An Israeli median voter theorem? (model this war)

by on July 22, 2014 at 12:08 am in Current Affairs, Games, History, Law, Political Science, Uncategorized | Permalink

…on July 13, about four days before the actual incursion began, about 67 percent of Israelis supported a ground operation. By authorizing one, Netanyahu has given the public what it has demanded.

That is from Brent Sasley.

Fred Kaplan wonders whether Israel has lost its ability to think strategically.  Even Max Boot seems to think Hamas will stay in charge of Gaza.

Or is the fear that even intercepted Hamas rockets will in the long run spur too much Israeli emigration?  Are the economics of long-run rocket/shoot-down reciprocity unacceptable to Israel?

A friend of mine suggests that Israel feels the need to send a tough signal to Iran.

Or all of the above?

I am by the way not impressed by various Twitter demands that I should spend more time moralizing about this conflict.  I do think it is deontologically wrong on the part of the Israelis, and I also do not understand their strategy from even a purely nationalistic point of view.  But my voice will have no influence, and I would rather learn something from the comments section about why such strategies are being pursued.  Call me selfish if you wish, I am.

History buff July 22, 2014 at 12:18 am

If you look at history, meddlesome attackers need to be crushed–Israel needs to defeat Hamas in detail and then impose “liability rule” (in the Calabresean sense of the term) protection on the remaining Arabs in Gaza–i.e., pay China or Algeria to take them. Continued Arab presence in Gaza has become unacceptable. Plenty of precedent for removal–see, e.g., ethnic homogenization of Europe as a result of World Wars I & II.

Alexei Sadeski July 22, 2014 at 12:20 am

Historical precedent is irrelevant.

Adrian Ratnapala July 22, 2014 at 12:51 am

It always was in the past!

TMC July 22, 2014 at 9:29 am

Not taking a side on this issue, but regarding your comment – “This time is different” hasn’t served us well lately.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:00 am

As crazy as this sounds I think it would work. Once the Palestinians are somewhere else everyone will forget about them just like they forgot so many other peoples in similar situations.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 4:23 am

But if the Pals magically disappeared, then who would be left for the Israelis to fight? They’d have to fight each other.

Z July 22, 2014 at 8:41 am

I suspect most here think you are either kidding or evil, but history says this is not terribly far fetched. In 146 BC, the Roman Republic sacked and obliterated Corinth and Carthage. Both of these ancient rivals were destroyed and no longer a threat. Fifty years later we get Marius, the Social War and the end of the Republic.

The Roman Republic was blessed with the right sort of enemies for a long time. Similarly, the Jews in Israel have the right sort of enemies. They are savage enough to be credible, but stupid enough to be manageable. Gaza and the West Bank also function as a convenient dumping ground for the troublesome young men of the surrounding Arab states. it’s what you business school types call a “win-win.”

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 8:50 am

Right, and over the centuries Jews have developed impressive expertise at not turning on each other. No matter how much they irritate each other, they usually have a bigger foe that unites them by making their internal squabbles seem petty. This is particularly important when so many are in one small place and most have military training and thus are well-equipped to organize a civil war. Note that the country that is perhaps most similar to Israel, Lebanon, managed to have a 15-year-long civil war.

Z July 22, 2014 at 9:15 am

Lebanon is an interesting topic. I’d say the Lebanese are the second most hated people in the Middle East, behind the Jews. But, the Lebanese don’t mind drawing a line between themselves and the rest of the Arab world. Too bad they let their best and brightest move to Massachusetts. Well, except for a certain mobile phone magnate.

fdfg July 22, 2014 at 10:05 am

The cultural distance between a settler in Hebron and a programmer in Tel Aviv has never been larger. I could see several ways that could break out into civil war.

Incidentally, the distance is probably even larger from an kolel in Jerusalem, but those guys aren’t fighting anyone.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 11:04 am

Civil war in Israel is an interesting question to speculate upon. I wouldn’t think it’s likely to happen even if the Israelis reached peace accords with all their neighbors because no outside power is currently attempting to drive a wedge into Israel. At present, Israel seems to have more influence upon the internal politics of the Great Powers than they have upon Israel.

Typically, the United States government mostly does whatever the current government of Israel wants, even if, as in the Obama-Netanyahu case, it doesn’t much like it. When Bush I tried to crack down on West Bank settlements in the early 1990s, he got replaced as President pretty quick. Subsequent Presidents have learned a lesson from how quickly Bush I’s image turned in the media from Conqueror of Kuwait to Hapless Loser.

As long as the U.S. is the hyperpower, I can’t see that changing much. With their combination of liberalism and ethnocentrism balancing each other about equally, Jewish-Americans wind up pretty much supporting, more or less enthusiastically, what the government of Israel wants (with the usual hand-wringing). And the rest of the American public more or less supports what Jewish-Americans in the media imply they should support.

I don’t see this changing much over the next generation. It’s a pretty stable system. It’s not like a bunch of Mesoamerican immigrants’ kids are suddenly going to get the good jobs writing for TV.

On the other hand, Israel has been investigating alternatives in case the U.S. declines in strength. In public, they’ve mostly been looking at China and India, but I have a hard time imagining the shrewd Chinese wanting to get tangled up.

I could, however, imagine the right and left in Israel cultivating their own European Great Powers, with the Israeli Right looking to Russia for support and the Israeli Left looking to Germany as their cultural ancestor. The argument for Russia becoming even friendlier with the Israeli Right than Putin is at present is the same one Rupert Murdoch made when asked why he funded so many Neocon organs: To succeed in the modern world, you don’t need all the Jews on your side, but you need some of them.

If something like that happened, it’s possible to imagine a proxy civil war in Israel.

But if that were ever to happen, it’s not going to happen all that soon.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 11:33 am

In diplomacy, Jews have been recognized as a de facto Power ever since the British Empire negotiated the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

I wonder if gays will ever emerge as a de facto International Power? That concern may help explain the intensity with which gay Jews have taken over leadership of this nascent Power.

msgkings July 22, 2014 at 12:27 pm

LOL, Bush 41 replaced by Israel. I learn something new from Steve S all the time!

Also something old, like immigrants are bad.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 2:39 pm

George H. W. Bush got 35% of the Jewish vote in 1988, but after he and James Baker canceled loans to Israel to deter West Bank settlements, he got 11% of the Jewish vote in 1992:

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/jewvote.html

Obviously, it’s not the Jewish votes themselves that matters, it’s the tone of the media: Bush went from being Okay for a Republican in 1988 to the Greatest President in the World in early 1991 to the Uncoolest Guy Ever in 1992.

msgkings July 22, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Maybe Ross Perot is a secret Jew. Oh wait, what’s the term? CRYPTO Jew.

The Original D July 22, 2014 at 4:30 pm

It’s not far fetched if there were no mass media. But there is.

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Obviously, it’s not the Jewish votes themselves that matters, it’s the tone of the media: Bush went from being Okay for a Republican in 1988 to the Greatest President in the World in early 1991 to the Uncoolest Guy Ever in 1992.

That has to be the most insane thing you’ve ever said.

Are you telling us all that Ross Perot and Patrick Buchanan were agents of the Jews?

The mass media was never friendly to Bush (see the cock-and-bull published about his running mate in 1988) and traded in errant nonsense about economic conditions in 1992. Useful in circumstances where people did not have compelling reasons to vote one way or another otherwise. The Democratic Party in 1992 also had better marketers than the flat-footed Mr. Dukakis.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 8:04 pm
Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 9:20 pm

From the New York Observer:

Did the First President Bush Lose His Job to the Israel Lobby?

By Staff | 07/17/06 9:52am

Two newly-published reports suggest that the first President Bush, George H.W. Bush, lost his bid for a second term in the 1992 general election because of the Israel lobby.

First there’s yesterday’s Washington Post Magazine piece on the lobby. It explored the standoff between Bush and Yitzhak Shamir in 1992, when Bush tried to stop Israel from building more settlements in the Occupied Territories.

“Bush paid a price… He got crushed in a small group of heavily Jewish precincts in states such as New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Florida in his November 1992 election loss to Bill Clinton.”

The argument is made more emphatically in the Summer 2006 issue of Security Studies, in an important article on the effect of the Holocaust on our foreign policy titled: “The Myth of Abandonment: The Use and Abuse of the Holocaust Analogy,” by Michael Desch, a professor at Texas A&M.

The article states:

“Many believe that George H.W. Bush’s defeat in 1992 was the result of Jewish-American opposition fueled by his hard line against Israeli settlements under the Shamir government.”

Desch’s evidence includes informal comments to students by the former President himself, in a visit to the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M in February 2005, a visit at which Old Man Bush decried the power of AIPAC (the preeminent pro-Israel lobby).

Neither of these reports is completely convincing to me. …

But let’s focus on what matters here. A former President believes that the pro-Israel lobby cost him his job. His son runs for President and is far more responsive than his father was to the Israel lobby. Right there you have a good indication of the power of the lobby. Of course we don’t know what W.’s political calculations were on this issue. But everyone else has a theory about the effect of Papa Bush on W.; this is now mine. W. is a superb politician. He learned political lessons from his dad.

Even more important, consider the issue on which George H.W. Bush took on the Israel lobby: the building of settlements. He was holding up $10 billion in loan guarantees Israel desperately need to build housing for Russian emigres till Bush got an assurance that the loans would not fund settlements.

http://observer.com/2006/07/did-the-first-president-bush-lose-his-job-to-the-israel-lobby/#ixzz38FZWWRMK

Marian Kechlibar July 22, 2014 at 4:30 am

I can’t imagine a single country desperate enough to import a million Hamas voters.

Z July 22, 2014 at 7:13 am

This man would like a word with you: http://tinyurl.com/a7lzgfk

Anthony July 22, 2014 at 10:59 am

I can think of countries where votes don’t count, so that wouldn’t be a consideration. One even shares a land border with Gaza.

Dan Weber July 22, 2014 at 8:09 am

It would take many billions to pay someone to take over responsibility for Gaza.

Aidan July 22, 2014 at 5:52 pm

The “ethnic homogenization of Europe as a result of World Wars I & II”, if you want to call it that, is the main reason for the existence of the State of Israel. Are you seriously suggesting a repeat?

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 12:23 am

Calls for permanent peace in the Middle East are like calls for peace between Notre Dame and USC on the football field.

DMS July 22, 2014 at 12:55 am

English and French fought for centuries and then…poof!…it ended. So it can happen.
—-
But it seems to me that Netanyahu’s major mistake was to forget the adage of “divide and conquer”, meaning here that he should have built up Fatah so IT could do the work of destroying Hamas.

Obviously, that means in part that the Occupation of the West Bank must end or at least move toward ending; Fatah needs something.

Of course Bibi couldn’t move toward ending Settlements/Occupation because too many crazy religious nutters want Judea/Samaria as part of Israel (as opposed to Jews being allowed to live there under Palestinian jurisdiction, as Palestinians live successfully in Israel.)

Simultaneously you have Hamas et al making trouble which just strengthens (understandably) the Israeli right wing.

So it is a big F— mess.

Too much religion is what I say.

Fazal Majid July 22, 2014 at 2:25 am

Except it was Hamas itself that was originally sponsored by Israel to counter secular Fattah and the PLO. That turned out spectacularly well, didn’t it?

Some people are speculating the murder of the 3 Israeli teenagers that sparked this particular conflagration was done by ISIS to distract from it’s creeping takeover in Iraq and Syria.

DMS July 22, 2014 at 2:39 am

I see your point; yes Israel has had some poor leadership — maybe on par with the Palis — over the past 40 years. Of course what is more troubling is that the two peoples may be getting the exact leadership they’ve asked for. Sobering thought.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 3:32 am

Israel has had impressive leadership. They draft everybody in the country and then the guys who most impress their peers in the military go into politics.

And these impressive leaders have gotten impressive results. Israel’s economy is doing extremely well, it is vastly more powerful militarily than its rivals, it has raised its Jewish fertility rate and depressed its Arab fertility rate, it wags the American dog vigorously, and every so often it beats up the Pals. If it were a college football team, it would be 11-1 and headed toward the national championship game.

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 12:40 pm

it has raised its Jewish fertility rate and depressed its Arab fertility rate

The total fertility rate in just about every country in the Near East, North Africa, and Central Asia has been tanking for a generation now. There has been a modest fertility recovery in Algeria and in several Central Asian republics the last 10 years; otherwise, no exceptions. The Jews are not pulling all these wires.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Except in Israel. From the Jerusalem Post in 2013:

“In the first 12 years of the current century the number of Arab births in Israel has almost completely flatlined at around 40,000 per annum. This despite the growing size of the Arab population, which means that the Arab birth rate – births relative to population size – has fallen. Over the same period, Jewish births have risen from 95,000 to 130,000. In the first four months of 2013, the most recent period for which data is available, Jewish births were up 38 percent during the same period for 2001, and Arab births down 6%.”

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/Israels-fast-evolving-demography-320574

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Yes Israel differs. But you also attributed declining Arab fertility on the West Bank and Gaza to Israeli policy, which is utter nonsense .

David Barker July 22, 2014 at 7:54 pm

So run a regression of fertility on country of residence and ethnicity. My guess is that it would find that policies in Israel are having intended effects for both groups.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 8:06 pm

The Israelis are threading the needle of having their own people’s fertility go up while the fertility of non-Jewish Israeli citizens drops sharply. That’s pretty impressive.

Marian Kechlibar July 22, 2014 at 4:33 am

If history is any guide, this kind of bloodthirsty religious fervor can’t be neutralized, but by long generations of development (or total genocide).

Rahul July 22, 2014 at 12:59 am

In hindsight you might’ve said the same about Ireland? Or the Khalistan Sikh terrorism in India?

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 1:18 am

A lot of money that could have gone from rich American Irish guys to fund the IRA instead went into buying linebackers for Notre Dame’s football team.

Rahul July 22, 2014 at 1:42 am

Maybe Hamas funds ought to be channeled into 5 star Haj cruises.

Li Zhi July 22, 2014 at 2:31 am

You mean a lot MORE money…, right? Big difference.

Li Zhi July 22, 2014 at 2:33 am

And actually, the way I hear it, the IRA was a very small group. Its not clear to me that lack of money was their downfall.

Brian Donohue July 22, 2014 at 9:43 am

Not enough, evidently.

Rahul July 22, 2014 at 4:12 am

…..and Sri Lanka vs the Tamils. That seemed pretty bad back in the 80′s and 90′s.

Alexei Sadeski July 22, 2014 at 12:24 am

Honestly don’t understand what all the fuss is about.

This is a tiny battle in a tiny low intensity conflict with zero geopolitical import. Yawn.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 4:26 am

It’s almost as if one of the ethnic groups involved makes up one-third of the Forbes 400 of billionaires and one-half of the Atlantic 50 of pundits.

John July 22, 2014 at 12:24 am

I’d be far more interested in hearing your thoughts on Israel’s immigration policy.

You blog frequently about immigration and about Israel, but rarely about Israeli immigration policy. You’re interested in both topics, so presumably a subject that brings both topics together, namely Israeli immigration policy, would be right up your alley.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 4:43 am

Oddly enough, the immigration policy that Sheldon Adelson, owner of the largest newspaper in Israel, supports for Israel is 180 degrees the opposite of the one Sheldon Adelson supports for America.

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 12:02 pm

You recall the line in Major Barbara: “My religion? Why, I’m a millionaire”. I tend to doubt Mr. Adelson has ‘views’ on any topic other than his businesses.

The remarks of Leon Wieseltier over the years (on the patronage of Martin Peretz, now a resident of Tel Aviv) are more arresting. One might reconcile this discrepancy by offering that the principles of association which operate in a society of migrants (like the United States or Argentina) differ and/or that the American nation is not threatened by bodacious immigration streams. Some of their old confederates at The New Republic might offer this argument in all honesty, including Peretz himself. The trouble with Wieseltier offering it is that he has in the past been vitriolic about politicians and public figures in Britain who raised the matter of cultural maintenance therein and the ill-effects of ‘diversity’ on social comity. His stated views are an upraised middle-finger at the rest of us, delivered with his usual pretension. No need to take that seriously.

Tanner July 22, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Adelson is a public figure precisely because of his political and other non-business related views. He is quite public about his political and other non-business related views, and funds political parties and politicians accordingly.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Adelson didn’t use to care much about Israel, but his second wife is Israeli and now he’s as passionate about Israel as Phil Knight is about the U. of Oregon football team.

History buff July 22, 2014 at 12:48 am

Tyler,
Seriously, not getting why you think Israel is “deontologically wrong.”. Do you think Israel has a right to exist? If so, it has a right to go pretty ape-sh1t when repeatedly rocketed, kidnapped, etc. I really don’t get “moderate” criticism of Israel. Please, bite the bullet and say Israelis should leave or stop nit-picking them–it’s beneath you.
(History buff is a pseudonym–we are acquainted in ‘real life’)

Argajarg July 22, 2014 at 1:52 am

Seriously? This weak argument keeps being trotted out, but it’s almost comically illogical:

Israel is attacked. Nobody claims it should do NOTHING. But that does not mean that ANY POSSIBLE response is automatically righteous and justified.

Your argument could also justify nuking Gaza. “ISRAEL HAS A RIGHT TO DEFEND ITSELF YOU ANTI-SEMITES!”

Alexei Sadeski July 22, 2014 at 1:57 am

Seems that Israel’s response has been shockingly measured…

Argajarg July 22, 2014 at 9:00 am

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/22/world/middleeast/questions-about-tactics-and-targets-as-civilian-toll-climbs-in-israeli-strikes.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSum&module=photo-spot-region&region=photo-spot&WT.nav=photo-spot&gwh=EA73E7A372E2D8E3533DB166BC9A0AE3&gwt=pay&assetType=nyt_now

“When the strike leveled a four-story house in the southern Gaza Strip the night before, it also killed 25 members of four family households — including 19 children — gathered to break the daily Ramadan fast together. Relatives said it also killed a guest of the family, identified by an Israeli human rights group as a member of the Hamas military wing, ostensibly Israel’s target.

On Monday night, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said that he had not yet been able to confirm the circumstances of the attack here or who the target might have been. Colonel Lerner would not address questions about whether the target would have been considered worth so many additional deaths.”

Yes. Shockingly measured.

Jon July 22, 2014 at 11:48 am

Can you cite any precedent where a country was able to neutralize a threat of the nature of Hamas without significant civilian casualties? Do you think that rocket storage and launch cites by Hamas are labeled so they are easy to distinguish from innocent civilian areas?

Hindsight is 20-20. Israel at least makes an effort to reduce civilian casualties, unlike many of its neighbors. A friend on his last visit to Israel, met an officer who lead an invasion of a hospital that intelligence indicated was housing fighters. The Israelis decided it was more humane to do this than bomb it from the air; the officer ended up paying condolence calls to families of some of the soldiers killed by the militants in this “civilian” site.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Well who knows what actually happened, but considering there have been thousands of air strikes and only a couple hundred civilians killed, this would stand as the single worst incident in the entire campaign. If Israel was targeting civilians, all the civilians would be dead by now.

Li Zhi July 22, 2014 at 2:52 am

Seems to me the Palestinians either need to take responsibility for the behavior of their neighbors (and ‘government’) or suffer the consequences of being “victims”. Haters hate. Until the Arabs wise up/grow up, I see no peaceful solution. Gaza is a failed ‘state’. They were left with an economic infrastructure when Israel withdrew and they burned it to the ground. I am not intimately informed of the details of the killings, so I can’t say whether the response was disproportionate or not. I guess others here are – must be massive leaks in Mossad or they have esp. As far as I’m concerned, when a wild animal threatens my family, I will take sufficient action to end the threat. End it, not postpone it. Not that the illegal settlements aren’t a justifiable sore point. I personally like the idea of sending the Gaza Arabs to ISIS controlled Northern Iraq. How about give them oh, 5 years to learn the necessary civics then choose whether to take the oath of allegiance or be relocated.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 2:59 am

What can Israel possibly do other than try to degrade Hamas’ military capabilities? (which is what it is doing) WHen someone shoots rockets at you and invades your land through underground tunnels, you destroy the rockets and tunnels… right??

Rahul July 22, 2014 at 3:22 am

As an aside, If someone trains & supplies mercenaries to shoot down a plane full of your civilians what’s the legitimate response in your book?

Finch July 22, 2014 at 9:51 am

It would be nice if we had the means to tweak Russian noses short of apocalyptic weapons.

If it was somebody other than Russia, the right response would be some sort of airstrike that significantly lowered their military power.

Bored July 22, 2014 at 11:18 am

That comparison fails on several levels. I don’t think you even need to get to the Russia has nukes and Palestine doesn’t argument

The biggest difference is that we have no reason to believe Russia wanted to, or will ever again, shoot down a commercial jet.

We have plenty of reasons to believe Palestinians will continue to shoot rockets.

john July 22, 2014 at 9:04 am

I thought the timeline was kidnappings/murder, then invasion, then rockets. If 400 arrests were too many for 3 murders, the over escalation started there.

As to the original question, I am with those who say “moderates have been leaving Israel/Palestine for decades, and this becomes inevitable.”

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 1:02 pm

If 400 arrests were too many for 3 murders, the over escalation started there.

So if “400 arrests” of Hamas people were “too many” for a response to 3 Hamas-sponsored murders, then Hamas can be excused for going ahead and committing what used to be regarded as crimes against humanity?

Dan Weber July 22, 2014 at 9:15 am

As far as your timeline, the rocket attacks definitely precede anything that happened this year: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Palestinian_rocket_attacks_on_Israel,_2013

john July 22, 2014 at 9:27 am

I think your numbers show the relative peace before the land invasion. For year to year totals, see here. By the IDF’s count, 41 total in 2014. Post invasion? We are running up to 2000 aren’t we?

john July 22, 2014 at 9:31 am

But again, in terms of the orginal question, the “median voter” is leaving, and this cycle of violence is one more reason for them to do so. Neither peace seeking Israelis or peace loving Palestinians have a path to their goal, and so … move to any peaceful country that will have you, and leave the war seekers to their fate.

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 3:49 am

Israel is attacked. Nobody claims it should do NOTHING. But that does not mean that ANY POSSIBLE response is automatically righteous and justified.

So give an example of what Israel should do instead of what it is doing.

Your argument could also justify nuking Gaza. “ISRAEL HAS A RIGHT TO DEFEND ITSELF YOU ANTI-SEMITES!”

Hamas loves people like you. People like you are what enables Hamas’ strategy to work.

Rahul July 22, 2014 at 4:09 am

Maybe. OTOH, the other extreme is what makes Israel tick. So I’m glad we have both sides.

Neither side is particularly innocent in this conflict. There’s enough blame to pass around. What we need is pragmatism not morality.

andrew' July 22, 2014 at 4:10 am

Casualty ratio? It is looking like 20:1 or getting there.

This is where I Google “Gaza attack” images and say “less of this.

If you are going to treat them like a separate country maybe they should be another country.

andrew' July 22, 2014 at 4:13 am

(I tell my own country the exact same thing constantly BTW)

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 5:20 am

> This is where I Google “Gaza attack” images and say “less of this.

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2014/07/21/nyt-apparently-other-press-orgs-complying-hamas-coverage-restrictions

All you pay attention to is images. Hamas loves people like you. Their whole strategy is based on people like you.

Dan Weber July 22, 2014 at 8:17 am

What we are seeing is them being treated as a separate country, but a separate country that has been unable to fulfill basic requirements of a sovereign power: stopping your citizens from shooting rockets at neighboring countries. Thus the neighboring country occupies.

To save time I will summarize the next several back-and-forths of this discussion here: “But the Palestinians *could* be sovereign if the Israelis would just get out!” “But the Israelis did get out of Gaza and look what happened there!” “It doesn’t matter if the Israelis pulled out of Gaza because they didn’t pull out of the West Bank, and/or but Egypt and Israel illegally closed their border with Gaza.”

Andrew' July 22, 2014 at 10:37 am

No. Their strategy seems to be based on people like you.

Argajarg July 22, 2014 at 9:01 am

As an example maybe don’t do this:

“When the strike leveled a four-story house in the southern Gaza Strip the night before, it also killed 25 members of four family households — including 19 children — gathered to break the daily Ramadan fast together. Relatives said it also killed a guest of the family, identified by an Israeli human rights group as a member of the Hamas military wing, ostensibly Israel’s target.

On Monday night, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said that he had not yet been able to confirm the circumstances of the attack here or who the target might have been. Colonel Lerner would not address questions about whether the target would have been considered worth so many additional deaths.”

(from the NYT today)

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 9:23 am

It’s horrible. Yes don’t do that. I guarantee you nobody explicitly decided to “do that”.

But give me an example of an army that has done a better job of avoiding civilian casualties than the Israelis. Remember the Afghan wedding party?

Moreover this individual incident is not what triggered your rage. You probably object to any military action in Gaza.

john July 22, 2014 at 9:39 am

The concept of “collateral damage” almost guarantees a corrosion over time. Once any number small is acceptable, it becomes a given. Once it is a given, it is no longer shocking. When it is no longer shocking, it can be expanded a bit. Rinse. Repeat. Until finally, hey, we didn’t necessarily plan on a 25:1 ratio of “collateral” to “damage.”

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 9:52 am

Until finally, hey, we didn’t necessarily plan on a 25:1 ratio of “collateral” to “damage.

Casualties is not the issue (because of Iron Dome + bomb shelters+ civil defense system). IT’s rocket fire. Why is that hard to understand?

john July 22, 2014 at 10:06 am

I was referring to the case above, a family of 25 killed to get 1 “member” of the Hamas military wing.

Someone decided that destroying this house, without knowing exactly who was inside, was acceptable and risked acceptable collateral damage.

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 10:40 am

Someone decided that destroying this house, without knowing exactly who was inside, was acceptable and risked acceptable collateral damage

Not necessarily. Decisions in war are made quickly with the information that is available. Sometimes the info is wrong, other times people make mistakes.

john July 22, 2014 at 10:46 am

If you are really an Israeli, and not an American teen in disguise, you should know that this is what is destroying Israel’s image on the western stage. You can’t even stop to say this was a horrible mistake, that it should be investigated, that procedures should change, that it should never happen again.

You aren’t coming across like you really care.

Argajarg July 22, 2014 at 12:11 pm

This is not an isolated incident, either. This keeps happening every day. Those kids on the beach. The residential tower in downtown Gaza city (where people had been told to evacuate to). Hospitals. Other civilian homes.

Again, nobody reasonable is saying Israel should make no response, or not defend itself. (Leaving aside, for now, broader issues about why this is happening in the first place).

But the right to defend oneself does not give you unlimited justification to do whatever you want. This is a really elementary, childishly simple point: if a guy attacks me with a knife on the street, I am justified in defending myself, even to the point of killing him. I am not justified in pulling out a semi-automatic and gunning down everyone who happens to be on the sidewalk at the time. I’m not trying to make any specific analogy to Israel’s actions; only to illustrate the very simple point that “the right to self defense” is just that: the right to defend yourself from a specific attack, not to murder entire families because a Hamas militant came over for dinner.

As John said, this is going to doom Israel if it continues. It will keep winning battles and, in the long run, it will lose the war. It can’t exist without a semblance of internatonal legitimacy. And people are getting fed up. Even in the United States.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 12:46 pm

There is literally nothing else that Israel can do. They are doing everything they can to avoid civilian casualties and for the most part are incredibly successful. When you are fighting a determined guerilla army using human shields in one of the most densely populated places on earth, some civilians are going to die. How much of that is Hamas’ responsibility for refusing to provide shelters or allow people to leave? Either Israel can defend itself, which means this will happen, or it cannot. No American can possibly be against what Israel is doing without being against what the U.S. does every day. We kill way more civilians than Israel in our ordinary terrorism world-police role.

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 1:13 pm

You can’t even stop to say this was a horrible mistake, that it should be investigated, that procedures should change, that it should never happen again.

I don’t prejudge the IDF. Remember the so-called “Jenin Massacre” – it is now studied in American mililtary academies as a model of how to conduct house-to-house combat while minimizing civilian casualties.

You aren’t coming across like you really care.

Ah yes …, the cardinal sin for leftys .. not expressing the “correct” emotion.

Meanwhile you have zero outrage against Hamas, Do you think about the kind of moral depravity that is required to do any of the things that they have been doing: ordering the kidnapping/executing of teenagers and publicly celebrating their deaths, using their own people as human shield, launching rockets into cities, trying to blow up a nuclear reactor (ever think about that one?

john July 22, 2014 at 1:22 pm

I think my position is pretty clearly against aggressors on both sides. I’ve said moderates should get the heck out, and leave warmongers to kill each other.

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Again, nobody reasonable is saying Israel should make no response, or not defend itself. (Leaving aside, for now, broader issues about why this is happening in the first place).

Again there is no suggestion of what kind or response _is_ appropriate.

If somebody were to say: “OK, Israel must defang Hamas … but there have been several specific incidents which indicate that the IDF is acting recklessly and these must stop/be investigated etc.” then I think that person is not being unreasonable.

But we are not seeing much of that. Instead the liberals go into frenzied outrage at every measure that Israel takes, while Hamas is either treated like its the weather (nothing to do about it) or actually admired.

Argajarg July 22, 2014 at 5:43 pm

If somebody were to say: “OK, Israel must defang Hamas … but there have been several specific incidents which indicate that the IDF is acting recklessly and these must stop/be investigated etc.” then I think that person is not being unreasonable. – See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2014/07/an-israeli-median-voter-theorem-model-this-war.html#comments

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I’VE BEEN SAYING. Yes, Israel has the right to defend themselves, but these incidents show that it has been doing so recklessly.

john July 22, 2014 at 9:33 am

Did Israel make a demand and reasonable timeline for Hamas to turn over the children’s kidnappers, or did they roll in to “prove they owned the place?”

When you try to prove you own someone else’s home, this happens.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 12:47 pm

“When you arrest some terrorists, this happens” FTFY?

john July 22, 2014 at 1:11 pm

As I understand it, Israel rolled in and grabbed 400 of the “usual suspects.” We don’t let police do that in New York or Los Angeles. We don’t send troops across the border to do that in Mexico.

Do you consider Gaza a country, or an apartheid ghetto where you can grab who you want?

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 1:23 pm

It wasn’t Gaza, it was the West Bank, which is pretty different from Gaza although not an “apartheid ghetto”. I really don’t know enough about this to say if it was reasonable or not. If they arrest 400 known terrorists for questioning is that illegal or unreasonable in Israel?

john July 22, 2014 at 1:32 pm

I think arresting 400 is what you do when you want to clearly demonstrate that you dominate an enemy population.

Such an action has a reaction.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Or maybe it is what you do when you want to solve a triple murder by a terrorist organization.

Steven July 22, 2014 at 9:23 am

If the argument could accomplish justifying even a nuking Gaza then it seems like a very strong argument. Your reductio ad absurdum argument lacks an absurd outcome. (I don’t mean actually nuking because of the obvious practical problems but in a figurative sense.)

Argajarg July 22, 2014 at 12:00 pm

You don’t see nuking Gaza as an absurd outcome (from a moral, not practical, point of view)?

prior_approval July 22, 2014 at 12:49 am

Does Piketty have an opinion on this subject?

Because if so, the months of interpretation, attempts at refutation using a grab bag of approaches and data, and projection would be about as boring as the previous months of the same concerning his academic work.

Peter Vardon July 22, 2014 at 12:51 am

So Israel is “Deontologically wrong” ……is self defense deontologically wrong? What people or nation would act differently?

Alexei Sadeski July 22, 2014 at 12:59 am

America would never do something like this.

prior_approval July 22, 2014 at 1:56 am

Absolutely – we love collateral damage.

Just ask the Iraqis or Afghanis how that works.

Alexei Sadeski July 22, 2014 at 1:58 am

And all of those Yemenis and Somalis and Serbs who launched rockets into the US.

prior_approval July 22, 2014 at 4:50 am

Not to get too detailed about it, but the Serbs were doing things like this during that Balkan wars time frame – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srebrenica_massacre (and for those who think the Serbs are being treated unfairly in just one war, then this list should help balance the scales – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_massacres_in_Bosnia_and_Herzegovina )

Not that we bombed Ruanda, but one could make an argument that even though bombing for peace is unworkable (bombing for victory being another metric entirely), bombing to stop genocide may just be one of those fringe cases that could be considered acceptable.

Unless one thinks the slaughter of thousands of people is of no concern to anyone. Which, when speaking of European history in general, certainly seems to be the majority view.

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 3:43 am

Absolutely – we love collateral damage.

Just ask the Iraqis or Afghanis how that works.

Indeed. Israel is actually endangering its soldiers by telling the Gazans where they will be going next. Whereas the US just launches drone attacks. Someone should ask John Kerry what he thinks about that.

Brian Donohue July 22, 2014 at 9:51 am

I don’t get your ragging on the US here. 6,800 US soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 10 years.

American soldiers know a thing or two about ‘rules of engagement’ as well. Seriously. And Israel has cheered the US on. And the US remains Israel’s best friend in the world and continues to provide billions in support annually. I don’t get your antagonistic attitude.

http://www.antiwar.com/casualties/

john July 22, 2014 at 10:49 am

Jon Steward captures the western frustration here

Arjun July 22, 2014 at 2:02 am

Given Israeli colonization/occupation of the West Bank, its economic blockade of Gaza, its restrictions on fishing and agriculture in Gaza, assassinating voices of moderation in Hamas like Ahmed Jabari, and bombing Hamas patrols which are trying to stop more radical groups like Islamic Jihad from launching rockets at Israel, I’d say that portraying Israeli’s propensity toward militarization as “self-defense” is hilariously simplistic.

Li Zhi July 22, 2014 at 2:59 am

I don’t totally disagree, but otoh, given the disproportionate military advantage Israel has, you could also argue that they’ve shown enormous restraint dealing with their enemies. It is obvious that if it were Jews in Gaza and Arabs were running ‘Israel’ (Palestine), there wouldn’t BE any Jews in the Mid-East.

Rahul July 22, 2014 at 3:15 am

It isn’t altruistic. If Israel was more brutal it may not get all the external sympathy & support it has been getting.

Not bombing the Arabs out of existence is a strategic decision as much as anything else. The Jews don’t want to be remembered as the next Nazis. Faced with a smaller, weaker enemy most any modern power has to show restraint.

Just saying that Israel’s restraint isn’t so special.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:04 am

Well the blockade etc. are recent and only because of the incessant attacks. And Israelis have every right to live in their own country. I would appreciate more information on the “restrictions on fishing and agriculture in Gaza, assassinating voices of moderation in Hamas like Ahmed Jabari, and bombing Hamas patrols which are trying to stop more radical groups like Islamic Jihad from launching rockets at Israel”

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 3:46 am

I would appreciate more information on the “restrictions on fishing and agriculture in Gaza, assassinating voices of moderation in Hamas like Ahmed Jabari, and bombing Hamas patrols which are trying to stop more radical groups like Islamic Jihad from launching rockets at Israel

You won’t get any more information because it is BS.

prior_approval July 22, 2014 at 5:01 am

‘restrictions on fishing’

Well, there was the recent change from a zone of 6 nautical miles to the current 3 for fishermen from Gaza – one could reasonably argue that restricting fishermen from fishing beyond that 3 mile nautical limit is a restriction on fishing.

However, it is equally true that Israel has expanded and contracted that permitted zone more than once recently – one could say that by returning the 3 mile limit, Israel has merely returned to the limit that was in force in the spring of 2013, and thus not actually placed any new restrictions on Gazan fishing boats.

And as the case with all such debates, there is no reason to actually assume either side will ever argue in good faith for anything but their own interests. And that both sides have defensible reasons to support their argument, with equally good arguments against the reasons of the other side.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 4:45 am

“I would appreciate more information”

Former President Jimmy Carter’s book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” is full of information.

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 5:15 am

Former President Jimmy Carter’s book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” is full of information.

Thanks for supporting my point about Palestinian BS and propaganda.

Chip July 22, 2014 at 7:19 am

When Israel left Gaza the borders were open and trade allowed. When that trade began to consist mostly of rockets, the border was closed.

Maybe you should ask the Egyptians why they closed the border with Gaza too.

People seem to forget that Hamas has as it’s main goal the destruction of Israel. The people of Gaza elected them.

This is the first mover. They made a choice but seem too stupid to realize this choice has awful consequences.

Maybe because the world keeps telling them it’s not their fault.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 1:16 am

Rich Catholic guys always had the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team to invest in, but guys like Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban don’t have their own college football team to get worked up over.

Somebody should give Brandeis U. a billion dollars to have a Top Ten football program.

DMS July 22, 2014 at 1:18 am

You are so predictable.

Rahul July 22, 2014 at 3:17 am

To his audience it’s a feature not a bug.

Z July 22, 2014 at 7:16 am

I don’t know. Peter King got into Congress supporting IRA terrorism.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 7:35 am

And if we didn’t have college football as an outlet for tribalism, how many others would have?

msgkings July 22, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Your blog, for starters.

Aaron Luchko July 22, 2014 at 1:37 am

Honestly I think Israel is simply pursuing a policy of trying to create more and more settlements until they’ve simply pushed the Palestinians out of all the territory that Israel wants.

At that point Israel will make some kind of major monetary reparations and stop occupying whatever the Palestinians have left. The hope will then be that without the friction of an occupation and active land seizures the Palestinians will slowly become less extreme and the ethnic cleansing will be written off as a historical injustice you can’t really reverse.

The current campaign assists in this regard as it creates a rabidly anti-Semitic population in Gaza that’s hard for people to sympathize with. This makes it easier for future Israeli settlement expansions to go overlooked.

Joe July 22, 2014 at 2:03 am

How does that theory fit with Israel previously evacuating all the settlements in Gaza??

Aaron Luchko July 22, 2014 at 2:16 am

I suspect that Gaza is a concession they’re willing to make to achieve their larger land aims.

“The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process,” said Sharon’s closest adviser, Dov Weissblas. “When you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Disengagement supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians”

David Wright July 22, 2014 at 2:36 am

Gaza isn’t a concession at all in terms of long-term aims. Unlike Judea and Samaria, i.e. the West Bank, there is no notion that Gaza is a part of Eretz Israel. It was merely a piece of captured territory, no one minds if it is used or given up for whatever tactical, strategic, or negotiation advantage can be gained from it.

Li Zhi July 22, 2014 at 3:06 am

Yes, your right! No, I don’t think your conspiracy theory is nutters. Democracies are excellent at having long term strategies that they carefully implement over decades. Yup, nothing wrong with your thinking…but be careful! If the Trilateral Commission sees you as a ‘free thinker’, they’ll infect you with a prion disease. They’re everywhere. Wait…what was that noise at your front window?

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 3:38 am

Honestly I think Israel is simply pursuing a policy of trying to create more and more settlements until they’ve simply pushed the Palestinians out of all the territory that Israel wants.

How does that theory fit with the fact that establishment of new settlements in the West Bank basically ended around the time of Oslo, so that the leftys need to scream instead about building inside existing settlements, or in Jerusalem, or the hilltop campsites that are called “outposts”?

Aaron Luchko July 23, 2014 at 12:11 am

Sure about that?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_the_Jewish_settlement_in_the_land_of_Israel_in_modern_times#Since_the_Six-Day_War_and_until_today_1967_-_2008

The pace of founding new communities has slowed, but that’s more a function of simple economics than policy, people everywhere are urbanizing. The current Israeli policy is quite clearly to build up the settlements as much as possible so that future withdraws are impractical.

I don’t know what Israel wants for the long term future of the Palestinians, but certainly Israel has is doing everything it can to take a land return off the table.

Dude July 23, 2014 at 11:26 am

Wow, please do some research. You seem to lack basic knowledge of the facts on the ground.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 4:38 am

“At that point Israel will make some kind of major monetary reparations and stop occupying whatever the Palestinians have left. The hope will then be that without the friction of an occupation and active land seizures the Palestinians will slowly become less extreme and the ethnic cleansing will be written off as a historical injustice you can’t really reverse.”

Sure, that makes perfect sense, but it could have happened a lot of times in the past if enough Israelis wanted it to happen. But do you think that if the Prime Minister of Israel asked Haim Saban and Sheldon Adelson’s wife to contribute a billion dollars each to reparations to the Palestinians, they’d whip out their checkbooks? Nah, they’d pull out their checkbooks instead to get themselves a new Prime Minister of Israel who wasn’t such a killjoy.

Do you think Filipinos want Manny Pacquiao to reach a peace agreement with Floyd Mayweather?

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 8:18 am

Reparations to people who had their property taken in 1947-48 sound sensible in theory, but they will never happen because they would be seen as an admission of guilt.

DMS July 22, 2014 at 8:50 am

Guess again:

“After months of painstaking negotiations over every word in the framework, the prime minister had accepted once-unthinkable language. On refugees, the document would promise monetary compensation to Palestinians displaced in Israel’s War of Independence (and, separately, to Jews who left their homes in the Arab world).”
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118751/how-israel-palestine-peace-deal-died

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 9:14 am

And this money was actually paid when?

Israel’s supporters have plenty of money to pay for the land and houses they took. Jews make up about 15% or more of the Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires, and about 1/3rd of the U.S. billionaires. But just reading those percentages makes you uncomfortable if you are a gentile and irate if you are Jewish. Nobody is supposed to know what the facts are.

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Hang it up. You’re just wrong on this point.

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 12:07 pm

but they will never happen because they would be seen as an admission of guilt.

No, it is unlikely to happen because the ‘right-of-return’ is a non-negotiable item for two-thirds of the population living on the West Bank and Gaza (much less those in UNRWA camps).

DMS July 22, 2014 at 2:00 pm

SS,
Please read the article before you make a fool of yourself.

I wrote:

“After months of painstaking negotiations over every word in the framework, the prime minister had accepted once-unthinkable language. On refugees, the document would promise monetary compensation to Palestinians displaced in Israel’s War of Independence (and, separately, to Jews who left their homes in the Arab world).”
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118751/how-israel-palestine-peace-deal-died – See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2014/07/an-israeli-median-voter-theorem-model-this-war.html#comments

You didn’t even open to the linked article or else you would have seen that it was on the table in the last failed Kerry-sponsored negotiations.

As to your attitude, yours is well known.

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 2:09 pm

I’m not Steve Sailer.

dirk July 22, 2014 at 1:39 am

Tolstoy says the leaders are always the least in control of a war. I’m inclined to think that is what is going on here and that the 67% support for an invasion among Israelis is data which supports Tolstoy’s model.

Sam Haysom July 22, 2014 at 6:16 am

Tolstoy took that idea from de Maistre and it has nothing to do with whether the tail or dog is doing the wagging. He’s talking about the inability of leaders to control the physical battle itself not the effects of popular opinion. What you are describing is what Clausewitz tries to point hot with his paradoxical trinity.

Ray Lopez July 22, 2014 at 1:52 am

TC notes: “Fred Kaplan wonders whether Israel has lost its ability to think strategically”

Yes, Israel has lost the ability to think strategically, when the prisoners released in exchange to free the kidnapped Israeli soldier Shalet go on to kill more people than would have been otherwise, as was found to be the case. Instead of bargaining for Shalet in prisoners, the Isrealis should have offered other minor concessions like opening up Gaza checkpoints to trade and realizing Shalet was in no great harm since he was a bargaining chip.

When politicians pander to the public’s appetite for war and flawed theories like tit-for-tat (or Domino theory) you get the Gulf wars, Afghanistan wars, Middle East wars and Vietnam.

Alexei Sadeski July 22, 2014 at 1:59 am

Tit for tat is a flawed theory?

Ray Lopez, provocateur, troll, genius July 22, 2014 at 4:40 am

@Alexei Sadeski, yes, tit-for-tat is not the optimal strategy in Prisoner Dilemma games, of which international relations is one such type of PD game. The optimal strategy for both parties is cooperation.

Ray Lopez, provocateur July 22, 2014 at 4:47 am

Of course, Tit-for-Tat has won various computer simulations of Prisoner’s Dilemma, but the better versions will not always retaliate in a serial PD competition (meaning there are many rounds, not just one, so an ongoing relationship between the players exists), hence my comment.

pron July 22, 2014 at 2:10 am

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Did you create this website yourself or did
you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply as I’m looking to design my own blog and
would like to know where u got this from. kudos

David Wright July 22, 2014 at 2:46 am

Am I the only one to believe that Israel has wronged the Palestinians over the long run, but is basically entirely justified in its response to Gaza shelling? It seems that most commentators believe Israel to be “deontologically wrong” on both counts or on neither, and I just wonder if I am entirely alone drawing this distinction.

Rahul July 22, 2014 at 3:20 am

A lot of these debates are about how long a time horizon you are willing to incorporate in your analysis.

Tarrou July 22, 2014 at 7:16 am

Well, I think any honest person would say that both sides have harmed the other. But the harm Israel has inflicted is generally the sort of harm any sovereign state inflicts in a conflict. Bad targeting, political decisions, occasionally covering up mistakes and going easy on their own side when individuals step out of line. The Palestinians just do not and have never wanted peace. And they’ve been honest enough to say so publicly from the start, and have never wavered in the slightest, except for the occasional White House photo op. Israel has its faults and its atrocities to answer for, but they can answer for them. Who among the Palestinians will answer for a hundred years of terrorism, the unwavering concentration on civilian populations, the callous use of their own civilians as human shields and the genocidal hatred? Simple fact is the Palestinians are like any other leaderless group of islamic fundamentalists, at a basic level incapable of living with others. Israel’s best move would have been to take Machiavelli’s advice, ethnically cleanse all of them, then execute the general they had do it. By trying to be civilized, they’ve extended this conflict for sixty years. Their opponents are not capable of nor desirous of peace.

CM July 22, 2014 at 11:02 am

Your explicit call for genocide and blanket characterization of all Palestinians as lacking in basic human decency demonstrates your own depravity. For shame.

Sebastian July 22, 2014 at 12:30 pm

When starting out sensibly … you might consider stopping at the point where you turn into a farce of a human being.

Disgusting.

DMS July 22, 2014 at 8:53 am

Wright:
Do you know much (or even anything) about the history of the Holy Land from about 1880 onwards.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:11 am

What the heck do you mean, deontologically wrong? Hamas started shooting a bunch of rockets at them and tunneling in infiltrators so they went to destroy the rockets and tunnels. Once they are done with that, they will have several years of peace, during which they can upgrade their defensive capabilities. If they want to really get crazy they could destroy Hamas, maybe that would gain them even more of a reprieve. As far as very long term, Israel is more secure now than ever. Perhaps at some point they will have such a good defensive system they can afford to ignore the Palestinian attacks entirely.

Li Zhi July 22, 2014 at 3:28 am

Is there a strategy? Seems to me that the only ‘strategy’ seems to be once you’ve concluded you don’t have a winning hand AND if you make the rules then call for a shuffle and redeal.

andrew' July 22, 2014 at 3:28 am

Hmmm, I wonder what percentage of isreals enemy land is held by Hamas. Isreals enemies that have their own countries have been fairly contained.

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 3:32 am

I do think it is deontologically wrong on the part of the Israelis, and I also do not understand their strategy from even a purely nationalistic point of view.

I don’t understand what it is that you don’t understand. Are you one of those people who thinks that Israel should just get used to the rockets?

1. The conflict between Israel and Gaza cannot be resolved in the near term. It can only be managed.

2. Israel will not accept Palestinians rocketing its cities – even with the Iron Dome so far preventing serious casualties and damage.

3. Thus it is necessary to go into Gaza to defang Hamas. The last time this was necessary was 2006. It may be necessary again in the future.

andrew' July 22, 2014 at 3:59 am

Rule #1 of fighting terrorism: get the terrorists, just the terrorists, and nothing but the terrorists.

Rule #2. See rule #1 for how not to become terrorists.

Rule #3. Are you following rules 1 and 2?

Rule #4. If yes, keep doing it. If no, do it.

andrew' July 22, 2014 at 4:00 am

(And do it for you, not for us)

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 5:52 am

> Rule #1 of fighting terrorism: get the terrorists, just the terrorists, and nothing but the terrorists.

That’s obviously the preferred way to do it. That’s why Israel is risking soldiers welfare by telling the Gazans where the strikes are going to be and that civilians should flee (unlike Americans who just send drones everywhere).

If that’s not good enough, then please give an example of a “role model” for Israel to follow in that regard.

Tarrou July 22, 2014 at 7:36 am

BAHAHAHAHAHA! This is an economics blog, but now you’re in my area of expertise!. No nation, and I mean no one, ever, in the history of ever, has had a 100% targeting mechanism. It is not a realistic goal. There will be collateral damage to any kinetic operation, that’s why we have that phrase. You will note that the US is considerably less proficient at avoiding civilian casualties than the Israelis are, and allow me to assure you from personal experience, we go to incredible lengths to try to limit this. We risk our own soldiers lives to minimize the possibility of civilian casualties. This is the fundamental difference between the US and the Israelis on the one hand, and the various jihadists and nutbags on the other. They push their civilians out front, hide their caches in civilian buildings (which makes them not civilian anymore), and expressly target civilian populations as a primary goal.

Andrew' July 22, 2014 at 10:41 am

This supports my point.

And the casualty rate is still ~20 to 1 or so.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 12:55 pm

What the heck does casualty rate have to do with anything? You are talking about casualty rate of Palestinians to Israelis? One side builds shelters, the other side rocket emplacements in hospitals. You don’t think there should be a difference in casualties?

Andrew' July 22, 2014 at 10:50 am

Did I say there was a 100% targeting mechanism, btw? No. What I said was go after the terrorists. As in, there is no acceptance of a goal that a priori accepts collateral damage.

If what you want is to act like it is war, then start treating Palestine like a different country.

If it is not a different country, then don’t treat it like a war.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Gaza is a separate country for all intents and purposes

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 2:58 pm

“No nation, and I mean no one, ever, in the history of ever, has had a 100% targeting mechanism.” Bombing a beach and a hospital is terrorism plain and simple. You can try and equivocate, but the facts are clear. There were DOD and CIA offices in the World Trade Center, but 9/11 is still terrorism plain and simple.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Even if they are launching rockets from the beach and the hospital?

Steven July 22, 2014 at 9:32 am

Rule 5: kill anyone who supports terrorism

Andrew' July 22, 2014 at 10:40 am

Well, no. But even if yes…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_rocket_attacks_on_Israel#Hamas

“A public opinion poll conducted in March 2013 found that most Palestinians do not support firing rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip.”

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Are you one of those people who thinks that Israel should just get used to the rockets?

You’re asking him to follow the logic of what he’s advocating and conceive of practical effects. That’s irrelevant when your purpose is to strike poses.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 2:52 pm

“Are you one of those people who thinks that Israel should just get used to the rockets?”

Are you one of those people that thinks Gazans should get used to bloody massacres?

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:20 pm

They should get used to Israel defending itself in the only way possible, yes

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Are you one of those people that thinks Gazans should get used to bloody massacres?

If they don’t want trouble, quit sending rockets over the border. This isn’t that complicated. The Arab states on Israel’s borders have managed this for 41 years.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 5:56 pm

“They should get used to Israel defending itself in the only way possible, yes ” Then I guess Israel should get used to Gazans defending themselves in any way possible.

“If they don’t want trouble, quit sending rockets over the border. ” Tell that to the Palestinians of the West Bank that are being ethnically cleansed from “Judea and Samaria.” If the Israelis were interested in peace,occupation in the West Bank would have been dismantled long ago. The goal is a greater Israel. The Israelis only understand violence, which is why there was a withdrawal from Gaza once the security situation was untenable but peace in the West Bank has only deepened Israeli colonialism.

jean-louis salvignol July 22, 2014 at 3:36 am

You all know that France, under its Socialist regime, occupies the Mali and the CAR, and imposes puppet regimes in Bamako and Bangui. Do you know how many rockets Islamist fighters that the French army faces there have fired towards France? Zero.

And we see all the French leftist and ecologists factions which manifest violently in the streets to support not Palestinian or Gaza, but Hamas in fine. And we see besieged synagogues, shops run by Jews burned, this in July 2014 in Paris and its suburbs.

Do you know finally that Islamist fighters from Mali or RCA are basically brothers in arms of Hamas or Hezbollah. But Mali and the CAR, our good leftists don’t give a damn.

Why this amazing asymmetry you say? The French anti-Semitism from the Left – disguised as anti-Zionism – also includes sisters ideologies, anti-globalization, anti-capitalism, anti-Americanism, and joined the Islamists hate against the U.S., against Israel and against Jews in general.

Pitiful result: the exodus of Jews from France, good citizens of the Republic, began and accelerates. Aliyah Figures Soar Above Total for Americans…in 2014!

Rahul July 22, 2014 at 4:02 am

About the Aliah figures: Forget Jews, lots of other Frenchmen would love to ditch France at the moment given a chance.
I don’t think that exodus is anti-Semitism predominantly.

Mark Thorson July 22, 2014 at 11:28 am

You’d be wrong about that. Anti-Semitism in France has been fierce for over a decade. Ariel Sharon had it right.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3904943.stm

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 3:57 am

Quoth Tyler:
Even Max Boot seems to think Hamas will stay in charge of Gaza.

Yes they will. Hamas is now in charge in the West Bank also. Did you know that??

What does that have to do anything? Please tell me.

ChrisA July 22, 2014 at 4:15 am

Tyler is correct, the Palestinians have achieved their goal of provoking the Israeli’s into attacking Gaza. It is the strategy of a smaller child verbally provoking a larger child until he wales into the smaller child. The smaller child then can cry to authority figures that the larger child is a bully and needs to be disciplined. One can well understand the mentality of Israel and how they could no longer put up with the provocation. But attacking Gaza is also bad for them. What can Israel do to counter this strategy? Brainstorming some ideas 1) maybe after the invasion, they could offer $50,000 per year to all adult Gaza citizens reduced by $1,000 for every confirmed rocket fired that year from Gaza into Israel. Likely this will not stop the rockets, but at least they will feel better about them, since the Gazanians will be punished for every rocket and who now would feel sympathy for the Gazanians for such punishment? 2) Israel loses as it has to abide by western rules of engagement while the Palestinians don’t seem to suffer playing the terrorism game. So, station Gurkha soldiers in Gaza after the invasion. Pay the Gurkhas a fixed fee for every rocket launcher discovered. Israeli’s now are not the ones doing the policing so less blow back on them, no issues with kidnapping, Israelis lives not at risk etc etc. The Gurkhas are seen as more neutral and also have a fearsome reputation and don’t have to comply with western rules. 3) Occupy Gaza and build numerous large scale high walled gated towns, with good facilities right along the border. Offer them for sale at low prices and with guaranteed mortgages to the Gazanians, but the Israeli’s get to run the gate security. 4) getting wacky now, but pay European and US college graduates to come to Israel to work along the Gaza border in artistic kind of jobs (theatre shows, arts and crafts etc). Make sure that they have young kids. Just some humble suggestions.

Dan Weber July 22, 2014 at 8:32 am

Paying the Gurkhas per rocket-launcher found: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobra_effect

ChrisA July 22, 2014 at 9:49 am

Just a brainstorm Dan! And I am sure the Israeli’s, should they decide to go with harebrained ideas, would think of some way to manage this. But maybe worth paying a bit extra anyway, on the basis that at least a few of them will be real ones.

The Devil's Dictionary July 22, 2014 at 4:30 am

Hamas, in fact, lost the war. Long ago. It, however, still refuses to accept the fact of being defeated. Therefore, it keeps fighting in vain, even though the chance of regaining any territories is smaller than the chance of Germany regaining the control over Königsberg, Danzig or Tilsit.

Germany, on the other hand, understood she lost in 1945. She acquiesced in the situation and focused on the economy rather than the military. It has worked.

http://www.devilsdictionaries.com/blog/if-i-were-the-leader-of-hamas

Axa July 22, 2014 at 5:49 am

A model? I can’t find the motivation of Palestines to continue this war. Strong religious differences have caused wars like this in the past. Huguenots fought back but eventually understood that survival meant conversion or exodus. Europe has a rich history of similar conflicts, none of them ended in peace before thousands of deaths. Why this time things have to be different?

It’s not about who’s right or wrong, but who has the strongest army. Jew immigration to Palestine started in the late 1800s and since then they just become more organized. The war is long because there was support from Syria, Jordan and Egypt in the beginning. In 2014, Syria is busy with a civil war. Jordan is profiting from the peace with Israel. Egypt blocked the border with Gaza and while calling for a cease-fire is praying for the fall of Hamas. History is important because a lot of things have happened since 1948. Egypt and Jordan have recognized Israel. How long before Palestines acknowledge they’re alone?

Axa July 22, 2014 at 8:05 am
Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 6:37 am

The Fred Kaplan article claiming that “Israel has lost the ability to think strategically” makes perfect sense if you assume that Israel’s goal is peace. But if you assume that Israel’s goal is to continue to push around their neighbors because it’s fun and it distracts Israelis from how much they hate each other, then Israel is as strategically brilliant as all the evidence suggests.

Chip July 22, 2014 at 7:27 am

And all your posts make sense when we realize you simply don’t like jews and immigrants.

Alex from Germany July 23, 2014 at 6:39 pm

+1

Tarrou July 22, 2014 at 7:39 am

Which is why Israel has accepted every potential cease-fire agreement, and Hamas has not?

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 2:59 pm

“Which is why Israel has accepted every potential cease-fire agreement, and Hamas has not?”

Tarrou is the Bill Kristol of Israel- always wrong all the time. Hamas has proposed a 10-year truce which Israel rejects to continue terrorism instead.

http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/deafening-silence-proposal.html

Tarrou July 22, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Nice, economist, but you forgot to include their demand that Spain return Andalusia to them as an islamic waqf.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 5:52 pm

More non-sequiturs from Tarrou. Bill, is that you?

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 12:12 pm

The Fred Kaplan article claiming that “Israel has lost the ability to think strategically” makes perfect sense if you assume that Israel’s goal is peace. But if you assume

It does not matter what Israel’s goals are. The revealed preferences of the Arab political class on the West Bank and Gaza, of Arab electorates on the West Bank and Gaza, and the public opinion research on that population tell you two things: 1) north of a third of the population therein fancies that Israel must dissolve as a political entity and 2) that another 30% fancies that a fuzzily defined seven-figure Arab population must have the right to settle in Israel on their own discretion.

A general settlement is not an option for Israel (unless it no longer cares to be a going concern). No political programme offered by any Israeli politician can change that.

john July 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm

What I’ve read is that as moderates depart the region, the support for a two state solution has fallen on both sides. If that is the feedback loop then in a short time you only have remaining people on both sides who want another 100 years of war.

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Net migration has never been a problem in Israel. “Moderates” are not departing. As for the Arab populations, I do not think you will find a population of Arabs from the area resident abroad who are pushing a general settlement or more favorable to one if they have any special viewpoint on the conflict. Recall Edward Said.

john July 22, 2014 at 12:47 pm

First of all, it only takes a little math to see that “net migration” dose not disprove “moderates departing.”

Secondly, you seem to have avoided the decline and fall of the two state solution. Without it, what is there exactly? Either a pluralistic democracy, or apartheid.

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Secondly, you seem to have avoided the decline and fall of the two state solution. Without it, what is there exactly? Either a pluralistic democracy, or apartheid.

What we’ve had until recently is a de facto 3 state solution: Israel, Gaza, West Bank. Bibi has been loosening various restrictions on the West Bank in terms of travel, work permits etc. and there were rumors about a peaceful “youth culture” emerging in Ramallah.

But this fell apart when Hamas joined the PA.

If Hamas took full control of the West Bank, the rockets would start flying into Tel Aviv within a few hours. There is no need for sophisticated technology because the rockets only need to travel a few hundred meters. Shooting down civilian airplanes would be a cinch. Thus there is no way that Israel will fully relinquish the West Bank in the near term.

john July 22, 2014 at 1:54 pm

I think sir, that when you can “reduce restrictions on” you have a captured population, and not a “three state solution.”

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Secondly, you seem to have avoided the decline and fall of the two state solution. Without it, what is there exactly? Either a pluralistic democracy, or apartheid.

No, there is the current situation, which is neither. Gaza is functionally sovereign in some respects, but an international mendicant and a chronic irritant. The West Bank is another international mendicant, partially occupied, an irritant to Israel, but with a separate authority whose ambo looks like a one of the old Ernestine duchies in Germany, or perhaps the Electoral Rhenish circle.

There is nothing much you can do to alter this. There is a problem with the ‘two-state solution’. (1) North of a third of the Arab population insists on a ‘one-state’ solution; that’s likely enough for a disruptive critical mass; (2) about 30% of the Arab population will sign a treaty with ‘Israel’, but insist that Arabs be permitted to settle in Israel, take back property some relation occupied in 1947 &c. These are not viable solutions. If you want a ‘two-state solution’, you have to persuade the Arabs to want it.

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 2:04 pm

I think sir, that when you can “reduce restrictions on” you have a captured population, and not a “three state solution.”

I said “emerging” 3-state solution …

For the reasons that I described, “de facto peace” between the West Bank and Israel is a prerequisite to de jure peace. People like John Kerry seem to think that signing a piece of paper is an end in itself … but that’s crazy talk.

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 2:06 pm

I think sir, that when you can “reduce restrictions on” you have a captured population, and not a “three state solution.”

Reality is not altered because you have a penchant for manipulating language. They are not a ‘captured’ population, nor are they at all interested in alternative arrangements which would improve the freedom of movement they have. They are not permitted to travel to Israel without restriction for obvious reasons. If they want that restriction removed, the source of it will have to be extirpated.

john July 22, 2014 at 2:22 pm

I am not asking for an n-state solution, I am noting that these conflicts are inevitable without it. What’s the end-game, recognizing human nature on all sides? Today it looks like apartheid punctuated by terrorism.

And that’s pretty sad.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 2:54 pm

In what way is it apartheid? Plenty of Arab Israelis

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Today it looks like apartheid punctuated by terrorism.

That’s both false and inflammatory.

john July 22, 2014 at 5:16 pm

I understand that Israel did not intend to create perpetual captive populations, but I’m observing that this is what they have. They’ve won battle after battle and war after war, but they are left with beaten enemies on their doorstep, that they can neither free nor embrace.

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 6:16 pm

I understand that Israel did not intend to create perpetual captive populations,

They are not a ‘captive’ population unless you fancy people should be able to cross frontiers at their discretion. This is not true anywhere. Quit with the fraud.

Tarrou July 22, 2014 at 7:21 am

To Professor Cowen’s question, this issue really is as simple as the schoolyard. The reason Israel is fighting is that they’re getting hit. A dictator could impose a no-response policy. What democratically elected leader wants to stand on the “We’re going to let them shell you every day, and not respond, because that will make other people mad at us for responding” plank? I seem to recall the support for bombing/invading just about anyone was pretty strong right after 9/11. If we were getting hit every day, the public would demand a response, and the government would give it to them.

Andrew' July 22, 2014 at 11:01 am

Except that 100 times the people were killed on 9/11.

AND “our” knee-jerk response was also wrong and counter-productive too.

john July 22, 2014 at 11:05 am

Actually, our first knee-jerk wasn’t so bad, a demand that OBL be turned over for trial. When he was not supplied our responses become more and more uncommensurate.

Tarrou July 22, 2014 at 11:19 am

So how long will you be willing for me to shell your house before you demand a response? Once? Twice? Tens of thousands of times? Every day for fifty years?

john July 22, 2014 at 11:22 am

My most intelligent move would be to move to California.

john July 22, 2014 at 11:24 am

Just to be clear, I totally get the appeal of Zionism, especially in 1948.

But here’s the thing we know now. Some Jews decided to move to California in 1948. They were smarter.

Clover July 22, 2014 at 8:34 pm

And those Jews’ grandchildren are marrying shiksas.

mike July 22, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Luckier, not smarter. The USA only allowed a token number of Jewish WW2 refugees to immigrate. Ditto the Western European countries. At least some Arab thinkers at the time criticized The West for refusing to address their own refugee problem.
http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/kabd_eng.html

Andrew' July 22, 2014 at 11:53 am

Me?

I’d already have Mossad inside Hamas.

Andrew' July 22, 2014 at 11:54 am

(as in, get the guys firing the rockets yesterday, and I hope I’d never pursue the wrong response)

A Berman July 22, 2014 at 7:23 am

Two Points to Consider that most people don’t:
1) Egypt not only supports Israel’s actions, but Egypt has supported and participated in Israel’s partial blockage of Gaza for years. After all, Egypt controls crossings into Gaza just like Israel does. Does Egypt’s coordination with Israel on Gaza fit into your overall understanding of the situation?
2) There are many people in Gaza who — if not actual supporters of Israel — are on somewhat amicable terms with Israel or with Jews and have been throughout. A recent REDDIT AMA from a Gazan (I know, just one anecdote) suggested that the number was 50% vs. 35% support for Hamas. IF Gaza has a substantial amount of people who at least want peace with Israel and are not interested Israel’s destruction, how does that figure your view of Israel’s strategy?

Roland July 22, 2014 at 7:58 am

ISIS, ISIS, ISIS
A new strategic partner appeared for Hamas and Israel wants to weaken them while they can.

Iran-Israel-US are now forced to co-operate. Israel is still a very pragmatic country, don’t be fooled.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 8:00 am

What percentage of Israeli voters have relatives in Russia?

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 8:56 am

Tyler, you were complaining about how Russians live in a reality distorting media bubble yesterday. But what percentage of Jewish voters in Israel listen to Russian-language media? Russia and Israel have become culturally intertwined, so it’s not surprising that their leaders behave fairly similarly, with Putin aping Netanyahu, even if it doesn’t seem that way to us Americans because our press is biased against one country and for the other.

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 9:18 am

In general, Israel is a very successful country, so it’s not surprising that a down and out country like Russia, looking around the world for role models would draw a lot of lessons from Israel. The biggest lesson, of course, is the one Sarah Silverman pointed out: you need to control the media in America. The Kremlin is working hard on that, but the Russians have a long, long way to go.

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Israel does not ‘control the media’ in the United States and some components of it are quite hostile. (Donald Neff was the Jerusalem Bureau Chief for Time, to take one example; See Martin Peretz critiques of the Washington Post for another).

Steve Sailer July 22, 2014 at 8:15 pm

I love how you’ve got a little list.

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm

There are about 200,000 Jews left in Russia. Yisrael Beitanu is good for about 12% of the Jewish vote in Israel.

Bob Siegel July 22, 2014 at 9:47 am

I would like to see the Israelis use a more blatant carrot/stick approach as a long term strategy for dealing with the Palestinians, Arabs, and in communicating with the world; i.e. with peace you get peace + a increasing freedom and with violence you get overwhelming violence. Israel needs to explain this strategy and live this strategy with the same tactics I would advise business leaders to use with their organization’s stakeholders.

The problem with this approach is that it requires the cooperation of at least the free peoples of the world. The various media (NYTimes, CNN, BBC, Le Monde, etc) have neither the ideological inclination nor the reporting skillsets needed for understanding the long history of, and future challenges of the various Muslim, Jewish, and Christian relations. To most of the world media and therefore the people, this conflict began in 1948, 1967, even last month. That is wrong, ignorant, and dangerous.

Further, it is very easy to for those outside the immediate Israeli – Palestinian region to view this conflict through a lens that says to simply stop fighting and we can work things out. That lens is, to state it simply, a lens with no ability to focus on and learn from history.

For there to be peace, Israel needs to be secure. For Israel to be secure the Palestinian people need their freedom and Israel’s neighbors need to focus on their nations and not on their hate. For that to happen, the Palestinians and the ‘Arab street,’ need to learn their real history of both greatness and of being led to delusion. The free peoples of the world can help get these truths out, but only with an intelligent and ideologically free press. That sadly does not exist.

john July 22, 2014 at 10:35 am

Isn’t the contradiction that most of us in the developed world are working on diverse, pluralistic, democracies, and yet we must support what you suggest, a grid of monolithic religious states?

I’m going to say that while self-determination is good, and a homeland for any people is good, it is not as good as pluralistic democracy, anywhere in the world.

Denis Drew July 22, 2014 at 9:51 am

Why throw away Israel – the 78% of Palestine absorbed in 1949 — for a bowl of soup – the 5%? If by some sorcerer’s black magic the 78% went missing one morning – what would the 5% of misappropriated West Bank land amount to – a big Jewish neighborhood?

New York demographics: ”After dropping from a peak of 2.5 million in the 1950s to a low of 1.4 million in 2002 the population of Jews in the New York metropolitan area grew to 1.54 million in 2011.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_New_York_City#Jewish

400,000 Jews in the West Bank — maybe not even so big.

I compare Israel’s fetish with West Bank settlements with the Irish Republican Army’s (IRA) fetish with Northern Ireland’s six counties – to a native New Yorker, just a big British neighborhood. I’d love to ask the IRA dopes: If Ireland were not an island (as in surrounded by water), how would they know that the six counties were Irish? :-)

Approaching 50 years of infinitely more serious – and totally self-imposed — “troubles” for a little more land in the sand, must Israel go on forever being as dumb as the IRA?

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Dennis, the settlements do not matter much. Israel vacated all settlements in Gaza and withdrew unilaterally. The effect on the political dispositions of Hamas is observably nil. (About 60% of the ‘settlers’ live in metropolitan Jerusalem or in towns smack on the 1949 armistice lines).

Denis Drew July 22, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Art,
Palestinians who live in Israel do not blow up buses. Until the recent craziness in Iraq anyway, 95% of suicide bombers were people opposing foreign troops on their country’s soil.

I wish I could upload here maps of the settlements and the bypass road system — not to mention the life stifling checkpoints all through the West Bank. The latest building threatens to cut the West Bank in two and make it impossible for Palestinians to ever have one contiguous territory. So you better update your info on how relatively unjust — not to mention just plain self-destructively foolish the settlements are.

When a few Israeli soldiers were killed in southern Lebanon in 2006, Israel responded with a 26 day carpet bombing on the offending ethnic group that may have killed as many as 1000 adults and 400 children. Just about everything Israel does is of the same extremely violent nature. I think somebody in the family of one of Anthony Bourdain’s crew was killed. On Globe Trekker — just another random hit — they visited a Palestinian refugee camp where 117 had just been killed by an Israeli “reprisal” for firing at their troops. Not to mention that on 9/11 America essentially traded skyscrapers for settlements. Take of the blinders, Mr. Magoo.

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 6:26 pm

When a few Israeli soldiers were killed in southern Lebanon in 2006, Israel responded with a 26 day carpet bombing on the offending ethnic group that may have killed as many as 1000 adults and 400 children.

No, Hezbollah attacked positions in Israel itself. Hezbollah is a criminal organization which has caused chronic trouble for all parties proximate to it.

Palestinians who live in Israel do not blow up buses. Until the recent craziness in Iraq anyway, 95% of suicide bombers were people opposing foreign troops on their country’s soil.

You’re offering an apologia for the 2d intifada? (With a cherry on top for the characters who wasted that nightclub full of Australians on Bali)? Your memory is highly selective. That suicide bombing campaign (undertaken in Israel’s side of the 1949 armistice lines, by the way) was consequent to Yasir Arafat tearing up a draft agreement on a final settlement and walking out (with Madeleine Albright chasing after him in her pumps).

That sequence of events in 2000-02 was the most telling of the last five decades and more influential than any other for how we all got to where we are today. Everyone understood after that what the ultimate aims of the Arab politicians really are (well, everyone but John Kerry).

Guess we know where you stand.

Denis Drew July 22, 2014 at 10:47 pm

The soldiers were killed inside the Israeli border you say. Since it doesn’t matter to Israel which side of the borders its soldiers are — anywhere approximately 40 klicks into Lebanon — why should it matter to you?

Again, it makes no +difference which side of the border the suicide bombers are on — not to the point that Palestinians living Israel don’t blow up buses. Seems to me the point is Palestinians would be easy to live with if Israel stopped absorbing their country (what’s left of it) day by day.

Cannot help mentioning that the inventor of the car bomb blew up the King David Hotel in downtown Tel Aviv in 1944 killing 44 British soldiers: future prime minister of Israel, Menachem Begin — which may have a lot to do with where we are today.

Clover July 22, 2014 at 8:41 pm

History is full of ethnic groups who were conquered and disappeared, like the Hitties, the Phoenicians, ect. Jews did not. Why? Because of nationalistic feeling. Now their nationalistic feeling may seem irrational at time but without it they would not exist. And I don’t think it is irrational for an Israeli nationalist to want the West Bank, Israel is a crowded country in the desert.

FredR July 22, 2014 at 9:53 am

Does Cowen have up anywhere a rundown of his preferred short, medium, and long-term strategies for Israel (and/or for Palestine)? I’d like to read that.

prior_approval July 22, 2014 at 11:25 am

The chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center is far too clever to do anything so stupid.

The Devil's Dictionary July 22, 2014 at 12:12 pm
Chris July 22, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Kaplan doesn’t think the Israelis are thiniing strategically because he has completely different assumptions than they do. His “big idea” is to restart the floundering and failed Fatah peace talks AGAIN. I think the Israelis have figured out, and Kaplan hasn’t, that the peace talks are a farce as long as the Palestinians don’t recognize they lost the war and squandered the opportunities the best peace deals they could have gotten earlier. There are two or three Palestinian demands that essentially will never be fulfilled, and as long as they keep demanding them, the war will continue.

The Israelis realize this, but Kaplan doesn’t. Therefore, the best thing the Israelis can do is preserve the best status quo they can while the Palestinian power continue to decline relative to the Israelis. That involves periodic removal of Hamas irritants to an acceptable level.

Much of the pressure put on the Israelis since 1991 to now has been predicated on the idea that Israel will decline relatively to the Palestinians – particularly in demographics – and therefore the pressure was on them to make the best deal THEY could make. This encouraged the Palestinians to be particularly obstinate and throw away highly favorable deals int he belief that by killing more Israelis, they’d get even more concessions. However, rather than collapse the Israeli morale, it solidifed it and eroded the desire for the Israelis to make peace.

Now I see more and more talk that the situation is actually completely different. Israeli power will not decline relative to the Palestinians, but increase. First, the demographic predictions made in the early nineties seem to be wrong. Second, the enemy states around Israel have more or less collapsed. Syria is shattered. Iraq doesn’t actually exist anymore. Egypt is moribund. Saudis face a declining oil revenue and increased world energy alternatives while having squandered most of their windfall. Only Iran is still intact. Third, the Israeli economy is exploding and dynamic. If this is true, then the longer Israel makes, the better deal it will get. It is the Palestinians who should be offering concessions now in the hopes they can get something now which they won’t be able to obtain years from now.

john July 22, 2014 at 1:17 pm

If the two state solution has failed, why should either party offer concessions?

There is no good course for the people, only personally enriching courses for the politicians.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 1:27 pm

There is a great course for the Palestinians. Stop killing people, start living peacefully and growing your economy, recognize Israel. Israel leaves you alone and probably gives you lots of aid.

john July 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm

A minority on both sides support the outbreak of each cycle of violence, and yet they do it again and again. Why is that?

Because the dynamics are all wrong, the rewards are all wrong, it only takes a handful of people to make a war, and so it will continue.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 2:56 pm

A minority of Israelis support their military action? I don’t think so. Even if Palestinians don’t like being blown up, they did elect Hamas. Couldn’t they elect someone else?

john July 22, 2014 at 2:59 pm

You are playing the partisan game. Everything bad Palestinians did was planed and executed in solidarity. Everything bad that Israel did was an accident.

I mean, are you aware at any level that your attitude reinforces future cycles of the same?

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:08 pm

John,

It is only the plain truth. Israelis do not target civilians. Hamas does. I never said they were planned and executed “in solidarity”. All I am saying is that Palestine has a simple way out- vote in a moderate government, stop killing people. That’s it. Then they would get the things they are asking for like open borders. For Israel there is less they can do. Their only unilateral option to fix the problem is the heinous one of mass murder.

john July 22, 2014 at 3:10 pm

This blew up because someone killed 3 kids. Do you believe that citizens of Gaza united and supported that plan of action?

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:10 pm

” Even if Palestinians don’t like being blown up, they did elect Hamas. Couldn’t they elect someone else?”

Cliff is really going all in on being a terrorist. These were exactly Osama Bin Laden’s arguments about why US civilians were valid targets: http://mattbruenig.com/2014/07/21/osama-bin-laden-in-the-wall-street-journal/

john July 22, 2014 at 3:11 pm

When you live in a land where it only takes 3 murders to start a war, you are screwed.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:23 pm

John, no. But that is what you can expect from Hamas, right? Even if you do not think Hamas is going to abduct and kill people (I don’t know why) you surely must know that Hamas will start a rocket campaign at the slightest provocation. I am not saying they all “deserve” to die, I am just saying the Palestinians can have peace if they want it. They can have open border crossings if they want it.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:24 pm

I have never and will never support the targeting of civilians (which Hamas does).

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:57 pm

“All I am saying is that Palestine has a simple way out- vote in a moderate government, stop killing people. ” This has happened in the West Bank, and colonization and ethnic cleansing continues. Call them what you want, settlements, outputs, etc. but the result is the same.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 6:18 pm

How long was that the case in the West Bank? And wasn’t the situation improving there until Hamas got involved? No civilians are being killed in the West Bank, right? Your only complaints seem to be some people losing their housing permits in Jerusalem, which is apparently your definition of “ethnic cleansing,” and some mobile homes on hill tops, which is your definition of “settlements and colonization.”

Israel had to close the Gaza border because of all the rockets being smuggled in- if they had a real government and no rocket smuggling the borders would be opened again.

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 2:15 pm

If the two state solution has failed, why should either party offer concessions?

You’ve got the causality wrong. A ‘two-state’ solution is non-viable because the acceptable version of that solution for Israel contradicts what 2/3 of the Arab population sees as their core interests. For most Arabs on the West Bank and Gaza, Israel’s survival as a self-governing going concern is what is objectionable.

john July 22, 2014 at 2:42 pm

It isn’t the causality that makes the tragedy. It is the trap in the state machine. There is no way out.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 2:50 pm

” For most Arabs on the West Bank and Gaza, Israel’s survival as a self-governing going concern is what is objectionable”

This is false- most Arabs would accept a two-state solution with the right of return and a land connection between Gaza and the West Bank. I’m sure you cannot provide a citation to back your assertion up. The Israeli government does not a two-state solution because the goal has been, since 1967, to form a Greater Israel in Judea and Samaria by colonizing and displacing Palestinians. The idea that a two-state solution is even necessary is based on the idea that Israel should eliminate occupied Palestinian land so the franchise doesn’t need to be extended to that many Arabs ans Israel can remaina “Jewish state.” This mean that the dominant ethnic group will dominate the state, a clear goal of racial supremacy only seen in Apartheid South Africa and most of the Axis countries including that one. A “Jewish state” is not about security, it is about racial supremacy.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 2:59 pm

So many things wrong with your post. First of all there can be no right of return because that means genocide. Second, new settlements have been stopped for a long time. Third, “racial supremacy” is not equivalent to avoiding genocide. There are plenty of Arab Israelis. All the Jews want is to survive.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:04 pm

“First of all there can be no right of return because that means genocide.” The right of return of Jews to Israel has meant genocide for the Palestinians, indeed.

“Second, new settlements have been stopped for a long time”

This is just sad, from July 6th, 2014 new settlements built: http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Israeli-settlers-councils-build-three-outposts-in-West-Bank-361618

“Third, “racial supremacy” is not equivalent to avoiding genocide.” Never said it was, but I noticed you didn’t argue that the idea of a Jewish state is racial supremacy, because it is. The Jewish ethnic group must dominate Israel, just like Aryans must dominate 1920s Germany, white must dominate apartheid South Africa, etc.

“All the Jews want is to survive.” They can survive just fine without terrorist bombings of civilians and racial supremacy.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:13 pm

There was no “right of return” for Jews, they purchased the land legally when it was a barren desert. Then they agreed to a UN-brokered division of the territory when the UK left and created a new country. The Arabs rejected the proposal and the result is displacement of Palestinians. All this I am sure you know.

An “outpost” is not a settlement. Yes some Israelis want new settlements but there is virtually nothing new for decades.

Completely wrong that Israeli Jews can survive without having a majority in the state of Israel. Losing the majority would mean a massacre and genocide.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Cliff, you are embarassing yourself.

“There was no “right of return” for Jews, they purchased the land legally when it was a barren desert.” False, this is Israeli law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Return

“An “outpost” is not a settlement.” Except it is. I guess semantics is the best you can do?

“Completely wrong that Israeli Jews can survive without having a majority in the state of Israel. Losing the majority would mean a massacre and genocide.” Somehow American Jews survive and thrive in America, because for all it’s warts it has guaranteed peace, freedom and security for Jews. You might try older South Africans with that line of thought though- they made the same arguments.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Now you are really getting crazy. Giving citizenship to Jews is not in any way equivalent to a “right of return” for Palestinians and did not cause any genocide.

An outpost is quite fundamentally different from a settlement. You are really beating the drum abut a mobile home on a hill top? That’s not what people think you are saying when you talk about settlements.

Yes, America is not run by Hamas and Islamic Jihad!

The bottom line is Israel can give citizenship to whoever it wants. I have a “right of return” to become an Italian citizen by blood right. Does that make Italy a racial supremacy?

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:34 pm

“Giving citizenship to Jews is not in any way equivalent to a “right of return” for Palestinians and did not cause any genocide” I never said they were equivalent,if people whose ancestors have the right to return, certainly Palestinians do. These are not equivalent, the Israeli position is ridiculous and based on racial supremacy. As the body count racks up of Israeli terrorism, genocide becomes more and more accurate for what is being done to the Palestinians.

” That’s not what people think you are saying when you talk about settlements.” It absolutely is what people mean- the colonization of the West Bank through settlements. Cliff, this reliance on semantics is pathetic.

“Completely wrong that Israeli Jews can survive without having a majority in the state of Israel. Losing the majority would mean a massacre and genocide.” This is what the South African racial supremacists said too, and they were wrong just like the Israeli racial supremacists. Apartheid regimes are similar in how they justify themselves.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Btw I guess you call Japan the same things because of their immigration policy

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:18 pm

“Btw I guess you call Japan the same things because of their immigration policy ” You would be right, and you can ask millions of dead Asians the result of this supremacist viewpoint when combines with military force. Or ask the Palestinians.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:29 pm

So modern-day Japan is a racial supremacist state, and evil in some way equivalent to the Nazis?

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Japan has a racially motivated immigration policy which I find abhorrent. And this chauvinism was catastrophic in the 1930s and 1940s for millions of Asians. But Japan is not evil in the same way as Israel is, no.

john July 22, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Jews survive and prosper all over the world. What we have here is a tragic outcome. What was supposed to be the safest place in the world for Jews has become, 50 years later, the least safe place in the world for Jews.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:16 pm

It’s still pretty safe

john July 22, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Zionism might have been good, humane, and even utopian in conception, but in practice it has failed spectacularly. It has been bad for Palestinians, and it is as I said, the LEAST safe place on earth for Jews.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Cliff, so the rockets are no big deal then? So then why bomb hospitals and schools, if not terrorism?

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:29 pm

It did preserve Jewish culture and foster an incredibly innovative and productive society in the heart of the middle east.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:38 pm

The rockets and the tunnel infiltrations are a big deal. Nevertheless Israel is overall a pretty safe place, thanks in part to the efforts of the IDF.

Clover July 22, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Zionism was never intended to be good for the Palestinians.

john July 22, 2014 at 3:09 pm

For what it’s worth, I don’t agree with economist1 everyone who wants a monolithic homeland is a supremacist. They may just want a place of their own.

Of course, when you have to push off another people to create that, you might create an unanticipated long term problem.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:13 pm

“For what it’s worth, I don’t agree with economist1 everyone who wants a monolithic homeland is a supremacist.” Those anti-Semites and racists that want the United States to be a white nation and expel/kill Jews would be called racial supremacists without any debate, because they plainly are. I don’t understand why Israel should be treated any differently from other supremacists.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:15 pm

They didn’t want to push off anybody but they were attacked and had little choice.

john July 22, 2014 at 3:18 pm

You are setting your clock too late. When the Zionist Proposal was made in 1919, who were the majority occupants of the land?

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:20 pm

“They didn’t want to push off anybody but they were attacked and had little choice.” Cliff, please stop with the nonsense. The colonization and ethnic cleansing of the West Bank is a choice.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:31 pm

John, I have no idea but I am not aware of the Jews expelling Palestinians in 1919. Was there an Israeli government in 1919?

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:31 pm

What “ethnic cleansing” of the West Bank are you referring to? Yes, some Israelis choose to live in the West Bank, which is Israeli land. So what?

john July 22, 2014 at 3:33 pm

In 1919 Zionists asked for a homeland, and the Paris Peace Conference said that the could become Palestinian citizens,.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Peace_Conference,_1919#Palestine

How does that rock your world?

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Why would it rock my world? There was no Palestine at the time (or ever, actually) they were just discussing what to do with it after the Ottoman empire lost control of the area.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:38 pm

“What “ethnic cleansing” of the West Bank are you referring to?”

“Asked about his accusation of ethnic cleansing, Falk[UN human rights investigator] said that more than 11,000 Palestinians had lost their right to live in Jerusalem since 1996 due to Israel imposing residency laws favouring Jews and revoking Palestinian residence permits.”

This is racial supremacy and ethnic cleansing plain and simple.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/03/21/uk-palestinian-israel-un-idUKBREA2K1JM20140321

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Some Palestinians losing their permit to live in Jerusalem is not ethnic cleansing of the West Bank. Nor is “Israeli” the same as “Jew”.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:40 pm

“There was no Palestine at the time (or ever, actually) ”

Cliff is definitely Islamic Jihad trying to discredit Israel with this nonsense. I may just let him carry on, but first let’s see him dig the hole deeper. Cliff- show me a map from the Ottoman Empire period with Israel as a province and not Palestine. Go ahead.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:47 pm

I am sure you understood what I meant, which is that there was no country of Palestine.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:47 pm

“Nor is “Israeli” the same as “Jew”.” True, but this is still textbook ethnic cleansing. Giving preferential treatment based on ethnicity shows more racial supremacy in Israeli policy.

john July 22, 2014 at 3:52 pm

You are making quite the illogical argument for “they didn’t want to push anyone off” Cliff.

In 1919 they were told they could join current residents in Palestine. How can you say they made an Israel in the middle of that without “wanting” to push anyone? Was an abstract space, that could be expanded while all other territory of Palestine remained the same?

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:54 pm

“I am sure you understood what I meant, which is that there was no country of Palestine.” No I didn’t understand, because Israeli extremists offer up this argument regularly. I don’t really see why it matters that the Palestinians have been ruled or occupied for so long- it didn’t deter many Jews from pushing for the state of Israel in the first half of the twentieth century, did it?

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:59 pm

John,

I don’t understand what you are saying at all. In 1919 there were both Jews and Arabs living in Palestine, which had been a part of the Ottoman Empire which collapsed. After that both Jews and Arabs moved into the area and lived side by side. By the time the UN finally pulled out there was a lot of conflict between Arabs and Jews and they proposed to divide it into Jewish and Arab states, which the Jews living there at the time agreed to. The Arabs did not, there was a war, etc. What part of that involves pushing other people off their land? It was sparsely populated and part of a failed empire. Mostly the Jews purchased their land from existing land-owners.

john July 22, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Boy, that was coy. You see no connection at all between Zionism, the influx, and the increasing tension?

john July 22, 2014 at 4:11 pm

P.J. O’Rourke, Holidays in Hell, 1989:

Everywhere you go in the world somebody’s raping women, expelling the ethnic Chinese, enslaving stone-age tribesmen, shooting communists, rounding up Jews, kidnapping Americans, settling fire to Sikhs, keeping Catholics out of the country clubs and hunting peasants from helicopters w/ automatic weapons. The world is built on discrimination of the most horrible kind. The problm with South Africans is they admit it. They don’t say, like the French, “Algerians have a legal right to live in the sixteenth arrondissement, but they can’t afford to.” They don’t say, like the Israelis, “Arabs have a legal right to live in West Jerusalem, but they’re afraid to.” They don’t say, like the Americans, “Indians have a legal right to live in Ohio, but oops, we killed them all.” The South Africans just say, “Fuck you.” I believe it’s right there in their constitution: “Article IV: Fuck you. We’re bigots.” We hate them for this. And we’re going to hold indignant deomnstrations…until the South Africans learn to stand up and lie like white men.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Of course there is a connection. And indeed some Jews wanted to push out Palestinians from the start. But there certainly could have been an Israeli state without pushing out. If the Arabs had accepted the 1948 division I would not consider that a pushing out. Buying someone’s land I do not think of as pushing out.

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 4:39 pm

This is false- most Arabs would accept a two-state solution with the right of return and a land connection between Gaza and the West Bank.

This is humbug.

North of a third would not accept two states and in any case the catch is ‘right-of-return’. There is no viable state which could accommodate these two populations and everyone knows it. When they say, ‘right-of-return’, they mean ‘slow walking Israel’s destruction’.

john July 22, 2014 at 4:52 pm

If you reject right-of-return (to to the property they themselves or their forebears left behind in what is now Israel and the Palestinian territories as part of the 1948 Palestinian exodus) you are essentially pulling a P.J. O’Rourke.

“The Palestinians have every right to their property, but oops, we have it now.”

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 6:48 pm

If you do not reject ‘right of return’, you are endorsing chronic and sanguinary violence.

The Arab refugee flow in 1948 was not among the most consequential which occurred in the immediate post-war period and it was the only one not resolved through a resettlement program. Most of Israel’s Jews are the issue of people who lived in Iraq and Turkey and Egypt and Morocco and Yemen in 1939. Silesia is populated by Poles, East Prussia by Russians and Poles, the eastern Aegean coast by Turks, Northern Cyprus exclusively by Turks.

to to the property they themselves or their forebears left behind

Allodial tenures were pretty atypical in the territory at the time. About 80% of the land on Israel’s side of the 1949 armistice lines is state land. Another 13% was purchased by the Jewish National Fund. The remainder is about evenly split between Arab and Jewish owners.

That aside, who and where?

You’d be hard put to find a locale anywhere in the world which has undergone substantial economic development since 1947 where you had not typically had multiple changes of ownership on any parcel of urban residential property and agricutural property as well. The population of Israel today exceeds that of the former mandatory Palestine in 1946 by a factor of 4.5. Only a modest fraction of the residential housing you find there was in place when the Arab population departed in 1948. Agricultural development today making use of irrigation technologies also exceeds the arable landholdings you would have found in 1947. The Negev is today more than 90% Jewish. The Bedouin are still there, it’s just that there were few of them in 1947 and they remain a modest population today. You’re asserting a ‘right of return’ to a landscape that is no longer there.

john July 23, 2014 at 11:02 am

That’s Exactly why we put the Indians on Reservations!

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Me: “This is false- most Arabs would accept a two-state solution … ”

Art Deco: “This is humbug.North of a third would not accept two states”

Check your math on that one.

The violence stopped in South Africa once the South African government ended racial supremacy. Israel can have peace too if it abandons racial supremacy.

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 7:01 pm

Israel does not practice ‘racial supremacy’, South Africa’s blacks never asserted that Afrikaner and Anglophone residence in South Africa was illegitimate, and the African National Congress never turned down multiple offers for a settlement either.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 10:14 pm

“South Africa’s blacks never asserted that Afrikaner and Anglophone residence in South Africa was illegitimate”

The Pan-African Congress used to chant “One Settler, One Bullet.”

And most major members of the anti-apartheid movement agree that Israel’s policy within Israel are definitely apartheid. Do you seriously believe that Palestinians have the same rights as Israelis? They can’t even purchase land. Is this a policy (restricting land purchases based on race) in any non-apartheid country?

“African National Congress never turned down multiple offers for a settlement either” There can be peace immediately if Israel issues Israeli passports to all Palestinians living in occupied territories and gives them equal rights (as occured in South Africa). It will not because citizenship rights are not based on residence but instead are based on race (as was the case in South Africa).

Clover July 22, 2014 at 8:50 pm

The right of return for Pals would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state. But you knew that.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 2:54 pm

The beach bombing and bombing of hospitals is unambiguously terrorism. Will Israeli supporters of terrorism ever own up to this reality?

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Actually they are unambiguously NOT terrorism because there was no civilian target.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Cliff, you are making no sense. Israel is bombing civilians indiscriminately- all the evidence points to it. Just saying Hamas is launching rockets from all over so that justifies terrorism is complete nonsense.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:32 pm

All the evidence without exception points to the fact that Israel is doing everything it can to avoid civilian deaths. Thousands of airstrikes and only a couple of hundred casualties? Incredible.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:43 pm

“All the evidence without exception points to the fact that Israel is doing everything it can to avoid civilian deaths.” 80% civilian casualties says otherwise. Hamas is doing much better than that, with relatively few civilian casualties- are you saying they are not terrorists? What was the military target on the beach? In the hospital? etc. etc. You really should be ashamed of yourself.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:06 pm

“Actually they are unambiguously NOT terrorism because there was no civilian target.” This is unbelieveable. There were only civilians in the beach. Bombing a hospital is terrorism- it is not a military target.

You should be ashamed of yourself. Of course the terrorists in the Israeli government say they were not civilian targets- that’s what terrorists would say!

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Why the heck would Israel target civilians? If they were targeting civilians all the civilians would be dead already! Hamas is storing and launching rockets from hospitals! They are launching rockets right by the beach! Unfortunately even the IDF is not 100% perfect.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:23 pm

“Why the heck would Israel target civilians?” Because they are terrorists.

” If they were targeting civilians all the civilians would be dead already! ” I am starting to get the impression you are an Islamic Jihad supporter trying to discredit the Israeli cause. Plenty of civilians are dead already!

“Hamas is storing and launching rockets from hospitals!” This is a joke right? And from the beach, and from all other civilian targets, but Israel is not terrorist, no way no how. Next you’ll tell me Hamas is launching rockets from schools, libraries, where else?

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Surely you cannot question that if Israel was targeting civilians there would be not hundreds but tens of thousands dead? Why would Israel waste thousands of airstrikes just to kill a couple of hundred people? It makes zero sense.

And yes Hamas stores and launches rockets from all those places, including schools like the UN school where they discovered 20 rockets. They are storing and launching rockets everywhere in Gaza.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Actually terrorists like Hamas admit to targeting civilians

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm

“Surely you cannot question that if Israel was targeting civilians there would be not hundreds but tens of thousands dead?” Sure I can- casualties of that magnitude (though surely unobjectionable to you) would not be acceptable to the United States. But a little terrorism will continue American support indefinitely.

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 4:02 pm

This is just crazy talk. Why would Israel waste so many bombs just to kill a couple hundred civilians? And how does killing civilians help them in any way?

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm

“Why would Israel waste so many bombs just to kill a couple hundred civilians?” Shelling a hospital is a very efficient way to kill people. I don’t see why you think this is inefficient. Pogroms are a messy business, but that doesn’t deter Israel.

‘And how does killing civilians help them in any way?” I’m not going to try to understand people that commit massacres. Why did the Irgun bomb the King David Hotel? Why do settlers lynch Palestinians by burning them alive? Revenge? Racism? I can’t hope to understand what motivates monsters.

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Cliff, ‘economist1′ fancies Israel is a malevolent force and kills people for jollies. It’s in his head.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Cliff: “And how does killing civilians help them in any way? ”
Art Deco: “Cliff, ‘economist1′ fancies Israel is a malevolent force and kills people for jollies. ”

These Israelis cheering on the slaughter of Palestinians seem pretty jolly.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/20/israelis-cheer-gaza-bombing

Cliff July 22, 2014 at 6:31 pm

It seems terribly “inefficient” for so-called terrorists to call people and warn them, distribute leaflets, do roof knocking, etc. If they wanted to kill 200 civilians they could just drop ten bombs into crowded areas but they have made thousands of airstrikes. It does not take a thousand airstrikes to kill 200 people. Airstrikes are pretty expensive, as are the warning efforts.

Just think- if it WERE purely a military operation (as I believe), and they were attempting to destroy every rocket, tunnel, and Hamas headquarters, how many civilians do you think would be killed accidentally despite best efforts? Zero? Do you also believe the U.S. government is deliberately killing civilians around the world with drone strikes?

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 7:12 pm

There was no warning on the beach, was there? Sure, not all Israeli bombings are terrorist, but that is not much of a defense.

The Israeli government needs to project the image that it is not just a terrorist organization for continued US support. I don’t find anything surprising about that. The Israeli government is willing to pay a non-zero cost for the propaganda value of making a show of defending human rights.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 7:30 pm

“Do you also believe the U.S. government is deliberately killing civilians around the world with drone strikes?”

Absolutely, from the Phoenix Program to the School of the Americas to the drone bombing of weddings to the murder of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the United States government has a long history of violence against civilians and terrorism. Look up Luis Posada Carriles if you don’t believe me.

The United States is also the main supplier of Israeli military aid, how about that? A remarkable coincidence I’m sure. My tax dollars go to fund two terrorist organizations.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Israel is now attacking media headquarters in Gaza. I fail to see how this a military target and not Israel trying to suppress evidence of its atrocities.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/gunshots-fired-at-al-jazeera-bureau-gaza-2014722829152765.html

Art Deco July 22, 2014 at 4:35 pm

What atrocities?

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Turn on the news and take your pick

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 6:23 pm

For atrocities start here and explain how this was not cold-blooded murder or terrorism: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/17/world/middleeast/through-lens-4-boys-dead-by-gaza-shore.html

Israeli July 22, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Tyler writes:
Or is the fear that even intercepted Hamas rockets will in the long run spur too much Israeli emigration? Are the economics of long-run rocket/shoot-down reciprocity unacceptable to Israel?

Tyler’s assumption seems to be living with intercepted Hamas rockets is not problematic in and of itself (unless it’s too expensive or unless it spurs emigration).

But this assumption is absurd and unfathomable (people can’t live that way and a country can’t survive that way). So a Straussian reading is necessitated: perhaps Tyler is advocating an anarcho-libertarian position which limits the proper role of govt to enforcing private contracts and similar things. Under this view, a govt has no responsibility to ensure societal stability or collective wellbeing. Alternatively: Tyler is a Likudnik but can’t say so – so he denounces Likud politics using unparseable logic so that only the esoteric reader can discern his true views.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Israeli: do the Palestinians have the same rights to live without constant fear of settler violence, theft of their lands, and destruction of their homes? This has nothing to do with rockets, as you will surely recognize that I’m referring to the West Bank.

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Even the New York Times is reporting on Israeli terrorism now. Things are not going well for the Israeli state…..

“On Monday night, a strike hit an eight-story apartment building in downtown Gaza City — an area where Israeli officials had urged Gazans to take shelter. The building collapsed as rescue crews were inside, killing more people. The death toll, at least 13, was still being tallied.

Speaking in general, a senior Israeli military official said in a recent interview that not all civilian casualties come from strikes going astray; some take place when civilians are in places the military aims to hit.

“Not all the casualties are due to mistakes,” he said. ”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/22/world/middleeast/questions-about-tactics-and-targets-as-civilian-toll-climbs-in-israeli-strikes.html

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 6:46 pm

If there was any doubt about the fundamentally racist nature of the Israeli state and large segments of Israeli society, have a look at an article by a mainstream Israeli publication (and not from Stormfront despite initial appearances) about the threat of miscegenation.

http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Jewish-Features/Can-intermarriage-achieve-what-anti-Semitism-couldnt-346909

Or here: “‘Yair should know that if he does such a thing, if he doesn’t break off the relationship, then … he is spitting on the graves of his grandmother and grandfather who loved him so much and raised him,’ Ben-Artzi told Kikar Shabbat, an ultra-Orthodox news site.

Or the uproar when Netanhayu’s son was dating a non-Jew. From his uncle: “‘Yair should know that if he does such a thing, if he doesn’t break off the relationship, then … he is spitting on the graves of his grandmother and grandfather who loved him so much and raised him,’ Ben-Artzi told Kikar Shabbat, an ultra-Orthodox news site.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2547997/Dismay-Israel-son-hard-line-leader-Netanyahu-revealed-dating-non-Jewish-Norwegian-blonde.html

Clover July 22, 2014 at 8:52 pm

If there was any doubt about the fundamentally racist nature of the Israeli state and large segments of Israeli society

You say that like it’s a bad thing.

H for Hummus July 22, 2014 at 7:40 pm

I’ve read all the comments, and it’s amazing to me to read how much the American public is capable of seeing through the Israeli BS mouth piece.

Israel and America are not the same country, perhaps the America of 19th century or an America where David duke is elected president, but they are not same country.
America is far from perfect, but Israel is guided by a rascist ideology trying to appease settlers and extremist jews who believe their bloodline gives them superior rights, and act and vote accordingly. Since they have better education, institution, technology, and moral support, an Israeli youth may easily believe they are superior the savages across the borders.

Make no mistake Hamas is a terror organization. Though criminalization of a a people and taking away their basic rights, and worse robbing them from diginity, and trying to erase their identity with bullshit racist bloodline supremacy, can drive people to do crazy things. Regardless, terror can not bring justice, and it is only when Israel is accountable for the terror it inflicts, and the international community judges her as such, it is only then, some kind of peace can. E reached.

That is why it is revolting when you see bibi talk to american citizens as if he is one of us. Giving false choices, ” what would you do if rockets are falling on you”

As for why would Israel kill civilians that is easy , do not look further than the“Dahiyah Doctrine”.

Clover July 22, 2014 at 8:29 pm

To understand Israeli behavior you have to look at the two contradictory ideologies of Jews, liberalism and Zionism. Within Israel and abroad “ultra-nationalist” Jews see the annexation of the West Bank as a must-have, some for religious reasons, some simply for nationalist reasons(it was the heart of the ancient state of Judea and 1949 armistice borders make Israel a small place for the six million Jews who live there now, and Israel’s population is growing). But many Jews are liberals at heart, and they would not like the idea of expelling the Arabs, the only thing that would guarantee a Jewish majority if Israel were to annex the West Bank and Gaza. And gentile countries such as the European multicutluralist countries would likely boycott Israel. So instead many nationalists advocate annexing only the West Bank and leaving Gaza on it’s own, that way a “Greater Israel” would have a Jewish majority.(Even that Jewish majority will be a small majority) That’s why Israel has not done the logical thing, to reoccupy Gaza. With Gaza on it’s own, Israel can plausibly claim that it is “not our problem,” if they were occupying it, they would face demands for “democracy” and “human rights” and such.

Israel’s current plan seems to be to keep building settlements and wait until the demographic war with the Palestinians is won.* At that time they will annex the West bank. Gaza will be left to lunatics like Hamas and Israel will be able to claim “look how savage the Pals are, we were right to take their lands.”

*The Palestinian birthrate has been declining and Israel’s Jewish birthrate has been increasing, eventually they will be equal, and Jews will benefit from immigration.

That Business Insider link is strange, why is 25 soldiers killed “severe?”

DMS July 22, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Question to the Israel-haters:
Are New Zealand and Australia “legitimate” nations?

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Yes and so is Israel. But to have peace Israel can choose either at the 1967 borders with an independent Palestine and the right of return, or a secular binational state with a pluralistic democracy. I would prefer the latter and given the extensive settlements a two-state solution is unlikely.

DMS July 22, 2014 at 11:25 pm

OK.
So no problem taking land from another group by force is OK but only if it is done by white Christians?

economist1 July 22, 2014 at 11:36 pm

?? No, it’s not ok, but this doesn’t make these states illegitimate. Israel has a right to exist and Israeli should be able to live in a peaceful society where all get equal treatment under the law. The same applies for Palestine’s right to exist in safety and equality.

DMS July 22, 2014 at 11:47 pm

I don’t understand.
You say that NZ and Oz are legitimate.
Yet they are states which took the land from people who already lived there.
And then you say that taking land is not right?
I am confused.
Please explain.

economist1 July 23, 2014 at 12:27 am

Israel is a “legitimate” nation because it is a state like any other. Many states were formed out of colonial empires like Israel. Whether certain states committed crimes or violated human rights doesn’t affect their “legitimacy.”

If this is your attempt at a gotcha it’s a disappointing one I have to say. Are you trying to say that if any state stole land from natives, then it legitimizes any and all Israeli colonialism, theft, and oppression? If that’s not it, then maybe you can make yourself more clear.

A B July 22, 2014 at 8:43 pm

economist1 seems to be somewhat of a troll, trying to hijack the site and conversation by throwing out lots of accusations pell-mell. Don’t let him.

Israeli July 23, 2014 at 2:05 am

Indeed. He;s not an economist and should go back to Mondoweiss.

economist1 July 23, 2014 at 10:36 am

I guess this is what happens when you can’t respond to arguments. Sad really.

DMS July 23, 2014 at 11:12 pm

Thx, yes he seems to be the kind of person with whom it might be impossible to have a useful conversation.

Ari July 23, 2014 at 12:23 am

Tyler, this may help:

Israel feels that it is at an impasse in that it does not see a viable peace partner among the Palestinians, but nor does it see another way out of this conflict than peace talks. This being the case, the best Israel can hope for is maintaining a status quo of relative calm. The goal of a ground invasion is essentially analogous, therefore, to the goal of laying out ant traps in a kitchen. It doesn’t mean that no ants will ever enter the kitchen again. It means that at least for a while the ants will have been dealt with, so that things can get back to normal until the next time ant traps need to be laid. I suspect that Israel has no intention, no matter what it says publicly, of replacing Hamas – it merely intends to weaken Hamas. Israel is willing to sustain military losses to achieve this rather limited goal, as long as those losses are not too costly.

This is a pretty simple way to explain its current strategy. And given the alternatives, and given the realities of the Palestinian political scene (as Israel perceives it), it really is the best strategy it can pursue right now.

DMS July 23, 2014 at 12:49 am

Economist1.

Thanks but I have learned as much from you as I’ll ever be able to.

DrawingDaddy July 23, 2014 at 10:09 am

It’s very interesting article!

economist1 July 23, 2014 at 11:28 am

Israeli terrorism, in list form.

Where is Hamas hiding?

“They hid at the El-Wafa hospital.
They hid at the Al-Aqsa hospital.
They hid at the beach, where children played football.
They hid at the yard of 75-year-old Muhammad Hamad.
They hid among the residential quarters of Shujaya.
They hid in the neighbourhoods of Zaytoun and Toffah.
They hid in Rafah and Khan Younis.
They hid in the home of the Qassan family.
They hid in the home of the poet, Othman Hussein.
They hid in the village of Khuzaa.
They hid in the thousands of houses damaged or destroyed.
They hid in 84 schools and 23 medical facilities.
They hid in a cafe, where Gazans were watching the World Cup.
They hid in the ambulances trying to retrieve the injured.
They hid themselves in 24 corpses, buried under rubble.
They hid themselves in a young woman in pink household slippers, sprawled on the pavement, taken down while fleeing.
They hid themselves in two brothers, eight and four, lying in the intensive burn care unit in Al-Shifa.
They hid themselves in the little boy whose parts were carried away by his father in a plastic shopping bag.
They hid themselves in the “incomparable chaos of bodies” arriving at Gaza hospitals.
They hid themselves in an elderly woman, lying in a pool of blood on a stone floor.”

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/21/hospital-hamas-isreal-hiding-among-civilians

An "economist" like U July 23, 2014 at 11:50 am
economist1 July 23, 2014 at 12:04 pm

The anti-Semitic protests in Paris were despicable, but that anti-ISIS protest happened in Baghdad: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/2014/07/21/Muslims-carrying-I-am-Iraqi-I-am-Christian-slogans-gives-us-hope-says-Iraqi-priest.html There are lots of terrorists all over the world, but this doesn’t excuse Israeli terrorism.

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