City of Roses
Balladeer, I wish the solution would be that simple. Unfortunately, the nature of this conflict goes much deeper than that.
We must never forget the barbaric, violent acts of bigotry Nazi Germany committed on millions of innocent Jews during World War II, and see to it anti-Semitism shall not rear its ugly head again and reject Israel's right to exist.
But we also must recognize the right for their neighbors to exist as well. Just as much a part of the conflict is that Israel has intervened with their neighbors in the past, and I also sympathize with the Palestinians in that indeed much of their land has been stolen and remains occupied with new settlements only for themselves being built on, such as in Jayyus, in the Occupied West Bank, where they uprooted as many as 750 olive trees and has become what is known as "Nofei Tzofin".
The right for Israel to exist is a most important part of the solution, but just a piece of it. There can't be favoritism here; there needs to be some sort of two-state solution, which proposes one Palestinian state and one Israeli state side-by-side in peace and security. It's through this course of action where we'll see this diplomacy act as a two-way street; forcing Palestinians to end violent resistance to Israelís policies, while also requiring that Israel return land it occupied in 1967 and end its policies of stolen land.
Indeed there are groups that don't want to recognize Israel and call for its destruction, which Hamas may be one of them. But it's important that we separate the parties from the people here, and recognize that in the heart of this conflict, Palestinians just didn't wake up one day and thought, "Hey, let's fire missiles at Jerusalem!" No, the crux of this conflict is rooted in land ownership.
Part of the reason tensions remain heavy in the region is that in 1967, more than 700,000 Christian and Muslim Palestinians were forcibly pushed off of their land by Israel, occupying Arab East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and began a program to evict Christian and Muslim Palestinians from their land to build Jewish-only settlements, which only makes life more difficult for their Muslim and Christian neighbors. To this day, about 380,000 Israeli citizens now live on these settlements on the West Bank.
These actions violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which states, "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."
Obviously the problem runs more complex than this, but a simplistic, condensed version of the solution is to restore the West Bank Map to its 1967 borders, give back what was rightfully the Palestinians, let there be an oath that Palestinian militias and extremists will no longer attack Israel, and establish Israel and Palestine together as two separate, recognized states.
As for Lebanon, the issue is more complex there, but basically both Syria and Israel must recognize what is rightfully Lebanon's, while the Lebanese promise no further attacks on their own ways of life.
Some may think of this option as utopian. To me, it's no more utopian than the frequent exchanging of militaristic barbs over the span of decades, and, if anything, is far less utopian than war ping-pong. I myself would pick the dove's utopia over the hawk's utopia any day, for if we choose the hawk's utopia, inevitably will come the day where we'll no longer take a deep breath of fresh air, admire the lawn, notice all the pretty buildings, people sitting in the Waffle House having breakfast, kids playing hop-scotch in the schoolyard humming Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World" and so forth.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"
[This message has been edited by Mistletoe Angel (07-17-2006 02:51 PM).]