The Arab-Israeli Mess

I am currently studying the Arab-Israeli conflict under the tutelage of this professor, a world-renowned scholar on the subject.  We are reading a very good text, A History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, by Bickerton and Klausner, and I am just curious as to what readers have to say on this subject.  I am all in favor of a two state solution myself, but am open to other options if the case is well presented.

What are your thoughts on this conflict?

4 thoughts on “The Arab-Israeli Mess

  1. Without spending 50 bucks to catch you up … This “Mess” as you describe it, is self made … Jews are good at business, money appears to be more important than life itself! … except for their own family’s … They have a distinct lack of empathy towards others … especially other religions … And an undeserved sense of self importance … again, a religious thing!

    So popularity seems unimportant to them … hence their predicament.

    They will eventually be dispersed into the general population and be forced to re-evaluate their own self importance … But bloodshed will be the cause of this event!

  2. Don’t ask me. The following (except for the sarcastic ones) are all questions I don’t have answers to.

    What is a just solution?

    Do “we” kick the Arabs out for something the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans did between 722 BC and 70 AD?

    Do “we” kick the Jews out for something their ancestors did between 1915 and 1967?

    Who are “we”?

    What is practical?

    Should the Jews have the land they have now and the Arabs the land they have now and should both be recognized as states? Would all, some, or none of the rocket attacks and retaliations end? Would giving the Arabs a state appease just the Palestinians, or would Lebanon, Syria, and Iran also be happy? Would giving the Arabs a state at all embolden them and cause them to eradicate the Jews and/or the state of Israel?

    Is the time to do this before or after something comes to a head with the whole Arab spring thing? The Iran thing? Will these ever come t

    Should the Jews have it all because we should feel sorry for them (mistreated throughout history)?

    Or is it a proven fact that every single one of the Israelis is in fact a descendant of the Ancient Israelites, but none of the Palestinian Arabs are?

    Should the Arabs have it all because the Jews are the most recent invaders, and no one in the region likes them at all? Would Israel’s removal bring peace to the Middle East?

    Is this a religious dispute between Muslims and Jews? Or are some of the ethnic Palestinians Christians, Druze, and even Jewish?

    Is this an ethnic dispute between Jews and Arabs? Or are “Arab” and “Jew” just convenient words, but the actual racial and genetic makeup of the respective groups as diverse as that of “Caucasian” (Italians, Swedes, Russians, Anglo-Saxons, Greeks, Armenians)?

    Was there such a thing as a Palestinian before the creation of the state of Israel?

    Are Jews actually Semites? Or does the designation describe anyone whose ancestors happened to have been practicing the Jewish religion prior to, say, 1700 (or any other date).

    Are past atrocities the fault, primarily of one side or the other?

    Are the Jews invaders or was the land granted to them by whoever was ‘legally’ in charge of it at the time?

    Should the Palestinians be driven in to the sea because the Holy Land, according to the Bible, should be rid of Canaanites and Philistines?

    Are Palestinians the modern descendants of the Canaanites and Philistines? In a genetic sense, or a spiritual one?

    Does either side deserve any sympathy? Do they both deserve some sympathy? One side more than the other?

    Is this discussion too emotional for the supporters and representatives of either side to ever be settled satisfactorily to either side?

    Should the west take one side or the other?

    Should liberals side with the Palestinians because they have brown skin, or with the Jews because liberals oppose Naziism and the Jews only went to Israel to get away from Antisemitism?

    Should conservatives side with the Palestinians because the Jews are somehow responsible for the degradation and decadence of the west, or with the Jews because the Palestinians are part of the Islamo-Fascist movement that views the west as crusaders?

    Should totalitarians force Jews and Arabs into some sort of settlement, or just choose not to fight this battle? Might is all these throwbacks understand, no?

    Should libertarians even give a darn? Any ‘state’ solution is bound to be flawed, no? Self-determination belongs solely to the Jews and Arabs in this case, no?

  3. Mess is the word all right. What both commenters above said. The other thing is the displacement of the Palistinians (as we call them now, if I understand this, they were Jordanians before 1848) was not necessarily the best solution but what I find inexucable was the response from the rest of the Arab world. Instead of assimilating the refugees, the essentialy shoved them in camps and kept them there for what, 70 years now.

    If the European nations had done that with the refugee streams (Polish, German, and others) instead of assimilating them, what would have been the result in Europe.

    Solutions? I haven’t any, I don’t know enough but, somehow, somewhere, they are going to have to learn to live with each other or it going to end up a bloodbath.

  4. As far as I can tell there are three solutions to this ongoing conflict. The two state solution, in which a Palestinian state exists side by side with the Jewish state, is dead. The growth of the illegal settlement blocks in the Occupied West Bank, which should include East Jerusalem (unilaterally and illegally annexed by Israel with no legal recognition from any state in the world including the U.S.), has surpassed 500,000 settlers on the ground. Presumably the vast majority of these settlers are going nowhere fast and are in fact only set to grow. Anyone looking at a map of the settlement blocks can clearly see that a viable Palestinian state cannot exist with them in place.

    The second solution is the one state solution. This involves the Palestinians giving up their struggle for a separate homeland in favor of a civil rights based movement for inclusion in a state that would exist between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River (currently Israel and the Occupied Territories). I am personally in favor of this option as it is most in line with a democratic solution: one democratic state where people are guaranteed rights based on their status as a citizen, not on any ethic, religious, or national categories. Of course this means the dissolution of Israel as a Jewish state in favor of a democratic one, not a likely outcome in the foreseeable future.

    The claim the Israel is both a Jewish state and a democratic state is simply illogical. 25% of the population of Israel is not Jewish. A full 20% of Israeli citizens are Palestinians who are not afforded the same rights as their Jewish counterparts. This is not a democracy, it is legally two tiered society more akin to apartheid South Africa than a constitutional (Israel has no constitution) democracy like the UK, France, or the US.

    I bring this point up because it must be recognized that a large part of the Palestinian population reside within Israel itself. Other significant communities of Palestinians live in neighboring states where they forced to flee as refugees following1948. Conditions for the refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, et cetra, are often even worse than those in the Israel, as neenergyobserver rightly pointed out. Any just and equitable solution to the conflict will have to take these communities into account. There will be no solution unless all the affected Palestinians and Israelis are given a voice.

    Finally there is the third option: continue on the present course. Israel can just continue doing what is has been doing the past 45 odd years and slowly enact its expansionist and belligerent foreign policy. When international pressure becomes intense attention can always be diverted to the evil state of the moment, whether it is Iran today or Iraq yesterday. Meanwhile the status quo on the ground only continues. When then invented foreign crisis is over with and people return to the issue of Palestine, Israel has gobbled up more land, water, and gas resources and negotiations can begin all over again. Except that there is a little bit less land and a little bit more settlers than before. The Palestinians have a valid complaint when they say they will not negotiated while settlements are being built; how can party A negotiate with party B for land for a future state while all the time Party B is expanding and building new settlements on the same land that is up for discussion!

    This is often overlooked, but the fact is that Israel and its superpower backer the US have done pretty much everything throughout the years to prevent a workable resolution to the conflict from being agreed upon. We can argue about the motives for this, but the actions are pretty clear. Take a look a UN Security Council vetoes ( It is clear that the US back Israel completely in this conflict and any attempt to act as a just broker between the two sides is jaded at best. Perhaps a better arrangement would have the US and Israel on one side and the rest of the world on the other. This would be more consistent with the wide popular support the Palestinians receive throughout much of the world.
    As long as Israel has the Backing of the US, the third option will be the one implemented. A real solution to the conflict will only occur when the US decides that its interests do not align with the expansionist policies of Israel and revokes its support. There are precedents, such as under the first Bush administration when US funding to Israel was temporarily cut off because of Israeli refusal to halt construction of settlements. As long as Israel has US support, they can ignore the rest of the world.

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