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Israel: When the Drums of War Have Reached a Fever Pitch

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4 hours ago, Fez said:

Because you misconstrued at best, or lied at worst, about what the definition actually says.

I'm afraid I did not.

But clearly you are tying yourself into uncomfortable knots trying to bend the definition to fit what you want it to say rather that what it clearly does (and what international recognition of comparable situations has established as precedent), so we'll let that one lie. Suffice to say both the Israeli government and Hamas are committing war crimes on a daily (if not hourly) basis at present.

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However, as for making peace with the Palestinians, it's well documented that there have been offers but it's also well documented that in almost all cases these offers were made in the knowledge that the Palestinians would not or could not agree to them. I don't think it's fair to say that Israel has always been genuinely trying to make peace in these offers. They have often been made for other reasons.

This is, I think, not entirely correct. The Camp David talks in 2000 and the Taba Talks of 2001 did produce probably the closest there has ever been to a viable plan: ~95% of the West Bank retained under Palestinian authority, the rest annexed to Israel (including the 69 settlements at that time containing 85% of the Israeli settler population), with a corresponding annexation to the West Bank of territory within the Green Line. The talks even made inroads on the right to return question, with Israel tentatively accepting at least the idea of making financial reparations and allowing a small but nontrivial number of Palestinian refugees (still numbering in the thousands) to settle in Israel proper (whatever you want to say about Clinton, whatever the hell he said to get Israel to agree to that must have been spectacular).

Arafat reportedly considered accepting the deal, at least as the basis for final settlement negotiations, but was put off by hardliners in the PLO and turned the deal down for internal political reasons. That's heavily backed by the fact that Arafat was unable to come up with a better counter-offer, because he knew there was no plan he could offer that would be more realistic. Sharon of course then became prime minister and the question became moot.

The 2007-08 initiative under Olmert and Abbas was not quite as workable, but it still granted majority control (94%) of the West Bank to a Palestinian state. The main unworkable part was Israel retaining an armed presence inside a future Palestinian state and the fact that a future Palestinian state could not raise its own army (Olmert's definition of an independent, sovereign state being at extreme variance with the rest of humanity's), but that could have been negotiated away in subsequent talks, and it was unrealistic of Israel to expect it to remain on the table.

I do agree that Israel has not made significant or realistic offers since then, but I don't think it's entirely fair to say that the 2000 initiative would not have been acceptable to a large number of Palestinians and Israelis, and the 2007-08 initiative could have been made to work with further refinement.

Also, a key and major problem since 2008 has been Hamas seizing Gaza, making further negotiations difficult since the Palestinian Authority cannot speak for those it does not represent, i.e. the almost 40% of the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip, making any final status settlement effectively worthless since Hamas will not honour it and Israel would not care if they said they did (unless Hamas undercuts Israel by actually doing what they've historically said they'd do, which is recognise Israel within its 1967 borders and stop giving the Israelis an excuse not to take part in direct negotiations).

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3 hours ago, Derfel Cadarn said:

An interesting theory, that the definition of the word was politically influenced.

The UN has to dance around shit like that all the time and if you look at instances that involve the United States, Russia, or China- a lot of things are shuffled around to keep from pointing fingers at the big three where fingers may deserve some pointing. If the Taiwan question were happening with regards to New Zealand and an outlying island- the UN would not treat it the way it treats it when it is China. When some big perpetrators of genocide get to define genocide- you might come up with a less than perfect definition.

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16 hours ago, farerb said:

Because if you cared about Palestinians, you'd condemn Hamas and Hamas' actions, but it seems to be more about hating Israel than actually caring about Palestinians.

I condemn Hamas and Hamas' actions. Cool! They have virtually no real power compared to what Israel is doing. 

16 hours ago, farerb said:

The situation in Shiek Jarah is in dispute and is currently in the hands of the court, as far as I know the four families (out of 28 by the way) don't have any documentation that proves that they are the owners of the respective houses (I was actually informed of this by a Lebanese lawyer). And yes there were radical Israeli that arrived there to create provocation and many Israeli condemned them.

And did nothing.

16 hours ago, farerb said:

Rhe situation with Al-Aqsa Mosque was blown out of proportion, the Israeli police came there in order to seize rocks that were meant to be thrown at Israeli who comes to the Western Wall to pray.

We saw the tapes, dude. This doesn't fly. 

16 hours ago, farerb said:

None of these justified Hamas launching missiles at Israeli population. They're actual motivation was Abbas cancelling the election and portraying themselves as "Defenders of Jerusalem".

Again, cool beans, but it also doesn't justify what Israel is doing in response, especially the utter destruction of buildings without any miltiary value.

16 hours ago, farerb said:

The buildings holds equipment used by Hamas - Launchers, missiles, intelligence information. Israel's goal is to destroy this equipment, which is why it informs the residents to evict in advance, because they don't want to hurt them, they want to destroy this equipment. Hamas knows that by hiding this equipment in Schools, hospitals, news outlets, it will either make Israel hesitant to destroy the building or if Israel does destroy the building it can be used against them.

Except this is bullshit. We know Israel has the capabilities to destroy this equipment without destroying the buildings because they've done it before. Furthermore, if your  goal is to destroy the equipment, maybe not warning the people that you're going to attack is a good idea? Because as far as I can tell it allowed Hamas to relocate this as well. 

 

10 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

You could have acknowledged you're not an expert and acted accordingly.

Instead you accuse a country of genocide in a conflict that has probably claimed less than 150k lives on all sides in a century. Absolutely awful for all actually involved, but fucking far from genocide.

Again, literally the definition of genocide. Genocide does not mean kill a bunch of people; it means wipe out that ethnicity. You can do this with forced migration, or forced sterilization, or Apartheid + removal of basic features. Or you can do it with a lot of killing. 

Also, do you really want to wait until the genocide has killed a lot of people?

10 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Sure you'll help end the occupation by throwing ignorant genocide, apartheid, etc. accusations around against Jews.

It's against Israel. Which is in the middle of an attempted genocide of another people. I mean, let's go to the holocaust memorial definition:

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Genocide is an internationally recognized crime where acts are committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. These acts fall into five categories:

  1. Killing members of the group
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

 

 

Certainly they're killing Palestinians, but probably not enough to warrant. Are they causing mental harm? Yep! Are they inflicting poor conditions of life on that group? Yep! Are they doing this with the intent to destroy an ethnic group? Yep!

This is why what the Chinese are doing to the Uighurs is genocide. Not a whole lot of them have died! Their birth rates have stayed somewhat high too! And the Chinese are still attempting to wipe them off the map as a distinct ethnic group.

 

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13 hours ago, Ser Reptitious said:

Just out of curiosity, why do you believe that? The Kaliningrad Oblast is not physically connected to the rest of Russia, nor the Nakchivan region to the rest of Azerbaijan, to name just two other examples. The lack of a land connection may perhaps be somewhat inconvenient, but I don't see why it would be a deal-breaker. 

It's not that it can't be done, but each situation is different. By having a non-contiguous Palestinian state you're inviting all kinds of scenarios which could lead to more violence. 

Just for starters, how do you think most people would travel between the two? 

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If an actual, lasting peace was achieved, why would Gaza not be sustainable, either as part of a non-contiguous Palestinian state or even as it's own independent micro-state, similar to Monaco, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, etc? Its location on the Mediterranean would allow it to build a sea port and import what it needs that way. Also, if peace is achieved, presumably that would mean no further economic blockade from Israel, so goods could also be exchanged via land routes? 

Yes, if an actual lasting peace could be achieved it might work, but that level of peace could literally take generations to achieve. In the meantime an isolated Gaza is just inviting more opportunities for violent outbreaks. Realistically it makes more sense to take a path that reduces the breaking of a peace treaty before the fruits of it can really be observed.

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Are you arguing that Gaza in and of itself is not viable, or instead that a Hamas-run independent Gaza is not a viable option from Israel's perspective? Those are two very different discussion, so I just want to be sure which one (or both?) we are having here.

Regarding the latter, obviously no final peace settlement would be signed off on without the Hamas issue being addressed (sort of like IRA violence had to be addressed as part of the Good Friday Agreement). 

Both, but they're on different tracks. So to touch on something you asked before, I think the scenario of Gaza as an independent micro-state would most likely happen if Hamas and the PA broke ties. That obviously wouldn't work for Israel because the Hamas issue would still be unresolved. But say the Hamas issue was resolved and it was left on its own. Gaza would need so much sustained funding, possibly for decades, and at some point it may be hard to find people willing to foot that bill. I shouldn't go so far as to say it's impossible, but it would be damn near close to impossible unless everything broke the right way.

In a vacuum I am not a fan of relocating people, but in this specific instance it may be the best path moving forward. You just have to make sure the incentives to do it are very generous for the people being asked to pick up their lives and move. 

 

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9 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

Full stop. Think about this again. You're telling a group of people who were victims of the worst genocide of the 20th century that they should just ignore further threats of genocide simply because those making the threat can't execute it at the moment, and that they should seek a path that makes it easier for the group to commit said genocide? Do you not understand how that reads?

They should not ignore the threats, but they should act accordingly. By your logic Israel should have carried out targeted strikes against the Proud Boys 3 years ago. How the fuck does that make sense? 

I'm not  telling them to ignore anything. You keep saying that Hamas wants this as if it justifies any action to stop it, and that is utter bullshit. The right action is possibly to treat them like criminals and arrest them, or possibly do targeted strikes to kill or capture their leaders and break down the organization. It is certainly NOT 'blow up entire city after giving people warning to clear out'. 

Blowing up civilian buildings in Gaza is not going to stop Hamas from doing anything. It is not going to make anyone think twice about messing with Israel. It IS going to make Israelis more likely to hunker down, however. 

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10 hours ago, TrueMetis said:

Yes yes, nothing Israel does, no matter how similar to actual Nazis policy their actions are, may be compared to the Nazis. If you want I can shift to comparing it to the ethnic cleansing in the Americas if that will make you feel better. It amounts to the exact same thing because the Nazis used those policies in the creation of their own, but hey at least you'll feel more comfortable about it.

Not to mention I didn't compare Jews to Nazis, but Israel, Israelis and Israeli policy. But Israel = Jews is a common deflection tactic. An incredibly shitty one considering how many Jewish people object to the idea they either represent or are represented by Israel.

Israel and its government are not above reproach, but you can't also just handwave away that people attack Israel as a placeholder for Jews. It's very real even if at times some people use it as a deflection. 

And I would suggest never comparing Israel to the Nazis. There are other regimes you can compare it to if you feel so inclined, but it's completely bad faith to use that specific comparison.

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5 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

It's not that it can't be done, but each situation is different. By having a non-contiguous Palestinian state you're inviting all kinds of scenarios which could lead to more violence. 

Just for starters, how do you think most people would travel between the two? 

Tunnel? Airplane?

5 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

In a vacuum I am not a fan of relocating people, but in this specific instance it may be the best path moving forward. You just have to make sure the incentives to do it are very generous for the people being asked to pick up their lives and move. 

So we move all the Jews to Nebraska?

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12 minutes ago, Karlbear said:

They should not ignore the threats, but they should act accordingly. By your logic Israel should have carried out targeted strikes against the Proud Boys 3 years ago. How the fuck does that make sense? 

It doesn't make any sense because the comparison is ridiculous.

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I'm not  telling them to ignore anything. You keep saying that Hamas wants this as if it justifies any action to stop it, and that is utter bullshit. The right action is possibly to treat them like criminals and arrest them, or possibly do targeted strikes to kill or capture their leaders and break down the organization. It is certainly NOT 'blow up entire city after giving people warning to clear out'. 

Blowing up civilian buildings in Gaza is not going to stop Hamas from doing anything. It is not going to make anyone think twice about messing with Israel. It IS going to make Israelis more likely to hunker down, however. 

And Israel's response every time to this is to tell Hamas to stop being cowards firing from civilian locations. They use their own people as human shields. What do you realistically think would happen if Israel sent in ground soldiers? Sounds like a great way to even further escalate things. 

13 minutes ago, Karlbear said:

Tunnel? Airplane?

And who builds the tunnel? Who regulates it? What happens if there's a terrorist attack in it? The more questions you ask, the more problems you find. The point is to find a solution that leads to sustained peace, not one that just creates more cans of worms that will be opened at some point.

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So we move all the Jews to Nebraska?

Spare me this bad faith comment. We get nowhere with such absurd suggestions.

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59 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

It doesn't make any sense because the comparison is ridiculous.

Hamas has killed about as many Jews as far right terrorists have in the US in the last few years. 

59 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

And Israel's response every time to this is to tell Hamas to stop being cowards firing from civilian locations. They use their own people as human shields. What do you realistically think would happen if Israel sent in ground soldiers? Sounds like a great way to even further escalate things. 

It means that you might end up with an actual end and fewer actual civilian casualties, and FAR less civilian property destruction. Realistically, Israel's soldiers would be changing the game significantly against Hamas, which is not used to dealing with actual troop attacks. It would also be significantly less costly in PR. And it might end up actually stopping some of the Hamas people. 

Really, what does blowing up the houses of Hamas leaders do? It doesn't stop the leaders. It doesn't kill them. It doesn't get intel. It just is a way of terrorizing Palestinians. 

59 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

And who builds the tunnel? Who regulates it? What happens if there's a terrorist attack in it? The more questions you ask, the more problems you find. The point is to find a solution that leads to sustained peace, not one that just creates more cans of worms that will be opened at some point.

All solutions will create further problems. That's life. Israel was a solution that caused a fuckton of problems - it still was probably a good idea. 

Realistically probably the right bet is to do something like what Israelis already do - have specific fortified routes between the settlements that are guarded and protected and guaranteed under treaties. Possibly managed by some third party for a while. Have tunnels/bridges over those so that Israel isn't split in half and can easily move around. 

But here's the thing - whatever solution that comes up is going to be complicated, because the situation is complicated and lots and lots of people have reasonable points that should be addressed. A simple solution is what Israel is currently doing - bleeding out Palestinians and making them an Apartheid state. That's super simple. A lot of things are really simple when you can ignore one side. 

(though seriously - what fucked up gerrymandering asshat thought this was a good idea?)

59 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Spare me this bad faith comment. We get nowhere with such absurd suggestions.

It is just as absurd as asking a whole lot of people to move to a place with an entirely different language, culture, and who doesn't want them in the first place. That's precisely the point of making the statement. What do the people of the West Bank have to do with the people in Gaza?

 

1 hour ago, Tywin et al. said:

Israel and its government are not above reproach, but you can't also just handwave away that people attack Israel as a placeholder for Jews. It's very real even if at times some people use it as a deflection. 

And I would suggest never comparing Israel to the Nazis. There are other regimes you can compare it to if you feel so inclined, but it's completely bad faith to use that specific comparison.

For what they're doing, it's far better to compare them to the campaigns of genocide against the Native Americans and First Nations in the US, the systemic terrorism of African Americans in the US via law enforcement and lynchings, Or you can go for a couple of the campaigns against the Aboriginals in Australia and Tasmania. Or some of the forced expulsions of people that have happened, like in Czechoslovakia. 

 

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1 hour ago, Karlbear said:

Hamas has killed about as many Jews as far right terrorists have in the US in the last few years. 

That's still some major apples and oranges, and again, be careful on this subject when establishing timelines. Both sides will always find a previous point in time you also need to consider, which is why in another post I mentioned the US-Iranian conflict. That one you can pretty easily start in the early 50's and work from there. This conflict, not so much.

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It means that you might end up with an actual end and fewer actual civilian casualties, and FAR less civilian property destruction. Realistically, Israel's soldiers would be changing the game significantly against Hamas, which is not used to dealing with actual troop attacks. It would also be significantly less costly in PR. And it might end up actually stopping some of the Hamas people. 

Really, what does blowing up the houses of Hamas leaders do? It doesn't stop the leaders. It doesn't kill them. It doesn't get intel. It just is a way of terrorizing Palestinians. 

There is certainly some truth to the last thing you wrote, but the first part assumes everything goes according to plan with the best possible outcome. It could also backfire in a catastrophic way. Say you sent in a blend of a thousand military personal and police, if you assume that was the right number, and they get attacked, killing a fair chunk of them while they in turn indiscriminately open fire in a chaotic situation. What then? I can see something like that leading to the full scale war people have suggested Israel could actually do if they were so inclined. 

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All solutions will create further problems. That's life. Israel was a solution that caused a fuckton of problems - it still was probably a good idea. 

Realistically probably the right bet is to do something like what Israelis already do - have specific fortified routes between the settlements that are guarded and protected and guaranteed under treaties. Possibly managed by some third party for a while. Have tunnels/bridges over those so that Israel isn't split in half and can easily move around. 

But here's the thing - whatever solution that comes up is going to be complicated, because the situation is complicated and lots and lots of people have reasonable points that should be addressed. 

Yes, it's complicated and there is no silver bullet in this scenario to correct the past. That's why I think following a path that doesn't just leave all the old wounds exposed on a daily basis makes the most sense. I take no joy in saying that relocating people from Gaza and the West Bank may be the better path, but it at least eliminates one giant problem that could easily derail any hopes of a long term peace agreement that is sustainable.

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A simple solution is what Israel is currently doing - bleeding out Palestinians and making them an Apartheid state. That's super simple. A lot of things are really simple when you can ignore one side. 

Which has been my point the entire time, and if you haven't noticed, the willingness to understand the Jewish/Israeli side has been pretty meh so far here.

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(though seriously - what fucked up gerrymandering asshat thought this was a good idea?)

It could well be a good idea if peace wasn't their motive.

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It is just as absurd as asking a whole lot of people to move to a place with an entirely different language, culture, and who doesn't want them in the first place. That's precisely the point of making the statement. What do the people of the West Bank have to do with the people in Gaza?

A freed and independent Palestinian state, that's what. Comparing that to relocating all Jews to Nebraska is not a sincere reply.

You would have been better off suggesting the new Jewish state stretches from Boca to West Palm. :P

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For what they're doing, it's far better to compare them to the campaigns of genocide against the Native Americans and First Nations in the US, the systemic terrorism of African Americans in the US via law enforcement and lynchings, Or you can go for a couple of the campaigns against the Aboriginals in Australia and Tasmania. Or some of the forced expulsions of people that have happened, like in Czechoslovakia. 

And yet the scale is nowhere near the same, and that's before you consider that Jews view themselves as the indigenous people of Israel. It's why no other place makes sense for a Jewish state. 
 

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I've gone back and forth on making this point because I'm not sure its going to actually contribute anything, but I do have a lot of sympathy for the fear of antisemitism that an awful lot of Jewish people have and I think they're justified in being alarmed at the direction of the world. There has been a very substantial increase in hate groups that very much want them dead in the US, Europa, Australia, I assume Canada, and I think its entirely reasonable to be afraid because of that. I'm afraid of all the anti-trans shit that's being pushed by the far right and TERFs so I very much get it.

This isn't a justification for any of the atrocities being committed against the Palestinian people, I absolutely condemn the hardline Israeli government which has been awful under Netanyahu. The government, and many of the people establishing settlements are acting to stoke conflict, not resolve it, and the settlements - as we can see in discussion - have gone a very long way to making a peaceful solution almost impossible. I don't actually think most of them are acting from the fear I'm talking about though, if they were they wouldn't continue to act in ways that make the situation worse. They're motivated by an ideological drive and in many cases hatred of their own.

But aside from them, just regular Jewish people from across the world who look at the trend over the last decade and find the idea of a safe homeland to be something valuable and vital to have? You absolutely get my sympathy. I will continue to disagree on actions taken in Palestine when I think you're wrong, but I'm not going to fall for the trap that those hardliners set - Jewish people are not synonymous with the state of Israel, or the government of Israel, and the actions of the current government are not the only way Israel could possibly be. By accepting these things are all the same you buy into a framing that the Israel that behaves the way it currently behaves should have the value of its existence judged by the merits of how its currently behaving, which just feeds the hardline view on the pro-Israel side and the antisemitic one on the other. Or that third option beloved of some US Christians of the pro-Israel antisemitic view which wants to check that box for the rapture.

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On 5/17/2021 at 12:55 PM, Tywin et al. said:

I just think it's not possible to have Gaza and the WB exist as one state without a shared border. That's why I think in some magical deal you give Gaza to Israel, the WB becomes an independent Palestinian state, people from said areas are relocated to some degree at their choice, and then we build from there.

Why not give a big chunk of the Negev to Palestine instead? A larger amount of land gets transferred, but an order of magnitude fewer people are affected, and nobody is forced to move as long as they're ok with becoming citizens of Palestine (though I acknowledge that moving may well be a much safer option). And potentially some of the settlements in the West Bank could stay in exchange?

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12 hours ago, polishgenius said:

 

 

I'm not really sure what it is you're trying to get across here to be honest. Many of history's worst conflicts and atrocities have happened between people who came from the same 'pool of' somepeople from somewhere. In any case being extra-bewildered that they're fighting coz they're more genetically similar than people from further away suggests that atrocity is more understandable if those fighting are more distantly separate genetically, which I am 100% isn't the message you're trying to get across but kinda comes implicit in the premise.

No not trying to say it makes it more understandable or acceptable.

There always seems to be someone arguing over who belongs historically to the land, who was there and when and so forth. When the occupation and right of return is added to the discussion the subject feels like going back to 1948 or 1967 just doesn't seem adequate.

So I choose to start back as early as I can and think of the loggerheads from the beginning. To me that seems to be Canaan.

How you get from Canaan to this week is what I was really thinking of. It was probably best left unsaid, but it's really what I was I wondering.

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2 hours ago, felice said:

Why not give a big chunk of the Negev to Palestine instead? A larger amount of land gets transferred, but an order of magnitude fewer people are affected, and nobody is forced to move as long as they're ok with becoming citizens of Palestine (though I acknowledge that moving may well be a much safer option). And potentially some of the settlements in the West Bank could stay in exchange?

The problem with that is probably access to the red sea and the city of Eilat. Realistically, Israel will not accept any solution that would split their territory or leave important parts of it indefensible in the event of a conventional war (which is why they will not give back the Golan heights either). 

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would UN peace  keepers / monitors instead of Israeli military / police  in Palestinian areas work?  with perhaps a timed / conditional withdrawal if everyone remains peaceful?

 

Would this be acceptable on either side?   If the UN is seen as too closely linked to the US and thus Israel are there another country/countries that could act in this capacity?

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Having foreign military/police force on your soil is giving up your sovereignty. I don't see Israel (or any other country) accepting that unless they are forced to do it, usually after losing a war like happened with Germany after WWII.

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4 minutes ago, baxus said:

Having foreign military/police force on your soil is giving up your sovereignty. I don't see Israel (or any other country) accepting that unless they are forced to do it, usually after losing a war like happened with Germany after WWII.

but if the reason Israel can't give up land in Gaza or the West Bank is because of fears over attacks. but are in principle willing to give up those lands if it can be sure it won't be attacked from those lands.  Israel's sovereignty of those parts is not really an issue.

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1 hour ago, Pebble thats Stubby said:

would UN peace  keepers / monitors instead of Israeli military / police  in Palestinian areas work?  with perhaps a timed / conditional withdrawal if everyone remains peaceful?

 

Would this be acceptable on either side?   If the UN is seen as too closely linked to the US and thus Israel are there another country/countries that could act in this capacity?

I don't think that Israel would trust UN troops. The UNO didn't always behave like an ally or even very neutral.

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8 minutes ago, kiko said:

I don't think that Israel would trust UN troops. The UNO didn't always behave like an ally or even very neutral.

I would have thought the Palestinians would be far more distrustful of UN troops, but might just about preferer them to Israeli ones...

Is there potentially a neutral country/force that might be trusted enough by both sides, that also has the capability and willingness to act in this role?

I realise asking this is like a moonshot.  

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39 minutes ago, kiko said:

I don't think that Israel would trust UN troops. 

This is one of the more intractable problems with a two-state solution. There are only two entities in the world that Israel would trust to maintain its security, and those are the US and Israel - and they're not all that sure about the first. 

So any two-state solution would see Israel looking to maintain the de facto ability to intervene on Palestinian territory if they felt it necessary to guarantee their own security. That would be really hard for any notionally independent country to accept. 

It's by no means the only or even biggest problem, but it's a real one. 

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