February 12, 2002
Except for the Children

There are no innocents in the Palistinian/Israeli conflict, except for the children. People all over the world keep looking to the USA to find an answer to this problem and we can't, because there isn't one. Just a lot of bloody-minded people persuing bloody-minded objectives and bedamned with everyone else.

Folks in America are lead to believe that Israel stands alone and innoncent in the middle east amongst a sea of peoples intent on their utter destruction. This has never been completely true, and has become less and less true over time. The first generation of Israelis pretty much taught the post-WWII palestinians (Arafat's bunch) how to be terrorists, by example. Radical Israeli factions, splinter groups, the most famous led by Menachim Begin, did whatever it took to make sure the British left what was then called Palestine, including blowing up a hotel full of British and American nationals just to show us all they were serious.

Common, decent, peace-loving Israelis are hamstrung by the historical decisions of their government and by the actions of other Israelis who are not common, decent, or peace loving by any but their own standards. By building settlements in territories taken in war, by busily trying to create "facts on the ground" and by filling them up with the most wild-eyed radical wacks they could dredge up, the elected Israeli government has given the "person-on-the-street" Israeli an albatross around their neck that cannot be removed.

The settlers with any damned common sense are swallowing the bitter pill of lies their government sold them when it talked them into moving out there by pulling up stakes and moving back. The ones who are left have a glittery-eyed fanatacism that simply beggars the imagination. How does one deal rationally with a woman that looks for all the world like just another housewife with young kids who will quite calmly tell you she would rather kill her children and then herself with a knife before leaving that particular spot of land? And she's one of the rational ones.

There are no truly innocent Israelis. Except for the children.

Folks in Muslim countries are lead to believe that Israelis are a bunch of conspiracy-minded devils come to take their land and eat their children. They are told that the only reason the USA can't solve the problem is because we blindly support Israel and if we'd only listen to the Arab League things would be all right.

Jews didn't walk up and steal the land they got before 1946, they bought it, from arabs. It was such an embarassment to the Palestinians that some of them restorted to shooting landlords caught selling land to Jews. Israel's internationally recognized borders were formed only after the arabs around it decided it would be simpler to just squish the nascent state instead of deal with it. Instead of an easy cakewalk they found that the Jews had learned a great deal from Auschwitz and would not go quietly into anyone's dark night. The Jews, now Israelis, got the borders they wanted because the Arabs gave them the opportunity to do so. Israel then had to deal with huge pulses of refugee immigration from the middle east because, well, if the Jews want their own state in Palestine they can damned well have these Jews too (boot).

When Arafat was given a crack at governing the Palestinians he allowed the state-to-be to slip into the corruption and cronyism so common elsewhere in the arab world. What are Israelis expected to do when they see that the first acts of the Palestinian government are to open up an airport and buy helicopters? What are they to think when the only group that shows any real capability of running the place is the same group that merrily straps bombs to kids and sends them into shopping malls (hamas)? When Barak offered 90% of what the Palestinians have been asking for, including shit he knew would put him in the crosshairs of the same gun that shot Rabin before him, Arafat and his cronies dug in their heels and insisted on the last 10% that they knew would ultimately destory Israel.

There are no truly innocent Palestinians. Except for the children.

And what the hell do you expect us to do about it? We can't get a straight answer out of anybody. Nobody trusts us, and hell even we admit they all have good reasons not to. You can't expect us to be rational with the Israelis. They are the only functioning democracy in the region, and are the only ones that helped us fight communists and are related to people that vote and fund elections. And when it comes right down to it, we like Israel. Americans have a thing for the underdog.

You can't expect us to be rational with the Palestinians because their buddies keep trying to blow us up in their name, and are becoming alarmingly good at it. Their most famous leader has proven that he (or at least his buddies) can't be trusted with power, and the only ones that can keep blowing things up.

How are we expected to even begin to understand people so desperate that sticking a grenade in your mouth and pulling the pin is actually preferable to living with Israelis? How are we expected to even begin to understand what it's like to live surrounded with people that are cooking up, 24x7, creative ways to turn your insides into outsides just because you're a jew? If we can't understand them, how the fuck are we supposed to help them?

If it all makes you feel hopeless, angry, and dispairing, well, good! At least you're paying attention. Israelis and Palestinians feel this way all the goddamned time.

There are no innocents in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Except for the children.

And, as always, it's the children that have to do the dying.

Posted by scott at February 12, 2002 02:40 PM

eMail this entry!

And you want to know what...those littel fucker grow up to kill everyone else too...not so innocent eh?

Posted by: Ellen on February 12, 2002 07:28 PM

You have to be taught to hate. You have to be very carefully taught.

Posted by: Pat on May 16, 2002 06:13 AM
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