Saturday, February 09, 2008

"No Doubt"

An old book I've had sitting around for a long time but only recently gotten to is Commandant of Auschwitz, the autobiography of Rudolf Hoess, who ran the death camp from 1940-1943. He wrote the book while in prison in 1947, a few months before he was executed.

I found one part to be a particularly harrowing reminder of the nature of fanaticism and evil. It's also a reminder of what in large measure (and justifiably, of course) motivates Israel today:

In the spring of 1942 the first transports of Jews, all earmarked for extermination, arrived from Upper Silesia.

They were taken from the detraining platform to the "cottage" -- to bunker I -- across the meadows where later building site II was located. The transport was conducted by Aumeier and Palitzsch and some of the block leaders. They talked with the Jews about general topics, inquiring concerning their qualifications and trades, with a view to misleading them. On arrival at the "cottage," they were told to undress. At first they went calmly into the rooms where they were supposed to be disinfected. But some of them showed signs of alarm, and spoke of death by suffocation and of annihilation. A sort of panic set in at once. Immediately all the Jews still outside were pushed into the chambers, and the doors were screwed shut. With subsequent transports the difficult individuals were picked out early and most carefully supervised. At the first signs of unrest, those responsible were unobtrusively led behind the building and killed with a small-caliber gun, that was inaudible to the others. The presence and calm behavior of the Special Detachment served to reassure those who were worried or who suspected what was about to happen. A further calming effect was obtained by members of the Special Detachment accompanying them into the rooms and remaining with them until the last moment, while an SS man also stood in the doorway until the end.

It was most important that the whole business of arriving and undressing should take place in an atmosphere of the greatest possible calm. People reluctant to take off their clothes had to be helped by those of their companions who had already undressed, or by men of the Special Detachment.

The refractory ones were calmed down and encouraged to undress. The prisoners of the Special Detachment also saw to it that the process of undressing was carried out quickly, so that the victims would have little time to wonder what was happening.

The eager help given by the Special Detachment in encouraging them to undress and in conducting them into the gas chambers was most remarkable. I have never known, nor heard, of any of its members giving these people who were about to be gassed the slightest hint of what lay ahead of them. On the contrary, they did everything in their power to deceive them and particularly to pacify the suspicious ones. Though they might refuse to believe the SS men, they had complete faith in these members of their own race, and to reassure them and keep them calm the Special Detachments therefore always consisted of Jews who themselves came from the same districts as did the people on whom a particular action was to be carried out.

They would talk about life in the camp, and most of them asked for news of friends or relations who had arrived in earlier transports. It was interesting to hear the lies that the Special Detachment told them with such conviction, and to see the emphatic gestures with which they underlined them.

Many of the women hid their babies among the piles of clothing. The men of the Special Detachment were particularly on the lookout for this, and would speak words of encouragement to the woman until they had persuaded her to take the child with her. The women believed that the disinfectant might be bad for their smaller children, hence their efforts to conceal them.

The smaller children usually cried because of the strangeness of being undressed in this fashion, but when their mothers or members of the Special Detachment comforted them, they became calm and entered the gas chambers, playing or joking with one another and carrying their toys.

I noticed that women who either guessed or knew what awaited them nevertheless found the courage to joke with the children to encourage them, despite the mortal terror visible in their own eyes.

One woman approached me as she walked past and, pointing to her four children who were manfully helping the smallest ones over the rough ground, whispered:

"How can you bring yourself to kill such beautiful, darling children? Have you no heart at all?"

One old man, as he passed by me, hissed:

"Germany will pay a heavy penance for this mass murder of the Jews."

His eyes glowed with hatred as he said this. Nevertheless he walked calmly into the gas chamber, without worrying about the others.

One young woman caught my attention particularly as she ran busily hither and thither, helping the smallest children and the old women to undress. During the selection she had had two small children with her, and her agitated behavior and appearance had brought her to my notice at once. She did not look in the least like a Jewess. Now her children were no longer with her. She waited until the end, helping the women who were not undressed and who had several children with them, encouraging them and calming the children. She went with the very last ones into the gas chamber. Standing in the doorway, she said:

"I knew all the time that we were being brought to Auschwitz to be gassed. When the selection took place I avoided being put with the able-bodied ones, as I wished to look after the children. I wanted to go through it all, fully conscious of what was happening. I hope that it will be quick. Goodbye!"

From time to time women would suddenly give the most terrible shrieks while undressing, or tear their hair, or scream like maniacs. These were immediately led away behind the building and shot in the back of the neck with a small-caliber weapon.

It sometimes happened that, as the men of the Special Detachment left the gas chamber, the women would suddenly realize what was happening, and would call down every imaginable curse upon our heads.

I remember, too, a woman who tried to throw her children out of the gas chamber, just as the door was closing. Weeping, she called out:

"At least let my precious children live." ...

All these experiences and incidents which I have described could be multiplied many times over. They are excerpts only, taken from the whole vast business of the extermination, sidelights as it were. ...

There was no doubt in the mind of any of us that Hitler's order had to be obeyed regardless, and that it was the duty of the SS to carry it out.


Anonymous elfranko said...

one conclusion one can reach from this is that *if* there is a god, he/she/it doesn't give a shit.

2/09/2008 12:45 PM  
Anonymous NeilS said...

The Germans did pay a price. Ilived there in 1971 and there was still conflict between those that thought Hitler was good (not many thought so fortunately) and those that knew he was evil.

But more importantly, you could tell that they were still fighting that battle within their souls on how to deal with their collective guilt.

I think that even today they are somewhat chastened by their past.

2/09/2008 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Germany is fairly unique among nations in the degree with which they have tried to come to terms with their darkest moment


“Where in the world has one ever seen a nation that erects memorials to immortalize its own shame?” asked Avi Primor, the former Israeli ambassador to Germany, at an event in Erfurt on Friday commemorating the Holocaust and the liberation of Auschwitz. “Only the Germans had the bravery and the humility.”

2/09/2008 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not know about the Special Detachment before.

2/09/2008 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

some thoughts - firstly, though i occasionally drop by to read as i genuinely do enjoy your blog, this quote struck me as not consistent

"a reminder of what in large measure (*and justifiably*??, of course) motivates Israel today"

how is it that Israel today is "motivated" by such remembrances when clearly the power relationships are reversed when dealing with the Palestinians? why is such a *large majority* (not all lest i be branded) of Jews unable to see that in today's dynamic Israel is carrying out an extermination of a population not by gas chambers but by systematic policies leading to approx 10X murder rate for every Israeli murdered by a Palestinian

more followers of the Jewish faith in positions of influence need to be outspoken about this

secondly, if i was Jewish i would want the likes of the Special Detachment people reviled equally if not much more than the SS

thirdly, accepting that the Palestinians have been historically made to pay for Christian Europe's sins, why can't Israeli's learn o live with them without subjugating them? anyone (the world) who's aware of the realities knows that it IS an apartheid state and yet the false mantra of "the only democracy" living in a "dangerous neighborhood" has been repeated so many times it has become known as truth

i would hope that you publish this

2/09/2008 5:26 PM  
Blogger DrDave said...


I will answer your questions the best I can, as an American Jew who has been to Israel.

Israel was borne out of the need for Jews to have a place in the world where we can go and never have to fear being put on railroad cars, taken to an Auschwitz and exterminated. It was borne out of a flawed process when the European community felt they needed to do something for the Jews who had survived the Holocaust but it was done in a lukewarm fashion.

Jews started emigrating to Palestine in the late 19th century as the Zionist movement was born. They moved to lands bought by wealthy European and American Jews (the Rotheschilds, the Strauss family and many others); hence the notion that the Jews "stole" the lands of the Arabs who lived on them is not true. Much of the land that is now Israel was legally bought and paid for from the Arab landowners who sold it.

All that said, most Israelis would love to live in peace alongside a friendly Palestinian state. But as in all societies, there are others in Israel who believe that the Jewish state must include the lands of Biblical Judea and Samaria--what is now the West Bank. And these factions of Israeli society are among those who build settlements outside the Green Line (the 1967 border). That said, if the Palestinians would bargain in good faith--land for peace--they could have back 98% of the West Bank, all of Gaza and a relationship with a neighbor--Israel--who would help them build a viable state.

But the Palestinians have never, in my opinion, bargained in good faith because just as Israel has its citizens who want all the land, so do the Palestinians. And unfortunately, these are the people who have been the Palestinians' political leaders.

You need to understand. Jews in Israel believe that they are entitled to a country that is their own. (I share this belief.) And if this state fails, they have no place else to go. Is it perfect? No. But they try.

Until the Palestinians accept this fact and decide that having a country of their own, that they can be proud of, is more important than being Israel's victims, there will be no peace. But the ability to have peace lies 100% with the Palestinians. By this I mean that if the Palestinians were committed to a real peace process, working out the details would be the easy part. Because the Israelis are every bit as sick and tired of the conflict as the Palestinians are.

If you are really interested in this, read Daniel Gordis. He is an American Rabbi and scholar who moved from LA to Israel about 10 years ago with his family. He does as good a job as anyone in discussion the moral crisis the Israelis deal with in their relationship with their Arab neighbors. His books are available at Amazon and probably your local library.

2/09/2008 8:43 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

"Jews in Israel believe that they are entitled to a country that is their own."

But why THAT country, with THOSE particular borders? Why THOSE lands? There is no real argument except for religious tradition, which carries no truck with me.

It is a lamentable fact that not every people get to have their own country. There just isn't enough land for that.

2/09/2008 9:57 PM  
Blogger DrDave said...

It's a fact that the European nations somewhat haphazardly carved up the Middle East and created, not only Israel, but also Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Iran.

That Palestine became Israel was a result of Biblical tradition plus the fact that tens of thousands of Zionist Jews started moving there in the late 19th Century to build their own country out of the desert on land they bought from the indigenous Arabs. And after the Holocaust, because there was a larger desire by European Jews to have their own state, Palestine was the natural place for it to be.

But to ask you a question, in the context of what existed in Palestine in 1946, "Why not that land? Why not those particular borders?"

And to go further, after the 1967 war, why didn't Jordan take the West Bank (and its citizens) back? Why didn't Egypt take Gaza (and its citizens) back?

2/09/2008 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


"the notion that the Jews "stole" the lands of the Arabs who lived on them is not true"

if i was naive i would be dumbstruck by such a statement

to have such a position and given your argument it is clear to me that you see things completely at odds with the world community not just Palestinians and in all candor i would not have much faith that i can help you see otherwise (that the world view is more in touch with reality than the view you have presented) - you are entitled to believe in whatever you wish but the question becomes how in touch with others' perception is one's own view -- the notion that the Palestinians are not honest brokers is another ever present mantra that defies reality as many Israeli peace advocates would attest

i was really interested in CR's take

i - as an Arab muslim - have my own views and i would hope that they are as close to reality as possible -- i pray that i am given the ability to see things as they are rather than as i wish them to be -- only then can we approach understanding of the world we live in


2/10/2008 1:05 PM  
Blogger DrDave said...

Arafat was an honest broker?

Abbas has the power/desire to broker a peace agreement?

Hamas is willing--under any circumstances--to live side by side in peace with Israel?


Please explain.

2/11/2008 12:16 AM  
Anonymous George said...

Drdave, how about you explain how it is that the Jews didn't steal land from the Palestinians, then maybe the anonymous Muslim can address your questions about Arafat, Abbas, and Hamas.

2/11/2008 2:51 AM  
Blogger DrDave said...

I thought I did.

1. A substantial part of what is now Israel was bought and paid for by wealthy Zionists beginning in the late 19th century.

2. Under the terms of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the land that became Israel was partitioned out of what was formerly the Ottoman Empire. The Arabs signed on to it after what became Jordan was removed from what was to become the State of Israel.

3. By 1947, the Arabs had decided that what they had agreed to decades earlier was no longer acceptable but Israel was recognized by the international community with borders more or less as defined by the 1917 agreement.

It should be noted (as part of the right to return controversy) that Arabs who remained within Israel when the fight for independence ensued (because once the international community officially recognized Israel, all its Arab neighbors declared war on the new state) were granted citizenship and kept their homes. Those who fled lost what they left behind.

Further, these Israeli Arabs have a vote in elections and are represented in the Israeli government. They are clearly more comfortable living within a Jewish state than they would be emigrating to one of its Arab neighbors.

Israel has offered, time and again, financial compensation in exchange for Arab abandonment of the right of return as a condition for reaching a peace agreement. Not surprisingly, this has never been accepted.

Now, maybe my questions can be answered.

2/11/2008 7:01 AM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...


I don't agree with your point of view at all. Especially the financial compensation statement. You are saying that the Jews paid for the majority of their land. And then in the next breath you say the jews offered the Palestinians land in exchange for the right of return. A bit of intellectual dishonesty there. If they didn't drive Palestinians off their land what exactly do they have to pay compensation for? How did all these Arabs get displaced again? I don't agree that Israel has been commited to a realistic peace process. As in any situation power plays the decisive role. The Israelis have all the power and the Palestinians have none. They have the military and financial power and they are the ones who decide on whether or not there is peace. They can invade Palestinian neighborhoods, set up road blocks, shut down borders, deny food and medicine, etc. Anytime they want to. The Israelis are in charge. If the Israelis wanted peace they could have it. America, Egypt, and Jordan could all take control of the West bank and Gaza borders and limit (although probably not completely eliminate) the amount of terrorist attacks. The attacks would decline over time as Palestinians got back on their feet being allowed to establish a real economy. The truth is Israel doesn't want piece. They won't except foreign troops on Palestinian lands because they don't want to give up control. They feel they have the upper hand and will only make a peace deal that breaks up the West Bank in a manner they will allow them to still control roads, water, and access. That is why Arafat rejected the deal.
Michael Desch criticizing Ross's book about the myth's Israelis and Americans have used to justify their treatment of the Palestinians. During this time of negotiation deaths by both sides were at an all time low at a time when the Palestinians were policing themselves. The hardliners did nothing but talk about how the Palestinians were just using the time to rearm themselves to kill Israelis later. This is the classic Paranoid Truculent Male syndrome talked about in a blog a bit earlier. When the Palestinians are peaceful they are just plotting to kill Israelis they deserve punishment...when suicide bombings are on the rise...the Palestinians are crazed fanatical killers who deserve harsh punishment...You see...there is no peace with Israel. No matter what is happening on the ground. The first thing that happened after Sharon came to power was he sent the Army in to blow up all the PAs police stations. Then surprise...suprice...violence got of hand and even when the PA wanted to stop it...they couldn't.

From Desch's review

But this account is badly flawed. First and perhaps most important, it is not correct to say that Israel accepted the Clinton parameters while the Palestinians rejected them. The Israeli cabinet voted to accept Clinton’s ideas (which were not a final agreement but rather a set of guidelines within which a final settlement would be reached), but Prime Minister Ehud Barak then sent Clinton a 20-page letter outlining Israel’s objections. Similarly, the Palestinian leadership also sent Clinton a detailed letter thanking him for his efforts and relating their own reservations. Both sides made clear that they wanted to continue to negotiate within that framework, but both also registered concerns. The claim that Israel accepted these terms while Arafat rejected them is a myth.

This leads to a second problem with Ross’s version. The period he covers ends in December 2000 with the alleged Palestinian rejection of the Clinton proposal and Ross’s departure from government in early January of the next year. But the story of the peace process does not end there. Most other analysts mark the peace effort’s demise after the Israeli-Palestinian meeting at Taba, Egypt in January 2001. This makes a difference, since it was the Israelis who walked away from the progress made at Taba in anticipation of Ariel Sharon’s defeat of Ehud Barak. The question of who deserves the most blame for the failure to achieve peace assumes a much different cast when we get what Paul Harvey calls “the rest of the story,” which Ross fails to provide.

Few Americans realize that there is a more credible account out there that puts the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a different light. Ironically, this alternative story is better known in parts of Israel and Palestine than it is here. Our understanding of the roots of Zionism and the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict would profit greatly from a careful reading of Israel’s “New Historians,” such as Avi Shlaim and Benny Morris, who show clearly that the early Zionists were not interested in a bi-national state, were well aware that continued Jewish immigration would lead to conflict with the Arab inhabitants, and were willing to use very harsh methods to win that struggle.

2/11/2008 1:14 PM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

I meant compensation for the right of return.

2/11/2008 1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


i thank you for your post -- i had no intention of helping drdave revise his stance/ world-view by providing the abundant evidence that he apparently is unable to see -- its just too futile an effort imho

speaking for myself only as an Arab muslim, i simply grow tired from talking till i turn blue in trying to "convince" ppl like drdave who hold such a view -- i try and seek sincere peace loving ppl of all backgrounds and beliefs to join together in doing good works and ending the evil that's inflicted on the innocent (of any group) and by educating the the disinformed American public


2/11/2008 2:16 PM  
Blogger DrDave said...


I didn't say that the Jews paid for the majority of the land, I said that they paid for a substantial (ie. significant) portion of it.

Second, I didn't say that Israel offered the Palestinians land as compensation for the right of return (did you read what I wrote???), I said that they have offered financial compensation in exchange for foregoing the right of return.

When Israel gave back the vast majority of the land captured during the 1967 war, they offered Gaza back to Egypt and control of the West Bank back to Jordan. Guess what? Egypt and Jordan wanted no part of it.


You make overtures about your peace-loving nature and my misinterpretation of historical fact. And yet you refuse to answer 3 simple questions. Why is that? The first step toward reconciliation of any people in disagreement is to engage in a discussion of perceived facts. If I am wrong, explain how Arafat was an honest broker for peace. And how Abbas can broker peace. And the terms under which Hamas will live peacefully as a neighbor to Israel, a country it refuses to recognize and to whose destruction it is pledged.

The ball is in your court. Put up or shut up.

2/11/2008 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Put up or shut up"

it's unfortunate that you decide to engage net thuggery -- i see no need to expend energy gathering the abundant data points needed for the sake of appeasing/ convincing you (not because they are not there but bec you and those having your mindset/ world-view would never choose to "see" them)

goldhorder i think did a fine job with his/her post without being fixated on your "questions"

despite everything, the ball is always in the court of those who seek truth -- for those in Israel who are not in the peace camp, no Palestinian is ever good enough to "talk with" -- as if there was ever a desire to do so on their part

please try to maintain a level of politeness to all even if you do not know them or agree with them

peace still (despite your thuggery)

2/11/2008 5:09 PM  
Blogger DrDave said...


I think your general unwillingness to engage in dialog is most telling.

You "have no intention" in enlightening me as to the "real" situation in the world despite "the abundance of evidence" that supports your case?

Enjoy your peaceful life, my passive-aggressive friend.

2/11/2008 6:32 PM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

Why is it Egypt and Jordan's responsibility to take care of the Palestinians? It is not their government's responsibility. Jordan has struggled taking in the refugees they already have. I suspect their governments are also a bit cynical about it to. They would rather use the Palestinians as pawns to keep the arab population angry at Israel...Anger at Israel serves the Egyptian goverment well because it takes the focus off their domestic shortcommings. Anyways you can't pass the buck...the Palestinian people have no say over what the Egytian and Jordan government's do. The US, Egypt, and Jordan could probably broker some sort of border guarding agreement if Israel would allow it. Israel won't allow it...because like I said...they are more interested in power and control than anything else. I mistyped in my first paragraph...I meant Israel would compensate the Palestinians in exchange for them giving up their right of return. really didn't answer anything I had to say in my post. That has always been a rather vague proposal also...and it would probably wind up coming from American Taxpayers anyways.

2/11/2008 6:59 PM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

Look at what Israel did in the Gaza strip DrDave. When that wall was blasted out it reminded me of the toppling of the Berlin wall. This is what Israel is doing to people today. Real live human That is why your questions are stupid and pointless. There is a million people in Gaza. They are nameless faces to you...but I assure you they are real people. You can't do those kinds of things to people and expect peace. If Israel wanted to broker a fair peace they could withdrawal to the 1967 borders and be done with it...hell they could probably keep much of the west bank they have annexed as long as the Palestinian portions didn't wind up cut into a bunch of mini Gaza's with borders controlled by Israel. the why Arafat rejected the peace deal. You are not acklowledging who is in control here. Who is powerful and who is not. Basically your point of view is crazy. You are honestly justifying Israel's treatment of the Palestinians from the Balfour Declaration. That in and of itself is ridiculous! Do you really think the Arab peoples had fair representation at that time? Laughable

2/11/2008 7:14 PM  
Blogger DrDave said...


When Israel moved the settlers out of Gaza, they left behind the infrastructure for viable agribusiness: Greenhouses, irrigation systems, etc. What happened to those facilities?

The only thing produced in Gaza are Kassam rockets to rain down on Sderot and Ashkelon.

The issue for Israel is one of survival. If they lose, they lose their country. There are no neighbors to move to as refugees, there is no place else to go.

There is a saying in Israel: If the Arabs put down their guns, there would be peace; if the Israelis put down their guns, there would be no Israel.

I am NOT saying that Israel is always right in the heavy handed tactics she sometimes uses and Sharon's "look the other way" policy that allowed settlers to encroach on West Bank lands was abhorrent. What I am trying to say is that the Israelis have much more to lose in terms of the desperation of their situation and that there has never been an honest effort from the other side to negotiate a fair settlement.

(I asked our anonymous arab-muslim poster to answer 3 simple questions but he apparently felt that passive aggressive blather was a more appropriate response. Perhaps that attitude is why peace has never been negotiated.)

2/11/2008 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And some more food for thought - Infrequently Asked Questions

2/11/2008 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kind of a nice summary of world events here, wwi, wwii, germany, bosnia, serbia, iraq, terrorism, communism, fascism etc...

Why do we always let the extremists win, and get what they want --- war? How did 300 million allow a gang in the Bush administration lie us into a war? And why are we in Iraq? Can't it be done differently today? Israel/Palestine both sides are wrong and right. Get over it already, and fix it. Or, is someone already getting what they want (i.e., divide and conquer shall we say - someone's power is in the fighting). Oprah says, when we know better we do better (which should be commonsesense), so why do we keep repeating ourselves, and the majority of the population just let it happen. Our Democracy - cough, cough - didn't help, our media didn't help, watchdog organizations didn't help, public servants didn't help, respected pillars of the National community didn't help. I am unease for the soul of our Nation because we have been played as fools mostly likely by the Republican/Neocon party. And like so many historical events, the majority of people some mislead, some naive, some looking for a "cause", let it happen. Never again on our watch. Well it did. We let it happen. An environment destroyed. Someone else's life just reduced to collateral damage. Exactly who gained what, and for how much?

2/11/2008 11:39 PM  
Blogger CMike said...

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that regardless of any reasoned case anyone will ever make or any legal decision any legal authority will ever hand down:

1) Israel will never withdraw from its pre-1967 borders, except for minor adjustments, unless forced to by defeat in war

2) Israel will never allow Jerusalem to be a city closed to settlement by Jews unless forced to by defeat in war

3) Israel will never allow a substantial number of those Arabs, who claim they have the right, to return to lands within the pre-1967 Israeli borders unless forced to by defeat in war.

Given these as non-negotiable terms, are there any terms and conditions that the Palestinians would accept to resolve their all their grievances with Israel?

If the answer is yes, what are those terms and conditions?

If the answer is no, further discussion is useless. Both sides must continuously prepare for violence and war.

2/12/2008 3:09 AM  
Blogger DrDave said...


Excellent distillation of Israel's position.

Obviously, to this point, the answer has been "no."

2/12/2008 6:48 AM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

Cmike makes a good point, if he would have bothered reading the link I posted earlier his question would have been answered...I don't agree with you drdave. You are wrong. Arafat would have agreed to allow Israel some of their settlements in the West Bank as long as those settlements didn't break up the West bank into pieces. Meaning that Israeli roads and settlement areas would cut off the Palestinians portions all the way to Jordan. So rather than one West bank...there would be say 4 West banks and a Gaza strip...with access controlled between all territories by Israel. That is why Arafat and Barak failed to reach an agreement. Since Arafat would not give in to Clinton and Barak's demands he was made the scape goat. Read the American Conservative link I posted earlier. It is all excellent review of Ross's books. Dennis Ross does the dirty work in his book blaming Arafat. drdave has made no agruments against what I posted or what was in the link I've noted. Am I factually wrong drdave? Did your read the review?

You do not recognize the power imbalance here. Israel is the most powerful military in the middle east. Isrealies suffering pales in comparison to that of the Palestinians. You don't see them as human. It is quite frankly ugly. IMHO.

I know my Irish history. I know who Michael Collins was and he did some bad things. Bombings, Killings, etc. the Irish fought British rule for 800 years. British propaganda was identical to Israeli propaganda. The Irish are barbarians, they can't be reasoned with, the only thing they understand is force, ad nausem. What happened...they negotiated with collins and 80 years of peace followed. But you "can't negotiate with terrorists" right" LOL. Northern Ireland...once again the Irish were crazed terroritsts, bararians, etc. Can't negotiate with terrorists! Admams, Blair, Trimble got the ball rolling...Ian Paisley and Martin Mcguinness finally finished it off. When was the last bomb that went off in Northern Ireland? I can't even remember. It is peolpe like you (suffering from the PTM syndrome talked about earlier) that causes these conflicts to continue. You blame violence from the Palestinians on Palestinians but you had no reply to my other point. The PA was keeping the peace...with aid, guns, and training(from the west) they had built up a capable police force to keep down the violence. The first thing Sharon did when the peace talks broke down was blow up all the police stations. You want them to keep the peace but you don't want them to have a police force!!! You are all intellect. When you talk about Israel it is all coming from the reptilian part of your brain. You think I am bashing Israel...I am not. I wish that the Israeli government would allow peace to break out. They could if they wanted to. Political leaders fear giving up control. They know how the hardliners will attack them if they try. So nobody tries. The English/Irish conflict only came to a conclusion when England was willing to relinquish control. They had all the power...they had the power the whole time. They had the guns, helicopters, dogs, APCs, etc. Sure an Irish terrorist got lucky sometimes but the Irish suffered far more than the British. For 800 years the British argued if these people who just settle down and do what we tell them...then their will be peace. Sorry it doesn't happen like that. Sometimes the powerful just have to relinquish control. That is the only way forward. All seemingly unresolvable conflicts are like this...the American experience in vietnam has some similiarities. We lost 50,000...they lost 2 million. And what for? They make Nike tennins shoes now. But we have to fight them over there....or we will all go communist! Whatever. Believe what you want...but you are only fooling yourself. All men are sinners...Arab, Jew, Christian, etc. It is always the powerful who prolong the is a little thing to them to keep the conflicts going.

2/12/2008 5:57 PM  
Blogger DrDave said...


Cmike raised the 3 salient issues that are non-negotiable to the Israelis:

1. Borders approximating the green line

2. No right of return

3. Open Jerusalem

These conditions have been put on the table multiple times by the Israelis. The Palestinians have never made a counter-offer. (It was always easier for Arafat to hem and haw and then embezzle tens of millions of aid dollars to European bank accounts than to actually begin the hard work of building a country.) So if you were a Palestinian negotiator, what would you want in exchange for acceptance of these 3 stipulations?

You don't know how I feel about Israel or the Palestinians and you certainly don't know me on the basis of a few short blog posts here. I understand that this is a complicated, emotional issue. I also understand that Israel holds the upper hand because of the hard work of Israelis who turned desert and malarial swamp into a viable, industrialized nation that exports technology and agricultural products all over the world.

Yes, Israel has received substantial military aid from the US but her Arab neighbors were armed for years by the Soviets and Iran continues to fund Hamas and Hezbollah so this is not exactly a one-sided game, is it?

I can assure you that Israel would prefer not to have to waste resources defending herself from the threat of Palestinian terrorism; they would prefer to be neighbors with a viable Palestinian state that was committed to building something, anything, rather than to just blowing things up. But think about the greenhouses the Israelis left in Gaza and how much fruit has grown in them since the Israeli settlers left.

This is not like the British and the Irish; Israel does not want a Palestinian state as a commonwealth of their empire. They just don't want suicide bombers blowing up restaurants on King David Street or buses in Tel Aviv. They don't want to live with Kassam rockets raining down on their towns. They want safety and security on their streets and in their homes.

At what point do the Palestinians decide that they want to build something for their future rather than futilely trying to regain the past?

2/12/2008 6:47 PM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

You didn't read the review. Arafat was willing to compromise on one and two for sure. As long as the Palestinians could have as their capital...and police East Jerusalem...something could have been worked out. The Israeli government was not willing to except borders approximating the green line. That is the myth that turned Arafat into the fall guy. You are wrong again. Israel wants to maintain control of the best land (water rights) in the West bank. It is indeed about power and control. All enduring conflicts are about power and control. They always have I said before the suffering of others are of no concern to the powerful and well fed...whether Israel or Palestinian civilians. I have no emotional investment in this conflict...except an interest in understanding human conflicts...Obviously you can't say the same.

2/13/2008 12:15 AM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

The Israeli political elite know that as long as they have the support of America they don't have to seek peace...they have the upper why give an inch. That is my honest take on the matter.

2/13/2008 12:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey,as far as i'm concerned Israel can steal all the land they want, i know we Americans did. As has every other nation on earth stolen land from others...

I just don't see why we (Americans) gotta pay for it. Let Israel do it on their own dime.

Oh, and yeah, no money to the Pals either.

I'm betting once the US stops interfering, they'll all figure out a way to make things work.

2/13/2008 2:17 PM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

I'm in total agreement anonymous. We build the power station in Gaza. Israel bombs it. We pay to fix it. Israel bombs it again. When the Israeli military occupied Gaza they would plow over the wells with US paid for Catepillar plows. The UN funded workers (mainly US tax dollars) would dig new wells...then the plows would come again...hilarious. As far as the Egyptian/Israeli peace Carter brokered, we have to give Egpyt a percentage of grant money that we give to Israel as part of the peace agreement. We have given Egypt and Israel billions over the years because of this peace agreement. It is beyond ridiculous. As I mentioned long as Uncle Sugar is supporting Israel why would Israel make peace?

2/13/2008 5:01 PM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

Publically our crazy politicians stir up hatred of Muslims and train us to worship Israel as practically another state. Behind the scenes our politicians continuously play both sides of the order to have "influence", or that's at least what they say when forced to acklowledge the doublespeak.

2/14/2008 12:49 PM  

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