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  1. #11
    filghy2 Silver Poster
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    Default Re: Israel: Turn Right for the Abyss

    Quote Originally Posted by broncofan View Post
    The final point is that people want to know what Palestinians can do militarily against a country that is better armed. Before anyone could even attempt to justify the killing of civilians to achieve a political or military objective there has to be a probability greater than zero that it achieves that objective. Otherwise, it's not Machiavellian. It's pure sadism if it can't succeed.
    Most likely the primary objective was to derail the normalisation of relations between Israel and Arab countries (which has ignored the Palestinian issue). In this they may well succeed. If an indiscrimate Israeli response causes widespread death and suffering to innocent Palestinians it will be very hard for the Saudis to continue the process.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...alestine-hamas

    The idea that ends justify any means is morally repugnant, but it's important to understand motives rather than dismissing it as senseless violence. This was Hamas's way of shattering complacent assumptions in Israel and elsewhere that Palestinians could continue to be mistreated or ignored without much risk of blowback.

    Of course, the Israeli response will only increase suffering for Palestinians in the immediate future. Hamas is cynically calculating that this will gain it more support. Disrupting Arab-Israeli normalisation won't necessarily help the Palestinians either. But I can understand the concern about Arab governments giving Israel what it wants without extracting any meaningful concessions on Palestinian rights.

    The basic problem here is that there are too many players on both sides who think that there interests are best served by conflict. Perhaps there is a limit to what outside governments can do, but they could certainly do more to change the benefit-cost calculation. One of the reasons Israel has been so intransigent is that the US never makes it pay any price for it's behaviour.


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    Last edited by filghy2; 10-10-2023 at 03:38 AM.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: Israel: Turn Right for the Abyss

    I agree. I definitely agree that Israeli intransigence is caused by the U.S. providing vetoes for obvious violations of international law. If I were Israeli I would want the international response to my government's behavior to be very sensitive to incentives. Build settlements in West Bank and immiserate Gazans, get sanctioned. Extend an olive branch, let there be diplomatic support and people not reading the most cynical imaginable motive into it.

    I think my analysis of Hamas' motives was just simplistic. I haven't thought strategically about it. But by the time Israel gets done bombing Gaza everyone is going to be gunshy for a while. I'm going just based on gut feel but I think this will end up being harmful to Palestinians. Yes maybe Arab States are gonna be scared off by Israel's response bc I think it's gonna be brutal. But I also think Israel's support went up in the West, particularly among people who don't pay a lot of attention to the conflict. Of course, Israel is not finished by a long shot and historically they haven't been long on restraint.

    Yes, change the cost-benefit situation is important if there's going to be an end to the conflict.


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  3. #13
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    Default Re: Israel: Turn Right for the Abyss

    Since 1967, but with more urgency after 1973, Israel's position has been to engage in bi-lateral negotiations with individual states, to reject any attempt at a regional settlement, on the basis it would be outnumbered by hostile actors and be forced to make concessions it thinks undermines the whole purpose of a Jewish State. Sadat's overtures to Israel after the October War of 1973 led to the 1979 treaty and became the template of the way Israel intended to go, negotiating with everyone it could find except the most obvious, the PLO. That Yitzhak Rabin did agree to the peace talks and eventually shake Arafat's hand, thus became the one bi-lateral agreement that involved the concessions which Nationalists like Sharon and Netanyahu believed were a betrayal of the fundamental cause. We are living with the consequences of their rejection.

    But what the Treaty did on the Palestinian side was also concede, in this case, territorial control of the West Bank, divided into zones which prevented the free movement of Palestinians, followed by the re-location of the Berlin Wall on land stolen from Palestinians which the Palestinian authority was powerless to prevent, and an aggressive expansion of Settlements, and in more recent years, the right of Settlers to arm themselves and kill any Arab they see as a threat, again with no effective response from the PA. One retired Arab former Minister, in the days when I met such people in the 1990s, told me bluntly: 'Arafat has betrayed every Arab'. The Peace Treaty, it was argued, gave the Palestinians nothing but humiliation and weakness.
    There are 'rejection fronts' of both sides, and it appears they are in control, or at least in Gaza.

    As for the international dimension, it has always been riven with contradictions: the Coalition of the Willing that formed to eject Iraq from Kuwait in 1990-91, but not Willing when it was Turkey in Northern Cyprus, or Israel in either the Jabal al-Jawlan or the West Bank, the US when Trump was President endorsing the annexation of Syrian territory, even as today it refuses to accept Russia's attempt to annex Ukraine. Azerbaijan annexes Nagorno-Karabagh, India annexes Kashmir, and nobody can, or wants to do anything about it; and one assumes there are Serbian Nationalists who can't understand the existence of Kosovo and want the territory returned to them- if necessary, by force. In other words, there is no consistency. And I assume the same Republicans who want the US to stop funding the Ukraine on the basis it is a foreign war of no interest to the US will use increased funding and military support for Israel as some kind of litmus test of its 'Values'. Nikki Haley appears to think an attack on Israel is an attack on the US, a dangerous way to go.

    Nothing new here, just the same refusal by responsible people to make the hardest choices, when the hardest choice is peace and negotiation, rather than war and destruction. With so many hysterical reactions on all sides, the immediate hope for talks is remote if not impossible, but precisely what Netanyahu ought to be doing, at least until he is forced out of office as some now predict. But that also begs the question of HAMAS, given that they have no strategic purpose other than 'shock and awe' and no political plan for the future. But when 'Shock and Awe' is the daily bread, there is no appetite for progress. Or will this conflict produce another round of secret talks, maybe even in Oslo? Should one always hope for the best, lest it be replaced by the worst?



  4. #14
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    Default Re: Israel: Turn Right for the Abyss

    The worst thing about the grotesque, gruesome violence that has been taking place, is that if you go back in history there is a dismal record of such atrocities taking place, and there is not even any point in identifying who did what to whom, for the only consequence is despair. The Peace Treaty that was supposed to end this, was ended by the same people now screaming for their lives, as if the demolition of the Treaty meant something else, something better.

    Now consider Haley, the Comet blazing a trail to the White House -what she has said echoes what Menachem Begin said in 1982 when Israel invaded Lebanon vowing to destroy the PLO. He didn't live to see Israel shake hands with the PLO, and I don't doubt he would have condemned it, but what does Haley know, this ignorant, pathetic Republican more determined to use this grim episode in Israeli-Palestinian relations as part of her own campaign to be America's Chief Executive?

    Has she ever been to Gaza? And as for the question, What Rights to Palestinians Have? There seems to be no answer, or maybe it is that people are terrified of telling us what it is.



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  5. #15
    filghy2 Silver Poster
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    Default Re: Israel: Turn Right for the Abyss

    This is the same mindset that followed 9-11. If it was an attack on America does that mean that the US should get involved in another Middle Eastern war?

    I know Nikki Haley is a Ukraine supporter, but it's interesting that none of the Republicans opposing assistance to Ukraine seem to have any qualms about giving Israel whatever it wants. Wouldn't the same arguments apply? Isn't this another territorial dispute in a far away country? Isn't it also an intractible conflict with no end in sight? And why are Hamas's war crimes more abhorrent than Russia's?
    https://www.politico.com/news/magazi...e-aid-00120982


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  6. #16
    filghy2 Silver Poster
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    Default Re: Israel: Turn Right for the Abyss

    It's not only in America that this is happening.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...s-war-response

    As I said, this is very reminiscent of the post-9/11 mentality that led to the Iraq invasion. The same strident demands that people be as gung-ho as possible in backing Israel. The same equating of those concerned about Palestinian civilians as being soft on terrorism.


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  7. #17
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    Default Re: Israel: Turn Right for the Abyss

    To which one makes the dismal point that the response to 9/11 was the war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban Govt of Afghanistan that nurtured them and allowed them to use their country to organize the attacks.

    After the fall of the Taliban in 2002 Tony Blair crowed in the House of Commons about the success of the campaign which some people had opposed at the time -where are the Taliban now?



  8. #18
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    Default Re: Israel: Turn Right for the Abyss

    In his probably now little read book, Power and the Pursuit of Peace, Harry Hinsley, discussing the First World War, makes a distinction between the causes of war, and the occasion which sparks off the fighting. The assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria may have occasioned the war, but the cause of the war is now accepted to be Imperial Germany's ambition to dominate Europe.

    I make this point to suggest that while the atrocity carried out by HAMAS last Saturday, and it's continuing violations of international law, decency and pretty much everything else, has occasioned the present war, it is not its cause.

    The cause, I suggest is the rejection of the Oslo Peace process that appeared to culminate in the 1993 Treaty between Israel and the PLO. However unsatisfactory it was for the Palestinians, who agreed to the demarcation of the West Bank into Zones which by definition diluted its actual authority, for those Israelis who have been in Govt since, Yitzhak Rabin betrayed Israel merely by negotiating with them.

    It was no surpise that Ariel Sharon rejected peace in favour of war, given that he dedicated his entire life to killing Arabs on the basis that they could never, and never should be trusted, and that in ideological terms, his agenda of 'Jewish Nationalism' by definition meant that a Jewish State could not, and should not admit non-Jews, something that Netanyahu has tried to enshrine in law. Whether or not this makes Israel a Fascist state one can debate. Without doubt, some of the militant terrorists in the Mandate period, such as Avraham Sterm, trained in the camp at Civitavecchia set up by Mussolini, whom Stern regarded as the kid of leader he wanted to be.

    It has been a contentious issue within Israel, because when Ben-Gurion issued the Declaration of the State of Israel in 1948, and in the absence of a written Constitution, it stood for many years as a definition of what Israel wanted to be, it guaranteed minority rights, whereas the rejectionist militants of Likud and its fanatical partners in Govt take the view that all forms of negotiation are appeasement, all forms of compromise betrayal. Netanyahu lives in an either/or world in which Palestinians either accept what Israel offers, or they are dismissed as irrelevant.

    It means that with no hope of peace being a priority -and I can't recall a single external power outside the region putting any pressure on Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians, the Palestinians have actually found that the 'land for peace' they thought was in the 1993 Treaty, has meant land for Settlers, not them. The weakness of the PA has undermined Palestinians, but now consider this:

    Grooming. I propose that with his rejection of peace, Netanyahu has Groomed HAMAS and Islamic Jihad to take precisely the military actions that we have seen. He has in effect dared them to take on Israel at what Israel believes it is invincible: war, and I don't doubt that Israel will wage war without mercy, and without caring one way or another who lives or who dies, even though it will fail to destroy HAMAS or any other Palestinian group, or the tunnels which will be re-built in 5 or ten years time, because this occasion does not deal with the cause, and the cause is the refusal by Israel to embrace diversity, and to accept that Israelis and Arabs share the same land and must share it equally.

    Other than the causes, is there any material difference between Netanyahu, Bashar al-Assad, or Vladimir Putin? Absolute contempt for international law, absolute determination to get what they want with maximum violence, absolute contempt for human life. That anyone supports such people is the measure of how far we are from 1945 and that now empty phrase 'Never Again'. After all, would the world be cursed by HAMAS if they were not given a cause to fight for, and groomed by their enemy to do it?

    Still worth reading if you have the time
    Power and the Pursuit of Peace: Theory and Practice in the History of Relations Between States: Amazon.co.uk: Hinsley: 9780521094481: Books


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  9. #19
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    Default Re: Israel: Turn Right for the Abyss

    Quote Originally Posted by filghy2 View Post
    The same equating of those concerned about Palestinian civilians as being soft on terrorism.
    Someone who does this should lose credibility for all time. I could not have been more sensitive to the atrocity carried out by Hamas and yet was worried in advance about the Israeli response. Netanyahu has proved many of my worst fears correct and he risks an enormous catastrophe by fucking with Gaza's electrical supply and water supply to try to get leverage for hostage release. He is basically holding the entire Gaza strip hostage, turning it into an inferno for civilians, and killing at least as many civilians as militants. Biden should have immediately condemned the denial of basic services to Gaza as a war crime and I think every other country should too.

    There are people who are talking about defense and rights to defense. There are ways to fight militants embedded within civilian populations without bombing large buildings or cutting off utilities to the entire population and they are more costly to your forces but they would not be obvious collective punishment.

    After the massacre by Hamas, Netanyahu could have tried to secure the country against any further attacks (the dead are dead and can't be revived by killing), and then tried to galvanize international support. There are a lot of things he could have done that would not have been capitulation at all but would not have been vengeance based.



  10. #20
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    Default Re: Israel: Turn Right for the Abyss

    Quote Originally Posted by broncofan View Post
    After the massacre by Hamas, Netanyahu could have tried to secure the country against any further attacks (the dead are dead and can't be revived by killing), and then tried to galvanize international support. There are a lot of things he could have done that would not have been capitulation at all but would not have been vengeance based.
    It is not in Netanyahu's character to show any sign of compassion or compromise or even think of negotiating with Palestinians unless they know in advance they will be required to give something up for nothing in return. Israel is dealing with decades, not so much of the 'iron wall' -the one with holes in it- but an 'iron will' which refuses to accept that Palestinians must have an equal stake in the future of the land between the river and the sea. It is the argument you can find in hundreds of pamphlets, articles and books that says quite simply -'Jordan is Palestine', or 'there are lots of Arab countries the Palestinians can live in, they should go'. For what it's worth I used to know a Jordanian nationalist who argued it was time for Palestinians to leave Jordan and go back across the river.

    The whole point of the Oslo Peace Talks and the Treaty of 1993, was that the two sides did negotiate, they did treat each other as equals, they did commit to a new paradigm, but it scared the shit out Sharon and his Myrmidons who made the fateful decision to first oppose, and then destroy that process and that promise of a better future.

    We are all living with the mistakes made since the assassination of Rabin, and while I think a lot of Israelis can now see how Netanyahu and people like him have led the country into its most serious military conflict since, if not 2006 then 1973, and want him gone, I don't see or so far have heard few voices arguing for another paradigm shift, also known as a practical solution.

    If it gets really bad, and it will be bad, what will the Saudis do? For some time the Arabs have abandoned the Palestinians to their fate, but if some fanatic attacks either the al-Aqsa Mosque or the Mosque of Omar, all bets are off. It could in theory, if MbS insists his long term aim to normalize relations with Israel is still on, force a change in the Kingdom -after all, he is not the King yet. Will the Arabs who signed that Trump-Kushner Business Deal called the 'Abraham Accords' stay mute on the sidelines, excepting Qatar which gives office space to HAMAS?



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