Gaza – the prison economy

Think of a prison.  It’s overcrowded; it lacks modern facilities and it is a daily struggle for the prisoners to survive.  The prison wardens are well equipped for security. Their governors come and go. Some are ‘liberal’ and try to reach a harmonious relationship with the prisoners and even improve conditions, although they do not release them. They would prefer that they did not exist.

The problem is that the prisoners to a man and a woman feel that they are unjustly imprisoned with the judge and jury in the pockets of the corrupt and racist governors.  So occasionally, they rebel and even kill some of the wardens in prison riots or assassinations.  Then tyrannical and sadistic governors take over and, with the backing of enraged wardens, carry out punitive attacks on the prisoners, killing and injuring many of them. The wardens also destroy the prison facilities every so often, reducing the conditions of the prisoners to the level of barbarism.

Eventually, the wardens, with the help of foreign money, agree to allow the prison to be rebuilt with the labour of the prisoners themselves.  But the prisoners do not end their burning hatred of the wardens, the governors and the system behind them.  That system is composed of militarists backed by religious fanatics and foreign money looking to support the governors and to make money out of their prison.  So nothing is resolved.  Prisons don’t work to restore social harmony but releasing the prisoners, in the eyes of the governors and their backers, would open the door to fatal attacks on them.

This is Gaza and Israel in a simplistic way.  The terrible cost of human life and injury or ‘collateral damage’ – as the Israeli wardens prefer to call it – on the prisoners of Gaza is compounded with the collapse of Gaza’s fragile economy.  The Israelis say their attacks are aimed at destroying the tunnels used by Hamas (the prisoners representatives) to attack Israel.  Actually most of the tunnels are in the opposite direction and designed to smuggle into this prison that is Gaza the raw materials for construction and the economy. Everything from diapers to steel rods has been ferried through the tunnels.  The tunnels are inevitably also used for conflict, both as a staging ground for Hamas fighters and as a route through which to resupply. There are no alternative supply routes for anything else either, so it is only natural the tunnels would get repurposed during a warden attack or to attack the wardens.

In 2010, when ‘liberal governors’ in Israel relaxed the economic siege following an international outcry over the deadly raid on a Turkish-flagged humanitarian flotilla, this allowed Gazans to import more consumer goods.  The Hamas prison leaders took the opportunity to transform the tunnels, which were previously used for only basic consumer goods, into a government-sanctioned trade route for raw construction materials and cheap Egyptian petrol, fuelling the economic boom of 2011 and 2012.  The tunnel trade accounted for 27% of job growth in the Gaza Strip in 2011.

Sky-scraping apartment complexes, glitzy new shopping malls and extravagant hotel retreats sprouted up amid the rubble and unemployment dropped to 28% from a record-high of 45% at the height of the blockade.  Per capita gross domestic product also increased by 19% in 2011. Hamas imposed heavy sales taxes that made a car, a sofa, or a gallon of gas sell in Gaza for more than twice the price in Egypt.  However, Hamas failed to supply proper electricity, water and sanitation, but that was difficult to do, restricted as it was by the wardens.

Hamas received handouts from Iran, about $200 million annually, with which it salaried 42,000 teachers, doctors and other public-sector employees.  Other handouts, most notably Turkey’s $350 million, were earmarked for specific projects including schools and hospitals.  But while the Hamas government raked in some $170m in annual ‘tax’ revenues from the tunnel trade, 44% of Gazan refugees remain reliant on food aid and 60% of households are either food-insecure or vulnerable to food insecurity, according to the United Nations Relief Works Agency.  Ironically, Israel is the main destination of these exports (82% in 2012).  After all, prison contraband must go through the wardens.

And ironically, it was Egypt which closed the tunnels, as the generals there took action against Hamas, the main supporter and beneficiary of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt.  Since then, Gaza’s economy has been on a sharp decline.  GDP growth fell from 5.9% in 2012 to less than 2% in 2013, reflecting mounting political uncertainty, continued accumulation of arrears to the private sector and a sharp deterioration of economic conditions in Gaza from mid-2013 on. Unemployment in the Gaza reached over 40% in Q1 2014, up from 32% at end-2012

The IMF explains: “Without a comprehensive removal of Israeli restrictions it will not be possible to set the economy on a significantly higher growth path.”  The IMF outlined the nature of these restrictions: the movement of people and goods, trade between the West Bank and Gaza and access to Area C (60% of the West Bank controlled by the wardens) and East Jerusalem, including the right to issue construction permits and to develop land and water resources.  If that happened, the World Bank reckoned the potential for growth in Area C to be equivalent to 35% of GDP – but not Gaza.

As for Israel, as governors of the prison, they will gain only a temporary respite by crushing Hamas militarily.  The Israeli military like to see the war against Hamas and the other Arab groups as one of ‘nail clipping’.  You cannot stop nails growing but you can keep clipping them so they don’t scratch you.  But this nail clipping is expensive and maintaining prison security with prisoners full of burning hatred and unrelenting bravery in the face of overwhelming might is very expensive.

The Israeli government is telling its people that the current ‘security operation’ may knock 0.5% pts off growth this year.  That sounds small, but with the economy already slowing down, it is not good news.  The military cost will be $2.9 billion, or 1% of GDP.  Before the conflict, the central bank forecast a slowdown in growth to 2.9% in 2014 from 3.3% last year.  So economic growth could be as low as 2% as a result of the attack on Gaza, or nail clipping.

The government is hoping that US subsidies will continue and that foreign investment into Israel will not be affected.  To ensure that, the Netanyahu regime has imposed a stringent austerity programme on the Israeli public, while expanding defence expenditure.   The defence ministry is reportedly seeking an additional 5 billion shekels in extra funding in 2015, over 51 billion shekels in 2014. But prior to the wardens’ attack, the Bank of Israel had said significant spending cuts and higher tax income of nearly 20 billion shekels was needed to meet the 2015 and 2016 fiscal targets.

It is the ordinary people in Israel who will pay for the conflict. Households in Israel have stopped spending. The area around Tel Aviv saw consumption drop by a third.  The tourism industry is particularly badly hit. Around 40% of the sector’s revenue is generated in the summer season. The poverty rate in Israel (near 20%) remains among the highest among OECD  countries. Much of this high poverty incidence is in the Haredi and Arab-Israeli communities.  In the next 20 years, the  population of these two groups is projected to exceed 40% of  the total population – a future issue for the governors.

The prisoners are being crushed brutally.  But the prison wardens are paying for it with their own future.

40 Responses to “Gaza – the prison economy”

  1. Edgar Says:

    I would have added to this:

    Think of a prison, where everyone incarcerated was actually innocent of any crime…and then tell the rest of the story.

    But actually, I don’t think the prison analogy goes far enough, falls too short ro reflect the true horror of what is going on. After all we have an Israeli society set on expansion, greater Israel. Israels very own Lebensraum. And that means squeezing the Palestinians into an ever decreasing space.

  2. sartesian Says:

    Edgar’s remarks are spot on. Israel is worse than an apartheid state, as South Africa at least required the labor of the African population to survive. Israel is dedicated to the slow but complete destruction of the Palestinian people.

    Here’s the thing: as I said to my Zionist sister some years ago, “If Hitler were in power, the Israelis would be selling him ovens.” Last time I had a conversation with her. Wonder why?

    I would add now that they would be using the revenues from the oven sales to fund purchases of Zyklon B.

  3. Choppa Morph Says:

    The Warsaw ghetto comes to mind.

    As does the need for dialectical logic in handling categories like Jewish, victim, genocide, aggression, etc. Applying a single category to a group of people as if it were fixed and eternal (US Americans free and good, Jews victims and justified, Palestinians terrorists and evil) is crazy nonsense when it is obvious that the content of these groups changes over history with their circumstances and political organizations. And yet this frozen thinking is exactly what the apologists for US imperialist interests and their Israeli military base (bridgehead in the Oil Region, world’s largest aircraft carrier) employ in their propaganda war.
    Kant dissolved the frozen categories of the Catholic Church and feudal propaganda in his philosophy, and mere decades later Hegel dissolved the frozen categories in which Kant’s ideas (nowadays fundamental to bourgeois ideological propaganda) remained trapped.
    So when we point out, as Mike and Sartesian do here, that the social, economic and political content forced into a rigid category (in this case the reality of the murderous Israeli repressive state into “Jews victims and justified”) is the opposite of what this category claims, then we have only done half our job. The other half is to bring out the contradictory thinking involved. If we take it for granted that our audience knows this anyway, then we are merely preaching to the choir.
    Historical materialism is well served by showing the realities of Israeli repression and abuse of power on behalf of the imperialist system in as dramatic a way as possible. The inescapable parallels with Nazi Germany (and references to “Zionazis”, etc) are drastic, hair-raising and bitterly ironic. But this clarifies things for those already committed to one side of the class struggle or actively searching for an explanation of what’s happening.
    Dialectical materialism requires the further step of demonstrating that the truth of the situation can only be understood by seeing the contradictory class interests involved at all levels – first and foremost the world level and then region by region. Class interest (as Marx showed) is the most stable category in human society, and its political expression (the armed force of the class, in our days the bourgeois-imperialist state) is what provides the skeleton articulating the economic flesh and blood of the social body.
    It doesn’t require too many sentences in an article/blog/comment to indicate the overriding significance of the class war for every concrete situation we witness in our society, and it makes acting on our observations a lot easier.

    “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”

    This is axiomatic and needs to be brought out consciously and explicitly in everything we write. (I should add: especially in situations involving ‘non-economic’ but vital and persistent categories of human social life such as “people” in the sense of ethnic and cultural unit, where contradictions accumulate on a huge scale and with shocking violence.)

  4. sao Says:

    Writing from a recent fan of yours, from South America. Your essays are very instructive, even when my understanding of economics is very low. When Piketty’s book came out, I liked it very much but wondered how long his theory would be admired. Actually it lasted only from February to April, and then crushed by you and some other Marxists.
    But I am still not convinced concerning your idea that the reduction of profitability is the cause, or main cause of the financial crises in history. It seems to me that the imperialists should be earning more. In your analysis you do not emphasize the role of imperialism, which includes economic monopolism and parasitism (all the speculative actions and deals under the table). And of course the sense of final colapse
    Shouldn’t the workers, the people in general, have a bigger role in the economic analysis? That’s what Marx called class struggle.
    Your essay on Gaza is excelent because it paints a comprehensive picture of the situation. But the political aspect, the interests and dealings among the imperialist countries, is weak.

    • michael roberts Says:

      sao I take your points but I have taken the view that the blog should concentrate on economics rather than the political aspects of capitalism. of course, the two cannot be divorced and the role of imperialism as an economic and political category and the impact of the class struggle are essential to a full analysis of capitalism. Ill try and deal with these as I go.

  5. paulc156 Says:

    I favour a two state solution but your article really is a bit more than simplistic and rather more like deeply prejudiced against Israel. Israel may have usurped Palestinians from what had been their lands just as every other nation state before it has done to other inhabitants but you do fairness no justice by ignoring the very real lack of trust and deep enmity that flows through the veins of many Israelis and this mistrust is not entirely unjustified. This is one conflict where state actors have deliberately sought to keep the Palestinian issue festering and exploited the legitimate demands of those same people to their detriment. Today it’s Iran for its own selfish reasons who seeks to embolden Hamas. Previously it was Israel’s neighbour Arab states who ensured Palestinians remained in squalid camps denied the option of citizenship in their resident states to keep the embers of hatred alive in the next generation.

    Israel is making poor strategic choices and immoral responses to Hamas actions but there is no need to deny the reality of a conflict with two sides by describing it as if it had only one.

  6. sartesian Says:

    What paulc156 says might make sense if:

    1. Israel had not thoroughly sabotaged the two-state “solution,” acting in accordance with Sharon’s assertion that Israel would never give up “its” provinces of Judea and Samara.

    2. If there was any “may” about it. There is not. Israel usurped, dispossessed, expropriated Palestinians, and no there were no radio broadcasts from the Caliphate, or Arab leaders, urging the Palestinians to flee. So “state actors have deliberately sought to the keep the Palestinian issue festering”? So what? The issue is the issue. The dispossession is the dispossession. Nobody here is defending Jordan, or Egypt, or Syria in their treatment of refugees, but neither did Jordan or Egypt or Syria CREATE the refugees.

    3.Here’s a question for paulc156: Do you support the return of all the property expropriated from the Jewish population of Europe by the Nazis to the heirs of the rightful owners? Do you think the homes expropriated by the Nazis from Jews and given to “Aryans” should be returned to the heirs of the rightful owners? How about art works; or the deposits made into secret accounts at numerous banks?

    Don’t the Palestinians have the same rights of return?

    4. Oh yes indeed, there are two sides to this conflict: the side of the oppressor, Israel, and the side of the oppressed, the Palestinian people. paulc156 is on the side of the oppressor. The lame and pathetic rationalization that Israel is only doing what every other nation state has done won’t wash. I don’t know of anybody who supports what the other nation states did in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, etc.

    Maybe the Israelis can distribute some smallpox contaminated blankets to the Palestinians through paulc156’s favorite charity, because after all that’s what other settlers did before them.

    5. Israel is making “poor strategic” and “immoral” choices? Oh, that’s the problem? Newsflash, the Israelis don’t give a flying f##k about “poor strategy” or “morality.” They want the Palestinians dead, or dying.

  7. paulc156 Says:

    Sartesian. Again you repeat the error of the article by pretending the issue is as clear cut as glass when it’s more akin to mud. So an antidote is called for in response.

    1. Perhaps Palestinians were so badly represented by their dissolute leaders that they suffered as a result but those leaders certainly can’t be blessed with much foresight bearing in mind the casual and dismissive manner in which they refused a division of the land much more favourable than the division they are now likely to get.
    That they eagerly sold off the lands the peasant population lived on etc etc.It’s not entirely Israel’s fault that Palestinians were led by donkeys. Nor should israel be disgraced for having the temerity to want a land where they might be free from persecution for more than a few decades which was at least in a land they understandably felt a tangible connection to, over the ages.

    2. Those who had lands and monies etc stolen by the nazis should have been compensated, but no I don’t think the Palestinian refugees should by rights be afforded return to their former homes [homes no longer there for the most part] or the homes of their parents or even grandparent as is now most often the case… being over 60 years after the event. Any more than the many millions of Germans forced out of Czechoslovakia Poland and Hungary after the war should be allowed to go back or indeed the millions of Hindus and Muslims forced out of their homes after partition. No, in my view the solution for Palestinians or grandchildren of Palestinians who were forced out in the course of war is for them to be compensated to enable an improvement in their material conditions and for their host countries to be encouraged and supported in allowing the absorption of those refugees who have festered in camps for three generations. In just the same way as German speaking refugees or displaced Indians and Pakistanis were absorbed after the equally tragic [if not more so] events that transpired around the same time.

    3. Let me ask you. Are Palestinians somehow more deserving than German or Indian refugees, or are Israelis somehow more barbarous than the allies who sent those Germans packing or the Indians who gorged themselves on war and retribution?
    Why should the solution that satisfied those peoples be denied to the Palestinians in the hope of achieving some sort of act of retribution on the Israeli state… for those who oppose it in ‘principle’?

    4. Another difficult issue for you to explain is why in your quest for social justice you find yourself effectively cosying up to Hamas as if rejectionism and armed resistance leading to the liberation of all Palestine is somehow a worthy cause for leftists to support. Do you think they [Hamas] offer real hope to their people or just false unattainable dreams whilst ensuring only more suffering for Palestinians. How do you feel about self determination for Sunni Muslims under the flag of ISIS in Syria and Iraq today. Do you think they offer a more hopeful prospect than even Hamas can offer. Is it something us leftists should consider embracing.
    I mean to ask, is there no Islamic fundamentalist or fascist that you would not defend or embrace so long as they fighting your ultimate foe of choice. That is the Zionist/Jewish nationalist???

  8. sartesian Says:

    Simply brilliant how you ignore the fundamental issue– which is that Israel dispossessed the Palestinians and forced them to become refugees.

    There was seizure and forcible expulsion up to and including deliberate killings of non-combatants. (Hey that sound familiar, just like what Israel does today– deliberately kill non-combatants).

    You say you believe in a “two state solution” but brilliantly refuse to engage with the fact that Israel deliberately and directly destroyed the agreements that might have led to a two state solution.

    Nope Palestinians are no more deserving than Germans, Native Americans, Africans. And no less. Do you think Israel is any less worthy of condemnation than Nazis, or British imperial domination of India?

    Those who had land stolen should be compensated? By whom? The question is do those people forcibly expropriated have a claim upon the property that was taken? Yes or no? If the answer is yes, then your part in that discussion is over. Those who were expropriated can decide how they want to be compensated.

    Compensation– tell me how do you compensate the dead of the Sabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon after Sharon turned the Falangists loose on them? How do you compensate those of Jenin?

    As for people being satisfied, what you call “satisfaction” is nothing but imperial destruction. Have you ever looked at what it has created? Look a the examples you give. You think the conditions creating India and Pakistan have been ameliorated by compensation? Yeah sure, that’s real satisfactory.

    You would like to argue that the situation is murky. And I’m sure, pretty soon you’ll be arguing that the conflict between Jews and Arabs has been going on for “thousands of years.” Well it hasn’t and the situation is not murky. Israel is indeed a settler state, not unlike then Rhodesia .

    What you call satisfaction is nothing but an excuse, a sham, a cover for continued barbarism.

    For the record, I am not a supporter of “national self-determination.” I am a supporter of class struggle against expropriation. The so-called “nations” of the mideast are the legacy of imperialism.

    What Hamas offers is not the issue under discussion here, but it does represent another attempt by you to make a clear situation murky. We were discussing treatment of the Palestinians by Israel.

    I’m not “cozy” with Hamas. How do you feel about being cozy with a state that a)trained Argentinian secret police b) provided support to apartheid South Africa’s military c) deliberately targets civilians. Geez, that sounds like the US, doesn’t it? Just like it. Is that cozy enough for you.

  9. paulc156 Says:

    “Those who had land stolen should be compensated? By whom?”

    The international community. The same applies to the hundreds of thousands of Jews kicked out of various Arab states around the same time. A double compensation, Most of the monies realistically coming from the Great Satan and some of the oil rich states.

    “Those who were expropriated can decide how they want to be compensated.”

    Some explicit acknowledgement of past crimes committed against both Jews and Arabs and the prospect of compensation is exactly what has been proposed so I take some licence in presuming that will be the form a settlement will take, possibly with some small number [in the thousands] allowed to return as part of family reunification schemes. all to be put to a vote of both peoples. In my view that is both achievable and justifiable for those who want a better future for both peoples rather than those who are hell bent on settling scores by aiming for maximalist solutions or utopian fantasies like dissolution of all borders, something I’d support were it not to be accompanied by mass slaughter which effectively rules it out for the foreseeable future, because we can’t get ‘there’ from ‘here’.

    I’m sorry but the representatives of the Palestinian people are absolutely central to the debate about practical solutions. So Hamas matters Ditto Israel’s leadership.

    As for ‘satisfaction’ of former refugees post partition. People have moved on, made lives for themselves as best they could given the contemporaneous facts. If perfection is to be where you set the bar you should expect failure and endless rounds of reckoning. I’m talking about something the majority can live with. Mass return of refugees to Israel is a slogan, is nothing more than a recipe to prolong the conflict to the next generation. Doing that to satisfy your utopian view of a world without borders fills me with dread. It is a counsel of despair for both sides.

  10. sartesian Says:

    Right, two state solution and compensation coming from…. the international community. Sure thing. That’s going to happen. And people say those who work for socialist revolution are “unrealistic,” dreamers, utopian.

    This: “The international community. The same applies to the hundreds of thousands of Jews kicked out of various Arab states around the same time.” is enough to gag a maggot. Another one of your false equivalencies. How false? … the Palestinian people had absolutely nothing to do with the expulsion of Jews from Iraq, or Iran, or Egypt. The Israelis have had everything to do with the expulsion of the Palestinians.

    Moreover those Jews expelled from those locations did receive compensation, in the form of subsidies from Israel, the US, and private Zionist organizations to assist them in their move to the colonial settler state of Israel and occupy the area of the expelled and oppressed Palestinians. Gee that’s a brilliant quid pro quo you’ve got there.

    The return of Palestinians to what is now called Israel fills you with dread? As opposed to what the wreckage that Israel/US alliance has inflicted on the entire middle East? As opposed to what? The gentle bloodless expulsions of populations as arranged by British imperialism, like in the Indian sub-continent?

    You are an apologist for Israel. That’s all you are. Once you get past the pseudo-rationality of “two states”– which of course is opposed by the colonial settler state you think is no worse than any other (including those of the French in Vietnam; the Germans in Africa), and you get to your utopian nonsense about “compensation,” all that’s there is “Israel is going a bit overboard.” Hey paul, here’s another newsflash: that’s what settler states do; that’s they only way they survive, by “going overboard.”

    Keep ignoring the fact that it was Israel that demolished this utopian nonsense about “two states.” Don’t let reality interfere one bit with your distortions.

  11. sartesian Says:

    While we’re considering fund-raising on behalf of Greater Israel’s bargain basement, penny on the dollar resettlement/ethnic cleansing buy-back compensation program, we better ask for more money, as apparently Israel’s ruling Likud party has some big plans in store:

    The Financial Times this past Friday quotes the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Moshe Feiglin, as calling “on the prime minister …to reconquer Gaza, turn it into ‘a flourishing Israeli city, and expel its population to ‘certain open areas on the Sinai border adjacent to the sea until relevant emigration destinations are determined.’ ”

    “Poor strategic choice” of words you think? You think maybe our reverse Moses, intent on sending the Palestinians to wander in the desert for 40 years, has been reading up on the Final Solution? You think maybe that money being collected for compensation might get diverted into a railroad with strings of cattle cars leading to camps where it is emblazoned over the entrance

    “עבודה גורמת לך בחינם” ?

  12. Edgar Says:

    “reconquer Gaza, turn it into ‘a flourishing Israeli city, and expel its population to ‘certain open areas on the Sinai border adjacent to the sea until relevant emigration destinations are determined”

    The thing is that after this has done, literally the day after, paulc156 would have to say that those cleansed would have no right of return!

    paulc156 indulges in the ultimate form of apology, apology in its very purest form. When you actually read what he says it lets off every single genocide and holocaust in history AND ALL THE ONES TO COME. The fact that he inserts the words may and mud into the story shouldn’t fool anyone as to the utterly reactionary nature of his argument.

    And if the Palestinian can’t have his house back, why should anyone have their luxury artwork returned!

    But you know that deep down, beneath the veneer of things are all like muddy and complex, paulc156 has one law for one and one for another. You just know it.

  13. paulc156 Says:

    sartesian: “the Palestinian people had absolutely nothing to do with the expulsion of Jews from Iraq, or Iran, or Egypt. The Israelis have had everything to do with the expulsion of the Palestinians.”

    The Arab states had everything to do with it though didn’t they? Hence some of the vast oil wealth in their coffers should by rights be allocated to the victims of their own intransigences circa 1948.

    Why are you sewer dredging re Feiglin? Don’t you think any fool can do likewise with regards to carefully selected statements made by Hamas and others? it is precisely because of comments like these from BOTH sides that trust is a scarce commodity in that land today but it is Israel that holds the whip hand and as such the onus may rest more squarely on those in Gaza to demonstrate their steadfast claim to a settlement on 67 lines without resort to further bloodshed and without disguising their intentions with talks about long term ceasefires, which merely serve to allow consolidation whilst preparing for the next big struggle.

    Edgar. What do you mean by ‘let’s off every single genocide’? Can you seriously hold to account the players in history going back through millennia? It is a history of genocide and no one can do anything about it other than acknowledge it. As for the present day and future it might be possible to avoid future bloodbaths in Palestine/Israel though. Just not by turning back clocks in some sort of antediluvian fantasy more akin to nightmares just to satisfy the anti imperialist credentials.of the blogger.

  14. Edgar Says:

    Paulc156 plays 2 classic moves of the apologist, he blames the victims for their plight (bad leaders apparently) and also the absolute last desperate throw of the apologist dice :

    You would think the reaction to holocausts and genocides of the past (and present) would be along the lines of, let us learn the lessons, let us strive for a world where this barbarity was abolished, humanity can do better than this etc etc etc. But not for our paulc156, oh no! These barbaric acts of yesteryear simply serve as justification for todays barbarity, a useful string to the apologists bow!

    This is apology in its purest, stripped down form, the most morally disgusting apology of all, the only place apology can escape to, the last refuge of the apologist.

    Every Israeli apologist ends up in that place, I have debated with enough down the years.

    As well as the 2 classic apologist approaches, paulc156 also plays the game of saying a 60 year process of land grabbing and dispossesion is ancient history, which the modern world could not possibly redress! I beg to differ.

    I don’t think you can engage or debate with people as utterly outrageously immoral as paulc156.

    I would argue, sartesian that the 2 state solution is no longer, if it ever was a solution, I think the one state solution is the only realistic prospect.

    Of course for the likes of paulc156, all Israel has to do is rid itself of its Palestinian infestation to whichever nations are forced to take them, I guess the same goes for all those Kurds driven from their homes by ISIS. Because in 5, 10, 15, 20?? years it will simply be an historic fact. Part of humanity’s rich dynamics! And the next paulc156 will be on hand to justify and apologise for it. Every wannabe genocidal maniac and ethnic cleanser take note, you have a friend in paulc156. Do your best, in 5, 10, 15, 20?? years your actions will simply be just another episode in humanitys ruch tapistry!

    For paulc156 the dream of a Palestinian free Greater Israel are achievable, and he can provide the justification. A noble and loyal servant indeed!

    Meanwhile I and many others will fight against this racist state, 80% of the population of Gaza are refugees, the Israeli state dictates their calorie intake, 80% of the children are malnourished and rely on food aid. This is a project sponsored by Israel, all civilsed people should fight for the Palestinians.

    Just take a look at paulc156, is that the morality we want in the world?

  15. sartesian Says:

    “Why are you sewer dredging re Feiglin? Don’t you think any fool can do likewise with regards to carefully selected statements made by Hamas and others? it is precisely because of comments like these from BOTH sides that trust is a scarce commodity in that land today but it is Israel that holds the whip hand and as such the onus may rest more squarely on those in Gaza to demonstrate their steadfast claim to a settlement on 67 lines without resort to further bloodshed and without disguising their intentions with talks about long term ceasefires, which merely serve to allow consolidation whilst preparing for the next big struggle.”

    Priceless. “Why are you sewer dredging re Himmler, Goering, Goebbels, when surely equally offensive statements made by…”?

    Here’s why:

    1. It’s not “sewer dredging” when it is a statement made by a leader of the Knesset that a) funds such policies b) punishes and silences Knesset members who disagree with such statements.

    2. It’s not sewer dredging when the party ruling the government has demonstrated its willingness to do things pretty much along the lines of the statement.

    3. It’s not sewer dredging when one party has the power to do what it says, and the other party (Hamas etc) doesn’t have the power to do what you say it wants to do.

    4. It’s not sewer dredging when the statement is made by a leading figure of the party ruling the state that you think will somehow approve a two state solution.

    5. Get it? You still haven’t come to grips with the fact that Israel has no interest in a two state solution.

    As for the rest of the garbage you spew– that bit about a settlement on 1967 lines is just too precious. Which 67 lines. Pre-occupation, or since the occupation?

    Do you mean a settlement where Israel continues to occupy the territories it seized in 1967? Here’s another newsflash Herr paul, a settlement along those lines means no two-state solution. Israel will never, as long as it can militarily control the battlefield, cede the territory of the West Bank.

    Which leaves you where? All dressed up in your two-state suit with no place to go. Only it’s the Palestinians who have no place to go– absent a social revolution that is.

  16. sartesian Says:

    Edgar’s right,of course. You cannot argue with an apologist. But you can demonstrate to others how the arguments of the apologist are nothing but public relations ploys for the continuing practice of oppression.

  17. paulc156 Says:

    sartesian enthusiastically invoking Godwins law doesn’t make your arguments any stronger, rather it just illuminates the level to which you are prepared to drop in order to make them.

    Points 1-5: Your assertion that Feiglin’s views on Gaza are mainstream or somehow representative of the view of the Israeli government is ludicrous. Even Netanyahu has accepted the two state solution and there is no putting the genie back in the bottle.
    his version of such a state may be closer to autonomy than statehood but it’s a million miles from Feiglin or any other wingnut you might care to ‘dredge’ up. you might want to read an account of the most recent negotiations between Netanyahu and Abbas.

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118751/how-israel-palestine-peace-deal-died

    As for the future borders we have already seen the rough outlines at Taba and they broadly follow the ‘pre’ 67 lines with some agreed land swaps. Some kind of fudge over East Jerusalem that would amount to Palestinian being ceded East J as with previous Israeli approval under Olmert and Barak, anything that gets a majority acceptance. To you that may be insufficient since you are hell bent on settling scores, righting past wrongs and imposing your ideology on the unwilling. Settlements can be removed, there are precedents and every Israeli leader since 67 including Netanyahu has accepted this will be the case.

  18. sartesian Says:

    No putting the djinn back in the bottle? Maybe not, but you can sure deep six the djinn and put him in the grave, which is exactly what Israel has done for decades. You might want to look a little bit more deeply into the death of the Oslo accords; Israel’s consistent violations of the agreements on new settlements.. etc. etc. Actually, I know you don’t want to look more deeply into that.

    You don’t think Feiglin’s views are “mainstream”? That’s because you don’t pay attention to what’s going on, wrapped up as you are in your little utopian fantasy world of two state quid pro quo. Look at the statements by Netanyahu’s cabinet members; look at the actions of the Knesset. Look at the conduct of the war itself, deliberately targeting non-combatant and supposed places of refuge like the UN centers (oh wait– was that a mistake? “poor strategy” as opposed to deliberate policy)?

    I’m not the one settling old scores. You’re taking that tack– blaming the quality of “Arab leaders,” arguing that the onus is on the Palestinians.

    Settlements can be removed? Sure thing. And every Israeli leader has accepted that this will be the case? Even a surer thing. Except…. except the number of settlements and the populations of settlers have increased throughout all this “certainty.” Wonder how that happens. Must be the fault of the Palestinians.

    You’re nothing but a flack for the IDF.

    • paulc156 Says:

      “Israel’s consistent violations of the agreements on new settlements.. etc. etc.”

      Instead of telling me to look more deeply into Israeli settlement ‘violations’ you might want to glance at the Oslo agreement you cite. Oslo said nothing about cessation of settlement buildings. You just show yourself up by bringing up Oslo in this context. That was a fault of Oslo as constructed but it is not evidence of Israel’s abrogation of any agreement, just your own ignorance.

      The rest is a rant. I don’t like what has happened, I don’t approve of it, but so what? What most want is a settlement. The point is most Israelis and Palestinians wanted this by Oslo and that only changed somewhat after the 2nd Intifada which Israelis perceive as a massive outpouring of violence by Palestinians to achieve by force that which Arafat had rejected during negotiation. Everything changed at that point. The NY 9-11 event and subsequent Mid East conflagration has sidelined progress toward a settlement but has not negated it. Frankly, with what is going on in Syria and on Jordan’s borders, let alone in Egypt, it is hardly surprising there has been little progress. Your response is to advocate despondency and elevate vitriole to new heights. Time will tell, but if Hamas will accept demilitarisation in return for open borders [for trade and visits between territories] there is in my view a real prospect for a settlement. No doubt you disagree with my relative optimism [relative to your super cynical insistence that a settlement is not possible] more notably you wouldn’t even want Hamas to pursue such a course. Your’s is the way of conflict. In typical fashion, it is a conflict you get to watch from the comfort of your armchair. Cheerio.

  19. sartesian Says:

    There was a separation as indicated by a semi-colon between Oslo accords, and Israel’s consistent violation of agreements about settlements. The punctuation means one is not the other, they are separate, as indicated further with the “etc. etc.” referring to other separate actions that Israel has taken in its quest for a greater Israel.

    My way is not the way of conflict. I have no say one way or the other what happens. However, I’m not about to apologize for settler states expelling indigenous populations from the land, not in the Mideast, not in Rhodesia, not in apartheid South Africa. You obviously are, and present that as a basis for “settlement” and mitigation of conflict.

  20. sartesian Says:

    Oh yeah, and before I forget, in the 20 years from 1993 when discussions leading to the Oslo plan were initiated, until 2013, Israeli settler population in the West Bank tripled.

    The Oslo Plan was doomed from the getgo. It was supposed to lead, within 5 years, to the resolution of the outstanding issues that had fueled the conflict, one of which, a large one, was the continued expansion of Israeli settlements on the West Bank.

    No such resolution did occur. What did take place however under the accords (and Oslo II) was the division of the West Bank into 3 territories A, B, and C under Israeli military control with Palestinians excluded from 60% of the territory. Palestinians were allotted only 1% of area C, 68% dedicated to Israeli settlements. Those interested in the benevolent plans of Greater Israel in the West Bank can examine the report by the World Bank:
    http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2014/01/23/000442464_20140123122135/Rendered/PDF/AUS29220REPLAC0EVISION0January02014.pdf

    Netanyahu accelerated expansion of settlements in 2013, while maintaining the blockade of Gaza, and there you have the reasons for the current battle.

    Two-states? My ass. Israel isn’t interested, just as Herr paul isn’t interested in the facts behind the Palestinian resistance– from the ethnic cleansing of 400 Palestinian villages in 1948, to the expansion of settlements over the past 20 years, to the calls for a “flourishing Israeli city” in Gaza, once the reverse Moses can kick those Palestinians into the desert.

  21. paulc156 Says:

    “Oh yeah, and before I forget, in the 20 years from 1993 when discussions leading to the Oslo plan were initiated…”

    You obviously won’t get a good understanding by skimming articles on Google in between posts.
    Discussions leading up to Oslo began in 1991 in Madrid not 1993. Oslo was itself in 1993. I can recommend Shlomo Ben Ami’s Scars of War Wounds of Peace which includes a frank account of the whole period and he was there as part of the Israeli negotiating team.
    The rest is a rehash over the same ground. You’ve neatly left out the fact that Israel in the interim period [20 years from 93-2013] made substantial offers to Arafat and his team which were refused by Arafat. Fair enough but he made no counter proposals, rather he thought that the 2nd Intifada would get him a better deal. Of course Arafat naively thought that George Bush the younger was a throwback to the more even handed Snr, through whom he might extract more concessions from Israel. He was wrong about that too.
    Then the Mid East blew up and the northern and eastern borders suddenly looked less assured, Never mind, a one sided story better fits your chosen narrative.

  22. sartesian Says:

    As always, you ignore the facts that Israel imposed conditions that made the agreements fail; and destroyed any basis for a “two state solution.” Israel imposed conditions in the West Bank that effectively reserved the areas of greatest economic potential for itself, and for future Israeli settlements. Hence, no economic viability for any Palestinian state– which by the way is one of Michael’s points in the original article– which of course you ignored.

    The issue isn’t what Arafat though he could or could not “get.” The issue is what actually occurred during the period of the Oslo accords.

    As for Google….use it all the time. Here’s how it works. You type in World Bank in the search field. Hit enter. A list of websites appears related to your query. Select the World Bank website. Hit enter again. Website loads. Website too has a search field. Enter West Bank. Hit enter. A list of studies and publications related to the words in the search field appears. Select one. Hit enter. Begin reading.

    Does mean you’ll have to turn away from the breathless blow job journalism of The New Republic…

  23. paulc156 Says:

    World Bank says ‘settlements are impinging on Palestinian economic development’. No shit sherlock. So the way it works is as follows; both sides sit down together and hammer out an agreement whereby most of the settlements are dismantled, some retained and some land currently in Israel is given over in exchange. The settlements can be removed. Most settlers are there because of economic inducement. Give similar economic inducement to resettle in Israel proper and they will go. Great Satan stumps up said money. Those settlements nearer the 67 lines which remain can house those who have to move out of the more remote settlements and wish to remain in Judea/Samaria.

    Of course none of this will happen until the PA and Israel sit down together and hammer out an agreement along similar lines to that already done at Taba. That won’t happen until Hamas either renounce violence or the PA negotiate on West Bank only, without Hamas. Maybe this will have to wait for a more propitious time or maybe we will be surprised to see it happen much sooner. Either way it’s security concerns that make Israelis reluctant not ambitions for greater Israel which only reflects the views of the religious parties and religious zionists, a minority. Most support an end to the occupation. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.599003

  24. sartesian Says:

    Sure thing…. except uhh…….the Israelis and the PA did sit down and “hammer out” an agreement. Except only 1 side had the hammer in this instance; the side of Israel. And that hammer produced Oslo II which……..gives us Areas A, B, C with area C reserved for the Israelis and starvation rations for the Palestinians.

    That’s some hammer. That’s some agreement. Right “if only the Palestinians would renounce violence”……..here’s an idea…..if only Israel would disband the IDF, then perhaps these negotiations would proceed without hammers.

    This: “Either way it’s security concerns that make Israelis reluctant not ambitions for greater Israel which only reflects the views of the religious parties and religious zionists, a minority” is just more willful ignorance on your part because

    ( a) Israel is a religious state– all parties are basically religious in Israel, including the Labor party.
    (b) the “religious parties” do control the government; do control the Knesset. Likud is one such a party. The fundamental bedrock argument of the Likud and all Zionist parties is that they are parties of the Jewish people, not a Mideast political entity. Get it? Herr paul, it’s the Zionists who mirror, and invest in, the ignorance of anti-Jewish feeling that equates Judaism with Zionism.
    (c) ach ya, mein Herr, they’re just a minority. “Sie sind nur eine kleine Minderheit.” Ya die kultivierte deutsche Seele wird nie von diesen braunhemd Schläger besiegt werden. (Full disclosure, forgot my German over the years– used a translating app)
    (d) Every expansion of “greater Israel” has been preceded, accompanied and justified by appeals to “security.” Like the ideology and the state itself, expansion is inseparable from “security” for Zionism. Israel takes the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and Sinai for “security reasons.” It gives back the Sinai after, and only after, its serious defeat by the Egyptian Army in 1973.
    (e)keep on keepin’ on Herr paul. Arbeit Macht Frei and all that stuff. That’s where your liberal apologetics lead– to extermination camps.

    So you know, I’m not going to let you have the last word. No matter what. Just like I wouldn’t let an apologist for apartheid (“but you see it’s the security concerns that drive this. The ANC has a military wing. The ANC bombs cafes. We’ve offered to provide homelands for the blacks. We’ll even given them economic aid. But first, because the ANC has not renounced violence, we must protect our security– and if that means invading Angola, we must not shrink from that. Our security is at stake.”), or a Nazi– have the last word.

    Arbeit macht frei, nicht wahr Mein Herr?

  25. paulc156 Says:

    Yes, it’s not as if Israel had anything to fear from it’s neighbours all these years, who only ever wanted to drive them into the sea for the purpose of engaging in water sports.

    They gave back Sinai because they eventually realised [what they should have known by ’71] that Egypt really didn’t want endless war or the eradication of Israel, but then Sadat was not an Islamist who saw Jews as sons of pigs that hide behind rocks.duh! That he was prepared to go the extra mile for peace, as a statesman. Not for him talk of liberating Jerusalem from the occupier. Still maybe you only had time for a couple of pages of google this afternoon?

    Your retorts are just par for the course in these sort of discussions with fanatics of your ilk. The enthusiasm with which you like to paint someone as a Nazi in post after post [Godwins Law on speed] even if that someone has clearly advocated a two state solution on this very thread and condemned the violence on both sides, shows just what a sad little case you are.

  26. sartesian Says:

    The Israelis only “realized” (and only realize anything) when confronted by superior force. In this specific instance, the Israelis realized something when its Eighth Army IIRC was surrounded in the Sinai and facing extinction. Again IIRC the Israeli Army was saved from destruction by the US declaring it would use all weapons at its disposal to prevent that from occurring.

    That was the precipitating factor for the rapprochement of Israeli with Sadat. So you have succeeded only in making an argument for the use of violence and force as vectors for Israeli enlightenment. Maybe the Palestinians have paid more attention to your argument than you think.

    Your “argument” such that it is is that Israeli is a colonial settler state like any other colonial state. I happen to agree with that. And what has been the recourse of the indigenous populations when confronted with colonial settler states? Care to look at a few incidents? How about the Vietnamese confronting the French colonial state. Or the Algerians confronting the French colonial state? Right, you condemn the violence on both sides, don’t you? You think the colonizers and the colonized should have reached some accommodation don’t you?

    Well guess what? They tried your “two state” solution in Vietnam in 1954, population transfers and all. How did that work, you think? Good? Or was the continued violence the result of “fanatics” among the Vietnamese people who didn’t understand that all those “settlements” once French now US were only temporary and could be rolled back?

    If only those in the North would have been satisfied with the North, right? And those in the South– those who were being taxed by the government and driven off the land by tax collectors so the land could be handed over to settlers, excuse me, I mean landlords? What about them?

    You do not raise objections to Israeli policies, apartheid like as they may be, during and after Oslo and Oslo 11. On the contrary, those are simply “obstacles,” or actually items for trade with the Palestinians in a quid pro quo. Except the trade, the exchange is 68% for Israeli settlers, 1% for the Palestinians. So I make no apology for referring to you as an apologist for apartheid or Nazi policies. You just think that the practitioners of those policies are “the minority.” Guess what? The categories “majority” “minority” don’t apply when policy is practice. It is THE policy of the government, and not the “minority.”

    Besides what violence from the Israelis have you condemned? You’ve only stated that Israel has followed a “poor strategy” and acted immorally.

    Please expand upon that. Do you condemn the violence by Israel that accompanies, and preserves, Israeli settlements? Do you condemn the violence practiced by the Israelis, a violence that is necessary to the preservation of any and all settler states?

    Please provide examples of exactly what you are condemning.

  27. sartesian Says:

    BTW speaking of Google, I googled Netanyahu’s 3rd government and was directed to the Wikipedia page which contains the list of cabinet ministers, their party affiliations,and links to past political activities and current views.

    I recommend that anyone who thinks the “greater Israel” doctrine is nothing but a fantasy of a “minority” check it out and follow the links.

    It only takes a couple of minutes; the words are easy to understand, I didn’t even need the dictionary, once. And it will show you just how minor this “minority” really is.

  28. paulc156 Says:

    I’ve got Benny Morris; Righteous Victims in front of me and no mention of Israel’s Eighth Army. being surrounded. I have the information regarding Egypt’s third army being completely surrounded and the war ending with Israel on the road to Cairo and nothing stopping them except explicit Soviet threats they would send troops to defend their client. The fog of war perhaps?

    It’s tedious having to respond explicitly to your requests, but I would have thought it obvious I condemn Israel’s resorting to excessive violence in order to preserve the occupation and i also condemn Hamas determination to sacrifice its most vulnerable citizens on the altar of its refusal to contemplate an end to hostilities with a state it sees as occupying Tel Aviv and Haifa as well as Jerusalem and the West Bank.

  29. sartesian Says:

    Please answer the questions:

    Is Israel a colonial settler state along the lines of other colonial settler states, like the French in Vietnam, Algeria; the Portuguese in Angola, Mozambique, apartheid South Africa etc, etc?

    Do you support the “right” of settlers, having established occupancy by expelling, or otherwise subjugating the indigenous population to maintain their settlements?

    Do you support the violence inherent in a colonial settler state’s need to maintain its security? Yes or no will suffice.

    What is “excessive violence” on the part of settlers?

    What is “excessive violence” on the part of the Israelis?

    How is it possible for there to be a two-state solution when the governments of Israel have restricted Palestinians from the areas of economic viability in the West Bank; control commercial access to the West Bank; encourage expanded Israeli settlement; blockade Gaza?

    Does any of the above constitute “violence” or “excessive violence”?

    How is it possible to “hammer out” accords when during its “peak of reasonability” Israel insists on agreement with its Oslo 2 demands, and then in 1999 leaves the process to die having refused to engage in serious attempts to resolve the outstanding issues, (as the Oslo accords supposedly required)– chief of which was the expansion of Israeli settlements and the confining of the Palestinians to the equivalent of bantustans.

    How is it possible to characterize the “greater Israel” lebensraum plan as that of a “minority” when the government of Israel is made up of a coalition of parties that support the greater Israel plan; when numerous government ministries have been awarded to those who explicitly advocate “ethnic cleansing” and unrestricted Israeli settlements?

    As you can see, all these questions stem from the characterization of Israel as a colonial-settler state. So we reduce them to this:

    Do you support the preservation of the colonial settler state?

  30. paulc156 Says:

    “Is Israel a colonial settler state along the lines of other colonial settler states, like the French in Vietnam, Algeria; the Portuguese in Angola, Mozambique, apartheid South Africa etc, etc?”

    No. Which renders your final question and most of the others redundant. Did the French have a centuries long association with Vietnam prior to the post war era? Ditto the Dutch and British in S.Africa etc. The Jews obviously did in Palestine and pre Palestine and it was not an exploitative relationship as was the case with Portuguese in Africa or British in India but that of an indigenous people and/or those who had strong connections [in reality or not] to the land. Was there any serious long term effort to utilise Palestinian labour in an exploitative fashion by Zionists? This was small scale and of a voluntary nature early on, suiting both parties and was soon sidelined in favour of using Jewish labour as a matter of choice as tensions rose. You can then call it discriminatory but not colonial. That’s a complete misuse of the term. An anachronism actually as quite early on Zionists sought to emphasise the non colonial aspect of their project. As for the racial aspect of early Zionism this has to be seen in the context of an age where ethnicity was considered quite central in nation forming as a matter of routine.

    And regardless of restrictions in place on the West Bank and around Gaza these are all reversible, obviously.

    The poll I gave you before was a poll of the population not its politicians. Even Likudniks like Begin and Shamir could be enticed into Madrid like negotiations which led to Oslo or agreements with Sadat that led to the abandonment of Sinai. Netanyahu is on record as accepting a two state solution. There is no debate about this as part of the end game. Obviously Israeli leaders would prefer something more like autonomy than statehood but they also want international acceptance and respectability and they know they can’t have that without a a Palestinian State, albeit one with some limitations. As the polls show, this won’t be a hard sell to Israelis, on the contrary and ultimately any politician will want to offer the electorate something they basically want not force them to accept an annexation or apartheid like system that they clearly don’t.

  31. sartesian Says:

    OK, I think that– that Israel did not, at origin, nor currently, require access to and control of Palestinian labor– is absolutely correct.

    As for whether or not the Jews “had a centuries long association with Palestine”– that’s pretty meaningless– as we can say the people of Rome had a centuries long association with Palestine; the Palestinians HAVE a centuries long relationship.

    The Hebrews conquered Palestine, or parts thereof, and were in turn conquered by others. What you call a “centuries long association” is based on the biblical mythology– Israel as the promised land and all that jazz. You admit that much when you describe the “strong connections” as “in reality or not.” Well, reality does make a difference, and that difference is called history.

    Zionism’s claim to the land as exclusively the property of the Jewish people is nonsense, and is an ideological cover for expropriation.

    So let’s rephrase the questions:

    Is Israel a settler state?

    Did Israel require the expropriation of the indigenous population, and did the Zionist leaders, theoreticians recognize the need for that dispossession. If you’ve read Benny Morris then you know that the answer to that is “yes.”

    Which puts us back on track to the other questions:

    Is there violence against the indigenous inherent in the creation, and maintenance, of the settler state?

    Does a “centuries old association” and claim that is not real trump the actual living association established by the indigenous people, which is not only actually centuries old, but immediate?

    What amounts to “non-excessive” violence on the part of the Israelis as opposed to excessive violence?

    Is the blockade of Gaza excessive violence?

    Is the restriction of Palestinians to the economically less viable areas of the West Bank excessive violence?

    As for the two-state solution– yes there is considerable debate about that among Israelis– look at the parties in the the government; look at the statements of the ministers.

    Look at the evidence of Israel’s conduct during Oslo and Oslo 2. That conduct clearly establishes Israel’s lack of interest in utilizing the “two-state” solution as anything other than mis-direction while it continues its program of expansion.

    You can provide all the polls you want. Polls don’t count. Policies do. The plans for “greater Israel” are not the plans of a minority. They are the policies of successive Israeli governments. Israel left the Sinai after the 1973 war, and only after the 1973 war when it had suffered a defeat during the first 3 days, losing over 400 tanks, the bar lev line, and was not able to break through the Egyptian lines… until the US undertook a massive resupply and re-arming mission.

    I don’t know whether this:

    “Obviously Israeli leaders would prefer something more like autonomy than statehood but they also want international acceptance and respectability and they know they can’t have that without a a Palestinian State, albeit one with some limitations.”

    is hilarious, pathetic or both. The Israelis want “international acceptance and respectability”? Last time I checked, they had international acceptance and respectability. They have it in spite of their ideology, their conduct, and their “excessive violence.” They have it among those institutions of acceptance and respectability– to my knowledge the UN has not declared Israel a “terrorist state.” No major economic power has declared Israel a terrorist state. Nobody has frozen its assets located outside its borders.

    Public opinion around the world condemns the attack on Gaza? That’s just swell. Public opinion around the world condemned the US in Vietnam, in Iraq. Doesn’t mean much does it?

    While Israel increases its settlements; tightens its controls; impoverishes the Palestinians; engages in deliberate targeting of non-combatants (I guess that’s excessive violence as opposed to the non-deliberate killing of non-combatants which is what? collateral damage), you think that any politician in Israel will find the two state solution an “easy sell.”

    What you miss in this is that because Israel is a settler state, the two-state solution is an ideological cover for the practices of “greater Israel,” no less than the myth of “centuries long association” is an ideological cover for dispossessing the indigenous population.

    But that phrase you use about the Israelis agreeing to a Palestinian state– “albeit one with some limitations” says it all. What is a state with “limitations”? How is a state, which is supposedly an expression of sovereignty of a people, sovereign when it has limitations upon its sovereignty established to satisfy those who dispossessed those people in the first place. What you are calling a two-state solution is in reality, and by your own description a “one state, one colony” solution.

  32. paulc156 Says:

    Of course the biblical narrative is not history but despite Shlomo Sarid’s recent attempt to pour cold water on Jewish origin theories there is clearly a link between Jews going back through the 1st millenium BCE and it’s a continuous one since there have always been some small number of Jews there even when most either left or converted and Jews right or wrong never gave up hope of returning. It’s real in my view even if historically it’s ambiguous. People have believed it to be real for so long, the value of the symbolism can’t be separated from any reality, more so when the reality itself is contentious. There is no consensus on a historical reality beyond some fairly basic fundamentals one of which is the uninterrupted link that Jews have with this land even up to the pre Zionist era.

    Yes Israel was a settler state and yes violence and expropriation was part of its inception and was inevitable given the circumstances. That was then. The Arab world did not accept Israel’s right to the land, but today they will if and when the Palestinian issue is settled.

    A state with limitations to me just means with strict limits on armaments and some security guarantees, like early warning remote monitoring in Jordan valley etc. This demilitarised status would not impinge on social, political and economic development in any way and Israel would allow freedom of movement between WB and Gaza so giving free access for trade. So that can’t sensibly be construed as ‘one state’ in my view.It would require an unequivocal ending of the conflict by all parties. To be honest, the biggest impediment to a settlement would not be loudmouth bigots in the Knesset appealing to their constituency but would be the collapse of the Jordanian state, not an impossibility and that is the only thing in my mind that could finally lay Palestinian statehood to rest.

  33. sartesian Says:

    It would be a state with “strict limits on armaments and some security guarantees like early warning remote monitoring……..”

    Come on…

    So we have strict weapons limits on the Palestinians, and why? Because Israel will insist on it, so that it retains unchallenged military superiority and can impose, whenever it wants, the terms it wants? And exactly how does that differ from today?

    How about strict weapons limits on Israel? Sound good to you? Certainly sounds good to me.

    I think your position comes down to this:

    no matter what is pointed out about the actual history of Zionism; about the actual history of the tenuous, at best, connection of a Jewish people to Palestine;
    about the policies of Israel in the West Bank, in Gaza;
    about the persistent need for violence against indigenous populations in order to maintain a settler state;
    about the make-up of the Israeli government;
    the statements of its ministers;
    the actions of its parliament,

    you are in essence offering a single response: The Palestinian people have to learn to accept their status as a subordinate, secondary, marginalized, people, allowed only a sovereignty with “limits;” limits that will satisfy those who benefit directly from that subordinate, secondary status.

    That’s not going to happen. Your notion of a “statehood with limits” is a bogus as the notion of the special historical connection of Jews to Palestine. Actually, they are the same thing– ideological misdirection to cover the real and dirty business of Zionism, and that business is to maintain the conflict with the Palestinian people so that the “dream” of “greater Israel” can move forward under the guise of “security,” and “agreement.”.

    Still curious as to what distinguishes Israeli excessive violence from the normal day-to-day run-of-the-mill OK violence.

  34. paulc156 Says:

    “Still curious as to what distinguishes Israeli excessive violence from the normal day-to-day run-of-the-mill OK violence.”

    Basically killing protesters circa the fence as opposed to normal crowd dispersal to deter rock throwers etc. Settler attacks on Arab properties/persons. Lack of protection for Arab victims of settler violence.It’s silly trying to determine what right a state has to resort to force in every particular circumstance.

    Re the de-militarisation of the territories, I don’t think this is even conceived as a major difficulty for the Palestinians. Refugees and Jerusalem are far more problematic. So there’s no point in trying to out do Palestinian hard liners on that score.

    • sartesian Says:

      Both the careful and the casual reader will note that nowhere do you include in your category of “excessive violence”:

      deliberate targeting of non-combatants

      destruction of water supplies, and water treatment facilities for the general population.

      targeting of places of refuge and evacuation– like UN compounds, schools, etc.

      use of white phosphorous

      economic blockade, generally considered a casus belli

      collective punishment

      destruction of homes of those related to or associated with “suspected terrorists”

      or any of the 1001 other things Israel does in pursuit of, not greater Israel of course, but “secure borders” and “peace.”

      And you think Michael’s article was a bit “one-sided” “unfair”??

      Your sense of “fairness” is as distorted as your belief that the imaginary special historical connection of Jews to Palestine outweighs the real immediate connection of Palestinians to Palestine.

      That of course is exactly what an apologist does; traffic in distortion.

      I am just certain Palestinians can’t wait to live in your version of the “half-state.”

  35. paulc156 Says:

    Your litany of ‘crimes’ reads like a shopping list, but as I already said, it’s silly to ask me to point out every injustice done to the Palestinians because regardless of what I said, you would have wanted to add to the list, just to prove that I ‘don’t care’.

    Be honest for once. When you talk about an “imaginary special historical connection of Jews to Palestine” you dispense with anything remotely sympathetic toward a people who really had rather a tough time of things for a couple of thousand years or so and especially in the few years before Israel’s modern birth.
    And I don’t mean that you could have had some sympathy for them had they not dealt harshly with the Palestinians but you really ooze antipathy for those people. Seemed to me when I read the comment you made in the first post that you had some demons troubling you.
    “If Hitler were in power, the Israelis would be selling him ovens.” Last time I had a conversation with her.”
    Until you get that monkey off your back you’re just not going to be able to think straight about anything to do with Palestine…and maybe much else besides. You can have that last word if you want…

  36. sartesian Says:

    Be honest for once: are you a Zionist? Are you Jewish? Are you German? Do you have a guilty conscience over something in your past. Did you enjoy watching bullies work over smaller children in school? Do you live in your mother’s basement? Are you married? If so, when did you stop beating your wife?

    People who’ve had a really tough time of things? Really? No shit. That must be why those survivors of the camps, and of the Warsaw Ghetto got together to denounce the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians… because the Zionists have had such a tough time, unlike them, the survivors of an ideology not all that far removed from that which dominates the Zionist project. Lebensraum!

    I have no more antipathy for “them”– Zionists than I do for those who, for example, long for a rebirth of the Confederate States of America; than I do for those who think that “racial characteristics” determine socio-economic status; than I do for those who destroyed Iraq

    I “ooze” no more antipathy towards Zionist than I do towards apartheidists, racists, those who profit, benefit, see an advantage in the suffering of others. I think Zionists are among those who dod so benefit, and maintain that suffering.

    Nah…but you, you got nothing against Palestinians. Sure you don’t. Why you think they should even be allowed to have a state, kind of, with limitations of course, maybe. And a little land, but not too much, and not too fertile, or with full access to water– uh no.. because the Palestinians who have been there continuously there far longer than the so called historically connected Zionists aren’t ready for that yet. No way. We have to limit….well we have to limit everything they might get– weapons, economic independence, to name two. .

    The remark about Israel and ovens was well chosen and quite apt, given the history of the Zionists’ racists, fascists– given the role of Sharon in unleashing the fascist militias to raze Sabra and Shatila; given its role in Iran-Contra; given the advice and training it has given to secret police forces. Given the ethnic cleansing so essential to the Zionist project.

    I don’t care whether you “care” or don’t. You were the one who got all righteous about denouncing Israel’s excessive violence– amazing isn’t it how you could leave out of your condemnation the very things that characterize Israel’s treatment of Palestinians?

    You are right in one thing: I have absolutely no sympathy for those who dispossess, immiserate, oppress, regardless of how many tears they shed for “their own who suffered before us.” Fuck them. The Zionists disgrace the legacy of European Jewish learning and culture.

    You know who I really have it in for– arrogant motherfuckers who think they are something other than shills for thugs and goons. That would be you. You’re the monkey, and you’re not on my back.

  37. sartesian Says:

    And one more thing…. talking about putting things back in the bottle– Israel announced seizure of 400 hectares around Bethlehem for future expansion, while “suspending” plans to build an additional 2500 settlements due to “international concern.” We know what this means. It means take the property now and will build later.

    Sure, there’s a viable two state solution; and sure Israel endorses a two state solution. One state for Israel; one bantustan for the Palestinians.

    What’s the matter, bunkie? Got no sympathy for those poor downtrodden persecuted Israelis who avenged “their” losses to the Nazis by becoming Nazis themselves in Palestine?

    Right, no sympathy at all. Not one bit.

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