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War is the new system of governance (and five other Gaza takeaways)

The status quo of the occupation has reached a new level of violence and destruction, but there is no political power in sight that can impose a change on the ground.

A mosque minaret rises among the ruins of Al-Nada towers after they were destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, August 4, 2014. The towers had 90 flats. So far, Israeli attacks have killed at least 1,870 Palestinians, and injured 9,470 since the beginning of the Israeli offensive (photo: Activestills)

A mosque minaret rises among the ruins of Al-Nada towers after they were destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, August 4, 2014. The towers had 90 flats. (photo: Activestills)

1. Israel paid more than it expected for a bit less than it wanted. Israel’s strategic goal in this war was to maintain the status quo on the Palestinian issue. Prime Minister Netanyahu outlined this notion from the first days of the war, when he presented his ceasefire formula: if Hamas stops shooting, we stop shooting. Israel got most of what it wanted, but at a greater price than expected, in terms of Israeli casualties, the disruption to everyday life in Israel, and further erosion of Israel’s position in the world due to the destruction inflicted on Gaza.

Maintaining control over the Palestinians, or keeping the Palestinians under control (i.e. the status quo) is the common denominator of the Israeli system. The political debate is about the best way to achieve this goal. Some would grant the Palestinians a semi-state, or an enhanced proxy regime; most Israelis would like to keep things as they are, and a minority wants to annex the occupied territories – these are the same voices that called for the IDF to retake Gaza.

But no major political power is willing to either give the Palestinians full civilian, political and human rights as individuals under Israeli sovereignty, or completely retreat and disconnect from the Palestinian territories and grant them full independence, regardless of the consequences.

Israelis may have given Netanyahu a B-minus on this war, but they never questioned the war itself; mainly because the belief in the status quo doesn’t come from the leadership but from the public. I might be wrong, but I don’t think the war was a ground-shifting event that will change Israeli thinking in the way that the First Intifada led to Oslo, and the Second Intifada led to the disengagement. The needle may have moved, but not enough.

2. A new act in the Israeli political drama begins. There will be a lot of excitement now about the political fallout of this war, and especially around the fate of the third Netanyahu government. This government is the weakest Netanyahu had led, and it is even weaker after the war, mainly for reasons that have to do with the economy. Israel continues its slow slide toward recession, and the war will make it impossible for Finance Minister Yair Lapid to make good on his promises to the Middle Class and not raise taxes. Lapid might be tempted to leave the government, and Netanyahu might be tempted to get Naftali Bennett out and try to resume talks with the Palestinians. It’s also unclear where Lieberman is heading. Early elections are not in anybody’s interest but Bennett’s, but we might end up with them anyway.

But all this political drama – which is kind of common with Israeli politics – shouldn’t be confused for a battle of ideas. As I said, there is no path for a coalition that would offer the minimum a credible Palestinian leadership could accept. The two-state solution seems even more remote after this war, and the one-state solution is not getting any closer. The only difference is that more people are now aware of the ugliness of “the status-quo solution.”

A relative cries over the body of one of the children killed by an Israeli attack on a playground in al-Shati refugee camp, Gaza city, July 28, 2014. Reports indicate that 10 people, mostly children, were killed and 40 injured during the attack which took place on the first day Eid. (photo: Activestills)

A relative cries over the body of one of the children killed by an Israeli attack on a playground in al-Shati refugee camp, Gaza city, July 28, 2014. Reports indicate that 10 people, mostly children, were killed and 40 injured during the attack which took place on the first day Eid. (photo: Activestills)

3. Hamas’ second war of independence: In order to maintain the status quo, Israel concluded early on that it needed Hamas weakened but not destroyed. The reason is twofold: (a) Ironically, Hamas is seen as the only entity that can prevent chaos in Gaza and secure peace for Israel; and (b) Hamas is a political power that balances Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. Israel needs Fatah and Hamas to cancel each other out.

Here, too, I think that Israel pretty much got what it needed, but at a greater cost than it expected. Egypt and the Saudis might try to get more rewards for Abbas as a payment for their support for Israel during the war – Abbas’ alleged meeting with Netanyahu could be seen as a step in this direction.

Still, Hamas also came out with something from this war, especially with regards to recognition as a stakeholder in the new Middle East. This was Hamas’ second War of Independence. The first one was the aftermath of Oslo and the Second Intifada, which demonstrated its power in internal Palestinian politics and ended with a general election victory. Protective Edge won Hamas international recognition; some Palestinians I’ve spoken to are convinced that if the PLO held general elections tomorrow, Khaled Mashal could end up as chairman (which pretty much guarantees that general elections will not be held). After this war, any sensible person knows that Hamas will need to be part of whatever political arrangement is formed; it’s less clear what Gaza and its people got. Time will tell.

4. War as a system of governance: More than a year ago, we at +972 Magazine ran an interview with the director of a film dealing with Israel’s military exports. The headline of the piece was ‘Wars on Gaza have become part of Israel’s system of governance,’ and when you read it now, after Gaza’s third war in six years, it’s even more chilling.

The Palestinians in the occupied territories have been held under an oppressive military regime – a dictatorship that is run by a democracy – for almost half a century. The levels of violence this regime needs to exert in order to support itself have become frightening. Israel might claim that it didn’t want this war (or the previous one, or the one before it), but this much is true for every oppressive regime out there: Every one of them would rather maintain their power and control without resorting to the use of force, and every one of them ends up using more and more power as the resistance to that control grows.

This is a one-way street, so the next “escalation” is likely to be even more brutal than the one which produced, for example, the following images, showing an entire neighborhood wiped out in an hour:

There is a favorite line by Liberal Zionists about how Israel needs to solve the Palestinians issue, or else it risks various forms of corruption. Gaza showed how deep we have already delved into the “or else” era, and it seems that the first to get corrupted were the Liberal Zionists themselves, most of whom chose to support and even glorify this war.

5. The challenge for the Palestinians is unity. Abbas’ diplomatic channel is hollow without popular support, while Hamas demonstrated its shortcomings in translating (limited) military achievements into political ones – which is why, after all, one goes to war. The war itself could have happened because of Palestinian division and because Hamas and Fatah made separate political calculations. A united, accountable political system is a necessary step for effectively challenging the system of occupation, or for the reconciliation with Jewish-Israelis that could follow.

6. Did Israel really replace U.S. support with an Egyptian-Saudi alliance? This is a line you hear in Israel pretty often these days, but I am not so sure. The U.S. supplied the IDF with artillery shells when it ran out, and handed it the Iron Dome anti-rocket system that helped most of the country maintain normal life throughout the war. Most important, the U.S. still provides the diplomatic cover for Israeli policies, despite all the reservations it might have regarding it. An American hand at the Security Council is what separates Israel and its occupation from the kind of consequences other oppressive regimes get at their most violent moments; Washington might be less ambitious in its Middle Eastern diplomacy lately, but in Israel/Palestine it is still the enabler of the status quo.

Related:
This is Netanyahu’s final status solution
Gaza war: It’s about keeping the Palestinians under control
Israel has alternatives to this war

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    COMMENTS

    1. Kolumn8

      1) Oh, I think the needle has shifted. The numerous rocket attacks on Tel Aviv and points north have pushed the overwhelming number of Israelis away from any outcome that risks the entry of missiles into the West Bank. This includes the center and the center left that live in central Israel that might have previously been willing to take a risk because they had not previously been exposed to prolonged periods of rocket fire. That means that the Palestinians are not going to get the Jordan Valley. The IDF will have to control it indefinitely. The American proposals to the contrary are now dead in the water. There will be no Israeli government that will be capable of selling what the Americans proposed to the Israeli population. No amount of pressure will help on this issue, so none will be applied and the Palestinians will have to deal with it.

      2) I don’t think that anyone really wants elections right now. Definitely not Lapid, not Livni, and not Liberman. Bennett is the only one that might want elections but I figure at this point Bibi would be willing to bring Herzog into the government to replace him in order to avoid elections, primarily in order to avoid having to deal with challengers within the Likud rather than due to the prospects for the Likud party which are actually decent. Herzog too has nothing to gain from elections. As for a ‘battle of ideas’, it happened while bombs were blowing up on buses and you lost… permanently. Until the Palestinians present a viable alternative to the status quo by making the compromises they need to make there will be no shift in the Israeli preference for the status quo. The previous proposal of a Palestinian state in the West Bank that will be used as a rocket base by Hamas to hit Tel Aviv has absolutely nothing going for it and more Israelis than ever are aware of how ugly such a non-solution would be.

      3) I don’t see how this operation won Hamas any international recognition or legitimacy. In 2012 there were dozens of Arab/Muslim leaders that visited Gaza during that war. Obviously this is mostly because of the change in the Egyptian government but any support for Hamas has been muted in the Arab world, other than in Qatar. Right now Khaled Meshaal is stuck in Qatar with the occasional jaunt to Ankara. If anything I would say that this war has demonstrated how lonely and isolated Hamas has become. In order to achieve any loosening of the blockade Hamas has effectively been forced to accept sharing military control of Gaza with the PA. Whatever appeal Hamas has as a result of the fake celebrations in Gaza will wear off in a week or so, but the rubble will only be rebuilt as a result of Hamas retreating from center stage.

      4) Your line of reasoning here is fundamentally problematic. There is no growing “resistance” to Israeli control. There is growing capability, primarily as a result of shrinking Israeli control over the West Bank and Gaza.

      One thing you are certainly correct about. The next escalation will be even more brutal. The starting point for the rules of that operation will be the endpoint of the current operation. Massive artillery bombardments and the destruction of entire buildings will be SOP. Israel will be as brutal as it needs to be in order to defend its citizens.

      5) Whether the Palestinians are divided or united doesn’t really matter as long as they are not willing to accept the compromises that will be necessary for peace. Abbas’ diplomatic channel is hollow because it tries to challenge the United States in a diplomatic war. This is a fight between a flea and a planet and this wouldn’t change regardless of how united the Palestinians are. Hamas can’t translate its military achievements into political ones because it has no military achievements. Unity here wouldn’t change a thing either except associate the entire Palestinian people with the actions of terrorists. Nothing but a fundamental change among the Palestinians in terms of changing their narrative towards one that accepts living in peace with the Jewish State of Israel is going to have any positive impact on their situation. Because the truth is that no one in Israel believes them when they say they want peace while teaching their children that Israel should be destroyed. They don’t want peace. They want more power to continue the war against us. That is what their narrative tells us and we would have to be complete morons to give our enemies the means to murder us.

      6) Israel did not really replace the US. It just decided to ignore the joker duo of Obama/Kerry for the next several years. It is presently impossible to engage with the United States on any foreign policy issue because the United States has no real foreign policy, and operates purely on the basis of what makes for a good domestic sound bites. Obama is a lame duck president. It seems unlikely that his successor will be as much of an incompetent failure on foreign policy as he has been. In any case, the Saudis and the Egyptians are much more competent in understanding the region and in crafting consistent foreign policies. Their policies don’t change because of what is trending in social media.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ashraf

        Looks like you have been reading too much of news coming from Israeli media and very less international media.
        You are totally living a fantasy.
        Needle has shifted substantiality. Look at the support Palestinian cause has got this time. Look at the condemnation of Israeli occupation coming from Hollywood and Holocaust survivors.

        Israel has lost diplomatically and its military gains are undermined by the fact that 64 soldiers were killed.

        Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          The needle has not shifted. A Pew poll was released yesterday measuring American public support for Israel and Palestinians. Most Americans (64%) say they sympathize “a lot” (34%) or “some” (32%) with Israel, while roughly a quarter sympathize with Israel “not much” (15%) or “not at all” (12%) and 9% had no answer.

          ONLY 11% sympathize with Palestinians a lot, though 35% have some sympathy for them. Nearly half say they have little (20%) or no sympathy (27%) for the Palestinians.

          Then in Congress there is over whelming support for Israel. The vote in Congress to approve additional monies for Israel was 395-8.

          No the needle has not swung one bit.

          Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            A poll? Who was polled? What demographics? What geographics? What quantity of people? A poll can be made what you want it to be.

            Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            Average American: I guess you are going to have change your name because the authentic average American overwhelming supports Israel.

            Here is the Pew Poll link:

            http://www.people-press.org/2014/08/28/more-express-sympathy-for-israel-than-the-palestinians/

            Pew also released a poll for July 15, 2014 where 1805 adult
            Americans were polled. 51% supported Israel and 14% the Palestinians.

            NBC did a poll of 760 American adults which it released on August 3, 2014 asking Americans to choose between Israel and Hamas. 54% chose Israel and 7% Hamas.

            Now doesn’t that want to make you sing Yankee Do Dandy?

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            No. Those tiny quantities of people are ridiculous scientifically.

            Reply to Comment
          • Jan

            If every American read Gaza Mom by Laila El Haddad they might change their minds about Israel and Gaza. They would understand that Israel turned Gaza into the world’s largest outdoor prison camp. They would find out that from the start of the so-called “disengagement” Israel continued to fly its drones over Gaza and to inflict the pain of nightly sonic booms over Gaza making people think that Israel was once again bombing them. Those booms were so strong, often coming three or four times a night, that windows would shatter. The author put a sheet over her baby’s crib so that flying glass wouldn’t harm him. How would you like sonic booms coming over you every night? But sonic booms were not enough. Israel continued bombing near the northern border with Israel and continued killing of civilians including a 10 year old girl standing in line for school and 13 year old Aya Al-Astal who was shot by a trigger happy IDF soldier who thought she came too close to the fence Israel made to enclose its prisoners in Gaza.

            But that wasn’t enough for Israel. Farmers could not export their produce out of Gaza. Produce laden trucks would line up at the crossing and while IDF soldiers refused to open the gate to let them out. According to Israeli plans, the produce rotted and the farmers lost necessary income.

            Haddad is married to a Palestinian born in Lebanon. They met and fell in love at a US university. Israel will not allow her husband to live with his family in Gaza. I remember when Jews were rightfully accusing the Soviet Union of not allowing family unification but when it comes to Palestinians family unification is banned.

            I suspect that if you and your fellow Israelis were subject to the same indignities, the same oppression, the same occupation as has been inflicted on the Palestinians you might throw more than just puny rockets at your oppressors.

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            What you fail to state is that within hours of Israeli finishing its withdrawal from Gaza, rockets were shot out of Gaza at Israeli. On September 21, 2005 Hamas kidnapped and killed 55 year old Saason Nuriel. On September 24, 2005 Gaza fired 30 rockets at Israel and 5 Israelis were injured.

            On October 16, 2005 three Israelis, including a child were murdered, were murdered by Palestinians and four more injured. On October 26, 2005 a suicide bomber killed 6 Israelis in the market place in Hadera.

            Another 9 Israelis were killed in attacks by Palestinians. 5 of them wee killed and 50 were injured in a suicide bombing of the Sharon Mall in Netanya. The dead and injured would have been many more except the security guard stopped the terrorist outside the mall and pushed him up against a wall. The security guard was killed when the bomber detonated his suicide vest.

            This was the fourth major suicide bomb against the City of Netanya. Jan, can you tell me why the Palestinians hate the Jews in Netanya so much so they sent 4 suicide bombers to attack Netanya. Is it because Netanya is everything that cities in Gaza could be, but are not? Or is the simple answer they were Jews, so they were killed?

            Now, Jan, you may have heard of the principle of cause and effect. Drones over Gaza were a result of Palestinian violence and rocket firing. The closure of border crossing was also due to terrorist attacks like the Hadera and Netanya suicide bombings.

            Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn8

          Hahahaha. You judged the war based on a few tweets you saw on twitter? Good for you. The “Palestinian cause” has the same ignorant loud supporters it always had, including a few self-hating Jews.

          The only diplomatic consequences of the war have been some trivial symbolic actions by several South American states and some of the usual meaningless passing admonitions from the Americans and the Europeans.

          There was no resolution at the UNSC. The Americans/Europeans were excluded entirely from the negotiations, as were the Turks and the Qataris. Israel got exactly the mediator it desired with exactly the terms that it wanted. Hamas got nothing and it got no diplomatic support outside of its Qatari and Turkish patrons. If you think that Israel lost this war diplomatically you are reading fantasy books.

          Reply to Comment
      • Average American

        Perfect. “IDF will have to hold it (Jordan Valley) indefinitely.” That’s how you expand your territory. Onward toward the whole Eretz Israel. You’ll have it one day.

        Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          Average American: No expansion, the Jordan Valley is part of the land set aside for the Jewish home by the international community in 1922 and ratified by the United Nations in its Charter in 1945. If the Arabs do not want to make a conflict ending peace agreement with Israel, Israel will keep the Jordan Valley and develop it for the Jewish people who were the beneficiaries of the sacred trust of civilization known as the Mandate for Palestine. Arab Palestinians better tell Abbas what they want, war, empty international resolutions or peace with Israel and the realization of an Arab Palestinian state. The clock is ticking, 2 years until Obama is gone and replaced by an administration much more supportive of Israel.

          Reply to Comment
    2. bor

      “The Palestinians in the occupied territories have been held under an oppressive military regime – a dictatorship that is run by a democracy – for almost half a century.”

      This is entirely false. Israel left Gaza several years ago. It is not occupying it, even if you stretch the definition. The Gazans live under Palestinian rule entirely.

      Regarding Judea and Samaria and the PA, once again Sheizaf is ignoring the fact that a real Palestinian government has been controlling virtually the entire Palestinian population there for 20 years. Certainly ever since the US and Israel provided training and arms to the PA security forces, there is very little doubt as to who controls what.

      That’s not to say that Israel doesn’t send the IDF into Palestinian controlled areas, but as far as governance and the vast majority of daily life, Palestinians rule Palestinians.

      Reply to Comment
      • I’ll repeat something I wrote several times already:

        Sovereignty has several thresholds in modern-day politics: such as control over the borders, over the registration of citizens, over the central bank and main currency, over the legitimate use of violence, over airspace. it’s clear that Israel holds almost every one of them, along many other powers, in the West Bank and Gaza.

        There is no “independent” Palestinian government – not in the West Bank, nor in Gaza, unless you want to redefine what independence means.

        Reply to Comment
        • bor

          I’m sorry but you’ve just moved the goalposts.

          Your initial remark, to which I was responding, stated, “The Palestinians in the occupied territories have been held under an oppressive military regime – a dictatorship that is run by a democracy – for almost half a century.”

          Now you’re speaking about sovereignty with control over borders, currency, banking and airspace.

          First of all, the PA could, tomorrow, launch a currency (http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/2138/palestine-currency-shekel). Second, the IMF treats its economy and banking as if it’s an independent territory. Third, the PA (and Hamas, for that matter) has ministries that are parallel to most countries’. The PA has diplomatic relations with numerous countries and a representative at the UN (and far more allies in that bigoted body than Israel). The PA and Hamas have heir own media, their own universities and other learning institutions, control over school curricula and even sports teams (or at least sports bodies to appeal to international sports organizations to boycott Israel).

          The Palestinians do not have sovereignty, that is true, and they don’t control their own borders, that is true, and they sometimes experience raids by IDF soldiers seeking terrorists and other activists, that is also true. I didn’t say Israel wasn’t present and didn’t have a controlling security presence. What I said is that Palestinians govern Palestinians in virtually all walks of life. That is a fact.

          And, if your benchmark for Israel no longer being a “dictatorship” over the Palestinians is that they get the right to “legitimate use of violence,” airspace and full control of borders, then you will be disappointed probably for the remainder of your life because the departure from Gaza, the inability of Arab governments to maintain stability in countries right next to Israel, the strength and viciousness of various Islamic movements, Iran’s arming of proxy groups next door to Israel, and the hideous propaganda campaign (of which BDS is a small part) executed by the Palestinian leadership, people and their leftists supporters across the world which often dives into the nether regions of anti-Semitism, all point Israeli leaders and Israelis in general to the inescapable conclusion that giving up borders, airspace and even parcels of land next door to Israel is a recipe for suicide.

          And you can’t blame that on Israel. Look around the Middle East, look at Gaza and you’ll understand that only a fool would give up security buffers at this point in history. And if you believe that I’m wrong, then ask yourself where Israel would be today if it had given up the Golan Heights as demanded by many of the same people who demand that Israel walk away from Judea and Samaria.

          Reply to Comment
          • Philos

            Very nice and sophisticated bit of hasbara there old chap.

            “What I said is that Palestinians govern Palestinians in virtually all walks of life.”

            I was wondering, old sport, if you could shed some light on how Palestinians in Area A of the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip go about registering births, marriages, deaths and obtaining ID cards? Is it the Interior Ministry of Israel they turn to or a liaison between them and the Interior Ministry run by the Civil Administration (the aforementioned half century military dictatorship)? Indeed, I’m curious to know to whom do they turn to for planning permits, business licenses, export and import licenses, and radio frequencies?

            I’m afraid, old boy, you’ll have to do a little better than that although I do commend your well written and thought out hasbara spiel. It is still, obviously, only tangentially connected to reality.

            Also there’s an argument to made that had Israel conceded the Golan Heights to Syria when it had the opportunity then the Palestinians would’ve been in much weaker position and hence more likely to capitulate to Israeli demands. Furthermore, noting that the most popular rallying cry in the early part of the Syrian rebellion was something along the lines of “Assad is a Zionist dog! We will liberate the Golan (the Syrian name for it obviously)!” One could claim that had Assad had the Golan back then his regime would have had more legitimacy.

            Finally, there was a revolution in Egypt. I have yet to hear or read someone say that returning Sinai was a mistake because of a handful of al-Qaeda and Islamic Jihad cross border attacks.

            But again, old sport, jolly good effort

            Reply to Comment
          • bor

            People who use the term hasbara in these discussions are idiots, and it’s one thing to be an idiot but then to also demonstrate it with a lack of knowledge is quite embarrassing for you.

            Palestinians control their population records. In fact, Israel has handed them all records in its possession going back to 1918.

            http://www.hamoked.org/files/2011/113300_eng.pdf

            Palestinians are also responsible for the permitting and construction in Areas A and B, although there are issues of infrastructure that, in some cases, require partnership with Israel.

            http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-rawabi-the-brand-new-palestinian-city-both-sides-win/

            Business is controlled by the PA.

            http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov/doing-business-local.html

            So is import and export.

            http://www.pipa.gov.ps/import_laws.asp

            Radio and TV frequencies are supposed to be managed by Israel and worked out in a joint committee, but the Palestinians have been ignoring that committee and getting licenses on their own.
            They do not control 3G spectrum but apparently Mr. Kerry is pressuring Israel to give that up as well.

            http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2013/0725/What-s-the-frequency-For-Palestinians-not-3G

            Okay? Like I said, the Palestinians function like a government. The PA and Hamas, between them, govern 98% of all Palestinians.

            Regarding the Golan Heights and blaming Israel for the civil war taking there, I have to tell you that I haven’t had such a good laugh in a while. Assad’s “legitimacy” had nothing to do with the Golan Heights and this civil war had nothing to do with the Golan Heights. You must be from Mondoweiss.

            And with respect to Sinai and Egypt, you clearly don’t follow the news. When the so-called “Arab Spring” was at its peak and Mubarak was effectively neutralized, there were many voices in Israel claiming that Israel should take steps to protect itself from the Islamist threat in the Sinai. It appears the Israelis worked in tandem with the Egyptians to help them regain control of that territory. Also, anybody who compares Sinai to Golan, doesn’t have a clue about the geography of the area.

            Did I mention that on top of everything else, your condescension made you look even more foolish? Now, do me a small favor and don’t respond. Find some other person with whom to debate. You bore me.

            Reply to Comment
          • Philos

            Hasbara from the Hebrew ‘leh’hasbir’ which means ‘to explain.’ Overtime this term widened all propaganda in the aid of either the Israeli state or Zionism or both.

            In your posts you have endeavoured to explain how the Palestinians aren’t in fact subject to a military government, which controls every aspect of their lives. This is contrary to what anyone with eyes, ears and a brain discerns on the ground there.

            It’s very good of you, old sport, to provide a link to a bit of Oslo that hasn’t been implemented or merely exists on paper.

            This is a bit dated but little has changed since 2012

            http://gisha.org/en-blog/2012/11/22/10-facts-about-the-connection-between-the-gaza-strip-the-west-bank-and-israel/

            I share this to illustrate how Israeli control is total and the PA’s authority is, what they’d call in British legal parlance, “at her Majesty’s pleasure.”

            This link here explains rather well how the implementation of Areas A, B (aka, the Injun Reserves), and C work in concert at limiting urban development in the West Bank.

            Now the PA has some nice bits of paper that show it’s a ‘real boy’, to quote Pinnocio, however, de facto Israel controls all Palestinian exports and imports. In case you haven’t been paying attention the media has been filled with all kinds of reports detailing Israel’s strangling ban on nearly all Gaza exports since 2007. Nevermind the pasta bans and the inhumane policy of trying to control the caloric intake of the Gazan population. There was also this lovely incident when some donkey in the IDF ordered his gunmen to confiscate zaatar at the West Bank checkpoints they were manning because ka’cha stam

            http://www.machsomwatch.org/en/news/10/07/2009/palestinians_crossing_checkpoints_are_not_allowed_bring_food_or_drink

            Anyway, the thing about hasbara is that most of it is so racist and repellent it actually serves the cause of the Palestinians rather well. But well written hasbara is pernicious for the lies and half-truths it wraps up in well constructed sentences, and without any overt Arab-hatred – yet, it’s goal is the same. To enable the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli military-occupation-industrial complex.

            As to geography, I don’t really see what the topographic features of the Occupied Golan Heights (a hilly mountain plateau) in comparison to that of the Sinai (desert mountain ranges) have got to do with anything. If anything the topography of the Sinai much more challenging from a military perspective than that of the Occupied Golan Heights. What the Camp David Accords indicated was that peace still prevailed even during the chaos of the Egyptian Revolution and the events that followed it. There’s nothing to suggest that had a revolution occurred in a Syria at peace with Israel (and therefore Lebanon too in all likelihood) which had possession of a demilitarized Golan Heights (like the two-state solution, an agreement everyone understands its parameters already for over 20-years) that would be more threatening to Israel than what transpired in Sinai.

            Finally, why do you hasbaraists troll websites like 972mag?

            Reply to Comment
          • bor

            My response has several links disproving your claims, so I’m sure it’s stuck in their system. Let’s hope they free it up soon.

            Reply to Comment
          • Philos

            Old chap, that’s rather poor sport from you. As many of the contributors here I’ve written in the past, they don’t have the time or resources to police the comments. You didn’t provide any links except for the Gatestone Institute.

            Furthermore, old boy, it’s fact that all Palestinians must go through the Interior Ministry for nearly all civil issues, and their trade and infrastructure is heavily regulated by the Occupying power.

            Next thing you’ll be telling us the Palestinians don’t actually exist

            Reply to Comment
          • bor

            It’s up now. Enjoy.

            Reply to Comment
          • Guy

            Take a look at your jolly good argument, old sport: Some Palestinians register births at an Israeli authority. Conclusion: Palestinians are under oppressive military regime.
            Frankly, I lolled.

            Reply to Comment
        • Aaron Gross

          I think there’s actually serious dispute among jurists about whether Gaza is still occupied according to international law. Yoram Dinstein argues that it definitely is, even after the withdrawal. Reportedly, Eyal Benvenisti argues that the occupation ended with the Israeli withdrawal. (I’ve read Dinstein’s book on occupation, and I’ve ordered but not yet read Benvenisti’s.) Both of those jurists are well within the mainstream of world opinion.

          And politically there may be different levels or degrees of sovereignty, but juridically, a territory is either occupied or it isn’t. There’s just a difference of mainstream legal opinion on which it is.

          Reply to Comment
      • That’s not to say that Israel doesn’t send the IDF into Palestinian controlled areas, but as far as governance and the vast majority of daily life, Palestinians rule Palestinians.

        That’s like saying the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto ruled themselves.

        That can be no self-rule when you’re under military occupation.

        Gaza is another case in point: how can a Gazan ‘government’ govern when it has no control over what enters or exits (nothing in the latter case)? When it has no control over its airspace or naval border?

        Gaza isn’t just occupied, it’s under blockade (illegal under I’al Law), as opposed to a siege which is different.

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    3. Gustav

      “Next thing you’ll be telling us the Palestinians don’t actually exist”

      Where did that come from Philos? Bor said exactly the opposite. He said that to all intents and purposes, the Palestinians run their own lives. How can you interpret that as himangling to say that they don’t exist?

      I think your above nonsense coupled to your silly “Hasbarah” jibe, show that you are just itching for a brawl Philos old boy. But your ‘put downs’ reflect only your own ignorance.

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      • Piotr Berman

        My favorite example: Palestinians “run their own lives” so independently that a special unit of IDF is deciding what folks in Gaza can eat. At some point, pasta and a lot of other stuff did not qualify. Then pasta was approved, and hear! hear! even humus! “except for flavored varieties”.

        Right now a Ramallah suburban development cannot be occupied by tenants who purchased apartments because Israel does not give water connection.

        IDF is entering Area A regularly for such essential activities like closing TV stations, newspaper, expelling someone from Ramallah to Jericho, etc. At least folks in Area A are allowed to eat humus, even the flavored varieties.

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        • bor

          Gaza has a border with Egypt.

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          • ***Gaza has a border with Egypt.***

            Egypt is a US/Israeli ally, now perhaps more than ever before.

            It controls the Gaza/Egypt border ON BEHALF of Israel.

            Incidentally, did you know Israel first occupied Gaza in 1956, well before 1967?

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          • bor

            *sigh*

            Please stop wasting our time.

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          • Maybe you should stop wasting your own time?

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          • bor

            Speaking to you? Gladly.

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        • Average American

          You are correct sir. Israel spins things. You have to listen very carefully when Israel tells you something. This breeds distrust of Israel.

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          • It’s fairly safe to say that when Israel’s spin doctors come up with something, almost the exact opposite will turn out to be true.

            In 1948 Israel proved by far the superior military power and the Arab effort wholly inadequate. But it’s still spun as David v. Goliath.

            In 1967 Israel’s attack was spun as ‘pre-emptive’ but 47 years later we know it was a war of conquest with colonial purposes, to this day.

            On the whole Israel paints itself as the eternal victims when clearly it’s the aggressor. It also claims to do everything to avoid civilian Palestinians to be hurt [in Gaza] but manages to kill over 2,000 of them anyway.

            In the mean time there have also been killings in the West Bank by IDF soldiers, under reported of course.

            Israel claims to uphold the Law but its settlers can go on rampages in the WB, with complete impunity and protected by the IDF.

            The Supreme Court (no less) has already rubber stamped the destruction of houses of the families of those responsible for killing three Israeli teens. The perpetrators haven’t even been convicted yet. Rule of Law? Zionist Law perhaps but no more…

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        • Average American

          It’s ridiculous to say Israel does not control Palestinian territories, as other posters here have illustrated well. Israel is on a mission to control territory. It must be remembered why Israel was created. Specifically to control all of Eretz Israel for The Jews. That is their charter. Eretz Israel is a Zionist concept and includes Syria (Israel already has Golan), Lebanon, half of Iraq (to the Euphrates), Jordan (why are Israeli troops building up in Jordan Valley?), a quarter of Saudi Arabia, the Sinai (to the river of Egypt), and certainly Gaza.

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          • Statements by Ben Gurion show that they had designs on a bit more than what you probably imagine to be Eretz Israel. Plans for the Sinai and Southern Lebanon (up to the Litani)existed, for instance.

            And Israel occupied both for a considerable period of time, indeed.

            Israel is an expansionist country.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Gustav

      Question 1:

      Why didn’t the Arabs establish a Palestinian state in 100% of Gaza and the West Bank before 1967? There was no “occupation” before 1967, was there?

      Question 2:

      Why did the Arabs commit terrorist acts against Israel before 1967? What was their excuse for doing it before the “occupation”?

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      • Jonny

        You have a very blinkered view of history. Might be best you read some before commenting.

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      • ***Why did the Arabs commit terrorist acts against Israel before 1967?***

        How many Palestinians had been expelled from their land in 1948, Gustav?

        Why did Zionist terrorists carry out terrorist attacks against British, Arab and some foreign targets (Count Bernadotte, e.g.?)

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        • Gustav

          “How many Palestinians had been expelled from their land in 1948, Gustav?”

          What? You mean the ones who fled in the war of extermination which the Arabs promised and started against the Jews of Palestine in 1947/48?

          “Why did Zionist terrorists carry out terrorist attacks against British,”

          Not “THE” Zionists. The Irgun and Lehi. Splinter terrorist groups.

          “Arab” and some foreign targets (Count Bernadotte, e.g.?)”

          What and the Arabs did not commit terrorist acts against the Jews of Palestine before 1948? You have a very blinkered view of history Gertie old chap.

          Anyway, you just confirmed with your answer that this war of the Palestinian Arabs against Israel is nothing to do with the “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza unless by that you also mean the “occupation” of the land within the Green line. The pre 1967 boundaries.

          Thank you Gertie for making my case. We are facing a zero sum game. The Palestinian Arabs want it all. They want to destroy our country, take over it, exile our people and murder those of us who resist.

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    5. Richard

      Good analysis for the most part. Egypt/KSA have definitely not replaced USA – really they seem more like enablers of Israeli policy. Obama would have given Hamas better terms than Sisi did. Not sure it makes sense so look at the now perennial Gaza wars as a new level of violence for the occupation, mainly because Iran’s involvement in the conflict has turned these wars more into a confrontation between Israel and Iran than between Israel and the Palestinians. Hamas could not have shelled Tel Aviv with directly and significant Iranian/Qatari assistance.

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    6. ****It really is an eye opener. Or at least it should be if you are a thinking person.***

      No, Gustav, it mostly is worthless blather. If this is the type of sources you get your information from, then that explains a lot.

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      • Gustav

        Which bit of it is worthless blather, Gertie?

        The bit which reminds you of the obsession of the Media with Israel where the death toll in wars is a few thousand as compared to hundreds of thousands or millions elsewhere and which get nowhere near the news coverage that Israel’s wars get?

        Is the intimidation by Hamas of jurnalists reporting on Gaza just Blather? Gertie?

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        • Gustav

          Here are a couple of other sources which echo what my first source said. Are they blather too Gertie?

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pg-sittenfeld/heading-into-conflict_b_5723534.html

          “During normal times, there are approximately 1,000 foreign correspondents stationed in and around Israel — though as one diplomat remarked to me, “Are there ever really normal times in the Middle East?”
          During times of escalated conflict, there are as many as an additional 700 journalists, giving Israel more foreign correspondents per capita than any country in the world.”

          1700 reporters for a small country like Israel? How many reporters are reporting on Syria, Gertie?

          http://reportingnigeria.com/2014/07/reporters-threatened-revealing-hamas-rocket-fire-near-hospital/

          “On Wednesday, Peter Stefanovic of Australia’s Channel Nine News tweeted: “Hamas rockets just launched over our hotel from a site about two hundred metres away. So a missile launch site is basically next door.”

          An account called @ThisIsGaza said this was Stefanovic’s fourth time “passing and fabricating information to Israel… from GAZA”.
          Another account, @longitude0 wrote: “Are you working for the IDF” and “in WWII spies got shot.”

          Spies get shot Bertie? Read on in the same article ….

          Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          Here, Gertie …

          Even Larry Derfner of + 972 agrees with the author in the link that I posted. This is what he said about it:

          http://972mag.com/why-is-the-western-left-so-obsessed-with-israel/51988/

          “There’s no question – the evil perpetrated by Bashar Assad on the Syrians for the last year and a half makes the evils of the occupation during this time seem mild. So why does the Western left still seem so much more preoccupied with Israel, not to say obsessed, than it is with Syria? Or with Congo, or with Sudan, or with Afghanistan, or with any other place where man’s inhumanity to man is causing far greater agony and bloodshed than it is in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza?”

          Is that a better source for you Gertie? Wanna eat your words now?

          Reply to Comment
    7. Gustav

      Here are a couple of other sources which echo what my first source said. Are they blather too Gertie?

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pg-sittenfeld/heading-into-conflict_b_5723534.html

      “During normal times, there are approximately 1,000 foreign correspondents stationed in and around Israel — though as one diplomat remarked to me, “Are there ever really normal times in the Middle East?”
      During times of escalated conflict, there are as many as an additional 700 journalists, giving Israel more foreign correspondents per capita than any country in the world.”

      1700 reporters for a small country like Israel? How many reporters are reporting on Syria, Gertie? Yep, the media is obsessed with Israel.

      http://reportingnigeria.com/2014/07/reporters-threatened-revealing-hamas-rocket-fire-near-hospital/

      “On Wednesday, Peter Stefanovic of Australia’s Channel Nine News tweeted: “Hamas rockets just launched over our hotel from a site about two hundred metres away. So a missile launch site is basically next door.”

      An account called @ThisIsGaza said this was Stefanovic’s fourth time “passing and fabricating information to Israel… from GAZA”.

      Another account, @longitude0 wrote: “Are you working for the IDF” and “in WWII spies got shot.”

      Spies get shot Bertie? Read on in the same article ….

      Reply to Comment
    8. Gustav:

      This media ‘obsession’ you talk about is grossly exaggerated. If anything some respectable news outlets chronically under report on I/P (e.g. BBC).

      You talk about obsession but hang out here day and night. Who’s obsessed?

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “This media ‘obsession’ you talk about is grossly exaggerated.”

        I talk about it? Read the sources that I gave you. They talk about it. And if you google it under the heading “Israel obsession” you will find plenty of other sources talking about it too.

        Oh yea I forgot though. You guys are experts at denying facts when the facts contradict your world view. Oh well, cest lavie, such is life.

        “You talk about obsession but hang out here day and night. Who’s obsessed?”

        Yea I am glad you mention it. I live here, I get affected by what is happening here. That is my excuse.

        Now let’s have your excuse. Why are YOU here Gertie? What is YOUR excuse? Are you obsessed?

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