Israel's Unsettling Coalition

Come Thursday, Israel is expected to swear in a new government and the world will begin to learn what exactly Prime Minister Ehud Olmert means by "convergence."

"Convergence" is the word Olmert used during the Israeli election campaign to describe the plans of his Kadima Party to abandon some Jewish settlements in the West Bank in order to improve overall Israeli security. Like "Kadima," which means "Forward" in Hebrew, convergence implies a progression or advance. But the move certainly involves a massive withdrawal from areas that have long been claimed by Jewish settlers and turning them over to Palestinians who say any such moves should be mutually agreed upon.

The idea is supported by the Labor Party, which finished second to Kadima in the March 28 elections. Labor leader Amir Peretz is slated to become defense minister in Olmert's government.

The plan hasn't been as well received in the Arab press, who see an Israeli power play to weaken the Palestinian ability to govern themselves.

"The plan is already well advanced," wrote Graham Usher in Egypt's Al-Ahram Weekly. "The election of a Hamas-led government -- and the dysfunction this has caused in the Palestinian Authority -- merely accelerated the process.

"Following the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv on 17 April, Olmert did not order a frontal assault on the PA -- despite Hamas's support for the attack. He tightened the financial noose on the authority and proceeded with separation. Israeli banks were told not to lend to their Palestinian counterparts, 'one more notch in collapsing the Palestinian economy,' said Palestinian analyst, Sam Bahour."

But Olmert's Israeli supporters see a window of opportunity.

"Olmert must act quickly and decisively," writes Aluf Benn of the liberal Haaretz. "The right was beaten in the elections, the settlers are still isolated, the level of terror is low."

Benn says that Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel and its endorsement of the Tel Aviv attack "assist Israeli public relations ... It is hard to imagine more convenient political conditions for Olmert's convergence plan."

One potential obstacle: "The United States will not recognize a border created after a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank as Israel's permanent border," according to Haaretz.

For the editors of the Jerusalem Post, Washington's objections must be overcome.

The conservative daily said Olmert's convergence plans should be "conditioned on -- not just vaguely linked to -- international recognition of borders that Israel has, for lack of a non-terrorist negotiating partner, been forced to establish unilaterally."

Even with such recognition, the JP says, "it may be a challenge for the government to make the case for evacuating thousands of Israelis from their homes in Judea and Samaria against their will, and an immense challenge for Israeli society to absorb. Without such a tangible benefit, implementing convergence will likely be both unwise and impossible."

For some perspective, I spoke with Gershom Gorenberg, an Israeli journalist and author of a new book on the history of Israeli settlements, "The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977" (Times Books).

WOR: You call the settlements an "accidental empire" Is Israel's new government going to dismantle that empire? Or continue to entrench it?

Gorenberg: The answer to that question is yes. Olmert's plan is to dismantle a significant portion of the settlements at the same time that Israel continues to entrench other settlements closer to the pre-1967 border. The reason is I see Olmert's election as positive is that the entrenching is nothing new. The dismantling is new. The momentum has changed direction.

WOR: The withdrawal from Gaza last year went relatively smoothly, but it certainly polarized Israeli public opinion. Now Olmert is proposing a much more bigger pullout from the West Bank, no?

Gorenberg: Olmert has made statements about what he wants to do but he hasn't drawn a map. It is safe to say the areas that he might want to pull out of are home to several tens of thousands of Israelis, as compared to the 9,000 people in Gaza. And these are places that occupy a much more emotional and ideological place in the minds of Israelis than Gaza.

WOR: Hamas claimed the Gaza pullout as a victory, the result of their armed resistance. Won't the Hamas government claim the same about a West Bank withdrawal?

Gorenberg: That is one of the major problems with a unilateral pullout. It could convince people on the Palestinian side that what they euphemistically call 'armed struggle' works. It could strengthen extreme elements. A negotiated pullout could have the opposite effect.

WOR: So what can Olmert do?

Gorenberg: People have invested their lives--and the meaning of the lives--in settling in the territories. Olmert's challenge is within Israel: to reduce and control the opposition to withdrawal without making people feel like their lives are being delegitimized.

By Jefferson Morley |  May 2, 2006; 8:37 AM ET  | Category:  Mideast
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Comments

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In one sense, Palestinian violence has forced this retrenchment, in that once Israel decided it needed a wall, it could no longer maintain a scattered archipelago of settlements. But really the Palestinians have harmed themselves, because the wall is all too likely to become a de facto border enclosing land that would otherwise have been negotiable.
Any Palestinian who thinks electing Hamas has strengthened their position is deluding themselves. It was a pointless hissy fit that will cost them dear.
But the Jerusalem Post's call for international recognition of new permanent borders beyond the 1967 line is unacceptable. Their claim that Israel has "been forced to establish (these borders) unilaterally" is garbage.
How has terrorism forced Israel to expand? Quite the opposite, pushing settlements out into occupied Palestinian land clearly exposed the Israelis to more terrorism. That's why they're now dismantling some - because they were too expensive to protect.
The JP's only reason for calling for wider borders is that they cling to their Greater Israel agenda, Eretz Yisrael Hashlema.
Since 1945, the UN has never once legitimised the annexation of territory won by military conquest. Never, anywhere. Because to do so would be a negation of the UN Charter.
It has nothing to do with Jews, Israel or Arabs per se. It's a question of the law against war, the bedrock of international law. Nations must not be allowed to believe that successfully prosecuting wars (even defensive wars), or acheiving military dominance, will allow them to swallow new territories. Break that principle and we really will be opening Pandora's box.

Posted by: OD | May 2, 2006 10:33 AM

PS Hope you enjoyed your holiday Morley.

Posted by: OD | May 2, 2006 10:34 AM

The half-measures proposed by Kadima will be wholly inadequate to set Israel on a path to security. Only when Israel returns ALL of the lands it stole from Palestinians beyond internationally mandated borders, and in blatant violation of international law, can we expect peace or justice in that part of the world.
That means a full retreat to behind the original Green Line. Everything else on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem that remains illegally occupied by Israeli settlers must be returned to Palestinians. The network of bantustans proposed by Kadima is an insult to Palestinians. No self-respecting people would accept it. Insisting on keeping any part of the illegally occupied West Bank or of illegally occupied East Jerusalem is only an invitation to continued war.

Posted by: Joel | May 2, 2006 10:35 AM

The land should be split how the UN approved it under the Partition Plan.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/unplan47.html

All other lands are stolen by Israel.

Posted by: kingfish | May 2, 2006 10:50 AM

Mr. Morley apparently spent his latest hiatus reconstituting his pro-Israel bias. Today's effort is totally devoid of factual insights and is merely a not so subtle regurgitation of Israeli policies which, as the column notes, is in violation of international law and is contrary to American interests.

The column's title reads "World Opinion Roundup," not Israeli spin, and wouldn't it be refreshing if the column performed its stated function!

Posted by: david g. ward | May 2, 2006 10:53 AM

Kingfish,

Israel was willing to live with the UN partition plan. It was the Arabs who rejected it. They wanted all the land and started a war to get it. They lost, ending up with less: the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, including the old city, and the Gaza Strip -- than they would have received under the UN partition plan. (Yet, between 1948 and 1967, no attempt was made to create a "Palestinian" state on those lands). To suggest that all portions of Israel beyond the UN partition is "stolen land" is beyond ludicrous. Even the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, obtained in the (defensive) Six Day War in 1967 cannot be described as "stolen."

Posted by: Jeremy | May 2, 2006 11:01 AM

No, it can't be described as stolen, because Israel has never annexed it. But if they did, as the Jerusalem Post wants, then it would indeed be stolen.
The question is pretty academic, in a way. There is zero prospect of the UN giving its stamp of approval to the annexation of this territory, except as a result of two-party negotiation.

Posted by: OD | May 2, 2006 11:06 AM

I agree -- as I suspect would Olmert -- that a negotiated solution is better than a unilateral one. But with whom is Israel supposed to negotiate? Hamas is a terrorist organization that denies Israel's right to exist. Hamas' position therefore violates the Road Map, the Oslo Accords before it, and UN Resolution 242, which are the foundational documents for a land-for-peace solution to the conflict. At least Abbas, in principal, appears to seek a negotiated two-state solution. But he seems to have neither the will nor the ability to implement it (his failure/refusal/inability to even attempt to carry out the Palestinians' initial obligations under the Road Map -- not to mention Oslo -- speaks volumes).

Posted by: Jeremy | May 2, 2006 11:29 AM

"Hamas is a terrorist organization that denies Israel's right to exist."

They have to keep something to talk about in peacetalks. To force them to give it up before such talks have begun is unfair.

Posted by: fong | May 2, 2006 11:42 AM

Oh, the poor dear Israelis who only want to do good, the right thing. Cannot find anyone to negotiate with, and when they do the bad, bad Palestinians won't agree to their thieving proposals. Americas soul has been fouled by her association with Israel...and if we don't continue to wrest our foreign policy from the pro forma Israeli agents (Wolfowitz, Ivring Libby, Perle, etc) our body will be lost as well. Anyone think we wouldn've had 9/11 if we didn't suppose savage, predatory Israel?

Posted by: lenorao | May 2, 2006 11:53 AM

i think jerusalem is in the right here. i mean if the other side isnt going to even recognize your existence, for no reason except for their own ruin, then by all means... they should set their own boreders. i have a proposal id like considered, where we turn the middle east into a giant lake with nuclear bombs there-by eliminating 90% of the worlds conflicts and problems :)

Posted by: james mcgraw | May 2, 2006 11:53 AM

Doesn't your heart just bleed for the settlers who'd have to give up the land they stole in Palestinian territory? LOL. And WHY do we have to pretend Israel's agenda is ANYTHING but the complete takeover of the mid east...either now while Bush is still there or positioning themselves for the long run. Greater Israel. Thats the game, now and ever. (What, the vastly superior to everyone ISraelis without oil? Can't be) No one is fooled, here or abroad

Posted by: bradley | May 2, 2006 12:08 PM

Thanks OD, I had a mercifully news-free vacation on a Pacific beach. Can't beat it.

Now back to work.

You will see that some comments are being deleted over the course of the day.

I'm taking the editor's perogative here and editing more aggressively. Sorry OD and Co. extended exchanges about broader topics that make no refernce to the posting of the day will be pruned. A little digression is OK. One round of back and forth is OK but after that--Cut!

Sorry Jerome, gratuitous asides about how people on the other side are crackpots will be cut. You're comments about today's post will not be cut.

A high degree of tolerance will be shown for verbal abuse--if it pertains to the subject of the posting of the day,ie Olmert's withdrawal plan.

Less tolerance will be shown toward rants on others subjects.

I want this forum to resemble a party at my house. Strong opinions, pungent insults, moral fervor and verbal abuse of the host are all welcome, if done in a minimally respectful spirit.

Your comments on the new editing policy are also welcome.

Posted by: Jefferson Morley | May 2, 2006 12:23 PM

Bradley -- a little paranoid, aren't we? Why would Israel want the entire mid-East? Have you ever been to Lebanon? Come on. All Israel wants is security and to be left alone; it's all they ever wanted.

Posted by: Geoff | May 2, 2006 12:23 PM

Yes, even if Israel did not exist, 9/11 would have happened. If we were to wake up tomorrow and find that Israel did not exist, the Arab and Muslim world would still be a cultural and moral backwater. They would be keenly aware of their sorry state, and they would be looking for someone to blame. That someone is the West. And as Osama put it, the U.S. is the head of that snake.

Posted by: dhimmi | May 2, 2006 12:29 PM

MR. MORLEY:
Every ugly, barbarous move the Israelis' make (from greedy border creep to the bulldozing Jenin and children and ancient groves and places) is given such a lovely altruistic reason, some fine explanation, some idiotic defense. YOU not only spread that stinking propoganda, you do a cutsie little interview to legitimize the lastest outrage . You're a shill and you're beneath contempt. Do you know how the world regards this (rhymes with trap)?

Posted by: | May 2, 2006 12:40 PM

The immediate above slugged to Mr.. Morley should've been signed Jefferson....

Posted by: Jefferson | May 2, 2006 12:42 PM

Yes, Anonymous, I know how the world regards my column: A lot of people like it.

It's not God's truth and its not my opinion. It's what people are saying in the international media. Today I focus on the Israeli perspective. Next time, I will focus on the Palestinian perspective.

I hope you will still be reading.


Posted by: Jefferson Morley | May 2, 2006 12:45 PM

Yes. That's it. Israel's intent is to take over the mideast, despite all of it's neighbors being in perfect position to wipe them off the map at a moment's notice. Who are you?

Seriously. In 1946 the UN drew a map with Palestine and Israel on it. At that point in time the entire region was a mostly infertile, unconditioned, and entirely unliveable plot of sand. No one paid any attention, or made any attempts to improve conditions.

The parts that were irrigated and fertilized were done so by Zionists from all over, who left their home countries to make the plot of sand liveable starting in the early 1900s. Look it up. During this time the region was not known as Palestine. There was never a Palestine. Again, look it up. No one made any effort to get it recognized as Palestine until anti-semites thought Israel might actually get recognized.

The Arab members of the UN rejected the borders which included a Palestine, and launched a damn war to wipe out the "Israelis". In the process they drove out the Palestinians. The Israelis didn't drive them out - the war did. That the Arab Nations sanctioned. Then, the same Arab Nations wouldn't let them in, thereby "creating" the Palestinian refugee problem and blaming the Israelis.

They lost the war. And they lost again. And they kept on losing wars they initiated (Six Day War). Then all the terrorist attacks started, and suicide bombings and attacks because a part of daily life in Israel. Fun stuff.

Now, 60 odd years later, the Palestinian population is still neglected by everyone. (Not just the Israelis.)

They've created a culture in which it's implied that Israel is solely to blame, for their condition, when in fact everyone is neglecting them to continue propogating this.

The educated Palestinian population has a history of allowing/choosing extremist leadership - people who knowingly attack civilians to make a point.

And as always Israel is trying to survive. Israel is the only country criticized for taking extreme measures to survive. They are the only country criticized for actually getting off their asses to get things done.

And they are the only one blamed for going through stages that most every developing country in history has gone through, to reach a stable existence.

Israel needs to come up with solutions to aide the Palestinian population. They've failed at this this. But, as long as the sanctioned Palestinian government is set on destroying Israel, and bombing civilians, how can anyone expect them to push forward? Every step they take toward peace is rejected.

Posted by: M.E. | May 2, 2006 01:12 PM

Israel's retreat from Gaza was a good start. Any further withdrawals from the occupied territories will be even better. Remember "not one inch?" That was only a few years ago. Eventually, Israel will withdraw from E Jerusalem too. It's hard to imagine, but some day all this fighting and suffering will end.

Posted by: Gary Sugar | May 2, 2006 01:12 PM

Geoff...snear, snear, snear...like Lebanon is so inferior to Israel it's not worth the taking. BUT WAIT...Sharon invaded it inthe'80s...but got his butt smacked. (and lots of American GIs killed) Did you know? In your great superiority?

Posted by: bradley | May 2, 2006 01:19 PM

Jefferson:

You really have not read Jeff Morley's column if you think he is biased in favor of Israel. Do a simple search, and you will see various posts by him that focus on the Arab perspective, as well as Q&A's where he shows great sympathy for the Palestinians.

As far as mainstream journalists go, I find him pretty fair.

OD:

"But the Jerusalem Post's call for international recognition of new permanent borders beyond the 1967 line is unacceptable."

Even the Clinton plan recognized small settlements needed to be annexed for security purposes, beyond the '67 borders, including parts of Jerusalem containing Jewish holy sights such as the Western Wall. A full retreat to '67 borders is just not going to happen.

Posted by: saxyboy | May 2, 2006 01:20 PM

Jefferson,
I really like your new more assertive editing, especially if you err on the permissive side. However, I think that part of the problem could be remedied by putting forth some sort of mechanism - even on an experimental basis - where we could rank each others comments. And then giving us the ability to sort the comments by average ranking. Additionally maybe it would also be a good idea to allow us to sort by word length because this would probably encourage people to be concise, unless of course people think others would want to read the longer posts first. For completeness it would be necessary to keep an option for sorting by time stamp. Actually I'm not sure what effects allowing these more interactive features would be, but I think they should be tried at least on an experimental basis and see what effect there is on the dialogue.

You may find Jefferson that by setting up the right incentive structure you can get people to act nicer without wasting too much of your time (or your staff's - you do have staff now don't you?) editing posts. Think of it this way: Why are people more abusive online than they are in person? Because there are fewer negative incentives encouraging them not to do so. However, if we get low rankings when all we have to offer is uninteresting abuse, then maybe we will be a bit more constructive.

P.S. thanks for the preview button.

Posted by: David George Ferguson | May 2, 2006 01:29 PM

M.E. IS THAT what they teach you??? Does that pass as history anywhere? Have you not heard of the STERN GANG? Of the early leaders who were all terrorists against Britain...and the Palestinians? Who lived in those houses and planted all those ancient olive groves, etc,before the present terrorist Israelis came. AGAIN, what do they teach you, and how gullible are you?

Posted by: bradley | May 2, 2006 01:30 PM

The fact that Israel exists serves as a convenient focus of blame for the arab and muslim world. All problems and woes are attributed to Israel's existance.

Sadly, as the middle east blames Israel for their problems, many westerners buy into this nonsense. Some think that if Israel were erased then the muslim world could get its house in order. And then our problems would go away, right?

Posted by: stop scapegoating | May 2, 2006 01:35 PM

I don't understand those who are furiously obsessed with the fact that there are six million jews living in Israel, but think nothing of the six million arabs in France alone (to say nothing of the rest of Europe).

The jews have just returned to their ancestral homeland. The arabs have no business in Europe whatsoever.

Posted by: truth teller | May 2, 2006 01:39 PM

Saxyboy, two things:
I don't think Clinton's opinion is actually relevant. Clinton is neither judge nor author of international law. Just because an American prez says Israel can annex land don't make it so. We saw that when Bush declared resolution 242 "outdated", only to be ignored by the world.

And besides, I don't think the Clinton plan did refer to unilateral annexation, but to negotiated land-swapping. There's nothing wrong with Israel incorporating land beyond its '67 borders, so long as it's done through negotiation.

Maybe there's no-one to negotiate with now. OK, so we wait. The occupied territories have existed in their current legal form for nearly 40 years. They can wait a bit longer to have their status finalised.

Declaring certain settlements part of Israel won't make them more or less safe. Either they're behind the wall or they're not.

What I've yet to hear in this discussion is a reason WHY Israel needs to (or deserves to) annex this territory.

When the Jerusalem Post says incorporating this territory would be a "tangible benefit", they don't mean a security benefit (Israel already regulates movement through these areas). They mean a bone to throw to the greater Israelites.

Israel has every right to exist. Greater Israel has none.

And yes, Geoff, Israel did try to annex South Lebanon and Israeli cabinet ministers openly spoke of it in 1982. And yeah, I was there at the time.

Posted by: OD | May 2, 2006 01:48 PM

Thanks David for those ideas.

I'm going to talk with our tech people to see if there isn't some way to implement.

Posted by: Jefferson Morley | May 2, 2006 01:54 PM

Mr. Morley,
Are you trying to censor the comments?
Why are you limiting to 'One round of back and forth is OK but after that--Cut!
'

Posted by: Rules | May 2, 2006 01:57 PM

Yeah, I found that a little weird too.

As for David's suggestions, I'm not sure what he means when he says you could "sort" comments by quality or some other measure.

If comments aren't in chronological order, I fail to see how that would help dialogue, or even allow it.

Posted by: OD | May 2, 2006 02:09 PM

Dear Rules,

No, I'm not censoring. I'm editing.

People screaming at each other IN CAPITAL LETTERS gets kind of boring.

If people want to scream at each other about the subject of today's post, that's OK (though there are limits)

If people want to use this space to scream at each other about some much broader topic--the historical truth about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--then they only get one back and forth. Then--cut!

This space is mainly to talk about what's in the international online media. I'm editing accordingly.


Posted by: Jeffferson Morley | May 2, 2006 02:19 PM

There has not been any serious negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians since the last Rabin government. Rabin was really the last partner for peace for the Palestinians. With Arafat sidelined, A confrontation between Hamas and Sharon was a certainty. The only surprises were Sharon's stroke and Hamas gaining control of the PA. I think even Hamas was surprised by their victory. Following in Sharon's footsteps, Olmert will try to grab as much of the West Bank and Jerusalem as possible. Any attempt unilateral attempt to fix Israel borders will be met by resistance. Hamas is as hardnosed as the Israelis, and they won't rollover for anyone. I think we are looking at a blood bath.
Peretz might be useful as Defense Minister if he can prevent an Israeli strike against Iran. The whole Middle East would take a bath in radioactive fallout including Israel. It is hard to believe that the IDF would be that stupid, but anything is possible.
The Bush Administration doesn't have the intelligence to deal with the Middle East, and the U.S. needs to stay out of any conflict that results from these head games.

Posted by: P. J. Casey | May 2, 2006 02:37 PM

Let's see: Hamas refuses to recognize Israel's "right to exist." Israel claims they have no "negotiating partner". Translation: Israel does not recognize the P.A., just as they did not recognize Arafat.
Seems the world's biggest problem is caused by two non-entities. This whole disgusting mess must be a figment of my imagination......

Posted by: David Ellis | May 2, 2006 03:18 PM

OD:

I said nothing about greater Israel nor Bill Clinton's "opinion".

Under the plan that was negotiated by Barak, Clinton, etc., the Arab sections of Jerusalem were to be returned to the Palestinians, while the Jewish areas (The Western Wall, etc.) were to remain under Israeli control. Those parameters alone do not constitute a return to the '67 borders - hence my statement that the '67 borders will never be retreated to - since there is no way Israel is going to leave control of the Wailing Wall to the Palestinians.

Also, during those negotiations, there was a thin line of settlements that Israel maintained it would keep for defensible boundries.

Whether or not you agree that is necessary is your business. I'm just telling you that a return to the '67 borders won't happen - nor does resolution 242 say that it must. Resolution 242 stipulates a retreat from terroritories captured in the '67 war, not THE territories or ALL territories.

As far as the Jerusalem Post throwing a bone to Israeli extremists, I really can't say - I don't work on their editorial board.

Posted by: saxyboy | May 2, 2006 03:58 PM

Olmert should go to Pale to visit them, as Nixon went to China. As long as he doesnt do that he cannot convince.

Posted by: fong | May 2, 2006 04:01 PM

Israel has a right to exist as does the PA however the PA will not agree with anything and just want to blow the Israelies outright and be done with it. However this has been attempted already. well my solution is that there is no solution for the near future. It cannot be done as long as neither side wants the other to exist. Although i am only 18 i already know this conflict will last a long time well into my years until one side collapses or gives in. Unfortunately it is not going to be without bloodshed as both are bent on killing eachother. Israel just wants to be left alone and the PA wants their land back. THis conflict goes back to far to remember and will continue for at least another 50 years.

Posted by: thinncrispy | May 2, 2006 04:59 PM

I must say, Saxyboy, I'm surprised by your interpretation of Res 242, though I admit it's legalistically possible.

The text requires:
"Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict."

I can't believe the framers meant just SOME of the territories. Not least because that would mean that the UN had aquiesced in the armed conquest of foreign soil. It has never done so, and to do so would go against the spirit and letter of the UN Charter.

Besides, if they only demanded retreat from some but not all of the conquered territories, they presumably would have specified which ones.

Posted by: OD | May 2, 2006 06:16 PM

As for the Clinton-Barak plan, to give it its common name, as you know that was actually a starting position in a process of negotiation ultimately involving the Palestinians. That's a very different scenario than the unilateral grab the Jerusalem Post and others are calling for.

I'm sure you're right that Israel would never abandon the Wailing Wall to a Palestinian state. But then, everyone already knows that any negotiated settlement is going to require some sort of special status for the Temple Mount, since the Wall and the Dome of the Rock are just a few feet apart.

As I've said, there's no big issue about Israel incorporating post-67 land, so long as it's done through negotiation. But unilateral annexation would be a disaster for all concerned, not least the US.

Indeed, Morley quotes Ha'aretz saying the US wouldn't recognise such a grab, and I think they're right.

And this Gorenberg character makes the point that a negotiated withdrawal from areas of the West Bank could have a vastly different effect than a unilateral withdrawal that's otherwise identical.

His point - that mutual consent is key - holds true for Israeli advances as well as Israeli retreats.

Posted by: OD | May 2, 2006 06:16 PM

Thats pretty funny David - it must all be imaginary.

Several things have to happen in the region. First the Hamas has to actually take over. If they're serious about benifiting their people you cannot have several different factions all disagreeing on what should happen. The hamas should do what Fatah didn't have the power to do - disarm the other militant factions.
Second, they need to recognize Israel's existance. Even Mr. 1947 borders up there would agree that there is a state called Israel.
Third they need to disarm. If they don't want to do that they can have a military (which they've been trying to do) but a militant political party is not an option.
Once all that is done Israel wont have an excuse anymore to continue unilateraly. The Hamas, being the weaker party at the negotiating table, needs Israel more then Israel needs Hamas.
I'm not trying to say who's in the right or in the wrong, just that Israel is going to be as stubborn as possible and if Hamas is truely in it for their people they have to overcome their own stubborness.

Posted by: Bluescreen | May 3, 2006 02:58 AM

How about the Isrealis disarm and recognize they stole before peace talks, huh? You want Hamas to surrender before they talk. It ain't going to happen.

Posted by: ????? | May 3, 2006 10:28 AM

Because that will never happen. Its not about who SHOULD do what, its about who WILL do what, and I think there's a slightly better chance, although not much of one, that Hamas will actually help the Palestinians instead of clinging to a vandeta that will just kill on both sides

Posted by: Bluescreen | May 3, 2006 10:49 AM

All the arguments, all the minutiae,
about what Israeli politics, and aggression of all sorts... like the answer isn't easy. To deal with Israel, realize the Zionists are acting now like they've acted always, all over the world,every century, every country. I'ts why they are so beloved, here and everywhere, now and always. Just expect more of the same. Those who don't read history...

Posted by: leonardo | May 3, 2006 12:34 PM

Two Questions, One for everyone and one for Jefferson Morley.

First question: what would be wrong with sending the U.N. or even U.S. troops into the occupied territories, removing the settlers, relocating them behind the green line (better known Israel's internationally recognized borders) tearing down the wall on places that it strayed over the green line and rebuilding it in a way that follows the real borders, then guarding those borders to keep the settlers and IDF OUT of Palestine until such time that they can create a stable, autonomous nation.

Israel would be a safer place. America would be a safer place. And it would simply be the right thing to do.
Nothing short of a complete withdrawal will ever be perceived as a fair solution to either the Palestinians or the rest of the world (except for some ultra nationalists or religious whackos in Israel and their American counterparts)

Question 2´╝ÜJefferson, how can the Washington Post be construed as a legitimate news organization if they consistently allow the use of guilt by association as a main thesis of articles that cover critics of Israel's policies such as the Walt and Mearshiemer. I wonder, when Allen Dershowitz refers to "discredited" research, do they mean research that has been slandered in the way that Walt and Mearshiemers paper has been slandered in Washington Post and other publications? Is the "Israel Lobby" now officially discredited just because it has been dubbed "anti Semitic" by people who appear to care very little for the long term security or moral standing of the U.S?

(It would appear that the Washington Post is perfectly happy with the fact that now the definition of "anti Semitic" is simply "any subject that one disagrees with" and that an "anti-Semite" is "any person whose views you would prefer that other people not listen to". For example, Allen Dershowitz is an anti-Semite whose views concerning the Israel Lobby are anti Semitic, and I'm sure that if asked, you would find that David Duke agrees with many things that he says.)

J

Posted by: J | May 4, 2006 02:21 AM

J. The Washington Post is "construed" as a legitimate news organization because of the work of its reporters. On the question of Mearsheimer and Walt's paper on the Israeli lobby were not slandered in the news pages of the Washington Post. They were treated very fairly by Michael Powell's news report.

No one in the Washington Post news reporting staff called M-W "anti-semitic." That accusation, baseless in my view, appeared in an opinion piece by an outside contributor to the editorial page.

At the risk of being tedious, I will repeat the Post company line which happens to be true: the editorial page and the newsroom are separate operations. In the print edition, they are physically separated. In online content, the difference is harder to discern.

In short, there is no Washington Post position on Mearsheimer-Walt paper. We have reported fairly on the story, including in my column, and we have run a variety of commentary about it. That's why we are "construed" as a legitimate news organization.


Posted by: Jefferson Morley | May 4, 2006 10:06 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

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