An Olive Branch for an Eye

October 25, 2006

When I was snoozing this morning between alarm rings, I realized that there is a fundamental difference between Israel and the Palestinians that will prevent peace from occuring in the region.

While the Israeli government acts against the Palestinians when provoked, Israeli individuals don’t.

The bible says “an eye for an eye” but the people don’t implement it. That is, if every person who was personally vicitimized in any way (which, unfortunately, is almost everyone – there is not one person in Israel who hasn’t lost someone or has a friend who lost someone) in this conflict (general conflict, not the recent Lebanese war) were to implement  the “eye for an eye” rationale, both our peoples would be wiped off the earth.

The Palestinians need to put faith in their elected government. For heaven’s sake – they have a government! Why all the resistance organizations? Put faith in your elected government to “revenge” for you or act in your name.

If you continue to take “an eye for an eye” literally (or whatever the Quran says), then this will never end.


  1. “The Palestinians need to put faith in their elected government.”

    The Palestinians have done so, its the Israeli government that has demonstrated no faith by not accepting democratic elections. Israel should accept their democratic choice and stop withholding Palestinian tax credits – money that properly belongs to them and is not charity. This is just theft.

    The government might then be allowed to function properly rather than crushed, stifled and suppressed at every turn (and its ministers kidnapped and detained in a farcical turn).

    I respect your opinion, I’m simply showing you how it looks from our side.

  2. I respectfully disagree.

    What Israel doesn’t accept isn’t a democratically-elected government. Israel doesn’t accept a group that refuses to acknowledge its right to exist.

    How are we supposed to negotiate with someone who doesn’t recognize us to begin with?

    Israel gives the PA so much money, every month (money that could come to good use here).

    I agree that kidnapping government officials is the wrong way to go and I will make no attempt at justfiying it since I do not understand it myself. However, when the Palestinian foreign minister states that we have no right to be here and that they will never recognize us and they will work for the destruction of Israel, can you see how this would build up frustration for all of us???

    I wrote a post about that if you’d like to read it:

    (Sorry, I’m new to blogging and I don’t know how to make a regular link…)

  3. Israel’s right to exist is a mantra trotted out. There are no existential threats, its one of the most powerful states armed to the teeth and up against primitive Qassam rockets by a desperate population trying to protect itself from incursions, detaining, illegal administrative detenntions and kidnappings, land theft and destruction of olive groves, being robbed of tax credits, electricity, freedom, you name it. Sorry, can’t buy into that one.

    Its not Israel’s right to exist as a state that is in question, its the form that state has taken and is taking that poses the problem – that of a belligerent, increasingly apartheid settler state that discriminates against one-fifth of the indigenous population, separates families and occupies the rest.

    I do agree money could be better directed toward the welfare of Israelis (one third of children reportedly live below the poverty line) but that money is not going to Palestinians as charity – its going into the coffers of the warfare state – guns over butter.

    The same accusation you level at Palestiniuans could be levelled at the sentiments you express – how can you expect them (Palestinians) to enter into good faith negotiations when Israel refuses to recognise them?

    The view from here is that there are elements on both sides who are as dogmatic as the other, mirror-imaging each other.

    The ball is in Israel’s court as the more powerful partner in this assymetric conflict, however. You talk as if the Palestinians should be grateful for what is somehow a benign theft of their land, immiseration of their lives and the shredding of the possibility of a territorially contiguous state upon which both Israel’s security and Palestine’s future would have been assured.

    You may disagree with all this but this is the view that you are lobbying hard in your blog to counter and the tide is turning toward a recognition of the Palestinian cause. I like to think I’m a reasonable person, a humanitarian with Jewish, Muslim and Christian friends and no strong religious proclivities (I was born Catholic). Its people like me who are increasingly dismayed and in disbelief at Israel’s policies. I know Israelis, I’ve had 3 Israeli students, all delightful, I bear no ill-will towards them. The actions of the Israeli government are earning it the ire of most of the international community and is widening the gulf and isolating Israel. I do not want to see this happen. But nor do I abandon the cause of justice, and I mourn the lives of Israeli children as much as Palestinian.

  4. I am not referring to the Palestinian government’s refusal to accept Israel as a country as an EXISTENTIAL threat. We’re here and we’re not going anywhere. My point is that anyone refuses to admit we EXIST TO BEGIN WITH – in whatever form – can’t be any type of negotiation partner.

    Like I have previously stated, very few Israelis believe the Palestinians don’t deserve their own country, however much it hurts US to give up OUR land that WE worked hard to make fruitful.

    The fact that we are more powerful does not make us the wrong ones, just like the fact that more Nazis died in WW2 than all the Allies combined doesn’t make them the victims either.

    I’m not saying that the money we give the Palestinians should be pulled, and I know that I am not knowedgeable on that topic in order to really make a statement. I never claimed, however, that it is charity.

    Fact is that had the Palestinians accepted the UN resolution in ’48 to create 2 states for 2 peoples (and may i remind you this was before ’67, obviously) then none of this would happen.

    Israel hasn’t refused to recognize any palestinians government in the way Palestinians have refused to recognize Israel’s existance. Israel has refused to NEGOTIATE WITH PEOPLE WHO STILL OPENLY STATE THEY WANT US DEAD AND GONE.

    Despite the great love arafat had for us – we talked to him. We talked to his predecessors. the only ones we have refused to talk to is hamas.

    I reiterate: how does one make peace with someone who doesn’t recognize that we even exist?!?!?!?!

  5. Taltalk, thanks for your response but I beg to differ. The Israeli government HAS repeatedly refused to talk to representatives who ARE willing to formally recognise Israel. It treated Arafat like dirt and put him under virtual house arrest and siege, would you “love” someone that did this to you?

    The proposition I and others would most disagree with is: “Israel hasn’t refused to recognize any palestinians government in the way Palestinians have refused to recognize Israel’s existance.”

    The violence and cultural and colonial arrogance of Israel’s refusal to recognise any Palestinan government is all for there to see, in kidnapping elected Palestinian officials, wihholding tax credits that would enable the PA to effectively govern and by imposing sanctions for same. You seem so stick on this “refusal to recognise Israel” furphy (I’ve not met a Palestinian that doesn’t recognise Israel, incidentally) that you do not see it is the reverse that it is apparent to us.

    Yes, there are fanatic fundamentals in both Israeli and Palestinian camps who want the other gone (as if this were realistic) but we can only expect formal and mutual recognition when there is a fair and just settlement.

    To keep clinging to this precondition of recognition is superfluous and allows this conflict to continue – something many in the Israeli establishment want if it will achieve their ends of expelling Palestinians.

    I did read your post and have addressed your question. I invite you also to read my last response to you on my blog. Good day to you.

  6. Hey talktalk, I’ve been going through your blog tonight and find the subjects you’re posting very interesting. This exchange with peoplesgeography is fascinating and quite revealing. You are obviously analytical and quite critical; it’s a pity you insist on taking the defence of every single Israeli policy. Some are right, others are wrong. And the real Israel isn’t all rosy, no country is. And yours is a very atypical and problematic one because it’s based on an ethnic identity and a militarised population of settlers (most of which are second generation). Some criticism that it faces is unjust, some is even racist, I agree, but some is justified. If you want to show the real Israel, you should accept to show both and face some difficult questions and decisions. Or else you would be portraying a fictional Israel in the same manner as the opponents of Israel are doing. Only you’ll be taking the elements they choose to ignore, and will be ignoring the elements they choose against Israel.

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