Monday, January 5, 2009

Unwelcome Fireworks

It has been more than 60 years now since the start of the Israel Palestine Conflict.
What I write below is my understanding of the situation, and hence is up for discussions and debate.
If I may permit myself to simplify history and bring out the beginning of the conflict, then it eventually will boil down to the time Nazi's were executing the 'ethnic cleansing' process, compelling the Jews to escape out of Germany in search of a new home, Palestine. Why Palestine? It was because of Jerusalem - which is also the most holy place for Jews. ( If we rewind some more, then I would say Britain played smart -- in 1916 it convinced Arabs to revolt against the Ottoman Empire and then, in 1917 a British Foreign Minister, Lord Arthur Balfour issued a declaration supporting the establishment of 'a Jewish national home in Palestine'. Palestine then was inclusive of what Israel is now.) After world war 2, with support from UN, Israelis occupied a large portion of the land of the Arabs and called it Israel -- even when Jews were a minority population there, they were given majority of the land. (Israelis (Jews) most often got special consideration because of the horrendous crimes committed against them during the reign of Hitler). Hence after the partition and proclamation of Israel in 1948, what was left of the Palestine was essentially the Gaza strip and the west banks and a totally dissatisfied and cheated Arab population who clearly rejected the partition of Palestine and the existence of Israel. In addition to this, the other issues include the internationalization of Jerusalem - which was promised by UN but never really done and also driving out the Palestinians from Israel into refugee camps (there are thousands of Palestinians who have been born, grown up and died/killed in refugee camps).

Have more to write on this.. will continue in the next post soon.


lex said...

Actually looking forward to the next blog on the same topic. Agree with your timing and agree with the title as well. but thats about it as far as agreement goes.

"Unwelcome Fireworks" true.....but i believe a country has all the rights to defend and protect its citizens from harm's way....

You just seem to have scratched the surface of a really horrible flesh wound which has been opened and re-opened since centuries. going back to the second world war does not actually reveal the horrible bloodshed and bad blood linked with this piece of land.

Three major religions converge onto the holy land that we now call Jerusalem. IF you Go back to the "Real" history and you might just find that Jerusalem was always Jewish, even before the advent of Christianity and Islam, so there is no dispute on the original inhabitants of this land. It then went through a series of conquest and re-conquests by roman, Persian, Muslim armies and also witnessed the horror of the holy Crusades, finally re-occupied by the Jews through some clinical diplomacy.

No matter how much we debate, there is NO solution to this conflict, especially when people start going back to history. Innocent lives would be lost, there would be continued bloodshed, until common sense prevails and we STOP referring back to history and what happened in the past. We live in the present and need to fight the problems of the present, without looking at the past. Because what happens today (in the present) is HISTORY tomorrow.

Deepshikha said...

@Lex: Thanks for visiting.
I have a couple of things to say on what you wrote.

How does one decide which land belongs to whom? Is it just by the existence of places of worships, and which religion it belongs to? Even if we go by that rule, if Jerusalem -> Abraham -> Jews, then you would also appreciate, Jerusalem -> Ishmail -> Islam. Also, Ishmail was none other than Abraham's son, hence by that logic, Jerusalem should be for both Jews and Islamists, and jews and muslims have a big connection! But who wants to acknowledge this? Unifying facts are always conveniently ignored.

The stifle between the Arabs and Jews date way back to the end of the 19th century. With the start of the Zionist movement. Will write about all this sometime soon..

When you say that every country has a right to defend itself, then what do you really mean by that? What kind of threat do you think the Jews had from the Palestinians ? Before 1947, there was only Palestine, if anyone had to fear, it should have been the palestinians! Had it not been for UK, USA and France, today history might have been different.

Although I do agree when you say that people keep going back to history and problems remain unresolved. More so because no one settles anything less than what they think they rightly deserve.

Tuples said...

Edward Said wrote insightfully on this issue - he died sometime ago, but in my mind that is the most insightful analysis that I have read, might be a place to start. Yes they have his books in the bookstores in delhi.

lex said...

The whole world (accept for the ignorant ones) know that all Abrahamic religions have a deep rooted connection, so much so that their holy books have reference points to each other.

Let me clear some things for you, by the way, this is in no way arguing with you that events during the last fortnight were unfortunate and should never happen again.

Jerusalem -> Ishmail -> Islam?????????? How could you relate this to the original inhabitants of the Promised Land, I have no idea….. Abraham was Hebrew, Ishmael was his elder son, whose lineage went on to become arab tribes (NOT MUSLIMS)……..this happened between 2000 and 1800 BC….. The tribes moved and settled around the middle east (outside canaan by the way) and it was almost 600 AD when Prophet Mohamed was born to one of those tribes, who then introduced Islam to the world.

Let me once again emphasize on the facts, there is NO disputing the original settlers of the holy land. The people who you claim that they were the original inhabitants of the holy land did not originate till 600AD where as Moses had led an Exodus of Jews from Egypt to Canaan (Israel the promised Land) almost 1500 years before Christ.

Why are we even debating on the facts on the original settlers when information relevant history is free to access and verify. But as I said, history would not stop the bloodshed, but only aggravate the situation.

When you blog on current affairs, its very easy to take sides and ignore that there are two sides to a coin. If gaza, and in past Lebanon have been attacked by Israel, it was because their citizens were attacked first. Schools, Hospitals and residents are always subject to rocket attacks from across the line of control. How do you fight a war with a militia that uses innocent civilians as human shields to protect themselves and who are hell bend on destroying your very existence. How can you live around countries who do not give you the right to servive? Do not acknowledge you existence…..Imagine being surrounded Pakistan and Like minded countries on all four sides and the continuous struggle for existence. Its is very easy to point fingers and be biased when you see bloodshed and equally difficult to be rational.

And it is not just Palestine, almost all neighbors, accepts Jordan, are actively engaged in the movements to hurt Israel in one way or the other. Be it Hamaz in gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon, such movements have just one aim………..”To wipe out Israel from the face of this earth” does this thought process help in bringing peace in that cursed piece of land?

lex said...

another fact of life! since thousands of years, Lands and countries have been conquered by war or taken over by diplomacy! But once its deemed as history, you do not try and reverse what has happened.....The Middle east, Chechnya and Kashmir are all examples of this.............

Deepshikha said...

@Lex - I dont remember saying anything about the ORIGINAL inhabitants of a country. All I said was Jerusalem belongs as much to Jews as much it belongs to Arabs(who are Muslims). Anyway, For me the concept is as juvenile as a childs play who rushes to his school bus to be the first one to keep his Tiffin box on the seat he wants and then proudly announce that the seat belongs to him! And if for once I go by the logic that since the old Palestine was the Promised Land for the Jews, then can you justify why Jews weren’t inhabiting that place? Why for hundreds of years Arabs were a strong majority there? Your logic says that we should go by what is written in the scriptures (whose authenticity can be debated) and clearly ignore what we see before us! Even when Palestine was divided, more than 50% of the land went to Israel which had almost one fourth population as compared to the Arabs. Fair is it? Then, Israel refuses the internationalization of Jerusalem and further goes to occupy upto 70% of Palestine. Fair Again?

Deepshikha said...

@Lex--Plus, I dint quite get what you meant by the Kashmir siting. I hope you are not of the belief that Indian occupation of Kashmir in the manner it is now, is fair and correct.

@Tuples-- I will try to get that book..

lex said...

as i said, i am not hear to teach you history, the facts are out there for you to refer. For you this might just be an interesting subject to blog on, articles uve read, documentaries uve seen and the channels covering the bloodshed might be the source for this blog. i just noticed some naive thoughts in this blog and thought would let you know. Few things that were totally wrong like Arab = Muslim, Why the jews didnt live in the promised land (by the way, the reason they didnt live there was because they were driven out, just like the Palestinians were driven out later), clearly points your knowledge on this subject is superficial and a lot confused. I suggest you get your facts right, i just cannot help but comment, its your blog and ppl are hear to comment on your blog.

As for Kashmir, Fair or unfair, correct or incorrect, the fact is its a part of India, now what are you going to do about it. Again, Going back to history do no good. However if you are hell bend on going back to history, at least get all your history covered before you blog.

Deepshikha said...

@lex- You remind me of a person called 'brahamstra' who regularly comments on shekar kapurs blog. You can conveniently leave judging my knowledge on anything and everything, because i know what i am reading and how i imbibe what i read. I dislike arguing with prejudiced people such as you and I would rather let you and let myself live with the thoughts we have. However I do accept the mistake in calling Arabs, Muslims -- but then again it aint a big mistake since Arabs are actually Muslims. You should read the right books.
Also, kashmir was temporarily handed over to India - it was not a permanent arrangement. And in the manner India is treating the people of Kashmir, it rather be free than still be a part of hindustan.
So, dear Lex, Thanks but no thanks!

lex said...

Did not mean to Judge you, but yes, after reading my own comment, it definably sounds like i did, so heart felt apologies.....All i am trying to say is, people should not crib about what happened more than half a century ago, coz even Israel could crib about the occupation of their homeland almost 1200 years ago. Both hold unjust and both hold true. So the question should be how can people stop this bloodshed and not point what was done in the Past. I just wish and pray is people stop referring to the past and think about solving the present........In the words of my manager.........Don't come to be with problems, come to me with solutions :)


Deepshikha said...

And Lex, another thing, I appreciate your knowledge (what ever more or, less you have) because, unlike you, I am not here to judge you or your intellect. My purpose has always been to have healthy discussions with people and not to indulge, and be part of vain and nasty argument sessions.
None of us were born informed -- people learn thru various means which include meaningful conversation. But that does not mean you belittle the people at the table with you. A little politeness takes people a long way my friend.

lex said...

Well, not here to flaunt understanding on historic facts or current affairs. This is a very sensitive topic for millions of individuals, around the world. Frankly speaking, people naively think that it’s a Palestinian or an Israeli problem, or a middle eastern problem, or a humanitarian problem……..Well its true for a neutral observer, its nothing more than a humanitarian disaster, but for others who have followed this story for decades, its something much more than that, something that fuels lot of anger and frustration within, but also a sense of helplessness of being unable to make even a zip of a difference. And I cannot explain you how that feel! So don’t be under the impression that I am trying to judge your knowledge on this topic, coz I am NOT, frankly speaking i don’t care about what you know on the history, what interests me is what you think on this issue (which ofcourse is based on what you know on this topic to an extent)

Like I said, ill be following your blog and waiting for your next one on the same topic. Am really interested to know where you take this topic next.

Will discuss further on this as you come up with the second one, as of now, I got to go, there are a handful of other bloggers I need to lock horns with and time seems to be an enemy all the time.


Deepshikha said...

Lex -- You comments make me feel that you are justifying Israeli attacks on Gaza based on Israeli issues on national security -- if thats the case -- I think you are far behind for any debate.

And hey! Its good that you dont care about my knowledge on the subject and that you are not here to judge, because to judge, you need to know well yourself, and I am afraid, theres nothing you've written so far has made me have any confidence in you.
With the advise of 'Tuples' I read Edward Said, and that made my belief stronger. Like I said before, you must read from right sources, and then develop a sound and aware opinion. I guess you are reading literature published by the Israel Embassy! You live in your prejudiced world and you are free to do so - because I am a liberal and fair person -- I think people have the right to think what they want -- what becomes troublesome is when they get hell bound in making others believe their belief and in the process forget the decency which distinguishes men from beasts.
Nevertheless, thanks for visiting again..

Arjuns Gab said...

After going through the comments; looks like another major conflict in the brew here ...

For most I agree with Lex (except the parts, where it turns into an argument).

My additional 2 cents (and I am ignorant regarding the complete in-depth history) ....

...Every region has a history, none of the inhabitants of the current generation are to really blame as this conflict was not theirs by choice. (Ok Idealistic so far..)

More importantly we have to focus on the current strategic and demographic situation. Lets not forget a few years back, Israel was attacked by all its neighbors. Had it not been for their tough stance they would have been wiped out; since then their neighbors hostilities have not ceased to exist. (Am drawing a connect between recent history and current affairs in that region).

The fact remains, that fair or unfair; the neighboring muslim nations will not allow Israel to function if Israel opened its doors and liberalized their stance. ...their neighbors are not liberal.

Last but not the least, I would like to add my personal bias to this. Unfortunately, I do believe that most of the middle east and near by states have developed a lot of intolerance for other races. Observing all conflicts across the world originating from that region; it is clear that I have no tolerance for states or people who themselves are intolerant. ..If you live by the sword, you die by the sword.

Additionally, Israel in its short existence has been a progressive country industrially. What have the neighboring states achieved in that stature? This is also an indicator of the health of the culture and the people. .. are the people more bent on destructive thinking or constructive?

..Note how Im not just talking of Palestine, but also the surrounding nations. Clearly Palestine could not do better than its neighbors... but Israel has!

I rest my case.