Israel Palestine disscusions discussion


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message 1: by Siareen (new)

Siareen | 6 comments Mod
Feel free to state and discuss your opinions here.

message 2: by Siareen (new)

Siareen | 6 comments Mod
I typed up my opinion for another group, and I figured I might as well share it here...

My biggest problem with this conflict is that it is just that: a conflict. There isn't a right side and a wrong side. Both sides have valid claims, and that's what makes everything so complicated.
The biggest problem of them all is that both parties want exactly the same thing: They both want the same piece of land to be theirs. So unless both are willing to compromise completely, it will be very hard to find a solution. Both have to give up most the land they want. Both don't really want to, for numerous reasons.

The Palestinians lived there all their lives. Even if Palestine was never a country, only a piece of land, and it was always under foreign rule, Palestinians today believe that they did have a country, and that they are one people. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what the historical truth is. They believe they had a country which was stolen from them, they want to get back to it, telling them over and over again 'you never had a country' isn't going to change anything. It would be easier for everyone if we all just accepted that this is what they believe, and take that into account as though it was fact. At least then, everyone will be starting from the same base facts.

But on the other hand, if belief plays an important factor for one groups' claim, it is only fair if that is true of the other group. The Jews believe that Israel was their land from the time of the bible. They have a special connection to the land, both religious and cultural. This is the land that they prayed to get to over the 2000 years of Diaspora. This is the land that symbolizes their salvation. This is the common factor, the glue that connects Jews from all walks of life- from Ultra-Orthodox to Orthodox to Conservatives and people who believe in the Jewish nation rather than the Jewish religion. Just like the Palestinians believe they are a ethnic group, even though historically they may not be, the Jews believe so too, even though they may more officially be a religion.
In my opinion, both groups should have the right to define themselves as they wish, and for these definitions to be respected.

One of the definitions of a nation is a country to call their own. For both nations, Palestine/Israel is the only real option- one because of a recent historical connection to the land and the other because of a cultural connection [and an ancient historical one]. The biggest problem- the piece of land they are fighting over is tiny, barely bigger than New Jersey. If it was bigger, it would be much easier to divide up. But it isn't.

I find it hard to define "Who deserves the land more" just by claim, because both claims are valid. So I try and look at deeds.

The Palestinians lived on the land and worked it. They lived a simple life and tried to get what they could off the land. When the first Zionists [I'm hoping you don't think that term is a curse as a lot of people seem to these days] came to Palestine, they *bought* land from the Arabs living there. They mostly got poor land- swamps and bad farmland- because that was the only thing the Arabs would sell them. But they worked wonders with it. People who had been rich intellects in countries such as Poland and Russia threw everything away in order to bring the dream of their ancestors to life. They lived on communal farms with no property of their own [everything belonged to everyone], and worked day and night, drying swamps, cutting back weeds, trying to make a living off the land. Some managed, but some didn't and went back to the cities. They fought through sickness, hunger, and hard work, and managed.
They bought the land legally and earned it with their own sweat and blood. Then the Arabs felt threatened [rightfully or not], and started attacking Jews. They attacked Jewish transportation and farms. When they Jews decided to protect themselves, two main groups were established. The bigger one focused on defense, and tried its best not to kill. The smaller one, which had less backing from the Jewish community, was more extreme, but they were mostly kept in check by the bigger group. So the Jews weren't completely clean in the days before Israel was a country, but the Arabs as a whole were less so.

Then came Israel's recognition by the UN, and the plan to split the land into two. The Palestinians would get most the good farmland [the West Bank, Gaza, and some land further north], and the Jews would get the desert and most of the coast. On one hand you could claim that the Palestinians were fools for not agreeing to it [especially seeing as that land is exactly what they want now], but on the other, in their mind, the whole land belonged to them, so why should the Jews get any?
On the other, the Jews did work for some of the land and do their best to earn the rest legally. So did they really have less right to it?

Whatever the case, the day after Israel declared independence, they were at war. The whole Arab League fought against them, threatening to throw them into the sea. While they might have the right to demand their land back, I find it hard to like people who want to throw everyone else into the sea.
On the other hand you also have Israel, who sent out a hand in peace to the Palestinians, the Arab world and the Arabs living in Israel's new territory in the Deceleration of Independence.

On this front, I think Israel acted better.

And now we come to modern-day Israel.
Palestinian terrorist groups on one side and the 'evil Israeli conqueror' on the other.

Do the terrorist groups count as freedom fighters? When is that thin line crossed? The moment a group focuses it's attacks on citizens, can they still be forgiven on account of being freedom fighters? Doesn't breaking into a house and killing a family, children and babies included, cross the line from idealists to terrorists? What about blowing yourself up in crowded places in order to kill as many innocent bystanders as possible? Is that what other revolutions had to do? Does any rebellion have a right to do that, no matter what the cause?

Israel isn't completely innocent either, but at least they do try their best. Yes, they have made mistakes. But the world seems to be judging them on the correct choices they made. Say you had a town full of people from the same ethnicity inside a different country. What if out of those people, say even 5% were sneaking out and attacking the country on a daily basis. You had no way knowing who would be an attacker and who was an innocent person who wouldn't hurt a fly. Wouldn't it make sense for the country to regulate the people who came out of the town and into the country? The innocent people would be deeply inconvenienced, but the amount of people killed by the attacks of the extremists would go down by a lot. A country is obliged to protect it's people. In Israel's case, after an Interfada where extreme Palestinians were blowing themselves up with the aim of killing as many Israelis as possible, the only way to cut down these attacks would be to cut the Palestinians off and regulate their entrance into certain areas. It's from these actions that Israel earned the title 'Apartheid State'. At least its people were mostly safe.

What about situations when terrorists in the Gaza strip place missiles from INSIDE their own schools, mosques and hospitals? These missiles are sent into the hearts of Israeli cities. Israel had to do what needed to be done. They had to stop the missiles being sent. If Hamas [the missile senders] cared about their own people, they would send rockets from empty areas. But they don't, because if they place them in areas full of Palestinians, it's a win-win situation: either their rockets kill Israelis or the Israelis protect their people by dropping exact bombs on the missile launchers- and end up killing all the people surrounding them, and then the world sees Israel as mass murderers. Did Israel really have another choice?

The most ironic thing about Gaza is that it was Israeli territory after they conquered it in 1967- another war they didn't start, but earned a lot in self defense. Till 2004, it was Israel's. It was given back as a peace offering. Did they have to give it back because they had conquered it in '67? When was the last time any country gave back land they took in war? If it was a lawful duty or an act of peace, Israel gave the land back. Their thanks was missiles sent into Israeli cities- ones from the '48 borders and the UN agreement, not the '67 conquered land.

Basically, in my opinion, both Nations have a valid claim to the land. But Israel is acting much better morally than the Palestinians, and this means something too. I don't know if there is a solution both parties will be happy with. We shall have to see where that goes. The matter is more complicated than it might seem. Both sides have their better and worse moments. It is unclear who exactly is the victim at different times, which only makes it more complicated.

message 3: by Timothy (last edited Mar 19, 2013 02:21PM) (new)

Timothy (timothyniedermann) | 8 comments I don't think it is accurate to say that Israel is acting more morally at the moment, if it ever has. The settler movement alone is proof of that. The issue is horrendously complicated, but I think that one single fact is at the heart of things: religious extremism. This is at the root of both Jewish and Arab terrorism and the demonization of the other side that both camps like to indulge in. I feel that if in 1948, Israel had not been so intent on having as pure an ethnically Jewish state s possible and had made room for the Palestinians (and many Jews were in favor of this) as equal citizens, then things would be very different today. The drive for ethnic purity causes nothing but trouble no matter where it arises and it is a sham, masking nothing but a combination of political greed and racial hatred. Look at Bosnia, Kosovo and the Balkans. Look at Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Then look at the settler movement and its supporters. Nothing but racists, all of them, using religion as an excuse for bigotry, territorial seizure, and simple hate. There is no moral superiority here.

message 4: by Noor (new)

Noor Talpur (peace4alltheworld) Hello, I am interested in discussing issue but siareen before you debate do take your time and read Ilan Pappe`s new book idea of state of Israel.He masterfully tells us how the popular version of history has changed in Israel- from blaming the victim to rationalizing the outcomes. I think it will also help you timothy and try getting hold of uri avnery`s book a 1948:soldier tale.

message 5: by Timothy (new)

Timothy (timothyniedermann) | 8 comments I've posted a rather long piece on my Goodreads Blog re: the One-State Solution.I'm looking for reactions. Please feel free to comment.

message 6: by Siareen (new)

Siareen | 6 comments Mod
I read your blog post and I'm curious about one thing: have you ever actually been to Israel?

message 7: by Timothy (new)

Timothy (timothyniedermann) | 8 comments Siareen wrote: "I read your blog post and I'm curious about one thing: have you ever actually been to Israel?"

In fact no. I haven't had the money. I have however done a good deal of research on the area for books I have written and am writing, so call me an informed outsider. I have also spoken to many people from the area. Several have been students of mine. My impression is that I would be more negative in my assessments for the future if I saw first hand the situation in Gaza and the West Bank. But no future is possible without at least a little optimism. The dialogue in that part of the world has for too long been dominated by the screaming of little tribes who can't see beyond their petty hatreds. But that can change.

message 8: by Siareen (last edited Jul 24, 2014 05:15AM) (new)

Siareen | 6 comments Mod
You do seemed informed- about one specific side. You said in your blog post that if there was a one state solution then Israel might become an "example for the region—a democracy where freedom exists and everyone has the same rights."
Israel already is a democracy. Any and every Israeli Arab, no matter his religion, can vote. There are Arab political parties in the Israeli government, so the minorities are represented. You can find Arab Israelis inside Israeli universities, law firms, hospitals and just about anywhere else. You can even find Palestinians being treated in Israeli hospitals.

It's funny how the world doesn't seem to realize that Israel *does* want peace. Wants it badly even. What other reason would Israel have for giving Gaza back to the Palestinians in 2004? And where exactly did that lead to? Before 2004, the Jewish settlements in Gaza were responsible for 40% of the produce exported out of Israel. The settlers left everything there when they were forcefully evicted from their homes. All the Palestinians had to do in order to keep Gaza into a flourishing and thriving state was to maintain the hothouses and the farmlands that had been left there. Instead they destroyed it and turned their focus towards Israel's destruction. If they had proven they could be trusted with land of their own and wouldn't have posed even more of a security hazard to Israel, the rest of the West Bank would have soon followed.

If Hamas didn't constantly try to import missiles through shipments in Gaza, Israel wouldn't have banned these shipments from arriving. As it is, Israel is still sending aid to Gaza (after making sure there are no more surprises hidden in the trucks). If you question this, all you need to do is open the news and see how many missiles Hamas in sending down on Israeli cities and civilians.

You think Palestinians should be allowed to return to their homes or at least receive monetary compensation, right? What about all the Jews that were kicked out of Arab nations- Morocco, Egypt, Yemen, and many others. Millions of dollars worth of belongings were taken from them. They would have been refugees as well if they hadn't found a new home in Israel. Who's going to compensate them? No one. The only refugees who's grandchildren and great grandchildren are still defined as refugees are Palestinians.

As for the question of the Jewish nation, yes such a thing does exist, and it doesn't mean only Jewish demographics. It means that Jewish holidays are the national holidays. Jews can legally get married under Jewish law (and Muslims under Muslim law, etc.). It means the symbols of the country are the Jewish national symbols (if it isn't clear, Judaism is both a religion and a secular nationality.) It means that Jews all over the world have a place to go if antisemitism rises again (as it currently is in France and other European countries). Jews are only asking for one county, one tiny strip of land to call their own. Minorities will continue to be treated as citizens in every aspect in a Jewish country. "Jewish State" HAS been defined- the home of the Jewish people.

If it was up to Israel, there wouldn't be a war. But yes, if terrorists strike, they will retaliate. Any normal country would. If suicide bombers didn't come from the West Bank into Israel, there would be no wall of separation. But the currant situation is that Israel sends concrete into Gaza and Hamas use it to build tunnels into Israel in order to commit terrorist attacks.

If you went to Gaza, you would see how Hamas accidentally shot down the power line leading to Gaza with one of their missiles. For days Israel didn't fix it, because it was a dangerous job to do with Hamas sent missiles constantly being shot. Israel fixed it during the first humanitarian ceasefire (which Hamas broke) and electricity was restored. You would see how Israel sends down pamphlets warning Palestinians to leave so as to minimize civilian casualties while targeting missile launchers and terrorist headquarters. You would also see how Hamas forces the people to stay. You would see how Hamas hides shoots missiles out of schools and hospitals and then watches as the world points a blaming finger at Israel. (The same world that seems not to care quite as much about what is happening in Syria and Iraq). You would see how the IDF puts up a hospital to take care of Palestinans on the border of Gaza.

Its very easy to judge when you focus on one side.

message 9: by Timothy (new)

Timothy (timothyniedermann) | 8 comments You might want to read Ari Shavit's book "My Promised Land."

message 10: by Siareen (new)

Siareen | 6 comments Mod
I know theres another side. I was just pointing out the one less people seem to know

message 11: by Timothy (new)

Timothy (timothyniedermann) | 8 comments Oh, people know Israel's side very well. I was brought up on it. Everyone was all for Israel for decades, reflexively so. But the failure to deal with the Palestinians has gone on too long and shows that some of the basic assumptions and attitudes about Israel have to change. It has exposed the racist side of Zionism (religious Zionism, rather) and moreover the failure to find a solution has placed Israel itself in jeopardy. The increasing polarization within Israel will destroy it faster than any terrorist group.

message 12: by Carmen (new)

Carmen Hartono | 2 comments Hello Everyone,

Will the Truth will set us Free? Can we be happy if we are tied down by racism, sexism, and all the other 'isms' that bind us to believe terrible lies?

I just finished a book titled 'The Jews of Iraq: 3000 years of History and Culture' by Nissim Rejwan, who won a National Jewish Book Award for 'Israel's Place in the Middle East: A Pluralist Perspective.' The first mentioned book is a detailed account of a Jewish history and culture thriving in Baghdad for 3000. After reading their history, the exodus back to the Holy Land in 1951 makes no sense.

The move from Iraq to Palestine was orchestrated by the Zionist Movement, which most Jewish authorities criticized for decades as not being in the best interest for the Arab world including the Jewish Arabs. In fact, many Jews feared that the illegal takeover of Palestine would have a negative impact on Jewish communities all over the world. And yet against all reason, they left everything in Iraq and fled to Palestine.

I always believed that the Jews returning to Palestine was the natural outcome of the Holocaust. Armenian Catholics also suffered a genocide, but they did not react with a takeover of another nation. Likewise, Roman Catholics suffered tremendously in Poland. But their Polish Cardinal became the great pope St. John Paul II. The peaceful solidarity movement in Poland was instrumental in ending Soviet power in Eastern Europe.

Interestingly, the history of the Jews in Iraq is one of world leadership equal to that of the Vatican to Christianity. Is it time to rethink the never ending problem of Israel? From the beginning, Jewish authorities thought the illegal takeover of Palestine was a bad idea. Perhaps it is time to free ourselves with the truth.

The Jews of Iraq felt God had called them back to the homeland of Father Abraham in ancient Babylonia. Perhaps that was the truth. And while the Jews were living in Iraq there was peace and civility toward their Muslim brothers and sisters. Living in a lie has only brought war and misery.

message 13: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (whoshake) | 1 comments Siarteen wrote: "Feel free to state and discuss your opinions here."

An international investigation into the moral conduct of the IDF was conducted. It is focused specifically on the recent war and the conduct of the IDF. The preliminary report has been published. See the attached link.

message 14: by Amos (last edited Dec 01, 2016 05:27AM) (new)

Amos | 1 comments I got a lot of perspective from the book, `The Jews, Nationalism and the Universalist Ideal'.
It seems the Jewish people did have communities in Palestine even before modern Zionism and Jews from around Tiberias were allied with the Persians during the wars of the 7th century against the Byzantine empire right before the conquest of the Muslims.
I have also recently read on Wikipedia that even though the Muslims conquered Palestine in the 7th century, Palestine did not become majority Muslim until the 12th century.
So basically the commonly accepted poles in the Israel-Palestine debate seem to not be true in reality.
Actually much of the Levant retained some measure of the pre-Islamic cultures for much longer than people realize.
In Egypt the traditional Egyptian language, which survives today in the liturgy of the Coptic church, survived until the 16th century and may have survived in isolated pockets until the 19th century.
Travellers to Lebanon in the 19th century reported many villages still speaking Aramaic; in fact there are 3 isolated villages in Syria which still speak Aramaic.
Israel is interesting in that it repulsed the dominating conquerors and brought back the pre-Islamic language and culture.
I would hope the tiny nation would be encouraged and supported. It seems strange that the small Hebrew island of Israel in that vast Arabic swath of the world would be portrayed as conquerors themselves for claiming their independence in their small land.
I live in Canada which is millions of square kilometres compared to Israel's few thousand square kilometres and Canada still retains reservations for people which in many cases are still in third world or worse conditions of devastation.
I would think the world would condemn Canada for its treatment of the natives far more than Israel's conflict with the perceived natives of Israel who are in fact the sons and daughters of the dominant culture and conqueror of the region.

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