Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

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Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby The Great Carouser » Mon Jun 14, 2004 10:16 pm

The following is a tragedy in the truest sense of that word for all concerned:

Crisis Israel
Your thoughts, feelings, ideas?

<small>[ 06-15-2004, 11:54 AM: Message edited by: The Great Carouser ]</small>
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby barfle » Tue Jun 15, 2004 6:58 am

Assuming the article got its facts right (and the site appears to have an agenda), certainly a confession in a language the accused does not read or write or speak seems mighty flimsy.

The whole idea of a "human shield" is contrary to the views of those who feel life is all we've got. But Hurndall seems more like a volunteer than a victim to me, having taken, as the article states "a bullet intended for a terrorist." So apparently, the terrorist is still alive to continue his evil.

Again, this is assuming the facts are as stated in the article.

I'm not the world's biggest supporter of Israel, although I find it difficult to condemn them for treating Palestinians much as we did the Native Americans. I'm a bit ambivalent as to whether the intended victim was a terrorist or a freedom fighter. But condemning a soldier for doing his job seems wrong.
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby mmichaelson » Tue Jun 15, 2004 9:13 am

I agree with Barfle. If Tom was there as this article states, knowing about the danger, then no one should be to blame for his death.
"Hurndall was well aware of the risks inherent in his activity in Rafah. In one diary entry he wrote: "A few hundred meters away there are army snipers, and each one of us can appear in a sniper's telescopic sight. It is possible to say with certainty that they are watching us, and my life is in the hands of an Israeli marksman or settler. I know that I will probably never know what hit me, but that is part of my role - to be as exposed as possible."
Certainly soldiers are given orders. Sometimes those order are to take out enemy operatives, regardless of the danger to civilians, and civilians in those areas are (usually) aware of the danger. This person put himself in this volatile situation knowing that he was laying his life on the line every day. His family should respect his wishes and not condemn the soldier who carried out orders for doing his job. Seriously, in the heat of the moment, are most people able to tell the difference between the enemy combatant and the civilian standing next to him? Sometimes the two are indistinguishable. Punishment, certainly; death, no.

And as to the situation between Israel and Palestine, this war has been going on far longer than any of us here today are able to recognize.
Biblically, this land was given to God's chosen, the Israelites, regardless of the people living their before. This was their promised land after leaving Egypt. After the diaspora, this land was (somewhat) returned to the Muslims who had originated there.
Now the two groups are continuing a fight that is older than all of us, and will likely carry on to the end of days. I can't see that this is reconcilable, considering that the land is holy to both groups.
Hopefully some kind of halfway point can be found and they will reconcile, but I doubt it.
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby haggis » Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:04 am

The situation in the Middle East is a direct result of events caused by a number of countries in the late 19th century or so, and, as frequently is the case, most of those countries were predominately European. The history of the Middle East in the twentieth century can only be described as both absurd and deadly.

The French created Lebanon as a reward for the large Christian population in Syria that had been traditional French allies.

The British, double-crossing their Hashemite Bedouin army (of Lawrence of Arabia fame) that had help them drive the Ottoman’s away from the Suez Canal, gave the holy shrines of Mecca and Medina to the Wahabis. The Hashemites had controlled those shrines since the 13th century.

Then the British created “Trans Jordan” (literally “Over the Jordan River”) out of the desert to harbor the Bedouins they double-crossed. The Hashemites’ “secret mission” has been to survive and to never forget their lost inheritance. Every since then the Jordanian (Hashemites) eyes have been squarely on regaining Mecca and dealing with the usurper Saudis.

So, the French invented Lebanon, the British invented Jordan, and the Syrians claimed everything. Then the Jews showed up, bought up the land from absentee Arab landowners and kicked the Palestinians off the land and started farming.

Most of these groups are not countries as much as they are tribes with tribal goals.

A summary quoted from an article written in STRATFOR some years back sums up the current situation and the rather bleak projection for the future:

“There are no permanent solutions to the region’s problems. All of the current structures are merely temporary and artificial, some without any real substance at all. How does one make peace in Lebanon when Lebanon is neither a nation nor a state? How can Syria, which sees itself as the rightful heir to Jordan, Israel and Lebanon, give up its inheritance without giving up its identity? How can Israel, which cannot decide if it is the Third Temple or a place to produce low-cost microprocessors, make a lasting peace with a Jordan whose real interest is to dream of a return to Mecca and 700 years of greatness?

The best that can be hoped for is temporary periods of relatively little mayhem. . Many conquerors have come into this region from the outside, dreaming of permanent empire. They all have gone away, many broken by the experience.

American dreams of permanent, stable arrangements would be funny, if they weren’t so dangerous.”
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:39 am

Can't we all just... Get Along? :D

To the best of my recollection, the history of the middle east has been continuous warfare, of lesser or greater degree, for as long as we have history. Probably longer.

Seems like the only group that produced "peace", or at least something that might pass for it, were the Romans. They did not achieve this by being nice guys. I don't think the current setup has the chances of the proverbial tissuepaper dog chasing the asbestos cat through Hades.

However, I also think that an armed referee improves the day-to-day chances of regular ordinary people making it from breakfast to dinnertime without being accidentally shot. I just wish we had better armed referees.
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby The Great Carouser » Tue Jun 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Originally posted by Selma in San Diego:
Can't we all just... Get Along? :D

On that note, here's a website that might resonate with folks regardless of their political persuasion. It has an agenda:

Faithful America

Then again, it might not.

I'd been wondering how I'd work this one in. Thanks, Selma for the excellent segue! :D
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby dai bread » Thu Jun 17, 2004 5:18 pm

I have often thought that, if I were the world's best peacemaker, and had solved the Irish Troubles, I would still not touch the Middle East.

The reasons have all been stated in earlier posts. Haggis' summary of the region's history is excellent.

Yes, this does mean that I think they should just be allowed to get on with their lives, whatever those lives may entail.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby OperaTenor » Thu Jun 17, 2004 6:03 pm

I once again quote Haggis on his treatise on why the Middle East is in its present turmoil:

Originally posted by Haggis:


Stand by for a long and hopefully fair description of where we are in the middle east and how it just about as good as it it EVER going to get.

I spent many of my formative years living among Arabs (mainly North Africa) I first read the Quran when I was 10 ( my mother made me!)

I then spent a number of years in the military, spending a great deal of time in the Middle East in one moslem country or another and probably have a greater appreciation of Islam and the Middle East than most Americans.

Personally, I have always believed that “Peace”, as Americans view it, is out of the question in the Middle East. To see why I feel that way, we have to look at the history.

The situation in the Middle East is a direct result of events caused by a number of countries in the past century or so, and, as frequently is the case, most of those countries were predominately European. The history of the Middle East in the twentieth century can only be described as both absurd and deadly.

Until the end of World War I, Ottoman Turks ruled the area from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf, as well as the entire Saudi peninsula. Allied with Germany, the Ottomans struggled to hold on to an empire that had been in retreat for centuries. The British badly wanted to defeat the Ottomans.
Having built the Suez Canal, which gave them rapid access to India and China, they had to protect it. They needed to secure the sea-lanes of the eastern Mediterranean and drive the Turks away from the Canal and its approaches. The British conducted a series of campaigns to break the Turks, including the disastrous Gallipoli landings and the more successful invasion of the province of Syria by General Allenby, who was supported by a Bedouin army recruited from the Arabian Peninsula. Controlled by British intelligence and special operations teams, including that of the famous Lawrence of Arabia, they first loosened Turkish control over Arabia and then supported Allenby’s attack on Jerusalem and Damascus.

King Hussein’s tribe, the Hashemite, (Jordan came later, read on) was the engine behind the operation.
The British were allied with the French, which meant they had to share the spoils of war. The British kept Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula for themselves. They did divide the Ottoman province of Syria, which contained today’s Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The division, codified in the then secret Sykes-Picot agreement, was extraordinarily arbitrary. A line was drawn through the province. Everything to the north would be French. Everything to the south would be British.

The French had been making trouble in this area since the 1880s, when they had intruded into another Lebanese civil war, siding with Christian factions. The French owed the Christians a great deal. They also wanted to cement their control of the region by creating a pro-French Christian state. The Christians were at the time in the majority (they no longer are), but the area reserved for them contained Shiite, Sunni, and Alawite Muslims, Druse, and a wide variety of Christians. The religious groups were further divided among themselves along clan lines, with some of the bitterest hatreds dividing clans of the same religion (It’s still very much this way in Somalia). Thus, Lebanon was a contrivance without any reality. It didn’t even have a real name, so they named it after a prominent geographic feature, Mount Lebanon. It was as good a name as any.

Fortunately, the French ran out of ideas for improvements and left the rest of Syria intact, not even changing its name. They did, however, get rid of the Hashemite King the British had selected (not Hussein). The British gave him the consolation prize of the Iraqi throne.

The British were busy double-crossing everyone. They had made many promises to many people. They had promised various competing Bedouin tribes that they would be given responsibility for Mecca, just as they promised in the Balfour Declaration that they would give the Jews a homeland while also promising the Arabs that they would be allowed to control their own destiny. They were particularly close to King Hussein’s tribe, the Hashemites, who had governed Mecca since the 13th century. Having spearheaded the British campaign against the Ottomans, you might have thought that the
Hashemites were in good shape.

Unfortunately, a rapidly rising Bedouin tribe, the Saud who were Wahabi Moslems, had become more powerful than the Hashemite, and the British double-crossed the Hashemites, turning the Arabian Peninsula and the guardianship of Mecca over to them.

The British had to figure out what to do with the Hashemites. The royal family could be given thrones, but the tribe itself had to get out of Arabia, since they would be torn apart by the Sauds or, at the very least, destabilize the region. The British decided to settle them in the middle of nowhere. There was not a whole lot east of the Jordan River, so the British decided to put them there. The region had no name, since it was primarily a wasteland of little interest to anyone.

So they named it for where it was—the other side of the Jordan or to be fancy, Trans-Jordan. After independence in 1948, the word “trans” was dropped out and the modern state of Jordan or, to be more precise, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was born as a homeland for a displaced band of Bedouin with nowhere else to go.

The rest of the “mandate” was left with the same name it had when it was a county within the Ottoman province of Syria, Filistina, after the Biblical people that produced Goliath. The British kept that name and it became bastardized into English as Palestine. And so the modern map of the region was born.

Palestine consisted of small villages surviving on agriculture and small merchants. Divided among Moslem, Christian, Druse and Jewish communities, much of the land was owned by absentee landlords. The people of Palestine had as much in common with the Hashemite Bedouins across the river in Jordan as a New Yorker has with a Montana cowboy -- enough not to like each other a lot and not to understand each other at all. They were now all neighbors.

So, the French invented Lebanon, the British invented Jordan, a county became Palestine, and the Syrians claimed everything. Then the Jews showed up.

If things weren’t wild enough before, Jewish intellectuals from Poland decided to come and farm in the middle of this insanity. The fact that they couldn’t speak Arabic merely added to their charm, since they also knew nothing about farming. Jews living in London purchased the land from Arabs living in Paris and Cairo, thereby throwing people who had farmed the land for generations off their land. Out of this, the State of Israel was born.

The Jews settled primarily along the coastal plain as well as in the
Galilee. There were relatively few settlements in what is today the West Bank. The Lebanese were not unhappy with creation of Israel, since they were Christian and liked anything that gave the Moslems a headache.

The Hashemites in Jordan were not too unhappy either. They had never really gotten along with their Palestinian brothers. After the War of Independence in 1948, the West Bank remained under Arab rule. Since, at that time, no one had yet thought of an independent Palestine (the main thinking then was that Palestine still belonged to Syria), governance of the West Bank fell to the only Arab country physically connected to it, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

This was big trouble for the Jordanians, since the Hashemites didn’t like the Palestinians and the Palestinians didn’t like the Hashemites. King Hussein’s grandfather (also King Hussein, there were a lot of them) held secret talks with the Israelis on a peace settlement designed to keep the Palestinians under control. Unfortunately for him, the peace talks didn’t stay secret and he was assassinated.

From 1948 until 1967, the (recently deceased) King Hussein, who succeeded his grandfather, was in constant danger from the Palestinians. In many ways he welcomed the Israeli conquest of the West Bank, since it made the Palestinians their problem rather than his. Unfortunately for him, there were masses of Palestinian refugees living in Jordan after 1967, who decided that it was time to get rid of the Hashemites and create their own state. They tried to do just that in September 1970.

Unfortunately for them, the Bedouin Army that had been trained by the British not only defeated the Palestinians but also conducted a horrific, brutal massacre, securing the Hashemite throne from its only real threat, the Palestinians. The single largest cause of Palestinians deaths in the 20th Century, the “Black September” massacre, was at the hands of another group of Moslems. Remember the “Black September” terrorist organization of the early ‘70s? This was the genesis of that group, and indirectly, Hamas.

The “Black September” massacre had two effects. It directly spawned a wave of Palestinian terrorism and it turned King Hussein into a wise statesman. Having taken care of his Palestinian problem, he could now take the long view. In fact, the last thing Hussein wanted to see was a Palestinian state.

Such a state, bordered by Israel and Jordan, would inevitably seek to topple the Hashemite throne in order to break out of an impossible encirclement. Hussein’s brilliance was to appear to be an urbane man and wise ruler utterly dedicated to peace while doing everything possible to prevent the emergence of an independent Palestinian state and shifting the blame to Israel. He always hoped the Oslo Peace accord would eventually collapse; his vision has been realized.

The last thing Hussein wanted was Yasir Arafat feeling hemmed in on the other side of the Jordan. His mortal enemies, the Saudis, still rule Arabia (off topic, I wonder how much Hussein’s support for Iraq in 1990 had to do with dreams of a return to Mecca after the defeat of the Saudis?)

Syria still claims the entire old Ottoman province including Jordan. No one knows what Saddam in Iraq will do next. King Hussein’s exiled Hashemites had more than enough to worry about. The last thing he wanted to see was an independent Palestinian state threatening his country from the east.


The point to all of this is that there are no permanent solutions to the region’s problems. All of the current structures are merely temporary and artificial, some without any real substance at all. How does one make peace in Lebanon when Lebanon is neither a nation nor a state? How can Syria, which sees itself as the rightful heir to Jordan, Israel and Lebanon, give up its inheritance without giving up its identity? How can Israel, which cannot decide if it is the Third Temple or a place to produce low-cost microprocessors, make a lasting peace with a Jordan whose real interest is to dream of a return to Mecca and 700 years of greatness?

There is nothing permanent in this region save perpetual instability. What we have now is as good as it will ever get.


Remember, most of these groups are not countries as they are tribes with tribal goals. The Hashemites’ (Jordan’s) “secret mission” has been to survive and to never forget their lost inheritance. That is everyone’s ”secret mission” in the region. That means tension, conspiracy and war.

The best that can be hoped for is temporary periods of relatively little mayhem. . Many conquerors have come into this region from the outside, dreaming of permanent empire. They all have gone away, many broken by the experience.

American dreams of permanent, stable arrangements would be funny, if they weren’t so dangerous.

Finally, have you noticed that there are no freely elected governments in any country that uses Islam as its guiding principal?
Pakistan was the last that got close, but its now a more or less benevolent dictatorship.

Cheers,

--------------------

Haggis
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Hag, I miss your old signature. :D

<small>[ 06-17-2004, 09:01 PM: Message edited by: OperaTenor ]</small>
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby piqaboo » Thu Jun 17, 2004 6:55 pm

Oy gevalt! A 2-page post, just for the sake of signature nostalgia? OT, OT, OT.......<shaking-head, sighing icon>.
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby barfle » Fri Jun 18, 2004 7:09 am

What some people won't do for another click of the counter!

I'm shocked. Shocked.
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby OperaTenor » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:13 am

Yeah, well, prepare yourself for yet another shock...


<click!>
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby mmichaelson » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:24 am

Well, we also have to remember that though Haggis's assessment of modern history is excellent for this region, that the conflicts there go back to ancient times. . .
Therefore the more modern problems are added to the ancient ones, compounding the problem even more.
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby The Great Carouser » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:36 am

More on those modern problems, This is by Haim Harari, a dean at the Weizman Institute. Although the website is in Hebrew by scrolling down a very short way his talk is transcribed in English:

Eyeof the storm
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby haggis » Fri Jun 18, 2004 1:21 pm

GC,
Good stuff, I've read through it once and will do so at a more leisurely rate later. But what's with the photo of Farah Fawcett?

Pakistan Today had an interesting editorial that reads in part:

"In an Islamist controlled society, debate is forbidden, difference of opinion and dissension is considered a perversion, and modern education a threat. Individual reasoning is forbidden. And expression of doubt about any aspect of the "religiously mandated" social, cultural and political sociology is barred as blasphemy.

Anyone attempting to challenge the status quo is instantly declared an apostate. An Islamist mind is a possessed mind - a condition that compels him or her to live to destroy others. An Islamist does not believe in living side by side with anyone who does not conform to his or her ideology. His life is a constant Jihad (holy war) to overwhelm and eradicate infidels."
Haggis

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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby RC » Fri Jun 18, 2004 4:06 pm

I think an individual who suppresses his own ability to think is a dangerous individual.

Rarely is "right" absolute. Rarely is culpability obvious.

How can you possibly have a clean conscience when you don't possess it.

Garreson Keillor said it nicely: "a person with no doubt is a monster".
A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do, Nothing else.
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby shostakovich » Sat Jun 19, 2004 3:50 pm

In the quote 2 posts above I would replace "Islamist" by "fundamentalist", and apply it to any religion.
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Sun Jun 20, 2004 4:18 am

Yup. Shosalist, eh? <envy>

"Islamist" seems to me less a "fundamentalist" and more a "Fanatic, Islamic flavor". I have known several fairly non-fanatic Fundies, of various flavors. Most seem non-violent, and willing to let me be wrong in my own way.

Fanatics, of any flavor, make me itch. I consider them inherantly dangerous to the rest of us and often think that we might be better off were they humanely destroyed when positively identified. I am just personally unwilling to defy the social rules against preventive fanaticide, and I'm never sure what would constitute "positive identification", short of overt violence.

And I've no idea what would reverse the brainwashing these evil men have already inflicted on their people. I sincerely doubt that moderate measures will work. I'd sure like to hear useful ideas.
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby Rudy2toot » Sun Jun 20, 2004 7:20 am

Probably the best tool we can use to defend ourselves against blind fanaticism is freedom.

Freedom to think.

It's hard at the end of a long and busy day to take time to analyze what flows into your brain instead of simply absorbing and accepting.

You have to train for it. "Studying" is not synonymous with "thinking" and so filling your head with sound bites and facts isn't necessarily helpful in and of itself.

So we should maybe be teaching our children not "what" to think but "how" to think.

You can use any flag or religion to insite a propoganda fervor. I would hate to see us "throw the baby out with the bath water" by generalizing "Arab" or "Islam" in association with what ails the Middle East.

"For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow"
Ecclesiastes 1:18

Even better, and I've no idea who originated this: "there but for the grace of God, go I".
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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby lliam » Sun Jun 20, 2004 8:49 am

"The real differences around the world today are not between Jews and Arabs; Protestants and Catholics; Muslims, Croats and Serbs. The real differences are between those who embrace peace and those who would destroy it; between those who look to the future and those who cling to the past; between those who open their arms and those who are determined to clench their fists; between those who believe that God made all of us equal and those foolish enough to believe they are superior to others just because of the colour of their skin, of the religion of their families, of their ethnic background. None of us has the moral standing to look down on another and we should stop it." :mad: :mad:
Lliam.

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Re: Israel/Palestine et al... Who's Right?

Postby Rudy2toot » Sun Jun 20, 2004 9:07 am

Good morning lliam, or I guess its afternoon for you.
I'm not so sure that the differences of today are much different than they have ever been.
I really like that "None of us has the moral standing to look down on another..."
When you say "we should stop it", are you saying "we" as in lovers of equality should stop "it" as in those that suppress/oppress others, or did you mean "we" as in lovers of equality should stop behaving badly?
Seriously, I wasn't sure what you meant.
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