Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Were I Invited to the UN...

Hey, folks. I know it's been a while since last I posted, but after Google decided to not monetize my blog, I was a little disheartened. Even so, I can't stay away from my techno-journal forever, and I have something bouncing around in my head.

Namely, the Palestinian bid for statehood is commanding a lot of my attention. Blame Time and NPR. For those not in the know, Palestine's president, Abbas, is going to the UN to ask for recognition for the occupied nation, giving it observer status (like the Vatican).

Over the past few years, my feelings on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict have changed dramatically. I used to be, if this isn't too dramatic, a Zionist. I had little sympathy for people I viewed as terrorists, launching rockets into Israelites' homes and businesses, which is obviously despicable.

Tell 'em, Daffy.

Reaching college, as it has a tendency to do, opened my eyes to a more nuanced view of the situation. Certainly, there are terrorist elements in the Palestinian nation, people who will not rest until Israel is wiped off the face of the earth. On the other hand, Israel has perpetrated its share of violence against civilians, but that's not "terrorism" because a for real government said it was ok.

People tend to be radicalized by those sorts of crimes, leading to escalation and deep anger. So while the Palestinians are desperate enough, after years of failed negotiations, to go to the UN, Israel is not going to let what it views as a dog off its leash. To Israel, going to the UN represents a disavowal of the negotiations. For Palestine, years of negotiating without progress is just placating talk.

The motivator for both parties, the germ inside that desperation, is fear of losing identity, presence, justice. Yet haven't both sides seen been victimized by oppressors long enough to be able to decide to act with justice and mercy?

A few weeks back, my church discussed the Exodus story, and how whoever is listening at the time puts themselves in the Hebrew's shoes. We then asked ourselves whether that was the case, if we are not, at least occasionally, the Egyptians.

The reason the Egyptians strangled the Hebrew nation was out of fear the Jews would rise up and destroy them. No such thing, of course, happened. Instead, the continuing enslavement of the people caused death and pestilence to descend on the Egyptians.

That, and messing with this guy('s G-d).

I'm forced to wonder is Israel, with America's help, hasn't emulated this despotism. All sorts of economic sanctions are being threatened against Palestine for making this bid, and the first to suffer from those are always the people. It's the sort of punitive "justice" that will only intensify the dichotomy of who appears to be in the right, and who is wrong.

I'm not saying Israel doesn't have valid concerns in Palestine's becoming a nation, but if it does and attacks Israel (which it's doing anyway), Israel must have the rest of the UN on its side when it cracks down. Seems to me, the band-aid strategy of forcing a change in the status quo is the only way to move forward, for Israel to become a country not only democratic within, but without.

Foreign Policy

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