May 22, 2006

Israeli Hypocrisy

Imagine that there is this one house, in a barren neighborhood. The house has been around for hundreds of years. Way back in history, the original owners of the house were forced to leave after a terrible fire. Nowadays, you live in the house, with a landlord renting it out to you. Life is ok, until one day, the descendant of the original homeowners decide to move back in. Soon, all of his relatives in the area have moved in, and now, after the landlord relinquished the title to the house, a fight ensues. The state wants to divide the land in half, despite the fact that you and your family are still the bigger group. Obviously, you refuse, but the descendants bust out the shotgun and chase most of your family away. Your neighbors come and help, but the descendants somehow manage to get their hands on advanced weaponry and begin firing their new machine guns at you. Wouldn’t you be angry?
On a bigger scale, that is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Despite attempts to solve the conflicts over the years, both peacefully and through force of arms, no agreement can be fully reached. The Palestinians and other Muslims do not have the military might to win back the land that is now Israel. The Israelis do not have the police power to keep onto the territories of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The conflict has become the icon for Middle Eastern problems, with suicide bombings, helicopter attacks, planned assassinations, and gun fighting in the streets having become so common that you might as well ask young children what they want to be when they blow up.
Why has the conflict become so serious? It all started way back in the early 1900’s. The Jews, after having learned that Europeans hated them after centuries of persecution, realized that leaving was a good idea. After tensions escalated through World War I, massive emigrations began towards the Middle East to a supposedly unpopulated land called Palestine. Enough Jewish emigrants arrived to make the British partition the area into 2 places, Transjordan and modern Palestine. But the Jewish population wasn’t satisfied. They wanted their own homeland, and thanks to the efforts of Zionists, nothing else would suffice.
So radicals began a campaign of terrorism. The Jewish attacks continued throughout the 1930’s and 40’s with bombings, assassinations, and other acts of violence against civilians. They were doing the same thing that the Palestinians are doing today. All of these attacks culminated with an attack on the King David Hotel, leading to 91 casualties and 45 wounded. Actions were taken that would abhorred today by the very people that committed the original actions. In a word, everything that the Israeli government says these days is hypocritical when it comes to terrorism.
The bombings were enough to convince the newly formed UN to take action. A partition plan was formed which would split the land of Palestine 50/50 between the Jews and Muslims in the area. The Muslims rejected it: they were 66% of the population at the time, and to give up half of the land to a third of the people was to them offensive. It would be giving preferential treatment to the new settlers at the expense of those million who had already been living in the area.
Nowadays, this conflict has largely settled in the favor of the Jews. Almost all of the land in the original Palestine is part of the new state of Israel, and those Palestinians who have not fled are subject to living conditions found in most 3rd world countries. Daily suicide bombings, helicopter missile attacks, targeted assassinations, artillery shelling, and machine gun fire represent this new country. Most of the blame is on the Muslims. But is this right? Should the Muslims receive all of the blame? Doesn’t the Israeli government carry out the mortar shelling, the targeted assassinations, the helicopter missile assaults, and the tanks in the streets? Aren’t the Israelis the ones building a vast wall keeping the Palestinians out, implying that they want nothing to do with them? Is it the Muslims who feel the need to take out ads in the New Yorker to defend their aggressive actions in the Middle East? Isn’t it time to reconsider the situation, and realize that neither side is completely innocent in this conflict?

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