It seems to me…
“Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” ~ Golda Meir, 1957.
The Arab/Israel conflict has been a major impediment to peace in the Middle East since Israel’s creation on 14 May 1948 and the world has tolerated this situation for much too long. Both sides have missed numerous opportunities to resolve sources of their disagreements and after this much time, neither side can make any legitimate claim to be without blame.
Israel, backed by the U.S., asserts peace only can be obtained with the Palestinians through negotiated agreement – which both sides repeatedly have demonstrated to be impossible. Since Israel was created by United Nations mandate, a U.N. mandated settlement remains the most probable route to peace. Both sides would consider any compromise unacceptable but with full U.S. backing, would have little choice other than reluctant agreement.
While emotionally predisposed to back Israel in its struggle with its Arab neighbors, I logically accept that neither side is in touch with reality. Both sides listen only to their respective chorus of backers rather than world opinion. Back in the 1950s and early ‘60s, Israeli fund raising campaigns here in the U.S. boosted “Buy an Israeli war bond – Kill an Arab” which hardly encourages peaceful settlement of any conflict.
If anyone should empathize with the Palestinians, it should be the Israelis since they also struggled for their own homeland. The Israelis must understand that a constant state of combat will forever be a threat to their personal security and normalization of relations between their states ultimately remains their only available option.
Most Americans do not realize how small Israel actually is – three Israels could fit within the borders of New Jersey. At its narrowest point, Israel is only 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) wide. Israel made a major mistake following the 1967 Six-Day War after capturing much of the Golan Heights when it failed to annex that territory so as to adjust their borders to a more defensible position. That opportunity now has been lost leaving Israel vulnerable to shelling if that territory is returned to Palestinian control.
The genocidal American Indian Wars were not finally concluded until 9 January 1918 in Bear Valley, Arizona. While strongly backing Israel, Americans should ask themselves how they would react, today less than 100 years following cessation of that combat and virtual extermination of more independent nations than any previous time in recorded history, if Native Americans were granted a portion of the United States for their homeland. What would be the reaction if that occurred 2000 years from now? Yet this essentially is what the Palestinians were forced to accept. Considering, any resentment should be understandable.
Judaism actually has more similarity to Islam in its fundamental religious outlook, structure, jurisprudence, and practice than with Christianity which developed more out of the Greek tradition. 20 percent of today’s Israeli population is Muslim who live together amiably with their Jewish counterparts. The majority of Israel’s Muslim citizens are descendants of the 150,000 Palestinian Arabs who remained within the State of Israel after the end of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
Little progress is likely if left to those directly involved as numerous issues remain on which neither side will compromise. Negotiation is unlikely to result in sufficient agreement to end their conflict.
While borders supposedly are to be returned to their location following the 1967 war, many conservative Israelis (and Americans) still consider the borders to be as specified in the books of Genesis and Exodus in the Torah: namely from the sea of reeds (Red Sea) to the Sea of the Philistines (Mediterranean sea) and from the desert to the Euphrates River.
Around 600 thousand Israelis live in close to 200 officially-recognized settlements in the occupied territories. Though the International Court of Justice and the international community say these settlements are illegal and no foreign government, including the Unites States, supports Israel‘s settlements, Israel continues its expansion into these areas.
Both Israel and the Palestinians consider Jerusalem as their capital. The most holy sites of Jews, Muslims, and Christians are located within Jerusalem and neither Jews nor Muslims are willing to relinquish their claim to the city. The Israelis have stated their goal to eventually rebuild the Temple of Solomon which would result in the probable destruction of the Qubbat As-Sakhrah (Dome of the Rock), one of Muslim’s most sacred sites.
Between 500,000 and 2 million Palestinian refugees consider property in Israel as theirs and demand its return though the property was confiscated as abandoned following the 1948 hostilities.
Other than for the United States, most nations are sympathetic to the Palestinians and the Israelis probably would be the major beneficiary of Palestinian statehood. A considerable majority of the Jewish public also sees the Palestinians’ demand for an independent state as just and thinks Israel should agree to the establishment of such a state.
As a negotiated agreement settling these and numerous other items of contention obviously is not possible, a mandated solution appears to be the only remaining path to conflict termination. Unfortunately, the rest of the world is correct in its belief that the United States is the primary obstacle to resolution. Any American politician’s suggestion supporting a mandated agreement would constitute political suicide.
That’s what I think, what about you?