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Old 01-10-2009, 10:39 PM   #436
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You would be hard pressed to find that Lunatic as a representative in a mainstream political party.
Well when you are a wealthy democracy propped up by the Americans and living a first-world lifestyle, with good infrastructure, and your children are educated at good schools and have access to excellent hospitals and you get billions of dollars in aid, courtesy of some foreigners' taxes, and have a viable economy, my feeling is that you tend to elect slightly different mainstream political parties.

Just a guess.

It is also worth considering the secular or progressive leaning Palestinians, all of whom are now dead or in their 60s, who used to have voices and fought for the Palestinian cause in a positive way. Why is it that even many of them have had their views radicalized over the years? Take somebody like Hanan Ashrawi, a woman of great potential and great accomplishments, who had little qualms about standing up to Arafat and his corruption and her tone is considerably different today than it was 30 years ago. Is she inherently bloodthirsty, or is she a good example of what happens to reasonable people living in this untenable, oppressive occupation for decades?

The way things are today, we sit here and place blame on whom the Palestinians vote for, whom they elect, what they believe in. As if that all isn't a function of their opportunities in life. Which, you know, are pretty non-existent.
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:44 PM   #437
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Well when you are a wealthy democracy propped up by the Americans and living a first-world lifestyle, with good infrastructure, and your children are educated at good schools and have access to excellent hospitals and you get billions of dollars in aid, courtesy of some foreigners' taxes, and have a viable economy, my feeling is that you tend to elect slightly different mainstream political parties.

Just a guess.

It is also worth considering the secular or progressive leaning Palestinians, all of whom are now dead or in their 60s, who used to have voices and fought for the Palestinian cause in a positive way. Why is it that even many of them have had their views radicalized over the years? Take somebody like Hanan Ashrawi, a woman of great potential and great accomplishments, who had little qualms about standing up to Arafat and his corruption and her tone is considerably different today than it was 30 years ago. Is she inherently bloodthirsty, or is she a good example of what happens to reasonable people living in this untenable, oppressive occupation for decades?

The way things are today, we sit here and place blame on whom the Palestinians vote for, whom they elect, what they believe in. As if that all isn't a function of their opportunities in life. Which, you know, are pretty non-existent.
Nah, too complicated.

Just admit you love Hamas. And hate the Jew.
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:50 PM   #438
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Obviously, now where should be borders of the fair Palestinian state sit?
There is no point in even discussing this until Israel recognises the Palestinians right to have a state - by deed and not merely by word.

Sure, they talk a good game about being in favour of a two-state solution, but I see little actual evidence that they are prepared to 'concede' any land, and plenty of evidence that what they want is more Lebensraum.
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:17 PM   #439
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While I'm inclined to agree with anitram's arguments, I do think A_W's attitudes towards Hamas here seem consistent with those he's expressed in many other threads towards religious extremist groups (not just Palestinian ones)--the sense that their followers may be categorically irredeemable politically, their ability to respond rationally to diplomatic overtures categorically suspect, and their claims to have rational bases for their grievances categorically disingenuous. He may not be alone there either, as this theme seems to have been a tonic chord in numerous discussions of various international issues we've had in here before.
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:18 PM   #440
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I think the solution here is this - all the jewish people can move out of Israel and come to Australia. We've got plenty of room for everyone, they can have 10x as much land as they have in Israel! We'll even go get the whispering wall and all the artifacts and ship em over and put them in a lovely musuem for them and they can be safe and happy and prosper here. Not a bad idea at all.

Its never going to work in the middle east, as i've said before the hatred runs too deep on both sides. The fight has been twisted and turned into something unrecognisable, and both sides are blinded by revenge and burning anger. Like my mum said, they were fighting when she was a teenager, they fought when i was born and they're still fighting now. Is it ever going to end?
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:31 PM   #441
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You made the assertion that it is racist, and wrong, to suggest that Hamas uses children's deaths to their advantage, here is a Hamas law maker who willingly sends her child to die (in order to wipe out soldiers and occupiers) and it's brushed under the carpet as irrelevant.

I think you are able to point out the huge blind spot which most posters have for Jewish fundamentalists the world over, who wouldn't have any compunction about engaging in ethnic cleansing across Gaza and the West Bank, but will not allow yourself to turn that same justified anger at a violent Islamist party which is doing a decent job at undermining any chance of a free Palestine.
Yes. There's a hair trigger ready to condemn Israel, and a gaping blind spot when it comes to Islamist obstacles to Palestinian peace, which are just as problematic. And the fact that the Islamists know that they can get the world's sympathy with little effort only encourages them further to keep the violence going until they can get Israel wiped off the map entirely. Remember: Hamas, Hezbollah, and most of the nations of the Middle East do not recognize Israel's right to exist, and Iran, a financial backer of both, has openly called for Israel's destruction. This is not a mere exaggeration here.

As someone who has no personal attachment to either Israel or Palestine, how difficult is it to criticize both sides' atrocities? I think that when the world got disgusted with both sides of the Northern Ireland conflict that there finally became an incentive to end the conflict completely. Right now, these very lopsided and uncompromising world attitudes are not conducive one bit toward lasting peace.

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While I'm inclined to agree with anitram's arguments, I do think A_W's attitudes towards Hamas here seem consistent with those he's expressed in many other threads towards religious extremist groups (not just Palestinian ones)--the sense that their followers may be categorically irredeemable politically, their ability to respond rationally to diplomatic overtures categorically suspect, and their claims to have rational bases for their grievances categorically disingenuous. He may not be alone there either, as this theme seems to have been a tonic chord in numerous discussions of various international issues we've had in here before.
I am inclined to agree with this POV, as well. Hamas, by its extremist nature, cannot be trusted.
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:38 PM   #442
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i'm familiar with much of Pilgar's work, and it's about the level of Michael Moore agitprop, only not as funny.

his opinion is as valid as anyone else's, but to view him as a credible, evenhanded commentator on any world affairs is silly.

he's been brought up before in FYM on other subjects, and i find him of dubious credibility pretty much no matter the subject.

it seems like the most pro-Hamas posters in here are the ones who are particularly sensitive to any discussion of anti-Semitism. why? is it beyond comprehension that, yes, maybe, especially when we're dealing with various Arab governments and terrorist organizations, that anti-Semitism might have something to do with the situation at hand?
He posts, broadcasts and publishes in the UK which has the strictest libel and slander laws in the Western world. He's never had a successful case against him. His op-ed's are one thing, but he does actually do some investigative work (and not only on Israel and Palestine). I don't actually find him to my taste but the article I posted while one-sided is hardly filled with inaccuracies.
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:39 PM   #443
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While I'm inclined to agree with anitram's arguments, I do think A_W's attitudes towards Hamas here seem consistent with those he's expressed in many other threads towards religious extremist groups (not just Palestinian ones)--the sense that their followers may be categorically irredeemable politically, their ability to respond rationally to diplomatic overtures categorically suspect, and their claims to have rational bases for their grievances categorically disingenuous. He may not be alone there either, as this theme seems to have been a tonic chord in numerous discussions of various international issues we've had in here before.
I think thats slightly false, I posted an article in this thread written by a former member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, I don't think that most Hamas members (for instance police recruits, civil servants, civilians etc.) are irredeemable (or for that matter in need of any sort of redemption).

It is a consequence of occupation and poor economic development, that is beyond dispute and there are definitely legitimate grievances about occupation and land rights, but it is a symptom of problems, not a cure.

But I think that the political ideology of Islamism has been promoted often, and implemented a few times, and the results haven't been conducive for peaceful open societies. God based government is irredeemable, and there will never be a workable Palestinian state under a green flag.

I think that Israel is overplaying its hand, it has been guilty of war crimes which it should be held to account over (along with Hamas), and even though it might be justified taking out rocket launch sites, the action of blowing up Gaza kills civilians and looses even more public opinion around the world. It reinforces Hamas control and elevates a terrorist gang as a respectable and representative entity of national liberation.
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:40 PM   #444
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I am inclined to agree with this POV, as well. Hamas, by its extremist nature, cannot be trusted.
There is an excellent article by Howard Schweber (a self-hater?) that contains excellent commentary on this talking point. Here is the relevant portion:

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There is an element of perfect circularity to this argument - we do not talk to Hamas because we assume that Hamas is incapable of talking, which we know to be true because we have never talked with them - but of course the real question is what to make of the characterization of Hamas in the first place.

Hamas was formed at the outset of the First Intifadah in direct response to Israeli occupation, just as Hezbollah was formed in response to Israel's invasion and subsequent occupation of Southern Lebanon. From the outset, Hamas offered itself as an alternative to Fatah as a movement that was right there on the ground (unlike Fatah, whose leadership was safely ensconced in Tunis at the time), as a movement that would provide social services (schools, health care, aid to the poor), was free of the massive corruption that marked Fatah operations . That's why the people of Gaza elected Hamas to office, to nearly everyone's shock, when offered the chance to hold reasonably free elections.

Today, Hamas is a complex movement that contains both radical ideologues and more moderate figures in positions of leadership and relies on Iran for its support, but it is also a political party that maintains its popular support by effective governance. That alone demonstrates a capacity for pragmatism, but beyond that the fact is that Hamas' leadership offered Israel a long-term truce in 2004 in exchange for Israel's withdrawal from the occupied territories. Hamas subsequently confirmed that they would accept any peace agreement for a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, provided that it was ratified by a popular referendum. In both instances, Israel was not interested, as Israel was not interested in securing a cessation of rocket attacks in return for lifting its blockade, nor in the 2002 Saudi plan offering recognition by the 22 Arab governments of the Arab League - which endorsed the plan in 2007 -- in return for withdrawal to the same 1967 borders.

Israel, in other words, has no interest in a return to the 1967 borders: both at Annapolis and elsewhere, Israel has made it clear that it intends to keep large chunks of the West Bank that contain the settlement blocs around Ariel, the line of settlements stretching out to Maale Adumim and beyond, and especially the ring of settlements that cut Jerusalem off from the rest of the West Bank. In other words, the invasion of Gaza is one more illustration of the fact that Israel prefers to preserve its expansionist ambitions rather than seek peace at both the tactical and the strategic levels. No truce that might curtail or end the rocket fire if it requires lifting the siege that Israel believes will eventually bring the Palestinians in Gaza to their knees begging to be allowed to accept a leadership of Israel's choosing. And no peace deals of the kind that were once reached with Egypt and Jordan if the price is giving up Greater and exclusive ownership of Jerusalem.

But the intransigence of Israel's three no's - no negotiation with Hamas, no recognition of Hamas, no peace with Hamas -- is never part of the conversation. Hamas is criticized in the Reid/McConnell resolution for its failure to accept the Quartet Roadmap terms for negotiations in 2003. That criticism is somewhere between ironic and hypocritical given that Israel has never defined the borders within which it is supposed to be recognized, has never offered to forego its own violence, and especially given that the Sharon government declared its own list of 14 points of reservation the Quartet proposal's terms at the time they were first announced.

Ultimately, though, "radicalism" of Hamas -- whether in itself or as compared to the equivalent "radicalism" of Israel's positions -- is beside point. The real point is that the correct question is not whether Hamas' leadership hates Israel and seeks its destruction. The real question is whether Hamas' leadership would be able to secure popular Palestinian support for such a program, just as the real question in the broader War on Terror was never why Al Qaeda hates America, it was always why Al Qaeda's hatred of America sold as well as it did in so many places. The Israeli siege of Gaza has ensured that violence will remain the only plausible apparent option, a conviction that can only be made stronger by the more than 700 dead, thousands wounded and the effective destruction of the civilian infrastructure. Israel's actions strengthen the most radical elements within Hamas by making their claims plausible: that Israel will never permit a free and independent Palestinian state, will never permit Palestinians to live in peace, cannot be trusted to keep any promise or to deviate from the most extreme positions articulated by its past and present leaders . . . in other words, precisely the brush that supporters use to tar Hamas.

And Hamas is not the end of the devolutionary line. Israel supported Hamas to weaken the control of the secular Fatah; today as Israel seeks to weaken Hamas a group called Palestinian Islamic Jihad is emerging. Israel's unwillingness to deal with Hamas is based partly on its ties to Iran; Israel's actions are making it increasingly impossible for moderate Arab states and the Palestinian Authority to join in denouncing Hamas -- as was the case in the first days of the air operation -- with the result that Iran's position vis a vis the Arab League is strengthened, at least temporarily. The satisfaction in being proven correct is grim comfort in the case of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:49 PM   #445
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And the fact that the Islamists know that they can get the world's sympathy with little effort only encourages them further to keep the violence going until they can get Israel wiped off the map entirely. Remember: Hamas, Hezbollah, and most of the nations of the Middle East do not recognize Israel's right to exist, and Iran, a financial backer of both, has openly called for Israel's destruction. This is not a mere exaggeration here.

It strikes me, again, that we're not having a debate here, as such, it's just a case of throwing out competing propaganda.

Saying that Hamas are backed by Iran is really just a truism. Why have the Palestinians elected this government, for example? Why have they not elected a more 'moderate' government? I would suggest that when they did elect more moderate governments, they got nothing but trouble. So, I don't blame the Palestinians for going for 'extremist' options.


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As someone who has no personal attachment to either Israel or Palestine, how difficult is it to criticize both sides' atrocities?
Well, for start, it's incredibly, really, dramatically, difficult for the US government to do so, apparently. 'Cos they never have criticised Israel's atrocities.
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:51 PM   #446
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I think the solution here is this - all the jewish people can move out of Israel and come to Australia. We've got plenty of room for everyone, they can have 10x as much land as they have in Israel! We'll even go get the whispering wall and all the artifacts and ship em over and put them in a lovely musuem for them and they can be safe and happy and prosper here. Not a bad idea at all.

Its never going to work in the middle east, as i've said before the hatred runs too deep on both sides. The fight has been twisted and turned into something unrecognisable, and both sides are blinded by revenge and burning anger. Like my mum said, they were fighting when she was a teenager, they fought when i was born and they're still fig
Isn't it about time you apologised for the Holocaust?
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:59 PM   #447
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There is an excellent article by Howard Schweber (a self-hater?) that contains excellent commentary on this talking point. Here is the relevant portion:
Please, I must respectfully note that all this rhetoric about "self-hating Jews" and Nazis and whatever in this is really getting petty and silly, and I think does a disservice in trying to elevate the discourse here. Anyone can agree or disagree with me, but, if anything, that's what I've been trying to do with my posts here. The tone of the discourse in this thread is starting to become embarrassing.

I am willing to accept the possibility of Hamas becoming "mainstream," much like the PLO/Fatah turned from a violent terrorist organization in the 1960s and 70s into a comparatively moderate governing entity. Additionally, it is likely unrealistic to expect Hamas to cease to exist; and thus, much as many are ready to vigorously protest Israel's behaviour in this conflict and others, it is both appropriate and imperative for people to demand Hamas to act as a mature governing force. Fatah, for all its corruption and other shortcomings, has proved itself trustworthy enough for good faith negotiations. Hezbollah and Hamas, on the other hand, have anything but. This does not preclude the possibility of both of these entities moderating, but we have to put as much pressure on these two entities and their Middle Eastern backers just as much as people are ready to put pressure on Israel. One cannot pressure one without the other!

In fact, considering all the actors in this historical conflict, I would dare say that it would almost require a global summit to fix. Why this summit cannot work currently is because there are too few entities willing to be objective here and scrutinize the behaviour of both sides. As I posted as an example before, the UN Human Rights Council is not seen to be objective one bit in this conflict, and these are comments by the last two UN Secretary Generals, not some fringe criticisms from right-wing bloggers. The more people take polarizing stances on this conflict, the longer it will drag on and the longer the Palestinians will suffer.
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:09 AM   #448
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I think the solution here is this - all the jewish people can move out of Israel and come to Australia. We've got plenty of room for everyone, they can have 10x as much land as they have in Israel! We'll even go get the whispering wall and all the artifacts and ship em over and put them in a lovely musuem for them and they can be safe and happy and prosper here. Not a bad idea at all.

Its never going to work in the middle east, as i've said before the hatred runs too deep on both sides. The fight has been twisted and turned into something unrecognisable, and both sides are blinded by revenge and burning anger. Like my mum said, they were fighting when she was a teenager, they fought when i was born and they're still fighting now. Is it ever going to end?
What are your feelings about Aboriginal land rights?
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:11 AM   #449
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It strikes me, again, that we're not having a debate here, as such, it's just a case of throwing out competing propaganda.

Saying that Hamas are backed by Iran is really just a truism. Why have the Palestinians elected this government, for example? Why have they not elected a more 'moderate' government? I would suggest that when they did elect more moderate governments, they got nothing but trouble. So, I don't blame the Palestinians for going for 'extremist' options.
Why do Americans vote Democratic or Republican, when both are often unappealing entirely? Because that's what you get with a two-party system. Fatah's corruption, much like one gets with decades of one-party dominance, is legendary, and a vote for Hamas was likely a vote against Fatah. I do not believe that their vote for Hamas was an overall endorsement of their Islamist fundamentalist extremism or their terror campaigns. I just think that there was a distant hope for change in governance away from Fatah's severe institutional corruption. Foreign policy, which is all we care about as outside observers, likely did not factor into their vote in that election.

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Well, for start, it's incredibly, really, dramatically, difficult for the US government to do so, apparently. 'Cos they never have criticised Israel's atrocities.
The U.S. government is one country and one voice. The European Union and the individual nations are certainly a counter voice in the global arena, and it is unfortunate that they have, for the most part, chosen to be polarizing in the opposite manner in favour of the Palestinians. I think that neither entities have used their position to try and seriously end this conflict in an effective manner, and, frankly, it shows. The finger pointing and incendiary comments, I believe, are tremendously counterproductive.
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:15 AM   #450
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In fact, considering all the actors in this historical conflict, I would dare say that it would almost require a global summit to fix. Why this summit cannot work currently is because there are too few entities willing to be objective here and scrutinize the behaviour of both sides.
Israel is the only democracy in the region. It prides itself on being an advanced, westernized country where secular citizens can live peacefully among the religious fringe. Where elections are free, the exchange of ideas is free, and there is a large amount of cooperation with other western democracies in terms of foreign aid, mutual education and training programs and so on.

Israel, by virtue of being this beacon of democratic light in a wilderness, begs to be judged by a different standard than 3.9 million people, half or more of whom still live in refugee camps, who have no infrastructure, little to no secular education, no effective leadership, no economy, no comparable foreign or military aid, no resources, and are basically imprisoned in bantustans while Israel takes more land on a daily basis.

This idea that we have to impose the same rules and expect the same sort of behaviour from these two groups and that we have to evaluate their actions the same way regardless of the fact their circumstances are completely and utterly different is basically thinking that's out there in la-la land. It's completely absurd, and I'm surprised that you keep pushing this equivalency angle so strongly since it has absolutely no pragmatic value as it is 150% unrealistic.

I will honestly ask you - have you ever asked yourself that if you were born in Gaza, and lived in that cesspool your entire life, do you think that you may have voted for Hamas, and do you think you may have thrown a rock or two? And do you think that you should be held to the same standard when you walk into the voting booth as a first world citizen living in Tel Aviv? Are your situations comparable?

Recognizing that Hamas are by and large thugs is to be expected of most rational people. Recognizing that they are not the ideal negotiating group here, same thing. But imposing some kind of equivalency of pressure, equivalency of expectations, well, you can do it, but it's going to take you nowhere. And it seems to me that if you're adamant about searching for a pragmatic answer, then recognizing these things might be a valuable first step.
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