Should automakers offer a factory Palestinian flag paint scheme?

Parked in front of the Embassy Suites RDU for the entire evening of May 29:

It occurred to me that this demonstration of solidarity with Hamas (see Talking with a pro-Hamas college student for how the folks who say that they’re only “pro-Palestinian” actually do expect and seek long-term Hamas rule) would be more effect if (a) done 24/7, and (b) done in paint rather than via a draped flag.

How about a car company that already caters to progressives, e.g., Subaru, offering a factory Palestinian flag paint scheme? It might also be popular with Muslim-Americans.

Separately, I’ve been listening to parts of Robin Williams: When the Laughter Stops (included with an Audible subscription). The 2014 book quotes Williams as being interested in world peace, but asking “How do you create a Palestinian homeland when there’s a large amount of Palestinians who want to obliterate Israel?” (the “large amount” has been quantified as 85 percent support for Palestinian Islamic Jihad in a 2023 poll)

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Israeli hostage rescue mission was exactly what Igor Sikorsky wanted

CNN shows some video of Israelis who’d been unwilling guests of the Palestinians getting into a CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter. Sikorsky first flew this machine in 1964.

This is exactly what Igor Sikorsky talked about: “If a man is in need of rescue, an airplane can come in and throw flowers on him, and that’s just about all. But a direct lift aircraft could come in and save his life.” (Noa Argamani did not identify as a “man”, of course, but the Sikorsky quote predates our world of verbose explicit gender inclusions.)

The big mystery is why there were any deaths or injuries on either side of this event. We are informed that Palestinians are unarmed and entirely peaceful. Picking up these four guests of the Gazans, therefore, shouldn’t have involved more violence than an Uber pickup from the Apple Store in Newport Beach, California. If Palestinians weren’t shooting at the IDF with weapons that they don’t have, why was there shooting? Were IDF soldiers shooting at each other?

From the Guardian:

We are told that the Gazans, as well as many of the righteous in Europe and the U.S., object to the events surrounding the departure of their hostages. Maybe the Palestinians should have taken only Americans hostage because the U.S. certainly hasn’t threatened to use military force to get back the U.S. citizens held hostage by the Gazans (supposedly 5 living and 3 dead bodies currently). In fact, Joe Biden has done more to bolster the Hamas/UNRWA/Palestinian Islamic Jihad war effort than anyone. A continued supply of US-funded aid keeps Palestinian fighters funded (since the “aid” is immediately confiscated by the legitimate elected government of Gaza (i.e., Hamas) and then sold in the marketplace). Joe Biden has also been instrumental in hamstringing the Israeli military operation.

A smaller mystery is why Noa Argamani wasn’t released in November 2023 when Hamas agreed to release women and children civilian hostages in exchange for Israel releasing captured and convicted Palestinian fighters. Noa Argamani wasn’t serving in the Israel military. She seems to have identified as a woman. Is the answer that Hamas wasn’t actually holding her hostage, but some other group of Palestinians was?

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Memorial Day here in Jupiter, Florida

Our town’s Memorial Day ceremony is about to begin (live stream):

The speaker is Brian Mast, a veteran who represents us in Congress and who has been at odds with the Biden administration regarding U.S. support for continued Hamas rule in Gaza.

I arranged a brick for my father, who was drafted and served as a corporal in the NYC area (my dad was born in 1930, so he was 23 years old when he went into the Army, a late start due to a college deferment).

My dad was not killed while serving in the military (unclear how that could have happened other than via a car/bus accident or if a filing cabinet had fallen on him) so, fortunately, he is not one of those for whom the day was established.

Readers: What are you doing to observe Memorial Day?

Related:

Post-ceremony update…

About 250 people showed up.

My father’s brick is in the top left corner of the engraved-so-far bricks:

Brian Mast kept his remarks nonpartisan and patiently met with constituents afterwards:

The police bloodhound was popular:

At least one person arrived in style (Pontiac GTO; possibly circa 1965):

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Why would there be any Hamas fighters left in Rafah?

Israel has given everyone weeks of warning about an upcoming battle in Rafah. Here’s my dumbest question of the week: Why would there be anyone left to fight the IDF in Rafah? After weeks of warnings, why haven’t fighters from the Islamic Resistance Movement (“Hamas”), UNRWA, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, etc. all left Gaza along with the reported 800,000 other people who’ve left (Al-Jazeera). There has been no news coverage of 800,000 people being screened at a checkpoint (and, even if there were a checkpoint how would an Israeli be able to discern a Hamas fighter from a “civilian” Palestinian (i.e., typically a supporter of Hamas and PIJ)).

CNN has covered the story, but doesn’t mention anyone being checked when leaving. In fact, it doesn’t look as though there would be any obstacle to bringing RPGs and rifles out as part of a family evacuation.

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Talking with a pro-Hamas college student

All of my attempts at humor fall flat, as a general rule. In January, for example, I jokingly asked a friend who had visited family in Madrid over Christmas if he’d had to navigate around pro-Hamas protests. He took it as a straight question and gave me a detailed straight answer about the various protests and the parts of the city they’d blocked and what he had done to try to get where he was going.

I needed to talk to a friend’s son regarding an unrelated topic. He’s an avid videogamer and an engineering major at a college in a Rust Belt city whose last period of sustained job growth was during the administration of Gerald Ford. It’s not in Michigan or anywhere else where Islam is the primary religion. He lost years of high school and social life to coronapanic (and, despite diligent masking and meek acceptance of lockdowns, of course got COVID several times). One might imagine that he and his cohorts would have other issues on their minds than the suffering of the noble Gazans… and one would be wrong. I jokingly asked how the pro-Hamas encampments have been at his university. It turned out that he was a regularly attendee at said protests/encampments. “It’s got a really good vibe,” he said, “though only about 50 people actually sleep there every night.”

He took issue with my characterization of the demonstrators as “pro-Hamas”. He said that their goal was to “stop the killing of children.” He agreed that the death of bystanders was inevitable in war and said that he did not think Israel should be allowed to pursue any military activities in Gaza due to the risk that additional children would die. Essentially, the IDF would have to withdraw. I asked “Since Hamas is the elected and popular government of Gaza, doesn’t that mean that Hamas would resume their rule over the territory?” He said “yes” but disagreed that demanding an action that would inevitably ensure continued Hamas rule could be considered a “pro-Hamas” position.

The punchline to the above conversation is that the young man is… Jewish! His mother is Israeli, in fact. She’s an elite wealthy multiple passport European-heritage Netanyahu-hating Israeli, but nowhere near ready to surrender to Hamas as her son is. (Netanyahu’s core support comes from the plurality of Israelis whose ancestors were expelled from majority-Muslim countries, such as Iraq, Iran, Yemen, etc., after 1948. The European-heritage Jews who arrived prior to 1948 are generally much richer if for no other reason than they bought real estate in Tel Aviv before the population grew so dramatically.)

I tried to get him to see that his philosophy, if applied equally to all nations, meant that any army that can surround itself with children becomes invulnerable. Russia could conquer Ukraine, for example, if they just brought some children along to ride in their military vehicles. He more or less admitted that, but stuck to his position that “too many” children had been killed in the recent Gaza battles and, therefore, Israel had to accept defeat and withdraw. (Palestinians themselves do not seem to think that whatever has happened recently is bad enough that they would be willing to abandon any of their military goals. One never hears of Palestinians who say “war is too costly so we will have to compromise for peace and recognize Israel within her current borders.” Instead, they say that they are willing to wage war forever if that’s what it takes to liberate Al-Quds, destroy the Zionist entity, and enjoy a river-to-the-sea Hamas-ruled nation. (cue UNRWA to pay for food, health care, education, etc. until this glorious day arrives))

His siblings also went to public schools in an all-Democrat city and he says that they’re fully aligned with him on the Israel/Gaza issue. My text to his parents: “I would have thought with all of his shooter game experience that he’d believe that sometimes a nation does have to use its military to do military stuff.”

That’s my dive into the wisdom of today’s best-educated youth!

Here’s an example Rust Belt encampment (Syracuse, New York):

Related:

  • “The Adults Are Still in Charge at the University of Florida” (WSJ; Ben Sasse, formerly U.S. Senator from Nebraska and current president at UF): Higher education isn’t daycare. … Higher education has for years faced a slow-burning crisis of public trust. Mob rule at some of America’s most prestigious universities in recent weeks has thrown gasoline on the fire. Pro-Hamas agitators have fought police, barricaded themselves in university buildings, shut down classes, forced commencement cancellations, and physically impeded Jewish students from attending lectures. … universities must distinguish between speech and action. Speech is central to education … The heckler gets no veto. The best arguments deserve the best counterarguments. … we draw a hard line at unlawful action. Speech isn’t violence. Silence isn’t violence. Violence is violence. … universities make things worse with halfhearted appeals to abide by existing policies and then immediately negotiating with 20-year-old toddlers. Appeasing mobs emboldens agitators elsewhere. … universities need to recommit themselves to real education. Rather than engage a wide range of ideas with curiosity and intellectual humility, many academic disciplines have capitulated to a dogmatic view of identity politics. Students are taught to divide the world into immutable categories of oppressors and oppressed, and to make sweeping judgements accordingly. With little regard for historical complexity, personal agency or individual dignity, much of what passes for sophisticated thought is quasireligious fanaticism. … Young men and women with little grasp of geography or history—even recent events like the Palestinians’ rejection of President Clinton’s offer of a two-state solution—wade into geopolitics with bumper-sticker slogans they don’t understand.
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Could the elite universities clear their pro-Hamas encampments with Taylor Swift music?

The U.S. got Manuel Noriega out of the Vatican’s embassy in Panama City by playing Van Halen 24/7. I wonder if administrators at elite universities could clear their “river to the sea” encampments of Hamas/Hezbollah/UNRWA/Palestinian Islamic Jihad supporters via the magic of Taylor Swift. Given that the only thing more expensive, and therefore presumably more sought-after, than a day at an elite university is a day at a Taylor Swift concert (see Long term effects of taking away $5-10,000 from every upper middle class family with a female child?) nobody could complain about a DJ spinning up Ms. Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department on repeat. The schools are mostly shut down so 85 dBA (keep it within OSHA limits) of Taylor Swift 24/7 wouldn’t disturb any classes. Why not just play Taylor Swift until those who are camped out decide that they’d rather listen to something else and, therefore, have to walk away?

Separately, here’s my favorite recent social media post relating to the Ivy league:

This combines the Latinx, Queers, and a drum circle. Who could ask for more?

Lyrics to “Florida!!!”:

You can beat the heat if you beat the charges too
They said I was a cheat, I guess it must be true
And my friends all smell like weed or little babies
And this city reeks of driving myself crazy
Little did you know
Your home’s really only a town you’re just a guest in
So you work your life away
Just to pay for a timeshare down in Destin
Florida is one hell of a drug
Florida, can I use you up?
The hurricane with my name when it came
I got drunk and I dared it to wash me away
Barricaded in the bathroom with a bottle of wine
Well, me and my ghosts, we had a hell of a time
Yes, I’m haunted but I’m feeling just fine
All my girls got their lace and their crimes
And your cheating husband disappeared
Well, no one asks any questions here

(Maybe she is singing about the Redneck Riviera, more properly part of Alabama, than the parts of Florida that most people consider “Florida”? Destin is shown below, straight south from Alabama.)

In case the above is memory-holed as disinformation:

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Did the fate of Iran’s ballistic missile attack against the Zionist entity prove Ronald Reagan correct?

Iran launched 120 ballistic missiles at the Zionist entity earlier this month (Wikipedia) and most of them were shot down.

America’s expert class ridiculed Ronald Reagan for his credulous belief that ballistic missiles could be intercepted either in space or on their way down to earth. The Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars”) was Edward Teller‘s dumbest idea ever, certainly! New York Times, 1985:

A computer scientist has resigned from an advisory panel on antimissile defense, asserting that it will never be possible to program a vast complex of battle management computers reliably or to assume they will work when confronted with a salvo of nuclear missiles.

The scientist, David L. Parnas, a professor at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia, who is a consultant to the Office of Naval Research in Washington, was one of nine scientists asked by the Stategic Defense Initiative Office to serve at $1,000 a day on the ”panel on computing in support of battle management.”

Professsor Parnas, an American citizen with secret military clearances, said in a letter of resignation June 28 and in 17 pages of accompanying memorandums that it would never be possible to test realistically the large array of computers that would link and control a system of sensors, antimissile weapons, guidance and aiming devices, and battle management stations.

Imagine a dusty academic quitting an easy job that paid $1000/day in pre-Biden money! At official government-certified CPI, that’s equivalent to nearly $3000/day right now.

The geniuses at the New York Times were so fond of feeling smarter than Reagan that they were still talking about this after Reagan had left office. From 1993, for example:

Star Wars can never work as a defensive system because there are too many targets in the U.S. and because the weapons arrayed against it are too diverse and powerful.

But do the recent interceptions of Iranian missiles prove that Ronald Reagan was actually smarter than the expert class?

Separately, the Iranian attack seriously injured a 7-year-old Muslim Israeli. Given that 20 percent of Israel’s population is Muslim, what is the plan among the Iranians, Houthis, Gazans, et al., who are going to destroy the Zionist entity? How will they protect fellow Muslims and, especially, Muslim children?

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Why are there foreign do-gooders working in Gaza?

We regularly read about foreigners doing heroic deeds on behalf of Palestinians seeking to liberate Al-Quds, destroy the Zionist entity, and establish a river-to-the-sea nation. Most dramatically, we have learned about the deaths of six foreigners working for World Central Kitchen (Wikipedia):

The IDF claimed that before the incident, the WCK cars had escorted an aid truck that had a gunman on its roof that fired a gun … A second gunman was spotted at the warehouse joining the first gunman, leading to the drone operators assuming that they were of Hamas, claimed the IDF. As a result, according to the IDF, the IDF drone operators believed that the WCK cars were being used by Hamas militants, and further suspected that they saw a person entering a WCK car with “a rifle but at the end of the day it was a bag”, in a “misclassification”. The IDF claimed that the drone operators believed that the WCK aid workers had remained at the warehouse with the aid truck, instead of leaving in the cars.

It doesn’t surprise me that people get killed by mistake in a war zone (especially if they share a warehouse with armed men who look just like one side’s fighters). If the risk weren’t there one couldn’t claim credit for heroism by volunteering to work in a war zone. What does surprise me is that WCK employs non-Palestinians to work in Gaza. Even before the October 7, 2023 resistance action, only a minority of adult Palestinians worked (one of the lowest rates of labor force participation of any society ever to exist, presumably at least partly due to the fact that EU and US taxpayers provide food, health care, education, etc. via UNRWA). If the majority of adult Palestinians don’t work, why can’t an aid organization do whatever it wants to do with an all-Palestinian workforce? Gaza has an enormous surplus of potential labor, in other words, so it shouldn’t make any sense to send workers rather than cash and material goods.

Here’s UNICEF, for example, sending a blond do-gooder to delivery food and water:

Instead of paying her salary, why not hire 10 locals with the same money?

There are plenty of Palestinians who can drive trucks, stock shelves with food and water, and cook. Why do UNICEF and WCK bring in foreigners to do these jobs?

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Progressives hate Jews more than Europeans did in the 1930s and 1940s?

Europeans, especially Germans, are famous for their Jew-hatred in the 1930s and early 1940s, culminating in the death camp system run by the Nazis and their collaborators. (Remember that the original German goal was a Jew-free Europe to be achieved via expulsion and expropriation, similar to what the Muslim/Arab nations achieved after 1948, and the death camp idea was conceived after expulsion proved impractical due to other countries’ refusal to accept Jews (to keep the Arabs happy, the British wouldn’t allow Jews expelled by the Germans to move to Mandatory Palestine, for example).)

Could it be that today’s progressives in the U.S. and Europe have outdone the 1930s/40s Europeans in Jew-hatred?

Let’s consider a German circa 1933 who was among the 44 percent who voted for the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and its 25-point program (not too different from what today’s politicians promise). Getting 500,000 Jews out of Germany, whose population was 65 million at the time, would deliver a potential personal benefit to the non-Jewish German. The German who supported the Nazi plan to expel Jews might have felt that social cohesion in German society would be improved without a group whose value system was different or at least perceived as different. Such a German would not need to feel any personal animosity towards Jews in order to prefer having Christian Germans as neighbors rather than Jewish Germans. (Similar to today’s Americans who are opposed to low-skill immigration, especially from non-European nations; they might not hate Somalis or wish them any harm, but they don’t want to live in a neighborhood whose culture is imported from Somalia.)

Although only some of the progressives marching in London, New York, San Francisco, etc. will openly say that they want to “end Israel” or that they support the general Palestinian goal of destroying Israel (2021 poll, for example), support for the “Palestinian cause” inevitably is helpful to the majority of Palestinians who have a long-term goal of destroying the Zionist entity and establishing a river-to-the-sea Palestinian nation. In theory, some of the Jews in Israel could return to places where their ancestors lived, e.g., Russia, Poland, etc. But the largest group of Jews in Israel are from Arab/Muslim countries and there is no evidence that the ancestors of their former neighbors in Iran, Iraq, etc. want them back. So the progressives are where the Nazis were in the 1930s. They want to rid the former Ottoman-then-British-ruled areas of the Levant (present-day Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt) of Jews, but aren’t particular about how the ridding is accomplished.

A March 29, 2024 example, “Pro-Palestinian protesters disrupt Berkeley City Council meeting, Holocaust remembrance vote: ‘End Israel'” (deplorable Fox News):

Pro-Palestinian protesters interrupted the City Council in Berkeley, California, on Tuesday, shouting “Zionist pigs!” and “End Israel!” during a meeting that included a vote on marking Holocaust Remembrance Day, video of the event shared by the Jewish Community Relations Council showed.

A sticker that a group was handing out on the Berkeley campus, March 14, 2024:

If progressives have the same goal as the Nazis how can they hate Jews more than the Nazis did? The progressives demonstrating in Washington, D.C. and Toronto don’t live in or near Israel and they have no plans to visit the new Palestinian state whose establishment they support (the new Hamas-ruled nation might not be as friendly to the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community as the Queers for Palestine might want for a vacation destination). In other words, the progressive works for the destruction of Israel but would receive no personal benefit via the destruction of Israel. It’s an entirely unselfish Jew-hatred, unlike the Europeans of 90 years ago who had selfish reasons for wanting to live in a less diverse society. One could argue that this selfish desire was irrational (diversity is our strength, after all), but that isn’t relevant to the question of whether the Europeans were doing something that would have an effect on their own lives.

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Israel’s military strategy in Gaza compared to COVID lockdowns

When SARS-CoV-2 burst onto the world stage societies could choose whether to absorb the damage quickly or drag out the misery. Sweden, for example, chose a sharp spike in infections and deaths while attempting to isolate the oldest and most vulnerable. The typical western countries attempted to drag out what Angela Merkel said was inevitable (i.e., that almost everyone would eventually get COVID-19) via lockdowns, school closures, mask orders, etc. Although Sweden had the smallest percentage of “excess deaths” over the multiple years of coronapanic, the differences in COVID-tagged death rate weren’t huge (even here Sweden had a lower rate than many of the countries that chose lockdowns and compared to U.S. states that shut their schools and businesses (except for alcohol and marijuana!)).

For the nations and states that chose what seemed to be a more cautious and humane approach, the population’s misery extended for years. Public schools closed for 18 months in some big Democrat-run cities, for example. Increased alcoholism, drug abuse, withdrawal from the workforce (not “unemployment” since the Army of the Lockdowns was no longer seeking work), etc. The increased deaths from these factors, plus deferred health care and loss of education, will continue for decades.

I wonder if we can apply the same analysis to Israel’s counterattack in Gaza. The conventional military strategy for Israel would have been to begin bombing and shelling Gaza on October 8, 2023, giving priority to the targets of maximum military value but not worrying about collateral damage, and to have continued until either the Gazans succeeded in their goals of liberating Al-Quds and destroying the Zionist entity or chose to surrender unconditionally. There would be no phone calls in advance of bombing or shelling and both buildings and humans would be destroyed. The battles might have lasted a few weeks before one side decided that the price paid was too high and surrendered to the other. While it is clear that this standard strategy would have resulted in a higher number of deaths among Gazans in the first few weeks, it is unclear that this approach would have resulted in more deaths overall. If Gazans saw that an intolerable (to them) price was being paid, they might have surrendered after just a few days.

Whatever has happened in Gaza thus far, it hasn’t been bad enough to convince a significant number of Gazans that (a) the October 7 attack was a mistake, or (b) the goal of destroying Israel should be abandoned. A November poll showed strong support for the Islamic Resistance Movement (“Hamas”) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad as well as for the October 7 attacks. The idea of a two-state “solution” was rejected. More recent polls show similar resolve among Gazans. For example, this Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research poll from March 2024 found that support for the October 7 attacks is actually increasing among Gazans, the majority of whom believe that Hamas will rule Gaza indefinitely. The poll also found that Gazans don’t want to go to Egypt because they think they’re more likely to be shot and killed by the Egyptian army and police than by the IDF (i.e., they don’t believe that Egyptians subscribe to the “no human is illegal” axiom).

While progressives accuse Israel of “genocide”, the population of Gaza is likely larger today than it was on October 6 due to births at a rate of 66,000 per year:

Even if we limit to the period since October 7, Gazans have better access to health care than do working class Americans: 3.3 million health consultations for 2.3 million people in less than 6 months, just from the US-/EU-funded UNRWA (maybe some additional from private doctors).

So whatever the sacrifices that Gazans have made since October 7, they haven’t been severe enough to motivate the society to consider a change of objectives nor to think about surrendering. The result of this is that the active battles continue and the war that the Arabs started in 1948 will continue (Egypt and Jordan signed peace treaties so they’re no longer involved in this war). So long as there are active battles, the lives of Gazans are significantly disrupted in terms of where people can live, whether children are in school, etc. Given that Palestinians will never have to work (US and EU taxpayers supply all of the essentials via UNRWA) this is of less practical relevance than it would be in almost any other society, but there is still a price to be paid for engaging in active battles. A non-working Palestinian with 10 children was likely better off on October 6 than today. The quality of the free food, health care, and education delivered by UNRWA was better on October 6 than today, for example.

What about the purported “famine”? The typical society that is starving will abandon its goals of military conquest in favor of food. If the Gazans are, in fact, starving, why don’t they want to surrender and give up on liberating Al-Quds? All of the videos and photos that I have seen on X decrying the “famine” show crowds of normal-weight humans. Pro-Hamas videographers have managed to find some unhealthy-looking children to feature, but they are always surrounded by healthy well-fed adults. Either the kids are suffering from a disease rather than malnutrition or we are forced to infer that Palestinian adults are feasting while letting their children starve. That’s the hardly the admirable behavior we’d expect from progressive role models and, from a liberal Democrat’s point of view, the builders of an ideal society.

Here’s an example from a UN official who highlights the purported starvation, asks for what Hamas wants (a ceasefire during which its soldiers can be resupplied), and doesn’t mention the hostages taken by Palestinians on October 7:

The video shows one youth who is indeed in an unfortunate condition, but everyone else in the video seems healthy and well-fed, even plump in some cases (tough to tell since the crowd scenes aren’t that clear and the women are covered in accordance with Islam).

Considering all of the above, I wonder if Israel’s attempts to be kind to Palestinians who support Hamas but who were not actively carrying guns for Hamas have actually turned out to be cruel. A lower body count sounds like a humane goal, but dragging out the active fighting inevitably means a delay in when rebuilding can begin and normal societal activities can resume.

Related:

  • (I wrote this post on March 23, so was not influenced by this March 25, 2024 interview with Donald Trump) “You have to finish up your war. To finish it up. You gotta get it done. And, I am sure you will do that. And we gotta get to peace, we can’t have this going on. And I will say, Israel has to be very careful, because you’re losing a lot of the world, you’re losing a lot of support, you have to finish up, you have to get the job done. And you have to get on to peace, to get on to a normal life for Israel, and for everybody else.”
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