My thoughts on Israel-Palestine Conflict
You can love a people and their ideals, and despise the actions of the government which represents them.
You can love a people and their ideals, and despise the actions of the government which represents them. My feelings about the state of Israel are divorced from my feelings about the Jewish people in the same way I like the USA, but hate its foreign and domestic policies which have been enacted in the name of its citizens the last 15 years.
Before I proceed on, I want to make some points clear: - I abhor and rebuke any acts of terrorism or use of dehumanizing rhetoric by either the Palestinian actors or the state of Israel. I appeal to anyone watching this tragedy unfold, and ask that they try to imagine what "the other" side is experiencing, and why the past has led them to their current state.
There is a great deal of propaganda happening on both sides of this conflict. But I can't look at the situation in Israel and Palestine and say that what the state of Israel is doing is morally defensible.
The facts of the matter are this:
- When the state of Israel was founded, a good deal of the previous tenants (i.e. Palestinians) were displaced.
- Over the course of the next thirty to forty years, various land battles were waged by the new Israeli state which captured land and displaced more Palestinians.
- During this same time frame, and beyond, the Israeli state engaged in an aggressive program of expanding land settlement in contested or explicitly Palestinian areas, further displacing people who had probably lived there for generations at least.
- Displaced and marginalized, with little to no infrastructure, the Palestinians were essentially ghettoized (I use this term consciously) -- leaving them little to no effective means for achieving their goals. These goals being a right to return to their previous homes, and a full patriation in a hybridized state which safeguarded the rights and lives of both Jewish and Arabic peoples equally.
- The failure to achieve these goals through peaceful means drove some Palestinians to perpetrate violent acts against Israelis -- including civilians.
- The state of Israel -- in addition to leveraging insanely draconian sanctions against the Palestinians -- has used the threat of disproportionate violence as a tool to pacify the Palestinians while declaring it necessary for self defense. Sometimes, the state of Israel actually follows through with the threats.
- Palestinians, feeling that all legitimate pathways to achieving their goals have been cut off, have resorted to acts of violence and terror against the Jewish people.
What I can't countenance is this: if a man walks up to me, and tries to punch me in the face, I have the right to use my fists to defend myself. What I can't do is pull out a handgun and shoot him, and everyone he's standing next to. This is what I see when the state of Israel responds to the violence perpetrated by the Palestinians.
The problem is that the violence has existed for so long that the current class of politicians and combatants (on both sides) have lost the ability to see their enemies as people first, and enemies second. This is why we see the terrible, dehumanizing rhetoric coming from both sides of the conflict.
"I side with the Palestinians in this extended conflict for the following reasons: - The Palestinians have been abused, ghettoized, and given second-class citizenship in a country which used to be theirs. - The state of Israel continues to refuse any attempts at negotiation short of total capitulation by the internationally recognized official Palestinian leadership."
The state of Israel continues all activities which the Palestinians identify are prerequisites to any formal peace talks. These include expansion of settlements into contested or outright Palestinian land, continued disproportionate use of force in the name of self-defense, expansion of crippling sanctions against a people who already experience some of the worst levels of poverty and overcrowding on the entire planet.
What I would love to see is full patriation of the Palestinian people into a state which respects and protects the rights and lives of both Jewish and Arabic peoples equally without equivocation, a right to return to lands which were taken either legally or illegally, and a complete disarmament of all extra-legal groups (i.e. Hamas, Hezbollah, or otherwise) -- with an explicit decree that all bad actors be excommunicated from their communities and given over for prosecution of war crimes.