Daniel Levy: What Next on Israel/Gaza? Why Should Americans Care?

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daniel levy 2.jpgThis is a guest post by New America Foundation Middle East Task Force Co-Director Daniel Levy
For many people, what has happened today between Gaza and Israel may have all too familiar a ring to it – Israel warns and then retaliates to an alleged or real Palestinian escalation of violence, there is Arab condemnation and international exasperation, eventually things de-escalate but according to Israel’s timetable as the U.S. prevents effective early international mediation, and we’re back to where we started – with the addition of more blood and death (many innocent, some less so), more wounded and more shattered families.
Most of those involved, often including Israel, tend to regret things not coming to a halt sooner. The Israel Defense Forces with their modern weaponry try to pinpoint targets but invariably, predictably, and painfully there are plenty of “misses”; the Palestinians – well their weaponry is by definition more crude, they use what is available and the results are correspondingly messy and indiscriminate. Bottom line – Arabs and Jews are killing each other – so what’s new?
And why on earth would America want to be involved?
Here’s the bad news folks – America is involved, up to its eyeballs actually. Today, after Israeli air-strikes that killed over 200 Palestinians in Gaza, the Middle East is again seething with rage.
Recruiters to the most radical of causes are again cashing in. If Osama Bin Laden is indeed a cave-dweller these days then U.S. intel should be listening out for a booming echo of laughter. Demonstrations across the Arab world and contributors to the ever-proliferating Arabic language news media and blogosphere hold the U.S., and not just Israel, responsible for what happened today (and that is a position taken, for good reasons, by sensible folk, not hard-liners).
America’s allies in the region are again running for cover. America’s standing, its interests and security are all deeply affected. The U.S.-Israel relationship per se is not to blame (that is something I support), the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict is – and thankfully we can do something about that.
Why did today’s events occur?
The list of causes is a long one and of course depends who you are asking. Here are five of the most salient factors as I see them:

(1) Never forget the basics – the core issue is still an unresolved conflict about ending an occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state – everything has to start from here to be serious (this is true also for Hamas who continue to heavily hint that they will accept the 1967 borders).
(2) The immediate backdrop begins with the Israeli disengagement from Gaza of summer 2005, ostensibly a good move, except one that left more issues open than it resolved. It was a unilateral initiative, so there was no coordinating the ‘what happens next’ with the Palestinians. Gaza was closed off to the world, the West Bank remained under occupation and what had the potential to be a constructive move towards peace became a source of new tensions – something many of us pointed out at the time (supporting withdrawal from Gaza, opposing how it was done).
(3) U.S., Israeli and international policy towards Hamas has greatly exacerbated the situation. Hamas participated in and won democratic elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council in January 2006. Rather than test the Hamas capacity to govern responsibly and nurture Hamas further into the political arena and away from armed struggle, the U.S.-led international response was to hermetically seal-off Hamas, besiege Gaza, work to undemocratically overthrow the Hamas government and thereby allow Hamas to credibly claim that a hypocritical standard was being applied to the American democracy agenda.
American, Israeli and Quartet policy towards Hamas has been a litany of largely unforced errors and missed opportunities. Hamas poses a serious policy challenge and direct early U.S. or Israeli engagement let alone financial support was certainly not the way forward, but in testing Hamas, a division of labor within the Quartet would have made sense (European and U.N. engagement, for instance, should have been encouraged, not the opposite).
Every wrong turn was taken – Hamas were seen through the GWOT prism not as a liberation struggle, when the Saudi’s delivered a Palestinian National Unity Government in March 2007 the U.S. worked to unravel it, Palestinian reconciliation is still vetoed which encourages the least credible trends within Fatah, and unbelievably Egypt is given an exclusive mediation role with Hamas (Egypt naturally sees the Hamas issue first through its own domestic prism of concern at the growth of the Muslim Brothers, progress is often held hostage to ongoing Hamas-Egypt squabbles).
(4) Failure to build on the ceasefire. Israel is of course duty bound to defend and protect its citizens, so as the intensity of rocket fire in 2007-8 increased, Israel stepped up its actions against Gaza. But there was never much Israeli military or government enthusiasm for a full-scale conflict or ground invasion and eventually a practical working solution was found when both sides agreed to a six-month ceasefire on June 19th 2008. Neither side loved it. Both drew just enough benefit to keep going. That equation though was always delicately balanced.
For the communities of southern Israel which bore the brunt of the rocket attacks, notably Sderot, the ceasefire led to a dramatic improvement in daily life, and there were no Israeli fatalities during the entire period (only today, following the IDF strikes did a rocket hit the town of Netivot and kill one Israeli). Israel was though concerned about a Hamas arms build up and the entrenching of Hamas rule (which its policies have actually encouraged). For Gaza the calm meant less of an ongoing military threat but supplies of basic necessities into Gaza were kept to a minimum – just above starvation and humanitarian crisis levels – an ongoing provocation to Hamas and collective punishment for Gazans. The ceasefire needed to be solidified, nurtured, taken to the next level. None of this was done – the Quartet was busy with the deeply flawed Annapolis effort.
(5) A disaster was waiting to happen, and no-one was doing much about it. There was of course a date for the end of the ceasefire – December 19th. As that date approached both sides sought to improve their relative positions, to test some new rules of the game. Israel conducted a military operation on November 4th (yes, you had other things on your mind that day), apparently to destroy a tunnel from which an attack on Israel could be launched, Hamas responded with rocket-fire on southern Israeli towns.
That initiated a period of intense Israeli-Hamas dialogue, albeit an untraditional one, largely conducted via mutual military jabs, occasional public messaging and back-channels. Again though the main reliance was on Egypt – by now in an intense struggle of its own with Hamas. When Hamas pushed the envelop with over 60 rockets on a single day (December 24th), albeit causing no serious injuries and mostly landing in open fields (probably by design), Israel decided that it was time for an escalation. That happened today – on a massive scale – with an unprecedented death toll.

Israel clearly felt it was time to make a point, there was pressure (often self-generated) to act, and don’t forget that Israel is in an election campaign (the vote is on Feb 10th). Hamas too had scores to settle – not only with Israel, but it was also time to pressure Egypt, Fatah, and Arab actors who had done little to address the blockade of Gaza.
So here we are, in a dangerous escalatory cycle that is already sweeping the region, with scores of Palestinian dead, horrific images, a highly-charged blame-game and no obvious exit-strategy. Both Israel and Hamas are looking to emerge with a better deal than what previously prevailed – both are preparing their publics to take harsh hits over the coming days, weeks or even longer, and over 200 families in Gaza and one family in Israel already know what that means, first-hand.
So, what needs to happen next?
Sadly it is too late for preventive action but there is an urgent need for a de-escalation that can lead to a new ceasefire – and that will not be easy.
Useful lessons can be drawn from some very recent, and ugly, Middle East history – though it seems that to its dying day the Bush Administration is refusing to learn (today the White House called on Israel only to avoid civilian casualties as it attacks Hamas – not to cease the strikes, Secretary Rice was more measured).
In the summer of 2006 an escalation between Israel and Hezbollah led to a Lebanon war whose echoes still reverberate around the region. There were well over one thousand civilian casualties (1,035 Lebanese according to AP, 43 Israelis), thousands more injured, and other fatalities including the Israeli government which never recovered its poise, what little American credibility remained in the region (Secretary Rice was literally forced to return to Foggy Bottom as allied Arab capitals were too embarrassed to receive her) and much Lebanese infrastructure. That time it took 33 days for diplomacy to move and for a U.N. Security Council Resolution (1701) to deliver an end to fighting. The U.S. actively blocked diplomacy, Rice famously called this conflict “the birth pangs of a new Middle East” – it was no such thing, and the Middle East itself did not know whether to laugh or cry (the latter prevailed).
Just as in 2006, Israel needs the international community to be its exit strategy – and there is no time to waste. Even what appears as a short-term Israeli success is likely to prove self-defeating over a longer time horizon and that effect will intensify as the fighting continues. Over time, immense pressure will also grow on the PA in Ramallah, on Jordan, Egypt and others to act and their governments will be increasingly uneasy.
Demonstrations across the West Bank are calling for a halt to all Israeli-Palestinian talks and for Palestinian unity.
If the U.S. is indifferent or still under the neocon ideological spell then Europe, the rest of the Quartet, Arab States and other internationals must act – with a variety of players using leverage with Israel and Hamas to de-escalate. Escalation poses dangers at a humanitarian and regional-political level. International leaders should head to the region before the new year, even if the warring parties discourage it, and for some of them Gaza must be on the itinerary, the boycott (anyway unwise) is a secondary matter now. High-level visits in themselves can create a de-escalatory dynamic.
Both sides will want to land the final big punch and both will need a dignified narrative for home consumption – any ceasefire deal will have to take this into account (and this during an Israeli election campaign, with violence usually helping the right, and the centrist government desperate for an image make-over after that Lebanon 2006 debacle).
The obvious ingredients will have to be creatively re-configured for this to be possible, including ending rocket fire at Israel and removing the blockade on Gaza. New ingredients may also be necessary and while extending the ceasefire to the West Bank is (unfortunately) probably out of the question, it might be possible this time to establish a monitoring mechanism for the ceasefire. Such a mechanism could serve both sides’ interests (Israel gets a more solid guarantee, Hamas gets more recognition).
There is a precedent for this – after the April 1996 Israel-Hezbollah conflict a formal Ceasefire Understanding was reached that included the establishment of a Monitoring Group consisting of the U.S., France, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel (with Syria basically acting as guarantor for Hezbollah). That mechanism proved useful and met with constructive IDF cooperation – something similar might be needed now.
In addition efforts need to be revived for achieving Palestinian national reconciliation (which itself could ease the management of the Gaza situation) and for allowing Gaza greater access to the outside world through Egypt via the Rafah border crossing.
But there is a bigger picture – and it is staring at the incoming Obama administration. Today’s events should be ‘exhibit A’ in why the next U.S. Government cannot leave the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to fester or try to ‘manage’ it – as long as it remains unresolved, it has a nasty habit of forcing itself onto the agenda.
That can happen on terms dictated to the U.S. by the region (bad) or the U.S. can seek to set its own terms (far preferable). The new administration needs to embark upon a course of forceful regional diplomacy that breaks fundamentally from past efforts. A consensus of sorts is emerging in the U.S. foreign policy establishment that this conflict needs to be resolved – evidenced in the findings of a recent Brookings/Council of Foreign Relations Report or the powerful statements coming from elder statesmen like Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, themselves building on the findings of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group.
It will require tenacity and bold ideas – in framing the solution, bringing in previously excluded actors, creating mechanisms to implement a deal (such as international forces) and utilizing the Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative – but the alternative is far worse, its what we see today and it guarantees ongoing instability in a region of paramount importance to the United States.
– Daniel Levy

Comments

67 comments on “Daniel Levy: What Next on Israel/Gaza? Why Should Americans Care?

  1. rich says:

    “You also say “Further–everyone, including PE Obama, view the Israel-Palestine struggle as the root of Mid-East political instability, widespread anger and resulting political movements, and a rationale for accelerating terrorism campaigns that may also have other driving factors.”
    “I [wigwag] acknowledge that lots of misinformed people, including you, think that the Israeli-Palestinian struggle is the root of instability around the world. But they’re wrong . . .”
    You hold a minority opinion, as the collective punditry and the incoming Admin repeatedly state they want to resolve the Palestine cause for precisely that reason. Sure, localized terrorist groups have specific grievances–but most in the broader region share on specific grievance that magnifies their concerns: the inhumane and indefensible abuse of the Palestinian nation.
    If that’s resolved, then Iran no longer has a political lever to exploit viscerally-felt regional anger over the continual injustice Israel deals the native citizens of Palestine. Address the politics; remove Iran as a threat.
    But then, that’s the point, isnt’ it? Israel can’t maintain the state of constant warfare it so actively stokes if it deals with root causes like that. And America won’t have a fig leaf to cover for going after its own strategic interests in Iraq and Iran.
    Note how wigwag distorts: “lots of misinformed people . . . think that the Israeli-Palestinian struggle is the root of instability around the world.” Never said “around the world,” did I? Nope. This is why no one buys into your world-view: you shift ground and switch terms, then counterattack as though you’ll win points.
    But, wait! George Bush said it was a GLOBAL war on terror. And hundreds of virtually unanimous UN resolutions have condemned Israel for decades now–certainly a sign of widespread political dissatisfaction with the conflict. Closer to home, Israel’s actions and policies clearly provoke defensive acts of terrorism undertaken to break the chokehold Israel’s using to throttle the very life from Palestine. What would you have them do? Die like animals? Germany once called Jews vermin. Now we hear Palestinians called ‘rabid dogs’ on this very blog — yet I never hear the enlightened leaders of Israel call their own people to account. It’s always the other guy. Looks like Avraham Burg was right.

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  2. rich says:

    wigag @ 8:06PM:
    “No one, Rich? The European Union has adopted precisely the same policy on Hamas as the United States has.”
    Total nonsense. You never respond substantively, wigwag. Just opportunistically.
    First, re Obama: you’re substituting campaign positions for decisions Obama has not made yet. We’re seeing George Bush’s current policies–not Obama’s. You’ve provided nothing whatsoever to support your contention that we’re now seeing Obama’s policies. Obama is not in office. You refused to address the obvious point that Obama’s language must reflect the broader national interest, sustain his own political viability, and not destabilize the situation prior to assuming office. The simpler and obvious explanation is that Israel is rearranging the game board to suit themselves, and push Obama into a corner, hanging an untenable situation around his neck and taking his preferred agenda off the table.
    A “quote from [Obama's] website” in no way indicates that he supports Israel’s bombing of Gaza, nor that current U.S. in/actions belong to Obama rather than George Bush. You make quite a leap.
    Re “No one?” As you well know, we were specifically speaking of Arab nations. No Arab state wants to bear the political cost of associating with America’s support of Israel. Don’t misuse what I said by shifting to the EU. Further, the EU has historically criticized Israel quite freely. I stated it’s no surprise Arab states would act in their own interest, and everyone knows Sunni Arabs want to offset Hamas and Hezbollah. So, what’s your point? Second, the scales are tipping in the other direction: Even Sarkozy has had enough (below).
    Israel’s attacks radicalized Gaza residents, driving them into the arms of Hamas. When Hamas, no surprise, won the election, suddenly Israel & Bush reject a legitimate democratic election — even though their own clumsiness poisoned the politial dynamics. Israel is racking up a series of catastrophic blunders. Neither Obama nor Israel is in any position to tell Palestine who may or may not participate in their elections. Condemn rockets; condemn elections: it’s clear Israel is cutting off EVERY avenue for a humane resolution, and using every excuse to maintain open warfare against the populace as a whole.
    From Juan Cole:
    French President Nicolas Sarkozy, outgoing president of the European Union, issued among the more measured responses: “The President of the Republic expresses his lively concern at the escalation of violence in the south of Israel and in the Gaza Strip. He firmly condemns the irresponsible provocations that have led to this situation as well as the use of disproportionate force. The president of the republic deplores the significant loss of civilian life and expresses his condolences to the innocent victims and their families.”
    “Sarkozy ‘requests an immediate cessation of rocket fire directed at Israel as well as of Israeli bombardment of Gaza, and he calls on the parties to exercise self-restraint. He reminds everyone that there is no military solution to Gaza, and demands the implementation of a durable truce.’ ”
    It appears Israel is losing political support on all fronts. To spell it out for you, that hardly implies everybody supports Hamas. And until Israel learns that “you can’t kill the devil with a gun or a sword,” they’re in for even tougher times ahead. There is no military solution to a political problem–particularly when Israel’s military actions create that just political cause. When you refer to a whole people as vermin and rabid dogs, as Avraham Burg rightly points out, you’re driving toward a final solution. History will not judge Israel kindly, nor will God.

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  3. WigWag says:

    “I find it highly unlikely that Israel Palestine is “the main motive for every anti-American militant in the Arab world and beyond (Rosen). But I find it very likely that this unresolved conflict and its effects in the media and the streets of Arab cities is a recruitment tool among others.”
    I will be very interested to hear the actual evidence you can present, if, and when you find any.
    But as of this moment, the only person who has attempted a substantive critique of the Levy piece on this thread is me.
    Instead, Paul, you, along with Rich (and now Arthur) insist on critiquing me instead of critiquing what I said. That’s rather intellectually dishonest, isn’t it? I could make the same claim about you Paul, that you made about me. I could claim that your instinct is to reflexively support the Levy thesis on this subject because you believe the Israelis are the villains in this affair and the idea that Israel’s behavior causes problems the world over, not just in the Israeli/Palestinian area, justifies your prejudicial view Israelis.
    But that would be dumb. Either Levy is wholly right or partially right or he’s wholly wrong or partially wrong. Your motivations or mine are not relevant to whether Levy is right or wrong. To determine that, we need facts. I’ve presented some on this particular subject, at this point those facts have not been refuted; at least here.
    And unless someone can find some convincing empirical evidence supporting Levy’s (and Rosen’s) thesis on this particular subject, the most logical conclusion is the one I articulated.
    It’s an “urbane” legend.

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  4. Juan Carlos San Torrea de Bongo says:

    Ok, me put it bluntly to Wiggy
    Muslim see Palestinian shit on
    Muslim no likey
    Revenge
    Ok, we try another.
    Israeli see Israeli victim of mortar
    Israeli no likely
    Revenge
    Ohhhh, now you understand with this example no. 2
    That’s how is to make terrorist – Revenge
    How simple. bet you have surprise you no think this to yourself.

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  5. Paul Norheim says:

    “As I’ve shown, none of them had the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
    as a root cause or even a secondary cause.” (WigWag)
    You showed that non of the participants in those attacks actually
    were Palestinians. And naturally the Iraqi occupation was the big
    story at the time of the most relevant examples (the Madrid
    bombings etc).
    I find it highly unlikely that Israel Palestine is “the main motive for
    every anti-American militant in the Arab world and beyond
    (Rosen)
    But I find it very likely that this unresolved conflict and its
    effects in the media and the streets of Arab cities is a recruitment
    tool among others.

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  6. arthurdecco says:

    WigWag. Behind both your shiny-bright and earnest-onion-layered disingenuousness, must lie SOMETHING worth believing in. Would you be willing to tell me what it is – the IDEA you never stop defending with every fiber of your being?
    Seriously. What’s the IDEA that props up your indefatigable propagandizing? What’s the IDEA that you look to for inspiration? What’s the IDEA?

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  7. WigWag says:

    I`ll not try to prove or document anything now regarding this issue, WigWag. But your extremely strong emphasis that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict CERTAINLY DOES NOT INFLAME POTENTIAL RECRUITS to terrorist organizations makes me
    suspicious: I think it stems more from wishful thinking (hoping that the Israeli hard line strategy will not prove to be counter productive) than based on sound judgment.”
    Sorry, Paul, all I’ve asked for is some empirical evidence that the recruitment of terrorists outside the Israel/Palestine area is abetted by the conflict we’ve been talking about. In my comment, I sited every major terrorist attack since 2001 and I mentioned trouble spots around the world where extremist Islamic groups are involved. As I’ve shown, none of them had the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a root cause or even a secondary cause.
    I was merely being responsive to the Daniel Levy post; that’s what we do around here, isn’t it?
    I’ve presented facts; Rich (and now you) only refer to your surmise about my motivations.
    I fully admit that I could have my facts wrong. If you think I’m wrong, demonstrate it. But your suspicions about my motivations don’t really prove anything; do they?

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  8. Paul Norheim says:

    “If you can name even a single terror attack outside of Israel
    that has its basis in the Palestinian/Israel conflict, you should let
    me know what it is. And you should provide the
    documentation.” (WigWag to rich, originally related to an
    argument in Levy`s article)
    “But the idea that anything that happens in the Israeli-
    Palestinian conflict is a recruitment tool for Osama Bin Laden
    and his fellow travelers is at best an urban legend and at worst
    a canard.”(WigWag)
    I`ll not try to prove or document anything now regarding this
    issue, WigWag. But your extremely strong emphasize that the
    Israeli-Palestinian conflict CERTAINLY DOES NOT INFLAME
    POTENTIAL RECRUITS to terrorist organizations makes me
    suspicious: i think it stems more from wishful thinking (hoping
    that the Israeli hard line strategy will not prove to be counter
    productive) than based on sound judgement.
    Of course, since you believe in the good effects of ruthless
    military operations, you can not afford to think that this may be
    counter productive also outside the direct conflict area.
    But you should start to consider that. Israel is not an isolated
    island. And the world view of the young kids in the streets of
    Middle East towns and cities does not necessarily mirror the
    world view of their older, more cynical leaders.

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  9. WigWag says:

    “NO one is willing to be associated with America’s support of Israel. The costs are too great.”
    No one, Rich? The European Union has adopted precisely the same policy on Hamas as the United States has. When it comes to Hamas, the European Union and the United States speak with one voice.
    Every state in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia has diplomatic relations with Israel. Now it is true that Israeli is a nation and Palestine isn’t, but virtually all the countries in the world also have official relations with the Palestinian Authority and interface with them regularly. No one has relations with Hamas except for Iran, Syria, Lebanon (and apparently, Norway).
    And as Nasrallah and virtually the entire Arab press has pointed out, America’s Arab allies supported the invasion. No, I don’t expect the Arab States to intervene. But they didn’t have to support the invasion and they did.
    And by the way, while the rest of the world supports American policy on Hamas, virtually no one is willing to express support for Hamas (other than Iran, Syria and Hezbollah). Why don’t you tell me which Arab or European government has expressed support for Hamas during this conflict? Some nations have been more critical of Israel than others, but all of them have blamed Hamas; a few of them have blamed both parties; none has blamed Israel alone.
    So, as usual, your comments are unsubstantiated and not particularly smart. Your comments are, to use your word, propaganda.
    You say, “You have yet to offer evidence for your claims, though, so either way your thesis doesn’t bring much to the table.”
    Which claims are unsubstantiated, Rich? They’ve all been substantiated.
    You say “It’s been widely shown that military overkill (U.S. in Iraq; Israel in Lebanon & Gaza) increases terrorism and damages our national security. Denial, wigwag, does not make a convenient propaganda line plausible or true.”
    I have already agreed that two major terror attacks in the last few years had their root in the Iraq War (the Spain attacks and London, 7/7). If you can name even a single terror attack outside of Israel that has its basis in the Palestinian/Israel conflict, you should let me know what it is. And you should provide the documentation.
    You also say “Further–everyone, including PE Obama, view the Israel-Palestine struggle as the root of Mid-East political instability, widespread anger and resulting political movements, and a rationale for accelerating terrorism campaigns that may also have other driving factors.”
    I acknowledge that lots of misinformed people, including you, think that the Israeli-Palestinian struggle is the root of instability around the world. But they’re wrong; it’s an urban legend. Lots of people think there are alligators in the New York sewer system but that doesn’t make it true. What I said in my previous comment was that the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians might lead to instability in Israel and Palestine but that it didn’t lead to instability around the world. And I specifically said that Levy was wrong that the Israel-Palestine conflict results in some type of benefit to Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist recruitment efforts. If you have empircal evidence that it does, you should site it.
    As for President-Elect Obama, I’ve provided the quote from his website that gives his view on Hamas. Here it is again for your viewing pleasure.
    “I opposed Hamas’ participation in the 2006 Palestinian Authority elections, and I continue to insist that Hamas recognize Israel, abandon violence, and abide by previous agreements made between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Until they do that the United States will not recognize Hamas as a legitimate actor…”
    If you have a quote from Obama that supports your point of view, why don’t you provide it?
    Otherwise your comment is just propaganda from a confused faux progressive with muddled thinking.
    You may think it’s progressive to ally yourself with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas but then you think it’s progressive to drive a Prius and shop in Whole Foods.
    You’re confused, Rich. And you’re no progressive.

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  10. David says:

    I think this lead-in on Yahoo News says it all:
    “With borders closed, Gazans unsure where to flee violence”

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  11. David says:

    I would like to add one other thought. It goes back quite a long way (I am 66, after all). I remember wondering, probably 40 years ago (memory is a bit foggy regarding time frame), what the Israelis thought they might be creating among Palestinian youth when they bombed refugee camps. I tried to put myself in the place of a 6- or 8-year-old Palestinian boy who had just watched an Israeli warplane kill his mother or father, or brother or sister. Someone correct me if my memory is wrong about the bombing of refugee camps.
    I’m still waiting, I must say, for bombs to actually do anything good for humanity, especially bombs dropped on civilians in the name of taking out enemies (or rockets launched at civilians). I think Satan is probably dancing with delight every time bombs fall.

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  12. rich says:

    wigwag doesn’t seem to realize both may be true.
    Of course American allies will run from the political and military fallout of the Israeli bombing. NO one is willing to be associated with America’s support of Israel. The costs are too great.
    But what would wigwag have Arab states do? Intervene? Bear the costs of a destablizing faction? Even if some assisted, it’s no shocker that Arab states are looking out for their own interests. Where’s the surprise, wigwag? You have yet to offer evidence for your claims, though, so either way your thesis doesn’t bring much to the table.
    Further–everyone, including PE Obama, view the Israel-Palestine struggle as the root of Mid-East political instability, widespread anger and resulting political movements, and a rationale for accelerating terrorism campaigns that may also have other driving factors. Denying that does not make your wishful thinking so.
    It’s been widely shown that military overkill (U.S. in Iraq; Israel in Lebanon & Gaza) increases terrorism and damages our national security. Denial, wigwag, does not make a convenient propaganda line plausible or true.
    JohnH provides some reality to those claiming Palestinian rockets are a mortal or existential threat:
    “Posted by JohnH Dec 29, 12:03PM – Link
    Israeli civilians killed by Palestinian terrorism SINCE 2005: 45
    http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/c.hsJPK0PIJpH/b.4717709/k.E17B/Total_Israeli_Deaths_from_Palestinian_Terrorism_by_Type_20002008.htm
    Annual odds of an Israeli dying in a Palestinian terrorist attack are 2 in a million!
    Israelis killed MONTHLY in traffic accidents: about 45.
    Israeli deaths annually from obesity: 43
    Those Palestinian terrorists are SO scary!”

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  13. Billy says:

    WigWag says,
    “America’s security has been impacted? That’s the biggest joke of all. The idea that anything that happens in Israel/Palestine impacts terrorist recruitment has already been demolished (see my comment above).”
    And me, Billy, has also demolished Levy’s attempt to make Americans fear what happens in Judea and Samaria. I quote myself above; behold my demolishing:
    “…….. There has never been a terrorist, except Palestinian ones in Israel, who has ever said they were in the business because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Not one. And I do not think that they give much thought to America’s one-sided support of Israel either. These Arab terrorists are in the business mostly because they are humiliated as a people since they are dominated by powers bigger than they are. They do not know how to adjust to their place in the world and lash out because they are too proud to be humble humans like the rest of us. So WigWig is right, the Israel-Palestine problem has absolutely nothing to do with the making of a terrorist. It is the humiliation of the Muslims that make some go over the edge into useless martyrdom.”

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  14. WigWag says:

    And speaking of canards, there’s another one in Daniel Levy’s post. Levy says, “America’s allies in the region are again running for cover. America’s standing, its interests and security are all deeply affected.”
    America’s allies in the region are running for cover? That’s rich! American’s allies in the region either encouraged the Israeli attack on Gaza or at the very least acquiesced in it. It is common knowledge that Egypt knew about the attack in advance and gave Israel the go-ahead to launch the bombing campaign. It is also highly likely that Jordan was also informed in advance and that they provided intelligence support for the campaign.
    If Mr. Levy doesn’t believe me; perhaps he will believe Hezbollah chieftain, Seyyed Nasrallah. This is what Nasrallah had to say:
    “There are some Arab regimes who are truly partners of this project, especially those who signed peace treaties with Israel. They are supporting (the US-Israeli project) politically, psychologically, militarily and culturally through the media… They are contributing to impose the conditions of surrender on the rest of the resistance groups.”
    He went on to say, “These same Arabs armed the Palestinian factions to fight against each other.”
    If “America’s allies in the region are running for cover” they’re running for cover from a military action that they endorsed.
    Levy’s comment that “America’s standing, its interests and security are all deeply affected” is even less supportable.
    How is American’s standing affected? All of America’s Arab allies supported the action and America’s European allies for the most part blame Hamas. The Czechs, who are about to assume the Presidency of the European Union, unambiguously backed the Israeli attack and blamed Hamas for breaking the cease fire. So did the Germans, the Poles and the Italians. While the British and the French have been somewhat more even handed in their criticism, neither has expressed a lack of understanding of the Israeli predicament.
    In light of this, it’s hard to imagine what Levy means that America’s standing has been affected. Standing with whom? The Iranians, the Syrians and the Southern Lebanese?
    America’s security has been impacted? That’s the biggest joke of all. The idea that anything that happens in Israel/Palestine impacts terrorist recruitment has already been demolished (see my comment above).
    Is this really the best Daniel Levy can do?

    Reply

  15. (Abdurahman) T. L. Nelson says:

    I hope the Obama team is not foolish enough to think that we can ignore a democratically elected Palestinian government (HAMAS) and make any kind of meaningful progress towards peace.

    Reply

  16. Billy says:

    That’s correct. There has never been a terrorist, except Palestinian ones in Israel, who has ever said they were in the business because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Not one. And I do not think that they give much thought to America’s one-sided support of Israel either. These Arab terrorists are in the business mostly because they are humiliated as a people since they are dominated by powers bigger than they are. They do not know how to adjust to their place in the world and lash out because they are too proud to be humble humans like the rest of us. So WigWig is right, the Israel-Palestine problem has absolutely nothing to do with the making of a terrorist. It is the humiliation of the Muslims that make some go over the edge into useless martyrdom.

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  17. ... says:

    wigwag quote >>But he is even more wrong when he agonizes over the fact that the Israeli attack on Gaza is a recruiting tool for Muslim terrorists.<<
    wigwag, how would you respond if some foreign country murdered your relatives who were innocent of the propaganda that they used as an excuse to justify the murdering??? you are a fool if you think these folks are anything but sworn enemies of israel at this point and much more willing to inflict damage to anything related to israel if given the opportunity… if you believe revenge is what the worst of both sides have to offer, as i do, then you will acknowledge the insight and wisdom in levy’s post… it is highly unlikely given your nature as displayed here at the washington note as you have shown little ability for insight into others actions generally speaking..

    Reply

  18. kotzabasis says:

    I’m too with WigWag.
    In his inimitable ‘wigwagish’ way and presentation of irrefutable facts he drives the nail into the heart of the falsity and sophistry, that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict serves as a recruiting tool for terrorists.

    Reply

  19. David says:

    Thank you, Nir Rosen.

    Reply

  20. Cee says:

    Wag,
    Correct. Palestinians didn’t have a thing to do with the incidents that you mention. Israel did have a hand in or prior knowledge of them.
    Remember that Netanyahu was warned while he was in London.
    Report: Israel Was Warned Ahead of First Blast 13:30 Jul 07, ’05 / 30 Sivan 5765
    (IsraelNN.com) Army Radio quoting unconfirmed reliable sources reported a short time ago that Scotland Yard had intelligence warnings of the attacks a short time before they occurred.
    The Israeli Embassy in London was notified in advance, resulting in Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu remaining in his hotel room rather than make his way to the hotel adjacent to the site of the first explosion, a Liverpool Street train station, where he was to address and [sic] economic summit.
    Abu Hafs? LOLOLOLOL!
    This particular group is not really taken seriously by Western intelligence,” said terrorism expert M.J. Gohel of the Asia-Pacific Foundation, an international policy assessment group.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5087301/
    I’m going to be blaming Israel is every other thing that happens since they know so much!
    Israel issues new warning on Iranian nuclear arms
    Dec 17 03:26 PM US/Eastern
    JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is warning that if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, it could try to attack the United States.
    Barak said the world should press Iran to stop it from building nuclear weapons.
    He spoke at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. He said, “If it built even a primitive nuclear weapon like the type that destroyed Hiroshima, Iran would not hesitate to load it on a ship, arm it with a detonator operated by GPS and sail it into a vital port on the east coast of North America.”

    Reply

  21. i says:

    I’m with Wig Wag.
    The Israelis should continue their offensive against Gaza until they understand and can live peacefully with others or, God forbid, they choose stupidity and martyrdom. If they don’t wise up their children will suffer.
    And that’s putting it kindly.

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  22. WigWag says:

    Getting back to Daniel Levy’s post, he is wrong about far more than his belief that peace will be more likely if Israel, the United States, Europe and the Arab world facilitate better relations between Fatah and Hamas. Holding peace talks hostage to an end of the Palestinian civil war is a recipe for sure failure.
    But he is even more wrong when he agonizes over the fact that the Israeli attack on Gaza is a recruiting tool for Muslim terrorists.
    This is what Levy says:
    “Recruiters to the most radical of causes are again cashing in. If Osama Bin Laden is indeed a cave-dweller these days then U.S. Intel should be listening out for a booming echo of laughter. Demonstrations across the Arab world and contributors to the ever-proliferating Arabic language news media and blogosphere hold the U.S., and not just Israel, responsible for what happened today (and that is a position taken, for good reasons, by sensible folk, not hard-liners).”
    But the idea that anything that happens in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a recruitment tool for Osama Bin Laden and his fellow travelers is at best an urban legend and at worst a canard. Or maybe a better term would be an “urbane” legend; a sensational story which through repetition in varying versions by sophisticated people who should know better, has acquired the status of folklore.
    There is no convincing empirical evidence that violence between Israelis and Palestinians fosters Muslim extremism or terrorism. The only place that the fight between Israelis and Palestinians has resulted in terrorism is in Israel itself, primarily through suicide bombing. And if Nir Rosen is to be believed in his rant a few inches above this one, even that’s not terrorism. According to Rosen, terrorism is merely a “normative” term. So to placate an increasingly irritable and irrational Rosen, let’s just call it suicide bombing.
    Either way, the only place where violence between Israelis and Palestinians causes violence is in Israel/Palestine (with the occasional small riot in a few Arab countries.
    And in his comment, Rosen repeats the canard when he says:
    “Do not be deceived: the persistence of the Palestine problem is the main motive for every anti-American militant in the Arab world and beyond.”
    But a brief review of recent history shows how deluded Levy and Rosen are.
    Did the 9/11/2001 attacks occur because of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute? No. No Palestinians were involved with the attack and the organization that planned and executed it, Al Qaeda, barely plays lip service to the Palestinians. It was the American presence on Saudi soil that motivated 9/11. The Israeli-Palestinian dispute couldn’t have been less relevant.
    Did the 3/11/2004 train attack in Spain (an American Ally and part of the Iraqi coalition) occur because of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute? No. No Palestinians participated in that one either. The attack in Spain was carried out by an Al-Qaeda inspired group, the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades. The actual bombing was committed by a Moroccan, Jamal Zougam, aided by a number of Syrians and Algerians. These plotters weren’t motivated by anything happening to the Palestinians; they were motivated by Spain’s decision to join the US coalition invading Iraq.
    Did the 7/7/2005 London attacks occur because of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute? No. No Palestinians participated in the 7/7 attacks; in fact all of the perpetrators were British nationals. Were they radicalized by the dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians; not if you believe what they’ve said They claim they were radicalized by the British treatment of Muslims at home and that they were angered by the British participation in the invasion of Iraq.
    Did the 11/26/2008 Mumbai attacks occur because of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute? No. No Palestinians participated in the Mumbai attacks; most of the attackers were Pakistani although they may have received assistance from Indian Muslims. Were they motivated by the imbroglio in the Middle East? Actually there’s no evidence they knew anything about it. What they did know about was the imbroglio between Indians and Pakistanis over Kashmir; that’s what motivated them to attack.
    Anywhere you look where there’s a battle with Muslim extremists (outside the Middle East) the Israeli-Palestinian dispute turns out to be largely irrelevant. It’s irrelevant to the fight with the Taliban in Afghanistan; it’s irrelevant to what’s happening in the tribal regions of Afghanistan; it’s irrelevant to Sunni and Shiite extremists who blow up each other’s holy sites in Iraq; it’s irrelevant to budding Islamic liberation movements in the rest of South Asia, China, Chechnya and Africa.
    And while Nir Rosen may be right that the Israeli-Palestinian dispute inflames Arabs against Americans; the simple reality is that this doesn’t matter much. President Obama faces international challenges wherever he looks. Few if any of these challenges will be impacted one way or another by whether Arabs love or hate the United States.
    Levy and Rosen are both smart. But Levy’s post and Rosen’s comment (Guardian article) are both less than smart.
    And that’s putting it kindly.

    Reply

  23. Cee says:

    Did Livni write that for you?
    Tell her to do a better job.
    Also tell her that I’m going to continue to blame Israel for every drop of blood that is shed there and here should Hizbullah be allowed to stage the attack that Chertoff (the devil) warned about.

    Reply

  24. ... says:

    change your name from observer to propagandist.. it is more appropriate…

    Reply

  25. Observer says:

    Gazans elected Hamas to first oust Fatah, then provoke war with Israel. Hamas delivered on the first almost immediately, and now working with Hizbollah is delivering on the second.
    Everything seems to be going as intended.

    Reply

  26. TonyForesta says:

    I appreciate your advise Paul Norheim. There is no contradiction. Though I failed to make the point clear, – the key for me is removing all those who proselytize, support, and resort to mass murder as a means of resolving disputes. Only then, can there be any hope progress, or the oxygen necessary to allow for peaceful legal and political solutions. All the mass murderers must be removed.
    This is nothing more than a dream though, and there is no hope. These kinds of savage spectacles of destruction and carnage will continue unabated, because man refuses, or is incapable of evolving emotionally or spiritually.
    There is no hope, since man (the entire species) is bloodthirsty and always resorts to butchering each other, and repeatedly rejects any peaceful solutions to conflicts. We glorify the spilling of blood and feed the beast. All of us, every religion, every society, every culture, every nation prefers slaughtering innocents to resolving disputes or conflicts through peaceful means.
    Though it may seem contradictory, – for me the best hope for peace is through a merciless process of weeding out the obvious sources and promoters of mass murder everywhere on earth, and affording or allowing the rest of humanity the oxygen to explore other options for resolving disputes.
    It’s only a dream.
    Tragically, all the pundocracy will talk about this or that cause or solution, and the message-force multipliers will brute this or that warning or threat or promise, – and innocent people will continue being slaughtered all over this wild and violent earth because man prefers war to peace.

    Reply

  27. Theresa says:

    This is a century old war that is still raging on. So far, this war looks incredibly similar to the Six Days War in 1967 – the game is the same, the field is the same, the players are the same (though some in new uniforms), but the stakes are just a little bit higher. Since the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Arabs and Israelis were each made a bevy of promises, and neither got what they felt they deserved, so they were left to fight it out amongst themselves. It has been an endless cycle of blockades, retaliations, and temporary ceasefires ever since. Without addressing the fundamental conflicts over territory, resources, culture, and religion, this war will rage on until the end of days.

    Reply

  28. AndrewMehd. says:

    I like this Levy fellow. He seems to have a solid grasp of the complexities of the entire situation between Israel and the Palestinians, and he has a wide array of ideas on how to deal with the underlying issues that are at stake. I have also heard of a “Gideon Levy” who has similar views on the topic. I wonder if these two gentlemen are related.

    Reply

  29. rykart says:

    We must never again mistake the Israelis for human beings.
    Once their septic tank of a country is destroyed, we must be
    vigilant and ensure that nothing like it is ever again allowed to
    exist on earth.

    Reply

  30. DonS says:

    Thank your Nir Rosen. Just saw your commentary in the Guardian and linked through FDL. I have valued your input, ever more so since reading “In the Belly of the Green Bird” several years ago.”
    I just finished reading Karen Armstrong’s “Islam” which demythologizes a lot of Western assumptions about Muslims and Islam, that I think underlies a lot of the ambivalence of, particularly Americans, towards the Mideast and enables Zionists to leverage emotions.

    Reply

  31. nir rosen says:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/dec/29/gaza-hamas-israel
    Gaza: the logic of colonial power
    As so often, the term ‘terrorism’ has proved a rhetorical smokescreen under cover of which the strong crush the weak
    Nir Rosen
    guardian.co.uk, Monday 29 December 2008 08.00 GMT
    I have spent most of the Bush administration’s tenure reporting from Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia and other conflicts. I have been published by most major publications. I have been interviewed by most major networks and I have even testified before the senate foreign relations committee. The Bush administration began its tenure with Palestinians being massacred and it ends with Israel committing one of its largest massacres yet in a 60-year history of occupying Palestinian land. Bush’s final visit to the country he chose to occupy ended with an educated secular Shiite Iraqi throwing his shoes at him, expressing the feelings of the entire Arab world save its dictators who have imprudently attached themselves to a hated American regime.
    Once again, the Israelis bomb the starving and imprisoned population of Gaza. The world watches the plight of 1.5 million Gazans live on TV and online; the western media largely justify the Israeli action. Even some Arab outlets try to equate the Palestinian resistance with the might of the Israeli military machine. And none of this is a surprise. The Israelis just concluded a round-the-world public relations campaign to gather support for their assault, even gaining the collaboration of Arab states like Egypt.
    The international community is directly guilty for this latest massacre. Will it remain immune from the wrath of a desperate people? So far, there have been large demonstrations in Lebanon, Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Iraq. The people of the Arab world will not forget. The Palestinians will not forget. “All that you have done to our people is registered in our notebooks,” as the poet Mahmoud Darwish said.
    I have often been asked by policy analysts, policy-makers and those stuck with implementing those policies for my advice on what I think America should do to promote peace or win hearts and minds in the Muslim world. It too often feels futile, because such a revolution in American policy would be required that only a true revolution in the American government could bring about the needed changes. An American journal once asked me to contribute an essay to a discussion on whether terrorism or attacks against civilians could ever be justified. My answer was that an American journal should not be asking whether attacks on civilians can ever be justified. This is a question for the weak, for the Native Americans in the past, for the Jews in Nazi Germany, for the Palestinians today, to ask themselves.
    Terrorism is a normative term and not a descriptive concept. An empty word that means everything and nothing, it is used to describe what the Other does, not what we do. The powerful – whether Israel, America, Russia or China – will always describe their victims’ struggle as terrorism, but the destruction of Chechnya, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the slow slaughter of the remaining Palestinians, the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan – with the tens of thousands of civilians it has killed … these will never earn the title of terrorism, though civilians were the target and terrorising them was the purpose.
    Counterinsurgency, now popular again among in the Pentagon, is another way of saying the suppression of national liberation struggles. Terror and intimidation are as essential to it as is winning hearts and minds.
    Normative rules are determined by power relations. Those with power determine what is legal and illegal. They besiege the weak in legal prohibitions to prevent the weak from resisting. For the weak to resist is illegal by definition. Concepts like terrorism are invented and used normatively as if a neutral court had produced them, instead of the oppressors. The danger in this excessive use of legality actually undermines legality, diminishing the credibility of international institutions such as the United Nations. It becomes apparent that the powerful, those who make the rules, insist on legality merely to preserve the power relations that serve them or to maintain their occupation and colonialism.
    Attacking civilians is the last, most desperate and basic method of resistance when confronting overwhelming odds and imminent eradication. The Palestinians do not attack Israeli civilians with the expectation that they will destroy Israel. The land of Palestine is being stolen day after day; the Palestinian people is being eradicated day after day. As a result, they respond in whatever way they can to apply pressure on Israel. Colonial powers use civilians strategically, settling them to claim land and dispossess the native population, be they Indians in North America or Palestinians in what is now Israel and the Occupied Territories. When the native population sees that there is an irreversible dynamic that is taking away their land and identity with the support of an overwhelming power, then they are forced to resort to whatever methods of resistance they can.
    Not long ago, 19-year-old Qassem al-Mughrabi, a Palestinian man from Jerusalem drove his car into a group of soldiers at an intersection. “The terrorist”, as the Israeli newspaper Haaretz called him, was shot and killed. In two separate incidents last July, Palestinians from Jerusalem also used vehicles to attack Israelis. The attackers were not part of an organisation. Although those Palestinian men were also killed, senior Israeli officials called for their homes to be demolished. In a separate incident, Haaretz reported that a Palestinian woman blinded an Israeli soldier in one eye when she threw acid n his face. “The terrorist was arrested by security forces,” the paper said. An occupied citizen attacks an occupying soldier, and she is the terrorist?
    In September, Bush spoke at the United Nations. No cause could justify the deliberate taking of human life, he said. Yet the US has killed thousands of civilians in airstrikes on populated areas. When you drop bombs on populated areas knowing there will be some “collateral” civilian damage, but accepting it as worth it, then it is deliberate. When you impose sanctions, as the US did on Saddam era Iraq, that kill hundreds of thousands, and then say their deaths were worth it, as secretary of state Albright did, then you are deliberately killing people for a political goal. When you seek to “shock and awe”, as president Bush did, when he bombed Iraq, you are engaging in terrorism.
    Just as the traditional American cowboy film presented white Americans under siege, with Indians as the aggressors, which was the opposite of reality, so, too, have Palestinians become the aggressors and not the victims. Beginning in 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were deliberately cleansed and expelled from their homes, and hundreds of their villages were destroyed, and their land was settled by colonists, who went on to deny their very existence and wage a 60-year war against the remaining natives and the national liberation movements the Palestinians established around the world. Every day, more of Palestine is stolen, more Palestinians are killed. To call oneself an Israeli Zionist is to engage in the dispossession of entire people. It is not that, qua Palestinians, they have the right to use any means necessary, it is because they are weak. The weak have much less power than the strong, and can do much less damage. The Palestinians would not have ever bombed cafes or used home-made missiles if they had tanks and airplanes. It is only in the current context that their actions are justified, and there are obvious limits.
    It is impossible to make a universal ethical claim or establish a Kantian principle justifying any act to resist colonialism or domination by overwhelming power. And there are other questions I have trouble answering. Can an Iraqi be justified in attacking the United States? After all, his country was attacked without provocation, and destroyed, with millions of refugees created, hundreds of thousands of dead. And this, after 12 years of bombings and sanctions, which killed many and destroyed the lives of many others.
    I could argue that all Americans are benefiting from their country’s exploits without having to pay the price, and that, in today’s world, the imperial machine is not merely the military but a military-civilian network. And I could also say that Americans elected the Bush administration twice and elected representatives who did nothing to stop the war, and the American people themselves did nothing. From the perspective of an American, or an Israeli, or other powerful aggressors, if you are strong, everything you do is justifiable, and nothing the weak do is legitimate. It’s merely a question of what side you choose: the side of the strong or the side of the weak.
    Israel and its allies in the west and in Arab regimes such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have managed to corrupt the PLO leadership, to suborn them with the promise of power at the expense of liberty for their people, creating a first – a liberation movement that collaborated with the occupier. Israeli elections are coming up and, as usual, these elections are accompanied by war to bolster the candidates. You cannot be prime minister of Israel without enough Arab blood on your hands. An Israeli general has threatened to set Gaza back decades, just as they threatened to set Lebanon back decades in 2006. As if strangling Gaza and denying its people fuel, power or food had not set it back decades already.
    The democratically elected Hamas government was targeted for destruction from the day it won the elections in 2006. The world told the Palestinians that they cannot have democracy, as if the goal was to radicalise them further and as if that would not have a consequence. Israel claims it is targeting Hamas’s military forces. This is not true. It is targeting Palestinian police forces and killing them, including some such as the chief of police, Tawfiq Jaber, who was actually a former Fatah official who stayed on in his post after Hamas took control of Gaza. What will happen to a society with no security forces? What do the Israelis expect to happen when forces more radical than Hamas gain power?
    A Zionist Israel is not a viable long-term project and Israeli settlements, land expropriation and separation barriers have long since made a two state solution impossible. There can be only one state in historic Palestine. In coming decades, Israelis will be confronted with two options. Will they peacefully transition towards an equal society, where Palestinians are given the same rights, à la post-apartheid South Africa? Or will they continue to view democracy as a threat? If so, one of the peoples will be forced to leave. Colonialism has only worked when most of the natives have been exterminated. But often, as in occupied Algeria, it is the settlers who flee. Eventually, the Palestinians will not be willing to compromise and seek one state for both people. Does the world want to further radicalise them?
    Do not be deceived: the persistence of the Palestine problem is the main motive for every anti-American militant in the Arab world and beyond. But now the Bush administration has added Iraq and Afghanistan as additional grievances. America has lost its influence on the Arab masses, even if it can still apply pressure on Arab regimes. But reformists and elites in the Arab world want nothing to do with America.
    A failed American administration departs, the promise of a Palestinian state a lie, as more Palestinians are murdered. A new president comes to power, but the people of the Middle East have too much bitter experience of US administrations to have any hope for change. President-elect Obama, Vice President-elect Biden and incoming secretary of state Hillary Clinton have not demonstrated that their view of the Middle East is at all different from previous administrations. As the world prepares to celebrate a new year, how long before it is once again made to feel the pain of those whose oppression it either ignores or supports?

    Reply

  32. JohnH says:

    “Israel Responds to Deadly Onslaught of Hamas Rockets” Yeah, right!
    Israelis killed since 2005 by Hamas rockets? 9 (plus 1 yesterday)
    Hamas suicide missions inside Israel since 2005? 0
    Palestinians killed by IDF LAST WEEKEND? 295
    It’s pretty obvious who is engaged in a “dealy onslaught” and who’s not…

    Reply

  33. Bob says:

    Zzzzzzzzzz. Wake me when something really important occurs in the world. Your story has grown tiresome.

    Reply

  34. PissedOffAmerican says:

    From the AIPAC website….
    “Israel Responds to Deadly Onslaught of Hamas Rockets
    “Palestinian terrorists prepare to fire rockets at Israeli civilians.
    In response to hundreds of Hamas rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli civilians during the past week….blablablahblah….”
    So, we KNOW that Israel was planning these strikes prior to last week. So, doesn’t that make “In response to hundreds of Hamas rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli civilians during the past week” just another unabashed LIE from these people? How long are we going to let a foreign agency, who has regularly committed acts of espionage against us, continue to wage a propaganda campaign that targets American citizens and news outlets?
    Isn’t it about time we registered these international criminals as foreign agents, and held them accountable to THE TRUTH? Aren’t we sick of being bullshitted by these people yet?

    Reply

  35. PM Dailey says:

    The Israelis would not act like such international assholes if Iran already had it’s nuclear bombe or two ready for delivery.
    It would be nice if Pakistan would lend Iran a nuke or two as a gesture in the spirit of the Holiday Season for seeking “Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Men.”
    You know, the Peace of mutually assured destruction; a Peace where Israel is no longer longer the sole brute force of the Middle East that can attack its neighbours indiscriminately without fatal consequence.
    The only consequence Israel has now for it’s current war crimes is reinforcing the long held opinion that they are a country of assholes (along with their poodle the American gov’t), but they have stopped long ago of caring about their reputation damaged beyond repair.
    Iran, it is high time to make Israel’s every move highly consequential; a matter of life and death.

    Reply

  36. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its just fucking amazing.
    Read through these recent threads on the Isr/Pal issue, and there is one common thread to the copmments of those defending Israel. TO A MAN they refuse to discuss, note, comment on, debate, or recognize the humamnitarian situation in Gaza. Honking like a flock of indignant geese, all we hear from them is “rocket attacks, rockets attacks, rocket attacks”.
    Why is it they refuse to address the blockades and sanctions that have brought the Palestinians to their knees? Why is it these bigoted and mouthy defenders of the indefensible refuse to admit to the desperation of a people denied the basic needs for dignity and survival?
    I watched Livni on the news last night, and I saw evil. I listened as she removed ALL blame from the Israelis, and LIED to us, saying “we have dismantled all the settlements”. Like AIPAC’s website, these people lie, exaggerate, twist, inflate, and propagandize unabashedly, knowing that the media is too cowed to dispute the Israeli fairy tales.
    Steve, I believe you to be a responsible host here. I beseech you to seek commentary from “PeaceNow”, “FreeGaza”, or many of the other groups that recognize and are willing to discuss the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Enough with the inside the beltway contributions on this issue. Enough with commentary of these people like Levy whose tepid commentaries always fall short of telling the WHOLE STORY.

    Reply

  37. JohnH says:

    “Thus it’s through the ashes of tragedy (killing Palestinians) that the Phoenix of peace will lastingly rise in the land of Moses, Christ, and Mohammed.”
    Kotzabsis has done Orwell proud–war for peace. Wanton murder and destruction justified by little more than the fact that Israel is convinced Palestinians hate them, so Israel gladly gives Palestinians more reasons to hate them. And so Israel feels justified in humiliating, empoverishing and dispossessing Palestinians over and over again.
    No Phoenix will rise out of this process. The only end games are either an imposed peace or genocide and total ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. And Israel is clearly on track for the latter solution unless someone wakes up and restrains them.

    Reply

  38. DonS says:

    Livni says Israel’s got no brief against the Gazan people, but Hamas should be treated as terrorists. She is ignores that Hamas was elected by the Gazans; Hamas represents the will of Gaza. Neither Livni nor the whole impotent American political apparatus — apparently Obama as well — has the hontesty to recognize that.
    As to Kotzabasis notion that because there is “hate” between Isralis and Muslims — a loaded term without historical truth as regards Muslim/Jewish relations in the mideast over a millenia — that Gazans should be “routed” on the “field of battle”, it seems like Mr. Kotzabasis is the one with irreconcilable emotional urges towards violence worthy of a true throwback.
    Israel’s long war strategy is clear. Guerilla opposition is natural. The US political myopia, ignorance, and growing guilt for not using its influence to change facts is criminal. And Carroll and others are right; US citizens are getting more fed up; the media misleads; the politicians are [as usual] behind the curve and in the pay of a crooked system.

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  39. Cee says:

    POA,
    They always killed the police when Arafat was alive then blamed him for lack of security.
    They haven’t changed.

    Reply

  40. kotzabasis says:

    Paul Norheim,
    It would have been wiser to invest your emotions in the boudoir where you would be in great demand and enviably productive and not expend them and squander them in “contemporary politics” with no intellectual returns.

    Reply

  41. carol says:

    I don’t understand how some people on here only see Palestine as the “murderer’s in this conflict…it’s almost like they regard the Palestinian people as less than human and killing them is no big deal!!!!!
    How do they equate the Israeli power of military might to the lesser capability of Palestine…not saying that whatever is used by either side does not kill or mame but there is no comparison in the strength.
    This constant idea that we have to feel sorry for Israel and their plight…does no one care about the hundreds killed by them, they fire at will whenever the mood takes them with no condemnation from anyone!!!!!
    Do we ever see Palestine amass tanks on the borders,do we see Palestine flying planes and dropping bombs of course not they don’t have that
    capability…yet we are supposed to support Israel with all their military might against what, some ground rockets!!!!
    This conflict has been too one sided for far too long in favour of Israel and it needs to be stopped.

    Reply

  42. Dan Kervick says:

    Mr. Levy,
    I think if you are going to make a big speech about the need for my country to come forth with “bold ideas”, you should be more specific about what ideas you have in mind.

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  43. Paul Norheim says:

    “Thus it’s through the ashes of tragedy that the Phoenix of
    peace will lastingly rise in the land of Moses, Christ, and
    Mohammed. ”
    Kotzabasis, let me be blunt here: killing millions is no fucking
    Greek drama, it is mass murder on the scale of Hitler, Pol Pot,
    Mao and the rest of the criminals I know you despise. And
    killing millions is the implication of your position, which by the
    way is not limited to the Israeli/Palestine conflict, but, as we
    know, extends to a fight between the “Western civilization” and
    the Islamists.
    Poetical allusions to ancient mythical birds of hope does not
    raise you an inch above your recommendations. It`s the
    language of fascism mixed with old fashioned Napoleonic
    heroism, on behalf of a “rational civilization”. Do you really
    believe (or even hope) that the West will remain rational after a
    world war of the kind you seem to recommend, and that a
    Phoenix of some kind will rise from the ruins?
    The most obvious evidence of your lack of judgement,
    proportions and presence in the contemporary world, is your
    absurd comparison of the hate among Muslims and Islamists
    against Israel and the Jews, with the emotions that brought
    Obama the victory in the recent American election.
    I don`t know what else to say about your absurd literary
    fantasies, transfered to the real world. Why don`t you listen to
    Richard Wagner instead of engaging with contemporary politics?
    I`m sure “Götterdämmerung” would make you extatic.

    Reply

  44. kotzabasis says:

    For more than forty years now a multiplicity of interventions and numerous ceasefires and truces have led nowhere and indeed have exacerbated the cycle of violence and the greater dangers emanating from this in the region.
    The political savants involved intellectually in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are as yet unable to realize that this conflict is fuelled by the unremitting hate of the Palestinians, and generally of most Muslims, for Israel. One cannot appease hate, especially when a generation of children are instructed in it. Anyone who has read the great playwrights from Aeschylus to Shakespeare knows quite well that the fierce passion of hate trumps all other passions and beyond, even the faculty of reason. A recent example of this was the ascension of Obama to the presidency that was fuelled by the hate many Americans had for Bush-Cheney and by association the Republicans and which neutralized even the strong passion of racism that furtively hides in the hearts of a majority of Americans.
    So to believe as so many do that the Palestinian –Israeli conflict can only be resolved by political and diplomatic means and not military, is childishly delusional. Hate, fanaticism, irrationality, are insensitive to the gentle touch of reason and to the suave practitioners of diplomacy. The architects of peace in the Middle East must realize that only by breaking their intellectual bondage to futile Quartets and barren negotiations and routing the irrational forces of the Palestinians in the field of battle can bring an end to war. This festering “chronic ulcer” to quote Clemons, must be cut by the surgeon’s knife. Thus it’s through the ashes of tragedy that the Phoenix of peace will lastingly rise in the land of Moses, Christ, and Mohammed.

    Reply

  45. Oreo_and_Milk says:

    Does anybody have a link to that “recent Brookings/Council of Foreign Relations Report” mentioned here? Thanks. :p

    Reply

  46. Paul Norheim says:

    “For there to be any peace, all sides everywhere on earth must
    compromise and give back. Zionest mass murderers, American
    mass murderers, christian mass murderers, jihadists mass
    murderers, hindu mass murderers, aristocratic mass murderers
    and all mass murderers, and all those who aid and abet them
    on earth must burn and be excoriated from the planet and the
    body human without exception.” (Tony Foresta)
    Hey Tony, you must see the contradictions in your post, don`t
    you? Compromise and generosity in one sentence, and “burn all
    the mass murderers” in the next – this contradiction is all over
    your text.
    I think you`re good man, Tony, but you have a very bad habit
    of demonizing large groups, which sometimes lead you to
    absurd conclusions.
    The Republicans in America are all devils, in contrast to the well
    meaning members of the Democratic party, almost angel-like
    bearers of hope and progress. This is bad analysis, if you ask
    me (well, I guess you don`t, but I`ll say it anyway).
    And now the Gaza attacks. What to do with that? One of your
    pet devils, the jihadists, are sending rockets that so far have
    killed just one Israeli. And the Israelis have killed and maimed
    hundreds of jihadists and innocent civilians. That brings
    confusion into your black & white system, doesn`t it? Not a
    good force on one side, and a dark one on the other – so what
    do you do?
    You demonize both. And demand that they should be killed
    and burned and so on. You also demand that everyone should
    be tolerant and peaceful and abide the law and be tolerant as
    well.
    This does not add up to anything, Tony.
    I recommend some exercises in sober thinking. Calm and sober
    thinking, without moralism, without demonization, without even
    indignation. Then you can compare the results of these
    exercises with the results of your natural inclinations to act as if
    political statements should be synonymous with exorcism.
    I seriously don`t want to ridicule you. But the results of your
    bad habit this time was, to be frank, a bit ridiculous, and a bit
    scary. A calm and sober head, Tony… Burning your enemies
    won`t get you anywhere.
    I think you`ll agree with me that we should try to avoid
    returning to the reign and mentality of the Spanish Inquisition.

    Reply

  47. Carroll says:

    Posted by Mike Bush Dec 28, 9:57PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Nitwit….
    We haven’t invaded Cuba, occupied them and moved in US settlers to build setlements on their land.
    If we did we could expect to have missiles lobbed at us.

    Reply

  48. TonyForesta says:

    The body count issue is a non-starter. Many fewer Israeli’s have die or been injured from the constant barrage of rocket attacks by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and all the other Gaza mass murdergangs. That’s the point. Many more Palestinians have and will continue to die from Israel’s much more superior retaliation. That is also the point.
    Just as Israel cannot resolve the Palestinian issue with military force, so also the Palestinians cannot resolve the same conflict by supporting massmurder and harboring, aid and abetting mass murder gangs. When measured in purely kinetic metrics, Israel is always going to inflict much more carnage and destruction on Palestinians than Palestinian mass murder gangs will inflict on Israel.
    All the mass murder gangs everywhere on earth and all those who aid and abet them regardless of their political, religious, national, or cultural flavor, flag, prophet, book, or partisan blandishments must burn. All the mass murder gangs must be hunted, captured, or preferably killed everywhere on earth. Every single mass murderer, mass murdergang, and all those who aid and abet them on earth must burn, without mercy, without reconciliation, without restraint, and without agreement or appeasment.
    For there to be any peace, all sides everywhere on earth must compromise and give back. Zionest mass murderers, American mass murderers, christian mass murderers, jihadists mass murderers, hindu mass murderers, aristocratic mass murderers and all mass murderers, and all those who aid and abet them on earth must burn and be excoriated from the planet and the body human without exception.
    The only hope for resolving any of these myriad epic conflicts is through legal, political, and peaceful means. Every people and every nation on earth must accept and DEMAND that their respective leadership turn away from slaughtering innocent people and toward real peaceful legal political negotiations, discussions, and eventually agreements and peaceful resolutions and settlements.
    I don’t hold any hope because man is a warring a beast afflicted with an insatiable thirst for the blood.
    So while I wish, pray, and hope that leadership and decent people on every nation on earth will guide their respective populations to peaceful means of reconciling conflicts, – the sad reality is that what we witness now in Palestine now, and many other places on this wild and violent planet will continue unabated because all sides would prefer slaughtering innocents, bathing in their blood, and profiteering from the horrorshows then working toward real solutions.
    All the worlds corrupt, venal, and bloodthirsty religious orders and all their followers must make a conscious choice to work toward peaceful solutions and reject, repudiate, and recant violence as a means to resolve differences or disputes or continue slaughtering each other until the end.
    I hold no hope. Man is a savage beast who has not evolved one single step beyond our Cro Magnon cousins emotionally or spiritually. We still resolve all our differences by beating each other over the head with sticks. The sticks are highly advanced technologically, but the underlying protean affliction remains unevolved and festering. Those nations and people with highly advance hypersuperior sticks may dominate by force, but they will never win the overarching conflict or the hearts and minds of the people they seek to conquer my military means – and so we all feed the beast. We will continue spilling the blood of innocents for wealth and power of those who worship the beast, the worm – until we stupidly and savagely destroy everyone and living thing on earth.
    There can be no more fitting an end for a diseased, polluted, corrupt, savage and unevolved species.
    The beast will have it’s way and devour humanity in the end, because we may pretend to worship this or that god or goddess, but our actions and our insane and malignant practices prove – we all worship and glorify the beast.

    Reply

  49. Carroll says:

    Posted by JohnH Dec 28, 11:14PM – Link
    “Sadly the United States cannot bring peace between Israel and Palestinians because we’re too traumatized ourselves.” You must be joking.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    LOL, I agree…who the hell is trumatized? No one that I know. And who the hell is speaking for “we”?
    Of course the Israelis want Americans to be traumatized and wallow in self righteous self pity and ‘shock and awe revenge’ just like them. Like Netanyaho said on MSNBC, terriers attacking America was good for Israel. What a freudian slip that was!
    Everyone I know got back on planes as soon as flights resumed and went about their business and complained about the idiotic airport security.

    Reply

  50. David says:

    Singularly intelligent commentary by Daniel Levy. This will prove in the long haul to be one of the very dumbest moves by Israel, not to mention horrifying. It keeps reminding me of our own history with Native Americans, although there are also key differences, one being the fact that Israel cannot wipe out the Palestinians the way we did Native Americans, and so they ultimately cannot succeed in creating an acceptable future for themselves, only a terrible future for both Israel and Palestine. And as Daniel Levy so aptly points out, we and the rest of the world had better care.

    Reply

  51. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And, I hate to be cynical, but when I see a post like rykart’s, I am immediately suspicious of its origin. What better way to poison a thread, and open the door to those that want to blather on about “anti-semitism”?
    Whether rykart is the sick fuck his post implies, or just someone baiting the tank with a “false flag comment”, its equally despicable.
    I doubt we will ever hear from rykart again. But it wouldn’t suprise me to see a bunch of pro-Israeli posts from previously unknown posters right on the heels of rykart’s post.

    Reply

  52. Carroll says:

    Just as an observation.
    I have been following the Israeli attack on the wires and the TV and net and wonder if this is that last Israeli straw for the political pubic. The condemnation is everywhere…except of course in the US MS media. I expected the progressives and liberals to be upset but I did not expect the total condemnation of Israel by all the major dem sites. There is no political correctness or tiptoeing around the jewish and zionist ‘feelings’ or Israel this time. It’s pure disgust.
    I was particulary shocked by the dailykos site because it has long been the bastion of the rabid democratic zionist activist famous for supressing any criticism of Israel. Not this time though, they are being run off the boards faster than they call the Israel critics anti semites this time.
    I saw this article tonight that I think speaks volumes about the attitude at that progressive site and FDL and many dem blog and sites. There is also a lot of criticism on Obama for not making some like statement to to call Israel off. Obama will be a one termer.
    Today I end my support of Israel
    by Chilean Jew [Subscribe]
    Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 11:07:48 AM PST
    Like davidminzer, I’m Jewish and descendant of holocaust survivors. Moreover, I’ve been a Zionist all of my life. I went to a Zionist school, I was active in Zionist youth groups. I’ve always been a fervent supporter of Israel as a refuge for Jews around the world who seek a place to exercise their traditions and embrace their identity in peace.
    continued at…..http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/12/28/114432/83/489/677860

    Reply

  53. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Remember when they were blaming Arafat?
    Seems like all Israel can do is shift blame while they slowly eradicate Palestinians. If Hamas disappeared tomorrow, Israel would find someplace else to place the blame, while squeezing, starving, and choking the Palestinians to the breaking point.
    Bigots like Mike Bush always say “well what if so-and-so was lobbing rockets at us” instead of saying “well what if someone blockaded our source of food, medical supplies, and infrastructural needs”.
    Why do I call him a bigot? Because of his lumping of all Palestinians into one group that needs to be relegated “to the bottom of page 19″.
    Of course, everytime the topic of Israel/Palestine comes up, some jerk will start sputtering about “anti-semitism” while ignoring the blatantly bigoted manner in which many of those defending Israel speak about the Palestinians or Arabs in general. Wig-wag referring to the Iranians as “lunatics”. This jackass Mike Bush relegating all Palestinians to the the bottom of page 19. On another thread, Hamas is described as “rabid dogs”. Then there was Abe’s comment yesterday, claiming that the members of Hamas are not “human”.
    Often, those leveling the charge of anti-semitism are the true bigots, talking about the Palestinians, the Lebanese, the Syrians, etc, as if they are less than human, or the life of a Muslim is not worth that of a Jew.
    Read carefully many of the posts here defending Israel. Many, through implication, argue that there is no solution, and that peace will come only after the Palestinians are eradicated, or relegated to “the bottom of page 19″.
    I rarely see true anti-semitism in these TWN debates. But often I see bigoted comments directed towards the Palestinians. Perhaps those who are screaming “anti-semite” the loudest should do a little introspection and take a look in the mirror. Odds are, they’re going to find a bigot staring back at them.

    Reply

  54. Carroll says:

    “The U.S.-Israel relationship per se is not to blame (that is something I support), the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict is – and thankfully we can do something about that..”
    First I can assure Levey Americans do care.
    And I hate to insult a guest of Steve’s but Levey’s statement above is a lie. And we know why this lie is told…it is the same kind of lie that all zionist promote like the, ..’Americans support Israel”…lie.
    I am sure Levey does support US-Israel ties, he is Israeli, not American ….and wants all those billions of our taxpayer money and assorted handouts that flow to Israel, and all the US strong arming of other coutries to get economic benefits for Israel even when they harm our own interest and damage other countries. How much did we promised Israel lately? 30 Billion? While we are in the midst of our own financial metldown with some states so broke they can’t pay their teachers and state employees. But congress will take our citizen’s hard earned money money and give it to Israel. Without US political support Israel would be the shortest footnote in history.
    And Mr.Levey pretends to take the support of Israel from our zionist inflitrated corrupt congress and politics for support by the American people. Actually he knows better. That is why he has to say that the US-Isr relationship is not to blame for Israeli rampages and war crimes. If he admitted the US aided and abetted this it would lead straight to the US zionist and their orgs and lobby who Israel depends on to control US policy and purse strings for their benefit.
    Even the Levey’s who talk a good peace game are still just that…’game talkers’.
    Everyone has seen the decades long Israeli pattern of provoke, respond, seize more land for ‘security’ and then whine about their insecurity and their poor little holocaust psyches….and play the holocuast get out of jail free card and “talk” about peace talks… while they steal American money and more and more land and resources from a barely armed neighboring population.
    Israel wants peace?…how hypocritical.
    GIVE THE PALESTINES THEIR LAND BACK….ALL OF IT. THEN YOU CAN TALK ABOUT PEACE.
    Here’s the delicous irony Mr. Levey….
    The parastic twisting and burrowing of Israel and it’s henchmen into America’s government to usurp our national power and treasure for their own benefit and bloody greed will be exactly what destroys Israel. They have corrupted America government beyond being able to broker the “Just” deal for Palestine that is necessary for peace and Israel’surival.
    Israel will continue to get their assisted suicide from the US.
    A fitting end and Good riddence to them.

    Reply

  55. Paul Norheim says:

    Rykart,
    you are the one producing filth here.
    Please go somewhere else with it, will you?

    Reply

  56. rykart says:

    The Israelis are filth from the sewer.
    No person of conscience can muster even the slightest sympathy
    for them.

    Reply

  57. Cee says:

    WigWag,
    Your article made me laugh. I know that Abbas has thick glasses but now I know that the MFer is truly blind! Extend the ceasefire? Did he make the same request of Israel.
    I found this old article about Hamas that everyone should read and share.
    Setting the Record Straight on Hamas
    By JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN
    Oxford, England.
    A June 3rd poll conducted by Near East Consulting based in Ramallah, Palestine shows that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians support the Prisoner’s Agreement, an inter-factional agreement signed by one member each of Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, and the DFLP inside Israel’s Hadarim prison this past May. (1) The document implicitly recognizes Israel by accepting, among other things, a Palestinian state in the lands occupied by Israel in the June 1967 war.
    News reports have paid a lot of attention to the Prisoner’s Agreement in part because it accepts the Arab League initiative (Saudi Plan) unanimously adopted by the Arab states in Beirut in 2002 at the height of the Second Intifada. By calling for an independent Palestinian state on the ë67 lines in return for peace with Israel, both the Saudi Plan and the Prisoner’s Agreement echo the international consensus on Palestine since the mid 1970s. Israel has completely ignored the Arab initiative despite overwhelming support among the Palestinians.
    But the Prisoner’s Agreement has also become the focal point of the most recent crisis in internal Palestinian politics: Palestinian Authority president and Fatah deputy leader Mahmoud Abbas has called for a national referendum on the document should Hamas fail to adopt it as part of their official program. So far, Hamas has refused and has labeled Abbas’ actions “illegal.”
    Not surprisingly, there is more to the referendum story than ever makes it into the press.
    http://www.counterpunch.org/loewenstein06122006.html

    Reply

  58. JohnH says:

    “Sadly the United States cannot bring peace between Israel and Palestinians because we’re too traumatized ourselves.” You must be joking.
    The only trauma I see is from Bush administration policies, which included massive fear mongering to stoke Americans’ unwarranted sense of victimhood. Lots of countries have suffered more violence than the US and have soldiered on without becoming paralyzed. The IRA’s 100# bomb attack on the Brighton Grand Hotel springs immediately to mind. It nearly got the British cabinet, which was attending a conference there at the time. Yet within a decade the British government had negotiated a complete ceasefire with the IRA and a peace accord within 15 years.
    If the United States cannot bring peace between Israel and Palestinians, it’s because American politicians are too busy pandering to foreign interest groups at the expense pursuing America’s vital strategic interests.

    Reply

  59. Daniel Dubei says:

    Sadly the United States cannot bring peace between Israel and
    Palestinians because we’re too traumatized ourselves, much like the
    Israelis. The Israelis cannot see that the more they attack their
    neighbors, the worse off they are, and the United States is too
    attached to Israel to see differently.
    Sadly, there are no other powers that can influence the direction
    other than the current players, and the current situation is bringing
    us essentially a draw. No one is winning. No one will.

    Reply

  60. carol says:

    Posted by Paul Norheim Dec 28
    If things are so simple, why don`t you explain to us why peace
    wasn`t achieved during all those years BEFORE Hamas existed?
    That is a very good point….everybody likes to blame Hamas for Israel’s plight, I think it is a fact that Israel just want to dominate the region
    and will not be happy until they do…so when it comes to peace that is not what Israel want they want domination.

    Reply

  61. Paul Norheim says:

    “Peace could break out tomorrow if Hamas would decide for peace
    and get rid of its crazy ideas.” (Mike Bush)
    If things are so simple, why don`t you explain to us why peace
    wasn`t achieved during all those years BEFORE Hamas existed?

    Reply

  62. Mike Bush says:

    What a weak article regarding solutions.
    Peace could break out tomorrow if Hamas would decide for peace and get rid of its crazy ideas.
    Why are people giving these senseless Hamas guys so much credibility? (?Because thousands of governmentals & “intellectuals” use Palestine for their own fame and fortune?)
    If Cuba started lobbing 80 rockets a day into the US, would the US be as forebearing as these writers tell Israel to be? In the spirit of this age of science, we should ask Cuba to run such an experiment.
    Everybody has given up on the Palestinians. We should relegate them to the bottom of page 19 and move on to countries that want to be helped.

    Reply

  63. carol says:

    The latest news from The Nation 12/28/08
    Israel breaking Geneva Convention Laws!!!
    HALLELUJAH!!!
    Finally someone else can see that the Israeli’s are breaking the rules of the Geneva Convention.
    That has been my argument all along about this conflict….Israel think they can do whatever they like and ANY laws do not apply to them.
    Where are we in condemning these attacks, we stay silent as we always do and condone the attacks the Israeli’s make on Palestine.
    Time is long overdue for Israel to be taken to task for their actions, they have got away with them for far too long and international action should be taken against them.

    Reply

  64. WigWag says:

    “In addition efforts need to be revived for achieving Palestinian national reconciliation…”
    Perhaps Mr. Levy (whose blog, prospectsforpeace.com, is terrific) could explain to us in a future post how he thinks Palestinian national reconciliation is possible now that Hamas is threatening to assassinate the leadership of the Palestinian Authority and Egyptian intelligence officials.
    “In response to Gaza raids, Hamas threatens to assassinate Livni, Barak
    By Amos Harel, Barak Ravid and Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondents
    Tags: Israel, Israel news, Hamas, Last update – 03:21 29/12/2008
    Hamas on Sunday threatened to respond to an ongoing Israel Defense Forces assault on the Gaza Strip by assassinating senior Israeli officials. Senior Hamas official Fatah Hamad specifically threatened Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
    He also threatened that Hamas would go after senior Palestinian Authority officials in the West Bank, as well as “those in the Arab world who have conspired against us,” – an apparent reference to Egypt.
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas, however, said that Hamas could have prevented Israel’s assault had it only agreed to extend the cease-fire, and he urged it to do so now.”
    Hamas and Fatah won’t be reconciling any time soon. Mr. Levy is certainly too smart to believe that the fundamental dispute between Fatah and Hamas has anything to do with how they view Israel or the peace process. Their differences on this are the least of their problems. Just as the dispute between the Mubarak Government and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has virtually nothing to do with Israel and just like the animosity between King Abdullah, II and the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan has nothing to do with Israel; the hatred between Fatah and Hamas is about far more than the peace process.
    As an off-shoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas proudly proclaims its goal to be “the introduction of the Islamic Shari`ah as the basis controlling the affairs of state and society.” The secular Fatah movement has a distinct lack of enthusiasm for this goal and it makes it very hard to contemplate how a genuine rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah can be achieved.
    Experts who suggest that a successful peace process depends on political reconciliation between these two groups are condemning the Palestinians to a future where peace is impossible (it may already be impossible). This is because the civil war between the Palestinians will be going on for a very long time.
    Just like it is in the rest of the Muslim world.

    Reply

  65. Paul Norheim says:

    With Pelosi, Bush, Rice and President-elect Obama so firmly
    supporting Israel, the US will probably allow Israel to go just as far
    as it did against Lebanon in 2006.
    The outcome may be even grimmer, on a humanitarian, but also
    on a political level.

    Reply

  66. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Sorry for being so crass, but I really wish we could ship this bitch Pelosi to Gaza and force her to wade around in raw sewage searching for a fresh loaf of bread.
    Of all the Democrat leadership, Pelosi is unquestionably the most loathsome. Reid is a close second.
    Pelosi: US must stand strongly with Israel
    Published: 12.28.08, 03:13 / Israel News
    Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi issued a statement concerning the Israeli operation in Gaza in which she wrote that “When Israel is attacked, the United States must continue to stand strongly with its friend and democratic ally.”
    According to Pelosi, “Peace between Israelis and Palestinians cannot result from daily barrages of rocket and mortar fire from Hamas-controlled Gaza. Hamas and its supporters must understand that Gaza cannot and will not be allowed to be a sanctuary for attacks on Israel.” (Yitzhak Benhorin, Washington)

    Reply

  67. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “For Gaza the calm meant less of an ongoing military threat but supplies of basic necessities into Gaza were kept to a minimum – just above starvation and humanitarian crisis levels – an ongoing provocation to Hamas and collective punishment for Gazans”
    Well, it seems a number of humanitarian agencies would disagree, and have declared that there IS a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
    Why is the humanitarian situation in Gaza always understated, often ignored, and not seen as the direct result of an act of war? Sieges and blockades can be just as deadly to a population as a bombing campaign can be.
    Are we to believe that Israel was barring journalists from entering Gaza because they didn’t want us to see how fat and prosperous the Gazans were becoming?
    I agree with much that Daniel Levy says here.
    But wouldn’t it be nice to see a guest post from someone representing “Peace Now” or “FreeGaza”? I’m sure if Steve reached out to them, they would be glad to provide an essay or two.
    And by the way, as to Levy’s question “Why should Americans care?”…..
    Well, the fact that our tax dollars are subsidizing Israeli crimes against humanity, amounting to little more than a slow process of genocide, is one very strong reason to care, isn’t it?
    Do we really want to send Israel billions of dollars so that they can clusterbomb, starve, and collectively punish entire populations of civilians?
    Me, I just wish a few of my tax dollars would go to fix the fuckin’ pothole in the middle of my cul de sac, instead of to help the Israelis kill another Palestinian or two. Is that too much to ask?

    Reply

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