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Hamas and Sam Harris

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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22 November 2018 15:41
 
David N Bradley - 22 November 2018 03:31 PM

I think you’re supposed to agree to a two-state solution and see what happens after that.  Hamas has agreed to a two-state solution repeatedly.  Israel has not. 

Supporters of Israel who use Hamas’ words as a reason to not agree to any peace are being more problematic than Hamas is being.  Hamas has complied with ceasefires and during the 2014-2015 unity government with Fatah, Hamas did not stop the government from (1) recognizing Israel, and (2) renouncing violence.  So Hamas has acted in ways which are quite conciliatory.  Why, unless you don’t want peace, wouldn’t you take advantage of that?

Again, the thing to do is to take Hamas up on its offer for a two-state solution, and see if that moderates them.  If it doesn’t, Israel has every right to defend itself.

If I grant you your arguments, then I have to conclude that Hamas’s intentions are not just incoherent, but wildly incoherent. And when you couple that with their ongoing warlike behavior, I don’t know how you can call them moderate.

 
 
David N Bradley
 
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David N Bradley
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22 November 2018 15:47
 

“their ongoing warlike behavior”

You mean agreeing to and abiding by ceasefires?  Because that’s what they’ve done.  Every ceasefire that’s been broken, Israel has broken.  Why then do you talk about Hamas’ warlike behavior?

 
icehorse
 
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22 November 2018 15:53
 
David N Bradley - 22 November 2018 03:47 PM

“their ongoing warlike behavior”

You mean agreeing to and abiding by ceasefires?  Because that’s what they’ve done.  Every ceasefire that’s been broken, Israel has broken.  Why then do you talk about Hamas’ warlike behavior?

So can you say the same for the PA?

 
 
David N Bradley
 
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David N Bradley
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22 November 2018 16:06
 

The PA?  When has the PA ever broken a ceasefire?

 
icehorse
 
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22 November 2018 21:12
 

Are you saying that the only way to be warlike is to break a cease fire? Do you count terrorist attacks as being warlike? How about initiating attacks when no cease fire is in effect?

 
 
LadyJane
 
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LadyJane
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23 November 2018 04:54
 

The reality is grim.  And it is reality.  Let’s extend the courtesy of reading the work of Mr. Bradley before jumping the gun about what we interpret from what he’s saying. 

Like this: 

David N Bradley - 22 November 2018 03:31 PM

Again, the thing to do is to take Hamas up on its offer for a two-state solution, and see if that moderates them.  If it doesn’t, Israel has every right to defend itself.

That seems pretty reasonable to me.  Let’s not manipulate words like moderate (or warlike).

 
 
David N Bradley
 
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23 November 2018 04:59
 

Thank you, LadyJane.  I have tried to stay factual as well as reasonable in these discussions.

Icehorse, you’re jumping from Hamas to the Palestinian Authority.  I would appreciate it if we could get resolution on Hamas before moving on.  If you refuse to do that, though, feel free to tell me where the PA has initiated terrorist attacks.

 
icehorse
 
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23 November 2018 08:22
 
LadyJane - 23 November 2018 04:54 AM

The reality is grim.  And it is reality.  Let’s extend the courtesy of reading the work of Mr. Bradley before jumping the gun about what we interpret from what he’s saying. 

Like this: 

David N Bradley - 22 November 2018 03:31 PM

Again, the thing to do is to take Hamas up on its offer for a two-state solution, and see if that moderates them.  If it doesn’t, Israel has every right to defend itself.

That seems pretty reasonable to me.  Let’s not manipulate words like moderate (or warlike).

This is one of the most complicated conflicts I’m aware of. LJ, if you think you understand “the reality”, please share it. I’m not being snarky, here. I’m suspicious of any reductionist claims when it comes to this situation.

I’ve already granted that I believe Israel has to share blame in this situation. I’ll grant you that Israel’s actions around 1948 were horrible. Israel is not without fault in this conflict.

That said, it appears that David is playing a sort of shell game. So I’m going to zoom out and talk in terms of “Palestinians”, because I’m not terribly interested in playing finger pointing games between Hamas, the PA, Fatah, and whatever other subset of “Palestinians” or Arabs, David might want to trot out.

“Palestinians” launch endless rockets at Israel. I’ll grant you that they’re pretty crappy rockets, which raises the question - where DOES all that aid money go?
“Palestinians” have a long history of terrorist attacks against Israel.
“Palestinians” have a long history of digging tunnels into Israel.
“Palestinians” have been known to use their civilians as shields to discourage Israel from bombing some of their military outposts.
And so on.

It would appear that many of Israel’s neighbors use “Palestinians” as political pawns. There is much discussion of Israel making it hard for “Palestinians” to enter Israel, but there is little mention of the fact that Egyptians, “Palestinian’s” Arab brothers make it equally hard for “Palestinians” to enter Egypt. Same with the Jordanians. In addition, there is little mention of the fact that Jordan continues to operate HUGE refugee camps. Can someone please justify the idea that there are now FOURTH GENERATION refugees living in camps in Jordan?

A little history: For about 400 years, up until the end of WWI, much of the ME was part of the Ottoman empire. After WWI, this land was carved up by the victors of the war (a horrible job was done BTW). Within a few years, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Israel, and I think a few other countries(?) were basically created out of thin air. Some of the local tribes scored big time, some got the shaft. Yazidis and Kurds were amongst those tribes that got the shaft. I acknowledge that I’m simplifying this history substantially, but when we look at this situation, we have to consider the context.

In modern times, throughout the ME (except in Israel), Muslims are relentlessly - and often violently - driving non-Muslims from the region. Throughout the region, Muslims are steadily turning the ME into exclusively “Muslim land”. Let that strikingly THEOCRATIC, non-secular idea rattle around in your brain. For example, the country commonly referred to as Iran, is OFFICIALLY the “Islamic Republic of Iran”.

Israel’s very existence pokes a finger in the eye of Muslim’s historic and relentless quest to make all of the ME “Muslim land”.

Now, baked into Hamas’s charter is an attack on the Balfour Declaration. It is explicitly called out. The Balfour Declaration was one of the many declarations that codified the slicing up of the ME after WWI. The fact that the other declarations aren’t mentioned could very well be because Muslims got the rest of the land in the ME. It’s also worth mentioning that Israel is a TINY, TINY slice of the ME. Maybe 2%?

David and LJ, I understand that we all pick our battles. That said, can you at least acknowledge that you could just as easily be working to carve up land for the Kurds? Or the Yazidis? Or maybe the Coptic Christians? Can you acknowledge that those tribes are at least as justified in wanting a homeland as the “Palestinians”? (Frankly, I think they are more justified, but that’s yet another story.)

So, you want to tell me that the “Palestinians” and their land hungry allies, are “moderate”? That all of this conflict is because of Israel’s actions?

 
 
David N Bradley
 
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David N Bradley
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23 November 2018 08:52
 

I’ve read many books on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and I think LadyJane grasps the complexity of it just fine.  I address almost all of these questions on the blog I’ve been referring, too, btw—https://AReplyToSamHarris.com.  I’m happy to provide source citations for anything I say here.

People claim that the Israel-Palestine conflict is complex, but I don’t know why.  The law is very simple.  Everything east of the 1949 Armistice Line, known as the “Green Line”, is Palestinians’.  Everything west of the Green Line, except Gaza, is Israel’s.  What’s complicated about that? 

What seems to blow people’s minds is that Hamas is agreeing to follow the law while Israel is not.  Again, if Hamas decides that it wants MORE than Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, Israel has a right to defend itself.  People can’t make sense of this so they call it “complex” and “complicated”.  It’s not complicated, though.  Israel wants to steal the land, so it’s not following the law.  That’s very simple!  As for terrorist attacks, they don’t change the law at all.  It’s a very basic principle in international law:  it is illegal to acquire territory by war.  Israel therefore has to withdraw from all territories it gained in 1967.  That’s not complicated.  LadyJane gets it just fine.

As for Hamas digging tunnels under Israel, those tunnels are directed at Israeli military sites which are considered legitimate targets.  I have citations for this if you want it.  I, in my blog, go through the human rights reports on human shields, too. (https://areplytosamharris.com/2018/11/17/hamas-uses-human-shields-while-israel-does-not/)  Hamas has been cleared of the charge of using human shields while human rights organizations found that Israel does use human shields.  Very simple. 

In regards to terrorist attacks, a study examined the early 2000s when there were many suicide bombings.  The study examined “conflict pauses”—periods of time during which no one was killed.  It found that Israel, by killing Palestinians, disrupted 78% of the conflict pauses.  Palestinians disrupted only 8% of the conflict pauses (13% were disrupted by both sides on the same day).  For the conflict pauses that lasted longer than a week, Israel disrupted 96% of them.  And Israel disrupted 100% of the conflict pauses which lasted longer than 9 days.

As for why I focus on Israel, I explain some of that in this blog post:  https://areplytosamharris.com/2018/11/17/israel-has-endured-more-scrutiny-than-any-other-society-ever-has-criticism-of-israel-is-also-out-of-proportion-to-what-israel-has-done/

In short, yes, Israel is to blame for the entire conflict.  Palestinians made their concession in 1988 when they agreed to live on the land east of the Green Line.  The world is still waiting on Israel to live only on the land west of the Green Line.

[ Edited: 23 November 2018 08:56 by David N Bradley]
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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23 November 2018 09:30
 

David:

People claim that the Israel-Palestine conflict is complex, but I don’t know why.  The law is very simple.  Everything east of the 1949 Armistice Line, known as the “Green Line”, is Palestinians’.  Everything west of the Green Line, except Gaza, is Israel’s.  What’s complicated about that?

What seems to blow people’s minds is that Hamas is agreeing to follow the law while Israel is not.  Again, if Hamas decides that it wants MORE than Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, Israel has a right to defend itself.  People can’t make sense of this so they call it “complex” and “complicated”.  It’s not complicated, though.  Israel wants to steal the land, so it’s not following the law.  That’s very simple!  As for terrorist attacks, they don’t change the law at all.  It’s a very basic principle in international law: it is illegal to acquire territory by war.  Israel therefore has to withdraw from all territories it gained in 1967.  That’s not complicated.  LadyJane gets it just fine.

Why do you think that 1949 is the “correct” moment in time to establish a baseline?

It’s illegal to acquire territory by war? Then we must give most of the ME back to the Turks, no? How far back does this “basic principle” go? I’m guessing you’d agree that the Brits don’t have to give the UK back to the Druids correct? So when exactly does your “basic principle” kick in? From what I can gather, you think 100 years is too far back?

David:

The study examined “conflict pauses”—periods of time during which no one was killed.

For the sake of discussion, I’ll grant you that your stats on the breaking of “conflict pauses” are correct. So what? Why should we view this long running conflict through the lens of “conflict pauses”?

And I’m still interested in having you address the many other points I’ve asked you clarify, thanks.

David, the reason I’m asking you all of these questions is because it strikes me that you have - arbitrarily - established a very specific context from which to assess this situation. Your context includes temporal assumptions that you haven’t defended, spatial constraints that you haven’t defended, and political boundaries that you haven’t explained. It strikes me that if you shift those context parameters, you can arrive at very different conclusions.

I might even go so far as to say that “yes” if we accept your very specific context, the situation is simple. But you haven’t even acknowledged that you’re working from a very specific context, and you haven’t defended why you think your context is the “correct” one. You declared that 1949 is the correct moment in time to start the clock ticking. Why not 1917 or 1967 or 1600?

Another question about winning territory… if attackers have nothing to lose, what’s to keep them from attacking?

 
 
David N Bradley
 
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David N Bradley
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23 November 2018 09:39
 

My “arbitrary” framework is known as “international law”.  If you don’t like starting the clock at 1949, then Israel loses its legitimacy to exist. (No one except Israelis will agree to start the clock at 1967.)  Israel’s legitimacy springs from UN Resolution 181—the 1947 partition resolution.  That’s why the world grants Israel legitimacy.  Almost no one outside of the Jewish community recognizes Jews’ “historic rights” to Israel from 2,000 years ago.  If you want to play that game, again, Israel loses its legitimacy.

The reason I choose international law as a framework is because it’s the only framework there is besides “wants”.  If we say “Israel wants this” and “Palestinians want that” then there’s no way to say who’s right and who’s wrong.  International law gives us a way.  The fact that pretty much the entire world agrees with international law gives it legitimacy.  If the entire world wasn’t on board then maybe I wouldn’t be either. 

I don’t know what other points you want me to clarify.  I addressed many of them and directed you to my (scholarly) blog posts.  Did you read those posts and find your questions unanswered?  Or did you not read the posts?

You last question about “What if attackers have nothing to lose?” makes no sense.  Right now Hamas has nothing to lose.  If you give them a state, then they might have something to lose.  So by your logic we should give them a state.

 
LadyJane
 
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23 November 2018 09:45
 
icehorse - 23 November 2018 08:22 AM

So, you want to tell me that the “Palestinians” and their land hungry allies, are “moderate”? That all of this conflict is because of Israel’s actions?

You said that.  Twice times now.  You continue introducing things and attributing them to Mr. Bradley in order to make that the sticking point about which to argue.  Then answering questions with questions.  Maybe this is the shell game you’re seeing. 

One of the biggest hurdles in the course of these discussions is patience.  Taking one step at a time to ensure that everyone is on the same page, understanding basic facts, before moving forward into more specific territory.  Otherwise we all go off in different directions (defaulting into the same hollow bullet points) of our own understanding.  I already know what I already know.  I want to hear what Mr. Bradley knows so I can challenge, or add to, what I already know.

I think we owe it to the authors of these threads to hear them out and restrict our responses to the material provided.

 
 
icehorse
 
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23 November 2018 10:10
 
David N Bradley - 23 November 2018 09:39 AM

1 - My “arbitrary” framework is known as “international law”.  If you don’t like starting the clock at 1949, then Israel loses its legitimacy to exist. (No one except Israelis will agree to start the clock at 1967.)  Israel’s legitimacy springs from UN Resolution 181—the 1947 partition resolution.  That’s why the world grants Israel legitimacy. 

2 - Almost no one outside of the Jewish community recognizes Jews’ “historic rights” to Israel from 2,000 years ago.  If you want to play that game, again, Israel loses its legitimacy.

3 - The reason I choose international law as a framework is because it’s the only framework there is besides “wants”.  If we say “Israel wants this” and “Palestinians want that” then there’s no way to say who’s right and who’s wrong.  International law gives us a way.  The fact that pretty much the entire world agrees with international law gives it legitimacy.  If the entire world wasn’t on board then maybe I wouldn’t be either. 

4 - I don’t know what other points you want me to clarify.  I addressed many of them and directed you to my (scholarly) blog posts.  Did you read those posts and find your questions unanswered?  Or did you not read the posts?

5 - You last question about “What if attackers have nothing to lose?” makes no sense.  Right now Hamas has nothing to lose.  If you give them a state, then they might have something to lose.  So by your logic we should give them a state.

I numbered your points so that I could respond to each.

#1 - The UN (which has sadly become mostly useless), has issued scores of resolutions concerning this conflict. Why is this resolution “better” than the Balfour declaration? Can you point to the place where “the world” has agreed that it’s this resolution that grants Israel legitimacy?

#2 - This was never my argument.

#3 - International law is a moving target, and often leads to horrific compromises.

#4 - I read the first of your “scholarly” blog posts and much of my debate has centered around it. You continue to fail to acknowledge your context. It seems to me that what’s implicit in your arguments are a series of qualifiers: if we assume X and if we assume Y and if we assume Z, then it’s simple. I have explicitly mentioned some of the qualifiers that I claim you must be implying. But this is a sort of guessing game approach, and guessing is a waste of time. That’s why I’m asking you - out of respect - to make your assumptions and constraints explicit.

#5 - In 1967, Israel was attacked by many of its neighbors simultaneously. And in the ensuing war, Israel gained a lot of territory. Subsequently, and in my mind too generously, Israel returned these fairly won territories back to their enemies. So in this case, the attackers were granted a win-win situation. If they won, they’d get Israel. If they lost, they’d get their poorly defended territories back. What a great deal for the attackers! Why not do that over and over again?

 

 
 
icehorse
 
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23 November 2018 10:14
 
LadyJane - 23 November 2018 09:45 AM
icehorse - 23 November 2018 08:22 AM

So, you want to tell me that the “Palestinians” and their land hungry allies, are “moderate”? That all of this conflict is because of Israel’s actions?

You said that.  Twice times now.  You continue introducing things and attributing them to Mr. Bradley in order to make that the sticking point about which to argue.  Then answering questions with questions.  Maybe this is the shell game you’re seeing. 

One of the biggest hurdles in the course of these discussions is patience.  Taking one step at a time to ensure that everyone is on the same page, understanding basic facts, before moving forward into more specific territory.  Otherwise we all go off in different directions (defaulting into the same hollow bullet points) of our own understanding.  I already know what I already know.  I want to hear what Mr. Bradley knows so I can challenge, or add to, what I already know.

I think we owe it to the authors of these threads to hear them out and restrict our responses to the material provided.

You think that when you agree with them. But if a poster puts forth an argument based on context you disagree with, then you feel free to argue their context.

I’ve already granted David that if we accept his multi-dimensional and arbitrary context, the situation is simple. That’s been addressed. My counter argument is that I think his context isn’t necessarily the correct one.

 
 
David N Bradley
 
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David N Bradley
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23 November 2018 10:33
 

My context is international law.  I say that international law is the right framework with which to resolve the conflict because the countries of the world buy into international law.  That’s what gives the law its legitimacy.  It’s agreed to by the countries of the world.

As to #1, you are the first person I’ve ever heard argue that UN Resolution 181 doesn’t grant Israel its legitimacy to exist.  If you don’t believe me that UN Resolution 181 creates Israel, then just go read the resolution.  It’s easy to find online.  As to why UN Resolution 181 is the deciding document and not the Balfour Declaration, the Balfour Declaration didn’t make anything specific.  It didn’t specify boundaries.  It also was a unilateral declaration by Britain.  The UN 181 on the other hand has the backing of the entire world.  That gives it more legitimacy.

As to #3, why do you say international law is a moving target?  The pieces of the law I’m referring to—the creation of Israel and the inadmissability of acquiring territory by war—have stayed the same for over 70 years.  Where’s the moving target?

#4:  My assumption is that international law is the only way to resolve the conflict.  I have that assumption because the whole world buys into international law.  That gives international law legitimacy.  If the entire world agreed to a different scheme, I might agree to that.

#5:  Your history on 1967 is just wrong.  I know you don’t believe me because you’ve been told something different your whole life, but I write about this on my blog, too.  Israel attacked Egypt first.  Israel (1) was never in existential danger and (2) likely was not going to be attacked.  Israel lied about what happened anyway.  It told the UN Security Council on June 5th that it was attacked by Egypt and then a month later admitted that this wasn’t true.  After the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, war with Arab states ceased to be a possibility.  Everyone recognizes this.  I write about it in the blog.  https://areplytosamharris.com/2018/11/17/israel-is-surrounded-by-people-who-have-explicitly-genocidal-intentions-toward-them/

Either way, Jordan was in control of the West Bank before 1967.  Ending the occupation wouldn’t be giving control back to Jordan (which is what Israel would like to do, incidentally).  And though Israel gave territory back to Egypt, Egypt has never been threatening to Israel since.  So what are you talking about with giving territory back to people gives them incentive to attack again?

 
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