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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Origins of the Middle East Crisis

Although there are many complex issues between the Arabs and the Jews that date back to "Biblical" times, both have actually managed to co-exist peacefully for hundreds of years. Synagogues, Mosques, and Churches were built side by side and people were able to live in harmony. It was only up until the last 60 years that we have witnessed atrocities committed on both sides that have culminated in the longest-standing conflict the world has seen in modern history.

Even when considering the British colonization of Palestine in the early 20th century, or certain other isolated incidents in the last 1000 years, generally speaking there was peace in the region.

So what happened to completely overshadowed those events with brutality in the last 60 years?

One could argue that the reasons behind such drastic contrasts can be narrowed down to only a few specific events.

The pundits who claim to understand the situation in depth start their history clocks from the moment the state of Israel was established in 1948. Taking the situation out of context statistics started emerging claiming that "the largest number of wars declared on Israel have been by the Arabs".

Nothing could be further from the truth if we assume that the issues existed because of a lack of Arab tolerance towards the Jews. Especially when we know that both races had already been living together without any wars declared upon one another.

Ultimately, if we look at the root of the problem rather than the allegations of limited statistical analysis, we could potentially go back to the cause and effects of the British Mandate when permission was given for a mass Jewish migration in the 1930's. That on its own caused great unrest throughout the entire region.

The populous began growing at such an accelerating rate and in such a small area of land that it had caused massive collisions which resulted in the British government's decision to halt Jewish immigration. This lead to a large scale illegal Jewish immigration following a bitter conflict with the British Mandate.

The simple fact that there was no room for the influx of European Jews had caused the Jews themselves to drive out Arab farmers by sending their own tractors out onto the fields that were owned by the indigenous people. Violence broke out and neither party looked back ever since.

But even then, and for the sake of argument, you cannot fault the common Jewish settler for these consequences once they found themselves treading on Arab toes.

The Hebrew essayist Achad Ha-Am, after paying a visit to Palestine in 1891, made the following statement:
"Abroad we are accustomed to believe that Israel is almost empty; nothing is grown here and that whoever wishes to buy land could come here and buy what his heart desires. In reality, the situation is not like this. Throughout the country it is difficult to find cultivable land which is not already cultivated."
So what we really need to consider is what influenced the initial migration, what were its causes, and how did it originate. For that we need to go even further back.

Many argue that the reason for this mass migration was because of the treatment given by the Nazi regime on the Jews of Europe.

But even the Jews know that is not true. They have always religiously prophesied their return to the "Promised Land".

Concrete planning to make this dream a reality had only actually begun in the late 1800's, with the birth of Zionism...

The problem, however, was that the founder of this ideology, Theodor Herzl, had a very secular view about the methodology on how the Promised Land should be "returned" to the children of Israel. Such a cultural and nationalistic ideology had begun breaking away from the traditional teachings of the ancient Jewish belief, and it had ultimately abandoned the purity of the original Jewish dream.

Subsequently, what resulted was a series of radical beliefs from the very founders who defined and shaped the Zionist movement.

The following profound statements illustrate how such a radical phenomena eventuated in not only damaging Arab livelihood, but in affecting the Jewish dream as well:

Quotes from the founders of Zionism

Reading through these quotes, one may come to the conclusion that there would be very little room to negotiate a two-state resolution which in this day and age has been so commonly used as a slogan for the idea of peace, rather than a true commitment towards peace.

One notable comment to make about the statements mentioned above is the geographical location of the borders defined for the Greater Israel, namely the Nile to the Euphrates.

The land between the Nile river in Egypt and the Euphrates river in Iraq, as shown in the map below, engulfs the entire region of Palestine, all of Lebanon, all of Jordan, half of Syria, half of Iraq, a portion of Saudi Arabia, a portion of Egypt, and even a section of Turkey.

[Image source - http://abunakhli.wordpress.com/tag/egypt/]

Naturally, feelings of intimidation overwhelmed the people who inhabited these eight nations, and as a result, radical organisations emerged from the Arab world to ensure that this plan never transpires. Some Jews would go on to explain that this map does not depict the true borders of the Greater Israel, and that the fulfilment of their Promised Land is "only" the entire region of Palestine.

Recent history, however, has proven that claim to be false with one notable event: the "six day war" of 1967. A total of five countries had been invaded by the very people who implemented the Zionist idea in only a matter of days.
By then most of Palestine was seized either by annexation or occupation, Egypt's Sinai was taken, the Golan Heights in Syria, and later the south of Lebanon was occupied. This resulted in a serious economic crises in each of the countries affected. There were subsequent battles carried out on all fronts to retake the land that was originally confiscated but without any real success, leaving most of these regions labelled as demilitarized zones.

In subsequent years, neighbouring Arabs have been silenced by very powerful regimes that had swept the entire region after the 1970's. All they could do was watch in horror while their people suffered persecution, apartheid, and illegal confiscation of their land, resulting in the displacement of 4 million Palestinians - the largest population of refugees on earth.

Today, some Jews view the Greater Israel as a religious obligation rather than as a political one, and as such have detested the establishment of Zionist-Israel while performing many demonstrations in the streets of Jerusalem, conceding that the state has hijacked their religion.

Bringing this into context, the modern-day myth that Arabs want to wipe out the Jews is completely fabricated.

Whether the ideology was originally meant to be founded on good intentions or not, what Zionism has become is the very thing that Arabs want removed. The similarity is mirrored with the Western Alliance who wanted Nazism and Communism to be eradicated, rather than the German people or Russian people respectively.

Mainstream Arabs who understand the situation do not have anything against the Jewish people, but rather the "cancer" that has plagued their land since the conception of Zionism, and there are many Jews who also share the same sentiment.

When the reach of the Zionist arm goes beyond the borders we see today, how do we expect the Arabs to live with that?

Would any of us live with that?

9 comments:

  1. The term "race" is used here for Jews but surely Jews are Arabs, Semitic people. Why is it that they are not described as Arab Jews, a religion just like Christian Arabs.

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  2. Its actually quite interesting but the term "Jew" is one of the few terms that have been used synonymously with race and religion. Although Judaism is the actual faith, it is only associated with the Jewish race. The term "Arab" is only associated with race and that is why you see Muslim Arabs and Christian Arabs.

    There is no such thing as a Jewish Arab, although you could say that an Arab practices Judaism.

    If you are talking about the original Jews that inhabited the land (as oppossed to the European Jews that migrated in the early 20th century) most have attributed them as the original Hebrew Jews that lived alongside Arabs.

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  3. I am a Christian a Muslim, Islam and Jew all in one, so are you!

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. In your response about the question of "Jewish" not being a race above you contend that they are a race. You are wrong. First, the original inhabitants of the region from which Judaism arose were not call Jews as there were no such people known as such. The origination myth of Judaism makes the patriarchs of the people from Uruk in Iraq, which makes them as a race of the Babylonian Semitic branch. Then they moved to Canaan where they killed whom they wished and then mixed with the remaining (adopting their language in the process). Since they mixed and also had others join them, their "race" is not race in the normal usage of the word, but a community based on affiliation, more like the Ummah in Islam or the Church in Christianity. A Jew is an adherent of Judaism, not that Judaism is the religion of Jews as a race. These are completely different statements. Now, Jews might claim that they constitute a people, but they cannot claim to be a race as many do in the West based on Christian belief and not fact. As for the original inhabitants of Palestine, they were Canaanites who partially converted to Judaism, then largely converted to Christianity, and then mostly converted to Islam. They are the same people who were there when the British occupied the land, and the same people who were displaced by the European Jews, who are by any standard not of the same stock as the historical inhabitants of Palestine. A blonde and blue eyed Jew belongs to Europe and not the Middle East.

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  6. Actually the "Jew" originated from the land that was called Judea, which was founded after the civil war following Solomon's death. The land was split into Judea and Samaria, making the nation that the Israelites inhabited weak, which is why Nebuchadnezzar was able to conquer them and take over the land. The word "Jew" therefore has the correlation of being part of a race of people who originated from Judea with their religion being Judaism.

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  7. Apart from that you are correct. The blonde blue-eyed Jew was actually a migrant from the Russian kingdom that converted to Judaism after a group of Hebrews travelled from Babylon to expose them to the religion. These "Jews" travelled throughout Europe, predominantly migrating into today's Poland and its surrounding regions, and are not in fact originally "Jews".

    As for Palestinians, they were there for 1000s of years and the land they inhabited was the only thing that had changed. In fact Palestine was a name given to the country by the British Empire after the Ottoman Empire collapsed. They named it Palestine after the people, Palestinians, or Philistini.

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  8. Again, we cordially differ. You are mixing ethnicity with race. There is no race called Jews just like there is no race called Ramallahites, even Palestinians, or even Egyptians or Syrains or Iraqi. Forming a group of people with common values and shared interest is an etnicity, not a race. Iranians and Armenians are the same racially, but they are different ethnically since one group adopted Christianity and the other remained on their original religion until they later adopted Islam. Their differing values and diverging history made them different people as an ethnic group, but did not change them racially. Egypt, with all of its ancient history as people independent from all others and unique among civilizations stil did not constitute a race. A smaller gene pool in any group concentrates certain physical traits, but still we do not have a race. The only thing that identifies a Jew is his or her claim of being a follower of Judaism, just like any other religious ethnic group. Otherwise, he or she is just a normal member of whatever race he is from. If he is one of the original inhabitants of the middle east he looks just like what we now call an Arab, if he is from India he looks indian, if he is from Africa he looks black, and if he is from Europe he looks mostly blonde with blue eyes. You get the idea? We generally do not consider Christianity and Islam as ethnicities becuase in areas where they exist they generally dominate and consider themselves universal, but in reality they too are sometimes considered ethnic groups which are confused with races. In china the Muslims are a minority and are considered (wrongly) a minority race. In Islamic countries, Christian minorties usually consider themselves a different race. And Muslims in Christian dominated regions are considered (also wrongly) a separate race. However, whichever way you slice it, a religion does not change your race. There is such a thing as an Jewish-Arab or an Jewish-Indian, or whatever-Jew as the West likes to coin the term, but there is no such a thing as a Muslim-Jew or a Hindu-Jew. Being Christian did not make one Middle Eastern or Semetic or Aramaeic but one remained whatever he or she was in nationhood and race. It did not change you physically. A Muslim is not an Arab either. So what power does Judaism have that it transforms a person physically?

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  9. None. Judaism is a religion purely based on the mental state of acceptance for a specific belief or faith. Just like Islam and Christianity.

    However, it is absolutely possible for a Jew to convert to Islam and there have been many cases. It is very common to associate them as "Muslim Jews" in this day in age. This is uncontested because there is a commonly known difference between Judaism and Jews just as there is a difference between Islam and Arabs.

    Knowing that we could go on forever about this argument even though we are on the same page, I would like to ask you then: you emphasize people today being based on ethnicity rather than race, so what then constitutes a "race"?

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