Pat Condell on Israel and Palestine

If you’ve been around the heathen community for a while, you’ll likely have seen Pat Condell’s videos. (I believe the Dawkins Foundation website has occasionally reposted them.) They’re often on the mark, sometimes not, but they’re always passionate—and Condell’s passion is used against him by his critics. He’s “strident.” I don’t understand that kind of tone-trolling when there are substantial issue on tap. But we see that kind of criticism leveled at atheists by religionists

And here’s one of them: Condell’s views on Palestine and Israel.  Do not comment below unless you’ve watched the whole thing!

It’s incumbent on me, when posting something likely to be this inflammatory, to give my own views. In the main I agree with Condell, though I think the “lower expectation of Arabs” reflects not racism, but the traditional sympathy of liberals for the perceived underdog.  But I agree with him that the problem is largely religious and not political, and that there will never truly be peace until the Muslims drive the Jews out of the Middle East—or there’s a bloody war.

If you deny that, read the Hamas charter, which the organization refuses to repudiate. A few passages:

This Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS), clarifies its picture, reveals its identity, outlines its stand, explains its aims, speaks about its hopes, and calls for its support, adoption and joining its ranks. Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realised.

. . . Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).

. . . There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with. As in said in the honourable Hadith:

“The people of Syria are Allah’s lash in His land. He wreaks His vengeance through them against whomsoever He wishes among His slaves It is unthinkable that those who are double-faced among them should prosper over the faithful. They will certainly die out of grief and desperation.”

. . .Moreover, if the links have been distant from each other and if obstacles, placed by those who are the lackeys of Zionism in the way of the fighters obstructed the continuation of the struggle, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree,  would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).

And this:

. . .The Islamic Resistance Movement calls on Arab and Islamic nations to take up the line of serious and persevering action to prevent the success of this horrendous plan, to warn the people of the danger eminating from leaving the circle of struggle against Zionism. Today it is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is, of course, a hideously anti-Semitic hoax—a forged plan of Jewish world domination concocted by the Russian government around 1900. It has been used against the Jews for a century, though the fact that it’s a hoax has been known since 1921. It amazes me that the Palestinians would consider it “proof” of anything.  It is just another example of the lies and viciously anti-Semitic propaganda that permeate the Arab media: a situation completely ignored by the Western press. Remember when that horrible and bigoted anti-Islamic film, “Innocence of Muslims,” came out, and how much publicity and disapprobation it received? Things just as bad are daily staples of the Arab media. (See my post on this here and see some cartoons here).

Faced with a charter like that, how do you suppose the Israeli government is supposed to feel, especially since Hamas totally refuses to rescind those words?

I also feel that both the Israelis and Palestinians have screwed up the situation. I believe that Israel should vacate the West Bank and dismantle the settlements there. I want there to be a Palestinian state. But remember that Yasser Arafat rejected that possibility in 2000, and it was a generous offer.  A review of that negotiation in Wikipedia:

. . . partly due to insistence for compromise by President Clinton, Barak offered Arafat a Palestinian state in 73% of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian percentage of sovereignty would extend to 90% over a ten- to twenty-five-year period. Also included in the offer was the return of a small number of refugees and compensation for those not allowed to return. Palestinians would also have “custodianship” over the Temple Mount, sovereignty on all Islamic and Christian holy sites, and 3/4 of Jerusalem’s Old Quarters. Arafat rejected Barak’s offer and refused to make an immediate counter-offer. He told President Clinton that, “the Arab leader who would surrender Jerusalem is not born yet.”

Finally, I am with Condell when he says that popular sentiment gives the Palestinians—and Arabs in general—a pass on their behavior.  The Arab media is awash in the most vicious anti-Semitic statements, approved of and presented by their governments, and yet, as I said, this is largely ignored by those liberals who excoriate Israel. Yet if Israeli television or newspapers contained stuff like that, there would be a a huge international outcry.  Palestinians deliberately kill Israeli civilians via randomly fired rockets and targeted suicide bombings. Israelis try at all costs to avoid civilian deaths, but it’s hard because the Palestinians, as Condell notes, put their weapons in civilian areas. If the Israeli government sent suicide bombers into Palestine to kill people at weddings, the world would raise a tremendous hue and cry. When the Palestinians do it, very few fault them, and the murders are soon forgotten (this is largely because the Palestinians seek worldwide publicity when even a single civilian is killed.) The actions of Israel and Palestine are not morally equivalent, and the Palestinians come off far worse.

As I said, I favor ending the occupation of the West Bank and creating a Palestinian state. But I don’t think for a moment that that will bring peace in the Middle East.  The more radical elements of Islam, which hold sway in Gaza, are sworn to driving the Jews off the land, and the terrorism will continue so long as they remain. I fear that this will eventually produce a war. And it will be a religious war.

I’ve had my say, and you can have yours.  But I ask several things: deal with the issues that are raised by either Condell or me.  Be calm (unlike Condell!) and reasoned. Do not attack your fellow commenters’ personalities, or call them names.  I’d like to see a reasoned discussion of the issue, and I will not tolerate nastiness toward anyone posting on this site.

309 Comments

  1. zoolady
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    We need many more voices like Pat Condell’s! The climate of “political correctness” has enabled violent THUGS to conduct their business of hate. It’s time for the world to stand up and unite in the face of Islamic hatred toward Jews.

    • ossicle
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      I disagree with each assertion.

    • ossicle
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      I disagree with each assertion except the first.

    • ossicle
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      [Weird, don't know how that dual entry happened!]

  2. Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Am not sure a Palestinian state is possible in our lifetime with the crop of leaders on either side. It will require a change of attitude on both camps for peace to exist and for the Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace.

    • Pray Hard
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Palestenians have sworn that they will NOT live in peace with the Jews, ever. Did you miss the cookie break?

    • Posted January 14, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Any possible Palestinian state will be an Islamist state and with great probability a terrorist state. People can only accomplish what they know. The present-day Palestinian leadership knows how to keep up a permanent state of war against Israel. It knows how to enforce Islamic law. It knows how to propagate Jew-hatred. It does not know the liberal values of Washington and Jefferson. To pretend otherwise is naive.

  3. gbjames
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    My view basically aligns with this post. Except I don’t find Condell to be unreasonably agitated in this video.

    • starskeptic
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      This seems rather tame compared to some of his other videos.

  4. Somite
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Being neither Jew nor Muslim I have no beef in this religious contest. I have heard arguments from people whose opinion I respect that are either slanted toward Israel or Palestine. It is always acknowledged that some blame can be placed on either side.

    As an outsider it seems to me that both sides should stop. Just stop what they are doing and stop the killing. It does seem that Palestine has to stop the violence first.

    Also as an outsider I ask; Why was Israel built there? It seems like the worst possible place for the Jewish to build a nation.

    Jerry: do you know Dr. Mano Singham? He is a theoretical physicist and also a blogger that has a slightly different point of view on the issue. Maybe a conversation among rational people would help!

    • Hempenstein
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Why? Two words that Condell didn’t mention were Balfour Agreement.

      • Scott near Berkeley
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        That was then, this is now.

        • starskeptic
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

          But, like it or not – we’re bound by that – unless you want Israel to just pack-up and move.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      This was the only place Jews had a historical and emotional connection to. (I’m not listing “religious” here because the founders of Zionism were secular Jews. For them it was not a question of “promised land” but a question of safe haven from pogroms in Europe and Islamic countries.) This was a very sparsely populated backwater of Ottoman Empire with some Jewish presence already there (Jews returned to Palestine century after century only to be expelled again at a ruler’s whim.) There was no other place on Earth that would welcome Jewish immigration and examples are legio – Conference in Evian about German Jews under Hitler, refusal to take in Jewish refugees during WWII etc. I would like to recommend a video by a law Professor: “Th Legal Case for Israel”:
      //www.youtube.com/watch?v=ub2x5UvjUs4&feature=youtu.be (http removed so it will not be embedded)

    • morkindie
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Because that is the land given by God.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Israel_(united_monarchy)#History

    • morkindie
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/biblejew.html

      (Genesis 15:18)

      On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi[a] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—

      • Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi[a] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— You really believe a supernatural creator wrote that bullshit? Then stood idly by while millions kill each other because a divine entity said so. An entity that supposedly has the almighty power to intervene. No. Only stupid ass men could write something like that.

        • gluonspring
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          Many of my friends and family take the modern existence of Israel as proof of the veracity of the Bible [1]. I personally think this is the main reason that Evangelicals today are so gung ho for Israel: it’s existence supports their delusion. If Israel were to go away it’d be yet another blow of reality to their faith and nothing motivates religious to action like something threatening their delusion.

          [1] This is funny in it’s own way. Although the modern state of Israel has existed since 1948, it seems that preachers in my family’s church, and so my family, only noticed it around 1980. When they noticed it, they immediately trumpeted it as clinching proof of God and, almost over night, went from people suspicious of Jews and oblivious to Israel to their staunches supporters.

          • gluonspring
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

            Wow, I can’t type. Insert several missing “the” and “staunchest” and several other irritating typos.

        • morkindie
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

          No, I don’t.

          But why would the pick such a lousy spot to dig in their heels? It isn’t a coincidence.

          • Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

            Because the only mode of travel was by foot or camel.

            • morkindie
              Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

              I meant for modern people. Why, after WWII did they decide to go there?

              Divine mandate.

              • Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

                It was their ancestral homeland and they actually believe that a creator selected a group of people as his/her favorites and designated a special part of the planet just for them. I hate it when supreme beings play favorites.

              • morkindie
                Posted January 9, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

                These people would be appalled if you were to say to your children, “You all behaved well at Grandma’s but only Toby gets ice cream, because he is our favorite and none of the rest of you will ever be as important to us.”

    • Pray Hard
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      You’re not an outsider, like it or not. The Muslim Brotherhood has sworn and swears every day to destroy Western Civilization.

    • Mark
      Posted January 9, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Israel is the worst place for a Jewish state except for all the others. I think there were some Zionists who thought of trying to establish an autonomous Jewish region if not a fully independent state there. Needless to say, this was not a credible idea after WWII.

      Emigration and assimilation have been part of the Jewish experience for centuries but you simply have to study that history to see why Zionists thought and acted the way they did.

    • Posted January 14, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Israel was made something like a Crusader state for ‘the underdog’, with liberal values, an intellectual establishment, prior negotiations with native leaders, and a sustainable population growth rate. It is, indeed, a terrible place for Jews to have built a nation. Its existence is either a sad or a happy legacy of the dreams of the Deuteronomist.

  5. steve oberski
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Spot on Mr. Condell.

    This is religious accomodationism reaping what it has sown, and it is a bloody harvest indeed.

    And this applies equally to xtian fundamentalists in the US, it is indeed discrimination to hold them to a lower standard of behaviour, as Pat Condell said, the rest of the world is waiting for them to join the 21st century.

    Jerry, I would take issue with your claim that Pat Condell is not calm, I think what we are seeing is anger and passion, but I do believe that he has calmly and carefully thought out his position.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Oh I didn’t mean to characterize him as overly strident in this video. He is passionate but not intemperate. What I meant to say is that people find this kind of video strident, and use that tone to dismiss him without engaging his arguments.

      • Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking and observing. Those who disagree with or are made discomfited by our convictions will generally try to denigrate our passion as stridency. It’s a cheap shot, one that is often aimed at Dawkins and Hitchens.
        Now what might one then call the nutjobs who preach fire and brimstone from their pulpits? Hmmmmm….

  6. Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    But I agree with him that the problem is largely religious and not political, and that there will never truly be peace until the Muslims drive the Jews out of the Middle East—or there’s a bloody war.

    Sorry, that misses the point entirely.

    There will not be peace, as long as we are willing to pour dollars into that part of the world, to buy the oil that sits under Arab lands.

    • gbjames
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      I’m sorry, but I don’t think this makes sense. I don’t see how the presence of oil under Arab lands accounts for hostility towards Israel. That logic would have Canada at war with the US because of oil.

      • Kevin Alexander
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        The presence of oil pays for the hostility towards Israel.
        And no one in Canada is calling for the extinction of Americans.

        • gbjames
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

          And no one in Canada is calling for the extinction of Americans

          That is the point. Religion is at the root of the Mideast conflict, not oil.

          • Pray Hard
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

            Petro dollars spread Islam and its commensurate violent pathology. They energize approximately 30 wars going on around the globe currently involving Muslims. The Saudis are the biggest spreaders. It’s just that simple.

            • gbjames
              Posted January 8, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

              Yes. This is a problem. But it is a problem of spreading the poison of Islam, not the poison of oil.

              (Our global oil consumption problem is large and serious, so don’t think I am arguing against reducing reliance on oil. I’m 100% for that.)

              • shazam
                Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:37 am | Permalink

                You have obviously not spoken to a muslim lately…

                I used to live in Rotterdam which has its fair share and I regularly got into discussions about arab culture and its place in the world.

                Almost without fail they would puff out their chests and proclaim how they are blessed with oil and that the rest of the world is at their mercy.

                Seems strange that the arab world has achieved little-to-nothing since the seventh century and now, all of a sudden, they are in a position of power through little of their own doing.

                And they love it.

              • gbjames
                Posted January 9, 2013 at 5:31 am | Permalink

                I suspect you are intentionally misunderstanding me.

                I am the last person who will try to defend Islam from the most profound criticism. And that is exactly why I refuse to accept attempts to shift the responsibility for the behavior of its adherents from the religion to other things… like oil. Or territory.

                People don’t strap bombs to themselves because there is oil in Saudi Arabia. They strap bombs to themselves because they believe the explosion will send them to a blissful eternity. They do it because their family’s social status will rise. They do it because their hatred for followers of some other sect is more intense than their desire to live. Oil profits may purchase the bomb materials and pay for imams to spread poison. But it is the poison of religion that motivates people.

      • steve oberski
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        But let’s imagine that Canada was never settled by Europeans and the US subsidized certain native american chiefs to allow them to extract and remove their natural resources, including oil.

        There would be no Canadian infrastructure in place, US foreign policy toward Canada would be one of propping up the most corrupt chiefs and instigating a program of maintaining maximum divisiveness between indian bands so that they could never organize and take control of their own natural resources and hence destiny.

        For an interesting fictionalized treatment of this thesis I would recommend the movie Syriana.

        • steve oberski
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

          I would be the first to admit that there are certain similarities between this scenario and current Canadian government policy with respect to natural resource development.

      • Bruce Gorton
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        If Israel wasn’t there, there still wouldn’t be peace. Iran would take Israel’s place (due to it being Shiite) and the Wahabis of Saudi Arabia would still be trying to export their brand of Islam to the rest of the third world.

        • gbjames
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

          Likely as not, you are right. Religion poisons everything.

        • starskeptic
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          I agree also – removal of a ‘common’ enemy would just leave Muslims more focused on how much they hate each other.

          • shazam
            Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:44 am | Permalink

            I’ve always found it odd that whenever an israeli kills a muslim child the entire muslim world is up in arms at how one of their brother’s or sister’s have been “martyred”

            But this brotherhood is fake/superficial because muslim-on-muslim violence (the largest killer of muslims by the very longest shot) doe not provoke the kind of “brotherhood” that does the killing of a muslim by a non muslim.

            In the same way, some muslim sect can destroy a mosque of another muslim sect and no muslim anywhere else in the world will bat an eyelid. But if a westerner draws just a single cartoon…

            • starskeptic
              Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

              Precisely…

  7. Simon
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    But remember that Yasser Arafat rejected that possibility in 2000, and it was a generous offer. A review of that negotiation in Wikipedia:

    1) It would be helpful to link to the Wikipedia article that discusses this if nothing else to show that there are other opinions mentioned within this source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_Camp_David_Summit#Reasons_for_impasse

    2) Here is what Zbigniew Brzezinski told Joe Scarborough when he was repeating this exact same claim that you are:

    SCARBOROUGH: We have another bloc, and I’m very excited aboug that because I’m stunningly superficial. Chief, I look forward to you educating me, and the rest of America, and the rest of the foreign policy community, who have said, time and again, Arafat walked away from the best deal he could have gotten, and that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to —

    BRZEZINSKI: These are not the facts. [They're] your opinions; you’re repeating slogans. He did not walk away. What he said was, I’m going to take the proposal to all the Arab capitals and see how they react, because the proposals were controversial . . . The negotiations went on, even after Christmas, where Clinton and Arafat met, and they were going on in Taba in January, after Clinton was already leaving office. And then, the process got aborted. It’s helpful to know a little bit about it.

    Source: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/mark-finkelstein/2008/12/30/zbig-brzezinski-scarborough-such-stunningly-superficial-knowledge-#ixzz2HOk3ieNy

    • Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Part of the problem, it seems to me, is that no one (or at least very few people) really know all of the relevant facts. Every single interaction between the two sides is muddied by accusations of ulterior motives, underhandedness, and general malice. And everyone goes on fighting.

      I don’t mean to spam, but I recently posted statements by soldiers on either side of the Gaza conflict, these extracted from a larger photo essay by Karim Ben Khalifa. Link: http://skepticink.com/atheistintermarried/2013/01/07/voices-from-the-gaza-conflict/.

      • Simon
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        I would agree with this, and also include myself into this category. I really wish more people would focus on the scholarship. Facts do matter. Context matters.

        Your post also reinforces this, thank you for “spamming”.

    • eric
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Brezesinksi’s argument seems like a bit of a dodge. Taking the offer around to other Arab nations is an obvious, easy way to kill the offer. Would anyone rationally think of Iraq, Iran, and Syria would respond positively?

      Its also a nonsequitur, in that such approval was not required by the treaty.

      And, finally, he didn’t contradict or try and explain the Arafat quote. Sure the negotiations went on a long time on paper. That’s called the circular file. We all have one, and we all know exactly what they really are.

      • Simon
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        No Brzezinski did not address the quote because Scarborough didn’t mention it and it also doesn’t refute Brzezinski’s thesis. Furthermore, the Wikipedia article references it incorrectly. This quote doesn’t appear a lot of places, but I did track down the original. Note that this quote was from July 19 six days before the talks were concluded and also note he said Palestinian leader, not “Arab” leader:

        In a decisive meeting with president Clinton on July 19, Abu Ammar said: “The Palestinian leader who can give up Jerusalem has not been born yet. I will not betray the trust, and I will not betray my people.´ Arafat added: “I will not grant occupation the legitimacy to continue. But it will not last forever. It is not possible to continue with the imposition of military force, and South Africa is an example.´

        Source: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.nad-plo.org/userfiles/file/Reports/cdpapers.pdf

        All that said, it appears that Jerry’s Wikipedia quote was from Yasser Arafat’s article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasser_Arafat#Other_peace_agreements

        not the one that I provided. IMO the article on the Camp David Talks is more appropriate if we are going to be talking about the event as opposed to the person.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      The wiki article on the Taba Summit is also worth a look, following Zbigniew Brzezinski’s suggestion in the above-linked ‘stunningly superficial’ article.

      So yeah, it was the follow-up to Camp David and the US wasn’t running the show because Clinton was going out and Bush coming in (January 2001). At Taba, a fairly detailed agreement was discussed between Israel and the Palestinians after the events Jerry mentioned involving Arafat, and then allowed to lapse. Labour’s Ehud Barak had announced his resignation as PM on December 10 (setting up an election as an effective plebiscite on proposals from the upcoming talks), then on February 6 lost narrowly to Likud’s Ariel Sharon, whose government did not proceed with the peace plan but went on building ‘settlements’.

      It reminded me of the way Likud was elected straight after Labour’s Rabin was killed by a religious nutjob in ’95, which seemed like a popular ratification of his assassination. Odd how democracy behaves, isn’t it? I don’t see a will for peace resulting in action on either side, but it’s not called asymmetric warfare for nothing.

      • logicophilosophicus
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        Yes – but the ordinary voter is worried about (and entitled to vote on)taxes, welfare, education… you can’t equate the election of Likud to the endorsement of an assassination.

      • Simon
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        And this is why Brzezinski rightly excoriated Scarborough.

        The way Jerry (and others) present it, it sounds like Arafat was made a final offer and then refused with the quote provided and the story ended there. This is not the case at all.

        Taba is also mentioned immediately after the passage Jerry quotes, albeit in a paragraph with a really muddled timeline:

        Arafat continued negotiations with Netanyahu’s successor, Ehud Barak, at the Camp David 2000 Summit in July 2000. Due partly to his own politics (Barak was from the leftist Labor Party, whereas Netanyahu was from the rightist Likud Party) and partly due to insistence for compromise by President Clinton, Barak offered Arafat a Palestinian state in 73% of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian percentage of sovereignty would extend to 90% over a ten- to twenty-five-year period. Also included in the offer was the return of a small number of refugees and compensation for those not allowed to return. Palestinians would also have “custodianship” over the Temple Mount, sovereignty on all Islamic and Christian holy sites, and 3/4 of Jerusalem’s Old Quarters. Arafat rejected Barak’s offer and refused to make an immediate counter-offer.[77] He told President Clinton that, “the Arab leader who would surrender Jerusalem is not born yet.”[91]

        After the September 2000 outbreak of the Second Intifada, negotiations continued at the Taba summit in January 2001; this time, Ehud Barak pulled out of the talks to campaign in the Israeli elections. In October and December 2001, suicide bombings by Palestinian militant groups increased and Israeli counter strikes intensified. Following the election of Ariel Sharon in February, the peace process took a steep downfall. Palestinian elections scheduled for January 2002 were postponed—the stated reason was an inability to campaign due to the emergency conditions imposed by the Intifada, as well as IDF incursions and restrictions on freedom of movement in the Palestinian territories. In the same month, Sharon ordered Arafat to be confined to his Mukata’a headquarters in Ramallah, following an attack in the Israeli city of Hadera;[91] US President George W. Bush supported Sharon’s action, claiming that Arafat was “an obstacle to the peace.”

        Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasser_Arafat#Other_peace_agreements

  8. Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Well, I for one, agree with most of what Condell says. His exasperation is, I think, justified. Nor do I think that vacating the West Bank is a solution; just as I do not think its occupation part of the problem. This is not the point, and the fact that, without occupying at least parts of this additional territory, Israel can be hopelessly divided in short order, by a determined military thrust across the narrow northern panhandle, is really what is at issue.

    Nor do I think that not having occupied the West Bank would have made an iota of difference to the political situation. Palestine, to the Palestinians, as well as to other Arabs, is Muslim land (Waqf), occupied by the perfidious Jews, and a two-state solution was never going to resolve to the religious issue that lies at the heart of these problems.

    The fact that there are still Palestinian refugees is evidence of the refusal to accept the existence of Israel. Are there still refugees in India or Pakistan waiting to get back to their homes in either Pakistan or India lost as a result of the partition of India in 1947? Of course not. Are the Scots in Canada or the United States refugees, just waiting their chance to recover their homes lost as a result of the highland clearances? Certainly not. So, why are there still Palestinian refugees? Simply because no Muslim state has been willing to absorb them, and thus to end the Palestinian problem. This problem’s solution, since 1948, has been seen to lie only in the expulsion of the Jews, and the return of the land to its legitimate Muslim overlords.

    I am concerned, however, with the growing strength of religious conservatism in Israel, which will only fan the flames further, as well as compromise Israel’s democratic governance.

    • Alex T
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Are there still refugees in India or Pakistan waiting to get back to their homes in either Pakistan or India lost as a result of the partition of India in 1947? Of course not.

      There are still people living in cities that are literally walled off from food, water and jobs, forcing they to deal with daily checkpoints enforced by arbitrary military laws. Checkpoints where families haven’t merely been inconvenienced by intrusive searches but have been gunned down in their cars. These are real people and implying that they don’t exist or are foolish for not fleeing is wilful blindness.

      it almost sounds like you’re suggesting that Israel should really clamp down and make their lives so damn miserable that everyone flees or starves to death.

    • Sameer
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      So, why are there still Palestinian refugees? Simply because no Muslim state has been willing to absorb them, and thus to end the Palestinian problem.

      Oh well! Why is it OK then that the state of Israel was created because no European country was willing to “absorb” the Jews who had been in Europe for centuries and therefore supported creation of the Jewish homeland?

      • Scott near Berkeley
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        Uh, there was a large population of Jews for thousands of years in the area surrounding Jerusalem. Admittedly not a majority, but certainly a significant number. After WWII, many Jews in Europe chose to move to Palestine to the created State of Israel. It isn’t that “no European country was willing…”.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

          And that’s part of the problem. All the ‘new’ Jewish settlers who didn’t have to move there but saw it as an opportunity, and these settlements need land which was invariably owned by Palestinians – guess who lost out? Never mind religion, if I was being displaced by force to make way for some stranger I’d be wild, too.

          I also suspect that a large proportion of these ‘settlers’ are the more fanatical religious or nationalistic types – who else wants to go settle in a conflict zone? – and therefore most likely to stir up more trouble.

          • Malgorzata
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

            Well, yes, it was an opportunity for Polish Jews who survived Holocaust and were not welcomed by their former Polish neighbours (ever heard about pogrom in Kielce after the IIWW?), the same with other remnants of the Holocaust from other Eastern European countries. It was an opportunity for Jews from Arab and Islamic countries (almost one million of them) who were persecuted in their countries, their citizenship removed, and either fled or were exiled with just their clothes on their backs. (There were more Jewish refugees from Arab countries than Palestinian refugees.) Opportunity to remin alive.

        • Sameer
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

          Well maybe I didn’t word it correctly. I understand (or at least I think I do) why Jews wanted a Jewish state in Israel. Eric in his comment above is wondering why there are Palestinian refugees and why they haven’t been assimilated by the countries they fled to. Well why should they? The Jews even after living for centuries in Europe didn’t feel assimilated. Enough that they wanted to come back and settle in Israel even though many generations of them had no link whatsoever with the region except maybe the emotional one that “this is the promised land our god gave us” and all that. That was OK after all. Why wouldn’t the Palestinians feel the same way? Wouldn’t they want to go back to their home and their land? Why the expectation that the Palestinians dissolve into the country of that gave them refuge when Jews couldn’t do it after centuries of exile. What is sauce for the goose and all that…

          • shazam
            Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:58 am | Permalink

            Before Israel became a state the larger area of the Ottoman Empire was populated by arabs who would not differentiate themselves from each other.

            An arab living in Jordan was no different from an arab living in palestine or from one living in Lebanon.

            In fact, NO ARAB living in palestine even called themself a “palestinian”.

            That term even needed to be defined by the arabs themselves in 1968 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_people#Etymology).

            My grandfather called himself “german” and his grandfather before him also called himself “german”.

            Yasser Arafat might have called himself “palestinian” but his grandfather did not.

            • gbjames
              Posted January 9, 2013 at 6:04 am | Permalink

              I think you assume a kind of ethnic stability in Europe that wasn’t really there. People who refer to themselves as German by descent might have ancestors who would have called themselves Prussian or Saxons or one of any number of other groups.

              I say I have Czech ancestry. But that isn’t really correct. When my ancestors traveled to the US there was no Czechoslovakia or Czech Republic. They called themselves Bohemian and would have bridled to be lumped in with Silesians or Moravians.

              Ethnic history is complicated everywhere and always has been.

      • Posted January 9, 2013 at 5:30 am | Permalink

        Sameer, in all fairness, we are discussing the problem as it exists now. Perhaps, had decisions not been made, and declarations not proclaimed, another “solution” might have been tried. But now there is a state occupied by (mainly) Jews, and the threat is to push it into the sea. There might have been a two state solution from the start, had the Palestinian Arabs been willing to make peace with Israel, and recognise its existence, but they were not, and that did not happen. Since they have, since then, regularly expressed their determination to push the Israelis into the sea, what was Israel to do? The Palestinian refugees should have started new lives elsewhere from the start, if they were not willing to recognise the state of Israel, and Jordan, Egypt, and other neighbouring states should have welcomed them. Then they would not be refugees planning the destruction of Israel, but would instead have got on with their lives. We may say that it would have been better if Israel had never come into being, but it is in being. Given that reality, would it not be better to get on with life rather than pretend that the destruction of an existing state is the preferred solution?

        • lucas
          Posted January 10, 2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

          Very well said

  9. TJR
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Now you’ve put the cat among the pigeons. Or the fox in the hen coop.

    This may well set a new WEIT record for comments, and it will be interesting to see if Da Roolz can stand the strain.

    • gluonspring
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      So far so good. I’m impressed.

  10. pktom64
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Maybe I’m wrong but wasn’t the idea of “driving the Jews off the land” what caused Arabs to loose a lot of land in the first place? The size of Israel right now seems the consequence of them winning wars bought upon them by their neighbors, is it not?

    • cesiumfrog
      Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:14 am | Permalink

      Probably true, depending which date you count from.

      But that power imbalance justifies asymmetric expectations. (It’s like how you frown on professors initiating relationships with students; or teach bigger kids that retaliation isn’t justified when their younger siblings try to fight.)

      Yes, the Palestinians could give up their weapons and surrender completely to Israel. Likewise, Israel could give up their weapons and surrender completely to the Palestinians.

      But Israel has other options too, which the Palestinians do not have. Israel could unilaterally decide to end the conflict by fiat. (It could grant them all equal Israeli citizenship. Or it could acknowledge them as a separate state, remove its blockade of their foreign borders, and refer all future hostility to the UN. Or it could devise a novel new parallel-states system, in which sovereignty is decoupled from territory, essentially just granting freedom of movement but policing any crimes against Israelis.) Or Israel could at least de-escalate the violence a little (by from now on only killing a couple Palestinians for each killed Israeli). Or it could at the very least give permission for something to be done to stop the aggravation of ongoing settlement expansion.

      I thought we all decided you don’t round a religo-ethnic group up into walled ghettos and shower them with chemical weapons, is it hardly any wonder if it’s raising fundamentalists? (It’s like how violent crime tends to originate in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and atheism in the affluent ones.) The sigh of the oppressed creature. Rather than stop at blaming religious extremism, alleviate it with economic opportunity.

      • Malgorzata
        Posted January 9, 2013 at 3:55 am | Permalink

        Israel did just what you propose and left Gaza. In return got well over 10,000 rockets on her civilian population. And not only “homemade” rockets but also rockets delivered by Iran. Total retreat from West Bank is more risky, because it is much closer to Israels population and industrial centers. Where is the guarantee that the there will be no rockets from West Bank when Palestinian Authority politicians say (in Arabic, never in English) that getting a state there is only the first step; the next one will be eradicating Israel. When Egypt announced its willingness to be at peace with Israel, Israel left Sinai. When PA announces willingens to live at peace with Israel and stops inciting hatred toward Jews (not only Israelis) then the pece would be possible. About walls: you would also protect your children any way you can if your neighbour was totally bent on killing them. Well over a thousand Israelis (many women and children among them) died in buses, restaurants and schools when Palestinians had a free access to Israel. Since the building of this barrier the amound killed in Israel dropped to almost zero.

        • cesiumfrog
          Posted January 11, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

          Malgorzata, thanks for replying, I can appreciate how terrifying the situation is for Israelis.

          However, the status quo does not appear sustainable for Isreal. At current rates, in a hundred years the population even just of the Gaza strip will outnumber those outside the barrier, and Israel will not still have a hegemonic superpower propping it up.

          Elsewhere you’ve excused Israel’s use of WP as “intended only as a smoke screen”, or explained that future reduction in its use is solely because of propaganda. This sounds like callous disregard for the injuries which were obviously a foreseeable consequence of its choice in a dense civilian area. You don’t seem to have responded to my point that Israel has surplus scope to moderate its activity.

          To me it looks as if the future of Israel depends significantly on its ability to foster positive relationships with other people in the region. At present the Palestinians seem reduced to mere braying (their missile attacks are so impractical http://bit.ly/Ta3qNA that some aren’t even bothering with warheads). If the goal is to stop Palestinians from hating, then killing their families doesn’t sound very promising, why not try more good-will gestures? How about refusing to retaliate for the next five years (now that Israel has the walls and the missile shield in place)? Rather than collective punishment: see if video evidence can be gathered which identifies some individuals still launching missiles, and let Israel content itself with trying to prosecute them in the court of Palestinian public opinion; provide more opportunities to those Palestinians who do want to work for peace (e.g., http://www.justvision.org/budrus), and invest more in initiatives to make friendships between the two sides (e.g., http://www.aikidowithoutborders.org/vision/). Just another question, can you explain to me the rationale for keeping the West Bank cut into an archipelago?

          • Malgorzata
            Posted January 12, 2013 at 1:33 am | Permalink

            I’m not an Israeli. I live quite safely in Europe. It is not up to me to tell Israelis what is terrifying or sustainable for them. I can only observe from far and try to sort out all kind of distortion of truth or outright lies.
            1948, when whole armies of 5 Arab countries with the help of troops from two more attacked Israel the world watched with interest saying that Israel is not sustainable. The same happened 1967. For almost 65 years Israel survived in extremely hostile environment and the world was of no help. Israel tried and is continuing to try to “foster positive relationship with people of the region”. They jump on every sign of good will from Palestinian side. Did you know that a few month ago a brother-in-law of Ismail Haniyah, the man who every day promises to kill all the Jews, was sent by him to an Israeli hospital for a heart operation? Israelis saved this man’s life. Did it make any dent in Haniyah’s hostility? A tiny girl from Gaza, ill with cancer, was treated in Israeli hospital (and saved). Her father, who got a special pass to be with the child, used the opportunity to smuggle explosives into Israel. A young women from Gaza, burned badly in a kitchen accident, was saved in Israeli hospital. When some months later she was going for a check-up, she was stopped at the border with a suicide west on her. Israeli music teacher found a Palestinian music teacher, sick and tired of hostility, and they both organized an orchestra of kids from both communities. It worked like a charm until Palestinian Authority got news about it and put stop to this horrible “normalization” with Israel. There are many such examples. What kind of other good-will gestures would you propose? Removal of Israeli army and settlers from Gaza? Done. Help with building a state in West Bank (in form of Palestinian Authority)? Done. The only good-will gesture Haniyah and his ilk accept is either collective suicide of Jews in Israel or their disappearance in some other way.
            Isn’t it time to start treating the leaders of Palestinians like adults? Isn’t it time to press them to show some modicum of good-will instead of rewarding them for violence and intransigence?
            If your prediction that in 100 years time just population of Gaza will outnumber population in Israel were true then it would mean real human catastrophe in Gaza because of overpopulation. This is for me another example of treating Palestinian not like adult members of human race but like children. If the goal of Palestinian leaders would be welfare of their people they would stop such a catastrophe. But if their goal is to destroy Israel then no amount of good-will gesture from Israel will help.
            As far as I can find documents and corroboration: white phosphorus is an incendiary device and was used by Israeli army to create smokescreen, which is absolutely legal in war. I hate war but war is not an afternoon meeting of safe and well fed humanists.
            I do not know why the Israelis are keeping West Bank cut into the archipelago, I can only guess that rationale is the same as the one behind the security barrier: the security. There are many people bent on killing Israelis on the West Bank.
            About impracticality of Hamas’s weapons: tell that to one million people who have only 15 seconds to run to bomb shelter when siren goes off. Imagine you are a mother to two children: a 3-years old in playing in the room while you are in the bathroom bathing the baby. Do you run to the shelter with the baby, leaving the 3-years old to possible death, or run to the 3-years old and risk the death of the three of you. Tell it to those children with amputated legs after a Kassam rocket hit them, tell to this pregnant women whose husband was killed by Kassam rocket.
            Warheads: in order to reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which was a huge propaganda success, Hamas was forced to strip their rockets of payloads, otherwise they wouldn’t fly so far. It was not because of lack of explosives.

          • cesiumfrog
            Posted January 13, 2013 at 12:09 am | Permalink

            Right, you can share heart-throbbing emotional tales of the Israeli mother, but the other side can play that trick too. The correct method (if you want to sort out distortion) is to focus on the statistics instead. Any year, an Iraeli has roughly a 1 in 1 million chance of succumbing to a missile from the Gaza strip, while conversely a Palestinian is about two orders of magnitude more likely to cop it. So what about the Palestinian mother and children asleep when some stranger climbs up and fires a rocket from her roof, how much time is she given to wish for a bomb shelter to run to?

            To me it sounds like collective punishment. I’d be interested in knowing what steps are involved for a peaceful young non-religious couple born in Gaza to get honest jobs, save, and honeymoon overseas.

            Australia (where it isn’t reported like a special favour if a few of the land’s original inhabitants aren’t blocked from accessing hospitals) also has a policy of putting refugees behind fences indefinitely, but at least there is wide acknowledgement that such treatment would cause psychological damage and violent behaviour in anybody.

            • Malgorzata
              Posted January 13, 2013 at 5:15 am | Permalink

              That exactly is the trouble: the stranger who is climbing on the roof, is a Palestinian and does it with the full knowledge and approval of Hamas. Hamas, as an authority in Gaza, should take care of this Palestinian mother and her children but instead it is buying rockets for this man to shoot at Israeli mothers and children.Israel is taking care of her own mothers and children and tries to protect them which is the right and duty of every state: to protect its civilian population. Maybe it really is time to make it clear to the leaders of Palestinians what their real rights and duties are.

      • gbjames
        Posted January 9, 2013 at 6:14 am | Permalink

        Some of the “other options” you suggest are totally unrealistic. Israel could NOT end the conflict by fiat. The conflict can not end while one of the parties is committed to the utter destruction of the other. That idea is a fantasy.

        Israel COULD do a lot more. It could reverse the momentum of the settlements. It could stop the in-your-face “Jerusalem is our capital” business. It could claim more moral high ground than it has now.

        But as long as Muslims insist that Israel’s very existence is to be opposed none of that would matter.

  11. Cornelius
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    There will never be peace until the Palistinian leadership clearly states that Israel has the right to exist. This will not happen because it is anathama to Islam and therefore continuing war is unfortunately inevitable.

    • Joshua
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Note that the “right to exist” is never claimed by other nations. Mexico recognizes the US without recognizing it’s “right to exist”. The US never demands this from Mexico; despite the US having stolen half of Mexico in the nineteen century.
      Further note that the US and Israel are nearly isolated in their efforts to block Palestinian statehood; voting against recognition of the Palestinian state just last year at the UN–even as a so-called ‘non-member observer state’.

      • starskeptic
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        Yeah – but Mexico also doesn’t have provisions in it’s political documents calling for the elimination of Americans.

        • Joshua
          Posted January 9, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

          Your implication only applies to Hamas, which is not representative of all Palestinians…only those in the the effective prison that is the Gaza Strip.

  12. Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I love Pat. I’ve been following him for years. I own all of his dvd’s. His anti-religion talks are legendary. But here he has decided to give one religion a pass while chastising us all for giving the other religion a pass. I do not support any religion. They are all complicit in the evil that occurs on this planet. That’s why I’m just as certain that the Jews are equally interested in removing every last Palestinian from existence. They express that intent with missiles and bombs rather than verbs and nouns. If you choose one side then, according to Pat you’re racist toward the other. That’s why neither side should be defended or supported.

    • gbjames
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      I think you are presenting a false equivalency. I’ll agree that there is plenty of “racism” to go around, but Israel doesn’t incorporate the elimination of all Arabs into the constitution to my knowledge. Judaism doesn’t institutionalize the idea of converting or killing all non-Jews. Not all religion is equally toxic.

      • Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        You make my point. Israel uses missiles and bombs and not “verbs and nouns”. If you mean that all religions are nor equally toxic by, perhaps, referring to Jaines or Sikhs or Buddhists then I’ll concede the point somewhat but Christians, Muslims and Jews have dirty hands to a similar degree.

        • gbjames
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

          My understanding of history must be incomplete. I missed the centuries of oppression of Christians, Muslims, and others by Jews. I am not making your point.

          Of the three, one fails to emphasize conversion of others to the “one true faith”.

          And, just to deflect any unwarranted misdirection, I do not excuse the Israeli state for decades of apartheid-like land-theft policies on the West Bank.

          • Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

            You say “I missed the centuries of oppression of Christians, Muslims, and others by Jews”. You’re witnessing it right now.

            • gbjames
              Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink

              You have a nonstandard definition of the word “centuries”.

              • Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

                So, unless it occurs for centuries it’s a non issue.

              • gbjames
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

                There is a difference between centuries/millennia of systematic oppression and decades of apartheid government policy. If you can’t distinguish these you are not thinking clearly.

              • Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

                Okay, lets try it one more time. If you think that by insulting me by arguing that I don’t know the difference between centuries and recent history, bolsters your position you clearly have a weak argument. Once again, just because the Israelis haven’t been bombing for millennia doesn’t excuse their current appetite for destruction. They are perpetrating a holocaust.

              • gbjames
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

                I’m not insulting you. I’m calling you on your refusal to distinguish the histories of the followers of the three Abrahamic religions.

                You seem to think that bad behavior by Israel government for the past few decades is equivalent to centuries of religion-driven war and pogroms by Christian and Muslim rulers. It isn’t.

              • Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

                A dominant theme of both ancient Hebrew and subsequent Jewish culture is the Holy Atrocity. The ancient Hebrews, most often acting upon direct orders from LORD God, exterminated entire ethnic groups, tribes and nationalities. Men, women, children, and livestock were slaughtered, cities burned, and artwork destroyed. Sometimes LORD God directed the Hebrews to massacre each other, and sometimes others attacked LORD God’s people. (26)

                Advocating Holy Atrocities

                The Holy Atrocity is relevant to today’s political situation in the Middle East and the role America will play: The Holy Atrocity is advocated as a political solution. One of the advocates is Washington, DC lawyer Nathan Lewin, who represents Orthodox Jewish interest groups in high-profile legal disputes. In an article published in May 2002 in the opinion magazine Shma.com, Lewin called for the massacre of families of Palestinians accused of suicide bombing. He introduces the subject with these words:

                What if Israel and the United States announced that henceforth the perpetrators of all suicide attacks would be treated as if they had brought their parents and brothers and sisters with them to the site of the explosion?

                — Nathan Lewin (8)

              • Simon
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

                What if Israel and the United States announced that henceforth the perpetrators of all suicide attacks would be treated as if they had brought their parents and brothers and sisters with them to the site of the explosion?

                This is not an imaginary exercise. The Israeli government has long used house demolitions as measure to punish the families of suicide bombers:

                House demolitions were used in the region under the British Mandate. In 1945 the authorities passed the Defence (Emergency) Regulations[20] and Regulation 119 made this practice available to the local Military Commander without limit or appeal.
                In a 1987 letter, the British said this regulation had been repealed in 1948.[21] However, the repeal was not published in the Palestine Gazette, as required in law at that time, and Israel still operates the contentious policy of punitive military house demolition under the 1945 British DER 119.
                As part of the 2nd intifada, the IDF adopted a policy of house demolition in response to a wave of suicide bombings. Israel justified the policy on the basis of deterrence against terrorism, and providing an incentive for families of potential suicide bombers to prevent the bomber from attacking. Demolitions can also occur in the course of fighting. During Operation Defensive Shield, several IDF soldiers were killed early in the conflict while searching houses containing militants. In response, the IDF started employing a tactic of surrounding such houses, calling on the occupants (civilian and militant) to exit, and demolishing the house on top of the militants that do not surrender. This tactic, called “Nohal Sir Lachatz” נוהל סיר לחץ “Pressure Pot”, is now used whenever feasible (i.e., non multi-rise building that’s separated from other houses). In some heavy fighting incidents, especially in the 2002 Battle of Jenin and Operation Rainbow in Rafah 2004, heavily armored IDF Caterpillar D9 bulldozers were used to demolish houses to widen alleyways or to secure locations for IDF troops.[22]
                According to a report by Amnesty International in 1999, house demolitions are usually done without prior warning and the home’s inhabitants are given little time to evacuate.[23]
                In February 2005, the Ministry of Defense (Israel) ordered an end to the demolition of houses for the purpose of punishing the families of suicide bombers unless there is “an extreme change in circumstances”.[24] However, house demolitions continue for other reasons. In 2010 (to 9 Nov) 315 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished in East Jerusalem and Area C (including 17 structures demolished by their owners following demolition orders). 402 people have been displaced and about 1,296 people have been otherwise affected. [4]
                In 2009, after a string of fatal attacks by Palestinian against Israelis in Jerusalem, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled in favor of the Israeli Defense Forces to seal with cement the family homes of Palestinian terrorists as a deterrent against terrorism.

                Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_demolition_in_the_Israeli%E2%80%93Palestinian_conflict#As_a_punitive_measure

              • gbjames
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

                Get real, kfwils.

              • Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

                Not so wordy in your response this time around history denier.

              • gbjames
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

                I’m denying no history. I’m denying false equivalence.

              • Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

                The diseased couldn’t care less about who has the longest running propensity for violence.

              • gbjames
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

                The dead don’t care one way or the other about any of this.

                You and I are not among the dead, as far as I can tell. You and I should be concerned about logical fallacies. False equivalence is one of them.

        • Pray Hard
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          “That’s why I’m just as certain that the Jews are equally interested in removing every last Palestinian from existence.”

          What?!

          “Christians, Muslims and Jews have dirty hands to a similar degree.”

          I reiterate, what?!

          • Posted January 9, 2013 at 3:33 am | Permalink

            Jews established their state through acts of terrorism. Menachim Begin and the King David Hotel.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Maybe there are some people in Israel dreaming about eradication of Arabs but they are not a majority and their voice is not trumpeted by media day in and day out, as the desire to annihilate the Jews is in Palestinian media. This short video shows the difference (and there are more solid proofs as well, for example public opinion polls): //www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuPsuI2lJyA&list=FLWOkEnBl5TO4SCLfSlosjgg (http removed)

    • Michael
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      You couldn’t be more wrong. Israel routinely risks the lives of its own soldiers to protect civilian life. In the recently completed defensive operation to halt missile fire from Gaza the IDF ran 1500 bombing missions. They killed about 120 people. If they are interested in removing “every last Palestinian from existence” they are piss-poor at it!

      • Michael
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        Here are a couple of examples:

      • Michael
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        Sorry, wrong links. Here:

      • Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Only because the world is watching. How kind to run 1500 bombing missions and only kill 120 people. Were any of them your children.

        • Michael
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

          Some were children and it’s devastating to us. As opposed to Hamas, who hand out candy when they intentionally kill our children.

          You said, “That’s why I’m just as certain that the Jews are equally interested in removing every last Palestinian from existence. They express that intent with missiles and bombs rather than verbs and nouns.” Again, world watching or not, that “intent” is hardly expressed with missiles and bombs, certainly not relative to any other country on Earth.

          • logicophilosophicus
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

            Not intentional, I’m sure, but lost of posters here are saying that “the Jews” are responsible for… whatever. That has a horribly racist pre-WWII tone. “The Israelis”, surely? There are about 6M Jews in Israel and 7M+ elsewhere (mostly USA).

          • Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

            A dominant theme of both ancient Hebrew and subsequent Jewish culture is the Holy Atrocity. The ancient Hebrews, most often acting upon direct orders from LORD God, exterminated entire ethnic groups, tribes and nationalities. Men, women, children, and livestock were slaughtered, cities burned, and artwork destroyed. Sometimes LORD God directed the Hebrews to massacre each other, and sometimes others attacked LORD God’s people. (26)

            Advocating Holy Atrocities

            The Holy Atrocity is relevant to today’s political situation in the Middle East and the role America will play: The Holy Atrocity is advocated as a political solution. One of the advocates is Washington, DC lawyer Nathan Lewin, who represents Orthodox Jewish interest groups in high-profile legal disputes. In an article published in May 2002 in the opinion magazine Shma.com, Lewin called for the massacre of families of Palestinians accused of suicide bombing. He introduces the subject with these words:

            What if Israel and the United States announced that henceforth the perpetrators of all suicide attacks would be treated as if they had brought their parents and brothers and sisters with them to the site of the explosion?

            — Nathan Lewin (8)

            • Michael
              Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

              Oh please, what nonsense. You’re going to bring the ideas of one lawyer to back up your assertion of “Holy atrocities”. The moment Lewin penned that screed he was condemned from all corners. And of course the Israeli government never considered such an idea.

              And don’t even consider mentioning the house demolitions. Nobody was killed, and it was an attempted means to deter future suicide bombers who clearly didn’t care about their own lives.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

                You did, so I will. This is a classic case of government terrorism – punishing the *families* of offenders. Only totalitarian states do that.

                It’s also creating huge numbers of people who have real, deep seated reason to hate Israel even more – more potential suicide bombers. So it’s totally counter-productive.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

                House demolitions, I was referring to, of course.

        • steve oberski
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

          So have you now changed your claim that you are “certain that the Jews are equally interested in removing every last Palestinian from existence” ?

          And you now insinuate that the only reason Isreal is not trying exterminate the Palestinians is because the “world is watching” ?

          And then such tender concern “for the children”.

          I would suggest that before attributing base motives to others you carefully examine your own.

          • Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

            A dominant theme of both ancient Hebrew and subsequent Jewish culture is the Holy Atrocity. The ancient Hebrews, most often acting upon direct orders from LORD God, exterminated entire ethnic groups, tribes and nationalities. Men, women, children, and livestock were slaughtered, cities burned, and artwork destroyed. Sometimes LORD God directed the Hebrews to massacre each other, and sometimes others attacked LORD God’s people. (26)

            Advocating Holy Atrocities

            The Holy Atrocity is relevant to today’s political situation in the Middle East and the role America will play: The Holy Atrocity is advocated as a political solution. One of the advocates is Washington, DC lawyer Nathan Lewin, who represents Orthodox Jewish interest groups in high-profile legal disputes. In an article published in May 2002 in the opinion magazine Shma.com, Lewin called for the massacre of families of Palestinians accused of suicide bombing. He introduces the subject with these words:

            What if Israel and the United States announced that henceforth the perpetrators of all suicide attacks would be treated as if they had brought their parents and brothers and sisters with them to the site of the explosion?

            — Nathan Lewin (8)

            • steve oberski
              Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

              You are describing almost any bronze age tribal culture.

              For example the tribal cultures that western civilization can claim as ancestors.

              And in fact the history of the Jews in christian Europe is about as far away from your deranged fantasy as it is possible to be.

              If any culture could be said to be based on “Holy Atrocity” (where do you wingnuts get these terms from anyway, do you all read the same wingnut web sites ?), it would be christian Europe up until the enlightenment.

              Although certain extant theocratic Muslim regimes are trying really hard to displace them.

              • Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

                It was a response to a number of you, and there are plenty, who either don’t know or refuse to believe that Jews have a history of violence relating to their God just as the other Abrahamic religions did. Christians now use stealth bombers instead of rocks and spears and Muslims use anything they can get their hands on. All peoples of religion have committed atrocities to defend their belief.

              • gbjames
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

                “All peoples of religion have committed atrocities to defend their belief.”

                This is not true. All peoples of all religions do not commit atrocities. Neither you nor I expect a car bomb to be set off somewhere by militant Jains. Some religions are far more toxic than others, as has been said repeatedly. This is something that for some reason you are unable or unwilling to admit.

                All religions are equally wrong insofar as they postulate the existence of things for which there is no evidence. Some religions manifest their wrongness with more aggression than others. And religions change over time, some becoming less aggressive (Catholicism is far less toxic than it was in 1500). The Enlightenment worked wonders on detoxifying Christianity.

                Islam happens to hold the current “best in class” award for religion-based physical intimidation and horror. Sure, this stuff is found elsewhere. But it is more prominent in Islam than it is in Hinduism, Christianity, or Judaism. We should not pretend this is not the case.

              • Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

                You’re right. I made a comment earlier expressing that Jaines, Sikhs,etc. would be exceptions. I shouldn’t have used the word “all”.

              • steve oberski
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

                Well of course the Jews have a history of violence.

                We all do.

                It’s what we did in our pre-history, millions of years of bad assed ancestors and here we are today.

                Every square foot of real estate that our race has occupied is soaked with the blood of it’s previous owners.

                You seem to be using some conspiracy theory trash/protocols of the elders of zion redux as “evidence” that the Israelis are out to exterminate the Palestinians.

                Except when the world is watching.

                Which is all the time.

                So what’s your point ?

        • shazam
          Posted January 9, 2013 at 3:15 am | Permalink

          if the palestinians were to run 1500 bombing missions they would all (every last one of them) target bars, cafés, discos, weddings, schools and would kill plenty more than 120.

          it’s only in your mind that the palestinians are good and the jews are evil.

          • Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:15 am | Permalink

            You mistake my stand. Both sides are evil. No one points at the Jewish violence for fear of being labeled anti-Semitic. Killing in the name of any religious belief is insanity.

            • Michael
              Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:31 am | Permalink

              And your “stand” is wrong. Israel reluctantly targets combatants ONLY in defense. There is no equivalence here. The Pals of Gaza could have had a mini Singapore by now and Israel would be there biggest trading partner and friend. That, is a fact.

              • Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

                Remember this….. Israeli commandos rappelled down to an aid flotilla sailing to thwart a Gaza blockade on Monday, clashing with pro-Palestinian activists on the lead ship in a botched raid that left at least nine passengers dead.

  13. Kevin
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The only thing I have to say: Religion poisons everything.

    Without the religious implications, who in the world would fight so hard to hold onto or gain control of that piece of desert?

    People have been dislocated by others in other regions (wrongly and oftentimes brutally) since before the invention of the wheel. The displaced move on and eventually find new lives elsewhere. Not just in the Americas. Everywhere and always, the powerful move the powerless out of the way.

    Only in the Middle East is there this sense of permanent entitlement and permanent diaspora all at the same time.

    The Jews flooding in from Russia don’t belong there. Any Palestinian with half a brain would have emigrated to someplace better decades ago. You want some really bad desert land? Try New Mexico.

    And the only reason any of them really want the land is because it’s considered “sacred”. Which is total nonsense. As if a god of the entire universe would cordon off a particularly awful bit of it for a tiny group of humans. Or, in this case, two groups, both of whom claim the same god has given them the same land.

    Honestly, I gave up caring about the entire region years ago, and wish the US would stop seeing its role as being the arbiter of the dispute. That’s the UN’s job, not the US’.

    If bloody war is what it will take to settle the dispute, I’ll feel bad for the innocents who are lost. But that represents a smaller percentage of the population than in other places. I honestly and truly can’t be arsed to care about anyone else involved.

    TL;dr: A pox on both their houses.

    • Marella
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      I see your point and have pretty much come to the position that I don’t really want to hear any more about it because there is no end in sight. But it is true that the Israelis would find peace if they could but the Palestinians are not interested bar the complete excision of Israel from the area. This means I have to been on Israel’s side. I also tend to agree that Islam is more noxious than Judaism, though the more conservative Judaism gets, the more like Islam it becomes.

  14. logicophilosophicus
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Condell makes some good points, but his argument is rhetorical rather than logical. He doesn’t acknowledge – doesn’t even hint – that some Muslims and Muslim groups are more moderate than others. The only Muslim attitude he is interested in is that of Hamas. There are certainly too many extreme factions in Islam, but Islamic fundamentalism will no be addressed by withdrawing aid. People leave mediaeval attitudes behind when they have access to prosperity and education – and even then it is a generational process.

    However, the establishment of the State of Israel may be a sore that can heal only very slowly. The obvious comparison is Northern Ireland. My family are “Scotch Irish”, and my ancestors were part of the Jacobean “Plantation” of Protestants in Ireland. They have lived there for up to 400 years, but the battles of the 17th century are still being fought.

    • Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Moderate Muslims and non-fundamentalist Christians have the same problem. They think that they can say,” Hey! look at us, we’re just standing in a corner minding our own business”. Their silence about the extreme factions of their religions makes them complicit.

      • Pray Hard
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Apparently, you’re a Muslim?

        • Posted January 9, 2013 at 3:30 am | Permalink

          No Mr. Pray Hard wise ass. I’m a born again Atheist.

      • Pray Hard
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Or just a dhimmi liberal? Just trying to figure out your stance.

        • Posted January 9, 2013 at 3:35 am | Permalink

          Liberals are rational. Right wing conservative religious people have their common sense impaired by believing in supernatural mythstory.

  15. Hempenstein
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Until Hamas et ux wrap their heads around the concept that they are more genetically similar to the inhabitants of Israel than they are to Europeans, I don’t see anything changing. Maybe some Israelis need to wrap their heads around this too, but I suspect that those are a minority.

    In any event, I find it greatly insulting that the rest of the world has to endure a continuum from distraction to suffering as a result of this arrogance and stupidity.

  16. Alex T
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Whoa whoa…

    He says that the media (and we) ignore the “fact” that the Israelis try to avoid targeting innocents. Well, why should we? The fact is that the Israelis kill vastly more innocents, regardless of their intentions. To hell with their intentions, look at their actions.

    He says that we (and our media) ignore rockets showering down on Israel and as soon as Israel retaliates then we complain. What nonsense! The news is full of stories about how Palestinian rocket attacks have broken a spell of peace even though hundreds of Palestinians have been killed during this so-called peace. It’s Israeli dead that count.

    He says that we are giving them a pass and encouraging them to be “delinquent”. Again, what rot. Many liberals will point out that they are heavily oppressed and lashing out is understandable, though it is not excusable. Yet the bulk of the coverage is devoted to *excusing* the violence of the Israeli army. How the hell do you take that and say that we’re biased towards the Palestinians?

    He complains that their “bad behaviour” is rewarded with political support and “billions of dollars”. Again, what a crock. They’re living in walled communities cut off from food and jobs while Israel gets billions of dollars in aid and military support.

    He says that Palestinians attack “unprovoked”. Riiiight. Because the slate is always reset whenever Israelis attack and kill Palestinians. Israel always retaliates, Palestinians always attack unprovoked. What bullshit.

    He finishes by saying that our battle with Islam should be fought with bullets and bombs. Do I need to say more? Jeez.

    I kept waiting for some sort of twist but he actually finishes on possibly his worst note ever. Man.

    TL;DR – holy crap, what a blind, biased hate-filled rant.

    • Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      As I stated in my original comments, I have followed Pat for a long time but he is way off base with this rant. You are so right about the disparity in civilian loss of life. Our very own “Shock and Awe” was a great example of not giving two shits about civilian populations. Humans are now collateral damage. Sounds so much more sanitized.

      • Malgorzata
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        The often repeated slogan among Palestinian is: “We love death more than you love life”; Palestinian mothers are putting suicide belts on their toddlers; mothers of “successfull” sucicide-killers are proud of them and promise to give their other sons to Holy Jihad; kids all ages are present when jihadists shoot their rockets; high Palestinian functionaries approve the song about Palestinian children being the fertilizer for Palestinian soil; rockets are launched from populated areas (and, yes, there are unpopulated areas in Gaza). Every one of those statments above can be documented. Israelis are keeping children far from the army, every school, kindergarten and playground has a shelter. Is it so strange that there are more Palestinian victim than Israelis? But looking at the proportion of killed fighter and civillians, not just comparison how many Jews Palestinians managed to kill and vice versa, situation seems different.

      • Sarah
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        There are reasons for that “disparity in civilian loss of life”. One side builds bomb shelters and the other doesn’t; one side fires its rockets from schools and hospitals and then complains in outrage when return fire inadvertently kills civilians; the other side is careful to keep its military separate from residential areas. One sides extols “martyrdom” and the other doesn’t.

        • Alex T
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

          One has a multi-billion dollar missile defence system which shot down virtually all incoming missiles and retaliates with missiles, helicopters and aircraft strikes. The other rigs up improvised offensive devices and has no defence at all.

          One has concrete bunkers and high walls to protect them. The other has high walls to trap them into ghettos which may be bulldozed at will.

          Again, not a justification for violence but the two parties are in no way equivalent.

          • Sarah
            Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:06 am | Permalink

            Have you considered the saying that if both sides laid down their arms there would be peace; if the Palestinians laid down their arms there would be peace; if the Israelis laid down their arms there would be no Israel? Sounds simple, but it’s true.

            • Alex T
              Posted January 9, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

              That’s a comforting story but contradicted by historical facts.

              Arab states have proposed peace treaties with defined borders based on pre-1967 borders but Israel has refused to participate and the US has vetoed all resolutions in the UN security council.

              There have been truces in the past, but it is typically Israel that breaks them. Just this last year, Israel broke a true by assassinating Palestinian leaders and killing civilians: http://www.democracynow.org/2012/11/15/breaking_truce_israeli_strikes_kill_moderate

              You’re badly misinformed if you believe that Israel is always the poor innocent victim looking for peace and it’s the Palestinians who are always the villains.

            • Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

              Remember this…. Israeli commandos rappelled down to an aid flotilla sailing to thwart a Gaza blockade on Monday, clashing with pro-Palestinian activists on the lead ship in a botched raid that left at least nine passengers dead.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

                For goodness sake! Haven’t you seen those “activists” which belonged to a Turkish terrorist organization, with knives and metal rods beating the life of the Israeli soldiers? There are video on the Internet, not difficult to find. Haven’t you read their “last wills” (some of them also filmed and posted) where they said that they are going on this “peace mission” to seek martyrdom for Allah? You really do not know all this, well documented thing?

              • Posted January 9, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

                You’re so full of shit your eyes are brown. They were peace activists from all over the world, many Scandinavian bringing food and medical supplies.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted January 10, 2013 at 2:05 am | Permalink

                Just for the records: my eyes are grey. But I can understand that it is very painful to you to be confronted with unwelcome facts. I suggest reading UN Palmer Commission Report to Mavi Marmara incident: http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/middle_east/Gaza_Flotilla_Panel_Report.pdf
                All dead “activists” were members of the Turkish IHH, a terrorist organisation, who tried to kill Israeli soldiers.

              • whyevolutionistrue
                Posted January 9, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

                You apologize to Malgorzata NOW for that insult or you’ll never comment here again. Do you know the policy of not calling other comments names?

                Apologize, please.

        • Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          The Palestinians don’t have military bases with an organized military. They are living as indentured slaves. When they strike back at the master you call it terrorism. You seem to think the Palestinian people enjoy seeing women and children ravaged by bombs. That’s a psychological self defense mechanism so you won’t have to deal with the inhumanity of your opinion.

          • Sarah
            Posted January 9, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

            The Palestinians wouldn’t need military bases anyway if they were not trying to destroy Israel, which according to the charters of both Hamas and Fatah is their overriding aim. They are not slaves, except possibly to their own leaders, who in both Gaza and the West Bank seem to have done away with elections. They could be neighbours like any other country if they wanted to live in peace and agree to definite borders. Setting borders would mean recognising Israel as a Jewish state, and that’s why there hasn’t been a border for the last 64 years. (The “Green Line” is not a border.) Israel has no doubt made mistakes over the years, but what would YOU do if your neighbours wanted to kill you and made no bones about it?

  17. Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    This may be the only issue in which I disagree with Jerry and Eric McDonald. I believe the Israel-Palestine issue is predominantly political, with the religious leaders on both sides capitalizing on this emotional component.

    Why did the Jewish diaspora return to Israel after a thousand years elsewhere? It was for political asylum but that tract was chosen for religious reasons. It is a neo-colonization that displaced Palestinians.

    Condell says that “we” give Peace Prizes and “we” give deference to one side. Bullshit. A committee in Oslo gives Peace Prizes and western governments give aid to BOTH sides despite both sides reneging on the agreements.

    I am disappointed but not surprised that westerners are unable to understand the complexity of the situation in Palestine. We wonder why native Palestinians are unwilling to be content in refugee camps in Lebanon.

    What if an alien diaspora, gone for 1200 years and now backed by a consortium of foreign military powers, laid claim to New York City, displacing citizens to Long Island and New Jersey, making refugees of hundreds of thousands and stating that some religion gave them the right? And then over the next 50-60 years, this alien population extended settlements into “disputed” territories without agreement? How militarized and insane would the displaced New Yorkers become? Correct me if this analogy is inaccurate.

    • krzysztof1
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Is it really possible to separate politics from Islam? From what I have read and observed, there is no such thing as separation of religion and state in Islam.

      • Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        Israel is a theocracy. Goes both ways.

        • krzysztof1
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

          You may be right about that; I’m not familiar with its constitution. But it seems to me that open secularism is tolerated by the government, even though ultra-Orthodoxy is on the rise there. In most Muslim countries (Turkey is currently an exception) open secularism is discouraged, to say the least.

          • Sajanas
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

            Israel doesn’t have a formal constitution at all. It was never able to put one together.

        • Endre Kovács
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

          Israel is a secular parliamentary democracy with universal suffrage. With lots of religious Jews in it. Now compare this with, say, Iran.

          • Reginald Selkirk
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

            Israel To Allow Civil Marriages
            That article from Nov 2010. What kind of “secular parliamentary democracy” does not allow non-religious marriages?

          • Sajanas
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

            Its worth looking at the behavior of the Ultra-Orthodox in Jerusalem before you start saying that it is a ridiculous idea. The communities there have been spitting on ‘inappropriately dressed women’, tearing the faces of women off advertisements, trying to force gender segregation on everyone that comes through their areas, all while they get huge subsidies and considerations from the government. Tel Aviv is very liberal and secular, but Israel is not without its extreme religious problems… and its worth remembering that the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox have a lot of weight coming from their political parties in the Knesset because of how fractured everything is.

    • Uncle Ebeneezer
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      I more or less agree with you. While there is alot of sympathy for the Palestinians among Lefties in America, they don’t get anywhere near the amount of real support from the US that Israel does. Money, weapons, sharing of our military might for posturing, favors in the UN etc. Heck we currently have alot of right-wingers screaming bloody murder about the nomination of Chuck Hagel for SecDef because he made some fairly mild and completely obvious statements questioning America’s deference to Israel on matters in the Middle East.

      There’s been so much atrocious behavior by both sides of the I/P conflict over the years, that trying to point at one side and say “it’s all their fault” is just silly. The only way to view the situation in a way that allows for potential solutions, is through the political lens. It is a power struggle involving oppression, rebellion against a foreign occupier, religion, nationalism, terrorism, security etc., etc. We have endless examples of similar situations from throughout history. And it seems that understanding the incredible complexity of the story makes more sense than focussing and judging morality of the actions of either side. At the end of the day both sides say and do things because they think doing so will advance their interests. The use of religion for justification on either side seems pragmatic. That’s one of the most powerful elements of religion, as everyone here knows: you can use it to justify whatever you want. If the goals of either side were any different, I have no doubt they would simply choose a different passage from their sacred text.

  18. Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    We all want peace, and yet, after more than a century of conflict, the struggle between these two related nations remains more intractable than ever. Why?

    Because each side is entrenched in its own narrative, to the exclusion of the other’s.

    Its faults notwithstanding, one must admit that Israel has taken some steps since the Oslo Accords toward acknowledging the Palestinian suffering. These steps are reflected in school books, in the media, and through other informational outlets. The Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza, for instance, are now referred to as “Palestinians,” and most Israelis would like to see a Palestinian state emerge. The fact that Israeli voters don’t reflect these wishes has to do with fears of surface-to-air missiles two miles from Ben-Gurion International Airport, and scarred memories of blown-up buses and pizzerias.

    The Palestinians, unfortunately, have done little to allay Israeli fears. While Palestinians clamor for the removal of onerous checkpoints and barriers, militant attempts to penetrate these barriers and attack Israeli civilians have not ceased at all since the second Intifada. Similarly, school books and speeches, in Arabic, have grown radical, to the point of portraying Israel’s very existence as a crime. Little has been done to acknowledge the Jewish roots in Palestine.

    The fact is that the Jewish presence in Palestine goes much farther back than most Palestinians, as well as Arabs and Muslims in general, would be willing to admit.

    Before 1948, Palestine was ruled by a series of empires. Before that Palestine was Judaea—a Jewish country. Jews have lived in Palestine continuously for more than 3,300 years. “Palestine” was the name given to the Jewish homeland in the second century by the Romans, in an attempt to break the Jewish adherence to the land. This was a century after the Jewish temple was destroyed and more than a million Jews were massacred.

    The Jews stopped fighting the Romans only after they had no more fighting men standing. As Evangelist William Eugene Blackstone put it in 1891, “The Jews never gave up their title to Palestine… They never abandoned the land. They made no treaty, they did not even surrender. They simply succumbed, after the most desperate conflict, to the overwhelming power of the Romans.”

    The Jews persisted through the centuries under the various empires, after the Arab invasion of 635AD (which they fought alongside the Byzantines), and after the Crusade massacres of the 11th Century, which decimated much of their population. They never stopped returning, and their numbers recovered. In the 19th century, before the Zionist immigration, Jews constituted the largest religious group in Jerusalem.

    Few Palestinians realize that Jewish customs, religion, prayers, poetry, holidays, and virtually every walk of life, documented for thousands of years—all revolve around Judaea/Palestine/Israel. For thousands of years Jews have been praying for Jerusalem in every prayer, after every meal, in every holiday, at every wedding, in every celebration. The whole Jewish religion is about Jerusalem and the Land of Israel. Western expressions such as “The Promised Land,” and “The Holy Land,” did not pop out of void. They have been part of Western knowledge and tradition dating back to the beginning of Christianity and earlier.

    After the Crusades, the Jews—including many who have returned over the centuries—lived peacefully with Arabs, often in the very same villages, as in Pki’in, in the Galilee, until the Zionist immigration of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Article 6 of the PLO Charter specifically calls for the acceptance of all Jews present in Palestine prior to the Zionist immigration. These Jews were simply another ethnic group in a region composed of Sunnis, Shiites, Jews, Druz, Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Circassians, Samarians, and more. Some of these groups, like the Druz, Circassians, Samarians, and an increasing number of Christians, are actually loyal to the Jewish State.

    Incidentally, genetic studies consistently show that Zionist immigrants (a.k.a., Ashkenazi Jews) are closely related to groups that predate the Arab conquest, like the Samarians, who have lived in Palestine for thousands of year.

    Palestinian denial of these facts may lead to events such as the ones brilliantly depicted in Jonathan Bloomfield’s award-winning book, “Palestine,” in which actual history and predicted events are thinly veiled as fiction.

    If, as the current Palestinian narrative goes, the Jews are not a people indigenous to Palestine but rather an invading foreign colonialist body, then they must be fought until they are removed from this land. Anything short of that, by any standard, would be injustice.

    Thus, war and bloodshed will continue until the Palestinians start acknowledging the Jewish narrative, and the fact that Jewish roots in Palestine date back thousands of years, long before the Arab invasion.

    • steve oberski
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      I have a better idea.

      Stop killing each other over a piece of dirt that your respective invisible sky daddies have told you that you have title to.

      Time to grow up and join the rest of the 21st century.

      My grandparents left Poland for Canada in the 1920s and that was the best decision they ever made.

      They left centuries of religious and cultural bullshit behind and so should you.

      I could make the same demented claims you are making for some blood soaked piece of real estate back in Poland, but guess what, it’s only a bit of dirt and it has no more or less significance than any other piece of dirt other than what the current inhabitants put into it.

      I don’t care how long you’ve lived there, what the history is, what the genetic studies show, as far as I’m concerned people who rationalize the conflict this way are psychopaths using a book of bronze age fairy tales as an excuse to murder other human beings.

      • gluonspring
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        +1

  19. krzysztof1
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    For me the question that I can’t answer is the extent to which the creation of Israel created the current radicalization of the Arab (and Muslim in general) world. The whole thing between the Arabs and the Jews seems to go far, far back in time, and it could certainly be that war is the normal state of affairs, and periods of apparent calm were exceptions due to the lack of Arab political and/or military power. Rather than being a dead issue, the memory of the Crusades seems to be alive and well. Maybe the Arabs dream of reconquering their former territories just as much as the Jews wanted to get back to Israel. I’d like to know more about that. Muslim forces certainly are trying to take over African countries in a big way.

    • starskeptic
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Good points – I’d add colonization and the subsequent fragmentation of those areas (including Africa) by the west as additional factors.

    • gluonspring
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      To the extent that Arabs and Jews have such dreams, we should leave them alone to duke it out, because such dreams are delusional. It is never wise to get caught up in someone else’s delusion.

      The whole idea of ancient claims to land is sort of absurd. If some group kicks you off your land with force, sure, resist them. Fight to get it back. But not to the seventh generation and beyond. That’s as batshit crazy as it gets, because every piece of dirt on the planet has a long history of claims to it.

    • Pray Hard
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Muslims have slaughtered 270,000,000-400,000,000 people over the past 1,400 years. I doubt the creation of Israel had much to do with their current insanity. It’s just that any excuse is good enough. The new insanity is just the old insanity.

      • Posted January 9, 2013 at 3:38 am | Permalink

        Christians have killed as many Muslims in just the last and present few Gulf wars. Mostly women and children. Remember shock and awe that gave you a little erection?

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted January 9, 2013 at 6:47 am | Permalink

        Can you give a source for those numbers? Seems pretty extraordinary, how does it compare to the total # of humans in that interval?

  20. Curt Nelson
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand why Condell labels it racism. Isn’t it just a case of accomodationism – respecting all religions no matter how insane?

    • krzysztof1
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      I thought he called it racism because anytime you assume that a whole class of people are incapable of something simply because by virtue of being members of that class, that’s racism.

      • gbjames
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        “Racism” should refer to bigotry based on race. Other forms of bigotry should not be called “racism”. “Anti-semitism” works sometimes. Just plain “bigotry” would have been a better word choice for Condell here.

        • Curt Nelson
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          Condell seems to jump from “we respect a barbaric religion,” – which I would think should be called accommodationism – to “we accommodate Islam because in this case the Muslims are Arab, therefore we’re racists.”

          I suppose calling the West accommodationist would not register for most people, and spelling it out – The West is respecting an insane religion! – could be seen as the beginning of an attack on all religion, but calling it racism… Who could have a problem with calling out racism?

          • krzysztof1
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

            Well, there is that. I’m sure there is feeling among many that attacking other faiths leaves one open to similar attacks from the others. To add to what I said above, I consider racism a form of, or perhaps a consequence of, xenophobia; and intolerance of other faiths (while making one’s own faith claims) is also a form of xenophobia. But it seems to me that Condell is talking about something else; I understood him to say that it’s “racist” to hold a people to a lower standard of behavior than we would expect of ourselves, and I think he means to imply “because they are another race.” [Of course they are not another race, they are another culture.]

            It’s an interesting twist on the implications of racism; the racist view of Americans for a long time was that blacks were inferior humans and could not be expected to do things intellectually that whites could. That was part of the justification for buying and selling them as property. In the first half of the 20th century (and later), blacks were not treated equally before the law–it was often assumed that a black suspect was guilty, because it was believed they had low minds, reduced inhibitions, and were sexually depraved. So to most Americans, racism involves feelings of superiority which lead to abuse of power, among other things.

            I believe Condell is arguing that racism, in the sense of having negative assumptions about another culture–the Arabs–is responsible for our claiming that the Palestinians are justified in attacking Israel because they are an oppressed people, they had their lands taken from them, etc., as well as ignoring the real religious motivations of their behavior.

            His best case seems to be that the reason we don’t treat it as a religious issue is that we have a hands-off attitude toward religion, or we are afraid of a religious war, but I confess I don’t yet see how that can be construed as “racism.”

            Looking back on Jerry’s comments above, I see now that he said it well: ‘I think the “lower expectation of Arabs” reflects not racism, but the traditional sympathy of liberals for the perceived underdog. But I agree with him that the problem is largely religious and not political, and that there will never truly be peace until the Muslims drive the Jews out of the Middle East—or there’s a bloody war.’

      • Pray Hard
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        He was being sarcastic. He knows that Islam/Muslims is/are not a race. You have to remember that he was a professional stand up comic for years.

        • John Scanlon, FCD
          Posted January 9, 2013 at 6:49 am | Permalink

          Was he ever funny?

    • steve oberski
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Condell calls it racism because Palestinians are being held to a lower standard of accountability because they are Palestinians.

      That was in the video.

      • krzysztof1
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        Yes, and two questions about that: 1. Is it true that we hold them to a lower standard of accountability than ourselves? and 2. Is it proper to call that a manifestation of racism?
        My answers would be 1. Maybe; 2. It could be (see my remarks on blacks above) but it doesn’t have to be, i.e., that could be a result of something else.

        • gluonspring
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          Technically accurate or not, rhetorically the word works because it paints in your mind the picture he wants to paint: that we treat this group of people as though they were incapable of civilized behavior, as though they were somehow inherently inferior. Whether this group is a race, a culture, or a religion, the image is the same: the group is inferior and just not able to meet out standards. Bigotry is a more accurate word, but if he’d said that I think the picture he is painting would be much less clear because that word is less finely honed in our consciousness.

          In short, the piece works, because it got me to introspect and ask myself whether, and if so why, I expect less of Palestinians and maybe Muslims general.

          • gluonspring
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

            meet our standards

  21. krzysztof1
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    A point that Condell might have mentioned (maybe I missed it) is the role of the media in perpetuating stereotypes. Here in America we are shown mostly scenes of bombed-out buildings, burning cars, dead bodies, and angry Muslim mobs shaking their fists and chanting slogans. We are encouraged to think in stereotypes, and racism is the worst kind of stereotyping. There have to be voices of reason in the Arab as well as the Western world, but the media don’t seem to be interested in bringing them to the masses. The public loves stereotyping. It’s a substitute for thinking. The public needs good guys and bad guys, just like in the Western movies! So the media, always concerned with ratings, gives the public what they want. It’s not a good situation.

  22. dinosaurjrjr
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    i think that it’s all political. religion is merely the justifying propaganda. we just can’t validate such propaganda with our concerns about religious freedoms.

  23. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    … and that there will never truly be peace until the Muslims drive the Jews out of the Middle East—or there’s a bloody war.

    I do not believe that if the Jews were driven out of the Middle East there would be peace. When was the last time there was substantial lasting peace in that region? The Sunni-Shia division is the most obvious conflict that would remain, but there are many others.

  24. Sameer
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I am an atheist so I don’t have a god in this fight. (Yes! I always wanted to use that somewhere.) I agree with most of what Pat Condell says. I think one thing that is missing in this discussion is the role of the orthodox Jews and their political supporters in Israel who keep pushing for more settlements in the West Bank and thus reducing the possibility of a two state solution. Also missing is the role of Christian fundamentalists in the US who continue to oppose any reasonable discussion along the line of a two state solution and continue to prop up the zealots in Israel, because they want to see a “Greater Israel” established, because that will signify the return of Jesus or some such bullshit. Both sides are equally guilty for the impasse in my opinion.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      don’t have a god in this fight

      +10

      • starskeptic
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        Seconded: +10

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          Goes for me too.

    • gluonspring
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      “because they want to see a ‘Greater Israel’ established, because that will signify the return of Jesus or some such bullshit.”

      Definitely true. Evangelicals are a huge barrier to any kind of rational view of the situation. I think it is worth noting that even in non postmillennial branches of Christianity the modern existence of Israel is regarded as a fulfillment of God’s promises in the Bible. While my own childhood sect didn’t seem to notice that Israel existed until about 1980, when they did notice they immediately latched onto it as validation of their faith. See, they say, the Bible is true, Israel is still there! Before it was sort of a thorn in their side that God had promised Israel’s descendants the land for all time, yet they had been expelled by the Romans. I mention this because I think this is a more widespread reason for Evangelical support of Israel than some end-time narrative (which is definitely strong in some groups, but far from universal). All brands of Christianity can look at the state of Israel as fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel (the person) in the Bible. If Israel hadn’t been established, or ultimately fails, it would be yet another blow of reality against their faith. Propping up Israel is thus, for many, not about how the future will play out but about validating their religion in the present. This is a powerful motivation and, I worry, the biggest barrier to any kind of rational approach to Israel in the U.S.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

        I was always baffled why so many American Christians (the sort who would like to shoot all those commie liberal Jewish lawyers in the ACLU) are so fervent about propping up the State of Israel which is near as dammit a heathen (Jewish) theocracy. I think you’ve explained it. Thanks.

  25. Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    You know Jerry, you’re right that not all the crap the Palestinians do is reported. However, you’re vastly wrong on Israel and that the atrocities they commit are fairly reported as well.

    Maybe someday you should look at the whole sordid story. Like when the IDF helped set-up and guard the Sabra and Shatila rape/death camps where thousands of women were raped, babies cut out of wombs, and over 2,000 Palestinains were killed as the IDF helped the Chistians (they were Christians) do this.

    (Christian Lebanese Phalangists)

    Wikipedia does a fair job of explaining it:

    The Israel Defense Forces surrounded the camps and at the Phalangists’ request,[8] fired illuminating flares at night.[9][10] In 1982, a UN commission chaired by Sean MacBride concluded that Israel bore responsibility for the violence.[11]

    In 1983, the Israeli Kahan Commission, appointed to investigate the incident, found that Israeli military personnel, aware that a massacre was in progress, had failed to take serious steps to stop it. Thus Israel was indirectly responsible, while Ariel Sharon, then Defense Minister, bore personal responsibility, forcing him to resign.[12]

    Yes, ‘failed to stop it.’ My ass. They turned back refugees into the camp to die as they shot flares into the air so the Lebanese Christian Phalangists could kill them around the clock.

    I don’t hate Israel. And I certainly don’t hate Jews. But I think the country has gone crazy and causes itself more problems than you can shake a stick at… And while I used to support them… No longer can I turn a blind eye to their horrible behaviors.

    And I think they get kid gloves compared to other abusive/aparthied states in the past.

    • logicophilosophicus
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Compare Srebrenica: the UN troops were responsible for the safety of people in the Safe Zone they encouraged/shepherded them into. Yes, it’s true, but responsibility comes in many forms. The guy with the gun is responsible big-style. Bystanders are often indecisive, a different level of responsibility by orders of magnitude.

      And “Christians” were responsible – qua “Christian”? Your implication, that their Christianity was the key determinant – just isn’t so. Were American, Italian, Brazilian… Christians lining up to join the Crusade? No.

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted January 9, 2013 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        A community of armed and militant Christians who happened to live nearby were politically aligned with, and used as a tool to perpetrate a massacre of defenseless refugees by, the Israeli Defense Force. Just one out of the hundreds of thousands of mutually excommunicated Christian sects. Of course all the others are blameless, and were immediately united in their outrage and disgust at such an atrocity. Don’t you remember?

        • logicophilosophicus
          Posted January 9, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

          Referring back to the Wikipedia article, the IDF fired flares to illuminate the camps. The suggestion that they did this to enable the atrocities which took place is crazy. Who would gain? Hobeika’s death squad were there under the pretence that they were carrying out a legitimate police action on behalf of the Lebanese government.

          “Robert Maroun Hatem, Elie Hobeika’s bodyguard, stated in his book ‘From Israel to Damascus’ that Hobeika ordered the massacre of civilians in defiance of Israeli instructions to behave like a ‘dignified’ army.”

          Your “used as a tool” is an accusation that Israel, or the IDF commanders, intended an atrocity. Your “defenceless” is a claim that there were no armed factions in the camps. I think that is a shocking misrepresentation.

          The behaviour of the IDF commanders was wrong. As the force in de facto control of the area, they had a duty to monitor the Phalangist operation more closely, and intervene when they realised what was happening. Their culpabibility is analogous to the culpability of the staff when a prison inmate is raped or murdered. It does not diminish or compare with the culpability of the rapist or the murderer.

  26. truthspeaker
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I understand why Israel won’t negotiate with Hamas, but I don’t understand why they won’t negotiate independence for the West Bank with the PLO. The PLO have worked with Israel to arrest terrorists in the West Bank; that’s why almost all the attacks come from Gaza now.

    And I don’t think the offer in 2000 was particularly generous. IIRC it involved a “state” of Palestinian enclaves inside an Israeli West Bank.

  27. Jiten
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    In the main I too agree with Pat. But he ignores Israel’s bad behaviour. He forgets to mention the use of illegal phosphorous by the Israeli army in Gaza during the intifada. There is no good guy and bad guy here. There is both good and bad on both sides. For a very good account of Israel’s behaviour see Folly of Fools by Robert Trivers.

    • gbjames
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      I think it is a mistake to make the “he ignores” argument based on a single Condell video commentary. If you go look at his many other videos you will find examples of equally passionate criticisms of other religions. I don’t think he is “ignoring” things, just laying out a case to stop pretending that Islam isn’t deeply responsible for this unending violence.

  28. Alex T
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Regarding questions about religion vs political origins:

    In the past we’ve discussed the strong correlation between job/food/health insecurity and religious fundamentalism. Palestine and the occupied territories must rank amongst the highest levels of insecurity in the world and it’s exacerbated (well, caused) by Israeli blockades, barriers and violence.

    Condell now seemingly imagines that all of this is caused by fundamentalism rather than being a reaction to it. Cart before the horse. Not that religion doesn’t have a role, but under these circumstances it has been dwarfed by real-life issues.

    • Lotharloo
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Exactly. And his solution is to cut all aids to make them even more miserable in hopes that “they” become “civilized”.

  29. Matt Bowman
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Condell doesn’t convince me that the liberal perspective on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a racist one. Also I don’t agree with Condell that the solution is as simple as withholding funds and telling the Palestinians that they will be held to the “same” standard. The risks of disengaging or withholding funds completely are too great.  Countries in the Middle East will continue to stay engaged in the process and taking ourselves out would abandon Israel and would not deter war. It may make war more likely. We have to stay engaged because it is true that Hamas has a goal of eliminating Israel.  The risk of Hamas obtaining more accurate and destructive weapons increases if we are not involved. We do have to monitor and restrict how our money is spent, and I’m sure we do that, but I’m not sure how well we do it. Hamas cannot be trusted and what comes and goes into Gaza and the West Bank has to be inspected and I’m not sure how well this can be done or is done. Anyway, I don’t see walking away, cutting off funds, and drawing a line at a “standard” is a worthy solution.

    And speaking of standards, I do agree we Jerry that Israel should dismantle the settlements in the West Bank. We expect much from the Israelis.  And maybe I am reinforcing Condell’s argument here, but the Israelis are held to a different standard because we see them as an extension of the West and as a US ally. The Israeli settlements in the West Bank beyond the Green Line are illegal under international law (at least that is the overwhelming consensus).  We hold the Israeli government to a high standard and we should.  For me, and I think for many, continuing Israeli settlements is not only a great disappointment, but it is damaging to the hope of future peace.  This makes the job of the West, mostly the US, much more difficult, as if it wasn’t hard enough to make a deal for peace.  Not that a deal is likely now or would hold, or that the fighting would stop, but the great number of Israeli settlements in the West Bank adds to the long list of problems that need to be resolved at some point in the future.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Since Oslo Agreement almost no new settlements have been built by Israel. There is construction in the existing ones and some in places which were (almost) agreed to be swaped for some other areas and remain as Israel’s. New, illegal settlements, buit by Jewish fanatics are forcibly dismantled – the last one just before the New Year with people wounded on both sides: fanatic Jewish settlers and Israeli army. And I do not understand why settlements should be such an obtacle to peace. There were no settlements 1948, when 7 Araba armies attacted Israel. There were no settlements 1967 when Nasser and all Arabs leaders promised Jews “rivers of blood”. There were no setttlements 1973 when Arab armies invaded Israel. When there was a chance for peace with Egypt Israel dismantled all settlements on Sinai. 2005, in the hope that this good will gesture will bring peace closer, Israel dismantled all settlements in Gaza and withdrew its army. So why suddenly those settlements are such an obstacle for peace? And how many people know that those settlements are taking under 4% of West Bank’s area?

      • Simon
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Since Oslo Agreement almost no new settlements have been built by Israel.

        Wrong: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_settlement_timeline

        And how many people know that those settlements are taking under 4% of West Bank’s area?

        Misleading.

        The actual buildings of the Israeli settlements cover only 1 percent of the West Bank, but their jurisdiction and their regional councils extend to about 42 percent of the West Bank, according to the Israeli NGO B’Tselem. Yesha Council chairman Dani Dayan disputes the figures and claims that the settlements only control 9.2 percent of the West Bank.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_settlements#West_Bank

        • Malgorzata
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

          1) Somehow I trust more the data from Israeli Government than from Wikipedia.
          2. Your are probably quoting the data about Area C which according to Oslo Agreement is under Israeli administration (in contrast to area A nad B where Palestinian Authority is in charge). The area of settlements is under 4%. In case of peace agreement (if Palestinian side would agree to return to negotiations) this could easily be swaped for an area of equivalent size from Israel proper, and those which could not be swaped could be dismantled, like in Sinai and Gaza.

          • Simon
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

            Somehow I trust more the data from Israeli Government than from Wikipedia.

            1) Wikipedia has links to its sources. 2) You haven’t cited anything specific.

            Your are probably quoting

            Read what I quoted and visit the source. Even the (extremely low and probably incorrect) 9.2% figure is from the Yesha Council ie the settlers themselves: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yesha_Council

            Also, why are we even talking about “area of settlements”? The relevant figure is the area that Israel controls since that is the land that the Palestians are barred from.

      • Matt Bowman
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        I stand by my argument that the settlements are illegal and that they impede the peace process.

        The Israeli settlements beyond the Green Line are illegal. Regardless of the exact percentage of land that Israeli settlements occupy, they are all illegal by international law.

        You stated in response to Simon that you don’t trust Wikipedia over your own sources, but I’ll direct other readers to the Wiki page on Israeli settlement and also two quotes from that page. As Simon said there are numerous references on the Wiki page. There is a long history involved in Israeli settlement and I think this page gives a thorough account.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_settlement

        settlements as a barrier to the peace process (fifth paragraph)

        “The ongoing expansion of existing settlements by Israel and the construction of settlement outposts is frequently criticized as an obstacle to the peace process by the Palestinians[24] and third parties, including the United Nations,[25] Russia,[26] the United Kingdom,[27] the European Union,[28] and the United States.[25]”

        settlements beyond the Oslo Accords (first paragraph)

        “Israel dismantled 18 settlements in the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, and all 21 in the Gaza Strip and 4 in the West Bank in 2005,[3] but continues to both expand its settlements and settle new areas in the West Bank in spite of the Oslo Accords, which specified in article 31 that neither side would take any step that would change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations. However, Israeli settlement expansion has continued unabated.[4][5][6][7]”

        And, on the same Wiki page under demographics there is a graph and table showing the increase in Jewish population in the West Bank. It is significant.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

          I’m not going into the discussion about legality of the settlements. It’s enough to say that there are different opinions, but let’s take your position that they are illegal. How do they hinder the peace process? And why was there no peace when there were no Israeli settlements on the West Bank? For years after Oslo Accord Arafat negotiated with Israel in spite of existence of settlements and Israel was fullfilling, gradualy, its obligations under the Oslo Accord. So why can’t Abbas negotiate a peace agreement which would force Israel to dismantle some settlements and give compensation in land for those which would not be dismantled? Then no new settlements would be build on the West Bank. But there is also a question why on PA TV there is repetedly talk about “all Palestine”? Why all organisations in PA (Fatah, PLO, youth organisations, whathaveyou) show the map of Palestine “from the River to the Sea”, without any Israel? Why Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (nominated by Abbas) said that “The Day of Judgement will not come until Muslims fight Jews. And stones and trees will say ‘Oh Muslim, behind me is a Jew, come and kill him'”? This was not a private gathering, it was a huge rally in the presence of high PA functionaries. Arn’t those things the real impediment to peace, and not those settlements?

          • Simon
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

            Malgorzata have you even looked the graph of settler activity ie growth that has been provided to you multiple times?

            You keep introducing new arguments and talking points without citations and constantly fail to address even the most well documented claims that are presented to you.

            The Oslo Accords were in 1993. The total settler population since that time has more than doubled. Do you not see how that makes them an impediment?

            • Malgorzata
              Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

              Sorry Simon, I do not have time to look up all links. But I do not introduce new lines. My main line is: why was there no peace when there were no settlements, and why settlements should be THE obstacle for peace, when Israel twice already dismantled its settlements in the hope for peace ?

              • Simon
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

                why was there no peace when there were no settlements

                There is a long list of grievances by both sides on this that is much too long to list here.

                and why settlements should be THE obstacle for peace, when Israel twice already dismantled its settlements in the hope for peace ?

                So what if Israel dismantled some of their settlements here and there (most notably in Gaza)? The total settler population is going up. Not stagnant, not down, but up.

                The continued partition of the West Bank is only making life more and more miserable for them with building of walls, creating Israeli-only roads, blocking access to resources, etc. All of this after the Oslo Accords you keep reminding us of.

                And yes, the Hamas charter is abhorrent. But that does not in any way excuse the even worse treatment of the people of Gaza who are not at fault and have been forced to endure a humanitarian crisis due to the blockade and two wars due primarily to the sadistic tendencies of the Israeli government:

                Israel’s policy was summed up by Dov Weisglass, an adviser to Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, earlier this year. ‘The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger,’ he said. The hunger pangs are supposed to encourage the Palestinians to force Hamas to change its attitude towards Israel or force Hamas out of government.

                Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/apr/16/israel

              • Malgorzata
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

                Even Red Cross agrees that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. If Hamas didn’t start shooting rockets into Israel there would be no blocade. If Hamas didn’t spent a huge percentage of aid money on weapon, people of Gaza would have better life. An in spite of very real hardship in Gaza the longevity, childrens mortality and many other indicators are much better than in neighbouring Arab countries, not to mention Africa. Gaza could have been a flourishing country with good agriculture, tourism and also high tech enterprises if the goal of its leaders was peace and welfare of Gazans and not an eradication of Israel.

              • Alex T
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

                The “no humanitarian crisis” claim is a lie, check your sources.

                Here is what the International Red Cross actually says (pardon the long quote but it’s worth reading):

                The ICRC is concerned about the fact that the 1.5 million people in the Strip are unable to live a normal and dignified life. Almost no one can leave the Gaza Strip, not even to go to the West Bank, where many Gazans have family or previously had work.

                Health-care facilities are suffering from the restrictions imposed by Israel on the transfer of medical equipment, building materials and many basic items needed for maintenance. Water and sanitation facilities have been under strain for many decades. The fact that they remain even barely in working order is due to the efforts of certain humanitarian organizations. Buildings that have been in need of repair for several years and the many buildings that were destroyed during the Israeli military operation in Gaza in 2008-2009 cannot be repaired or rebuilt as long as basic building materials, such as concrete, are not allowed into the Gaza Strip in meaningful quantities.

                Violence claims civilian lives in the Strip on a regular basis. In recent months, many people have been killed or injured in escalating violence and sometimes even in open hostilities. Security incidents in the area between Gaza and Israel frequently result in loss of life or in destruction of property or livelihoods. We deplore the civilian casualties and continue to remind all parties that civilians must be spared the effects of the hostilities.
                [...]
                The strict limits on imports and the almost absolute ban on exports imposed by Israel make economic recovery impossible. The unemployment rate currently stands at nearly 40 per cent. It will remain ruinously high as long as the economy fails to recover. This difficult situation exacerbates the considerable hardship already caused by the collapse of previously prosperous branches of the economy.

                Over the years, access to land suitable for agriculture has been eroded by restrictions imposed in the areas near Israel and the levelling of land and destruction of trees by the Israel Defense Forces. To make matters worse, the high price or even total lack of some farm inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides, etc., and the lack of export opportunities have weighed heavily on the primary sector. In addition, many fishermen have lost their livelihood as a result of Israel reducing the area at sea within which it allows fishing to three nautical miles from Gaza’s coastline.

                Because Israel retains effective control over the Gaza Strip, in particular by maintaining authority over the movement of people and goods, it must fulfil its obligations under the law of occupation and allow the civilian population to lead as normal a life as possible.
                Source:http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/interview/2011/palestine-israel-interview-2011-05-19.htm

                The Red Cross also described Israel’s occupation:

                The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law.

                Source: http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/update/palestine-update-140610.htm

          • Matt Bowman
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

            I never argued that Israeli settlements are the only impediment to peace and I want to be clear on that because you continue to present other barriers to peace as if I have ignored all others. The legality of settlements is not a difference of opinion as you say. They are illegal. You ask why the settlements impede peace and you have the answer, because they are illegal and the international community is against it. Along with asking why, you list a handful of other barriers. Well just add one more.

            • Malgorzata
              Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:24 am | Permalink

              Strange. There are so many articles and condemnations of Israel for those settlements, stating that the settlements are THE cause of broken peace negotiations. Israeli ambassadors were summoned in 5 European countries to here a sharp protest about settlements. There are almost no articles or condemnations of hatred which comes daily from politicians and in media in Arab and Islamic countries against Israel. Did anybody summon Egyptian ambassador when President Mursi took part in a sermon calling to annihilation of Jews and loudly answered “Amen” to this noble idea? Is anybody condemning Palestinia Authority for teaching children that all Israel belongs to Palestinians? For having a logo of the map of the region without Israel? Have anybody reacted to Khaled Meshal’s promise to eradicate Israel? I could add settlements to the list of impediments to peace (quite low on my list) when all the hatred and all promises to never accept the peace with Israel from the other side are also addressed.

  30. bueller007
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    It seems abundantly clear that Condell doesn’t listen to the American news media. Surely no sane person can think that–in America–Arabs get a free ride at the expense of Israelis.

    • Scott near Berkeley
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      No free ride, but again that “false equivalency” so in favor with our mainstream media is much in play. There was much breathless reporting of the Gaza casualties in the latest episode, the children killed, nearly killed, with no mention of missile sites knowingly placed in schools, and near homes. There is also a National Geographic article about owning tunnels going into Gaza, with no judgment as to the ridiculousness of the whole arrangement.

  31. Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    If they didn’t have the oil to sell, they couldn’t afford to buy the rockets, tanks, and other weapons.

    If the West didn’t need the oil, then relatively few people would be aware of, or care, about the conflict in the area. There are more than 30 wars currently happening worldwide, but most don’t get any news coverage.

    • Paul S
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      It’s not only the west that imports oil from the Middle East; check out China’s oil import stats. As far as buying rockets, tanks and other weapons, sure not having them might slow them down a bit, but this is a centuries long war. Israeli statehood was not the catalyst; merely another excuse to commit genocide and no truce is possible as long as there are adherents to Islamic religions. This isn’t about political ideology, land or culture and like the inquisition, it will not change from within.

  32. whyevolutionistrue
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Most people are behaving well here, but there are a few people being nasty and, especially, calling others names. Stop that now, please.

    kthxbai

  33. Scott near Berkeley
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Pat Condell’s sentiments 100%, except in calling us “racist”. The term is loaded with baggage, and using it here hides more than it reveals. It is our overdeveloped penchant for “justice” and “compassion” that allows popular opinion to give concessions to the undeserved: followers of Islam.

    I despise the current, typical awareness throughout developed countries that “There are always two sides to every argument.” coupled with “each side shares some blame”.

    Forget “Jews versus Moslems”. IMO, it is simply “Moslems at Fault” because, as Condell makes clear, the basic tenets of Islam make annihilation of Jews a matter of adherence to the Islamic faith. In the early conquests of Islam, they followed the practice of taxing non-believers, but the 20th century increase in military firepower has made that pathway obsolete. Kill, or be killed. 1948 happened, and we cannot reverse history. I don’t support states based on theology. I also don’t support annihilation of persons or people.

    If you ever read about how much money Arafat and his lieutenants siphoned off from Western largess, to enrich themselves and leave their own people discomforted and angry, that is enough to, to, to, …OK I’ve said enough…

    • zoolady
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      I’d bet a lot that Pat Condell using the term “racist” with heavy sarcasm! In the “politically correct” world, those who criticize Islam are immediately labeled as “racist.” I’ve had that term tossed at me…even though it’s completely inaccurate. (Not to get too far off topic but, there’s no such thing as “race” and Muslims come in all colors/ethnicities.)

      When one criticizes a “religion” which worships death, being labeled “racist” is very typical….and THAT is what Pat’s talking about.

  34. R J Langley
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Not a fan of Condell – he’s a supporter of UKIP, for one, as well perpetuating the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ myth. The guy’s just a bigot who uses his atheism as a stick to beat all Muslims indiscriminately. He’s in no way worthy of comparison to Hitchens or Dawkins.

    • Sarah
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      How does this address the points he makes in this video?

    • Alex T
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I’m increasingly lumping him with people like Geert Wilders. While they may have good points about religion, they carry too much baggage and bias to be cited.

  35. Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    “And it will be a religious war.” -Original post

    I have actually never seen the conflict in religious terms, though I do agree that religion has, since the 2nd intifada, become a more vocal point for both sides of the conflict. Israel was founded by secular Jews with the notion that Jews are a “nationality” rather than just a religion and thus need a state. This might have been a perfectly legitimate idea in the age of Nationalism but today it is generally thought that a “state” should be something completely different: one that allows for different ethnicities and religions. Except that the Israeli official line is still devoted to being a “Jewish state”.

    And I think this is the biggest problem facing a pacific solution. The conflict is about occupation, human rights and the rights to natural resources. Israel controls the best land (and water) and has no solution to what the right in Israel call “The Palestinian Problem”. If Palestinians are given the same rights as Jews, Israel will not be a Jewish state anymore, and this is why all the governments in Israel have always had a huge problem: what then to do with the Palestinians? No government has come up with a good answer because no one (apart from a few fringe right wing lunatics) have suggested ethnic cleansing as a serious solution.

    But though no government has come up with a solution, academics gladly have. :) One of the earliest I read was Virginia Tilley’s The One-State Solution. Though some Jews reviewed the book favourably (most notably Tony Judt) the single state solution is still very controversial in Israel for obvious reasons. Which is why I am happy that a respected Israeli sociologist, Yehodua Shenhav, has just published a book called Beyond the Two State Solution – A Jewish Political Essay. I’m not far into it (I only received it from Amazon yesterday) but it also makes a convincing case that the two state solution was stillborn.

    The first attempt at a two state solution was made c. a decade before Israel’s independence – so if after over 70 years of trying it, isn’t time to try something else since it has obviously failed? But there is the completely worldly (rather than religious) problems of land rights and the settlements. Israel has too much invested into the settlements that it could ever truly vacate them. So the radical idea that Tilley (and after skimming through it, Shenhav apparently, too) has is that a one-state solution is inevitable. Neither side is going to do an ethnic cleansing (no Israeli government has seriously considered it; Israeli military force is vastly superior to any other in the region so Palestinians won’t be able to even if they wanted).

    A long post, sorry!, but I still see all the main problems here as relating to completely worldly problems. Can someone still explain to me why this necessarily will become a religious issue? I see religion mainly in the rhetoric dealing with the situation but all the actual problems look very secular to me.

    • Sarah
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      “If Palestinians are given the same rights as Jews, Israel will not be a Jewish state anymore.”
      I’m not sure what this means. There are Arabs in Israel and they have the same legal rights as any other citizen. Palestinian Arabs who live under Palestinian jurisdiction are not Israeli citizens.

      • Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        What I meant was that no Israeli government has made it easy for Palestinians to get Israeli citizenship. Yet Tilley and Shenhav suggest that the only realistic and acceptable outcome to the conflict is that all people in the area, whether Israeli or Palestinian or Jew or Muslim, will get exactly the same rights. And this means that Israel’s nature as a Jewish majority state will have to change and Israel has to become a “modern” state with an accepted plurality of ethnic and religious backgrounds.

        • Sarah
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

          In other words a “one state solution”, which means no more Israel. There are more than 50 Muslim states but no one demands that they reorganize and “modernize” themselves and have a plurality of ethnic and religious backgrounds. If anything, they have been moving in the opposite direction. The only state for miles around with real ethnic and racial diversity is Israel. Would you believe Vietnamese boat people!?

          • Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

            So your argument is that just because elsewhere is worse, there’s no need to correct wrongs in Israel? Sorry, but I can’t accept that reasoning. Nor can I accept your claim that no one cares about human rights issues elsewhere in the NE. Of course many of us care about such issues everywhere where humans live.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

            Ethnic and racial diversity? Lebanon had that, I believe, and a relatively peaceful society till the toxic Arab-Israeli war spilled over into it.

            Part of Israel’s ‘problem’ is that the Palestinians inside Israel may soon outnumber the Jews. I believe their constitution is based on ‘one man one vote’ so without some major jerrymandering they’re going to lose power in a few decades.

            • Malgorzata
              Posted January 9, 2013 at 1:56 am | Permalink

              How interesting! Again Israels fault. Lebanese civil war 1958 between Maronite Christians and Muslim – the guilty: Israel. 1975-1990 bloody civil war supported by Syria and USSR, with religious and pan-Arabic themes – guilty: Israel. I wonder if in 10 years time some people will write that civil war in Syria, which is going on just now, was also Israel’s fault. How nice to have a scapegoat and easy explanation to everything.

      • gluonspring
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        This is obvious. It means that Israeli Jews don’t trust their fate to a democracy made up of a majority of non-Jews, specifically of Palestinians, many of whom have signed onto the idea of wiping out all Jews. Given their history, I can’t see any chance that Israeli Jews would ever back off of this. Could a strong enough constitution be written to protect the Jews as a minority in an Arab majority one state? Could you possibly convince Israeli Jews that it is? I just can’t see it. Not for a hundred years.

        At the same time, the two state solution does strike me as stillborn also. The Palestinian territories are such a shambles, their territory so divided. Their only long term hope, in my naive and uninformed view, is to be absorbed into another state: Egypt, Syria, whomever. In my crystal ball, if you look 100 years into the future I see two possible outcomes: Another ill advised attack on Israel by their neighbors which, after much bloodshed, Israel takes as an opportunity to expel all of the Palestinians into neighboring countries, resulting in a one state solution of a sort, or neighboring powers eventually acceding to absorbing the Palestinian territories peaceably and taking responsibility for them. That’s how it appears to me, from the cheap seats.

        • Sarah
          Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:24 am | Permalink

          There is an argument that the “Palestinian state” already exists and it is Jordan. Trans-Jordan was, after all, carved out of the original British Mandate area that was to be a home of Jews and Arabs. Then the remaining bit was divided by the UN for the Jews (i.e. Israel) and the Palestinian Arabs. The Palestinians could have had their own state in 1948, but they demanded all or nothing.

          • Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:52 am | Permalink

            Your argument assumes that even in 1948 you could consider all Arabs a monolithic single ethnicity. But they weren’t. Those living in what is now Israel and Palestine were primarily agricultural whereas those living in what is now Jordan were primarily beduin. Why you think that two completely different societies could be assimilated into one is something I don’t follow.

            • gluonspring
              Posted January 9, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

              It assumes nothing of the sort, no more than one needs to assume that every U.S. citizen is a member of the same ethnicity, lifestyle, and so on, or every person in the UK, etc. The idea that people can only live in homogeneous countries is absurd.

  36. Tubby
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I suspect Arab antisemitism gets a pass because it’s socially acceptable in the west. Why would people object to Arab media expressing a sentiment they agree with?

  37. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    “In the main I agree with Condell, though I think the “lower expectation of Arabs” reflects not racism, but the traditional sympathy of liberals for the perceived underdog.”

    These aren’t mutually exclusive positions, and I suspect Condell may have up to a point using the word “racism” in either an ironic sense or in the sense of the racism being unconscious.

    Many have argued that the liberal Democrat patronizing of African-Americans while also wanting to help them is a different and more subtle form of racism than that of those who want to oppress them, and I believe it is more or less in that sense that Condell means it.

    I guess you could call him “strident” but he has the substance to back it up.

  38. Paul S
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Having read through the posts to this point I would like to ask those who claim the issue is a secular disagreement about land that can be resolved through negotiation and not a religious one, why do you give more weight to this being a secular issue about land and settlements than you do to the explicit directive by Hamas to kill all Jews? To do so seems to me to be the same as granting Timothy McVeigh’s bombing was a political statement or that a note on a suicide bomber stating “I am not a suicide bomber” should be taken seriously.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Those who are soft on religion, or soft on the Palestinians, will accept NO evidence that they are mtoivated by religion. This is a very bizarre stand for a skeptic to take. There is nothing that they can say or do that will convince people that it’s not about politics and land. And that is the way God-coddlers and accommodationists deal with religiously motivated malice: it’s not motivated by religion.

      To paraphrase Sam Harris, some people really believe what they SAY they believe.

      • Alex T
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        FWIW, I don’t think I’m soft on religion but I don’t think it’s that clear.

        Palestinian arabs might hate Israli Jews for many reasons. Is it so bizarre to believe that blockades, near starvation and bombings could be a larger factor than religious differences?

        • gbjames
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          Yes, it is bizarre. The hostility of Iran and Saudi Arabia towards Israel does not stem from them being blockaded, starved, or bombed by Israel.

          • Alex T
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

            I don’t know if you’re being sarcastic but you’re right, the hostility of Iran and Saudi Arabia don’t come from that. But this is exactly the point – the type and intensity of their hostility is very different, and this difference does stem from the fact they are not being actively oppressed.

            • gbjames
              Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

              Where does that hostility come from, Alex T? What was the motive for the 1967 attack from allied Arab countries? Why does Iran subsidize Hezbollah? Why did Idi Amin hijack an airliner in Entebbe in 1976? What does this all have in common?

              It is bizarre to pretend that this isn’t motivated by religion.

              • Alex T
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

                I agree! Religion is absolutely a factor. It’s at the core of how Israel was created and why Palestinians are being so mistreated. It’s probably the biggest factor in why there were early wars between the neighbouring states.

                However, there has been relatively little violence in decades between the neighbouring countries, yet it continues in Palestine and Gaza. What’s the difference? I am only arguing that when the real-life force grows sufficiently high, it takes over and outshines the religious conflict that started it.

              • Sameer
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

                I would think that Iran and Saudi Arabia subsidizes Hezbollah and Hamas for the same reasons that the USA subsidizes Israel. It is a religious conflict in which Christians and Jews are allied against the Muslims.

    • Alex T
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Speaking just for myself, I try to ask which elements are necessary to explain the behaviour we see. Certainly religion has played a large role in the creation of the states and their location. It is probably influencing the level to which both sides are defending their turf.

      However when there are so many unambiguous, overpowering, secular reasons for fighting, I think we need to acknowledge them. I also think that the inequality and violence are just exacerbating the religious differences and both sides perceive any attack as being religiously motivated, even when they are not.

      If our working hypothesis is that religious differences are the primary factor, then how do we explain the relative peace between Israel and its neighbouring states, especially those who talk very tough? People that are able to provide food, water, shelter and jobs get along a lot better than people that are actively being oppressed.

      If we were talking about hostility between Israel and Syria or Egypt then absolutely I think religion will play a bigger role.

      • Paul S
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        I’ll try to ask this another way since you did not address the statements in the Hamas charter. If this is a secular conflict, what actions can be taken that would cause Hamas to rescind their charter declaration to kill all Jews?

        • Alex T
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          I don’t know if you’re serious, but that sounds like such a ridiculous question. What kind of person looks at a conflict where people are being killed or starved and points to some bombastic speech as the problem?

          Get real.

          • Paul S
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

            It is a serious question. If the Hamas charter is bombastic speech, then why take them seriously at all? The Hamas charter specifically states their mission is to kill all Jews, but you and others are ignoring this as the main issue. It’s not just Hamas, but the Quran also call for the continual slaughter of Jews. Do you seriously think that turning over a chunk of land will suddenly change the minds of Muslims? I doubt that it would. It is the very existence of Jews that Muslims have a problem with.

            • Alex T
              Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

              Let me tell you how I see this question so you can tell me how and why I should take you seriously.

              I hear you saying, in effect, that Hamas is beyond redemption because they say they want to kill Jews, even though they are relatively ineffectual and powerless. Israeli governments, oh the other hand, are sensible and reasonable because even though they kill and oppress Palestinians they don’t make such a big deal about it and say that the regular body count is all an accident, whoopsy.

              So why should the blustery threats be the absolute end of discussion, but actual physical violence is not? And what kind of a person would even imagine that the two should be comparable? It’s shades of the danish cartoon attacks, with you as the muslim apoligists.

              • Paul S
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

                I didn’t say Hamas was beyond redemption, I asked what could be done to cause them to change their charter and that question still stands. Neither did I say Hamas is ineffectual and powerless, you implied that by saying their charter was simply bombastic speech. I also did not say that blustery threats should be the end of the discussion and I certainly never said that violence was not an issue. The question is whether or not this is a religious conflict and the answer is yes.
                My original post was questioning why many of the previous posts gave no weight to an explicit statement in the Hamas charter in favor of secular reasons.

          • gbjames
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

            The Hamas Charter is a bombastic speech? Do you know what a charter is?

            Paul S’s challenge is a perfectly legitimate one. What would it take for the charter to be changed? If this is just some bombastic speech then why wasn’t it modified years ago? What prevents it from being changed now? What would you think if the US Constitution contained a clause stating that our purpose as a nation was to erase England from the face of the Earth? Do all peoples have clauses like this and, thus, we shouldn’t pay attention?

  39. Simon
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    This is a response to Malgorzata’s comment here: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/pat-condell-on-israel-and-palestine/#comment-358442

    Even Red Cross agrees that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

    That is flat-out IDF propaganda that you are shamefully repeating.

    ICRC spokesman Cecilia Goin emailed me from Jerusalem:

    ‘the article was edited and therefore, does not reflect ICRC’s view of the current humanitarian situation in Gaza. Independently from what has been reported, what is important is that the situation is grave and serious.’
    Why she refers to the situation as ‘grave and serious’ is made clear by what she wrote more:

    ‘Regarding the article published by IDF web site please be aware that it contains many inaccuracies and, as such, does not fully reflect ICRC’s view of the situation in Gaza. The life of 1.5 million people in the Strip is far from being a normal and dignified life. The extremely high unemployment rate, the lack of freedom of movement, the problematic access to healthcare, clean water and sanitation, as well as the continuous threat of violence affects the lives of Gaza people on a daily basis. In addition, an almost absolute ban on exports and limited imports hamper a sustainable economic recovery, which is essential to any viable development.’

    Source: http://mondoweiss.net/2011/07/in-response-to-biased-idf-report-on-gaza-the-international-red-cross-says-the-situation-is-grave-and-serious.html

    I am sorry but I cannot keep discussing with someone who keeps repeating things that are easily shown to be complete falsehoods.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Okay, then stop discussing it. You are adducing repeated legalisms against the Israelis and overlooking completely the issue of Palestinian terrorism. One might even think you agree with their tactics of deliberately killing civilians. It’s tiresome.

      • Simon
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Okay, then stop discussing it.

        FWIW I was referring to discussing with Malgorzata, not in general. This person has been shown by several people -not just me- to be stating things that are simply not true and not providing citations. That is “tiresome”.

        You are adducing repeated legalisms against the Israelis and overlooking completely the issue of Palestinian terrorism. One might even think you agree with their tactics of deliberately killing civilians. It’s tiresome.

        “Adducing legalisms”! So pointing out several things that are either factually inaccurate or taken out of context means I support terrorism now? Did you miss the part where I refer to the Hamas charter as “abhorrent”?

        I actually spent a fair amount of time investigating the information I presented today in an effort to engage in a worthwhile discussion with you and your readers and provide links to my sources. I understand that this can be a controversial subject but please don’t question people’s motives and especially don’t accuse them of supporting terrorists!

      • James Martin
        Posted January 11, 2013 at 5:45 am | Permalink

        I also notice you overlook the peaceful protests by Palestinians. Is that because you are unaware of them?

        http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2012/0607/West-must-recognize-peaceful-Palestinian-resistance-movement/%28page%29/2

    • Sarah
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Mondoweiss is hardly a reputable source of information! They probably think everything the IDF or the Red Cross says is “shameful propaganda” when it contradicts their own anti-Israel position.

  40. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I think this article is one-sided. I’m sure one could quote-mine the Israeli side to find examples of ‘destroy the Palestinian menace’.

    As for deaths, one side has suicide bombers and inaccurate rockets, the other side has tanks, bulldozers and helicopter gunships.
    So the Israelis can target their killing, the Paestinians can only hit back blindly. In a war, you use what you’ve got.
    (In my view, a helicopter gunship is just as much an instrument of terrorism as a suicide bomber).
    Israel’s hands are hardly clean with regard to e.g. the massacres in refugee camps in Lebanon.

    And as for the charge that the press goes easy on the Palestinians, I think that’s explained by the natural sympathy for the underdog. Israeli apologists aren’t above waving the spectre of the Holocaust around when it suits them and claiming anti-semitism (which is technically absurd since the Palestinians are semitic too).

    (My instinctive sympathies lie with the Palestinians, obviously, mostly because they don’t have tanks, bulldozers and helicopter gunships.)

    • Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      I have had similar thoughts on the asymetric nature of the conflict. Palistinian attacks are indiscriminate rocket bombing of Israeli populations, while Israeli attacks are directed with precision guided bombs. Maybe the tactics of the Paistian side are dictated by their limited technology due to the blockade? If Palestine had F16 fighters and guided munitions as well, would they still bomb indiscrimately? Given the retoric and constitution of Hamas, that would be one experiment I would be reluctant to carry out.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        I agree. I almost wrote “I’m sure Hamas would happily swap their rockets for helicopter gunships” but I thought better of it, specifically to avoid pointless debates about what they might, or might not, do with them – the sort of debate neither side can ever win ;)

        I do rather suspect that if the Palestinians had all the military tech and the Israelis did not, I’d be siding with the Israelis :)

      • Alex T
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        Let’s remember than even though the oppressed Jews in Israel have gone on to oppress the Palestinians, it doesn’t have to be that way. Let South Africa stand as an example that societies can break a cycle of violence. Otherwise you’ve got a good argument for a policy of rational genocide :(

        • Sarah
          Posted January 9, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

          It’s only in the Middle East that defending yourself means “oppressing the Palestinians”! If Hamas and would-be suicide bombers stopped their activities there would be no “cycle of violence”.

          • Alex T
            Posted January 9, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

            We can look at the evidence, and it doesn’t support your faith.

            I’ve given a counter example from just a couple months ago. Do you have any evidence or are you relying on hope and good wishes?

            • Sarah
              Posted January 9, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

              Going back even before Israel was a state the Arabs were attacking Jews in that area. Israel has had to fight several defensive wars and now there is this continual low-level warfare. There is a pattern of Arab attack and Israeli defence. Don’t underestimate the effect of the endless exhortations to kill the Jews, become martyrs, wipe out Israel, and so forth that permeates not only the Palestinian media but that of the surrounding Arab countries. I think Israel would be delighted to live in peace with its neighbours. It has shown willing numerous times and has been rebuffed each time.

              • Alex T
                Posted January 10, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

                So you don’t have any contemporary evidence?

                It makes not more sense to imagine that the people living in the area before Israeli statehood are representative of today’s politics than if we kept treating contemporary German governments as equivalent to Nazis.

                By hand waving to items this far in the past, I’d say your argument is a load of FAIL.

              • Sarah
                Posted January 10, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

                You misunderstand. This is not “evidence” but rather context. The Arab attacks continue. It is not hard to find “evidence”, as it is a nearly daily occurrence.

  41. steve oberski
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen a fair number of Pat Condell should have done this or said that or missed this or misrepresented that type of comments.

    While I’m sure Pat appreciates any and all constructive criticism I would invite those with all the editorial suggestions to try making a 5 minute video that encapsulates all these important points.

    There are certain restrictions imposed by the medium.

    I’m sure Pat could have digressed for 5 or 10 minutes and given us a precis of the Balfour Declaration but that’s not what he was trying to accomplish.

    Perhaps he thought that his audience had a reasonable grasp of the background and if not that they might go out and inform themselves before jumping to any conclusions.

  42. wads42
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    “Also as an outsider I ask; Why was Israel built there? It seems like the worst possible place for the Jewish to build a nation”.

    Well it’s Scripture of course; the “Promised Land”. Haven’t you read the Bible?

    At the risk of being flippant and irresponsible, I would suggest that the best solution is for them all to exterminate each other, and for Jerusalem to be bulldozed into the sea, and the site sowed with salt.

    • Sarah
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      But seriously, it was built there because there were Jews who had been living there for thousands of years under various overlords, and as part of the self-determination ideals after the First World War they were finally to have a country they could call their own. Promises made by the League of Nations were more binding in the real world than those made by God.

    • gluonspring
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Bulldozing Jerusalem and sowing the site with salt would just make holy salt.

  43. onkelbob
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    …there will never truly be peace until the Muslims drive the Jews out of the Middle East

    Admittedly I did not watch the video but I would like to respond to that comment. As an Art Historian I studied Islamic Art. In that I learned, Southwest Asia was “peaceful” for two times in human history, under Timur’s reign and under the Ottoman Empire. At all other times there were constant wars or unrest among the inhabitants.
    If you want peace in Southwest Asia, (and Central Asia to boot) encourage the Chinese to invade and occupy it. I say this tongue in cheek, but sometimes I think it’s the only way. I’m not saying the are incapable of coexisting peacefully, I think they simply like to fight. Sort of like the Irish, (which is my mother’s ancestry) if we didn’t have the British, we’d be fighting each other.

  44. RFW
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    My cut on it is that the Israeli-Arab conflict is no more amenable to a solution than the simmering conflicts in former Yugoslavia, in the North Caucasus, between Georgia on the one hand and Abkhazia and South Ossetia on the other, and between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

    It’s going to play out like it’s going to play out, and nothing I can say, do, or think makes the slightest difference.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted January 9, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Except to use up innocent electrons whining about how pointless it is to even type something.

  45. MNb
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Generally I agree, but I have two important points you haven’t addressed. There is a reason that I have higher expectations from Israel than from Hamas. The first claims to be a democratic “rechtsstaat” (see Wikipedia), but fails miserably in this respect. The latter doesn’t. Obviously that’s a major reason for me to despise that organization. I expect Hamas to tread members of El Fatah badly, but I don’t expect Israel to treat the very loyal Negev bedouins as it does.
    The other point is that religious extremists in Israel are gaining political influence, to such an extent that liberal – not to mention non-religious – Israeli youngsters tend to emigrate. This development obviously will reduce the chances for peace, certainly as long the more or less secular Israeli’s don’t find a way to deal with it.
    These two points are reason for me to withdraw my support for Israel a couple of years ago. Simply said Hamas being evil for me in no way justifies the huge deficiencies of the nation-state Israel.

  46. Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    The way he says “racist” so easily reminds me of my compatriots, the Flight of the Conchords’ song “Albi the Racist Dragon”.

    • Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:32 am | Permalink

      Well, while we are in the mood for expressing opionions in song:

      Katzenjammer’s cover of a well known 80’s song that expresses a significant portion of my feelings on the matter.

      A few more Katzenjammer posted at my poorly updated blog :)

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:59 am | Permalink

        Brilliant video! :)

        • John Scanlon, FCD
          Posted January 9, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

          Aaand… while we’re putting in youtube links, what about this one? Definitely on-topic.

  47. Pray Hard
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Surprised, but glad to see Pat showcased here.

  48. Christopher
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    My brain taxes back and forth as if it has been stuck in between Frazier and Ali, buffeted by blows from both sides.

    • gluonspring
      Posted January 9, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Indeed.

      Faced with the dizzying complexity of the moral and political issues, I take selfish comfort in the fact that none of that probably matters in the slightest, that I don’t need to figure out what the right thing to do is because the right thing is now irrelevant. The time when principles might have mattered is probably 50 years past. The outcome will now be purely determined by brute facts on the ground.

      The brute facts on the ground are that Israel isn’t going anywhere unless it is destroyed by force and there’s no one around strong enough to do that (nor even foolish enough to try) and there probably won’t be anyone strong enough in the foreseeable future (at least until nukes get involved…and a nuke attack on Israel, in addition to being suicidal, would render the Palestinian question irrelevant… no one would give a shit because then even the Palestinians would have bigger problems than right of return). Another brute fact: Israel will never agree to a minority-Jewish state. Not while the current generation lives at least. Maybe their grandchildren, or great grand children could contemplate such a thing, but not before. Another brute fact: the Palestinian territories are probably not viable as a state. Maybe with the 1948 borders, but since then, not really.

      I think everyone knows these things. So to a large extent it is just a matter of waiting it out. The pieces are already unalterably on the chess board. Time is on Israel’s side. They have money and military strength. The Palestinians have only the hope of some unforeseen miracle. Practically speaking, barring that unforeseen miracle, the Palestinians should get used to the idea that the current state of affairs is probably as good as it’s going to get for them and, with that sobering realization, start fishing for another state to join.

      This is not a matter of what should happen. Not at all. That is just what is going to happen. And that makes all the discussion about who is right or wrong or what deals are good or bad for Palestine sort of pointless.

  49. Malgorzata
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    To Alex T. Mathilde Redman, a deputy director of Red Cross in Gaza did say that there is no humanitarian crisi in Gaza. This was so contrary the ideal picture of “suffering Gaza” that people hostile to Israel started to interpret and re-interpret her words. But really, it should be enough to see some charts, even from Wikipedia, about child mortality (27, 3) in Gaza, and see how long is a list of countries which are much, much worse. And this is not only about child mortality – also longevity, calorie intake and many more. About health care: Israel does not stop any medical supplies into Gaza, on the contrary- even when border crossing was under the fire from Hamas IDF tried to get trucks with all kind of supplies (which are crossing daily from Izrael).

  50. garardi
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    Try going away on holiday and finding a squatter has moved into your house when you get back. They clain squatters rights, they claim the house belonged to their family 1,500 years ago and the local bully boys told them it would be alright to move in as thay would help them. That’s what happened to the Palastinians. They are quite rightly pissed off.

    • Sarah
      Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:38 am | Permalink

      That is a considerable simplification! Most of the Palestinians’ ancestors came from Egypt or Syria or even farther afield in the 20th century. In 1948 uniquely in Palestine a “refugee” was someone who had been living there for two years! What are the implications of that?

  51. Pirate
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    Jerry, I think you’re generally a thoughtful guy, so I’m a little dismayed that you approve of Pat Condell. I agree with much of what he says about Islam as a religion, but his attacks on Muslim immigrants are the sort of dangerous nativist BS peddled by the BNP and its like.

    One can disagree with the way Muslim immigrants lead their lives while also being sensitive to the fact that (in Britain and other parts of the West) they are an underprivileged and embattled minority, and that a certain sort of rhetoric, if not racist in itself, at least plays into the hands of racists.

    Take this for example (a quote from one of Condell’s videos):

    “You know what’s good for community relations? People who come to this country and adapt happily to our way of life, or if they find that it’s not quite to their taste, they piss off and live somewhere else. That’s really good for community relations. If you don’t like how we do things in Britain, get out. You weren’t invited here and you’re not wanted here.”

    The sort of thing you’d hear at a tea party protest, really. And he’s explicitly stated that he’s a supporter of UKIP, which is basically the UK’s version of the tea party. Their most recent big issue has been opposing moves towards legalizing same sex marriage.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:57 am | Permalink

      Umm. . .where, exactly, did I ever say that I approved of what Condell EVER said? I said in my post that he’s sometimes off the mark.

      Your comment is not only unfair, but irrelevant, since it doesn’t address the video above, which is what I requested.

      Do you understand the difference between agreement on one or a few issues and disagreement with others? I don’t approve of everything Obama says, either.

      Don’t use this thread as a general forum on Pat Condell’s Views of Everything, please.

      • Pirate
        Posted January 9, 2013 at 6:27 am | Permalink

        You’re right. Apologies.

  52. James Martin
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    “there will never truly be peace until the Muslims drive the Jews out of the Middle East—or there’s a bloody war”.

    Which makes you wonder why Jews are allowed to live in one of the most fundamentalist of Islamic states, Iran.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_Jews

    “I agree with him that the problem is largely religious and not political”

    Oh come on, it isn’t just Islamists who have opposed the Israeli occupation. Palestinian Christians have and so have Arab socialists and Marxists.

    Surely, perhaps this might have something to do with it?

    http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?q=israel+and+palestine&hl=en&safe=off&sa=X&tbo=d&biw=1366&bih=610&tbm=isch&tbnid=PIFQZV-1LIIe0M:&imgrefurl=http://sabbah.biz/mt/archives/2011/09/24/palestine-israel-map-2011/&docid=DDHCh0rDc-b2kM&imgurl=http://sabbah.biz/mt/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/shrinking-map-of-palestine.png&w=1875&h=1275&ei=RojtUMII5dvRBcCXgPgC&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=12&vpy=320&dur=397&hovh=128&hovw=166&tx=123&ty=121&sig=107557619768344253970&page=1&tbnh=128&tbnw=166&start=0&ndsp=23&ved=1t:429,r:8,s:0,i:162

    Speaking of Hamas, are you aware that they were funded in the 1980s by Israel to strengthen their hand against the PLO? Given their espoused rabid Jew hatred and fanatacism, why accept funding from Israel? It could’nt be something to do with….politics could it?

    http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2002/06/18/Analysis-Hamas-history-tied-to-Israel/UPI-82721024445587/

    As for Condell, I find it funny how he has changed his tune on the issue so much. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vaw658Bow8

    The truth is the man simply panders to his audience. He cares nothing for Israel, it is simply a bandwagon for him to jump on. It is not hard to refute his right-wing Zionist propaganda.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HabBb9Uka8

  53. Red
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    “Israelis try at all costs to avoid civilian deaths[.]”
    Ha. Ha. Ha.
    I can’t deny a lot of what was said in the video, but there is little doubt in my mind that, if they didn’t have the rest of the world watching them, the Netanyahu regime would eagerly kill as many of their neighbors as they could.

    • Sarah
      Posted January 9, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      It’s a well-known IDF policy to avoid civilian deaths, even if it means putting their soldiers in extra danger. Red Cross figures show that the ratio of civilian-to- fighter casualties is lower than any other army in the world, ever. See Col. Richard Kemp on this subject: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fko9F1EAU2g

      • Mark Erickson
        Posted January 9, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

        Then why did so many civilians die? Presumably, soldiers in Gaza attacking military targets from close range would save civilian lives versus artillery and air strikes. Yet not a single IDF soldier entered Gaza during Pillar of Cloud. Why?

        Does white phosphorous cause or avoid civilian deaths?

        • Malgorzata
          Posted January 10, 2013 at 1:47 am | Permalink

          That is strange how long misinformation about Israel can persist. There are still people who believe in “Jenin massacre” in spite that there was no massacre and even U.N. apologized to Israel for casting this slander. The same with white phosforus. No white fosforus was used by Israel in bombes, only as a way to make a smoke screen to protect own soldiers. This is deemed legal by all experts. The lie about “phosforus as bombs” was debunked a long time ago but, unfortunately, is again repreated here. Here is a video ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49n3QmCNCVA Why not watch it (it is not difficult to understand), and stop repeating slander?

        • Sarah
          Posted January 10, 2013 at 4:24 am | Permalink

          Mark, I am not sure what you mean by “so many”. Remember that Hamas purposely puts civilians in harm’s way and that in a guerrilla war a terrorist may be portrayed as a civilian for propaganda purposes. In the circumstances, you could just as well speak of “so few” civilian casualties.

          • Alex T
            Posted January 10, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

            I get a little sick of this “Palestinians put civilians in harms way” argument, as if they are some sort of unique monsters and justify their deaths.

            The construction and expansion of Israeli houses in occupied territories is nothing if not intentionally, cynically placing civilians in harms way. When have you acknowledged or condemned this? By your own blind argument, all deaths of Israelis are justified since they are in “harms way”, except these civilians went there intentionally.

            • Michael
              Posted January 10, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

              I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. I’ll be generous and assume you don’t understand the concept. The towns in the West Bank are hardly in “harm’s way”. They are well protected, and while horrific terrorist acts have been perpetrated. Statistically they are far safer than any major urban area in the US. So, unless you’re willing to say that building a home in Brooklyn is putting people in “harm’s way” your comparison is absurd.

              Now, contrast this to Hamas who, for starters, has publicly claimed to Israelis “We love death , as you love life”. Hamas places munitions in mosques and hospitals. They fire rockets from school yards. There are videos of Hamas terrorists physically using children as shields.

              Hamas and their ilk are, in fact, “some sort of unique monsters”.

              • Sarah
                Posted January 10, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink

                Well said, Michael. Alex T is comparing unlike things. Hamas uses its unfortunate citizens as human shields and Israel does not.

              • Alex T
                Posted January 10, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

                Michael – part of the point of the settlements is to strengthen the Israeli hold upon the occupied territories. They are firebrands. Settlers move there knowing that the lands are basically a warzone. There are governmental incentives for settlers, again intentionally placing people in the way of a battle. How is this not putting themselves in harms way?

                When Israeli citizens move into these places they are thumbing their noses at the issues Palestinians raise. They move there knowing that they have been under attack. They move there knowing that they are likely to come under attack in the future. They move there knowing that when attacks do come, it will be reported as Hamas attacking civilians.

                So how is this not the Israeli government moving citizens into a warzone a means of using them as a political shield? How is it not placing them in harms way?

                I think you’re using a double standard and siding with the powerful, offering them excuses while condemning the weak.

                Hamas and their ilk are, in fact, “some sort of unique monsters”.

                Not surprising to hear you say that. That sort of view, making them “other” and “monsters” is necessary first step in stripping them of humanity.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted January 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

                There is another aspect. There are no rockets launching pads in the middle of the settlements. No snipers on the roofs of schools, no weapon stores in the basement of hospitals. The settlers are not killing Palestinians and forcing them into bomb shelters day and night.

              • Alex T
                Posted January 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

                The settlers are not killing Palestinians and forcing them into bomb shelters day and night.

                Neither are the children that are used as Hamas “shields”. So?

                The problem is one of might and resources. Israel is strong enough to build walls an settlements in occupied territories and keep them “weapons free” but everyone knows that the missiles, helicopters, planes, dozers and armed soldiers are hidden behind a very thin curtain. It’s only because Hamas is using very low-tech devices and living in areas that are under constant surveillance that they must resort to these tactics.

                I’ll try an analogy, a sure way to convince everyone :)

                Imagine there was a successful but violent gang in your town. Some of them might put up clubhouses, invest in stores and act like “legitimate businessmen”. These people are innocent and don’t hurt anyone. But if anyone says “no” to these people, a group of thugs will show up and break their joints, kill their children and burn their house.

                One day a man shows up at your door with his wife and kids, wearing a gang vest and says that he is moving in with you. He would like the master bedroom, kitchen and living room and you can sleep in the crawlspace. He says he’ll make sure that you have just enough calories and water in the crawlspace so that you don’t die, but whenever you want to go anywhere, you need his permission.

                He doesn’t threaten you. He doesn’t carry any weapons. He doesn’t have to. He is NOT an innocent victim.

                He and his family are “shields”, people that will suffer before soldiers get involved. But make no mistake, their actions are a form of aggression and they are complicit in the threats to you and your family. They benefit from the house, but they know it comes with risks and they know it is also a form of violence. And they get away with it because very real guns will be brought out in an instant if you try to defend yourself.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted January 11, 2013 at 1:13 am | Permalink

                Let’s try another analogy. Two families live in a house belonging to a cruel landlord (Turkish Sultan). He especially dislikes one of the families, let’s call it A, and evicts its members from the house. Nobody in town wants to take this family in. They are hounded and persecuted. Whenever they can they return to the house because that is the only place in town they can call their own. The other family, B, suffers too, but at least can live in the house. The cruel landlord is weakening. The family A returns, buys some room in the house (otherwise the landlord woudn’t let them live in their house) and starts working. The dire economic situation improves. The second family invites its cousins from neighbouring houses because there is more money and opportunity to work. The landlord disappears. Cousins from both sides return to the house but many more from the family B, because there are still restriction on Family A (British White Paper). Family A says: Let’s live together. Family B answers: After your dead bodies. And family B starts war. Despite being weaker family A wins this war. Family B escapes and promises that it will fight until the last person from family A is dead and buried. And all the cousins from neighbouring houses say: That’s right, we will help. Everybody belonging to family A should either die or be banished. Family A understands that only by having weapon to defend itself can it stay in the house – anyhow they have nowhere to go.

              • Michael
                Posted January 10, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

                Alex,

                There are no “battles” raging in the West Bank. It’s not a “war zone”. And the vast majority of “settlers” live in Ariel, Maaleh Adumim, Gush, etc. Suburban bedroom communities; areas that would remain part of Israel in any settlement. The people who live in the places are not thumbing their nose at anyone, just living in regular communities. Like I said before, they are not ‘in harms’ way anymore than the people living in Israel proper”.

                When I say “Hamas”, I am not talking about Palestinians in general. (Their “ilk” referred to the other terror organizations such as Islamic Jihad and Hizzbolla.) Hamas is an internationally recognized terror organization. If you read their charter and follow their behavior you will see, in fact, that they are monsters.

              • Mark Erickson
                Posted January 10, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

                I’m curious, if there are munitions (what weapons specifically?) in a Gazan hospital, mosque or school, does that make it a legitimate target? Legally probably, but morally? Does it make strategic sense to bomb it?

              • Sarah
                Posted January 11, 2013 at 5:03 am | Permalink

                Is it morally right to destroy weapons in mosques and hospitals, you ask. Is it morally right to put them there in the first place? This is the principle of using human shields writ large. What alternative would you suggest?

          • Mark Erickson
            Posted January 10, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

            You said the IDF avoids civilians deaths. Yet about 100 Gazan civilians died in Pillar of Cloud (from the UN). Even the IDF says about 300 Gazan civilians died in Cast Lead. The Palestinian claim was over 900. That’s many civilian deaths, I’d say. Compared to Israeli civilian deaths, 3 in Cast Lead and 4 in Pillar of Cloud. That’s so many.

  54. Mark Erickson
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    Condell: “the thousands of Iranian rockets that come out of Gaza every month until the Israelis finally retaliate.”

    Even the IDF only claims 12,000 rockets in twelve years. And increased rocket attacks are the result of Israeli attacks, not the cause. See http://mondoweiss.net/2012/11/dissecting-idf-propaganda-the-numbers-behind-the-rocket-attacks.html which disputes the IDF rocket numbers.

    It also shows how ineffective the rocket attacks are. 26 Israelis were killed by rockets since 2004. Operation Pillar of Cloud killed 104 Gazan civilians(from the UN).

    • Sarah
      Posted January 10, 2013 at 4:33 am | Permalink

      Cause and effect get badly muddied in talk about Israel. If you come into the famous “cycle of violence” at the wrong time justified retaliation looks like aggression. This has misled a lot of otherwise well-meaning people. Mondoweiss is notorious for its anti-Israel spin.

      • Mark Erickson
        Posted January 10, 2013 at 6:57 am | Permalink

        Mondoweiss is notorious only to Israel apologists. Here are the Israeli sources used: http://mondoweiss.net/2012/11/dissecting-idf-propaganda-the-numbers-behind-the-rocket-attacks.html#Rocket_Fatalities_notes

        • Sarah
          Posted January 10, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

          A good deal of this seems to be beside the point. Many rockets fired from Gaza fall short and land in Gaza (and on Gazans). The “body count” isn’t the point. Israelis protect their people as much as possible and build rocket shelters–every building and playground in range of Gaza is supposed to have one. The point is that those Israelis within firing distance have to live constantly on the alert for the siren. Contrast that with the Israeli practice of dropping leaflets to warn people to get out of the way when they are about to strike a Hamas launch pad!

          • Mark Erickson
            Posted January 10, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

            The Gazans are under seige. The blockade keeps out everything from fertilizer to construction materials. Gazans live a substistance existence, as a matter of Israeli policy. They cannot leave Gaza, not even to fish off their own coast. Their political leaders are regularly assassinated.

            Israelis within rocket distance can move away. Gazans have to hope their home doesn’t get hit by a surface-to-air missile or an artillery shell. No shelter can protect them.

            • Sarah
              Posted January 11, 2013 at 4:57 am | Permalink

              Don’t you wonder why they haven’t built any shelters? They wouldn’t be “under siege” as you put it if they were not shooting rockets at Israel daily. When Gaza was turned over to the PA in 2005 they could have lived peacefully and developed their economy. They were left infrastructure by Israel but they destroyed it. Instead of developing, say, a tourist industry, they decided to become a launching pad for missiles. When they imported sewage pipes they used them to make rockets and then blamed Israel for their poor sewerage. How would you expect Israel to react?

  55. Mark Erickson
    Posted January 10, 2013 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    Condell: the Palestinians get “billions of dollars and political support.” Well, the PA has received billions of dollars, but just barely. It first reached $1B per year in 2006, rose to a height of $2B per year in 2008 and has fallen off since then. (General government line on p. 4 graph of http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTWESTBANKGAZA/Resources/GrowthStudyEngcorrected.pdf ) What’s the context? The US alone has given Israel $3B per year for a long time. Since WWII, the US has given Israel $115B and Palestinians $4B http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/121116/israel-palestine-hamas-us-foreign-aid.

    Political support? Is he crazy? Every UN resolution to hold Israel to account for colonizing the occupied territories is vetoed in the SC by the US. The US didn’t even support the PA’s bid to be an observer at the UN! Europe in general is more favorable to the Palestinians, but it matters little.

  56. Mark Erickson
    Posted January 10, 2013 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    There are plenty of Jewish extremists in the settlements, btw. They don’t have a charter, but killing all the Arabs in the occupied territories is a common sentiment. The next Israeli government is going to be even more right wing extremist than this one. The Israel Home party has a telegenic face, but is religious extremist to its core. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/07/naftali-bennett-interview-jewish-home.

  57. lucas
    Posted January 10, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I am an ex idf soldier and im so happy to rad the comment section. As far as i could see so far you guys are managing to have a level headed and fair conversation about Israel. This is Literally the only internet board where i have seen this. I give you guys a lot of credit.

    • Mark Erickson
      Posted January 10, 2013 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that is great. What do you think about Condell’s video?

  58. david
    Posted January 10, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m a Middle-East pessimist. I think there’s far too much blame on both sides.
    If a jewish settler sets fire to a palestinian’s olive grove, wouldn’t it be racist to then generalized “The jews set fire to arab farms”?
    That’s why I was annoyed from the beginning- Condell asserts that The Arabs “target women and children, and they do it all the time.”
    Isn’t that characterization a bit racist? If a black man steals a car, the condells of the world will say “black men steal cars.”
    While containing some degree of truth, the sweeping nature of such pronouncements renders them nonsense. Some arabs are bad. some are good. some jews are bad. some are good.
    Condell sidesteps a ginormous reason why the two parties are often judged differently– they are extremely asymmetrically matched. One has state-of-the-art weapons, controls borders, zoning, water, etc.
    None of the above justifies random rocket-fire or civilian bombings. And none of the above justifies a growing occupation on land outside 1967 borders in flagrant violation of international law…


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