The U.S. claims the right to do everything from incarcerating people without charges to waging all-out war, in the name of self-defense. Israel claims the right to bomb a country back fifteen years in the name of self-defense.
In the early days of Israeli hubris, it claimed that it was a tiny country surrounded by enemies. Then it built a wall. The U.S. is a big country surrounded by water, it was indignant over the Berlin Wall, but now it too builds walls where it can.
Increasingly, there is a sense that Israel and the U.S. are like a rich parent indulging a spoiled kid. When kids make enemies in the school yard, parents tell them to "be nice". When kids move into a new neighborhood, parents tell them to try to make friends.
The Jews who came to Palestine in 1946 were the survivors of the original ethnic cleansing operation (followed, alas, by many more). They needed a refuge, they wanted their own state. Unfortunately, the world community didn't separate the need for a refuge and the legitimate desire for a state from a religiously inspired yearning: "Next year in Jerusalem", the toast of every Jewish family at Passover. It gave in to the Jewish demand for a state IN PALESTINE.
In order for that to work, as much attention would have had to be paid to the sensitivities of the Palestinians as to developing the part of Palestine allotted by the U.N. to the Jews.
When the Israeli government dropped leaflets warning Lebanese citizens to evacuate before a bombing, it was continuing a method begun right after partition. For years, Israel claimed this was not true, that the Palestinians had fled because "the Mufti of Jerusalem told them to". Recently declassified documents prove that most of the Palestinians who fled and never regained their homes did so because they were warned by the Israelis of impending attacks, and indeed many of those who didn't flee were killed.
Many Israeli refugees were highly qualified people who could have offered their knowledge and skills to their neighbors instead of looking down upon them.
Similarly, the United States could have used the United Nations it helped found to lead efforts to reach a common ground toward development, instead of threatening first the Communists, and now the Islamists, who have different ideas about how people should live.
The result is that now we have Big Daddy U.S. using his Kid Israel to help in the "fight against terrorism" - telling them that what they're doing is right, like African warlords using child soldiers.
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