Israel. A small strip of land, about the size of wales, that is claimed to be one of the top 5 worst human rights violators. In fact many claim the west bank as being the worst place to live on the planet... period.
These people are what I like to call "wrong".
Isreal is not amoungst the top 5 worst human rights violaters, in fact its not even amoungst the top 10. If you truely think that the West Bank is the worst place to live on the planet, try spending a weekend in the Sudan or Somalia... or maybe North Korea and see if you still feel that way afterwards.
That's not to say that Israel has a squeaky clean human rights record, because it doesn't, it does violate the basic human rights of hundreds of people every day, most of these people being ethnographically percieved as palestinian, however it does nothing to help the pleight of these genuinely oppressed people by exaggerating the extent of the violations and extrapolating into relms of oppression that simply are not truthful in there representation of the situation in Israel.
This brings up an important question however, seeing as Israel is not actually amoungst the top worst countries in the world, why are we always hearing so much about Israel and so little about all these other countries? The answer to this is three-fold; Geographical, Historical and PR(ical?)
Geographically Israel is situated right in the middle of the Middle East, all reginal policies must consider it and any transport over land or air must negotiate with it. It has a near inpenitrable desert and situated right in the middle of that desert is demona, Israels Nuclear facility. It also has some of the most fertile ground in the whole of the region. This makes it an incrediably important political figure in the region and, taking into consideration the wider region's oil reserves, one of the most important areas in the world.
Historically, Israel (specifically Jerusalem and Bethlehem) is the birth place for many of the world's major religons including all the Abrahamic Faiths (Christianity, Islam and Judaism), Many wars have been fought to maintain its existance, during one of which nuclear bombs were very nearly used. Historically its international secret service MOSSAD is viewed as being the best secret service in the world, not only in capturing escaped nazi officers but also in counter-terrorism. This meant that after the event of 9/11 the US turned to Israel to help it in its "war on terror". Add to all of this the extreme circumstances in central Europe during the 1930's-40's which led to the UN deciding to establish Israel as a Jewish State in the first place and we can see that it is historically very significant.
A point should be made here that it is very easy to get caught up in the religious aspects of Israel and in so doing, ignoring the actual reasons for the conflict. This is not, nor should anyone try to twist it into becoming, a religious war. The conflict in Israel is currently based around land ownership and Human Rights and these are this key issus which need to be resolved.
In terms of public relations, it can simply be said that because Israel is currently under media attention, other media are jumping onto the band wagon and so it will continue to be in the public eye until either something really major happens elsewhere or until the issues are resolved and so stop becoming news worthy (media and good news tend not to mix so much).
So how can we resolve the situation in Israel?
Well many political bodies are advocating a two-state solution whereby a seperate Palestinian state is formed in the West Bank, bordering both Israel and Jordan. However, Many others are advocating a single-state solution and equalting a two-state solution to being the same as the "separate but equal" policy of segregated 1950's US. Those advocating the two-state solution reply by saying that two states would be more equale than the situation at current and so thusly an arguement ensues.
I personally do not advocate either a two-state or the current single state solutions. In fact I do not advocate any solution because all of the current ones being debated are formed from political bodies, each one with their own personal agendas. The Arab League, The UN, The US and even Amnesty International have all demonstrated extreme bias on the issue of the Middle East and so no solution which is designed by any of these bodys can be truely trusted to be based around what is best for the people of the region. Instead I advocate, not a solution but a system whereby, instead of top-down solutions being formed, bottom-up solutions can be formed about how to resolve individual conflicts in individual towns and neigbourhoods. This system can be refered to as local social networking and, due to current technology, doesn't even need a mediator. All solutions to local issues can be discussed by local peoples and then either voted on or decided upon within the same medium. Even better than this, if international expertise is required, that too can be sought within the same medium. Now many of you maybe asking, what is this magical medium of which I speak, where we can vote and learn and discuss with people across the seas? I have a one word answer for you: Facebook.
Facebook, Twitter and I'll go so far as to say basic Email! Any form of communication which can be seen by all local parties and can be made at anytime by anyone within the locality.
We have already seen how effective Facebook can be at organising clean up efforts around London and England, as well as making the world aware of major international events such as the Norway attack. Thus I cannot see a reason why social networking cannot bring about peace in the Middle East.
Please note very clearly that I am not claiming to have found the solution or even a solution to the issues in the Middle East, but I am claiming very strongly that the only place where such solutions can be formed, and be relevant, are from within the region itself, so instead of us" internationals" looking for a solution to the problem, we should instead be focusing on facilitating modes whereby solutions can be internally formed. These modes need to be primarily safe areas of discussion where not only are people allowed to express their opinions but also their naiveitys about the issues affecting their areas and about those whom they have been culturally taught are "the enemy/the other".
It is especially important that these modes be kept clear of external political motives, a prime example of which would be thirsty America (a thirst which seems to only get worse the more oil it drinks).