Sunday, 22 May 2011

Rules of Engagement for Comment on the Israeli Palestinian Conflict

Posted by Lambcut

Lambcut with a very special Semitic friend

At the discretion of Busted Blonde and the Brunette, I will probably continue to post occasionally as time allows, on Saturdays and Sundays on the delicate topic of Israeli Palestinian politics. If you wish to comment on any post going forward you will have to abide by certain rules of engagement. In previous posts on the topic or in reply to any comment thus far, you will note that I haven’t indulged in any ad hominem attacks, pejorative language, racist insults or hate speech. The same cannot be said for some VRWC commentators. Though, some of those commentators resorted to other blogs as their forum for this. Notwithstanding, I published all comments sent to Roarprawn. I will not continue to do so.

There have been assertions by Roarprawn’s commentators, albeit on other blogs that I am anti-Semitic. Arabs, along with Jews, are Semitic people. In any event, I do not countenance anti-Semitism in any form. There will be no holocaust denying here, there will also be no nakba denying. I do not compare nakba to the holocaust. The horrors of the holocaust thankfully remain out in a league of their own. Nakba is an atrocity in its own right. And I will not ignore it.

I refer to my recent post entitled, Israel and the Fine Art of Sophistry. It attracted remarkable traffic and vitriol from the VRWC’s readers. It was essentially a post on the poor standard of journalism on both sides. Read it properly and see. Not one commentator asked me whether or not I agreed with a withdrawal to the 1967 borders or if I supported a two state solution. The most inflammatory thing I said was, “for Netanyahu to assert that the 1967 borders are indefensible is demonstrably untrue and mischievous”. Not one commentator provided any rebuttal to that statement. No-one talked about the quality or veracity of press coverage.

As it happens I am not convinced a two state solution is best. If Israel took over the West Bank and Gaza, and was made a whole country on that basis, certain things would eventually have to happen. If Israel wished to be thought of as a civilised state the rights of all of its citizens would have to be recognised equally. The Gaza wall would have to come down or it would be an apartheid state, and would have to be regarded as such by the international community. Any violent act by any citizen Palestinian or Jew would have to be recognised for what it is – a criminal act punishable at criminal law. Water and other vital infrastructure would need to be provided to all areas of the country in proper proportions. Persons born in Israeli territory would have automatic citizenship and have the right to leave the country and have the right of return. Disputes over real property, historic or not, would have to be addressed on an appropriate legal basis. Universal suffrage would have to be enacted. Those persons now held in Israeli prisons without trial would have to be brought before the Courts without undue delay.

If you wish to make any comment on any post of mine on this topic I will publish it, provided the comment does not contain:

Ad hominem attacks; or

pejorative language; or

racist insults; or

hate speech against any ethnic group.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Dear David S

Thank you for your support. The prohibition on ad hominem argument extends to your fellow commentators. You will have to couch your comment in alternative terms to have it published in this forum.


Anonymous said...

Lambcut, hard to see how a single-state solution could work.

We talk about "nation-states". Nations are groups of people who share a common identity. They share a common fate. That could be based on a shared history, a shared set of values, a shared connection to a physical place ... but they share it. Our relationship with our nation is personal.

States are political creations, with borders and flags and people sitting in the UN. Our relationship with our state is legal.

There are multi-national states. Spain and Belgium are examples. Russia and China are others. Problem is, multi-national states only stay together because either (i) the identities of the constituent nations are not in conflict with each other, or (ii) it's a police state which keeps the nations together despite their wishes.

The Jews and the Palestinians are not (i). Their national identities are clearly in conflict with each other. That won't change.

So the only way a multi-national single-state solution could work is with (ii). A police state. A much more onerous, inflexible and unforgiving police state than exists in Israel today.

I doubt that's what you really want.

Anonymous said...

Lambcut, you assert in your earlier post that for Netanyahu to assert the 1967 borders are indefensible is demonstrably untrue and mischievous

Firstly, I presume you mean the borders as at June 4th 1967, immediately before the Six Day War.

If that's a fair assumption then the answer really is no they are not defensible.

Gaza and the Sinai border are broadly back to May 1967 locations. And Egypt have ostensibly demilitarised the Sinai. So those borders are okay.

In today's world of drones and satellites the Golan Heights isn't as strategically important as it once was. Technological change makes that border defensible.

The border through Jerusalem would be messy to defend, but could probably be secured via a wall to control terrorist incursions.

But the Latrun Salient is clearly not defensible. It was Israel's biggest military vulnerability after 1948, and one of the hardest fought victories in 1967.

In that key area Netanyahu is correct - the pre-1967 borders are not defensible and Israel could not feel secure with that border.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon

With reference to my reply to Paranormal's comment on the defensibility of the 1967 borders, I refer you too, to US lawyer Gil Maguire blogging on Israel-Palestine issues. He replies to your issue very well in an article you can find at:



Anonymous said...


Nope, Gil Maguire's article doesn't address the problem at Latrun. And I'd read it before I made my earlier post.

Most of Israel's 1948 borders are defensible given today's technology. The Latrun salient would not be. It would give whoever holds it the ability to launch artillery and rockets at practically all of Israel. It would close the road to Jerusalem. And given the topography it would be very difficult to re-take.

I'm not saying Israel and the Palestinians couldn't reach agreement over borders. Just that glibly saying the 1967 borders are defensible is incorrect.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous

It seems you don't want or don't think a one state solution can work. Conservative Israelis don't want a two state solution. I was taking most opposition in this forum to be aligned with the conservative Israeli view. If you don't want a one state solution and you don't want a two state solution, what do you want?

As to the possibility of peace on a nationhood basis, that is the topic of next weekend's post. So, I'll get back to you on that in due course.


Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous

With regard to Latrun. I understand nearly all Palestinians were evacuated from there in 1949. I suspect its an area that would be the subject of land swap negotiations. It clearly isn't thought of as fatal to that process by Obama's advisors.



Anonymous said...


No, I don't think a one state solution can work. Fundamentally there are two separate nations which do not have enough common ground to form a single state.

Yes I recognise there are some Jews and some Palestinians who would like a single state solution. And those people may each be accommodating enough that they personally will compromise on some things in order to get along with the other side. But they are not the population as a whole. And they are not a large enough portion of the population as a whole to over-ride the fundamental disconnect between Jews and Palestinians.

A single-state solution is a pipedream.

IMHO the only workable solution has two states.

Anonymous said...


Yes, nearly all the Palestinian civilians were evacuated from Latrun in 1949. By the Arab Legion (effectively the Jordanian Army). In order to fortify the Latrun salient and attack the road to Jerusalem.

Yes, I imagine it is one of the areas that would need to be swapped in any settlement.

Yes, its presence means the pre-1967 borders are/were fundamentally indefensible.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous

"IMHO the only workable solution has two states".

Well that puts you four square in Obama's camp right now.

I too am not against the possibility. I said, I am not convinced it is the best solution. By all means, convince me.

Kind regards


Blair said...

A one state solution would work just fine. Currently a fifth of all Israelis are Arab. Annexing the West Bank, from memory, would bring that number up to about 40%. The main barrier to that is actually the absence of a ratified constitution for the State of Israel. As long as you have guaranteed human rights and guaranteed citizenship for Jews in a constitution, the one state solution would work.