Is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a case of "an eye for an eye"?
>After all, they say an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind
Notably, this quote is mistakenly attributed to Gandhi, as it is indeed a description of his philosophy. This is notable, as Gandhi thought that nonviolent resistance was the solution to the Holocaust, so maybe Gandhi and pseudo-Gandhi quotes should sit this one out.
>For Rabbinic Jews, prophecy ended when the temple fell and, as we know, it will not return until after it is reestablished
Not sure where you're getting this from. The classic rabbinic source about the loss of prophecy is the Tosefta (late second century) which states that the last prophets were Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi who lived many centuries before the final destruction of the temple in 70.
This isn't a mere technicality, as if prophecy was lost before the temple fell, one could imagine it having been restored before the temple was restored. Indeed, in rejecting Muhammad's claim to prophecy, later medieval rabbis implicitly acknowledged the possibility of prophecy during that period, and gave other reasons to reject it.
>His answer was Biblical, and specifically, Exodus 21:23–27. His interpretation was not by Midrash either—it was one obtained through Peshat: to ensure the world knew Jews could not be attacked again, he would take six million German lives.
This seems like an odd description of the passage as it elides the distinction between direct punishment and vicarious punishment alluded to in "implement “an eye for an eye” at the scale of “a nation for a nation”."
To be sure, there are other passages that could be quoted to justify such an action, e.g. Deut. 20, but the application of eye for an eye on a national scale instead of an individual one, seems like poetic license.
My impression was that Israel's 'Black Arrow' operation targeting the Egyptian military in Gaza in 1955 was the game changer. Prior to that, it was believed that Arab countries could train and send Palestinian refugees across the border without fear of retaliation. The UN unanimously condemned Israel. Nasser stepped up support for the 'fedayeen' and Israel too escalated. It is likely that this was a contributing factor to Israel joining France and Britain (or giving them a pretext for invading) in the Suez war. It is the need to retaliate against the backers of Palestinian groups which complicates the picture. At some times, Palestinian attacks are endogenous. At others it is 'pay for slay' and the Israeli reaction has to be against those doing the paying. There is a further problem that Palestinians- as with the recent Hamas atrocities- may attack so as to turn from being a cat's paw into the cat's whiskers if only briefly. Sadly, exporting terror is not as remunerative as exporting defensive military technology or water conservation technology or all the other things which Israel has managed to do. This is because any nutter can go around knifing people. The Israeli military, by contrast, is a great tech incubator. Israel has prevailed because it found a way to reintegrate extremists like the Lehi (Stern gang) and get them to enter mainstream politics and focus on bread and butter issues. But the problem always was, as the Brits had found, that whereas the Zionist state was at least potentially economically viable, Palestine could only exist if subsidized and provided with an administrative apparatus. This remains the problem to this day. It is understandable that Hamas wants to escape from Gaza, which it has turned into a Hell-hole, into East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The trouble is, it will turn such places into Gaza quickly enough. Still, for the moment, it appears that Hamas is the tail wagging the Iranian dog. If the POTUS was anybody but Biden, I would say this is the moment of Iran's extreme peril. It has gained so much so quickly, that the time might be ripe for a sudden reversal of fortune favourable to the Arab cause. After all, it was the Turk and the Persian who had inflicted most harm on the Arab people. As things stand, however, who can say what will happen next? Biden was a young senator fifty years ago when Nixon launched Operation Nickel Grass which soldered the US to Israel at the hip and assured American hegemony in subsequent decades. Biden has been quick enough to institute something similar but he may abruptly do a U turn. If so, the entire MENA will be plunged into confusion. Previously, there was some hope of a Chinese brokered rapprochement between Saudi and Iran and Israel and Hamas and so forth. Clearly the Hamas attack was meant to derail that. But was it also a repudiation of the rich and elderly leadership in Doha? The problem here is generational. We don't really know the mood of the young officers and 'basiji' type para-military outfits in the region. If you look at Yemen, some did very well for themselves out of that nation's misery. Why not go for War-lordism with some religious tincture if that can make you rich or, if not rich, get you killed while high on Captagon while you are still young and good looking?
Claims of "apartheid" and "settler colonialism" are not simply rhetorical nonsense. They have true (and competing) basis in international law, depending on whether the Palestinian territories are "part of Israel" or not.
If the Palestinian territories are indeed "part of Israel", Palestinians should have the same rights as Israelis. As long as they don't have these rights, Israel is running an "apartheid state." Of course, Israel cannot accept this, as doing so would be demographically fatal to the Jewish state. But Israel's concerns do not change the fact that their solution to the conundrum is to simply deny these people rights, which results necessarily in the creation of an apartheid state.
If the Palestinian territories are "not part of Israel", on the other hand, Israel is indeed engaging in "settler colonialism." The Badinter Commission found that internal boundaries between subnational entities are akin to frontiers in international law. Article 73 of the United Nations Charter dictates that nations administering territories which have not yet attained full self-government have a sacred trust to administer these territories with the interests of the inhabitants as their paramount interest. Israel is certainly not doing this. It simply has decided to acquire Palestinian territory for the expansion of the state of Israel.
The fact that Israelis often purchase this land from its owners does not eliminate these concerns. We would, in general, not accept Chinese nationals buying up all the real estate in San Francisco, then deciding to expel all Americans from the territory and turn it into a Chinese enclave. Israel is able to conduct this process because the Palestinian territories are in a strange limbo state: neither part of Israel, neither not part of Israel.
Despite this, I do not necessarily criticize Israel's position up to the present. If Israel had simply given the Palestinians their own state in 1968, they would have all the problems they do now plus some: endless terrorism intent on destroying Israel plus the complete inability to prevent the endless flow of arms and jihadists into Palestine. My preferred solution remains a two-state solution on 1967 borders. In 1948, Israel would have accepted this, but the Palestinians would not. In 2023, I believe the Palestinians would accept this, but Israel will not. So the killing will continue.
> Israel’s Arab citizens comprise around a fifth of its total population and they have the same rights as its Jews. They’re not pushed into camps or “open air prisons” that are, notably, larger and less densely populated than Manhattan. If these people were able to provide proof of their family’s history in the region, they would be able to obtain citizenship as an Israeli.
Perhaps this is an issue of unclear wording, but citizenship is not simply offered to any Arab who can "provide proof of their family's history in the region". If this were the only standard to obtain citizenship, then Israel would very easily cease to be a Jewish-majority state as millions of Palestinian refugees could meet this standard. Consequently, this criteria for citizienship *only applies* to those Arabs whose ancestors were able to remain in Israel *after* the Nakba took place (i.e. it doesn't apply to the several hundred thousand Palestinians who fled/were expelled as part of the Nakba).
The other issue with this passage is that it completely ignores the unequal treatment of Jewish and non-Jewish paths to citizenship under Israeli law. By the law of return, Jews whose only connection to the land is of an ancient thousand-year-old nature have an easier path to citizenship that Palestinians who have an immediate ancestral connection to the land within the last century. Putting aside the semantics of whether or not this is apartheid, would you acknowledge that this arrangement is deeply unjust?
"If these people were able to provide proof of their family’s history in the region, they would be able to obtain citizenship as an Israeli." do you have a source for this?
It seems doubtful, even if the Palestinians all became pacifists, that Israel would ever let them have a (or two) free and independent state(s). Palestinians can have peace, sure, but that’s not their major issue. But full separation and statehood are 100% in Israel’s hands, and since a large and growing % of Israelis are religiously opposed to ceding the West Bank or Gaza, that’s unlikely going forward. Settlement expansion also belies the idea that Israel expects to let go of the West Bank at some point.
I would guess Israel hopes the Palestinians will gradually leave of their own accord, but this can also be accomplished with fairly minimal backlash by, say, allowing them to evacuate via ‘humanitarian corridors’ during wars like the current one, then just not let them back in once the conflict is over.
While I enjoyed much of the historical retelling and statistical analysis in the first two-thirds of the article, I found myself reflexively disagreeing with the last one-third. I know that this issue can spark heated emotions so I'm curious to see what your response to my critiques are.
> The Israeli military follows these rules, and violations are both exceptional, punished, and responsible for few lost lives relative to the conflict as a whole.
I would encourage you to look up the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre which resulted in the deaths of anywhere between 460 and 3500 civilians.
> The claim that “settler colonialism” is violent ends up being the claim that people who move into an area through peaceful means rather than by killing its inhabitants are doing some sort of violence by merely immigrating, working the land, and—in many cases—operating under well-defined property law instead of previously-extant informal, often tribal rules.
This statement seems to ignore the multiple atrocities which took place as part of the Nakba (e.g. Al-Dawayima, Burayr). How can you claim that settler colonialism takes place via "peaceful means" when there is documented evidence of such atrocities? And even if you don't take my word for it, consider the words of Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky. In his 1923 essay titled "The Iron Wall", Jabotinsky makes it abundantly clear that acquisition of the land to create a Jewish state would *never* happen with the consent of the Arabs in the land (although in fairness, he personally didn't support acquiring the land by force even though that's what eventually happened).