Sunday, August 3, 2014

Israel -Gaza conflict : Which side you are supporting ?

Israel -Gaza conflict : Which side you are supporting ?
-Biplab Pal, 3rd August 

The most complex philosophical problem I have ever faced is this one! On one side, plight of people of Palestine is undeniable and on the other side, Israel has right to defend their own citizen. How can you take side except you may wish they should converge into table of negotiation ?

I tried to understand the logic of my friends from Israel on the issue of plight of the Palestinians. Some are sympathetic-most of them are not. They think people of Gaza deserve this treatment because they elected Hamas as their leader! They should have known whom they are voting for!! Upon digging a little deeper, I found it is easy to speak that way. People of Gaza voted for Hamas because they were fed-up with corruption in the rank and file of Fatah. Drug was killing the society. Hamas brought some sense of order needed in Gaza. People outweighed their evil ideology against practical utility. Can that be enough reason for punishment ?

On the other side- I tried to understand why Israel will be stripped of their right to defend. Or is Israel response disproportionate ?

I have my own ambivalence on this issue. Firstly, when you clean weeds, you clean it totally. Half done weed cleaning is of no use. In that respect, I see no reason why Israel will show any leniency in terrorist cleaning operation.

But there is other side of the story. Sun Tzu in art of war suggested no war is won by brute force. A true win happens without killing in battlefield. Frankly, I have failed to see any such strategy from Israel that solves this issue. Let's say Hamas is cleaned. So what? You have 80% population in Gaza unemployed! They are receiving donations, but it will be of no use till they have a way to do commerce.
Perhaps IT and BPO can be a solution to Gaza. Israel must be actively involved in creating a sustainable economy in Gaza without endangering its security. Disarm them. No issue. But plan to give them jobs. Israel must show at least this much of compassion to the people of Palestine so that they can get some employment. They should get respectable living.

Israel can't afford to have a state on their border where humanity is humiliated and unemployment is a triggering ground for breeding terrorism.

As an Indian American, my practical choice is simple. In both the countries, we have suffered at the hand of Islamic terrorism and Muslim radicals. So at no point of time, I can support Hamas which promotes radical ideology of Islam which is nothing but cancer of the civilization. But at the same time, I can not ignore what triggers such radicalism. It is easy to say, all blame to Islamic ideology but in true scientific spirit, religion is a product of social evolution. Theologically, Islam is no more or no less evil that other religions. Geopolitical situation, lack of democracy in Middle East is spreading religious radicalism. Hardworking workforce can't afford to be radical-survival makes them practical.

In my view, Israel must have to think for a long term solution. They have to think how these people can be involved in jobs, employment so that they can damn the radical ideology. Without jobs and hopes, Palestine youth will have only one option-fight against Israel.

Did you see Tibet rebel against Chinese occupation? They didn't simply because China created opportunity for them-for their work. So who in Tibet except for their exiled community in India bothers for the Tibetian freedom instead of jobs provided by Chinese economy ?

Likewise, I believe solution to this conflict lies in making Gaza a protectorate state of Israel at least for a decade where people of Gaza be given factories and business for their living from the state of Israel. They should live a dignified living, learn skills and be focused on their economy under Israeli occupation because under their own leadership this is not possible. However, this occupation should be for a limited time and when economy will improve, Israel can phase out their occupation of Gaza. At the end, people of Palestine deserve their own state and leaders-but perhaps, not under the present condition.

I know Arab and leftist world will make a lot of hue and cry-but who cares for tears of Dalai Lama when Tibetian people are better fed and financially more secured under China? Likewise, once living condition of people of Gaza will be improved, they will not call for desperate measure of throwing rocket.

Israel has nothing to worry. All the world powers are behind them. Arab states are also largely behind them because they are autocratic and need easy arm from Israel to be in power. So why should Israel bother if they occupy Gaza for a limited time and provide jobs/employment for the people of Palestine?

Friday, July 18, 2014

On the question of justification of a Jewish state

Over the last few days, I read the history of formation of Israel and Jews in general with a great interest. There is no doubt in my mind that Jews needed a state of their own after 2400 years of continued persecution in the hand of European rulers. It is only in 19th century Jews were admitted as equal citizen in the laws of England and France. Holocaust may be the final straw, but expulsion of Jews forms the most common pattern in history everywhere and in every time with exception to Jews in India! Therefore, a Jews state was badly needed but question is definitely-was the land of Palestine a right choice? Historically or by religious text, it may be-but practically, to accommodate 5-6M jews, present land of Israel was neither suitable nor politically viable given the presence of a large native population. I am not bringing the issue of justification here because if Jews state in Israel is not justified on the ground of displacement of native, then none of the countries in North and South America is justified as all of the states have been formed by replacing the native population. Therefore displacement of local population does not form a sustainable logic but it is definitely a major humanitarian concern which if ignored, can be inflamed only.

 What a few handful Jews did in 1948 to establish a Jews state is the greatest story of dedication, sacrifice and unparalleled valor in human history. I followed that history almost day by day from 1947 to 1949, and what can be found very easily-during that time whole Jews population of Israel would have been killed by local and invading Arab army. Therefore, Jews had no choice but to form Israel. From the riots of 1930s, it was clear not a single Palestine leadership wanted a Palestine state where Jews and Arab could live peacefully. So when Palestine leadership wanted to fight it out instead of peaceful negotiation, why are they crying after losing the war after war? If they would have won the war, would they have left any single Jew alive? Palestine wanted to solve it out through war and they got what they deserve. Before 1st and 2nd Israel-Arab war they were asking for total annihilation of Israel and it is only after defeat, Israel become oppressor ?

 Instead of war, if people of Palestine wanted peaceful negotiation, they would not be in a position where they are today. Israel can not and would not have done any aggression against a non-violent population. Arab tribes in Israel are doing far better than any Arab in Middle East. Are they deprived in Israel of education, food, their religion etc? Were they afraid of Irgun in 1947-48? But truth is Haganah and world Jews population never approved them ( directly opposed them) and a settlement of a future state was always possible under British rule as India was divided into Hindu and Muslim population areas, It was the people of Palestine who wanted war from day one and they got it. They made it complicated by not accepting British attempt of secular state of Palestine or two states where both communities could have lived in peace.
I personally salute those 600,000 Jews who defended their land and homes in 1948 against British and Arabs. In contrast, most of the Hindus in Bangladesh and Pakistan could not resist rioting Muslim mob. Same is true for Indian Muslims who face rioting Hindu mobs in UP and Bihar. 1947 partition was a great tragedy and again British was completely responsible for it as they are responsible for Israel-Palestine mess as well.
I do not think world will have any religion in another 100 years and I strongly believe even the basic concept of state will be almost meaningless in another 50 years or so given the emergence of stateless economy and communication. Therefore fighting for political determination of a new state is already a meaningless activity. If future is what should be guide and not the past, people of Palestine should be allowed to be become Israeli citizen with equal right or form their own state and focus on their economic development by accepting Israel as their peaceful neighbor and a partner in their economic growth. Future of mankind does not have any space for the concept of enemy states. There will be only a global economy where everyone of us will participate.