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Bleak House

The prospects for a Palestinian state have rarely been more grim

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A boy stands behind a screen covering his family’s garden damaged during the war in the El-Atatra district of Gaza, January 2009.
Magnum Photos.

In recent years, starting with the Israeli handover of West Bank cities and the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority in the mid-1990s, the Palestinians, ever-so-slowly and inefficiently, have built pre-state institutions of governance—most recently and competently under the leadership of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. During the past few years alone, Western observers have noted substantial improvements in Palestinian taxation, infrastructure, and economic development, and in the functioning of the (American- and European-trained) security services. Indeed, under Fayyad, the West Bank is flourishing economically (around 9 percent annual growth, according to the International Monetary Fund, even if the gains are fragile) and is a largely peaceful place, with residents even paying traffic tickets, and militants of Hamas and other organizations largely inactive, with some jailed in periodic round-ups.

At the same time, Hamas, which took over the Gaza Strip in 2007 from the Palestinian National Authority, in the process throwing PA officers off of tall buildings and knee-capping others, has also demonstrated an ability to rule, in an orderly if brutal fashion.

A series of question marks hangs over these recent improvements in the governance of the West Bank: How deep do they run? And can they outlast Western financial aid and political backing and the overriding guardianship of Israeli bayonets? Will the American- and European-trained security forces, in crisis, hold their own against Hamas or fade away, like the Western-trained Iraqi and Afghani forces have when left to perform independent of their American and British instructors?

Even before we can get to such practical questions, though, there is a another more fundamental question that goes to the heart of the continuing historical struggle between two peoples for the same piece of land: What will be the geographical contours of the envisioned Palestinian state and what will be its nature? Put simply, will the envisioned state encompass all of Palestine, including the territory of the existing Jewish state, Israel, or will it include only the West Bank and Gaza Strip and, perhaps, Arab-populated East Jerusalem? And will the envisioned state be a secular, perhaps even “democratic,” republic as promised by the Fatah-led PNA, which rules the West Bank, or will it be a fundamentalist, Islamic, sharia-based state, as sought by Hamas, which rules Gaza? Will one of the parties absorb or co-opt the other, or will the Palestinians maintain this political bifurcation indefinitely?

***

Which brings us to the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiating impasse. I am not talking about the tactical problem posed by continued or discontinued Israeli construction in West Bank settlements, which will probably be resolved, after some bumps and hesitations. I am speaking of a basic, strategic impasse which, unfortunately, is far more cogent and telling than the ongoing “negotiations,” which are unlikely to lead to a peace treaty or even a “framework” agreement for a future peace accord. This unlikelihood stems from a set of obstacles that I see as insurmountable, given current political-ideological mindsets.

The first, the one that American and European officials never express and—if impolitely mentioned in their presence—turn away from in distaste, is that Palestinian political elites, of both the so-called “secular” and Islamist varieties, are dead set against partitioning the Land of Israel/Palestine with the Jews. They regard all of Palestine as their patrimony and believe that it will eventually be theirs. History, because of demography and the steady empowerment of the Arab and Islamic worlds and the West’s growing alienation from Israel, and because of Allah’s wishes, is, they believe, on their side. They do not want a permanent two-state solution, with a Palestinian Arab state co-existing alongside a (larger) Jewish state; they will not compromise on this core belief and do not believe, on moral or practical grounds, that they should.

This basic Palestinian rejectionism, amounting to a Weltanschauung, is routinely ignored or denied by most Western commentators and officials. To grant it means to admit that the Israeli-Arab conflict has no resolution apart from the complete victory of one side or the other (with the corollary of expulsion, or annihilation, by one side of the other)—which leaves leaders like President Barack Obama with nowhere realistic to go with regard to the conflict. Philosophically, acceptance of the rock-like unpliability of this reality is extremely problematic, given the ongoing military and philosophical clash between the West and various forces in the Islamic world. Perhaps the fight between America and its allies and its enemies in the Middle East and South Asia and North Africa and the banlieues of Western Europe will go on and on, until one side is vanquished?

In this connection, our age, it may turn out, resembles the classic age of appeasement, the 1930s, when the Western democracies (and the Soviet Union) were ranged against, but preferred not to confront, Nazi Germany and its allies, Fascist Italy, and expansionist Japan. During that decade, Hitler’s inexorable martial, racist, and uncompromising mindset was misread by Western leaders, officials, and intellectuals—and for much the same reasons. Living in unideological societies, they could not fathom the minds and politics of their ideologically driven antagonists. The leaders and intellectuals of the Western democracies, educated and suffused with liberal and relativist values, by and large were unable to comprehend the essential “otherness” of Hitler and ended up fighting him, to the finish, after negotiation and compromise had proved useless.

***

Another problem for Westerners is that the Palestinians, by design or no, speak to them in several voices. Hamas, which may represent the majority of the Palestinian people and certainly has the unflinching support of some 40 percent of them, speaks clearly. It openly repudiates a two-state solution. Hamas leaders, to bamboozle naïve (or wicked) Westerners like Henry Siegman, occasionally express a tactical readiness for a long-term truce under terms that they know are unacceptable to any Jewish Israelis (complete Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders and acceptance of the refugees’ “Right of Return”), but their strategic message is clear, echoing the Roman statesman Cato the Elder: “Israel must be destroyed.”

The secular Palestinian leadership looks to a similar historical denouement but is more flexible on the tactics and pacing. They express a readiness for a two-state solution but envision such an outcome as intermediate and temporary. They speak of two states, a Palestinian Arab West Bank-Gaza-East Jerusalem state and another state whose population is Jewish and Arab and which they believe will eventually become majority-Arab within a generation or two through Arab procreation (Palestinian Arab birth-rates are roughly twice those of Israeli Jews) and the “return” of Palestinians with refugee status. This is why Fatah’s leaders, led by Palestine National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, flatly reject the Clintonian formula of “two states for two peoples” and refuse to recognize the “other” state, Israel, as a “Jewish state.” They hope that this “other” state will also, in time, be “Arabized,” thus setting the stage for the eventual merger of the two temporary states into one Palestinian Arab-majority state between the River and the Sea.

Continue reading: The Palestinian national movement, Fatah, and a second insurmountable obstacle to peace. Or view as a single page.

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sabril says:

I agree with your article 99%, but I think there is one factor which needs to be added, which is the effect of the religious zionists and their rapid growth in population. On the one hand, they make the likelihood of a peace deal even lower since they are basically like the Arabs except that they believe the whole area needs to be Judaized. On the other hand, their numbers are growing rapidly while Arab fertility rates continue to plummet.

The current Jewish fertility figures are deceptive since the Jewish population in Palestine can be segmented into secular types who have fairly unremarkable fertility and religious types who have extremely high fertility.

If this trend continues, the Jewish population can be expected to explode in another 20 or 30 years. Once this happens, the West Bank can be safely annexed and West Bank Arabs given voting rights.

It seems to me that short of a total war of anhilliation, this is the only realistic solution.

What a Palestinian State will mean for Israel:

http://shomroncentral.blogspot.com/

“Palestinian People” is just a modern creation. Read this:

http://tinyurl.com/LeftWingMythsandLies

Do “Palestinians” have a right to the Land of Israel?

See this:

http://tinyurl.com/JewishRights

Binyamin in Orangeburg says:

All I can say is, Benny, Oy Gavolt. There is not a jot of difference between this screed and the ravings of Avigdor Lieberman. What the both of you advocate is an ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from the West Bank, and the Arab minority from Israel. The children of Gaza will be allowed to eat so long as European and U.S. taxpayers foot the bill. Zionism will never permit genuine democracy, in the form of a bi-national state, because that admits of the possibility that non-Jews would have political power. And apartheid cannot be maintained without unremitting large-scale violence, and that will blow the covers off of “Jewish and democratic.” While you are suppressing the Palestinians of Qalquilya, do you expect those of Haifa to remain silent? Eventually, Benny, the choice is not apartheid or the bi-national state. It is ethnic cleansing or extermination of the Palestinians, probably under cover of a war with Iran. Your mission in life is provide the intellectual cover for this final solution. And this is the “light unto nations”?

sabril says:

“What the both of you advocate ”

Of course I don’t speak for Mr. Morris, but it seems to me this article does not advocate anything at all. It is purely 100% descriptive. It makes no policy recommendations, it simply describes the situation.

For my part, I would love to live in a world where the Arab consensus accepts Jewish sovereignty over some part of Palestine. Unfortunately, that’s not the world I live in. Raging against it is just as productive as raging against bad weather.

“And this is the ‘light unto nations’?”

I’ve come to realize over time that being a “light unto nations” doesn’t necessarily entail being soft or nice. Regretfully, it is sometimes necessary to be cruel. Sometimes even to the extent of grinding people into utter submission like what was done with Germany and even Japan during World War II.

Binyamin in Orangeburg says:

Sabril, I admire your candor, if not your opinions. “Grinding the Palestinians into utter submission” is indeed Israel’s goal. Morris makes plain that if they don’t submit in situ, there is no choice but expulsion, whether to Jordan or to heaven. Your suggestion that the Palestinains deserve that fate is an abomination. Just because they would have the temerity to oppose their dispossession and apartheid they should be treated as Nazis? To compare them to the Nazis is also profoundly anti-semitic, as it trivializes the Shoah and cynically uses what was one of history’s worst crimes (maybe the worst) as a cover for Isreal’s policies. Is that really the lesson the world should draw from the Shaoh, that “it is sometimes necessary to be cruel”? I repeat, Oy Gavolt.

sabril says:

“Your suggestion that the Palestinains deserve that fate is an abomination. ”

Exactly what fate do you claim I am saying that the Palestinian Arabs deserve?

“Just because they would have the temerity to oppose their dispossession and apartheid they should be treated as Nazis?”

No, they should be treated as Nazis to the extent they wish to slaughter the Jews en masse. Anyone who wants to slaughter Jews en masse needs to be treated like a Nazi.

” Is that really the lesson the world should draw from the Shaoh, that ‘it is sometimes necessary to be cruel’?”

Absolutely. If Western leaders had not been terrified of bloodshed, things may have come out a lot better. But when Germany was finally taken, the Nazis were ruthlessly rooted out and killed. If that had not been done, there would probably be Nazi terrorism to this day.

Jerome says:

Trenchant analysis. Like some other readers, I think it was largely descriptive, not prescriptive. The description it gives is clear-eyed and grim. The Palestinians have time on their side. Unless their attitudes toward Jews and Israel undergoes a sea-change, I, like Morris, have no hope for peace.

Gevalt, “Binyamin’, it is “gevalt” (not “gavolt”).
As for Benny Morris I may say the following (regarding his statement “…it means to admit that the Israeli-Arab conflict has no resolution apart from the complete victory of one side or the other…” ). He, as a historian, must know that this is the only way how conflict ends. Any conflict, including the one on the Middle East. Throughout the entire history of the humankind you won’t find any instance when conflict between two sides ended anyhow differently. The degree of submission depends on the comprehensiveness of the victory but in every case the peace comes only when the victor dictates its conditions to the loser. There is obvious logic to this also: every war starts when the sides cannot or unable to resolve their problems diplomatically, by good will, by compromises and mutual concessions. But if the war starts because of this particular reason – why would it end by coming to the point from which it started? This is actually the main reason why Middle Eastern conflict lasts so long: Israel achieved victories on the battlefield but never dictated its conditions for peace to the losers (due mainly to the presence of “impartial brokers”: USA, EU, USSR, UN, etc). Only one time when Israel signed peace agreement with Egypt the loser accepted victor’s demands: land for peace, Sinai for peace agreement. That is why the agreement was signed.
The conflict on THe Middle East will continue until “impartial brokers” will realize that one of the sides must accept conditions of the other in order to end the hostilities

It’s had to argue with this analysis. That the Palestinians are steadily gaining in their propaganda war with cover from so many in the West is reason to believe that soon even the two-state solution myth will evaporate.

Binyamin in Orangeburg says:

The posters above confirm my view of Benny Morris’ new incarnation as chief apostle for Kahanism. (I call on him to distinguish his views from the late Rabbi.) Thank you Gene for focusing my thoughts. When you and Morris declare that “the Israeli-Arab conflict has no resolution apart from the complete victory of one side or the other…”, you are proposing ethnic cleansing or genocide. After all, how could a “complete victory” by the Jews (of course) be realized in any other manner, given the “basic rejectionism” of the Palestinians? Actually, what the Palestinians (and I) reject, is not Jewish presence in Palestine (which has been there for almost 2 thousand years, albiet as a tiny minority for a 1500 of those years), but the demand that Jews alone have the right to rule, regardless of any democratic considerations. Both the Zionists and Hamas are drunk on the same wine — religiously based demands for exclusive power. Israel and Benny Morris proclaim the right to make the Palestinians dhimmi. The only difference between them is that Israel has the F-16s, the Merkavas, and the Apaches (as well as a nuclear stockpile twice the size of Great Britain’s). But crush them periodically with Cast Lead type force, they will not submit. Israel now faces a crisis of historic dimensions. Morris is to be congratulated for acknowledging it, even if he plagiarizes Kahane. He is gloomy not because there is no peace, but because he senses, correctly, that Israel faces decades of international isolation and domestic turmoil as it adopts apartheid as the default strategy. He believes that will pose an “existential threat” to Israel. And he’s right. Better then to achieve “complete victory” now, no matter the cost. It is an diabolical falsehood to claim that is the only path. From our own Civil War, America experienced ” a new birth of freedom.” Israelstine, or Palirael, will do the same. And Gene, you say Gavalt, I say Gavolt, lets call the whole thing off.

Binyamin in Orangeburg says:

Just a footnote, Sabril. The Nazis were most definitely not “ruthlessly rooted out and killed” after the war. Would that they had been. Both the U.S. and Stalin carted off all the weapons scientists they could find (no matter they had used Jewish slave labor during the war) to their respective countries. Google “Operation Paperclip”. One historian estimates that fewer than 1% of the Nazis who staffed Auschwitz were ever tried, much less hanged. America let them off the hook because, after all, they were good fighters against communism. As for Morris’ argument that we are re-living the 1930s, this is his (and Yvette’s) justification for nuking Natanz. Do you really believe this fantasy will fly? Iran is riven by dissent, unable to provide gasoline for its air force and was incapable of victory over even the pathetic army of Saddam Hussein. Is Iran’s alliance with Venezuela the “new Axis”? Gimme a friggin’ break. The American people were tricked into a war with Iraq on the premise that Saddam was the new Hitler. You think we’re a bunch of morons and we will follow Israel when it declares the Mullahs are the new Nazis? Who will it be next week? Syria? Turkey? Lebanon?

sabril says:

” but the demand that Jews alone have the right to rule, ”

What exactly do you think will happen if the Arabs rule?

“Just a footnote, Sabril.”

Hold on a sec. First, please answer my question from before:

Exactly what fate do you claim I am saying that the Palestinian Arabs deserve?

Shalom Freedman says:

This is a realistic and accurate picture of the present situation. It is remarkable that American political officials refuse to recognize the true picture. This leads to their making embarassing efforts at forcing a peace, when one side truly does not want it.
I would question one ‘statistic’ in the article. It seems to me Arab birth- rates in Israel are no longer twice Jewish ones. The demographic picture is disputed but this is a whole school of thought which says the demographic picture is in fact improving for the Jewish population. I would agree however that even if this is the case the underlying problem of two large populations claiming possession of the same territory remains. And the basic problem of one side willing however reluctantly to divide the land while the other cannot agree to this , remains insoluble.

sabril says:

“This is a realistic and accurate picture of the present situation.”

I basically agree. For the most part, the Arabs are at best interested in a peace deal which weakens Israel and moves it along the road to its eventual destruction as a Jewish state.

Imagine if the Jews in Israel were 60% religious Zionists. People who believed to the core that Jews have a divine right and obligation to exercise sovereignty over the entire area. In that case, peace would be impossible no matter how reasonable and accommodating the Arabs were.

Well that’s basically how the Arabs are right now.

“the demographic picture is in fact improving for the Jewish population.”

I believe it is. Israel turned a demographic corner about 5 years ago. Since then, the percentage of Jewish births has been steadily rising. Once the Jewish population is high enough, the West Bank can be annexed. I think this is the only solution which will not involve a lot of bloodshed.

Excellent piece. One item left out of this analysis, which further buttresses its conclusion, is the very recent attempts to de-judaify Jewish historical sites such as Kever Rachel and the Kotel (the former with the blessing of the UNESCO). The denial of the Jewish historical narrative is a critical component of the Palestinian strategy to deny Israel.

Marian says:

At best, I was hoping for a partition like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This article makes even this sound impossible.

sabril says:

Marian, the situation with India and Pakistan is a good illustration of why a two-state solution will not work. India was partitioned into a Muslim state and a Hindu state. What happened next was that the Hindus were quickly slaughtered and/or chased out from the Muslim state. So the Muslims got their own state. But the Hindus were saddled with a large, growing, and unruly Muslim minority as well as regular attacks from their Muslim neighbors.

Also, one can be pretty confident that if the Muslims in South Asia get to a point where they feel they have a good chance at taking over the whole sub-continent, they will probably try it.

The same thing would happen with Israel. Jews would be quickly chased out of the Arab state, but Israel would still have to deal with a large and unruly Arab minority, emboldened and fomented by the activities of the Arab state.

Actually it would be worse, since there are hundreds of millions of Hindus, there are only a few million Jews. Not only that, but the Muslim state would be (almost literally) on top of major Jewish cities. So the violence and bloodshed can be expected to be a lot more intense.

I think the lesson of India shows that partition is not a satisfactory solution when one side has an anhilliast mentality. You cannot coexist with someone who is just waiting for a chance to kill you.

Binyamin in Orangeburg says:

I ask Benny Morris one question: what could the Arabs do to convince you they are not exterminationists? There hasn’t been a suicide bombing in years, much less a concerted campaign. Even Hamas’ “rain of rockets” (never really more than a drizzle) has all but stopped completely. (Not a single casualty since Cast Lead– and total fatalities since the rockets began in 2001 — 28 — fewer than the number of MONTHLY traffic fatalities in Israel. Meanwhile Israel killed about 3000 Gazans.) For Morris, the absence of violent resistance is evidence of Arab cunning. Without so much as a single reference to a fact, he concludes there is a historic conspiracy among the Arabs to do away with the Jewish state. Perhaps he has discovered “The Protocols of the Elders of Palestine.”

The truth is just the opposite. The Arabs are now reconciled to Israel. Witness not only the Saudi Peace Plan, but numerous Wikileaks cables where Arab and Pakistani leaders let their hair down. The real rejectionists are the Israelis. They reject any Palestinian political entity and that is why the occupation and the settlements will continue. Morris’ new job as the darling of the right is to supply a pretext for, at a minimum, apartheid, and at a maximum, expulsion. The truth is that Israel is already a bi-national state. The West Bank and Gaza have already been annexed, and the annexation is irreversible. (Turning Gaza into a prison camp only makes it more dependent on Israel.) Bibi’s “peace talks” are a sham.

What the Palestinians (both in the territories and in Israel) reject is apartheid, and so will most of the world. Zionism has made its own bed, and now they will lie in it. I don’t care whether Israel is “Jewish state” or not, whatever that means. It must be a democratic state to have my support.

The tragedy is that if Jews worldwide were to support a democratic resolution within a bi-national framework, Israel would truly become the brightest light unto nations.

Morris is far too unimaginative. There are other ways for Israel to act. To give three examples:

First, Israel does not have to use the fence line in the pullout scenario (if we are ignoring 67′ line by using the fence line, we might as well do it entirely). IT can, for example, keep the Jordan valley. This would create a very different situation from Morris’ analysis, which is weak on both the pros and cons of this move.

Second, Israel is not limited to one/two-state “solutions”. We can explore/try to force/ Jordan-WB unification, which will have a very different dynamic (Jordan being more moderate, but already having a Palestinian majority).

Third, Israel is not entirely limited by Palestinian rejectionism – it can negotiate directly with the international community. For example, Israel can push for the revoking of UNGA res. 194 (albeit 194 has no legal authority, a revocation would be huge symbolic blow to RoR).

sabril says:

“I ask Benny Morris one question: what could the Arabs do to convince you they are not exterminationists?”

I realize this question is not addressed to me, but I will take a crack at it. I will believe the Arabs are not exterminationists (meaning that they want to eliminate Israel as a Jewish state) if two things happen:

(1) The Arab leadership announces that the ultimate result of the peace process should be to have a Jewish state and an Arab state, both in Palestine, at peace, with Jewish sovereignty over the Jewish state and Arab sovereignty over the Arab state; each state having the right to set its immigration and naturalization policy to preserve its Jewish (or Arab) character indefinitely.

(2) The general consensus of the Arab man in the street comes to reflect this point of view. I’m not asking for unanimity, but it should be widely accepted.

Binyamin in Orangeburg says:

(1) They did that at Oslo.

(2) How will you verify “acceptance”? Maybe a mass MRI or PET scans? And why should they “accept” the Israeli narrative as condition for equal treatment?

Keep in mind the Irish example. Sinn Fein has never given up its goal of a united Ireland and was never required to as a condition for the peace agreement with Britain. What they gave up was the gun. Every time there is a British parliamentary election, Sinn Fein runs Gerry Adams as a candidate from the Catholic neighborhoods of Belfast. And each time he wins. But he has never taken his seat in Westminster. Nonetheless, there are no car bombs any more in northern Ireland.

Why not accept that Palestinians will not agree to the Israeli narrative with affirms their god given right to the land. When Native Americans became citizens of our country, they did not have to “accept” the European narrative of why they were dispossessed. We simply said that it is your human right to be a citizen.

Would simply accepting the fact that the Palestinians will always have a contrary narrative be so high a price to pay for peace?

donyel ben aharon says:

A quote I recently saw: “If the Arabs were to lay down their guns there would be no more violence or war; if the Jews were to lay down their guns their would be no more Israel.”

Binyamin in Orangeburg says:

To Donyel: The truth is the Palestinians have laid down their guns. The Second Intifada ended almost a decade ago. Israel will never get a better opportunity for peace. Your quote is a pretext for apartheid, as is Benny Morris’ article. The world grows weary of pretexts.

sabril says:

“They did that at Oslo”

Cite, link, and quote pleae. If you are not BSing, I will rethink my position.

Thought the analysis was generally fair, with onemajor exception. Morris really doesn’t prove his point that the Palestinian elite really is adamant against a Jewish State under any conditions.

sabril says:

By the way, I just reviewed the Wikipedia entry on the Oslo Accords. I found NOTHING where the Arab leadership endorses the concept of a Jewish state in Palestine with the right to establish policies to preserve its Jewish character.

In short, I think that “Binyamin” is lying.

However, I am eager to be corrected. If the Oslo accord really did endorse the concept of a Jewish state in Palestine; with the right to preserve its Jewish character, then I will eat crow and concede that there is hope of a negotiated solution.

sabril says:

“Why not accept that Palestinians will not agree to the Israeli narrative with affirms their god given right to the land. ”

You’re inverting things here. The Israeli narrative (except of course for the religious Zionists) is that the Jews just want to have their own state in some fraction of Palestine and to be left alone. The Arab narrative is that Jews should not exercise any sovereignty at all over any part of Palestine. That’s why the Jews accepted the original UN partition plan and the Arabs rejected it. That’s why there are regular rocket attacks from Arab areas targeting Jewish civilians and not the other way around. That’s why places like Syria and Lebanon cruelly refuse to absorb the descendants of Palestinian Arab refugees while Israel freely accepted all the Jewish refugees who were chased out of places like Iraq.

Anyway, as mentioned above, I am open to be proved wrong. Show me where the Arab leadership endorsed the concept of a Jewish state in Palestine with policies in place to preserve its Jewish character.

I think you are lying, but I would really like to be proven wrong.

Binyamin in Orangeburg says:

Sabril, come on. You don’t think that when the PLO entered into negotiations to partition the land, on the basis of the ’67 borders, that is not “recognition”? They don’t “recognize” that when you have a two-state solution, one of those states will be Israel? Why would it be for anyone other than the Israeli electorate to decide the “character” of Israel. If by “preserving its Jewish character” you mean discriminating against non-Jews, I expect the Palestinians, and Israeli Arabs would voice their opposition, as I will, and as any person who supports liberty and equality will. But why would the Jewish majority of Israel, armed to the teeth, particularly care?

If you mean that Hebrew will be an official language, that Jewish religious and cultural institutions will be subsidized, I doubt anyone would have a problem, as long as non-Jews are are not discriminated against. When the PLO agreed to give up 72% of historic Palestine, they made a “painful concession”, in the words of Arik Sharon. What has Israel conceded, other than the settlements of 6000 nut cases who were living on stolen land in Gaza? All Bibi had to do is agree to the Clinton Plan — partition Jerusalem, uproot all but the biggest settlement blocks (and agree to a land swap to keep those), and you got a deal. The “right of return” is a non-issue, despite what Benny Morris tells you. At Camp David, Arafat agreed to abandon the guts of it. Read Shlomo Ben-Ami, or even Dennis Ross’ account. Clinton’s memoir has Arafat agreeing to require all refugees, other than a symbolic 10,000, to return to the new Palestinian state. The PA reiterated that at Taba. It was the Israeli refusal to partition Jerusalem that tanked Camp David.

But Morris is right. All of that is moot now. It’s on to “complete victory (with the corollary of expulsion, or annihilation).” Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? I doubt it would take the IDF more than a week to carry it out.

sabril says:

“You don’t think that when the PLO entered into negotiations to partition the land, on the basis of the ’67 borders, that is not “recognition”? ”

I’m not sure why you are putting the word “recognition” in quotes. It’s not a word I have used.

The claim you have made is that Arab leadership, at the Oslo accords, endorsed the concept of a Jewish state in Palestine with policies in place to preserve its Jewish character.

It’s not enough to “recognize” Israel within any borders, since it leaves open the possibility of Arab refugees entering Israel. Indeed, the Oslo accords specifically left this issue open.

Please either back up your claim or admit that you are lying.

sabril says:

P.S. By “back up your claim,” I mean provide the actual quote from the Oslo accords.

And please do not try to pretend I said something different from what I actually said. You asked what it would take to convince (me) that the Arabs do not wish to destroy Israel as a Jewish state. Inter alia, it would require the Arab leadership to explicitly endorse the concept of a Jewish state in Palestine with the right to implement policies to preserve its Jewish character. Perhaps it would take less to convince you, but we are talking about what it would take to convince me.

You claim that that the endorsement I described was made in Oslo. Fine, so quote it. Otherwise you are a liar.

Oh, and PS please answer my question from before:

Exactly what fate do you claim I am saying that the Palestinian Arabs deserve?

john norman says:

Binyam in Orangeburg: Do you mean Palestine will be a “better light unto the nations”? Oy. Gevalt! You must be a professional stand-ip comedian. Oy. Gevalt!

Randall Mecham says:

Sabril – Your writing convinces that you think Palestinian Arabs deserve to be Ground into Submission, as you say. If that is not your view, then in attempting to communicate to others, your attitude and tone of aggressive hostility has managed to distort whatever IS your true message. If being Ground into Submission IS actually your view of what the Palestinian Arabs deserve, you (and Benny, for that matter) have failed to make a persuasive moral case for the Grinding of those human beings. You sound frightened to the point that your fear has taken over your obvious rational powers, so afraid and angry that you are not even hearing yourself.

And so does Benny Morris, and so does Avigdor Lieberman.

I must point out that the Palestinian authority has again stated that the Oslo accords are not valid anymore[1], so any discussion on what they did or did not do there is not relevant (actually, they did not even amend the PLO treaty which argued that “Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood”. This is a consistent policy continuing to this day, like in the report denying the Western Wall is a Jewish holy site).

[1] http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2010/12/fayyad-says-he-will-no-longer-abide-by.html

Binyamin in Orangeburg says:

John, what I mean by “light unto nations” is a bi-national state where Jews and Arabs share the land as equal citizens, with constitutional protections for the uniqueness of both cultures.

Sabril, you said it best in describing the fate you wish for the Palestinians: “Grinding [them] into utter submission”.

And lets pretend you and Morris are right. The Palestinians will not “accept a Jewish state.” And lets draw the most negative inferences possible from that very vague statement. What now? Apartheid rule? Ethnic cleansing? Worse?

sabril says:

“Sabril, you said it best in describing the fate you wish for the Palestinians: ‘Grinding [them] into utter submission’.”

Liar, I was clearly talking about the Japanese and Germans in World War II.

And you also lied about the Oslo accords.

I really hope that you are an anti-Zionist Gentile who picked a Hebrew-sounding screen name for credibility purposes. Because I am ashamed that a fellow Jew would be such a liar as you.

sabril says:

” so any discussion on what they did or did not do there is not relevant ”

I agree, but still it would have given me hope. If even one time since 1948, the Arab leadership had publicly and unambiguously endorsed the concept of a Jewish state in Palestine with the right to preserve its Jewish character, I would have hope that a negotiated peace deal is possible.

It seems pretty clear that has not happened, notwithstanding the lies of posters like “Binyamin” who wish to pretend it has happened.

As Mr. Morris correctly points out, the consensus Arab world view is that there should be no Jewish sovereignty over any part of Palestine. Put simply, they are unwilling to share.

sabril says:

“Sabril – Your writing convinces that you think Palestinian Arabs deserve to be Ground into Submission, ”

Lol, did you even bother to read my posts? The solution I proposed in the very first post in this thread was to wait until there is a Jewish majority in the West Bank and then annex and give voting rights to the Arabs living there.

I’m guessing you are a Leftist because of your need to morally invert the situation. To Leftists, the Arabs just want to be left alone and the Jews want to chase out and slaughter the Arabs.

Ray in Seattle says:

Interesting article and even more interesting comments. Morris has a way of laying things our rather clearly. As does Sabril in his comments. It’s clear that those who disagree with them are not trying to engage in reasoned discussion on the topic but scrambling to protect their ideological beliefs – beliefs that defy reality on every conceivable measure – as this discussion vividly illustrates.

Binyamin the Gentile Jew says:

Sabril, with that devastating parry, I give you the the last word. (But not before one final Oy Gavalt!)

sabril says:

“Sabril, with that devastating parry, I give you the the last word. (But not before one final Oy Gavalt!)”

Whatever, you could just apologize for misrepresenting my position. I talked about annexing the West Bank and giving voting rights to the Arabs there. Which would not make the Arabs ecstatic, but it’s a far cry from stating that the Arabs deserve to be ground into utter submission.

Joanne says:

“There hasn’t been a suicide bombing in years, much less a concerted campaign.”

That may have more to do with the security fence (partly, but only partly, a wall) than with any change of Arab policy.

sabril says:

“That may have more to do with the security fence (partly, but only partly, a wall) than with any change of Arab policy.”

I believe it was Ambrose Bierce who defined virtue as a “lack of opportunity.” Anyway, it really wouldn’t be all that hard (at least in principle) for the Arabs to demonstrate to the Jews (and the rest of the world) that they are committed to peace and worthy of having their own state.

If they would stop the rocketings; stop teaching their children to glorify martyrdom and hate the Jews; stop punishing people who dissent; stop punishing people who trade with Jews; stop their Pallywood antics; and publicly the world that they want two states for two peoples, then even hawks like me would go along with a two-state deal.

Although this would not be hard in principle, as a practical matter it is impossible. Arab culture, particularly Arab Muslim culture is just too inflexible. In the same way that some Jews can’t let go of Hebron, the Arabs cannot let go of any part of Palestine.

Tom Mitchell says:

I have one major disagreement with Morris. Agreeing to a peace with an opponent who thinks that he will eventually win and get his way totally isn’t necessarily a fatal situation if you do not allow him to accomplish this by unilaterally disarming. In Northern Ireland the Republican leadership of Sinn Fein went into negotiations thinking that they could outmaneuver the unionists–or at least this is what Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness told the IRA rank and file. He spoke of a united Ireland by 2016–on the centennial of the Easter Rising in Dublin. I realize that there are major differences between Northern Ireland and Israel/Palestine. The biggest are: that the moderate unionists of the UUP were able to negotiate the Good Friday Agreement with a moderate nationalist party, the SDLP, that was opposed to the use of violence. There is no major Palestinian party that rejects “armed struggle” (the Arab euphemism for terror); and that the Palestinians are convinced that time is on their side both for religious reasons and because the Arabs (and the Muslims) are the vast majority in the region. But Israel is also incapable of negotiating a peace agreement with the Palestinians because of its party system with its dysfunctional democracy. Until there is serious electoral reform Israel cannot make peace and the Palestinians cannot make peace because of the power struggle between Fatah and Hamas. So it might be another 20 years of more before we can realistically expect peace. It took the Provisional IRA 35 years from its creation to be serious about implementing peace. It took Fatah close to 50 years (47) before it acquired a leader interested in peace but too weak to implement it. With Hamas it will probably take even longer because of its Islamist character. But Israel should be ready to make peace when the Palestinians finally are. This means reforming its electoral system and putting an end to the creeping annexation of the West Bank.

Binyamin in Orangeburg says:

Wrong, Joanne, Hardly a week goes by that the Israeli press does not report on a mass roundup of young Palestinian males inside Israel. They are not suicide bombers, but people desperate to get jobs to feed their families. The problem has become so acute, the Israelis set a special police unit, the “Oz Unit”, to hunt them down and boot them back across the Green Line. If one one-hundredth of them had suicide vests on, there would be a lot of dead Jews by now.

Get this through your head: The Palestinians just want a decent life for their kids. But no, they will never sing the HaTikvah. The statement “Arab culture, particularly Muslim Arab culture, is just too inflexible” is just a racist stereotype, the same as saying Jewish culture is too money-grubbing.

sabril says:

“The statement ‘Arab culture, particularly Muslim Arab culture, is just too inflexible’ is just a racist stereotype”

Too bad, I thought that Binyamin the liar had withdrawn permanently from this discussion. Anyway, as the saying goes, you shall know a tree by its fruits.

“The Palestinians just want a decent life for their kids”

Nonsense. If all they wanted was a decent life for their children, they wouldn’t use their children as human shields. They would stop with the regular rocket attacks on civilians. They would not store weapons in civilian areas. They would stop teaching their children to hate the Jews. They would stop glorifying martyrdom to their children.

By the way, I am still waiting for that apology for lying about my position.

Ray in Seattle says:

” There is no major Palestinian party that rejects “armed struggle” (the Arab euphemism for terror) . . .”

It’s not simply a need for a party that rejects armed struggle. Such a party would be reviled and its leaders killed should it ever appear. So it won’t.

This is a culture that sees compliance with an enemy’s demands as a deep humiliation unless they have been militarily defeated to the point where any significant struggle is no longer possible. Then they accept defeat and the new rules laid down by the victors, as Arabs throughout history have when those conditions have prevailed. I think most westerners – even many Israelis – still have no idea of the power of the cultural beliefs they are dealing with.

That despite clear evidence over the last several decades that this is the case. The reason it is so incomprehensible is because we have our own cultural beliefs. Liberals especially tend to believe (in a religious way) that all cultures are alike and all people value their families lives and happiness enough too cooperate and compromise creatively with one’s enemies if possible – rather than engage them iionn war. This is just what we did leading up to WWII and it led to 60 mill dead.

I’m afraid that for many people violent war until one side completely defeats the other is the way the world works and they have no desire to seek any other way. If they did they would. I’m also afraid it’s a lesson that’s unlikely to ever be learned.

“What now? Apartheid rule? Ethnic cleansing? Worse?”

It worked in Gaza. Gaza is Jew-free. So too Israel and the East and West Banks of the Jordan should be Muslim-free. Turnaround is fair play.

The truth is that at this point, due to their left-wing Islamonazi behavior, the Islamic population of Israel and the East and West Banks of the Jordan have forfeited any claim to “Justice” or “Human RIghts”. Humanity should not care WHERE Muslims build their slums, so long as its far away from civilization.

sabril says:

“Liberals especially tend to believe (in a religious way) that all cultures are alike and all people value their families lives ”

I think this is probably true. It seems a lot of people cannot grasp the distinction between (1) how they wish the world were; and (2) how the world actually is.

As noted above, I would love to live in a world where the Arab consensus accepts Jewish sovereignty over some part of Palestine. Unfortunately, that’s not the world I live in. Pretending otherwise is unproductive at best and downright dangerous at worst.

Nobody has a right to take land away from Israel. The Palestinians are a people whom became refugees as they sought Israel’s destruction. They are now largely controlled by Hamas and Hezbollah that seek Israels destruction. They see any land gained as progress to their goal. Any Jew who thinks two states will buy peace is ignoring what has happened in the past and what the Palestinian leadership and their two controlling political wings have as their mission statement. They want to destroy Israel! Land has never bought peace – and negotiating borders only causes fighting.

“The problem has become so acute, the Israelis set a special police unit, the “Oz Unit”, to hunt them down and boot them back across the Green Line.”

That’s an outright lie.
The Oz Unit was formed to deal with foreign workers and infiltrators from the Egyptian border (the former typically from East Asia, the latter being nearly all Africans), and doesn’t deal with Palestinians at all to this day. Palestinian infiltration (for work and for not-as-nice reasons) still exists but in a much reduced volume and is typically handled by Magav.

Binyamin in Orangeburg says:

Bottom Line People: There is no excuse for apartheid. There is no justification for ethnic cleansing. How can anyone on this planet, in the wake of the Shoah, ever claim there could be just cause for a genocide. Even if everything the ultra-right posters above say is true, and even if Benny Morris’ twisted historical narrative is valid, Israel’s domination of the Palestinians is illegitimate.

BTW, the only reason I care is because of what my country is doing. Without U.S. weapons and our moral sanction, Israel cannot do bupkiss to anyone. My country is just as guilty of killing innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq as Israel is in killing innocent Gazans.

We must turn away from this “clash of civilization” course, or we will indeed have a devastating moral calamity the likes of which our generation has never seen.

(Yair: stop the twaddle. Any Palestinian who wants to get over the “security fence” bad enough, has no problem. Its like our border with Mexico. The pro-Morris posters here are unable to acknowledge the current reality: Israel has in fact already won the armed conflict. The Intifadas are over, and the only pretext Israel has left is a few stone-throwing 12-year-olds. That is the real “Bleak House” in which Zionism finds itself.)

sabril says:

“There is no excuse for apartheid”

It depends what you mean by “apartheid.” Besides Israel, there are lots and lots of countries which give preferential immigration and naturalization treatment to people of preferred ethnicities/races/religions. It’s much easier for ethnic Japanese, Greeks, and Poles to get into Japan, Greece, or Poland. Nobody really complains about it unless it’s Israel doing it. Then it’s “apartheid.”

“Without U.S. weapons and our moral sanction, Israel cannot do bupkiss to anyone”

Right, that explains how Israel got its ass kicked in 1948, 1956, and 1967.

“Bottom Line People”

The bottom line is that you refuse to distinguish between your own wishes and reality. It would be nice if we could wish away the regular rocket attacks from Gaza.

But it ain’t happening any time soon. Not while the Arabs are showing their children videos like this:

http://www.memri.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/2413.htm

Paul Freedman says:

Israel is not an apartheid nation, although appeasers would like to dress up caving in to perceived inexorable and hostile force as some higher morality. No, it is the Palestinians who have affirmed up tot he present day that a Jewish (or Christian) organized presence in the Middle East is blasphemous and unacceptable and that, as a beginning, the West Bank, including Holy Places, must be ethnically cleansed of Jews. No injustice is being done to the Palestinian people by building on vacant hilltops they covet or defending Israeli citizens when Palestinian savages periodically break out in campaigns of blood lust and pogrom. The Palestinian Authority recently declared fealty to the Mufti of Jerusalem, who sat at Hitler’s side and planned for the gassing of all Jews in the Mandate during WWII. Not a policy of ethnic cleansing or apartheid but outright genocide. Fortunately, yes, Israel has the weapons to defend itself, though America is an inconstant and unreliable ally. If people wish to submit to perceived Arab strength or numbers or wealth, fine. But please, let’s not go all preachy and moralistic in urging surrender.

Joel A. Levitt says:

Professor Morris,

As I read your essay, your central point seem to be that the Palestinians do not want peace as evidenced by their leaders’ statements or lack thereof.

You are wrong. Certainly, most Palestinians would prefer that Israel not exist, just as many Moslems look forward to someday retaking Spain. However, they recognize that their wishes are not going to be realized in the foreseeable future. Similarly, many Jewish Israelis would prefer that the Palestinians disappear, but they realize that is not going to happen. The best sources of information about what realistic Jews and Palestinians will settle for are the polls jointly reported by the Truman Institute at the Hebrew University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.

You contend that no Palestinian leader can surrender on the matter of the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel – wrong again. The Geneva Accord, agreed in October 2003, provided that, “Refugees shall be entitled to compensation for their refugeehood, [that] … states that have hosted Palestinian refugees [shall be entitled] to remuneration, and that the PPR [Permanent Place of Residence] options from which the [Palestinian] refugees may choose shall be at the sovereign discretion of Israel ….” Those who agreed after negotiating on behalf of the Palestinians were: Yasser Abed-Rabbo, then former Minister of Information and Culture; Nabil Qassis, former Minister of Tourism; Qadoura Fares, Palestinian Legislative Council member; Mohamed Horani, Palestinian Legislative Council member associated with
Fatah/Tanzim; Samih al-Abed, Palestinian Legislative Council member; Bashar Jum’a, Palestinian Legislative Council member, and Dr. Nazmi Shuabi, Palestinian Legislative Council member.

Joel A. Levitt says:

Professor Morris PART II

The Palestinians and the Jewish Israelis have good reasons to hate and fear each other. The Palestinians have participated in wars and terror attacks against Israel. Many Jewish Israelis, with the connivance of local courts and government ministries, have stolen the Palestinian’s land. If a peace is agreed, these feelings will lead to attempts at subversion by factions of both parties. However, a cooperative Israeli/Palestinian relationship holds the prospect of such attractive economic rewards that it is reasonable to suppose that the subversive factions will fail and that the hatred and fear will fade away.

Mr. Levitt,

The Geneva Accord stated that Israel shall receive a number of “refugees” which is based on a decision by third parties (i.e. a totally unacceptable surrender), and that this will be based on decisions like 194 and considered an implementation thereof (which is another disaster). To quote directly:

“Option iv shall be at the sovereign discretion of Israel and will be in accordance with a number that Israel will submit to the International Commission. This number shall represent the total number of Palestinian refugees that Israel shall accept. As a basis, Israel will consider the average of the total numbers submitted by the different third countries to the International Commission. ” [emph. mine]

Secondly, yeah, polls are very interesting, like the recent one that found most Palestinian think a two-state solution should be a stepping stone to a one (Palestinian)-state solution…

http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?ID=196040

Dear Professor Morris,

“Phased” plans do not only have to be part of the Arab game plan.
Even if, for political expediency, a Palestinian state is created, it would make sense to leave a sizable Jewish minority in said state. (Just as there are Arabs in Israel). If the Palestinian authorities cannot defend this minority population with historical, cultural, religious and family ties to the Israeli Jews then, of course, Israeli Jews will have to.

The Palestinian game plan has been to create pressure on Israel by war, terrorism, economics and demographics. Israel won the wars so far and terrorism has backfired on Arabs (witness number of dead Muslims in suicide bombings in Iraq.)

Economic boycott may have worked in the 1970s when Arabs held all the oil and Israel was economically weak. But, right now, it is Arabs who stand to gain the most by opening trade with Israel. Israel is doing just fine economically.

Finally, there is the demographic war. Such wars take a long time to fight. Arabs got a head start by knowing that they were engaging in such a war and by getting free food/shelter for the past 3 generations from the UN. But someone in the UN is going to eventually ask why they are funding 4th generation refugees. And in order to move up economically, Arabs are going to have to get an education and thus delay childbirth and decrease family size (this is already happening in Lebanon, and, to a lesser extent, other Arab states.) Once demographic growth evens out, or even changes momentum, Israeli Jews can annex the West Bank easily.

I reviewed your new publication and do not see any useful purpose to your existence. We already have too many overlapping so-called “Jewish” publications that are mostly outlets for secular Jews with big egos and no desire to personally improve anything. We already have The Forward which is mostly useless and now the Tablet is simply a junior version of The Forward.
American Jews who can’t sleep because of “Jewish settlers’ could better look in the mirror and admit that THEY are the real “Jewish settlers” in a country based on theft of land, enslavement of blacks and genocide of native tribes.

sabril says:

As I read the Geneva document, Israel would have the right to limit the number of new Arabs it accepts.

The fact that a few prominent Arabs could sign a document like this without having fatwas issued against them does give me some hope for a negotiated settlement.

There’s still a long way to go, but who knows — maybe the Arabs will cover that distance before religious types take over Israel.

sabril, it doesn’t look that way to me.

The deal would be explicitly based on 194, “Arab Peace Initiative”, etc. (both of which are based on granting all the refugees a right to choose to go to Israel), and the refugees get a supposedly free choice. The only shield Israel gets is a “sovereign discretion” (could that overrule Israeli recognition of UNGA 194 as basis of the arrangement, given 194 grants an nigh-unlimited right?), yet even this is limited by an average entirely controlled by third parties. And should Israel dispute this, all disputes on this question are to be refereed by an “International Committee” made up of third parties (Interestingly, all other disputes in the deal are refereed by the IVF except this).

In short, I think Israel’s sovereignty is being stripped away in Geneva. That’s not remotely acceptable to me. Mind you, it wouldn’t have been acceptable even if they had given Israel a real right to limit the number – as Prof. Gavison (hardly a rightist) pointed out, any kind of recognition of a right or of 194 or even a “symbolic number” can “tie Israel’s hands and lead to mass lawsuits that will effectively mean the end of the Jewish state”[1]. To me that’s obvious – we can’t grant a right and than limit it numerically.

[1]
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3931910,00.html

sabril says:

“In short, I think Israel’s sovereignty is being stripped away in Geneva. That’s not remotely acceptable to me”

Geneva might very well be a bad idea for the Jews. It doesn’t change the fact that a few prominent Arabs were willing to sign a document which arguably endorses the concept of a Jewish state in Palestine.

sabril, that’s a good point.

Binyamin in Orangeburg says:

To Paul Freedman: What I mean by apartheid is any ideology that posits a permanent right of one ethnic, racial or religious group to political power, regardless of democratic considerations. That means, as long as Arabs are a minority in Israel, their legal rights must be equal with the majority. If Israel wants to annex the West Bank and Gaza (as they effectively have), then there is no political arrangement short of equal citizenship for the Palestinians and the Jews, that is not apartheid. As to the nation’s immigration policy, that will be democratically determined. We have an ongoing debate here in the U.S. as to how much diversity we want. But even if present demographic trends remain unchanged, white people will be a minority in the U.S. by 2010. So be it, I say.

The Benny Morris’ of the world are right about one thing: The Palestinians must accept that the Jews of Israel are not “returning” to anywhere. And they not obliged to accept dhimmitude in their homeland. Morris, and others, can find plenty of Palestinian history that deny those precepts. But he is oblivious to the fact that Israel is guilty of everything he accuses the Palestinians of. Zionism not only threatened to “wipe Palestine off the map”, it actually did so. Now it threatens to either establish an apartheid regime over the territories (with concomitant consequences for the Israeli Arabs), or ethnically cleanse the whole lot.

Can America support that? Why should we.

We now haver a period of quiescence in the Zionism-Palestinian struggle. Are we doomed to repeat the past forever?

sabril says:

“What I mean by apartheid is any ideology that posits a permanent right of one ethnic, racial or religious group to political power, regardless of democratic considerations. ”

There are lots of countries which are officially Christian. And lots of countries which are officially Muslim. And one small country which is officially Jewish.

Guess which one gets trashed as an ‘apartheid state’?

Binyamin: You must be delusional.

First, There never was a “Palestine” to wipe off the map, so your accusation makes no sense. This is not due to lack of opportunities to create it, but rather because the Arabs always prioritised eliminating Israel first. (Whether they would have created it if they had complete control is debatable – e.g. the 1948 documents clearly show the intention was to divide the country between the invading Arab countries).

Second, your idea of “de facto annexation” is at odds with reality and common sense. Gaza is actually controlled by a well-armed terrorist regime bent on eliminating Israel. The PA in the West Bank keeps saying they can declare a state (which is odd if they are in fact “de facto annexed”). It’s difficult therefor to see any sense in this “definition” (according to this crazy logic, Iraq has been “de facto annexed” all that time there were sanctions on it. After all, it was much more severely treated than Gaza).

I think sabril summarize it well earlier: most leftist posters tend to engaged in projection, trying to fit on Israel most of its enemies sins.

geowalsh says:

I think the crux of the problem is that the Palestinians- while beaten at every turn, including the Intifada- have yet to be defeated. I am talking about psychological defeat, when the notion of pushing the other into the sea is finally seen as impossible. Short of an over whelming Israeli victory in which the UN and institutional left either looks the other way or is shown as powerless such a defeatist mind set shall not be.

Dispensing with the “right of return” and dispersing the refugee population in the aftermath of such a victory would be very doable. Such a defeat would be a humanitarian disaster but I disagree that this has a “corollary of expulsion, or annihilation”. It just has to be so sudden and one sided that the will resist is broken along with the physical means of resistance. The 1982 Falkland’s war, where Britain’s victory end the not just the war but Leopoldo Galtieri’s military junta being an example of this.

sabril says:

“There never was a ‘Palestine’ to wipe off the map, so your accusation makes no sense.”

I agree. Besides, the Jews voted in favor of the original UN partition plan which would have created an Arab state. And just a few years ago, Israel pulled out of Gaza. If the Jews could not accept the concept of Arab sovereignty over parts of Palestine, these things never would have happened.

“I think sabril summarize it well earlier”

Thanks :).

Joel A. Levitt says:

Professor Morris, Yair and Sabril,

What are you afraid of?

The Israeli side in negotiations will demand: full Palestinian citizenship for Jews resident in the West Bank who choose it; return of Palestinians to Israel only on the basis of reunification of families; Israeli sovereignty over the Wailing Wall; free access for all to their sacred places in Israel or in Palestine, and international guarantees that the world community will enforce the terms of whatever peace treaty is agreed.

If the Palestinians won’t agree, so be it. If they do agree but violate the treaty, Israel will be no weaker. Violations will be clearly legitimate causes for war – recognized to be legitimate, because they are so defined by the law of nations.

Of course, the Palestinians will demand: sovereignty over all land east of the Green Line; full Israeli citizenship for all Palestinians resident in Israel, and the right to ship goods to and through Israeli ports.

Is this what frightens you?

Joel A. Levitt says:

Sorry I forgot an important Israeli demand, that Palestinian arms be limited to those required to police their territory.

I also forgot to mention that if a peace can be agreed, then Israel can turn its resources to curing its declining educational system and its increasing poverty.

Les Miller says:

Again and again, people don’t seem to be listening to what Morris is saying. Peace, a settlement between Palestinians and Israel, is not going to happen until the entity we call “Palestine”, agrees to a two state solution that allows for Israel to remain as a Jewsih state within the region. Israel has already shown its willingness to make concessions, and they will do so again. But who amongst the Palestinians will speak for that nascent state?

If the West ruly wants “peace” in the region, they must exert pressure on “Palestine”, not Israel. AIPAC would do Israel a great service, for instance, if it would lobby the Obama administration to help create a viable partner for Israel to share the land in the region. Indeed, give Israel a chance to negotiate with a government that is willing to accept a two state model, that is accept Israel’s right to exist, and Israel will prove to be a flexible and reasonable partner. But at present, neither the extemists in Hamas or the moderates in the PLA will even countenance the possibility that Israel is a legitimate State and is a worthy neighbor. This reality, more than Avigdor Lieberman, Shas, the West Bank settlements, or Israel’s alleged apartheid, is what makes peace unreachable.

If American Jews wish to promote peace, they must work to bring a unified, confident Palestine to the bargaining table. But until a Palestinian consensus arises on the legitimacy of Israel, Professor Morris’s pessimism is understandable.

sabril says:

“What are you afraid of?”

It’s not so much fear as concern, but I’m concerned about (1) the use of the West Bank as a launching/staging area for terrorist attacks against Israel; (2) the use of the West Bank for a military buildup against Israel; (3) fouling of Israeli water supplies which originate in the West Bank; (4) harassment/ethnic cleansing aimed at Jews living in the West Bank area; and (5) that a West Bank Arab state will be used to foment rebellion among the Arabs living in Israel and will in any event embolden Israeli Arabs to work harder to undermine Jewish Israel.

I am concerned that a peace deal will not actually accomplish peace but will be used as a starting point for demands for still further concessions from Israel.

I am concerned that in any peace deal, Israel will be making real concessions in the present while the Arabs will be making promises about future conduct. Promises which will be quickly forgotten and the “international community” will not care because a big percentage of the world’s population hates Jewish people; sees the entire nation of Israel as 100% illegitimate; and wants the whole thing to disappear.

“international guarantees that the world community”

Lol, GMAB.

International guarantees are worthless. For example the guarantees in the 1950s that Israel would have the right to pass through the Straights of Tiran. Just 10 years later Israel got blockaded.

“Violations will be clearly legitimate causes for war – recognized to be legitimate, because they are so defined by the law of nations.”

International law has never stopped the anti-Semites from trashing Israel. Just look at the recent flotilla incident. Where’s UN condemnation of Turkey for enabling a vicious unprovoked attack against Israeli soldiers? Where’s the UN resolution recognizing that Israel’s conduct was entirely proper? Where are the demands that Turkey compensate Israel for injuries to Israel soldiers?

sabril says:

Les Miller, I agree. I would add that Western pressure on Israel may actually be counterproductive for two reasons:

First, it gives the Arabs hope that Israel can be brought down like South Africa. If they believe that time is on their side, then they are discincentivized to seek peace now.

Second, when Israel is singled out and treated unfairly, it demonstrates to Israelis that they cannot depend on the West to take their side if the Arabs violate the terms of any peace deal.

Morris once again manages to make a confusing and hopeless situation from what is actually a very simple matter.

There are no historical, legal, or moral justifications for creating a “Palestinian” state and fabricating a “Palestinian” culture.

Israel must annex all the land designated, by the 1922 Partition, as the area for the Jewish state. Those who oppose the Jewish state must leave. By force, if necessary. Ambassador Oren can suit up and do to the hostile Arabs what he did to peaceful Jews in Gush Kativ.

Arab-ruled “Palestine” was created by the 1922 Partition. It’s called the “Kingdom” of Jordan, and those who want to be “Palestinians” should be helped to move there by the UN.

Morris: To grant it means to admit that the Israeli-Arab conflict has no resolution apart from the complete victory of one side or the other (with the corollary of expulsion, or annihilation, by one side of the other)—which leaves leaders like President Barack Obama with nowhere realistic to go with regard to the conflict.

Only if you stick to the Westphalian paradigm that says that you only deal with national and equivalent governments. If you step away from that paradigm, then you look to people like Abdallah Abu Rahmah, profiled in today’s article “The Diasporist” and enact policies that would allow such people to show the Palestinian people that there way gets results thus creating the possibility that they would elect committed opponents of violence who may actually accept Jews having a permanent state at the expense of those like Abbas who merely seek objectives that on their face the world would find no objection but which give him the necessary tools to cause the elimination of the Jewish state.

Maybe someone wants to look at the comments posted on BBC:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/12/middle_east_peace_talks_crisis.html
The degree of ignorance is appalling. It’s impossible to argue. It is like explaining calculus to a person who does not know how to add two numbers.
I also wonder: why so many of the respondents, unacquainted with the subject, still feel pretty comfortable to express their views with such confidence and boldness? What is the source of their arrogance? Does liberal media by brainwashing them creates such perception?

sabril says:

“If you step away from that paradigm, then you look to people like Abdallah Abu Rahmah,”

I did a few searches on this character, and it looks to me like typical Pallywood nonsense. He organizes weekly protests in Bil’in; apparently Arabs stand off-camera and throw rocks and stones at Israeli soldiers, hoping to provoke violence.

“enact policies that would allow such people to show the Palestinian people that there way gets results ”

Exactly what policies do you have in mind?

Stanley Tee says:

Joel A Levitt: “The Israeli side in negotiations will demand: full Palestinian citizenship for Jews resident in the West Bank who choose it”

There’s the problem, right there. Abbas has made it perfectly clear that he will not allow a single Jew to remain in the “state” of Palestine. He won’t even allow any Jews in a potential international peacekeeping force.
See http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/138856

Benny Morris makes a compelling case for why any two-state solution will not be viable.

Perhaps its time for both the left and right to listen to Moshe Arens, Tzipi Hotovely, Reuven Rivlin, and Uri Elitzur and at least consider a one-state alternative incorporating the West Bank. The fact that it would be both democratic and Jewish, with citizenship options for Palestinians and full civil and legal protections is a breakthrough idea whose time may have come. The fact that it is now being taken seriously on the Israeli right also makes it more likely that a single bi-national state could actually be implemented. Given the choice between a bi-national or Palestinian state…which would you choose?

For an example, see http://www.onestateplan.com/.

Binyamin in Orangeburg says:

To see how very wrong Benny Morris is on the facts, one has only to glance at the “Palestine Papers”. These leaked documents show Abbas and the PA were willing to abandon the Palestinian “right of return” for the 5 million descendants of the Nakba in exchange for a symbolic return of 10,000 refugees. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/two-decades-of-secret-israeli-palestinian-accords-leaked-to-media-worldwide-1.338768.

What has happened to Morris? He was so intellectually courageous in his early work. Now he’s just a Fox News type hack.

sabril says:

“These leaked documents show Abbas and the PA were willing to abandon the Palestinian ‘right of return’ for the 5 million descendants of the Nakba in exchange for a symbolic return of 10,000 refugees”

(1) Do you agree that Abbas denies having offered this concession?

(2) Was he lying then or is he lying now?

Binyamin in Orangeburg says:

(1) Yes. (With no meaningful concessions from Israel to show for it, he looks like an Israeli dupe for giving up the right of return.)

(2) He’s lying now. The PA no doubt believes that if they can get the territorial concessions, including East Jerusalem, their constituency will swallow the loss of the right of return.

Sabril, Israel will never get a more willing “partner for peace” than Abbas. But then again, Mubarak was also a partner for peace.

“He’s lying now. ”

Well if he is clearly a liar on such important issues, then I don’t see why any reasonable person would trust him on anything.

“The PA no doubt believes that if they can get the territorial concessions, including East Jerusalem”

Any evidence for this belief? Or just your own wishful thinking?

Binyamin in Orangeburg says:

Sabril, politicians are habitual liars. Even Israeli politicians sometimes lie. Even Jewish politicians! I must say I welcome right wing Zionists like yourself and wish you great success. Because if you succeed in consolidating the apartheid rule over the Palestinians, the whole world will eventually turn against Israel, and it will be a hard turn. You must be utterly petrified by the events in Egypt, as it blows away all that racist twaddle about how backward the Arabs are. The Arabs, including the Palestinians, are a brave and righteous people. To you, to Benny Morris and to the Israeli puppets in Ramallah (and even to the Hamas dictatorship), I say, beware: Cairo is coming to your neighborhood!

sabril says:

“Sabril, politicians are habitual liars. ”

Sure, which is why you need to look at peoples’ words in the context of their actions. Anyway, I take it your answer to my question is “no” — you don’t have any evidence for your belief besides your own wishful thinking.

“Because if you succeed in consolidating the apartheid rule over the Palestinians,”

I have no idea what this means. “Consolidating the apartheid rule”? What would this entail?

“You must be utterly petrified by the events in Egypt”

Not utterly petrified, but concerned yes.

“s it blows away all that racist twaddle about how backward the Arabs are.”

At this point, it doesn’t really say anything about the backwardness or forwardness of the Arabs. Anyone can revolt.

“The Arabs, including the Palestinians, are a brave and righteous people. To you, to Benny Morris and to the Israeli puppets in Ramallah (and even to the Hamas dictatorship), I say, beware: Cairo is coming to your neighborhood!”

Are you saying that Israelis should worry that Egypt will renege on its peace treaty with Israel? If not, what exactly should Israelis be worried about?

sabril says:

“The Arabs, including the Palestinians, are a brave and righteous people”

By the way, do you agree that a “brave and righteous” people would prohibit honor killings; would not make adultery a capital offense; would condemn rocket attacks on Jewish civilians; and would agree that the Jewish people have an historic connection to Palestine and especially Jerusalem?

Do you agree that a “brave and righteous” people would not dance in the street after the 9/11 attacks?

Binyamin in Orangeburg says:

The Iroquois and the Mohawk have a “historic connection” to New York state, especially what is now called New York City (a connection more recent and long enduring than the Jewish connection ever was to Palestine). Does that mean they have the right to retake political power here by force? And carry out an ethnic cleansing of two thirds of the Europeans who now live here, and make the remainder subordinates forever merely because they are not Iroquois or Mohawk? Under Benny Morris’ logic, and yours, if they could get enough nuclear warheads to make the whites flee, they would be entitled to do so.

Why are you ignoring my questions? They are simple enough.

(1) Exactly what would “consolidating the apartheid rule” entail?

(2) Are you saying that Israelis should worry that Egypt will renege on its peace treaty with Israel? If not, what exactly should Israelis be worried about?

(3) Do you agree that a “brave and righteous” people would prohibit honor killings?

(4) Do you agree that a “brave and righteous” people would acknowledge that the Jews have a historic connection to Jerusalem?

(5) Do you agree that a “brave and righteous” people would condemn rocket attacks on Jewish civilians?

(6) Do you agree that a “brave and righteous” people would not dance in the street after 9/11?

These are extremely simple questions. If you answer them, it will help me to understand your position.

TIA.

Binyamin in O says:

Sabril, aren’t you engaging racist stereotyping when you accuse an entire religious and ethnic group of murdering women, being anti-semites, terrorists and supporters of terrorists? How are your questions different from those who ask, upon reading about Bernie Madoff, “Aren’t the Jews money-grubbing tricksters?”, or after reading the speeches of Meir Kahane, “Aren’t the Israelis all a bunch of fascists?”

The South Africans attempted to consolidate apartheid rule by granting blacks a very restricted self-government within the bantustans. That is what Israel is attempting to do in the territories (including Gaza) today.

As to the treaty with Egypt, every sovereign nation has the right to abrogate treaties. One the first things Bush did on taking office was to abrogate the ABM treaty. The Egyptian treaty was signed by a dictator and is not binding on a democratically elected government. If the new government wants to reaffirm it, fine. George Washington and the Continental Congress were not bound by treaties between the colonies and Great Britain. Israel has to deal with the new democrat reality in the Middle East, just like King George had to deal with the new reality in North America. The 1979 Camp David Accords provided that Israel would withdraw from the occupied territories within five years. If you want Egypt to reaffirm the peace treaty, Israel should live up to its part of that bargain, n’est pas?

I do not engage with people who refuse to answer simple questions so that I can understand their position.

Please answer my questions:

(1) Exactly what would “consolidating the apartheid rule” entail?

(2) Are you saying that Israelis should worry that Egypt will renege on its peace treaty with Israel? If not, what exactly should Israelis be worried about?

(3) Do you agree that a “brave and righteous” people would prohibit honor killings?

(4) Do you agree that a “brave and righteous” people would acknowledge that the Jews have a historic connection to Jerusalem?

(5) Do you agree that a “brave and righteous” people would condemn rocket attacks on Jewish civilians?

(6) Do you agree that a “brave and righteous” people would not dance in the street after 9/11?

___________

And here’s another question for you:

According to you, when did the 5 years for Israel to withdraw start running?

sabril says:

“Sabril, aren’t you engaging racist stereotyping when you accuse an entire religious and ethnic group of murdering women, being anti-semites, terrorists and supporters of terrorists? ”

Of course, just as you are engaged in racist stereotyping when you assert that the Arabs are “brave and righteous.” If it’s possible for an entire ethnic group to be “brave and righteous,” then it’s also possible for an entire ethnic group to be cowardly and evil.

“That is what Israel is attempting to do in the territories (including Gaza) today.”

Please tell me EXACTLY what actions Israel is taking to “consolidate Apartheid rule.”

“As to the treaty with Egypt, every sovereign nation has the right to abrogate treaties”

Assuming this is true, you are evading my question.

Are you saying that Israelis should be worried that Egypt will abrogate its treaty? It’s a simple yes or no question.

If not, what exactly are you saying that Israel should be worried about?

Again my questions:

(1) Exactly what would “consolidating the apartheid rule” entail?

(2) Are you saying that Israelis should worry that Egypt will renege on its peace treaty with Israel? If not, what exactly should Israelis be worried about?

(3) Do you agree that a “brave and righteous” people would prohibit honor killings?

(4) Do you agree that a “brave and righteous” people would acknowledge that the Jews have a historic connection to Jerusalem?

(5) Do you agree that a “brave and righteous” people would condemn rocket attacks on Jewish civilians?

(6) Do you agree that a “brave and righteous” people would not dance in the street after 9/11?

(7) According to you, when did the 5 years for Israel to withdraw start running?

sabril says:

“Of course, just as you are engaged in racist stereotyping when you assert that the Arabs are ‘brave and righteous.’ If it’s possible for an entire ethnic group to be ‘brave and righteous,’ then it’s also possible for an entire ethnic group to be cowardly and evil.”

Just to clarify, my point here is not that Arabs as a group are cowardly and evil — my point is that they are NOT “brave and righteous.”

sabril says:

Oh, and

(8) Do you agree that it’s “racist stereotyping” to characterize Arabs as “brave and righteous”?

sabril says:

“As to the treaty with Egypt, every sovereign nation has the right to abrogate treaties.”

Off-topic, but this is exactly why Israel should not bother trading land for peace. Too many people feel that it would be perfectly fine for Egypt to renege on the Camp David peace treaty. In effect, trading land for peace is trading land for a temporary truce.

“The Egyptian treaty was signed by a dictator and is not binding on a democratically elected government.”

Thus, Israel should not even bother negotiating with Egypt or Jordan or pretty much any Arab country, agreed?

Binyamin in O says:

Yup. Agreed.

sabril says:

And it also follows that it was a mistake to negotiate with Egypt in the 1970s.

By the way, the 5 years never even started to run since there was never a Pal Arab council which adhered to Camp David.

And of course Israel is not “consolidating apartheid,” whatever that means. Which is why you are unable to actually specify any concrete policies taken in support of this alleged goal.

Next, if anyone is engaging in “racist stereotyping” it is you by characterizing the Arabs as “brave and righteous”. I’m merely pointing out that your stereotype does not seem to be supported by the actual facts.

Last, you never say what exactly Israel should be worried about from the “brave and righteous” but your meaning is clear enough. You are obviously hoping for an insurrection in Israel just like what has taken place in Egypt and now Libya. That’s how much you hate Israel; that you want thousands of innocent people to die if it will weaken Israel.

Binyamin in O says:

Sabril, bubalaha, its not “racist” to characterize a people as “brave and righteous.” If I said that Jewish political tradition was characterized by a “brave and righteous” support for human rights, would I be guilty of racism/anti-semitism? By the way, that statement is true, for everyone except Palestinians, of course.

sabril says:

“its not ‘racist’ to characterize a people as ‘brave and righteous’”

Then it’s not “racist” to point out that such a characterization is wrong.

Binyamin in O says:

Sabril, can’t any part of you admire those young men and women who have risked their lives throughout the Arab world in these recent days to confront the tanks of the dictators? Can’t any part of you recognize the bravery and righteousness of those Egyptian women and Bahraini men, and Libyans of all ages who have risen against tyranny? What better proof is there than watching CNN for the past few weeks that the Arab people (not the Arab dictatorships) are indeed a “brave and righteous people.” And Sabril, there is bravery and righteousness in al peoples, even the Israeli people. To the Avraham Burg’s, the Uri Avneri’s and the brave Israeli Jews who week after week confront the apartheid regime’s guns on the West Bank and in Silwan, I say, Kol Hakovod!

sabril says:

“Sabril, can’t any part of you admire those young men and women who have risked their lives throughout the Arab world in these recent days to confront the tanks of the dictators”

Sure, but so what? The issue on the table is whether Arabs as a group are “brave and righteous,” not whether there exist some Arabs who are brave or righteous or both.

You made what is called a “generalization.” i.e. you are attributing the perceived characteristics of individuals to the group as a whole.

Can you really not grasp this distinction?

Binyamin in O says:

Sabril, you don’t seem to understand the difference between a positive generalization and a racist one.

sabril says:

“Sabril, you don’t seem to understand the difference between a positive generalization and a racist one.”

Not really. If I observe 50 Arabs displaying quality X and conclude that Arabs in general possess quality X, it’s a generalization on the basis of race. Whether X is positive or negative.

It’s hard to see why generalizations on the basis of race are valid only if they are positive.

However, if you want to do things that way fine. Every race and ethnic group contains people who are brave and righteous. Therefore (by your reasoning) all races and ethnic groups are brave and righteous. Therefore (by your reasoning) it’s not particularly interesting to claim that Arabs are brave and righteous since every other group is equally brave and righteous.

Binyamin in O says:

Of all of the points I made with expect to Morris’ views, Sabril, the one that most stuck in your craw was when I had something positive to say about the Arab people. Why do you suppose that is?

sabril says:

The only claim you are still trying to defend is your racist generalization about Arabs, which you now seem to be abandoning. So perhaps you should ask yourself the same question — why does it bother you that I have questioned your racist generalization.

sabril says:

Oh, and by the way, do you have any other response besides ad homenim inneundo?

[url=http://calivit.com]calivita[/url]

I’ve said that least 881625 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

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Bleak House

The prospects for a Palestinian state have rarely been more grim