The idea is that I might not have the right to comment on Israeli actions because I have never been in the shoes of an Israeli citizen, living under the threat of an attack at all times. It is obvious that this is both a dodge and true at the same time. It's a dodge because the same people that write this will in the same paragraph write that they want Israel to totally destroy Hamas and Hezbollah, which if my reading comprehension is correct, is also commenting on the situation.I really, really hate my words being misrepresented. Disagree with me all you want, but don't assign your own meaning to things I've said.
To clarify, I never said that I want Israel to 'destroy' anyone or anything. I simply said that when comparing how Israel responded to the assault on its territory by an armed militia, the comparison shouldn't be made with the armed militia, but with other nation-states more similar to Israel. Making a distinction between Hizbollah and Lebanon is to some degree like differentiating between WWII era Germans and the Nazis. It works on a cerebral level, but not on a practical one. It's a sad reality that makes me glad to be over here and not one of the Israeli decision-makers.
I also never said that anyone who doesn't live in the area shouldn't be criticizing or commenting on the crisis. I simply suggested that when we pontificate (as bloggers are apt to do) we should remember that we do so from the luxury of a safe distance (both in terms of geography and experience). Never did I suggest that only those who take Israel's side should be allowed to comment.
kevvyd admits he would be scared etc. if he were an Israeli, then flips the coin:
Naturally, those that pose these questions of us Israel-critics (for want of a better term) seem unlikely to flip the question around and ask how they would feel if they were Palestinian. It's a useful exercise - try it. Since I'm good at following my own lead, I'll take that one on, too.Kevvyd implies that those who identify with Israel, do so because we have not tried to identify with its adversaries. Because his post is in response to mine, I can only suppose kevvyd means me.
If I was Palestinian, I might be the second or third generation living in a refugee settlement without power and little or no water. I would likely have no job and come from a family in which no one has ever had a job. I very probably would know or be related to someone killed by Israeli shelling or rockets. (Body counts vary, but a rough estimate for the number dead during the recent Intifadah are about 3500 Palestinian and 1000 Israeli.) What's more, in all likelihood, I would have little or no hope of ever seeing any change in the situation for me or my kids. I'd be angry, scared, and hopeless. I might be angry at my government enough to do something aside from tossing protest votes at Hamas, but when the only alternative offers more of the same (with a smiling American stamp of approval), that is unlikely. It's more likely that if this world offers no solace I might make plans instead for the next one. And when those proffering the next world speak in the language of 72 virgins (or white grapes), I might just listen. (For what it's worth, I'd be a pretty churlish dead guy if it turned out to be grapes. I would haunt mosques. Unless they were really, really good grapes.)
Neither of my posts on Israel are meant to be unsympathetic to the plight of the average Lebanese, but my guess is that most people in the West, except for the most hardened souls, already do sympathize with them. But in my opinion, it's Israel's actions that require special understanding precisely because in comparison with its neighbours, Israel seems so much more powerful, more affluent, more organized, more civilized, more capable and therefore more open for criticism for its re-actions, than its neighbours are when they incite those reactions.
Critics tend to look on Israel as having an advantage because it is a modern state and they assign blame to Israel because its unfortunate neighbours are victim/underdogs -- as though somehow Israel's success is a result of, or to blame for, the failures of its Arab neighbours. I don't see any of the Arab states or territories as victims of Israel, I see them as victims of themselves and of each other. And while my post was primarily about the current crisis, I'll respond and say that I do pity the Palestinians, but not because they are 'victims' of Israel -- but because they are victims of their parents' and grandparents' hatred.
Rather than build up their own society, Palestinian leaders have tried for 60 years to destroy Israel. Blame checkpoints and humiliation, but remember -- those things wouldn't exist if terror weren't an everyday, ongoing, relentless threat to Israeli citizens.
Blame lack of electricity, and housing -- but don't blame Israel alone for those conditions. Remember that the territories where modern-day Palestinians have lived in squalor in refugee camps for 50 odd years, were not independent nations robbed of infrastructure by Israel --they belonged to Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, and are the remnants of the war their own Arab nations started and which Israel had the audacity to win. Millions of dollars in aid haven't helped their situation -- not because Israel hasn't allowed it -- but because the leadership has been too busy lining its pockets and stirring up resentment to be bothered trying to establish a better life for its people.
The Palestinian failure to create a viable society, is its own failure and that of its fellow Arabs/Muslims who put their hatred of Israel and Jews ahead of their people. The Arabs of the Middle East chose to let Palestine fester for 60 years. It was allowed to do so by the three nations that lost those lands to Israel, because doing so lent itself to creating more animosity toward Israel, and yet another excuse for its destruction. Those nations are the ones you should look to for WHY the Palestinians live in such deplorable conditions -- those three are responsible --- first for launching wars of annihilation, and later and still, for their failure to accommodate and assist their own civilian populations left behind in lands held by Israel when their quests for its annihilation failed.
Ask yourself if Israel would be a threat to the region if there were no threat to Israel. Israel's goal has been to exist in peace. That's why it has succeeded in building infrastructure, democracy and a viable social order while its neighbours have failed. And it is why if I were Palestinian, I believe that by now I'd be starting to look to my own society's leaders and aim my vitriol at them.