Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dr. CHE Sadaphal — The Arab–Israeli conflict

In order to understand the Arab Israeli conflict, one must also consider the historical developments that have shaped the past and formed the conflict-laden present that we all live in.

The official narrative for the creation of the State of Israel began long before the country was officially “created” in 1948. Fervor for Zionism has been growing throughout Europe decades before the end of World War II, and after the Holocaust, sufficient political and moral currency existed to establish a Jewish state in Palestine—an area before 1948 that was composed of more than 90% non-Jews and whose land owners were 99% non-Jewish. After the end of World War I, the British controlled Palestine as part of a colonial mandate, and they made plans to partition the region into a Jewish state after their mandate ended, partly in response to United Nations Resolution 181 (also known as the partition resolution). This resolution was adopted by the UN General Assembly but was notably nonbinding; it also advocated diving Palestine into Jewish and Arab States when the British relinquished control.
On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was born after being recognized both by then U.S. President Harry Truman and then head of the Jewish Agency David Ben-Gurion.
It is important to note that even before May 1948, once plans for the partition were formalized, violence increased in the region out of the expected competition, displacement, and threatened occupation of land between nonindigenous and indigenous people. In fact, the region was engaged in civil war from November 1947 to July 1949 as rival armed forces jockeyed for control.
My purpose is not to point fingers or to blame but to better understand the present by taking a discerning look at history. It seems that from the very start, things in the Holy Land were very messy, and although we are more than 60 years removed from 1948, very little has changed—rival sides still live in perpetual tension and conflict even though the balance of power has shifted dramatically. However, it has reached the point where no one and no side remains innocent and all hands are dirty. The reason being is that violence begets violence, and the perpetual cycles of tit-for-tat justice has absolved all parties of moral legitimacy because invariably, once violence is resorted to, the innocent always suffer, demoting the aggressors to using the same strategy as those they are so vehemently fighting against. Even if one cause is just, it is never just to take the lives of the innocent in the pursuit of retribution.
But didn’t God choose Israel? Aren’t they “special” and “chosen?”