, the Jewish state, in return recognizes the territories it formerly called ‘Judea and Samaria’ as the nation state of the Palestinian Arab people in perpetuity”? Try getting the right wing nutcases on your side to sign that one. You think the settler fanatics will agree to a final status accord that relinquishes for all time the Jewish Right they think they have to all of Greater Palestine? And as if any difficult negotiated settlement between two parties is ever reached before either party feels that have no choice. You leave the Israelis out of this equation, as if they will come to the table and sign a final status accord because they felt they had two or three choices but one took their fancy more and they said “oh, why not?”. Or because finally they got those pesky Palestinians to knuckle under and say “You win! You are too powerful and tenacious for us!”

        Lots of people the world over would like to have lots of things but do not act on these desires because permanent structures are in place to prevent anarchy. The flaw and the deception in your argument boils down to this truth: Israelis do not need “recognition as a Jewish state” by the Palestinians in order to have, as part of a final status accord, a binding end of conflict agreement with the Palestinians, with this commitment being codified into international law. The “Jewish state” thing will remain a gimmick, an undefined and slippery code word, unless it is equally codified into an agreement as to just what is meant and not meant. Recognize a permanent national homeland of the Jewish people within Palestine? (And a permanent national homeland of the Palestinian people within Palestine.) With supporting text to clarify. Very different from recognize Israel as “a Jewish state. Period.”

        What you write about Israeli power and tenacity dictating matters indicates your confidence that you will achieve a lasting Pax Israeliana based on humiliation and subjugation, Roman-style. (And counting on Rome (the USA) forever being your occupation protector. See the previous opinion by Sasely regarding how, increasingly, supporting Israel’s territorial designs no longer serves American interests.) What you will reap is lasting resistance and increasing isolation. All the lessons Jabotinsky thought necessary to install with an iron wall have already been instilled. It’s why Israel was offered the API, which it summarily rejected. As with your accounts of what transpired between Barak, Arafat, Olmert and Abbas, the accuracy of all this about Syria, Jordan and Egypt is dubious but let’s assume for argument’s sake that you render history with utmost objectivity. It still presumes that Egypt not gaining the Negev or Jordan a port or Syria the Galilee is the strategic and emotional equivalent of the Palestinians not gaining East Jerusalem, Area C and a non-humiliating form of contiguity. This is simply not true. The respective sacrifices and humiliations are not comparable. Closer to equivalent would be Egypt surrendering the Sinai and you simply know Sadat would not have signed anything that did not return every square centimeter of the Sinai. Sadat did not come to the Knesset as a humiliated man. And Begin was no pushover or a man who did not value Israel’s power and tenacity. Nor was there on the books a 14-0-1 Security Council resolution reinforcing and expanding previous resolutions and stipulating that member nations distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the Negev, or the Galilee, or Mediterranean ports.

        Reply to Comment
        • Subhana

          Nowhere did I say humiliate them. I said that according to the current Palestinian narrative there is no set of realistic policy proposals that the majority of the Palestinians will not interpret as a defeat. As such it is pointless to use that as a benchmark for policy. It would be wiser to be explicit and to force the Palestinians to accept that in this 100+ year war they have been defeated and then build on that to create a better future for all involved. There is no reason to sugarcoat it. The Palestinians reject the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East and despite everything they have tried such a state does exist and will seemingly continue to exist for quite some time. Pretending that this conflict is about territory is delusional.

          The state of Israel has repeatedly and officially accepted the principle of two states for two peoples. One of those states will be Jewish and the other will be Palestinian Arab. There is a small but prominent minority in Israel that rejects the idea of non-Jewish sovereignty anywhere in the Land of Israel. The equivalence between this and the overwhelming rejection on the Palestinian side of Jewish sovereignty anywhere in “Historic Palestine” is dishonest.

          Prolonged conflicts are resolved when the resolution to the conflict offers both sides a better choice than not resolving the conflict. The choice is always present to not resolve the conflict. Eventually the weaker side determines that it is incapable of achieving a better position and in fact its position is likely to worsen by continuing the conflict and sues for peace. The stronger sides accepts when it is assured that its core interests are preserved and continuing the conflict is a waste of money and effort. The stronger side always has the option of continuing the conflict, and will do so if it believes its core interests are not served by the offer presented by the weaker side. The weaker side too can and will continue the conflict if it believes that it can eventually achieve a better bargain. The idea that prolonged conflict ends when neither side has any other choice does not correspond to history or reality.

          There are no permanent structures in the Middle East. Nor is there really anything to prevent anarchy. Everything is fluid and everyone prepares for the next time the sands will shift. Israel needs the Palestinians to accept Israel as a Jewish state because it is the only way to codify the end of this conflict. Any other formulation, and especially something along the lines of a “permanent national homeland of the Jewish people within Palestine”, is just an invitation for future conflict because that formulation as an example is entirely consistent with a future Palestinian/Arab/Muslim struggle for an Arab state over all the territory with some Jewish autonomy. That accepting the existence of a Jewish state in any borders is such a stumbling block for the Palestinians is just an expression of how fundamentally it contradicts the Palestinian narrative and how difficult it will be for the Palestinian body politic to live in peace next to a Jewish state. No amount of international law can finesse peace if the Palestinian public is told that the terms of the agreement leave the issue open. Nor will codifying an “end to the conflict” in international law while leaving the issue open result in the issue actually being forgotten. In their struggle to overturn the Jewish state the Palestinians will still have the support of a large number of countries. Nor will Israel’s enemies shy away from latching onto this issue to support Palestinian revanchism. If this issue isn’t resolved and if it isn’t resolved in an explicit manner then the entire peace agreement is worthless because it will not end the conflict regardless of how the “end of conflict” is codified.

          “All the lessons Jabotinsky thought necessary to install with an iron wall have already been instilled.” Not yet. If the lesson that the Jewish state will not be moved had been instilled then we wouldn’t be having the conversation above. As for lasting resistance and increasing isolation, iron walls might be expensive, but until they achieve what Jabotinsky intended them for, there is no reason to take them down. And frankly, at this moment, they are pretty damn cheap.

          Reply to Comment
          • Nathanael

            Perhaps what you’re missing is that EVERYONE — except bigots — rejects the concept of a “Jewish State”, just as we reject the concept of an “Islamic State” or a “Christian State”.

            If Israel chose to be a democratic state with special protections for Jewish people…. that would be fine. Instead it chooses to be like Saudi Arabia, a bigoted theocracy hell-bent on oppression of many of its own residents, with an obssession with racial nonsense, propaganda, and thought policing. Nobody likes that.

            If you think the “Jewish state” will be eternal through raw abusive power, you’re engaging in the same sort of wishful thinking that Hitler engaged in with his “1000-year Reich” fantasy. In fact, this sort of arrogant thinking was condemned by *the prophet Jeremiah*, and even earlier, when King David was chastized by the Lord for his arrogance.

            Countries which follow this path of abuse and violence don’t last. 100 years is about the limit, barring massive luck.

            Reply to Comment
    3. AJew

      “it will not, however, come if independence is seen as a humiliating act for Palestinians rather than an empowering one.”

      Good. I have no problem with that statement provided that the same principles should apply to Israel. The uprooting of thousands of Jewish people from major “settlement blocks” and handing those homes over to the shiny new state of Palestine, would be humiliating Israel. We wouldn’t want that would we? Moreover, allowing “the return” of even a few thousand DESCENDANTS of refugees to Israel proper would also be humiliating Israel particularly since about a million Jewish refugees were generated by many of the same Arab countries where most of the descendants of Palestinian Arab refugees now live. Also, Israel would be humiliated if it would be compelled to pay compensation to the descendants of Palestinian Arab refugees without the descendants of Jews from Arab countries being offered a similar compensation by the Arab countries in question.

      Quid pro quo I say. Either neither side should feel humiliated or both should feel humiliated and just get over it. The days of only Jews ending up feeling humiliated are over! We should make sure of it. Otherwise, there will always be someone who will take it upon themselves to inflict more humiliation on us, especially if they know that doing so will bring no harm to them!

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        So this means that in exchange for the settlement “blocks” staying (as has always been the case in the well-known formula, including the API—without “block” removal but rather than this being handled by agreed upon swaps) you’re going to remove the humiliating occupation of Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim Eli, Efrat and East Jerusalem?

        “allowing “the return” of even a few thousand DESCENDANTS of refugees to Israel proper would also be humiliating”

        Nonsense. The numbers and manner in which a symbolic return is handled will minimize humiliation on both sides. These details are manageable. Helplessness before this doable task is not indicated.

        “similar compensation by the Arab countries in question”

        This is rather like the cynical addition of “Jewish State” at a point when Netanyahu needed an excuse. Never mind that Israel works constantly, for strategic reasons, to boost Jewish immigration. Now every country in the Middle East has to be negotiated with instead of it being “negotiations between the two parties” as Israel has always insisted on. And “Palestinian Arab” now becomes all the Arabs in all these countries, while the Palestinians of the West Bank and East Jerusalem have to now deal not just with Israel but every country in the entire Middle East. What an excellent formula for managing the conflict and keeping the status quo for, oh, another 50 years. But you wouldn’t be trying to do that, would you?

        Reply to Comment
        • AJew

          Yes Benny, I know your stock standard answer. Any of our (Israel’s) demands are nonsense. Any Arab demands which are not met, are humiliating to the Arabs.

          I know you well Benny. You are biased to your eye balls.

          Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Here is a blatant example of Benny’s bias.

            He dismisses the compensation for Jewish refugees from Arab countries (about a million such Jews) as just an excuse because he says, Israel always wanted Jewish immigration. Well, that is true. But that still does not negate the fact that Jews from Arab countries had to flee with literally just the shirts on their backs. Many of those Jews left behind considerable assets and properties.

            No compensation for those Jews, says Benny. That would be too hard and it is just “an excuse” to maintain the status quo says Benny.

            But Benny is much less tolerant about just dismissing compensation claims for Arab refugees.

            Why, Benny? Are Arab refugees more worthy than Jewish refugees? Why should Arabs be compensated but not Jews? Shouldn’t the Arabs just overlook their claims in the same way that you demand that Jews should overlook our claims? For the sake of peace?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            I never said that the compensation for refugees would be some kind of Platonic version of full restitution. We are talking about symbolic issues since there never can be any true full, ideal restitution. And I never said no compensation for those Jews. I meant, implicitly, that linking it to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict now is like taking a highly complicated and difficult conjoined twin separation operation and telling the surgeons at the last minute that in order to do the procedure they now also have to do heart, liver, and kidney transplants on the twins at the same time and this will involve arranging for multiple donors with loads of explicit tissue matching to be done…. The person making this demand perhaps doesn’t want the twins separated after all. Because the status quo is nice and one twin is dying while the other twin is feeding off the dying twin? But both twins are going to die if the twins aren’t separated. But the person making the demand doesn’t realize that. And the surgeons are blinking their eyes and looking at them and saying, are your people serious? Now you want this too?

            But you know what, if you want to solve this on these terms of yours I suggest you offer the other side a sweet enough deal that they could go back to all these countries now and get them on board. Better get cracking on some swell concessions. Perhaps the swaps for the blocks will be extra-choice land or you throw in the Golan no questions asked up front? Better get busy, you have a lot of work to do. Times a wasting and the hour is late. Meanwhile the twins are not even in pre-op. They are miles from the operating room to begin with and the surgeons are drinking extra dry right wing martinis and in no condition to operate.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Typical Benny response involving contrived analogies with twins. But here is reality:

            If it is complicated to get compensation for 1 million Jewish refugees from Arab countries, then it is equally complicated to get compensation for Palestinian Arab refugees.

            If it is not complicated to get “symbolic only” compensation for Palestinian Arab refugees then equally it should not be complicated to get “symbolic only” compensation for Jewish refugees.

            Or if you want, just forget about compensating both Jewish and Arab refugees. It is all a matter of choice. But you gotta be consistent with both sets of refugees. No favoritism, Benny, Arabs are not more worthy than Jews and vice versa. None of your bias please, Benny.

            You know, Benny? If you are an outsider (neither Jewish, nor Arab) then you are a bigot if you want to discriminate against Jews. If you are an Arab, you are just biased in favor of your own side. Hey, I would actually have more sympathy for you if that were the case. Wanna know why? Because I happen to consider that it is quite natural for one to display bias for one’s own side. Hey, I could be accused of being biased towards Jews, I would not deny that. We each should advocate for our own side and let our self interest decide when compromise is in order or not. I would not expect less from the Arabs. And so far, they have not disappointed me in that regard. They certainly are holding out for what they consider is best for them while they display utter disregard for what would be best for us. So maybe this article is wrong when it claims that we shouldn’t aim to exhaust and defeat the Palestinian Arabs? Maybe that is the only choice the Palestinian Arabs are giving us?

            Personally, I would not mind some form of compromise but that is not what YOU have been advocating for us in your posts Benny. You seem to want to treat us somehow as inferiors who have to surrender our demands and not feel humiliated by that while at the same time you pretend that the Arabs have every right to demand compensation for their refugees otherwise they have the right to feel humiliated. Why Benny? I have yet to hear a non bigotted/biased explanation to justify your claim objectively. Are you capable of being objective Benny? If so, I am willing to listen. Otherwise …

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Here is just one non complicated suggestion:

            Maybe for the sake of compromise (do the Palestinian Arabs really want to compromise?), they should stop making demands that Israel should compensate the refugees. Instead, they should start demanding that their host (Arab) countries (ostensibly their allies) should at long last, start treating the descendants of Palestinian Arab refugees as human beings and stop treating them as some kind of a football (or cannon fodder) proxies with which Israel can constantly be hit over the head? Maybe they should demand that those Arab countries just integrate their formal allies and give them full citizen rights after 68 years. What would be so hard about that? They speak the same language, they practice the same religion and by and large have at least a similar if not entirely the same culture (one would think so, no? After 68 years of living together).

            Tell us Benny, why would that be so complicated? Are those host Arab countries so poor that they can’t afford to do it? Please don’t make a laughing stock of yourself by saying yes to that, Benny. But even if you would then think about this: couldn’t the Arab countries just give the assets and properties which they robbed off the 1 million Jews, whom they kicked out, to the Palestinian refugees? Voila, in one fowl swoop, you have a symmetrical and reasonably fair solution.

            Think of it this way: the Arabs made war on the Jews. In that war, as in all wars, there were refugees. Israel absorbed the Jewish refugees who lost all their properties and assets but with the help of Israel they managed to create a new life for themselves in Israel. Equally, the Arab refugees should be helped by their brethern, the Arab countries to create a new life for themselves.

            There you have it Benny. Not hard, not difficult and not unfair. Unless you are bigotted, biassed or have another agenda of giving the Arabs an excuse to continue their old zero sum game agenda!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “the Arab refugees should be helped by their brethern, the Arab countries to create a new life for themselves”

            Fine with me. And those settlers I take it you’ll agree should be helped by their brethren and countrymen, the Israelis, to create a new life for themselves. Because the settlers are in a sense Jewish refugees. Enticed by their government to invest in land that was not theirs, a kind of fraud really. The settlers are the ultimate freiers in this sense. (Except they knew very well what they were getting in to, alas. And the settlers at Amona—they’ve made out like bandits—a shanda.) It makes the U.S. savings and loans and housing loan scandals seem like small potatoes. They too are refugees who will have to leave their lives behind, refugees you should take in. It’s only right. Help them. So…about Ariel…etc…East Jerusalem…pre-’67 lines with swaps….

            Re: “one fowl swoop” ==>

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “Because the settlers are in a sense Jewish refugees”

            Now how on earth did you make this leap of faith?

            That would only be true if we would allow ourselves to be humiliated and agree to uproot Jews living on their ancestral homelands. But then we would be inconsistent with the views of the writer of this article who seemed to suggest that humiliation should not be the aim of a solution. The aim should be empowerment. Or did he mean to apply that standard only for Arabs and not Jews? I won’t speak for him. He can speak for himself.

            But I will speak for myself and many like me. I would say, the majority of Israelis. We too insist that any settlement should not be humiliating for us.

            I actually thought you acknowledged that in your previos post by suggesting land swaps. But alas, I misjudged you. It seems you are ok with a settlement that would humiliate Israel and Israelis. It seems you want to see Jews uprooted from their homes. You only have problems with humiliating Arabs, not with humiliating Jews. It seems that you are still the bigot which you proved yourself to be in our past discussions. What a surprise.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            What are you talking about? The swaps will be to allow most of the “blocks” along the 67 lines to stay. Not obviously all the settlements spread across the West Bank. You’ve lost me.
            You’re nattering on now about humiliation in no meaningful way. Just rhetoric.
            Rich though for an illegal occupier in gross violation of the Geneva Conventions for 50 long years to whine that he is feeling humiliated by having to comply with the law and the rudiments of basic human decency. Redefining humiliation as “anything I don’t want to do.” It’s true that you’ve carried this on for so long and with such defiance that I guess there is an unavoidable small element of “humiliation” in having to give it up and come clean after all the bluster. But who made this bed you now lie in? And you say “we.” Most Israelis have no idea what goes on in the territories. It’s like “Oh, whatever. What’s on TV?” They pay no attention. So the one-year incidence of humiliation among the total Israeli populace is guaranteed to be low in terms of overall population burden of humiliation. What, they pay no attention for years and years but then when isolated settlements outside blocks need to come home all of a sudden the Israeli populace en masse will be traumatized? Preposterous. But if so that is testament to the powers of propaganda to make people artificially miserable.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            But it isn’t rich for Arabs who started the war which caused so much suffering and spilt blood on both sides to whine that they won’t be getting everything they want.

            Reply to Comment
          • mig

            ” ancestral homeland” Could you find this from international law please. I have gone through a pretty many pages but i can’t find this kind of int. law which explains ancestral homeland. To my knowledge, ancestral homeland would be Africa. Link to the international law would do the trick. Thank you.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            I’ll tell you what Mig, why don’t you prove to me why the Arabs have a greater right to this land than Jews?

            Is it because they already own most of the Middle East and North Africa? That’s why Arabs MUST also have Israel too which is about 0.5% of the lands which they already own? A bit greedy of them isn’t it?

            Is it because Arabs lived here for a few hundred years? Well then Jews too have a right to this land because some Jews never left and Jews lived here for 5000 years.

            Is it because Arabs were a majority in 1947? Well then By that logic, Pakistan has no right to exist and the Muslims of Pakistan must submit to the rule of Hindus who represented 88% of the population when India was partitioned in 1948 and Pakistan was handed over to the Muslims who were only 12% of the population.

            Compare that to historic Palestine in 1947. The Jews were 33% of the population.

            So given the above background, go to it, Mig, show me by what international law, do the Arabs have a greater right to all of historic Palestine as opposed to us the Jewish people?

            Reply to Comment
          • carmen

            “ancestral homeland”? Maybe in The Hobbit or other books of fantasy. Totally agree that if anywhere, Africa is the birthplace of humanity and humanity’s ancestral homeland.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Not the birth place of the Jewish people? Ok be in denial, then Carmen.

            But you still have not been able to answer my previous post in which I asked your buddy (what a tag team ? They fade in and out and take turns) to prove that historic Palestine is exclusively the land of YOUR people, Carmen. How is Palestine more the land of Arabs rather than the land of Jews? What international law/s make all of Palestine the land of Arabs, Carmen?

            No answer? What a surprise.

            Reply to Comment
    4. i_like_ike52

      Any compromise peace, like the one the writers are advocating, based on the pre-67 lines WOULD be a humiliation in the eyes of the Palestinians. That is because they are not fighting for “self-determination” in an independent state. Such a 2-state solution would leave the Palestinian refugee situation unsolved, and the Palestinians will NEVER agree to absorb them in the West Bank, because that would overturn the political and economic structure of the West Bank. Thus, a compromise peace based on the Palestinians giving up an unlimited right of return of the refugees is simply not in the cards. The only “peace” the Palestinians will accept means the eradication of Israel. Period.
      After World War I, the Germans convinced themselves they were not defeated, but, rather, “stabbed in the back”.
      After World War II, both Germany and Japan saw total defeat in front of their eyes. Both have supported a stable peace since them. Defeat brings peace. Not compromise with one side viewing the conflict as a zer-sum game, as the Arabs view the Arab-Israeli conflict.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Ben

      It’s striking how many times right wing commenters come around, when all is said and done, to their true heart’s desire, the example of the unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan as an analogy to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Just a totally specious analogy from top to bottom. (And they always leave out the fact that the United States and Britain and France never transferred their civilian populations into occupied Germany or Japan and build settlements; and set a timetable for withdrawing their occupations and kept to it. And that the ones who did stay long beyond what was necessary, the Russians, never transferred Russian civilians into Germany, and eventually withdrew. And no one called the Europeans and Americans “anti-Slavic” for opposing the Soviet occupation of East Germany.) But, as Hersch and Silberstein say,

      “On this matter, we come as the bearers of good news: Not only did the P.L.O recognize Israel in 1993, it has also not tried to “get the whole of Palestine” in any of the negotiations that have taken place since. Indeed, in their much-condemned “unilateral moves,” the P.L.O. leadership has sought no more than the territorial compromise that underpins the two-state solution — a return to pre-1967 borders, with the possibility of mutual land swaps. The recently-passed United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which was voted through 14-0 with the U.S. abstaining, also condemned terrorism against Israel, and is based on the two-state solution as well.”

      Reply to Comment
      • AJew

        “— a return to pre-1967 borders”

        Amazing how often extreme left wingers repeat this lie about “BORDERS”!!!!

        Get this, Benny: the 1967 boundaries were never borders. They were armistice lines which were signed in 1949.

        Moreover: at the insistence of the Arabs at the time, the text of the armistice specifically say that the armistice lines are NOT, I repeat, NOT final borders. Why did they insist on that at the time? Easy peasy Japanese. Because they did not want to recognise Israel within any borders.

        The following is the text which was signed with Jordan who controlled the West Bank in 1949:


        “No provision of this Agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims and positions of either Party hereto in the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine question, the provisions of this Agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations.”

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          I take all of what’s said here for granted. It doesn’t change the path to peace. Hersh and Silberstein bring good news. You should be happy.

          Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “Hersh and Silberstein bring good news. You should be happy.”

            Yes Mr evangelist. A secular extreme leftist evangelist. Halleluyah, Benny is a believer. Objective evidence is not good enough for our Benny. He is abeliever.

            Then again, if he is wrong, he wouldn’t have to be the one to wear the consequences so it really is easy for Benny ?

            Reply to Comment
          • i_like_ike52

            For once, why don’t you address the arguments I have brought showing why the Palestinians CAN NOT agree to a compromise peace along the lines of the Clinton/Obama/Kerry parameters which Hersh and Silberstein seem to have adopted? The Palestinians have been repeatedly offered these terms by American interlocuters and the Americans have tried to get the Palestinians to sign on them which would then push the Israelis into a corner, yet they have rejected them.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Here. Let me introduce our “peace partners” according to Benny:

            “Rajoub, who previously served in the PA’s security sector, said if Trump does not reconsider his campaign promises regarding the US Embassy, he might ignite a fire on the Palestinian street that cannot be extinguished.

            “I hope Mr. Trump will not underestimate the response about the issue of Jerusalem. This is like playing with fire and nuclear weapons – no one should touch that or has the right to touch that. Just believe me, only criminals would do such crazy things. Who will control the street?” Rajoub said, emphasizing that the Palestinian leadership will not initiate any violence.”

            This is how the Palestinian Arabs always approached diplomacy. They threaten fire and brimstone if things are not done they way they want. And they mean it!

            Peace in our time with such people? Pull the other leg Benny. They still have not learnt that other people too can invoke fire and brimstone so they should not resort to such stupid tactics to try and get what they want. It is akin to three year olds throwing hissy fits. When the Palestinian Arabs grow up as a people, peace will come quickly. Today, they still act like 3 year olds!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Please be specific, _Ike. What precise terms, where and when and in what context. I have already shown you Gershon Baskin’s and Bernard Avishai’s accounts of what went on with Barak and Olmert and their respective negotiations. It does not at all add up to ‘Arab rejectionism’ and in fact Avishai’s account does add up to Netanyahu’s rejectionism. Can anyone tell me with a straight face that Netanyahu does more than pretend to negotiate?

            Your confident intelligence pronouncement (that the Palestinians “are not fighting for “self-determination” in an independent state. Such a 2-state solution would leave the Palestinian refugee situation unsolved, and the Palestinians will NEVER agree to absorb them in the West Bank, because that would overturn the political and economic structure of the West Bank”)—on what secret intelligence do you base this on? Or is it just what you know that you know?

            Reply to Comment
        • mig

          Quite right. We should talk returning to 1947 and Resolution 181 borders, under which Israel claimed independence and was recognized. After that, Israel haven’t done legal annexations anywhere.

          Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Yeah right.

            The resolution 181 which the Arabs point blank rejected? The one over which the Palestinian Arabs rioted and started murdering any Jew they could lay their hands on? That resolution 181, Mig?

            The Arabs made their choice about how they wanted to resolve this conflict in 1947. They chose war, but after that tactic didn’t work for them, we should just pretend that nothing happened and go back to square one?


            Reply to Comment
          • i_like_ike52

            The Arabs refused to accept 181 and attacked Israel. This cancelled any validity to the lines drawn by the UNSCOP. Oddly enough, even the Palestinians talk about the pre-67 lines, not the UNSCOP lines.

            Reply to Comment
    6. Tommy Goldberg

      “Israel’s strategy should be to compel the Palestinians to ‘surrender and acknowledge that they aren’t going to get the whole of Palestine.’”

      Great analysis, which shows why such a strategy is foolish. Can the same argument be made against BDS?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Victor Gilinsky

      Everyone seems to have forgotten that crushing the Arabs militarily and, more importantly, psychologically, was always the right wing Zionist agenda–from the time of Jabotinsky’s 1923 “Iron Wall” speech. The current Netanyahu crowd are Jabotinsky’s political descendants.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Click here to load previous comments