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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Where is the peace?

Posted by David Bogner on December 23, 2008 | Permalink


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Of course, land for peace HAS worked in the past, just not with the Palestinians. I'm not saying it's a fundamentally great idea - certainly Oslo was a farce and I find it doubtful whether any of the current Palestinian leadership can either negotiate in good faith or have a prayer of actually delivering the goods. But given a decent partner on the other end (which at least theoretically is possible), I see no reason why it could not in principle work. All arguments about the 'coldness' of the peace with Egypt aside, it has resulted in one of Israel's most intractable enemies having stopped overt hostilities against Israel. I'd call that a qualified success.


Posted by: matlabfreak | Dec 23, 2008 8:02:10 AM

Matlabfreak... Either you are guilty of the 'soft prejudice of low expectations' regarding the Egyptians, or you are uninformed about the active complicity of the Egyptians in allowing Iranian arms to reach Gaza via their ports and territory... but they are waging a proxy war against Israel no less than the Syrians and Iranians. And while we're on the subject of land for peace, it pays to bear in mind that while peace can be taken away (or never really delivered) very quickly, land - once given away - is gone forever. Take a look at Mubarak. He is an old man leading a country that is in the grips of the Muslim Brotherhood. What do you think will happen after he is gone? Do you think there will be a peaceful transfer of power and a seamless continuation of his policies? Just as Jordan's king is a one-man policy enforcer whose legacy can be washed away overnight after he's gone... so too, Egypt is waging a cold war that will go red hot before Mubarak's body is even cold in the grave. In short, nobody has been able to give me a compelling reason why Israel should not demand 'peace for peace'. Why must Israel be the only country in the history of the world to win the wars, yet still have to give up land in order to sue for peace with the countries they defeated?!

Posted by: David Bogner | Dec 23, 2008 8:58:14 AM

There will be no peace. Not until the end of time. There will be a three and a half year time frame where a peace treaty will seem to be in effect but it is will be a trick and after the three and a half years Israel will be betrayed.

Posted by: Steve | Dec 23, 2008 11:30:59 AM

sadly, when he said, "we will reach out to our friends and allies", my first thought was "which friends and allies?". isn't that how the whole two state solution got to this point to begin with - because israel doesn't have any intelligent and powerful friends and allies left??

Posted by: Debbie | Dec 23, 2008 2:10:44 PM

Steve... In general terms I find it hard to argue with your point. But I'm curious how you came up with such an exact time-line.

Debbie... He was talking about me... and you.

Posted by: David Bogner | Dec 23, 2008 2:45:25 PM

Steve is citing the Christian Scriptures (Revelation 12:6 - "And the woman [a reference to Israel] fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days.") The Book of Revelation explains the Prophesy of Daniel 9:24-27. In short, by Christian understanding is that the 70th week of Daniel's prophesy (Daniel 9:27) has not yet occurred, but that this seven-year period will be the heralding even of Messiah's coming (or "return" if the Christian Scriptures are correct).

Posted by: Bob | Dec 23, 2008 6:33:05 PM

David - I'm well aware of the issues regarding Egypt. Yet I think you are misconstruing actions taken by Egyptians as those carried out by the government of Egypt. Egypt is scared to death of Hamas, and their local variant, the Muslim Brotherhood. Their government has cracked down on the MB's political party (and its supporters). Given the escalation of terrorism in the Sinai, they've stepped up cooperation with Israel on a number of issues - they've gladly kept the Rafah crossing closed (remember the fiasco when the border was forcibly opened a while back? Egypt was NOT pleased), they've been routinuely finding major weapons caches and confiscating them, and they've even arrested some top Hamas men trying to get into Gaza and shut down some tunnels.

Could they be doing more? Yes, if they were a perfect ally, they would be. But I think it's clear that the Egyptian government is not involved in arming Hamas; quite the contrary, they are concerned of Hamas getting any advanced weaponry and exporting their successes against Israel into Egypt proper.

This is in direct contrast to the decades of fedayeen attacks against Israeli targets that were directly funded, supplied, and trained by Egypt, and the conventional wars that killed thousands of Israelis (how many Israelis have died from attacks emanating from Gaza in the last few years? Most of Hamas' casualties were from suicide bombers dispatched from the West Bank). I think that there are difficulties with the 'peace' with Egypt - it's a cold peace, and there's certainly a lot of difficult rhetoric. But it's been largely successful for 30 years, and relations between the two countries continue to improve.

I will admit that I, too, have concerns about the long-term stability of the Egyptian government. Certainly, Israel should keep abreast of matters and be ready to act if things should change (this is also why I wholeheartedly support Israel pushing for overwhelming military superiority against its neighbors even in times of relative peace. Reducing important expenditures - training, the Merkava program, etc. - is a recipe for disaster). But that would be the case with a remarkable number of regions in the world; governments are unstable, and policy changes can happen at any time. That doesn't mean that we should sneer at 3 decades of peace against what used to be one of our most intractable enemies. Furthermore, Egypt no longer has a sponsor belligerent to Israel. They are dependent upon significant aid from the US government (second only to Israel), and use predominantly American weapons systems - M1A1/A2 Abrams, F-16s, etc. Even with a change in government, they would be hard-pressed to act directly against Israel from a purely practical standpoint.

Your last point has some merit - there is little justice or fairness in the 'land for peace' concept (though Israel certainly was happy to go along with it in 1967). But the argument in the video had nothing to do with justice, it has to do with the realities of the situation. DOES it provide peace? I'd say that with the appropriate conditions, it can. Those conditions have yet to be met by the PA, but it's a possibility, and I think we shouldn't dismiss such an option out of hand on the basis of the flimsy arguments presented.

Wouldn't you agree that we should keep every possible option on the table instead of getting stuck in some rut of thinking about the 'right' way to achieve peace? This is a common flaw of the left in Israel - they believe ending the occupation is a panacea that will solve everything. Yet I think the right is just as dogmatic, rejecting a whole host of approaches to securing peace not because they are without merit, but just because they aren't easy or preferred.

I think that in the end, a lot of different things will have to happen for a lasting peace: economic development, some population transfers in both directions, redrawing of borders (yes, including some 'land for peace'), fundamental societal changes in the Arab world, demilitarization of terrorist groups, political reform on all sides, etc. Rejecting some part of this out of hand because it hasn't always worked perfectly is ridiculous.


Posted by: matlabfreak | Dec 23, 2008 8:29:07 PM

Since peace is never going to be possible why try?

Just realize that part of living in Israel means that you will never be at peace.

And then structure your life and your society accordingly.

The day that you actually do obtain peace is the day you should fear the most (because it's really a trick).

Posted by: Gene | Dec 24, 2008 8:08:33 AM

You know, David, now that The 18 has more info on their site, I'm even less impressed. I just took the time to read through their self-described 'manifesto' and the few blog posts that are up, and I'm wholly unconvinced. It seems like a lot of scare-mongering to me. Their entire argument is predicated on the assumption that the Obama administration will somehow cause a fundamental change in US policy towards Israel, in pushing the two-state solution to a 'tipping point'. The rhetoric in the US isn't new, nor is the UN resolution or the words of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate any different. Why the sudden panic?

In fact, I find it amusing that both the far left and the far right (which I'll call this manifesto) argue that a 'tipping point' is near - yet the exact opposite one. The likes of the Guardian and Btselem will argue that the continued expansion of settlements throughout the West Bank is completely eliminating any hope of establishing a contiguous, viable Palestinian state in the West Bank, slowly constricting PA land to 'bantustans', to use an ugly turn of phrase. Yet The 18 are arguing that 2-state is going full steam ahead, and no one can stop it! I don't think either position is right, but it just highlights the misleading, fear-charged speech being used.

How is a 2 state solution going to cause a 'bifurcated, ethnically neutral' Israel? Seems to me that a one state solution (or, rather, keeping the Palestinians as a huge underclass without rights or citizenship, as they seem to be suggesting) is going to be rather more of a problem from the ethnic perspective.

He argues that opposition to a 2-state solution will result in the right being characterized as "marginalized, scorned as fanatics, extremists, obstructionists, war mongers, and deranged religious nuts". Yet in nearly the same breath, he calls those who support 2-state as weak, ghetto Jews who are betraying the state of Israel - and paints the Obama administration with such a wide brush as to completely whitewash reality! Can't we have some civil discourse here, rather than mudslinging?

Why are you posting this stuff? I mean, if you just agree with them, be my guest and link them. But why every video? I feel like I can honestly see eye-to-eye with you on most issues. Oh, I have differing opinions on a lot of the conclusions you come to, but I can at least see where your coming from and appreciate your motivation. But to be honest, this guy has not impressed me at all. I think this is a problem, because I'm precisely who he needs to convince. I have strongly hawkish tendencies on matters of security for the State of Israel, am a religious and deeply Zionist Jew, and treat most political claims with a healthy dose of skepticism, including 'progress' on the two-state solution. So why am I not only unconvinced, but actually turned off by his approach? It's dogmatic, misleading, and constructed to make us afraid.

I'm sorry for this rant, but ever since you posted the first video, I've been trying to articulate why it bothered me so much. I think this is it: the videos and the manifesto are supposedly trying to make us 'think'. Yet I felt instead that it was trying to make me decide on my support on the basis of emotions - it's full of misdirection and poorly supported assertions. And it wasn't even the sort of emotions that I like to make decisions based on, but rather ugly emotions: fear, confusion, and a denigration of the Other. At least Obama (who he reserves so much ire for) attempted to play on themes of hope, optimism, and a greater inclusiveness (though I'll admit I wasn't a fan of being manipulated by Obama's campaign, either).

Maybe I'm missing something, and I'd love to have a real discussion on this. If you'd prefer, I can email you...

Posted by: matlabfreak | Dec 24, 2008 8:40:32 AM

It is common knowledge that the number one goal of Obama is to bring about a two-state solution in Israel as he wants history to see him as the one who brought "Peace to the Middle East". It is part of this Messianic complex he has. With the Temple Mount in the possession of the Waqf he can get it rebuilt and when it is rebuilt he can be the first one to speak there. He will give a speak where he will say that he is God (using some new age mumbo jumbo) and should be worshiped as such in order to heal all the world.

Obama is one sick dude to say the least. He really is starting to believe his own propaganda about himself. And America has just given him the power to manifest his delusions.

For all the talk of Obama being "the One" I really thought he wasn't. Sure I thought he was "a one" but not "the one". But now I am not sure. We only have one more after this one. So depending upon how long this Pope lives it could indeed be the case.

Posted by: Scott | Dec 24, 2008 11:09:06 AM

I mean we only have one more Pope after this Pope.

But surely the real One will be Eastern European not American.

I saw Obama as perhaps foreshadowing the one but not actually being the one. But now I don't know.

Posted by: Scott | Dec 24, 2008 11:12:34 AM

I am not quite sure how Obama is going to call people to worship him but since people already do it unfortunately won't be that tough a sell.

If Obama starts rebuilding the Temple Mount then we know that he is indeed "the one we have been waiting for".

Posted by: Scott | Dec 24, 2008 11:17:48 AM

How would one write Barack Hussein Obama using Hebrew letters? And does that relate to any number in some way? Also might want to try Barry and Soetoro and Durham.

Also I was remembering back in the 1990s how there was something in the Bible Code about Hussein and how that person was going to destroy Israel and of course we all thought Saddam of course. But perhaps it wasn't referring to Saddam Hussein after all.

Posted by: Kim | Dec 24, 2008 11:36:16 AM

This is a very interesting video about Obama's name.


Posted by: Scott | Dec 24, 2008 11:48:51 AM

Wow, thanks for the video.

That is indeed incredible.

Another thing about his name. You know how people made fun of Bush I because he had two last names.

But Obama throughout his life has been known by several names.

Now we know him as Barack Hussein Obama. But he has also been know as Barry Soetoro, Barry Obama, Barack Dunham, and Barry Dunham.

Gosh, so many names for just one man.

Posted by: Kim | Dec 24, 2008 12:13:16 PM

I meant two middle names. George Herbert Walker Bush.

But Obama has called himself by three last names and two first names.

Posted by: Kim | Dec 24, 2008 12:18:38 PM

Matlabfreak and I are in the same boat. Zionist, religious and put off by The18 manifesto and blog. The18 should hope that no one reads it.

This is a shame, David, because I largely agree with you. However, The18 is preaching to the choir. There is a case to be made, but this is not it.

It is written in the same poisonous language of American right wing talk radio. All the red meat is there,for example, the UN, Jesse Jackson (who was caught on an open mike saying he wanted to cut off Obama's testes) and Tony Blair. Then, the18 whine about the unamed enemies who silenced the Gov. of Alaska (she was silenced?) and the gratuitous insults such as lefty idealogue. Of course, the manifesto has the stock allegations that Jewish leaders (name names please) will do anything to maintain their insider status. Pat Buchannan could not have said it better, they are disloyal to 2 countries. These evil "others" are the cause of all of our problems. Give me a break.

I am sorry, but General Mcpeak, Dennis Ross, Colin Powell, Carl Levin, Chuck Schumer and Robert Gates are people that I admire. I don't need to always agree with them, but I will not use them as punching bags and I will not be persuaded by those that do.

By the way who are the 18?

Sorry for the rant. I usually lurk, but like matlabfreak I have been bothered by this. David of course remains a model of civility and none of this should be thought of as criticism of him. For reasons that escape me he is persuaded. However, for me The18 manages to take a good idea and run it into the ground.

Posted by: lrg | Dec 24, 2008 5:48:04 PM

Check out this video as well.

If anyone in American History could fit into the description of the one it's Obama.


Posted by: Scott | Dec 24, 2008 7:23:26 PM

Oy. Why does it feel like someone is going to start passing around the offering plate.

Posted by: Jack | Dec 24, 2008 11:55:45 PM

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