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Something to think about

A poster, Freddie deBoer, at Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish has come under fire for not being even-handed in the Israel-Palestine debate. He has decided to take some time off, he says, but before he goes he has posted a short reflection on what "balance" might mean and what is required to strike a true balance.

Here is a piece of what he was to say:

I also don’t seek balance because I don’t pretend that there is equality of blame in this issue. Many smart, decent people I know treat this issue with a “plague on both houses” attitude, talking about a “cycle of violence,” or “ancient grudges.” They speak as though this issue is so polarized and so complex that we can’t make meaningful judgments. I find that, frankly, bullshit. I’m not usually a big fan of Max Fisher’s work, but he had this perfectly right: the occupation is wrong, it is the problem, and Israel is to blame. Israel has been illegally and immorally occupying the Palestinian territories for almost 50 years. And Israel has the ability to end it. The Israeli government could unilaterally withdraw from the territories and leave the Palestinians to build their own state, or they could fully incorporate Palestinians into a new unified Israeli-Palestinian state that recognized total and complete political and social equality between all people. If you find those ideas radical, consider that they are merely what basic liberal democracy requires.

Whole post here.

Naturally, I have some sympathy for his views. NB: Skip the references to John Chrysostom.

Maybe more than you want to know: A fascinating and revelatory piece by J.J. Goldberg in the Forward on the politics of the Israeli war cabinet.

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I also share his views.

Or as the Pope said during a return flight from Korea: "Where human suffering is involved, you can’t be neutral."

I also sympathize with his views and his worries about the long term, but I find his solutions:

 The Israeli government could unilaterally withdraw from the territories and leave the Palestinians to build their own state, or they could fully incorporate Palestinians into a new unified Israeli-Palestinian state that recognized total and complete political and social equality between all people.

a bit simplistic. Depending on how they leave, it could open the door to ennemies building up weapons at their door. Incorporating Palestinians with "complete equality" suggests, for example, recruiting Palestinians to do their military service in the army as well; or mediating the tensions between Palestinians and ultra-orthodox Jewish people. How? Not clear. "Could" is too simple. How could they get to  either solution, given the current distrust? If there was a reasonable way forward, many Israelis would go for it, I believe. They, too, are yearning for peace and can only dream of lasting peace. 

Good intentions in that post, but it's not particularly helpful for Israelis and Palestinians. They need a new idea.

How did the conflict in Ireland, that seemed designed to last for centuries, suddenly end?

The most sincere and self‑sacrificing defender of an unjustly exploited neighbor must realize that if he rises to arms to put down an aggressor, the arms may turn upon him if he does not have that "superhuman virtue" which can allow him to survive.  The problem of the soldier, then, may not be death endured or inflicted so much as the destruction of all combatants by bestial fury.  Warfare in a just cause provides just the excitement that will allow the beast inside to crawl out unnoticed.  It is not so much the war itself, as what war summons out from within us.  Armed intervention can destroy the possibility of peace when its target is a resolute group of men and women who believe themselves to be defending their families, their homes and homeland, their faith and their freedom; in short, the precious things people are willing to die for.  Every decision to use force or to abstain from force can be justified only by its realistic claims to make peace more possible. 

 

JTB, CSC, quoted by John Deedy in a supplement to the July 1991 issue of Overview, entitled The Persian Gulf War.

Northern Ireland still "belongs" to Britain and there are still barrier walls there ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_lines

The Troubles were brought to an uneasy end by a peace process that included the declaration of ceasefires by most paramilitary organisations, the complete decommissioning of the IRA's weapons, the reform of the police, and the corresponding withdrawal of the British Army from the streets and sensitive border areas such as South Armagh and Fermanagh, as agreed by the signatories to the Belfast Agreement (commonly known as the "Good Friday Agreement"). The agreement reiterated the long-held British position, which successive Irish governments have not fully acknowledged, that Northern Ireland would remain within the United Kingdom, unless a majority of Northern Irish vote otherwise.

On the other hand, the British government recognised for the first time the principle that the people of the island of Ireland as a whole have the right, without any outside interference, to solve the issues between North and South by mutual consent.[28] The latter statement was key to winning support for the agreement from both nationalists and republicans. It also established a devolved power-sharing government within Northern Ireland (which was suspended from 14 October 2002 until 8 May 2007), wherein the government must consist of both unionist and nationalist parties.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Troubles#Overview

Sorry:  JTB = James T. Burtchaell

This also seems so very appropriate:

“Men grow tired of sleep, love, singing and dancing sooner than war”   Homer,  "The Iliad"

 

How about putting women in power instead of men? Maybe that would hasten the end of war.

Meanwhile, "Hamas admits kidnapping 4 Israeli teens in West Banl" ... http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hamas-admits-kidnapping-3-israeli-teens-in-w...

Sorry, typo - that should be 3 not 4

Margaret, I agree with you. And there's nothing simplistic about calling an occupation an occupation.

Mr. De Boer:

"The Israeli government could unilaterally withdraw from the territories and leave the Palestinians to build their own state."

I thought that was precisely what Israel did in Gaza.  That was no panacea, apparently. 

In other words: Mr. De Boer seems to ignore the very real possibility that the resultinian "Palestinian state" will wage war on Israel, precisely as the Hamas regime in Gaza has been doing.

Replacing occupation with open war is not such a great progress.

Many good points in the full post by deBoer, including his protest against the constraints against candid discussion of this issue, i.e., accusations of anti-Semitism. 

BUT .... While the failure of the party that currently possesses the great preponderance of military power, namely Israel, to cease its expansion of West Bank settlements and seriously pursue a two-state solution is morally and politically disastrous for the future of both Palestinians and Israelis, the Israeli concerns about security IN THE FUTURE are quite reasonable, as Claire and Crystal Watson suggest. 

DeBoer's dismissal of this problem on the grounds of Israel's present vast military edge and its possession of nuclear weapons or the U.S.'s nuclear umbrella doesn't speak to this.  And his nonchalant neutrality toward either the emergence of Israeli and Palestinian states side by side or a big happy single Israeli-Palestinian state reveals very little feel for the emotionally powerful and profoundly different competing narratives in this conflict.  

Concerns about the future are always reasonable--even prudent, as several have pointed out. And to face up to the truth, none (most) of us, who are neither citizens of Gaza or Israel, can have a direct effect on the policies of either Hamas or the government of Israel. But we are citizens of countries whose policies influence both Hamas and Israel. And since most of us are citizens of the United States, we could begin to question the pretense that our government is an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Our government is not an honest broker; it is a dis-honest broker. It supplies arms to Israel. It vetoes UN resolutions that attempt to rein in the settlements. It encourages and supports pro-Israeli subventions, resolutions, etc., in our Congress and in the Executive branch.

About that we could do something, if as DeBoer's main point makes clear, if the United States stepped back and said to both belligerents, Israel and Hamas. You've each dug your own hole, you figure out how to climb out of it.   Now that would be balance.

Carlo Lancellotti:  The Israelis have not withdrawn from Gaza in any sense that would enable the Gazans to build their own society.  When they "withdrew" in 2005 they maintained complete control of the airspace and coastline, and the checkpoints to move stuff in and out of Gaza.

In 2006, George W. Bush pushed for an election in Gaza (one of many of his disastrous mistakes in the middle east).  Hamas won.  Polling in Gaza at the time indicated that for most Gazans, this was a protest vote against Fatah's corruption and incompetence, not support of Hamas' rabid "Israel into the sea" ideaology.

Since 2006, explicitly to punish the Gazans for voting in Hamas, Israel has maintained  a blockade which has immiserated the Gazan people and crushed any hope of a functional Gazan economy.  Some food (largely charity from Europe) is allowed in, but intentionally not enough food.  In 2006, an advisor to then Israeli Prime Minister Olmert said "'The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger".  (Link:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/apr/16/israel)  According to Wikipedia, 61% of Gazans are food insecure.  According to the WHO, 65% of Gazan babies 9-12 months old are anemic.  Electricity shortages mean inadequate sewage treatment, so the aquifer Gazans drink from is contaminated with sewage.  The blockade does not allow importation of the means of producing food within Gaza, nor does it allow any exports from Gaza, making it impossible to have a private sector economy.  (Perversely, that empowers Hamas, as they control the public sector of the economy.)

Some of restrictions make sense from a security point of view- I can see why the Israelis would ban the import of batteries- but not banning importing the means of procuding food locally, nor banning the Gazans exporting stuff they manufacture.  Who is more likely to turn into an angry terrorist- a young man who has seen his family go hungry and get sick from drinking  sewage, and who has no hope of getting a decent job- or a young man who has seen his family having sufficient food and shelter, and who has a job and hope for the future? 

 

That was an unfortunate twist but don't forget that Israel laid the groundwork for this Hamas vote to begin with:

- Hamas was supported and encouraged by Israel to offset the PLO

- Hamas won votes because of the frustration with Israeli intransigence, settlement buildings, and Gaza restrictions in the first place

While we're calling for an end to the "occupation" of Palestine by Israel for the past nearly 60 years, why don't we ask the UN to cancel the mandate by which it created a State for Palestinians called Jordan and a State for Jews called Israel. And while we're at it, why not cancel the memory of the Shoah which laid the foundation for that mandate. It is a fiction that there was once a political entity known as Palestine which was taken over by Jewish immigrants from Europe. But we do know there was a political entity known as Israel in that area until the Romans quashed the troublesome Jews in the year 70AD. The Romans had the last laugh by removing the name Israel from the maps and replacing it with the name of one of their former enemies, the Philistines from which the designation Palestine was derived. Maybe we can work up a deal with Israel for them to relocate in the US, somewhere in flyover country where there are so many wide open spaces....perhaps on a very nice plot of Federally owned land.

As an Irishman, I cannot see the dispossession of the Palestinians as just a neat piece of population management. The Irish were entirely robbed of their land and freedom in a series of moves, all legally impeccable, by the Tudors and Stuarts (+ Cromwell). To say the Palestinians did not have a properly constituted state, that their land was owned by Ottomans, is to subscribe to the fiction of "a land without a people", as if the territory had been lying around uninhabited until its rightful claimants took it back after a gap of 19 centuries. I don't know if exporting all the Palestinians to Jordan would be a practicable or just solution -- it sounds a bit like exporting all the Irish to Connaught. 

Sigmund Freud thought that the last place where the Jews should be settled was Palestine, and it seems he was right.

Not that it solves any issues, of course, but Antony Lerman's piece in the NYT -- "The End of Liberal Zionism" --

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/23/opinion/sunday/israels-move-to-the-rig...

is well worth reading. Among other things he engages the whole question of how far support for Israel under people like Netanyahu and Lieberman is, or should be, an aspect of Zionism (he's pretty doubtful).

Not that the two situations are at all parallel, but it does bring to mind the whole question of how far support for the Vatican and its episcopal outliers is necessary for faithful Catholicism. And, of course, what happens when powerful voices in the Vatican (meaning, of course, the pope) change their tune, seemingly leaving others adrift.

Anne Evans:

so your conclusion is that in order for Palestinians to "build their own society" they should have been prevented from having free elections?

Nicholas Clifford, I have regularly appreciated your comments. The last sentence of your most recent post, though, confuses me. Would you care to clarify who is "left adrift" by the pope and how he has done so.

I hate to give voice to be dark, Slavic side but sometimes I just can't help it! Solutions, I fear, are too late; wounds too deep to ever heal. The only learning that can be taken from this is better forward thinking when it comes to politics. Actually, there was a lot of debate in the decades prior to the foundation of israel.

The article below discusses some relevant history featuring Buber's departure from Herzl.

 

Buber was in the forefront of those who resisted formal nationalism in Palestine, as well as all forms of inhumanity and injustice toward the Arabs. He urged peaceful coexistence with the Arabs rather than domination of the indigenous population. He resisted the notion of Zionism as an ordinary political nationalism, and the idea of Jews as a nation like all the nations. Buber’s friend Robert Weltsch explains how Buber rejected a Zionism that was just another national movement: "Deeper and higher is the idea of Zion... national forms without the eternal meaning from which they have arisen, would be tantamount to the end of Israel’s specific creativeness. It would not be rebirth, but self-deception which conceals the death of the soul."

In 1925 Buber and several other cultural Zionists founded Brit Shalom (Covenant of Peace). Its official founder and first president was, curiously enough, Dr. Arthur Ruppin, head of the Palestine Land Development Company, which bought land from the Arabs. Brit Shalom had between 100 and 200 supporters. Its founders set out their credo in their first publication Sh’ifoteinu (Our Aspirations) issued in Jerusalem in 1927. Brit Shalom wanted to create in Palestine "a binational state, in which the two peoples will enjoy totally equal rights as befits the two elements shaping the country’s destiny, irrespective of which of the two is numerically superior at any given time." This renunciation of Jewish majority flew in the face of political Zionism which propagated majority status and sovereignty.

And then this:

Yosef Luria, a Romanian born journalist, a settler of the class of 1907, had warned earlier that, "During all the years of our labour in Palestine we completely forgot that there were Arabs in the country." Later he cited Switzerland and Finland, two countries with multinational and binational constitutions respectively, which granted equal cultural and linguistic status to all national groups regardless of size and guaranteed their rights, as models for Palestine:

"It is the land of two peoples, who live there or should live there by equal national right; any political institution must be based solely on a political arrangement which cannot be changed for the worse by majority vote. Without acceptance of this principle, the parliament will inevitably become the instrument of the majority, which will suppress the national rights of the minority."

But by 1925 it may have been too late. In 1905 Nagib Azouri, a French educated Christian Arab, born in Jaffa, had written a book, Le Reveil de la Nation Arab, pointing to the conflict between the awakening Arab nation and the Jews intent on restoring their ancient kingdom: "These two movements are destined to fight each other persistently, until one prevails over the other."

Taken from here. Good article. Makes me think...hmmm...was Jesus articulating a particular form of ZIonism when he said that his kingdom was not of this world. I have read Buber and it is interesting to see the congruence between them!

 

http://www.acjna.org/acjna/articles_detail.aspx?id=98

 

 You'd get the false impression from these comments that Palestinian citizens of Israel don't have the same rights as other Israeli citizens, that they can't vote, don't serve in the government.

Carlo Lancellotti:  Wouldn't you agree that there's a problem with holding the elections accompanied by the unspoken understanding (between the US and Israel) that IF the people of Gaza elected a Hamas government they would be severely punished for the next 8 years, and undoubtedly longer? 

Under the Oslo accords, in order to compete in Palestinian elections (either West Bank or Gaza or both combined) a political party had to accept Israel's right to exist, which Hamas obviously has not done.  It would have been perfectly reasonable to refuse to let Hamas be on the ballot.  President Bush insisted that Hamas be allowed on the ballot despite their refusal to accept Israel's existance, because GWB did not believe the Gaza electoral polls and thought that Hamas would be defeated.  He thought Hamas would be disempowered by electoral defeat.

Gaza voters understandably thought that the US and Israel would accept a Hamas victory given that the US and Israel had accepted Hamas' presence on the ballot.  They were NOT warned what the results of a Hamas victory would be.  As I mentioned before, the polls indicated that people voted for Hamas not because they wanted or expected to push Israel into the sea, but to protest Fatah's outrageous financial corruption and incompetence.  (Hamas specialized in delivering social aid such as clinics and food which Fatah did not deliver because Fatah officials stole a large majority of the aid money from Europe.)  So basically, what GWB did was to appear to give the Gazans permission to elect Hamas, when in fact it was his (and Israel's) intention to punish the people of Gaza severely and indefinitely if they did so.

So yes, although I want the Palestinians to be able to have free elections, an election under these conditions was worse than no election at all. 

George D: Interesting. Many such voices have been forgotten.

John Judes in his book Gensis, on Truman, U.S. Jews, and the UN Resolution, cites several Jewish leaders who had similar misgivings about a majority Jewish state. Interesting that Truman along with Marshall and other state department officials raised the question of Arab rights, but in the end recognized Israel in 1948. Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, raised objections to the Balfour Declaration on the grounds that the Arabs would never put up with a Jewish state. Sometimes these voices have been seen as anti-Jewish, even anti-Semitic, but some of them knew the territory.

Crystal Watson:  I don't see any comments sayubg that Palestinian citizens of Israel proper cannot vote or hold office.  (Although Palestinian parties cannot wield real political power, because there is an agreement among all other political parties, even the leftie ones, that no one will allow a Palestinian party to be part of a governing coalition.)  The problem is that Palestinians in the West Bank live under martial law and have no input into the authorities governing them, while Palestinians in Gaza live under severe punishment for electing the wrong people.

John W. Feehily:  No one on this thread is calling for the end of Israel.  The question is whether the Palestinians should be allowed to have a viable country in the West Bank and Gaza.  In fact, I believe the current Israeli path is more likely to end in the destruction of Israel as a democratic Jewish state.  If the Israelis continue to settle the West Bank  they will end by annexing it, and then, because of the demographics, they face a terrible choice.  Either cease to be Jewish (since within a few decades there would be more Arabs than Jews), or cease to be democratic by restricting the ballot by ethnicity, or become a pariah nation by mass expulsions of Palestinians from the West Bank.  I'm opposed to the settlements and in favor of a two state solution precisely because I want Israel to survive and flourish.

Yes, Palestininas who are not citizens can't vote, just like people who aren't citizens of the US can't vote.  How is that unfair?

To say that Israel is punishing the Palestinains in Gaza for voting for Hamas is a biased statement - it was a decision of the "Quartet" as well as Israel to put restrictions on AID money going to Hamas because they're a terrorist organization that won't accept Israel's right to exist and they won't renounce violence.  Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by many countries, including Japan, Australia, the UK, etc. 

It might keep matters clear if we referred to Arab citizens of Israel as Israeli Arabs instead of as Palestinians.

 Wikipedia  ;)  ...

According to the New York Times, most prefer now to identify themselves as Palestinian citizens of Israel rather than as Israeli Arabs.[17] The New York Times uses both 'Palestinian Israelis'[18] and 'Israeli Arabs' to refer to the same population. Common practice in contemporary academic literature is to identify this community as Palestinian as it is how the majority self-identify (See Self-Identification below for more).[19]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_citizens_of_Israel#Terminology

What is the long-term strategy for Israel, short of a two state solution or incorporation of the people of Gaza and the West Bank as full citizens of Israel?  Can Israel kill enough militants (and the non-combatants who are inevitably slain in attacks on Gaza) to defeat Hamas or break the spirit of the people there?  Or will continued military responses and the effective incarceration of the people of Gaza lead to greater hatred and militancy?  As bad as it is for Israel to deal with Hamas, will a Hamas perceived as defeated or ineffectual be succeeded by an even more militant group?  The Islamic State (ISIS or ISL) is right in the neighborhood, and should it gain control of Iraq and/or Syria, or even retain some sizable teritories, one can easily imagine Israel being next in line.  I certainly don't have the expertise to predict this, but I think Israel and its allies better at least be prepared for something worse than Hamas. 

Crystal Watson:  In talking of "punishment" I was referring to the blockade, not to holding back aid.  The quartet is not mounting the blockade.

It is not unfair that non-citizens living in Israel cannot vote.  It is unfair that Palestinians in the West Bank are living under martial law imposed by a governement that is not accountable to them and appears to be indifferent to their welfare.

What is the long-term strategy for Israel, short of a two state solution or incorporation of the people of Gaza and the West Bank as full citizens of Israel?  Can Israel kill enough militants (and the non-combatants who are inevitably slain in attacks on Gaza) to defeat Hamas or break the spirit of the people there?  Or will continued military responses and the effective incarceration of the people of Gaza lead to greater hatred and militancy?

I think the same questions can be asked in the opposite direction ...

What is the long-term strategy for the people of Palestine and for Hamas, short of accepting Israel's existence?  Can Hamas shoot enough rockets and kidnap enough civilians to defeat Israel or break the spirit of the people there?  Or will continued military responses  lead to greater hatred and militancy?

I can't speak to what the Israeli's think about this but I would guess that they have, in some sense, given up on the idea of peacefull co-existence = they believe, and for good reason, that they will never be accepted by Hamas as having the right to exist and so the fighting will continue indefinately.

Crystal Watson- Twenty years ago, at Oslo, Fatah did accept Israel's right to exist, and in return the Israelis promised no new settlements.  Israel basically reneged on their part of the deal.  Existing settlements were allowed to expand virtually without limit, stretching the definition of a "single settlement" to the breaking point, and illegal "outposts" are not only tolerated by the Israeli government but provided protection and water.  The number of settlers in the West Bank has tripled since Oslo.

Now that Abbas has seriously reduced Fatah's corruption (the corruption was associated primarily with Arafat's administration- he died in 2004) Fatah's big political handicap is that they have no achievements- they made the big concession and got nothing in return.   It's understandable that no Israeli would trust Hamas, but why can't they build up Fatah by giving them some goodies to make Fatah more electable?  That's polical strategy 101.  I conclude that the Netanyahu government doesn't want to build up Fatah, because having Hamas as their antagonist gives them cover to be intransigent.

It's unspeakably tragic that at any given point in time, only one side has had a leader who was seriously interested in peace.  When Rabin and Barak were in power in Israel, the Palestinian leadership was corrupt and irresponsible.  Abbas is interested in peace, but his opposite number is Netanyahu, who has been an advocate for unlimited settlement all his political life.

Anne Watson:

"Carlo Lancellotti:  Wouldn't you agree that there's a problem with holding the elections accompanied by the unspoken understanding (between the US and Israel) that IF the people of Gaza elected a Hamas government they would be severely punished for the next 8 years, and undoubtedly longer?"

Mmh, I suspect that "punishment" may have something to do with the fact that Hamas seem to be adamantly committed to the destruction of Israel, and acted accordingly by lobbying rockets, kidnapping soldiers etc. It takes two to tango.

Be that as it may, I still think that de Boer's suggestion that "The Israeli government could unilaterally withdraw from the territories and leave the Palestinians to build their own state" is simplistic at best in light of the Gaza experience.

It's understandable that no Israeli would trust Hamas, but why can't they build up Fatah by giving them some goodies to make Fatah more electable?

I saw this from Wikipedia ... "on June 25, 2007, Israel agreed to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues it had seized to the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in order to support the Fatah government"

And the story in the NYT - http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/25/world/middleeast/25westbank.html?fta=y

I don't know much about the settlement situation, so I can't speak to that.  Must read more.

Carlo Lancellotti:  You do realize that Crystal Watson and I are not the same person?  In fact, she said one of my statements was bigoted?

The blockade was imposed immediately after the election, and explicitly to punish the people of Gaza for voting in Hamas. 

By the way, many people have suggested that if the Israelis withdraw from the West Bank, the West Bank and the border be policed by a neutral army.  Sweden has often been nominated for this task, since they were not part of the 19th century colonial enterprise and are therefore more trusted in the Arab world than the US, the British, or the French.

Carlo Lancellotti:  You do realize that Crystal Watson and I are not the same person?  In fact, she said one of my statements was bigoted?

The blockade was imposed immediately after the election, and explicitly to punish the people of Gaza for voting in Hamas. 

By the way, many people have suggested that if the Israelis withdraw from the West Bank, the West Bank and the border be policed by a neutral army.  Sweden has often been nominated for this task, since they were not part of the 19th century colonial enterprise and are therefore more trusted in the Arab world than the US, the British, or the French.

Sorry for the double post.  I got a message that my post had been rejected because I was not human (!), just a spambot, so I posted again.  It turned out both posts went through.

Hey ...

Crystal Watson ...she said one of my statements was bigoted

No, I did not.  I wrote "biased"  ...  To say that Israel is punishing the Palestinains in Gaza for voting for Hamas is a biased statement

Holy mackerel, what good are these dicussions if we can't even be truthful among ourselves?

PS - I'm done here for this thread.

Anne Watson:

"You do realize that Crystal Watson and I are not the same person?"

I do, why?

I also know the Israelis punished the Gazans for electing Hamas, because Hamas is virulently hostile to Israel. So what?

I still think the Swedish peacekeepers (and open ports and airports etc) would not have stopped Hamas from going to power in Gaza and do what they did, which was NOT to build a viable Palestinian state..

 

Crystal:  If there's a difference between biased and bigoted, I'm not aware of it.

The Israeli government seized some tax funds belonging to the Palestinian authority and then released them.  The money was not charity from Israel.  The fact that Fatah has been completely incapable of getting any concessions on settlement building, and has been completely incapable in getting better living conditions for Palestinians under occupation, and has been completely unable to get the the Israeli government to stop  settlers from burning Palestinian orchards and confiscating Palestinian property... has marginalized Fatah and increased support for Hamas.  That is simply a fact. 

 

I use "biased" all the time in my work, for example, when you throw a biased coin, it may be more likely to come up heads than tail. I see "biased" as something factual. If you see someone whose judgment is biased, you point it out to them, and in response they might say: "Oh, you're right. I'll have to be more careful in the future to fight that unconscious bias of mine that you just revealed to me." In other words, it could be unconscious, it could be benign, and saying that someone is "biased" is an observation, not a moral judgment

On the other hand "bigoted" is judgmental. Someone bigoted is intolerant (originally, in French, it means "excessively pious"!), closed-minded, and won't change their mind: if you try to point out their unfair bias to them, all you'll get back will be insults, most likely.  

If someone calls me biased, I am not pleased but I take it no worse than when they say I'm wrong. The discussion does not stop. They could be right, after all! But if someone calls me bigoted, it's an insult. 

But that's colored by French being my first language. Maybe I am introducing differences that are not really there.

How about putting women in power instead of men? Maybe that would hasten the end of war.

 

Not if the women you choose are like Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir.

So long as 1.8 million Palestinians are kept virtual prisoners in a 139 square mile ghetto (and I used that word deliberately), there is not a snowball's chance in hell of defusing the ongoing anger and despair of the Palestinian population.

The place where Christ was born (today):

http://pages.ucsd.edu/~gfields/PalestinePhotos/

I live near San Quentin and I notice a strong resemblance.  I first saw Bethlehem in 1987 and I was last there in 2007.

 

What Israel and American Jews who force the US to support Israel unconditionally, must realize is that this conflict influences policy all over the Mideast, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other places. A solution is incumbent on all. We cannot permit Israel to say that they do not bear a good portion of the blame for this conflict which has worldwide dimensions.

This influence on American politicians is blatant. All over the country politicians have to almost say first that they support Israel. Andrew Cuomo is only the latest to do this in such grotesque fashion.

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