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Author Topic: Reply to OSC article on Israeli pullout
Telperion the Silver
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For your consideration...I sent my Uncle, former Colonel who worked in the Pentagon and elsewhere, OSC's article on the Israeli pullout. He sent back a cool reply. Much we already know and have talked about at length but he gives some great points and insight. [Smile]
quote:
Karl:

An interesting article.

I think it hits on a number of the key points, but also misses a number
of others. For what it's worth:

About "Palestinians". "Palestinian" is shorthand for "Palestinian Arab".
Arabs, as an ethnic group, have been getting their butts kicked in "Palestine" for the last several hundred years by the Turks, the Brits,
and most recently the Israelis. There are two factual conditions arising from this. First is a "Palestinian Diaspora". When I was in Israel on an official visit in the spring of 1993, our group was briefed by, among others,
the two US Counsels General (one in the Embassy, and an independent one who works in Jerusalem). The one common thread that these two officials had was that a significant number of "Palestinians" who were throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, as well as a significant number of the Israeli soldiers themselves, were US citizens holding Blue passports.

This has also impacted the rest of the Arab world. As alluded to in the article, expatriate "Palestinians" are in a number of their countries, too.
OBTW, the article fails to mention is the little historical tidbit that expat Palestinians, having been initially welcomed into Jordan, then
tried to overthrow the King in the 1950's. The rest of the Arab world caught on that their oppressed brothers were better off oppressed elsewhere.

The second factual condition is the systematic discrimination against Palestinian Arabs within Israel itself. There are a set of laws enacted
to promote Zionism (Israel as the homeland for any Jew, from anywhere) which give a Jewish citizen such preferential legal status over a non-Jewish citizen that the Palestinian Arabs are effectively disenfranchised. The social tension is built in. The idea was, of course, that they'd just get tired and go away. Far away would be better. The fact was, many didn't.
And some who did came back.


About Gaza. Israel has seized a number of territories in its several wars:
The Sinai, The Golan Heights, Jerusalem, the West Bank of the Jordan River, and Gaza. In one of the best real estate deals ever, they sold the Sinai back to the US in the Camp David Accord for a $4 Billion annual payment
(forever). The Golan is useless except in the context of a future security seal with Syria. Jerusalem is the non-negotiable gem. The West Bank has useable farm land. Most importantly, it also has a useable aquifer. Gaza has some wonderful beaches, a little natural gas, but its aquifer has been depleted. Worse, it's been sucked so dry that salt water is beginning
to infuse it.

About "Settlements". In the same 1993 trip, I got a very interesting briefing by the staff of the US Consulate in Jerusalem on the topic of
Israeli settlement strategy in the West Bank. In essence, the settlement progressed in three phases. Phase one was Government sponsored, and
occurred right after the end of hostilities. It was basically a quick-one for- one "you're out, we're in" replacement of farmers in the fertile Jordan river valley, under Army protection. The second phase, also Government sponsored,
took place a little while later where the former border used to be. Not necessarily one-for-one, its intent was to obliterate the former border
as a recognizable line on the ground. The third phase happened over a number of years and was not officially sponsored, consisted of planned real estate developments being sold to foreign émigrés (many of them American) on land between phases one and two. A lot of the Gaza settlement was of this last type.

Although the actions were not part of an official Government plan, they did proceed with Government concurrence or better (depending on who was in power). For example, one "eminent domain" technique was for the IDF to take over an area for military purposes, run the occupants off, then eventually declare it surplus and release it with clear title. If the original
occupants applied for title, they were free to do so, but they had to get in the back of the line. Guess who was in the front of the line?

About Security. Israelis are, understandably and correctly, obsessed with security. That said, their security situation has changed significantly and will change again, soon. In the past, they were surrounded by hostile
Arab states with the motive, means, and occasional opportunity to do them in. To
counter this, they built a competent and powerful military and secured powerful external alliances. As the moment, however, much of that is inside out. Egypt has had no interest in war for 30+ years, Jordan is neuter, and Syria is in financial ruin. Just as importantly, both Syria and Iran have US divisions on their borders until at least 2008. Israel is externally
secure.

Much of it's military, on the other hand, has been morphed into an Army of Internal Occupation. Not exactly the stuff of legend.

Last year, the Israeli Army Chief of Staff was reprimanded for publically speaking his mind. The gist of his comments: Gaza's not worth bleeding for anymore.

So What? On the bigger scale, the Israelis understand that their old strategy of making the Palestinian Arabs go far away hasn't worked, so
they will now try to make them go "near away". Better Gaza than the West Bank.
Better now than before the Americans pull out of Iraq. If this costs some political careers, and pisses off some expat Americans, OK. The
politicians can run again, and the expats can go back to Florida or New Jersey if they get too mad.

Ray



[ September 02, 2005, 02:23 PM: Message edited by: Telperion the Silver ]

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rivka
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I avoid these threads, but I feel I have to respond to the large amount of misinformation in that. (I'm sure not deliberate.)

Gush Katif, part of the land that was just emptied of Israeli citizens, was one of the world's largest producers of hydroponically-grown produce. Millions of dollars worth of produce -- not to mention the greenhouses and other equipment -- had to be left behind. Israel has lost one of its major sources of produce, particularly export-ready produce (which the economy depends heavily upon).

His claim that Arabs in Israel are treated as second-class citizens is unfair and untrue. If it were, how is it that a number of Israeli Arabs sit on the Knesset? Very few laws (other than the Law of Return) apply differently.

Also, "seized" land? Um, yeah . . . always in wars of defense, and as strategic moves to secure Israeli safety against future attacks.

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Telperion the Silver
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Interesting... I didn't know that Arabs sit on the Knesset. Very cool.
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Raia
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I dunno, Telp, I tend to agree with your uncle on a lot of things.

And I AM Israeli.

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Lyrhawn
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Rivka -

Israel was also paid a few hundred million dollars to leave behind the greenhouses, even though several dozen were illegally dismantled and carted off with when the pullout began.

And it's still seized, you aren't even really arguing with that, you're justifying it.

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Bob_Scopatz
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quote:
Very few laws (other than the Law of Return) apply differently.
This bothers me. Shouldn't it be "no laws" not "very few laws?"
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rivka
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Explain a practical way that it could be possible to have the Law of Return to apply equally to everyone, and we'll start from there.

Israel has never claimed NOT to be intended as a refuge for Jews. That's what the Law of Return is for, and I make no apology for that. Nor do I feel I should.

You deal with over 2000 years of every nation under the sun trying to marginalize you and kill you, and then we'll talk. [Razz]

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dkw
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quote:
Explain a practical way that it could be possible to have the Law of Return to apply equally to everyone, and we'll start from there.
The original quote didn't say no laws other than the law of return -- it said "very few" laws other than the law of return. So what are these other laws that don't apply equally?
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rivka
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Some are related to the Law of Return (which is why I was using it as a reference point). Most (I think all, but I'm not positive) of the others are as adam said, laws regarding Jewish religious practices.
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TheHumanTarget
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quote:
You deal with over 2000 years of every nation under the sun trying to marginalize you and kill you, and then we'll talk
If you take any random person off the street and analyze their heritage, you will inevitably find an ancestor who was persecuted for being who they were.
This tends to hold true for most religions and races, and somewhat negates your argument that you have to be Jewish to have an opinion on being marginalized and killed.

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Raia
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It just bothers me that the Israelis have no problem taking it over in the first place, but as soon as someone tries to claim it as (rightfully) theirs, it's wrong. That, to me, is very juvenile.

Some people argue that the reason Israel took it in the first place was because there was a war, and it was a very different situation. Well, I hate to say it, but this is rapidly reaching the point where war and the situation that we're in are not really that different.

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plaid
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Telp -- could you reformat your first post so that it's easier to read? Thanks!
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Lyrhawn
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TheHumanTarget -

I quite agree.

My grandmother told me stories from her grandmother's mother (that's what, my great great great grandmother?) about when they first came to America they weren't allowed to vote, go to school, be a part of the local governments or anything. In some places they weren't even allowed to own land.

And why? Because they were Catholic.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Raia:
It just bothers me that the Israelis have no problem taking it over in the first place, but as soon as someone tries to claim it as (rightfully) theirs, it's wrong. That, to me, is very juvenile.

Are you serious? Israel didn't invade the Gaza Strip, for goodness sakes. The area called Palestine was the combined areas of Israel, Jordan, and the so-called "occupied territories". This land was a province of the Ottoman empire. There has never, in the history of mankind, been a country called Palestine. That's a fact; check it out yourself.

At no time in history have the Arabs ever had a capitol city of anything in that area. Also a fact; check it out as well.

Prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, if you talked about "Palestinians", you were referring to Jews living in the area called Palestine. If you wanted to talk about Arabs who lived there, you specified "Palestinian Arabs". My partner's great-grandfather, a Palestinian (a Jew), is buried in Safed.

In 1922, Britain separated 79% of Palestine off and gave it to an Arabian named Abdullah as an Emirate. There was never any cultural, religious or political distinction between the Arabs who lived in that 79% (which is now Jordan), and the the other 21%.

In 1947, the United Nations decided to partition the remaining 21% of Palestine into two countries, each completely indefensible, and each made up of three non-contiguous sections. The Jewish Palestinians accepted the offer, and in 1948, declared a state, which they named Israel.

The Arabs, both Palestinian Arabs and the surrounding countries of Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and... I forget the sixth, rejected the plan, and invaded Israel in an attempt to massacre the Jews and demolish the new-born state.

In 1949, an armistice was signed which gave Israel a bit more than the area offered in the partition plan, in order to make it contiguous. Jordan kept the area now known as the West Bank (and consider why it's called that; it's only on the west from a Jordanian point of view), and Egypt kept the Gaza Strip.

These areas were held by the Arabs. But there were no calls to create a Palestinian Arab state in them. Nor were there Palestinian Arabs calling out for a state, since there was no such thing as a Palestinian nationality.

In 1956, Egypt cut off Israel's sea trade, which is an act of war by international standards. With the support of Britain and France, Israel invaded the Sinai. When the war was over, Israel withdrew from the Sinai.

In 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization was formed. Pay attention, now. It was created before Israel took the "occupied territories", and its goal was to liberate Palestine. That'd be Tel Aviv, Haifa, Safed, Beersheba and the rest of Israel.

In 1967, Egypt and Jordan and Syria went to war with Israel once again, and this time, Israel took the Golan Heights (a strategic area that makes a Syrian sneak attack impossible) from Syria. It took the Gaza Strip and Sinai from Egypt, because obviously pulling out of Sinai in the 1950s was a major mistake, and it took Judea and Samaria (often called the West Bank) from Jordan, because that area juts into the heartland of Israel. It would be like an enemy of the US taking over Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri. Look at a map.

Also, both Gaza and the "West Bank" had had Jewish towns and villages located in them until 1948, when the Arabs destroyed them.

Also, although Jordan annexed the "West Bank" after conquering it, only Britain and Pakistan ever recognized the annexation.

In 1970, Yassir Arafat tried to kill King Hussein of Jordan and take over Jordan, which was a Palestinian Arab state in the same way that Israel is a Palestinian Jewish state. He failed, and was expelled.

In 1973, Egypt tried again to destroy Israel, sneak attacking on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews.

In 1979, Israel agreed to return the Sinai to Egypt -- again. Israel offered Gaza as well, but Egypt wouldn't take it. Once again, the Arabs in Gaza could have been free from Israeli "occupation", but the Arabs didn't want that.

And look now. Why aren't the Arabs declaring independent Palestine in Gaza? The answer is that they don't want an independent state. They want an excuse to kill Jews. Not just Israelis, but Jews.

So what exactly were you calling "juvenile"?

quote:
Originally posted by Raia:
Some people argue that the reason Israel took it in the first place was because there was a war, and it was a very different situation. Well, I hate to say it, but this is rapidly reaching the point where war and the situation that we're in are not really that different.

Duh. It is a war. But the Palestinian Arabs don't want to declare a state, because then everyone would realize it's a war.
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Bob_Scopatz
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quote:
West Bank (and consider why it's called that; it's only on the west from a Jordanian point of view)
I thought it got it's name from being the West Bank of the Jordan River -- a geographic designation, not a culturally specific one.
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Bob_Scopatz
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quote:
At no time in history have the Arabs ever had a capitol city of anything in that area. Also a fact; check it out as well.
Actually, a quick google search on the Dome of the Rock got me to sites mentioning that this was, in fact, the capitol of an Islamic state for a brief period (680-692 CE).
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Bob_Scopatz
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rivka,

All told, if I had to live life in Israel, I would not choose to do so as a Palestinian. Restricted freedom of movement and surly treatment by police and military may be understandable given the security situation in that country, but it would still make me feel like a 2nd class citizen, regardless of what the laws say or don't say -- it still feels like officially sanctioned discrimination.

I think that given that choice, most people would see the difference in treatment (and representation) as pretty important.

However, I do think that I'd like life even less in the Palestinian controlled areas than I would in the Israeli-controlled areas. Their government is a joke, the ex-terrorists are now just thugs beating up on their own people. And the rule of law is pretty much "might makes right."

So, there's really a layering there:

Jews inside Israel at the top.
Jews in Settlements just below that.
Arabs inside Israel next.
Arabs in the Palestinian areas at the bottom.

From what I've seen, Christians in the area are kind of a side show. Becoming Christian doesn't gain an Arab anything in terms of social standing or rights & privileges (Bethlehem's checkpoint into Israel was a crappy place to visit for anyone who didn't have the right papers or the correct color license plate).

It doesn't really appear to be a religious thing, per se. It's pretty much racial discrimination pure and simple.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
And look now. Why aren't the Arabs declaring independent Palestine in Gaza? The answer is that they don't want an independent state. They want an excuse to kill Jews. Not just Israelis, but Jews.
Yes, I'm positive that is true. [Roll Eyes]
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fugu13
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Yes, that surveys repeatedly show most palestinians would prefer an end to the violence is an elaborate deception!

starLisa, your grasp on the reality of the situation appears tenuous.

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