Monday, August 15, 2005

Pullin' Out

So the Israelis are pulling out of Gaza in the continuing saga of the cluster-fizzle at the end of WWII.

Here's what I think --

In hindsight, Israel probably shouldn't have been created.

However... it was.

And that's what we have to start with today. Things that have happened since then impact what should be done now.

The powers that won WWII, like powers who had won wars in the past divvied up the land as they saw fit (much like when the Muslims conquored northern Africa and Western Europe -- they did as they saw fit). Such is the history of war.

In hindsight, what I think should have happened was there should have been a big state called "Palestine" that had no religious affiliation. Then Jews and Palestinian Arabs could have just lived side by side in one big state and probably have pretty much gotten along.

But again, that's not what happened.

Israel was never given a chance to administer the area the way the British had envisioned, as outlined in the Balfour Declaration, " . . it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine...”

Because the day after the Brits gave up their control over their slice of the Ottoman Empire, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iraq and Jordan attacked the new state. The subsequent repelling by Israel precipitated a large population of refugees -- Palestinians who rose up against their new government before it began with the help of these other Arab states. It was a truly tragic situation. But we can't say that the Palestinians, their leadership, and their actions (tactics) haven't played a very large role in their own collective fate.

Over the years, the Palestinians adopted the tactics we now call "terrorism" to fight Israel. Basically, the idea is to try to make it not worth it for the Jews to stay in Israel, in the hope that the 1947 decision to create the state would somehow be reversed.

Israel as a state had little choice, if it wanted to survive, than to crack down on citizens and others from outside -- especially since those directly involved in the violence took refuge among the citizens. With each attack against terrorist elements, they'd claim to be just ordinary citizens -- oppressed because of their nationality -- and this became the flip side of the terrorist tactics. Go kill people, then go hide among the citizenry and cry "oppression" when reprocussions came.

These tactics won little sympathy with the West -- with the exception of anti-west Leftitsts.

The Palestinians would have won much more sympathy had they just given the new government a chance and, if there was oppression -- engaged in more of a Ghandi-istic approach.

This has gone on for longer than I've been alive -- longer than most Palestinians and Israelis and Arabs have been alive.

That is today's tragedy.

It is true that once one gives into terrorist pressure, one encourages more terrorist behavior in the same way that if you give a screaming child what he wants, you can expect more screaming.

Israel has decided to pull out of the Gaza Strip, a territory it had conquored after being attacked. This is a noble move. Perhaps a bit dubious or misguided -- hopefully not. The bottom line is -- once the Nation of Israel promised to pull out, it must follow through.

If Palestinians and other Arabs continue to attack Israeli citizens and demand more, I have no sympathy for them. If they take this gesture and come to the negotiating table with a sincere intent to compromise, maybe things will work out.

History and current rhetoric are not promising much.

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