Like most political events, it is a mixed blessing providing a homeland to a people who lost nearly a third of their population through the death camps of World War II. Like all things human, the Jewish/Palestinian conflict is entirely manmade and extremely complicated.
This 70th anniversary of Israel is celebrated around the world with parades, dancing, worship services, parties and outdoor events. For the first time in nearly 2000 years the Jewish community has a physical land they can call their own.
It is worth celebrating.
When the British rule of Israel was lifted and the Jewish country established in 1948 there was a vast diaspora of existing Palestinians who were moved in order to make room for the new settlers.
This is where the darker side of human nature comes into the picture. The Jews had been moving to the region since the early 1900s while it was under British control. The new settlers established agricultural communities and began making homes for themselves with such organizations as the Jewish National Fund established in 1901.
Along with settlements they also established the Haganah, a paramilitary organization which eventually evolved into the Israeli Defense Forces. It was the Haganah who organized and implemented a campaign against the Palestinian residents and through a combination threats and violence forced the Palestinians to leave.
There have been efforts at reconciliation, such as the “build-your-own-home” plan (http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_article=960&x_context=18) in the 1970s. With the help of the Jewish government Palestinian refuges would build a home, complete with utility and electrical networks, roads, schools, health clinics, shopping centers, etc. When the home was finished the Palestinian family would move from the refugee camp to the new house and become the property owner.
The “build-your-own-home” plan did not work because the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) did not support the idea. People living in nice homes, in nice communities, have a stake in promoting peace and a stable government. The PLO promoted discord with the intention of making it so uncomfortable that the Jews would leave Israel.
A series of treaties and accords have been negotiated and signed, but the violence and disruption continues. Today the original refuges and their descendants, numbering up to 6 to 8 million people, are able to claim refugee status.
It amazes me how hate can continue to keep going like a fire, as long as there are people ready to keep shoveling fuel.
Is there an end? Of course. Someday, when everyone gets tired of the way things are and really want to work for a change it will happen. Until then……
There is so much information available I’m suggesting:
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