Monday, March 31, 2003

The Arab Street

Riled up. Hot boiling mad about something that is not excactly the truth. From what I'm seeing there is actually NOTHING the United States can do that would be right, including doing nothing. The problem is we have been "deamonized". What that basically means is what I said in the previous sentence -- we are just wrong, evil, bad no matter what we do or don't do. Saddam is our fault, but removing him by force is genocide or religicide. Applying diplomatic pressure with sanctions kills Iraqi children. Doing nothing allows the beast who (as it's already been established by the Arab street) is our problem to remain in power and keep his thumb squarely on his people and develop WMD to make the Arab hero he thinks he is (and apparently much of the Arab street does too) by perhaps wiping out most of the Israeli population or sicking Chem/Bio or at least dirty bombs on the U.S. via his own folks or convenient proxies like Al Quiada.

Ah, and that whole Israeli thing.... the West doesn't put it's point of view forward very well. I also kind of find it odd that the U.S. is expected to "solve" the Israel/Palestine problem, but of course everything we do is interference. I imagine anything short of saying that Israel no longer exists and it's all Palestine will be viewed as more "proof" that the U.S. is merely Zionism nationalized and empowered and we're all for our Jewish buddies in the Middle East taking over the entire middle east "From the Nile to the Euphrates" (apparently some Zionist version of "the 'Promised Land'"). Well, I can assure any open-minded person in the Middle East that the United States wants no part of any such thing, never has, and never will.

The way we do see it, though, is like this: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon... and the rest of the countries that most recently made up the Ottoman Empire (there were several empires before) were created in much the same way Israel was created. Some lines were drawn, admittedly arbitrarily and those lines are the source of much of the consternation in the mideast.... but none so much as the Palestine/Israel lines. At any rate, since they were created in the same manner, every middle eastern country had as much right to exist after WWI as any other, including Israel. But what happened the day after Israel became a soveriegn state? It was attacked by surrounding Arab countries.

Now let's review what would had happened if the Arabs had won. They would fully have expected that what was Israel would be the spoils of war, they would then control the area. They'd've re-drawn lines, and Israel would no longer exist... right? Anybody disagree with that?

But that's not what happened. Instead, Israel won, and took large chunks of territory from surrounding states that attacked it. Now remember what we just said: that had the Arab states that attacked Israel in the first place won that war, they would have expected to control what was once Israel and draw it right off the map as quickly and easily as the lines defining Iraq were drawn after WWI. The opposite happened. Israel expanded it's territory to include territory that was "won" from the attacking nations. But, they were expected to give it back. Can anyone say "double-standard"? I know the Arab street is fond of that term, but I'll bet it doesn't apply to them in their minds.

Don't get my wrong. I have sympathy for the Palestinians. Oddly, the very attack by various Arab states in support of them actually put the Palestinians in the terrible plight they're in now. They had a state, and they lost it. Now there's this sort of Quasi-State administered by Israel, and not adminstered very well at that. If Israel truly wanted peace, they'd stop "settling" the West Bank & Gaza and if they wanted to be really manganamous, they'd pull back all the settlements altogether. I understand there's reasons -- perhaps even Zionist reasons they don't want to, but there's a couple other reasons why they can't, and it has to do with legitimizing the tactics the Palestinians have used to apply pressure on Israel to "give it back". And that's Terrorism. I have a whole 'nother rant on terrorism, and what the moral differences are between that and "freedom fighting". That'll come later.

But suffice it to say, Palestine would have a lot more friends in the west had it chosen to take what moral high ground it could and not blow civillians up on purpose to get attention.

Let's take a look at the oft-cited UN Resolution 242, in which Israel is supposed to pull out of all areas occupied (notice that it just says "armed forces"... hmmmm) -- having been taken by force in the wars that followed Israel's creation:

[...] Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

While the first part is what the Palestinians and Arabs demand, the second part is ignored by them. The Palestinans have steadfastly refused to acknowledge the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area ... which includes Israel. Again, look who's talking about double-standards.

So yes, the United States does often (but not all the time, we also put lots of pressure on them) back Israel. But it has nothing to do with being cohorts in Zionism. Perhaps if the Arab street could at least acknowledge the merits U.S.'s point of view and divorce itself from the idea that we somehow want to help the radical Zionists in their goals... there'd be more trust when we go into a place like Iraq to get rid of someone who everyone agrees is a bad guy and nobody else will lift a finger to get him and his just-as-dangerous sons ousted as well.