Israel and Palestine – My Two Cents
The utter absurdity of the current situation in Israel/Palestine could have been predicted for the last 75 years. Did anyone really believe that you could move into a man’s house and “give” him the hall closet to live in and he would accept it?
Yes, I understand that the Jews had suffered horribly under Hitler’s attempt to eradicate them. And long before that, the history of their horrific treatment deserves understanding and condemnation. But why did anyone think that what existed in Palestine could be rearranged like chess pieces and no one would care?
Jews, Arabs, and yes Christians all lived side by side before 1948. What was wrong with that? If Jews needed a safer place to live than mingled through other countries—which, by the way, is how ALL OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS exist—they had the freedom to relocate to Palestine without anyone declaring it a Jewish state.
Even then, after 1948, after Israel had been recreated as the homeland of “God’s Chosen People,” it still wasn’t enough. A settler movement to expand grew in this new nation. How many times have I watched news reports showing Israeli bulldozers pushing over the homes and ancient orchards of Palestinians? How many times have I worried that sooner or later there would be hell to pay for Israelis for their lack of respect, their utter disregard for the dignity and rights of Palestinians?
Recently, since the October attack occurred, I’ve learned that certain groups of American “Christians” have been funneling money to the West Bank to support the continuing spread of Jewish takeover of Palestinian lands.
- But evangelicals’ support isn’t simply driven by a theology that compels them to love the Holy Land, detached from its convulsive domestic and global political implications. For many “Christians Zionists,” and particularly for popular evangelistswith significant clout within the Republican Party, their support for Israel is rooted in its role in the supposed end times: Jesus’ return to Earth, a bloody final battle at Armageddon, and Jesus ruling the world from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. In this scenario, war is not something to be avoided, but something inevitable, desired by God, and celebratory.
Allow me to just say here that if God exists, if this is the message of divinity, HE/SHE/IT does not need evangelicals or Republicans to facilitate the “end times.”
When you pull back the curtains in search of real answers to the conflict—or, frankly, just about any conflict—you need look no further than the nearest gathering of religionists. Israelis don’t respect Palestinians because they’re not Jews. In fact, just about any review of Israeli/Jewish attitudes about their position in the world, historically, will reveal a people convinced they are God’s Chosen People and their suffering is part of their destiny until God sends their Messiah to rescue them.
Also, I have a bridge to sell you.
Not that their perpetual victimhood doesn’t have legitimate legs to stand on. Ever since the establishment of the Christian religion back in 400 something AD, Jews have been the whipping boy. Read up. I won’t clog my narrative here with that history. Suffice it to say that they have been horribly abused, discriminated against, and otherwise mistreated.
And that is largely because CHRISTIANS blame the Jews for not becoming Christians, not accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and on top of all that, for being the instrument by which Jesus was crucified. Never mind that it apparently was God’s plan all along that Jesus would be crucified. Why not blame God?
But onward with my rant. This entire episode currently underway is a ridiculous, outrageous crime against humanity. I’m not talking about the despicable attack by Hamas on people, the beheadings, the mutilations, the kidnapping. I’ll get to that in a minute. I’m talking about the ongoing Israeli attack on civilians in Gaza. It is war crimes. It is genocide. It is the worst possible course of action that Netanyahu and his cohort could possible choose.
Why? Yes, of course Israel has the right to protect itself. But that’s just about the flimsiest excuse for the last 45 days of hate-fueled violence one could imagine. Yes, of course Hamas hides in tunnels, shelters behind civilians. Israel has one of the most advanced military forces in the world, thanks again to the Western powers. Without Hamas, there would be no ability by Palestinians to try to regain their pride, their homes, their independence. The United States, Britain and other Western powers that set this nightmare in motion back in 1948 have PROMISED to protect Israel, which is why the region bristles with our jets, helicopters, drones, aircraft carriers strike groups, nuclear powered submarines, and more men in addition to the troops already over there. According to the Pentagon,
- The firepower from these warships is a deterrent, but it is also to help protect the 45,000 U.S. service members and contractors that are stationed in the Middle East. Most are in Kuwait, but thousands are in Qatar, Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Pentagon has also deployed 1,200 troops to the Middle East, though not to Israel, since the war began. On Oct. 26, the Defense Department announced it was sending 900 troops, primarily for air defense, to the region. Another 300 troops, mostly ordnance disposal, communications and other support, were announced Oct. 31.
Surely we all recognize that the U.S. and others see Israel as our surrogate in the Middle East. We could have cared less about the Middle East until oil came into the equation.
Meanwhile, Arab nations in the region are understandably “concerned” about the situation. They’ve never been pleased with the arrogance of Western European powers thinking they had the right to insert themselves in the middle of their lands, brush aside Palestinians, and install a Jewish state where none had previously existed for 2,000 years. Gee, imagine our outrage here in the U.S. if world powers decided to restore Native Americans to their original lands!
But onward to my primary point here—and yes, I have one. Or two.
Israelis are not uniformly in support of Netanyahu. For months reports have been broadcast of massive protests, not about the exact issue now burning up the airwaves, but about the heavy handed arrogance of Netanyahu and his right wing fanatics in not only their abuse of Palestinians and their lands, but also within Israel itself in the attempts to dilute the power of the judiciary in the march toward a more totalitarian regime. Sadly, too many Israelis are apparently willing to allow the right wing to control the country.
That march, by the way, is full steam ahead right now as Netanyahu envisions a complete takeover of the remaining shreds of Palestinians land, most assuredly Gaza “for an indefinite time,” but hinting at also taking over the West Bank. The purported goal is to eliminate Hamas for once and for all.
This is stupidity at its most absurd. Where the hell do they think Hamas came from in the first place? It came from Israeli disrespect and abuse. If they think Hamas is bad now, wait until the next generation of Palestinians rise up in memory of the current genocide. Because killing every single man who has identified with Hamas and taken up arms will not end Hamas. Even murdering every Palestinian, man, woman, and child, will not end Hamas. Hamas is an idea, an assertion of the right of a people to exist, and if Palestinians are wiped off the face of the earth, other Arabs will rise up in their place to continue to assert their right to exist.
On the other hand, Hamas has done themselves no favors with their barbaric methods of protest. The entire Arab jihad against the West is a disgrace to the history of Arab culture and accomplishment. Beheadings, burning people alive, torture, and other despicable methods of violence accomplish nothing except to convince the world that they are savages.
- Since the late 20th century, the word jihad has gained remarkable currency: used by resistance, liberation, and terrorist movements alike to legitimate their cause and motivate their followers. The Afghan Mujahiddin, the Taliban and the Northern Alliance, have waged a jihad in Afghanistan against foreign powers and among themselves; Muslims in Kashmir, Chechnya, Daghestan and the southern Philippines, Bosnia and Kosovo have fashioned their struggles as jihads; Hizbollah, HAMAS, and Islamic Jihad Palestine have characterized war with Israel as a jihad; Algeria’s Armed Islamic Group has engaged in a jihad of terror against the government there and Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda have waged a global jihad against Muslim governments and the West. The importance of jihad is rooted in the Quran’s command to “struggle or exert” (the literal meaning of the word jihad) oneself in the path of God. The Quranic teachings have been of essential significance to Muslim self-understanding, piety, mobilization, expansion and defense. Jihad as struggle pertains to the difficulty and complexity of living a good life: struggling against the evil in oneself – to be virtuous and moral, making a serious effort to do good works and help to reform society. Depending on the circumstances in which one lives, it also can mean fighting injustice and oppression, spreading and defending Islam and creating a just society through preaching, teaching and, if necessary, armed struggle or holy war.
So of course, like the Jewish extremists who waste hours bending and babbling at a wall, Islamist extremists waste hours bowing and babbling toward Mecca, all of them ready and eager to pick up the nearest weapon and hurt anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe.
Which brings me to my main point in all this. Basing 21st century actions on the fabled mythology of ANY religion is ridiculous, sickening, stupid, and otherwise despicable. Just as evangelicals support Israel in its takeover of Palestinian lands, so do Muslims support brutal treatment of ‘infidels.’ In my opinion, any ‘gods’ who advocated and/or condoned brutal treatment of any kind FOR ANY REASON have long since lost their right to be worshipped. These Abrahamic religions are long past due for elimination from human society.
Evangelicals around the world are to be condemned for their acceptance, even the embrace, of violence. Violence for revenge, for gaining some fulfilment of words written 2,000 years ago, is NOT what either Muhammed or Jesus Christ talked about. LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, they said.
- Muhammed: “Never aspire for confronting your enemies (in a fight). Pray to God to be among those who seek living peacefully with others. But if ever you confront them (in a fight) be patient and know that Heaven is as close to you as the shades of the swords.”
- Jesus: For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Ephesians 2:14-18
Obviously extremist Muslims and Christians don’t read their own literature; their ape brains have yet to evolve to higher forms of humanity. I take faint hope in the slow but steady deterioration of religious belief making progress, finally, toward a world without war. Without religion. It remains to be seen if the current conflict flashes over into the Armageddon so desired by evangelicals, or if sanity will prevail.