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Israel vs. Palestine

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#41 Cardie

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 07:39 AM

In some ways both Israelis and Palestinians got stuck with problems stemming from European colonialism in the region.  Just as the Arab states are beginning to see their own independence looming on the horizon, the British (with the backing of the Americans) finally give in to Zionist pressures to allow a Jewish state where Biblical Israel stood, mostly because of the enormity of the holocaust and the feeling that perhaps Jews could only be safe in a state of their own. The Arabs then spend over  twenty years trying to destroy Israel, which decides to annex extra territory because the original borders were almost impossible to defend. All this time, the foes of Israel are happy to use the displaced Palestinians as a justification for their hostility, and they make sure not to encourage Palestinian immigration to other Arab countries or to let the Palestinians be any more than poor, under-educated "refugees," generation after generation. Eventually many Palestinians are used like attack dogs, and when the nations in the region finally start to resign themselves to Israel's continued existence, they find that they've got a dangerous pack of pit bulls that no one can control.

There have been horrific actions on both sides during this latest conflict. I certainly don't approve of the suicide bombers and those who deploy them for their own interests. Neither do I insist that the Palestinians could have just gone off and founded their own productive little nation. the resources were never there.

I think there might have been peace if Rabin hadn't been assassinated, and it was a Jewish settler who shot him. There are no easy answers in this tragic and apparently intractable conflict.

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#42 MuseZack

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 07:45 AM

I feel for you, Enmar.  

With the extremist rhetoric (and actions to match) all around, it's sometimes difficult to express a nuanced position--  that Israel has a right to exist in peace and security, but that the Palestinians have a right to self-determination as well.  And as someone who supports the moderate Palestinian position, I despair at the fact that Palestinian leadership has often been so inept and bad.  The history of the Middle East might have been different if the Palestinians had been led by a Mandela or a Tambo instead of the likes of Arafat, George Habash, the the Hamas people.

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#43 Enmar

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 07:47 AM

Cardie, on Jun 11 2003, 11:43 PM, said:

The Arabs then spend over  twenty years trying to destroy Israel, which decides to annex extra territory because the original borders were almost impossible to defend.
Cardie, I agree with you, but I'm not sure about that part.

Israel occupied these territories in a war, and yes, the Israeli strategy was always to have the war on enemy ground, we're no Russia ;)

Why did they keep them after the war? Some thought they can be traded for peace, some had dreams of annexation, but that was because of biblical megalomaniac dreams, not security reasons. The security issue was, for me, always an excuse. A territory with so many hostiles can not grant any advantage.
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#44 prolog

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 07:51 AM

Enmar, on Jun 11 2003, 08:41 PM, said:

You might think that being an Israeli I'm exposed to more biased media and that's probably right
Actually, I had no clue that you were Israeli.  I try to look at things pretty rationally, but to paraphrase Chomsky, you can't trust the media in times of war.  :)

#45 Ogami

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 09:23 AM

Prolog wrote:

Hmm. It seems that leaving has two effects: you appear to be party to the Arabs' claims of genocide, but more importantly, you don't get killed in the fighting or in the crossfire. The latter seems pretty important. But the important thing is, you're not a combatant. You're not fighting in the war, even if you agree with it. You're also probably not providing the invading army with any resources, either. So why should yours be taken from you?

They gambled, they gambled and lost. The gamble was that with the Jews wiped out, the Palestinian refugees would have lots more land. Instead, they ended up with none. I don't know if it's poetic or not, but it certainly is justice.

Okay, sure. But what about the property and assets of the non-combatants?

Still there, for the most part. There are arab representatives in the Knesset. There are entire arab villages interspersed throughout Israel. They are not the suicide bombers, they are the non-combatants. The combatants are in the West Bank pledging blood upon blood, last I checked.

Too bad they're often second-class citizens.

Hmm, if you bomb busloads of innocent people every chance you get, you might be distrusted when you cross the checkpoint. Or enter a bus. Or go in a cafe. If the Palestinians wanted to show they are normal people who can be trusted, they might be going around it just the slightly wrong way. ;)

If the Palestinians don't like demeaning security procedures, they could possibly take it up with the suicide bombers and their families. The very people that have led them to this poverty. You can't say Israel is the cause of Palestinian poverty, how about a nationality and country that produces no resources, save nail bombs? There are poorer countries around the world, and they are doing more with what they have.

The refugees are also living without hope, and in abject poverty. Each generation that passes with refugees living in these conditions just breeds more contempt, fear, and hate.

If our Founding Fathers had had that attitude, we would have split up after a few months as thirteen states. It takes work, not nail bombs, to build a future. Not seeing a whole lot of effort by the Palestinians on that front.

-Ogami

Edited by Ogami, 12 June 2003 - 09:26 AM.


#46 Ogami

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 09:24 AM

I just wanted to add my thanks to everyone on this thread, including those I strongly disagree with. You've made it an interesting conversation, and surprisingly enough I think we're covering the views on both sides. Thanks. :)

-Ogami

#47 Cardie

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 10:33 AM

Enmar, on Jun 11 2003, 04:51 PM, said:

Cardie, on Jun 11 2003, 11:43 PM, said:

The Arabs then spend over  twenty years trying to destroy Israel, which decides to annex extra territory because the original borders were almost impossible to defend.
Cardie, I agree with you, but I'm not sure about that part.

Israel occupied these territories in a war, and yes, the Israeli strategy was always to have the war on enemy ground, we're no Russia ;)

I may not be up to date on that issue. After the Six-Day-War, in discussions with my very Zionist father--he was named after Theodor Herzl--this was always his explanation. I remember prior to 1967 that every time we were shown a map of Israel in my religious school classes, the fact that Israel was so narrow at the place where the West Bank was scooped out was always a subject of great consternation by the rabbis.

I attribute my ability to see both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the fact that too many people from our synagogue went to Israel in the 1950s and brought back slides that we kids were forced to view.  ;)

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#48 Belbo

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 11:11 AM

Ogami -

However, I wouldn't dream of asking anyone to do a point-by-point on the Stern Gang's activities - it could take weeks and would be even more boring (and not remotely as funny) as the endless WMD threads. Some indication that "Palestinians who are refugees [today]" might have had even the teensiest reason to leave, rather than merely some supposed desire to get ringside seats for Shoah 2 : The Sequel might have helped your argument, which otherwise looked exactly like a particular tasteless racial slur on people who were fleeing for their lives. If your intended point was that some of them did as you said in advance of the early attempts by Arab neighbours to reclaim the stolen land, then you may well be right. But that does nothing to de-legitimise the grievances of the majority.  :angry:

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Your comments hint that because you believe Israel is not morally justified to be there.

If you'd asked me that in, say, 1950 (had we both been alive then) I might well have taken that POV, but the world has moved on drastically since then. So, for the record ...

If there's a general principle at all to be upheld here (not exactly an easy thing to find in the Holy Land), I think it would be something along the lines of "No reward for aggression within the aggressor's lifetime". So sure, Israel has a right to exist within it's 1967 borders, which would be the fairest solution for all concerned if it could be done peacefully. Begin, Shamir and co are defeated and gone, later generations have nowhere else to go, and it's not as though most of the surrounding countries had bloodless origins either. In fact, another point which tends to be overlooked by most media sources is the complicity of many of the Arab governments of the 40s in the Palestinian problem, since several took advantage of Partition as an opportunity to get rid of their own Jewish minorities, by gently (and often not-so-gently) suggesting that they all piss off in the general direction of Jerusalem. That probably did almost as much to foster Jewish immigration as the efforts of US Zionists, and created a a potent mixture of zealots and biddable victims the remnants of which can still be seen today in the tribal divisions of Israeli politics. But that's another topic entirely.

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I can recall the Oslo negotiations, where the Palestinian representative held up a wanted poster of Shamir by the British Authority from the 30s.
Me too. A marvellous piece of theatre, and probably quite cathartic for a people who'd mostly been stereotyped as sneaky and semi-criminal by the western media.

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You see, I am cognizant of Israel's history, I just don't agree that the actions of some terrorists indict a whole people. Were that the case, then I would believe all Palestinians are like Yassir Arafat. I don't.
Fine (no sarcasm whatsoever). I personally couldn't agree more on the racial blame angle, and we're probably on 80% agreement overall.

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I think I do have a grasp of the history of the region, and an understanding of the players involved.
I dare say you do. Just try and be a little more careful how you deploy it in future, or your threads will continue to generate a lot more heat than light. :p

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But if you think I believe that people who walk into university cafeterias and blow themselves up are the victims, you're out of luck.
I'm at a loss to see why anyone would suspect you (or me) of thinking that, since we both condemned it in no uncertain terms.  :dontgetit: (that "puzzled" smilie sucks, incidentally - what happened to the one with the question marks?).

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Those are cowards, not victims. It's easier to blow up women and children in crowded cafes and malls, harder to fight armed troops who will shoot back. And I do believe homicide (al?) bombers are the obscenity, not my grasp of the situation. :)

Again, no argument on the bombers (well, when targetting civilians within Israel proper, anyway). Using "cowardly" for something which is even more likely to kill you than attacking a army unit strikes me as an abuse of language, however - better to stick with "evil", "wicked", "murderous" or whatever.

As to your grasp of the situation regarding the 1940s refugees, well, the clarification is yours to make.

While we're at it, let's tick off a few more of my opinions to clear the air.
  • Is Yasser Arafat an evil old prick? Yep.

  • Was Saddam Hussein an EVIL product of Marxism and petty thuggery? Indeed so (though he was still an amateur by Central African standards of bloodletting).

  • Are there some interesting possibilities for post-war Iraq? Most assuredly, and I'd certainly like to think the US could make a better job of creating a Muslim democracy than the useless French did in Algeria, Chad etc. The jury will be out on that for a long time, though.
Oh, and the WMD thing - this is pretty much a non-issue unless you happen to be American, IMO, which is why I haven't bothered with the interminable debates in here. Most of the rest of the world drew it's own conclusions when the US refused to allow the inspectors back in to oversee the postwar "search" process; considering the CIA and Pentagon's long-term record of lies, cover-ups, distortions and staged incidents (Gulf of Tonkin, My Lai, Iran-Contra, "Scud Kills" and "Patriot intercepts" in 1990, etc) I'm afraid they're going to have to do a lot better than something resembling bits of a central heating system hastily welded onto the back of a flatbed truck to even get past the laugh test, never mind start to convice potential allies.

Oy, I need to hit the sack! Apologies to anyone else who's piled on to this thread while I've been typing - I'll try and catch up tomorrow.

P.S. Oh, and the Kennedy Smith jibe was pretty tasteless - sorry about that. Did anyone actually remember who he is? :D
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#49 Rhea

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 01:35 PM

MuseZack, on Jun 11 2003, 01:49 PM, said:

I feel for you, Enmar. 

With the extremist rhetoric (and actions to match) all around, it's sometimes difficult to express a nuanced position--  that Israel has a right to exist in peace and security, but that the Palestinians have a right to self-determination as well.  And as someone who supports the moderate Palestinian position, I despair at the fact that Palestinian leadership has often been so inept and bad.  The history of the Middle East might have been different if the Palestinians had been led by a Mandela or a Tambo instead of the likes of Arafat, George Habash, the the Hamas people.

Zack
There you go. What Zack said. Wow, that was easy!  :cool:
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#50 Ogami

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 01:57 AM

Belbo wrote:

However, I wouldn't dream of asking anyone to do a point-by-point on the Stern Gang's activities - it could take weeks and would be even more boring (and not remotely as funny) as the endless WMD threads. Some indication that "Palestinians who are refugees [today]" might have had even the teensiest reason to leave, rather than merely some supposed desire to get ringside seats for Shoah 2 : The Sequel might have helped your argument, which otherwise looked exactly like a particular tasteless racial slur on people who were fleeing for their lives. If your intended point was that some of them did as you said in advance of the early attempts by Arab neighbours to reclaim the stolen land, then you may well be right. But that does nothing to de-legitimise the grievances of the majority.

If I understand you right, it is because the early Israelis were terrorists against the British authorities, so too the Palestinians are justified with whomever they blow up.

If there's a general principle at all to be upheld here (not exactly an easy thing to find in the Holy Land), I think it would be something along the lines of "No reward for aggression within the aggressor's lifetime". So sure, Israel has a right to exist within it's 1967 borders, which would be the fairest solution for all concerned if it could be done peacefully.

Sounds good to me. But you forget that every bit of land in the disputed areas, such as the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and the Gaza Strip, were won in open military combat. The Palestinians have had repeated chances to form their own government and control their own territories. They've failed, or rather they seem to prefer suicide bombings and truck bombs. Real constructive. The Israelis in the 30s were intent on driving the British away. The Palestinians of the new millenium know they won't be driving the Israelis anywhere, so it seems to be just out of spite.

Fine (no sarcasm whatsoever). I personally couldn't agree more on the racial blame angle, and we're probably on 80% agreement overall.

Okay.

I dare say you do. Just try and be a little more careful how you deploy it in future, or your threads will continue to generate a lot more heat than light.

That's a contradiction. The only way a thread on Israel wouldn't generate heat would be if I started off by saying it's all the Zionist's fault, and the Palestinians are freedom fighters. That is the politically correct view through much of the world, I happily take the minority view knowing it usually isn't the most popular.

Again, no argument on the bombers (well, when targetting civilians within Israel proper, anyway). Using "cowardly" for something which is even more likely to kill you than attacking a army unit strikes me as an abuse of language, however - better to stick with "evil", "wicked", "murderous" or whatever.

Homicide bombings don't speak of poverty, or desperation. They speak of sick religious instruction, and even a sick Palestinian educational system. By every standard the "Intifadah" has been a disaster for the Palestinians, their Intifadah has driven them deeply into poverty, not the other way around.

Is Yasser Arafat an evil old prick? Yep.
Was Saddam Hussein an EVIL product of Marxism and petty thuggery? Indeed so (though he was still an amateur by Central African standards of bloodletting).
Are there some interesting possibilities for post-war Iraq? Most assuredly, and I'd certainly like to think the US could make a better job of creating a Muslim democracy than the useless French did in Algeria, Chad etc. The jury will be out on that for a long time, though.


Hey, we're agreed on all three.

Oh, and the Kennedy Smith jibe was pretty tasteless - sorry about that. Did anyone actually remember who he is?

I didn't then, but I do now.  Some in our country view the Kennedys as some sort of royalty who (like the Clintons) are above the law. I don't subscribe to that.

-Ogami

#51 Enmar

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 08:25 AM

Quote

Ogami:Okay, sure. But what about the property and assets of the non-combatants?

Still there, for the most part. There are arab representatives in the Knesset. There are entire arab villages interspersed throughout Israel. They are not the suicide bombers, they are the non-combatants. The combatants are in the West Bank pledging blood upon blood, last I checked.

Too bad they're often second-class citizens.

Hmm, if you bomb busloads of innocent people every chance you get, you might be distrusted when you cross the checkpoint. Or enter a bus. Or go in a cafe. If the Palestinians wanted to show they are normal people who can be trusted, they might be going around it just the slightly wrong way.

What a mess :wacko:

Arab Israelis are equal citizens, but it is not that simple.

Just like African-Americans, the fact that the law says you're equal is far away from being equal. prolog is right, in many aspects they are second class citizens. There are many to blame for that, not only the Jewish majority. For a long time the Israeli Arabs played their political cards wrong, splitting their strength between too many parties, remaining in opposition instead of demanding a part in the government. This was improving, and so was the delicate relationship between Jewish and Arab citizens, until Oslo started braking apart. Terror brought suspicion and you can't tell what kind of ID the man you're staring at holds in his pocket. It became uncomfortable to speak Arabics in public. The Israeli Arabs understand the fear and the confusion, dozens of them were killed in those attacks, but they are torn. These people, the "enemy" are their brothers. They had hard enough time living with a complex identity of being Israeli and Arabs, starting to regard it as their country, daring to demand it does things for them. Now they have to answer the question of whether or not they are Palestinians. That answer is changing rapidly. Ten years ago they said no, now many of them say yes. What happened? I know a brave Arab woman, a peace and feminist activist (she was the first Arab woman who ran for mayor in Israel [and everywhere ;) ] ). She told me how she was on a bus and someone was afraid she's a suicide bomber. She was willing to show the driver her bag, not because she has to, because she understands their fear. But he mistreated her, tried to force her off the bus, and nobody protected her. Her complain to the police has been dragging around for ages. This is exactly the kind of events that breaks the delicate bridges we built. She's still working for peace, but she calls herself Palestinian now. She's not alone, the pressure , stress and ignorance are slowly pushing people away from each other.

OTOH, sometimes these suspicions are right. Important political figures in the Israeli islamic movement were arrested for collecting money for the Hamas. An Arab student was on a bus, a man told her in Arabics to get off the bus and take her friend with her. She did and didn't tell anyone about it, a while later that guy blew up the bus, 9 people were killed, many injured. There was at least one suicide bomber who was an Israeli Arab. And there are more stories like these.

It's really complicated. :(
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