For the past few years, I’ve gone back and forth between wanting to be informed about world issues and not caring to inform myself because it is too depressing to hear about everyday. When I got off work today, I found myself amidst a group of over 200 protesters chanting “Free Free Palestine” and “Stop Bombing Gaza” while waving Palestinian flags. I saw women in their abayas shouting their answers to reporters because they are so enraged at what is happening to their homeland. Kids with papers pinned to their jackets reading “Stop Killing Children.” The keffiyeh was present in groves, but this time they weren’t just a hipster fashion accessory. This time, they represented support of the Palestinian struggle. (The keffiyeh is the checkered-type scarf that you can see around the necks of motherfuckers like Kanye West and Chris Brown and hipsters all around. I’ll admit, I have one, but I won’t wear it out so I can avoid being branded as someone who wears it for the fashion and not for what it represents. I’m a snob like that.)

The problem with trying to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that it is so god damn complicated. I have taken a few classes on Middle Eastern and Islamic culture and learned a little about the history of the conflict. In short, it started in 1916 when the British issued a declaration basically promising the creation of some Jewish homeland, and many Zionists supported its creation in  Palestine. Arabs said that if a Jewish state was created in their land, they would invade it. Then the U.N. had this partition agreement in 1947 which divided the area into Jewish and Arab states. In my opinion, this is where the first flame burst out in this whole disaster. The area was divided DISPROPORTIONATELY, favoring the Jews. I don’t remember the numbers, but by looking at the population of Jews and Arabs it was clear that the Jews were allotted more land than the Arabs. I think it was something like the Arabs were about 70% of the population and Jews were 30%, and the Jews got 60% of the land while Arabs only got 40%. That doesn’t seem fair, does it? So in 1948 the pissed off cheated Arabs decided to fight for what they believe was land that should been theirs. To the Palestinians, this was “al-nakba” which means “the catastrophe.” The Jewish call it the War of Independence/Liberation. The Jewish army was much stronger and ended up taking over parts of the Arab state, gaining 50% more land than what they were allotted in the partition (meaning EVEN MORE of a disparity of land between the Arabs and Jews).

While all this fighting was going on, some sneaky politics were going down. The Jewish state of Israel was established in 1948 as a new country recognized by the U.N. and the US and British were quick to support them. This means, when the Arabs decided to fight back after the uneven land partitioning, Israel had the support (aka money, weapons, ammo, etc.) of both the US and British governments. Fast-forward to the 1967 war when the Arabs tried to regain more land. Israel was able to gain the land fought for by the Egyptians and the Egyptians ended up basically saying “Fuck it, you win.”

After the 9/11 attacks, Israel and Palestine officially agreed to a cease-fire but it was not implemented. Israel began building a “security wall” in the West Bank to prevent suicide bombers from getting in. When the International Court of Justice told Israel that the wall is a violation of international law, they also ordered that they take it down. Israel refused but said it would modify the wall. Later, their own court, the Israeli Supreme Court, ruled that the wall didn’t violate international law. This is a country the US continues to support. A country that still occupies Palestinian land for “security reasons” which I guess is Israeli-talk for being a fuckin bully.

And here were are, at the present day. Hamas is fucking up Israel with rockets, Israel is bombing the Gaza Strip (even though they both agreed to a truce in June 2008). People are dying. I’m not sure what it was, but something struck me about this most recent update in the Arab-Israeli conflict. I have spent hours writing this, reading up on what I learned awhile back.. I have so many questions but I know there are no clear answers. I don’t see this ending in my lifetime. I’m wondering whether or not to keep reading about the new death tolls everyday.

It’s all so exhausting.


~ by jbird. on January 3, 2009.

One Response to “Palestine”

  1. Understanding the politics of “radicals” is not an easy thing to do in some ways, and really isn’t too complicated in others. If you noticed, both sides have committed acts that both sides accuse the other of doing. Something to the affect of “the pot and the kettle” saying.

    Both sides, to me anyway, are blatantly committed to carrying out acts of terror; especially on innocent civilians. This is very wrong and neither side should be supported by the United States and/or the U.K. (or any other rational government for that matter)

    But, because we both know the U.S. and the U.K. support Israel, no matter what Israel does, this clearly demonstrates to me that our own governments are, at least by association if nothing else, sponsors of terrorism and are being influenced by one particular side over the other. This is not democracy nor is it beneficial to our country.

    Hopefully that will one day change.

    Great article, I look forward to reading more.

    ~ Mythos

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