quote:Originally posted by SimpleSimon That proposal was unconditionally and utterly rejected by Israel.
How many casualties are the peacekeeping nations prepared to accept? The number had better be in the millions to tens of millions if they invade Israel.
As funkyrooster pointed out a while back, Israeli military ability is somewhat flattered by the standard of enemy that they have been fighting. But no one is, in any event, going to invade a nuclear armed country, I wouldn't think.
Smug, I quite agree that Israel is enjoying the fruits of neighborly incompetence in the military area. The same is not necessarily true of their competence in delivery of relatively small packages in clandestine fashion.
He's (Obama) the President of Hate. He has magically allowed the blue monkeys to embrace hatred, to feel proud of it, to murder, to conquer. They never would have been able to take this step without him.
quote:Originally posted by Smug Git Phil is right. Any Israeli position predicated on the Palestinians being able to crush the terrorists is nonsense, as the Israelis know that the Palestinians have no capability to do so, and what capability there was has been largely and deliberately destroyed by Israel.
So. My question again, then, is: if the people across the table lack the will and ability to stop the bombings, what is the point in Israel going to the table in the first place?
Presumably because the fact of some continued bombings will have to be accepted, whilst other advances take place. Only a real fool would have thought that it would be possible to prevent the bombings entirely even if there was a working police force in Palestine. Given that the only alternative is bombings without any hope of successful resolution, it isn't as if it costs much.
Although the real answer to your question lies in the mind of Bush; this is his attempt to make peace, and his credibility on the line.
quote:Originally posted by CHiPsJr So. My question again, then, is: if the people across the table lack the will and ability to stop the bombings, what is the point in Israel going to the table in the first place?
My answer is exactly the same as Smug's. To think that talks can only exist in conjunction with a total and complete cessation of violence is tad naive. Even if Hamas were to go on ceasefire there would no doubt be a split within that group by the worst of it's elements meaning that some form of violence continued in a smaller splinter group. See the number of Irish Republican factions that still consider themselves 'at war' with the British Government for reference.
I know Chips that you do not agree with me comparing the Palestine Question with the Irish Question (at least I think you said in the past that you did not agree with it), but the answer to your question most definitely lies within the process that led to the Good Friday Agreement.
Incidentally Chips, I do not believe that either I, or Smug said that the Palestinain Authority and it's leadership lacked the 'will' to stop the bombings. We merely said that they lacked the ability to police the bombings due to Israeli action against thart Police force and it's infrastructure.
In short, the peace process allows the Israeli people a choice between not negotiating, in which case their citizens will be murdered, or negotiating, in which case they make territorial concessions while their citizens are murdered.
A lot of time has been spent "understanding" the bombers' position on these boards. I would hope that at a bare minimum, the above dichotomy would help us "understand" the sentiments among the Israeli people that led to the election of Sharon. It is not as if more moderate--indeed, extremely conciliatory--alternatives had not been tried. It's more that from the Israeli perspective, a negotiations-oriented leader seems to make no difference.
This is not merely a matter of "splinter groups" who will continue bombing while their more moderate cohorts stop doing so. Quite the opposite, in fact. Remember that the latest bombings--the most severe in some time--have been portrayed as a direct response to the current round of negotiations. In other words, from the Israeli perspective, going to the table directly results in the problem getting WORSE.
It's entirely unreasonable to expect the Israelis to go to the table when they have literally nothing to gain.
quote:Originally posted by CHiPsJr In short, the peace process allows the Israeli people a choice between not negotiating, in which case their citizens will be murdered, or negotiating, in which case they make territorial concessions while their citizens are murdered.
Probably, although that is rather picking certain elements from the whole situation. As for 'territorial concessions', they wouldn't be considered as such by many nations (such as the US and the UK) which don't, I believe, recognise the West Bank to be a part of Israel in any case. The argued need for Israel occupying the West Bank includes nothing about settling or exploiting that region, just that it was needed as a buffer from arab nations invading, which event looks much more unlikely now; certainly giving it up would not constitute territorial concessions as even most pro-Israel supporters would describe it as concessions to national security (and not really very big ones; if Sharon didn't, crucially, have pro-settle members in his coalition, he wouldn't much sweat giving up the settlements even though he has allowed most of them to be built on his watch). 'The Israeli people' isn't the best description, either (and, let's not forget, includes a million arabs too, who might well approve such a move); it is the government of Ariel Sharon who have had a part (and in Sharon's case personally, a larger part) in exacerbating the whole situation. One could equally well, rather than painting this as Hobson's choice, say that Bush is trying to get them to offer some redress. And protraying the 'Israeli people' as those suffering the most here isn't fair, either; twice as many palestinians have died, including the kids and other innocent civilians (the same demographic as the Israeli victims, in other words), as Israelis during this intifada. It isn't anything like as simple as the statement that I have quoted above implies that it is, at least, not in my opinion.
quote: A lot of time has been spent "understanding" the bombers' position on these boards.
I think that there have been attempted explanations of the sympathies that many Palestinians feel for the efforts of people like Hamas. I haven't seen anyone who has really explained why an 18 year old would strap explosives to themselves then try and kill women and kids on a bus. I'd certainly appreciate a link to help me understand that, because I really can't.
quote:I would hope that at a bare minimum, the above dichotomy would help us "understand" the sentiments among the Israeli people that led to the election of Sharon. It is not as if more moderate--indeed, extremely conciliatory--alternatives had not been tried. It's more that from the Israeli perspective, a negotiations-oriented leader seems to make no difference.
The ins and outs of what has been offered in the past are also not as simple as that. Barak didn't even have fair certainty of carrying the last deal through the Knesset. If negotiations have led nowhere in the past (and I think that is a fair statement) then part of that is because neither side at the talks (ie, the politicians) were all that keen on it, both feeling pressure from extremists to adopt positions that they knew that the other side would find unpalatable. Aram Mitznah, the Labour leader battered by Likud in the last elections, pointed out that Israel did well to portray the collapse of the last talks, over-hastily arranged by Clinton, as Palestinan intransigence in walking away from a sweet deal offered by Israel, but if anyone on the Palestinian side is a political whore likely to take a morally flexible stance, it is Arafat. He couldn't accept the deal, he can't control the fundamentalist terrorists (at least, he can't stop them) and he wouldn't still have any power if Sharon hadn't repeatedly legitimised him through attacking him (including two invasions of the Ramallah compound). It seems to me that, whatever reasons the Israelis re-elected Sharon (foremost amongst which must be the weak campaign fought by Aram Mitznah's labour party), Sharon is not the man to find a peaceful way out of this (his actions relating to the Al- Aqsa mosque basically started the intifada, and although presumably he didn't know what would happen, he has utterly failed in reducing the attacks on Israelis even though he has created potentially thousands of new willing martyrs of the future).
As for your main point in that quote, I think that the main reason that Israel re-elected Sharon, apart from the lacklustre campaign from the Labour party (which may even be the main reason), was the same reason that the British population supported harsh and ultimately ineffectual (in terms of suppressing recruitment into terror groups) actions in Northern Ireland, to whit, we didn't like being bombed and somehow extended our dislike for that to the whole of the Northern Irish population that this terrorist minority claimed to represent. The situation that the Israelis have now is far worse, both in sheer numbers of murders and proportionally to their own population, than ours was in the UK, and their reaction has been more severe, if no more effectual. It is certainly understandable, possibly more understandable to me than Bush's election and current domestic popularity (and I'm really not making that up for effect).
quote: This is not merely a matter of "splinter groups" who will continue bombing while their more moderate cohorts stop doing so. Quite the opposite, in fact. Remember that the latest bombings--the most severe in some time--have been portrayed as a direct response to the current round of negotiations. In other words, from the Israeli perspective, going to the table directly results in the problem getting WORSE.
This is a little disingenuous, because the reason for going to the table is to achieve long term, rather than immediate, peace. I mean, it seems pretty obvious that if attending negotiations would bring immediate peace, it'd have happened ages ago; the road ahead is bound to be difficult. Long term, Israel doesn't really have a choice; surely the US will eventually tire of helping them kill children as collaterol damage while Israel pursues an apparently never-ending stream of loony suicide bombers and their leaders, the Palestinian population is expanding very rapidly and can certainly afford to provide any number of suicide bombers, Israel's economy is in the shitter, the Israeli arab population will eventually swamp the Israeli jewish population and there is a big problem with water (and the US isn't going to smile and watch while Israel completely plunders the West Bank even down to water). But any solution is likely to be painful in the short term (however the sillyness of saying that a complete cessation of violence was necessary before talks could start in earnest is hidden behind).
quote: It's entirely unreasonable to expect the Israelis to go to the table when they have literally nothing to gain.
If the US threatens to be less generous towards them, they have everything to gain. Additionally, they can't hold out forever (even if only because the Israeli arab population will become too big to allow the current situation to continue). They have the future to gain. Their economy is really very fucked; tourism has fallen to virtually zero, and a lot of their workforce can't get into Israel to work. There is far more to gain, for both sides, than the stopping of the current rate of deaths through Palestinian terrorism and Israeli military retaliations (although the latter might also be called terrorism by some, we don't have to argue that out here) which amounts to only a few thousand a year at most; it is just that those few thousand murdered people a year makes horrific and powerful headlines. It is unreasonable to expect the Israelis to accept a deal which offers them less than not accepting the deal does, is presumably what you mean to say; that I would agree with. Bush can sweeten or sour the pot a little, as he wishes to, and he has staked a fair amount of his credibility on this (and continues to do so, as Powell was speaking again of the US's committment to making this ambitious plan work). Sharon has already treated Bush like an annoyance and ignored him, twice before (before now, I mean), and I should think that Bush will find his patience wearing a little thin. Perhaps it is a good thing for Sharon that there are, apparently, a fair number of jews in Florida ready to vote on one issue if need be.
I'm sorry Chips, but your logic in this thread has been entirely circular in nature. It reminds me in fact of the cicrcular logic that exists in Marxist historical materialism, and it's impossible to argue against as a result. There is nothing I can put forward that can genuinely penetrate the argument you are putting forward because of the rhetorical manner in which you have put it forward.
You sound like Iain Paisley.
'Coming to the table', is about negotiating a settlement to a problem. What you are saying is that there must be peace before the peace process can begin.
You have highlighted the recent bombings by Hamas as proof that negotiating does not work. The fact that Hamas as a group were not at the table in that peace process seems to have been ignored in the process of your argument. This is a case of splinter groups that are being intransigent, on the Palestinain side it means people like Hamas, and Islamic Jihad etc, and on the Israeli side it includes thos epeople with the intransigent position akin to your own. Both these groups do not want peace and see the only solution as one of terrorism. Be it non-state terrorism or state-sponsored terrorism.
Yes people are getting murdered, on both sides. As Smug points out, the Palestinain side has suffered far worse over the years in terms of sheer numbers. All the deaths that have occured on both sides have been wasteful and needless.
Incidentally, as an aside, the idea that the very integrity and existance of Israel (a nuclear , and most militarily powerful nation in the region) is under threat is utterly absurd.
To sum up your position Chips:
You want to put the apple cart before the horse. Translated, "there can be no peace process until there is peace".