Busting the Myth of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Many Americans are hopelessly uniformed about Middle East history and its people. This clouds our judgement and causes the United States to make many catastrophic mistakes in foreign policy.
Let’s destroy a myth.
“They’ve been fighting over there for centuries.”
We read and hear this canard all the time. Today, I’ve seen versions of the falsehood splattered all over social media. The saying goes — the Israelis and Palestinians have been fighting ever since biblical times.
Fact: No they haven’t.
The region was relatively peaceful until the creation of Israel in 1948 (actually the British mandate period after WW1 would be more technically accurate). Whatever one’s opinion of Israel and its “right to exist,” the territory today commonly known as Israel/Palestine was devoid of conflict from circa 1500 when the Ottomans ruled the land and peoples over four centuries until the 20th Century. While most of the world was engulfed in various land invasions and massacres, Palestinian and Jews lived and worked together side by side.
Pan-nationalist movements and religious extremism began to boil in the late 19th Century, coming to a neo-colonial “solution” with the Israeli state’s creation following WW2.
Sadly, the region has been a powder keg for nearly 70 years. I think most people, regardless of religion or politics or nationality would like to see peace. But let’s start the discussion with some facts and an understanding of actual history.
Next time you read some idiotic comment that goes: “They’ve been fighting over there for centuries” ……
…..perhaps you should mention they must be referring to EUROPE, which has been fighting for centuries, resulting in the deaths of tens of millions ever since the Crusades.
Yeah, I’m getting a little sick here of morally-superior acting Americans with absolutely zero knowledge of world history playing the “fighting for centuries” card when: (1) that is factually incorrect, and (2) most of our own origins have wallowed in bloodshed since the days of the Romans.
“They’ve been fighting over there for centuries” = nonsense.
One Final Thought: I’m not a cartoonist, but I have a great idea for a cartoon that brings home this point. Have a Jew talking to a Palestinian in 1945 at the end of World War 2 and pointing at a map of the world and seeing Europe and much of Asia in ruins, and then one says to the other: “There’s no chance for peace. They’ve been fighting over there for centuries.”