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The next Intifada is about to begin Israel's luck will soon run out

Fighters from the Palestinian Fatah movement. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP/Getty)

Fighters from the Palestinian Fatah movement. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP/Getty)


February 20, 2023   9 mins

The deadly wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence that crested in the last week of January seems to have subsided for now. Yes, the IDF keeps raiding West Bank sites to arrest holed-up militants, occasionally with casualties, and various militants keep attempting to carry out terrorist attacks against Israelis. Sometimes even a rocket or two is fired from Gaza toward southern Israel and the Israeli Air Force “retaliates”, mostly without any casualties on either side.

But the unusually high body count in January hasn’t led to a spiralling escalation. There was no terrorist attack that shocked Israelis out of their routine and forced the government’s hand into a broader operation. There was no deadly revenge attack from settler radicals. There was no botched Israeli military operation with a high body count, which then circulated on social media and spiked local passions and global condemnations. But at some point, probably soon, our luck will run out. After nearly two decades of comparative quiet, the Israelis and Palestinians seem headed towards another pointless round of violence.

Israel’s fundamental dilemma has not changed much since 1967 when it first conquered the West Bank from Jordan in the Six Day War. Withdrawing from the occupied territories leaves the very real risk that they will become a base for future attacks (as has happened with nearly every other territory Israel has withdrawn from), while incorporating the territories into Israel requires an existential compromise on either Israel’s democratic or Jewish character. Avoiding a decision, meanwhile, raises the costs of a future settlement while sinking Israel deeper into the strategic and moral morass of occupying a foreign nation and governing the Israeli civilians who have settled there.

Aspects of the dilemma have shifted slightly, but this big picture has not. The internal Israeli political debate has taken to ignoring the issue, and for now is consumed with a controversial legal reform advanced by Netanyahu’s new Right-wing government to weaken the Supreme Court. It is a highly illiberal reform and Israel will be much better off if it is blocked or heavily diluted. But it’s hard to say that it heralds “the end of Israeli democracy”, especially when that has been the charge against nearly every development in Israeli politics in the last 40 years. And while this diversion draws all the attention, a parallel legislative effort is quietly underway which, if anything, is even more ruinous to Israeli democracy. This is the attempt to legalise the wildcat Israeli settlement Homesh, located outside Jenin in the northern West Bank. It is one of four which Israel took down in the 2005 Disengagement, the same week as it pulled out all of its soldiers and settlers from Gaza.

From 2007 to 2020 the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian territories had three faces. In Gaza, there was no military or Israeli civilian presence of any kind, and the territory was ruled by an isolated and internationally-unrecognised Hamas government. In the northern West Bank around Jenin, there was no Israeli civilian presence but full freedom of action for the IDF to carry out raids and arrests, with varying measures of security cooperation from the Palestinian Authority, and a large and mostly unnoticed business footprint of Israeli Arabs from northern Israel. In the rest of the West Bank there was also a significant Israeli military presence, but unlike in the Jenin sector there was a large and growing Israeli civilian presence as well.

This status quo held for 13 years, and created a kind of unintended laboratory condition for dealing with the Palestinian Territories without a peace agreement (or a full-scale war, for that matter). And the clear winner among the three was the model that had a military presence but no Israeli settlers. Jenin, which had been the suicide bomber capital of Palestine in the Second Intifada, became the quietest sector in the entire conflict. Compared with the chronic violence in and around Hebron, to say nothing of Gaza, it left little room for doubt: the disengagement from the northern West Bank was, in the immediate term at least, a success.

But for the Israeli settler movement, this was a success that had to be denied or obscured, lest it be copied elsewhere in the West Bank. Repeated efforts were made to reestablish settlements, especially around Homesh. But with varying levels of speed and resistance, the IDF generally moved in and removed the illegal outposts whose settlers claimed, not always seriously, that they had established a seminary not a settlement.

Then, in 2020, two things changed. First, coronavirus restrictions ended the flow of Arabs from northern Israel into the northern West Bank — as well as their cash. And second, newly appointed Defence Minister Benny Gantz, not wanting to rock the boat in anticipation of his promised rotation into the PM’s office under the deal he had struck with Netanyahu, temporarily stopped the army from removing the Homesh settlers. There, they became more and more entrenched, and the inevitable friction led to violence with local Palestinians.

When a Homesh settler was killed in an attack in 2021, the perverse logic of the entire settler enterprise ensnared the area in its death grip. The army couldn’t possibly forcibly evacuate the settlers during the mourning period; that would be giving into the terrorists. Settlers from around the West Bank paraded in their thousands to show solidarity, leaving the army no choice but to secure their passage, which necessitated road closures and checkpoints. The pretence of a seminary in Homesh was mostly dropped, and it began to look increasingly like a new settlement.

Tensions mounted and violence increased, between settlers and the local Palestinians, between Palestinians and the army, and between settlers and the army in the few cases where the latter did try to put the brakes on. The Jenin sector, for 15 years the quietest in the territories, was by 2022 the epicentre of a new wave of Palestinian terrorism, which was now spilling onto Israel’s streets — north, south, and in Tel Aviv. The army had no choice but to act, and the pace and aggression of raids and arrests took off. The link between the surge in violence and the sudden reluctance to deal with the squatters at Homesh is barely noted in Israel, and for the settler movement it is crucial that it remain so. For, amid the flurry of populist Right-wing legislation the new government has initiated, perhaps the most dangerous of all is the bill which will retroactively legalise the Homesh settlement.

It is worth pausing to consider all the various ways this unprecedented legislation would irreversibly damage the very foundations of liberal democracy in Israel. First, it would officially create a new Israeli settlement in the West Bank, something from which Israel has largely refrained for around three decades. Second, it would legalise settlement in the one place where Israeli law has explicitly forbidden it since the 2005 Disengagement. Third, it would effectively cancel part of the Disengagement, a major diplomatic initiative undertaken by the State of Israel after it had successfully defeated the Palestinians in the Second Intifada and for which it received real (and potentially reversible) benefits from the United States and the international community. Fourth, it would introduce a civilian Israeli presence into the one sector of the West Bank that has not had one for almost two decades and that, not coincidentally, managed to keep a comparatively low level of violence — with easily predictably grim results.

But fifth, it would formally void one of the central tenets of sovereign statehood, namely the monopoly on armed force and capacity to set foreign and security policy. The proposed law doesn’t change policy for the future; it legitimises the actions of settlers in the past. It essentially tells the armed thugs who violated Israeli law for the past few years, commandeered private property, engaged in violent scuffles with the Israel Police and the IDF, and were linked repeatedly to harassment of Palestinian civilians nearby, that this is and was a legitimate way to pursue political interests. There is no real looking back from this moment, not in a country where so many are armed and where the political divisions are so deep. And not when the Cabinet member who oversees the Israel Police, Itamar Ben-Gvir, is so closely identified with the groups that will have achieved their goals through these methods.

Ben-Gvir, for years a far-Right rabble rouser but now a minister, has never worn a uniform or served a day in his life. He orders the police to quickly demolish the homes of families of terrorists who are killed in their attacks against Israelis, though this tactic has been shown repeatedly to be worse than useless. Bereft of new ideas, he has been reduced to populist stunts, sharing videos of himself eating pitta bread after removing pitta bread from the mess halls of security prisons. Under his watch, a remarkable run of comparative peace and prosperity is coming to an end.

On the Palestinian side, the situation is even worse. The Israelis have an alternative if they ever choose to turn against the coalition currently in power. The Palestinians do not even have a vocabulary for connecting their actions to their outcomes.

Any serious discussion of the Palestinian state should ask whether or not life has improved since the Palestinians rejected statehood at the end of the Oslo process in 2000 and opted instead for violent confrontation with Israel. This isn’t a rhetorical question for Israeli public diplomacy, but one the Palestinians should be asking their leadership.

Yet to pose this question would be to acknowledge a kind of agency that exalted victimhood doesn’t allow for. It is now nearly 23 years since Yasser Arafat rejected Ehud Barak’s Camp David Summit and instead gambled on a violent terror campaign in the hope of better terms. There was no way of knowing then that this gamble would turn out so badly. At the time, it wasn’t viewed as a particularly controversial decision; what’s striking, however, is how that perception hasn’t changed.

I’ve argued elsewhere that the entire Palestinian predicament is the outcome of three very different Arab-Israeli wars which began in 1947, 1967, and 2000. It’s not an intuitive historical argument to make, as these three wars have so little in common. The first began as an Arab-Jewish civil war fought village by village, which then expanded into a multi-state war across four borders lasting a year and a half. The second was a rapid but conventional military conflict fought in less than a week. And the third was a low-intensity armed conflict characterised by frequent terrorist attacks and counterinsurgency operations by an occupying army which took about five years to peter out.

All three were preceded by a wave of righteous ecstasy on the Arab side. All three ended in a disastrous defeat for the Arab side that irreversibly worsened the political and economic situation of the Palestinians. And all three defeats were followed by the collective erasure of any memory of the excitement before the conflict. They instead became stories of distilled victimisation, almost ensuring a repeat performance a generation later.

Why does this keep happening? It’s not that Palestinians are uniquely irrational; nor are the Palestinians the only nation birthed by the collapse of an old imperial order. The Irish, Bulgarians, Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Poles, Ukrainians and many others formed modern states on a mix of historical claims and very modern myth-making throughout the 20th century, frequently in conditions of war and displacement, and always with unanswered territorial claims. Some of these were the basis for lingering resentments and conflicts for generations.

Yet none except for the Palestinians rejected statehood when it was on offer because it didn’t include all their territorial claims. And this includes the Israelis who accepted the UN partition plan on roughly half of what was left of the original British Mandate. Zionists accepted a state that didn’t even include Jerusalem, the focal point of Jewish longing for two millennia and already then, as for a century before, home to a Jewish majority. This is the difference between a movement for national liberation and a movement for the elimination of another nation. In the former, even a very difficult compromise can be understood as an achievement (however partial or internally controversial). In the latter, a compromise that leaves this unwanted presence is still an unacceptable defeat.

The Arab war against Zionism has been a central organising political fact of Arab politics for over a century. This self-destructive passion hit its peak in the mid-20th century, dragged numerous Arab states into repeated military catastrophes and saw nearly every Jewish community in the Arab world completely erased, some after a continuous presence of more than 2,000 years. Anti-Zionism serves the same totemic function for broad circles of activists and intellectuals in the West too. Accepting that Israel is not a state whose policies may merit severe critique, but one whose existence is a crime, is now the price of entry to the community of the good.

This is how the “Arab-Israeli” conflict morphs into the “Israeli-Palestinian” conflict, which then morphs into just “the occupation” and now increasingly “apartheid”. The first transition denied the scope of the conflict and effaced the reality of a tiny Jewish minority being marked for destruction by the Arab world as a whole. The second denied that there was a conflict at all, and rendered the entire situation as an extended outcome of an Israeli sin. The third eliminates even the possibility that such a sin can be expiated; it instead holds Israel’s existence as inherently evil. Between these two external forces, and with all the internal dysfunction of Palestinian politics, it is nearly impossible to expect the Palestinians to do what every other national liberation movement has done: seek political freedom and build a society from there. After three catastrophes in three generations, there is not even a hint of an alternative.

Three destructive and unnecessary wars put the Palestinians in the lamentable place they now inhabit. It’s impossible to know what the fourth will look like, but it’s unlikely it will resemble that or any of the previous three. The current violence has not sparked that war yet, but unless something dramatic changes in the political trajectories of both parties, something eventually will. And when it does, Israelis will pay a heavy and avoidable price — and the Palestinians an even larger one.


Shany Mor is Director of Research at United Nations Watch.

ShMMor

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Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the latest chapter in the thousands of years old Jewish struggle to survive. A small determined nation is refusing to give up.

Last edited 1 year ago by Josef O
Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the latest chapter in the thousands of years old Jewish struggle to survive. A small determined nation is refusing to give up.

Last edited 1 year ago by Josef O
Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, after what used to be the Israeli-Arab conflict, is just another phase in the struggle for survival of the Jewish people. It is just another layer of a long history of the tribulations of a small nation which refuses to give up. In such a state of affairs, antisemitism acts as fertile ground for all kind of accusations which complicate the path to a solution. A solution to a conflict which will die out sometime in the distant future in an unforeseen way at present times.

Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, after what used to be the Israeli-Arab conflict, is just another phase in the struggle for survival of the Jewish people. It is just another layer of a long history of the tribulations of a small nation which refuses to give up. In such a state of affairs, antisemitism acts as fertile ground for all kind of accusations which complicate the path to a solution. A solution to a conflict which will die out sometime in the distant future in an unforeseen way at present times.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

This whole problem stems from 1966 when despite achieving a compressive military victory, the Israelis yielded to ‘international’ pressure in firstly NOT declaring Jerusalem as the national capital and secondly by failing to annex outright the West Bank.

If ever there was a case of “Vae Victis “ this it. No Roman would have made such a mistake, for such ‘generosity’ is ALWAYS perceived as weakness, and thus does hope fester.

Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago

Mr Stanhope, sorry it was June 1967, the six days’ war. The West Bank could not be anexed because it had a population of about 1,5 million arabs.In those days the State of Israel counted 2,2 million (including about 200.000 arabs). Based on these numbers I think no need to further explain why it has not been done.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Josef O

Sorry only a year out!

Jerusalem off course has finally been fixed, and I’m not sure I follow your logic why 2.2 million cannot dominate and dictate to 1.5 million.

After all it’s all about quality NOT quantity. For example in 1914, 44 million Britons dominated/ruled 350 million others without too much fuss.

Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago

Well Charles (may I ?),
the 44 million were in Britain and the 350 million were far away and they were two distinguished entities. The whole extension of the territory from the River Jordan to the sea (ie Israel+West Bank) is of about 25-26000 sqkm, incredibly tiny. Very difficult to impose quality when nationalistic/religious beliefs come into play. Believe me, it’s a conundrum

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Josef O

Are you sure of that 26,000sqkm! In English that’s 10,000 sq miles or the size of Sicily?

Either way isn’t there also a demographic problem with the West Bank?

It does rather remind me of our problem with Ireland, and eventually we left most of it. Could Israel afford to do the same? Or is the security risk just too great?

Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago

Correct. The surface of Israel (without Golan Heights) is about 20700 km2, while the West Bank is about 5600km2 ie together it is 26300 km2 slightly more than Sicily. Still a very small country and with a handicap. Sicily is rather round shape while Israel is very long and narrow ( the distance from the very north to the Red Sea is about 600 km ) ie big strategic headache.

Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago

Correct. The surface of Israel (without Golan Heights) is about 20700 km2, while the West Bank is about 5600km2 ie together it is 26300 km2 slightly more than Sicily. Still a very small country and with a handicap. Sicily is rather round shape while Israel is very long and narrow ( the distance from the very north to the Red Sea is about 600 km ) ie big strategic headache.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Josef O

But the West Bank is only circa 2,200 sq miles with a population of say 2.8million Arabs/Palestinians. If they cannot be coerced cannot they be bribed? I am sure the Romans would have had a solution.

Incidentally I have heard it rumoured that DNA evidence may suggest that the Palestinians are really Jews who decided to convert to Islam when the Prophet chum’s turned up in the seventh century. Have you heard anything about this?

Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago

You have to put yourself in a Middle Eastern state of mind. Ethnic bondage is extremely strong. Israel is doing a lot by trying to improve the economic life of the countries surrounding it (eg supplying gas and water to Jordan, and still relations are tense). Especially medical assistance is given foc to many individuals coming from neighbouring territories. Results are mixed. I am not aware that the arab population of the West Bank are ex Jews converted to Islam in the 7th century, though there may be some. One thing is sure, the Al-Aksa Mosque was built on the Temple Mount on the indication of a Jew converted to Islam in the 7th century.
Much of the arab population of ‘Palestine’ arrived at the beginning of the 20th century once the economy started to pick up, first because of the Jewish settlements then with the start of the British Mandate after 1917. In fact it is very interesting to remark that Mark Twain ( in his book ‘The Innocents Abroad’ visited the Holy Land in 1868 and he writes about it) notices that the country is practically deserted. In those days the population of Jerusalem was of 14000 souls (!) (relative majority Jews).

Last edited 1 year ago by Josef O
Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago

You have to put yourself in a Middle Eastern state of mind. Ethnic bondage is extremely strong. Israel is doing a lot by trying to improve the economic life of the countries surrounding it (eg supplying gas and water to Jordan, and still relations are tense). Especially medical assistance is given foc to many individuals coming from neighbouring territories. Results are mixed. I am not aware that the arab population of the West Bank are ex Jews converted to Islam in the 7th century, though there may be some. One thing is sure, the Al-Aksa Mosque was built on the Temple Mount on the indication of a Jew converted to Islam in the 7th century.
Much of the arab population of ‘Palestine’ arrived at the beginning of the 20th century once the economy started to pick up, first because of the Jewish settlements then with the start of the British Mandate after 1917. In fact it is very interesting to remark that Mark Twain ( in his book ‘The Innocents Abroad’ visited the Holy Land in 1868 and he writes about it) notices that the country is practically deserted. In those days the population of Jerusalem was of 14000 souls (!) (relative majority Jews).

Last edited 1 year ago by Josef O
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Josef O

Are you sure of that 26,000sqkm! In English that’s 10,000 sq miles or the size of Sicily?

Either way isn’t there also a demographic problem with the West Bank?

It does rather remind me of our problem with Ireland, and eventually we left most of it. Could Israel afford to do the same? Or is the security risk just too great?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Josef O

But the West Bank is only circa 2,200 sq miles with a population of say 2.8million Arabs/Palestinians. If they cannot be coerced cannot they be bribed? I am sure the Romans would have had a solution.

Incidentally I have heard it rumoured that DNA evidence may suggest that the Palestinians are really Jews who decided to convert to Islam when the Prophet chum’s turned up in the seventh century. Have you heard anything about this?

Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago

Well Charles (may I ?),
the 44 million were in Britain and the 350 million were far away and they were two distinguished entities. The whole extension of the territory from the River Jordan to the sea (ie Israel+West Bank) is of about 25-26000 sqkm, incredibly tiny. Very difficult to impose quality when nationalistic/religious beliefs come into play. Believe me, it’s a conundrum

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Josef O

Sorry only a year out!

Jerusalem off course has finally been fixed, and I’m not sure I follow your logic why 2.2 million cannot dominate and dictate to 1.5 million.

After all it’s all about quality NOT quantity. For example in 1914, 44 million Britons dominated/ruled 350 million others without too much fuss.

Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago

Mr Stanhope, sorry it was June 1967, the six days’ war. The West Bank could not be anexed because it had a population of about 1,5 million arabs.In those days the State of Israel counted 2,2 million (including about 200.000 arabs). Based on these numbers I think no need to further explain why it has not been done.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

This whole problem stems from 1966 when despite achieving a compressive military victory, the Israelis yielded to ‘international’ pressure in firstly NOT declaring Jerusalem as the national capital and secondly by failing to annex outright the West Bank.

If ever there was a case of “Vae Victis “ this it. No Roman would have made such a mistake, for such ‘generosity’ is ALWAYS perceived as weakness, and thus does hope fester.

Abe Stamm
Abe Stamm
1 year ago

“Three destructive and unnecessary wars put the Palestinians in the lamentable place they now inhabit. It’s impossible to know what the fourth will look like, but it’s unlikely it will resemble that or any of the previous three”.

That’s correct, a war pitting the modern day Israeli Defense Forces against an Hamas/Hezbollah/Palestinian Authority trained army wouldn’t resemble the previous three wars. The Syrian army; the Egyptian army; the Jordanian army; the Iraqi army; and the Lebanese army wouldn’t participate (and couldn’t under their present weakened circumstances). The Palestinians might be armed by countries like Iran…but, that would be an exchange of weapons, without the participation of trained military boots on the ground. Unlike previous wars perpetrated against Israel, the United States would provide them with unlimited funding, state-of-the-art weaponry, including support troops in the form of mercenary forces, just like they’re doing in Ukraine.
Israel is currently ranked the 4th most powerful military in the Middle East, behind Turkey, Egypt, and Iran. The key fact, the reason that Israel will never be invaded again with overwhelming force, is that they’re the only nation in the Middle East that has a nuclear weapons arsenal. God help the world if Israel finds itself backed up against an existential wall, without hope, fearing a 21st Century Holocaust.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Abe Stamm

Eventually Islam (Arabs)*will get the bomb, and even if they don’t possess a sophisticated delivery system, a mule or Toyota pick-up will do.

Failing that a ground zero explosion from say Mount Nebo in the Mountains of Moab (Jordan) would be very effective assuming the wind is blowing in the right direction, it’s only 30 miles away after all.
Then what? Armageddon?

(*Pakistan already has it.)

Abe Stamm
Abe Stamm
1 year ago

Yes. The computer modeled War Games were played decades ago during the Cold War.
Nuclear weapons deployed by one nuclear power against another = mutually assured destruction
That’s Armageddon. But, even Evil Empires…you name your favorite…don’t want to trigger a nuclear war. That’s just basic human survival instincts at play.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Abe Stamm

“mutually assured destruction” (MAD) is slightly outdated now, and even at the time was a rather dubious idea, yet I must admit it did sound good, and off course was the favourite mantra of the Left.

Today I would have thought the US Navy could win a nuclear war outright with little or NO collateral damage to the US itself.
However US Allies would be very vulnerable indeed and probably cease to exist.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Abe Stamm

“mutually assured destruction” (MAD) is slightly outdated now, and even at the time was a rather dubious idea, yet I must admit it did sound good, and off course was the favourite mantra of the Left.

Today I would have thought the US Navy could win a nuclear war outright with little or NO collateral damage to the US itself.
However US Allies would be very vulnerable indeed and probably cease to exist.

Abe Stamm
Abe Stamm
1 year ago

Yes. The computer modeled War Games were played decades ago during the Cold War.
Nuclear weapons deployed by one nuclear power against another = mutually assured destruction
That’s Armageddon. But, even Evil Empires…you name your favorite…don’t want to trigger a nuclear war. That’s just basic human survival instincts at play.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Abe Stamm

Eventually Islam (Arabs)*will get the bomb, and even if they don’t possess a sophisticated delivery system, a mule or Toyota pick-up will do.

Failing that a ground zero explosion from say Mount Nebo in the Mountains of Moab (Jordan) would be very effective assuming the wind is blowing in the right direction, it’s only 30 miles away after all.
Then what? Armageddon?

(*Pakistan already has it.)

Abe Stamm
Abe Stamm
1 year ago

“Three destructive and unnecessary wars put the Palestinians in the lamentable place they now inhabit. It’s impossible to know what the fourth will look like, but it’s unlikely it will resemble that or any of the previous three”.

That’s correct, a war pitting the modern day Israeli Defense Forces against an Hamas/Hezbollah/Palestinian Authority trained army wouldn’t resemble the previous three wars. The Syrian army; the Egyptian army; the Jordanian army; the Iraqi army; and the Lebanese army wouldn’t participate (and couldn’t under their present weakened circumstances). The Palestinians might be armed by countries like Iran…but, that would be an exchange of weapons, without the participation of trained military boots on the ground. Unlike previous wars perpetrated against Israel, the United States would provide them with unlimited funding, state-of-the-art weaponry, including support troops in the form of mercenary forces, just like they’re doing in Ukraine.
Israel is currently ranked the 4th most powerful military in the Middle East, behind Turkey, Egypt, and Iran. The key fact, the reason that Israel will never be invaded again with overwhelming force, is that they’re the only nation in the Middle East that has a nuclear weapons arsenal. God help the world if Israel finds itself backed up against an existential wall, without hope, fearing a 21st Century Holocaust.

George Wells
George Wells
1 year ago

It seems to me the position of Israel is one of astonishing restraint. Why don’t they rebuild the Temple on Temple Mount? I’ve never heard the idea discussed. It doesn’t look like winning to me when there’s a mosque where the Temple once stood.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  George Wells

It is 1953 years since Titus & Co destroyed the last Temple so I agree with you it is time for new one.

It should be possible to incorporate both the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in any new structure.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  George Wells

It is 1953 years since Titus & Co destroyed the last Temple so I agree with you it is time for new one.

It should be possible to incorporate both the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in any new structure.

George Wells
George Wells
1 year ago

It seems to me the position of Israel is one of astonishing restraint. Why don’t they rebuild the Temple on Temple Mount? I’ve never heard the idea discussed. It doesn’t look like winning to me when there’s a mosque where the Temple once stood.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
1 year ago

Very perceptive (and fair, IMO) article. I have no comment on the settlers (the author may, or may not, be right about them), but I did have a larger comment.
Either the Israeli and the Palestinians will learn to live with one another, or they won’t. (Somewhere the ghost of wise old King Abdullah I is nodding.) The rest of us can fundamentally just wait and watch.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
1 year ago

Very perceptive (and fair, IMO) article. I have no comment on the settlers (the author may, or may not, be right about them), but I did have a larger comment.
Either the Israeli and the Palestinians will learn to live with one another, or they won’t. (Somewhere the ghost of wise old King Abdullah I is nodding.) The rest of us can fundamentally just wait and watch.

Paul Hemphill
Paul Hemphill
1 year ago

ï»ż
a good, well argued and balanced article though the many of comments thereon are naive in the extreme, riven with false assumptions and associations, incomplete knowledge and ideological prejudices. 

Paul Hemphill
Paul Hemphill
1 year ago

ï»ż
a good, well argued and balanced article though the many of comments thereon are naive in the extreme, riven with false assumptions and associations, incomplete knowledge and ideological prejudices. 

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago

It would seem that the Palestinians don’t like their land being stolen out from under them. Who would have guessed?

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

Reality isn’t fair. One just has to deal.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

Unfortunately for the Palestinians they are ‘Dediticii’ or conquered people.They lost and must either accept this or fight on.

Stuart Rose
Stuart Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

They lost the West Bank, which Jordan never allowed them to establish a state in, in a war of aggression against Israel. The West Bank was disputed territory when the ‘48 war ended. International law does not require a state that conquers disputed territory in a defensive war to return it, certainly not the entirety of it and certainly not in return for more terrorism. Then UN after the Six Day War called for territories, not the entire West Bank, to be returned to Jordan in exchange for a full peace and recognition.
One can argue that Israel, for reasons of peace and its own political integrity, needs to surrender most of the West Bank to the Palestinians but not to a political entity(the PA) or a society that is bent on destroying Israel.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

Reality isn’t fair. One just has to deal.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

Unfortunately for the Palestinians they are ‘Dediticii’ or conquered people.They lost and must either accept this or fight on.

Stuart Rose
Stuart Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

They lost the West Bank, which Jordan never allowed them to establish a state in, in a war of aggression against Israel. The West Bank was disputed territory when the ‘48 war ended. International law does not require a state that conquers disputed territory in a defensive war to return it, certainly not the entirety of it and certainly not in return for more terrorism. Then UN after the Six Day War called for territories, not the entire West Bank, to be returned to Jordan in exchange for a full peace and recognition.
One can argue that Israel, for reasons of peace and its own political integrity, needs to surrender most of the West Bank to the Palestinians but not to a political entity(the PA) or a society that is bent on destroying Israel.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago

It would seem that the Palestinians don’t like their land being stolen out from under them. Who would have guessed?

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

“Yet none except for the Palestinians rejected statehood when it was on offer because it didn’t include all their territorial claims.”
In fairness, this is wrong. The Palestinians likely look to the Jewish people as an example, given that they rejected proposals for land multiple times prior to the 1917 Balfour Declaration. If the Jewish people had done what the author now suggests Palestinians do in accepting an offer now instead of holding out for more, the state of Israel would be in the Kenyan highlands, which the British government offered them in the 1900s.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

It’s a great pity the US Government didn’t offer/suggest Montana in the 1890’s.It would have saved a great deal of trouble for all concerned.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

I stopped reading after the first paragraph – everything the Palestinians are doing goes under the heading of ‘terrorist attack’. You can’t write a balanced essay about two sides fighting if you refer to one as a ‘terrorist’.

Benjamin Dyke
Benjamin Dyke
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Since when did launching missiles aimed at civilian populations and killing civilians going about their daily lives not equate to terrorist attacks?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Benjamin Dyke

When they are the IRA.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Benjamin Dyke

When they are the IRA.

Andy Martin
Andy Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Would you prefer freedom fighters?
You can’t write a balanced essay about this conflict if you don’t recognize the Islam- mandated Jew hatred that ensures there will never be peace.
“I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land.”
Mahmoud Abbas, July 28, 2010, speaking to the Egyptian Media
And there lies the problem the belief that the entire region once Muslim land is a sacred waqf to be Judenrein – cleared of all Jews.
In short “From river to the sea Palestine will be free.”
Go to the Memri web page that has countless examples of videos with any number of spittle flecked bearded Arabs expressing similar and far more graphic sentiments of what they would like to do the Jews in the region.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

75 years ago it was the ‘Stern Gang’ and ‘Irgun’.
Plus ça change





..!

Benjamin Dyke
Benjamin Dyke
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Since when did launching missiles aimed at civilian populations and killing civilians going about their daily lives not equate to terrorist attacks?

Andy Martin
Andy Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Would you prefer freedom fighters?
You can’t write a balanced essay about this conflict if you don’t recognize the Islam- mandated Jew hatred that ensures there will never be peace.
“I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land.”
Mahmoud Abbas, July 28, 2010, speaking to the Egyptian Media
And there lies the problem the belief that the entire region once Muslim land is a sacred waqf to be Judenrein – cleared of all Jews.
In short “From river to the sea Palestine will be free.”
Go to the Memri web page that has countless examples of videos with any number of spittle flecked bearded Arabs expressing similar and far more graphic sentiments of what they would like to do the Jews in the region.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

75 years ago it was the ‘Stern Gang’ and ‘Irgun’.
Plus ça change





..!

Abe Stamm
Abe Stamm
1 year ago

The U.S. government didn’t have to abandon Jews fleeing from the murderous pogroms of Eastern Europe in the outback of Montana during the later part of the 19th Century…the New York City borough of Brooklyn was more than happy to accommodate my relatives. Today, 25% of Brooklyn’s population is Jewish (561,000), while the greater New York-metro area is home to 1,600,000…on a planet that has only 15 million total Jews.

Mike Cook
Mike Cook
1 year ago
Reply to  Abe Stamm

You left out the word “left” at the very end of your comment.

Mike Cook
Mike Cook
1 year ago
Reply to  Abe Stamm

You left out the word “left” at the very end of your comment.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

I stopped reading after the first paragraph – everything the Palestinians are doing goes under the heading of ‘terrorist attack’. You can’t write a balanced essay about two sides fighting if you refer to one as a ‘terrorist’.

Abe Stamm
Abe Stamm
1 year ago

The U.S. government didn’t have to abandon Jews fleeing from the murderous pogroms of Eastern Europe in the outback of Montana during the later part of the 19th Century…the New York City borough of Brooklyn was more than happy to accommodate my relatives. Today, 25% of Brooklyn’s population is Jewish (561,000), while the greater New York-metro area is home to 1,600,000…on a planet that has only 15 million total Jews.

Mashie Niblick
Mashie Niblick
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Actually, it was Uganda.

Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago
Reply to  Mashie Niblick

Uganda or Montana for a Jewish homeland were ideas that were never going to fly. Can you imagine the Jews saying “next year in Kampala ?”.

Last edited 1 year ago by Josef O
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Josef O

Didn’t they make a trip to Entebbe once?

Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago

Good point, but it was only a touch and go.

Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago

Good point, but it was only a touch and go.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Josef O

I can’t imagine Joshua dividing Uganda or Montana!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Josef O

Didn’t they make a trip to Entebbe once?

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Josef O

I can’t imagine Joshua dividing Uganda or Montana!

Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago
Reply to  Mashie Niblick

Uganda or Montana for a Jewish homeland were ideas that were never going to fly. Can you imagine the Jews saying “next year in Kampala ?”.

Last edited 1 year ago by Josef O
Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Maybe we should offer the Palestinians Kenya (I thought it was Uganda, but it’s not important – and let’s ignore the Kenyans for the moment, they’re not a real problem because this will never really happen), and see if they will accept? What do you think? Somehow I doubt it.
The Jewish people did pass on offers elsewhere – but within Palestine, every time they were offered a partition deal (Peel Commission, etc), they accepted. (And they kept their eventual deal with Abdullah I until his son was foolish enough to send in his army.) The Palestinians never would. Perhaps understandably; but there has been a price.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

It’s a great pity the US Government didn’t offer/suggest Montana in the 1890’s.It would have saved a great deal of trouble for all concerned.

Mashie Niblick
Mashie Niblick
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Actually, it was Uganda.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Maybe we should offer the Palestinians Kenya (I thought it was Uganda, but it’s not important – and let’s ignore the Kenyans for the moment, they’re not a real problem because this will never really happen), and see if they will accept? What do you think? Somehow I doubt it.
The Jewish people did pass on offers elsewhere – but within Palestine, every time they were offered a partition deal (Peel Commission, etc), they accepted. (And they kept their eventual deal with Abdullah I until his son was foolish enough to send in his army.) The Palestinians never would. Perhaps understandably; but there has been a price.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

“Yet none except for the Palestinians rejected statehood when it was on offer because it didn’t include all their territorial claims.”
In fairness, this is wrong. The Palestinians likely look to the Jewish people as an example, given that they rejected proposals for land multiple times prior to the 1917 Balfour Declaration. If the Jewish people had done what the author now suggests Palestinians do in accepting an offer now instead of holding out for more, the state of Israel would be in the Kenyan highlands, which the British government offered them in the 1900s.