Help me understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Utter foolishness. Peacekeeping troops do not “prevent terrorists from roaming freely”. All peacekeeping troops do is prevent war, usually civil war, from breaking out. They do not stop Hamas (now with an official part in the Palestinian government and therefore access to the Palestinian military) from sneaking suicide bombers across the border, or even the military from firing rockets into Tel Aviv.

Well seeing how the interim Palestinian governing bodies can’t keep the nasty guys away I doubt very much that the UN could do anything about it either.

As for my previous comment on “smashing the” I regretted it as soon as I hit submit.

How on earth would they do that? Terrorists don’t walk around with a big sign saying “TERRORIST!” You could, I guess, set up a curfew. And ban meetings with more than three people. But I’m sure that wouldn’t go over very well.

The sad fact remains that niether side is willing to compromise and so both sides will continue to kill one another bit by bit for the forseeable future until a nuke goes off in Tel Aviv. Then they’ll kill each other a lot.

  1. I am a native Israeli, but my parents are American, I’m a dual Israeli-U.S. citizen and I’ve spent perhaps a quarter of my life in the States (mainly NYC). I consider myself an Israeli first, American second.

  2. Unjustly? well, yes, in the sense that we put our own interest above theirs… but that’s no different than any other nation. We’re mainly guilty of being the (current) winners of the onflict, and the winners always suffer less than the losers.It’s not nice, but it’s true. As an Israeli voter, I don’t want my country to do the “right thing” - I want it to protect me and my family. That’s my first priority, not justice. I want my government to do what it takes to keep me alive: war, peace, injustice, mercy, reconcilliation, agression, whatever works. I’d rather try peace first, of course, but I won’t limit myself.

  3. I’ve accepted the fact that there will, eventually, be a Palestinian state some time ago - but only so long as our safety can be guaranteed. And who can guarantee that?

People have no idea about the depths of cynicism Israeli society has sunken to. Why else would we have reelected Sharon? My countrymen constantly recieve short shrift compared to the vaunted “Arab Street”. Well, let me tell you something: the Arab Street doesn’t vote. The Jewish Street does…

“You claim that terorism will end when Israel withdraws. Well, prove it. Because until we’re 100% sure that’s going to happen, we ain’t going nowhere.”
There are several reasons why Palestinian terrorism is much less likely after they obtain a viable state of their own:
1)They will have a lot more to lose if they have their own independent state compared to the present occupation. This is especially true of the people running the state.

2)If the Palestinians accept a deal which is widely considered as reasonable ie. most of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem and then continue to launch terrorist attacks they will completely lose any Western support and probably many of the Arab states won’t be happy either. Since the Palestinians will still be heavily dependend on oustide support this will be a strong deterrent. Conversely Israel will be in a much better diplomatic position to launch a effective retaliation in such a situation.

3)Finally if there is an agreed upon border between Israel and Palestine it will be much easier to build a super-duper fence along the border to keep out any terrorists.

This isn’t 100% proof of course but you rarely get that in politics. I think it’s a pretty compelling case that Israel will be safer with a Palestinian state than it is today.

Please - what binding UN Security Council resolutions has Israel failed to follow?

Do you think the current situation protects your family, or puts it at risk?

** Nice. Why don’t we just wipe out the Palestinians? Then your life will no longer be at risk. Why, it’s the perfect strategy – something of a final solution, you might say.

If we assume for a second that Israel actually wants to redraw and accept a Palestinian state, but is afraid Palestine would turn into a terrorist state, then either Israel would have to continue the occupation, or a third party would have to go in.

In spite of what some think of the UN, UN peacekeeping troops have done a decent job in the past, including several years in Lebanon. They do checkpoints, street security, id control, house searches - all kinds of tasks related to security.

The question is what Israel is doing today - with the exception of assassinations - that peacekeeping troops cannot do. It doesn’t even have to be UN troops, but the UN is definitely more trusted by the Palestinians than Israel or America.

Of course this would have to be part of a larger agreement.

There is no way the current conflict will be resolved by a “roadmap” of the current kind. There are too powerful factions on both sides who want control over all of the Israel/Palestine territory.

UNSC Resolution 242 and since it calls for the implementation of 242, UNSC Resolution 338. Israel’s neighbors hardly followed them either, though. Some parts of 242, written after the 1967 war that Israel failed to follow:

And second following principle that Israel’s neighbors failed to follow:

It’s worth noting that Israel’s neighbors both hosted fedayeen who launched incursions into the West Bank and engaged in military action short of full scale war from 1967-70.


The questions you ask seem extremely simple in idea, but have proven extremely dificult in practice for some of the world’s best minds to answer. A good start for understanding the conflict and its roots is a book - which I mentioned in a related thread - called “Holy War: The Crusades and Their Impact on Today’s World” by Karen Armstrong. It explains the division between the 3 great monotheistic religions and their peoples, and is a real eye-opener for the current state of the middle east.

Understanding the build up to the situation will illustrate why it is so difficult to enforce any decision about the area of the Holy Land.

Part of the problem is terrorism. Israelis in theory have shown that they are in favour of the idea of a Palestinian state, so long as there are clear guarantees that terrorism will cease (at least from what I’ve read, perhaps Alessan or another Israeli here can elaborate). The problem is, the current Palestinian leadership has proven ineffective at curbing terrorism significantly. The reasons for this are speculative, but the result is the same, so no help there.

Another part of the problem is Jerusalem. Both sides claim it in its entirety, but can it be shared? How can 2 countries have the same capital city? This is a difficult problem to be sure. Also, the Dome of the Rock is the 3rd holiest site in Islam, yet it is built on the remains of the old temple that Judaism holds as the most sacred, of which only remains the Wailing Wall (correct me if I obscured a fact in there). Some hard-line Jews and extreme traditionalists have historically wanted to tear down the mosque and rebuild the temple (don’t know what the status is of that movement right now, again perhaps Alessan or another Israeli can enlighten us). If that happens, you can bet most Muslims will hit the roof.

Another huge problem is the “right of return” for Palestinians displaced by the initial creation of the state of Israel in 1948. There is a significant camp on the Palestinian side of the negotiations that demands this right for all displaced Palestinians, yet Israel would then be faced with a huge influx of Arabs that would outnumber the Jews in the country if they were all allowed to return. That would spell disaster for Israel as a Jewish state, and it is something that most Israeli leaders simply can’t consider.

Then there are the settlements. Many on the Israeli side feel entitled to them, yet they encroach on potential Palestinian land in the new nation (if it ever occurs). It would be politically difficult for any Israeli PM to just out-right dismantle the settlements, but the Palestinians are never likely to be satisfied with their existence, so what to do? Another stalemate.

These are just of few of the more obvious problems for which an answer may seem simple in theory, but prove extremely difficult to implement and build a concensus around. Add to that the myriad of other problems that we outside of Israel and Palestine don’t see and you can sse how difficult it becomes to “just do it” in the area.

For the record I, like most reasonable people I will wager, would love to see a Palestinian state, where both sides are happy. However, it doesn’t look likely any time soon, and I don’t think Yasser Arafat or Ariel Sharon will help matters along, either.

And Alessan has a very good point about Europe being against Israel. Though both sides are flawed, Europe’s shameful and thoroughly wretched history of anti-semitism needs to end. Europe should be situating itself as an impartial negotiator between the conflicting sides, because of the mistrust and/or hatred (warranted or unwarranted, regardless) levelled at the US. Europe could do more than leave the US to draw up peace plans and negotiate (I know they are in there, but they could take more of a leadership role, I think).

I don’t feel much for engaging myself in this debate, since it is an endless one.

Yet for those who want to gain some insight here is the link to a UN page that gives you a good introduction about the situation.

Salaam. A

Dissonance, your citations are not relevant. Israel has not “acquired” the West Bank and Gaza Strip; it is occupying them. Occupation can be legitimate under international law. Since there are rules about occupation, it obviously can exist in some scenarios (for instance, a country which had rules about slavery would be implicitly recognizing slavery as legal). Whether Israel’s occupation is legal or not is another matter, but the first part of your quote doesn’t prove anything. The second part doesn’t either. It doesn’t hold anybody responsible, just says that a “just and lasting peace” is to be established in Israel and the Occupied Territories. What constitutes such a peace is debatable, and in any case the most it could possibly require is efforts toward such a peace, which Israel has undoubtedly made.

Response to Alien coming later.

OK, another Israeli chiming in, if kind of late… I’ll try to address some of the points that I feel have been raised and have not properly been answered:

This was true maybe 10-15 years ago, but is no longer relevant - there are maybe 5000-10000 palestinaians working (on and off) in Israel, which is IMHO a pity for the palestinians, whose unemployment rate has skyrocketed since we decided to stop relying on them for security reasons. This in turn has led to a problem with Illegal Aliens (sound familiar to CA/TX-ans?), however this is WAAAY beyond the scope of this thread.

It’s even more worth noting that “Fedayeen”/terrorists were active against Israel from the moment of its inception in 1948, and throughout the '50-s and '60-s. Events of note: An attack on an Israeli bus at Ma’ale Akrabim, on the old, old road from Be’er-Sheva to Eilat (definitely within the 1967 borders - since this before 1967 - and also squarely within the area alloted to the Jewish state by the 1947 UN partition resloution) in, IIRC 1954 or 1955 - i.e. BEFORE the Suez conflict in 1956(!) - several dozens killed and injured, including children; as well as the fact that a certain Yasser Arafat created a group called the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1964, i.e., BEFORE the 1967 six-day war in which the “Occupied Territories” were in fact occupied.

On the whole, yes. There are of course some factions that disagree, but if it were guaranteed that creating a Palestinian State would stop terrorism, then the motion to create one in most or all of the occupied territories WOULD carry the day here. But not only do we currently see no Palestinian ability to curb terrorism, we see no real willingness to do so. The PA seems to be holding on the terrorism “option” in order to play it whenever they feel things are getting rough for them (i.e., they may have to actually make some real concessions and/or take some real action within the context of negotiations)

Well, actually, I pretty much agree with just about everything he has said so far… which is probably a first for any random sampling of two Israelis :wink:

To KidCharlemagne:
In case this interests you, like Alessan I am an American-born Israeli, I have lived here nearly all my life (Spent 4 years on and off in the States, all before I was 20 - I’m nearly 40 now), and I am an Israeli first, American second.
While I may carry an American passport, my wife and family cannot, and I only use it on the rare occasions that I visit the USA (last time in 1996).
I am eligible to vote for President (and probably for Mass. senators), but would not dream of doing so, since I cannot honestly put aside my identity as an Israeli and vote AMERICAN interests (as I morally feel I must should I ever choose to vote in US elections).

Aldebaran, you are entitled to your opinions, but just as Alessan and I have identified ourselves in this thread as Israelis, I think that it is fair that you should identify yourself to any readers of this thread who may not know you…

I wasn’t looking for answers to those questions as much as I was asking if they were the right questions. I don’t think 95% of Americans have any idea that the Palestinians might have a legitimate beef and I don’t quite understand why the US media never airs this out. And while the questions I pose are simple there still seems to be a contingency that doesn’t accept them as a working thesis. How can anyone expect a reasonable offer from the Israelis if they don’t believe that the Palestinians have been wronged in the first place? (I refer you to Alessan’s answers). I also don’t understand the logic:

Israel wants guarantees of peace before agreeing to a Palestinian state. The main reason there isn’t peace is because the Palestinians don’t have a state. There isn’t peace currently. Will there be less peace if the Palestinians have a state? Isn’t there at least a chance there might be if they do have a state? There is certain war or a chance for peace by giving up some land that under international law isn’t theirs anyway. Is resettling the Jews in the WB and GS a pain in the ass? Yes. But if someone steals a car, saying “But how am I gonna get to work?” isn’t a reasonable excuse for not giving it back.

I promised myself I would never get involved in one of these. So much for good intentions.

The problem is that until recently not a single country accepted Israel as a legitimate entity. I present from one of Aldebaran’s inks the following:

Highly inflammatory, likely due to the passions of the times, but not a healthy start.

Now you can begin to imagine the Israeli’s concerns about having a full fledge state with all the taxation powers, military right, funding etc., sitting right next door. Not only that but the initial roster of cabinet ministers likely being ex-terrorists (in their view).

Nope, Isarel wants guarantees that [ul]

  1. Civilians are kept OUT of this.
  2. The PA stops holding on to the various terrorist groups and their abilities as playing cards in the diplomatic game being played out.
    And before anyone mentions civilian casualties on the Palestinian side, note that Palestinian terrorism targets civilians per se, while Israeli measures, directed against active, dangerous terrorists sometimes inadvertantly hurt civilians. Specially since the terrorist leaders seem to suuround themselves with civilians on purpose. Point: In latest attack on Hamas leadership, said leaders were not killed because Israel chose to use the smallest bomb possible, risking success in order to minimize the danger of civilian casualties

Once this happens - and this means a real dismantling of the various terrorist organizations and their infrastructure + a pledge by PA to the world community not to go this route again - most Israelis will be willing (many even happy) to allow the PA to become a full State.

As to the Jewish settlers in WB+GS - there are plenty of Arab citizens in Israel. Why not give the settlers a choice - stay and become a Palestinian citizen (possibly retaining Israeli citizenship as well) under Palestinian government, or leave.

Dan Abarbanel

No-one the point about the Jewish settlers is that they are there illegally and nearly all the land they live on was confiscated land, so they simply don’t have the right to be there in the first place unlike the Israeli Arabs.

Also No-one Israel has shown criminal disregard for the lives of Palestinians and there are less savoury elements within the IDF that have actively targetted Palestinian civilians.

Grey, you leave out a few tiny little details: the Strate of Israel was planted in the midsts of a land that was inhabited by people. Not those who were encouraged to immigrate towards that land, but people who lived there long before that immigration started.

The whole creation of Israel at that location was a criminal unfair and arrogant injustice to begin with.
You also forget to notice how many Arab inhabitants were driven from their land, how many villages were flattened and how many people were and still are forced to go live in neighbouring countries.
You also forget that Israel one sided declared itself independent.

I think you should look at some more of the history, which is indeed all to be found on the UN website if you only goo looking for it.
Try to find the scandalous - and even more scandalous abused - Balfour declaration?
Oh wait, I’ll make it easy for you

Do you see anyone of the Arab inhabitants, those who lived there before the Zionists encouraged the Jewish immigration and before the West mixed itself in the region, ask to have a whole new state planted in the middle of their land? I don’t think so.

Salaam. A

Fang: The cite is perfectly relevant, it was in response to the question of what UNSC resolutions Israel has failed to follow. It calls for the “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict [the 1967 War];” which Israel didn’t do and hasn’t done. Israel has also formally annexed the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, both occupied in the 1967 War, going against the quoted sentence “Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security.”

Noonespecial: I’m well aware that Israel has faced terrorist attacks sponsored by its neighbors since its creation as a state during times of “peace,” I was just noting in the context that Israel’s neighbors failed to follow UNSC 242 as well so that it would hopefully be clear that I wasn’t trying to slam Israel for it. There were fedayeen attacks from Jordan, border clashes, cross-border shelling, air strikes and aerial combat from and at Egypt, Syria and Jordan, as well as naval attacks, including the sinking of the Israeli destroyer Eilat by Egyptian missile boats.