The Israeli-Arab conflict is seemingly one that brings out the passions of both Jews, Arabs, the wider global Islamic community and all those that believe in human rights. These passions can be seen reguarly with comments made by readers of this very site. However, if we were to take a more careful look at death rates, injuries and general scope of the conflict in comparison to other conflicts occuring globally, we may be surpised at the amount of attention that this conflict generates.
As I have discussed in my previous post on this site, conflicts for example afflicting Africa are far worse than what is happening in Israel over the past six decades or more.
Indeed, conflicting numbers are seen from differing sources, however we should be certain that since 1920, the year of the first Arab riots in British administered Palestine until today, 24,845 Israelis have been killed, in addition to 35,356 wounded. The number of Arabs that have been killed is 90,785 with 67,602 wounded. (Sources: Wars of the World, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Palestinian Human Rights Monitor, The Palestinian Human Monitoring Group).
In contrast, at this very moment in time, neigbouring Syria is englufed in tremendous bloodshed with at least 150,000 dead, tens of thousands missing, crucifixions of citizens from minority religions, in addition to the alleged use of chemical weapons.
Indeed, secterian strife is raging across the region, from Iraq to Libya, with Sudan now ostensibly going ahead with the execution of a Christian lady, who has commited the crime of practising a religion that she has decided she would like to.The passions reserved for the Israeli-Arab conflict do not seem to be channeled over to these other pressing issues. It is true that media coverage of some other Middle Eastern conflicts has ebbed and flowed over the past few years, however we have not seemed to have heard many calls for the boycott of Syria, Sudan, Iran or Saudi Arabia amongst other violators of human rights. This is of course a cliche comment, however one that is poignant.
Jewish people choosing to live in territory that was granted to them in the San Remo resolution, and enshrined in international law, whether one likes to hear this or not, creates mass hysteria from world leaders and media commentators alike. It may not be entirely sensible for these people to live in area not annexed by a State that has for some reason claimed it and has not yet annexed it, however this is up for a civilised debate. They are certainly not Nazis for setting up home there.
We can hear almost daily about attempts of boycotts against Israel from University students across the globe. If one landed on planet Earth today, it would be thought that Israel is the number one threat to world peace, a terrible human rights violator and the unfortunately increasingly common comparison of Israel as the 21st century reincarnation of Nazi Germany or apartheid South Africa. This is not the case. Israel, whether one likes it or not is entirely legitimate, not many other States worldwide have received United Nations approval at their founding.
The European Union, alongside the United States continues to donate millions of dollars of aid to the Palestinian Authority, the so called ‘partner for peace’, we all hear about. Incitement still continues on a daily basis on PA television, some of the worst propaganda used by the Nazis against the Jews can be seen on it. ‘Security prisoners’ are payed monthly salaries for commiting acts of obscene violence against Jews with this very money.
It is true that without the Palestinians practising some form of autonomy in the West Bank, the situation for Israel would be far worse, this may be a key reason why donor aid still continues to flow to the Palestinian Authority. However, pressure must be exerted on the leadership in the West Bank to actually stop incitement, or they cannot be called a ‘partner for peace.’ Praying with the Pope for peace at the Vatican will not help the situation either.
This conflict will most certainly be scrutinised ever further. It is about time that it is done in a measured and sober fashion.