Israel/Palestine Fence

Any thoughts on the Israel/Palestine fence or recent threats by the Bush admin to reduce funds to Israel if Sharon continues to work on the fence?

Personally, I think if Israel wants to build a fence along the 1967 border that’s their business (Palestinian arguments that any fence including one built along the 1967 border will hurt them economically don’t hold much sway with me). But any fence built should not cut through Palestinian land. Unfortunately, this being Israel and Likud being in power, the fence does cut through the Palestinian land.

I’ll be impressed if the Bush administration has the guts to go all the way on this. They’re going to catch a lot of flak from congress if they really do pull funding from Israel. I think pulling funding is very clearly the right/moral thing to do, but unfortunately it’s not going to win Bush any votes in the next election.

Like they haven’t done enough to cut up the Palestine with highways and the like.

As days go by, I understand less and less the American foreign policy :shock:

Oh, like hell would Bush pull Isreal’s funding. I’d expect him to come out for single-payer healthcare first.

I agree. The jews own congress. We should make Israel our 51st state since so much of our money goes to that country.

:x

But any fence built should not cut through Palestinian land. Unfortunately, this being Israel and Likud being in power, the fence does cut through the Palestinian land.

So, territory legitimately conquered by Israel in the defence of their nation from all surrounding states is not their land? They could have kicked the palestinians out after the '67 war but no arab country wanted to take them. These sand islands are part of Israel, not ‘occupied territories’ as the current political ministry of doublespeak has conveniently re-labled them.

And as far as funding goes, why are we still giving $$ to the UN for palistinian refugee camps where they train children in millitary camps to be future terrorists against Israel and the US? Pull Israeli aid? Fine, pull palestinian aid also, and cross out future palestinian aid outlined in the ‘road map’. The only reason there is a hint of palestinian cooperation in the peace plan is that they will get more money from America by participating.

That’s a new one to me. Are you saying that if a country attacks another country, and ends up winning the war, they’re allowed by international law to take bits of the other country?

edit: added “law”

What’s so unfortunate about that?

There are two different frameworks we can use to view this conflict. In one framework we are concerned with what is right, moral, and just and in the other we are concerned with force and power.

Israel can claim the right to hold the land by right of force if they so desire. But if they hold it by right of force they forfeit any claims to moral protection for themselves. If Israel is holding the West Bank by right of force, then attacks on Israeli soldiers and citizens are attacks by Partisans on an occupying force. If someday Hamas manages to set off an atomic bomb in Tel Aviv, that will have been an act of war comparable to the bombing of Dresden or the fire bombing of Tokyo. Israel will have no right to claim that that action was somehow inappropriate or a “terrorist” action.

So yes, I agree with you, Israel can claim the land by right of conquest, but if it does, it needs to accept the consequences of those actions. One of those consequences is attacks on its soldiers and citizens by those whose land they have claimed.

So bmulligan, I have a question for you. In a previous thread you posted:

Can you explain to me how supporting Israel makes any contribution to our economic interests? It seems to me that supporting the Arab countries, which are loaded with oil makes a lot more sense economically than supporting Israel, particularly given that we’re tossing lots of money to Israel for virtually zero return.

My biggest concern with the Arab/Israeli situation is that I do not believe it is in our interests to give Israel our unconditional support. It doesn’t make sense from a moral perspective and it most certainly makes no sense at all from an economic or “realist” perspective.

There are two different frameworks we can use to view this conflict. In one framework we are concerned with what is right, moral, and just and in the other we are concerned with force and power.

In this case, they are one and the same, not different ‘frameworks’. Was is right, just and moral for every arab country surrounding Israel to seek it’s destruction and attack every 5 years? When the Union won the war with the confederates, confederate property became union property. When Germany fell to the Allies, all Nazi property changed ownership too. Americans would also probably want a buffer zone if the Canadians started flooding our border towns with suicide bombers.

So yes, I agree with you, Israel can claim the land by right of conquest, but if it does, it needs to accept the consequences of those actions. One of those consequences is attacks on its soldiers and citizens by those whose land they have claimed.

They could have eradicated them but chose to let them live. The exact opposite of what the arabs would have done had they been victorious.

It seems to me that supporting the Arab countries, which are loaded with oil makes a lot more sense economically than supporting Israel, particularly given that we’re tossing lots of money to Israel for virtually zero return.

Palistine is not a country, it has no resources, no major industry, technological or otherwise, it has little commodities exports. The palistinians were and are a nomadic culture of unwanted people whose pittance of perceived poverty is 100 times more plentiful than what they had before Israel even existed. Palistinians engaging in terrorist activity are only hurting their own peoples chances of improving the standard of living. None of their arab neighbors have ever had any interest in helping them except in a jihad to kill jews. Jews gave them the opportunity to participate in prosperity, they however, choose to destroy themselves and take as many jews with them as possible.

What is our return for our money to israel? I think the artice in another thread [url=http://www.quartertothree.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5089]Gulliver unbound: can America rule the world? (long article)
alludes to our foreign aid as a kind of ‘investment’. In a middle east region it is to nuture concepts like democracy and free trade in the region.

And I don’t think unconditional support for any foreign nation is a good idea, Israel or otherwise. We should only support countries that help us protect our own interests.

Actually if you check your history, Israel attacked first in 1967, so the situation is more comparable to if the Nazi’s had managed to keep France after WW2.

You’ll also note that in situations where one side maintains right over the other side’s land by right of conquest, a second war is often the result. France, for example, claimed parts of Germany after World War I and in doing so helped sow the seeds of WWII. America on the other hand after WWII returned the land to Japan and Germany (after reforming their governments of course). In doing so we’ve turned Japan and Germany into friends instead of adversaries.

If Israel wants to keep the land they can, but they need to accept the consequences. Those that live by the sword shall die by the sword. If Israel wants to hold control of that land by force, than they must accept that their soldiers and civilians will be attacked; and that from a moral standpoint those attacks are the attacks of a people rising up against an occupying force, like the attacks of the Russian partisans or French underground against the Nazis. All people yearn to be free, and right now Israel is the oppressor.

You are correct, Palestine by itself does not provide much economic benefit to us. However, if we’re just talking about Palestine and Israel, we could simply step back and support neither side. Instead we’re pouring lots of money into Israel with virtually no return.

More importantly, however, by opposing Palestine we oppose the Arab world and to some extent the entire Islamic World. This has considerable economic cost. Allying with the Arab nations makes much more sense from an economic standpoint. There is simply no way to justify our support for Israel on an economic basis.

First of all, I would argue that supporting democracy in the mortal enemy of most of the countries in the region actually isn’t a very effective means of nurturing democracy. Second, Israel provides a very poor example of a democracy. It’s very much of a two tier system where members of certain religious and ethnic groups have rights that others do not. I’m sure you’ve already read the Qt3 [url=http://www.quartertothree.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5013) thread. Along a similar vein earlier this year Sharon’s government put forth a bill which stated that Israeli Arabs (that is Arabs who are full citizens of Israel – not Arabs in the occupied West Bank) could not buy land in certain parts of Israel. That’s tantamount to saying that blacks or hispanics in the US can’t live in certain neighborhoods (of course you sometimes support Cleve, so I suppose it’s possible you think that’s a good thing). The bill was finally withdrawn due to International pressure, but I think it shows exactly what kind of democracy we’re talking about here.

Israel also has a heavy theocratic “tint”. While much of Israel consists of secular Jews, the theocracy has considerable power. As I understand it, Rabbis can determine, for example, who has the right of return and who doesn’t. Similarly the government provides considerable support for ultra-orthodox schools and communities. Activies are also forbidden on Saturday in some areas due to religious reasons. In this respect Israeli democracy is similar to Iran’s democracy – a nation that is partly democratic but is also partly a theocracy. While Israel obviously more democratic and less theocratic than Iran, similarities are clearly there.

So if your idea of nurturing democracy is to support a regime which is similar to South Africa under apartheid, then by all means, we should support Israel. If you want to provide an example of a democracy in which members of one religion have rights over members of other religions and which is part theocracy in addition to democracy, then by all means, we should support Israel.

As I’ve said before I’m perfectly willing to support Israel with US military and economic might as long as it stays within its pre-1967 borders. I’m even willing to support Israel maintaining a large military presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to protect itself. But the settlements must go. If this fence was simply for the defence of Israel, then I would certainly support it (even with US money). But it cuts through Palestinian land and represents yet another attempt by Israel to solidify their control over large parts of Palestine. As long as Israel has settlers on the West Bank their case is morally bankrupt. As such, there is no moral or economic reason for us to support Israel.

[quote=“ydejin”]Actually if you check your history, Israel attacked first in 1967, so the situation is more comparable to if the Nazi’s had managed to keep France after WW2.

And if you’ll check your history, you’ll see that Israel’s hand was pretty much forced in 1967. But see Brett’s and my disagreement on this in the thread you linked to.

[quote]
Along a similar vein earlier this year Sharon’s government put forth a bill which stated that Israeli Arabs (that is Arabs who are full citizens of Israel – not Arabs in the occupied West Bank) could not buy land in certain parts of Israel.

Similar laws have been overturned by Israel’s Supreme Court. This one didn’t even make it to a vote.

Israel also has a heavy theocratic “tint”. While much of Israel consists of secular Jews, the theocracy has considerable power. As I understand it, Rabbis can determine, for example, who has the right of return and who doesn’t.

You understand wrong. The interior ministry has sole right to make that determination.

Similarly the government provides considerable support for ultra-orthodox schools and communities. Activies are also forbidden on Saturday in some areas due to religious reasons.

These things happen because it’s a democracy; in a parliamentary system, fringe groups have more power. In any case, the Saturday rules are routinely flouted, with no punishment, so it’s not much of a big deal.

In this respect Israeli democracy is similar to Iran’s democracy – a nation that is partly democratic but is also partly a theocracy. While Israel obviously more democratic and less theocratic than Iran, similarities are clearly there.

That’s just crazy. Compare Israel to the US, where we have president whose justification for opposing gay marriage is that “it’s a sin”. Israel also has anti-religious parties (Meretz and Shinui)–can you imagine a politician in the US running on an anti-religious platform? Let’s not forget that judge who has a big statue of the ten commandments in outside his court. There’s nothing like that in Israel.

In Israel, not only is abortion not an issue, abortions are provided free in cases of rape, incest, or where it could hurt the mother’s life. Here, we have a political party who’d love to make them illegal. But Israel’s the theocracy?

FWIW, my take on the fence is that it’s a bluff, and isn’t going to happen. It’s just such a monumentally stupid idea, it’s not really Sharon’s style, and it upsets too many constituencies.

Gav

And if you’ll check your history, you’ll see that Israel’s hand was pretty much forced in 1967. But see Brett’s and my disagreement on this in the thread you linked to.[/quote]

Perhaps Israel was forced, perhaps not. I have heard that Israel could not keep its reserves on alert without runious effects on its economy and thus it needed to attack. Israel could not simply maintain its defences at top alert waiting to see if the Arab armies were actually going to attack. Nevertheless the fact remains that Israel did strike first and without warning. Was its suprise attack in response to aggressive actions by the surrounding Arab nations? Perhaps. But that’s comparable to saying that Pearl Harbor was a response to an aggressive action by the US government. Before Pearl Harbor, the US started an embargo of oil to Japan. That’s a very aggressive action. Japan responded with an attack on Pearl Harbor.

So was Israel’s suprise attack warranted? Maybe. However, I brought this up in response to bmulligan’s claim that Israel should be able to keep the land won in 1967 as its sovereign territory forever. For those purposes I think it’s very important to point out that Israel won those territories in a war which started with a suprise attack by Israel on its neighbors. If you do not agree with bmullligan on this, I have no argument with you. The situation in 1967 is gray, not black and white. I’m not saying that either the Israelis or Arabs were completely in the wrong in 1967, I’m simply saying that Israel has no moral right to permanently claim the land it took in 1967.

[quote=“Gav”]

Similar laws have been overturned by Israel’s Supreme Court. This one didn’t even make it to a vote.[/quote]

The point is the current government of Israel is highly racist. Our government is doing its best to support a regime (Sharon’s Likud government) which is at core extremely racist.

[quote=“Gav”]

You understand wrong. The interior ministry has sole right to make that determination.[/quote]

My understanding is, people who have converted to the conservative wing of Judiasm are not currently recognized as Jews and are not eligible for aliyah (the Jewish right of return). The right of return is currently determined by orthodox Rabbis. It’s as if we let the Catholic Church determine who could and could not enter the United States. I’m sorry, but that smells very much like theocracy to me. No it’s not as extreme as Iran’s democracy/theocracy, but it is a step in that direction.

Interesting. I don’t actually see the fence as a bad idea. It should significantly reduce attacks in Israel proper as the fence on the Gaza Strip does. My only problem with the fence is that it encircles Palestinian territory. If it was built on the pre-1967 Green Line I’d be all for it. Why do you view it as a monumentally stupid idea? Is it an issue of expense?

I guess I half agree with you. To my mind, Israel was totally jsutified in the '67 war. However, it should’ve given the land back somehow. (except for the Golan and parts of Jerusalem)

This is just wrong. People have the right of return if they have one Jewish grandparent, whereas Jewish law specifes that the mother must be Jewish. A lot of people have immigrated to Israel that the rabbis don’t consider Jewish, and who don’t consider themselves Jewish. I was in Hebrew class with one such guy.

I feel that it may be working right now, but that’ll change quickly.

  1. Palestinians will figure out ways to get through. They’re not stupid, and they’ve figured out ways to get through other security setups. (There are fences around settlements that have been broken into)

  2. In the long run, Israel and the Palestinians need each other–Palestinians need to work in Israel, because the PA doesn’t have enough jobs, and Israel’s economy depends on cheap labor, and Palestinians are a better source of cheap labor than Romanians. (This sounds so clinical, but it’s really true). Once you start letting in large numbers of people again, the fence becomes irrelevant.

  3. Neither the far left nor the far right (each of which is an important constituency for someone) wants the fence. The left feels that it’s not fair to Palestinians, and the right feels that it’s a first step to getting rid of settlements, because as much they try to snake the fence around they’re just not going to get every settlement, at which point the gov’t can say “Disband the settlement, because we can’t afford the soldiers to protect you”.

Gav

How about this? The “fence” – which, btw, is apparently higher than the Berlin Wall in many places – is a stupid idea because the region is best off as one country. Eventually, the idiots who live there will figure this out and do away with the whole racial state idea and embrace a multicultural identity. Of course, unless my brain is someday suspended in fluid, Futurama-style, I’m not gonna live to see it.

Jews are some of the most racist people on the face of this earth.

That’s a rather racist statement to make… :D

Hmmm. That seems like a major over-generalization. I know quite a few Jews in the US and some Israelis as well and I’ve never seen them act racist in the slightist. I would say that Israelis (and presumably some Jews) do have a problem with acting fairly and objectively with Arabs. But there is a reason for it, as the Arabs and Jews have been slaughtering each other for years. In fact, if you reverse the equation, I strongly suspect Arabs are far more “racist” against Jews (I say that without any real backing, except for the fact that I think in general the Jews and Israelis are much better educated and have access to a free press, whereas Arabic press tends to be highly sensationalized).

Of the civilized nations, from what I’ve seen (which is admittedly limited) I would vote for Japan as being the most racist. For the world as a whole, there are obviously serious issues in Africa with ethnic groups slaughtering each other. There are also very serious ethnic problems in parts of Asia. They’ve had some pretty major issues in Indonesia, with riots and attacks on people of Chinese ancestory.

I condemn Israel for their Palestinian policy. I believe that it is very wrong and that the mistreatment of the Palestinians by Israel is a major injustice. I believe that in the long run the settlements are bad for Israel as well as for Palestine. I write about it passionately because America’s support for Israel makes us culpable as well. This is an area of US Foreign Policy where we are very, very clearly supporting injustice.

Having said that, I do want to further respond to Dirt’s comment. The Jewish people have been maligned and harassed for centuries. There is no group that I am aware of that has faced more undeserved persecution. Anti-Semitism is still an active cause of concern in the US and around the world. I would be horrified if my condemnation of Israeli policy was somehow taken as my approval for attacks on Jews.

Dirt, I disagree pretty strongly with your statement. As I showed in my last post there is unfortunately a great deal of racism perpetuated by a wide range of groups. Singling out the Jewish people for censure is most unfair.

Why not call it “The Gaza Wall” instead of “security fence”?