May 15, 2008

A solution must be found to this 60 year-old problem

Filed under: Politics/News — 4fooey @ 10:03 am

Around this time Israel is marking the 60th anniversary since it was created in 1948. The BBC has a special feature here: ISRAEL AT 60. The Israelis call it a celebration, the Palestinians call it the ‘catastrophe’ – from an outsiders standpoint, it looks like a bloody mess that has gone on far too long. The BBC’s special report looks at the situation from all angles and both sides – I really wish the UN or the USA alone could sort out this intolerable situation. It is the source of so much misery and destruction, and from the Arabs point of view is used as justification for much terrorist activity.

The solution is not going to be easy, of course, but it seems a 2 state solution must be sought. Why this was not achieved back in 1947/48 I don’t know, but should be a urgent matter now. What I can say is what is wrong with the situation in Israel/Palestine:
-It’s wrong that Arabs fire missiles into Israel and in the past years many suicide bombers have terrorised Israel
-It’s wrong that Israel launches airstrikes into the occupied territories and Gaza, and they routinely arrest people and bulldoze whole areas
-the wall is a backward step, but a necessary one according to the Israelis
-the many so-called refugee camps are intolerable places for anyone to live, they’re especially bad for children to grow up in; these are called camps but many have grown up over decades and are home to tens of thousands of Palestinians
-the radical islamification of Gaza is unfortunate (this extreme position may be a reaction to their circumstances)

I can’t help but feel that the Palestinians get the raw end of the deal – they always seem to be worse off when compared with the Israelis. On 14 May 14 people, including a mother and daughter, were injured when a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. But earlier in the day, four people were killed in Israeli military operations in Gaza. This is a typical day in the region where Palestinians are killed in far greater numbers than Israelis getting injured or killed.

A typical account of life for Palestinians is described here: Inside a Palestinian refugee camp. The article describes how, “sixty years ago, the Diab family swapped the simple life of Palestinian peasants in western Galilee for an existence of displacement, dispossession and exile. … Family members were scattered either as displaced people inside the newly created Israeli state or, in the case of Muhammad Diab, 17, as refugees in Lebanon. Muhammad, now a sprightly septuagenarian, has spent most of his life in Shatila refugee camp in the southern suburbs of Lebanon’s capital, Beirut.” The Shatila camp started as a tent city on a hectare of land leased by the UN but, after many years and several wars, it has grown into a concrete jungle with 15,000 inhabitants.

I hope the ‘celebrations’ highlight the need to find a solution to this sad and miserable story. The Americans have tried many times, many agreements have been made. I think it needs a concerted effort by the UN or some independent body, chaired or hosted by an impartial party, to sort out this terrible situation. It really is a catastrophe.


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