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.
05/15/2022 @ 10:19 am
“…the best way to learn about something is to explain it…”
This is why many good teachers will require students to ‘explain’ their answers on exams that include essay type questions.
05/15/2022 @ 1:54 pm
I think I first learned this in high school debating. I had to research a topic in order to make a case. You of course know this from law.
I don’t know when I started worrying about making explanations understandable to anyone. I think it was when my wife was teaching at Purdue. At that point we’d recently left the Washington area and I expected to leave the living I was making there. So I started in a weekend Masters program in technology, which I stayed with only a semester because I was one of the only students paying my own way (the others were sponsored by their companies) and I didn’t know what I’d do with it. My wife’s being a professor didn’t get me any kind of break. One of the professors was teaching some computer stuff and he said he “assumed no knowledge.” I learned quickly enough that if that was his assumption he didn’t understand what “no knowledge” meant. But I did and I loved the concept. I think it’s in one of the Kurt Vonnegut books that a character says you don’t really understand something unless you can explain it to a twelve year old. (I may have the age slightly wrong.) I just looked it up. It’s from Cat’s Cradle. I think he’s right. So I break things down. That’s what my sound series of blogs and my music theory series of blogs were about: making it basic enough and clear enough that anyone can get it.
When you work on explanations you learn where the holes are and that leads to questions. I recently got myself to understand a principle of sound and related use of a particular sound technology while working on explanations while walking my dog. I could ask people but somehow they don’t do it like I do it. Ask an engineer a question about sound and you can get an answer in math but there’s usually a mechanical answer in there somewhere and that’s the one I want.
05/15/2022 @ 2:44 pm
Being pushed to ‘explain’ helps to internalize the learning…
That’s why I’m able to teach anything that I’ve learned…
Many law school professors should be required to teach at least one undergraduate class in law to nonlawyers or people who be
05/15/2022 @ 2:49 pm
…people who’d be expected to have some knowledge of the ‘legal aspects’ of their career field but not expected to have the expertise of a legal practitioner…
05/15/2022 @ 5:27 pm
Absolutely. But there’s another aspect of that that I’d look at:
I’d make the law students teach a class, or at least a lesson, to laymen. There are going to be times when they are better off if clients or juries understand what’s going on, but do they know how to get there? In most occupations that are technical, and law is technical in a different direction, no. I remember in my industry listen to a consultant complaining about “trunk slammers” undercutting his work but I think that’s inevitable. What consultants in technical fields do is cure diseases that their clients don’t know exist. Now it’s a question of your magic vs. their magic and if their magic is cheaper it may win. If you make it not magic, if you explain what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, or better yet what you’re fixing and how you’re fixing it, then your client talks to your competitor and asks questions without getting satisfactory answers, you win. The same disconnect is really true in medicine and I’ve written about that before.
05/16/2022 @ 1:02 pm
An interesting analysis. There were no Palestinians in Palestine when the Romans renamed the province to Roma Judaea in 6 CE. During the following 130 years of ongoing warfare between Rome and Israel, the Jewish population of Judea was virtually exterminated, leaving only the Gallilee as a Jewish majority settlement. When the Romans renamed the province Roma Palestina in 135 CE, the native population had been almost completely eradicated. Jerusalem itself was renamed Aelia Capitolina and the entire population of the region consisted of Roman immigrants from other parts of the empire and a few Bedouin tribes that intermixed with the remaining Jewish population, all of whom were known as Palestinians from then until 1948 when the state of Israel was created, at which point Muslim Palestinians became known as Palestinians per se.
In the world of real politics, land belongs to the occupants, The Israelis and the Palestinians both understand that, which is why the Israelis have attempted to resettle their historical precincts with Jewish residents, and why Palestinian Muslims oppose them.
The real sticking point for Jews and Muslims is Jerusalem itself and more specifically the Dome of The Rock because the Jewish fanatics and the Muslim fanatics will cheerfully go to war over the Al Aqsa mosque.
You’re right, Kosh, that the majority of the Arab states are fully fed up with the whole mess. They know that Israel would be a potent economic, technological, political and military ally. Jordon would have been swallowed up generations ago if it were not for the ongoing covert support from Israel. And don’t get me started about the obvious fact that there is a Palestinian nation in the Middle East: Jordan.
The history of civilization is that you either conquer or get conquered. We would like to believe that we have outgrown that fact, but we never will.
The Israelis are like children who pinned the tail on the donkey but just don’t know what do to next. The “Palestinians” are like Oliver Twist crying out, “Please, sir, can I have some more.”
I knew a dervish who was one of the first Israeli soldiers to reach the Temple Mount in 1967. When he arrived there, he was greeted by a Sufi sheik, who initiated himi on the spot. He became a devout Muslim but remained a professional soldier in the Israeli army for the full twenty, or so the story goes,
05/16/2022 @ 2:42 pm
I don’t think the Palestinian Arabs were called Palestinians in 1948. I think it’s much later.
The problem with the Temple Mount is that the top is the third holiest site in Islam while the side is the holiest site in Judaism. The Israelis are not inclined to stop worship in Al Aqsa, particularly given that there are nearly a million and a half Muslim Israeli citizens. The aftermath of 1967 in this regard is particularly interesting:
Jordan kept all Jews from worshipping at our holiest site for nineteen years. When Israel took East Jerusalem (where the old Jewish Quarter was, something no one seems to remember when talking about East Jerusalem), one of the first things they did was meet with Jordan over administering the top of the Temple Mount and have them do it. If Al Aqsa is used to stage violence against Jews worshipping at the Wall, the IDF will enter it, as has recently been shown. And then they cleared out in time for afternoon prayers.
I’ll tell you a weird story:
It was 1980. My sister had been teaching English on a moshav for a semester. I’d never been to Israel, so I flew to Israel to tour around with her for a couple of weeks in hostels and such and then come home. One afternoon we were wandering around in the empty desolate land outside of Jerusalem. A group of Palestinian boys came up to us and offered to show us around. There was nothing to show. They were maybe ten. And then one of them picks up a rock and says to us “Give money.” I did not want to get hurt. I certainly could have picked up rocks myself, I was kind of accurate at that age, but injuring ten year old kids, even if they were mugging us, was not a good prospect, both from the standpoint of injuring them and from the standpoint of what that would start when they went home and lied to their parents. So we gave them money.
Israel is bordered by the equivalent of ten year old kids with rocks. The rocks can do damage but as far as the world is concerned they’re ten. They can launch rockets at civilians, every one of which represents an attempted murder (or several), but they’re ten. There’s no clean way to deal with that. When your survival is on the line you do what you have to do and then listen to the world say they’re ten. Now, their version of ten is about that of the Lord of the Flies, but that’s not how a lot of people see it, and their expectations are very different from what reality would look like if they experienced it.
If I were to explain it to a Brit at this point I’d say: Try to imagine the IRA at their worst. Now imagine that they didn’t want you out of Ireland, they wanted you out of England because Angles and Saxons were invaders of a Celtic land. Until you left England they wouldn’t stop killing your people. A lot of the world would side with the IRA and any attacks on them among their civilian populations would be looked at as unjustified brutality.
Only of course the Palestinians had no potato famine.
I’m a Zionist. I’m not ashamed to be a Zionist. And I have a definite attitude I’ve started to develop toward anti-Zionists, and it is this:
No matter where we lived for the past two thousand years, if there were a lot of us sooner or later (usually sooner) we faced discrimination at the very least plus persecution, expulsion, and murders. We faced discrimination here. (For college entrance we still do, along with the Asians, if we’re just looking at merit.) There were a few places that protected their Jews at certain times but when there were a lot of Jewish refugees we couldn’t count on anywhere in the world to take us in. When the Holocaust happened what we got was the St. Louis. But Zionism of course predates the Holocaust because the problem was already big enough and universal enough that the only way we as a people were going to avoid discrimination and rescue Jews in trouble was to have our own country. Put another way:
If the world had treated Jews well there would have been no need for Israel but they didn’t. If they consider Israel a monster, it is a monster of their creation. They had two millennia to straighten it out. Now they have no legitimate moral voice left. The UN has squandered what they had by targeting Israel for all those resolutions and denial of the rotating Security Council seat because Israel’s human rights record sure as Hell isn’t bad enough compared to the rest of the UN membership to warrant that. And Israel has a nuclear triad and whoever tries to destroy Israel and is anywhere near successful faces annhilation. Never Again.