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Why is the argument that there were no Palestinians raised?

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by LuisDantas, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    One of the most esoteric parts of the heated controversy and conflict between Israelis and their neighbors (and the allies of both sides) is well represented in this quote (which is currently in the signature of a forum member).

    I understand that for most Israelis that basically says that Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state - or, at least, it denies some mysterious hypothetical reason to disapprove of its existence. Apparently some reason that is crystal clear for most Israelis, to the point that they assume everyone else to have a clue of what it is, if not an intuitive understanding.

    I have barely any clue of what they mean with that. If it does not mean that they earned the right to the land by buying what was previously underpopulated, underoccupied land from whoever lived there previously, then I can't even attempt to guess what it might possibly mean. It is just an odd thing to say.

    The whole saying is only meaningful to me in that it offers a perhaps involuntary glimpse of insight on the Israeli understanding of what the meaning and nature of people and territory are and how they relate to each other.

    Perhaps more involuntarily still, it may in so doing also highlight that most Middle Eastern non-Jewish people have a very different understanding about those rights.

    But I truly don't know. The saying is really very odd to me. Were it not for circunstantial evidence, I would assume that it is meant not to be understood by non-initiates. It relies way too much on what I consider a dogmatic, unfounded certainty about inherent meanings of nationality and rights of territory that are IMO no less than entirely and inherently fictional, albeit deeply valued by many people nonetheless.

    What do you understand of that quote, and how did you reach that understanding? How stable are your conclusions?
     
  2. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    The notion the Palestinians do not exist as a distinct people -- which Meir's saying seems to me to reflect -- appears to me to be based on a few facts very heavily spun into an absurd conclusion. Perhaps it would be kind of like the British arguing they had a claim to the US or parts of it on the grounds Americans were not a discreet and separate people before 1776. After all, when and how does a people become a people? Must they have always existed as a people to be a people today?

    I think Israel has a right to exist. But so too, do I think the Palestinians have a right to form their own state, separate from both Israel and Jordan.
     
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  3. Bunyip

    Bunyip pro scapegoat

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    It seems patently absurd to me. Of course there were Palestinians, the names of countries and states change, borders move - but there has been a significant Arab population from the earliest of times. The sort of reasoning here is so problematic because it all comes down to how far you want to go back. The Nartufians? The proto Canaanites? It was an Assyrian, a Neo-Assyrian and an Egyptian territory at times.
     
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  4. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Aesthetic Traditionalist

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    It's not that complicated, all it says is that there has never been a sovereign Palestinian entity or nation state. The whole area was just Ottoman real-estate until recently.

    What historically, even constituted Palestine has always been an iffy question that depended on which European power you asked.
     
  5. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Taking as a premise that it is what she means and that it is accurate, what does that entail, if anything?

    I am having a hard time attempting to understand why that would mean anything, yet Golda Meir sure seems to think it is in some sense very meaningful.
     
  6. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Aesthetic Traditionalist

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    It is accurate. To my knowledge there has never been a sovereign Palestinian state. It has always just been the real-estate of various empires until the end of WWI. The implication is that the Palestinian state has no historical claim over the land Israel now holds, yet alone can claim it was stolen from them. Or at the very least, Palestinian claims over the land have no more legitimacy than Israel's claims.

    Frankly, it doesn't mean much for the people on the ground. But perhaps if those running the so called Palestinian state accept that Israel is there to stay, and that it has the right to exist some actual ground could be made. Like a state for Palestinians. But the fact is you have one side that wants to fight no matter how futile their cause, because they want Israel gone utterly.
     
    #6 Musing Bassist, Feb 23, 2015
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  7. Bunyip

    Bunyip pro scapegoat

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    Sure, but there was never a sovereign state in the modern sense for the Jews until the 20th century.I'm not seeing what relevance it has to occupancy. The locals were still local.
     
  8. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Aesthetic Traditionalist

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    Britain promised the Jews a state essentially. And they eventually got it.

    In either case, would you be willing to leave Australia? I mean, what right had Britain to occupy that land? Do you think it's reasonable to ask the Israelis to leave now decades after the fact?

    Israel is there now, that is the new reality like it or not.
     
  9. Bunyip

    Bunyip pro scapegoat

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    Sure, they promised the Palestinians a state at the same time - the Balfour declaration. And as to Australia, I inherited no land from any gods, and own none of my own. I have no land.

    I should add that I am not questioning the legitimacy of the state of Israel.
    What right did Britain have? Only the right of might, which is how most borders are forged.
     
  10. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Aesthetic Traditionalist

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    Which correct me if I'm wrong, every offer for a state has been rejected by them. What can Israel do here?
     
  11. Bunyip

    Bunyip pro scapegoat

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    Retreat to the original specified borders. If they do not abide by the original agreement, then Israel's own claim becomes invalid.
     
  12. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    That is probably accurate. It is also nearly completely without meaning or consequence, given how questionable the meaning of "sovereign state" is in the first place. The concept did not even exist until the 17th century, and I expect it to be abandonmned entirely in the next few decades. It is simply not very useful, and IMO not worth attempting to save.

    Westphalian sovereignty - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    (I took the liberty of fixing "yet", which I understand to be a mispelling of "let", in the above quote. Sorry if I misunderstood you somehow.)

    Not the state, but what about the people? Particularly the people of the territory taken in the war after the inauguration of Israel?

    My current assumption is that the reasons for that war are much less understood than they ought to be. And one of those is probably that many Israelis see a meaning in that allegation you spell above, while most Arabs wonder if it is to be taken at all seriously. It does rely on some peculiar, questionable premises. From my perspective, it amounts to inventing the need for a wholy fictional entity out of thin air, then claiming that its inexistence justifies a territorial claim.


    Which is to say "basically none". People can certain live on land, but the notion of inherent rights over it is... just odd really.

    Then again, I can't be surprised that people want some form of reassurance that they will be allowed to continue living where they chose to live or where their ancestors lived before them. It is a very human need that arises directly out of other rather unquestionable, basic needs. However, that ends up making people very attached to various forms of fictional statements - glorified promises, if one chooses to be bluntly honest about it.

    To its credit, the Zionist movement did spend a remarkable amount of time, dedication and money towards legally buying what I understand to be basically the territory of Israel as its frontiers were established at the moment of inauguration.

    I wish I knew more about the Arab perspective of those times. I know that they promised to go at war with Israel if it was inaugurated and made good of that promise, at a terrible cost (including loss of land) to them. But their reasons are all but completely unknown to me.


    Well, that is the problem. No state has any right to exist as such. Why would Israel be any different?


    Do you happen to know something about their reasons for that early 1940s war? Either alleged or unofficial, or even hypothetical?
     
  13. Bunyip

    Bunyip pro scapegoat

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    Luis

    How this whole Westphalian thing relates to a changing world is a truly interesting question. It is a 500 year old convention, and increasingly less relevant. But where do we go from here?
     
  14. Kirran

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    Disclaimer: I don't think Israelis should leave the area, that's absurd.

    Who cares if there was a Palestinian identity a hundred years ago? There is now, and the people who are now certainly Palestinians have lived there longer than the vast majority of Israelis, who came since WWII, and most of the remainder in the few decades before that. And even if they had just arrived now, dropped out of the sky, it still wouldn't matter, as they're people who want autonomy and to have full rights. African Americans didn't have full rights in the USA, but was that fine because they hadn't been there before the Europeans?

    And in any case, the Palestinians, whatever they called themselves at the time, lived in what is now Israel and Palestine before the Israeli state was formed, and were kicked off their land and are being currently marginalised and oppressed to a massive degree, and many want a state of their own. I don't know if that's feasible anymore, but that's a separate issue.
     
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  15. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    I created a thread a while ago mentioning the logical consequences of finite territory and unrestricted population growth.

    Is the idea of land property sustainable? Is it or will it become obsolete? | ReligiousForums.com

    This is a difficult dilemma. I can't honestly fault people for wanting the security of knowing where they will live. Yet for all practical purposes, we ourselves are eroding the available territory per capita simply by breeding ever greater numbers.

    Try for a moment to think of yourself as part of a traditional people of some kind, content to live in "its own" territory. Make it a Game of Thrones noble House if you want to be topical. :p

    Now imagine what it would mean to grow to adulthood and learning to live there. Then imagine living 40 years more and see that the available lands per person have been halved. Worse still, so have those of all the neighbors, leading to their pestering your people for jobs, food and resources, while some of yours have been doing the same to theirs.

    Rinse, repeat it, say, twice. Then you will see how attractice war can be simply because it offers a promise of solving that difficult dilemma.

    Apartment buildings help to some extent, as do technological advancements in agriculture and other fields. But that is just attending to the most sore spots, not a true solution. Ultimately, we will have no choice but to attempt to stop population growth altogether, probably by genocidal war. The true solution would of course be responsible social planning and voluntary refusal to have more than one or two children, but that is just not likely to happen in the foreseeable future.
     
  16. FearGod

    FearGod Freedom Of Mind

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    Palestinians are aliens who came to earth by UFOs.

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Aesthetic Traditionalist

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    Well, regardless of how 'meaningful' you find the notion of political sovereignty, I don't see the recognition of Israel's going away anytime soon. It seems rather meaningful to them and to the other political entities of influence. It's real so long as those more powerful than you say it is.

    Well, what about it? Do we go back in time and ask nicely? I'm not saying the injustice of displacing people is justifiable, but what has been done has been done and laminating the irreversible is pointless. For all your philosophising on rights and the illegitimacy of the notion of statehood, let's ask a real world question. What do you want, the dissolution of Israel and the deportation of its Jewish population back to Europe somewhere? Because states are outdated anyway? No wonder nothing gets done.
     
  18. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Aesthetic Traditionalist

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    More accurately, they spent the last few centuries as Ottoman subjects with no notion of being an independent political entity.
     
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  19. Flankerl

    Flankerl Well-Known Member

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    Palestinian Nationalism started roughly after the 6 Days war. Prior to that there simply was no Palestinian Nationalism.

    That's about it.
     
  20. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Never mind me. It is those who want the land, or who direct the masses and the weapons, that may come to destroy Israel. And I don't mean those outside its borders necessarily.

    I seem to have read that there were two previous attempts at creating a Jewish state in the Middle East, in roughly the same territory as the current one. It is in the nature of states that they only last when enough people know of and care about their existence as such. How could it be any different?


    No. We do our best to learn what they understand land rights to be, and what motivated their ancestors to decree war against Israel in the late forties. Then we work from there, seeking realistic, viable options.


    Indeed. Try this one for irreversible: making a point of living in armed, perpetual challenge of the desires of neighbors who, as it turns out, breed considerably faster than they do themselves, will doom Israel if that direction isn't fixed real soon. If current trends remain, Israel will end up living in de facto permanent war against all of its neighbors, in ever more miserable living conditions, ever more hated and threatened by them. And at some point they will invade and destroy Israel, even if out of lack of choice alone.

    If Israel wants to survive, let alone become a viable, stable Jewish state, it can't afford to ignore the social and political realities of the region it chose to establish itself.

    In that respect it is no different from any other nation.


    No. I want Israel (and everyone really) to pursue viable strategies as opposed to military or nationalistic ones.
     
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