Iraq is because of Israel-Palestine
Israel is a small country whose control has been passed back and forth like a joint at a Willy Nelson concert. There were Jews, Christians and Muslims that all settled in the area, and became a bit quirky and distinct from those anywhere else. This is a brief history of Israel.
As an country along a trade route knows, the region has passed control back and forth between bigger empires since the Romans. The British took control of the region away from the Turks after WWI. Jews had been immigrating back to the region (for generations), and had money so were buying up land, settling and controlling the region.
This created jobs, which means more Arab workers moved to the region for the opportunities the Jews were creating. But the arabs were the working class, and this caused resentment because they felt pushed around and held down by the man (or something like that). Riots, anger, killing on both sides, we've heard it all before. Basically the conflict was that the Arabs were mad at rich immigrant Jews coming in and buying up all the land and developing it, and getting ahead quicker than they were. The Brits put some caps on Jewish immigration to cool things down a little, but it had little effect.
Remember, most of the arabs were not from the area and had moved there for job opportunities (often made by the Jews), and most of the Jews were not from the area recently, but they felt they were returning home to “the promised land” from a few thousand years before. Both groups felt they had claim to the land, but the Jews were paying for it legally, and the Arabs resented that. Like any other property dispute it can get ugly.
After WWII, England (and America) took pity on the Jews because of the Holocaust, and was angry at local arabs because some were speaking out against the British or supporting the Germans because they didn’t like Jewish immigration issues or meddling. The arabs didn't like being ruled by the Brits; there’s a shock. In either a drunken stupor or fit of revenge, the Brits drew up a new map of the region with the help of the U.N. and washed their hands of the mess. Since the U.S. was seen as a power in the world and in U.N., it is seen that this was also done the help of the U.S. Either way, the maps were a mess, and it is impossible to draw maps that will please people that had lived on top of one another and moved around constantly, thus all sides felt shorted.
The Brits got out and left a power vacuum, and left the land divided between the Jews and the Arabs making Palestine and Israel. Thus the term "Palestinian" was created; before this there was no such thing (just Arabs in the region, as well as Jews or Christians -- but Palestinian wouldn't have meant a race of people, because there was no race of people called Palestinians).
The "Arabs" felt the whole region was theirs and were fine with the Jews (or Christians), if they didn’t have political control, no land, and were the minority; but they felt screwed by the new map that gave the Jews some control, like they suddenly had a vagrant living in their back yard. The Jews felt they had claim to the region because they were returning to the land of Judea and Israel, and had been there for thousands of years as well, they were the one’s who developed it and made it valuable, they were just finally going to have political say.
As soon as the British pulled in 1947 out the Arabs attacked, and the Jews responded in kind. Both sides didn’t take civilians off the menu, so it was messy.
- The Arabs wanted the Jews off the continent or back to second class status.
- The Jews put out stories (and some actions) of killing any Arabs that were in their territory to drive them out; and encouraged this with tanks and guns, feeling that if the Arabs wouldn’t live with them (side-by-side) then they had to segregate the land. As the Jews pushed Arabs our of their area, they bulldozed what was there, and rebuilt as they went. Remaking their country.
The Arabs were infighting due to the many border disputes after WWII, and the British had taken most of the military leadership with them. While many of the Jews of the region had fought in WWII and had much better training and command struc- ture, so they Jews totally outclassed the Arabs, thus weren’t driven into the sea. Which meant the Arabs now had a bigger grievance; they felt the Jews had been brutal and unfair to Arabs. . The Israeli’s said since their people had been pushed out of Arab lands, the Arabs who had been forced out of Isreali lands were no longer welcome back either; tit for tat. That backlash pissed off the Arabs even more.
You’ve heard the term “Zionist”, but what does it mean?
Zion is the mountain on which the city of Jerusalem was built. This eventually became the nickname for the entire city, and then the concept of a promised land/Israel. Now Zionism is the radical concept that Zion (Israel) even has the right to exist as a country, or the Jews should be allowed in Arab lands.
Remember the history, this is a region, where you have many mobile (nomadic) groups living intermixed with people that can trace a family home back 100 generations, and their entire history is in that one little plot. There are multiple cultures in- tersecting and living over each other. And in tribal fashion the majority of the popu- lation is taking up crusades over the injustice done to “their” people. Some are claiming the last 1,000 years is important, others are saying it is the thousand years before that which mattered. Notice that ironically, for once, the Christians didn’t have as many problems even though they were all over the area, mainly because they were second class citizens in both cultures, and didn’t have any control. And the were basically able to live on top (intermixed) with each other, until the Arabs became intolerant of the Jews regaining any political or geographic autonomy and power. This was a mess long before we ever got involved.
Every few years, Arab countries attacked Israel or harassed the Jews and refused to recognize them. The Israeli's felt pressured from all sides, so became very militaristic; which happens when everyone is trying to kill you. Each time Israel was attacked (either from within or without), they seemed to oppress the Palestinians a little more, because they felt they couldn’t trust them. And each external attack against the Jews resulted in a counter attack that took more land from the Arabs in retaliation; which angered the Arabs even more.
Muslims have a spiritual based belief in defending the downtrodden; it is a responsibility to God. But many are very selective with it (hypocritical); seeing only the Palestinians side and ignoring the other side. While they do have some valid points, the truth is the Arabs are more at fault for the mess as the Jews, and the Jews kept responding to Arabs attacking them as any culture would: attacking back.
- The Arabs feel it is completely unjust that the Jews kept winning, ignoring what they were doing to drive the Jews to fight and respond in the first place.
- The Jews saw what happens to meek (during Hitler), they are tired of being driven out, so instead of allowing themselves to be driven into the sea, they are digging in and fighting for their right to exist -- which is pretty tough to blame them for; still Germany and France manage to anyways.
The Arabs believe they are defending the “poor palestinians”, abused by the by the bullies of the region; ignoring that the arabs of the region are the ones that keep attacking. Add to that the effects of the ego humiliation of .1% of the landmass being able to bully (e.g. defend themselves against) the other 99.9%. And remember that the Arabs are a very egocentric culture that doesn’t take slights lightly. They don’t believe the Jews could do that by themselves, so it is the U.S.’s fault for helping Israel so much. (We help the Muslim countries to, but they ignore that). So they hate us, because they think we're why they lose. And they truth is they lose partly because we give Israel aid, but mostly because when you tell someone you want to kill them and their whole family, they're going to fight a lot harder than you are, because they're fighting for their lives.
We won’t stop helping Israel because of Jewish influences on our politics (strong constituencies and influence in our economy/culture), and our sense of justice in- cludes the Jews as well as the Muslims. Ethnocentric and semi-educated Arabs are taught this is all the U.S.’s fault; which while being an exaggeration is true that we meddled enough that we aren’t exactly innocent. For what it is worth, the Israeli’s don’t welcome our meddling much either; but our money and military support comes with conditions that they don’t always appreciate, but are willing to accept given the alternative. }}
In it all we just want peace and stability and two nations living side by side. We won’t let the Arabs drive the Jews into the sea (which they’ve tried many times), or the Palestinians to lay claim to all of Israel any more than we’d allow our Native Americans to lay claims back to Manhattan. We don’t sympathize with the Palestini- ans partly because the Jews have a much better PR machine in the U.S., but mostly because we detest their methods. We understand the Israeli’s are counter attacking when they are attacked (terrorized), so we look the other way at what the Jews are doing because we would do the same. But each retribution of the Jews infuriates the Arabs (and Palestinians and Europeans), who totally ignore why it happened. We would gladly help Palestine exist, as we’ve helped Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran (in the past), and other muslim nations; but not when they keep blowing up in- nocent Israeli’s or sponsoring terror. And the Palestinians either can’t stop, or don’t want to. Since the Palestinians and Arabs refuse to see any balance or any other side but their own; they see us Americans as their enemies. Ignoring the morality of their true goal which is to exterminate the Jews, drive them off their Continent, or at least make them the second class citizens like they used to be.
I realize the Palestinians are impoverished and frustrated and weaker and they feel their only retaliation is terrorism and suicide bombs; but they are wrong. If they would stop the violence and focus their energy on rebuilding instead of past wrongs they could greatly improve their situations; instead they keep choosing to pick a fight with the big guy because he beat them up last week (because they picked a fight with him then too), thus their wounds and pride never have a chance to heal. And they use that as an excuse for “any means necessary”, and go back to strapping bombs to themselves.
Israel itself is no utopia; it is a very classist society, with European Jews being on top, then Russian Jews, then Middle-eastern Jews, then Palestinians. It is tough be- ing on the bottom; but part of that is because the Jews were forced to learn to trust (or distrust) based on look of people, as in who was most likely to try to kill them! So the context matters, but if you’re the oppressed minority, the reasons don’t matter as much as the injustice. And there is plenty of injustice. The Jews retaliate against a whole race of people; denying their ability to work, taking away their land, houses, and doing whatever they can to pressure the culture to turn on the terrorists and make them stop, instead of glorifying them. But the Palestinians are as racist too, and will not turn against their own, no matter what their own do, and they are buy- ing into their own propaganda that it was all the Israeli’s fault, when history says otherwise.
The truth is the last 50 times there has been peace agreements or cease-fires, it has always been the Palestinians that started the violence again; they want war and vio- lence and to lash out more than they want peace. So they can’t rebuild their own ar- eas because they are more focused on tearing down Israel. And in kind, every time the Israeli’s are attacked, they target the organizations that bombed them (and aren’t too concerned about collateral damage), and they bulldoze the houses of the family of the suicide bomber in retaliation. The Israeli’s are trying to raise the cost to the bombers since the Arabs pay the families for the attack, they figure that taking their home away evens the score. (No one should be rewarded for murder). And face it, the Isreali’s often over-react because the palestinians won’t take the hint and they’re sick of having their kids blown up because a bunch of fanatics won’t leave them alone. The other Arab countries/people choose to ignore why the Israeli’s do what they do, and take up the plight of the poor Palestinians against the evil Israeli’s, and pay the families more, or help the terrorists, which only perpetuates the violence.
The Europeans choose to see the Palestinians point of view because they have hun- dreds of years of anti-Semitism in their culture and they have a large muslim con- stituencies in their countries (like America has a strong Jewish influence). Thus in- stead of working with us to force the Palestinians and Arabs into peace, they keep rooting the Palestinians on, helping their cause, and support their leaders and thus terrorism, perpetuating the violence; which is going to continue until the Palestini- ans realize it is in their best interests to stop. We’ve been trying for 50+ years to get Palestinians to give up terrorism and become a peaceful nation. We are perfectly willing to give both sides aid; but we put condi- tions on it. The Palestinians prefer terror (don’t like our conditions). We tried to work with Arafat as long as they would accept peace; he refused. Even after Israel went 95% of the way towards everything he wanted, he still wouldn’t agree. So we realized he was unreachable; given the choice between peace and terrorism he re- peatedly chose terrorism. Now that Arafat died, the Palestinians will get the same offer that Arafat got 10 years ago (and variants 20 and 30 and 50 years ago). We will get them their own country (with the help of Israel and the world), they’ll get help, aid, money, training and autonomy -- all they have to do is choose peace, reject ter- rorism, and accept that Israel has as much right to exist as they do. If they choose war again, then we’ll go back to not helping them. If Europe and the Arabs stand with us against terrorism, we might have peace in the middle east. If they keep sup- porting it, even only in words, then we stand a lesser chance of success.
The big difference between the two sides is motives. To blame the bombings on the Jews or U.S. is ridiculous, the bombings were being done 20 years before Israel became a nation or the U.S. was involved. The Jews and Brits were bombed for legally buying land, and it has been the Arabs that have been trying to drive all Jews out of the .1% of the entire continent that they have control of. (Despite population num- bers much higher than that). To the Arabs a 99.9%/.1% land split is not fair enough to them.
Saying that terrorism is understandable because the other side is bigger, only perpetuates the violence. The Jews will never give up their right to exist, and thus we should not support the Palestinians goal of doing so. Sure, the Palestinians were kicked out of lands they thought were theirs, but so were the Jews. The only chance for peace is not appeasement or sponsorship of terrorism, it is not excuses for the “poor palestinians”; it is total intolerance of their means and goals, and ignoring their plight until they finally decide peace is the only option. Then helping them to rebuild, and create their own country without having to covet someone else's.