Sunday, January 4, 2009

משא עזה

Not that I'm not without my own (pro-Israel) opinions about the conflicts that erupt between the Jews and their neighbors in the Middle East, but due to some current events I decided to read a bit of literature on the subject over Shabbat. I picked up "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" (Carter), "Myths and Facts: A guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict" (Bard) and "What Went Wrong: Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East" (Lewis). I was kind of looking for more pro-Palestinian books to ponder about (being that I'm, for the most part, already aware of the arguments of the Israeli side...but you can't raise your standards too high in a Boro Park library on Friday afternoon!).

Carter's famous book, in short, was basically a reflection of his own experiences with Middle East leaders, and his opinions of past events and what should be done on the future (largely having to due with the defence wall erected separating Israel and the West Bank), based heavily, again, on his experiences and his Christian faith. The second book I mentioned turned out to basically be a full explanation of the Israeli standpoint (which I picked up a few things from). The third book, I feel, was a little poorly advertised; it's much more about "the fall of the Ottoman Empire from a military point of view" than a "clash between Islam ad modernity" (I considered it interesting from a historical perspective, but it obviously had nothing to do with anything remotely about Palestine). All in all I didn't feel I got all that much out of these books. One thing I was able to take home, though, was a firmer grounding on all the hard legal documentation of all the peace accords, verbal promises and UN resolutions instead opinions (be they logical or theological).

One thing I can comment on the current issue is that 1. Most people don't really seem to notice that this was the largest bombing campaign Israel launched against the Palestinians, mainly because to most people it seems like Israel is bombing them every day and nothing has changed (and they're tired of protesting), which essentially is beneficial to us. 2. If anything the "official" reason Israel is launching this attack is pretty straightforward (which can be seen in this video- I actually thought the first 30 seconds are pretty funny), unlike some of the settlement building (in the world's eyes) and things like the 1980's Lebanon War (which was kind of complicated). 3. Even the staunchest "Anti-Arabs" should realize that many of the youths launching rockets into Israel do so on their own accord, and do not represent the Hamas government, and there's only so much the Government could do in their positions. Yet most of the people in the Gaza area are just bystanders to these events who are caught between Hamas, Fatah and Israel, to no fault of their own.

..oh yes, one more thing; I used to think that "education" was the best answer to the situation of the Gazans (which is highly exacerbated compared to their Wes Bank brothers). Yet I was reading an article in the (get this!) Jewish Press which made a pretty convincing argument that most of the violence comes from the more educated Islamist now I'm stumped!

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