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Eureka: Reflecting on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict
by Jay Gutman
2018-06-07 04:29:57
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“A negotiated settlement to a two-state solution with both states living side by side.” I know some Europeans like to think that all you need to do is put loud speakers over Israel and play the Beatles song “all you need is love” and by the time the song ends you'll have Palestinians and Israelis dancing slows together to the tune of Whitney Houston's “I will always love you” and maybe even kissing. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrring. Time to wake up. Get real. A lot of Muslims think music is “haram” and so is dancing. Wake up.

Now here are a series of reflections on the conflict, which I hope will help those reading remain optimistic but realistic about the conflict.

isra0001_400-Palestinians call Israel “occupied Palestine.” Not just settlements in the West Bank. To them Israel is occupied territory. The problem is unlike France with its African colonies, or Britain with its British empire, Israel has no metropolis to go to. Palestinians talk about occupied Palestine ambiguously, as if Israelis had some kind of metropolis they could move to in order to liberate their land.

-The difference between a peaceful demonstration and a riot. A peaceful demonstration is when your only weapon is a loudspeaker and you walk quietly, perhaps even sit and light candles like they do in Asia. When you throw stones, molotov cocktails, kite bombs, and in some cases even fire shots, or try to stab soldiers, in English it's called a riot. En français c'est une émeute. So get the facts right when you call Palestinian rioters “peaceful demonstrators.”

-”The Palestinians are desperate, that's why they commit terrorist acts.” Get real. When you're desperate, you try to come up with a plan for economic development, not commit terrorist acts. Had the Palestinians come up to the Israelis and said “look, we're giving up terror. Here's our plan for agriculture, for industry, for roads and trasportation, for the service sector, for the financial sector, for households, for the corporate sector etc.” things would be a lot easier. But they're stuck with wanting to liberate “Palestine” and “Jerusalem” for the sake of liberating it, not even for the sake of economic, cultural and social development.

-”Israel should use restraint.” That's assuming that the Palestinian demonstrations are peaceful demonstrations. They are not peaceful demonstrations, they are riots. When there's a riot being held at less than a kilometer from Israeli civilians, you want to make sure there are as few casualties as possible. Israeli soldiers fire warning shots, rioters don't back off. Israeli soldiers throw tear gas, rioters don't back off. When the rioters threaten to break the fence and invade the Israeli town and that there's thousands of them, drastic measures have to be taken.

-The rest of the points will be cultural points. Much like Europe, Israel believes in the pluarlity of voices, logic and concrete solutions to concrete problems. Israel believes in individual rights, freedom, the pursuit of happiness, and free economic enterprise. Palestinians put faith above all else, and believe in correct behavior, fear of God, the pursuit of going to heaven and being a good Muslim as the end goal. Concrete steps such as economic cooperation or even environmental cooperation for that matter tend not to be on top of their agenda.

-Plural Palestinian voices. Hamas is the extremist Palestinian voice and controls Gaza. Area B territories of the West Bank are controlled by Fatah, a more pragmatic organization that has some progressive views on the conflict, although some of the views are ambiguous. The problem is Fatah is being held hostage by Hamas, and fears taking progressive steps will lead to a Palestinian civil war. This is the main reason the conflict is at a stalemate.

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