Israel, Palestine and Canada

The Prime Minister comments on a Palestinian bid for recognition at the United Nations.

“I think there’s no likelihood of this initiative by the Palestinian Authority doing anything to further the peace process. I think it’s possible that it could be counter-productive,” Mr. Harper told reporters outside the UN meeting on Libya. “But I would say, if the Palestinian Authority is serious about establishing a sovereign state, the method to do that is not a declaration here at the United Nations. It’s to get back at the negotiating table and negotiate peace with Israel.”




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Israel, Palestine and Canada

  1. It’s been 18 years since the Oslo Accords were signed, and absolutely nothing has happened.

    Beyond Israel building more houses on Palestinian land that is.

    Time to change tactics. Harper is on the wrong side of history as usual.

    • “It’s been 18 years since the Oslo Accords were signed, and absolutely nothing has happened.”
      Except for, you know, two or three or six intifadas, a dozen or so suicide bombings and thousands of missile attacks.

      • Since Israel has been doing it’s share of killing all this time, as well as putting up settlements that has no bearing on the matter.

  2. I don’t agree at all. By refusing to engage with those political leaders that do show interest in peace, we essentially allow groups like Hammas to control the agenda.

    If you want to negotiate a peace treaty, one would think you would seek to legitimize those with whom you can conceivably work.

    Mahmoud Abbas is probably the best leader to have risen in Palestine in quite some time. If we’re really interested in peace, then why aren’t we trying to help him secure power within the state so that any deals made by him may actually stick?

    The populace of Palestine would be very supportive of a man who could show such leadership and give them a recognized state to build upon.

    So I question the motives here. Why wouldn’t Israel and its allies support this? Why aren’t we?

    • “By refusing to engage with those political leaders that do show interest in peace, we essentially allow groups like Hammas to control the agenda.”
      The problem isn’t lack of Palestinian political leaders that show interest in peace for us to engage with, the problem is the Palestinian people resoundingly reject said leaders every chance they get to vote for them.  I suspect that, were we to anoint a particular Palestinian political leader as one we hope to engage with because of their interest in peace, said leader would have to immediately double the number of body guards.

  3. I am just curious why it was correct for Kosovo (and many other nations in the past decade) but not Palestine?

  4. Thankfully we have a PM not blinded by the ideologies of the lunatic left. The UN is nothing more then a mouthpiece for dictators and Islamic fundamentalists and any declaration made by it is of no consequence until Hamas is purged from within the Palestinian government.

    • The UN represents all the countries in the world. Perhaps the other 7 billion people on the planet would like a say in this. 

      And Hamas was democratically elected.

      • Yes, but it’s not *real* democracy unless people vote for the ones Turd likes. 

        • Apparently.

          Somehow he’s gotten the idea we run the world, and everybody has to fall in line with our wishes.

          • We don’t run the world, but we sure as hell can stand up for our friends and allies in the face of terrorist regimes.

          • If we wished to stand up for peace we’d be doing everything in our power to bring it about.

            Announcing that one is ‘good’ and one is ‘evil’ has the opposite effect.

            The Palestinians have the right to their own state.

        • What’s you definition of ‘real democracy’ Thwim? Since when are fascists, gangsters and murderers considered a proper government? 

          “The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee showed its concern that the long-overdue elections …..  First, it is trying to revive popular legitimacy for President Mahmoud Abbas and for Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s government in Ramallah, given that Abbas’s term expired in January 2009, as did that of the Palestinian Legislative Council in June 2010.”

          “Although Hamas leaders have stated that in principle they support elections as a means of peaceful transfer of power, they have persistently rejected Ramallah’s calls for elections, saying that the PLO and Fayyad government lack the legitimacy to make such a call …. Second, Hamas leaders believe that they did not have a fair chance to rule after winning the 2006 elections, as they were set upon from all sides at home and abroad and so were unable to meet their election promises or claim tangible achievements for the public. Thus, Hamas’s opposition to elections now can be understood as a wish to avoid an embarrassing potential electoral defeat at a time when the economic situation in Gaza is still in free fall.”

          http://carnegieendowment.org/2011/04/13/palestinian-elections-and-hamas-fatah-power-struggle/ie

          • Real democracy is when the people vote and choose their leadership.

            Why do you hate democracy?

          • Real democracy is when people vote and choose their leadership regularly, like every 4 or 5 years for instance. 

            It is dictatorship to have one dodgy election and continue in power indefinitely which is what is occurring within Palestinian territories. 

          • @Tony_Adams:disqus 

            So unless they do it exactly the way we do, and elect only the people we like….it’s not democracy?

            I suppose you expect Palestinians to have signs on their lawns as well?

          • Well, let’s bring a bit of context to your cherry picking from that article: “Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said on April 4 that “Hamas will be ready to participate in elections after an agreement is reached, to confute the allegation that Islamists partake in elections only once.” Holding elections before the details of reconciliation are clear would be political suicide for Hamas.”

            And a little further down:  What Fatah and Hamas share is a parochial perspective on elections, with each looking to exploit the issue in order to gain the upper hand against its rival and shore up its battered legitimacy.In this regard, the calls to hold or boycott elections are simply two sides of the same coin. 

            Now, I’ll certainly agree that a framework for regular elections may help democracy.  That said, the lack of such framework doesn’t in any way invalidate the democratic choice made by the people at the time.  Hamas has given a rough time frame for when the elections will happen, and while it may certainly be longer than the 4-5 years we typically have over here, what evidence is there that we’ve picked the right time-frame?    Personally, I can think of a number of reasons that suggest our time frame for elections is actually *too short*

            To be honest, if I had my druthers, there’d be no fixed election period at all. Just the citizen recall, by-elections, and confidence.

      • So was Hitler.

        That didn’t work out so well for the Jews either.

        • Perhaps you could read up on Hitler some time, and find out what actually happened.

          • “What actually happened?” You’re one of Zundel’s disciples, are you?

          • I’m aware of German history from the Weimar to post-WWII periods, thanks – even took a seminar course on it in undergrad. (My term paper was on the reciprocal influences between Riefenstahl’s films and NSDAP policy.) You know, what with having a history degree, and all. 

            Consequently, I can say with some certainty your parsing of Turd’s argument so finely is laughable. The point is that dictatorship can easily arise in a putative democracy that also has weak state institutions, is easily manipulated, and is prone to irrational panicky racism. (Y’know, much like the Palestinian quasi-state.) Hitler was a product of “democracy,” notwithstanding the technicalities of the final moments of seizing power.

          • @AVR 

            Then you should know better than to agree with a Turd.

          • @AVR

            You mean the way the US was under Bush.

      • Perhaps the other 7 billion people on the planet would like a say in this.

        I think there’s an argument to be made that with regard to about 6.9 billion of those people it’s none of their damned business. 

        Unless the Palestinians think this is the first step towards some future UN sanctioned military intervention to free the occupied territories from Israel by force of arms (in which case, the Palestinians are CRAZY) I fail to see the logic in pursuing a course that only serves to tick off the only people with whom you can negotiate.  It’s up to ISRAEL to end the ISRAELI occupation of the occupied territories, so to my mind, stuff that ticks off Israel only makes the prospect of an independent Palestinian state LESS likely, not more.

        • Normally it wouldn’t be….but since the UN invented Israel to begin with, and since the ME has oil and been interfered with generally for a century, it’s become a world problem.

          The Palestinians have the right to their own country….and a 2 state solution is one everybody agrees on.  But after all these years of coming no closer to that than they’ve ever been….it’s time to solve it another way.

          Israel is going to be ticked off, no matter what happens…it’s time to stop worrying about Israel’s mood,  and get something useful done.

          • ” …. and a 2 state solution is one everybody agrees on.”

             Hamas doesn’t want UN process or 2 State solution and Israelis don’t seem all that keen either. So I am skeptical of your claim that everyone agrees on what to do next. 

            Other than vainglorious Western leaders, who really desires two state solution that we are trying to impose on Middle East? 

            Sept 2011:

            Hamas spokesman Salah Bardawil said that the Palestinian Authority’s UN bid was “perilous for the resistance movement.”

             
            According to Bardawil, “September’s plan does not stem from reasonable principles and is part of the negotiation process. If it works, it will cement the Palestinians’ recognition of Israel’s right to exist.”

            May 2011: 

            “Hamas’ leader in the Gaza Strip on Sunday affirmed the Islamist movement’s hard-line principles in a speech to thousands of Muslim worshippers Sunday, as they commemorated the uprooting of Palestinians during the 1948 Independence Day War.

            “Palestinians mark the occasion this year with great hope of bringing to an end the Zionist project in Palestine,” Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, told about 10,000 people at a Gaza City mosque.”

          • It doesn’t matter what you are, that is the stated position, and has been in effect for years.

            PS first you tell us Hamas isn’t valid….then you put them forward as the authority. LOL

            PPS

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-state_solution

  5. Is he saying that the Palestinian State can only exist if Israel makes a unilateral decision on it’s existance?  That’s pretty screwed up, if so.

    • If that’s all it takes to keep Armageddon on the radar what’s a little dissonance between friends?

    • Unless the UN is going to authorize member states to attack Israel and take the occupied territories by force (NOT going to happen) how is a Palestinian state (a REAL Palestinian state, not just an entity the UN agrees to CALL a state) ever going to become a reality if Israel objects?  ISRAEL is the occupying force.  How is doing something that annoys Israel helpful?

      There are two ways that a truly functional Palestinian state can become a reality imho.  One, through negotiations with Israel.  Two, if the Palestinians convince Israel’s allies to abandon her entirely, and the occupation is somehow ended by force of arms.  I can’t see how the current moves at the UN move Palestine down the road on either of those fronts.  It’s ticking off the Israelis, and NOTHING is going to make the invasion of Israel a realistic option.  So, I don’t understand how poking one’s finger into the eyes of the only people capable of making your dreams come true is productive. 

      The end of the occupation does not depend on unilateral Israeli action per se, but actions taken, even by every single person in the world outside of Israel, aren’t going to end the ISRAELI occupation of the Palestinian territories.  To my mind, unless one’s end game is the ending of the occupation through UN sanctioned military force (and did I mention, NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN?) I fail to see how any diplomatic maneuvers like this are helpful.  Annoying the people you have to negotiate with is just annoying the people you have to negotiate with.  It seems to me that deliberately ticking off the Israelis moves the prospect of Palestinian statehood BACKWARDS, not forwards.

      • One state negotiating with another is preferable to a ‘people’ trying to negotiate with their occupiers.

      • If they got their own state, and they won’t, then they’d get control of the coastal waters off the strip there.  If that happens, Israeli blockading and boarding their ships could then be seen as a declaration of war and would tend to force us over here in North America to GTFO.  We’re barely tolerated over there as it is. A formal declaration of war on a new Palesteinian state would be all the fodder that Hamas and other religious groups need to make the entire middle east rise up against us — and considering where the oil is based, that would not be good for us at all. 

        This is why Harper and Obama are against the idea.  They’re both smart enough to realize that a Palesteinian state existing while Israel refuses to give up the territory puts us in an untenable position.

        I just wonder why we continue to want to back Israel — after all, aren’t we the ones who fought wars so that people wouldn’t have to be occupied by other countries?

        • We back Israel because of religion….and guilt.

          The ‘chosen people’, the ‘holy land’….all that.

          It certainly isn’t because we get anything out of it, beyond grief.

          • We also back Israel because the French largely dumped the problem on the Americans (the 1967 Six Day War being an important turning point in this regard).  Just like the French did with Vietnam.

          • The Americans could have sloughed off the problem long ago.

            They get nothing out of the relationship either…other than votes at home.

          • Okay. That’s why we backed them then. Why do so now? Especially given the occupation?

          • Thwim, if you’re looking for some staunch, absolutist Israel backer to debate with, I’m not the guy.  I find their settlement policy to be absolutely ridiculous and indefensible.  I also think the Palestinians have a helluva lot to answer for too (e.g., indiscriminately firing rockets into civilian areas, the toxic hatred of Jews that their official media spew out regularly), but I consider my position to be reasonably balanced between the two sides.  I have very little time for the hard-core partisans on either side of the debate.

          • Oh I’m absolutely with you that the people of Palestein are certainly not blameless in the affair.  I really am just curious as to how so many folks here in the west conveniently ignore the occupation.

            Sometimes I wonder if it’s a bit of a version of white man’s guilt. We did it to the natives over here, so we can’t really say anything against it over there?

            The only other reason I can come up with is that we really do want their people to be wiped out by Israel, we just don’t have the honesty or cajones to come out and say it or follow through.

          • I’m sure you have much better reasons for backing the Palestinians than your visceral hatred of Israel.  On second thought, I’m not.

          • I’m sorry, but that line of stupidity won’t get anywhere with me.

          • It’s stupid to query why you support the Palestinians?  Or more particularly, whether you have any bases to support them other than contempt for their nemesis?  More bytes wasted seeking cogency from OE1.

          • @GreatWallsofFire 

            It’s stupid to attribute a falsehood to me.

            The Palestinians have been there since the year dot, and have a right to their own state.

          • “The Palestinians have been there since the year dot, and have a right to their own state.”

            What was wrong with the one the UN voted to give them in 1948 in conjunction with the one Israel got?

        • I’m not sure the Israelis are worried about the entire Middle East rising up against them.  Every time that’s happened in the past Israel ended up bigger and more secure within a matter of DAYS of the conflict starting.

          • Yes, it would be “interesting” to see what might happen now, but historically you are correct LKO.  I read Michael Oren’s book Six Days of War (on the 1967 conflict) and one of the striking things about that conflict was just how many intra-Arab squabbles there were, how much back-stabbing and outright treachery occurred amongst the Arab states who were supposedly allied in their struggle against Israel.  Nasser’s dream of Pan-Arab unity was totally contradicted by the actual facts on the ground.

          • Plus, let’s not forget that in the Six Day War the Israelis were opposed by forces from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Kuwait, Tunisia, Sudan and the PLO.  The prospect of those countries combining forces to attack Israel again are basically ZERO, and why would they?  The last time they attacked Israel in force they lost between 13 and 24 THOUSAND soldiers (to Israel’s losses of 800-900 soldiers) over 450 aircraft (the Israelis lost 46) and the Israelis took over 5,500 captives, compared to the 15 Israelis who were captured.

            To my mind, if the “entire Middle East” ever rises up against Israel again the only thing that will be accomplished is the complete destruction of every country in the Middle East that doesn’t have a Jewish leader.  And possibly the nuking of Iran.

        • We back Israel because the argument is between “We want to continue existing, and you guys can keep existing over there, we guess, but stop shooting at us or else we’ll make you stop” and “You’re not allowed to exist because our god says so.”

          • Odd that a history major learned so little of it.

          • I simplify enormously, but accurately.

          • @AVR

            No, you simply didn’t learn anything.

          • And if that was all there was to the conflict, you’d have a point.

            However, there’s the big glaring elephant that you deliberately ignored.. and I say deliberately because it’s the reason I specifically asked.. the occupation of their territory.

            How do we blithely continue to ignore that and not make withdrawal a pre-condition for our assistance?

          • I’m not a history major, so please enlighten me – at what point exactly did it become “their territory”.  My very basic understanding of the geopolitics of that part of the Middle East is that the territory in question was part of the Ottoman empire that came under British control following World War 1.  Following World War 2, Great Britain basically handed the region over to the United Nations to deal with and in 1947, the UN declared two states would be formed from the territory.  What I’m missing is the point following the UN 1947 declaration where the Palestinians accepted it and, by extension, laid legal claim to what you refer to as “their territory”.

          • Given no definition of the two states, squatters rights would apply. Thus what makes it their territory is they were living there first.

            Another metric would be when one group bulldozes down the homes of another, that would suggest occupation of the other’s territory. Pretty simple for those of us not grinding axes.

            I mean, unless you want to argue there’s no bulldozing going on, no Israeli forces driving people out of their homes and then claiming the territory as their own. Kind of a reverse Zundel, I guess.

          • “Given no definition of the two states, squatters rights would apply. Thus what makes it their territory is they were living there first.”

            I must have missed the week in law school where they taught about how “squatters rights” are sufficient to win international recognition of statehood.  Just please don’t tell my rural neighbour, whose chicken coop extends over the property line.  BTW, how far back does your “living there first” criteria go, since my ancestors were expelled during feudal times from a lovely little tract of land in the middle of a large European metropolis.

            “Another metric would be when one group bulldozes down the homes of another, that would suggest occupation of the other’s territory. Pretty simple for those of us not grinding axes.”

            Equally simple is the notion that, if a nation is attacked and, in the course of defending the attack, comes into possession of the territories beyond its borders from which the attackers mount their attack, it’s reasonable that those territories not be handed back to the attackers unless they promise not to do it again.  And if, after, say, 20 or 30 or 44 years the attackers remain unwilling to do so, don’t “squatters rights” start to kick in?

            “I mean, unless you want to argue there’s no bulldozing going on, no Israeli forces driving people out of their homes and then claiming the territory as their own. Kind of a reverse Zundel, I guess.”

            In the future, and given the pledge concerning the watery fate the Palestinians wish to see accomplished for their foes, I’d resist the urge to describe the Isrealis as “driving people” anywhere.

          • Hell, if your law school left you so clueless as to the existence of property lines and what they mean, I’ve no doubt they never educated you on squatters rights.

            Living there first in this case would obviously extend to 1947 when the “states” came into existence.

            However, I note you concede right in your argument that the Israeli’s are extending beyond their own territory. You attempt to create some half-ass rationalization as to why it’s okay in this case, but you’ve conceded they’re going beyond their territory into that of another.. which is really the definition of occupation.

            So since we’re now in agreement that the Israeli’s actually are occupying another’s territory, I believe we’re done.

          • Since I’ve never heard anyone other than you suggesting the case for Palestinian statehood rests on squatters rights, it appears every law school in the western hemisphere is similarly deficient.

            I’m not sure why the scare quotes on “state” unless you view the same international body from whom the Palestinians are currently seeking recognition has no authority to so recognize.

            I’ve never denied Israel currently occupies territory beyond the borders established by the UN in 1947 because that is not the real issue, other than to simpletons.  The real issue is whether Israel should be expected to unoccupy those territories unilaterally, and in the face of what it – rightly or wrongly – regards to be an ongoing security threat.

          • If you care to remember when you wandered into this:

            “I’m not a history major, so please enlighten me – at what point exactly did it become “their territory”.

            So… who’s territory were you thinking it was?

          • “So… who’s territory were you thinking it was?”

            Well, following the rejection of the UN 1947 declaration that the territory become part of the Palestinian state, part of it was claimed by Egypt and part of it was claimed by Jordan, so I guess a case could be made that for awhile it was their respective territory.  At various other times, it was not claimed by anyone and administered by the UN, so perhaps it belonged to we citizens of the world at those times.

            Notwithstanding any of this, you obviously believe it belongs to the only group to whom the territory has ever been formally offered, but who in no uncertain terms has repeatedly rejected said offers.

          • I’ve got to agree with GWofF on this one.  If the occupied territories belonged to anyone before the occupation they “belonged” to Jordan, Egypt and Syria.  The territories never belonged to “the Palestinians” because the Palestinians have never had their own state before (if you don’t count Jordan, and it would seem that Jordan doesn’t really want them anymore).

            People act these days as though the “two state solution” was a solution forced on Israel, but that’s not really accurate imho.  The two state solution was forced on Israel’s ENEMIES.  The Palestinians were interested in destroying the state of Israel long before they were interested in having their own state (or at the very least they were exponentially more interested in destroying Israel than they were in forming their own sovereign state).  Palestinian statehood is the fallback position, the attempted destruction of Israel having repeatedly failed.   Had the Six Day War ended differently, there’d STILL not be a “Palestinian State” today, it’s just that Egypt and Syria and Jordan would each be a bit bigger, with larger Palestinian populations.  The notion of a state of Israel coexisting peacefully next to a Palestinian state was firmly rejected by the Palestinians themselves (and the Arab states bordering Israel) for DECADES following 1947.  The only reason the Palestinians are agitating for their own state today is that they’ve come to realize that they’ll never be able to drive the Israelis into the sea, and the Arab countries around Israel don’t really want to take the Palestinians in, so they’ve got no other choice.

            IMHO, the “two state solution” didn’t come about because Israel came to realize that the Palestinians deserved to have their own state, it came about because the Palestinians and their allies came to realize that they were incapable of destroying Israel.  The Israelis were prepared to live in peace next to a Palestinian state LONG before the Palestinians professed a willingness to live in peace next to Israel, and I think Israelis can be forgiven for perhaps suspecting that when Palestinian leaders today say that they want a two state solution they might have their fingers crossed behind their backs.

      • Regardless, Harper’s take on the motion is that Palestinians should just STFU.  He is putting no pressure on Israel to negotiate (and neither is Obama, for that matter) because he doesn’t see the occupation as a bad thing.  The Israeli government represents “our people” and the Palestinian civilians are “the others”, so the status quo is all good, so far as he’s concerned.

        • I don’t think that’s actually Harper’s take.  I think Harper’s take is that agitating at the UN for official recognition is counter-productive given that it apparently annoys the people the Palestinians actually need to negotiate with in order to end the occupation.  To my mind, the only thing that going to the UN accomplishes is annoying the Israelis and making the Americans uncomfortable.  It seems to me that poking one’s finger into the eye of the people one is negotiating with HURTS the negotiations, it certainly doesn’t help.

          Official UN recognition (which isn’t going to happen btw, as the Americans have already been perfectly clear that they’ll veto it) is only advantageous to the Palestinians if the Palestinians believe that it will lead to the UN imposing sanctions on Israel, or better, authorizing the use of force to end the occupation.  If Palestinian leaders believe that any of those things are going to happen then I would suggest that the Palestinian people need to find new leaders quickly, because such a belief would seem to indicate that their current leaders a delusional, and/or crazy.

          What’s going on at the UN is essentially meaningless vis a vis the occupation, and if anything it moves the day that the occupation will end further away, not closer.  Palestinian leaders should be lobbying ISRAEL to end the occupation, because only Israel can end the occupation.  Lobbying the rest of the world to do something the Israelis don’t want done isn’t just a waist of time, it’s actually counter-productive.

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