3000 Years Building Jerusalem…

In a speech given at AIPAC on Monday night, Benjamin Netanyahu declared to a roaring crowd: “The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years, and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement; It’s our capital.”

The game of chicken continues. As Netanyahu continues to pursue a hard line on the settlements issue, embarassing high-ranking U.S. officials like Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton, the UK expels an Israeli diplomat in London.

Meanwhile, the Joint Chiefs Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen took the highly unusual step of weighing in on the political dimensions of the Arab-Israeli conflict (after some prompting by CENTCOM commander General Petraeus), arguing that the conflict had a direct impact on America’s status in the region.

As someone put it recently, there is no bigger lobby in Congress than the U.S. military, and if the military decides that a particular policy is becoming a liability for national security, it could provide the White House with some much-needed political cover to put pressure on the Israelis.

As for the narrower question of who actually was building in Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and why this is so utterly beside the point, you could do far worse than to read Bernard Avishai and Juan Cole.

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96 thoughts on “3000 Years Building Jerusalem…

  1. Well if only all these arguments of UK and US politicians would be dealing with the fundamental issues. The UK only expels the diplomat over the passport row, not over the fact that Israel -might have- committed a murder in Dubai; and the US is only embarrassed over the fact that the announcement to build new settlements came on the same day as Joe Biden visited the region. I wonder if it would have been the same kind of condemnation would Israel have announced its building project a few days later… It didn’t however, embarrass them enough, since Netanyahu was still invited to the White House… It’s another missed opportunity for the US to make their point clear to the Israeli government about how serious they are.

    Posted by Jan | March 23, 2010, 11:28 am
  2. QN –

    We (the neanderthal Zionists) believe Jews should be able to live wherever they want in Jerusalem.

    Just like the Palestinians in Lebanon. q:op

    It has nothing to do with where the borders will be between the new state of Palestine and Israel.

    Re: UK Passports

    Why is it the UK can knock off terrorists whenever they want, but the Israelis can’t? I guess its because AIPAC is sooooo powerful…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 23, 2010, 11:34 am
  3. It is a fact that the neighborhoods in East Jerusalem will be part of Israel under any arrangement. There will be a land swap for them. So what is the big deal?

    Obama and Clinton need to show Israelis that they can implement “biting” sanctions on Iran. Otherwise, any pressure on Bibi will be counter productive.

    As for Mullen and Petraeus, they will soon be telling us that the people in the region will like the US more if Israel did not exist. Yeah, no kidding. They would like the US more if it were not in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi, UAE and Kuwait. Why don’t they recommend bringing all the troops home? That way, they will not get hurt.

    Posted by AIG | March 23, 2010, 12:48 pm
  4. Has anyone considered the possibility that this so called row between Israel and the US is an arranged one. Note how strongly Hillary Clinton came out in support of Israel yesterday. Could this “diabolical ” row be the means of sending a message to Iran that the US cannot force the Israelis to accept a policy that is against their national interest? Just a thought that is worth contemplating.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | March 23, 2010, 1:31 pm
  5. Ghassan,

    I would take things at face value. The current administrations in the US and Israel do not see eye to eye and it shows. There is no excuse for Israel insulting Biden while he was in Israel and there is no excuse for the US prolonging this drama after Bibi apologized.

    Posted by AIG | March 23, 2010, 1:41 pm
  6. QN

    I’m disappointed.

    I thought it would be a Qnion post.

    Posted by i | March 23, 2010, 4:16 pm
  7. it’s arranged, and even if it’s not its been exagerated to save US face and more importantly to give Israel time to choke east jerusalem further. At best they’ll make it appear as if friends agree to disagree. US might even utilize the pressure to restart the peace process to give Obama an international legacy, but East Jerusalem will unfortunately not be part of any deal during this administration.

    Posted by Innocent Criminal | March 23, 2010, 4:16 pm
  8. Akbar Palace

    I know that you are in favor of a two-state solution based on 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.

    Shouldn’t you be outraged as well?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | March 23, 2010, 4:32 pm
  9. AIG

    “It is a fact that the neighborhoods in East Jerusalem will be part of Israel under any arrangement. There will be a land swap for them. So what is the big deal?”

    You are against building settlements in the West Bank. Why is it ok to build them in East Jerusalem?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | March 23, 2010, 4:34 pm
  10. AIG, are you being intentionally dense? As long as Israel continues with these “facts on the ground,” there will be no legitimate arrangement and no land swaps. The Palestinians have a historic claim to Jerusalem and they aren’t going to trade that for some desert or land below a hilltop.

    As for pressure on Iran, maybe that is what Israelis are looking for, but I assure you the world wants to see Obama exert pressure on Israel.

    And your last point is just stupid. Are you insinuating that Petraeus is an anti-Semite for his remarks? If you don’t agree that Arab public opinion toward the US wouldn’t vastly change if we weren’t unconditionally supportive of Israel, we cannot have a real argument. And did you forget one of the primary reasons we invaded Iraq? Israel.

    Posted by Nasser | March 23, 2010, 5:34 pm
  11. Correction: If you don’t agree that Arab public opinion toward the US would** vastly change if we weren’t unconditionally supportive of Israel, we cannot have a real argument.

    Posted by Nasser | March 23, 2010, 5:40 pm
  12. I know that you are in favor of a two-state solution based on 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.

    QN –

    Where did you get that impression? I would favor the deal that Arafat rejected 10 years ago, but that’s not on the table.

    Shouldn’t you be outraged as well?

    I’m so outraged at number of Zionist crimes that I’ve given up and I’m now turning my outrage at the Palestinians even though they’re innocent bystanders.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 23, 2010, 6:38 pm
  13. QN,

    It is ok to build in East Jerusalem because there is an agreement that this will be part of Israel. Bush agreed to this in the letter he sent to Sharon. The Palestinians know this also and have agreed to the principal of land swaps. What they say in public is another matter.

    And if the Palestinians do not like this, and I know they don’t, I would recommend that they accept US brokered negotiations as soon as possible before there are more facts on the ground. Because if they demand to negotiate only after a settlement freeze including in East Jerusalem, they will just be shooting themselves in the leg and playing into Bibi’s hand.

    Posted by AIG | March 23, 2010, 7:40 pm
  14. Nasser,

    Take a deep breath. Usually the ad hominem attacks come after my third post.

    Let see if we can agree on the following:
    In 1948 the Palestinians demanded all of Palestine and lost half of it. In 1967 your namesake wanted to throw us into the sea and lost the other half. There were 2 intifadas that yielded nothing but sorrow to the Palestinians and it is pretty clear to everybody that violence will not bring any solution.

    Meanwhile, Israel has only been getting stronger. Now, you can decide to wait and bet that in the future Israel perhaps will get weaker and it will be easier to negotiate with it then. Or, the Palestinians can call Bibi’s bluff and really speed up negotiations. They should propose a concrete plan that most Israelis could support and that Bibi would be obliged to accept or lose an election.

    The template could be the Arab league plan but with things spelled out. For example, what is a just solution for the Palestinian refugees? What exactly is meant by this? What is the solution for Jerusalem, etc.

    You have to understand, the current Bibi coalition will be very happy if the Palestinians decide not to negotiate. Why play into their hand?

    Posted by AIG | March 23, 2010, 7:57 pm
  15. Nasser,

    “And your last point is just stupid. Are you insinuating that Petraeus is an anti-Semite for his remarks? If you don’t agree that Arab public opinion toward the US wouldn’t vastly change if we weren’t unconditionally supportive of Israel, we cannot have a real argument. And did you forget one of the primary reasons we invaded Iraq? Israel.”

    I am saying that Petraeus is stating the obvious. Of course public opinion towards the US will change if it did not support Israel. It will even be more supportive if Israel is annihilated by the US. So what?

    What is missing is proof that there is any connection between Arab public opinion and violence against Americans. Al Qaida was planning 9/11 while Clinton, Barak and Arafat were having a menage a trois in Camp David.

    Since when does public opinion matter much in the Arab world? In Syria for example, all that matters is Asad’s opinion. If he lets terrorists land at Damascus airport, there is more violence in Iraq, if he stops them there is less. Arab public opinion counts for nothing.

    Israel had nothing to do with Iraq. Some Israelis were for the invasion, others against it. But unlike the case of Iran, you will not find an Israeli official statement about whether or not to attack Iraq. Remember, there are 7 million Israelis. 5 neocons is not “Israel”.

    Posted by AIG | March 23, 2010, 8:08 pm
  16. I am all for Israeli settlements. Let them settle where they want, end this fallacy of two-states once and for all! Why on earth should there be negotiations? We are finally beginning to see Israel’s Napoleon Bonaparte moment. Keep advancing deeper and deeper into Russia, please, keep doing it.

    And AIG, “the Palestinians” have yet to begin negotiations. Maybe some collaborators like Abu Mazin or Salam Fayadd have tried to negotiate, but that won’t matter for shit when the real negotiations begin. I know you think I am full of hot air, but the time is coming fast, even faster than i suspected it would:

    Posted by Joe M. | March 23, 2010, 8:30 pm
  17. Joe M.,

    In the “real” negotiations, who is going to be negotiating with who?

    You wish this was over reach by the Israeli settlers or Israel, but it isn’t. I am amazed the Palestinians don’t get what is going on. These settlers are smart, well trained and sure God is on their side. Let’s say Israel unilaterally withdraws to the 67 line and disowns the settlers. Are you sure you know who will win the civil war in Palestine that will ensue? My money is on the settlers especially if this happens in 10-20 years.

    The Palestinians will lose again, big time. And this time it will be Muslim fanatics against Jewish fanatics and my bet is that the end result will be 2 Jewish states.

    You see, there will never be a one state solution. The Jews will never agree to that. In your dream scenario, where you have the American Navy besieging our shores and the Europeans completely boycotting and sanctioning us, we will just move back to the 67 line and let the fanatics at each other. And the end result will be two Jewish states and most of the Palestinians in Jordan or dead.

    That is a horrible scenario. We must reach a peaceful solution before hand. But the Palestinians as always are make the same historical mistakes they always have been making.

    Posted by AIG | March 23, 2010, 10:11 pm
  18. QN,

    You’re pretty good with PhotoShop, would be cool if this post was accompanied by a photo of a hybrid of an Orthodox Jew, the Energizer Bunny and Bob the Builder. They just keep building and building and building 3,000 years non-stop… this is why the town is filled with Jewish Sistine Chapels and David Shield shaped pyramids, it’s a perpetual creative urge that simply cannot be contained!

    Posted by Yossi (AKA Rumyal) | March 23, 2010, 11:46 pm
  19. AIG,
    I support a one-state solution, you don’t. I think the settlers are on my side, and are your achilles heel. Particularly as they personify zionism. Without them, you are just a bunch of 19th century european colonialists. There is no doubt they are insane, but it ultimately plays into the hands of justice.

    And I am not concerned with what the Americans or the Europeans do. Sure, a boycott would be nice, but I think demographics and the overall religious trends in the world are in favor of a one-state. I give Israel credit for being able to survive as long as it has, but it’s inherent contradictions are really cracking now.

    Also, just for the sake of clarity, the 67 line doesn’t solve your problems (nor is it legally relevant, as the only legal line is the partition plan). Jerusalem is simply too powerful an issue to too many people for you to believe you can live in peace without giving it up (or, at least half).

    Anyway, we’ve had this discussion before. If i were you, id just end up happy to be allowed to live in peace in a one-state, as i am confident the longer-run alternatives will be a lot worse for the jews.

    Posted by Joe M. | March 24, 2010, 12:57 am
  20. Joe M.,

    The settlers are on your side? Yes, now I see. They are the ideal citizens for your one state. They don’t give a shit about international law, the US or Europe. So how are you going to get justice? The only entity that can handle the settlers is Israel. Good luck taking care of them on your own.

    What inherent contradictions in Israel? What cracking up? What are you talking about? Israel is doing better than ever. Of course there is room for improvement.

    Well, don’t say you have not been warned. All those seeking a one state solution will get a two Jewish states solution and another nakba.

    You are betting about the future, and as usual you are going to lose big. You just never learn.

    Posted by AIG | March 24, 2010, 1:27 am
  21. This is an excellent rebuttal of AIG’s idea that “everybody knows” these parts of Jerusalem will be Israeli.

    Posted by sean | March 24, 2010, 5:29 am
  22. Here’s a good site showing what was proposed and rejected 10 years ago:

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 24, 2010, 7:04 am
  23. I agree with Ghassan Karam comment #4. It seems like a “good cop/bad cop” game. A diversion to something else. Let’s wait and see what’ll happen next. In the meantime, I think it’s better for everybody else – I mean, the other parts involved in the conflict(s) – to keep it quiet…

    Posted by Voice fB | March 24, 2010, 9:58 am
  24. Sean,

    Before the 67 war, if an Israeli said something like “everybody knows the Galilee will be part of Israel when there is peace”, you would also be able to find a couple of clowns to explain to you how nobody really knows that.

    But you know, facts on the ground are facts on the ground. And the best strategy for the Palestinians is to push for a quick agreement to stop the facts on the ground from continuing. Nothing is going to stop the building in East Jerusalem except a peace agreement.

    I voted for Bibi but would have been much happier if his coalition included Kadima instead of the religious and right of Likud parties. But that did not work out. I think Bibi would support quick negotiations with the Palestinians if it were not for this coalition which is too fragile to survive such talks. Therefore, there is an opening for the Palestinians to be aggressive in their proposals and to back Bibi against a wall and force him to change his coalition or suffer an electoral loss. I would probably switch from Likud to Kadima if Bibi would not show such flexibility. And so would many others. You know, public opinion is very powerful in Israel. Use it.

    Posted by AIG | March 24, 2010, 11:15 am
  25. AIG: Actually, I disagree with you: the status quo is in the long-term interest of the Palestinians. The facts on the ground will continue until the facts on the ground are a bi-national state. In that sense, I’m definitely pro-settlement. So keep on building and creating those facts on the ground, in East Jerusalem and elsewhere, because the ineluctable endgame will be the end of the ethno-nationalist Jewish state, which I think is a positive thing for everyone involved — at least in the longue durée.

    Posted by sean | March 24, 2010, 4:15 pm
  26. Sean,

    The settlers in Hebron are going to multiply and after a certain threshold suddenly they and the Arabs there fall in love and everything becomes hunky dory? What process will lead to a peaceful bi-national state? The settlers will succumb to international pressure? Are you serious? You just don’t understand what you are dealing with.

    Let’s wait then and see what happens.
    One condition though, whatever happens, no complaining. If things turn out not as you thought, remember that you are responsible for the result. So am I.

    The Palestinians are going to woo their decision not to quickly negotiate a solution. (Ed. note: I think you meant “rue”)

    Posted by AIG | March 24, 2010, 5:04 pm
  27. So many base their argument for a particular solution in the Palestinian Israeli problem on what has become a popular cliche: Demography Is Destiny. Of course it is but that does not mean that the largest population wins. That is a distortion of what is meant by the phrase.
    Any person who has seriously looked at the demographic trends would never say that pure numbers win. That is so 18 th century!!!
    What really matters is the quality of human capital, its ability to be creative, adaptive and dynamic. That does not depend on only numbers. Who do you think will wind up writing the rules of an engagement a large of malnourished illiterate people or a far smaller one of highly educated and entrepreneurial ones.
    This strategy of trying to breed a population into control has never worked and never would. Numbers do not count for much without tremendous capabilities attached to them.
    Individuals are free to argue to their hearts’ content that the future is for position “A” or position “B”. but it does not make sense to argue for a position only because one group has intentionally chosen to breed at a very high rate that is neither responsible nor sustainable. Actually a population that grows at a rate that is beyond the ecological, political and economic limits of its environment is breeding itself to ruin and a very bleak future.
    I am sure that you recall my position from our previous dialogues in favour of a bi-national state. But please remember that such a solution is not to take place in a year or two or a decade or two. That is why I favour a two state solution as a transitory phase that will just have to run its course irrespective of how long that course might be. (I am hoping that the future will bring about a majority of the population of the world that just do not give a hoot about national boundaries, peoples religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation…) Call me a dreamer but I do believe that we are witnessing , at least in some parts of the world, the beginning of the end of the nation state:-)

    Posted by ghassan karam | March 24, 2010, 6:26 pm
  28. QN,
    Thank you. A slip of the pen.

    Posted by AIG | March 24, 2010, 8:22 pm
  29. Ghassan,

    Maybe you are right. I do not have a crystal ball. In support of your point is that Israeli and Lebanese when they move to the US fit right in and do not require their “tribe” to survive.

    Posted by AIG | March 24, 2010, 8:29 pm
  30. First off, Bibi’s treatment of Biden & Clinton is way wrong. We all know he’s got AIPAC to cover for his blunders, but in the overall scheme of things, he should remember who is protecting/benefitting who in this lopsided relationship. This is pure arrogance, and it is showing in the press and exposing some of the unpleasantries about this relationship.

    Here we have a new US administration investing quite a bit of energy and prestige to see through a two states solution where the details have been negotiated over and over and over. All the parties know what it would take to get a deal through. Chief among them is for Israel to stop settlement activities while negotiating.

    As it stands now, to even have a somewhat viable palestinian state, israel will have to do land swaps. So why on earth would Bibi continue to build and ask for negotiations at the same time. His actions are not credible at all in that regard.

    Some say he has to please his far right coalition partners, but that is not the problem of the other party to the negotiation. If he wants a two states solution, he needs to own up/man up to it and stand up to these folks and convince them. It shouldn’t be an american or a palestinian issue.

    Bottom line, I have doubts if he can deliver a peace treaty, even if he wanted to. He’s a lame duck PM in my view.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | March 25, 2010, 12:00 am
  31. Here’s the always astute David Remnick (editor of The New Yorker), on the US-Israel tensions:

    Special Relationships
    by David Remnick | March 29, 2010

    For decades, mainstream Israeli politicians have taken pride in their fingertip feel for the subtleties of American life and politics. Israeli diplomats know the meeting halls of the Midwest almost as well as they do the breakfast room at the Regency Hotel. So it has been disturbing to see, during the 2008 Presidential race and after, that some right-wing members of the Israeli political élite, along with some ordinary Israelis, often seem to derive their most acute sense of Barack Obama from Fox News and the creepier nooks of the blogosphere.

    Polls and conversations with right-leaning Israelis have long reflected a distrust of Obama and a free-floating anxiety about what they imagine to be his view of the world—specifically, his indifference to Israel. At the margins, and sometimes within them, one even hears the familiar aspersions about the President’s middle name, his childhood interlude in Indonesia, and his marination in a South Side milieu supposedly composed of incendiary preachers, black nationalists, fading Weathermen, and (Oy! Vey ist mir!) Palestinian intellectuals.

    Most Israelis were convinced of Bill Clinton’s capacity to reconcile a deep admiration for Israel with a desire to end the occupation of the conquered territories and the suffering of the Palestinians. The Israeli right certainly appreciated George W. Bush for his unquestioning embrace, though most Israeli politicians say they would have preferred that more attention had been paid to the nuclear plants in Iran than to the phantom weapons in Baghdad. In Obama, however, many Israelis think that they are dealing with an American leader who, as one official put it, “has no special feeling for us.” Obama’s customary cool feels icy.

    This month’s diplomatic drama, which was set off during Vice-President Biden’s visit by the announcement of sixteen hundred housing units planned for Ramat Shlomo, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem, reached its sad nadir last week, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brother-in-law, Hagai Ben-Artzi, declared on Israeli radio that Obama was an “anti-Semite.” No one, not even Netanyahu, should be denied his right to an idiot relation, but the remark is less readily dismissed when one recalls reports (later denied) that the Prime Minister himself has referred to David Axelrod (whose West Wing office featured an “Obama for President” sign in Hebrew) and Rahm Emanuel (a civilian volunteer in the Israeli Army during the first Gulf War) as “self-hating Jews.”

    The Netanyahu government suffers from a troubling degree of instability, thanks to its far-right coalition partners (including its bigoted foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman) and its ineptitude. The insult to Biden, an ardent Zionist, was just the most recent blunder, following the humiliation of a resident diplomat from Turkey (Israel’s closest friend in the Muslim world) and of the Brazilian President, to say nothing of its presumed role in the assassination of a Hamas military leader on the soil of one of the few open-minded countries in the region. The professionals in Washington and Jerusalem share sufficient diplomatic agility to paper over this latest unpleasantness, but the memory of the trivial-seeming aspects of the dispute—the affronts, the lacerating phone calls—obscures a more unsettling pattern: a deep Israeli misreading of the President and an ignorance of the diversity of opinion among American Jews and in the United States in general.

    Take Obama’s supposed indifference to Jews and the State of Israel. Among the many Chicagoans who are apt to find this idea hilarious is the one politician who has beaten him, Bobby Rush. In 2000, Obama, a bored member of the Illinois state senate, challenged Rush, a popular incumbent, for the seat in the state’s First Congressional District, on the South Side. Rush, a former leader of the Black Panthers, viewed Obama as the creation of cynical white liberals—particularly Jewish liberals, who constituted, in his term, a “cabal.”

    As a rising politician with Ivy League connections, Obama had financial backing from all over, including from a class of young black entrepreneurs. But he has had Jewish mentors throughout his career. Philanthropists like Bettylu Saltzman, Penny Pritzker, and Lester Crown were crucial to his campaigns. His friend and neighbor the late Arnold Jacob Wolf was a rabbi. Michelle Obama’s cousin Capers C. Funnye, Jr., is the first African-American member of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and the spiritual leader of Beth Shalom, a congregation on the South Side. One of Obama’s closest colleagues in Springfield was Ira Silverstein, an Orthodox Jew, with whom he shared an office suite in the Capitol building; Obama acted as Silverstein’s shabbos goy, turning on lights and pushing elevator buttons for him on Saturdays.

    Obama’s Jewish friends and supporters report that they were convinced of his ease among Jews and of his advocacy for a two-state solution, with an emphasis on justice for the Palestinians and on real security for the Israelis. Obama also listened carefully to the arguments of Palestinian friends, such as the historian Rashid Khalidi. And why not? Obama told fund-raising audiences that it was entirely possible to support Israel, even passionately, without endorsing the platform of Likud and the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. One of his mentors in Chicago, Abner Mikva, a former congressman, federal judge, and counsel to Bill Clinton, jokingly told the Chicago Jewish News during the campaign, “I think when this is all over, people are going to say that Barack Obama is the first Jewish president.” O.K., not quite, but he did win seventy-eight per cent of the Jewish vote. Only African-Americans voted for him in higher numbers.

    In Israel, however, Netanyahu’s Likud-led government strangely misperceives the currents of American opinion. Netanyahu and his ministers are in the habit of speaking directly to adoring audiences at AIPAC and other groups led by older, conservative philanthropists; they largely overlook younger, more liberal constituencies, which for years have been more questioning of Israel policy. They have shown distinctly less affection for J Street, the newly formed lobbying group intended as a counterweight to AIPAC.

    In fairness, many Americans see Israeli politics in atavistic terms, too, yearning for a Labor Party that shattered long ago. Even as they rightly deplore the injustice of the occupation and last year’s war in Gaza, they fail to recognize the complexity of trying to reach a final resolution when the Palestinians are so deeply and ruinously divided and when so many Israeli supporters of a two-state solution have, after Oslo, Camp David, and Taba, despaired of getting a workable deal.

    The essential question for Israel is not whether it has the friendship of the White House—it does—but whether Netanyahu remains the arrogant rejectionist that he was in the nineteen-nineties, the loyal son of a radical believer in Greater Israel, forever settling scores with the old Labor élites and making minimal concessions to ward off criticism from Washington and retain the affections of his far-right coalition partners. Is he capable of engaging with the moderate and constructive West Bank leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad, and making history? Does there exist a Netanyahu 2.0, a Nixon Goes to China figure who will act with an awareness that demographic realities—the growth not only of the Palestinian population in the territories but also of the Arab and right-wing Jewish populations in Israel proper—make the status quo untenable as well as unjust?

    Without the creation of a viable contiguous Palestinian state, comprised of a land area equivalent to all of the West Bank and Gaza (allowing for land swaps), and with East Jerusalem as its capital, it is impossible to imagine a Jewish and democratic future for Israel. There is nothing the Israeli leadership could do to make the current fantasy of an indifferent American leadership become a reality faster than to get lost in the stubborn fantasy of sustaining the status quo.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | March 25, 2010, 8:32 am
  32. Michael Young, too, makes good sense here:

    Israel is losing the battle of narratives
    By Michael Young | March 25, 2010

    Some will argue that the United Kingdom’s expulsion this week of an Israeli diplomat, by most accounts a Mossad agent, was a transitory spat between allies, following Israel’s use of forged British passports in the recent assassination of a Hamas operative in Dubai. After all, they might add, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher did something similar in 1988, without lingering consequences. Yet things seem rather different this time.

    Israeli officials should take note that the narrative of their conflict with the Palestinians is changing fundamentally outside Israel. The specifics aside, in the larger picture more countries than ever before see Israel as the problem, and we’re not talking here about the popular antipathy the country seems to often provoke in Asia and Latin America. Even in friendlier climes such as the United States and Europe, the hardening perception is that Israel’s irresponsible settlement expansion plan is destroying all prospects for a mutually satisfactory accord with the Palestinians, and that the ensuing instability will harm everyone.

    In the uproar that followed US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel two weeks ago, relatively little attention was paid to his important speech at Tel Aviv University, where one sentence accurately summarized Israel’s dilemma. “It’s no secret the demographic realities make it increasingly difficult for Israel to remain both a Jewish homeland and a democratic country in the absence of the Palestinian state,” Biden warned his hosts.

    In this, the vice president only echoed a theme that Israeli officials themselves have long acknowledged. All things staying equal, Israel will continue to control a growing Palestinian population whose rights, by necessity given the imperatives of security, it will abuse even more extensively than it is doing today. Nor would this resolve anything, because demographics would march on, until two peoples are fighting over one piece of land – or trying to conclude an impossible peace.

    The only alternative for Israel is the full-scale expulsion of Palestinians, which would thoroughly discredit Israel in the eyes of the world. In a way the Israelis are paying for that choice before it has ever been made. Nor will it be. Israel simply has no expulsion option. It can reduce the Arab population in Jerusalem, perhaps; it can momentarily seal off Palestinians in enclaves in the West Bank and Gaza; but without a political solution, those are merely odious stopgap measures costing the Israelis ever more valuable political capital to sustain.

    That’s why the narrative has shifted, and it’s why Israel today is facing, for the first time, criticism from allies on moral grounds. A state that sustained itself for decades as a moral creation, a refuge for the world’s suffering Jews, is essentially ensuring that the only long-term outlook for Israelis and Palestinians is violence. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s declared backing for a two-state solution notwithstanding, Israel has no endgame other than the perpetuation of ruinous stalemate. And because it holds the land, the burden is on Israel to define that endgame.

    Israel’s ability to draw the negotiating process out indefinitely has been greatly facilitated by Palestinian incompetence. The Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas is struggling to regain the initiative among Palestinians, while Hamas, despite optimistic suggestions to the contrary, has no interest in entering peace talks with Israel. Yet Hamas’ disastrous provocation of the Gaza war over a year ago has considerably undermined the movement’s military strategy, with Palestinians now more willing to go along with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s state-building project in the West Bank, if it is allowed to eventually lead somewhere.

    The Palestinian Authority has faced much criticism, especially by purported supporters of the Palestinian cause. But Fayyad’s approach is the only realistic project that Palestinians can pursue today – a project of internal consolidation. More important, as the world watches Abbas and Fayyad focusing on domestic reform, they also see Israel in a different light. The Palestinians, for once, have managed to transform interpretation of their relationship with Israel to their own advantage.

    That’s why continuing skepticism over the extent of the dispute between Israel and the United States, or Israel and the United Kingdom, is irrelevant. Neither the Americans nor the British will soon, or ever, break with Israel. But neither, too, is disposed any more to acquiesce in Israel’s contention that its policies in the West Bank are justified by the absence of a resolute Palestinian partner. As Biden affirmed in his Tel Aviv speech, “Genuine steps toward a two-state solution are also required to empower those [willing] to live in peace and security with Israel and to undercut their rivals who will never accept that future.”

    Ultimately, Israeli leaders will insist they have no obligations but to their own people. They will disregard intensifying frustration with their actions because Israel’s security is an Israeli matter. But how true is that? If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, Israeli security will be more closely tied in with that of the United States. Any American regional nuclear umbrella will also cover Israel, regardless of Israel’s nuclear arsenal. As for the Palestinians, their problem has never been more internationalized – its repercussions felt in countless foreign capitals. Palestinian statehood may be debated at the United Nations in the not too distant future. Israel’s latitude to pursue containable unilateral steps is diminishing because the Middle East’s dynamics now have an impact in so many countries.

    A more disturbing thought is that any solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is long gone, making this entire discussion pointless. In that reading, the Palestinians have time in their favor, as they will form a numerical majority over the Jews before long. Therefore, all we can really look forward to is open-ended armed hostility, again lasting generations. That may be too bleak an evaluation. Then again it may not be.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | March 25, 2010, 8:49 am
  33. Whatever the Palestinians decide, it will be Israel’s fault.

    The term “It takes two to tango” is only relevant for countries other than the Jewish State.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 25, 2010, 9:12 am
  34. I like what Debbie Schlussel had to say on her blog:

    If the U.S. ever assassinated Bin Laden and a fake UK passport is used, will they expel the U.S. Ambassador over it? Hilarious.

    Go Debbie!

    Narrative my axx.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 25, 2010, 9:35 am
  35. Both Remnick and Young are too close to Washington and too far from Hebron. They completely lack imagination and do not understand that reality is going to be much more complex and “interesting” than they currently imagine.

    For example, no doubt that Israel cannot expel Arabs. But the settlers, if disowned by Israel can and will given the opportunity. I am not saying I know categorically who will win a civil war between the Palestinians and the settlers. I do know though that as more time passes, the settlers’ chances of winning grow. And if the Palestinians lose that war, there will be a Nakba squared.

    The only entity that can deal with the settlers is Israel. And if Israel declines to do it, the Palestinians are screwed big time.

    Posted by AIG | March 25, 2010, 10:41 am
  36. AIG

    Do the settlers have some kind of air force or mechanized armor divisions that we are not aware of? Or perhaps they turn into werewolves at night? Why are you so convinced of this bizarre scenario that you’re painting:

    1. In order to avoid the one-state solution and the demographic time-bomb it entails, Israel abandons the West Bank, leaving the settlers behind.

    2. The settlers decide to take over the rest of the West Bank, now that they can’t depend on the IDF to police their access roads, checkpoints, etc.

    3. The Palestinians respond to this aggression by fighting back, only to be expelled from the West Bank entirely.

    4. A second Jewish state is created on the border with Israel proper, a “Mitnakhalim-stan” that, over time, is reabsorbed into “Yafeh-Nefesh-Land”.

    Is that more or less right?
    Sounds a bit

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | March 25, 2010, 11:08 am
  37. Why are you so convinced of this bizarre scenario that you’re painting.


    cc: AIG

    I have to agree. I don’t see the GOI abandoning or washing their hands of the settlers. And I don’t think the settlers could survive w/o help from the government.

    My read is that BB is OK politically standing up to Obama. The question is, will the Arabs negotiate or will they continue waiting for something better? With the current reaction of the US, it seems as though the Palestinians are off the hook.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 25, 2010, 11:19 am
  38. QN,

    I did acknowledge that I do not know what the result of the civil war will be. I said there is a possibility that the settlers will win, and the more time that passes, the larger their chances.

    The settler movement has many representatives in the IDF and many ex-IDF officers. Efi Eitam comes to mind. It is quite easy for the settlers to raise an army of 30,000 people all former IDF soldiers and all very religious. Not all of them actual settlers, there will undoubtedly be Israelis proper that will come help them, like Americans fighting in the Spanish Civil War. They have enough money raising ability to purchase weapons and store them as well as steal it from Israel.

    You know, in 47-48 the Jews were not given much chance against the Arabs. No one expected the 67 victory. 73 was a surprise too. Given what we know about history, are you so sure you should so quickly discount the scenario I am describing?


    What I am describing is not going to happen tomorrow. We are talking 20 years down the road in the case that pressure on Israel is such that it has to unilaterally move back to the 67 line.

    Posted by AIG | March 25, 2010, 11:38 am
  39. AIG

    Israel will never just dump the settlers and leave. That’s an empty threat that no one would ever take seriously.

    Far more likely, in my opinion, is that over the next 10 years, more and more Israelis are going to become sensitive to the reality that a non-democratic one-state “solution” is becoming increasingly likely, and some smart Labor politicians are going to take advantage of this sensitivity, and get elected on the basis of a promise to avoid the one state solution by making “painful sacrifices”.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | March 25, 2010, 12:25 pm
  40. Is that more or less right?
    Sounds a bit

    “Unlikely”, to finish that sentence. It’s not as if all of the settlers are religious fanatics with a major stash of guns ready to fight a guerrilla war against their Palestinian neighbors over the West Bank. Most of them are people taking advantage of cheap housing and the proximity to Jerusalem – if the security for them ever vanished, most of them would almost certainly flee back into Israel proper.

    Posted by Brett | March 25, 2010, 2:00 pm
  41. QN,
    The “painful sacrifices” argument could probably play well in an election, but would bring down any government that tried to implement those sacrifices. That is actually most of the appeal of kadima. They talk the language, but without implementing the policy…

    There is talk of reinstituting a secular party (ie. anti-religious) to directly confront the power of the religious nationalists, which could serve as a “swing vote” if in parliament, but even that would be tough in the face of strong opposition from religio-nationalists who are defending the occupation…

    But here’s the thing, the palestinian people simply can not accept the maximum concessions that any Israeli government feasibly can make. And even in the more “generous” israeli government, there would be many outstanding issues (like the fate of the palestinians with israeli citizenship, or refugees, or how much sovereignty a palestinian “state” would have or jerusalem or the status of the more crazy settlers (liek the 200 in hebron)), and these issues will continue to leave the conflict open ended and festering, which would make it very very uncomfortable for an israeli government to be “generous” without actually leading to a resolution… So, i just don’t think that is going to happen…

    Im actually surprised that the zionists didn’t consolidate their position in the mid-90s when they had a chance. That was really their opportunity to claim victory, and they totally missed it. as a result, it seems like they only have a rollback of their gains in the future. Sure, the palestinians will suffer losses, but our strategic position is much stronger now then it has been since the invasion of lebanon in 1982.

    Posted by Joe M. | March 25, 2010, 3:26 pm
  42. QN,

    The problem with your scenario is simple. A left leaning government has no chance at all of removing the settlers. If it weren’t Sharon doing the Gaza pull out, there would have been huge amounts of violence. The moment one soldier or one settler is killed in the removal, the government is going to lose all its popularity.

    Only a right wing government can remove the settlers.

    And why dumping the settlers is an empty threat? In fact, I fear a collusion between the settlers and some future Israeli government, where in exchange for being dumped, the settlers will be secretly armed and supplied by the government. The settlers will prefer taking their chances than giving up their religious dreams and duties. You know, not only Syria can play this dirty game.

    The Palestinians are making a big mistake not negotiating a solution now. You will see.

    Posted by AIG | March 25, 2010, 4:02 pm
  43. AIG,
    Id take the settlers over people like you any day of the week. As far as I know (and I will admit lapses in my understanding of their ideology), but they do not require that their “jewish homeland” be ethnically cleansed of all other inhabitants(in the same way the “jewish democracy” does, or is at least inherently racist). The settlers are mostly a problem because of the way the state acts, and because the state has developed an antagonistic atmosphere.

    And anyway, even in your worst case, go arm 200 hebron settlers in a city of 200,000 palestinians. big fucking deal. it’s not my policy preference, but if Israel can starve and sanction Gaza to achieve their policy goals, you really think it would be hard for the Palestinian population to do the same to 1 city block of religious fanatics? Or even bigger settlements? Arm them, see what happens… See how long the situation would last before Israel becomes a one-state…

    Posted by Joe M. | March 25, 2010, 5:40 pm
  44. AIG

    I disagree with you about only a left-wing government removing the settlers. As you have said yourself: public opinion is very important in Israel. In the scenario I’m describing, if the Israeli public is so disturbed by the prospect of a one-state solution as to vote in a strong Labor government on the platform of ending the conflict, then surely they should be prepared for the painful sacrifices.

    You say you’re “afraid” of these scenarios that you’re describing, but it sounds to me like you’re just trying to make others afraid of them.

    As for the Palestinians “negotiating a solution now”, what is your proposed solution? You want them to give up Jerusalem entirely? That’s not an option.


    You’d take the settlers over people like AIG? Are you serious? Do you know what some of these settlers believe?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | March 25, 2010, 5:47 pm
  45. Joe M.,

    If you would rather deal with the settlers than with me, be my guest. But you are repeating the mistakes of 1948. The numbers do not count. Who is better organized counts.

    Posted by AIG | March 25, 2010, 5:51 pm
  46. QN,

    I don’t know how to convince you about this, but Israelis are not going to shoot other Israelis in order to remove settlements. If during my IDF service I were told to use live ammunition against a settler, even if he shot at me, I would disobey the order and go to jail. And I believe so would most Israelis. And the settlers know this.

    You have to get the settlers agreement before hand not to use violence. And only a right wing government can do that.

    I am sincerely afraid of these scenarios because (as others should be also) because they will bring much suffering to people as well as destabilize the middle east. Also, it could very well lead to a regional war. I would much rather prefer a two state solution.

    There is still plenty of Jerusalem to share creatively.

    Posted by AIG | March 25, 2010, 6:23 pm
  47. QN,
    I have a good idea of the ideology of the settlers. They’re insane. So? Do you know how many people in this world are insane?

    AIG supports ethnic cleansing and war crimes in defense of some idiotic nationalist agenda, that is only slightly different from teh settlers. The problem is that people like AIG have really empowered and created the problem of the settlers, and i suspect that the settlers would be much easier to deal with without the likes of AIG and his likud buddies.

    For every settler, we have a Wahhabi. As nuts as these people are, the people like AIG are the thing that creates confrontation.

    I worry more about the AIGs who think they are civilized and rational than i do the settlers who are waiting for god…

    Posted by Joe M. | March 25, 2010, 11:22 pm
  48. well, make that, for every settler, we have 200 Wahhabis…

    Posted by Joe M. | March 25, 2010, 11:25 pm
  49. Joe M.

    Are you saying that we need Wahhabis because we’re stuck with settlers and their AIG masquerades? You know what I mean – the balance of ‘terror’ thing? Still, I wouldn’t rate Wahhabis at the same level as the settlers in terms of expertise in this area. May be this why you think we need 200 to 1. That might work.
    But, I would still put my bets on Hezballah and the Resistance.

    Posted by Ijlisa Nabki | March 26, 2010, 12:06 am
  50. Joe M.,

    Usually what you say is coherent and consistent even though I do not agree with you. But your comment #57 just doesn’t make sense. You are trying say that moderate Jews who support land for peace are more dangerous than the settlers that want a religious war? Yes I support a nationalistic agenda and I am proud of that. But many settlers support an ultra-nationalistic agenda in which the Arabs have no place at all as equal citizens.

    You have to do much more explaining so we can see your point how dealing with the settlers is going to be easier than dealing with the likes of me.

    Posted by AIG | March 26, 2010, 1:25 am
  51. You have to get the settlers agreement before hand not to use violence. And only a right wing government can do that.


    cc: QN

    The proposals presented at Camp David and Taba are the best the Palestinians can hope for. It included 90-some percent of the WB including land within the green line as well as a total sharing of the Old City and ownership of East Jerusalem.

    If Arafat would have agreed to that, there wouldn’t be an “Arab-Israeli” conflict. By waiting, the “facts on the ground” will continue. And as a reminder, “facts on the ground” are relevant and important. If the Arabs would have negotiated with Israel after the ’67 war, settlements like Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim, and Gush Etzion weren’t even around.

    Some smaller settlements can/have been dismantled. With the Palestinians refusing to negotiate, there is no incentive to stop.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 26, 2010, 7:42 am
  52. Why Jerusalem is (sometimes) the wrong fight to pick
    from The Middle East Channel | FOREIGN POLICY by Gideon Lichfield

    Trying to hold Israel to the coals over its construction in East Jerusalem, as the Obama administration has been doing for the past two weeks, may have been necessary in the wake of the Biden visit provocation, but it doesn’t make for a smart, ongoing tactic.

    The administration, worried about America’s image in the Arab world, has been trying to look tough ever since the Israeli government tactlessly announced the building of 1,600 new houses in Ramat Shlomo, a settlement area in East Jerusalem just across the Green Line, while Vice President Joseph Biden was visiting. This week the White House gave Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu a very public snub by denying him the customary photo-op and press conference on his visit to President Barack Obama in Washington.

    Some even think the snub was a direct reaction to Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC the previous night. He had given a textbook expostulation of what Danny Seidemann and Lara Friedman recently called the “everybody knows” fallacy: that there is no point in making a fuss about places like Ramat Shlomo because “everybody knows” that if there is a peace deal, they will end up as part of Israel. As Seidemann and Friedman point out, the longer we wait for a peace deal, the more of the land around Jerusalem will become everybody-knows territory, until the point where, if there is ever a Palestinian state, East Jerusalem, its supposed capital, will be a dingy border town barely accessible to the rest of Palestine.

    This is true. But while raising a stink about Ramat Shlomo may have succeeded in making Netanyahu squirm this time-and is symbolically important to the Arabs-a knee-jerk focus on the everybody-knows places is not going to achieve much.

    Partly this is because, ever since the U.S. tried last year to insist on a total settlement freeze and then backed down, Israel doesn’t take these protests seriously. But mainly it’s because it distracts attention from some things that matter more — and where Netanyahu is also on weaker ground.

    One of those things is what Israel is up to in the undeveloped areas around Jerusalem that are not yet everybody-knows land. The zone known as E1, a stubbly and largely empty (save for a few Palestinian homes) row of hillsides, is slated to be filled with Israeli housing to create a continuous swathe of urbanity between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, a large settlement that juts deep into the West Bank. It would complete the isolation of Arab East Jerusalem. So far the only finished building there is, of all things, a police station. And, according to a recent investigation by an Israeli newspaper, it was mainly paid for not by public funds, as you would expect a police station to be, but by private money from a right-wing settler organization. This raises interesting and disturbing questions about who pulls the strings in Israel, which the Americans really should ask Mr. Netanyahu.

    Another thing they should is ask is why, five years after an Israeli government lawyer, Talya Sasson, issued a blistering report on the spread of wildcat “outpost” settlements that even Israel considers illegal, and that both Mr. Netanyahu and the Labor party leader and minister of defense, Ehud Barak, have promised to crack down on, are there more of them than ever?

    Or why, if most Israelis and even Mr. Netanyahu himself now agree that Israel will eventually have to renounce the West Bank, are there still tax breaks for settlers who move there? A sizeable group of Israeli parliamentarians supports a bill drafted two years ago that would offer incentives to settlers to move back into Israel. Doing so would in no way threaten Israeli security, even in the absence of a peace process. Quite the reverse, in fact-it would mean fewer Israelis in the West Bank for the army to protect.

    Israel has never said it wouldn’t build in places like Ramat Shlomo. It has, on the other hand, said it wants to uphold its own laws, dismantle the outposts, and give up the West Bank eventually-and most Israelis want the same things. These issues, therefore, are the Israeli government’s soft underbelly. “Everybody knows” is its protective shield. If the Obama administration wants to be effective, then instead of hammering its fists on the shield, it should stick them in where they will hurt.

    Gideon Lichfield is deputy editor of The Economist’s website, and was previously its Jerusalem correspondent. These are his personal opinions.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | March 26, 2010, 10:37 am
  53. With all due respect to Mr. Lichfield , an honest broker would hit “its fists on the shield” with enough force as to crack the shield instead of the empty gestures of theatrical “creamy bon-bons”.

    Posted by ghassan karam | March 26, 2010, 11:25 am
  54. ghassan karam:

    An honest broker would hit “its fists on the shield” with enough force as to crack the shield instead of the empty gestures of theatrical “creamy bon-bons”.

    An honest broker would ask the Palestinian leadership what their waiting for.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 26, 2010, 11:51 am
  55. Let’s say all the pundits are correct. How does the Palestinian authority not willing to talk help their cause? Isn’t the right thing for them to do is to demand accelerated negotiations and preempt Israeli facts on the ground?

    I think Lichfield makes good points. The Obama administration is not fighting the right battle. Obama would have much more internal Israeli support if he would go after the illegal outposts instead of housing in East Jerusalem.

    Posted by AIG | March 26, 2010, 11:55 am
  56. Ijlisa Nabki,
    I am not saying “we need Wahhabis because we’re stuck with settlers and their AIG masquerades.” But I am saying the Wahhabis are the functional equivalent to the settlers in ideological terms.

    I recognize i am trying out a new line of argument, but that’s fine. You are doing the same with your incoherent two Jewish states argument.

    Here’s what you don’t understand (and i know you have heard it before). From the perspective of a Palestinian, someone who’s land was stolen by a colonial population that seeks to normalize itself by getting us to submit our legitimate rights to return and self-determination… Talking to the zionists does not help the Palestinian cause. Absent a one-state solution, our goals are incompatible with yours.

    There may be a small group of Palestinians who’s sole goal is to win diplomatic VIP status, and there is a larger (but still relatively small) group of Palestinians who’s goal is end the direct warfare, but they are vastly outnumbered by those who want a peace via justice. Even those traitors like Abu Mazin and Salam Fayyad know this. So despite their desire to attend private parties in various embassies and be hailed by zionists as the next coming of Anwar Sadat, they know that they await the same fate of Sadat if they do indeed go too far. Israel is offering nothing that the Palestinian people can accept, it is offering a formalization of the occupation. That is all and you know it very well. This is not acceptable, plain and simple. Don’t act dumb.

    Why should we allow you the opportunity to normalize your racist and oppressive state while every day it is becoming more and more impossible for you to sustain? You are losing ground to your own religious fanatics, and the prospects for a more sustainable peace are becoming more likely, DUE TO the absence of negotiations. Israel is a failed state, but your continued failure is advantageous to us strategically.

    And on top of that, to directly answer your question of why even the puppet Palestinians don’t negotiate, negotiations with Israel have been totally discredited by reality. The puppets are hoping that the USA can use influence to make Israel live up to its word. As Lichfield points out, Israel can’t even prevent “outposts” from continuing to multiply (while they are even against Israeli law). And it is an open question on whether that is a policy decision or a lack of capability. But if the zionists can’t even do that much, or stick to any agreement (remember Oslo? And the 500,000 settlements that resulted, and continued incursions into areas “A”, “B” and “C”… and other violations too numerous to note…), why on earth would the Palestinians make concessions (ie. “negotiate”) with Israel? There is no value in it. And Abu Mazin hopes that the USA will pressure Israel to, at least, hold to its word on previously negotiated issues. Because if Israel can’t even do that, Abu Mazin can’t expect them to hold to future negotiations and doesn’t want to make concessions, and risk his life, just as a publicity stunt. Those like Abu Mazin believe that their only hope is through western pressure, so they are relying on the USA to impose a solution, basically.

    Posted by Joe M. | March 26, 2010, 1:05 pm
  57. Akbar Palace #54,
    An honest broker will apply pressure on both sides. It is time to either act like an honest broker or just let the opposing sides find a solution through mutual destruction.
    I believe that the Bosnian model has a lot to offer that could help break the stalemate in this case. The US has not had many problems in pressuring the Palestinian side to make certain moves and concessions but it has not thus far been successful in getting the Israeli side to enter into serious negotiations. The US is the only power that is in a position to apply meaningful pressure on the Israelis. It is time for “tough love” since we all know that the US is not about to abandon Israel but it should drag it into serious concessions.

    Posted by ghassan karam | March 26, 2010, 1:54 pm
  58. Joe M.,

    You are repeating the same mistakes that the Palestinians have been making for the last 60 years. Israel is always about to lose, falling apart, over reaching, cannot sustain itself etc. etc.

    You know, Israel has never been more rich or more prosperous. Of course it has its problems, but it is in a much better position than it has ever been.

    By the way, how is the one state solution going to give you justice? Are you going to evict the Jews who currently reside on land that belonged to Arabs pre 1948? Is that what the one state solution means?

    Posted by AIG | March 26, 2010, 2:25 pm
  59. AIG,
    Well, I listen to the frantic nature by which you want the Palestinians to negotiate their rights away, and i know that we become stronger by waiting. You know that too. What i find funny is that you think your philosophical logic is more rational than the settlers. Functionally you are the same, except they are strategically much weaker. the agreement you want is a submission, not a peace. and that won’t happen. Also, I never said that Israel was weak per se, but that you face major strategic challenges that are becoming more problematic by the day. Enron was at its most rich and powerful 1 year before it collapsed. The problem is that it was not sustainable in the long-term, just as israel is not (in its current form).

    And there are many rights that would be gained by the palestinian people in one-state solution, which would make the situation far more just (than could be in two-states). Essentially, I see the “Arab-Israelis” as the building blocks for the one state. I have several family members who are citizens of the zionist state. They are not asking for their home back and they accept that they have basic rights and freedoms (which they know are flawed and aggravated by the conflict). The biggest reason that a two-state is unsustainable is because it requires Israel will have control over the Palestinian state while maintaining the exclusivity of its “jewish” state. A one-state provides representative self-determination for the palestinians, within Israeli (they would no longer be zionist) institutions. Through that process, justice can be achieved. And the settlers don’t have to move an inch. it simply requires a redefinition of Israel.

    Let me be even more clear, my family members that remain in refugee camps would not require that they get their exact homes back to be satisfied with a solution. But they do require the freedom to travel to their old homes at their will, or even the capability to buy new homes in their old neighborhoods, AND a sense that they were allowed to maintain their rights as human beings. A two-state does not provide refugees with a sense of justice. It might provide them with material goods to meet their basic needs, but that is not enough. A one-state provides both the opportunity to meet material needs, and a sense that justice was done.

    Truthfully, the majority of diasporic Palestinians that I know do not expect the Jews to go away (though some do), but they can’t mentally accept that Israel is exclusive to Jews at their expense. That problem doesn’t change in a two-state, but it is solved in a one-state. and, I don’t think my contacts in the diaspora are unrepresentative, i think the WB palestinians would agree (as many of them are refugees too).

    Posted by Joe M. | March 26, 2010, 3:09 pm
  60. Joe M.,

    What you write is very interesting and helpful. I still don’t understand though why the one state solution will bring justice. It didn’t bring justice in South Africa. The Palestinians would still be poor and the Israelis rich. The Israelis would still own all the property. Of course, in a one state solution Palestinians could buy apartments anywhere, but where will they get the money?

    And you really are understanding me all wrong if you think that I think Palestinians are getting stronger by not negotiating. I truly believe they will endure another nakba because of that. I do insist that your thinking on this is very similar to that going on for 60 years by the Palestinians. Each time they held out for more and their situation got worse.

    Posted by AIG | March 26, 2010, 3:34 pm
  61. Formally ending apartheid didn’t bring justice, you’re right. But ending apartheid was necessary if there was ever to be justice. Same in the USA, ending slavery didn’t bring justice, ending Jim Crow didn’t bring justice, but they are paving the way for a just solution to these problems. That goes without saying. But name me one black south african that would prefer to have lived in the bantustans than in an equal south africa? The one-state solution won’t necessarily bring justice (as the “Arab-Israelis”), but without a one-state solution, there can’t be justice.

    I know you don’t think the palestinians are getting stronger by not negotiating. I never said they were getting stronger either. I said israel is getting more and more strategically compromised, getting strategically weaker. And that’s obvious by the fact that so many zionists now embrace their version of a two-state solution. they know that unless there is a paradigm shift, they are in trouble down the road. You think netanyahu would be calling for a two-state solution unless he feared leaving the conflict to fester? and i love your false sympathy, but those like you and netanyahu are never going to be listened to as if you speak in our interests.

    You will never get me and many others like me to compromise on a two-state. it simply won’t happen. and I will gladly advocate for the total distruction of israel and the jews being sent back to europe over a “two-state” submission. But i will compromise a lot in the framework of a one-state.

    Posted by Joe M. | March 26, 2010, 4:57 pm
  62. Joe

    What do you say to the various polls that have been taken which show that a majority of Palestinians would be willing to accept a two-state solution?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | March 26, 2010, 7:13 pm
  63. QN,
    Gandhi once said that there are people in this world so hungry that the only way they can see god is in the form of bread.

    I wouldn’t expect their support to last long if they were forced to eat the bread of a two-state submission. They would still be looking for god.

    Posted by Joe M. | March 26, 2010, 8:15 pm
  64. Just to be clear, I mean, you can get someone to say anything when you put a gun to their head or leave them under occupation for 60 years. But a two-state solution doesn’t solve the conflict, and it simply can’t. So they are just saying they support two-states because they support the end of the war and think it is most likely. Also, those polls are of WB Palestinians (generally). and, as i posted above, 57% and declining fast is not a huge majority.

    Explain to me how Israel can allow a Palestinian state that meets the minimal demands of the Palestinian people?

    Posted by Joe M. | March 26, 2010, 8:35 pm
  65. Question to AP & AIG,

    Out of curiosity, what kind of a palestinian state do you envision, in terms of physical borders, east jerusalem status, connection to Gaza, and land swaps values/mechanics?

    Both of you seem to be pitching the two-state solution. And the palestinians better grab the opportunity before it is too late, etc. A bit of a scare tactic, as I think that the alternatives might not be advantageous to israel.

    Bottom line, would this palestinian state that you would offer be contiguous physically and have access to the outside world to be economically successfull?

    In my view, the reason the palestinians are starting to think about a one state solution, is because israel’s actions have so physically undermined a two-state solution so far to make it even marginally viable.

    Like to hear your views in this regards.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | March 26, 2010, 10:17 pm
  66. Ras Beirut,

    I can live with the Geneva plan IF (a very important if) it is really the end of the conflict. That means, it is not the case that half of the Palestinian people, like Joe M., saying that they don’t accept it.

    As for a one state solution, I’d rather die than accept it. It is either a Jewish state or nothing for me.

    Posted by AIG | March 26, 2010, 11:42 pm
  67. Joe M.,

    Most of the Israeli Arabs would rather live in a Jewish state than in a Palestinian state ruled by either Fatah or Hamas. They actually prefer the Bantustan. Ask your relatives.

    Posted by AIG | March 26, 2010, 11:46 pm
  68. AIG,
    The WB and Gaza are the bantustans in this analogy. For your information, the Apartheid government originally created the bantustans in an effort to to give the black south african people a means at “self-government”. Sounds mighty familiar.

    And, wow! That’s a real shocker! Human beings would prefer to live in a rich state where they have access to basic education and health care, rather than an occupied, war ravaged, utterly dominated puppet client territory. WOW, I never would have guessed.

    Let me put it this way, most Palestinians through out the world would rather live in Israel than Gaza or the west bank. More reason there will be one-state.

    And the Geneva plan would not end anything. Particularly as it rejects the right of return for refugees. But it’s great to know that you’ve joined Meretz with yossi beilin. Hahahahahaha. Keep marching on into Russia, you’ll see, your “jewish” state is over, you’ve passed the turning point.

    Posted by Joe M. | March 27, 2010, 1:21 am
  69. Question to AP & AIG

    Ras Beirut,

    I’ll take you up on that even though I am just an interested American observer with only relatives in Israel.

    Out of curiosity, what kind of a palestinian state do you envision, in terms of physical borders, east jerusalem status, connection to Gaza, and land swaps values/mechanics?


    Over 90% of the West Bank with areas inside the green line. The Old City would be under Israeli sovereignty and Palestinian East Jerusalem border would be at Abu Dis. A Road/tunnel/bridge could link Gaza to the West Bank.

    A bit of a scare tactic, as I think that the alternatives might not be advantageous to israel.

    Take it or leave it. We only have history to show that waiting is not in the Palestinians interest.

    Bottom line, would this palestinian state that you would offer be contiguous physically and have access to the outside world to be economically successfull?

    Yes. With a peace treaty and a link to Gaza and the Med. Sea, there would be plenty of opportunity to be economically successful. Frankly, even without access to the Med., Palestine could be a great economic success. There were/are signs of economic success, especially during some of the quiet years after the 1993 handshake.

    In my view, the reason the palestinians are starting to think about a one state solution, is because israel’s actions have so physically undermined a two-state solution so far to make it even marginally viable.

    There will not be a one state solution. The choices are the status quo or a sovereign, independent state recognized by the UN.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 27, 2010, 8:44 am
  70. Joe M.,

    Saying that Israel is “marching into Russia” is one thing. But can you describe a scenario that fits this description? What are the historical events that will lead to a one state solution? Israel puts more settlers in the West Bank and …. What happens? How do we get from tons of settlers to a one state?

    If you can’t describe such a scenario, how are you different from all the Palestinians that in the last 60 years have been forecasting the end of Israel?

    Posted by AIG | March 27, 2010, 11:39 am
  71. AIG,

    Good to know that you can live with the Geneva Plan. Of course it should entail the end of hosility and the beginning of cooperation on both sides. However, it was israel that rejected the plan.


    Your position is even more to the right of AIG, especially in regards to the final status of jerusalem. Remember that international law regards east jerusalem as palestinian territory.

    Here’s an idea that I think should merit some consideration. Why not have the entire city of jerusalem as the capital of both people. Be administered through a city council made up of 50/50 palestinian and israeli members, with a third outside neutral party having one vote to clear any logjam.

    Due to the city’s religious significance to all three religions, it should be a symbol of peace and sharing in my view.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | March 27, 2010, 12:16 pm
  72. Your position is even more to the right of AIG, especially in regards to the final status of jerusalem. Remember that international law regards east jerusalem as palestinian territory.

    Ras Beirut,

    Frankly, I’m not familiar with the “Geneva Plan”. I would have accepted the Camp David/Taba offer if both parties accepted it.

    In that case, the Palestinians would have shared the Old City. However, as facts on the ground change, it will be more difficult to go back to square one. For example, no center party in Israel would be willing to evacuate Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim, or Gush Etzion. There is more room for acomodation in East Jerusalem and Hebron, but that may not always be case.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 27, 2010, 1:07 pm
  73. AP,

    The Geneva Initiative (2003) was a forum of unofficial negotiation between experts in the field to come up with recommendations to resolve the dispute. It was not binding to either official party, but the participants had hoped that their recommendations would form the starting points of the negotiations. Sort of like NGO’s making suggestions.

    Israel was represented by Beilin and Palestine by Rabbo.

    The initiative received quite a bit of positive reception and support internationally. Unfortunately, Israel dismissed it.

    Check it out on wikipedia

    Posted by Ras Beirut | March 27, 2010, 1:56 pm
  74. Joe M.,
    Obviously you only have one choice, which is to get all of Palestine back through armed struggle. There is no advantage whatsoever in negotiations or in getting sidelined in so called peace process. The moment you indicate readiness to compromise on Palestinian rights you end up with no rights. Non-Palestinians cannot claim to be more Palestinian than the Palestinians themselves. Therefore, it is incumbent on the Palestinians to come up with a unified vision and plan on how to liberate Palestine from the land thieves, the invading zionists. I am amazed that the Palestinians still keep Abbas and his group as so-called leaders. Any other people would have elimnated their likes long ago.

    Posted by Ijlisa Nabki | March 27, 2010, 2:10 pm
  75. Ras Beirut,

    It looks similar to the Camp David/Taba plan that was rejected by Yassir.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 27, 2010, 3:50 pm
  76. Ijlisa Nabki,
    I agree with you 90%. What I disagree with is the view that armed struggle is the only way. Armed struggle is clearly important, and must not be abandoned, but I think that a two track plan of armed struggle + civil struggle is a better alternative than only armed. Also, I think that most Palestinians have abandoned Abu Mazin, even if he remains in power. His position does not come from the Palestinian people, but from the fact that he has been imposed by the USA and Israel… But I had deep respect for Hizbullah, and appreciate all they do for the Palestinians people and against zionism (you mentioned hizbullah in a previous post), yet, their strategy is good for them because they live outside and will never have to live with the jews. As I am for a one-state solution, I do not require that the jews leave, and am more than happy for the palestinians to live in peace and equality with the jews. Thus, asking us to engage in only armed struggle is not the same as asking Hizbullah to do so.

    to give you a full answer would take pages and im not going to waste my breath on you. But suffice it to say, Israel is doomed. It can’t even achieve a two-state solution if the palestinians agreed to submit that way. In that jerusalem post article i provided above, you will notice that 54% of Israelis think a one-state solution is most easy to impliment (whether confederation or bi-national). So, it’s just a matter of aligning the respective positions and mobilization. That will happen before you know it.

    Posted by Joe M. | March 27, 2010, 10:54 pm
  77. This is code for switching strategy to advocating a one-state solution.

    The Arab League’s Secretary-General, Amr Moussa, said member states should prepare for the possibility of the peace process’s “complete failure”.

    Posted by Joe M. | March 27, 2010, 11:01 pm
  78. I am quite doubtful about this as well. When it comes to political interest, the U.S. will go through the extent of creating political drama with their allies. I think it’s just a game.

    Posted by Mark @ Israel | March 27, 2010, 11:47 pm
  79. The one-state solution is no more than a pipe dream, simply because the Palestinians don’t want it and will never endorse it.

    Can you imagine Abu-Mazen, Hamas or its more extreme offshoots, marching their followers to vote themselves into the Israeli Knesset?
    Can you imagine them accepting Israeli legislature, even in order to change Israel from within?
    Can you imagine them accepting a de-facto second-class position (economically) to the Jews within the same state, even for a transition period?

    But why imagine: look at the way Israeli-Palestinians have been acting for the last 60 years. Theoretically, their 20% share should have given then considerable power to change things from within. But internal squabbling, low vote rates and a de-facto boycott of the Israeli system of government have marginalized them to a measly 8mp’s, easily ignored.

    Here & there a single Palestinian layers picks up a banner & manages to change something using the high court, but that’s rare.

    The Palestinians discuss the single-state plan to threaten Israel with it, not to really implement it. If they were serious, they could have focused on the civilian resistance & demand for integration, coupled with using the Israeli-Palestinian vote.
    Israel would have succumbed to internal & international pressure within a couple of years.


    Posted by G M | March 28, 2010, 8:03 am
  80. There are too many “VIP” palestinians who are personally attached to going to conferences and fancy dinners with European and American officials so that it is not easy to change course and advocate a one-state. but that is changing quickly (and for the better).

    The Palestinians with Israeli citizenship are not allowed power in the Israeli system because all the other parties systematically exclude them from the ability to be a “swing” vote on issues. thus, while they represent a small but significant part of the zionist parliament, they do not have the power their numbers should provide.

    Posted by Joe M. | March 28, 2010, 5:38 pm
  81. Joe m
    I have not followed this discussion closely so I hope that I am not seriously misrepresenting your position.
    It looks like we are in total agreement on the ultimate goal but I am not sure that we agree on the means or on the short to medium run.
    If you go back into the archives you will discover that I have always advocated the bi-national state of Buber and Edward Said. But , and it is a big but, I do not think it will happen for a long time to come. Such things cannot be forced they need to have grass root support. I have been advocating for many years a complete change in the means of the resistance from violence and force to civil disobedience. My theory is quite simple, tell the Israelis that the Palestinians do not want their own state and that they are willing to be absorbed into the greater Israel but the mount continuous civivl disobedience movements. The results can never be gauranteed, Nothing in life is. But I grant you that the outcome will not be as devastating and painful as the outcome of the violent disobedience. This will result in a two state solution whicj will evolve into a bi national state.

    Posted by ghassan karam | March 28, 2010, 6:55 pm
  82. ghassan karam,
    I am in agreement with you in the sense that there will not be a one-state solution in the next few years. I think it will take 15-20 year time line (give or take).

    But I disagree with you on the use of violence. I think violence is an important tactic because it helps create the pressure-cooker atmosphere that will ultimately drive the process. Importantly, it pushes the Israelis to become more radical and take more wild actions, which will ultimately destroy their state.

    What I think people who argue for palestinian non-violence are missing is the fact that non-violence requires the oppressor be aware of it. But 95% of Israelis don’t even know or feel that there is an occupation and are just vaguely aware of the palestinians as bad people somewhere near them…. In a place like israel, where the ethos is that everyone is out to get the jews, and they have always been facing an existential threat, the continuation of violence provides the only way Israelis will feel a sense that there is a problem. If all they had to do was fire a few tear gas cans and arrest a few thousand people…. well, that’s business as usual for teh zionist state, and provides no bargaining strength to the palestinians.

    So, really a non-violent campaign is directed at the outside world. And honestly, I do not want nor trust the rest of the world to help the Palestinians (or anyone) after a 60 year occupation that has the EU as the largest single funder of the continuation of the occupation (when that is israel’s responsibility under the geneva conventions), and the USA as the largest supplier of the instruments of occupation.

    Last, I do not believe a two state solution can occur now. Israel has no capability to implement it. It can’t even clear “illegal” settlements that are comprised of a flat bed truck and port-o-potty. And, if there is a continuation of violence, Israel will continue to actively occupy the Palestinians. But with non-violence, the Palestinians will just be banging their heads against the wall (literally), as israel will just unilateral decide how the to define the conflict and put the palestinians in a cage (like gaza). If the Palestinians of Gaza were not engaging in violence, Israel would have already forgotten that Gaza exists.

    Posted by Joe M. | March 28, 2010, 7:57 pm
  83. With all this talk of walking towards a single Jewish-Palestinian state, you are ignoring the Palestinian conflict of Islamic vs. secular.

    This single state, federation or whatever will have to be secular in nature, at least partially (maybe like the famous ‘Status-Quo’ Israel has today).

    However, the Palestinians are moving more & more towards defining themselves through Islam and the desire for an Islamic state.

    Islam has an historical distaste for non-Islamic rule & has an issue with Jews and particularly sharing power with Jews.

    How can you see these trends evolving & still envision a single state, which will not implode into civil war within a second, is beyond my comprehension.


    Posted by G M | March 29, 2010, 2:58 am
  84. G M,
    you obviously have little ability to comprehend anything, if this is beyond your comprehension.

    All palestinian factions agree on a secular government. It is Israel which faces this challenge to a greater degree than the Palestinians, with the likes of Shas and the NRP in the current government.

    While palestinians may be increasingly identifying as muslim, they still overwhelmingly primarily identify as palestinian, and want a secular state. Plus, it is the conflict itself, and the attempt by Israel to make this a religious conflict, that is the problem. not the Palestinians, or a one-state solution…

    Posted by Joe M. | March 29, 2010, 11:37 am
  85. Joe,
    Remind me please what does the acronym Hamas mean:-) and since you are at it what is the exact source for the name Hezbollah? I grant you that Fatah is secular but definitely not the above two , one a direct major player and the other a n important indirect one.

    Posted by ghassan karam | March 29, 2010, 1:13 pm
  86. Joe;

    Your presumptions about my ability to comprehend do more a disservice to your argument than they serve to insult me.

    Most Palestinians want a secular state? Really?
    With religious Hamas winning by a landslide in Gaza, and probably in west bank too (if they ever get to having an election).
    Imposing a Sharia state is Hamas’s goal & official position.

    Israel is more religious than the Palestinians? Are you kidding?

    Judaism & Islam both see homosexuality as a mortal sin – but where do Gay Palestinians go when they have to flee for their lives in fear of being killed by their own families?

    The Jewish religion has strict rules on female modesty, not unlike Islam. Have you seen how secular women dress in Israel, even as they stroll through Bnei-Brak (large ultra-orthodox town)? What would happen to Palestinian women who try to make their own way?

    Things sure look simple from afar.


    Posted by GM | March 29, 2010, 6:08 pm
  87. I’d just like to interject here on one point: it is a misconception that Hamas won “in a landslide” back in 2006. Actually, Hamas narrowly edged Fatah, in terms of the popular vote, but because of the nature of the electoral system, they reaped outsized rewards.

    The difference in the popular vote was 44.4% Hamas – 41.4% Fatah, but the distribution of votes gave Hamas 56.6% of the seats, while Fatah won only 34%.


    PS: This doesn’t change GM’s basic point about religiosity in the Palestinian territories…

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | March 29, 2010, 6:58 pm
  88. So what if the entire world is becoming more religious? Name one part of the world that is becoming more secular? But it is important to note that even religious parties in Palestine are committed to playing by a system that is representative, and if the pass laws that are religious in nature, and the people reject them, there is no substantial evidence that Hamas or Hizbullah or any other party in Palestine will continue to force those laws on the people. On the contrary, it is Fatah who lost the election but preformed a coop of the WB with Israeli help and is forcing laws on the people and arresting Hamas members by the thousands. Religious affiliation is a secondary issue in my opinion.

    That said, hamas won a majority of occupied parliament largely because Fatah often fielded two candidates in the same races, thus splitting the vote and providing Hamas with a plurality in respective races. But even outside of the electoral politics, Hamas is much more representative of an organization than is Fatah, and deserved to win the election.

    Posted by Joe M. | March 29, 2010, 10:23 pm
  89. Also, Fatah was the one who wrote the election law, so that makes their electoral representation even more legitimate (in my opinion).

    Posted by Joe M. | March 29, 2010, 10:24 pm
  90. It’s quite ridiculous that so many are quick to criticize the religious political parties, when it is the secular ones that have rained tyranny on the people for so long.

    And of course, I am not saying that religious parties can’t be (or are not) repressive.

    Posted by Joe M. | March 29, 2010, 10:29 pm
  91. Joe M.,
    There is no need to be apologetic about being Islamist and having Islamic government with Islamic laws. If this is what the Palestinians want to be (and I believe this is what the majority want) then so be it. Why do so-called secularists want to impose their way of life on others? That’s bizzare.
    Islam has come to this world in order to RULE. Those who do not like it – tough luck.

    Posted by Ijlisa Nabki | March 29, 2010, 11:34 pm
  92. There is no need to apologize for being Islamic or religiously Jewish, true.

    But my point wasn’t the legitimacy of these belief systems, rather that they are utterly incompatible with Jews & Palestinians living “side-by-side” in a single, neutral state & system of laws.

    To do this requires both a minimal level of trust & more importantly, a respect for each others narrative & rights to “historical Palestine”.

    Israeli (Jews) have little of both towards the Palestinians, while Palestinian (Muslims) have practically none at all towards Israel.

    Islam has come to this world to rule?…I agree this is what many of its followers feel.
    But this makes the one state talk no more than a cheap tactic to trick Israel into “opening the gates of the fortress”, as it will – into defeat & submission.

    To the extent of my (limited) comprehension, this type of insincere tactic does the Palestinian cause a great disservice and insures the continuation of the conflict for decades to come.

    That’s probably OK if you are sure of your eventual, glorious victory, less so if you want hope for this generation & the next.


    Posted by GM | March 30, 2010, 1:52 am
  93. There is no insincerity whatsoever. Everyone involved knows where everyone stands. To my knowledge most Palestinians want a two state solution. Joe’s dilemma revolves around the injustice that will be suffered by the Palestinians in the Diaspora as they will be deprived of their rights to their homes in historic Palestine by this two-state solution. Personally (a non-Palestinian) I do not recognize Israel and I am for its dissolution – again non-apologetically and willing to maintain my position for centuries if need be.

    You have to keep in mind that Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians in general do not recognize Israel as legitimate. It was established on a territory that doesn’t belong to the people who immigrated from all over the world displacing a whole population in the process. This injustice is the root cause of the problem.


    Posted by Ijlisa Nabki | March 30, 2010, 3:07 am
  94. Greetings from Kabul,

    The land of Palestine and Jerusalem belong to the Jewish Nation whether Muslims like Ijlissa (Abu Steif) like it or not.

    As a Muslim I thank Allah for giving the scientific, technical and military upper hand to the West and Israel so such barbarians who call for the destruction of the Jewish nation can be kept at bay.



    Posted by V | March 30, 2010, 4:57 am
  95. MMustapha;

    Oh, I bear in mind most Palestinians see Israelis as ‘Colonial occupiers’, ‘Crusaders’, etc’.
    Assuming Palestinian leaders feel the same way you do, & I believe most do, the deal of peace in-exchange to 67 borders + East Jerusalem + (some?) refugee return/compensation in just a stepping stone towards getting rid of AL Jews in ALL of Palestine.

    This is the core of the Israeli right-wing argument: There is absolutely no point in giving the Palestinians anything, because it won’t be enough anyway & the conflict will just continue from a inferior strategic position.

    Your words justify this point of view –
    Why then do you want Israel to give anything then?
    Why do you bother even to respond to what I write?
    Is there anything left to discuss until we play the Thermo-nuclear annihilation game?


    Posted by G | March 30, 2010, 5:41 am
  96. G,
    It was you who asked for clarification in 92. There was no deliberate attempt on my part to engage you. I’m well aware there is nothing to discuss. The ‘game’ will simply go on as long as it takes and whatever it takes. -:)

    Posted by Ijlisa Nabki | March 30, 2010, 12:15 pm

Are you just gonna stand there and not respond?

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