Help me understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I’m posing this as a controversial GQ rather than as a topic debate; I’m actually looking for information. In purposively simplistic terms, “Why don’t we just tell Israel to give back the West Bank and Gaza Strip and then enforce it?” Rather than mediating why don’t we just enforce what has already been decreed? Why do we need a legitimate leader of the Palestinians to tell Israel to just get the hell out? Why do we just blindly back Israel regardless of what they do? Wouldn’t we do a lot more towards stopping terrorism if we just acted imperially on the side of the Palestinians for once? I’m sure (or at least hope) there is an obvious answer to my questions. I understand that things aren’t “always so simple,” but I can’t help but think that the few first steps actually are.

Well your approach comes down to whom do you give it back too? There has never been a nation state called Palestine. I suppose you could argue that Jordan could take back the West Bank but I doubt they’d want too.

As to acting against Palestinians (Arabs) what about the Suez Crisis? Recognition of the PLO in 1988? Or did you want something newer?

It isn’t a case of giving it “back”. As Grey says, there never was a Palestine: the (main) disputed land was taken by Israel in 1967 from Jordan and Egypt. These countries have since de facto given up claim to the land. Despite this, there are still ~3 million people on that land who are under Israeli military occupation, and don’t want to be part of Israel (and I think it could be fairly said that Israel doesn’t want them to be part of Israel either). The land is occupied, but has never been formally annexed. To complicate matters, various Israeli governments over the years have encouraged Israeli settlers to build towns/villages/outposts on that land - there are a lot of them, and they’re all over the place. Map. Getting settlers to give up land that they paid for, even though it was against international law, is going to be a very tough and unpopular move for any Israeli government.

Then there’s the issue of East Jerusalem, that was taken at the same time, but formally annexed by Israel, and was declared the “eternal and undivided” capital of Israel, which has very strong religious significance for both sides.

Personally, I think that US even-handedness with regard to the conflict would help things along. There’s a lot of selective vision in the US government when it comes to Middle East atrocities.

I should say, in case I get misinterpreted: I think the land on which the (people known as) Palestinians live should be given to the (people known as) Palestinians.

One other thing, which very rarely gets mentioned is that the reason Palestinian terrorists get into Israel in the first place is that the Israeli economy relies on cheap Palestinian labor to keep it going. They could close the borders to all Palestinians, but there’d be nobody to sweep the streets. Sharon’s building a bloody great wall to constrict the entry points, but Palestinians still need to get through it to go to work.

MidEastWeb offer a very good history (see the link):

The US does need to take a harder line with Israel and should force them to leave the occupied territories by threating cuts in aid or embargoes and then following through with these threats if Israel doesn’t listen.

It’s of littel consequence that the Palestines have not ruled themselves, as this does not mean that they don’t have the right to rule themselves.

Well, if you are looking for “purposely simplistic and obvious terms”, then the reason Israel is allowed to remain in breach of several UN resolutions is because the US would use its veto to prevent any military or economic action against Israel.

The US desires a military ally in the region, and furthermore any US administration who considered enforcing past UN resolutions would probably find itself reprimanded by US electorate somewhat sternly.

And if the terrorism doesn’t stop? If, in fact, it increases after the terrorist orgs - secure in their own country - manage to get hold of heavier weaponry? What does Israel do then?

The current actions of the Israeli government actively ferments terrorism against Israel. Israel has one of the largest best equipped armies in the region and nuclear weapons, it is simply not in endanger from any form of convential attack.

Non-binding resolutions. All of them - little more then fiercely worded recommendations. You forgot to mention that.

ALL UNSC resolutions are binding.

Thanks for the link MC. I’m going to read through it now - I just finished reading the Jews for Justice treatment because I wanted a Palestinian slant.

jjim when you say Egypt and Jordan have de facto given up claim to the land do you mean that they’ve merely stopped “defending” it? Did the Israeli settlers buy the land in the Gaza Strip and West Bank from the Israeli goverment? Even so, none of these arguments hold up (as I would imagine you’d agree).

I’m trying to understand how the US benefits by supporting Israel in what seems like a blatant violation of international law. Which leads me to believe:

  1. It isn’t a violation of international law
  2. If it does violate international law it is still “just.”
  3. The US somehow benefits from this position such that the issue of law or morality doesn’t factor in.

I can’t see how any of these are true though I’m certainly willing to be convinced otherwise. What am I missing? Even if nothing really gets done I’m surprised I haven’t at least heard more lip service from American politicians about the plight of the Palestinian people.

But at that point you don’t have terrorist organizations. Assuming you have an actual functional state, and not a puppet front, you would be dealing with state sanctioned attack, and as such official military activity. Smash them as you’ve done before.

I don’t live there so my take may sound cavalier in regards to Israeli lives, but what if the terrorism does stop?

Excuse me? Have you, perhaps, failed to watch the news over the past few years? What would you call suicide bombings if not a danger to Israel? We’re not afraid of military defeat - we’re afraid of our citizens being killed by exploding busses and, if we withdraw from the Territories, perhaps Katyusha rockets landing on Tel Aviv. And it has nothing to do with the current government - every Israeli premier, right on back to Ben-Gurien, has had to deal with terrorism. The current round is especially fierce, but it’s nothing unique.

You claim that terorism will end when Israel withdraws. Well, prove it. Because until we’re 100% sure that’s going to happen, we ain’t going nowhere.

So we smash them, killing tens of thousands of people, and re-occupy them to keep them under control while the terrorists re-form. We’re right back where we started, only a lot more people are dead and we’re slightly more “legitimate” (although Europe and the Arab world will still condemn us). No thanks.


I don’t live there so my take may sound cavalier in regards to Israeli lives, but what if the terrorism does stop? **

Then great. Happy days are here again. But it’s a very dangerous risk to take for something that will probably never happen. I won’t risk my country for a pipe dream.

Alessan, happy to have someone (at least) located in Israel join in. IYDMMA, are you a native Israeli? If you could forget all the past, present, and (prospects of) future violence, would you be willing to admit that Israel has acted unjustly via the Palestinians or those attempting to help them and, if so, in what capacity? If the safety of Israel could be guaranteed, would you be willing to have the GS and WB be the beginnings of a Palestinian state?

This reasoning is so circular. Maybe we wouldn’t need an ally or could have even more allies if we didn’t alienate virtually everyone in the region by the actions which I’m questioning in this thread. Also, why would the US electorate be against enforcing these resolutions?

It’s not my reasoning, kiddo.

Beats me!

In my view the big question here is why Israel is opposed to UN peacekeeping troops during the process of establishing a Palestinian state, and in the years after. Such troops could prevent terrorists from roaming freely in free Palestine.

What would destroy your country?