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jdobbin

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Wait: so Olmert bungled the war and is being held accountable? Why, that's just nutty.

To be frank, I don't think that it would have mattered if Olmert or Bibi was in charge - it wasn't a war meant to be won. IMO the desire was to set Lebanon back 20 years by destroying her infrastructure and flaming the divides of society there. It backfired.

Meanwhile, Lebanon has requested time and time again the records of where all the cluster bombs were dropped in the final few days before the 'truce'. Israel will not release it - and this war keeps on giving in the form of children, adults and animals being blown to bitsy by these ordinances (a war crime btw).

Nothing much will happen to Olmert, outside of sinking into obscurity after his little stint on stage is up. My fear is who will replace him.

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I don't know too much about the current situation, but am bold enough to make a prediction. If their PM steps down or is forced out, their enemies will automatically commence bombing and otherwise trying to influence the choice of any replacement.

So Israel should dispense with choosing who it wants in government?

Huh? How do you get that from my uncomplicated statement? I simply said that while Israel chooses who it wants in government, their enemies will try to disrupt or influence the process.

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Huh? How do you get that from my uncomplicated statement? I simply said that while Israel chooses who it wants in government, their enemies will try to disrupt or influence the process.

Sounded like you were trying to spin it by saying that Olmert should not back down because of the threat of terrorism.

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Meanwhile, Lebanon has requested time and time again the records of where all the cluster bombs were dropped in the final few days before the 'truce'. Israel will not release it - and this war keeps on giving in the form of children, adults and animals being blown to bitsy by these ordinances (a war crime btw).

Nothing much will happen to Olmert, outside of sinking into obscurity after his little stint on stage is up. My fear is who will replace him.

Well, I suppose there are the usual assortment of hardliners vs those who would give away more land. But whatever Israel does, it doesn't seem to change the minds of their neighbours.

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Meanwhile, Lebanon has requested time and time again the records of where all the cluster bombs were dropped in the final few days before the 'truce'. Israel will not release it - and this war keeps on giving in the form of children, adults and animals being blown to bitsy by these ordinances (a war crime btw).

Nothing much will happen to Olmert, outside of sinking into obscurity after his little stint on stage is up. My fear is who will replace him.

Well, I suppose there are the usual assortment of hardliners vs those who would give away more land. But whatever Israel does, it doesn't seem to change the minds of their neighbours.

Give away whose land? It's not Israel's land to take or give away. It's occupied Palestine - this is not in dispute no matter which side you stand on.

As far as changing her neighbours minds, Israel sadly made her own bed with her three invasions of soveriegn Lebanon, the latest of which was ridden with war crimes.

All Lebanon wants is the locations of ordinances which are STILL killing people. Not such a difficult request - they want to save lives - but Israel won't do it - why?

Given that the corruption in the Israeli Admin is rampant, I can't say that their government has any kind of moral ground to stand on in this issue.

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Well they did not accomplish their goals, and that was to get back the captured soldiers that Hammas inistially took, then something else happened, Israel crossed into Lebanon possibly, and Hezbollah captured them.

We know the outcome. No soldiers captured, came home. And they did not kill the enemy. I am not saying this is right, but Olmert should have pressed on untill that happened. The population of Israel would have been more supportive. But again, war can only go on so long if you are not making any progress eithe way. And even after the failed negotiations between Israel, Hammas and Hezbolah did not result in those captured soldiers comming home.

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Give away whose land? It's not Israel's land to take or give away. It's occupied Palestine - this is not in dispute no matter which side you stand on.

As far as changing her neighbours minds, Israel sadly made her own bed with her three invasions of soveriegn Lebanon, the latest of which was ridden with war crimes.

All Lebanon wants is the locations of ordinances which are STILL killing people. Not such a difficult request - they want to save lives - but Israel won't do it - why?

Given that the corruption in the Israeli Admin is rampant, I can't say that their government has any kind of moral ground to stand on in this issue.

Are you saying that every single stitch of land that is present day Israel is occupied Palestine? Uh oh, we better get out the maps, because if you want to go back that far and use that premise, then dozens of countries in Europe, Africa and the Orient have land they should be giving back.

Only they won't. And the countries who've lost the land aren't sending over bomb laden donkeys( or people) until they get their way, they've moved on in their lives, built a country out of what they have and so on.

As for what Lebanon wants, countries that permit foreign armies(hezbolah) to occupy their land while attacking another (and permit said army to force its citizens to not flee the area where they are shooting missiles from so as to have higher citizen deaths) do not usally get what they want.

Please don't speak of moral ground when you are defending a morally bankrupt country like Lebanon

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Are you saying that every single stitch of land that is present day Israel is occupied Palestine? Uh oh, we better get out the maps, because if you want to go back that far and use that premise, then dozens of countries in Europe, Africa and the Orient have land they should be giving back.

Only they won't. And the countries who've lost the land aren't sending over bomb laden donkeys( or people) until they get their way, they've moved on in their lives, built a country out of what they have and so on.

As for what Lebanon wants, countries that permit foreign armies(hezbolah) to occupy their land while attacking another (and permit said army to force its citizens to not flee the area where they are shooting missiles from so as to have higher citizen deaths) do not usally get what they want.

Please don't speak of moral ground when you are defending a morally bankrupt country like Lebanon

Did you read my post?

Do you know anything about these conflicts?

Did you wait for me to reply when you asked: "Are you saying that every single stich of land that is present day Israel is occupied Palestine?"

Yikes.

I am talking about the Occupied Territory of Palestine - those lands Israel has Occupied since the '67 war. I would also mention the illegal settlements - so is that the land that the Palestinians are supposed to give back? I am not talking about Israel proper - ie Israel with her pre-67 borders - I am refering to those lands since illegally settled and occupied by her.

Occupations tend not to go down well with the native populations - which results in misery for both sides.

WRT Lebanon - do you have something against the Lebanese? How has Hezbolla occupied her? Do you even know the origins of Hezbolla? If Israel had not attacked Lebanon previously I doubt that we would be seeing anything of the sort of militancy demonstrated now and again by the likes of Hezbolla or other organisations on all sides of this conflict.

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In response to Tuffy I mean Buffy:

"To be frank, I don't think that it would have mattered if Olmert or Bibi was in charge - it wasn't a war meant to be won. "

It may suprise you but I totally agree.

"IMO the desire was to set Lebanon back 20 years by destroying her infrastructure and flaming the divides of society there. It backfired."

I again agree and I think this is precisely why Olmert has been criticized for not understanding how you use the military to achieve political goals precisely because he thought he could destroy the infrastructure feeding the weapons to cripple Hamas not realizing Hamas had already figured that out and prepared a contingency plan for when the roads went out. Many of Hezbollah are highly educated engineers and they built elaborate tunnels.

I also think Olmert did not understand that those Lebanese who do not like Hezbollah would turn on them seeing their country get blown up but it did the opposite, it united them with Hezbollah and I think Olmert failed to understand that effect. The psychological devastation to the country only reinforces hatred against Israel not Hezbollah.

"Meanwhile, Lebanon has requested time and time again the records of where all the cluster bombs were dropped in the final few days before the 'truce'. Israel will not release it - and this war keeps on giving in the form of children, adults and animals being blown to bitsy by these ordinances (a war crime btw)."

Both sides most certainly used cluster bombs.

"Nothing much will happen to Olmert, outside of sinking into obscurity after his little stint on stage is up. My fear is who will replace him."

Well Israeli politics are fascinating. Israel spits its politicians out with no mercy. Its press is vicious and the knesset is at any given time a combustable mix of coalitions that can fall apart at a moment's notice.

At this time Olmert's coalition has a 75 seat cushion. For it to fall apart Ehud Barak would have to take back control of the Labour party which there are rumbles he might do and if he does that, Benjamin Netanyahu for Likud would show up again meaning those two would start fighting to see who could put together a coalition.

Netanyahu is a tough tough inflexible right wing no nonsense guy pretty much a modern version of Menachem Begin. Barak who was thrown out of office being accused of being incompetent with the way he dealt with Arafat is itching for a come back to prove to everyone he was right.

Barak is a typical Labour leader in that he is a battle smart commando who is not afraid to fight a war but talk peace. Netanyahu is also a former soldier.Olmert was not. He is considered an anomoly in Israeli politics someone outside the IDF involved in running the country. It explains a lot of the breakdown between himself and the IDF during the Lebanon war.

Personally I believe Olmert is financially dishonest. I do not like the coruption around him and his wife.

Will he survive, Well there is no doubt he has been a teflon man playing the sides off each other but on this one you have to watch one thing. Israel is very very small. Everyone knows everyone. If the sentiment of the people is he is incompetent and has to go you will know within the next two months as the final report comes out. If you don't see major street actions and demonstrations in the next 2 months or so, I would say he survived again. However summers are always hot and volatile in Israel. A leader can be tossed out on his caboose very quickly.

Shimon Peres by the way at 84 while he may appear old, is still itching to get into power as well. He is a wild card.

If I am a betting man I say Barak and Netanyahu bide their time yet again.

What I can also tell you is there is major dissension within the IDF not only over how the war was conducted but with the lack of equipment given to the soldiers sent in on the ground.

Israel prides itself on being prepared for wars but went in on the ground without proper weaponry t fight Hezbollah. Hezbollah is not your usual terrorist unit. It consists of older men many in their 30's and 40's with engineering training. These are excellently trained killers and adept at building tunnel systems and camoflage. The Hezbollah use Viet Cong tactics only they have better weapons and their people are extremely disciplined. You don't have people in Hezbollah who do drugs, or run amuk. They are very fundamentalist Shiites. They are a lethal opponent and they will kill anyone who gets in their way. They want a Shiite theocracy in Lebanon, Israel and Jordan and probably Syria if they had their way.

Ironically the Muslim Brotherhood which is the unit behind Hamas does not like them at all and if they did not both hate Israel equally would have turned on one another. Syria only supports Hezbollah, because Hezbollah supports Syria against its internal battle against the Muslim Brotherhood. A minority Islamic sect runs Syria closely aligned to the Shiites but against the majority population which is Sunni in Syria.

As well in Lebanon everyone may now hate Israel because of the bombings but the Sunnis, Duze and Christians have no love for Hezbollah at all. Its a mess. A major mess.

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Rights and claims mean nothing without a framework for defining what you are able to protect as opposed to what you are willing to bargain away in exchange.

Palestinians have zero claims and rights to Israel - zilch

Having said that, he UN took these the claims of both sides into account partitioning the land so both sides had claims met! This UN partition surrounded Jerusalem with Arab land - 55% desert for the Jews - who got 11% of the total Palestine Mandate (including Jordan), which was about even the Arab proportion to the Arabs ( in the total Palestine Mandate 1917)

The Arabs rejected this, then made an attempt Jewish land along with the newly granted NATIONAL property, and committ genocide (or at best expell) the Jews. We know that this resulted in them losing some land - kinda like punishment acts of war. Despite t the Arab attempts at genocide and conquest, they seem to think that all of that should be ignored.

Saudi Journalist: Arab 'Return' to Israel is a 'Fairy Tale'

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/122174

As for Hezbollah, they are a terrorist org. responsible for hundreds of deaths, they are radical Islamists whos goal is the establishment of an Islamic state encompassing Lebanon and Israel.

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"Occupations tend not to go down well with the native populations - which results in misery for both sides."

Once again I agree with Gruffy I mean Buffy as to the above. You can not get anything but problems using a conventional army as a political occupation force and its precisely why Olmert chose an air war which was just as problematic for obviously other reasons.

"How has Hezbolla occupied her? Do you even know the origins of Hezbolla? "

You must as I have done speak to Lebanese on that last question. What they have told me and what I saw with my own eyes, is that Hezbollah is armed to the teeth and does not have any time of day for anyone outside Hezbollah and the rest of Lebanon cower from it. The Lebanese Army is powerless to confront it.

Hezbollah is a Shiite fundamentalist military cell that believes its goal is to destroy not just Israel but take over Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, and probably Syria and turn it all into a Shiite theocracy.

"If Israel had not attacked Lebanon previously I doubt that we would be seeing anything of the sort of militancy demonstrated now and again by the likes of Hezbolla or other organisations on all sides of this conflict. "

On that you are wrong. Whether they had attacked or not, these demonstrations have continued to go on for years. I do not doubt the air war added to the reasons for the demonstrations and served to fuel them and

incite the masses even more, but I would descriobe that as an exasperation of what was already going on, not creating it for the first time.

The bottom line is this-its a cold brutal reality- it doesn't matter what Israel does or does not do, Hezbollah wants them destroyed and so does Hamas, Syria, Al Fatah, and many other terrorist cells.

It also doesn't matter much what Israel does, it will always be hated. So when Israel makes its decisions believe me it isn't too worried if the world or its enemies hate it. When you have been the subject of hatred for as long as Israel has, you become dettached from such factors. Its called siege mentality. To survive the day to day life and not blow up, you aren't thinking whether anyone likes you, you are thinking of what you need to do to survive until the next day.

Its a hard thing to understand say when you live in Canada and our whole personna is based on wanting to be a nice guy and liked.

The best analogy I can give is a rape victim. They could care less what the rapisy thinks about them.

It is also the same kind of phenomena that manifests itself in the mentality of terrorists.

Violence tends to cause humans to shut down certain feelings while rage, anger, take over.

The human body under seige manufactures steroids and adrenalin and over a prolonged period of time that causes depression and an inability to feel and in the short term provides bursts of energy usually directed outwards in the form of brutal attacks and killings.

Because the feelings of sadness, fear, disappointment, debtrayal, can't be expressed, they are bottled inside, and when they do come out its in the form of a rage.

Interestingly Hezbollah who pride themselves on being Shiite fundamentalists, tend to sexually mutilate their victims while the IDF for a conventional army has very low rates of sex crimes again probably resulting from the manner in which each side can express itself when it is not fighting. The IDF when not fighting

go back into mainstream society while Hezbollah remain isolated.

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Give away whose land? It's not Israel's land to take or give away. It's occupied Palestine - this is not in dispute no matter which side you stand on.
At least you're honest enough to admit that you consider all of Israel to be "occupied land". Presumably and hopefully, you'd have trouble stomaching the ensuing slaughter of Jews both in Israel and other places if Israel dissolved.
As far as changing her neighbours minds, Israel sadly made her own bed with her three invasions of soveriegn Lebanon, the latest of which was ridden with war crimes.
And what about the Arab countries' unrelenting guerrilla war against Israel, punctuated with the 1948 and 1973 sneak attacks, and the provocative actions that led to the 1967 War.
Given that the corruption in the Israeli Admin is rampant, I can't say that their government has any kind of moral ground to stand on in this issue.
A mite bit cleaner than Arab governments. I assume.

I can see I'm beating my head into a wall trying to argue factually with you.

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Give away whose land? It's not Israel's land to take or give away. It's occupied Palestine - this is not in dispute no matter which side you stand on.

As far as changing her neighbours minds, Israel sadly made her own bed with her three invasions of soveriegn Lebanon, the latest of which was ridden with war crimes.

All Lebanon wants is the locations of ordinances which are STILL killing people. Not such a difficult request - they want to save lives - but Israel won't do it - why?

Given that the corruption in the Israeli Admin is rampant, I can't say that their government has any kind of moral ground to stand on in this issue.

Palestinians have not controlled the section of the Middle East where Israel is today since 1517 - nearly 500 years ago so current Palestinian claims to the land are baseless. From 1517 to 1918 the area was governed by the Ottoman Turks. From 1918 to 1948, the area was a protectorate of Great Britain. Great Britain turned partitioning of the territory between the Arabs and Jews over to the United Nations. No party had valid prior claim to the lands and do not have at present. The decision was made, Israel was mapped out became a free nations and the Arabs were unhappy. Life happens whether we are happy about it or not.

If Lebanon is really a sovereign state she is responsible for the Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel as the rocket attacks came from Lebanese territory and constitute an act of war. When a nation condones or commits acts of war from its territory, it can expect a retaliatory strike. Israel’s recent invasion of Lebanon was perfectly justified under international law.

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Give away whose land? It's not Israel's land to take or give away. It's occupied Palestine - this is not in dispute no matter which side you stand on.

As far as changing her neighbours minds, Israel sadly made her own bed with her three invasions of soveriegn Lebanon, the latest of which was ridden with war crimes.

All Lebanon wants is the locations of ordinances which are STILL killing people. Not such a difficult request - they want to save lives - but Israel won't do it - why?

Given that the corruption in the Israeli Admin is rampant, I can't say that their government has any kind of moral ground to stand on in this issue.

Palestinians have not controlled the section of the Middle East where Israel is today since 1517 - nearly 500 years ago so current Palestinian claims to the land are baseless. From 1517 to 1918 the area was governed by the Ottoman Turks. From 1918 to 1948, the area was a protectorate of Great Britain. Great Britain turned partitioning of the territory between the Arabs and Jews over to the United Nations. No party had valid prior claim to the lands and do not have at present. The decision was made, Israel was mapped out became a free nations and the Arabs were unhappy. Life happens whether we are happy about it or not.

If Lebanon is really a sovereign state she is responsible for the Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel as the rocket attacks came from Lebanese territory and constitute an act of war. When a nation condones or commits acts of war from its territory, it can expect a retaliatory strike. Israel’s recent invasion of Lebanon was perfectly justified under international law.

I completely agree with you. However I am one of those I guess you would say is a typical Labour Party supporter. I mean JBG understands me better then anyone else. My reluctant concern is that when I criticize the choice of air war Israel used I do not want people misunderstanding I am saying they do not have the right to fight terror.

However me personally,a nd that is all it is, a personal feeling said with the reservation I am not there in the line of fire of the Hezbollah missiles, I would have preferred Olmert not panic and initiate an immediate air war, and instead have allowed the IDF to prepare a series of strategic commando strikes. I think they could have achieved the same political impact but have avoided many more civilian causualties and have had a better chance to turn the non shiites in lebanon against the shiites.

i think the air war turned potential allies into shell shocked enemies.

From the get go I have been someone on these posts who talks of elite swift moving commando strikes again terrorists. i have a strong prejudice for such tactics.

i don't like air wars or conventional armies.

I appreciate your bluntness.

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Give away whose land? It's not Israel's land to take or give away. It's occupied Palestine - this is not in dispute no matter which side you stand on.

As far as changing her neighbours minds, Israel sadly made her own bed with her three invasions of soveriegn Lebanon, the latest of which was ridden with war crimes.

All Lebanon wants is the locations of ordinances which are STILL killing people. Not such a difficult request - they want to save lives - but Israel won't do it - why?

Given that the corruption in the Israeli Admin is rampant, I can't say that their government has any kind of moral ground to stand on in this issue.

Palestinians have not controlled the section of the Middle East where Israel is today since 1517 - nearly 500 years ago so current Palestinian claims to the land are baseless. From 1517 to 1918 the area was governed by the Ottoman Turks. From 1918 to 1948, the area was a protectorate of Great Britain. Great Britain turned partitioning of the territory between the Arabs and Jews over to the United Nations. No party had valid prior claim to the lands and do not have at present. The decision was made, Israel was mapped out became a free nations and the Arabs were unhappy. Life happens whether we are happy about it or not.

If Lebanon is really a sovereign state she is responsible for the Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel as the rocket attacks came from Lebanese territory and constitute an act of war. When a nation condones or commits acts of war from its territory, it can expect a retaliatory strike. Israel’s recent invasion of Lebanon was perfectly justified under international law.

Good post WV

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From the get go I have been someone on these posts who talks of elite swift moving commando strikes again terrorists. i have a strong prejudice for such tactics.

This is exactly what I would like to see more of. My guess is that Israel has some sort of idea that they would be putting their soldiers in more danger by using these kind of tactics, versus aerial bombing and remote engagement. They are exactly right, but the greater the risk, the greater the reward.

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If Lebanon is really a sovereign state she is responsible for the Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel as the rocket attacks came from Lebanese territory and constitute an act of war. When a nation condones or commits acts of war from its territory, it can expect a retaliatory strike. Israel’s recent invasion of Lebanon was perfectly justified under international law.

I completely agree with you. However I am one of those I guess you would say is a typical Labour Party supporter. I mean JBG understands me better then anyone else. My reluctant concern is that when I criticize the choice of air war Israel used I do not want people misunderstanding I am saying they do not have the right to fight terror.

Thanks. I like the "Old Labor" party from the days of Golda Meir. I have little stomache for the newbies there.

I appreciate your bluntness.

WV is a new poster to this Board, but his posts always appear to be right on the money. If he didn't right some of them I would.

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Palestinians have not controlled the section of the Middle East where Israel is today since 1517 - nearly 500 years ago so current Palestinian claims to the land are baseless.

Many Palestinians hold deeds to land in the West Bank granted either by the Turks or the British or both. The Israeli organization Peace Now has published leaked Israeli government documents showing that 45% of land under Israeli West Bank settlelemnts is rightfully owned by Palestinians and that some 85% of the land under Ma'le Adumin is owned by Palestinian Arabs. The Geneva Conventions specifically state that the land registry must be respected by occupying forces. Your reasoning is specious.

Neither Barak and Netanyahu are capable of the challenges they will face. The American support Israeli war lords relied upon for so long is dwindling, squandered by the likes of Bush, Cheney and Wolfowitz. Israel needs a man of peace, not another dumb-ass warlord.

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Neither Barak and Netanyahu are capable of the challenges they will face. The American support Israeli war lords relied upon for so long is dwindling, squandered by the likes of Bush, Cheney and Wolfowitz. Israel needs a man of peace, not another dumb-ass warlord.
Who would be his Palestinian counterpart? And who could that counterpart bind?
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To survive the day to day life and not blow up, you aren't thinking whether anyone likes you, you are thinking of what you need to do to survive until the next day.

[...] The best analogy I can give is a rape victim. They could care less what the rapisy thinks about them.

The same thing can be said about suicide-bombings. To us, they're abhorrent. But to the Palestinian who sees HIMSELF as the "rape" victim since the inception of Zionism, then maybe he also doesn't care what the world thinks. Just a thought.

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While I completely distance myself and disagree with Higgly's comments on Israel, I do concur that it is a legal fact that certain Palestinians have legal deeds to land. The issue is what signifigance to those deeds have in a court if the land is abandoned. For Palestinians who left the land, the notion they can simply come back to it, is like taking the descendants of the 900,000 Jews thrown out of the Middle East in the early 50's and giving them back all the property they had stolen from them. We also then get into the legal issue that in dhimmitude, Islam did not seperate state from religion and therefore did not allow Jews or Christians to own land but allowed Muslims to own land which would mean the deeds come from a system that illegally discriminated against Jews and Christians and only allowed Muslims to own land.

It also gets into the practical impossibility of verifying these deeds since many of them were forgeries or fakes and many were stolen from their rightful owners.

The practical reality is this concept that land was stolen and must be given back is quaint and fuels a stereotype that Jews stole land from Muslims, but does not reflect the real legal issues which are-how do we today, find a way to create a solution whereby both Palestinians and Israelis can live side by side without violence.

There has to be give and take on both sides. The terrorists on the Palestinian side are of no help. Setting up as was announced today, a 20,000 person Jewish settlement on the East side of Jerusalem is also of no help.

What we see are both sides, one using terror the other settlements to try consolidate or grab land rights. Both are problematic and fuel the crisis.

In regards to East Jerusalem however, it should be pointed out that traditonally Jews always lived in the East of Jerusalem but had their land stolen by Muslims so its a chiocken and egg arguement again. When Jordan seized East Jerusalem it did it illegally.

In fact Jews could have strong arguements to land on the East side but from a practical point of view it may not help matters at all.

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To survive the day to day life and not blow up, you aren't thinking whether anyone likes you, you are thinking of what you need to do to survive until the next day.

[...] The best analogy I can give is a rape victim. They could care less what the rapisy thinks about them.

The same thing can be said about suicide-bombings. To us, they're abhorrent. But to the Palestinian who sees HIMSELF as the "rape" victim since the inception of Zionism, then maybe he also doesn't care what the world thinks. Just a thought.
There's a huge difference. A rape victim has done nothing wrong. A homocide bomber is killing people at random. No better than Paul Bernardo or Robert Pickton really.
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While I completely distance myself and disagree with Higgly's comments on Israel, I do concur that it is a legal fact that certain Palestinians have legal deeds to land. The issue is what signifigance to those deeds have in a court if the land is abandoned. For Palestinians who left the land, the notion they can simply come back to it, is like taking the descendants of the 900,000 Jews thrown out of the Middle East in the early 50's and giving them back all the property they had stolen from them. We also then get into the legal issue that in dhimmitude, Islam did not seperate state from religion and therefore did not allow Jews or Christians to own land but allowed Muslims to own land which would mean the deeds come from a system that illegally discriminated against Jews and Christians and only allowed Muslims to own land.

Israel expelled the Palestinian Arabs during the 1948 war, sealed its borders to them and then passed the laws of abandonnment less than two years later. This is like a thief stealing from you, taking the stolen property to his house and then saying "It's my personal private property now and possession is nine tenths of the law." This dhimmitude thing is getting pretty old, Rue. Next thing you know the Moslems will be launching a suit against the Catholic Church for what was done to the Moors in Spain and the Protestants will be going after the French and Italians. Give it a rest.

It also gets into the practical impossibility of verifying these deeds since many of them were forgeries or fakes and many were stolen from their rightful owners.

The British, Turks and Jordanians kept records. They didn't just write out deeds and send them out the door with a happy wave. This is silly.

The practical reality is this concept that land was stolen and must be given back is quaint and fuels a stereotype that Jews stole land from Muslims, but does not reflect the real legal issues which are-how do we today, find a way to create a solution whereby both Palestinians and Israelis can live side by side without violence.

There has to be give and take on both sides. The terrorists on the Palestinian side are of no help. Setting up as was announced today, a 20,000 person Jewish settlement on the East side of Jerusalem is also of no help.

What we see are both sides, one using terror the other settlements to try consolidate or grab land rights. Both are problematic and fuel the crisis.

So far it's been all take from the Israeli point of view and all give from the Palestinian point of view. Time to give back.

In regards to East Jerusalem however, it should be pointed out that traditonally Jews always lived in the East of Jerusalem but had their land stolen by Muslims so its a chiocken and egg arguement again. When Jordan seized East Jerusalem it did it illegally.

In fact Jews could have strong arguements to land on the East side but from a practical point of view it may not help matters at all.

East Jerusalem has always been "The Arab Quarter", with the exception of the bit that latterly became the "Armenian Quarter". Ma'ale Adummin is an abomination. There was nothing illegal about Jordan's activities in East Jerusalem. You are saying this because you base your thinking on the erroneous notion that the Balfour Declaration gave all of Palestine to the Jews. In fact, the Balfour Declaration simply stated that "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" not that all of Palestine would be given to the Jews. The Balfour Declaration would be on shakey grounds in today's climate of international law. At the same time as Lord Balfour was being so generous to the Jews, the British were making similar promises to the Arabs (McMahon) - viz. Lawrence of Arabia. The Treaty of Versailles verified the British Mandate in Palestine. It did not make Palestine the exclusive property of the Jews. Your sense of legality in this matter is specious. Even Jack Straw in an interview in the New Statesman (November 2002) acknowledged that the Balfour Declaration was mistake.

I have no proplem with the existence of the State of Israel but there will never be peace as long as guys like Netenyahu and Barak are in charge. Netanyahu and Sharon were the major culprits in the settlement problem and Barak's swiss cheese proposal to Arafat was a cruel joke.

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Who would be his Palestinian counterpart? And who could that counterpart bind?

When has any Palestinian leader ever had anything to offer to his or her people except struggle? The current state of the Palestinians reminds me of a now famous experiment in Psychology where a population of lab rats is put into a sealed environment and has its food continually reduced until they start to eat each other. The record of both the Israeli and American governments in this regard is disgusting.

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