Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Solving the Middle East

Last time there were serious negotiations about peace between Israel and the Arabs everything seemed to go well - until the issue of the return of the Palestinian refugees came up. Israel refused the return of all refugees and the negotiations were over.

So Israel is the bad guy? They cleansed some 800,000 Palestinians from their homes and now they don't want to give them their home back? Not so from the point of view of many Israeli Jews. They will point out that 40% of Israel's population are Jews who come from Arab countries. Some deliberately emigrated, but many were simply thrown out of their countries after the foundation of Israel - while all their properties were confiscated.

The number of Jews sho left the Arab countries is at least as large as that of the number of Palestinians. Yet no UN resolution has been dedicated to their right of return and their right of restitution of properties. Of course very few of those Jews want to go back: they live no in a much richer country and are no loger discriminated. But that doesn't take the responsibility of the Arab countries for what they have done away. While Israel provided a home for the Jews that they threw out they consistently refused to provide a home for the Palestinians that Israel threw out.

Yet even Israel-friendly America hasn't found the words to advocate such a point of view. But I don't think that the Israel-Arab conflict is solvable unless the Arabs take their responsibility.

All Palestinian refugee camps should be turned into towns with full rights. And Palestinians should get the right to become citizens of the Arab countries if they want. In my opinion that is the only road towards a solution.


Liquid Roof said...

May God Bring Peace In between these two Nations.

Anonymous said...

"They cleansed some 800,000 Palestinians from their homes and now they don't want to give them their home back?"

A large proportion of these fled their homes at the urging of Arabs who wanted the battlefield cleared in order to wipe the Jews out. And of those who fled, many have died of old age. So many of the so-called Palestinian refugees are citizens of Jordan, Syria, and other nations.

stories said...

It sad to see Wim make such bad analysis of a conflict that is not complicated at all, the Palestinians are occupied and it is as simple as that, and the those occupying are the Israelis that only 60 years ago experienced Hitler's Holocaust. Now they are doing against Palaestinians what their grandfathers told them the Nazis did to them.

Not surprised at all since our dear Wim has selective blindness and simply ignores the things that do not fit to his extremely biased hypothesis and are not proven or documented what so ever.

If you wanted to compare it would be better to start in your Netherlands or in Germany and ask: Why did the Jews need a country? And try to answer, and you start by admitting that Jews in Germany and Netherlands, and Czech republic and many other Western cities were always scape goats, and then Hitler came and wanted to solve "the Jewish problem" once and for all. And who was Hitler, yes he a catholic-born, white, arts interested Western...not a Muslim or an Arab...The Europeans after committing Holocaust wanted to finish Hitler's job and sent all the Jews to another country that no belonged to Palestinians who had lived there for at least 2000 years.

I am suspecting you have become radicalized and inspired by extremist Gert Wilders and can not judge things based on rationality but only on ethnocentrism.

Wim Roffel said...

Stories, you have a strange view on the position of Jews in Western Europe. The position of Jews in Western Europe was generally good for centuries. Some were integrated, some lived in their own quarters. Official discrimination had been abolished long ago. Occasionally there were troubles, but these were rare.

There has been a lot of discussion why the holocaust happened in quiet Western Europe and not in for example Eastern Europe where discrimination was much more open, Jews were much more segregated and pogroms were more common. One reason probably is that this was the era of the absolutist ideologies like communism and fascism. Another that Germany had lost World War I and some in Germany were looking for a scape goat. The Antisemitism that infected Hitler in Vienna was mainly caused by a massive immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe. It looks like Hitlers distorted brain combined the two into a kind of absolutist Antisemitism. A final factor was that Hitler came to power through the use of militias. That gave him a kind of control over the state that otherwise would have been impossible.

Your analysis would have some power if the Arab Jews were still in their countries. But where in Europe many Jews are left the departure from the Arab countries has been nearly total. Discrimination of Jews is institutionalized in the Arab world. In Saudi Arabia no Jews are allowed at all - not even as ambassador of the USA.

If you want I would be happy to discuss Geert Wilders. But please inform yourself first. You can't even write his name correctly.

stories said...

I don't have a strange view of the position of Jews in Europe, I have read quite a lot and history shows that every time Europe had a crises it was the rule and not an exception to blame it on the Jews. And we can argue as much as we want but no other, if I can call civilization, has more Jewish blood in their hands than Western Europe civilization and this was topped during the WWII. I agree and it is not my intention to generalize and claim that all Western Europeans were antisemits, but some times when some in the West pretend like always being friends of Jews, it is on place to remind about what happened only 60 years ago.

Now to the Jews in Arab countries. Jews in Arab, or maybe more correctly in Muslim countries, survived the Holocaust. Yes they were discriminated in some ways in some countries but this also fitted the Jewish society since they wanted to keep their traditions a live and less mixing meant better opportunity to survive. The fact that we even today have a large community of Jews in Israel's self-declared greatest enemy, Iran, says a lot about the their position. There is no prove that Jews before the first signals of creation of a Jewish state in Palestinan soil were subject to any systemathic persecution. This only started after Jews after being sheltered by the Palestinians started to steal their land and create a new country in their land, and not only that but start exodus expulsion of them, massacre of innocent people, destruction of every thing Palestinian. I would recommend you to read something by Benny Morris, Israeli historian that has provided one of the most objective versions of what happened when the West "saved" the Jews in 1948.

In the beginning Jews migrated from Arab countries because they were promised free land and property that had belonged to Palestinians, and the new country of Israel needed people and only people who were Jewish. After that Israel was proclaimed and started wars with all the countries in the region financed by some one 10 000 km far way, we so some waves of represails against Jews in Arab/Muslim countries. But this was to be expected, Western Europeans killed 6,5 million of them without any reason, they now had at least a reason for that, even though I think this can not be justified in any way.

There is so much to write about this conflict and I don't have time but would like to say one more thing: We can not expect the same standards from Israel as from other Arab countries that in most cases are dictatorships. Israel was created by the West, they were educated by the West, a large percentage of them were from the West, they had been some of the brightest minds in the societies they lived in, they had experienced Holocaust and new what that meant to to subject of a exodus, it was with the money from the West the Jewish state was financed and most of all, this new state claimed to be democratic state, opposite to the other countries in the region that we new were not.

There are many Jews still in many Arab countries like Morocco, Tunis, Iran, Syria etc. But If I were Jew in any of these countries, I would have moved to Israel. Where on earth can you just buy a one way ticket and after arriving receive new citizenship, new house, 10 times higher standard etc etc. Plus Israel has interest in this since this will help reduce the number of Palestinian Israels that have a much higher birth rate, I think 4 to 1.

Wim Roffel said...

"Yes they were discriminated in some ways in some countries but this also fitted the Jewish society since they wanted to keep their traditions a live and less mixing meant better opportunity to survive."
That was the ideology of the Bantustans under Apartheid. In traditional societies it was the normal way of arranging society. But nowadays it is unacceptable. Unfortunately the Arab countries don't get it yet.

"many Jews still in many Arab countries like Morocco, Tunis"
Morocco: 7,000 of 250,000 Jews left. Tunisia: 1,500 of 105,000 left. Syria: less than 100 left. Only Iran has a sizable Jewish community - but Iran is not Arab.

"Plus Israel has interest in this since this will help reduce the number of Palestinian Israels that have a much higher birth rate, I think 4 to 1."
The Palestinian birthrate is falling and getting closer to the Jewish one and the Israeli are very aware of that.

"In the beginning Jews migrated from Arab countries because they were promised free land and property that had belonged to Palestinians"
This sounds to me like the mirror image of Anonymous who wrote "A large proportion of these fled their homes at the urging of Arabs who wanted the battlefield cleared in order to wipe the Jews out.". Blaming the victim is always a popular sport. Besides that you are mixing up periods. By the time belongings of the Palestinians became available (around 1948) there was little voluntary in the Jewish emigration from the Arab countries.

"We can not expect the same standards from Israel as from other Arab countries"
Sounds like nonsense to me.

The Oslo negotiations - the negotiations that came closest to a solution until now - failed when in the end the return of the refugees came on the table. I wrote this piece to address that issue. I do not deny that Israel chased Arabs away in 1948 and 1967 and I do condemn the recent Israeli action in Gaza. But that all is not relevant in this context. What crashed the Oslo negotiations was in my opinion that the Arab states did not take their responsibility. And that is why I address that issue.

At some point you seem to suggest that all Jews have to be evacuated from Palestine in order to establish a new state somewhere in Europe or the US. So please tell how your solution would look like.

Stories said...

Hello again, I think your answers lack arguments and don't know what is the reason for that but it may be you do not know the Middle East problems that well.

The Israeli-Palestinian is very complexed today and is becoming even more complexed for every day that goes, and this is thanks to the Israeli government and orthodox Jews that continues to build new and expand illegal settlements on Palestinian soil. The Israeli government without trying to hide it in any way, for every day that goes torpedoes any chance that may be left for a lasting solution to this conflict that has been devastating for Palestinians, born occupied and dying occupied without having the chance to see anything else than the sufferings of their own people.

All experts that do not have links to any government admit that the two state-solution is dead and this thanks to Israel, even though it would be in the interest of Israel to have a two state solution. Admitting this we have two solutions left, one being long term and the other one being temporary.

Let's start with the temporary solution that the Israeli government believe is a long lasting one. This solution briefly described had as aim and they achieved it, to make Israel an apartheid state after model of South Africa where Jews live in a democratic, rich society and Israeli Arabs and Palestinians as occupied in fenced areas. This will only be temporary because apartheid has never been long living and after some decades it will be destroyed by it self. Today's Israeli government is an ultra nationalist government with 0 Western values having ministers that are racists and open apartheid-supporters.

Haaretz January 2009: "The Central Elections Committee (CEC) yesterday banned the Arab parties United Arab List-Ta'al and Balad from running in next month's parliamentary elections amid accusations of racism from Arab MKs. Both parties intend to challenge the decision in the Supreme Court. "

Haaretz July 2009: "Housing Minister Ariel Atias on Thursday warned against the spread of Arab population into various parts of Israel, saying that preventing this phenomenon was no less than a national responsibility. "

Haaretz May 2009: "Yisrael Beiteinu's racist campaign against the country's Arab citizens has shifted from the election billboards to the Knesset and cabinet room. Right-wing Knesset members have drafted a series of laws to suppress the Arab community's freedom of expression and right to protest.

Three legislative initiatives are on the docket. One mandates a three-year prison sentence for anyone who observes what the Palestinians call the Nakba - the events of 1948. This bill was approved by Ministerial Committee for Legislation. The second dictates one year in prison for anyone who expresses in writing "a statement that denies the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state." This bill passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset. Finally, there is a proposal to require anyone who receives Israeli citizenship to sign a loyalty oath and perform military service, or some form of public service. This draft law will be submitted today to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation."

Haaretz June 2009: "Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, of Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party, called an undercover police officer a "dirty Arab" during a tour of the crime-ridden old central bus station in Tel Aviv.

Aharonovitch asked to meet undercover agents who were active in the region. One of the agents who arrived to meet the minister apologized, saying "I'm a little dirty," to which Aharonovitch replied "dirty? You look like a real dirty Arab."

Stories said...

The other and most probable solution is one state-solution but this mean giving Palestinians in occupied territories citizenship and the right to vote. Israel does not want this solution because this means the end of Israel as a Jewish state (TFR in the Gaza Strip is currently 6.6 births per woman compared to the recorded level of 5.2 births per woman in the West Bank) but there is no other solution due to Israelis building settlement in West Bank and making any acceptable separation impossible. Jerusalem should a UN protectorate.

So much more to say but don't have time.

Wim Roffel said...

Fertility rates (see
Gaza: 5.19 children born/woman (2008 est.)
Westbank: 3.31 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Nice, all those Haaretz quotes you make, but I suppose that someone else can make similar list with radical Palestinian talk about driving all Jews in the sea, etc.

Under Bush Israel's radicals had too much freedom with bad results. But the pushing back by Obama is already producing results (see

I don't believe in a one-state solution. Given the position of the Jews in the Arab countries I don't have any illusion how the position of the Jews would be in a Palestinian dominated "one state".

I am not sure how to explain the present campaign against Israel's Arabs. But one possible explanation is that Israels radicals may be aiming for some kind of exchange involving Israel's Arab's and the Westbank settlers.

In my opinion a short term solution would involve creating a some self ruling Palestinian entity like Gaza inside the Westbank. It should provide freedom of movement without roadblocks in most (not all!) of the Westbank.