This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Faint Hopes for Peace

"From the Palestinian side, if you define it as intifada, that means you are in a different place in terms of how you think about what kind of sacrifices you make, what kind of changes from day to day life you make."
"It's like a nobler cause and it has this kind of mobilization effect. It has its own momentum, in a sense."
"[For Israelis] it's almost the mirror image of that."
Boaz Atzili, associate professor, American University, Washington

"This one so far, the Israelis are saying that there is no organization, no planning, there's nobody behind it. Everybody they've killed or arrested is clearly a single individual operating without coordination with anybody else. So far this, whatever it is, could not be more different than the first two intifadas"
Rashid Khalidi, Arab studies, Columbia University
Palestinian protesters carry knives during a demonstration in the Jabalia refugee camp, in northern Gaza on October 16, 2015. Palestinians called for a 'Friday of revolution' against Israel, as Jews armed themselves with everything from guns to broomsticks, rattled by a wave of Palestinian attacks that have shaken the country. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED
Palestinian protesters in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza call for a 'Friday of revolution' against Israel, as Jews arm themselves with everything from guns to broomsticks, rattled by  wave of Palestinian attacks that have shaken the country. Mohammed AbedAFP/Getty Images

The young Palestinian law student, Mohannad Halabi felt convinced that Palestinians must rise against their Jewish Israeli enemies. He might have been convinced that this was a necessity since he had been spoon-fed viral hatred of Jews as a Palestinian since he was a child. Higher education does not necessarily confer wisdom, balance and enhanced judgemental capacity for those whom their social culture has convinced that they must understand they have been victimized and martyrdom and slaughter will serve to commit to a solution.

The solution they were never taught from childhood to adulthood was to compromise, to accept what could not be changed -- in this instance, the existence of a Jewish state in an Arab geography -- and to resolve to welcome the other residents of the Middle East portion where Palestinians and Jews both were offered states of their own through the United Nations' Partition plan, and the Palestinian leaders walked away from the offer, just as they have from successive offers proffered by Israel.

The viral deranged hatred that consumes people convinced they have been wronged and victimized leaves little room in their emotions for reason to emerge. And so, Mohannad Halabi, law student, 19 years of age, chose of his very free will to fatally stab to death two Jewish men preparing to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. His act of terrorism; a dual murder leading to martyrdom, acted  as an inspiration to other impressionable and admiring young Palestinians who have sought to emulate him.

The Palestinian Authority has memorialized the  young man, holding him up as a shining heroic example for all young Palestinians. The Palestinian Bar Association views justice as having been done in this act of murderous violence. They issued a statement: "The Palestinian Bar Association decided in its meeting today to award an honorary law degree to the martyred hero Muhannad Al-Halabi and to hold its next swearing-in ceremony in [his] honor… the martyred hero Al-Halabi was an outstanding student at the faculty of law."

So much for the nobility of the cause. The 'cause', to throw off the mantle of oppression by the Israeli military; because the state of Israel has an existential obligation to protect the lives of its citizens from violently murderous attacks, it has little option but to interpose its military as a shield between 'protesters' and 'militants' seeking to do harm to innocent civilians. Is that message that is delivered all that different in context and content from the one being delivered to the world by Islamic State?

They too are informed by Islam that it is a noble cause they pursue, that of jihad. Jihad being the religious obligation that the Koran imposes as a primary precept that prosetylization must be seen as the responsibility of all the faithful to Islam, an obligation that focuses on the voracious appetite of Islam. It must rule the world, as the only true religion, the one true path to godly virtues and the approval of Allah. Any geography once consecrated to Islam must never be allowed to turn from Islam.

Any religions that pre-dated Islam were simply trial runs, swiftly overtaken by the perfection of Islam as god's eternal and only instrument of contact with humanity. To that end, other religions must submit to Islam, as must their congregants. All symbols of sanctity that belong to any religion other than Islam represent heresy and must be destroyed as offensive to Allah. All Muslims insufficiently committed to this primary goal of jihad are apostates to be destroyed as well.
During the first Intifada that erupted in 1987, protesters threw stones and Molotov cocktails.  These missiles, used with deadly intention, were considered by the international community which did not have to live through the volatile and dangerous atmosphere that Israelis did, to be mildly provocative, and censured Israeli forces for "disproportionate responses". Deadly violence emanating from Arabs represent a tribal, cultural heritage. Jews, on the other hand, are expected to be meek and forgiving of trespasses against their longevity.

The second intifada, which Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount, the most sacred site in Judaism in 2000 aroused, initiated not only rock and fire-bomb assaults, but suicide bombings as well, until the military intervention by Israel, and the building of a separation wall, tamped down not the fervour that launched the deadly attacks, but the capability of Palestinians to continue mounting them. 

The two leading Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas have organized much of the stone-throwing. And on Friday, Palestinians were incited at their mosques to participation in a "day of rage". A protest organizer, Munadil Hanani, spoke of hundreds of Palestinians arriving at an Israeli military post to throw stones at troops. "They were very angry and wanted to attack the soldiers."

This, for Palestinians, represents, 'normalcy'. Rising tensions resulting after Israel authorities announced they would carry out plans to destroy family homes of suspects in a shooting ambush that killed an Israeli couple, has nourished anticipation of a third intifada. "This intifada (uprising) will continue in various forms. People are fed up", advised Mr. Hanani. Attempts at justly deserved punishment provocatively spurs Palestinians to vengeance.

A revered historical site, Joseph's Tomb where it is thought that the son of the biblical patriarch Jacob was buried, was fire-bombed in the West Bank city of Nablus. The tomb is situated, obviously, in what once was ancient Israel. And as is the way with Islam, the site was contested by Arabs as a site venerated for the same reasons, by Muslims. (Whose age-old strategy originating with the Prophet Mohammad, of capturing and claiming as their own others' divine relations with the Almighty speaks to the 'authenticity' of Islam.) Who sought to stop Jews from worshipping there. Just as they do at the Temple Mount.

Screenshot from the fire started by Palestinian rioters at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, in the West Bank, on October 16, 2015.
Screenshot from the fire started by Palestinian rioters at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, in the West Bank, on October 16, 2015.

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