Hi guys and a happy Monday to you! I decided to start the week off with a series topic. I don’t know, call it Monday Morning Mood syndrome, or the current events, but I wanted to get this out. This week Vice President Pence is on his first Middle East tour and like everyone, I hope, he succeeds in making stronger ties with all the countries there and is able to communicate what America’s role in that region is going to be under Trump. Yes, I know, the tour began with a shaky start with many countries canceling meetings and press conferences with him. And yes, that makes it really tough for officials like Pence to open doors on peace or in some cases repair relationships severed by rumor-mongering. In that region, I think the topic of Israel and Palestine is on the forefront of everyone’s mind. And I hope to tackle this issue on my humble little blog.
I learned about the Palestine-Israel issue way back in the 1980’s; yes, when I was a mere child in Pakistan and I remember all my friends being angry over the involvement of United States. I remember we would get in heated debates standing in a circle, where my friends were just like “why are they doing this?” and I was like “how about they do this instead?” Yes, since kindergarten my plan for United States was to have a “hands-off” policy in the Israel-Palestine case aka not choose sides. Fast forward a few decades later, I still have the same stance. Why? Because this issue seems more like a topic to make political gains (I know Iran does this), then to solve the human rights problem the region. And we need to realize this. But, let’s go back in time first to really understand this issue:
I am not referencing a source here because how political everything is nowadays; but, from my memory, the whole Palestine and Israel issue started after World War 2. Israel got a piece of land and Palestine got a piece of land. Where the trouble starts is the “illegal occupation”, right? Nope, not that simple. According to the maps listed HERE the British left and the United Nations made a partisan plan where the land was divided among Jewish Palestinians and Arab Palestinians. You didn’t know that, right? I didn’t either.
So it seems like all end that ends well, and this resolution that was temporary was seemingly a happy ending. Wrong! A series of wars (I think the Palestinian Jews were unhappy) that changed the geography of that region. You can continue using the maps above as a source or see another source that confirms the same thing (See the map below). Israel was created and won a big chunk of land from these wars. This has nothing to do with the bible talking about the “promised land” or the battle between Goliath and David, or “Zionism” (or the horrible “right to exist” notion). It is plain and simple, someone was not happy and conflicts arose.
Why we get confused is of course because of the full-on emotional banter of the media and un/misinformed people. Who is at fault here? Whose land is it? What is the Israeli occupation? Is it illegal? Can you see how confusing this can be for an outsider who sees maps like the ones below? These maps have no year labeled and show at least two points that are controversial: One Jerusalem is being “negotiated”, what does that mean? And second point is that Palestinians seem to gaining land, which is not what we hear. So like you, I am left utterly confused. I don’t remember the source of these two maps, but I know I found them through a Google search. This is the kind of information that is out there-false, maligning, confusing or ill-intentioned.
I got the following map of the region from Wikipedia (See HERE). In my opinion, this map seems to be telling us a clearer picture of the current region and adheres to what I get told:
We can tell where the settlements are, what land is under Israeli control and what land is under Palestinian control, and what the boundary of that awful wall is. Moving on..
United States Stance
I think United States decision to move their embassy to Jerusalem may be part naiveté and part political. It was political because it showed solidarity with Israel, its ally, but naive because I am unsure if they predicted how the move will affect Palestinians. I mean will Palestinians have to travel to Jerusalem, which I don’t know, they may be banned from, to get a visa to United States? This assumption on my part plays a huge part in why I am not keen on the idea. Other than that, I see no issue. People should understand that this DOES NOT MEAN United States doesn’t recognize Palestine as a state. I think that may be the inherent belief behind the uproar. Think I am wrong? Let me ask you this: Wasn’t the embassy in Tel Aviv before, wasn’t that in Israel? I am confused why there is such an uproar behind this decision. Are Palestinians really angry about this or is this an opportunity for other countries to gain political favors through rumor-mongering? Dig deep and decide for yourself.
I think the first step towards peaceful negotiations is for USA, Israel and Palestine to educated their people on HOW they will be affected by this decision instead of throwing out political lingo on air.
Now, comes my second issue as a Muslim. Why is VP Pence talking about the Iran Deal in Israel? That is sending a wrong political message on his part. It shows the Muslim world that Israel’s interests takes precedence over their interests and as Americans, we shouldn’t be creating divisions, but bridges to grow politically and economically. Lastly, Iran can totally take these words and use it to gain political influence or delve in terrorism, which I know, other Muslim countries want to deter as well.
So guys, it comes down to this. Please send your kids to school. Create lesson planes that gives these kids an opportunity to analyze, interpret and then SHOW their learning. Adults need to do the same in life. Analyze and interpret sources of information, the literature of the information, and make a decision that is diplomatic and democratic. Happy Reading!