jueves, 29 de enero de 2009

My Research Paper

Here's a research paper I did on the conflict between Lebanon and Israel, if you want to learn more about the general Israel situation. I think that when you read it and then consider that the leaders of the middle east nations could be letting the people in the refugee camps that generate the Islamic radicalists that cause the problems assimilate into middle east nations nations but these leaders do not do so, you will begin to see why I commented the way I did on Don Pedro's post on Israel a few days ago.
Ever since sin entered the world, there have been conflicts between nations. One that has been highly publicized is the semi-perpetual state of tension between the nation of Israel and its Arabic neighbors. One country in particular that has had a rough relationship with Israel is Lebanon, the small nation directly to the north. At its root, this conflict is religious, and the situation would be alleviated by the increased spread of Christianity in Israel and Lebanon.
History of Lebanese Elements in the Israel-Lebanon Conflict
The Israel-Lebanon conflict actually started because of internal tension in Lebanon. Years ago, when Lebanon was formed from territory that was previously French, there was a slight majority of Christians (mostly Maronites) in the population. The constitution insured that there would be six Christian representatives for every five Moslem representatives, that the President would always be a Christian and that the Prime Minister would always be a Moslem. Although this system worked well for a time, the decrease in the Christian/Moslem ratio and the accumulation of wealth and power in the hands of the Christians resulted in an increase of tension. The two religions began to build up private militias to enforce their respective collective wills, eventually leading to all-out anarchy and civil war, with factions of Sunnis, Shiites, Druze, Maronites and others. At some point in their effort to “subjugate” the Christians, the Moslem factions allied with (by inviting to Lebanon) the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), an organization of exiled past inhabitants of the area that is now Israel. These people, in addition to being allies of the Moslem factions in Lebanon, were also determined to destroy the nation of Israel so that they could repossess their entire native land of Palestine. In addition to their anti-Christian activities, the PLO also carried out anti-Israeli activities. Although an invasion of Lebanon by Israel forced the PLO to leave Lebanon for a time, Israel and the United States were either unable or unwilling to stop the civil war. Eventually, the PLO returned to Lebanon and peace was established through a new constitution that included provisions for 50-50 (Moslem, Christian) distribution of seats in the Lebanese legislature (seen as an injustice by many Christians, although they comprised only 30% of the population). Today, Hamas (A Lebanese Islamic terrorist organization founded by Israel as a counterbalance to the PLO), and Hezbollah (a Lebanese Islamic terrorist organization founded by Shiite clerics and funded by Syria and Iran), carry out most of the anti-Israeli terrorism from Lebanon. Thus, the conflict between Israel and Lebanon has generally not been one of invasion and counter-invasion, but of terrorism inflicted by Lebanese Islamic groups on Israel’s population, infrastructure, and military establishments, followed by Israeli retaliation.
Why the Lebanese Internal Conflict is a Religious Conflict
Although economic elements may have played a role in the increase of tension in Lebanon and the strained relationship between Lebanon and Israel, the element that changed Lebanon from peaceful to chaotic was the religious element. While there are examples of people of different religions living peacefully together (such as the United States) and of people of one economic class ruling those of a lower economic class (such as the feudal system in the Middle Ages), the fact that both of these separations were in place in Lebanon simultaneously made the situation much more difficult. Because the Christians had all the influence in the government, due to the required 6/5 Christian-Muslim ratio in the Lebanese parliament, all the people of one religion and wealth class were put in power, despite the fact that the country, with its Moslem majority, masqueraded as a democracy. Religion aggravated a potential source of conflict: money. Religion also provided a means for the minority to take power from the majority, an action that would be perceived as an injustice in a democratic nation.
Why Christianity Would Alleviate the Situation
A Christian evangelization of Lebanon would have many beneficial affects on the situation in the area. Obviously, the spread of Christianity in Lebanon would mean the decrease of the Moslem portion of the population. Such a situation could decrease (and if carried out completely, eliminate) the civil strife in Lebanon because the Christians would no longer be all wealthy and disproportionately powerful, thus pacifying the religious-defined class conflict behind the main desire of the Moslem population to continue to support the PLO. A Christian Lebanese population would probably also cease to support the Hezbollah organization; founded as it is by Shiite clerics, it certainly has an Islamic, not a Christian agenda. With an official name like “Islamic Resistance Movement,” Hamas also would be likely to collapse if Lebanon became a Christian country. All three organizations would most likely weaken insofar as Christianity strengthened. Each of the three organizations that cause conflict between Israel and Lebanon would be likely to weaken or collapse and thus cause no conflict with Israel if Christianity were to be spread in Lebanon.
To understand fully how the conflict is a religious conflict, however, it is also necessary to understand why the groups in Lebanon have a conflict with Israel in the first place, and thus, to understand Israel’s history.
History of Israel side of Israel-Lebanon Conflict
Israel was founded in 1948 by British mandate as a home for Jews. Many of these Jews were Zionists, who were attached to the idea of a distinctly Jewish state for both the purpose of Jewish advancement and the avoidance of another Holocaust. Many other founders had other very Jewish agendas, such as the reunification of the Jewish Diaspora, the spiritual and cultural advancement of the Jewish people, and the hastening of the coming of the “Messiah.” They further thought that these agendas would be achieved through the founding of a Jewish state. After the state was founded, the Jews lived in a situation of tension with their neighbors and with the Palestinians who lived in or used to live in the area of Israel and who refused to assimilate into Israel’s population. In 1967, the Israelis launched a preemptive war against the Syrians, Jordanians and Egyptians, taking the Sinai peninsula, Old Jerusalem, and the West Bank (which holds the holy places of Judaism). However, these Jews were faced with a problem: they could not possess the entire Biblical land of Israel with out either losing their Jewish character to the Palestinians who would be voting along with the Jews or losing their democracy by tyrannically excluding the Palestinians from the voting process. Naturally, the native, conquered Palestinians in this area were displeased with their lot, launching the Intifada rebellion in 1987. The displaced Palestinians settled in many places, such as Lebanon. In Lebanon, they were (and 200,000 of them still are) kept landless in refugee camps, longing for their homeland because they have not assimilated into the Lebanese population. These refugees allow Hezbollah to work in Lebanon because they “destabilize” it. These same refugees also make up much of the PLO organization that contributes to both the Lebanon-Israel conflict and the Lebanese civil conflict. These conflicts have not ceased, despite the fact that Israel ceded all of Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005 and despite the fact that 70-80% of the West Bank is currently under Palestinian control.
Why the Israeli-Lebanese-Palestinian Conflict is a Religious Conflict
The Palestinians outside Israel have a quarrel with Israel’s very existence. Because Israel’s existence is a religious existence, this quarrel is a religious conflict. Additionally, there are other religious elements in the quarrel that Lebanese refugee Palestinians have with Israel. Lebanese Moslems use these Palestinians in their religious conflict with the Lebanese Christians in the manner outlined above. At the same time, both Israeli Jewish and Lebanese Moslem politicians use Hamas to create among the people religious and/or ethnic/patriotic rage against their enemies, and thus keep themselves in office. The Lebanon-Israel conflict has both religious roots and religious elements that exacerbate it even today.
Why Christianity Would Alleviate the Situation
A Christian evangelization of Israel would have many beneficial effects on the tense situation in the area. Because Israel would lose its identity as a Jewish state, the people would have nothing but ethnic and economic objections to the immigration and assimilation of 200,000+ Palestinians, thus giving homes to many of the refugees who make up a large portion of the PLO and destabilize Lebanon. Perhaps there would even be a reverse-assimilation, where the Israelis abandon the notion of Israel altogether and assimilate into some sort of Palestinian nation. Although some Christian denominations may pressure Israel to keep its Jewish identity, after Israelis realize certain Christian teachings, they ought to realize that the Jewish identity will not necessarily make them better Christians, but this identity will necessarily impede the spread of peace in the area. Israelis would be able to admit many more solutions to the Lebanon-Israeli conflict if they became Christian.
The Lebanon-Israel conflict is primarily a conflict of religious classes. While the Christians and Moslems fight for power in Lebanon because of its undemocratic religion-based democracy, the Jews and non-Jewish Palestinians (including those in Lebanon) fight for land by war and by terrorism in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel because Israel’s status as a Jewish state does not permit many refugee Palestinians to live in their ancestral homes. The spread of Christianity in Israel and Lebanon would weaken the lines and distinctions that separate and provoke the warring factions, thus crippling both their ability and their desire to fight each other. Although the Israel-Lebanon conflict may not be between the religion of Israel and the religion of Lebanon directly, it is a religious conflict nevertheless, and it requires a primarily religious solution.

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