Monday, July 17, 2006

Peel The Onion

The debate is endless, and you can find ample evidence to support any point of view. Israeli supporters can cite a myriad of examples, wherein groups like Hezbollah and Hamas provoked Israel, leaving no choice but retaliation and justifying civilian casualties. I would put this type of argument in the "effect" camp- a simple acknowledgement of the present circumstance. What I am more interested in revolves around "cause". What conditions existed to allow Hamas and Hezbollah to rise to such prominence? Is Israeli policy culpable in allowing extremism to fester?

I would argue that these groups thrive, and the ones prior as well, as a direct result of oppressive Israeli policy. I begin with a sympathetic view towards the Palestinian cause, and what person who cherishes the ideals of basic human rights wouldn't. The world community failed the Palestinians miserably, while the new tenants seemed to forget the lessons of discrimination. Acutely aware of repression, it is especially frustrating to watch Israeli's act without sensitivity. No reasonable person could conclude that the Palestinian people have been treated with dignity and respect, more like an inconvenient afterthought. The result of this approach creates an environment where hopelessness thrives, and people search for anything that appears to confront the perceived "occupiers". You can argue until the cows come home, but from the Palestinian perspective that is the justifiable reality that is the state of Israel. The world wanted a Jewish homeland, forgetting that this land wasn't exactly empty to begin with. Is it any wonder that the forgotten people are "radicalized"? I don't buy the argument that Palestinian culture is pre-disposed to violence, anymore than I did the ANC during their struggles. When you have no options, no one champions your plight, you live in object poverty with little opportunity, then extremist views find fertile ground. This condition finds references throughout history and isn't culturally specific.

Does this justify terrorism? No, but it brings some perspective as to how we get to this present state. Peel the onion, find the core and deal with that reality. Arguing on the margins only serves to temporarily remove a problem, which inevitably rises again. Unilaterally deciding where, when and how withdrawal will take place is not a solution, because it doesn't treat the other party as an equal. This entire vicious cycle is a question of dignity, until that is addressed in a respectful way, expect things to remain the same.

7 comments:

talk talk talk said...

So why, after Israel pulled out totally from Gaza, did the Palistinians immediately commence firing rockets over the border to Israel proper, instead of focussing all resources on building infrastructure and creating a stable and thriving economy?

Steve V said...

Israel didn't engage the Palestinians, they just decided unilaterally when and where they would pull out- hardly a show of respect. The rise of Hamas is directly related to the power vacuum Israel created when they marginalized the Palestinian Authority.

cdntarheel said...

steve v,

Judging from some of your other posts, it looks like we may disagree on various issues, but I can definitely see your 'core' point. Excuse the pun.

I'm glad to see some balanced words from a fellow progressive.

Will definitely visit again.

FurGaia said...

So why, after Israel pulled out totally from Gaza, did the Palistinians immediately commence firing rockets over the border to Israel proper, instead of focussing all resources on building infrastructure and creating a stable and thriving economy?

The following two sources may help:
here and here.

As well, I have found this article to be helpful as it identifies fairly well the different actors in the field. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of particular details though. Still it provides an overall picture of the situation.

You may want also to visit B'Tselem's website.

One author who has been extremely critical of Israeli policies is Jennifer Loewenstein. Indeed, pertaining to your question particularly, this article of hers on what she calls the Gazan Fiasco is quite telling.

Steve V said...

furgaia

well argued!

tarheel

Feel free to disagree anytime :)

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