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Michael Kochin

1. "I respect BDS." BDS means boycotting Israel until the Palestinians are ready to make peace. This is worthy of respect only if you support the real world goal to which BDS tends: the subjugation of the Jews west of the Jordan to the Arabs.
2. "A single lost war will be catastrophic." Um, no. A single lost war will be catastrophic if it is fought on your own territory against an enemy with unlimited aims. Israel has not fought such a war against a conventional enemy since 1948. It lost limited wars in 1973 vs. Egypt (Egypt achieved its objectives, Israel did not), and in Lebanon (1982-2000). It is true that the objective of the Palestinian resistance is unlimited, but there has never been a prospect that the Palestinians could achieve their aims of the conquest of all of Palestine without the aid of allies with conventional armies.
3. Agreed borders require, that is right, agreement. Neither of the two most important Palestinian political parties (Fatah and Hamas) have ever put forward a proposal for a boundary between a Palestinian State and a Jewish State. Both have explicitly disavowed time and again the legitimacy of any such proposal.
4. It is true that France and Germany today share a peaceful border. It is also true that France occupied portions of Germany from 1945-1990, and removed its occupying troops only after Germany had been committed to peace in word and deed for that entire period. The international community ensured that the political development of Germany after 1945 would be pacific. The international community has supported Palestinian irredentism since 1948.
5. Netanyahu's Bar-Ilan speech is pretty much the only vision out there that discusses how we can get from where we were in 2009 to a two-state solution. Largely because of decisions made by the Obama Administration, circumstances in 2015 are far less favorable for progress toward a two-state solution than they were in 2009. I would admit that it would be better if Netanyahu would articulate a positive vision of how we get from where we are in 2015 to a two-state solution. But it would also be better if Fatah and Hamas would put forward such visions themselves. Until they do, blaming Netanyahu, the Jews, or Zionism for the absence of progress toward peace is unjust.

Eric Schliesser

Thank you for commenting. Michael. In response (1) This is sophism. 2. Israel was saved by the US in 1973 and that's what made it a limited war. 3. The faults of others don't make your own any less so. I am talking about Zionism's strategic ambiguity that generates part of the open-ended-war-cycle. 4. I agree that the international community could do a lot more to ensure a peaceful situation. 5. There is plenty of blame to go around and if you prefer to discuss justice there are lots of folk who will talk to you about their injustices.

Michael Kochin

2. What made the war limited in 1973 was that the Egyptians and Syrians had limited aims, because they were afraid that unlimited aims would be met with an unlimited (that is to say, nuclear) response. Both the Egyptian and the Syrian armies were defeated on the ground before US aid arrived. US intervention primarily had the effect of helping the Egyptians get diplomatically what they had failed to impose militarily.
3. I don't think there is anything ambiguous about Netanyahu's Bar-Ilan speech. What in it (making allowances for the very different circumstances of 2009) do you find objectionable?
5. What is the alternative to talking about justice? "No justice, no peace," as they say.

Eric Schliesser

On 2. I think this is very tricky and I am not convinced you are right about the Egyptian front. 3. I think it keeps all the strategic ambiguity that is at the core of the problems I diagnose; 5. The alternative is talking with the enemy about a final settlement; such a settlement will be unable to achieve justice for all. Besides, there is plenty of peace without justice.

Sergio Tenenbaum

Fatah has time and again called for "the establishment of the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital." So I'm not sure what is meant by the claim that they have never " put forward a proposal for a boundary between a Palestinian State and a Jewish State". Is it this just a roundabout way of saying that Fatah, for obvious reasons, refuses to recognize Israel "as a Jewish state"?

eric schliesser

I am making no claim about Fatah; you seem to have misread my piece, Sergio.

Sergio Tenenbaum

Sorry Eric; I was replying to MIchael Kochin's (3) above, but there is no reply button. I should have made it explicit; I think this is an excellent piece.

Eric Schliesser

Thank you, Sergio.

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