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israel's barrier - Ilya Shlyakhter (notestaff) - letters to editors
March 23rd, 2006
04:07 am

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israel's barrier
The Two Sides Of Israel's Barrier

The Israeli wall is like stitches on a wound -- a painful, foreign and disfiguring presence that is nevertheless necessary to make the wound heal.

When the wound has healed -- when the region achieves lasting peace -- the temporary measure can be removed.

Those who fight the wall today are like a patient who tears out his stitches before it's time.

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From:aregjan
Date:July 28th, 2006 04:44 pm (UTC)
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Nice comparison. In med. practice any treatment not agreed upon with
the patient is illegal. So who is the patient here -- Israel, or Palestine?
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From:notestaff
Date:July 29th, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC)
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Maybe involuntary commitment to an insane asylum would be a better analogy here :) But I wasn't necessarily calling for forced treatment; just trying to give people a way to think about the current setup. You may not like a treatment but it can be good for you in the long-term. There may be a prohibition against forced treatment but there is no prohibition against nudging people to accept a treatment that's >good for them in the long term.

The letter was addressed more toward third-party observers: you may see a patient in pain from a treatment but you don't necessarily rush to "save" the patient from his doctor. Same here. The doctor here is -- reasonable people trying to find practical solutions that'll stick; the patient is -- people who don't look beyond their current emotions.

Clinton put it well: "To seek peace without compromise in this situation is not to seek peace at all."
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From:aregjan
Date:July 31st, 2006 05:34 am (UTC)
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Maybe involuntary commitment to an insane asylum would be a better analogy here :)

Ok, but it really reminds me of the psychiatric institutions from >60 years ago,
which really served the purpose of isolating the sick, rather than to help them recover. I mean,
terrorism is really fed by poverty and ignorance, and I don't see how the wall will contribute
to reduction of either one -- and in this sense it IS like an archaic insane asylum, in that
it only makes the sick rot in isolation, making them angrier and hence even more prone to
terrorism.

Of course, I have to admit that if you were to ask me what is in my opinion the alternative,
I would have a hard time to respond. The problem is -- as a result of almost 40 years of
occupation Palestinians have in many ways become dependent of Israel for their jobs, healthcare
etc...so, they are like secondary citizens of Israel, and at the same time they are not. If I were
"the king", what I would do would be the following -- pull back all those radical settlers(no matter how much they bitch about it), build
a wall along the Green Line, after having heavily militarized it, and fetch international aid
for Palestine. Of course, the trouble here is that once the Israelis leave, it will create a high
power vacuum, which will be filled by those with guns (i.e. Hammas and co.), and will just
turn Palestine into a terrorist training camp. Basically -- an "encore" of what happened
in Chechnya between 1996 and 1999.
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From:notestaff
Date:July 31st, 2006 06:07 am (UTC)
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>terrorism is really fed by poverty and ignorance

The vast majority of poor people do not see terror as a valid outlet for their frustration with poverty. What feeds terrorism is warped notions of dignity and honor: when people don't have the brains or the will to achieve self-realization the hard way (build something, invent something that'll make others respect you!) and instead grab for the cheap cop-out of the form "i'll beat up my neighbor and then everyone will respect me for my big fists". Get a gun, and in one day there you are -- a freedom fighter, a _person_! How much faster and easier than to spend years studying and thinking so that you can build something useful!

There were no settlers in Gaza OR Lebanon when the latest thing started. Palestinians had Gaza to themselves; why didn't they use what energy/resources they have to build something decent there? Because it's much easier to continue bashing Israel and blaming the occupation -- instead of your own laziness -- for your problems. It's like some blacks in the U.S. who feel that, as someone put it, "victimhood is not a problem to be solved but an identity to be nurtured".

Palestinians elected Hamas hoping this will restore their "dignity" by making them look strong. Instead it exposed just how pathetically helpless they are -- can't survive a day without external help. You can have no dignity if you can't even feed yourself, no matter how fervently you shout about justice.

The only way to end terror is to end the medieval mindset that these people _willingly_ locked themselves into. If it takes a big bang on the had to get them out of that mindset, so be it.
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From:aregjan
Date:July 31st, 2006 03:41 pm (UTC)
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It's like some blacks in the U.S. who feel that, as someone put it, "victimhood is not a problem to be solved but an identity to be nurtured".
hehe, true. :) But on the other hand, let's not forget that there are also lots of Jews (and diasporan
Armenians, for that matter) who very often themselves fall into that trap of perpetual victimhood.

What you are writing about dignity and honor is definitely true for a subset of the population -- such as Hammas/Hesbollah activists -- but I don't think this is true for everyone, at least not for the "rank and file" Palestinians trying to earn their daily bread.

Palestinians had Gaza to themselves; why didn't they use what energy/resources they have to build something decent there?
A whole set of reasons:
a) a total absence of political culture For the last 40 years the Palestinians have gotten used to having
the Israelis police their place and enforce whatever laws there were.
b) total dependence on Israel (and tourism) for any hope of economic growth.
c) etc, etc.
And this is not because they are lazy. But because they have no society, no political system on
which to build a society. It's somewhat besides the point as to whose fault this is, but 40 years
of occupation and also the asiatic mindset that you talked of earlier ("king of the hill" mentality) are definitely part of the thing.

The only way to end terror is to end the medieval mindset that these people _willingly_ locked themselves into. If it takes a big bang on the had to get them out of that mindset, so be it.
How is that "big bang" going to end that mindset? You put a wall around people -- will that
make them more modern and enlightened?
Ilya Shlyakhter Powered by LiveJournal.com