Friday, January 09, 2009


Somebody posted an opinion on the situation in Gaza on a local discussion forum I frequent; and I want to share here some of the comments I wrote in response:

I'm appalled by the way Israel has handled the Palestinian situation; I believe that what they're doing is perilously close to apartheid; I believe that in their paranoia they have allowed themselves to become the enemy by using the enemy's methods. (Listening, Mr. Cheney? Sorry, that's another argument.)

As long as the two parties maintain their diametrically opposed positions, the situation in the Middle East is insoluble. The Israelis insist that they have a right to exist as a nation, as a Jewish nation, on the lands they believe Yahweh granted to their ancestors generations ago; and, existing as a nation, that they have a right not to be shot at by their neighbors. The Palestinians insist that they've been living on those lands for two thousand years, and Allah granted the lands to their fathers, and the Israelis have no right to inhabit them at all. This one can't be solved by phone calls from Condi Rice, folks, especially as both groups regard Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount, as central to their faiths.

Part of the problem is that the U.S. insists on arming the Israelis, and the Arab nations insist on arming the Palestinians (although I haven't seen any Arab nation offer the Palestinians anything except inferior weapons, and scruffy refugee camps).

I sometimes think the rest of the world should just build a wall around the whole area and cut off contact, and walk away for 10 years; and then see who comes out. Any science fiction writers interested in the concept? But it won't happen. Too many outsiders have too much invested in the conflict. The initial post that I responded to, argued that a joint state with full citizenship for both peoples is "the only possible solution." It's a solution, but we must all hope that it isn't the "only possible" solution, because attaining it will require both groups to change their entrenched positions, and I don't think it's gonna happen. I know stubborn when I see it.

1 comment:

  1. Here's a post I made on another blog regarding the Gaza crisis:

    "Can Israel survive without American assistance?

 Surrounded by enemies, with limited resources, its only long-term prospects for existence depend upon direct aid. 

Is it reasonable to expect that such support and aid will continue indefinitely, for decades and decades and beyond? Not very likely. The West has already shown a growing weariness under this burden.


If I were a committed Israeli nationalist (Zionist), my intent would surely be to push Arab populations out--in effect, to conduct a "cleansing" operation tantamount to what went on in the former Yugoslavia, and what's happening in Africa now. 

    Whatever its immediate prospects, the Israeli state as presently constituted has only a marginal chance for continued survival. Just looking at a map will make that clear.


Like many Americans, I have a sentimental attachment to the dream of a Jewish state, but my head tells me this situation is unsustainable.

    Eventually, one side or the other will have to prevail--militarily, and otherwise. Until that happens, neither side can--or will--back down. 

My guess is that in the end--in 50 or 100 years--Israel will cease to exist, at least in its present form. It's just too small and vulnerable. Arab culture is big on grudges and feuds; they'll never give up."