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Gaza, the withdrawal: Right or wrong?

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As the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza approaches, and the demonstrations increase, we have to stop and wonder what this is really all about.

Before continuing, I will say right at the outset that I am a Jew and proud of it. But I am an Aussie first and a Jew second, not an Israeli.

Okay, we all know that the Jews 'claim' Israel as 'theirs' because God promised it to them in the Bible.

While the Bible has vastly widened its influence since Christianity took it over, then added to it, in its original form, this great book only pertained to a very small group of people. It wasn't recognised by everyone.

Nor was the 'God' in it either. So for outsiders, neither the promise that was supposedly made to the Jews, nor the land the promise was made about, mean anything to anyone outside its influence.

Wait a moment. I forgot the Palestinians. They claim the land belongs to them as well, and they've been there far longer than the Jews.

Let's take another look. Rome, which occupied 1st century Palestine [Judaea], finally flattened Jerusalem in the year 70 CE. The Jews, who had lived there for at least a thousand years, were scattered to all parts of both the known, and unknown, corners of the world. It was the beginning of the Diaspora. Maybe without the Romans, the Jews would have remained in Palestine throughout and would have a more solid claim to the land without having to fall back on 'God' or the 'Bible'.

What about the Palestinians then? What was their claim? Until 1**8, Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled since the thirteenth century.

After that, the UK, France and the US arrived to carve up the old Ottoman regions for themselves, drawing lines on a map to create artificial countries.

It didn't matter to these three powerful countries if the lines they drew cut across old ethnic or geographic borders or not. All they wanted was control of the rich oilfields in the area.

After WWII, most of the foreign mandates ended, but the artificial borders remained. Jews began to pour into the country from Europe, escaping the horrors of the holocaust, of homelessness, of having nowhere else to go.

Between the wars, the Jews who had arrived to settle in Palestine [for the political reasons of Zionism, rather than escaping from a terrible conflict] lived, by and large, reasonably peaceful existences with their Arab neighbours.

And then Israel was born. The British Mandate ended and, with the stroke of a pen, a new country came into existence.

All **** broke loose. While the growing number of Jewish settlers arriving in the land during the Mandate had been relatively peaceful and accommodated by the Arabs, once the new Israel was proclaimed, it was war.

The war has never really ceased, but the highlights came in 1967 when Israel occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, 'old' Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

And they would continue to occupy them 'forever', even if only for security reasons. The die was well and truly cast for a showdown.

Some Jews, quoting the Bible, moved into the occupied territories and settled there. The West Bank, by rights, belonged to the Palestinians, whatever 'God' had 'promised' in the Bible three thousand years ago.

Gaza, however, was a different matter. It had never been part of Israel, having always belonged to Egypt, so was, by rights, already Arab land.

The Jews who had settled there never saw it like that, of course. Whether moving there was for political or religions reasons was beside the point -- Gaza did not belong to Israel other than by occupation.

But if Gaza had never even been part of the so-called promise God had made to the Jews, where does that leave it now?

In my eyes, it leaves it as Arab territory, part of Egypt, which it has been for many thousands of years.

So, what about the withdrawal? Because Gaza is not and never was, part of Israel, the settlers should leave. This is Arab -- or at least, Egyptian -- territory and has nothing to do with the 'Holy Land' or with Israel.

Yes, some Palestinians will be hurt by the withdrawal, those who work for the settlers in the greenhouses, or those who travel every day to Israel, across the border, to work.

Yes, there is a wage difference in what they earn from the settlers and what they could earn from Palestinian masters. For that matter, once the settlers leave, they may not even be able to get jobs again.

But that aside, who benefits in the long term? With any luck, the Palestinians [Arabs, Egyptians]. Hopefully, they will pick up the pieces and turn Gaza into what they want it to be. Not overnight, of course, but over time.

The withdrawal will be a GOOD THING, the right thing to do, and Gaza, at least, will at last become what it was always meant to be -- part of the new country of Palestine.

What do others think?

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But do you think it will bring peace?

by jdclyde In reply to Gaza, the withdrawal: Rig ...

If this land is given over, do you think decades of war and hate will just stop and there will be peace in the land?

I fear this will not solve any issues other than restoring this part back to Palistine. Then they will move on to destroy the rest.

Look at the boarders of Israel on an Arabian map and Tell me what you see. That is what is the goal of the Arabian nations, that the land looks like their maps, with no Israel at all.

I don't see either side willing to let go of the hate.

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Peace? Shalom? Salaam?

I never said anything about peace. That's an entirely separate issue. And I'm well aware of where all the Arab countries want Israel too -- out of existence.

But that isn't the problem I was asking about. My question was only about Gaza. Let's deal with that first before moving on to the [probably more] contentious issue of a peace agreement.

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I see them as one in the same.

by dnvrtechgrrl In reply to Peace? Shalom? Salaam?

A peace agreement would most certainly have to fall in line with a pull out. The reason anyone has even discussed Isreal leaving the Gaza strip is in part DUE to the unrest bred by hate. A peaceful agreement doesn't suggest the hate go elsewhere; just that the militant/deadly unrest will cease with an agreement that both parties can live with.

As for the original question: I don't think the parting of Isrealites will bring an end to the problems that are going on over there. As with most things in life though, I make my impressions of life based on my own experiences, and having grown up in the U.S. with the government I have - I've had PLENTY of clear examples of what works and what doesn't. (Thank you Bushwhack and Reganomics!)

Isreal's own government is at odds with itself right now. They can't possibly be helpful to themselves, let alone anyone else, if they can't even sit down at the table and agree on their next step. (I hate to see Ben step down. It seems until this last couple of weeks he's really had a good head on his shoulders.)

Then you add several, several years of infighting between the two groups, and a Palestinian government that is rebuilding...

It's further breeding ground for more unrest. Even if they don't take it out on each other - that level of hate is still there. When a person reaches a point where they can't think about anything else but retaliation for the hardships they've been caused it's easy to see how their first reaction might be that of violence.

The one thing I think we can all agree on:
It's going to be an interesting ride.

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Jerusalem the gold

Undoubtedly you're spot on with that final line, and I couldn't agree more myself.

But the really contentious part won't come until they start talking about Jerusalem. That's when sparks are going to fly!

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Just a thought.

by Raven2 In reply to Jerusalem the gold

You have three major religions claiming rights there.

I know, we can have rotating control, yearly change over. No physical changes without the ok of all parties, this would mean a permenant office and conference center that house the bueacracy that would spring up from that idea. Maybe Halliburton could handle the staffing, supplies, and housing.

Or, how about we put Jerusalem under the control of the Dali Lama.

He seems to be the only one on the planet that does not have some sort of vested interest in that particular piece of real estate.

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The new 'Tibet'?

by In reply to Just a thought.

The only rational outcome would be to make Jerusalem an international city; that is, come under the jurisdiction of the UN. I honestly can't see any other way where there wouldn't be rivers of blood to go with it.

But I do like your Dalai Lama idea! He'd make a wonderful custodian of the place.


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It will eliminate one frequently cited excuse for suicide bombings.

by Absolutely In reply to But do you think it will ...

Whether they decrease in number, perceptibly, over any time period you choose to name, I am unwilling to guess. But in general I suspect that the dirt-poor schmucks detonating themselves are doing so for a cause they view as noble. The most practical course of action for Israel appears to me to be to return land that was taken by military force, even as part of defensive military action, and just defend what was given to them after WW2.

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From the frying pan into the fire

So you'd think, Absolutely. But I can guarantee you it will never happen so long as someone's waving this Biblical 'promised land' thing in the Arabs' [Palestinians'] faces.

And anyway, to back down now would only be egg in the face for the Israelis. Then again, what about the US and the oil thing? Even if Sharon suddenly decided to do as you suggest (which he won't!) can you see the US sitting back meekly and watching half 'their' middle east oil reserves being snatched away from them at the stroke of a pen?

Nice thought, but it'll never happen, I'm afraid.

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It may not necessarily bring peace

by Montgomery Gator In reply to But do you think it will ...

But the withdrawal will make it a little easier for Israel to defend its borders, without having to stretch its security to guard its settlements in Gaza that were enclaves surrounded by Palestinians. From a tactical standpoint, it makes sense for that reason. However, I do not see the radical segments of the Palestinans being satisfied with just the withdrawal from Gaza.

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The West Bank too

Well, Gaza was a start, and I believe there were also a couple of communities on the WB involved in the same pull-out.

I'm not sure if much more will happen now until after the next elections, and with Netanyahu now going up AGAINST Sharon, it should prove to be very interesting indeed.

If Sharon wins, there'll be more withdrawals, I think. Slow, but they'll happen. If Netanyahu wins, it'll all be back to square one. I wouldn't put it past him to even try and re-establish the dismantled communities; he's quite brash enough to try.

As for peace, no, it won't really help there, but at least Sharon's got his priorities in the right place now. He'll just draw it out for as long as he can, I guess.


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