A Philosophical Frontier
“The law sets one free,” a philosophy professor once told an elective class I was taking.
The concept of freedom within the law felt oxymoronic for one student. Rather, the student contended, it is truth that sets one free.
“Show me truth,” the professor countered, speaking with a slurred European accent. “I’ll make it easier for you. As God personifies absolute truth for believers, prove the existence of God to me.”
Huh? This was a class at a college in the middle of the Bible belt, USA. It is situated near the town that boasted of having the most Churches per capita. Prove the existence of God? God was being praised at almost every downtown street corner!
“Prove that God does not exist,” another student blurted.
The professor walked up very closely to the valiant student and said: “Son, you cannot prove that something does not exist. It is moronic to prove nonexistence. An exercise in futility, stuff of fairies and wizards, the rhetoric of pulpits, and the laughing gas for any sane being, proving the nonexistence of something is the ultimate absurdity. In fact, it is impossible.”
As one whose spirit is affected by the heartfelt love/hate relationship with God, I walked away from that session inspired by only the real freedom I felt within the law. Thenceforth, I perceived law as cognitive sustenance, an outline of facts, in the same way that truth intuitively nourished spirituality. The two are not interchangeable. No scientific process can accurately measure the human potential for goodness, humanity, and kinship, just as intuition is seldom-reliable documentation for scientific discovery. The sum total of both the intuitive and the cognitive represents the existence of God to me, something that eons of human existence cannot even begin to fathom.
Proof of God, therefore, cannot be illustrated by scientific methods alone, as many renowned scientists can attest through their own faith.
“The law sets one free!” I remember the professor repeating to a stumped class of impressionable students. It was the gem of my understanding that day.
My understanding of true freedom had then inspired me, as only knowledge could inspire. My faith in the law’s universality had always nurtured me, as only God could nurture.
The Israeli Law for Gentiles
I understood intuitively and from experience that chaos, a whimsical rule by the strong, rejects a uniform law. Benevolence similarly inspired by a cacophony of scriptural interpretations replaces God with pulpit rhetoric. Chaos, in this sense, can also be described as a majority rule, something that cannot be compared to the survival of the fittest, as majority ensures neither long-term survivability nor qualitative superiority.
My philosophy professor, accordingly, must not have referred to life as a Gentile under Israeli law when he emphatically assured his class that one could only act freely under the law. I must have somehow missed the small letter disclaimers accompanying every too-good-to-be-true offer of instant riches and happiness or my professor was referring only to a political entity, such as the republic of USA, where there is a constitutionally enshrined distinction between the rule of law and the rule of majority. The two do not necessarily take the same paths to freedom.
Israeli laws, for example, have historically been designed to insure the supremacy of Jews over the Gentile indigenes of Palestine. Israeli laws were not only written to exclude Gentiles but also to eliminate the Gentiles’ freedom by excluding them from the benefit of law, removing Palestine from hundreds of population centers, and subsequently creating two classes of the same stock: Arab Israelis and Palestinian refugees.
Arab Israelis live well enough to legitimately fear Israeli lawlessness, the majority rule of intolerance. The killing of 13 Israelis in 1999 by Israeli security forces, for example, would have had catastrophic consequences had the victims been Jews. Arab Israelis consequently live in muted fear of loudly contemplated ethnic cleansing in a world that has so far failed to adequately address Israeli war crimes.
Israel’s land laws that dispossessed the Palestinian refugees in the meantime continue the course of lawlessness through settlement construction inside the West Bank and Gaza. The laws of Israel’s intolerance long preceded the latest land proposal to prevent Gentile citizens of Israel from purchasing land in rural Jewish communities.
On the other hand, while Arab Israelis have historically been subjected to the whims of majority rule prescribed as law, Palestinians have indeed been marginalized into the shackles of occupation where the rule of the strong prevails. In this context, as masters in a virtual enslavement of the marginalized and dispossessed Palestinian people, Zionists deny even the existence of Palestinians, but in opposition to both intuitive and cognitive evidence.
Consequently, if the law sets one free, lawlessness, or the absence of uniform law, imprisons, and both Israelis and Palestinians are chained to a balance created by historically bi-polar forces, but operating in this case outside universal temporal and spiritual laws: the haves and have-nots. Israelis have power and riches built on the dispossession of the Palestinians, and Israel seems to exist as long as it can continue to defend the lawlessness dispossessing Palestine.
While the Israelis would like nothing better than take a chapter from my country’s history to justify their own, there is little comparison between the plight of the Palestinian people and the Native Americans’ save the parallel of human savagery in the name of progress. The plight of Native Americans preceded the creation of an international body to protect the rights of indigenous people. Though the creation of a Native American state within the USA is not currently feasible, Native American rights, as outlined by a dubious relationship with the US government and as recognized by universal human rights, must be protected; but that’s where the association with Palestinians begins.
The Israeli lawless snub consequently takes on two sides of any law’s scope, circumventing both: jurisdiction and enforcement. While Israelis claim to recognize no authority but their own, they undoubtedly benefited from accepting UN resolution 181, which the Palestinians rejected on the basis that it violated the provisions of the UN charter granting a people the right to determine their own destiny. Not to belabor the point, Native Americans did not enjoy such internationally recognized right when the Europeans colonized North America.
In the context of the international charter, specifically Article 73 of the UN charter, Jewish emigrant in Palestine could not claim a minority status in 1948, as the Jews were descendants of a colonial legacy, one that the UN sought to eliminate in the modern world. Had Israel been created under the League of Nations, Palestinians might only have afforded the status of Native Semites in reservations and all; but such is not the case, though the reality of Palestine currently mirrors the state of Native Americans.
So Israel has selectively and by its own timetable accepted UN’s jurisdiction on various Middle East issues, and the UN has consistently failed to enforce its own resolutions on behalf of the Palestinians. Setting a dangerous precedent, the UN’s defeat started by accepting Israel’s membership into the international body of nations despite Israel’s failure to abide by UN resolutions. Subsequently, UN resolutions regarding Israel are as numerous as they are worthless, and Israel has so compounded its existence with Middle Eastern lawlessness that the region spirals towards mass destruction without reservation.
Winning Peace by Winning the War
If Israel had focused on achieving peace through warfare, then what is the wisdom of continuing with the current madness? In spite of the recent polls pointing to a majority Israeli view that endorses Israel’s withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967, Israel’s actions continue to snub every peace initiative on behalf of the Palestinian people.
US duplicity in the Middle East no longer secret, Israeli military power currently unequalled by all Arab countries combined, and Arab humiliation complete worldwide, everyone seems to have forsaken the rights of the Palestinian people on account of Palestinian “terror”.
The Palestinian suicide bomber symbolizes a national and personal despair that is unique to Palestinians. Killing Israeli non-combatants, including babies, has reinforced an already overwhelming public opinion against the Palestinian cause, regardless of the excessive number of similar Palestinians killed by the discriminating Israeli military. Well-meaning people recommending a different mode operandi as a tactic for Palestinians suggest a Lebanese Hezbollah-like war of attrition or a Gandhi-inspired passive resistance to combat the negative perceptions afflicting the struggle for Palestinian justice. While Lebanon’s Hezbollah enjoyed logistical and national support that the Palestinians do not have, passive resistance alone will not retard a determined and seemingly unstoppable enemy like Israel.
Cool heads must prevail when fighting an enemy with such ruthless cunning as Israel.
Yes, the Israelis want peace; just ask the current president of the United States who has described a recognized mass-murderer, Ariel Sharon, as “a man of peace.” Zionists have also sold the world’s powerbroker on the idea that Israeli occupation of Palestinian land has been twisted by Arab propaganda to mean something more than the political assassination, social suffocation, and national destruction it appears to be.
As for the quest to maintain an eternal victim status, Zionists are quick to counter that there is historic talk of a Palestinian state and the Arabs (Palestinians) are the ones who want to destroy Israel, without mentioning Palestinian refugees, without specifying the status of Jerusalem, without mapping borders, and without allocating natural resources.
In fact there is historic talk of a Palestinian state with the same historic lawlessness that has barred Palestinians from the freedom and the protection of the law everywhere.
An admirer of Gandhi, I believe in the philosophy of passive resistance. Decades-old Palestinian passivity in the occupied territories, however, has not retarded Zionist ambitions. On the contrary, Israel has only grown stronger and bolder in its goal of ethnically cleansing the Jewish state, the West Bank, and Gaza. Besides, while the international movement to boycott Israeli goods and services ebbs and flows in concert with passive Palestinian resistance, the US government is always poised to bail out the Israeli economy with American taxpayers’ money.
Passive resistance alone, therefore, is not sufficient. Observing the sanctity of Jews and Gentiles alike, Palestinians must embark on a deliberate campaign to balance Israel’s economy with their own. Palestinian assets stolen by Israel must be reclassified without jeopardizing human life. Rightful owners and their agents must reclaim the land beneath the factories, farms, and infrastructure inside Israel.
It is what I perceive an appropriate Palestinian response, combining passive resistance and Russian pragmatism, as in the scorched earth tactic that defeated both Napoleon and Hitler on Russian land. It is a wholly Palestinian solution, wherein the rightful landowners and their agents exercise ownership rights. The tactic is lawful in view of Israel’s lawlessness and especially if life, a possession of no mortal being, is NOT taken in the process. I will borrow the words of a Jewish friend of the Palestinian people and call the proposal Palestinian Reconstruction.
The task can only be undertaken effectively by a focused and doggedly lawful group of people. Having been effectively excluded from temporal law by the Israeli government, these Palestinians must submit to God’s ruling for all life: sanctity must be observed regardless of religion. In other words, the Palestinians must take the initiative to observe a strict code of conduct despite the enemy’s cowardly response.
The killing of Palestinians is as reprehensible as the killing of Jews, and both must stop, but the Palestinians can only control one side of the equation. Killing Jews has so far only empowered the Israeli government, whose cynical opportunism extends beyond primal revenge. Furthermore, Zionists have not shied from capitalizing on human losses to justify their material gains, in terms of land and natural resources. The equation has worked most effectively in Israel’s favor since Israel’s inception, for Israel adopted the mantra of respectability as a state.
It is time to reverse the suicidal trends: time to take away justifications for killing more Palestinians and, more importantly, time for concertedly reclassifying Palestinian ownership in Israel, time for Palestine’s Reconstruction. As in any construction project, it starts with a clean slate. Caterpillar, the sponsor of Israel’s home demolition campaign against defenseless families, cannot be sought for assistance.
Aye, it is easier said than done, and everybody seems to have an opinion about what the Palestinians should or should not do, and Bush, whether strategically or unwittingly, has adopted Zionist plans for Palestine. I grieve daily as I observe that there seems to be no stopping the Israeli war machine. While the opportunity for peace with Israel has never been this tangible, I am deniably unsure what booty Israel seeks by definitively winning the peace via war with the Palestinians; but one thing is certain: the Palestinians are currently losing ground on almost every front, and no human being should accept the current situation the Palestinians face.
Setting Palestine Free
The international call for Palestinian reform has practically amounted to a cowardly rejection of Palestinian aspirations, for constant reform is necessary for all nations, even the United States; but the Palestinians do need a new philosophy. The Palestinians must fight for their freedom within Israeli lawlessness by adhering to God’s laws, laws that respect the lives of Jews and Gentiles alike.
If the idea of a Palestinian Reconstruction seems outlandish, something other than the current cycle of killing must still be done, and I don’t anticipate the world, especially the corrupt and utterly humiliated Arab governments, to do anything tangible to end the madness. The Palestinian anger and frustration is currently channeled at a suicidal rate and must be diverted to the things that Israelis value more than nationalism but less than life: the Israeli’s worldly possessions and Israel’s ability to prosper from ill-gotten gains. Strategically speaking, not enough reconstructive thinking is currently being applied to set Palestine free.
If a consistent and deliberate course of leveling Israeli interests to a rightfully occupied status is adopted in Israel and the Palestinian territory, a Palestinian leader representing an unwavering Palestinian force must lead it. It is ironic that the President of the United States wishes to replace the man who’s surrendered Palestine, or Bush’s demand for replacing the aged Arafat is cynically manipulative; regardless, only the Palestinian people recognize their leader’s legitimacy, and that’s all the world needs to know.
Either break ground for Palestinian Reconstruction or for another non-lethal tactic; the number of people participating in a reconstructive movement isn’t as important as the group’s unwavering dedication to protect human life during the campaign. Condemnable as it obviously will be, long-term support for any Palestinian project will only come based on results, a percentage of completion payment so to speak. Killing one person in the process, however, risks destroying the goodwill necessary to maintain the impetus from all sides fighting for a just and lasting peace between Jews and Gentiles in the region. Besides, there is no law more liberating than the prohibition against killing another human being, and that law will set Palestine free from Israeli lawlessness.
There are over six billion people inhabiting the earth, and in this increasingly smaller and technologically more advanced world, the need to equitably address human suffering everywhere has never been more necessary. The world is becoming steadily more vulnerable to human folly, and the powder keg that has been lit in the Middle East threatens to destroy more than our humanity.
September 11, 2001, has been marked as the end of history. US opinion makers found they were reacting to an overwhelming tragedy in different ways; but an uncanny belligerence won over a sober leadership for another historical beginning. Rather than harnessing the goodwill that the world has expressed for the United States on 9/11, President Bush proceeded to incarnate a round-em-up shoot-em-up attitude from an age when lawlessness prevailed, and when a majority impetus often led to a public lynching.
I’d hoped that the madness would recede, after the defeat of the Taliban, into a surgical operation to root out those behind the mass-murder in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Sharon, the ever opportunistic, took charge instead, and the unsavory alliance between Christian and Jewish Zionists not only threatens the rule of law previously paramount in the United States but also threatens to unleash another world war.
As I read about more FBI raids into Moslem businesses in the US é raids that lack legal support é about the need to sacrifice legal rights of some people for the protection of the majority, about the move to adopt Israeli security philosophies and procedures, yes, I worry about my own freedom within the law. I worry about the Israelization of my country into an Arab-hating Islamophobe.
But the repercussion of sacrificing our freedoms, American freedoms, within the law can lead to more than oppressing people of Middle Eastern/Moslem descent and supporting a lawless nation such as Israel. It can lead to the lawlessness that has historically sacrificed minorities in the name of majority-perceived superiority all over the world, and everyone is vulnerable to such madness.
(Author of upcoming novel, “Israel, By Any Other Name”, Ghassan Ghraizi was Born in Beirut, Lebanon, and has lived and earned his education internationally. A US military veteran, he’s experienced both war and peace. A CPA working for corporate America, his friends and family time is divided between individuals who are as varied as the countries he’d adopted.)