My latest thinking on Palestine

…”they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid”

Micah 4:4, King James Version

I’ve been on Quora a lot lately. I answer questions there and occasionally answer comments. This is useful to me because I’ve discovered that the best way to learn about something is to explain it. Sometimes explaining things takes me down paths I don’t expect.

This particular path comes from wondering about Palestinian self-determination. I’ve noticed that the Palestinians seem far more concerned with getting the Jews out of Israel than of getting their own country. The Palestinians have never had self-determination, not that they’re that old as a distinct people, but still they’ve never had it.

What would Jews do if Israel didn’t already exist and we had that opportunity as a people? A place where we could not face persecution or even discrimination for who we are? Particularly a place that the world recognizes as ours? We’d jump at the chance. Why aren’t they?

Because they don’t need to.

The Palestinians have been on that land for a long time. Those who came out of Israel in 1948 have been there since then and since 1967 they’ve been out of refugee camps, which is where Jordan and Egypt kept them. They’ve lived outside of camps for a minimum of fifty-five years. It’s not like they’re transients. They have homes, they have towns, they’re mainly administered by their own. If they stop attacking Israel, they get what Micah talked about. By default.

To Jews this is an unbelievable luxury. As a people, we’ve been around for four thousand years and we’ve never had that. Israel was founded to bring that about and it has, mostly, bot not externally. Most nations don’t have all their borders questioned, much less their existence. Ukraine has its existence questioned and Europe is up in arms about that, but that’s rare. The Palestinians if they got a state wouldn’t be threatened by its border states. The world would say “It’s yours. We’re done here.”

The Palestinians are not afraid in a Micah sense now because their homes are not physically in danger. There is no urgency. They can wait until, as they hope, they can get Israel. That will never happen for a lot of reasons but they don’t need to be rational about it. They can afford not to be. Why not wait and hope something changes?

Aside from the Golan Heights, if Palestine gets a state, Israel is finally in that position. “It’s yours. We’re done here.” I think.

What can make the Palestinians believe they can’t wait?

I’m afraid that answer is increasing numbers of settlements. The longer they wait, the more settlements there are, and they hate the settlements on principle.

I’ve opposed settlements for years as an obstacle to peace. Now I’m not sure. Israel pulled settlements out of Gaza and the result there was horrible. All it did was encourage Hamas.

This is really weird to me, the idea that I would back settlements because it would lead to a Palestinian state rather than because it would prevent one. I’m more interested in their getting sovereignty than they are.

Sovereignty ends problems. Now their government becomes responsible for keeping terrorists out of Israel, assuming that many terrorists would want to come to Israel in the first place if the Palestinians have a state. If borders are accepted, trade becomes easier. Occupation ends. The Iranian government’s intense hatred for Israel suddenly has a real problem justifying itself. No more worries about Palestinian rights. No more of Israel’s questioning the loyalty of some of its Arab citizens – move to Palestine, stay Israeli, do what you want like any other citizen.

Sovereignty also ends problems for the Arab world. A lack of Palestinian sovereignty is what’s in the way of full relations between Israel and most of the Arab world. They’ve accepted Israel’s existence for a while now. As the Gulf states are showing now, they’d like the trade. The Sunni states would like their already existing military cooperation with Israel to become overt because that makes life easier for all concerned.

So Israel should essentially drive Palestine into its own independence?

It’s possible. Weird as Hell, but possible.


There may be a second post here. If I write it on this one I think it will dilute the conversation too much or simply take it over. The second post is about Micah’s statement as it applies to American minorities within America because there are germane questions about a lot of minorities, though two more than any others. I don’t even have to be the person to write that one though I probably will.