I’ll start this thread by stating that I am absolutely abhorred by the current cycle of violence perpetrated by the Israelis and Palestinians against each other. However, I am not one of those people willing to claim that Arafat or the Palestinians are at fault for this violence. I am probably going to post a few other threads concerning this situation so I hope this discussion can stay on track.
Personally, I never understood why Israel has a right to exist as a state and specifically in the Palestine. However, the sentiment in the US seems to be overwhelmingly pro-Israel. I believe that the Palestinians have been unsuccessful in changing US perception because they are far less successful than the Israelis when it comes to propaganda. Suicide bombings and a belligerent attitude help paint the Palestinians as the aggressors and not the victims.
However, I’ve been thinking lately about a historical connection the Palestinians can use to promote their beliefs (e.g., they are under occupation, humiliated, subjugated) and I think that the similarities to the plight of American Indians are worth noting:
a) Both the Palestinians and the AI were living on their land for many, many years.
b) There was a large migration of Europeans, who may or may not have been at that same site thousands of years before, who chose that land as their new habitat.
c) The Europeans had overwhelming military firepower.
d) The Palestinians and the AI were both forced out of their settlements and not allowed to return.
e) The Palestinians and the AI were both treated as second-rate citizens.
f) The Europeans took the good land. The Palestinians and the AI were both moved to less valuable land.
g) The Palestinians and the AI, till this day, live in poverty while their European occupiers are living in prosperity.
I have yet to meet an American (of European descent at least) who hasn’t felt some guilt for the treatment of the American Indians. We know that they were treated unfairly and harshly, they were robbed of their land, and they still suffer to this day. (To paraphrase Chris Rock, when was the last time you saw two Indians together?)
To me, the similarities between the Palestinians and the American Indians are remarkable and we can learn much from them. The Palestinians were subjugated in the same way as the AI. However, the Palestinians have been fighting in a more effective way against the Israelis. The AI couldn’t really do anything to the Europeans with bows and arrows. However, the Palestinians, who have the same motives as the AI would’ve had—drive the Europeans out—actually have access to certain technology and a strategy (suicide bombing) that the Europeans cannot effectively respond to.
What do you think? Is this comparison valid? If not, why? If so, how can the Palestinians spread that message and does it even matter at this point?