Monday, 31 May 2010

Israel and Palestine, Mrk 384729837

Hey, it's time to play the Same Game! Again!

Every time there's a thread about Israel and Palestine, the same thing happens. It's such a polarising issue, in a way that no others are. In reality, basically all civil wars (and I know this isn't exactly a civil war, but it's a war between two groups of people who both claim to control the same bit of land) are at least as complicated. They're always steeped in history and the sense of unfairness and a general heap of attacks and counter attacks. It doesn't matter if it's the Basque's in Spain or the IRA in Britain or the Tamils in Sri Lanka or or or. It's the same. Yet Israel and Palestine are so polarised.

And herein lies a big part of the problem. There are so many vested interests, that the whole thing just becomes a PR game. The US, the UK and the west in general have an interest in Israel not falling into the hands of others, for obvious reasons – they are a stable democracy (and for all the cries of genocide and second-class-citizenry, the simple fact is that Arabs in Israel enjoy a greater standard of living and level of human rights than Arabs in basically any Arab country do). But at the same time, it's in the nations in the Middle East's own interest that the issue never be closed. It's a simple exercise in diversionary tactics, and it's literally straight out of 1984 – the populus will swallow a lot more interference from the government if they think they're being protected from a big evil neighbour. So you always have people willing to jump on one side, and criticise the bias and one sidedness of the other.

But the sensible person realises that, if a solution's actually what's desired, rather than just political point scoring, you have to acknowledge that both sides are flawed, and you have to be willing to give away a bit of history. The Palestinians have to acknowledge that, whether it should have been created or not, Israel's here to stay. The Israeli's need to realise that, whether it should be their responsibility or not, they can't keep kicking the issue into the tall grass. The Palestinians need to stop asking for more, the Israeli's need to be willing to give more. The countries around the area need to acknowledge that it's time to stop using Palestine as a football and actually help, and Israel's allies need to acknowledge that their support of Israel damages their standing in the region considerably and that they'd all benefit by putting way more leverage on Israel to actually offer a deal the Pally's can accept.

Israel need to stop carpet bombing cities whenever a rocket hits a farm. Israeli's would argue – understandably – that an eye-for-an-eye is a ridiculous direction to take if your goal is to actually thwart the attacks, rather than simply to give a meaningless gesture. Palestinian's need to stop claiming to be the victims of unprovoked attacks of genocide when they repeatedly smuggle in weapons from the surrounding nations and randomly rain down ordinance on Israeli villages. They would argue – understandably – that they are responding to generations of being downtrodden and restricted, as well as being constantly fearful. But the Israeli's need to realise that every time they kill 10 civilians to kill two Hamas militiamen, they create another 20 attackers who're pissed off because Israel just killed their dad's. And Palestine need to realise that it's they who suffer when they attack Israeli villages, because you can't divorce the result of Israel's actions and their own that caused them in the first place.

Every time a Palestinian supporter calls Israel a “terrorist state”, or an Israeli supporter calls the entire Gaza strip an anti-semitic Jihadist sewer, the cycle continues. At the end of the day, if neither side is willing to concede and “betray” their history by basically offering an olive branch, it's just going to continue. Israel need to forget what's happened, and so the Palestinian's, if they actually want the future to end up better. Anyone who thinks that just continuing on as they are is going to get anywhere is crazy, and anyone who thinks that one “side” is going to win decisively is only marginally less so. “Victory”, here, is going to come when both sides concede ground that their supporters will consider too sacred and holy to give up, but ultimately it'll be their children, and their children after that, who reap the rewards of such concessions, and the Israeli kids who's villages aren't shelled and aren't drafted into an expensive military won't care if they used to be able to build settlements in the West Bank, and the Palestinian kids who can now move freely around the world and go to safe schools and hospitals won't care that their parents used to have sole access to a certain area. That's the only way it's going to work, and anyone who tries to say otherwise, and perpetuate this crap, is only doing harm to the people they profess to be supporting.

1 comment:

  1. Precisely. The palestinian cause, whilst a worthy one, is used by arab nations (who grant zero human rights to palestinian refugees) as part of their "west=evil" campaign. If they really want to discuss who has a right to be there, I believe Judaism precedes Islam by at least 1500 years and there has been a semitic presence in the area for at least that long.

    On the other hand, the majority of the members of the cabinet and shadow cabinet are members of the "Friends of Israel" group. Across the pond, there's pressure from jewish groups for favouring Israel (no where near as big as the arab state's "jewish conspiracy" would have you believe) and in the extreme, christian evangelicals, who's support of Israel is part of their plan to bring about the "end-time".

    For my part, i'd take the liberal democracy in Israel over the sharia dictatorship in palestine anyday. The day a jew can stand for election in Palestine (as Palestinians can in israel) i might change my mind.