Sunday, December 11, 2005


To me the key problem in regard to Israel is that people are being killed. Nothing else matters much.

Firstly I believe that race is not a meaningful grouping and in fact any attempt to group people in such a way should be strongly dissuaded. Thus I think it is meaningless to talk of a treaty between "Maori" and "pakeha". And in as far as it give one group more rights than another group as a result of something their ancestors did, it is the same as any other sort of racism. Similarly there is no birth right to Israel for the Jews nor is there any birth right to Israel for the Palestinians NO MATTER what their parents did be it incredibly evil or incredibly righteous.

Since everyone is the product of their environment it is absolutely true that those who are poor have been disadvantaged and those who are rich have been advantaged by definition - it is thus ridiculous to focus on a single act that disadvantaged a race (ignoring any other) and try to right it - these differences are things to be dealt with through ordinary social policy (if they are dealt with at all) not counter benefits.

Similarly a Jew in Palestine could be considered a thief ONLY if you can prove he personally stole something, just like an Arab in Israel is only a terrorist if he personally is blowing people up. In theory there should be nothing to stop anyone from any race living anywhere. Unfortunately in the Middle East decades of violence have proven that this ideal world does not exist there. So the next question is how to solve it.

Well each side hates the other for killing their people, so one side kills the other then the other retaliates and the other retaliates for the retaliation - how can you stop that circle? Well there is only one way - you stop at least one side from being able to retaliate. The best way to do this seems to be to separate both sides possibly with a BIG wall. Then after time the memory of the last killing will be less present in each of their minds.

But this requires separating the people and since they are living somewhat together it requires some of them to be moved. This of course is a bad thing (it is ethnic cleansing after all) so it must be minimized - the only way to do that is to redraw the border so the least number of people have to be moved in order to have two reasonably shaped states with basically all the people who want to be Israelis on one side and all the people who want to be Palestinian on the other.

Fundamentally I believe that people should not have attachments to particular pieces of land because no land (in itself - I know land can grow food etc but you get my point) is so special as to be worth a man's life. Thus it does not matter where the border is drawn from a moral point of view.

Things that are missing from this solution include the right of return - this should never happen because it carries the racial right to land with it and supports a model of perpetual statelessness and a community brainwashed into suffering for a meaningless cause. Since after all it is the same sort of religious belief in their "ownership" of the land that causes these two groups to fight for so long far beyond the point where most people would be forced by reality to rest. It seems that many people overseas feel that the Palestinians and Israelis can fight by proxy some sort of moral battle for them either fighting for a religion or fighting for indigenous rights or some sort of fight against evil whatever - and thus they support those who would refuse to let them leave the cycle of violence. Worst of all it is just not practical.

There is no point in trying to teach a lesson to the Israelis or the world by forcing Israel back to what it looked like 40 years ago or 60 years ago or 100 years ago. We are not planning on forcing other countries back to some arbitrary moment in history (e.g. Russia in 1600 lets say). None of these times has much more significant than any of the others EXCEPT for 2005 - as in NOW. To accept 1967 or any other time is to arbitrarily accept the jurisdiction of some diplomats from a particular time over practicality - I find it ridiculous to suggest the former should dominate. It might turn out 1967 border is the one that it ends up at but I see no moral reason why that should be the case.

If anything I do lean towards the Israelis side not because of religion but because all things being equal I support the side that seems to have the best solution from a utilitarian point of view.

As imperfect as Israel is if the west bank and Gaza became identical to Israel their standard of living would rise. If Israel was converted into a Gaza strip or a Jordan its standards would fall. Some might say that is because of what Israel has done - well from a pragmatic point of view that does not matter. If a country is ruled by terrorists or human rights abusers there will always be a REASON why that is - but you or I knowing that reason doesn’t change their leadership at all. Just like if Hitler was mistreated as a kid or not has no bearing on whether he needed to be stopped.

If Israel stops running incursions into Palestine (or at least takes a pragmatic as opposed ot vengeful attitude towards them) Palestine may be able to develop better leaders and the same is true for Israel in regard to terrorism, when Palestine has a good leadership and makes a serious attempt to slow terrorism a dovish president will be electable (see how their actions killed Barak's chances against Sharon).

I suggest the world would be a better place if we looked more for solutions rather than being totally uncompromising on ideology.


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