What Are Your Personal Opinions About Israel??

Specifically, what do you think that Israel should do WRT the Palestinian issue?
There are so many thoughts, facts, whatever surrounding this issue that yes, I though one more stab would be helpful…because I’m a masochist.

I’m specifically addressing FinnAgain, Allesan and Captain Amazing WRT to this issue.

This OP, lame as it is, has NOTHING to do with facts and the history of the enmity between Israel and Palestinians.

What this OP IS about, is what do you, people of Jewish descent and Israeli defenders, and everyone else that supports their actions, think about how they have conducted themselves?
Do you see any crimes? Is what Israel does always justifiable? Is most everything justifiable in the name of security if you’re Israel? What does Israel do wrong when dealing specifically with its direct neighbors?

What can Israel do that it hasn’t done already that is reasonable to lessen terrorist attacks?

Thanks in advance,

-Steve

Well, me personally…

I think that Israel should work with Palestinian “moderates”, for lack of a better word…people like Abbas, Qurei, Fayyad, to first of all, increase their power in the Palestinian population, somehow (although I don’t know how that would be achieved) and increase their ability to suppress militants, and then negotiate for a Palestinian state, with borders generally on the Green Line but with border adjustments to include some of the nearer settlement blocks. This could be done through some sort of land swap. I think Israel should then consider some sort of compensation for people who lost their land as a consequence of Israel’s founding (although that’s one of those issues that time is solving.) as well as settlers who lost their land when outlying settlements are evacuated. I then think Israel, along with the rest of the nations of the world should work, though trade agreements and whatever, to help the new state of Palestine be economically successful and prosperous.

I think a lot of the stuff at Camp David and Taba are good places to start.

I don’t think that Israel has always conducted themselves perfectly in dealing with the Palestinians. There have been times when more force has been used than is probably helpful, and I think that sometimes Israeli occupation policies and especially the actions of some (although certainly not a majority) of the soldiers can be high handed. I will say that the IDF is generally pretty good in policing themselves. Shin Bet, less so.

In terms of Israel’s relationship with its neighbors, I think they’re generally pretty good, at least on their east and south. The occupation of Lebanon could have gone better. I don’t really have a problem with their actions in the 2006 war, although the IDF was pretty cluster bomb happy. The Syrians, on the other hand, are just crazy evil, and I don’t particularly care what Israel does in regard to Syria so long as there’s an Assad in power.

What can Israel do that it hasn’t done already to lessen terrorist attacks? Stop further settlement construction, continue work on the security fence, no matter how much it pisses the Palestinians off, but have it follow the Green Line whenever possible and try to minimize disruption to Palestinian villages, and give the members of the yishuv councils good spankings and tell them that the IDF and justice system is going to come down hard on anybody who starts an incident in the territories, and mean it.

From a practical standpoint:
-Israel should immediately return to the 1967 borders, providing a contiguous and fairly valued region to the Palestinian people.
-Allow Palestinians (as individuals) to return to the land they were forced off of during the war.
-After Palestine establishes a new state and elects a government, recognize that government as legitimate and make peace with it.

Good luck, 'cause it’s likely not gonna be a slow bleed.

(Bolding mine.)

Israel has committed war crimes against the Palestinian people. It should apologize, primarily to the Palestinians and then to the world’s non-Israeli Jews for tarnishing our reputation and exploiting the plight of our ancestors. Palestinians should receive reparations from Israel both collectively (for the enormous economic damage caused by its border closures and bombardments) and individually (as compensation to the victims/families of victims of bombings, shootings, imprisonments, and torture).

No; no more so than any other country.

Give the Palestinians their land back. Stop the siege. Stop the blockades. And–admittedly less important, but still worth mentioning–stop attempting to humiliate them.
Also, as a Jew, I would hope for the creation of a Jewish identity that is both secular and independent of Israel. We are rapidly disintegrating as an ethnic group. We need a culture based on an affirmation of our beliefs, not on fear of others. We have much to be proud of as a people, and there are Jewish traditions that we can connect to that are neither Zionist or religious in nature. A bit off-topic, I know, but I feel strongly enough about it that I needed to say it.

The Palestinians are by and large uninterested in peace. There isn’t much Israel can do besides continuing to talk to the moderates, and hope those moderates can convince Abdul on the street that peace would be better than the present situation.

I think Zionism is dumb and racist. On the other hand, I do’t think there has ever been another group of people so committed to self-inflicted misery than the Palestinians. Really, what do you fucking think is going to happen when you kill athletes at the Olympics or send your own children into another country to blow up themselves and other children? Stop the violence and negotiate in good faith. Even if you don’t get all the land back seized in 67 you’re still better off than you are now.

Okay, got some time since I decided to do tacos for dinner instead of stuffed chicken, so here goes - first off, just as a caveat, I will be looking at this in terms of what actions both sides can take to move things forward and achieve an equitable and lasting two state solution. I’m not much interested in a look back at a century+ of events and what was or wasn’t a crime and whether or not it was more crimey, on the crime-o-meter, than some other crimes. I’ll try to stay focused, but this topic is extensive and, fuck, I may hit the character limit. Here goes:

  1. I believe that Israel has demonstrated that it is willing to live in peace with those neighbors who will live in peace with it. It devastated the military of both Jordan and Egypt in its defensive war in 1967, and then offered them back the territory they’d lost, in exchange for peace. They were met with The Three Noes (no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiation with Israel). Still, Israel went on to negotiate peace with both Jordan and Egypt when the nations were ready to come to terms, and the peace has held. (To some degree a frosty peace, and with some outside aid from the US, but there has been peace).

  2. I believe that the policy of expanding settlements in the West Bank, as long as it’s not on privately owned Palestinian land, is not a crime in any real sense of the word, as the land isn’t owned (this goes back roughly 500 years to the Ottoman land codes that were kept intact by the British and the Jordanians). That being said, expanding settlements does tend to allow the more military factions of the Palestinians to inflame passions and justify attacks. I do think that building on privately owned Palestinian land is wrong and there should be a negotiated formula to compensate those whose land was lost if it doesn’t prove possible to negotiate for them to get that land back. I also believe that there should be a full and complete settlement freeze as a good faith gesture. I believe that the current US policy of cutting off high-level negotiations until our ultimatums are met is idiocy of the first order and negotiations are crucial now more than ever, but that setting up a very specific set of conditions and if they’re violated, cutting off aid (and keeping negotiations open) is a viable alternative. Israel should also harshly crack down on illegal settlement construction.

  3. As I have often found myself pointing out, that 4th Geneva Convention is quite explicit that an occupying power may take downright draconian measures to ensure its security and/or for military necessity, up to and including internment, blockade of borders, careful control of goods that go in if they could give an economic of tactical advantage to forces that the occupying power is fighting against, etc… People too often toss around claims like “war crimes” when, in fact, the behavior they allege is criminal is not only not criminal, but specifically and explicitly authorized by the 4th Geneva Convention. I believe that the practical realities of governing via a coalition government also means that any administration that is seen as sacrificing Israeli lives and compromising security would be eliminated by a no-confidence vote and the pendulum would swing much further to even harsher measures. I believe that the security barrier is the best course of action currently and that it should be kept as close to the Green Line as possible; in this case good fences make for good neighbors and the less of a chance that Palestinian terrorist attacks the more comfortable the Israeli public will be with progressing peace talks. And the further the PA shows itself capable and willing to crack down on genocidal incitement and terrorism (and especially to the degree that it stops indoctrinating children to be suicidal, racist killers), that the security restrictions on the West Bank should be lifted. Ideally along a phased timetable reached via negotiation. I do, however, believe that demolishing houses of the relatives of terrorists is collective punishment under the 4th GC and thus prohibited and illegal behavior. That being said, I do not object to the concept of punitive damages being applied to the estate of anybody engaged in terrorism, as a civil matter after proper legal review.

  4. I believe that East Jerusalem is distinct from the territories, both because Israel has annexed it and offered full citizenship to all inhabitants and because the last time it was under Muslim control Jewish holy sites were desecrated and ancient tombstones were used to pave military latrines. Ensuring equal access for all three monothesistic faiths to their holy places in East Jerusalem is also important, and those temples that were left in the Gaza Strip when Israel withdrew were destroyed by the Palestinians when Israel left. It’s a bad record. But the matter is ultimately up to the two sides to be negotiated, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some sort of limited land swap was engaged in that saw primarily Arab neighborhoods being part of a new Palestinian state.

  5. I believe that, for the most part, Israel has waged war with precision and humanity that is virtually unknown in the rest of the world. When it fought Hamas in Gaza recently, even Palestinian accounts put the death toll at (just going from memory) 1 or 2 civilian deaths per legitimate military casualty. In dense, urban fighting when an enemy wears no uniform, uses human shields and launches attacks from populated areas that result is simply astounding. I believe that demands for lower collateral damage are a backdoor way of demanding that Israel not actually engage in any form of defense against rocket attacks; demanding bloodless war is a demand that there be no war at all without actually coming out and saying it. The US, by comparison, fought nowhere near as clean in Falujah. And the Lebanese, in turn, shelled the hell out of a troublesome Palestinian camp. Which brings me to another point, part of a peace settlement should be that the neighboring Arab states stop expressing their ‘solidarity’ by prohibiting Palestinians from gaining citizenship if they want it, and prohibiting them from working in the local economy. It’s time for Arab states to actually grant Palestinians the rights that they claim they deserve.

  6. I believe that targeted killings (or assassinations, whatever you’d prefer) are infinitely more humane and moral than sanctions or war, and eliminating valid military targets no matter where they hide, with the minimum of collateral damage (ideally none at all) is the height of moral warfare.

  7. I believe that the ultimate resolution to the peace process should call upon the Arab states to make good for their promises of brotherhood to the Palestinians and provide justice for the Jews who were driven out or expelled from Arab nations in and around 1948 (and whose numbers roughly match the number of Palestinian refugees created during 1948). I also believe that Jordan (which has had its own rocky relationship with the Palestinians) should offer territory to help create a maximally viable and vigorous Palestinian state, as long as water resources can be made to work. I do not pretend to be an expert in hydrodynamics or agriculture, but Israeli agricultural science is at the forefront of the world and I would like to see international investment sufficient to fully utilize the resources of the Jordan river and other water sources to make the future Palestinian state bloom. Along the same lines, I believe that the PA will have to be very vigilant over how those resources are used. In Gaza, millions were donated in order to keep state of the art greenhouses there for use by the Palestinians, and the greenhouses were quickly torn to pieces by looters and /or used as sites for weapons smuggling tunnels.

  8. I also believe that Iran must be neutralized in the international dynamic, by negotiations or sanctions, as their arming/financing/training/sheltering of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah destabilizes the region and massively increases the potential for violence and defensive military actions on Israel’s part. To say nothing of the fact that they’re attempted to usurp the sovereign control of Lebanon’s government and united Iran’s paramilitary forces via an illegal telecom network in Lebanon that also allows them to spy on legitimate communications in Lebanon (and recently nearly caused a civil war). As Hamas and Hezbollah are both virulently racist and explicitly genocidal, the international community should take all available steps to neuter them. I also believe that by showing the Palestinian people what peaceful negotiations can accomplish (via the foundation of a viable and independent state in the West Bank) and, hopefully, get the people of Gaza, who are already fed up with the thugocrats of Hamas to a certain degree, to slit some throats and earn their own state rather than existing in a perpetual state of war.

  9. Claims such as all the land in question is “Palestinian land” or all those refugees are entitled to be treated as if they owned their land, even if they did not, is a non-starter. The ‘right of return’ for all Palestinians is a fantasy that will never happen. Compensation is all well and good (for those who actually owned land), but demands that everybody return to where they were in '47 is a pipe dreams. Likewise demands that Israel return to the Green Line are nonsensical, especially since the UNSC via 242 recognized that Israel deserved defensive boundaries (instead of a “waist” that’s only a few miles wide) and that all the territories weren’t Palestinian but that the Final Status of borders would be determined by negotiation. Ariel, for examples, serves vital security needs in allowing a defensible border. And, in the first place, Israel’s ‘border’ is not a real border in any sense as its armistice with Jordan specified that it was not to prejudice its eventual borderline and the final peace treaty with Jordan put the border at the Jordan river. The Green Line is an armistice line, not a permanent border.

Along the same lines, I believe that the International Community[sup]tm[/sup] is largely responsible for maintaining the situation as we’ve seen it. Massive population/refugee shifts were not unheard of in the upheaval around the end of WW II, but most were absorbed into new lands. The UNRWA was created specifically to craft a unique standard whereby the word “refugee”, always having meant just those who were displaced, came to mean those who were displaced, their children, their children’s children, and so on, in perpetuity. To say nothing of the fact that immigration and demographics were in flux to such a degree before '48 that the UNRWA crafted a definition of the word “Palestinian” such that anybody who’d rented land for as little as a few years was considered a Palestinian and that, coupled with the actual Ottoman land codes of mulk, miri, waste land, etc… yields a linguistic fiction of “Palestinian land” that obfuscates the complicated history and facts of what land was owned by whom, who is or was a Palestinian at what point in time, and aims at homogenizing the vast range of nuances and facts into a thin pablum.

  1. Verdicts of "The International Community[sup]tm[/sup] often aren’t worth the breath they’re huffed out with. From declarations that out of all people in the world, for the Jews to want self-determination and a homeland is inherently racism to theICJ’s kangaroo court rationalization of a conclusion they’d already reached before the awkward necessity of a farce of legal analysis. Under the 4th Geneva Convention military necessity clearly allows measures like the security barrier, but even the ICJ’s own dissenting voices noted that the ICJ deliberately structured the legal proceedings so as to exclude virtually all measures of whether or not military necessity justified the security barrier, as such discussions would have gotten in the way of their pre-judged conclusion that it was illegal.

  2. Like CA, I believe that Camp David, Taba, and the Clinton Bridging Proposal are good goals to shoot for, with land swaps yielding roughly 97% of the Palestinians’ territorial demands once all is said and done and proper solutions reached for refugees, borders, Jersualem, Israeli military outposts, and so on.

While I’m at it, I’ll just add that the international community seems to have awfully odd standards.

When, for instance [

](http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0706/S00208.htm)

The international outcry, demands for warcrimes tribunals, urgent UNSC votes were all somewhat lacking.

Liekwise, in 1982 Syria was having trouble with the Muslim Brotherhood in the town of Hama. Their reaction? They razed the city and killed, most likely, tens of thousand of innocent civilians. The Assad regime then publicized it as an example to the rest of the population as the price of rebellion. To this day, Deir Yassin is commemorated annually. But a deliberate massacre a least a hundred times worse than it gets hardly any mention.

It seems that, where Middle Eastern politics are concerned, not only is The International Community [sup]tm[/sup] not a very reliable barometer, but that outrage is often selective, and political.

Sorry for the triple post, but I thought I’d cut and pasted a link in about Hama. My apologies. Here’s a cite with some quotes from Thomas Friedman:

[

](http://www.mafhoum.com/press2/63P58.htm)

I do think Israel should rethink its policy re: non-Jewish spouses of its own citizens. AFAIK, if an Arab Israeli (Muslim or Christian) marries a Palestinian, the spouse isn’t automatically allowed entry into Israel to be with their citizen spouse, never mind citizenship. I think that’s backwards, personally.

I also think they should rethink their policy on assassination and general espionage as a political tool. Also perhaps cut down on the “collateral damage” of retaliatory strikes.

Other than that, and the settlement issue, I think Israel does about as well as could be expected, given the heightened security concerns and active antagonism and violence visited on it, direct or at one remove. It’s certainly an order of magnitude better at democracy than any of its neighbours.

I am very sorry to say the Palestinians passed on peace at Camp David (something the Saudis called “a crime”) and the Israelis are passing up peace now. Everyone is setting the stage for a real rock’em sock’em war, or more likely a series of them. Israel might win for another couple of decades, then it will be destroyed in a demographic wave.

It will be nasty, bloody and very very sad. We will have nobody to blame but ourselves.

Well since you asked for personal opinions.

Israel is a sort of unique situation that doesn’t have any easy parallels to draw from. It’s establishment was unorthodox, and it has been plagued by ethnic and religious troubles ever since.

Personally, I think that it would do well to stop ALL further settlements and begin proper negotiations with the Palestinians who were displaced by its establishment in the first place. Israel governmentally speaking IMHO, acts a lot like a bratty kid that has a big older brother to defend them. As long as they know that the US will back them more or less unconditionally they will continue to act in an indifferent manner to their neighbors and own minority groups. I don’t condone the violence on the part of the Arabs either, but I know that if someone from the gov came to MY home and told me to piss off I’d be pretty angry too. They need to take a real stab at trying to reconcile.

How is it possible to create a contiguous region including Gaza and the West Bank without creating a non-contiguous Israel?

Sorry, but I see Israel’s position as untenable-it will only get worse.
The fact is, the muslim birth rate is just so much higher, than the Jews.
What happens when Jews are a minority within Israel?
It ain’t gonna be pretty.

One approach: Guarded travel corridors with free access at their ends, like the roads that connected West Berlin to the rest of West Germany.

Be very careful there. “Force is the only language they understand” works both ways, ya know.

Well, that, and withdraw the bulldozers, and stop the creeping annexation of their land, and generally stop making moderates into radicals.

What assurance could they provide any such “moderates” that Israel would follow through?
What reason does Abdul have to believe that Israel wants peace? You have to give him at least one. Right now, Israel can’t convince even the Americans of it.

Personal opinions:

  1. East Jerusalem, all the way out to its furthest suburbs, should be recognized as part of Israel, forever. It is always a bad idea to politically divide a city, which is an organic whole. Let the Palestinians have their capital somewhere else, Nablus or Ramallah or Jericho.

  2. Everything else the Palestinians want (short of Israel’s destruction), they should get: All Israeli settlements east of the Green Line – including especially all settlements between the Green Line and the Wall – should be evacuated; no IDF troops should be allowed east of the Green Line at any time for any reason; and Palestine should be guaranteed sole and exclusive control over the West Bank’s border with Jordan and the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt.

Well if Israel converted to Islam there wouldn’t be much to fight about. Seriously if you removed religion from the picture this whole mess would sort itself out. The whole war is based on religious elitism on both sides. Each side feels superior to the other because they have chosen the “right” god. Actually the same god but slightly different mythologies. Until both sides give up on superstition there isn’t much hope. Maybe Israel could hand out copies of “The God Delusion” to its people and the Palestinians.

There’s an inherent contradiction between democracy and favoring a particular religious group, or any particular group for that matter. Even with the separation clause in the US Constitution, there have been major problems there for centuries. If Israel want to avoid having to choose someday, the time to act is right damn now. And not with the Hama solution to that pesky Palestinian problem that Finn seems to be suggesting, either. Doing it in slow motion instead, via “settlements”, has only backfired.

He didn’t suggest that. If anything, he suggested the opposite. . .that “I believe that Camp David, Taba, and the Clinton Bridging Proposal are good goals to shoot for”.

His reference to Hama is just to illustrate his point that the international community complains when Israel does bad stuff to Arabs, but doesn’t give a damn when Arab states do bad stuff to Arabs.

If so, he’s badly wrong about that. And if so, his “argument” is incomplete without discussing international reaction to Arabs “doing bad stuff” to Jews, right?