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Re: Israel

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:07 pm
by Dr.Mellifluous
Sorry for so many posts in a row, but this article is way better about the specifics of Israel's use of the white phosphorous.

NYTimes wrote:JERUSALEM — Israel stepped up its 20-day-old offensive against the Islamic group Hamas on Thursday, shelling the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and other buildings in central Gaza. The strikes intensified condemnation of Israel, already heated because of the number of civilian deaths, and further strained fraught relations with the agency that provides aid Palestinian refugees.

The strike, which Israel said was in response to enemy fire, came even as Israeli officials indicated some progress in the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire talks. The Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, left for the United States late on Thursday, seeking an internationally guaranteed mechanism to stop arms smuggling into Gaza through Egypt.

But Israel tightened the military pressure on Hamas on Thursday, perhaps to push it closer to a cease-fire that would meet the Israeli aim of stopping Hamas rocket fire into Israel.

A senior Hamas leader, Said Siam, was killed along with his brother and his son when Israel bombed the house that they were in. Mr. Siam was the powerful interior minister of the Hamas-run government in Gaza and the overall chief of its security forces, a significant blow for Hamas days after Israel indicated that its military structure remained largely intact.

Hamas, meanwhile, fired off about 25 mortar shells and rockets, seriously wounding a 7-year-old Israeli boy in the city of Beersheba.

The strike against the United Nations headquarters wounded three people, destroying with three shells a warehouse full of hundreds of tons of food and medicine, said John Ging, director of United Nations operations in the area.

The incident, a week after some 40 people were reported killed when an Israeli mortar shell struck near a United Nations school, underscored the difficult relations between Israel and the United Nations that stretch back to Israel’s founding.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations, in Jerusalem to discuss possible cease-fire terms, expressed “strong protest and outrage” and demanded an investigation.

But Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, on Thursday justified the attack on the refugee agency headquarters, saying that Hamas militants had fired at Israeli forces from within the compound.

“Surely,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Mr. Olmert, the refugee agency “understands that Israel cannot give immunity to terrorists because they are working from within, or adjacent to, a United Nations compound.”

United Nations officials vehemently denied the allegations. Mr. Ging, as he often has during the war, denounced Israel in extended televised interviews and questioned why Israeli liaison officers had never mentioned Hamas activity in the area, even though he said they were in constant contact.

“They should tell us if there are militants operating in our compound or in our area,” he said. “The fact that they don’t, we take that as indicative of the fact that there wasn’t.”

Over many decades, Israel has questioned the neutrality of many of the organization’s branches and complained of institutional bias. While both sides have been making efforts in recent years to work more constructively together, Thursday’s incident served to pry open the divide.

Adding to the tensions, the United Nations General Assembly convened an emergency session on the Israeli offensive in Gaza with its president, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, accusing Israel of violating international law and using “disproportionate military force.”

Even though modern Israel came into existence months after a historic General Assembly voted in 1947 to partition Mandatory Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, the country’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, famously wrote off the United Nations in the 1950s, using its Hebrew acronym to dismiss it as “UM, shmum.”

Describing some of the abiding challenges, Israeli officials note that the same 21 anti-Israel resolutions are passed by an automatic majority in the General Assembly every year. “That is before we’ve done anything,” one official said.

When it comes to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, Israel is in a special bind. On one hand Israeli officials say they recognize the vital role of the organization that provides food and other assistance to hundreds of thousands of Gaza’s poor.

On the other hand, the agency is often accused by critics in Israel and beyond of perpetuating the Palestinian refugee problem, being the only United Nations branch dedicated to a specific refugee population whose numbers, according to the agency’s criteria, constantly grow.

The attack on the compound underscored mutual suspicions and inherent antipathy on both sides.

Christopher Gunness, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said that in a meeting with its representatives on Thursday, Israeli Army representatives “privately admitted” that the source of the militants’ fire was several hundred yards away from the compound.

“With every false allegation, the credibility of those accusing us is incrementally diminished,” Mr. Gunness said.

Citing agency representatives who were present during the attack, Mr. Gunness said three white phosphorus shells had hit the compound, causing fires that raged for hours, an allegation to which the Israeli military did not respond.

White phosphorus is a standard, legal weapon in armies, long used as a way to light up an area or to create a thick white smoke screen to obscure troop movements. While using it against civilians, or in an area where many civilians are likely to be affected, can be a violation of international law, Israel has denied using the substance improperly. On Wednesday, Hamas fired a phosphorus mortar shell into Israel, but no one was hurt.

In Israel, there is parallel outrage that the world is not vociferously protesting how Hamas uses civilians and civilian institutions in Gaza as a shield.

Yigal Palmor, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, went further, saying that most of the United Nations agency’s staff in Gaza were local Palestinians and alleging that a “large part are affiliated one way or another with Hamas.”

More than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli campaign so far, about 40 percent of them women and children, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health; Israel says only a quarter may be civilians. Three Israeli civilians have been killed in rocket attacks and 10 soldiers have died during the current campaign.

Witnesses said Thursday’s military push into Gaza City sent thousands of panicked residents fleeing from their homes.

Among other buildings hit in the center of the city was one occupied by several media organizations, witnesses said. Two Palestinian television camera operators were hospitalized.

As Israeli tanks took over the outlying neighborhood of Tel al-Hawa, a local hospital came under fire. In a statement on Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said that Al Quds Hospital, run by the Palestine Red Crescent Society, suffered at least one direct hit and that the second floor of the hospital caught fire.

Jakob Kellenberger, the president of the Red Cross, who had just completed a three-day visit to the area, said, “It is unacceptable that wounded people receiving treatment in hospitals are put at risk.”

The Israeli military did not give precise details of its latest ground operations in Gaza City on Thursday, but a spokesman said that “fierce fighting” was under way “relatively deep inside Gaza.”

The military escalation may have been aimed at stepping up pressure on Hamas as Egyptian-brokered cease-fire talks entered a pivotal stage.

A senior Israeli Defense Ministry official, Amos Gilad, returned from talks in Cairo on Thursday to report to the Israeli leadership.

Though Israel had yet to relay its official response to the latest proposals, Egyptian television reported that Israel had agreed in principle to a truce plan, pending some clarifications. Hamas is also demanding some clarifications, the group’s officials have said.

Mr. Regev, the Olmert spokesman, said Thursday that Israel was “trying to find a durable solution.”

“Hopefully,” he said, “that durable solution seems closer than ever before.”

Confirming the air raid that killed Said Siam, the Israeli military described him in a statement as “a zealous extremist who liaised directly with Hamas’s military wing and the terror organization’s senior leadership in Gaza and abroad.” It said that his brother, Iyad, was his “right-hand man.”

According to witnesses and hospital officials, four members of a family in a building next door to the Siams were also killed in the Israeli raid.

Iran Leader Assails Israel

TEHRAN — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran denounced the Israeli offensive in Gaza on Thursday, and he called on President-elect Barack Obama to take a different approach in American-Iranian relations.

“People in Gaza have won,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said in a news conference. “They fulfilled their duty in defending their dignity and honor.”

“This is the victory of humanity against barbarism,” he added.

Mr. Ahmadinejad also urged Mr. Obama to adopt a new policy toward Iran, saying that Iran did not appreciate what he characterized as the carrot-and-stick approach followed by the Bush administration. “I don’t consider the policy of carrot-and-stick respectful,” he said. “People welcome policies that are based on respect and friendship.”

Still deplorable, and reminds me of something I hadn't considered before. I'm no economist, but after a certain point doesn't generalized aid become actually detrimental to the creation of a functioning and stable economy? This isn't to say that the Palestinian people don't deserve aid or that the UN shouldn't be giving it to them, but are they receiving the right sort of aid? Iran claims to have sent a ship with meds and food and whatnot that was stopped in the Israeli blockade, but they also didn't bother to clear it with anyone before sending the ship. So yeah, just curious. And I wonder how much white phosphorous Hamas has access to.

Re: Israel

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:46 am
by reddwhite
ok i was wrong i do have somthing else to say in this post. i was in the u.s. military for 7 years and gues what my job was. ya i was in the artillery which makes me kind of an expert on this. my job title was 13-Echo cannon fire direction control specialist one of the hardest jobs in the military. i was the brains that aimed the artillery. i know all about white phosphorous ( willy pete). it is against the gineava convention to air burst wp above 60 meters in the atmosphere because of how horrible it is. i can honestly say from xp that wp is not to be fucked with it is just nasty. you cant put it out you have to dig it out with a knife or somthing metal. it uses the O2 in water to fuel it and the O2 in your blood. it doesnt care. if they were using it in air bursts over gaza there would be mass( and by mass i mean alot more then 1k dead) casualties. it is one of the most horrible ways to die that we have. it looks like white smoke but when you run into it you will go up like a roman candle( seriously) . now having said that i am not positive either way if isreal even sighned the convention or not but that is irrelevant. i trained at fort sill oklahoma with the isrealis and they know full well what it is capable of.

also having said all that i would like to point out that the fact that they are more then likely using 198s or 155mm howitzers to shoot their artillery rounds into gaza that they could litterally flatten the entire place in no time flat if they were in fact trying to inflict mass casualties or genocide as kaz says. 1 155mm round weights in at roughly 100 lbs around 70 of which is military grade high explosive sending 30lbs of shrapnel in all directions for a 100 meter area. basically in a 100 meter area around 1 round every thing dies. the only time artillery shoots 1 round is to aim in on a target. then they call for what is called ie or in effect. which is when the 13-foxtrot or 13-f sees that you are on target. in which case you are going to get alot more then 1 round in a 1k by 1k grid square. depending on the mission and target.having said that i am absolutely sure that if isreal wanted to they could kill every single person in gaza in les then 1 hour with wp air bursts if that was their acctual goal. since paladins can land mulitple rounds on one target at the same time from one cannon. we are talking about at battalion strength like 36 rounds or somthing at 1 time on 1 target . and then they start shooting others. u get the idea.

so the way i see it isreal could have long ago wiped them off the map if that was their goal. since there are still palastinians living in gaza i guess that means they arent out for genocide since it is real easy to do with little effort from the artillery alone that they have.

if there are any questions about artillery the king of battle then feal free to ask me i am more then willing to answer them.

Re: Israel

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:38 am
by GraveI all american soldiers communicate that well?

I'm beginning to see what the friendly fire issue is all about.

Re: Israel

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:43 am
by Zeuter
I'm kind of disturbed that they let people like that near such dangerous objects.

Re: Israel

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:24 pm
by KStolen
My paladin can land multiple hammers on multiple targets at the same time..

Re: Israel

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:37 pm
by Dr.Mellifluous
I just tend to doubt that he knows what he's talking about, and skip the post.

NY Times wrote:ERUSALEM — Israel’s security cabinet is expected to meet Saturday night to declare a cease-fire in Gaza and will keep its forces there in the short term while the next stage of an agreement with Egypt is worked out.

“It looks as if all the pieces of the puzzle are coming together,” Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said Friday. “There will be discussions tomorrow morning, and it looks like a cabinet meeting will take place tomorrow night. Everyone is very upbeat.”

The most promising element for bringing the three-week conflict to a close occurred in Washington on Friday, where Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of Israel signed an understanding on a range of steps the United States would take to stem the flow of new arms to Hamas from the Egyptian Sinai, mostly via tunnels.

The agreement came on the last business day of the Bush administration and set the stage for the Obama administration to play a more active role in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. President-elect Barack Obama and Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton signed off on the plan, the State Department said.

Whether Hamas will comply with the terms of parallel talks with Egypt was unclear. At a meeting organized by Qatar, a top exiled Hamas leader rejected Israeli terms for a cease-fire and called for increased resistance.

“Israel will not be able to destroy our resistance, and the United States will not be able to dictate us their rules,” the leader, Khaled Meshal, said in defiant remarks broadcast worldwide. “Arab countries should help Hamas to fight against the death of civilian Palestinians.”

But the Gaza branch of Hamas, squabbling with exiles out of the line of Israeli fire, seems to have agreed to much of Egypt’s cease-fire proposal.

Fighting in Gaza continued Friday, despite the apparent progress toward ending it. Palestinian medical officials said the death toll had risen above 1,100 people, many of them civilians.

The cease-fire under discussion is more formal than the one that broke down late last month, when each side accused the other of failing to live up to its terms, and in some ways seems devised to overcome the last one’s weaknesses.

Unlike the last one, this will be written down, in Israel’s case, in the form of an agreement with Egypt and the understanding with the United States. Israel and Hamas do not speak officially but Egypt has been brokering terms between the two. Israel was unwilling to have an accord that might confer legitimacy on Hamas, which preaches Israel’s destruction.

The agreement hammered out in Washington would provide American technical assistance, as well as international monitors, to crack down on the tunnels. It would not, however, involve the deployment of American troops in the region. The composition of the monitoring force was not yet clear, a senior American official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The agreement stipulates that the United States would work to interdict weapons with its NATO partners, expanding significantly the responsibility to keep Hamas disarmed.

After meeting with Ms. Rice, Ms. Livni, who has been hawkish on continuing the assault aimed at stopping Hamas rockets from coming into Israel, stressed that the nation had met its war aims and was prepared to enter a cease-fire cautiously.

“Israel embarked on the campaign in order to change the equation and restore its deterrent capacity,” she told Israel Radio. “We did that a few days ago, in my opinion. It has to be put to the test. If Hamas shoots, we’ll have to continue. And if it shoots later on, we’ll have to embark on another campaign.”

The Bush administration agreed to the deal after consulting Mrs. Clinton and Gen. James L. Jones, who will be Mr. Obama’s national security adviser. Ms. Rice discussed the terms over lunch with Mrs. Clinton on Thursday, the State Department spokesman said, and briefed Mr. Obama by phone.

“It’s safe to assume that we wouldn’t have moved forward if we hadn’t done some careful consultations, prior to signing, with the incoming folks,” the spokesman, Sean McCormack, said.

The timing of the agreement, after a last effort of American diplomacy, struck some Middle East experts as symbolic of a Bush administration that had refused to engage in the peace process until late in its term, and has left its successors with little choice but to re-engage.

“They will inherit this agreement, which is critically important and will make them more engaged in the region than Bush was,” said Aaron David Miller, a public policy analyst at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “This is the shape of things to come.”

Ms. Rice said the agreement was only supportive of broader negotiations being carried out by Egypt, and she refused to say when a cease-fire could actually take place and when the fighting in Gaza would stop.

“We are doing everything we can to bring it to an end,” she said.

In Gaza, Palestinians tried to recover Friday from a heavy assault from Israel the day before.

A funeral for a senior Hamas official, Interior Minister Said Siam, who was killed Thursday by an Israeli attack, turned into a mass rally in Gaza City. Thousands raised their fingers into the air as a speaker called out, “Let us say goodbye to one of the lions of Hamas!” Passers-by stopped, elderly women emerged from houses, and children stood on roofs and declared, “This is in the name of God!”

Gaza hospitals were struggling. They were damaged on Thursday by Israel, which said mortars had been fired at its forces from sites near the hospitals. CARE International and other global aid groups said they had resumed distribution after being forced to stop by the intense attacks of the previous day. They condemned Israel’s actions.

In Tal Al Hawa, a neighborhood in southwestern Gaza City where fighting was fiercest on Thursday, Israeli tanks withdrew, leaving a blighted landscape and several dozen more dead.

Palestinians reported that a mother and her five children — 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 years old — had been killed in the Bureij refugee camp. Three riders on motorbikes, means of transport increasingly used by Hamas fighters, were also killed by missiles.

Israel stepped up military activity on Friday evening. Palestinian medical officials reported that at least 10 Palestinians had been killed in the Shajaiye section of Gaza City by a shell that hit a house of mourning. Four more people were killed in an attack on a house in Jabaliya, north of the city.

At the meeting in Qatar, the Hamas leader, Mr. Meshal, was joined by Iran and Syria in calls for all Muslim countries to break ties with Israel. Qatar and Mauritania, which have low-level ties with Israel, were reported to have said at the meeting that they were freezing those relations.

It was not clear what impact Mr. Meshal’s fiery speech would have on any cease-fire. But his presence before the emergency meeting underscored the continued evolution of power in the region away from state players aligned with the West, to non-state players, like Hamas, and their anti-Western benefactors who support a more direct and aggressive stance toward Israel.

The once dominant regional leadership of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even Jordan tried to undermine this meeting, refusing to attend, and pressed other Arab states to stay away, too.

But it was those who boycotted the event who found themselves marginalized — at least for the day — as Mr. Meshal spoke before an audience that included representatives from Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, Iran and about 10 other countries assembled for the meeting in Doha, Qatar’s capital.

A senior Egyptian official said that Hamas was unhappy with Israel’s plan to leave its forces in Gaza during a short cease-fire, but that it had accepted the idea of placing the Palestinian Authority in charge of the border crossing into Egypt and the presence of European monitors there. It was unclear how the divisions within Hamas as well as within the Arab world would affect negotiations in the coming days.

This singular article is representative of nearly everything I have been saying. Now, does anyone have any questions not related to claiming Israel is committing genocide and intends to wipe the Palestinian people off the map? Or do more people believe this is true and I really do need to re-examine my view of the situation?

Re: Israel

PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:36 pm
by Dr.Mellifluous
Well it appears that talks for a cease-fire are underway, and even though Hamas has promised to fight on, I hope they're effective. As much as blame shouldn't be laid about here, Hamas started this particular fight, but that doesn't mean Israel should just be able to kill around 500 innocent people and then say "okay, we're done." Which is why I hope the various international human rights investigations in Gaza prove effective, and allow an international presence in the area (so that we can media from within the blockade that isn't just English Al-Jazeera), although Hamas has heavily protested any force being present along its borders. With any luck, Friedman will be proved right and Hamas will go the route of Hezbollah, but given the severity of the attacks, public Palestinian sentiment for the organization could go either way very easily, and it'll be interesting to see how Fatah steps in here. Jordan and Egypt have both stayed largely neutral, which is viewed as complicity by Iran, Syria etc...

I wish the politics of the region weren't so fascinating, for a few minutes I almost forgot about the civilians who are caught in the middle of all these centuries-old power struggles.

Re: Israel

PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:28 pm
by reddwhite
wow you guys try to condisend much? lol i think that is just funny as shit. i was in the artillery for 7 years and i have the records to back it up.

and no all american soldiers dont communicate so well, alot are better and worse. we are all just regular peeps. with the exception that we dont sit around and talk, we do.

sry btw not trying to hijack the thread

Re: Israel

PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:33 am
by GraveI
Dr.Mellifluous wrote:Well it appears that talks for a cease-fire are underway, and even though Hamas has promised to fight on, I hope they're effective. As much as blame shouldn't be laid about here, Hamas started this particular fight, but that doesn't mean Israel should just be able to kill around 500 innocent people and then say "okay, we're done." Which is why I hope the various international human rights investigations in Gaza prove effective, and allow an international presence in the area (so that we can media from within the blockade that isn't just English Al-Jazeera), although Hamas has heavily protested any force being present along its borders. With any luck, Friedman will be proved right and Hamas will go the route of Hezbollah, but given the severity of the attacks, public Palestinian sentiment for the organization could go either way very easily, and it'll be interesting to see how Fatah steps in here. Jordan and Egypt have both stayed largely neutral, which is viewed as complicity by Iran, Syria etc...

I wish the politics of the region weren't so fascinating, for a few minutes I almost forgot about the civilians who are caught in the middle of all these centuries-old power struggles.

this new ceasefire agreement is going to be as big a joke as it was before. Israel still won't lift the embargoes or blockade and people are still going to be starving and dying and Palestinians will still be launching rockets. All Israel did was set them back another five years yet again - 1300 people died for a situation to pretty well go full circle.

Re: Israel

PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:00 pm
by Herosbane
Love you, Melli.

Re: Israel

PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:59 am
by Dr.Mellifluous
I found this interesting, because, honestly, it didn't occur to me.

NY Times wrote:AS diplomats stitch together a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, the most depressing feature of the conflict is the sense that future fighting is inevitable. Rational calculation suggests that neither side can win these wars. The thousands of lives and billions of dollars sacrificed in fighting demonstrate the advantages of peace and coexistence; yet still both sides opt to fight.

This small territory is the world’s great symbolic knot. “Palestine is the mother of all problems” is a common refrain among people we have interviewed across the Muslim world: from Middle Eastern leaders to fighters in the remote island jungles of Indonesia; from Islamist senators in Pakistan to volunteers for martyrdom on the move from Morocco to Iraq.

Some analysts see this as a testament to the essentially religious nature of the conflict. But research we recently undertook suggests a way to go beyond that. For there is a moral logic to seemingly intractable religious and cultural disputes. These conflicts cannot be reduced to secular calculations of interest but must be dealt with on their own terms, a logic very different from the marketplace or realpolitik.

Across the world, people believe that devotion to sacred or core values that incorporate moral beliefs — like the welfare of family and country, or commitment to religion and honor — are, or ought to be, absolute and inviolable. Our studies, carried out with the support of the National Science Foundation and the Defense Department, suggest that people will reject material compensation for dropping their commitment to sacred values and will defend those values regardless of the costs.

In our research, we surveyed nearly 4,000 Palestinians and Israelis from 2004 to 2008, questioning citizens across the political spectrum including refugees, supporters of Hamas and Israeli settlers in the West Bank. We asked them to react to hypothetical but realistic compromises in which their side would be required to give away something it valued in return for a lasting peace.

All those surveyed responded to the same set of deals. First they would be given a straight-up offer in which each side would make difficult concessions in exchange for peace; next they were given a scenario in which their side was granted an additional material incentive; and last came a proposal in which the other side agreed to a symbolic sacrifice of one of its sacred values.

For example, a typical set of trade-offs offered to a Palestinian might begin with this premise: Suppose the United Nations organized a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians under which Palestinians would be required to give up their right to return to their homes in Israel and there would be two states, a Jewish state of Israel and a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Second, we would sweeten the pot: in return, Western nations would give the Palestinian state $10 billion a year for 100 years. Then the symbolic concession: For its part, Israel would officially apologize for the displacement of civilians in the 1948 war

Indeed, across the political spectrum, almost everyone we surveyed rejected the initial solutions we offered — ideas that are accepted as common sense among most Westerners, like simply trading land for peace or accepting shared sovereignty over Jerusalem. Why the opposition to trade-offs for peace?

Many of the respondents insisted that the values involved were sacred to them. For example, nearly half the Israeli settlers we surveyed said they would not consider trading any land in the West Bank — territory they believe was granted them by God — in exchange for peace. More than half the Palestinians considered full sovereignty over Jerusalem in the same light, and more than four-fifths felt that the “right of return” was a sacred value, too.

As for sweetening the pot, in general the greater the monetary incentive involved in the deal, the greater the disgust from respondents. Israelis and Palestinians alike often reacted as though we had asked them to sell their children. This strongly implies that using the standard approaches of “business-like negotiations” favored by Western diplomats will only backfire.

Many Westerners seem to ignore these clearly expressed “irrational” preferences, because in a sensible world they ought not to exist. Diplomats hope that peace and concrete progress on material and quality-of-life matters (electricity, water, agriculture, the economy and so on) will eventually make people forget the more heartfelt issues. But this is only a recipe for another Hundred Years’ War — progress on everyday material matters will simply heighten attention on value-laden issues of “who we are and want to be.”

Fortunately, our work also offers hints of another, more optimistic course.

Absolutists who violently rejected offers of money or peace for sacred land were considerably more inclined to accept deals that involved their enemies making symbolic but difficult gestures. For example, Palestinian hard-liners were more willing to consider recognizing the right of Israel to exist if the Israelis simply offered an official apology for Palestinian suffering in the 1948 war. Similarly, Israeli respondents said they could live with a partition of Jerusalem and borders very close to those that existed before the 1967 war if Hamas and the other major Palestinian groups explicitly recognized Israel’s right to exist.

Remarkably, our survey results were mirrored by our discussions with political leaders from both sides. For example, Mousa Abu Marzook (the deputy chairman of Hamas) said no when we proposed a trade-off for peace without granting a right of return. He became angry when we added in the idea of substantial American aid for rebuilding: “No, we do not sell ourselves for any amount.”

But when we mentioned a potential Israeli apology for 1948, he brightened: “Yes, an apology is important, as a beginning. It’s not enough because our houses and land were taken away from us and something has to be done about that.” His response suggested that progress on sacred values might open the way for negotiations on material issues, rather than the reverse.

We got a similar reaction from Benjamin Netanyahu, the hard-line former Israeli prime minister. We asked him whether he would seriously consider accepting a two-state solution following the 1967 borders if all major Palestinian factions, including Hamas, were to recognize the right of the Jewish people to an independent state in the region. He answered, “O.K., but the Palestinians would have to show that they sincerely mean it, change their textbooks and anti-Semitic characterizations.”

Making these sorts of wholly intangible “symbolic” concessions, like an apology or recognition of a right to exist, simply doesn’t compute on any utilitarian calculus. And yet the science says they may be the best way to start cutting the knot.

Scott Atran, an anthropologist at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, John Jay College and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, is the author of the forthcoming “Talking to the Enemy.” Jeremy Ginges is a professor of psychology at the New School for Social Research.

Re: Israel

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:25 pm
by Herosbane
That is a good point, and with ephemeral research to back it up!

No, seriously, I think that people should apologize.

Re: Israel

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:40 pm
by BYC
Herosbane wrote:That is a good point, and with ephemeral research to back it up!

No, seriously, I think that people should apologize.

They wouldn't though. That would mean they would admit they might have been wrong. It also means each side would think it is weaker by apologizing. Plus, even if they thought they were wrong, by apologizing, they weaken their position on why the "war" still happens.

Re: Israel

PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 4:32 pm
by Dr.Mellifluous
In other news, the fighting stopped, and the new probably prime minister of Israel is a hardline conservative who doesn't even completely believe in a two-state solution. Yay, I think I might cry.

Re: Israel

PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 5:21 pm
by TheRaven7