Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pro-Israel or Pro-Palestine? Why Not Pro-Peace?

Whenever I hear about some new big incident or catastrophe in the Israel-Palestine area, I cringe.  I cringe not only because of what happened but because of the political and media fallout that will ensue.  Like clockwork, the anti-Israel folks will blame The Jewish State and say that it's acting like Nazis or something similar, and the pro-Israel folks will blame 'terrorists' and/or the Palestinians themselves.  It's the same old formula over and over.  It's so fucking predictable

The real problem is trying to find objective analysis of the situation.  It seems like almost all of it is slanted or comes from a slanted source.  For example, when researching the history of the founding of the state of Israel, pro-Israel folks will claim they inhabited "deserted land" inside Palestine, while the pro-Palestine side will claim that the future Israelis, like classic racist conquerors, drove the Arabs from their land and stole it.  The pro-Israel side claims that terrorism is the reason they need all those checkpoints and occupation, while the pro-Palestine side claims the terrorism only started after the Six-Day War and that it wouldn't happen if Israel had "treated Palestinians fairly."

I still am not sure how to judge the Gaza flotilla raid.  While it is true that Israel killed 9 people on it, it is also true that the IHH (the organization behind it) does have connections to terrorist groups, in one way or another, so it's not entirely unrealistic to assume that at least some of the folks on the flotilla were terrorists or had terrorist sympathies.  Also, while the Israelis did have powerful guns, it seems possible and probable that at least a few of the folks on the flotilla also had deadly weapons like knives.  If you were in that situation, you probably would've reacted very suddenly, too, with a gun in your hand.  However, I think we can all agree that the raid was a bit premature, to say the least.  The flotilla was clearly still in international waters when the raid started, and Israel has one of the most powerful militaries in the world!  They could've easily disabled the flotilla with their navy if it got close enough to Israeli shores.

Why there is such a lack of continuity or agreement between various news sources on what really happened with regard to incidents like this is beyond me.  It seems the only possible explanation is that at least a good portion of the commentators and reporters have some sort of axe to grind.  They lean toward one side, so they're afraid that reporting something that reflects badly on their favorite, even if it is the truth, will give it less legitimacy.  But isn't telling the truth always better than lying for political gain?  Shouldn't we support policies that make sense rather than simply favor one side or the other?

How about we admit that both sides are to blame? The Palestinians are to blame for not going after terrorists more aggressively (or, in some cases, supporting them), and the Israelis are to blame for acting like the Palestinians have got it made and sentiments like, "What have they got to whine about?"  Israel is to blame for using the full force of their actions and then acting like it's always a surprise that anyone's outraged, and Palestine is to blame for justifying terrorism by calling it "resistance."  I'm sorry, but "resistance" to a militarist state by attacking innocents is just downright murder.

Until both sides admit that they're in the wrong to some extent, no peace will be had.  People need to quit playing the blame game!  When one side makes a mistake, they should be called on it, but don't act like they just blatantly murdered people for fun or love destruction.  This situation is a lot more complex than I think a lot of people assume.  I can't even begin to imagine how it must feel to be an Israeli or Palestinian over there.  No one except residents can truly understand.  So for anyone, especially an outsider who's never even been there, to judge is just the height of absurdity.

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