Not So Random Questions, Facts, and Observations about Gaza and Israel

November 19, 2012 8:14 am 5 comments

Arafat, Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak.

If foes in Mexico – drug cartels, for instance – were firing rockets and missiles into an area roughly covering 25% of the United States this is what it would look like.

If the U.S. equivalent of one million Israelis were under threat of this bombardment on a daily basis, running for cover, hiding in bomb shelters, suffering damage to their homes, roughly 45 million Americans would be victims of this terror.

If the number of rockets were proportional to the population attacked, they would be about 36,000.

Imagine the reaction of the American people. Imagine the political and national defense requirements of the U.S. government in response, even if no one had yet been killed.

The United Nations categorizes 48 nations, with a population of 832 million – nearly 1 in 8 people on the planet – as “least developed countries.” Neither the West Bank nor Gaza, since they are not countries, is on this list. However, according the CIA World Factbook ranking of the percentage of national populations living in poverty, in which Gaza is included, Gaza ranks 46th, with 38% of its population living below the poverty line. That is, 45 nations of the world have higher percentages of their people living in poverty. The list of these nations, including a very large number of African Nations, is close to identical to those on the U.N. list, but not quite. Among those nations not categorized by the U.N. as least developed nations, but with higher percentages of their populations living below the poverty line than Gaza are Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Bolivia, South Africa, Kenya, Nicaragua, and Belize.

Unlike with Hamas in Gaza, Israel is not now engaged in armed conflict with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Why is that?

If the armaments directed by Islamists in Gaza against Israel are, in fact, incapable of inflicting significant damage to military purpose – if they are so ineffectual to any practical material end – why do the extremists fire them? What is their immediate goal? What is their ultimate desire?

If, in return, Gaza periodically – now, a fourth year cycle – sustains physical destruction and casualties from Israel far beyond what Islamists inflict, why do they persist? What did they materially gain the last time? What prospect of material gain is there this time? Why (to choose a phrase) in the name of humanity do they do it?

Bibi Netanyahu is said by his critics not to be truly committed to negotiations and two states. Let us accept this for present purposes as true. It is true, too, that after more than sixty years (which is not to discount centuries) of mind-bendingly complex conflict and historical entanglement, simply affirming a commitment to two states and mouthing a willingness to negotiate are clearly not in themselves representative of a true path to resolution of the conflict. These pronouncements are what, in fact, Bibi Netanyahu has made, and his critics discount them. Netanyahu’s critics simply do not believe him. Whatever creative thinking, diplomacy, and policy initiatives might be required to break open the uncrackable nut of this problem, they have not issued from the brain trust, the intellectual think tank of the Netanyahu government. Okay. Agreed.

Oslo Accords: Bill Clinton stands with Yasser Arafat and Yitzchak Rabin.

It is also true that there is no easier, thus slicker, and no more tendentious form of argument than to ground one’s arguments on the indemonstrable inner beliefs and passions of participants to the argument. Disputing arguments to the unseen is like attempting to prove a negative.

Has the pronounced position of the Benjamin Netanyahu government, every day of its administration, been that it is willing to negotiate unconditionally? I will answer that question.

Yes.

Has it been the pronounced position of the Palestinian Authority on any day of Benjamin Netanyahu leadership of Israel that it is willing to negotiate unconditionally?

No.

Has Benjamin Netanyahu publically declared his willingness to seek a two-state solution?

Yes.

Is Hamas willing to commit to a two-state solution?

No. (Hamas wishes, rather, to kill all Jews. Or simply rule them in the culminating world caliphate. Theologians, robed and unrobed, dispute this.)

PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Bill Clinton.

Those who claim that if only Benjamin Netanyahu were Ehud Olmert, or Ehud Barak (good Ehud Barak, before he was bad Ehud Barak), or even Yitzhak Rabin or Shimon Peres, there would be a chance for peace need to point to anything ultimately accomplished by any of these Israeli leaders – in the face of Palestinian rejectionism – that substantiates that belief.

More Americans died after the United States went to war against Imperial Japan subsequent to the Pearl Harbor attack than were killed before. Does that mean the U.S. was wrong or even simply mistaken to engage the conflict? Maybe it should simply have accepted the damage thus far and not made things worse? And Germany had not even attacked the United States. Was the U.S. declaration of war against Germany, then, aggression?

Did the allies during World War Two worry, in bringing the war to Japan, that they were creating more Kamikazes? Did they consider that if perhaps they simply ceased their aggressive defense, the Japanese would alter their own aggressive designs?

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not remotely comparable to the Irish Troubles. This common analogy is a weak, warm brew (or one dunk only of a Lipton’s tea bag – take your pick).

Protestant Irish are the lineal or political descendants of invaders, with no original claim to the land of Ireland.

Both Palestinian Arabs and Jews are original inhabitants of Israel-Palestine.

Nonetheless, most observers and people of good will were of the belief in the twentieth century that the Protestant Irish had long since roots in Ireland deep enough to warrant certain political claims, among which claims, considering Catholic-Protestant enmity, was autonomy (in Union with Great Britain) in Northern Ireland. A “two-state solution” had already been effected for Ireland in 1921. Palestinian Arabs rejected their two-state solution in 1948.

Rather than an internal minority rising up in violence against the State of Northern Ireland, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (more fully, historically, the Arab-Israeli conflict) is the product of an external majority’s unwillingness to acknowledge, or seeking to destroy, a separate state.

For all the enmity between Irish Protestants and Catholics, Unionists and Republicans, neither was committed by charter or theology to the genocidal destruction of the other.

The Belfast Agreement of 1998 required first a ceasefire and was predicated on IRA disarmament.

Whatever compromises were reached, the IRA was required to abandon its goal of uniting Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland.

Those who put forth this analogy generally articulate their case from a standpoint of conceiving all human conflict as the product of misunderstanding and mistrust, however overlaid they may be with webs of historical, religious, and political complexity. In such presentations those who believe as much do not acknowledge the reality among people of any kind of essential hate, of arrogance and absolutism. With enough patience and communication, human miscommunication, they believe, can be overcome. Problems can be solved. We can all come together.

The indigenous peoples of the world, as that category was identified by the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations – Native Americans in the United States, First Nations peoples in Canada, the Aboriginal peoples of Australia, the many Indigenous cultures of Latin America, others – all wait for the recognition by First World nations’ of just such a reality in their own histories of absolutism, arrogance, and condescending hate. But these peoples have already been defeated, by conquerors who were merciless in their conquest and who are unrepentant in their rule. Fortunately for the New World’s ruling cultures, their indigenous peoples are not supplied with rockets by Syria and Iran. Fortunately for Israel, it does not have to focus on what the past week would have been like were the circumstances reversed, though it can never afford to forget.

5 Comments

  • ”The Holy Torah requires us to defeat them, as in every war to date.”

    I DIDN’T KNOW WE TAKE OUR ORDERS FROM THE HOLY TORAH…

  • Replying to Pim Meibosch: Like Costa Rica, not all States have armies. And, like Switzerland there can be a country that since 1815 has by treaty been compulsory neutral. This suggests that a new Muslim Arab jurisdiction west of the Jordan River would probably have to be something of a cross between Costa Rica and Switzerland. However, none of this would be at all likely, if Palestinian independence and statehood were to be recognized by the UN General Assembly without prior bilateral negotiations to craft a final peace agreement. There has to be a bilateral negotiation of Palestinian claims to territory, independence and statehood, inter alia, because Israel factually controls most of the disputed territory; and the Jewish People really does have some aboriginal and treaty rights to all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Moreover, the Jewish People’s right to self-determination “in a part” of its aboriginal homeland threatens to be cancelled if a new Palestinian State emerges as a stepping stone to the eventual destruction of Israel. By contrast, a negotiated full-and-final peace settlement would likely have to incorporate agreement on permanent borders and appropriate security provisions, including with regard to the airspace west of the Jordan River. A full-and-final peace settlement would also need to include unequivocal recognition of the legitimacy and permanence of Israel as “the” Jewish State, i.e. as the political expression of the self-determination of the Jewish People “in a part” of its aboriginal homeland. Prime Minister Netanyahu is entirely justified in insisting that any new jurisdiction west of the Jordan River be achieved via bilateral negotiations that take into account Israel’s vital interests. In this context, I do not understand why Pim Meibosch says that Prime Minister Netanyahu is a liar. To prove this serious allegation, Meibosch should explain to us in detail exactly what it is that Netanyahu has said which Netanyahu knew to be literally untrue at the time when he said it. Failing such an explanation, Meibosch’s charge amounts to nothing more than the kind of character assassination that is standard fare in the never-ending war against Judaism, Jews, the Jewish People and Israel.

    • THE STATE OF ISRAEL RECEIVED RECOGNITION WITHOUT ANY NEGOTIATIONS WITH ITS NEIGHBOURS OR INHABITANTS OF THE AREA.
      A RIGHT WAS CREATED AFTER THE DISASTER(SHOAH)NOW
      WE HAVE TO WORK WITH THE WRONG WHICH WAS CREATED
      AT THE SAME TIME.

      AFTER ALL THE TALK AND SABOTAGE DONE BY BIBI NETANYAHU
      IT IS ABUNDANTLY CLEAR, HIS ANSWER IS NO.

      ”character assassination” CAN ONLY BE DONE WHEN
      THE MAN(BIBI)HAS A CHARACTER.

      I LIVE IN ISRAEL AND I HEAR AND READ THIS DROOL NEARLY
      EVERY DAY.

      I THINK TIME IS RUNNING OUT AND WE DON’T MOVE,
      SO LET THE OTHER SIDE DECLARE ITS STATE.

      TAKE YOUR ”character assassination” SOMEWHERE ELSE
      I’M SICK AND TIRED OF READING IT.
      PIM MEIBOSCH.

  • VERY NICE LECTURE ON NORTHERN IRELAND AND WWII.
    BACK TO ISRAEL:
    ”Has Benjamin Netanyahu publically declared his willingness to seek a two-state solution?……….. Yes.”

    THAN WHY DID ISRAEL AND AMERICA SABOTAGE THE RECOGNITION
    SEEKING OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY FOR A STATE OF THEIR OWN.

    HERE IS YOU ANSWER FROM BIBI NETANYAHU,
    HE DOESN’T WANT A PALESTINIAN STATE,
    HE WANTS TO BE PRIME MINISTER AND IN
    HIS TIME NO 2 STATE SOLUTION.
    IN SHORT HE IS LYING.

    • norman hauptman

      The refinement of guerilla war by Hamas, athough immoral, is admirable. Short of a citizen revolt against it, Hamas is successfully cowing a major nation into a corner. Israel’s PM never delivered an ultimatum such as “no more rockets as of_____ or we will take your head off”. I can imagine Turkey’s PM saying and doing so. To what degree shall we be moral and protect Hamas citizens during our retaliation? To the degree that Israeli citizens are being hurt and killed, disrupted, traumatized.

      The Holy Torah, philosphy, logic, strategy and the laws of war do not require Israel to accept a low rocket count from Hamas, nor protect Gaza citizens better than Hamas does. The Holy Torah requires us to defeat them, as in every war to date.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater 10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    Last month, my one-man show Hoaxocaust! Written and performed by Barry Levey with the generous assistance of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Tehran ran in the New York International Fringe Festival, where it won an Overall Excellence Award. The play has now been selected to run in the Fringe Encores Series at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center, for four performances which started on Thursday, September 11. Getting the play to the stage was not easy, however. Here are [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Phenomenon: Tel Aviv-based musician and “sampler” extraordinaire, Kutiman (aka Ophir Kutiel) has hit another one out of the park with “Give It Up,” a fully-functioning song in its own right, assembled from hundreds of ameteur and instructional music videos. The Jerusalem-born musical prodigy is best know for his diverse online musical projects. In the latest video, uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 12th, Kutiel thanked most of the musicians and individuals he chose to include in the meticulously-edited clip, which opens with [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    A recently released behind-the-scenes reel of Ridley Scott’s upcoming film Exodus: Gods and Kings shows just how far the director has gone to portray one of the Bible’s most famous narratives. In the clip, which shows scenes involving up to 4,000 extras, the visionary director discusses what drew him to the biblical tale of Moses. “The Moses story was a massive challenge, which I really love. I wanted to explore the complexity of his character and I was stunned by [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    JNS.org – Since 2006, the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable and satellite TV network has hosted “The Projected Image,” a month-long showcase examining how different cultural and ethnic groups have been portrayed on the big screen. At last, after previously covering African Americans, Asians, the LGBT community, Latinos, Native Americans, Arabs, and people with disabilities, the annual series is delving into Jewish film this month. “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” whose first segment aired Sept. 2, runs [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    The sight of young girls in pinafores and young boys wearing peyos – sidelocks – dangling over their ears is a sure sign that you have entered the enigmatic precincts of the Hasidim – the pious ones. Veteran New York Times journalist Joseph Berger’s new book, THE PIOUS ONES: The World of Hasidim and their Battles with America, takes the reader on a journey into the enclaves where various sects of Jews live a seemingly outmoded way of life in [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    JNS.org – Today’s comedy superstars, especially those whose careers are driven by television, may very well owe their success to pioneering Jewish entertainer Milton Berle. Born Mendel Berlinger in Manhattan in 1908, Berle became America’s first small-screen star. Aptly nicknamed “Mr. Television,” he influenced and helped promote the work of hundreds of younger comics. “Milton Berle was deceptively successful and very Jewish,” says Lawrence Epstein, author of The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, published the year [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    JNS.org – Idan Ravin’s friends chipped in to buy him a humble but life-changing bar mitzvah gift—a basketball hoop his father attached to the roof of his garage. Little did his friends know that years later, he would be the personal trainer of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Stephen Curry. Ravin’s new book, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players,” details his rise from a Jewish upbringing [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.