At this stage of the series, I’d like to discuss the obvious faults on both sides of this fight. We’ve established that just supporting Israel in this fight is neither biblical nor Christlike, and to promote such a political stance using scripture is to do the Palestinian people a serious disservice. From here, I’m going to discuss where both sides are at fault in all of this, albeit with severe injustice to detail.
Ever since the Balfour Declaration (actually, even before then) the Israelis and the Palestinians (particularly those of Muslim descent, but amongst them Christians as well) have been at odds over religious claims and property disputes. One of the pieces of land causing a large amount of the conflict is the Temple Mount, where the Jews believe the original sight of Solomon’s temple exists, and the Muslims believe Mohammed ascended to heaven (and subsequently built the Dome of the Rock, which still exists there today). With the growing number of Jewish immigrants to the area and the expansion of settlements to accomodate their expanding numbers, many Palestinians are being evicted from homes they’ve lived in for over 10 generations, causing rioting, protest, and violence in an attempt to lash out at people they view as invaders (examples can be found in Jim Wallis’ book God’s Politics). This doesn’t just include Muslims, either; the evictions involve Christians as well. Though some people have protested these settlements nonviolently, the Palestinians have turned to violence in ways as extreme as suicide bombing.
It’s clear, though, that Israel has no discretion about whom it evicts, only about making room for its growing numbers, often resorting to military force and violating UN sanctions to get its way. The US makes no effort to be peacable to both sides, either, only backing Israel in its projects.
On the other hand, though, Jewish immigrants have been the target of violence in the land of Israel for just as long. Alan Dershowitz, in his book The Case For Israel, describes the dehumanizing, second-class treatment Jews would receive from the native Palestinians, from public discrimination acts, such as humiliation, disruption of prayers at the Wailing Wall, and inciting violence. Bat Ye’or in her book called Islam and Dhimmitude talks about what is known as “dhimmi status,” a designation Christians and Jews receive under Muslim rule, which limits their buying and selling rights, their right to assemble and meet, their right to own property, etc. This oppressive designation leaves Jews and Christians as second-class citizens.
The Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and other groups aren’t helping their case on the world stage either, using tactics as placing missile bases in daycare centers, and spreading Anti-Jewish propaganda in newspapers and television. This leads to intense hatred against Israelis throughout the Palestinian population, which these groups will utilize to turn young men into soldiers for their cause (a typical tactic with governments worldwide, really). The fact that they are so open about this, however, paints them as terroristic and hostile on the world stage, and turns people against their cause. The fact that many Palestinian leaders also call for Israel’s annihilation doesn’t help either.
It’s easy to see that both sides are severly at fault in this conflict. Still, as third parties looking in, we must see the roots of this conflict and seek solutions that favor both parties involved (and not necessarily those favoring government leaders, but those of the people). Solutions to come with the next part of the series. See you then.
*Author’s Note* I realize this is terribly simplified, but it’s really all that this blog will allow for. I’ll try to be as close and succint as possible in these posts, but sometimes you can only do so much.