Peace, Not Apartheid, Part 2

I’ve now finished Jimmy Carter’s book and have a much better understanding of the history and geography of the region.  My last post on the subject elicited two very pertinent questions/comments.  In that post I stated that Carter points out that the framework for peace has existed for a long time, and writer ptfan1 asks, in that case, What is it? 

Writer spencercourt brings up the question of whether Israel has the “right” to exist in the first place.  Indeed, the modern problems can be traced back without a doubt to the establishment of Israel in the beginning, and spencercourt answers his own question:  might makes right.  Or said another way, the Golden Rule is that he who has the gold makes the rules. 

On one hand, it’s understandable that the international community, as personified by the U.N., would want to mandate a homeland for the Jews after the horror of the Holocaust.  It seems like the least we could do.  In addition, I have incredible admiration for the Jews’ resolution never to let themselves be victims on that scale ever again.  I have further admiration for their resourcefulness, intelligence, and even ruthlessness in going after those who threaten them (see:  Munich, Entebbe).  As for a “right” to a homeland, that is now a moot point.  The creation of Israel did not occur by a piece of paper issued by the U.N.  It was accompanied by another war in which an estimated 900,000 Arabs either fled or were driven from their homes in the new, artificially created land of Israel.  They were supposed to be allowed to return, or at least compensated for the loss of their homes and land. 

The creation of Israel called for the two-state solution.  Part of the land went to form Israel, and part to remain Palestine.  An area surrounding Jerusalem and Bethlehem would be an “international” area.  Everyone ignored that part and both sides were intent on annexing the other.  Now we hear about the two-state solution as if it’s a new idea. 

And now:  the framework for peace.  All subsequent negotiations revolve around U.N. Resolution 242 in 1967.  In the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel simultaneously attacked Egypt, Jordan, and Syria and then occupied the Sinai (belonging to Egypt), the Golan Heights (belonging to Syria), and the West Bank (belonging to Jordan).  UNR 242 says that Israel must fully withdraw from those areas and be satisifed with the boundaries of their country as established in 1948.  There must be a resolution to the refugee problem.  The Palestinians must have autonomy.  It has been determined to be against international law to establish civilian settlements on land taken by force, and yet as late as 2006, Israel continued to build new settlements in the West Bank. 

Jimmy Carter’s description of the West Bank is hellish.  It’s a land where Jewish settlements are connected by roads that Palestinians are not allowed to use or even cross.  As in Gaza, Israel controls all access into or out of the area (by land or sea or air).  Israel must somehow see its way to giving Palestinians more freedom, because they are perpetuating their own misery and creating more terrorists by the day.

War is hell in the region, but so is working for peace.  (See:  Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin.)

Carter points out that the apartheid here is not strictly the same as in South Africa but is about the acquisition of land.  Israel wants more.  Any time they are pressed to give up their settlements or conform to the agreements they have signed themselves, they come up with onerous conditions that will never be met.  Any attack on Israel, by some single suicide bomber, is judged to nullify any agreement Israel has ever made.  “How are we to guarantee that?” said someone from the West Bank.  “If the presence of 200,000 Israelis troops can’t do it, how will we?”

If this commentary sounds pro-Palestinian as opposed to pro-Israeli, that isn’t the case.  I am reminded of the NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who shared a meal with friends in Egypt during the election process in the U.S. when it looked like Obama had a good chance of winning, and he asked them, Could that ever happen here?  In the U.S., a man named Barack Hussein Obama could become the next president.  Could a Christian do that here?  Their reply:  Are you crazy?  Of course not. 

I was further reminded today of our differences with the Muslim world (not to be equated with terrorists) by a stunning picture in the NY Times of Israel’s Foreign Minister (Tzipi Livni) and the U.S. Secretary of State (Condoleeza Rice) concluding the signing of an agreement whereby the U.S. will help stave off the supply of weapons to Hamas in Gaza.    Here are these two powerful, intelligent women–Condi Rice in this blazingly red suit–signing an agreement that commits entire countries to a course of action.  Could that happen in Egypt?  Or Syria?  Or Jordan?  Or Saudi Arabia?  That two women would be in such positions?  Are you crazy?  Of course not.

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20 responses to “Peace, Not Apartheid, Part 2

  1. Well thanks for the review of Carters book and your well researched collateral assessments.
    So as I understand it the “framework for peace” revolves around UNR 242 from 1947 which “seems” a very straightforward brief doc that includes the following 2 points:
    * Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
    * Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

    These points seem to me to say that Israel must give back land seized in the 6 day war and is not recognized as a state. So in all due respect to the UN if they disallow the legal existence of a state formed for all the reasons we know of, why should Israel accept it as a just resolution? (Which they clearly don’t!)

    Further research from the attached link reveals the incredibly complex reactions of each of the states involved at the time 242 was enacted

    http://www.sixdaywar.org/content/242response.asp

    The chief drafter of unr 242 (Lord Caradon) “clarifies”
    “So what we stated was the principle that you couldn’t hold territory because you conquered it, therefore there must be a withdrawal to – let’s read the words carefully – “secure and recognized boundaries.” The can only be secure if they are recognized. The boundaries have to be agreed; it’s only when you get agreement that you get security. I think that now people begin to realize what we had in mind – that security doesn’t come from arms, it doesn’t come from territory, it doesn’t come from geography, it doesn’t come from one side domination the other, it can only come from agreement and mutual respect and understanding.”

    I would opine there is no mutual respect and understanding on the horizon therefore while unr242 may indeed provide the framework for peace in theory, in reality it is like throwing a bucket of water on the twin towers after 911.

    One thing seems clear to me, Hamas and Hezbollah must be removed from positions of policy formation which they do through death not negotiation. Israel has made it quite clear this is an inviolate sticking point in their national spirit. They will not be butchered to negotiate. And will not walk quietly to thier graves.

  2. I’m not sure, but it seems to me you may be misinterpreting some part of this. Israel is recognized as a state by the U.N. , within the boundaries set by it in 1947. But what you may be saying is that not all the parties involved have recognized even those boundaries and until that occurs, there cannot be peace. But the whole scenario reminds me of a scene in a movie where there is supposed to be an exchange of a suitcase full of money for a kidnapping victim. The people with the money say, give me the victim, then I’ll give you the money; the people with the victim say, no give me the money first.
    It is one thing for Israel to invade its neighbors in retaliation for attacks against it. It is another to use that as an excuse to expand its boundaries. It has to withdraw from the West Bank (it has withdrawn from Gaza and the Sinai). I agree that Hamas and Hezbollah must be disarmed. But the election of so many Hamas members to the Palestinian “government”, if you can call it that, is, in my view a direct result of Israel’s strangulation and imprisonment of the Palestinians within the West Bank and Gaza. I don’t get why they can’t see that.

  3. “A summit set for Sunday in Egypt is meant to give international backing to the cease-fire. Leaders of Germany, France, Spain, Britain, Italy, Turkey and the Czech Republic — which holds the rotating EU presidency — are expected to attend, along with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.

    It was not immediately clear whether Israel would send a representative, and Hamas has not been invited. ”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28651944/

    Hamas will not be at the table today while leaders attempt dialog, they will be seting the table for ongoing casualties. It is insane.

  4. That is so weird…at the time your comment came through, I was reading that exact same article! So yes, here you have the philosophy of not talking to your enemies. Carter’s book also makes it clear that Israel has done everything in its power to marginalize Mahmoud Abbas, whereas strenthening him (and talking to him) would have weakened Hamas most likely. Perhaps because he is the successor to Arafat, whom Israel seems to view as the devil incarnate. Interestingly, most of Israel’s prime ministers in the past were engaged in guerilla warfare against the British and were often imprisoned. But they were “freedom fighters”. Arafat and others who struggle against Israel are “terrorists”.

  5. For reactions to Jeffrey Goldberg’s piece, which I included a link to in Part 1 of this topic, check this out; http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/17/weekend-opinionator-the-battle-over-the-battle-in-gaza/
    “The Battle Over the Battle in Gaza.” Someone named Daniel Larison of the American Conservative expressed exactly my own view.

  6. Why should Israel agree to a Palestinian state that could potentially become a threat to it? When it can just sit back and let the current situation cotinue, which is quite tolerable despite periodic “uprisings”? It’s worked for 50+ years…

    Few give up power willingly (although I think it has never happened but I’m hedging in case PTFan1 digs up an anomaly). Israel has that power because in back of Israel is the U.S.
    If the U.S> went “neutral”, that’d change some thinking in Israel real quick. The U.S. wants a “just peace” in the Mideast along the same terms it wanted a “just peace” with the Native Americans.

    There are powerful Jewish interests in this country. That is why we support Israel. There are no powerful Tibetans here, so we let Tibet rot instead of boycotting China as we do Cuban in deference to the Cubans in Florida.

    There is NO solution to the issue, other than “theoretical” solutions that will never be realized as long as Israel’s “victim” mentality continues. Conservatives, who blindly support Israel (while not letting Jews into Miami country clubs in the 50’s and 60’s when my father lived there and saw signs that said No Jews or dogs) decry the “victim” card if played in the U.S. by minorities, etc. but have no problem playing it with Israel, which has cleverly played “victim” for 60+ years.

    The Holocaust was a historical anomaly. Yet Israel wants us to believe “it might happen again” so there must be an Israel. There’s that looking backward again, the idea that the past instructs us to the future. It does not.

    (But Vegas has made lots of money showing folks at the roulette wheel what the last 20+ numbers were, because many of the playare believe the future is foretold by the past. And the casinos saw their profits go way up after they let folks know that the past looked like.)

    Might makes right…always has and always will. When told that the Pope objected to a policy, Stalin was said to have replied: “How many divisions does the Pope have.”?

    What we might think is “moral” is irrelevant when it comes to anything beyond the individual. And especially when it comes to nations and governments. Foreign policy makes sense when you strip out “right” and “wrong” and think only of “power.”

    I know I’m just repeating what I said last week in my blurb about “Moral Man, Immoral Society” but you may have some readers who didn’t read that post. (And how can we correct that… 😉

  7. Is it Spencer Court or Anarchist I address? I am dizzy with your alter ego.

    “Few give up power willingly (although I think it has never happened but I’m hedging in case PTFan1 digs up an anomaly). ”

    Shame on you:) I know someone at Eckerd must have mentioned George Washington, who simply walked away from command with a breathtaking victory over the mightiest fighting force in the world and went back to Mt Vernon. Congress would have readily accepted him as (fill in the blank).

    “The Holocaust was a historical anomaly. Yet Israel wants us to believe “it might happen again” so there must be an Israel. There’s that looking backward again, the idea that the past instructs us to the future. It does not”

    uhhhhh no! Not really, but that it happened in the 20th Century is further evidence on man’s enduring inhumanity to man. And it can happen right now, Iran would be happy to lead the way. That would take care of the border issue neatly No Israel no border issue.

    Michner did a good job of chronicling the eternal persecution of the Jewish People in The Source.

    And as for the study of history we are in total disagreement there:)

  8. Uh oh…I can hear Anarchist’s reply on its way: individuals may give up power, but not groups/countries.
    Muslims can claim their fair share of persecution, mostly by Christians (see: The Crusades). Oddly, the whole area seems to have experienced its most peaceful period while under the control of the Ottoman empire. When that was dismantled after WWI, things pretty much went to hell in a handbasket.
    Do I recall, speaking of filling in the blanks, that the U.S. was willing to declare George Washington king?

  9. fn tsk tsk……why do we constantly try to draw the distinction between people, countries and corporations. They are all people. Having been a shepard most of my adult life it is almost amusing to watch the finger pointing at every reason except the correct one “we are all our brothers keeper(s).”

    I saw an interesting movie last week with Pierce Brosnan (really…. it is the first one ever) The Tailer of Panama I do recommend it and it is totally germain to the topic. It demonstrates how 1 person can actully start a war between Nations through misinformation.

    There was that talk for GW, even after having just whooped a monarchy, such is the hard hard way of civil liberties. He was a remarkable individual without whom this (OMG) nation might not have endured long enough to create jobs in Tallahassee.

  10. Well I will have to stand with Anarchist on this one, to the extent that groups of people behave differently than individuals alone. Take the example of a jury, where weaker-willed individuals can be induced to vote against their personal beliefs. There are other examples.

  11. thanks for a comprehensive and well thought out thread. you all make good and valid points. what i don’t understand is that why we choose to adhere to some un.n resolutions and completely ignore others? I’ve been doing some thinking and will have my own commentary.

  12. Well PTFan1, you should be glad I only have two egos these days… online that is. 😉

    > I can hear Anarchist’s reply on its way: individuals may give up power, but not groups/countries.

    Fakename is becoming eerily observant as to how I may reply. Since the issue was about a country and groups, I thought the “few” didn’t need clarification.

    Now PTFan1, what fun would it be if you and I, or everyone agreed? Psychologically soothing yes, but oh so boring! What we think or say on these blogs will not make an iota of difference.
    So we can enjoy the exchange, like the 7 blind people and the elephant.

    And like Fakename, I too shall predict your reply: “Never underestimate the power of one.”
    Verbatim, I believe. 😉 We are getting too inbred here….lol!

    > man’s enduring inhumanity to man.

    Quite so. And by “man” I think you really mean countries, groups, etc because they are the ones who are responsible for the most evil. Not sure how many folks any single person acting alone killed.

    But folks “just following orders” killed millions and believed they were doing the right thing, whether those millions were Jews or Japanese / German civilians who were firebombed.

    Surely you are aware of the psychological studies that show folks will administer shocks to others if given a “rational” reason, such as that the shocks are not really strong, etc.

    And a recent Newsweek article, which may be fodder for a post, showed that women (the study was limited to women) tend to consensus regardless of facts, etc. Portions of their brain lit up when they went to the other side and the disagreement ended. Now, it may be that women are more “group” oriented than men for all sorts of social or other reasons.

    Meanwhile, start thinking about your favorite American films by category (B & W, action, western, etc. and see how many are the ones that I list next week as my favorites too.

  13. Very weird…..

    Although I was logged in, I was not recognized.

    I thought you had reset your comments options. Then, I re-logged in and was recognized.

  14. PTFan1…. yes, I did see that film some time ago. You must have seen it on TV or DVD as it is not very recent.

    “The power of one”…. 😉

    But it was a movie. One has power only if s/he can inspire others. I am not a follower, so no one will have power over me… 😉

  15. fn……I will take your example and say ” 12 angry men” where one individual who was “right” swayed the other 11.

    http://www.filmsite.org/twelve.html

    Movie…..yes so what…..?:)

    the correct answer is still “we are all our brothers keeper”

  16. This has indeed been thought-provoking, and eehard brings up another good question: the relevance (or not) of the U.N. I was all prepared to hate John Bolton (appointed by Bush during an interim where Congress wasn’t meeting, hostile to the U.N., no chance of being confirmed and withdrew before a confirmation hearing after serving for a short while.) And did I mention he was appointed by Bush? Then I heard an interview, actually commentary, with him on NPR and found out he wasn’t crazy. I also hold the view that the U.N. is ineffective, perhaps not for the same reasons others think so, but I also hold the view that we would be in much worse shape as a planet without it. What other choice do we have but to support it and try to perfect it and make it stronger?
    It so amused me during W’s endless farewell speeches that he said isolationism was not the way to go. What do you call unilaterally invading Iraq? What do you call sending John Bolton to the U.N., if not to say, we don’t care about your opinions? But I’m passing the baton on this. Don’t make me read another non-fiction book! That was hard work!

  17. The U.N.? How many divisions does it have? 😉

    And Fakename… this non-fiction book has generated one of the highest number of comments
    in a long time! And it is a political post too!

    I think I still have my copy of “Moral Man, Immoral Society” which has been sitting in a box of college texts since 1974….

  18. “. But the election of so many Hamas members to the Palestinian “government”, if you can call it that, is, in my view a direct result of Israel’s strangulation and imprisonment of the Palestinians within the West Bank and Gaza”

    Not to run this into the ground but Hamas intimidates the Palestinian population too through terror and restricts the number of viable opposition candidates. The UN has no effective mandate to deal with that problem it has to be solved internally or (god forbid) with regime removal.

    I saw today that Israel may be using depleted uranium (du) in thier armaments. That is bad shit and I see no reason for them to do so. It is a hardening component of projectiles that enables them to penetrate armor easily, but it is radioactive when it is spent and is virtually indestructible. So the general population is at risk untill someone moves it somewhere.

  19. Oh no, where did you see that? I also saw somewhere (CBS News, I believe) that there is a question about Israel’s use of phosphorus bombs. Those are “legal” (I use the parentheses because”rules” of war always sounds like an oxymoron to me) and are used to light up targets at night or to create smoke screens for troop movements, but apparently the strength of the phosphorus is in question. When it hits people it is burning all the way to the bone.
    On the way home from work I heard a horrendous story about a Gazan couple who had to flee their home due to shelling, on the same afternoon of their infant daughter’s birth twenty days ago. They took refuge but it was cold and there was little food and water and the baby fell ill , and it was too dangerous to try to get her to a clinic for 6 days. She died. Today they buried her by wrapping her in a white cloth, digging a hole in the sand and putting concrete blocks (which they had to steal) around the “walls” of the hole, laid her body inside, and then covered the top with a piece of scrap metal. That was her “coffin”. When they returned home, their house had been obliterated. I am going to have to stop listening to NPR in the car, it just isn’t safe to drive while crying.
    But also…there was another Gazan woman, screaming and crying at the same time, saying “Where is this victory you speak of, Hamas?” (Apparently Hamas is spinning the ceasefire as them having “driven” the Israelis out by their “courageous” resistance.) The woman said, “All I see are the bodies of our dead. Come out of your palace in Syria and see for yourselves.” (Because many, if not most of the most militant of the Hamas leaders are in exile.) So there may be some people who turn against Hamas after all, but I doubt it. I think many more will be like the man I quoted earlier, who said, “Today, I am Hamas.”
    One of the things Carter talks about is that the elections in Gaza were fair. The Carter Center and other international monitors were present, and one of the things they monitor is the presence of viable alternative candidates, so that argument about Hamas doesn’t fly.

  20. I will grant you that a “fair” election process existed as far as what could be seen. But just think about the voting irregularities in this country in the 20th and 21st centuries. I read some of the websites re Hamas and Fatah, and am still quite skeptical that concern for personal and property safety were not issues during the election. Threats/hostilities abound after the election, did they just spring from nowhere? Don’t think so.

    “Fatah accused Hamas of shooting at and killing its members, while Hamas claimed that Fatah members provided information to Israel in an effort to regain control of the Gaza Strip, reports said. Hamas wrested control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007 after a series of violent battles.”

    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/story.aspx?guid=%7B39C77D02%2D0E5B%2D401A%2D9164%2D7589E5577AEA%7D&siteid=rss

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