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Israel killed some Canadians. Good job! Two of your soldiers are kidnapped so you go blow up some infrastructures and kill civilians. They'd do anything to protect their people, and ignore anyone else.

I'm thinking the Lebanon government is pointless, some terrorists cross the border, steal troops, fire rockets and the government is doing nothing? Maybe if the elected government worked with Israel to exterminate terrorists, there might be results (they must be sympathetic to the terrorists, I doubt it would be hard to call in UN troops to keep the peace).

The fact that Israel negotiate with terrorists, will only make the terrorists kidnap more people.

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I think an important distinction has to be made in the modern world. If terrorists use civilians as human shields (a Shi'ite district in Beruit that served as a "Hezbollah HQ" according to the IDF), and governments bomb civilian zones to force a state or an organizaiton to capitulate, then civilians themselves have become an inextricable part of the conflict. Indeed, as civilians could have pushed for the disarmament of Hezbollah or the election of pacifistic ministers long before the conflict started, then they are, in fact, partly responsible for what is going on in their country. Foreign nationals caught at a bad time in a region is unfortunate, and their culpability in their own deaths is minimal; they were unlucky. But the people who secretely hoped that Hezbollah would achieve their racist or territorial ambitions for them and turned a blind eye are being served the dish they prepared themselves. Conversely, Israelis killed in rocket attacks that are a response to their own government's actions had the chance to elect different ministers who might have handled the situation differently. I don't know any Israelis, so I don't know how justly they view this war. Considering that on 12 July Hezbollah announced the launch of its operation "True Promise" out of Lebanon before Israel counter-attacked with operation "Just Reward," I would have to say that both parties are pretty responsible for what is happening.

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Oh, I forgot to say. Edric, you're wrong about the prisoner trades. No nation accepts such a practically unfavorable trade such as 1,100 prisoners they captured in exchange for the corpses of their comrades. While it would be amusing to see Israel be so arrogant as to "drive the price of its human life upwards," Israel's ruthless, aggressive doctrines do not support this mentality in their people. Israel wants results, and if there had been any room for negotiation, I believe Israel would have preferred the opposite side of the ratio in prisoner exchanges. To say that Israel intentionally accepts unfavorable trades out of sheer hubris is absurd.

Not out of sheer hubris; out of a determination to get its soldiers back alive at any cost. I don't think the Israeli government ever considered the option of leaving its captured soldiers in enemy hands indefinitely. They're not willing to sacrifice the lives of captured Israeli soldiers - which is strange, because they sacrifice the lives of soldiers in battle all the time.

I think an important distinction has to be made in the modern world. If terrorists use civilians as human shields (a Shi'ite district in Beruit that served as a "Hezbollah HQ" according to the IDF), and governments bomb civilian zones to force a state or an organizaiton to capitulate, then civilians themselves have become an inextricable part of the conflict. Indeed, as civilians could have pushed for the disarmament of Hezbollah or the election of pacifistic ministers long before the conflict started, then they are, in fact, partly responsible for what is going on in their country. Foreign nationals caught at a bad time in a region is unfortunate, and their culpability in their own deaths is minimal; they were unlucky. But the people who secretely hoped that Hezbollah would achieve their racist or territorial ambitions for them and turned a blind eye are being served the dish they prepared themselves. Conversely, Israelis killed in rocket attacks that are a response to their own government's actions had the chance to elect different ministers who might have handled the situation differently.

Interestingly, the same logic was used by Bin Laden to justify the 9/11 attacks in one of his letters. He said his war was with the US government, but since the United States is a democracy, the people are responsible for the actions of their government and can be punished for what their government does.

However, this logic is deeply flawed for two reasons: First, not everyone in a democratic country voted for the country's present government. In fact, given the high rates of voter apathy in the West, the percentage is sometimes well below 50%. Second, modern liberal democracy gives the people only minimal control over their government's actions. You don't vote on policies, you vote on representatives who can make whatever policy they want once they've been elected. Sometimes they do exactly what they promised, but other times they completely ignore their promises and their people's wishes.

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...The only way for Israel to end the conflict by force is to kill every single Arab in the Middle East - a genocide of unheard-of proportions.

I'm somewhat troubled that killing all arabs will be a genoide, but killing all Israelis is a logical step for Arab countries.

I'd say you're biased if I didn't know better....  :)

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I'm somewhat troubled that killing all arabs will be a genoide, but killing all Israelis is a logical step for Arab countries.

I'd say you're biased if I didn't know better....  :)

Ummm, when did I ever talk about Arab countries killing all Israelis? ??? I don't think any present government would launch such a genocide even if it did defeat Israel - though some organizations, like Hezbollah, would probably at least consider the idea. And that is a very worrying prospect.

Israel does not have enough manpower to occupy the entire Middle East and keep the local population from revolting. Countries like Iran and Syria, on the other hand, could occupy Israel, and station enough troops there to crush rebellions. This means that the long-term outlook for Israel is not good if the conflict continues. Therefore Israel should rethink its strategy.

Keep in mind that most of my comments about the Arab-Israeli conflict are strictly in terms of realpolitik. I don't support either side, considering that the entire conflict is pointless.

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I think an important distinction has to be made in the modern world. If terrorists use civilians as human shields (a Shi'ite district in Beruit that served as a "Hezbollah HQ" according to the IDF), and governments bomb civilian zones to force a state or an organizaiton to capitulate, then civilians themselves have become an inextricable part of the conflict. Indeed, as civilians could have pushed for the disarmament of Hezbollah or the election of pacifistic ministers long before the conflict started, then they are, in fact, partly responsible for what is going on in their country. Foreign nationals caught at a bad time in a region is unfortunate, and their culpability in their own deaths is minimal; they were unlucky. But the people who secretely hoped that Hezbollah would achieve their racist or territorial ambitions for them and turned a blind eye are being served the dish they prepared themselves. Conversely, Israelis killed in rocket attacks that are a response to their own government's actions had the chance to elect different ministers who might have handled the situation differently. I don't know any Israelis, so I don't know how justly they view this war. Considering that on 12 July Hezbollah announced the launch of its operation "True Promise" out of Lebanon before Israel counter-attacked with operation "Just Reward," I would have to say that both parties are pretty responsible for what is happening.

I think it's unreasonable to blame Lebanon for not disarming Hezbollah- it would have resulted in nothing less then another civil war. Lebanons army is a joke and Hezbollah would have won.

Besides most Lebanese aren't supporters of Hezbollah per se, but they do recognise that it was Hezbollah and nobody else who drove off the Israeli occupier.

Of course Hezbollah wouldn't be there without Iranian support, but it's just as true that Israel is just harvesting what they have sown.

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To whoever said that Hitler and the Holocaust cause all this, you couldn't be more wrong.

Let's get one thing straight, Jews have considered Israel the Holy Land and Promise Land for over 3,000 years.  That's almost a good 2,000 years before Islam even existed.  And let's also keep in mind that the original prophets of Islam and Christianity were the prophets of Judaism *first*, hundreds if not thousands of years before either religion, or their central figures, existed.

Now, in the late 1800s Jews began purchasing back the land, they had been driven out of, from the Ottoman and Arab landowners of the time.  How did that happen?  Well, to be frank, they (the land owners) didn't give two craps about their Palestinian and Arab brothers occupying the land.

You've got these Arabs squatting on their land, and they (the owners, not the squatters) didn't particularly care for the land anyway.  So rather than make nothing off the squatters, they sold the land to these Jews, who were all too happy to get any piece of the land they could get their hands on.

The fact is, Jerusalem and Israel are two huge pieces of Judaism.  Meanwhile, in Islam - once again, a religion created and based on much of the background info of the Hebrew Bible, except with convenient changes hundreds of years after the fact - Jerusalem is the third Holiest after two cities in Saudi Arabia where Mohammad was born and died.  Now, isn't it the least bit convenient that this religion claims that at the very spot of the two Holy Temples of the Jews (the first destroyed by the Babylonians, the second destroyed by the Romans along with all of Jerusalem) the founder of Islam claims to have flown from Mecca with Gabriel, toured heaven and hell, and spoken to not only the prophets of the Jewish Bible - Abraham, and Moses - but also the Christian "Messiah" Jesus, who himself didn't fulfil the prophecies of the Jewish Bible (or Old Testament)?

In the end you have two monotheistic religions based on (or piggy backing off of) another ancient monotheistic religion, claiming to support the same prophets and the same God, while at the same time claiming that God has sent them to wipe out the unnecessary or incorrect parts of the older religion.  And let's not forget both religion's efforts through history to destroy (and replace) the very people their religions were crafted from.

It's all so transparent.

Anyway, I have a hard time agreeing with people that believe Israel should be more discrete about what they are doing.  Just because it's become commonplace to accept that terrorist acts happen doesn't mean Israel has to accept it when it happens to them.  "Oh, just one soldier, that clearly isn't enough".  Sorry, doesn't work that way with them.  You take one of theirs, they will take 10 of yours, it's how it's always been, and if you don't want it to happen QUIT HARBORING, SUPPORTING, and FUNDING THE PEOPLE BRINGING IT ON YOUR COUNTRY!

I'm not gung-ho war, but these people have constantly been fighting for their lives, and they've always come out on top.  They once had to take on the Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq, not to mention whatever forces other Muslim nations sent in to thwart the establishment of the Jewish state.

But not even those countries combined could take over Israel.

This is their land, they've always fought for it, and to be honest, if Iran and Syria truly do get involved in a more visible extent, it's only a matter of time before their Holy Temples in Jerusalem are dust on the ground.

All things considered Israel hasn't inflicted half as much damage as they could, or have probably have the right to.

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"I go away for 10 days and the entire Middle East goes up in flames!"

Did anyone read this and wonder exactly where Edric went?

"QUIT HARBORING, SUPPORTING, and FUNDING THE PEOPLE BRINGING IT ON YOUR COUNTRY!"

I agree. Both the Israelis and Palaestinians should stop supporting state/guerilla terrorism respecively. But I do understand the problem involved. As Ex/Shaddam put it: "You don't throw rocks at a man with a machine gun".

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Anyway, I have a hard time agreeing with people that believe Israel should be more discrete about what they are doing. Just because it's become commonplace to accept that terrorist acts happen doesn't mean Israel has to accept it when it happens to them.

What exactly is a "terrorist act" anyway, and how is it different from "legitimate" warfare?

I'm not gung-ho war, but these people have constantly been fighting for their lives, and they've always come out on top. They once had to take on the Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq, not to mention whatever forces other Muslim nations sent in to thwart the establishment of the Jewish state.

Constantly having to beat up your neighbors to defend yourself may be a good indication that you settled in the wrong neighborhood.

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The fact remains that while the Jews *were* kicked out and forced to scatter, they came back and actively puchased property and made the state of Israel possible.  It's called initiative.  They took wasteland and barren land and made it productive.  The land was considered worthless by it's owners, and these Jews would pay over and above what the Ottomans and Arab land owners really thought it to be worth.  But these owners didn't take into account the fact that these Jews felt the land was priceless.

This all led to Israel finally being re-established.

Anyway, the bottom line is that this is their land.  Not just because some country pulled names out of a hat and Israel happened to be it.  No, nobody just went out of their ways to help the Jews.  They had to take the initiative, they took it upon themselves to return to their Promise Land, and when that land was established they opened the floodgates to Jews all over the World who had been forced to scatter, or who's ancestors had been forced to.

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Edric, I accept your position on the trading of prisoners between Israel and militant groups; that is, indeed, a logical explanatoin.

As for the culpability of citizens in their government, I shall restrict the responsibility of the conflict, or the "deservedness" of the bad things associated with it, only to civilians who have voted for, spoken out for, or in any way supported the maintenance of Hezboallah, a militant IDF, or any other prime-factor of the conflict itself. Edric, I did not say that all Lebanese "deserved what was coming to them" or something equally ridiculous, I said that civilians -- Lebanese and Israeli alike -- who supported Hezbollah or a militant IDF were reponsible in part for what was going on. I ask that you take care to read my posts in full before comparing me to Osama bin Laden.

Additionally, I feel that any official, bin Laden or otherwise, stating that his conflict is with some organization, but that the people that it serves or who serve it are the ones who will suffer, is crap. When you go to war with anything, be it a race, party, religion or state, you go to war with the people that it serves. I think a failure to correctly recognize this -- or to possess a Soviet schizophrenia like bin Laden where you say X and believe Y (with X being war with the US government and Y being his true hatred of Western civilization and Westerners) -- is responsible for most conflicts in general.

My point wasn't to justify a point of view, it was to illustrate the idea that Lebanese who were happy to see Jews die ought not to be surprised that the Jews are now killing Lebanese. I profess myself to be a believer in the philosophy that freeing some men somewhere helps to free all men everywhere. In kind, I feel that helping to aid violence against some men, somewhere, helps to promote violence against all men, everywhere.

My homework assignment for our groups is this. How does one get others to lay down the gun without himself taking up the gun?

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Edric, I accept your position on the trading of prisoners between Israel and militant groups; that is, indeed, a logical explanatoin.

As for the culpability of citizens in their government, I shall restrict the responsibility of the conflict, or the "deservedness" of the bad things associated with it, only to civilians who have voted for, spoken out for, or in any way supported the maintenance of Hezboallah, a militant IDF, or any other prime-factor of the conflict itself.

I agree with this principle of culpability.

Edric, I did not say that all Lebanese "deserved what was coming to them" or something equally ridiculous, I said that civilians -- Lebanese and Israeli alike -- who supported Hezbollah or a militant IDF were reponsible in part for what was going on. I ask that you take care to read my posts in full before comparing me to Osama bin Laden.

I did not - and never do - intend to cast any guilt by association in my arguments. That game is played often enough with the Nazis (e.g. side A says that side B is a bit like the Nazis, then side B retaliates by saying that side A is actually more Nazi-like, and the whole thing degenerates into nitpicking about the true beliefs of a bunch of madmen who never made a whole lot of sense in the first place).

By saying that your logic was similar to Bin Laden's, I was merely trying to present you with the dilemma of revising your views or accepting that the 9/11 attacks were somewhat justified. Precisely because the 9/11 attacks have such a negative stigma, most people will refuse to accept any way of thinking that could logically justify them. Showing that your interlocutor's train of thought may lead to unacceptable consequences is a common way of persuading him to change his mind about something. That is all I did - I certainly did not try to imply that you share anything with Bin Laden, and I apologize if I came off that way.

As a small point, however, it is my belief that if you dig deep enough, you will find something in common between any one of us and the monster of your choice.

Additionally, I feel that any official, bin Laden or otherwise, stating that his conflict is with some organization, but that the people that it serves or who serve it are the ones who will suffer, is crap. When you go to war with anything, be it a race, party, religion or state, you go to war with the people that it serves. I think a failure to correctly recognize this -- or to possess a Soviet schizophrenia like bin Laden where you say X and believe Y (with X being war with the US government and Y being his true hatred of Western civilization and Westerners) -- is responsible for most conflicts in general.

I don't think Bin Laden has defined his enemy in terms that are any more precise than those used by the Bush administration. The latter is fighting "terrorists" while the former is fighting "infidels". They're both free to define "terrorists" and "infidels" as almost anyone they like. We've gotten used to wars around religious or ideological lines, but some wars are more about simple power. I think the War on Terror is one of those - it's about power over the Middle East - though both sides like to pretend they're fighting for some higher cause.

Other than that, though, I agree with you.

My homework assignment for our groups is this. How does one get others to lay down the gun without himself taking up the gun?

I am not opposed to all violence on principle, but I believe that any use of violence always needs a solid justification.

For the Arab-Israeli conflict, I have quite a few different ideas... One of them starts from the observation that the land in Gaza and the West Bank isn't exactly prime real estate. In fact, most places are either desert or very poor soil. The only value this land has is emotional and religious (and the religious issue is limited to Jerusalem and its surroundings - Gaza and most of the West Bank are not considered holy by any religion).

According to the CIA World Factbook, there are about 4 million Palestinians living in the occupied territories. That's not a lot, and most of them are extremely poor. Is there no nation who would receive them? Surely some nearby Arab countries must open their arms to their Muslim brothers in need. If it were possible to offer the Palestinians new homes and the promise of a peaceful life elsewhere, I'm sure most of them would voluntarily choose to leave the occupied territories. Then if Jerusalem is made an international city under a UN mandate, this could possibly be a solution to the conflict. Let Israel pay for moving the Palestinians and building them new homes, and let the Palestinians give their land to Israel in exchange.

I believe the only thing standing in the way of such a solution are emotional entanglements on both sides.

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the whole of western society has prospered on the backs of those that they conquered. Many europeans seem to have forgotten that most of the worlds problems are to be blamed on them. Africa, the middle  east, southeast asia... goodness...

Now telling israel what to do would be sheer hypocracy, especially since we do little to help the nations that WE have dashed over. Israel has a strong claim to a birthright of the nation, unlike we westerners who dislodged and killed millions. The Palistinians were never in control of palistine, the british were in control of it until the U.N. decided to make Israel a nation.

I side more with israel, it just seems like common sense to me.

Now granted, I agree that America uses Israel largely for it's own gain. I also know that some of you are (very arrogantly) resentful of right wing christians for being zionists in their own way, but frankly those who do have a problem with it are just intolerant of the beliefs of others.

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"the whole of western society has prospered on the backs of those that they conquered... Now telling israel what to do would be sheer hypocracy"

Not so long as we're also prepared to criticise our own nations. And even then, supporting Israel in what you admit is oppression comparable with imperialism does not seem like common sense to me!

"The Palistinians were never in control of palistine"

Mm.

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I dont equate it with imperialism, because israel actually has national control over the land, and has even gone so far and to relinquish lands that they control.

that was a vague statement I made about the palistinians not controlling israel. Those muslims that have had control over palistine moved into the country after they had conquered it. Also that many Jewish people, in fact large communities of Jewish people, have been living in Israel for centuries.  Palistine was never really controlled by the "Palistinians" as we know them now. In fact when Israel was finally founded, it was given to them after England relinquished it to them on certain conditions. Originally there were plans to create two states in the holyland, but surrounding Muslim nations attacked the new state and when Israel won, it took the whole of the land. COnstnatly israel has been the one who has given more slack, taken more heat, and done more for hte process of peace. I know it doesnt seem like this is so because so many disagree, it is just so obvious, at least to me. The Palistinians, largely Jordanian in origin, have no more right  to claim the holy land than the Jewish people do. So why do people put a larger blame on the Jewish people? This is just my opinion, but I think it is because Israel holds greater military power, which makes the Palistinians look more like insurgant freedom fighters, and because of this seem more deserving. Of course there must be many more complex reasons, but goodness... I dont see why Israel gets so much flack.

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Yeah, great points TMA.  People forget that there was more to it, but Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon didn't want any of that.  Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq were pretty much stonewalled following entry.  By the end of that conflict Israel had gained another 26% of the land.  Constantly making something out of nothing.

A lot of people I've met base their opinions of Israel on the UN, while not realizing that the surrounding Muslim nations are *constantly* trying to condem and sanction Israel through the UN.  These countries harbor, fund, and support Hezbollah in starting conflicts, then they go into the UN with the 56 other nations in the Muslim contingent and try to get Israel punished for retaliating.

So basically, if you've ever wondered why the UN always appears to be out to get Israel, it's because you've only got one Israel and 57 Muslim nations.

And anyone trying to use the logic that Israel and Palestine are one in the same need to get one thing straight.  This is Israel's land, and Israel's state.  Palestinians never owned Israel, and it was never theirs to claim.  They have no legal claim or otherwise.  The Jews bought a good deal of the land before it was ever mandated a State, and they weren't buying it from Palestinians (who own(ed) nothing), they were buying it from the Ottomans and from other private Arab owners.

It isn't terrorism vs. terrorism no matter how bad you want it to be.

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By the standards you set, Purge, we'd be deporting all second-generation (or later) immigrants from our own countries. In the US, it'd be unconstitutional outright, in the UK, even if made legal, we'd have a war on our hands, trying to deport the four million nonwhites, never mind the immigrants from the continent.

"israel actually has national control over the land"

So? Britain had national, legal, and physical control over its empire, and this was internationally recognised. Why should we defend its atrocities?

"So why do people put a larger blame on the Jewish people?"

Who, outseide of the Middle East does that? I've seen people blame the Israeli government, I've seen people blame the various groups like Fatah, Hamas, the PLO. I've even seen people blame the Palaestinian people. Personally, I blame the entities with guns, and sympathise with the two peoples.

I think the reason why we've got a confrontation here is because I don't give a damn about who bought what off whom fifty years ago, I don't care about legal structures (in any case, who defines what's legal?) - all I care about is the moral argument. My concern is the lives of the people in the region, which are being smashed by the violence.

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problem is you must accept who bought what off whom 50 years ago..... because thats what civilized society is all about.  If someone doesnt accept that the land i live on was purchased by my father 50 years ago and they want to cast me off of it because they feel they have a religious right to my land, that is absurd.  You must have legal structures, you must have law, you must have taxes, its the price we pay for civilized society.  I cant believe you would say something like what you said above Nema.  For someone so "civilized" you just said the most uncivilized thing I've ever heard of.  If thats really the case and you dont believe in legal structures.... then you wont mind if i come over and take your house??

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problem is you must accept who bought what off whom 50 years ago..... because thats what civilized society is all about.  If someone doesnt accept that the land i live on was purchased by my father 50 years ago and they want to cast me off of it because they feel they have a religious right to my land, that is absurd.  You must have legal structures, you must have law, you must have taxes, its the price we pay for civilized society.  I cant believe you would say something like what you said above Nema.  For someone so "civilized" you just said the most uncivilized thing I've ever heard of.  If thats really the case and you dont believe in legal structures.... then you wont mind if i come over and take your house?

It's not a matter of not believing in legal structures, it's a matter of believing that if something is legal that doesn't always make it right. Simply put, not every law is just - some laws are tyrannical, exploitative, or just plain bad.

I, for example, completely reject the idea of private ownership over land. Therefore arguments about who originally owned what land carry no weight for me. All land was originally stolen, and then sold or inherited for thousands of years by thieves, warlords and their descendants.

All I am interested in is who is on the land now, who wants to be on the land, and what can be done to please both sides.

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regardless of you not believing in private ownership of land... Purge's comments about Jews buying land back from Arabs legitly and turning the wasteland into something useful,  is a very powerful arguement.  The Jews may have bought back their own land which they were entitled to anyways... but they didnt care... they realized they lost the land but they worked hard to reacquire it.

Also you must have private ownership of land.... or else where will you place your bed on your wedding night to make love to your wife.  By your logic some guy could come stomping into your room and lay down between you and your wife and say... HEY ALL LAND IS PUBLIC , mind if i move in?  (ok i'm stretching things)

Simply put.... simplistic  arguments based on non-applicable systems at this stage of human development (such as communism or socialism) are pointless.  At this point you MUST accept private ownership of land. And therefore your objections are overruled.  Lets try to view this conflict through realistic eyes.

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