Middle East History and Current Events Term Paper

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Thick and thin book review.

Some year," JK Galbraith once wrote, "like some poets, and politicians and some lovely women, are singled out for fame far beyond the common lot." For the Middle East in general, and for the people of Palestine in particular, 1948 was clearly such a year. It was the year in which the British-Mandate for Palestine terminated, a Jewish state was established, thousands of Arab Palestinians became refugees, and regular armed forces of Trans-Jordan, Egypt, Syria and other Arab countries entered Palestine - Israel and clashed with Israeli forces." (Bregman, 2000) In the same way, some land masses seem to carry a higher level of importance than others. Such is the case with a small strip of land lying along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.

Israel, or Palestine depending on the year the map was published, has been a place of conflict since first recorded histories of the region over 6000 years ago. The Arab peoples claim it as their homeland, and the Israelis' claim the same. The land has no significant amounts of natural resources, as the oil resided in nations to the south. There are not deposits of gold, or other natural resources to spark the debate. No, the significance of this patch of land has only one measurable value. The land of Israel is the symbol of one nation's right to exist. To the Isrealis, Israel is their homeland and a symbol of how a small group of people can overcome centuries of persecution and trial and still has a place to call home. For the Arab people, on the other hand, the land belonged to them before a tribe of slaved transmigrated out of Egypt across the desert, and thus it should still be theirs.

Bregman's book is a history of the conflict. Beginning in 1948 when in a few short days Israel became a country by United Nations mandate through the present, Bregman outline both the 'what' of Israel's fight for a nation to call their own, and the 'why' of national heritage. The Israeli's fight as if their very existence depends on it, because it does. Without a land to call their own, the Israeli's would become similar to the Native Americans in the west, a disenfranchised tribe desperately trying to hold onto the past without the resources to build a future.

There are three sides to every story" Mark Twain once said. "Your side, my side, and the right side." The history of the Middle East, woven in Bedouin banners and divine scrolls, is also a history with much interpretation, and Michael Walzer's book Thick and Thin digs into the psychological reasoning behind those things which we are willing to fight and die for. His views of moral arguments are a colorful lens with which to consider the middle east conflict. According to Walzer, we hold to two different bases for developing moral judgment. The first type he calls thick moral reasoning which is a culturally connected set of ideals on which a people base their sense of identify. Thick reasoning is referentially connected to specific events in time and space. Thick reasoning is like the metal girders which hold up the superstructure of a bridge: strong, interconnected, detailed, and specific. Thick moral reasoning subjects all other arguments for coursed of actions to it, and promotes itself over the rest. Thick reasoning carries the reason for our existence, and the identity with which we find personal worth and meaning.

Therefore, thick reasoning is the logic by which we will fight and die for our own land, our own culture. Without thick reasoning, we have no foundation to validate our existence. Psychologically, without thick reasoning, we have no existence. Israel's deep seated desire for their land is thick reasoning. The people identify themselves with this specific piece of the globe. Whether they base their desire on 'divine right' or historical record, the land of Israel is part of their personal, social, and cultural identify. Before the exile slave nation settled in Israel, they were only slaves, with nothing to call their own but the hope of freedom. The land represents that freedom for Israel. Therefore it is a land over which…[continue]

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