General Question

zen_'s avatar

Obama will come to the Middle East in 9 days, talks will begin between Abu Mazen and Bibi - optimistic this time around?

Asked by zen_ (6273points) August 27th, 2010

It’s been done before, and there are White House and Camp David and Wye plantation photo ops to prove it; but can Obama pull off what no-one has even come close to in the past: a real peace treaty beween Israel and the Palestinian Authority?

Between you and me, I read something that raised an eyebrow – something that won’t appear in anything but local papers: Israel Railways (read: slowest crappy trains on the planet, but it’s all we got) are working secretly on a line from the Gaza strip (yep – the flotilla destination, but I digress) to Rammalah. With friggin stops on the way in Modiin sity and the Airport. This means that someone is willing to spend a lot of money now, thinking of a very rosy future. Think about it: not a wall, not a fence: a train line connecting the two parts of the Palestinian territories – on Israeli soil, with Israeli money!!!)

So I’m cautiously optimistic, as always. Maybe, just maybe, this weird Obama – Netanyahu thing could work.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

143 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m glad he’s trying. If progress is made this time, it will be because the people on the groung there in Israel and Palestine want it. I don’t believe there’s any amount of pressure from the US that will force peace. I truly hope things work this time.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Obama needs a “Hail Mary” pass at the moment (forgive the Catholic reference) divert attention from everything else that seems to be going pear-shaped. And the elections are coming. This is probably all carefully orchestrated and because of that…may prove to be fruitful.The timing tells it all. I just want peace and if it takes slumping polls and an upcoming election to get it in the Middle East so be it. It’s long overdue and the suffering on both sides must end.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I have more confidence in Obama than I had at the time for Carter. It is time for peace and courageous leadership on all sides.

Austinlad's avatar

Whatever his motivation and whatever the outcome, I tip my hat to Obama for making the effort. But—I regret to believe—enmity between Israel and the Palestine Authority far too deeply rooted for any long-lasting peace treaty now, perhaps ever.

Mamradpivo's avatar

Nope. Not gonna happen, no matter who’s in charge in the US.

SeventhSense's avatar

Hahhahhahahahahahhaaa….Oh god you’re killing me….LMAO…Peace.? Peace in the Mideast? I think every president just goes for a photo op. Yes it will look great in the Clinton Library next to him kissing the baby.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
ETpro's avatar

Hope springs eternal in the minds of youth and foolish old men like me. Yes, I am hopeful.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
mammal's avatar

no, i’m not, how can the most violent nation on earth broker any kind of peace deal? the very mention of it is insane, America is the problem. Israel only exists because of America, America can pull the plug, that would be helpful, Israel needs UN protection and co-operation and they need to earn it. That is all.

janbb's avatar

I’m jaded; would like to be cautiously optmistic, but I’m more ho-hum so far.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Not optimisitc at all.

gorillapaws's avatar

Even if Obama were able to broker a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine and earn a second Nobel Peace prize, I convinced the media would still blast him for not being harder on the terrorists (because he must be secretly Muslim) or not focusing on jobs at home (because he wants the US to fail because he’s the anti-christ) or whatever they can drum up to make the guy look bad. I’ve never seen a president under such a constant bombardment of poorly argued and reasoned criticism.

Nullo's avatar

@mammal Actually, Israel as we know it was made possible in large part by the U.K., which held the land prior to 1948. Israel has held her own rather admirably since then.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Nullo I believe @mammal‘s point was that if Israel didn’t have so much support (financial and military) they would likely not be as antagonistic as they are (with expanding settlements etc.). In other words, the US enables Israel to behave the way it does. Apologies in advance to @mammal if I misinterpreted your statement.

tablack01's avatar

Lebanon is a piece to this puzzle that cannot be ignored. You can get Palestine and Israel to agree but without buyin from Lebanon all the efforts will be ineffective.

Tomfafa's avatar

@mammal You’re implying that israel is the most violent nation because of all the women that are buried up to their waist and get proper size stones thrown at them until certified dead…. usually by their own relatives…
Or because israelis cut off ears and nose of 13 year olds who run away from arrainged rape husbands who are 60 year olds?
Or because israelis soak pellets and nails in rat poisen before packing them into bombs in the hope that it would become lodged someplace not removeable so that the effects would plague for a lifetime…
Or the patented double whammy…. setting off a bomb (preferably a place with many children) and then when distraught relatives and emergency workers rush in, the second bomb goes off.
Or… or… or…. or….

zen_'s avatar

Mammal is simply in tune with the regular bunch of Anti-Zionists and isn’t aware of the changes in the Israeli society and way of thinking over the years, as opposed to the West’s enemies who still chant death to America and Israel, something they learn in kindergarden, not ever having the chance to think for themselves, let alone visit and learn about western society. Sad, and sadder.

Talks are coming up again, and Obama is slated to visit the ME. The last time a Democrat was in power vs. an Israeli right-winger (though his coalition includes a left-wing party – whose leader is also the Minster of Defense (!!); a Peace accord was signed with Egypt – land was exchanged, and though Sadat was ultimately murdered by his own Guard, the peace still exists – and both countries work in unison – even to the extent of reigning in Hammas and Gaza together.

Yes, peace is possible; it will take a lot of courage and concessions, but Bibi has said he is willing, and though Abu Mazen is a huge anti-semite and Holocause denier (google his doctoral work from 82, and various events over the years – including naming places of interest in Ramalah after terrorists – including visiting the grave and funeral of the arch-terrorist of Munich infamity – could sign an agreement – without losing too much “face” with the Arabs.

We’ll see; because of a secret train line being built from Gaza to Ramallah – on Israeli soil de facto – I am cautiously optimistic.

Mammal – got facts? Got rhetoric? Been to the ME – or do you just subscribe to the Huffingcrap post and copy paste old ideas?

Boring. Which is worse than dumb.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’m always hoping for peace, but the timing of Obama’s trip is blatantly political. Is Hammas ready to talk also?

Ron_C's avatar

I don’t believe that any one person can bring peace to that region. I do believe that if the Palestinian and Israeli peace groups could increase there following, they could force their conservative counterparts into a real treaty. I would suggest that Obama spend more time with those groups than with the leaders that are satisfied with the status-quo as long as they hold their power.

If anyone can bring the parties closer, it’s Obama.

SeventhSense's avatar

Am I missing something or is the knee jerk Anti Semite rhetoric assigning something to mammal’s statement that he never uttered. He didn’t say a thing about Israel but only about America as the enemy. What gives?

gorillapaws's avatar

@SeventhSense I read @mammal‘s statement the same way. I believe he meant the US when he referred to “the most violent nation on earth.”

I personally think we need to play hardball with Israel and threaten to stop providing them aid if they don’t agree to stop provoking the Palestinians. Both have an equal right to be there, and expanding settlements is just pouring gasoline on the fire. If they didn’t have our support, you can bet your ass they wouldn’t be behaving like they are.

SeventhSense's avatar

I don’t think we should broker it at all. It should be a small nation like Norway or Switzerland and we should just be behind the scenes

Tomfafa's avatar

@gorillapaws By provoking you mean the jews should not be allowed to live next to the palistineans… hmmm… but muslims should (and do) live in israel proper
last time I went to israel to visit family, I wanted to go to bethlehem. I could not because I could not because I couldn’t get the proper jew permit.
But muslims want a right of return into israel.
Reminds me when we (the US) wanted to repel saddam from kuwait… the saudis said no jew soldiers… then they relented and said… no soldiers with crosses or star of david.
I once had a stopover in indonesia where I was almost arrested because I wanted to leave the airport. No jews allowed. I’m sorry for that provocation.
Every time we jews inhale, we provoke the muslims.
I agree that the US should not give any aid to the state of israel.
I believe the state should relocate to the north pole.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Tomfafa my opinion has nothing to do with religion, simply to do with the fact that Israel has been behaving like the scrappy kid who likes to pick fights because his huge friend backs him up. The scrappy guy keeps dragging his buddy into situations he doesn’t want to be in and abuses his friendship. If Israel didn’t have our weapons, nukes or foreign aid, I can guarantee you they wouldn’t be attempting to expand settlements.

Tomfafa's avatar

How is it that israel receives the second greatest amount of patents in the world?
How is it that the jews… less then 3% of the worlds’ population, receives 39% of the nobel prizes for science?
But I understand jews just wanting to live is a bother to the US and the world.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Tomfafa I have no problems with Israel existing happily. I do have a problem when they use our weapons to wage ridiculously asymmetrical military responses to terrorist threats. Rockets were coming in from the southern tip of Lebanon, so Israel basically decimated the entire nation’s infrastructure. I know if I were Lebanese and Israel shelled my village and I dug a piece of shrapnel that killed my child that says “made in the USA” on it I would probably be more likely to go join Al Qaeda or Hamas and go blow up some buildings in NY.

Here’s an eye-opening article about US aid to Israel. I can’t speak for how reliable the stats are, but they should be easily verifyable.

Tomfafa's avatar

Your premise that israel decimated the entire nations infrastructure is ignorant… and that ‘made in the USA’ thing is ridiculas. After arafat got violently thrown out of jordan, he moved to lebenon, started a race war and destroyed that beautiful country. I am not here to give a history lesson. You asymmetrical responce… whatever. The question is… how many rockets, terrorist attacks etc. etc. should israel endure before they respond. How deep into despondency and fear should israelis sink to before they respond. Tell me… I’ll talk to Bimi.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Tomfafa they shouldn’t tolerate any attacks. They should respond with proportionate force if diplomacy isn’t possible. Here are the casualties for that war: 43 Israeli civilians dead, 1191 lebanese civilians dead.

Tomfafa's avatar

I’m sorrry. ‘Proportionate’ is insane!!! The israelis moderate their attacks… hezballahs declare victory. I say… take out the threat PERIOD. You live in peace or you are dead. I would not allow jews to live in fear… 2000 years of fear is too long.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Tomfafa when the Cole was bombed, we took out a couple terrorist sites, we didn’t annihilate Yemen. Using disproportionate military force is not about security, it’s about retribution and vengeance, neither of which will help Israelis live less fearful lives. I can guarantee that Israel’s response would have been much more precise and focused on targeting rocket sites had they not been using US weapons.

Tomfafa's avatar

What if those rocket sites are schools, hospitals, mosques, civilian towns, homes… ?

SeventhSense's avatar

You can’t even get a consensus here. How much less so can there be a solution to such entrenched positions in the region?

Tomfafa's avatar

Breathing is a position?

Tomfafa's avatar

It is very simple… stop the atacks… stop the terrorism… take out of your charter the destruction of the jewish state… stop the agitatton… live like humans of religion like you say you are, we will talk. I am sick and tired of israelis who agonize every time a moslim gets a boo boo. It is ripping the country apart!

Tomfafa's avatar

Holy ramadon… day 16… 124 terror attacks… 531 dead bodies. We jews just sing a lot of songs during our holy days.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Tomfafa if they’re firing rockets from civilian positions then you need to use delicate tactics such as snipers and special forces. Everytime you kill a palestinian kid you get a father, mother, uncle, cousin etc who are lining up to strap on a vest of C4 and take out as many Israleis as they can. You can’t win a war like that with strong arm tactics and expect to have a lasting peace.

I used to have a lot of respect for Israel, so did the rest of the world.

Tomfafa's avatar

Snipers!? I am in stunned disbelief. You are joking. There will never be peace.

Tomfafa's avatar

The stated goal of these radicals, are you listening… is to make the whole planet a muslum state. We cannot in books or movies or CG what hell the world would look like. Satan himself cannot imagine hell like a world of sharia. In iran, there is a fatwah against cats and gogs.

SeventhSense's avatar

And on and on it goes.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Tomfafa noone here sympathizes with the terrorists. The problem is that the majority of Palestinians, Lebanese and Egyptians AREN’T TERRORISTS. By treating all non-jews like terrorists, they’re creating more terrorists than they are able to kill. It’s a loosing strategy.

Certain policies like expanding settlements is an aggressive action, not one of a nation that is trying to indicate it wants peace.

If Israel truly wants war and thinks that annihilating all of it’s enemies and their children is the solution to long-term security, by all means let them try. But they need to do it with their own fucking weapons and money. They can start by paying us back the $106 BILLION dollars we’ve given them since 1949 plus interest.

Tomfafa's avatar

Ok… well said… good luck tp you. I’ll send you a check.

Ron_C's avatar

O,k., I read the whole thread and have to agree with @Tomfafa . I have experience in the “proportional responses” some of you have suggested. My experience is that the people that try this, die in a higher proportion than the ones to which the response is aimed.

I do not want to live in a Muslim, Jewish, or Christian state. The only way to have justice and democracy is from a secular state. The only sure killer of democracy is a state based on a particular religion.

Doesn’t any body remember Europe when the Church wielded power or Afghanistan when the Taliban was in charge? Same shit different day.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Ron_C so do you think we should’ve nuked Afghanistan after 9/11? it would have saved more US soldiers’ lives right?

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws How do you get that from what @Ron_C said?

gorillapaws's avatar

@JLeslie his comment about proportional responses getting more people killed. We didn’t nuke Afghanistan because it’s not a proportional response. Even though it may cost us more lives and money to fight the old-fashoned way, it will likely save more American lives in the long-run since we create fewer new terrorist recruits by not using the full force that we’re capable of.

Ron_C's avatar

@gorillapaws , what @JLeslie said. How do you get that? Personally, I would have taken out training camps, discredited the Taliban leadership and never would have sent a single soldier into the country. I would have left them a warning that we plan to leave them alone unless they start training more terrorists. We have the technology, why not use it?

Of course that would have done nothing to protect pipelines in the region which was the real purpose of the occupation. In case you didn’t know, there are no people that I had more than the members of the Bush regime.

mammal's avatar

@Nullo don’t be disgusting, grow up, mature, get real
before your soul is lost interminably. how dare you say that?

mammal's avatar

@zen_ don’t be annoying. you my friend cannot see the wood for the trees, get out of Israel and see it from a different, more objective angle.

zen_'s avatar

@mammal I’ve been there, have you been here? Are you 14 years old?

SeventhSense's avatar

Now mammal is responding to a “disgusting” statement by Nullo? Am I in the twilight zone?

zen_'s avatar

@mammal is in charge of lost souls. He’s just doing his/her job.

Nullo's avatar

@mammal You bewilder me. Usually you just irritate me, but you’ve really done it this time. I am bewildered and indeed, perhaps even a little confused. I merely reported historical fact, and you’re calling it disgusting, immature, and unrealistic?.

Young man, you must learn that the ad hominem is among the most baseless of all logical fallacies, and one of the most common. We of the Interwebs generally learn to ignore them in favor of actual, useful content.
Are my data wrong? Then we are all better served by you demonstrating as much, instead of hurling unkindnesses. But I’m pretty sure that I’m right, and you know that I’m right, and that you don’t want me to be right but can’t think of any real criticism.

Tthank you for your concern regarding my immortal soul; rest assured, I have already entrusted it to a competent professional, and would encourage you to do the same.

The cynic in me says that this is going to be another historic photo op.

I don’t really know if I would honestly be pleased with most flavors of resolution, either. I see the two-state thing as being the most immediate, perhaps the most realistic solution, but I’d kinda like to see Israel back at her 960 B.C. borders, and the Palestinians integrated.
While we’re at it, I’d like a truck, and a Para-Ord P14–45 (the 14, not the 10), and a Peter Polliwog Patrol Frog that swims and blows up, and a new computer, and a million dollars, and a pony. :D

Ranimi23's avatar

My answer is probably not going to be the most popular around here, but I’ll write it anyway. I want to say something, as a citizen of Israel: our neighbors do not seem to want peace with us. They just do not. We do! Israel want to live here in peace, but there is no partner on the other side. There is no one to make peace with.

It’s very easy to sit far away and judge us, my country, my army, my leaders. You judge us by what you see and hear in your media. But is that true? Not necessarily.

You do not know what it is like to live in a country where your children go out into the yard and suddenly a missile fell near or on the house. You do not know how it feels to see children cry at night and live in fear, the missiles could fall at any moment. You just can not get that feeling. That feeling of war, on the other side no one to talk with and no one to stop it.

They want only one thing – Get out of here, go die or disappeared off the map as did Hitler Holocaust of the Jews. Fortunately, we are here and we are going to remains here. This is the state of the Jews and all Jews who choose to live here. We have no other country or other land. I wish we had someone to make peace with, but probably not. They want only war.

When someone start a war on your home, you will do everything, but everything to protect your home, your family and your children, by all necessary measures.

You can sit there and talk away, but at the background we all hear the Iranian leader calls for Israel’s destruction and destruction of Jews. I don’t see anyone doing something about it, so it all as usuall up to us. We live from one war to another.

How did you felt on September 11? This might happen again. Some people on the Palestinian side did not hesitate to throw extreme bombs, fire missiles, blowing up buses and kill innocent people. There are terrorist organizations between them and we face them every day.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C in my idealism, and being an American I want the same thing you do. To live in a country with a secular government, with freedom of religion. I want to ask you, do you think the terrorists and the Arab/Iranian leaders who seem to be against the US would not target us if we were not allied with Isreal? Do you think if Isreal had been created as a democratic country where Arabs and Jews had equal rights the country would have developed differently?

As a Jewish person myself I always feel a little torn between wanting to have a Jewish state that will always accept me, and loving the ideals of the country I was raised in.

My comments are not comments on whether Israel has the right to protect her borders. I think she does, I think she was formed legitimately and Israeli citizens have done an amazing job turning that piece of land into a prosperous successful country.

As to the OP’s question I still hold hope that there will be peace. I feel optimistic.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Ranimi23 What did I post that was not factually accurate? Do you dispute the accuracy of the wikipedia entry on the number of civilians killed by Israel’s invasion of Lebanon with American weapons? Have you considered that there may never even been a 9/11 if we didn’t pour as much aid and support to Israel? Our friendship with Israel has been incredibly expensive (we give 20% of ALL foreign aid to Israel—and you guys are a 1st world nation with per capita incomes equivalent to Spain), and if you factor in the cost in terms of terrorism the number quickly skyrockets into the Trillions.

I can’t say whether we would have had a 9/11 if we’d never supported Israel or not, I don’t think anyone can. And I do think our support of Israel is the right thing. I think Israel has a right to exist and be free and at peace. I believe that Israel has the right to defend it’s borders. I also think that as long as Israel is borrowing so much from us in terms of Military and foreign aid, they need to behave like good friends—and that means using the weapons we give them responsibly. Every time Israel shoots a Turkish citizen on a humanitarian aid mission with American bullets, it makes us look shitty to our biggest Muslim ally in the middle east. It’s also an unnecessary way to handle the situation.

I honestly think that there are many Muslims in the middle east that also want peace. I also think that many of the actions by Israel have shifted those who wanted peace to actively wanting war. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the Palestinians are being rounded up into Ghettos and forced to sew Islamic patches on their clothes, but the Palestinian people are certainly suffering at the hands of Israel, and that does not make people want peace.

Also, expanding settlements can only be interpreted as a provocative action, not one of a people who want peace as badly as you say.

Ranimi23's avatar

@gorillapaws , Do you know why USA so care for Israel? Check the map where we sit. Israel is the most strategic and most important place in the Middle East. USA want her army to be in our ports when it is required. The main reason is primarily geographically and our enemies know that as well. Israel’s grip is the way of U.S. control all of Europe.

Did you know that your airline security get there qualification through our in Israel? We are the ones that teach you how to guarding planes, people, houses and more.

I think most of the USA military equipment produced and engineered by Israel’s industry. so you are getting your investment back.

The fruit you eat, where did they come from if not from a country like sunny Israel?
How many Israeli work in the USA at the top leading companies? I think most of the best Hi-Tech company in USA are Israeli one, the managers, the CEO, the engeeniring are us. I think the world’s most brilliant minds are of the Jews.

When there is an earthquake somewhere in the world, who do you call for rescue? Us! We are leading in this field. I didn’t saw any other country which sends huge missions to save people life.

The entire U.S. economy is dependent on the existence of Israeli people out there, doing there jobs. The best seeling books are written by Jews.

So, I don’t see how USA will not support us as we one of a kind. There is no nation in this world that has so many titles and successes in all areas:economics, mathematics, science and physics are our strongest areas.

Do you use ICQ? This is an Israeli company that sold to AOL for 419 milion dollars. What about Intel or IBM? Who invent your computer processor? This is all being made in litlle Israel.

U.S. economic success is part of our success and vice versa. If you can do all of this by yourself, I don’t see any reason why keep the realationship with us, if we are so bad :-/

gorillapaws's avatar

@Ranimi23 it’s arguable that we wouldn’t need to train our anti-terror agents in Israel if we didn’t support Israel in the first place. But the point is moot since I do think some support of Israel is a good thing. I don’t think Israel itself is bad (although the nation has acted badly in several situations). The point is that you’re not in a vaccum. When your government boards a humanitarian boat and kills Turkish citizens, it reflects very poorly on the US. When your government bombs U.N. bases, it reflects poorly on the US, because you’re doing it with our bombs.

I would argue that Kuwait is actually a more strategic place in the Middle East than Israel. Their friendship is certainly less costly than the one with Israel.

To your nationalistic points about successful Israelis, I can only respond by saying that the people of Israel are certainly successful. They have a culture that encourages education and hard work which I find quite admirable. I don’t hate Israelis or anything like that.

I also think living in fear of terrorism has made it difficult for the people of Israel to remain objective about the situation in the Middle East. Comments like ”...our neighbors do not seem to want peace with us. They just do not.” indicate that you’re willing to lump large groups of people into single categories.

Many in Lebanon didn’t hate Israel, and wanted peace, but after your country decimated theirs to kill a very small number of radicals acting illegally, you will probably find a lot more hate for Israel there than there ever was before. By being so iron-fisted and heavy handed, the Israeli government is making enemies faster than it can kill them. It’s like an entire government filled with George Bush fans.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws @Ranimi23 and whoever else has the answer to this question. When terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah have a group of radicals acting illegally, as @gorillapaws put it, do the Arab countries speak out in horror against the acts, condemning them? If a group of Canadians set a car bomb in Vermont, I think Canada would readily condemn the acts, vow to work with the american government to find the people responsible and have them punished. Do the Palestinians and Lebonese readily do this? Did the Lebonese army come down to the border to fight with israel, not against, to protect the border and the people? Would they consider it?

gorillapaws's avatar

@JLeslie the difference between Canada and Lebanon in ‘06 was that Canada has a strong central government. In ‘06, Lebanon’s government did condemn the attacks (At least I’m pretty sure they did), but was on the brink of being overthrown in a coup and didn’t have control of the south. This was a delicate situation that should’ve been resolved through the UN, or at least the involvement of other countries.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws in ‘06 most americans I know wanted the fighting to stop, waned Israel to stop. I saw Bush doing nothing as a Christian right Israel can do no wrong thing. I do not fault Israel though. I agree other countries needed to come in so both countries Israel and Lebanon could save face. At least that is how it seemed to me at the time. But you also say that Lebanon was having serious internal problems. That is Lebanon’s problem, and if it makes them unable to control their lunatic fringe, then there are repercussions

gorillapaws's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t disagree that there are repercussions, but the manner in which the war was handled resulted in a LOT of civilian casualties (fairly far north as well I believe). The repercussions of that is a lot more people hating Israel that never would’ve hated them before (Lebanon is almost 50% Christian). And since most of those bombs that were used were from the US, a lot of that hate comes our way too.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws I thought Lebanon was down to 30% Christian, once having been 70%, but I could be incorrect. I have not looked up stats like that in a while. I read that the Christians are fleeing from Iraq now, not beong able to live safely. And, I don’t think Israel is thinking religion, I believe they are thinking borders, protecting their land. It’s geopolitical, not religious, in the minds of most Jews and Israeli’s I think, for the Muslims maybe it is religious? To the fanatic Muslims.

gorillapaws's avatar

@JLeslie I’m not say they’re thinking religion, and religion certainly doesn’t factor into my opinion. The point is that Lebanon is a far cry from an Islamic terrorist state. A large percent of the people of Lebanon desired peace with Israel (counter to @Ranimi23‘s statement that their neighbors don’t want peace). Once you start destroying a country’s airports, ports, 400 miles of roads, 73 bridges, water and sewage treatment plants, 350 schools, 2 hospitals, and 15,000 homes all to kill between 184 and 1000 Hezbollah combatants (source), you start making enemies very quickly.

Nullo's avatar

@gorillapaws I don’t suppose that it makes any difference whatsoever that the flotilla boarders were assaulted before they retaliated? And that “humanitarian aid” had in the past been used as a cover for smuggling in weapons? That the Mavi Marmara‘s secondary purpose was to cause trouble?

gorillapaws's avatar

@Nullo I certainly think the boat should have been inspected, like any other craft coming into a nation’s territorial waters would be. Using special forces from helicopters in international waters isn’t exactly how our customs agents do it though is it?

Nullo's avatar

@gorillapaws Our customs agents don’t expect, neither do they have to content with, fanatical resistance.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Nullo I bet there are many customs agents who would disagree with that statement. Regardless, it doesn’t give us the right to board vessels in international waters.

SeventhSense's avatar

I agree with many of your points and of the valuable contributions of the Jewish people. But do not forget that they are not alone and can not stand alone nor can any country including the US. We are all dependent upon each other and many vital and important contributions originate from all corners of the globe not just Israel or the US. Nationalism never fostered peace in the Mideast or anywhere for that matter.

As per the argument for peace I agree with you as well. The other side does not want peace with you and has shown this expressly. So why the pretense of a peace accord if there’s really only one party at the table? I think the answer of course is the US desire and the Israeli desire to have at least a modicum of stability. The US because it’s a perfect and strategic advantage in the region and the Israelis want it to prevent rockets fired into residential neighborhoods. I think the US is well aware if Israel goes the entire Muslim world will be united to keep the US out as well.

This all seems reasonable but until there is an acknowledgment of borders on the part of the Palestinians and an acceptance that Israel is a nation it’s all just pretend anyway. With most border conflicts, wars and skirmishes this happens fairly quickly when an an accord is reached yet with this region the dogmas and ideologies of centuries have resisted this. I think both sides are so intractable that they will not find a solution until the whole world is drawn into this conflict.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie sorry I took so long to answer, I’m back in Mexico now.

I think that the animosity towards the United States has more to do with our record in Arab countries in general and a Persian country in particular. The fact that we support Israel isn’t in that prominent in people’s memories. They remember that we overthrew Iran’s legitimate government and installed a Shah with a terrible secret police force. We support the dictatorships in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

We formed terrorist groups in Afghanistan to fight the Russians then invaded their country. We even had a president that said that we were on a Crusade in the Middle east.

I like Israel and wish them well and hope that they can reach an agreement with some of their neighbors. If I was Israeli, I would be friendly the the U.S. but be careful with the relationship. The U.S. cannot really be trusted. We are no longer a democracy, democracies stay away from war. We are owned and operated by corporations that have their personal interest in mind and don’t care how many Americans, Israelis, or Arabs die.

SeventhSense's avatar

And Israel is different how?

Ron_C's avatar

I’m not sure what you are getting at but I will tell you how I see Israel.

Israel was created by the British as a buffer of civilization to the hostile and relatively uncivilized Arab states. I suspect that it was also a punishment to the middle east for supporting the Nazis and shutting down the British Empire.

Frankly if I had my say and wanted to help displaced and oppressed Jews, I would have given them a state that we don’‘t use much, like Idaho or North Dakota.

Now they are plopped down amidst hostile people, on land that others claim. To me they were abused by Western Powers from the beginning of the state. What makes Israel different is that is is a purely political invention. Now that they exist, they need to make the best of it. I am not smart enough to have a real solution other than moving the entire state to a less hostile location.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C Scary. Jinx. I always use Wyoming as my random state for the Jews. I also think that England was ok with the idea of getting the Jews out of their country honestly at the time, and other European countries. I think there might be some antisemitism and some empathy all rolled into one with the formation of Israel. And, geography, geo-politics.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie If I wanted to increase the over-all I.Q. of a state, I would move them to Texas. Unfortunately, there are a good number of them that hate Jews, Blacks, whatever, and they’re as armed as the Arabs, maybe more so.

gorillapaws's avatar

I thought the Jewish people were pretty happy about the location of Israel being in the historic homeland of their biblical ancestors?

Ron_C's avatar

@gorillapaws I think the whole “biblical roots” thing is silly. Most of the recent immigrants are many generations removed from the tribe that lived there.

My roots are in Croatia, my ancestors migrated from there but I don’t feel that I have a claim on the land. Neither do the foreign born people of Jewish decent. You move you lose.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Ron_C I completely agree that sentimentality of that nature is ridiculous (especially when it creates so much tension), having said that, I don’t believe it negates the fact that most Israelis feel that way (from what I understand). The bigger point is that there really isn’t any desirable uninhabited land left. So in order to create a state for a group of people, you have to displace a pre-existing group—which is very problematic as we’ve seen.

Ron_C's avatar

@gorillapaws let’s face it, anywhere you form a new state, you are going to displace someone. Even if you used the outback of Australia, there’d be a band of pissed off (rightly so) Aborigines. Since the deed has been done in the middle east I would suggest that the Iranians form an alliance with the Israelis. The Israelis want peace and the Iranians want to dominate the Arabs. It sounds like a marriage made in heaven especially since both countries will have nuclear weapons in the future.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws There were and are definitely Jews who wanted to return to Israel. Jews were buying back land before Israel was formed, living there. I care more about the people more than the land, although I do care about the history, not to be confused with the religion, although the history is religious.

@Ron_C I think America was not willing to let all of the Jews come in at the time.

zen_'s avatar

I won’t respond to all the crap disinformation provided by gorilla – except to say that the flotilla has proven to be anything but a humanitarian flotilla, sent by none other than Arduan himself – who immediately afterwards showed his true colours by meeting with, and siding with Iran and Chavez of Venezula. The West will have to keep extra tabs on Turkey – something we’ve known for a long time now.

I would argue that Kuwait is actually a more strategic place in the Middle East than Israel. Their friendship is certainly less costly than the one with Israel.

Really? You mean that little Arab non-democratic (like all of them) excuse for an oil slick country that needed rescuing back in the early 90’s – and because of its oil, required the US to go to war in the region – asking Israel to keep out – despite 55 scud missiles launched at Tel Aviv by Saddam. The US is still in Iraq, and now in Afghanistan – the beginnings of the war are either a result of oil interests and/or rescuing Saddam’s invasion of that “strategic ally” Kuwait – and we know how many US soldier’s lives have been lost – and are still being killed daily. Thanks, Kuwait – America’s greatest ally in the ME. What bullshit from an armchior warrior/wikipedia copy/paster is that?

Israel regularly bombs UN bases – come on. The last skirmish, costing a senior Israeli officer’s life – was on the Lebanon border – a place (again, not a democracy) left by Israeli troops over 10 years ago. While cutting trees along the fence which were disrupting their view, Israeli soldiers were shot at by Lebanese snipers – the UN magically disappearing from their (Lebanese) posts.

When has the US ever interfered personally to aid Israel in a war – even when Israeli fought from within its “67” borders? Never. But Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Korea, Vietnam – shall I go on? No oil here – no personal US intervention. Aid – sure – but what country doesn’t have US aid support strategic interference. Israel’s economy, thank you, is better than most nations’ – and self-sustaining. After only 60 years of draining swamps and planting crops in a fucking desert the size of New jersey – by Holocaust survivors tuirned away from most European countries. They landsed here, and made the desert bloom – because there _was_no alternative, dummy. Read a history book not written by a neo nazi- asshole.

The tiny nation, the size of NJ, voted as a democratic state by said UN pretty much within its curent border back in 47 is constantly under fire – with aid from the US for strategic and oil and military, maybe even friendly and ideological reasons – gets less than Egypt – a violent, non democratic Muslim country whose own National Guardsmen killed their leader, Saddat, upon his signing of the peace treaty with Israel. For peace, Israel “returned” the Sinai, land about the size of modern day Israel – in return for nothing, pretty much. I’ve yet to see an Egyptian tourist here, or contribution to – well – anything – since then.

But they get as much or more aid, planes, missile and cash from the US as Israel – and in return – don’t get it from the soviets Russians. For no other reason, really. They contribute nothing else in terms of technology or medical advances. When’s the last time you heard of an Egyptian Nobel prize winner, or technological or medical breakthrough?

This forum won’t change the (probably very young, yet set in their ways) minds of closet anti-semites and anti-zionists. It’s just a place to gather our thoughts together, and prepare us for the next battle around the corner – when these talks fall through once again.

How do you make peace with people who strap bombs to the chests of their children, then parade in the streets with their bodies when they’ve blown themselves up in cafe and buses calling them martyrs? How do you ralk to people who belive their virgin sons, barely teens, will get 72 virgins when they die and go to virgin heaven?

How do you make peace with people who were weaned and taught from nursery school the anthem calling for death to Israel?

How do you make peace with people who didn’t exist as a nation until Israel as granted Nation staus in 47 – then suddenly decided Jordan, which is 80 percent Palestinian wasn’t enough for them?

Uganda is off the table, so Israel is all the few remaining Jews have in the whole world. Not a billion muslims, not all the oil in the ME, not dozens of (non-democratic, violent, hand chopping, stoning, cutting off women’s veiled noses (is that why they wear veils) – but a tiny slither of land, crossed in four hours to the North, half an hour in the middle – land of about the same amount of Jews who were slaughtered in the gas chambers.

Gorilla – and everyone who looks thinks like you, should really, but really, get your facts and life straight – visit somyhing more exotic than Weehawken, and stop reading ther Huffington crap post so much. You contribute, and do, nothing, it seems. Here, or elsewhere.

Tomfafa's avatar

@zen_ and @JLeslie Good points… I would add that the swamps were mostly (and costly) drained and there was a functioning gov with services in place before the holocaust.
As for the recent ‘skirmish’ on the lebanese border (an israeli officer was killed)... I know hezbollah stores huge caches of weapans and then parks many civilians on top. (the birthrate among the palistenians is 11 children per man) hoping to draw israeli fire. I would fire! I would rain hot hell on every known weapons cache. Just for the loss of one soldier. Good thing I am not in charge.
Israel is the most moral state in history because of her restraint. The jews are the most benevolent people in history.
On one of my many trips to israel, I was having dinner with a family one beautiful friday night in a (so called) ‘settlement’... I asked, why live here amongst the hate, the blood, the fear etc.etc. Right after dinner the father said ‘let’s go for a walk.’ We quietly walked for several blocks, almost every house had open windows and from within almost every window there was a family singing… my life outlook was changed forever. (I’m sure I told this story many times)

SeventhSense's avatar

Well said. Even though I’m a non Jewish person. But I still object to the use of the anti Semite word. There’s many different types of hatred. One need not be more significant than any other. I always find it somewhat manipulative to establish some discrimination as having more weight than any other. And actually if anyone deserves that distinction it’s those originating from Africa.

Tomfafa's avatar

@SeventhSense Africa itself is a great tragedy of history… but feeling sorry for them will not help them. Just trying to provide the people with some kind of security would go a long way towards correcting that. The UN is a tragic failure in that regard.

SeventhSense's avatar

No of course not. I was just making a point

gorillapaws's avatar

@zen_ I posted links to my sources… If they are factually inaccurate, please post links disproving them. Intelligent discussion is advanced through communicating facts, not infantile ad hominems and statements like “I won’t respond to all the crap disinformation provided by gorilla.”

I’m not an anti-semite. Period. I find your insinuation that I am, not only incredibly offensive, but also pathetic. If you can’t argue the facts, then perhaps you shouldn’t challenge people on them. My posts have had nothing to do with religion, or ethnicity. For the record, I believe that any faith that causes someone to want to go to war or kill others is stupid. My posts have have focused on the military actions of the Israeli government and the negative effects that has had on the US.

I stand by my earlier claim that Kuait is a more strategic asset. It’s location between Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia with a centralized access to the Gulf of Oman makes it some of the most strategically valuable locations on the planet.

“Israel regularly bombs UN bases – come on.” I NEVER said they regularly bombed UN bases. It’s known as a straw-man fallacy when you change what the person was arguing and then proceed to argue against the distortion. I was referring to this incident where UN observers called the Israeli Military 10 times warning that “aerial attacks were getting close to their position.” A direct hit finally killed all 4 UN peacekeepers. But you’re right that it’s not the only time it’s happened.

“Read a history book not written by a neo nazi- asshole.” I’ve never read anything written by a Nazi. Unlike you, I also have the self-restraint not name-call like a little child (you’ve got an awful lot of growing up to do).

“But they get as much or more aid, planes, missile and cash from the US as Israel” I’m not sure where you’re getting your figures (your ass perhaps?) but I found this table which clearly shows that Israel gets more money than Egypt. If you have better data than please share it, otherwise stop spreading “disinformation” (to use your term).

“How do you make peace with people who…” you start by not lumping them all together into a category and calling them all terrorists. I assure you there are probably many Palestinians who just want to get the fuck on with their lives and have no desire to strap a bomb onto their kid. There are a lot of children without bombs on them right? The first step to peace is to not have prejudice, to resist the temptation to lump people into broad categories based on their religion and then make sweeping generalities. You sound like an anti-arab bigot when you make statements like that.

About 40% of Israel’s Lebanese neighbors are Christian (source). Are all of them taught to “belive their virgin sons, barely teens, will get 72 virgins when they die and go to virgin heaven?” When Israel plants Land mines and cluster bombs in Lebanon that kill and wounds civilians for years after the fighting, that isn’t about stopping rocket attacks, it’s about vengeance—pure and simple. It’s sending the people a big “fuck you” message. Kids are literally still getting their legs blown off in southern Lebanon from unexploded American-made cluster bombs. They have American shrapnel in their bodies-that is no exaggeration.

So honestly, when Israel does shit like that, I can see why people begin to hate them (such as Lebanese Christians). I don’t think any of the original hate was deserved, but the right-wing, hardline behavior of the Israeli Government has been deserving of international condemnation—I’m talking about the actions mostly since Rabin was assassinated (by an Israeli who didn’t want peace with the Arabs). An interesting footnote is that they even allowed Rabin’s assassin to have a conjugal visit in prison. Sounds like a real clear message to people who would interrupt the peace process to me…

The political tensions in the area are incredibly complicated, and lumping people into categories, and stereotyping isn’t a productive means of building a sustainable peace.

“You contribute, and do, nothing, it seems. Here, or elsewhere.” I will resist the flame-baiting of someone who clearly lacks the intellectual capacity to tackle issues at face value, and instead resorts feebleminded tactics such as ad hominems, straw-men, distorting facts, making claims without providing any evidence to support them etc. So I’m calling you out @zen_ , how do you know what I have or haven’t done here or elsewhere? How do you know where I do or don’t get my news? Why should I or anyone else for that matter listen to a word you have to say since you seem incapable of supporting your opinion with evidence. Are you an anti-arab bigot? How does that make you any different than the anti-semites that have committed so many horrible acts?

zen_'s avatar

@SeventhSense Bigot, racist and anti-semite are all in the dictionary. When speaking of Jews, it’s commonplace to use the latter. Why single them out? I didn’t write the Oxford dictionary; and when a tiny race, perhaps Mankind’s oldest or second oldest was almost decimated not even a mere century ago – leaving behind about only15 million or so worldwide (come on Holocaust deniers, let’s hear your numbers) – with only 6 million in Israel – the only nation that is both a democracy and Jewish – Never Again) – well, I think I may use the term _Anti-Semite as much as the next Black person can call foul at a racist. And we were all once Black. I think if you are anti-Israel, or anti-Zionist (it’s the same; zionists think there should be an Israel, is all y’all) – you are probably de facto an anti-Jew, henc, anti-semite, and can thus – royally, kiss my ass. One, i.e., not you, per se. Though I’m not altogether convinced.

But we aren’t all Jewish – though on the topic, I wish we all were – and that it was easier to become one – like to become a Christian you sprinkle some water on your head and say a couple of Prayers. Or dunk in our Jordan river – Amen, and not have to go through all the bullshit rituals and bureaucracy – of which there is too much of. From experience, I know. Boy, do I know.

JLeslie's avatar

@zen_ are you suggesting it might be better if we actively go out and convert people? I know that is not your point in your last post, but I wondered. My father has said before that in history we would have done better if we had. I’m not so sure about that.

zen_'s avatar

@JLeslie Nah, I didn’t say that – and Jews cannot do that anyway, according to Halacha. I think that religion is a joke anyway, but that it should be just as easy to shift religions from father to son and back again, if one is so inclined; who died and put Rabbi X in charge of who’s a Jew?

gorillapaws's avatar

@zen_ “I think if you are anti-Israel, or anti-Zionist (it’s the same; zionists think there should be an Israel, is all y’all) – you are probably de facto an anti-Jew, henc, anti-semite…”

So someone who disagrees with the policy decisions of Israel’s government hates all Jews? Are you listening to yourself? Do you realize how flawed that logic is? First of all, Israel isn’t 100% Jewish—20% of the population is Arab. Also, many Jewish Israelis disagree with the policies of the Israeli government (do you really expect us to believe they hate themselves?).

Furthermore many other countries disagree with the policies of the Israeli government. Less than a year ago, South Africa made the statement: “We condemn the fact that Israeli settlement expansion in East Jerusalem is coupled with Israel’s campaign to evict and displace the original Palestinian residents from the City” and drew parallels between Israel and South African apartheid. So is the nation of South Africa anti-semetic?

Or after the Gaza flotilla raid, the Secretary General of the UN condemned the Gaza blockade. Is he an anti-semite? Look at the reactions from countries all over the world. The fact that Israel has thumbed it’s nose at the international maritime laws that the rest of the world is obligated to follow has a way of pissing people off. Is the whole world anti-semetic?

So what did you mean when you said: “But we aren’t all Jewish – though on the topic, I wish we all were.” If you didn’t mean to convert everyone to Judaism, did you mean to kill everyone who isn’t a Jew? I don’t see any other explanation for how we could all be Jewish.

@JLeslie i think Jews use the secret weapon of inviting non-Jews to their feasts as one conversion tactic. When I was a kid, I remember going home from more than one passover meal to be quite disappointed that our family didn’t have so many delicious traditions.

zen_'s avatar

And boredom sets in.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws please, if you are in America nothing competes with Santa claus.

gorillapaws's avatar

@JLeslie Santa Claus doesn’t make potato latkes, matzah, or have 8 nights of presents.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws since @zen_ is already bored I will reply. Come on! You can make Santa a latke if you want, nothing stopping you. 8 days of presents to compete with the Christmas hoopla, not really a Jewish tradition, and almost all of your friends are celebration Christmas, and every cartoon on tv is reminding you as a kid that you don’t celebrate christmas. I don’t see how you can compare dinner at Passover with hours of television programming, and weeks of Christmas music on the radio, and city decorations, and retail directions. Unless maybe you live in a city that has a particularly high Jewish population, but even still, you can’t compare. And for the record, I will reiterate @zen_ point, we don’t do it, we don’t try to convert people. It has never occurred to me to persuade someone to become a Jew. I didn’t even know people from other religions did that until I was in my 20’s.

gorillapaws's avatar

I don’t believe @zen_ is bored, I’m pretty sure that I’ve called him out on his bullshit and he isn’t able to form an intelligent response.

As far as 8 nights of presents not being part of the Jewish tradition, you have to remember that the whole Christmas phenomena is originally derived from the Ancient Roman Saturnalia celebration. My comments about Jewish cooking being an intentional tactic for conversion to Judaism was meant to be tongue-in-cheek—I’m not sure if you picked up on that or not. I can see how it must be frustrating to be raised in a culture with the commercial christmas phenomena when you aren’t Christian.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws yeah, I know it was kind of tongue and cheek. I just took the opportunity to tell people again that being a minority religion is typically not understood by the majority, especially for children.

Nullo's avatar

@gorillapaws I went to a Lutheran school for grades 1–3, and for whatever reason they celebrated Passover (doubtless with some Lutheranization). The food was good, but it was still a school function, which meant that the atmosphere was lousy. It takes a lot of work to make a gym look like anything else.

SeventhSense's avatar

@zen_ Just because a word is in the dictionary doesn’t make it any more valid. There were other groups that were almost decimated as well. Oh no maybe I’m being anti…See? It’s too convenient a non argument and dismissive. It’s like a whining persecution complex.

Tomfafa's avatar

4 jews were gunned down in their car… one was a pregnant woman. According to gorilla, israeli snipers should shoot a pregnant… blah blah. I wonder… do you get to rape twice the amount of virgins in the afterlife if you slaughter a pregnant jew?
I would, after dropping leaflets (which israel always does)... level every known hamas building but not less than forty. But that’s just me.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Tomfafa the way you handle a domestic terrorist incident is very different that how you handle an assault by a rogue element of a foreign state that is unable to prevent the attacks because of internal instability. But it’s a lot easier to lump everything together isn’t it? All arabs = terrorists, right?

Destroying buildings doesn’t bring people back to life, it only serves to deepen the hate which will ultimately result in more people being killed. Use the police to track down the killer and prosecute him. That’s what we do when a gunman shoots up an army base, mails bombs, or blows up a Federal building in Oklahoma City, etc. We didn’t blow up 40 buildings in Timothy McVeigh’s hometown because a piece-of-shit human being was raised in their borders…

Of course it’s a lot easier to brutalize the palestinian population, keep them in perpetual poverty, make them use separate roads, subject them to constant humiliation, delays at checkpoints, treating them like they’re less than human, etc. If that’s an acceptable long-term plan in the minds of the Israelis, than I think Israel should have their nukes removed and be treated like South Africa was during Apartheid.

Some of the participants in this thread need to read about the histories of successful reconciliations, and look up some names like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela—ever read anything written by them? Here’s a particularly appropriate quote from Gandhi: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

Nullo's avatar

@gorillapaws You assume that such rifts as are present can be healed. I don’t think that they can. I think that we are, when looking at the more bellicose of the Palestinians, looking at a group of people so very set in their ways that they will not be placated, harboring an ideology that spreads like a cancer.
To this very day, cancers are combated with things like excision, amputation, and radiation. There is no redeeming cancerous tissue; all that you can do is try to keep it from spreading by removing it from the organism.

You cite certain visionaries (who, I might add, share a theme that is wholly unrelated) but fail to realize one thing: all of them got results by adjusting the balance of power. Do you honestly think that Dr. King’s dream won over the racists? If so, I’ve got some people around here that you ought to meet. All that happened is that the people in power – recognized authorities, mind you, which is quite different from the situation in Israel – were convinced, coerced, or otherwise driven to isolate and disarm dissidents. The reason why the Southeast didn’t become Gaza is because most of the people there recognized the authority of the federal government to make and enforce the laws that it did.

shilolo's avatar

@gorillapaws Here’s a little thought experiment. You are forced to live in the middle east for 5 years. Which country would you choose? Moreover, if you actually spent any time in Israel, you would understand the existential threat that has and continues to hang over all Israelis since 1948. Every generation has known war, and in most cases, war that threatened the very existence of the country. For example, in the Yom Kippur war of 1973, multiple Arab countries attacked on the holiest day of the Jewish religious calendar and nearly succeeded in overrunning the entire country before being repelled. Also, you keep throwing around figures relating to American aid to Israel. I assume you are aware of the fact that Israel was at the front lines of the cold war and serves as America’s ally in the Middle East, countered by the USSR’s support of Syria, Egypt and Jordan? That was money well spent.

In summary, if you lived every day with the threat of annihilation (read Ahmadinejad’s comments lately?), you might feel that you needed to protect yourself and your family in the most effective ways possible.

zen_'s avatar

I’ve fought in three wars, but I’m still cautiously optimistic. I’ve never lived in the West Bank, and am willing to give it all up for a real peace – signed by Leaders who can guarantee that there won’t be terrorists when they sit right on the fence – inches from Tel-Aviv – for that is where the 67 line goes. Anyone ever look at a map and really see what the line means for Israelis?

Nullo's avatar

A thought just occurred to me: Why does the President need to get involved at all?

zen_'s avatar

He’s like a mod.

JLeslie's avatar

@zen_ Wouldn’t it be better for a European country to do it? Be the mod. One the Palestinians might trust more? Or, do they meet with other countries to negotiate peace, and I am just unaware of it?

SeventhSense's avatar

That’s the 64,000 dollar question.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo It really is for the two sides to work out, but our relationship with both have allowed past presidents to move the process forward. Jimmy Carter came so very close, but after agreeing to everything Arafat must have sensed he couldn’t swing it at home and scuttled the process.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Nullo I believe that humans are capable of remarkable things when it comes to forgiveness and reconciliation. Who would’ve thought the people of Rwanda would be able to live side-by-side with the people who participated in the genocide? Who would’ve thought just 50 years or so after the civil rights movement that we would have a black president? Who would’ve thought that Mandela would treat the people responsible for his oppression and imprisonment with such civility?

I never would have believed it if it weren’t actually true. I think mankind is an amazing species, capable of amazing goodness, even amidst unspeakable wrongs. I think the way the holocaust survivors were able to move forward after WW2 instead of insisting on vindictive treatment for all Germans is a real testament to the very best qualities of humanity.

I completely agree that there is an element in Palestine that is completely entrenched and will never change their ways. It’s actually common for there to be such groups in open societies. In the US we have Neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other forms of filth.

We also have gangs that have terrorized lower-class urban populations into not reporting crimes for example. The violence from gang warfare results in a child dying of a gunshot wound every 2 hours in the US. I realize there is a big difference between Hamas and the Bloods/Crypts, but they do have many traits in common. They exploit desperate people who are poor, feel hopeless, have no alternatives, teach violence as a means of empowerment, etc. You fight these evils by lifting the people up, not smacking them down.

You used the analogy of cancer, for the terrorist ideology, I think viruses provide a better comparison. My reasoning is that viruses cannot live and reproduce if the conditions aren’t suitable. You don’t find much gang warfare in prep-school, and you don’t see royalty strapping C4 onto their children—that’s the act of someone who believes that there is no hope for a good future for their child. I would imagine the thinking is similar to when a man kills all of his children before murdering his wife and committing suicide—to “spare” his children the difficulty of growing up under such shitty circumstances. Likewise, you can’t “cut out” ideology using force. You can’t defeat ideas with bullets, but with education—can you think of any examples in history where physical force was a successful technique for eliminating a destructive ideology?

My point with mentioning those visionaries was to illustrate that you can make revolutionary social changes through non-violence. These people all realized that retribution isn’t an effective long term strategy for reconciling differences. I certainly think there’s an entrenched ideology amongst many palestinians that absolutely want to destroy Israel. I also think there are hardliner Israelis that want to see an arab-free Israel. With both groups, I don’t see much hope in their beliefs changing, however I do think there’s a large portion of the Israeli population that might be able to see that not all arabs are terrorists, and to realize that arabs need to be treated with dignity and real equality (separate but equal at gunpoint doesn’t cut it).

I suspect that a major consequence of requiring military service of the Israeli population is that they all get trained to dehumanize their enemies (this is a pretty standard practice in any military) with an “us vs. them” mentality. Because of this, I suspect many Israelis have forgotten how such an attitude can lead to tremendous evils—the practicality of trying to survive tends to trump the philosophical realities of being an oppressor.

@shilolo If I had to live in the middle east for 5 years, I would probably want to live in UAE (possibly Turkey if Dubai was too expensive)—I’m not sure I understand your point there. As far as the existential threat you speak of, I believe the Yom Kippur war of 1973 that you referenced demonstrates that the US will never allow Israel to be defeated—if for no other reason than the security of Israel’s nuclear arsenal. I think a credible threat of invasion is greatly exaggerated. Israel has some of the most sophisticated weapons on the planet.

To address the cold war ally point: I suspect that if the state of Israel had never been created, we would have made friends with someone in the region. The US has a history of getting people into power who are willing to back our political interests (even some real pieces of shit) especially during the cold war.

” might feel that you need to protect yourself and your family in the most effective ways possible” The operative word here is “effective.” I would argue that the current strategy of oppression may moderately reduce the number of incoming attacks, but at a very high price.
1. It creates an environment where terrorist ideology can thrive.

2. It makes the Israelis the oppressors, a role that’s incompatible with being a respected world power.

3. It may save a few more lives immediately, but ultimately this strategy will ensure that violence will continue indefinitely.

4. Ultimately, using Collective Punishment as a strategy for attempting to coerce the Palestinians, is a violation of the Geneva Convention, and the laws of war. It will backfire and Israel will quickly loose friends. Israel is heavily dependent on trade in order to prosper.

I think the long-term solution involves treating all arabs as equals, and even instating affirmative-actionesque policies to help them build a healthy and successful middle-class (people with wealth don’t like war because they have something to loose). They need to remove the apartheid-like policies. When black South Africans who lived under apartheid visit the Gaza strip and say that Palestinians have it worse than they did, you know there’s something seriously fucked up going on.

They need to work hard to create a sense of hope for the Palestinians that there is a real chance at a prosperous future for both groups of people. They need to realize that there will be people who will still try to disrupt this progress with terrorism, and that by stopping the peace process because of terrorist attacks, you effectively encourage terror, since you extend what amounts to full veto authority on the peace process to any asshole with a gun or bomb.

Such a policy would probably lead to an increase in the number of Israeli deaths from terrorism in the short run, but would ultimately lead to less terrorism and stands the best chance of creating a lasting peace, in my opinion. It may seem unrealistic, but the status quo is morally wrong and unsustainable.

zen_'s avatar

Israel hasn’t been in the Gaza strip in 5 years.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@zen_ maybe not but they did fly over it in December 2008 in F-15’s and launch stikes against schools, hospitals and the UN….

shilolo's avatar

@lightlyseared Yes, because Hamas likes to use hospitals, mosques, schools, ambulances , etc. to hide/ fire weapons from. You reap what you sow.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@shilolo But I only know that because Israel tell me that and they may just be trying to justify the fact they just indsciminantly murdered a shit load of kids in cold blood. Also I’m pretty sure that the UN does not store weapons for Hamas.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@shilolo Also, and more to the point, so what? The enemy are a load of bastards that hide behind women and children but if you are the sort of person that can justify the murder of children doesn’t that make you just as bad as them?

gorillapaws's avatar

@shilolo read the link I posted on collective punishment. Also, using the white phosphorus shells on civilians is pretty fucked up. Israel knows this, which is why the initially denied it before later admitting they lied about using it. Then they tried to justify it.

There’s also the depleted uranium shells issue. Don’t you think it’s a little messed up that Israel blockaded in the Palestinians, cut the power, food medicine supplies, and then use weapons that will leach radiation into the ground? You’re a doctor, you know what that does to people. On July 16th a report was prepared that found not less than 75 tons of depleted Uranium in the Gaza soil. Israel has denied using depleted uranium, but this evidence shows they’re lying about it. If they’re so wonderful, than why do they need to lie about their tactics?

Furthermore, what are the moral repercussions for a nation that forces a group of people to live in an area they’ve irradiated? It doesn’t rise to the level of concentration camps, but it’s on the same chart.

Honestly, the more I’ve read on this the more I think some people need to be brought up on International War Crimes charges. Examples:

Army veterans reveal how they gunned down innocent Palestinian families and destroyed homes and farms

A Religious War in Israel’s Army

Using Palestinian children as human shields

I totally get that terrorists use people as human shields, and are fighting a holy war etc. The entire world knows that terrorist are bad, but that doesn’t automatically make Israel the good guys if they’re stooping to the same level.

SeventhSense's avatar

I agree that Hamas certainly does have this tendency and it’s reprehensible but also there needs to be more focus by the more powerful nation to come up with non lethal means of dealing with such situations and methods of disarming the opposition. As long as the implied message is the greatest force takes the day there will be a drive for nuclear weapons.

JLeslie's avatar

@Lightlyseared Isreal typically drops leaflets letting them know they are going to bomb to warn people to leave and take cover when they are going to destroy buildings, as someone said above. I know they did when they were fighting in Lebanon a few years ago.

SeventhSense's avatar

True but if you know it’s ineffective there’s a further responsibility.

SeventhSense's avatar

A pulsed-energy projectile (PEP) is under development that uses a chemical laser technology to produce a large flash, bang, and shock wave to temporarily disorient and incapacitate individuals in a crowd.

The advanced tactical laser (ATL) concept involves an infrared laser carried in an aircraft for air-to-ground strike missions, providing pinpoint accuracy and minimum damage.

Thermobaric technology is a nonlethal weapon, in development, that causes extended flash, sound, temperature, and pressure conditions to disorient and/or temporarily incapacitate individuals.

JLeslie's avatar

@SeventhSense what is ineffective? The enemy sometimes straps bombs to themselves and blows himself up in a crowded place. How can you compare? I can’t imagine an Isreali ever doing that.

JLeslie's avatar

@SeventhSense ok, so they, we, are developing a weapon that will not murder people, what is your point?

SeventhSense's avatar

Those weapons should be continually developed and used as an example of responsible warfare. We can’t rise above our enemies by becoming more medieval. These people are desperate and that desperation should be taken into consideration.

zen_'s avatar

@SeventhSense You mean, like the U.S.A’s way of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the non-lethal way? No collateral damage there, eh? I hate armchair warriors, and worse, armchair pseudo-intellectual lefties. Barf.

I have fought in three wars and have two kids going into the army. We are surrounded by enemies, yet speak only peace and will do anything for it. I will give up any land for it – I will literally make my swords into ploughshares for it – I have tasted blood, and I prefer Earl Grey. Do I have a partner on the other side? We’ll see. Talks have begun again – and I am hoping Bibi – and his Holocaust-denier, Israeli-bashing weak President Abbas has the balls to curb the Hammas, while we curb the religious nuts on the right. So far so good; they have agreed to meet personally every two weeks; this is a new one.

@gorilla – you still haven’t said whether you are 12 or 14.

Now fuck off and go play your atari games and google the history channel – I live it.

SeventhSense's avatar

Hey don’t label me and don’t forget you wouldn’t exist as a nation if it weren’t for the US and Britain establishing your borders. You would have been nomads and maybe that’s how it should have been. If you had to assimilate yourselves in the area maybe you could have learned to be at peace with your neighbors.
Regardless of the improvements the Jewish people made to the world and your contributions at large to society, you still executed terrorist acts yourselves as a fledgling nation and planted yourself en masse in a place where you had long ago been removed or moved from. This can’t be just dismissed.

And you fought in three wars that YOU STARTED to seize territory. Regardless of whether it was “historically yours”. It’s almost likened to Native Americans emigrating back to Asia.

SeventhSense's avatar

And I think we should pull out of the entire Middle East.

gorillapaws's avatar

@zen_ I’ll tell you my age if you decide to communicate like an adult. It’s sad that someone old enough to have fought in 3 wars, hasn’t learned the basics of making a rational argument and believes that name calling somehow makes his points cary more weight. And you think I’m the child…

@SeventhSense if we completely pull out of the Middle East, how will all of Cheny’s buddies keep making money?

SeventhSense's avatar

I don’t suggest they pull the oil companies out of the region.

shilolo's avatar

@gorillapaws I don’t need to read the link on collective punishment to know what it is, but I don’t believe that is the case in Gaza and the West Bank. Besides, using human shields (as Hamas likes to do) is also a similar violation, as is the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas and Hezbollah.

Now, on to the issue of collateral damage. Imagine your son or husband is in an army unit. They are involved in combat with Hamas, and a sniper takes out 2 people in the platoon. He is hiding on the top floor of an apartment building. The commander can a) order a direct assault to take the building, which will almost assure more casualties (including your son or husband) or b) use mortars, rocket launchers or artillery to destroy the area of the building where the sniper is hiding. Which seems the better option from the standpoint of the military, and the individual soldier? Put another way, if I start a fight with a 6’5”, 275 lb man (and I’m 5’9”), should I expect him to stoop down and only use one arm in the fight? War is dirty, and unfair. If Hamas wants to send suicide bombers into malls, restaurants, cafes and buses, and willingly shoot people driving down the street, they shouldn’t expect to be treated with kid gloves in return.

Lastly, what do you think would happen to the Israeli people IF Hamas were to somehow overrun the country (say, in 20 years, from the West Bank and Gaza)? Mass murder, that’s what (its what Hamas did to the PA forces when they overran Gaza). The Jewish people have been persecuted and murdered throughout history, and as such, take a very muscular approach to survival. You cannot begrudge people that (and its quite easy to judge from the sidelines without firsthand knowledge.)

zen_'s avatar

Since Independance in 47, we’ve never instigated a war – except recently against terror – like the US has. We have always withdrawn, and or exchanged land for peace (Egypt/Sinai – Jordan, etcetera) except for the controversial West Bank – which is being negotiated.

Lebanon was invaded after I personally sat in bombshelters for months – and Israel withdrew to international borders in 2000 – late if you ask me, but still not there.

Israel isn’t in Gaza – and if you ask any Palestinian in the West Bank – they wish we’d stayed – Hamas has it far far worse for them there – and they indeed reap what they have sown – showering Israel with 8000 rockets in 9 years. I’ve felt them – close. I actually fluthered from a bombshelter a couple of years back.

Israel sings of peace, it’s in our national anthem.We awaken each morning wishing for it – our favourite song is our promise to our children not to know of war.

We teach Arabic as a second language in HIGH SCHOOL – my son has had to learn it.

When the Arabs decide to love their children more than they hate us, to paraphrase a certain Golda Meir, then there will be a real peace.

The Arabs of Israel were given half the land; they decided to fight for more – and lost. The rest is history – with 300 million of them sitting on oil rich land surrounding Israel – the size of New Jersey. 1 billion of them worldwide – yet Israel is responsible for fucking Gaza and their plight? Why? Go fix Mexico and then shut the fuck up first. Egypt is doing well, and gets the same amount of aid – they should help their Gazan brothers – guess what – they also have an embargo on them – together with Israel. And the West Bank Arabs want nothing to do with them – cuz they like to shoot first – even at their Palestinian brothers. Fuck them.

Good thing they fight like, well, Arabs. Or the US would be in deep shit in Iraq and Afghanistan, too.

Google that, armchair.

gorillapaws's avatar

@shilolo The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs issued a report

“Restrictions imposed on the civilian population by the continuing blockade of the Gaza Strip amount to collective punishment, a violation of international humanitarian law. The blockade of Gaza also prevents or greatly hampers the exercise by the children, women and men living there of many human rights, including the right to food, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to work, and the right to the highest attainable standard of health.

As the occupying power, Israel is obliged to ensure the free and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief and must avoid taking measures which impede the full realization by the people of the Gaza Strip of their human rights.”

The entire report outlines a lot of suffering by non-combatants at the hands of the Israelis. The fishing palestinian industry in particular has been devastated.

As I stated earlier, I think Hamas are evil, and don’t condone their tactics. I think all of their leaders should be arrested and tried for crimes against humanity. That doesn’t justify using the same tactics against Palestinian civilians. Surely the inverse wouldn’t be true. You wouldn’t condone Hamas irradiating Tel Aviv because Israel used depleted uranium munitions right? That’s the whole point of having rules of war, otherwise both sides will simply stoop to the lowest common denominator.

I don’t think it’s ok to use artillery on a building to kill one sniper. First, the sniper probably WANTS you to blow him and the human shields in the building up. It actually HELPS Hamas when Israel is baited into killing civilians using these types of tactics. Second, Soldiers have a duty to serve their country. Putting ones own life at risk, to save the lives of innocents is part of the job, even if the innocents are the children of your enemy—it’s a shitty job. I also suspect that there are probably other tactics that may be effective in that situation that may involve drones, tear gas or Israeli snipers etc. I’m not an expert on such things, but I doubt the choices are either level the building (or a large part of it) or a full-scale frontal assault.

I really don’t think it’s at all possible for Hamas to ever overrun Israel, even in 20 years. If it somehow did occur, that would mean one of two things had happened. Either:
1. All of the major western powers had somehow lost the ability to come to Israel’s aid (maybe due to a massive world war and a shift in the balance of global military power) or

2. Israel’s tactics became so abusive that the international community cut off Israel like it did to South Africa during apartheid.

I actually suspect that if it ever came down to being completely overrun, Israel might leave in a mass exodus on ships and detonate nukes. But it’s so far-fetched, that it’s kind of ridiculous to speculate on.

@zen_ so do you actually believe that collective punishment is justifiable in some circumstances?

gorillapaws's avatar

@shilolo I found an interesting report by the UN that discusses the rules of war regarding your scenario. HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES

“25. Any civilian object becomes a legitimate military objective only if, by its nature, location, purpose or use, it makes an effective contribution to military action, and if its total or partial destruction in the circumstances ruling at the time offers a definite military advantage. Yet, even if an object loses its essentially civilian character, the attacker must still refrain from any attack that may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. Moreover, article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits, unless absolutely necessary by military operations, “[a]ny destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations”.

This is the United Nations that’s saying this stuff, not the account of some shady Hamas spokesman.

@zen_ I’ve never been to the Gaza strip, I doubt you have in many years (if ever), so if reading the reports of credible witnesses and evidence isn’t a good way to find out about what’s going on there, than what the hell is? Blind trust in the word of the Israeli government? The same one that denied using white phosphorus shells, only to later admit it lied after proof came out?

I certainly would never blindly accept the word of the US government. I truly don’t see what’s so bad about using to learn more about relevant information to the issues—it’s called not being a willfully ignorant moron.

shilolo's avatar

Yes, the same United Nations that gave us the sham United Nations Commission on Human Rights rules of war are there, but there is clearly flexibility in there. Who defines “excessive”? What happens if you think a building is empty but is actually occupied? Does every single building need to be searched top to bottom? The answer is no.
By the way, there are lots of eye witness reports that demonstrate no major crisis in Gaza, like this one, or this one.

gorillapaws's avatar

@shilolo Thanks for the links. I definitely think the resolution passed by the council in 2002 “affirming the right of the Palestinians to fight Israel by ‘all available means, including armed struggle’ in order to achieve independence” was unquestionably wrong (I admit to being unaware of this until now—thanks for enlightening me). This newer body seems to have a more reasonable membership though. Do you doubt the accuracy of the data in the reports, or simply disagree with the conclusions?

I think the general principle is that when you’re dealing with areas heavily populated with civilians, you don’t use a bomb when a bullet will suffice. In my mind the standard should be how your country would want to be treated if the situation were reversed (not how you expect the enemy would actually treat you). In other words, if say France were invading Tel Aviv (obviously hypothetical) and were being fired on by an Israeli combatant in a school, would you think it acceptable for France to use a bomb to destroy the school to kill one Israeli sniper? I certainly would expect higher standards from the US military.

As far as the other stories you posted, I’m not sure how they disprove the amount of suffering in Gaza. The market and mall are selling imported and smuggled in goods, that very few people can afford to buy. The articles seem to support the conclusions of the report I linked that the conditions are unsustainable, and that 61% of the people of Gaza fall into the category of food insecurity, and additional 16% are considered vulnerable to food insecurity. Of the food insecure in Gaza, 65% are children under the age of 18.

Another point to raise is that both articles are fairly recent and could represent an improvement from worse conditions earlier.

@zen_ you could learn a lot from @shilolo. His posts are intelligent, articulate and supported with evidence. I have a lot of respect for him and his opinion, and even though we may disagree, we can rationally debate the subject without being disagreeable.

SeventhSense's avatar

I repeat my first answer.
Hahhahhahahahahahhaaa….Oh god you’re killing me….LMAO…Peace.? Peace in the Mideast?

zen_'s avatar

@gorillapaws Still haven’t said how old you are. Still haven’t said anything about Egypt and Gaza and why the fuck I’m responsible for them. Live near there, been there many times; been susceptible to their rocketfire often.

I respect shilolo and I’ve known him for far longer than you. I respect zip of what you’ve copy/pasted – or your interpretation of my actual life. Wasted enough time with you and as this is going nowhere, I’ll concentrate my energies elsewhere.

Nullo's avatar

@gorillapaws One of the greatest epiphanies that I’ve had in my short life was that having power and authority lets you have your way, but it does not make you right.
The U.N. has a lot of power, and a lot of ego, but I do not think that they are qualified to be a moral authority.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@Nullo you could argue that all those counties that are members of the UN give it the authority.

Nullo's avatar

Moral authority. Not quite the same thing.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Moral Authority (of a person, institution, or written work) The quality or characteristic of being respected for having good character or knowledge, especially as a source of guidance or an exemplar of proper conduct.

Now, as the UN is comprised of the governments of it’s constituent countries it’s moral authority comes from the respect people have for the representatives of their governments having voted for them on the basis of their polices, their character and their knowledge.

Like it or not the UN does have the moral authority. That’s not to say that you have to agree every decision they make or that they could have made a better decision, anything involving humans is liable to make mistakes.

Tomfafa's avatar

The UN should have it’s own definition of moral:
One that allows syria, lybia and iran etc. to chair some human rights comission.
One that profits many billions from soddam hussien while he kills hundreds of thousands of his own people.
One that allows it’s seniors to trade food for sex all over the world including mere children in darfour.
One that allows it’s ‘risk overt’ peace forces to stand down while millions of women and children are savagely raped, mutilated, killed etc. all over africa.
Hey wait… let’s just blame those immoral israelis.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther