New War, All Over Again

Military, Politics — By on January 5, 2009 at 12:01 am

Like the War in Iraq, Israel’s invasion into Gaza has become controversial.
Is it a just war? Was it a last resort? Is the reaction proportionate to the cause?
If I were to know no history of the tensions and hostilities between Israel and its neighbors, I would probably believe the recent invasion to be, in a way, unjust. After all, Israel did not attempt an economic embargo or attempt to recruit UN involvement in this specific instance.
However, even from the limited amount of knowledge I have regarding Israel’s interactions with Palestinians, I simply cannot answer the question, “If you were Prime Minister of Israel, what would you do?” in any other manner than the course they have taken.
I am a pacifist at heart. Nothing would make me happier than if we could all live out the song, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” But if, tomorrow, a terrorist group started sending rockets into my city, you won’t find any flower bouquets or peace pipes near me.
Israel has tried diplomacy. The UN, notoriously anti-Israel, isn’t going to be helping any time soon–so what more can Israelis do than to defend themselves forcefully?
The main difficulty of the scenario, I believe, lies in the character of the initial terrorist attacks, and the characters of the terrorists. Like the World Trade Center bombings, Israel’s civilians are being attacked, and in a way in which direct defense is nearly impossible. Hamas is not marching across the border with blazing guns. Rather, they are deploying the blazing guns without the soldiers–same as September 11th. Also like America post-9-11, Israel is faced with a ‘faceless’ enemy insofar as Hamas does not have a country, uniforms, or formal structure.
Confronted with a garden full of normal and poisonous plants that are identical in appearance, both America and Israel have, for lack of a visible better option, been forced to use conventional warfare in unconventional wars. Civilian causalities are part of the result: to Hamas, the primary means of war, and to civilized nations, a horrible, tragic part of war, which seems unavoidable in this conflict.
Is there another way?–I throw the question out to you.
If warfare must be used, (which I believe it must), is there an honorable and unconventional type of warfare that Israel can use against an insidious but also unconventional enemy?



  • ucfengr

    Some quotes from a man who had some limited experience in war, William T. Sherman:
    –“War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.”
    –“War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want.”
    –“Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster.”

  • http://www.tariqnelson.com Tariq Nelson

    I’m afraid that the answer to your last question is ‘no’.
    It is a sad situation. I fear that in the long run the Jews will be wiped out by a determined and relentless enemy. The two sides can not live together…EVER

  • http://backhomeagain.typepad.com LuAnn

    My husband and I just had this conversation this morning. And to our dismay, we didn’t have an answer. Great post. Thanks!

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    Don’t forget that Israel and Hamas were already in a negotiated cease-fire that Hamas has been violating for years, since day 1.

  • http://thundersounds.blogspot.com/ slw

    Targeted assassination would be practical, maybe even effective, but who in the world can support death squads?

  • ucfengr

    Targeted assassination would be practical, maybe even effective, but who in the world can support death squads?
    Isn’t this what Israel has been doing for the past several years; targeting Hamas leadership? I don’t think it has been too effective, unless your goal is to create martyrs. Violence in Gaza will not end until Israel delivers a message to the Palestinian people that the cost of continuing war with Israel is higher than any potential benefit. Unfortunately, delivering that message will require a lot of violence and even cruelty. Israel didn’t choose this war, and really doesn’t want it. Hamas has chosen this path and the only way Israel can compel them to end it is to “give them all they want”.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Hamas is not marching across the border with blazing guns. Rather, they are deploying the blazing guns without the soldiers–same as September 11th. Also like America post-9-11, Israel is faced with a ‘faceless’ enemy insofar as Hamas does not have a country, uniforms, or formal structure.
    Actually this looks exactly UNLIKE 9/11. You have one piece of territory that is Israel. You have another piece of territory that is Gaza. The latter territory is firing rockets into the former. The former is responding with airstrikes. That’s amazingly like…conventional warfare!
    We have two countries fighting each other. Israel and Palestine. The solution is for them to come to some understanding where they don’t have to fight each other. That’s going to start with the simple act of not firing rockets into Israel. But it is also going to include Israel getting rid of all it’s settlements in both Gaza and the West Bank (and putting an end to the delusional right wingers who think the Bible commands them to build houses in the middle of hostile territory and then insist the rest of the country support them come hell or high water)….and it’s also going to include Israel & Palestine having some type of border system in place so goods can pass into the occupied territories but with Israel secure that it isn’t just another round of building up rocket stockpiles.
    That’s the solution to the ‘problem’ and just about everyone knows it. The question is when will the solution be implemented. It will be implemented when both sides are exhausted. There’s not really much anyone can do about it until then. In the meantime we can make demands, request that Israel be even more cafeful about minimizing civilian casualities, try to demand Iran and other Palestinian supporters refrain from sending weapons and so on but this isn’t all that different than the other dozen or so wars or conflicts that are going on at any given moment in the world.

  • http://thundersounds.blogspot.com/ slw

    Isn’t this what Israel has been doing for the past several years; targeting Hamas leadership?
    It’s what they attempted clumsily and feebly. I didn’t have shooting missiles occasionally from a distance on the basis of intelligence in mind, but something much more up close and personal. More like suddenly dropping special forces into a village, rounding up the actual terrorists there and then shooting them in the streets.
    I think you’re assessment about the situation is right, but I think even that would only be temporary, lasting only so long as it took them to rebuild the ranks and reamass arms.

  • ucfengr

    I think you’re assessment about the situation is right, but I think even that would only be temporary, lasting only so long as it took them to rebuild the ranks and reamass arms.
    I don’t know. Relations between the North and South have been pretty good for the past 150 years or so, as have relations between the US and Germany and the US and Japan for the last 60. Relations between Britain and France have likewise been pretty good since 1815. I think you underestimate the effectiveness of a complete and total military victory in curtailing future conflicts.
    We have two countries fighting each other. Israel and Palestine. The solution is for them to come to some understanding where they don’t have to fight each other. That’s going to start with the simple act of not firing rockets into Israel. But it is also going to include Israel getting rid of all it’s settlements in both Gaza and the West Bank
    Hasn’t that already been done for the most part? I seem to remember these settlers you refer to being dragged kicking and screaming from their homes, not by Hamas, but by the IDF. That hasn’t put a dent in the firing of rockets into Israel. The reality is that there is no evidence that Hamas and its backers will settle for anything less than a Palestine that stretches from the Jordan to the Med and the death of all the Jews currently there. That position doesn’t seem to leave a lot of room for meaningful dialogue.
    (and putting an end to the delusional right wingers who think the Bible commands them to build houses in the middle of hostile territory and then insist the rest of the country support them come hell or high water)
    It is difficult not to notice that these people who merely want to peacefully live their lives and practice their religion in the matter they believe their God calls them, merit much harsher criticism than the other religious zealots in the conflict, who practice their religion by indiscriminately firing rockets into civilian populations. Imagine the outcry if the US responded this way to settlements of illegal Mexicans.

  • Jim

    If any one here has not seen God Warriors, a CNN documentary, and want a better understanding of the conflict, then you have to watch this.
    It’s vital
    http://rapidshare.com/files/56346025/GW.Part1.part1.rar
    http://rapidshare.com/files/56357530/GW.Part1.part2.rar
    http://rapidshare.com/files/56368066/GW.Part1.part3.rar

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I don’t know. Relations between the North and South have been pretty good for the past 150 years or so, as have relations between the US and Germany and the US and Japan for the last 60.
    Is this a random sample of conflicts drawn from the hundreds of ones recorded in world history or are you just giving us all the ones you recall from your 10th grade world history class?
    It is difficult not to notice that these people who merely want to peacefully live their lives and practice their religion in the matter they believe their God calls them, merit much harsher criticism than the other religious zealots in the conflict, who practice their religion by indiscriminately firing rockets into civilian populations.
    Peaceful is an interesting description….they are peaceful after they’ve taken someone else’s land, dragged the rest of their country into defending them and created a totally unstable and unacceptable situation. You might as well say Hamas would be peaceful if aliens came down from space and gave them the Palestine you describe. Why did the IDF drag them kicking and screaming from their settlements? Because they suddenly decided that they were in love with Hammas?
    If you told the US state Dept that you and your fellow followers wanted to go off to some hostile land like Iran, Afghanistan, Tibet, or whatnot and set up a peacefull community and live as you feel God wants you to the response would be, quite properly, ‘best of luck but you’re on your own out there…we can’t and won’t guarantee your safety’.
    But more to the point I didn’t talk about what criticism Hamas merits. They merit a lot and there seems to be no problem with them getting exactly what they deserve since the bulk of the casualities appear to be non-civilians.
    Imagine the outcry if the US responded this way to settlements of illegal Mexicans.
    If Mexico took, say, Los Angeles and started setting up gated communities in the best neighborhoods I daresay there would probably be some type of military response. But this is the problem with people who reason by analogy. Their reasoning is only as good as their education (for people like ucfengr there are few cases where a WWII Analogy can’t be forced to fit) or their creative writing skills (imagine Mexican tanks rumbling through LA!!!)
    Israel and Palestine have too much bad blood to be the same country but they are too intimate to not work together. This crap will go on until both sides exhaust themselves & there’s little we can do….except advocate the right thing, perhaps find ways to nudge both sides here and there and keep the proper perspective.

  • John M.

    The fact that we’ve gotten through 11 comments without somebody launching into an irrational anti-semitic screed is amazing.

  • Rob Ryan

    ucfengr writes:
    “Hamas has chosen this path and the only way Israel can compel them to end it is to
    ‘give them all they want'”.
    But, like you said, that just makes more martyrs. What we have here is a permanent state of war. Back in the days when the world didn’t watch wars on TV, nations could commit genocide with impunity. If the Israelis finish the job, they will be international pariahs, and rightly so. If they don’t, the attacks will continue. Too bad the nation was formed in the first place. It was a colossal mistake.

  • http://www.maryams.net/dervish Umm Yasmin

    I think it’s illuminating to try and imagine the conflict if the names were reversed. Imagine the British and the UN decided to create a nation-state for Palestinians in the midst of a Jewish nation that had existed for centuries.
    The Palestinians then ensuring their children would be fed a steady diet of fear and nationalism with compulsory army service, and being armed to the hilt by a powerful ally.
    Then imagine a beleagured Jewish population squeezed to the edges with a million souls in refugee camps undergoing daily indignities, and with a bunch of religious extremists in their midst, who seeing no other alternative to end the oppression of their fellow Jews launching vain and futile rockets at the powerful new Palestinian state that wishes they would all just emigrate away to some other place.
    Then imagine if this Palestinian state started launching a hugely assymetrical attack on the Jews, blockading humanitarian aid, and hoping that by killing and wounding the Jewish civilians they might somehow turn around and stop the religious extremists in their midst.
    Unfortunately, the only long-term solution is for each to recognise the humanity of the other. But I am not holding out much hope at the moment.

  • ucfengr

    Is this a random sample of conflicts drawn from the hundreds of ones recorded in world history or are you just giving us all the ones you recall from your 10th grade world history class?
    I think it is fairly representative sample of the past 150 years or so. If you can cite a counter example, please feel free. Perhaps you could regale us with examples from your own 10th grade classes, if you made it that fair.
    Peaceful is an interesting description….they are peaceful after they’ve taken someone else’s land,
    Yes, that’s how it happened.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I think this is the crux of what makes the problem so tricky. On the one hand Israel and Palestine are different nations with bad blood between them. In many other cases they would lead seperate existences with maybe minimal trade and diplomatic contact between them. But they are not so independent of each other. Israel, having maintained a long occupation of Palestine has created a population that is dependent on them…even though they hate them. So while Israel justly engages in war against Palestine it also has to worry about whether or not shipments of food and medicine can get through. I’m not sure if this is unique in the long history of human conflict but this alone tells us that trying to fit a WWII template on this conflict is about as sensible as trying to fit a War of 1812 template.

  • ucfengr

    Is this a random sample of conflicts drawn from the hundreds of ones recorded in world history or are you just giving us all the ones you recall from your 10th grade world history class?
    I think it is fairly representative sample of the past 150 years or so. If you can cite a counter example, please feel free. Perhaps you could regale us with examples from your own 10th grade classes, if you made it that fair.
    Peaceful is an interesting description….they are peaceful after they’ve taken someone else’s land,
    Yes, that’s how it happened . Of course I notice how you neatly sidestep the fact that Israel pulled all the settlements out of Gaza, and got increased attacks in response. So your point is rather meaningless, though I expect you to defend it to the death.
    If you told the US state Dept that you and your fellow followers wanted to go off to some hostile land like Iran, Afghanistan, Tibet, or whatnot and set up a peacefull community and live as you feel God wants you to the response would be, quite properly, ‘best of luck but you’re on your own out there…we can’t and won’t guarantee your safety’.
    So you criticize my argument from analogy by responding with a false analogy? Neither Gaza or the West Bank are to Israel what Afghanistan is to the US. That’s why Texas is the better analogy, though even that one falls short, because arguably we were the aggressors in the Mexican War, Israel was not in the wars in which they claimed the West Bank and Gaza.
    But, like you said, that just makes more martyrs.
    I said targeting the leadership creates more martyrs. Unfortunately, like the South in the Civil War, the citizens of Gaza will have to feel a lot of pain in this war to rid them of the delusion that Hamas operates in their best interest.

  • Mike Toreno

    What the Israelis could do is, they could return all the land that was forcibly taken from Palestinians to the people from whom it was taken, and they could tell the people now occupying that land that they were going to have to live on land they paid for. They could also stop dropping cluster bombs on children. You’d be surprised dropping cluster bombs on someone’s children sours their attitude. They could also stop the blockade they imposed on Gaza in violation of the treaty, and the numerous other treaty violations they have committed. They could conduct their dealings with the Palestinians in accord with international law.
    What Americans can do to help bring about such a state of affairs is, if all American citizens were loyal first to America.

  • John M.

    There has been a continuous Jewish presence in Palestine for 3000 years, so they never “invaded” anything. It’s just that between 70 AD and about 1918, there were few enough that the Arabs tolerated their presence. After WWII, most Jews had two choices: move back next door to the people who turned them in to the Gestapo, or go to Palestine. By 1948, there got to be enough of them to irritate the Arabs, and the Arabs tried to wipe them out. They failed then but they’ve kept trying ever since.
    And anybody who says that collateral damage when hitting a terrorist bomb factory the moral equivalent of targeting elementary schools with rockets is is a moral infant.

  • http://thundersounds.blogspot.com/ slw

    Let me, if I may, go all right wing and religious on you. That land was given by God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob not Abraham and Ishmael. In our day he is bringing those dispossessed of it back to it. God stood with Ezra and Nehemiah against Arab (and other) squatters the last time this occurred and he is again. Despite the wealth of the Arab world and it’s overwhelming advantage in population it has lost again and again to the Israelis. It can be no other way. God called Joshua to ethnically cleanse the land, I do not think he is calling for that today, but as long as Arabs stand in the way of Jacob possessing what God gave to him alone, there will be war and the Israelis will come out on top.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I think it is fairly representative sample of the past 150 years or so. If you can cite a counter example, please feel free. Perhaps you could regale us with examples from your own 10th grade classes, if you made it that fair.
    A representative sample of the past 150 years of conflict: WWII, The US Civil War, & the Neopoleantic Wars between England and France.
    If you put all the conflicts of the past 150 years into a hat and pulled out 3 you might get these. You may also get the Russian Revolution, china’s invasion of Tibet, China’s civil War which left Taiwan in a status that can be described as ‘unclear’, WWI, several dozen conflicts in Africa, the uprising against English rule in Ireland, ater the fight over Northern Ireland, India and Pakistan, Burma’s military gov’t, the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, and so on. Taking a random sample of conflicts to try to derive some type model of how conflicts resolve themselves is unlikely to result in the 3 ucfengr uses.
    Using a different approach, if you were to list all the conflicts of the past 150 years and then try to rank them as to which conflicts are ‘most like’ the Israel-Palestine conflict these 3 are almost certainly not on the top of the list.
    The reason ucfengr and other neocons pound so much on WWII analogies is rather simple, they don’t know much else. To the man with a hammer, all the world’s a nail. Deeper, though, they don’t even really know WWII except as a cartoon version of it so even then the usefulness of their advice is limited.
    Yes, that’s how it happened . Of course I notice how you neatly sidestep the fact that Israel pulled all the settlements out of Gaza, and got increased attacks in response. So your point is rather meaningless, though I expect you to defend it to the death.
    We still have the problem that Gaza & the West Bank cannot exist as an independent viable country without Israel. Pulling out settlements was a good step (and were settlements even an issue in Gaza? My impression was that the settlements were in the West Bank only…could be wrong though) but clearly that by itself is not the solution. However it is part of it and Israel itself recognizes that. Does ucfengr think Israel would be better off reversing course and establishing a bunch of settlements in Gaza?
    That’s why Texas is the better analogy, though even that one falls short, because arguably we were the aggressors in the Mexican War, Israel was not in the wars in which they claimed the West Bank and Gaza.
    You mistake your analogies. Unlike Texas Israel never annexed the West Bank or Gaza. Hence the common phrase ‘occupied territories’. If it did the Palestinians would end up as Israeli citizens or Israel would end up as a non-democratic aparteid based country where a majority of its people are disenfranchised. So go ahead and argue for the ‘Texas model’ for Israel. It would, at least, give you a unique position rather than a cliched one.
    John M
    There has been a continuous Jewish presence in Palestine for 3000 years, so they never “invaded” anything.
    Since we have pretty good evidence that peoples from Siberia crossed a now extinct ice bridge between Asia and North America we have a continuous Russian presence in the Western Hemisphere for the last 10,000 years or so. Hence, when the movie Red Dawn came out in the 80’s I’m sure you were standing up in the theater shouting there was no Russian invasion as the paratroopers were landing.

  • John M.

    What all you leftys are conveniently ignoring is the most of the Jews had NOWHERE TO GO at the end of WWII. They couldn’t go back to their homes because their countrymen had often been complicit in turning them in. I guess you figured they should have just walked into the sea.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    There’s nowhere for Jews to live in Israel except the West Bank and Gaza strip? I think you need to brush up on your geography a bit. And get into the present moment. No one here is debating Israel’s founding last time I checked.

  • ucfengr

    If you put all the conflicts of the past 150 years into a hat and pulled out 3 you might get these. You may also get the Russian Revolution, china’s invasion of Tibet, China’s civil…
    There is something you unique about the conflicts I mentioned which is essential to the point I was making. I will leave it to you to figure out what was unique about them and how it applies the the current situation between Israel and Hamas.
    We still have the problem that Gaza & the West Bank cannot exist as an independent viable country without Israel.
    But that is exactly what the goal of Hamas is, a Middle East with no Israel.
    There’s nowhere for Jews to live in Israel except the West Bank and Gaza strip? I think you need to brush up on your geography a bit. And get into the present moment. No one here is debating Israel’s founding last time I checked.
    The goal of Israel’s adversaries is the destruction of Israel, it is silly to gloss over that in an effort to, at best paint both parties as equally culpable, or at worst to paint the Israelis as responsible for the conflict.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The goal of Israel’s adversaries is the destruction of Israel, it is silly to gloss over that in an effort to, at best paint both parties as equally culpable, or at worst to paint the Israelis as responsible for the conflict.
    1. This side discussion was about Israel’s founding. Please try to follow the thread.
    2. Who here is glossing over anything or asserting both parties are ‘equally culpable’?

  • Rob Ryan

    John M. writes:
    What all you leftys are conveniently ignoring is the most of the Jews had NOWHERE TO GO at the end of WWII. They couldn’t go back to their homes because their countrymen had often been complicit in turning them in. I guess you figured they should have just walked into the sea.
    ==============================
    Does that justify plunking them down on Arab land? Seems like those complicit in the formation of modern Israel preferred to give away the land of others rather than make room themselves for the displaced people.
    As for the “God gave it to the Jews” argument, that probably has little traction with anyone other than Christians and Jews. And that, I suspect, is why the wishes of the Arab world were blatantly disregarded in an effort for western nations to assuage their guilt over the Holocaust. It’s like apologizing to a victim for not coming to his aid by giving him something that belongs to another.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    That land was given by God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob not Abraham and Ishmael.
    Yea ok but so what? Arabs and Middle Eastern Jews are essentially the same people. Over the last 2-3 thousand years there’s been so much interbreeding and conversion activity there’s no conceivable way you could say that all Arabs and all Israelis come from two different blood lines. This is assuming we are accepting title searches that extend back more than 100 years.

  • http://thundersounds.blogspot.com/ slw

    @Rob Ryan,
    When the land was in European hands, the Jews were kicked out of it, when it was back under European control, the Jews were allowed back into it. Political hegemony allowed both, such is the course of life. The Arabs didn’t have the power to stop it then, I don’t think they have the power now. If they were not strong enough to hold what they had taken from others, maybe they should consider taking their ball and going home. If the US weakened considerably and lost control of the Carolinas to its ancient owners, I doubt many would favor sending the Cherokees back to Oklahoma.

  • http://www.alienman.blogspot.com Brad Williams

    Boontoon,
    Technically, it was Cuba that first landed in Red Dawn.
    I think the best way for the conflict to end in Israel/Gaza/West Bank would be for all parties to convert to Christianity and become Southern Baptists. The fight would be different and annoying when they got together, but no one would get blown up.

  • http://pugnaciousirishman.wordpress.com Rich Bordner

    Boonton,
    I’m a bit confused by your terminology. You refer to Palestine as a “country.”
    I’m used to thinking about a “country” as sovereign and independent state. Palestine, being a region, is neither.
    You might think this is a minor quibble, but it does matter.
    I recognize you could be using the term loosely, but could you please clarify? You might have clarified in the comments (I read them all, but could have missed something). If so, just point me there.
    I’ve found this
    blog post helpful.
    On a slightly different note, I’m befuddled how some could suggest moral equivalency between the two opposing forces. Though Israel has its own sins to fess up to, there are stark differences. Last time I checked, Hamas was the one setting up operations near schools and such. That’s just the tip of the list.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Rich,
    I’m used to thinking about a “country” as sovereign and independent state. Palestine, being a region, is neither.
    Well there’s a couple of ways to use the word country. For example, Tibet is often referred to as a country even though it is not sovereign and independent. Likewise, when a small country sits next to a superpower in an uneasy truce one could say it isn’t exactly independent. Sometimes you can have a region that is technically sovereign and independent but they don’t want to be called a country for diplomatic reasons (Taiwan).
    Needless to say Israel itself has only been a country for a fraction of human history, even in Biblical times it independence is often brief.
    But let’s look at the facts as they are. A country is defined by people and as a people the Palestinians are not Israelis and are almost certainly not going to become Israelies. As a result of the occupation the people who were once simply part of a region that might be called Palestine are no longer citizens of Jordan, Egypt or Syria.
    So if Israel gets to be a country I see no real reason for Palestine not to be one as well. The Biblical argument presented here is almost too silly to spend much time refuting but anyone who wants to take it seriously should start with demanding that the US dissolve itself as there is no Biblical grant of any land to any such ‘nation’.
    Also if Palestine is not technically ‘sovereign and independent’ then what business does Israel have in a war with it? Is not Hammas independently launching rockets every day at Israel? As for sovereignity, who exactly elected Hammas to run anything? Israelis? I don’t think so. Palestine looks a lot more like a state than it did 20 years ago…granted a failure of a state and one that’s not doing very well in t his war (although correct me if I’m wrong, isn’t this conflict mostly limited to the Gaza strip which is only a fraction of the much larger West Bank?)
    On a slightly different note, I’m befuddled how some could suggest moral equivalency between the two opposing forces.
    Who exactly has suggested a moral equilivalency between the two?
    Though Israel has its own sins to fess up to
    Care to be specific?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The blog post you linked too was helpful but I think this short paragraph shows the problem:

    It may be helpful to compare the term “Palestine” to the term “The South” here in the States. The South is a region of our country, where you’ll find people of various ethnicities and religions. You’ll find Southerners who are Christian and Jewish and Muslim; you’ll find Southerners who trace their ancestry to Europe, Africa, Asia, and so on.

    First let’s keep in mind that geography does mean something. Israel is in a small area, not a huge one like the US. A more reasonable analogy might be to look at a US state or city. we talk about No-Cal or So-Cal to divide California between north and south or New Yorkers talk about ‘upstate’ to refer to just about anything north of New York City (which is just about the entire state). This use of the word region makes perfect sense. It is also scaleable. NYers will talk about ‘upstate’ vs the city but they will also talk about Manhattenites versus the Bronx or Queens or go even smaller and talk about uptown vs downtown, east side v. west side, etc.
    This only goes so far, though. Manhatten and Queens may be regions of the entity called New York City but Long Island is not. You may divide PA into east and west and still only be talking about regions but virginia did split into WV and Virginia and they aren’t two regions of the same thing but two different states now. What makes one a region and the other a seperate legal entity is caused not by ancient history (no one in the area calls themselves “ex-Italians” even though Biblically they were all subjects of the Roman Empire) but by modern history.
    In an ideal world, Israel would have been a secular state open to Jews as well as those who lived there. But its founding started a war and now several generations of bad blood. Unlike the American South, I don’t think Israelies or Palestinians want to be part of the same country. So we have a case of two countries here, hence I use the term Palestine. And why Palestine? Well Israel already took “Israel” and that leaves, what, “Occupied Territories” as the name of the other country? It’s a lot better than ‘Trans-Jordan’.

  • http://pugnaciousirishman.wordpress.com Rich Bordner

    me:
    On a slightly different note, I’m befuddled how some could suggest moral equivalency between the two opposing forces.
    Boonton:
    Who exactly has suggested a moral equilivalency between the two?
    See this
    Though I’m no expert, I’m hip enough to catch the sentiment out there, even if not explicitly stated.
    I wasn’t suggesting that you suggest moral equivalency in your comments here, so I apologize if I caused any confusion.

  • http://pugnaciousirishman.wordpress.com Rich Bordner

    me:
    On a slightly different note, I’m befuddled how some could suggest moral equivalency between the two opposing forces.
    Boonton:
    Who exactly has suggested a moral equilivalency between the two?
    See this
    Though I’m no expert, I’m hip enough to catch the sentiment out there, even if not explicitly stated.
    I wasn’t suggesting that you suggest moral equivalency in your comments here, so I apologize if I caused any confusion.

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