Thursday, January 1, 2009

More Death and Less Resolution

There are few issues in the world that are more problematic than the Israeli-Arab conflicts. It is a problem that transcends generations, and has been going on for centuries. The current issue of the "State of Israel" versus the "State of Palestine" is only the latest page of the latest chapter in a very large book full of tragedy and horror.

Since I am neither Israeli nor Arab, there is little I can directly experience of their affairs. I do have Israeli friends and, at least remotely, I have some Arab acquaintances. I know more Islamic people than Arabs, however, since there is an obvious difference. Although Islam and Judaism have their problems, too, the remoteness of Pakistanis to Israelis, for example, is too great for their to be direct eye for an eye revenge battles such as there are with the Arabs. You might think the same was true of Iran, since Persians and Israelis have not been in many direct conflicts over the centuries.

Yet, due to the Palestine problem, many Islamic peoples have taken up the battle against Israel, and by extension, against all Jews. The fact that Christianity is also "somewhat" related to Judaism seems to damn them as well, although the Arabs are much more related by blood to the original Jews than to most Christians in modern times. But this also extends to Islamic peoples of Indian descent or to Indonesians. They are Islamic by force of belief, not by being Arab. The hatred of the Jews because of their religion is therefore entirely irrational.

The hatred of anyone for any reason is usually irrational, since it is an emotional reaction rather than a conscious choice. There are few people that I could say "I hate", and when I do examine closely why I might say that, I cannot come up with a logical "A is to B as C is to D" kind of answer.

If someone murdered my children, I would certainly be emotionally effected, no question of that. I would probably hate whoever did such a thing. But what would it be that I hated? That person? What if they were also dead, killed by the police or by their own hand after committing the murder. Should I hate the non-existent person? Should I hate the gravestone of that person? The reasoning would be meaningless, but I might still hate that person -- because I would hate the memory I have of my loss and the cause of that loss. I would be hating that part of my brain that encodes the loss of my child at the hand of a murderer.

Many centuries have passed since the Roman emperors wielded their power of life and death over the peoples of the Mediterranean. The Romans killed whoever they liked to kill, whenever they wished to do so, for several centuries. Amongst their victims were Christians, Jews, Egyptians, and even other Romans. Should we all hate the Romans and their descendants? Should we try to erase all the Roman influences within our cultures? We would wind up hating ourselves because our cultures are so intertwined with the Romans (and the Christians and Jews and Egyptians, etc.) there can be no unraveling them.

The current operation in Israel is against the "Hamas" organization. They are Arab, Islamic, and implacably hateful of Israelis. They feel wronged, oppressed, displaced, etc. One can feel some sympathy for their plight. At the same time they are unapologetically guilty of murdering women, children, and anyone else who happens to be close by, using suicide bombs, random rocket attacks, mortars, booby traps, car bombs, etc. These are all the tools of guerrilla fighters.

After so many of these attacks upon the citizens of Israel occur, then the inevitable response from the much stronger, more technically advanced IAF rains massively destructive weapons down upon them, which also kills women, children and anyone else who happens to be close by.

The cycle continues. In the distance, Iran threatens to "extinct" Israel. The Al Qaeda hordes threaten the same. The angry Arabs and Islamic peoples of all the places that hate Israel are increased in their anger and hatred yet again.

Personally, I have asked questions about the problem of my Israeli friends (who live in America, and for the most part do not wish to partake in these operations, and do not wish their relatives or fellow Israelis to be harmed by the inevitable revenge cycles thereof.)

I ask, "Why not just take all the money used to buy arms, buy nuclear materials, buy political influence, and so forth, and use that to buy some land in Canada or somewhere with lots of land and little population, and build your country there? Surely it would be cheaper.

The answer, "Because the Temple of Jerusalem, or at least the Wall, is there. It cannot be arbitrarily moved to the Yukon or even to Egypt. It has historical and religious meaning. You may as well ask Mecca to be moved to Nebraska."

OK. "So, do you think you need to kill every single Arab that surrounds Israel?"

Answer; "No, only the violent, terrorists and fanatics."

OK. "So, will you ultimately have to use nuclear weapons against some Islamic country that has a nuclear weapon?"

Answer: "Not any more than when America needs to use nukes against other nuclear powers. Usually there is a balance of power, and sane leaders prevent all out strikes."

OK. "So, wouldn't the same logic apply to Iran? Do we need to stop them?"

Answer: "Well, hopefully they are rational, at some level, and will not actually use such weapons, however there are many irrational acts which countries such as Iran and Pakistan take part in. And to a lessor degree, India and China also take part in problematic enterprises. Everyone must keep an eye on everyone else. Not Israel, not the USA, nor any other country should become irrational and use these weapons. But there is always a chance."

OK. "So, do you think Hamas, if left unchecked, would use such a weapon if they ever got their hands on it?

Answer: "Look at what they do now. They lob explosives into Israel with the full knowledge that destruction will rain down upon them as a result. A nuclear weapon that destroyed Israel and also destroyed Gaza would only be seen as glorious in their eyes, somehow fitting the 'martyr' label, ensuring the 70 virgins in Heaven, or whatever."

This is the typical question answer session. There is no solution using logic or reason. There is only religion, hatred, revenge and that sort of thing. It keeps on going, over and over. I truly am afraid that it will lead to either the utter destruction of Israel and the surrounding Arab states, or to an infinite series of the kinds of wars and sieges that are going on right now, until all eyes are gouged out and all tongues are cut off.

I hope not. This is so tiring to me.

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