Saturday, January 10, 2009

Who Are the Palestinians?

Since American tax dollars are being used to fund their annihilation, I find it important to understand who the Palestinian people are. They are largely Muslim (specifically Sunni), though some are Christian and Druze. The primary factor linking Palestinians together is that they and their ancestors have lived peacefully in the region for 500 years under the Ottoman Empire, contested before this only by invading Christian Crusaders.

This region had been Muslim since its 7th century Arab conquest, with only fleeting periods of Christian control during the Middle Ages. It is the Arabian side of the land bridge to Egypt, linking the continents of Africa and Asia. The land has been surprisingly peaceful, considering it is one of the most strategic locations in the world. The bottom line: Palestinians are a people in diaspora who are being segregated from Israeli society and forced into ghettos where they can be easily targeted for abuse.

Now a short history of Israel is in order. After World War II, with the Ottoman Empire completely dissolved and the region in geopolitical disarray, England and the UN arbitrarily drew lines in the sand and called them nations. While many decisions during this time were disputed, the most controversial was the formation of a Jewish state in the region of Palestine.

Zionism (or the belief in a Jewish State) has its origins in systemic European anti-Semitism. Beyond bigotry, Europe had gone so far as to legislate maliciously against Jewish interests and practices during and after the so-called “Enlightenment” period of the 18th century. Jews, non-Jews, and even the bigots themselves sought a solution to the growing problem, all under different auspices. The agreed upon solution harkens back to similar American ignorance: send them back where they came from.

It is this general attitude, this underlying anti-Semitism, that drives my dislike for the Nation of Israel. It is a solution born out of ignorance and intolerance. It is also a situation that fosters a new problem: if a disliked group is moved to one location, is it really safer for the group? The equation appears to be one that only equals the wholesale slaughter of Jews at the hands of their enraged Muslim neighbors, an atrocity that is set up by seemingly blameless Christian Europe and America.

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