Monday, December 31, 2007

the palestinian situation

i spent christmas break in palestine and in jerusalem (israel). (bethlehem, ramallah, jericho, and jerusalem) while there i witnessed the absurd suffering of the palestinians, and the absurd rule of the israeli government. on relating some simple stories to some friends back home (like: palestinians have to have different color license plates, and have to drive on different, unpaved, 5x as long roads to get from point a to b. they cannot visit jerusalem without a permit, and if they are also muslim (many palestinians are christian) they cannot visit jerusalem at all, and so on) my friends said they had never heard of these injustices towards the palestinians. they are in essence treated as second class people, denied many civil liberties, and are quite desperate for liberty and peace.

my question is: what do you know about the situation? and how did you learn about it?

i am curious if your experiences from: academia, the news media, or the internet has shaped your views on israel/palestine, and how?

from a peace rally in jerusalem
jewish women protesting the occupation in palestine


SnrIncognito said...

i have never heard of such hardships being part of Palestinian life. it surprises me that i haven't. it seems like good media fodder. but, then again, you'd think Darfur would be too.

nearly all of my information on the subject comes from media, and often fictionalized media. a comic book that i read once dealt with a woman who was a ranking Israeli officer defending the boarder. a big portion of my media exposure comes from the movie Paradise Now, in which a Palestinian man is followed along his path to being a suicide bomber and what it means to him.

some friends have said they are automatically supporters of Israel due to their religion. in fact, for most of my life i think i had assumed that Israel was good and Palestine was being whiny.

for the most part, though, my understanding of the situation has come from NPR. i think the public radio stations try hard to not take sides, though the West Bank displacement and relocation stories garnered my sympathy for the Palestinian situation. still, i think ive felt that the situation was somewhat equal, and it was largely a matter of "who started it".

for the most part, i think that the mass and popular media focus on "human interest" and specific instances without providing much in the way of background or context. i can never decide whether i think this is because media sources don't want to appear biased, or because nobody here, or there for that matter, really knows what the context is.

Josh Leffler said...

thanks for the input.

"for the most part, i think that the mass and popular media focus on "human interest" and specific instances without providing much in the way of background or context."

that is so true. agh. my personal (unsubstantiated) opinion is that the media is populated with failed actors and journalism majors, not having the wisdom or having done the hard work to understand a situation, and too afraid to publish something worthwhile (which would probably be biased). its ok to be biased to some things right? like liberty, personal freedoms, peace?

despite this cowardice there is at least an understated bias for israel, and against the arabs.

i had a friend tell me too, when discussing foreign policy (i said, "we shouldn't invade third world countries that have no means of attacking us and occupy them") i was told, "as christians we should support israel." this point was as inane as it was irrelevent. following christ has nothing to do with supporting apartheid, imho. but being a christian means supporting israel which means routing israel's enemies, in this case iran. the average nominal evangelical is fed this b/s by politicians to garner support for these absurd policies. ugh.

what did you think of that movie? i'm going to bit torrent it tonight, i still haven't seen it.

i am probably developing a bias from living out here but, who cares. i would rather be passionately wrong then dispassionate and apathetic, i think. i think. :)