Thursday, July 31, 2014

Gaza Killed Palestine

The "Two State Solution" has always been problematic. While its supporters in Israel and the West assumed that it referred to a Jewish State of Israel (with an Arab minority) and a State of Palestine (with a Jewish minority), its supporters amongst the Palestinians took it to refer to a binational State and a Judenrein State of Palestine. Furthermore, many of the Palestinian supporters only support the Two State Solution as a strategic interim goal to exterminating Israel entirely.

But the current war in Gaza has led almost everyone in Israel to realize something that was clear to the right wing a long time ago: that the Two State Solution is not a solution at all. This is because when militant Palestinians use it as a base for attacking Israel, and adopt Hamas' successful strategy of launching attacks from amongst civilian areas, there is no way for Israel to adequately respond without incurring global condemnation.

It is truly ironic that those shouting loudly about the injustice caused by Israel to the Palestinians in Gaza are the reason why there can never be a Palestinian state in the West Bank.


  1. It has been the goal of Arabs in the ME since the inception of the State of Israel to eradicate all Jews and turn Israel into another backwater Arab slum.

    Only truly naive people have ever thought otherwise.

  2. And the price for this foolish social experiment? 50+ of our best and finest in the last few weeks and too many to count in the last 20 years since Oslo.
    The world hasn't thanked us for trying to give the Palestinians what they supposedly want.

  3. Great comment.

    Let's hope that Israeli voters don't forget this message in the next election, which may be well after the IDF has restored peace to the south. People have short memories.

  4. Don't be so sure that the political Left has learned anything, even if they are supporting current military operations. The massive suicide bombing onslaught taught much of the Israeli public that the Arabs will never make peace, but the political Left certainly didn't absorb it. They used Sharon to leverage the terrorist attacks and the subsequent suppression of terror during the "Homat Magen" operation to convince everyone that now Israel could not expect to reach signed agreements with the Arabs so now Israel should UNILATERALLY withdraw from Judea/Samaria/Gaza. Sharon argued that since the world "allowed" us to suppress the terror, we now owe them and especially Abbas something and we should "strengthen" him by destroying Gush Katif. He got away with it, and it should be noted that Sharon told journalist Matt Beynon Rees a day or two before his final collapse that he intended to withdraw unilaterally from most of Judea/Samaria as well. So we see old Arik didn't learn anything.
    If there should be an at least partially successful end of this operation, Herzog, Lapid and Livni will say that we now have to strengthen Abbas and try to get him in control of Gaza, forgetting that he did have control in 2007 when HAMAS ousted his people. Thus, for the Left, terror must be fought by making concessions to terror.
    The political Left has become completely irrational. They have sold their souls to this bizarre "peace process" and they can not admit they were wrong, so even though the public at large has learned something, don't expect any new sanity from the political Left.

  5. I like to think that I am not a "race-ist". I prefer to think of myself as being a "culture-ist". For a couple of years, I thought that a "two-state solution" sounded fair, even potentially workable. Not now.
    I voted, two times, for (U.S. President) Obama because he seemed at least competent compared to his political opponents. I never dreamed that Obama, in additional to particular other actions of his, would so betray Israel as he appears to be doing now. Accusing Obama of iving in an "elitist bubble" would be too kind. John Kerry has never impressed me, and I wonder how well Kerry, as the U.S. Secretary of State, is representing Obama.

  6. I always wanted to ask the BDS (= Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions) people: What should Israel do, that they haven't already tried, and seen that it failed? [I'm almost sure no BDS people visit this blog though.]

    I guess we haven't tried a one-state solution: just annexing the entire West Bank, and "play it by ear" after that, when there'll be around 50 Arab seats in the Knesset. That doesn't seem too prudent, however.

  7. So what exactly is the solution? A two state solution is the best of a bad list of options....

  8. Rabbi Slifkin,

    I am also coming to the conclusion a two state solution won't work . But the issue is if there is a consensus about a 2 state solution not being the solution, what should Israel should do with the territory, e.g. these are my questions :

    Annex it?
    Make it part of a greater Israel?
    What are you going to do with the Arab population?
    If they are all granted citizenship, won't this cause 'demographic' problems?
    How will you persuade key allies to back this idea?
    Will the Palestinians be offered relocation packages to other Arab states and who will fund this?
    What happens if they don't want to go?
    Or is the answer the status quo & how will Israel keep this going in perpetuity ,when the state's key ally, the USA, is wedded to the idea of a two state solution?

  9. The other option isn't much better. In our modern world, it is inconceivable that there can be millions of people without full voting rights.Giving Palestinians equal rights in Israel will give them about 30 or Members in the Keneset. Even were the Palestinian leadership to reject violence, which sin't happening in the foreseeable future, they are still a different people, with a different history. Countries with two very large ethnic groups don't manage particularly well. Take a look at Ukraine, or Czechoslovakia.

    I think a two state option must eventually happen. Though it must be done carefully and properly.

    I also think that a society that champions death, and celebrates the kidnapping of children is not ready for self governorship.

    1. Koillel Nick-
      You can't compare our situation with Czechoslovakia, or Spain/Catalonia or Belgium. There neither of the sides involved wants to destroy the other, as is the case with our Arab neighbors who are commited by their religion, to eradicate us.
      Anyway, who has "full voting rights in the world"? Not the Puerto Ricans, not the residents of Washington DC who have no representation in Congress. How about North Koreans? Or citizens of Saudi Arabia?
      Even if we annexed the West Bank and gave them the vote, it wouldn't help. Israel would be an "ethnic democracy" like Sri Lanka or Northern Ireland where the vote results come along ethnic lines and the minority ethnicity would feel disenfranchised even as they cast their ballots. Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland were torn by terrible ethnic violence while being democracies at the same time. The Arabs would feel disenfranchised, as indeed the Israeli Arabs are even though they have the vote.
      My point is THERE IS NO SOLUTION, except for us to hold on and let them have as much autonomy as possible within the limits of Israeli security interests. Modus-vivendi. The Arabs have never really had "the vote" and democracy anyway and it wouldn't mean anything to them if you gave it to them as the Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Algeria and Libya examples prove-all of whom had free elections and which were all subsequently torn apart by civil disorder or outright civil war.
      I also find it odd that you don't seem to grant any weight to the Torah's committment of Am Israel to Eretz Israel as being an important goal as well. That is certainly a consideration with a lot of religious Jews in Israel. The territory of Eretz Israel is not merely some piece of land to sit on and to be disposed of if it becomes somewhat incovenient.

    2. 1. I agree with your first point that there is an issue with people that want to destroy Jews. Little can be done about that. Especially in the short term.
      2. As for Puerto Rico and DC, they choose not to have representation. Puerto Rico chose not to become a state, and both people from PR and DC can freely move to any other state in the US and have a rep.
      3. I made your point that as a ethnic minority, it wouldn't work.
      4. I am not challenging Israel's security needs in any way, nor do I think this war is unjustified, or disproportionate. Nor do I think that handing them autonomy in a disengagement like way is safe for Israel.
      5. Gaza is part of Eretz Yisrael (it is NW of Beer Sheva). I would not propose to give it away for inconvenience. But if it is part of a greater deal, that can bring peace, then I would. Jewish life is holier than Jewish land. As for the mitzvah of kivush Eretz Yisrael, See ROY's speech published 1970 Torah Shebaal Peh journal of Mosad Harav Kook and in Massa Ovadia vol 1. It is published in one of the volumes of Techumin as well with a rebuttal from Rav Shaul Yisraeli. You can analyze and decide the Halachic pros and cons on your own.

    3. At the beginning of the Second Intifada, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak made a lot of threats that the Arabs should stop the violence, but didn't really take any action. Avrum Burg explained: "When you don't know what to do, the best thing to do is--nothing."

      Perhaps just maintaining the status quo is the best course of "action" at present: To bluntly state to the world that tearing up settlements, ceding land, unilateral concessions, and, most of all, entrusting our security into someone else's hands, have all led to nothing but disaster.

    4. Millions without full voting rights...Why is that inconceivable? That's the norm throughout the middle east and many places in the world. So its not only cocnceivable, it's a reality.

    5. YBEN 848 DC effectively has a vote, via leftist congress. PR has avote via the NY delegation. Czechoslovakia split up because of ethnic divisions.

      Arabs in west bank will have a vote via general leftist european knesset that israel will become under your scenario. Besides, Arabs (tend to) don't vote.

    6. "The other option isn't much better. In our modern world, it is inconceivable that there can be millions of people without full voting rights"

      What "world" are you living in? Certainly not the Middle East.

      In any case the solution is clear, we pay them to leave and annex the whole thing. It will work. The only problem is that a lot of people don't want it to work because they are caught up in liberal creationist hysteria (some people here call it "realism") in which all you need to do is give every group of incompetents a state and then it will all turn out great.

    7. Status quo with financial incentives for emigration + free college / job training for Arab women. The Arabs fertility rate has already been rapidly down trending across the middle east for more than a decade. Pushing education and economic independence for Arab women will accelerate this trend. Give it twenty years and we won't have a demographic problem anymore.

  10. Good- for both security and halakhic reasons.

  11. ##While its supporters in Israel and the West assumed that it referred to a Jewish State of Israel (with an Arab minority) and a State of Palestine (with a Jewish minority)##
    the west wants all settlements dismantled.

  12. The problem is that the Arab definition of "two state solution" and the Jewish one were totally different. Liberal Jews thought it meant one mostly-Jewish state with an Arab minority and a Jew-free Arab state next door. Odd they had no problem with ethnic cleansing like that.
    The Arab position has always been open and clear: a Jew-free Arab state and, using the so-called Arab right of return, an Arab majority state with a tolerated Jewish minority (no doubt represented in the government by the Neturei Karta).

  13. If a two state solution doesn't work - then what IS the solution?

    Because the status quo is also non-viable.

    1. Well, Caroline Glick has a proposal.

      Seeking a negotiated settlement that meets international approval certainly isn't viable. Hanging on day by day, doing the best for Israel's security has been viable so far.

      David Goldman, aka Spengler, had an interesting take a couple of weeks ago:

      If his analysis is correct, the critical thing for Israel is integrating chareidim as productive members of the Israeli economy as rapidly and completely as possible.

  14. Is it really the case that the supporters of a two-state solution thought that the Palestinian state would have a Jewish minority?

  15. Of course you mean "real rightwingers" not the actual rightwing like Sharon, Bibi, Olmert, pre-Kadima-Livni etc who have ALWAYS supported and tried to implement the left's Oslo/2-state nightmare.

    Ie "Only the Likud can bring peace."

    Perhaps a real rightwing, who actually opposes and would attempt to thwart the 2-state final solution, will develop out of this mess.

  16. THEY MUST GO! That is the only solution. Personally I don't care about them and their opinions I would throw them out and/or bombard them, BUT for all those Jewish leftists that care about them they should know that at least 70% of the Arabs themselves want to leave. So what is the problem? Let them leave, problem solved (at least a major part of it). If others attack from other places then we should just fight them just like every other country fights its enemies.

    Warren B.

  17. ALL left wing ideas eventually die, the "Palestinian state" idea is just the one with immediate impact to us. Communism was the left wing philosophy of 100 years ago. It died too, but not before a few hundred million people were killed in Russia, Cambodia, and China.

    I've got news for you. Feminism, Racism, etc. and other "equality" fantasies of Liberalism - is the Communism of today. It too, will eventually die, but not before it takes America down with it. The decline is already well underway.

    1. How is an ideology that promotes treating all people equally with kindness and respect causing America to decline? It is this ideology which allows American Jews to live in the USA and enjoy free rights like everyone else. You owe a lot to 'left wing ideas'.

  18. So I guess it's to be perpetual bloodshed then. Unless someone wants to try and think of another solution...

    1. Isn't that the reality of human history? Why should we expect long term peace just because Europe has had a few decades of quite? The only reason the Europeans have had quite is because the only thing they care about anymore is partying and screwing each other, and occasionally making themselves feel like good moral people by going to an anti-Israel rally.

  19. As a Canadian Jew, very supportive of Israel, especially in these difficult times, when watching and reading the media, i am terribly upset and disheartened that Israel is losing the PR war, badly. Can anyone tell me if they are aware of this disaster in the making and if yes, why aren't they making a greater effort? there are so many things that can be done to improve the situation.

    1. Israel is not losing the PR war, thank you. The majority of ordinary people care about Israel/Gaza the same amount you care about Ethiopia and Eritrea - nothing. They are far more interested in the Superbowl and Lebron James. The opinions of whose who actually are interested are divided along the usual republican/democrat lines (or for you in canada, the tories and the liberals/ndp) with the usual amount of switches on each side.

      There are always going to be some people (such as yourself) that fixate on the negative, or on what they think other people are saying. There are Arab websites I've seen in English that fixate on the same thing, that Israel is winning the PR war. Its a peculiar type of malady.

    2. Yes,the vast majority don't care (as long as you don't bring ebola to the US.)

      But they do care bout a boston marathon, airplane bombing / missile attack, etc. For some reason (i don't understand why; europe tried for years to payoff the terrorists NOT to attack, with various degrees of (non)success.)

  20. In the light of no possible peace is where Rationalism and Mysticism approaches can see eye to eye.

    "There will be no peace between Israel and the Palestinians until after the final stages of the coming of Moshiach has occurred."

  21. I find it very telling that nobody (including the blog owner) has answered the question I asked earlier:

    If 2 states is not the solution then WHAT IS?

    One state? With a huge Arab minority?

    1. Transfer the Arabs out. Warren b.

    2. There is an Alternative! ( To another Unilateral Withdrawal )

  22. [... T]he current war in Gaza has led almost everyone in Israel to realize something that was clear to the right wing a long time ago: that the Two State Solution is not a solution at all.

    This is the very definition of confirmation bias. You could just as easily say that the Lebanon wars and the treaties with Egypt and Jordan confirmed what was clear to the left wing long ago. In fact the left can argue that the two intifada's and this war prove that doing nothing while enjoying the temporary calms of occupation between conflicts is foolish.

    From a factual PoV, let's see what the polls say 6 months after this war ends (may it end speedily). I predict that you are mistaken, and that the two-state solution will enjoy the support of the majority of Israelis as it did before the war. (Popularity is not an argument; rather, I'm doubting the notion that "everyone is Israel" realizes that the two-state solution is not to be pursued).

    CliveJuly 31, 2014 at 4:42 PM
    If a two state solution doesn't work - then what IS the solution?

    Because the status quo is also non-viable.

    Likely there is no "solution". Life is not a textbook with problem sets specially designed to have "solutions".

    While I agree with the premise that there are those on the "left" that are Pollyannas (although here apparently Sharon is on the "left" :), there are also those who realize that the two-state solution has serious problems, but realize that it may be the least bad one. And there are those on the "right" are similarly deluded when they think that they can just act "idealistically" by their interpretation of Tanach and everything will turn out fine. This is the "politically conservative" version of Hishtadlus, I suppose.

    Here is a short 3 1/2 minute clip of Carlo Strenger (certainly a man of the left) describing the Pollyanas, but still defending the need to look for a 2-state solution:

    Even if you are a hard right winger, if you want to know what the non-absurd counter-arguments to your position are, Strenger is worthwhile listening to...

    1. In fact the left can argue that the two intifadas and this war prove that doing nothing while enjoying the temporary calms of occupation between conflicts is foolish.

      Those opposed to the disengagement argued that if/when the Arabs launch another intifada, this one will be different--it will be with artillery. And we see that this is the case. I don't think that this is a case of confirmation bias: in confirmation bias, I would ignore the benefits of the disengagement (were there any?), and look at only the deficiencies.

    2. The majority does not want a 2 state solution and probably never have. A tiny minority within the left wing spearheaded this and a minority support it. But it has the full backing of almost all mainstream politicians.
      The polls are skewed because they always include the condtional "if it would bring peace". The vast majority knows it will not bring peace. Or even calling it "solution" in the question already implies a set result and in that case would you support it. Ask the simple question do you support creation of a fakestinian state in Judea and Samaria and vast majority will say no.

    3. Those opposed to the disengagement argued that if/when the Arabs launch another intifada, this one will be different--it will be with artillery. And we see that this is the case.

      An those who supported the disengagement thought that the next intifada would fought with water guns? I don't follow the logic.

      Let's try to make it more concrete. If the enemy is attacking with rockets and via tunnels, are you better off with pockets of civilians to defend in the midst of that territory or not? I say it is better that they are not there.

      Have a look at this article where a couple of former Gush Katif residents admit that they are better off out of Gaza

      “In the period after we left, we had a lot of anger,” [Deborah] Israeli said. “We were so, so angry. It took us a long time for this anger to dissipate. We’re still angry. You can definitely still find people who say ‘we want to go back.’ I personally am not of that opinion. I’m not sure that I would go and raise my children there, in the situation we had there. Nine years later, I look back and say maybe God actually gave us a miracle when he got us out of there. Because who knows what they would have done to us today. They could be building tunnels underneath our settlements and blow them up. They could blow up entire settlements!”

      [... Eviatar] Cohen echoed Israeli’s reluctance to go back to Gush Katif. “Personally, I’m not going back to Gush Katif, I have two small daughters, four and a half years and six months,” Cohen said. “I’m not going back unless they promise me a new Garden of Eden. The reality for the last period in Gush Katif was not a place to raise children. Anyone who says differently is living in a fantasy world or too strong in their ideology.” Cohen emphasized that many evacuees disagree with his position, including his own wife, who is desperate to return to Gush Katif under any circumstances. [emphasis mine].

      The majority does not want a 2 state solution and probably never have. A tiny minority within the left wing spearheaded this and a minority support it. But it has the full backing of almost all mainstream politicians. The polls are skewed because they always include the conditional "if it would bring peace".

      But you do disagree, right? Even if it would bring peace, you don't want a Palestinian state for religious reasons, correct?

    4. My anecdotal personal experience with 20 something's in university here in Israel is that even the ones who are very secular and socially liberal, for example have no religious observance at all and support gay marriage, are also extremely hawkish on security and don't believe there is any realistic chance of peace, even though they might in theory support a two state solution - if it could bring genuine peace.

    5. I heard an interesting analysis, that the motivation behind the settlements in Gush Katif was to split the Gaza Strip into three parts, to be able to better supervise the passage of goods (that is, weapons) from one part to the other. I think that could also be the explanation for the settlements in Judea and Samaria as well--to have Yitzhar, to see what's going on in Shechem, or to have Kiryat Arba, to see what's going on in Hebron. (It's not realistic to say that we'll populate the whole region with Jews, when the settlements occupy only 10% of the area of Judea and Samaria.)

    6. David Ohsie wrote:"An those who supported the disengagement thought that the next intifada would fought with water guns? I don't follow the logic.
      Let's try to make it more concrete. If the enemy is attacking with rockets and via tunnels, are you better off with pockets of civilians to defend in the midst of that territory or not? I say it is better that they are not there. "

      Pockets of civilians would be sitting ducks. But IDF outposts would have certainly prevented the הפקרות that exists there now.

      I'm sure those who supported the disengagement didn't expect that the PA would use it for building tunnels and launching missles that could reach Tel Aviv and Nahariya. Before the disengagement, there weren't any such tunnels, and Qassams reached only to Sderot. Hamas built the tunnels after the disengagement, and got hold of rockets and mortars with a much longer range. Those who opposed the disengagement argue that an IDF presence would be able to thwart efforts to dig tunnels and fire missles.

  23. Yehudah P,
    I'm a supporter of BDS and I visit here regularly. I think the solution is clear. Israel should adhere to international law, which is unequivocal on this issue: It is illegal to acquire territory by war. Israel must withdraw from all the territory it acquired in 1967.

    1. Really? It is "illegal" to acquire territory by war? Then please explain to me how Russia acquired East Prussia, Poland acquired Silesia, the Ukraine acquiring Galitzia.? For that matter , how did Putin recently acquire the Crimea against the will of the previous sovereign state in control, the Ukraine? How did the US acquire New Mexico and California or Puerto Rico?
      The West Bank had NO sovereignity before the 1967 war. The last time its sovereignity was defined was by the San Remo Treaty which made part of the British Mandate of Palestine. Since the Arabs rejected the 1947 UN Partition Resolution, Israel has as good a claim to the West Bank as anyone.

    2. They withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and look what happened. So no that is not the solution - at least not on its own

    3. "in international law...It is illegal to acquire territory by war"

      No, it isn't.


  24. The UN Resolution 242 does not require us to cede land taken by war if the other side remains belligerent. There is no one on the ground to return the territories to. (I understand that we offered the West Bank back to Jordan immediately after '67, and they refused it. They have enough Palestinians in Jordan already.)

    It cannot be that international law requires us to entrust our security to a hostile terrorist group. The PA either can't do anything about Islamic terror, or assists it. (We witnessed instances of PA police opening fire on IDF soldiers when Israel just extended the Western Wall tunnel--not to mention the Second Intifada.)

    1. "The UN Resolution 242 does not require us to cede land taken by war if the other side remains belligerent"

      That's the perfect excuse to never cede land. Genius!

    2. This is what it says in the link you provided: Resolution 242 requires:
      Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.
      Where do we see the PA or Hamas acknowledging our sovereignty over anything? That's certainly not what appears in their textbooks in their education system.

      You should be on the defensive here, not me. How is it supposed to be better for us if we retreat to the pre-'67 borders? What are we going to do if Hamastan spreads to the West Bank (they did win the elections there)?

    3. Read further. The PLO accepted the two state solution and Israel's right to exist in 1993. It's Israel that refuses to accept the existence of a Palestinian state because it wants all the land for itself. But territorial expansion is achieved at the expense of security. See Rabbi Slifkin's recent post about his family that lives in settlements being attacked.

    4. Ok, then why didn't Arafat agree to Barak's generous "clearance sale" offer of 96% of the West Bank, along with land from the Negev that would amount to the missing 4%? And why do we keep having to hear about how Israel has to take in all the refugees?

      Rabin, Peres, and Barak were going full speed ahead with their negotiations, in spite of all the terror attacks--what was all that for, just to "pretend" that we want to give back Judea and Samaria, but don't really mean it? And what's your תירוץ about the disengagement in 2005: we just want to show everyone how inept the Palestinians are, so we can take over again?

      Evelyn Gordon of the Jerusalem Post once put it very well: the Palestinians do not want peace, they want a peace process. They want us to give them things in stages, without them having in the meantime to yield on any of their demands. Can you name any demand that they have yielded on in the last 20 years since Oslo? Barak pressed them to put an end to the conflict--after which they can't make any more demands--and that is something that they can never agree to.

      In any event--why isn't there a BDS movement against Qatar, for funding Hamas all along? Or against the Palestinians, until they change their textbooks and their whole anti-Semitic education system and media? The BDS movement is rooting for the wrong guys.

  25. Lastyear wrote:"But territorial expansion is achieved at the expense of security. See Rabbi Slifkin's recent post about his family that lives in settlements being attacked.

    You look at data very selectively. The next day an Arab construction worker overturned a bus in the Shmuel Hanavi neighborhood in Jerusalem, and ran over a pedestrian. We should give that neighborhood also to the Arabs?

    You ignore all the terror attacks in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Netanya, Afulah, Hadera--are we supposed to give those to the Arabs as well? Or are we to conclude that 1) ceding them land has only given terrorists a base from which to attack, and 2) the PA and Hamas work together to make life unbearable for Israelis, to induce them to leave? (The kibbutzim around the Gaza strip are not on land that we gained in '67, but Hamas feels free to build attack tunnels to perform terror attacks there as well.)

  26. "Ok, then why didn't Arafat agree to Barak's generous "clearance sale" offer of 96% of the West Bank"

    If someone stole your home and then offered to give you back 96% of it, would you agree to it? Would you think it's generous?

    "Can you name any demand that they have yielded on in the last 20 years since Oslo?"

    We occupied their land, expelled them from their homes and destroyed their villages. And they've accepted all of it. They've accepted that Israel is here to stay and that they will have to share their land with the colonizers. They've even accepted that the vast majority of refugees expelled by Israel in 1948 will be unable to return home. What else do you want them to give up on?

    Look, they want a sovereign nation to call home (Just like we did), and they'll continue fighting for it until they get it. That's what being human is. What we are doing (denying them their human rights) is inhuman.

  27. Lastyear said, "They've accepted that Israel is here to stay and that they will have to share their land with the colonizers. They've even accepted that the vast majority of refugees expelled by Israel in 1948 will be unable to return home."

    Your assessment is so delusional and detached from reality, it is fruitless to argue with you by presenting any facts. They teach their children in their textbooks that Israel is here to stay? Their maps don't show that.They show the entire region as Palestine, with no mention of a Jewish presence. And what if we give them the West Bank? Abbas has said numerous times that he won't allow any settlers to remain.

    They accept that there were Jews here at any point, and had a sovereign nation, that there was a Beis HaMikdash? They deny all Jewish history in this area, or say that we're all descendents of the Khazars, not really Jews.

    They don't insist that all the "refugees" will have to be absorbed by Israel? (Most of these "refugees" never had Israel as a home--they would have to have been before 1948.) Then why didn't Arafat sign the Camp David Accord, if he's so amenable to letting Israel exist and not accept all the refugees? Because Sharon went on the Temple Mount?

    You still only attack and never answer any questions I pose you: Answer me this: what would the map of Israel look like if we would accept all the Arabs' demands? Even all the West Bank is clearly not enough, according to what you say--we still unjustly took all their land. That's true--the PLO was founded in 1964, when the West Bank was still part of Jordan. The PLO's express wish is/was to externinate Israel, even from the pre-'67 borders.

    Once I did a translation project for Mekorot, a water company here in Israel. They needed some material translated into English for a delegation from Uganda, to teach them methods of recycling water ,water efficiency, etc. The Ugandans were so impressed, they said that if we (meaning Israel) ever want to reconsider and move to Uganda, they'll welcome us with open arms. I suppose that's what we'll have to do according to you--even though we'll still be praying three times a day towards Jerusalem, and saying ותחזינה עינינו, בשובך לציון ברחמים.

  28. @Lastyear: The following website has a series of pdfs and presentations that refute the Palestinian narrative (that you accept so gullibly) of "occupation", "Jewish colonists", etc. as being inventions from the 1960's by Arafat, under KGB tutelage on how to get world support against Israel.

    I want to ask you only one question--so that you don't deflect the conversation to something else, as you have until now: Let's say I'm the Prime Minister, and I sincerely believe the Arabs' fabrications and propaganda, and I want to right the historic wrong of occupying the Palestinians' land. I tear up all settlements, and retreat to the '67 borders.But how can I successfully prevent terror attacks? We have witnessed that the PA cannot be relied upon to ensure Israeli security--especially if they'll be overrun by Hamas.
    If retreating from Gaza brought us disaster, it is delusional to think that retreating from all of Judea and Samaria will bring peace. The Arabs have only become more belligerent since Oslo, not more peaceful. I don't understand why you fail to see that--compare the number of terror victims 20 years before Oslo, and 20 years since.

    1. Yehuda,

      Your arguments against a Palestinian state are almost entirely projection. It is ISRAEL that wants all of the land without any Arabs in it. It is ISRAELI textbooks that don't show Palestine on the map. ISRAELI education instills hatred of Arabs. ISRAELI politicians want to expel them all.

      Of course the PLO wanted to get rid of Israel. It's totally understandable. If another nation expelled hundreds of thousands of your people from their homes and established an exclusivist state on the remains of your cities wouldn't you want to get rid of them? The point is that the PLO and now the PA have accepted that Israel is here to stay and that their state will have to live side by side with Israel.

      To say that because they teach their children to hate us we can continue to deny them their human rights is absurdly circular and immoral. They won't stop hating until we stop treating them the way we do.

      The Arab "fabrications" as you say, are supported by facts, and consequently by Israeli historians. See: Benny Morris, Avi Shlaim, Ilan Pappé, Tom Segev, Hillel Cohen, Ari Shavit.

      As far as your question about how to stop terror attacks: It's actually pretty simple. The only way to successfully prevent terror attacks (what Palestinians call resistance of the occupation) is to get out of the west bank and let Palestinians have a sovereign nation, just like the only way Britain could stop Jewish terrorist attacks was to get out of Palestine and let Jews have a sovereign nation.

      Israel has internationally recognized borders. It has the right to protect those borders from foreign attacks (including building a wall on its border). It has no right to militarily occupy another land.

      I agree it's fruitless to argue anymore.

  29. Lastyear: I will address only the issue of terror: If having signed Oslo, and ceded Gaza and Jericho, there would be less terror, then having signed Oslo 2, there would be even less, then slowly pulling out would bring terror down to zero--you would be correct.

    But we see the trend goes in the opposite direction--the worst terror attacks were after the signing of Oslo--and after ceding land. First it started with small attacks: shooting people going on hikes in Wadi Kelt, or picking off people waiting for a hitchhike in Kiryat Arba. Then we were given the "engineer", Yahya Ayyash ימ"ש, with the idea of blowing up entire busloads of people. In the meantime, Rabin and Peres were adamantly continuing the peace talks (a cartoon in Jpost then showed Shimon Peres leaping over the wreckage of the 26 bus, with Oslo II in hand, ready to be signed), despite the terror attacks. And you say that Israel is trying to hold onto the land? A total distortion of facts!! If Peres would have had tangible evidence that his plan is bringing us security, you think that he wouldn't have ceded all of the West Bank? That's what the Oslo Accords promised: a Palestinian state within 5 years. But the terror was impossible: every time there was a terror attack, a closure was imposed. Then there would be quiet. Then, Arafat would whine that the Palestinian people are suffering, because they can't go to work in Israel. Then we'd lift the closure, and then there would be another terror attack, and we'd impose a closure again. And so on and so on.

    Then Barak's offer of a piece of land which will be essentially the same size of what they would have if we ceded to the '67 border--they refuse, and reward us with the Second Intifada, resulting, not in more peace, but more bloodshed.

    And now with ceding the Gaza Strip--it has allowed a genocidal enemy to have a terrorist base, with missles that can strike up to Haifa.

    I would agree with you that we should cede from Yehuda and Shomron if we would see any indication that ceding land reduces terror; but why should terror increase with our ceding land? There must be something wrong with your hypothesis that everything will be peaches and cream if we give them the West Bank too. Yitzchak Rabin once said in the '70's, that a Palestinian state is "the time bomb of the Middle East"--it will destabilize the region, not stabilize it.

    Another Israeli politician said, "We see peace with the Arabs on the horizon." Someone quipped: Look at the dictionary definition of "horizon": "An imaginary line, that goes further and further away, as you try to approach it."

  30. First: You argue that whenever Israel cedes land, it results in more terror. But if that were true, then we should be able to compare maps of Israel over the years and see its borders shrinking (as it cedes land). But the opposite is true! Israel continues to TAKE land to build settlements.

    Second: About the unwillingness of the Palestinians to accept Israel's "generous" offers. I asked you this question before. If someone stole your home, and then offered you 96% of it back, would you accept this "generous" offer?

    Third: About Gaza. How many civilians has the enemy killed in the current war? How many have Israel killed? If you asked an impartial observer, which side do you think they would say is more deserving of the label "genocidal".

    1. Lastyear: @First: You are ignoring the fact that there is more terror since Oslo than before. I was addressing only that. Why the explosion (literally and figuratively) of terror after we make a peace agreement, and we're supposed to have the end of the intifada--or so we were promised? Rabin and Peres were building more settlements? (I understand that since Oslo, there have been no new settlements, but there has been expansion of existing ones.) According to the statistics of this website:, with the building of the separation fence, there has been a notable decrease in terror--but since חומת מגן, there is also a constant IDF presence in the West Bank, which also lowers the possibility of terror attacks. We won't have that if we give them the West Bank.
      Your claim previously about maps is very telling about how you manipulate facts--essentially, it's just demogoguery: I have a map of Israel, and it shows the present situation: Israel, and the autonomous areas of the seven major Palestinian cities, and Gaza being under Palestinian control. Why should the map show "Palestine", when we haven't agreed on the final borders yet? [Did maps of the US show the US spanning from the Atlantic to the Pacific in 1802, before the Louisiana Purchase?] But Palestinian maps in schools refuse to show that there is a state of Israel--despite the fact that the UN recognized Israel in 1948. What about all the demonstrators singing, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free"? Where's Israel supposed to be? In Uganda? That's teaching people peaceful coexistence? The Israeli Board of Education, on the other hand, went through a lot of effort to ingrain in students about peace with the Palestinians.

      @Second: The sum total that would have been given to them would be equal to the entire West Bank anyway--it was done so as not to go through the tearing up of existing settlements. You repeatedly portray it that Israel took an existing Palestine when they took the West Bank. You know full well that it was Jordan, not Palestine. The Palestinians never had a state there before, and now they would have a state. They wouldn't have Gush Etzion perhaps, but they didn't have that before either.

      @Third: Hamas' charter quotes a hadith that calls for killing of Jews; it doesn't say Zionists, or occupiers, but Jews.That is calling for genocide. They call for Islam to obliterate Israel. That is genocide. Don't lie to me that Israel intends to commit genocide on Palestinians--with all the humanitarian aid we let through every day. We tore up all the settlements in Gaza, took out our army, and left them 3000 greenhouses, in order to commit genocide? You of course have to avoid mentioning the 3000 rockets they fired/fire at us, which was the reason why we bombed them in the first place--another manipulation of facts.

  31. Yehuda,
    Is this an accurate summary of your points?

    - Israel is always the victim, and Palestinian violence is always unprovoked.
    - We bend over backwards for them because we're a peace loving nation and we just want to co-exist.
    - They, on the other hand hate us and want us all dead
    - If they'd just stop wanting to kill us then we'd end the occupation and they'd have a state

    1. Your summary is somewhat accurate, except for the first point--I can't deny the crimes we've committed against Arabs, and I would also say that Jordan was supposed to be the Palestinian state, and it was sort of pulled out from under their feet and given to the Hashemite Kingdom.
      My points are as follows:
      I don't want to enter into the history of the Six-Day War, or how Israel was founded. I just want to focus on the past 20 years. I want that you should consider how much effort Israel has invested into trying to make peace leading up to, and since Oslo. Shimon Peres in the late '80's was meeting with the PLO, when it was still illegal to meet with them, since they were still considered a terrorist organization. They brought the PLO from exile in Tunis, Shimon Peres went around the world appealing to get the PLO some funding, we "helped" them set up a Palestinian police force. We signed the Oslo accords, ceded from Gaza and Jericho, then from the seven major West Bank cities--and the entire Gaza strip. After the disengagement, Sharon was riding on tremendous popularity with the Israeli public. Kadima was predicted to receive over 40 seats, if Sharon wouldn't have suffered a stroke. Nonetheless, Olmert tried to push on with the idea of the התכנסות--which would be the disengagement, just in the West Bank. And the Israeli public was buying it too--It certainly doesn't seem that this is trying to grab as much land as possible. This is not a sincere effort for peace?
      Barak offered a state in the West Bank, Olmert was even more generous, and offered the full 100%. None of this has resulted in an end to the conflict. In fact, we have seen several instances of flaring up of terror, a second Intifada, and threats all the time of a third one, an Islamofascist state in Gaza, and threats of one in the West Bank too. Is there anything not accurate in what I've described here?
      In one sentence: I don't see why Israel should be pressured by boycotts etc., when we have made as many offers as possible. Israel can't be expected to agree to every Arab demand --especially not with Hamas on the other side of the bargaining table. Even if we cede the West Bank, what is the assurance that there will not be a terrorist element that will turn our lives into hell with the same rocket attacks that we're witnessing now from Gaza? In fact--Hamas won the elections in the West Bank, so we'll be looking at them as the ruling power there too. Attempts at conciliation are viewed by Islamists as weakness, not kindness or striving for justice.
      What is left for Israel to do? A unilateral retreat from the West Bank, fulfill international law לשמה, and hope somehow that it'll provide us some kind of supernatural protection?

      Concessions have led to 1) endangering Jewish lives, and 2) pressure to make more concessions. The world should be applying equal pressure on the Arabs to resolve the conflict, and not only pressure Israel.

    2. It sounds like you don't believe in Greater Israel for ideological reasons. You'd rather Israel coexist peacefully alongside a sovereign Palestinian state. Me too.

      In order for that to happen, the blame game is going to have to end. You are seeing things only from one perspective (the perspective of the tribe/nation you were born into). If you could step out of that mentality, you may come to a very different conclusion about where the blame lies. There's certainly no lack of literature available online.

    3. After a lengthy exchange, I guess we finally found something that we can agree on.

      A very witty Rav here in Jerusalem said that instead of UN Resolution 242, we should be concerned about OC Resolution 329--Orach Chayyim Siman 329, where it says that, even if there is just a concern that enemies are preparing an attack, and Jewish lives are at stake--a preemptive strike must be launched, even on Shabbos. And this is regardless of whether the Jewish community is in Israel or in חוץ לארץ. At present, the rhetoric from the Arab side is way too combative to make any sort of peace--over 60% polled said they expect a Palestinian state on the entire area from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. Obviously they wouldn't tolerate Jews living in their state, if it would come to pass.

      On the other hand, I recognize that a lot of IDF behavior in the West Bank is done just to intimidate (with no connection to protecting Jewish lives)--and that contributes to the antagonism. There's a lot of room for improvement in that area. But I don't think the BDS movement is the right method to achieve that--from what I have read, BDS people are more motivated by hate of Israel than concern for Palestinians.

    4. I'm glad we agree on something. That allows us to proceed from common ground.

      You said: "Obviously they wouldn't tolerate Jews living in their state, if it would come to pass."

      Can't you see that this is just projection? It's the Zionists that don't tolerate non-Jews in Israel, because they must maintain Jewish supremacy in the state. It's the Zionists that keep talking about "transfer". It's the Zionists that have done ALL of the expelling.

      Those 60% of Palestinians want one state that treats all its citizens equally and allows them to live where they want (whether Christian, Muslim or Jew). I don't think that's realistic at this point, since the two state solution is the international consensus. But it isn't the Judenrein state you think it is.

      Even Khaled Mashal, leader of Hamas, says he is prepared to live side by side with Christians and Jews (see his recent interview with Charlie Rose).

  32. Abbas is supposedly more moderate than Hamas, but he says that he won't tolerate a single Israeli living in Palestine:
    You'll probably say that's referring to settlers, or to IDF personnel, who are there illegally. Then why does Palestinian law already forbid selling land to Jews--and will execute someone who does it?
    As for Mashal--you should be more skeptical of any of these flowery statements of tolerance that they make. How many Jews live in Gaza now?
    Israel, on the other hand, has a large Arab minority. The only means of "transfer" I'm familiar with at present is by buying Arab houses at several times the market price. That's how there are Jews in the Muslim and Christian quarters in the Old City, or in the City of David. A lot of the times they were buying back homes that were originally Jewish, but were taken from them after the '48 war--after slaughtering or driving out the Jewish inhabitants.

    Again, if the Arabs were so tolerant as you make them out to be, we would have had an final status agreement by now. You keep ignoring the fact that they deny the right for Jews to be in Israel at all, or that they have any historical claim to the land at all. That is the obstacle for peace at present--and somehow Israel has to be the one to make all the concessions, and just tacitly agree to all the Arab demands. The Arabs have to drastically overhaul the whole way they look at Jews living in Israel--and stop with their contorted, intellectually-dishonest denials, for example, that there was ever a Temple, or that there was ever a Jewish commonwealth in Israel, etc.

  33. Regarding your first point: Jews who wish to live in what is currently occupied West Bank would become Palestinian citizens. That's what Abbas is referring to. The difference between a Jew and an Israeli living in the West Bank is the difference between a citizen of Palestine and a settler, between peaceful coexistence and occupation. That's why he said no "Israeli", not "Jew".

    I'm not familiar with the law forbidding the sale of land to Jews. However it makes sense given the circumstances. If Jewish people wanted to live in Palestine as equals with everyone else, just like they had been doing for a thousand years, there would be no harm in selling land to Jews, and so there would be no laws against it, just like there are no laws against selling land to Christians (or other religious groups that Muslims consider infidels). But they aren't. They're buying land to maintain Jewish hegemony over as much of the land as possible at the expense of everyone else.

    "How many Jews live in Gaza now?" What kind of question is that? Who would want to live in Gaza now? The current residents are only there because Israel won't let them out.

    Regarding transfer: As historian Benny Morris said: it's built in to Zionism. It began with 700,000 expelled in 47-48, and it's still going on today. It includes evictions, home demolitions, destruction of towns and villages, and the denial of housing rights within Israel to non Jews. There's plenty of literature out there if you're interested.

    "That is the obstacle for peace at present"
    It's hard to reconcile your version of history and who's at fault with the facts. The obstacle for peace is that Israel keeps taking more Palestinian land. Even the lead us negotiator in the latest peace initiative (Martin Indyk-a strong supporter of Israel) said so. Israel's elected leaders continually say they will never accept a Palestinian state.

  34. You convolute the literal meaning of what Abbas says--and totally deny the content of the article that I cited, that there is a death penalty--death, I repeat--for selling land to Jews.
    And your last point: You say the real obstacle for peace is Israeli settlements, which constitute less than 10% of the West Bank--one website I saw says that they constitute 2.7%--an area which the Arabs would receive in a land swap by getting a piece of Israel proper.

    Perhaps Arab terror, encitement for terror, naming schools etc. after terrorists and calling them martyrs and freedom fighters (instead of murderers) is an obstacle? Dancing and celebrating outside the homes of suicide bombers is an obstacle? Denial of the holocaust, how many Jews died in the holocaust, and the whole Jewish history of Israel is an obstacle?

    I see that what you espouse is a belief system. You are entitled to your beliefs--I have no interest trying to convince people to believe as I do. I disagree with the beliefs of many people on the Internet in general, and with some people on this blog as well at times.

    But I never, never have invested as much time to convince someone of my position as much as I have done with you. You may ask why this is. Very simple: you do not only have a belief system that is totally contradicted by 20 years of terror that Israel has suffered due to acting on your belief system--and applying the "land for peace" scheme. You also feel strong enough about your beliefs that you are part of a movement, BDS, which is made to force Israel to take steps that, as we have seen, will compromise its security, and risk 7 million Jewish lives, on the delusional assumption that terrorist organizations will finally be placated when they receive the West Bank and statehood. Again, you are entitled to your beliefs--but what gives you the right to act on this belief, and be part of a movement that will endanger the lives of 7 million Jews living in Eretz Yisrael at present (כן ירבו)?

    Once the Brisker Rav was asked a question about someone eating on Yom Kippur. He ruled that the person was sick enough that it was justified to allow him to eat. The Brisker Rav was known as a great machmir. He explained, "Do you think I'm being lenient with regards to the laws of Yom Kippur? I'm being machmir on the laws of pikuach nefesh!"
    And as we know, we are מחלל שבת, even on ספק פיקוח נפש. Yielding land, in Israel's situation, is also ספק פיקוח נפש--and not mere "projecting", as you have said. It is an empirical fact that Israel's security has been compromised. There is no basis in fact at present that yielding more land will suddenly secure Jewish lives.

  35. Thanks for taking so much time and effort to discuss this with me.

    Israel directly controls 60% of the west bank (area C), and it indirectly controls the rest (by invading at will). Please Google "Defining the Palestinian Bantustan" and click on the first link.

    Israel not only names streets and schools after terrorists, it even elects them as Prime Minister: David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and Ariel Sharon all committed terrorism by any reasonable definition of the term.

    It's disgusting to celebrate death, and of course it's wrong to dance outside homes of suicide bombers, just like it's wrong to celebrate in the streets when we bomb children in Gaza. Both sides give in to their darker instincts.

    Terrorism against Israeli citizens has declined drastically in the last decade, as a result of the PA security coordination with Israel (initiated at Oslo). However, contrary to what you say, Israel has actually rejected security in the name of expansion and occupation. Israel will NEVER be secure as long as it occupies and represses another people. The only hope it has to avoid eventual destruction is to dismantle the settlements, end the occupation and allow the Palestinians the same rights to national self determination that we fought for.

    I support BDS as a Jew and as a human being. I support it as a Jew because I think it's racing toward a cliff which it refuses to see. By its unwillingness to give up its settlement policy and end the occupation, it endangers all Jews in Israel and the diaspora (see the last part of JJ Goldberg's recent post in the Forward, titled "With All Due Respect, Can't My Critics Read?" about the connection between Israeli policy and global anti-semitism).

    And as a human being I support BDS because I don't want to see the Palestinian people brutally oppressed anymore.

    1. LastYear, your positions are not only abhorrent, they are also completely divorced from reality. You state falsehood after falsehood, such as that Israel does not want any Arabs in the country, and such as that the Palestinians are open to having the settlers remain in their state as Palestinian citizens. In your comment you compare Palestinians celebrations of suicide bombers with Jewish celebrations of children in Gaza being bombed. If you think that there is any comparison to be made here (in terms of who is celebrating and what they are celebrating) then you are completely ignorant or blind to reality.

      You also insist that Palestinians just want self-determination. You refuse to acknowledge the Palestinian's own statements about how they want to destroy Israel.

      But your final comment about BDS is what has made me decide to stop publishing your comments here. I don't know if you're simply stupid or if you are deliberately blinding yourself to the facts about the Palestinians, but if you are going to translate that into active support for BDS, then you are not welcome here.

    2. Thank you Rabbi Slifkin for your support--but please let me have one more word on the matter:
      Lastyear, the Torah arguments about pikuach nefesh don't seem to hold any water with you, so how about this: Netanyahu said in a speech in 2009 that he would agree to a demilitarized Palestinian state:
      So, why can't the Palestinians take him up on that offer? Why not demilitarize, beat their swords into plowshares, and use all those resources that they have amassed for military purposes (i.e., obliterating Israel) for peaceful purposes, and they'll get their longed-for right of self-determination?? I mean, what could they possibly need rockets for, if there will be peace?
      I'll tell you why: because their whole society, their whole education system is built on constant struggle against Israel, against Zionism, against Jews. A five-year-old boy by us will be given a Chumash or a Siddur; they give theirs a mock-up of a rocket launcher or an AK-47. Just like I won't take away a siddur from my child, they won't take away that toy (rocket launcher/AK-47/suicide bomber doll with a חגורת נפץ) from their child.
      They feel obligated to say all sorts of self-contradictory lies: The Jews nowadays aren't really Jews, the Temple never existed, Jesus was Palestinian, the Holocaust never happened, or only 50,000 Jews died in the Holocaust---all sorts of nonsense in their historical narrative that they feel they have to invent, just so that Jews have no legitimate claim to Israel.

      Until they reformat their "hard disk" and stop with all this delusional, war-mongering rhetoric--there will never be peace between Israel and the Palestinians. That is the true obstacle to peace.

  36. Man I wish I could justify murder like you guys do. My soul would be so clean.

  37. Such intelligent people, so blind. Your religion is holding you back. No peace for you.


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