Stratfor on Israel and Gaza

Israel’s major problem is that circumstances always change. Predicting the military capabilities of the Arab and Islamic worlds in 50 years is difficult. Most likely, they will not be weaker than they are today, and a strong argument can be made that at least several of their constituents will be stronger. If in 50 years some or all assume a hostile posture against Israel, Israel will be in trouble.

Time is not on Israel’s side. At some point, something will likely happen to weaken its position, while it is unlikely that anything will happen to strengthen its position. That normally would be an argument for entering negotiations, but the Palestinians will not negotiate a deal that would leave them weak and divided, and any deal that Israel could live with would do just that.

What we are seeing in Gaza is merely housekeeping, that is, each side trying to maintain its position. The Palestinians need to maintain solidarity for the long haul. The Israelis need to hold their strategic superiority as long as they can. But nothing lasts forever, and over time, the relative strength of Israel will decline. Meanwhile, the relative strength of the Palestinians may increase, though this isn’t certain.

Looking at the relative risks, making a high-risk deal with the Palestinians would seem prudent in the long run. But nations do not make decisions on such abstract calculations. Israel will bet on its ability to stay strong. From a political standpoint, it has no choice. The Palestinians will bet on the long game. They have no choice. And in the meantime, blood will periodically flow.

There is more here, of interest throughout, via Eric Reguly.

Comments

"over time, the relative strength of Israel will decline"

I've been reading that since, maybe, 1966. Maybe it will happen someday, but it hasn't happened yet.

Wikipedia estimates the GDP of the West Bank and Gaza combined as a round $10 billion, while Israel is $243 billion.

And the strength of Israel isn't just in Israel, it's in the deep pockets of guys like Sheldon Adelson, Haim Saban, Michael Bloomberg, Mike Milken and on and on, all over the world. These are guys who like to win, and they are really good at it.

Jews make up about a third of the Forbes 400 in America and maybe one seventh of all the billionaires in the world:

http://takimag.com/article/jewish_wealth_by_the_numbers_steve_sailer/print#axzz38qbQfYnC

Not all of them actively support Israel, but almost none of them are against it. Far more than even in 1917 when the British Empire negotiated the Balfour Declaration, Jews make up a power in world affairs.

I know it makes a lot of people feel very agitated to see actual estimates of Jewish wealth, but it's impossible to talk sensibly about long term prospects for Israel without knowing the numbers.

As you imply, Israel derives a lot of its power from international support, but haven't you noticed a pretty steady decline in Europe's support for Israel the past few years? What if that starts to happen in the US? The shift already seems to be starting, if you look at the rhetoric (not necessarily action) of some US leaders.

Yeah, there are a lot of rich individuals who support Israel, but that doesn't mean they will always be able to leverage that wealth to influence their countries' policies on Israel.

If Israel loses too much support, the Palestinians will quickly find themselves forced from Gaza and the West Bank.

And probably bus bombings would become an everyday occurrence in Israel.

To the contrary, they would be effectively eliminated for all time.

They were a daily occurence back in 2002-2003.

Unclear on your theory why they could be eliminated with annexation of Palestinian territories. Believe the reverse to be true.

Because he's talking of annexation with mass expulsions of all arabs to neighbor countries and a nice tall wall in between (which is basically the situation now between tansjordan and israel proper, which pretty much stopped terrorist acts)

Expelling people from Gaza and West Bank is one thing, but there are a lot of folks who live in Israel proper now who would take drastic actions if Israel chose this path. Are we talking about expelling those citizens as well? I think there is 0% chance Israel avoids frequent acts of violence on its people if it chooses either of these paths.

Not really: once you go for ethnic cleanings, you go for it full scale. And, after all, for how dis-human it was, it worked wonders for the stability of central Europe when it was applied to Germans in what is now Poland, Czech Republic and the Balkans, or on the Italians in Croatia or on the Serbs in Croatia.

As for the Arabs in Israel, 99% of them openly refused citizenship, which makes them sorta easy to find and expel.

Again: catastrophic on an humanitarian level? Sure. Efficient? Totally. Once you are painted as human rights criminal in any case, and once you have ran out of options (we are discussing a scenario where Israel has lost all international support, including american) one might think about doing something to deserve the title that at least gives you a chance to security.

Btw, confront and contrast with the Hungarians, who were not removed from what is now Serbia, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine after WWI (which led Hungary to the nazi side in WWII) or WWII and are now a case of serious, if under-reported, frictions among those states, with Hungary granting secret citizenship (no kidding) and funds for schools and traditions societies in all those countries while concentrating the preamble of the new Constitution on the Hungarian nation rather than the Hungarian state, Slovakia passing a law removing Slovak citizenship to anyone found with another citizenship (in the EU!) and so on...

I'm not advocating it, but there IS a reasons why ethnic cleansing has been used for centuries after a major (often even a minor) conflict involving two sides with major cultural or religious difference.

"Yeah, there are a lot of rich individuals who support Israel, but that doesn’t mean they will always be able to leverage that wealth to influence their countries’ policies on Israel."

But, as Damon Runyon would say, that's the way to bet.

I've been hearing that Israel is in mortal danger for 47 years, but instead it just keeps getting richer and more powerful. Maybe the way world works isn't that it's a big democracy and the biggest populations get to have things their way. Maybe the way the world really works is that a small number of rich, smart, intense, well-connected guys are better positioned to push the big dumb masses around than vice-versa. It sure seems that way over my lifetime.

Obviously, Obama, deep down, is sympathetic to the Muslims getting whomped on by Israel. But he just appointed the Israeli citizen whom Sharon and Netanyahu chose as their head banker to keep an eye on poor Janet Yellen at the Fed. How much more craven of a symbol do you want from the President of the United States?

Maybe the way world works isn’t that it’s a big democracy and the biggest populations get to have things their way. Maybe the way the world really works is that a small number of rich, smart, intense, well-connected guys are better positioned to push the big dumb masses around than vice-versa

We call them LIZARD PEOPLE

"Obviously, Obama, deep down, is sympathetic to the Muslims getting whomped on by Israel."

This must be a new definition of "obviously."

"But he just appointed the Israeli citizen whom Sharon and Netanyahu chose as their head banker to keep an eye on poor Janet Yellen at the Fed."

??? He appointed a dual citizen to be Vice Chair of the Fed. This is surprising why, exactly? Israel's central bank did rather better than most at weathering the financial crisis, and central banks are pretty tied into globalization anyway, no? And dual citizenship has been accepted in the US since the 1960s.

And, since you're talking about Jews, and not just dual Israeli-US citizens, in this thread, might I point out: Janet Yellen, the Chair of the Fed, Larry Summers, Obama's first choice for Chair of the Fed before he had to back down, and Timothy Geithner, his first Treasury Secretary. Clearly, it doesn't take any arm twisting to get Obama (or anyone else, really) to appoint a competent Jew to a position on the Federal Reserve board. Why on earth would it?

It's not about rich outsiders donating money, you don't get a $240 billion economy with 8 million people through donations or government aid. It's a dynamic country with dynamic companies, technology and natural resources. Those advantages are likely to increase their relative power in the region. Also, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran are quickly consuming their remaining reserves, may only have 20 years left. Qatar and UAE seem to be in better shape.

As you imply, Israel derives a lot of its power from international support, but haven’t you noticed a pretty steady decline in Europe’s support for Israel the past few years?

Israel produces $240 bn worth of goods and services every year. It does not require the good wishes of social-climbing bien pensants in the Irish republic to do that. Israel also has a working military, which places it in some contrast to just about all European countries bar Britain, France, and Russia.

The US had a huge German population last century. Not only were the people of German descent, but German culture was alive and flourishing. German was the second language of the nation, many towns spoke predominately German, and many national newspapers published in German. Even today the most common response on the census for primary heritage is German. Yet none of that stopped US opposition to Germany in the World Wars. After the start of the Great War, German Americans quickly chucked their heritage out the window to distance themselves from the Kaiser.

Young American Reform Jews if anything are less culturally Jewish than the German American of 1910. Fewer than 10% keep the Sabbath of keep kosher. Even less speak Hebrew. Out-marriage rates regularly exceed 70%. Most don't even believe that the Torah is anything more than a book of fables. Heck even Jewish delis are rapidly disappearing due to a lack of demand for traditional Jewish food. Outside of the Orthodox, far more young Jewish Americans are more interested in being politically correct.

It's no question that Romney was a much more pro-Israel candidate than Obama. He's even good friends with Netanyahu, whereas Obama's personal sympathies obviously lie with oppressed brown people. Yet at a time when Israel's security was more in jeopardy than any time since the Oslo accords, Jews overwhelmingly supported Obama. Even, to take from your list, Michael Bloomberg. If you just look at young Reform Jews (those that will overwhelmingly make up the Jewish portion of the Forbes 400 in thirty years), support was even higher. If international public opinion turns against Israel the way it did South Africa in the 1980s, co-ethnic solidarity will mean nothing, just as it did to Western whites.

IOW, in a couple of decades, American Jews are going to be even more pro-Zionist.

Which should work out great with the fact that we've invited large numbers of Ishmaelites here.

Orthodox Jews already amount to a couple million people and are the fastest growing native born Americans. Look for them to be the new face in 10 - 20 years. Same goes for Israel which will have the highest birthrate in the Mideast by the end of the decade.

Steve's point was that the prominence and wealth of Jewish Americans will assure Israel's safety. My point is that non-Orthodox Jews really have no affinity for Israel. It is true that Orthodox may have higher birthrates, but they have much less influence or wealth than Reform. Of the 35% of American billionaires who are Jewish, I'd estimate fewer than 10% are Orthodox.

The reason that Jews in America are at a zenith of economic success is because they've re-directed their genetically high brainpower from Talmudic study to finance, software and entertainment. But the cost is that among those who go down this path, Jewish culture is quickly disappearing.

My point is that non-Orthodox Jews really have no affinity for Israel.

And you're wrong. Meticulously religious Jews are a modest minority in Israel and no more than 15% of the total in the United States. Affection for Israel among American Jews draws from a broader population than that.

Again, if support for Israel was so huge, where was the groundswell of Jewish support for Mitt Romney? Adelson certainly stepped up, but he's an old-school octogenarian. Among young Reform Jews in America, support for Israel is a mile wide and an inch deep. Young, urban, progressive Jews decided to prioritize PBS and subsidized birth control over a candidate with a deep commitment to Israel and strong personal relationship with its president.

Again, if support for Israel was so huge, where was the groundswell of Jewish support for Mitt Romney?

Because American Jews have a menu of interests and some cultural affinities and are only going to change voting preferences if the margin of difference between the posited policies of a Romney Administration and the current Administration trump every other consideration. That did not happen and has not happened.

How big was the difference in support for Israel between Obama and Romney? Was there likely to be any actual difference in US policy w.r.t. Israel from a Romney administration than from an Obama administration?

Under Obama, we've supported Israel in the UN security council and continued a pretty generous aid program, while occasionally applying a very small amount of pressure (just words, as far as I can tell) to Israel to somehow resolve their unresolvable problems with the Palestinians. Is there some reason to think Romney would have behaved much differently?

If there was little difference in practice between the two mens' policies, then it's hard to read much into having more American Jews vote Democratic than Republican (particularly since American Jews are pretty overwhelmingly Democratic historically).

"Because American Jews have a menu of interests and some cultural affinities"

Exactly. And if supporting Israel becomes as unfashionable as supporting South Africa was in the 1980s, you can almost assuredly count on these other cultural affinities to trump for American reform Jews. In Europe, Israel is nearly as unpopular as apartheid South Africa already. So it's not inconceivable for it to happen in America. Going back to the original point Israel certainly cannot count on the support of wealthy American jews for its long-term survival.

Doug, your stated position was that only Orthodox Jews have a consequential attachment to Israel. This is nonsense. Just own what you said and quit tap dancing.

And if supporting Israel becomes as unfashionable as supporting South Africa was in the 1980s

In your imagination.

No, in your imagination. You live in some self-deluded opaque chamber where you can't really see the attitudes and opinions of the world around you.

Your failing, not everyone else's. You want *so much* for others to join you in your Zion-love (which is odd coming from a weirdo proto-Catholic or whatever the hell you'd call yourself.)

No, in your imagination. You live in some self-deluded opaque chamber where you can’t really see the attitudes and opinions of the world around you.

Again, "Doug" is speaking of American Jewry.

I can see the 'attitudes and opinions' of the world around me. I just do not care what Mary Robinson or Desmond Tutu 'think'. Most of the world is militarily inconsequential and Europe outside Britain, France, Russia, and Switzerland is a capon ranch. Screw 'em.

>Orthodox Jews already amount to a couple million people and are the fastest growing native born Americans. Look for them to be the new face in 10 – 20 years.

But a not insignificant percentage of them to leave Orthodoxy to become non orthodox Jews. They help keep the number of Jews above replacement rates but I don't know how much of an increase in the total percentage of Jews they will be in 10-20 years.

I think Israel's biggest asset is Hamas. Palestinians need another "figure" to wave their flag. Hamas can get lots of love from shady Muslim nations like Iran and some less shady but it isn't enough. Poor countries in Africa are historically sympathetic to Palestine but they can't change nothing. Palestine needs to get the big dogs on board but to make that happen, they need a different kind of leadership. They need a person who's hard to hate like Nelson Mandela.

Hahaha!

Doug, you assume that Israel's support comes only from Jews. A lot of it comes from Christians, especially evangelicals. And y'know, even a lot of Lefty American Jews are starting to wake up a bit as they see Muslims in Europe and even here in America attacking Jews and Jewish institutions, not Israeli ones.. and Obama and Kerry hearting Hamas.

Israel has lots of oil and gas, a dynamic entrepreneurial economy, loads of high tech and other things the world wants to buy and it is self sufficient in food and in water because of its expertise in desalinization and irrigation, one of the few countries in the region that is. They have the best equipped military, nuclear subs and ICBMs that could deliver (shhhsh!) and new friends and increasing commercial relations with Canada, Australia, China and India (their new PM LOVES Israel). Even al-Sissi in Egypt,who went to school with Israeli military at the US War college is far friendlier to Israel than any other previous Arab regime. If America and Europe turn anti-Israel (was Europe ever pro Israel??) Israel will find friends elsewhere. China looks particularly promising...lotsa cultural affinity there too.

Even among Israeli Arabs, the disaffection rate is only about 40-50%. Many, especially the Druze Christians and Bedouin serve in the IDF. Contrary to what someone else on this board wrote, the majority of Arabs in Israel are citizens with a better economy and more rights than Arabs anywhere else. Every poll shows that something like 80% would not move to a 'Palestine'.

In short, Israel is going to be just fine. It's the Pals who are running out of time.

I know it makes a lot of people feel very agitated to see actual estimates of Jewish wealth

Well, I know one guy who feels so agitated about it that he brings it up at every opportunity.

The Arab world is in a complete shambles, from everything I can see. In 50 years, they'll probably be back in tribal bandit-states, raiding each other for food and water sources.

Globalization has largely meant that basket case countries are less poor relative to developed countries than they used to be. Just look at Africa, since 2000 it has grown much faster than the West, but is just as dysfunctional as ever. You can see this comparing Israeli GDP per capita numbers with Arab states (link below). In 1988 Israel was 8 times wealthier than Lebanon, now it's only 3.3. In 1965 Israel was 6 times wealthier than Iran, now it's only 4.5.

No one's contending that Arab countries are going to get their shit together and hit Western levels of economic development. But due to global economic convergence they are going to move from very poor countries to middle income countries. Even without any real reform. Just the way that India and many Southeast Asian countries are. Militarily Israel makes up for its population disadvantage, by being much more economically developed. As that economic gap narrows Israel will find itself in a weaker position.

http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=ny_gdp_pcap_cd&hl=en&dl=en#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=ny_gdp_pcap_cd&scale_y=log&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:ISR:LBN:IRN&ifdim=region&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false

The Arab emirates have bright, shiny shopping malls and rims for their cars. They still can't field a decent army and are basically feudal monarchies.

Saudi Arabia has thousands of modern tanks, hundreds of F-15s, dozens of warships, missile defense shields and ICBMs. There's few militaries in the world that could defeat the Saudis in an all-out war. Even the IDF, absent nuclear exchange, would have a very hard time.

They depend on Pakistani and White mercenaries to drive those tanks and fly those planes

There’s few militaries in the world that could defeat the Saudis in an all-out war.

The Saudi military has not been mobilized since 1924.

It depend whether they will fight or not.

For 1,000 years the Egyptians, various Turk tribes, N Arabs, S Arabs, Persian, Bedouin and the Shiite, Ismaili, Druze, Sunni have been slaughtering one another except when they're allying to slaughter someone else.

"Keep your enemy divided" has been the successful go-to strategy in that area for a millennia. I'd say Israel has better chance of keeping it going for 50 years than the already-divided Palestinians.

Years ago, when I took a course in Ancient History at University, my professor said "5,000" years, not 1,000. But I get your point.

I like your style, Anti-Gnostic. Drop by and say hello sometime.

Commodities boom.

You and your fellow Zionist bootlickers had better hope that doesn't happen. Israel will be shelled daily from multiple directions and probably will be overrun.

LOL at "Zionist bootlicker." Most people accuse me of stockpiling Zyklon-B.

Again, the Arab world is an absolute shambles with its right side IQ distribution draining from the region. I don't see the tribesmen left behind driving technicals being able to accomplish much against the Israeli air force.

Didn't the Arabs try this once before? How did that turn out, and what has changed since then other than the fact that Syria and Iraq no longer exist?

Sorry if I mischaracterized you. You seemed to be rooting for that scenario.

Technology and easy access to weapons is what has changed.

These are states we're talking about, not ragtag terrorist groups. They have access to whatever technology they can afford, and always have. The Arabs had access to and employed in battle the most advanced available technology the last time they fought Israel. Warplanes, guided missiles, long range artillery, armor, airborne commandos, electronic warfare, and integrated air defense systems were all used in the Yom Kippur War, generally with good effect. But Israel is still there. What new technology is available that's going to change the game here?

Nukes? Bioweapons? Seem like game changers. And we're not talking about states (in the modern sense) in this scenario. He/she alluded to tribal 'stans, not mandated borders, e.g. "Iraq."

You can see videos on youtube of Arab militants blowing themselves up, shooting their colleagues, and where they do get the weapon pointed in the right direction, just spraying-and-praying. They seem to have no tactical sense other than running in and shooting up the place.

ISIS and Hezbollah seem pretty decent but more enthusiastic about fighting other Muslims.

I don't foresee these groups deploying NBC devices.

You also need spare parts to go with them to fight a war. The Arab states don't produce them.

Exactly. Arguably, Egypt is less powerful than it was 50 years ago.

Israel has pretty successfully co-opted both Egypt and Jordan, and has tacit support from the Saudis too. The Palestinian's biggest problem is that they've been abandoned by their nation-state supporters and left to fend for themselves. Far too few commentators mention or recognize this. One of the more interesting revelations from Kerry's blunder over the weekend is that the Gazan's biggest supporters are revealed as Turkey and Quatar. Both countries are looking for more influence, and punching above their weight, but they remain some of the least authoritative Muslim states.

The Startfor analysis is a bit too simplistic.

"The Palestinian’s biggest problem is that they’ve been abandoned by their nation-state supporters and left to fend for themselves."

Wh-aaa-aat!???

'Palestine' has gotten more aid per capita than any other developing country in history. The problem is that in the case of Fatah and Hamas, you have kleptocrats who are some of the most corrupt brigands in history and have stolen or misdirected over 60% of the money, according to the IMF's own figures. Even former Palestinian finance minister Salim Fayed admitted as much. Abbas and the Fatah Old Guard (who all have Jordanian citizenship, BTW) are all millionaires on what they've stolen, courtesy of the gullible tax payers in the West.

And 'abandoned'? They have a separate UN org, UNRWA with one of the largest budgets in the UN that's devoted entirely to 'Palestine'. Obama gave Hamas $400M for development outside of these funds, and you see what Hamas used all the cement and building materials everyone was whining about Israel prohibiting once they stupidly caved and let in come in. Terrorist tunnels, bunkers, and luxury villas for the Hamas elites.

The Pals are NOT a nation. They're a grouping of fairly dysfunctional clans with little in common except Jew hatred and revanchist tendencies.

Arabs are not a block. Egypt and Jordan signed peace with Israel long ago. Egypt is cooperating actively with the blockade of Gaza. Jordan besides peace is starting big trade with Israel. http://alturl.com/5ch2w Syria is having a civil war that will leave them unable to make war to Israel for a long time. Lebanon already had a 15 Yr civil war that left them vulnerable.

Perhaps the arabs far away from the conflict, arabs with no border with Israel and the ones living in Europe, are the ones motivated to continue the war because they haven't suffered a war in their life. It's hard to make predictions for 50 years, for now the tendency between Israel and the bordering arab countries is peace.

People love the underdog success stories, but why do we want wars to be like that?

Egypt is only opposed to Hamas because it's a military dictatorship. In any true democratic Egypt the ruling party would almost certainly be highly pro-Hamas. Similar can be said of Jordan. It can't be counted on these countries to maintain ruling autocracies forever. The global trend of the past fifty years is towards more democracy. (See link). While that may be a good thing overall, democratic Arab states almost certainly mean much more Israel hostile governments.

http://iis-db.stanford.edu/docs/578/Democ_Trends.7-11.pdf

Except Tunisia and Morroco, the only 2 Arab democracies (kinda non-Hezbollah Lebanon, too). The Turkish states are rhetorically hostile, but not really dangerous.

Though you're right about Egypt, Hamas is a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot and they won the only free election in Egypt.

Fair enough point. Over the long-term Arab democracies might become less Israel hostile. I can see this due to both the generally more peaceful disposition of democracies, as well as the fact that Israel is used as a common scapegoat by corrupt single-party regimes. At the very least democratic politicians are more likely to direct some of that ire at the opposition party instead.

The problem is the transition phase though. During the initial years of democracy, Arab voters are still inculcated with hate for Israel from the old corrupt regime. Whereas dictators may talk a big game, most aren't dumb enough to run straight into the IDF. Voters on the other hand...

It's almost a paradox that more democracy in bordering countries yields hostility/war to Israel. But, what if the democracy says war? It's a possible scenario :(

The people of these countries have such atypically backwards attitudes (pro-genocide, pro-honor killing, etc) that they'd prefer to elect leaders that are more bloodthirsty than what they have under a (more enlightened, plutocratic) military dictatorship.

Ummm, al-Sissi got elected to the presidency overwhelmingly. Read the news.

I guess once people realized what a mistake they had made with Morsi and the Islamists they opted for REAL freedom, not the Muslim Brotherhood.

A lot of maybes and ifs in this article. The author should list some of the reasons why Palestinian strength or Arab strength will increase relative to Israel.
I think he is missing the big one: total fertility rates. Past high birth rates and poor job prospects mean there are now a lot of young males willing to create havoc. However, the high birth rates have subsided. According to this website:
http://www.indexmundi.com/Map/?v=31&r=me&l=en
Saudi Arabia has a total fertility in the 2's. I had no idea it was that low.

The middle east could be a quiet region of homeowners and shopkeepers in the next few decades. Wouldn't that be nice!

The middle east could be a quiet region of homeowners and shopkeepers in the next few decades. Wouldn’t that be nice!

The Israeli left used to claim that this was starting to happen.

Supposedly it has been happening in Ramallah in the past few years.

I think it is starting to happen. Arab standards of living are creeping upward, and terrorism is down. Israel has not fought a major war since 1973 or 1982 (depending on your definition of "major"). Unfortunately it only takes a few madmen with rockets to ruin things. In addition, Arab public opinion is not very diverse and tends to be strongly swayed by their "leaders" (and always has been).

Looking at the relative risks, making a high-risk deal with the Palestinians would seem prudent in the long run.

What does this even mean?

In order for a "deal" to have any meaning at all, a Palestinian government would have to be willing to crack down on terrorists. This didn't happen - even in the sunniest days of the Oslo process. And it's not happening any time soon.

It's like asking for the benefits of the deal before the deal has been made. I'm sure the Palestinians want to see the occupation and settler encroachment pulled back as well. Should that happen before a deal is made?

Remember...the Palestinians will not negotiate a deal that would leave them weak and divided, and any deal that Israel could live with would do just that.

It’s like asking for the benefits of the deal before the deal has been made. I’m sure the Palestinians want to see the occupation and settler encroachment pulled back as well. Should that happen before a deal is made?

This was precisely what people said back in 1993 when the Oslo agreements were signed.

People thought that Arafat would actually refrain from terrorism and also rein in the other terrorists. But it didn't happen, and when members of the PA security apparatus blew themselves up in Jerusalem buses and cafes, we were told that they had received pink slips or were on their lunch break or something.

Post-Arafat, the Fatah-oriented terrorist groups (Force 17, al-aqsa brigade) mostly went quiet, but the PA in the West Bank still did nothing substantive against Hamas/IJ. It was the separation barrier that stopped the bombings. And it was only after the bombings stopped that the "peace movement" could come back on to the scene.

Anyone who claims that current events should convince Israel to allow full PA control of the West Bank is crazy.

Nachon, Habibi.

Oslo is dead.

I’m sure the Palestinians want to see the occupation and settler encroachment pulled back as well. Should that happen before a deal is made?

The Israeli's have made exactly that gesture numerous times. The Arabs have never reciprocated in any meaningful manner. They've rejected a two-state solution. They have no interest in what we, in the west, would call peace.

They've rejected a particular proposed two-state solution that would have given them a chunk of unfavorable land. Let's not be little liars about it.

They’ve rejected a particular proposed two-state solution that would have given them a chunk of unfavorable land. Let’s not be little liars about it.

Not true .. but put that aside ...

What have they the Palestinians themselves proposed?

They’ve rejected a particular proposed two-state solution that would have given them a chunk of unfavorable land

Those 'chunks' are the land they currently occupy and the land there is to turn over.

I wish I could agree with you & that Israel is always right.
But it is not so.

Israel has studiously been avoiding _engaging_ the Saudi/Arab League proposal which is now some 12 years old. (I can't remember his name but the Saudi King who seemed to instigate it, who does have a lot of influence.)
Why?
I assume it's internal Israeli politics.

And when I say _engaging_ I don't mean _accepting_. There were obvious problems with the proposal but I can't understand why Israel didn't take a constructive approach even to the point of "Look, we'd love to talk with you but and will but you have to understand that certain issues are non-starters."

Israel has studiously been avoiding _engaging_ the Saudi/Arab League proposal which is now some 12 years old. (I can’t remember his name but the Saudi King who seemed to instigate it, who does have a lot of influence.)
Why?

In between now and then, Hamas won a plurality in the course of the only unmanipulated election held on the West Bank in Gaza since 1976. Doesn't matter what the 'proposal' was. It's a dead letter.

There are a lot of very smart, very intense people in Israel and America who think hard and frankly about maintaining and enhancing the relative power of Israel. They talk about stuff -- like how to drive up the birthrate of Jews and drive down the birthrate of Arabs -- that nobody in American would dream of daring to consider for Americans.

For example, there's an Israeli center-left thinktank called the Jewish People Planning Institute that's usually headed by an Obama State Department official like Dennis Ross or Stewart Eizenstat that published a very interesting book called "2030: Alternative Futures for the Jewish People." I summarized the JPPI's conclusions here:

http://www.vdare.com/articles/demography-is-it-good-for-the-jews-or-the-americans

Why should a religio-ethnic based state, such as Israel, have a similar immigration policy to a freedom-idealogy based state, such as the US?

Seems obvious that the US should be open, which places such as Israel and EU (!) remain relatively closed - or at least selective.

The idea that the US is a "freedom-ideology" based country is of pretty recent vintage. Israel could some day cease to be an ethnic nation, too, although that's not realistic at the moment.

America has always been freedom and immigration based, we are just working on broadening our perspective.

Re. Alexi, I think overly ideological states are inferior to that, and force to create or maintain them is extremely suspect.

Go back a 100 years, and the idea that America is an Anglo-Saxon nation was widely approved by the establishment. The immigration reforms of the early 20th were explicitly based on the idea of maintaining the traditional WASP hegemony. Minorities were supposed to adapt to that, but of course not all of them wanted to do that.

Perhaps in your state they do not teach California history.

California, the first state ever found to have a law violating the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment?

Yes, quite a storied pedigree of freedom there.

What I said was, we have always been freedom and immigration based, and we have been working to broaden that. California, like every other place, has had horrible lapses, but the continuity of Spanish land grant says that it was not all WASP all the time.

No more moved goalposts please.

has had horrible lapses, but the continuity of Spanish land grant says that it was not all WASP all the time.

Yes. Once upon a time there was a five-digit population in California with four-digit components of mission Indians, Mexican mestizos, and Mexican criollos.

Diversity for thee but not for me.

Much is said about the American proposition, but nobody mentions that only a certain people thought up the proposition and fought for it. I know smart, successful immigrants who are absolutely baffled by such concepts as the common law.

In practice, the propositions dreamed up by Anglo's who had read Locke just provide an umbrella for immigrants to continue the low-trust practices of their homelands. The right to keep and bear arms is for a homogenous, land-rich society, not a crowded, diverse one.

There has always been a large WASP contingent that is positively giddy over America's city-on-a-hill status but those days are over. Now America is just the world's crash pad, where Latin American hidalgos send their excess peasantry and people flee from their own fouled nests.

I happily live in a multicultural land.

I really don't get the fearful or angry. Locked in their rooms, looking to justify their own failure?

Somewhat relatedly, drove through Provo yesterday, surprised at the number of noodle shops.

Multicultural polities have an awful track record.

My grandparents were immigrants from northern Europe who worked as domestic servants. My dad got a degree on the GI Bill, taught in inner city schools, liked the kids and encouraged them, bought stocks and apartment buildings, retired quite well off. What's not to love?

Your grandparents were white; that's what's not to love.

Yes, my grandparents enjoyed an advantage, but that did not make my father isolated or closed minded. His opinion after 35 years in the inner city was that kids just needed confidence to do what he did.

As I say I just don't get where the racism comes from, but I suspect it is both isolation and personal failure. A need to blame The Other.

As I say I just don’t get where the racism comes from, but I suspect it is both isolation and personal failure. A need to blame The Other.

Does it strike you as meaningful that not even The Other want to live in a country where the majority of people are like them?

I think my genuine experience trumps your paranoia.

Somewhat relatedly, drove through Provo yesterday, surprised at the number of noodle shops.

Sorry, but diversity in food is not multiculturalism. Hasidim now eat sushi - so what?

Liberals too often fail to appreciate what cultural diversity really is. Real multiculturalism includes diversity in family structure, work ethic, moral norms etc.

Muslims shutting down a London traffic tunnel in rush hour to demand that Hamas be allowed to shell Tel Aviv - that's an example of real multiculturalism.

John,

That is very charitable of you to attribute all disagreements to personal failings of the other side. It sounds to me like you have not done any research on the topic and think that your individual experiences are all you need to form a strong opinion on the matter. That is incredibly flawed thinking. Many things you think you know are probably completely wrong.

As I say I just don’t get where the racism comes from, -

Well, before you contemplate that, you might see if you could come up with a valid definition of it.

His opinion after 35 years in the inner city was that kids just needed confidence to do what he did.

You're father looks at other people and sees a reflection of himself. I think there's a clinical term for that...

Monocultures fail.
Too much energy required to keep out nature.

Right. That's why Armenians, Kurds, Turks, Japanese, Koreans Israelis, Tibetans, Mongolians, Russians, Georgians, Ukrainians, Croatians, Serbians, et al. no longer exist. They've all gone with this unstoppable flow of nature and become multicultural proposition-states.

"Monocultures fail."

Well, of course. Doesn't everything "fail" at some point. Or do you have some examples of multicultural societies that have lasted forever?

By the way, it's funny how many laws, regulations, centralization, transfer payments, and actual and threatened force are required to keep this "nature" going. It's almost like the more natural tendency, in the absence of affirmative government policy, is for people to coalesce into like-minded communities. Caplanesque Bubbles, if you will.

I take it you fancy that Japan and the Scandinavian states ca. 1970 were 'failures'.

Yes. Everything fails. The world changes.

Get over it.

There has always been a large WASP contingent that is positively giddy over America’s city-on-a-hill status but those days are over.

Not peculiarly WASP. More those people in salaried occupations that incorporate a great deal of verbalizing.

Interesting. The unapologetic ethnocentrism of the "JPPI" is strong, and it is clear what they desire, diversity and multiculturalism for the goys and ethnocentrism for the Jews. It's not always PC, "increased immigration" is considered "bad" just as "islamophobia" is bad. "Eurabia" is labeled right next to "reconquista" as being the nightmare scenario. The "good" scenario is for "Massive social integration. Muslim leaders adopt a tolerant and democratic stand." They demand "social integration" between goys and muslims yet "Jewish assimilation" is a Bad Word, more hypocrisy. Another nightmare scenario is for "Ethnic ties to be perceived as ‘politically incorrect’," in the context of "youth and education." You can guess what kind of ethnic ties they have in mind.

http://jppi.org.il/uploads/maimon_european.pdf

Right, the JPPI's book rewards careful reading. Note that JPPI is affiliated less with Likud and with Labour and with the Obama Administration, especially with Hillary when she was Secretary of State, where its two American chairmen, Ross and Eizenstat worked.

Regarding high risk deals: What incentive is there for the Arabs to keep their end of the bargain should Israeli military dominance fade?

This is a good point, but I think it comes from the vague notion of "high risk deal". Suppose some Israeli government makes some politically risky concession to the PA and thus hammers out a two-state solution that mostly works even if various provocations occur from non-state actors.

The idea is that if an when the relative power of Israel has declined significantly, the two-state solution will have been around for long enough that it is a comfortable status quo for both sides.

Moreover, if mid-sized Arab states are to ever become significantly more powerful, they will probably have to become more like peaceful Western countries than at present. Arabs will keep their end of the bargain for much the same reason that modern France and Germany don't invade Belgium any more.

Indeed, I came to the comments to ask why a 'high risk deal' made from a position of relative Israeli strength would hold in the event of Israeli decline?

"Arabs will keep their end of the bargain for much the same reason that modern France and Germany don’t invade Belgium any more"

You mean, Soviet Russia as a bigger threat, the American nuclear umbrella and the fact they had been thoroughly devastated by WWII last time one of them did? Are you proposing massive conventional war to cleanse them so they can come up to their senses while creating an evil, expansionist empire at their doorsteps?

No, I mean that middle-sized autocracies are not going to become much more powerful relative to Israel than they already are. Neither would new, populist-Islamist democracies. Settled democracies might have a chance to grow more powerful, but they would also be more peaceful.

Ok, but there ere not quite the reasons France and Germany stopped invading Belgium in turn ;)

Was this question asked at the end of WWII of the Germans and Japanese?

Things seem to have turned out okay. But I get it: dirty Arabs.

Yes it was. Japan was constitutionally restricted from anything beyond a self-defense force, and even in the 1980s Thatcher didn't want Germany re-unifying.

Understood, but they did, and Japan is just now looking at reestablishing a military.

So, how long of a window are we talking about?

Neither Japan nor Germany will ever possess anything like the dominance which Arab nations may eventually have over Israel.

They were forced to unconditionally surrender. And in a pique of enlightened forgotten policy the us did much to get their economies going again.

Hama's is still at the point where having their women and children die is viewed as a strategic victory.

Interesting claims, but 50 years is a long time either way.

If you love peace, get out, and leave it to people on both sides who rationalize civilian casualties.

I'm not sure whether that's possible for most of the people involved. How hard is it for a Palestinian in Gaza to emigrate?

If you love peace, get out, and leave it to people on both sides who rationalize civilian casualties.

So if Hamas were to strap babies on to rockets so that the Iron Dome shoots them down, then "both sides rationalize civilian casualties" ?!?!

You are truly a nihilist liberal (a "nihiliberal").

If you love peace, get out, and leave it to people on both sides who rationalize civilian casualties.

Strange as it may seem to you, people are attached to their country and their fellows. Israel has prospered for 90 years. There is no reason to leave.

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians lasted for several decades.

But the fight against the Sophists is decidedly eternal. To recover from reading Mr. Friedman, a good therapy:

http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/sophist.html

50 years from now the oil producing nations in the miidle east will be in decline.
Without their funding how will their proxies survive ?

50 years from now a population will not be needed for fighting, drone manufacturing will do.

So Jesus and John Connor are browner than we think.

Perhaps Zionists should invest heavily in renewable hydrogen energy research.

Talking about foreign affairs has really gotten me interested in the concept of endgames. History never really ends of course, but I think, for example, that the NATO countries have reached a sort of end state. Everybody is more or less okay with their borders (or at least not upset enough to start a war over it), and everybody is cool with letting Belgium just chill out there on its own until the end of time instead of trying to take it over.

I really can't say the same thing for much of the rest of the world, and I fear that it's only American power that has been keeping these regions stable (I'm thinking of LatAm, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East, not that it's stable there, but the status quo is able to persist).

So what's the endgame for Israel? I fear that the status quo persists and persists until one day things have changed so much, politically, demographically, whatever, that that is no longer tenable. And that frightens me.

Nothing lasts forever. Not even the EU and the US.

From where I sit it, it looks like the EU and US are in steep decline.

If the US declines, expect Israel to go down hand-in-hand. We're your only ally.

Actually, American aid to Israel amounts to about 1.2% of that country's gross domestic income. You withdraw it tomorrow and you get a recession and some fiscal problems which have to be worked out over a business cycle.

There's more to keeping afloat than direct funding.

"So what’s the endgame for Israel?"

It does not matter, 50 years from now the whole world will change so much that that Israel is of no consequence.
Nobody cares what the territorial zones of various T-Rex clans were when the dinosaurs went extinct.

The singularity may well be here and mere flesh will not matter.

Even if you do not beleive that, the end of Oil will change the middle east so much that the old conflicts may well become irrelevant.

In the bizarro future, 100 years out, I'd expect to see Israel as a physically larger nation than it is today.

"So what’s the endgame for Israel?"

The most likely outcome is that the current Israeli state will transition the same way South Africa did. It seems unlikely that the IDF could ever be defeated to the point of being "wiped off the map," nor would even the very anti-Israel Western states let that happen. On the other hand the trend is for increasingly anti-Israel international opinion, and even Israeli voter squeamishness. Which will continue to hamper Israel's ability to do what needs to be done to control an essentially feral population of humans. Eventually Palestinians will be given an equal footing, and Israel will drop any pretense of being an ethnostate, much the same way South Africa did.

Palestinians will flood into major Israeli cities. Due to their high birthrates they will make up the overwhelming majority of the population. And dominate politics. Tel Aviv will look like Stockholm, if the 1:5 Muslim-Westerner ratio was reversed. If anything the process will be uglier, because there's unlikely to be a Hamas Nelson Mandela. The Arab government of Israel will of course restrain itself from explicitly targeting Jews, but it will highly tolerate implicit ethnic cleansing in many areas by letting crime run amok. Jews will be effectively constrained to limited neighborhoods for personal safety, with many emigrating. Also expect heavy affirmative action that makes sure Israeli wealth is drained off to Hamas cronies. Unlike SA, Israel won't benefit from a commodities bull market to smooth the economic transition. Corruption, crime and general dysfunction will turn Israel from a developed state that's a center of science, technology and culture, into an unremarkable middle income country that's not unbearable, but definitely not pleasant.

Where is the evidence for increasing anti-Israel international opinion or for voter squeamishness? Israeli voters overwhelmingly approve of the current campaign and international opinion seems much better for Israel than in the past.

Wow. Someone's tone deaf.

Should be easy enough for you to post some evidence then, right?

His 'evidence' is that all of his kaffeeklatch buddies and favorite newspaper editorial writers say so.

Go back to your cloisters, you self-flagellating freak.

Consider the restraint the IDF's showing in the current Gaza campaign compared to the Lebanon War of the 80's. The IDF's bending over backwards to avoid possibly killing anyone, let alone trying to shut down Hamas. Compare to Sharon actually trying dismember the PLO, and actually using the Maronites to try to put the hurt on its enemies. The IDF of today makes the IDF of thirty years ago look like the Red Army.

Yet what has this actually gotten Israel? In terms of international support Protective Edge is certainly less popular than the 1982 war, particularly outside the US. In terms of Israeli voter support there's not much difference compared to 1982. And even so, Israeli voters won't tolerate being an international pariah states, just as white South Africans didn't tolerate it. 't other words Israel's getting far more squeamish just to tread water. This isn't surprising, the world as a whole continues to get more peaceful, so one would expect that the threshold that shocks the public continues to get smaller.

The problem is that Palestinians are still living in the 16th century, while the world's in the 21st. Unlike you or I, they're willing to throw a busload of kids in front of missiles, just to score a few brownie points on twitter. Unless something drastic changes these trends, Israel's going to keep tying its hands more and more, until it basically has to give in and let millions of Palestinian refugees flood the streets of Tel Aviv.

Needless to add, I think these likely developments awful. Up until Vietnam, civilized people recognized that when an enemy force refused to fight in uniform any civilian deaths were crimes attributable to the bandits, not the uniformed force fighting under the rules of war. Anyone with half a brain should recognize that when kids are blown up in Gaza, its blood on Hamas' hands. Unfortunately the world doesn't think that way.

The problem is that Palestinians are still living in the 16th century,

This is a nonsense statement.

You are far, far more optimistic than I am about the behavior of such a Palestinian-majority government in such a scenario, and I suspect I'm far more optimistic than the average Israeli. If things reach a point where that is inevitable, expect a massive emigration/evacuation, with less than 10% staying behind and a whole lot of those getting killed, one way or another, in the first couple of years.

Due to their high birthrates they will make up the overwhelming majority of the population.

Total ertility rates on the West Bank and Gaza have been tanking for a generation just as they have in the rest of the Arab world and the Near East. Give it another 30 years or so and you can wager they'll be at replacement levels.

Palestinian TFR is declining, but the decline is also decelerating. (From 2000-2006 it fell by 0.8, from 2006-2012 it only fell by 0.5) Extrapolate a simple polynomial (see below). In 30 years at current rates it will just about be the same as Israeli's stable 3.0 TFR. (It won't hit replacement levels for at least 50 years). In the ensuing three decades Palestinian population will easily surpass Israel. Let alone the flood of imported Arab refugees from Syria, Lebanon and Iraq that would almost assuredly be brought in to firm up Hamas seats in the Knesset, were Gazans made full Israeli citizens.

http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_dyn_tfrt_in&hl=en&dl=en#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=sp_dyn_tfrt_in&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:ISR:WBG&ifdim=region&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false

Palestinian TFR is declining, but the decline is also decelerating.

The World Bank reports a nearly straight-line decline in tfr on the West Bank and Gaza over a period of 22 years, no acceleration or deceleration.

"So what’s the endgame for Israel?"

What's the endgame for Auburn and Alabama? When will they finally negotiate peace on the gridiron? When will the Yankees and Red Sox put an end to their constant battling? FC Barcelona and Real Madrid?

Sailer's problem is that much like Wes Anderson and that Linklater guy he just isn't that funny. For some reason he constantly talks about how much funnier he's getting but i think that's mostly because he keeps forgetting his jokes and retelling them again and again and again. Hey have you heard the one about the ex-Harvard qb who is now a woman? that's a hoot.

Even in his own ridiculous analogy this doesn't work. Georgia Tech beat Kings College so bad that they stopped playing football. I imagine that's Israel's endgame.

So, did Georgia Tech give up football once they crushed local opponents? Or did they go find more distant peers to do battle with?

Ashkenazi Jews have an average IQ of above 110. I think the average IQ of Arabs is below 100, the average IQ of whites. The enduring IQ differential leads to the enduring productivity and wealth differential that Steve Sailer references. So Israel is outnumbered by population but also has some enduring advantages.

Restrict imports and blow up some more schools ... I bet you can stretch the measured IQ gap.

I think you have the causality reversed. It's the retards who think hiding their rockets and fighters in UNRW schools is a good idea who are stretching the gap.

Palestinians in the West who are given generous transfer payments and free schooling, ain't exactly slam-dunking it in the IQ department. The ghettoes outside Marseilles are at best a marginal improvement on Gaza. Without the subsidies of Western welfare state they'd probably be worst.

Yes. Those awful realities.

The Middle East, including Israel, seems to be the place where Western abstractions just go up in smoke. American Jews who wax on and on about diversity suddenly become gimlet-eyed military strategists about Israel. Everybody gushes about multiculturalism, then total radio silence as multicultural Syria and Iraq devolve into their constituent nations and Lebanon continues to simmer. Nobody thinks the fact that the right-side IQ distribution has been fleeing the Arab world for the past century is of any consequence.

Nobody thinks the fact that the right-side IQ distribution has been fleeing the Arab world for the past century is of any consequence.

Because it hasn't happened. Ethnic Arabs are a tiny minority in the western Hemisphere and as often as not Christian. As for Europe, non-indigenous Muslims are perhaps 5% of the total population (per the Pew surveys), many are Turks, and it's a bit rich to fancy that Parisian housing projects are populated with people who generally score well on psychometric tests.

The enduring IQ differential leads to the enduring productivity and wealth differential that Steve Sailer references.

Sailer is channeling Richard Lynn, who's a mad tree-house builder. Look at Dr. Lynn's bibliographies. They're notable for a dearth of literature in economics, economic sociology, or economic geography.

The Israeli government already attempted two high-risk conciliatory attempts at peace: (i) Oslo which ended with an negotiated offer far in excess of what the general population felt comfortable with; and (ii) the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza which was implemented by an extremely right-wing leadership at the violent and vocal expense of its own constituency.

As an (non-resident Israeli citizen) (decreasingly) proponent of an unilateral withdrawal to internally military-acceptable borders, I would concede that recent and likely future weapon and technology innovations decrease the likelihood of that offering anything but the shortest reprieve to the conflict.

Israel is like the Latin Kingdoms of old - a thin European beachhead in a hostile land with waning support from its overseas sponsors. Militarily, if it fights ten wars in the next fifty years, it must win or draw all ten. And guys like Saladin don't model well. I'm shorting Israeli 100-yr bonds.

Israel is like the Latin Kingdoms of old – a thin European beachhead in a hostile land with waning support from its overseas sponsors

Jews form 75% of the population of Israel and are the most productive population in the region. As to how you got the idea in your head that Israel's Jews are a small feudal class the rest of us can only guess.

So within the next 50 years, Israel goes the way of the Crusader kingdoms? That means, about 15% of the population, the feudal class, escape to Cyprus and continue plotting there, for a while, about whether they can reestablish their beachhead kingdoms, while about 85% of the population, who were indigenous to the area all along, stay, and eventually come under Ottoman rule?

I don't see this outcome as likely.

In case anybody is having trouble reading between the lines here:

1. Amongst left-leaning people in most of the rest of the world, it is perfectly acceptable to criticize Israel explicitly as a land-stealing evil occupation force oppressor and whose citizens deserve everything bad that happens to them at the hands of the poor oppressed freedom-fighters, and that since 'resistance' - to include any terrorist atrocity - in such circumstances is both just and necessary that the Israelis have no right whatsoever to respond in any manner and should simple (1) Suck it up and take it, and (2) Preemptively surrender, release all prisoners, and unilaterally give their enemies everything they are asking for, with perhaps the exception of that whole 'existential destruction' thing. But that's a point of debate with the other faction in their debates - which is composed of people who hold good, old-fashioned jew-hating views.

2. The Overton window for discourse regarding Israel in the U.S. is different and shifted to the right for a variety of reasons. For one, the basic question of consistent application of one's self-proclaimed standards of international relations and laws of armed conflict towards Israel as one would articulate for one's own country makes it difficult for U.S.-based critics of Israel to answer the question "Well, what do you expect them to do about these rockets then?" because their honest answers threaten a loss of respectability and being taken seriously. They are either like #1 above, or some typically naive expression of the persuasive power of pacifist unilateralism which has zero evidentiary support. In other words - they are dead-end positions in our discourse.

3. So, what's an Israel critic supposed to do? Or, in the alternative, what is a U.S. public intellectual who is not a true-blue progressive, but who is trying to maintain friendships, relationships, respectability, and amicable comity with progressive Israel critics supposed to say to signal that they are allies and they too have a reason to wag their fingers at the Jewish state, though for reasons more objective and nuanced and ideologically transcendent than the typical biased favoritism of picking sides in a foreign conflict?

4. This is the answer that has evolved. "I am actually a friend of Israel and I wish them well. But they are doing something wrong in this particular case. I think they are making a mistake in their strategic calculus when they decide to respond to Hamas or Hezbollah attacks in this way. I don't blame them too harshly, after all, the government decision makers are constrained by public opinion and the political dynamics in their democracy, and let's face it, people are angry, afraid, and crazy. But, alas, those political constraints are leading them on the road to perdition, and great statesmen - like Saint Rabin - should be expected to resist the Siren's call and even accept certain sacrifices and personal political costs in order to make the right decision in the best long-term interests of their nation as a whole. Alas, that is not happening.

Yes, I know I cannot possibly come to a reasoned and neutral judgment on the strategic calculus of a nation's decisions regarding use of force without having access to all the relevant intelligence, and information, much of which is very secret, but I'm going to pretend that's not a problem, because, really, who's going to call me on it who matters? Nobody, that's who! I can just apply this special international affairs version of the exclusionary rule and pronounce a judgment and pretend it's actually better that I should not have to consider certain evidence.

So, furthermore, because as a amateur self-declared master of geopolitical grand strategy, I can armchair quarterback from my ill-informed, comfortable, distant, and surely disinterested position, and thus come to this strategic judgment, I can also claim that the operations fails to comply with the principle of proportionality under international humanitarian law and thus fails the test of moral propriety at both the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. In other words, Israel is causing a lot of collateral damage and harm to non-combatants, but that the objective they seek to accomplish cannot be achieved, and so the benefit simply cannot ever be proportionate to the cost in suffering, which is thus unnecessary and immoral.

Thus, Israel is being both politically cowardly, strategically stupid, and blatantly immoral. And it will really help my ability to make this point if the whole echo-chamber of my corner of the blogosphere keeps repeating this claim, and I try to marshal up some high-status authorities on the issue, who are also talking out of their asses because they don't have access to all the relevant and material evidence and intelligence, but whose words can be interpreted to support a similar position. And again, if we just repeat this claim enough, and back each other up in the Ouroboros Human Centipede, we can pretend it's actually true without actually having to prove out claims.

The mistake they are making isn't this particular battle. And no they aren't "worse" than their neighbors. The flawed premise is, depending on your view of Jews as a race or a religious group, running a racist and/or religiously intolerant state. That's why, when every 3 years the exact same arguments and discussions come up, you should look at the root cause, not a laundry list of tactical particulars.

You may notice that discussions of 'root causes' always end up in the same dead ends, because they inevitably are framed in a biased manner to force particular conclusions as to who is more to blame morally and legally and what ought to be done.

As for 'mistakes', whether short or long-term, that is exactly my point. If a master engineer is scrutinizing the bridge designs of a novice and says, "you have made a mistake, it will fall down" it is because he is operating off a good physical model of how bridges work or fail. If a chess grandmaster is looking over the shoulder of a young student and says, "you have made a mistake," it is because he is familiar with the likely outcomes of various alternative moves, and he recognizes the student has failed to pick amongst the set of possible moves that lead to the best expected outcomes.

When people are claiming that they have sufficient competency to judge that Israel is making a 'mistake', they are implicitly making a similar claim as the grandmaster. They are claiming that they have some superior geopolitical model of the situation, better information and intelligence, better ability to reason strategically, and are able to forecast and even somehow weigh the relative desirability of outcomes of various courses of action. And they are claiming that there is an action which Israel could take - which, notice, they never, ever specify - that could somehow certainly and obviously lead to a clearly better long-term outcome than what they are choosing to do now.

Well, that's BS; BS in Frankfurt's sense: lying about how certain you really are or your ability to justify your own claims.

Or, if you want to demonstrate that it's not BS, then you could present your geopolitical model, and show the superior choice and national outcome vs what it happening now.

But no one is doing that. Instead, again implicit behind all this, is that if Israel would just sit back and take these rocket attacks, turn the other cheek, be unilaterally pacifist give Hamas everything it claims to want, then magically everything will be better in a few years and eventually animosities will evaporate and peace will break out.

Well, that's an extraordinary claim at odds with all we've observed, and so one ought to be prepared to back it up with extraordinarily strong evidence and logic instead of mere ideological assertion. But no one that talks of 'mistakes' actually does that.

The action is to adopt policies that would likely give up legislated Jewish control of Israel. That would guarantee stability. I hope that is clear enough for you.

It would do nothing to 'guarantee stability' and would be political suicide (which would never be suggested anywhere else in the world).

I think that you have accurately described what is going on these days.

I read an article by Ron Fournier that put it differently: Bibi is "correct but archaic". The course of action Israel is taking is the most sensible and moral one, but for a lot of people it doesn;t matter.

Personally however I get annoyed when people won't just come out and admit what their real positions are.

If you are in fact correct, two corollaries follow:

1. Back in 1993, some Oslo supporters said that it was worth "taking risks for peace", "getting back the moral high ground" etc. These people look really foolish now.

2. There is an overwhelmingly strong but never-mentioned tactical reason for Israel to retain the West Bank: it gives the American left and European center a way to deride Israel without denouncing its existence. To put it differently: it's not politically possible for eg. Obama, Kerry, the EU to fully support Israel even if it fully withdrew from the West Bank.

1. They don't look foolish. Israel has enjoyed a decade of peace and gave up nothing (other than occupied land in Gaza, and it did that willingly to its credit.)

2. I'm only speaking for myself as a an American left-of-center person: I have no problem with Israel existing as a religious state. My problem with Israel is solely with its treatment of Palestinians and mostly with the settlement building.

Israel has enjoyed a decade of peace

No. There have been several wars, terrorism flaps, and constant hectoring to make peace from the likes of John Kerry

and gave up nothing (other than occupied land in Gaza, and it did that willingly to its credit.)

Israel "gave up nothing" except for the security of its major cities and border towns. We now have to listen for sirens and run to bomb shelters. Foreign trade and investment are being impacted. In the south, terrorists sometimes pop out of the ground and people who live in the area are paranoid about hearing "digging sounds"

Leaving Gaza did not improve Israel's diplomatic position. Probably it made things worse.

2. I’m only speaking for myself as a an American left-of-center person: I have no problem with Israel existing as a religious state.

Israel is not a religious state in any meaningful sense.

My problem with Israel is solely with its treatment of Palestinians and mostly with the settlement building.

A while ago I asked you to list some settlements that have been established in the past 5 years and how many people live in them. The fact is that settlement activity today consists primarily of building within existing settlements. There are some cowboy types who put trailer homes on hilltops ("outposts"), but these have no geopolitical significance whatsoever.

A while ago I pointed you to a nest of links showing various plans for settlements that have been making their way through the Knesset. All kicked off pre-summer 2014 rocket fire.

Do a little Google homework and get back to me. Not everything is a conspiracy theory.

Plans are not settlements

A while ago I pointed you to a nest of links showing various plans for settlements that have been making their way through the Knesset.

You mean this:

http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Settlers-build-two-new-West-Bank-outposts-in-response-to-teen-deaths-361118

Please shut up now?

Oh, and: http://rt.com/news/155700-israel-settlements-record-palestine/

“Israel approved record 14,000 settlements during peace talks with Palestine” is among the myriad Google results for “settlement Israel approved.”

All during peace time. This is where zionist scumbags call me an anti-Semite for pointing out these settlers – and the Israeli government – are a pack of landgrabbing vermin.

The Jpost article describes "outposts" I describe ie. a few families setting up a campsite on a hilltop.

The Russia Today article quotes a lefty Israeli org that claims that about 14000 "settler homes" (ie. apartments?) were issued permits in 6561 buildings in existing settlements. Moreover this number includes certain neighborhoods of Jerusalem (which leftys regard as a settlement). As I said, building new settlements largely halted around Oslo.

Do a little Google homework and get back to me. Not everything is a conspiracy theory.

I live here and I can see what is going on esp. regarding real estate and housing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/06/world/middleeast/new-israeli-settlement-plans-draw-swift-condemnation.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/11/world/middleeast/israel-publishes-plans-for-new-housing-in-settlements.html

http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-kerry-israel-settlements-20140408-story.html

You might live there, but you apparently don't know shit about anything.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/06/world/middleeast/new-israeli-settlement-plans-draw-swift-condemnation.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/11/world/middleeast/israel-publishes-plans-for-new-housing-in-settlements.html

http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-kerry-israel-settlements-20140408-story.html

Again, those articles confirm what I have been saying. They all deal with building in existing settlements (and - in a break from previous US administrations - regard traditionally Jewish parts of eastern Jerusalem as a settlement). In my view it's misguided to be concerned about such building at a time when Gaza and the PA are in chaos - and actually shows a dangerous rigid ideology ("it's the new apartment permits that are causing all the trouble").

Name one "new" settlement with a population of more than 50.

You might live there, but you apparently don’t know shit about anything.

Looks to me like you are pulling articles from Google without even reading them. Maybe you should be working for Vox (maybe you are already?)

Regardless of your hair-splitting, if *you* read those articles, it's clear that Palestinians (not to mention American political leaders) considered the planned settlement "expansion/construction/whatever distinction without a difference you think matters" a further affront in an ongoing series of affronts. Whatever you think of Kerry, just read the headline of that third article:

"Israeli settlement plans sank peace talks, Kerry says." This was reported back in April.

We in the States call that "negotiating in bad faith."

So the timeline is: peace talks, settlement building plans move forward, rockets start dropping.

Personally however I get annoyed when people won’t just come out and admit what their real positions are.

The preening and posturing is the whole point.

Head of the nail, meet hammer. 11/10.

Monotheistic, discriminatory nations like Israel are a failed experiment no matter how successful the economy is, no matter how morally superior to the neighboring failed Arab quasi-states it is, no matter how many Jewish hedge funders support it, and no matter how badly people still feel about the holocaust (with good reason). Israel, and states like Israel, are just a bad idea.

As opposed to what -- its neighboring states?

You're asking him to contemplate something other than his own navel. No fair.

Considering the western states that started the experiment about hyper-secularization, everyone welcome policies first.... do you see shining example of multiculturalism joy? The Netherlands with the Van Gogh murder? Sweden with the arab riots? UK with the pakistani only-dangerous for everyone else slums?

I would say the violence tends to be much less in adjacent religiously neutral, mostly democratic nations.

Just because of the numbers involved. All aroudn Europe we see the level of violence raising as the local culture:immigrant culture ratio diminishes, especially when religion is involved. See the periphery of Paris or Marseilles, Sweden and The Netehrlands, some instances of racial riots in Italy (unheard of until 5 years ago) and so on.

Adjacent to Israel? Which ones?

And they are a bad idea because...?

Israeli btw is hardly a monotheistic nation although it does only allow Jews to immigrate, which seems sensible since their goal is to preserve Jewish culture and avoid complete assimilation.

I think you have answered your own questions. Imagine let's say Connecticut in the US run on that basis by Protestants to control elections. Calling bullshit on you Cliff.

Connecticut is a subnational unit. What's your point, other than rubbish?

>blood will periodically flow

What a lovely, poetic way to say "Terrorists will continue to slaughter Jews in the name of Allah while Western elites blame Israel for it."

Isn't the ratio like 20 dead arabs for every one dead jew in the current skirmishing?

I believe the ratio is much more one-sided than that.

Israel’s major problem is that circumstances always change. Predicting the military capabilities of the Arab and Islamic worlds in 50 years is difficult. Most likely, they will not be weaker than they are today, and a strong argument can be made that at least several of their constituents will be stronger. If in 50 years some or all assume a hostile posture against Israel, Israel will be in trouble.

Five of the 32 countries in the region have come to blows with Israel at one time or another and a sixth (Iran) aspires to; other than some dogfights with Syria during the Lebanon war in 1982, no Arab state or Near Eastern state has waged war on Israel in forty-odd years. Israel has done battle only with paramilitary organizations of which three are salient at this time.

The countries in the region with a domestic product exceeding that of Israel would be Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt; only Egypt has a common border with Israel or has fought Israel. There are countries which have gained ground on Israel since 1960 in terms of per capita income, but all of them bar Tunisia have been the beneficiaries of natural resource bonanzas (and generally have not gained ground since 1980). Total fertility rates in the region have been tanking for a generation everywhere bar Israel, which has rates approaching the regional mean.

What's he hoping for?

None of the Arab states can afford a military with committed manpower sufficient to wage war with Israel because those men would turn their sights on the dictatorships first, so the military would need to be constructed to pit one faction of society against another - Sunni v Shia or tribe against tribe or radical against moderate.

Saudi Arabia cut a bargain with its wahabis that lets them export their radicalism to Pakistan, the UK, the EU, Egypt, Africa, and their most recent success is ISIS which openly implements the hidden society norm in Saudi Arabia.

ISIS represents the commitment that Lawrence of Arabia admired in the Arabs, except they are not the moderate tribe that he worked with and backed. But too few in the region, not even Hamas loyalists, have the commitment of the wahabists in ISIS.

so the military would need to be constructed to pit one faction of society against another

The Arab populations in Lebanon, Iraq, and Bahrain are confessionally fissured and there are consequential confessional minorities in Saudi Arabia and Syria. There are ethnic minorities in the Sudan, Iraq, and Mauritania. The populations in Morocco and Algeria occupy points on an Arab-Berber spectrum. There are tribal rivalries, though these are not very important in Egypt, which has been Israel's most important military antagonist.

"Stratfor on Israel and Gaza....There is more here, of interest throughout, via Eric Reguly."

Given the reaction to the "framing" of the last article on this conflict Cowen linked to, I'm surprised someone has not challenged the above "framing" yet. Come on, where's your imagination today?

I like that guy's proposal to grant Israel a slice of Gulf Coast Texas as New Israel. All the women and children can move there, while the military-age men turn Old Israel into a garrison around the holy sites.

http://www.jta.org/2014/04/25/news-opinion/the-telegraph/congressional-candidates-two-state-solution-a-new-israel-in-texas

Stick them on the southwest border and put their wall-building and patrolling to good use.

But in return they leave the Middle East and we get to level Jerusalem to the ground - Dome of the Rock, Wailing Wall and all.

if the analysis is right, Israelis cannot afford to be arrogant in future. either they should learn to negotiate in the real sense of the term or pray the messiah comes in time to deliver the nation form being overrun.

if the analysis is right, Israelis cannot afford to be arrogant in future. either they should learn to negotiate in the real sense of the term

You might look at some of the public opinion surveys available from Polling the Nations or at election results on the West Bank and Gaza or upon the revealed preferences of the authorities in those loci. Israel's negotiating skills (which have been adequate for peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt and co-operative agreements with Lebanese parties) are not an impediment. The objects of the population and the political class on the West Bank and Gaza are the impediment. Maybe a third are willing to sign an agreement which includes sustainable political arrangements between Israel and Arab authorities. The remainder are divided between those who insist Israel be dissolved as a political entity and those who insist Israel must take an open-ended quantum of Arab immigrants; that these are positions you would only pursue if you could dictate to your enemy seems not to register with these Arabs.

Muslims never obey treaties and are allowed to break treaties when advantageous.

Deception is allowed in Islam

Use Muslim, instead of Arab to get better understanding

Any treaty that Israel sings will be repudiated by muslims as soon as feasible

After 1993 treaty, Arafat spoke of Hubaidiya, Prophet Mohammed broke the treaty of Hubaidiya when he got
stronger

Most likely, they will not be weaker than they are today, and a strong argument can be made that at least several of their constituents will be stronger.

It seems like the external military situation has never been better for Israel. Think about it, Jordan and Egypt, which used to be great threats, are under the friendly rule of a king and a dictator. Syria, a military threat to Israel ever since it was founded, is no longer a serious player due to it's civil war. Iraq's military is a joke, no threat to Israel ever since 2003, being defeated by ISIS which probably has no more than 10,000 fighters in total, also not a military threat to Israel. Iran is the only serious military threat to Israel, but they would have to go through Iraq and then Syria or Jordan in order to reach it.

While Israel's relative power might decline in fifty years, it is hard to see it being any worse than it was when Israel first came into existence. And there are many reasons to suspect Israel will continue to improve relative to its enemies.

1) The major economic asset of the Arab powers is oil, and their oil production is likely to decline in the coming decades.
2) Israel have developed a thriving economy that will continue to create value added products. Arab nations don't have anything like that.
3) Israel essentially no longer needs foreign aid. It continues to be given so that the US can provide foreign aid to the Arab governments which otherwise would not be politically supportable.
4) The next fifty years will see the rise of nations more friendly to Israel in the region. Kurdish independence will likely give Israel a loyal ally. India's BJP Hindu nationalists see Israel as having the same enemies as they do. Israel is developing close relationships with Ethiopia whose prospects are at least no worse than its Arab enemies, and possibly higher. As sub-Saharan Africa becomes more Christian and encounters Muslim terrorism, Africa may prove to be a diplomatic supporter of Israel.
5) The only reason for Assad's anti-Israeli stance was to provide a figleaf to the Sunni majority it ruled over. While it will continue to be dependent on Iranian support in the short term, and thus anti-Israel, the most logical defender of the religious minorities along the Mediterranean coast (Alawites, Druze, Christians) is Israel. I suspect in 10-20 years there will be a major diplomatic revolution if Syria is effectively partitioned.
6) While the Iranian government is resolutely anti-Israel, the Iranian population is not nowadays. Iran under the Shah was historically pro-Israel. In the future Teheran may be more ambiguous in its policies.
7) Arabs are naturally sympathetic to the Palestinian issue, but it has been retreating as a major foreign policy objective for years now as crises continue to unfold.

While Israel should not assume its position will always be as strong now, it also should not assume it will get much worse and make existential policy decisions based on it getting worse. I think a better strategy is to keep options available and be flexible, which is what it seems to be doing.

I guess Israel must be unique in world history as an example of a legislated one religion controlled state that doesn't come into lethal conflict with its neighbors on a regular basis.

Nowhere on this thread have I heard a counter argument of the basic longevity problem with any transparently single race/religion based state.

Where is it? Is there one?

And please no more straw man arguments like "we are better than Hamas" (true that), or "this time they killed our boys first". Israel seems like a country always ready for its next desert tank war. And if you choose a deliberate political culture of extreme exclusion, you better always be ready for the next desert tank war (or worse).

And if you choose a deliberate political culture of extreme exclusion,

'Extreme exclusion' in this case would be that

1. They have an immigration policy;
2. They enforce that policy;
3. A component of that policy is that they do not admit people who would form a malicious fifth column.

I'm not clear on your point but I'll take a stab. Israel is unique in being a few million Israelis plopped down in the middle of several hundred million Arabs. Other than that, it's not unique. Historically, people form nation-states that are rather more homogenous than not: Japan, Korea, Armenia, Russia, England, Scotland, Ireland. There is probably a point where economies of scale are realized by centralization, as with Germany, but there are clearly centrifugal forces at work in places like Britain, Italy, the Iberian peninsula and the United States.

Why do we bother with vestigial states like Belgium, Lichtenstein and all the little fiefdoms that formed in Central America? Is there any reason for Haiti and the Dominican Republic to maintain a border? Is there any reason for the Arabs to maintain separate emirates? Why doesn't Vatican City open its borders to other creeds? But they all persist.

Propositional states are a modern experiment. Really, they're just a continuation of the old imperial experiments, which have devolved into their constituent nations every single time.

Propositional states are a modern experiment.

Actually, what you have are societies of migrants. That would be all of the states of the Western Hemisphere and the Antipodes and (to a degree) Southern Africa. The 'propositional' part is a gloss dreamed up by people in the social circle of Ben Wattenberg.

Why do we bother with vestigial states like Belgium, Lichtenstein and all the little fiefdoms that formed in Central America? Is there any reason for Haiti and the Dominican Republic to maintain a border?

The Dominican Republic seceded from Haiti in 1844. It is a racially mixed hispanophone society with a per capita income 7x that of francophone Haiti. It has also had elected administrations without interruption since 1966, while Haiti has the Western Hemisphere's most precarious government. Why would you expect the two to be lashed together in one state?

I wouldn't, but I'm told diversity and open borders are the universal cure for what ails everything.

@Mesa

I can't believe some of what I'm reading on this board. Do you have any idea how many Muslim countries there are that openly call themselves Islamic states and treat non-Muslims as dhimmis with few if any rights?

Start with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Iran among lots of others, and a number of other countries like Malaysia that have discriminatory laws that favor Muslims at the expense of Chinese and others.

Israel IS a Jewish state, but it's the only country in the ME where the Christian population is actually GROWING. Christian , Druze Baha'i and Muslim citizens vote in free elections and have full rights under the laws. Can you show me any Muslim state where the same is true?

And those wars? All Israel's fault, every one? Or did they just make a mistake by being Jews and existing?

Considering Islam's deserved reputation for not playing well with others, especially when they're next door, I think you need to do some serious re-examining.

Israel is powerful but other states in region (or Muslim states) are also powerful.
http://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-listing.asp
Turkey more powerful than Israel.
Egypt very similar to Israel.
Pakistan, Indonesia,Iran, Saudi Arabia no slouches.

To speak of Israel as regional-superpower is rubbish.

Yeah...that's what Nasser,Hafez and Basher Assad, Sadat, Saddam Hussein, Arafat,King Hussein,Nasralah and a whole bunch of others said ; )

I'm sure Hamas is saying it now.

Israel is a nuclear state. It is not going to be invaded from without by Arab countries. During the 1973 Kippur War, Golda Meir ordered the fueling of Israel's nuclear missiles targeting Cairo and Damascus, to force the US' hand.

The real danger to Israel is from within, from its secular-ultra orthodox divide, and should the two-state solution become unfeasible, as seems unfortunately likely, from the restive Palestinian population of Greater Israel, as the status quo is unsustainable. How long will Israel's economy prosper if its best and brightest emigrate to the US?

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