עם זאת, שוב, ישראל?/مرة أخرى، فلسطين؟


So you’ve all doubtlessly heard about the shit hitting the fan in Israel. It all came in the wake of three Israeli teens being murdered, and spiraled from there, as Israel exacted revenge against…someone, via their usual policies of collective punishment. Hamas retaliated by firing off several missiles, which killed zero Israelis. Israel responded by attacking Gaza, and killed about 200 civilians. Tit, tat, etc.

Realistically what this situation calls for is for Israel and Palestine to be two separate countries, with Jerusalem as an open, international, city-state, freely accessible to basically everyone. This whole thing is a non-starter for Israel, as their prime minister said just the other day.

“I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.”

This, mind you, is the same man who called for revenge against the Palestinians following the deaths of those three Israeli teens. That revenge seemed to be partly fulfilled when a Palestinian teenager was murdered, and his cousin, an American citizen, was brutally beaten by Israeli police forces. The situation is further not helped by Israel continuing to repress Palestinians and treat them very much like how blacks were treated in South Africa and the United States. It’s also not helped by Israel continuing to expand their illegal settlements.

None of this is meant to say that Palestine is innocent here. Hamas needs to stop lobbing rockets at Israel. When your enemy is looking for even the slightest excuse to stomp on you, giving them that excuse is unwise. They need to be very loudly, clearly, engaging in peaceful actions against Israel if they’re going to have any hope for lasting co-existence.

But at this point, it’s obvious that the people in control on both sides don’t want peaceful co-existence. It’s clear that Israel’s government wants Palestinians to continue to be second-class citizens at best, and ideally gone from the areas of “greater Israel”. It’s also clear that there are many in Palestine, and many in the greater Arab world, who don’t want Israel to exist, either. So this is something of a problem.

I think at this point the best thing for Israel to do would to be to start to moderate their responses to attacks, and at the same time move toward either a free Palestine or full integration of the Palestinians into Israel. That means full citizenship, including voting and marriage (which is important, as Israel’s marriage laws make those of the Jim Crow South look tolerant and broad-minded). That isn’t something Israel is likely to do, since they want to preserve their identity as a Jewish state. They don’t want to give Palestinians their freedom, either.

As for the Palestinians, they need to start protesting hard against organizations that make their personal lives more difficult. If they’re ever going to have their own country, it will only be once Israel feels incredibly safe. That certainly isn’t going to happen under the current situation. They also need to accept, fully, the reality that Israel will be there now and forever.

As for what the United States needs to do, we need to stay the fuck out. We can provide help with negotiations or the like, but otherwise, we need to be far more neutral than we are. We also need to stop our knee-jerk support for everything that Israel does, no matter how evil it would be if someone else were doing it to Israel or to us.

Israel’s existence is, frankly, an error. The country should have never come into existence the way that it did; a way that completely ignored the rights of the people already there. In the wake of World War II, I don’t really blame the great powers for creating Israel, but they really should have thought about it a bit longer. Still, the country is there, and needs to be dealt with, and we need to stop treating them like our closest friend and start being a bit more skeptical.

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