Good piece Arash. I am sitting in my office in Jerusalem right now reading it. Let me tell you the feeling in Israel right now, especially in the north where the barrier is already up. The feeling is 100% better than last year. This wall helps people sleep at night, and go to work in the morning. It’s been 4 months since the last suicide bombing, which is an unprecedented time of quiet. To hear the decision of the ICJ that we should dismantle (!) it, you would expect Israelis to be shocked or angry. But we are not, because we didn’t expect anything else to come from the Hague. But you say that Israel should not act unilaterally? If the whole world tells you to take off your armor when your neighbors are shooting at you, please tell me, what would you do? I wish Israel didn’t have... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
I apologize for using this to solicit help, but I'm not sure what other way to use to get in touch with the largest number of Iranians who may have some clue as to what's the best way of going about solving this. We're trying to send money to a person in Iran, so that would make it a person-to-person transfer. I'm having a hard time determining what the best way of doing this is. I'm hoping that someone on here will have experience with this can could point us in the right direction. I want to do this through my bank/credit union through an intermediary institution (as is the norm with international transfers), directly to the account of the person we're sending the money to. If anyone has information that will make his process clearer and possible it would be greatly appreciated. Again, I apologize for using this... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
I think Arash's proposal to the state of Israel to bring its "strong case" to the Hague is very unrealistic. Why should really Israel do so, when she doesn't need to?!! It is clear that the barrier brings security for the Israeli citizens, for the same reason that the Gaza barrier did. But Ron, I have a question for you: Do you (and if you can answer this, the majority of Israeli citizens) believe that the barrier which 1. does not comply with any of the previous grounds for negotiations that Israel had accepted (i.e. the Oslos and whatever), and 2.cuts deeply through Palestinian-Occupied(!) territory (according to BBC:The impact of the plan has been felt most acutely in Qalqilya itself, once known as the West Bank's "fruit basket", which lies within a tight loop in the wall. It is cut off on three sides - from the farms which... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
Expensive yes, but don't forget, it is being built by Jews. But seriously, no one in Israel and neither do, I suspect, the Palestinians believe in Oslo anymore. For Israel, it was nullified at the beginning of the current terror offensive. For the Palestinians, and this is evident from very recent events in Gaza, they have no faith in Arafat anymore. Basically, it is understood that whatever comes next will be based on current realities on the ground. These realities are in a constant state of flux. The Israeli public was enthusiastic about Oslo and the prospect for a negotiated settlement, excluding of course, our fanatics, (who fortunately are not very influential outside their circle). Qalqilya was affected particularly strongly by the barrier, and its residents were subjected to great hardship, which caused debate within Israel, leading to this section of the barrier being removed. I think the Israeli... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
I would just like to add how disappointed I am with the ICJ decision. Not because it ruled against Israel, that was expected, but because its extreme position of complete "Dismantling" ensured that its opinion would be dismissed, thus further driving a wedge between Israel and the world. If the opinion was for example, that Israel must move the barrier closer to, or even along the Green Line, it would have put enormous pressure on the Israeli government to respond, and would probably have been supported by the U.S. as well. Why the ICJ would want to put a nail in its own coffin of illegitimacy I cannot understand. There was no reason for it, and it confirms what most in Israel already believe: that the international community doesn't give a shit about peace for Israel or the Palestinians
It's not the world court's problem that it deals with an occupying nation. Most Israeilis should think that they are citizens of an occuping country 1st. Some of them the very occupiers themselves! For a human that feeling comes first. For an ****** ,of course, other things come first.
Ron, what do you mean, "We have co-existed with them for 37 years and only the last few have seen this level of violence." I remember seeing Israeli soldiers holding guns on Arab schoolboys with slingshots on the 6:00pm news when I was in high school, which was the early 1970's. Turning people out of their homes for bogus "zoning" purposes, squatting on farmland, erecting permanent structures then proclaiming them colonies, and denying the existence of a Palestinian state is not the same as telling the truth. Building a wall may help the conquerors sleep at night for now, but surely anyone can see that there will have to be a reaction, and guess what kind of reaction that will be? No, the legal residents of the territory will not realize that they don't exist and disappear, no matter what the propaganda machine blasts out. Hey, here's an idea:... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
I agree with Ron completely. This case was never under the jurisdiction of this court, so when it accepted the case it was already crystal clear what the verdict would be. As for the wall not following the green line, Gosh how big is the whole place anyway? I can't possibly comprehend why Israel should deliberately worsen such a situation, with the intifada at loose, the Tourism industry in ruins, the economy badly shaken and her citizens in fear of their lives everyday, just to annex a tiny bit more land while at the same time it is pulling out of Gaza unilaterally?! C'mon people! What kind of sense does this make? It is pretty clear that the issue is security,IMHO. again as Ron said the territorial boundries are still disputed, and there never was a country named Palestine to be occupied, and frankly I don't see why Israel... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
Incidentally, I found the comments of Alan Baker, Israel’s legal advisor very interesting: “The war crimes definitions fit the Geneva Conventions and international law up to World War II and immediately afterwards, when armies were fighting armies. Yet with the development of terrorism by groups that are not state entities, the whole concept of what a war crime is has changed. But the international community has not yet developed the legal texts in international law that fit these developments. A country -- whether it be Israel, or the United States in its fight with al-Qaeda -- whose army is involved in fighting a terrorist organization which has no state and no boundaries, has to be able to carry out those acts necessary to deal with terror” I think this idea that international law is not equipped to deal with terrorism will be adopted by more countries in the future,... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
Ron If you believe in the legitimate grievances of the last two millenniums, I could not imagine how any individual member of the poor Palestinian society who has experienced direct and absolute grief in last five decades may think and behave.
Dear Arash, Though I fundamentally disagree with the logic of your post, which is assuming inherited right of Israel being in the Palestinian Territory and considering West Bank as “disputed territory”, I should say it was a well-written post. But my main problem is how does this post relate to Iran? (This website is Free Thoughts on “Iran”). I know Iran’s foreign policy has been, is and will be highly correlated with Palestine-Israeli affairs, but I couldn’t see how you connect this post to Iran. This might seem to be a marginal point, but I guess in order to keep this website coherent, we should keep the posts related to Iran, or omit “Iran” from its title!
Borghan, I think this post is related to Iran in that an Iranian, living in Iran, has written it :) I mean, you said it yourself, "Iran’s foreign policy has been, is and will be highly correlated with Palestine-Israeli affairs..." Then why can't you "see how you connect this post to Iran"?
This is a very good article, the only beef I have is with the ending. Israel's "unilateralism" is not only the fault of Israel, it is the fault of Israel being assaulted in the "international community" with things like UN "zionism = racism" resolutions, and this ruling itself. Israel is usually not given an opportunity to express itself (but it is true that when it is given an opportunity it fails to convey its point of view effectively, despite conspiracy accusations to the contrary.) The court did not even pretend to follow its own legalities: the court from the beginning was meant to only resolve issues between states that ask for a ruling, and Israel obviously did not ask for a ruling. As for Israel participating in the court to make its position clear, Israel submitted a written statement to the court regarding its positions, that was simply ignored... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
Dear Borghan, Diversity of views is the essence of such forums and has been explicitly hailed in FToI's charter. I would hail your disagreement even more if you shared your perspective with me along with that disagreement. As regards the issue of relevance, I realize it is not directly related to Iran, but to demonstrate how my article could be posted on this web site without the need for changing its name, I invite you to take a look at FToI's about page, which briefly explains the original idea behind its creation. Here's an excerpt: "..We are also hopeful at the possible impact we might have on the Blogosphere, and international community, on how they understand and respond about Iran and Iranians in general." As Babak nicely put it, my post is relevant to Iran, because it is posted by an Iranian living in Iran; and one of my... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
The question of relevance also crossed my mind. I can see the importance of this issue to Iran, but I don’t understand why it is so. First of all, Iran is far away, so there is no territorial dispute, and I can’t imagine that Israel is viewed as any sort of threat to Iran, a country 100 times larger and 10 times more populous. I can’t see that it’s a religious issue, because Israel has good relations with other Muslim groups including Turks, Kurds, Bedouins, Central Asian peoples, or at worst neutral relations with non-Arab Muslim nations like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia. Before the revolution, Iran was Israel’s best friend in the Middle East, and today both our President and Defense Minister are Iranian-born. I guess my question is, does this hostility come from a genuine concern and sympathy for the welfare of Palestinians, religious pride, or is it... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
Ron, IMHO Iran is Israel's biggest enemy today, with nukes and al-qaida leadership hiding in Chalus and Lavizan and all that. Attacking Israel nowadays in the Muslim world is what attracts hearts and minds, so Iran is attempting to become a leader of the Muslim world by attacking Israel. Also, Israel represents the evil corrupt West, or more precisely "the outsiders/non-muslims". Islam after a few centuries of its existance has become a very closed-in society, and "the other" is feared and hated. Islam is good, "the other" is evil, that makes the decisions simple. Israel also represents the challenge some Muslims feel they have to overcome/defeat to prove something to themselves about their manliness, or about their faith really being true after all despite consistent Islamic failures and expectations of Islamic success and victory, as the Koran expects. Another factor is in Islam, the further a way a people... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
JFTDMaster, "Iran is Israel's biggest enemy today" That gives another reason for Israel and the people of Iran to be allies, since this regime is most definitely the biggest enemy of the Iranian people and their entire culture. Ron, As to what the mullahs problem with Israel is, it has many facets. The main thing to know is the the system here is an Islamic theocracy. Now many might not lik ethis, but Islam is in essence the very opposite of Judaism.As I said elsewhere, . Indeed the name itself is very revealing: Israel "struggles with God", Islam "Absolute submission". The fact that Islam is dependent on Judasim in the superficial shared set of characters and legends makes Judaism a constant thorn in the flesh for Islamists. There are also vast politicla reasons which have however their root in this religious situation. There are also extra levels of complexity.... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
“I guess my question is, does this hostility come from a genuine concern and sympathy for the welfare of Palestinians, religious pride, or is it just politics?” Ron, I can tell you what I think. If you look at most of the present Islamic countries, they were colonized or subdued by either the west or the Turks at some point in their histories. Iran was the only country which was not colonized, there were numerous cases of interference in her affairs by the Russians and the British but there was no question of retaining her by force. Even when the country was in her weakest period of history, it was unimaginable and unacceptable for the people to be run by the “ajnabies” or foreigners. With Iran being located at such an important geopolitical position (two-thirds of the world resources are all around the Persian Gulf), any independent rulers of... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
Thank you to the previous few posts for your insight. Parsa, I have to take issue with your interpretation of certain historical details. First of all, as I understand it, Iran herself was aligned with the West until 25 years ago, and until then she was friendly with Israel. Maybe I don’t understand the nature of the Revolution, but I would imagine it to be an internal political matter. How could a change in leadership completely reverse the strategic interests of a country? Or, in other words, nothing changed in Israel in ’79, so how did she become enemy #1 overnight? Clearly the Shah wasn’t wary of Israel, or maybe you don’t consider him an “independent ruler” as you say? Second of all, “they” did not create Israel (I assume by “they” you mean the Western nations). The modern state of Israel was created by the blood and sweat... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
Ron, I gotta leave now, but have this for now. "The zealots of Israel and their supporters should remember that the earlier Zionists, back in Herzl’s time, made gigantic efforts to gain approval from the European powers. They lobbied the tsar, the sultan, the pope and the British Empire. And whatever the zealots say, Israel would not exist if it had not been for the Balfour declaration of 1917, a British political act, and the United Nations partition plan of 1947, a joint political act by the Soviet Union and the United States." and here is the whole thing if you'd like to check it out. http://mondediplo.com/2004/07/14rodinson
Interesting article. I actually find the author to be more optimistic than he himself probably realizes. The article sort of suggests what I sincerely hope is the case, which is a massive communication failure between the parties of this conflict. For their part, the Arabs failed to grasp that, aside from the “mythical” claim that Jews have to the land, we were left with only two choices at that point in time A.) Create an autonomous Jewish state on an area where a relatively small part of the Arab nation resides, or B.) well, maybe you heard the joke about 6 million Jews living in an ashtray… For our part, the Jews failed to realize that land, honor, pride, and religion take precedence in their culture over trivial details like preservation of life. But let’s forget that, it should be left in the past. The author suggests that the... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
Ron, I believe most of what makes this conflict a relevant issue to Iran is politics, and by politics in general, I mean the relationship between two governments, which does not necessarily and always coincide with the two peoples' perception of one another. In the case of Israel and Iran, the situation is rather complicated, because certain groups in the Iranian society have traditionally had hostile feelings towards Jews. This even predates the establishment of any Jewish state called Israel. I have heard many stories from my friends and relatives living in Isfahan on how Jews were perceived and treated by others; that includes not only Muslims but sometimes Christians too. A relative used to tell me how Jewish salesmen were perceived as sneaky, dishonest, and miserly and they were frequently abused and beaten up by others. A friend of mine in Isfahan, who had a Jewish neighbor in... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
Arash, I still don’t understand why you oppose in principle unilateral action. You seem to be saying that it causes people who hate to hate even more. But why should this matter? You admit that some people will hate Jews or Americans no matter what, so what difference does it make what Israel or the U.S. does? Unilateral action is right, if the action itself is the right thing to do, and only one party is willing or able to do it. Israel has, in the past, done things unilaterally that were condemned by the world at the time, but later applauded as being the right thing to do. When Israeli agents kidnapped the Nazi Adolph Eichmann from Argentina, and brought him to trial in Israel, the world condemned it as a unilateral action. Argentina declared the incident in violation of its international sovereignty, and complained to the U.N.... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
More failure of unilateral Israeli military action? from the new 9/11 commission report: "The report speculates that Daniel Lewin, a former IDF officer who was aboard American Airlines Flight 11, the first to be hijacked and subsequently piloted into the World Trade Center, may have been the first to try to rebel against the hijackers. As Mohamed Atta, the lead hijacker, and Abdul Aziz al Omari moved toward the cockpit, "passenger Daniel Lewin, who was seated in the row just behind Atta and Omari, was stabbed by one of the hijackers – probably Satam al Suqami, who was seated directly behind Lewin," the report says. "Lewin had served four years as an officer in the Israeli military. He may have made an attempt to stop the hijackers in front of him, not realizing that another was sitting behind him," it adds. Lewin, 31, had served in the elite General... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
Reading Ron's comments as well as others', I think I might have striken a nerve while expressing my ideas, and I hereby apologize if my personal analysis has provoked any feelings among you all. I again reiterate that based on those three premises mentioned in my post, I believe Israel has the right, and indeed the duty, to protect the lives of its citizens, even if it means going against the wishes of all the countries in the world; and if we look at the issue of the barrier as an isolated case, Israel indeed did not "need" to participate in any dialog or active interaction and negotiation with the international community. True! When it comes to protecting lives, one should not concern herself with how popular their course of action would make them. However, put in a broader context, many might, and in fact do, see Israel's dismissal... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
“Maybe this is strange to Christian and Muslim cultures that have a strong faith in an afterlife, I really don't know, but this is the essence of Jewish morality.” I’ve got a story to tell you. During the glorious time of Solomon, people were able to see angles, so once a frightened man came to the court of Solomon asking for an audience with the king. He told king Solomon that he had seen the death angle in the bazaar and that the angle had given him a very angry look. The man told Solomon that he was afraid that the angle would kill him. Solomon told him “But you know that the death angle just follows the Almighty’s orders not his own whim!” The man was so frightened that he wouldn’t listen to reason so eventually Solomon gave up and asked the man that what he wanted him... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
Arash, I would like to address some of what you said. If you look at what Ron said about the destruction of Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981, the phrase you need to understand to understand the Israeli mentality is "The alternative is our destruction." You say Israel does not even try to discuss anything with the UN. Does this have anything to do with the fact that Israel's position is consistently ignored, or with a dozen resolutions being passed every year for decades, with none ever being passed to support Israel? From the "zionism = racism" UN resolution, to the durban conference days before Sep. 11, UN has shown itself to be woefully biased, and no matter what Israel does it continues to assault Israel's legitimacy. What is Israel supposed to do in response? Should Israel give a charade of support and morality to a Syrian-led Human Rights? If... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is it. It’s been fun, but the game is over. This will be my last post in this discussion because we’ve gotten to the heart of the matter. It’s not the barrier, and it’s not the existence of Israel; it’s a choice between the morality of preserving innocent life (whether it be Jewish, Christian, Muslim or any other, I can assure you, Jihadists don't discriminate!) and the morality of taking it away. Every day, 19 year old Israeli soldiers make ethical decisions that most people never have to make in their lifetimes. I say this is bullshit. Every human being on this planet has an equal responsibility and obligation to him or herself and to humanity to decide what’s right and what’s wrong. No more thinking. You have a rifle in your hand and someone is shooting at you from behind a group of children.... [more at the permalink of the entry above]
Arash, as you yourself gave examples of irrational hostilities against Jews, it must be clear to you that the kind of "international" reaction Israel gets is NOT really based on rational and legitimate concerns but a continuation of old prejudices. Antui-semitism is a very complex thing and very very resilient. You say "... but I don't think that line of thinking is any different from that of BinLaden, Hizbolla, Hammas, or even Saddam's (before he was removed). They all think they are right. In fact, if self-preservation is part of Jewish morality, they think, as adamently as you do if not more so, that blowing up Jews, Americans and pretty much anyone who doesn't agree with them is the wish of the Allmighty himself. " Are you serious?!! What about objective differences? Do you honestly believe that since neither Isael nor those thugs appreciate "world opinion", their actions are... [more at the permalink of the entry above]