Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Palestine: The Effects of Israeli Occupation on the Environment in the West Bank and Gaza

by Sara B.

The least common denominator to humanity is the Earth--the sensitive biosphere on which we are all dependent. The foundational fact is: "we all need a fitted space for the basics--the one great element of 'democracy' in life, a kind of first equality" (Rasmussen 91). All of us that make-up the human entity hold the rights to productive land, a hospitable atmosphere, and safe water (Rasmussen 91). When these boundaries are crossed, and earth inhabitants are denied one or more of these rights, the consequences can be lethal. Because these vital elements comprise what is needed for human survival, to threaten one or more of these elements can cause a nation or community to collapse. Sadly, when oppression or colonization is committed by one sector of humanity against another, the confiscation of these basic needs is one of the main tools used to dominate. The lack of environmental justice in such arenas mirrors environmental apartheid and still is prevalent in our world today. One such example of this is Israel/Palestine. In the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), the West Bank and Gaza, Israel has systematized an agenda for environmental control in effort to stifle the growth and development of a first nation people, the Arabs. The illegal Occupation of these areas has resulted in an extensive eco-crisis. Israeli occupied policy has resulted in water mis-allocation, agricultural degradation, and the fractured regime of solid waste management in the OPT.

Water can be described as Earth's lifeblood, a material good and a spiritual good that provides life and sustenance for all creatures, and enriches the landscapes of our Earth community (Hart 79). Therefore, when a government removes water from the common domain or reserves water for a specific people or it's own purposes, and allocates or withholds water to control people they are preventing part of God's world from fulfilling its purpose in the web of creation (Hart 80). For more than 55 years, this has been a great source of conflict between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors. Although the region does possess naturally arid conditions, it's water crisis is primarily due to maldistribution of water imposed by Israel. Presently, Israel consumes more than 80 percent of Palestinian ground water and denies Palestinian access to the water resources of the Jordan river (Isaac). A brief analysis into the situation can shed further light onto the crisis.

The Levant region shares two main water sources: the first is the Mountain Aquifer in the south. This aquifer extends from the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley on the east to the eastern border of the coastal strip on the west (B'Tselem "The Water Crisis"). This source is fed by ground water from rain and flows eastward where it is drawn by wells. This source supplies approximately "one-quarter of the water needs of Israel and Israel settlements and almost all the running water that Palestinians in the West bank receive" (B'Tselem "The Water Crisis"). The second source of water is the upper Jordan River. The Jordan river runs along the west border of Palestine, and supplies roughly one-third of Israel's water needs, as well as Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Palestinians do not receive any water from this source. This is the only source of surface water in the region, and yet Palestinians have been denied this resource which occurs on their own land. This leaves the Mountain Aquifer as the only water resource for the West Bank Palestinians.

The brute facts ubiquitously state that Israel takes 80 percent of the water extracted from the West Bank. This arrangement of conditions first began in 1967, after the Six Day-June War when Israel determined all water to be property of Israel. To the present day, according to Israeli military order, it is forbidden for people to fix wells , or to build new ones without receiving Israeli permission. Obtaining this permit entails a lengthy and complicated bureaucratic process which often yields little positive result. B'Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, notes that the vast majority of applications submitted under occupation are denied. The few well permits that were granted were solely for domestic use, and "were less than the number of wells that, after 1967, had ceased to be used to improper maintenance or because they dried up" ("The Water Crisis"). On the other side of the fence, Israelis are living in seemingly tropical paradises. Their subdivision- type illegal settlements are luxuriously supplied with lush gardens and refreshing swimming pools. There is little to no concern about water use or preservation. American-Jewish settlers can be enjoying a watered lawn while Palestinians a few kilometers away wait up to weeks for piped water during the dry summer months. The skyline in the OPT is laden with homes are a-mast with water collection and storage devises to capture and preserve the scarce Middle Eastern rain water. This blatant lack of Eco-justice is not only de-humanizing, but also against international law (see Hague Regulations {1907}, and Forth Geneva Convention {1949}on the natural resources and occupied territories).

During the Oslo accords, water was mentioned as a "major issue", and was brought up again in September of 1995 at the Taba Agreements (also known as Oslo II) as one of the issues to be addressed in "final status" negotiations. As to date, these "negotiations" have not yet taken place. Meanwhile, Israel continues to use four times as much water as the average Palestinian, and the Israeli settler consumes 7 times as much water as a Arab OPT resident (Isaac "Water and Palestine-Israeli Peace Negotiations"). The allocations for water that were stated in Oslo II were not to be permanent, as they did not take into consideration population growth, or make allowances for industrial and agricultural development. The water that Palestinians are allocated are often times far from the World Health Organization standards. In fact, only 10% of the drinking water meets these standards. This is especially true in the Gaza Strip.

Much of the water in the Levant has recently become under corporate management and distribution and allocation. Mekorot, an Israeli company, has privatized much of the water from the two primary sources. Mekorot has severely reduced the supply of water to the Gaza Strip since the year 2000, and in doing so has breached the stipulations of the Oslo agreements. Also in Gaza, as recently as the summer of 2006, several major drinking water and sewage pipelines were hit by the Israel Defense Forces in clashes in Gaza, leaving Gaza residents and Palestinians in the West Bank the most water-deprived people in the entire region; indeed one of the most deprived in the world" (Chomsky 174). In further robbery, Israel plans to take the West Bank's largest quarry to dispose of trash acquired in Israel, depriving Palestinians of its use and jeopardizing the remaining Palestinian water resources (Chomsky 174). Such an approach on behalf of Israel is neither acceptable nor sustainable.

Another severing aspect of the occupation against the environment and population of the OPT is that of solid waste management, or the lack thereof. The Mediterranean Environmental Technical Assistance Program has estimated that in 2001 approximately 1.1 million tons of solid waste were generated in Palestine ("Solid Waste Management Centre-Palestine Authority"). The average Palestinian produces around .4-1.2 kg/day of solid waste (PCBS 2006). This is in stark contrast to individuals living in Israel, who average 2.04 kg/day of solid waste. Those Israeli's who inhabit the illegal settlements scattered throughout the West Bank and Gaza average 2.21 kg/day/person of solid waste (United Nations Environmental Program, 2003). To make matters worse, around 80% of the solid waste generated by Israeli settlements is dumped in sites throughout the West Bank.

It is estimated that the waste management systems have left large areas of towns and villages without disposal services for their solid waste (roughly 25% of the population). In 2005, 166 localities within the West Bank alone had no solid waste collection services at all (Palestine Central Bureau of Statics {PCBS} 2005). The waste that is collected is managed through land disposal, or trash dumps. In central Gaza, there has been some donor funded landfills which contain synthetic liner and leachate collection system to help prevent the potential pollution to ground water. Much of the time, however, in both the West Bank and Gaza, the solid waste disposal program is left unattended to. The streets of Palestine are heavily littered with trash. Many of their parks have lost their pristine appeal as they are littered with garage. Many residents burn their trash; producing unsafe amounts of acidifying and greenhouse gases. This type of air pollution is associated with various health issues in Palestine, including respiratory diseases and mortality ("Solid Waste Managament").

The cause for the lack of proper solid waste management can be attributed to many factors. The following list was composed by the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ):

....the continuing fiscal crisis, due to Israel's withholding of Palestinian tax revenues and the boycott on international aid; the lack of infrastructure for solid waste disposal, including sanitary landfills and recycling facilities; the physical damage caused to infrastructure and equipment by armed conflict; the lack of public awareness on how to properly dispose of solid waste and the need for doing so; the weak and under funded environmental institutions on the national level; and the continual interruption of public civil services, by the Israeli Occupation, especially with respect to the constant military incursions, the Segregation Wall, and Israeli settlements ("Solid Waste Management" 1).
As population levels increase in the OPT these methods will be a continuing threat to the public health of the region and the environmental status. Furthermore, this method is ultimately unsustainable. Efforts from various foreign governments, local and foreign NGO's, various organs of the United Nations etc have attempted to improve the civil infrastructure and educate the population on waste control and management. However, the realities of the Israeli Occupation have stifled these efforts by preventing any prospect of steady, across-the-board improvement ("Solid Waste Management"-ARIJ).

The Palestinian agricultural sector also suffers from destruction and distortion resulting from Israeli systematic policies. In its agenda to fully control all economic resources in Palestine, the agricultural sector has been targeted the hardest of all by these policies. Agriculturel contributed to 45% of the GDP in the 1970's, but since the occupation as declined to a mere 7% in 2006 (PARC 2007). This is equivalent to 1.4 billion US dollars in net loss. Proved to be the most appropriate sector for dealing with emergencies that erupt in light of the political situation, the unemployment, poverty, and lack of access to food as a result of the Israeli Occupation practices have emerged as priority problems for the OPT societies ("Palestinian Agricultural Sector" ARIJ).

The most contributing factor to the instability of the agricultural livelihood in the OPT is the building of the Separation Barrier in the West Bank. As the building of this enormous wall continues, farmers are denied access to their lands and markets because of checkpoints and Israeli controls roadblocks. This steep increase in travel times makes the transportation of good s much more arduous, frequently resulting in spoiled produce. In addition to the restriction of movement, the Israeli Segregation Wall and networks of Israeli-only "by-pass" roads has effectively annexed important agricultural as well as water resource areas ("Palestine Agricultural Sector "ARIJ). The Separation Wall cuts in and out of farmers land, systematically designed to leave farmers hopeless, landless, crop less, and left to the scruples of Israeli legislation. Much of the land confiscated by the Wall is used to build illegal Israeli settlements, to dispose of sewage, dispose of solid waste and claim more "Jewish" land. In addition, thousands of essential olive trees (quite possibly the staple component to Palestinian agricultural society and economy) have been, and continue to be uprooted to clear space for the 9 meter high concrete wall. The cultivation of olive trees comprises 25% of the total value of agricultural production, but Israeli restrictions on water consumptions, land use, and export "force farmers to limit their produce to the crops which bear a high return, destined for the international market, such as strawberries and flowers" (Palestine and Palestinians 55). Of the 277 olives presses in the OPT, only 215 are operating; as a result of the declining economic situation, 62 olive presses are temporarily closed (Palestine and Palestinians 19). Also, since the election of Hamas in 2006, the international community has decreased the level of funding for developmental projects in the OPT, and accordingly, the agricultural sector continues to severely suffer ("Palestinian Agricultural Sector"-ARIJ).

The distribution of water as mentioned above also heavily effects the agriculture of Palestine. Agriculture in both Gaza and the West Bank is irrigated and extensively rain-fed. In the West Bank, rain-fed farming is the agricultural norm, as there is not adequate water to irrigate. However, the occupiers on the other side of the Wall irrigate over 10 times the area as Palestinians. Rain-fed farming in the West Bank has nearly collapsed in recent years by the mal-distribution of water, as well as the recent years droughts (Isaac "The Palestinian Water Crisis" 1999). The millions of dollars in net loss have been devastating to the Palestinian agricultural economy.

This brief assessment into the environmental crisis in Palestine can in no way do justice to the stark reality of the Israeli Occupation to Palestine life, economy and sustainability. however, despite Israel's consistent development of policies and systems to maintain complete control of the region, efforts can be made to help revive the earth commons of the Palestinian territories. Organizations such as the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee, Palestinian Fair-Trade Organization, Palestinian Wildlife Society, and other domestic and international NPO's are making slow progress in helping implement systems of sustainability. What is truly needed is autonomy for Palestine, as most of it's current environmental concerns arise from attempting to operate between the jaws of an aggressive oppressing state. The Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem states: "Environmental sovereignty will be a significant aspect regarding the OPT's capacity for sustainable development" ("Sustainable Development in the OPT"). Therefore, sufficient natural resources are a right not only to all human beings, but also vital to the future of Palestine and it's inhabitants. In denying first nation people's of these rights, Israel is disrupting the life blood flow through the universe, and proving to view the Palestinians and their environment as a collection of objects (to be manipulated and controlled to benefit the Jewish people) rather than a communion of subjects (whose traditions, purposes, and beings must be respected and admired) (Berry 17). An alteration of ego and mentality must take place in the minds and lives on those who are perpetuating the polices of Israel, those both in and outside the country. As spiritual beings, and environmentally concerned earth inhabitants, persons of the West can speak up against this brand of oppression and plead for their own governments to view the community of Earth as a comprehensive community in which all living and nonliving components of the planet should be intimate with one another (Berry 141). By stressing the oikos of the planet, and seeking out the organic and communitarian nature of all beings, the living and nonliving OPT dwellers can be liberated. (Rasmussen 91).

Works Cited

Attaya, Nitham. Agriculture is a Key Pillar in the Palestinian Economy. Palestinian Agricultural Relief Commttee. Beit Hanina, 2007. 17 July 2007, http://www.grassrootonline.org/node/477.


Berry, Thomas. Evening Thoughts: Reflecting on Earth as Sacred Community. San Fransisco: Sierra Club Books, 2006.

"Capacity for Sustainable Development." The Status of the Environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. 02 May 2007. Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem. 12 July 2007, http://www.arij.org/pdf/chapter17.pdf.

Chomsky, Noam. Failed States: the Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy. New York: Owl Books, 2006.

Geopolitical Conditions in Bethlehem Governorate. Applied Research Institute- Jerusalem. Jerusalem: Applied Research Institute, 2005.

Hart, John. Sacramental Commons. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, Inc., 2006.

Impact of Occupation and Globalization on the Agricultural Sector in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Palestinian Agricultural Association. Ramallah, Palestine, 2007. 17 July 2007, http://www.parc.ps/media/press38.html.

Isaac, Jad. "The Palestinian Water Crisis." Information Brief 18 Aug. 1999. 12 July 2007, http://www.palestinecenter.org/cpap/pubs/19990818ib.html.

Isaac, Jad. "Water and Palestinian-Israeli Peace Negotiations." Information Brief 18 Aug. 1999.14 July 2007, http://www.palestinecenter.org/cpap/pubs/19990819pb.html.

"Palestinian Agricultural Sector." The Status of the Environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. 02 Mar. 2007. Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem. 12 July 2007, http://www.arij.org/pdf/chapter4.pdf.

Palestine and Palestinians. Beit Sahour, Palestine: Alternative Tourism Group, 2005.

Palestinian Central Bureau of Statics (PCBS). 15 July 2007, http://www.pcbs.gov.ps/.

Rasmussen, Larry L. Earth Community Earth Ethics. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 1996.

"Solid Waste Management." The Status of the Environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. 02 May 2007. Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem. 12 July 2007, http://www.arij.org/pdf/chapter8.pdf.

"Solid Waste Management Centre-Palestine Authority." Mediterranean Environmental Technical Assistance Program. 19 Jan. 2007. 14 July 2007, http://www.metap- solidwaste.org/index.php?id=50.

"The Water Crisis." International Law on Water. 10 July 2007, http:www.btselem.org/enlgish/Water/International_Law.asp.

United Nations Environmental Programme. 15 July 2007, http://www.unep.org/.

29 comments:

PeterS said...

How does this post relate to my blog's theme? The Palestianian-Israeli conflict is based on a particular meme. The meme in question is the ethnocentric suppression of another ethos with delusionally justified self-interest. This is what we see in the Israeli abuse of Palestinians.

Fortunately, not all Israelis nor all Americans nor all Jews are in favor of the injustices commited. There are many that speak out. The Orthodox Jewish community that I belonged to was a generally anti-zionistic group. They did not feel that the modern state of Israel was theological or halakhically justified. From this group there rise occassional voices of opposiion--calling on others to be aware of the institutionalized injustice of the situation.

Some will jump to the conclusion that I support Hamas or groups that utilize systematic terrorism. I do not. The situation is much more complicated than simple Palestinian = terrorist rhetoric. Please do not make these simplistic statements.

This paper only touches on one aspect of the injustice in the region: the envorinment. It is not intended to be an exhaustive expose of the sitiuation. It assumes a lot of background knowledge of the reader. Hence, I do take risks in posting it. I do ask for respect toward me and toward the author for anyone inclined to post a reply.

Daniel said...

If you want my opinion, Israel should take 100% of the water from Gaza and the West Bank until they lay down all their arms, until Syria makes peace and gets its forces off Israel's border, until Hizbullah withdraws to Iran where it belongs, and until Egypt stops letting arms cross the Gaza border at Rafa.

PeterS said...

Daniel,

Israel is already doing such an injustice. I am glad that God has given you the dispensation to justify gross injustice.

Israelis in the illegally occupied territories water their lawns, own lavish swimming pools and use water for recreation while those living in Palestine possess less than one-tenth of the per capita water allotments deemed necessary for basic human dignity. The primary means of water acquisition in Palestine is rooftop rain collection. This water is hardly adequate to sustain drinking needs let alone allow for commercial development.

I am gather that your God condones such acts of aggressive neglect while my god allows evolution. I know which god I follow.

Sara said...

Dan,
Way to prove your racist, fascist mentality. Hats off to you for being honest about racial-superiority complex. Your statements are ungrounded, and disgusting. If this is what your brand of "Christianity" teaches I find it spiteful, vengeful, violent, and repulsive. If you love your Jewish people and their religion so much, why don't you do them a favor and encourage them to live up to their own Biblical standards? And apply your standards on Palestine equally: How about Israel unarms herself? What about the U.S stops supplying Israel with weapons? When will the nation of Israel start being a light unto a world instead of a disaster in it? Your suggesting Israel should cause innocent people to die of hunger and thirst is horrid. Listen to yourself, man. Go spend some time in Palestine, go spend some time anywhere in the third-world and you might learn a thing or two about oppression, violence, globalization, colonization…then you might be qualified to speak. Then you might develop an ounce of compassion.
Or maybe you are just so far removed from reality and justice that there is just no way of reasoning with you. I guess that's what fundamentalism does to a person, eh?

Daniel said...

Hi Peter,

God didn't seem to do anything when the mammals illegally gobbled up the resorces of the dinasaurs or climate change destroyed their habitat. It's suvival of the fittest if I adopt your world view.
What about the injustice of allowing billions of years of death and destruction? It seems to me that you don't have a moral basis for judging Israel at all as your god has already engaged in the behaviour that you are judging.

Sara ...
Racisim has nothing to do with it. I'm not a Jew. But Israel is at war with the Muslims (see the PLO Covenant) who declared war on Israel. I only think Israel should smarten up and win the war by all means necessary. Bad things always happen in war on both sides, but at the corporate level Israel is righteous compared to its enemies who are definitively more wicked.
Your one sided presentation is just a further injustice in this conflict.

Andrew T. said...

Neither side, Arab-Israeli or Jewish-Israeli, is without blame. Israel is merely the one with the near-monopoly on power in the region (conversely, if any of Israel's enemies had that amount of power, they would almost without a doubt eradicate Israel as first order of business). Israel repeatedly engages in acts of apartheid and paranoia, and puts its foot in its mouth. The terrorist groups suicide-bomb and missile-attack Israeli civilians in the public streets every day, and consider nothing but the total removal of Israel their goal.

"How does this post relate to my blog's theme? The Palestianian-Israeli conflict is based on a particular meme. The meme in question is the ethnocentric suppression of another ethos with delusionally justified self-interest. This is what we see in the Israeli abuse of Palestinians."

Peter, I note your willingness to call the Arab-Israelis by the name they prefer - "Palestinians". The vast majority of "Palestinians" are under the wing of either Fatah or Hamas, both of which are militant and radicalizing forces (Fatah being the lesser of two evils) that vie for thorough Jewish-Israeli eradication, not co-existence as they should. Arab-Israelis don't really have their own separate state, though they like to think so.

"Fortunately, not all Israelis nor all Americans nor all Jews are in favor of the injustices commited. There are many that speak out. The Orthodox Jewish community that I belonged to was a generally anti-zionistic group. They did not feel that the modern state of Israel was theological or halakhically justified. From this group there rise occassional voices of opposiion--calling on others to be aware of the institutionalized injustice of the situation."

Anti-Israel Orthodox are easily distinguished by their dark dress, non-knitted kipot, refusal to put a kasheir tekhelet in their tzitzit, refusal to vote in Israeli elections if that's where they reside, preference for Yiddish over Hebrew, and superstitious ideas about what the Mashiakh is able to accomplish in his own lifetime. Anti-Israel Orthodox are still to be applauded in their sensitivity to the plight of Arab-Israelis, a trait many Zionist Orthodox lack. I think that one reason Chabad seems so appealing to many is its rather pragmatic approach to the conflicts in Israel.

"Israelis in the illegally occupied territories water their lawns, own lavish swimming pools and use water for recreation while those living in Palestine possess less than one-tenth of the per capita water allotments deemed necessary for basic human dignity. The primary means of water acquisition in Palestine is rooftop rain collection. This water is hardly adequate to sustain drinking needs let alone allow for commercial development."

When you say "illegally occupied territories", are you talking about the state of Israel in general? Because it was given over legally by the British as a compensative Jewish state, and every acre has been in jeopardy since that time.

"Racisim has nothing to do with it. I'm not a Jew."

Jews are not a "race"!! A Jew is a covenantal citizen of Israel (while a geir is a conversion student, or resident-alien), Gentiles, by the way, are not a part of Israel at all, not even the "wild branches" Ribi Yehoshua described (he was actually talking about non-observant Jews).

Sara said...

Daniel,

I am wondering where have you read the PLO charter statement (of you called it Covenant)? And what do you know about Hezbollah, Hamas, PLO, the P.A, the presidents of the surrounding Arab countries, and the history and roots of the conflict? This question is rhetorical, however, I would be eager to hear of your sources for your information.

You are right on one point though; racism doesn't having everything to do with it. It also has to do with ignorance, cultural blindness, intolerance of differences, and the assumption that the Middle East and those who comprise it are a single, monolithic entity. What I sense in your polemic and rhetoric is a tendency to de-humanize Muslims, or Arabs. I will not defend each and every action of the Arab governments, including the PLO, Fatah, Hamas or even the P.A...but what I do try to understand is the entire backdrop in front of which this ongoing conflict falls. Why is it the Arab's are angry? Is it really just that Islam teaches the destruction of Jew's and Israel? In my studies, this has not been the case. In fact, religion has very little to do with it. During the many months I spent submersed in Arab culture (specifically in the West Bank) I did not meet one Arab would wished that Israel would be abolished to the sea, or that Jews would be wiped off the face of the earth. I will further qualify my experience by mentioning that I met with Palestinian Arabs from all types of socio-economic and religious classes. The theme that ran in and through each considered individual was that they wanted autonomy for their territories. They want to live their lives without the burden of Israeli occupation. They don't want to wake up to tanks in their streets, or to gun shots and army incursions. They don't mind Jews living in the state they were initially alloted in 1948. What they do have a problem with is the illegal occupation of the little land they were left.

Let me explain something to you: when I entered the state of Israel I was not even allowed to mention the word "peace" in front of Israeli authorities at the airport. Why? Because doing so would jeopardize my ability to enter the country (the intent of my trip was to teach English at the Bethlehem Bible college and partake in both Israeli and Palestinian peace initiatives). They don't like peace...they assume anyone affiliated with peace is "pro-Palestinian" or "anti-semitic" when the truth of the reality is with peace, for both Arab and Jew, comes compromise. This would mean removing the military grasp Israel has on the OPT and surrounding areas. The Palestinians have compromised plenty, and continue to. The Israelis know it is their turn to relinquish their sense of universal entitlement to the Levant region. Any international attention brought to the stark facts on the ground might mean accountability to international policies and laws which Israel continues to ignore.

You can sit there in Wisconsin and tell me about how bad the Israelis have it...but I am telling you...I spent plenty of time on both sides of the fence, and the amount of suffering is hardly equatable. The Palestinians are one of the most under privileged people in the world--even the UN and EU would tell you that (not to mention plenty of socially-conscious Israelis themselves). I pity the Israelis, as well, however. I pity them for the hostility they have brought upon themselves as a result of living decades in fear of death and abolishment. I pity the perpetual sense of defense they feel they need to live by. The saying in the Middle East is you could be staring unarmed at an IDF solider in an armored tank, and he'd still feel like the victim. Much of this anxiety is of course fueled by the atrocious events of the Holocaust. The Holocaust Industry (this term coined by American Jew, Finkelstein) has thus provided a leverage by which those of Jewish decent can seek continuing sympathy , and by which they can conger up enough Western guilt to gather up support for their national "homeland". Sadly, this homeland came at a cost...a cost to the Arab.

Whether you realize it or not, Daniel, what you are telling me in your statements is that you believe Jewish blood is more valuable than Arab blood. And that, my friend, is racism. Quite possibly you don't even realize it... but I still fault you. Because you are an American, white, conservative male, which makes you a member of the most privileged and "blessed" member of the human race...and your opinions and money count for a hell of a lot to members of foreign communities, especially those in the third-world. Therefore, what may seem to you to be an innocent opinion regarding the fate of the Palestinians, it is fatally destructive. My guess is you wouldn't be wishing death about these people if they were your children or your friends. In fact, it might seriously help to soften you if you were to spend a few days in what you might call modern day "Judea and Samaria". Look into the eyes of those whose death you wish upon, walk through the refugee camps, dodge the bullets of IDF soldiers, talk with the Palestinian government officials--because Daniel, it would make you a better person. It would make you a member of the world community, it would open your eyes, shake your soul, and quite possibly bring you to rue your present political perceptions.

Signed,
The Amazonian harlot :-)

Sara said...

Andrew,
Thanks for your comments. For clarification, when the illegally occupied territories are referred to, it denotes the West Bank and Gaza, those lands which have become under Israeli occupation following the 1967 war. I, and all other scholars I am aware of, would not consider the land in possession of Israel pre-1967 as illegal. Hope that helps!
Sara B.

Tandi said...

Sara,

Peter said,

“I do ask for respect toward me and toward the author for anyone inclined to post a reply.”


Yet those who post an opinion different from your own are not entitled to respect? Dan’s one liner deserved that much venomous vitriol? You called him “racist, spiteful, vengeful, violent, repulsive, unqualified to speak, lacking compassion, detached from reality, unjust, and unreasonable.”

Sounds like you had that response ready to go...too bad he didn’t deserve the diatribe.

I would like to know what the counter argument is about the Palestinian situation from Israel’s point of view. There was not one citation to balance your report.

We do know from Bible Prophecy that the water crisis in the Middle East will precipitate a war where armies will cross the Euphrates River on dry land. Turkey’s dams will make this possible:

"Control of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers is one of the keys to strategic dominance of the region. I have read in the book of Revelation of how 'the Kings of the East' with a 200 million-man army will enter the Middle East after 'the Euphrates has been dried up.' I can't say I understand Revelation very well. I am a Jew, not a Christian. But even I have to admit, with the advent of Turkey's new dam system and the Mediterranean fresh-water pipeline, this prophecy is now, for the first time, possible and even probable."

Ari Noam Levy, Mossad intelligence agent, Cyprus

This has been an on again, off again project...stalled at times by the concerns of Environmentalists.

Peter,

I disagree that Israel is “illegally occupying” “Palestine.” Are you enjoying a swimming pool and watered lawn in the “illegally occupied territory of Illinois” while Native Americans live in squalor on Indian reservations?

Daniel said...

Hi Peter,
Now I'm a racist - a fascist. I have a "complex" too! Do you really approve of ad hominum attacks -- by all means I'm not asking you to prohibit them. They only enhance my side of the argument.
I made this point before. But I'll make it again. In the rightness or wrongness of any cause, it is important to know which side is overall right, and which side is overall wrong. If one just takes a small slice of a conflict then one can get a distorted view. Here are some paradigms that help us judge rightness and wrongness.
1. The rightness of Israeli democracy vs. Arab dictatorships.
2. The rightness of Judaism vs. the wrongness of Islam. 3. The rightness of self defense vs. the wrongness of naked agression. 4. The rightness of tyring to make peaece vs. the wrongness of continually breaking agreements. 5. The rightness of words of peace vs. the wrongness of Arab hate propaganda (i.e. Abul Nassar's hate speech to Israel on the eve of the six day war). 6. The rightness with allianices with the righteous vs alliances with evil men. (The arabs allied with the despotic Turks in WWI and with the Axis Nazi's in WII; Israel allied with the non-agressive western world). 7. The rightness of freedom of religion in Israel, but little freedom for Christians in Islamic states. 8. The rightness of building a nuclear bomb, but not using it vs. trying to build a nuclear bomb intending to use it in agression as soon as it is built. (Ahmadnejad has declared for the destruction of Israel). 9. The righteness (intention) of the U.S. giving arms to the PLO so they can run a civil police force vs. the wrongness of being betrayed by the PLO and Hamas and such weapons being turned on Israel.
As for the original question of justice, I suggest you read Joan Peters book "From Time Immemoral". I also support Jospeh Farah of www.worldnetdaily.com, who by the way is a Palestinian that sees reality for what it is. Likewise I have Lebaneese friends in the Seventh Day Baptist Church, who recognize Islamo-facism for what is is -- an oppressive force that deprives Lebaneese Christians of ecomonic rights when they are not persecuting them in more violent ways. That's what fascism is -- when a sectarian ideology takes over the power of the state to favor the economic advancement of its own party. That why the Nazi's were fascists. They subverted the state economy to their own party. And therein is an additional evil. Hamas and the Fatah regularly plunder funds sent their way for economic development to further their political factionism. Hamas distributes such monies to the populace to win political favors in the name of charity.

Andrew T. said...

"We do know from Bible Prophecy that the water crisis in the Middle East will precipitate a war where armies will cross the Euphrates River on dry land. Turkey’s dams will make this possible"

"Revelation" (corrupted from the Hebrew ha-hitgalut, meaning "the unveiling") is not a text of the Bible (which is the Tana"kh). Nevertheless, it is a seminal ancient prophetic work written by a 1st-century Netzarim Jew: Yokhanan "Ben-Rogez" Ben-Zavdieil. The prophecy Ari Noam Levy specified may very well be correct.

See http://www.netzarim.co.il/Mall/NetzShop/BookDesc.htm#Unveiling and http://www.netzarim.co.il/Mall/NetzShop/NetzShop.htm

Daniel said...

…Amazonian harlot:

It is time to carve up your diatribe. First I don't think your Muslim friends will approve of your title, or at least they shouldn't

I am wondering where have you read the PLO charter statement (of you called it Covenant)?

I don't need to read it in Arabic as reliable sources have reported what it says

And what do you know about Hezbollah, Hamas, PLO, the P.A, the presidents of the surrounding Arab countries, and the history and roots of the conflict? This question is rhetorical, however, I would be eager to hear of your sources for your information.

For your info, I have more than one university level course on middle eastern history under my belt. Hizbullah is the child of Iranian Shia ideology. Hamas is Sunni, but allied with Iran. The PLO is secularist, and the P.A. is the PLO (Fatah in disguise). Assad is a member of an obscure Christian sect called Alawite that rules Syria with a dynastic dictatorship that once murdered a whole town of 25,000 Syrians. I have a little more respect for Jordan's king Hussein and Sir John Glubb – I read his works. He built up the Arab Legion.

You are right on one point though; racism doesn't having everything to do with it. It also has to do with ignorance, cultural blindness, intolerance of differences, and the assumption that the Middle East and those who comprise it are a single, monolithic entity. What I sense in your polemic and rhetoric is a tendency to de-humanize Muslims, or Arabs.

Typical bait and switch. Do you expect me to take your concession and swallow the additional insults? The notion that culture is a neutral item like skin color is ridiculous. It is Arab culture to offer you sickly sweet mint tea. If you drink it you will be friends, but it will rot your teeth! So the cultural price of friendship is the destruction of my body. Intolerance is relative. Tolerance of evil is evil, and intolerance of justice is evil. What you think you sense is just another insult.

I will not defend each and every action of the Arab governments, including the PLO, Fatah, Hamas or even the P.A...but what I do try to understand is the entire backdrop in front of which this ongoing conflict falls.

Don't equivocate with me. It is clear that you have judged Israel as overall wrong, and the Arabs as overall right. It is clear which side you are on!

Why is it the Arab's are angry? Is it really just that Islam teaches the destruction of Jew's and Israel? In my studies, this has not been the case. In fact, religion has very little to do with it.

Arabs don't have a monopoly on anger. Islam has always practiced the destruction of Christians wherever they have gone. They tried to conquer Europe, and wherever they can't fight Christians, they discriminate against them economically whenever they have political power. It was the Islamic war machine that expanded their empire from India to Spain in the 7th century, and they were providentially stopped in France. It is Islamic aggression that is on the other side of every other conflict on the planet. The war against Israel is just one of many conflicts they are having with their neighbors. I say you studies are worthless propaganda by "scholars" who have been bought off by the multicultural heresy


During the many months I spent submersed in Arab culture (specifically in the West Bank) I did not meet one Arab would wished that Israel would be abolished to the sea, or that Jews would be wiped off the face of the earth.

Few Arab's are stupid enough to tell an American that. But when they leaders excite them they are all too willing to participate in the destruction of Israel, or to believe in it. Needless to say, the Iranian President regularly calls for the destruction of Israel.

I will further qualify my experience by mentioning that I met with Palestinian Arabs from all types of socio-economic and religious classes. The theme that ran in and through each considered individual was that they wanted autonomy for their territories. They want to live their lives without the burden of Israeli occupation.

People who cannot control the terrorists in their midst do not have the right to self-determination. They need the Israeli's to babysit them. If the people really opposed the terrorists then they would bring justice down on them and solve the problem. It's just too bad that they are not capable of doing this.
Furthermore, I'm all for the "occupation" as you incorrectly call it. If Israel was not there, then Jordan would occupy it, and the Green line would become like the Lebanese border, and then Israel would have an additional front to fight in the next war.


They don't want to wake up to tanks in their streets, or to gun shots and army incursions. They don't mind Jews living in the state they were initially alloted in 1948. What they do have a problem with is the illegal occupation of the little land they were left.

Israeli's don't want suicide bombers blowing up their children. That's why the tanks are there. Duh! When the suicide bombings go away, or the shootings stop, then Israeli tanks withdraw. When the Qassam missiles fly, then the tanks re-enter. The West Bank and the Gaza strip can be viewed as an experimental laboratory proving the hypothesis that Israel is always responding to attacks and never escalating the situation. Fresh aggression always comes from the Palestinian side. That's because they are not content with the little peace experiments the Israelis keep giving them each time they withdraw.

Let me explain something to you: when I entered the state of Israel I was not even allowed to mention the word "peace" in front of Israeli authorities at the airport. Why? Because doing so would jeopardize my ability to enter the country (the intent of my trip was to teach English at the Bethlehem Bible college and partake in both Israeli and Palestinian peace initiatives).
They don't like peace...they assume anyone affiliated with peace is "pro-Palestinian" or "anti-semitic" when the truth of the reality is with peace, for both Arab and Jew, comes compromise.

The Israeli's were right to question you, and they have the right to keep out anyone that they can figure out is their enemy. It is unfortunate that you got past them. To conclude that Israel does not want peace because they would not allow you to announce your political aims with the word "peace" is infantile. The Israeli's have done everything that can be done to make peace including trying to give the land away. The problem is that the other side only wants war.


This would mean removing the military grasp Israel has on the OPT and surrounding areas. The Palestinians have compromised plenty, and continue to. The Israelis know it is their turn to relinquish their sense of universal entitlement to the Levant region. Any international attention brought to the stark facts on the ground might mean accountability to international policies and laws which Israel continues to ignore.

This is a distortion of History. When the Israelis tried to give it all to Arafat, Arafat rejected the offer. That made Clinton really mad. By international, you mean the U.N. The U.N. is overweighted by biased Arab and Islamic States. The U.N. is an illegitimate tool of people who aim for one-world government that will enslave all. The U.N. is corrupt too. Every hear of Kofi Anan's Oil for Food scandal. U.N. policies only perpetuate conflicts that would have been solved long ago. The U.N. is totally impotent to stop Hizbullah from rearming or to stop Syrian interference in Lebanon. And when the shooting really starts, the U.N. just steps aside. Furthermore, the UNWRA feeds and clothes the Palestinians, but they cannot prevent them from shooting at the Israeli's after they have fed them. It would seem that there are enough arms in Gaza that the U.N.W.R.A. could at least ask for the Gazan's to turn in an M-16 for each meal they serve.

You can sit there in Wisconsin and tell me about how bad the Israelis have it...but I am telling you...I spent plenty of time on both sides of the fence, and the amount of suffering is hardly equatable. The Palestinians are one of the most under privileged people in the world--even the UN and EU would tell you that (not to mention plenty of socially-conscious Israelis themselves).

The Arab suffering will only end when they are completely defeated by the Israeli's and lay down all their arms. Only then can Israel afford to be compassionate. Right now they are trying to be compassionate (Peace NOW, and the liberals), but the acts of compassion only are taken advantage of and perpetuate the conflict. Real wisdom sees that before compassion can have any effect, the terrorists must be wiped out, and all their supporters. Start with the terrorists and their leaders, and whoever supports them will surface.

I pity the Israelis, as well, however. I pity them for the hostility they have brought upon themselves as a result of living decades in fear of death and abolishment. I pity the perpetual sense of defense they feel they need to live by.

No you don’t. The need to defend is not a "feeling," but a reality brought by the aggression of the Arabs. What should worry you is that if Iran or Syria back Israel into a corner. If that happens the liberal faction in Israel will evaporate, and Israel will justly let its military do the job they need to, and if God forbid they should fail, then God himself will step in an defeat Israel's enemies. Then you will know that God is the God of Israel, and not the false god of Islam.

The saying in the Middle East is you could be staring unarmed at an IDF solider in an armored tank, and he'd still feel like the victim. Much of this anxiety is of course fueled by the atrocious events of the Holocaust.

Rightly so, because the same hatred that brought the holocaust is with Israel's enemies. You can see it from the holocaust denial among the Arabs

The Holocaust Industry (this term coined by American Jew, Finkelstein) has thus provided a leverage by which those of Jewish decent can seek continuing sympathy , and by which they can conger up enough Western guilt to gather up support for their national "homeland". Sadly, this homeland came at a cost...a cost to the Arab.

This Arab lie is refuted in Joan Peter's book. There are plenty of Jewish Liberals who do not speak for Israel or the truth. The west should feel guilty every time it tries to pressure Israel into actions that are not common sense. The fact is that Israel did not "take" the land from the Arabs. Israel acquired unused land in the Turkish Empire, bought some. Any land "taken" was lost when the Arabs tried to attack the Jews. If you ask me, confiscation of land is just compensation for naked aggression by the Arab tribes. In fact, land does not even begin to compensate for the lives they took.

Whether you realize it or not, Daniel, what you are telling me in your statements is that you believe Jewish blood is more valuable than Arab blood. And that, my friend, is racism. Quite possibly you don't even realize it... but I still fault you.

The blood of murderers is the less valuable blood, because they started by murdering Jews. The death of the murderers is only justice. The whole premise of your position is that the Jews were the agressors. This is not the corporate case, and never was the corporate case. The corporate case is that the Arabs were the agressors. That's the historical truth. Furthermore, every time the Jews try to make peace, the Arabs will not let them. The Arabs want to keep on killing Jews. That's the sad truth about the Arabs.


Because you are an American, white, conservative male, which makes you a member of the most privileged and "blessed" member of the human race...and your opinions and money count for a hell of a lot to members of foreign communities, especially those in the third-world.

So I'm supposed to have sympathy for people who are oppressed because of their religious depravity and militancy. Such "oppression" is only a small part of the justice they deserve. The most compassionate thing that can be done for the Palestinians is to serve them true justice. True justice will be served when their mosques are burned to the ground, when their weapons are taken away, their leaders hanged on the walls of their towns and the terrorists summarily executed instead of being thrown in prison only to be released later. (Israel is releasing about 180 terrorists today) – Israel would make peace faster if they just take them all out and shoot them. If Israel would do that, then perhaps some of the Palestinian children would grow up doing business with Israel rather than aiming rifles at Israel.


Therefore, what may seem to you to be an innocent opinion regarding the fate of the Palestinians, it is fatally destructive. My guess is you wouldn't be wishing death about these people if they were your children or your friends.

The longer Israel delays to completely root out all the killers in the midst of the Palestinians, the more the cancer of militancy spreads, and the more the grip of Islamic Jihadism against Israel sinks in. What makes it spread is the increasing notion among Palestinians that they are successful against Israel with their terrorism. I did not say kill them all. I said start with the leaders and work from the top down until the problem is solved. This is compassionate because in the end more lives will be saved. The problem with your sort of liberalism is that it does not recognize the right use of military force. If Israel does not attack first and eliminate the threats (Iran included) then Iran will attack and the loss of life will be much greater. Israel is making a mistake by not properly using its military force. Likewise, the U.S. is making a mistake in Iraq by trying to build a nation, when we should be destroying Iran and Syria's military forces (tanks, air forces, bases, nuclear sites). The loss of life will therefore be much greater in the end. If the Shia and Sunni insist on killing each other, then let them. Because if they are that violent, then God forbid that they should unite and fight us. It is better that they kill each other off first.

In fact, it might seriously help to soften you if you were to spend a few days in what you might call modern day "Judea and Samaria".

Your viewpoint is hardly objective. While I would have sympathies for local issues, I would not let it cloud my thinking on the big picture. I would still be for hanging Abbas from the nearest lamppost. Then the would be terrorists among any friends I might make at the local level would repent of their consideration of such a career. Eliminating the evil leaders is compassion for the followers.

Look into the eyes of those whose death you wish upon, walk through the refugee camps, dodge the bullets of IDF soldiers, talk with the Palestinian government officials--because Daniel, it would make you a better person. It would make you a member of the world community, it would open your eyes, shake your soul, and quite possibly bring you to rue your present political perceptions.

Look into the eyes of the Jewish children who have not commited the crime of hating Israel, while the Palestinian children are brainwashed into admiring the suicide bombers as Islamic martyrs. Everyone who teaches these children to think this way is worthy of death. Every Newspaper, T.V. station, and Radio station that preaches Jihad should be blown up. They are evil. Then after that everyone who writes an approving sentence about them should be offered the choice between execution or exile. This is the only proper compassion for those children of Palestine, who are being sacrificed on the altar of Isalm to Allah.
As for your "world community" God has promised to smash it with the kingdom of God.


You have my permission to fly into one of your ad hominen rages now.

PeterS said...

Hello Daniel,

I will reply to your individual points below. Your points will be placed brackets to separate them from the following text.

[1. The rightness of Israeli democracy vs. Arab dictatorships.]

There is a latent bias in this phrase. You are not immediately guilty for this bias as it is the comment heritage of the Occident. Orientalism is the field that pertains to the study of the historical and contemporary anthropology and philology of the Orient. It is a field that begins with roots in Christian Europe yet flowered in the post-Napoleonic colonial exploitation of the Near East.

Orientalism persisted more as a will-to-power by the Occidental powers (particularly France and Britain) over the Orient and the Oriental than as an objective field of dispassionate scholarship. In this role, Orientalism became the source of ongoing justification of imperialistic ideals in the Near East. One of the key misgivings of Orientalism was the tendency to over generalize its subject. As an example chrestomathy of significant texts (especially the Quran) were used to create stereotypical typologies of “the Oriental.”

Such practices (especially chrestomathy) do not seem unusual to the outsider. It hits home, though, when it is applied more close one’s spheres of reference. Few Occidentals would think twice to find the use of quranic passages or excerpts from Al-Wahab to make generalizations about what Arabs feel or think about a given topic. Yet, the same practice would elicit much criticism if an outsider was to apply passages from the Bible or excerpts from Luther or Marx to make generalizations about what American Caucasians feel about a given topic.

Orientalism has bequeathed to the Occident a typology of the Arab. This typology is harmful and persists despite the obviously stereotypical nature of its rationale. The Arab is sensuous, incapable of self-governance, lacking in delayed gratification pursuits, politically fickle, materialistic, spiritually blind, a pagan worshiper of the moon-god Allah, a terrorist, etc. This typology is our common heritage. It is garbage.

A long-lived Orientalist criticism of the Arab nations is that the Arabs are incapable of self-governance. This unjustified idea arose largely during the colonial occupation of the Near East and became part of the ongoing justification for the Occidental presence in the Orient. This idea is not new, but it is long-lived. It now surfaces in statements like what you make above. You did not come up with this idea on your own; rather, you have inherited it.

While examining the actual facts, it becomes clear that Arab-Muslim peoples and states were the first to exercise religious freedom, allow Jews to proliferate in literary and legal creations (e.g., the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds and the Karaites), allow female suffrage and ownership of property, etc. Yet, this progressivity came to a near standstill with the rise of Occidental colonial aspirations. I firmly believe that the social and political turmoil in the Near East is a reaction to the past colonial exploitation of these regions and ongoing institutionalized injustice asserted by the West on these peoples.

The Arabs are as capable of self-governance as any other people group. There are Arab democracies and republics that operate true to Western democratic principles. The presence of dictator-style government is an ongoing sign of the regional instability imposed by outside colonialism—a wound that the Occident has only itself to blame. In essence: the Occident created the conditions and the perceived need for terroristic acts and movements.

Israeli democracy fails on at least two levels. First, it privileges the Jew. Only the Israeli Jew is granted the full rights of democracy. Second, it deprives the innocent Palestinian (the majority of the Palestinian peoples) the rights of democracy. Israel has chosen, it was not coerced nor forced, to constitute itself as apartheid.

[2. The rightness of Judaism vs. the wrongness of Islam.]

This statement can be evaluated on multiple levels. I will evaluate first under the assumption that the statement is correct. Then I will evaluate the correctness of the statement itself.

Deciding on the “correctness” of a given religion is a personal, private, individual matter. It is a matter for which the state should maintain neutrality and allow tolerance. If an individual decides to become a Muslim and another decides to become a Buddhist, the state should provide the neutrality and environment in which each individual can live out her convictions. This is a core democratic value, and I believe that it is a standard that should be upheld worldwide. Why is Israel exempt from this basic right, this core value? Why should Israel be permitted to practice persecution or otherwise penalize persons for their personal piety? This would not pass in the United States; it should not stand in democratic Israel and Palestine.

Also, the majority of Israelis are secular Jews. They live without religion or the fear of God. Oddly, when Sara was in Tel Aviv, it was dangerous to go out at night. Yet, while she was in Bethlehem in Palestine, it was safe to go out at any time of the day or night. Where the majority of Israelis are secular the majority of the Palestinians are religious Muslims or Christians. The differences in behavior reflect the different levels of religious adherence. Even if Judaism is right, should ethnic Jewishness be rewarded when the majority of said Jews do not live by or believe in its correctness?

I consider the above statement irrelevant. Both are valid humanistic attempts to explain Ultimate Reality. Judaism, though, is guilty of scripture-based ethnocentrism and xenophobia. The Qur’an calls for universal human rights and advocates the oppressed—even is the said oppressed is not a Muslim. My emotions scream out against this statement as it is obvious to me that you are not read in Muslim literature—nor do you desire to study any more than Christian chrestomathic assessments of Islam.

[3. The rightness of self defense vs. the wrongness of naked aggression.]

I do not advocate terrorism. I also do not accept apartheid. One Jew dies, dozens of innocent Palestinians carry her blood. A dozen Palestinians die, no one hears about it.

[4. The rightness of trying to make peace vs. the wrongness of continually breaking agreements.]

I see guilt on the part of Israel in this criticism. Israel is the power taking basic human rights such as water away from the Palestinian. Israel is the power that is illegally taking back land given to the Palestinians. Israel is the power violating every UN resolution for justice in Palestine.


More as time permits…

Sara said...

Daniel,
Congratulations. You have succeeded in proving all of my first assumptions regarding the racism, fascism, and cultural ignorance I sense in your positions. I am busy...a graduate student, and working full-time, so I won't have the time to give your post the "attention" it "deserves". However, the time will come.

Some of your arguments are birthed by such disillusionment, that refuting them is almost impossible. I can't argue against hate and intolerance. What you feel about Muslims and the Arab world and what they are in reality are very diametrically opposed. Your world view seems to not even allow you the room to open up to the 1/6th of humanity that heralds the Qur'an as the word of God. Likewise, your understanding of "history" is that which is espoused by Zionists, and nothing else. The picture is much larger than your Western tainted glasses will let you see. Making statements about burning mosques, hanging Arab leaders, killing people, and taking their land disqualifies, in my mind, everything else you say. Because I can't listen to hate. And I don't see any other word to describe what it is you are saying. These types of generalizations and statements tell me, and hopefully the other readers, that your arguments are emotionally, and religiously charged, far removed from reality. What is needed is a willingness to acknowledge the fault of both Jew and Arab, whereas your finger seems to be pointed at one people, and one religion. This black and white mentality is not only infantile, but symptomatic of a much larger issue within your psyche. People who adhere to a position similar or like yours are beyond the grasp of logic or facts. The tenor of your historical reconstruction displays blindness to the atrocities of the past, and present. It is almost as ludacris as those who deny the Holocaust.

And, for the record, I am not more interested in Islam than Judaism or Buddhism or whatever else. I do not bow a knee to Islam, rather I am very skeptical of it. Again, this is not an issue of religion, as so many would like to make it out to be. This is an issue of human rights, land, justice, and perverted policies.

I hope to see peace. I do not wish for the burning of mosques or synagogues. I do not wish for the abolishment for the state of Israel. I hope for peace...i hope for fairness. Because the Palestinians are the underdogs, the minority, I speak out louder for their position, because their voice is hushed beneath the orientalism and islamo-phobia of neo-cons and Zionists. I speak on their defense because the amount of Palestinian deaths far exceeds the amount of Israeli deaths (in this conflict), and the statistics clearly demonstrate who is being oppressed and who is the oppressor.

Finally, the use of excessive force or preemptive military aggression seems not only archaic, but also unethical, unreasonable, and most certainly unhelpful. Violence only fuels violence. It is asinine to assume that you can conquer the Arabs to silence, or destroy them enough that Israel will live in peace. Ethnic cleansing is fascist, and advocacy of such a position points towards your fascist bent. I am passionate for peace...but Daniel, I am not sure what your position is passionate for. Please clarify? Peace for the Jewish people at the expense or non-Jewish blood, no matter the cost?
I don't have time for anymore. At least not tonight. Your political arguments are not new, and have plenty of counter reports and research to speak of the contrary. You raise so many issues it would take dozens of books to address them all. I will recommend a few that address your types of biases and political leanings at a later time.
Salaam (that means "peace in Arabic)

Over the Rhine: "What you think will stop the violence, will only make it spread like a disease until it all comes around again. Is God the last romantic? When we lay our cold weapons down, we'll wake up dreamin'."
Sara

Daniel said...

Hello Peter
My points will be in italics. I will leave your quotations of my points in your brackets

I will reply to your individual points below. Your points will be placed brackets to separate them from the following text.

[1. The rightness of Israeli democracy vs. Arab dictatorships.]

There is a latent bias in this phrase. You are not immediately guilty for this bias as it is the comment heritage of the Occident.
This is an assumption that I don't share
Orientalism is the field that pertains to the study of the historical and contemporary anthropology and philology of the Orient. It is a field that begins with roots in Christian Europe yet flowered in the post-Napoleonic colonial exploitation of the Near East.
This is biased as it fails to see the overall right and wrong picture of the West's influence on the rest of the world. The rest of the world benefited in more ways from western influence than the west took from it. In a myriad of ways, contact with the Judeo-Christian world view of Europe and America immeasurably lifted oriental cultures out of their pre-western despotisms. Your view is based on a one sided politically correct critique of the west by liberalism that is currently in vogue with those abandoning the Judeo-Christian heritage in the west.
As a case and point I offer William Carey's impact on India as explained by Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi. I also point out that when the British ruled India, they made the Hindu's and Muslims to live in peace. After these pagan religions took over, they had to separate into three countries (in 1947), have fought three wars, and are on the brink of mutual nuclear anhilation.

Orientalism persisted more as a will-to-power by the Occidental powers (particularly France and Britain) over the Orient and the Oriental than as an objective field of dispassionate scholarship. In this role, Orientalism became the source of ongoing justification of imperialistic ideals in the Near East. One of the key misgivings of Orientalism was the tendency to over generalize its subject. As an example chrestomathy of significant texts (especially the Quran) were used to create stereotypical typologies of “the Oriental.”
As far as I can tell, you've said nothing with all this fancy language – other than state your assumptions. The western description of Turkish and Mameluke despostism was well justified. For example, the Ottoman government put a tax on trees in Palestine, so guess what? All the weathy landowners cut down the trees, and Palestine become totally desolate. I wasn't critiquing Koranic statements. The point is that Islamic countries are not democratic, and they persecute all other parties in their midst. As such, it is a moral failing and a good indicator that the democratic west is more righteous.

A long-lived Orientalist criticism of the Arab nations is that the Arabs are incapable of self-governance
It is a true one proved in the laboratory of history, and is a direct result of the depravity of religion in Islamic countries and their non-scientific world view


While examining the actual facts, it becomes clear that Arab-Muslim peoples and states were the first to exercise religious freedom, allow Jews to proliferate in literary and legal creations (e.g., the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds and the Karaites), allow female suffrage and ownership of property, etc.
This is historical fiction. Muhammand murdered all of the first Jews he came into contact with. In order to secure the Empire His successors were forced to allow the discriminatory freedom of the Millet System, a step back from his original policy. For both Jews and Christians of the period, the Muslim takeover represented a great loss of freedom from their previous estate under Byzantine Rule. And the Jews had more freedom in the Parthian Empire before the Muslims took over.

Yet, this progressivity came to a near standstill with the rise of Occidental colonial aspirations. I firmly believe that the social and political turmoil in the Near East is a reaction to the past colonial exploitation of these regions and ongoing institutionalized injustice asserted by the West on these peoples.
This also is complete historical fiction. First Islam did not result in an advance for either Jews or Christians, and even less so for those who wished to remain idolators. There was no colonial "exploitation" of Palestine before WWII (1917). The British overthrew the Turks because the Turks joined the Axis. Before the British came to Egypt, it was ruled by the decadent Mameluke dynasty. Compared to the remains of the Roman Empire, the Muslim Empire was a step backward --- a bunch of squabbling easterners who still can't get along with each other.
Colonialism only picked up the broken pieces left over by Islamic misgovernance, and for the most part, under such rule, the lot of the Arab improved. Case and point. Lebanon got better until the French left, and then after the Christians lost their majority in the country, it went from bad to terrible. Peter, you are showing your extensive ignorance of Middle Eastern History. A similar analysis and story can be told for Egypt, Iraq, Iran, and every other "Islamic" country.


The Arabs are as capable of self-governance as any other people group.
I'll grant that Lebanese Arab Christians are capable of self-governace, but only if Hizbullah is eliminated and Syrian interference is stopped.
There are Arab democracies and republics that operate true to Western democratic principles.
You can't be serious. List them. I'll start by listing the non-democracies (note that even the communists claimed to have free elections during the height of Stalinism). Egypt, Syria, Jordan, the PA. Iran, Pakistan. The 'democracy' in Iraq won't outlast U.S. presence. Neither will Afghanistan's. More non-democracies: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Libya, Morocco, …. I think that takes care of most of the territory. The Turks are not Arabs, but if Islam takes over their, democracy will not last. The Pakistani's are not Arab's either, but democracy will die with Musharref's secular government.
The presence of dictator-style government is an ongoing sign of the regional instability imposed by outside colonialism—a wound that the Occident has only itself to blame. In essence: the Occident created the conditions and the perceived need for terroristic acts and movements.
Talk about special pleadings! Who is trying to overthrow the democratic Sinora government. And Who is supporting it? Who assassinated the late prime minister Hariri? Your thesis is also disproved by the fact that Islamists are on the wrong side of every other military conflict on the Planet, even in the majority of the cases where the so-called colonial powers are not even involved.

Israeli democracy fails on at least two levels. First, it privileges the Jew. Only the Israeli Jew is granted the full rights of democracy.
This is a lie. All the Arabs living in Israel proper have full voting rights, and their votes are counted properly.

Second, it deprives the innocent Palestinian (the majority of the Palestinian peoples) the rights of democracy. Israel has chosen, it was not coerced nor forced, to constitute itself as apartheid.
One does not grant enemies democratic freedoms. And if the Arabs on the Israel side of the Green line are found to be aiding her enemies, then Israel will be more than justified in removing their current democratic rights.

[2. The rightness of Judaism vs. the wrongness of Islam.]

This statement can be evaluated on multiple levels. I will evaluate first under the assumption that the statement is correct. Then I will evaluate the correctness of the statement itself.

Deciding on the “correctness” of a given religion is a personal, private, individual matter. It is a matter for which the state should maintain neutrality and allow tolerance. If an individual decides to become a Muslim and another decides to become a Buddhist, the state should provide the neutrality and environment in which each individual can live out her convictions. This is a core democratic value, and I believe that it is a standard that should be upheld worldwide. Why is Israel exempt from this basic right, this core value? Why should Israel be permitted to practice persecution or otherwise penalize persons for their personal piety? This would not pass in the United States; it should not stand in democratic Israel and Palestine.
This is also a lie. Israel does not discriminate on the basis of religion. Case and point. The Bahai's have freedom in Israel, but are persecuted in Islamic countries. Your bias against Israel is a reflection of your change in world view that does not allow you to see objective reality. Your observations are contrary to the facts.

Also, the majority of Israelis are secular Jews. They live without religion or the fear of God.

You can't have it both ways. They have the right to be secular in Israel, but do secular people have rights in Isalmic countries? Not at all. They steadily loose such rights as Islamists rise to power
Oddly, when Sara was in Tel Aviv, it was dangerous to go out at night. Yet, while she was in Bethlehem in Palestine, it was safe to go out at any time of the day or night.
This has nothing to do with relative freedoms or the superiority of Judaism over Islam. A lack of conflict may be because one side has the victory over the others. The PA has been progressively persecuting the Christian Palestinians out of the territories. Soon there will be none left. Rape, torture and gangsterism was one of the means of doing this..
Where the majority of Israelis are secular the majority of the Palestinians are religious Muslims or Christians.
The term "religious" does not make it better. Secularism is better than Islam any good day. And the Christians in the territories are such a small minority that they do not count in the assessment that Israel is more righteous. Islam is simply evil, and the root of many other evils.
The differences in behavior reflect the different levels of religious adherence. Even if Judaism is right, should ethnic Jewishness be rewarded when the majority of said Jews do not live by or believe in its correctness?
Like I said, even secularism is better than Islam. Judaism is still better also (for the 20% of Israeli's who practice Judaism). Your point about ethnic Jewishness being disproportionately rewarded is fiction. Chrisitans who live in Israel are treated much better than in Islamic countries, and even Druse are allowed to hold positions. I am comparing Israel with the Islamic nations. In any beauty contest, Israel wins on the facts. If you focus on just the pimples on one contestant, you'll get a distorted view.
You seem to come to your opinions based on the passion of the moment rather than objectively weighted pro's and con's of the big picture.



I consider the above statement irrelevant. Both are valid humanistic attempts to explain Ultimate Reality. Judaism, though, is guilty of scripture-based ethnocentrism and xenophobia. The Qur’an calls for universal human rights and advocates the oppressed—even is the said oppressed is not a Muslim. My emotions scream out against this statement as it is obvious to me that you are not read in Muslim literature—nor do you desire to study any more than Christian chrestomathic assessments of Islam.

Native Arab Muslims actually do look down on and discriminate against non-Arab Muslims. The conflict between Sunni and Shia is actually quite ethnic. Non-native speakers of Arabic, or non-speakers are also looked down on. The Koran calls for slaughter of innocent people who will not submit to Islam. When was the last time you lived in a house with a Muslim Peter? I have – for months. When was the last time you listened to school children recite Koran all day long? I have. What a waste of time. They'ed do better to memorize one text from the Bible: Gen 12:1-3. When was the last time you debated an Immam? I have. When was the last time you had assigned course reading in Islam? I have. When was the last time your parents hosted Muslim students? Mine did.
It doesn't really matter how much Muslim propaganda you read if you only swallow what it says. Muslim countries have spent BILLIONS of dollars trying to promote a white-washed picture of Islam in the West. They have endowed many Islamic Studies departments at Universities and Colleges in the U.S. with outside money. They bought the silence of many regarding the truth.
And the birthplace of Islam. Consider the Saudi princes visting in the U.K. They sleep with any of the English girls they wish.
Did you ever bother to compare Christian worship with the deadness of a "service" in a Mosque?



[3. The rightness of self defense vs. the wrongness of naked aggression.]

I do not advocate terrorism. I also do not accept apartheid. One Jew dies, dozens of innocent Palestinians carry her blood. A dozen Palestinians die, no one hears about it.
The body count in a war is not the measure of rightness. Gemany tallied many more dead in WII than the U.S. But Hitler was the evil aggressor. Same with the terrorists. Collateral damage is not the measure of overall rightness or wrongness of a cause. Which will you have, apartheid or Israel finish the conflict started and continued by the Arabs? They should finish it, and then there will be no need for political-economic means of self-defense, which you so unjustly call "apartheid"!


[4. The rightness of trying to make peace vs. the wrongness of continually breaking agreements.]

I see guilt on the part of Israel in this criticism. Israel is the power taking basic human rights such as water away from the Palestinian. Israel is the power that is illegally taking back land given to the Palestinians. Israel is the power violating every UN resolution for justice in Palestine.

You see whatever unguarded thoughts jump into your mind Peter. Israel's ill advised and foolish attempts at peace have only served to underscore the justness of her cause and the self-sacrifice which she is willing to go to. You have simply let your thinking be co-opted by the ideologies and propagandistic machine designed to subvert simple minds.
History tells a different story about the 1947 U.N. Partition. All the Arab states and the Palestinians totally rejected it and decided to made war on Israel instead. Israel won its half on the battlefield in 1948 that it was supposed to receive in peace. Still the Arabs were not content with the U.N. decision. They kept up the terrorist attacks and were about to escalate to full war when Israel caught their air force on the ground in a glorious victory in 1967. Still, they did not stay on their side. Egypt, Syria, and Jordan attacked Israel on the ground. What they lost, they lost justly. And whatever "violations" of U.N. Israel engaged in there violations of resolutions passed by a biased U.N. with too many Islamic and communist block countries being a part of it. Like I said before, the U.N. does not exist to promote justice in the world, but to promote the interests of one world government by despots.
The only problem with Israel is that it is too liberal to follow through on the victory they won in 1967. Too many of them have tuned into Radio Cairo to listen to Isalmic bigots attempt to make them feel guilty for winning. Olmert, Peres, and Sharon have proven worthless for Israel in their attempt to appease the unappeasable militancy of the Islamo-fascists.

Daniel said...

Sara ….
I see you improved you image by signing your real name

Congratulations. You have succeeded in proving all of my first assumptions regarding the racism, fascism, and cultural ignorance I sense in your positions.

Back to the personal attacks I see.

I am busy...a graduate student, and working full-time, so I won't have the time to give your post the "attention" it "deserves". However, the time will come.

Quotation marks used as insults

Some of your arguments are birthed by such disillusionment, that refuting them is almost impossible.

Is personal attack the only method in your tool box?

I can't argue against hate and intolerance.
You mean you can't argue. Tolerance of evil is hateful.
What you feel about Muslims and the Arab world and what they are in reality are very diametrically opposed.

Spare me the assumptions. Try some facts.

Your world view seems to not even allow you the room to open up to the 1/6th of humanity that heralds the Qur'an as the word of God.

Numbers of adherents does not make the case

Likewise, your understanding of "history" is that which is espoused by Zionists, and nothing else.
Not true. I've read both sides. I hear about it on the news too, like the "honor" killing today on NBC.
The picture is much larger than your Western tainted glasses will let you see.
Another false claim.
Making statements about burning mosques, hanging Arab leaders, killing people, and taking their land disqualifies, in my mind, everything else you say.
Hating Israel and making them the overall evil aggressor disqualifies your claim to any intellectual objectivity. I simply know how to win a war.

Because I can't listen to hate. And I don't see any other word to describe what it is you are saying.
I think you simply hate the truth because the wrong side owns you, body and soul.
What is needed is a willingness to acknowledge the fault of both Jew and Arab, whereas your finger seems to be pointed at one people, and one religion.

Any kind of faulting that fails to judge the key question of which side is in the corporate right and which side is in the corporate wrong is to misjudge the most basic question of the conflict and the rightness of the right side winning it as soon as possible. That side is Israel. Everything else is illrelevant until this basic truth can be admitted.

This black and white mentality is not only infantile, but symptomatic of a much larger issue within your psyche.
Pardon me?! But your black and white view of the most fundamental question of Israel's wrongness over and against the Palestinians and Arabs is the only 'black and white' question that matters. It's black and white. Why are you not a relativist on that point. Why are you a relativist on all the minor points, but black and white on the issue that counts in this war?
People who adhere to a position similar or like yours are beyond the grasp of logic or facts.
amounts to an insult
The tenor of your historical reconstruction displays blindness to the atrocities of the past, and present. It is almost as ludacris as those who deny the Holocaust.
Do you care to dispute any of the atrocities I mentioned? I would think that the general denial of the Holocaust by the PLO, PA, and Arabs would qualify as a strike against the overall rightness of their side. You have allied yourself with them. The Arabs don't tell history correctly. They ignore their own true atrocities and propagandize all the minor collateral damage like Deir Yassin. The first thing that a militant aggressor attacks is the TRUTH. That's you’re your side does. We won't listen to lies.


And, for the record, I am not more interested in Islam than Judaism or Buddhism or whatever else. I do not bow a knee to Islam, rather I am very skeptical of it. Again, this is not an issue of religion, as so many would like to make it out to be. This is an issue of human rights, land, justice, and perverted policies.
The PA is not interested in human rights. Nor is Hamas. Any human "rights" doled out by them is simply to win a basis for further attacks on Israel. Until you conclude that the PA and their supporters and Hamas and their supporters are overall in the wrong, you are supporting their injustices.

I hope to see peace. I do not wish for the burning of mosques or synagogues. I do not wish for the abolishment for the state of Israel. I hope for peace...i hope for fairness.
I don't believe you. Your argumentation betrays your true beliefs.

Because the Palestinians are the underdogs, the minority, I speak out louder for their position, because their voice is hushed beneath the orientalism and islamo-phobia of neo-cons and Zionists.

And fail to state who is in the overall right and overall wrong? That will never solve the problem.

I speak on their defense because the amount of Palestinian deaths far exceeds the amount of Israeli deaths (in this conflict), and the statistics clearly demonstrate who is being oppressed and who is the oppressor.

Casualty rates never were a good way to judge who was in the right and who was in the wrong. The Germans counted many more war dead than the U.S. Does that make the U.S. in the wrong? The statistics clearly show that the PA/PLO/Fatah/Force 17/Hamas kills innocent women and children, while Israel merely tries to fight back and kill those holding the guns and suicide belts or manning the missile launchers. The Palestinians are using foolish tactics that get a lot of their people killed, true, but foolishness in war is not how to decide who is morally right! I really think your attempt to justify your side taking is a infantile argument.

Finally, the use of excessive force or preemptive military aggression seems not only archaic, but also unethical, unreasonable, and most certainly unhelpful.
Wars are only properly won when the right side uses excessive preemptive force. Did we wait for the Germans to conquer all of Europe or Japan to win all of Asia before pre-empting their goals of world conquest? Of course not. Neither should Israel wait until the PA has enough weapons to really wage war, or wait until Iran has a nuke. Your view of morality and the use of force is simply classic liberalism. Classic liberals hearts only bleed for the immediate sight that makes an emotional impact on them, but they are incapable of logically seeing the big picture beyond the immediate feeling. Without the big picture in sight, they always analyze the situation relativistically according to their feelings. You've got to look beyond the latest casualty to see the big picture in order to actually effectively prevent suffering. It's like trying to treat a few symptoms while denying that the cause exists. That's just moral ignorance and intellectual stupidity.

Violence only fuels violence.
Like I said, a classic liberal view. War is violence. A war properly fought brings a swifter end to violence than otherwise. Logic 101. Violence is not immoral. What is immoral is allowing a situation where death and destruction (violence) goes on for an unnecessary length of time. That's why God let Israel destroy the Canaanites. Their violence had gone on long enough for Him, so he let Israel use violence to destroy them. What is immoral in God's eyes is the illusory-peace crowd in Israel whose policies keep prolonging the conflict because they are unwilling to completely eliminate the terrorist threat.
It is asinine to assume that you can conquer the Arabs to silence, or destroy them enough that Israel will live in peace.
You are calling God asinine. You will understand when He actually does allow the Arabs to be completely subdued.

Ethnic cleansing is fascist, and advocacy of such a position points towards your fascist bent.
A false charge, since I never said to kill them all. And you know it. But I also know that you will win an argument at any cost if you can. That's because, with your pluralistic world view and relativism, there are no rules that really count..
I am passionate for peace...but Daniel, I am not sure what your position is passionate for. Please clarify? Peace for the Jewish people at the expense or non-Jewish blood, no matter the cost?
I don't believe you are. Winning WII was at the expense of German blood, yes. The right side always charges the losing side a lot of blood for their aggression. That's how wars are won. Duh! And that's how the lives of more people are saved, both spiritually and physically. When the right side loses then there is spiritual death and physical destruction to no end.

I don't have time for anymore. At least not tonight. Your political arguments are not new, and have plenty of counter reports and research to speak of the contrary.

You mean counter lies. And you have failed to answer the points I did make, as you will fail in every case

You raise so many issues it would take dozens of books to address them all.
I'm flattered by your pointing out my economy of thought

I will recommend a few that address your types of biases and political leanings at a later time.
Salaam (that means "peace in Arabic)
I don't believe in the sincerity of your Salaam -- your actions with Peter tell me otherwise, and the illogical emotional basis of your arguments confirm it.

Over the Rhine: "What you think will stop the violence, will only make it spread like a disease until it all comes around again. Is God the last romantic? When we lay our cold weapons down, we'll wake up dreamin'."

A sin it is for a soldier to drop his sword when the cause of justice needs it. The definition of shame cowardice is. The liberal appeal to the right side to yield to the wrong side is but another arrow of the enemy aimed at the heart of truth.

PeterS said...

Hello Daniel,

As always, I appreciate the time that you take to address the issues that I find important to write about. Though I find myself disagreeing with much of what you state, I feel that your contribution demonstrates the lack of parity present in the dominant perspectives.

As mentioned, I do not agree with much of what you state. At times I perceive a high-degree of emotive, subjective bias in your statements. Yet, to be fair, you probably perceive the same in my assessments. As you seem at times to be startled by my lack of connection with present realities relevant to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I honestly feel taken back by the apparent ignorance of your statements. Again, though, despite our divergences, I hope that others will benefit from the dialogue.

I may not be able to address all of your points, but this being said, by no means will I remove them. Rather, I will continue to address the topics of Islam, Judaism, and Israeli-Palestinian politics in upcoming posts. I welcome and encourage disagreement--especially your informed or misinformed disagreement. I do think that the facts are overwhelmingly in favor of the positions that I have taken on this blog, and I hope that time will continue to iron-out many of the facts and interpretations for the benefit of any persevering readers.

Owen said...

I lived in the Opccupied Palestinian Territories for 12 months and worked for the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (cited in sara's work).

I won't add many comments to Daniel's, as he clearly is an ignoramus, instead just to the paper itself.

In the second paragraph, there is a rather superfluous reference to "God". What does this have to do with Israeli environmental policy exactly? A good argument is self-sustaining, a bad argument needs an unquestionable authority to back it up. Fortunately, the environmental data is sound. I also honestly don't know what "disturbing the life blood of the universe" actually means. Do you mean that Isreal is exploiting another sector of humanity on the basis of ethnicity and therefore constitutes a form of apartheid?

Regardless of my own opinions, Sara has firmly established the profound importance Environmental resources play in the conflict and the way they highlight the internal contradictions of Zionism. As Isreali writer/academic Yiftachel put it, Zionism and unilateral disengagement (and unilateral confiscation of environmental resources) contribute to a process he calls "creeping apartheid" ie petty aspects of apartheid are lacking (eg. arab and jews can drink at the same fountains in Israel)however, wider systemic injustices are clearly illustrated by the significant disparities in the way environmental resources are allocated (both in Israel and WB/Gaza).

An interesting point..Daniel has suggested Israel confiscate 100% of the water resources until the Arabs give up resistance, an escalation of the current situation whereby millions of civilians will be targeted and starved into submission until Israel's political ambitions are realised. Regardless of the moral or political justifications one might find for such a strategy, it sounds an awful lot like terrorism to me.

PeterS said...

Hello Owen,

Thank you for offering the first direct and constructive comment yet to be made about Sara's paper. You certainly are qualified to comment on this topic, and I appreciate your post tremendously.

Are you suggesting that the Israel-Palestine arrangement is not an apartheid? You seem leery of applying this term--offering the example that Jew and Arab can both drink from the same fountain in Israel. Though total segregation is not the norm, discrimination against non-Jewish Palestinians seems to be a core value to Israeli "democracy." Such discrimination and the growing segregation of society would suggest apartheid to me. Would you mind explaining more about why you would not consider Israel a true apartheid?

How true it is that information lacking integral backbone or apoditicity latches onto higher authority for justification. Such argumentation surfaces regularly when debating with religious adherents, and it becomes a deterrent to logic and further learning. I am sure that Sara will speak for herself to address your question, but I see the reference to "God" in paragraph two as a rhetorical device. "God's world" is a commons for all of "God's creatures." The reference is not essential to the logic of the argument, but it does offer a subjective appeal.

Oddly, Daniel's terrorism is justified because he relies on the Bible to support it. Though his terrorism exists only in theory (he is not attempting to engage in it), it is seen as acceptable language due to the target: "the Arabs." If he used such statements against any other ethnic grouping (e.g., "the Jews," "the blacks," etc.) he would be deemed fit for the cell. Yet, again, because he looks to absolute authority and because he is speaking against "the Arab," his statements are justified. Though I reject the idea that acts of terrorism by Muslims are inspired by the Quran, Daniel's manipulation (natural or artificial) makes the issue one of conflicting revelations: the Bible or the Quran. Fortunately, the Quran does not advocate injustice or wanton ethnic cleansing. Unfortunately, the Pentateuch does advocate such behaviors, and Daniel considers it appropriate to apply such biblical instructions to in today's polity. Scary stuff if you ask me.

PeterS said...

Hello Owen,

Thank you for offering the first direct and constructive comment yet to be made about Sara's paper. You certainly are qualified to comment on this topic, and I appreciate your post tremendously.

Are you suggesting that the Israel-Palestine arrangement is not an apartheid? You seem leery of applying this term--offering the example that Jew and Arab can both drink from the same fountain in Israel. Though total segregation is not the norm, discrimination against non-Jewish Palestinians seems to be a core value to Israeli "democracy." Such discrimination and the growing segregation of society would suggest apartheid to me. Would you mind explaining more about why you would not consider Israel a true apartheid?

How true it is that information lacking integral backbone or apoditicity latches onto higher authority for justification. Such argumentation surfaces regularly when debating with religious adherents, and it becomes a deterrent to logic and further learning. I am sure that Sara will speak for herself to address your question, but I see the reference to "God" in paragraph two as a rhetorical device. "God's world" is a commons for all of "God's creatures." The reference is not essential to the logic of the argument, but it does offer a subjective appeal.

Oddly, Daniel's terrorism is justified because he relies on the Bible to support it. Though his terrorism exists only in theory (he is not attempting to engage in it), it is seen as acceptable language due to the target: "the Arabs." If he used such statements against any other ethnic grouping (e.g., "the Jews," "the blacks," etc.) he would be deemed fit for the cell. Yet, again, because he looks to absolute authority and because he is speaking against "the Arab," his statements are justified. Though I reject the idea that acts of terrorism by Muslims are inspired by the Quran, Daniel's manipulation (natural or artificial) makes the issue one of conflicting revelations: the Bible or the Quran. Fortunately, the Quran does not advocate injustice or wanton ethnic cleansing. Unfortunately, the Pentateuch does advocate such behaviors, and Daniel considers it appropriate to apply such biblical instructions to in today's polity. Scary stuff if you ask me.

Andrew T. said...

"Fortunately, the Quran does not advocate injustice or wanton ethnic cleansing. Unfortunately, the Pentateuch does advocate such behaviors"

No it doesn't. You haven't an inkling of what you're talking about. The status of Israelite was based on a covenant, not ethnicity. In the Pentateuch, when the Jews made war with other semitic tribes (which, by the way, were ethnically almost identical to most of them, but covenantally pagan), it was about survival and the prevention of assimilation (especially their encounters with the Midianites). The early Israelites themselves were ethnically diverse, with scores of resident-aliens (geirim) and converts. I'm disgusted that you would make this kind of an accusation.

Andrew T. said...

"If he used such statements against any other ethnic grouping (e.g., "the Jews,""

There you go again, Peter. A Jew is not a member of an ethnicity, but that of a religious covenant (whether or not the person keeps to the covenant after the fact of being born or converted). Today there are Jews of almost every ethnicity: European, asian, african/black, middle-eastern, the Jews of India, hispanic.

Sara said...

Andrew,
I agree with your statements about Jewish ethnicity versus Judeo-religion. However, it has been in my experience that in reality, the religion has very little to do with it, and it is in fact a case of ones bloodline/kin and historical heritage. For example, during the time I spent in Israel and the territories she illegally occupies, I was interrogated frequently as to my ethnicity, but only once on my religion. I am not sure if you have been to Israel, but upon entering the "security" officials pose questions such as "what's your parents last name? What does your father do? What ethnicity are you?" You get the idea. I think the Biblical definition favors your idea, however the facts on the ground seem to speak otherwise--in my observation anyway. The majority of Israelis display a European secular culture, with only a small portion actually adhering to the Jewish religion.

At work, gotta jet...out of time.

Andrew T. said...

"The majority of Israelis display a European secular culture, with only a small portion actually adhering to the Jewish religion."

In the early Israeli state, religious Sephardic and especially Yemenite Jews experienced harsh repression and persecution under the thumb of secular Zionist Ashkenazim (I.E. German and west European). Ashkenazim at no point encountered such persecution in Israel. Peculiar that even a small segment of the people most effected by German persecution would be so quick to turn that around on others. The cream floats to the ceiling, indeed.

Owen said...

Yiftachel O. (2005) Neither Two States or One: The Disengagement and "Creeping Apartheid" in Israel/Palestine The Arab World Geographer vol. 8 pp125-129

...this guy is pretty interesting.

I am not suggesting Israel does not have some uncanny similarities to apartheid nor that many of its policies are directed towards segregation and the delineation of exclusive ethinc space. I am merely cautious in applying the term without adequately refering to its historical origins or important differences.

Daniel said...

Peter,
As you cannot see the overall rightness of Israel in their cause over and against the wrongness of the Arabs, I must decline further input for the time being. As you clearly said, you don't want to answer all my arguments. I know it is because you can't answer them.
You know very well that I have changed my opinion before, when you have made a good argument. (case and point Oard's view of the Mammoth extinction is better than Brown's.) However, this time around you made very poor arguments against the main issue.
You are free to go and dominate whatever dark corner of the socio-political pseudo-religous world you wish. I wish you deliverance someday from your permenantly abiding cognitive dissoance.(a.k.a. guilt)
If I don't get back to you sooner, I'll contact your office in Babylon from mine in Jerusalem, and we will discuss the upcoming destruction of that city in the light of the good things that God is about to do for Israel.

Owen said...

Oh Lord save us from the Christians....

Owen said...

we seem to have a veritable member of the christian taliban

Tandi said...

Restating my unanswered question......

I would like to know what the counter argument is about the Palestinian situation from Israel’s point of view.

We do know from Bible Prophecy that the water crisis in the Middle East will precipitate a war where armies will cross the Euphrates River on dry land. Turkey’s dams will make this possible:

"Control of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers is one of the keys to strategic dominance of the region. I have read in the book of Revelation of how 'the Kings of the East' with a 200 million-man army will enter the Middle East after 'the Euphrates has been dried up.' I can't say I understand Revelation very well. I am a Jew, not a Christian. But even I have to admit, with the advent of Turkey's new dam system and the Mediterranean fresh-water pipeline, this prophecy is now, for the first time, possible and even probable."

Ari Noam Levy, Mossad intelligence agent, Cyprus

This has been an on again, off again project...stalled at times by the concerns of Environmentalists.


Additionally, I would like to know if the term "Ottoman" Empire is related to the Bible name "Teman," a descendent of Ishmael. Obadiah 1:9 has the phrase "O Teman" which sounds like Ottoman.

The reason I ask is that I came across this Scripture in Isaiah today:

"The burden upon Arabia....The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought* water to him that was thirsty..." (Isaiah 21:13-14)

*or bring ye (margin note)

Just wondering if Turkey's dam project will provide a solution to the water crisis and relieve the suffering of the Palestinian people in the future while fulfilling Bible prophecy.