Friday, January 23, 2009

Israel and Palestine - strategies for peace

The RSA Current Events is a podcast of many that are replicated in the compiled feed of UChannel Podcast. If you missed it in the one, you may run into it in the second - this has happened to me frequently also with other contributors such as LSE and CFR. A curiosity that struck me with the podcast Israel and Palestine - strategies for peace is that it appeared quicker in UChannel than in the original RSA feed. Apparently there was haste, haste to publish before the war in Gaza was over.

The Gaza war loomed heavily over this discussion forum and makes for more heat than debate. I have also picked up very little in the way of suggestions for strategies for peace. What remains is an experience of all the familiar accusations. Israel is committing atrocities and war crimes. Hamas has provoked the war. The Palestinians have mismanaged. The West has lost the moral ground to dictate the goings on in the Middle East.

What strikes me in this and many other debates I have witnessed is how old strands of western imperialist logic continues to dominate, on both sides. The old fashioned world view has an inherit hierarchy in which the West has the superior culture of morals and values. Other peoples are backward and barely capable to rule themselves. In the accusations of Hamas's incompetence this is present just as much as it is in the thorough victimization of the Palestinians - in neither picture they are capable of ruling themselves and take responsibility for their actions. Also when the West is accused to have lost the moral ground, the presumption is that the West had it in the first place or is supposed to hold the high ground. Any which way, this logic imbues the debates with strands of condescension that are strangling the dialog.

More Israel:
Terror and Martyrdom,
Gaza - podcasts on diplomacy and war,
Whither the Middle East,
Desiring Walls,
Gabriela Shalev,
UCLA Israel Studies.

More RSA:
Terror and Martyrdom,

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