What do they get if they win?
Posted by aogSaturday, 27 September 2003 at 20:10 TrackBack Ping URL

I exchanged some comments over at the Spoons Experience about the subject of the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. Veshman, the commentor, recommended that I read two tracts on the conflict, here and here. Both are boilerplate histories of the last 80 years or so (taking a pass on the previous 3,000 because that doesn’t suit their political purposes). I presume that the assumption was that I wasn’t aware of this backstory but there’s nothing I haven’t seen before. Veshman points out the root go back before WWI. Try back to the founding Islam at a minimum, possibly even further.

The articles contain the standard selective history. Some of the events omitted include:

  • Anti-jewish pogroms as early as 1920.
  • The flow of jewish refugees from Arab nations in to Israel after the 1948 war.
  • Terror attacks on Israel that lead to the invasion of Lebanon in 1982
  • The closing of the straits of Tiran, an act of war leading to the Six Day War in 1967.
  • The failure of any Arab nation to absorb Palestinian refugees.
The most amusing bit was
In all this time then, the Palestinian people have been without any nation, and have had limited rights, while suffering from poverty at the same time. Israel continued to increase and expand their settlements giving up less and less land compared to what was promised. Many Palestinians (that are not Israeli Arabs since 1948) do not have the right to vote, or have limited rights, while paying full taxes. For over 3 decades, the Palestinian people have been living under a military occupation.
One might wonder, if delaying the resolution of the conflict means less and less for the Palestinians, wouldn’t they do better to settle as soon as possible? Or that the PLO / PA has voided the Palestinians right to vote and severely limited their rights (not to mention what’s done to Palestinians in other Arab countries). One might also note that Arabs who are citizens of Israel are treated better by Israel than Palestinians are treated by the PA or any other Arab nation. This leads one to wonder why it would be of benefit to the Palestinians to be fully ruled by an Arafat dictatorship or a Hamas theocracy. Where else do Arabs or Palestinians get to vote? Not one of the things mentioned here as being denied the Palestinians would be theirs even if Israel surrendered. So it’s specious to suggest that obtaining things like liberty and voting rights is the goal of the conflict. I think it’s reasonable to ask what the real goal is.

The final point in the above list, above the perpetuation of Palestinains as refugees, is the most relevant to the initial exchange, in which I questioned why Palestinian refugees conduct terror bombings while German refugees from about the same time (1946) don’t. The cited articles don’t address this either. It’s certainly not the case that the population shifts in Europe after WWII were any more fair to the refugees than what happened in the Middle East in 1948. Sometimes bad things happen and the best option is to get over it and move on. That’s what every other refugee group has done. Why the rest of the world should support the Palestinians being the only exception is a never discussed. One might also consider discussing why it is of benefit to the Palestinians to continue the struggle. My view is that the Palestinians don’t care about helping themselves, so why should I?