Senate Israel/Palestine

Discussion in 'Community' started by Obi-Wan McCartney, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. Obi-Wan McCartney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    The Israeli/Palestinian conflict has been going on as long as anyone on these boards can remember. It seems like a never ending humanitarian catastrophe. It is a subject that is as controversial as abortion, homsexuality, or any other number of issues commonly debated on these boards. Yet, in the United States, it is a subject the American media have largely chosen to ignore.

    There is no serious reporting on the conflict here, there is no serious debate or discussion. It is a huge component of our foreign policy yet it is something most Americans are completely in the dark about. What is particularly frustrating is that because there is no open discussion, information tends to be highly skewed towards one side or another. Israeli lobbying groups make sure that the only thing that is said is the mantra of "Israel has the right to defend itself." On the other side, there are many Anti-Israeli groups that seem to simply use Palestine as a sacrificial lamb to promote anti-Israeli propoganda. Depending on where your sympathies lie, if you are actually interested in the topic you only seem to get information from people with an agenda.

    Why isn't there any real substantive independent journalism exploring all sides of the issue? I believe Israel has the right to exist, and I believe it has a right to defend itself. Yet, in the United States, right or wrong, we at the very least openly criticize and discuss our policies. Our government seems to give a total pass to Israel, and we in this country do not question Israel's actions in any real substantive way. Why isn't the plight of the Palestinian people given more attention? Why isn't there an open dialogue?

    I think this latest round of violence is going to hurt Israel PR, as I think they overreacted. However, I will admit by opinion is based on limited information. I would like to learn more, and I am hoping to learn more about the perspectives of others in this country and especially those in other countries, where I imagine there is more detailed reporting on this conflict.

    My uneducated belief is that Israel should exist, and the U.S. should continue to give strong support to Israel. However, I think the U.S. should do more to stop the suffering of the Palestinian people, because it seems the conditions they are being forced to live are truly deplorable. I don't know what the answer is, I just know there needs to be more dialogue so I am starting here with my Star Wars loving friends.
  2. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Enough talk here in Europe, but no action.

    Just yesterday I saw thousands of people demonstrating against Israel's current campaign.
    Then at night the Prime Minister repeated that they'd prefer it if everyone just dropped their guns but that Israel has a right to defend itself.

  3. Vader666 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 5
    I'm not really following the conflict but I do know a little history. Its a very complicated issue. The problem arises from the biased reports, I'm not quite sure what to believe. I need to do a lot of research before debating the subject. I've read only one book by Bernard Lewis that touches on some aspects of the conflict. There is no doubt that the Arabs are to blame for the lack of peace in the region. I think Muslims in general tend to feel humiliated by the fact that only a couple of million Jews have the upper hand. There is also a history of anti-semitism in Islam. The Quran curses Jews and the hadith literature is littered with anti-semitic remarks. So I guess there will always be hatred.

    In general, the only way to resolve the conflict is when both sides realise that their religions are false but thats very unlikely to happen. Peace talk have consistently collapsed. Any political peace movements for peace in the region are met with rage. These people just can't compromise.
  4. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Who are 'the Arabs' and what is 'the region'?
  5. Vader666 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 5
    I meant to say that the Arabs in direct confrontation with the Israelis. The region of course being Palestine/Israel.
  6. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    I like how you start of by saying it's a complicated issue, and then proceed by blaming it all on 'Arabs' which you then proceed to equate with 'Muslims', even though not all Arabs are Muslim (in fact, the initial resistance against Israel was made up of rather secular groups, which even included communist groups, which are as a rule 'atheist'. Funny story there, Israel sponsored Hamas initially because they would, and did as it turns out, fight the secular movements). Iran, by the way, which I'm sure you're going to refer to at some point, isn't even an 'Arab' country. Even between the 'Arabs' there are quite a few rifts. I'm sure you're also aware that there are also a lot of Berbers if you go into north Africa and then there's Turkey, for example, isn't even 'Arab'.

    I also like how you throw general commetns like 'anti-semitic' out there (lets be cliché and point out that Palestinians are also semitic people) and then go on a ... erm ... rather prejudiced rant there.

    Not to mention that beinga Jew is also not necessarily religious. It might play a slightly too big role in Israeli politics, but the founder of the 'zionist' movement was an a-religious liberal (in the classic sesne of the word) who was not all that fond of 'Judaism'.

    I also wonder why you put the blame squarly on the 'Arabs' when it goes far futher back and the creation of the state of Israel to begin with was rather unsavory. Now I do think that they are an established entity and that they have a right to be there, now. I do however also want to add to that that the only way forward for peace is to come to a two state solution in which the pre-1967 borders are respected, at least, and all the colonies are removed and a viable, autonomous palestinian state exists. Autonomous in the full sense, not one where Israel controls all the entry points and water supplies like the Camp David hoax.

    Hamas should probably dissappear, but sadly enough they're also a humanitarian organisation providing food, shelter, medical care and security in an area that badly needs it. One can see why they are popular.

    As for the current conflict, electoral gain in Israel coupled with the humiliation they suffered in 2006 is probably a big reason, Bush claiming that it's the Palestinians fault sounds rather hollow when he never did lift a finger while Gaza was being blockaded. You can't lock in a 1,5 million strong population on the area the size of a post stamp, destroy the econoomy and hope for peace. This is going to have to come from two sides and the current solution is just going to drive them into the hands of Hamas. Everybody is playing into their cards now. As long as Palestinians have nothing to lose, why wouldn't they continue to lob rockets?

    I can understand Israeli anger, but as long as everybody keeps playing the victim, we're not going to get anywhere, and Israel is the one holding the cards right now, so it'll have to come from their side. Dismantle the colonies and give Palestinians a reason to give up the violence. The current strategy of beating
  7. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    It goes back to the post-WWII era. Britain, which "owned" the land that is now Israel, made promises to the jews (Balfour Declaration) that they could have a strip of land to cause their own. Meanwhile, they allowed Larwence of Arabia to promise the land to a Muslim group in exchange for their support during the war. So both groups thought they had a valid claim on the land, each considers it to be their holy land (and a group of Zionists were urging Jews to return to the area even before the war) and they've been fighting over it ever since.

    Both groups are wrong and both groups are right, and those who try to make peace in the area (Rabin, Sadat) were murdered by their own people while those who use violence or bad rules as a way to get the other side to stop (Begin, Sharon, Arafat) undo all their good work and just cause more violence and hatred.
  8. Vader666 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 5
    First, I am aware that the term "semite" not only refers to Jews, but "anti-semitism" has become exclusively used against Jews. You can read about it in wikipedia if you require further info.

    Second, I am also aware that the Iranians are not Arabs. I meant the Arabs who were in direct confrontation with the Israelis namely the Palestinians. Iranians are not in direct confrontation as far as I know. They support Hamas and Hezbollah but aren't really in the front lines.

    Third, I never equated Arabs with muslims. Read my post again. Maybe I should've started a new paragraph with the next sentence.
  9. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Then I have to firmly disagree with you.

    Killing hundreds of civilians in retaliation for rockets without casualties is excessive violence. Even more so when the rockets were fired by people who live in what some describe as the largest concentration camp in the world. These people are locked up in their province, all borders held by Israel, no way to get from one city to another through the blockades, no import, no export, no official army, no help. If you hold them solely responsible for the conflict, I agree with you that you should do some more research.

    And Brian Eno thinks so, too.
  10. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
  11. Vader666 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 5
    Superwatto, I was referring to the conflict in general terms. The thread is not about the rocket attacks and Israel's retaliation.

    My post stems from the fact that Islam has a long history of anti-semitism. Muslims will never accept dividing their country in half which is why they've caused such an uproar from the very beginning.
  12. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    I'd say we'll see that when we get there, won't we?
    It's never really been tried properly.
    No use jumping to conclusions, especially ones of that magnitude. And it's no use at the negotiation table, either.
  13. Vader666 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 5
    People tend to forget that for the large part Jews, Muslims and Christians had lived together in harmony in Palestine until the advent of Zionism and the double dealing by the Bristish under British Mandate of Palestine. The conflict is not religious, it is political. It is simply a result of the creation of a state in the homeland of a large Palestinian population who were subsequently expelled and rendered refugees. Their only enclave was then effectively taken away in 1967 and they have lived under military occupation ever since.

    I tend to disagree. Since when did Jews, Christians and Muslims ever live in harmony together? There is a long history of conflict between the three. And even before the British imperials took control of the region, muslims killed and oppressed Jews beginning in the 7th century when Muhammed established his religious community in Medina.
  14. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    1. There was a reason I used thet word 'cliché' in there.

    2. Are you stating here that only the 'direct confrontation' has any bearing on the conflict? Also, does being in direct conflict to you just mean 'living there' ? Do try to use a bit of nuance if you're going to discuss an issue which you yourself have termed as 'complex'.

    3. You went from Arabs right into Muslims, without even spacing it. The argument you made there was about 'Muslims'. I know a couple of them, I doubt that they would appreciate you stating such things about them. Religion does not equal people, do remember that.

    Lastly I'd urge you to read more than one book if you want to even try and form an opinion on this subject. Maybe try and read a slightly more diverse media about it. I know it's probably easier for someone like me, being polyglot and all (lol, blowing my own horn) but do try ...

    EDIT:

    Ahh, I see, rabbidly anti-Islam. I can understand that well enough, I personally dislike Islam, but you should remember that there is a difference between somebody being 'Muslim' and 'Islam'. Christians hardly have a better track record, and the Torah is quite well known for being a very discriminatory text.

    As for the 'living together in peace', if you really want a historical example, I think I can point to Spain before the reconquesta, for a brief while. ;)

    Again, you need work on your nuance, I mean, mentiong the creation of Israel without even trying to see why they might have been upset about that ...
  15. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Well, I tend to think this is a pretty dull debate, as it's become pretty blatantly clear that neither side actually gives a rat's ass about not killing the other side for no real reason, or, for that matter, actually succeeding in finding a lasting solution.

    I do think we wouldn't have the current set of issues if Israel wasn't such a blatantly pro-Jewish state. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing; the trouble is, as far as I can tell is that in Israel, if you're not Jewish, you basically don't count.

    Some suggestions:

    -Ditch the Star of David on the flag. Make it something neutral that doesn't declare 'Jews come first'.

    -Get rid of the ridiculous idea that a Palestinian state should comprise two chunks of land that Israel conquered from Egypt and Jordan. Work on actually integrating Palestinians into Israeli society. Cooping them up in the Gaza strip and the West Bank strikes me as being basically the same thing as Indian reservations here, which are wretchedly poor mini-countries for all intents and purposes.

    -Pass a religious-rights amendment similar to the one in the US and most other Western constitutions guaranteeing Jews and Muslims and everyone else get the same basic set of rights under the law.


    Donno if any of this would actually work, but those're my ideas. :p

    Also: If you ask me, Hamas deliberately started firing rockets into Israel to distract Palestinian civilians from how inept they are at actually running a government. It's pretty obvious that Israel reacts with force (I'm not going to say 'excessive', because Israel is a nation-state; when you fire rockets or otherwise threaten any nation's civilians with harm they're not going to respond in a restrained manner) to things like this; fire some rockets, get the Israelis to bomb the hell out of your folks, and hey! Nobody cares that you can't guarantee basic services.

  16. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Boba how can you run a government in a prison without food, water, energy or medication?
    You tell me that and I agree with your whole post, because I agree with the rest.
  17. Vader666 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 5
    Well I am fully aware that 60% of muslims are non-arabs. You're right maybe I should've spaced them out in order to prevent confusion.
  18. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9

    Firing rockets at the people imprisoning you does not tend to have a positive effect no matter what's going on. :p

    If the Palestinians stopped doing silly nonsense like this and adopted a Ghandi or Martin Luther King-esque peaceful resistance movement, the Israelis quite literally wouldn't have a leg to stand on. Their whole basis is that they're reacting to violence with violence, which is basically true, levels of force not generally being counted. If the Palestians would register that violence simply is not going to work in this situation, then maybe we'd actually see some progress.
  19. goraq Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    Does it matter for the israelis and palestines have th U.N. or the U.s. keeping peace conferences?

    Or they should do hard bagaining witch each other?

    I had so many times about politician,diplomats going there and we still have this mess.
  20. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Alright, I agree, but the problem is: they're not united. They've been actively divided. And I don't think right now there's the atmosphere for a person like that.

    I remember this spokeswoman for Arafat's PLO who was really really good. If I'm to believe reports, he cast her aside because he was afraid she'd become more popular than him.

    I don't doubt Abbas is much different in this regard. Which is probably why Israel only wants to talk to him. They wouldn't want to talk with real peacemakers, would they? It would imply they'd have to stop building settlements... Stop annexing East Jerusalem... Stop dividing the West Bank... Do they really want that?
  21. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Getting the UN involved doesn't strike me as a very good idea; I think the model of the eventual cessation of hostilities in Northern Ireland is a much better idea.

    The only time a peace from the outside of a crisis worked was Bosnia, where NATO forces were basically given free reign to destroy any hostile forces on either side. That's obviously not going to work in this situation.
  22. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    Yeah, see the problem with the Ghandi approach is that the world community tends to forget about those people, quite fast. Even in India, the independence was hardly just Ghandi, the violence played just as much a part in it (sadly enough), and in mentioning Martin Luther King, you're ommiting Malcolm X.
  23. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    Well, you're free to disagree all you like. However, the fact remains that in Palestine from the early 1900s right up to the end of British Mandate the Jewish settlers lived in harmony with the Christian and Muslim Palestinian population. Historical documentation to support this can be found in Illan Pappe's book "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine". I don't have the book handy but will post the historical sources. In fact, it was very much extremist Jewish groups such as Irgun and the Stern Gang which prompted much of the early conflict, not just between Jews and Palestinians but between Jews and the British.

    For histories of Irgun and the Stern Gang check out:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irgun

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lehi_(group)

    In particular, check out the Lehi "18 principles of rebirth" written constitution. It's not that different to the one adopted by Hamas.
  24. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    You have to look at why Hamas militants are firing rockets into Israel in the first place. It is purely an act of defiance to give them the appearance of resistance in order to maintain their popularity. Hamas were voted in for two reasons: firstly, they provide aide and secondly they talk tough and give the people hope. One of the reasons why Hamas is dominant in Gaza and not the West Bank is because conditions are much worse in Gaza and always have been. People who are being brutalised respond to strong, decisive leadership and promises of resistance and freedom (Hamas are like a Palestinian version of William Wallace in Braveheart). Arafat was actually considered to be a weak moderate in Gaza which is why the people abandoned Fatah even before he died.

    If you end the occupation then you will end the firing of rockets into Israel.
  25. Vader666 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 5
    LostonHoth

    Well I'm not disputing the fact that they did live in "harmony" together at certain in times in history. But thats not really very relevant. Remember that under Islamic law, it is required for non-muslims to pay special taxes. I wouldn't say that its a proper way of living together.

    I'm not saying that the Jews are not to blame, they had their fair share of misconduct, but I always had the impression that they are genuinely trying to push for peace in the region. Muslims don't want any of it. They want their land back.