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A Debate on the Middle East

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It is true that Austen was well informed about the historical and legal rights of the Jews in the Middle East. What he completely lacked was any sense of empathy for the plight of the Arabs.

I agree with John; besides Austen never accepted the historical rights of the Arabs in the Middle East. In his postings he/she quite often repeated rather imperialist and today we even would call them racist views about the Arabs.

Looking at the historical roots of the conflict also measn going back to the primary resources and the first publications for example of the Zionist movement in the 19th century which mirror the imperialist attitude towards the Arabic people. One justification you find in these documents is that the Jews see themselves as representatives of (superior) western culture which they intend to bring to the Near East.

If the aim is to bring peace to this region then both people have to meet as equals and have to be accepted as equals.

Dalibor is right when he has we cannot really understand what it must be like to live in permanent fear and in a state of nearly permanent war; but both sides share these feelings and experiences. The Palestinians today want what the European Jews wanted at the end of the 19th century.

Furthermore I think the conflict cannot be solved without tackling the economic and social problems the Palestinians are facing, which nourish their anger and hate against Israel.

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People with ”bleeding heart” for their cause argue often in an inpatient way. I know, I sometimes fail to the same trap myself.  Nevertheless these same peoples can’t be disregarded in the debates.

How many of us, sitting comfortably in the chairs by a nicely warming fire woods knows about their plights? When reading through different debates I do feel that for many of us the debates are just “playing with words”. On the other hand for people like Austen it’s a matter of the truth. Matter of life and death.

The nation of Israel is clearly fighting for a survival. And this nation had done it for the last 60 consecutive years. Which other nation would have done better in such deadly fight?

The conflict in Palestine had to be viewed in the historic perspective of the last 100 years. I think that Austin, better than others, in the debate succeeded in seeing it in this way.

I assume this is a criticism of those who opposed Austen’s ideas. I am surprised you are so supportive of his racist views on the Arab race.

In what way am I supportive of Austen racist view?? In what way is Austen racist??

I stress it again: The conflict in Palestine must be seen trough prism of the last 100 years of Middle East history, which I strongly feel no one of the debaters except of Austen see.

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda

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You are right, neither the historic dimension of this conflict must not forgotten nor its European origin.

But both sides have their history and their perception of history and their historic claims.

When it comes to solving a conflict with long and deep historical roots it sometimes is necessary to do something which pushes history aside. The example South Africa has been mentioned in the different postings and the peaceful transition from the apartheid system to a real democracy was possible because de Klerk and Mandelo did something which broke the circle and spell of history.

Maybe something like this is necessary in the Near East, too.

I think for example that Rabin left his personal and his country's history behind when he negotiated with Arafat.

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Dalibor,

Euope and the Euopean Union are another example that historic ties can and maybe must be broken to begin a new and at least in Europe peaceful chapter of history: if French and Belgian had not broken the circle of a long-lasting and deeply entrenched hostility and enmity between especially France and Germany there would be no united Europe and maybe no 50 years without war.

It takes courage and courageous people but it is possible.

This is not because of Israel, this is because of Arafat. Billions of dollars have been poured into the PA and where is that money? You are a victim of Arab propaganda. Don't you see that it is in Arafat's best interest to keep the Palestinians down-trodden and angry? How else is he going to get them to slaughter Jews? Arafat is a fraud and he's got you believing his lies. What is distressing is how easy that was for him.

Benny Morris, Professor of History at Ben-Gurion University, Beersheba, Israel in his book "Righteous Victims - A history of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001" explaining the causes of the Al-Aqsa(second) Intifada (pages 660-664):

"... The cause of the eruption, which without doubt has scarred Jewish-Arab relations for many years to come, lay in the 52-year history of marginalization of and discrimination against the Arabs in Israeli society and their gradual radicalization, which has included a fast-growing Islamic fundamentalist movement and incendiary anti-Israeli rhetorics by their elected leaders. ...

At base, the frustrations and slights endured since the signing in 1993 of the Oslo agreement and, more generally, since the start of the occupation in 1967, had now come home to roost. Indeed, the new Intifada seemed to give release to the pent-up anger of the Palestinians since their initial confrontation with Zionism and the catastrophic loss of Palestine in 1948. The Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip had tired of the domination and control over their lives exercised by the Hashemites and the Egyptians between 1948 and 1967 and by Israel (in direct fashion until 1993 and indirectly, but still very palpable, ever since). All Israeli Arabs remain dependent on the Israeli economy for livelihood and basic services: all had to endure the insult and humiliation of searches at IDF roadblocks as they travelled from one island of Palestinian control to another or into Israel or out of the country; and all suffered politically from the absence of real sovereignty and control over their lives and fortunes. ...."

In the Gaza strip a small minority of Jewish settlers holds and works 42% of the fertile land and water resources.

Edited by UlrikeSchuhFricke

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Debaters in this thread may find this link informative. I guess some may think that the British Charity the Save the Children Fund has somehow been taken in by

Arafat's lies
but so be it.

Just to clarify one point; the former member of this forum Pitiricus has been banned from this forum for racism in his/her attempt to post wildy anti- Arab and anti - German material which would have constituted incitement to racial hatred in this country. The former member Austen resigned from the forum of his/her own volition after being warned several times about his/her inability to adhere to the forum guidelines. His/her posts and attempted posts were in gerneral terms more cerebal and less racist than his/her friends but were continually personal offensive and defamatory to other forum members. Both former members were acting together as is evidenced by the forum communications logs. I am disappointed that neither of these characters were able to put their views across without resort to racist slur or personal insult. I also note that their favoured extreme right wing weblog links to this site and features highly in our statistics for referrals.

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I am disappointed that neither of these characters were able to put their views across without resort to racist slur or personal insult. I also note that their favoured extreme right wing weblog links to this site and features highly in our statistics for referrals.

This is a common tactic employed by extremist groups. It is a way of organizing attacks on those who seek to bring an end to racial conflict. For several years my website on Black Civil Rights has been targeted by America’s white racist community. Their main strategy is to post details of your work on sympathetic websites. This results in an avalanche of vicious emails. Ironically, these links help your ranking in second-generation search-engines such as Google. For example, my page on the Ku Klux Klan appears higher than that the official KKK website. They complain that Google is part of a left-wing conspiracy, not realising that it is there own tactics that has contributed to this situation.

For those who would like to read an objective history of the Palestinian Question I would suggest this United Nations website.

http://www.un.org/Depts/dpa/ngo/history.html

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The Palestinians today want what the European Jews wanted at the end of the 19th century.

When British forces couldn’t master the explosive situation in Palestine the British government decided that a newly established United Nation should take a decision on the future of Palestine.

The Palestinian Arabs was given a half of British mandate Palestine by United Nations decision in 1947. The Jewish population received the other half. The Palestinians leadership said NO to this decision. It was made clear by them that if Jews established a Jewish state on the parts of Palestine given to them by U. N. there would be war. And this war is still, sadly enough, going on …….

Thus the Palestinian Arabs are fighting today for something that was given to them already in 1947!!

Furthermore …… it’s a big riddle for me why The Palestinian Arabs didn’t ask for the Gaza Strip and West Bank their Arabs neighbours, Jordanians and Egyptians, which occupied these two places (given to Palestinians Arabs by U.N. in 1947) between 1949 and 1967.

Nobody answered my question in what way my debate contributions shows that I’m supportive of racism.

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda

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Thus the Palestinian Arabs are fighting today for something that was given to them already in 1947!!

That was before 1967, when this territory was occupied by Israel.

And they did not demand it from their Arab neighbours because they still beleived that they had the right to own and govern all of Palestine, which they had inhabited - though not goverened- for more then 1000 years.

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That was before 1967, when this territory was occupied by Israel.

Can you please explain you better? I do not understand what do you mean by your answer …..

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Dalibor,

you explained corectly that the newly founded UNO followed a plan of two states: Israel and Palestine, which was refused by both sides. The first war began and ended with the foundation of the state Israel. Millions of Arabs - today calling themselves Palestinians - left Israel; historians disagree if they left voluntarily, were encouraged by Arabic leaders to leave or were forced to leave by the Israeli armed forces. They mainly lived in refugee camps and you rightly say the territory they today claim as their homeland was then occupied by Jordan and Egypt. You know that more wars followed and since 1967 Israel has occupied the Gaza Strip and the Westbank despite many resolutions of the General Assembly of the UNO. In the beginning the Palestinian refugees and the ones living in the neighbouring Arab countries and the PLO refused to accept the right of the state Israel to exist. It took the Palestinians and their newly founded organisations a long time to accept that Israel had a right to exist and that it would not be tolerated by the world to eliminate Israel again or to turn it into a part/county of a predominantly Palestinian State. Today the PLO and the PA have signed different treaties accepting the territorial souvereignty of Israel.

What Herzl and the Zionist movement demanded, namely to have a national home (=nationstate) for the Jews on their old ancestoral land, the Palestinians demand today: a nationstate of their own on the Westbank and in the Gaza strip. They not only want autonomy but souvereignty.

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Nothing can justify the treatment of the Palestinians by Israeli security forces.

"Suicide bombers" (branded by Bush as "cowardly" for no discernible reason) are a futile response to the killing or Palestinian children by the Israeli Security Forces.

When the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union there were people who despaired at the unpreparedness of the USSR for this attack, tied explosives to their bodies and threw themselves under the advancing tanks.

Nobody described them as "cowardly".

The bombing of civilians is a crime against humanity whether it is carried out by American-supplied Israeli airforce bombers or by "suicide bombers" yet the BBC coverage has been remarkably one-sided about this. When Israeli Civilians are killed there is a report giving names and photographs...to preserve "balance" the BBC will append a comment, "the Palestinians *claim* that 6 civilians have been killed"...without the photographs or biography....as if the Palestinians were less human.

The attempt to use the holocaust as an excuse for this is frankly dishonest. None of the Palestinians being killed by Sharon had any connection with the holocaust. Not one.

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  However it jars with Andy's crazy suggestion that a PRIMARY goal of education is to reduce certainties.  The alternative is not to teach dogma but to teach analysis skills. 

Are you agreeing or disagreeing with me :(

My aim to to help students become analytical and critical thinkers not at all susceptible to authoritarian nonsenses posing as "moral certainties". I think this can result in fewer deaths.

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Andy Walker,

Notwithstanding that you are uncertain whether we agree I will presume you are not very certain about whether you are right.  Challenging certainties is not the same as challenging all certainties or denying apparent certainties but as a general doctrine it is pointless and can be used to give legitimacy to any load of rubbish - parity between a patently considered argument and a patently hostile one, for example.  I think it sounds like a commitment to pass on to children one's doubts and foibles as a matter of urgency, which is neither a sensible nor sensitive way to educate.

Let us perhaps return to my initial comment about "certainty". It was done in reference to a colleague expressing concern about how best to tackle members of his class who displayed a fundamentalist world view. There are many expressions of such muddled and simplistic thinking all of which tend to lead to burning flags and cycles of violence we could all do with out.

I am sorry that you seem to choose to misinterpret my commitment to encouraging critical thinking amongst the young; I dare say you might find this commitment threatening.

I would also like to take this opportunity to invite you to post your credentials in the Biographical Details section of this forum so we know who we are talking to. This forum has been designed specifically for teachers and educators.

Unlike most weblogs and fora we do not encourage anonymity and will not be in future tolerating it.

Finally I would like to repeat the comments of John earlier;

For those who would like to read an objective history of the Palestinian Question I would suggest this United Nations website.

http://www.un.org/Depts/dpa/ngo/history.html

For those who wish to trot out their well rehearsed positions anonymously and to an appreciative and uncritical audience I have found just the place for you HERE. Have fun!

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When the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union there were people who despaired at the unpreparedness of the USSR for this attack, tied explosives to their bodies and threw themselves under the advancing tanks.

Please visit the www-address: http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/home.asp

This address will take you to homepage of Israel Ministry of Foreign affairs. There you can click on picture which has following text bellow: “Suicide bombing of buss nr.19 in Jerusalem (Jan 29, 2004)”

If you watch the short film taken after the attack you will se what kind of “tanks” are attacked on the streets of Israel cities.

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda

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When the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union there were people who despaired at the unpreparedness of the USSR for this attack, tied explosives to their bodies and threw themselves under the advancing tanks.

Nobody described them as "cowardly".

One mans freedomfighter is the other mans terrorist. However there is in my opinion a difference between tanks from an invading army and busses full of innocent passengers.

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