Sunday, October 10, 2010

(BLOG) Palestine-Israel Dispute: Israel Deserves More Respect

"By Daniel Drubaker: Any negotiations concerning limitations to Israeli settlement activity in Gaza and the West Bank should by preceeded by a reasonable demonstration of regard for Israel.

The belligerence of many of Israel's opponents - particularly their violent targeting of civilians - never ceases to amaze me. But what amazes me more is that amid such relentless belligerence these same parties (and many in the rest of the world) suggest that Israel ought to make concessions before the good faith of its neighbors has been demonstrated. Really?! It's like telling a victim of domestic violence to change to avoid 'setting off' future abuse.

It is important to remember the context of the occupation of the disputed territories: There had been a massive and concerted attack on Israel by its neighbors, an attack that those neighbors never seem to have imagined Israel would be able to repel. It was the very belligerence of these folks that led to the circumstance they now bemoan.

Many Israelis would make concessions if they felt peace would result, but it should be clear by now that conceding land is not likely to bring peace. The Israeli people have lived under the threat of hostile actions from their neighbors outside and inside the country for more than 60 years. They are weary, but every time they've made concessions it has escalated to hostile activities from neighbors.

Yet even in the face of the most shameful acts on the part of their opponents, Israelis have never to my knowledge responded by shamefully targeting civilians as a means of striking terror in the hearts of those who wish them ill. Certainly civilians have died on both sides but there is an important distinction. When Palestinians and others targeted Israel, they sought the maximum number of civilian casualties and rejoiced in this success. In contrast, Israel never targeted civilians or celebrated civilian casualties.

Israel is ready for peace, but peace requires the participation of both parties. The settlement freeze, in my opinion, is merely a gimmick that offers false hope and 'places the cart before the horse.' No people should ever be expected to withstand any level of civilian targeting, period.

It is a real shame because so many of the Palestinian people are kept from a better life by security measures Israel correctly takes to prevent attacks on its own civilians. If the few who fight like school bullies blowing up bystanders to get their way would desist, certainly progress could be made toward improving the lot of regular Palestinians.

But an enduring demonstration of regard for Israel, such as recognizing the state of Israel and a complete halt of terrorist activity, should precede any talk of terms.

Daniel Drubaker is a religious studies graduate student." (source)

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