I have a problem with Israel. No, not jews, but the state of Israel itself. Some think that I hate Jews, or I am anti-Jew, but that is not the case. I actually just ran into an Israeli couple a few weeks back, on the train from Leonardo Da Vinci Airport to Rome City Centre, and we talked a bit about Israeli politics, the arab spring, the Israeli protests and their government’s policy against Palestine. It was a very delightful conversation to have with someone who lives there, and a viewpoint I was sorely missing out on having. Turns out, we agreed on a lot more than I had hoped possible. They shared a great many of my complaints, though not all. We came from very different perspectives, but I was very pleasantly surprised.
My problem with Israel, which hasn’t changed much since I first formulated my opinion, is that the policies of their government, hijacked by the extreme right settlers is to treat all of Palestine as an occupied land, treat Palestinians as second class citizens undeserving of equality, make it as unbearable as possible for Palestinians to live in their homes, and to take as much land as is possible while simultaneously painting the Palestinians as the aggressors , and their own actions inevitable in the face of such aggression. In my opinion, every reason they give is complete and utter bullshit.
First, a little history. Jews and Arabs have been like family for thousands of years. There has never been any animosity between them except for a few points in history. Before the 1920s in Palestine, they lived next door to each other, were friends and treated each other as family. Why wouldn’t they, they believe in the same God, live by a lot of the same rules and their prophets share the same bloodline.
It was not until the 1920′s that tensions started to rise. As jews faced increasing difficulty and obstacles in Europe. Then the Third Reich rose to power, and Hitler started aggressively enacting new laws that made it impossible for a jew to live in peace in Germany. Then come WWII and the concentration camps, and 6 million jews were killed by the Nazi’s. Jews started immigrating to Palestine en masse, their promised land according to the Bible, and Britain helped up until 1939. This happened without regard to the Palestinian nation and people who have been there since the 7th century. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have done nothing, but there were better ways to do it. I understand how fleeing Jews would have felt coming into another country, and that the concerns of the natives aren’t really on your mind.
This created huge tensions, as a flood of immigrants in such a small nation would create huge distortions, and make land, homes, water, food, and finding a job an increasingly difficult proposition. This forced society into a polarised ‘Us vs Them’ mentality and it has never recovered. Since the two groups couldn’t get along, hostilities started and never stopped.
When Israel declared an independent state within Palestine, the Arab nations invaded. The West rushed to Israel’s aid and the Arabs were defeated, and the tiny nation survived its first obstacle, and continued expanding by stealing land from Palestinians.
Shortly thereafter, Britain lobbied the United Nations to give Israel 55% of Palestine, and the Palestinians just 45%. I don’t know about you, but that is one of the most ridiculous political ideas I have ever heard. Think about the seriousness of the situation, a foreign group of people arrive en masse into a new country, and instead of trying to assimilate into the nation, they just take their own piece and continue taking ever more pieces as it suits them, and the United Nations, formed to promote peace, prosperity and mutual co-existence allowed one group of people to outright steal from another group of people. What a way to promote peace right? The core tenet of the United Nations, at its very inception was tossed aside.
This is still not the biggest problem I have with Israel, which I will get into later on. In the next 50 years, there were yet more wars; the Six Day War, 1982 Invasion of Lebanon, the occupation of Gaza in the 90s et al. Some instigated by the Arabs, others by Israel.
Israel, by its very aggression has created the very terrorist organisations that now seek to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ in their own words. But seriously, what do you expect when you occupy a people? Resistance is a legitimate right of any occupied people. This is international law, and ignoring the fact that is law, it’s the right thing to do anyway to protect your family, your own life and your property. It’s ironic even, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) was the first major freedom / terrorist group to crop up, and Israel invaded Lebanon and funded Hamas and Hezbollah to replace them with more moderate voices in the peace debate. Look where that got them.
For most of Israel’s existence, the plight of Palestinians has been ignored. They have been painted as terrorists, or terrorist sympathizers. You always hear soundbites, especially during the Bush-era about ‘Israel’s right to exist’, yet they always seem to neglect Palestinians right to exist also, and the right that they should have, as should all human beings, the right of self-determination, to freedom.
Could you imagine being occupied, terrorized, having your land stolen from you for 60+ years, and your pleas to your neighbours, to the world being constantly ignored? To live your whole life in squalor, without any right to self-determination, no freedom, no economic prospects. What would you do?
I read ‘The Religion War’, and in it is said that terrorism is just another form of communication. If you think about that seriously, and don’t get emotional about it, you’ll realise that it is true. I’m not saying that terrorism is right, nor am I trying to justifying it, far from it, I think the loss of life is despicable, all life is sacred. But look at it from a rational perspective. For 60 years, nothing they have done has made any progress, including thousands upon thousands of non-violent protests, which continue to this day. Yet each year, Israel gets bigger, steals more land, kills or imprisons any Palestinians who stay and fight for their property and country, and ask yourself. What else can they do? Just lay down and take it, give up their land, their families, their lives because Israel’s right to exist outweighs their right to breathe, eat, drink and live life to its fullest?
We all secretly know that the human spirit is a powerful thing. We all know deep down that the human spirit will resist to the bitter end, that good prevails over bad. How else can the French Resistance be explained in WWII? Or ordinary Italians risking life and limb to protect their jewish brethren against Hitler’s Nazi’s even though their own government was allied with Germany. Or the Russians who despite losses in the millions (2 million alone in Stalingrad) never ever gave up hope, and kept fighting until the bitter end against a ruthless enemy devoid of any morality. Ask yourself that question and think deeply about it. It’s not black or white as the media will have you believe.
Everything they have tried has failed. The West Bank is now the most heavily populated squalid area on the face of the Earth, the Palestinians are the most displaced people in the World. They have no self-determination, no self-control and Palestine isn’t even recognised as a country.
On the other hand, the problem with the West and its support of Israel is that the media ends up viewing an attack on Israel as an attack on us (Can’t figure out why) and that forces us to perceive the battle from only one side. Information from the Palestinian side is never shown in an unbiased way, and only in a biased way from the Israeli side. This is pathetic news coverage. A neutral 3rd party perspective is never ever discussed on the news, in politics or anywhere and those that do take such a stance are labelled anti-Semites, jew haters, nazi’s etc. I thought we lived in a democracy, a place where freedom of speech is sacred, where all viewpoints are considered and evaluated. How corrupted has our democracy become to allow such a travesty to happen.
But, my single biggest problem with Israel is that they should know better. They should be the moral guardians of the world, standing out against injustice on all people’s. For they felt the bitter, horrible effects that such injustice eventually results in. 11 million people were exterminated in WWII, 6 million of them Jews. There are still people alive today who lived through that most devastating period, the lowest point in our Human History. There have been hundreds, maybe even thousands of holocausts throughout our 7,000 year civilised history, but the word all on its own refers to the 11 million people mercilessly robbed of life between 1939-45.
Yet, here they still are, after 60 years continuing the legacy of dictatorship, ruthlessness, and imprisonment. In the 2000′s, 6 Palestinians were killed for every Israeli that was killed. When Israel gave back 24 settlements to the Palestinians, they expanded their other settlements resulting in no land loss for Israel.
Palestine to this day remains a prison where food/water/goods/people can not enter or leave without Israeli approval, and if you have been denied you have no recourse of any kind. Everyday, tens of thousands of Palestinians are forced to cross humiliating Israeli checkpoints designed to frustrate and break their wills, forced to show their ‘papers’ that can be revoked or turned down at the whim of any a soldier because he feels like it. Israeli’s jets routinely flew just a few hundred feet above the homes of Palestinians creating sonic booms to terrify the population, creating psychological scars in the minds of children who will grow up for the rest of their lives terrified. If a suicide bomber killed Israelis, then the Israeli military would destroy his family’s home and force them onto the street, despite the fact that they almost never know what he was doing or that he was even dead sometimes. I thought collective punishment was something we did away with in the Dark Ages.
There is no reason Israel should act the way it does, other than the fact that their leaders are power-hungry hypocritical douchebags who use a 2,000 year old book to justify their continued immorality. From what I have read, most Israeli’s don’t agree with their leaders stance when it comes to Palestine, and for that I am glad. But that just exposes the flaw of democracy, and how eventually, democracy is corrupted and the will of the people is ignored.