Aug 03

Predictable Enemies: Israel vs. Palestinians

In Brief—The roots of Palestinian anger grew from the poisonous soil of British colonialism. The anger and needless bloodshed we see today can be replaced by new ways of thinking, non-military policies and long-overdue remedies. Remedies for change are offered, but does the wisdom of peaceful alternatives have the power to overcome hatred?


A Frightening Reality: Terrorism Pays——

In my piece titled ”Anti-Zionism is Not Anti-Semitism,” I concluded my observations about the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel with the question, ”BUT…what about the Palestinians who had their ”empty land” given to the Jews.”

Though the forebears of Jews, Palestinians and others had inhabited the area for millennia, what about the Palestinians who had the ”empty land” they had owned for generations given to the Jews by the British? Were they happy or complacent at the theft? Understandably, they were angry and resentful, particularly when the newly-minted Israelis ejected masses of Palestinians from their own land. The anger blossomed with the years as Israel grew through wars and and deliberate expansionist policies that continue to this day. At best, Palestinians were treated as second-class citizens as well as repressed, any retaliatory efforts on their part resulted in arrests and collective punishment by the Israel military.

It’s common knowledge that too many Israelis think of the Palestinians as animals who simply want to drive them from the land that God promised them. They are angry at the threat caused by the rockets launched by the angry Gaza Palestinians, so with the blessing of the government, the Israeli military ”mows the grass” (kills) Palestinians by the hundreds. And the Israeli government believes that this will bring peace. What it accomplishes instead is increasing the anger Palestinians feel toward Israel. The Israeli government delivers degradation, humiliation and oppression. And Palestinian anger grows.

Look at it this way. Put yourself in the shoes of the Palestinians. At the conclusion of World War I, Britain was ”mandated” to administer the area that was then known as Palestine. Steeped in the philosophy of colonialism, the British were constantly having to deal with fanatical Zionists who devoutly believed that God had granted them the area in which Israel now exists. Those Zionists murdered British officials, opponents and innocents and used tactics that led the British to label them as ”terrorists.” The Zionists were a painful thorn in the side of the British with their constant agitation and violence.

At the end of World War II, in the company of France and the United States, the British saw a way to solve their Zionist terrorist problem: give the Jews a homeland in what the British called ”empty land,” the area now known as Israel. Little spoken of or acknowledged was the knowing refusal of the allied nations to give asylum to the masses of Jews who were being persecuted and murdered by the Nazis. A few like Albert Einstein were accepted, but the majority of Jews were abandoned by the allies and many more were exterminated by the Nazis in the Holocaust.

In 1948, the state of Israel was born blessed by the United Nations. At last, two things happened: the Zionists got their wish and the great nations of Europe boasted that they were giving the long-persecuted Jews a homeland. Simultaneously and deliberately, those nations were diminishing the Jewish population of their own countries. A ”two-fer,” in other words.

The Killing Continues—

Fast forward to today’s conflict and, like the conficts that preceded this blood-letting, the Israeli military is once again ”mowing the grass” creating even deeper anger and resentment among the Palestinians. The Israeli military is a hammer that sees the Palestinians as a nail that has to be pounded. The Israeli government’s message is, “Accept us and anything we do or suffer.” The apparent goal of the Israeli government’s current campaign is to break the spirit of the Palestinians. If so, it will fail, and Palestinian anger will only grow. It is said that the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

”Well,” you say, ”the Palestinians are lobbing deadly rockets into Israel and the Israelis have a right to self-defence. What’s more, those rockets are launched from areas where civilians live. What are the Israelis supposed to do?”

I suggest that you check to see just how small Gaza is. It is so small that it would fit inside the limits of of any of the world’s big cities with room for several Gazas. As indiscriminate as those rockets are, where are the Palestinians expected to place their rockets in such a crowded area? Most importantly, why are the Palestinians so angry that they jeopardize their own people, nearly two million in such a tiny area? The Palestinian anger that underlies those missiles needs to be eliminated so rockets are no longer an answer to oppression. People on both sides need to seek peace.

Repeated blood-letting will continue indefinitely as long as the status quo remains. It is a witch’s brew of religion, political blindness and anger. That anger needs to diminish and disappear before there is any chance of peace. Until rationality descends on the Israeli government and the Palestinians—an extremely unlikely prospect—the bloodshed will continue.

Some Unlikely Suggestions—

Here’s what I wish: Since Israel is a reality that must be recognized, it must be required to return to the borders created in 1948. All settlements must be abandoned. Grant the dispossessed Palestinians the right of return. Forget ”Greater Israel,” a concept that three thousand years later still drives the Zionists. Rein in the military. Most importantly, start treating all Palestinians as equals. Negotiate, don’t oppress. Replace the anger with hope. But as I often say, ”If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” Expect the anger and bloodshed to continue.

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

George Santayana




  1. As one who comes from Jewish ancestry on my Father’s side, I have often felt a sense of compassion and concern for the plight of Jewish people. This is not something that I learned from my Father….he being resolutely un-religious.
    In my younger years I was always aware of negative references to Jews. Jewish jokes ran rampant in the 50’s and 60’s and I was slightly sensitive to that. I think some of my feelings just developed from a tribal impulse.
    As children, out of deference to our Mother’s desire that we get, at least, SOME exposure to religious thought, we were sent to the nearby Lutheran Sunday school. This was not a choice based on my Mother’s religious background (Protestant) , but rather a logistical choice….the church was within walking distance of our house. So, in short, I did not have a Jewish perspective evident in my home life. My positive feelings toward the Jewish people came out of my knowledge of their treatment under the Nazis, their quest to finally have a homeland, that, coming in the year of my birth, and the general knowledge that Jews had suffered discrimination and unjust treatment for hundreds of years.

    Fast forward to the current state of events. I have run out of sympathy.

    The Israeli government is wrong and needs to stop standing behind their never-ending ‘Woo is us’ rhetoric. They are in the wrong at this point, and while legitimately threatened, their response is over-the-top, unrealistic, and devoid of any compassion at all. They could have set out to destroy tunnels and shoot down missiles without bombing the crap out of civilians, schools, hospitals, and churches. This behavior may lead to a turning point of World opinion. Our government needs to take a real stand that indicates an unwillingness to support a retaliation policy that may, in fact, border on crimes against humanity.

      • Don Bay on August 4, 2014 at 16:09

      Tribal impulse or not, my sense is that you have an understanding of the views of both groups, the Palestinians and the Israelis. My view, as illustrated by the previous piece, “Anti-Zionism is Not Anti-Semitic” is that since the evidence shows that God does not exist, the Zionist claim that God promised the Jews this land is pure nonsense driven by religion.

      While the majority of Americans buy into the propaganda that Israel is in the right, most of the rest of the world believes that the ongoing Israeli persecution of the Palestinians is not only reminiscent of the treatment the Jews received by the Nazis and others before them, but it is criminal, wrong-headed and undoubtedly a crime against humanity. Collective punishment is and has been delivered by the Israelis for years. Tragic deaths on top of oppression only fuel greater Palestinian anger. It’s well past time for the Israeli government to try a peaceful approach for a change. Not easy, but the Israeli policy of repression is clearly counterproductive. As you say, the Israeli government’s continued violent approach is just plain wrong.

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