The Past 50 Years of Israeli Occupation. And the Next.

Israel enjoys perpetual control of the Palestinian land it captured in 1967 thanks as much to myth as military power.

Comments: 230

  1. The author fails to recall that the 1967 war was started by Palestinians, who lost and therefore Israel ended up with land. It is unreasonable to expect Israel to give back what it conquered when it was attacked. Land is annexed in wars all the time, but no other country to my knowledge is told they must give it back. Yes, the Palestinians need a place to govern all by themselves, but not at the expense of partitioning Jerusalem again nor making a narrow 10-mile wide border between the sea and Palestine. It's time that Palestinians took responsibility for what they set into motion, a war that they lost and displaced people that other Arab countries refused to absorb. I know of no other group of people who have chosen to stay 50 years in refugee camps rather than make peace.

  2. Israel was forced on population of the ME, against their will. I don't know any country that would be happy to secede its territory without attempts to recover it. After all, Jews fought for their state for 1000 years after they lost these territories, why should we hold Palestinians to different standards? Palestinians didn't choose to be refugees they were forced to be ones. And all peace proposals acceptable to Israel will keep them in this status forever because Israel is worrying about purity of its population. Although it always puzzled me, how did Israel plan to be a Jewish state, considering that in the original Israel, created by The UN, almost half of population was Arabs? What would happen if they refused to leave Israel? How then would then Israel keep its Jewishness? Or chasing away the half of population was always the Israeli plan? Doesn't that amount to ethnic cleansing?

  3. Barbara -- "The author fails to recall that the 1967 war was started by Palestinians"

    There is no version of the 1967 War that has the "Palestinians" starting it. It was either Egypt or Israel, with Jordan and Syria joining later.

  4. You mean like India and Pakistan were partitioned along religious lines?
    They have managed to maintain an uneasy peace; and India has a Muslim minority although not too many Hindus living in Pakistan. HMMM.

  5. I appreciate the need and sense of homeland the Israel population must feel, but the Palestinians cannot be denied that equal sense of need. The sense of being occupied, and being helpless in that situation has an equal claim upon our sympathies. It is too easy to side with the group that seemingly stands closer to out cultural norms and has the power, much of which we bestow on it.
    That may explain why the problem is so cruel and so intractable.

  6. Mr. Thrall includes a number of Arab "talking points" that simply do not measure up with history or facts. There was no "historic Palestine", Even Arab historians such as Phillip Hitti acknowledged that there was no such people as "Palestinians" up until that time. Worth noting is the 1964 version of the PLO Charter (periodically available on the website of the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations) where it clearly states "Article 24: This Organization does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or in the Himmah Area." As far as the PLO was concerned even the eastern half of Jerusalem, which is now claimed as their ancient and historic capital, was the property of Jordan. It was only with Israel's recapture of those areas that the PLO began to agitate to have control of them.

    Mr. Thrall depicts the P.A.'s security cooperation with Israel as maintaining the occupation. However, it would be far more accurate to see the P.A.'s intermittent security efforts as being part of their commitment to statehood alongside of Israel, the renunciation of violence that was agreed to at Oslo (but not entirely kept to - e.g. the 2nd Intifada).

    The ironic thing is that Mr. Thrall ignores how Israel granted citizenship to every person living within its sovereignty in 1949. That could have included the West Bank and Gaza. It is Arab hatred that has maintained them.

  7. In this case, there should not be a problem with refugees. They are all citizen of Israel and should be allowed to return and to enjoy all rights that other people of Israel enjoy, including the right to vote

  8. "The ironic thing is that Mr. Thrall ignores how Israel granted citizenship to every person living within its sovereignty in 1949."

    You mean after forcefully expelling 800,000 of them to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon?

  9. The American occupation of native land is an All American biblical dream. Why should Israel think small?

  10. Conspicuous by its absence here is any mention of Hamas. Had the author named the Islamist group, he would have greatly complicated his simplistic narrative. He'd then have to say, for example, that Hamas's violence in Gaza "precipitated" Israel's withdrawal. But that would ignore the fact that a Gaza withdrawal was supposed to happen anyway under the terms of the peace agreement that Arafat walked away from.

    So what was gained by ramping up rocket attacks then, apart from plunging Gazans back into conflict and convincing everyone that a substantial withdrawal from the West Bank would merely repeat the disaster on a larger scale? The author also glosses over the fact that Hamas's string of suicide bombings in 1996 helped bring Netanyahu to power in a close election against an opponent intent on resuming the peace process where Rabin left off.

  11. The author is correct. The status quo persists because it serves the interests of all parties -- for different reasons admittedly, but they do obviously coordinate their policies nevertheless. But the author did fail to mention Hamas, as you noted, or the Egyptian civil war snow sputtering in Sinai and the Nile Valley south of Cairo (Al-Minya, Asyut, Suhaj). He also failed to mention Nasrallah's Hezbollah (the "Party of God", if I'm not mistaken), a Shi'a Islamist militant tribal grouping and political party in south Lebanon supported by Iran. He also didn't mention the presence of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' "Quds Force", a large special forces unit that is the personal military instrument of Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, or its presence in Syria, or its alliance with Hezbollah.

    An already very complicated geostrategic situation is about to be complicated further by the rise and impending fall of ISIS/ISIL, by Egypt probably being the next state to fail in the region, the Kurdish drive for independence challenging no fewer than three states (Iran, Iraq and Turkey), and the Syrian stalemate.

    Status quos exist for a reason beyond the convenience of all participants. The Syrian implosion is a clue about the depth of political instability throughout the region, and the tragic consequences that will arise when the status quo finally ruptures. And Syria can't be fixed, because Alawite clan rule over Sunni eastern Syria is a political non-starter.

  12. Talk about mythology! Israel has made peace with Egypt. It has made peace with Jordan. It will make peace with the Palestinians when those people decide that building schools is more important than building tunnels, forging factories is more important than forging rockets, and that 90% of something is always better than 100% of nothing. But hey, it's always easier and more glamorous to be in the resistance than to do the hard work of governing. Melt down the rockets, turn in the weapons, build a civil society, and a state will come.

    But.... it won't include a right of return, and it won't include sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Israel tried the latter with Arab sovereignty from 1984 to 1967, and Jews were barred from worshiping there. Nor should any state be asked to commit demographic suicide. If those things cannot be accepted, there will be no agreement. The Occupation will continue. 90% of something, or 100% of nothing. The choice rests in Ramallah.

  13. Did Israel win its status by melting down the rockets and turning in the weapon? Not at all, quite an opposite. Why would Palestinians believe that such measures would help, especially considering that Israel is not offering them 90%, it is offering them 10% - sovereignty in name only

  14. Typo: 1948 to 1967. After the 1947-48 war, Jordan held the old city of Jerusalem -- the same east Jerusalem the Palestinians want as their capital. The Jordanians barred Jews from entering the old city, and turned the area in front of the holy Western Wall of the ancient Jewish Temple into a rubble heap. No Jewish person was permitted to worship there. The idea that the Temple Mount and the area around it would ever return to Arab sovereignty, given this history, is a fantasy. Israelis would rather be occupiers, and they have a point.

  15. "The latest, though surely not the last, in this list of threats is the prospect of political changes within America and its Jewish community. Israel has become a more partisan issue, and polls show a majority of Democrats in favor of some economic sanctions or other action against Israeli settlements"

    Pure wishful thinking on Thrall's part. At 71%, American of approval of Israel is as high as it's been in 25 years, with the sole exception of 2014, when it was 72%:

    As for Democrats...Israel "only" has a 61% positive approval rating among Democrats, 36% negative, read the link. Thrall is free to pick and choose his sources, but Gallup has been conducting this poll for decades

  16. What the Romans named Palestine was from the beginning of the Jewish diaspora, a backwater province of various empires, starting with Rome and ending with the Ottoman Turks. It was never a political entity that anyone identified with in the years between 70 AD and 1948. Perhaps today's Palestinians, were they able to countenance peace, to celebrate education rather than suicide bombers, to hold a dialog, would start on the path to get what they want.

  17. The US was a British colony didn't stop it from becoming the state by means of war, not by peace or education. Jewish state didn't exist for more than thousand years, and was re-established not through peaceful negotiations with population of the ME, but was forced on them again through force. So why should Palestinians believe in dialog and education?

  18. Israel was established via a peaceful negotiation process through the UN. The Palestinians were accorded a state as well. They, and multiple Arab nations, rejected the peaceful establishment of dual states. Instead they chose to invade immediately upon Israeli independence. You should read some of the readily available and comprehensive history surrounding those events before you opine upon them.

  19. Actually prior to the creation of Israel, there were Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Arabs--this is why Thrall calls the people in the West Bank Arabs and not "Palestinians." Palestine was a territory, like the louisiana purchase.

  20. This article is just complete and total nonsense. The author is cherry picking his facts and rewriting history to come to his conclusion that Israel only responds to force. The historical reality is the opposite - Arab terror and violence does not lead to Israeli concessions, but rather leaves the Arabs in a worse off position while making the Israeli public more skeptical that any peace deal will ever be possible.

    He ignores the fact that the Arab countries could have negotiated a peace treaty with Israel, and created a Palestinian state on the West Bank, Gaza and in eastern Jerusalem, any time between 1949 and 1967. They chose not to, preferring to continue to wage war on Israel with the ultimate goal of destroying the Jewish state.

    He ignores the fact that the Arab countries provoked the 1967 war, and that the territory Israel gained in this defensive war, on the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, was not "Palestinian land" but territory that had been controlled by Jordan.

    He ignores the fact that shortly after the Six Day War ended, Israel offered to withdraw from most of the territory it captured in this defensive war. The Arab states rejected this offer.

    He ignores the fact that it was not violence that led to Israel's withdrawal from the Sinai, but rather it was Sadat's recognition of Israel, his willingness to travel to Jerusalem to address the Israeli people directly, and the promise of a full peace treaty with Egypt.

  21. Ralph,
    Well said. You speak the truth.

  22. Thank you. Beautifully written. Unfortunately, I believe that the people who hate Israel will continue their hatred. Israel becoming a pariah nation is more in the long history of anti-semitism and in my mind is the proverbial canary in the coal mine. It is a harbinger of things to come that we are beginning to see around the whole world right now. The NYTimes article is playing right into that thinking.

  23. No one wants Israel to disappear from the face of the earth. Even Israeli Zionists concede to the fact that is propaganda. General Ezer Weizman similarly said, “There was never a danger of extermination. This hypothesis had never been considered in any serious meeting.” Chief of Staff Haim Bar-Lev acknowledged, “We were not threatened with genocide on the eve of the Six-Day War, and we had never thought of such possibility."

    Israel is in belligerent occupation after it attacked the surrounding nations in order to acquire territory by force in 1967. The fact that Israel was the aggressor is attested to by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin acknowledged that “In June 1967, We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him. This constitutes a violation of Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Hague Regulations of 1907 against settling territories both stipulate against settling properties" as the Israeli Supreme Court and ICJ, as well as memos from the US and Israeli governments, prove.

  24. Nathan Thrall overlooks the fact that the Palestinian Arabs have already rejected the UN partition plan in 1948, President Clinton's plan in 2001, and, although he makes brief mention of Olmert's two state offer in 2008, mischaracterizes it (the offer was for more than 91% of the West Bank by most historic accounts).

    He also makes no mention of the thousands of Israeli and Arab civilians killed or injured between 1996 and 2006 by Palestinian suicide bombers; nor the many airplane hijackings and airport bombings in the 1970s and 1980s (not to mention Munich and Achille Lauro).

    And the argument that Israel already has 78% of historic Palestine overlooks the fact that in September 1922 the British gave away two-thirds of historic Palestine to create Jordan.

    I am heartened that he thinks the Palestinian have agreed that Israel may keep the settlement blocks and Jewish areas of East Jerusalem.

    I only wish that Netanyahu would make that offer publicly, loud and clear, again and again and again. Yes, let them accept it for all the world to hear.

  25. Mr Thrall has forgotten that from 1948 to 1967 the West Bank was controlled by Jordan and Gaza by Egypt and they made no attempt to establish a Palestinian state there.

    He has forgotten the Arab League infamous three-no's pledge following the 1967 war - "no recognition, no negotiations and no peace." .

    He has forgotten that Hamas took control of Gaza violently shortly after Israel withdrew, remains committed to the destruction of Israel and continues to fire rockets into Israel and build tunnels to kill or capture Israelis. He seems pleased that rockets were being fired into Israel even before it withdrew. Why is that good?

    Mr. Thrall also forgets that President Clinton and Israel Prime Minister Barak made two-state peace proposals to Yasser Arafat in 2000 and 2001 which were not even acknowledged, much less resulted in a counter-offer. An even more generous offer to Abbas in 2008 was also met with silence.

    Finally Mr. Thrall seems either unaware or unconcerned about the virulent anti-Semitism coming out of PA-controlled media, mosques and schools or the fact that the PA encourages and rewards murderers of Jews, or their families, with generous lifetime pensions and names schools and other sites in their "honor."

    When the Palestinians demonstrate that they are interested in living in peace with Israel, a two-state solution will be possible.

  26. Arthur Siegel,
    Well said. The Times should publish your comment and highlight it.

  27. Many of these comments demonstrate the role of ideology in producing American political and cultural "commonsense" about Israel as a state in which it's depicted as a "miracle," rather than a settler colonial enterprise.

  28. What really gets me is that why neither Egypt or Jordan were never pressured into make them into Palestinian states in the 20 years they had them the way Israel was considering there were absolutely no Jews living there hence no so-called settlements.

  29. Is it just me? Doesn't anyone see that while one side in this 'conflict' has virtually all the wealth, power, military resources and influences (where it counts, the U.S. congress) and the other 'occupied' people have almost nothing, we keep using the term 'negotiating'? How can whole generations of children grow up under military rule, with all it's trappings, and NOT be bitter and angry? How can any nation not understand this, unless of course resistance is necessary to continue the goal of taking land and eliminating an entire people from the region?

  30. When one side seeks to destroy the otherb and is impoverished by their own defeat, that does not change or eliminate the need for them to surrender.

    The Arab world continues to promote violence against Jews (not just Israelis) and Palestinian Arab schools continue to teach children that the whole region is a single Arab state. Until they truly accept that they will need to coexist with the Jewish people instead of promoting violence and martyrdom, the war is not over. Their weapons may be smaller, but so long as they continue to target the men, women and children of Israel there is no peace.

  31. Well written opinion piece masquerading as being factual. Too many half truths and distortions to list.

  32. If there are too many to list, perhaps you can just give us a few selected "half-truths" and one or two "distortions".

  33. Why don't you give us an example of the half truths and distortions.

  34. Thrall is correct. The status-quo is that while the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza continue to suffer, Israel does just fine.

    There are no serious threats from neighbors, in fact just the opposite. Saudi Arabia, the self-proclaimed leader of the Arab world, is now de facto allied with Israel against Iran. Israel alone boasts nuclear weapons. The Gaza "rockets" are pathetic.

    The Palestinian leadership has colluded with Israel to keep the natives living under occupation in check. Sure there are disturbances here and there, but they turn out to be useful to the propaganda which paints Palestinians as driven by hatred of Jews more than by a human urge to restore dignity and regain what is theirs, no matter how apparently hopeless.

    Despite the near universal recognition that the 50-year old Jewish settlement project in the West Bank is illegal by international law, Israel faces no serious pressure from the US or anyone else. The incessant claims from the Israeli side that Israel is subjected to "double standards" are ironically accurate. Russia is sanctioned for taking Crimea from Ukraine, yet Israel's theft of Palestinian land goes unpunished.

    Had an American President the mind to do it, he or she could take executive actions to scale back the enormous financial and diplomat support provided by the US. I suspect the American people would welcome it. Congress, the Israel lobby and the War Party - not so much. It is extremely unlikely to happen, of course.

  35. You are correct. I might add that the Crimean people voted for annexation to Russia. I don't recall the Palestinian people being asked regarding Israel's annexations.

  36. I am disappointed that this very biased article has been published. This is the kind of propaganda that causes hate. This is not productive, it is harmful.

  37. Which side is propaganda? The world has figured it out and eventually will act, but too many closed minded Zionists are unable to accept the obvious.

  38. Lindsey, I am totally in agreement with you. I was taken aback even seeing the title of the article repeated over and over after a while. That is how propaganda usually works. You repeat the same lie over and over and people begin to believe it. I think the NYTimes is being irresponsible.

  39. The truth often causes hate as do the usual lies about Israel. The biggest lie is that there is a two state solution- neither side wants this

  40. There's a single word that describes Israel's philosophy and conduct since 1948: "Lebensraum."
    I have in the past asked people to explain why this is inaccurate, and received nothing but vituperation. Anyone care to answer my question?

  41. I doubt that an answer is warranted, but you might want to consider why Israel leaned on Jordan to stay out of the 1967 war, an appeal that, if heeded, would have left Jordan in possession of the West Bank. The withdrawals from Gaza and Sinai are also a poor fit for your view.

  42. Because it is absolutely untrue. Despite the Arab accusations of Israeli expansionism, the fact remains that Israel has not attempted to expand its borders past the ones it has inhabited since 1967. Israel offered to turn the 1949 Armistice lines into permanent borders two times: in 1949 and 1964. It was the Arab nations that started the war against Israel, seeking to take land from Israel for themselves (just as Jordan sought to annex the West Bank). In fact, Israel even offered to return those lands it captured at that time, only to be rejected by the Arab League. Years later, given a chance to make peace, Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt, despite all the resources it contained.

    If one wishes to find a single word to define the Arab policies since 1948, one could find nothing more apt than to acknowledge that they are attempting to make the Middle East "Judenrein". That, more than anything else, has been their primary motivation. Even before the existence of the PLO, the desire to remove the Jews from the land was clearly expressed by the leaders of the Arab nations.

  43. Before the 1967 war, the West Bank and the Palestinians living in it were part of Jordan. Why wasn't anyone agitating for a Palestinian State at that time?

    After the war, Jordan relinquished its claim to the West Bank, I assume to get rid of the Palestinians, who had previously tried to overthrow its government. The Palestinians have allowed themselves to be used as tools by larger countries in the region, who evade responsibility for their own misbehavior by blaming the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for every problem in the Middle East.

  44. "Why wasn't anyone agitating for a Palestinian State at that time? "

    Because they weren't treated like slaves, they were free. And Jordan didn't "relinquish" its claim to the West Bank, it passed it on to the Palestinians.

  45. What also gets left out is the 1964 offer by Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol offered to turn the 1949 Armistice lines into a permanent border. This would have left the territories in the hands of the Arab world. Unfortunately, not only did the Arab league refuse to accept this offer, they choose to attack Israel, yet again seeking to destroy the state entirely.

    After fighting with Egypt and Syria began, Israel sent messages to King Hussein of Jordan, asking him to remain out of the conflict. His response was to bombard Israeli towns. Having initiated the war, the Arab nations now shamelessly demand that the land be returned to them.

    At the time of the war, the PLO denied sovereignty over the West Bank. Only when Israel regained control over the land seized from them in 1949 did that change. It was only decades after having lost the land that Jordan "ceded" it to the PLO, by which time the gesture was meaningless.

  46. Yes, Israel (Zionist invaders) won the various wars, starting in 1947. International law requires them to absorb the defeated enemy into their country with equal rights for all.

  47. It's a combined failure of the UN, international community, the Arab League, and the post-Arafat Palestinian leadership that the Palestinian aspirations for the sovereign state still remain a distant dream.

  48. Taking someone else's land will cause a violent response. Israel will never create a viable Palestine, not in their interest. And the US gives support to Israel to keep the occupation going. This being a Major cause of Middle East turmoil. Much like giving the Saudis arms so that they continue to support ISiS and al queda through the militancy of Wahhabism .

  49. The land of does not belong to the Arabs. They were abandoned there by Jordan, who should have repatriated them.

  50. Are you saying US indirectly is supporting ISIS? Do you intel that let you to conclude that Saudi is supporting ISIS ?

  51. What in God's name do you think the occupation of America by European immigrants was? This was the wholesale taking of Native Americans lands and the dispossession of natives from the natural resources. No wonder that the USA can gleefully support Israeli occupation of Palestine. Another instance of an European immigrant population occupying lands belonging to the Palestinians from time immemorial. But empires come and empires go. One wonders what will be the final chapter in America's history.

  52. Had Trump really had a Peace Deal

    Trump and his minions swept down on the fold
    And their garments were gleaming in scarlet and gold
    They were coming to Israel, a great deal in view
    Blocked only by a knave called Netanyahu.

    Trump hadn’t a notion, his usual state,
    Low cunning in bankruptcy always worked great,
    There were Arabs involved but he wasn’t sure why,
    Without a real plan but he’d give it a try.

    The Arabs were Muslims which made him uneasy
    A terrorist bunch which did make him queasy,
    In days of discussion he got nowhere fast
    Fled back to Trump Tower, for fast food repast.

  53. Keep the poetry coming!! Really clever.

  54. The solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is well-known, is acceptable to the West and the to rest of the world, is consistent with official US foreign policy, is consistent with UN Resolutions and international law, is consistent with the principles laid out by the Quartet, and is consistent with the proposal put forward by the Arab League.

    It is what the world demands and what Israel refuses to accept:
    2 viable states; 1967 boundaries with mutually agreed land swaps, right of return negotiated using both (limited) property and (fair) compensation.

    It comes down to what Netanyahu & Co. wants vs what the rest of the world needs.

  55. The deal you describe is the one Ehud Barak accepted and Yasir Arafat walked away from. Not only didn't Arafat accept that deal, he made no counter offer. I find it hard to believe that any Palestinian leader would formally agree to a peace proposal that recognizes the legitimacy of the state of Israel.

  56. The Palestinians have formally recognized the State of Israel and the entire Arab League have proposed the same. The problem is that Israel does not want to recognize the State of Palestine.

  57. All that you cite was offered by the Israeli PM Mr. Barack to Mr. Arafat in the waning days of the Clinton Administration in 2000. He turned it down without making a counter offer. Madeline Albright threw herself in front of Arafat's limo in a last ditch attempt to get him to return to the table. True story. It's been downhill ever since.

  58. According to President Clinton the peace plan negotiated at the 2000 Camp David Summit failed because Arafat's "performance (was) geared to exact as many Israeli concessions as possible without ever seriously intending to reach a peace settlement or sign an “end to the conflict." While Mr. Thrall definitely makes some good points and Israel needs to become more realistic about finding a path to peace, I'm not entirely sure how he can say that all of the peace proposals failed because the Palestinians accepted many conditions and Israel offered nothing. This article seems to be altering historical facts to fit the author's narrative.

  59. All the peace offers made sought to codify Israel's criminal occupation in violation of the Geneva and Hague Conventions to some extent. The Palestinians would accept any agreement that is in line with international law and condemnatory of Israel's international criminality.

  60. The problem is that "Historical Facts" were altered long ago with the Palestinians always the bad guys and the Zionists as completely justified in their actions, always in responds to Palestinian terror. That is just not the case.

  61. Mr. Thrall claims to debunk an Israeli "talking point", namely that Israel pulled out of Gaza and got nothing in return but rockets fired at it. As Mr. Thrall notes, rockets had been coming from Gaza for several years (beginning in April of 2001). What Mr. Thrall ignores in his claim is how both the frequency and lethality of the rockets drastically increased after the Israeli withdrawal, particularly after Hamas seized power in the enclave. While earlier rockets had been almost consistently the self-made Qassam rockets, it was only after the Israeli withdrawal that more powerful Katyusha rockets, capable of hitting cities further into Israeli territory, began to be fired. While there had been 286 rockets fired in 2005, there were 1247 fired in 2006. This is a substantial difference that Mr. Thrall seems to gloss over in his attempt to rewrite the narrative in support of his own ideas.

  62. @stop-art, agree with your point. Mr. Thrall also ignores the fact that in the Camp David proposals in 2000, Ehud Barak offered Arafat an Israeli withdrawal from all of Gaza (along with over 90% of the West Bank). So if Arafat had not walked away from Camp David and launched his terrorist war, the Arabs could have had Gaza in 2000 with no rockets or violence, but with a final peace treaty to end the conflict forever. Of course, that would have meant accepting Israel was here to stay, something Arafat and the Palestinian Arabs were not capable of doing.

  63. But, the Israelis demanded control over all basic resources in the West Bank forever, including water. That point in the so-called great offer to Arafat keeps getting forgotten.

  64. @Ralph,

    they continued in Taba stop-art

    You ignore the fact that the Palestinians did not walk away from the talks, the talks continued in Taba after Clinton left office, coming closer to agreement - until a furor was unleashed in the Israeli press with the revelation of what Ehud Barak had offered.

    At that point Barak ended the talks - in hope of preserving his political career.

  65. Unfortunately, Nathan Thrall doesn't know that that Six Day War had nothing to do with the issue of Palestine since there wasn't any talk of a Palestinian State by Israel at the time. More importantly, Israel didn't take the either the West Bank or the Gaza Strip from Palestinian control, they were under the rule of both Egypt and Jordan, both of which never gave a state to the Palestinians when they had that land prior to that said war. Keep in mind that there wasn't even a Palestinian unit during the Six Day War either. The only reason Israel annexed those lands along with the Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula is because they were attacked from those lands first. Before that war, Israel had no intentions to take those lands, so nice try at historical revision. What I could never understand is why Israel has to give back land that they legally won in a war when no other country with such results has to do the same. However, what many don't know about UN Resolution 242 is that it requires peaceful negotiations before even considering returning them as well as saying nowhere that Israel has to give back all of it. In other words, a unilateral withdraw like the one from the Gaza Strip actually violated that very resolution. I won't be surprised if Hamas or even Fatah will launch attacks once the same occurs in the West Bank or even from Hezbollah should the same be from the Golan Heights. This is why there needs to be peace first and not the other way around.

  66. Sorry, but Israel attacked first in 1967. You can try to rewrite history, but we won't fall for it.

  67. Writers such as Herodotus, Aristotle, Polemon of Athens, Pausanias, Agatharchides referred to Palestine repeatedly in their writings. None referred to Israel.Standard Ptolemaic maps of Asia, always included Palestine. Why do these maps not include Israel? Herodotus; the 'Father of History', does not mention Israel or Judea at all in his 'Histories', he does mention Palestine numerous times. Most tellingly, he writes that "from Phoenicia the branch I am speaking of runs along the Mediterranean coast through Palestine, Syria to Egypt, where it ends. It contains three nations only.'" If Israel had only disappeared with the Bar Kochba revolt, wouldn't Greek scholars such as Herodotus and others have referred to Israel?

    The idea that Egypt or Jordan colonising Palestine could influence Palestinian self-determination is legal nonsense known in legal circles as "The Missing Reversioner Thesis". It has been dismissed as legal nonsense by every single institution of international law, including the International Court of Justice. From a legal perspective, what matters is that the conflict was between two high-contracting parties, not what state was the sovereign of the territory in question: it is not Israeli, it is not Egyptian or Jordanian, it belongs to the indigenous Palestinians who have been continually resident in the Levant for many millennia, with Ovid referencing them as a distinct nationality in 8CE.

  68. "What I could never understand is why Israel has to give back land that they legally won in a war when no other country with such results has to do the same."

    Please clarify the "legally won" part of this statement. Did the allies take over Germany indefinitely? Did the United States take over Panama? Iraq? What does "legally won" mean in the modern world?

  69. It is not about what has happened over the last 50 years ( or even the last 100, 200 and so on ) , but rather what are we going to do going forward.

    Of course, I speak as an outsider from the comfy confines of my armchair. I have not had my house, land, or country usurped. I do not have to worry about checkpoints, security or bombs being rained down on me or blown up in front of me. I do not believe in any one God or even a religion. I go on about my day oblivious to the pain, heartache and hopelessness that so many in the region feel deep within their soul.

    However, I am a human being and feel for my global citizens.

    I want the posturing to stop and the think pieces that cherry pick some bit of history over another. the rewriting of history, the belief that one particular group is better than another, to stop as well.

    Stop the encroaching and stop the bombing in retaliation. Sit down and work on the parameters of a two state solution where one group of people can live with another in harmony, peace and respect.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn't GOD want that ? ( if he\she exists )

  70. Wasn't it obvious years ago that Israel has no intention of pursuing a two-state solution? They've had numerous opportunities to end the conflict by agreeing to a Palestinian state or quasi-state, and have rejected every one of them. Israel was founded in 1948 with the goal of reclaiming the Biblical homeland of the Jews, and in 1967 they achieved that goal. They will never willingly give up their claim to that land. Whether it takes 50 years, or 100, or 1000, they are dedicated to the idea that the West Bank will be theirs and that the Palestinians will never have a home.

  71. Why would Israel ever agree to a state devoted to its destruction at the worst, and best one that does not acknowledge its existence. Tell what other country would stand for that?

  72. Your view is an appalling smear, given that in 1947, Middle Eastern Jews accepted, but Arabs overwhelmingly rejected a two-state proposal from the U.N. that foresaw a Jewish state, an Arab state and Jerusalem as an international protectorate with no one religion dominating another. The Arabs' only counteroffer at the time was a war of annihilation with the announced intent of driving the Jews into the sea.

  73. There cannot be peace because Abbas and the PA would collapse if Israel left the West Bank. But Abbas refuses to agree to ANY Israeli security presence in the West Bank. The curious thing is, he knows that without the IDF, his government would fall to Hamas or Isis in very short order. His negotiating position is clearly cynical--there is no Palestinian leader who has sincerely and in good faith tried to end this conflict. Why? Because there entire identity (and personal wealth) is based on the conflict continuing.
    There are no stable Arab regimes around Israel. Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, are either in free fall or teetering. It is a fantasy that if Israel signs a piece of paper with the PA, suddenly a stable, non-extreme, Arab democracy will be born. Another 'Piece in our time'.
    The only path to piece is through security. That means allowing the PA more autonomy in proportion to the degree of security cooperation. Autonomy or independence without security will endanger Israel and inflame the entire region.
    If you compare the living and economic conditions in the West Bank with any Arab country other than the oil wealthy gulf states, the Palestinians are healthier, better employed, more freeand have an economy that is growing faster. It is a liberal fantasy that the Palestinians are oppressed. They are not oppressed--they live in a dream of victimhood. When they wake up from this dream and are able to make realistic compromises with Israel, they will have their state.

  74. The Author never mention Yassar Arrant or Hamas in the article.Major ... Major oversight, or is it? How could an editor let this go by without comment?
    It's amazing today what passes for academic inquiry.

  75. The author also did not mention Brit HaKanaim, Kingdom of Israel group, Gush Emunim Underground, Bat Ayin group, Lehava, Sikrikim, Kach and Kahane Chai, Terror Against Terror, and The Revolt terror group, all labeled as Israeli terrorist groups identified in the past 50 years. Going back to 1931 one could also talk about Irgun another Jewish terrorist group responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians.
    In today's Israel, even Shin Bet has acknowledged the complete lack of restraint by the Israeli government in dealing with religious extremism of Jewish extremists.

  76. I suggest all Arabs living in the West Bank should take trip to the Navajo Reservation in Chinke, AZ to get a preview of their future.

  77. "I suggest all Arabs living in the West Bank should take trip to the Navajo Reservation in Chinke, AZ to get a preview of their future."

    The Palestinians will have to get permission from the Israeli military beaucracy and clear all the Israeli Checkpoints first!

  78. I've read a lot of articles like this. I'd like to see one focused entirely on Palestinian politics and decision-making. The creation of Jordan as a Palestinian/Arab state out of the original Palestine Mandate seems to have been the last Palestinian success in this long, sad story. Why didn't they accept a two-state solution in 1948? Or a negotiated deal after 1967? The sticking point from the Israeli point of view is that Israelis, by and large, have accepted the idea of two legitimate, permanent states for two peoples, while Palestinians, by and large, have been unable to accept the idea that Jews have a right to self-determination in the region. But has there been a strong debate on that in Palestinian society? It may be too late now, given the shift in Israel toward a rejectionist attitude that roughly mirrors the mainstream Palestinian viewpoint. But is there any large faction on the Palestinian side that says, You know what? We should have accepted a state before, even though it will only be on the West Bank and Gaza, and we should do it now?

  79. You missed the part about Palestinian terrorists blowing themselves up in bars, restaurants, night clubs and shooting up pesach seders. But whatever.

  80. That hasn't happened in years. Occupation will result in a small percentage of the occupied doing terrible things.

  81. Listen, something has gotta be done. Both sides need to make concessions. Both have to sacrifice. Both have to cease the violence. However, I would say Nathan's article is nothing short of distorted and one sided.

  82. Right like the "democratically elected" hamas in Gaza and the doublespeaking, Terrorist backing PLO in the West Bank. You distort reality.

  83. Now that Israel finds itself allied with an immoral liar (Trump), it faces the rest of the world with even less credibility. The Hasbara and the Trump propaganda machine go hand in hand ..... to Fantasy Land.

  84. The wedding metaphor continues with the worst of both options: the marriage never happened yet the bride and groom keep fighting because they had already bought the house and neither side is willing to accept only half of it.
    The resentment, the growing pain, the inability to compromise, the increased population of both side, keep raising the distrust and pessimism shared by Palestinians and Israelis.
    At this point however, while the stalemate looks more beneficial for Israel,they are in danger of
    ignoring a simple reality- it is not sustainable in the long run.
    Israelis have proven again and again that they are capable of unimaginable accomplishments. It's been fifty years since they took control of the disputed lands surrounding their country. They have made peace with Egypt, their strongest adversary, because of the wisdom and courage of both their leaders.
    Now is the time to use their ingenuity and make a just peace with the rest of their neighbors.

  85. Hmmmm. So to conclude:

    Violence was the ONLY tool that ever achieved anything for the Palestinians.

    The Palestinians must return to intifada in order to obtain concessions from Israel and the US.

    Palestinian weakness (curbing the violence) is the reason that of all the Arab peoples they are the ones who received no concessions.

    This op-ed couldn't be more dangerous and more wrong.

    The NY Times should be ashamed of itself. I've never seen anything on the op-ed pages in recent memory that advocated violence and terror quite like this piece. Yes definitely, the Palestinians should launch MORE rockets at Israeli civilians. Let's bomb more children - now that is strength. Palestinians will never be "strong" until they once again blow up kids on buses. Oh yes!

    Are you guys crazy for publishing this call to arms?

  86. The celebration of genocide and violence is truly stunning. The NY Times does know about the Arab alliance with the Nazis in WWII, don't they? I wonder what those groups had in common.

  87. If this conflict were to resolve US needs to stop aiding the Israel so it can sit on the table for serious negotiation. The claim that Arabs would fights the Isreal is no longer with merits according to the official PM they've the best resltionship with Arab leaders especially Saudi.

  88. The US needs to cut-off all military aid, only then will Israel be ready for peace and end their illegal occupation of Palestine.

  89. Free Palestine!

  90. This history is useful but the impled conclusion misses the point. It is as basic as your mother's aphorism, "Two wrongs do not make a right." The fact that the Arabs have missed opportunities over many years does not justify either occupation or the thumb-in-the-eye policy of settlements. An enlightened Israel in the name of peace would retreat to its defensable borders, protect itself, and let the Arabs choose to grow or remain based in grievance in the backwaters.

  91. "Among American Jews, a growing rate of intermarriage with gentiles is lessening attachment to Israel, and Jewish organizations are increasingly divided over support for the country."

    Here's a facile explanation: American Jews are becoming "less Jewish," and therefore less attached to Israel.

    But here's an explanation at least if not more credible: At least some Jewish Americans are actually becoming MORE, not less, Jewish, in ways that matter. At least some Jewish Americans are refusing to accept lies, theft and murder as part of Judaism. At least some Jewish Americans are honoring the teachings of Hillel.

    And at least some American Jews are becoming aware, and verbalizing the awareness, that Israel is not operating as a Jewish State in any meaningful way. At least some American Jews are recognizing that Israel operates as a decidedly "UNJewish" State.

    And at least some American Jews are coming to realize that the UNJewish State of Israel is not protecting real Jews or real Judaism anywhere; that the UNJewish State of Israel is in fact threatening the well-being of real Jews and real Judaism everywhere.

    At least some Jewish Americans are not becoming less Jewish. Perhaps they are simply becoming more Jewish, by becoming less Zionist.

  92. As an American Jew I know that Israel keeps me safe because I always have somewhere to go. The Jews in Baghdad in 1941 had no Israel. The Jews in Russia in the early 1900s had no Israel. The Jews in Eastern and Western Europe, in before and in WWII, had no Israel.

    The Mazrahi Jews expelled from Arab lands in 1948 had Israel. The Russian Jews in the Soviet Union had Israel. The Ethiopian Jews in the 80s and 90s had Israel. French Jews today, besieged by a resurgent anti-semetism have Israel. "IT" appears unlikely in the USA but if it does I know that I have Israel and that is just the first of many reasons that this American Jew is growing more Zionist by the minute.

    Oh, and yes Mr. Eller, in spite of your shameful dhimmi tendencies, should the worst happen you will have Israel too!

  93. Thank you for expressing the consequences of Occupation upon the Jewish soul so eloquently, Robert.

  94. It is painful to do so. And I fear it will be futile.

  95. Now, how does one compose such a long elaborate "history" of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict and not once write the word "Hamas"? Or mention Yassir Arafat? This piece by Mr. Thrall is an over-stated analysis of selected history at best, total propaganda at worst.

  96. Today's Israelis and Palestinians inherited the situation from their grandparents and it is psychologically unhealthy for both sides. There is so much potential for prosperity from tourism and the strategic location of the region between major landmasses. They need a vision of what the region could become and start with a pragmatic solution that provides dignity and security for all.

  97. The first premise of this article startled me- that there is a widely held myth that Israel's control of its present territory is unsustainable. OIsraelf course, Israel, backed by the US, has the power to do so.

    If they give up any hope of peace, that is.

    So long as Israel controls territory that is inhabited by Palestinians who consider it to be theirs, Israel and the Palestinians will live in a perpetual state of bloody conflict. On one side a vastly superior military force, on the other, terrorism.

    Yes, the US could probaby force Israel and the Palestinians into a rearrangement of territories that would be controlled by each. But that would be just one more oppression, one more outside force imposing its will on peoples, countries, and cultures that it has no business dictating to. And what would it solve? Neither the israelis nof the Palestinians would be invested in such an arrangement, because they would not be the authors of it. Continued conflict would be the inevitable result.

    The US should be ready and willing to broker an agreement, if ever the Israelis and the Palestinians tire of the bloody and oppressive status quo. We should promote peace, the two state solution, and an end to conflict. But we cannot impose these on people who are determined to reject them. We cannot win this conflict for either side but we can help to win peace, if that ever becomes their aim.

  98. So you mean to say to say as the author pointed out "America should do nothing"

  99. This is a very well-written and clearly argued article.

    I would add (in response to some of the other comments) that most international organizations continue to view Israel as the occupying power of the Gaza Strip, since Israel has complete control of all borders, and has sealed off all access by sea and air, effectively creating one giant open-air prison.

    The next question is what to do about it. Mr. Thrall correctly points out the key role played by the U.S. in maintaining the occupation. As a U.S. citizen, I would like to see all U.S. military, economic, and diplomatic support to Israel cut off until such time as Israel complies with its obligations under international law. This could entail a complete withdrawal from all territories occupied in 1967 (including an end of the siege of Gaza), or granting citizenship to all the people living in the land it controls.

  100. Here is a myth that the international law requires Israel to withdraw.

  101. From UN Security Council Resolution 242:

    "Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

    (i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict; …"

  102. Israel doesn't have 'complete control of all borders. Egypt controls half the borders. In fact, Eqypt has been more successful at blocking tunnels than has Israel. If the local populace hadn't elected Hamas, which makes the KKK look like lovers of Jews, than there would be no border issue.

  103. This piece is a biased, distorted rendition of what has occurred between Israel and the Palestinians. Some of the previous commentary details his many errors. A complete rebuttal of Thrall’s false “facts” would take many pages. The incendiary nature of Thrall’s opinion is dangerous and can easily fuel increased prejudice against Israel.

  104. Why do so many consider anything not biased in favor of Israel as prejudiced against?

  105. Mr. Thrall neglects to mention that in 1998 when Netanyahu was ready to give up the Golan heights to Syria, the one thing he asked for was some kind of radar system to protect themselves from attack from the heights. In the past the Golan Heights was used to attack Israel because of it's location and Israel's vulnerability. Israel was told "no" by Syria and could not go ahead with the agreement because of concern about their own safety.

  106. We've long passed the era of catapults.

  107. Any Citizen of the World who has ever been to Jerusalem-realizes that "Jerusalem is the Center of the Universe". The Jewish People/State/Nation have every right to have a national homeland in the Land of Israel which includes Jerusalem.

    In 1967. the Jewish Nation/State is Threatened with Annihilation-You Fight Back with Everything You Have- less than 25 Years from the Holocaust of WW II.
    "Never Again"

    In 1967,The State/Nation of Israel Fights Back for its Survival and to Prevent the Annihilation of Its People.

    As the Billy Joel Song Goes-"We Did Not Start The Fire" and as another Ed Op in the NYT clearly points out and states:
    "See in June 1967 Arab leaders declared their intention to annihilate the Jewish state, and the Jews decided they wouldn’t sit still for it. For the crime of self-preservation, Israel remains a nation unforgiven.

    Unforgiven, Israel’s milder critics say, because the Six-Day War, even if justified at the time, does not justify 50 years of occupation. They argue, also, that Israel can rely on its own strength as well as international guarantees to take risks for peace.

    This is ahistoric nonsense."

    Even in the 21st Century,All Nations in the World have the Right to Fight/to Resist for their Existence; and to Protect their Citizens/People from Annihilation.

    Richard Weintraub

  108. The premise of this linked article is that Nasser told the US that he feared the Israelis were going to attack him, which was the reason for the unusual military movements by Egypt.

    Here's the true sequence of events: Nasser closed shipping lanes to Israel, told the UN soldiers stationed between the two countries to leave, is on record as saying "this will be a war of extermination and ... this is realized by the Arab peoples, they will drive the Jews who live in their midst into the sea", and marched his entire army toward Israel.

    Yet you believe the excuse he gave to the Johnson administration, namely, "They were going to start first."

  109. Right. And Egypt wasn't planning to attack when it massed its troops and told the UN peacekeepers to get out. Right.

  110. Israel doesn't want peace the Likud Charter spells it out ,read it ,believe it , its whats really happening & the Hamas Charter is no better .Israel has lost its moral standing years ago .

  111. Israel offered up 95-97% of the West Bank for peace in 2000 and 2008, with land swaps for the remaining few percent. Bill Clinton has written about this. Israel withdrew from Sinai for peace, which, by the way, was a land mass bigger than the entire country of Israel. They withdrew from Gaza for peace. But if you keep telling a story often enough, maybe people will believe you instead of the facts.

  112. Actually, there is no such thing as a Likud Charter. There is however a Likud party platform/constitution, just like the Dems and Repubs write a platform every 4 years at their conventions. The Likud platform has been rewritten over time since the first one in 1977 and I assume that Brendan is referring to one written in 1999. Here's a link to the platform/constitution as written in 2006. I haven't found discussion of a later platform written in English. If anyone has a link to a later document, I'd like to know about it. Maybe Brendan should read the aforementioned link. What I see in that document, especially in Likud's national security statement, is a commitment to keep Israel secure, a rejection of a one-state solution in which Jews would be a minority and Israel would no longer be the one and only Jewish state in a world of many Christian and Islamic states, a recognition that the governing palestinian bodies and palestinians themselves are not ready for peace, and a willingness on the part of Likud to help improve the economic conditions of the palestinians, which may improve the chances for real peace.

  113. I believe that the core problem is not that the Palestinians want a state; it's that they don't want the Jews to have a state.

  114. Simplistic. I ask Helen Thomas's question; where did your grandparents live? The one place most unsuitable for a Jewish state is the Levant. It, like your letter, disregards the 'seat warming' the Palestinians did from 622CE till 1948 CE on this land. Sicily should have been the site for a Jewish state. Italy was part of the Axis and Rome is responsible for the Diaspora that followed the Second Jewish /Roman war. Zionism in the Levenat is neccesarily racist as it treats the descendants of those present from 622 till 1948 as second class citizens. Much is made of the refusal to split land that had been promised both to Arab and Jewish nation movements ( British Mandate). If someone rented a room from you and then claimed the room he was renting was now owned by him, would not you object? Strategically it was a disaster but the motivation for the Arab's non acceptance of Israel is understandable.

  115. The Palestinians, several times over, have formally recognized the State of Israel.
    Israel refuses to recognize, even mention, the State of Palestine.

  116. Well, you believe wrong! Dispassionate facts show that the Israeli government has vehemently striven to maintain the status quo (i.e. half century of occupation). Netanyahu insists that he will not negotiate with the Palestinians if there are any preconditions sought by the Palestinians but the Israeli government places preconditions on the Palestinians at every mention of negotiation (i.e. dismantling the illegal settlements). Read the works of Ilan Pappe if you wish to gain the insight of an Israeli historian on the current "conflict".

  117. In 2005, Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza. Nothing Israel has ever done has led to a greater surge in anti-Israel hatred.
    In 1967, various Israeli politicians were talking about possible withdrawals from parts of the West Bank. Then the Arab states met in Sudan and issued the Three No's of Khartoum: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it. Settlements followed as the night the day.
    There are still Palestinians who live in refugee camps, which have existed sor half a century. Never before have refugees been held in camps for such a long time. It is important to the Arab world to maintain these camps as a running sore.

  118. They withdrew and locked them in. Like the guards leaving the prison, but not letting the inmates out. No freedom, no independence, no trade, no food, no economy, no housing, no building materials without Israel's say so. Not exactly a recipe for stability and peaceful co-existence. Until Israel recognizes how it contributes to the violence it engenders, this cycle will continue.

  119. Gaza was free to do whatever it chose when Israel left. They chose to elect Hamas as their government. Their agenda was decidedly not peaceful co-existence. Their openly and clearly stated goal, then as now, was the destruction of Israel. Israel is not obligated to provide support for that goal. Leaving Hamas's charter (written long before Israel's withdrawal) out of the discussion is a very distorted portrayal of reality.

  120. Michael...while true...the unfortunate truth is that the violence gets more results than attempts at peaceful co-existence which has in the West Bank the "peaceful partner" settlements continue their expansion into the remnants of what could have been the Palestinian state. What Israel has never learned is to "reward" the peaceful instead of the violent.

  121. Nathan Thrall is likely correct that the Occupation can and will be maintained for a long time further.

    Yet another contribution to this sorry future scenario is the complete ideological delegitimization of Palestinian violence, when the latter is aimed at ending the Occupation.

    Violent Israelis are characterized as rational and competent soldiers, national heroes, and folk just protecting their homes and lives, while violent Palestinians are classed as irrational, goal-less terrorists. Knife one of ours: horror. Drop a 155 mm howitzer shell on one of their civilian buildings you can't even see or accurately target from 10 miles away: valiant defense of the nation.

    Resistance efforts to end Occupation in WW2 have been valorized since that War was ongoing. If the Palestinians resist similarly: well, no, that is terrorism.

  122. Sorry, but stabbing a grandma as she walks down the street isn't the same as civilian casualties incurred during war. I might add that Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey is on record as saying that the Israeli military goes to 'extraordinary lengths' to avoid civilian casualties. In the grandma stabbing scenario, how do you feel about the levels of anti-Semitic hatred that it must take so that poll after poll of Palestinians show over 60% support for stabbings of innocent civilians?

  123. No. The goal of the terrorist is to murder for political gain. The goal of the soldier is to protect their country.

  124. "Extraordinary lengths"? What a joke. Let's stick with my howitzer example. You can go back and verify this for yourself from new footage. During both last Gaza "wars" Israeli 155 mm howitzers lined up on the Gaza border. Locals got out their patio chairs to watch. They then fired round after round into Gaza without aiming after each round. Each round would therefore go somewhere wildly different than the one before. Even if they spotters allow them to re-aim after each round the margin of error at that distance made it impossible to have a good chance of hitting the building you were aiming at.

    One of these shells can take down an apartment building.

  125. i think most of Thrall's myths are really more realities. The only way the Palestinians will achieve sovereignty is for them to start behaving like a sovereign state- reasonable, decent government instead of a kleptocracy, sensible economic development instead of stagnation, decent diplomacy instead of blood feuding. Not very likely.

  126. Nathan Thrall's skewed arguments promote violence rather than diplomacy. Given enough time without terrorist acts on the part of the Palestinians and a willingness to recognize the right of Israel to exist, there will come a time when the majority of Israelis will no longer be threatened and will vote in a government that is willing to compromise on a solution to the problem. Because Israel, up to now is strong enough to withstand the violence of intifadas, doesn't mean its citizens should be put at risk. The United States is strong but does not accept terrorist acts against its people. Why is Israel always held to a higher standard? Condoning violence will only lead to escalation of violence on both sides. Thralls argument brought to its final conclusion would be that the death of innocents is a better solution than diplomacy.

  127. What is your evidence for the first part of your statement (there will come a time ...)? In fact, nothing in that region's history, nor indeed in any of human history, suggests that this would happen. Can you think of a single example of a marginalized population being given rights or accommodations simply for being nice for a while?

  128. I support the existence of the State of Israel. I recognize that being a Jew that belief is based totally on emotion. I am also ashamed of how the Palestinians have been treated and understand Palestinian anger at having their land stolen. I believe both sides have unrealistic goals and are unwilling to really understand the other side's position. Until both sides are willing to sacrifice to reach a compromise, the conflict will continue. The rest of the world has supported the status quo for their own self centered reasons. Conflict, resentment, hatred and land grab is the history of the world. However, history has also shown that peace can be reached if all sides want to see that happen. Until both sides believe it is in their best interest to reach a peaceful agreement, it won't happen. They sides also have to be strong enough in their efforts to repel the forces that don't want to see a peaceful agreement. Those forces include other governments but also some business that profiteer from conflict and war.

  129. Mr. Thrall makes his living thanks to his job in the "The International Crisis Group", a group funded by the United Nations, European Union and World Bank. "Crisis Group raises funds from mainly western governments (European). Mr. Thrall should have stated that he has a conflict of interest when writing the article. That the more anti-Israeli he sounds the better would be his pay.

  130. Two pillars of the occupation are indeed American backing and Palestinian weakness. But I do not believe the Israelis in general are indifferent, but rather fearful. They trapped mentally between liberal democracy and authoritarian rule as much as their nation is trapped physically between hostile foreigners and the sea. Overcoming this valid fear is the key to finding a settlement - forgive the pun - to the current crisis: the Israelis must eventually embrace democratic rule.

  131. Have you ever been to Israel? They have elections there, dude. Also, you should walk around the beach in Tel Aviv someday. No fear there.

  132. See, more silly nonsense from politicians on the take.

    "US senators push bill to mark 50 years since Jerusalem reunification Bipartisan group of 17 lawmakers co-sponsor resolution that says ‘Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel’"

    Someone needs to tell them Jerusalem is not US property to give away to anyone.

  133. Thank you for a depressing but realistic analysis of 50 years of Israeli expansion while claiming victimhood at every opportunity. The 1967 war was a "preemptive" one which Israel started by wiping out the Egyptian airforce. Their policy has been so sucessful that Israelis are more convinced than ever that they deserve the occupied territories and the Palestinian people are a nuisance.

  134. The new liberal orthodoxy on the subject is that what the world needs is one more broke, under resourced, over populated, violently inclined Islamic nation with no tradition of responsible government. We've got fifty of them already. Has the New York Times considered discussing the UN reports on the state of the Islamic world? Surprisingly, they're pretty realistic. And 1/5 of humanity, stretching from Morocco to Indonesia, has much, much larger problems than a few settlements in Israel.

  135. Why does the New York Times repeat the myth that the land that the Palestinians agreed to is 22% of historic Palestine? .This is wrong. The Palestine Mandate included Jordan 78% and Israel 22%. 22% of 22% is a little over 4%. As Jordan is Arab, Jordan is Arab Palestine , while Israel is Jewish Palestine. There is plenty of room and welcome for the former Jordanian residents in Jordan. Meanwhile Gaza was part of Egypt and in ancient times Philistina. Let the former Egyptians return to their former country. Do you think each family would take $200,000. 1.25 million families assuming 4 to a family would amount to 250 billion. Only 1/8 what the Iraq war cost , without Afghanistan. By the way Nathan, the goal of the PLO before the 67 war was to eradicate Israel. See Article 24 of the PLO Covenant from 1964.Article 24. This Organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or the Himmah Area. Its activities will be on the national popular level in the liberational, organizational, political and financial fields. The Israelis owe nothing but safe passage out of Israel, seeing as the instigators of the war lost. Or put another way. if The building you live in purchased by a new landlord who you do not like, you do not get to own the building !. Maybe you accept money to move out, maybe you get all the tenants to buy the building from the new landlord.

  136. A long article yet no mention of the many times the Palestinians were offered a state but turned it down. No mention of the genocidal war waged by the Arabs in 1948 & 1967. No mention of Palestinian terror. The Palestinians don't have a state because they don't want a state, unless it Is built on the ashes of Israel. Otherwise it isn't that important to them. The cost of a state to the Palestinians is a peace treaty, too high a price since the Palestinians week above all the return of the pride they lost in battle.

  137. The Palestinians were offered a state in 1947. The offer of the UN was turned down. In 1967 Israel pleaded with Hussein to keep out of the war; instead he attacked West Jerusalem and its environs with artillery and air force. If he had kept out of it, Hussein might have handed the Palestinians their own state, but that is doubtful.
    Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert offered deals in 2000 and 2008 and they were turned down and Israel was met with violence.
    When somebody says they seek to push you into the sea, the Israelis believe them at their word.

    Everybody theoretically knows the solution, but that includes viable security guarantees for Israel. Look around in the Middle East. Look at Syria and Iraq. Arabs slaughter hundreds and thousands of their own. What would they do to the Jews if they had the chance? Ask Hamas, they will tell you.

    So the minute the Palestinians agree to viable security guarantees for Israel, there will be the possibility of an agreed upon withdrawal.

    The Palestinians and the world say "we are weak, what type of threat are we?" The Israelis look at Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Iraq, Iran and say that together, all of them represent an existential threat to Israel.

    Who is at fault? Everybody. Now Mr. Thrall suggest a viable solution.

  138. A lot of revisionist history in this piece. PLO charter still calls for destruction of Israel, Palestinians still teach their children in school to hate the Jews and celebrate death rather than life. The historical basis cited in this article simply isn't accurate. I don't care for settlement building as it is an obstruction to peace, but Israel would not exist today if it had depended on the charity of the world and the good graces of it's Arab neighbors and the author of this article.

  139. This article doesn't belong in a newspaper. It is a work of fiction! On August 29th, 1967 The Arab league met in Kartoum. There they adoptex a reolution known as "The Three No's"; No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel which layed the groundwork for continued conflict that continues to this day. Polls have repeatedly demonstrated that the majority of people in the Middle East simplydo not accept the presence of a Jewish state anywhere or in any form. Jews lived in North Africa and in the Levant for eons. No longer. They have been largely purged. The Coptic Christians are hanging on by a thread- The Arabs' true agenda is plain to see

  140. Typical historic revision as usual from the NYT. Not a word about the ceaseless terrorism and murder perpetrated and celebrated by the Palestinians. I suppose these are confidence-buiding measures, designed to convince Israelis that ceding more land is the path to peace. Of course, the West Bank would be even more convenient than Gaza for launching rockets into Israel. Why not bring Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion Airport into range?

  141. A more accurate account of what actually happened is in Bret Stephens piece of June 2. And frankly, the last 50 years have been characterized with some world class leadership in Israel, and the glaring lack of same in Palestine. The West Bank and Gaza are doomed to irrelevancy as long as Palestinian leadership, and their Arab supporters live in fear of the Thug-ocracy of radical Islam.

  142. The Jewish people, like no other people on earth, have a long/unique historical memory about losing homeland. Being forced to live in foreign lands always under duress and prosecution by others.

    Today's Israeli's harsh political leaders like Netanyahu seem to have forgotten the lessons from their own tortuous and suffering history.

  143. The REAL myth behind this is that Jews and/or Israelis have some “legal” or “historical” right to Palestine because the founding myths of their religion (from thousands of years ago) say so. They have no more right to claim Palestine than my family does to claim the parts of Italy it lived in hundreds of years ago or that other immigrants do to claim wherever they came from in the past (or that France did to reclaim Indo-China after World War 2, and we saw how that worked out for us.)

    Unfortunately the Holocaust, and the complicity of so-called Christian countries’ anti-Semitism over centuries (supported by the institutionalized anti-Semitism within the Roman church since the time of Constantine) created a post-World War 2 environment in which it was politically palatable and relatively easy for the West to try to “make it up” to Holocaust survivors at the expense of the indigenous people of Palestine.

    Religious myth, fully embraced by fundamentalist Christians who blindly follow the same founding biblical myths, continues to support and drive Israeli expansion into the occupied territories. As long as we let fundamentalism, which is belief in the literal truth of the founding myths of our respective religions, drive current geo-political policy (or domestic political policy, for that matter), we will continue to avoid the difficult decisions thrust upon us by REAL facts.

  144. It started out with the Balfour doctrine as a homeland for the Jews, not the state of israel. However the Arabs as Abba Eban was fond of saying never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. First under the Turks in WW1 and then backing the Nazi's in WW2. After the Balfour doctrine the Rothchilds and other wealthy European Jews financed some of the worst, malaria infested land imaginable from mostly absentee Egyptian owners, valid contracts. The Arabs laughed but what they didn't count on was 2 German Jewish scientists who invented a process of irrigation that would make the land arable. The combination of Jewish brains and muscle made the land bloom, created jobs for Arabs and jealously and envy for the rest of the Arab population. So in the 1920's and !930's the Arabs periodically attacked, burned and pillaged their Jewish neighbors farms and villages. Thats when the state of Israel was born, that and the Jewish Brigade that was part of the British Army in WW2 while the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem spent the war as Hitlers ally. The Jews have never left the land of Israel , even when it was renamed Palestina by the ancient Romans. In fact of all the ancient civilizations, the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Babylonians etc have disappeared. Almost 4000 years later, religion or not the Jews are still here and surviving and prospering. if that is an accident it is a 4000 year old accident and the the Jewish state of Israel is part of that 4000 year old accident

  145. Do you apply the standard you adumbrated in the first paragraph to North America? A land which had numerous indigenous populations when Europeans first arrived here?

  146. Steven Bavaria: You are recycling a falsehood. The right of the Jewish people to re-establish themselves in their historical homeland was set out as a matter of binding international law by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine in 1922 and its borders were set under the long established international law doctrine of uti possidetis juris under which Israel at its independence in 1948 was the recognized sovereign of the existing territory of the expired Mandate.
    The actual legal problem is, notwithstanding the many people who claim to uphold international law, there always seems to be a Jewish exception to universal standards.
    If you worry about Justice, Israel and the disputed territories amount to 0.25% of the lands lost by the Ottoman Empire. The other 99.75% are already ruled by Arabs, albeit in various forms of dysfunctionality. Yet, people seek a second partition of the original Mandate territory that described the Jewish people's historical homeland. The 1923 creation of the Emirate of Transjordan (today's Jordan, which is really East Palestine if you're honest) removed 78% of that land from the Jews.

  147. This editorial leads directly to loss of revenue for the NYT.
    While I like the coverage of a variety of news topics, and most of the writing, giving a forum to such biased propoganda absolutely prevents me from EVER paying for a NYT subscription. NEVER GONNA HAPPEN unless NYT publicly retracts this hatred.

    Let us not forget the reason modern Israel was re-establised by former British occupiers. As a safe haven for people whose families had been slaughtered in ww2. The safe haven was attacked, was clearly not safe. The very existence of the country was challenged multiple times. Capturing strategic territory that promotes the safe haven is well within the mandate. There was no independent country before 1967, nothing to give back.

    Not sure of the "right" answer, but taking away the safe haven absolutely is non negotiable.

  148. And what if Israel lost the 6ay war? Would you even care? How bout what Israel has done for the world in tech,science & agriculture ? Palestinians are Jordan's problem and they should be involved. They attacked and lost...
    Much simpler then the world makes it ,but the world can not stand strong Jews....

  149. One grouping related by tribe, race, religion celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of an event (this time a war) over real estate and resources of another grouping related by tribe, race, religion. Great, the human species has come a long way not. We are celebrating another event of learning nothing, achieving nothing.
    I read the narrative in the article, and the variegated assortment of narratives in the comments that run the complete spectrum of cherry picked facts and factoids, causal chains, counter factuals, etc.
    Nothing new here, explains nothing, no new insight, etc. I wonder what this god forsaken part of the planet will look like in 50 years. Which group will be on top.

  150. Palestinians are at the mercy of Israel because no Arab country (or non Arab supporting nations) really cares about them. All they get is public hypocritical
    condemnation of Israel that has no teeth ... for example, Israel has continued illegal settlement construction in occupied territories unabated, all leading to eventual annexation.
    The greatest absurdity in this era is that some in Israel and throughout the rest of the World claim that Israel is entitled to these lands based on a divine mandate by a vengeful and petty god who demanded blood offerings to be pacified, and who had no qualms about killing innocent men, women and children as long as they were considered "enemies"...
    Religion absurdity is the" Elephant in the Room" wherever religious conflicts have been stewing for centuries. I do mean any religion.
    That is the real tragedy.

  151. The secular Israeli governments who made the decisions about the West Bank were and are rational actors who understand history, can read maps and think about strategic imperatives and risks. You should try it.

  152. Thrall is in no way enthralling, with a verbal attack on Israel not so different than years of military attacks by Arab states & 100 years of Palestinian Arab terrorism. In fact this side of the story - Israel's need to defend itself from such aggression - is completely missing from Thrall's account, which should have disqualified its publication, according to the Times own journalistic standards.
    The pictures reinforce the article's negative portrayal of Israel by not showing Israeli faces, any trace of humanity, only bullets & a skull cap & waist down Israelis with guns vis a vis aggrieved Palestinian children.
    Thrall's history ignores the fact that Israel administered not occupied the West Bank waiting in vain for Jordan to negotiate land for peace, as required by UN 242 and which Egypt did in 1979, getting the Sinai back in exchange for a peace treaty. And how can Thrall ignore the fact that the Palestinians have been governing over 90% of their own people on their own land since they signed the Olso Accords in 1993, in which they also agreed that to Israeli control over Area C which includes all the settlement communities? All of which means there is no occupation. And how could he not mention that the '67 war liberated Eastern Jerusalem from 19 years of Jordanian occupation & annexation, which prevented Israelis from praying at their holiest site - the Western Wall?.
    Not a fair way to present one of the most traumatic moments in modern Jewish history.

  153. "If the [one-state solution] proposal ever gathered momentum, Israel could easily counter it by withdrawing from the West Bank, as it did from Gaza in 2005."
    At the J-Street convention, we heard a lot about this being a viable solution militarily from Israel's point of view. Israel's right wing, secular and religious, won't stand for this. Ever.

  154. Maybe they won't stand for it because of what happened in Gaza after 2005.

  155. Thrall omits much context in giving his peculiarly one sided history with the bizarre suggestion that a combination of US economic pressure on Israel with an increase in anti-Jewish terrorism will bring peace and stability to the region by forcing Israel to return all that it liberated from Jordan on 1967 to a people that had renounced all sovereign rights to those lands in 1964 and to this day deny Jewish rights and history. Thrall seems to believe that if offered every square inch, the Palestinians, with no tradition in or experience of democracy, will immediately morph into a Western liberal democracy - just like Israel. It was precisely that delusional thinking that sent us into Iraq among other places. It is a recipe for instability because what the Arabs have made clear, they have no interest in creating a State of Palestine, they need to destroy the blasphemy that is a state controlled by Jews when their scriptures require Jews to be a despised and powerless minority living at Muslim sufferance until their annihilation in Islamic End Times.
    As to the land, since the PLO Charter explicitly says that the "the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation." As to the Arab nation, it might be useful to recall that in the territorial settlement after WWI, the Arabs now rule over 99.75% of the former Ottoman lands. The current dispute with Israel concerns a second partition of the historical homeland of the Jewish people, or 0.25% of the lost Ottoman holdings.

  156. the injustice to the palestineans is obvious to any impartial observer

  157.®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection "In June 1967 Arab leaders declared their intention to annihilate the Jewish state, and the Jews decided they wouldn’t sit still for it. For the crime of self-preservation, Israel remains a nation unforgiven. Unforgiven, Israel’s milder critics say, because the Six-Day War, even if justified at the time, does not justify 50 years of occupation. They argue, also, that Israel can rely on its own strength as well as international guarantees to take risks for peace. This is ahistoric nonsense...But before we fall prey to the lazy trope of “50 years of occupation,” inevitably used to indict Israel, let’s note the following: There would have been no occupation, and no settlements, if Arabshadn’t recklessly provoked a war. Or if the “intl community” hadn’t fecklessly abandoned Israel in its desperate hrs. Or if Jordan hadn’t foolishly ignored Israel’s warnings to stay out of it. Or if the Arab League hadn’t rejected the possibility of peace. A Palestinian state would most likely exist if Arafat hadn’t adopted terrorism as the calling card of Palestinian aspirations.
    A Palestinian state would also most likely exist if Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas — now in the 13th year of his elected 4 yr term — hadn’t rejected it again 9 years ago,

  158. I didn't realize land rightly won in conflict was "occupied".

  159. A brutally clear take on this intransigent injustice. However, in the last 20 years many, many American Jews' views have changed much more than Mr. Thrall acknowledges. True, we haven't been successful fighting the likes of AIPAC, end-of-times evangelicals, establishment hawks on both sides of the aisle (including Hilary Clinton), and the increasingly powerful American ultra-orthodox community. But like half of Israelis, we yearn for the end of the occupation for a multitude of reasons, practical and moral, and our voices are growing louder and our actions bolder. I don't give up hope.

  160. If you yearn for the end of "Occupation" then start a Palestinian pro-peace movement.

  161. Tell me about your efforts or support for a Palestinian Peace Movement that would demand that "Palestine's" leaders make peace with Israel.

  162. What about the other occupation? The longer-term occupation? Namely that the territories are occupied by Palestinians, part of a broader Arab world that has been in decline since long before Israel ever existed.

    The retreat from Gaza was met almost immediately by low-grade acts of war that Israel has generally shown remarkable restraint in responding to, and not any kind of move towards economic or social progress in that area. The West Bank would be a repeat of the same story.

    Really, the debate should not be about a withdrawal from the West Bank but rather a full partition between Israeli and Arab populations. Israel's hands aren't clean in the past few decades, but don't forget the pogroms, the forced conversions, and the many other sins of the Arab societies since 1947.

    Israel's real crime in Arab eyes is that it's yet another, closer light shining on their deep failures over the past centuries. The irony in all of this is that the country where Arabs have the best chances at education and economic development is Israel.

    The world needs to stop turning a blind eye to the longer-term problems at play. Arabia has chosen to not educate its women. It has chosen to have population growth that vastly outstrips its meager resources. It has been hobbled by internecine warfare for centuries that haven't involved external powers. The trouble in Arabia today is that it's full of Arabs, and it needs to be confronted with that ugly truth before they can change it for the better.

  163. This is self serving nonsense. Yes, the Arab world has a great man problems it can't blame on Israel, but Israel and its supporters persist in whitewashing Israeli actions. For instance, when they withdrew from Gaza they maintained the blockade. No Western society would tolerate this if it were done to Israel. Gaza is in essence a vast prison camp. As for restraint, it takes violence to maintain a blockade and Israel has fired at and sometimes killed numerous farmers and fishermen over the years. Their wars have killed thousands of civilians.

    Both sides need to face up to their internal problems. What one constantly sees is that Israel supporters react to valid criticism the way some Americans respond to criticisms of their idealized and imaginary version of America in itge good old days.

  164. Who truly occupies whom?

    Jews are the true indigenous people and owners of the Land of Israel.

    Until 1948 Jews living in Israel were called Palestinians.

    Martin Luther King Jr. once said,
    "My friend, I do not accuse you of deliberate anti-Semitism. I know you feel, as I do, a deep love of truth and justice and revulsion for racism, prejudice, and discrimination. But I know you have been misled—as others have been—into thinking you can be 'anti-Zionist' and yet remain true to those heartfelt principles that you and I share. Let my words echo in the depths of your soul:
    When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews—make no mistake about it."

    "Palestinian Terror Fund" awards Jew killers $25,000 to their families ($46 million in 2016).

    Before giving money to Arab nations we should demand that the Palestinians and Arabs stop spewing the daily barrage of anti-Semitism in kindergartens, mosques, universities, the media, etc.

    Jews have always maintained a presence in the land despite being oppressed world powers like Babylonia, Persia, Assyria, Greece, Rome, Turks, etc.

    Jerusalem was always capital of a Jewish State never an Arab one.

    Jerusalem is mentioned 687 times in the Jewish Bible.

    Jerusalem is mentioned 146 times in the New Testament.

    Jerusalem is not mentioned—not even once—in the Koran.

    Jerusalem is the Jewish holy place.

    Rome is the Christians holy place.

    Mecca is the Arabs holy place.

  165. God help us...

    If this ideology prevails then there is no chance!

  166. Mr. Thrall,
    You have written an excellent opinion piece. Unfortunately, you are very light on facts and tremendously skewered to the side of the Arabs (not Palestinians whoever they may be).
    Jordan was the ruler of the territories that are currently under dispute until 1967, when it lost these lands in an offensive action against Israel.
    In any negotiations regarding land use, it should be between Jordan and Israel, with Jordan making concessions to the winner as did every loser of a war in history (except when it comes to Israel).
    The transfer of populations according to religion was lauded when it was done by Pakistan and India. Mr. Abbas insists that any territory under his presidency will be free of Jews, however he insists that millions of Arabs live in what would remain of Israel.
    Let Jordan take responsibility for its former territory and with it the burden of securing its border and the avoidance of terrorist action against its neighbor.

  167. Like having an adult kid that can't stay out of trouble, we should just wash our hands of a "Palestinian state". This idea is a complete fantasy.

    The Arabs in this area have done almost nothing to improve their existence. Reminds me of all the programs from the 1960s started to get all the people in slums in the US on their feet and off welfare.

    Creating another state doomed to failure in the Middle East is only going to cause more problems.

  168. Two things that many neglect to mention. First, between 1948 and 1967, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza I.E. all the land the Palestinians say they want for their state was in Arab hands. Yet no Palestinian state was formed.


    Second: While many Palestinian Arabs followed the siren call of their Arab brothers to leave Israel and return as part of a conquering army, very few seem to know or care that at the same time 850,000 Jewish Palestinians, whose families had lived in Arab countries for as long as two millennium were forced to leave their homes and possessions. Where is the justice for them?

  169. Thank you for the well balance and reasoned article. That we gave 120 Billion so far and another 38 billion over 10 years is a shakedown of historic proportion. Our first greatest threat is not Russian misinformation, but rather the foreign power that masquerades as our "greatest ally". They have brought us terriorism, ISIS, and unending conflict in their land grab and the fascist policies of the LIKUD PARTY. Our country needs to be freed of this foreign influence , and that includes all the agents of influence starting with the GOP.

  170. Yet again the Times seems to insist on an out of context superficial analysis of a highly explosive and complex issue perhaps in a self serving attempt to consolidate and expand its dominance among the intellectual left elitists who pontificate from their castles of glass and steel or their gentile townhouses along Riverside Drive. There is nothing that unites these people more than villainizing Israel except perhaps their collective Trump derangement syndrome. The Times thinks it knows the reasons why the tragic suffering of the Palestinian people occurred and how it can be assuaged. What they really know is how to atone for their guilt of living indifferently in a decadent cesspool of wealth while the vast majority of humanity still go to bed hungry every night. No amount of hypocritical scapegoating will exorcise the crushing double bind of feigning outrage at the deplorable treatment of the penniless of this earth while donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to a solipsistic candidate who they espouses platitude that, like a narcotic, temporarily eases their pain. In the end there is no coalition of rich and poor, no compromise of debased wealth and chaste poverty. The wealthy, by definition, are all occupiers.

  171. We should now know the harm of factually incorrect opinion pieces, but in a world where few people have critical thinking skills and a solid background in history, literature etc, Mr. Thrall's piece with the evil looking, yamaka and bullet covered Jewish soldier photograph presents its own version of truth to those with no knowledge and affirms the views of the anti Israelis.

    Unlike the US, which in 1848 not only annexed Texas, but grabbed a great deal of land in the southwest from Mexico under the Manifest Destiny theory, in 1967, Israel took land from Jordan and Egypt after Israel's government felt its existence threatened. On July 4, 1848, the defeated Mexico signed the Treaty of Gudalupe Hiddgo, accepting some money for most of New Mexico, California, Nevada, Arizona etc. Mexicans could leave or stay - their choice, but the US took over control and established itself over everyone, pushing even the Indians who had been there for centuries out of prime land. In contrast, neither Jordan nor Egypt was willing to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1967. When Egypt did sign a peace treaty, it was after another war in 1973, one that was to permitted to bloody up Israel so that the Arab countries could feel better about themselves, but that somehow Israel won. Egypt got a return of much of what Israel had conquered, but it didn't want Gaza back.
    Finally, Mr. Thrall's opinion piece's prominent placement gives it credibility it shouldn't have.

  172. You could also add the sordid tale of how the United States came to acquire the territory of Hawaii, with the overthrow of its sovereign ruler by the Dole company.

  173. I would like to know which country in the Middle East the Palestinians see as a role model for peace, equality, freedom and prosperity?

  174. The point? What exactly are you saying?

  175. Many comments state that nobody spoke up when the West Bank/ Gaza were part of other Arab countries. Seems they read the article but did not comprehend. Be as it may, Palestinians were full citizens of Egypt and Jordan, now they are not full citizens of Israel.

  176. As to the spoils of the 1967 war: the Israeli-Egyptian peace was made possible by Egypt proving in the 1973 War that Israel won’t be able to hold on to Sinai without paying a continuous heavy price and by the nobility of the peace-makers Sadat, Begin and Carter. If Begin would have tried to withdraw from Sinai today, he would have been toppled or murdered immediately (Rabin was murdered for declaring a vague intention to withdraw from the West Bank). As to Syria, Israel took advantage of its strategic dominance and America’s tacit unconditional support, and annexed the Golan. By that it deleted from history any chance for a redeeming change in Syria following a peace treaty with Damascus. And the Palestinians, their national liberation movement have exhibited through 50 years a combination of historical arrogance (especially underestimating the power and resilience of Israel), political ineptness (never telling Jerusalem, OK we’ll take what you offer, now prove your seriousness) and beaten, they’ve surrendered to dark fundamentalist urges – Israel pounced on the Palestinian weakness and ineffectiveness to pave the route for Greater Israel.
    But the most important moral-historical understanding is that Israel and its army of 50 years ago, has very little bearing on the Jewish State and its army today; nor do the Israeli people of the third millennium resemble the nation that established and defended the State of Israel – it’s all the way down the moral-historical hill.

  177. Israel’s game plan has long been based on deception and manipulation of world opinion, using the Hasbara, and relying on tacit acceptance by an ignorant and/or misinformed public. Those that are not ignorant can be silenced or bought under threat of economic or political ruin.

    To achieve the Zionist “Greater Israel” extending to the Jordan River, the ploy is to claim all, colonize as much as possible, and in the end expect to “negotiate” the retention of most of the valuable land and resources. There is an insidious campaign to install the idea that “both sides must make painful concessions”, when absolutely no concessions are due from the Palestinians on the issues of land and resources.

  178. I guess the Arab attempts to destroy Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973 were not such a great idea after all. Losing wars of aggression has consequences.

  179. You start your essay with "Three months after the 1967 war, Israel’s ruling Mapai Party held a discussion on the future of the newly conquered territories."

    Would that be an "ISRAEL" today?

    It's a well known FACT that the Palestinian Authorities will never accept Israel's own existence, as a matter of faith and education.

    So please, use your knowledge and imagination to tell us 'what if' Israel had lost the unprovoked and massive attack of 1967.

  180. If the Palestinians had embraced non violence along the lines of Ghandi or MLK, they would have already had their country already. Instead they chose the way of violence, and have given the Israelis and their American backers the excuses they have needed ever since. Palestine needs a different approach. One that embraces non violence and lets the moral outrage of the world and American citizens force Israel to stop the occupation. It is time.

  181. Now open to criticism. Mr. Thrall isn't your typical pro-Palestinian apologist, but he purposefully avoids the elephants in the room. 1. No mention of the 3 increasingly generous peace offers, rejected without even a counteroffer. Why? Because making peace with Jews is anathema to the Arab/Muslim world, which never offered anything remote to full rights to Jews living under their domain. Peace with Jews as equals is verboten; they have to be defeated and expunged from "their" land. 2. The rotten anti-Semitism in the Arab/Muslim world must be overcome before any serious attempt at peace can come to fruition. But in reading Mr. Thrall's arguments you'd never guess that's a problem. Yet it's the underlying, all pervasive essence of why Palestinians won't accept the Jewish state. Forcing a "solution" won't resolve that, either. It won't stop the terrorism or the insistence that Palestinian "refugees" who weren't born in Palestine "return" to "their" exclusive "homeland." The only forced solution which could work is a long term Marshall type plan to defuse and decontaminate the Palestinian entities in preparing them for mutual cooperation with the Jewish state.

  182. Do American taxpayers understand that increasing billions of their hard-earned tax dollars goes to support a foreign state which is conducting obvious human rights abuse, is accused of war crimes. continues an illegal occupation of other people's land, and interferes in US politics? Where's the morality? Where's the intelligence?

  183. You're right. The US should immediately cut off all funding to Abbas and his kleptocratic PA cronies. And for good measure it should defund UNWRA which would allow "refugee" money to go the the world's real refugees.

  184. You are talking about the corrupt Palestinian government that refuses to police honor killings, refuses to make peace with Israel, incites terror and pays monthly stipends to terrorists and their families, right?

  185. Do YOU understand that the US pays the Palestinians an amount annually roughly equal to what they pay the families of their "martyrs" who blew themselves up in pizza shops or on buses? Or that this same noble Palestinian resistance government refuses to pay the Gaza electricity bill, a small fraction of what they pay to terrorist families?

  186. Many Americans assert the right of European, Russian, American, and other (often white) Jewish diaspora to return to their native land in the Middle East, which prior to WW2 they had not occupied for nearly a thousand years. And they assert this with puffed-chested moral authority. Yet, how many would support a return a single US state or even a desirable US city to the Native Americans who occupied that land as recently as 150 years ago?

  187. The "right" you reference was put in place by the UN in 1947 after the slaughter of six million Jews throughout Europe. It was designed to provide the survivors of the European and THE ARABIC marginalization and bigotry with a homeland and refuge.

  188. Native Americans can live wherever they want within the USA.

  189. It appears that your major lament is that the Palestinians never had the capability to destroy Israel. You clearly believe that the only times Palestinians have achieved anything is through violence. Twelve years of quiescence? Really, I suspect Nathan Thrall has never lived in a neighborhood like Sderot where rockets randomly land in playgrounds. Brett Stephens op-ed in Saturday's paper details an accurate history of Arab rejectionism of Israel's peace overtures. Lastly, you assert that Israel will never concede anything, but then reference all the times it did.

  190. This article is based on a faulty premise. It is assumed that the Israeli capture of land in 1967 was unlawful and immoral. If you believe otherwise, you are right-wing extremist or, what is worse, a settler. Well, I'm neither, and I don't think the so-called occupation is unlawful and immoral. There were many eminently sensible reasons for Israel to capture land and to keep it. The situation will continue for as long as Arab states stick to their hatred of a Jewish State in their midst.

  191. While much here is true I don't see the presence of a Palestinian partner for peace. The writer conveniently avoids talking about the complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and its handover to Palestinian leadership that under Hamas has done all it can to persuade Israelis that peace with a Palestinian controlled state is a guarantee of giving a bitter enemy a haven for attack.

  192. The situation continues to be tragic. Israel maintains its position, because it has every reason to expect that in retreat it would immediately be attacked by those who either believe Israel has no right to exist or hate Jews or Israelis for other reasons.
    And no country in the world would dare come to their defense.
    I believe if Israel could count on being secure within its borders, if Palestinians and the countries surrounding would make a credible commitment to actual peaceful coexistence rather than promising to drive Israel or its Jews into the sea, this could have been over long ago.
    Unfortunately hate sells. Too many people are drawn to the angry man who hates "the other," whoever he may be, at home or abroad.
    And innocent people suffer for it.

  193. Israel will do what is right for Israel. Israel is not perfect. However, you ask Israel to be held to an impossible standard that no other nation has to reach. You ask Israel to adhere to artificial, mythical boundaries, when other nations need not do so in the face of an existential threat. You chastise the US for bankrolling Israel when the US gets so much in return for the money it gives to Israel. What has the US gotten from the Palestinians in return for the billions it has squandered on them? Israeli indifference? You join the army out of high school. You patrol the West Bank. You see rockets lobbed at you from North, South and East. Periodically, someone tries to stab you or blow you up in a mall in Tel Aviv. Indifferent? Hardly. Realistic, hardened, saddened is more like it. Palestinian weakness. The Palestinians are not weak. They are bright, capable people. They need to give up their hatred of Israelis. They should ask to get full rights in Lebanon and Jordan and leave the refugee camps and become the diaspora dynamo that they can be. They should ask for the West Bank with land swaps and Gaza in return for demilitarization and the complete acknowledgement of Israel's right to exist.
    Mr. Thrall you are an excellent writer. However, I fear all of the time you have spent in Jerusalem has done nothing to open your eyes. Sadly, many readers echo your sentiments without any real thought.

  194. What about Palestinian people's rights that have been ignored for so many years, Israel is another example of European colonialism, their right to 'exist' and take over what ever they want. The cost innocent people all over the world are now paying - for this 'occupation' by another set of westerners, like happened all over the world starting in the 16th century.

  195. Israel is a slowly unfolding tragedy for both the Jews and the Palestinians. The two cultures have been in conflict for more than 3000 years, and neither culture shows any sign of relinquishing the myths which sustain the conflict. The final act, whenever it comes, will probably be devastating.

  196. There was no one calling themselves a "Palestinian" 3000 years ago. Or 2000, or 1000, or 500, 0r 250, maybe like 1890s, but I don't recall any Arab whining when Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria and kept Jews fro worshiping at the Temple Mount.

  197. I'm not sure that Myths sustain the conflicts. The author of this article seemed to ignore historical facts that are at the basis of the problem. The Israelites were forced to flee their land because of invasions. The Arabs did not. Both lay claim historically to the same land. How can they come to an agreement that works for both parties. One thing that some fail to recognize is that the Jews ( the Bedouins of today) who did not leave and embraced the Muslim religion are still there today and still practice some Judaic rites. Not all Jews were willing to forego their fundamental religious beliefs.

  198. What a polemic piece,sad

  199. Mr. Thrall, your essay is dangerous nonsense.

    It is a sweeping generalization with no clear thesis, and uses a large number of descriptors (some factually incorrect) as if they represent analysis. They don't.

    What is your beef Mr. Thrall? That Israel occupies parts of Gaza and West Bank, and takes over Lebanon at will, has quietened down the Arab threat, blah blah, and is therefore somehow wrong, immoral, unjustified in what it does?

    My question to you: So what?

    I am writing this because I unflinchingly support the difficult decisions Israel makes on a day-to-day basis. Period.

    Critics in armchairs can bloviate if you wish, but I suspect you are aware of what happens if the table is reversed (i.e., what happens if Arabs prevail).

    Israel seems to be the only country in the world that is quite clear about what to do regarding Arabs, radical Islam . . . the very things that are wreaking havoc in the west.

    I know what Israel wants; i.e., to live in peace, make money, complain about their bureaucracy, squabble over minor things like 'are Romanian Jews better than Ukrainian Jews" . . . just like every other sovereign nation. Do you know what Arabs, Palestinians want?

    Well, okay then.

    But thanks for bloviating. And for the record, Indians and the current Modi government is strongly pro-Israel. The only legitimate concern regarding Israel is the growing radical Judaism that is indistinguishable from radical Islam.


  200. We need to question just why the NYT would publish what is in effect a call for more violence. The picture speaks volumes.

  201. The Palestinians want human rights and dignity, and this by means of the enforcement of international law.

  202. "During that time, Palestinians were never presented with what Israel offered every neighboring country: full withdrawal from occupied territory. Egypt obtained sovereignty over the last inch of sand in Sinai. Jordan established peace based on the former international boundary, recovering 147 square miles. Syria received a 1998 proposal from Prime Minister Netanyahu (on which he subsequently backtracked) for a total evacuation from the Golan Heights. And Lebanon achieved a withdrawal to the United Nations-defined border without granting Israel recognition, peace or even a cease-fire agreement."
    Don't you see a difference? Palestine was not a sovereign state before the 1967 war. I can't imagine that you are not aware of the history of Gaza and the West Bank prior to 1948, and then between 1948 and 1967. I personally would be happy with any solution (three states - Gaza to the Egyptians, West Bank to the Jordanians, and Israel; two states - Palestine and Israel; one bi-cultural secular state) that would bring peace to the region, but it won't ever happen without acknowledging how we got to this situation, and Thrall contributes to keeping a blind spot on this.

  203. Sadly the Palestinian leaders and supporters have always resisted accepting the 1948 UN partition.
    Not acknowledging Israel’s right to exist is a non-starter for peace that the author fails to mention.

  204. Why should they, do you willingly give up your home and other assets?

  205. Palestinian resistance has not been effective. Palestinian cooperation hasn't been effective. Palestinian concessions haven't been effective.

    The outline of a two state solution is well defined. When will the Israeli leadership take the bold step of implementing a peaceful end of the occupation? There are many excuses for the ongoing occupation (including greed), but peace will be achieved only when the Israeli government chooses peace over occupation.

  206. Israel could easily withdraw from Gaza because there were less than 10,000 settlers and they required about the same amount of soldiers for protection.
    The West Bank has many more settlers and it would be very difficult to withdraw.
    That is why Israel wants to trade land for the land they occupy in the West Bank, which is the prime land for water and farming.

  207. Well, that and the fact that Judea and Samaria (the names the UN used in its 1947 non-binding partition resolution the Arabs unanimously rejected) are strategic high ground that puts all of central Israel - its population centers, industrial heartland and international airport to name the three most obvious things, at risk of artillery and missile assaults.
    It's true that since 1967, Israel has developed Judea and Samaria, which is why Arab lifespan has nearly doubled, villages have electricity and the entire Palestinian university system created, to name three obvious things.

  208. Israel already has withdrawn from Gaza. Perhaps you should do some research as to how that worked out for them.

    Moreover, the 400K settlers or so in Judea and Samaria are a small numerical minority compared to the millions of Palestinians. Why can't a future "Palestine" have any Jews in it? There are two million Arabs living in Israel.

  209. Well, here you go:

    "Nearly two-thirds of Jewish Israelis do not consider holding on to the West Bank a form of occupation, according to a new survey.

    Nearly two-thirds of Jewish Israelis do not consider holding on to the West Bank a form of occupation, according to a new survey. The poll also found that more than four-fifths of Israelis think US President Donald Trump’s chances of orchestrating a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians within the next two years are low.

    The results were published Sunday by the Israel Democracy Institute, as part of its monthly Peace Index.

    62% of Israeli Jews do not see the West Bank, which Palestinians claim for their future state, as occupied.

    Two-thirds of Jewish Israelis (65%) disagree with the statement that immediately after the war Israel should have “should have ceded conquered territories and launched negotiations with the Arab states for a comprehensive peace agreement,” the poll found. Fifty-five percent of respondents affirmed that Israel should have annexed the captured territories at the time, as it later did with East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

    (source Times of Israel today )

  210. From reading the newspapers, here are my conclusions:

    Israel, very very bad. Palestinians, very very good.

    Obviously, this situation continues because each side benefits - the status quo rules. Had Jordan not abandoned the West Bank (they must not have really wanted it 1967) may have had a different outcome.

  211. Jordan and Syria lost the West Bank and Golan Heights in a war they started. The history of this part of world is that winners of wars retain the lands captured, as the Turks did, as the British and French did. About the only change I would recommend is that JERUSALEM become a international city state open to all and a weapons free zone, whose administration is to be determined under UN supervision.

  212. The only time in centuries that Jerusalem has been open equally to all religions (with the exception of the Jews who have restricted themselves from praying on the Temple Mount itself) has been since 1967 when Israel liberated it from the nineteen year illegal Jordanian occupation. It is noteworthy that Jordan barred all Jews (not just Israelis) from access to the Western Wall, desecrated the Mount of Olives cemetery and destroyed the synagogues in the Old City - from which they had expelled every Jew, all in clear violation of the 1949 armistice agreement and all to a worldwide yawn of that violation.
    Given the built-in anti-Jewish bias, including UNESCO's recent resolutions denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem and recasting their holy sites as purely Muslim, how can you possibly justify placing Jerusalem under UN supervision? Do you really imagine when the next phony call to "save al-Aqsa" comes spewing from PA funded imams that the UN will put down the rioters when we all know it will instead move to restrict further the Jews' freedom of worship. That essentially is what the British did as Mandatory power between 1922-48 and they had real boots on the ground, not useless blue helmets.
    Jerusalem is and will remain in Jewish hands, and its two great supersessionist religious descendants - Christianity and Islam - need to internalize that fact.

  213. A lot of the comments point fingers-- at Israelis or Palestinians. They seem to miss the essential point that we are-- almost all of us, through a combination of tax dollars and silence-- responsible for the continued impasse. So: what are we going to do about it?

    As Mr Thrall points out, to stop propping up this state of affairs would be a good start. Let the Israelis own their actions, and let the Palestinians own theirs. But first, let us own ours.

  214. Myth: Israel Is the Largest Beneficiary of US Military Aid. Israel is not even a major beneficiary of American military aid. The numerical figure reflects official direct US military aid, but is almost meaningless compared to the real costs and benefits of US military aid – which include, above all, American boots on the ground in the host states.

    There are 150,500 American troops stationed in seventy countries around the globe. This costs the American taxpayer an annual $US 85-100 billion, according to David Vine, a professor at American University and author of a book on the subject. In other words, 800-1,000 American soldiers stationed abroad represent US$565-665 million of aid to the country in which they are located.

    Once the real costs are calculated, the largest aid recipient is revealed to be Japan, where 48,828 US military personnel are stationed. This translates into a US military aid package of over US$27 billion (calculated according to Vine’s lower estimation). Germany, with 37,704 US troops on its soil, receives aid equivalent to around US$21 billion; South Korea, with 27,553 US troops, receives over US$15 billion; and Italy receives at least US$6 billion.

  215. As we review the history once again, the indigenous revolt still appears to have lost definitively in 1939. The rest, particularly the exaggeration of the abilities of the resistance, has been image management.

  216. Putting aside a few inconvenient issues such as the Hamas Charter, a vile anti-Semitic document on par with anything that the Nazis produced, the rejection of every Israeli peace proposal, the hatred of Jews (not only Israelis) taught in elementary schools in both the West Bank and Gaza, the most damning (but totally under reported) indictment is the fact that in both Gaza and the PA controlled areas) huge numbers of Palestinians are still held in "refugee" camps. Why do they live in "refugee" camps if they already live in Palestine in Palestinian controlled areas? Aren't they already living in their homeland? Of course, the answer is that this is indicative that they truly believe (despite rhetoric to the contrary to Western powers) that all of Israel is rightfully theirs, and they will not desist from achieving this goal no matter what nonsense is spouted by Mr. Thrall and his fellow progressives!

  217. The many thoughtful comments that have been posted are much more accurate and insightful than Thrall's grievously biased screed masquerading as historical analysis. And for The Times to choose to publish this piece as its lead article on the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War confirms yet again how flawed The Times is in its coverage of Israel. This was a war of aggression launched by Arab countries (who had been aligned with the Nazis two decades earlier) seeking to destroy the State of Israel that had been born in the ashes of the Holocaust. Yet in the midst of their enemies Israel has created and sustained a thriving society. I'm sorry for the Palestinians that they do not yet have their own state, but it's not just the fault of the Israelis and that situation is not the only defining feature of what Israel has created in the last 50 years. Only in a Palestinian newspaper (ditto the New York Times? ) would the story of Israel over this period of time be presented only through the lens of the Palestinians' grievances. Shame on The New York Times.

  218. I finde this article completely one-sided. Should the US give back all the western states they took from the Indians,etc.,etc. When attacked you keep the spoils of war, that's the lesson.

  219. Why does the New York Time continue to publish mendacious tripe like this?
    The International Crisis Group is not an impartial observer.
    It is one of the most venomously biased anti-Israel advocacy groups in existence and an ally of those who seek Israel's destruction.
    Israel has no moral obligation to agree to the creation of a hostile jihadist state on Israel's border bent on Israel's destruction.
    Cutting off US aid to Israel won't lead to peace; it will lead to war and the next attempt to annihilate Israel and the Jews.

  220. An effort to push Israel into the sea 50 years ago and an intractable arab stand of the 3 Nos of Karthoum '"no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it..." have led to today. We always knew Israel would use whatever means necessary (including atomic bombs) to assure their future if existentially challenged. Enough Jews have died because they are Jews, thanks. No more of that!

    The planet has a large number of uncivilized people who would kill for a coin, a meal, or just out of vanity. Jews have been scapegoated for millennia!

    Until the Arab nations recant their three Nos of Karthoum and accept, truly accept, their responsibility for the current dilemma, may Israel own and prosper from the hard fought battles for survival it has won!

  221. Bottom line is that the Palestinians were never offered a fair deal. It started with Mr. Balfour giving the Zionists a small speck of Palestine. Palestine was not Mr. Balfour's to give away. Then in 1948 the state of Israel was founded in Palestine to make amends for Nazi war crimes. Palestine was not "a land without people for a people without a land." The Arabs were displaced from their historic homeland without compensation. Arabs were by far the majority population there since 635 C.E. Jews had been leaving the region in great numbers long before Titus sacked Jerusalem. 200 Palestinian villages were destroyed and the Deir Yassin massacre of Palestinian women and children occurred during and after Israel's war of Independence. Israel expects the Palestinians to acquiesce to 70 years of brutal occupation and continued land theft. Might makes right is the Israeli governing principle. The cost to the U.S. for its support of the occupation goes far beyond the $120 billion we've given to Israel. The blow back is hatred manifested in terrorism. Americans are told that to question why we are hated is the equivalent of condoning terrorism. The media has fed Americans a whitewashed view of Israeli aggression always couching Israeli brutality, even when they used battlefield weapons against stone throwers during the intifada as security measures. Only after 9/11 did the media dare to mention the word "Palestine." Hillary was castigated for using that dirty word in the '90s.

  222. yeah, yeah! everything is on Israel and nothing on the Palestinians, really

  223. Which countries receive the highest amounts of the US military aid?

    The BESA Center had a fascinating article last week showing that if you include the costs of deploying US troops around the globe, the amount of aid given to Israel is not nearly as much as that given to other countries.

    Commenter Ed ran through the numbers, based on the amount the US spends per soldier around the world.

    There are other major expenses like the cost to patrol the coasts of foreign nations but those aren't included here. Neither are the costs of joint military exercises that are done around the world.

    if you go here there is a chart that shows how much the US really spends per country when you include troop deployments. Israel is #10, Japan is #1

  224. The arguments are based on the usual miss-characterization of facts, just like a rape victim is blamed for what she was wearing, minimizing the hostility of her brutal attacker.
    Neither Dayan, nor Eshkol or Rabin wanted to conquer the holly sites in Jerusalem and when they did, they had turned them to the Jordanian control. After 67, Dayan kept saying that Israel is waiting “for the phone call”, land for peace, but instead we got the Khartoum 3 Nos.
    To see the writer’s bias, you can see how they twist facts.
    The author writes; Arabs proved incapable of defending even sovereign Lebanon from Israeli invasion; when in fact it was the Syrian invasion that destroyed Lebanon, and Iran’s push for Hezbollah’s domination of the country’s south, that mired Lebanon in wars.
    The writer states: Israel now receives more military assistance from the United States than the rest of the world does combined. Israel gets $3.1 billion, out of The $35 billion US spends on foreign aid
    There are many biased ‘intellectuals’. We should not give them legitimacy. But the Liberal west loves them. Bless them – but that is why we have Trump and Bibby. Because the world is sick of these distortions.
    Personally, I see the author’s fiction not different than Nasser’s fiction about how their troops are marching into Tel Aviv, just to wake up to see his Anti-Jewish caricatured landscape taken over by his victim’s ‘real’ people.
    Just another propaganda nonsense that the NY Times loves to spread. Hate them.

  225. Temporary occupation is recognized as legitimate by the international community following a war, on condition the that occupier respects the rules laid out in the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    50 years of occupation with no respect of the rules set out by the Fourth Geneva Convention is not acceptable. This will go down in history as a crime supported by an impotent international community.

  226. The major stumbling block to a two state solution beteen Israel & Palestine, is religious fanaticism,on both sides.This is unsolvable, & therefore impossible.
    East Jerusalem which Jews refer to as the City of David & the place of the First Temple, It is also where the Dome of the Rock is where Mohammed flew off on his white horse to Heaven.It is extremely holy to both sides. Thousands of Christians, Jews & Muslims has been killed fighting for this tiny enclave, & after thousands of years the war is still going on.Rabin who was secular, was ready to give the Palestinians their own state & he was murdered by an orthodox Jew. Any Muslim that would consent to giving Jews control of East Jerusalem, would be boycotted by Life Insurance Companies.
    Whether we like it or not, the status quo is the only way there can be a modicum of peace.

  227. Let's be honest here. Any attempt to force Israelis to concede anything would lead to a well financed revolt and name calling. [You may want to talk to a person called 'Barack Obama' for details]

    To the Palestinians, by and large, Israel itself is a neo-colonialist venture to transplant Europeans (though the actual original reason was 'socialism') to Asia. This position is held by a all Palestinians I talked to. The radicals want to expel the Jews but the moderates prefer the Jewish-Israelis to stay as a part of a bi-national state.

    Lets kick the can down the road. The population explosion of the Palestinians and the Haredi are leading to slow brain drain (physical or virtual) of educated Jews. When push comes to shove, it will be a binational state. And despite whatever people say, America is guided by its own fundamental interests of promoting democracy.

  228. 1937. 1947. 1967. 2000. 2008. All years when the Palestinians were offered statehood and rejected it. Not to mention the entire period 1948-1967 when Jordan controlled the West Bank and could have granted the Palestinians statehood but didn't.

    1948-present: all the years Israel has had to defend itself against violent Palestinian rejectionism, and despite all that created a modern, vibrant, successful country that took in millions of Jews no other country wanted.

    The Palestinians will gain statehood when they become committed to building their own state rather than destroying their neighbor's state. It's as simple as that.