For any society, the awareness of justice and equality are used to instill a sense of fairness among the various demographics of people. This is essential in providing stability and ensuring that all people have access to the same opportunities. All too common, however, the reality is that these concepts are often overlooked, and as a result, government tends to favor select segments. A full understanding of what is happening requires one to focus on how these concepts apply to the Palestinians and the best way to deal with key challenges. Together, these elements will illustrate the overall scope of the problem and the most effective strategies for resolving them.
John Rawls’s Views of Well Ordered Society and Justice
John Rawls believes any well-ordered society will focus on achieving a sense of social justice at all levels. These objectives are attained through establishing equal access to the political system. This requires ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to hold public office and introduce policies, which represents the different segments of society. At the same time, there is a focus on equal opportunity and upward mobility. Equal opportunity is when the individual has access to various educational resources to support themselves. Upward mobility occurs through using these skills to improve their standard of living and having greater opportunities for their children. This takes place, by utilizing these experiences to positively influence their views about life and create a shift in how they see their future. Those societies that embrace these ideals are considered to be well-ordered and have a standard of justice which is applied identically (Rawls 32).
Explain how unjust was it for Palestinians to be forced to flee their homeland, and eventually discuss what would be the best way to make peace between the two from Noam Chomsky’s opinion.
Palestinian displacement has become one of the new elements of reality in the Middle East, and it can be analyzed through the lens of Rawls’s well-ordered society. In the case of the Palestinians, they were forced to flee their homeland with the creation and expansion of the state of Israel. This occurred with them being treated as second class citizens and not having access to the same opportunities as Israelis. If one understands the concepts of Rawls, then one would understand that in order for a stable, well-ordered society to exist, all people must be treated in a humane manner. This was not exactly the case for the Palestinians, who were treated as if they had no legitimate claim to their homeland or their traditions, while the newly formed state of Israel – and its adherents – was treated as if it had an absolute claim to the land.
While it is certainly true that forcing the Palestinians from their land was an act of injustice, it is also true that the results of this displacement were characteristic of unfair and inhumane treatment. Displaced Palestinians were not simply able to pick up and move on to a new area. Rather, they had to completely rebuild their lives. Poverty became a major problem, and in fact, it continues to be a problem today. To make matters worse, many did not have homes of their own. As a result, these individuals were all but forced to live in terrible conditions in refugee camps throughout the region. These so-called “ghettos” bred widespread health problems for this population of individuals, with the results being highly problematic overall. Assessing the situation through the lens of Rawls, one can see that both the concepts behind Palestinian displacement and the results were highly unfair to the Palestinian people. On their face, the policies conferred a much higher status to the Israelis, which runs counter the concepts of equality and justice that Rawls discussed in his theory. In effect, as well, the way in which the people of Palestine were treated represents a major deviation from the concepts of equality and justice.
Chomsky notes that when these kinds of injustices take place over a long enough period of time, people will eventually decide to take action. Simply put, there is only so much abuse that one group of people can take, and when conditions get bad enough, they truly have nothing to lose by acting out in order to claim back what they believe is rightfully theirs. In the case of this particular region, the results have not been pretty. Over the course of time, they will strike out at those who are creating this kind of environment through various acts of terrorism and social disobedience (Chomsky 67).
Chomsky notes quite rightly that there is only a very limited way to ensure that the rights of Palestinian people are respected. Because Israel is at the root of the problem, displacing Palestinians in such a dramatic way, it is incumbent upon Israel to change the way it deals with this situation. To deal with these challenges, Israel must respect the rights of the Palestinians and ensure they have greater amounts of opportunity. At the same time, they must understand and recognize the challenges impacting the Palestinians. In this case, they must retreat from their current positions and make an honest attempt to deal with the fact that they are seen as occupiers. This is because, the Arab world sees the 1948 establishment of Israel as a way for the Jews to engage in a new form of colonialism. The Palestinians are the victims of these polices and are subjugated through these policies (Chomsky 88).
According to Chomsky (2014; 108), this means that Israel will always be in a state of war until these unresolved issues are addressed and a viable two state solution is implemented. The best way to achieve these objectives is for the Israelis to fall back to their 1948 borders and begin allowing Palestinians to have a voice in their own affairs. This means giving them more opportunities to have a homeland and ensure that it is able to thrive. Once this occurs, is when the root causes of these problems will be addressed and hostilities will slowly subside (Chomsky 119).
This might come in the form of political opportunity, and it might come in the form of mode moderate policies on religious tolerance. As it currently stands, Israel has been very aggressive in growing its borders and influence, essentially taking what it wants and leaving the Palestinians in a state of disarray. This has been possible, of course, because Israel has grown its military to tremendous size. The technical skill and technological capability of the Israeli military makes it one that is very difficult to challenge for those countries around it, and when one considers the level of support that Israel receives from the United States and other global partners, it becomes very easy to see how Palestine could be overrun by Israeli influence. In order to correct the problems between the two, it is incumbent upon Israel to respect the rights of the Palestinian people to occupy their homeland. Reverting the borders back more than fifty years is something that will be very difficult to do, but it provides the best answer for how to maintain long-term peace between the competing forces in this region (Chomsky). This, of course, would practically mean reversing the progress made by the establishment of the state of Israel, which is why it draws so much resistance from those in support of Israel.
Clearly, the main issues with the Israeli – Palestinian conflict are from Israel becoming an occupying power. During this process, they have seized land and reduced any kind of social / economic opportunities for the Palestinians. To deal with these issues, requires Israel changing their strategy and respecting Palestinians rights. This means that they must offer greater amounts of self determination and the ability for the people to have equal access to social / economic resources. Once this happens, is the point they will begin dealing with the root causes of the conflict in the longer term.
- Chomsky, Noam. Gaza in Crisis. New York: Haymarket Books, 2013. Print.
- Rawls, John. Political Liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. Print.