How to Solve the Arab-Israeli Conflict
While recent reports about an "economic boom" in the West Bank may be
exaggerated, there's no ignoring the fact that there has been improvement in the
living conditions of the Palestinians living there.
The improved conditions are mainly the result of a US-led effort to boost "moderate"
Palestinians and thwart any attempt by Hamas to extend its control to the West
Many government officials in Israel, the US and Europe believe that shopping malls
and festivals, as well as fashionable restaurants, five-star hotels and Turkish Baths
would have a moderating effect on the West Bank's Palestinians.
However, it is wrong to assume that Palestinians would wake up one morning and
sing the Israeli national anthem Hatikva simply because they have access to movies
theaters and shopping malls.
Building a strong economy is not going to solve the Israeli-Arab conflict. For a
majority of Palestinians, the conflict is not about economic projects or financial
The billions of dollars won't change Palestinians' negative attitude toward Israel,
especially not when anti-Israel incitement and fiery rhetoric continue.
Even the poorest Palestinian would tell you that he or she would never give up his
home or land in return for all the money in the world.
Palestinians who chose to receive money in return for their homes and lands have
been condemned as "traitors" or killed.
If the donors want to continue helping the Palestinians financially, they must insist
on an end to incitement and inflammatory statements.
This is a political, national and religious conflict. It's actually about accepting Israel
as a homeland for the Jewish people in this part of the world.
This does not mean that the Palestinian media should start singing praise to Israel.
All they should be asked to do is to "lower the tone" and start relating to Israel as a
potential peace partner and not as an occupation force that an alien body that needs
to be uprooted from the Middle East.
The US and other Western donor countries have poured billions of dollars on the
Palestinian Authority government headed by Prime Minister Salaam Fayad over the
past few years.
Most of the funds have gone to economic projects, while improved security has
attracted investments from many wealthy businessmen.
As a result, shopping malls, tourist resorts and luxurious hotels have popped up in
many Palestinian cities.
Turkish Baths and cinemas, once considered symbols of corruption and immorality in
Palestinian society, have reopened in some cities, signaling the beginning of a return
to normal life.
Even Israel's Arab citizens are benefiting from the changes. For the past decade, the
Israeli military banned all Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, from entering
Palestinian cities out of concern for their safety.
But in the context of efforts to ease restrictions on the Palestinians and help
strengthen the economy in the West Bank, Israel is now allowing thousands of its
Arab citizens to converge on Palestinian markets almost on a daily basis.
As citizens of Israel, these Arabs enjoy a higher standard of living and are considered
the Palestinians' favorite clients.
Although Israel continues to maintain dozens of checkpoints in various parts of the
West Bank, today Palestinians find it much easier to travel from one city to another.
In addition, the number of Palestinians who are being granted permission to work
inside Israel has increased over the past few months, particularly in light of the
improved security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and the Israel
If an “economic boom” were all that was needed, the conflict would have been
solved a long time ago, especially in light of the billions of dollars that the
Palestinians were given after the signing of the Oslo Accords.
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by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Pierre Rehov
For terrorists, the death of innocent children is irrelevant. In a society that promotes martyrdom as the ultimate sign of success, the death of innocent children can sometimes even be seen as a public relations blessing.
In every action, intent is paramount. There should never be a moral equivalence painted between the deliberate killing of civilians, and a retaliation that tragically leads to casualties among civilians.
There is, however, one small difference: in the Middle East, reporters are threatened, except in Israel. Their choice becomes a simple one: promote the Palestinian point of view or stop working in the West Bank. Keep the eye of the camera dirty or lose your job. This show should not go on.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Since 1948, the Arab countries and government have been paying mostly lip service to the Palestinians.
"They have money and oil, but don't care about the Palestinians, even though we are Arabs and Muslims like them. What a Saudi or Qatari sheikh spends in one night in London, Paris or Las Vegas could solve the problem of tens of thousands of Palestinians." — Palestinian human rights activist.
"Some Arabs were hoping that Israel would rid them of Hamas." — Ashraf Salameh, Gaza City.
"Some of the Arab regimes are interested in getting rid of the resistance in order to remove the burden of the Palestinian cause, which threatens the stability of their regimes." — Mustafa al-Sawwaf, Palestinian political analyst.
"Most Arabs are busy these days with bloody battles waged by their leaders, who are struggling to survive. These battles are raging in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and the Palestinian Authority." — Mohammed al-Musafer, columnist.
"The Arab leaders don't know what they want from the Gaza Strip. They don't even know what they want from Israel." — Yusef Rizka, Hamas official.
by Soeren Kern
European elites, who take pride in viewing the EU as a "postmodern" superpower, have long argued that military hard-power is illegitimate in the 21st century. Unfortunately for Europe, Russia (along with China and Iran) has not embraced the EU's fantastical soft-power worldview, in which "climate change" is now said to pose the greatest threat to European security.
For its part, the European Commission, the EU's administrative branch, which never misses an opportunity to boycott institutions in Israel, has issued only a standard statement on the shooting down of MH17 in Ukraine, which reads: "The European Union will continue to follow this issue very closely."
The EU has made only half-hearted attempts to develop alternatives to its dependency on Russian oil and gas.
by Shoshana Bryen
Proportionality in international law is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about [equality of] firepower. Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity.
"Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable does not constitute a war crime.... even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality)." — Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court.
"The greater the military advantage anticipated, the larger the amount of collateral damage -- often civilian casualties -- which will be "justified" and "necessary." — Dr. Françoise Hampton, University of Essex, UK.