The Archipelago of Eastern Palestine

palestine-archipelago-loresStrange Maps has a hi-res version of the brilliant aquatic visual metaphor of West Bank ghettoization. Read the introduction there, as well as Helena Cobban‘s useful commentary.

Apparently, the response of pro-Israel pundits to this map is that it is anti-Semitic because it implicitly suggests that the Jews should be driven into the sea. (Yawn…)

Strange Maps reports: “Even though this map of L’archipel de Palestine orientale (‘The Archipelago of Eastern Palestine’) is set in the same area and uses a similar theme, the cartographer behind it refutes any allegation that it is meant to reflect the same Biblical dry = good, wet = bad analogy. “The map is not about ‘drowning’ or ‘flooding’ the Israeli population, nor dividing territories along ethnic lines, even less a suggestion of how to resolve the conflict,” gasps Julien Bousac, the Frenchman who created this map.”

I was going to conclude with a remark about the impact of global/regional ‘warming’ on the continuing archipelagization of the West Bank but it occurs to me that I’m probably the 1,948,000th person to make that connection.

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60 thoughts on “The Archipelago of Eastern Palestine

  1. Maybe someone should do the same in reverse so when both maps are next to each other one can see that Israel will be a mass of land with lacs inside it where as Palestine would be a bunch of separated islands.

    Posted by Pat | May 10, 2009, 6:12 pm
  2. Hahahah. I swear the “goof” was a type. Could you do me a solid and delete that first comment? And this one while you’re at it…

    Posted by sean | May 10, 2009, 10:19 pm
  3. Let’s assume the map reflects reality (although it doesn’t). Archipelagos can be viable states. So what is the problem?

    From 67 till the first intifada (87), Israel, the West Bank and Gaza were one economic unit with no “water”. It is all a matter of security and how quick the Palestinians agree to a solution. The longer they tarry, the less they will have in the end.

    What no “justice”? No, there is no “justice” (whatever that is exactly) in the middle-east. This is just a simple historical fact. There never was “justice” and there never will be “justice”. But there is the “dignity” of living in squalor for generations and falling behind the rest of the world instead of accepting reality.

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 1:50 am
  4. Really one wonders where AIG gets his historical facts from. The Palestinians have accepted, from Fatah to Hamas, a two-state solution. It is not the Palestinians who are tarrying but the Isrealis who are stalling – because they know holding off is better way to secure more land. Obviously they favour that over peace, security and dignity.

    The Isrealis harp on about security when they go about creating their own security concerns. If they gave a damn about a two-state solution they wouldnt be constructing new settlements so rapidly. Since Oslo in 1993, the settlements have increased by 40%, according to some estimates.

    I think you shd consult the work of jeff Halper, Ilan Pappe and even that soul-less half-baked academic Benny Morris, all of whom will provide you with serious data and analysis as to why “Archipelagos”, as you like to them, do not make for viable states.

    Posted by the Sydneysider | May 11, 2009, 3:06 am
  5. Sydneysider,

    There is just one problem standing in the way of peace. It is NOT the settlements as the peace with Egypt demonstrated. It is the right of return on which the Palestinians insist and but which means the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

    Many Israelis including me would be motivated to vote for parties that stop settlement if we really believed that was the key issue. But until the Palestinians renounce the right of return, I will not stand in the way of settling the West Bank because the Palestinians have to understand that time is not on their side. The more they tarry the more they lose.

    Why don’t you consult the facts on the ground, such as Singapore, Hong-Kong and Israel, Luxembourg, Andorra or San Marino that prove that it is not resources or land that make a viable state instead of basing your opinion on fringe academics? All the whining cannot obscure the simple facts. A country is what you make of it, not what it makes of you.

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 4:00 am
  6. Settlements are a key issue. It’s part of the ongoing grab for land. What do we do when and if the West Bank is ‘handed over’ – force the settlers to leave?

    Palestinians, displaced 60 odd years ago, should denounce their right of return, but the global Judiac community, driven out by the Romans 3000 years ago, should expect to be repatriated. Yes that makes a lot of sense. and even if the Palestinians did renounce their right of return, I hardly think that provides incentive to stop the construction of settlements.

    Benny Morris, Pappe and Halper are not fringe academics. I have consulted the facts on the ground.

    Posted by the Sydneysider | May 11, 2009, 4:13 am
  7. Did you hear of a city called Yamit? Look it up. You know very few facts.

    The Palestinians don’t have to do anything. I am telling it to you like it is. Most Israelis will not bother with settlements until it is clear to them that when the Palestinians say they support a two state solution it does not mean two Palestinian states. That means more settlements until the Palestinians make their position clear. These are the facts on the ground. The majority of Israelis will not stop the minority of Israelis from settling the West Bank until the Palestinians renounce the right of return. If they don’t, which is most likely, the Palestinians will continue losing ground.

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 4:32 am
  8. Why are we posting a map of the Philippines on this website?

    Washington D.C.: 591,000 pop./61 sq mi (9,700/sq mi)

    Gaza: 1.4 million pop./139 sq mi (10,072/sq mi)

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 11, 2009, 4:41 am
  9. Over 378 civilains were killed last night in Sri Lanka.

    Let’s see what the UN and the Europeans have about this…,2933,519665,00.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 11, 2009, 4:49 am
  10. AP,
    I was also thinking of the Philippines when I saw the map…

    I am starting to believe that a “viable state” is the same as the Islamic Caliphate. Nothing less will be “viable” or “justice”.

    Is there any Arab state which is “viable” long term? Maybe Lebanon if its debt is forgiven. All the others are anachronistic monarchies and dictatorships.

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 4:50 am
  11. AP,

    How many were killed by Jews?

    That is the only thing that determines the amount of concern especially in the Arab world.

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 4:53 am
  12. How many were killed by Jews? That is the only thing that determines the amount of concern especially in the Arab world.

    AIG –


    Yes Arabs and muslims can commit fratricide orders of magnitude greater than anything Israel has done and you can actually hear a pin drop from the “Arab Street” when that occurs.

    Such hypocrisy.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 11, 2009, 6:00 am
  13. @AP: I imagine the UN and Europe would have about as much to say about Sri Lanka murdering civilians as it did about Cast Lead — murmurings of “concern” with no action taken. Maybe even a 184 page report watered down to 27 pages which the Ban Ki-moon will defend as completely independent, if we’re lucky. I still fail to see what Sri Lankan war crimes have to do with Israeli war crimes. Furthermore if you want to refer to the violence in Sri Lanka as Arab/Muslim fratricide I strongly advise you to review the demographics of the island. If that is indeed what you meant. To be honest, that tangent strikes me as rather pointless and absurd, which lead naturally to confusion. Maybe I’ll link to a story about Obama’s drone strikes in Pakistan and make a snide comment about how Israelis don’t care about rocket attacks unless they injure Jews.

    Posted by Andrew | May 11, 2009, 7:15 am
  14. Actually, the UN characterized the deaths in Sri Lanka as a bloodbath. But that doesn’t fit into the rhetoric of your ridiculous pity party there, does it? Oh poor Israelis, people speak out when the IDF kills 1,400 Gazans or 1,300 Lebanese, most of them civilians, so it must just be because the world is a bunch of Jew-hating bigots, right?

    Yeah, a Palestinian state split into little security islets that has no control over its airspace and borders and is completely demilitarized would be totally viable. I mean, come on, you guys are offering for them to become the new Federated States of Micronesia, only without any actual sovereignty, but these silly Arabs can’t tell what side their bread is buttered on, can they? Man, what a bunch of ingrates!

    Posted by sean | May 11, 2009, 7:34 am
  15. @AIG: Yes, the right of return would mean the end of the Jewish state. Or the end of Israeli democracy. It’s Israel’s choice. That’s the long-term price of expelling 2/3s of the natives so you can establish an ethnocracy. Maybe that’s why so many of the secular Israelis are emigrating — they see the writing on the wall. As an aside, I spent last summer in Israel and was shocked by how many people asked me how to get a greenqard amerikai.

    Posted by Andrew | May 11, 2009, 7:45 am
  16. AIG,
    I like to point out the countries you list, Singapore and so on do not have Israel on their borders nor the Mossad within their borders( I hope for their sake).
    Moreover, contrary to the free movements within all the islands in each of the Philippine and the alike, the island of the WB were created to deny them freedom of movement.
    So, no your facts

    Posted by i.e. Lubnan | May 11, 2009, 7:47 am
  17. AIG,
    As far as the Lebanese debt, it needs not to be forgiven but rather have Israel pay $27Billion for all the damages it caused and another $25 Billion as punitive damage in the hope it learns a lesson.
    The $ 52 billion will bring Lebanon back on the pre-war track.

    Posted by i.e. Lubnan | May 11, 2009, 7:47 am
  18. QN, Will the archipelago have pirates?

    Posted by Johnny | May 11, 2009, 7:58 am
  19. The Philippines? I wasn’t aware that the liquid separating those islands was boiling lava patrolled by gun ships.

    But please, go on fantasizing about imaginary sustainable states while Israel takes one step after another towards suicide-by-demography.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | May 11, 2009, 1:37 pm
  20. I imagine the UN and Europe would have about as much to say about Sri Lanka murdering civilians as it did about Cast Lead — murmurings of “concern” with no action taken.


    You may “imagine” that, but in reality, the UN and Europe have had very little to say about Sri Lanka “murdering civilians”. Of course, this all supposes that these civilians were “murdered” or were caught in the fire-fight.

    In fact, the UN and Europe have had little to say about real civilian “murders”. Say the murder of civilians in Iraq by insurgents and suicide bombers.

    Maybe even a 184 page report watered down to 27 pages which the Ban Ki-moon will defend as completely independent, if we’re lucky.

    There are all kinds of investigations being talked about concerning Gaza. I don’t recall and reports about the fighting in Sri Lanka. Feel free to post a link.

    I still fail to see what Sri Lankan war crimes have to do with Israeli war crimes.

    Everything. The UN picks and chooses who to investigate for “war crimes”. Of course, due to Arab pressure, the focus is on the GOI.

    Did the Tamil Tigers fire thousands of missiles into Sri Lankan villages and population centers?

    Furthermore if you want to refer to the violence in Sri Lanka as Arab/Muslim fratricide I strongly advise you to review the demographics of the island. If that is indeed what you meant.


    AIG and I were only highlighting the hypocrisy of Europeans and the UN when it comes to these two examples of civilian killing. In these two cases, there are NO serious UN investigations and NO serious UN resolutions as compared to those the GOI must face whenever they have to defend themselves.

    To be honest, that tangent strikes me as rather pointless and absurd, which lead naturally to confusion.

    I’m not surprised.

    Maybe I’ll link to a story about Obama’s drone strikes in Pakistan and make a snide comment about how Israelis don’t care about rocket attacks unless they injure Jews.

    Yes, and where is the UN condemnation of the US for that matter? It seems the US is allowed to go half-way around the world to fire missiles at a perceived enemy, but Israel isn’t allowed to defend herself from a bordering country who fires thousands of missiles and mortars directly into Israel.

    Make all the snide comments you want. I’ll join you.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 11, 2009, 2:37 pm
  21. Wrong again. From April 25:

    Nearly 6,500 civilians have been killed and 13,000 wounded in fighting in Sri Lanka over the past three months, according to a UN report.

    The release of the document on Friday comes two days after Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said in Brussels he was sending a team of humanitarian experts to the country as part of efforts to “try to do whatever we can to protect the civilian population”.

    Posted by sean | May 11, 2009, 3:34 pm
  22. As noted above by sean, the UN has stated the Sri Lankan “bloodbath has become a reality” and that “it seems beyond dispute that hundreds of civilians were killed overnight, including more than a hundred children.”

    I’m aware of two investigations regarding Cast Lead. The aforementioned UN report, watered down from nearly 200 pages to nearly 30, with the UNSG saying no further action would be taken aside from a request for compensation for Israeli destruction of UN property. As for Security Council action (the only possible UN action with teeth) Mr Ban said “I do not consider it necessary for me to initiate any further formal inquiry in this regard.” Keep in mind that the United States has used its UNSC veto to defend Israel around forty times in as many years when considering how effective a UNSC resolution based on any UN report would be. The other report of which I’m aware is the one in which the IDF clears itself for war crimes.

    What Arab pressure? Are you seriously reducing the UN action against Israel (of which none has ever existed) versus UN action against different actors (which has occasionally existed) to a heretofore unknown Arab lobby? Which Arabs are these, by the way? Egypt, the second largest recipient of US foreign largesse, which coordinated Cast Lead with Israel as well as the ongoing siege? Saudi Arabia, perhaps, whose leaders mingle with both Israel and the US? Maybe Assad in Syria, who as we all know commands tremendous influence in the world? Sarcasm aside, please tell me how this insidious Arab influence works. Was it responsible for UN intervention in Korea as well?

    And the Tamils haven’t launched any rockets that I’m aware of, but they invented suicide bombing as we know it today, and since 2001 they’ve killed 4000 SLA soldiers, with 30k total since the beginning of the conflict. Remind again how many civilians Hamas thugs killed with their bottle rockets. Remind me as well who broke the ceasefire in November. Remind me the conditions in Gaza, imposed by Israel, (with the aid of the anti-Israeli Egyptians) which led to the rocket attacks. Remind me finally of Israel’s conduct since before it was even formally established as a state.

    Of course the UN and EU are hypocrites. Just not in the manner you believe. The UN, aside from utterly irrelevant proclamations made by the General Assembly, (a one country, one vote body, and most modern countries are former colonies, and Israel is…?) never taken action against Israel. As for the EU, they sought to increase economic ties with Israel after the March 2008 campaign against Gaza which killed over 100 children, before which the Israeli deputy defense minister threatened to bring a second Holocaust upon the Palestinians. But yes, it’s true that all powers are hypocritical, pursue their interests and defend their actions citing lofty humanitarian ideals while real humanitarian crises elsewhere go unanswered. Call it baby’s first revelation about world politics. And just as no great power who doesn’t have economic or security interests in Sri Lanka is going to lift a finger to stop the killing, the same goes in Palestine. So what are we left with? Sri Lanka commits war crimes and goes unpunished, as does Israel. Tragic, but doesn’t excuse Israel.

    Good to see we’re in agreement about the US, then. As for Israel, unless I woke up this morning in bizarro world in which a country which suffers one fatality from rocket fire, which it brought upon itself by breaking a ceasefire and killing people, and responds by killing over a thousand civilians is the victim, I refuse to accept the legitimacy of Israeli war crimes no matter how many times and how loudly Israel calls it self defense.

    Posted by Andrew | May 11, 2009, 3:49 pm
  23. Andrew, Sean,

    There is no comparison. There are no UN resolutions requesting a cessation of the conflict in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, more civilians have died in the Sri Lankan conflict than in the Lebanon and Gaza conflict combined.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 11, 2009, 4:10 pm
  24. Andrew,

    The issue with the rockets is not just that they can harm people physically. They are an effective terror device because they shut down the economy in the area targeted. How many people would continue shopping on 5th avenue if once or twice a day a Kassam would land there? Sderot was depopulated on top of having a severe economic recession and larger Israeli cities could potentially suffer the same fate.

    In November Hamas were digging a tunnel to capture additional Israeli soldiers like they captured Shalit. Israel attacked this tunnel and you claim that it was not acting in self defense. Well, you are just dead wrong about that.

    Do you deny there is an Arab lobby in the General Assembly of the UN that consistently passes anti-Israel resolutions? Yes, they are non-binding, but that does not stop the attacks on Israel for not following UN decisions. If you look at the General Assembly resolutions do you deny that there is a clear bias against Israel?

    In the end, since you support the right of return, you are my enemy just as much as any Arab who does so. You deny my basic right to self determine myself in a homeland. You deny me the right to a Jewish state even though the creation of one was sanctioned by the UN. Not that I care about what the UN approves or not, but it clearly shows to me that you do not really care about international law also.

    And again it proves my basic point that the real issue is the right of return and not the settlements. You and others on this blog want Israel to stop settlements so that afterwards the Jewish state can be dismantled. You guys really seem to think that Israelis are idiots and that you guys are really for peace when in fact it is your basic attitude that is prolonging the conflict.

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 4:37 pm
  25. QN,

    Suicide by demography? What are you talking about? The Lebanese are afraid to take a census and you say Israel is committing suicide by demography?

    Seriously, let’s say that suddenly 20 million Palestinians materialize in Gaza and there is a clear majority of Palestinians between the Jordan and the Sea. What follows from that? Nothing. Same for any of the little “islands”.

    By the way, did you catch this weeks Business Week article about Israeli cleantech technologies?

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 4:49 pm
  26. Lubnan,

    It is a simple historical fact that Lebanon declared war on Israel and always says it will be the last to make peace. If you choose the path of war, what do you expect?

    Don’t worry, the Lebanese debt will be forgiven in exchange for your Palestinian brothers, who you love so much, becoming Lebanese citizens. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 5:05 pm
  27. In the end, since you support the right of return, you are my enemy just as much as any Arab who does so. You deny my basic right to self determine myself in a homeland. You deny me the right to a Jewish state…

    I can’t decide if you’re being cynical or completely blind with language like this. Who ever said that it’s your right to have a religiously homogeneous state on someone else’s territory in the first place? Jews made up, what, 20-30% of the population in Palestine in 1948, so it’s your right to have a Jewish state?

    Well, I’ve got news for you, it’s only your right in so far as you force it with your might. You sound like George Wallace in Alabama talking about the right of peace loving people of small-town Alabama to have schools and swimming pools that are free of niggers.

    You don’t have a right to a Jewish state any more than the people of Birmingham Alabama had the right to a white city or Rhodesians had a right to a white government.

    That you express such racist sentiment in the language of rights makes me sick to my stomach. But that’s fine, because the Israeli government now controls a little under 11.5 million people, 49% of whom are Jews. So forgetting about the millions of Palestinian refugees, where exactly is your “Jewish state” now? In the charming language of Israeli statistics, the world is split between Jews and non-Jews. Well, congratulations, you’re now a minority in the Jewish state!

    Posted by sean | May 11, 2009, 5:08 pm
  28. Sean,
    I have a right to a Jewish state just as the Hungarians have a right to a Hungarian state and the Japanese have a right to a Japanese state. You really have a mental block here. I am an atheist, but a Jew. Judaism is not only a religion, it is a nationality. That is how most Jews in Israel view themselves and you will not deny us the right to self-determination. It is a basic human right granted to all people.

    You also seem to think that Gaza is part of Israel. Or perhaps if we follow your logic, since Israel “controls” also the US, the Jews are less than 3% of the population. If we also control the world, we are even less.

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 5:18 pm
  29. The difference between Hungary and Israel is that Hungarian nationality is primarily a political affair, whereas even the Israeli government agrees that there is no such thing as Israeli nationhood. Look at your passport, and you’ll see that under the category “Nation,” it says, Jewish. Not Israeli. This means that your sense of nationhood is religious, not political. Likewise, if a Muslim or Jew were to move to Hungary, he could naturalize and become a citizen, whereas non-Jews could not naturalize in Israel. There’s also the fact that Hungary is not a settler state built on someone else’s land by dispossessing hundreds of thousands of people.

    You’ve created this imaginary nationhood that says that a Siberian, and Ethiopian and a Frenchman are compatriots based on nominal faith and cut foreskin, even if they have no previous geographic or linguistic ties. Now most nations are imagined communities, and the Israeli one wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t simultaneously an expansionist and exclusionary ideology that has left millions of people dispossessed and millions subsisting under humiliating military occupation with no rights whatsoever.

    And yes, of course, Gaza is still under occupation. Until Gazans control their borders, coastline and airspace, they are under Israeli occupation.

    Posted by sean | May 11, 2009, 5:37 pm
  30. AIG

    I’m sorry about the economic situation in Sderot. I really am. It far outweighs the economic and human damage inflicted on Gaza by the blockade, although I suppose the Palestinians deserve that for having the audacity to elect Hamas.

    As for Shalit, what was he doing in Gaza when he got captured? We both know the answer to that and that’s why I have no sympathy for any IDF soldier who gets captured. When the IDF invades Gaza and its soldiers are killed or captured, the Israeli response is not self defense, it is an escalation of Israeli violence.

    There are 22 Arab states, and 192 members of the UN General Assembly. If it was merely a racist Arab conspiracy, none of those non-binding (and that’s the key word — criticism of Israel does not in any realistic sense entail persecution. How binding is Israeli white phosphorous, by the way?) resolutions would have passed. In the event, they did pass and they did absolutely nothing to hamper Israeli colonization of Palestinian territory. If that’s the most you can complain about with regard to anti-Israeli persecution, Israel’s got it pretty good. In any case, UNGA opposition to Israel is not a priori biased as you casually assert. The facts are biased against Israel.

    Yes, I absolutely deny anybody the right to build a homeland built on land stolen from another people. If right of return threatens the Jewish state, whose fault is that? The fault of Palestinian refugees who were expelled from their land by force, or the fault of the European settlers that moved there? I’m not rejecting your right to live there. I’m rejecting Israel’s right to apartheid, which was not granted to Israel by any UN resolution, nor was the right to expel two-thirds of the indigenous population. By labeling me an enemy because I reject the Jewish state, one preemptively makes enemies of the Palestinians as they lived first on the land set out to be the Jewish homeland. By definition they were and are opponents of the Jewish state because they had to be removed from the land in order for Jews to settle it. Who knows, maybe there’s something wrong with the idea of a Jewish state?

    To be honest, I’m not even sure if Israel is as closely aligned with Judaism as is claimed. Would a Jewish state bar Jews from entering it on the grounds that they criticized Israel? Would a Jewish state be as willing as Israel is to collaborate with anti-Semites like Abu Mazen, who in his doctoral thesis asserted that the Holocaust was a sham and allegedly helped finance the Munich attack, or the Saudi royal family, or Mubarak?

    Posted by Andrew | May 11, 2009, 5:46 pm
  31. Get it into your head. It is a fact that I am an atheist Jew and that there are tens of thousands like me in Israel. This is conclusive proof that being a Jew has nothing to do with religion. You are trying to tell me what I am. That is just hilarious. I am part of the Jewish nation, one of the oldest in the world. The Jewish traditions, or the religious aspects of Judaism, are the codes of conduct of the nation. That a nation has codes of conduct of religious nature does not make it a religion.

    There are many non-Jews that have naturalized in Israel. If you are married to a Jew you can naturalize. Contrast this with Japan that does not allow you to naturalize even if you marry a Japanese. You are just completely mistaken on this issue.

    We create an imaginary nationhood? Are you kidding? The Jews have been a nation for centuries and are tied together by a common destiny. The war of 1948 could have gone either way. If the Jews would have lost, we would have been massacred. You choose to take your chances and start a war and now are whining about the results. Grow up.

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 5:56 pm
  32. Andrew,
    Every state whose economy and lives of its citizens were threatened by terrorism has the right to stop such actions. You want to deny Israel the right to do so or limit its abilities. I reject your basic attitude.

    Shalit was NOT in Gaza when he was captured. The Palestinians dug a tunnel to the Israeli side and captured him. They were trying to do that again in November. Don’t let your obvious bias obscure the facts.

    Let’s see you say:
    “I absolutely deny anybody the right to build a homeland built on land stolen from another people.”

    Israel did not steal the land from anybody. It captured it in a war of self defense. But let’s humor you. The Americans and Indians stole the land from the Native Americans, the Australians from the Aborigines, the current day English from the Celts, the Chinese from the Tibetans etc. etc. In your view are America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, China etc. legitimate states?

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 6:06 pm
  33. AIG

    Does that mean you are comfortable with apartheid? If you are, then I guess everything is clear.

    Yes, the census situation in Lebanon is deplorable. The difference is that most Lebanese I know are actually ashamed of the confessional system and want it to be replaced with a secular democracy. You on the other hand are defending the prospect of an apartheid regime in Israel.

    No I didn’t see the cleantech article; feel free to link.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | May 11, 2009, 6:15 pm
  34. This discussion is again proving my point. All the discussion about the settlements is just BS. They are not the main issue at all. That real issue is that you want to dismantle the Jewish state. That is why there is no peace.

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 6:16 pm
  35. QN,

    How so apartheid regime? I am for a two state solution.

    You have been duped into the following dialectic:
    P) We want a state.
    I) Here is the state you can have now.
    P) We don’t like what you propose and therefore you support apartheid.

    Let’s be serious, if most Lebanese supported a secular democracy, there would be a secular democracy in Lebanon. Does it really help the discussion that your small circle of intellectuals supports a secular democracy given that its influence on Lebanese politics is close to nil???

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 6:23 pm
  36. P) We want a state.
    I) Here is the state you can have now.
    P) We don’t like what you propose and therefore you support apartheid.

    Ironically, that’s exactly how things went in South Africa. The apartheid state offered nonviable bantustans to those who weren’t white, and the ANC rejected it, because they refused to believe that Afrikaners had the right to live in a white state.

    It took time, but eventually through a combination of resistance and the embarrassment of the rest of the world, white South Africans were pressured into relinquishing control of the apartheid state.

    Posted by sean | May 11, 2009, 6:41 pm
  37. Sean,
    First, the whites in South Africa never limited themselves to a state where they were the majority when they made the Bantustan proposals. All Israeli proposals have been such that Jews are a clear majority in the Jewish state. These proposals were rejected by the Palestinians.

    Second, if you reject in principle a Jewish state, there is nothing to discuss. You are not for a two state solution unless it is two Palestinian states. You have nobody to complain about your situation to but yourself for your irrational intransigence.

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 6:48 pm
  38. AIG: Today, almost a quarter of the population in the territory you’re talking about where Jews are a clear majority is non-Jewish. Demographic trends show that without a mass influx of Jews from elsewhere, in the coming decades, Jews will be a minority even within that territory. What do you think Israel should do about that? Should it cease to be a Jewish state? Should it strip non-Jews of their citizenship or force them out? Or should it cease to be a democratic state?

    Posted by sean | May 11, 2009, 7:03 pm
  39. Sean,
    We will cross that bridge if we ever get to it. Your demographic analysis is just wrong. The worst case scenarios show 50% non-Jews in one hundred years and these scenarios fail to take into account the fact that as the Arab citizens of Israel get richer, they tend to have less children. The most realistic assessments show Arabs never rising to above 35% of the population.

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 7:11 pm
  40. By the way, I see also no problem of Israel ceding land mostly inhabited by Arabs to the Palestinian state in the future. The Arab Israelis identify themselves as Palestinian anyway. They will keep all their land, they will just be Palestinian citizens instead of Israeli. Nothing undemocratic about this.

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 7:16 pm
  41. If any nation is an apartheid state it is the Arabs. All Jews were required to leave any land that returned to the Palestinians and the Egyptians.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 11, 2009, 7:44 pm
  42. AIG,

    Until you can explain how the archipelago surrounded by boiling lava and helicopter gunships is a viable model for a state, then you have no two-state argument, which means that you tacitly support the Greater Israel one-state model, which is bound to result in apartheid.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | May 11, 2009, 8:05 pm
  43. Sean,

    I agree with you that the Zionist movement and the ethnic cleansing that occurred in 1948 were wholly unjustified. But that said, you have to remember that in the years between 1940 and 1950 something like 40 million people were permanently expelled from their homes. This includes 15 million or so Germans expelled from what is now Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Kalingrad oblast of Russia, as well as 15 million people displaced during the partition of India. There were also smaller displacements, such as Poland getting moved a couple hundred miles west and all the Finns getting expelled from Karellia. Many of the expelled groups suffered much higher mortality rates than the Palestinians did. And yet, everyone moved on. Europe is a peaceful place today precisely because Germans from Konigsburg and Finns from Vyborg abandoned their hopes of returning and built new lives.

    The aggravating thing about being a Jew is that the zillions of bad things done to us (the pogroms, the Holocaust, the uprooting of Jewish communities in the Muslim world) are all either physically or practically irreversible while the bad thing we did (Zionism) is the one mistake of the mid-20th century that apparently has to be reversed at all costs.

    Now, the West Bank settlements, the killing of thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese, the discrimination against Israeli Arabs etc. are all grounds for political action against Israel. And I have zero doubt that if the US were building settlements in strategically valuable parts of Iraq, there would be massive outcry. But let go of 1948, it’s over.

    Posted by Abraham Rotsapsky | May 11, 2009, 8:13 pm
  44. AIG

    I’m glad we agree on one thing, even if it is a matter of indisputable fact. I was going to correct Sean on the issue of goyish naturalization but you beat me to it 🙂

    Was the Nakba really self defense? As for your other examples of genocide and conquest, well, if I were living 60 years after the beginning of American colonization, with the dispossessed still alive and constituting the majority of the population, I certainly wouldn’t support the settlers. And I don’t support China’s occupation of Tibet. Even if I did, my abject hypocrisy wouldn’t disprove any of my sentiments about Israel.

    AP: Which Arab state is that? “The Arabs?” Did somebody go back in time and help Nasser succeed or something?

    Posted by Andrew | May 11, 2009, 8:20 pm
  45. AIG: Again, in Hungary, I can become a citizen after a few years of residence without marrying a Hungarian. In Israel, that is impossible. And if I’m Palestinian, even if I marry an Israeli citizen, it is illegal for me to even move to Israel, much less become a citizen. Holding up Japan as a counterexample isn’t very helpful, since it has really chauvinistic nationality laws that I also disagree with.

    Finally, you refuse to answer the question, and then cite bogus demographic stats that don’t fit with anything I’ve read anywhere. You’re trying to dodge the choice that will inevitably arise. That’s fine, then, what about America? In the coming decades, whites will be a minority in the US (together Blacks and Latinos currently make up around 41% of the population). Would the US be justified in trying to maintain its “right” to be a white country?

    Finally, you say that there’s “nothing undemocratic” in stripping Palestinian-Israelis of their citizenship while doing a land swap with a future Palestinian state. Are you saying that they wouldn’t be given the opportunity to keep their Israeli citizenship? If so, say that again to yourself: there’s nothing undemocratic about taking someone’s citizenship away from them. The last time I checked, that didn’t work out too well for your tribe.

    Abraham: I agree that those were very, very bloody years. But the fact of the matter is that citing one historical injustice doesn’t make another one more palatable. And even today, I think that Muslims who left their ancestral homes in India or vice-versa should be allowed to go back to their homes. (For Germans, it’s not a problem; they can go live in Poland or Finland or the Czech Republic without a hitch.)

    Furthermore, Zionism is based on the idea that after thousands of years, all Jews, be they Ethiopian, Siberian, French or Argentine have the “right of return.” And if I were to convert to Judaism, I could also “return” to Israel. So it seems particularly disingenuous when people say that after 60 years, Palestinians should just “get over it” or “move on.” Talk to Palestinians with no passport, living in squalid refugee camps, and tell them that they should just get on with their lives. Or talk to surrounding Arab states, and tell them that it’s their responsibility to absorb millions of refugees so that Israel can preserve its Jewish nature. Does that really sound even remotely reasonable?

    Posted by sean | May 11, 2009, 9:26 pm
  46. QN,
    The recent quick rebound in the Palestinian economy in the West Bank once Abbas took responsibility for security seriously shows you exactly what will happen with peace. On the ground the “islands” are connected by modern roads which sans the checkpoints will allow the Palestinian economy to hum along. There will be no Palestinian state anyway if the Palestinians do not commit to this minimum of security. So in a state of peace, the islands are not really islands and there is no lava or gunships.

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 11:09 pm
  47. Andrew,
    No problem, let’s discuss again after 200 years. Then I understand you will be fine with the Nakba. As long as it is a matter of time and not principle, we can compromise… The fact of the matter is that Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US etc. etc. would not exist today without ethnic cleansing or genocide. This does not make genocide or ethnic cleansing good in any way, it just proves that HOW a state is founded has no bearing for its legitimacy several decades down the road and that making a special case of Israel is intellectually dishonest.

    Of course the Nakba was self defense. Once a peaceful solution was rejected by the Arabs, there could not be a viable Jewish state unless it had a sound Jewish majority and quasi-defensible borders. We can argue if this or that village should have been cleansed, but in general, once the Arabs chose war there were only 2 possible outcomes: the massacre of the Jews or the ethnic cleansing of most Arabs.

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 11:17 pm
  48. Sean,
    There are quite a few catholic monks that reside in Israel and have become citizens (it goes without saying that without marrying).

    Why would I care if you approve of the Japanese laws or not? Japan is not viewed as racist or apartheid so if Israeli laws are as good as Japan, Israel should not be held to a special standard.

    Why should I attempt now to answer a question that will arise in 80 years? The circumstances will be way different and the answer will be applicable to what the situation is in the future. My demographic assessment is the correct one. What you cite is biased nonsense.

    Do you know Sean that Israel absorbed 800,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries? Why is not reasonable to ask the Arabs to absorb a similar number in 48? The Arabs wanted to use the refugees cynically as a weapon against Israel instead of helping them. This makes the Palestinian refugees squarely an Arab problem. Where in any other part of the world have you seen people living in refugee camps 3 generations?

    Posted by AIG | May 11, 2009, 11:29 pm
  49. Actually, the refugee crisis that comes to mind first is that of Rwandan Tutsis, who were exiled in 1959 but were not allowed to return, contrary to the universal declaration of human rights, which states that “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”

    The Hutu government decided that there was no space for the Tutsis and that their presence might jeopardize the majority rule of the Hutus, so they were not allowed back into the country and were left to rot in refugee camps in Uganda, Burundi and the Congo. They finally came back to Rwanda, through force of arms.

    Also, Israel wanted to “absorb” the oriental Jews. In some cases, like in Iraq, the Israeli government actually colluded with the Arab government to organize the expulsion of Jews. To my mind, any Jews who left any Arab country should have the right to return. Here in Lebanon, where the Jewish population increased after 1948, I think the country would be bettered by the return of Lebanese Jews, most of whom are now in Paris, Montreal and New York.

    As for the Catholic monks, give me a break. Answer me this question: could I move to Israel and be naturalized as a citizen? Do you not think that it’s racist that a Palestinian cannot move to Israel or become Israeli even if he/she marries an Israeli?

    And as for Japan, it is a super racist country, and many people view it as such, including the UN.

    Posted by sean | May 12, 2009, 12:05 am
  50. So what if Israel wanted to absorb the Jews from Arab lands? I mean that is not surprising and only natural. What is surprising and sad is that the Arabs did not want to absorb their Palestinian brethren, but decided to cynically use their suffering as a weapon against Israel. Therefore, the Palestinian refugees are the responsibility of the Arab countries, not Israel. The Arabs could have easily absorbed the refugees but chose not to in an evil and cynical manner.

    Ok, Israel is not perfect, we are just as bad as Japan. I can live with that.

    But let’s return to the main point. Do you still deny me the right to a Jewish state?

    Posted by AIG | May 12, 2009, 12:50 am
  51. I’m afraid you can’t pass the buck. It’s like if I went to a building, evicted all of the residents and then when they weren’t allowed to buy apartments in neighboring buildings, claimed that their homelessness was the fault of the neighboring buildings and not the initial eviction. Why should Israel’s neighbors clean up the mess that she created?

    Finally, I am a liberal humanist, and as such, I cannot accept the ideology of an exclusionary religio-ethnic state. I am against states that define themselves ethnically, racially or religiously at the expense of other populations within that state. As someone whose academic specialty is genocide and ethnic violence, I can see that such mindsets lead to discrimination and oppression in the best case scenario and ethnic cleansing and/or genocide in the worst. Israel/Palestine saw ethnic cleansing in 1948 and is currently an example of discrimination and oppression. I fear that if a just solution is not enforced soon, it’s only a matter of time before another attempt at ethnic cleansing occurs. (See transferists and even your own idea of stripping Arabs of their citizenship.)

    So the short answer is no, I don’t think you have the right to a Jewish state at the expense of the Palestinians.

    Posted by sean | May 12, 2009, 1:15 am
  52. Your example is not the right analogy. The right one is as follows. Two clans live in an apartment house. They start fighting. Clan A evicts Clan B. In a nearby building the reverse happens. Clan B evicts Clan A. Clan A accepts into its building its evicted clan members while Clan B doesn’t. That is the right example. The Arabs created the Palestinian refugee problem by rejecting the 47 UN Partition Resolution and by going to war in order to throw the Jews in the sea.

    Not only can I pass the buck, I have every moral right to do so. The Arabs created the mess and therefore should solve it.

    You have a very narrow view of the 1948 conflict. You are focused on the actual result without looking at why it was achieved and what were the other possible turn of events.

    You should rethink your views because they lead to ridiculous conclusions. According to you, it would have been better had the Jews murdered all the Palestinians instead of evicting them because then today there would not be discrimination and oppression. And, the Jewish state would not be at the expense of anybody because there would be no Palestinians. So it seems that according to you, Jews cannot have a state because they just evicted the Palestinians instead of murdering them.

    Posted by AIG | May 12, 2009, 2:47 am
  53. I’d like to point out to Arab commentators in particular, that there is a new theory which seeks to explain why the words zionist and zombie share the same page in the English dictionary. There is an emerging consensus that the two words have more in common than just having fallen by accident into that same page. There are striking similarities, people are saying, between a zionist and the qualities of a zombie. In particular, the proponents of the theory point out to the definition of the word zombie: “a person held to resemble the so-called walking dead or a person markedly strange in appearance or behavior” as it appears in the dictionary to be equally applicable to the zionist (notice that I am using a non capital letter z on purpose).
    Therefore, I’d ask the Arab commentators to take this information into consideration when they converse with zionists on this or any other blog.

    Posted by mike | May 12, 2009, 3:22 am
  54. Therefore, I’d ask the Arab commentators to take this information into consideration when they converse with zionists on this or any other blog.


    Lots of people have no problem conversing with Zionists. Who know why? Maybe they accept Israel?

    Anyway, count the Pope as one such person out of millions…,7340,L-3714295,00.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 12, 2009, 3:41 am
  55. Therefore, I’d ask the Arab commentators to take this information into consideration when they converse with zionists on this or any other blog.


    Lots of people have no problem conversing with Zionists. Who knows why? Maybe because they accept Israel?

    Anyway, count the Pope as one such person out of millions…,7340,L-3714295,00.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 12, 2009, 3:41 am
  56. You see guys? The last two comments prove my point. So be aware.

    Did I mention “Jew” anywhere in my comment?

    Posted by mike | May 12, 2009, 4:06 am
  57. Mike,

    Be aware of what?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 12, 2009, 4:33 am
  58. I think we’ve solved the Arab-Israeli conflict so this comment board can be shut down now. Cheers.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | May 12, 2009, 6:57 am


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