I’m not an expert on the Middle East and wanted to learn a bit more and spent some time with Wikipedia’s entry on the history of Israel. It is pretty in-depth and can lead you down a lot of different paths on all of the different wars and attempts to peace over the last 100 years. Israel became an independent modern state in 1948, only 58 years ago.
The surrounding Arab countries have never been happy with this. Israel has had to repeatedly defend itself from attacks by Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. It has maintained its independence, frankly, though the use of superior military power.
The Arab governments have, over the years, made peace with Israel, perhaps most notably Egypt in the late 70’s. This unfortunately lead to the assassination of Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian president, by his own people.
This is all to say that this is a very, very tricky situation. In a nutshell, some Arabs feel, and will always feel, that Israel unfairly occupied their territory and then defended it only through the help of the UK and the US. Thus, in their minds, these three military powers, the UK, the US and Israel have unfairly used military might to create and defend Israel at the expense of the Arabs who had lived there under the Ottoman Empire for 600 years.
Israel, on the other hand, has been a recognized sovereign entity for 58 years. Regardless of the complexities of unraveling thousands of years of history and animosities, Israel should not have to repeatedly defend its right to exist. It does exist. Period. No amount of war will make it un-exist. Any modifications to borders or ownership of lands will need to happen via diplomatic negotiations. Like it or not, the US, the UK and Israel will not let it happen any other way.
So what’s the answer? What’s fair? What’s rational and what will address the humanitarian and political issues that this situation continues to create?
I’m idealistic, I know, but with irreconcilable differences, the only hope is compromise. That, unfortunately, means no one is happy. Everyone gives a little. I think the rest of the world is just aghast that extreme views on both sides continue to doom innocent people to die. How many more people have to die? How much more suffering needs to be inflicted? It’s not helping. The death and the suffering are not getting anyone any closer to their goals. It is time for both sides to compromise.
This is why Bush’s arrogant idiocy in invading Iraq was so stupid. This was already a super tricky situation and he sent the bull into the china shop. Now those Republicans idiots are using the latest conflicts between Israel and Lebanon to start their war with Iran. Meanwhile Israel, because it had tens of people die from renegade attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah, is killing thousand of people in return. They are invading another country.
Let’s face it: Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist assholes with their heads so far up their ass they can’t breathe. They continue to work against their own best interest at every step of the way. They get further and further from their goals and more and more of their people suffer and die.
But the other side of the story is just as bleak: the US and Israel have their heads so far up their ass they can’t breathe. They continue to work against their own best interest at every step of the way. They get further and further from their goals and more and more of their people suffer and die.
The crux of the whole thing is the fact that Israel has the Palestinians under their thumb. A two-state solution has to be figured out. It should have been figured out a long time ago. Bush has not only not tried to get such a process going, he has worked against it by inflaming anti-American and anti-Israel sentiments in the Middle East. I personally think that Bush wants this all to happen so we can continue to occupy more and more of the Middle East and, in his fucked up mind, continued to kill Muslims. They think this is a war that must be fought. They are wrong: it is a war that should never be fought.
So to recap:
1. Arab countries have to recognize Israel’s right to exist and must eliminate violent dissent from any internal organizations.
2. Israel, the US and the UK need to make a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict an utmost priority.
3. The Palestinians need to negotiate and agree to a two-state solution in good-faith.
It can be done. Some day it will be done. We need to work on making that day soon. Yes, it is very, very hard. It can be done.
2 thoughts on “The Middle East”
The coverage of the Middle East crisis and the so called “world opinion” is making me a little crazy and I’m wondering what I’m missing or where I am wrong in my thinking.
The world is outraged over the killing of innocents by Israeli air strikes and condemnation is coming from all corners. Where is the condemnation of Hezbollah and it’s Syrian and Iranian backers? These people deliberately put civilians in harms way. They want innocent people to be killed to help world opinion turn in their favor. Israel warns cities in Lebanon that they are about to be bombed so innocent people can get out. I’ve heard reports (and I tend to believe them) that Hezbollah forces people to stay so they remain in harms way. They also shoot their missiles from civilian areas and hide their stockpiles in civilian buildings such as private homes, schools, mosques and hospitals. Then they cry foul when innocent people are killed when Israel fights back and inevitably kills civilians.
I honestly believe that Israel is trying not to kill innocent people. It doesn’t make any sense for them to do so. They want to wipe out Hezbollah and their ilk but what do they gain from killing innocent people? Nothing, in fact, it works against them and they know it.
On the other hand Hezbollah and other terrorist types rejoice when any Israeli or American is killed. It doesn’t matter to them if the victim of their indiscriminate bombing is old, young, friend, or foe. Again, where is the outrage against them?
How can you fight an enemy that doesn’t play by any rules while their opponents (the US, Western Civilization, Israel) are held to the highest ethical standards such as the Geneva Convention and other international law? They strap bombs to themselves and walk into markets, or mosques, or restaurants and blow up everyone they can. Where is Amnesty International when the Islamo-fascists capture somebody, say a truck driver or an aid worker, and slice of their heads in the most barbaric way?
There is good and evil. There is right and wrong. The way this enemy conducts itself is flat out wrong AND evil. We are not perfect, we make mistakes, but I think our restraint has been pretty remarkable in the face of an enemy that has absolutely no boundaries except to defeat us at any cost.
In World War II, we had to make the decision to drop the bomb and the reasoning was that although hundreds of thousands of people, most of them innocent, would die, it would save lives in the long run. Does anybody see the possibility that the tactics used by the Islamo-fascists could force us (the US, Israel, or a coalition of nations) to make the same calculus? Maybe not drop a nuke on them but we certainly could do quite a bit of damage with conventional bombing if we were not so careful about who we were killing. I really, really hate to say that but it almost seems like that’s what they want for some bizarre reason. Either that or they think that we are just going to sit back and take it indefinitely.
I think your analysis on what should be done is spot on. I commend you on doing a little research on the history of the Jewish state. Now, do some research into the history of Islam to get an idea of how well they both negotiate and then, when there is an “agreement,” how fast they break those agreements. I’m talking about going all the way back to Mohammed. Please do a little research into the “Truce of Hudaybiyah” and the Islamic principle of “Takiya.” Then tell me how much faith you can put into any “peace agreement” made with the “Israel must be wiped from the map” crowd.
Unfortunately, there is only one side in this conflagration that is actually willing to negotiate and abide by a two state solution, and that is the Israelis. The Palestinians (Hamas) and Lebanese (Hezbollah), plus their sponsors in Syria and Iran have no interest in negotiation. They provoked this fight and they are only interested in the destruction of Israel. A negotiated settlement would only serve to give the anti-Israel types a chance to regroup and come back at Israel again in the future. That is why Israel feels it must destroy or at the very least severely damage Hezbollah and Hamas.
Last I checked, Israel pulled it’s settlers out of Gaza and the West Bank and what did they get in return? An increase in rocket attacks, suicide bombings, killings and then the capture of their troops from their side of the border. Nice.
Maybe there is no real “good guy” in this struggle but there sure as hell are some really, really bad guys. Sometimes the only way to deal with a bully is to fight back.