7 Things to Consider Before Choosing Sides in the Middle East Conflict

BY definition, tribal conflicts thrive and survive when people take sides. Choosing sides in these kinds of conflicts fuels them further and deepens the polarization. And worst of all, you get blood on your hands.

So before picking a side in this latest Israeli-Palestine conflict, consider these 7 questions:

An excerpt:

Bashar al-Assad has killed over 180,000 Syrians, mostly Muslim, in two years — more than the number killed in Palestine in two decades. Thousands of Muslims in Iraq and Syria have been killed by ISIS in the last two months. Tens of thousands have been killed by the Taliban. Half a million black Muslims were killed by Arab Muslims in Sudan.

This doesn’t, by any means, excuse the recklessness, negligence, and sometimes outright cruelty of Israeli forces. But it clearly points to the likelihood that the Muslim world’s opposition to Israel isn’t just about the number of dead.

Yes, there’s an unfair and illegal occupation there, and yes, it’s a human rights disaster. But it is also true that much of the other side is deeply driven by anti-Semitism. Anyone who has lived in the Arab/Muslim world for more than a few years knows that. It isn’t always a clean, one-or-the-other blame split in these situations. It’s both.



15 thoughts on “7 Things to Consider Before Choosing Sides in the Middle East Conflict

  1. “Bashar al-Assad has killed over 180,000 Syrians, mostly Muslim, in two years — more than the number killed in Palestine in two decades. Thousands of Muslims in Iraq and Syria have been killed by ISIS in the last two months. Tens of thousands have been killed by the Taliban. Half a million black Muslims were killed by Arab Muslims in Sudan. ”

    These figures represent a tragedy, always fueled by hate of whoever is the ‘enemy’.

    The thing with the Palestine/Israel conflict is that it has caught world wide attention through the internet medium, and popular protest may help to minimise atrocity, not fuel it further. We are removed from being affected by that instilled hatred, and hopefully can do what we can to minimise atrocity from either ‘side’. Should we not attempt appeals for peace, rather than ignore atrocities?

    I have said before I condemn Zionist ideology, not individual Zionists who are probably little different from many people we personally know and like. But the Zionist movement has hi-jacked the term ‘anti-semitic’ to garner sympathy for Israel, where in fact Arabs constitute the majority of the Semitic peoples.


    • In 2005, Israel ended the occupation in Gaza. It pulled out every last Israeli soldier. It dismantled every last settlement. Many Israeli settlers who refused to leave were forcefully evicted from their homes, kicking and screaming.

      This was a unilateral move by Israel, part of a disengagement plan intended to reduce friction between Israelis and Palestinians. It wasn’t perfect — Israel was still to control Gaza’s borders, coastline, and airspace — but considering the history of the region, it was a pretty significant first step.

      After the evacuation, Israel opened up border crossings to facilitate commerce. The Palestinians were also given 3,000 greenhouses which had already been producing fruit and flowers for export for many years.

      But Hamas chose not to invest in schools, trade, or infrastructure. Instead, it built an extensive network of tunnels to house thousands upon thousands of rockets and weapons, including newer, sophisticated ones from Iran and Syria. All the greenhouses were destroyed.

      Hamas did not build any bomb shelters for its people. It did, however, build a few for its leaders to hide out in during airstrikes. Civilians are not given access to these shelters for precisely the same reason Hamas tells them to stay home when the bombs come.

      Gaza was given a great opportunity in 2005 that Hamas squandered by transforming it into an anti-Israel weapons store instead of a thriving Palestinian state that, with time, may have served as a model for the future of the West Bank as well. If Fatah needed yet another reason to abhor Hamas, here it was


      • “In the Palestinian parliamentary elections held on 25 January 2006, Hamas won a plurality of 42.9% of the total vote and 74 out of 132 total seats (56%).[29][30] When Hamas assumed power the next month, the Israeli government and the key players of the international community, the United States and the EU, refused to recognize its right to govern the Palestinian Authority. Direct aid to the Palestinian government there was cut off, although some of that money was redirected to humanitarian organizations not affiliated with the government.[31] The resulting political disorder and economic stagnation led to many Palestinians emigrating from the Gaza Strip.[32]”

        “After Hamas unexpectedly won the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections and overtook the Gaza Strip, it forced out all remnants of Palestinian President Abbas’s Fatah party. Since then, Fatah has largely been in charge of the West Bank and Hamas of the Gaza Strip. Fatah remains the Palestinian Authority’s largest political and military power, but its ties to terrorist activities cause strains between Israel and the Palestinians.

        In fact, the issue of uniting Hamas and Fatah has been up for debate – among Palestinians and externally – since 2007. Each side wants to keep their own land and control but acknowledges that political division within the Palestinian infrastructure is probably untenable.

        The de facto alliance between Israel and the PA aimed to prevent Hamas from overtaking the West Bank has been US-assisted. The US created the Security U.S. Coordinator’s Office that trains Palestinian security forces and organizes Israel-PA cooperation.

        Today, despite the peace process in shambles, the PA and thus Fatah is the only prospective partner for a lasting solution to the conflict.”


        Personally I doubt it, but as always I could be wrong. More elections? New parties?


      • A Fatah–Hamas Gaza Agreement was signed in Gaza City on 23 April 2014 by Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of Hamas, and a senior Palestine Liberation Organisation delegation dispatched by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in an attempt to create reconciliation in the Fatah–Hamas conflict.[1]

        It states that a unity government should be formed within five weeks, ahead of a presidential and parliamentary election within six months.[2]

        Mustafa Barghouti, General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, who was involved in the negotiation, described the deal as an “end to the division between the Palestinian people.”[3]

        The agreement was welcomed by the EU. Michael Mann, the foreign policy spokesperson, said “the EU has consistently called for intra-Palestinian reconciliation behind Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas”.[4]

        Following the agreement, the Israeli government announced that it would halt peace talks with the Palestinians,[4] but Abbas said the deal did not contradict their commitment to peace with Israel on the basis of a two-state solution.[5] However, Abbas assured reporters that any unity government would recognize Israel, be non-violent, and bound to previous PLO agreements.[6]

        Politically speaking, some Israeli commentators have stated that the political landscape of Israel may shift to the right and towards more skepticism of the peace process as a result of the Fatah-Hamas agreement.[7]



      • As well as trying to understand both ‘sides’ and their views, my point is that there is a hope for the future, though perhaps a slim hope. There will be Palestinian elections this year.

        We can pray.


      • Ben, a friend has read your post and responded direct to me. I don’t care about whether agreeing with you or her, but feel it’s good to hear both sides, not to judge who is most to ‘blame’, but to try to see if any solution is possible.

        She says:
        ” We abhor weapons of war and we refuse violence. It us true that Hamas does not do that as a body but I feel only compassion for the people who elected Hamas, who have suffered oppression, deprivation and restrictions in movement since they were herded forcefully into Gaza to make space for Zionists and refugees, in 1947.

        The picture of Israel in this post is very one sided. I have read about the greenhouses. They were full of fresh produce for export. But Israeli restrictions meant that crops rotted, money invested in growing them was lost, and in demonstration of frustration they were destroyed by the farmers themselves.

        Since then living conditions and opportunities have plummeted and the rage of frustration heightened. How can I feel anything but empathy for those who are so despairing they defend themselves with weapons, and a requirement on me personally to work for human rights and international action against Israel’s military industries and forces.

        The clearing of Israeli settlements in Gaza was represented as a withdrawal from Gaza and I the time I felt hope. But I now see it as clearing Gaza of Israeli settlers for the sort of genocidal attacks that are being delivered ruthlessly now. If Israelis were still living in Gaza, it would be politically more difficult in Israel to adopt the extreme bombing that the government has chosen to do. There is no doubt that the current regime are working cleverly towards a complete ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the land so it can become part of Israel, for those Jewish who see Zion as a literal area of land, rather than a spiritual condition (of belonging to God).

        Who can blame them for building tunnels, when the gates are so cruelly closed. The apartheid structure of Israel (which excludes Palestinian and Bedouin citizens from normal democratic rights) is worse than it ever was in South Africa. And what is even worse is USA’s funding of the military and supply of weapons, as if this is in THEIR interests!

        I pray for the emergence if Arab peacemakers of the standing of Martin Luther king and Nelson Mandela. The reason they don’t appear is because they are killed or refused re-entry as soon as they are recognized. Other leaders are frightened or persuaded into compromises, because it seems to them the only way.

        Yes, we can have empathy towards them too. The thing that gives me hope now is that the truth of the situation and the history is being told more widely and recognized by many more commentators. When a truce agreement is reached, there will be a great need for Truth and Reconciliation, as there was in South Africa when it moved out of apartheid.”


      • I find it fascinating that Israel who was constantly attacked and had to deal with arid land, worked hard and turned it into the jewel that it is. They didn’t spend their time seeking revenge against the Germans or feeling sorry for themselves. They didn’t worry that their vastly larger Arab neighbours wanted their annihalation. They pressed ahead and worked the land, educated their people, used what tools they had to build.


      • I was reading about Egypt’s blockade of Gaza. How come Hamas don’t send rockets into Egypt? Apparently there are tunnels where the many hundreds of rockets that they fire into Israel on a monthly basis get passed through from Egypt. It’s a shame that goods to help build and prosper the land aren’t instead funnelled through. It’s a shame also that when Israel was pressed into supplying cement for the Gazans to create hospitals etc. with, they used it in creating the many tunnels to get into Israel rather than use it for their own people.


  2. Finally, someone gave a balanced view.

    I would also say that there are probably people on both sides who are sick to death of the whole conflict.


  3. People have killed in the past for personal gain. They are doing it now, The only difference is it is in the agenda of the media to associated Islam with it. Islam and Christianity are both seen as an obstacle towards a one world government. Why do you think you see a slow removal of religion from schools and a slide in morals in society ? Passing your religion onto your children is being pushed as a form of child abuse.

    Look at what the controlled media is pushing. Biography of a porn star. Where do people want to have sex. Animal brothels in Germany becoming more popular. What is Paris Hilton doing ? What celebrities is doing nude selfies or flashing themselves to a city ? The media tells us celebrities are larger than life and if you like it do it, The thing is a people who are busy following celebrities and their own desires take less notice at what is being changed around them.


    • Oh God help us Dom!

      I had no idea that such wickedness could be allowed to exist in our so-called enlightened societies—-animal brothels??? I can’t stop crying. I can’t believe it! I thought bestiality was illegal. Anyone doing that is demonised and needs God’s help to be set free more than ever! 😯


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