Mark (electrichobbit) wrote,

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The Border Situation

I don't like to discuss the political situation here, mostly because of my own postcolonial guilt (America and Europe created a lot of the problems that are here, and I feel like maybe it's time we gave someone else a chance to try their hand). That said, I think my perspective has grown and changed a lot in the time I've been here, and recent events have highlighted it.

A lot of things are going on in this part of the world - Egypt has something which is starting to look like a Democratic government, Hamas has started behaving more like an actual government in Gaza, Jordan has essentially pacified its people (to some degree), while Syria continues to erupt in violence. Other than some isolated incidents, the West Bank has been largely quiet since I've been here.

I think there's this idea in the west that the Israeli-Palestinian question is somehow isolated - that the only two parties involved are these two groups. But the actual situation is a lot more complicated. There are Palestinian refugees in all of the surrounding nations, and those states have very complicated relationships with their refugees. What's happening in the Golan is a prime example. If you haven't heard, Syria allowed protestors to storm the border yesterday, resulting in an IDF response and the deaths of 22. In related news, Syrian forces gunned down 38 of their own citizens in the northern province of Idlib.

Israel has served as a very convenient distraction for the region's dictators over the last 60 years. That's one of the reasons things are such a mess's a proxy war between about a dozen countries. But it's also part of the reason that there is hope.

Hezbollah, now part of the Lebanese government, stopped it's people from participating in the protests yesterday, to avoid inflaming tensions with Israel. Both Hamas and Fatah in the occupied territories did the same. Egypt has opened the border crossing to Gaza, but doesn't seem to have allowed the flood of unregulated travel that Israel feared. Israel has been doing its best to avoid the kind of explosive air raids that it was famous for in the 80s and 90s. With the exception of Syria (Assad just wants to distract his own people however possible), it seems as though their might be a genuine yearning for peace on all's still a long way away, but at least people are taking measured stances rather than acting rashly.

Of course, other than being security searched a few times a day, none of it really bears on day-to-day life here. People just go on with their lives...I rather suspect the same is true in the West Bank, or in Gaza, or in Lebanon...most people just want to go on with their lives.

Again, just my thoughts - I'm sure others disagree. But I find myself in the position of a western liberal gentile who's rather fond of Israel. I'm probably going to be disagreed with a lot in my life :)

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