Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Israel vs Palestine

There's been a lot in the news lately about the tense relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. The upside for me of Romney making such huge mistakes is that a lot of news outlets are covering it and bringing up issues I wasn't aware of.
Growing up Mormon has an interesting effect on how one views Israelis. I suspect that's true of growing up in any Christian religion. We're taught that god loved the Jews. They're the chosen people. Mormons view themselves as a part of the Jews, so we're also the chosen ones. Our nation is staunchly pro-Israel, because leaders have Christian backgrounds and thus favour them. I never got a very good education about the conflict going on there, but what I did get was that essentially we have to side with Israel because they're God's people.
There's a large problem with that sort of thinking. It promotes a very one-sided way of thinking. It tends to make people view Palestinians as the problem in an incredibly complex situation. There is no black and white way of looking at this situation and to make it appear so would be naive and potentially dangerous.
Lets take a look at this situation. We all know the historical relationship between Israel and Palestine. Half-brothers that just honestly never quite got along...that relationship is still going on today, its just so much more complicated. So the Jews got spread all over. They got kicked out and persecuted for centuries. No one wanted them everyone hated them. Millions were brutally slaughtered and imprisoned. Unspeakable things happened in concentration camps. There is no justification in the world for it. I weep for the victims and the survivors. It was also the straw that broke the camel's back and a great boon for the Jewish people. For once, people were on their side! Thousands of young men died during WWII to save them, among other reasons. The Jews were understandably terrified of the Holocaust happening again. They wanted a home. They wanted a nation of their own where they could be safe. They wanted to live in peace.
To accomplish this, the United Nations declared they could have that home. Britain controlled the area and gave it to them. But the problem is there were people living there not too keen on the plan. This was their home and suddenly they were being invaded, in a sense, by a people they already weren't keen on. I don't think anyone would be keen on this. How would we feel if a foreign entity suddenly decided that the United States was suddenly a home for the persecuted French people? No more US. These people now ruled us. Its the same thing, but with more of a history of animosity.
In hindsight, I don't think it was the right thing to do. It should have been clear at the time, but I understand why it happened. But what right had they to arbitrarily decide this? What right did they have to force the Palestinians to bow to someone else?
So conflict ensued. Palestinians blow themselves up. Israel attacks them and makes it incredibly difficult for them to be successful. Everyone retaliating against the other. No peace. How can there be when there are such deep-seated resentments on both sides?
What is the answer? I don't know. Who is right? I would say no one is. They are both at fault and they both need to work together to try to come to a fair conclusion. They need to find a way to compromise and come together. Hopefully one day it will happen. I doubt I will ever see it, but I hope for it.

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