Palestine vs. Israel: Options to replace jihad terrorism
"Israel's future security depends more on a just peace for Palestinians than on borders marked by barbed wire and fortifications." -Shimon Perez, Foreign Minister of Israel, Nobel Peace Prize, 1994.
“Israel’s future security depends more on a just peace for Palestinians than on borders marked by barbed wire and fortifications.” –Shimon Perez, Foreign Minister of Israel, Nobel Peace Prize, 1994.
Who was responsible for the on-going shelling and shocking deadly incursion into the Palestinian Gaza strip? Israel and Gaza both calimed “self defense.”
Why has our longtime ally Israel been reduced to the role of using terror operations as the only option to long range peace? Punishing oppressed people rarely solves deeper problems. How did Israel really becom a nation state? Were the Arab-Muslims of Palestine consulted and involved? Why do Palestinians still feel they have always been “occupied” and still marginalized as second class citizens? Why this “jihad” option to destroy Israel? has Israel also become an apartheid state as charged” What’s going on here? What are we unaware of? What can be done to curb jihad extremism to destroy Israel?
History tells us that Great Britain held a mandate from 1921 to 1948 to supervise and control most of the larger Holy Land known as Palestine. That was from the fact that Turkey had held such a mandate but lost it as they were a loser in WWI, having sided with Germany. So Britain sided with the global Jewish community, gave up their mandate in 1948 for the UN General Assembly to authorize a new state – Israel.
Ending the WWII Holocaust of some 6,000,000 Jews has been a major part of our American mission since 1941. This has always included special compassion for the Jewish community. What has gone wrong? What can be done about it?
In the fall of 1957 we found a substitute for my 6th grade class so I could represent our State of Delaware Jaycees at the World Congress in Tokyo (Jr. Chamber of Commerce International). Several of us flew around the world on the way home that included Israel. What do I recall from my time in Israel? We all had to show evidence that we were American but also a letter proving I was a Christian. I was surprised to see high, barbed wire fences and uniformed Israeli police and UN observers, part of the peace-keeping force. By 2014 there are some 450 miles of high fences and entry check points. The new 1948 Israel by 2014 has grown from 560,000 to over 7,000,000 of which some 1,000,000 Arab Muslims have been displaced and now see themselves a second class minority. This is all packed into an area 80x150 miles. By 1957 this new state was still contested by six surrounding Arab-Muslim nations who attacked Israel in 1947 but were driven back.
By 2014 they still resent the fact that in 1947, Israel was awarded 56 percent of Palestine but now Israel has 75 percent and illegally put Jewish immigrants in areas that were part of WEst Bank and Gaza. The Arab-Muslim property has been sold or confiscated to Jewish immigrants since WWII. Add to that harrassment by Israel soldiers, loss of freedom of movement, no political representation in Israel’s government and check points to leave their fenced “settlement” area, even to go to work. Papers required to come and go. Our guides to famous Holy Land places were mostly Muslim, shared people of “The Book” and of the “Abrahamic Covenant.” Those of us of these three religions are the core of more than two billion on earth. As we speak and seek dialogue, we are not called to be enemies. We can also stand together to censure and enlighten or refrain the small minority (3-5 percent) of Jews, Christians and Muslims who do not speak or act to our true non-violent values.
“Let us not lose sight of the cause to be served by the creation of a community (State of Israel) which conforms as closely as possible to the ethical ideals: one of these is peace based on understanding and self-restraint, and not use violence.” –Albert Einstein 1948
This is our legacy to future generations. Today neither Israel nor the surrounding Arab-Muslim countries are exempt from the on-going “Arab Spring.” Political and social reform motivates young rising generations in these surrounding countries. They are not protesting for an Islamic State and global caliphate, nor will they be mislead by jihad terrorists. Only a small fringe as al-Qaeda, and ISIL Muslims seek a Holy War to killing the body and soul of an unbeliever or infidel.
On my last day in the Holy Land, I wanted to see a real Arab refugee settlement 10 years after the 1948 UN statehood resolution. Could things be that bad for Arabs driven from their ancestral homes to occupied settlements? Yes, the were physicall better than in 1948, but by 2014 much worse in their political world as “refugees” in their own historic homeland Palestine. At least the 1957 refugee camp were free to come and go.
Have we Americans ever used “jihad terrorism?” Yes, we have had our own version of jihad to remove and kill Native Americans from their traditional bultural homelands on-going since 1492. Add to that stealing, killing and selling Africans from their homelands to become slaves in our new young democracy. We have also marginalized our growing Latino populations from democracy. We have also marginalized our growing Latino populations from tribal/Spanish roots in our southern border states. This is our own version of terrorist jihad violence justice.
What did I find in that 1957 Arab refugee settlement? The shock of that still borthers me as I reflect on Gaza 2014. As I stood there and gazed across the narrow river Jordan to Jerusalem, I saw green grass and trees along with streetlights, paved roads and sidewalks. There I saw shiney new cars, buses, parks and the ever-present military police. The apartment building, homes and public modern buildings would rival any city back in our USA.
As I looked for a shady place to sit and unable to find any water, I was aware that this wa a bottom tier, undeveloped Third World village. The thinnish kids had sticks and rocks as toys and their only change of clothes on. Shoes were rare. The windblown dust clogged the air. Health clinics and schools too rare. There was no running water or flush toilets, scant electricity or trees and greenery. Israel controls the Jordan River resources. I still recall my thoughts at that time: “When these kids grow up, all hell is going to break loose.”
After 66 years, there are mutual refusals to compromise, endless debates, lack of peace of mind, failures of negotiations, local attacks. Time is running out! There are sadly, shards of extreme conservative Zionist state nationalism that suggests the only solution is 100 percent control of the entire “Holy Land” granted to Moses in ancient Biblical times (1100 BC). Today this arguably has become a one-party theocracy state, no real separation of church and state. This has become a religious nationalism backed by political/military control. How could this qualify as a democratic republic with diversity and religious pluralism?
The time is here to urge and facilitate a planned intervention by a third party, not dominated by the powerful United States. Israel will soon be pitted against the current efforts for a potential jihadist Islamic caliphate state under Sharia law in Iraq, “the Koran is our constitution.” The 1984 ending of South African apartheid, finally broke a one-way domination by white supremists, based on a racial version of extreme Jihadism. Religious apartheid can even be worse than racial apartheid. We can look to South African leaders, of that historic experience and help from other Middle East leaders, to help plan, mentor and expediate a new era for Palestine and Israel. Perhaps a one-state democratic republic may be a better option than the present dysfunction and a fourth Hamas-type war on deck.
World opinion is shifting to challenge Israel’s use of their high-tech military and vastly superior economic power to keep Palestine under many levels of control. Israel now depends also on the United States to help protect them from a growing and more sophisticated Arab-Muslim world. At base we have a complicated theological/economic war of religious nationalism on both sides.
This also has motivatged extreme Muslim jihadist, Shari law zealots in Iraq to pursue a restoration of the ancient caliphate to build an “The Islamic State.” It is not likely the majority of Sunni or Shiite will ever accept the extremism and warrior/religious enforcement of “The Koran is our constitution.” To restore the vision of the ancient Muslim caliphate that controlled the Middle East and much of Eurpoe is obsolete. A slow, painful evolution for a more inclusive global humanity is rapidly emerging. The global level political policy leaders in the units of government from nations, regions as well as non-government and the UN General Assembly can ensure priority attention on such an intervention. Such Palestine-Israel intervention can set a much needed model to other long-lasting unresolved conflicts. For example of a few: Pakistan-India, China-Taiwan, Japan-South Korea, Egypt-Muslim Brotherhood, Suun-Shiite, urban-suburban Chicago, Atlanta, Ferguson.
Yes, the above Palestine-Israel case can point the way to global peace for the 21st century and far beyond. In the present Palestine-Israel standoff each has seeds of reconcilation that are waiting to be uncovered. Former enemies can learn together and share in non-political and non-religious settings. For example, youth and adult sports teams and other recreational venues as theater, musical dance groups and golf. Add to this mideast internation service organizations as Habitat for Humanity, Boys & Girls Clubs, Scout, Jaycees, Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, womens clubs, 4-H and more. There can be started or expanded a Department of Muslim Studies at one or more Israeli world renown colleges/universities as well as Jewish studies in Palestine Authority higher education. This can also apply to K-12 public and private school curriculum. Temples, mosques, and Christian churces can share in their service outreach projects. They will better “walk their talk” and more aware of what we apostles of “The Book” have in common. There already exists new business ventures in greater Jerusalem that have been started by teams of Jewish, Muslim, Christian younger generations.
The above are not fanciful upopian fabrications and can give needed hope. What else can you suggest? This is an ideal time for positive input as your voice.
On a hopeful closing note, Israel’s surrounding developing Arab/Muslim states are hungry to become more modern. They are aware they need higher levels of health, housing, education, infastructure, technology, foreign policy sophistication with more moderate political balance and tolerance for diversity. We can also turn to Mandela, Gandhi and Tutu for inspiration in the use of non-violence as a better way to find world peace.
Your ideas are welcome for a follow-up to this on the local Becker County Record and Detroit Lakes Tribune blog.
“There is no future without forgiveness. This is God’s world and God is in charge.” –Desmond Tutu, Archbishop of South Africa, Nobel Peace Prize, 1984 - Tom Faix is a retired Marine Corps Reserve officer and semi-retired college educator and consultant who lives in Detroit Lakes.