>How can we bring peace to Israel and Palestine?

>Many people were worried when right wing Netanyahu was elected Prime Minister. Those worries have been confirmed for many people with his refusal to stop the illegal expansion of Israeli settlements onto Palestinian territory, and now what can only be called persecution of the 15% non Jews within Israel, whereby children born and educated in Israel are being forcefully exported due to their non-Jewish roots, and Palestinian slums bordering on territories claimed by Israel are being demolished. Israel is now being accused of “cultural genocide” after the Israeli government claimed a sacred tomb in the West Bank that is valued by Jews and Muslims alike.

But can we play the blame game in the Middle East? How can we solve the problems? Is it even possible to bring peace?


  • >I'm for the two state solution. Yet I don't think coming to this solution is the main problem. After all many people would agree. The problem is about enforcing the change. At present Israel has too much power to willingly push for a solution themselves, and their 'Iron Wall' philosophy that the only way to survive is to meet everything with disproportionate force needs to be resigned to the history books. Israel also benefits from the current situation. A large part of Israel's economy is built on military technology that tested on Palestinians. And the longer that goes without any real solution the more Israel is able to illegally expand settlements and hence expand the de facto borders of Israel.This is why the world needs to act together, speak as one through the UN, be prepared to put a sizeable UN peacekeeping force on the ground for an indefinite period, and most of all push Palestinians and Israelis to reach a real solution that can be backed by international finance. At present work is ongoing to create what is being hailed as the "first Palestinian settlement" because there is work ongoing to create a town that is not a slum. And it is being funded largely by the Qatari government, which needs to be well praised. Yet if the G-8 countries pooled their resources a lot more could be done. In addition, the surrounding Middle Eastern states must be incorporated within the peace process so long as they are not able to stand in the way of progression.

  • >The situation is not complex actually.The Palestinians – who are the traditional owners of the lands and waters of Palestine – who have been in residence there for almost twice the time Anglo Saxons have inhabited Britain – who have their own system of land title – have never surrendered their ownership of their property.It is historical fact that Britain seized Palestinian land and gave it away again to other people they particularly cared about, but in doing so they did not conduct a legal transaction of the kind acceptable to even the most humble Englishman. In fact they did to the Palestinians nothing less than robbery of the kind they have long accused the Germans of doing to the Jews…. they forcibly expelled rightful and legal owners.To obtain a settlement of the war in Palestine, Britain is under more onerous obligations than the Israelis. It is not clear how many Palestinians are now willing to sell what has been taken from them, even despite the present and past histories of co-ercion, however, to begin the process, it is high time Britain stumped up to meet their representatives at the bargaining table offering money in correct commercial quantities.Until there are voluntary transactions of title UNDER PALESTINIAN LAW, talk of Peace is offensive and humiliating.Nothing makes any man more willing to fight than humiliation.

  • >I'm afraid it isn't actually that simple. Just as the Palestinians have a long history in the region so do the Israelis. It was their homeland prior to their expulsion by Rome. If one side starts playing the history card then all sides do. And to what end? It is the people who live now that matter. We cannot expel either people as neither has anywhere else to go. Nor can we solve the problems by simply throwing money at them. Nor should the UK pay more than countries like the US. It's an international problem, one which if solved would significantly help in the fight against terrorism. And Britain more responsible than Israel? Seriously?!? Nor would Israel ever accept a purely Palestinian legal solution. Remember who has the power in the region.Basically, no it is not simple. If it were then we'd have peace by now. In fact the major problem that has to be dealt with is the one that you put forward as justification for the solution: history. There is a huge and complicated history that is continually used today as justification for advocating one sided solutions. Yet a settlement that punishes one side more than another (such as the UK) simply cannot work, and should not work.

  • >You are wrong about this Rob. In essence you are relying on the most contradictory of ancient fables. These fables remember a time when Jewish people called Palestine their homeland. They appeal to Christian ears because they partly contextualise Christianity and they condition our minds to accepting simple dichotomies. And so, according to these legends, God gave Palestine to the Jews. And according to the same legends, He took it away from them again, to punish their infidelity. Jews cannot have their title to Palestine vested in only one half of the legends. If Palestine was God given to them, then it was also God taken away. In any case, it is a curious and unstable modern contention that Jewish title to Palestine is vested in the Pleasure of God and not in the Law of Man.Moreover, if Jews can claim title to lands which their ancestors abandoned 2000 years ago, then a serious precedent is established. Modern Britons also must be ready to relinquish their institutions and their homes for descendants of the ancient Celts and the Belgae who also fled the tyranny of invaders.. Can we predict today’s Britons will get that logic when it is explained to them by returning Bretons and Belgians? This logic is not complex. Sure, it relies on some faulty premises but these are the same faulty premises that Jewish claims rest upon. You can't mount an argument in defence of illegal and brutish Jewish occupation of Palestine with that kind of argument.. not with intellectual integrity.Nor can you defend British conspiracy and complicity in the occupation that way.The real no brainer, that leaves me gasping in disbelief, is a very different and pragmatic observation. Colonial lands, stolen from resident peoples all over the world, mostly under British military adventurism, have been forcibly resumed during the past 100 years, by their rightful, still resident, native owners in pretty well every case. Nearly every living politician, who has any capacity to influence in Britain or Israel, is a witness to determined Irishmen remaining relentless and persistent in their efforts to recover their island; most can remember relentless African nationalists resuming their homelands; and the relentless determination of traditional owners who recovered the Indian subcontinent, Egypt, Afghanistan, Fiji and so on. Those witnesses have surely noticed the will of native peoples is not appeased by the resistance and brutality of foreign occupiers. In most cases the occupiers have been driven away by very inferior numbers of homelanders equipped with paltry weaponry. Where do British and Israeli people get the idea the Palestinians are going to give up? Haven't they noticed that time is on the side of the Palestinians? Haven't they observed the Palestinians are not merely determined, they are increasingly well resourced by immensely wealthy friends and neighbours? Can’t they get it the Palestinians have nowhere to go, except to the brink and they appear to be perfectly willing to go there if they must. You see Rob, the most important error in your argument is the assumption the Palestinian do not have valid title to their lands. They do. They did not relinquish their lands. They did not vacate. Their settlement has been unbroken; their claims unchanged. Palestinian title does not rest on legends. All the gloss and spin London has been able to spew through its control of British media serves only to impugn the British nation. It serves nothing to resolve the catastrophe it spawned by itself. The only way Palestinians will be appeased is by restoration of what is theirs: land, civil society and dignity. They will fight until it is restored to them. As Britons would.It is an ancient truism that without Justice there will never be peace. Peace is not the end game. The end game is Justice.

  • >Firstly, Zionism originates in the Torah. It doesn't come from no where. It simply grew in the anti-Semitism throughout Europe and beyond. In order to work towards peace we must understand both sides, and the 'land of Zion' is powerful within Israeli culture.As for the Palestinian side of the argument you present a significant part here: "if Jews can claim title to lands which their ancestors abandoned 2000 years ago, then a serious precedent is established." Both Israelis and Palestinians feel they have nowhere else to go but that they rightfully own the same piece of land. I say again we must seek to understand both sides if we want to work towards peace. I sympathize with the Palestinians of today more than the Israelis too. But a settlement that punishes Israel cannot and should not work. There is logic behind the Jewish re-settlement in Israel. And if not Israel then where? They could not have stayed in Europe. Other choices were modern day Zimbabwe and Argentina. But would we not have the same problems there?Here you hit the nail on the head: "Can’t they get it the Palestinians have nowhere to go, except to the brink and they appear to be perfectly willing to go there if they must." Both Israelis and Palestinians can employ exactly the same argument, hence why a two state solution is necessary.I'm not quite sure where you got this from: "the most important error in your argument is the assumption the Palestinian do not have valid title to their lands". Could you please tell me what I said that made you think I do not believe the Palestinians have a right to their ancestral lands? Of course they do, but we have two peoples and one land. As those two peoples cannot get along we must divide the land until such time when people can begin to talk about cooperation and perhaps even unity (most likely not for hundreds of years).Neither the British media, not British leaders favour the Israeli cause outright. The British media has been increasingly leaning towards the Palestinian's side of the argument since Yasser Arafat put the plight of the Palestinians on the world stage. And though there is strong support for the Israelis within Parliament there is also strong support for the Palestinians. In fact one of the main reasons Britain doesn't do more to help is because the Parliament is split on this question of who holds the 'just' card. For indeed it is not an unambiguous decision to say where justice should be sought from.

  • >Hi Rob,I do not share your view of the Israeli plight. Most Israelis know where they came from. Whether it be Lithuania or Romania, they moved to the middle east very recently. Almost all, within the last 50 years. Using normal standards for determining patriality most are eligible for citizenship in their REAL homelands. They do not have the difficulties to return home that descendants of 19th century British emigrants have, for example. Moreover, for the minority who fall outside those normal standards, I doubt the countries of their parents patriality would put up much of a fight for the right to refuse them passports. Britain was certainly willing to do that for Falkland Islanders after more than 150 years of expatriotism.As well, I'm no longer sympathetic to notions that economic and religious refugees ought to have special privileges if they are jewish. Is anyone giving the Tamils a new homeland? The Afghans? Did anyone offer the Vietnamese a new homeland after the Americans obliterated Vietnam? I've had a gut full of Jewish misery and Jewish special treatments. No one is going to get locked up if they deny the Scots were massacred by the English, or they deny the Germans were obliterated unnecessarily by allied bombing when the war was all but over. But international law makes it illegal to propose the jewish version of the 1930s and 40s is not the whole truth and the full truth. They have simple gone way too far and the rest of us have been insufficiently robust in bringing them to reality and demanding of them decency and taking responsibility where they can for interests beyond their own narrow self interests.I think its high time we all stood together and said to the Jews, "It was rotten, but you aren't the only ones, so get over it."At the same time we should be saying to them, "You are now the ethnic cleansers, the bullies, the genocidal fanatics and we are going to have to deal with you and your victims differently but in the customary ways."Cheers

  • >It's about group identification. Group identification is one of the strongest human emotions/characteristics. And it must be recognised if we are to achieve peace. Whether or not an Israeli has the right to return to another country they believe their homeland and people are in Israel. We have to respect that, especially as Israel is the country with power in the region. You can argue that power should not play a role in decision making but not in any realistic way. Power has always played a role and always will. We have to be pragmatic about that. We also have to think about what would be the best outcome for humanity as a whole. Making all Israelis leave the Middle East would psychologically, and financially wound a great number, and anger those in other countries that were forced to take this new race of refugees.In some respects you are right to say that we have gone too far in our obsessions over the holocaust. Yet there is a reason. It is very fresh in people's minds, 6 million were murdered, and it was a last step in creating a new people/re-creating an old people. The Israelis are a special case. They stood alone after the Second World War as the only race/nation without a homeland in this era. They weren't only abused and persecuted, with the occasional killing here and there. They literally had nowhere to go.In addition, it is a very weak argument to say that because we cannot help all people we should help no one, or to say that because some people suffer it is ok that others do.As for the last point if you want to reach a peace agreement then I wouldn't exactly word it like that. However the Israelis are now the bullies and they definitely should be confronted by the rest of the world. They should be forced to drop their 'Iron Wall' philosophy, and they should be forced to make a long term peace. However force rarely achieves long term peace, and this is why we need to be cautious and try as hard as humanly possible to reach an agreement without having to resort to force.

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