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Posts Tagged ‘Israel/Palestine’

What would Cheney Know about Peace…?

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 24, 2008

JERUSALEM (CNN) — Vice President Dick Cheney arrived Saturday night in Israel, where he pledged America’s “enduring and unshakable” commitment to the security of the Jewish state as it approaches its 60th anniversary.

Dick Cheney and Ehud Olmert
Cheney met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to kick off a weekend of talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.”Our two countries have been more than just strong allies. We’ve been friends, special friends,” Cheney said at a news conference with Olmert.”Both our nations share the ideals of liberty, equality, human dignity and representative government.”

“Both our nations have stood firm against forces of terror and intimidation. … We are natural allies,” Cheney added.

He reaffirmed that the United States was committed to Israel’s “right to defend itself against terrorism and rocket attacks and other threats from forces dedicated to Israel’s destruction.”

In turn, Olmert called Cheney “a very good supporter and friend of the state of Israel.”

Nothing new. Nothing surprising. It would have been nice to hear something about the Settlements… Now, this was followed by this:

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — A Mideast peace agreement will require “painful concessions” by Israelis and Palestinians who must work together to defeat those “committed to violence,” Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday.

Dick Cheney and Mahmoud Abbas

After meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Cheney stressed the U.S. commitment to the creation of an independent Palestinian state, saying it was “long overdue.”

“Achieving that vision will require tremendous effort at the negotiating table and painful concessions on both sides,” said Cheney, whose stop in Ramallah came just two months after President Bush’s trip to the West Bank.

Abbas, a moderate, controls the West Bank and is battling Hamas militants who have taken charge of Gaza from Abbas-allied forces and have bombarded southern Israel with rockets.

“Terror and violence do not merely kill innocent civilians, they also kill the legitimate hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people,” Cheney said.

In their meeting, Abbas asked Cheney to help stop Israeli settlement expansion and military operations targeting militants, said Saeb Erekat, an Abbas aide.

Nothing new. Nothing surprising. Nothing that will bring Peace.

Why is that? Because there really isn’t anything Cheney can do about the situation. The only ones’ that can are the Israeli People and the Palestinian People. Only when both people want peace more than they want to hate each other and be “right” will there be peace.

Besides, what would Dick Cheney, the greatest war-monger of them all, know about Peace? He makes money off war, he doesn’t want peace in the Middle East, cause that would cost him a lot of money. Peace in the Middle East means not only less money, but less reason fore the US to “do their thing”, which is and has always been “Divide and conquer” and “Go there so we can steal, plunder and kill”, at least when there’s been a Republican in the White House.


Posted in Israel, Middle East, Palestine | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

On the Matter of the Settlements

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 20, 2008

Uprooting 10,000 Israeli citizens from Gaza has only brought more rockets and more Palestinian attacks on Israel’s border communities. Hardly a precedent which Israel will be quick to repeat.

And yet, in the end that is the only thing that will work.

Edit: The problem is, in my opinion, that the Leaders are listening more to the Extremists, than to good sound reason. Yes, there will undoubtedly be more violence – to begin with – and it might even continue after all Settlers have been removed from areas that were allotted to the Palestinians by the UN, because the Extremists have another goal than Peace. However there is a huge reward to be won by removing the Settlements and Settlers – Israel will regain the moral high-ground. It will become obvious who exactly is doing the violence. Another positive pay-off is that when Israel is finally containing its military forces inside internationally recognized borders, she will have every right to defend herself. As I have said elsewhere: If she wants to create a bunker, and build a wall all around Israel on the inside of the Green Line, no-one can really say anything about that, it would be her right.

Settment being dozed

About the Buildings, Towns and Institutions – those can all be rebuilt inside Israel. Truly. When the Settlers were removed from Gaza, all “Jewish” buildings were demolished, at the request of the Palestinians (something most people don’t know), now to my mind that is idiotic, silly and to my mind smack of “look how mean the Israelis are, not leaving us any good houses” – I say leave the buildings intact, so the Palestinians have something to move into that is better than what they have now, if it is better.

The question is – what do we want more: Peace or continued Conflict for the sake of Land? It doesn’t matter if we are talking about well established Towns and Communities or we are talking about rudimentary out-posts. Those Settlements are illegal – and for nothing else than this fact they should be removed. What the consequences might be is actually irrelevant to the issue.


If I commit a crime and have to go to jail, whether my wife will divorce me as a result is irrelevant – she might, she might not, but that should have no bearing on whether the law should be followed or not.

I would also like to point out that LEGALLY it falls upon the Occupying Nation to remove it’s Occupants at the end of Occupation, and to not remove those citizens means that one is continuing the Occupation. If that means that it is making refugees out of it’s own citizens, that has no relevance on whether it should remove those citizens or not.

Your conclusions on this, I believe, are correct. It pains me to agree, because, as I said, there are many lives involved, but I do agree with you. There is no other way to achieve peace and stability in the region.

Gaza Pullout

Don’t think for one moment that it doesn’t pain me as well, K.

Edit: The picture above is from an article that states: A 54-year-old Israeli woman set herself on fire on Wednesday at a junction near Netivot to the east of the Gaza Strip. The woman was evacuated in serious condition to hospital with 70 per cent burns to her body, police said.

And I don’t relish those scenes that we saw in Media before, during and after the Gaza Pull-out. It is very painful. But it is a result of war. Pain, anguish, broken homes, refugees are the nature of war. I have no illusions about the Settlers’ situation when they are evacuated, but such has been the situation of all Refugees of War. It was the situation for the Palestinian Refugees in 1948, it will be the situation for the Israeli Refugees when they leave the West Bank.

War of aggression is illegal and land acquired through war of aggression is obtained illegally, and in as much as Israel goes out-side the allotted borders of 1947-48 UN Partition militarily, whether to protect Israeli Occupants or to acquire more than the allotted portion, it is in violation of International Laws. It is painful. War is always painful.

However I believe that looking at it from this perspective – the objective legal point – will make it easier to swallow. After all Torah demands that we accept the laws of the land where we reside, unless it forces us to commit idolatry, murder, or forbidden sexual relations…Israel is a part of the International Community, therefore Israel is obligated by Torah to obey International Laws.

However, and this is a big however, I believe the Israeli government and all the Israeli people have the greatest responsibility to make sure – to make sure absolutely sure – in every way possible – that they reconstruct new lives, secure lives, fruitul lives, progressive lives, for all settlers that may have to leave the Palestinian areas.

I wholeheartedly agree, K – not to do so would be a crime as well. What I would like to see is a “rebuilding” of communities inside Israel, in intervals, so the Settlers have somewhere to go when they remove themselves from Occupied Territory. After all that is what should have happened in the first place. I am not saying that this won’t take a little more time than most would like, but it will show that Israel is taking her Obligations seriously.

Another Settlement

If we keep in mind that hard pills are much easier to swallow when coated in sugar than when force fed with vinegar, and use that insight to take measures that will both give and take compassionately, I am sure that both Peoples will eventually choose peace before conflict.

However, it is a two-way street. One the one hand the Government has to lead on the other hand the People has to follow. I still think that Yitzhak Rabin was right. And I do think Mahmoud Abbas is the stronger of the two, Olmert and Abbas. It is a pity that Rabin did not have an Abbas to co-operate with. If Olmert had the chutzpah to do what Rabin did, he and Abbas would be so much closer to REAL peace than the two Peoples have ever been. I think there is one other person in the Israeli Government that could match Abbas – unfortunately she is not in line to be Prime Minister.

Another, more prosaic reason for removing the settlements is, to re-connect to one of my other Blog entries:

“I cannot see how those small dark-green patches from a point of view of strategy are not huge security problems.”

Security Problem

The Settlements are huge security problems, and more than that they are huge financial problems as they have to be packed with IDFs and other security personnel, which drains the general Israeli economy (by how much yearly I have no idea, but war is expensive, and if it’s anywhere near normal expenses during war time, about half of Israel’s GNP is used to maintain active military presences in the Occupied Territories and in Israel.) – eating money that could be used on better housing, better social security, pensions and last but not least, building good solid communities for those who choose to live in Israel, both Jews and Arabs. A Progressive Society has no room for military “adventures” beyond that which is needed to maintain a healthy defense.

One of the main pillars of Judaism, and ultimately of being Jewish is Social Justice and Social Health, not just for those who happen to be Jewish, but for all humans. This might sound like a contradiction, but Judaism is at its core Progressive. It has always had Social Justice as one of it’s main Focal points. Whenever the Prophets went after the Rulers of Israel, they had two main complaints: Idolatry and lack of Social Justice.

Yeshayahu Leibowitz suggested that those two might actually be somewhat the same. He also suggests that the current Jewish Community is Worshiping the State of Israel, rather than G-d through Torah observance. I have to agree. The Idea of Israel has become more important than what it means to be Jewish. Being Jewish means to have a sense of what is Just, not only for Jews, but for all, and to fight for that Social Justice, to practice it and to teach it.

Judaism, Human Values, and the Jewish State

Posted in Settlements | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Playing the Game

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 14, 2008

peacemaker1.jpgA death is not less of a death because the person was extreme or a soldier or settler or a militant.[…]Hamas is seen as extreme but in some eyes they were elected by a fair election. They are virtually ignored in the peace process. I believe they should be listened to. Maybe after they vented long enough, perhaps they would be willing to negotiate more fairly.

Thank you Z!

On the one hand I agree with you about “A death is not less of a death because the person was extreme or a soldier or settler or a militant.”. On the other hand I personally don’t see how venting the same tirade for 60 years “Wipe Israel off the map!” is going to change within the next 60 years just because we say we listen to them. Nor do I see how venting “King David’s Israel Now!” for 60 years is going to change within the next 60 years, just because we listen to them. Hamas like Kach are legally elected, but it doesn’t mean they represent the Peoples on a grand scale. I suspect Hamas was elected in response to the corruption and mismanagement carried out by Fatah, especially under Chairman Arafat. With the death of Arafat, and the election of Mahmoud Abbas, Palestine has found a leader who is strong. Just look at how he dealt with the Violent Elements in Gaza. It may seem like he lost, however I am not so sure about that. I think it was as much a strategical move as it was a result of not being able to deal with Hamas in a rational way.

Personally I believe that ACTION, such as a stop to military aggression, aid without conditions, removal of settlements and checkpoints, expectations of responsibility and curbing of Violent Elements through policial presence will in the end bring Hamas around. I also believe that to accomplish this Israel has to step up and offer such action. Yes, initially it will cost lives, most likely on both sides, as the Extremists on both sides try to fight each other. On a unrest/violence scale of 0-150 I have no doubt that when there is finally peace, we’ll have seen a level around 75-78. But, eventually Hamas and other Extremist elements will come around because they SEE that they are given what the Palestinian People NEED, more than what they think the Palestinians need or what Plaestinian Militants have achieved during 60 years of resistance to the 1947-48 partition plan.

I know it’s just a game – but this is what I did, playing as the Israeli Prime Minister:

1. Funded education, medical aid and cross-culture projects WITHOUT conditions.
2. Gradually removed settlements and with them checkpoints and bits and pieces of the Security wall. Reminding all that it’s a process, not a one-time thing. The aim is to eventually have removed all Settlements and Checkpoints.
3. Responded to unrest and suicide bombings with Police presence in-side Israel and at the same time asking the Palestinian President to clamp down on Militants in Gaza and the Westbank.
4. Increasing the work-permits and easing the curfews, releasing prisoners convicted of non-violent crimes.
5. Responded to unrest and suicide bombings with Police presence in-side Israel and at the same time asking the Palestinian President to clamp down on Militants in Gaza and the Westbank.
6. Stimulating the Israeli Economy, focusing on Trade Initiatives between Israelis and Palestinians, Education and Social Reforms on both sides.
7. Authorizing compensation for the Refugees.
8. What I absolutely didn’t do was letting myself be drawn into calls for retaliation or respond to violence by more violence. In fact I jailed a whole bunch of Jewish/Yesha Leaders when they took to the streets and went after Palestinians. Demanding the same move by the Palestinian President on his side.

I kept repeating this until I had the full approval of the Palestinans (minus the Militants) and the Palestinian President. Then I gradually allowed Refugees to return, in 100.000 increments, making clear that any unrest as a result of this would result in their deportation. By the time I had finished the third step I had 91% of the Israeli Approval and 100% of the Palestinian People, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad…who had both agreed to stop their aggressive actions and instead sit down and negotiate and done so – which was the fourth step – now given that I have not played at harder levels I have no idea what would happen if the level of violence was higher than it is today, but I am sure I’ll figure it out .

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Silly Babies

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 11, 2008

Israel is demanding that a formal calm with Hamas be preceded by a 30-day “feeling the pulse” period, the London-based daily Al-Quds al-Arabi reported Tuesday.

According to the newspaper, the demand was presented to Egyptian officials by Amos Gilad, who heads the Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security Bureau.

The report quoted a “senior Palestinian source” as saying that if the 30-day period proves successful, Israel will assent to the Egyptian calm initiative, including the cessation of ground and air attacks in the Gaza Strip and refraining from retaliating for the terror attack at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva last week.

Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Aiman Taha, told Al-Hayyat that the organizations still maintains that the calm should be mutual, simultaneous and all-inclusive. He said that Hamas’s conditions included extending the calm to the West Bank, opening the border passes and ceasing assassination of Palestinian targets.

I must say I do not understand why this is so hard to agree to. Just stop fighting for 30 days, don’t do anything that will lead to violence on either side…

It’s not even a unilateral deal, it’s bilateral thing, no-one is loosing face… and still they can’t do it. Silly Babies.

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Hamas Haunting Ashkelon

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 11, 2008

JERUSALEM (AP) – Palestinian militants in Gaza have launched a rocket at the Israeli city of Ashkelon a short time after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert left the area.Israeli police say the rocket landed in an open area just south of the city. Nobody was hurt.The rocket fire came during a lull in fighting between Israel and Hamas militants. Intense violence had left three Israelis and 120 Palestinians dead, including dozens of civilians.Israel pulled its forces out of Gaza last week and militants scaled back their rocket fire. Egypt has been serving as a mediator between Israel and Hamas rulers, but both sides have denied there was an official cease-fire in place.

There has been no claim of responsibility from Gaza for the rocket fire. But Israel says it holds Hamas responsible, since it controls Gaza.

If it’s Kassam, Katushya or something else fired from Hamas controlled territory, it’s Hamas, who else would want to try and kill Israelis?

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Palestinian Perspective

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 11, 2008


“It’s miserable, the Israelis have killed 118 people so far. Yesterday [Sunday], they killed a neighbour of mine, he was 15 and was playing football in the street.

They suddenly attacked a house near where he was playing. One of the shells hit him, I saw it happening about 100 metres away from me.

Six others in the area also died and some of his friends were injured.

I am staying at home now. I was supposed to go and study in Amsterdam, but I haven’t been able to leave. I had visas for January and February and I’m still here.

I am not politically active. But I do want to live in peace without any trouble. We are in a political war.

Hamas are the only ones fighting the occupation – they are the cause of this invasion. They are the ones to blame.

On the other hand [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas has been shaking hands with [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert – at the same time Olmert is giving orders to kill us.

Abbas gave the Israelis the chance to invade Gaza because of the divisions between Hamas and Fatah.

We, the people, are the victims. I think Israelis and Palestinians are all exhausted by the bloodshed.”

This guys isn’t blaming the Israelis. He isn’t specifying “people”. A moderate Palestinian. Interesting that the Anti-Israelis don’t support this guy instead of Hamas and Hezbollah. I suppose they don’t want peace.

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Media Examples of Virulence…

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 11, 2008

Israel, pull no punches in Gaza

Journalist: Richard Chesnoff

Gaza’s Islamic rocket war against Israel is a growing threat. No third party is going to send a proxy force to control Gaza – not the U.S., not NATO.

And while there are clear dangers in the Israeli Army reoccupying the Gaza Strip en force, it increasingly looks like the only way to cleanse Gaza of the terrorist slime that controls it.

Israel withdrew from Gaza with hopes that it might become a shining light of Palestinian independence. Instead, it’s a beacon of bedlam.

Why should Israel have to supply electricity, fuel and other basics to a terror state determined to destroy it? Let Egypt and other Arab states worry about Gaza. Failing that, consider cutting a 10-mile deep trench around the benighted Gaza Strip and pushing it out to sea.

Now, it might be that one is angry, but that kind of verbal attacks leveled at the Palestinian Militants/Terrorists doesn’t do anything to give an objective picture of the events. Yes, it’s an opinion piece, I realize that, but claiming that the rockets being launched from inside Gaza at Israel are “Islamic” is not an opinion, that’s a prejudice and Islamophobic to boot. Suggesting that the entire Palestinian population of Gaza should be pushed into the sea because of the doings of what is still a minority of Palestinians, is no better than suggesting that every Jew in Israel be pushed into the sea. Richard Chesnoff, could do well to think about that.

Police is refusing to pass on the body of the terrorist who murdered eight pupils at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva last week to his family, Army Radio reported Monday. According to the report, police said they would only release the body if the family promises to hold a “humble” funeral with few participants.

The body was due to be released on Sunday, but the police against it, arguing that there were too many mourners gathered at the family home, in violation of an earlier agreement with the family.

On Sunday afternoon, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held consultations with officials regarding the mourning tent erected at the home of the terrorist’s family.

From the National Insurance Institute (NII) inquiry it emerged that the killer’s parents were not entitled to benefit payments for their son’s death. The NII also decided to withhold burial assistance.

That is sure to make tension go away… “a humble funeral”. Now, I can well imagine that the Police has convinced themselves that they want few participants to avoid any clashes and other security risks, but honestly I doubt that to be more than a simple gloss-over.

It’s a nice way of kicking the family in the groin and humiliate them. Oh, sure they raised him, and something they must have passed on – if nothing else a basic idea that taking lives is acceptable. Regardless, that doesn’t justify humiliating his family, even if all male members were somehow involved, which I honestly doubt that they were. A few cousins perhaps, but certainly not his mother and sister. It seems that basically all male members of his family are held in custody by the police, so why deprive his mother and sister of the comfort it gives to have a real funeral?

Let me remind of the Prophet Hezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls are Mine. As the soul of the father, also the soul of the son, they are Mine. The soul that sins, it shall die.”

Ala Abu Dhaim is dead, he has paid and rightly so. To make his family pay for his crime is wrong.

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Where are they going?

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 11, 2008

Bethlehem, West Bank – Fadi al-Amour and his friends – high school seniors – spent more time last week on the street than in class. Every day, they marched on Rachel’s Tomb, guarded by Israeli soldiers, and, along with hundreds of other young Palestinians, pelted the nearest symbol of Israeli power with rocks and Molotov cocktails.

“We were implementing what our leaders in the prisons tell us we should be doing. Even Marwan Barghouthi has warned that this is where we’re going: the third intifada,” says Mr. Amour, mentioning the Fatah figure jailed by Israel in 2002 for his role in the last intifada, which lasted from 2000 to 2004.

From Gaza rocket strikes and West Bank riots to a deadly shooting inside Jerusalem late last week, many Palestinians are saying – or perhaps hoping – that these incidents of violence will spark a new, much broader conflict with Israel.

Those who are encouraging a further escalation say it’s overdue. Others, including many who remember the misery of past intifadas, worry that this will just drag the Palestinian cause down a dead-end street.


“There might be an escalation in the coming weeks and months, and an escalation has already been going on in Gaza in recent weeks and months,” says Ali Jarbawi, a political scientist at Birzeit University, near Ramallah.

But, he says, there might be a danger in rushing to label the events of the last few weeks as the start of another intifada. “People are feeling a sense of despair. They’re frustrated by the [new Israeli-Palestinian negotiations] leading nowhere, and [by] the internal situation between Hamas and Fatah,” he says. “But I don’t see that translating into a concrete, continuous event, which I think is something that defines an intifada. Let’s wait and see.”

Escalation?!! Ok. My wife just said: “I didn’t know the Second Intifada had ended…?!” I have to agree with her. It sounds a bit sensationalist to start talking about a Third Intifada, when the Second is still going on. But then, media has a big part in the conflict’s more virulent elements.

JERUSALEM — The government of Israel said Sunday that it had approved the construction of hundreds of homes in a West Bank settlement north of Jerusalem, a move that could further complicate a peace effort already hobbled by violence.

Givat Zeev settlement

The announcement slightly eased pressure on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert from the right wing in his government, particularly after a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem fatally shot eight students, most of them teenagers, at a prestigious Jewish seminary in western Jerusalem on Thursday.

But the move occurred days before an American envoy, Lt. Gen. William M. Fraser III, was expected to arrive in the region for the first three-party meeting with Israelis and Palestinians on fulfillment of obligations under the 2003 peace plan called the road map.

The plan calls for the Palestinians to halt all violence and for the Israelis to cease all settlement construction, including building meant to accommodate “natural growth.”

Dumb move, Olmert, dumb move. However, being the Prime Minister of Israel cannot be easy. Trying to please both the Right and the Left and the Palestinians. But if he can get the Extremist Settlers to stop their “out-posting”. The word “out-post” is some thing you have in war, along the enemy border, to keep an eye on them – it’s no place to bring your wives and children. Why not just call it un-authorized settlement? That at least would be true.

I am sure all of this is a journalist’s wet dream. Blood, gore, conflict and violence sell news papers and videos, raise the ratings and make a lot of people, including the journalists, rich. So of course it all has to be described as colorful as possible.

Why is it that media is not reporting about the regular Palestinians, Arabs and Israelis, who all go about their lives in a normal fashion. Sure building Settlements is a dumb and illegal idea, but at the same time it creates jobs – the two guys, in the picture of Givat Zeev, are Arabs, who feed their families building those Settlements. Would they have the same opportunity in Palestine? I am not too sure about that. So, every coin has two sides, which one you see is just as much up to you as to chance.

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And the cycle continues

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 10, 2008

Settlers vow revenge over Jerusalem massacre

As violence spirals and calls for peace talks grow, extremists say they will build a new West Bank settlement for each of the eight students killed

Palestinian: Settlement expansion ‘a stick in the wheels’ of peace

JERUSALEM (CNN) — A Palestinian official said Sunday that Israel’s plan to expand settlements in the West Bank was “like putting a stick in the wheels of the peace process.”

Israel Approves West Bank Construction

Olmert Approves New Construction in West Bank Settlement, Angers Palestinians

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian lawmaker near Nablus

Israeli settlers attacked Siham Thabit, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), on Friday while she was driving near the West Bank city of Nablus.

Settlers assaulted the car when it passed the Yizhar settlement, smashing the windshield. Thabit was taken to a hospital in Nablus.

Student killer was ‘good boy with a future’

“He wasn’t crazy, he was just one of us, a normal young guy who said he was heading out and said goodbye to his family on Thursday night,” ‘Mohammed’, a cousin of Abu Dhaim’s said.

“The first thing they heard was when they started getting calls from the media close to midnight on Thursday, saying their son was the gunman, then the Israeli police turned up and took away nine members of the family, even his father.”

While I do not agree with all said in this Blog, I still recommend it as a good source for a basic overview… Informed Comment

That aside – when will it end? When will Israel and Palestine realize that the ongoing spiral of violence, provocations and insults do not serve the individual Peoples?

Hamas and Hezbollah only serve themselves, and Israel is playing hide and seek with the Extremists on both sides. Politicking by both parties, at the expense of the Peoples they claim to represent.

I don’t f**king care about the 1967 borders. Why? Because they are a violation of International Laws. I don’t f**king care about splitting Jerusalem in two. If they can’t agree to share and respect each other’s holy places, then neither of them should have an inch. I care about the Peoples. Yes, the settlers too, and the terrorists – what are they except mirror images of each other? If it weren’t for Extremists on both sides, there would be no war, no violence. There would be Peace and Negotiations.

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