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Thread: Israeli-Arab Wars and Palestinian Population Displacement

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    Default Israeli-Arab Wars and Palestinian Population Displacement

    I couldn't help but notice that the only Israeli-Palestinian mention was from the 1940s. Seems to be me that the Palestinians have very effectively managed to leverage every non-lethal asset available to deter Israel from simply wiping the Palestinians from the planet, which Israeli could have (and probably should have) done long ago, while gaining significant concessions from the Israelis. While I think the whole "4GW" concept is a bit over-hyped, Hammes gives a decent summary in his book of how the Palestinians have manipulated the information domain to gain the sympathy of much of the world in spite of their frequent use of suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. I don't think the Palestinians will ever gain control of Israel, but simply being in the position that they are in and forcing the restraint of the Israelis is remarkable, in my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    ...to deter Israel from simply wiping the Palestinians from the planet, which Israeli could have (and probably should have) done long ago...
    "should have" ? Whooa... I'm still a relative SWJ newcomer, but I think it is pretty clear that we don't generally endorse genocide here. Indeed, where I'm posting from, that veers pretty close to being a violation of section 318 of the Criminal Code .

    There's much of interest that one can discuss in the (tragic) Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and its undoubtedly an issue that excites much passion. Calling for the extermination of one side or another, however, is just not acceptable.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default War isn't acceptable, yet we discuss it.

    Rhetorically, isn't putting a limit on discussion on a topic, no matter how contentious, not evading or eliding the issue?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Rhetorically, isn't putting a limit on discussion on a topic, no matter how contentious, not evading or eliding the issue?
    Ken, I think there's a big difference between discussing war as an unavoidable instrument of policy--with an implicit but near universal assumption among SWJ posters that they would prefer less violent ways of attaining objectives, and a parallel assumption that most Western policy objectives are generally good ones--and casually suggesting it might be a good idea to slaughter 10 million men, women and children. (Having spent the day with survivors of the Holocaust, Rwanda, and Darfur, I'm particularly mindful of the issue at the moment.)

    Simple test: would lightly endorsing "wiping Jews from the face of the planet" be considered acceptable SWJ discussion material too? I certainly hope not.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    I couldn't help but notice that the only Israeli-Palestinian mention was from the 1940s. Seems to be me that the Palestinians have very effectively managed to leverage every non-lethal asset available to deter Israel from simply wiping the Palestinians from the planet, which Israeli could have (and probably should have) done long ago, while gaining significant concessions from the Israelis. While I think the whole "4GW" concept is a bit over-hyped, Hammes gives a decent summary in his book of how the Palestinians have manipulated the information domain to gain the sympathy of much of the world in spite of their frequent use of suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. I don't think the Palestinians will ever gain control of Israel, but simply being in the position that they are in and forcing the restraint of the Israelis is remarkable, in my opinion.
    It is clear from your opinion that it is based on a drive by assessment without any depth. In doing so you at once advocate genocide and then use the word restraint. The Arab-Israeli dispute is complex and simple labels are ill-served.

    Ken, Rex is on the mark. A simple blanket statement about wiping a people off the map is too much like Rwanda.

    Best

    Tom

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Rex and Tom, I appreciate the polite and measured

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    Ken, I think there's a big difference between discussing war as an unavoidable instrument of policy--with an implicit but near universal assumption among SWJ posters that they would prefer less violent ways of attaining objectives, and a parallel assumption that most Western policy objectives are generally good ones--and casually suggesting it might be a good idea to slaughter 10 million men, women and children. (Having spent the day with survivors of the Holocaust, Rwanda, and Darfur, I'm particularly mindful of the issue at the moment.)

    Simple test: would lightly endorsing "wiping Jews from the face of the planet" be considered acceptable SWJ discussion material too? I certainly hope not.
    remarks and do not dispute what either of you say. You are certainly entitled to your opinions. While I do not share Schmedlaps opinion, I suggest he is entitled to it as well as to state it (here only with the Board owners tolerance). If it is to be refuted, I merely suggest that the opinion should be challenged and not just labeled as offensive and dismissed as "not acceptable."

    That, unfortunately, is to my Scotch Irish genes condescending at best. It is also, I think, somewhat inclined toward hewing to a politically correct approach; an approach that I believe has very adverse impacts on frank and potentially unpleasant discussion of some critical topics that merit open and frank discussion. It is also an approach I'm regrettably too old to follow.

    I can understand the offense caused, particularly to one who has been discussing the topic all day or to one who has been too close to the topic to be comfortable with it and I sincerely regret exacerbating any feelings on the topic. However I submit that most of us are here to learn and to discuss civilly topics that are not in and of them selves civil. For example, any discussion of the incidents either of you mention includes by definition a discussion of genocide.

    Genocide may not be acceptable but it unfortunately occurs. It is not a nice topic to be sure but it is discussed and IMO should be. A possible or seeming advocacy or acceptance of the practice would seem to me to merit some discussion and a chance to clarify rather than adopting a dismissive or rejective tone on what seems to be merely an a priori statement.

    Most of us are guilty of those on occasion...

    No intent on my part -- or need to my mind -- to start a subthread; just explaining why I replied as I did and indicating I likely would again do so.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Genocide may not be acceptable but it unfortunately occurs. It is not a nice topic to be sure but it is discussed and IMO should be. A possible or seeming advocacy or acceptance of the practice would seem to me to merit some discussion and a chance to clarify rather than adopting a dismissive or rejective tone on what seems to be merely an a priori statement.
    Ken

    I can accept that. Genocide for me is an intensely personal subject, I encourage discussion of it and understanding what it really means.

    Best

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Ken
    I can accept that. Genocide for me is an intensely personal subject, I encourage discussion of it and understanding what it really means.
    I do have no problems with discussing genocide--indeed, I teach on the topic every year. As is likely already evident, I have considerable problems with advocating it.

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    In a very limited, raw policy sense, it would have made sense for Israel to try to force a population transfer out of the West Bank, and particularly the highlands ringing Jerusalem, in the aftermath of '67. That having been said, it would have been disastrous, in that same narrow policy sense, for Israel to have attempted any sort of mass killing of the Palestinians in the same time period, because of Israel's dependence on Western (first French, then American) arms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by charter6 View Post
    In a very limited, raw policy sense, it would have made sense for Israel to try to force a population transfer out of the West Bank, and particularly the highlands ringing Jerusalem, in the aftermath of '67. That having been said, it would have been disastrous, in that same narrow policy sense, for Israel to have attempted any sort of mass killing of the Palestinians in the same time period, because of Israel's dependence on Western (first French, then American) arms.
    Given that the refugee population that the Israelis purposely ejected in 1948 proceeded to destabilize two surrounding states, radicalized much of the Arab world against Israel and the West, and led directly to the modern international terrorist movement, I wonder exactly what the effect would have been if the Israelis had "finished the job" in 1967 by forcing millions more from their homes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Given that the refugee population that the Israelis purposely ejected in 1948 proceeded to destabilize two surrounding states, radicalized much of the Arab world against Israel and the West, and led directly to the modern international terrorist movement, I wonder exactly what the effect would have been if the Israelis had "finished the job" in 1967 by forcing millions more from their homes.
    Probably to have tipped the balance to a PLO victory in Jordan in 1970-71, and inflamed passions to the point that neither the shift of Egyptian policy under Sadat, or the relative realism of Syria under Assad (1970- ) would have taken place....

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    Default People think the consequences of 1948 were bad,

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    Probably to have tipped the balance to a PLO victory in Jordan in 1970-71, and inflamed passions to the point that neither the shift of Egyptian policy under Sadat, or the relative realism of Syria under Assad (1970- ) would have taken place....
    it boggles the imagination to think what the consequences now would be, if Israel had "finished the job" in 1967. What Rex points out would have been the immediate and short-term consequences of such actions would just have been the beginning of something far worse than exists even today. Beyond a heavy and sustained "War of Attrition" between Egypt and Israel that would not have come to an end around 1970 as it did, what possibly could have resulted might have been a sort of twisted rerun of the Crusader Wars. And those sorts of wars don't end until only one side is left standing, and the losers lose everything.

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    Just as a clarification, I'm not saying I would have supported an Israeli expulsion of more Palestinians in '67, just that I could see a rational policy basis for them to have done so, while a similar rational justification does not exist for outright genocide. That having been said, I'll continue playing devil's advocate.

    Hope I'm not making a nuisance of myself.

    --------

    All true Tequila, but at the same time it would have removed the demographic time bomb that Israel faces from the table, and would have left Israel with a Jewish majority in a state with relatively defensible borders. Question of whether the positives would have outweighed the negatives. Birthrate will be the weapon of the 21st century, after all.

    Rex, I doubt if the numbers we're talking about would have tipped the balance in Jordan. Hussein was willing to use any amount of force, and his Jordanian arab tankers of the 40th and other divisions proved themselves politically reliable enough to do the job, regardless of the unpleasantness of the fight. Amman was a tough nut to crack, but it cracked in the end just the same. An army with the political will to use overwhelming force will win a kinetic fight in urban operations.

    I also don't think the shift in Egypt would have been significant if there'd been a more widespread displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank -- the Egyptians were recovering from quite a drubbing, and their own losses would surely have been more prominently in their minds than Palestinian displacement. Syria is a trickier one, I don't know enough about the post-war atmosphere there to say anything intelligent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by charter6 View Post
    Just as a clarification, I'm not saying I would have supported an Israeli expulsion of more Palestinians in '67, just that I could see a rational policy basis for them to have done so, while a similar rational justification does not exist for outright genocide. That having been said, I'll continue playing devil's advocate.

    Hope I'm not making a nuisance of myself.
    You're not making a nuisance of yourself and I certainly didn't take it that you would have favoured any such action.

    However, given that Jordan as of at least several years ago had a population that was 70% Palestinian, if the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank had been forced into Jordan proper from 1967 in order to avoid a Arab demographic time-bomb within Israel itself, I suspect that the successes of the Jordanian Government in the early 1970's vis-a-vis rebellious Palestiaians may have proved very temporary.
    Last edited by Norfolk; 10-14-2007 at 02:58 AM. Reason: Additions and Errors.

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    Rex, I doubt if the numbers we're talking about would have tipped the balance in Jordan. Hussein was willing to use any amount of force, and his Jordanian arab tankers of the 40th and other divisions proved themselves politically reliable enough to do the job, regardless of the unpleasantness of the fight. Amman was a tough nut to crack, but it cracked in the end just the same. An army with the political will to use overwhelming force will win a kinetic fight in urban operations.
    Actually, it was a close run thing. Despite post-conflict Jordanian military myth-making, the Jordanian 40th Armoured Brigade did quite poorly: when the Syrians/PLA blundered into the Jordanian formations, the latter showed little tactical skill and the Syrian armour eventually inflicted heavier casualties and pushed the Jordanians off the ridges at al-Ramtha.

    By the end of the battle on 21 September 1970, Husayn feared that he had lost the war. The Syrians looked like they would break through to Amman, where the Jordanian 4th Mechanized had made only limited headway against the PLO (indeed, much of the capital was still in PLO hands at this time).

    The next day was critical: the Jordanians launched massive air attacks against the Syrian/PLA troops. Syrian DM Hafiz al-Assad feared escalation, and refused to commit the much larger Syrian AF, despite orders to do so. It was over the next two days that Syrian intervention was defeated, and the Syrian/PLA troops withdrew. Without Syrian/PLA support, the PLO would eventually lose too, although it wasn't until April 1971 that they lost control of the last Jordanian towns, and they weren't fully defeated until July.

    Would al-Assad been able to do this if the Israelis had done a Kosovo or 1948-style ethnic cleansing of the West Bank? I'm doubtful, given political dynamics in the Syrian Ba'th Party at the time.

    Moreover, ethnic cleansing would have added over half a million additional bitter refugees to the PLO's potential recruit base, and probably further radicalized Palestinians in the Army (several thousand of which defected in any case).

    Had the SAF been committed against the RJAF, Israeli and/or US intervention would likely have followed. The IAF could have taken on the Syrians, but at the cost of further delegitimizing King Husayn. I'm doubtful the regime would have survived.

    We'll never know though, will we?

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    Norfolk, I agree with your last comment completely. I think we'd be looking at a very different Jordan today. Where we probably disagree is that I think there is a strong case to be made that the benefits of an annexed and secure West Bank would outweigh the cost of a hostile Jordan.

    Rex, I'm aware of the difficulties Jordanian armor had, particularly in Amman. It's one of those textbook cases on using heavy armor in built-up areas. I'm unconvinced that additional refugees would have changed the basic calculus of the situation though. Frankly, in the aftermath of 1967 I think the Arabs would have expected Israel to expel the Palestinians from the West Bank -- the Jordanians did after all expel Jews from East Jerusalem, and Jews were not really welcome in much of the arab world after 1948.

    I think the really interesting thing about the Jordanian-Palestinian fight is the effect IAF overflights of PLA columns must have had on Syria's decision-makers, especially with the IAF's performance in 1967 such a recent memory. With regard to what you said, I don't think the IAF had to take on the Syrians, the mere threat of them doing so was enough to convince the Syrians that it wasn't worth committing their rebuilt air force to a fight they must have been sure they couldn't win.

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    Default Whoops

    Well, let that be a lesson to me. I wanted to type a quick question asking why the Israeli-Palestinian issue was not included and whether we should consider that a small war or something else.

    Regarding the phrase in question, for clarification, it would have been better to state that Israel could have (and, with their nat'l security interests in mind, probably should have) stomped the Palestinian resistance/terrorists/insurgents into submission long ago. Kind of like how I was gloating last week that the Patriots slaughtered every team that they've faced this season, but those teams are all very much alive. In hindsight, neither the wording above nor in the hyperbole in my original post were necessary for the question.

    The decades-long ###-for-tat conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, though it experiences lengthy ceasefires in lethal/kinetic terms, seems like a pretty good example of a poorly funded and underequipped force effectively drawing a powerful opponent into a seemingly endless small war. The bulk of the warfare takes place in the information domain and the lethal actions taken by the Palestinians all appear to be timed and located purely for effects in the information and cognitive domains, with no regard to any expectation of militarily defeating the Israelis or of whittling away at their population.

    Small war or not a small war?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    Well, let that be a lesson to me. I wanted to type a quick question asking why the Israeli-Palestinian issue was not included and whether we should consider that a small war or something else.
    Thanks for the clarification!

    While there are those on both sides who seek "total victory" --that is destruction of Israel (Hamas, PIJ), or the annexation of all of the West Bank (NRP)--the mainstream battle is largely about ending Israel's colonial-type presence in the West Bank (and, previously Gaza). As the polls show, a large majority of both Palestinians and Israelis seek territorial compromise.

    In this sense, it looks much like other anti-colonial struggles (which I think we would all consider "small wars" too). These were rarely won militarily, on the battlefield, but rather in the larger diplomatic and political arena. Insurgent action didn't need to defeat the enemy, only sway opinion in the metropole (Algeria) and raise the costs of occupation well above the benefits (South Yemen, Mozambique, Angola, etc).

    The difference here is Palestinian violence--when aimed at targets inside the green line (Israel proper)--increases Israeli security concerns and makes it less likely to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967. (Interestingly, when the second intifada was initially aimed largely at the IDF and Israeli settlers, it weakened Israeli support for occupation.. it was when the targets shifted to civilian targets in Tel Aviv, etc. that the real backlash set it.)

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    Default -Some Kindling For The Fire

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/914670.html

    Last update - 15:55 19/10/2007

    "Israel refuses to open talks with Lebanon over Shaba Farms

    By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

    Israel has refused a recommendation by a United Nations ambassador to begin negotiations with Lebanon over the disputed Shaba Farms area. According to the envoy, Geir Pedersen, the United Nations is becoming increasingly convinced that Shaba Farms belongs to Lebanon......."

    I guess the UN will have to come up with official condemnation #12,834 for Israel ( I may have exagerated that number by a hundred or so)

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    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Default My Two Cents

    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    and led directly to the modern international terrorist movement,.
    I think that is a bit of an overstatement and a simplification. Much of the modern international terrorits movement as you called developed somewhat independently of each other and had roots going back a long way.

    I would like to share with you a comment from a Palestinian (well educated in the west and living in Canada.) He pointed out that frankly (this sort of supports Schmedlap awe at the Palestinians manipulation of the situation) nobody wants or likes the Palestinians and they are much better of with the Israelis are occupying them and not Egypt. Egypt would not have put up with them. This is part of what stopped the peace talks in the 90's. Gaza does not want to be part of or deal with Egypt.

    With regards to Schmedlap question of whether or not this is a Small War, I would have to say yes and no. This conflict is hard to classify as anything because everybody has a hand in it and no body cares about the Palestinians in reality. Frankly, most Middle Eastern countries want there to be more conflict, it puts stock in their hatred of the Israelies.

    Here's my idea for a two state settlement.

    1. Give up settlements.
    2. Build big walls. (with moat in between filled with pigs bood. LOL. Pershing would approve.)
    3. Let them be.
    4. Wait for another suicide attack.
    5. Go shoot every Hamas leader you can find.
    6. Leave
    7. Repeat steps 3-6

    Negotiations for peace are going to go no where on both sides. Israelies are too paranoid and have to deal with the settlers, and the Palestinians, those in charge, don't want it to get better because they will no longer have a job and the they will start fighting amongst themselves.

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