Burning tires in Gaza street

Reasoning about Israel and the Palestinians

I try to present facts and logic and solutions rather than just opinions.

Contact me If your facts and logic are convincing, I'll change my mind !

Here's my "solution"

  • Take the southern 1/3 of Israel and make it a Palestinian state. Have a DMZ or "wall" between it and Israel. [1/3 because it roughly matches the population ratio. Southern because Gaza Strip with 1.2 million Palestinians is already there.]

  • Forcibly move all of the Israelis out of the new Palestinian state, and forcibly move all of the Palestinians into the new state.

  • This would have to be an Israeli initiative; I don't see any way to force them to do it.

[Now that Hamas has been firing rockets 45 miles or so, the DMZ part of this idea seems less effective. But maybe "Iron Dome" makes up for that.]

Turns out this is similar to an old idea, called "transfer", although that may mean deporting Palestinians to other Arab countries. Another idea, "partition", seems to not involve moving people, but I'm not sure.

Some people (for example, Robert Jensen) say "transfer" is racist, because it treats Palestinians like animals with no feelings. I don't agree; it is a political action imposed by the winner of a war against the losing state, similar to redrawing national boundaries in the way desired by the winner. And of course it will be painful and wrenching, but that is what losers of wars go through.

There seems to be a campaign to label any action against Palestinians as "racism". Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia said in an article in the March 24 2003 New Yorker magazine "continued Israeli actions, horrible actions, as if Jewish blood is not equal to Palestinian ... [would] the American people have accepted the President ordering all the McVeigh family houses to be destroyed and their farms burned" ? I think it's war, not racism. Yes, of course our soldier's blood is more valuable to us than the enemy's blood ! I'm sure the Palestinians feel the same way. And if we had domestic terrorists blowing up large buildings in the USA every week or so, yes, the American public would accept harsh retaliation to put a stop to it.

I think "Palestinian" is a nationality, not a race. Am I wrong ? Isn't there a Palestinian state, a passport, a government ? There's no physical or genetic definition of "Palestinian".

Some people say "transfer" is "ethnic cleansing". But I thought "ethnic cleansing" implied exterminating the unwanted people. And I don't think "ethnicity" is the issue here; the nations of Israel and Palestine both want the same land, and only one of them can have it.

This solution is "bad" in some ways

  • There will be lots of violent resistance to the population relocations, especially moving 2.2 million Palestinians out of West Bank and Jerusalem. But it will be a one-time spasm, then things should settle down to be better (that is, more peaceful and productive for both sides) than they are today.

  • All of the "holy" places end up in Israeli hands. But there is no peaceful way to share them.

  • I think there are major Israeli military installations in the Negev, which would become Palestinian territory. The installations would have to be moved. These might include nuclear plants.

  • It's not necessarily "fair" to anyone. But the situation has gotten far beyond "fairness".

  • I'm sure this violates 50 UN resolutions and various Geneva Conventions (forced deportation). But Israel probably could tolerate any international backlash short of the USA withdrawing its financial aid. And the results (peace, and a viable Palestinian nation) would be worth it.

  • It would be expensive; lots of villages and roads and schools and other infrastructure to be built.

This solution is "good" in some ways

  • The new Palestinian state should be viable because it will be:
    • Geographically unified.
    • Have international borders other than with Israel.
    • Have access to the Mediterranean sea.

  • Opportunities for contact (and conflict) between Israelis and Palestinians will be reduced.

  • Israel's security is greatly improved.

  • Palestinian refugees in other countries will have a country to go to.

  • The Palestinian government will lose the ability to blame all its problems on Israel; they'll have to serve their people or get voted out.

This solution could be implemented today (unilaterally by Israel) if Israel had the will to do it. No need for negotiations, UN approval, etc.

By the way, the Zionists did commit terrorist acts years ago (for example, in 1938 Irgun bombed Arab civilian centers), but Israel's activities today are not terrorism (deliberate targeting of civilians). If Israel wanted to kill lots of Palestinian civilians, I'm sure the body count would be far higher than it is. The Palestinian activities are a mixture of warfare (targeting soldiers and officials) and terrorism (targeting civilians).

And why is it that other Arab countries will give money to Palestinians to make "martyrs" of their children, but don't give them enough money for good schools and housing ?

I think both the Palestinians and Israelis are religious nuts. Why do they each feel they have to live on some specific pieces of land ? Move to some other piece of land and get on with your life.

Playboy interview of Helen Thomas
Sam Harris's "Why Don't I Criticize Israel?"
Paul R. Pillar's "John Kerry Nails It: Realities of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"