Whenever my baby brother asks me something I can't confidently answer, I get a bit obsessed with finding the right answer for him. I don't like sound bites and people telling me what the what. I like to read up on some stuff. He asked me about the conflict between Israel and Palestine and I only knew what I knew even as what I knew has always felt like an oversimplification of the details. Being someone with friends whose only criteria is that they are good people...I, of course, have friends who are Jewish as well as friends who are Muslim so I reached out to them for some personal answers.
Truth be told...their answers were the type of which stem from true frustration with a situation that's long past gone too far. And, as these friends live in the United States...maybe their history on the facts have been blurred a bit simply by living in an area they don't have to worry about the very real violence going down in their Mother country/ies.
And I just really wanted to understand what has been going down over there and why as much as I could.
A friend told me about this book:
And then...I understood more. MUCH.MORE.
Pour yourself a glass of water. This is a long one.
As always these things start with a bunch of people who didn't have a dang right to be involved in it in the first place. Just folks trying to claim ownership of other people's stuff and snatching it using violence. The culprit? The British. Yup. No surprise there. Colonization has always ended in some bullshit for the ones without guns. IN MY OPINION.
Aiight so...since goodness knows when, the Turks were in control of Palestine (which was a part of the Ottoman Empire). And when I say goodness knows when...I'm talking like the early 1500's. THE 1500'S. Over FIVE HUNDRED YEARS AGO.
Along comes World War I. The Turks lost. Palestine (other land too but I'm just focusing on Palestine) was turned over to the British to control. The Arab people who already lived there, said that they were told they could stay there in exchange for helping Britain defeat the Turks (and Germans). Britain claims they never said that. The Arab people stayed there under the control of the British from the end of World War I to 1948.
So...they were there from the 1500's to 1948 with all kinds of unrest and uncertainty going on.
Aiight...so there were two agreements concurrently:
1. The McMahon Agreement - "The McMahon-Hussein Agreement of October 1915 was accepted by Palestinians as a promise by the British that after World War One, land previously held by the Turks would be returned to the Arab nationals who lived in that land."
From: History Learning Site
2. The Balfour Declaration - "The Balfour Declaration was a short letter by Arthur Balfour to arguably one of the most influential Jewish families - the Rothschild's. It was assumed that the letter gave the British government's support to the creation of a Jewish homeland."
From: History Learning Site
So...the Jewish people were like...aiight yall. We good. Let's pack up and go set up shop where they told us we could set up shop.
Now...here is what I think people tend to want to forget when talking about this.
That was some big ish that went down.
The Jewish people weren't just chilling before they were given a place to go settle. They were coming up off a period of 12 years when their people were being excluded, hunted, tortured and straight up murdered in Europe. Like...to the tune of over 11 MILLION people. Not all of those people were Jewish. But well over half were. Straight up genocide where Hitler decided to wipe out the ENTIRE Jewish population.
I mean...I'm not going to get all deep into Hitler and the start of World War II...but I'm sure you can see that coming off of being hunted and scared...you pretty much probably aren't going to be down for too much else by way of listening to what anyone else has to say about you doing you. You just kinda want to go lay it all down somewhere and start over.
I get that.
So...yeah...they packed up and went where the British told them they could go.
There are people already there.
Live with the people. No biggie. Plenty for all.
But I'm getting ahead of myself here because goodness...there is just SO.MUCH!
The Jewish people started heading to Palestine after the Balfour Declaration slowly but surely. By 1929...everybody was sick of each other. Up until then, Jewish people and Arab people tolerated each other. But then folks started getting louder with the, "Hey...according to the (insert either McMahon or Balfour agreement here) this land is OURS so we don't have to let you mofos even be here anyway!"
See how Britain talking with two tongues messed that all up?
So...in August of 1929 both sides mounted up and, in less than a week, hundreds of people were dead. The main point of contention?
Jerusalem was very important to BOTH sides so both sides wanted the other side to stay out of Jerusalem.
And Jewish people kept coming because, again, they were told they could. Arab people started taking a head count and realized that if the Jewish people kept coming...they'd be outnumbered. So they started stepping up their opposition to the Jewish people being in what they considered, according to the McMahon Agreement, THEIR LAND.
So, you got people who think it's some bullshit that other people were told they could have their ish. I mean...are you kidding me? Seriously? This my ish!
I think about 13700 here. It ain't much. But it's ours. Inside and out.
BUT I DIGRESS.
So this was the climate from 1929 to 1936. Everybody mad. Both sides considering the land THEIR land. So Britain rolls in with the military and start swinging cuz the violence had become too much and they were being pressured to do something before the violence spilled outside of Palestine. Well...it wasn't as easy as they thought it would be and they got their hats handed to them.
By both sides.
So the Jewish people were like...screw the Arab people AND the British.
And the Arab people were like...screw the Jewish people AND the British.
And this time...I mean ERRYBODY.
So Britain was like...aiight. (To the Arab people...) Yall mad about the amount of Jewish people coming here so we're going to restrict the number of Jewish people who can come. Okay? That will make it all better. Back to Kumbaya cuz we can't be dealing with all this going on. We seriously got other shit to focus on. So...yall need to just learn how to live with each other? Okay? Okay. We run this.
The Jewish people said...screw that and continued whupping Britain's butt.
The Arab people said...screw that and continued whupping Britain's butt.
This went on for a while and then...they reached an uneasy truce. Like...okay...we gon' stop fighting but Imma keep BOTH eyes on you and I have a gun. TWO guns. One for each of you. (Yall like how I threw in a little Doc Holliday? That's my dawg. Love me some Doc!)
In World War II, the Jewish military got better at fighting. I mean...like some Ninja type ish developed. When they returned home...they started using what they learned to fight the Palestinians. The Arab people called it terrorism. The Jewish people called it defense. Protecting our own and claiming what we were told we could have after over a decade of being hunted and straight up murdered in Europe. WE EARNED THIS THROUGH THE BLOOD OF OUR ANCESTORS! CALLENGE!!!!!!!!
Pretty much, the whole world felt bad about what happened to the Jewish people and kinda gave them whatever they asked for because damn...that was a lot. You know it...I know it. The Holocaust was some terrible, terrible ish. (We're not going to compare it to slavery here. We're going to stay on topic. Cool? COOL.)
Okay...even though all this is going down between the Jewish people and the Arab people in Palestine...the British still controlled Palestine. LOL!
And that's the biggest joke in all of this.
They controlled things there from their military headquarters in Palestine. Well...them Jewish people that learned how to fight in WWII? They brought the headquarters down-t. They were, RIGHTFULLY SO, mad as hell at the British.
And we all know who was also, RIGHTFULLY SO, mad as hell at the British. The Arab people.
So...finally, Britain was like...man...we gotta get up out from under this situation.
Along comes the United Nations.
President Franklin Roosevelt met in secret with Winston Churchill before we got OFFICIAILLY involved in WWII. They decided what the world should be like and look like once WWII was over. We joined the war in 1941 and then the United Nations was created in 1942 to make the world, in their opinion, a better place for all through democracy, trade agreements, fewer weapons, etc. NO MORE ATTEMPTS OF GENOCIDE!
In 1947, the United Nations took on Palestine and drew lines in the sand.
Jewish people here = Israel.
Arab people here = Palestine.
Britain? GO HOME. BYE. Your presence wasn't a present.
In 1948, the United Nations officially recognized Israel as an independent state. That meant they could make up their own laws, form their own recognized military, have open trade, etc.
Britain left and as soon as the last boot print was gone...surrounding Arab nations attacked Israel ON THE SAME DAY THEY WERE GRANTED THEIR INDEPENDENCE! So...they celebrating and dodging bullets all on the same day. Serving and being dealt.
Because they exist.
Israel, in the eyes of Palestine, does NOT exist. They are on stolen land and must be killed to right the wrong done to their people.
Now...here's the thing. In situations like this I try and think about it in terms of how I would react if the situation directly affected me and mineZ.
If Obama 'nem sent a family here and they showed up at 13700 with newly paid for weapons and new laws and whatnot and FORCED their occupation of our home...OH...SHIT IS GOING TO GET HECTIC for all involved because honestly..it's ours. I don't give a damn what anybody says. That ish simply wouldn't be right.
AND...to add even more insult...they are telling me that I have to go to an undeveloped land now? No electricity or running water? No nothing? Like...all of us displaced have to start all over without any (well not much) help? But you're pouring aid and money to the new occupants of MY DAMN HOUSE?
Them damn Brits.
Aiight...so Israel fought. Had they lost? Yeah...they wouldn't have had a land to call their own EVER...so they gave it all they had. How did they win you ask? Well...um...erra...we, as in America, sold them three B-17 bombers on the low-low.
"Look...yall can buy these but we ain't sell them to you. Cool? Cool."
And Israel bombed Cairo. Can you imagine the look on the faces of the Arab people? WHERE THE HELL THEY GET B-17 BOMBERS FROM? THEY JUST GOT THEIR INDEPENDENCE YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Arab people ended up losing that particular showdown because they weren't organized. All the different entities were run by their own people. They didn't have a planned attack. They just throwing rocks and ish from this side, shooting from this side, swinging sticks from that side. Israel's plan of attack (even though there began to be internal problems) was logical, methodical and well thought out.
Each of the different Arab attacking entities went to Israel separately and negotiated their own peace agreements (Except for Iraq. They just withdrew. No peace. We'll be back.) Israel used their military to push the Arab people back as far as they could. The Arab people lost even more of the land they considered theirs to Israel, who they do not believe should EXIST.
So, there is always fighting going on between the two sides but not as much you know? Even though Palestine was struggling. HARD. And, even more difficult for them, was watching the amount of aid and resources Israel was receiving from us and others. Arab people all over the world straight up HATED all involved.
In 1956, there was the Suez Canal crisis that went down after Israel invaded Egypt. The French and British joined sides with Israel and well...yall know about the Cold War right? RIGHT. Shit was hectic all over. General Nassar (head of Egypt) HATED Israel and turned a blind eye anytime some of his people started messing with Israel. Israel was basically like...if you aren't going to stop your people along these borders to stop messing with us...well, we will. Simple.
I'm ya huckleberry.
DOC HOLLIDAY!!!!!!! (In the voice of Hump Day Camel.)
Unfortunately we were involved in some bullshit behind the Nile River (The hell we always in them people business for?) so, Egypt and Russia became bedfellows.
After the French and British joined forces with Israel, Israel went full scale in on Egypt but were shocked that France and Britain didn't immediately join the fight. Instead, they went back to the United Nations and paper chased a cease fire. So now Israel is like...SERIOUSLY? YALL JUST LEFT US HANGING LIKE THAT?
And remember...this is a people coming back from an attempted genocide and major confusion from Britain about the land they were occupying and considered their own. So yeah...how much do you think they started trusting France and Britain after that?
Imma say not at all.
I know that would piss me off and yeah...I'd probably say something about it. LOUDLY.
Notice a trend here?
In 1967, Israel felt like the Arab nations of Egypt, Syria and Jordan were joining forces to attack them again. Instead of waiting for what they FELT was going to happen, well, they struck first. Israel straight up annihilated the air forces of all three nations. Then...they started destroying tanks and ground facilities. They weren't playing around. They straight up cleared out Jordan and moved 30 miles deep into Syria. They took prisoners and straight tore ish up. They were like...we are NOT going to allow yall to get organized enough to attack us again. I repeat...that will NOT happen.
The Israeli military, if you haven't figured out yet, ain't NO.JOKE.
The main reason for this?
The United States of America.
"Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $121 billion (current, or non-inflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although in the past Israel also received significant economic assistance. Strong congressional support for Israel has resulted in Israel receiving benefits not available to any other countries; for example, Israel can use some U.S. military assistance both for research and development in the United States and for military purchases from Israeli manufacturers. In addition, U.S. assistance earmarked for Israel is generally delivered in the first 30 days of the fiscal year, while most other recipients normally receive aid in installments, and Israel (as is also the case with Egypt) is permitted to use cash flow financing for its U.S. arms purchases. In addition to receiving U.S. State Department-administered foreign assistance, Israel also receives funds from annual defense appropriations bills for rocket and missile defense programs. Israel pursues some of those programs jointly with the United States."
Now...you should never, ever wonder why Arabs in the Middle East developed such a disdain for us and the United Nations.
So...in 1967, one little bitty new nation straight up whupped the stew meat out of four of the most powerful Arab nations. When they took over Jordan and a part of Syria, however, they took control over lots of Arab people who weren't and still aren't having it. They joined whatever organizations they could to continue to get Israel off their land. And these new areas of Jordan and Syria that Israel now controlled? Well...location, location, location. Yup. They were good spots to set up shop. And we like it because we can get to Russia if need be. And Russia hates it so they help Iran same as we help Israel.
And the beat goes on.
So...what have we learned during my week long foray down the rabbit hole to figure this all out and put it in my own words?
LOL! Hell if I know. We just basically learned that as long as Israel EXISTS...Arab people will try and make it so they DON'T exist and Israel has learned to live with the constant threat by creating one hell of a military. They like Deebo. Snatching chains, bicycles...all of that.
And I can't say that I blame them.
Nor do I blame the Palestinians who are STILL.MAD over their land being taken away and given to Israel by Britain/United Nations, while they still lived there.
I'd be mad too.
I am by no means endorsing either side's position. Nor am I condoning our part in all of this because yeah...well...yeah...
I will say that, in 1917, when Britain (under King George V's rule) told the Jewish people they could go to Palestine knowing they already told Palestine they could stay in 1915...well...that was the wrong thing to do.
That's all I got. It is with my greatest hope that my putting this into my own words is not seen as offensive to anyone. I just wanted to try and understand why the situation is always so intense with both sides straight up not giving a dang if those on the other side live or die.
Oh...and I did skip a lot of stuff because yall...IT'S A LOT! Whew!
Let me go see if my husband wants to go tackle a trail on the mountain.
If asked, could you put the situation into your own words? Did I do a good job? I hope if you have a differing opinion you understand that we should be able to discuss this without it turning into verbal warfare. I think it's absolutely something we should discuss so we can get to a better understanding of it, if only to know why it is as it is.
Pass it on.