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I'm tired of the whole "Mideast Problem"

king of Funk

TRIBE Member
Having watched a strip of land on the Mediterranean sea cause so much loss of life. Destroy the hopes and dream of so many people. Take up untold pages/airtime in the media. I have come to a startling conclusion:

I could care less......

for the following reasons.

1) If the collective intellect of several generation can't solve this problem, there can be no reasonable, fair equitable, satisfactory resolution. There's no shame in giving up. Let's apply this hitherto wasted genius to solving the energy problem, or to developing even more arcane financial trading instruments. Let's do good or for God's sake let someone make some money.

2) Let's stop calling it the Middle East problem. I'll wager the average man on the street in Damascus or Cairo given the right incentive would jump at the chance to shed the burden of caring about the Palestinians. They have their own problems to solve. Let's see what a better economy and a little less graft in the civil service would do for their outlook. Maybe even throw in a reasonably rust-proof car with decent mileage and some risqué teen drama on the satellite dish.

3) The Endless Debate about who has the moral right here is both tedious and non-productive. I'll liken it to two guys in a bar talking about the Habs and Leafs, they both think they’re right, and good luck convincing them otherwise.

4) Religion is not the issue. You are joking when you say "God loves all of humanity....but loves us a little more" right? Anyone who advocates killing in the name of God, is destined to go to that special place in Hell reserved for idiots who kill in the name of God. So let's put that one to bed.

5) Neither are historical grievances. One generation seeking vengeance for a previous generation’s transgressions, only begets future vengeance. What a handsome legacy to leave your children.

6) There has been a catastrophic failure of leadership on both sides. If I'm a Palestinian in a shack in Ramallah , and I look over to Arafat’s compound and see 6 brand new S class Mercedes sitting there, when do I start thinking corruption? When do I start to ask Hamas why they want my children to strap explosives to their bodies instead of school books? If I'm an Israeli When do I question my governments total support for fanatical settlers, and their irrational need to build their homes in the midst of an enemy sworn to their destruction, instead of my right to be able to ride the bus to work safely? When do I stand up and say the proposed security fence is a de-facto animal corral (there’s an image to make a segregationist Afrikaaner smile).

7) I am especially sick of their “exalted status” as the World’s most glamorous political hot-spot. I’ve had enough of the banality of the talking heads on cable news condemning this and demonizing that to no tangible benefit.

From the moment I was born 30 years ago these two sides have been at it with no end in sight. They’re so inimical , when they sign an agreement to talk about a truce, let alone a negotiated settlement it’s considered a breakthrough. Just a couple of spoilt kids who can’t share with a succession of ineffectual international mediators playing the role of hapless nanny.

You know what clinched it for me? This forum and the multitude of threads on this topic. They all have one thing in common: The inability of those arguing one side to see the other’s point of view. This boggles the mind. We’re talking about an intelligent, eloquent, well informed group of my peers. I realized that one cannot approach this issue with the intent of formulating an objective opinion because the two sides of the argument are so polarized they are unsustainable through objectivity.

So what happens when each side believes they are absolutely divinely right. Nothing that’s what. They nullify each other. They can’t compromise because that’s not an option in absolute faith.

Leaving the current bloody stalemate.

Each side has been peddling this nonsense for years and I'm calling bullshit.

Or as every parent that ever lived would say:

"I don't care who started it give your brother a hug and make up"
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TRIBE Member
Originally posted by king of Funk
"I don't care who started it give your brother a hug and make up"

Funny how as children life is so simple, as are the conflicts.


TRIBE Member
Well written monsieur "king of funk"...the problem, for myself personally anyway, is that I've been on both "sides" of the issue (even though it's really multi-faceted) and it is apparent to me where the "truth" lies. I am always willing to concede points based on logical arguments and fact, which is why I argue some of these subjects to death. ;)

More specifically, my position readily admits that certain Palestinian minority groups are causing great harm and injustice, in effect terrorizing, Israeli citizens. I see many of the root causes lying within the mentality of a minority of extremists who exert much influence in the Israeli government and in the disinformation that the media readily spreads in support of their own bias.

What's interesting, is that the "Israeli defenders" are not able to admit to seeing fault or causation within the Israeli government. They simply deny it. Which amazes me. I don't actually consider myself a defender of any particular cause, except perhaps for rationalism and factualism... ;)
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Vote Quimby

TRIBE Member
All it should take is for one side to be the bigger man. If you get hit, don't retaliate, keep the process going.

Or just let the kids decide. They can look past the stupidity of the adults on both sides.

If only adults could see the world through a child's eye. It would be such a better place to live.

Ah fuck it. Just nuke the region. Problem solved.


TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Vote Quimby
Or just let the kids decide.

Actually, it's interesting that you mention that -- the demographics of the Palestinian people is such that those who are just becoming adults are people who have never seen relative peace (I say relative to whatever the baseline is in that region). It just means that the Palestinian (and Israeli) children growing up will probably have a very different perspective on the issue.


TRIBE Member
Let's pretend the government knocked on your door tomorrow and told you "you can't live here, this family is now living in your house" This new family is no more deserving of the place than you are. Soon you find out everyone in your neighbourhood has been kicked out of their homes, and new familes are in those homes. These new families are also given tonnes of money for utilities (read: military equipment). You band together and try and find out why your home was taken, nobody listens to you, or helps you. Would you really walk away? Say "Take my home, livelyhood, and here's a hug to boot. I can always find a new neighbourhood somewhere" Or would you fight? This is where you lived and were more than likely raised.
There is no quick solution to this problem, if there was trust me they would have been glad to have solved it a long long time ago.
We might not be able to understand the importance of each sides religious beliefs, but to each group this is the Promised Land. Neither one will be happy until they are in control of this area, and they can't both own it.

king of Funk

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Boss Hog
but who would they be without conflict?

Comrades, and not in a Socialist sense by any means, perhaps I should say....Fellow Canadians. You are by all definitions a credit to this country and it’s ethos. We as a nation are compelled by a sense of duty, by our history to look outward. When we see suffering we must act, and our weapons of choice are reason and compassion. We are bound by diversity and tolerance so we do not take sides, We can not take sides.

I emigrated to Canada from your common or garden war torn Third World nation. The proudest moment in my life bar none is the day I was sworn in a citizen. In this country I was welcomed UNCONDITIONALLY to make a life for myself, a greater gift than that does not exist. Which is the reason the baggage from the “Middle East” conflict is anathema to me.

So when we come across an issue like the “middle East Conflict”, An issue that has dragged on for thousands of years, a Theological, Sociological, Political Fermat’s Theorem; why should we get involved?

What I’m saying is this. Understand that when you rail against the injustices acted upon the Israelis/Palestinians it is hypocritical to prevent Israelis/Palestinians supporters to speak their views, right and wrong are irrelevant here. Understand when you dehumanize your opponent by calling them a Terrorist/Occupier you aren’t exactly paving the way to understanding.

I resent the cowardly way Canadians are dragged into a conflict that has persisted for, if you want to go back far enough (and there’s no shortage of people who do), thousands of years. I resent the way Canada is expected, without even the hint of irony, to decide on the relative justness of each cause. As if something can be more “just” than another. It’s a philosophical debate with a body count. With the added twist that I'm expected to choose a side based on how many dead Palestinians a dead Israeli is worth.

Having concluded that the “middle East” Conflict is destined to continue ad-nauseam , what is Canada’s interest here? We know what The Israelis want and we know what The Palestinians want, how do we Canadians benefit either way?

As a Canadian I see none.

As a nation of immigrants we must strike a precarious balance, we are a relatively new nation. The New World was built on Ideals, it was built by the oppressed, the unwanted and the underprivileged. In my opinion Canada is the only “New World” Country that still adheres to these values. So let us remember where we are. Canada.

Don't import that shit here.

Your allegiance is to Canada. Your heart and soul BELONG to Canada. Your talent and effort Belong to Canada. I understand that background/ethnicity/family history are an enormous part of who we are, no one can take that away. Nonetheless the moment you step foot on this land, be it by birth or immigration, this land owns you.

It starts with Canadians of Palestinian and Jewish extraction. Do they fulfill their duty to Canada and set an example of how you can co-exist. Or are they a designated proxy for the conflict here?

To go back the quote from Boss Hog. If they choose to define themselves through this conflict that’s their choice, and it is treason.

Dwell on this: Canada decided long ago that since Abortion rights were such a contentious issue, we were going to do the sensible thing and leave it up to the individual. In one fell swoop a potentially nationally divisive issue was rendered impotent through common sense.

Let's be progressive, let us be the first to say to both sides: It's your problem to solve. Our help is there for your people not your ideology.
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TRIBE Member
Originally posted by king of Funk

Let's be progressive, let us be the first to say to both sides: It's your problem to solve. Our help is there for your people not your ideology.

Provided that we make the distinction between making such a decision intelligently, rather than ignorantly.


TRIBE Member

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
Yeah I can understand not wanting to talk about this one anymore. Personally I'm pretty sick of the topic of conversation myself. But at a certain limit we have to stop ourselves and ask why we still feel compelled to talk about this. Not just myself but as a world in general we're stuck in a point in our history where this is a central point of our focus.

Many groups have fought very hard to both make this a centre of our focus and to prevent it from being. Funeral processions and the handing of caskets from person to person. Staged suicide bombing designed to cause a media presence. Daily reports from embedded media on both sides and an ongoing condition of the UN being more lip service than anything else.

This is a media conflict. It is waged using localized pawns controlled by people extensible removed from the conflict. It’s a war of public opinion and a war in which one side must be painted endlessly as being helpless while the other must be branded heavy handed. It’s a war that has yet to be called a war, yet has been a source of conflict for decades as was said earlier.

I think what fascinates me about the issue is that I believe Palestine can't win and should not be allowed to win.

Much as I dislike Israel!! I'm forced to support a side in a conflict that I dislike while completely arguing against the side I do like. I'm forced to contradict myself in both circumstances. I can't see how Palestine will win if Hammas wins, I cannot accept that Hammas can ever be victorious nor do I accept handing victory over to those who have won using the methods established by them. On the same token I don't want to see the results of Israel winning even though I can accept and understand there methods.


TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Ditto Much

I think what fascinates me about the issue is that I believe Palestine can't win and should not be allowed to win.

I don't understand. What does "winning" mean? Isn't this issue a little bit more multi-faceted??
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Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by ~atp~
I don't understand. What does "winning" mean? Isn't this issue a little bit more multi-faceted??

True, I'm being simplistic. But I would argue that the win for Palestine would be statehood, it would be to have control over there own borders and over there own granting of citizenship. Control over there own ports of call and inturn for there own security and for there own economy.

But this brings up an excellent point.

If they are fighting they must be fighting for something. What do we percieve each side as trying to accompish?


TRIBE Member
August 25, 2003

A Drug for the Addict
The End of the Hudna

It was a putsch. Like any classic putsch, it was carried out by a group of officers: Sharon, Mofaz, Ya'alon and the army top brass.

It is no secret that the military party (the only really functioning party in Israel) objected to the hudna (truce) from the first moment, much as it opposed the Road Map. Its powerful propaganda apparatus, which includes all the Israeli media, spread the message: "The hudna is a disaster! Every day of the hudna is a bad day! The reduction of violence to almost zero is a great misfortune: under cover of the truce, the terrorist organizations are recovering and rearming! Every terrorist strike avoided today will hit us much harder tomorrow!"

The army command was like an addict deprived of his drug. It was forbidden to carry out the action it wanted. It was just about to crush the intifada, victory was just around the corner, all that was needed was just one final decisive blow, and that would have been that.

The military was upset when it saw the new hope that took hold of the Israeli public, the bullish mood of the stock exchange, the rise in value of the shekel, the return of the masses to the entertainment centers, the signs of optimism on both sides. In effect, It was a spontaneous popular vote against the military policy.

Ariel Sharon realized that if this went on, reality would overturn his long-term plans. Therefore, right at the beginning of the hudna, he adopted three immediate goals:

First, to topple Abu-Mazen as soon as possible. Mahmud Abbas had become the darling of George Bush, a welcome guest at the White House. The unique standing of Sharon in Washington was in danger. The pair Bush-Sharon, which was mutating into a single Busharon unit, was in danger of becoming a triangle: Bush-Sharon-Abbas. There is no greater danger to Sharon's plans.

Second, to wipe out the Road Map in its infancy. The Map obliged Sharon to remove immediately about 80 settlement outposts, freeze all settlements, stop the building of the wall and withdraw the army from all West Bank towns. Sharon never dreamt of fulfilling even one of these obligations.

Third, to put an end to the hudna and give the army back its freedom of action in all the Palestinian territories.

The question was how this could be achieved without a trace of suspicion attaching itself to Sharon. The great majority of Israelis, who had greeted the hudna, could not possibly be allowed to suspect that their own leaders were responsible for extinguishing this glimmer of hope. Even more important, it was imperative that no such pernicious idea should enter the innocent head of the good George W. All the blame must fall on the Palestinians, so that the affection for Abu-Mazen would turn into contempt and hatred.

The means for attaining this goal were selected with great care, taking into account the simplistic world of Bush with its Good Guys and Bad Guys. The Bad Guys are the terrorists. Therefore, it was advisable to kill Hamas and Jihad militants. That would not upset Bush. In the eyes of the President, to kill terrorists is a Good Thing. And as a result, the Palestinians would be compelled to break the hudna.

This is how it happened:

On August 8, Israeli soldiers killed two Hamas militants in Nablus. But the retaliation was restrained: on August 12, a Hamas suicide bomber killed one Israeli in Rosh-Ha'ayin and another bomber killed one person in the Ariel settlement. Both suicide bombers came from Nablus. Hamas announced that the hudna would continue. On August 14, the Israeli army killed Muhammad Seeder, head of the military wing of Hamas in Hebron. Five days later, on August 19, a suicide bomber from Hebron blew himself up in a Jerusalem bus, killing 20 men, women and children. Two days later, on August 21, the army assassinated Isma'il Abu-Shanab, the fourth ranking leader of Hamas.

This time it was not even possible even to pin on the victim the appellation "ticking bomb", as is usual in such cases. The man was a well-known political leader. Why was he of all people chosen for assassination? A military correspondent on Israeli TV made a slip of the tongue: Abu-Shanab was killed, he said, because he was "available". Meaning, he was an easy target because he did not go underground after the bus bombing, as did the leaders of the military wing.

This time, at long last, the aim was achieved. The Palestinian organizations announced that they were calling off the hudna. Sharon and Co. rejoiced. Within hours the Israeli army had again penetrated into the centers of the Palestinian towns, starting an orgy of arrests and house demolitions (more than 40 in a single day).

The addict leapt for the drug. His crisis was over, the officers could do all the things they had been prevented from doing for nine long weeks.

But the situation will not revert to the status quo ante intifada, so to speak. The attacks and killings will be more numerous and more cruel. The construction of the Wall deep in the Palestinian territories will be accelerated, along with the building activity in the settlements.

The army propaganda machine is already preparing the public for the "expulsion of Arafat". "Expulsion" is a euphemism produced by the "verbal laundry" section of the army, one of its most creative departments. The intention is not to expel the leader from his Ramallah compound, nor from Palestine, but from this world. The reaction of the Palestinians and the whole Arab world can be predicted. It would be a historic point of no return, perhaps eliminating the chances of peace for generations.

And the Americans? Never has the Bush administration looked so pathetic as here and now. The unfortunate Colin Powell arouses compassion with his stuttering and his emissary, John Wolf, a wolf without teeth, will go the way of all his predecessors.

After the implosion of the new order in Afghanistan and the classic guerilla war now engulfing the universally hated occupation regime in Iraq, the collapse of the Road Map will put an end to any presidential pretensions. It is much easier to have one's picture taken in the uniform of a glorious victor with a background of army extras than to steer the ship of state.

The renewal of the cycle of violence will, of course, exacerbate the economic depression in Israel. The crisis will deepen. Together with the hudna and the Road Map, tourism, foreign investment and the recovery will also die.

The economy, too, is an addict who needs his drug: nine billion dollars in US government loan guarantees are waiting for Sharon in Washington. That should be enough for the political and military elite. Only the poor will become poorer. But who cares?

All this is being done without consulting the Israeli public. There is no open discussion, no debate in the tame media, the silent Knesset and the cabinet of marionettes. That's what makes it a putsch.

To sum up: The road Map is dead, because Sharon was against it from the beginning, Bush saw it only as a photo opportunity on a nice background and Abu-Mazen did not get from Israel and the US anything that he could present as a Palestinian achievement.

What will happen now? After the shedding of yet more blood and many tears, the two peoples will arrive once more at the conviction that it is better to come to an agreement and make peace. Then they will be compelled to learn the lesson of the last chapter: It must all start from the end. Only after the picture of the final settlement clearly emerges can one deal with the immediate problems. Anything else would be a road map to the abyss.

Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is one of the writers featured in The Other Israel: Voices of Dissent and Refusal. One of his essays is also included in Cockburn and St. Clair's forthcoming book: The Politics of Anti-Semitism. He can be reached at: avnery@counterpunch.org.