Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Bet I Get Called Naive For This

I've noticed something, in reading online forums and in talking to people. Very few issues are as hotly debated as that of Israel and Palestine. Threads on this topic are more vehemently debated than gay marriage. I think this is because in any given group, people tend to be either staunchly conservative, staunchly liberal, or moderate and not particularly opinionated on subjects like homosexuality, feminism, racism etc. But 90% of the people who know more about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict than the name have an opinion on it, and your normal political alliances don't really apply-- it's not like conservatives are pro-Israel and liberals are pro-Palestine or vice-versa. If it's at all important to them, it's REALLY REALLY so.

Of course, the time to really worry is if they're truly, deeply passionate about it, because then they will be furious if you disagree. I've discovered a system for knowing when not to talk about the conflict:

-If you believe that Palestine is right, or that Palestine might have some decent points of grievance, don't talk to someone who is Jewish, of Jewish ancestry, or has ever expressed any anti-Muslim opinions.

-If you believe that Israel is right, or that Israel might have some decent points, don't talk to anyone who is Muslim, anti-Semitic, or a conspiracy theorist because WHY are 90% the conspiracy theorists anti-semitic too?? Must be because "the Jews control the banks and the media" and all that jazz.

This causes a problem for me, because since I am not part of a major religion and the one I was loosely raised as is secular Protestant, I actually have a much more impartial view than most people I talk to. I think both have grievances, because I believe that the UN had no right to make Israel a country all those years ago and encourage Jews to move there, so the Palestinians have a legitimate complaint, especially since many laws are biased against them. At the same time, that doesn't give them the right to terrorize the Jewish people any more than living there gives the Jews the right to "fight back." The Israelis have a legitimate complaint in that all their neighbors are ready to kill them, they're much more progressive and can better handle the land than most of the Palestinians, and they've been there for so long it's not fair to kick them out.

Besides, everything in the Middle East is tied up with religion. You can't kick anyone out. And they can't live together, clearly. At this point the two groups have pretty much equal claims to the land, whatever they may want to do with it-- and although I know Palestine would enact Sharia law, I still say that it was their land to begin with and they have equal claim to it.

If I were Empress of the World... I'd wall off all the major holy sites. Jerusalem especially. Completely wall it off. Then impose martial UN law over the land, saying it no longer belongs to any nation. Ban Jews or Muslims or anyone who is known to have a stong side in the issue from that military service. Set up a number of gates, all strongly policed, sort of like the Vatican-- make sure that if you want to get in you haven't a single weapon on you and no history of terrorism. Inside the walls, put soldiers everywhere, with non-lethal weapons.

Then, split the rest of the land.

Make sure there is a clear, protected road from whichever country doesn't contain Jerusalem to the city; then force a mass exodus. Tell people which area is which. Allow the governments to evict their enemies from their land. Make sure the land is divided by population and if you can, make sure they get comparable shares of the most fertile land. Will people be happy? No. Which is why you police the border like crazy and impose a major UN presence in the area for at least two generations.

Of course, this would hardly solve the problem but it would certainly hold of the inevitable. I would also pump aid money into this new Palestine with certain stipulations-- namely, that it has to go towards building schools and educating the populace (or as I would put it, "making sure you are at the same level or higher than your enemies so you can protect yourselves"), that it can't be used to manufacture weapons or it will ALL go away, and that all women must be educated under an improved curriculum until the age of 18, regardless of if they are married before then. Forcing them to educate their women or forfeit large quantities of aid would lead to a generally more educated populace, women marrying later (a man doesn't want a wife who has to go to school every day and can't watch his children), giving birth later, and hopefully getting a bit of empowerment thrown in with it all.

So clearly I can't just be Empress of the World, I also have to be God, because that's pretty much the only way this would happen. Ryter's probably right, just pull out of the region in a military sense, give money to the Kurds, and force major civil war that will drastically decrease their numbers.

Bah. Being an optimist is hard in this world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

BOOK REVIEW: Here's an interesting article.

SAN FRANCISCO – THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY, a genre spy-thriller by Robert Spirko, was fourth on the best-seller list at Atlasbooks, Inc., a national book distributor. Ingram Books is the worldwide distributor.

Spirko, a financial and geo-political analyst who has given his advice to the National Security Council, turned his attention to the Middle East in 1987, after discovering several common elements related to the Middle East question. He wrote down his analysis, and when he was finished, he not only had a solution to the quagmire, he had a story to tell. THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY foreshadowed the Persian Gulf War by three years, and the resultant Iraq War followed by the Sept. 11 attack.

Spirko states, "The chief threat in the region I see right now is the threat to Saudi Arabia by Iran and Al Qaeda. If Al Qaeda were to overthrow the present royal family in Saudi Arabia, cutting off the oil supply to western nations including Japan and China, it would bring down entire world economies. France and Germany would be begging us to go to war to retake those oil wells. It would be World War III."

“If such a scenario were to occur,” he reiterates, “France and the European economies would collapse in a matter of weeks.”

“Another looming concern is Iran which wants to develop nuclear weapons to couple with their Shahab 4, 5 & 6 missiles on the drawing boards which have a range to hit London, Israel, all of Europe, southern Russia and the United States. Also, the Iranian government has said it initially had 300 centrifuges to enrich uranium to weapons grade material. They have increased that to 3,000. They will soon increase that again to 10,000 centrifuges,” Spirko says. “They have the additional capacity to add another 20,000 centrifuges in mass production techniques that will enable them to produce at least seven nuclear bombs in about a year. Where did they get these centrifuges?”

Spirko answers that question by stating an Arab proverb, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

“Simply put,” Spirko explains, “they probably got them from Saddam Hussein before the Iraq War started and were probably smuggled out of Iraq and into Iran just like he did his air force of 600 Soviet fighter planes. In other words, he gave them to his former enemy rather than let them be destroyed on the ground.”

“Why would he have done any differently with the 30,000 centrifuges he supposedly had on a decentralized basis inside Iraq before the war?” Spirko asks. “Isn’t it strange that Iran could come up with a nuclear weapons program in about six months to a year when it took the United States six years under the Manhattan Project with 5,000 of the world’s most brilliant scientists like Robert Oppenheimer, Niels Bohr, Seaborg, Einstein, Fermi, and others working on it?”

Another point Spirko makes on the Mideast is that, “It is time for the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the Camp David Peace Talks or some other place, resume where they left off and "freeze in place" the already-agreed-upon negotiating points,” Spirko says.

"And, it's all related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict which I said back in 1987 was the crux of my book. It always has been, and always will be until it's settled,” Spirko says. “That linkage is exactly what Osama Bin Laden stated in a taped message aired the weekend before the election in November of 2004. Whether you believe him or not is beside the point. That's what's he told us, and we'd better take that into account."

The novel is a mass market paperback produced by Olive Grove Publishers, and can be purchased at area bookstores through Ingram Book Group, New Leaf Distribution, and Baker and Taylor, priced at $14.99, ISBN 0-9752508-0-9. THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY can also be ordered on the web at, or email orders from:, or from Barnes & Nobles, Border's, Dalton's, & Follett bookstores at colleges and universities, WaldenBooks,,, and other popular retail bookstores. Or, readers and store managers can call 1-800-BOOKLOG, or 800-247-6553 direct, to order.