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Israel and Palestinian Poverty:

Browing around the blogosphere recently, I've noticed that critics of Israel consistently repeat various versions of the following talking point (promoting by false propaganda emanating from sources such as this one): "what do you expect from the Palestinians? Israeli occupation impoverished them, and desperate, hungry people can only be expected to take desperate measures."

The idea that "occupation," per se, impoverished the Palestinians is simply wrong. In fact, it has been Palestinian violence since the first intifada broke out in 1987 that has impoverished the Palestinians, forcing Israel to gradually close its borders to Palestinian workers to prevent terrorist infiltration, creating the need for checkpoints and fences cutting the West Bank and Israel off from Gaza (Palestinians used to be basically free to enter and exit Israel, and Israelis used to shop and tour in the territories), and stifling foreign investment post-Oslo. (Not to mention that Palestinian support for Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War led to the expulsion of Palestinians from the Gulf, and the loss of their remittances.) Meanwhile, billions of dollars of post-Oslo aid were wasted by the corrupt and incompetent Arafat admninistration. I've read that post-Oslo, not a single significant public works project (hospital, road, etc.) was completed in the West Bank or Gaza. In an effort to buy political support, the PA ignored the private economy in favor of employing tens of thousands of employees in do-nothing bureaucratic jobs.

Anyway, here are some facts (source here--this is only one footnoted source, but it comports with numerous paper sources I've read over the years) about the economic consequences of the Israeli administration of the territories following the Six Day War:

--"Private consumption per capita [and per capita includes population growth, which was among the highest in the world in the territories] rose during 1969-1986 at an overall rate of 5% per annum."

-- Outside of regugee camps in Gaza (which Israel wanted to replace with permanent housing, but was prevented so as not to help solve the "refugee crisis" that provided the PLO's reason for existence), "in 1986, 95% of the Households in Gaza had running water and 100% had electricity (compared with 3 percent for water and 14% for electricity in 1974)."

--The percentage individual "with at least 9 years of education has risen from 22% in 1970 to 46% in 1986 in the West Bank, and from 32% to 54% in the Gaza Strip during the same period." Not noted in the paper I'm citing, all of the universities in the West Bank and Gaza were opened during the Israeli administration of the territories. There were none before that.

--As this source (hostile to Israel) acknowledges, as of 1993, per capita income in the Palestinian territories was higher than in Egypt (MUCH!) or Jordan, the countries that previously occupied Gaza and the West Bank, respectively. The logical conclusion from this is that if Israel had not won these territories in the Six Day War, the Arab population would have been much poorer.

And all this despite the fact that the Arab nations boycotting products made in the territories, cutting off local industry from its previous and natural export markets.

As the paper I cite above also points out, Israel made significant errors in its economic administration of the territories. This isn't surprising given that the residents of these territories had no voice in the Israeli government, and that the Israeli government severely mismanaged the Israeli economy itself during this period, resulting in, among other things, 400% inflation in the early 1980s. Also, economic growth slowed down in the territories considerably in the '80s, making it much more plausible to argue that the first intifada was in part the result of a "revolution of rising expectations," than a reaction to gradual impoverishment.

Way back when I was a college student, I took a class on the Arab-Israel conflict. My Israeli T.A., like most Israeli intellectuals, was highly sympathetic with the Palestinian cause, going so far as to justify PLO terrorism. I pointed out the huge rise in the Palestinian standard of living since 1967, and he responded along the lines of "do you think you can buy off nationalist sentiment with refrigerators and t.v.s? The Palestinians want their own country, and don't want to be occupied."

Fair enough. Man does not live by bread alone. But let's get our facts straight. The current wave of violence started in 1987, and has ebbed and flowed ever since, not because the Israelis impoverished the Palestinians, but despite the fact that the Palestinians became much wealthier under Israeli occupation, and despite the fact that it has been Fatah and Hamas violence, and Fatah corruption, that has impoverished the Palestinians since then.

middle east non-expert:
Your t.a. was pretty obviously right about the causes. The Western powers created an impossible situation when they carved out a portion of someone else's land for Israel. What the arabs/palestinians/others want is to have that land back. Money doesn't really enter into it.
7.17.2006 10:31am
davidbernstein (mail):
The "Western powers" didn't bestow anything on Israel. Israel ultimatley won its territory in a bloody War of Independence, with its arms coming mainly from Czechoslovokia. Britain was extremely hostile to the whole idea. The U.S. went along with it, but contributed no military support. The land allocated to Israel by U.N. partition had a majority Jewish population, so it's hard to see how this was "someone else's land," unless you think that population patterns at a given moment in history are sacred, and that given moment is 1880.
7.17.2006 10:42am
My two cents (www):
Here are some other sources with hard data, not just analytical papers.
http://www.btselem.org/English/index.asp

Furthermore, if you visit the West Bank and Gaza (instead of just learning about it in a class), you would understand the situation better and the meaning of desperation.
7.17.2006 10:48am
Lively:
Non-expert:
Jews have lived in Palestine for 3500 years.

But you're right, it's not about money. It's about Islam's illogical hate of the Jews.

Name any current Islamic country where a Jewish population has flourished inside their borders (increased).

Jews cannot live anywhere in Palestine (however, Muslims can live in Israel). When Israel pulled out of the West Bank, they had to remove their cemeteries (that's right, can't even have dead Jews in the land).
7.17.2006 10:50am
My two cents (www):
Oops - the other sources were:
http://www.fmep.org/
http://www.alternativenews.org/
http://www.merip.org/
7.17.2006 10:51am
thinking it throuhg:
David:

I concur with your assessment about the facts. Well stated.

But your argument is dangerously close to the argument made in the last few years by Alan Dershowitz, who has gone all the way to say that the occupation has been good for Palestinians, because they have enjoyed a better life under Israeli occupation than they would have if they had been given self-rule.

To me, that argument is too much like the 19th century pro-slavery men who argued that blacks were better off enslaved here than free in Africa. As a libertarian, I cannot accept any of these arguments as legitimate. No amount of money or material comfort can replace the basic human diginity of liberty and self-government.

I don't think you were making the above argument, but your post certainly alluded, at least implicitly, to these types of thinking. I would hope that you would distance yourself from such ideas.
7.17.2006 11:00am
davidbernstein (mail):
Thinking, another thing often forgotten in current debate is that granting the Palestinians independence after 1967 would have meant the establishment of a P.L.O. state, committed to Israel's destruction and allied with the Soviet Union, on Israel's borders. That would have been suicidal on Israel's part (though the Likud gov'ts of the early to mid-80s were foolish, at least in retrospect, for not taking seriously King Hussein's various offers to take most of the West Bank off Israel's hands). Under the circumstances, local autonomy for the Palestinians as offered by Begin, implemented seriously and with a common market, was a much more plausible solution than a Palestinan state. The collapse of the USSR allowed Israel to contemplate something more.
7.17.2006 11:07am
middle east non-expert:
David,

You refer to "The land allocated to Israel by U.N. partition". How is that different from the "Western powers" carving out a portion of someone else's land for Israel? Didn't the Western powers (e.g. France, the UK and US) essentially control the UN?
7.17.2006 11:09am
davidbernstein (mail):
Two cents: We're not disagreeing that the economic situation in the territories is "desperate," but perhaps we are disagreeing over whose fault that desperation is. Before bus bombings, cafe bombings, etc., the Palestinians had improved their standard of living dramatically under occupation, and stood to improve it much further under independence and peace. But they blew it.
7.17.2006 11:10am
davidbernstein (mail):
No, because Jews already lived there and owned the land there. The U.N. simply gave international legitimacy to their right of self-government, but they then had to fight for it against genocidal attacks from both local Arabs and local Arab states. The Jews settled the land, purchased property, and then fought for their own country. To reduce this to the Western powers somehow giving someone else's land to them goes beyond oversimplication and into putting a "Western imperialism" construct on something that had nothing to do with it.
7.17.2006 11:15am
AppSocRes (mail):
It's worth noting that "Palestinians" never had much power - economic or otherwise - prior to the existence of Israel. Before the Zionist movement most natives of the Ottoman levantine provinces were sharecroppers or tenants of absentee Arab landlords. Most purchases of land by individual Jews and Zionist organizations were from these landlords. The purchased land was generally regarded as inferior to that which native sharecroppers continued to rent. It is a persistent myth that the majority of "Palestinians'" ancestors were ever anything more than oppressed peasants in a backward province of the Ottoman empire dominated by absentee Arab landlords. (See A Peace to End All Peace and sources cited therin.)
7.17.2006 11:22am
Justin (mail):
Well said, though there are two concerns I'd like to address in the comments.

One; lively's comments about Islam having an "illogic hate" is off in my view - remember, Jews and Muslims got well along for the most part for close to 1000 years. The "religious" feud is of mainly recent origin, though like any other religion, you can find pieces of hatred going back - still, compare that to Jews and Christians, the latter of whose hatred has lasted millenia.

Two: DB is being dangerously deceptive in his simplification of Israeli independance - the movement, though well intentioned, had elements of violence and terrorism, and much of the land that was "bought" was actually stolen or intimidated away by the more extreme elements of the independance movement.
7.17.2006 11:25am
wait a sec:


No, because Jews already lived there and owned the land there. The U.N. simply gave international legitimacy to their right of self-government, but they then had to fight for it against genocidal attacks from both local Arabs and local Arab states. The Jews settled the land, purchased property, and then fought for their own country.


So you're using the most basic definition of a state - recognition by the larger community. So I could only assume that if the Arabs were to defeat Israel via war, claim the land as theirs, and get it recognized by the U.N., then THEY would "legitimately" have a state there?

It seems to me that you are trying to use legitimacy as both a legal term and a moral term. Israel is certainly, in the legal sense, the state that exists right now. But in a moral sense? I see their claim on the land as no better than anyone else's, except they have bigger guns right now. Please don't confuse the two.
7.17.2006 11:28am
Zugzwang:
It's interesting to note that before the Israel's re-establishment in 1948, the word "Palestinians" was used to refer to Jews, and the Arabs there were just called "Arabs".

Non-expert, your name is apt. Jews who were not already born in the area, worked the land, purchased huge amounts of property and have ALWAYS been a living population group in the area. The U.N. sought to partition the area between the Jews and Arabs. The Jews accepted it and the Arabs rejected it and warred.

A useful site to learn from is:

<http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths/mf1.html>
7.17.2006 11:49am
Jack S. (mail) (www):
This situation seems strangely reminiscent of Monty Python's "Life of Brian".

"All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"
7.17.2006 11:56am
Mark F. (mail):
Here's an idea for both sides: STOP KILLING PEOPLE and destroying property.
7.17.2006 11:56am
Michael B (mail):
Palestine is an area of land in the same sense that So. America, N. America, Asia, etc. are areas of land, albeit on a smaller scale. That is a geographic and historical fact, it was - never - a nation or nation state. By contrast, Israel has been a nation/state two or three different times over the last three millennia (they've been a formal state three different times, two in antiquity, one presently). Jews have, always and continuously, lived in the region.

Ref., Big Lies (small pdf).
7.17.2006 11:56am
JohnAnnArbor:

So you're using the most basic definition of a state - recognition by the larger community. So I could only assume that if the Arabs were to defeat Israel via war, claim the land as theirs, and get it recognized by the U.N., then THEY would "legitimately" have a state there?


Check the UN plan. Note: two states, one Arab and one Jewish. UN administration for Jerusalem, with all admitted. Jewish state allocated Negev desert, where VERY few people lived, plus areas where they were the majority.
7.17.2006 11:58am
anonyomousss (mail):
In fact, it has been Palestinian violence since the first intifada broke out in 1987 that has impoverished the Palestinians, forcing Israel to gradually close its borders to Palestinian workers to prevent terrorist infiltration, creating the need for checkpoints and fences cutting the West Bank and Israel off from Gaza

i am not familiar with the politics of the region and have no dog in this fight, but this particular argument strikes me as very shoddy reasoning. according to the sentence i've quoted, the direct cause of palestinian poverty is israeli security measures. you seem to be saying that the responsibility for israel's adoption of
those security measures belongs solely to the palestinians, because isreal was "forced" to adopt them. i find it extremely implausible that israel had no alternatives to adopting these particular policies, or that there were no options someone could have reasonably supported that would have imposed less of a burden on those palestinians who are innocent.

israel's particular response may well have been justified (i don't know, mostly because partisans on both sides give wildly different versions of the facts, making it difficult for third parties to figure out what the hell is going on) but if A's aggression forces B to adopt security measures, and there are reasonable alternatives X, Y, Z, it seems to me that B must bear at least some of the responsibility for the consequences of choosing Z rather than X or Y.
7.17.2006 12:03pm
davod (mail):
You will never stop the fighting in the area until you stop teaching children that the jews are the enemy (I will leave out all the other phrases used in standrad textbooks.)

There will be no real change for at least a generation after changing texts.
7.17.2006 12:06pm
Michael B (mail):
Michael Oren has it right, Syria should be made to pay. Nothing jingoistic or excessive about that, it would more simply recognize the preexistent realities. If they refrain from doing so it should only be out of strategically realist, longer term considerations.
7.17.2006 12:06pm
middle east non-expert:
David,

You say:

"The U.N. simply gave international legitimacy to their right of self-government ..."

With all due respect, I think you need to acknowledge the full history here. As my pseudonym indicated, I'm not an expert. But I do recall a bit about the history of European colonialism in the region. I think you need to stop referring to the "U.N." taking these actions, and recognize that the UK and France were the colonial powers who controlled the land, and ultimately it was their decision as to what would be done with it (that is, who would govern it). The U.N. is nothing but its member states. It was the UK/France/US that made the decisions that allowed Israel to come into existence as its own state.

(A side note. Imagine if the UN "partitioned" the U.S. to give big chunks of it back to Native Americans. What would the U.S government do? Invade and take it back, no doubt.)

My point here is not to take one side or the other. I think both sides have a number of moderates, plenty of violent extremists, and legitimate grievances. Rather, what I wanted to convey is that the situation is a direct result of stupid decisions by the UK/France/US, who should have known the result would be years and years of warfare in the region. It was completely predictable, and they did nothing to prepare for it.
7.17.2006 12:14pm
Michael B (mail):
One set of critical backgrounders, absolutely requisite to any better set of comprehensions of the ideological basis, the general mindset, pervasive in the region:

Briefly:

European Roots of Antisemitism in Current Islamic Thinking

At more length:

National Socialism and Anti-Semitism in the Arab World

Islamic Antisemitism And Its Nazi Roots

Not germane in an absolutely imminent sense, but it is now a long standing, inter-generational problem of enormous magnitude and it does reflect the mindsets prevalent in Hamas and Syria, Hezbollah and Iran, and the region as a whole.
7.17.2006 12:27pm
davidbernstein (mail):
You're still missing the point that the U.N. didn't "give" Israel anything, and you are just wrong in thinking that Britain supported the creation of Israel. And your analogy to the U.s. and Indians is fallacious, because the land on which Israel was created did not "belong" to a sovereign Arab government, it was under British control, and before that, Turkish for centuries. The Arabs of Palestine had no more claim to a state there than the Jews, and indeed the Arab powers that invaded had no intention of permitting a new Arab state there, but rather planned to incorporat the land to their own state, as Jordan did with the West Bank. When the British decided to withdraw, the question was what should happen to the land in this vacuum. The U.N. had a plan. The Arabs rejected it and invaded. Israel defeated them militarily with no help from the U.N. or the West, and with the active hostility of Britain, which aided the Jordanians. The only importance of the U.N. was it encouraged Israel to declare independence, feeling that it could receive diplomatic recognition if it managed to survive the forthcoming war.
7.17.2006 12:30pm
Luke:
I don't understand why people object to Israel's existence by saying "It's only a state because they have bigger guns" or something similar. That is the only reason any state is a state. Or is there some higher authority that grants states statehood?
7.17.2006 12:40pm
whatever:

So you're using the most basic definition of a state - recognition by the larger community. So I could only assume that if the Arabs were to defeat Israel via war, claim the land as theirs, and get it recognized by the U.N., then THEY would "legitimately" have a state there?


Check the UN plan. Note: two states, one Arab and one Jewish. UN administration for Jerusalem, with all admitted. Jewish state allocated Negev desert, where VERY few people lived, plus areas where they were the majority.


Right. And now there's one jewish state and no arab state. And as best I can tell, there never will be. Might makes right, as far as the Israelis are concerned, and it has served them well for the last 50 years. Unfortunately, I think it is this very mindset which is going to contribute to the ultimate settlement of the area: 0 jewish states, 0 arab states, and 1 big wasteland.

I'm sure at that point, David will still be arguing about who's fault it was, but i also assume people will have stopped listening.
7.17.2006 12:44pm
UN 181:
For those interested, here's UN Resolution 181 (full text and signatories), which was the UN partition plan approved on 11/29/47.
7.17.2006 12:50pm
anon252 (mail):
"Might makes right, as far as the Israelis are concerned"

That's like saying that a skinny kid surrounded by five large bullies, but who pulls out a few karate moves when they attack him, believes that "might makes right." And pacifism results in pain and death.
7.17.2006 12:50pm
Passing By:
Prof. Bernstein, do you care to state percentages - what percentage of the land in the mandate was owned by Jews prior to the partition plan, what percentage of the land was allocated to Israel in the partition plan, and what percentage of the land was possessed by Israel at the end of the War of Independence? It's okay if you don't know - most people don't have a clue. But I think that's what the "non-expert" above was alluding to - if you don't know, your statements are rash and uninformed. If you do, they are intentionally misleading.
7.17.2006 12:55pm
whatever:

"Might makes right, as far as the Israelis are concerned"



That's like saying that a skinny kid surrounded by five large bullies, but who pulls out a few karate moves when they attack him, believes that "might makes right." And pacifism results in pain and death.


Please. If we're going to have a fact based discussion here, we at least have to agree that Israel has an army vastly superior to the combined forces of the rest of the middle east, and complete willingness to use it. To use your analogy, it's like a kid with nuclear weapons and the most advanced military/intelligence in the middle east being surrounded by 6 bullies using antiquated soviet technology.
7.17.2006 12:59pm
Zugzwang:
Some of the comments here starkly illustrate the importance of knowing history and the troubles that ignorance causes.

The Arabs were offered a state in the U.N. partition plan which divided the area into two states: A Jewish State &an Arab State. THE ARABS REJECTED THE PARTITION PLAN, AND WENT TO WAR AGAINST THE JEWISH STATE. If the Arabs do get a state in the future it will put them where they would have been in 1948 had they not warred against the Jewish State!
7.17.2006 1:00pm
Michael B (mail):
"Might makes right, as far as the Israelis are concerned, and it has served them well for the last 50 years." whatever

Trite but true: it's hardly that simple. (For one, if Israel was simply operating on a "might makes right" theme, they wouldn't be a democracy which allwed all manner of highly divisive dissent, Arab representation, etc. in their democratic processes. This list, especially so a comparative list - as compared against the practices of the Arab/Muslim states in the region - could be vastly extended.)

Again, Big Lies (pdf), also the fact that the long incubated "refugee" centers around Palestine (encubated by the U.N. and other orgs) are the only long-term, inter-generational "refugee" centers in the world. And why? Because the Arab states and their proxies in the region have long used "Palestine" (aka Arafatistan) as a tactical/strategic pawn in the military, political and jihadist campaigns in the region - and the Western Left has served this same set of strategic motifs.

Or, beyond the U.N., example E.U. styled statements, then and now. And given the current problems can be attributed to pullbacks in Lebanon and Gaza, certainly so in large part, yet other critical motifs along these same lines can be developed.

Long standing historic incidents and trends cannot simply be elided, occluded, refused, etc. from the discussion - though all those elisions, occlusions, etc. are precisely what is being done in very large measure, in the MSM and other venues.
7.17.2006 1:04pm
JohnAnnArbor:

Right. And now there's one jewish state and no arab state. And as best I can tell, there never will be. Might makes right, as far as the Israelis are concerned, and it has served them well for the last 50 years.


Um, Israel accepted the plan. The Arabs did not. They lost the ensuing war.

Wars have consequences. Look up "East Prussia," for instance.
7.17.2006 1:05pm
JohnAnnArbor:

If we're going to have a fact based discussion here, we at least have to agree that Israel has an army vastly superior to the combined forces of the rest of the middle east,


Not in 1948 they didn't, genius.
7.17.2006 1:07pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Passing, I do know, but your question is fundamentally dishonest, because it neglects the fact that most of the land allocated to the Jewish state was (what would have then been considered) uninhabitable land in the Negev. And of course Israel had more land after the war than it would have had otherwise. It won the war after being attacked, after all. Do you expect Israel to have played "heads you win" (Israel is destroyed) "tails I lose" (we voluntarily go back to unfavorable, extremely hard to defend bborders after being attacked?).
7.17.2006 1:10pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
OK, the moderator (me) says no more discussion about Israel's "legitimacy." If you want, you can talk about Jordan's legitimacy, Saudi Arabia's legitimacy, Iraq's legitimacy, or even the U.S.'s legitimacy. Or about the actual topic of the post, which is that an extremely ignorant, counterfactual claim is rather mainstream in circles hostile to Israel.
7.17.2006 1:14pm
whatever:

Right. And now there's one jewish state and no arab state. And as best I can tell, there never will be. Might makes right, as far as the Israelis are concerned, and it has served them well for the last 50 years.



Um, Israel accepted the plan. The Arabs did not. They lost the ensuing war.

Wars have consequences. Look up "East Prussia," for instance.


Exactly. The 1948 resolution means NOTHING. Every post that references that as some sort of authority on this matter is just garbage. The Isarelis won a war, built up their army, and now control the area. Thus THEY are the legitimate state. End of discussion. If the Arabs conquer them in a war, no U.N. resolution from 1948 will mean a damn then, either. It will be an Arab state.

But like I said, the only state that is going to exist in the middle east, unless all parties change their tune quickly, is the state of barren wasteland. It doesn't matter who's right or wrong here, unless you're a historian. Real people aren't going to care, because there aren't going to be many real people left.
7.17.2006 1:14pm
whatever:


If we're going to have a fact based discussion here, we at least have to agree that Israel has an army vastly superior to the combined forces of the rest of the middle east,



Not in 1948 they didn't, genius.


Thus the use of "has", not "had", genius.
7.17.2006 1:16pm
Jaybo (mail):
Whatever,

I believe Anon 252 is referring to 1948 when the first war broke out when the Arabs rejected the partition plan. Examining the Palestinian-Israeli dispute through the lens of current military strength positions is misleading at best.

In 1948, Israel had little strength relative to the Arab forces and everyone expected the Arab to rout them. Israel managed through luck and skill to overcome superior strength and even managed to acquire additional land beyond the 1948 boundaries. Then Jordan grabbed the remaining West Bank and Egypt the Gaza Strip.

Also, no Arab nation clamored for Palestinian statehood before 1967 coincidentally, until Israel grabbed both in the 6 day war. The Arab nations have cynically used the Palestinians numerous times over the years.
7.17.2006 1:19pm
whatever:


I believe Anon 252 is referring to 1948 when the first war broke out when the Arabs rejected the partition plan. Examining the Palestinian-Israeli dispute through the lens of current military strength positions is misleading at best.

In 1948, Israel had little strength relative to the Arab forces and everyone expected the Arab to rout them. Israel managed through luck and skill to overcome superior strength and even managed to acquire additional land beyond the 1948 boundaries. Then Jordan grabbed the remaining West Bank and Egypt the Gaza Strip.

Also, no Arab nation clamored for Palestinian statehood before 1967 coincidentally, until Israel grabbed both in the 6 day war. The Arab nations have cynically used the Palestinians numerous times over the years.


Note that my original post said "over the past 50 years." As soon as Israel got control of the area, they did the most sensible thing possible - they built a massive, powerful military and adopted an ideology that they would never be overwhelmed simiply because their opponents had a better military. That's a GOOD policy. But it also is a "might makes right" policy - Israel doesn't apologize for its security actions, and it shouldn't have to. But don't pretend that it takes them based on luck or the help of god or anything else. It's current position in the middle east - and the current position of the palestinians - is easily reducible to relative military strength.

My simple point being that once the nuclear bomb is introduced to the arab world, this advantage is going to be gone, and current Isreal policy may come to be seen as a bad move, retrospectively. That is if anyone is left.
7.17.2006 1:25pm
Dan Hamilton:
"i find it extremely implausible that israel had no alternatives to adopting these particular policies, or that there were no options someone could have reasonably supported that would have imposed less of a burden on those palestinians who are innocent"

Israel left Gaza to the Palestinians to do what they wished. The Option Give the Palestinians what they ask for. No Jews, full Palestinian control. What did the Palestinians do? Attacked Israel with rockets! Tunneled under the border and attacked Israel.

You could hardly have less of a burden then total control of your own area. But the Palestinians just used it as a staging area for attacks. No matter WHAT Israel does the Palestinians will just keep attacking. Why should Israel do anything but Kill those who attack it. Would YOU do anything else? If someone says they want to kill you. Then they keep trying to kill you no matter what you do. Why not believe them. You can't have peace with someone who is trying to kill you. So you kill them. As long as they attack you you kill them. There is nothing else you can do except let them kill you.
7.17.2006 1:30pm
middle east non-expert:
A quick look at Wikipedia shows me that I had a lot of my facts wrong (e.g. the UK's role in all of this). But my fundamental point still rings true: What did the people responsible expect to happen when they approved this? Long-term war was inevitable, and they did virtually nothing to prevent it.

Anyway, as others have noted, I think this all comes down to who's got the bigger guns. Seems like it will be a long time before it gets solved. Look how long it took for the Europeans to stop killing each other.
7.17.2006 1:34pm
Micahel Whittington:

"i find it extremely implausible that israel had no alternatives to adopting these particular policies, or that there were no options someone could have reasonably supported that would have imposed less of a burden on those palestinians who are innocent"

Israel left Gaza to the Palestinians to do what they wished. The Option Give the Palestinians what they ask for. No Jews, full Palestinian control. What did the Palestinians do? Attacked Israel with rockets! Tunneled under the border and attacked Israel.

You could hardly have less of a burden then total control of your own area. But the Palestinians just used it as a staging area for attacks. No matter WHAT Israel does the Palestinians will just keep attacking. Why should Israel do anything but Kill those who attack it. Would YOU do anything else? If someone says they want to kill you. Then they keep trying to kill you no matter what you do. Why not believe them. You can't have peace with someone who is trying to kill you. So you kill them. As long as they attack you you kill them. There is nothing else you can do except let them kill you.


I guess that makes sense, but your premise is off: Israel pulled out of Gaza for what, all of a few months, with massive economic and military restrictions left on the palestianians, and then Israel and the world rejected the elected leaders of the Palestinians and started a boycott. It's not like they are giving the palenstinians a whole lot of help here.

I mean, true or false, the Israeli position relative to Gaza is the equivalent of a blockade, no? That itself is an act of war in any other international dispute, right?
7.17.2006 1:36pm
anonymiss:

Israel left Gaza to the Palestinians to do what they wished. The Option Give the Palestinians what they ask for. No Jews, full Palestinian control.


That statement is just silly. Even an ardent pro-isaraeli like me has to laugh at it. Full control? It will be a cold day in hell when Israel lets the Palestinians enagage in free arms trade with other nations.
7.17.2006 1:39pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
Wouldn't a fairer comparison be between Palestine and the general populations in the neighboring Islamic countries?

It may be that Palestinians have lost economic opportunity by the increasing security measures Israel has taken. But why don't/can't the Palestinians look to their friendly Arab neighbors for economic opportunity.

I sometimes get the feeling that the despots in the surrounding countries like to keep the Palestinians under Israels heel. This gives them a twofer: they get to show their own oppressed population that things could be worse; and they get to blame all of the region's woes on Israel.

I don't recall Jordan, Egypt, Syria, et al... ever doing anything to help out the Palestinians, except providing them with money and/or weapons for attacking Israel. In the aftermath of the '48 war, Isreal absorbed about 600,000 Jewish refugees into its population. By contrast, the Arab countries let the Palestinian refugees rot in their camps, while pointing the blame at Israel.
7.17.2006 1:51pm
Passing By:
Prof. Bernstein, if you wish, you can share the statistics, including if you will the percentages of land you deem uninhabitable. If you are suggesting that the issues are too complicated to address in this type of context, maybe you are right. But that only raises the question of why you keep broaching these issues, with presentations even you would have to concede are one-sided, in such a limited forum. One way or the other, you have conceded that your prior statements were false, and that you knew them to be false when you spoke, even if you believe your misrepresentations were justified by some of the land's being uninhabitable.

Jabotinsky anticipated what this conflict would look like, yet saw no need to attempt deception as to land ownership to justify Israel's existence. It's perhaps a bit painful, but I think a lot more honest, to take a page from his book. The wave of violence has ebbed and flowed for a lot longer than the past 19 years, however its manner has evolved.

Duffy - that's not just a feeling. The abuse of this conflict by Arab states is disgraceful, and has played an enormous role in the perpetuation (and exacerbation) of the conflict.
7.17.2006 2:27pm
T. Gracchus (mail):
To recur to the content of D. Bernstein's original post (almost lost in the mists of time here): The economic status argument is an intersting one, which, if commenators had focused on , would raise a query: this argument bears a resemblance to an argument long advanced in southern africa. I assume Bernstein has a response explaining why the analogy is inappropriate; it may be helpful to hear it.
7.17.2006 2:31pm
Paddy O. (mail):
Going back to an earlier side-note, "Imagine if the UN "partitioned" the U.S. to give big chunks of it back to Native Americans. What would the U.S government do? Invade and take it back, no doubt"

What if the United States invaded but lost? The Native Americans won, both in the UN and in actual warfare. Accepting the fact that there was no existing state to be partitioned as already noted, I still have something bugging me.

Native Americans may not be the best analogy. Let's take Mexico, and say Mexico took back California. It was a nasty bit of a war, and the government of the US said there would be total victory, so get out of the state while you can during this fierce war. Only the US lost, and so the promises of returning to a Mexican free California were dashed.

Would the US set up refugee camps in Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona to house all the Californians who had fled Mexican rule? Would Congress make rules to enforce the fact Californians could have little to no rights in other states, insisting that the only home for Californians is California?

What would we think of the US government if it did this? Certainly those in Oregon and other states would be repulsed by having the state of California emptied into their cities, and could justify their decisions for refugee camps. Would we blame Mexico for the conditions of these refugee camps?

Finally, and I honestly don't know the answer to this question, is there a distinctive Palestinian culture separate from the Arab cultures in the region? Or is it very much like California which has some distinctives but is essentially America in every way, represented on yet another bit of land.
7.17.2006 2:33pm
Falafalafocus (mail):

A quick look at Wikipedia shows me that I had a lot of my facts wrong (e.g. the UK's role in all of this). But my fundamental point still rings true: What did the people responsible expect to happen when they approved this? Long-term war was inevitable, and they did virtually nothing to prevent it.


Better than that, Middle East non-expert, President Truman fully acted to recognize Israel at the earliest possible moment, knowing full well that Israel was outgunned, outmanned, and outallied (world wide). In 1948, you have a land substantially owned by Jews which Britain no longer wishes to rule. You are coming out of World War II, where it is clear that Jews could not rely on the "responsible" people in Europe to protect their lives. Finally, you have a passionate Jewish minority clamoring to protect themselves, by making their own state if necessary.
Your argument is that responsible people should never permit actions which would lead to war if an alternative exists. Taking your argument at its word, what alternative would have worked in 1948 as Britain withdrew and the Jewish/Arab infighting began?

Leaving the land 100% Arab really worked out for the Armenians. The Palestinians in Jordan are another great example.

Or perhaps the U.N. could have set up peacekeepers in "Palestine" to prevent violence. As we all know, when the peacekeepers go into a place, such as Bosnia, the issue gets resolved quickly and with little bloodletting.

I'm running out of responsible ideas as an alternative to letting people who own the land decide the form of governance over that land.

As to the complaint that "well might makes right is wrong because it leads to nuclear war", all I can say to that is umm, ok. Then Israel should turn its swords into plowshares, hold out its hand to Iran, and sing koombaya. I'm sure that Amadeyajad (appologies to the lunatic "President" for my bad spelling) will reciprocate with doves and flowers. If you are right that Israel's military policy is unsustainable because of nuclear proliferation, then it behooves you to identify a better approach, because an approach that works short to medium term is better than no approach at all.
7.17.2006 2:46pm
Michael B (mail):
Zuckerman, Israel's Last Resort:

"Eleven months ago, Israel withdrew from every last inch of the Gaza Strip. They dismantled all military bases, turned over functioning greenhouses that could employ 4,000 people, expelled all 7,500 Israeli settlers at a huge financial and political cost and declared the lines that divide Israel from Gaza to be an international frontier, making Gaza the first independent Palestinian territory ever.

"Everyone's expectation was that the Palestinians, so treated, would show the world what they could achieve with freedom. Alas, they have shown all too well. Not one day of peace has followed." emphases added, h/t Solomonia
7.17.2006 3:00pm
Paddy O. (mail):
Michael B, your post shows why Israel is oddly enough the best possible hope for a Palestinian homeland. If Israel is destroyed there is no doubt Syria or Jordan or Egypt will move in to manage the territories, and by managing the territory they will really be chopping it up into their own various pieces, for the Palestinians of course. Meanwhile the money from anything made in the country will not go to infrastructure but to prop up the various other regimes.

After fifty years what do the Palestinians have from listening to Arab advice? They have a cause and constant sorrow.
7.17.2006 3:13pm
Michael B (mail):
Paddy,

Very true, you point to something that rarely gets discussed: after the deluge, then what? More Robespierre, more "Justification of the use of Terror"? You bet; a different form with different rationales and motifs and facades and dissimulations, but essentially more of the same. Very similar to withdrawing from Lebanon or withdrawing from Gaza: to the jihadists and other power players, it simply is read as one more victory and one more opportunity for revanchist and yet still other initiatives. And that's why some Arab states, strictly on the level of balance of power politics, are concerned with Iran.

Good day.
7.17.2006 3:54pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
If the ragheads want Israel so bad, do it the old fashioned way, get some balls and fly your state of the art fighters against the IDF (Syria has MIG 29s and Iran has F14s, its not Israels fault your pilots are cowards), drive your Russian Tanks across the border and throw a few million Iranian teenagers in as cannon fodder for good measure. Or even give nuclear weapons a try, although as a society whos barely figured out the flip flop, it might be a little risky.
7.17.2006 4:31pm
bemused:

"Eleven months ago, Israel withdrew from every last inch of the Gaza Strip. They dismantled all military bases, turned over functioning greenhouses that could employ 4,000 people, expelled all 7,500 Israeli settlers at a huge financial and political cost and declared the lines that divide Israel from Gaza to be an international frontier, making Gaza the first independent Palestinian territory ever.

"Everyone's expectation was that the Palestinians, so treated, would show the world what they could achieve with freedom. Alas, they have shown all too well. Not one day of peace has followed." emphases added, h/t Solomonia


Wow. It took Israel less than a year to get into another war with an independent nation. Please. Gaza was independent only if they elected the leaders that Israel and the U.S. wanted. I.E. - they were not actually independent. It's a catch-22: Palestine is not allowed to import that arms that could be used to put down its extremists because Israel fears, not irrationally, that those arms will be used against them. Wash, rinse, repeat.

This is going to end in nuclear war, be it next year or in 20 years, unless there are serious changes made on both sides.
7.17.2006 4:32pm
La Reconquista:
After Israel, on to Spain.

Don't forget that Espana is part of the Caliphate.

Of course, back then, the Moors were actually learned and moderate. Even let the Jews (and Christians) live in relative peace with them.
7.17.2006 4:50pm
Elliot123 (mail):
I suggest Prof. Bernstein's TA had it right. The Arabs are beset with a huge inferiority complex. At the deepest level, they believe themselves to be superior to everyone else. That's not such a strange idea; many peoples harbor that idea about themselves. But when they look around they see they are behind everybody else.

The problem is they don't know what to do about it. They see advances in China, Taiwan, India, South Korea, and South America, but they don't see the same level of progress in Arab lands. Even with the huge revenues from oil, the Saudis still have failed to develop their economy much beyond oil.

So, what is the escape hatch? Israel. As long as their leaders can harp on the Zionist menace in their midst, they can pretend Israel (rather than literacy, nutrition, health care, and an modern economy) is the priority. This works for everybody. A lack of progress by the Arabs can always be excused by their number one prioty.

If every Jew in Israel were beamed up to the starship Enterprise, the Arabs would be desperate; they would finally have nobody to blame for their plight but themselves.
7.17.2006 4:57pm
anon252 (mail):
Gracchus: southern africa has beaches; israel has beaches. therefore, the two are just alike! south africa had a revolution of rising expectation, israel had a revolution of rising expectations, therefore they are just alike!
7.17.2006 5:09pm
bigchris1313 (mail):
Is this Frank Drakkman guy a well-known troll around these parts or just really sarcastic?
7.17.2006 5:28pm
Colin (mail):
The former, bigchris. But the racial epithet seems out of character, both for him in particular and the VC's commenters in general.
7.17.2006 6:22pm
markm (mail):
"To me, that argument is too much like the 19th century pro-slavery men who argued that blacks were better off enslaved here than free in Africa. As a libertarian, I cannot accept any of these arguments as legitimate. No amount of money or material comfort can replace the basic human diginity of liberty and self-government."

Did the Arabs of Palestine have that dignity before the Jews started returning in the 1880's? No, the area was ruled from afar by the Turkish Sultanate - a tyrannical and quite corrupt government, run by men who were Muslim but generally not Arabs. Between Mohammed and the Turkish Empire, the area was sometimes ruled from afar by Arabs in Bagdad or Egypt, sometimes by "Franks" from western Europe, and once by the Kurdish-Egyptian Saladin. After the defeat of Turkey in world war I, the area was ruled by the British.

The UN partition plan was the first time there actually was a Palestininian Arab nation - but instead of establishing dignity and self-government, the local Arabs joined with invaders from several other Arab nations to try to destroy Israel. They started that war, and they lost. One traditional consequence of losing a war is losing your land... The Israelis could neither give back land that they needed for minimally defensible borders nor let Arabs that had left their land in order to join up with the invaders return within their borders. They did for the most part leave those Arabs that stayed on their land and were willing to live in peace with Jewish neighbors unmolested on their land, and those Arabs became Israeli citizens.

It is true that in some ways the Israelis do not have clean hands. During the period of British rule, some of the Arabs began surreptitious attacks on the Jews who had bought land near them, and made this marginal land produce better crops than the Arabs grew on the best land. The British authorities didn't do much to stop these attacks; most of them favored the Arabs. The Jews gradually learned to defend themselves, but a few Jewish groups went way beyond self-defense to responding to terrorism with terrorism. There's no excuse for that - but still, remember who started it.
7.17.2006 6:42pm
picpoule:
20% of Palestinians are Christians, who presumably suffer as much from the so-called "occupation." Yet, they aren't perpetrating terror in Israel or kidnapping Israeli soldiers. Additionally, the Tibetans have suffered a brutal occupation by China, yet no Tibetans are blowing themselves up to protest this occupation.
7.17.2006 7:08pm
anon1298:
Look, you can read this whole thread, and thousands others like it, and never get anywhere. There are two basic facts:

1)Israel will not be secure under the current conditions of the occupation/resistance.

2)Israel will never give up enough autonomy to the Palestinians such that the Palestinians would become satisfied.

Honestly, the only solution with any chance - and I know a lot of jews,zionists, and others are not going to want to hear it - is for Israel to incorporate gaza and the west bank into their nation, and give the Palestinians full voting rights.

This, after all, is the crux of the issue here. No one (thinking clearly) doubts Israel's right to exist. The problem lies in their inability to give the Palestinians either a voice or a nation. Since they will never give them a nation - and I don't care who you blame that on, it is not going to happen - they ultimately will have to give them a voice.

Now, I know we will soon see the argument that there is a right to a jewish state. Maybe so. But if Israel is to survive as ANY state in the 21st century, it may have to accept that the least-worst-alternative is to become a multi-ethnic one.
7.17.2006 7:24pm
anon1298:




"To me, that argument is too much like the 19th century pro-slavery men who argued that blacks were better off enslaved here than free in Africa. As a libertarian, I cannot accept any of these arguments as legitimate. No amount of money or material comfort can replace the basic human diginity of liberty and self-government."


Did the Arabs of Palestine have that dignity before the Jews started returning in the 1880's? No, the area was ruled from afar by the Turkish Sultanate - a tyrannical and quite corrupt government, run by men who were Muslim but generally not Arabs. Between Mohammed and the Turkish Empire, the area was sometimes ruled from afar by Arabs in Bagdad or Egypt, sometimes by "Franks" from western Europe, and once by the Kurdish-Egyptian Saladin. After the defeat of Turkey in world war I, the area was ruled by the British.

The UN partition plan was the first time there actually was a Palestininian Arab nation - but instead of establishing dignity and self-government, the local Arabs joined with invaders from several other Arab nations to try to destroy Israel. They started that war, and they lost. One traditional consequence of losing a war is losing your land... The Israelis could neither give back land that they needed for minimally defensible borders nor let Arabs that had left their land in order to join up with the invaders return within their borders. They did for the most part leave those Arabs that stayed on their land and were willing to live in peace with Jewish neighbors unmolested on their land, and those Arabs became Israeli citizens.

It is true that in some ways the Israelis do not have clean hands. During the period of British rule, some of the Arabs began surreptitious attacks on the Jews who had bought land near them, and made this marginal land produce better crops than the Arabs grew on the best land. The British authorities didn't do much to stop these attacks; most of them favored the Arabs. The Jews gradually learned to defend themselves, but a few Jewish groups went way beyond self-defense to responding to terrorism with terrorism. There's no excuse for that - but still, remember who started it.


I don't think this addresses the main point of the original commenter. Blacks weren't living in democracies in Africa either, and they certainly received arguably better lives (particularly in the border states) in America in terms of life expectatncy, health, and material comforts as slaves. But that in no way can be the basis of an argument in favor of the slave system.

Regardless of what came before them, Israeli occupation cannot be justified as better than independence, no matter how much material gain it accomplishes. This isn't an issue of what came before or after, it is an issue of basic human liberty.

Much of eastern Europe fared better under the Soviets than during the 90's, and much of western Europe was materially better off during the German occupation 1940-44. Neither of these are sufficient conditions to justify such occupation. It's just apples and oranges.
7.17.2006 7:33pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Professor

I read the first paper you cited, which you labeled as false propaganda--it is dated July 2000 (6 years ago). Can't you find a more recent example, or is all of the "false propaganda" that old?

Also, you fail to rebut any of the author's main points, which are that Israel's use of Palestinian's natural resources and Israel's system of taxation of the Palestinian Authority's economy are preventing the Palestinians from sharing in Israel's prosperity.

It also seems to me you are making somewhat of a strawman argument by pointing out standards of living in other Arab countries. The Palestinians who are complaining don't live there. They live in Israel and the terrorities it has been occupying since 1967. They thus compare themselves with Israelis, not with Arabs in other countries. While Fatah and its corruption may be responsible for some of the poverty, Fatah didn't put the Palestinians in their camps in the first place, and Fatah isn't responsible for Israel's system of taxation, permitting, licensing fees, and Israel's use of water and other resources found in the occupied territories. Since you cite no data on Fatah's "corruption" impact on the Palestinians, it is hard to know who is right, you or the author.
7.17.2006 7:41pm
anon252 (mail):
Israel didn't put anyone into these camps, the Jordanians, Lebanese, and Egyptians did.
7.17.2006 8:17pm
anon252 (mail):
And Fatah opposed moving them out of the camps. For that matter, Fatah had civil control of the WB and Gaza since 1992, and hasn't lifted a finger to move the descendants of the refugees into better housing. Better to live off UNRWA and keep them there for propaganda purposes. The Pals probably did compare themselves to Israelis,and resented their relatively low standard of living. That doesn't change, negate, or modify the point that their standard of living was far, far higher under Israeli rule than under Egyptian or Jordanian rule.
7.17.2006 8:19pm
LL (mail):
Strange this discussion.

David Bernstein makes a post that leads to a simple conclusion . The Palestinian War is mainly an ideological War that is driven by propaganda(i am not putting an ethical weight in this word) be it for Independence, Racism of Arab supremacy(after all there is an Arab league but i dont know of an Arian or Caucasian league) or Allah or all of them.
Since this is too much confusion/unconvinient for Palestinian supporters in the west lets play the simple economic card.

Now the "strange discussion" is that without Israel there will not be any "Palestinians".
7.17.2006 9:00pm
laughable:
Yes, but without the Palestinians, David Bernstein would surely still find a way that his compariots were getting screwed by everyone. And we'd just be debating that.
7.17.2006 9:05pm
Lively:

Honestly, the only solution with any chance - and I know a lot of jews,zionists, and others are not going to want to hear it - is for Israel to incorporate gaza and the west bank into their nation, and give the Palestinians full voting rights.

Anon1298,

This is what Israel has been doing all along. Today, there are 9 Arabs that are members of the Israeli Knesset. There is one Arab Judge on the Supreme Court of Israel. There are many other Arab elected officials throughout Israel. 15% of Israel population is Arab. Arabs do have full voting rights and full rights of due process. Arabic is one of Israel's official languages.

We approach this problem and engage in "western" thinking (i.e. the Palestinians want to be treated the way you and I would want to be treated). And this is where we error greatly.

Palestinians want to be governed only by Shar'ia or Islamic Law. They have no desire to be on equal footing with Jews, they want them dead (sorry to be blunt/barbaric)...this is what the Quran prescribes.

What is Israel's Indepedence Day translated in Arabic? "The Catastrophe."

Muslims all over the world have been trying to rectify this situation that came about in 1948....and it's not through peace.
7.17.2006 9:32pm
anon1298:
Lively:

Don't kid yourself. Arabs in Israel proper can vote. Palestinians in the west bank and gaza cannot. For if they could, Israel would not have 9 arabs in the legislature, they would have a majority or close to it.

Trust me, the Palestinians would be perfectly happy with this solution.
7.17.2006 9:46pm
Bottomfish (mail):
Ever since the Peel Commission Report of 1937, the rule has been that the Arab part of Palestine has to be subsidized. And it always remains poor.
7.17.2006 10:14pm
guy in the veal calf office (mail):
In the above post I read that Israel taxes the palestinian territories' economy, but does not let anyone there vote. Is that true? Why do they tax Palestinians?
7.17.2006 11:24pm
Ben of MA:
The Palestinian territories should have been incorporated into the Israeli state back when the two sides could get along peacefully. Was this even considered? It just seems like the logical thing to do. How exactly did Israel plan to settle the political status of the territories? There has to have been some plan, no?
7.17.2006 11:29pm
anon252 (mail):
The plan was originally to give them (or most of them) back to Egypt and Jordan in exchange for peace. But it turned out that Egypt didn't want Gaza back, and the Likud gov'ts of the '80s didn't want to give Jordan the WB. The Likud plan was for the WB to be self-governing locally, but with no representation in the Israeli gov't for national purposes. There were in fact forces in the WB who saw how advantageous this could be for the Pals (common market with Israel, etc.), but anyone who sought to cooperate with Israel on this was threatened by the PLO and/or Jordanian agents, and so it was a non-starter. East Jerusalem Arabs have for all intents and purposes been incorporated into Israel proper, and though they are far from fully integrated (and don't want to be) there is very little violence emanating from there.
7.18.2006 12:11am
Lively:
guy:

In the above post I read that Israel taxes the palestinian territories' economy, but does not let anyone there vote. Is that true? Why do they tax Palestinians?

Israel collects duties on foreign imports headed for the Palestinian territories and charges value added tax (VAT) on Israeli goods and services headed for those areas.
7.18.2006 12:22am
cac (mail):
I've come late to this but re the discussion about whether Israel was imposed by the Western powers or not, has nobody heard of the Balfour declaration? Without this basic principle I can't see how enough Jews could have emigrated to Palestine to establish a viable Jewish population (and yes I know that Britain later tried to curtail Jewish migration - the problem was that the Balfour declaration tried to have its cake and eat it too - a Jewish national home but without the rights of the pre existing population being impaired, the result being that both sides accuse England of being biased against it. You'll meet any number of Israelis who claim England was pro-arab and just as many Arabs who claim it was pro-jew.)
7.18.2006 5:30am
A.C.:
I've met Palestinians who would actually prefer to live under Israeli government, or under another reasonably westernized government, but who don't want to live under ANY Arab government that currently exists. I can't say that I blame them. The trouble is that allowing all of them to live under Israeli government (with full rights -- not under occupation) would change the nature of Israeli government itself. A bigger state could absorb all the Palestinians and ultimately incorporate them into a more reasonable political culture, but Israel is small. Other countries in the region are bigger (although most of them don't seem to have a more reasonable political culture), but even they balk at the task of trying to incorporate such a difficult group.

An independent Palestinian state would be absurdly small too, and it would have to develop much better relations to the outside world if it meant to survive. So, the ultimate question is whether the Palestinians as a people are willing to start behaving reasonably in their internal affairs... and to help thwart the individuals who refuse to go along. That seems to be the basic precondition for independence, at least for a small state in that neighborhood. It's also the precondition for becoming part of another state, if that's what the Palestinians would prefer.

I don't envy any Palestinian leader who runs on that platform, though. It sounds like a recipe for being shot by the loonies.
7.18.2006 10:27am
Mark F. (mail):
I'm wondering if some sort of federalist solution would be viable---giving Palestinians a good deal of self-government while incorporating them into Israel, without destroying the core Jewish identity of Israel and the relative amount of liberty its citizens enjoy. The world does not need another state.
7.18.2006 5:35pm