We're realistically buying off internal pressure from the Jews in this country who really don't want to see relatives and friends get killed in Israel. A lot of that country was founded on concentration camp survivors and refugees and there isn't a lot of Jewish support over here for allowing Israel to go under. There are loads of lurid fantasies about what that would involve, and with the rhetoric we get over here, some of those fantasies sound like they may be based in fact.
Reality says that there is probably a much more two sided series of villainies going on over there than can easily be sorted out. I personally am well aware that Israel has acted exceedingly badly over a very long period of time to the Palestinians and in some cases toward its own Islamic population as well. But there is a mutuality of loathing that seems to jusrtify almost any set of actions to either side that is hard to credit, in somewhat the same way that such things seemed routine in our own civil war.
I have offered before the theory of the twin civil wars in my conversations about the area, and I still think it's a reasonable formulation. Reactionary and revolutionary forces are at each others' throats on the Islamic Side, as they try to figure out their religious and political wishes for the next hundred years or so. The same on the Israeli side. These sides are very bitter opponents in each religion. Each side struggles to be the force that represents the religion in the world at large.
Neither reactionary nor revolutionary forces in either religion is willing to allow the other the credit for working out a peace with the other religion. It would allow too much of an advantage in the internal struggle.
It would also allow too much attention to be refocused onto the internal affairs of other middle eastern states, and the unhappiness of the various islamic peoples living there, in many cases under virtual bondage...
Should the internal religious civil wars ever be settled, there would still be the interests of the various dictatorships to be maintained, many of which are allied with one or another of the religious movements.
The various displaced people in Palestine were kept in Displaced People's camps following the 1948 war and while they were not allowed back into Israel, though they should have been in at least some cases, they were not allowed to resettle in any of the other Islamic countries either. They were kept there by their Islamic neighbors as potential causes of future conflicts, not simply by the stubbornness of the Israelis.
The Palestinians got it from both sides.
Helen Thomas made some unfortunate remarks about the Israelis needing to return to Germany or Poland or Russia rather than settling in Israel a few months back, but it did highlight some of the difficulty involved there, though I don't know that people commented on it very much. That is, what would have happened to the Jews if they'd actually tried to go back?
There were a lot of places in Europe that seemed very much in favor of the Nazi policy. Not the Danish and not the Dutch, of course, who really tried to put up a resistence to that sort of thing; but the Poles and the Russians and many of the Eastern Europeans found the pograms quite congenial. You might want to check in William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of The Third Reich for some of the details, which are far from pretty. The French were quite anti-semitic, and you might check on the history of Britrish anti-semitism as well.
The American variety is common as poison ivy.
That's one of the reason that Helen Thomas, whose reportage I have generally respected, seemed to have made a world class silly comment. Some of FDR's comments to Harry Hopkins would be better left unquoted, and I am very pro-FDR. People forget exactly how anti-semitic this country was with Father Coughlin and his pals in the 1930's, and they forget that it was still impossible for Jews to buy or live in many places through the fifties and into the sixties right here.
So while it's very important that the Palestinians get a fair deal, and that they get treated honestly and justly, stuff like Helen Thomas was trying to say really is a bit out of place. And there are serious burned bridges behind the Jews in Israel, and the same people who are saying they don't want any new immigrants in the U.S. speaking Spanish will be probably be just as happy to say the same thing about immigrants speaking Hebrew or Arabic.
The IDF aren't the world's most pro-arab folks, no.
But then the Ms. Congeniality award hasn't been offered to anybody in that area for a very long time, and it really works best in this sort of situation when it gets awarded to everybody at once. And there's certainly enough rancor to go around and plenty left over for seconds.
What everybody seems short on is personal responsibility and a willingness to make the first step and then to keep going in the face of setbacks. That's what's needed all around.