Category Archives: Conflicts

Israel and the Two-State Solution


Israel Security Image

Image Credit: New York Times

Samuel Collins

Israel built security fence in the West Bank to barricade itself from Palestinian suicide bombers, but such effort has been met with as much resistance as you would expect. Both Arab Palestinians and Israeli Jews claimed entitlement to Jerusalem, and to the West Bank. The city is important to three of the world’s major religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. And for centuries, all parties to the dispute have been unable to come to any peaceful understanding. The U.N. and many western nations, including the Obama administration argued that the Two-State Solution would be the only viable pathway to a peaceful coexistent. Many Jews however, remained skeptical of the idea of a Two-State solution. They fear that if the idea is fully put into practice, it would result into Israel’s insecurity, and that in addition to that, Israel might risk losing its unique Jewish identity.

There are several ‘bedrock demands between the two parties that, in practice, often appear to be mutually out of touch.” For example, on border issue, there is no agreement about where exactly to draw the line. Palestinians demand that any negotiation regarding the Two-State Solution must include provision for Israeli military to withdraw entirely from the West Bank, in order for such negotiation to gain legitimacy. But the Israeli government do not have any obligation to do so, they argued that these territories were won over during the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, and during other arm conflicts in the region.  They insist that the State of Israel is for these reasons has no legal obligation to give back lands it once captured. As of this writing, Israel is still building Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and in other areas– an action that many analysts, including some far-right Israeli citizens feel may stall the peace negotiations and make it much more difficult to reach any agreement.

 Security concern: To the ordinary Palestinians, security means an end to the Israeli military occupation. For the Jews however, security means not abandoning the West Bank, for fear that the vacancy would be immediately occupied by rogue group like Hamas, and this would then threaten Israel’s national security. Each party to the conflict remains firm about what it wants.

Many western experts also believe that the current security wall which Israel built to contain the violence from the Palestinian side, would do little to address Israel’s longtime security needs. According to Mr. Fisher, a Jerusalem-based analyst with the International Crisis Group, told me last year, “perpetuating the status quo is the most frightening of the possibilities,” by which he means, that by maintaining the border wall in the West Bank, is only worsening the problem.

Today, as a direct consequence of the ongoing territorial dispute between Israel and the Palestinian, the people of Palestine are states-less people. They have no independent access to electricity, no hospital, no army, no credible institution of learning. Many Palestinians suffer from depression, according to inside sources.  But nothing remains more needed than is peace for the Palestine people.

As the only country that practices democracy in the Middle East, Israel thus strategically becomes a geo- political advantage to the U.S. and to other major democracies around the world. Israel’s very past is one that’s marked by constant land disputes and wars with nearby countries. But despite these challenges, the country had emerged as a modern industrial nation– equipped with a full army, and a thriving economy.

Israel ranks 37 on the Transparency scale, and its past record shows that, as a country, Israel seems to be moving back and forth on the scale. Between 2012 to 2014, she moved from 60 to 51 on the Transparency scale and back to 60 again. She however, maintains the 37th place.

This report is just one of many examples that shows what is going on around the world since the twentieth century with regards to land-border conflicts. Like the Palestinians, the Kurds, too are State-less people. They don’t have full control over the resources in places where they inhabit.  Many research analysts on internatinal crisis and conflict zones have come to the realization  that great and powerful nations are conquering weaker nations without the use of force.  They are using the forces of their economies  to gain powerful influence over relatively economically less powerful countries. For example, take a look at Mongolia and China. See what type of relationship is going on between the two. One TED Talk speaker described it as the “Chinese style” refering to those particular methods which China is using to spread out influence.



Swedish Immigrants- A Bumpy Stay

By Samuel Collins

Utopia Challenged.  Sweden's Relationship With Refugees


Rinkeby, as they call it, is a small suburban immigrant enclave, located somewhere near the Mediterranean Sea, just 13 km northwest of Stockholm, and about 18 minutes subway ride to center city. Here, more than 80% of Rinkeby’s residents are immigrants from places like Iraq, Syria, Somalia, South America and Eastern Europe. But the once lovely immigrant community has become notorious for crimes, riots, police brutalities.  According to Mr. Hoge, a resident, just a mere mention of the name Rinkeby, would get people to shrink back.


A Pew Research Center study conducted in “2016 found that over 46 percent of Swedes believed that refugees are responsible for most of the crimes than other groups,” even though an earlier study carried out by a popular local newspaper, the Dagens Nyheter, analyzed crime statistics in the same area and came to the conclusion that refugees were responsible for only 1 percent of all incident. For a country like Sweden, where unemployment rate has alway been almost non-existent, the unemployment rate remains high within the Rinkeby immigrant neighborhood , and this is just one of many indications that immigrants in Sweden are being targeted with workplace discrimination and other related issues. Most residents from this community connect the high unemployment rate there to direct public reaction to the presence of refugees and other migrants  elsewhere in the country.


The city of Rinkeby has a population of approximately 48.700, with roughly even male and female residents.  The birth rate here is 16.1%, and the death rate is at 4.9%. The population pyramid of Rinkeby displays almost a perfectly shaped beehive structure, with relatively many children and adolescents. The city has a high working population between the ages of 21 to 64, and less age-dependency of people between the ages 65 and 79, and between the ages of 14 and below- all of which are positive signs that residents here should be thriving economically. For refugees, however, the recent Syrian crisis has brought enormous stress upon the country’s ability to host refugees.


Looking at the Rinkeby story carefully, one would see that there are a number of correlations between what happened here in the U.S. in the 1800s, during the first and second waves of Irish and Chinese immigrants. For example, the methods used here in the U.S, which included race-sensitive immigration laws which were meant to keep in check Chinese immigrant workers from becoming U.S. citizens, appear to look much like what the Swedes seem to be implementing. For instance, in Sweden, immigrants are always immigrants. If you’re an immigrant, this attitude completely ignores whether you have received your citizenship, or whether you were born in the country, they still see you as either a migrant or an immigrant.  By being born in Sweden doesn’t confer citizenship status to children of foreigners.



Getty Image

With world population on the increase, and globalization rapidly uniting every corner of the world in ways that our ancestors couldn’t have imagined,  rich and powerful countries would have to  preparation for these types of cultural diffusions which are often the result of wars, natural disasters.  And it’s made more urgent due in part to fresh crisis now erupting throughout the world.  These new problems, in their term help to supply a constant flow of refugees from  places like Asia , Africa, including eastern Europe.The newcomers then bring along with them their own cultural elements which before didn’t exist in their host country.

Italy  is added to the list of countries which have started to see increase in the number of migrants. The country has straight laws making it illegal to enter Italy without proper papers, but the law has so far done little to stop the number of illegal migrants from coming into the country.  Unlike Sweden, which has mostly legal immigrants, and well-vetted refugees, Italy has high illegal migrant population, and this has become a subject for debate in Parliament. Critics of the new law argued that the law is in violation of basic human rights. Some politicians argued that majority of migrant workers are honest people who are willing to work for lower wages which in many cases, Italian citizens are not willing to do for the same amount. Some low income families in big cities in Italy rely heavily on  migrant workers to take care of  their ailing relatives.

And the country’s rapidly aging population has opened up a new area of employment which most migrants seek.  Still, most Italian citizens continue to exhibit strong prejudices for people of immigrant ancestry, and this gives us just one more reason to believe that hatred against people of color is alive and well on the European continent. In Mr. Hoge’s story; “A Swedish Dilemmas: The Immigrant Ghetto” he writes about how “the town has become stigmatized in Sweden as a haven for welfare cheats and a center of criminal activity.” Even though this seems to not be the case, based on credible sources.