The Israeli – Palestinian Conflict

I’m not afraid of voicing my beliefs. This topic is one that needs to be voiced as much as possible, as thoughtfully and thorough as can be managed. I’ve touched on it before in this post on the Sabra and Chatila Massacre of 1982 and hopefully I’ll be more dedicated in the future to speaking about it.

This disclaimer is necessary as there will be some people who want to twist my words or paint me as anti-Semitic, racist or Nazi-like. Any accusations of those here will not be deleted, but will be ignored. I’m speaking against the state of Israel as a government body and the Zionist movement, NOT against the Jews or the Israeli population. I won’t be bullied or silenced by anyone and I’m only responding to intelligent debate, not name calling.

The colonization of Palestine by the Zionist movement began in the late 1800’s with the first wave of mass Zionist immigration into the first established modern kibbutz on Palestinian land, Petach Tiqwa. Some Jewish journalists and lobbies began calling for a Jewish state in Palestine with many funding groups began to be set up for it and a number of Zionist organisations were established.

The Balfour Declaration was a pledge for British support of a homeland for Jews in Palestine, in which they dedicated a country and land which did not belong to them to the Jewish people. This declaration marks the beginning of many ‘legitimising’ declarations and paperwork of one country giving away another with absolutely no right to do so. To see a more thorough timeline of this chain of events I’ve found this page on the FreePali website to be quite detailed. British and Zionist military powers proceeded to remove Palestinians from their land.

Removing them from their land was not as straightforward as the term implies. It was done by terrorising the Palestinian population, scaring them away, dissolving their government organisations and silencing their voices. The reason for the massive outcry against Israel is for the sheer multitude of massacres, bloodshed, torture and terrorism it takes part in every day for the purpose not only to control the land, but it seems also to complete a total genocide of the Palestinian population. This is what distinguishes it from other invasions and conquering of countries.

Some massacres include the King David massacre, the massacre at Baldat al Shaik, Yehida massacre, Khisas massacre, Qazaza massacre, Serimiramis Hotel massacre, massacre at Dair Yasin, Naser Al Din massacre, Tantura massacre, Beit Daras massacre, the Dahmash Mosque massacre, Dawayma massacre, Houla massacre, Salha massacre and many more which you can read up on here and here. Or alternatively, just google the names of them, I haven’t even listed a quarter but you get the idea.

The thought and detail that goes into these killings is quite horrifying. They take time to desecrate any books or holy things, skin bodies, eviscerate, rape, bulldoze, dig mass graves, torture, remove limbs, smash heads. There is no distinguishing between babies, mothers, children, men or the elderly. And why should there be? They get away with anything.

Dying is not the least of their worries. Israel regularly shuts off their electricity, withholds water, holds back aid, subjects them to road blocks, seizes their land, denies them any basic human rights. UN resolutions order them to give back the land and withdraw but they ignore this, thanks to US intervention and help. No country has violated as many UN resolutions as Israel, over 80 resolutions at this point in time. Even though it is a signatory to the Geneva Convention Israel continues to torture the Palestinian population.

Despite the whole hush-hush of the issue by western media, thankfully the internet now makes it possible for these daily attacks to be documented and for information on the issue to flow more easily. Blogs are a godsend and some good ones I’ve come across are Desert Peace, Peace Palestine and Palestinian Voice but there are hundreds, possibly thousands of like minded blogs on the web to be found and read.

There are a few major contenders in the silencing of the truth, being Israel itself, the US and most western media because it is owned almost completely by people with ties to the Zionist movement and the Zionist lobby. Its quite obvious why Israel would want to keep it under wraps. The killing of innocents goes on unstopped when it denies everything, their denial seems to have more weight in the world even when the bloody corpses are lying at our feet.

The US is a strong ally of Israel’s, it often comes to their aid in military crisis, sends them tens of billions of dollars every year, vetoes resolutions from the UN against Israel, sends them weapons, supports the Zionist movement and the list goes on. There has now been over 60 years of US interference in the middle east and most of it had to do with supporting Israel. They went to war with Iraq over nuclear weapons, when its common knowledge that Israel has the world’s biggest stockpile of nuclear weaponry.

The Zionist lobby and western media are quite intertwined. Any report against Israel gets slammed as anti-Semitic, any hailed Palestinian intellectual gets falsely portrayed as supporting terrorism, and anyone who objects is labelled both. Its quite difficult to avoid their wrath. Because there are so many Zionists in high positions in business and politics they hold much influence over the western media and a very narrow minded view is presented. We’ve been reading lies in our so called ‘news’ papers and the omission of truth is just as bad as lying.

Arguments I hear that support Israel state that it was first their land. No, it wasn’t. This is a religion based view and holds little scientific weight today and as such has been abandoned. A variation is that Palestine was an empty land. This is wrong again, before Zionist migration there were almost a million Palestinians living there, 78% of them Muslim, 11% Jewish, 9.6% Christian Arab.

The terrorism argument justifies Israeli terrorism in retaliation to that of the Palestinians. From the end of 2000 to the start of this year almost 5000 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis, almost a thousand of them minors. In comparison, around 700 Israelis were killed by Palestinians in the same period. This doesn’t include the hundreds of extra-judicial assassinations of Palestinians that also took place.

An eye for an eye is not the way we work in this 21st century. Its just interesting to note that while the Palestinians who kill are extremist terrorists and not officials, the Israelis who kill are ordered to by the government and are not rebels, but it would be accurate to describe them as a terrorist group.

It is time to end the occupation.

**UPDATE**

Channel Ten’s late news reported tonight that an Arab man had been driving a bulldozer around Israel, running over Jews, killing 3 and injuring 35. He was shot dead and Israeli officials have called him a ‘terrorist’. Oh the irony!

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13 Responses to “The Israeli – Palestinian Conflict”

  1. attendingtheworld Says:

    Yes it is time! Next year in Jerusalem.

    ATW

  2. Andy Says:

    I disagree, to an extent.

    (Keep in mind, that I am far from being an expert in ancient Middle-Eastern events, and that I running pretty much from memory. So if I f–k a few facts up, don’t hold it against me…)

    From what I gather (and please correct me if I have things messed up here) the genesis of your argument against Israel’s right to exist stems mainly from two areas: Firstly, the existing possession of the land by the Palestinian Arabs, and secondly the illegitimacy of Britain’s right to decide the fate of the region, from Balfour onwards.

    The area in question has had a constant (and significant) Jewish presence dating back over 3,000 years- well before there was such a thing as “Islam”- with the exception of a period of time when they were exiled by the Assyrians. Since the fifth century BC (when the Persians allowed the Jews to return to their holy lands) there has been an uninterrupted presence of the Jews in the area, despite numerous attempts at enforced exile by various different groups.

    Historically, the Jews have easily as much right to consider the land their homeland as the Palestinian Arabs. I will say, though, that I believe that any “historical claim” is no more than a point of interest, rather than a basis for a definitive contemporary claim.

    The way of the world for centuries (right up until the advent of the League of Nations) was that land was won or lost by military strength. While it is distasteful to the modern mind, it was the de facto (and only relevant) international “law” since the dawn of time.

    As I’m sure you’re aware, with the exception of a short time between when the area fell briefly to the Egyptians in the 19th century, since the 1500s until the early part of the last century the land was ruled neither by the Arabs nor the Jews, but by the Ottomans.

    The Ottomans lost the land in the exact same way that they won it- through the result of war. At the end of WWI, the defeated nations were divided up amongst the victors, and the British found themselves with control of the area. This control was confirmed by the (admittedly failed) League Of Nations, creating the British Mandate of Palestine.

    Under the prevailing conditions at the time, Britain had a rightful claim to decide the fate of the Mandate. They hadn’t “stolen” the land from the Palestinian Arabs (or anyone else), they simply defeated the previous rulers of the land in warfare, and as a result of that victory the land was ceded to them by way of a treaty.

    Obviously, in the contemporary world, such a justification would be abhorrent. But at the time, it was the way such things were decided.

    Of course, the British still had to decide what to do with it, and given the centuries of animosity and competing claims, that was ALWAYS going to end with someone being pissed off. The initial British idea was to divide the Mandate along religious lines.

    As was the case when they partitioned the sub-continent, trying to effectively divide a single administrative region for religious reasons (but using geographical features as the border) is pretty much impossible to do successfully. They split the Mandate along the River Jordan, giving over three-quarters of the land for the aim of creating an Arab kingdom (I want to say under Faisal, but I’m having a bit of a brain-freeze at the moment) on the East called Transjordan (later Jordan) and keeping the remaining part between the river and the Mediterranean as an area for the creation of a “Jewish Nation”.

    Sure, it was an ill-advised solution, but in my view- under the international framework of the day- they had every right to make that decision.

    After the Zionist immigration (and the vast majority of the immigration was legal and supported by the administration), the conflict in the Mandate was such that the Brits essentially got cold feet and backed away from their support of the Jewish Homeland in Palestine (not to mention their desire to be involved in the fallout at all), which led to the decision by the Jews to unilaterally declare independence, starting the series of wars between the two sides.

    I know this is a long-winded way of demonstrating my point, but I would contend that under the commonly accepted wisdom of the time, Britain had the absolute right to determine the future of the Mandate, and that there was a sound historical basis for deciding to make part of the Mandate (and it WAS only about 25% of the land area) a Jewish homeland. My position is that the State of Israel absolutely has a right to exist on the land it currently occupies. It certainly has as much validity as any of the other states of the Arabian peninsula, which were similarly created using completely arbitrary borders and leaders.

    You are absolutely right in stating that no other country has been the subject of (or has violated) more UN resolutions than Israel. But I would contend that at least SOME of those resolutions have come about due to the existence of political alliances, rather than because of any basis in what was “right”. I mean, the Israelis were the subject of a resolution against them when they rescued a plane load of Jews from the maniacal Amin and his cohorts in Entebbe- an act that I believe was not only entirely justified, but utterly commendable.

    Don’t get me wrong- I’m certainly no apologist for the Israelis, and there has been many, MANY occasions where their actions were not only inexcusable, but downright brutal and disgusting. However, I would level the same judgement on many of the actions of the Palestinian (and wider Arab) side also. This is a conflict that, as far as I can make out, has no “good guys”.

    I believe that the State of Israel has an absolute right to exist, and that the only viable and realistic solution to the situation would be, despite the fact that the Jewish homeland was assigned less than 25% of the land by the initial British partition, the further (and final) division of Israel to create an independent Palestinian state.

    (Although for a multitude of reasons- not least of which would be the better likelihood for a lasting peace- I would personally create the state by expanding the West Bank further to the south, in return for the absorption of the Gaza Strip into Israel. But that’s another issue.)

    Anyway, Luli, feel free to edit or delete this as you decide appropriate. I didn’t mean to commandeer your comments page like this, but I’m guessing you’ve read enough of me to know that I can waffle on about trivialities, much less incredibly complex subjects like this.

    Awesome post, by the way. You’ve quickly turned into one of my favourite people to read.

  3. LuLi Says:

    I think your comment was longer than my post, Andy 😛
    Theres no way I’d delete it, your arguments pose quite valid questions and you’re obviously no stranger to this debate.
    So, lets get into it.

    I would argue that Britain didn’t have any legal control over Palestine at all, seeing as the League of Nations recognised Palestine as an independent nation after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. It had been placed under mandate which categorised it as nearing its own sovereignty. This is because of the Arab Revolt, after which correspondence between Sharif Hussein, who lead the Arab revolt, and Sir Henry McMahon, the British High Commissioner of Egypt, ended in agreement for postwar independence and unity of Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire, including Palestine.

    It was later, as you recount, that a secret treaty was signed between France and Britain for dividing up the territories.
    And after this, Hussein declared Arab independence from the Ottomans.

    So it wasn’t as simple as the invasion rules of the times, Palestine had independence before it was again occupied by their new British friends. Occupation is occupation, it is not legitimate.

    With the land issues, Israel has seized land illegally. They do not legally have the right to exist at all of the land they currently occupy. If we are going by war terms, well they are not even complying to those, hence all the UN resolutions. They are way beyond the boundaries set for them, and not only that but they took these areas by massacring Palestinian civillians. The Iraqi government was dissolved for genocide of their Kurdish population and similar war crimes, they were deemed by the US an illegitimate nation. Why not Israel too?

    I don’t believe Israel should be given any land there at all and I am adamant about that. They were given land and they didn’t just abuse it, they filled it with blood. I don’t find their occupation of the land to be at all legal or in any way right. Perhaps if they had played nice when given the opportunity to do so, but now? No, their crimes are inexcusable. And they are remorseless, if they felt sorry they would stop, but their aim is to drive out every Palestinian in the land and failing that, exterminate them.

    So yeah thats pretty much where I stand with that. Thanks for an amazing comment Andy, you really put me through the wringer, lol! I had a feeling you had a lot to say on this topic and you didn’t disappoint.. Also I’m extremely chuffed that you would say I’m becoming a favourite, the feeling is quite mutual.

    Cheers.

  4. talatom Says:

    the pictures do not lie !!

  5. attendingtheworld Says:

    Luli, Andy,

    I’d like to comment on this point and please consider the other side of the equation:

    Andy wrote:

    The area in question has had a constant (and significant) Jewish presence dating back over 3,000 years- well before there was such a thing as “Islam”- with the exception of a period of time when they were exiled by the Assyrians.

    let’s see.. if 3,000 years will take us back to Abraham or Jacob or somewhere in between, consider that that according to the Islamic faith, Abraham and/or Jacob and the 12 tribes were.. ready.. not Jewish! They were Muslims but not necessarily as we define Muslims today. What I mean is that the Koran (Quran) states that Abraham was neither Jewish nor Christian but one who “submitted truly” to God – and thus the word submission is what Islam really means. When the Bible called on the “Children of Israel” it wasn’t calling the Jews.. because the faith wasn’t “introduced yet” and the “Children of Israel” referred to the 12 tribes or the Children of Jacob, who was also named israel.

    The old testament states that God told Abraham “I will bless those who bless thee.” Actually, I covered this here.

    The point is that according to Judaism, Abraham was Jewish and therefore so was Jacob and the 12 tribes. Not so, Muslims say. Judaism did not really start as a faith until the Torah was revealed.. and it was revealed to Moses! Not Abraham or anyone before Moses. So if the “argument” dates back to those times, then we shouldn’t be surprised that we continue such argument but now with F-16’s and the imposition of Apartheid on the people who never left that part of the world and by people who came from a different part of the world! Originally, the Arab Jews lived throughout the Arab world and as neighbors, were only “identified” by faith when there was a religious holiday or the observation of the Sabbath. Interestingly also is the lack of interest the Arab Jews had in “moving” to Palestine. And those who did move and wanted to return to the Arab countries were prevented from doing so by the Israeli government.

    The other side of this argument is discussed here: that there could not have been a mass exodus by the Persians. Interesting points to ponder, wouldn’t you agree?

    Even when we want to ignore all of the above, then why did Ben Gurion make the following statements?

    Peace…
    ATW

  6. Andy Says:

    Fair enough. As I said, I’m running pretty much from memory here, and it has been a good many years since I put any significant time into studying the issue in any detail.

    One point I will make is that Palestine (referred to as “the areas west of Damascus” or something to that effect) was explicitly excepted from the promises made by McMahon to Hussein bin Ali, along with the emirates of Kuwait and Aden (Yemen). When the rest of the Arabian peninsula was divided between the sons of Hussein (Abdullah in Transjordan, and Faisal in Iraq) and Ibn Saud (Saudi Arabia), the promises made by Mcmahon were delivered in full, with the possible exception of the French-administered republics in Syria and Lebanon.

    The original vision was that Palestine was to be kept as an internationally-administered protectorate, with the intention to use at least part of it to create a Jewish National Home, as per Balfour. Such vision (and the adoption of Balfour as a basis for the fate of the area) was explicitly referred to by the League of Nations in assigning the mandate-

    “Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…”

    I don’t disagree that the State of Israel is an artificial construct, but it is no more artificial (and no less valid) than any of the other now-sovereign countries in the area, which were all carved out as political solutions and given to various groups (or, more accurately, two families).

    I have to admit, I have never heard of Palestine being given independence between the fall of the Ottomans and the British Mandate. I would certainly like to read more about that, if you have somewhere you can point me to.

    I have to say, it is refreshing to be able to disagree on this topic without it degenerating into flame-wars and name-calling. Thanks…

  7. LuLi Says:

    ATW – You raise a very good point, I’m actually not really an expert on the history of Islam so that was something I hadn’t considered. I’ll definitely read through your posts about it, and thank you for contributing to the discussion.

    Andy – Before the end of the Ottomans was the McMahon – Hussein agreement to establish Palestine as independent, after the Brits took over there was the Declaration to the Seven which also promised the freedom of Palestinians.
    There is a comprehensive time line here: http://www.nmhschool.org/tthornton/mehistorydatabase/world_war_i_and_the_early_mandat.php

    I know what you mean, debating can be fun, especially when done in friendly terms without fear of insults and childish internet wars.

  8. thisisthebullhorn Says:

    Luli-

    I’m aware of the Declaration to the Seven, but I didn’t think that it represented recognised (or de facto) independence. I was under the impression that it was essentially another expression of policy, which further muddied the waters after Balfour and The McMahon-Hussein Correspondence.

    Also, was it supposed to have created an independent state out of Palestine, or was Palestine supposed to be a part of the all-encompassing Arab nation?

    According to the link you provided, Hussein was also aware of the various contradictory promises prior to the Arab Revolt.

    Regardless, any ambiguity was clearly resloved by the text of the Mandate after the war, which set out the clear objective of creating a Jewish nation in Palestine, legitimising Balfour as the basis for the future of the area.

    ATW-

    That IS a good point. I am a long way from being an expert in Islam (or Judaism, for that matter) and I’ll have to do a bit of reading into it when I get time.

    However, I will highlight what I indicated in my first post. I don’t want to get too hung up on which side has the greater historical claim, because I don’t see it as the foremost relevant factor in these types of discussions. For me, the events between the defeat of the Ottomans and the creation of Israel is infinitely more relevant to the subject.

  9. LuLi Says:

    On June 10 of 1916, Hussein declared independence from the Ottoman Empire based on the McMahon correspondence.. this was his proclamation: http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/arabindependence_hussein.htm
    They fought the revolt for independence and while they fought on the side of the allies whilst Britain secretly negotiated a Jewish home in Palestine. The Balfour thing happens. Then Arab and British soldiers occupy Palestine, Syria and Lebanon and Turkish forces expelled.
    Paris Peace conference happens where League of Nations categorises Palestine as Class A mandate..

    “Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory. ”

    The Zionists pressure the British while the Palestine Mandate is being drafted and inject some of the Balfour sentiment, while the House of Lords reject this as it goes against the promises of the British government to the Palestinian people. The British government releases the White Paper, Zionists reject it, and revolt against the British administration of Palestine, Zionist terror groups subject the Arab population to some massacres as well as British authority. The British government hands the reigns over to the UN.

    UN decides to create sections, despite the fact that some of the areas are grossly out of proportion with the land ownership and populations. War erupts and Israel steals 80% of the land. The UN starts working on a new plan, before this is complete Israel declare their own independence in 1948. Acquisition of the land was not legitimate so the state cant be recognised.

    This is in accordance to international law agreed upon at the time, as stated by the American nations after the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931. “The Conference of American States reiterates, as a fundamental principle of the Public Law of America, that the occupation or acquisition of territory or any other modification or territorial or boundary arrangement obtained through conquest by force or by non-pacific means shall not be valid or have legal effect. The pledge of non-recognition of situations arising from the foregoing conditions is an obligation which cannot be avoided either unilaterally or collectively.”

  10. O'Maolchathaigh Says:

    Wow! This is an incredibly well-thought post, with well-thought-out replies. Is this an alternate internet? Did I stumble into an episode of the Twight Zone? An impressive discourse on a very important topic.
    This is more information than I’ve seen on the whole subject, and without the vitriol and hate. Cool.

  11. LuLi Says:

    Thanks Terry, I was pretty worried this topic would provoke an all-out war thats why I started with all the disclaimers but its turned out to be better than I imagined. Everyones been very open minded and reasonable.. 🙂

  12. Matthew Says:

    This wen site http://www.palestinefacts.org/index.php has some pretty comprehensive information on the whole situation, it seems relatively balanced, well, as much as possible goven the chaotic state of the region !

  13. LuLi Says:

    Thanks Matthew, I’ll have a read.

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