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UN Recognizes Palestine

israelis for palestine

Israelis for Palestine. Sign caption says: “Two Jerusalems, One Peace.” (Oded Bality/AP)

Haaretz’s headline said it all: Israel Suffers Humiliating Defeat in UN Vote.  Palestine has won a victory, no doubt.  It’s fitting that it wins this vote 64 years to the day after the General Assembly voted to partition Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state.  Now Palestine can wear such a mantle of official recognition.

It is now a nonmember observer state, like the Vatican.  But what has it won?  In one of my tweets tonight, I rather mordantly joked that being an observer state means Palestine can “observe” the Security Council screwing it over the next time Israel goes to war against it.

I was tickled by the unending ironies evoked by the vote: Israel and Palestine both claim they support a two-state solution, yet this vote which recognized a Palestinian state was called by Sen. Lindsay Graham “an unhealthy step that could undermine the peace process.”  Someone will have to explain how a vote that takes you closer to recognizing that two-state goal undermines the peace process.  Could it be–could it possibly be that Sen. Graham’s goal is to never see a Palestinian state?

Another irony (and mordant joke): of those nine states that voted no (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Nauru, Panama, Czech Republic, Canada) almost all are former colonies or protectorates of the U.S.–including Israel.  Is it also possible that since most of those No votes which are tiny Pacific island states and threatened by climate change, also feel threatened by the major UN climate change of recognizing a Palestinian state?

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{ 144 comments… add one }
  • Daniel November 30, 2012, 2:48 AM

    I cannot really understand why this vote is perceived as a defeat, especially by Haaretz.
    I am quite happy that after loosing over 60 years to endless and stupid struggle against Israel, the Arab leadership in the west bank and (hopefully) in Gaza finally understood that they should try to focus their efforts on their own statehood.
    If this UN vote would actually motivate Palestinian leadership (PLO/Hamas/Whoever) to start fighting corruption, start building their own economy, infrastructure, power and water facilities, health and education systems – everyone should be happy.
    However, if this is yet another step of holy Jihad against the Zionists – then the Palestinians will have once again gained nothing and will have missed yet another opportunity to become a real nation.

    • rfjk November 30, 2012, 7:56 AM

      Daniel says:

      “…If this UN vote would actually motivate Palestinian leadership (PLO/Hamas/Whoever) to start fighting corruption, start building their own economy, infrastructure, power and water facilities, health and education systems – everyone should be happy…”

      Israeli’s have been blasting to smithereens all the above and choking to death Palestinian aspirations for decades. Palestinian recognition at the UN ‘IS’ a giant leap forward from observer entity to Observer State status. Saying the achievement “gained nothing” is a falsehood proven by the visceral opposition demonstrated by Israel during the process, and the avalanche of whinnying from Zionists and Israelis that’s flooded my mailbox from the Google alert “UN/Palestine.”

      • Daniel F November 30, 2012, 9:31 AM

        First of all I would like to congratulate the Palestinian nation on their overdue recognition in the UN.
        Evert nation has an inalienable right to self determination.
        I would genuinely like to see the Palestinians, free from any and all humiliating Israeli interference in their affairs, in their own independent state, free to forge their collective future and I expect that the Palestinian nation will respect our inalienable right to do the same.
        However I share Daniel’s (my namesake) concern that this recognition could be used as a springboard to open a new front on Israel, which I also believe would be self defeating on the Palestinians part (may it not be so).
        For our children’s sake, may we all be enlightened, Israelis and Palestinians alike and sooner rather than later.

        • Richard Silverstein November 30, 2012, 9:34 AM

          Why do you believe Palestinian statehood would be a “springboard” toward “opening a new front” against Israel, when you don’t believe Israeli statehood, recognized 64 yrs ago yesterday, was a springboard toward opening a new front against the Palestinian nation?? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

          • Daniel F. November 30, 2012, 10:08 AM

            The nonmember observer status allows the Palestinians the opportunity for additional legal redress hitherto
            unavailable to them.
            While I do not deny their rights as a nation,or their right to contest any injustice in any forum, my concern is that Lawfare could become an additional,unnecessary and counterproductive front between the two nations.
            However I respect their rights to do so if they so choose.

          • Richard Silverstein November 30, 2012, 5:35 PM

            “Lawfare” is a digusting, stupid, tendentious, hasbara concept created by the likes of Dershowitz & his crowd. It indicates a supposedly illegitimate use of legal processes for political purposes, which is actually what Israel itself does. The correct term is seeking legal redress for one’s grievances which is totally legitimate, & indeed the reason these processes were created.

          • yankel November 30, 2012, 11:05 AM

            Israel’s settlement unlawfare is far deadlier to to any potential peace effort than Palestinian lawfare attempting to counter it can ever be.

          • donald November 30, 2012, 11:18 AM

            DanielF–I recognize you have good intentions and agree with most of what you say, but “lawfare” is a propaganda term. Both Palestinian terrorism and Israeli war crimes (which includes the entire settlement enterprise and all the repression it entails) are illegal. The difference is that sometimes Palestinian terrorists pay the price, either by being killed or by being jailed. Countless innocent Palestinians also are hurt by Israel, but I’m just pointing out that to some degree Palestinians who choose to kill are often punished for it.

            For the most part, the reverse isn’t true. Israelis can run roughshod over Palestinian rights and do it without fear of any penalty. When Palestinians do fight back (in a violent way, that is), it’s generally with terrorism which is more likely to hit the innocent than the guilty. They don’t have the power to arrest the guilty Israelis or (since Israel seems to think targeted assassinations are okay) target Israeli war criminals with missiles.

            So why is “lawfare” bad? Are only Palestinian murderers to be punished? Is the law only supposed to apply to their crimes?

          • Davey November 30, 2012, 7:41 PM

            Sure, the settlements are far more obstructive to resolution than this token statehood. Sen. Graham is just mindlessly doing Zionist dirty work. The word choice “unhealthy” struck me as very peculiar. Certainly, Graham is unsavory in his toadying, but “unhealthy” is just plain odd.

      • Daniel November 30, 2012, 9:48 AM

        rfjk says:

        “…Israeli’s have been blasting to smithereens all the above and choking to death Palestinian aspirations for decades…”
        Apart from aspirations, which are difficult to document, I challenge you to prove that Israel has been blasting either Palestinian economy, Infrastructure, power or water facilities and health or education systems.

        Kindly refer to west bank following Oslo in your response and attach a few links to prove your every claim.

        As far as the aspirations go – Arafat could have had his state 20 years ago, but chose to try and improve his position by going through 2 intifadas and countless terrorist attacks.
        If anyone can be blamed for choking Palestinian aspirations – it should definitely be the PLO corrupt gang, that has been robbing Palestinians of their future for the last few decades, while stacking up cash at their offshore bank accounts.

        • Mary Hughes Thompson November 30, 2012, 7:39 PM

          @Daniel “Arafat could have had his state 20 years ago…” I think you forgot to leave in the bit about Arafat being offered 98% of everything and other bits of hasbara.

          • Davey November 30, 2012, 7:58 PM

            Instead, Arafat got an invasion of Lebanon. Odd way to deliver a Palestinian state. Daniel has been drinking the wrong kool-ade, methinks.

    • mary November 30, 2012, 12:48 PM

      Daniel, I am asking you to stop making snarky remarks about Islam and “holy Jihad against the Zionists.” I am offended and I am by this comment asking Richard to put you on a leash. It is not necessary to treat us to your stupidity on a regular basis; once has been enough.

      • Daniel November 30, 2012, 1:31 PM

        Dear Mary,

        I am sorry if I have offended you, but I stand by my statements, and might actually turn out to be not as stupid or ignorant as you would hope.
        Richard can put me on a leash, if he wants to, all in all, this is his blog, not mine, while I am well aware that opinions that are not inline with the general “Israel Bashing” approach are not very welcome here.

        I claim that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is nothing more than another clash of religions (read civilizations), and thus Islam, its pillars, its political structure and its practices is a fair topic for discussion from my perspective, no disrespect intended.

        The core issue, that everyone so likes to ignore is that from the perspective of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Wahhabists and alike, the Kuffar (this time being the Jews) have conquered a part of Dar-Al-Islam, and this is the reason for the Jihad against them.
        Listen carefully to what Ismail Haniye have said today – he thanks the UN and plans to continue the struggle until he has recovered all the land – from the river to the sea, this is a key message.

        Once the Palestinian leadership will have the sense of realizing that they live in the present, and not the past, and will have acknowledged the right of the Jewish people to exist with them side by side as a sovereign Jewish state, the conflict will be over, the exact position of the border does not matter.

        • mary November 30, 2012, 4:12 PM

          You are absolutely, totally full of shit, and your clumsy attempt at covering your bigotry is laughable if it weren’t so pathetic.

          You know nothing whatsoever about the Muslim Brotherhood. Trust me on this one, hotshot. They have nothing to do in any way with Wahabbism, no matter what kind of fantasies you may entertain. You think the struggle for the end of the illegal occupation of Palestine is something Islamic? Get a life, it’s about upholding international laws and holding on to land that is being stolen from the Palestinians, who are not only Muslim but are also Christian.

          Post just one thing to prove your claims, and I don’t mean a trashy Youtube video of nonsensical hasbara.

          • dub November 30, 2012, 5:27 PM

            the occupation came about because international law was rejected by the Palestinians and Arab league, mary.

          • Richard Silverstein November 30, 2012, 6:37 PM

            This is utter nonsense? If you’re talking about the UN partition plan, that wasn’t international law. It was an international plan which unfortunately both sides misplayed leading to tragedy. Israel refused to negotiate with the Arabs & unilaterally declared independence knowing it would mean war (which the Haganah knew it would win). The Arabs decided they would ignore the partition plan, which after its victory in the War suited Israel just fine.

          • dub November 30, 2012, 7:43 PM

            the plan was in accordance with international law

          • mary December 1, 2012, 4:28 AM

            Could you please cite that law, Dub? I don’t think any such laws were in effect at that time.

          • dub December 1, 2012, 8:34 AM

            look up sovereign power, mary.

          • Davey December 1, 2012, 11:43 AM

            What? “Sovereign power?” What does this term to do with the Partition Plan? There was no Israel or Palestinian state — what are you talking about? You must be confused in some way.

          • mary December 1, 2012, 1:16 PM

            Let Dub pull his foot out of his mouth and enlighten me. He says “international law” so I would like to know which law. Then I am to look up “sovereign power” as if I am some fool who is expected to simply follow whatever dead end I will find? No – if you want to make a point, Dub, you should supply the information, not tell me to do your research for you.

          • dub December 1, 2012, 6:47 PM

            who exercised sovereignty over the area prior to partition?

          • Richard Silverstein December 1, 2012, 9:18 PM

            who exercised sovereignty over the area prior to partition?

            Stop speaking in riddles.

          • Arie Brand December 2, 2012, 2:37 PM

            I understand that Boyle’s view that the UN could not ignore the particular resolutions of the League of
            Nations I referred to in my previous post is based on Article 80.1 of the UN Charter:

            Article 80

            1. Except as may be agreed upon in individual trusteeship agreements, made under Articles 77, 79, and 81, placing each territory under the trusteeship system, and until such agreements have been concluded, nothing in this Chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.

          • Richard Silverstein December 1, 2012, 1:43 PM

            That response means precisely nothing & is a non sequitur. Peace plans have nothing to do with international law. They’re proposals meant to resolve differences among warring parties.

        • Richard Silverstein November 30, 2012, 5:56 PM

          This is a just plain stupid comment. The IP conflict has nothing to do with religion, civilization, culture or anything else. It is a political conflict over power, land and resources. Turning it into a religious jihad of one religion or culture against another is precisely what rejectionists on both sides want. If you believe this too you’re one of them. I have NO patience for this brand of obnoxious hasbara. I’ve decided that this comment merits moderation. Your future comments will only be approved if they are not offensive to Muslims and don’t violate the comment rules which you must review carefully if you want to continue commenting here.

          And stop spouting ersatz Arabic/Muslim terms that give you a veneer of knowledge of Islam that you certainly don’t possess. Nothing says ignorance better than someone who sprinkles their language with terms taken from the religion or culture they hate or see as the enemy. We can see right through ya, guy.

          I’m reasonably sure Haniye said precisely what Meshal said yesterday which was that theoretically Hamas would prefer Palestine to contain all of that territory, but that in practice he’s prepared to accept 67 borders. That’s entirely different than what you claim. That makes you either a propagandist, ignorant or a liar.

          Once the Israeli leadership will have the sense to realize that they live in the present and not the past and will have acknowledged the right of the Palestinian people to exist with them side by side as a sovereign Palestinian state, the conflict will be over…YOu think only ultra-Zionist apologists can make such arguments?

          • Bob Mann December 1, 2012, 6:31 AM

            I think it was Zahar who made the comment in question. Here it is in a recent Washington Post article:

            On Thursday, Abbas, in defiance of American and Israeli wishes, received United Nations approval for upgraded diplomatic status that in effect recognizes a Palestinian state in concept alongside Israel.

            “This brings nothing to us except disadvantages,” said Zahar, whose home along a sandy street in Gaza City is pocked from what he called “Fatah bullets” from the 2007 fighting. “First, our land is not just the West Bank and Gaza, and that is important. It is all of Palestine.”

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/in-gaza-surge-of-support-for-hamas-starts-to-fade/2012/11/29/adf3b9ac-3a2f-11e2-b01f-5f55b193f58f_story_1.html

          • Richard Silverstein December 1, 2012, 2:01 PM

            Zahar has no official role that I know of & is known for his hardline positions. Meshal leads Hamas in the Diaspora. Hence Meshal trumps Zahar.

          • Bob Mann December 1, 2012, 3:13 PM

            Unlike Meshal, who has never even been to Gaza, Zahar actually lives there.

            Zahar is the Foreign Minister of the Hamas-led government in Gaza, with Haniyeh as it’s Prime Minister.

          • mary December 2, 2012, 1:38 AM

            Bob, Meshaal has been to Gaza, although not for 45 years. I’m sure you know why he has been in exile. But he is returning to Gaza soon:

            http://www.thenewstribe.com/2012/12/02/khaled-meshaal-to-visit-gaza-after-45-years-to-mark-hamas-25th-anniversary/

          • Bob Mann December 2, 2012, 5:36 AM

            Meshal has never been to Gaza. He was born in the West Bank. His family moved to Kuwait shortly after the 1967 War. You really don’t know much about him, do you?

          • Deïr Yassin December 2, 2012, 6:01 AM

            This is Bob Mann in a nutshell, isn’t it ? It’s so much more important for him to nitpick on whether Khalid Masha’al has actually been to Gaza or not than the fact that he is still the official leader of Hamas or where he stands politically, compared to Mahmoud Al-Zahar.
            If Bob wants to nitpick, he should start himself by writing Al-Zahar’s name correctly….

          • Bob Mann December 7, 2012, 5:27 PM

            It’s not nit-picking. I just think that the someone who is actually living in Gaza and has the position of foreign minister in the Gaza government ought to have at least as much authority to speak on behalf of the people living in Gaza as someone who had never been there until yesterday. If nothing else, his words should not be dismissed as if they are meaningless.

          • Richard Silverstein December 8, 2012, 2:16 AM

            Hey Bob. I got news for you. No one asked what you think of Hamas’ leadership & who should have ultimate authority over political statements made in the group’s name. The group made that decision itself. I know it’s rough they didn’t consult you. But that’s the way it goes.

            Meshal is the boss. Zahar isn’t. I never said his statements were meaningless. I just said they weren’t as authoritative as Meshal’s.

          • Bob Mann December 8, 2012, 8:39 AM

            Since Meshal is the boss, that meana that these remarks from him (made Friday) must be taken as authoritative:

            “Palestine is ours from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on an inch of the land,” he told a sea of supporters at an open-air rally, the highlight of his three-day stay in Gaza.

            “We will never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take.”

            http://news.yahoo.com/hamas-leader-vows-never-recognize-israel-140726192.html

          • mary December 2, 2012, 7:18 AM

            Bob, kindly look at the link I posted above. Meshaal himself says he is happy to be “returning to Gaza.” Those are his words. How would you know if he has never been to Gaza or not? And what would it matter anyway?

          • Bob Mann December 2, 2012, 11:49 AM

            Mary, he was born in the West Bank and moved to Kuwait with his family when he was 11 years old (in 1967). He has neither been to the West Bank nor Gaza since that time. Perhaps the quote was meant to say that he is happy to be “returning to Palestine”. Did he make the remark in English or was it translated from Arabic? Do you have the original source? At what point would he have previously been to Gaza and under what circumstances? There are numerous sources that indicate that he has never visited Gaza.

          • mary December 2, 2012, 1:39 PM

            How about explaining what difference it makes? There are many Palestinians who have never been to their homeland, does it make them any less Palestinian?

          • Bob Mann December 7, 2012, 5:24 PM

            Well, as Richard has written above:

            “How can someone who is the most senior leader of Hamas never have been to Gaza?”

            Anyway, I would appreciate if you would at least acknowledge that I had the right information here.

          • Richard Silverstein December 8, 2012, 2:19 AM

            There’s a real fallacy in your thinking here, Bob, which I just noticed. Your view is that Hamas represents only Gaza and that because Meshal has never visited, this somehow renders him a less authoritative representative. But this involves a major error in understanding what Hamas is. It didn’t start out as a movement representing only Gaza. It was a Palestinian Islamist movement with members throughout Palestine. Therefore, it doesn’t matter where Meshal came from. He is Hamas. He is its leader. Get over it.

          • Bob Mann December 8, 2012, 4:48 AM

            Richard, it was you yourself who wrote:

            “How can someone who is the most senior leader of Hamas never have been to Gaza?”

            What did you mean by that?

          • Richard Silverstein December 2, 2012, 4:18 PM

            Bob: I’ve asked you this many times. If you make a claim we need a source. I’m not saying your claim is wrong. But we have no way of evaluating it till you offer credible proof.

          • Bob Mann December 7, 2012, 8:05 AM

            Here is one from the NY Times:

            Hamas Leader Makes First Visit to Gaza

            http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/08/world/middleeast/khaled-meshal-hamas-leader-gaza-visit.html

            Relevant Excerpt:

            “Gaza, with its martyrs, cannot be described in words,” he said as he arrived here in Rafah, with tears in his eyes. “There are no words to describe Gaza, to describe the heroes, the martyrs, the blood, the mothers who lost their sons.

            “I say I return to Gaza even if I never have been here. It has always been in my heart.”

          • Bob Mann December 7, 2012, 5:20 PM

            Here is an additional source:

            RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal set foot in the Gaza Strip for the first time Friday, emerging from the Egyptian border with his hand over his heart and telling jubilant supporters that his visit marked a new era in the pursuit of Palestinian independence.

            Though Meshaal has led the Islamist militant group since 2004, traveling to its Gaza-based home was unthinkable just a month ago because of fear that Israel might assassinate him as it did his two predecessors.

            But the Nov. 21 cease-fire agreement that ended an eight-day clash with Israel emboldened Meshaal to make a victory lap through the seaside territory, culminating Saturday with an outdoor celebration to mark the group’s 25th anniversary.

            “I say I’m returning to Gaza even though I have never been before because it’s always been in my heart,” he told the crowd, fighting back tears.

            http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-gaza-hamas-20121208,0,5971885.story

          • Richard Silverstein December 2, 2012, 2:50 AM

            How can someone who is the most senior leader of Hamas never have been to Gaza? Bob, do some thinking before you speak.

            I’d thought Zahar left his post as FM, but you’re right apparently, he’s still their FM. But Meshal is Hamas’ most senior leader above both Zahar & Haniye.

        • Mary Hughes Thompson November 30, 2012, 7:42 PM

          @Daniel “the exact position of the border does not matter…” It might matter to the Palestinians who have had a large part of their land and resources systematically stolen over the past six decades.

        • jjcostandi December 2, 2012, 2:35 AM

          @Daniel, I Agree With You That Those Un States That Voted For The Resolution To Recognize “Palestine” As A State Are All Rabid Anti Semites Who Hate Israel And The Jews And Perhaps Secretly Love Islam.
          What I Don’t Understand And What Perhaps You Can Elucidate For Me Is Whether The Following Rumor Now Floating All Over The Internet Is True Or False That “The Reason The Tamales Islands, The Tacos Archipelago, And The Macaroni Tribal Union All Missed The Vote At The UN To Recognize Palestine As A State Was That The Car They Were Traveling In To Get Them To The UN General Assembly Vote Ran Out Of Gas And That They Were All Planning To Vote With The USA And Israel Against Granting Palestine The Non-Member Observer State Status. And That Further Rumor Has It That The Macaroni Tribal Union Really Sabotaged The Car As A Pretext To Help Its Delegation Save Face From Having To Cast That Irrational Indefensible Assenine Stupid Anal-Retentive Vote That The USA And Israel Instructed Them To Rubber-Stamp … Or Else.”
          @Daniel, Could You Check This For Me Please ? Thank You So Much. From Your Posts You Look Like The Right Person For This Type Of Research And This Type Of Anal-Ysis. From All Indications And Logical Displays in Your Comments, You Are A Person Well Beyond Any Measure Of Stupidity And One Who Can Be Relied On And Whose Lucid Rabid Agazi Anti-Goy Views Serve Israel Well.

        • jjcostandi December 2, 2012, 3:00 AM

          @Daniel, You And Netanyahu Have Something In Common: A Speech Impediment That Prevents You Both From Ever Being Able To Say The Word “Palestine”. Now That The UN Has Recognized “Palestine” As A State, I Advise That You Both Consult An Expert In Speech Rectification Techniques To Help You Overcome Your Speech Pathological Impediment And While You’re At It You Can Perhaps Insure That The Expert Who Will Treat You Can Also Deal With Mental Illness And Logical Thinking Deficiency Too.
          Jokes Aside. Please Repeat After Me: JerusalemPalestine, JerusalemIsrael, RamallahPalestine, GazaPalestine, AlKhaleelHebronPalestine, HebronIsrael, TelAvivIsrael, …

        • Koshiro December 2, 2012, 5:55 AM

          “and might actually turn out to be not as stupid or ignorant”

          You’re right, on closer inspection they turn out to be even *more* stupid and ignorant as previously thought.

          “the exact position of the border does not matter.”

          … which is why Israel has graciously accepted the 1967 borders as a baseline for limited 1:1 land swaps, right?

          Clown.

        • aiman December 3, 2012, 10:29 AM

          Daniel, you’ve just paraphrased the first couple of pages of Bernard Lewis’s propaganda sheet Holy War, Unholy Terror. It would behoove you to know that there is no concept of ‘holy war’ in Islam. Please get your facts right. And as mentioned the I/P has nothing to do with Lewis’s or your fevered imagination/propaganda of the clash of civilisations.

  • Distributed Sources November 30, 2012, 3:25 AM

    If this not a defeat why have the Israeli Government and its lapdog the US Congress put enormous effort into opposing it? Now of course Israel and Daniel are making out it’s no big deal. Transparent.

    • Daniel November 30, 2012, 9:59 AM

      I cannot comment on behalf of “Israel”, but I personally never thought that this is such a big deal.
      What does Israel have to worry about? The ICC ? This coin has 2 sides and now maybe the Palestinians will also learn a lesson or two about responsibility.
      Trying to prevent any “pro-palestinian” resolution in the UN general assembly is a lost cause, therefore I believe that the Israeli Government has made a mistake trying, and has wasted lots of political ammunition that might actually be useful elsewhere.

      • rfjk November 30, 2012, 11:14 AM

        Daniel says:

        “…Trying to prevent any “pro-palestinian” resolution in the UN general assembly is a lost cause, therefore I believe that the Israeli Government has made a mistake trying, and has wasted lots of political ammunition that might actually be useful elsewhere.”

        That’s about the only useful and true statement you’ve made on this topic. Reasoning with Zionists is as much an exercise in futility as reasoning with the leadership, rank & file in the Republican party. Both are maniacally committed to far right, self destructive ideologies. Republicans risk being cast into the political wilderness where I found them over 40 years ago. And Israelis risk losing everything if they don’t acquiesce in toto to a sovereign Palestinian state.

  • Arie Brand November 30, 2012, 3:59 AM

    Well apparently Netanyahu and his outfit didn’t share your (faux) happiness Daniel. They fought to the last ditch to get a “no vote” from the European nations. In vain, except for the poor old Czech Republic – a belated reaction to Munich? I was worried about the Dutch vote. I spoke earlier on this blog about my pleasant surprise that Frans Timmermans had become the Foreign Minister in the new Dutch cabinet because it was known that, as a member of parliament, he was adamantly opposed to the pro-Israel policy of his predecessor, Uri Rosenthal. It was also known that he was pleading for a “yes” vote when he was still in parliament.

    But there was a disquieting rumor that , once in power, he had changed his mind and was now advocating a “no” vote. Happily it hasn’t come to that. My hunch is that there have been some last minute consultations between the Germans and the Dutch before they both could pick up the courage to abandon their traditional pro-Israel policy on this point.

    Well, all the same I would like to ask the new Minister the questions he asked in parliament of Uri Rosenthal last June (R. didn’t come up with an answer):

    Question1:

    Have you seen the article “International Pressure Mounts over Gaza blockade” in which fifty important development, human rights and peace organizations call on Israeli authorities to make an end to the blockade without further ado?
    .
    Question 2:

    Do you share the opinion of these fifty very prestigious international organisations that an immediate stop to the blockade is necessary? If not, why not?

    Question3:

    Do you share the opinion of the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) – that can show with countless examples that a blockade is a form of collective punishment – that the blockade violates the Geneva Convention? If not, why not?
    .
    And for the near future:

    Question 4

    Did you, in your recent visit to Israel and the occupied territories, discuss this enduring blockade? If so what did Israeli authorities say about this subject?
    .
    
Question 5

    Are you prepared to plead, bilaterally and in an EU context, for an immediate end to the blockade? If not, why not? If yes, what steps will you undertake to challenge the Israeli authorities on this point?

  • pabelmont November 30, 2012, 7:50 AM

    This vote did many things (and failed to do a few).
    [1] It showed an increasing international intolerance for USA/Israel’s
    refusal to accede to UNSC 242 (and the roughly equivalent) Arab/saudi peace proposal (and PLO’s 1988 peace overture).
    [2] It can be presumed (but future will tell) that the nations ARE SIGNALING THAT they will be inclined toward some form of nation-state BDS to compel Israel either to end the occupations or to remove the settlers, settlements, and wall (and end the blockade adn share water equitably)
    [3] If (as I imagine) Israel has not brought into its own legal statutes the war-crimes forbidden by the 4 Geneva Conventions , then the ICC could assert jurisdiction over a whole lot of present and formed Israeli PMs, DMs, and general officers for war-crimes, etc. HOWEVER, ICC cannot run without funds, and unless the Saudi/Qatar crowd will undertake to fund it, the USA and EU crowd might possibly “kill” the ICC by withdrawing funds — which they might do if ICC accuses Israelis of war-crimes.

    Sadly, the Palestinians are a scattered people and the PA/”PLO” representative in the UN may be more a representative of a badly-elected (or not elected) cabal in Ramallah rather than a true national government. Israel has imprisoned a whole lot of Palestinian legislators, not all of them from Hamas as I understand it, and it is not clear how the present PA/Abbas crowd can be said to “represent” the Palestinians. (Sigh!)

    • rfjk November 30, 2012, 8:25 AM

      Agree with points 1 and 2. I however seriously doubt the EU will defund any agency of the UN. And considering that the US has squandered its global power and reputation, it won’t and can’t pout for long and risk total isolation and delegitimization as it appears Israel is bound and determined to do.

      Arabs are hard learners. It took 3 decades of getting their asses handed to them before it finally dawned that defeating Israel militarily wasn’t going to happen. It took even longer for Palestinian freedom fighters to get it into their noggins that waging terrorism against foreigners was totally self-defeating. And though HAMAS and the PA are divided, their hard and snail like learning curve suggests they will one day, sooner or later, resolve their differences and unite.

  • Bob Mann November 30, 2012, 7:58 AM

    You wrote: “Another irony (and mordant joke): of those nine states that voted no (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Nauru, Panama, Czech Republic, Canada) almost all are former colonies or protectorates of the U.S.–including Israel.”

    This is not actually true. Israel was certainly never a colony or protectorate of the US. Only three out of the nine would fit that description. Did you mean the UK?

    On a more serious note, do you feel that this vote will bring positive change to the Palestinian people? If so, how?

    • John Welch December 1, 2012, 8:14 PM

      Israel appears to be a functional protectorate of the US, although not a “legal” or official protectorate. The US supplies weapons, technology behind the weapons, for the Israeli military. Israel provides nothing to the US, although nearly every politician and TV-talker automatically says “IsraeltheonlyUSallyinthearea”…so automatic that they barely pause between the words. Yes, you can buy a tee-shirt in Israel that shows an F-16 with Israeli markings, and a motto: “Don’t worry America…Israel is behind you”. My government went to Tel Aviv and all we got was that lousy tee-shirt.

      One-way support sounds like a protectorate in fact if not in name.

  • yopeterry rew November 30, 2012, 8:21 AM

    Haaretz OWNED BY NAZIS FROM GERMANY and mafiosa from Russia is on its way
    to chapter 11 which paper will you exclusively quote then ?? it used to be reasonable
    paper till the GERMAN NAZIS TOOK CONTROL resulting in the loss of
    almost all readers and subsribers – remember this is fate of nazis

    • Richard Silverstein November 30, 2012, 9:26 AM

      You’re actually as bad as those on the far-left who call every Jew a Nazi, as if they’re all responsible for Israel’s sins. For shame.

      A German publisher with no Nazi past is a 25% investor in Haaretz and Leonid Nevzlin owns a similar-sized stake. The latter is actually an ardent pro-Israel advocate who, if anything, has moved the paper in a somewhat rightward direction editorially.

      Haaretz is doing no better or worse than right-wing Israeli papers like Yisrael HaYom, which loses $40-million per yr or Yediot. Rumors of Haaretz’s death are premature.

      Which only shows how much your head is up your ass on such matters.

      • dub November 30, 2012, 7:34 PM

        wow, that yope-a-dope is one crispy critter.

  • Joel November 30, 2012, 9:00 AM

    Nobody here in Israel seems to care about today’s vote and nobody I’ve met feels humiliated. Of course, not too many people here read Ha’aretz.

    • Richard Silverstein November 30, 2012, 9:20 AM

      You mean not too many people YOU KNOW care about the vote & no one YOU KNOW reads Haaretz. World-wide its English language site has much greater reach than any other Israeli paper. But like many Israelis, especially those on the far-right like you, you have little or no interest in what goes on outside your own foxhole.

      • Bob Mann November 30, 2012, 2:32 PM

        What is the basis for your claim that Ha’aretz “English language site has much greater reach than any other Israeli paper” worldwide?

        I do not believe this to be true.

        According to the Alexa web traffic rankings, Ha’aretz is 4,870th globally while JPost (Jerusalem Post) is well ahead of it, ranked 3,740th.

        .

        • dub November 30, 2012, 5:29 PM

          Bob, how dare you use facts against Richard!

          anyway, it won’t work

          he’ll ignore them.

          • Richard Silverstein November 30, 2012, 6:37 PM

            If you’re relying on Bob for facts you’re holding a very weak hand. I like Bob personally. But for strong, coherent arguments & facts, not so much.

        • Richard Silverstein November 30, 2012, 6:11 PM

          I was thinking of Yisrael HaYom and Yediot. Jerusalem Post of course has been an English only paper since it’s beginning & so has a headstart on Haaretz. But Haaretz has far more impact on the world than JPost, despite what you might wish or believe.

          • dub November 30, 2012, 7:36 PM

            that was an excellent response, Richard and I am happy to admit that you responded in a manner that proved me wrong.

            cheers.

          • Bob Mann December 1, 2012, 1:03 AM

            Alrighty – and I must stand up for myself and say that I think I do pretty well when it comes to presenting facts.

            Arguments, I admit, are sometimes not as coherent as I’d like them to be – but I do make a point of sourcing anything that I present as factual whenever possible.

  • Castellio November 30, 2012, 9:18 AM

    Bob, yes, if Richard had written “current” protectorates of the US he would have covered his bases.

    How sad for Canada, a depressed Petro-state marching backwards looking sideways.

  • yankel November 30, 2012, 11:39 AM

    Considering the goose, the gander and whatever inbetween.

    Israelis often justify the continuous calamity they’ve been inflicting upon Palestinians – from 48′s Naqba to an anticipated future Transfer – by the then Palestinian leadership’s rejection of the November 29th 1947′s UN resolution.

    Makes you wonder.

  • Tibor November 30, 2012, 12:31 PM

    To really appreciate what goes on here, one needs to take a broader view. After the West-Bank decided to opt for normalcy under Abu Mazen it not only became generally calm security-wise but also economic prosperity began. On the other hand Gaza looked economically backward and had Cast Lead. So the basic “educational paradigm” of “good” succeeding and “bad” failing was in balance. However, recently the tables got turned. Gaza began flourishing (forget all the usual “siege” and “starving” anti-Israel propaganda talk) and moreover Hamas was politically courted by Erdogan from Turkey, the Moslem-Brotherhood, their natural allies in Egypt, replaced Mubarak (who sided with Abu Mazen) and jus very recently the Emir of Qatar arrived in Gaza in great fanfare and promised a huge donation. To make things worse, the economic situation in the West-Bank got stalled.
    This was a lethal combination – not only Hamas succeeding politically and economically but they also retain the militant posture: armed to the teeth with missiles, shoot into Israel at will and continue to take a harsh political line towards it. Now, how long would have it taken in such conditions until the West-Bankers go Hamas way and a moderate approach seem mistaken?
    Now, however, when a West-Banker watched the recent war between Israel and Gaza, reminding him of the bad times of the Intifada (bombing, destruction and Hamas leaders chased and in hiding), which he/she is happy (as Israelis) to put behind, while his leader Abu-Mazen is basking in glory at the UN as a world statesman, the necessary “orientation balance” (for calm and moderation and peace as an objective) has been restored.

    • mary November 30, 2012, 12:58 PM

      Gaza, with no economy, no trade, no jobs, began “flourishing?” Do you have any proof of that? Funny, not one person I know in Gaza has said a word about Gaza “flourishing.” Perhaps poverty, despair, and widespread death and destruction courtesy of Israel are flourishing, is that what you meant?

      The WHO says Gaza will be inhabitable in about 8 years. So I guess that’s “flourishing,” too.

      • mary November 30, 2012, 12:59 PM

        Typo. Should be “uninhabitable.”

        • Daniel November 30, 2012, 1:53 PM

          Could you kindly prooflink the reference to the WHO statement ? I might have missed that one.
          In terms of life expectancy, Gaza is far ahead of most of the other regional countries.
          http://trailer.web-view.net/Show/0X92A2AE171EE255926F529CBE18102930189EDCD08A9ED15BB056B0C882B44C4E.htm
          The only reason that Gaza (and the west Bank) are not flourishing (as they should) is the corrupt leadership, that seeks to keep its own people impoverished and uneducated, while collecting donations for the ongoing struggle against the Zionist occupation and keeping a significant part of the money.

          • Donald November 30, 2012, 2:07 PM

            Andrew Sullivan had a couple of interesting links to pieces about the Gaza blockade–

            http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/11/the-consequences-of-blockade.html

            Your position, Daniel, is absolute nonsense. It literally makes no sense. Israel keeps a very tight grip on what can go in or out of Gaza. Set aside whether this could be morally justified (I don’t think it can, but set that aside.) No sane economist would ever claim that this could do anything but hurt the Gazan economy. Full stop. To say otherwise puts you out of the realm of serious discussion. You don’t even have to be an economist to understand this. What idiot would think that tight control on what can be imported or exported wouldn’t hurt an economy?

            One of the links above is to a paper by an economist that investigated the effects. Predictably, they are negative. But who in his or her right mind would think otherwise?

            And that’s part of what Israel was trying to do. It’s not a secret. They are punishing the people of Gaza for electing Hamas, and hoping to discredit Hamas.

          • Daniel November 30, 2012, 2:20 PM

            [ed. Comment deleted--I was going to respond yet again to this narischkeit, but there has to be an end to it--Daniel if you want to continue commenting here you'll have to stop mouthing inane, false, insulting platitudes about Muslims, Arabs, Palestinians, etc. If that's all you can muster, I suggest you go somewhere where your propaganda will find a more receptive audience. I will only approve future comments by you that are not racist, Islamophobic or insulting.]

          • mary November 30, 2012, 4:27 PM
          • donald November 30, 2012, 5:20 PM

            Here’s a link to Haaretz about the wikileaks document which reported that Israel intended the blockade to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse.

            http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/wikileaks-israel-aimed-to-keep-gaza-economy-on-brink-of-collapse-1.335354

            I don’t think this has ever been a deep secret.

            I’m glad that you now acknowledge that blockades are harmful to economies, but previously you said that the reason Gaza wasn’t prosperous was due solely to Hamas policies. So as an economist you knew that wasn’t true.

            You’re not arguing in good faith. You could criticize Hamas and the PA without indulging in these ridiculous, one-sided distortions, but then you’d have to talk about the cruelty of the blockade, the shooting at Gaza fishermen, the shooting of innocent Palestinians in the buffer zone (inside Gaza) and so forth. If you did that and then criticized Hamas for its own atrocities I for one and I suspect many others here would grant your points. But you don’t.

          • Richard Silverstein November 30, 2012, 6:04 PM

            Sorry, but you’re a moron: the only reason they’re not flourishing is corrupt leadership? There is corrupt leadership here, but it’s Israel’s leadership that is corrupt. The real cause of economic stagnation is Israel’s meddling in every facet of Palestinian life. Please stop pontificating over subjects you’re totally ignorant about. You don’t know anything about the Palestinian economy or society. If you want to make such comments & not look like a fool, learn something. Read a book (by a Palestinian if possible). Take a Breaking the Silence tour of a West Bank Palestinian village or town. Take a course. DO something other than marinating in your own rancid prejudices & ignorance.

            I’m tired of your endless droning. Now you’re moderated.

        • Tibor December 1, 2012, 4:15 AM

          It`s amazing hoe even the language has been inverted (which is probably inevitable if you want to make black look white). The term `moderated` come s from the word `moderate`(which is, well, showing moderation), while in the way it is used here it implies exactly the opposite…

          • Davey December 1, 2012, 11:36 AM

            Huh? Moderation is used here to take out the crazies of all kinds and keep the language civil. How is that the “opposite” of “moderation?”

    • Richard Silverstein November 30, 2012, 5:43 PM

      The West Bank is “economically propserous?” Compared to what? Afghanistan? Yemen, Sudan? Sure. Compared to Israel? Not so much. And the entire reason it isn’t more prosperous is Israeli interference in hindering its economic development doing everything from imposing hundreds of checkpoints, to illegally withholding hundreds of millions in Palestinian tax payments.

      As for the booming Gaza economy–again another pipe dream. What do you know about these places that you pontificate about so solemnly? Have you ever visited them? Recently? BTW are you an economist? Banker? So you have this inside knowledge of the Palestinian economy how??

      Please stop pontificating. Keep your opinions to yourself, unless you’d care to mix them with some facts. As it is, your comments are fact-free which is like eating iced-milk instead of ice cream.

      • Tibor December 1, 2012, 4:05 AM

        To your question: I am nor a banker, neither a West-banker, and to compare the present economic situation in the West-bank with what it was in the Intifada times (which was a main point in the present Gaza context) does not require one to be either. A comparison with many other Arab countries will yield a similar result: The West-bankers are doing better.

        • mary December 1, 2012, 4:25 AM

          http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/05/us-palestine-economy-idUSBRE88411M20120905

          “”(Israeli) restrictions on movement, faltering aid flows, a paralyzed private sector and a chronic fiscal crisis cloud the horizons,” UNCTAD declared. Amid persistent high unemployment, it added, “one in two Palestinians is classified as poor.”

          The report, for an UNCTAD meeting in Geneva later this month, said the impact of the Israeli occupation since 1968 on the productive base of the Palestinian economy, and especially its once-flourishing agriculture, “has been devastating.”

          “The economy has lost access to 40 per cent of West Bank land, 82 percent of its ground water, and more than two thirds of its grazing land,” it said.”

          Yeah, they’re “doing better,” indeed.

          • Tibor December 1, 2012, 9:14 AM

            I was referring to recent advances, since the end of the last Intifada. It is true that in general, over the long term, the Intifadas took a big toll on the economy – and there are still checkpoints because of that.
            But that is no different to what has been discussed above, namely the war on the nascent Israel in 1948 or the 1967 war (that was initiated by somebody from your own country). These were all attempts to undo Israel, clearly declared to be so, and that is a Big Deal in conflict terms – If you fail in that, you can expect to pay real prices (there is no need for a UN report to expect that).
            My comment explicitly related to the post-Intifada period, where a positive and moderate attitude has developed in the West-Bank and an optimistic future began to loom (for instance, the check points, another legacy of the Intifada and cited as impediment to economic development, were reduced by 90%)

          • Elisabeth December 2, 2012, 3:11 AM

            Tibor, you say to Mary that the 1967 war “was initiated by somebody from your own country”. The ’67 war was initiated by Israel. Where do you think Mary is from?

          • Richard Silverstein December 2, 2012, 4:32 PM

            Israelis have a deep need to forget certain elements of history that paint them as anything less than the victim. Hence the Arabs started the 67 War (in their mind).

        • John Welch December 1, 2012, 8:29 PM

          I work in computers and networking for the cross-border financial industry. Having read that computer science students from Bethlehem were finding it impossible to work, I suggested to a regional partner that his company open a development shop there. His company has a powerful presence in the Persian Gulf, and is headquartered in Jordan, with a subsidiary in Belgium. He explained that it was impossible — in practice — to do business in the West Bank. He cannot move staff, hardware, or money in or out.

          Smaller example: a neighbor in NYC is an American citizen, but cannot visit his parents in the West Bank without flying to Jordan and trying to cross an Israeli “checkpoint”. Not practical.

          How can Palestinians carry on normal business?

          Meanwhile, settler companies, such as SodaStream, can export their products through Israeli, have them marked as “made in Israel”, and advertise on MSNBC.

          Follow the settlement map and you see that Israel has carved up the Occupied Territories to function as ground for Israeli colonies, probably in expectation that Palestinians will gradually be driven out. For details, see the handy chart at United Methodist Kairos Response (UMKR)…which also suggests why more and more Methodists and Presbyterians support BDS.

    • SimoHurtta December 1, 2012, 12:35 PM

      Tibor you seem not to understand the reality. The economy of Gaza and West Bank is mainly based on the money flow from EU, USA, Japan, Arab countries, UN etc. Israel doesn’t give anything, actually it takes a handsome profit of the “arrangement”. Israel forces UN etc donors to buy the materials and part of needed services from Israel and you can be certain, that the profit margin for Jewish companies is not minimal. Israel forces also to Palestinians to buy Israeli products by giving Palestinians no or little options.

      Every time Israel has destroyed Palestinian infrastructure Israel besides had earned considerable amounts of those buildings materials also opens itself new turnover knowing that the materials for the replacement must be bought from Israel.

      On personal level the present situation could be described as follow. You own 1000 slaves who you force to live in a small area encircled with high walls. Amusingly one of your neighbors has paid the costs of building the wall and others have paid most of the infrastructure of the camp. Your neighbors pay (for some strange reason) the living and education costs of your slaves, lets say 4000 dollars per slave and your guarding costs. The internal economy of the slaves is based on the salaries of capos and other administration, paid naturally by the neighbors. The rest of the slave economy is services and small scale trade, farming and industry. The slaves have to buy all goods from you and you control the little import they have managed to create. One hasn’t be an economist to understand how profitable this arrangement is for you.

      The most profound invention in the Israeli occupation has been forcing (or tricked) others to pay the expenses of the occupation for decades and arranging in intervals property destroying raids, which also are paid by others, to increase Israel’s business and profits in rebuilding. Israel also increases its profits by slowly stealing land with zero or close to zero price of the land. Then selling the built houses to “stupid” settlers with the price of normal land costs + the price of the house. An unseen profitable moneymaking machine. The moral of this plot is also unseen. We all (non-Israelis) must be crazy that we have to financed such absurd robbery for halve a century.

      • Tibor December 1, 2012, 1:16 PM

        Simo, I think you are taking things into an extreme and also confuse the short term with the long term. It is clear that in the first phase of cooperation the more developed part plays the dominant part but that does not stay so forever, as many past historical examples prove. Regarding economic relationships, don`t you think that what you describe also fits (with needed adaptations) what has happened within the EU – the Greeks express similar concerns. Then, some of the general phenomena you mention are characteristic of today`s phase of capitalism – they just appear in different dresses – they are not palpable to many but singling out small Israel in this context makes no sense. Finally, regarding the warring damages: “La guerre comme a la guerre”

        • SimoHurtta December 1, 2012, 2:14 PM

          It is not an extreme example Tibor, it is the reality behind the “economics” of Israel’s occupation. The present situation has nothing to do with capitalism. As little as Warsaw Ghetto as a producer of goods for Nazis had to do with capitalism.

          In what occupation in the world’s history have the outsiders paid the costs of occupation for nearly halve of century? EU, USA and others do not pay the living costs of the people of Tibet. USA doesn’t give donations to China which equal comfortably the costs of the military needed for the occupation of Tibet. Same in Kashmir. Soviets or Brazil did not pay the costs of occupation of France during WW2 and the salaries of French capos.

          The problem in making peace is that the present situation is economically to profitable for Israel and so making peace would simply ruin Israeli economy. You Tibor must understand that the Israeli economy is in reality Israel’s citizens economy + a huge part of Palestine’s economy. When you (=Israel) import for example 10 tons of building steel and then sell it to EU for building a new airport (or similar public infra) in Palestine the money flows in the Israeli economical system. Every time you destroy the airport with bombs paid by stupid Americans you get new money from us stupid Europeans to build a new airport. A genius economical perpetual motion machine (if one has no moral).

          The present problems of Greece and other EU countries are not comparable in any way to the Israel / Palestine “economics”. What we see happening in Greece is a normal economical crisis which are very common in world’s recent economical history. Finland had a even deeper financial crisis than Greece now in the beginning of 90′s. What we can witness in Palestine is something completely unique in the history. And that money making machine has generated profits for decades. So for a long term. The sad thing is that in a short term horizon you (=Israel) can’t afford to end this parasite relationship nor you can not abandon those investments made in the West Bank (=settlements + infra). Re-settling halve million of angry settlers in circumstances of the living standard they are used to is not cheap and nobody is willing to pay those countless billions need for that. So there is very little hope in the horizon.

          • Davey December 1, 2012, 5:41 PM

            There’s no peace, whether defined in Israeli terms (“surrender”) or in its usual meaning of settling differences without violence, because the status quo is profitable. Simo describes this phenomenon nicely: I have a habit of summing it all up in the notion of subvention, subsidies that raise the standard of living in Israel and decrease the well-being of middle class America. But, as Simo suggests, it is a much wider phenomenon and has more in common with plundering and pillage than law-abiding capitalism because there are no limits, i.e. Israel controls the game and the rules. Israel’s criminal activities has had little impact on its ability to turn a profit at other people’s expense nor have these crimes interfered with the subsidies. Putting an end to $8 million a day from the US would be a baby step in the right direction.

          • SimoHurtta December 2, 2012, 3:15 AM

            Well if it would be “decent and controlled” capitalism the Palestinians would have the possibility to sell freely goods to Israel, import where they want like Israelis do and produce what they want. They can not so speaking about capitalism, meaning its the ideal essence, free markets, equal opportunities, is rather irrelevant. Warsaw Ghetto, which was a slave factory of Germans, could be also described as a manifestation of capitalism if the economical relationship between Jews and Palestinians can be.

            One picture of the reality is that Palestinian farmers can’t grow bananas, but Jews in Jordan valley can. Jews get the needed water, the Pals do not, even the water is taken from the Palestinian area. “Amusingly” those bananas are then force-fed (with healthy profits without doubt) to Pals in Ramallah. That is not capitalism nor socialism. That is pure insane imperialism and exploitation.

            The only and also fastest way to end the occupation is that the outsiders do not pay in future a single shekel to Palestine and Israel. Israel as the occupier is responsible for the wellbeing of Palestinians. Let Israel pay all expenses. Palestinians should also stop all their own economy and demand Israel to serve them food and water etc. In couple of months the state of Israel would be bankrupt and a willing accept any solution. Not a single of rocket or suicide bomber would be needed. Palestinians need only to refuse to accept any foreign (besides Israeli) financing. The robbing of Palestinian tax money (just in news) is a good start. Let us hope that nobody is so stupid that they give that NIS 460 to Palestine. Also it would be a present from the “heaven” if USA congress stops funding PA. Hopefully Arab nations understand finally that all financial help to Palestinians on occupied areas is in reality financial “help” to Israel.

  • bluto November 30, 2012, 3:11 PM

    As an aside which I hope is informative – I lived in Micronesia for years and can you everybody definitively that the Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshalls were all completely dependent on US aid and told to vote the way the US told them to vote at the UN

    It’s no more complicated than that – vote with the US for American aid dollars

    Mystery solved

    • Davey December 1, 2012, 11:38 AM

      This reduces the “no” to 6 effectively. 6!

      • Deïr Yassin December 1, 2012, 2:53 PM

        Bluto didn’t mention Nauru (9267 inhabitants), which reduces the “no” to 5. And what about Panama ? So I would go for four “no”: the USA, Canada, the Czech Republic and Israel, but the numbers don’t count according to the great humanistic philosopher Danny Ayalon:
        “If I have to choose between the United States, Israel’s biggest ally which morally stands above all other nations, and the 138 countries, I will always choose the United States” (Reuters). Enough laughing potential for the whole week-end.

        • bluto December 1, 2012, 5:53 PM

          Deir Yassin – indulge me just a bit longer on remembering my sweet Pacific…

          I have been to Nauru (it’s a surreal ex-phosphate mine – totally scraped clean of topsoil as a result of being completely excavated by Australian companies for the bird poop/nitrogen for fertilizer – the island is a wasteland – 100% of it) and have had non-professional contact with several groups from Nauru traveling to my islands in Micronesia. Nauru was basically a coral reef with a million of years of seabird poop on it (the N2 fertilizer) – well the poop was completely stripped away and now there is nothing left. And I do mean NOTHING – pillars of phosphate the bulldozers missed – that’s it. Charming, huh?

          Today, Nauru is a mess. Its debt is twenty-seven times its GDP and unemployment hovers somewhere around 90%.

          Nauru used to get aid from Australia (the Australian PM Gillard probably just didn’t bother to give them a call out of spite for being forced by her cabinet to abstain rather than vote NO) and all it’s whole economy is still from external assistance so we have a pretty handy explanation for Nauru’s brave shoulder to shoulder stand with the ‘most moral nation on earth’. Hey – if we want to change their vote I could drag a $100 bill past their president’s office

          Like Micronesians I can assure you they would have NO interest in Palestine or Israel and are undoubtedly a bought vote. I just didn’t definitively speak about them because I didn’t see them for years from the inside and have the knowledge of their government as I did in Micronesia/FSM/Palau/Marshalls.

          It actually saddens me that Micronesians are being used by the US and Israel like this but it’s simply out of greed of their US-paid politicians – perhaps sadder than the ignorant US citizens that are being used and played by the Israeli Lobby, perhaps not

          One of the big life lessons I learned in the islands is that they were a microcosm of the the mainland – is the US vote any less bought than the Micronesian vote? I would argue NO

        • Deïr Yassin December 1, 2012, 7:54 PM

          Someone told me about Nauru and the phosphate mining, and said that they basically survive on selling their votes in the UN and to the International Whaling Commission :-)
          On Friday the UN passed 5 resolutions concerning Palestine, and we see the same voting pattern:
          http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=543767
          If you take a look at the 41 countries that abstained from voting, there’s a pattern too:
          UK, Germany, Netherlands, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia (Serbia is the only Republic of Ex-Yougoslavia to vote yes, Kosovo didn’t vote), Albania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Moldovia, Roumania
          Bahamas, Barbados, Haiti, Guatemala, Colombia, Paraguay
          Cameroon, Malawi, Rwanda, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaïre)
          Mongolia, South Korea, Singapour
          Australia, Papua-New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu
          21 European countries, of which 15 are in Eastern Europe.
          South Sudan voted yes too which I guess Israel isn’t too happy about. They were supposed to be best friends…..

          • Tibor December 2, 2012, 9:26 AM

            It is clear that the evaluation of abstaining is always context dependent and in this case it can be seen as wishing to send a positive signal to Israel. The fact that a major part of Europe is in this category and especially noteworthy are the East European countries for which this was more than just a gesture – Israel has strong links with of various kinds). So it is really not just the US but most others that truly matter to Israel

          • Richard Silverstein December 2, 2012, 4:20 PM

            The only way to send a positive signal to Israel would be to vote Yes. Abstaining is not a favor to Israel nor does Israel see it that way. But you can view it any way you like since so few of your views concerning Israel bear much resemblance to reality anyway.

          • Deïr Yassin December 2, 2012, 12:29 PM

            @ Tibor
            According to everyone I’ve read and asked on the subject, the East European countries mainly abstaining has absolutely nothing to do with Israel but everything to do with the USA.
            And when you write “a major part of Europe is in this category”, you are aware that most West European countries did vote ‘yes’, aren’t you ?
            Keep your head in the sand: if it weren’t for the US, nobody would have abstained except maybe Germany because of historical guilt. And polls in Germany have shown that the population doesn’t agree at all. Two different polls have shown that 64% and 71% of Germans wanted their country to vote yes to the Palestinian UN-bid. A YouGov/Avaas-poll in the UK showed that 58% wanted the UK to say yes, only 8% ‘no’. Another poll showed 72% support in the UK, and only 6% ‘no’.

          • Tibor December 3, 2012, 6:38 AM

            @ Deir Yassin
            Well, you would be surprised, in fact I agree with you (so I am not an ostrich…) – I am aware that today is all about global alliances and contacts. It is clear to me that the Eastern-European countries are sending a signal here to the US, saying: we see this issue is important for you so even though it may cause us problems with the Arab world and even in some quarters in Europe we are ready to do that – we are your trustworthy friends (they have their reasons for doing so but that`s another matter). Notwithstanding, some of these countries have very strong contacts with Israel – so that`s another bird they are catching with the same shot.
            As for the polls you mention, they don`t surprise me – many people in West Europe are not pro-Israeli anymore. But don`t keep your head in the sand – look also at polls on what they think about the Moslems in their midst…

          • Tibor December 3, 2012, 6:51 AM

            @Deir Yassin
            And another point: boosting the prestige of the PA and Abu-Mazen, achieved by this act, especially in the aftermath of the Gaza war was not such a bad thing for the overarching goals – please see a post of mine above (the one from Nov 30)

      • Davey December 1, 2012, 5:43 PM

        23 “for” for every 1 “against.”

  • Arie Brand November 30, 2012, 3:14 PM

    Israel counts on a lack of information, not only among foreigners but also among its own citizens (see the claims of Daniel).It is quite brazen about this. The risible chutzpah that the Palestinians were, with their UN-quest, violating the Oslo-accords is one example – as if Israel has ever taken these accords seriously.

    But one cannot count forever on the efficacy of brazen lies. Abraham Lincoln was not the first to observe this. Sooner or later “public opinion” catches up with the facts. Happily Israel is helping this process along by its total lack of diplomatic finesse. The in your face reaction to the UN vote, the announcement that 3000 more houses will be built on stolen land, is one example.

    • mary December 2, 2012, 1:24 AM

      There have also been numerous violations of the recent ceasefire on Israel’s part, some resulting in the deaths of Palestinians.

  • Arie Brand November 30, 2012, 8:25 PM

    Dub wrote:

    “the (partition) plan was in accordance with international Law”

    S/he might want to reflect on the following statement by Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois:

    “The Partition Resolution was ultra vires the General Assembly because it contravened the fundamental right of the Palestinian people to self-determination as recognized by article 1 (2) of the United Nations Charter, and violated the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine as well as the Covenant of the League of Nations that had already provisionally recognized the independence of the state of Palestine. Nevertheless, all attempts by the Arab Higher Committee for Palestine to have any of these legal issues adjudicated by the International Court of Justice were prevented because of the influence of the United States and the Soviet Union by one vote in the Ad Hoc political committee.

    During the course of the United Nations debates over the proposed partition of the Palestine Mandate, it was the matter of power, not principle, that proved to be the decisive factor. It was yet another historical example of the triumph of the sophistic philosophy that “might makes right.” “

    • dub December 1, 2012, 8:33 AM

      Boyle’s argument is trash talk. Brash, and is no more than an argument concerning a principle that Boyle considers contravened rather than anything more.

      • Richard Silverstein December 1, 2012, 2:03 PM

        Boyle has a Phd in his field along with publications & academic position, which is whole helluva lot more than I can say for you.

        • dub December 1, 2012, 4:52 PM

          Boyle is indeed an educated man as well as a liar and propagandist employed by the PLO.
          http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/10/01/prof-francis-boyle-the-impending-collapse-of-israel-in-palestine/

          • mary December 2, 2012, 1:36 AM

            I don’t know how Boyle’s informative essay makes him either a liar or a propagandist.

            He is quite clear in his analysis and although he is not biased towards Israel, I don’t see anything factually incorrect in the piece you linked to.

          • Richard Silverstein December 2, 2012, 2:55 AM

            Boyle is…a liar and propagandist employed by the PLO.

            You may not make claims like this without offering concrete proof of them. That is a primary comment rule here. The next time you violate the rules you will be moderated. Read the rules & respect them.

          • Deïr Yassin December 2, 2012, 4:23 AM

            If you don’t like Boyle for whatever reason, Jean Allain, a Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University of Belfast wrote a book “International Law in the Middle East: Closer to Power than Justice” (2004). In chapter 3 (p.73-100): “Disregard for International Law in the Evolution toward the Formation of the State of Israel”, he exposes how the West paid little attention to international law, preferring to impose their imperial policy.
            Chapter 4 is on the Rights of Palestinian Refugees.
            The book is on the net, and most of chapter 3 is available, but I guess with a French name, lecturing in Ireland (and Allain lectured at Bir Zeit some years back) you’re going to dismiss him too.

            Maybe Victor Kattan’s “From Coexistence to Conquest. International Law and the Origin of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1891-1949″, but Victor Kattan (PhD on the history of partition in international law from SOAS) is probably biased being a relative to Henry Kattan, the Palestinian representative to the General Assembly in 1947, and the foreword to his book is by Richard Falk.

          • Davey December 2, 2012, 2:07 PM

            Mary has this right. Thanks, dub, for the reference.

  • bluto December 1, 2012, 4:31 AM

    Israelis now define themselves in terms of ‘the abusers of Palestine’ now – if that dynamic is ever threatened they literally MUST act to try to re-equilirate the relationship. Witness Israel post the UN vote. This is not so much the well known Israeli psychological warfare against Palestine but a clinical diagnosis of Israel – it is an Israeli psychological problem masquerading as an Israeli plan

    When that relationship is threatened they become DESPERATE to reestablish control – no matter if it takes a public p**ch screwing to reestablish their equilibrium – such as making this grab for E1 East Jerusalem. Then all the chortles and backslapping and swagger of the Israeli we know and ‘luv’ are back – control has been reestablished and Palestine is back in their psychological bunker where they belong – while the whole world looks on with ever increasing opprobrium.

    Who in the EU has ‘buyer’s remorse’ on their Pro-Palestinian vote? None of course
    Who in the world doesn’t know that ‘MORE OF THE SAME’ is precisely what is required for Palestine and her abuser at this point? Israel can’t help it – this illuminates the REAL problem in the Middle East for the entire world – and that ain’t good for status quo-Israel

    This S&M – it is part of the psychological warfare of Israel against Palestine but more – it is a desperate psychological control or abuse of Palestine that literally can’t stand to see Palestine EVER free from it’s clutches, even for 24 hrs

    This is a very important realization to have and can be used to help overthrow these dysfunctional control fr*aks.

    Knowing that ever time Palestine senses it’s freedom and the euphoria of that shows the way and how to decompensate the limiitless of these inglorious basterds. They’re fools and they can be shown to look like fools (and sanctionable under BDS) at the drop of a that

    Expect Israel to become worse (and unfortunately more dangerous) as Palestine becomes better and frees herself from Israel – it is a zero sum game for Israel

  • Mr L December 1, 2012, 9:15 PM

    IF Palestine is now a state and Gaza is within its borders.
    Doesnt that end each and every palestinian “refugee” status ?

    • Richard Silverstein December 2, 2012, 2:56 AM

      @Mr L: Not sure what your point is.

      • Mr L December 2, 2012, 1:53 PM

        Do you believe palestinians living in gaza today should continue to define themselves as Refugees?
        They are within 67 borders
        Why the refugee status?

        • Richard Silverstein December 2, 2012, 4:16 PM

          Egypt administered Gaza before 1967. Israel conquered it in 1967 and administered it subsequently. So this depends how you determine 1967 borders. If you’re talking about after the 1967 War then yes, Gazans could theoretically be considered Israeli, with emphasis on theoretically.

          If Hamas were truly brilliant or diabolical or both they could declare their intent for Gaza to become part of Israel & demand citizenship for its residents. The thought of absorbing 1.5 million Hamas supporters into Israel’s body politic might be enough to throw the fear of God into Israel & make it sue for peace immediately.

  • Arie Brand December 1, 2012, 10:23 PM

    Dub wrote:

    “Boyle is indeed an educated man as well as a liar and propagandist employed by the PLO”

    He then gave a link that when I clicked on it came up with a blank page and the words “Bad Gateway”- a term probably applicable here in more ways than one.

    Boyle says : ” … I have been accused of being everything but a child molester because of my public support for the Palestinian People. I have seen every known principle of Academic Integrity and Academic Freedom violated in order to suppress the basic rights of the Palestinian People. In fact, there is no such thing as Academic Integrity and Academic Freedom in the United States of America when it comes to asserting the rights of the Palestinian People under international law.”

    So Dub’s accusation is nothing new. Still we should call him on it. A liar, Dub, is according to my trusted Concise Oxford Dictionary “a teller (esp.habitual) of lie(s)”. So we are not talking here about an occasional error of fact, the kind of thing that can happen to all of us, but, at the very least, about some substantial and recognizable fibs. Can you give us a few examples?

    Furthermore is your question about the “sovereign power’ in Palestine pre-partition meant as an argument? Can you spell it out?

    Boyle’s argument seems to me that the UN was bound by Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations of June 28 1919 that said: “Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone.”

    The document entrusting the Mandate over Palestine to the British speaks in its preamble about the installation of a “National Home” for the Jewish people there and repeats the formula of the Balfour Declaration “it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. Now whatever a “National Home” is there is no reason to believe that there was talk here of a Jewish State, especially given the limiting condition.

    The same document then speaks in article 28 of a future Government of Palestine.

    Now it is prima facie unlikely that in either of these documents, when there is talk of an independent nation that can be provisionally recognized or a future Government of Palestine, the reference was to a Jewish State or a partition that would allow the coming about of such an entity. The Jews constituted at that time about 12 % of the total population.

    • Davey December 2, 2012, 5:47 PM

      Edwin Black (“the Transfer Agreement”) says that the Balfour Declaration was written by Zionists and that there was much discussion about how to phrase the idea of a “home” or state, finally opting for the indirection of “National Home.”

  • Nimrod December 2, 2012, 4:30 AM

    Abbas has won a Pyrrhic victory.

    When the dust settles, Palestinians will realize that they gained a virtual status and lost their main funding source – the Taxes that Israel collect for them.
    If Israel stops allowing the 100,000 Palestinians who work in Israeli for entering, the Palestinians economy will return to what its’ been in the 2001-2002 Arafat period.

    • Richard Silverstein December 2, 2012, 4:30 PM

      First, Palestinian taxes are not its “main” funding source. “A” major source, but not “main.” the main source is aid sent by international agencies and foreign nations.

      As for the taxes, withholding them is simply theft. They are Palestinian revenue that Israel takes from the pockets of Palestinians. Israel has neither a right to withhold them nor to decide where they should be applied. That is solely within Palestine’s perogative.

      In this matter as in so many others, Israel reacts out of spite which serves neither its own or Palestine’s long term interests. There is no victory here, Pyrrhic or otherwise, only defeat.

      • Nimrod December 2, 2012, 11:16 PM

        I stand corrected by your first paragraph, and I agree on the third.

        But I do think that Israel should have taken the “Palestinian taxes” to cover, at least some, of the PLO’s 700 Million NIS debt to the Israeli electric company.

        • Richard Silverstein December 3, 2012, 1:30 AM

          Israel prevents Palestine from generating its own power, thus forcing it to use Israeli power & you believe the PA should pay Israel for this?? Chutzpah my man.

    • Davey December 2, 2012, 5:59 PM

      Nimrod: I think it should be clear that “punishment” is just another cover for the exploitation of other people, the continuing expropriation of land and rights. This kind of plunder is central to Israeli economics just as SimoHurrta suggests here. The Israel “cover story” is very thin and grows more fragile and more transparent all the time. In some future scene, the Israeli PM will announce another round of “self-defense” or “punishment” and the journalists will laugh out loud, winking and nudging one another. Business as usual.

      (The extraordinary thing is that one can lose track of any sense of proportion and economic reality regarding Israel. The state is six million Jews or so. What is that, Brooklyn perhaps, maybe two boroughs? This population could not possibly maintain the 4th largest army in the world, the largest prison on earth, the settlement of the West Bank [w/ swimming pools and subsidized rent,] a permanent blockade and massive border policing without the exploitation of native peoples ["plunder" is the right term] AND massive subsidies. Israel could not possibly survive virtually on “its own,” leaving aside regional war. So, as someone said, maybe here, Israel is really not a country at all, it is PRIMARILY an army placed in the ME, an occupying army with all attendant costs and wickedness of an occupying army. The success of Israel is the success of the army spearheading the exploitation and colonization.)

      • Nimrod December 2, 2012, 11:31 PM

        Davy,
        what’s really extraordinary is how you can’t see that your data is incorrect.

        for example
        1. Israel’s army is the 4th largest army in the world. that’s incorrect, to say the least. It’s not even the 4th largest in the middle east.
        2. “the largest prison on earth” – ridicules mantra that anti-Israelis keep repeating, when Palestinians leave the west bank and Gaza (open a map, they have a boarder with Egypt) come and go as they please. they just don’t do it via Israel.
        3. a permanent blockade – over what? Gaza? even they got the Iphone5 before we did.
        4. Israel could not possibly survive virtually on “its own,” leaving aside regional war – well, it has been doing so for quite some time now, and without having a single foreign soldier having to fight for it. rest assure, that young Americans will not have to be send to fight Israel’s was like they did all over the world.
        And as for the US military aid to Israel – no one would like that US military aid to middle eastern countries will be stopped more than Israel.
        5. So, as someone said, maybe here, Israel is really not a country at all, it is PRIMARILY an army placed in the ME – I’m guessing it was Noam Chomsky or some other raging anti-Israeli propagandist.

        Yes, I agree with you that Israel spends A LOT on security. But as the one paying for it (at the cost of education, roads, and other things I wish we had more money for), in most cases it’s money well spent.
        And I do agree with you that the occupation of the West Bank’s “Palestinian” areas should stop.

        • Richard Silverstein December 3, 2012, 1:26 AM

          @Nimrod: Davy only misspoke slightly. IDF isn’t 4th largest army in the world, but it’s ranked 4th among world’s armies in many surveys. I suppose for its ability to kill a maximum number of Palestinians & other enemies.

          Gaza is the largest urban slum in the world. It’s also often called the world’s largest open air prison which seems totally apt. As for Gazans being free to come & go, you know that’s a lie. There are only a few ways to exit Gaza: by sea (blocked), via Israel (blocked), via Egypt (largely blocked). Hence it IS the world’s largest open air prison.

          As for yr snark about iPhones, keep that up & you won’t be long for this blog’s world. When you’re ready to live under blockade in Gaza for a month let me know.

          As for Israel surviving “on its own,” that’s the fake Israeli macho-man illusion. Israel is a small beacon of light among its enemies. No one cares. Everyone’s out to get us. We’re the victims here. Blah, blah, blah. If Israel is truly independent you shouldn’t mind if the world applies a full court & successful BDS campaign against you. IT shouldn’t hurt one bit. Shouldn’t hurt also if the U.S. turns off the arms & aid spigot either. WHy don’t you build those $500 million worth of IDF facilities the U.S. is building for you at our taxpayer expense?

          So that we don’t call you an outright hypocrite, can I hear you call explicitly for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel. You implied falsely that U.S. military aid to OTHER Middle Eastern countries is the reason the U.S. must continue aid to Israel. What U.S. aid to other ME countries endangers Israel pray tell??

          So you don’t like the notion that Israel is a garrison state or national security state. If the shoe fits…

          BTW, you’re not solely “the one paying” for Israel’s astronomical military budget. U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill too: $3 billion per annum.

          Please don’t make my coffee spurt through my nose at your plea for us just to get along by saying the Occupation should stop. It’s a ridiculous statement coming on the heels of all the hasbara talking pts you offered prior. Next thing you know you’ll be telling us you voted Meretz as some of your fellow hasbaraniks have been known to do here.

          • Nimrod December 3, 2012, 4:26 AM

            @Richard,
            This only shows you how unreliable surveys can be.
            Also, I think that other armies have proven to be much more efficient at killing a maximum number of Palestinians. The Jordanian army is one example. the Syrian is a second example.

            Gaza is an urban slum, but so is Mea-Shearim neighborhood. this is what happens when a population that cannot sustain itself produces more and more children. Their Israeli boarder is blocked for obvious reasons. They don’t have a port, even thought they had the opportunity to build one after the Gaza pull-out. As for their boarder with Egypt which is largely blocked – that’s not Israeli’s fault (for once).

            Gaza’s blockade is not really a blockade, no matter how many times you will repeat that. the fact is that they are able to transfer men, livestock and goods fro Egypt, and all the food, fuel, electricity and medicine they needs via Israel proves that. If there was a blockade, Gazans would have been starved to death years ago. simple fact is that not even one person has died of hunger in Israel/Palestine, at least since the 1967 occupation began.
            Please, prove me wrong.

            As for the US aid – Yes, Israel needs it, because the same support also goes to Israel’s neighbors. Lebanon gets support (which some of it goes to Hezbullah, as some TOW missiles can testify. I CAN provide proof, if need some), Jordan, and Egypt gets massive support – almost as large as Israel’s.
            I’m not sure what’s in those $500 million worth of “IDF facilities” the U.S. is building will be used by the IDF or for future use by the US army (we have more than a few US weapons warehouses here, as you probably know).
            Maybe you could use your sources to expose that.

            My point is, that if the US takes the military aid to all parties in the area, you can be sure that Israelis will be happy for it almost as much as US tax payers like yourself.
            How it endangers Israel? It’s a bit off topic, but if Egypt, for example, has 1000 M1A1 tanks, the IDF needs X number of tanks for the case it turns hostile (not such an illogical scenario nowadays). Now, lets say that Egypt receives a 1000 more tanks over a period of 5 years – now Israel has to compensate and use its own currency (since Merkava tanks are mostly made in Israel) to even that up. It is a general example, but I’m sure you get it.
            Also, the $3 billion per annum has a negative effect of hurting the Israeli defense industry, not being able to integrate Israeli-made system into US made platforms, and in general, some US made systems do not fit the IDF’s doctrine or areas of use.

            As for my vote – no, I’ve never been a Meretz voter, even though I like some of the people there like Nitzan Horowitz, I don’t agree with their Social views regarding the economy.

          • Richard Silverstein December 3, 2012, 2:11 PM

            @nimrod: The ranking of the IDF as 4th in the world is NOT a survey. It’s a commonly accepted ranking which I’ve seen published numerous times in highly credible periodicals by military correspondents. Would you like Israel ranked lower? The Jordanian army hasn’t killed Palestinians since 1970, but nice try. As for the Syrians, that’s practically a non sequitur since they housed Hamas for yrs until very recently. No, I’m afraid for the distinction of best cold blooded Palestinian-killers the IDF still wins.

            As for Gaza as urban slum, it has 1.5 million residents. How many does Mea Shearim have? 5,000, 20,000? No comparison. Plus residents of Mea Shearim are free to come and go as they please and earn their living as they may w/o hindrance. They are free to shop & engage in all manner of human intercourse, which isn’t the case in Gaza. Again, nice try but #fail, I’m afraid.

            I despise anyone who talks about overpopulation in a Gaza context. It’s a noxious, false and racist argument that has nothing to do with substantive argument. Palestine could never build a port or airport because of consistent Israeli opposition. I’d like to see any evidence you can offer to support your claim that Gaza could’ve done so at the time you claim. You do realize it takes years to plan and build something as complex as a port or airport, don’t you?

            As for the Egypt border issue, it certainly is Israel’s fault. Egypt and Israel appear to coordinate their actions related to the border. I’m not sure why this is, but Egypt apparently will not fully open its borders until Israel does the same. This may change if relations further sour between Israel & Egypt.

            It is yet another lie to say there is no blockade. There is no free movement of anything, including the items you mentioned. Israel controls & determines everything allowed in or out of Gaza. And it is NEVER enough. I’m simply not prepared to argue this point with you. You can argue the moon is pink, but that doesn’t make it so. If you persist in making such false arguments I will take it as a sign of bad faith and act accordingly.

            The claim that the U.S. supplies TOW missiles to Hezbollah is another outrageous lie, which I demand that you support with credible proof. And I don’t mean proving that Hezbollah received U.S. missiles via a 3rd party or buying them on the black market. I want proof of what you actually said, which is that the U.S. supplies the missiles to them. If you cannot offer such evidence, you will be considered in violation of the comment rules.

            Are you claiming that there will be a war between Egypt and Israel? Are you claiming U.S. tanks will be used in such a war? Are you claiming that anyone in the IDF seriously believes they will be fighting a war with Egypt at any point in the future?

            Other than that, you have not proven that any U.S. military aid threatens Israel in any way.

            So you have claimed that Israel doesn’t want U.S. military aid, but that it needs it nonetheless because of a threat that we create in supplying neighboring Arab states. This is an utterly vacuous, false argument.

            The Wye agreement specified the U.S. taxpayer would build IDF facilities, not U.S. military facilities. The bunkers are being built at Sdot Micha, which is not a U.S. installation. Stop with the disingenuousness. It’s fake & totally unconvincing.

          • Arie Brand December 3, 2012, 3:00 PM

            Joschka Fischer, the erstwhile German Minister of Foreign Affairs recently came up with an interesting view on the situation.

            His main points were:

            1. Bashar al_Assad and his Alawite/Shia power base will fail against the Sunni majority.

            2. This will be a blow to Iran and will also affect its client Hezbollah.

            3. The rise to power of Sunni political Islam will serve Hamas that will align itself with this regional development (it broke with Iran a year ago in spite of ongoing arms deliveries).

            4. This will probably mean the end of a two state solution because neither Hamas nor Israel is really interested in it.

            Read more: http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/israel–palestine–and-the-rise-of-sunni-political-islam-by-joschka-fischer

            The story of many decolonization movements is “too little too late” (say I, not Fischer). Israel should have followed SCR 242 (in its original intent) when it consented to it. It would have been even better if it had followed Ben Gurion’s
            (and Abba Eban’s original) advice and premier Eshkol’s public promise not to occupy the West Bank. But Moshe Dayan prevailed because as Avi Shlaim once wrote “in the land of the blind one-eye was King”.

        • Deïr Yassin December 3, 2012, 2:56 AM

          @ Nimrod
          “…..when Palestinians leave the West Banke and Gaza (….) and go as they please they just don’t do it via Israel”
          This is simply a lie ! As far as the West Bank is concerned, Israel totally controls who’s leaving and entering, also via Jordan. Palestinians are regularly prevented from leaving the West Bank – especially if they are known activists – but not only. Recently Issa Amro was prevented from leaving on his way to speak in the Italian Parliament, for exemple, and in August various high-ranking foreign diplomats – the South African and Colombian Foreign Ministers among others – were prevented by Israel from entering the West Bank via Jordan to attend a Non-Aligned Summit in Ramallah. Not to speak of ‘ordinary’ people who are denied entry and leave just for the sake of showing who’s the Master.

          • Davey December 3, 2012, 6:57 PM

            Nimrod is confused on most points, including the question of military aid. $3.2 billion US for this year, which is $600 for every Jewish citizen of Israel, a sizable piece of change. Does the US provide $600 per year to each Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian? Nimrod makes this proportionality mistake in multiple instances. At a point, quantity adds up to quality. The aid extended to Israel is incommensurate with, and qualitatively different from, the aid given to any other country, although Egypt is 2nd highest. However, if the Egyptian aid is given at the behest of Israel, i.e. to buy the peace, as so often asserted, then that aid also is accrued to Israel and its handful of citizens.

            But there is something else: Threading through your remarks are indications of pride supported by your racist examples. You make it plain that you think the Palestinians are responsible for their own problems either in the WB or Gaza or anywhere, that somehow these problems are not related to Zionism and the state that Israel has become (rather, the army that Israel is!). It is the Palestinians problem because, as it were, they are inferior to the Jews and don’t know nothing about building a state or an economy. To prove your point, you point to the shattered ruin of Gaza as self-evident proof positive that its their own damn doing. The Nazis impoverished the Jewish ghettos and, when disease broke out, pointed to the typhus and the dirty streets as evidence of the diseased, disease-carrying Jews, so evidently the low-life scum of their racial theory. Your story is much the same: Having pulverized, traumatized, defeated, demoralized, occupied, stripped of rights and property Palestinians, you tell us to look at how they conduct themselves in their — what shall we call them? — “reservations.”

            The depravity, the moral failure, is not in these people, but in the Zionists and that is the truth that needs telling here in the US and in Israel, which is nothing more than an army engaged in the important work of ethnic cleansing and theft. (Apparently, Israeli bus drivers now won’t carry Israeli Palestinians around, law notwithstanding. Very typical of the state of law in Israel, the self-proclaimed “western” democracy in the ME.) There are very few instances in which I would ever be comfortable proclaiming the moral superiority of the US in any area at all. However, in the matter of race, the US has made enormous strides, and here the US has it all over Israel, as do the “Western” democracies to which Israel aspires. Or is that aspiration another Zionist deception?

          • Nimrod December 3, 2012, 10:37 PM

            @ Deïr Yassin, I stand corrected regarding the ease of entering and existing the west bank via Jordan.
            But I am right regarding Gaza.

          • Richard Silverstein December 3, 2012, 10:44 PM

            @Nimrod: You are wrong regarding everything you say, including Gaza. You don’t know a thing about the actual experience of crossing the Gaza-Israel border except what you read in some media hasbara sheet. When you’ve accompanied a Gazan through any border crossing then you can talk. Till then you’re a lame hasbarist.

          • Nimrod December 3, 2012, 11:30 PM

            Luckily, I don’t have actual experience of crossing the Gaza-Israel border after Israel pulled out of it. The one guy who did didn’t like it there.
            But I did see more than a few videos that Gaza tunnel workers uploaded to youtube, where they transfer everything with relatively ease; from People to livestock, fuel, cooking gas and pickup trucks. They have no problems transferring whatever they want as long it can fit into a tunnel, or can be broken into pieces that can.
            I also saw semi-trailer trucks that cross the boarder from Israel to Gaza with everything that Israel allows in.

            If you still think I’m lying, I can provide pictures that Gazans took – are they also lame hasbarists?

          • Richard Silverstein December 4, 2012, 2:43 AM

            @Nimrod: So you are going to argue with a straight face that the fact that Gazans can risk their lives smuggling food & other necessities into the place via tunnels means there’s no blockade? You’re incredibly fatuous. Israel has placed a siege on Gaza. Full stop.

            As for trucks coming into Gaza, there is no free access to Gaza. Israel restricts the numbers of trucks entering, what they can bring in, etc. Not enough trucks are allowed in. Israel prohibits any exports, period. Again that’s a siege. Tell your idiot leaders to stop the siege. Stop being disingenous. I’m rapidly losing patience with you.

          • mary December 4, 2012, 8:48 AM

            Also, the only partially open Rafah crossing is for people only, not goods or supplies.

          • mary December 3, 2012, 11:53 PM

            Gazans also may not, except in very rare instances, travel to or relocate to the West Bank or vice versa. There are Palestinian families who have not seen each other in 40 years, split up due to the occupation. There is no freedom of travel for any Palestinian living anywhere in Palestine. Minimizing this issue is cynical beyond words.

  • Southerner's Truth December 5, 2012, 11:19 AM

    Richard, this is a very interesting article about Obama which, in fact, exposes Israel’s chronic narcissism.
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/vaknin.asp

  • mary December 8, 2012, 12:18 AM

    Bob, yes you were correct about Meshaal, but….look at it this way. He is a man exiled from his own homeland and is visiting for the first time. He is no less a Palestinian for not having been there before. And I certainly hope you recognize irony when you see it.

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