General Question

zenele's avatar

For followers of Middle East politics - a careful optimism, or par for the course BS rhetoric?

Asked by zenele (8252points) July 6th, 2010

Netanyahu recently (July 5–6, 2010) visited Obama at the White House. Besides the usual photo ops, they both made public speeches after their meetings, and even took a question each from the press.

I heard some things which have given me some cause for careful optimism.

Please read the transcript or watch the video (Youtube, et al – it was short – maybe 10 minutes including the questions) first as I don’t want this to evolve into either an Israel bashing, or BS rehash thread – but rather a discussion in light of these recent discussions and events. Example: Netanyahu said, and I quote: it is time for direct talks with (Palestinian Premier) Abbas – with Obama, and after the proximity talks (which were bullshit) – it’s time to sit down face to face to find a two State solution – for the benefit of Israelis and Palestinians’ security, independance and prosperity.

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93 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Let me know when he gets Schass out of the coalition, and quits arresting Israeli peace activists.

AstroChuck's avatar

I can’t envision any positive change while Netanyahu is in power.

zenele's avatar

Why is that, oh one-liner friend of mine? Begin, (pronouned Bay-gin) signed the famous Egypt/Israel peace accord back in 79 – he was even further to the right than Netanyahu will ever be. Egypt was a worse enemy to Israe; than even the Hammas can ever be – yet peace is still (theoretically) existing between the nations 30 years later.

dpworkin's avatar

Because the Haderim are a lot more powerful now than they were during Begin’s regime.

zenele's avatar

Netanyahu enjoys a broad coalition. Period.

Pressure from the right? Of course. Pressure from Shas? Yup.

But even if Shas and the Ultra-Orthodox parties were to resign tomorrow, even without Kadima, he would still enjoy a 61 seat majority – and any peace talks agreement would have to be after a full Israeli vote – not just passed by the Knesset. The Israeli public would vote yes to it.

So you see, even with Kadima (the largest party) not in the coalition, and despite the religious fanatics, Netanyahu can – and (just as I called Holland’s win in the World Cup) will sign a Peace Accord with Abbas.

You’ll see. I can feel it.

dpworkin's avatar

Your lips to Hashem’s ears.

zenele's avatar

She has pointy ears, like seek.


AstroChuck's avatar

@zenele- Why?
Because Netanyahu is a right-wing, trigger-happy war monger. His obsession has been to expand Israeli settlements into Gaza and the West Bank and has advocated bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities. He has been bad news for the region with his tough-talking “fuck you” rhetoric, and his use of disproportionate force against Gaza, i.e. strafing and carpet-bombing Gaza. These actions have inflicted more damage on Israel than its enemies. In my opinion Benjamin Netanyahu is the George Bush of the Middle East.

zenele's avatar

@AstroChuck I am no Netanyahu fan – let me set the record straight. I do thank you for your words – I respectfully disagree on several points.

But I respect your right to your opinion – as @dpworkin said: from my “mouth” to God’s ears – i.e., I hope you are wrong – and that’s the bottom line – for then there will be peace, Netanyahu or not.

Can he – Netanyahu – do it? As I said before – he can only lead the horse to water – the Israeli public will have to “drink” – as there will be a general vote before a peace accord is signed anyway.

ETpro's avatar

Knowing the intractability of the problem, that in the Palestinian terriroties and Israel religious zealots and fundamentalists feel their side must control all of the temple mount, I can’t develop much optimism. All I can say is that direct talks are a welcome improvement. There remains hope.

zenele's avatar

@ETpro I don’t feel like hunting and linking now – but there was an item on the news yesterday – and it was a video interview of Abbas (the Palestinian Premier) saying, quote: we do not want control of the Wailing Wall. We just want East Jerusalem.

Hey, I can live with that. That’s I – me personally. The religious zealots comprise about 15% of the population – however, at 65% unemployment and 15% military service – do not determine the politics here. They are very vocal – and when they protest – come out in droves because the Rabbi said so. So they seem more than they actually are.

As I said – if Peace with Egypt and Jordan was possible – if fucking Khaddafi and the US are buddies – hey, anythings possible.

If you will it – it isn’t a legend.

dpworkin's avatar

Israel needs to get the fuck out of the West Bank altogether. When do you see that happening, @zenele? If they did that, Gaza would take care of itself. The Palestinians want peace. They have been polled over and over, and with an integrated Palestinian populace wishing for peace, Hamas is shit out of luck, but Bibi hasn’t the imagination or the courage.

ETpro's avatar

@zenele When the direct talks begin, I will be just one of billions of people around the world hoping against hope that this time they can get it done. And you;re quite right, there is that hope.

zenele's avatar

@dpworkin I don’t know the last time you were here – but the West Bank is pretty much unoccupied – despite the crap they show on TV.

The road adjacent to me is open for them to travel in and out of Israel – sans road blocks even.

The few “disputed” territories will be negotiated – easily – as Barak had already conceeded to Arafat a long time ago – when the idiot decided he wanted more.

Let’s say there are a quarter million Jews (and I use the term here lightly) in the “Occupied territories” – Ariel et al – which are already major flourishing cities – some 40 years later, mind you.

They will be annexed, the new (green) line will be drawn, and the Arabs will get the same amount of land (hey – it’s all shitty, dusty desert land anyway – we made it bloom) in return adjacent to their new Country – Palestine – one day.

Gaza is a different story.

1.5 million refugees live there – and we do not occupy the Hammas-led strip.

There used to be a road called the secure-route that connected the two parts. I think Barak’s vision – this is no joke – look it up – of a tunnel connecting the two will not happen. It’s no chunnel – and we don;t have 500 billion fucking dollars to dig 60 kms under ground.

I do think that a peace treaty will mean – borders are irrelevant – like in Europe – or how Canada/USA was pre-nine eleven.

That is, Jerusalem is the capital of both countries; The West Bank has a border including the extra land given to it in exchange for the settled territories, and Gaza, is linked to the West Bank by secure route – and one day, when they elect a real Leader – and not a protest leader in Hammas – there will be open borders completely.

One day.

So my children’s children won’t know from war.

I was in three.

My daughter is in one now.

But my grandkids – shouldn’t know from war. Be-ezrat Hashem.

dpworkin's avatar

My son was just there, but I have never made Aliyah. You are sounding a little silly. How is Jerusalem going to be the Capital City of both States?

zenele's avatar

@dpworkin You had me at silly. Or rather, lost me. Because al of these “visions” – Herzl’s, Netanyahu’s – mine – are all “pipe dreams” – until they actually happen.

Who envisioned Europe as it is 100 years ago?

Space travel and the moon 75 years ago?

If Israel and the Palestinians sign peace agreements – meaning, they want to have peace – but both clain the same land – then just as in Europe – Ireland comes to mind, and throughout history (you know better than me) there have been stranger things – there will be two States: Israel and Palestine.


The Green line – including adjustments – land for peace – just as was done with Egypt a la Sinai.

Gaza: it’s already theirs. Secure route (it exists – it goes right by my house) from Gaza to Hebron (it’s called Tarkumiya road – the signs are still up).

Jerusalem – not easy but do-able. Work with me here; we speak a different language from the Arabs – why is this important? Because our eternal capital – Jerusalem, Yerushalayim – has nothing to do with the eastern part – which is 99.9% Arab anyway. Thy can call their part Al Kuds (which they do anyway) meaning Jerusalem. I don’t care: it’s like Benelux. Who gives a shit what each country calls their capital in their language. No mix up or confusion – just peace.


dpworkin's avatar

You are a very hopeful man, and I admire that tremendously. Am I convinced? No.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenele I saw some diplomat or important political person from Israel, I don’t remember his position on tv about two months ago saying Israel will never agree to giving up part of Jerusalem or having it be a split city. He said (wish I could remember his name so I could tell you) that there is no other example of it working in history.

Ron_C's avatar

I heard Netanyahu’s post meeting comments, sounds like SSDD (same shit different day) to me. Netanyahu is particularly unreliabe. The last time these talks were scheduled he started on a new round of “settlement” building.

I think we spend too much time and money supporting Israel.

zenele's avatar

@dpworkin You know I love you right? And not just for your good looks.

I must apologize – I included my “vision” – or rationalization of the peace process – in one breath with Herzl.

I am one, small voice. Herzl was perhaps the greatest visionary of our people; without him (born 150 years ago this year, btw) – I might be living elsewhere with The Hague as my capital. Not that he was such a “zionist” as you know – Uganda was fine, too, by him – but because he got all the tsedreite yidin to come together and fucking agree on something – the result is an Israeli State – whoda thunk it possible 63 years ago?

Surrounded by Arabs. Desert. No oil. No water.

Not such a bargain.

Uganda is looking better all the time.

But there’s a reality – Israel is real and we have to make peace with the Palestinians – because they want, and deserve their own land.

Just as we got it – there’s room for one more.

It’s the “how” that’s a toughy.

Edit: Leslie – unhelpful; “Someone said something a while ago I do not know who or what” doesn’t contribute – sorry dear.

Ron: If I were there – I might agree with you and feel the same way. The bigger picture is American in Iraq, Afghanistan, and whoever they pick the next war with (Iran, Syria an African country when you get around to cleaning up that continent) will need their strategic, democratic Middle East ally – i.e. Israel – it’s worth the price, the other’s are ficke and Arabs. Just an opinion – hey, like an asshole, right… everyone’s got one.

Barak – Israel’s former Chief of Staff, Prime Minster, and even current defense Minister said: if I had been born a Palestinian – I’d join Hammas.

I know what he means. I know what you mean. Sorry – it sucks, but it’s better than the alternative.

P.s. Israel’s economy is doing much better than America’s the last couple of years. Israel might not need aid (less than Egypt’s, by the way – and we pay it back with interest on the loans – they don’t – look it up) if we find oil in the sea.

I say keep your money – or is that – debt?

It’s the friendship that’s important. But if you hate Israel – then it all doesn’t matter – money or not.

dpworkin's avatar

@Ron_C Oh, too much time and money. So how would you conduct Middle-Eastern geopolitics in the absence of supporting the only Democracy in the region? I’d love to hear your carefully reasoned plan.

JLeslie's avatar

I forgot to say I hope your optimism is right @zenele. I always feel very hopeful there will be peace.

Ron_C's avatar

@dpworkin Israel is loosing their democracy to the religious zealots. Personally, I would tell Israel to go back to their original boundaries, Have them, us, and Briton start paying reparations to the displaced and make it clear that if Israel is attacked, we will come to their aid with deadly force.

My unacceptable inclination is to tell everyone concerned that if they can’t play nice, we’ll clear the area and nuke the whole area so that nobody will be able to live there for the next 1000 years. This is a stupid fight instigated by the British (and the U.S.) to insure access to oil and will only be cured when we wean ourselves away from it.

zenele's avatar

^Respectfully disagree with everything you just wrote. Except the nuke part – I have dual-citizenship – Nuke the Middle East, but let me know when first.

I don’t mind starting over in North America. But is there a clean way to Nuke and still leave the animals and plants?


Ron_C's avatar

@zenele of course, you realize that, I wouldn’t really use nukes but it seems like the only way to stop a family fight.

zenele's avatar

Oh, I use nukes in my family fights all the time – especially during the Passover fights.

mammal's avatar

Actually there is no precedent for the Israeli state, other than with the collusion of Imperialist powers, who themselves exist in their own grotesque form, more or less exclusively, by exerting overwhelming violence or the threat of violence or if they are feeling especially diplomatic the merest hint of violence.

dpworkin's avatar

Off the meds again, hon?

Nullo's avatar

@mammal It is an undisputed historical fact that there was a country called Israel on that very spot for a very long time, right up until some 1,800 years ago. Unless you meant something else by “precedent”?

Ron_C's avatar

@Nullo “right up until some 1,800 years ago”, so what. The Iroquois Nation encompassed the land I now own. Are you suggesting that if an Englishman shows up and demands that I give my home to his native American buddy, I should just pack up and leave? Even if the native American and his ancestors have lived in Wales for the last 200 years!

Not a very good argument.

mattbrowne's avatar

I’m a “learned optimist”, and I view setbacks as temporary phenomena. There will be peace in the Middle East even if progress seems very slow.

dpworkin's avatar

@Ron_C Are you arguing that the Israeli State should not have been established after the War?

Ron_C's avatar

@mattbrowne I just hope that it isn’t the peace of the battlefield with both sides depleted.

JLeslie's avatar

@dpworkin @zenele If all of the Israelis could be given the state of Wyoming (I picked that state randomly for no specific reason) as the home of the new Israel, they can choose to be part of America or not, would you want it? If the Jewish people could be safe with friendly neighbors all around them and let whatever happens in the middle east happen. Not that we can ignore the middle east geo-politically, but you know what I mean.

Nullo's avatar

@Ron_C I was attempting to murderize @mammal‘s “no precedent” line, thankyouverymuch.

zenele's avatar

Back on topic before I flag your asses. This be General. Be smarter and to the point, ladies and gents. ~

JLeslie's avatar

@zenele :) Netanyahu will be on Larry King tonight on CNN in America, thought you might want to know. I assume you get that program.

zenele's avatar

I usually watch fox, but I’ll make an exception for the alter kaker that’s quitting CNN.


DocteurAville's avatar

Anything the israelis do or say are not true. Netanyahu says they want to talk and work things out. They say that. They do the opposite under the table.
If you are 20 years old now you will hear that. When you are 80 years old, you will keep hearing the same mambo-jambo.

Nullo's avatar

@DocteurAville On the contrary, it’s been my observation that the Israelis do exactly what they say that they’re doing, efficiently and unapologetically.
I find their near-total disregard for international approval refreshing.
Or perhaps you are suggesting that Israel still holds the Sinai Peninsula?

Their detractors? Not so much.

DocteurAville's avatar

Yes. They don’t excuse themselves on doing what is “good” for them. Listen, Palestine was around before Israel, and they were over time obliterated politically, socially, economically: they are hostages in their own land !

I have been following this thing for decades and never saw any honest approach from the Israelis when it comes to finding a political solution.

Remember the flotilla issue not long ago? That gives a very good idea of how they are committed on finding a peaceful solution.

JLeslie's avatar

I am doing my best to say nothing. It is really hard.

Nullo's avatar

@DocteurAville You wanna play precedence? Then Israel was there over a thousand years before the Palestinians! That is an undisputed historic fact. Also worth noting: Israel’s tract was given to it by the governments that actually controlled the region.
Israel has made it pretty clear that if the Palestinians are willing to play nice, all will be well.

I remember the flotilla issue. I remember that the IDF sent in a handful of troops armed with paintball guns and holdouts to ensure the redirection of the ship to an open port, thereby preserving the blockade—a blockade that had been implemented to keep Hamas from getting more rocket parts, a blockade that, unless I am mistaken, had already stopped a few weapons shipments that someone was trying to smuggle in. I remember that those handful of troops were immediately mobbed by the passengers, and assaulted with pipes and knives and clubs.
I remember reading about it and thinking to myself, “It was a trap.”

The blockade (not a siege, since Israel pumps in literally tons of subsidized supplied every day) was imposed to help force a cease-fire. Which is much, much more peaceful than, say, lobbing rockets (what the Palestinians were doing) or carpet-bombing (which is what I would have been tempted to do in Israel’s place). The reason why there isn’t peace in the Middle East is because there are significant numbers of people who only want to see Israel destroyed.

Look at that map of the Six Day War again. Do you know why Israel doesn’t still hold all of that land, land fairly acquired through conflict of nations? Because they used it in negotiations with their neighbors. They were trying to bargain for peace, for all the good it did them.

DocteurAville's avatar

The way I see it is simple: the israelis want Palestine land for themselves. This stuff goes back thousands of years and it is always about conquest. Conquer the land of “our” ancestors.

Palestine never gained a state status as they are the weaker. Either the French or the Bristich did never think of resolving the issue since the end of the 19th century. Even Napoleon and his armies was around before that: then the british were around too for longest time and never got to “separate the waters”.

Seems that what makes the issue is immigration into Palestine land; the mosque build on holy jewish land and dates back who knows when.

Basically what does make the difference is that Israel has the bigger guns and no matter what the rest of the world think will resolve the problem: a Palestine state. Give this people their land and get over this.

Check this time-line. I am not sure about the accuracy of what is written here, but it gives a good count on the dead; in this case, numbers, one can see who is winning…

dpworkin's avatar

@DocteurAville You are an inaccurate historian.

ETpro's avatar

@DocteurAville If you want to dial back thousands of years, the Hebrew nation held that land beginning 3,500 years ago, not the Palestinians. And before the Hebrews the Philistines held it. The ancient Philistines are not the Palestinians of today. They appear to have been subsumed by Nebuchadnezzar in the expansion of the Babylonian empire. So should we kick the Palestinians and the Israelis out of the former Philistia and give it to Iranians? Perhaps before the Philistines, Neanderthals lived there. Should we clone a race of Neanderthals and put them back in charge?

How about the USA. Should all non-native people leave it? Should we send all blacks in the USA back to Africa? Deport all Australians except the aborigines? Humans have moved around the planet throughout all of history. It’s absurd to start talking about resetting things to the way they were thousands of years ago as a step toward fairness. Doing such would hardly be fair. It would tear the very fabric of today’s society apart all around the globe..

Middle Eastern peace will never be reached if each tribal group there insists things be put back like they were the exactly right number of years ago. No two groups would even agree about how many years we needed to dial back history.

Nullo's avatar

@DocteurAville If Israel wanted to conquer Palestinian land, they’d go in and take it. They certainly have the capability, and as I mentioned above, they don’t fret much over how shocked Europe or the U.N. would be.
Instead, modern-day Israel has for the most part confined itself to a swiss-cheesed strip along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

I have heard it said that the Palestinians weren’t really doing anything nation-like—or even terribly useful with the land—before 1948. If so, this lackadaisical attitude towards statehood might be why they weren’t ever recognized.
More definitely, though, the Palestinians have their own land. Many are content with it, and wouldn’t mind the two-state solution. But many will not rest until Israel is dead and gone. It is here that Israel’s bigger stick comes into play: self-preservation.
It’s not just bigger guns, either. It’s a strong economy, training, organization, logistics, good leadership, and in the eyes of many, divine favor.

Ron_C's avatar

@Nullo I suspect that this conflict will continue on for at least the remainder of this century. The best we can do, as outsiders, is surround the disputing parties to prevent their conflict from spilling on to their neighbors. The best way to do that is to get religion out of the picture. The whole Israel-Palestine conflict is a land dispute, adding religion permits both parties to do horrendous things that normal humans would not do. Religion is an excuse, not a reason.

DocteurAville's avatar


They want to conquer, no doubt. The thing is, in this world of media endless buzzing they can’t just do it like that; they may lose their US support.

I think the Palestine should be a state and they should make mutual concessions and end this madness. This is what should be done. It is not done because of domestic politics done around this in Israel.

Too much people dead already!

Yes. Bigger economy, training, organization. Divine favour? Well well… I can’t say that but the politicians over there may say it is… you know the ‘polis’ right? Of course someone out there will say this.

I say ‘you’ people seat down and talk a way out. There is always room for peace and both sides get to work on it, non stop until this shit is over !

Nullo's avatar

They want to conquer, no doubt.
You have so far failed to convince me of this. As I said above, I haven’t seen Israel be terribly interested in the approval of the rest of the world – an observation that you claimed also to have made.

It’s not the politicians talking about divine favor, or even – as I understand it – most Israelis. It is a viewpoint held by many flavors of Protestant Christianity.
WTM are you bringing the polis into this for?

Has it not been pointed out enough that the Israel wants peace, and some Palestinians want peace, and some Palestinians want Israel destroyed?

dpworkin's avatar

@Nullo To be fair, the right-wing Haderim don’t seem to care about peace, and Netanyahu relies upon them to strengthen his coalition.

DocteurAville's avatar

I am not trying to convince or convert you to this idea. Most of people know it.
It is all about who has the “higher ground” and the israelis have it. They got guns, nukes, they got us…

Of course they say they want peace. On their “terms”. They will concede nothing. If that buys peace, good. The thing is, the other people involved don’t buy that as they know each other for generations.

I don’t know how old are you. Let’s say you are 20 y/o; when you are 75 this will be still the big thing going on.

The polis are the guys in power. What you think they are?

JLeslie's avatar

@DocteurAville So, I will assume you are Palestinian since you say they got us. I wonder what type of peace agreement are you willing to accept? It seems you are ok with a two state solution to acheive peace, where would you draw the borders and what would you want done with Jerusalem?. And, I wonder what type of government do you think the Palestinians will have if they come to a peace treaty? Will Hamas lose power? I am not making a negative comment or assumption about the Palestinian people in general, I have Palestinian friends, all fantastic people, but they live here in the US, I have no first hand experience with what it is like in Israel or for the Palestinainas there.

DocteurAville's avatar

They got us, Americans. If the US quit its unconditional support they will find peace in no time. I know, we are westerners and would play westerners because that is what a westerners is.

I see that Palestinians are the wicker, they have always been wicker. Let’s imagine that the big guns were in the palestinians hands; in this case I think that there would be no ‘never ending war’.

See, westerners only know the power of guns. It has been this way forever and it will remain that way. Who has big guns impinge on others their will, by the gun. In this instance, you can look back and see that your beloved israelis aren’t the good guys. I don’t buy that. You see, I am christian, non-practicant,

I will concede I am wrong on this. That could be. It is just my opinion. I believe that if both opponents had equal strength the story would be different. In this case, the israelis got the guns and the support of the US. If you look carefully you will see how smart the israelis are on taking advantage, say, after Obama was elected, before Bush was out, the israelis went on flattening palestinians homes to build their own settlements; because there were no US president (Bush was on his last days in office) to oppose it. Also, the flotilla thing; no nation in this Earth would have done that. They are good on presenting their argument in a way the west accepts it.

How many UN sanctions have Israel agreed to in the last few decades ? Why is it that the Jews were so persecuted throughout history?

As we in the internet, I must finish letting you know that I am not anti-israelis, nor anti-palestinians. I am pro peace. Always did, always will. I am here criticizing the israelis because no one in the west seem to see that their are a part of the problem and they are very good at pointing their fingers at the Palestine and do so in a very smart way, because most people don’t read their true intentions, that is to conquer.

As for maps, I don’t know that nor I will make it look that I do. The parts involved should seat down, make concessions, be civilized and get it done!!

Questions is – why they don’t work for peace?

JLeslie's avatar

@DocteurAville I would say most westerners and Israeli’s who really know a lot about the subject are critical of the Israeli’s at times. The Christian far right in America are unbelievably devoted to Israel, thinks the Jews will bring the second coming by being in Israel and rebuilding the temple, and they seem to have hatred towards Muslims, and have a load voice in America right now. They do not many times really know the geo-political history of the region, and are following along like sheep with what they hear in their churches. Not all of them, but enough that it matters. Pretty sure we should not listen to them when it comes to what should be done and who is right and who is wrong, and not use them as an example of how America feels on the subject. We like having their support, but left up to one of them to negotiate, I would be pretty sure peace would never happen.

Your point about westerners with guns. Are you saying if the Palestinians had the fire power it would be over, because they would just blow up everyone and take what they want?

Initially Americans were horrified to hear that Israeli’s had shot people on the flotilla boat, I did not hear anyone saying impossible but then we learned more about the circumstance, and decided what they did is understandable. Again, if I was on a boat with aid for citizens, and the authorities asked to board before we dock, or told us we had to dock at another location for inspectiion, I would do it. I can’t imagine defying that, unless I was alone and afraid of being raped by some stray policeman with power (but that is a whole different topic). I do not understand why they would resist or come out swining as soon as the Israeli soldiers were on the boat. As far as I know pretty much all restrictions that had been on bringing goods in to help people have been lifted, except for things like firearms and grenades, seems reasonable.

Israeli’s and American Jews on this Q who verbally fight hard for the existence of Israel, and some who literally fought in battle, also speak out when they feel far right wingers go too far. Look at @dpworkin comment a few above, very willing to admit when it is too far, or when he disagrees, and he seems staunchly pro-Israel with little patience to tolerate what he feels is unjust anti-Jewish or anti-Israel comments, but still admits when he disagrees with Jews or Israeli’s actions, many of us do.

It may be very true that at times Israelis have done things to exacerbate the situation, but when it all comes down to it, when the leaders talk and try to come to a peace treaty, it seems objectively that it is the Palestinians who won’t give a concession in the end or sign. When peace was finally agreed to in Ireland, pretty much the fighting and terrorism stopped. The people followed their leaders. I think the Palestianians might do the same, we have to give them a chance, but if the leader will not sign on the dotted line there is no hope in my mind.

Nullo's avatar

It is all about who has the “higher ground” and the israelis have it. They got guns, nukes, they got us…
And the Palestinians would have it all, too, if they could. The more radical factions would no doubt employ every iota of a newfound superior firepower to destroy or drive out Israel. Israel seems content to stay its hand, no matter the bites it receives. I’m happier with that arrangement.
Incidentally, Israel only controls ⅔ of the Golan Heights, some of the best high ground in the region.

Of course they say they want peace. On their “terms”. They will concede nothing. If that buys peace, good. The thing is, the other people involved don’t buy that as they know each other for generations.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that their terms are a) they not be made to leave and b) they not be killed. Doesn’t sound too steep, IMO.

I don’t know how old are you. Let’s say you are 20 y/o; when you are 75 this will be still the big thing going on.
I do not see how this bit has any significance whatsoever. As it happens, I am 23.

The polis are the guys in power. What you think they are?
Polis is a city, a city-state and also citizenship and body of citizens. When used to describe Classical Athens and its contemporaries, polis is often translated as “city-state.”

See, westerners only know the power of guns.
As opposed to what, rockets? Incidentally, it was Mao who wrote that power flows from the barrel of a gun. Mao was Chinese, and China’s almost as far East as a person can go before he’s West again. Governments have always backed up the practice of raising law-abiding kids with force, because eventually someone’s going to do something that you don’t like, and he won’t stop until you hit him.

It has been this way forever and it will remain that way. Who has big guns impinge on others their will, by the gun.
See, there’s this thing called decency, which prevents me from shooting my neighbor’s cats when they carry on all night?

In this instance, you can look back and see that your beloved israelis aren’t the good guys.
Actually, your ‘revelation’ does nothing to change my view of the Israelis. I don’t mind the cops wandering around with their guns, because I trust them to use their weapons responsibly. I trust my hunting buddies to use their guns responsibly. And I trust Israel to use its guns responsibly. So far, the IDF has failed to disappoint. And I can’t even say that about some elements of my own country’s armed forces.

You see, I am christian, non-practicant,
You either are a Christian, or you are not. “Non-practicing” means that you are not, but that you might have some doctrine-flavored inclinations.

The Christian far right in America are unbelievably devoted to Israel, thinks the Jews will bring the second coming by being in Israel and rebuilding the temple, and they seem to have hatred towards Muslims, and have a load voice in America right now.

Sheep following a competent shepherd won’t get lost.
I might add that just about everybody follows somebody. I’d be that @DocteurAville did not formulate his opinion independently.

Funny perspective games! Over here, it looks like the antitheists and leftists in general are screaming their heads off.

Classic eschatology has the rebuilding of the Temple as one of the signs, but is not actually a trigger. It’ll happen, but like all good prophecy, it’ll sorta happen on its own.
What you’re calling the “Christian far right” is actually closer to the middle, if you want to use political spectra. I prefer to evaluate them in terms of how they adhere to Scripture. See, on the far left you’ve got the UCC, Unitarians, probably the Episcopalians. On the far right you have snake-handlers. And scattered around the middle are Evangelical nondenoms, the Calvinists, the Baptists, some Presbyterians, many Catholics, and so on. Some Presbyterians, and a lot of the Emergent Church, find themselves on the more sinister side of the right. Scattered throughout are the notorious Sunday Christians, the inverse of the “Christian, nonpracticant.”
But the desire to support Israel comes not from its role in End Times prophecy – which makes it pretty clear that Israel’s not in very much danger, even without U. S. backing – or not entirely, but from Genesis 12:

1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

2 “I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.

3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo I don’t want to offend religious Christians, which is why I try to always add I know it is not all Christians. I would offer that there are Jews who will always feel Israel is right about everything without really knowing the History of the land either. But, in America the numbers of Chistians who blindly fight for Israel are much larger than the Jews, simply because there are many many more Chirstians. When I say blindly I mean not knowing any details of the history, but just taking a side, and not be willing to listen to any information that contradicts it. I would not put you in that category, you obviously have knowledge about the region.

Interesting that you correct my definition of the far right as being the middle. I don’t really think in terms of a specific demonination, although I would say I keep the Baptists on the right for sure, and am surprised when I meet a Baptist who is not all consumed with their religion and how they view the world; I do know two, I don’t think they call themselves Baptists anymore, but I am not sure. I woud say Catholics are spread all over the left and middle. The far right you speak of I think is generally ignored probably as being so ridiculous they don’t matter, and I guess they are smaller in numbers and less threatening. The middle you speak of seems to have a loud voice, and affect elections. I guess we have to go with what is common word usage, and what will be understood, over what literally might be a correct definition among Christians. However, I do have a question about this. When we liberal, atheist, people use the term far right, do you think many Christians in the middle feel we are grouping you together with the people speaking in tongues and snake handlers? I can tell you I am not even thinking of those people when I talk about the Christian far right.

Ron_C's avatar

@Nullo I don’t think the first recorded order for genocide, ” but from Genesis 12:” helps your case. If you remember, there were people living in the “Promised” land which were driven out by a tribe of nomads inspired by “the word of god”. This seems to support the Palestinian side of the argument, not the Israelis.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie My point was sorta that your perspective – if I’ve got it right – redshifts mainstream Christianity. Sorta like how our most extreme Leftists are considered tame by European standards.

@Ron_C Genocide? My dear @Ron_C, that is not what Genesis 12 is about.
I was referring specifically to 12:3:

“3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

I guess sometimes people get lost in the context. I’ll have to watch out for that.

Ron_C's avatar

@Nullo I thought your were addressing the part where god told the Israelites to go into the promised land and throw out the people that lived there.

If I misunderstood your quote, I’m sorry but to me the bible is one long accounting of atrocity followed buy murder followed by incest, followed by murder…............
It is adults-only reading.

Nullo's avatar

That, @Ron_C, is (in the simplest terms that I can render it, greatly risking misinterpretation) because you do not appreciate context.

I agree with part of your post: the Bible as a whole is not G-rated material, by the MPAA guidelines. Song of Songs in particular had, after its writing, the distinction of being restricted to the over-thirty crowd. The Bible is many things, among them a cross-section of human nature. And human nature is not family-friendly material. Neither is history, another major component of Scripture. I always thought it was a bit odd that Noah’s Ark was such a popular theme in nursery and Sunday school decorations. “It’s like a floating zoo! It’s floating because God sent a flood to cleanse the Earth of mankind’s wickedness! So cute!”

Atrocities in the Bible are invariably countered with punishments. Those Canaanites, for instance, that you’re worried about had been engaging in their own particular horrors; God sends Israel to wipe them out. Then later on, when Israel would step out of line, it would likewise get invaded, until the people returned to God. With the advent of Christ and the attendant change in the situation, the rules likewise needed modifying.
You may not like the standards by which God measures right and wrong, or what He considers a just punishment, but there really isn’t anything that you can do about that.

Now, let’s try to stay on topic.

Ron_C's avatar

@Nullo O.k. I’ll stay on topic. It seems to me that this whole thread has degenerated into which particular tribe a correspondent prefers. Personally, I am on neither side and the real situation comes down to hanging. The tribes in the middle east have but two simple choices, they either hang together or they hang separately.

The middle east has only two resources and one lesson for the rest of the world. Their resources are oil and religion. The lesson will be to see if several remarkably similar tribes can resolve their differences and live together for their mutual benefit or if they will destroy each other.

Soon the world will realize that it can get along without the oil and religion with any luck will be reduced to a weekly family get together. If those resources are no longer exportable, the world will rapidly loose interest in the middle eastern family fights.

When international interest is lost the fight is no longer interesting. There will be no need for the tribes to posture and grandstand. Only disinterest will save the middle east.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C Here’s the thing. Many Jews are fine getting along without religion, in fact a huge percentage are secular and atheists. It is the antisemetic people who probably keep us more bonded, and more persistent. And, for me, in the back of my mind, I like the idea of a country that will always accept me, if I am persecuted or oppressed. Sometimes I think give up the land (this is oversimplified) come to America, be safe. I want the people to be safe. But, history shows over and over again we typically do not stay safe for very long, many times in the countries we are citizens. This is not my reason for the support of Israel, but I see it as a perk of the establishment of Israel, and I guess it does influence in some way my desire for Jews to have a “homeland” but at the time we were given back Israel after the Holocaust, I would not have been hell bent that we have to have that particular piece of land. I do think we received it legitimately, and so I fight for the rights of Israel as a country. I don’t know if other Jews think this way.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie o.k., here is how I see it. Two guys, Joe and Al, are in a bar. Joe is renting a place in New Jersey, Al has a small farm in outside of Jerusalem. Another guy, Fred, joins them. After some talk, Fred decides that Al isn’t using his farm to its full potential so he tells Joe to help himself to half of Al’s farm and see if he can make something out of it.

Notice that Fred made his decision independent of what the other guys thought about the situation. How is this a basis for cooperation? The situation gets even worse because Joe invites his relatives from Russia and Poland to join him and move in to adjacent “unused” land.

On top of that, both side in the land dispute decide that god gave them the land and the their opposites aer cursed by the same god. The next thing you know some Southern Baptists from Georgia decide to help arm Joe because god did indeed want Joe the have the “sacred” land.

It is difficult to see any way for Joe and Al to reach an understanding. Anything Fred or the Baptists say or do will only escalate the animosity.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C Hahahaha. I like your analogy. The thing is I don’t think it quite happened like that. I think Joe may have been living in Jersey (more likely Manchester), and Al may have had some land in Jerusalem, but Fred had controlled the land for a long time, he was not just some guy in a bar. Joe did have a lot of friends who who were already lived in the same area as Al’s farm, and friends who were intent on buying back parcels of land in that community before the decision was even made. Fred’s decision was not completely pulled out of thin air. Now, somewhere in the back of my head, I don’t know if it is true, I think Fred actually liked the idea of not having to deal with guys like Joe anymore in his own country, I think there had been a rift between those goes around the same time. So, it is a little unclear if Fred was trying to be altruistic towards Joe, or was there also the perk of getting him out of his own face and space.

Now, here is what I don’t know…once the country of Israel was formed, was land actually owned by an individual taken away? If a Palestinian had a deed to a parcel of land, or his house, did it become null and void? Or, was he able to continue living on his property just he became an Israeli at that point, like the Mexicans who lived in now Texas.

I will agree that the Baptist from Georgia probably can’t broker the deal. Not sure if you literally mean the Baptists or if that is an analogy for Americans? It did seem Clinton was able to have a good relationship with both Joe and Al, even though he could not pull off an agreement. I would not say he escalated the animosity, but I agree others have.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie I would say that you got most of my analogy except the “Baptists from Georgia” was meant that religion was injected into the mix. The addition of religion allowed all parties to do things that, originally, could not be done in good conscience.

No rational person would strap on a bomb and blow up families in shopping centers, no rational person would indiscriminately drop bombs on houses of strangers. No rational person would try to wipe out whole populations based on the fact that they had a different faith. Only religion could justify such acts and clear the perpetrator’s conscience. Atrocities are much easier to commit if they are done in the name of a god.

The point is that the allegorical Baptists didn’t want to broker peace, they actually want to fulfill their religious philosophy and bring about the end of the world.

Of course, they will be exempt from the suffering they cause because they will be spirited away before the shit hits the fan.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C Yeah, I think the religion part screws it all up also to be honest, and you are preaching to the choir about the fulfillment of prophecies and philosophies, I think I said that in one of my posts above, or maybe on a different thread, about how some Christians support Israel with little knowledge of teh geo-political history, but just a blind faith that their church has told them they should.

Another thing occured to me, the Jews want it to be a Jewish country from what I can tell? Not sure how all Israeli’s and all Jews think on this. Certainly a large number of Jews in Israel are basically secular. A Jewish state. I think of how people try to say the US is a Christian country, and I always correct that US is a country who’s majority is Christian. I wonder if that could have been done? A democracy in the middle east that takes in Jews, and anyone else who can show ancestory to the land maybe, some sort of guideline, truly trying to treat all citizens equally from the get go. Well, I don’t mean to say Israel didn’t or doesn’t want to treat all citizen equally, I think they want to, if they did not have the threat of violence or treason. I know that is a fantasy.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie I remember your post about the Christian support of Israel. It is funny how they can support Israel and discriminate against Jews in their own country. Part of the art of being a fundamentalist christian is the ability to deeply believe a wide range of unproven and unprovable things.

I talked to an Israeli engineer during a plane trip a while ago. He said the ultra orthodox are dragging the country down. The don’t work real jobs, they have lots of kids and demand government support solely based on the fact that they are religious. That is a common problem in many countries, it is just a different religious minority that makes the demands.
They are the same people in the U.S. that tend to rewrite history to make our founders Christian instead of agnostics or deists.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C Another fantasy: everyone compromises and names the new Democratic country Palael, and all are free and equal and get along. Kumbaya. But back to the original question, I am optimistic still.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie If we could surround the area and keep all military support away from both sides, they would probably reach an agreement. Otherwise I am not as optimistic.

DocteurAville's avatar

” Your point about westerners with guns. Are you saying if the Palestinians had the fire power it would be over, because they would just blow up everyone and take what they want? ”

I am saying that if they –Palestinians– had the fire power there would be peace. Every time two forces collide, the bigger one triumphs. It is sort of law. There is no peace because those with the bigger guns have a agenda in which a police state situation allow them to have a grip in power over there. It is all goddamn politics. After all it is all about who is running the show. The power bullshit!

I do agree that the Palestinians want what is theirs and they too are not flexible. How would you react when your country disappeared and you are not free since birth?


” The polis are the guys in power. What you think they are?
Polis is a city, a city-state and also citizenship and body of citizens. When used to describe Classical Athens and its contemporaries, polis is often translated as “city-state.” ”

Sorry, I should have said “polis”, quote-unquote. It is short for police. I like inventing stuff you know. As far as I can see Israel is a police state. I will never visit it as I am very sensible when a cop ask me for an ID card.


About Mao:

One afternoon Mao was having a ‘siesta’ and dreamed that birds were eating rice on the fields. He thought that if there were no birds there would be more food left for people.
Result, they implemented a ‘solution’ and started getting rid of all birds in China…
Funny thought, after that the insects took over and the loss was greater still on the fields…

A Mao’s Nap

Nullo's avatar

@DocteurAville Many, many words pass through my mouth and flow past my fingertips every day. I do not need yours, too. So far, I have not even once agreed with you.

Certain Palestinians, whenever armed, use their weapons to attack Israelis. Do you honestly think that if they had all the weapons, things would be different? They want the Israelis dead.
Everybody has an agenda, Doc. Even you.
And your ‘sort of law’ is actually rather erroneous; stories of victories against a superior force occupy their fair share of the history books.

When you invent new words and abbreviations, make sure that a) other people know what you’re talking about and b) that the word isn’t already taken. Language is for communication, not confusion. And if “police” is so hideously long that you need an abbreviation, use “cops.” It’s informal, but it’s also really shorter and already has the correct meaning.

Wikipedia defines “police state” thusly:
The term police state describes a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population.
Now, I’m not up on the day-to-day in Israel, but from what I gather, there isn’t anything like that going on. Indeed, it sounds more like what the UK has been doing lately.

What does “A Mao’s Nap” have to do with anything?

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo I’ve been to Israel. As Middle Eastern nations go, it is incredibly open. It is far, far from being a police state. The state of Israel does use strict border controls and a blockade of weapons into the Palestinian Territories, but for very obvious reasons.

zenele's avatar

@etpro Make sure to PM me next time you come – I’ll show you around my neck of the woods.

ETpro's avatar

@zenele I can not think of a more perfect tour guide. If I am ever able to return, I will be sure to let you know.

zenele's avatar

Do that. I got jeep.

Ron_C's avatar

@zenele @ETpro sounds like fun, can I come too? I would like the see the ancient sites before the religious blow them up.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenele back to the original Q, has there been any progress? Have the leaders met? I felt optimistic, but it seems like nothing is happening, and the more time passes, the more my optimism diminishes for anything to happen in the near future.

Nullo's avatar

@zenele You asked, “who envisioned space travel and the moon 75 years ago?”
Jules Verne wrote From the Earth to the Moon in 1865, and did a darn good job of it, considering that at the time nobody had worked out the science behind space travel. :D

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo He did make a compelling novel out of it, but as far as the science goes, I wouldn’t recommend trying his idea of being fired to the moon by a giant canon. Bear in mind that just to reach low Earth orbit, the muzzle velocity would need to be 9 km/sec or 20132.4 MPH. You’d need to get the projectile going much faster than that to reach the moon. Even if the canon had a very, very long barrel, that is acceleration that would turn a man into a a patch of plasma on the floor.

JLeslie's avatar

I just saw Hillary Clinton on the news that the Israelis and Palestinians are going to start talking. Seems they are going to set up a meeting.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie I thought of this post and of @zenele‘s optimism when I heard that.

Nullo's avatar

@ETpro He did concede that launch wasn’t very promising, survival-wise. I do believe that they had some flavor of shock absorption, a step in the right direction if not actually a solution. My biggest gripe was the way that they would routinely open and close the windows to throw stuff – like the dead dog – outside. He knew that there was no air in space, but apparently he forgot about just how much difference there is between 1atm and 0atm.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo Excellent points. Shock absorption works for momentary shocks, but wold be quite impossible in this case. But for his time, it was incredibly good science fiction.

DocteurAville's avatar

Its funny. One can say anything that opposes any nationality and that is okay, as long it is not directed to the pitiful israelis-1. One can boycott french fries. Yes. One can punch the indians and pakistanis. Once can make general Custer a hero. One can bust any nationality as long it is not the pitiful israelis.

Now, a thing you can’t do around these or any other parts is to punch the israelis. I hope no one is looking to my house via satellite. Oh no the pitiful israelis…

-1: all nationalities are not capitalized intentionally.

Nullo's avatar

@DocteurAville No, legitimate criticism has a place here, and nobody will deny that. However, you are not offering legitimate criticisms.

And I’m five nines of certain that capitalizing nationalities (and directions, and days of the week, and holidays, and names, and placenames, and probably a few others) is an English language thing, not a nationalist/globalist thing, likely a holdover from its proto-Germanic roots.

DocteurAville's avatar

My critique isn’t founded on a long argument. I can find a piece of news: I can evaluate the pros and cos. I could make a thesis on this issue etc etc.
Instead I am here spitting my guts. Who knows, maybe I don’t want to give more time to it. I do not get paid to present the ‘facts’ detailed and digested as you appear to be expecting of me.

I am no political analyst. I don’t make a life out of journalism. The thing I do know is:

Before Israel there was Palestine, not as a country. It was a british protectorate. The fact is: they have lost their land, and the good guys are the Israelis. It is fact that they waged war all around them. There is no denying it. It is not possible to deny it.

My gut tell me that the israelis are half of the problem and they will not accept the other part interests –as they have got the US support; bigger guns; better intelligence; more money; and above all: they know it.
I am not even going to talk about israeli-american “relations” ....

Bellow a little piece I read today. The ‘settler’ on this piece seems very realistic to me:

zen_'s avatar

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

Nullo's avatar

@zen_ Don’t worry ‘bout experience, I used to be an idiot myself, though of a different sort. :D

You say that the Palestinians lost the land, but I’ve never gotten the impression that they were driven from it. Perhaps you’d have some sources for that claim? In any case, it was Britain’s land, acquired through the fortunes of war and politics; to do with as it pleased. This has been standard MO throughout human history.

Let’s ask our man on the ground. @zen_, have a lot of Palestinians integrated into Israeli culture? Are they allowed in Israel?

You claim that Israel “waged war all around them,” when in fact the vast majority of Israel’s military action has been retaliatory or else defensive in nature.
One can always deny credence to erroneous information.

Are you suggesting that there’s something wrong with having a good bargaining position? When you’re dealing with an enemy that wants nothing more than to leave you dead, you want to have as secure a position as you can manage.

DocteurAville's avatar

Another 35 cents:

“Israeli Settlement Construction Booms Despite Ban”,1518,715614,00.html

_zen_'s avatar

@Nullo Lost means no-longer have. Like the Native Americans. Sometimes through war (which the arabs waged against the fledgling state when they didn’t accept the UN’s terms and geography) sometimes through trade – like for beads and gin.

Sometimes it is a little more subtle – like controlling, attacking and basically owning land that has oil – even when it’s thousands of miles away.

As for the “Palestinians” – in quotes because – like Quebecois – they still don’t have a sovereign state – the israeli-arabs can vote – have (too much) political clout – and do not serve in thearmy. 30% unemplyment means I’m feeding a third of them while I work – and they can marry terrorists from over the border and then bring them in. They study and thrive here, while calling themselves Palestinians. Imagine the US allows mexicans to get welfare, but denounce the US while living there.

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