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To my father---as tough as an authoritarian as he was, he planted the seeds for this work. Did he know what he was doing?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Stop the Israeli/Palestinian madness

If there ever was a time when you thought you were at the party too long---now’s the time.  Israel has pushed their luck far enough that they could truly jeopardize a lasting peaceful existence.  And to stave off that threat, the US will be compromised even more if they permit Israel to dictate and stall.  What’s notable are the actions their fanatical right might portend what can happen in our country when we permit extreme right zealots to control the agenda. As if they haven’t already; but that’s another topic.

Unfortunately, based on the Arab awakening and Hamas’ deal with Fatah, Israel might believe they have a weakened position and be more reluctant to now settle since it appears they may believe it shows as a sign of weakness.  It will be tricky for them to extricate themselves from this line of thinking---but they must before it’s too late.  They may have to eat some crow, but that choice now might be worth the aggravation and unknown danger in the long run.  Otherwise, why, when these events are taking place and inevitable pressure from pending Palestinian statehood, would Netanyahu seek a speech before our congress; a little support perhaps?  Maybe it’s time some clearer facts came to light in the context of the situation rather than one sided propaganda appealing to the blindly faithful supporters.  But since this conflict has consumed more time than the world seems to have patience with, it appears that Israelis are losing their propaganda momentum and those who didn’t care before are now taking notice---and expressing their opinions that there are other matters of more concern than to tolerate Israeli colonialist supremacy.  Particularly, when ideologically controlled sound bites have dictated our persuasion, more second tier information is coming to light; it creates a different picture.

Sentiment is turning on their treatment of the Palestinians whereas many moons ago their spin on Arab terrorism worked to gain the world’s support and empathy.  But Israel has gone too far in their rationalization of the terrorist threat.  Yes, some want Israel out of existence; just the way I wished my H.S. math teacher the same fate.  So waiting until 100% accept Israel may never happen.  And waiting to pursue a peaceful existence with the majority, pending that approval, is paranoia and fruitless. But it is also dangerous for their ultimate security and our integrity.  

This is a real spaghetti bowl mess on the floor which has only been complicated over time by the number of players and world circumstances.  But it can be sorted out, boiled down, and concluded in an amicable way if cooler heads prevail.  There has to be give and take.  The fanatics cannot settle this; the rest of the world’s enablers may have to assert some tough love and put the kids in the corner.  Israel has some tough choices to make, some created by their own actions and attitude.

It’s really a remarkable situation because I don’t think there is any other like it.  It’s not just two factions of people and one is believed to be terrorizing the other.  This story goes back 2500 years, involves more than just two factions, and involves the culpability of a world’s influence and involvement.  It’s considerably different because it’s not just two sides arguing over disputed land boundaries.  It involves religious beliefs and politics across the world.  And what has compounded the issues is that much of the conflict is all about stories; nothing different than the stories told by the Incas and their gods, or the Vikings and their gods, or thousands of other gods that have come and gone.  Much of the history involves stories, which after scientific discoveries, have proven to be different than reported.  Much as many stories are, just that, stories, but in this case, the problem has been confounded because the world abetted the perfect storm based on those fantasies.

In order to arrive at a reasonable settlement considering present day circumstances, it’s necessary to understand a little background.  This is not a disagreement to be solved by deities or dogma.  It’s about land and people.  It’s about Human rights.  So here’s my take and I may oversimplify, but there’s plenty of published material to get the details.  So let’s truly go back to the beginning---but not biblically. 

Modern man started migrating from Africa some 50,000+- years ago thru, what’s known, in this area, as the Fertile Crescent.  This is what is currently known as the Mideast and encompasses the lands from Egypt to Iran, Turkey to the Sinai. Migrating tribes congregated in this region because of its fertile adaptability to civilizations and therefore it is in this area that initial civilizations sprang forth.  Early man did not have the benefits or today’s knowledge of science; therefore, there were many stories, whether about cultures or gods, that bound tribes into communities.

There are archeological findings indicating there were many, many, and even more than many, bands of people, clans, tribes, gods, cultures, civilizations over these thousands of years.  Gods and civilizations came and went.  

Fast forward to about 2600+- years ago.  According to scientific findings and conclusions (see The Bible Unearthed, Finkelstein/Silberman), it was at this time that the Hebrew Bible was written.  This compilation of Hebrew laws and stories are believed to have been written during the time of King Josiah as motivation for the community of Israelites to have a common goal of a monotheistic religion and a specific culture. Up to that time, most religions were based on multiple gods and idols.  This was among the first monotheistic based religions.  

According to these recent scientific conclusions, the Israelites were actually Canaanites who had been occupiers of the area for hundreds of years but morphed into Israelites under the impetus of King Josiah.  Archeological findings do not support a mass exodus from Egypt, or violent conquest of Canaan, amongst other contradictions as portrayed in the Bible.  But, nevertheless, this set of beliefs not only endured, but was the foundation for the other two Abrahamic religions, Christianity and Islam.   

During the next 600 years, the Israelites were conquered by others, suppressed, rebuilt and reconquered again until Roman occupation and the ultimate expulsion and loss of any significant connection to Jerusalem.  Although there might have been pockets of Jewish tribes in the region, specifically Persia, the followers of this religion were forced to disperse throughout Europe. 

Those who remained were Romans, Pagans and Christians until 600+AD when Muslims conquered Jerusalem and essentially occupied the area until WW I.  Oddly enough, at the time, Jews were permitted to return to the city to worship.

So, in the timeline scheme of things, for a period of time they inhabited the area, but they didn’t have control except for a brief time.   Hmmmm. The Romans occupied parts of the British Isles, the Greeks had their empire; Persians theirs.  How many others?  Should the Greeks want Sicily back because their temples are still there?  Maybe the Mexicans want the Alamo back; the native Indians want the United States?  Why not?  And, today, Israel’s “holy claim” of entitlement, comes from a story intended to rally the troops?  If there wasn’t, as Michael B, Oren states, with just the title of his book, Power, Faith and Fantasy, this situation wouldn’t have happened.

So what happened next?  Although there was continued persecution of Jews throughout Europe, and because of the Jewish persecution at the end of the 19th century continuing into the 20th, the rise of the Zionist movement and it’s political power, the rest of Europe not knowing how to deal with the “Jewish problem”---remember, they were classified as a different race along with the “Negros”, they then hit the jackpot and the mother lode of ultimate public relations sympathy.  They ran into Hitler.  The perfect storm was on the horizon.

After increasing their presence in Palestine after the turn of the 20th century which was spurred on with the advent of the Zionist movement, the major increase in population in the region was a result of increasing anti-Semitism in Europe and the eventual dislocation resulting from the Holocaust.  Although gradual immigration of Jewish people was being tolerated in lands presently occupied by Arabs, the mass migration in the first half of the 20th century and declaration of statehood overwhelmed the stability in the area.

To make room for European Jews who displaced the aboriginal population something had to give.  The Arabs were disbursed as occupiers of the “holy land”.  This was enabled because of the tacit acceptance of the Balfour Agreement by Wilson, a Presbyterian of deep religious faith, at the end of WW I.  As they increased their immigration to Palestine leading up to the atrocities of WW II they finally swamped the area by the end of the war because they were displaced by the Nazi confiscation of their property and they were essentially homeless.  They were compelled to seek friendly refuge and a new life in their long sought homeland; but at the displacement of the Palestinian Arab population.  All this enabled ultimately by Truman, a Southern Baptist, who bought into the Zionist story and the faction’s political influence, ultimately recognizing Israeli statehood in spite of counsel to the contrary, had no qualms about the displacement of the local people or the reaction by the oil producing sheiks.  The world might have felt guilty because of Hitler’s genocide, but the Arabs, too, paid a price.  Because of the monarchies and the compromised Arabs by the end of the war, and the exhaustion of the British Mandate, Arabs had little choice; and they were not happy.

There are tensions on both sides.  Arabs live and protest the invasion and confiscation of their lands; the Jews live with the memory of the holocaust and their, deity given, “chosen” entitlement to their “homeland”.  The bottom line, though, aside from the cultural “fantasy”, we’re also talking about millions of aboriginal people made up of the same flesh as the new Israelis who share the same human rights and universals.

The question is always framed as Israel’s right to occupy lands they inhabited 2000 years ago which they claim was established by a deity.  But the tension today has come from the method and consequences of their establishment of their state some 60 years ago.  Had their numbers been more modest and no statehood was declared, it’s doubtful we would be in this situation.  But further compounding the issue; America’s increasing dependence on oil, protection of those interests, Israel’s political influence, and protection of that interest, sets the stage for conflicting policies on our part.  We’re not done yet.  Now the Arab, Muslim giant, with millions having had their human rights suppressed, awakes.  Another perfect storm, or is it time to diffuse the situation lest we continue into unchartered waters? 

This is the time for all factions to show true colors whether they are serious about peace and existing together or endless hostility.  True, the Arab community feels slighted by the world community in allowing Zionists to take Palestinian lands; but poop happens.  There are multiple culprits to this happening and the genie is not going to be put back in the bottle.  By the same token, the world’s community has seen past the Zionist agenda and spin, and recognizes the Human rights violations and those of the Geneva Convention among which, includes, the settlements beyond the 1967 borders.  It’s time to make a deal.  Israel has pushed its luck far enough in its land grab based on 2000 year old “entitlement” propaganda.  The U.S. only hopes the Native American community doesn’t get the scent of what the Israelis have been able to pull off.  But it’s all spilt milk.  If Netanyahu doesn’t make a deal now he will lose the dwindling support of a significant portion of world tolerance for this madness.  And Netanyahu’s insistence that Hamas declare Israel’s right to exist is nothing more than smokescreen and excuse.  Hamas can believe they don’t have a right to statehood---Is Israel going to continue human rights violations because someone doesn’t want to recognize them?  Just because someone doesn’t like someone doesn’t mean they have to act on it.  If Hamas like Fatah had something to lose they’d have less of a reason and more at risk---they’d certainly think twice about jeopardizing their gains.  Why do you think one reason Palestine wants peace---they have much to gain and now more to lose.

It’s time for Israelis to recognize that Palestinians share the same human universals.  It’s also chutzpah for the main powers in the UN to deny Palestinian statehood.  If they’ve earned it, there’s no law against being bitter at a neighbor.  They can simply say Israel has a right to statehood and what would they get in return?  They can always lob a bomb the next day.  At least they’re honest in their feelings of having been pushed out of their lands.  After making peace, acts of aggression become a matter of the UN, not left up to Israel’s current apartheid tactics.

There have been grievances on both sides based on misconceptions of supremacy, but it’s time for Israelis to recognize that the time is ripe for settlement lest they become the insolent one.  Making peace will force Hamas’s hand to let it go.  Continued hostility toward Israel will isolate Hamas and threaten Fatah’s hard earned gains.  Hamas will end up back to square one along with Fatah should they fail to control their fanatics as will Israel suffer the same task.  So it’s up to Fatah to control Hamas.  Paranoid spin on Israel’s part is all that.  They have to comply with what’s right, not spin their victim persona.  Not ultimately push Palestinians into a corner or out of the region completely; which I believe has always been their design.  What they have achieved, already, has been remarkable considering they were enabled by a “perfect storm” of world events over the past 100 years.  But based on a changing Arab world, they should take their chips and call it a day.

What they are all ignorant to is the fact that they are all closer to blood relatives than they think, as we all are.  What they argue about are manmade constructs.  But they nevertheless share the same human rights goals as the rest of humanity.

The U.S. should vote for Palestinian statehood. They’ve earned it.  Israel should learn to live with it.  Make it work FOR them.  We shouldn’t compromise our integrity.  Israel shouldn’t expect it from us.  Although we abetted the situation, it’s ultimately Israel’s chess game.  But the U.S. should eliminate their categorical support which emboldens Israel’s chutzpah.  Then maybe they’ll change their tune and help clean up the overturned spaghetti bowl.  Otherwise we shouldn’t be party to their intransigence; it’s a dilemma we suffer.   Israel, if a true friend of the US’s, should realize we’ve gone more than extra miles to show our support.  If we’ve gone this far, we would certainly, once again, come to their aid if there were further aggression by Arabs towards Israel.  But to ask for guarantees is unrealistic.  The majority of Palestinians, as well as Israelis who are, I’m sure, sharing the same human universals, want peace.  It’s up to Israel to show some resolve to do the right thing. Take the last step towards recognition, mutual respect, and peace.

No Flies !            

4 comments:

  1. Well said, well said. It is amazing how ill-informed the American public are on the historical background of the conflict. But unfortunately the US played and is still playing the role of the sole-supporter of Israel on many of their actions violating the rights of the Palestinians. How can a people with close to zero knowledge of their people's affairs play a fair cop? On many corners of the world, American foreign policies are viewed as unfairly favouring one side over the other. That is why there is so much anti-Americanism in the world, which a lot of Americans can't understand.

    Wake up, Americans. Your government's action in the world has material impact of other country/people's fate. So try to do a little reading and research so you can help your government make the right decisions.


    For the Israelis, what happened to the Jews in Europe should not happen again. But at the same time, don't put other people through suffering the way your people went through. The long-term wellfare of the Isreal depends more on whether you can get along with your neighours more than how many nukes you have.

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  2. Nice post. I am sick of newspapers all doing their best to guide opinion away from such evident conclusions.

    As an American citizen, beyond the UN vote thingy, I think that cutting our economic and military aid, as well as removing the special tax-break earned by all Americans making contributions to Israel, is exactly what Congress should be presenting as immediate changes to not only bring the deficit down, but also make ourselves and our beleaguered troops significantly safer.

    Seeing how much of the establishment is trying to downplay all these developments, I think it is high time for people to PROTEST. Is anyone out there willing to protest against Congress feeling rapture at Bibi's coming? Please let me know, as I'll definitively show up if I can. (NYC)

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  3. Well, your history is OK, with the possible exception of Judaism being among the first monotheistic religions. But what I'm not seeing is a sense of the secular dynamic that's ongoing and necessary in this global society, which is on the verge of abandoning the concept of "treatment sovereignty", the idea that human rights supersede national rights, as USA Federal laws supersede states' rights. I hope we don't have an analogue to the Civil War about it.

    When you work in the woods as a logger, you learn quickly that you have to remove a cedar splinter immediately, because the resin in the cedar sets off a violent reaction with your body. Israel is that splinter in the Mideast, willy nilly.

    Another element you don't seem to care about is the clash between theocracy and democracy/republics. There IS a difference.

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