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Author Topic: Palestine/Israel - I expected the writer of Speaker to Understand
Tom Bailey
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quote:
Short, succint, but some important points raised there,
Thank you Sayeed. I can see you struggle with the language. Many here do not like my words and have complained that my posts are far to long. Therefore I have been attempting to refine my point to its essence.

quote:
You're right, the particular British atrocity which is Africa makes their Palestine/Israel mess look like a lovers' spat on "The Bachelor."

Well both the semitic races were more sophisticated in the ways of civilization than any but the egyptians on Africa. Their ties to their ancient origins are perhaps greater than all the records of man.

But then if y'all have the most ancient records and the longest history does that mean you have been making the same mistakes longer than any other race on the planet?

Is not the rule that he who will not learn from history is doomed to repeat it? By historys reckoning the Palestinians and the Jews are brothers dating back to the time of Abraham.

When brother can forgive brother the worst that a brother can do to a brother then will Gods plan have been completed. I do not object to Gods plan being completed in my lifetime.

But if y'all need a couple thousand generations more of misery by all means may both sides keep seeking revenge rather than forgiveness. Let each try to prove to his brother that he can hurt the other more.

The purpose of life is the attainment of happiness. Happiness is the felling you get when you are making things better. Does anyone believe the isreali crackdown or the intefada are making things better?

Tom Bailey

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Everard
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Sayeed-
I'm not posting because I've spent three years dealing with this issue, and, frankly, its not worth my time anymore, in terms of debate. You're new, so you haven't seen my posts, but I get TOO passionate about the issue. Its not good. So instead, I am withdrawing from the debate for the time being.

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kelcimer
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*sigh*
Sayeed
I am not trying to insult you or cast aspertions in your direction. The only poster to suggest that there was a "land without a people" is you. Do I think it is important to note? No. Because it has not been in dispute. Yes, your point is noted. I'm not saying and neither is anyone else saying that there was unclaimed territory.

Pointing out that you misunderstood another post is not nitpicking. My post that originally pointed that out was as long as it was because I was not sure how you could have interpreted Standbacks post the way you did and I still don't.

I asked if you were equating eviction with the killing of innocents. I did so because I'm not sure exactly what you were trying to say in that paragraph. I was asking for a clarification. If you are not equating them then say, "No. What I meant was such and such."

You asked Standback:
quote:
Why the attitude?

You also dismissed a position as:
quote:
********
What I was pointing out there is that you are throwing some attitude into the mix as well.

I am not trying to find you to be a fool or a demon.
I don't have any interest in finding you as anything.
I am interested in your ideas and positions.

You say:
quote:
All MODERN facts, the history is ******** , it's useless.

Okay. History aside, on one side you have an established nation that has demonstrated that it desires peace with it's neighbors that only attacks when provoked and on the other side there are people lobbing their bodies at civilians at every opportunity. that's how the situation on the ground is RIGHT NOW. That makes Isreal the white hat and the Palestinians the black hat. Gotcha.

What is your solution to the scenario?

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Sayeed
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Hello,

Kelcimer, read my post again. I posited a view, and said that this view was ******** . Was I throwing attitude at the view? Sure. Most definitely. I guess I was throwing attitude in the face of the person who thinks that whether Israelis settled out of necessity or not is the deciding factor in whether you can blow up their innocents. Is that Kelcimer's view? Standbacks? Tom Bailey? Velcro's? Anyone on this board? I highly doubt it, the quality of people on this board seems to high to have someone who believes that.

As to the "land without a people" myth. Perhaps we'd disagree as to how many people believe that myth, though it was FAR more prevalent a view in the past. It is still very much around however, and talking about that truth also clears up other misconceptions about the past. So I reiterate, I think clearing up that fiction is important, and I think that the discussion was good.

---

"I was asking for a clarification."

Read my reponse again, I did clarify it.

If you truly want a clarification, it would be better to ask "what do you mean by this" next time instead of asking whether I think "Killing Innocents" and eviction are the same. Do you think that's a better way to get a clarification?

As the meta-discussions, though, we should probably do it through email from now on [Smile] , depending on the content.

----

I'm not sure I'd describe the Palestinian people as "lobbing their bodies at civilians" every chance they get. I think that is a description of a minority. I also think that black/white simplifications such as "white hat" "black hat" are counterproductive. But I am extremely glad that you've chosen to talk about a solution to the scenario. I think that is a very productive thing to do, and in a lot of the boards I've read people never end up focusing on that. Perhaps I need to look for better boards like this one [Smile] .

----

To get to a solution it's important to first agree on the facts. It's like definitions. Many arguments are actually about definitions, because people haven't agreed on definitions, and many arguments about political ideologies are actually about facts because people haven't agree on facts.

I think focusing on very specific questions that need to be answered helps focus on relevant facts. Because the objective is to stop the violence, I suppose the question we have here is...

What causes the violence in Israel/Palestine?

If we get even more specific, I suppose we should break it up...

***What are the major causes of the violence on behalf of the Israelis?***

***What causes the major causes of the violence on behalf of the Palestinians?***

What do you guys think?

Peace,

'Sayeed.

[ November 27, 2003, 10:52 PM: Message edited by: Sayeed ]

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kelcimer
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Let's sort out the disagreements on facts and definitions as they crop up.

Velcro asked it first.
Then I asked it.
And I'll ask it again.

What do propose as a solution?

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mv
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Sayeed,

A bit of a problem I see with your posts: you make questionable assumptions and then proceed building on them. You really cannot a house without building a foundation.

An example of this was your crusade against the "land of people" idea: very nice, except nobody said it (you assumed and started building)

A worse example: quoting your post above:

quote:
***What are the major causes of the violence on behalf of the Israelis?***

***What causes the major causes of the violence on behalf of the Palestinians?***

The first part does not need a justification: we see reports of Pals violence nearly every day. The second part, however, does need one: what exactly do you mean by "Israeli violence"?

I assume that you are not talking about either Sharon's prayer, or strictly defensive measures undertaken by Israel. This leaves me at a loss of what you are talking about...

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kelcimer
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Yeah. What mv said.
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Tom Bailey
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quote:
The first part does not need a justification: we see reports of Pals violence nearly every day. The second part, however, does need one: what exactly do you mean by "Israeli violence"?

A perfect example of how demopublicans are able to completely blind themselves to their own crimes while seeing the crimes of others with crystal clarity.

Even Cards essay which talked about the bottling plant that was spared indicated that there were many plants that were not. And homes as well.

I keep hearing the complaints about the suicide bombers and the death they are causing among the isrealis. I take those figures seriously. I can see the palestinians are hurtung theior brother semites.

But I also hear the part where the palestinians say look at our dead. They outnumber the isreali dead four to one or more.

Now I have mv and kelcimer asking what isreali violence? The violence that has killed far more palestinians than isrealis.

Hey both sides can justify the killing they do by pointing to the killing the other has done in the past. And so it has gone on and on. Each new death justifies so many more.

Tom Bailey

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Everard
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"But I also hear the part where the palestinians say look at our dead. They outnumber the isreali dead four to one or more."

Its important to look at casualties causations though. That ratio includes palestinians who blow themselves up. It also counts on the palestinian side, israeli citizens who are arabic blown up in those same blasts.

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Tom Bailey
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Oh yeah both sides want me to look at their justifications. And I have. And you know what? I find both of them have justifications just as good as the other.

So I remind you that an eye for an eye leaves a world of toothless blind men.

All I am saying is both sides are going to have to forget their justifications and start trying to find ways of forgiving each other. Or they can go ahead and keep killing each other till the end of time.

I just want to make it clear that the Coalitions joining up for the slaughter is not being done in my name or with my approval.

Tom Bailey

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Leto
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Can't... read... the... damn... thing... because...

of... screwed...
up...

line... breaks... like...
this.

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Serotonin'sGone
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gasp, can it be? I agree with you Leto.

but i should add that these have been remarkably coherent posts TomB...

[ November 28, 2003, 12:07 PM: Message edited by: Serotonin'sGone ]

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mv
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TB,

a question, if you don't mind.

In the US, year after year, more criminals get killed than cops. Some get shot in the process of committing or attempting crime; some die in the process of settling scores with other criminals; some are even executed.

Do you consider this an indication that (demopublican) cops are more evil than criminals?

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Tom Bailey
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You don't understand mv. The cops have been trained that it is OK for them to kill. The others have been trained that to kill a cop is to die.

In Iraq though the so called bad guy thinks he is as justified as the coalition trooper. The only reason the iraqi casualty rate is so high is that innocent bystanders get counted aming the iraqi dead rather than the Coalition dead.

If you added the innocent casualties to the total police dead you might find more innocents and police were dying than criminals.

I can not answer your question directly because from my point of view the cops are criminals. That SWAT team pulling guns on those innocent high school students should be evidence enough for my allegation.

Tom Bailey

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Sayeed
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Hello,

-------------------------------
***kelcimer***

Here's the problem I see with that approach. Say I throw out a solution, say "A solution to the problem is cut off all food supplies to the West Bank."

Perhaps people agree with me, perhaps they don't. Either way, we have to ask the exact same questions, right? How does the solution affect the causes of the violence. (Assuming it is violence we want to stop.)

So say you agree with me, and you don't post, or post that you agree. Well maybe the reason I think that this solution will work is because Palestinians eat too much candy, it is not nutritious, ruins their seratonin production levels, and makes them depressed but aggressive. Hence the violence.

Maybe you agree, but you agree because you think that if the West Bank is busy trying to get food they won't be bombing anyone. YOU know that there IS no candy importation to the West Bank, but since we're talking about solutions and not the fundamental underlying questions, you don't say anything, assuming that I believe the same fact situation to come to the same conclusion. Maybe you DO mention it, either way, I'm not arguing the solution, I'm arguing the causes of the violence again, those fundamental questions.

Maybe you WOULD agree with the solution, but you don't know about the effects of candy on a population. Once again we have to talk about the causes of the violence, and THEN maybe you start giving advice on better way to stop that candy consumption, say education or a more limited import ban. Either way, we can't talk about the mechanics of the solution until we agree on the causes of the violence.

Say you don't agree. Then you have to ask why I think the solution will help. Then I'm explaining the causes of the violence once again.

In any case, agreeing on the causes of the violence, or discussing it at least, gives us a better understanding of the effects of any solution.

-------------------------------

***mv***

To use your metaphor. You agree with me the house is good. You just think I'm "settling" on land where I don't need to settle. (interesting how our metaphors, mix, eh? [Wink] ) We disagree on that, but either way, this is "ex post facto." So why keep complaining about something you can't change unless you can delete posts?


I think you mixed up your numbers. The First one was about Israeli violence, the second was about Palestinians. "On behalf of" doesn't mean "against" but meets something like "on the part of" or "by" Perhaps I'm not understanding you, what do you mean by "the first part does not need justification?" After that you talk about the Palestinian violence we see reported "every day" but the first part referred to violence on behalf of Israelis, not Palestinians, so have you mixed first or second or is there another point I'm missing. I can see several interpretations of this so I wanted to find out what you meant before I respond more fully. (I wrote out a long response already but then thought that I might be misinterpreting [Smile] )

--------------------------------

***Tom Bailey***

Tom, I'm not sure what you mean by "demopublicans," perhaps I haven't been around this board enough to know the posters politically label/define themselves. I don't know if this is about blindness to crimes yet, I didn't connotate my question by asking about "crimes," since that word has very strong (somewhat causal) connotations already. I just assumed that everyone is against violence and asked therefore what were the causes of all the violence.

--------------------------------

Salaam,

'Sayeed.

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Tom Bailey
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Sayeed, the word demopublican is a made up word that I use to describe the party in control of the govt of the United States. It is a morphing of the name of the two wings of that party the democrats (dem) and the republicans (publicans)

These two wings fued between themselves the way benedictine monks and jesuits did back in old europe. But just as both monkish orders united in defence of catholicism so do the dems and publicans unite when it comes to the defence of their regime.

quote:
perhaps I haven't been around this board enough to know the posters politically label/define themselves. I don't know if this is about blindness to crimes yet, I didn't connotate my question by asking about "crimes," since that word has very strong (somewhat causal) connotations already.
Yes my post was mostly a reference to domestic politics. The demopublican administration is in gross violation of the charter of the United States which is to say they are violating its Constitution. These actions are crimes by our law.

It is sort of like the Saudi Royal family was given power in order to defend the moslem holy places Mecca and Medina from occupation by armed infidels. They have instead allowed armed infidels to occupy that soil. They have violated the thing they were hired to defend.

quote:
I just assumed that everyone is against violence and asked therefore what were the causes of all the violence.

And as you have seen in all my posts I have advocated forgiveness and an end to violence.

As to the cause both sides say the cause is injustice. Both sides claim the other has violated their rights and murdered their kin. As far as I can tell both sides have compelling evidence for their claims proving them beyond a resonable doubt.

So y'all have two choices. Either you can continue to execute each other till one or the other is completely annihilated which will probably result in the other being so weakened that they too will quickly disappear from the face of the planet or you can figure out some way to forgive each other and resolve to work together as brothers for future justice.

Personally I don't give much more hope for your chances than I do for americas odds of throwing off the tyranny of the demopublicans before they make a smoking ruin of our nation as well.

I wish you luck.

Tom Bailey

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kelcimer
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Sayeed

For the defininition and defense of 'Demoplublicans' I direct you to Tom Bailey - Concerning "Demopublicans" 'Nuff said.

If you don't want to propose a solution that's fine. I'm not up for defining all the elements of the equation as prelude to discussing a solution as that would make for a 10 page thread. This is me joining Ev in the bleachers. Squee! [Big Grin]

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velcro
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Sayeed,

I apologize again for being nitpicky. I have been in your place, where I have a fundamental question, and I get sidetracked by tangents. My justification for the tangents is that I feel obligated to correct questionable facts or interpretations as I see them to prevent others from believing their truth due to their being unchallenged. But I will put these disagreements aside for now.

I have looked again at some of your posts, especially the first. (I have not had a chance to look at them all carefully with all the tangents mentioned above). I think I understand what you are asking. You see how the Palestinians live in poverty, how the Israelis restrict them, humiliate them, take their land, deny them self-rule, and kill thousands of innocents in the name of “the war on terror”. You wonder how any sane, ethical person could ignore this, or worse, justify and condone this. All civilized people should be outraged, and should act to stop the injustice immediately. (Maybe stronger than what you posted, but in the spirit)

Given your point of view, and that of most Palestinians, I agree completely. I guess in some ways you are trying to Speak for the Palestinians. I think the best way would be to speak AS a Palestinian, to get into their mind and express how they feel. Given what they are exposed to, and the information they are given, I think many people would feel what they feel. And as best I can tell, they feel hate. They are justified in feeling hate, it is the natural reaction. Just like the residents of Tokyo and Berlin would hate the Allies for ruining their lives and killing their loved ones. But the actions that some take on behalf of that hate is not justified. And the efforts to propagate that hate down the generations at all costs is wrong.

I am not an Israeli, and I do not pretend to represent them. But let me try to Speak for them in my own way.

There is a woman on a bus, and she is holding her baby in her lap. They are riding home after visiting a holy site for prayer. Her baby is sleeping soundly when suddenly she is ripped from her arms and they both die instantly in a violent explosion.

They were not in a traffic accident. There was no malfuntion of the bus, or a gas leak.

They were not on a bus with army troops, or near a military post. They did not hit a land mine intended for a tank or a jeep.

They were not part of a protest, or political rally. They were not relatives of a powerful person.

They were not travelling through a war zone, or in the crossfire of a battle.
They were not taunting armed troops or throwing things at them.

There was no one in the window next to them shooting out.

They were murdered in cold blood by a complete stranger, who knew he was killing total innocents. He was encompassed by hate, a hate so pure and so hot that it burned away his most basic instincts for self-preservation. He thought he was doing it for his God and his Nation. Even though the ones who went before only brought more pain upon their people.

A man like that should be a curse on his parents, an eternal shame to his family. His remains should be buried quietly, early in the morning when no one is around to talk about the horror and the insanity of his actions and his death.

But inconcievably, this is not the case. He has a hero’s funeral. His coffin is paraded through the streets with gunfire and great shouting, an honored soldier, a fallen martyr. The people know his crime, but they name streets after him, put his portrait up in schools as a great man to be emulated. His family is paid thousands of dollars since he was killed in the struggle for his nation. Toddlers are dressed up as suicide bombers. Radios and preachers encourage martyrdom just like his.

This society must be a nightmare, an inversion of all that is expected of civilization. It cannot be real. Of all the tragedies and hardships that people have been exposed to, they have never bred a seething, all consuming hatred that compares to this.

Sayeed, you have asked why the Palestinian plight was not addressed by OSC. Some of us have pointed out that worse was done to other people, or by other people. You responded that two wrongs don’t make a right. But if you complain I am breaking your wrist, I think it is reasonable to point out that you have a knife in my chest. Sure, I should stop hurting your arm, but am I required to do that before you take the knife out? When you are twisting it with hatred and your friends cheer you on? As your parents ask you to stop, but refuse to take action?

You asked for the cause of violence by Palestinians and Israelis. I think we all know them. Now we need to evaluate them.

I have shown you a part of my vision of what terrorists do. Compare that to roadblocks which can be passed after waiting. Compare that to fences which can be torn down or moved. Compare that to settlement houses which can be torn down or sold. Compare that to Palestinian houses that can be rebuilt. Compare that to disputed land which can be transferred. If you think that any of these are any justification for the terrorism, then we are too far apart for any discussion to have a useful outcome.

The one possible excuse for the terrorists motives is this: if the Israelis were guilty of targeting innocent civilians with no pretext of stopping past and future murderers, I can see the hatred might be insurmountable. (Even with that instigation, the terrorists should be stopped by the Palestinian Authority)

But you don’t accuse the Israelis of using the same tactics as the terrorists. Because they don't.

So we know the reasons. We can evaluate them for their validity.

My solution is to stop the terrorists. By force, the only way. If Palestinian society is so in favor of the terrorists that stopping them will cause civil war, then I question the wisdom of allowing them to have their own state. And I think few would disagree that the likelihood of a Palestinian state would be much higher if the terrorist groups were truly dismantled.

What do you suggest Israel do to solve the problem?

V

[Edited to add Tokyo and Berlin, add a solution, and neaten up a little)

[ December 02, 2003, 08:43 AM: Message edited by: velcro ]

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twinky
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Wow, this thread has been quite a read. [Smile]

I have no content to add myself, but I just wanted to say 'hello' to Sayeed from one Canadian of Arab descent to another.

Salaam aleik. [Smile]

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ag
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quote:
Toddlers are dressed up as suicide bombers.
And wearing Israeli produced sandals. See http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/elder_2003_12_01.php3
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Sayeed
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Hello,

-------------------------------

***Velcro***

Excellent post.

I understand and respect your desire to prevent questionable facts to go unchallenged.

One thing I would advise you to be is a bit more careful with your language. I feel you will receive a lot of undeserved flak for specific word choice. For example, when you said "They are justified in feeling hatred." I think we both will probably agree that hatred is never useful or "justified," but people will take it literally and inevitably a "moral" battle with one side accusing the other side of justifying terrorism will break out. It would probably be better to say how their hatred is understandable, or unpreventable, though I guess we also both know that won't stop the misunderstandings. [Frown] .

I think you've written a very touching and accurate description of atrocities committed against Israeli citizens. I would warn, you, however, to watch how you make comparisons. The threat to Palestinian society is a threat to life itself. I am not only talking about dicrect military excesses, or unpunished civilian violence, but in reference tothings like roadblocks, land acquisitions, house demolitions. Granted it is a more surreptious threat, an indirect threat, but it is a matter of life itself, a great threat to the lives of the majority of Palestinian Arabs on the West Bank. It costs lives. It is a threat to life caused by actions with "no pretext of stopping past and future murderers." I would not agree with your post, however, where you said that such a that would "excuse" such motives. Such a threat might EXPLAIN them, but I think to "excuse" something is a whole new ballgame, and I'm not sure if I want to play that game.

I think one important point to come from your knife analogy is the importance of noting all factors. Intead of just seeing a broken wrist, see a knife in my chest. Instead of just looking at that, look at the surrounding people and situations. Look even beyond that. In a situation where the only thing one knows about the situation is a metaphorical knife in the chest and a wrist being broken, it is important to note that we have no information to choose correctly. One side can complain about a broken wrist, and another may complain about being stabbed, but the amount of the damage is only one aspect of the struggle. If the amount of damage being inflicted presently was conclusive as to the moral righteousness, I would conclude that it was the Palestinians who were morally superior. However it isn't so simple. For example, I wouldn't say that Toronto gangs have moral superiority because they are the ones in jail, that the police are morally weak. What about if all the people in jail are black? What if gangs only target black people for recruitment? What if the gangs recruitment procedures are controlled by politicians? What if the gangs control the politicians campaign funding? It is important to ask more and more questions before the entire situation is fully understood. It is important to understand this before a solution is addressed.

In my earlier posts, Velcro, I addressed this. A poster recently stated that he did not have time for a 10 page post about the causes of the conflict, but I think many posts starting with solutions are themselves very long or too short. Too short because they degrade into irrelevancies (historical or otherwsie) and end inconclusively, very long either because the main issues cannot be addressed, or beause, eventually, the causes of the terrorism must again be addressed and agreed upon before someone can continue. Either way, the discussion will be long, but starting by discussing the causes of terrorism to begin with I believe will save time, and focus on the major disagreements in such conversations.

Keep in mind, I'm not talking about "causes" in a limited sense. The cause of me sitting where I am sitting may be the need for me to be in this room. However, the cause may also be the comfort of the couch. The fact that the cow from whom the leather for this couch came was slaughtered at a certain time may have had something to do with me buying the couch. My income in being able to afford the couch is another reason. Negatives such as the fact that my family did NOT call me out to go somewhere might also be seen as a cause.

What is important is not to list all the causes, because this will go on ad infinitum, but to understand causes which are

(1) most significant, and
(2) useful to finding a solution.

Sure, looking at the historical causes of violence will produce more sympathy for Palestinians, sympathy which is needed when people treat them all as "baby-killers." However, how far will an understanding of historical causes go towards finding a modern solution? Not very. Current causes? Now they will help. It's like this, I think it's commonly believed that put a man in the life another man, give him the same childhood, the same influences, the same friends, family, and environment, and he will end up substantially the same as anyone else who lives that life. So what causes a man to do things, the part that we can change, is his EXPERIENCE. To find the true cause of the violence, we have to look there. Thus, when we are trying to change people, to make them more violent, to make them more peaceful, to make them more or less effective, to make them more or less of anything, then we need to change the quality of their experience.

That said, I think that while we might believe that "we know the reasons," we quite likely don't AGREE on them. What is the use of positing a solution when we do not agree on the causes that solution purports to address?

What do you suggest are the signifincant and useful causes of the violence on both sides?

(On a side note, at the end of your post you asked what "Israel do to solve the problem." I was wondering if focusing on Israel was significant. By that, I mean to ask whether you think that the ineffectiveness of the Palestinian government was one of the causes of the conflict, does it put the burden entirely on Israel to act?)

Again, beautiful post.

--------------------------
***Ag***

Ag, from your post, it seems that you believe that one of the aforementioned causes is a violent interpretation of Islam, is this correct? What are the other main causes in your opinion?

--------------------------
***twinky***

Wa Alaikum Salaam, Twinky.

I hope "quite a read" means a good read. [Smile]

May I ask where in Canada you live?

Ma Salaam,

'Sayeed.

[ December 03, 2003, 01:20 PM: Message edited by: Sayeed ]

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velcro
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Sayeed,

First of all, please do not assume that “looking at the historical causes of violence will produce more sympathy for Palestinians”. While you are convinced of this, I and many others believe quite the opposite. But that can be discussed another time.

Regarding experience as a cause of violence, I agree. To a large extent, the experience of the Palestinians is the constant hatred of Israel and Jews fed to them by their leaders. It is the life of a people without a country, because their leaders rejected all opportunities for one, in 1948, from 1948-1967 when Arab countries controlled what is now hoped to be Palestine, and shortly after 1967 when Israel offered land for peace and was rejected. Their neighbors conspired to keep them as refugees by refusing to absorb them for decades. Now Israel’s most hawkish leader has accepted the concept of a Palestinian state. The other half of the solution is to change the culture of hatred. The first step is to actively stop the terrorists.

Regarding current causes of violence, we DO agree on them. They are fences, roadblocks, incursions, tanks, targeted killings (assassinations). But as I said, they do not compare to the cold-blooded terrorist attacks. And I firmly believe that without the terrorist attacks, the fences, roadblocks, etc. would not exist.

Regarding Israel’s actions against the Palestinians, with all due respect, I vehemently disagree. The point of my post describing terrorism was to show it is in no way equivalent to road blocks, land acquisitions, house demolitions. No way. Israel’s actions affect quality of life, but they cannot be compared to cold-blooded hate-inspired mass murder.

So maybe I am being close-minded, but I have been thinking about this for a few years, and my conclusion is this:

Stop the terrorists.
It is the moral thing to do, no matter what the conditions. It is the smart thing to do to get a Palestinian state as quickly as possible.

Until the terrorists are stopped, there is nothing else worth doing. Peace talks with people who will not or cannot stop the terrorists are useless. Concessions by Israel reward terrorism, guaranteeing it will continue because it gets results.

Stop the terrorists.

Sayeed, please do me the favor of answering this question directly. In all your postings, I do not think you have adressed this.

Do you think the terrorists should be stopped unconditionally? If not what are the conditions?

V

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twinky
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I'm from Nova Scotia, though I currently live in Ontario. I'm about to graduate from university, though, so who knows where I'll wind up... [Smile]
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Tom Bailey
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quote:
Regarding current causes of violence, we DO agree on them. They are fences, roadblocks, incursions, tanks, targeted killings (assassinations). But as I said, they do not compare to the cold-blooded terrorist attacks. And I firmly believe that without the terrorist attacks, the fences, roadblocks, etc. would not exist.

I do not understand how you can consider the palestinians terrorists and not the isrealis. The only real difference seems to be the sophistication of the weapons used. Both sides kill the innocent.

Those targeted assasinations often take more lives than the intended target.

Cards essay spoke of the tank commander who spared the bottling plant knowing that civilians would be killed if he had chosen to destroy it. But if it had been tactically important say he was being fired at from there he would not have hesitated to blow it up. And he would have killed the civilians he spared this time.

You know in other battles at other places that is just what happened. And yes he would be sorry about the collateral damage but that would be cold comfort for the friends and relatives of the dead.

In the story about the bus and the mother and babe who were killed you left out the part about the soldier who was also on the bus and a legitimate target. You do not allow the palestinian to have forgiveness for the collateral damage like you do the isrealis. That is your blind spot.

Do you think a suicide bomber would prefer to kill a dozen babies or a dozen soldiers with his death? In the heat of the moment though he often does not get to pick his target or take the ones he wants and leave the ones he does not.

One thing I am forced to respect however is that the palestinian is willing to sacrifice his own life in atonement for the innocents he kills. I don't see that kind of commitment on the part of the isrealis.

nobody warns palestinian mothers cradling babies in their arms that a smart missile is on the way to the house next door where a suspected terrorist lives. But to make sure the target is eliminated the missile will blow up the whole block and that mother and child as well.

To the palestinians that seems like as cold blooded a murder as any bus bombing. And no isreali soldier paid with his life for it. No it was sent on its mission with the push of a button.

And no trial to prove the suspect really was a terrorist in the first place either.

As I have said both sides have plenty of guilt to spread around. Laying blame will do no good though. They must find a way to forgive. Let the palestinians take up arms to defend the jews and let the jews take up arms to defend the palestinians.

When they recognize each other as brothers and answer hate and fear with love and comfort then there will be peace.

And it will be a cold day in hell I expect. Such love as that will require no doubt would freeze the devils heart.

Tom Bailey

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velcro
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Tom,

There was no soldier on the bus. There was no soldier in the room when a woman was shot point blank in her home. And if there happened to be a soldier in the family restaurant, or outside a synagogue among the strollers, or at the Passover celebration, it was by accident. The terrorists have admitted that any man woman or child in Israel, soldier or not, is a valid target. Not an unfortunate byproduct of attacking active fighters, but a target. This is fact.

Your respect for the suicide bomber disturbs me. Hitler had that commitment. Al-Qaeda has that commitment. I respect leaders who are willing to risk their lives while doing what is unpopular, but right, like Ghandi or Martin Luther King. I respect the Palestinians who stand up to oppose the terrorism, knowing that they will be attacked by their leaders for doing so.

You claim that an Israeli who is trying to stop a terrorist attack is himself a terrorist if any civilians are harmed by his actions. By your logic, anyone who takes action that harms an innocent, knowing their actions may cause harm, is a terrorist. A drunk driver perhaps. Definitely a police officer in a high speed chase who hits another car. And unquestionably any soldier in any war who injured a civilian in any way. So bombing Berlin to end WWII was a terrorist act. It may have seemed that way to the residents, but an objective observer knows that is not the truth.

Your definition dilutes the term to meaninglessness, so that true terrorists feel no shame for the title. I believe a terrorist is someone who targets completely innocent people to terrorize a population into changing their political views. That is what Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizbollah regularly do, without question. Israel does not meet the definition.

You say that the Israeli commander would be sorry about the collateral damage. I can assure you, the suicide bomber was not sorry. That is what makes him a terrorist.

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Tom Bailey
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quote:
There was no soldier on the bus.
Isreal for good or ill is an armed camp. It is hard to go anywhere and not be in the presence of a soldier. There is a decent chance the mother herself was one.

quote:
. The terrorists have admitted that any man woman or child in Israel, soldier or not, is a valid target. Not an unfortunate byproduct of attacking active fighters, but a target. This is fact.

What difference is there to the child or its parents if the child was deliberately targeted or just the by product of some other attack? I believe what you have is palestinians saying you have killed our children. We claim the right to kill yours in reprisal.

Now I do not agree with this policy. You see in all my posts on this thread the constant call for forgiveness not revenge. But I am dispassionate enough to see both sides. Forgiveness can not stick if there is no repentence.

In another thread I forgave Jedi for paying armed men to assault kidnap and rob me. Then of course the next day he sent in new payments. If I excersized my God given rights his employees would once again assault kidnap and rob me. This time they may even kill me. This is a new crime and needs renewed forgiveness or justice.

quote:
Your respect for the suicide bomber disturbs me. Hitler had that commitment.
I disagree. Oh I admit in the end he is said to have commited suicide. But he did not do so to expiate his crime. He did not do so to carry on an attack against his enemies. He simply did it to avoid the ignominy of being captured and tried and most likely tortured and then executed. Hitler did it, if he really did at all, for his own convenience.

quote:
You claim that an Israeli who is trying to stop a terrorist attack is himself a terrorist if any civilians are harmed by his actions. By your logic, anyone who takes action that harms an innocent, knowing their actions may cause harm, is a terrorist.
Yep. Now you understand. Just because he may sit in an oval office when he pushes the button that drops missiles into a residential area because he thinks the leader of his enemies may have taken refuge there does not make the children who die in that neighborhood any less innocent.

Perhaps it is only that I live in the south and remember when wars were expected to be fought between men of chivalry and honor. I remember the first time the demopublicans (before they even were demopublicans) made war on the civilian population.

It was the War of Northern Aggression when they burned the Shenandoah Valley so that even a crow flying over it would have to carry his own rations. I remember the mile wide gash burnt across Georgia. Making war on civilians is what demopublicans do. That is how they break their enemies.

The innocent are just that. Innocent. Anyone who harms an innocent is guilty of a crime. Even if it was accidental he owes restitution for the harm he has caused that innocent. You want to ignore that for your side but you want to condemn the palestinians for it when their side does it.

And despite the fact that the jews have killed four times as many innocents as the palestinians have you justify those deaths by claiming they were an unavoidable accident.

Well it is not unavoidable. All you have to do is not fire that missile just like all the palestinians have to do is not strap on that bomb. At least that palestinian won't repeat his mistake or his crime. But the isreali will.

quote:
So bombing Berlin to end WWII was a terrorist act. It may have seemed that way to the residents, but an objective observer knows that is not the truth.

What is more terrifying than war? War is terrorism. All we are talking about is scale. You only offer the example of Berlin because you think WWII was justified and so that justifies the dead german children.

Maybe you are right and maybe you are wrong. But this tit for tat isreali arab war is not designed to bring an actual end. It is only designed to pass the misery on from one generation to the next forever.

The palestinians know they are not going to wipe out the isrealis with these tactics. And the jews know they can not do a final solution against the palestinians or they will suffer the condemnation of the world. So they are stalemated.

My hero Robert E Lee was offered this option. At appomatox and afterward there were those who wanted to continue southern resistance through guerrilla war. But he said no.

quote:
Your definition dilutes the term to meaninglessness, so that true terrorists feel no shame for the title.
Oh I don't know. I expect Bush would be distressed to hear himself labeled terrorist in chief. Of course he would deny it so you know he would feel no shame from being called one. But he attacked Saddam without proof or provocation.

Bush's attack on Saddam resulted in thousands of deaths among the innocent civilian population. but Bush shows no shame for those deaths. Just as you seem to feel the isrealis should feel no shame for the innocents they have killed either.

I believe Bush and the isrealis have rendered the term terrorist meaningless. Not I. Bush is I suppose the worst offender. his definition of a terrorist is anyone not 'with' him. He does not bother with finding an innocent victim first.

To Bush terrorist merely means enemy or opponent. Now I call that reducing the word to meaninglessness.

quote:
I believe a terrorist is someone who targets completely innocent people to terrorize a population into changing their political views. That is what Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizbollah regularly do, without question. Israel does not meet the definition.

Yes they do. For instance that tank commander knew innocents would die if he fired on the bottling plant. But he would have deliberately fired on it anyway if he was directly ordered to or if he was fired on from it. According to Cards essay it was a close call as it was and if he had decided differently he would have felt as justified as you sound.

He would not have meant to kill civilians. He was just stopping the production of potential munitions. The collatoral damage was only an unfortunate side effect. But he would have deliberately fired on the plant and he would have known that would result in innocent deaths.

So what would really have been the difference?

quote:
You say that the Israeli commander would be sorry about the collateral damage. I can assure you, the suicide bomber was not sorry.
He is dead. If you think he is not sorry why would he pay so high a price? But maybe you are right. Maybe his sorrow would be as hollow and meaningless as the isreali commanders. So just how unjustly do you think you would have to believe you had been treated to be willing to die for revenge?

quote:
That is what makes him a terrorist.
No being willing to die for revenge is not what makes a terrorist. Willingness to kill innocents for a cause is what makes a terrorist. And whether the cause is maintaining th worldwide oil monopoly or just an effort to reclaim an acre of desert all those who harm innocents for a cause are brothers after a fashion no matter what name you call their tribe.

Tom Bailey

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Tom Bailey
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quote:
There was no soldier on the bus.
Isreal for good or ill is an armed camp. It is hard to go anywhere and not be in the presence of a soldier. There is a descent chance the mother herself was one.

quote:
. The terrorists have admitted that any man woman or child in Israel, soldier or not, is a valid target. Not an unfortunate byproduct of attacking active fighters, but a target. This is fact.

What difference is there to the child or its parents if the child was deliberately targeted or just the by product of some other attack? I believe what you have is palestinians saying you have killed our children. We claim the right to kill yours in reprisal.

Now I do not agree with this policy. You see in all my posts on this thread the constant call for forgiveness not revenge. But I am dispassionate enough to see both sides. Forgiveness can not stick if there is no repentence.

In another thread I forgave Jedi for paying armed men to assault kidnap and rob me. Then of course the next day he sent in new payments. If I excersized my God given rights his employees would once again assault kidnap and rob me. This time they may even kill me. This is a new crime and needs renewed forgiveness or justice.

The iwsrealis and the palestinians are not only going to have to forgive each other for past injustice they are going to have to stop killing each other in the future as well.

quote:
Your respect for the suicide bomber disturbs me. Hitler had that commitment.
I disagree. Oh I admit in the end he is said to have commited suicide. But he did not do so to expiate his crime or even to further his cause. He did not do so to carry on an attack against his enemies. He simply did it to avoid the ignominy of being captured and tried and most likely tortured and then executed. Hitler did it, if he really did at all, for his own convenience.

quote:
You claim that an Israeli who is trying to stop a terrorist attack is himself a terrorist if any civilians are harmed by his actions. By your logic, anyone who takes action that harms an innocent, knowing their actions may cause harm, is a terrorist.
Yep. Now you understand. Just because he may sit in an oval office when he pushes the button that drops missiles into a residential area because he thinks the leader of his enemies may have taken refuge there does not make the children who die in that neighborhood any less innocent or him any less their murderer.

Perhaps it is only that I live in the south and remember when wars were expected to be fought between men of chivalry and honor. I remember the first time the demopublicans (before they even were demopublicans) made war on the civilian population.

It was the War of Northern Aggression when they burned the Shenandoah Valley so that even a crow flying over it would have to carry his own rations. I remember the mile wide gash burnt across Georgia. Making war on civilians is what demopublicans do. That is how they break their enemies.

The innocent are just that. Innocent. Anyone who harms an innocent is guilty of a crime. Even if it was accidental he owes restitution for the harm he has caused that innocent. You want to ignore that for your side but you want to condemn the palestinians for it when their side does it.

And despite the fact that the jews have killed four times as many innocents as the palestinians have you justify those deaths by claiming they were an unavoidable accident.

Well it is not unavoidable. All you have to do is not fire that missile just like all the palestinians have to do is not strap on that bomb. At least that palestinian won't repeat his mistake or his crime. But the isreali will. Maybe that is why the casualty list is so lop sided.

quote:
So bombing Berlin to end WWII was a terrorist act. It may have seemed that way to the residents, but an objective observer knows that is not the truth.

What is more terrifying than war? War is terrorism. All we are talking about is scale. You only offer the example of Berlin because you think WWII was justified and so that justifies the dead german children.

Maybe you are right and maybe you are wrong. But this tit for tat isreali arab war is not designed to bring an actual end. It is only designed to pass the misery on from one generation to the next forever.

The palestinians know they are not going to wipe out the isrealis with these tactics. And the jews know they can not do a final solution against the palestinians or they will suffer the condemnation of the world. So they are stalemated.

My hero Robert E Lee was offered this option. At appomatox and afterward there were those who wanted to continue southern resistance through guerrilla war. But he said no.

quote:
Your definition dilutes the term to meaninglessness, so that true terrorists feel no shame for the title.
Oh I don't know. I expect Bush would be distressed to hear himself labeled terrorist in chief. Of course he would deny it so perhaps you are right. He would feel no shame from being called terrorist. But he attacked Saddam without proof or provocation.

Bush's attack on Saddam resulted in thousands of deaths among the innocent civilian population. But Bush shows no shame for those deaths. Just as you seem to feel the isrealis should feel no shame for the innocents they have killed either.

I believe Bush has rendered the term terrorist meaningless. Not I. His definition of a terrorist is anyone not 'with' him. He does not bother with finding an innocent victim first. And he certainly does not feel compelled to offer any proof for his accusations much less an opportunity for his accused to answer the charges.

To Bush terrorist merely means enemy or opponent. Now I call that reducing the word to meaninglessness.

quote:
I believe a terrorist is someone who targets completely innocent people to terrorize a population into changing their political views. That is what Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizbollah regularly do, without question. Israel does not meet the definition.

Yes they do. For instance that tank commander knew innocents would die if he fired on the bottling plant. But he would have deliberately fired on it anyway if he was directly ordered to or if he was fired on from it. According to Cards essay it was a close call as it was and if he had decided differently he would have felt as justified as you sound.

He would not have meant to kill civilians. He was just stopping the production of potential munitions. The collatoral damage was only an unfortunate side effect.

But he would have deliberately fired on the plant and he would have known that would result in innocent deaths. In other times and places the decision went the other way. In fact according to the essay that was the only decision that went in favor of the innocents on that mission.

So what would really have been the difference?

quote:
You say that the Israeli commander would be sorry about the collateral damage. I can assure you, the suicide bomber was not sorry.
He was dead. If you think he is not sorry why would he pay so high a price? But maybe you are right. Maybe his sorrow would be as hollow and meaningless as the isreali commanders. So just how unjustly do you think you would have to believe you had been treated to be willing to die for revenge and without regret?

quote:
That is what makes him a terrorist.
No being willing to die for revenge is not what makes a terrorist. Willingness to kill innocents for a cause is what makes a terrorist. And whether the cause is maintaining the worldwide oil monopoly or just an effort to reclaim an acre of desert all those who harm innocents for a cause are brothers after a fashion no matter what name you call their tribe.

You want me to believe some are justified in killing innocents and some are not. That is a hard pill to swallow even in the theoretical. But you also want me to believe that the isrealis are justified in killing innocents but the palestinians are not.

Yet I don't see much more than a two percent difference between one semite and another.

Tom Bailey

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WarrsawPact
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Wrong, Tom Bailey.

The ONLY thing that makes a terrorist is someone who is willing to cause FEAR -- to politicians, to civilians, to NGO's, to military leaders, whoever makes a difference -- to attain a political objective. PERIOD.

This doesn't always entail killing someone, though clearly death is a great transmitter of fear. This doesn't always involve sacrificing your own life either.

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MannyJ
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A few days later, but what the heck, someone may still be hanging around. . .

Fascinating thread. On the "what is a terrorist" question, aka "what is a moral way to wage war," some thoughts:

Waging war solely against soldiers is useless. It's absurd -- if the rule is "I will do nothing harmful to my enemy except destroy his army," then the enemy can avoid all trouble simply by disbanding the army. That makes no sense. War is fought in order to have an effect on civilians. Many modern Americans seem not to grasp that, thus the horror at killing, starving, and expelling enemies -- i.e., doing anything at all to them. "It's a revolution, we've got to offend SOMEBODY."

On the other extreme, simply a-bombing civilians until the other side gives up is effective but ghastly. So, we make rules of war. Compromises. And we fudge the edges.

But when there is no formal war -- with two states, an army, a commander authorized to declare effective cease-fire, that sort of thing -- we have no rules, and must think out what our best compromise position is.

In this context, there are at least 4 kinds of activity that have been called "terrorist." In my opinion, there is a clear moral difference between them, although arguably all are worse than formal war, and worse yet than peaceful settlements. In moral order, they are:

1) Undeclared sneak attacks on military personnel and equipment and/or suppliers. Reduces enemy strength, and disrupts his operations far out of proportion to the harm done. This is what the IRA mostly does.

The King David Hotel attack, often used as a prototype of Israeli "terrorism," is of this sort (the hotel was the British military HQ at the time). This type of attack sometimes kills civilians, like any military attack, but that is not the goal or the intention. The problem is, you can't always _find_ the other side's military. So, next best is

2) In terrorem attacks on civilians to accomplish some particular short-term goal, especially to discourage support for combatants. This is a very standard tactic against guerillas, as in Vietnam. The Shenandoah Valley campaign is another example.

Israel uses it a LOT -- everything from punitive expeditions against Arab towns hosting fighters in the pre-1948 period, to modern-day wholesale house demolition in the general region of an unfindable bomber. It may or may not involve killing (house demolitions usually don't, for example). The point is to break civilian morale and strip combatants of supplies and support.

3. In terrorem, arbitrary attacks on civilians, the more innocent the better, to accomplish a long-term goal. The point here is to break the morale of the entire enemy nation, not to stop any particular combatant(s) or punish any particular episode of aid & comfort. This is very similar to number (2), but I distinguish them because there is NOTHING the target can do to avoid number (3). The villagers of My Lai could theoretically at least have flown American flags and kicked out the Vietcong Lt. Calley was chasing. To do so would have meant their deaths, but at least Calley's choice of them wasn't completely arbitrary. The various Palestinian terrorist groups seem to be doing this one. Arguably, so was the U.S. at Hiroshima.

One of the truly upsetting things about Palestinian terrorism is that from the beginning (the Achille Lauro hijacking) it has concentrated almost exclusively on this sort of attack, apparently never considering the possibly moral implications.

The practical problem with this sort of attack is that it doesn't work if (a) you can't kill enough of the enemy to matter, or (b) his back is up against a wall. Thus, Islamic Jihad seems to believe that the Jews really can leave, and really will if only they are scared enough. They're wrong, which means the deaths are wasted even from their point of view.

(4) Nihilistic terrorism. This is the ultimate evil, the Osama Bin Laden type of random, terrorizing attack performed solely to satisfy hatred. Bin Laden made no demands, had no realistic goals (undoing the conquest of Andulasia, for example, is not going to happen, and certainly not because the WTC falls down. Nor will female soldiers retroactively not have walked on the holy sands of etc.)

This is what the Palestinian groups look like a lot of the time to the outside world -- as when they erupt because a Jew dared walk on the Temple Mount after clearing the visit with Palestinian authorities. There is very little to be done with this sort of terrorist except shoot him/her on sight: by definition, nothing but death will satisfy this one, and there are never too many deaths.

The public debate about terrorism (is it ever justified, what do you do about it) lumps all of these together. This causes a great deal of moral confusion.

"The difference between bad and worse is always sharper and more significant than the difference between good and bad."

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MannyJ
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Oh, by the way, I meant "archetype," not "prototype."
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Sayeed
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Hello All,

Been busy, sorry I couldn't reply soon.

--------------------

***Velcro***

Again, I could spend of time on 1948 and 1967 onwards and from what I hear you saying, it seems my opinions would conflict a lot with yours. But to me, that's blood under the bridge, which flows just as swifty away as water.

"Regarding current causes of violence, we DO agree on them. They are fences, roadblocks, incursions, tanks, targeted killings (assassinations). But as I said, they do not compare to the cold-blooded terrorist attacks. And I firmly believe that without the terrorist attacks, the fences, roadblocks, etc. would not exist."

I have heard it said on this post how Islam is a cause of the violence, and you have talked about how leaders feeding violence to people is a cause of violence and I would agree. But what do you mean that we agree on how the incursions, tanks, targeted killings, etc. are a cause of violence? If you think they are a cause of the violence, how so?

Furthermore, you talk alot about how those acts and Palestinian terrorism are not "equivalent" and do not "compare?" Who on this board has said they are equivalent?

What I DID say is that they are a threat to life, and I do not think you would disagree with me there. For an example, the economic burdens of debt repayment perhaps have killed more people in countries around the world then any war we can think about. A Threat to Life, not directly with an axe, but directly or indirectly as you would call it through starvation. The West Bank is starving, is being starved. I remember looking at some statistics of its economy, and it is wretched. People die due to lack of food, lack of medical attention, and other reasons quite apart from targetted killings. But let us suppose we have a completely arbitrary scale, and the murder of one person is on that scale. If we had to choose between that and 1 person starving to death, which would be worse? 10 people starving? 100 people starving? 100,000? What if we had to choose between murder and 100,000 people living in desperate poverty? Desperate poverty and losing family members? Desperate poverty, terrible loss, and no hope for the future? And maimed? 1,000,000 people in this condition?

It's tough to make decisions like this, but at one point I think most people would say that the suffering caused to the many (quite APART from the death that suffering produces) is "worse" than the complete and quick murder of one. Of two. Of three. Of ten.

It's a difficult moral question. And you would be very right if you said that putting them on the same scale, if that is all you do, is a limited action. But at some point we have to decide between doing 2 things, and one will cause death, and one will cause much suffering (aside from death), and so we will have to ponder these issues anyways.

I write all this in response to your post about terrorism vs. Israeli actions. In this issue, however, one some levels we don't have to compare these, because poverty has a habit of causing quite a lot more death than murder.

-------------------------

"Do you think the terrorists should be stopped unconditionally? If not what are the conditions?"

"Should be" stopped? Of course, I think all violence except that limited consensual violence that goes on in martial art arenas and character building violence that occasionally goes on between friends or strangers SHOULD be stopped. Conditions on whom? I feel this is difficult to understand because you may be assuming that I know your mind better than I do. For example, like I know you are talking about conditions on the Israeli government or Palestinian leadership, or leadership of Hamas and such organizations or such. There is an infinite world of possible solutions, however.

In a proper discussion of a solution, a scientific one, only the, at best, idealistic and, at worst, reckless or prejudiced jump to create one without first agreeing on facts and definitions. If the world worked like this we would not have science or technology, and I do not see why a political problem should be dealt with any less logically or scientifically. Velcro, I am not completely sure you can say that "we DO agree" on the truth about the causes of terrorism. To do that wouldn't you have to have ASKED me what they were? Have Asked me if I even HAVE an opinion on what they are? I suppose a lot of limited assumptions can be made from my first post, but a lot of that would be grouping me into categories and ascribing opinions to me which I don't have. (A lot of that has been done on this board.) So that we don't come up with or discuss solutions that don't or poorly address those problems, we would have to discuss those causes and how important they are and actually may best be addressed?

If in some discussion, it is easy to quicly and wrongly dismiss a solution due to uncounterable bias/prejudice or faulty logic or factual ignorance, it is the discussion where the foundation, the basis, has not been agreed upon.

-----------------------------

***Tom Bailey***

Very interesting viewpoint. Have I heard you right and do you believe that making the choice to kill civilians or killing them without compensation is NEVER morally justified?

Read what I posted above to Velcro and about the difficult moral choice. I think that relates much to what you were writing above.

What about a hostage situation? What is the best action in such circumstances?

-------------------------

***Many J***

Indeed this thread has been fascinating. Insightful post, though I usually hesitate in calling things "evil." Smacks too much of a simple black/white dichotomy.

------------------------

Good posts all,

Ma Salaam,

'Sayeed

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Tom Bailey
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quote:
***Tom Bailey***

Very interesting viewpoint. Have I heard you right and do you believe that making the choice to kill civilians or killing them without compensation is NEVER morally justified?

Yes. Although

(1) there is always an exception that proves the rule. though I am not sure what it would be in this case.

and
(2) perfection is hard ot achieve even for me. I may not be strong enough to live with my beliefs.

All that said I also think the only way the mid east is going to see peace is both sides to adopt the above philosophy no matter how hard it may be. But I do not think they are any stronger than I so perhaps the situation truely is hopeless.

Tom Bailey

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Pete at Home
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quote:
... from this essay, it seems to me that Orson Scott Card Speaks for the Living as if all they are is what everyone thinks they are.
Perhaps when they are dead, more dead then the whole nation of Palestine already is, he will speak differently. Perhaps his skill, and his grace, comes from speaking for the dead, for the fictional.

It's easier to be skillful and graceful when speaking of the dead, or of the fictional, because the dead and the fictional cannot try to kill you or your friends. It's easier to be fair to a dead wife-beater, or to a terrorist, when he no longer theatens the innocent.

That's precisely why terrorism is the worst possible tool for accomplishing any goal that requires mutual understanding.

Can you propose anything that the Israelis could do to make peace with the Palestinians that would not require *trusting* the individuals that are currently murdering Israeli children, or aiding, abetting, and celebrating the murderers?

Is it reasonable to ask someone to trust under such circumstances?

[ December 11, 2003, 06:00 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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velcro
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Sayeed,

To be honest, I am getting a little frustrated. I asked if you think terrorism should be stopped unconditionally. Your response was that all violence should be stopped. That answer is generalized to the point of meaninglessness. You condemn spanking and mass murder with equal intensity. I strongly believe that the type of terrorism I described is far worse than any other kind of violence.

quote:

Furthermore, you talk alot about how those acts and Palestinian terrorism are not "equivalent" and do not "compare?" Who on this board has said they are equivalent?

You did.

quote:

As to who is the aggressor, I would say that suicide bombing is an aggressive act. However, I would also say that enforcing an apartheid is also an aggressive act. Differentiating between people based on race is a different form of aggression, but one nonetheless. I know it may not seem that way, but I would like to demonstrate how they should be considered equivalent.

Also by lumping them together as “all violence should be stopped”.

My point is that one is heinous, useless, and hate inspired, and the other is tragic, but with a purpose to reduce violence overall. In my mind, very very clearly, one is evil, the other is bad but necessary to stop the evil. The evil is so much worse than anything else in the equation, it is not worth talking about anything else until both sides agree to stop the evil, and both sides DO something.

Your argument about equating the quick murder of a few to the suffering of thousands is flawed in several important ways.

1. The quick murder does absolutely nothing to reduce the suffering of the thousands. We do not have to “decide between doing 2 things”. Stopping the murder will help stop the suffering.
2. The suffering of thousands is a result of crimes committed by a few, but supported by the thousands. While the injustice that inspired the crimes may be real, the crimes are NOT justified. Reasonable efforts to stop the crimes ARE justified.
3.
quote:


It's tough to make decisions like this, but at one point I think most people would say that the suffering caused to the many (quite APART from the death that suffering produces) is "worse" than the complete and quick murder of one. Of two. Of three. Of ten.

It is not at all tough. All societies have laws against murder of innocents. Few have laws against laying off workers, or increasing the price of milk, or raising taxes, or cutting government services. All of these can cause suffering and death indirectly. But it is clear that there is no comparison to murder.

So I will rephrase the question:

The terrorism I described serves no purpose, is entirely unfair, and is extremely harmful. There are people with the ability and responsibility to stop the terrorism. Their first priority should be to eliminate terrorism as soon as possible, with no preconditions on anyone.

The actions of the Israelis are at least in some part a reasonable reaction to terrorism. The actions are not completely unfair, in that the targets are known terrorists. They are extremely harmful. There are people with the ability and responsibility to stop Israeli actions against the Palestinians performed the name of anti-terrorism. Their first priority is to stop those actions as soon as possible-AFTER the terrorism has been eliminated, with no other preconditions on anyone.

Do you agree?

I don’t mean to be rude, but I would like to ask you a favor. Please try to answer as directly as possible, and try to address the last question before responding to my lead-in comments. I am very interested in your response, and often in forums like this the tangents overwhelm the major points. I do not mean to limit your response in any way, only to ask to focus first on my last question.

Thanks,

V

P.S. I tried to email you through ornery, but it did not work. I have some details I would like to discuss. Email me if you want to talk about them.

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KnightEnder
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I was rereading Ender's Shadow for the third time, my son is doing a book report on it. Man OSC is a great writer. However, reading it after learning of his political views and reading his political musings, it struck me differently.

SPOILER kinda; At the end of ES, he states that the Formic's lose because they have learned the wrong lessons about us (that we hold every life sacred). They haven't learned that this isn't always true. He goes on to speak about our willingness to strap bombs to our bodies and blow ourselves up in order to take the enemy with us. IMO he speaks of this as a admirable quality here, but it is evil when the Palestinian's do it. I happen to agree with him, and I guess it can be argued that it is honorable when done to take the enemy out, and dishonorable when done to kill civilians. Still, I find it educational as an aspiring writer, and OSC fan. Fan of his writing of course, not his politics.

KE

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Sayeed
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Hello,

----------------------

***Velcro***

I prefer dealing with the first points first and the last points last. You've probably noticed, my posts are rather long, and it gives me some organization. I think I address almost every point in my replies though, which isn't bad, eh? Rest assured, I will address your last response.

Thank you for pointing out my misuse of words. I thought it would become clear in my later posts, but I apparently have not put enough work into making it clear. They are not "equivalent." That was a misstatement. Apples are not oranges and it would be ridiculous to call them seo. They CAN, however, be compared.

I think I made that clear in my question:

"If we had to choose between that and 1 person starving to death, which would be worse?" (in their effects)

And the following discussion. Please address the reasoning in that section, I think it will make clear my opinions of terrorism vs. other tragedies. A simplified summary is, keep increasing the casualty rate, and eventually you will get to a point where you'll choose to stop the starvation, poverty, maiming instead of addressing the one or two people murdered. I think we make this choice every day in governance, but it is not easy.

You have said that we will not have to make this choice. And as I have said many many times in this thread [Smile] , this is a solutions discussion which demands first a discussion of the causes of the violence. One example of this would be the question I asked about why you said that the incursions, tanks, target killings, etc., were a cause of the violence. How would you respond to that?

Again, you have said that we will not have to make this choice. If we did, as I think I have made a convincing argument for, at some point we would choose to stop the other violence instead of the murder. At some point we would say, screw how "evil" this is (if we thought it was evil), I'd rather a billion people don't die then 1 murder was committed. True? Of course. A million vs. 1? Of course, so there is some point when the non-murder is "worse." So even when one is called "evil," the other causes an unconscionable amount of suffering and so may be called a "worse" situation. All this, of course, was in relation to a discussion of whether both sides can be called aggressors. I think I have made a convincing case that the amount of suffering caused, the discrimination, whether caused intentionally or not (though how can discrimination such as there is NOT be the result of intention, unless the discriminator is simply amora"l), is an aggressive act. That it can be compared on that simplistic level. That a case can be made that this sort of thing is something people would choose to stop first, simply because the amounts involved may eventually make it "worse."

Of course, even though I think you would agree with that statement, I am unsure that you would choose to stop the other side of the violence first if you could even if you believed that the non-terrorist acts in this specific case were "worse" in their effects. I think you might base this on an argument you have alluded to, that stopping such an act will cause more harm, or that such acts are REQUIRED in some way and so cannot be stopped. Is this your argument? Do you think that such acts of discrimination which cause death and poverty and suffering are required? Again, you see, we are discussing Causes, I think I mentioned that wherever we go, we will come back to a discussion of them. In civilized countries, I think it is recognized that ethical policing does not require the heinous acts of discrimination, acts which cause death and suffering, which occur every day in Israel.

All this discussion, again, started with the discussion of "aggressors," a label which someone put on the Palestinians, and I responded applies to the Israeli side as well. Someone else raised this point, I addressed it, again, I think it is simply a way of looking at the situation. An oversimplification. We can call Israel the aggressors very very easily as well. Does this help? I think of all the cases I have advocated for in this thread, the most important is that a direct discussion of the causes of the violence is far more important than putting a label like "aggressor" on either side, which is an indirect means for coming to such a discussion, as we have, anyways.

---------------

Velcro, you admit in your first paragraph that I was responding to you, but it seems from your characterization of me that I came out on my own accord and said, "You know what guys? All violence should be stopped. Have a nice day."

It was a RESPONSE prompted by a QUESTION. I responded like that because I felt the question was equally "generalized to the point of meaninglessness" and thus the only answer, barring unfounded assumptions as to what you meant, was equally so. I didn't use those words as I didn't want to provoke, and so instead wrote an entire paragraph asking for clarifications and pointing out why the question was too general. I think it produced effect, as you attempted to clarify the question to me. Please don't accuse me of being indirect when I spent a paragraph explaining why the question is hard to understand.

I appreciate, Velcro, that you have made efforts to make the question more specific, but I feel it is still too general and requires assumptions about your intentions that I feel uncomfortable making as it is not my place to make them.

"Their first priority is to stop those actions as soon as possible-AFTER the terrorism has been eliminated, with no other preconditions on anyone. Do you agree?"

The first priority of whom? Should I assume you meant the Israelis? Should I assume you meant the Palestinians? Both? The world? That would be commenting on a solution, commenting, which I have said again and again, depends on the causes of the terrorism. Your initial question "should" also seems to imply a moral content. You see how the question is confusing to me?

Let me go ahead and assume you meant one of the variety of meanings possible. "Is it morally correct for the Israelis (specifically) to demand a cessation to the terrorist acts without the terrorists demanding anything conditions back from them (Israel)?"

Is this what you meant? This makes very large assumptions based on limited language and I recognize that this may not be what you meant, please correct me if I am wrong.

Assuming that this interpretaiton is correct, you've asked me about my moral view. I think a practical consideration is more useful, but I suppose they are not mutually exclusive. Why? Because in general I believe morality will support whatever (within some other ethical limitations) will stop the violence. (Yes, when I say "violence" I mean it inclusively in relation to that situation.) So to answer your question, we have to ask if that is that approach which will stop the cycle of violence. Do you think such a 'demand' will stop it? To find that out, guess what, we're back to consdering the causes of the violence [Smile] . I have asked a question about an assertion you made about the causes of the violence above.

------------

I emailed you through the address you have listed on Ornery, I can be contacted through email or MSN at the address I used.

As always, interesting post Velcro.

Ma Salaam,

'Sayeed.

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Standback
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Sayeed,

As I tend to do in my periodic delurkings, I haven't repsonded here in a while... sorry, as it remains a very interesting thread, but I have been very very busy in university... I doubt I'll be able to post more than every now and then.

Sayeed. Two points.

One is yours. You say repeatedly that the causes of violence are central to any discussion of a solution. This seems a bit contradictory to your earlier dismissal of historical causes as irrelevent, but... whatever. Here's my opinion. I see two causes - past and present.

Past - The Palestinians were here. The Jews (in their own estimation) desperately needed to be here. The Jews, through various means, built up a whole country with little regard for the Palestinians. Tension and conflict ensued. This is the cause of much of the hatred, up to and including Israeli discrimination against and segregation of the Palestinians as a people (security concerns do not come under this heading, and are obviously intended for the practical and well-founded goal of Not Getting Killed).

Present - I fully believe the present intifada began on the Palestinian side. I believe that the Palestinian people have been deliberately inflamed into valuing Jewish casualties over Palestinian lives. The motives of Palestinian leaders was far less the survival of the Palestinian people, for they were well on the way to attaining their own country and all that would be needed to ensure their survival. Rather, the incitement was born in order to A) hold on to power, directing the rage of the people against the Zionist enemy instead of the uncaring leaders far more responsible for the welfare of the common Palestinian, and B) antisemitism in its purest form - the desire to destroy Israel as a country, for no purpose other than the destruction of Israel as a country. All that is left to put into the picture is the Israeli reaction, which is a fair and sensible attempt at self-defense. "Self-defense" includes the future as well, so Israel does not give in to demands unless there seems an actual chance that the Palestinian's promises can be trusted.

Now, as to what can be learned from these causes. Learning from the Past requires lengthy debate. We must study how much of a people the Palestinians truly were, whether the Jewish people really needed Israel or a country at all, and if it was possible for the two people to coexist peacefully.

The picture of the Present is far more clear (by my interpertation. This is obviously the bit most of the people will be arguing with). We must stop the incitement of the Palestinians and the corrupt leaders who are responsible for it. Israel can do little to help Palestinians who are busy trying to blow Israelis up, and it is ridiculous to demand that they try. Only when Palestinians can be trusted, as a negotiating partner and as a neighbor, can Israel actually negotiate with them and live by their side. The primary cause for the violence, as I see it, is the desire of the Palestinian leaders for violence. To end the violence requires the end of that desire, or of those leaders.

There, that's what I think. Hope tht answers your question. I'd like to hear your opinion as well.

The second point I wish to make is Velcro's (thank you, by the way, for your arguments, with which I find myself in complete agreement). Let us, in intervals at least, stop talking in ideals and generalities. Sayeed, I present to you the following three questions. You may see them as irrelevent to the conversation; understand that I do not.

A) Imagine that you are in charge of Israel. Your primary goal is to ensure that Israel is a reasonably safe place to live in, where civilians are not murdered by the dozen in buses and cafes and discotheuques and wedding halls. In addition to that, you wish the Palestinian people no ill, and prefer to avoid innocent Palestinian casualties, and would be happy to one day see and independant and prosperous Palestinian state beside your own. HOWEVER, your responsibility is to your own country first and foremost, and you will not allow the founding of a Palestinian state if it comes at the expense of the Israeli one.
How do you handle the current situation?

B) Imagine that you are in charge of the Palestinian Authority. Your goal is a home and haven for the Palestinian people, where Palestinians can live free and in good conditions. You want Palestinians to have food, education, a decent economy, security. As for the Israelis - you don't care much about them. You're willing to have Israeli's suffer if that will help you accomplish your goal, but if you have no particular reason to kill Israelis, you won't.
How do you achieve your goal?

C) Imagine that you are leader of neither people, but instead a neutral and extremely powerful third party. You can impose any solution you wish (although any solution you choose will obviously have consequences as the two people adjust to the new situation - "all the Jews and Arabs will suddenly love each other", for example, is not a valid solution).
What do you choose to do? In other words, which side do you pick, or if you comprimise, what comprimise do you think is viable?

There you have it. I think those questions are specific enough that you should have no trouble with them; if at any point you are not certain which of several meanings I intended, feel free to pick whichever one you like. If you maintain that solutions cannot be proposed without discussing the causes of the violence - by all means, assume whatever causes you believe are true to be true, and rely on them. However, do not stray from the the given details. No fair saying "But Israel actually wants to control the Palestinian people," imagine that they don't. (I assure you, I do not believe that B is an accurate depiction of the Palestinian mindset.)

Again - you may see this as irrelevent to the conversation. If so, I respectfully disagree, and eagerly await your response.

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velcro
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Sayeed,

You said

quote:

One example of this would be the question I asked about why you said that the incursions, tanks, target killings, etc., were a cause of the violence. How would you respond to that?

Sorry I did not reply sooner. I thought those were obvious causes for some Palestinians to be angry enough to destroy Israel, and enough cause to get the discussion moving forward. I would have included anti-Semitism and indoctrination by their leaders to hate Jews and Israel, but I thought you would be more likely to agree to the ones I listed, again for the purpose of moving the discussion past causes. Feel free to add stealing Palestinian land, for purposes of argument. I have noticed in all your posts you have resisted answering several questions from other posters because we have not agreed on causes. But you have been mysteriously silent on your opinions about causes.

quote:

Again, you have said that we will not have to make this choice. If we did, as I think I have made a convincing argument for, at some point we would choose to stop the other violence instead of the murder.

But again, the murders do not prevent the suffering in any way whatsoever, so the point is invalid. More importantly, there is no historical evidence that stopping the suffering would stop the murder. After every Israeli concession, withdrawal, prisoner release, peace initiative, or roadblock opening, the terrorism has continued. And don’t quote statistics about how they were reduced, because for every successful terrorist attack there are dozens that were prevented, even during the “lulls in activity”. And the terrorists have as their sworn goal the destruction of Israel, not the end of occupation.

quote:

Do you think that such acts of discrimination which cause death and poverty and suffering are required?

I think the incursions, tanks, targetted killings, fences, etc. are required. Those are the so-called “acts of discrimination” I was referring to. Any other actions that cause death and poverty, and are in NO WAY WHATSOEVER related to stopping terrorism are not required. I am not aware of many of those.

quote:

In civilized countries, I think it is recognized that ethical policing does not require the heinous acts of discrimination, acts which cause death and suffering, which occur every day in Israel.

I disagree with your characterization of Israel’s actions. And I do not think it is fair to compare fighting well armed terrorists in the West Bank to arresting bank robbers in Paris. Or any other civilized country that does not have suicide bombers on a regular basis from a known place with support from local authorities.

quote:

I felt the question was equally "generalized to the point of meaninglessness"

The question was specific. “Do you think the terrorists should be stopped unconditionally? “ Your only uncertainty appeared to be “Conditions on whom?” On everyone. Israel need not do anything for terrorists to stop. Terrorists need not do anything but stop. Even though this was not explicit, the interpretation is obvious. I am starting to doubt your willingness to answer this direct question.

quote:

"Their first priority is to stop those actions as soon as possible-AFTER the terrorism has been eliminated, with no other preconditions on anyone. Do you agree?"

The first priority of whom?

You ignore the obvious reference in the previous sentence of my question. The question read “There are people with the ability and responsibility to stop Israeli actions against the Palestinians performed the name of anti-terrorism. Their first priority is to stop those actions as soon as possible-AFTER the terrorism has been eliminated, with no other preconditions on anyone. “ More evidence that you are dancing around the question, unwilling to answer it.

quote:

Your initial question "should" also seems to imply a moral content. You see how the question is confusing to me?

You claim the moral content of “should” confuses you. See my concerns about the last quote.

quote:

Let me go ahead and assume you meant one of the variety of meanings possible. "Is it morally correct for the Israelis (specifically) to demand a cessation to the terrorist acts without the terrorists demanding anything conditions back from them (Israel)?"

All is well, you got the question right, in all details. I avidly wait for your answer. (By the way, this is commonly known as Not Negotiating With Terrorists. It prevents terrorists from viewing violence as a negotiating tool, and discourages others from trying terrorism.)

quote:

So to answer your question, we have to ask if that is that approach which will stop the cycle of violence.

Your reply? You can’t answer, because we haven’t agreed on the causes! And you still have not told us what you think the causes are!

Sayeed, you are wrong. I don’t have to ask if that is the approach which will stop the cycle of violence.

Terrorism is evil. It must be stopped. If the stopping takes innocent lives, it is tragic but necessary. Stopping the terrorism will stop the suffering. Stopping all suffering will not stop the terrorists.

That is my point. I was trying to frame questions to establish common ground, to see if you thought terrorism is bad, or if it is a political tool like a boycott. If you thought that terrorism was worse than fighting terrorism. But you find ways to avoid the question. You continue to frame it as “stopping suffering” when it is crystal clear that the reason (or excuse you may say) for most of the suffering is the terrorism.

I give up, Sayeed. I hope Standback has better luck than I did. I hope you answer his questions as directly as you can without dancing around them three times. I hope you tell us what you think the causes are. When this happens, I hope we can continue this conversation.

Standback, thanks for the support.

V

[edited to add comment about negotiating with terrorists]

[ December 22, 2003, 09:31 PM: Message edited by: velcro ]

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Standback
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No, thank you. I'm the Israeli citizen here, and you're the outside observer who's considered it all and decided to stand by us. [Smile]

Thank you.

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Sayeed
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Hello All,

Again, pardons for the late reply, I just flew back into Canada from many thousands of miles to the east. Boy are my arms tired. Sorry [Wink] .

-------------
***Standback***

Glad to see you de-lurk for a while Standback. What do you study at university?

As to your first point, I stand by my statement that historical causes are irrelevant barring the one caveat I introduced. I also stand by (quite obviously [Smile] ) the fact that a discussion of a solution is irrelevant and premature if there is no agreement first on causes. A present day solution requires a discussion of present day causes, and thus historical causes should be left by the wayside. Present day resentment based on history may work itself into a current cause, but not necessarily, and if so it will be in the form of a present day cause. As such, I see no reason to discuss past causes except to say that I agree with your assessment of them and will discuss them further if you wish it.

As to your second point, I am very relieved that there is someone who wants to discuss present day causes properly. [Smile] .

If I understand you correctly, it is your theory that instigation on the part of Palestinian leaders is a major cause of Palestinian violence. I would add to that organization and then agree that the actions of Palestinian leaders are indeed causes of the current violence. The tone of your paragraph implied to me that the instigation of leaders inflamed the people into sacrificing their own lives, is this correct? I find it hard to believe that a leader could incite someone to do that in isolation. If Paul Martin (Prime Minister of Canada) and many other leaders attempted to incite me to sacrifice my life to kill those people I now consider my enemies, I would not do it. I feel that though a cause, instigation on the part of leadership is an ancillary cause, and without a situation amenable to such persuasion, leadership would be insufficient. I would even go further and say that the existence of such leadership itself is to a great part a RESULT of other factors. An illustration of this is the deportation of UNC leaders in 1988. The intifada continued after this and new leaders arose, and one can only assume that therefore there are other factors which caused and cause the creation of leadership. I assume the situation is pretty much the same present-day. The leadership of such organizations are like the mythical hydra, once one head is cut off, more replace it. The bulk, the body, remains to grow new heads. So what is the body?

As to "pure" antisemitic hatred (I take issue with the popular use of the word semitic, because it properly refers to all the semitic races), I feel that hatred is not something that has inertia. What I mean by that is that it is not self-fueling, and once it has started it takes energy to renew. Do you agree? So the present-day antisemitism would have burned itself out long ago if it was not refueld constantly, and it is this fuel that is the main cause of hatred, and the main cause of leadership, and it is this fuel that should be addressed.

"All that is left to put into the picture is the Israeli reaction, which is a fair and sensible attempt at self-defense."

By this "reaction" are you discussing policing measures or discriminatory measures within Israel and the West Bank?

"We must stop the incitement of the Palestinians and the corrupt leaders who are responsible for it. The primary cause for the violence, as I see it, is the desire of the Palestinian leaders for violence. To end the violence requires the end of that desire, or of those leaders."

What are your feelings on my discussion of leadership and the hydra analogy?

"Only when Palestinians can be trusted, as a negotiating partner and as a neighbor, can Israel actually negotiate with them and live by their side."

You imply that negotiations are futile, and I would agree with you, but add that the impotency of Palestinian leadership with regards to the violence is the more important consideration.
----------------------------------------------
SCENARIOS

You asked me 3 questions which I will attempt to answer and yes, I do feel that they are irrelevant unless causes are agreed upon. Inevitably, however, whether I harp on it or not, I suppose the conversation will tend in that direction as long as we don't get side tracked by irrelevancies. So I'll let you see how we get there anyways [Smile] .

1.) You are "in charge" of Israel. You want a prosperous Israel and a prosperous Palestine if it does not come at the expense of Israel. What do you do?

I have no idea. Which is why I'm posting this message. So I guess I would ask advisers (and you guys [Smile] ) about the causes of the violence and attempt to address them. Hopefully by the end of my research, by the end of this message, I will be more sure of what I would do. For the sake of argument, however, I think I'd be able to figure out what I SHOULDN'T do and so maybe come up with a few WILD SPECULATIONS about what I might end up actually doing. This is assuming that the current casualty rate is unacceptable to me and a problem. As a leader, if it is, it's probably because of its effects on immigration and investment rather than its direct effects.

What I Wouldn't Do
------------------
Negotiate. There would be no point to this. Who would I negotiate with? Terrorist organizations would not negotiate with me and the PLO is dependent upon the support of such organizations and sympathizing organizations, so they could not deliver on any promises they made to stop terrorism, assuming they had the will to make them. I've played poker, and a pauper cannot join a high stakes game, and who could come to the table in this one? Militarily, economically, socially, politically, noone can compete, and so any negotiations would be futile.

Allow the current fence to be built. I would recognize that the fence will form a de facto border, and that as it stands the fence does not create a viable economic region. Also the morality of cutting of that amount of arable land from the Palestinian people is morally questionable. Morality aside though, it would not help create peace.

Use my Intelligence Network to discover Leaders and Assassinate them. As I've argued before, this would do little but to allow new leaders to take their place. It would also instigate more violence against my population. I WOULD increase funding to the intelligence network, however, and increase their activities so I could learn more about the realities of the terrorist leaders and soldiers and perhaps ways to permanently stop them.

Assuming Causes and What I Might Do
-----------------------------------
I will assume that a discriminatory government is a contributing cause of the uprising. Thus I would end all discriminatory policies against Arabs and Palestinians. (Again, you see, we are back to talking about CAUSES, which makes any other discussion rather irrelevant unless they are agreed upon.) Of course, I could assume a million other causes as well which would end up with a million possible solutions. Perhaps what you wanted to do in the first place is discuss Causes? [Wink] . Wink if it's true.

I will assume another contributing cause is the Israeli S.P.P. political system. I would lobby for political change in that respect so I don't have to cavort with the extreme right to implement any necessary changes. I would advertise my cause constantly in the papers and in the media. Of course, I might be out of a job in a couple weeks, but who knows, might work.

2.) You are in charge of the PLO. You want to benefit Palestinians whatever the cost. What do you do?

What I Wouldn't Do
------------------
Negotiate. What would I negotiate with? I could only ask, perhaps beg.

Assuming Causes and What I Might Do
-----------------------------------
I assume the cause of impotency of the Palestinian Authority is the mindset of the people and the power of "terrorist" organizations. Given that cause, I would attempt to gain power in ways that are not clearly dangerous to those organizations and give me power over the Palestinian mind. I would try to set up grassroots information outlets. Media sources such as newspapers, magazines, internet cafes frequently accessed by all. I would do this advertising only common Palestinian views on them. When I had information distribution networks which were important sources to most Palestinians, I would use them.

I assume that Palestinian terrorism is a contributing cause to Israeli attacks and its publicity is a negative cause which prevents attention to the discriminatory situation in Israel. I assume this situation is a major contributing cause of the violence. I also assume that the outlet of violence cannot be eliminated without replacement by another form of protest. Thus, once I had information distribution systems under my control, systems which had redundancies and were guarded and difficult to disrupt, I would attempt to find an eloquent Palestinian person, one with a cultural background with which the common Palestinian could identify, one with a passionate sense of righteousness, complex moral intelligence, and powerful charisma and use him to organize or serve as a figurehead for a movement towards non-violent non-cooperation and mass protest as a replacement for violent means. I would use my information distribution systems to advertise his charisma so as to garner acceptance for this idea from the average Palestinian. I would distribute powerful and consistent propoganda to this end. Again, I think focusing on solutions are irrelevant before causes have been agreed upon, and if continue, I'm betting we'll have to go to causes.

3.) You are a powerful neutral third-party. What side would you pick or what compromise would you make?

First of all, I always cringe when someone says "what side are you on?" I feel this is an oversimplification and "picking sides" is part of the reason that this area is still in the situation it is in. Next, you haven't told me what are the interests of the interested and powerful third party. If their interests are themselves, then they would pick whichever party is stronger and bolster them so as to gain a powerful ally. Of course Israel is the stronger party, but what it means to bolster them is questionable. Bolstering their people or bolstering their government? If bolstering their people is sought (as emigration and immigration seems to indicate, this is complex and I'll go further into this if asked), then this party would not provide any physical aid to Israel, because aid subsidizes an inbalanced bargaining position with the Palestinians, and this comes in the way of a solution and insures further conflict which will hurt the people of Israel for time to come. To further bolster the Israeli people aid in the form of education and the satisfaction of basic needs would be required for the West Bank, to help alleviate a situation which causes extremism in their reactions. More likely, however, this third party's interest will be a powerful military and economic ally, people aside. To this they would provide military and economic aid, or would if Israel required it. The Palestinians would be a non-issue except for the danger they put Israeli government in through the growing percentage of Arabs in the region. To maintain a powerful ally, an ally which is less likely to be so if it is not Jewish, the third-party would seek for political solutions which prevent an eventual Arab political majority in Israel, seeing as other types of solutions may be more difficult.

If I personally was the leader of the third party with my own moral interests, the situation would be different. Again, I would not "pick" a side, I'm cringing reading it again. I would, however, provide aid to the Palestinians for the benefit and peace of the whole region, again in the form of education and basic necessities, and I would attempt to create the same information distribution methods in the West Bankt that I discussed earlier. I would also encourage Israel to compensate Palestinians (not in a purely monetary form) for gains the state of Israel has made at the expense of Palestinian people. Also, I would mandate all Jews and Arabs to suddenly love each other. (did you really think I would say that?)

Keep in mind these answers are speculative, they're uninformed fantasies, and I am not stating any opinions on the causes of violence but merely making assumptions (unfounded) as you asked me to. Also I'd like to ask you, why do you think a discussion of solutions can be undertaken before an agreement on causes? Wouldn't it be more productive to discuss causes and work from there to a solution that addresses them? In my experience, a discussion on causes naturally leads to multiple alternative solutions if one is discredited, but when a discussion focuses on a specific solution, if this is discredited a discussion is more likely to end there, unproductive.

-------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------

***Velcro***

"obvious causes for some Palestinians to be angry enough to destroy Israel(referring to incursions, tanks, target killings, etc)"

Actually, I don't have many formed opinions on this, at least in relation to targeted killings and incursions that don't cause many deaths or property damage. Targeted killings of respected leaders, and incursions whose innocent casualties are numerous or which cause property damage, these I can understand anger people, but enough to sacrifice their lives in suicide blasts? In my opinion, the constant presence of tanks, economic disruptions, and discriminatory governance, these are far greater causal factors. Tanks in the street also could be great causes, providing a target (not the tanks specifically but the force which sends them out) and the further appearance of conflict.

As to being "mysteriously silent" as to my own opinion on causes, please don't be dramatic. Have you seen how much interest there has been on my own opinion on causes? Not much. How much has there been on "solutions?" A lot. This bothers me, I see it as an inefficient focus, but hey, I try to encourage focus on the causes and once there is focus on this, that is where I want to be. Also, being "mysteriously silent" as to my own opinion on causes assumes I have such opinions. My opinions are unsubstantiated guesses at this point, but not something I would call firm opinions.

I don't think you understood my point about murder and other violence. Given NO relation between the murder and the suffering-deaths, the suffering-deaths being far far greater than the murders, one would choose to stop the suffering-deaths first, if it can be done within a reasonable amount of time if someone was forced to make a choice. In practical terms, that the suffering of the Palestinians is on such a MASSIVE scale that the wrong of its existence dwarfs the wrong of the intentional suicide bombings.

"...there is no historical evidence that stopping the suffering would stop the murder."

I think this is a very important point to discuss. The possibility of a causal relationship between the suffering and murder. I am sure you recognize that the lack of historical evidence does not mean the lack of a link, correct? Furthermore, an immediate cessation to violence would require an immediate cessation to the enmity of those who commit violence, and would anyone be naive enough to propose that such enmity can end immediately? To do this you would have to assume that the violence is a purely logical enterprise and involves no emotional involvement. It is tantamount to investors requiring annual returns in one night. The economy just doesn't work like that. I think you might agree with me, Velcro, that if people who are well-educated and well-off are incited into conflict, they will usually be intelligent enough to use non-violent means while if people are ignorant and starving they would be more likely to resort to the only tool they have, violence, and to encourage its use in others. I can't see you disagreeing with the fact that if someone's family home is bulldozed, they would be more likely to blow themselves up for the money to support their family than someone who owns a home or a mortgage, a car, good clothes, educated children, etc...? All these seem fairly obvious fact to me, and the link therefore seems fairly obvious. Generalizing historical evidence doesn't in any way counteract these truths.

As to the terrorists' "sworn goal," I think it is more important to see what they will settle for than what they verbally claim. They may claim the world, but if they got to keep their house instead, they may quiet down.

"Any other actions that cause death and poverty, and are in NO WAY WHATSOEVER related to stopping terrorism are not required. I am not aware of many of those."

I can only interpret this in one of two ways Velcro. That you interpret a situation which I call immoral as somehow "stopping terrorism," or that you are "not aware" of what are some of the most important factors in this mess. Look at my third post for a BIT of clarification of the things I am talking about, it focuses on why I called Israel an "apartheid state." As I think I have made clear, I think there are "many of those."

“ Your only uncertainty appeared to be 'Conditions on whom?'... Even though this was not explicit, the interpretation is obvious."

Not obvious to me, and I would rather not assume what you mean and be chastized later for it. But there are many questions to be answered in reference to the question you asked: stopped by whom, conditions on whom, unconditionally in reference to means? Before you "doubt [my] willingness," ask a more specific question.

"By the way, this is commonly known as Not Negotiating With Terrorists.It prevents terrorists from viewing violence as a negotiating tool, and discourages others from trying terrorism."

I could be wrong, but I don't feel that negotiating with these terrorists will produce any useful results. Not negotiating with terrorists, however, does not mean that one SHOULD NOT ACT TO END THE TERRORISM, whether that be flinging out a couple nukes to vaporize them or taking your foot off their head or sending bags of money to them. As long as the actions will reasonably reduce the terrorism and are within moral boundaries, there is no reason not to act to end the terrorism.

"Your reply? You can’t answer, because we haven’t agreed on the causes! And you still have not told us what you think the causes are!"

You're making a lot of assumptions, don't you think? First, I think I dealt with your theory about my supposed "mysterious silence" above, and next, that I have opinions on what are the causes. Any half-ass, untested opinions which I do have about the importance of various causes, I am not inclined to discuss until I see some interest in them. I encouraged this and looked forward to people deciding that they would agree on causes before discussing solutions.

That aside, however, not meaning to be immodest, I think my answer was excellent. I think your answer to your own question supported my answer 100%, and I think I can prove it to you.

I said two things.

---
1.) The morality of the situation depends on the practical facts of the causal relationship. Will that approach to terrorism (Israel demanding X before Y) stop the violence (the suffering?)

2.) Thus, we have to know the causes, ie, whether the approach will address those causes, before we can make a moral opinion.
---

Your reponse to this was that "I don’t have to ask if that is the approach which will stop the cycle of violence."

You then said that "terrorism must be stopped." Well remember you gave me leeway to make your question specific, so specifically we were talking about Israel demanding that terrorism stop without any preconditions on them. So can I assume that your SPECIFIC answer to that question, based on what you said, would be...

"Terrorism is evil. It must be stopped THROUGH ISRAEL DEMANDING IT BE STOPPED WITHOUT ANY PRECONDITIONS ON THEM." (additions in CAPITALS)

Does that sound right? Fine, an interesting opinion. But why? Your answer to WHY seems to be...

"Stopping the terrorism will stop the suffering. Stopping all suffering will not stop the terrorists."

Remember this is a two-part question, Part 1) Israel demands terrorism to stop Part 2) Witout Preconditions, so the most obvious way for me to interpret your answer, assuming the second part "stopping the suffering will not stop..." is in reference to the second part of the question would be... Part 1...

1.) Israel should demand "stopping the terrorism."

AND Part 2...

2.) (Stopping the suffering = Preconditions) Preconditions are unnecessary because they "will not stop the terrorists."

(If I misinterpreted you here, please forgive me in light of the fact that you spent a great part of a post trying to encourage me to make assumptions about what you say and disparaging me for not doing so. I'm treating that as encouragement to make some educated suppositions.)

So what did you imply in your answer to ***WHY ISRAEL SHOULD DEMAND X WITHOUT PRECONDITIONS***? You told me that Israel should demand BECAUSE preconditions will not address the causes of terrorism (stop the terrorists.) What does that mean especially in light of your former assertion that you are "not aware" of much suffering Israel causes not specifically to stop the terrorism?

It means that you justified your answer by saying that the reason terrorism should be stopped in that way is because it stops the cycle of violence. You supported Israel demanding without preconditions because it would stop violence. In other words, contrary to what you said originally, you DO have to ask what approach will stop the violence to know if that approach is the morally correct one. You do it yourself.

Doesn't that make sense? If that approach caused more terrorism, more violence, continued conflict, it couldn't be the morally correct one, could it? So doesn't the morality of that action depend on how it addresses the cycle of violence, the causes of the violence, just like I said? Isn't it common sense?

---------------------

"But you find ways to avoid the question." "I was trying to frame questions to establish common ground, to see if you thought terrorism is bad, or if it is a political tool like a boycott."

For someone accusing me of avoiding the question, you sure did quite a dance arounding asking the question. Why not ask to begin with if I think terrorism is a political tool like a boycott. (I'm not going to address the "terrorism is bad" question, that's just too simplistic.) I'm going to go out on a limb here and make even MORE assumptions, in fear of a further post chastizing me for not reading your mind [Wink] . I think you didn't really mean to include the "OR" and wanted to ask me if terrorism is a "bad political tool." I wish you'd asked that first instead of "finding ways to avoid the question." [Wink]

Now that you've asked it plainly (well, now that I've ASSUMED it into being plainly.) YES.

What, you wanted more? Yes, it's bad because murder of any kind is bad, especially when it is against innocents. It's bad because it is ineffective compared to non-violent means. It's bad because it encourages more hatred instead of a rational response in its targets. It's bad because it is evidence of a lack of education in those who attempt it. It's bad because in some cases it involves the death of the participant as well. It's bad because on a wide scale it is usually the signal of a great power and class imbalance. It's bad because it encourages people to dehumanize the people of the individuals who commit it, and thus encourages an inhuman response.

BUT WAIT, is it morally correct for the Israelis (specifically) to demand a cessation to the terrorist acts without the terrorists demanding anything conditions back from them (Israel)?

Well that's a DIFFERENT question. It depends on whether such a reponse will be the best way to end the violence.

---

"I hope you tell us what you think the causes are. When this happens, I hope we can continue this conversation."

As I responded to Standback, I am very grateful that people are interested in discussing the causes directly now. What are your opinions in light of this post?

I don't really have opinions as to what the most important causes are, but I have guesses, which I have turned into assumptions in my response to Standback's post. I'll form an opinion or not based on your responses and that of other people who I ask. I am, of course, posting to learn, isn't everyone?

POSSIBLY IMPORTANT CAUSES
-------------------------

Two things are obvious. Direct Israeli attacks are justified through Palestinian attacks and Palestinian attacks are sometimes justified through Israeli attacks. So they cause each other. What are some more causes? Well a friend suggested, and I think it sounds possible, that the S.P.P. political system in Israel prevents much effective action on behalf of the government, and I think that may be an important cause. The inadequacy of the Palestinian authority to affect the terrorism, that is another possibly important cause. A culture of violence and anger in the occupied Palestinian territories, that is another possibly really important one. A dehumanization and corresponding willingness to accept civilian casualties on the Israeli side, that is possibly another important cause. A power imbalance between Israel and Palestine which discourages any real compromise is another one. A government in Israel similar to an apartheid government in South Africa, that is another cause. Someone has suggested on this board that Islam is another, and I would agree that a literalist interpretation is one. As I implied in my reply to Standback, I suspect that the economic situation within the occupied territories which creates a people who are apt to commit terrorist acts is a big one.

Who knows, I could be wrong. What are your opinions on these causes, which do you think is more important? What haven't I listed?

------------------------------

Fun being back. Hope all is well with you guys, and work isn't bogging you down too much.

As usual, interesting comments all around.

Ma Salaam,

'Sayeed.

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