Eire Do Deo: Can Ireland Teach Us About Israeli-Palestinian Peace?

"Eire do deo" is Irish for "Ireland is forever."  Like the Jews and Palestinians, the Irish too have a convoluted history.  Ireland was not settled by a single group of people, but by waves of people.  We associate Ireland as a Celtic nation. but the Celts too came to Ireland in waves.  This migration did not leave the island united, so it was several kingdoms.  But one of the kings did eventual become High King of Ireland, usually through bloody warfare among the various kingdoms.  This disunity is what made Ireland vulnerable to outside invasion.  The first to come were the Vikings.  The Vikings settled in large numbers, and founded Ireland's major cities.  Dublin, the capital, was founded by the Vikings, in fact its name "Dublin" is Norse for "Black Pool."  Brian Boru was King of Munster, but eventually became High King of Ireland.  In 1014, he defeated the Vikings at the Battle of Clontarf, and drove them out of Ireland.  But fighting among the kings of Ireland was to return after that, and in 1167 the kings of Leinster and Connacht called upon the help of the English.  The English King John was proclaimed "Lordship of Ireland" by Pope Adrian IV, who is the only English pope that ever existed.  English domination was to continue, and in 1536 King Henry VIII became King of Ireland.  Two things happened after that, the land was no longer owned by the Irish, and Protestant settlers (Orangemen) from both England and Scotland settled in Ireland, especially in the northern part.  Everything that Irish farmers produced went into rent and taxes.  Potatoes were introduced into Ireland in 16th century, and the moist climate of Ireland resembled the Peruvian Andes, where the crop originally came from.  After paying their rent and taxes, the only thing Irish farmers had left to eat was potatoes.  Until the 1840's, when a blight hit the potato monoculture of Ireland.  From 1845 to 1852, it is estimated that between 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 Irish died, and over 1,000,000 emigrated.  When World War I took place, it was empires trying to undermine each other.  The British sent T.E. Lawrence or "Lawrence of Arabia" to start an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire, and Irish rebels were to seek German help to rebel against British rule.  That happened from April 24 to 30, 1916, when the Irish with armaments secretly sent by Germany launched the famous "Easter Rebellion."  Ecstatic Irishmen were printing banners, manifestos, and flyers that they were finally freed from the brutal, repressive rule of Great Britain.  But were they?  The rebellion was quickly put down, and Ireland after that was placed under control of the paramilitary Black and Tans.  But after World War I, negotiations were to take place between British Prime David Lloyd George and the Irish rebels.  In 1921, the Anglo-Irish Treaty proclaimed Ireland free of British rule, except the 6 northern counties, which became known as Northern Ireland.  But the Emerald Isle's troubles were not over.  For sectarian violence was to continue between the Irish and the Orangemen in Northern Ireland, with Northern Ireland under British military occupation.  But on April 10, 1998, the Belfast Agreement was to bring about power sharing between the Irish and Orangemen, and the removal of all British army bases in Northern Ireland.  In 2005, the Irish Republic Army was to disband, and international arms inspectors were to accumulate all their weapons.

How much of the Irish experience resembles the Israeli-Palestinians conflict?

How can what was used for Ireland to achieve independence, be applied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

How can Northern Ireland's Belfast Agreement, be used to halt sectarian violence between Israelis and Palestinians?

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But then once again, the Jews were able to organize themselves politically.  For the Irish were able to do the exact same thing.  The British did not colonize Palestine in large numbers, but their did in Ireland, which created the Orangemen majority in Northern Ireland.  That was one of the things that got the Irish Republic Army to drop their ambition to unite Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland.  For the lack of majority, will have to be what gets Israel to drop their claim over Judea and Samaria.  Northern Ireland was historically known as Ulster to the Irish, but that has to be used in historical context.  Just as much as Judea and Samaria has to be used in historical context.  Because it will never have a Jewish majority, like Jerusalem which is 64% Jewish.

Tim, what is your formula?

israel = British

Palestinian = Irish

you are making a mess, if you want to compare do it properly

If you start comparing it on current standards, it is how to make Hamas the equivalent of the Irish Republic Army (IRA).  If the IRA can drop their ambition of uniting Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland, militarily disband, and participate in political power sharing.  How can something similar be used on Hamas?  Hamas recognizes the pre-1967 borders, but is not in a power sharing with the Palestinian Authority.  To solidify Israel to renounce its claim over Judea and Samaria.  A great deal of this depend on internal political moves within Israel and the Palestinian political entities.

Tim’s formula is based on his desire to collect and combine various facts to illustrate the viability of a large Israeli state and a small dis-empowered Palestinian state. The Palestinians have to be persuaded to accept conditions no Israeli would accept, and then there will be peace. 

A foundation fact that Tim always ignores is that in countries where there is equality, everyone settles down and gets on with the business of living a normal non-violent life, irrespective of their racial or religious differences.

Some similarities between Northern Ireland and Israel are:

Both have thrown bombs at the British, bombs that exploded in London.

Both countries were artificially divided on the false assumption that this division would solve a problem that was primarily vicious exploitation and political and economic domination of one group by the other.

Ireland was divided in a way that left a bunch of thugs in control in the north. The same happened in Israel.

BTW Gerry Adams is a convicted terrorist who served a sentence. Most of Israel’s Prime Ministers should also have served sentences for terrorism or terror like acts.


In 1948, the British were of the opinion that a bi-national State (single government comprised of both nationalities) would be the best future for a stable Palestine. The US refused to listen to the UK, and what we have is the result of US Jews putting continuously pressure on the powerful and corrupt US government.

Tim, Ulster was colonized by disgruntled SCOTS, not the British.

First of all, let us take this a part by pieces.  In Israel, 20% of its population is Muslim.  Fortunately, after 1964 their were no longer under martial law within Israel.  But are they completely free to do what ever they want?  I am sure there are a lot of answers of no, they are not.  But are they hindered to be able to not accomplish that?  It is like would a Jewish minority in an independent Palestine, be able to accomplish what ever they want?  That remains to be seen.  British settlers arrived in Ireland, after the Act of Union in 1707, which united the parliaments of both England and Scotland together.  From Scotland, they never settled in Ireland, when it was under a sole monarchy and parliament in Edinburgh.  Many Israeli prime ministers served prison sentences under the British.  The United States was not the big supplier of arms to Israel in 1948, its was Czechoslovakia, then a puppet of the Soviet Union.  American Jews put pressure on the American Government, for one reason and one reason only.  Because they are so assimilated in the United States, they do not have access to Halahchic education, so they try to make up for this by espousing radical right wing support of Israel.  The sociology of American Jews has to be thoroughly explored and evaluated, because I have dealt with so many, especially on this website, you claim that they only way you can say you are Jewish is be saying something derogatory about Palestinians and Muslims.  What Great Britain was most concerned about, was getting rid of a problem area, for there was no nurturing by the British whatsoever.  France did more nurturing for Algeria, after its bloody 1954-1962 War of Independence.  For Algeria today is definitely ruled by thugs.  You are finding a lot of enemies, but is that it, everybody is an enemy.  There is a big difference between enemies, and givens.  If an independent Palestine has to interact with Israel, that is strictly a given.

Typo:  I meant to say HALACHIC Law.

I understand your complex figures. My knowledge of the Middle East problem has grown slowly. So please help me to answer some questions before I continue making my own analysis.

I would like to know who Hamas and Fatah are in term of the categories the Palestine created. I knew the Israeli settlers came with some categories right. Only those who has the mother line of Isreali blood could enter to the Israeli nation state. Is there the same categories made by the Palestine communities? Thanks.

The line of descent for Jews and Arabs are completely different.  Judaism is probably the most literature based religion, after Buddhism.  Halaka is the collective name for all the Jewish laws and rituals.  This runs very deeply into Israeli society.  Under Halachic Law someone is Jewish when their mother was.  This applies to me, I had a Hungarian Calvinist father (actually he was a staunch Communist, but his family was devoutly Calvinist) and a Sephardic Jewish mother.  Whenever I went through my long interviews with Israeli immigration, this was always brought up, and they would exclaim "You are Jewish!"  An immigration agent, not a rabbi or a dayan (a religious judge).  Arab is more like Irish, it is in your blood, even though genetic research shows that Jews have genetic material that originated in the Middle East, and are genetically related to Arabs.  Fatah is a political movement founded in 1959. This is what is synonymous with Yasir Arafat and the Palestine LIberation Organization, except after the Oslo Accords, it transformed from the Palestine LIberation Organization into the Palestinian Authority.  Hamas was founded in 1984, and it is a continuation of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.  When we are talking about Palestinians accepted into their communities, if someone comes from outside and says I am one of you, then it will be verified by family names, like any other genealogy.  Jews are a little more difficult, because of a long history of intermarriage and assimilation, but you can test someone's DNA to prove that they are Jewish.  What applies right now is the people currently living there.  Israel was a refuge for the persecuted and displaced, especially after World War II and the great influx that came in there from the Soviet Union.  But the given is, the Israelis are there now, and so are the Palestinians and they have not been all that comfortable with the Israeli presence.  So it is finding the answers and implementing them, to create some type of coexistence among them.

Every situation is very unique. Nothing can be the same in this world. Examples help us to see the similarities and the differences, but the solution to apply in a particular context has to come out from its own problem. This is why the history of the area of conflict is very important to understand, to map it in details.

Learning from the natural law, especially to address to the world history, as I see, before the UN was concieved, the winner of the war would have to determine what suppose to regulate. Taking the example of the roles of Great Britain to remap the area of Middle East except some of the Muslim holy land, showed the authority that came out from the vision of the winner. For this relocation of the Isreali people from everywhere after the WWII, especially the Holocaust, it was not an easy task not only for those who had the moral responsibility, but also within the society itself. I can see its impact up to now as it shown on the large numbers of political parties in Israel right now. 102 partieas, surely are very expensive. You can name them from the more conservative to very modern in their political world views. We can not simplify this reality. It is what is called a democratic society. I do not want to simplify the reality in this world, but you can find people who tend to think homogeneity and heterogeneity.  The way we think will determine the way we live. Religion can be ideological to shape people mind to disconnect them from the essences of their spiritual heritages to serve this life.

For the solution of Palestine-Israeli conflict, this basic acknowledgement needs to be accepted. While taking the understanding into a consideration, it should be aware about how each space within our resources can be shared with other. I am working right now with the gap of access within different groups in Papua society comparing to the rest of Indonesia. Bringing the peace as the perspective has to be seen as the final price. Bringing gap on economical education etc, can only be done, when the local people have their peace in their life. Peace helps them to think broadly, to vision, to discovery something without fear. Fear does not have any help for us to envision something larger than what we have seen.

In my other comment to respond to the discussion with Tim Upham, I have mentioned about how important to link the economic efforts systematically with the deep understanding of religious openess base on a peaceful way of thinking. We might say that it relates to the heterogeneity or homogeneity paradigm of thoughts. In my experiences, it always interweaves.

On the top of that, we need a leadership. UN can play very important roles to determine the involvement of international parties which have caused to the chaos in the Middle East. Two state solution needs to be implied with the perspective that all parties have to respect to the peace in this world.

I could write for hours on this reflection especially to get down the details on the process, however I would like to stop now.  We are praying for Palestine and Israeli people who are in their struggles to reach peace. There is always a price to pay for something very essensial we want to get. Peace is very essential that everyone in this world would like to have.

Are there still guerilla activities of insurrection against the government of Indonesia in Papua?  As you said one area of conflict, taps into another.  The Israeli-Palestinian issue is always front page news.  But lesser known conflicts are only accepted by the esoteric.  I mentioned Congo as an example, but Congo is typical of many areas in Africa.  When the colonials withdrew, it left a power vacuum that many armed groups are still trying to fill today.  In many ways, that also happened to the Arabs, including the Palestinians.

The number of people whom you call "guerilla" are small. They actually were created by the Dutch which was our previous colonizer. The issue in Papua is justice. It is a rich area which remains poverty to the local people. It is like in Congo as well. However Congo's war is sank under the Palestine-Israel conflict. It shows how important the conflict in the middle east to our entire world. Could you help me to analyse why it is so?



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