Can islands of land become a state?

palestine archipelgo

I listened to President Obama’s speech today. It was quite subtle and yet pretty important. On one level it said things that have been said for years. And on another these things were said with some new twists. The part of the speech that is lighting up wingnutopia was when he said:

So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

A two-State solution, using the 1967 borders as the starting point, has been a policy advocated by the United States for decades. On one hand, President Obama merely repeated it. OTOH, he did so in clear unambiguous language–actually saying that the 1967 borders (with mutually agreed land swaps) should be the starting point for a solution. That has freaked out Bibi and his supporters who would like the starting point to be the facts on the ground.

Those facts are represented in the map above. It is a map found in Le Monde Diplomatique’s 2009 Atlas – A world upside down. A couple of years ago this map was featured on the wonderful blog, Strange Maps.

The freak out over the 1967 borders remark masks a bigger panic attack over the sentence: “The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.” Especially the word “contiguous”. To create such a State, one must go back to the 1967 borders as the starting point. There is no other way to get there and anybody who has looked at this conflict over the last 40 plus years knows it.

There is no way to make the Palestine Archipelgo a Nation. These are not islands surrounded by water. They are cantons surrounded by fences, troops and checkpoints. Using the current facts on the ground as the starting point means that you have abandoned any hope of a two-State solution. You could claim as Bibi and his supporters claim that you want a two-State solution, but if you cannot accept the 1967 borders as the starting point, you are lying. It is just a simple fact on the ground.

Look at the map. How do you turn these fenced and land-locked islands into a State? It can’t be done. All you can do is turn them into Reservations like we have done with Native Americans–areas where there are small rights to limited sovereignty and limited opportunities and not much more.

To reject the 1967 Borders is to embrace a one-State solution as your option of choice. This is an option with some down sides. For example, it requires Israel to drop the idea that it is a Democracy as it requires an embrace of a legal caste system where some folks have rights while others have none–and that those rights are based on religion and religion alone. This is a pathway doomed to certain failure. And yet this is the pathway that Netanyahu and his supporters are embracing. I always wonder how the folks who reject the 1967 borders, plan to “define” a two-State solution or how they plan to control a growing, hopeless and angry Palestinian population in their fenced-in island ghettos.

A few years ago Jimmy Carter tried to warn folks about the futility of this path. Now it is President Obama’s turn.

Today, he tried to remind both sides in this conflict that they will only find a solution by embracing reality. Not surprisingly, that call has earned automatic rejection from the reality-free zones of wingnutopia and the politicians who pander to these fools.

Next week, President Obama will give a speech to AIPAC. The speech and the wingnut build-up before and after should be interesting.

As we all know, any post about the I/P issue is troll chum. So it goes.

I do not really care to chit-chat about who the bigger asshole is in this endless conflict. From where I stand, it seems that epic assholes can be easily found on either side. And yet, there are also some great people actually striving for a solution on both sides. I thought President Obama gave those folks a helping hand today. Whether that hand is enough to overcome the parade of dickheads pushing for endless conflict remains to be seen. I am hopeful, but time will tell.

And now, please use the comments to freak out about this topic or any other thing stuck in your craw.

Cheers

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113 replies
  1. 1
    Crusty Dem says:

    I, for one, am certain this will lead to a quality, well-thought-out, and thoroughly reasonable discussion.

  2. 2
    Yutsano says:

    At first glance I thought it was the Philippines.

    A bit more serious tone: dengre, the major problem is Israel has gotten used to acting with no consequences from the American parent for it behavior. All of a sudden America raised its voice and Bibi screams like a child. The settlements were meant as a blatant land grab in order to make any sort of Palestinian unity impossible. You REALLY wanna hear Israel wail? Turn full jurisdiction of the West Bank back to Jordan. That will be a popcorn-worthy teeth gnashing.

  3. 3

    This is a really great post. Thanks Dennis.

    Thanks also for reminding me of Strange Maps. It was one of my favorite websites, but I had forgotten about it.

  4. 4
    Cain says:

    Israel has got its way for way too long. We heal Palestine and we’ll get street creds with the muslim world and that will make us much safer than we were before plus it’s simply the right thing to do. Honestly, what the fuck.. these settlers are major league assholes. They can go fuck themselves as far as I’m concerned.

  5. 5
    Steeplejack says:

    [. . .] it requires an embrace of a legal cast system [. . .].

    Make that “caste system.”

  6. 6
    bob in sj says:

    Jerusalem is the key to discussion, and then fresh water access. Or maybe it’s the other way round.

  7. 7

    I’m not having fun thinking about what my mom-in-law is going to say about this– once we peel her off the ceiling. It’s really depressing to see how many of the Older Generation fall for the Likudnik crap EVERY SINGLE TIME. She’s kind of a know-nothing Israel supporter, and if the subject comes up, I’m certain to hear an incoherent diatribe about ‘Those Jew-Hating-Palastinians-Who-Raise-Their-Kids-Just-To-Kill-Jews, and why don’t they just leave Israel and go to some other place where they belong?’
    I’m not even a Jew– I’m a redneck (blueneck??) But all the racism I grew up with AT LEAST is frowned upon in polite society, and white racists have to come up with some (ludicrous) reason that something like a picture of Obama as a chimp really isn’t racist. And they’re really, really sorry that you took offense, and some of their best friends are nigg_rs, so stop playing the ‘race card.’
    Down here, just suggesting that maybe, just maybe, the Palestinians might not hate Israel so much if the Israelis made some kind of effort to help establish a Palestinian state is to beg for a screaming argument, at best.
    Haaretz? Never heard of it!! You must be talking about Al Jazeera.

  8. 8
    John Puma says:

    The question: “Can islands of land become a state?”

    The answer: “Only with GREAT difficulty, if at all.”

    But isn’t that THE POINT?

  9. 9
  10. 10
    JGabriel says:

    I don’t know why the fundies would be upset about Israel’s borders. Why should they care? Everyone knows that the rapture is coming tomorrow:

    Thousands of people around the country have spent the last few days taking to the streets and saying final goodbyes before Saturday, Judgment Day, when they expect to be absorbed into heaven in a process known as the rapture. Nonbelievers, they hold, will be left behind to perish along with the world over the next five months.

    There’s gonna be a lot of unraptured and pissed off people come Sunday morning.

    .

  11. 11
    shano says:

    It just seems to be a way for continual war. Both for the US and Israel……brought to you by the Military Industrial Complex. Who else is going to need depleted uranium, cluster bombs and white phosphorus?

  12. 12
    Amir_Khalid says:

    @JGabriel:
    If past history is any guide, they’ll mope for a bit. Then Harold Camping or another self-taught Biblical scholar kook like him will pull a new “and corrected” date out of his butt, and they’ll be all happy again.

  13. 13
    WarMunchkin says:

    If the teabaggers get together with the army of dickheads, they can form sets of complete penii.

    That’s now the most profound thought I’ve ever brought into being.

  14. 14
    Calouste says:

    @Sarah Proud and Tall:

    I looked at that website and I was somewhat dissappointed that they made a rather serious geographical error (for a website about maps) in the first sentence of their current post. Shoreditch, or at least a large chunk of it, is not east of Tower Bridge.

  15. 15
    Ecks says:

    @Amir_Khalid: Yeah, they’ve never really worried about disconfirmed predictions in the past. It was previously an absolutely unimpeachable fact that Gorbachev was the antichrist, and then that Jimmy Carter was, and then that Clinton was, and then that Obama… there’s a long and ignoble history of pivoting swiftly away from predictions that didn’t work out and just pretending they never happened.

  16. 16
  17. 17
    Sly says:

    @Amir_Khalid:

    Then Harold Camping or another self-taught Biblical scholar kook like him will pull a new “and corrected” date out of his butt, and they’ll be all happy again.

    If course they’ll be happy. They’ll have more time on Earth for fundraising.

  18. 18
    NobodySpecial says:

    Assholes, assholes everywhere, nor any drop to drink.

  19. 19
    Pat says:

    Here is my comment: For the first time IN A VERY LONG TIME I agree with the President. To Bibi: Have a nice visit, asshole!

  20. 20
    Ecks says:

    BTW, seriously great map and post.

  21. 21
    stuckinred says:

    Richard Hass is having a Mornin Joe bitch slap session on Israel.

  22. 22
    JGabriel says:

    Amir_Khalid:

    … Harold Camping or another self-taught Biblical scholar kook like him will pull a new “and corrected” date out of his butt, and they’ll be all happy again.

    The really brilliant play would be for Camping’s staff to announce that he’d been raptured, and that he felt really really bad about the people left behind, but … God’s will, ya know?

    Of course it won’t happen, but wouldn’t it be fun? Then we could mock all the true believers by asking why they didn’t go Camping with Rapture. Or vice versa. Whatever.

    .

  23. 23
    JGabriel says:

    @WarMunchkin:

    If the teabaggers get together with the army of dickheads, they can form sets of complete penii.

    They’ll never make complete penii while the rest of us are getting the shaft! Mwahahaha!

    .

  24. 24
    Riggsveda says:

    Obama did what he did because of the pressure building over the upcoming UN vote. If the General Assembly votes to allow Palestine as a member, which it will, a Palestinian state will have legitimacy in international law, and we will officially look like the shits we have been in this business all along. Obama is still enough of the shell of his campaign self to care about that.

    For a look at the speech through different eyes, I recommend Mondoweiss, which has done astonishing work blogging the horrors of the whole situation.

  25. 25
    stuckinred says:

    @Riggsveda: Well, if all parties are pissed off the speeech can’t have been that bad.

  26. 26
    PeakVT says:

    I always wonder how the folks who reject the 1967 borders, plan to “define” a two-State solution or how they plan to control a growing, hopeless and angry Palestinian population in their fenced-in island ghettos.

    I think the plan hope has been to make the Palestinians lives’ so miserable that they would emigrate.

    Perhaps Obama’s speech will make a difference, but I’m skeptical. Israel will only act differently when US funds are actually cut or cut off, and because of domestic political considerations that won’t happen anytime soon.

  27. 27
    Riggsveda says:

    @stuckinred: It’s easy to piss off Bibi. He was born pissed off. When you’re a totalitarian ideologue surrounded by yes men and getting a fat allowance from a yes country, you don’t tolerate even the mildest demur.

  28. 28

    @stuckinred:

    Good morning, Stuck.

    Well, if all parties are pissed off the speech can’t have been that bad.

    I agree. I personally thought that part of the speech was dull and boring but if the assholes [domestic and foreign] are pissed off, maybe it was a better speech than I thought.

    It is a fact that there is a wide range of opinions among American Jews but I do get tired of the brittle chauvinism of the US non-observant Jew. Guilt?

  29. 29
    4tehlulz says:

    Obama is the King of Trolls.

  30. 30
    Xenos says:

    @PeakVT:

    I think the plan hope has been to make the Palestinians lives’ so miserable that they would emigrate.

    Sounds like the Likudniks are taking their plays right out of the American playbook. Allow unregulated settlement, respond forcefully to any fighting between settler and native, discourage development of native resources, let facts on the ground discourage and destroy any hope for peace. Eventually the last, isolated pockets get wittled down by entreprenuerial genocidaires.

    The Palestinians did not get the memo about succumbing to alcohol, smallpox, and despair, so the larger strategy seems doomed.

  31. 31
    Donut says:

    Thanks for this post, Dennis. It’s funny, cuz the librul blogs have not really been on this issue much. Nary a peep from most corners when Mitchell resigned as ME peace envoy last week. I haven’t time to catch up on reading this week… I just wonder what is behind Mitchell’s exit – was it mutual agreement it was time to go, meaning there was no way the actors were going to get on stage and deal? Was there a sharp disagreement with Obama (or Sec. Clinton) that caused a resignation on principle? What comes next, now that Obama has laid down this new-yet-old marker? Will Sec. Clinton now take the lead in the process? Does Obama find a spot for former President Clinton to get involved here? Are the main players on the Israeli and Palestinian sides actually ready to deal? I guess I need to go read Washington Note, for starters…

  32. 32
    Lavocat says:

    Gotta love those false equivalencies!

  33. 33
    Ron says:

    He definitely pissed off some. I have one FB friend who I knew when I was growing up that now lives in a settlement in the west bank and I’ve lost track of the number of her outraged and/or self-righteous posts the last day or so. I’ve been tempted to comment on a few of them. I’m only not doing it because I don’t feel like getting into a big fight with her and several of her friends. But the reaction is teh crazee. At one point she said that Obama was a bigger threat to Israel than its neighbors.

  34. 34
    Montysano says:

    Excellent post, Dennis, and thanks for the link to Strange Maps!

  35. 35
    moonbat says:

    dengre, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this post. Reality-based politics, how does it work? This is how.

  36. 36
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @gnomedad: Here’s mine: http://millerhats.com/presiden.....ident.html. It’s the Flint style hat. Mine was bought by my father in 1970 or 71, and while it’s a little the worse for wear it’s still stylin’. I’d like to get another one….

  37. 37
    lacp says:

    “I do not really care to chit-chat about who the bigger asshole is in this endless conflict. From where I stand, it seems that epic assholes can be easily found on either side.”

    Are you talking about Israelis and Palestinians or Democrats and Republicans?

  38. 38
    chopper says:

    @WarMunchkin:

    right now they’re rudimentari penii?

  39. 39
    gex says:

    No wonder why the right hates Carter so much. He spoke plain truths to people. Although, it seems like in electing Reagan the people said, “We can’t handle the truth.” We just want to feel good. And contrary to their outward disdain for the concept, conservatives sure do like doing whatever feels good to them.

  40. 40
    stuckinred says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Proly so.

  41. 41
    gex says:

    Oh, and my friend’s school is trying to win some books. They are deserving because it is a little school in the metro area in MN that is a dual-language school, i.e. all the courses are being instructed in Spanish.

    I know. I’d rather pay a little more in taxes to support this school, instead, I’m pimping out a link on BJ to support the school than spending the day restarting my browser to vote for the school.

    So I’m going to crowd-source. If BJ folks could throw a vote their way, it would be awesome.

    http://www.sodahead.com/fun/vo.....n-1803629/

    Vote for Richfiled Dual Language.

    Gracias!

  42. 42
    Chris says:

    @Stan of the Sawgrass:

    It’s really depressing to see how many of the Older Generation fall for the Likudnik crap EVERY SINGLE TIME. She’s kind of a know-nothing Israel supporter, and if the subject comes up, I’m certain to hear an incoherent diatribe about ‘Those Jew-Hating-Palastinians-Who-Raise-Their-Kids-Just-To-Kill-Jews, and why don’t they just leave Israel and go to some other place where they belong?’

    I don’t even think it’s the older generation: it’s all over the map. http://www.gallup.com/poll/146.....srael.aspx = at last count 63% of the U.S. supports the Israelis no matter what, and I don’t see that changing in the future.

    Equal parts Holocaust guilt (which for some reason extends to Jews but not the other six million victims, like Gypsies), Old Testament fundamentalism, and simple Western identity politics, methinks. Regardless, it’s long been *the* foreign policy issue where the average American’s brain just shuts down and you can’t even begin to make headway.

    That’s the only reason I’m still very skeptical about the speech. Not blaming Obama: just saying that getting support for this is going to be difficult to say the least.

  43. 43
    Chris says:

    @Riggsveda:

    Obama did what he did because of the pressure building over the upcoming UN vote. If the General Assembly votes to allow Palestine as a member, which it will, a Palestinian state will have legitimacy in international law, and we will officially look like the shits we have been in this business all along. Obama is still enough of the shell of his campaign self to care about that.

    Holy shit, I can’t believe I’d never even heard that there was a General Assembly vote coming up. Thanks for the heads-up, mate. I really need to start reading more IR stuff again…

  44. 44
    Chris says:

    @Riggsveda:

    It’s easy to piss off Bibi. He was born pissed off. When you’re a totalitarian ideologue surrounded by yes men and getting a fat allowance from a yes country, you don’t tolerate even the mildest demur.

    Ever notice how the more people get what they want, the thinner their skin gets, and the more likely they are to fly into a fit of rage on those increasingly rare occasions when they don’t get everything they want?

    Largely explains how Wall Street could go from breeding Rockefeller Republicans fifty years ago, to comparing an expiration of the Bush tax cuts to Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia last year.

  45. 45
    dedc79 says:

    Interesting post. There should be a follow-up on the 1967 israel map as well because it also tells an interesting story. Two states in something along the lines of the 1967 borders has an added advantage (in a sense at least) that doesn’t get discussed a lot. Both states will be small and fragile and will be strongest if they cooperate, security wise and economically. A 1967 israel is less than 15 miles wide in its middle. No amount of military fire power can ensure its survival. This is clearly problematic for israeli security but there is a positive side to it as well. Israel will need to maintain peace with its neighbors plain and simple. I do worry that there are those who are still many interested in the 67 borders as a step toward retaking all of Israel, but that is a risk that must be taken at some point.

  46. 46
    bjacques says:

    @38 Chopper:

    I see whut u did ther.

    Bibi can go spoon a goose. He started it, by trying to slap Obama around in public.

    Bibi: I’m gonna be a hardass.
    Obama: Well, fuck you too. Look around you, dude; times have changed.

    Thank the Bold Marauder the Cold War is over. If Israel’s decades-long game of chicken turns out badly, at least it won’t take the rest of the world with it. Hamas are looking more and more these days like just another sleazy mafia and an expensive luxury in a ghetto that doesn’t have many of them, so the main initiative really lies with Israel. If they start thinking again instead of carrying on with the usual bullshit, they’ll see the number of suicide bomber volunteers plummet.

    The clock is ticking; the rest of the world is getting bored.

  47. 47
    wobblybits says:

    @gex: Done and posted to my Orkut and FB accounts. Hope they win!!!

  48. 48
    Chris says:

    @PeakVT:

    I think the plan hope has been to make the Palestinians lives’ so miserable that they would emigrate.

    It is.

    A big reason why it hasn’t worked is that the neighboring Arab regimes play just as dirty as Israel. If they’d taken in the Palestinians, it’s possible (I stress possible) that they would eventually have assimilated and just decided to stay there, like the Israelis hoped they would (like, for example, the younger generations of Cuban Americans who have no desire to go “back” to the island).

    But that’s not what they did: they herded them into refugee-camp ghettoes in Jordan, or hired them as the local underpaid sweatshop workers in Kuwait. They’ve never been given a chance to have a real home elsewhere, and that makes their lost home all the more important for it.

    This isn’t to shift the blame on the Arabs – the biggest culprit is obviously the one who gangsters people off of their land. Just observing one of the reasons this crisis hasn’t gone anywhere in the last sixty years.

  49. 49
    Hawes says:

    In some strange way, I feel like so much of the modern Middle East is a product of the “good” Gulf War back in 1991. Bibi came to prominence for his steely cool press appearances as Scuds fell in the background. What must Bush pere have given up to keep Israel on the sidelines back then?

    Of course, Arafat bears a large share of the blame for walking away from the Wye agreements (I guess that means they weren’t agreements?).

    But it’s sad to see Israel become the Republic of South Africa.

  50. 50
    Chris says:

    @gex:

    Okay, I’ll shut up after this (well, for some time anyway):

    No wonder why the right hates Carter so much. He spoke plain truths to people. Although, it seems like in electing Reagan the people said, “We can’t handle the truth.” We just want to feel good.

    This.

    Reagan was a reaction to twenty years of having a light shined on all the ugly parts of American society that we didn’t want to talk about (racism, sexism, the remaining holes in our safety net, the reality of our war in Vietnam…)

    Reagan was the candidate for people who, when you point out to them that there’s racism, sexism, poverty or war crimes going on in their country, think you pointing that out is a bigger problem than the fact that it’s happening. The reality denial was a huge part of his appeal in the first place.

  51. 51
    Joey Maloney says:

    I live in Israel. The number of people here who are numbed and apathetic about the situation is large. Just like the large number of Americans who don’t vote, because “it doesn’t make any difference”. Things have been bad and slowly getting worse for so long, in so many different directions, that everyone has compassion and outrage fatigue. And just like in the USA, it’s that plurality of the well-meaning-but-disheartened who enable the worst actors.

    On the other hand, all the really radical eliminationist assholes that I’ve met have been US natives who have made aliyah. But so are many of the most committed peaceniks. Go figure.

  52. 52
    Svensker says:

    @PeakVT:

    I always wonder how the folks who reject the 1967 borders, plan to “define” a two-State solution or how they plan to control a growing, hopeless and angry Palestinian population in their fenced-in island ghettos.
    I think the plan hope has been to make the Palestinians lives’ so miserable that they would emigrate.

    Exactly this. Bibi & Co. have no wish for a solution, they just want the Pals to go away one way or another. Whether they die or whether they emigrate is no big deal. Hey, it’s working, so why not continue. And we’re paying them to do it!

  53. 53
    Svensker says:

    @Donut:

    I just wonder what is behind Mitchell’s exit

    How ’bout that there’s no hope.

    Look at O’s speech, which could have been made by GWB. And look at the freakout. There’s no hope.

  54. 54
    BR says:

    Well said.

  55. 55
    MonkeyBoy says:

    Israel has managed to frame the whole issue as “Israel has the right to exist” and anybody opposed to this favors the destruction of Israel. Thus land grabs that established Israel and land grabs seen to promote Israel’s safety of existence fall under this right.

    The only sort of framing that has any hope of fostering a resolution is “Israel has the privilege of existing”. This is actually similar to some Israel positions that the Palestinians are privileged to be allowed to live so some in Israel might interpret such a “privilege” as a thinly veiled threat of destruction.

  56. 56
    Jorge says:

    @gnomedad: Oooooweooooo

  57. 57
    Tone in DC says:

    Chicago cowboy.
    Gotta dig that, Barack-man Hussein Overdrive.

    As for the on-topic conflict… Mitchell and Clinton ain’t the problem.

  58. 58
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    Beinart says Jews and Americans are losing the power to shape the ME.
    Its about time.

    Why did thousands of Palestinians yesterday converge upon Israel’s borders? Partly because Syria’s war-criminal leader, Bashar al-Assad, and his ally, Hezbollah, wanted them to. But there’s more to it than that. Palestinians also marched from Jordan and Egypt, whose governments did their best to stop the protests. In fact, they marched from every corner of the Palestinian world, in a tech-savvy, coordinated campaign. What hit Israel yesterday was the Palestinian version of the Arab spring.

    After the Arab Spring, the American Fall.

  59. 59
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @MonkeyBoy: how can any country confer a “right to exist” on another country?
    Israel either exists or it doesn’t.
    Now did Israel have a right to be created out of muslim lands? No.
    The euros should have given the jews west germany in reparations.
    Then europe could have had 40 years of war.

  60. 60
    Scott P. says:

    A 1967 israel is less than 15 miles wide in its middle. No amount of military fire power can ensure its survival.

    So I guess Israel’s victory in the 1967 war was a literal Act of God, then?

  61. 61
    Kane says:

    Take note of the loudest voices that are now raging against President Obama’s speech and decrying it as anti-Israel. If an historic agreement is made between Israel and Palestine, those same voices will be proclaiming that Bush deserves the credit.

  62. 62
    eemom says:

    @Kane:

    If an historic agreement is made between Israel and Palestine, those same voices will be proclaiming that Bush deserves the credit.

    I think we’re pretty safe from that particular outrage.

  63. 63
    BobS says:

    @Chris: I’ve found that most Americans are about as well informed about Israel and Palestine as they are about most things that don’t involve their favorite sports team or American Idol. Their understanding can be and is generally summarized as “they’ve always been fighting”. That’s not to say they aren’t affected by the several dozen Hollywood movies depicting different aspects of the Holocaust made since WWII (certainly many more than have been made about the American Indian genocide or slavery in the US from the Indian or black point of view) or the overwhelmingly pro-Israel narrative in the corporate media that tends to conflate American and Israeli identity/interests.

  64. 64
    Will says:

    This is pretty much settlers and Indian. Even if there is a Palestinian state, Israeli extremists will continue to move into Palestinian land and Israel will feel beholden to protect those settlers. The land grab will continue

    It’s how the West Was Won

  65. 65
    Elizabelle says:

    Excellent post, Dennis.

  66. 66
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Scott P.:

    The 1967 war was not defensive. It was preemptive, and it was planned to eliminate that particular weakness. With the exception of the occupation of Sinai, Israel hasn’t budged from its conquests, all of which can be very legitimately be seen as taking land that reverses a military disadvantage into an advantage.

    This is the problem with the 1967 boundaries. If you’re going to be in semi-permanent state of war, they are indefensible. That much is absolutely true. The other problem is you can’t exist for decades in a state of siege and not have that severely impact your life…in ways that are not pleasant at all.

  67. 67
    tomvox1 says:

    Great post, dengre. What has surprised me the most is Jeffrey Goldberg’s overwhelmingly positive reaction to President Obama’s speech:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/int.....ay/239199/

    http://www.theatlantic.com/pol.....ch/239186/

    http://www.theatlantic.com/int.....ns/239185/

    Didn’t see that coming at all so credit where credit is due…chapeau, Mr. Goldberg!

  68. 68
    JimPortlandOR says:

    One of the defenses made of Israel’s position (repeated by Bibi yesterday) is that the 1967 borders are ‘indefensible’. They demand the control over the eastern border of the west bank with Jordan; the huge chucks of land illegally appropriated for the west bank Jewish ‘settlements’ (an occupier under international law is NOT allowed to take permanent control of land it occupies) – the settlements paid for the Israeli government unlawfully; and the Israeli-only road structure that Israel has put into place to connect the settlements and separate the west bank into cantons. In addition Israel will not negotiate their full control of Jerusalem which grows year-to-year with new Israeli-only suburbs grabbed (and sometime purchased with Israeli government funds), nor will they discuss the return or compensation of Palestinian refugees from land seized during several wars to expand the size of Israel – once again defying UN Sec. Council resolutions and international law.

    Israel has become a rogue state through their own actions. They clearly have acted on the idea that they are the super-race that can ignore the rights of the sub-humans they have made of the Palestinians. It is ironic that the people that suffered so much death and loss of humanity at the hands of the Nazis as an ‘inferior race’ is now applying the same treatment on another people – in the name of ‘democracy’.

    Nuerenberg should stand as two symbols of where things stand: the place where anti-Jewish laws were shamefullly declared, and the place where the war criminals were rightly judged and punished. Israel misses this lesson of history.

  69. 69
    Skippy-san says:

    The sooner the Palestinians accept that the better off they will be. A Palestinan state has never been a viable option-even before 1967.

  70. 70
    eemom says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    IIRC there is a recognized difference in international law between “preventive” and “preemptive” — one is acceptable and the other is not — and the 1967 war was considered preventive.

    I could be wrong — just recall learning that at some point.

  71. 71
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Skippy-san:

    Then you give the Palestinians no option but to “push Israel into the sea”.

    You’re endorsing genocide one way or the other.

    There must be another way.

  72. 72
    liberal says:

    And yet, there are also some great people actually striving for a solution on both sides.

    Kind of hard for the Pals, when some of their better leaders are sitting in Israeli jails.

  73. 73
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @eemom:

    The Germans claimed, in 1939, that they invaded Poland to prevent a Polish attack on Germany.

    They also staged such an attack on the town of Gleiwitz.

    No one bought it then.

  74. 74
    Don says:

    Will:

    Even if there is a Palestinian state, Israeli extremists will continue to move into Palestinian land and Israel will feel beholden to protect those settlers. The land grab will continue

    If there’s a Palestinian state, any wannabe Israeli settlers would presumably need permission to enter the area, and would not be able to use the Israeli army to force out the residents. Unless you’re saying that the Israelis will simply continue the war against a new Palestinian state with impunity?

  75. 75
    dmbeaster says:

    What is humorous about the freak out about the 1967 borders is that they already reflect 20 years of massive Israeli expulsion of Arabs from lands that Israel did not receive in the 1947 UN partition plan, as well as massive expropriation of Arab owned lands. There is nothing particularly legitimate about the 1967 boundaries, other than that the first war ended there. I agree that they should be used now for trying to settle the controversy.

    The 1947 UN maps of population numbers and land ownership for each region in Palestine, that were used to formulate the 1947 partition, show that the population of Jews to non-Jews in the proposed 1947 Israeli state was barely greater than 50%. The population proportion in the lands Israel seized during the 1948 war outside of the UN plan for Israel (and which became the 1967 boundaries) was almost exclusively Arab (between 80-90%). The same maps show land ownership which skew more heavily in favor of Arabs than the population numbers. As Benny Morris’ book on the history of Israel documents, the deliberate Israeli plan in 1948 was to seize more land and expel Palestinians in order to create a more viable state. Without expulsions, the population within the 1967 boundaries would have been significantly dominated by Palestinians.

    The current settler movement is more of the same, and if anything, represents true fealty to the spirit that created Israel.

  76. 76
    newsdude85 says:

    Just saw Norman Finkelstein and Noura Erakat on Democracy Now! this morning (http://www.democracynow.org/20....._signal_us), and they reiterated that Obama’s 1967 borders proposal isn’t a new position for the United States. With Netenyahu rejecting this proposal, I really wonder how the negotiations will be able to move forward.

  77. 77
    liberal says:

    @Ghanima Atreides:

    how can any country confer a “right to exist” on another country?

    Huh, for once you’re making sense and not trying to basegank the rest of us here.

  78. 78
    liberal says:

    @dmbeaster:

    There is nothing particularly legitimate about the 1967 boundaries, other than that the first war ended there.

    First war? I thought it usually goes
    * 1948
    * 1956
    * 1967
    * 1973
    followed by subsequent conflicts in Lebanon.

  79. 79
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @liberal: there are over 7,000 palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, and some are women and children.

  80. 80
    liberal says:

    @Svensker:

    Exactly this. Bibi & Co. have no wish for a solution, they just want the Pals to go away one way or another. Whether they die or whether they emigrate is no big deal. Hey, it’s working, so why not continue. And we’re paying them to do it!

    I don’t think this is limited to Bibi et al. Pretty much the Labor Party was the same way.

    Basic approach—go-very-slow ethnic cleansing.

  81. 81
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    What Israel has been doing in the occupied West Bank, for the past 44 years, is working on creating a fait accompli, settling Israelis on confiscated land (unlawfully, as Jim points out above) hoping to drive the Palestinians off the West Bank and to make the 1949 cease fire line in that case irrelevant, because that cease fire did leave Israel in a militarily precarious position…which they took aggressive action to mitigate in 1967.

    The problem of course for Israel is that, as we saw at the end of WWII, removing people from lands they’ve lived on for generations can be done if you’re willing to be ruthless enough to do it.

    Which leaves us with a situation that’s bad for everyone…particularly since there is an active faction in Israel that insists on religious purity as a litmus test for who is a proper Israeli.

  82. 82
    Shoemaker-Levy 9 says:

    has been a policy advocated by the United States for decades.

    It’s almost the entire world’s official position.

    President Obama merely repeated it. OTOH, he did so in clear unambiguous language

    I’d quibble that the language was unambiguous, but this gets at the basic problem. In our discourse you simply are not allowed to speak as though Palestinians are a party with interests and negotiating positions. While the official position has for decades been as the President says, discourse has almost universally consisted of demands of acquiescence of the Palestinians and if they comply then maybe, if we’re in a good mood, US/Israel with give them their own state. To put it bluntly, our discourse on the subject is inherently racist.

    So the President’s great sin was not what he said, but saying it without couching it in the inherent racism that our right wing and media culture demand. Perhaps he can make amends when he goes, as all American politicians must, to abase himself before AIPAC in a few days.

  83. 83
    Stillwater says:

    @dmbeaster:

    As Benny Morris’ book on the history of Israel documents, the deliberate Israeli plan in 1948 was to seize more land and expel Palestinians in order to create a more viable state. Without expulsions, the population within the 1967 boundaries would have been significantly dominated by Palestinians.

    This is a little known or conveniently overlooked fact which, if understood and appreciated, reveals the intractable nature of the mess: since 1948, Israel has, and continues, to cleans its borders of Arabs, and continues to expand those borders for more Jews. There is nothing particularly shocking or surprising that a newly-created state would want to do this. It’s just that it contradicts Israeli propaganda and Western CW.

  84. 84
    liberal says:

    @Chris:

    …at last count 63% of the U.S. supports the Israelis no matter what, and I don’t see that changing in the future.

    IMHO “support” for Israel is very broad but also very shallow.

  85. 85
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @liberal: but like Beinart pointed out, the status quo is untenable in the face of the Arab Spring. The Egyptian foreign minster already opened the Rafah crossing permanently which was closed in 2007. That probably is a treaty violation.

    Last Friday-of-Rage saw thousands of palestinian protesters organize with social media and march on 3 borders of Israel.
    American media only covered Assad’s border, and Assad’s doing that to deflect from his internal problems.
    But both the egyptian and jordanian governments tried to suppress the marches on their israeli borders very, very, carefully.
    Jordan’s monarch could fall to the Arab Spring also.
    The Muslim Brotherhood franchise in Jordan is called al-Ikhwan.
    It means The Brotherhood.

  86. 86
    liberal says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    What Israel has been doing in the occupied West Bank, for the past 44 years, is working on creating a fait accompli…

    Precisely. What I call go-slow ethnic cleansing. It’s not at all just a product of Bibi and the rest of the Israeli right.

  87. 87
    liberal says:

    @Ghanima Atreides:
    It’s really hard to predict what the consequences of the Arab Spring will be, though certainly the likelihood of “bad” for Israel greater than “good”.

  88. 88
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @Stillwater: why dont people complain about oppression of jewesses like they complain about oppression of muslimahs?
    Israel does not have a freedom-of-religion democracy– israeli jewesses cannot outmarry under israeli law.

  89. 89
    Martin says:

    Wow, I hadn’t realized how fragmented the Palestinian state had become. From Israels perspective, I can see how desirable an outcome that is – all commerce requires checking in with Israel, and that allows them to monitor and control what goes on, but it’s an intolerable state in the same way that the US would erupt into civil war if states had the power to do the same.

    I wonder how this will affect things in Syria.

  90. 90
    Stillwater says:

    @eemom: I could be wrong, but I think you got this backwards. Preemptive war is an internationally recognized use of military force if there exists a legitimate imminent threat. Preventative war was the Bush Doctrine that arguably violates international law. The argument for the ’67 war was that it was preemptive.

  91. 91
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @liberal: i can predict.
    Islamic democracy for all for a while.
    Islamic government has been repressed by tyrants and monarchs and it is simply what the people want….the consent of the governed.
    There is a franchise of the MB in every Arab Spring state.
    In Syria the uprising was initiated via facebook with muslim student groups and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

  92. 92
    daveNYC says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Things have changed since ’67 though. Unless Israel is worried that the Jordanian army is going to start rolling west, the West Bank isn’t as useful as it used to be. Unless you’re a settler getting subsidized housing there.

  93. 93
    Scott P. says:

    The 1967 war was not defensive. It was preemptive, and it was planned to eliminate that particular weakness. With the exception of the occupation of Sinai, Israel hasn’t budged from its conquests, all of which can be very legitimately be seen as taking land that reverses a military disadvantage into an advantage.

    You said, and I quote that “A 1967 Israel is less than 15 miles wide in its middle. No amount of military fire power can ensure its survival.” And yet, clearly, Israel did survive. Nothing above changes that.

    This is the problem with the 1967 boundaries. If you’re going to be in semi-permanent state of war, they are indefensible. That much is absolutely true.

    Israel is in an immeasurably better military position than it was in 1967. Not merely conventionally, but they have nuclear weapons. If the 1967 border is indefensible, then France’s border with Belgium is indefensible.

    Not to mention that pretty much everyone agrees that an independent Palestine would be demilitarized, so that Israel would always be able to fall back on the 1967 “solution” if a real crisis did arise.

  94. 94
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @liberal:

    certainly the likelihood of “bad” for Israel greater than “good”.

    And yes is it bad for America and its client Israel. America is increasingly powerless to affect outcomes in the ME.

    I dont think people realize that the SOFA means American can only leave 150 trainers in Iraq after December 2011. That means no airbases. we spent all that money for nothing.
    Petraeus is trying to negotiate permanent bases with Karzai right now, but that probably wont matter, because when the Taliban become part of the A-stan government they will just kick America out. That is why O moved the timetable back to 2014, well after the 2012 election.

    The really bad thing will happen if the Arab Spring comes to AfPak.
    Pak has between 75 and 100 nukes and several powerful islamist parties in parliament already. American droning is destabilizing Zardari’s pro-american government.

    Has there been much droning lately?
    Maybe getting OBL will give us cover to fold our tents drones and slip away.

  95. 95
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @daveNYC:

    Yeah, but the West Bank won’t be part of Jordan. It will be the nucleus of the new Palestinian state, one that must be, by its very nature, revanchist for all that has happened from 1948 onward. The original Palestinian refugees were driven out of lands that constituted the “legitimate” recognized state of Israel, from 1948.

  96. 96
    Shoemaker-Levy 9 says:

    @liberal:

    IMHO “support” for Israel is very broad but also very shallow.

    This is an observation I was going to make in relation to Netanyahu’s recent statements. He really ought to be more careful about what he says publicly because, while Congress is entirely bought and paid for, the American general public’s support of Israel is a mile wide but an inch deep.

  97. 97
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @liberal: the status quo is untenable because of social media. And no one can put that djinni back in the bottle.
    Israel is going to have to “take the chocolate.”
    Or be pushed into the sea.

  98. 98
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Scott P.:

    Israel is in an immeasurably better military position than it was in 1967. Not merely conventionally, but they have nuclear weapons. If the 1967 border is indefensible, then France’s border with Belgium is indefensible.

    Have you looked at a map? The West Bank constitutes a huge salient into the heart of 1948 Israeli territory. It’s a very long border. That’s what makes it indefensible, if you’re committed to staying on your side of it.

    The reason that, conventionally, Israel is in a better military position than 1967 is that its boundary with Jordan has been substantially shortened by occupying the West Bank.

    The problem, or course, is that this is no guarantee of security against unconventional attacks, from actors other than the three principle Arab states in opposition to Israel…Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, as the Israelis have found out. Until the Palestinians, all of them, are expelled from every last square meter west of the River Jordan, there will always be a threat.

    That’s their position, and they’re sticking to it. Working out a way to live with the Palestinians in peace apparently is simply not an acceptable option. So, they’ve basically laid down the all or nothing position that they decry the Palestinians for taking.

  99. 99
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @Shoemaker-Levy 9:

    the American general public’s support of Israel is a mile wide but an inch deep.

    And will only last until the demographic timer goes off.
    Blacks, browns and youth don’t care about Israel.
    Only the greys.

  100. 100
    eemom says:

    @Stillwater:

    yeah, I think that’s right. Preemptive is the acceptable one.

    The comparison to the Nazi attack on Poland is fucking ridiculous, btw. Again, IIRC, the Egytian and Syrian armies were, in fact, preparing to attack in 1967.

  101. 101
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: but in the face of the Arab Spring and the American Fall, Israel’s position is untenable.
    So what will they do?

  102. 102
    dmbeaster says:

    @liberal: I believe that the 1967 boundaries reflect the ending point after the 1948 war – i.e., the first war. The 1956 war did not, I believe, result in any change to those boundaries. References to the 1967 boundaries means the start line for the 1967 war – not the territory conquered in that war. That start line was the end line for the 1948 war, or the first war.

  103. 103
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @eemom:

    That’s why it was preemptive, eemom, and not preventative.

    Words mean things. Please note the words I used.

  104. 104
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ghanima Atreides:

    What they were seriously contemplating doing when the situation was looking grim in 1973.

    Letting the nukes fly.

  105. 105
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Israels nukes?
    But Pakistan has nukes too.
    And so does the US. Do you think Obama is going to let Israel nuke Jordan and Egypt and Syria?
    That will bring in Iran and kick off WW III.

  106. 106
    Tim, Interrupted says:

    Hello?…anyone there?

  107. 107
    daveNYC says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Unless the Palestinians get to have heavy armor units, they’re going to be a threat to Jack and shit, and Jack just left town. If you want to see an indefensible position, look at West Berlin in the ’50s.

  108. 108
    Chris says:

    @Shoemaker-Levy 9:

    IMHO “support” for Israel is very broad but also very shallow.

    This is an observation I was going to make in relation to Netanyahu’s recent statements. He really ought to be more careful about what he says publicly because, while Congress is entirely bought and paid for, the American general public’s support of Israel is a mile wide but an inch deep.

    I’m not convinced. Maybe I’ve just been listening to conservatives and to the media for too long. But in my impression, most Americans associate with Israel in a way they do with very few other countries.

  109. 109
    grandpajohn says:

    @Amir_Khalid:

    Then Harold Camping or another self-taught Biblical scholar kook like him will pull a new “and corrected” date out of his butt, and they’ll be all happy again.

    Or some of them may join in with the majority of believers ,and rather than listen to some TV evangelical nut, actually read the bible they proclaim as the source of their belief, especially the part wherein Jesus proclaims

    Matt 24:36, No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven nor the Son, but only the Father.

    or othis part,

    Matt 24:42, Keep watch because you do not know on what day your Lord will come

    Sort of reminds me of the idiots who proclaim Obama as the anti-Christ not realizing that if that is so they have already missed the rapture since the rapture is to take place before the coming of the anti-Christ

  110. 110
    Shoemaker-Levy 9 says:

    @Chris:

    It’s just a general impression, of course, but I don’t sense a strong attachment to Israel outside of some Jewish-Americans and some End-Times nuts and, of course, most pundits and politicians. Even adding all those groups up you get only a small minority of all Americans. Most I think feel about Israel roughly the same way they do about the UK or France. Sure, they’re on the “right” side, but circumstance could erode that feeling.

  111. 111
    Catsy says:

    @Ghanima Atreides:

    why dont people complain about oppression of jewesses like they complain about oppression of muslimahs?
    Israel does not have a freedom-of-religion democracy—israeli jewesses cannot outmarry under israeli law.

    What the fuck?

    I’m sure there are outliers, but from where I’m sitting the term “Jewess” has decidedly negative associations with anti-Semitism, Nazis, and white supremacists.

    You might want to rethink your terminology of choice.

  112. 112
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @daveNYC:

    Dave, talk to Bibi and the Israeli General Staff. They’re the ones jumping up and down about “indefensible”.

    The fact is, they have a point, in that an airtight defense (which I believe is plainly what they’re talking about) of so long a border is not feasible. The answer would seem to be to take away the reason for the Palestinians being so hostile…which is something they cannot find a way to do, because it contradicts the entire plan of Israel from 1946 onwards.

  113. 113

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