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There is no more 'Israel' today

What’s in a name? A lot, it turns out. Why the name ‘Israel’ alone just isn’t doing the job.

A Jewish settler attaches an Israeli flag to a tree in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, January 29, 2010 (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A Jewish settler attaches an Israeli flag to a tree in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, January 29, 2010 (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat touched off a sizable media storm when he asked to remove an Israeli flag hanging above his head as he addressed the Haaretz conference in New York this week. Veteran journalist Dan Margalit from the pro-Netanyahu newspaper Israel Hayom called the conference organizer’s decision to comply a “burning and outrageous mistake.”

But I can’t get worked up about the flag. In fact, lately I have a hard time saying the name Israel at all. And not because I’m anti-Israel. Not at all.

It happened spontaneously, when concerned outsiders, Jews or others, ask me how things are in Israel since the escalation of violence these past few months. I found myself saying, “Well, in the region it’s like this…” or “In Israel and Palestine…” or “You know, in Israel-slash-Palestine…”  then fumbling apologetically, “you know, the Palestinian territories…” and rushing ahead to cover my confusion. Suddenly a word that I use hundreds of times a day – “Israel” – no longer seemed to be working right, to describe what’s happening.

The source of the violence is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Netanyahu’s incantation of “incitement” is a weird attempt to convey that it comes only from Palestinians, that Israel is not involved. The media treats spikes of violence as a nasty storm, capricious but passing – out of our hands.

But without Israel’s policies, incitement would have much less traction – and there wouldn’t be anywhere near as much of it. If we described the cause of the violence more accurately, we might make better decisions about how to avoid it.

That’s just one situation that prompts my mouth to grope for a better term.

In domestic politics, leaders prefer to talk exclusively about Israel. But Israeli voters have a remarkably sensitive internal sensor that detects where each party lies with relation to Palestinians. Left, center and right in Israel is defined almost exclusively by the conflict (or Jewish-Arab identity issues). Voters position themselves on that axis before anything else. Israel’s internal politics are thus encased in Palestine, gripped by it.

Israeli foreign policy is made or broken on the altar of Palestine. Israel would have an excellent relationship with Europe, for example, if not for occupation and the resultant violations of international law. Instead, that connection is deeply shaken by European labeling, boycott and divestment pressure, and the possible arrest of IDF officers. In turn, the EU is a background target of vicious campaigns against local NGOs who receive “foreign funding” – mostly by the EU or member states – branding the NGOs “implants” and by association, traitors. Germany, a stalwart ally, criticizes Israel only over its treatment of the Palestinians and growing public resentment there is due mainly to the occupation.

As for America, Israel’s best friend, tensions over Iran are receding for the moment. Now nerves are frayed solely by the conflict, which leads to elite scuffles and a growing partisan divide among American public attitudes toward Israel. The Israeli-Palestinian issue is poised to become the biggest – and only – threat to relations with Israel’s strongest ally.

Israelis feel traduced, but mostly they are shocked. That’s because they speak, think and experience Israel without considering Palestine. They cannot understand why outsiders don’t think of Israel this way as well.

But foreign policy isn’t just about the West. Israel urgently needs a regional approach, given the current mayhem in the Middle East. There, the occupation remains an angry flashpoint for Arab countries; potential allies will never normalize the current situation. Still, Israelis believe that those countries just hate Israel as if Palestine doesn’t exist, skewing their analysis of prospective regional alliances.

Finally, on the economic level, there is no Palestine without Israel. Or vice versa.

Palestine uses Israel’s currency, conducts the vast majority of its trade with Israel, needs Israeli approval for any imports, exports, travel abroad – all of which are restricted – and tax collection.

Israel’s domestic budget too is defined by its policy on Palestine. The country’s per capita investment in settlers is higher than in the country’s poorest communities. The massive military budget leaves less for all other areas of life. At the same time, whole sectors are invested in, and profit from, the occupation. It may not be not totally clear whether there is net financial gain or loss but there’s no question that the economy in Israel and Palestine is shaped by Israel in Palestine.

***

The term “Israel” simply isn’t accurate enough to describe the things that most affect our lives here. This isn’t an ideological statement against Israel or in favor of a confederated or binational state. It is the reality today.

While we were arguing about what happened in the past or where to go in the future, we failed to notice as the present took new shape. Two people and territories are intertwined and interdependent geographically, politically, economically, and socially, and that is not scheduled to change.

If we call the situation what it is, and stop pretending it’s temporary, could we take more accurate measures, or make better policy? Realize that Palestinians and Israelis are not the “other”– but a piece of the body politic called “us”? We all have family members we don’t like, but we understand and accept them more than those outside the fold.

Maybe then we would realize why Saeb Erakat wanted one flag removed. His people are locked together with our people, but only ours are represented. Perhaps Erakat wouldn’t have needed to take the Israeli flag down if someone had raised a Palestinian flag. That would have reflected reality – then maybe we could move on and start solving problems.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Stephanie Van Beveren-Abdallah

      Just a something you might not have known. Although the Israeli New Shekel is the predominant salary, all Palestinian governmental employees are paid in American dollars.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      It is certainly relevant to this article to point out that the nature of the occupation is being discussed more and more in the mainstream press, as this recent editorial in the L.A. Times shows:

      http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-1216-vilkomerson-israel-losing-democratic-support-20151216-story.html

      “Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, maintains a list of more than 50 laws that discriminate against non-Jews in Israel, including laws that allow the state to confiscate Palestinian land for public purposes…”

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        MYTH
        “Israeli settlements are illegal.”

        FACT
        Jews have lived in Judea and Samaria—the West Bank—since ancient times. The only time Jews have been prohibited from living in the territories in recent decades was during Jordan’s rule from 1948 to 1967.

        Numerous legal authorities dispute the charge that settlements are “illegal.” Stephen Schwebel, formerly President of the International Court of Justice, notes that a country acting in self-defense may seize and occupy territory when necessary to protect itself. Schwebel also observes that a state may require, as a condition for its withdrawal, security measures designed to ensure its citizens are not menaced again from that territory. 1

        According to Eugene Rostow, a former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in the Johnson Administration, Resolution 242 gives Israel a legal right to be in the West Bank. The resolution, Rostow noted, “Israel is entitled to administer the territories” it won in 1967 until ‘‘a just and lasting peace in the Middle East’’ is achieved. 2 Though critical of Israeli policy, the United States does not consider settlements illegal.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          The settlements are both illegal and illegitimate. Your own Supreme Court has ruled the settlements are illegal. The United States, to keep up appearances, has pulled its punches on the word “illegal” but not on the word “illegitimate.” If the occupation were about your security you would have troops not civilian settlers in the occupied territories. And the settlements are in fact a massive security problem requiring your army to babysit them and serve as a constant and necessarily quite brutal, oppressive police force. The army is tied up doing police work and not defending the country as it should be doing. Yehuda Shaul, eminently sober and credible, and a real authority, has built an overwhelming evidence-based case that in fact it is the settlers and the army that menace the local populace of the occupied territories. Hope that clears things up.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            MYTH
            “The Geneva Convention prohibits the construction of Jewish settlements in occupied territories.”

            FACT
            The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the forcible transfer of people of one state to the territory of another state that it has occupied as a result of a war. The intention was to insure that local populations who came under occupation would not be forced to move. This is in no way relevant to the settlement issue. Jews are not being forced to go to the West Bank; on the contrary, they are voluntarily moving back to places where they, or their ancestors, once lived before being expelled by others.
            In addition, those territories never legally belonged to either Jordan or Egypt, and certainly not to the Palestinians, who were never the sovereign authority in any part of Palestine. “The Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the local population to live there,” according to Professor Eugene Rostow, former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. 4

            As a matter of policy, moreover, Israel does not requisition private land for the establishment of settlements. Housing construction is allowed on private land only after determining that no private rights will be violated. The settlements also do not displace Arabs living in the territories. The media sometimes gives the impression that for every Jew who moves to the West Bank, several hundred Palestinians are forced to leave. The truth is that the vast majority of settlements have been built in uninhabited areas and even the handful established in or near Arab towns did not force any Palestinians to leave.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Regarding your last paragraph (“As a matter of policy, moreover, Israel does not….) — so…now you’ve moved from “the occupation is necessary for, um, security,” to a really electrifying load of hogwash about those nice settlers who violate no “private rights.” We especially loved this sparkling gem: “Housing construction is allowed on private land only after determining that no private rights will be violated.” But all the rest of that paragraph is equally electrifying. Really shameless. Really brazen.

            As for the legal and historical nonsense that you employ to justify outright chicanery, we will reply.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            MYTH
            “At Camp David, Begin promised to halt the construction of settlements for five years.”

            FACT
            The five-year period agreed to at Camp David was the time allotted to Palestinian self-government in the territories. The Israeli moratorium on West Bank settlements agreed to by Prime Minister Menachem Begin was only for three months.

            Israel’s position on the matter received support from an unexpected source: Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who said: “We agreed to put a freeze on the establishment of settlements for the coming three months, the time necessary in our estimation for signing the peace treaty.” 9

            The Palestinians rejected the Camp David Accords and therefore the provisions related to them were never implemented. Had they accepted the terms offered by Begin, it is very likely the self-governing authority would have developed long before now into an independent Palestinian state.

            “If settlement-building is now concentrated in areas that the Palestinians themselves acknowledge will remain part of Israel in any future peace agreement, why the obsessive focus on settlements as an ‘obstacle to peace?’ ”

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war states:

            “The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies.”

            The International Committee of the Red Cross states:

            “It is unlawful under the Fourth Geneva Convention for an occupying power to transfer parts of its own population into the territory it occupies. This means that international humanitarian law prohibits the establishment of settlements, as these are a form of population transfer into occupied territory. Any measure designed to expand or consolidate settlements is also illegal. Confiscation of land to build or expand settlements is similarly prohibited.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Theodore Meron, legal counsel of the Israeli Foreign Ministry in September 1967:

            http://www.southjerusalem.com/settlement-and-occupation-historical-documents/

            Source: Israel State Archives, 153.8/7921/3A. Legal opinion numbered as document 289-291, with unnumbered cover notes.

            Theodor Meron was legal counsel of the Israeli Foreign Ministry in September 1967. He was asked by the Prime Minister’s Office for his opinion on the legality of civilian settlement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In a cover note to his opinion, he summarized his conclusion: “…civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            MYTH
            “The size of the Jewish population in the West Bank precludes any territorial compromise.”

            FACT
            Altogether, built-up settlement area is less than two percent of the disputed territories. An estimated 70 percent of the settlers live in what are in effect suburbs of major Israeli cities such as Jerusalem. These are areas that virtually the entire Jewish population believes Israel must retain to ensure its security, and presidents Clinton and Bush anticipated would remain under permanent Israeli sovereignty. 5

            Strategic concerns have led both Labor and Likud governments to establish settlements. The objective is to secure a Jewish majority in key strategic regions of the West Bank, such as the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem corridor, the scene of heavy fighting in several Arab-Israeli wars. Still, when Arab-Israeli peace talks began in late 1991, more than 80 percent of the West Bank contained no settlements or only sparsely populated ones. 6

            Today, approximately 300,000 Jews live in 122 communities in the West Bank. The overwhelming majority of these settlements have fewer than 1,000 citizens, 40 percent have fewer than 500 and several have only a few dozen residents. Contrary to Palestinian-inspired hysteria about settlement expansion, the truth is only five settlements have been built since 1990. 7 Analysts have noted that 70–80 percent of the Jews could be brought within Israel’s borders with minor modifications of the “Green Line.”

            Ironically, while Palestinians complain about settlements, an estimated 35,000 work in them and support a population of more than 200,000.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Gershom Gorenburg:

            http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.657167?v=4B17BD5DE5BE13E85887184B2E7021E0

            Israel knew all along that settlements were illegal.

            “Central figures in Israel’s government at the time – Eshkol, Foreign Minister Abba Eban, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and Justice Minister Yaakov Shimshon Shapira – all received that legal advice [by Theodore Meron, legal counsel of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, in 1967]. A week and a half later, the cabinet approved settlement in the West Bank for the first time. Ex post facto, a few scholars have manufactured the justifications for settlement that are regularly cited for hasbara purposes. But their legal gymnastics have never convinced anyone who was not trying hard to be convinced.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            The intention was to insure that local populations who came under occupation would not be forced to move. This is in no way relevant to the settlement issue. Jews are not being forced to go to the West Bank; on the contrary, they are voluntarily moving back to places where they, or their ancestors, once lived before being expelled by others.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “The intention was to insure that local populations who came under occupation would not be forced to move.”

            It absolutely does not say that. You write as if we can’t read and understand plain English:

            “The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies.”

            “Populations who come under occupation” are simply not “the occupying power’s own population.” And please also note: the preposition “into” cannot be twisted to mean “out of.”

            There is no getting around this.

            This would seem then to be an example of a peculiar narcissism: “The rules are for everybody else. Not me. What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine…..”

            As Gorenburg quite sensibly says, these gymnastics have never convinced anyone who is not trying hard to be convinced.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            I am saying it because unlike you, I understand the historical context.

            Section 49 was formulated after WW2 after the atrocities of the third Reich came to light in which they forcibly removed large numbers of occupied people to forced labor camps.

            But you are both too dumb and biased to comprehend that, Benny-leh.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Ok, I’ll work on it. I’ll try extra special hard to be convinced. … … … … Hmmmmm Nope. I tried really really hard and even then I was not convinced.Sorry. I’ll try again tomorrow.

            I know and understand full well the context of WW2. You’re not the only one who understands it. So did those who formulated Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Which states:

            “The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies.”

            They understood full well that population transfer could work in more than one way and one direction to victimize. They did not attach a clause stating: “However, by this we do not mean an occupying power cannot transfer its own population into territories it occupies if its population wants to go there and the occupier wants them too! Golly no! If the occupier and a part of its population are game, why heck!, go for it and to heck with the people you displace!” They were not stupid and would have written sober language to this effect had they meant that. They did not. You can’t write it in with magic ink.

            You know what’s really funny? Eis is such a self-proclaimed stickler for “the precise legal science! The letter of the law!!!” She excuses every atrocity by the narrowest pseudo-legal pettifoggery as to why “said law” does not say blah blah blah. And here you are writing in imaginary clauses ex post facto in magical ink! To Article 49! Because it serves you and you are special! Yet if someone tried to do the same in the opposite direction Eis would heap mounds of vituperation on them. And so would you! Yet more evidence that you think everyone should follow the rules. Except you!

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Even if one would agree with Benny’s legal experts as opposed to other legal experts who argue about the interpretation of what population transfer means, even then the so called Israeli settlements would not be illegal. Why? Because the article four of Geneva convention clearly talks about disputes between two sovereign countries with defined borders. That clearly wasn’t the case with what we have here.

            In 1947, the UN recommended new borders for two new countries for two peoples (Arabs and Jews) who constituted the majority population on the land that was known as Palestine. The Jews grudgingly accepted the recommendation while the Arabs rejected it outright and immediately rioted.

            A civil war ensued and the Jews too declared that since the Arabs rejected the non binding UN resolution, because the Arabs claim that all the land is theirs, the Jews too aim to grab as much of the land as we can. A war ensued which has not been resolved to this day.

            In summary, there have never been defined borders so the Israeli “settlements” have not been built on Arab lands. They have been built on lands beyond the 1967 lines which were definitely not recognized borders but the armistice lines of 1949. Read up the definition of armistice lines, Benny. It means the lines that were drawn up when the battle temporarily stopped in 1949. The final borders are yet to be agreed upon in peace negotiations. UN security council resolution 242 clearly states that, Benny-leh.

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            What Israeli-partisans who push this tired argument never consider: If North Korea were to invade the South tomorrow, would anyone other than North Korean-partisans say South Korea isn’t occupied because the boundary is only an armistice line?

            Somehow I doubt it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            I am glad you brought up that example, Andrew dear because that is exactly what happened in Vietnam. North Vietnam over-ran the South and nobody is screaming their lungs off about how the North Vietnamese occupy South Vietnam. One has to wonder why? Is it because they are left wingers? Communist left wingers?

            But Israel does not even want to do the same. Otherwise we would have annexed the WB long ago. We still want a two state solution but with safer borders than the 1949 armistice lines. Aun UN SC resolution 242 allows us to demand exactly that.

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            “there have never been defined borders so the Israeli “settlements” have not been built on Arab lands.”

            Israel’s borders were clearly and explicitly defined in 1948 and the Israeli colonies in Palestine are illegal.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            …yes, Benny dear. Israel’s borders were defined via a UN General Resolution which is non mandatory. That is precisely why your Arabs were able to defy the resolution and reject it.

            …and having been rejected by the Arabs, Israel too had the same right to reject it.

            …let me give you an example. I used to be a chess player. In one of the chess tournaments, I had a difficult game with another competitor. The game was hanging in the balance and either one of us looked like a possible winner, or conversely a loser. So I offered the other guy a draw. He said he would think about it and we played on…

            …after quite a few additional moves, the tide shifted in my favor and it distinctly looked like I would win. At that stage, the other guy said that he wants to accept my offer for a draw. I then told him that my offer is no longer available…

            …my opponent then got huffy and insisted that an offer is an offer and I have to stand-by my offer. We called the tournament director to adjudicate. Care to guess who he supported, Benny-leh?

            …He agreed with me because he said the other guy should have accepted the offer when it was offered. He said, that since the other guy decided to hedge his bets, it means that whoever subsequently would win would deemed to be the winner. One can’t have their cake and eat it too…

            Had the other guy won, he would have been horrified if someone would claim that he is not the winner. Conversely, he cannot cry poor if he loses.

            It’s the same with the Arabs. They went for broke. So now they can’t attempt to dictate what happens, having lost the military conflict. Had they won, this place would have been an Arab land from the river to the sea and nobody would even suggest that any part of it belongs to the Jews. And you know that is so, Benny-leh. Don’t even attempt to deny it!

            PS
            I won the game.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            @Gustav: Once again I am sorry.

            “The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies.”

            Once again, you cannot write in a clause in magical ink claiming an exception on the legal grounds of “just cuz I say so.” The vast majority of legal experts and in fact every country in the world except Israel has agreed and will continue to. Theodore Meron said it in 1967 and decades later reaffirmed what he said. Your own Supreme Court says it.
            The International Committee of the Red Cross says it.

            Once again, Gershom Gorenburg is correct:

            “Ex post facto, a few scholars have manufactured the justifications for settlement that are regularly cited for hasbara purposes. But their legal gymnastics have never convinced anyone who was not trying hard to be convinced.”

            Once again, reality is what it is. In a moment of honesty you admitted that your real credo underneath the habitual window dressing of “security” and the laughably transparent baloney of “We still want a two state solution but with safer borders than the 1949 armistice lines” is:

            “the Jews too aim to grab as much of the land as we can.”

            Grabbing what “you” can however is not a recognized legal principle. What you call “we” and “the Jews” is not actually “the Jews” but just some Jews and not others. You are not even aware of the proto-fascist rhetorical language you embed.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            What does it say about the ethical character and intelligence of the two unreconstructed extreme rightists here, Gustav and his repellent sidekick, Meravka (aka Merav, BiCat, Daniel, Lion of Judah, etc.) that their constant rhetorical ploy, these two both, is the petty, dishonest troll gambit: one of pretending that everybody and anybody who posts here is me? (And in Meravka’s case, with the sheer unembarrassable hypocrisy of it.) The transparent ploy is to collapse all of them and me into one strawman monomaniacal poster. And paint me as disreputable, link me to people I am not. It’s so lame and so comically ineffectual. Every time they do this they tacitly admit several things at once: that they have no problem being dishonest, that they are obsessed with me, that they are unable to take me on without resorting to dishonest tricks, to pettiness. Note: It’s a right wing tactic. Vilify, vilify, vilify. And do it with dirty tricks. It’s the same spirit that motivates Bibi. It’s the same spirit that motivated Oren Hazan to pose as a soldier and lie to Breaking the Silence in a vain attempt to discredit it. It’s the same ethic in fact that makes them hate Breaking the Silence and makes them hate +972 Magazine. It’s the same ethic that makes them obsessed with demonizing Ayman Odeh. Vilify, vilify, vilify. Honesty does not matter. It is permitted to lie for Greater Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Benny playing the victim again. Ethics and Benny?
            One could use that as an example of an oxymoron.

            Put a sock in it, Benny-leh.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Oh no. Not playing victim. That’s actually the other right wing habit when not practicing vilification. I’m quite simply pointing out the thread of the right wing technique of vilification running through the several elements I note above: You, Merkava, Oren Hazan, the haters of BtS, the haters of +972, the haters of “Benny,” etc. Speaking of which, Merkava just came out as a defender of Gopstein. No kidding. Really. Merkava, over at “Hundreds march in Tel Aviv against growing right-wing incitement” said that the following is “distortion” and “lies” about Gopstein and that he does not “cross the line”:

            http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.693132

            Jewish extremists’ leader: Christians are ‘blood sucking vampires’ who should be expelled from Israel
            Benzi Gopstein, head of Lehava, calls to ban Christmas in the Holy Land: ‘Let us remove the vampires before they once again drink our blood.’

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BEN:”Once again, you cannot write in a clause in magical ink claiming an exception on the legal grounds of “just cuz I say so.”

            I totally agree. That’s exactly what I said in my previous post. Read it again. You can’t say that the “settlements” were built on Arab lands just because you say so. They were NOT because there NEVER was a sovereign Arab Palestine in here.

            Again: the settlements are built on lands that were part of the British mandate previously. And before that it was part of the Ottoman empire. The British mandate had both Jewish and Arab citizens so both have a claim on all the land which is exactly what the Arabs did. They claimed ALL of the land instead of accepting the UN recommendation to divide the land into two countries.

            So Bennyleh. If the Arabs took that uncompromising attitude, surely we can too? And claim the parts which the settlements are on? As per a second UN SC resolution 242 which gives us the right to claim more secure borders. Get it, no? I don’t care. That’s the way it is.

            … and this little gem from Benny, in self righteous lecture mode…

            BEN:”Grabbing what “you” can however is not a recognized legal principle.”

            … of course what Benny really wants to say is that the above only applies to Jooooos, not to Arabs because he never seems to want to talk about the fact that in 1947-48, it was precisely his Arabs who embarked to try to make all the land Arab and jooooo free. Benny simply never wants to talk about that “minor little detail” … it is an inconvenient little detail which Benny simply wants to gloss over or even forget. Benny only wants to discuss OUR REACTION to the intransigent agressive behavior of his favorite “little angels”, his Arabs.

            Oh well. Who cares. I am not really writing to Benny. I am merely here to counteract his lies, distortions and propaganda for the sake of less informed but more reasonable readers who may venture here (poor souls).

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Nope. I didn’t say the settlements were built “on Arab lands.” (That’s your embedded proto-fascist psychology, as I explained above, wherein everything in the world comes down to “the Jews” and “the Arabs” and “Jewish land” and “Arab land.”) I said the settlements are illegal. Everything you say consequently collapses. Again, that pesky thing, reality.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Oh now our resident shape shifter, Benny, says he didn’t say that the “settlements” are built on Arab lands. That, to a normal person implies that he agrees that the “settlements” are not built on Arab lands (watch him deny that it implies that),

            Yet he asserts that the “settlements” are illegal. Of course what he can’t tell us is why according to the likes of him, why then are the “settlements” illegal? Because ideologues like him say so?

            Note: no American administration claimed that the “settlements” are illegal although they oppose the building of settlements presumably because they think they complicate peace negotiations. That of course does not make the settlements ILLEGAL! It just makes them unwise if one accepts the idea.

            Hey, Benny-leh do you know the difference between ILLEGAL and UNWISE?!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            The settlements are both illegal and illegitimate. The United States, to keep up appearances, has pulled its punches on the word “illegal” but not on the word “illegitimate.” The United States has used the word “illegitimate” over and over.

            ———————
            Oxford Dictionaries
            illegitimate
            Syllabification: il·le·git·i·mate
            Pronunciation: /ˌiləˈjidəmət/
            Definition of illegitimate in English:
            adjective

            1Not authorized by the law; not in accordance with accepted standards or rules:
            ‘an illegitimate exercise of power by the military’

            1.1(Of a child) born of parents not lawfullymarried to each other.

            Origin
            Mid 16th century: from late Latin illegitimus (from in- ‘not’ + legitimus ‘lawful’)
            ——————–

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Unbelievable!!!!

            Benny is unable to explain why “the settlements” are illegal yet he keeps on asserting that they are. He accused ME of making things up, LOL.

            This is especially strange since Benny also said…

            BEN:”Nope. I didn’t say the settlements were built “on Arab lands.”

            Watch Benny perform triple summersaults to avoid answering my question which is again…

            …why are “the settlements” illegal? Coz some people say so?

            Only parrots think like that. Thinking people can justify their claims.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            As always, the argument becomes tiresomely circular, and we end up back where we began. At the Fourth Geneva Convention. We all know that Israel has argued that the Convention does not apply to its treatment of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip or to its 48-year occupation of these territories. Very old news. As Gorenburg says, these arguments have never been convincing. (Gustav asks “Coz some people say so?” Well, if you wish. Trouble is, “some people” includes the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Court of Justice and the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention. As Gustav knows, Israel is among the high contracting parties to the Convention, having signed and ratified it. That makes Israel a rogue state.)

            In reality, however, there are much more interesting and relevant conversations to be had than this antiquated one. Such as this one

            http://972mag.com/torture-is-just-another-symptom-of-the-occupation/114989/

            that Noam Sheizaf is engaged in about why human rights must become universal within the one actual system that, in reality, is Israel and the occupied territories. Sheizaf well understands that the Israeli mainstream is convinced that the occupied territories are part of Israel but he comes to terms truthfully with the severe and intractable problems in all this, problems that reality-denying right wing never addresses.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Siiiiiiiggghhh….

            Let me quote none other than Benny himself…

            BEN:“The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies.”

            BEN:”Nope. I didn’t say the settlements were built “on Arab lands.”

            Soooooo, once again, Benny-leh. Care to explain how come the so called settlements are illegal according to you? Read your own quote of the Geneva convention…

            It talks about the “territories it occupies”. If the settlements are not built on Arab lands then how can those territories be considered occupied territories, eh, Benny-leh? Care to enlighten us…..?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            I didn’t say: “the settlements are not built on Arab lands”

            I said: “I didn’t say the settlements were built “on Arab lands””

            I also said: “That’s your embedded proto-fascist psychology, as I explained above, wherein everything in the world comes down to “the Jews” and “the Arabs” and “Jewish land” and “Arab land”.”

            Look at *the context* in which I said one thing and not another thing. In that *context* what I said and did not say are two entirely different things. Your failure to understand this is interesting for what it reveals about your mental habits and your assumptive world. It also points out the hazards (for you) in your inveterate habit of clipping off half or more of what I said wherever you feel like clipping it and ripping the fragment that is left out of context.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BEN:”I didn’t say: “the settlements are not built on Arab lands”

            BEN:”I said: “I didn’t say the settlements were built “on Arab lands”

            Oh my Gawd, my head is spinning. Benny at his best. Mental gymnastics anyone?

            Now Benny: care to explain why oh why DID you say the following sentence then? For no reason? You were just funnin’?

            BEN:”I didn’t say the settlements were built “on Arab lands”

            I’ll tell you exactly why you said it. Because when you said it, you didn’t think of the implications. You were too intent on being contrary. But now since you realize the implications, you are backtracking furiously.

            Folks: this is what it’s like to argue with Benny. He is a shape shifter he is spineless and he has no real position of his own. He can only parrot what other people say. I doubt that he can even understand what those other people say but he parrots them anyway.

            Nuff said.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            …now back to square one…

            Since you are again saying, Benny, that the “settlements” are built on Arab lands, care to explain how come? The reality is…

            Again: the settlements are built on lands that were part of the British mandate previously. And before that it was part of the Ottoman empire. The British mandate had both Jewish and Arab citizens so both have a claim on all the land which is exactly what the Arabs did. They claimed ALL of the land instead of accepting the UN recommendation to divide the land into two countries.

            So Bennyleh. If the Arabs took that uncompromising attitude, surely we can too? And claim the parts which the settlements are on? As per a second UN SC resolution 242 which gives us the right to claim more secure borders. Get it, no? I don’t care. That’s the way it is.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Palestine is an internationally recognized territorial entity, whether it suits the blinded Zionist zealots, or not. It may not be a state yet, but it exists and has a name.

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    4. Robin

      This is an excellent analysis and accurate solution. Think, with open and free heart, Israel-Palestine as together and a permanent solution will appear.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “then maybe we could move on and start solving problems.”

        Sure sure, hand over the key, demote Israel promote Palestine is the extreme left’s solution.

        …to be sure, it would solve the Arab’s problems. Our problems would just begin and be solved very quickly insuccession. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Aqsa will give us peace. The peace of the dead…

        Dreamers are a health hazard!

        Reply to Comment
    5. nathan

      “Israeli Territories” works for me. Either both are independent states or both are territories.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Felixio

      Israel without US support it be nothing, so stop bragging so much guys.

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