Thursday, August 12, 2010

Of Tolerance and Intoloerance

2 news articles really bothered me today:

  • Arutz7 is reporting that the Samaria Residents’ Council is complaining about instructions to soldiers not to eat in front of Muslims during Ramada, and to extend times that check points are open to accommodate Muslims observing Ramadan.
  • Jerusalem Post reports that Residents of Binyamin have launched a protest against the planned Arab city of Rawabi (which has been dubbed as the “Palestinian Modi’in”)

These articles bother not only because of the apparent intolerance within the National Jewish Community, but because I think that this type of attitude hurts not only mutual co-existence, but the cause of the Nationalist camp.

I believe that all possible plans for the future of this Land fall into one of 2 categories:

Either we decide that Jews and Arabs will never get on together, and we should put up a large wall or border between “Us” and ‘Them” and make sure that we have as little interaction as possible. This is the basis of the “2 State Solution” proposed by many on the left. It is also the basis of the proponents of Transfer, the only difference being where we put the border.

The only alternative that I can think of is that we agree that we have to live together and we work to encourage mutual tolerance and interaction. A good start to this would be to instil sensitivities to the cultural norms of each other. If Muslims are fasting this month, we should be sensitive to that when interacting with them. (A while ago I wrote about the importance of increased interaction between Jews and Arabs in a post on “My Peace Plan”)

Similarly, I think that the proposed new Arab city of Rawabi, which would be a few minutes drive from my house, is an excellent idea. I don’t believe that “Poverty Breeds Terrorism”, or that improving the Palestinian standard of living will eliminate radicals, it will however have many benefits to both the Jewish and Arab population:

  • For the Arabs, having quality affordable housing by itself is a great benefit
  • It’ll reduce overcrowding in Ramallah and Jerusalem, and hopefully discourage illegal Palestinian building within Jerusalem, as there will be cheaper alternatives.
  • It’ll boost the Palestinian economy, which in turn will support the Israeli economy, as Palestinians will spend their goods in Israel or to buy Israeli goods (the Israeli and Palestinians economies are really a single intertwined item)
  • Increasing the Palestinian Standard of living will probably decrease family sizes; statistically all over the World, as Standard of Living goes up, family size goes down (One of the very few exceptions is within the Religious Jewish community). Reduced Palestinian family size would offset the “demographic time bomb”, which was the justification for plans like the Gaza withdrawal or the creation of the PA, both of which increased terrorism and made the prospects of genuine peace more unattainable

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