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July 27, 2014

Israel-Palestine conflict for dummies (like me)

Times are tough in the Middle East right now- well, they have been tough for over 2000 years, but you know what I mean. Israel and Palestine are going at it like feral cats fighting in an alley. I never really understood the whole thing until a few years ago- most conflicts based on religion are confusing to most people anyway. To me, it seems like an asinine premise (for any religion) to kill people in the name God, and it seems like every religion has this dark period in its past.  
This guy later died from, you guessed it, a snake bite.

"But, TK, those snake handlers seem like a level-headed group, and they haven't started a holy war with the Westboro Church people, who also seem like they have a grasp on what God really wants."

True, but there are really only a few religions in the world, but many spin offs based on philosophy differences. I am definitely no theologian, but when reading about the major and minor religions it looks like they are all pretty much have the same roots. Then, somewhere along the way, somebody got pissed off and branched out to form a similar, but different, religion. I guess people didn't know they could do that, and from that point on people could defect and start their own religion as long as they could get as many people as possible to believe their little slice of interpretation. Just reading the pseudo-authoritative reference of Wikipedia on religions is enough to make someone start drinking- at 7 am.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if "conflict" is even the right word, has been a source of confusion for me for decades. I met an Israeli soldier who was staying at a hostel in Waikiki about 10 years ago and I gleaned a lot of information on his perspective. Of course, a half a bottle of Jack will cause anyone to open up. I also have Palestinian friends and my friends are very level headed and reasonable people. In fact, it is usually my white American friends who cannot seem to keep their cool when talking about Israel and Palestine. Like most Americans who need a cause in their life to give them meaning, they are more offended than the recipients of the perceived racism, wrong-doing or injustice. Don't believe it? More guilty Americans were offended by the Washington Redskins than actual Native Americans. I could lit more, but that is a post for another day.

I will not belabor this issue more than I already have, but this video by Dennis Prager seems like a fair assessment of the geographic and political ideologies of both Israel and Palestine. If not, please explain why. "Israel murders children!" is not an explanation. I fully embrace the fact that both sides have killed children and civilians, however that is war and not a very persuasive argument for me. Also, trying to debate who started it is unproductive and senseless. However, a state run by a known terrorist group gives as much credence to the Palestinian cause as electing the Bloods to run Los Angeles.

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