As a history major, I look at Saturday’s news and remember the following:
Balfour issued his letter in support of a Zionist homeland in Palestine, as long as the native population was not adversely affected, like that was a consideration since 1917.
Israel, despite its political leadership’s claims that it is not a colonial power, joined quite willingly with England and France in 1956 to support seizure of the Suez Canal and, as a bonus, seize control of the Sinai and expand its borders beyond the 1948 lines.
Also, despite its claims of non-colonial stances, most Israeli governments have, at best, paid little more than lip service to the concept of withdrawing settlements in Palestinian territory and, at worst, actively encouraging settlements as a non-governmental way of expanding Israeli hegemony beyond the 1948 borders.
Hamas and Hezbollah, while understandable reactions to Israeli imperialism (yes, imperialism), are really no better than successive Israeli governments in promoting any sort of rational solutions to the region’s problems. Both sides, however, are skilled practitioners of the ‘eye for an eye’ school of dispute settlement.
- I have real concerns about a country conducting a foreign policy based cynically on the Old Testament.
- On top of that, the mainstream Arab leadership across the region has done little to ease the situation under which Palestinians have existed . And when militant killers organize in resistance to the state of Israel, do you expect ? After all, look at the Stern Gang and Irgun and ask what is the fundamental difference between them and Hamas/Hezbollah?
Perhaps it is time for the world community to allow both sides of the current troubles to be isolated and fight each other to the death. On second thought, perhaps it’s time for all parties to the events of the last 92 years to own up to their contributions to those events and to bring hard rationality and justice to the region.
Both sides of the region’s inhabitants are equally responsible for killing and maiming civilians.
Most European nation-states are also responsible for persecution of Jews over the last several centuries and to that persecution’s peak in World War II.
The U.S. certainly has done little to head off Israel’s territorial expansion since the 1960’s, except to offer a confused series of initiatives and momentary successes of rationality lost in subsequent, emotionally confused shows of support for ‘Judeo-Christian’ values and perfunctory nods to ‘good Islamics’ victimized by the actions of ‘bad Islamics.’
And, when we all watch the news, hear the U.S. veto U.N. efforts to put Israel on the spot, and watch as Israeli aircrew flying American-made helicopters and jets bomb and strafe Gaza today, it’s hard to say that America is committed to a just peace process in the Middle East.
And what have the Arab nations done in practical terms to ease Palestinian suffering?