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Why a settlement boycott is so scary for Israel

The Israeli government sees the idea of a settlement boycott as a farce because it knows how impossible it would be to stop even a targeted boycott from bleeding right through the Green Line it’s been working so hard to erase.

Palestinians wave flags during a protest against the expansion of the Ma'ale Adumim Israeli settlement, Al Eizariya, West Bank, February 13, 2014. The protest took place hours before thousands of Israeli settlers held a march in the E1 area. Israel had planned construction in the East-1 area, but kept back implementation due to international pressure in 2009. Further settlement construction in the area would effectively separate Palestinians in East Jerusalem from the West Bank. All Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal under international law. (photo: Tali Mayer/Activestills.org)

Palestinians wave flags during a protest against the expansion of the Ma’ale Adumim settlement, Al Eizariya, West Bank, February 13, 2014. (photo: Tali Mayer/Activestills.org)

A year after the European Union published guidelines for labeling Israeli settlement products, France last week published its own regulations obligating importers and retailers to label all settlement goods — not just noting that a product comes from the West Bank but that it comes from an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

Israel’s seemingly disproportionate objections to the European labeling regime is difficult to understand for many, especially considering that the EU has for decades differentiated between Israel and its settlements in the occupied territories. The EU free trade agreement with Israel, for instance, does not apply to Israeli settlements, and every other treaty and agreement makes the same distinction.

In France, Israel’s objections are even more confounding considering that actual boycotts of Israel are against the law in that country. So why is Israel making such a big deal out of the settlement product labels?

The brouhaha isn’t actually about labels. It’s about the next logical step of a labeling regime or even a boycott of settlement products: boycotting, divesting and sanctioning entities that do business in or with the settlements.

That deeply worries Israeli decision makers because in reality there is no differentiation between the economy of Israel and the settlement economy. On the ground, in the financial system, and in countless other ways, there is no Green Line as far as the Israeli economy is concerned.

The same Israeli banks that give homeowners and real estate developers mortgages and loans in Tel Aviv also finance the development and purchase of homes in West Bank settlements. The same cellular companies that provide service in Haifa build cellular towers in illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank. The same supermarkets and pharmacies and gas stations that serve Be’er Sheva also have branches in settlements throughout the West Bank. And the same police department that patrols the streets of Caesarea also enforces segregation on the streets of Hebron.

Jewish settlers clean the newly harvested grapes at a winery in the West Bank settlement of Gush Etzion, September 8, 2014. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

Jewish settlers clean the newly harvested grapes at a winery in the West Bank settlement of Gush Etzion, September 8, 2014. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

Boycotting a farmer from Tekoa, a winery in Psagot, or a factory in Mishor Adomim might make the decision to locate a business beyond the Green Line less profitable, and perhaps even spur a decision to move shop. If global financial institutions were to cut ties with the Israeli banks that finance construction in those same settlements, however, the effect on the Israeli economy could be far more devastating.

If cellular companies were unable to sign roaming agreements overseas, petrol companies unable to buy gasoline, retailers unable to import goods — then a settlement boycott might start to make the settlement enterprise a liability for all of Israel, on both sides of the Green Line.

That is not happening, though. Even with the European guidelines and labeling regimes and differentiation mechanisms, the settlement enterprise is still more of an asset than a liability. As Noam Sheizaf explained here, in many ways the occupation is actually a source of income and profit for Israel.

Israeli companies extract natural resources like stone, gravel and water from the West Bank. Instead of having to purchase land, military seizure orders are used to increase the housing supply and build segregated highways, creating subsidized commuter suburbs for Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. And the occupied Palestinian population becomes a virtual captive market for Israeli products.

Palestinian protesters together with international and Israeli activists break into Rami Levi supermarket, located in the Sha'ar Binyamin settlement, to protest the Israeli occupation and to call for a boycott against Israelis settlements, October 24, 2012. (photo by: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Palestinian protesters together with international and Israeli activists break into Rami Levi supermarket, located in the Sha’ar Binyamin settlement, to protest the Israeli occupation and to call for a boycott against Israelis settlements, October 24, 2012. (photo by: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Israel is worried about a settlement boycott because not only is the settlement economy virtually inseparable from the Israeli economy, the occupation is part of the Israeli economy. Blurring whatever remains — or once existed — of the line distinguishing the two has been one of the Netanyahu government’s greatest projects.

As I noted earlier this month, a government interested in eventually withdrawing from the West Bank to allow the creation of a Palestinian state would not speak openly about annexing major settlements or the majority of the Palestinian territories; it wouldn’t be announcing plans to lay rail lines connecting settlements to Jerusalem. A prime minister interested in withdrawing from the West Bank wouldn’t say he is the best friend the settlements will ever have.

The truth is that Israel’s settlements are not only an inextricable part of the Israeli economy, they have become an inextricable part of Israel, at least as far as the current leadership sees things. Israeli leaders see the idea of a limited boycott of the settlements alone as a farce because they know it would bleed right through the Green Line they’ve been working so hard to erase.

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    1. R5

      This basically makes the argument against boycotting settlements, as far as the US public is concerned, and probably most Europeans too. You won’t find consensus around boycotting those who “profit from” the occupation, since this idea is open to interpretations that BDS activists have already adopted which are beyond the pale. Its frustrating that +972 is working harder than ever to marginalize the moderates and pragmatists who might some day be capable of making real change. You’re closer allies to the settlers than the centrists. I’ve said this for years and the increasing polarization on Israel/Palestine keeps proving me right. You think you can run an economic bulldozer over Israeli Jews’ instinct to preserve their security and way of life. Like your delusional, self-important sponsors, you are utterly wrong.

      Reply to Comment
      • karel von Mcdaniel

        Adverse possession is the premise of settlements. Settlement has as configured a characterization of a benignity when outright plunder is the true name for the event. The US has cloaked similar policies, viz. Standing Rock, as the inscrutable, incontestable,state supported functioning of a democratic regime. Derivative wealth, whether Sunoco shareholders or “settlers”, is not an a priori, does not suppose, yet presumes, a defense for its existence, and is not to be moderated, but quashed by available means. Stand Up for Standing Rock and the People of Palestine

        Reply to Comment
        • Carmen

          Most definitely Karen – thanks for your words of truth.

          Reply to Comment
        • R5

          Pretentious jargon time everyone – also good dose of PC anti-Semitism…sorry “intersectionality.” Not sure what Israeli Jews have to do with Standing Rock. Did they make the Hummus that the oil workers are eating? Solidarity with Hamas rocket attacks then.

          Reply to Comment
      • Eliza

        If you are right and the call to boycott and divest from companies that profit from the occupation rather than just those who operate over the Green Line will have the effect of lessening support for BDS in the US and Europe, then we could expect the Israeli government to welcome such a call and kill off BDS once and for all.

        But I think its nonsense to believe that BDS will be curtailed by the call to boycott/divest from companies, Israeli based or not, that profit from the occupation. Even the attempts to legislate against BDS in various US states has its risks for Israel simply because Israel, BDS and the occupation enters the public sphere in a way that it didn’t in years past. All those years when your moderates presumably could have made ‘real change’ for the better but didn’t – we saw the Jewish only settlements continue their grab for land to control Palestinian resources and to further fragment land on which Palestinians could reside. Its coming up to 50 years of occupation in Gaza, W/B and EJ and its time for tougher action against Israel.

        If Israelis have an instinct to preserve their security and way of life, then this instinct will eventually lead Israelis to understand that the jig is up – they either accept a single state solution (including Palestinian refugees) or a fair and just 2SS resolution, or they face increasing economic sanction and isolation.

        Right now we are seeing some fracturing of the American Jewish organisations with their ordinary American Jews. The ZOA embrace of Trump is seen, rightly or wrongly as an embrace of Bannon white nationalism which is causing all sorts of shouting matches within the tribe. Its not just BDS that Israel has to worry about but the possible leaking of private American money flowing into Israel. Israel has become a partisan issue within domestic US politics and there is no way to stuff the genie back into the bottle.

        The day that European banks become wary of investing in companies that operate over the Green Line (even if most of their activity is within Israel Proper) is the day that Israel will understand that the status quo is just too expensive to manage.

        We all eventually get mugged by reality.

        Reply to Comment
        • R5

          Eliza – thanks for your thoughtful response. The Israeli right makes hay out of BDS, uses it to scare folks into voting for them. So the Israeli government’s response doesn’t mean they view BDS as a sincere threat. Although I believe you are sincere, your analysis is framed exactly too narrowly, which is no coincidence since BDS has framed everything in a very narrow way, to suit its goals. Think bigger. Iran is ascending in the region, and providing more and more support to Hezbollah and Hamas, which will start a war to prevent any change in the status quo, peaceful or otherwise, that doesn’t suit the interests of Iran (which are military confrontation with Israel). And Iran will become more powerful in the coming years as it comes out of isolation. With this looming threat (120,000 Hezbollah missiles to start), do you really think Israelis are going to withdraw from territory they need to defend their most dense population centers? These are the questions that drive the thinking of people who are in positions of power, not whether the “jig is up” in some vague moral sense, as you seem to suggest. Many pragmatists like myself are sympathetic to your idealism, but must insist that you look at the bigger picture – what’s POSSIBLE, not just what’s desirable. The leaders of Palestine are #1 Hamas and #2 a fragile PA – not the Jewish chapter head of some campus SJP. Look beyond the abstractions of the BDS cult at the reality – economic, demographic, geographic, military, geopolitical, and you will see things differently.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Too narrow for whom? And if not now when? Israel will continue to see its own “big picture” ad infinitum. There is always going to be a “threat” and a “bigger picture” that Israel will want to focus on at the expense of mere non-Jewish human beings in the West Bank. Israel will never re-prioritize this. Israelis always want people to look at the big picture but the funny thing is how they then always get ‘micro’ not ‘macro’ about this and suddenly their whole defense strategy miraculously rests on, you guessed it, exactly those slivers of land the settlers most covet and the state most covets for rendering Palestine noncontiguous and impossible. “Territory they need to defend their most dense population centers”? –simply too convenient and not credible. (It is instructive to see just exactly when Israelis shift from claims of ingenuity to claims of helplessness—or “pragmatism.” It’s always in the same spot.) Israeli experts have dismissed this territorial depth rationale. What they have not dismissed is how the continuing occupation is the true security threat.

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          • R5

            So your question is – if not now, when? When Iran is weaker and there is an Arab leader (Palestinian or otherwise) who is sufficiently powerful to enforce a peace agreement with Israel. There was a window with Arafat, which is now tragically gone. Ben, what’s sad about all of your straw men is they show that you know, on some level, that you don’t have a good argument. Every time you start typing in response to me, its either to generalize away from my specific point, or to misrepresent what I’ve said. Why bother if you can’t face me head-on? What’s the point?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            R5 feel free to spout meaninglessly about “straw men” while raising the straw man of Ben who raises straw men and does not face you head on. I’m not impressed though I am amused. Talk about not having an argument. One thing you are excellent at is condescension. You told Eliza how right and sincere she is (she is, she is) then you spun away from pretty much everything she said by telling her, rather condescendingly too, that she is too “narrow.” Who can’t face whom? And then you, broad minded global thinker, want to expand our cramped little minds and seriously tell us that the occupation will just have to wait, oh, “until Iran is weaker.” Oh, sure, let’s wait another five decades to centuries for that. That’s “pragmatic”? I see. Why not just say until hell freezes over, it would be more honest. You need Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumim and Arab East Jerusalem to defend against Iran? Preposterous. And then you tell us out of one side of your mouth that BDS is basically too “narrow” or focused in its goals, which sounds like you’re complaining that they muster some competence, but the standard complaint is that BDS is too broad and aggressive in its goals. Little of this adds up. Which might be called you know, on some level, that you don’t have a good argument. And then to top it all off, you have the chutzpah to tell us if only ol’ Arafat were around, then we Israelis could seal a deal. You betcha. You sincerely miss Arafat, I do believe that, but only because you’d love to have the pearl-handled pistol carrying, scruffy guy in the keffiyah to demonize, and now, instead it’s a lot of work to demonize the hapless faithful security contractor, Abu Mazen who literally said he only wants to visit Safed as a tourist–instead of building up the Palestinians and working to unify them as you surely could if you had the slightest interest in building good will and practical arrangements. If you were sincerely interested in peace your Shin Bet would have a whole division of the crème de la crème expressly dedicated to that project. That’s a nice touch, “tragically gone.” Yes, you Israelis were so close to making a genuine and “pragmatic” peace with Arafat, but tragically, he died too young, so young, before you could scramble to do it. You’ve opened my eyes to the Israeli right wing concept of “pragmatism.” I’m grateful.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            This long rambling post of Ben is a prime example of how Ben builds straw men and knocks them down.

            He has put words into R5’s mouth which R5 did not say nor imply. Then he knocks those words down smugly.

            No wonder why R5 has not bothered responding to him. I took the trouble though because I am as big a nudnik as Ben is so I am willing to stay with him for as long as he is willing to spout his nonsense.

            Reply to Comment
          • Eliza

            RS – In response to your post…. When I say the ‘jig is up’ I mean that the old narratives that Zionism has used to good effect to date. And we are talking about narratives; each is used according to the immediate concern. The most effective has been the story that Israel sincerely wants to give effect to a 2SS but it has no partner for peace; that Israel will engage endlessly in peace talks (and that’s true enough) just so long as it can, at the same time appropriate more and more land in the West Bank and this appropriation is done in a measured way. Surprising it tends to be on land that either disconnects Palestinian villages from their agricultural land or each other or gives strategic advantage re aquifers in the W/B. The Palestinians are terrorists who wantonly reject Israel; and Israel is so great that the only reason anyone could reject Israel or Zionism is because of anti-semitism. Need we go on….except to say that all of these narratives are so disconnected from actual Israeli behaviour that they are rapidly losing their resonance or power.

            I have no doubt that the Israeli government uses BDS to scare the good folk of Israel into hunkering down against the evil outside world. I have no idea, nor do I really care, if the powers that be within the political elite actually see BDS as an economic threat or hasbara threat. The real point is, that all attempts to stifle BDS by way of legislation within the USA has the inevitable effect of bringing BDS further into the public space. This is a good thing because the more people know about the history of Zionism, the more they tend to sympathize with the Palestinians, and the more they reject the notion that the well-being of Israeli Jews is dependent on the permanent subjugation of the Palestinians.

            I agree that Iran will become more economically powerful as it emerges from isolation. Israel would prefer an Iran that either was, or could be seen as pursuing nuclear weapons, simply because this was used to justify trade/investment sanctions. Israel’s objection to the P5+1 deal was always about trying to preserve Israeli military hegemony in the ME.

            Iran has every right to pursue its own economic/military/diplomatic objects. You talk about it using Hamas or Hezbollah to incite violence and draw Israel into military confrontation, and that all Iran wants is to go to war with Israel. I think this is bonkers but for the sake of argument, let’s accept it as true. And here we come to the ultimate stupidity of Zionism. The every people that Israel could and should be counting as allies or partners, are the Palestinians. It is the Palestinians that could have been a bridge to the wider Arab world and the ME in general. It is the Palestinians, and only the Palestinians, that can give Israel is desired sense of legitimacy and acceptance within the ME. What does Israel do? It does everything it can to make Palestinian life unbearable and for what – to have lordship over land that in the end will not provide one bit of security against military threat but will ensure that people of good conscience will act to stand with the Palestinians. It is in this way that the Zionist project is fatally flawed.

            Finally, I have no problem with looking at the bigger picture. But the big picture for the USA is not what happens in the ME but China. The pivot to the Pacific cannot be avoided. At the end of the day, whether Israel or Palestine exist or don’t (whilst of great importance to Israeli Jews and Palestinians) is a bit of a side-show compared to the relationship between the USA and the new emerging superpower, China.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      People make money from the occupation – “How Israel Is Gradually Privatising Its Occupation of Palestine”, from Global Research:

      “For years, these checkpoints were manned by personnel from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israeli Border Police. But starting in January 2006, gun-toting private security guards joined the soldiers and police. Today, there are 12 checkpoints in the West Bank and two on the Gaza border that use such guards. Israel is slowly privatizing its occupation..The country’s military establishment is both privatizing the weapons sector and selling this technology abroad. Israeli writer and activist Jeff Halper argues in his book War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and the Global Pacification (2015) that the occupation isn’t a burden for Israel but a “resource,” because it gives the Jewish state the opportunity to test weapons and surveillance in the field on Palestinians..”

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/how-israel-is-gradually-privatising-its-occupation-of-palestine/5554217

      Reply to Comment
      • AJew

        “the occupation isn’t a burden for Israel but a “resource,” because it gives the Jewish state the opportunity to test weapons and surveillance in the field on Palestinians..”

        Oh dear. So why don’t the “palestinians” sign a peace deal with Israel and end the occupation? All they have to do is recognise Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. But they don’t want to do that Bruce. Why? Why don’t they want to do it? Could it be because you people convinced them that if they keep the occupation going they have a path to total victory? That Israel would become another South Africa?

        Of course Bruce, both you and I know that it won’t happen. We have never been, nor are we, nor will we ever be anything like South Africa. Why do you and people like you insist in fooling them Bruce?

        Reply to Comment
        • Bruce Gould

          “So why don’t the “palestinians” sign a peace deal with Israel and end the occupation? All they have to do is recognise Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. But they don’t want to do that Bruce. Why? Why don’t they want to do it?”

          Because doing that would undermine the rights of the Israeli-Palestinians even more. Because there’s nothing in international law that makes such a recognition meaningful. Because there’s no quid-pro-quo – Netanyahu has never announced what he will give in return; he only says that it’s “needed”. Because it’s so vague it would give Israel claim to areas it claims were given to The Jews by God. Duh.

          Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Nonsense Bruce and you know that you speak nonsense.

            There are hundreds of ethnic nation states in existence. Some oppress minorities (look up most Arab countries) some don’t.

            Even if you think that Israel would be like the Arabs and would oppress it’s Arab minority even during peace time, it begs the question: what have they got to lose? Are you saying that under the current occupation regime, the Arabs are not oppressed? Even I admit that they are oppressed because being in the current state of war with them, if we wouldn’t oppress them they would murder even more Israeli civilians and committ even more terrorist acts against us than they already do.

            So again, Bruce, what have they got to lose by signing a peace deal? They could only end up being better off, not worse off. Anything else is just an excuse. An excuse to continue their 100 year war against us and to try to achieve total victory over us. But that won’t ever happen. You do know that Bruce? Don’t you? So why are you coming up with such a pathetic excuse for not signing a peace deal?

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “Because there’s nothing in international law that makes such a recognition meaningful.”

            No but we insist on it if they want an end to the occupation. Why do we insist on it? We insist on it because by formally recognising the nation state of the JEWISH people they will signify that they give up their 100 year struggle to try to wipe the Jewish state off the map. Let me give you an analogy:

            If you attack me with a shovel claiming that the clothes and shoes that I am wearing are yours, not mine, and that I stole them from you. If I manage to take the shovel off you and you start yelling that I am even a bigger thief now and that I must return the shovel to you immediately. Would you blame me if I would insist that before returning the shovel to you, you must promise not to attack me with it again? Would you blame me for it? If you would, and if you would be me and would be willing to return the shovel unconditionally, I guarantee that you’d end up stripped naked and badly beaten up.

            “Because there’s no quid-pro-quo – Netanyahu has never announced what he will give in return;”

            Excuse me? What planet are you on? The quid quo pro would be the end of the occupation and the formation of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza. What more do you want? Do you too want what the Palestinian Arabs still want? Our withdrawal from Israel proper too? Well Bruce, that ain’t gonna happen.

            Reply to Comment
        • Tommy Goldberg

          “All they have to do is recognise Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.”

          You don’t even believe this yourself, do you? Recognizing an explicitly Jewish state (instead of simply recognizing Israel, which the P.A. has long done) was NEVER even an issue in all previous negotiations (before Bibi), which nevertheless fell apart. Why did those previous negotiations fail?

          If Israeli governments are genuinely interested in negotiating a settlement (instead of merely the perception of working toward a settlement), they’re the worst negotiators in the world. If Israeli governments were in fact prepared to offer something anywhere close to what observers would consider a fair deal, why only offer it in secret, take-it-or-leave-it style, and snatch it away for years and years if the P.A. wants to mull it for a bit?

          Why not just publish what you are about to offer? If fair and rejected by the P.A., world support for the Palestinian cause would justifiably collapse.

          Reply to Comment
          • i_like_ike52

            It was Olmert, not Netanyahu, who first insisted on recognizing Israel as the state of the Jewish people. The reason he demanded it was because he was prepared to accept virtually all the territorial demands of the Palestinian, accepting the “right of return of the refugees at least in principle , and including giving up the Jewish holy places like the Western Wall and Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerulaem, and realizing that would not be popular, he wanted for the Palestinians to go on record as officially accepting what was left of Israel being part of a Jewish state and ending all further claims. Since the Palestinians will never recognize any Jewish rights in the country, and since this non-recognition is more important than merely “ending the (1967) occupation”, but not ending the 1948 occupation, they will never agree to such terms. The status quo is preferable to them.

            Reply to Comment
      • Carmen

        Thanks for this link; I’m going to share this far and wide. Follow the money and find the answer to the continuation of the status quo. Money really is the root of most, if not all, evil.

        Reply to Comment
        • AJew

          “Money really is the root of most, if not all, evil.”

          I take it then that YOU have money? Right Carmen? Oil money maybe?

          Reply to Comment
    3. Yep, the only way to be sure is to boycott all Israeli products. BDS achieved a miracle in South Africa – peacefully.

      Reply to Comment
      • AJew

        Of course Mike, both you and I know that it won’t happen. We have never been, nor are we, nor will we ever be anything like South Africa. Why do you and people like you insist in fooling the Palestinian Arabs, Mike?

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Mike, +972 Magazine has a lot of resources that will help you think about how this term “apartheid” fits and why or why not and in what context. Just put “apartheid” in the search box at the top of the page. Here is one of those resources:

        http://972mag.com/on-the-israel-apartheid-analogy-yet-again/90628/

        “The Rome Statute refers to acts such as “deportation or forcible transfer of population,” and “imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law,” and “persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious … or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law.” These acts constitute crimes in general, but become associated with the specific crime of apartheid when they are committed “in the context of an *institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination* by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime” (emphasis added)….

        This definition, on all its components, applies clearly to the 1967 occupied territories, whose residents are subject to systematic oppression and domination on a daily basis, to the Palestinian refugees (subject to “deportation or forcible transfer of population”), and also – to a lesser extent – to Palestinian citizens of Israel (at least the 25 percent of them defined as ‘present absentees,’ forcibly deported from their homes but not their homeland, while the rest of them are subjected to minor forms of oppression).

        Why use ‘apartheid’ rather than ‘settler-colonialism’ or ‘occupation?’ These terms are neither specific enough nor accurate enough. Colonialism on all its permutations is a generic term of domination from overseas, and it does not capture well a situation where two populations that regard themselves as indigenous live intermeshed within the same territory. Occupation is no longer an appropriate term. It refers to temporary military control, but Israeli rule is not temporary and not only of military nature: for all practical purposes Palestinian residents are subject to the control exercised by Israeli civil authorities which confiscate land, fund and build settlements, arm Jewish residents, protect and promote them legally, and construct infrastructure there. It is estimated that over $100 billion have been invest by the authorities on what is meant to have a permanent existence. In addition, the term ‘occupation’ refers to the 1967 territories but does not cover other aspects of the regime, which forms an integrated whole.”

        Reply to Comment
        • AJew

          “forcible transfer of population,” and “imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law,”

          So according to the above definition, during WW2, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were apartheid states?

          You do know Ben that they rounded up their own citizens of German and Japanese origin (German Jews too) and put them into detention camps. Do you deny that, Ben? Were the great democracies apartheid then Ben?

          Let me guess. Ben will answer this simple question only over his own dead body. He will evade, deflect, deny but he will not give a meaningful answer. Mind you, I am always hopeful that one of these days he will change his ways and respond to difficult questions sensibly. That’s why I keep on trying. One never knows, he may surprise me.

          Reply to Comment
      • Carmen

        The zionist state is a mirror reflection of south african apartheid.

        Reply to Comment
        • AJew

          Nice slogan lady. But it is just a LIE. A lie spoken by an Arab nationalist lady who is not interested in peace. She is only interested in advancing her own supremacist Arab nationalist cause.

          Reply to Comment
    4. betz55

      Demographic trends mean that Israel can’t have it all.
      It can’t be a Jewish state, a democratic state, and a state in control of its whole historical land.It can only have two of its objectives at a time.
      Israel can be Jewish and territorial — but not democratic.
      Or it can be democratic and territorial — but not Jewish.
      Or finally, it can be Jewish and democratic — but not territorial.

      The Palestinians formally recognized both the reality of the state of Israel and “its right to live in peace and security” as per the September 9, 1993 letter from Chairman Arafat to Prime Minister Rabin and the subsequent double amendment of the PLO’s Charter in 1996 and 1999. The ridiculous ‘Jewish State’ request by nothingyahoo is a red herring designed to stop all negotiations. Period.

      Please tell me, how do you get 20 percent of your population that is subjugated by Zionism to subscribe to Zionism?

      What they cannot be expected to do is to renege on their past, deny their identity, and give up on what they believe is their history. They cannot be expected to become Zionists.

      The Palestinians cannot be expected to do is to renege on their past, deny their identity, and give up on what they believe is their history. They cannot be expected to become Zionists. Would a jew give up their religion? No? Why should the Palestinians.

      Reply to Comment
      • AJew

        Let’s see. Let’s see what the take home message from what Betz55 says:

        1. Betz seems to be predicting a dire future for us. He says: Listen Israelis: ‘heads’ you lose or ‘tails’ the Arabs win.

        2. Hey Israelis, you have to be considerate of Arab sensitivities but Arabs don’t have to be considerate to your sensitivities.

        Ok, we hear ya, Betz. But hey we don’t agree with you or the rules that you seem to want to impose on us. Do you blame us? You don’t have to answer my rhetorical question, Betz.

        Reply to Comment
        • betz55

          Oh dear, do you have a cold, don’t sneeze now – ajewwwwwwwww !!!!!!

          Let’s see. Let’s see what the take home message from what ajew says:

          1. ajew seems to be predicting a dire future for the Palestinians. He says: Listen Palestinians: ‘heads’ you lose or ‘tails’ the israelis win.

          2. Hey Palestinians, you have to be considerate of israelis/jewish sensitivities but israelis/jews don’t have to be considerate to your sensitivities.

          Ok, we hear ya, ajew. But hey we don’t agree with you or the rules that you seem to want to impose on us (it’s called The Occupation). Do you blame us? You don’t have to answer my rhetorical question, ajew.

          Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Actually no, Ben/Betz, that is not my position. Thanks for trying though.I say, quid pro quo.

            We give up most of the West Bank with some land swaps for the parts that we keep. The occupation ends and a “Palestinian” state would be created in most of the West Bank and all of Gaza. We also give them a secure (autonomous say as a tunnel or an overhead passage ) corridor between the West Bank and Gaza. East Jerusalem could be shared (details to be negotiated) And we recognize their state in whatever form that they want to nominate.

            In exchange, we expect recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. They give up the right of return demand for good. The new Arab state should be demilitarised for say 50 years. And an agreed international force should supervise that they adhere strictly to those terms.

            So tell me please Ben/Betz, which bits of the above would you object to?

            Reply to Comment
      • Lewis from Afula

        Yes, it cam be Jewish, Democratic and cover all the Land.
        Once France and other West European states start mass repatriations of their Arabs, Israel will can join in?.

        The situation in Europe is slowly deteriorating. Did you know that there were major riots in Central Paris last night?
        Of course not, the mainstream news outlets do not report these things!

        Reply to Comment
        • Thankgodimanatheist

          “Once France and other West European states start mass repatriations of their Arabs, Israel will can join in?.”
          Let me explain the difference here. To repatriate is to send one, a foreigner, back to one’s country (patrie) . how could Israel send the Palestinians back to their country knowing that Israel (Palestine 1948) is* their country, their homeland before the arrival of the Zionist settlers? What you meant is ethnic cleansing not* repatriation.

          Reply to Comment
    5. R5

      Also, forgot to note, IDF has said that Israel doesn’t need the whole West Bank, just some of it – not that 67′ lines are secure. That is an extreme minority position and not part of the platform of anyone right of Meretz.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Ah, Israeli “pragmatism” defined. Got it. We stand apprised.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Itshak Gordin Halevy

      With some friends we have just launched a French product boycott. On the other hand we immediately leave a restaurant which do not serve wines from Judea and Samaria (which are for me with the Golan ones the best of Israel).

      Reply to Comment
    7. R5

      Yea, Arafat was strong enough to make a deal and that’s a lost opportunity. And yea, as long as Iran has a Palestinian proxy army to start wars that suit Iranian regional interests, Palestinians won’t be free. Could easily be another 50 years. You sneer at my claims a lot – try thinking about them, maybe?

      Reply to Comment
      • AJew

        @R5

        Ben is good at sneering. He sneers at anything that is not 100% pro Palestinian Arab and is NOT 100% anti Israel.

        Ben can’t help himself. He is a natural sneerer at anything that is to do with the idea of a Jewish state (Jewish as in ethnic not religious). Ben thinks that of all the people on this earth, Jews are the only ones who don’t deserve their own state because according to Ben, Jews alone are incapable of dealing respectfully with minority non Jews in peace time.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        But R5 you say the darndest things and I do think I think about them, briefly. Take some responsibility. The idée fixe has been that the Palestinians have to endorse your Jewish nation state narrative at the expense of their own narrative. Now the idea is that they have to also manage the Iranians, and create regime change? What’s next, they have to create world peace and reverse global warming before they are granted a state that you deign to give them? Oh I am so sorry, another sneer. Again, the irony. The lack of insight. The typical right wing responses here, you two included as prime examples, are nothing if not one long, continuous, repetitive sneer. Do you even listen to yourselves? Do you ever notice your coldly imperious decrees you hand down to your untermenschen and the snide remarks to them that are truly the equivalent of a sneer? Wow.

        Reply to Comment
        • AJew

          Thank you Ben, according to you it is as difficult for the Palestinian Arabs to recognise Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people as would be to reverse global warming.

          Well then Ben? What are we to infer from that? Personally, I infer from it that they still have not given up their idea of eliminating the Jewish nation state. And most other Israelis whom I know feel the same way. Go figure.

          Now, how are you and your Palestinians going to convince most Israeis that it ain’t so? Or don’t our feelings and concerns count? Maybe you think you can just sneer us to death? 😟

          Reply to Comment
        • R5

          Straw man #354 – I never said that Southern Syrians (“Palestinians” in the British colonial terminology) should recognize Israel as a Jewish State, and I agree that such demand is a red herring. Maybe you are confusing me with AJew.

          Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “I never said that Southern Syrians (“Palestinians” in the British colonial terminology) should recognize Israel as a Jewish State, and I agree that such demand is a red herring.”

            @R5
            So you think that because the Palestinian Arabs want to play hard ball about recognition we should just give up on that demand? What else should we give up on?

            Personally I don’t see why it is more hard for them to recognise us than how hard it is for us to recognise THEM. And I do believe in the power of symbolism. Obviously they do too. Otherwise they would not refuse so stubbornly.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Now THIS is an interesting development. Lol. Thank you for the clarification, R5. Yes I did have you confused with AJew.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            An interesting development indeed which allows you, Ben, to avoid answering my question about why many Israelis insist that the Palestinian Arabs have to recognise Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and that their unwillingness to do so signifies that they still have not given up on their idea of trying to destroy the Jewish state:

            “Now, how are you and your Palestinians going to convince most Israeis that it ain’t so? Or don’t our feelings and concerns count?”

            PS
            R5, thank you for giving Ben the opportunity to demonstrate what a slippery eel he is. He never answers difficult questions.

            Reply to Comment
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