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

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On 5/19/2021 at 12:33 PM, Werthead said:

Eilat is on the Red Sea.

So they need Eilat for the naval defence strategy that they need because they have Eilat?

On 5/19/2021 at 12:33 PM, Werthead said:

Aside from giving Israel ports on two different seas, which is crucial for the country's external trade and defence, it also gives Israel the possibility of a major trading port with Saudi Araba (the Saudi border is almost next door, with only 13 miles of Jordan between them). Giving the thawing of Israeli-Saudi relations, that is potentially quite useful for the future.

Everywhere else in the region except for Egypt manages with ports on just one significant sea; why is it uniquely crucial for Israel to have two? Sure, it's valuable, but I don't see any prospect of a peace deal in which Israel doesn't give up anything of value. Trade could still happen with a Palestinian-owned trading port, and mutually profitable trade would be an incentive for both sides to keep the peace.

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1 hour ago, felice said:

So they need Eilat for the naval defence strategy that they need because they have Eilat?

No, naval defense strategy means that naval access, trade and supply routes are part of your defence strategy and Eilat is part of that.

Having a port that allows you direct acccess (bypassing the Suez Canal) to major exporting markets (China) and import of oil is a strategic advantage that they won't give away. You have to remember that Egypt did block Suez for Israeli shipping, so it's not a theoretical scenario; also you have to remember that the Mediterranean ports of Haifa and Jaffa are much closer not only to Gaza and the Westbank but also to Syria and Lebanon, putting them potentially within striking range of not only Hamas but also Hezbollah rockets. Israel doesn't have the same strategic depth as their neighbours (with the exception of Lebanon, important parts of which are basically a Syrian client state), so in the event of blockades, embargoes or outright war, it is vital to have backups for supply ports. 

It is a total non-starter to ask Israel to give up territory that they consider critical to their strategic defense; they won't give up the Golan Heights for the same reason either.

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6 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

And how do you do that in a real, lasting way?

It would undoubtedly take years and be very complicated. The Good Friday Agreement would probably be a good comparable.

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But again, how would that be paid for? It's a really inefficient way to travel back and forth and many people in Gaza would be unable to pay for it.

It would be far from an ideal solution, but this isn't a problem on a scale that would justify the whole-sale relocation of two million people on its own.

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Again, assuming a lasting peace can be achieved (and again the Hamas issue looms large), how is Gaza going to be built up and sustained. Many of the proposals to such concerns assumes everything goes fairly well. Sorry for being a cynical, but I wouldn't bet on that anytime soon.

And how exactly do you envision accomplishing relocating (supposedly voluntarily) Gaza's entire 2 million population without the Hamas issue having first been dealt with?

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9 hours ago, felice said:

So they need Eilat for the naval defence strategy that they need because they have Eilat?

Everywhere else in the region except for Egypt manages with ports on just one significant sea; why is it uniquely crucial for Israel to have two? Sure, it's valuable, but I don't see any prospect of a peace deal in which Israel doesn't give up anything of value. Trade could still happen with a Palestinian-owned trading port, and mutually profitable trade would be an incentive for both sides to keep the peace.

The problem here is that Israel has no real incentive to give up anything of value. They are getting basically everything they want right now. Their populace might not like some of the police or the military but in general both are highly supported in the country. There are few economic sanctions and they're even getting more normalized relations with the Arab world. 

Why would they ever give up anything of value?

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Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems a core issue is that Gaza and the WB have, in effect, two separate governments and leaders who do not particularly agree with each other.  If that's the case, and what's preventing a two state solution, why aren't they instead trying for a three state solution?

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15 minutes ago, aceluby said:

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems a core issue is that Gaza and the WB have, in effect, two separate governments and leaders who do not particularly agree with each other.  If that's the case, and what's preventing a two state solution, why aren't they instead trying for a three state solution?

Gaza is in no realistic way sustainable as an independent country. It doesn't have the infrastructure, resources, or land area. And no one is going to make the necessary investments to turn it into a high-tech, financial center like Singapore.

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32 minutes ago, Fez said:

Gaza is in no realistic way sustainable as an independent country. It doesn't have the infrastructure, resources, or land area. And no one is going to make the necessary investments to turn it into a high-tech, financial center like Singapore.

Whatever happened to the American-as-apple-pie "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps"? :P

Seriously, though, Singapore also started out dirt poor and did not see itself in any way sustainable as an independent entity. It took some decades until it became a success story. IF (and I am very aware that this is a very big "if") a peace agreement can be reached which actually holds up, I don't see why Gaza can't succeed, not at a Singapore level, perhaps, but good enough to provide its citizens a decent standard of living.

I mean, Gaza is already self-governing at the moment. If there was no economic blockade and it had a functioning seaport and fishing industry, why could it not succeed? It would certainly need some assistance to get going, but that is/was true for many far larger poor countries in the world. I fail to see why its size alone should doom such a prospect to failure.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, aceluby said:

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems a core issue is that Gaza and the WB have, in effect, two separate governments and leaders who do not particularly agree with each other.  If that's the case, and what's preventing a two state solution, why aren't they instead trying for a three state solution?

The problem is that none of the parties involved wants that solution.

ETA - the same could be said of some of the other 'solutions' being floated in this thread.

In the end, this isn't and shouldn't be about a bunch of mostly Western, largely white folks who know and understand little of the daily lives of Palestinians or Israelis sitting around coming up with clever concepts to solve the problem. In doing so, we inevitably miss the nuances that we can't know and erase the desires of the people on the ground. It's well meant, I know, but can come off as paternalistic and insensitive. This isn't an intellectual exercise for us. It's about the rights to self-determination of both the Israeli and the Palestinian people. The problem is that those rights are in conflict, but the job of the West is to help both sides to be able to reach a solution to that problem, not to solve it for them.

(For myself, at the moment the priority there is to prevent Israel from simply enforcing its solution on the Palestinians by violence.)

Edited by mormont

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5 hours ago, Karlbear said:

The problem here is that Israel has no real incentive to give up anything of value. They are getting basically everything they want right now. Their populace might not like some of the police or the military but in general both are highly supported in the country. There are few economic sanctions and they're even getting more normalized relations with the Arab world.

Indeed. I don't expect anything to improve without serious international pressure to reach a settlement that's fair to both sides, including a radical change in the US position.

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On 5/19/2021 at 2:58 PM, Toth said:

in a bit of insanity I'm trying to write an idiot-proof summary of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict up until now because all materials I found are either incomplete or needlessly complicated and my students are barely literate

Toth -- this might be of use to you, as well in attempts to explain this conflict to your students, as it is a run-down of how YOUNG Jewish people are seeing this conflict, which is often a different view than their elders and past generations have held.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/19/us/jews-israel-palestine.html?

From the this long article:

Quote

"Compared with their elders, younger American Jews are overrepresented on the ends of the religious affiliation spectrum: a higher share are secular, and a higher share are Orthodox."

Which means the Jewish population of the US is as much polarized as all the other groups that comprise the USA.

As this is paywalled, and you cannot access it, but think you might want to, send me a private message and I'll try to help!

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6 hours ago, aceluby said:

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems a core issue is that Gaza and the WB have, in effect, two separate governments and leaders who do not particularly agree with each other.  If that's the case, and what's preventing a two state solution, why aren't they instead trying for a three state solution?

A Palestinian state on just the West Bank would be viable - or at least more viable than Gaza by itself - but ultimately having the two territories united is a better idea. It makes the entire Palestinian national project more viable as it gives proto-Palestine a port on the Mediterranean which would be vital for its economic development.

The fact that Gaza is controlled by an internationally-regarded terror organisation which is not seen as a legitimate government and is wholly unwilling to take the steps to stop being regarded as a terror organisation is a major headache. Hamas controlling Gaza is one of the two major logjams - the other being the settlement building - that has made most peace proposals for the last decade to sixteen years a complete non-starter, and Hamas is not looking likely to lose control of Gaza any time soon. On the contrary, there is a real worry of them spreading influence and power in the West Bank as well.

The irony in this is that if Hamas really wanted to give Israel a massive headache and a big problem, they could recognise Israel's existence (even if they wanted to coach it in some terms like they only recognise its 1967 borders or whatever, something they've said is on the cards in the past) and confirm they no longer advocated the destruction of Israel and the running of its people into the sea. Pretty much overnight they'd remove most of the impediments to negotiations and it would put the Israeli government on the back foot, unable to hide behind Hamas's existence as an excuse not to do anything with the peace process any more.

The chances of that happening in the near future are pretty minuscule (although far more likely than some other ideas floated here).

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MIT analysis of NYT articles proves bias against Palestinians. 

 

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Finding that there's a systemic bias in the Western press against Palestinians is somewhat akin to finding that you tend to get wet in the rain. but yeah.

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Bias is always a tricky thing to talk about, it assumes that the press should sit in the exact middle of an issue. Trying too hard to be unbiased, you get “...and for balance, here’s someone who doesn’t believe in climate change” style journalism. Don’t mistake this for an endorsement of the NY Times though, just an observation.

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11 hours ago, Zorral said:

Toth -- this might be of use to you, as well in attempts to explain this conflict to your students, as it is a run-down of how YOUNG Jewish people are seeing this conflict, which is often a different view than their elders and past generations have held.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/19/us/jews-israel-palestine.html?

From the this long article:

Which means the Jewish population of the US is as much polarized as all the other groups that comprise the USA.

As this is paywalled, and you cannot access it, but think you might want to, send me a private message and I'll try to help!

Mmh... thanks for the recommendation, but I'm not sure working this into my lesson won't be too much effort for too little gain. I want to focus on a conflict analysis and trying to put my students into the shoes of the actors, not necessarily expand upon how the conflict is being viewed from the outside. Also I would have to translate anything in there myself after all. Certainly, with other classes I probably should make room for a discussion about how pointing at Israel is used as a convenient excuse for antisemitism, but this class in particular is so frustratingly apolitical that I doubt there is anyone in it having strong opinions about the conflict (or would be easily willing to identify with youths who do).

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9 hours ago, Week said:

MIT analysis of NYT articles proves bias against Palestinians.

This is a neat little article. Bias is often talked about, but can be difficult to prove conclusively.
Very often, when there is a discussion about the "Israeli-Palestinian conflict," the abysmal asymmetry gets obfuscated even by well-meaning people, so it is extremely interesting to be able to pinpoint and highlight the origins of such false equivalencies.

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In contrast to the true nature of the events, the last week of headlines from the New York Times on the raids and airstrikes is marked by ambiguity and bias. Patrick Kingsley and Isabel Kershner write, “More Than 30 Dead in Gaza and Israelas Fighting Quickly Escalates,” on May 11, 2021 [Kingsley and Kershner, 2021]. Their article fails to clarify this included 28 Palestinians and two Israelis [Akram and Federman, 2021]. Most headlines refer to recent tragedies as the “Israel-Hamas Fight” or “Gaza Conflict” or “Israeli-Palestinian Strife” – propagating a false narrative that both sides incite equivalent violence or withstand equivalent strife [Abuheweila and Kingsley, 2021, Associated Press, 2021, Yee,2021]. While the Times failed to highlight the deaths of fifty-eight Palestinian children, they made sure to highlight one of the two Israeli children who were killed in a headline: “Gaza Rocket Finds a Rare Gap in Israeli Armor, and a Boy Is Killed” [Kershner, 2021]. These are only a few examples of bias in recent NYT reports. As violence continues tounfold, it is more important than ever to be critical of the sources we reference. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said in a recent interview, “there are no words to describe the horrors ourpeople are enduring...Israel is killing us” [Al Jazeera, 2021]. Meanwhile, the New York Times reporting upholds the oppressor and spreads a false perception of the situation. In 2021, theNew York Timescontinues its legacy of Palestinianerasure.

Aye. From the West, you often get the impression of two equivalent forces. The first step in any discussion is therefore to underline the fact that the two sides are hardly comparable.

One piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked is the fact that for almost every single adult, living in Israel is a choice, and it is a perfectly conscious one. The compulsiveness of the long military service is an insidious peculiarity of the Israeli state. It forces every young Israeli to confront the reality of the oppression of Palestinians that is the direct consequence not just of Israeli policies, but on some level, of the very existence of Israel as a Jewish nation. It is insidious, because it forces almost all young Israeli adults to be complicit in whatever form the oppression will take at any given time. Hence a  design that traumatizes entire generations and performs what psychologists may call the "shifting baseline syndrom," whereby each generation of Israelis has been used to a different level/form of oppressing the Palestinians. What was condemned by my grandparents will merely be deemed objectionable by my father, and completely ignored by my cousins. There is never a shortage of arguments, excuses, or false equivalencies to condone what is happening, because to do otherwise would be to have to face one's own small part in the greater tragedy, which most would rather forget.
This is, I believe, part of what Ari Folman was trying to convey with Waltz with Bashir.
Of course, every time Israel acts without the restraint one might expect from a developed/civilized country, another generation of Palestinians will be convinced that it should be destroyed, perpetuating a cycle of violence that is then used by pieces of shit like Netanyahu for their own nefarious purposes, thus legitimising yet more oppression. This is, I would posit, the heart of the reason why leftist Jews are heartbroken whenever violence starts anew. Anyone with family in Israel understands the diabolical mechanism at work, by which each flare of violence makes it ever more difficult to avoid the logical conclusion of the progressive dehumanization of Palestinians. It is the deep dark fear of leftists, and what the right is already willing to condone, the cynical logic of moving ever closer to genocide, because the other will do it if they can - would do it if they could. With the consequence that it becomes doubtful whether this self-reinforcing loop can be separated from Zionism itself, and whether the existence of a Jewish nation is still morally defensible. It is after all a simple question: if Israel, not just as a State, but as a concept, can be so easily hijacked by the likes of Netanyahu, should it really exist? What does it say about Jews and Judaism if our nation is unable to behave humanely, not necessarily to do that much better than others, but at least to do as well as most? The Shoah and the past wars may be an explanation, but they cannot excuse anything forever. Or, to put it differently, if one of the peoples that has been the victim of one of the most organised genocides in human history is so willing to come ever closer to perpetrating one, what does it say about humanity?

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Rippounet said:

One piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked is the fact that for almost every single adult, living in Israel is a choice, and it is a perfectly conscious one

Well it IS their home. Just like with any other nationality. I do not know what you want to say with this line.

Edited by ASOIAFrelatedusername

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A bit surprised that under all this arguments the really encouraging news that we have a ceasefire has been buried completely. 

Shouldn't that be the topic of the day?

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It is good news that there is a ceasefire. Netanyahu wagged the dog enough, it seems.

I am sympathetic, but not a lot, to people needing to change their home. I guess if I could only move to a dangerous part of Yemen, I wouldn’t be keen. I don’t really get it, do I? 

On another topic: what are the chances of Putin invading at difficult time?

We are still in the fallout of the pre Biden regime effects.
 

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