“Someone in power needs to be willing to make the necessary sacrifices for their people.”
How to make sense of the escalating violence?
Being rather detached from the terror that both sides live with it’s easy to pontificate and moralise. But the world should have an opinion other than that expressed by the chattering classes in the media who can take a rather partial view of the conflict. Reading the comments on the BBC website from people inside Israel and Gaza it’s obvious from these few comments that the citizen opinion is all about ‘why’. There’s a surprising consensus that this shouldn’t be happening and both sides need to find ways to live in peace.
From what I can see the Palestinians were, through the device of international law and by tacit agreement by posturing nations, duped out of their land and nation state just after the Second World War. The Palestinians have ended up largely in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Gaza Strip has been described as the biggest prison in the world and not without some reason. Whilst Israel has prospered, quite rightly as is their right, the Palestinian nation for what it is has been denied economic opportunity. They are just not in the ‘in club’ and remain economically destitute.
But then this particular conflict is more than just economics as religious culture, false historic assumptions and bigotry also play a part. The situation has produced extremes in the human experience which have turned in on itself in a statement of self and mutual annihilation. To whose gain?
Who are the real Jews? I read a book a while back that suggested that the idea of Jewish nationhood clung to today by Israel is flawed and without any historic context. The history as alternatively stated goes that when the Jews were taken into slavery by the Babylonians that they took mainly the elite and left behind the farmers and other common people. One would assume that the common people being separated from their means of leadership were then not considered a threat and so where left to be. The Israelites in Babylon under the guidance of Ezekiel then wrote down what eventually was canonised into the Old Testament. The general theme seemed to be ‘we find ourselves in this predicament because we have been less that faithful to the deity Yaweh. It’s our own fault and now we should repent and refocus on that deity.’ A simple message for a deported people trying to find a reason for their worsened situation. It was also a rallying call to reassert the group identity in a time of danger. Understandable given that in times of danger humankind ‘groups’ for protection. Religion in mystifying the message qualitatively ensure a successful outcome in this regard. They ‘grouped’ and chose a narrative that best supported their hope for a more prosperous future.
It has been argued through DNA and historic evidence that the Palestinians are just as much, or more, Jewish than the European Jews who have more recently annexed the land now enjoyed by the state of Israel. Ironic isn’t it then that this comes back down to a class struggle between Israeli Jew and Palestinian (Jew).
Rather than making sense of the violence in my own mind it seems more insoluble given the historic complexities and a host of seemingly false narratives told over the centuries.
Someone once said that if you are concerned about the cost of education then you should first consider the cost of NOT educating people. In this case bigotry among politicians from all eras and cultural conflict have created considerable human suffering over the centuries from the pogroms of the Jewish diaspora down to the human and territorial conflict in Palestine/Israel today. Education and an acceptance of a shared historical identity may help to further bind the two protagonists together and thereby put an end to the pain and suffering shared by both the Israeli and Palestinian communities.