Wednesday, May 24, 2006


A couple of things from yesterday, when every reader who posted a comment disagreed with some passion with my use of "fifty-fifty" in talking about responsiblity for the Israeli-Palestinian hostilities. I realize that I may have been a bit too loose in my phrasing, so I wanted just to clarify what I meant to say and evidently didn't.

What I SAID was (to immodestly quote myself--AND split an infinitive to boot!) "In divorce, they say, no single party is ever solely to blame: it's always fifty-fifty." What I BELIEVE is that the responsibility for a relationship or its failure, not the blame, should be divided fifty-fifty.

The blame...? Well, who knows? Each side will assess it in their own way, to their own advantage or exculpation. But how can it possibly be measured? In the case of Israel and the Palestinians, do we start before the creation of the state of Israel, or after? Before the 1948 War of Independence (Israel) or "The Disaster" (as I believe the Palestinians call the same event) or after? Before the 1967 war, when the Israelis (as they see it) sought to defend their territory from the assault of Arab neighbors bent on its destruction? Or after?

In other words, it seems to me impossible to know when the blaming should start or stop. Sure, there is blame enough to go around, and the Israelis have their share. No one is innocent in this seemingly endless tragedy. Nor is either side exclusively the victim. But blame, as I see it, is unknowable and immeasurable and therefore not a useful tool in preserving or healing a relationship.

Responsibility, though, does not date back into unknowables. It's here and now. And no relationship can be healed, in my view, unless each party shoulders an equal share. It's fifty-fifty for both sides. Fifty-fifty good will and good faith in what comes to the table. Fifty-fifty effort and sacrifice. No matter what the past and who's at fault for what, reparation is a fifty-fifty job.

It's sad to see the Palestinian territories "degenerating," as today's lead editorial in the Los Angeles Times puts in, "into anarchy," with Palestinians now pitted violently against each other. Who's "to blame" for this developing new crisis? America and Israel, for withholding funds from an elected government dedicated loudly and unrepentently to the destruction of the state of Israel? Or the Palestinians, for their hostile intransigeance and for not being able to get their act together? Who's to judge? Not me, for sure. As said before, there's blame enough to go around.

The healing, though, if it's to come... that will be fifty-fifty.

Thanks to all who contributed to this discussion. Only one thing I'd ask: to be as brief and to the point as possible. I just don't have the stamina for lengthy screeds, no matter how worthy! But let me not deter anyone from joining in--at length, if need be!


Anonymous said...

We do agree that it is going to take both parties to resolve the conflict, not to sure how the new Israeli guy Olmert feels about this, especially after all the applause at the US Capitol today by the honest negotiators. Israel & US always appear to be negotiating whether Israel will take 95% or 90%.

Regarding Hamas and Iran, wonder if there would even be a Palestinian people let alone a possible neutered/noncontiguous Palestinian state without these entities fighting for the Palestinians. Only after 50 years of resistance fighting did Israel even consider the possibility of a divided Palestinian state, as these were simply native animals placed in the way of the Chosen Peoples Biblical Land,“Palestinians are not worth the fingernail of a Jew” is what I seem to recall. Experiences shape us.

These negotiations, in my opinion, are not based on ethics and morality, only power and weapons capability; which is, I believe onr reason why Israel wants to unilaterally set the borders before Iran gets a nuke to provide "negotiation" leverage. Wonder if the negotiations would be a little more “honest” if the Palestinians and Iran had a few nukes. I bet then things would come out a little more equitable, such as 50/50 land/resource split, along with enforcement of International Law.

Oops, that pesky thing called Law comes up at the most inopportune times, can’t have that involved in negotiations. Anyways, USA and Israel do not need to follow International Law, as they are the most special of Earthly countries that live by the rule of law, not International Law.

Let’s hope the parties can come to a 50/50 agreement based on the equal treatment of ALL humans. Somehow I have a feeling the Palestinians would gladly accept 50% of land and resource mass, would the Israelis honor this equitable split? At the very least, would they see fit to follow International Law & UN resolutions (leave occupied territories and return refugees)? Afterall, I'm sure everyone is willing to be honest and equitable.

Sorry Peter, soundbites are not my strong suit. Please know I am smiling.

PK said...

Hmmm, I wonder how the US would have fared if the top half was all white and the bottom half all black? With a humongous cement wall down the middle, oh, and guards on either side to make sure no one crossed over unless they had papers to do so. If not then they would be shot on sight, old, young, woman, man, child. This is another side I'm not to fond of. Maybe it's because I see nothing wrong in living with people of all nationalities, and embracing them for their differences. To bad neither one can see that. And a lot of other people too. The more they place blame on one or the other, the more those two see it as a call to war. Sad.