Having been inspired by the Ron Paul Revolution over the years, I have encountered the issue of Palestine on many occasions and it naturally became a part of my long libertarian educational journey. There is a wealth of information and disinformation about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict online. Much of it is pure propaganda from both sides. However, I have found that the best and most truthful sources come from whistle-blowers and other individuals and groups, who at some point had a change of heart and are just going against the prescribed conventional wisdom prescribed by their national leaders.
My main intent with this post is to share some of the sources that I have come to trust when it comes to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I hope that everyone will give them a chance and find out what these people have to say, and then, combined with the usual everyday propaganda on this issue, decide for yourself what to believe.
Let me begin by recommending Miko Peled, the General's Son, whose deeply sad personal story and an excellent but shocking historical presentation had completely changed my conventional understanding of the conflict. Not only that, but it also presented me with the solution which I have fully embraced ever since. But more on that a little later. His one hour long video presentation is definitely a must watch.
Next, there is nothing more credible than a growing number of Israeli soldiers and veterans (such as here, here, here, and here) who, having had participated in brutal oppression of Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza, now condemn actions of their government, and join in a peaceful cause by the name Breaking the Silence for exposing the Israeli public to the harsh realities of everyday life in the occupied territories of Palestine. You can see more photos of their educational work on their Facebook page.
Gideon Levy, an Israeli journalist on a lifelong mission of reporting about the Israeli occupation to Israeli readers who have no idea about what is happening in the occupied territories. This most hated man by his own people in Israel says: "Terrorism is a weapon used by the weak. It is a terrible weapon and I am completely against it. But I understand where it comes from. It comes from despair." ... "I often feel ashamed of what is being done in my name. I feel really guilty towards the Palestinians. I think we are doing terrible things to them." ... "There should be a new intifada. To remind the world and the Israelis there is a problem. I'd completely understand the Palestinians if they started and intifada. Israel has left them with no other option. I can't imagine what the Israelis would do if they were under such an occupation. The Palestinians have got nothing without fighting for it. They must fight." Please watch the Al Jazeera documentary of Gideon Levy titled Going Against the Grain here.
Jewish peace organization Neturei Karta - the Orthodox Jews whose protests (such as here, here, and here) and educational rallies (such as here, here, and here) in major cities around the world remain completely unreported in the media.
All these so called heretics and traitors of their own kind speak truth to power, and are naturally disowned and ignored by their own sides.
So what did I learn from these muzzled, hated, and ignored voices? One thing that I learned is that what people are usually arguing about when they are discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about which of the two sides is more evil, according to whatever recent or past action they had done. I find myself drawn in this blame game by both the pro-Israeli and the pro-Palestinian opposition, every time I get to talk about it. However, counting points on which side did what evil thing yesterday is like talking about symptoms of a disease rather than about its cause, and this tit for tat countering of each other's actions by Israelis and Palestinians only furthers the conflict and does nothing to resolve it.
The root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as so many of Israeli whistle-blowers have said on camera and are campaigning for to end, is the military occupation. Therefore they all agree that the bare minimum solution is for Israel to act unilaterally by ending the military occupation of Gaza and West Bank. This means lifting the Gaza siege, bringing to an end building of Jewish settlements in West Bank, letting the Palestinians determine their own destiny, and working with them politically in establishing a permanent peace through a one or a two state solution.
But what of the evil Hamas? Will they not then come out freely and destroy Israel as they vowed? By Israel acting unilaterally and giving Palestinians back their dignity and a chance to determine their own future, Hamas would lose its purpose and would quickly become marginalized by the honest and peaceful Palestinians, first to a point of a small gang, and then eventually to the point of disappearance.
We should also understand that Israel's running of Gaza concentration camp and keeping and expanding of Jewish settlements in West Bank by taking even more Palestinian land and separating their communities by high walls and roads for Israelis only to travel on, only benefits Hamas as the military occupation by Israel is the sole reason for the existence of Hamas in the first place. Hamas thrives on Israel's oppression of Palestinians, enabling it to wield greater political power and oppress and radicalize the innocent people living in Gaza and West Bank.
It is equally important to understand that this arrangement also benefits the Israeli militarist government and its military industrial complex, as the Israel's politicians are able to wield more political power, manipulate the propaganda machine to keep honest and hard working Israelis in line, and continue to give out new weapons orders and award arms contracts to their corporate cronies. It should therefore be no wonder that Israeli government was instrumental in financing the establishment of Hamas. Hamas on one side and the Israeli militarist government and its military industrial complex on the other, is like a marriage made in heaven. Weaken or bring one down, the other is sure to suffer from loss of power and influence.
So in order to really address the root cause of occupation and bring a lasting peace in Palestine, there must first come a change of attitude in Israel's government. The only way to bring that change is by creating both an internal and an external pressure on Israeli regime. The internal pressure on Israeli government must come from the Israeli public and prominent professionals from all walks of life within their society. To nurture and grow this pressure, it requires continual and tireless efforts of activists, like the people that were mentioned above, to continue educating the public and provide leadership in organizing and delivering pressure on the Israeli government.
Such significant internal action by the Israeli people will also help in bringing the Israeli-Palestinian issue to the world's attention and help put pressure the international community, especially on vital Israeli allies, to condemn and pull away their financial and political support from Israeli militarist government, eventually forcing it to reevaluate its Zionist policy towards Palestinians.
I would like to see this eventually go a step further, where the Israeli government would in time be made to also correct the injustices of the past. Contrary to what we hear today that Israelis and Palestinians cannot live together in one country, the overwhelming historical evidence proves otherwise. Palestinians and Israelis have lived next to each others for many centuries, and it can all happen again. For that reason I am in favor of the view espoused by the General's Son that it is only fair that Palestinians should eventually have their right of return to their entire homeland of Palestine fulfilled. After ending the occupation and allowing the two peoples to communicate, learn from each others, trade, and learn to trust each others again, there should come a time when Palestinians and Jews will begin to move around freely and settle wherever they desire in all of Palestine.
Theirs is a struggle which is not unique in the world. The history of the world is full of examples of essentially the same problem. Of mixed up people living on a stretch of land, with various slight differences that are barely distinguishable, having had fought countless wars for domination through rivers of blood, enslavement, and expulsion. In this 21st century the humanity owes itself to learn from the mistakes of the past and begin resolving differences through peaceful means. But we may only become capable of accomplishing such feats once when we evolve enough to respect and value individual human life and so much so that we will keep the powers away from those who desire to make decisions on individual's behalf.