Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Palestine

Both Israel and Hamas are Wrong to Claim Self-Defense

I was listening to an interview on the radio earlier today with a spokesman for Hamas. The interviewer asked the spokesman why Hamas was continuing to fire rockets despite their ineffectiveness against Israel (since the start of Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has only killed 2 Israelis). He replied that the Palestinians had a right to self-defense. In my most recent post about this conflict, I’ve seen similar arguments being made by Israeli sympathizers–“no coutry would put up with” the rocket fire Israel endures, and Israel has a right to self-defense. These arguments are deeply flawed because they fatally misconceptualize what self-defense is.

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Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” is Irrational

Last month, three hitchhiking Israeli teenagers turned up dead in the West Bank. The Israeli government’s reaction to these murders is completely irrational. It achieves nothing for Israel and causes immense unnecessary suffering to the Palestinian people. Here’s why.

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Dear Benjamin: Could Electoral Reform be a Catalyst for Peace in the Middle East?

Readers, I’d like to try something a little out of the ordinary today. A friend of mine from when I was doing undergrad at the University of Warwick, Calum Murray, came to me with an idea he wanted both to share and to get my input on. I have decided to help him do both. In this piece, Calum outlines for you his thoughts on how Israel might get more moderate government out of a recent electoral reform spear-headed by Prime Minister Netanyahu. After he’s finished stating the position, I’ll come back in to offer my thoughts and dissection. Today’s piece comes out a bit longer than usual, but I’m curious to see if my readers will welcome the added depth that comes with having multiple perspectives on the same thing. If this goes over well, I may do additional “Dear Benjamin” pieces—if you or someone you know has a proposal that might be worth sharing and examining, leave a comment. Read the rest of this entry »

The Legacy of Ariel Sharon

For all intents and purposes, Ariel Sharon died on January 4, 2006. That was when he suffered a stroke and entered into a persistent vegetative state. However, his body was kept running by machines until just yesterday, so even though Sharon has been politically inactive since the mid-aughts, it is an appropriate time to discuss what legacy he left behind, with the benefit of most of a decade to see what followed.  With the benefit of that perspective, Sharon represents a missed opportunity, a path not taken.

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Israel gets Vindictive

In the aftermath of Palestine’s victory in the recent UN vote, Israel has decided to withhold $120 million in Palestinian tax revenue, representing 3% of Palestine’s GDP, and to expand the illegal construction of settlements on Palestinian land. Today, I intend to denounce these policies as vindictive, irrational, and against the interests of the Israeli state. They are, from all reasonable points of view, the wrong policies. Read the rest of this entry »