Daily Observer (Jamaica)

The uniqueness of our conflict

- Feedback: drjasonamc­kay@gmail.com Jason Mckay

THE war in Israel between the Palestinia­ns and the Jews is one of the world’s oldest conflicts in respect of disputes currently being waged.

It has been going on so long that it is accepted as more of a cultural norm rather than an actual conflict that can one day end in a resolution, whether by peaceful means or through victory achieved in battle.

It’s not quite as complicate­d as most who have never really enquired believe.

In World War II the Jewish population in Europe was literally destroyed, with at least six million being killed and millions more displaced.

Israel was the biblical historical promised land for the Jews. In the 1940s it was a British colony known as Palestina or Palestine, depending on which historian coloured the lines that day.

The British provided a solution by handing over governance of the colony with agreed lines of demarcatio­n from the existing populace of Palestinia­ns. This in essence divided the country previously known as Palestine.

The Palestinia­ns vociferous­ly objected to the division in any way, shape, or form.

In 1967 they invaded Israel, with the help of several Arab countries, and lost in six days.

This resulted in Israel being able to capture large areas of territory that was previously given by the British to the Palestinia­ns, and new conflicts emerged. War bounty is a reality.

This conflict can end.

So many years have passed, so it must begin with an acceptance that the

Palestinia­n borders cannot be reversed to what it was pre the Israel.

Too much time has passed and there are now third- and fourth-generation Israelis who have been born in the territory formerly known as Palestine.

The Israelis will have to accept they may have to part with many sections of the country they call Israel, despite the historic attachment­s they have to cities like Galilee and Jerusalem.

What can’t work is a theory that the Israelis will pack up and leave the country. Nor can any solution work that keeps the Palestinia­ns in a position that makes them in many ways Stateless.

Once they both realise that they will never get everything they want, but will settle for what they can achieve, then peace is possible.

The conflict in Northern Island has a Band-aid over a wound that will likely become a healed scar in years to come. This is a lesson in compromise.

It is very much historic like the Palestinia­n issue and similarly is a battle between good men doing bad things for reasonable reasons.

Ireland was a sovereign State with a history of conflict with its neighbour England. It was invaded in 1169 and a brutal campaign was waged to keep it under foot. This lasted till 1921.

However, like Israel, the descendant­s of the conquerors have lived for generation­s in Ireland and are easily identified by their religion as they are Protestant­s, while the original settlers are Catholic.

The descendant­s of the British — who are very much Irish after so many years in every way possible other than their inherited denominati­on — make up a significan­t percentage of the population in Ireland, geographic­ally speaking, and a majority in the North where they primarily reside.

Michael Collins, the leader of the Catholic rebels, in attempting to end the bloodshed and attain some government­al control over his country, agreed to partition Ireland in May 1921, giving the North over to the British where the British descendant­s are the majority.

This decision eventually cost him his life and led to the never-ending civil war in the North that was enforced by British troops.

Till one day it ended.

Why? Because they compromise­d, something the Israelis and the Palestinia­ns are incapable of doing.

They decided that there would be a Parliament of sorts governing the North and elected from the populace of the North, but would remain part of the United Kingdom until a referendum said otherwise.

It’s not perfect but it’s holding. Jamaica is currently embroiled in a conflict between criminal gangs who fight each other, with the expected collateral damage and constant purges of the normal Jamaican citizen.

There is no negotiated solution possible in our conflict that reflects casualties that can easily outperform countries which are at war.

Is there a solution in compromise for us, unlike the aforementi­oned Irish and Israel examples? No. There is not. Our conflict is unique.

There is no noble cause in our conflict, no freedom fighters, no oppressed to free.

Our issue is simply bad, selfish, brutal, cowardly garbage fighting each other for no sensible reason whatsoever.

I am willing to accept that the gang culture began through political activism in the 1970s — but even then it was criminals, not freedom fighters, battling it out.

With this unique factor that there is “no” ground which can be given up by either side that can be legally enforced or defended then there can be no agreement for reconcilia­tion.

How in the world can you legally divide up extortion territorie­s?

Our solution, though comparable in casualties, is only similar in a minority of ways — that being third-party internatio­nal influence, foreign funding energising the conflict, and the existence of abject brutality.

However, the essential element is that in our conflict there are no good men, no crusaders who can be reigned in, and ultimately no causes to be negotiated.

Our solution lies in forced compliance, creating an environmen­t of such intoleranc­e that persons dare not push their luck — rather like the Singapore you all think so much of but know so little of how it was achieved.

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