50 thoughts on “100,000 IDF Troops “Maintain Quiet” in West Bank at Nearly $600-Million Annual Cost – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. While 60% of deployable combat troops may be in the west-bank, extrapolating from the stotal tanding force size (of approx 175k) and reaching 100k would be an exaggeration.

    This is due to two factors –
    1. Training. A significant portion of the 176k is undergoing training or serving as instructors. The typical initial training for an infantryman can reach 1 year (serving for 3 years (going down soon)). In addition there is follow-on training also past the initial training. So while there may be 176k on the books, many of of these are available for operations (except in grave situations (e.g. all out war) in which the combat schools do field units (based on instructors + students)).

    2. Desk jobs, maintainance, intel, comm, air-force, etc. – these are for the most part fixed (and at a large

    As for the regular duty increase in part this is simple demographics as the force size in a draft army is linked to the amount of men/woman fit for service (at 18) * length of service.

    1. lepxii – that is exactly right!!!
      A figure I heard in the past is – 10% of soldiers are combatants.
      Infantry brigades (HATIVA) has roughly 1000 combatants and Israel has about 6 of them. Tanks has about 300 and Israel has 3 of those. A bit of artillery and some other specialized units. It doesn’t cross the 15,000 mark on any day.

      The days of IDF soldiers guarding entrances of settlements are long gone. Nowadays it is civilians who take the responsibility of keeping their homes safe. There are hardly any checkpoint except for the ones on the crossings between Israel and West Bank and those as well are mostly not guarded by IDF soldiers.

      Taking two figures from different sources and simply multiplying them without checking their aren’t apples to oranges is an amateur mistake.

      1. @ Israel: This is nonsensical. Maariv’s military correspondent tells you 100,000 soldiers keep a lid on the West Bank, presumably based on IDF sources–yet you Gen. Israel (when did you get your military commission btw?) tells us otherwise. Like the old saying: “who’re you gonna believe, me or your lyin’s eyes?” In this case, Melman is “your lyin’ eyes” & I trust him more than you, anyday.

        1. You seem to be confused. Melman says 60% and you found a number somewhere and have decided that is the right number to multiply it with. Well… You are wrong.
          When Melman write 100k, you can quote him. But he DIDN’T!!

          1. @ Israel: Bulllshit. I didn’t “find a number somewhere.” Unlike you, I found a figure offered by Israel’s most well respected national security institute (INSS). I used that figure to extrapolate from Melman’s. Perfectly reasonable & credible.

            I don’t like your snarky tone. Watch it. Hasbarists don’t get any leeway regarding tone. Remember that.

      2. @ Israel
        “There are hardly any checkpoint except for the ones on the crossings between Israel and West Bank and those as well are mostly not guarded by IDF soldiers.”
        That’s total BS !
        I quote B’Tselem:
        “In April 2015 there were 96 fixed checkpoints in the West Bank, including 57 internal checkpoints, located well within the West Bank. The figure for internal checkpoints includes 17 in Area H2 in Hebron, where there are small Israeli settlement enclaves”
        “In addition, the military erects hundreds of surprise flying checkpoints along West Bank roads. In April 2015 the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) counted 361 flying checkpoints ( …)”.
        http://m.btselem.org/freedom_of_movement/checkpoints_and_forbidden_roads

        1. How many of those checkpoints are being manned by IDF? Not all, that’s for sure. You need a proof? Read Richard’s piece which mentions Civilian Intelligence company. How many are entries to settlements which are manned by settlers themselves? Of those left, how many people you need for 24/7 shifts? From my personal experience, 9-15.

          1. I was more pointing to this part of your comment “There are hardly any checkpoint except for the ones on the crossings between Israel and West Bank” which is clearly not true (everyone who’s been in Occupied Palestine knows that), and if you claim that you have personal experience on the matter, we can then conclude that you’re not ignorant on the topic but a plain liar.

    2. @ lepxii: Then the problem with a compulsory service army system is that your army grows as long as your population grows. Military planners have to find something, anything for all those new recruits to do, regardless of whether you need them. That’s even more waste.

  2. Not just to subdue but to kill, main and repress until the Palestinians and Christians and all “others” are forced to leave so Israel can freely occupy the entire Palestine territory. …. slow genocide

    Moderate Jews around the world are ashamed of what the Zionist Israelis are doing in their names, using the Holocaust and the anti-semitic label for their own military/political purposes.

    The Israelis initiated the US War on Terror as a cover for their attacks on the Palestinains and the US/Saudis/Israelis spawned Al Queda, the wars in iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, etc, etc, drones, bombing and now Isis to keep the Middle east boiling for their own greed and power reasons.

    #BDS

  3. Professor Leibowitz foresaw it all. In a 1968 essay “The Territories”, he said among other things (according to the excerpt provided by Mitchell Plitnick):

    “Rule over the occupied territories would have social repercussions. After a few years there would be no Jewish workers or Jewish farmers. The Arabs would be the working people and the Jews the administrators, inspectors, officials, and police—mainly secret police. A state ruling a hostile population of 1.5 to 2 million foreigners would necessarily become a secret-police state, with all that this implies for education, free speech, and democratic institutions. The corruption characteristic of every colonial regime would also prevail in the state of Israel. The administration would have to suppress Arab insurgency on the one hand and acquire Arab Quislings on the other. There is also good reason to fear that the Israel Defense Force, which has been until now a people’s army, would, as a result of being transformed into an army of occupation, degenerate, and its commanders, who will have become military governors, resemble their colleagues in other nations.Out of concern for the Jewish people and its state we have no choice but to withdraw from the territories and their population of one and a half million Arabs.”

    In the early nineties Leibowitz was awarded the Israel Prize. Now this would be totally impossible of course – but even then the actual bestowal of the award did not take place because just before Leibowitz had publicly stated that it was the moral duty of soldiers to refuse to serve in occupied territory. There was a big fuss about this and Rabin announced that he would not attend the awarding ceremony. Leibowitz refused to accept the prize.

  4. @Richard

    “Another fact to consider: in 2004 a security publication estimated the IDF had an active duty force of 125,000. That means that in the decade between 2004 and 2014, the IDF grew by a factor of 50,000”

    hmmm…ah.

    Israel was still in Gaza in 2004. So…….there’s actually been a net reduction in active service. Ouch.

    You need to put on your green eye shades, or perhaps do some fact checking before going to publish.

    1. You post sonsensical claim after sonsensical claim here, and have lost all credibility, yet you do not realize this.

      So, as to your latest: You claim Richards numbers are false? Prove it. Give links. (Ouch!)

      1. Yeap, I read it three or four times, and didn’t find any sens whatsoever. Bernie former Barbaric Hasbara dosn’t even has a lie to propose to us, just ‘look there’s a bird in the sky’

    1. I’m still interested to know if you feel any sense of guilt, or shame, over what your nation has done to the Palestinians. You really should address this topic one of these days, because without it, it is really hard to take your highfalutin comments on philosophical and moral stuff seriously.

      1. @Richard: Found the reference.

        @Elizabeth: I identify with the Zionist Israeli center. (I know that to you guys this is radical right…) This means that I don’t have guilt or shame about the founding of the state (although I condemn some of the specific incidents that occurred). I do feel discomfort about the occupation now and Israel should be doing more to try to minimize or end it. Building more settlements is indefensible even to Israel’s friends. However as I stated elsewhere (and I know that you and Richard completely disagree with this) I don’t think it’s possible to end this occupation at this time without endangering Israel. So we need to do whatever is possible (like in other insoluble ethnic conflicts) to minimize and manage the conflict. In my book that would mean freezing settlements, evacuating isolated ones, and coordinating with the Palestinians some kind of unilateral redeployment of the IDF. In time, with reducing the conflict and hatred, we might become able to reach a final deal.

        Personally I think both Obama and Netanyahu did a ton of damage for the prospects of peace. Obama falsely raised the hopes of the Palestinians while being unable to deliver, making it difficult for the Palestinians to climb down from the ladder. Netanyahu acted like a stubborn ass and only reacted by kicking and screaming to every initiative. I am a manager and to me leadership means looking ahead and taking initiative, not simply reacting to everything. Since Bibi cares mostly about staying in power, he manipulated things to keep his coalition and made stupid decisions. For example, with the 2014 Kerry initiative, he agreed to prisoner releases as an alternative to freezing settlements. This was politically expedient (because these isn’t a loud and powerful lobby to oppose releases), but set things up for failure, not to mention making a mockery of the justice system, and missing the opportunity for real productive talks.
        I consider Bibi to be a political babysitter– he is a master at keeping things from changing. He’s not a leader. He has mismanaged many other aspects of running the country, but that’s not for discussion now.

        1. “I identify with the Zionist Israeli center. This means that I don’t have guilt or shame about the founding of the state.”

          OK got that.

          It does not make sense to me, and it is clearly totally amoral, but that is who you are apparently.

          Moreover, the majority of your nation is with you on this, as is the average Jewish citizen of western countries like mine, sadly enough. (At least for now, I am sure future generations of Jews will think very differently, and judge your generation hashly.)

          You also said earlier that there will be no peace because the Palestinians hate you so much, and that that is the real problem. Until they hate you less, there is no chance of a deal. Right?

          It is as if a collaborator with the Nazi’s in my own country would say to a Jewish survivor: “Hey buddy, I will not apologize for what I did, and you will not get your property back either, but I am willing to normalize relations with you, but only after your hatred of me has subsided enough. Until then I will have to keep a check on you, because I can’t trust you. ”

          You are a funny guy, but in a very sad and destructive way.

          1. Elisabeth – you may live under the illusion that Jews were welcomed by Arabs in Israel before 1948 but that is obviously false.

            As much as liberals hate to admit it, sometimes it is either US or THEM. That was the situation in 1948 and if it changed a bit, it haven’t changed enough. Publicly Hamas will not settle for less than the whole country and there are some disturbing vidoes of PA officials with statements not far from that.

            The sort of Holocaust comparison you made is oranges to potatoes as the Jews didn’t threat the Nazis before the war. That is NOT something you can tell about the local Arabs.

            If you are anti-zionist and believe Jews have no rights in Israel at all, that is a different discussion. But if you believe Jews have some sort of rights, rights the Arabs weren’t willing to let them have, then you comments is irrelevant.

          2. @ Israel:

            you may live under the illusion that Jews were welcomed by Arabs in Israel before 1948

            No, actually it’s your Zionist history that’s faulty. Until roughly 1919, the Jews were welcomed in Palestine. There was very little friction & Jews and Palestinians generally got along decently. It was only after it became clear to Palestinians that the goal of the Jews was to dominate them (in their eyes) and build a Yishuv at their expense that relations turned ugly.

            That was the situation in 1948

            No it wasn’t. Ben Gurion had other options & knew he was provoking a war & wanted to do so. He had other ways to go than declaring statehood immediately. He rejected them all in favor of the most bellicose one he could muster.

            Publicly Hamas will not settle for less than the whole country

            Read the comment rules, bud. If you make a claim, you back it up with a credible source. This is a lame, false claim, unsupported by credible evidence. I’ve rebutted this claim too many times to count. If you make such claims in future, your commenting privileges may be curtailed.

          3. You haven’t rebutted a thing. You simply dismiss anything you dislike as either unreliable or in case of videos, that you don’t know the language and can’t trust PMW or MEMRI translations.

            I can take you to the water but you are obviously unwilling to drink.

  5. @Yehuda

    ” However as I stated elsewhere … I don’t think it’s possible to end this occupation at this time without endangering Israel.”

    “Auschwitz borders” and all that, huh? One of the more nonsensical legacies of that clever man, Abba Eban.

    Martin van Creveld, who was born in the Netherlands but grew up in Israel, was for long years professor of (military) history at Hebrew University. This is his take on those “Auschwitz borders”:

    “One of the main threats that Israel faces today is from ballistic missiles. Yet everybody knows that holding on to the West Bank won’t help Israel defend itself against missiles coming from Syria or Iran. Even the most extreme hawk would concede this point.

    As far as the threat of a land invasion, it is of course true that the distance between the former Green Line and the Mediterranean is very small — at its narrowest point, what is sometimes affectionately known as “Old” Israel is just nine miles wide. As was noted before, it is also true that the West Bank comprises the high ground and overlooks Israel’s coastal plain.

    On the other hand, since the West Bank itself is surrounded by Israel on three sides, anybody who tries to enter it from the east is sticking his head into a noose. To make things worse for a prospective invader, the ascent from the Jordan Valley into the heights of Judea and Samaria is topographically one of the most difficult on earth. Just four roads lead from east to west, all of which are easily blocked by air strikes or by means of precision-guided missiles. To put the icing on the cake, Israeli forces stationed in Jerusalem could quickly cut off the only road connecting the southern portion of the West Bank with its northern section in the event of an armed conflict.

    The defense of the West Bank by Arab forces would be a truly suicidal enterprise. The late King Hussein understood these facts well. Until 1967 he was careful to keep most of his forces east of the Jordan River. When he momentarily forgot these realities in 1967, it took Israel just three days of fighting to remind him of them.
    Therefore, just as Israel does not need the West Bank to defend itself against ballistic missiles, it does not need that territory to defend itself against conventional warfare. If it could retain a security presence in the Jordan Valley, keep the eventual Palestinian state demilitarized and maintain control of the relevant airspace, that would all be well and good. However, none of these conditions existed before 1967; in view of geography and the balance of forces, none is really essential today either.

    Mortar and rocket fire from the West Bank could be very unpleasant. On the other hand, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran already have missiles capable of reaching every point in Israel, Tel Aviv included. Many of those missiles are large and powerful. Compared to the damage they can cause, anything the Palestinians are ever likely to do would amount to mere pinpricks.

    Keeping all these facts in mind — and provided that Israel maintains its military strength and builds a wall to stop suicide bombers — it is crystal-clear that Israel can easily afford to give up the West Bank. Strategically speaking, the risk of doing so is negligible. What is not negligible is the demographic, social, cultural and political challenge that ruling over 2.5 million — nobody knows exactly how many — occupied Palestinians in the West Bank poses. Should Israeli rule over them continue, then the country will definitely turn into what it is already fast becoming: namely, an apartheid state that can only maintain its control by means of repressive secret police actions.

    To save itself from such a fate, Israel should rid itself of the West Bank, most of Arab Jerusalem specifically included. If possible, it should do so by agreement with the Palestinian Authority; if not, then it should proceed unilaterally, as the — in my view, very successful — withdrawal from Gaza suggests. Or else I would strongly advise my children and grandson to seek some other, less purblind and less stiff-necked, country to live in.”

    Read more: http://forward.com/opinion/133961/israel-doesn-t-need-the-west-bank-to-be-secure/#ixzz47r14PSFN

  6. @Arie:

    By asking me these questions, you are forcing me into what Richard considers “hasbarah”. ..

    Crevald is a good historian and analyst. But we’re talking about predicting a future outcome. On this no historian has any secret formulas. If they did, they would become very rich men.

    I agree with what he says about foreign invasion of armies. I don’t see that happening.
    But in light of what has transpired in the region in the 6 years since that article was written, and in light of Gaza, it is more that reasonable to fear a failed state and an Islamist takeover (or at least, a significant Islamist presence) if Israel completely evacuates the West Bank. In such as case, Israel’s main coastal industrial and population centers could become the equivalent of Gaza’s border communities, and become vulnerable to mortar fire and rockets. This would threaten key economic and strategic assets. Then, Israel would be forced to invade and attack, then, what would the world opinion say?

    While it is true that presently the PA is cooperating and helpful in keeping the peace, it is only because of the presence of the IDF that Hamas is not taking over.

    I fear less from Hizbullah and Iran, because they are part of organized societies and countries and have a lot to lose. Strategic deterrence and national interests prevent them from attacking Israel. (BTW I don’t buy Bibi’s fear mongering about Iran) Not so with failed states.
    I was in favor of leaving Lebanon and I think that, despite Hizbullah, it was worth it.

    Yes, some Arab countries, such as Tunesia and Morocco have transformed peacefully. But do you think that the Palestinian areas, are like these countries, or more like Gaza, Egypt’s northern Sinai, Iraq, Syria, or Libya? Perhaps you are willing take that gamble. I am not.

    As i said, occupation is bad, but at present, in my opinion, the least of the evils, if Israel takes the steps I mentioned earlier. .

    1. @ Yehuda:

      it is more that reasonable to fear a failed state and an Islamist takeover

      Nonsense, the PA & Gaza right now are failed proto-states and for only one reason: Israel has made them that way. If Israel would leave their hands off Palestine it would become the sort of state Israel is (at least, if not better). But you, an Israeli repsonsible for the deaths of thousadns of Palestinians in countless wars & outright murder, don’t get to predict what will happen if Palestine becomes a state. Wasn’t it you who said only one paragraph earlier that historians can’t predict the future (which I disagree with). But you, who isn’t a historian or anything of note, have even less right to predict the future.

      You & your leaders have a vested interest in the failure of Palestine & you’ve been doing everything in your power to make it so. The utter hypocrisy of you predicting failure when your country has been guaranteeing it for decades is offensive.

      occupation is bad, but at present, in my opinion, the least of the evils,

      I have no patience for anyone defending Occupation. Your defense is not only hollow, but offensive. It makes me hope for matters to get even worse (as they will). Then reality will shove itself down your throat with blood flowing freely (much of it Israeli). And it will be no one’s fault but yours. You disgust me.

      1. @Richard; “…You disgust me.”

        I got it. You don’t just condemn that actions of the Israeli government,
        I disgust you.
        Along with me you must also have similar disgust and ill will for about 95% of Jews in Israel, and a good percentage of Jews elsewhere (as Elizabeth kindly pointed out) , who have similar or more right wing views. This means that millions and millions of Jews disgust you. I understand, your statements speak for themselves. I have tried to keep the discussion civil but apparently you cannot contain your emotions.

        @Elizabeth: “It does not make sense to me, and it is clearly totally amoral, but that is who you are apparently.”

        Do you feel the same way about the perhaps 60% of the rest of the world population, in Asia,Africa and in the Islamic world, who do not share other aspects of your progressive humanist liberal values? Are all of them ‘amoral’ as well? Why of all sins, does the ‘evil of occupation’ have a special place in your hell?

        “You are a funny guy, but in a very sad and destructive way.”
        This is only because you seemingly belong to the creed of progressive liberals who cannot imagine seeing things in any other way. Read Jonathan Haidt. http://www.moralfoundations.org/

        1. What nags me about you is the high moral ground you think you are entitled to take vis-a-vis the Palestinians. You are simply not capable of admitting that the cause of the enmity between your nation and them, is the fact that the majority of them they were ethnically cleansed, and the rest has a second class status as Israeli Arabs, or lives under an empoverishing, hopeless occupation.

          How are the views of people in Asia etc. relevant? Have they commited such acts and are nevertheless welcomed in all kinds of European institutions, with subsidies for their scientific projects, preferable trade agreements etc?

          You keep dodging the central issue: For reconciliation, acknowledgement of past deeds is necessary. If you and the Israeli population continue to believe in a fairytale version of the founding of the state (no shame, no guilt etc.), no fair offer to the Palestinians will come forth from you, and there will be no peace. Because you think they are just stupid angry Arabs, with an irrational (‘eternal’) hatred for you, who can never be trusted, and who have no right to demand anything of you anyway.

          I can understand your aversion against “progressive humanist liberal values”, because they clash with the needs of your nation, at least as you see them. But what really gets to me is that you still feel completely entitled to be seen as a really moral, reasonable guy. The sad thing is that many (probably even most) Israeli’s think that way, and this attitude makes me feel more hopeless about a resolution of the conflict, than dealing with a straight-out, hard-core nationalist without pretenses.

          1. “How are the views of people in Asia etc. relevant? Have they commited such acts and are nevertheless welcomed in all kinds of European institutions…?”

            Oy. All kinds of European institutions consist partly of countries which committed a good deal of reprehensible acts of their own, and (almost) never apologized for those: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_and_expulsion_of_Germans_(1944%E2%80%9350)
            The 1940s were a horrible time, and contrary to what people are used to think in English-speaking countries (and in Russia), it did not end in 1945.

            “For reconciliation, acknowledgement of past deeds is necessary. If you and the Israeli population continue to believe in a fairytale version of the founding of the state (no shame, no guilt etc.)”

            Acknowledgment there should be, but it, like shame and guilt, should be shared by all the sides to a conflict. Wars have more than one side, and each commits its share of atrocities. I am not in a position to tell the Palestinians what to do, but their leadership has not shown itself particularly prone to compromise.
            Israel will not surrender its existence, the Palestinians will not surrender theirs, but cocksure self-righteousness on both sides is not a way make peace.

          2. You are absolutely right that many countries have committed severe crimes (mine included, just think of Indonesia) and fail to acknowledge this, but your examples do not fester on and cause war and destruction now. Israel is involved in a conflict IN THE PRESENT, and continues to inflict all kinds on injustices on the Palestinians still now. To end this conflict compromises have to be offered that will not be acceptible to the Israeli public, unless there is an awareness that there are very serious and justified grievances on the Palestinian side. That is what I am concerned with, and that is why this awareness is so important.

  7. There is something not quite right here. Most people would hold that there is some causal link between the occupation and Palestinian rockets. Your reasoning seems to be that an end to the occupation woukd increase instead of decrease the chance to be at the receiving end of those.

    Also, if Gaza is for you the example of a failed statelet, a duplicate of which you fear on the West Bank if Israel leaves, you should ask yourself to what extent Gaza is dysfunctional because Israel has made it so. The deliberate and repeated destruction of large parts of Gaza’s infrastructure would impede any organisation of daily life. Nevertheless, in spite of all of this it is Hamas that has shown itself willing to be bound by a long term armistice – a willingness that one would imagine would only increase if the occupation is ended.

    That seems to be elementary logic.

    Why don’t you see that? Because you equate “islam,ism” with gratuitous violence that has nothing to do with the facts of occupation and oppression. Benny Morris’s “wild beasts” are coming after the Israelis because that is in their nature.

    There is nothing in more recent developments that has made Van Creveld’s reasoning any less cogent. The real reason why the occupation is maintained has nothing to do with military risks and everything with the Israeli desire to steal that land. Your unwillingness to acknowledge that, even to yourself, is covered up by fantasies about the risks of “islamism”.

  8. @Arie: “That seems to be elementary logic.”

    Well, cause and effect is not so simple when 2 events correlate, Causation itself is not always provable, and certainly the direction of causality isn’t clear, and is probably based on your ideological perspective, which determines where you begin the story. . Is the occupation causing rocket fire, or is rocket fire causing occupation? There is such a thing as a cycle of violence, too. We can argue the facts forever, but we won’t because I put Richard in a bad mood and he will probably shut me up.

    “Because you equate “islam,ism” with gratuitous violence that has nothing to do with the facts of occupation and oppression.”
    No I don’t, I know the difference between political Islam and Islamic militancy, and they can be but are not necessarily related to oppression. Just as attitudes in the Islamic and Arab world are affected by events, so are attitudes in Israel, which swung from a majority being in favor of a deal with the Palestinians during the early Oslo years (including yours truly) to opposition after the second intifada. Can you not see that? The right wing got much more traction after that. Nobody believed that a deal is possible, so they let the right wing do its thing.

    1. “Well, cause and effect is not so simple when 2 events correlate, Causation itself is not always provable, and certainly the direction of causality isn’t clear, and is probably based on your ideological perspective, which determines where you begin the story. ”

      So highly philosophical! For me, obviously, the story begins with the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinans. But if you prefer a different starting point, please let me know.

      “Is the occupation causing rocket fire, or is rocket fire causing occupation? ”

      So rocket fire was there before the occupation? A higly interesting theory on “causation” indeed!

      Remember that it took the Palestinians a couple of decades in the refugee camps (with lots of ‘infiltrators’ shot in the meantime, the vast majority simply unarmed people who wanted to return home) before the first Palestinian terrorist actions started in the 1970ties.

      From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_political_violence:

      “Around 400 Palestinian ‘infiltrators’ were killed by Israeli Security Forces each year in 1951, 1952 and 1953; a similar number and probably far more were killed in 1950. 1,000 or more were killed in 1949. At least 100 were killed during 1954–6. In total upward of 2,700 and possibly as many as 5,000 ‘infiltrators’ were killed by the IDF, police, and civilians along Israel’s borders between 1949 and 1956. Most of the people in question were refugees attempting to return to their homes, take back possessions that had been left behind during the war and to gather crops from their former fields and orchards inside the new Israeli state. Meron Benivasti states that the fact that the “infiltrators” were for the most part former inhabitants of the land returning for personal, economic and sentimental reasons was suppressed in Israel as it was feared that this may lead to an understanding of their motives and to the justification of their actions.”

      How about that for “cause and effect”? But no doubt, you will say: “It is not so simple when 2 events correlate, Causation itself is not always provable, and certainly the direction of causality isn’t clear,” etc. etc.

  9. Elizabeth: “…Have they committed such acts and are nevertheless welcomed in all kinds of European institutions, with subsidies for their scientific projects, preferable trade agreements etc?”

    Yes they are. The EU works with China and many other non-democratic countries on many projects despite these countries suppression of their own citizens, treatment of minorities, etc.
    But you still didn’t answer how occupation is the most evil of all sins.

    “For me, obviously, the story begins with the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinans.”
    OK, I assume that by this you refer specifically of the events surrounding the war of 1947-48.
    But if you include events for 50 years before, then the narrative is different.

    Couldn’t I tell the story as follows? “For 100 years you have 2 competing national movements struggling with each other. The colonial power at the time supported the aspirations for a Jewish (and Palestinian) homeland. The struggle became violent, and each was guilty of crimes against the other. It culminated in a brutal war in which many refugees were created, and many people were killed”.
    Bad things happened, yes. And the sides need reconciliation, yes. But your view that one side is all victim (since they were weaker and were never resettled) and one side is all oppressor (since they are stronger or had fewer killed) is a moral viewpoint that prejudices everything that is happening. Moral outrage is not a substitute for wisdom.

    Richard: You have very black and white thinking,
    I have admitted that Israel is occupying (which right wingers don’t).
    I have admitted that occupation is a bad thing and I want it to end.
    All I have said that has drawn your disgust is that there are some things that are even worse (and you disagree with that, I get it).
    The same type of moral question can be asked in other situations. Were Syria or Iraq better as unitary stable countries under dictators, or as warring ethnic mini failed states? Is Communist China bad compared to the realistic alternatives? Sure I’d love to see all of China become Taiwan, , but that ain’t happening. China has no tradition of democracy.

    Regarding predictions, I don’t claim to be better than Crevald. But there are plenty of other smart and educated people who disagree with him.
    I agree with you that presently a majority of Israelis don’t want to end the occupation. But this is a function of the political situation, as only a boisterous minority is immutably opposed for ideological/religious reasons. There is a large silent majority around the political center (including most of the ultra-orthodox) that swings in its sentiment, depending on what is happening.

    1. First this: I never said that the occupation is the most evil of all sins. YOU said that I think so, which is nonsense. The point is that Israel is given PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT despite the occupation, while other contries are sanctioned for their sins. It is perfectly reasonable to adress this discrepancy and this has nothing to do with singling Israel out for disproportionate criticism. It is the support for Israel that is disproportionate.

      Here is an article on that from Haaretz. I paste it here as it is behind a paywall.

      The Logic of Israel’s anti-European Propaganda
      Despite the government’s claim of being singled out for punishment, all the EU has done against the settlements is take away their advantages. By comparison, it imposes economic sanctions on fully 36 countries.
      There are two basic conditions necessary for public brainwashing. The first is the continued feeding of the public with baseless information, a well-known method that was developed into an art by dark regimes, in which repeating a lie enough times turns it into the truth. The second is the blocking of credible alternative information. If the public runs into the same information time after time and there is no one to undermine it, the chance to succeed in engineering public consciousness is high.
      These two conditions clearly exist in the way Europe’s attitude toward Israel is being presented here, following the decision on labeling products of the settlements. The great majority of the Israeli media have taken a stand alongside the government to carry out this mission. A unified chorus has sounded the hysterical cry, free of all doubt, which none can challenge. European anti-Semitism has once again arisen. Once again the Europeans have isolated Israel, and once again acted according to their familiar double standard.
      On Channel 1’s Mabat news program, shoppers in a Jerusalem grocery store were asked if, in response to the “boycott,” they are planning on boycotting European Union products – even though there is no European Union boycott of Israel, not even of the settlements. Northern Cyprus and Western Sahara rolled off people’s tongues on every street corner, even off the tongues of those who a minute earlier did not know that Nicosia is also divided by a Green Line and who would later struggle to find Western Sahara on a map. The flock of commentators enlisted to present the hypocrisy of Europe, which does not label products from these occupied territories, which remains silent in the face of regimes that violate human rights such as China and Iran, and it is only Israel they “boycott.”

      These lies were showered on the public with such intensity, until between the huge headlines about the poor, mistreated prima donna, there was no room left for the basic facts that would have refuted them. Citizens who were nonetheless interested in formulating their own opinions on the basis of facts were forced to conduct an independent investigation on the Internet.
      What can we discover through such an inquiry? For example, that the Europeans (those anti-Semites) gave nearly 2 billion shekels (almost a half-billion euros) in support to projects in Israeli industry and academia just in the last year.
      We could learn that to the credit of the free trade agreement with the Europe Union, which very few countries outside the continent enjoy, trade with Israel will reach 200 billion shekels a year – a third of Israel’s foreign trade. The European Union donates millions of shekels a year toward making Israeli government ministries more professional in their fields.

      Yes, the government of the State of Israel is also funded by this foreign political entity.
      Whoever bothered to check certainly found that the reason why the Europeans do not label the products of occupied Northern Cyprus is that they are simply boycotting it completely, and do not buy its goods, labeled or not. At a time when Maccabi Tel Aviv competes in the Champions League, athletes from Northern Cyprus are unable to participate at all in international competitions under the flag of their “country.”
      A simple investigation would also have shown that a few European nations have made it clear that the free trade agreement between the European Union and Morocco does not apply to Western Sahara, similarly to the way it doesn’t to Judea and Samaria. And this is without considering the enormous difference in the scope of human rights violations in Western Sahara and Northern Cyprus, compared to the West Bank: In the occupied territories in Cyprus and Morocco, local residents enjoy citizenship and nearly equal rights.
      Whoever has managed to break through the information walls that the government maintains, aided by the media and partisan commentators, discovered that there are no less than 36 countries, including China, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon and Russia, that are under various types of economic sanctions by the European Union. And it is important to remember: Against Israel there are no sanctions, not even against the settlements. The tougher European treatment of them means only that they no longer enjoy the advantages accorded to Israel under the free trade agreement with the European Union.
      This brainwashing we are being subjected to about Europe’s relations with Israel is very effective, and it is just one example. The image and actions of Mahmoud Abbas as chairman of the Palestinian Authority are another example. So is the policy of U.S. President Barack Obama. This imaginary world that the government and media in Israel present to its citizens works to justify Israelis’ feeling of victimization and the constant willingness to fight the entire world. It’s a shame that what gets lost along the way are truth and reality, which could offer people a somewhat more normal life in this country.

      The writer is a lecturer in the law school at the College of Management and a doctoral student in law at Tel Aviv University.

    2. @ Yehuda:

      I have admitted that occupation is a bad thing and I want it to end.

      That’s gornisht. Who cares what you admitted. You could’ve admitted you were Moshiach. It doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. You defend Occupation. Which means you are the problem. As much the problem as the militant settlers. They’re at least honest. You’re dishonest because you think you’re something you’re not. You think you’re a good guy & part of the solution. You’re not.

      I have no interest in discussing any other country in this thread than Israel. Keep your comments ON TOPIC.

      I look forward to the day when the world becomes outraged enough about charlatans like you who stand back & do nothing that they force you all to do the right thing. And maybe they’ll also wipe that self-satisfied, smug look off your face while they’re at it.

      1. @Richard:

        If anything, the self-satisfied and smug look is in the tone of YOUR comment, not mine. I have kept it, up until now, a respectful discussion.

        You have no idea what it is to live here as a citizen, and vote. I know you have been in Israel for a period and read about it in the newspapers– but being informed and understanding is also about experiencing something up close. I have been living and working here for almost 19 years, have voted in national elections 6 times (across the Zionist political spectrum). I have had 2 sons who served in the IDF (not in the territories, BTW)

        So I know what I’m talking about and you don’t, Even they way you smugly dismiss left wing Zionist Israelis (like Shavit or Baskin) who are intimately involved with the issues show that you have absolutely no clue of what is going on here. You know, a person can know a lot of facts, as you apparently do, and actually understand nothing. That is the impression you make. You sit in judgement, in the comfort of your computer desk in Seattle, and determine that Israelis should endanger (or give up) their state, based on your false and superficial impressions of Israeli and Palestinian societies and geopolitics, then call me a charlatan. Then, you express “disgust” at people who doesn’t share your point of view. How does YOUR intolerance promote dialogue and mutual recognition?

        “Progressive” is a misnomer for you. “Arrogance” is more apt description.

        Who is the charlatan here, who pretends to be a strategic analyst and moral beacon and knows what is best for Israel? Why should anybody trust your position?

        1. @ Yehuda: How many times have previous Israeli commenters tried & failed to argue that no one can understand the terrible things we poor Israelis undergo unless they come and live here. Only then can they understand & have the right to criticize. That’s such a hoary old meme. Couldn’t you brush off anything more recent & persuasive?

          There is absolutely no validity to the argument that you can’t know a place unless your ass is there. In fact, your ass being there means you’re locked into a perspective that is leading you & your nation to rapid extinction. Only someone from the outside can see that. Of course there are Israelis who see it, but you discount them as losers, weaklings, leftists, Arab-lovers, etc.

          I know you have been in Israel for a period and read about it in the newspapers

          That is a typically false statement from you. I was not simply “in” Israel “for a period.” I lived in Israel for two years. I am fluent in Hebrew. I have studied Israel for decades. Nor do I just “read about it in the newspapers.” I actually communicate with hundreds of Israelis directly, personally and in many formats including telephone, e-mail and video. And many of those people know things about Israel and political developments that you don’t. That’s why I report stories you don’t know. In fact, I often know about events happening in Israel before you do.

          I had a chance to make aliyah nearly 40 years ago. I foresaw that if I did I would live in a country fighting endless wars. I chose not to do that. I chose instead to return home to a country which also fights wars, but not endless ones. It doesn’t fight the same war for 60 years running. And it permits its citizens to stop unjust wars. Israel doesn’t permit any of that.

          you smugly dismiss left wing Zionist Israelis (like Shavit or Baskin)

          The idea that Ari Shavit is a “left wing Zionist” not only is dead-wrong, it reveals you to be a typical rightist who thinks anyone to the left of Attila the Hun is a “leftist.” Shavit is the equivalent of Scoop Jackson. He probably was a leftists at one time when he was a student. But he’s a liberal apologist for Occupation & Nakba. Baskin is at least a legitimate liberal who hates Hamas. Neither is a very promising figure to call “leftist.”

          You are done in this thread. Do not post another comment here. MOve on if you wish to continue commenting.

    3. Secondly:
      “For 100 years you have 2 competing national movements struggling with each other.”
      Except that one of the two parties was indigenous, simply minding their own business, while the other party were immigrants from Europe with a political agenda: They were planning to establish a national home for themselves on the land of the first group. According to Geert Wilders that is what Muslims in the Netherlands are planning to do. In his case, this claim is nonsense but in case of the Jewish immigrants the fears of the Palestinian population were realistic. No wonder “the natives got restless”. And I am not denying that truly horrible crimes were committed by the Palestinian side, such as in Hebron 1929, but it was a NEW phenomenon. It is not as if the original (non-immigrant) Jewish population of Palestine had been the victims of pogroms for centuries.
      “The struggle became violent, and each was guilty of crimes against the other.”
      Except that the immigrant party had planned their actions well in advance send out scouts beforehand to photograph and document the existing Palestinian villages and so on, while the Palestinians did not know what hit them: There was hardly any resistance.
      “It culminated in a brutal war in which many refugees were created, and many people were killed”.
      I love the “many refugees were created” part in your sentence. Let’s call in an ‘exculpatory passive’, shall we? Who created the refugees? God? Or the Jewish militia?
      The idea that the Palestinians who simply lived in the wrong place in the wrong time, who were weaker and unprepared for what was in stall for them, of whom more were killed, and who were expelled and were not allowed to return (and shot if they tried) are the victim is pretty obvious.
      It is telling that you condemn this as “a moral viewpoint”.
      There needs to be reconciliation, yes, but that can only start with an acknowledgement of past wrongs by the Israeli side, who wronged the Palestinian side far more than the other way around. That is not only wisdom it is simply common sense.

      1. @Elizabeth– if the sides continue arguing about the competing narratives and determining who is right, things are likely to go nowhere. It is also far less important than determining what to do now. The psychological reconciliation will take a long time and most probably will take place only if and after a peace settlement is arrived at.
        Suppose tomorrow Israel apologizes to the Palestinians for the suffering they caused. Do you actually think that would cause the Palestinians to be more ready to compromise? Will Hamas and Islamic Jihad change their ideology and overcome their differences with the PA and actually make peace as a single sovereign? Even Richard is not willing to compromise the right of return, which in essence means the end of the Zionist state as we know it. I don’t think an apology will change his mind.

        1. @Yehuda: As I’ve said at least 10 times here in the past, ROR is not the “end of Israel,” the “end of the Zionist state,” etc. That’s pure hogwash. It’s the end of Judeo-supremacy. The end of the Judeo-theo-state.

          It’s the beginning of a fair, just resolution of the conflict. One land for 2 peoples. A homeland for 2 peoples. A democracy in name AND spirit.

          You can have a settler garrison state or you can have a democracy. Those are the only 2 options.

          You falsely state I am “not willing to give up on ROR.” First that is not something for ME to give up on. It is a matter for Palestinians to decide.

          But if someone did ask me, I would suggest compromise on the issue. I would, and have suggested returnees be encouraged through financial compensation to return to Palestine, if such an entity is ever created. But I would not prevent a determined refugee from returning to Israel. That must be their choice, finally.

          1. @Richard: “It’s the beginning of a fair, just resolution of the conflict. One land for 2 peoples. A homeland for 2 peoples. A democracy in name AND spirit.”

            I’m still not clear, even if you said it 10 times . So this means you are advocating a one-state solution? When you say “one land” do you mean one state? How is that not the end of the Zionist state? Or do you mean a bi-national Israel+a Palestinian state?

            BTW, advocating a one state solution is a completely legitimate argument. Even some right wingers are advocating some unrealistic variant of it. But I just see the outcome as civil war, as a replacement to the present ethnic conflict between two entities. Don’t see how it solves anything.

          2. @Yehuda: Let’s make 1 thing perfectly clear. The 2 state option has been eviscerated by your leadership. So whether I want 1 or 2 states is irrelevant. There is no 2 state option, and not because I oppose it. But because Israel’s political leadership opposes it.

            As for what happens to Zionism in a 1 state settlement: precisely nothing. Many Zionists including Ahad HaAm & Brit Shalom did not see a State as necessary to the realization of Zionism. Certainly a single state can offer full self determination to 2 peoples.

            The cultural Zionists accepted limitations to Zionism. The later political Zionists were maximalists who led Israel to its current dead end.

        2. You start with the competing narratives and when I don’t buy your version you change your tune and say the past is irrelevent. It is NOT.

          As long as Israeli’s keep believing the propaganda they have been fed about the past they will never be willing to compromise NOW. The Palestinans have compromised more than enough. (The fact alone that they agree with the ‘[ 67 borders instead of with the ’47 borders should be a reason for the Israeli side to give them a big bow and hearty “thank you”.)

          You bring up Hamas and Islamic Jihad? Hamas has said it is willing to agree with a peace deal when the Palestinian population agrees with this in a referendum. (You should know this!) As to the latter: No I don’t think they would be willing to compromise but they can be contained.
          (Will Likud change its program, saying there will never be a Palestinian state, I wonder? )

          By the way, your statement “The psychological reconciliation will take a long time and most probably will take place only if and after a peace settlement is arrived at” is the exact opposite of an earlier claim you made, where you said there cannot be a peace deal until the Paslestinians stop inciting their children to hate Israel, and that a whole new generation of Palestinians had to grow up, before peace was even conceivable. Have you changed your views in a serious way, or do you just write whatever comes into your head?

  10. @Richard: “It’s the beginning of a fair, just resolution of the conflict. One land for 2 peoples. A homeland for 2 peoples. A democracy in name AND spirit.”
    YUP – this is working great all over the middle east between Muslims, it is about time to try in Israel as well. LOL

    @Elisabeth: “Hamas has said it is willing to agree with a peace deal when the Palestinian population agrees with this in a referendum.”
    MAYBE they should run the referendum now and come to negotiation with an actual offer. Before they do, those are empty words. And you know it very!!

    1. There are offers enough from the Palestinian side. Israel needs to respond to them seriously.

    2. @ Israel: You’re verging way off topic. There are many regions of the world which harbor competing & even opposing firms of government (ie dictatorships & democracies). In fact, while the Mideast ( & Aftica & Europe as well) has not often found a satisfactory way to integrate ethnic minorities in a single state, there are countries trying to do so like Iran & Lebanon.

      Just because it is a difficult feat to accomplish or others have failed doesn’t let Israel off the hook.

      But if you do want a Jewish supremacist, theocratic state, be my guest. Just stop pretending you’re a democracy & acknowledge you’re a religious dictatorship.

  11. Be interesting to know how this fits into conscription in the IDF and the availability of conscripts in a particular year within the age categories. Part of the increase could be due to needing to deploy the conscripts into the field to justify conscription.

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