Sunday, March 11, 2007

Addressing Problems in the Middle East - Israel

*Note: I'm on Spring Break and suffering from a bit of insomnia, so bonus post for this weekend.

I’ve thought about this and posted on other blogs before, so now I am going to just reiterate and maybe expand on my ideas and positions a bit.

There have been many sticking points in the Muslim world over Israel ever since it became an independent nation in 1948. Though it may seem there is still a lot of anger, Muslim nations and peoples have come a long way to tolerating, if not outright accepting, the existence of Israel.

Two major sticking points, however, are still able to rally Muslims to the anti-Israeli cause. These are the continued domination of Israel over the Palestinian people and the question of who gets to control Jerusalem.

First, a Palestinian state should be allowed to exist, without interference from Israel or any outside force militarily or politically. This means not punishing the Palestinian people when they elect political wings of terrorist groups such as Hamas, to office. Such is a normal occurrence in politics, even in Europe. Sinn Fein is the political arm of the IRA (Irish Republican Army), and Batasuna the political arm of ETA (Basque Separatists) in Spain.

This leads me to a slight detour on the nature of terrorist groups. Some, like Al Qaeda, have aims at causing terror against other cultures, hence their ‘war’ against the United States. Others, whether they be Hamas, the IRA, or ETA are organizations that have come into being because political solutions to their problems do not exist, and therefore they turn to means violent means to gain independence. Let us also not forget that before independence, Israeli’s turned to terrorist tactics against the British.

My point here, however, is that we must stop grouping all types of terrorists as one type and start recognizing that terrorist groups can be categorized differently depending upon their goals. This leads us back to groups such as Hamas, which rather than being punished for trying to become part of a peaceful political system, should be encouraged while at the same time encouraging them to give up their military wing. In fact, this is the only way it can be done, and the sooner the parties involved come to that conclusion and act upon it, rather than punishing them for it, the sooner peace will be had.

So, Hamas must be allowed to be a legitimate and accepted political party, and Palestine must be allowed to become an autonomous, independent state. However, this cannot happen until one major hurdle is overcome. This is the question of who controls Jerusalem.

They continually argue over whether Israel should control the whole, or both countries should get part of the city. Jews want it for Israel because it is their holy city, and Muslims want it for Palestine because it is also their holy city. And do not forget the Christians who, unlike in many other conflicts, seem to be stuck in the middle with no platform for their opinion.

My solution is to let none of them have it. Instead make it into a religious city-state, like the Vatican, ruled by all three of the religions. Yes, I know this is just going to lead to more bickering and more problems, but what solution is perfect? In my opinion this is the best. Let all three religions have an equal stake in governance. Then let each religion work out how they will share that power with all their denominations.

With these solutions in place I believe violence and unrest in the Middle East will be toned down significantly. There will still be extremely belligerent Fundamentalist Muslims who will scream death to Israel, but there will no longer be as great an audience to their hatred.

**As with all my posts, this is train of thought based on my knowledge, though I did use wikipedia to fact check a few of my points not to mention spellings. I encourage everyone to head over there since there is a wealth of information to fill in on subjects I only mention, especially events concerning ETA and Batasuna, which are much overlooked in the world press.

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