Sunday, July 23, 2006

# Posted 1:30 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

THE DEMOCRATS STAND WITH ISRAEL. WHERE DO THE LIBERALS STAND? Is there a silver lining to the clouds over the Middle East? I'm not so sure, but it certainly is nice to see that politicians across the spectrum are standing up for Israel. Here's what Joe Biden had to say:
I find it fascinating [to hear] people talk about has Israel gone too far. No one talks about whether Israel’s justified in the first place.

Let’s assume Israel’s overreacting. I want to see the world stand up and say, “By the way, this in fact, is an unprovoked effort on the part of a terrorist organization supported by two countries to undermine [a] democratic state.” Until they say that, I think it’s awful—I think it’s a secondary question whether Israel’s gone too far.
Leaving aside Biden's words, I think the tone of his voice said at least as much about his determination to support Israel. He was speaking from the heart.

Yet according to the Forward, the prominent Jewish paper that publishes out of New York, top liberal bloggers are hesitant to discuss the crisis at all. (Hat tip: MD) Why? Because of the viciousness it provokes within the liberal camp.

The "venom... is just, from my personal experience, just a whole order of magnitude greater than with garden variety political topics," Marshall told the Forward. His Web site, Marshall said, typically receives 100,000 visitors a day, and as many as 300 to 500 emails from readers.

In the past week, most of the vitriolic responses have come from critics of Israel.

I "touched off the fireworks" in saying that "Israel has a right to respond strongly when they have a border incursion over the Lebanese border," Marshall said.

Josh Marshall -- the Joe Lieberman of the blogosphere? Heh.

The Forward also cited a long post on the subject of Israel and silence by Kevin Drum:
On his blog for the Washington Monthly, Drum offered a number of reasons to explain his own tight-lipped response to the fighting, a list that included: the "unusually vicious comment threads" it inspires...and the fact that the [issue] is "fantastically complex."

"Most conservatives simply take the uncomplicated stance that Palestinians are terrorists and that Israel should always respond to provocation in the maximal possible way," Drum wrote. "Liberals don't really have a similarly undemanding position for the quick-hit nature of blogging."
More than any other blogger I know, Kevin explores numerous issues precisely because they are complex. So it doesn't sound very plausbile for him to say that this issue is just too complex. At least Kevin does admit in his post that his arguments on this subject amount to "feeble excuses".

Speaking more broadly, I think Kevin is really missing the point if he believes that excessive complexity is what's holding back other liberal bloggers. After all, there is no issue more complicated or more written-about than Iraq.

Clearly, something else besides complexity is preventing liberal bloggers from writing about Israel. I would suggest that there is a part of the online left which is so viciously anti-Israel that moderates have been intimidated into silence. Let's hope that this kind of viciousness never migrates off line, where it might threaten bipartisan support for Israel.
(51) opinions -- Add your opinion

Because this issue is a troll magnet, some liberal bloggers may be afraid that the comments under their post will portray the blog itself - and perhaps the left - in a negative light. To the extent that liberal bloggers want to avoid exposing divisions that will harm their favorite candidates, they are smart to avoid troll orgies.
You cite Iraq as an example of a complex issue that liberal blogs address, but is their approach to that issue a complex one? My impression has been that they just pronounce whatever the Administration is doing to be wrong. I think it's difficult for knee-jerk partisans like those guys to deal with bipartisan consensus.
As may have expected, a good job on a difficult subject. You and Marc Danziger are beacons to the Left of Center, it's too bad most of those appear to be blind.
"I would suggest that there is a part of the online left which is so viciously anti-Israel that moderates have been intimidated into silence."

That's humorously self-proving. Because obviously if the blogger says something pro-Israel, and commenters attack him, then it's the viciousness of the anti-Israel left. But if the blogger says something anti-Israel, and commenters attack him, then hey, it's just normal people standing up against the vicious anti-Israel left.

Regardless, it's not like liberal blogs haven't been open about why they do and don't discuss them. And plenty of liberal blogs do discuss these issues, only a few are being silent on the subject.
I don't think its the anti-Israel side of the Left (although there is that) as much as it is the anti-war and anti-Western Democracy side of the Left. The bloggers are ignoring Israel because it doesn't fit nicely into their shallow worldview. It's easier to ignore the issue than to acknowledge that terrorist forces in the world really do want to destroy Israel. It's also harder to deal with because the Left usually assumes the terrorists are provoked by the West (and Israel).
Perhaps the silence is present due to the cries of anti-semitism whenever a non-flattering view of Israel is given. A sure way to ruin your credibility - online or off - is to wear the scarlet letter of anti-semitism, whether deserved or not.
David, which Liberal bloggers other than Kos, exactly, are you suggesting have been kowed into silence?

The article you cited actually points to Kevin Drum as one example of "the silent" left, but in reality, Kevin has numerous posts discussing this topic. Atrios does. Josh Marshall, despite his complaints, does. Matt Yglesias, TAPPED, Steve Clemons, Max Sawicky, Laura Rozen, Democracy Arsenal, American Footprints (ahem), Juan Cole, FireDogLake, Billmon, Digby, Legal Fiction, etc. all have numerous posts on the subject as well.

I'd say the loud outweigh the silent by a healthy margin.

Oh, and I think Matt Yglesias is right that if there is such silence, it's probably not fear of the far-left's anti-Israeli attitudes.

The opposite is closer to the truth. Just consider what happened to Michael Totten and Greg Djerjian when they posted very balanced and fair critiques of some of Israel's actions. Both from the position that Israel had the right to defend itself from Hizbollah, neither being far-left nor anti-Israeli.

Yet that didn't protect them from being labeled "appeasers" and new members of the "center-left" for their heterodoxy. Both have sustained continued attacks in comments, emails and from other Right wing pundits. Details here.

-Eric Martin
American Footprints
By the way, this in fact, is an unprovoked effort on the part of a terrorist organization supported by two countries to undermine [a] democratic state.

Israel has gone too far.
So, you happy now Sen. Biden?

To be precise though, my own words wouldn't be "too far". That plays into the notion that one should not defend oneself beyond a certain point. I think Israel has gone in the wrong direction.

Taking out civilian infrastructure, destroying all that has been built since the end of the Leb civil war, taking such exquisite care in targetting that well over 300 innocent civilians have been killed, undermining (lets hope not fatally) the Cedar Revolution. Pure stupidity in my book.

Support Israel's right to defend itself does not mean going along with any way that they go about defending themselves. If friends cant call out friends for doing something stupid, and vicious, then what good are freinds?

And billmon is right in all he says here. And I think everyone knows it, but is too busy scrambling for the moral high ground and seeing how many political opponents can be taken out from there, to admit it.
On Middle East issues, I believe I qualify as 'far left'.

I am opposed to Hezbullah and have always been. I'm opposed to many of the policies advanced by the Likud Party, as well.

As I've written before, I support my kids, but when they act out of line, I reserve the right to criticize them. That doesn't make me anti-kid.

I don't worry about trolls. I do believe that Karl Rove is planning to make anti-Semitism a divide & conquer wedge issue in this Fall's campaign, so I limit my discussion for that reason. I'm not going to write about it daily as if I think it the central issue just because others - especially Rove's Stepford wives - say it's the central issue.

Israel, like every nation, has the right to exist and a vigorous defense of itself is certainly warranted. But I believe it occasionally goes overboard, creating additional problems that come back to haunt it later, not unlike what Bush has done with Iraq.

I don't buy Biden's argument out of hand. Iran and Syria have given support to Hezbullah, certainly, but I see no evidence that Iran was actively engaged in this fresh provocation, though it has clearly supplied arms to Hezbullah.

There is already sufficient cause to keep Iran on notice that its nuclear development actions create unnecessary risks. But I do not think it wise to utilize every excuse to rattle sabres with Iran to heat that disagreement up, while diplomatic efforts are being advanced.

It is unfortunate, but the past actions of our current administration lead me to conclude that it has and will use short term political needs to drive foreign policy pronouncements. I fully expect they'll rattle sabres from now till November, to try and head off GOP losses in Congress.

To me, that puts our troops, our allies and our nation at added risk and that sort of gamesmanship is opportunistic and wrong. And several moderate Dems, like Biden and Lieberman, are equally irresponsible to play politics with foreign policy that way.
well, all I can say is that you seem to have missed the 100's of diaries, some logical and relevant and some not, which have appeared at dailykos over the last few weeks.

If by liberal bloggers you mean a limited list of what you consider to be A-list bloggers, then I would say some have chosen not to address it.
I don't think the reticence of some liberals is such a mystery. In the specific context of Middle East politics, most people who identify politically as liberals have neither the historical analysis nor the ideological grounding to make important distinctions about the various facets of these conflicts. As I see it, the liberal blogosphere generally falls into two very vague and indeterminate camps with regard to Israel, Palestine and their neighbors. On one side there are the centrists who focus on the democratic possibilities of Israeli politics and are troubled by Islamic fundamentalism, while still being upset by Israel's actual strategy and tactics. On the other side, there are plenty of liberals who, while having no particular affinity for Islam, Muslims and/or Arabs, feel that the imbalance of power between Israel's military and the military resources of the Palestinians should preclude the Israelis from attacking their enemies with overwhelming force. Both positions leave liberals ambivalent about the conflicts, because it's very easy to see the other side's perspective.
One of the things that I'm more interested in, with regard to silencing, is the fact that virtually every young Jewish person that I know, from centrist liberals to activist radicals, has been told, in no uncertain terms, that if they speak up to criticize Israel, they will essentially be disowned by their families. It is to the credit of Jewish culture in the U.S., with its long history of vigorous political debate, that many of my Jewish friends have decided to be honest about their feelings regarding Israel, and let the chips fall where they may, even when that has, in fact, meant that they are disowned or at least disinherited by their families.
"Okay, I'll say it. I'm a leftist. I know lots of leftists. I hang out with leftists, chat with leftists, correspond with leftists, and read primarily leftist blogs."

Perhaps you should expand your world a bit to include a few good conservative friends and news/opinion sources.
The Israel situation is just another example of the disease plaguing the Left--a preferance for diplomatic appeasement. They're unable to see why appeasement is a long-term strategy for defeat. While diplomacy certainly has an important role to play, it can do nothing if there isn't a real stick to give diplomatic efforts legitimacy. The far Left has no stick, except to the extend they constantly cry and whine about getting wacked by the stick of those big bad conservatives.
Fundamentally, the problem with the far Left is that they see America (and Israel) as a bigger threat to the world than groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, who the Left actually has some sympathy for; presumably because they're better able to 'identify' with their struggle against the big bad Western powers, especially military powers. It's really as simple as that. As long as that attitude is given a prominent seat at the table in the Democratic party, the Republicans are wise to exploit it. It's that wing of the Democratic party which is the biggest hinderance to the Democrats being taken seriously and not just a bunch of whack-jobs.
"... the kind of ignorance behind this. Someone created a strawman, and G** D*** it, he's not going to allow facts to interfere with it. But, go ahead and plug your ears and keeping shouting over and over, "Liberals love terrorists. Liberals hate America." Who am I to deprive you of your delusions of depth and ability for abstract and complex thinking?"

I'm sorry you feel that way. Keep in mind, I'm talking about a segment of the Democratic party (a very significant segment), not the entire party. Your characterization of my words as 'Liberals love terrorists. Liberals hate America.' is your characterization, not mine. Liberals don't hate America, but their far Left mushy worldview is focused more on finding and expressing fault with American (and Israeli) power in the world than recognizing it as the best hope for civilization. Until the Democrat party comes to terms with this philosophical element in its ranks, they will continue to get hammered by Republicans as the clash of civilizations becomes more apparent and defined. You would think the party would have figured this out by now.
By way of illustration, there are significant elements on the Left who are unable to see the difference between Iran's support and aid to Hezbollah and Hamas and America's support for Israel. Both are viewed as equally evil, but more disgust is expressed toward America because, I guess, the Left has a natural bias against the more powerful side of a dispute. I guess the Left just likes losers (haha, that's a joke).
Is it or is it not true that the far Left views the projection American power, particularly American military power, as a greater threat to the world than terrorism and the ideology behind it? If not, then why isn't that message expressed more clearly. If you read DailyKos, you'll be hard-pressed to find any expression of American goodness in the world.
"But, why complain about America? Well, naturally, because I think my country can be an example and force for good, but I want it to act in such a way that everyone understands it. And, I think that means a more nuanced approach to foreign affairs than, 'bomb 'em all, and let Jesus sort out the body parts.'"

The only apparent difference between us then is that I think America IS and example and force for good, not that it COULD be. Granted, that doesn't mean that America is perfect, but we are the best hope for the world. We can debate about strategies and tactics, but while most of Europe and the UN hems and haws, the U.S. is putting itself on the line in defense of decency (albeit, messy decency). To the extent Europe may be partnering with the U.S. in a bit of classic good cop, bad cop diplomacy, then that's great. I have no problem with America playing the role of the bad cop. We're in the best position to do it. But for diplomacy to work, there MUST be a bad cop and it can't be timid and it can't be just for show. Part of the reason the Middle East is such a mess (along with a lot of other reasons) is that terrorist-supporting regimes learned that they could play the West for diplomatic fools, knowing that the consequences for bad behavior would be minimal. I won't defend every American policy, but I do think, on balance, America is a force for good. Sooner or later, you have to use the stick to make the carrot a carrot. The Left needs to throw down their twig and find a real stick, and then have the good sense to wave it at America's enemies instead of at America.
"So, the similarity is that both sides are armed and supported by other, more powerful sponsors who are using them as surrogates to play out a power struggle."

All I'll say is that, while America may support Israel and they share common enimies, Israel is hardly America's surrogate. There is a difference. Israel is much more at risk than America and is much less timid when protecting its people. Nevertheless, the parallels between America's support for Israel and Iran's support for Hezbollah and Hamas are only relevant if you're unable to make a moral distinction between the merits of each side's objectives.
"The answer to your question is that I don't know any Leftists who thinks of American military power as more dangerous than terrorism. I know people -- I am one of them -- who think that misused American military power is an incredibly scary, dangerous thing, and that it has the power to create terrorists and invite retaliatory attacks; but I know of no one who, say, thinks our invasion of Iraq was more immoral than Sept. 11."

As someone who lives in the bastion of liberalism, attends a lot of grassroots liberal meetings, and whose close friends are mostly Lefties (I'm their token conservative friend), I strongly disagree. The DailyKos base is a scary group of people. Also, if nuance is so important, the DailyKos wing of the party should practice what they preach or risk getting further pulverized by the Right with their reckless rhetoric. If the DailyKos threads are not representative of the Left's true sentiments toward America, Don't blame the right for using the Left's words against them. The Left needs to shed some of their cynicism about America in the world and start getting serious about what they're offering voters. If DailyKos is any indicator, they're not offering much.
And, in case you're wondering, no, I wouldn't vote for my best friend and his silly "Department of Peace" for political office. And he wouldn't vote for me. God Bless America.
FYI, you and the forward cited a post by kevin drum dated july 15, 2006. but since that date, kevin has written extensively on the conflict, often posting several times a day
"Again, you don't learn about how people think by what they read in forums populated by like-minded people. You need to ask. And, I'm explaining."

Well, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. My experience is that the comments expressed on DailyKos really do represent the modern liberal base. As a conservative who voted for Kerry (only as a tactical matter to divide government power and control spending), I find the liberal base far more unacceptable than the conservative base. Their inability to express clear support for Israel, prefering to hem-and-haw with arguments about proportionality, is a further indication to me that Democrats would be more dangerous to our national security than Republicans. What happened to the days of Roosevelt and Truman? They don't exist in today's Democratic party and, even if they did, the base would never allow them to get through the primaries.
send the missiles, send the guns, send the planes and the money.

kill them all, the people who don't matter. do what it takes, to whoever gets in the way, to make us safe, to make israel safe. death to everyone who wishes us ill. death to their children.

why do they hate us?
death to their children's children.
and so on.
until the learn to love us for our purity
Here is my idea for peace between Israelis and Palestinians:

Remove all non-Israelis from both the West Bank and Gaza, by using 2 methods at once: violent military pressure, and the provision of a viable place for Palestinians to go.

Where will they go?

The United States and Israel should pay the Palestinian people a reasonable amount of money for the cost of leaving and the loss of their property, and should also pay the cost of establishing a NEW Palestinian State, far away from Israel.

A New Palestine should be carved out of a small piece of Texas, on the Gulf coast adjacent to Mexico. The US and Israel, and the rest of the international community should pay for the establishment of an infrastructure there, and invest in the new economy of a newly formed sovereign nation, located on territory that would become former US territory.
What are you smokin'? How could you still not understand what the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is about? It's not about givng the Palestineans their own country. They could have had their own country about 10 different times. They don't care about their own country. They only care about Israel's destruction. This silly "two-state solution" thing is nothing more than a diplomatic fantasy dreamed up to give the illusion that a negotiated peace short of Israel's destruction is possible. It's a sham and has only served to provide diplomatic cover to groups like Hamas as they go about their terrorist ways. Until the international community wakes-up to these basic realities, it will continue to get played as fools by countries like Iran.
Not smokin' anything.

This proposal is rather different and recognizes that there is no possible solution other than giving Israel the right to take all of the West Bank and Gaza and to remove all Palestinians from there and give them somewhere else to go (a new country carved out of Texas).

What's your solution, kill 'em all?

You're being a little disingeuous too in your depiction of things. Get real, Israel will not and has not accepted a 2 state solution. They've done all kinds of things to make that not happen, seriously. And they never will accept it, so somebody has to come up with a plan that actually works. What's your plan?

Why is it that we are all expected to support Israel unconditionally and to no do so is considered to be some sort of unpatriotic crime? Can someone explain to me why this is considered an obligation? All Israel brings us is trouble and we get nothing in return. Support the Saudis, they sell us oil. What does Israel do for us? NADA!
The ignorance here is astounding. There could be peace tomorrow if Hezbollah disarmed and Hamas stopped shelling Israel and got its house in order.This recent incident is not the first time Hezbollah and Hamas have attacked Israel. As soon as Israel pulled out of both countries, these groups immediately set out to wage war against Israel. While everyone expects Israel to just take it on the chin every time a rocket is indescriminately launched into Israel, which is a regular occurance, Hamas, Hezbollah and all the other whacko groups over there get coddled by the international community in an effort to 'understand' and 'sympathize' with their cause. Give me a break. Any other country that faced as many attacks as Israel regularly faces would be mocked for putting up with it and allowing their citizens to be systematically killed. These Islamic groups aren't dumb. They know exactly what they're doing and how to play on the sympathies and weaknesses of the international community. In the end, they're not afraid to die for their cause and they've calculated, rightly, that the international community is afraid and soft and unwilling to stand against jihad. You might as well lay down your weapons and put up your arms in defeat.
Why do we bother supporting Israel???? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we're ALLIES! If your friend gets punched in the face every day by the playground bully, do you just turn your back and walk away, or worse yet, blame your friend for being in the vicinity of the bully? Maybe you do. Israel is a great friend to America. I guess that doesn't mean anything to some people who think allies are only countries who we get oil from. We don't get oil from England. Should we care if France started to regularly launch rockets into London and killing troops? Oh who cares, it's just England and what do they do for us. Ridiculous. If America ever asked for Israel's help, you can bet that Isreal would be there for us. The only reason they're not in Iraq helping us is because we don't want to aggrevate Muslim sensitivities, as though our presence alone doesn't aggrevate enough. The fact that supposedly educated people seriously ask why America supports Isreal is a sad sad commentary on how muddled and soft their minds have become.
There is only 1 problem with the Israeli position, as it concerns common perception in the United States.

Support of Israel is too often, or almost always, wrapped up in complete amnesia about the history of the last 60 years.

It's really time isn't to just think clearly and acknowledge the simple fact that is right out there in the open for everyone to see.

Israel was established in 1948. That means, inescapably, that it did not exist as a nation prior to that (I accept all the points about the land of Israel in Biblical times).

Therefore, since a new nation was formed in 1948, that meant necessarily that other people had to be moved out of the way.

What purpose does it serve to pretend that that did not happen, and is not happening?

It is self-evident, and there is documentary evidence everywhere anyone would care to look.

With that simple clarity in mind, it is really very simple for ordinary people to understand that Western and American support of Israel is a choice, and committment, that has been made, and IS made.

Further clear thinking on our part will unburden us of our useless willfull ignorance of the Arab position on this. Why on earth, if we're intelligent people, would it surprise us that Arabs would take a hostile position relative to the formation of Israel? How could that possibly surprise anyone, especially given the mostly violent nature of that formation?

I mean, really, where do you think those people in the West Bank and Gaza came from? If they were not there before 1948, do we suspect that they ran in there from somewhere else so that they could come out on the losing side of just about everything, all the time?

If they were in fact there, prior to 1948, then the most abundant historical record does in fact correspond precisely with their current circumstances of total disenfranchisement.

And that is just simply a fact and any argument on that matter is utterly absurd.

The only thing worth talking about, is what to do about it next.

Clearly, there is no compromise that will work. Just as the US expanded, and relocated and or killed people who got in the way, Israel will need to do the same.

I do not think it is possible to have a more Pro-Israeli position than this: All of present-day Israel and all of the occupied territories (West Bank and Gaza) should belong totally to Israel, without compromise.

Now, unlike the cowboy and Indian days on the American frontier, the objective should not be to round up and kill all of the Palestinians.

Israel, and the United States, should pay the Palestinians a sum of money for their territory; they should all be forced to move out elsewhere, and compensated for their property, AND the United States should carve out a piece of territory equal in size to the territory they give up and create a new soveriegn nation of Palestine somewhere in North America . . . say, in Texas, on the coast.

What's wrong with that?

Can you say that this position is not pro-Israel, when I'm arguing that all Palestinians should be removed from the West Bank and Gaza and all of the territory taken over by Israel permanently?
It's not about your position being pro- or anti-Israel. It's about your position not recognizing the simple fact that the Palestineans don't want their own country, they want Isreal's elimination. They could have had their own country numerous times. Israel has signed onto several peace plans resulting in just that. At every turn, Hamas and the other whacko groups have undermined every effort that would result in a homeland for the Palestineans. This is a big part of the problem. People think the Palestineans can be trusted to act in good faith. This is not to say that Isreal hasn't done some stupid things (what country hasn't), but Isreal is not the party preventing a negotiated settlement. How many times do the Palestineans, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and all the other groups need to stick it to Isreal and the West before we realize that these parties are two-faced double-crossers who have no intention of living in peace until their medieval empires are restored. For those of you in the "Bush is the Devil" crowd, the one thing I'll give you is that going to war with Iraq was totally misplaced. We should have continued to keep Saddam is his box and gone after Iran instead.
It always amazes me when I see reports characterizing Isreali troop casualties as "heavy" and then learn that it's 8 or 9 soldiers. In nearly every military action throughout history, losing that many soldiers in a day of heavy fighting would be considered an amazing success. Instead, in today's pansy world, it's viewed as a major defeat. Huh??
It's official--the world has no balls.
Call me crazy, but if Bush had gone after Iran istead of Iraq, the Dems would still be calling Bush the devil. The Dems are paralyzed by their anti-war faction. They're so consumed with trying to feel for the victims of war that they can't act and speak decisively. Everyone wonders why Republicans are so good at characterizing Dems as weak. It's easy, they are weak. All the strength-theamed slogans in the world won't change that until the Dems demonstrate an ability to use decisive force, instead of their usual paddy-cake tactics.
You are totally mischaracterizing the facts regarding the Palestinian desire for their own country.

The proposal for "statehood" that they rejected was offered by Israel under extremely unfavorable terms, and that was intentional.

The "Palestine" it would have created would have been like a swiss cheese of discontinuous pieces of land with permanent Israeli control of roads and checkpoints and roadblocks and obstacles to normal daily life and commerce and security and so on, and Israeli control over such basic resources as WATER.

It was not in any way a realistic proposal for Palestinian statehood.

And since that time, Israel has continued antagonistic bombing, destruction, assasination and so on in Gaza and the West Bank.

So I honestly don't know what you are talking about.

Again, I ask you to be realistic. What is your proposal to resolve these problems?
The Clinton peace plan was totally reasonable for the Palestineans. Isreal came to the table prepared to make several significant concessions. They again made several concessions with the more recent Road Map. The issue for Isreal's enemies is not that they want a contiguous country, they want Isreal's elimination. It's amazing that more people can't understand that. Hamas does not want to co-exist with Isreal. They want to destroy Isreal. Isreal has made numerous concessions in an effort to negotiate a two-state solution. How do they negotiate their own existence? If Clinton couldn't do it, what makes you think anyone could?
I have no idea what the ultimate solution is. It's not, however, to roll over and just let these groups continue to hit Israel and then condemn Israel when they strike back. I guarantee Hezbollah will think twice before they try to pull another stunt like they did when they killed and kidnapped the Israeli soldiers. It certainly wasn't the first time they did something like that. Hezbollah was surprised by Israel's reaction because they were so used to Israel and the world community doing nothing, or at most just a tit-fot-tat response. What Israel is doing now is changing the calculation these groups will have to make in the future before they decide to attack Israel again. At this point, this is about survival for Israel, not about finding a solution that will appease its enemies. They've been trying to do that for years and it's only gotten them more and more attacks. At some point, they have to say enough. I agree that Israel risks going too far and making matters worse and I'm not in total agreement with some of their bombing in Beirut, but Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran, Syria and all the other whackos need to know in no uncertain terms that the days of being able to play with Israel without any significant threat of real retaliation are over. They need to start feeling the consequences for their bad faith dealings. Timidity and squimishness don't win these types of battles, especially when your enemy has a medieval mentality.
My idea is clear.

1. (observe) The Israelis and Palestinians will never coexist peacefully.

2. (act) Give the Palestinians somewhere else to form a new nation (a small piece of Texas).

3. Compensate the Palestinians for the relocation.

4. Force the Palestinian people to leave the West Bank and Gaza.

5. Give the entirety of the West Bank and Gaza to Israel for its permanent control, habitation, and inclusion within the boundaries of its sovereign state.

If you are pro-Israel, I don't know why you would argue about this.

Incidently, your comments about Palestine and Israel are totally one-sided and ignore the hidtory of the last 60 years, and even specifically the history of the last 3 months which included an inordinate amount of Israeli pummeling of the West Bank well before this hezbulla raid and capture of 2 soldiers.

I do think you are not looking honestly at the reality of the situation on the ground for daily life in the West Bank and Gaza and the unacceptability of the Clinton era plan for the Palestinian state.

Israel found it so unacceptable that it insisted on all of those provisions that would have maintained defacto Israeli control over the territory, and the continued impossibility of a "normal" civic and economic realm for Palestinians.
"Incidently, your comments about Palestine and Israel are totally one-sided and ignore the hidtory of the last 60 years, and even specifically the history of the last 3 months which included an inordinate amount of Israeli pummeling of the West Bank well before this hezbulla raid and capture of 2 soldiers."

You do realize, don't you, that ever since Israel pulled out of Gaza and Southern Lebanon, Hamas and Hezbollah have been launching rockets, indescriminately, into Israel. The most recent incident was not an isolated case. The international media rarely covered the near daily rocket attacks on Israel, especially in Gaza. Rocket attacks have been part of daily life in Israel. It only makes news when Israel responds, which Hamas and Hezbollah have been more then happy to exploit for their own purposes. The Hamas modus operandi is to launch rockets into Israel to provoke an Israeli response and then whine to the international community about how mean Israel is to them. When the international community expresses sympathy for the plight of the Palestineans adn calls on Israel to restrain itself, it only encourages them to continue the cycle in an effort to build international opposition against Israel. A normal thinking person would naturally think that the international community couldn't possibly be so foolish as to fall for this game. Well, in today's black is white, white is black, up is down, down is up world, the international community has repeatedly shown itself to be even more foolish and gullible.

Your hypothetical plan is brilliant, except for the inconvenient fact that Hamas doesn't want South Texas, they want all of Israel. The only reason they would take South Texas is if they could use it as a staging ground to launch attacks against the United States as leverage to get Israel. It's as if the comprehension neurons in your brain aren't firing properly (just a joke, sort of).

This is worth reading:
The point is, Hamas doesn't want any ol' country. They want Israel. You could offer them the moon and they would only take it if they could use it to destroy Israel. What about this is so hard to understand? What has Hamas ever said or done to make you think otherwise?
Israel knows that they can't eliminate Hezbollah or Hamas, but they can inflict so much pain that the threshold is raised for these groups to launch unprovoked indiscriminate attacks on Israel. Hezbollah and Hamas are going to think long and hard before they so blatantly attack Israel again. They'll still be at war with Israel, particularly with respect to getting the international community to oppose Israel, but the game won't be as easy as it has been over the last several years.
You comments are all just a rehash of exactly the same old thing we've seen for decades.

Why are you so wishy washy about it?

Its pathetic.

On the one hand you say, Israel will bomb like this and that'll teach 'em, as if this kind of bombing and destruction has not been almost continuous for as long as most of us have been alive.

What do you think is different now that is going to change anything.

Quit being so weak about it and try being a little more direct:

The simple fact is that the Palestinians MUST be removed from the West Bank and Gaza, and Isreal MUSt take ownership of those territories.

What are you prepared to do to make that happen?

All of you one-sided blaming of Arabs does nothing to promote a real solution; it just continues the same old obfuscation we've seen over and over again.

The Israelis do not want the Palestinians on that land. They have pushed them into a smaller and smaller area since 1948, and the program will be unfinished until the Palestinians are sent elsewhere, completely.

Why is that hard to understand? And what purpose does it serve to continue to pretend that that is not in fact what has been happening for decades and and what will continue to happen.

Why not just be upfront about it, and make it happen? Stop piddling around weakly and finish the job.
"The simple fact is that the Palestinians MUST be removed from the West Bank and Gaza, and Isreal MUSt take ownership of those territories."

That may indeed be necessary. If Israel is unable to contain Hamas, then they may have to take back the territory. Although, I think they would prefer to have a real international force do the job. Israel has tried and tried to find a solution that provides for a Palestinean state, but that hasn't gotten them anywhere and the Palestineans have shown no ability to govern themselves. At this point, it's no longer about giving the Palestineans a state. It's about containing Hamas and limiting their ability to wage war against Israel. In the end, the Palestinean people will suffer the most, but that's the fate they've chosen. At any time, they can choose to join the rest of civilization and start living in peace with its Israeli neighbor. Until then, they will continue to suffer.
Your last post is total fantasy; nonsense.

Let's strip away all the falsehoods and get back to the point:

The Palestinians must leave (go somewhere else), and Israel must own the West Bank and Gaza.

Everything else you say is pure one-sided propaganda and it is so totally divorced from reality it's comical. It is also counterproductive; unless your real aim is simply continuous never-ending warfare.

I really do not know why people who support Israel feel that they need to do so wrapped up in a self-righteous blanket of never-ending finger pointing and ridicule of Palestinians ("the Palestinians are incapable of governing themselves . . .).

The Palestinians have been brutalized for 60 years, continuously. Try reading any article or documentary evidence that describes what life has been like for Palestinians for the last 60 years.

Supporters of Israel who make your arguments actually undercut the effectiveness of Israel.

Clear-headed honesty about the history of the modern state of Israel and its requirement for control of these territories and the need for removal of all Palestinian people from the territories will lead to a resolution, if the United States steps up and provides a place for the Palestinians to go when they are forced to leave.

All of these other arguments you make only produce the outcomes we've all already seen and known for too long: a slow and continuous brutality with no apparent end.
What is it about "the Palestineans do not want a different country-- they want Israel" that you don't understand? It's not about giving them their own country (in the U.S. or anywhere else), unless that country is ISRAEL. We could give them beautiful Puerto Rico, BUT THEY DON'T WANT PUERTO RICO. THEY WANT ISRAEL! Their only interest in any alternative is how they can use that alternative to get Israel.
What I am saying is this:

Who cares what they want.

They'll get what they get. Once we force them to take what we give them, then they will have what we have given them.
Isreal is not friend. They have been caught spying on the USA many times. I was in the US Air Force when Israel purposely attacked the US ELINT ship liberty with aircraft, boats and copters. The US should be neutral in Israely conflicts. We should give no aid to Israel and sell weapons to all of the factions in the battle so that our arms companies can make more money. I think the only reason we get involved with Israel is because the religious extremists in the US believe the end of the world will involve that area first.
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