Israeli Settlements

Once again, Israel has decided to thumb its nose, not only at its allies but at human decency.

What is wrong with these people? Where did their arrogance come from? How did they become so indifferent to basic morality? At the beginning of the year they bombarded their own concentration camp, Gaza, and ignored wordwide opprobrium. Now, they have announced their intention to continue with their policy of settlement. For settlement, read “theft”.

The Israeli government wil not stop until all Palestinian people have been dispossessed, and they seem entirely oblivious to the appalling irony of that stance. They seem to have forgotten their own history.

Here’s the ridiculous thing: most of these settlements are illegal (ref) under Israeli law, so what is any reasonable person to conclude? Could it be that Israeli law is entirely ignored by the Israeli government? Could it be that Israel is just as corrupt as the rest of us in spite of their loud claims to the high moral ground?


All Bock posts on Gaza HERE

220 thoughts on “Israeli Settlements

  1. I’ve been wondering what you thought about all that’s going on here in Israel (where I am). And I see just from the old post titles that you seem to side with the “Palestinians”. The whole thing is big, disturbing, and not simple. I used to think, being religious, that it’s our country, and they should all go somewhere else – to one of the many big and populous neighboring Arab/Muslim countries. But now that I’ve been questioning my religious convictions, I’m rethinking my opinion of this too. Benny Morris, the leading so called “New Zionist” historian, says that both sides are right and wrong. I really don’t know enough about it, and am more interested in the debate over religion right now, besides the fact that I don’t think I can do much about it. But I’m interested to hear what people think about it here.

    The bottom line is that if Israel doesn’t do something about the “refugee” problem and even more, allows the claimed displaced “Palestinians” to return, there won’t be much of a Jewish Israel left. We took all of our’s back – let the Arab countries take their’s back. And give our’s the money and wealth that they left there when they fled.

    Of course, as Christopher Hitchens often points out, this is just another one of those world hot spots where religious beliefs cause so much strife and bloodshed. It’s terrible. It’s hard to objectively see how God could favor any one side, as each side claims. One of my favorite atheist quotes:

    Christians think that the Jews and Muslims are wrong,
    Jews think that the Muslims and Christians are wrong,
    Muslims think that the Christians and Jews are wrong,
    And Atheists agree with all of them.

    Don’t remember where I saw it.

  2. There is little to be said beyond “settlements illegal under Israeli law” as Bock has stated.
    We have had convoluted discussions on the human,social,historical,geographical and religious sources of the conflict, but it invariably ends up in the same place.
    Why do the Israeli’s not enforce said law ?
    Because Someone1lovesu, whereas it is commendable that you question what is happening, your statement “our country” which you now wonder about, is so deeply entrenched in the Israeli phyche, which is a total lie and delusion, because it is not “your country” has been propagated with violence and oppression.
    It seems to me that said “laws” were put in place to appease the superpowers who fund the military might of the Israeli forces, and the endless excuses by the might of the IDF public relations spin will always and every time point the finger of blame toward their own right wing populas, and appear helpless in the face of it.
    The power and strength of a small country like Israel lies more with the diaspora and it’s geographical location than any religious values, but the persistent focus on religion is a brilliant tactic played out to a world audience who listen and look on with bleating sympathy for all sides.
    The Palestinians who have been robbed,beaten,bruised,killed,murdered,flogged and dehumanised into what might be mistaken for submission will always have the sympathy of fair and decent minded people.
    The Palestinians have endured this by a country who does’nt even have the capacity to stand up on it’s own, it’s one horrific delusion after another that they seek to continue their “cleansing”
    Let’s assume Israel is successful in ridding “it’s country” of every single Palestinian , do you actually believe there will ever be peace ? No chance, the Israeli government are not looking for peace they are looking for conflict, and if it not with Palestinians, be assured it will be elsewhere, because that is the course they have chartered for themselves.

  3. I like Bock’s short response more than Norma’s long one.

    Look, I won’t have time for a day or so to respond properly, if I can. Just a few of points.

    Israel is not alone responsible for the P’s oppression.

    The Arab world purposely perpetuates the problem in their quest to destroy Israel. There’s a lot they could do about it.

    I don’t know about the Settlement Law.

    Why can’t I call it “my country”?

    Israel is mostly a secular country, and tries to avoid appealing to religion.

    Everything you said about what is done to the P’s has been historically done also to the Jews. That doesn’t excuse anything, but you make it sound only one way.

    I don’t know where you live, Norma, but you probably don’t have the constant threat of anhilation from your neighbors like we do. You’d try to get help, too, if you were in our situation.

    The worst thing you said is that Israelis are looking for conflict, not peace. How can you say such a thing?

    I have to go. To be continued…

  4. He is off to say his prayers. God bless him. The use of “p” may be because his ancestors committed genocide on the Philistines? But it is all right they are the chosen of God. All other humanoid entity’s are on earth merely to serve them..

  5. Some1lovesu ; Why don’t you know about “settlement law” if you live in Israel and are questioning the policies of your government ?

  6. “I’ve been wondering what you thought about all that’s going on here in Israel “
    Somehow I doubt that he gives a shit about what the World thinks. As long as America keeps the gold coming then they can build the Warsaw Ghetto at will. But again they are Gods chosen

  7. Some1lovesu; “Israel is not alone responsible for P’s (Palestinians) oppression”
    Who else then ?
    “The Arab world perpetrates the problem”
    Some examples of the “Arab world” Iraq, egypt,Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia etc, I exclude Iran because they are not Arab, they voice their disapproval at the treatment of their brethern and neighbours, not acceptable no ?
    “Why can’t i call it my country”
    Well you can and you do, but the reality is that it is now two countries, Israel and Palestine, or is it Israel and and a Ghetto called Gaza and a large open air prison called The West Bank ?
    “Everything you said (me) has been done to the P’s (Palestinians) has been historically done to the Jew’s”
    So history taught you nothing ?
    “you probably don’t have the constant threat of annihiation from your neighbours”
    If I took my neighbours houses and lands, restricted their rights of movement, education their means to earn a livlihood, if I treated them with suspicion and tried to degrade their existence, and continued to believe i had some God given right to do that, then yes, i think i might well risk the threat of annihilation, would i expect anyone to help me ? aaammmm No i would’nt I might just have to face up to a situation I had created.
    “The worst thing you said is that the Israeli’s are looking for conflict not peace, how can you say such a thing ”
    Firstly I did not say ” The Israeli’s were looking for conflict” I said, please reread, ” The Israeli government are looking for conflict” big difference, how can i say that ? quite simple, The successive Israeli governments have historically proved that to be the case.
    I gave you the “short” version and I gave you the “long” version, and I can do longer, much longer.

  8. hmmm..I wonder how this argument is gonna change in the coming presidential years of Obama and his reluctance to automatically side with the Israeli state…With no big brother standing behind you in the schoolyard squabble things look a lot different..

  9. Hi again, everyone. I’m back to respond to the Israeli (me, us) bashing. Excuse the long post, but there’s a lot to respond to…

    Bock and Gary – I just called them P’s because I was in a big rush and didn’t want to type out the whole word. I figured everyone would understand what I meant.

    Norma – that’s also why I missed your saying Israeli govt instead of just Israelis, and maybe other hastily written things I said.

    As a general response to everyone who thinks they know what’s going on here and are being fair and objective, I suggest you read one or all of the “trilogy” from Alan Dershowitz:

    1. “The Case for Israel” – 2003
    2. “The Case Against Israel’s Enemies” – 2004
    3. “The Case For Peace” – 2008

    I have the first, and started reading it yesterday. He answers all of your perhaps valid concerns and blatant diatribes much better than I can. He is in favor, at least in The Case for Israel, of a Two-State Solution, meaning, giving the Palestinians a new state nearby (and actually, amidst) the current Israeli one. I don’t think I agree with that – seems to me like they already have one, which is called Jordan. It’s just that, understandably, the Jordanians don’t want them, as neither does anyone else, because they have historically demonstrated themselves to be subversive, even in a fellow Arab/Muslim country, and the Arab world is consciously perpetuating their plight as a means of destroying Israel. Even a lot of their so-called voicing “disapproval at the treatment of their brethern and neighbours” is lip service, and it is well known that they will both say one thing and mean another, and say one thing to their own and something else to the rest of the world (see MEMRI).

    The Palestinians themselves are partially responsible, or at least their leaders are. Arafat didn’t accept Ehud Barak’s extremely generous offer. I’ll quote Dershowitz on this, as an example of how he answers such charges.

    “Prime Minister Ehud Barak shocked the world by offering the Palestinians virtually everthing they had been demanding, including a state with a capital in Jerusalem, control over the Temple Mount, a return of approx. 95% of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip, and a $30 billion compensation package for the 1948 refugees. How could Yasser Arafat possibly reject that historic offer? Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, who was serving as an intermediary among the parties, urged Arafat to “take the deal”… Prince Bandar was later to characterize Arafat’s decision as “a crime against the Palestinians – in fact, against the entire region” He held Arafat personally responsible for all the ensuing deaths of Israelis and Palestinians (as did) Clinton, and most of those who had participated in the negotiations. Even many Europeans were furious at Arafat for walking away from this generous offer.” – (Case for Israel, pg 8)

    (I’m not saying that it was the right thing to do, or that it should be the basis of a new offer).

    Dershowitz refers the reader to Chapter 17 of the book. From the inside cover: “Drawing on scrupulous, unbiased research and his peerless skills as an advocate, Dershowitz conclusively refutes 32 seperate slurs, slanders, and misrepresentations that have been hurled at Israel in recent years.” See, for more,

    I’m not going to try to respond to all of your charges – not enough time, or knowledge. If you can do longer, much longer, than you must be well imformed about this – but apparently, only from one point of view. Read the book, or something similar first.

    Gary – I don’t agree with or claim responsibility for everything that my ancestors may or may not have done. And as I said, I’m questioning my religious convictions and opinions about things. And I didn’t say I cared what the world thinks, especially friendly people like yourself – I was directing that to Bock, whose opinions I usually agree with and respect – that’s why I take the little time I have to read and post here – since I found his post about Fritzl.

    Bock – being oppressed does not necessarily make one deserving of being sided with. An imprisoned convict is oppressed by having his freedom restricted – but he got himself into that situation. So, in a way, here.

    Norma – “Why don’t you know about “settlement law” if you live in Israel and are questioning the policies of your government ?” – Because my main research now is about the religious issues, not the political ones. There’s not enough time to do everything.

    Dazman – I also wonder, and it’s pretty frightening. Especially now that I don’t believe that God is on our side (or that there even is a God to be on our side) like I used to…

    Just for the record: I’m not going to responde to all attacks against me, Jews, Israel, etc. here, both because of lack of time and lack of ability. But any silence of mine does not imply acquiescence.

  10. The quote from Dershowitz is on page 8. Don’t know how the smiley got in there (although it was nice of it to lighten up the mood a little…) : )

  11. Found this searching “Israel ignore settlement law”:

    and particularly:

    which shows two maps of the original 1920 “two-state solution” – 77% of the original Jewish Homeland was taken back from the original mandate to become Trans-Jordan – Arab Palestine. The remaining 23% is basically what is known as Israel today.

    Is that not enough of a Palestinian State for them??? No – because they want it ALL, so no part is enough…

  12. Some Shalom perhaps you do not agree with the actions of your ancestors . Why then do you repeat them? The actions of the Israeli Government have been described by your big brother America as intolerable. Perhaps you and Israel should dwell on this and think for a while. It may be that big brother is not going to send you the toys to annihilate the Palestinians. My regards to Mossad . If you are not on their books you should be.

  13. I’m not as sure as you are about what my ancestors did, and anyway, what is happening to the other Palestinians is hardly genocide. But Iran and many other Arab/Muslim nations wouldn’t think twice to do it to us (you wouldn’t mind, would you?). I don’t know what particular actions America thinks are intolerable. Maybe they won’t send the toys. Mossad sends their regards back. Did you bother to look at those links, or the books? If you’re just going to keep bashing without listening, don’t expect responses from me.

  14. Some1lovesu ; I have responded at length in the past on this issue, so no repitition.
    All that remains for me to say is that , if you believe now or ever have believed a concept such as “God is on our side” then, I must revert to my original opinion that many of the populas of The State of Israel , who promote and believe this concept are seriously and dangerously deluded.
    T hink about it , whether or not you believe in “God” or follow any religious criteria, that concept simply holds no logic, neither, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually or in any manner of various traits that us mere mortals may manifest, it is quite simply a form of self perpetuating madness.
    Can I ask you , did “God ” hold the hand of the legislators of the “Settlement Law’s ” ? Because, according to your own values, if “God ” did not, then there are people who have signed on the dotted line who are responsible for implementing those law’s.
    I’m not attempting to criticise your personal journey of re-evaluating your outlook, but how can you hope to gain insight by focusing on one aspect, “The religious question” surely the whole picture is extremly complex and need’s to be looked at from all aspects ?

  15. This is in response to Bock, before Norma wrote her last post:

    Not when Gary charges us with “genocide against the Philistines” , “building the Warsaw Ghetto” and “annihilating the Palestinians”. That brings it way beyond settlement policy, and Iran is the one currently and blatantly threatening to do just that to us. And, again, many of the so called Arab “moderates” would do it too if they had the chance. There are probably more and more on both sides who are tired of all this and really want peace, but they are still an ineffective minority. The other elements already tried several times and lost. But it takes them to win just once, and it’s over… (for a list, see

    Expanding existing settlements and establishing new ones is one of the main ways “on the ground” to demonstrate and maintain our presence, and to make it that much harder for our enemies to carry out their genocidal intentions. Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe they will all of a sudden be nice to us if we give them everything they demand – I hope so, but I’m not counting on it.

    BTW, Dershowitz has chapters in A Case For Israel about many of the issues mentioned here so far:

    Ch. 10 – Has Israel’s Victimization of the Palestinians Been the Primary Cause of the Arab-Israeli Conflict?
    Ch. 12 – Did Israel Create the Refugee Problem?
    Ch. 14 – Was the Israeli Occupation withough Justification?
    Ch. 16 – Has Israel Made Serious Efforts at Peace?
    Ch. 19 – Does Israel Torture Palestinians?
    Ch. 20 – Has Israel Engaged in Genocide Against Palestinian Civilians?
    Ch. 26 – Is Settlement in the West Bank and Gaza a Major Barrier to Peace?
    Ch. 28 – Is Israel the Prime Human Rights Violator in the World?
    Ch. 31 – Are Critics of Israel Anti-Semitic?

    You can see the whole 32 chapter table of contents at:

  16. Norma – yes it is, and yes it does. But I think I need to concentrate right now on the religious question, which directly affects my life more, and about which I think I can do more.

    I did believe, when I believed in God, that God was on our side, as do I think all adherents of exclusivist religions do. You’re now bringing up this very question, which is much bigger and significant than the local conflict here, of belief in and knowledge about God. That’s really off the topic here, but that really IS the topic. I’m beginning to believe that such belief is, as you say, not logical, and is self perpetuating madness (or at least self delusion, ala Dawkins), but I’m not yet as sure as you are.

    Religious Jews do believe that “the hearts of the leaders are in the hands of God” – to do His will on a macro level. And that what is happening to us is basically reward or punishment for our adhering to or straying from the right path. Choseness is an obligation, not only being favored.

    But I’m still curious – are you as well versed in the other side as you seem to be on the prop-Pal side? Have you read or even have interest in reading anything I’ve mentioned here or other similar things?

    And thanks for being a little more friendly this time.

  17. Bock – I’m happy to post an excerpt or two from the book. Which chapter(s) would you like to see? (It is from 2003, but probably much is still applicable).

  18. I don’t want any excerpts from books. I repeat again: this post is not about Israel’s right to exist. It’s about the treatment of the Palestinians (and not the P’s or Pals as you insist on calling them, possibly in an attempt to dehumanise them).

  19. Gary – get a fucking life.

    Unstranger – Israel isn’t fucking off to anywhere.

    Bock: We are not obligated to side with who appears to be the weaker party. Its a stupid attitude and indicative of the Platonic morality pervading the world today. I think Israel has the greater case to our affections than its enemies. However, the majority of Israelis and myself want these settlers to go. They are an embarrassment. I saw some B’tselem videos recently (they being one of the few trustworthy NGOs working for the benefit of Palestinians) showing settlers starting fires in the West Bank in protest over plan to uproot illegal outposts. Someone should teach these guys a little Torah. Jews are commanded ‘not to destroy fruit trees’ (wantonly or in warfare) in Deut. 20:19-20. Scorching or devastating Eretz Israel is something enemies of the Jewish people do, and have done for centuries to make the land uninhabitable for Jews – Jews can never be permitted to engage in this activity. It is not befitting the sanctity of the land they supposedly try to protect. While it would pain any decent Jew to allow the West Bank, part of the historic Jewish homeland, to become Judenrein in the interests of peace, it is a sacrifice most are willing to make.

  20. Where did you notice me saying we’re obliged to side with the weaker party? I said we’re obliged to side with the oppressed.

    Please don’t misquote me.

  21. thesystemworks – thanks for joining in – I thought I was all alone. I wouldn’t have written to Gary and Unstranger that way, but I guess people are used to that here. I may respond to you later – spent a lot of time on this already.

    Bock – the “oppressed” are assumed to be the weaker party – otherwise, why would they let themselves be oppressed? It wasn’t a quote – it was a reasonable interpretation.

    About P-Pal – I already explained the P, and I just threw in the pro-Pal once at the end – I thought it was cute – I didn’t mean it to be derogatory. I even called them the “other Palestinians” once – because the Jews are also Palestinians in a way. A little P bothers you, but you didn’t say anything about the very big words “genocide, annihilation, cleansing” – maybe you agree with them, or are just waiting for me to counter. Or is this, I’m reluctant to suggest, another example of double standards applied to Israel/Jews?

    I admit my ignorance about much of this debate, and I’m learning as I’m going. Would you rather I paraphrase what I read? I think that it’s better to quote from the source. And excuse me for asking, but have you read anything I’ve mentioned here? Is it all right to post links? Are there any other readers out there who would like to join me in defense of Israel, or is everyone here against? (written before thesystemworks showed up – but more are welcome).

    Here is a link to a comment on Daniel Pipe’s website:

    The ‘Palestinian’ Oppression by ‘Palestinians’
    Reader comment on article: Islamic Law Rules In Iraq
    in response to reader comment: Oppression is inevitable.

    And I found this, searching “israel settlement law violating” at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website: Israeli Settlements and International Law, May 2001:

    If someone has a particular link or document they think I should read, I’m happy to look at it.

  22. I don’t think its as clear cut as that. Israelis live under the threat of violence and nuclear extermination daily. It is probably the only country whose right to exist is constantly under threat in the halls of the UN that created it. Israel is the target of human rights condemnations from UN Commissions headed by Libya, China et al. Israel is treated as the Jew among nations.

    An eye-opening thing happened to me a few days ago. I was selling satellite TV subscriptions door to door. The occupant in one place said he wouldn’t want to watch Sky News or Fox because of Murdoch and their politics. I said you can watch Fox for the entertainment value alone – rarely is their a bad episode of the O’ Reilly Factor. Then he tried to go on about the ‘Jewish Lobby’. I promptly left, and told him why. In his garden he started bellowing conspiracy theory shit at me. So I started arguing with him. He insisted he was not an anti-Semite of course (using the lame excuse that Palestinians are Semetic, and saying he was against Zionism). Started going on about how much of a leftie he was, also. Clearly has a warped view of the world and no moral compass. Did the usual Auschwitz comparison, though he could not explain to me why the Palestinian population is growing healthily.

    Also, he could not explain why the massive chunk of Ireland’s Protestant population that left Ireland in response to Irish nationalism were not classified as ‘displaced persons’ or there descendants as refugees. The moral obfuscation was a lot more evident when he said ‘collateral damage’ is the Israeli gas chamber. Ridiculous shit. Just confirmed to me that anti-Zionism (as opposed to mere criticism of Israel) is a new form of anti-semitism or Judeophobia and how the far-left have perfected it. He basically said all Jews had the same interests – but I shouted that neither Rupert Murdoch nor Bill O’ Reilly are Jewish, but Norman Finkelstein and Chomsky are, and how Jews don’t all share the same interests. Yet he insisted on using the term ‘Jewish lobby’ all the time.

    He could never acknowledged the presence of powerful lobby groups for Palestinians at UN level. Nor did he adequately reply to my point about how atrocities taking in the world were not being addressed due to blocs of dictatorships and police states getting together at UN level to put criticism of Israel on the agenda and cover up crimes in their own backyard. I didn’t have time to ask why he had such an obsession with Israel as opposed to other trouble spots, and why so many others like him are the same.

    This guy in Santry just highlighted the fine line between ‘anti-Zionism’ as opposed to anti-Semitism, if it exists at all at times. What makes the situation so terrible is that the guy was saying totally offensive things while having no idea they could be regarded as such to Jews. Its like Nazi propaganda saying anti-Semitism was enlightened as it was based on scientific racial grounds as opposed to out-dated religious hatred (I’ve seen articles from Nazi papers arguing this point). Society is fucked, there is just no room for Jews here.

  23. some1lovesU — It was not a reasonable interpretation — please don’t tell me what I meant.

    I covered genocide, annihiliation and cleansing in a number of posts on Bosnia and one on Auschwitz, which you’re free to look up at your leisure. Yet again, I remind you that this post is about none of those things, though I have often noticed that Israelis are quick to make such references when their treatment of the Palestinians is criticised. It’s a red herring and I’ll ask you one final time to stick to the point.

    I read the links you posted. They’re the usual aggressive shouting down of people who disagree with any Israeli policy.

    System — These powerful lobby groups you speak of are a big help to the people in the Gaza open prison.

    This is about a government’s policy, not a people’s religion. Please drop the anti-Semitism self pity. It’s getting boring.

  24. some1lovesU – I don’t normally like to address even scumbags like Gary in the way I just did. Yet recently I’ve learned that this seems to be the only language they understand. I offer a similar solution to Muslim kids beating up Jews in Paris and London: rough them up a little for once. A few cracked skulls on their part would shock them. Get some self-defense force on the streets.

    As for Bock, quite a way to ignore and not address a point. I’m saying whats happening out there and you just reply with: ‘boring!’

    I feel another recent strange incident is worth a mention. A few weeks back, outside the former synagogue on the South Circular Road, there was an advertisement for Jacob’s biscuits. Someone had painted ‘boycott Israel’ and ‘Israel company’ all over it. As far as I know, Jacobs was set up in Ireland by Quakers and has no connection to Israel. Bock, would you know anything about it? I feel it must have been the name ‘Jacobs’ that confused these idiots, as well as the fact it was in front of an ex-synagogue with Jewish designs still on the window. It is a mostly Muslim area anyway, the Islamic Federation of Ireland and Dublin’s second largest mosque is across the street.

  25. Have you failed to notice what this post is about? It’s not here as another opportunity for you to lecture the world on anti-Semitism. You did this sort of thing in the series of posts on Gaza, attempting to hijack the thread for your own agenda, and I won’t permit you to do it again. Stick to the point or your comments will not be published.

  26. “The “oppressed” are assumed to be the weaker party- otherwise why would they let themselves be oppressed”
    I have read some totally crazy shit in my time but that statement by Some1lovesu takes not just the “biscuit but the artic lorry load.
    What world do you inhabit that any part of your mind could “assume” a nation/population “let themselves be oppressed” ?
    Sticking to the facts, if there is any point after that.
    US Sec of State Hilary Clinton called for all jewish settlements to cease in West Bank, she stated ” No exceptions to President Obamas demand for Israels settlement work to cease.”
    First time in 10 yrs US has been this vocal in calling for settlement freeze in Palestinian territories.
    Mark Regev stated “The future of the settlements will be decided only when peace negotiations are held with Palestinian Authority, In the interim we have to allow normal life to continue”
    Sounds reasonable ? or does it ?
    What exactly is “normal life” and does that statement include settlers and Palestinians living in the West Bank ?
    Benjamin Netanyahu stated “No settlements would be built BUT natural growth in existing settlements would be allowed ”
    “Natural growth” wonder what that means ? could it possibly encompass the building of more houses , schools, work facilities, etc to accomadte adult children of settlers, maybe aunts, uncles, cousins, mothers, fathers, in-laws, friends and pals ?
    Should a Palestinian require “natural growth ” and in the extremly unlikely event they are granted a building permit, said permit will restrict their “natural growth ” to building upwards, never outwards.
    Why is that ?
    121 settlements West Bank and East Jerusalem.
    The Palestinian Authority says it has ruled out restoring peace talks unless Israel freezes settlement activity and removes roadblocks.
    The Israeli Gov won’t talk until The Palestinian Authority promise to “crack down” on militant activity.
    Bit of an impasse then ?
    The settlements are illegal under International Law.
    The 2003 US backed “Roadmap peace plan” stated “Israel is obliged to end ALL settlement activity, including and specifically natural growth ”
    Article 49 of 4th Geneva convention ” The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of it’s own population into territories it occupies ”
    Israel’s response to Art. 49 has been that the above statement refers to ” Wartime ” but stops very short at defining what constitutes “Wartime ” in Isrel.
    The more settlements are built, the less likely there will be a two state solution

  27. Norma: No ‘natural growth’ means strangling to death the thriving towns close to the 1949 armistice line, many of them suburbs of Jerusalem, that every negotiation over the past decade has envisioned Israel retaining (with adjustments giving land from Israel to Palestine in return). It means no increase in population. Which means no babies. Or if you have babies, no housing for them — not even within the existing town boundaries. No community can survive like that. The obvious objective is to undermine and destroy these towns even before negotiations.

    Resolution 242, which calls for Israel to cede territories captured in 1967 lays obligations on both Israel and its Arab neighbors. They must commit to peace, recognise Israel and stop terrorism before Israel will withdraw. That is why Egypt got the Sinai back – it followed these conditions, and Israel fulfilled its obligations. The Palestinians have simply never done this. They chose war in 1948 and 2000.

    I will re-iterate that most settlements should be uprooted, excluding areas like Gush Etzion which existed before 1948 but whose inhabitants were mostly slaughtered during the War of Independence – only for the survivors and their descendants to return after 1967. Gush Etzion is like the Israeli Alamo and no one would be willing to cede it. Natural growth has to be allowed in a place like that. Israel should be able to keep and grow those settlements close to the 1949 lines most likely to be kept within Israel in the event of the creation of a Palestinian state.

    The U.S. government has understood that any final peace treaty would involve Israel retaining some of the close-in settlements and compensating the Palestinians accordingly with land from within Israel itself.
    That was envisioned in the Clinton plan in the Camp David negotiations in 2000, and again at Taba in 2001. After all, why expel people from their homes and turn their towns to rubble when, instead, Arabs and Jews can stay in their homes if the 1949 armistice line is shifted slightly into the Palestinian side to capture the major close-in Jewish settlements, and then shifted into Israeli territory to capture Israeli land to give to the Palestinians? This idea is not only logical, not only accepted by both Democratic and Republican administrations for the past decade, but was agreed to in writing in the letters of understanding exchanged between Israel and the United States in 2004 — and subsequently overwhelmingly endorsed by a concurrent resolution of Congress.

  28. I do not know why I should bother to respond. However System I have a very full life thank you. I do lack a pair of Israeli Government/ illegal settler loving rose tinted glasses. Perhaps I could borrow yours? Having read Some 1 recommended sites one quote struck me “the Israeli acquisition of Arab land was defensive not offensive” Therefore if my neighbours dog barks I am at liberty to kick in his front door and take his house. Throwing the family out on the street. If they oppose me I am at liberty to kill them.
    The latest I.D.F. incursion, justified by rocket attacks, Resulted in many dead Palestinians. Some reportedly herded into a building and shelled. But the I.D.F. are only lads and boys will be boys! System it is about time you and the Israeli Government koped on. With some justification the World does hate what is happening in Israel. As far as I can establish the rockets were home made fireworks. The settlements are Illegal! Disband them now.
    The poor little me syndrome from Israel is wearing thin. WWII was a long time ago. Using it as an excuse for current behaviour is a bit much.

  29. As far as you can make out they were homemade fireworks! Well, I’d love to see if that would be the reaction of most Irish people if they came down on cities here. You expect Israel to play Russian roulette with its citizens lives, obviously. I recommend you find someone to fire the harmless firework that is the Qassam at your home. If Israel didn’t have early warning systems, bomb shelters and building regulations requiring safe rooms there would be a lot more casualties. Hamas unfortunately only builds bunkers for its own gangsters. Their military HQ during Cast Lead was right under the Al-Shifa hospital and everybody knows it.

    Of course, everything the Palestinians do is right, they have no real choice due to all that oppression. Their rockets are uniquely designed not to kill, I suppose. They throw their own political rivals off buildings, but who could blame them? They kill a Gazan journalists for saying that Hams rule has been terrible, but what of it? They are the innocent coloured fellows going up against the white man who built a successful state which doesn’t have unofficial armies running around all over. The country whose far-right and supposedly racist party, Israel Beiteinu has an Arab MK – a man who fought in the defense forces of the country that gives him more rights and a better life than any other regime would in the region.

    Gary, you have the understanding of an infant when it comes to this conflict.

  30. Postings crossed. Had I read the psychotic fascist rant of the thing calling itself “thesystemworks” I would not have bothered. Perhaps it should send the I.D.F on to the streets of Paris. As well as Gaza and the west bank. An Israeli Final Solution!

  31. System — That debate has been extensively covered in the Gaza series of postings and I don’t intend to re-run it. If you want to go into automatic rant mode, please do it on your own time and not here.

  32. Palestine is not a death camp,simple as that. I’ve heard enough comparisons of Israeli policy to Auschwitz, Treblinka and the Final Solution, and I’m sick of it.

    What I mean by a self-defense force is something equivalent to the Guardian Angels in NY. The Jewish community in England already has volunteers who assist the police in protecting Jews on the way to shul. They are a great deterrent to violence primarily from young Muslims.

    I heard an excellent debate at the Hist about Israel recently. One speaker, an Irish politician said he had seen the film ‘The Pianist’ recently. He spoke of the powerful scene where Adrien Brody is hiding and being given food by Polish sympathisers, after his family and most of the Jews of Warsaw have been killed. They console him with the words ‘they bombed Hamburg last night, it burned for three days’. That is their consolation. Now who, watching that scene he said, was not saying ‘good for Churchill, good on Bomber Harris’ men’. The speaker saw the current hatred displayed towards Israel as part of the great conversation in European thought between the followers of Plato and his morality and the school of Aristotle. Plato would say that the morality consists in the essential act – Hitler bombs London, thats bad. Churchill bombs Germany, thats equally bad as innocents die in both. This is not so in the superior Aristotelian tradition. The anti-Israel and anti-American argument is always a Platonic one.

    Aristotle, according to Ayn Rand (one of my greatest philosophical influences) is the cultural barometer of humanity. Today, we live in the dregs of Platonic morality. Israel and America are not terrorist states – it is a Platonic delusion to say so. It is a delusion to say that because America is who she is in the world, and because of what Israel is in the Middle East, they must naturally be evil. If Gaza is a death camp, the term means nothing anymore. If Zionism is Nazism, then Nazism means nothing anymore.

    And as for Gary, if you had read my posts then you would know I am opposed to the settlements in general. I think that policy has been a disaster. It is fine to criticise Israel on this issue. Yet your sarcastic take on the ‘chosen people’ and your hateful tone suggest to me that you have an underlying prejudice towards Israel’s very existence (and uprooting settlements will not get rid of this) or some anti-Jewish complex or at best an ignorance of many facets of Judaism and Jewish thought.

  33. Slow down, people! I’m already six comments behind… : )

    Bock (29) – if “weaker party” is not a reasonable interpretation of “oppressed”, and you (I assume) are calling the Palestinians the oppressed ones, then are you saying that they are the stronger party?

    Norma (32) – related to that – you’re really not understanding this properly – I’m sorry. I said “The “oppressed” are assumed to be the weaker party – otherwise why would they let themselves be oppressed”. “Otherwise” – meaning that the oppressed would be the STRONGER party – why would they – the stronger – let themselves be oppressed by the weaker? I wasn’t referring to the Palestinian here. But in another place, I did imply that they, being the actually weaker party, are letting themselves, or are being forced to remain oppressed, and not necessarily by the Jewish “oppressor”, who has made attempts to end or greatly lessen their situation – like, for instance, Barak’s offer to Arafat. But you confused these two ideas, and it’s not the “totally crazy shit” you make it out to be.

    Bock (29) – “Israelis are quick to make such references (to genocide,annihilation and cleansing) when their treatment of the Palestinians is criticised. It’s a red herring and I’ll ask you one final time to stick to the point.” That’s very funny – I was only responding to Gary who mentioned Jew-perpetuated “genocide” in comment #6, and Norma who mentioned “annihilation” in #10 and “cleansing” in #3! Tell THEM to stick to the point – I have a right to defend if they bring it up (or don’t I? Double standard…).

    Also, thesystemworks is reintroducing anti-Semitism into the conversation, because people who claim to be objectively siding with the Palestinian often look suspiciously like it’s really a cover for deep (and not so deep) down anti-Semitism. Thomas Friedman of the NYTimes: “Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction – out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East – is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest.” (Case for Israel, 209). You seem to be pretty selective as to which points are OK and which ones are not here – in favor of your position.

    Norma – because Clinton demands settlement cessation, Israel has to listen? Dazman (#11) and Gary (#16) criticize us for treating America like a Big Brother. But the aid we get from them doesn’t mean that we have to what they say against our own perceived best interest. They also do what they do for their own interests.

    Yes – bit of an impasse. So Israel should give in?

    Settlements are illegal – under which international law, or which Israeli law (Bock)? The Roadmap is not law – it’s a map, a plan – which Israel does agree to, but maybe interprets differently. I don’t know about that one – thesystemworks answered that.

    Bock – “the usual aggressive shouting down of people who disagree with any Israeli policy” – the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs link wasn’t like that. “Disagree” doesn’t equal “aggressive shouting down”. But anyone pro-Palestinian can aggressively shout down (or condone terrorism), because they are speaking for the oppressed…

    “This is about a government’s policy, not a people’s religion”. That’s sort of true – except that Muslims use Islam to justify demanding all of Israel, and using the oppressed Palestinians to achieve that aim.

    Thesystemworks – just curious – what do you think of the Jordan is Arab Palestine/transfer position? Invalid? Valid but impractical? That’s always seemed to be the right thing to me. You said (30) “get some self defense force on the streets.” That’s what Meir Kahane did with the JDL in New York, and Kach. It does seem to have worked. There unfortuately sometimes comes a time when talking is not enough.

    BTW, can I call you TSW or system? It’s hard enough to have to write out “Palestinian” every time…

    Bock – I’ll try to look at some of the other posts, but I think I have to take a little break.

  34. System ; I beg to differ on your historical facts.
    Gush Etzion, did not in fact exist prior to 1948, several attempts were made by ultra orthodox Jews to settle in that area from 1927, however none of the 4 communities succeded, That entire area you refer to was under Jodanian rule from 1948 to 1967.
    After Israel gained control of the West Bank in 1967, Kfar Etzion became Israels first settlement, these settlers were descendents of people who had fought and died there since 1927.
    The settlement was justified on the arguement that they had the “right to return ” to land they had been violently uprooted from 19 years earlier, it was the rationale of Israel to grant this right, while denying any similiar rights to Arab civilians who had fled or been expelled during the same war.
    Kfar Etzion set a precedent for the steelers favourite and successful tactic, establish facts on the ground first, then seek Government approval.
    There is a new road, the Liebermann rd , more a highway in this area connecting it to Jerusalem, its construction required further confiscation of Palestinian land, while there are a small number of access points to this road for Palestinians, this access is so often denied and heavily restricted that it makes routine use impossible for Palestinians, even if they gain access, most Palestinians do not have permits to travel to Jerusalem.
    Gush Etzion is the fastest growing settlement in Israel, and it’s proximity, aided by the new road has made property there very valueable.
    Anyone can research the illegal outposts there, the “proto settlements” which are in existence without Government approval but with Government assistance.
    The settlements and extensions thereof are very strategic in their planning in isolatiing Palestinian villages from each other and the settlements, and placing them conveniantly on the wrong side of the security barrier.
    Since when does a “baby” need a house ? surely families need a house, and if you don’t own the land next door to your parents, then find somewhere else, as the rest of the world do.

  35. some1lovesU: TSW, system, anything recognisable like that is fine. JDL is indeed a model I had in mind. As Kahane said: ‘For every Jew a .22!’

    As for the Jordanian option, I’ve always seen it as the way to go in a perfect world. They are mostly Palestinian over there anyway. I can’t see how it will happen though. However, I like the idea that perhaps Jordan and Palestine could join up in a kind of federation, with Palestinians in the West Bank being allowed to take up military service in Jordan to compensate for the fact the area will likely be demilitarised for some time after the creation of a Palestinian state. The last king of Jordan always looked greedily at obtaining the West Bank again, I bet his son could fulfill that desire this way. Jordan is big enough to take in Palestinian refugees all over the region. Also, this way, more settlements could be kept which would lead to a better security situation, and would spare Israel the pain of evicting so many families from their historic and spiritual homeland. The Jordanian/Palestine federation could prove to be the model for a greater Arab Union
    in the region, based on cultural ties and the interests of peace rather than just oil alone like OPEC is.

    As for the articles here dealing with Bosnia, Darfur and the like, don’t hold your breath. There are far less of them than ones on Israel, as you would expect these days. I mean, more Tamils were killed in one weekend of the recent fighting than there were Palestinians killed during Cast Lead – where is the outcry? Everybody just seems to be glad the Tigers are gone.

  36. Gary (34) – the Arabs did just a little more than bark. Virtually every time the govt wants to destroy a terrorist’s house, there’s a big discussion about it for a while before it’s actually done (and sometimes not done). This happened, I recall, for one of the several recent “tractor terrorists”, whose house was eventually destroyed. I was waiting at a bus stop on a main road this morning. I saw a tractor come slowly down the highway – why should I have to be afraid that he’s going to suddenly turn on me?

    “Some reportedly herded into a building and shelled.” Talking about the UN school bombing? Good thing you added “reportedly” – the report seems to have been a little off. And sometimes, it’s Hamas who does the herding of their own – to make the damage look worse. Or they’ll kill a few bothersome Fatah guys, and get them included in the Israel victim statistic.

    System (35) – “I recommend you find someone to fire the harmless firework that is the Qassam at your home. If Israel didn’t have early warning systems, bomb shelters and building regulations requiring safe rooms there would be a lot more casualties”. I can’t forget the story of an Israeli who left the bomb shelter to get some bread and milk, and had his head blown off by a qassam – in front of his horrified wife, I think.

    Right on with a lot of what you say. Glad somebody’s saying it.

    What, if I may ask, is the significance of your name?

    Bock (37) – I’m getting the feeling that, just like a lot of the world doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist, you’re not letting system exist in this post. You’re always telling him not to say some thing or another here, while letting the rest of the dogs keep barking…

  37. some1lovesyou –Don’t play word games with me, kid. I’m telling you what this post is about, not asking you.

    System — I write what I choose to, and I don’t intend to satisfy anyone’s demands for equal coverage. They’re spurious, and simply a way of distracting attention from what Israel has done.

    Your automatic programmed accusations fascinate me. You’d make a great Scientologist.

  38. Norma: you are completely off on your facts. Gush Etzion had not ‘failed’ before 1948. Arab violence (before there was any settlements, occupation, or even a Jewish state) against Jews led many to give up in the 1920s and 30s, but there was an established and successful community in the 1940s who were driven out or killed by the Jordanians.

    Also, Gush Etzion was not founded by Haredim.

    The place is just never going to be disbanded, its status is ‘safe’ in the light that all negotiations so far have assumed Israel retaining it.

  39. Bock – Your site – you do what you want. And thanks, but how did I all of a sudden become a kid? What about Gary’s automatic programmed accusations? That automatic is OK. Your site…

    If, in 50 years, Muslims outnumber native English people, can they then democratically vote in Sharia Law? If not for Jewish immigrants and religious, the “native-born” Palestinians, not to mention the millions waiting to excercise their “right” of return, would overrun Israel just like that. But, that’s just how Israel crumbles – oh well. Have to keep the Jewish state Jewish somehow. We took back the Jews – Arab countries aren’t so generous – and Israeli Palestinian Arabs are smart enough not to want to go.

    What do you think about Israel for Palestinian Jews and Jordan for Palestinian Arabs option?

  40. I prefer not to think of nation-states at all. Nationalism of all forms has brought the world nothing but misery. However, are you suggesting that the Palestinians are not native-born of the land you call your country?

    Regardless of religion, it seems only right to me that an honest man should be safe from eviction. Do you see anything wrong with that?

  41. System

    “would spare Israel the pain of evicting so many families from their historic and spiritual homeland” Entity you need psychological help.

  42. Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace…

    John Lennon

    Probably better if there weren’t nations or religions. I’d also prefer not to think about them. But now, everyone wants to add another (Palestinian) one – so what are we to do?

    I’m not suggesting that they aren’t native-born – just that that doesn’t give them automatic rights to be here, if they can go somewhere else, and have it be better for us, and hopefully, them too. I know it doesn’t sound very nice, but it might come down to us or them. And not necessarily all of them, and hopefully not by force. But like system said, it’s not too practical right now. But will there be anything left for it to be practical later? They might be native born here, but belong in the existing Palestinian State…

    An honest man should be safe from eviction – seems like it to me, too. It’s a hard call. And who’s honest? Or innocent? Or not a pawn for someone elses machinations? It’s a hard call.

  43. This is fast becoming the “some1lovessystem” mutual admiration society.
    All talk of “native born does not give them auromatic rights”
    “They are mostly Palestinian over there anyway”
    This is so beyond disgusting, smacks way too heavily of ethnic cleansing and blatant racism for this very enjoyable site.
    I was not inaccurate with regard the origins of Gush Etzion, but responding with either of you makes the world look too bleak and disgusting for me.

  44. I’m not suggesting that they aren’t native-born – just that that doesn’t give them automatic rights to be here, if they can go somewhere else, and have it be better for us

    That says it all.

  45. But you are wrong, Norma. There was a community there before 1948 and its defenders were killed after surrendering by the Arabs. And the place was not founded by Haredim. Its residents are not primarily Haredi.

    I could easily say the same thing about the ‘pro-Palestinian’ (or more accurately, anti-Israel) folk here concerning mutual agreement. On any topic like this there is a slew of ‘automatically generated’ responses that mention the usual holocaust exploitation, evil alliances with America and how Jews went from victim to aggressor and all sorts of baloney. There are only a handful ever prepared to challenge the consensus here – how many Jews are likely to be reading or arguing in an Irish website like this?

  46. System — Let me get this straight. The Palestinians arrived from Europe and tried to evict the Israelis who had been living there for hundreds of years. Is that correct?

  47. Jews were driven out of their land by the Romans thousands of years ago, which was raped, pillaged, settled, colonised and planted by several empires who planted it with their own people. A Jewish community always held out in some form, though mostly in the minority and lacking political control. The Jewish community in exile had one third of its population killed on two occasions – during the Second World War and centuries earlier by the Cossacks.

    In came the modern national liberation movement of the Jewish people to finally liberate the Jews from this unfair condition. Yet first, they built cities like Tel Aviv, irrigated a devastated land and made the place inhabitable again for millions. The institutions of a state were formed – courts, schools and even a large paramilitary force. The Jewish community before the state was founded (the Yishuv) was practically autonomous. The governments of the world all claimed to support the reconstitution of the Jewish state – Americans, British French and the League of Nations in 1922. Then the United Nations decided to finally act, partitioning the land between the local Arab population who supported the Third Reich during the recent war and whose leader took part in genocide in the Balkans and gave active support to the Nazis. The Arab countries went to war to prevent this happening.

    Thats a short account of it, Bock.

  48. Well, Ireland was under the British Crown for 800 years or so – what gives Irish people the right to take back the land for themselves after all that time? Do you think there is some kind of limitation period on when people can reclaim their country? I mean, most ethnically Irish people are happily living in North America anyway – so why does there need to be an Irish state whose Constitution claims to represent exiled members of the Irish Nation?

    As for Jews displacing the local Arabs: I say that many Protestants in the south of Ireland (about one third of the Protestant population, in fact) went to the new state of Northern Ireland or to Britain when the Home Rule movement and the fight for Irish independence gained momentum, just like the way many Arabs left Israel during the War of Independence. Those Arabs left in the hope the new state of Israel would be defeated, and even joined the Arab armies. They did not want to live peacefully with Jews, they wanted to drive them into the sea.

    Like southern unionists who saw Irish nationalism as racist and anti-protestant, the Arabs did not forsee co-operation with the Jews in the future. Yet we never hearof these unionists being ‘displaced’ by the consequences of the War of Independence or Irish nationalism.

  49. Norma (51) – “This is fast becoming the “some1lovessystem” mutual admiration society”. Well hey – us oppressed minorities have to stick together…

    You’re all such suffering bearers of truth, that whenever anyone says something that you don’t like, whether it’s true or not or disputed, then you go off into a rage like a little child, and the world is all of a sudden becomes bleak and disgusting.

    Bock (52) – “That says it all” – well, you didn’t finish my quote, where I qualified that statement. But anyway, yes, that basically does say it all. Israel was established as a JEWISH state for JEWS to have a place to finally go and have their own nation, after it’s not necessary to describe again historically what happened to us. Part of that establishment was to give the Palestinian Arabs their own place to go, which they were given – Trans Jordan – 77% of what was originally set aside for us (not like they didn’t have any friendly neighbors and relatives to take them in and share the oil with). And we agreed – for the sake of peace. (We’ve agreed to a lot for the sake of peace.) But they didn’t, and haven’t since.

    It was a mutual transfer – Jews leaving/driven out of their Arab previous homelands, and the Arabs also leaving/being driven out of theirs. You (Norma) want to call that “ethic cleansing”? Call it what you want. I call it “maintaining the rightful Jewish character of the UN sanctioned Jewish State”. I know that sounds bleak and disgusting – sorry. Unfortunately, as the two of us sheep among you wolves have already admitted, that policy is not that practical to continue. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not the preferred one.

    Bock (54) – “The Palestinians arrived from Europe and tried to evict the Israelis who had been living there for hundreds of years”. That’s a very interesting word “usage” (don’t want to call it a word “game”). Palestine was the name imposed on the area by the Romans who adapted it from the name of the original inhabitants the Philistines, to purposely weaken the connection of the area for the Jews. But now that everyone does call it Palestine, then we are Palestinian Jews as much as the local Arabs are Palestinian Arabs. Maybe even more so – their actual connection to their namesake is disputable. But the Jews who arrived from Europe surely wouldn’t call themselves Palestinians before they came – they were Jews coming home.

    But even more gamey of you is to call the local Arabs “Israelis”! They didn’t and still don’t call it Israel, Israel is the Jewish name of our Biblical forefather Israel/Jaqob (who they don’t recognize as their forefather like they do Abraham as Ishmael’s father, if that’s even true), and Israel is not even on their map of the area, as well as several other world maps/globes I’ve seen.

    Freedom fighter, militant or terrorist … oppressor, aggressor or defender … evict, cleanse, transfer … Palestinian or Israeli? The description shows the describer’s outlook, valid or not – usually, at least, disputable.

    Thanks for letting us share our warped outlook on your very enjoyable site.

  50. Just found this about the name “Palestine” – capitals mine for emphasis – from

    The name Palestine refers to a region of the eastern Mediterranean coast from the sea to the Jordan valley and from the southern Negev desert to the Galilee lake region in the north. The word itself derives from “Plesheth”, a name that appears frequently in the Bible and has come into English as “Philistine”. Plesheth, (root palash) was a general term meaning rolling or migratory. This referred to the Philistine’s invasion and conquest of the coast from the sea. The Philistines were NOT ARABS nor even Semites, they were most closely related to the Greeks originating from Asia Minor and Greek localities. They did not speak Arabic. They had NO CONNECTION, ethnic, linguistic or historical with Arabia or Arabs.

    The Philistines reached the southern coast of Israel in several waves. One group arrived in the pre-patriarchal period and settled south of Beersheba in Gerar where they came into conflict with Abraham, Isaac and ISHMAEL. Another group, coming from Crete after being repulsed from an attempted invasion of Egypt by Rameses III in 1194 BCE, seized the southern coastal area, where they founded five settlements (Gaza, Ascalon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gat). In the Persian and Greek periods, foreign settlers – chiefly from the Mediterranean islands – overran the Philistine districts.

    From the fifth century BC, following the historian Herodotus, Greeks called the eastern coast of the Mediterranean “the Philistine Syria” using the Greek language form of the name. In AD 135, after putting down the Bar Kochba revolt, the second major Jewish revolt against Rome, the Emperor Hadrian wanted to BLOT OUT the name of the Roman “Provincia JUDAEA” and so renamed it “Provincia Syria Palaestina”, the Latin version of the Greek name and the first use of the name as an administrative unit. The name “Provincia Syria Palaestina” was later shortened to Palaestina, from which the modern, anglicized “Palestine” is derived.”

    So it’s more than a little inappropriate to call the modern Arabs Palestinians, or even the area Palestine, since it has been restored to it’s original Jewish style name, and Jewish inhabitants.

  51. Judaea (and Samaria), those horrific settler occupation names, are the real, original names – not Palestine. We are returning Judaeans (from Judah/Yehudah, 4th son of Israel/Yisrael, the source of the name Jew) – the local Arabs are not even the historic Palestinians! How ’bout that?

  52. I didn’t say the Palestinians arrived from Europe. I said IF the Palestinians arrived from Europe.

    What indisputably did arrive from Europe was a mighty interesting bunch of Russian skinheads who are accorded more rights than the local Palestinians.

    Anyway, for the hundredth time, this is not a discussion about Israel’s right to exist, but as I already pointed out, that maters little to the Israelis who come on this site.

    You’re pre-programmed to make the same points no matter what the subject is, with a view to silencing or shouting down any questions about your actions.

    I will remind you once again: this is about settlements only.

  53. some1lovesu ; There was no rage on my behalf, just the disgust i mentioned and the exercise of my right to feel appalled at the ideology expressed by you and system.
    If I wanted a history lesson, i would look somewhere more appropriate.
    Your initial request here, was of someone seeking to know how “others” saw the situation in Israel/Palestine, fair enough ?
    Whereas this thread is about “illegal settlers” I just found that you and system seem to have constantly diverted from that subject, and provided very little actual interesting or concrete information regarding topic.
    It would be flippant of me to say I find you both extremly boring, given that you both seem to support the further displacement of an entire population, and out of respect for them, I choose to be disgusted rather than bored.
    The constant referral to History, is merely a tactic of manipulation used forcibly to justify narrow inhumane beliefs, History becomes irrelevant when people such as you and system refuse to acknowledge the human suffering that is now, We can’t alter the past but we can effect change for the future and it’s that simple.
    As with all people who subscribe to religious beliefs, their expression of disdain for their fellow man makes liars of them and discredits their own belief system.

  54. Bock (54) – “System — Let me get this straight. The Palestinians arrived from Europe and tried to evict the Israelis who had been living there for hundreds of years. Is that correct?” Direct, complete quote from my current version of your post. I don’t see the word IF there.

    (61) – If you’re talking about the Russian Jews that came, then, again, maybe Jews should have more rights than the local Arabs. As it is, Israeli Arabs have way more rights than Arabs in most other progressive Arab countries around. But you expect that there – you just expect more from us, right?

    If you’re talking about the real skinheads, i.e. Russian non-Jews who came along to get out (not that the distinction is as clear cut as their heads), and who are causing a lot of problems here with conversions, then their rights for now are like any new immigrant I think. They are not generally suspected of being subversive, like Israeli Arabs often are (I said often, not always, not all of them). Many recent terrorist attacks were done or aided by Israeli ID card carrying Arabs.

    It’s not so simple as to say “this is about settlements only”. minimizing settlement can directly contribute to threatening Israel’s existence. That’s like saying “this is about the right of return for Arab refugees only”, or “this is about Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy only”. And if you purposely confuse the Arabs for the Israelis and the European Jews for the Palestinians, then I wonder what kind of Israel you really think exists or want to have exist.

    And I don’t think I’m just unnecessarily belaboring the right-to-exist issue – I’m mostly just responding to what pro-Israeli Arab writers have to say here, about which you don’t seem to have much problem with. Do you agree with system’s counter-charge to them (53) about also using pre-programmed points? Or is it PPP’s that you just don’t agree with (P being used inoffensively here, too)?

  55. That’s because your sense of irony is either switched off or never existed in the first place.
    I’m asking you if it would be all right for Palestinians to arrive from Europe and displace the local Jews. After all, the same arguments would apply.

    I’m not asking you what this post is about. I’m telling you.

    This post is about settlements.

    How hard is that for you to understand?

  56. Norma – you have the right to express being appalled at a disagreeable ideology. And we can both provide our understandings of history. History is important for the present, if historical realities need to be maintained, or ill-gotten ones corrected. You can’t just generally say “here we are – let’s go from where we are now!” We don’t deny the human suffering, but differ with you on what to do about it.

    Like I said, my current opinions are based much less on religious beliefs than previously. And, I hope readers here don’t think that I represent a generic “Israeli” position either – this is my position, which only I take responsibility for. I am a Jew with an Israeli family living in Israeli, so that does necessarily affect my opinions on things. But the debate rages here also as to what to do. I mentioned in my first comment about Benny Morris, one of the “New Zionist” historians who is trying to be more objective and critical equally of both sides.

    I agree that religion and other differences promote disdain and worse against those who are different, and I don’t like it either. Israel does try to do a lot to alleviate suffering as much as they can while taking their own security into account. There’s more to this issue than the simple and regrettable suffering you only take into account.

    I think we just disagree, and both feel justified in our respective positions.

  57. Some people look for the complicated route, while others seek to simplify.
    I would be of the simplify section.
    Rosa Parks in 1955 stood at the front of a bus and said “I will not go to the back of the bus”
    That “simple ” gesture of outstanding bravery changed the world.
    If you want peace in your life you will find exactly that.
    How can the world make any sense of the practice of “I see it I want I will take it ” that in most societies is called crime.

  58. Listen, Bock – I don’t want to be petty, but you said you said “if” (61), and you didn’t (54). You expect me to know when you mean what you say and when you don’t. My sense of irony is fine.

    The same arguments do NOT apply. This is a Jewish state that allows others to live here also, but not if it threatens the state’s Jewish character. Oops – I’m sorry – you made me talk about something besides settlements again…

    Your limiting this to settlements is an unfair limitation to one aspect of a much more complex problem. Nevertheless, being that it’s your siteI promise to try to talk only about settlements from now on, unless I’m responding to someone else who brings up something else. Let’s see how long I can do that. And if I feel like I need to bring up something else, I’ll ask first.

    BTW, you still haven’t shown me the Israeli Settlement Law that it seems like you think forbids any type of settlements. Why don’t we start again there?

    Can we also talk about oppression?

    Norma – I would like to respond, but what does that have to do with settlements?

  59. I find it funny how Norma believes the accurate phrase I uttered about Jordan : ”They are mostly Palestinian over there anyway” was ”so beyond disgusting, smacks way too heavily of ethnic cleansing and blatant racism for this very enjoyable site.”

    Meanwhile, Gary’s false assumption about Jews in general: ”it is all right they are the chosen of God. All other humanoid entity’s are on earth merely to serve them” goes unchallenged by the bleeding-hearts.

    And Norma also can’t admit she was a bit awry in her ‘facts’ about Gush Etzion.

  60. “Don’t confuse me with the facts.”

    General Jews do try VERY hard to remove the choseness stigma from themselves. As they should, because they either don’t believe that God chose them, or don’t believe in a God who would.

  61. Questioning the legitimacy of the state of Israel by the western liberal intelligentsia is lending an intellectual raison detre to the campaign of murder and terror by Islamic fundamentalist against their Jewish neighbours.
    We are fully aware of this hissing of spent lies in the Republic of Ireland. For decades the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), minus a mandate from the living and adopting one from the dead (In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom, etc etc) were going around singing, north men, south men comrades all, Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Donegal.However, the one million Protestants residing in six of the nine counties of Ulster didn’t subscribe to that tune, Indeed, the one million Protestants let it be known quite vociferously that if there was an attempt to subsume them into a United Ireland that they would resist by force of arms. But still the PIRA, aided an abetted by our tacit approval and ambiguity to their vile campaigns of terror and murder, persisted with their nationalistic ideology, edging us closer and closer to a civil war and a bloodbath. Fortunately, sense, to paraphrase Yeats, came dropping slow, thanks in the main to brave men like Conor Cruise O’Brien, who almost single handedly intellectually decommissioned the IRA and their fellow travelers here in south and the Irish media. Likewise, with Israel and the west. A pan Arab front which stretches from Damascus to the letters pages of the Irish Times also likes to hum,north men, south men comrades all etc etc. But six million Jews don’t subscribe to that song either. They will also resist by force of arms. Six million I may add that are backed by the IDF and IAF and a lethal nuclear arsenal. The number six million is almost ominously symbolic in this context. Does anyone in their right minds assume that the Jews will allow themselves to be dragged to the edge of extinction again? But still we persist in questioning Israel’s legitimacy, thus by definition backing the irredentist claims of every fundamentalist crackpot in the ME. What does the west assume will happen if Hamas or Hezbollah or their sponsors Iran have their way. Maybe the above will offer six million Jews the price of a flight to New York and a down payment on the price of an apartment in Greenwich Village. Then again, maybe Hamilton Academicals will win the Champions League,beating Real Madrid 4-1 after extra time in the final What will happen folks is that the above – as they have vowed to do – will try to wipe out the Jews and the Jews will respond by offloading their vast nuclear arsenal, mainly in the direction of Teheran and Damascus – a reaction, which given the vested commercial interest in the ME, will precipitate WW3.Three times in the last 70 years the Arabs were offered a two state solution to the Palestinian/Israel conflict. But three times they rejected same. Many have questioned why. It is my theory that the Arabs rejected same because they don’t want a two state solution. They want a one state solution. This state would be called Palestine, its capitol would be Tel Aviv and all the Jews would have “vanished”It is way past time any brokers for peace in the ME started facing reality in regards to this conflict. The truth is the Arabs don’t like Jews, the hate them in fact – and the sentiments are reciprocatedMaybe in order for progress to be made in that region, both sides, as they used say in relation to Northern Ireland, will have to be equally disappointed.

  62. My last post on this topic. I am of the opinion that there is no point in writing to two brick walls. One at least open to argument and one bordering on Paranoid .

    The settlements are like cancer . If left in place they shall grow to a point they shall meet up. This to the exclusion of the Palestine that once was.

    The idea of moving of all Palestinians to the West Bank and then ceding it to Kingdom of Jordan is utter foolery . This would result in the destruction of Israel.

    I joked in a previous post about Mossad . Now I wonder? Or perhaps Shin Bet?

  63. Abdul — Would you mind telling me what that has to do with the subject of this post, which is Israeli settlement policy?

    If the comments on this post continue to go off topic, I will close the comments.

    This site is not a vehicle for propaganda.

  64. I was asked about the legal status of settlements.

    The Sasson report, can be obtained from the Prime Minister of Israel’s Communications Office. Here are some extracts.

    The local law requires the fulfillment of a number of basic conditions before establishing a settlement in the Judea, Samaria and Gaza territories.

    First, the decision to establish a settlement must be made by the authoritative political echelon.

    The establishment of an Israeli settlement in the Judea, Samaria and Gaza territories requires additional considerations, including international and national policy and security considerations. The authoritative political echelon is the only one qualified to consider such considerations, and the only one who bares responsibility for such a decision

    The Second Condition concerns the interests (title) in the land to be settled.. After the High Court of Justice ruling in the case of Elon More, a 1979 Israeli government resolution states that Israeli settlements shall be established only on State land.

    The Third Condition is that a settlement shall be established only according to a lawful designed building scheme. This means that a settlement in the Judea, Samaria and Gaza territories may be established only according to a detailed scheme, which has the power to produce a building permit. It must be clarified that according to the law in force in the territories, the approval of the political echelon is needed not only for establishing a settlement, but also in some of the steps in the plan approval. Meaning – as long as there is no approval for the plan for the settlement, or a part thereof – there is no political echelon approval for its establishment.

    The Fourth Condition is that the bounds of jurisdiction of such a settlement was determined in an order by the Commander of the area. The Commander of the area may determine the bounds of jurisdiction only after receiving the approval of the political echelon.
    These four conditions are accumulative. The lack of fulfillment of one of them makes the settlement illegitimate.

    Furthermore, the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that compliance with Art 43 of the Hague IV Convention is a mandatory for building projects on state lands in Judea and Samaria.

    Article 43: The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.

    The settlements in the West Bank are in breach of the Hague Convention and the Geneva Conventions, and are therefore contrary to Israeli law. They breach the Hague convention which forbids an occupying power from making permanent changes, except for the purpose of strict military needs. Rehousing non-military personnel is not a military imperative. They violate the Geneva Convention which forbids an occupying power from planting an occupied territory with its own citizens.

    Since the Supreme Court has also decided that these fundamental rules of international law are an integral part of Israel’s legal system, by definition, such settlements are illegal under Israeli law.

  65. Bock – thanks for the source. You could have saved yourself some off topic aggravation by posting this when I asked back in comment #40.

    What you brought at least does look like it supports your position about the illegality of settlements, although not necessarily all of them. (Gary – if you’re still there – I don’t know which brick wall I am, but you see, I am open to argument – if it’s a good one).

    In a first attempt to know what to say about this, I found the talk page of the long Wikipedia article on Israeli settlement. Most of the talk page seems to support you, too. I didn’t get through the whole article itself, but it also seems to support what you’re saying, although it does say that “Israel, the Anti-Defamation League, and other legal scholars disagree with this assessment”. I have to see what they say. For now, I’m not prepared to respond – maybe thesystemworks or Abdul can.

    Reviewing this discussion, I have to appologize for not sticking to the settlement issue, although I didn’t know that the boundaries were so strict, and then I was responding to others. Other people – especially Norma – were actually sticking the topic more or less. I just thought that everthing was related enough to be included in the discussion.

    Maybe someone should reactivate one of the old posts, or you can start a new one, where we can talk about other issues – like those discussed here already – besides settlements.

  66. It’s important to keep the topic focussed. I have noticed, however, that posts about Israel or Palestine are always swamped by people who want to push their own agendas.

    I would encourage you to read more on this and also to refer to the B’Tselem site. While you might not like them, you will at least find factual material there.

    You can also find a great deal of factual material on the Haaretz site.

  67. Thanks. I don’t think I would have a reason not to like them, if what they’re saying is right (unless they don’t say it in a nice way. No reason that Truth cannot also be Nice). If I can question my long held religious beliefs, then questioning my opinion about settlements is a peace (sic) of cake…

  68. I looked briefly at their site. Looks good – just a little too much emphasis on the Occupied Territories I thought.

    They also have their critics, such as But I guess that they’ve decided to also “side with the oppressed”, as they understand it.

  69. Bock: “B’Tselem are serious people”.

    You must be joking!! They are systematic liars with a one-sided agenda. Read ” Bending the truth:
    Human rights group B’Tselem’s statistics are far from being trustworthy”,7340,L-3601691,00.html

    As for Haaretz, it is a leftwing rag. Much more reliable is Ynet News or The Jerusalem Post.

    As for the legality of settlements, a final border has never been established. The “Green Line” is not a border and was never intended to be one. Following the Six-Day War, Israel offered the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) back to the Arabs in exchange for peace. The Arab League met in Khartoum and decided on “The Three No’s”: No negotiations, no recognition of Israel and no peace.
    U.N. Res 242 recommends Israel withdraw from territories gained in 67 war. This does not refer to ALL THE territories but “some” territory to be negotiated upon in the future. International drafters of Resolution deemed the withdrawal to the Green Line as being suicidal for Israel. This land withdrawal was to be in exchange for peace.
    As stated above PM Barak offered 95% of territory with a land-swap for remaining 5%, joint control of Jerusalem and solution for refugees. Arafat refused. Instead he launched Second Intifada which led to swarms of suicide bombings on Israeli citizens.
    So, first border must be defined, then legality of settlements can be established. For the time being, they are “disputed territories”.
    Furthermore, Israel totally withdrew from the Gaza Strip, physically dragging all the Jews out. Instead of making better lives for themselves, the Gazans launched thousands of rockets into Israel.
    If we withdraw from Judea and Samaria without a peace agreement, thousands more rockets will fall on all our major cities and int’l airport.

  70. Just when things were starting to calm down… Israeli, where were you until now? Out of respect for Bock, I suggest that we keep this congenial and on topic, as I think you have so far. (Although, instead of “you must be joking!”, you could have said “you must be mistaken”…). Borders, Barak’s offer and the disengagement/expulsion are I think closely enough related to be let into the discussion.

    I looked at the Ynet article – does seem pretty damning. People often emphasize what they agree with, and ignore what they don’t, unless they just haven’t researched the issue sufficiently. I don’t understand why exactly – just recognize what really is if it can be known, respect honest opposing opinions, and go forward from their. But I suppose some people are more interested in their interests than in the truth.

  71. The arguement based on perceptions, personal experience, desire, etc is one that cannot find a final solution.
    I don’t think anyone here supports violence from any source.
    We can talk about Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs, Palestinians, ad infinitum, how history, geography social structure etc impacted on all their lives.
    B’TSelem is a world recognised human rights organisation, they produce and document facts not fiction, It seems almost irrelevant to berate any person for their leanings because what is termed “left wing” to one is “moderate” to another, that is back to perceptions and the view of the world we live in, and what model of the world we have created for ourselves.
    One side constantly calls the other “liars” facts will be produced and discarded, it all comes back to the Law and the occupants of any country obeying said Law and the protectors of said Law enforcing the Law without opinion, emotion or prejudice, and that is what is called “Civilised society” It is not possible or acceptable to create a civilised society when prejudice, hatred and lawless movements act against the greater good of their neighbours, and that is a basic tenet of all society.
    Israelis justifiably have fear based opinions, rocket attacks, suicide bombers, many, not all, Israelis support and trust the Government they elected to take whatever measures necessary to protect them.
    Palestinians justifiably fear the might of the IDF to wade in and launch their very supreme and technologically advanced firepower against them, their daily lives, their movements, their means of livlihood and survival, education etc are severly restricted in order to protect the lives of the Israelis.
    Both peoples are composed of peace seekers, liars, manipulators, decent average people just living and hoping life might reach a plateau of understanding and acceptance.
    However, when the blatant breaking of Law’s and lack of enforcment thereof is a daily occurance, The persistence of basing all action on fear and anticipation of further ruination, with constant references to historical actions which only produced violence in the past, the fear of giving or losing ground.
    The people must speak, without fear of either Governing Authorities or any religious sector taking retribution, Is that even a remote possibility ?
    In sticking strictly to the topic here, all production of facts are berated and contradicted, which only proves that there does not seem to be any agenda of peace, only further reinforcement of views and beliefs, which to the rest of the world are not working.It just beggers belief that people would continue to do what time and time again has proven itself to produce nothing.

  72. Israeli ; “Israel totally withdrew from Gaza, physically dragging all the Jews out”
    just a point there, yes, they did and it was well documented by the media, however, what was not covered by the media was that they all recieved substantial financial compensation for that move, I am in no way saying they were not entitled to that, but not portraying the full picture is further misleading information.

  73. A rather insensitive mentioning of “final solution”, unless you didn’t catch that.

    Jews have much more freedom to speak than the Arabs here. Anything they say against the party line makes them a “collaborator”, and they could then get their legs shot, or worse.

    Did you read the YNet article? It’s just trying to correct some mistaken assumptions about the truthfulness of B”Tselem. It challenges what you claim that “they produce and document facts not fiction”. Can’t just always say that whoever disagrees with you is wrong.

    It is too bad that we can’t just start from now and ignore the failings of history. We should learn from them so as not to repeat them.

    Otherwise, I mostly liked and agree with what you said (in 83).

    But, woah – about the Gaza expellees – do you know that most of them, 5 years later, STILL don’t have permanent homes? Many of them, and especially the children, are being treated for psychological damage from this. And how do you think it felt for them to see their life work destroyed in a few days by the celebrating victorious Arabs who came in? (Sorry, Bock).

  74. Meant nothing insensitive about “final solution” just an outcome that cannot be brought about via perception based solutions.

  75. Not going to respond to “Gaza expelees” because that brings us back to your pain their pain, not productive.

  76. Hi some1lovesu!
    I agree with you!
    Regarding on/off topics, its hard to discuss such a complex situation without touching on other relevant areas.
    Before Israel came into being, Palestinians were both Arabs and Jews. Jews have always lived here. My town was established in 1891, long before Israel in 1948.
    Bock mentioned “Palestinians coming from Europe” – he wasnt far off. This was mostly a desolate land with some large inhabited areas. When the British got the Mandate after WW1, they started building Haifa port, roads and other infrastructure. All this construction required labourers and Arabs swarmed in from surrounding areas to find jobs. Thus, many many of them were not indigenous, but came from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, etc. Even Yasser Arafat was Egyptian.
    Regarding Haaretz newspaper, its mostly an anti-Israel rag which always tries to show us in a bad light. For example, this week they reported on a court decision to prosecute 12 Israeli Arabs who rioted and lynched a Jew who had gone crazy on a bus, shooting 4 Arabs to death. Many readers were rightly horrified by this account, saying if Jews kill an Arab terrorist (like the bulldozer incidents) they are hailed as heroes, while now Arabs killing a Jewish terrorist are to be prosecuted. However, Haaretz only reported half the truth (as usual). They failed to mention the relevant point, which is that police had already disarmed, apprehended and handcuffed the Jewish terrorist. While the police had him pinned to the floor, the Arabs attacked the officers to reach the gunman and beat him to death. In cases of Arab terrorists, by-standers have shot them during the act of terror itself to prevent further killings. If the Jewish terrorist had been shot during the act of terror to prevent futher loss of life, the shooter would not be prosecuted.
    Best wishes!

  77. Hard to feel best wishes after a story like that. I will anticipate Bock and say to you to try to keep this on topic, although it’s very interesting what you’re saying. But just to respond briefly to Palestinians coming from Europe – is that included in the “etc.”, since Egypt, Syria and Jordan are pretty far off from Europe!

    Just curious – I assumed you were Jewish. What town?

  78. Norma 83

    I mostly agree with your post except re Btselem, which is definitely not a reliable organisation. This has been proved umpteen times. Furthermore, the Gazan expelees were indeed not “substantially” compensated. They received payments, but as some1lovesU states, 5 years later many are still homeless and without livelihoods. Its very difficult to run a farm or flower hothouses for decades and have that taken away from you – years of work gone down the drain. Many dont have the means, strength or will to start all over again. But, hey, its ok to ethnically cleanse Jews from Gaza, Judea and Samaria as has been done. It only hits the headlines if we’re discussing Arabs. Note, Jordan is totally Jew-free and selling land to a Jew is punishable by death, so too in the Palestinian Authority.

    The only way peace can come about is if the Palestinians recognise Israel’s right to exist and renounce terror. Once that is done in SINCERITY, Israel can vacate settlements and we can start living in harmony. However, we’ve been waiting for decades for that “if” to be fullfilled.
    The Hamas Charter still calls for the destruction of Israel and for a Palestinian State “from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea”.

  79. To some1lovesu
    No, I didnt mean they came from Europe (sorry!), I meant they werent all indigenous to this area. The “etc” meant Arab lands.
    And yes, I’m from Hadera.

  80. Israeli 90; It is not ” ok ” to ethnically cleanse any population or an indiginous people from anywhere, Ethnic cleansing is abhorrent in any term’s.
    Equally it is abhorrent to have a lifes work torn from you under any circumstances.
    With who does the responsibility of the re homing of the Gaza expelees lie with ? if they recieved financial compensation, is it therefore their own responsibility or did the Authorities in question promise to provide homes as well as compensation ? This is a genuine question, surely there is a legal basis here ? There must have been contracts provided to the settlers, were those contracts fulfilled ?
    It seems therefore that livlihoods have been taken from both Jewish settlers, and Palestinians, how does this effect the overall economy ?
    One more question, again from an objective standpoint.
    If both communities, Palestinians and Israeli settlers are srtuggling under such ineffective, inefficient Authorities, why blame each other, why not question the Authorities in question ? Or is the divide so great that discussing this with each other as in Paestinians and Israelis, without the interferance or deference to Authorities, would not be possible ?

  81. At (55) I was not saying Jews were ‘as bad’ as the Romans – that would be like saying the Irish in the 1920s were as bad as the British, after taking back a country through violence and having much of its Protestant population leave as a consequence.

    As for Norma – have you come to realise that hundreds of people were indeed killed by Arabs at Gush Etzion during the War of Independence? That their community actually did exist? Tat they were not Haredi, either (which is of no consequence anyway)?

  82. Ive a feeling that if Ireland were 100 miles off the coast of Israel we wouldn’t be so concerned with the welfare of both parties. The chances are we would turn a blind eye and be more interested in the oppressed people of the world that are convieniently out of range. If all those who made noise about oppressed people far away did the same for the ones closer to home the world would be a better place.

  83. Norma 93
    I’m not sure how much financial compensation they received, but homes and land are far more expensive in Israel than in Gaza. The Gazan Jews were made an offer by the government. I dont think much “negotiating” occurred – more like take it or leave it. Some accepted and others refused. Those that refused were physically dragged out. People wanted to maintain their communities, to have the same neighbours. Trailer parks were set up to house many settlers and they still remain living there. Others moved on an individual basis. There’s isnt much they can do against the authorities. Their complaints are heard and are an embarrassment for the authorities. Lack of funds probably the reason their situations arent improved. Moreover, people in their 50′ and 60’s dont have the physical strength or motivation that they had in their 20’s and 30’s – many are in despair.
    As for the Palestinians, do you mean losing their livlihoods in recent years or by the creation of Israel?
    Up until 1967, Judea and Samaria (West Bank) was part of Jordan and Gaza under Egyptian control. After the war, these territories came under Israel control and the residents worked in Israel freely. In later years suicide bombings became more and more frequent and work permits into Israel were limited accordingly. Permits were restricted to only those over a certain age with a family (less likely to become a suicide bomber). As terror attacks became even more frequent, restrictions were further tightened. It may sound paranoic, but the facts speak for themselves. An Arab girl from Gaza was undergoing treatment in an Israeli hospital for cancer, but was caught at the Gaza crossing with a suicide belt on her body. The Israeli doctors were flabbergasted, as their relationship had been so good. Grandmothers and children have been rigged with suicide belts! The final nail on the coffin for the Gazans was when they elected Hamas, recognised as a terrorist organisation.
    If you meant losing their livlihoods after 1948, our Arab neighbours were about to attack Israel and called for all Arabs to immediately evacuate the country. They were confident of a swift victory and return of the Arabs who had fled to Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, (Gaza). The Arab armies invaded, a war ensued and the Arabs lost.
    I dont think Jews and Arabs will ever rise up together to tackle the Authorities. For Palestinians especially, its very hard for them to question their authorities actions. For Jews, its ok to question, but they dont always get an answer.

  84. Inevitably, people will point out there is hatred and even terrorism perpetrated by both sides. Yet Kach only ever won one seat in the Knesset – while Hamas won a majority in the PA legislature. Palestinian suicide bombers and terrorists get schools and football tournaments named after them, while shrines dedicated to Baruch Goldstein, an embarrassment to most Israelis, get demolished by the army. Kach gets banned. Irgun members get killed after the foundation of the state. Yet the Palestinians cannot reject the use of terror against civilians, and can’t appreciate how having unofficial armies running around the place will affect the viability of a Palestinian state.

    Also, I don’t see Jews outside the conflict zone attacking Muslim kids or vandalising mosques. We have yet to see Jews in the diaspora perpetrate a crime like extremist Muslims did to Ilan Halimi – i.e. kidnapping and torturing a Muslim child for weeks, shouting religious quotes over the phone to his parents while the police refuse to accept the incident might be religiously or politically motivated.

  85. I don’t condone terrorism by anyone, but let’s not be too selective about who we call terrorists.

    Israel was created by using classic terrorist tactics of the same sort employed by the IRA .

  86. Wow. What a discussion. Before I start, let me just state that I have no moral high ground here; I have no strong feelings one way or the other towards any of the players in this whole tragedy. That being said I will probably change direction as I ramble on :)

    To give an answer to Bock’s original question – yes, what they are doing now is probably illegal. But then again IANAL so I can’t say for sure. And probably a lot of what they in Gaza do is illegal – again, IANAL. And just because something is illegal, does that make it automatically wrong? After all, won’t we soon have a law here that makes it illegal to insult a religion, and you yourself spearheaded quite a call to arms against just this.
    And what about the Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese, etc, with their open agenda to destroy Israel – is that legal? Is it legal that they should be allowed to parade on the world stage with such open hatred and incitment? As far as I know, it isn’t – so where does that leave the argument about legality? Even if they are breaking their own law.

    I imagine that the IDF / Government attitude is “easier to ask forgiveness than permission”; by which I mean that if they know that there is a street in Gaza where they have a fairly good idea that there is an enemy unit, and they have a choice between sending in the IDF infantry and sustaining losses, they will opt to send in a tank and a couple of bombers instead. Civilian casualties are never intended (no matter how cynical you are; civilised militaries around the world realised a long time ago that there is only so much you can de-humanise a soldier, and that’s why they never “kill people” or “blow up shit”, they “neutralise threats” and “deliver packages”.) but are unfortunately an accepted side-effect(personally I believe this is atrocious and wrong)
    Horrible to the extreme, but effective from the point of view of their military whose duty (right or wrong) it is to defend their country from attack.
    If you were surrounded on all sides by people who have made it very clear that they want you annihilated, would you do any different? I don’t know if I would.

    You see, I can leave work, get into my car and drive home and be fairly certain that nobody is going to shoot at me, or try to blow me up. You can go to the Market on a Saturday morning with a fairly high certainty that someone isn’t going to call out to Allah and hit the switch to ignite the C4 strapped to their waist. The same can’t be said for the average Israeli. Nor can it be said for the average Palestinian either, who has to live in constant fear that they might suddenly have a bloody bomb dropped on their house, or (worse?) if they dare to speak out against their rulers, can be beaten or even executed.

    So we’re trying here to put our own peaceful moral standards on a situation that has gone beyond “normal” morals and into something far more grey. The morality of the battlefield is not the same as the morality of civilian life. And all the people here talking about how unacceptable this kind of thing is; let me

    On the other hand, Israel does itself no favours with its hard line attitude and arrogance, they have shown time and again that they couldn’t give a flying fuck what the rest of the world thinks. And they will of course always be supported by the US / Europe for the simple reason that it keeps the Arab world focused on something else. to them, it’s just another proxy war. That’s why they put the Jews back there in the first place, not out of altruism!

  87. Bock – Jews do commit terrorism, but very spordically, and out of desperation and frustration with the ineffectiveness of more peaceful means and the govt’s ability to protect them (you could say that the Arabs have the same motivation, except that their terrorists want us out of here – we just want to be left alone in peace).

    “Israel was created by using classic terrorist tactics of the same sort employed by the IRA .” That’s a big challenge, and I honestly don’t know how to answer it – I hope somebody else does. (But, you see how we got off of settlements? ; ) )

    Hey – we’ve passed 100 comments – the numbers have reverted back to zero! Is this an unusually long post?

  88. Yes. We have drifted off settlements. You see? I’m able to be flexible too, if people will be a bit reasonable and not deluge the comments with pre-digested propaganda.

    And if Jews commit acts of terroism sporadically and out of frustration, we don’t call all Jews terrorists. Yet I detect that all Palestinians are smeared in exactly that way.

    If you want an example of what we would today call terrorist tactics, you could look up Irgun’s bombing of the King David Hotel, in which 91 people were killed, including Jewish and Arab civilians.

  89. Steve – welcome to the fun. What is IANAL? I Am Not – what?

    Good points about illegality.

    I don’t believe that the IDF is against civilian casualties just because they demoralize soldiers, but because they also think that it’s atrocious and wrong (I won’t bring up the question of who is an innocent civilian – that would be going off the off topic…)

    I can vouch for what you say about the fear of attack of the average Israeli – Jew or Arab in different contexts. But I would qualify what you said, that the Arabs usually get a warning if a bomb is about to be dropped on their house, either directly from the IDF, or by hearing about something that somebody did that brings retaliation. Yes being under constant threat of injury and death does make things a little different…

    But Israel does care what the world thinks, and often does things against it’s better judgement exactly to appease world opinion. But when push comes to shove (pun intended), we do have to take care of ourselves first. Wouldn’t you?

    The Jews were originally put here to keep the Arab world focused on something else? Other than what? There was no world-wide jihad then, and Israel being here has just made the Arab world even MORE angry at the West!

  90. Bock – 96
    In my above post I called the Jewish soldier who shot Arabs on a bus a terrorist. I also call Baruch Goldstein a terrorist.

    Bock – 99
    Although the League of Nations had promised the land to the Jews, during the Mandate period, the British openly encouraged Arab immigration into the land, while refusing Jewish immigration – even Holocaust survivors who were arriving by the boat-load.
    The Jews organised the Irgun to fight off Arab terror. The British hung Jewish Irgun members and the Jews retaliated by hanging two British officers. The King David Hotel was the British Military Headquarters. A Jewish organisation planted a bomb there, but telephoned beforehand to give a warning and told them to evacuate the building. The British ignored this warning.

  91. I don’t doubt that Irgun gave a warning, but that has never been accepted as a defence from any organisation elsewhere, and I don’t think you’d accept it from Hamas either.

  92. You mean the IRA in the twenties? I don’t doubt that – Jabotinsky of the infamous Irgun studied the IRA tactics in major way. The Irgun and Stern Gang could certainly be described as terrorists – though they did not engage in joint operations with the Haganah and were much smaller forces (there were a couple of thousand members of the Irgun as opposed to the tens of thousands making up the Haganah, which would become the IDF). Also, the Irgun was eliminated after the war, and their ship the Altalena was shelled off the coast of Tel Aviv. There are still Israelis today who lament the fact that Ben Gurion’s first act as leader of the new state was to kill Jews. Yet terrorist forces needed to be eliminated, the presence of the Irgun was a challenge to Israel’s credibility. The Arab states could learn a thing or two from this episode.

  93. some1lovesU : It means I am not a Lawyer.

    As regards our difference on opinion about Israel caring about the rest of the world; I suppose I can only form my opinion based on what I observe, and that is that Israel will simply do its own thing no matter what the rest of the world says. I don’t mean to state that this attitude is wrong or right, but it does give the impression that they don’t give a damn.
    [Edit – I should also point out that the other sides in this conflict behave in the same way]

    Regarding the IDF giving warnings; No, they simply do not. That would defeat the purpose of blowing up the house/compund/its occupants some of whom are believed to be enemy combatants.

    And here I make a distinction, between “The IDF wishes to announce that it will be bombing the shit out of the 4 blocks next to the river from next Tuesday at 14:00” because they simply want to destroy an area that could provide defensive cover for enemy combatants and “The IDF wishes to inform you that they are going to blow up YOUR HOUSE at tea-time, please ensure that any Hamas fighters remain in the house for the duration of the event.” whereby they *know* that in your house or your neighbour’s house there are people they want to kill.
    Point being, they would rather drop a bomb and kill 5 enemy soliders and 50 civilians, than send in 50 troops and have 10 of them killed with no guarantee of getting the 5. Again though I’m not saying if its right or wrong, it just IS the way it is. (personally, I think its wrong but that doesn’t make it so)

    And yes, I do believe that the state of Israel exists today only because the powers in the West knew that sooner or later a thorn would be needed in the side of the Arab states. Again, I don’t say that this invalidates your right to exist, far from it, but I do believe it’s true. Sure, there was no Jihad, but there was Arab (and Muslim) expansionism, and in the same way as the medieval crusaders went out to halt the spread of these nations (and despite what the history books in school told you, it had S.F.A to do with religion), so too did the western world put your people in harm’s way.
    In that respect actually I find myself symapthising with the situation Israel finds itself in whilst at the same time being horrified at what goes on. But unlike some people, I don’t see those two points of view as polar or incompatible.

  94. Bock 102
    I mentioned the King David Hotel bombing before reading your post. As stated it was British Military Headquarters and they received a telephone warning which they chose to ignore.

    As an Israeli, I dont smear all Palestinians as terrorists.
    In the West, there’s a saying: “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims”. Although that is not true, its evident that SOME muslims are easily indoctrinated by fanatic extremists. This with no relation to their education, wealth or social status (as seen with September 11th bombers). I dont know how the promise of heaven and 72 virgins can be so persuasive.

  95. I just have to say that I am very impressed with the knowledge level of people here, and I’m learning a lot. Thanks.

    Bock, you have to admit that terrorist destruction of a building is not nearly the same as terrorist killing of civilians. The IDF continues to warn people before bombing specific structures, unless they think that the warning will cause a particular sought after person to flee. And often, terrorists also defiantly ignore the warning, as just happened with one terrorist leader, who forbid his family to leave the building (or at least encouraged them to stay and martyr themselves – I don’t remember exactly). He and several of them ended up getting killed – the survivors tell the story.

    Israeli (104) – I don’t understand why the British were warned, and why they ignored it.

  96. If hamas did that, I think you’d be calling it terrorism.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “terrorist killing of civilians”. Is there a different kind of killing civilians?

  97. Steve – regarding the bombing vs troop attack: as far as I know, the IDF always tries to minimize civilian casualties, which is difficult when Hamas and others don’t mind to maximize them. There’s no guarantee that bombing will be more effective either – it’s failed many times. Until very recently, the policy WAS to risk Israeli soldier’s lives to minimize civilian casualties – that only changed because of public backlash (a lot of it from parents of soldiers – we have mandatory military service here, for both men and women, although I don’t think women are in combat units so much).

    Maybe you’re right about the West making us a thorn – I don’t know. It’s interesting that the Bible says that if Israel doesn’t remove the local idolatrous people, they will become a thorn for them…

    Thanks for the horrified sympathy. What does SFA mean?

    Bock – I didn’t say it wasn’t terrorism, I just said it wasn’t the same. Non-terrorist killing of civilians – What about the bombing of London, or H & N (now, I’ll let YOU guys figure out what that means!).

  98. The Geneva Convention forbids an army to fight its way through a civilian population in order to attack its enemy.

    I did a detailed post on that HERE

  99. Steve 107
    I’m afraid you arent familiar with the Arab terorrist’s psyche. As far as being killed is concerned, its a win-win situation – the more the merrier – all going straight to heaven as martyrs.
    During the recent conflict in Gaza, the IDF phoned a house belonging to a Hamas executive warning all civilians to leave as it was to be bombed. The Hamas man was there with his family who wanted to leave. He cajoled them into staying, saying “Dont you want to stay by my side and we’ll all go to heaven?” They decided to stay, apart from his daughter-in-law who fled to her family. The daughter-in-law made the incident public.
    What can we learn from this?
    1) This man didnt mind dying nor for all his family to go down with him.
    2) The civilian deaths were blamed on Israel, although Israel did not want to target the family and told them to evacuate.
    3) Israel makes every attempt to avoid civilian killings.

  100. I remember a Muslim said something along the lines of:
    The fundamental difference between us (Muslims/infidels) is that we value death as much as you value life.

  101. Some1lovesU Shalom and Mosel Tov the cavalry have come to the rescue. We all seem to be discussing Black and White when we are looking at Grey. Neither side are “right” in this. Innocent Children are dying as a result of whose Land Israel or Palestine is. Like it or not we Irish have found that the only way to go is to live with one another . The Palestinians in Jordan are in camps for generations. Adding more would be to the detriment of Israel IMHO.
    T.S.W. accuses me of not capable of Jewish thought #38 . Given that I am not a Sabra nor even Jewish this may be true. Have you read “Mein Kampf” or Mao Tes-tungs little red book? I had to on a course I did a few years ago. The idea was to put ourselves into the mindset of the time. Disregarding our knowledge of history. Dreadfully boring rubbish. However for the time understandable .
    Dispossessing anybody will simply add to the problems of Israel for generations to come.

  102. some1lovesU – SFA means “Sweet F*** All”

    Israeli – 113 – OK, I see your point but as Bock says, that is 100% a crime. They knew that there were civilians in the house (or at least; they are supposed to know their enemy and know that they may well have stayed given this mindset) therefore they murdered them. And that is wrong.

    Sounds to me like they were trying to flush him out, having failed that they bombed anyway. Kind of a sore loser thing to do; You’ll never win by doing this kind of thing, in fact you will continue to get the same kind of violence in return.

    To address your points
    1. Maybe, maybe not. sounds more like Hamas PR. We’ll never know because we weren’t there. And propaganda drives all this sort of thing.
    2. Israel -were- to blame for the civilian deaths, as they dropped the munitions that caused them to blow up.
    3. A telephone call absolutely does not constitute “every effort”

  103. Bock (112) – I looked there – another post to deal with – I’m getting overwhelmed. I think that Ofer did a pretty good job in his ESL showing the flaws and difficulties of that law (he looks like my brother-in-law, BTW). Where’s Ofer now?

    Bock and Steve – So you’re saying that the man was justified to use his family to protect himself. It’s a hard call – seems like they know very well how to abuse the intent of the law to their own advantage. What else should the IDF have done – wait for another chance? Maybe – they have done that. The whole thing is really very unfortunate. If there was no promise of Heaven, maybe they would have survived – now, they’re just in Heaven…

    I think that it was more than just a phone call. Dropping the actual bomb does not mean responsibility, if they did in fact try their best, under the circumstances, to save them. If an enemy holds a civilian between himself and a soldier who shoots to kill the enemy but kills the civilian instead, who’s fault is it really?

  104. If the IDF knew there were civilians in the house, they committed a crime by dropping the bomb. That’s not in doubt.

  105. I never said that the man was justified for using his family as a shield. But two wrongs do not make a right. In fact in its own way it is despicable (if indeed it is what happened, although I do have my doubts. Fanatical belief and martyrdom are for grunts only; the leaders and executives of an organisation like Hamas won’t sacrifice themselves like this.Pity, if they did, the conflict would end.)

    And the situation you describe with the solider and the civilian is not really a proper analogy – youre talking about something that might happen in the heat of battle where you (or me) is operating on instinct and training, and doesn’t have the leisure of being able to take 5 minutes to analyse the situation. Yes it IS wrong I suppose to pull the trigger in this situation, but in a firefight it’s always about the lesser of two evils, not right and wrong. You are in a different reality and a different set of acceptable morals. You’ve passed the right/wrong barrier by going to war; you’ve passed another one by entering combat; and now you’re supposed to make a call like that in a life/death situation? Honestly, it can be argued equally that the people at fault are you, the enemy combatant, the civilian, and both of your governments for allowing this scenario to occur. Personally? I’d like to say that I would be the better man and hold my fire, but since I’ve never been i that position, that’s just conjecture.

    Now compare that to a situation whereby the IDF knows this guy is in this house. They therefore can surveille and know if he leaves. There is an entire chain of command analysing the situation and at some point, be it from either personal bloodlust or simply consulting a book of engagement guidelines someone makes the decision to drop the bomb (or fire the rocker or whatever). Probably whilst sitting in a command room with a jug of coffee in front of them.

    Worlds apart, I am afraid.

  106. Some1lovesU and T.S.W. the Jordanian solution you propose on the basis of “they are mostly Palestinians anyway” seems somewhat flawed. The C.I.A. report that the population of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is 6,342,948 of which 1,835,704 are described as Palestinians. Most?

  107. Steve – I hear your distinctions, and appreciate you’re trying to see the situation from both sides.

    Bock – seems like it is a crime, if they knew. Unless they could argue that these civilian casualties were not “excessive” as per the Convention, relative to the importance to off that particular guy. And, like someone said before, just because it’s the law doesn’t make it right. Of course, if everyone decides what’s right regardless of law, then we get anarchy. Not good. Have to choose the best of many evils here, unfortunately.

    Gary – seems to me that the non-Palestinian majority must be descendants of the original citizens at the time of the establishment of Jordan, which, like I said, was the original Palestinian State. I think that the CIA is making a distinction between them and the more recent Israeli Palestinians.

    Listen, everybody – I’ve been spending a lot of time with this post. As stimulating and interesting as it is, I have to cut back a little. My wife reminds me that I have work to do – and she wonders why I have so many “Bock the Robber” notifications in my inbox. She’s beginning to sound like a chicken (BOCK…Bock,Bock,Bock,Bock). But, like Gary, I’ll probably be back soon anyway. Maybe very short responses.

  108. System 94 please reread 41, “several attempts were made by ultra orthodox Jews to settle in area from 1927, however none of the 4 communities succeeded.
    The above 4 attempts were never recognised settlements, and yes, 4 times they were driven off the Arab lands they tried to settle in by Arabs.
    “Kfar Etzion became Israels first settlement (as opposed to a community intending to settle) those settlers were descendents of people who had fought and died (against the above mentioned Arabs) there since 1927.
    With regard Haredi, its like “you say tomahto, i say tomato” They were ultra orthodox Jews, call them Haredi or not, as you say its of no consequence.
    Israeli 97. According to substantiated reports, each ” expelee ” settler from Gaza recieved 250,000 us dollars, The fact that land is more expensive in Israel than Gaza is self explanatory.
    I don’t think the demand of remaining “with the same neighbours” is reasonable or acceptable, In Ireland, we have what is known as a “compulsory purchase order ” which means that the local Council can place that on your property to facilitate the building of a road or development decided by the Government, there might be some room for negotiation but it’s generally set at market value and remaining with your neighbours is a very unlikely factor for consideration.
    Being in your 50’s and 60’s is hardly “old” and surely “motivation” is a personal choice, if you choose to be weighed down by the past or have refused financial compensation for inevitable consequences, then you fall victim of your own choices.
    This might be too personal a question, and if it is then don’t answer it, but do you have any Arab friends with who you discuss the situation with ? because to me, that seems to be a reasonable source of answers, or is the whole area of daily interaction between peoples too muddied ?
    Did you know the Irish Army, when seeking some r&r during their time as peacekeepers in Lebanon used to holiday in Nethanya ? That must be your local seaside town as you are from Hadera.

  109. My ‘Jordanian solution’ did not involve any Arab in the West Bank being forced to go to Jordan, but to be a citizen of a kind of Palestinian-Jordanian Federation. This is actually advocated by one of the ‘new historians’, Benny Morris.

    Jordan is in fact Palestinian land set aside by Winston Churchill for the purpose of creating King Abdullah’s principality as a reward for his support for Britain. Therefore the population was almost entirely Palestinian, though the Prince was a Hashemite. Jordan is around 75% Palestinian, although there is blatant gerrymandering in favour of the Hashemites. Jordan is already a Palestinian state.

  110. Norma: A successful community was founded in 1943, differently affiliated groups established four settlements, Kfar Etzion, Masuot Yitzchak, Ein Tzurim, and Revadim, with a total population of 450 adults. In 1948, all four settlements were totally destroyed. The Arabs murdered 240 men and women, with another 260 being taken into captivity.

    As for the labellings – Maybe you are not aware about what the term ‘ultra-orthodox’ actually signifies in the Jewish world. ‘Ultra-Orthodox’ is the often used English term for Haredi Judaism (whose followers never actually use the term ‘ultra-orthodox’). The religious of the settler movement would be better termed Dati Leumi.

  111. Haredim (God Fearers – literally “Tremblers”) are the Ultra-Orthodox, black-hatted men and married women with wigs, who generally believe that the Modern State of Israel obstructs the coming of the Messianic Age. Dati Leumi (National Religious – opposite word order) are the “regular” Orthodox, similar to American Modern Orthodox – men with knitted colorful skullcaps (no hats) and married women with scarves, who generally believe that the Modern State of Israel heralds the coming of the Messianic Age. I know that these superficial distinctions might sound a little funny and trivial, but they reflect seriously held approaches and outlooks to Jewish observance. They agree about adherence to Jewish Law, but differ on it’s interpretation and in some areas, and there is a lot of tension between them. Too bad. The vast majority of settlers in disputed territories, as well as religious members of the IDF, are Dati Leumi.

  112. I know of it already. Gush Etzion and other settlements close to the 1949 Green Line, particularly around Jerusalem, fulfill security needs.

    I’ve already said most settlements should be disbanded, so I’m not sure what we are debating. As usual, the debate has branched off to argue many other facets of the conflict. I just believe that those settlements considered ‘safe’ in previous negotiations and close to the Green Line should be allowed to grow naturally – while land can be given to the PA in return.

  113. Astounding. We seem to have found some kind of common ground. Two Israelis, an Irish jew, me and our regular commenters, all circling towards a shared understanding.

    Now maybe we could offer our services to the Israeli government, the Palestinians, the surrounding Arab countries, the Lebanese and the United States.

    We’ll solve the problem overnight.

  114. Bock (28) – You’re not letting me off so easily, I see.

    The black hats and suits and white shirts are carry overs from the ancestral Ashkenazi European wardrobe. The Chassidim (literally, “Pious Ones”), a subdivision of Haredim, wear long as opposed to short black coats, and round flat cylindric animal tail hats (on the Sabbath and Holidays), a similar carry over from where they came from (and they’re not cheap). I don’t know how they can handle it in the Middle East heat – the hats are shady, though. The bleak black and white is both more modest (although not in price), and in a way mournful, expressing their mourning for the delay in the Messianic (First) Coming.

    By ringlets I assume you mean the round knitted skullcaps. The basic idea of those and the black felt ones of the Haredim is to remind oneself that there is Someone above us, Watching, Rewarding and Punishing. Women don’t need that, because they have a more natural connection to God.

    The Dati Leumi in general are more adapted to the local environment wherever they are, especially since they feel that modern Israel is a good thing, as opposed to the Haredim – those of whom are here are here for it’s biblical ties, not it’s current politics. The clothing of the DL’s is also more colorful and light, reflecting their joy of being in Israel (as well as wanting to stay cool), and not just the joy of Jewish Law (Torah) that the Haredim have, which they can have anywhere they have the Torah, which for most of not so recent history, was in the countries of the Exile where they were stuck.

    Wigs and scarves have a similar distinction – I don’t want to get into that right now – but the main thing is modesty for a Jewish woman, and especially a married one – not to draw attention to herself.

    This is the main Dati Leumi web news site – you’ll get a good idea of their outlook on things (a LOT about settlements):

  115. By ringlets, I mean the long curls in the hair.

    If this is traditional dress, I have a question for you. Did the Jews dress like this when they followed Moses out of Egypt?

  116. Not all Haredi Jews are anti-Zionist, though. Most nowadays are indifferent to Zionism or would be more comfortable with a theocracy. Chabad seem to oppose territorial compromise. Many Breslover I’ve met have similar views, though they were for the most part baal teshuva rather than born into the dynasty. Only the tiny Naturei Karta very actively oppose the state by campaigning vigorously, although Satmar Hasidim share a similar vitriolic loathing.

    As for Haredi dress: the mandatory black understated clothes and the uniformity take ones focus away from fashion and into higher pursuits. The exact details of the dress seen today is not prescribed by Torah or source of Jewish law. It is seen as a way of maintaining Jewish distinctiveness, which is required by Torah in many areas such as dress. The long coats (bekishe) and fur hats (shtreimel) of the Hasidic dynasties are more akin to national costumes and have no direct religious significance.

    As for the payot (sidelocks) and laws around shaving: Oy, is that a large area to go into!

  117. Yes, TSW – thanks for the clarification.

    The payot (literally “edges”) are because the Torah says that a man shouldn’t shave the payot of his face. Non-Chassidic Haredim usually have a short 3-4 cm sidelocks that they stick behind their ears, just to fulfill the law. The Chassidim, in order to embellish the law, just let it all hang down – sometimes, down to the waist. It’s actually very beautiful. (Just the men again, though – married women have to cover their hair out of modesty, at least in public.)

    (32) – I said it’s the traditional dress going back to cold Eastern Europe. I doubt it was the Exodus wardrobe, especially since it’s all polyester and often made in Germany (now that’s irony for you!). The DL wardrobe is probably closer. If you want to see a real attempt to revive Biblical dress, see:

    BTW – Arabs say “Oil!” – Jews say “Oy!”.

  118. You must surely be aware of the irony of Eastern European dress in the context of this discussion.

  119. A lot of the Yemeni Jews wear styles that they say would closely mirror those worn at the time of King David.

    The Haredim wear the same thing whether in Jerusalem or Brooklyn. Had they been in South America during the last several centuries we would see something very different. It doesn’t really matter where the styles were developed as long as hey meet the criteria of modesty and plain ‘difference’ from surrounding peoples. To be honest, I don’t think a lot of Haredi practice mirrors the Judaism that existed at the time of Ezra.

  120. OK. Modesty and difference.

    Without condoning anything, do you think emphasising difference might have contributed to the persecution of the Jews over the centuries?

  121. Not really. Societies that have had the most assimilated Jewish populations, like Germany in the 1930s and medieval Spain have often turned vehemently anti-Jewish. Germany’s Jews were more than likely the most assimilated on earth – more so than the American population who were by and large newer residents from Eastern Europe at the time.

    Most people who hate Jews don’t confine it to the ones in black hats and coats. When the slaughter or other types of persecution begin, all Jews tend to go together.

  122. Bock / Steve

    Following a specific warning to evacuate civilians, the IDF would expect them to evacuate. Even though we’re familiar with Arab “tactics”, we’re still flabbergasted and surprised at their behaviour. Therefore, this cannot in any way be described as a war crime. To the contrary – it shows the high morals that our army adheres to. The IDF would have acted on the supposition that no civilians were in the house. Surveillance isnt as easy as it sounds, especially in a place like Gaza – men where kaffiyas (the light scarf which covers head and face, except for eyes). Men can put on a woman’s burkha, covering the body.

    Bock – “The Geneva Convention forbids an army to fight its way through a civilian population in order to attack its enemy.”
    The Gazan terrorists launched thousands of rockets at Israel’s civilian population over a period of 8 years. Where is the sympathy for these people? Israel warned them again and again that severe action would be taken if they did not stop. Their civilian population was not targeted. Collateral damage is an appalling part of war that always has to be considered. The IDF sent thousands of phone messages in Arabic and dropped thousands of leaflets advising civilians to evacuate to other parts of Gaza.
    Moreover, the IDF found booby-trapped homes, schools, a zoo and many other buildings all full of explosives. Does anyone know how many Gazans were killed by these booby-traps. Hamas also seized the opportunity to execute Fatah members in the middle of the streets – anyone who had a working cellphone was suspected of being in collaboration with Israel.

    Read “The Battle for Accuracy in the Media is Engaged: The IDF Weighs in on Casualty Figures” at

  123. Norma, thesystemworks is correct. Jordan is made up of approximately 3/4 Palestinians and 1/4 Beduoin.
    Before the 1967 war, Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) were under Jordanian control. When Israel and Jordan made a peace agreement, its a great pity Jordan didnt demand the return of those areas. Israel couldnt even give it away. That would have been the best solution.
    The same happened with the Gaza Strip. Although Egypt squabbled over ever centimetre of Taba on the Red Sea, they refused to accept the Gaza Strip which had been under their control.

  124. System (38) – True, but Bock is right – standing out does bring resentment. The Persians (as recounted in the Purim story) and the Greeks both persecuted the Jews because “they are different than us”. I think that the often offered example of Germany is more of a fluke, IMUO (In My Uninformed Opinion). Still this persecution (Anti-Semitism) happens for whatever reason is convenient – too rich, too poor, too smart, too stupid, too oppressed, too oppressing, etc.

    Bock (35) – I’m not sure I understand what the irony is.

    The Bible constantly emphasizes the difference of the Jews, even though it simultaneously bids them to be a “light to the nations”. If God wrote it, then he has the right to favor who he wants. If not, then it was probably just a survival tactic. Doesn’t encourage neighborly love, though.

  125. Israeli — That’s plain nonsense. Issuing a warning does not confer the right to kill civilians.

  126. Bock – I don’t know about that – when they give a warning, they must also give an escape route. So why aren’t the civilians responsible for ignoring the warning and not saving their own lives (like the English were)?

    Israeli – Do you really think that Jordan having the West Bank is the best solution? You must know what it looks like on a map (for example, It would just take a huge bite out of Israel! What kind of a defensible country would be left? At least Gaza is on the “payah” (edge), so it doesn’t make nearly as much strategic difference. How could Israel survive if they gave the West Bank to Jordan?

  127. Well, Jews would have been the only monotheists around 3500 years ago, and the whole volume of new Jewish ideas were quite radical at the time. There was a book by an Irish author, Thomas Cahill, called The Gifts of the Jews that could help somebody appreciate this. There was a constant danger of lapsing conveniently back into the ways of the surrounding nations (which happened numerous times) and thus destroying the Jewish ‘mission’. So there has to be ways to keep separate to preserve the purity of the Jewish message. It is important today as it was then, with the size of the world Jewish community being small in comparison to other religious groups (though making contributions far beyond its numbers). How one reconciles this with the role of a ‘light unto the nations’ is a vexed question. Although you could say acting as a ‘kingdom of priests and a holy nation’ like Shmot (Exodus) says to do is most of the work being a ‘light unto the nations’ would entail anyway.

  128. It’s very simple.

    It isn’t good enough to say If you don’t move aside I will kill you.

    Why do you find that hard to understand?

    That’s very obvious.

  129. Norma, house prices in Israel are pretty high, with most homes being in apartment buildings not semi-detached houses. A modest apartment costs about $250,000. Gaza residents had semi-detached homes and land for their farms or hothouses to grow flowers for. They would probably need about a million dollars to buy a home and farmland to continue their normal way of life. Being in their 50’s or 60’s isnt old, but its an age where people want to be able to enjoy their life’s achievements, not to be suddenly empty-handed and having to start all over again. It may sound trivial to you, but many have been left psychologically traumatised having been torn from their homes, livlihoods, friends, neighboors, routine and normal way of life.
    Personally, I dont have any contact with Arabs as they normally keep to themselves in their villages which surround Hadera. Our only contact would be at shopping centres, doctors’ clinics, hospitals and public offices. Some places have both Jewish and Arab residents and I’m sure there is much more interaction and friendships, such as Haifa, Lod, Ramle, Jaffa, Acre.
    I know Netanya very well with its nice beaches, but forgive me for boasting – in Hadera we have our own beach which is even nicer than Netanya’s. Unfortunately, it isnt developed – no pubs or coffee shops, only a seafood restaurant and a beach booth :(
    U.N. peacekeeping vehicles racing down the coastal highway used to be an every day sight. We’d see the soldiers r&r in Netanya, Tel Aviv, Eilat. However, they’ve disappeared for some years now. I dont know whether they’re not allowed to leave Lebanon anymore – maybe the UN feels that its not “politically correct” for them to be based in Lebanon and to hop over the border to enjoy themselves in Israel. I dont know.

  130. System — Monotheists, polytheists, schmonotheists.

    If you have any familiarity with this site (and you do) , you’ll know that I think theism of all forms is a mental illness.

  131. some1lovesU: With maintaining settlements close to the Green Line I think its possible to have a defensible Israel. Especially the ones around Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a highly strategic location since time immemorial, and whoever controls the Jerusalem area can control and defend the state. When the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel and exiled the ten tribes, it all meant very little when they could not capture Jerusalem. Caroline Glick of the good old Jerusalem Post made a very illuminating speech on the topic recently:

    Of course, there would have to be serious security guarantees between Israel and Jordan and the West Bank zone would probably need to be de-militarised somewhat for at least a number of years.

  132. OK so we have now added fashion and dress choice to the debate, interesting.
    May I recall my first encounter with what must have been Hasidic Jew’s, I am totally open to correction, black hats, black clothes and ringlets.
    I was on a flight from Heathrow to Tel Aviv, I was alloted an exit seat with extra leg room because I was travelling with a baby, the entire flight, almost 5 hours, I constantly had to move my things, and even though i was being very discreet it must have been obvious i was seeking a little privacy to feed my baby, These Hasidic Jews afforded me not one gesture of basic civility or at any time excused themselves for elbowing me and my baby, They spent most of the flight in that exit space, either praying or chatting, they ignored all requests from stewardesses to return to their seats and when it was pointed out to them i needed that space for the baby, they ignored that too, when the pilot announced the approach for landing, the stewardess, told me, that in his hurry to complete his ablutions one gentleman actually washed his hands in the drink of water she had just poured for herself.
    On disembarking, I was actually knocked to the ground and my buggy toppled, but my baby was with her Dad, not an offer of help, not an “excuse me” nothing, I and most of my fellow passengers were astounded at their level of rudeness, They behaved with a grand display of “God given right ”
    On that trip, I was constantly stopped, not by police or soldiers but by people, mostly americans and asked “what are you doing in Israel, you are obviously not Jewish or Arab ” We were staying in a Jewish owned hotel, therefore the menu was Kosher, i had no problem with that but on occasion at breakfast i wanted a boiled egg for the baby, it was out of the question i was told, luckily i had struck up a conversational friendship with the waiter who was Arab, who sneaked me a boiled egg but was actually risking his job, incidently he worked at 7 days a week for very little pay, never allowed to take time off during Ramadan either.
    So we got into all aspects here and i am throwing that in because it was my first experience and might cover a degree of human interest.
    That trip ignited my interest in Israel/Palestine, it was not the most beautiful, charming, comfortable or relaxing place to be, but it was the most interesting.
    I took a deep interest from then until now, but i see no difference, only greater loss of life and greater hardship on the people of Palestine
    Israeli 141 I never mentioned population of Jordan presently, you must have me confused with somebody else.

  133. Bock, we’re talking about a known Hamas terrorist here, not an innocent bystander. He got a phone-call saying the house would be targeted and for any civilians to be evacuated. If he’d have had an ounce of sense he would have kicked his family out and buggered off after them. Instead, he chose to sit down, gather his poor family around him and wait to be blown up. What kind of an eejit was he????
    And you still blame the IDF for commiting a war crime?

    But he won!!! He will be glorified in Gaza as a martyr. He gets his 72 virgins. He and his family get to heaven. Israel gets blasted by the international community for more civilian deaths. Bock condemns Israel. As I said, its a win-win situation.

  134. We’re not talking about a terrorist of any sort. We’re talking about civilians. If the IDF knew they were in the house then they committed murder.

  135. Norma, sorry that Jordanian post was for Gary.

    As for your first encounter with Hassidic Jews, I’m afraid any subsequent encounter would have been just as bad. My first encounter was also on a flight to Tel Aviv but was humorous (for me). I sat with my sister and we had a Hassidic sitting next to us by the aisle. At some point, another Hassidic came up and tapped him on the shoulder. He got up to follow the other man. My sister, being her friendly self asked “Are you going to play cards?” She was rewarded with a stern look. We later realised they’d gone to pray and laughed our heads off at her thinking they were off to play cards.
    There must have been some kind of misunderstanding at the hotel with the boiled egg. They are always served at breakfast along with omelettes, fried eggs, scrambled, you name it. As you probably know, in a kosher kitchen meat products cannot be mixed with dairy products. However, an egg is neither meat nor dairy so it can be eaten with anything. Who told you that a boiled egg was out of the question? The waiter or serving staff?

  136. AAAAAAAAAAAaaggggghhhhhhhhhh (an exasperated shout)

    Bock, the civilians were told to get out. The army thought they had got out. If they knew the eejit had kept his family inside they would have aborted. Believe me.

  137. If the IDF thought the civilians were gone, they didn’t commit a crime.

    If they knew the civilians were still there, the IDF did commit a crime.

    However, if the civilans were gone, why are we discussing their culpability?

  138. I think it was Gary who mistakenly said most Jordanians were not of Palestinian origin.

    Wow, sounds like you and Israel really got off on a bad footing. Why could you not get served a boiled egg? As long as it comes from a kosher animal eggs are fine. As for the water issue, washing hands is meant to be done only before prayer services, the guy must have woken up from a period of sleep and needed to perform the blessing! Have you been to Israel since then? I hope any other trip proves better. I’ve always found there to be a great hospitality in Israel. I never spend a single shabbat alone, and at every house and occasion met friends for life. Some people don’t know how to ‘handle’ sabras but like the sabra flower itself they are generally sweet under the prickly exterior.

    Being a male, I guess I’ve had an easier time around Hasidic men. I hear similar stuff all the time about them brushing off or shunning non-Hasidic girls really coldly. In Israel, that community has problems that seriously annoy me – they don’t like working or earning a livelihood which I think is a totally un-Jewish idea. Hasidim and non-Hasidic orthodox in America and Britain don’t suffer from half the same problems, as they are not as deliberately isolated. They do business just like anybody else.

  139. I’ll give you an example.
    The army phoned many houses. In some cases instead of evacuating, the people got up on the flat roofs so the airforce would see them. In such instances, the pilot would count how many people were on the roof. He counted seven people. He then dropped a sound device on the roof to scare them away. They would run off. He would make sure that he counted seven people running away – that all had been accounted for. Then he would drop the load. If all the people hadnt been accounted for, he would abort.

  140. thesystemworks

    Unfortunately, what Norma describes is typical Hassidic behaviour. They always act as though their needs are above everyone else’s. Women are invisible to them, therefore they show no courtesy or politeness. They’re not allowed to sit between 2 women on a plane or bus. They always have to “rush around” to show that they arent being idle. For “normal” people their behaviour does come across as being plain rude, although I’m sure in their own community they’re perceived differently.

  141. Bock – You are a terrorist and I will kill you before you kill many others.
    I could have killed you already, but I dont want any innocents to be killed with you.
    Let the innocents go so their lives will be spared.

  142. Bock, you’re repeating yourself with your 157. My God, you’re a handsome divil!

  143. OK. That’s good fun, but will you please address the real point I made in my response to you.

    That comment was a paraphrasing of your position.

    if you think it was wrong, please point out the difference between what I said and your actual view.

  144. Bock (157) – Yes – it IS my fault, for not preventing my own death! I think that that’s also very simple – why don’t you understand that? That doesn’t mean that you didn’t kill me, and have to bear whatever responsibility is appropriate. But if I was given the opportunity to flee and didn’t, it’s my fault. Of course, if I have the opportunity and am then stopped by someone else, then THAT person is at fault, as well as you as above.

  145. I have some questions if anyone can answer them, i would appreciate it.
    1. If the State of Israel is a Jewish State, does it offer privlige to Jews within that state and to the Diaspora, through the “Law of return ” ?
    2. Does this State exclude Arabs from its resources and benefits ?
    3. Does anyone believe that when you start using religious or moral justification to form a State, you have entered a logical minefield ?
    4.The idea that the Jews have the” right to return ” after 2,000 years but the Arabs do not have the “right to return ” after 60 years, is the right based on the length of the absence ?
    5.Is Palestine presently based in 22% of historical Palestine, the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, the remaining 78% being The State of Israel.
    6.Are there almost half a million Jewish settlers in that 22 % excluding Gaza ?
    7..Are many of these settlers armed and holding fanatical messianic beliefs ?
    8.Does Israels main water source lie in the West Bank ?
    9. Are Arabs excluded from working at the following, due to “security related issues” Rafael Armaments authority, The nuclear reactor at Dimona, Israei Aircrafts Ind, El Al and all airports, The Mekorot water co,
    the Electricity corp, the state textile ind and the Bank of Israel.
    10.Whereas prior to 1948 when most Palestinian rural families relied on agriculture, what has happened to their livlihoods since the State conficated their lands and passed them to Jewish settlers who recieve big subsidies on water and can farm intensivly?
    11. The report by Adva in 2004 found that the 36 worst black spots for unemployment were all Arab areas, that the majority of Palestinans in these areas were now dependent on Jewish settler farmers for casual labouring work on land previously owned by these same unemployed Palestinians, The State had been “pumping money” into these farms given to settlers via a system of ” national priority zones ” Is that true, and if so Is that acceptable ?
    Question no 10 is specifically directed toward Israeli. Some1 and System.

  146. If a man with a gun offers me the opportunity to run away, and I don’t do so, then I’m at fault when he shoots me.

    That is a severely warped outlook.

  147. Gary, its funny you mentioned the cavalry.
    Yesterday, Sky News reported a romantically-sounding incident about the Gazan cavalry riding on horseback, plus 4 Palestinians being killed. For the average reader: Israelis on another killing rampage.

    What they didnt report is the truth. Gazan terrorists took advantage of foggy conditions to attack Israeli soldiers at a Gaza checkpoint. They probably planned to kidnap a soldier or two. They had a truckload of horses who had explosive belts strapped onto them. There were also a couple of terrorists with suicide explosive belts on their bodies. The soldiers’ suspicions were aroused and as the terrorists came closer they opened fire on the soldiers. The soldiers returned fire and the terrorists started to retreat. Helicopters were called in and 4 terrorists were killed.
    Will someone please write a letter to the UN to complain about this downright abuse of animals. How could anyone blow up horses?

  148. Israeli — You don’t have the option of selecting who you reply to. Please address the point I made.

  149. Bock, I’m sure you’d run away if you knew you were a terrorist, were responsible for deaths and maimings and that you had it coming to you.

  150. Norma (149) – Well, that helps to explain some of your negativity rubbing off against Jews in general. I’m sorry that that happened to you.

    How has this post moved from Israel/settler bashing to Chasid bashing? (BTW, it’s a Chassid, not a Chassidic). I don’t know where to start here. It’s true that a religious Jew is not supposed to sit between two women, or even next to one that’s not his wife or close relative. But it’s not like they’re going to melt if they do – they just try to avoid it. And they’re not always moving around to keep busy – often, they’re sitting quietly learning Torah. About being rude – yes, they can be, maybe more often to non-Jews, and even secular Jews – I don’t know how universal that is.

    TSW (155) – It’s not fair to say that all Chassidim don’t work to earn a livelihood. Certain Chassidic groups, like Ger, have a very developed work ethic, And more and more religious are entering the workforce out of necessity. The whole Torah world is suffering here now, both because of less govt. subsidies, and less fundraising due to the world recession. Even without that, people work if they have to.

  151. Chasid bashing? Listen, it’s lucky I don’t close the whole fucking thing down for irrelevance, including references to the Chasidim.

    By the way, this didn’t start out as settler-bashing. It started as a questioning of settlement policy. Don’t try to spin this post. You won’t get away with it.

  152. System and Israeli; I have Jewish friends, We argue and debate heatedly, but they are very loyal and yes, very sweet and some of them even live in Ireland.
    Equally I have Arab friends, we too debate and disagree, they too are sweet and loyal.
    No arguement from me but that Israel is fascinating, I doubt i will ever return as from recently, but for no reason other than things have changed very dramatically within my own family and i will need to be close to home at all times.
    It would sincerly mean a lot for me to see peace there in my lifetime.
    The egg thing ? must not have been kosher chickens, bock bock bock !

  153. Bock, I think that Israeli IS trying to answer you, just not as directly as I did. It’s not as simple a question in the terrorist scenario as you’re making it out to be. My answer in not warped – you just don’t agree, or understand the subtlety of it. Actually, it’s really not so subtle – you are responsible for killing me (although you may be justified), and I am responsible for letting myself be killed. It’s really simple.

    Um, listen, Bock – you can’t keep letting people go off topic, and perpetuate it yourself, and then get angry when it goes farther than you want, or you can’t get people to agree with you! Well, you can, it being your site – but it’s not really fair. Either stop it earlier, or let it go.

  154. Sorry. Reality check.

    Let’s be clear about something.

    If somebody shoots me, they’re responsible.

    Not me.

  155. Israel,
    I have to agree with Bock here, now matter how you dress it, he who deliberately pulls the trigger against civilians is a murderer. Now can you tell me that there were no special forces waiting for him to come out then to take him down if he fled? Else how would they know whether there was anyone there in the first place?
    If they didn’t know whether anyone had left before letting the bombs fly, then they were in breach of every convention known to man, therefore also in breach of their own laws, not to mention in breach of simple morality.
    If they did know that no-one had left, they were also in breach by deliberatley bombing civilians, No matter what way you dress it It was wrong, simply wrong.

    If you cannot see this then we are all totally wasting our time even discussing with you.

  156. It’s irrelevant what else they knew. If they knew civilians were in the house, they had no right to bomb it.

    That was a crime by any standards.

  157. Bock; 175 responses to the “settler ” topic, thats pretty phenomonal, even though its diverted and digressed, and i admit i needed a good distraction presently, I must’nt forget to thank you.
    Gary; don’t go putting ideas in the heads of the “criminal element ” in this country, because if they can’t afford beemers in our recesion, they always seem to have an endless supply of horses.
    sorry bock thats really going off topic, using your site to distract myself, i’m ashamed.

  158. I’m keeping a close eye on this discussion. If I don’t like the direction it takes, I’ll close it down.

    Right now, it’s still in the region of civilised debate, but if I think it’s straying outside those boundaries, I’ll switch it off.

  159. some1lovesu: Yes, its true many Hasidim have a work ethic, its good to clarify that about those like the Ger dynasty.

    Norma: Lot of questions there, and Bock will go nuts if we go WAY off the topic of this post even more. But hey, I’ll answer some stuff anyway.

    The Law of Return has unfortunately proved to be a historic necessity for Yemeni, Russian and Ethiopian Jews among others. It is a ‘fast track’ to citizenship for Jews, but Israel does not preclude non-Jews from becoming citizens and has a naturalisation process similar to the US. Interestingly (this is on Alan Dershowitz’s The Case for Israel) for over 50 years German immigration law followed the official definition that ”members of the German people are those that have committed themselves in their homeland to Germanness (Deutschtum), in as far as this commitment is confirmed by certain facts such as descent, language, upbringing or culture’. Many other countries have similar arrangements – the Irish Constitution claims the Irish State represents members of the ‘Irish Nation’ i.e. the Irish diaspora but has done little to follow it up. Most Arab countries work by a process that favours immigrants from other Arab countries or those of Arab origin but specifically exclude Palestinians (the great stick to beat Israel)

  160. Can you elucidate what law of return there is for people who were kicked out to make room for the new Israeli nation?

  161. Bock Great !fame at last! For me that is, well at least in Israel. It has done wonderful things for my ego Norma you are a mere woman and a Gentile what could you possibly expect #149.
    Jesus Christ was a devote Jew, Islam claim decent from Abraham . Logically all are sects of Judaism. So what are you fighting about? It might be an idea to actually read what is written prior to hitting the keyboard folks and I am not referring to just my posts. However again I have had enough of this nonsense and shall away. This time I mean it Some1lovesU. Live long.

  162. Bock (175) – I agree that if someone shoots me, their responsible (but, like I said, possibly justified). I don’t agree that if I could have saved myself and didn’t, I’m not – I ALSO am. I think we should leave it at that, that we just dissagree (unless you’re still trying to clarify what Israeli thinks).

    Great Zucchini – welcome. You make a good point about the special forces. They obviously knew that he was in there, and maybe could have waited for him to come out. Must have been a reason that they didn’t. Maybe they didn’t know that the family was in there too, although that’s unlikely. More likely is that they knew, warned them to get out, and when they didn’t, judged them to have switched from innocent civilian to, for want of a better word, collaborators, or at least sympathizers, and therefore, worthy of a similar fate, or at least having it not be illegal. I’m just hypothesizing – we should really research what exactly happened, which must be known pretty well, since an investigation must have been done on such a well publicized event.

    I really have to stop now – it’s 3:30 in the morning, and I hear the early morning call to the Muslims for one of their five-times-a-day prayers – time for me to go to sleep!

    Norma (165) – Hope I’ll get a chance to respond, if nobody else does.

    Gary (182) – I don’t believe it – (almost) sure we’ll see you again…

  163. Norma
    1. There are seventy-odd Muslim states, 22 Arab states and several Islamic states. The League of Nations (in 1920- something) decided that Israel would become a state for the Jewish people. The land population was very sparse. Britain’s Balfour Declaration also decided that Israel would be a homeland for the Jews. Israel has declared it a duty to allow any Jew to live in Israel, through the “right of return”.
    2. No. Israeli Arabs have the same rights as Jews. They can vote, they have free state of the art medical care, education, social benefits such as National Insurance, Unemplyment benefit, maternity benefits etc., etc., etc.,
    3. A difficult question. Spain expelled all of its Jews about 500 years ago. Around the time of Israel’s conception about 800,000 Jews were either expelled or tormented into leaving Muslim countries: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Yemen, West Bank, Gaza. They had to abandon all their possessions and property. The total value of lost Jewish assets is esimated to be about $100 billion, plus land totalling about seven times the area of Israel. All these assets were gobbled up by the various Muslim countries.
    To answer your question, Jews were sick of being persecuted and wanted their own homeland. The dream of returning to Zion and Jerusalem was always a central part of Judaism.
    Someone coined it “A land with no people for a people with no land”.
    4. No its not about length of absence. Its because many Arabs didnt want to live side by side with the Jews and chose to war. The United Nations put forward a partition plan dividing half of the land for the Jews and half for the Arabs. The Jews agreed but the Arabs rejected it. Instead they attacked the Jews with the help of
    Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
    Therefore, Israel doesnt feel obliged to welcome any Arabs back into Israel.

    5. No.
    Britain who controlled the Palestinian Mandate promised all of Historical Palestine to the Jews.
    However, eventually 75% of Historical Palestine was given to the Arabs and only 25% was given to the Jews. The Arab 75% was renamed Transjordan and later Jordan.
    The Arab Palestinians started launching murderous attacks on the Jewish Palestinians, notably the Hebron massacre of 1929 and the “arab revolt” .
    The situation between the Jews and Arabs in the 25% region deteriorated and the UN presented the Partition Plan to divide the 25% in half – 12.5% for the Arabs and 12.5% for the Jews. The Jews agreed but the Arabs rejected it.
    After the 1948 war, the Jews were left with a little over what the UN Partition Plan proposed. Transjordan took over the West Bank and Egypt took over the Gaza Strip.
    In effect, the Arabs ended up with nearly 85% of Historical Palestine and the Jews with 15%.
    The West Bank and Gaza is about 10% of Historical Palestine.

    Its past 3.30 in the morning here and I’m off to bed. Will continue another time.

  164. Bock, I’ve tried several times to address your posts.
    I dont seem to be able to grasp, fathom your line of thinking.
    Your point of view seems very clear to you and you cant understand mine, while my point of view seems very clear to me and I cant understand yours.
    I’m not dodging, ducking or avoiding. Perhaps I’m dense.

  165. Bock & Zucchini
    Still here!
    I think our difference lies in my assumption that the army were reasonable sure there werent any civilians in the house against your assumption that they KNEW that there WERE civilians present.

    Knowingly killing the civilians is a crime.
    However, bombing the house while being reasonably sure there were no civilians present, only to be proved wrong, is very very unfortunately, but not a crime.
    Its the INTENT that is important, even though that intent cannot bring back a life.
    Having said that, I still cannot forgive the bugger for not saving his family.

  166. Israeli – thanks for answering Norma (didn’t read it yet), and trying to answer Bock. I answered him pretty clearly – do you agree with my answer (143, 164, 174, 183)?

    There’s a long Wiki article on the UN Partition Plan for Palestine – talks also about population transfer.

    Here go the Muslim Muzain again. Good night, Israeli. Good night, all.

  167. Yes, what about Ireland’s Right of Return?

    My children, including my daughter who is an officer in the IDF, are fully entitled to receive Irish passports and citizenship because their grandparents, God rest their souls, are Irish. Good ol’ Eire!!!

  168. System ; I don’t think the majority of my questions are off topic because they all lead back to the “settler ” question.
    With regard Law of Return, It is my understanding that all it gives all Jews the right to Israeli citizenship, while at the same time denying it to the expelled indigenous population of Palestinian refugees.
    In Halakhic law, the theological edicts of the orthodox Rabbinate, only the children of a Jewish mother are considered Jews. That is the official position in Israel, where the state gives official standing only to Orthodox stream of Judaism, to the exclusion of other mainstreams such as Reform and Conservative.
    But according to the Law of Return a Jew is defined as anyone with one Jewish Grandparent.
    1 million russian Jews were granted citizenship in the early 90’s after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
    Jews of non halakhic status are not allowed to marry Jews of halakic status.
    The stranglehold of the Orthodox Rabbinates on the bureaucracy of the Israeli Interior Ministry means there is no civil marriage, and you cannot be identified as an Atheist or Agnostic, People can only marry members of the same sect, people marrying into different sects have to go to Cyprus.
    So whereas non halakic Jews are somewhat restricted, they are still afforded citizenship.
    One cannot avoid thinking that the Law of Return exists only to increase Israels demographic strength against its Arab neighbours.
    There exists absolutly no Law of Return in any form for evicted Palestinian refugees, despite there holding of legal title deeds to their property.

  169. some1lovesu
    Yes I definitely agree with your posts! I think we’re just on the other side of the fence from Bock.

    I think if Jordan took back control of the West Bank, Hussein wouldnt allow rocket attacks into Israel. We’ve always had good relations with Jordan and Hussein wouldnt want to jeopardize the status quo. If its a question of Hamas or Jordan controlling the West Bank, I’d opt for Jordan.
    Its been really nice “talking” to you and I’ve enjoyed this blog.

  170. Israel gives more rights to Sufi Muslims than it gives to Reform Judaism! ‘Progressive’ Judaism has never really garnered much support in Israel anyway. Hope it never does. While it may be better than having half the population completely secular, it is no good offering them watered-down Judaism to replace it.

    The Orthodox Rabbinate indeed only marry Jews to Jews. Only Orthodox conversions are recognised, yet those who converted in more liberal streams can still avail of the Law of Return. The Law of Return has not been altered on demand from the orthodox establishment. It welcomes Masorti, Progressive and Orthodox Jews, as well as messianic Jews (something the rabbinate voiced a lot of concern about). Those who converted under orthodox auspices or from all the other streams. Ashkenazi or Sephardic Jews are welcomed. The Law of Return essentially catches the widest possible definition of ‘Jew’ and is not subject to the rabbis – and I like it.

  171. System; You still have’nt explained why Palestinians are excluded from the Law of Return.
    Sufi Muslims are all about the peace the poetry and the music, not viewed as a security threat.

  172. Israeli,
    You said: Knowingly killing the civilians is a crime. However, bombing the house while being reasonably sure there were no civilians present, only to be proved wrong, is very very unfortunately, but not a crime.
    Its the INTENT that is important, even though that intent cannot bring back a life.

    Despite the fact that I disagree that no-one knew they were there, that is irrelevant.
    I’m saying the intent is irrelevant,
    Innocent civilians have been killed, someone killed them, a crime has been commited.
    Are you seriously saying that it isn’t a crime to kill innocent people because it wasn’t meant to happen? Everyone else in the world that signed up to the conventions mentioned above, including your own government, disagrees with you.
    Every crook in the world has used that excuse “I didn’t mean it to happen”, it still is a crime.

  173. Zucchini 194
    I disagree with you.
    I’ve never heard of another army in the world, that IN THE MIDDLE OF A WAR, telephones to say “everybody get out”.

  174. Wish I knew. I know why you’re asking this here – to show that transfer is not a good policy (without asking first, that is).

    I’m trying to find which terrorist we’re all talking about here – Hilo? Rayyan? Does anybody know?

  175. Israeli — There’s a difference between something done in the middle of a war and something done in the heat of battle. Even in the middle of a war it’s possible to commit cold-blooded murder.

    I would remind you that many crimes were committed in the middle of a war, as you ought to know very well.

  176. Israeli,
    I wasn’t going to discuss semantics as I think that they are totally irrelevant in this case, and I apologise in advance Bock but I’m going to feed it just once.

    We’ll be cold and logical about this.
    First off telephoning ahead is irrelevant. That doesn’t kill or not kill. Dropping the package is what does that.

    There are only a few possible scenarios. if you want to discuss them here we go:

    Scenario 1. You know that the person is in the house either by Intelligence or by Local Special Forces with a direct line of sight. You make a telephone call to the house warning of a bomb. This is done for any number of reasons, Giving the Israeli forces the benefit of the doubt we’ll say it is to flush the target into the open to deal with them using the forces on the ground, thereby minimising the risk to innocents. If this is what is intended then the forces on the ground waiting for the target to be flushed out can confirm that the target and civilians are still inside the building. Therefore you can’t drop the package, you know there are innocents inside, it is a crime to do so “knowingly” (Your words).

    Scenario 2:
    There is in fact no-one on the ground to determine the targets location (this I don’t believe, Israeli security intelligence is probably the best in the world, and how would anyone know which house to ring in the first place). Ignoring this and back to the scenario, If you want the target that bad, telephoning ahead allows the target to escape, you know this but you make the call, therefore you must assume the target has left. You can’t then drop the package. Apart from the risk of collateral/innocent civilian loss in breach of all of the conventions which as Bock Stated above already form part of Israeli law. It’s firing blind, its murder and a crime. Its also a terrible waste of resources, the target should in all conscience be gone. It would be a crime to do so as “Knowingly” anyone now left behind are innocents.

    Scenario 3: You telephone ahead. The target won’t go outside maybe out of belligerence or maybe just in fear of any possible forces mentioned in Scenario 1: You already know that there are innocents in the house (you know which house to ring from your intelligence, it’s your job to know the target under the law prior to dropping the package) but you drop the package anyway. This breaches all of the conventions, is a crime under Israeli law.

    Scenario 4: You just don’t care who dies. You try to justify this with “The ends justify the means”. You make a perfunctorily phone call to be able to put your hand on your heart and prove to the world how caring you were, how you gave everyone a chance and then fire off the package without a care for the collateral damage to innocents. This is in breach of all of the conventions, therefore under Israeli law, a crime.

    If I’ve left anything out I’m sorry but this is the last time I’m discussing the semantics and to be honest I don’t know why I did. Your belligerence (or maybe deliberate obtuseness) is getting to me, to be honest your attempts at justification disgust me. That’s my failing.

    I cannot see any scenario where dropping the package is not a crime.

  177. We could discuss ad infinitum why civilians are killed, even those harbouring in the company of a known “terrorist” and i use that term without the usual conotations.
    When a tank and armed forces pulls up in front of a house, with the intent to destroy, it becomes a very fine line between seige and war.
    Different rules of engagement apply, Surely the IDF had the capacity and technology and wherewithal to make arrests or at least protect the lives of civilians.
    Why then in the last assault on Gaza were the civilian casualties so astronomically high, This “war” as the Israelis like to call it, was carried out in a very small overcrowded area, Will the war crimes which were identified be addressed in the Hague ?
    Europe and the US will assist in rebuilding Gaza but will they bring to task those people who broke all lagel convention ?
    Some people call it ” war ” some people called it ” shooting fish in a barrel “

  178. Seems like we ARE discussing this ad infinitum. And it’s not even about settlements anymore. I’m sorry, but I think this is getting a little out of hand myself. I’m not even going to comment on Great Zuchini right now, although (s)he seems to be really putting a lot of effort into contributing to this, albeit late. But cold-blooded murder, fine line between seige and war, could have arrested and protected, astronomically high civilian casualties, “war”, bring them to the Hague, broke all legal convention, and to top it off, calling it “shooting fish in a barrel”. I’m a little tired of this armchair free-for-all tribunal. Or maybe I’m just tired, like you were writing an earlier post. Everybody wants to have the last word, thinking that that makes them the winner. Maybe I’ll respond to GZ later.

  179. ‘Armchair tribunal’ is the right word. I’d like to see some of these people called up for combat in Gaza and see whether they feel it is like ‘shooting fish in a barrel’.

  180. System; I can only speak for myself, but if i was Israeli and “called up for combat in Gaza” I would be a ” refusnik”
    Therefore i would be in jail.
    Some1; I did not proffer an opinion, i asked some questions which abounded at the time, maybe you would offer the courtesy of re reading prior to condeming.
    There are no winners, no last word, just contributions, it’s called free speech while abiding by Bocks criteria.
    ” armchair tribunal ” could apply to one and all, except there is no result, bit like the tribunals we are so familiar with here.

  181. Abdul; Are you out looking for “the mattress”
    Do you think there might be a huge security wall around that dumpsite by now ?
    If some1 finds it , maybe you will be in for a bit of commission ?

  182. Hah, Norma, can’t talk, am en route to Tel Aviv as we speak. T’is in a rubbish tip close to the Dead Sea I hear.Shalom everyone…………

  183. Take off that chador Abdul, they’ll never let you past security, although i’m sure you look fetching in it.
    make sure you hav a window seat…

  184. Nice to see a little sense of humor returning here.

    Bock (203) – I’m pretty sure System was being hypothetical…

  185. Watch Michael Jackson singing his song “Heal the World”. We’re all trying to do this, or at least talking about this here, even if we don’t agree how to go about it. Watch in HQ.

    This is the official “military” version – a lot of footage from Israel.

    This starts with an amazing solo ballet dancer, dancing with a blue world ball (poor sound quality after that – skip it). Mexico.

    And this was live at the superbowl in Pasedena, CA – just amazing.

  186. some1lovesu and system

    I wholeheartedly agree with your posts 201 202

    But I wouldnt invite anyone here to combat in Gaza. Instead I’d invite them to sit in Sderot with their families for a couple of months while the rockets are falling around them. Oops a leg blown off here, an arm there. “Never mind, let him hop to school and she’s right-handed anyway”.
    As you said, a real arm-chair tribunal.
    Imagine how belligerent Zucchini would feel after the first 100 hundred rockets.

  187. Abdul,

    If you didnt find the mattress, would look like to rendezvous at dawn for a search at the khiriya?
    Bring a pitch-fork and gas-mask :)

  188. I’m not going to re-run the Gaza / Sderot debate, which is entirely spurious.

    What this post proves is that it’s impossible to mention any part of Israeli policy without people bringing in their entire politicial ideology, and without raising the most unlikely comparisons to justify their actions.

    Comments will be closed shortly, so if anyone wants to leave a final comment, please do it now and please let it be something constructive.

  189. Thanks for letting this go as long as it has. Is this the longest post? It’s hard to focus on one part of this or any complicated issue, as you yourself have shown here by diverting and allowing diversions. But I hear you – I think some of us just disagree about certain things, and can’t change the others, not for obvious lack of trying.

    See you all again on another post (maybe!). Check out the MJ videos (209) – they basically express the ultimate hope that I think we all share.

    BTW – I bought a music CD called “Celtic in Jerusalem”, by two violinists and a guitarist (Alina, Anna and Alexander – all Russian, I think). They are street musicians here in Jerusalem on Ben Yehuda street. Beautiful stuff – anybody interested?

  190. Ultimately, a debate like this becomes a trial on Israel itself – to exist, defend itself or act as a state for the Jewish people. Your right, everybody did divert to argue these.

  191. Many thanks to everyone, especially Bock for his tolerance.
    It was informative, fraustrating, relevent, insightful, humerous in parts, illogical, logical, ultimatly, Bock has provided a forum here for us people of the world to express, debate and question, where else has one person created such an individual space for all of us to have our say, Thanks.

  192. There’s a LOT of blogs and sites out there, some maybe similar. But there’s only one Bock.

    Hey – maybe instead of the F word I see a lot here, how about changing it to a B word – like “that’s bocking crazy”, “that’s bocking terrific”, “bock you”! or WTB (What The Bock?) – (still waiting to read about the significance of your name…)

  193. Well all I can say in the end is that I hope the problem under discussion finds a solution sometime in our lifetimes. Although I fear that will never happen until the peoples on both sides stop listening to their leaders, and listen to their hearts instead.

    I hate to think that our grandchildren might end up debating this same thing 50 years from now.
    Thanks to all involved and to Bock for providing the forum, best of luck to all and take care.

  194. If any of you ever come to Israel, look me up (not my real name, obviously – contact me here).

  195. Just one last link for a brief summary of the Top Ten Myths about the Middle East, including settlements (but not civilian casualties). Someone just sent it to me, so I thought I’d pass it on. Not to encourage more discussion here – just for continued contemplation. Thanks, Bock.

    Do you have a posting on general Irish music appreciation? It’s got somewhat of a following here.

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