outcomes of israeli actions


I’ve blogged and commented at length on my understanding of ‘sin’ and ‘morality’, as they are traditionally referred to. A quick recap for those who missed it: all actions should be analysed on the basis of potential positive and negative outcomes, and the decision should be made based on where that balance falls. Logic, reasoning and natural empathy will guide the process.  This is not to suggest that we sit down with pen and paper every time we have to make a decision. Most of our decisions in life are easy no-brainers that can be traced to common cultural understandings of useful or harmful behaviour (killing, stealing etc.) But then there are the so-called moral dilemmas, like euthanasia or stealing to feed hungry children, situations where black and white rules become ridiculous and weighing outcomes is obviously the only sensible thing to do.

Applying this system to even bigger, more complicated situations, I think is also useful. Tongue Sandwich recently did a post commemorating the 65th anniversary of the State of Israel. It was a straight-forward representation of what he felt Israel has achieved in 65 years. I felt it didn’t give a rounded picture of the situation and he suggested I could write something on my blog to look at the flip side to the history of Israel.

I personally cannot admire the “tremendous success of the State of Israel” without acknowledging that as a direct result of the creation of Israel, there are currently around 5 million Palestinian refugees, displaced from their homes, living in difficult conditions often in places where they are unwanted, and with no hope of returning to their land. I would also have to acknowledge the number of people who have died as a direct result of the creation of Israel. The Jewish Virtual Library tells me that  25,000 Israelis have died, and over 90,000 Arabs/Palestinians. I suspect these figures don’t tell the whole story, but I’m also suspicious of the frequently quoted Palestinian death toll of 5 million that is floating around chat rooms on the internet.

Therefore, displacement, death and suffering are part and parcel of the success story of Israel. They are integral to understanding how Israel has arrived where it is today, and the story of the nation is not complete without acknowledging the damage that has been done.

Returning to the idea of weighing up positive and negative outcomes, I have the following questions to ask about the situation in Israel:

  • When surrounded by hostile territory and people who explicitly state they want to destroy your country, is it possible to improve the situation by making the living conditions of those with a grudge against progressively more atrocious?
  • If a known terrorist is hiding in a building with civilians (including children), is it reasonable to bomb the building in order to attempt an assassination because the children should have known better or the terrorist hid there on purpose?
  • If ‘they started it!’ doesn’t cut it when children are fighting in schools, why should it be a reasonable excuse for violence among adults?
  • Can a cycle of violence ever end, if the richer, better educated country continues to inflict a death toll of somewhere between three and 10 times greater than that which they receive?

From the point of view of an outsider, Arab hatred of Israelis is at its root completely irrational. Their religious-fueled brainwashing mantras of destruction against of this group of people is ignorant, illogical and unreasonable. So, I can’t for the life me think why Israel is hellbent on giving Palestinians buckets of fuel in the form of unnecessary deaths and suffering to feed their fire of hate. I hope the story of Israel takes a turn for the better in the coming years. I hope that the people of Israel recognise that if they want the situation to change, if they want a chance of living without fear, they need to deal with the psychology of irrational hatred a little more logically.

A word of caution: as usual, I have an open comments policy on this post. However, if anyone posts anything that other readers find truly offensive, I will consider removing it.