Wednesday 5 December 2012

Bill Maher:
There’s just not another country in the world that would allow missiles to be rained down on them without fighting back. What I find so ironic is that after World War II, everybody said, ‘I don’t understand the Jews. How could they have just gone to their slaughter like that?’ OK, and then when they fight back: ‘I don’t understand the Jews. Why can’t they just go to their slaughter?’ It’s like, ‘You know what? We did that once. It’s not gonna happen again. You’re just gonna have to get used to the fact that Jews now defend themselves -- and by the way, defend themselves better. I mean, this is a country, after all, that is surrounded by far greater numbers than their own [and] they are like two generations ahead in the military technology they have.”
Gary Connors-Boe
As a proud liberal/"half-a-Communist"/Euro-Socialist I, of course, LOVE Bill Maher. And I agree that Israel has the right of self-defense. At the same time I also believe that Israel can sometimes behave the way a former battered child behaves in adulthood. If there is such a thing as corporate PTSD Israel and dispossessed Palestinians can seem to demonstrate it's symptoms.
I don't know my friend, I've been boots on the ground in the Middle East, and if Israel does not fight, they die, their country disappears, and returns to the rocks and sand that was there before their arrival. In 1948, most Arabs living in Israel left of their own accord. They were told to do so by the surrounding Arab nations, who attacked Israel overnight and planned to quickly destroy it. When the Arabs lost the war, the voluntary ‘refugees’ were denied entry into Arab lands. I think it bears thinking about that no other Arab country will take in the Palestinian refugees except Syria, and we know what a bastion of democracy that government is at this time, as well as historically. They agreed to take in those fleeing in exchange for money and favorable trade agreements with their neighbors. The latest example is that during the recent slaughter in Syria: Human Rights Watch reported in July 2012, that Jordan had forcibly returned Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria and threatened to deport others. Yet Jordon, Egypt, Iran, and the other Arab nations continually rail against the treatment and plight of the Palestinian refugees. This past year with the various areas of unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, the western press declared the violence as the “Arab Spring”, and intimated that democracy was just around the corner. To my mind this shows historical ignorance or denial. An ancient and culturally unbreakable line of tribal and clan affiliations governs the majority of countries in those areas, like Iraq. If, as in Iraq, the west comes in and forcibly removes another Sadamn Hussein, the vacuum will be filled by like-minded men from his tribal/clan or replaced by another that will behave in the same manner. Can anyone say that Iraq is better off now than before the west invaded, then left? Is it on its way to becoming a democracy? Do women have more rights and protection? Is the government a staunch supporter and ally of the west? When the UK left Israel, they did created arbitrary borders just as they did in India by creating Pakistan and Bangladesh- that decision began a continuing fight that remains today. After WWII, borders were created in the region by the west with no regard to the historical ties between the existing countries or peoples, which has led to ongoing violence and even genocide.
On the root cause of the conflict there are widely divergent views. Most Arabs maintain that the root cause of the conflict is the dispossession and dispersal of the Palestinian Arabs, an original sin which was compounded by Israel's subsequent territorial acquisitions. In their view, Israel is an inherently aggressive and expansionist state and the real source of violence in the region.[3] Most Israelis, on the other hand, maintain that the root cause of the conflict is not territory but the Arab rejection of Israel's very right to exist as a sovereign state in the Middle East. According to this view, the basic Arab objective is the liquidation of the State of Israel while Israel acts only in self-defence and in response to the Arab challenges.[4] But whatever one's view of the origins and nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict, there can be no doubt that this conflict has been a major cause of wars in the Middle East.”
The Middle East: The Origins of Arab-Israeli Wars Avi Shlaim in Ngaire Woods, ed., Explaining International Relations since 1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 219-40. For every point I have made there is an opposing view with facts to back it up; a simple answer does not seem to exist.