Sunday, February 8, 2015

Rational Evaluations vs. Fundamentalist Commitments

In the lead-up to national elections in Israel, I've been noticing a stark contrast in how various parties and people approach different issues. There are those who weigh up a desired goal against its drawbacks, and there are those for whom the desired goal is so important that they pursue it regardless of its drawbacks. I would describe the latter as making fundamentalist commitments instead of rational evaluations.

While once could doubtless provide many examples of this, the one that I am thinking of is the all-important issue of territorial concessions. I heard a somewhat leftist politician, whom I admire in many ways, talk about how it is utterly unacceptable for Israel to rule over the Palestinians without giving them a vote. It endangers the democratic principles that we value so dearly. Therefore, this must come to an end.

Now, I fully agree that ruling over people without giving them a vote is a very bad situation. I fully agree that it endangers the democratic principles that we value so dearly. However, I find it disturbing that this is not weighed against the alternative. After all, we also value our lives very dearly. So if creating a Palestinian state is going to endanger our lives, well, I'd rather endanger our democratic values.

There's a lot of this going on. The Left talks as though the Right is entirely unaware, or entirely disputes, the notion that Israel's governing of the Palestinians is a terrible situation. But that's generally not the case at all. Many people on the Right fully agree that it's a terrible situation. But that doesn't mean that the alternative is necessarily better!

In some cases, one sees that people's fundamentalist commitments mean that they pursue their goal even when its consequences negate the very goal that they are trying to achieve. For example, many people talk about how we must give the Palestinians a state in order to avoid international isolation and condemnation. Now, of course it is important to avoid international isolation and condemnation. But will giving the Palestinians a state actually achieve that? In the short run, perhaps. However, in the long term, it appears that it will not significantly reduce it. As we have seen in Gaza, there is no way that Israel can defend itself against missiles launched from civilian areas without incurring international condemnation. And at least some Palestinians will certainly be launching missiles from civilian areas. Thus, even if a Palestinian state is created, Israel will still suffer from international condemnation.

It's not rational to condemn the current situation, or the current government's handling of the current situation, unless you have a better alternative.

I will wrap up this post with a video interview of Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon Abbas Zaki, revealing the Palestinian's true intentions with the Two State solution:

102 comments:

  1. What you say about people on the Right being aware of the point made by the Left is true as far as it goes. But it ignores the fact that many on the Religious Right, particularly the residents of Judea and Samaria, are opposed to giving up any territory for religious reasons, apparently irrespective of any deal that might be in the offing (I agree that none is). I admit that this might change if we ever had a true partner for peace.

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    1. Those "religious reasons" didn't come from nowhere. Time and again we were warned of the consequences of an incomplete conquest of the land. Enemies that remained in place would be a thorn in our side. How many times have we witnessed the truth of that warning? Are the reasons for not giving an inch any less valid for being "religious?"

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    2. It has apparently never occurred to these people that the laws Hashem gave to the Jewish people to guide them in their national life might be, just possibly, wise.

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  2. This claim that the "Palestinians have no vote" is an excuse pushed by the Israeli Left because they can't confront the reality of the situation that the Palestinians will never agree to any compromise peace agreement with Israel because they view the existence of Israel as abhorrent and the negation of everything they believe in. Many Israelis like to put their head in the sand and say that they believe there is some "peace partner" out there and that the problem is the supposed lack of "self-determination" for the Palestinians.
    In reality, the Palestinians do have an autonomous government and they do have a "vote" (if you want to call it that) for that regime. It is not a sovereign state, but then neither is Puerto Rico which also has an autonomous local government, but they have not vote for President of the US, nor do they have representation in Congress. Residents of the District of Columbia also do not have representation in Congress and they only got the vote for President in 1960.
    Citizens of Saudi Arabia have no vote either. North Koreans and Cubans do have a vote but they have no choice of candidates. In fact, President Obama is trying to bail out the regime there and keep it in power, in spite of its anti-democratic system. He is also trying to make an alliance with the anti-democratic regime in Iran, so we see even for a "progressive" like Obama and his backers, democracy is not really very important. The other Arab countries don't really have democracy, although Tunisia did have a free election, but they voted in the old dictatorial regime. So even if Israel were to foolishly agree to set up a "Palestinian state", the citizens of that state aren't going to have democracy.
    Sharon tried to sidestep the problem of the Palestinians refusing to agree to a compromise peace with Israel so he tried to shove an independent state down their throats and he gave the Gaza as the first course. That, of course, turned into a fiasco, so Israelis now realize there is NO alternative other than holding on and trying, trying, trying to find a modus-vivendi, of the sort that Israel now has with Jordan and Egypt.

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    1. Your comparison to Puerto Rico is completely flawed. Residents of Puerto Rico have U.S. Citizenship at birth and can go back and forth to and from the U.S. anytime they want without going through customs. And they can work in the U.S. with no restriction.

      The parallel in Israel would be for the Israeli government to issue passports and work permits to all Palestinians in the territories and to tear down the security wall. Not good.

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    2. Saudi Arabia, North Korea, and Cuba are no models for Israel to follow.

      The normalization of relations with Cuba is long overdue. After 55 years of doing something that did not work, one would think that one should try something new. And in fact Raul Castro has made some pretty significant changes, introducing some Deng Xiaoping style economic liberalization and making it easier for Cubans to travel abroad. In fact, until Obama's recent announcement of normalization, it was actually easier for a Cuban to travel to America than for an American to travel to Cuba. But even better, normalization of relations with Cuba cuts the legs off every remaining anti-American regime in Latin America, especially the Venezuelan anti-Semites. That can't be anything but good.

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    3. The point I am trying to make is that "Palestinians not having the right to vote for the leaders of a sovereign state" is NOT the main concern of most of the those who criticize Israel. It is not the problem of human rights that motivates them. It is simply anti-Israelism (antisemitism?). What I was showing was that these people are not particularly worried about the lack of a vote or lack of democracy in other places, not that they are models for israel to follow. Even if Raul Castro is making some symbolic reforms, the country is still not a democracy. Neither is China, for that matter. Those people do not have a meaningful vote. None of the "Arab Spring" countries that overthrew old-line dictators are even close to becoming democracies, even if they have "free" multiparty elections such as Iraq and Tunisia have had, because democracy is something far beyond merely having multi-party elections.
      Look, Israel is in an anomalous situation. It is the only country in the world that is threatened openly with annihilation. Israel has tried to rid itself of its Palestinian population and the Palestinians saw to it that the effort failed and they have convinced most Israeli voters that there is no point in continuing the experiment. Thus it is futile to try to placate "progressive" opinion in the world. We have to reach a modus-vivendi with the local Israeli Arab and Palestinian populations because it is good for both us AND THEM. The people in Gaza are not better off living under HAMAS than they were under Israeli occupation, as imperfect as that was.

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    4. So we are denying the savages statehood for their and our good. Do you not think Israel is a shtickel nogeiah badavar? That maybe in the same way that it is not Israel's business to appoint a gocernment of Jordan, it's equally not our role to shape the destiny of Palestine?

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  3. Your basic premise is sound and rational. However, the premise applies both to the fundamentalist right and left. You did a little cherry picking to make your point with regard to the right by comparing a far left ideology to a moderate right position. It's no more rational to advocate unilateral annexation of parts of the West Bank than to advocate a two-state solution without a real consensus on the other side and iron-clad security arrangements. While creating two states might not ultimately avoid isolation and condemnation, annexing territory will guarantee it, probably a long with a level of sanctions that could cripple our economy.

    Its rational to fight fundamentalism, wherever it comes from.

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  4. The Israeli solution by Caroline Glick. Annex Judea and Samaria and give the residents permanent residency and the right to apply for citizenship. The demographic problem is exaggerated. Even if all the residence of Judea and Samaria were given he right to vote the Jews will still constitute of a at least a 2/3 majority, unlike some politicians would have us believe.

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    1. This is the only thing that will work that does not involve a sovereign Palestinian State. It would, however, result in about 20 or so Hamas and Fatah MKs.

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    2. Evening assuming your numbers are right, which I think is a stretch, it would give an Arab Block 40 seats in the Knesset. Given how fractured the Jewish parties are and that many are to the left, it would not be inconceivable to have a left/Arab ruling coalition. Even without that, at 30% of the population, the "Jewishness" of the state would greatly degrade over time.

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    3. 1. Any Palestinian who has a connection to terrorism or incitement will not be eligible to receive citizenship. A commitment of loyalty to the state will be a prerequisite to receiving Israeli citizenship.
      2. In a democracy there will presumably be ways to limit genocidal politicians.
      3. It is 100 times better than giving away the land to genocidal terrorists.


      4. I highly recommend reading the book The Israeli Solution.

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    4. So... the majority Palestinian population would be allowed a vote as long as they vote correctly (i.e. - for Israeli suzerainity).

      Would you be happy with that arrangement if you were a Palestinian? Wouldn't you feel that your rights were being denied unfairly? Wouldn't you resist that arrangement? Is this not a recipe for Greek style bankrupcy - putting off hard decisions, believing in fairy tales, and assuming other people will pay for your indulgence?

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    5. Once they receive citizenship they can vote for any legal party, including Arab ones.

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    6. Mathematical MonikerFebruary 11, 2015 at 9:34 AM

      So you are happy to live under majority Arab rule in 2025? I'm not.

      The maths is astonishingly simple and no amount of Greek style make believe is going to change it.

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    7. The American-Israel Demographic Research Group demonstrated that contrary to the 1997 Palestinian bureau of statistics forecast that the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria will reach 3.8 million in 2004, the actual Palestinian population in the areas was 2.47 million - 1.4 million in Judea and Samaria and 1.34 in Gaza, or 1.34 LESS than the Palestinian forecast.
      The Jewish fertility rate (3.0 children per woman) is actually higher and rising than the Palestinian fertility rate Judea and Samaria of 2.98.
      Indeed some demographers (Begin Sadat Centre) anticipate that just based on current Jewish immigration tends Jews could comprise of an 80% majority by 2035 in Israel 1949 armistice lines and Judea and Samaria. Today the Jews comprise a 66% majority in these areas. Sources can be provided.

      Your assertion that the Arabs will be majority by 2025 is not based on factual data but based on demonstrably false Palestinian data. .

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    8. You conveniently forgot to vount the Arabs of Gaza. Which is quite an omissipn because 1.8 million pepple live there.

      Its really, really important that you get a grasp on objective reality.

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    9. 1. Annexation of Gaza is not recommended, as it's not vital for security reasons and its not the heartland of the Jewish ancestral homeland.

      2.The figure of 1.8 million is exaggerated. In 2004 the Palestinians claimed a population of 1.41 million in Gaza, where the independent AIDR demonstrated a population of 1.08 million in that year.

      3. On a side note it is curious that the PCBS Palestinian census claims the highest compound annual growth rate in the world of 4.75 per year, while at at the same time accusing Israel of genocide.

      4. Its really, really important that you get a grasp on objective reality and not parrot demonstrably false and exaggerated Palestinian data.

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    10. 1 Are you sure the Palestinians or anybody else will accede to this shameless gerrymandering? Perhaps that why you expressed yourself ambivalently - you know it won't wash.
      2. I supppse that.as I know nothing about them, my suspicions that the AIDR are not independent rests entitely on the fact that the CIAs websitr cited in wikipedia, which IS do regard as independant, gives 1.8m
      But even if these guys are right, your figure missed.1.4m people. That makes you, if not an outright liar, a distorter of the truth.
      3. Not so suprising given the demographic (young), and the absence of employment. This is Zionnnnist Agrrrressssor conspiracy theory territory.
      4I. I think the reader now has sufficient factual material both to judge what the facts are, and who has been misleading in presenting them. 1.8 million is a hellluva error.

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    11. Also dispute that peace with Gaza isn't required for peace in Israel. I refer you to the two yearly eruptions of violence since 2006 in the absence of a settled understanding. What do you think 1.8 millon people are capable of?

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    12. Please see this:
      http://carolineglick.com/more-demographic-data-proving-the-demographic-time-bomb-is-a-dud/

      your demographic data is a dud.

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  5. The Israeli solution by Caroline Glick. Annex Judea and Samaria and give the residents permanent residency and the right to apply for citizenship. The demographic problem is exaggerated. Even if all the residence of Judea and Samaria were given he right to vote the Jews will still constitute of a at least a 2/3 majority, unlike some politicians would have us believe.

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    1. So the if you stick your head in the sands it will go away approach
      Works now; stops working at around 2025. A fine legacy for your children.

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    2. If you read the book, she demonstrates that the Jewish fertility rate is rising (3 children per woman) while the Arab fertility rate is falling (2.9 children per woman) and the Jews ratio in 20-30 years will approach 80% Jewish. I recommend highly reading the book, as it demonstrates clearly the utter futility of the 2 state solution, as the Palestinians will never agree the cessation of the conflict. That is why they have consistently refused any deal offered to them.
      The demographic fear is based on false (Palestinian) data, where they exaggerate their population by more than a million.

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    3. What is your "solution"? Giving all the West Bank to people who swear (in their Arabic media mosques and school textbooks )they will use it as lunching pad to destroy Israel? Which will lead to the predicable: a repetition of Gaza complete with rockets and tunnels fired from civilian areas, and wold condemnation when Israel defends itself. But this time the rockets raining down on every Israeli city. Is that what you call a well thought out solution?

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    4. That's an opinion not a fact. Negotiated settlements actually have a good history.

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    5. Its a fact that the Palestinians ultimate goal is to destroy Israel. 'See the website palwatch . Read what they say in their media in Arabic.

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    6. Definitely Palestinians are a new degenerate form of humanity the likes of which have never been seen before. .Also a fact that the Zionist Agrrrreesssors are poisoning our wells, caused 9-11, and are secretly lizard shape -shifters. And so we go on... Have you ever considered that we have a shared humanity?

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    7. Moniker, the founder of the Palestinian, the Mufti of Jerusalem was a Nazi agent, who himself oversaw the the SS in Bulgaria which killed 90% of the Jews in Bulgaria. This is a man the Palestinians honor as their hero.
      Do you believe, for example, that Hamas is an organization that can be appeased? It is their charter not only to destroy Israel, but to kill every Jew no matter where he may live in the world. Do you doubt the sincerity of these people?
      Shared humanity? Would you say that the Nazis also have a shared humanity?
      Your Leftist Ideology, that deep down all men are equally moral , and have similar moral values of human rights and etc., blinds you to reality. No, not all cultures share your egalitarian values. No, not all cultures, believe in human rights, woman's rights, or freedom of expression. There are cultures and ideologies that are rotten to the core and are built on a genocidal foundation. The fact that you refuse to to read their media and their textbooks does not make it go away.
      Those who read Hitler's Main Kamph before WWII knew what was coming. Those who refuse to read Palestinian media are putting their heads in the sand.

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    8. My basic theory of mind is that some people, such as Hitler, the Mufti and his contemporary Avrohom Stern - both fans of Hitler - need to be confronted. Netanyahu is too chicken to confront anything which might loose votes. Your hypocrisy is astounding - you don't believe the Palestinians will tolerate a Jewish state, and therefore you are justified in not tolerating an Arab one. It doesn't make sense except as a law of Might is Right.
      You've got a long list of legitimate grievances against the Pals. Now as a thought exercise I'd like you to consider what sort of a list the Palestinians have against us and our oh so civillised state. How can you walk past Har Nof and not hear the screams of the dead of Deir Yassin. Do Mohammed Kedeir's brutalised ashes not make yiu ashamed? The children killed at the UN schools? And you complain that they don't like us?

      We need to look to the future for our children's sake. Do you want them to live as we have lived?

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    9. "the Mufti of Jerusalem was a Nazi agent, who himself oversaw the the SS in Bulgaria which killed 90% of the Jews in Bulgaria"

      While Haj Amin al-Husseini was totally evil, and worked for the Nazis, the Nazis don't seem to have taken him very seriously. I've seen no evidence that he worked in Bulgaria and in any case most Bulgarian Jews survived the war. He tried to raise Muslim SS units in Bosnia but didn't meet his recruiting quota as the Bosnian Muslims then and now weren't much interested in extremism. And I've seen no evidence that he actually took part in the Shoah itself even though he clearly would have loved to.

      "Leftist Ideology....Those who read Hitler's Main Kamph"

      One of the most far-left US Senators ever was Alan Cranston, who represented California for 24 years. He was a fan of things like World Government and Nuclear Disarmament. Decades before he was elected to the Senate he had noticed that the official English translation of Mein Kampf had been sanitized; he did his own translation showing how dangerous Hitler yemach shmo was. Hitler's real publisher sued and won. :(

      http://articles.latimes.com/1988-02-14/news/mn-42699_1_mein-kampf

      Cranston would be a huge supporter of Israel during his 24 years in the Senate. Here is a pamphlet from the bio for his unsuccessful Presidential campaign from 1984. The language in support of Israel is striking.

      http://www.4president.org/brochures/1984/cranston1984brochure.htm

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    10. " It is their charter not only to destroy Israel, but to kill every Jew no matter where he may live in the world."

      It doesn't explicitly say that, but what it does say is almost as bad and should be sufficiently chilling to terrify anyone who is not living on another planet.

      http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/www.thejerusalemfund.org/carryover/documents/charter.html?chocaid=397

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    11. While the Ba'al ha Blog has written a post clearly advocating that for the indefinite future Palestinians should not be allowed a state either. Which is not at all chilling to Palestinians.

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    12. 1. Have you read any "moderate" Fatah Palestinian media ? What they teach in Arabic is the opposite of what they say in English. They have the same end goal as Hamas, the only difference is they believe in different tactics.
      2. How is giving the West Bank to the Fatah (who preach in Arabic their desire to destroy Israel in stages) going to make the future safer?
      3. We definitely need to look to make our children's future safer. That is why we need to face reality. Reality is the "moderate" Fatah will never agree that to an end of the conflict untill they achieve their ultimate goal.
      4. How many Israeli Arabs would be happy if their towns and cities would be transferred to the PA? Not many. They prefer their life under Israel (with all the social welfare benefits) than under the kleptocratic PA. Turns out many Palestinians would also prefer to live under Israeli rule, evidenced by the net emigration of Palestinians who have emigrated to Israel by marrying Israeli Arabs, versus Israeli Arabs who moved to live under the PA.
      4. I highly recommend you read the recent book by Caroline Glick, The Israeli Solution

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    13. Mathematical MonikerFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:28 AM

      1. How is keeping Palestine under Israeli rule when many Israelis speak in a variety of languages about their desire to stymie Palestinian statehood going to work? I do not believe the Arabs of Palestine will make good on their sloganeering any more than the Arabs of Egypt.
      2. I refer you to the curious case of Ian Paisley of the DUP and Martin McGuiness of the IRA, who went against everything they had ever ranted and shook hands. Nobody really knoqs how they will react to a hypothetical. They might just react lile Egypt - forget the outmoded rhetoric, and get on with their lives.
      3. I suggest you test your theory by walking through shuafat with an Israeli flag. The reaction will, I assume, be rather like that if you walked down ben yehudah with a Palestinian flag.
      4. I suggest you search for settler violence on youtube.

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  6. Give Peace a MonikerFebruary 8, 2015 at 1:53 PM

    So, the same old tired post again. I previously demolished this argument when Bibi was busy demolishing empty houses and getting 70 soldiers killed for zero strategic gain back in the summer. I explained this wishful, omnipotent thinking was that of Pharoah. Israel's strategic superiority cannot be relied upon in the future. The USA is a retreating power. Israel must make peace with its neighbours.

    I explained then that the use of the word rationalism to denote a simplistic absolutist narrative which cannot deal with imponderables (such as what policy a Palestinian state will take towards Israel - and no, a single youtube clip is not evidence. People contradict themselves repeatedly. How many people who spray paint "mavet l'arabiim" sactually mean it?) is a parody of everything I find objectionable about rationalist Judaism - one dimensional, earnestly hyper literal, and unable to deal with everyday ambiguity.

    There is a real effrontery to claiming that the threat to innocent life is from the Arab side. The overwhelming majority of Israeli deaths were combatants. By Israel's own figures, more than 20 times that number of Palestinian civillians were killed by Israel.

    But Rabbi Slifkin chooses to raise the issue of "our lives versus their rights". In the parsha of "ba bmachteret". The torah makes it very clear. If you vandalise olive groves, refuse water supplies, discriminate in the provision of postal services, expropriate their lands, refuse planning permission, then, in our Beloved Leader's favourite turn of phrase "your blood is on your own head,"

    It is true that after a serious car crash, when you release a limb crushed under a heavy weight, toxins which have formed in the limb go rushing into circulation, making this a critical and dangerous time. But only a fool would think it better to continue crushing the limb indefinitely.

    I will end with a wager. If the Chicken wins the next election there will be another pointless war in the next two years. People will die, Netanyahu will again refuse to close with and engage the enemy, and nothing will change. And this is the dystopian future Rabbi Slifkin wants you to vote for.

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    1. "rationalist Judaism - one dimensional, earnestly hyper literal, and unable to deal with everyday ambiguity"

      On the contrary, this post sets out to do exactly the opposite. Namely, it deals with ambiguity by rebutting the ideological black and whiteness of the left. Did you read it? You mention the tired "we killed more of them then they killed us" argument. It seems you're the one who can't deal with everyday ambiguity then.

      "and no, a single youtube clip is not evidence"

      Yes, until now, we had no leg to stand on. Thank you Rabbi Slifkin for showing us this clip -- now we finally have an argument!

      How about the fact that when we ethnically cleansed Gaza of 10,000 Jews, it was used by Hamas as a launching pad to fire rockets in the heart of Israeli cities? How about the fact that the original PLO/Fatah charter in 1964 expressly denied any territorial claims to Gaza and the West Bank (when Egypt and Jordan controlled it), and curiously omitted it in 1968 when Israel controlled it? The evidence is literally uncountable, and I can go on -- but if you haven't seen any evidence at this point, there might not be hope for you.

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    2. "a single youtube clip is not evidence"--correct, but there are lots of YouTube clips on Palestinian Media Watch and MEMRI that ring the same. Plus all the incitement against Israel and Jews in the Palestinian education system and media. Hardly the actions of a Palestinian gov't that really wants peaceful coexistence.

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    3. To Give Peace a Moniker

      I have a word one reply to your delusional nonsense ...

      Gaza

      Yes it is that simple

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    4. MK - did you bother to read what I said - there is no scientific principle which compels hostility between Jews and Palestinians. It's an imponderable - a matter of ideology - it's not a problem which is tractable to scientific analysis. Claims that the contrary is rational is irrational.

      The choice you have in Gaza is between Lapid and Livni, who will commit the army to fight to kick out the terrorists, negotiate with moderates, hand over Gaza to the Gazans and achieve a lasting solution and a megalomaniac whose Gaza policy is to periodically mow the lawn. Last time round they closed Ben Gurion, and Israeli strikes did nothing to abate rocket fire at all ranges. We can expect more of the same next time round, with improved rocket designs, increased output, and the use of swamping tactics to overwhelm Iron Dome - but with an even more hostile White House.

      I really don't see the relevance of the Fatah charter. We have to deal with the present. At the present moment the Palestinian nation have repeatedly voted for statehood and independence. There's too many of them to ignore. We either commit the genocide advocated above or deal with it.

      Yehuda P -read about the career and chicanery of Sharon who built his career as The Bulldozer and then withdrew from Gaza . All politicians say one thing, mean another, and anyway act in a third. In the context of Northern Ireland, Ian Paisely who built his career on saying "No no no!" shook hands with committed terrorist and IRA quartermaster "No surrender" Martin McGuiness. People rarely mean what they say. Earnest semantic critiques of rhetoric always misses the point.

      And if you're on YouTube search for "settler violence." You might learn something.

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    5. "did you bother to read what I said"

      Yes.

      "it's not a problem which is tractable to scientific analysis. Claims that the contrary is rational is irrational."

      Yes, in very much the same way that there is no scientific analysis ascertaining that feces has a bad smell. I am not irrational for saying so.

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    6. If you want to believe that the Arabs say what they truly think when they talk of "making peace", and are just pandering to the Arab-speaking public when they say they want to eliminate Israel--fine.
      But their education system denies all Jewish history in the land of Israel and inculcates their children to hate Jews. That's what they want the next generation of their children to think--not about peaceful coexistence. An analysis of Palestinian textbooks shows that they show tolerance to everyone--except Jews.

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    7. If you want to believe that the Arabs say what they truly think when they talk of "making peace", and are just pandering to the Arab-speaking public when they say they want to eliminate Israel--fine. (I find it hard to believe that someone really wants peace if he resorts to such anti-Israel rhetoric at any time--just like it was hard to believe that Jesse Jackson isn't anti-Jewish when he just once referred to Jews as "honkies", and to NYC as "honkytown".)
      But their education system denies all Jewish history in the land of Israel and inculcates their children to hate Jews. That's what they want the next generation of their children to think--not about peaceful coexistence. An analysis of Palestinian textbooks shows that they show tolerance to everyone--except Jews.We're not talking about isolated incidents of hate crimes--like settler violence--but a systematic teaching of hatred of Jews by the Palestinian education system. They refer to Jews as descendants of apes and pigs. And if we give them a state, they'll suddenly teach them that calling Jews apes and pigs all those years was really unfounded, and Jews really have a right to live in Israel?

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    8. Did you protest when someone on this blog compared Palestiniams to faeces? What about commentator #1who propounds genocide? Hateful speech abounds on both sides if you open your ears. Are you going to deal with the issues giving rise to hatred with prison sentenced for the settlers, diplomacy and economic development for moderates and war for the intractables; or are you going sigh about how the status quo is all of there doing and that there is sadly no alternative to periodic bloodshed? The Chicken needs Hamas and Hamas needs the Chicken.

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    9. Moniker -
      If you think I compared Palestinians to feces, then it's no wonder why you have such a skewed understanding of the situation in Israel. It was an analogy to show how scientific analysis is not always necessary (I think its also worth mentioning now that previously, you also misunderstood my point about the Fatah Charter).

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    10. Sorry MK, I mischaracterised your position entirely. You compared your instinctual antipathy to Palestinian statehood to your antipathy to poo. It was an apt and thoughtful comparison. I'm sure it bears no relation to your feelings about Palestinian people.

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  7. I find it humorous how the Arabs say what the world wants to hear in English or French, but say what they really think in Arabic, without realizing that either 1) there are Israeli Jews that understand Arabic, and 2) it's not so hard to get the Arabic translated nowadays.

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  8. What you're saying is standard everywhere. The left always believe that the right is simply unaware or haven't considered their own viewpoints. It never dawns on them to think that perhaps the right is very much aware of all the arguments they've made, and have simply rejected them.

    (The same is not true in the reverse, it must be noted. The right is always aware of the left's views, because that is the view represented in media and entertainment. Rather, the left is simply not aware of the right.

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    1. I, of course, understand the other guy's argument and reject it. And it never dawns on him that I've heard his argument and reject it. In contrast, the other guy has never heard my argument; if he did, he would accept it.

      Obviously, then, I'm always right and the other guy is wrong! QED

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  9. Mr "Peace Moniker"-
    If you look at history since 1992, the biggest outbreaks of violence by Arabs against Israel were at times when "pro-peace" governments were in power and the so-called "peace process" was in full swingr. It is the phony "peace process" that brings war. (You know, like in Orwell's book "1984" the slogan was "War is Peace"!). This is because when we have "pro-peace" governments falling overthemselves to say how much they want to give up, how they want to expel Jews from Jewish towns and villages like what happened at Gush Katif, and how they want to destroy Jerusalem by dividing it, the Arabs say "see how weak they are!-today they run away from Gush Katif, tomorrow they will run away from Tel Aviv if we just keep up the pressure". Only a firm stand AGAINST territorial concessions, accompanied by a willingness to accomodate an INFORMAL modus-vivendi can bring quiet and progress. A contractual peace based on mutual concessions IS NOT IN THE CARDS no matter how much Livni and Herzog and Sarid and Gal-On babble on and on about it.

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    1. "the biggest outbreaks of violence by Arabs against Israel were at times when "pro-peace" governments were in power"?

      So what happened in June 2014? Because while Chicken is clearly too scared of the electoral implications to risk war, he certainly isn't pro-peace.

      As to the rest of your post, you are most welcome to your opinion, but it is just that - an opinion. There is no scientific way of telling how the population of Palestine will react to particular offers or stances taken. I tend to extrapolate how I think things will work out in an unscientific way based on my experiences with other specimen of homo sapiens in different social settings, and I imagine you do the same. All I can say is that I regularly make concessions with Mrs Moniker and feel none the worst for it.

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    2. Yes, there was a war last summer. But look at the record. This is not a matter for speculation, it is a matter of the historical record. Shortly after Rabin announced the Oslo Agreements, a big wave of suicide bombings began. These bombing continued throughout the Rabin and Peres governments. They almost completely stopped when Netanyahu was in power from 1996-1999. The election of Barak (you know, the guy Clinton called "his new toy" when he heard that Barak won) brought about the biggest wave of terrorism is Israel's history with thousands killed or wounded, all the while Barak was negotiating with Arafat, everyone said they were "optimistic", Barak announced he was willing to hand east Jerusalem and the Jewish holy sites there to Arafat, but the killing went on.
      So here we have a "scientific way" of seeing how the Palestinian population reacted to offers from Israel.They said "we want more" and they enthusiastically supported the terrorism. How much more proof do you want?
      Shortly after the big victory of the so-called "peace camp" with Sharon's destruction of Gush Katif, there were TWO wars, one in Gaza and one with HIZBULLAH in Lebanon, these with the "pro-peace" Olmert government that was promising a unilateral withdrawal from Judea/Samaria in power, and the HAMAS regime in Gaza has become more and more belligerent and started more wars with thousands of rockets fired on Israel. What more proof do you want?

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    3. I think you missed a prime minister, namely Ariel Sharon, even within the confines of your carefully selected time period, which was chosen because it excluded the peace treaties concluded with Jordan and Egypt. There are also an indefinite number of uncontrolled variables other than the political afilliation of the Israeli prime minister - not least the political afilliations of the Palestinian leaders. It is that multiplicity of factors which makes a scientific dialectic of history a fool's errand, whether the fool be Karl Marx or Binyamin 'The Nazis are Coming' Netanyahu.

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    4. The peace treaty with Egypt was made in 1977 by Begin, long before the Oslo period, in a time when it was wrongly believed that the Arab world was moving "inevitably" towards moderation and accomdation with Israel. When the Muslim Brotherhood under Mursi won the Presidential election, senior people in his government were talking about abrogating the treaty since it was unpopular, and they claimed they didn't need it anymore since they had gotten the Sinai back years before As a matter of fact, Sadat. like Arafat later duing the Oslo period, stated that the agreement was like cease-fire Muhammed made with the Meccans, meaning it was temporary.
      The peace agreement with Jordan was made at the time of Oslo. It is also very unpopular although the Hashemite regime views it as important. If that regime should be overthrown, who knows what will happen.

      In any event, you failed to show that there is some sort of viable peace camp among the Palestinans. One thing I have come to understand after years of discourse wit "progressives" (but not only, conservatives in the US also have this) is that they are absolutely convinced that everyone in the world is like themselves. They are reasonable and want peace, so its just gotta be that the Palestinians want these things, too. George Bernard Shaw once asked a 19th century anarchist how civilization could continue if governments were abolished. The anarchist replied that people were naturally caring, sharing and loving with each other and so the people would sort things out for themselves without governmental coercion. Shaw then asked the anarchist if this was the case, how is it that all these evil, coercive governments managed to grab power if everyone is so caring, sharing and loving.

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    5. No, you've got me wrong. My basic theory of humanity is that roughly 80% are mindless sheep; and 20% are ideologues like myself. Here's the plan. Work with the idealogues who are supportive on both sides. Imprison and wage war on the kitzonim. Give the 80% an economic and political interest in peace. Now, there are no guaramtees this will work.But the alternative Bibi is offering - continued low grade warfare (he ducked the chance to destroy Hamas in the summer - was he scared that in a Hamas free world there were no excuses? He blames Abbas for Hamas violence - because the moderation that Abbas represents is the real threat to the one cause he has consistently championed - his own political career.That os my unscientific analysis), economic repression, and no hope - also is not guaranteed. There is no magic formula which can.be shown to work for all of history.

      Livni, Lapid et al want you to take risks for peace. Bibi wants you to take risks for continued conflict.

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    6. Or to over simplify,my assumption is not that everyone is nice like me; but rather that everyone is quite horrible like me.

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    7. "No guarantees it will work". Tell me, how high are you willing to let the body count go before you come to the conclusion it won't work. Thousands of Israelis were killed or wounded in the Rabin-Peres-Barak-Sharon-Olmert "experiments" in "taking risks for peace". The "hunker down" approach of Netanyahu and the Right has proven to be much less costly and that is why most Israelis have turned their backs on the peace delusions of the Left.

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    8. I saw an interesting article entitled, "It's time to stop infantalizing the Palestinians". For some reason, up until now, Israel has to be the one to iniitiate all change in the region, and the Arabs are assumed will automatically follow suit and be mollified. That might work in a husband-wife relationship, where, if one shows more appreciation to his spouse, the spouse will reciprocate. But we see that it hasn't worked here in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
      The fact that the Arabs engage in terror or violent demonstrations is always excused by the West to be only a result of Israel's policy, and never are the Arabs held responsible for their actions. It's because of the blockade, it's because of road blocks, it's because of Jews going on the Temple Mount, it's because the Arab bus driver was murdered and didn't really commit suicide, etc. The world has to start demanding more that the Palestinians become more moderate as well, so that Israel will feel more secure in making concessions.

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    9. Absolutely agree. Stop infantalising Palestinians. Give them a state, and then you can hold them accountable. Rights and responsobilities should be linked. You want a fully responsible Palestine without full rights until you feel they have earned it - wishful thinking.

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    10. Like I said mr ben david, nothing is guaranteed. Netanyahu's strategy of procrastination, pretence and process politics, - that is, his strategy of having no strategy - may not end in diastrous damage to the country diplomatically, economically, spiritually and millitarily..... but you are kidding yourself if you believe that it is without risk.

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  10. I think this post is misleadng since everyone -- including you -- holds fundamentalist postions. When I say "fundamentalist," I mean "based on a premise that is being assumed." Such premises include the value of life, the value of having a state, the value of having a state as envisioned in the Bible, the value of getting along with other nations, the value of winning a fight by defeating one's enemy, the value of winning a fight by making compromises with one's enemy, etc. etc.

    One can offer rational arguments to support any of these values. None of them, however, can triumph based on rationalism alone.

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    1. I have never liked the application of the term "fundamentalist" to any religious group other than certain Protestant Christians. It is a specific theological term that came into use about a century ago to apply to those who adhered to specific Christian theological dogmas, none of which should be acceptable to those who follow Rabbinic Judaism. They would appear to be equally foreign to Islam.

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  11. Repeating to some extent what people here have been saying:

    1) There is fundamentalist thinking on the left and on the right. You picked an example on the left, but there is a just as powerful, if not more powerful block on the right that finds a religious prohibition in returning any land, including those who still think that the peace deal with Egypt was a bad idea. Moreover the rightist fundamentalists have been part of the government for quite a few years while the leftists haven't. So when you say the following, I can agree, but your allies on the right most certainly do not: "Now, I fully agree that ruling over people without giving them a vote is a very bad situation. I fully agree that it endangers the democratic principles that we value so dearly."

    2) "[I]f creating a Palestinian state is going to endanger our lives, well, I'd rather endanger our democratic values." True, but misleading. Continuing to exercise sovereignty over a hostile population also endangers Israeli lives. The counter-argument is not "let's risk lives for ideals". The counter-argument is that the path that we are going down is not likely to end well for us. The current situation relies on a continued military advantage over a much, much larger potential population of enemies as well as support from foreign powers. There is a reason why the peace treaties were made with Jordan and Egypt, very little of that had to do with democratic values.

    3) "It's not rational to condemn the current situation, or the current government's handling of the current situation, unless you have a better alternative." IMO, this reasoning is based on a false model of leadership. Favorable alternatives don't just present themselves on a platter to leaders; leaders have to work to create those opportunities. If you take your quite reasonable principles that we want both end to Israeli sovereignty over a foreign population (not just for moral purposes, but for practical reasons of security) *and* security, then you want a leader who you believe is looking for an opportunities to move in that direction and is actively pursuing that goal. You are right that if he or she might not reach the goal because the opportunity is simply not there, and that it is not true that "any deal is better than no deal". But simply saying "there is no possible path and never will be" (and we can argue whether Netanyahu has has implied this or not) is not leadership. And as long as the government includes the rightist fundamentalists within it as a fundamental component, there may be no way to even pursue what you seem to agree is the optimal solution.

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    1. @R. David: When the Arab-Israeli conflict was discussed here last summer, you quipped that "this is not a textbook problem, which necessarily has an answer". If the Arab leadership is not willing to fight the terrorist elements among the Palestinians, teach tolerance towards Jews and Israel in the Palestinian education system, and remove the anti-Jewish indoctrination by the Palestinian media--I don't think it's all in Israel's hands, nor will "bold leadership willing to make painful concessions" on the part of Israel induce the Arabs to reciprocate, כמים הפנים לפנים. It has been over 20 years(!) that the Palestinians have controlled their education system and media, and there aren't any signs that they're willing to mollify their positions on anything. And it's not just a factor of who is in office--for example,the small changes that have occurred in the Palestinian textbooks have been more a factor of the U.S. gov't demanding change, than a real change in the Palestinian outlook, or because left-wingers like Barak or Olmert came to power.

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  12. Rabbi Slifkin,

    The digression of your blog into the unredeeming pit of Israeli politics is unfortunately not an accident but something you seem to have brought upon yourself.

    Now that Rationalist Judaism Blog has revealed that it is no less compromised by the militarism, ethnic obscurantism, and messianic delusional isolationalism of the predominant strains of Religious Zionism, let me warn you quite seriously of the following-: once the honour of Am Yisrael and the Name of Hashem is thoroughly sullied by the inevitable ignominious denouement of the current unstoppable trends in Israeli leadership and society, Rationalist Judaism will be perfectly destroyed along with all the crazies who have taken over the rest of the Israeli religious world. Remember the words of Yirmiyahu. Remember the outcome of Bar Kochba.

    Yes, the current dilemmas facing Israel are not easy. But since the Second Coming of Bibi, it is the first time that Israel has had no policy, no process, no diplomacy, not even the inkling of a plan for the future. We are supposed to be a moral, religious and ethical example to the world. No one chooses ones problems and difficulties. But the idea that the Jewish people's future should be predicated on ruling over a minority under martial law will simply not pass muster.

    The idea that it is possible to simply keep the things the way they are via the iron wall of a strong fist is farcical. And is it a Jewish ideal to be regarded as less civilised and less ethical than the rest of the nations?

    We have to cling onto our sanity and our morality and our religious imperative to do good, otherwise Jewish existence is worthless.

    And back to your original suggestion that the 'left wing' assume that the 'right wing' had never considered the issues that the 'peace' camp believe need solving - actually, yes, Israelis do remarkably well at ignoring the realities of the discrimination, racism, violence, and legal oppression that minorities are made to suffer in order for their lives to continue the way they are accustomed, and this is especially true in the settlements/Yehuda v'Shomron or whatever you want to call it. So, your opening gambit is facetious and flawed.

    As a believer in Judaism that is not only rationalist, but just and true to its own historic ethical beliefs, I can only conclude that Judaism can never be fully unscathed when compromised by coexistence with militaristic, ethnocentric and messianic Zionism.

    I hope that the Jewish people comes to its senses before any inevitable downfall of post-biblical proportions. Perhaps the diaspora is Judaism's only last hope afterall, as you, Rabbi Slifkin have accidentally proven.

    Yours,

    A Jew from London.

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    1. Jew From London-
      All the "peace people" are demanding a "plan" from Netanyahu. What if there is no realistic plan available or possible? What was Ben-Gurion's plan for "peace"? He announced the creation of the state knowing there was going to be a hard war. The state was built and flourished without any real prospect for peace UP UNTIL TODAY. Israel has one of the healthiest economies in the OECD, it has just about the highest birth rate of any developed country and its surveys conducted show that the population rates itself as one of the 'happiest" in the world, all this without formal "peace agreements" with most of our neighbors (the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan are unpopular with the populations of those countries and are presented as being temporary by the governments that maintain them).
      The Arab/Muslim Middle East is burning itself up. How on earth do you expect us to make peace with a society that has many of not most of its population enthralled with videos showing innocent people being beheaded or prisoners of war, who supposedly are to be protected according to Muslim Sharia law, being burned alive? So what is your plan for making peace with these societies? What territorial concessions will make them happy? What can Israel do to pacify them? You tell me.

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    2. Imagine if Israel had made peace with Syria and gave them the Golan. Then Israel would be greatly threatened by the situation in Syria today.

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    3. Jew From London,
      I applaud your well written letter.

      R' Slifkin - I could not disagree more with your statement that one cannot condemn the current situation unless a better alternative is offered. Why not, if something is wrong, how does lack of an alternative make it right? Rather new solutions should be presented, discussed and attempted. The status quo is not working and that is what we have with Bibi, an attempt to maintain status quo indefinitely. A good starting point would be to freeze construction in the pre-'67 borders and see what happens? At the minimum you would please Obama and the left in America.

      In addition, your earlier point that the Left believes the Right is unaware or disputes the terrible plight of the Palestinians, the same can be said about the Right believing that the Left does not recognize the security danger of a potential peace deal with the Palestinians. As a rationalist i would imagine you would side with the Left as both the Left and Right acknowledge the problem, however the Left does not believe waiting for Mashiach or getting rid of or worse killing all the Palestinians is the answer as the Right by maintaining the status que are de facto endorsing.

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    4. Chaim Stan-
      Why should we Israelis base our policies on "making Obama and the Left" happy?
      I also question your comment about the "terrible plight of the Palestinians'". Maybe it is not ideal, but it is a heck of lot better than the plight of the Syrians, Iraqis, Libyan, Yemenis and other. For that matter, their standard of living is higher than their brothers in Egypt and the other non-oil Arab states.

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    5. Ben David - I did not suggest that the policy of Israel should be "based" on making the Left and Obama happy, rather I suggest changing the status quo by doing something that costs little to no political capital (fundamentalist excluded) by freezing settlement expansion. You're delusional if you think that America doesn't matter as it's sole ally. People in general take American support for granted, however American is a fractured country; the presidency is typically elected by 51 - 49 split. You never know who is going to be setting the agenda and what their mandate will be. It would be wise to ingratiate to both sides of the aisle. Especially now that AIPAC (Right leaning) is not the only lobby with influence as demonstrated by J Street (Left leaning) collecting 20,000 signatures for Bibi to cancel his Congressional address.

      Regarding the plight of the Palestinians, you're guilty of moral relativism. The fact that there are Muslims worse off then the Palestinians is not really germane to the conversation. I'd equate it to telling the Charaidim what are you guys crying about the people in Africa are worse off, so stop your complaining. See how far that gets you.

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    6. Chaim Stan,

      Rather new solutions should be presented, discussed and...

      Here's a new one for discussion! How about letting the Palestinian Muslims show the world that they can run a responsible government which we can call...let's see...the Palestine Authority, and when that works out really well, as it of course will (because we are all alike and want the same things from life and for our children) they can be given the full run of Gaza, which will in no time become a regional free trade zone, kinda like Singapore!

      The status quo is not working and that is what we have with Bibi, an attempt to maintain status quo indefinitely.

      A prosperous, democratic and strong Jewish state that has so far kept Islam at bay and avoided the fate of the Middle Eastern Christians or Yazidis (or an involuntary swim in the Med) for its citizens?. That status quo? Yes, dreadfully boring, what ?

      A good starting point would be to freeze construction in the pre-'67 borders and see what happens?

      Construction has been effetively frozen. What you see is what happens, old boy.

      At the minimum you would please Obama and the left in America.

      Lots of things happenned...but not that. Very sad for Barry and the basement kids, one must concede. Perhaps they can just, um, "move on"? "Get over it "? "Chillax", or whichever gen-x term best applies? Might even not notice with all the Free Stuff in all sorts of colours and flavours, with winters all gone and and polar bears drowning in our rising oceans!

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    7. Hello Temujin. The PA is ra esponsible government. Now give them a state. And start destroying settlements and arresting settler terrorists.

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    8. Hello back, Moniker. You make a powerful argument. The PA has pioneered governance without the need for strife-filled and expensive elections, is a wizz at collecting and managing international tribute with the confidential assistance of Swiss banks, has shown touching concern for the welfare of its most deserving members...the heroic freedom fighters and the martyrs' families...and runs popular and affordable youth programs such as Molotov cocktail-throwing at passing Yahoodie vehicles. And it has accomplished all these miracles of nation-building in spite of Jewish terror in the form of new housing construction, fortified daycare centres and mothers ready to run over innocent Palestinians with lethal Peg Perego strollers. As regional standards and UN criteria go, it's certainly ready for membership in the family of nations.

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    9. Temujin,

      You are correct, the PA governing in Gaza was a failure, hence I said "new ideas need to be tried..." the operative word is new.

      Again you are correct, Middle East Christians (especially in Egypt) are dwindling in number and the Yazidis are threatened by ISIS, however I fail to see how peace with the Palestinians would change Israel from a "prosperous, democratic and strong Jewish state"? Won't it only make it stronger?

      Construction has been effectively frozen. Huh? Every month or two I hear how new developments are being constructed?

      Let me guess - you don't believe climate change and the environment is a real problem? Not surprised.

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    10. @Chaim Stan: The settlement building is expansion of existing settlements. Since the signing of Oslo, no new settlements have been built. The building that you hear of consists of building in Ma'ale Adumim, the neighborhoods of Jerusalem annexed after '67, and the Gush Etzion bloc. These sections are supposed to remain under Israeli control even in the final settlement, and this was agreed upon in the Oslo Accords. Arabs arguing that settlement building is an obstacle to peace are just trying to find excuses to make concessions themselves and come to a final agreement.

      I live in Ramot, one of the neighborhoods of Jerusalem where there is construction--the construction is taking place on land that is surrounded on all sides by existing housing units. It is inconceivable that that land will be given to the Palestinian Authority, unless some future Prime Minister will be insane enough to tear up an existing neighborhood of 60,000 residents.

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    11. Chaim Stan,

      ...the PA governing in Gaza was a failure, hence I said "new ideas need to be tried..." the operative word is new.

      Seems like the operative word is failure. The entire world...including Israel...poured money, expertise, technical and political assistance for a concocted mass illusion of a "Palestinian" people. A thousand ideas blossomed and gazillions were wasted in attempting them. And you got rocket-firing terrorists in Gaza and ensconced robber barons in suits and ties in Israel's heartand...both "governing" an increasingly radicalized and violent Muslim population.

      I fail to see how peace with the Palestinians would change Israel from a "prosperous, democratic and strong Jewish state"? Won't it only make it stronger?

      What you fail to see is that "peace" and "Palestinians" are mutually contradictory concepts. The whole idea behind the constructed concept of "palestinianism" is unrelenting and savage full-scale warfare against any regional non-Muslim presence in general, and a total expulsion or genocide of Jews in particular. Pseudo-issues like "nationalism," "indepence," "human rights" and such are merely disposable distractions meant to bamboozle people like you.

      This depressing reality is not due to a failure of imagination or a shortage of brilliant new ideas. It's due to a failure by democracies and liberal thinkers to understand 20th and 21st century Islam ....a lethal religio-political nightmare currently sustained by a dizzying amount of petrodollars and by its adherents' undeserved fantasies of grandeur while lacking elementary skill sets in basic requirements for individuals, families, communities and nations.

      But anyway, here's a new idea: Drop all new ideas. Manage the status quo and let the "Palestinians" continue to waste their underserved and diminishing wealth and world sympathy as they, along with their fellow Muslims in the region, continue to tear themselves apart in intra-religious, factional and clan warfare. The decline is well underway and there is no reason to offer tribute, help...or ideas.

      Yehuda P corrected your illusions about "settlements" construction. Your desperate "climate change" red herring is as pathetic as it's topically irrelevant.

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    12. So Temujin (incidentally were u recently speaking at an event in London, no Ontario, that attended). Israel has a kleptomaniac corrupt government. As has the UK and Greece .These are serious issues. I think therefore that the whole apperatus of gov't including human rights, rule of law, and other pseudo issues should be suspended fpr a foreign millitary dictatorship (I understand that Denmark is quite clean so Danish dictatorship) indefinitely.

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  13. In general, diaspora Jews should stay out of Israeli politics and Israelis should stay out of American politics. I frankly have no idea what political party I will support when I make aliyah and I figure I will make that decision when I actually have my own life and property at stake there. It is not for me, safe in the diaspora, to be second guessing Israel's voters and leaders.

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    1. So Charlie, politicians who don't own any businesses shouldn't make laws that regulate businesses? Or those who never served in the army shouldn't have a say about the military? People from states who don't border Mexico shouldn't comment on immigration issues? Hollywood actors and sports stars shouldn't stick their nose into politics?

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    2. There is a difference when an Israeli whose son serves in the IDF says "WE should be willing to take risks for peace" and when a J-Street American says "YOU ISRAELIS should be willing to take risks for peace" (so that I can feel good about myself as a "progressive" American Jew).

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  14. Yehudah posted: I think this post is misleadng since everyone -- including you -- holds fundamentalist postions. When I say "fundamentalist," I mean "based on a premise that is being assumed." Such premises include the value of life, the value of having a state, the value of having a state as envisioned in the Bible, the value of getting along with other nations, the value of winning a fight by defeating one's enemy, the value of winning a fight by making compromises with one's enemy, etc. etc.

    One can offer rational arguments to support any of these values. None of them, however, can triumph based on rationalism alone.


    I think that a good working definition of a fundamentalist position (as describe in this post) is one that ignores likely consequences as irrelevant, and the morality of the decision itself as fundamental. In that sense, most everyone is a fundamentalist on certain values such a protection of their own family. Most people will surrender their lives to preserve their loved ones even with a low likelihood of success because it the the moral action (or maybe we would like to think that of ourselves). Many readers of the blog are fundamentalist in the sense that they would not become apostates or traitors not matter what the consequences.

    So if you say that we have to redress the grievances of the Palestinians at whatever cost and risk, then this is a fundamentalist position as defined here. Similarly if you say that we cannot give up an inch of land (or to beat a dead horse, one cannot become leave learning to become educated no matter what) and that God will take care of the rest, this is similarly a fundamentalist position as defined here.

    I think that while you are right that there is no way to prove one way or another whether a particular fundamentalist morality is right or wrong, it helps to illuminate the issue to classify each position this way. It opens the mind to other possible approaches.

    not resigned posted: Now that Rationalist Judaism Blog has revealed that it is no less compromised by the militarism, ethnic obscurantism, and messianic delusional isolationalism of the predominant strains of Religious Zionism, let me warn you quite seriously of the following

    I don't think that you've characterized the post correctly. While R. Slifkin is definitely advocating a right-wing position here that you disagree with, he has actually admitted that a reasonable and workable withdrawal that gave Palestinians their political rights, while peace and security are actually advanced rather than being retarded, would be desirable. He just differs in the feasibility of this. In this he has distanced himself from the right-wing fundamentalists. At least, that is how I read the post.

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  15. I do wish people would make a distinction between minorities, and citizens of a different political entity. There is no country in the world that gives full rights to people who hold citizenship in other countries and not their own.

    And before people start talking about how un-Jewish it is to rule over other nations, they should please read the Tanach. Just once.

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    1. Kira- I, an Israeli citizen, enjoy the full rights of any of Her Brittanic Majesty's subjects.

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  16. @Moniker: here is the link to the article "It's time to stop infantilizing the Palestinians":http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/alanjohnson/100276898/its-time-to-stop-infantilising-the-palestinians/
    The blog writer doesn't come to the same conclusion as you do. One thing is certain: Since the writing of that article, we have had more examples of Arabs expressing their jubilation whenever a Jew is murdered by an Arab, and it didn't particularly matter whether the Jew killed was a soldier, or a Zionist, or even an Israeli. And I don't think that just giving them a state is going to make them change their mind--unless the Palestinians themselves demonstrate that they'll change their minds.

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    1. Erm - dunno why AJ's opinion is at all germane but read the last para.

      What sort of demonstration do u want from Pals? Security cooperation (tick)? Renunciation of violence? (tick) You want them to like us???!! Really?

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    2. Security cooperation--perhaps they have that now, but that won't exist if the Final Agreement. Abbas doesn't agree to an IDF presence after they get their state that they supposedly want so much. And he doesn't promise that he'll be able to contain terror attacks afterwards either.

      Renunciation of violence--yeah, we saw lots of that. After the Har Nof massacre, Kerry had to call twice to Abbas to convince him to come out with some sort of condemnation of the attack, before he gave some mealy-mouthed condemnation. He then rambled on about the crimes of the occupation, etc., as if Israel deserves it anyway. Then in Arabic, he called the terrorists "martyrs" and "heroes", and the PA website, or their Facebook page, put up paens saying how great these murderers were. And a PA official said that the condemnation was for "tactical purposes only". They renounce violence in the language that you understand, so you think that they have done their job--but the Arabic version comes out quite different.

      I don't expect to make them like us--but I do expect that if an Arab murders a Jew, they will call it murder. It is murder. It is not martyrdom, nor is it fighting the resistance. (And if you will tell me that they somehow are allowed to fight the occupation by targeting soldiers--wait a minute, didn't you say that there is supposed to be a "security cooperation" between Israel and the PA?)

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    3. oops--I meant "nor is it fighting the occupation". I get mixed up with the Orwellian Palestinian-speak.

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    4. I won't seek to defend every post Abbas makes on facebook. It would be odd if I did not object to his writings. Actually, I dislike the man - he's cantankerous and insecure. But the fact that you are complaining about a facebook post proves that in all material respects, Abbas conducts himself on the basis that there is not a millitary splution to the Palestinians' problems. That's why his police forces engaged millitant elements in a gun fight in Balataa refugwe camp last week. We have a partner for peace - they have a schemer for indefinite onflict.

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  17. 1) Historical Judaism demands we give land to our enemies, even though there is not one Jewish text that recommends such and numerous ones that forbid it.

    2) The key to peace is to give Arabs more states, this is why there is so much peace in Syria, and Iraq and Libya. Natural selection has had absolutely no influence whatsoever on the characteristics of human groups separated for thousands of years. All are equally capable of establishing prosperous bourgois polities with which we can maintain a stable peace, for example Libya, Syria, Iraq ... did I mention Yemen?

    3) Land for peace works, for instance it worked in Lebanon and it worked in Gaza. It would be a a good idea to give the Golan Heights to Assad, or maybe ISIS, depending on who has the upper hand right now.

    4) Living in galut is really great as the Torah and neviim teach at length. You should listen to Jews in Britain who are doing a great job assimilating Muslim immigrants and certainly haven't done anything really thick and evil like allowing them to systematically rape and abuse tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of young girls in cities like Rotheram for decades. Such people have a thing or two to teach you ignorant Israelis about morality and Torah.

    I think I have accurately summed up the arguments of the "Peace" camp on this thread.

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    1. Of course you have.

      1) Keubos 112b doesn't apply nowaday. The message of the book of Jonah is that the only gopd Arab is a dead one. Our ancestors lived in a state of splendid isolation from the surrounding Semitic cultures whose language we share.

      2)Yes, the Arabs are an inferior breed of humanity. European civillisation is a shining beacon of peace, for example England, Scotland, France, Germany, Austria. Italy, Spain, Ukrain, Russia, Ukraine, USA.

      3) No, let's conquer all lands.from the Euphrates to the Meditarranean - a Greater Eretz Yisroel. Death to the males, yefas toar sex slavery for the ladies.

      4) Living in Israel we have become so mighty our enemies quail from us and there is no terrorism. We have no child abusers in our own midst of course.

      Straw man attacks are two a penny.

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  18. @ Gavriel M.: On your first point, "1) Historical Judaism demands we give land to our enemies, even though there is not one Jewish text that recommends such and numerous ones that forbid it."

    Just in case one of the readers comes up with this argument:
    I heard an argument many years ago (way before the Oslo Accords and the "experiment" of the disengagment) by Amos Oz, who said that we see that Shlomo HaMelech gave 20 cities in the Galilee to Hiram the King of Tyre (Melachim I, 9:11), and no prophet berated Shlomo HaMelech for it.

    There are many ways in which this can't be used as a precedent to the case with the Arabs: 1) There was peace between Shlomo and Hiram many years before this, and the transferring of the cities was a mark of gratitude for helping build the Beis HaMikdash. The "peace" with Egypt and Jordan, and certainly with the PA, is extremely fragile in today's situation, and today's ally could be overthrown at any time and replaced with a hostile enemy,
    2) Shlomo gave 20 cities in the Galilee, not 40% of the land area of Israel,
    3) the commentators (I think the Ralbag is amongst them) say that Shlomo probably swapped land with Hiram, since it wouldn't be proper for a king to diminish the size of the land of Israel.

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    1. Talk about preaching to the choir! Millions of Palestinians are being denied a vote and are living under millitary occupation and you want to quote a Ralbag!

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    2. One thing is for sure--if they ever make (another) Palestinian state on the West Bank--there won't be any problem of Jews being denied the vote there. They won't allow any Jews to live there (just like there are no Jews in Jordan--Palestinian state #1. Anyone can be a citizen of Jordan, as long as he's not Jewish.)
      You always shift the blame toward Israel. As if Israel hasn't already 1) set up the PA, 2) helped arm and train their police force (which Suha Arafat used to call "the Palestinians army", and 3) ripped up settlements and unilaterally ceded the land to the Arabs.
      Maybe the Arabs should try also making some concessions for peace--like 1) demilitarizing--that the only people with weapons are the so-called Palestinian police, and 2) recognizing Israel as a Jewish state?

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    3. Nu, there's blame to share. So let's share it. Ditto land.

      1) done to the maximum extent possible.
      2) classic netanyahu nebulous procastination strategy. Boils down to "you have to like us." They do not. Process politics, avoids concrete issues, designed to humiliate, fools only the credulous.

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    4. Really? The Palestinians have demilitarized?? The Palestinian police force numbers something like 1 policeman for every 50 Palestinians. Yet the other groups (Al Aqsa Brigades, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc.) have lots of weapons and firepower. And we're talking about in the West Bank now--which has been under uninterrupted PA control. The PA is supposed to arrest terrorists, not form unity governments with them.
      Rabin said that the PA will fight terror "without [the interference of] B'tzelem and without the Israeli Supreme Court". What we have witnessed--since the signing of Oslo, under Israeli governments that have been Right, Left and Center--is that the PA arrests a few terrorists, to make it look good to the West, but then releases the terrorists when they want to start another intifada, or the terrorists mysteriously "escape". The only guys that are supposed to have weapons are the PA police--that was agreed to with Oslo. If they can't fulfill that, there is no way to continue any further concessions, in the hope that it'll some how work out later, and the Palestinian public will become more moderate and tolerant.
      The only way to allow them statehood is if we still have an IDF presence to catch or kill terrorists. And Abbas is not willing to contemplate such a thing. He supposedly agreed to an IDF presence for three years--but what about after that? As we see with Gaza--if it doesn't work, we can't exactly do a "system restore" to roll the situation back to what it was before.

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    5. It is pragmatically accepted that an IDF presence in the West Bank for a period will be part of the peace deal. Abbas did accept this according to Hillary Clinton http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/08/hillary-clinton-failure-to-help-syrian-rebels-led-to-the-rise-of-isis/375832/ "I got Abbas to about six, seven, eight years on continued IDF presence. Now he’s fallen back to three, but he was with me at six, seven, eight."

      Arafat, did, it is true, have a revolving door prison system - a bit like the justice system in the early days of our own state dealing with those who massacred Arabs. Abbas does not indulge in these antics - uneasy lies the head that wears the crown methinks - he is so weak he worries of a coup in Ramallah. Perhaps it was because the PA are crippled by our own rules (they don't smuggle heavy weaponry) that they lost the war of 2007.

      You don't like their unity government. I think this is your strongest point. Certainly an end to the unity government (or Hamas renouncing violence) is a prerequisite for an agreement with Israel.

      There are 2.3 million Palestinians in the West Bank. There are 10,000 police officers. To me that seems approximately appropriate, given, as you say, that they are challenged by other well armed groups. In fact we need to improve their capabilities so that when the next Gaza war blows up there is a viable force to hand over Gaza to. And yes, we spend many billions on our 500,000+ army; we have full control of land, sea and air; we can do a "system restore" against 10,000 millitiamen with infantry weapons in Gaza. But Netanyahu - and Hamas - thrive on continuing chaos, bellicose rhetoric, stand-off weaponry, gesture politics, and strategic inaction. And plush official residences.

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    6. Even if Abbas is supposedly a partner for peace--it would be foolhardy to put him in charge of the "Palestinian state", if, even as you admit, doesn't really have the support of his people and is teetering on being deposed by Hamas. If there were democratic elections, Hamas would win over any of the PA officials. The Disengagement was supposed to bolster Abbas' position, by showing the Arabs that negotiation gets results.Hamas took over anyway.
      And the "system restore" that you suggest is ludicrous--you're arguing that Israel could really take back the Gaza Strip if we had a real leader who truly wanted peace and didn't just want to prolong the conflict. What do you suggest? Look at what happened last summer: Bombing from the air? Israel was demonized for killing innocent civilians. Entering with ground troops? Israel again was demonized for killing innocent civilians (besides the pressure as we start losing soldiers). Inflicting a stronger blockade? Israel will be demonized for collective punishment. And what will happen when we reinstall the government that we want ruling in Gaza, if the Palestinian people don't really want such a government?

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    7. And so we have the nihilistic logical conclusion of Netanyahu's fear mongering of despair. In 1967, Sharon led his men against formidable entrenched enemy fortifications in the Battle of Abu Ageilah. 6 years later he commanded the brilliant counter offfensive across the canal, which ended all Egypt's hopes of achieving a millitary solution. Now, we face an enemy both more hateful and far weaker than the Egyptian armed forces. He comitted his troops lives at crucial areas to save greater numbers of lives. And Netanyahu tells us that nothing can be done. Chaval al d'avdin v'lo mishtakchim.

      When people of the world protest at our millitary actions, it is not at our short range firefights with terrorists. The EU is funding the Kenyans to fight against al-Shebaab in Somalia. Theyare protesting at the use of massed imprecise weapons of terror - thousands of 155mm shells the size of ten year olds; uncontrolled indisciplined fearful fire so fierce that Givati brigade commander Ofer Winter was recorded pleading with his troops to stop before they killed one of their own; 2000kg bombs dropped on apartment blocks. Why is Israrl firing warning shots at buildings if there are genuine millitary targets inside? They are protesting at the decisipn to bypass the millitary fight and take the war to the civillian people of Gaza - the wanton deliberate, destruction - the doctrine of Dahiyah.

      The IDF has been shackled by the fear of defeat of its leaders. The soldiers, sweating over static tunnel entrances., were too obvious, too easy. Everyone knows that Hamas's millitary center of gravity is the underground bunkers of the shiifa hospital, 200 metres away from a shoreline controlled by the. Navy anc covered by tall buildings with flat roofs amenable to airbourne insertion and then sandbagged remotely controlled gun emplacements protected from indirect fire. Instead we attacked along the same axes as we always do. Hamas knew the Chicken wouldn't dare to try to win. In his most remarkable feat, Chicken (actuall the white housr used a less complementary term):persuaded the public that they could meet and fight the enemy. He infected the home front and the army with fear and hysteria. The results were panicked, clumsy with an appalling rate of civillian deaths - for what, Bibi? For what?

      Now he is goving the

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    8. Your last comment got cut off at the end--but I think I got the drift of it.Sure, it would be great to have gotten rid of Hamas--it probably should have been done as soon as they took over in 2007. Then it would look like we were doing it for Abbas' sake, and not for our own.

      Still, the intriguing question remains: our we really upholding democratic values, if we allow Palestinian democratic elections in the West Bank, and they end up choosing a theocratic, non-democratic government that is bent on performing genocide against the Jewish people living in Israel?

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    9. Then we do what the US did in Grenada; what the allies did to Japan and Germany; what Australia did in East Timor; what the millitary keep doing in Thailand; what the Algerian army did in Algeria; what NATO did in Serbia. Democracy is for me not an absolute. Of course undemocratic dictators who rule indefinitely are likely to become paranoid psychopaths. But even so there is a big difference between an unelected local dictator and an indefinite unelected foreigh millitary dictatorship blatantly acting in the interests of foreigners.

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  19. The 20 "cities" mentioned in Melachim bear as much resemblance to modern cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, as the 31 "kings" mentioned in Joshua have to the King of England and France. Moreover, Hiram didn't ask for those cities; to the contrary, he wasn't happy with the land he was given. No comparison to Arabs asking for specific, valuable parcels like the Golan Heights.

    Moreover, see Judges 11:13- וַיֹּאמֶר מֶלֶךְ בְּנֵי-עַמּוֹן אֶל-מַלְאֲכֵי יִפְתָּח כִּי-לָקַח יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת-אַרְצִי בַּעֲלוֹתוֹ מִמִּצְרַיִם מֵאַרְנוֹן וְעַד-הַיַּבֹּק וְעַד-הַיַּרְדֵּן וְעַתָּה הָשִׁיבָה אֶתְהֶן בְּשָׁלוֹם
    The standard translation is that the the Ammonites requested the land to be returned “peaceably”, a doubtful translation. I understand the verse to mean the Ammonites claimed that Israel had usurped their territory, and now they were demanding it back, “B’sholom”, i.e., in exchange for peace. Thus we have the first recorded precedent for the “land for peace” argument we hear so often now. It didn’t work then. It won’t work now.

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