Monday, March 12, 2007

that already didn't work

so i was watching al jazeera last night and they had some pundits talking about some pro-israel lobbying group in the US. somehow the topic veers toward the peace process between israel and palestine and one of these guys says something about working toward a "two people, two states" solution. this sounds to me a lot like separate-but-equal. to which i have to say, didn't we try that already? in the US, i mean. and--feel free to correct me if i'm wrong--i'm pretty sure it failed. miserably. if i can recall my 10th grade US history correctly, it ended up as a big blob of poop on the face of US history, 'cause y'know it wasn't a remotely fair system. and i ask you, if israel and palestine are officially split into two states, and one of them--israel--gets to keep in its possession jerusalem (which i can't imagine it wouldn't) and a whole lot of other land that palestinians used to live on (which i'm guessing is probably the better land in the region, at least the most useful in terms of agriculture) and then the palestinians get the crappy land that they've been herded onto, is that fair? is that a system of organization that is going lead to a peaceful co-existence between two historically antagonistic groups of people? what kind of palestinian would agree to that?


Joshua said...

So Mr. McBucketpants,

what would your solution be if not a two-state one?

Flushy McBucketpants said...

the one with the best chance for success: go back in time and put israel somewhere else (get to work on that, ducore).

outside of time travel... i personally favor integration, but don't see it ever happening. they'd have to dissolve the israeli government and create a secular state (highly unlikely). israeli settlements recently constructed on former palestinian land would have to be relinquished, displacing a bunch of israelis who i'm guessing feel like they have rights to the land. we'd probably end up with a lot of residual animosity, but i'd guess the number of bombings and retaliatory action would decrease over time if everyone at least had representation in government, equal rights under the law, and relatively fair shot at economic success.

really, i don't think there's a an agreement that can be reached where both groups would be content.

Flushy McBucketpants said...

and as my friend kyle pointed out, there's a difference between the two-state system proposed and the "separate-but-equal" segregated society that existed in the US and that is of course that in the US was that we had two societies in one state rather than two societies in two states and african americans weren't asking for self-determination.

i guess what i was trying to get at in this here post is that i just can't conceive of a situation where palestinians would get a fair shake in a two-state deal. at least in a two state deal that israel would also agree to. palestinians will always have been cheated out of the lives and opportunities they should've had. not to mention quite a bit of land.

Joshua said...

The problem with integration is that then there would no longer be a Jewish state, just one more state with a Jewish minority. Seeing how happy the Palestinian leadership were to work with the Nazis during World II, I don't know how many Jews would want to live in a Palestinian majority state.

These have perhaps been the most peaceful 62 years in Jewish history. That's saying a lot when you consider the wars waged against Israel, the Jewish day care center being shot up in LA, the Jewish Federation building in Seattle shot up where my friend Dan works, the bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, the countless attacks on Jews in Europe, destruction of synagogues, cemeteries, memorials, etc. (to name a few incidents). In Philadelphia and New York, I've personally seen the charred remains of a synagogues burned by arsonists and the shattered glass of synagogues with their windows smashed. Not to mention the thousand of Jews murdered in Europe in pogroms in the years after the holocaust. The point, if this was not clear, is that Jews need a homeland. It is naive to assume that even in these years of wonderfulness (no holocaust, no inquisition, no forced removal from our homes and scattered to the winds-yay!) that this will be the norm forever. Jewish history has been marked by persecution since day one and that won't change. What is different now is that the Jews finally have an advocate-Israel- and place to go when shit hits the fan. Hence the thousands of French Jews who immigrated to Israel in the last five or six years in response to increase anti-Jewish violence there. I'm very happy being a Jewish-American, but if the Nazis had won the war, you and I probably would not be having this discussion today. Don't forget that the international community could have saved nearly all the Jews have Europe, but instead, turned most of them away. America even discouraged Cuba from taking in a boat of Jewish refugees. They boat returned to Europe and its passengers were killed.

So I think I've established a need for a Jewish state.

Now the problem is it's also where the Palestinians live and want their state. I suppose ideally a Jewish state could have been established on some uninhabited island, but the reality is, Israel is the historic and religious center of the Jewish world. It's the holiest place in Judaism and there have always been Jews there, even after the Romans kicked us out two-thousand years ago for one too many revolutions.
In the aftermath, successions of people immigrated there and took over most of that land. The latest of those groups are today's Palestinians.
So both people have claims to the land. Neither side wants to share.
In 1948 the UN offered a two state solution with Jerusalem under international control. Israel said yes and the Palestinians, provoked and probably duped by their powerful Arab "brothers" went to war.
It would have been the Palestinians' first chance in their history for a state. Instead, they lost the war and more land.
The state they will get in their future won't be as nice as the one they would have had in 1948, but that is the price paid for losing a war they started. Life is not fair by any means.
In regards to the quality of the land, the Palestinians actually have a great deal of fertile farming land. When it's not being bombed, it actually produces a great deal of produce, even at times for Israeli markets. The land quality isn't the issue, it's the question of land mass-actually a question of a few miles (this is a very small place) and far more importantly the issue of Palestinians who fled in 1948 being able to return to their homes in what is now Israel. If they were to do so, it would no longer be Israel, hence the problem. Beyond that the debate is over Jerusalem.

So, for the Palestinians, their best and only bet is a two state solution.

Flushy McBucketpants said...

i think you make a pretty good case. and you're clearly better versed in the history of the area than i am. ... and yet, i have a few things to say:

i see problems cropping up when you have a supposedly democratic country (or any kind of nation) that systematically favors one ethnic group over another, especially when the ethnic group that is primarily disfavored lives next door.

if the jews need a homeland (and i am ambivalent about that), the absolute worst place--politically speaking--to put it is where israel is now. if you're looking for a place where jews can go and live happy and safe lives, then sticking them in a place surrounded by angry arabs and muslims is not the way to do it. this goes doubly-so if you think that one day violence or persecution against jews is likely to get worse and not better.

if any land in the world should be governed by a non-discriminatory secular body, it should be the land that israel occupies because as we all know that land is holy to many groups, not just the jews. the thought that jews have more of a right or claim to that land than other religious groups, which israel and the international community said implicitly by creating a jewish state there, is asking for trouble.

don't get me wrong, i'm not crazy (i think... but than truly crazy people don't think they're crazy...). the idea at this point that we can pack up and move israel now or establish a jewish state elsewhere is about as likely as going back in time. so i don't know where that leaves me...

...ok. also:while jews and arabs were killing each other while under british rule before israel was established, (correct me if my facts are screwy here... it's what i remember from reading wikipedia the other day...) the current state of the conflict grew out of the planned partition of palestine into two states. the UN came up with a two-state partition solution and jewish leaders accepted the plan, but palestinian arabs did not. so they rioted against the vote (attacking jews, burning their shops and buildings--very uncool an completely unhelpful to their cause). then in 1948 israel declared itself a state anyway (approved by the brits), war ensued and in the aftermath we have more-or-less the current situation. israel and the disputed gaza strip, west bank, and golan regions.

if the conflict as it is essentially began because palestinians did not agree with the two-state partition, how are we going to solve the problem with a another two-state solution? that just doesn't make any sense to me. i guess maybe the palestinians will change their minds eventually and warm themselves to the idea of having their own state and just settle for that, but that doesn't seem to be their MO.

like i said before. i favor an integrated state, but i don't see that happening. i think a two-state solution has about the same chances for success. on the whole i don't think there's an agreement that can be reached where both parties would be content.

...but then again, look at northern ireland. who thought they'd find a lasting peaceful solution there?