Monday, June 13, 2011

Old News: Old Borders

This isn't the most current news, but considering the Obama Administration works pretty slowly...it's probably still number 1 on their agenda; therefore, still relevant :)

Here is an article regarding the speech Obama made last month that I listened to at the laundromat- hey, I dont have a TV, so my Presidential speech-hearing is limited almost exclusively to the gym and laundromat if I want to see it live!  Anyway, when I listened, my jaw totally dropped and I SWEAR Obama MUST read my blog because I could not have said anything better myself!

He focused on two issues that go hand-in-hand: (1) Israel and Palestine's shared borders, and (2) Security.

The I/P border has been a SERIOUS issue for a very long time, note the illustration below.  We used these same maps in my Near Eastern Studies class at the BYU Jerusalem Center:

As we all know, the Jewish people have called Jerusalem and thereabouts home for centuries and they were scattered and re-gathered there over the course of history and, in recognition of this being their historical homeland, part of Palestine was officially given as a religious state to the Jewish people after the atrocities they collectively endured during the second World War.  Unfortunately for them, this part of the world was also the historic home of other groups of people who did not take the news too well that their ancestor's enemies would be taking back their most prized land that they have been fighting for since, well, forever.  As the influx of Jewish refugees and immigrants swelled, so did the tempers of their now-displaced neighbors, generally known as Palestinians.  The state of Israel was created at the sign of a piece of paper and Israel had the whole western world at their back post-WWII as they struggled for prominence and power in the area.  Meanwhile, Palestine floated along as a bitter, under-developed quasi-nation with little or no international respect or even recognition. 

As a result, as Israel gained power and resources, Palestine lost power and land holdings accordingly.  When I was in Jerusalem, I heard about an employee at my school who had to lose her job there because the Israelis built a wall that shut off her neighborhood from accessing Jerusalem regularly.  The worst part about it was that her neighborhood wasn't even on a border!  The wall was built such that it bisected a Palestinian neighborhood in the West Bank, thereby increasing the Israeli holdings in the West Bank (since now its within the wall and considered "Israel", and Palestine can't very well change that!) and simultaneously cutting off people from crossing into the city on the whim of border patrol.

This is not an uncommon occurrence.

So you can see just how Israel has been able to carve into Palestine over time (note the porous West Bank map on the far right).  Of course this leads to anger and annoyance by the Palestinians- and what can they do about it? NOTHING besides throw molotov cocktails over these hated walls because they have an unrecognized and weak government, continually being toppled and and overthrown and infiltrated, which can do nothing for them.

Back to President Obama, so he wants to go back to the pre-1967 borders which would get rid of the recent wall-building shananagins that we have just been talking about.  He also wants Palestine to work toward being a recognized state, which would hold them to higher standards and give them more power to both (a) protect their people, and to (b) stop them from un-sanctioned hate crimes against their Israeli neighbors.  It's a win-win.

Israel is mad of course, they have been succeeding at their sneak attack land ciphoning game and they see Palestine as a threat whether a recognized state or not, and this is probably the first time that a US President has appeared to present a plan that is easily interpreted as pro-Palestinian, so they are fuming!  But I do think that, in the end, having honest, clear-cut borders and a Palestine that is accountable to the world will be in everyone's best interests.

PS, support this nonprofit: Middle East Children's Alliance- http://www.mecaforpeace.org

1 comment:

Aidan Duncan said...

You're correct to some degree, Israel is mad, in fact, completely and utterly insane. Obama's rhetoric is meaningless, his administration lines Israel's pockets with $3,000,000,000 every year. Direct financial support of racism and genocide. My heart breaks for Palestine, Al-Nakba never ended.