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Old 07-26-2019, 11:52 AM
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"Israel's existence is illegal, therefore it should vanish?" (focusing on one argument only)


Trying to sidestep the whole sprawling mess that is the Israel-Palestine issue and just asking about one specific particular thing:


AIUI, most Palestinians just want their own independent Palestine nation. But there are a few who hold the argument that "Israel's coming-into-existence in 1947 was an illegal seizure of our land, therefore, Israel has no right to exist, and ought to vanish into thin air," right?

Is that a fair assessment of how these (few) think? If so, is that a case of a "technically logical, but practically un-doable" stance?
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Old 07-26-2019, 11:55 AM
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If it was legal, would that make everything OK?
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:09 PM
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The counter argument could be made that what is now Israel was bestowed upon those people by God himself. What could be more legal than that?
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:09 PM
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The counter argument could be made that what is now Israel was bestowed upon those people by God himself. What could be more legal than that?
Any other argument on earth.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:11 PM
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I'm positive you could find "a few" people who agree with anything you care to name, whether it make sense or not.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:20 PM
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If the existence of Israel is illegal, who determines that and enforces it?
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:23 PM
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A valid argument is in the eye of the beholder.
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Last edited by Jasmine; 07-26-2019 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:31 PM
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The existence of Israel is about as legal as any modern country. It was approved by the U.N. over the objections of others, and there is really no court that has appropriate jurisdiction to declare otherwise. As a practical matter, they stand ready to, and are quite capable of, defending their country. Possibly with nuclear weapons if necessary.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:32 PM
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Oh, now let's not get into that whole thing about who took what from whom.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:34 PM
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Trying to sidestep the whole sprawling mess that is the Israel-Palestine issue
Oh, sure - that will work .

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If so, is that a case of a "technically logical, but practically un-doable" stance?
It's technically logical if you buy the premise, which if this thread doesn't die a quick death will probably attract multiple pages of dueling cites and bloviation as folks argue over it for the nth time.

But it's undoable yes, as well as morally untenable IMO. I'm not entirely sure what you expect from this thread.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:35 PM
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Oh, now let's not get into that whole thing about who took what from whom.
Right - not getting into that whole mess, as stipulated in OP.


Just asking if it is true that indeed, a sizable minority of Palestinians think this way - that they still want Israel to vanish from existence.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:44 PM
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Didn't they get the land by buying it from the previous owners?
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:44 PM
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Let’s posit for a moment the creation of Israel was illegal, so what? It’s currently enjoying an existence as a modern state. It’s people have been living there for decades. Who the hell is going to go to Israel and evict them?
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:52 PM
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Even if you knew how many Palestinians thought this way, you would not know if they would think this way if they were granted some of their lesser demands such as having an independent nation.

Perhaps the Palestinians who make this argument are doing so as a means to an end.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:54 PM
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...

Is that a fair assessment of how these (few) think? If so, is that a case of a "technically logical, but practically un-doable" stance?
Something that's wrong can still be "technically logical", meaning if it was created illegally then one possible logical argument is that it can be un-created. It wasn't created illegally, though, so even though it might be a logical argument (maybe?) it's still wrong.

Later, though, you are asking whether there are some Palestinians that make this argument -- that seems like a completely different question than the OP. Which are you trying to answer? I'm sure there are some who make that argument, some who would be happy with the status quo because their set up in the West Bank or wherever is acceptable to them, some who want their own country, some who already live in Israel and have a nice home and job and would like to keep that, some who would rather not have any Jews at all on Earth.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:00 PM
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Just asking if it is true that indeed, a sizable minority of Palestinians think this way - that they still want Israel to vanish from existence.
Probably as many as there are Israelis that wish the same would happen to them.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:01 PM
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Just asking if it is true that indeed, a sizable minority of Palestinians think this way - that they still want Israel to vanish from existence.
Hopefully I don't need a cite to support the assertion that Hamas wants Israel to vanish from existence. The fact that they received close to 45% of the vote in the 2006 Palestinian legislative election would seem so support that a sizable minority of Palestinians agree with that position.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:22 PM
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Doesn’t really matter. Israel has lived by the only law of nations that matters:

To be a nation declare your independence and make it stick.

Israel fulfills both parts pretty well. Hamas can believe what it wants - I won’t speculate - but without the will and power to make it happen they might as well wish for unicorns.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:37 PM
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This is like a Sovereign-Citizen approach to the issue, i.e. Israel isn't legal because the U.N. declaration is in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.

It ends with Palestine getting tased.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:41 PM
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This is like a Sovereign-Citizen approach to the issue, i.e. Israel isn't legal because the U.N. declaration is in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.

It ends with Palestine getting tased.
Ok, but like some SovCits, it is "they are right but nobody would or could give them what they are demanding?"
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:45 PM
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Ok, but like some SovCits, it is "they are right but nobody would or could give them what they are demanding?"
I guess some subset of Palestinians are "right" in the same way. Which is to say, entirely delusional.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:47 PM
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Ok, but like some SovCits, it is "they are right but nobody would or could give them what they are demanding?"
Can you rephrase this? The SovCits are wrong. Are you asking whether Hamas, for example, is thinking "We're right but nobody can give us what we demand"?

So, the SovCits are wrong. It's also wrong to say that Israel was formed illegally -- they are just as valid of a sovereign state as any other. It's likely true that some Palestinians think that Israel was formed illegally. Logic doesn't really enter into it (from the question in your OP).
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:49 PM
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If the existence of Israel is illegal, who determines that and enforces it?

Other nations, same as any other country or piece of international law.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:52 PM
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Other nations, same as any other country or piece of international law.
Like which "other nations", for example?
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:59 PM
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Can you rephrase this? The SovCits are wrong. Are you asking whether Hamas, for example, is thinking "We're right but nobody can give us what we demand"?

So, the SovCits are wrong. It's also wrong to say that Israel was formed illegally -- they are just as valid of a sovereign state as any other. It's likely true that some Palestinians think that Israel was formed illegally. Logic doesn't really enter into it (from the question in your OP).
Yeah I should rephrase. What I meant was, sometimes the practical consequences of doing something are so huge that nobody would seriously honor some obscure clause or rule, even if that rule were true.

Suppose that SovCits are technically correct in arguing that "because this is gold fringe on the flag, therefore admiralty court" and therefore they don't have to pay taxes or obey laws - even if technically true, no judge in his/her right mind would honor such a demand because the consequences are vast. So even if the Palestinians were right that Israel's existence is illegal, no United Nations or international body would seriously eject 7 million Israelis because the practical burden of doing so is immense.
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Old 07-26-2019, 02:00 PM
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The counter argument could be made that what is now Israel was bestowed upon those people by God himself. What could be more legal than that?
I think a better counter-argument is that what is now Israel was bestowed upon those people by the British government, which was the legally recognized owner.
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Old 07-26-2019, 02:22 PM
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Yeah I should rephrase. What I meant was, sometimes the practical consequences of doing something are so huge that nobody would seriously honor some obscure clause or rule, even if that rule were true.

Suppose that SovCits are technically correct in arguing that "because this is gold fringe on the flag, therefore admiralty court" and therefore they don't have to pay taxes or obey laws - even if technically true, no judge in his/her right mind would honor such a demand because the consequences are vast. So even if the Palestinians were right that Israel's existence is illegal, no United Nations or international body would seriously eject 7 million Israelis because the practical burden of doing so is immense.
OK, but unlike the gold fringe stuff, that's not how sovereignty works. If Israel claims the land and can defend it, and other nations recognize it, then it's legal. If other nations don't recognize it and can overwhelm Israel's defenses, then it's no longer a country (see the Confederate States of America). There's no global constitution that wasn't properly ratified by Ohio or whatever. So, it can't really be the case that it was formed illegally -- it was recognized as British, then recognized as an independent nation called Israel by the United Nations and individually by enough countries so that Israel doesn't have to fight off the world. Egypt and Syria have tried to claim otherwise in the past, Israel fought them off, and they remain sovereign.

The SovCit "logic", such as it is, doesn't apply to international relations.
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Old 07-26-2019, 02:30 PM
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Ok, but like some SovCits, it is "they are right but nobody would or could give them what they are demanding?"
I've never heard a SovCit argument that was right, but if their arguments were ever treated as right, it would effectively undo law as we know it (unless we're somehow deciding that this particular SovCit is a special unique case, which itself is a violation of the concept of equal treatment under the law), and declaring Israel to not be a legal country because of the way it was founded would effectively undo the modern nation-state as we know it (unless we're somehow deciding that Israel is a special unique case, and I suggest you prepare for war).
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Old 07-26-2019, 02:33 PM
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The existence of Israel is about as legal as any modern country. It was approved by the U.N. over the objections of others, and there is really no court that has appropriate jurisdiction to declare otherwise. As a practical matter, they stand ready to, and are quite capable of, defending their country. Possibly with nuclear weapons if necessary.

Right, it is as legal as just about any nation. What makes Palestine or Saudi Arabia or Lebanon legal? Hewed out of the old Ottoman Empire by a deal between France and Britain? How was that legal?

Ever since Og the caveman the only real argument for legality is "My troops are there and can defend it". This was proven in those legal cases of "Arabs vs Israel (1948), also Arabs vs Israel (1967) and so forth.
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Old 07-26-2019, 02:38 PM
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The claim that so-and-so isn't a valid country is in fact one that has often been made throughout history. The reason for that claim is generally "because we have more tanks/cavalry/swordsmen/guys with pointy sticks than they do, and we say so". Sometimes that argument is found to be persuasive, and sometimes it is not.
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Old 07-26-2019, 02:55 PM
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The claim that so-and-so isn't a valid country is in fact one that has often been made throughout history. The reason for that claim is generally "because we have more tanks/cavalry/swordsmen/guys with pointy sticks than they do, and we say so". Sometimes that argument is found to be persuasive, and sometimes it is not.
By the end, one side or the other is usually persuaded.
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Old 07-26-2019, 03:02 PM
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Hopefully I don't need a cite to support the assertion that Hamas wants Israel to vanish from existence. The fact that they received close to 45% of the vote in the 2006 Palestinian legislative election would seem so support that a sizable minority of Palestinians agree with that position.
I don't think that logic is very good. People vote for political parties for all kinds of reasons, and often without agreeing with everything that party has ever stood for. As the wiki page you cite makes clear, the top priorities of voters were "1) Combatting corruption; 2) Ending security chaos; 3) Solving poverty/unemployment." Given the rest of the exit polling data (e.g., 80% support for peace with Israel), isn't the more sound conclusion that the people who supported Hamas did so despite its eliminationist views and not because of them?
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Old 07-26-2019, 04:04 PM
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Another point: is there a statute of limitations on what is "legal"? Let's assume that the 1947 resolution was "illegal." How far back can we go? Can we go back to an Anglo-Saxon UK because the invasion in 1066 was illegal? If that is too far back, and 1947 isn't, then what is the limit?
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Old 07-26-2019, 04:19 PM
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Didn't they get the land by buying it from the previous owners?
In all seriousness, this is the most shocked I've ever been from reading a post on SDMB. Consider that a tribute to your excellent posts on physics.
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Old 07-26-2019, 04:52 PM
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Another point: is there a statute of limitations on what is "legal"? Let's assume that the 1947 resolution was "illegal." How far back can we go? Can we go back to an Anglo-Saxon UK because the invasion in 1066 was illegal? If that is too far back, and 1947 isn't, then what is the limit?
The limit, like the borders, is what everyone is prepared to recognize and/or go to war over.
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Old 07-26-2019, 05:03 PM
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In all seriousness, this is the most shocked I've ever been from reading a post on SDMB. Consider that a tribute to your excellent posts on physics.
Shocked? Jews did buy land legally after the British took over. Wiki entry.
That doesn't have a lot to do with the legality of the state of Israel, which was recognized by both the UN and most of the major powers (both the US and the USSR) which is better than a lot of countries.
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Old 07-26-2019, 05:13 PM
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Shocked?
I gotta admit, it struck me as vaguely amusing in its potential incorrectness.
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Old 07-26-2019, 05:22 PM
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The limit, like the borders, is what everyone is prepared to recognize and/or go to war over.
Sure, but this is an argument exercise. The Socratic method, if you will. How long ago is it proper to bitch because someone took your land? 6 months, 5 years, 500 years? What is a principle that would say that 1947 is current enough but that 1066 is not?
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:21 PM
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Hamas softened their stance on Israel when they updated their charter in 2017. They still don't recognize Israel's right to exist. (Cite)
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The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Monday dropped its longstanding call for Israel’s destruction, but said it still rejected the country’s right to exist and backs “armed struggle” against it.
It's at least a move from we don't recognize Israel and are dedicated to its complete destruction. Still that's the political party that still controls the Gaza strip after the fighting and split between them and the Fatah.
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:31 PM
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Shocked? Jews did buy land legally after the British took over. Wiki entry.
Yes, and Chinese have bought land legally in San Francisco. But even according to your link, the total purchases were less than 5% of the area of Israel.
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:54 PM
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Sure, but this is an argument exercise. The Socratic method, if you will. How long ago is it proper to bitch because someone took your land? 6 months, 5 years, 500 years? What is a principle that would say that 1947 is current enough but that 1066 is not?
50 years.....


....is as good an answer as any.
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Old 07-26-2019, 07:05 PM
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Sure, but this is an argument exercise. The Socratic method, if you will. How long ago is it proper to bitch because someone took your land? 6 months, 5 years, 500 years? What is a principle that would say that 1947 is current enough but that 1066 is not?
Somebody might have taken land from me six months ago or five years ago. But if somebody took land five hundred years ago, it obviously wasn't taken from me.

If we're arguing about whose ancestors were there first, I think it's a historical fact that the Jews were around before the Muslims.
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Old 07-26-2019, 07:12 PM
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I don't see how anyone can debate the legality of Israel's existence; it was indisputably ratified by the UN and is recognized by most member nations around the world. There certainly are legitimate criticisms about the process toward becoming a nation-state (not really feeling like having that debate again, lol), but the legality of its existence itself is pretty clearly established.
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Old 07-26-2019, 08:09 PM
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Yes, and Chinese have bought land legally in San Francisco. But even according to your link, the total purchases were less than 5% of the area of Israel.
The Chinese have bought property down the street from me. 5% is pretty good given that Jews weren't even allowed to buy land before 1920 and there were restrictions.
I've read the debate in the UN about Israeli independence, and I don't remember much discussion of the amount of land owned, though it was a long time ago.
And if independence had been peaceful, no doubt land ownership wouldn't have changed as much as it did.
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Old 07-26-2019, 09:51 PM
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5% is pretty good
Jesus, listen to yourself. 5% is not pretty good as a justification for taking the other 95% (or if you include the West Bank, the other 130%).
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Old 07-26-2019, 10:17 PM
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If we're arguing about whose ancestors were there first, I think it's a historical fact that the Jews were around before the Muslims.
True, but irrelevant. Muslims were not an ethnic group that moved into Palestine, any more than Catholics were an ethnic group that moved into France. The people in Palestine who converted to Islam were already living there.

If you believe the Bible stories, they were living there long before the Jews, or even the Israelites. However, scholarly consensus now seems to be that the Exodus and the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites never happened, they were just a subgroup of Canaanites who developed a distinct identity and religion. So at best, it's a tie.

But all of this is moot. Might makes right, that's the way it's always been, that's the way it still is. The Israelis were strong enough to drive the Palestinians out of what is now Israel, and are strong enough to hold it, especially with the unwavering support of the US. That's how they got it, that's why they'll keep it, that's why it's pointless to pretend that things that happened thousands of years ago matter, or that fairness matters. If the UN had wanted to be fair, they would have given the Jews some prime land in Germany.

Last edited by TonySinclair; 07-26-2019 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 07-26-2019, 10:31 PM
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True, but irrelevant. Muslims were not an ethnic group that moved into Palestine, any more than Catholics were an ethnic group that moved into France. The people in Palestine who converted to Islam were already living there.

If you believe the Bible stories, they were living there long before the Jews, or even the Israelites. However, scholarly consensus now seems to be that the Exodus and the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites never happened, they were just a subgroup of Canaanites who developed a distinct identity and religion. So at best, it's a tie.
Is there any historical reason to believe the modern day Palestinians are the descendants of the Canaanites who were living in the region 3500 years ago? They are more plausibly descendants of the Arabs who entered the region over a thousand years later.
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Old 07-26-2019, 10:41 PM
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If the UN had wanted to be fair, they would have given the Jews some prime land in Germany.
NB that some of the Jews who suffered in Germany at the hands of bad guys were not only German, but hard-core German patriots and/or military veterans. They would have been dismayed at the suggestion of Germany being carved up.

I once saw an exhibition of machine tools, and there was one old (pre-War? There was no date) Israeli lathe that had a manufacturer's plaque that said "Rishon Lezion, Palestine" in English, parallel to "Rishon Lezion, Israel" in Hebrew script. No Arabic.

The British also oversaw the Partition of India (legally? Illegally?), and we all know how well that worked out.
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Old 07-26-2019, 11:27 PM
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The British also oversaw the Partition of India (legally? Illegally?), and we all know how well that worked out.
I don't think the British should be blamed for the partition; they were opposed to it. It was something that the local Muslims insisted on.
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Old 07-26-2019, 11:58 PM
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Somebody might have taken land from me six months ago or five years ago. But if somebody took land five hundred years ago, it obviously wasn't taken from me.

If we're arguing about whose ancestors were there first, I think it's a historical fact that the Jews were around before the Muslims.
So is that the standard: it must have been taken from someone living? If in 2065 there is one 118 year old person who was still alive when Israel was established, the case is still good? If the lawyer is in court and gets an email that the person died, is the case over?

I'm not trying to be a smartass, but there comes a point in time where even an illegal action becomes final, like a statute of limitations. This argument to me seems no different than sovereign citizens saying that the Constitution wasn't ratified properly therefore we are still under the Articles of Confederation.
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