Taking issue with My Turn on Israel
I have to thank Sandra Boston for bringing up the history of the United States (and its immigrant population going back 300 years) in relation to this country’s Original Peoples. Not enough gets said about this. Although the Native Peoples in Indian Country (as they call it) are slowly making gains and regaining their culture and some power, there is still much injustice to be accounted for.
Her context distresses me since she conflates this with the situation between Israel and the Palestinian people.
First, Israel is one of a number of nations created by international forums after World Wars I and II.
Its creation was certainly “legal.” At the time, there was a large indigenous population of Sephardic Jews in the area, though less than there might have been since the Jewish town of Hebron was massacred in the interim between the wars. And, the part we all hear about, there were a small sprinkling of immigrant kibbutzniks and a large number of European refugees; with more coming, fleeing mass murder, homelessness and terror. Refugees whose ancestors many generations before had left or been driven out under the Romans. Who had, every year, at sacred holiday services reiterated “Next year in Jerusalem.” People for whom that land was home.
To create a blanket context for the expansion of Israel (from its United Nations created boundaries) which suggested Israel simply made war on and confiscated properties without any reason but expansion is dishonest. Upon the date of the creation of the two states of Israel and Palestine, war broke out. It was expected. There had been jockeying by both sides the last year of the British Mandate with, admittedly, extreme violence from both sides. The Arabic peoples had sided with the Germans in both wars and for them WWI had never really ended, becoming more specifically anti-Jewish with Hitler’s regime. Arab versus Jews was never a strong, friendly relationship.
In May of 1948, the British Mandate ended. Immediately, Israel’s fledgling nation was invaded by five Arab nations backing the Palestinians. Expecting no meaningful resistance, they failed. It is well-known that when any creature’s back is to the wall, it becomes much more lethal. It was after this event that East Jerusalem was claimed. The Palestinians had cut off the Wall, that ancient sacred bit of the Temple to which Jews had come for 2,000 years. With the end of The War of Independence, the Wall was back in Jewish hands. Can you wonder Jerusalem remained in Israeli hands after that?
The invasion attempt in 1967 expanded Israel’s influence as it became apparent that there needed to be some control over military approach points. The Yom Kippur War had similar results.
There is a pattern here. Yet, upon the Palestinians gaining the Gaza strip, rather than settling down to become financially independent of Israel, building a good relationship with Egypt, the first thing done was for the fanatics to cross the border into Egypt and bring back weapons of mass destruction. Thus we see the terrible cost — including the barrier wall being built between Israel and the Palestinian-owned land.
The situation is not at all that of the European settlers and the Original Peoples in the United States in that respect.
However, the arrogant annexation of water sources is echoed to this day in the case of Western U.S. Tribes in relation to government and corporate influences. And while the litany of grievances may sound similar if you take them out of temporal context, in terms of cause and effect temporal examination, it has only been in the last perhaps twenty years that expanding populations and internal Israeli problems have manifested by moving into areas which were supposed to be buffer zones and displacing Palestinian farmers, etc.
It doesn’t make it right. I offer no palliatives nor do I condone injustice and classic expansionist tactics without even a war to justify it. This has happened all over the world throughout history, but you’d think we humans could come up with a better way of doing things.
However, that being said, it also does not justify terrorists (which term, despite Sandra Boston, Israel’s behavior does not qualify for) killing, destroying and mutilating civilians. True, they believe themselves to be at war. Which begs the question:
What are peace activists doing supporting a political entity whose basic documents demand the destruction of another political entity/nation by violence? Support the human beings, support those behaviors that are peaceful and that work for peaceful formulas of relationship. But do not support the political entity until it comes in true peace.
Penny J. Novack lives in Buckland.