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Guest austen

A Debate on the Middle East

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bunnythief:

Hamas and Israel's neighbors explicitly forbid churches and synagogues in their territory.

This is incorrect. There are many churches in Palestine as there are many Palestinian Christians. Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ, is in so called "Hamas territory". Im sure most readers remember the incident at the church of the Nativity. As far as synagoges go, there are probably quite a few due to the actions of the settlers.

Trick question -- there aren't any Moslem legislatures

Wrong again. There is a Palestinian Legislative assembly.

most of the land was actually purchased by Jews back in the 40's or earlier.

Strike 3! MOST of the land???

Anyway, I dont want to get into a point by point refutation of Bunnys misrepresentation of the facts. I think what is important is to look for solutions, as Dalibor has suggested.

Dalibor:

I provided my vision of the best solution in my last post. I dont know how you missed it...

I think the best solution would be to set up a secular state for everyone to live in with equal civil and religious rights. This way, Jews could live in the West Bank or Gaza, while Palestinian refugees could return to Palestine (today's Israel).

Also, I dont know how you could have mixed me up with other posters who have very different views!

As to implementing my proposed solution, that is an entirely different matter! I dont think this idea is very popular with Israelis or Palestinians at the moment. I beleive that eventually a binational state will come to pass, but probably via an initial 2 state solution. I think the biggest problem in terms of moving the peace process forward at the moment is American support for Israel, which refuses to enter (or even recognize!) the democratically elected leader of Palestine, President Yasser Arafat.

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Suicide bombers are an islamic phenomenon.

From New York, Morocco, Sudan, Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Saudi, Iraq, Afganistan, Pakistan, India, Phillipines, Bali, Russia and Chechnya and some others I left out.

I don't recall any non-muslim suicide bombers...but maybe you can remind me..

Apart from the example of the Japanes Kamikazes in WW2, a more modern example can be found in the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka. They are the first group to sucessfully use suicide attacks to achieve their political goals. (witness the current peace process there...) Their "style" is also similar to that of the Palestinian Martyrs, namely that of explosives strapped to the physical person of the bomber.

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Tolstoy reckoned that war enables people to commit more robbery, deception, murder and rape than come before the law courts in centuries ... and all with a clear conscience.

Israeli security forces daily carry out acts which are contrary to their religion, to their beliefs and their laws and to common humanity. They use as their excuse "the suicide bomber."

As with Japan in the Second World War, the suicide bomber is the response of a poor disadvanated technology taking on a superior one. When an Israeli tank rolls over the bones of a Palestinian child - the tank driver is not endangering his own life, so he is not a "suicide bomber" When the child's mother straps explosives to her body to turn herself into a weapon for revenge then she is.

It is difficult to take the moral change out of that situation.

Suicide bombing is a futile gesture. Anyone who suggests we should attempt to understand why it is taking place will be pilloried in the tabloid press. If we fail to understand why it is happening then nothing will stop it happening....certainly not a cycle of revenge.

It is worth remembering that 9/11 was itself a revenge attack. The American killing spree in Afghanistan (which killed three times as many civilians as 9/11) and in Iraq which killed rather more) was another revenge attack...and tomorrow's suicide bombing will also be.

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Guest 12thman

derekmcmillan:

You can't be serious?

9/11 was not a revenge attack and even if it was, that does not justify it. What America did in Afghanistan (targeting the Taleban and Al Qaeda and NOT civilians) is wholely different than what terrorists did on 9/11.

The same is true of Iraq.

There is a difference between justice and revenge. I suggest you study both words.

Also, let me ask you, how many Taleban or AQ members have been to New York City to help rebuild what they destroyed? How many of Iraq's dinars have wound up on American soil for reconstruction projects.

Your equivocating borders on the idiotic.

Edited by 12thman

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12thman:

My main concern is not 'justifying' this action or that action, but understanding why such things happen. It's only then you can begin to do something about them. I suppose the 'genetic' argument which I've read in this debate and plenty of others is one hypothesis. By this I mean the argument that muslims are suicide bombers because they're [fanatical/irrational/crazed/ … fill in your own adjective] arabs - in other words, their behaviour is a result of their genes! However, as a hypothesis, it doesn't seem to me to stand up to any kind of detailed examination.

It's difficult for me to say whether the suicide hijackers of the World Trade Center bombings thought they were exacting revenge or not. I learned long ago at university not to take people's *stated* reasons for a particular course of action at face value.

However, even at the remove from the Palestinian issue that I am, I can think of plenty of prior actions which I can think of as creating the sense of helplessness that seems to be a trigger for suicide bombings. You could take the assassination of Folke Bernadotte, for example, which was ordered by some of the people who later became the political leaders of the state of Israel. Was that a terrorist act? Did Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin change from being terrorists to anti-terrorists when they came to power? Or is assassination only a terrorist act when it's committed by the wrong people? (Shades of the genetic argument above).

Or you could take the shooting down by a US destroyer of an Iranian passenger jet on a scheduled flight. It's absurd to talk about the Lockerbie bomb as being 'justified' by that action, but it's easy to see why the wildly different world reactions to the two events could encourage lots of people to give up on the possibility of peaceful change.

So where does the world go from here? I can't see any hope for reconciliation and peace until there is some recognition that many and grievous wrongs have been done to the Palestinian people. There won't be any hope, either, unless that recognition is coupled with action to redress those wrongs and try to prevent them happening in the future.

Recognising those wrongs isn't the same as denying that others have had wrongs done to them - it's just that you have to take these different recognitions one at a time. If you don't, you end up muddying the moral water.

I can well see that all this will just sound like more 'equivocating' to you. To me, obviously, it sounds like an honest attempt to take an objective look at a situation which has poisoned relations between many different peoples for more than 50 years. The problem with taking objective looks is that you often don't like what you see …

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I did not of course at any time attempt to justify the terrorist attack on September 11th or suicide bombing. No sane person believes that I did, but it is a convenient way of dismissing any uncomfortable facts to brand anyone who disagrees with you as "a terrorist or supporter of terrorism"

It is an excuse for the continued detention of suspects at Guantanamo bay. It was a justification for the deaths of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq who "got in the way" and became "collateral damage". It is a fact that they vastly outnumber the civilian casualties of September 11th.

If Sharon admits for a second that many of the ppl who criticise his policy are neither terrorists nor anti-semitic he is bereft of arguments and his policy towards the palestinians is shown for what it is.. He would never admit that to himself let alone to the rest of the world.

(Likewise the late Josef Stalin had this habit of branding his critics as Nazi agents...or "objective agents of Nazism" It is just a method of stifling debate. )

Yet this is a debate which is necessary. If ppl fail to understand why there are suicide bombers then there will never be a successful "war against terrorism."

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Guest Alma

This probably being one of the most false arguments around: the famous non-argument of "root causes"...

The reason you have these self-exploding murderers has more to do with islam than with any revendications...

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Guest Alma

Having read the falsities here, I am even more afraid of what is being taught ...

case in point: "If Sharon admits for a second that many of the ppl who criticise his policy are neither terrorists nor anti-semitic he is bereft of arguments and his policy towards the palestinians is shown for what it is.. He would never admit that to himself let alone to the rest of the world."

Well Arik couldn't care less, but most of the critics ARE antisemitic... The old antisemitism denied Jews the right to live, the new one, displayed here, denies this right to the Jewish state... Same poisonous wine, new bottles. Arik is EXACTLY the leader needed because he understands that this is a war for survival, and in such a war, all means must be used!

Let see: when other countries are attacked by terrorists (and this is what the so-called "palestinian" arabs are) they are recognized a right to defend themselves. When Israel is attacked, then you get "root causes"... The truth is that TERRORIST attacks exist since the 1950s, that the 1967 war was a war of defense after Nasser closed the straits of Tiran and that the territories are DISPUTED... That Israel helped these territories develop, in spite of continued TERRORIST attacks!

I see that the old European antisemitic stance is alive and well here...

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I see that the old European antisemitic stance is alive and well here...

This is the person who said she would vote for Jean-Marie Le Pen if she lived in France. Or is it ok to be a racist as long as you support right-wing economic policies. I’ve noted you continue to refuse to respond to my comments about racism in the United States. Especially the role that Martin Luther King played in trying to turn America into a democracy. Were you involved in this campaign or were you a supporter of Jim Crow laws?

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Alma,

Israel is a state like Germany, France, the USA; furthermore it is a democracy and a member of the UNO and has subscribed to adhering to the standards established by this organisation. As much as I question and citicise the activities of my own country and her government I question and critise the activities of Israel. Criticising Israel is not automatically anti-semitism. Or would your call the Jewish peace movement in Israel and e.g. the activities of the officers of the Israeli army to follow Sharon's policy(all of the Jews) anti-semitic also?

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