Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Forget Diplomacy, Try Dictation

When hell (if you can get through that without welling up, you have a heart of stone) subsides, we will hear the predictable next phase in the cycle, renewed calls for diplomacy and an aggressive "peace" plan. Envoys will work the corridors, people will fly around the region, maybe even a summit. Nothing will come of any initiative, because nothing every does, always some unravelling or line in the sand to dampen prospects. I suppose one could argue a new American administration leaves some room for optimism, but really we all know better by now. Instead of diplomacy, wherein two parties meet to discuss terms, then never reach any agreement, clearly the time has come to forget about the "two parties".

The rest of the world knows well the points of contention, and they know that no lasting peace will every be achieved unless these issues are dealt with in a substantive way. Under all the rhetoric, there really is a common sense solution, that can be achieved, if the "two parties" aren't part of the settlement. It is time for the world, more correctly, the Americans, to dictate the terms of a peace agreement, and use it's leverage to demand compliance. Israel refuses to accept new borders, then American support is off the table. The Palestinian people refuse to abandon Hamas, any entity which doesn't accept Israel's existence, forget about aid, forget about enforcing the dictated settlement.

There is one simple fact here, Israel must make real concessions for a lasting peace to exist. It isn't unreasonable to stop settlements, return land, allow Palestinians the right of return. Additionally, the idea of a shared Jerusalem, that becomes a symbol for joint existence, essentially the property of collective peace, is a essential concession, that is entirely valid. In return, the world community will exert maximum pressure on any entity or rogue nation that threatens Israel.

You can't expect any "side" to not act in it's self interest, which in this situation equates to eternal stalemate. Rather than the world community cobbling together temporary declarations, maybe it's time to abandon the notion of signing ceremonies and shuttle diplomacy that will invariably come in the aftermath. People already know what has to happen for a lasting peace to take hold, rather than mediating any negotiations, we need a judge that will enforce the new laws. The next time the "two sides" sit at a table, they should be presented with their peace agreement, because quite frankly they've lost the ability or the moral authority to find a solution. Anyways, back to the insanity of tank shells firing at shadows, thinking that represents security and everybody rationalizing who's "right".

22 comments:

Mike said...

When you watch horror like that, you can certainly understand why even moderate Gazans rally to the likes of Hamas.

If it were my kids, I would. With bells on.

Remember when doing that to forced ethnic ghetto was a war crime?

Steve V said...

Mike

Isn't that the thing. If that was my kid lying there, I'd be grabbing any vest I could find. I wonder if anyone realizes that for every "militant" they've killed, three have been created. Total insanity.

Dame said...

This is Bush's last goodbye I ultimately blame him for the last 8 years of Killings and all out Brutality.

These events were well planned and "neatly" executed in the Holiday times when the world is drunk or asleep and generally just can't think seriously about anything....


Whatever happened the two states plan???

kheimbuch said...

Exactly, this can never be solved with hard power and unilateralism. Israel should have amassed a multinational force to deal with this problem, whose first job should have been to get the civilians out of harm's way. (even though the UN gave the IDF the coordinates of a school, today they bombed it anyways)

If Israel would have done this, they would still have had at least a shred of credibility left, instead of blatantly arrogant, contradictory excuses, the sort we typically hear from Americans whoever they try to justify their atrocities.

foottothefire said...

The Vietnamese fought the French for 100 years and a far better armed America for far less. The ANC was around for about 100 years before they came to power in S. Africa after several decades of fighting. Afghans kicked the hell out of Russia but that didn't happen overnight either.
Point is, some realities take longer to be accepted than others.
Sadly, this one is NOT going away no matter how many are killed or how many "Justifiable" invasions occur. One way or another, there will be an accounting; just ask history.

Hugger said...

Very good post. Hopefully it is representative overall, of the views of a large percentage of liberals.

I am disappointed that there seems to be considerable sentiment within the liberal party to suppress views critical of Israel's military actions and I sense an underlying concern for political positioning. Some of the more prominent Ignatieff backers and bloggers being quite vocal in their support for Israels actions leaves a lingering bad taste.

Ignatieff's statement is also less than encouraging and basically represents a position so close to the Harper governments, that it gives cause to suspect Ignatieff as being Harper lite.

What sacrifices will this leadership make to avoid rankling certain communities and their interests and what does that say about this leadership?

On the upside, it is good to see opposing views still being expressed, even after the call to tow the line. Two thumbs up for that. A clear difference from the lock step Right.

olaf said...

Steve,

It isn't unreasonable to stop settlements, return land, allow Palestinians the right of return.

Maybe not to you, but with respect, you're not an Israeli. Leaving aside that Israel forcibly removed its citizens from settlements in Gaza (for all the good it did them), the last point you mention, I think, is the clincher. If you allow the "right of return", you're essentially allowing more Palestinians to move into Israel than there currently are Israelis.

If you then give those Palestinians citizenship and a vote (which you must), you're essentially ending what remains of a Jewish state. In other words, within a generation, Jews will be the minority, and the entire purpose of having Israel in the first place is out the window.

So, while it might seem so very "reasonable" to you - a non-Jew (I assume) in Canada - perhaps you can see how it might not seem so obviously "reasonable" to Israelis.

My comment, of course, has nothing whatsoever to do with the current conflict, and refers only to your glib dictation to Israelis of what you consider reasonable.

Jerry Prager said...

Olaf,
good defense for the banality of evil. Spiritual leadership is required here, and there is none in Israel, which is why this tragedy exists. For a nation that was founded by taking land from one people and giving it to another, there really can be no other path than spiritual maturity. The arrogance of power led to these new horrors, like the experiment where people are split into two groups, one becomes the prisoners, the other become the guards. Before long the pretend guards are abusing the pretend prisoners. The Palestinians have become prisoners of history, the Israelis, the guards.
Jews may have been the target of anti-Semites for thousands of years, but since both they and the Palestinians are Semites, it is clear that the Israeli's are sowing into the Palestinians what was sown into them, with much the same result. Under these rules this is a no win situation. If the prophets were anti-Semites for accusing the Jews of being stiff necked and hard-hearted, then I'll take my stand with the prophets in my thoughts of Israeli real politik. Justice needs to 'flow like a river", or Israel will continue to reap what it has sown, which is hatred for its existence from the other half of the children of Abraham.
There are too many Jesuit-trained sophists in the Liberal party like Warren Kinsella willing to rationalize injustice in the name of partisanship, though my guess is even he would respond differently if his children were in one of the destroyed schools, UN or otherwise, so I'm glad I'm not hearing sophistry here, Olaf notwithstanding.
As far as I'm concerned this isn't about Jews or Arabs, it's about human rights, human dignity seen through the lens of power.

Steve V said...

olaf

You will note, I said "self interest", which you outlined with your pro-Israeli point of view. There is another side to that equation, which is why, you can't reasonably expect the two sides to agree on this score, why you need 3rd party intervention that ultimately decides.

olaf said...

Steve,

I certainly don't disagree with your overall point. I think it is a good one, and I agree that little will happen by way of "negotiation" between the two parties themselves.

I was just taking issue with your "one simple fact" formulation, and your proposed solution, which seems to place the burden entirely on Israel to compromise. You didn't even explain what Palestinian's should be expected to do in return for these compromises, once made. Instead, that "in return, the world community will exert maximum pressure on any entity or rogue nation that threatens Israel".

You can say that both sides are at fault, but when you expect nothing of one side, and everything of the other, your stated equivalence on the matter seems to evaporate somewhat. A minor point, and a bit of a diversion from the thrust of your post, but I'm a quibbler. Sue me.

Again, otherwise, I agree, and the post gave me something to think about for sure.

olaf said...

Jerry,

I'm having difficulty seeing what your point is. Perhaps you didn't quite make one as much as spout platitudes, wax poetic and express your admiration for spiritual maturity and spiritual leadership, whatever those mean. I also think there was something in there from the Bible. Or perhaps I'm just a blockhead. Anyways, if you could dumb it down for me, that would be great.

olaf said...

Sorry to take up so much space here Steve, but quick one to Mike:

If it were my kids, I would. With bells on.

I don't doubt this, and I imagine I'd do the same if I had kids. I also don't doubt that if you were in a border Israeli town, living in fear of rockets hitting your children, you'd want a pretty strong response against those firing them. It's all from which perspective you look at it.

Steve V said...

I do expect disporportionate compromise, just because that seems to be the only course. That doesn't suggest one side is "wrong", but more a matter of onus. It seems a basic principle, that Palestinians, just like the Jews in the past, should have the right to return to their homeland. You mentioned some of the logistical problems, but the spirit has too be addressed.

Steve V said...

"living in fear of rockets hitting your children, you'd want a pretty strong response against those firing them. "

That is entirely true and valid. I guess the problem, the response achieves the same problem, on a much worse scale, than the impetus in the first place. That's a recipe to nowhere. In terms of real threat, interesting to note, that since this conflict began, Israelis have killed more Israelis, with friendly fire, than Hamas.

olaf said...

Steve,

I do expect disporportionate compromise, just because that seems to be the only course.

I tend to agree that Israel more or less conceding to all Palestinian demands is the only way this will move forward, but I guess the question I have is "why?" Why can't there be something closer to a compromise? (Asking rhetorically, I don't expect you to answer).

As for your position on the right of return, that's fair enough. I can disagree with you but it's certainly a legitimate position to hold. Again, a minor quibble: while you may see the problems as "logistical", Israelis, I imagine, see them as existential. Hence their rather resolute opposition to that point in particular.

I guess the problem, the response achieves the same problem, on a much worse scale, than the impetus in the first place

Again, can't disagree. Hamas rockets only strengthen Israel's will to attack, cut off supplies, and build walls, while Israel's attacks, sanctions and walls only strengthen the will of Palestinians to resist with whatever means they have available to them, including violence, ineffective as it is. And round and round it goes. I take this as rather self evident at this point.

Mike said...

"I also don't doubt that if you were in a border Israeli town, living in fear of rockets hitting your children, you'd want a pretty strong response against those firing them. It's all from which perspective you look at it."

I totally agree and recognize that as part of the problem, Olaf.

But the key part is 'against those firing them'. A bunch of kids at a school, or in a market were not firing on them.

And it wasn't farmers at a kibutz who where hassling Palestinians (except for the settlers... those Kahanist thugs deserve everything the get)

On both sides, the sentiment I express is being exploited by people with other agendas. Pew Research has many, many polls indicating that by far, most Palestinians and most Israelis simply want the violence to stop and to live in peace. But the horror is being exploited by by both Hamas (who want to destroy all of Israel and push the Jews into the sea) and by Israelis who want 'lebensraum' for a greater Israel and want to destroy and remove the Palestinians. Some may be in the Israeli government and Armed Forces.

Each side is happily creating more militants on the other, to use as an excuse to execute their ethnic cleansing agendas.

I only wish there were a way for the majority who want peace, to get together and work together to stop the madness.

olaf said...

Mike,

Sounds about right to me - couldn't have said it better myself.

Hugger said...

Olaf said;

"Jerry,

I'm having difficulty seeing what your point is."

Olaf, for a fellow who appears to organize his thoughts well, I am surprised you wrote that. I understood his points and I largely agree.

Adding another dimension to what Jerry said, there seems to be considerable effort on the part of the Israeli government to justify their recent actions and present limited points of view through various means including the internet. Meanwhile, a significant number of respected world leaders are warning them of the damage they are doing to Israels image. These words seem to be falling on deaf ears to this point. Of course, I can't know if this is due to arrogance, obsession, political ambition, a combination thereof and or other. The fact remains, they choose to hold out whatever threads at their disposal to justify the actions while ignoring significant political and humanitarian realities.

I think this military action has altered the thoughts of many who may have previously sympathized with Israel.

I also think some vocal Ignatieff organizers, should think a great deal more about what they put in print on this subject. Political expediency doesn't justify everything.

olaf said...

Hugger,

Olaf, for a fellow who appears to organize his thoughts well, I am surprised you wrote that. I understood his points and I largely agree.

Ok, than you explain it to me. Assume I'm an idiot.

there seems to be considerable effort on the part of the Israeli government to justify their recent actions and present limited points of view through various means including the internet.

I'm pretty sure Hamas, and other anti-Israeli groups, use the internet to promote their point of view as well. So what?

As for Israel's image, you may be right. The difficult part is that the only response that wouldn't have diminished their image in the eyes of many in the international community would have been to do absolutely nothing about the rockets landing in their towns. Or to give in to the demands of Hamas. Neither of which would have much suited Israeli citizens.

Hugger said...

Olaf, firstly I’m not going to assume you are an idiot; I reserve that distinction for those who have unequivocally proven it to be true. Secondly, identify which parts you didn’t understand. Maybe the author will explain directly instead of my offering second hand interpretations.

I’m sure Hamas utilizes various self-promotion methods as well. Some of which are quite possibly equally dubious, but they are only some of the worlds’ rabble after all. At least that’s what I read often from various sources supporting Israel. The Israeli’s on the other hand I’m told, are civilized and educated people. As such, should there not be a higher standard of expectations for the Israeli leadership? And it’s not just a point of view that I was referring to; it is things such as omission of facts in order to shape opinion.

To offer an example, I will use the situation involving the CF Captain charged with killing the Taliban insurgent. What I read says we use our legal system because we are bound to higher standards and it is our responsibility to set an example for those who would benefit from one.

Now I’m going to take the discussion further to consider not only the level of education and civil behavior of the State of Israel, but to consider the experiences of persecution and particularly the 2nd World War era. I would think that this would instill a long-term sense of what it is like to be engaged by a much stronger opponent. I also want to discuss another area, but I’ll leave that for a separate post. It might be seen as controversial and bring the wrath of the great Ezra down upon the good blog operator. Posted separately, it can be judged based on it’s merit.

As for the International community, I was referring more to countries such as France, Germany and the UK.

Jerry Prager said...

Olaf,
Spiritual maturity, or more simply "acting in the spirit of" genuine maturity, especially for Jews with any sense of their own religious history and texts, would require them to adopt the biblical principles of Jubilee and apply them to the current situation. Jubilee is one of the fundamentals of Jewish law that has almost never been applied especally by fundamentalist Christians or Jews, because people lack the maturity to apply the principles, and focus instead on doing what they are doing now, which is a complete bastardization of "an eye for eye", since what's going on in Palestine in more like a hundred and fifty eyes for one eye.
Letting "justice flow like a river" is neither platitudinous nor me waxing poetic, it is a call to open the flood gates of reconciliation, in a method similar to South Africa's "Truth and Reconciliation" councils. Hamas would not have a leg to stand on or have a single supporter in Palestine if the leadership of Israel began to act in the spirit of Jubilee. Which would entail restorations of human rights and dignity that have been systemically removed from the Palestinians. They may not be able to turn the other cheek, but if they get their murderous rampaging down to a single eye for a single eye they might find some starting point on which to begin the arduous task of settling the Semetic family squabble that is tearing the middle east apart.

olaf said...

Jerry/Hugger,

I've read both your comments with interests. Thanks for the elaboration and insight.