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October 10, 2023 08:18 AM UTC

Tuesday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having.”

–Henry Miller


9 thoughts on “Tuesday Open Thread

  1. One-State Solution? Two-State, Three-State, Zero-State? Noah Smith.

    If ethnic cleansing is off the table, then what else is available. (Not saying “is possible.”)

    The two-state solution has been dead for a while. But the alternative that these people probably have in mind is a one-state solution, encompassing Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Some commentators actually want a one-state solution, and are not simply using the rhetoric to push Israel toward a two-state solution. Some dream of a plurinational state in which Israelis and Palestinians live together as members of one nation. Others dream of ethnic cleansing, in which either the Israelis or the Palestinians are driven out of their current lands to live elsewhere. Both of those dreams are completely unrealistic, for reasons I’ll explain below.

    So what is realistic, other than the eternal persistence of the current unhappy equilibrium? The only answer I can think of is a three-state solution. By this I don’t mean giving the West Bank to Jordan and Gaza to Egypt, which is an old idea that people used to call “the three-state solution” and which unfortunately still occupies the Wikipedia page for that term. Jordan and Egypt have no desire to re-annex Palestinian lands, and the Palestinians have no desire to be annexed by them. Instead, what I mean by a “three-state solution” is three internationally recognized nation-states — the state of Israel within its currently recognized borders, and two independent Palestinian states, one in Gaza and the other in the West Bank.

    I arrive at this conclusion by looking at the current situation and applying three basic principles:
    Large-scale ethnic cleansing will be minimized.
    Israelis and Palestinians will not want to share a state.
    Non-contiguous states aren’t viable.

  2. Thoughts on the Situation in Israel from Brad DeLong.

    I have no special insights; this is tragedy on all fronts.

    I’m struck, by the claim that most IDF batallions were tied down in the West Bank (trying to keep a lid on settlers wilding in Palestinian villages?), and Netanyahu ignoring Egypt’s warnings about something big coming from Gaza.

    Apparently Netanyahu was more afraid of the Fatah and the Palestinian authority on the West Bank, than on Hamas in the Gaza. 

    Here is Brad DeLong:

    Is There a Right Historical Analogy for Gaza 2023?:

    Which is the right analogy for what is going to happen now? First Fallujah, Second Fallujah, or something else?:

    For years long-time Israeli Prime Minister pursued a strategy of funding and boosting Hamas, with the idea that a stronger Hamas meant a weaker Fatah, and thus made resisting calls for a Palestinian state more possible. Now it has blown up in his face. As I see it, he wants to keep his job and cannot do so without at least trying to destroy Hamas as a government, as a network, and as an ideology. 40,000 IDF soldiers, 2 million Palestinian civilians in Gaza, and an unknown number of Hamas terrorists and militants.

    Was the Hamas plan to cross the border, attack some military bases, seize some hostages, and hightail it back? Or was the plan to kill as many civilians as possible in order to make it impossible for the IDF to not pursue into the urban soon-to-become-a-hellscape that is Gaza? I do not know. I suspect the second.

    So what happens now as the IDF goes into Gaza?

    “”Christopher W. Jones: ‘From Anwar Sadat up to the present… normalization has always been a triangular calculation recognizing the unlikelihood of military victory over Israel versus the economic benefits of peace with Israel and improved relations with the USA. Against the slow tide… Hamas and Hezbollah have always argued “no, armed struggle can still work, just give us a chance.” But winning is the only thing that makes this argument convincing. Tension arises because projecting victimhood—the most successful Palestinian diplomatic strategy—requires not winning.

    Hamas had to choose one route or the other, and chose to go full ISIS. But how is slaughtering hundreds of civilians winning?… They’ve hurt Israel. That’s what matters. This is the “resistance” that many are euphemistically posting about today. Will it provoke a massive Israeli response? Certainly. Will it undermine Palestinian diplomatic standing in the West. Yes. Does this matter? Not as long as Hamas’ government in Gaza survives…. 

    I see many comments calling this a suicide mission by Hamas. This is based on the assumption that Hamas will inevitably lose if the IDF embarks on a full invasion of Gaza. That is not an assumption that should be made. Hezbollah fought the IDF to a draw in 2006.. Hamas has been steadily increasing its military capabilities, gaining experience from every war. They have had over a decade and a half to prepare the ground. New tech such as drones and ATGMs heavily favor the defender. A conventional battlefield victory by Hamas inside Gaza is entirely possible. I don’t think the Hamas leadership would have launched yesterday’s attack if they thought otherwise…””

    What is going to be the ratio of Hamas leader and foot-soldier deaths to Palestinian civilian deaths? What is going to be the ratio of Hamas leader and foot-soldier deaths to IDF soldier deaths? And how long and far will Israel push the death and destruction as it executes its just war against Hamas—a just war as long as it takes due care to reduce collateral civilian casualties? And will civilian casualties mount so high that Israel’s war on Hamas will seek to be a just one. A just war, after all, has to be one that produces a better rather than a worse situation—even if your cause is just, your war is not unless it can also be justified on utilitarian grounds.

    This was horrible on Saturday as Hamas’s terrorists wreaked murder. This is more horrible now. This is going to get more horrible still.

    1. "This was horrible on Saturday as Hamas’s terrorists wreaked murder. This is more horrible now. This is going to get more horrible still."

      This is all unfortunate but true. It likely will get a lot worse before it gets better.

      It may be that this will all simply have to play itself out like most of human history has. Most of these people hate one another and all the cajoling, encouragement, bribes, and threats from other countries have gotten the combatants nowhere since 1948. That is unlikely to change.

      Did the Jews displace Arabs after 1945? Obviously, but in the aftermath of the Holocaust, that was going to happen. The Jewish people were entitled to a homeland so that when they said, "Never again," they would be able to make good on that promise.

      An argument can be made that the people who perpetrated the Holocaust should have provided Jews with a homeland, that is, a big chunk of Germany should have been carved out as the independent state of Israel. There is a certain logic to making the people who caused the harm pay for the restitution. 

      That was not to be because the Covenant with Abraham did not include title deed to the Rhine River Valley. Once again proving that religion is at the core of most of our worldly problems. 

      Neither the handwringing on the left nor the MAGAts screaming "America First" and "No More Endless Wars" will change the equation. These peoples seem hell-bend of killing one another. Eventually one side or the other will prevail. It may sound Darwinian but it is what will eventually happen.

      It will get worse before it gets better. Iran will almost certainly get into it. (It's only appropriate. One bunch of theocratic nut jobs going up against another bunch of theocratic nut jobs.) Then we get to see who has more nukes, Israel or Iran. My guess is that a lot more Israelis and a lot more Palestinians will be killed before this is over.

      1. An interesting analysis, but a bit faulty. Palestine wasn’t heavily populated during the time of the British mandate. There were substantial numbers of Jews in Palestine, but not overwhelming numbers, during the time of the Ottoman Empire onward. So, Arabs weren’t actually supplanted. 

        The Balfour Declaration around 1917 laid groundwork for a Jewish homeland of sorts there. Arabs in Iraq, Jordan; and the near even mix of Christians & Muslims in Lebanon; were promised independence. Jordan ended up as another British mandate for a while. Lebanon and Syria were French mandates. 

        Overall, the breakup of the Ottoman Empire makes for interesting reading. The history goes back even further. Pope Benedict got into some hot water in 2006 quoting an anti-Muslim treatise from one of the last Roman Emperors, Manuel II, written sometime around 1390 CE. 

        1. Thanks for the historical perspective, CHB.

          So maybe if Britain hadn't clung to its mandates (aka colonies) until Menachem Began and his gang of freedom fighters (aka terrorists) blew up the King David Hotel and drove the British away, this could have been handled a lot better?

          It wouldn't be the first time the Brits overstayed their welcome. 



          1. "The Great War for Civilisation" by Robert Fisk" is a book I recommend to anyone looking for history of western involvement in the Middle East.

            Not surprisingly…it's about oil.

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