• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Israel warns of unilateral steps if PA seeks UN statehood

donsutherland1

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
11,691
Reaction score
9,981
Location
New York
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Centrist
The Jerusalem Post reported:

Israel will pursue its own unilateral steps if the Palestinians do not return to the negotiating table and instead seek UN support for unilateral moves to declare a state within the pre- 1967 lines, a government source told The Jerusalem Post late Thursday night.

“If the Palestinians think that unilateral moves are a one-way street, they are sadly mistaken. It is an option that both sides have,” said the source.


With the latest Palestinian boycott of negotiations having failed to extract additional unilateral Israeli concessions despite international pressure having been placed on Israel, the Palestinian leadership has been offering not too subtle hints that it could seek UN approval for a Palestinian state within pre-1967 war boundaries. Although the Security Council would very likely reject such a proposal as it would run counter to the terms of UNSC Res. 242, there have been some hints that the Palestinians could seek an end run through the reliably anti-Israel General Assembly.

Israel has now made clear that it could also pursue unilateral options should the Palestinians resort to such a course. IMO, the ideal outcome of this Israeli hint would be to deter Palestinian unilateralism, but that would only happen if the Palestinians believe that (1) Israel would be serious about pursuing such a course, (2) the Palestinians would only be able to gain a truncated state afterward, and (3) there would be no international "rescue" of the Palestinians from such a self-inflicted fate.

Ultimately, a settlement of the historic conflict should be agreed through negotiations. Such an outcome would be far preferable to unilateral arrangements. Hence, deterrence of a Palestinian resort to such moves would be a positive development.

If the international community, including the UN wish to act in a constructive fashion rather than hardening divisions, they should press the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible. Otherwise, so long as the Palestinians believe they can gain unilateral concessions--an expectation that is stoked whenever the international community misplaces blame on Israel for what is a Palestinian walkout and refusal to negotiate--they will avoid talks to see if they can gain such concessions. Avoidance of negotiations, of course, will only delay prospects for a settlement.
 
Last edited:

justabubba

long standing member
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
49,690
Reaction score
31,522
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
stop the pretense
israel does not want negotiations that result in its making any concessions
if it did, it would not have resumed construction of the illegal settlements
israel wants to keep what it has taken
the failure of negotiations to move forward is the result of israeli intransigence
 

donsutherland1

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
11,691
Reaction score
9,981
Location
New York
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Centrist
Israel didn't walk away from the negotiations; the Palestinians did. Every element of the dispute, including settlements, are issues that properly should be raised at the talks. With the current Palestinian government seeking preconditions that were not requested of any previous Israeli government and reversing its previously long-held position of favoring land swaps, it is making demands that are disproportionate with its power and incompatible with the aspect of UNSC. Res. 242 that allows Israel "secure" boundaries. While such a stance might make allow for an opportunity of posturing to appear strong before a domestic Palestinian audience, objectively the position is seen as hollow and, worse for the Palestinians, it undermines their interests (obtaining a sovereign state that maximizes the amount of territory they would be given). The Palestinians lack the power to have any chance of imposing such a solution hence their actual leverage is weak. They are not entitled to their maximum demands either by law or treaty, meaning that even on grounds of legitimacy their maximum position is lacking. Their walking away from talks in a bid to extort unilateral concessions only delays opportunities for dealing exactly with the issues that divide the parties.

Israel should not pay any unilateral concessions be it on construction within settlements or, as has recently been hinted could become a fresh precondition down the road, unilateral prisoner releases. If the Palestinians are serious about desiring peace, they need to negotiate, not invent silly excuses for yet another walkout from talks when they know full well that a border agreement would resolve the entire settlements dispute.
 
Last edited:

justabubba

long standing member
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
49,690
Reaction score
31,522
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
israel knew that resumption of the construction in the illegal settlements would scuttle the talks
so what did it do .... authorize resumption of construction in the illegal settlements
it is clear. israel does not want to relinquish what it now controls but would have to give up as the price of a peace agreement. so resumption of construction in the illegal settlements assures the talks do not go forward. this was a transparent effort by israel to give the appearance it is the Palestinians who do not want to negotiate
 

donsutherland1

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
11,691
Reaction score
9,981
Location
New York
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Centrist
The temporary settlement freeze had a fixed timeframe of 10 months. It was no mystery to anyone that it would expire. Perhaps had they not squandered almost all of that timeframe, the Palestinians could have reached a deal on borders or an interim agreement that would have addressed that issue. Instead, they want payment that harms the standard of living within the existing boundaries of the settlements in exchange for nothing at all. The mantra that 'Israel is to blame' is incorrect.

Israel is not obligated to provide any unilateral concessions to the Palestinians and, as I have argued before, Israel has hurt its negotiating position by having done so in the past, as it only eroded incentives for Palestinian flexbility and encouraged more of the behavior one is witnessing today from the Palestinian leadership. If Israel truly wanted to lock up its holdings, it would have kept such matters as the settlements off the negotiating table. However, that is not what has happened. In fact, on several occasions Prime Minister Netanyahu has explicitly stated that the Palestinians can negotiate the issue of settlements during talks. Moreover, all the parties, including the Palestinian leadership, understand that a border agreement would resolve the settlements issue, as no settlement construction would occur in areas agreed to be given to the Palestinians and the emphasis would shift toward removing the settlements from that territory.

In the end, if the Palestinians truly desire peace with Israel, their leadership will make the all too minimal effort required to show up at the talks. If not, they'll continue to invent excuses for avoiding negotiations while squandering opportunities that exist to make progress toward an agreed solution. Should the Palestinians choose to avoid negotiations, Israel should not put its proverbial life and the welfare of its citizens on hold to spare the Palestinians the opportunity costs associated with their choice. Instead, they should make clear that Israel will be ready to resume negotiations if or when the Palestinians approach Israel for a resumption of talks without demanding payment in exchange for such talks.
 

justabubba

long standing member
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
49,690
Reaction score
31,522
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
The temporary settlement freeze had a fixed timeframe of 10 months. It was no mystery to anyone that it would expire. Perhaps had they not squandered almost all of that timeframe, the Palestinians could have reached a deal on borders or an interim agreement that would have addressed that issue. Instead, they want payment that harms the standard of living within the existing boundaries of the settlements in exchange for nothing at all. The mantra that 'Israel is to blame' is incorrect.

Israel is not obligated to provide any unilateral concessions to the Palestinians and, as I have argued before, Israel has hurt its negotiating position by having done so in the past, as it only eroded incentives for Palestinian flexbility and encouraged more of the behavior one is witnessing today from the Palestinian leadership. If Israel truly wanted to lock up its holdings, it would have kept such matters as the settlements off the negotiating table. However, that is not what has happened. In fact, on several occasions Prime Minister Netanyahu has explicitly stated that the Palestinians can negotiate the issue of settlements during talks. Moreover, all the parties, including the Palestinian leadership, understand that a border agreement would resolve the settlements issue, as no settlement construction would occur in areas agreed to be given to the Palestinians and the emphasis would shift toward removing the settlements from that territory.

In the end, if the Palestinians truly desire peace with Israel, their leadership will make the all too minimal effort required to show up at the talks. If not, they'll continue to invent excuses for avoiding negotiations while squandering opportunities that exist to make progress toward an agreed solution. Should the Palestinians choose to avoid negotiations, Israel should not put its proverbial life and the welfare of its citizens on hold to spare the Palestinians the opportunity costs associated with their choice. Instead, they should make clear that Israel will be ready to resume negotiations if or when the Palestinians approach Israel for a resumption of talks without demanding payment in exchange for such talks.
and since they continue to control the disputed land, they continue to deprive the Palestinian people of their rights and property

thank you for that confirmation that israel has no real interest in participating in peace talks
 

Gardener

free market communist
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 5, 2005
Messages
26,661
Reaction score
15,927
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
israel wants to keep what it has taken
The elected Palestinian leadership has committed itself to taking Jewish lives.

What has Israel "taken"?
 

Dezaad

DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 7, 2005
Messages
5,058
Reaction score
2,424
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
The Jerusalem Post reported:

Israel will pursue its own unilateral steps if the Palestinians do not return to the negotiating table and instead seek UN support for unilateral moves to declare a state within the pre- 1967 lines, a government source told The Jerusalem Post late Thursday night.

“If the Palestinians think that unilateral moves are a one-way street, they are sadly mistaken. It is an option that both sides have,” said the source.


With the latest Palestinian boycott of negotiations having failed to extract additional unilateral Israeli concessions despite international pressure having been placed on Israel, the Palestinian leadership has been offering not too subtle hints that it could seek UN approval for a Palestinian state within pre-1967 war boundaries. Although the Security Council would very likely reject such a proposal as it would run counter to the terms of UNSC Res. 242, there have been some hints that the Palestinians could seek an end run through the reliably anti-Israel General Assembly.

Israel has now made clear that it could also pursue unilateral options should the Palestinians resort to such a course. IMO, the ideal outcome of this Israeli hint would be to deter Palestinian unilateralism, but that would only happen if the Palestinians believe that (1) Israel would be serious about pursuing such a course, (2) the Palestinians would only be able to gain a truncated state afterward, and (3) there would be no international "rescue" of the Palestinians from such a self-inflicted fate.

Ultimately, a settlement of the historic conflict should be agreed through negotiations. Such an outcome would be far preferable to unilateral arrangements. Hence, deterrence of a Palestinian resort to such moves would be a positive development.

If the international community, including the UN wish to act in a constructive fashion rather than hardening divisions, they should press the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible. Otherwise, so long as the Palestinians believe they can gain unilateral concessions--an expectation that is stoked whenever the international community misplaces blame on Israel for what is a Palestinian walkout and refusal to negotiate--they will avoid talks to see if they can gain such concessions. Avoidance of negotiations, of course, will only delay prospects for a settlement.
It looks to me like it is Israel that is employing unilateral moves when it creates or increases the size of settlements. From that perspective, it seems disingenuous for Israel to claim they will start making unilateral moves if the Palestinians do. They already are. If the Palestinians do the only unilateral move they can make, it will be a reaction to Israel's provocation.
 

donsutherland1

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
11,691
Reaction score
9,981
Location
New York
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Centrist
It looks to me like it is Israel that is employing unilateral moves when it creates or increases the size of settlements.
The construction that is permitted entails only building within the existing boundaries of the settlements. It does not authorize the construction of new settlements or expansion of settlements beyond their existing boundaries. It is aimed at assuring that the living standards of the residents of those settlements dont' deteriorate. No leader can or should willfully adopt a posture that allows for the worsening of the living standards of his or her constituents.

From that perspective, it seems disingenuous for Israel to claim they will start making unilateral moves if the Palestinians do. They already are.
Israel has made no permanent unilateral moves. In fact, it remains willing to negotiate the issue of settlements and to make a border agreement an early priority in talks. Such an agreement would resolve the settlements issue.

What Israel is warning about is unilateral moves that the Palestinians have threatened e.g., to recognize a Palestinian state that would cover disputed territory--in effect that would circumvent the terms of UNSC Res. 242. Were that to happen, Israel has threatened to adopt its own unilateral moves should the Palestinians do so without specifying them. Logically, such moves would include securing the territory necessary to ensure Israel has secure boundaries. What is important is that Israel is not threatening to lead the way with such moves. As a result, it is clear that Israel is trying to deter Palestinian unilateralism. If the Palestinians believe that unilateralism will leave them worse off than they would otherwise be, they might reconsider their boycott of negotiations. If not, just as with any decision, they will bear the consequences of their choice. In order to remain credible, Israel would have to follow through with its own unilateral moves if the Palestinians attempt their own unilateral moves.

Hopefully, the Palestinian leadership will end its self-imposed boycott of talks and resume the negotiations. Afterward, hopefully, the negotiating process would yield meaningful progress.

In the end, unilateralism wouldn't provide legitimacy. That the Palestinians might be able to conjure up a majority of the pro-Palestinian UN General Assembly would have no impact on legitimacy. Agreement would lead to an outcome that would be widely viewed as legitimate (except by extremists, rejectionists, etc.). Therefore, I hope that Israel will be successful in deterring Palestinian unilateralism so that the Palestinians come to understand that negotiations offer the best path toward resolving the historic dispute.
 

Lord Tammerlain

DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 25, 2010
Messages
19,003
Reaction score
8,112
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Ah, yet another land theft accusation, I see.

What land has been stolen?
If you dont know, I doubt I can show you ( perhaps any land in the west bank that has been colonized)
 

donsutherland1

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
11,691
Reaction score
9,981
Location
New York
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Centrist
Moderator's Warning:
Members are reminded of forum rules:

The following accusation is prohibited and will be infracted:

• Israeli or Palestinian or Arab land theft or variations thereof: The Israeli, Palestinian, and Arab narratives differ on that issue. To minimize conflict, accusations of land theft are prohibited.
 

Kernel Sanders

Norville Rogers
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Messages
3,730
Reaction score
1,931
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
and since they continue to control the disputed land, they continue to deprive the Palestinian people of their rights and property

thank you for that confirmation that israel has no real interest in participating in peace talks
Why should they? Israel has _all_ the power in the conflict. The palestinians have zero leverage beyond that which the international community gives it, which is just enough to keep Israel from steamrolling over them just like any other country in its position would have done in the whole history of the world. Since 1949 this has basically been protracted surrender negotiations, the Palestinians just refuse to recognize this reality and continue to make ridiculous demands with no way to back them up.
 

Dezaad

DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 7, 2005
Messages
5,058
Reaction score
2,424
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
The construction that is permitted entails only building within the existing boundaries of the settlements. It does not authorize the construction of new settlements or expansion of settlements beyond their existing boundaries. It is aimed at assuring that the living standards of the residents of those settlements dont' deteriorate. No leader can or should willfully adopt a posture that allows for the worsening of the living standards of his or her constituents.



Israel has made no permanent unilateral moves. In fact, it remains willing to negotiate the issue of settlements and to make a border agreement an early priority in talks. Such an agreement would resolve the settlements issue.

What Israel is warning about is unilateral moves that the Palestinians have threatened e.g., to recognize a Palestinian state that would cover disputed territory--in effect that would circumvent the terms of UNSC Res. 242. Were that to happen, Israel has threatened to adopt its own unilateral moves should the Palestinians do so without specifying them. Logically, such moves would include securing the territory necessary to ensure Israel has secure boundaries. What is important is that Israel is not threatening to lead the way with such moves. As a result, it is clear that Israel is trying to deter Palestinian unilateralism. If the Palestinians believe that unilateralism will leave them worse off than they would otherwise be, they might reconsider their boycott of negotiations. If not, just as with any decision, they will bear the consequences of their choice. In order to remain credible, Israel would have to follow through with its own unilateral moves if the Palestinians attempt their own unilateral moves.

Hopefully, the Palestinian leadership will end its self-imposed boycott of talks and resume the negotiations. Afterward, hopefully, the negotiating process would yield meaningful progress.

In the end, unilateralism wouldn't provide legitimacy. That the Palestinians might be able to conjure up a majority of the pro-Palestinian UN General Assembly would have no impact on legitimacy. Agreement would lead to an outcome that would be widely viewed as legitimate (except by extremists, rejectionists, etc.). Therefore, I hope that Israel will be successful in deterring Palestinian unilateralism so that the Palestinians come to understand that negotiations offer the best path toward resolving the historic dispute.
Settlements: creating, increasing the area, and increasing the number of dwellings are all unilateral, permanent moves. You are asserting they are not. By the same token, a unilateral creation of a Palestinian state with borders covering disputed territory would also not be permanent, as long as those borders were 'open to negotiation'.
 

Gardener

free market communist
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 5, 2005
Messages
26,661
Reaction score
15,927
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Settlements: creating, increasing the area, and increasing the number of dwellings are all unilateral, permanent moves. You are asserting they are not. By the same token, a unilateral creation of a Palestinian state with borders covering disputed territory would also not be permanent, as long as those borders were 'open to negotiation'.
So, where in the world are the borders between two countries in a constant state of being "open to negotiation"?

or is that just your euphemism for "open warfare"?
 

donsutherland1

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
11,691
Reaction score
9,981
Location
New York
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Centrist
Settlements: creating, increasing the area, and increasing the number of dwellings are all unilateral, permanent moves.
Past experience in the historic dispute debunks that concern. Israel removed settlements from the Sinai Peninsula. Israel removed all Gaza Strip settlements. It will almost certainly agree to remove most West Bank settlements (all of which are on territory Israel would give to the Palestinians in an agreement).
 

Dezaad

DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 7, 2005
Messages
5,058
Reaction score
2,424
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
Past experience in the historic dispute debunks that concern. Israel removed settlements from the Sinai Peninsula. Israel removed all Gaza Strip settlements. It will almost certainly agree to remove most West Bank settlements (all of which are on territory Israel would give to the Palestinians in an agreement).
This, historically, also applies to disputed borders. So, again, by the same token, a unilateral move toward a state including disputed territory would not be a 'permanent' arrangement.

The unilateral move by Israel to create their own state worked for Israelis. I can certainly see why Palestinians are considering it.
 

donsutherland1

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
11,691
Reaction score
9,981
Location
New York
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Centrist
This, historically, also applies to disputed borders. So, again, by the same token, a unilateral move toward a state including disputed territory would not be a 'permanent' arrangement.

The unilateral move by Israel to create their own state worked for Israelis. I can certainly see why Palestinians are considering it.
The Arabs/Palestinians had exactly the same opportunity from UNSCOP/UNGA Res. 181. Rather than sharing the opportunity, they launched a war of conquest to crush the then newly re-established Israel. Given the attitudes they expressed, had they prevailed, one would not today be talking about creating a Jewish state. It would be a moot point. The Arabs would show no flexibility whatsoever on that issue. But they lost their gamble. Yet, despite its power, Israel is willing to offer the Palestinians a generous settlement (much as they did in accepting President Clinton's bridging proposal and in Prime Minister Olmert's initiative).

In terms of a unilateral move, were the Palestinians simply to declare a state in areas that they presently control (more limited than what they would gain in a peace agreement), my guess is that Israel would not respond critically. But the problem lies with the Palestinians indicating that they will seek to assert control over disputed territory and bypass negotiations in the process. That's where the problem arises. Under such circumstances, it would come down to a matter of power. In this case, Israel has greater power. Moreover, like any sovereign state, Israel can only be expected to use that power to secure its interests under such circumstances e.g., bar the Palestinians from trying to exercise jurisdiction in disputed territory.
 

justabubba

long standing member
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
49,690
Reaction score
31,522
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Negotiations are aimed at ending the dispute. Israel remains ready and eager to continue the negotiations.
no, it doesn't
israel remains ready as ever to undermine the prospects of negotiations reaching a conclusion
currently, the means to derail the peace talks is to insist on resuming construction in the illegal settlements
israel prizes offering amenities to illegal settlers more than it desires an opportunity to achieve a peaceful conclusion
 

donsutherland1

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
11,691
Reaction score
9,981
Location
New York
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Centrist
no, it doesn't
israel remains ready as ever to undermine the prospects of negotiations reaching a conclusion
currently, the means to derail the peace talks is to insist on resuming construction in the illegal settlements
israel prizes offering amenities to illegal settlers more than it desires an opportunity to achieve a peaceful conclusion
Israel is doing nothing to undermine negotiations. Palestinian demands for preconditions are thwarting talks. Today, if they desired, the Palestinians could negotiate on issues such as the settlements. Instead, they want Israel to give in to their demand in exchange for nothing.

If the Palestinians decide to pursue a path outside of diplomacy to address the dispute, be it through renewed intifada (low risk given that Israel broke the last one and now has a substantial security fence that would undermine a new one) or unilateral moves to claim disputed territory over which they have no capacity to exercise jurisdiction, they will transform the issue into a pure power struggle. That's a struggle they cannot hope to win. Israel, on the other hand, would be well-positioned to secure much more than it would under a peace agreement. That outcome is far from ideal, but it is within the realm of possibility if the Palestinians continue to pursue what amounts to an anti-diplomatic course. Israel continues to prefer the negotiated route given the legitimacy that would attach to a resulting agreement or series of agreements. The Palestinians are boycotting the talks.
 
Last edited:

Dezaad

DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 7, 2005
Messages
5,058
Reaction score
2,424
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
The Arabs/Palestinians had exactly the same opportunity from UNSCOP/UNGA Res. 181. Rather than sharing the opportunity, they launched a war of conquest to crush the then newly re-established Israel. Given the attitudes they expressed, had they prevailed, one would not today be talking about creating a Jewish state. It would be a moot point. The Arabs would show no flexibility whatsoever on that issue. But they lost their gamble. Yet, despite its power, Israel is willing to offer the Palestinians a generous settlement (much as they did in accepting President Clinton's bridging proposal and in Prime Minister Olmert's initiative).

In terms of a unilateral move, were the Palestinians simply to declare a state in areas that they presently control (more limited than what they would gain in a peace agreement), my guess is that Israel would not respond critically. But the problem lies with the Palestinians indicating that they will seek to assert control over disputed territory and bypass negotiations in the process. That's where the problem arises. Under such circumstances, it would come down to a matter of power. In this case, Israel has greater power. Moreover, like any sovereign state, Israel can only be expected to use that power to secure its interests under such circumstances e.g., bar the Palestinians from trying to exercise jurisdiction in disputed territory.
I have been focusing on your assertion that Israel would be within their rights to start acting unilaterally based on the Palestinians acting unilaterally, and how that might affect sympathies toward one party to the discussion ... Or the other. Not on the realities of the power distribution amongst the parties, and how that could affect the eventual outcome.

And again I assert that no one should sympathize with Israel on the basis of the claim that Palestinians are somehow devolving the situation into unilateralism.
 

donsutherland1

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
11,691
Reaction score
9,981
Location
New York
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Centrist
I have been focusing on your assertion that Israel would be within their rights to start acting unilaterally based on the Palestinians acting unilaterally, and how that might affect sympathies toward one party to the discussion ... Or the other.
Just to clarify things, I am not talking about minor unilateral moves. Examples of those would include recent Palestinian efforts to delegitimize Israel e.g., their ultimately failed effort to organize a boycott of the non-political OECD tourism conference in Jerusalem. Those minor moves don't materially change the parameters of the dispute, so deterrence is not really necessary.

What I have in mind are efforts aimed at unilaterally changing the situation in a material fashion e.g., the threatened Palestinian effort to seek international ratification of Palestinian jurisdiction over disputed territory, all of which the Palestinians could neither expect to gain through their own power or in negotiations (where compromise from all parties would be necessary). Efforts to pursue such a course would be suboptimal to a negotiated outcome (legitimacy would be lacking and the reliably pro-Palestinian UN General Assembly could not supply legitimacy with its all too predictable response, as that body has distinguished itself as a highly partial entity; historic grievances would remain unresolved leading to long-run instability). Hence, Israel should act to deter the Palestinians from such a course. I believe the Israeli threat to respond with unilateral moves of its own was an effort to do so.

However, deterrence would only be effective if the Palestinians believe the Israeli threat is credible. For example, if the Palestinians believed that Israel would annex all of the territory comprised by the settlements and would require let's say a 75% supermajority of the Knesset to reverse that decision, then deterrence would probably be effective (even if Israel were bluffing). Then, the Palestinians would recognize that the price they would pay would be unacceptable, as it could only lead to an outcome that would be far worse than they could expect to obtain through diplomacy.

Recognition that Israel has the power to impose such an outcome would not be too relevant. The Palestinians already know that Israel has vastly superior power, yet they have pursued a course that has made diplomacy difficult. They have done so, IMO, because they understand that Israel is willing to be generous, won't respond severely, and has, in the past, made numerous "good faith" unilateral concessions. Hence, they have come to expect that Israel would not bring its power to bear to impose a highly unfavorable outcome for their intransigence to date. Repeated cheerleading of Palestinian posturing/complaints by the UN General Assembly and UN Human Rights Council has also emboldened the Palestinians to run risks. Hence, they remain willing to run risks that they would otherwise not be prepared to assume and those risks undermine both the peace process and prospects for moderation necessary to reach an agreement.
 

Dezaad

DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 7, 2005
Messages
5,058
Reaction score
2,424
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
Just to clarify things, I am not talking about minor unilateral moves. Examples of those would include recent Palestinian efforts to delegitimize Israel e.g., their ultimately failed effort to organize a boycott of the non-political OECD tourism conference in Jerusalem. Those minor moves don't materially change the parameters of the dispute, so deterrence is not really necessary.

What I have in mind are efforts aimed at unilaterally changing the situation in a material fashion e.g., the threatened Palestinian effort to seek international ratification of Palestinian jurisdiction over disputed territory, all of which the Palestinians could neither expect to gain through their own power or in negotiations (where compromise from all parties would be necessary). Efforts to pursue such a course would be suboptimal to a negotiated outcome (legitimacy would be lacking and the reliably pro-Palestinian UN General Assembly could not supply legitimacy with its all too predictable response, as that body has distinguished itself as a highly partial entity; historic grievances would remain unresolved leading to long-run instability). Hence, Israel should act to deter the Palestinians from such a course. I believe the Israeli threat to respond with unilateral moves of its own was an effort to do so.

However, deterrence would only be effective if the Palestinians believe the Israeli threat is credible. For example, if the Palestinians believed that Israel would annex all of the territory comprised by the settlements and would require let's say a 75% supermajority of the Knesset to reverse that decision, then deterrence would probably be effective (even if Israel were bluffing). Then, the Palestinians would recognize that the price they would pay would be unacceptable, as it could only lead to an outcome that would be far worse than they could expect to obtain through diplomacy.

Recognition that Israel has the power to impose such an outcome would not be too relevant. The Palestinians already know that Israel has vastly superior power, yet they have pursued a course that has made diplomacy difficult. They have done so, IMO, because they understand that Israel is willing to be generous, won't respond severely, and has, in the past, made numerous "good faith" unilateral concessions. Hence, they have come to expect that Israel would not bring its power to bear to impose a highly unfavorable outcome for their intransigence to date. Repeated cheerleading of Palestinian posturing/complaints by the UN General Assembly and UN Human Rights Council has also emboldened the Palestinians to run risks. Hence, they remain willing to run risks that they would otherwise not be prepared to assume and those risks undermine both the peace process and prospects for moderation necessary to reach an agreement.
You see, I don't view the matter as being about whether Israel or the Palestinians are being 'generous' or not. An argument could be credibly made, has indeed been made, that Palestinians have every right to claim all territory outside of Israel's 1967 borders.

From that perspective, Israel's 'generosity' is non-existent. What you are claiming is that because Israel has the military power to force whatever they want upon the Palestinians, that any retreat from whatever their military power could enforce is being 'generous'.

Part of what the Palestinians are doing is trying to harness and channel whatever power they can by garnering sympathy toward their cause through whatever means they can. They rightly realize that military power is not the only source of power in their particular situation. They learned that from Israel as well. It is obvious to most that Israel would not even exist if at one time they did not themselves channel power they derived from sympathy.

So, yes, if the world would stop sympathizing with Palestinians, the borrowed power they wield would collapse, they would quickly buckle and the conflict would be over. Everyone would hopefully be able to move on to adjusting to the new situation and hopefully finding peace within that. However, that alone does not create a justification for withholding sympathy.
A similar short cut to peace exists if the world would consider cutting off all military aid to to Israel along with a boycott covering the supply of raw materials that are used in sustaining its military. Israel's military power would likewise collapse, and the conflict would likely end relatively quickly.

Military power is so clear cut, relatively simple by comparison to political capital. Thus, it is tempting to let it play out as it will, without the interference of messy things like justifiability and such. Justifiability is so hard to discern. We are all familiar with the difficulty of considering who the land 'rightfully' belongs to. Do you go to the various historical claims and try to sort that out? Do you factor in the fact that Jews have endured being a people without a homeland, and have unjustly suffered partly as a consequence? And so on. Miltary power by contrast: Just let them duke it out if they must and then let the winner take all. Believe me, I have been quite tempted to take that position. Well, indeed, in some discussions outside DP I have taken just exactly that position.

But, I am conflicted, as you will readily surmise.

Nevertheless, if you are going to make the claim, as you seem to be, that power equates to justifiability, or that restraint from using military power as political capital is generosity, I will not grant you that. That frameword for a discussion doesn't sit right with me. Let the use of power derived from military assets be the bald faced equation that it is, I say. If we are ok with that, then fine.

If the framework for discussion is to be justifiability of claims, then it can be that. But, if we are going to be that civilized, then, to be clear, conflating the two is ludicrous.
 
Top Bottom