Chaim Gingold on Wed, 9 Apr 2003 22:09:04 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Iraq, Israel, Terrorism and Warfighting

On Wed, 9 Apr 2003, Ian Dickson wrote:

> >This does, of
> >course, contradict your claim that most Arabs & Arab Palestinians can live
> >with a 1967 Israel.
> Since the Arabs and Palestinians have recently signed declarations to 
> that effect it seems to be reasonable.

The argument you're making, and it is not an uncommon one, is that if we 
could somehow rewind time to 1967 we would have peace.

> >Given that a solution to the problem is political, and will ultimately be
> >reached through negotiation (obvious given the unlimited aims of Hamas,
> >Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, etc...), the legitimacy and even usefulness of
> >violence is generally suspect.
> Agreed, but one important view is that armoured bulldozers, tanks, and a 
> very very tight security regime by an occupying power are violence. 
> Especially when it has a penchant for deciding to create facts on the 
> ground and that for security purposes it needs to build settlements, and 
> they all too frequently need to be on the best land.

One can claim that settlements are violence, but this is metaphorical at 
best. Some argue that suicide bombings and building houses are 
symmetrical, to justify this murder, but these are different claims. 
Building houses and fences, no matter how much you want to believe it, is 
not the same act as intentionally seeking the murder of children.

> Of course as long as the Israelis and the Palestinians swap "you started 
> it" arguments they won't get far.
> A political solution is essential, but can't happen in the foreseeable 
> future unless Israel withdraws to 1967 borders.

This is certainly not a sufficient condition. Look in your history books,
and you'll find that before 1967 Israel and the Arabs were not at peace.
The frequently made naive argument is that if only Israel would withdraw
to the 1967 lines we'd solve the problem. Wishful thinking!

It's not hard to see why the Israeli peace camp was decimated by
Palestinian suicide bombers; there is an irrefutable statistical
correlation between the degree of autonomy and "political horizon" granted
to the Palestinian Arabs and the amount of violence suffered by Israelis.

Even so, surveys indicate that the majority of Israelis are willing to
exchange post-1967 territory for peace. The real question is whether there
will be anybody to work out such a political solution with. Will Abu Mazen
be able to take control of PA finances and its multiple militias, or will
Arafat's regime continue to simultaneously sign declarations recognizing
Israel and checks that fund terror? It's nice that you believe that these
signed declarations mean something, but Arafat does not. You've stated
that Arab Palestinian violence is legitimate, but you must be aware that
the same declarations you have so much faith in also include explicit
agreements against such violence.

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