RIP Philo

On Language and Israel

"No issue better illustrates Orwell's point than coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the United States. Consider, for example, the editorial in The Times on Feb. 9 demanding that the Palestinians "recognize Israel" and its "right to exist." This is a common enough sentiment — even a cliche. Yet many observers (most recently the international lawyer John Whitbeck) have pointed out that this proposition, assiduously propagated by Israel's advocates and uncritically reiterated by American politicians and journalists, is — at best — utterly nonsensical.

First, the formal diplomatic language of "recognition" is traditionally used by one state with respect to another state. It is literally meaningless for a non-state to "recognize" a state. Moreover, in diplomacy, such recognition is supposed to be mutual. In order to earn its own recognition, Israel would have to simultaneously recognize the state of Palestine. This it steadfastly refuses to do (and for some reason, there are no high-minded newspaper editorials demanding that it do so)."

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-op-makdisi11mar11,0,1704243.story
Permalink Colm 
March 12th, 2007 2:18pm
Israel has de-facto recognized Palestine by retreating within its own borders sans Gaza and the West Bank, and erecting the wall, which is the effective border of the West Bank. Israel has diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinian president. That's actually enough for Palestine to claim it has been de-facto recognized by Israel.

There's no reason to think Israel would refuse an offer of mutual recognition. There are more or less convincing reasons why it would want to retain the West Bank - and sure as fuck it's not giving Old Jerusalem back, so even with independence the West Bank won't return to 1967 borders - but Gaza is very obviously more trouble than it's worth. Hence the evacuation of settlements and the de facto border guard regime.

Again, to reiterate: if Hamas stops firing rockets from Gaza and proposes a mutual recognition pact between a Palestinian free state (in Gaza) and Israel, there is no reason to believe Israel would turn it down.
Permalink Send private email Flasher T 
March 12th, 2007 2:26pm
If only the Middle East would listen to Colm and Flasher, all the nonsense over there could have been done with long ago.
Permalink Send private email muppet 
March 12th, 2007 2:27pm
Yes muppet, we all remember your preferred solution - "drop a nuke on all of them".

Now go away, pookie-kins, and let the adults talk.
Permalink Send private email Flasher T 
March 12th, 2007 2:28pm
Don't you have homework?
Permalink Send private email muppet 
March 12th, 2007 2:28pm
>Israel has de-facto recognized Palestine by retreating
>within its own borders sans Gaza and the West Bank, and
>erecting the wall, which is the effective border of the West
>Bank.

The wall is a blatant land grab, and they are still building settlements in the West Bank.
Permalink Colm 
March 12th, 2007 2:31pm
>There's no reason to think Israel would refuse an offer
>of mutual recognition.

Perhaps because it hasn't *made* an offer of mutual recognition? Why hasn't it?
Permalink Colm 
March 12th, 2007 2:31pm
"Hamas stops firing rockets from Gaza"

Hamas?  I was under the impression they had stopped some time ago?  isn't it..uhh...that other group in gaza now?  the one that won the free, democratic palestinian elections?
Permalink Send private email zestyZucchini 
March 12th, 2007 2:32pm
>Israel has diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinian
>president. That's actually enough for Palestine to claim
>it has been de-facto recognized by Israel.

No more so than you could claim the converse is true, no.
Permalink Colm 
March 12th, 2007 2:32pm
Whether Israel has language which recognizes Palestine or not, I don't believe they have language which calls for the destruction of the state of Palestine.

Which Hamas DOES have language calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.

However you label this state of affairs, it does seem that Israel is at least more open to not destroying Palestinians than Hamas is open to not destroying Israel.  Not to mention the rockets that continue to fall.

Say Hamas is not a "state" organization and therefore can't "recognize" Israel is disingeneous, and beside the point.  Certainly they can agree to remove the language from their charter that calls for the destruction of Israel.  And certainly they can stop launching rockets from Gaza.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
March 12th, 2007 2:35pm
"The wall is a blatant land grab, and they are still building settlements in the West Bank."

Um. The wall is a delimiter roughly (though not exactly) between the land Israel got from the UN in the beginning, and the land it seized as spoils of a war it didn't start, from Jordan.

I won't argue that Israel isn't being an asshole in regard to the Arabs in the West Bank, but the legal matter is a bit different from that.

"Perhaps because it hasn't *made* an offer of mutual recognition? Why hasn't it?"

Because the current Palestinian parliament is dominated by a group whose mission statement reads "kill all the Jews and wipe Israel off the face of the planet". That kind of puts a damper on any potential displays of goodwill.

"the one that won the free, democratic palestinian elections?"

Yes, that's Hamas. And the Qusam (sp?) rockets are still being fired out of Gaza, though I understand less frequently now.

"No more so than you could claim the converse is true, no."

Israel isn't the one desperately needing international recognition - it's recognized by most countries in the world, and in fact was created by a UN resolution. Palestine needs official papers of statehood, Israel only needs to not have 1.3 million people in its southwestern corner lobbing explosives at them.
Permalink Send private email Flasher T 
March 12th, 2007 2:43pm
UN Resolution 2253: The situation of the couch

Recalling all its relevant resolutions, in particular resolution 2124 of 30 August 2007,

Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 14 September 2007,

Recalling the conclusions of the Lisbon (S/1997/57, annex) and Istanbul summits of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) regarding the situation of all somnolent furnitures,

Recalling the relevant principles contained in the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel adopted on 9 December 1994,

Stressing that the continued lack of progress on key issues of a comprehensive settlement of the conflict concerning the couch, is unacceptable,

Welcoming, however, the positive momentum given to the United-Nations-led peace process by regular high-level meetings,

We, the members of the Security Council of the UN, ask and decree that Flasher T return the pillows he expropriated on 9 July 2007 from Colm's couch and place them in the correct geopolitical orientation as they face, in order Mecca, CERN and the magnetic north pole, under duress of further retaliatory action of these here official parties of the Security Council of the UN.
Permalink bleaty heartsheep 
March 12th, 2007 2:46pm
See, you find that funny, but I get to translate that sort of text for EU compliance all the time.

At least it pays well.
Permalink Send private email Flasher T 
March 12th, 2007 2:54pm
Aren't the words "recognize Israel and its right to exist" just diplomacy-speak for "stop trying to kill us you bunch of sick fucks"?

The Israelis aren't asked to be recognized by a STATE, they're asking Arabs in the region as a whole to stop wishing and planning genocide on them.
Permalink Bluebeard 
March 12th, 2007 3:08pm
What if they renamed Israel to something new and opened the borders to the palestinians?

Why draw the distinction instead of just making it more like the mid-eastern U.S. and let everyone in at the start?

Why are people being excluded and not allowed to come and go as they please?

The restrictions and exclusions are what cause the hate.

If Israel weren't formed as an exclusive resort for Jews, it wouldn't meet with the hostilities it has. There is no reason it can't be one big city encompassing everyone aside from the exclusionist elite that want it to themselves.

AFAIC, they can get what they deserve for being the bully of the school that doesn't want to share.
Permalink  
March 12th, 2007 4:02pm
> Why are people being excluded and not allowed to come and go as they please?

how about someone come and sit on your couch and change your TV channel. why do you exclude people from doing that? hypocrite.

> AFAIC, they can get what they deserve for being the bully of the school that doesn't want to share.

share what? why don't Palestinians convert Jordan to the same economic level as Israel (the US pays Jordan billions of dollars too, and that doesn't count Arab countries putting in cash and reminitences, sp?, from Palestinian diaspora), then there won't be economic pressure to emigrate.
Permalink bleaty heartsheep 
March 12th, 2007 4:08pm
"What if they renamed Israel to something new and opened the borders to the palestinians?"

The border's been open to palestinians from the beginning (and anyway, what border? This is the Middle East we're talking about.) The problem is that the palestinians keep blowing themselves up, you see.

Well, *that* wouldn't be a problem in itself, but they do it in public places filled with other people.

"There is no reason it can't be one big city encompassing everyone aside from the exclusionist elite that want it to themselves."

Uh-huh, this is why the Romans separated Jerusalem into the Christian, Jewish, Arab and Armenian (believe it or not) quarters - because they all got along so well.

It's preposterous to say a nation of seven million is a cohesive exclusionist elite.
Permalink Send private email Flasher T 
March 12th, 2007 4:13pm
> Why are people being excluded and not allowed to come and go as they please?

"how about someone come and sit on your couch and change your TV channel. why do you exclude people from doing that? hypocrite."

change the TV channel?  how about come and blow up a bus in your hometown?  Isn't all the crazy shit the Israeli's do is because of a perceived security threat?
Permalink zed 
March 12th, 2007 4:14pm
"AFAIC, they can get what they deserve for being the bully of the school that doesn't want to share."

In fifty years the Jews have taken a piece of desert with no more natural resources than a few seaside orange groves, and turned it into one of the world's most admirable economies. Whereas the Arabs are only pumping oil, and those who don't have oil are herding camels. Why the fuck would they share the product of their hard work with people who don't appreciate it?
Permalink Send private email Flasher T 
March 12th, 2007 4:17pm
<shrug> not to denigrate the Israelies, but if america had pumped the kind of money into the palestinians that it has into Israel _both_ 'states' would be doing very well indeed.

...and if theyd taken the money they've spent in Iraq and used it to do similar things in afghanistan, the whole world would be better off...
Permalink Send private email zestyZucchini 
March 12th, 2007 4:27pm
"Why the fuck would they share the product of their hard work with people who don't appreciate it?"

Because the alternative is perpetual war?  I agree with you on the injustice of it, but it seems to me in the long the Israelis would be happier living next to a prosperous palestian state.
Permalink zed 
March 12th, 2007 4:29pm
"if america had pumped the kind of money into the palestinians"

America's pumped as much and more into a succession and variety of banana republics, and the only economic improvement that came out of it happened in the German village where they custom-build armored Mercedes Pullmans.

"but it seems to me in the long the Israelis would be happier living next to a prosperous palestian state."

They would, and they wouldn't even mind sponsoring it to an extent - Gaza's utilities are provided by Israel and whatever percentage of Gaza residents actually earns money, does so by working in Israel. Hence the big uproar when Israel instituted proper border control and ID checks on the Gaza border, even though it was a major step to de-facto recognition of Gaza's independence.
Permalink Send private email Flasher T 
March 12th, 2007 4:34pm
"America's pumped as much and more into a succession and variety of banana republics,"

actually I hate to say it flasher, but I think that is a statement that requires some proof.  off hand it sounds like total rubbish.
Permalink Send private email zestyZucchini 
March 12th, 2007 5:00pm
Gazans are the most subsidized folks on the planet.
Permalink bleaty heartsheep 
March 12th, 2007 5:21pm
-----"Um. The wall is a delimiter roughly (though not exactly) between the land Israel got from the UN in the beginning, and the land it seized as spoils of a war it didn't start, from Jordan."------

First Israel started every war apart from the 1973 one, which was the only one it gave land back after. The 1967 borders of Israel, which the Arab League has said it will accept in a peace deal, already contain all the territory the Jews took in the 1948 land grab, which was about 20% more than the UN allocation.

Seoondly the wall is deliberately protecting illegal Palestinian settlements and cutting off Jerusalem from the rest of the Palestinian State.

-----"They would, and they wouldn't even mind sponsoring it to an extent - Gaza's utilities are provided by Israel and whatever percentage of Gaza residents actually earns money, does so by working in Israel. Hence the big uproar when Israel instituted proper border control and ID checks on the Gaza border, even though it was a major step to de-facto recognition of Gaza's independence."----

The people in the Gaza strip are there because the Jews expelled them from their homes in 1948. The reason they are poor is that the Israelis block off both of their borders and refuse to let them use any boats. It's rather like getting all the Jews in Estonia, sticking them on some god-forsaken stretch of wind-swept grassland, and then refusing to let them out, let them trade, or let them import without being fleeced by taxes from the home country.
Permalink Send private email Stephen Jones 
March 12th, 2007 6:04pm
Oh, please. Israel sided with the Nazis in WWII (hey, pick the wrong horse, don't come crying for your losses)? Jordan, Egypt and Iraq didn't mobilize the Arab Liberation Army in 1948? The neighboring Arab states didn't gear up for war in 1967? Didn't attack on Yom Kippur in 1973? Aren't you folks embarrassed to believe this pity propaganda? (Israelis don't dispute the invasion of the Suez in 1956.)

All of Israel was god-forsaken. Why say Gaza is worse? If it can't trade, it's because its political leaders refuse to make peace with its best trading partner. It's in their power to make things better - they are more afraid of peace at this point. They might need to learn new skills.

Anyway one always hears the statistic that Palestinians have the highest rate of masters degrees in the world. That didn't come about by accident. So if they could do that why should they be pitied? I don't understand. Does anyone?
Permalink bleaty heartsheep 
March 12th, 2007 6:26pm
----"Jordan, Egypt and Iraq didn't mobilize the Arab Liberation Army in 1948?"---- Seven months after the UN resolution, during which time Israeli terrorist militias had expelled Arabs from land granted to them under the partition plan numerous times.

----"Israel sided with the Nazis in WWII (hey, pick the wrong horse, don't come crying for your losses)"-----
What rubbish is this? Are you implying the Arabs sided with the Nazis. Get real; they were invaded by the colonial powers throughout this period.

---"The neighboring Arab states didn't gear up for war in 1967?"---- That's debateable, but it was Israel who started the war.

----"Anyway one always hears the statistic that Palestinians have the highest rate of masters degrees in the world. That didn't come about by accident."-----
It came about because millions of Palestinians had been expelled from their homeland to become refugees in other Arab countries. If you are a refugee, often twice over (I had a colleague who was expelled from his home twice by the Israelis, first in 1948 from Jaffa, then in 1967 from the West Bank) then you put your effort into something you can take with you, in this case education.
Permalink Send private email Stephen Jones 
March 12th, 2007 7:47pm
"Oh, please. Israel sided with the Nazis in WWII (hey, pick the wrong horse, don't come crying for your losses)?"

er...yes, actually one of the less pleasant Zionist groups did (or at least tried to):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stern_gang#Contact_with_Nazi_authorities

All rather embarrassing in hindsight.
Permalink Send private email a cynic writes... 
March 13th, 2007 7:39am
"In fifty years the Jews have taken a piece of desert with no more natural resources than a few seaside orange groves, and turned it into one of the world's most admirable economies."

Jpost.com reported that 35% of Israeli children live in poverty? what kind of fucking drugs are you on? all "improvements" that you see is the result of the US pumping billions of dollars annually.

Don't be a moron or at least act like you are not a moron jew boy.
Permalink Dan Denman 
March 13th, 2007 11:11pm

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