Dear Joe A.
How far back in history would you prefer we go to assess the current Arab-Israeli situation, 2014, 1973, 1967, 1948, 70, 1200BC? History, if we read it, it will give us perspective as we try to solve current problems, be they race, religion, military or political. "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness....Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." G. Santayana, 1905
Let me pose this to you: how and when did Judaism, Christianity and Islam begin? Judaism was one of if not the first monotheistic religions (Joseph circa 1745 BC) and the first (to my knowledge) whose believers recorded conversations/ instructions from their G-d. Neither can you prove or disprove these, but look at what resulted from them: a more stable social arrangement which relied less on a tyrannical, despotical or hereditary ruler and more on an elected committee of elders; not perfect, but better).
Here's what I get from Jesus the Christ or Christianity: We have a holy (humble, honest, skilled tradesman, respected by most of whom who heard him speak) man, who preached about 2000 years ago. He took a/the next step in monotheism: the direct communication of man with God along with the reduced need for intercession of a priesthood. (Note that people being people, the Roman Church developed an intercessory hierarchy that was not shaken until Luther's 95 Theses in 1517.)
What are the teachings and methods of promulgation of Christianity? We teach the Ten Commandments (Old Testament) and Love one another as yourself (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. New Testament). Of course, there were flawed people who "practised" Christianity over the last 2000 years, but remember this: Christians as a whole stopped killing those who believed differently or in a different method of practising Christianity more than 500 years ago. This IS progress!
Now look at Islam. Mohammad was a robber of caravans who reformed in about 632. The religion that he and his successors develped nevertheless kept murder of other men as part of their religion. The Shiites and Sunnis are at it today! It is mandated that those who leave the religion are apostates who must be killed. Those who commit adultery (women mostly) must be killed. Those who demean the Prophet must be killed. Those who fight in war against Islam must be killed. And those who will not convert, even after a period of paying Jizya, must convert or be killed.
When did the last Christian martyr kill a bunch of non-believers in order to go to Heaven? When did the last Muslim kill a bunch of non-believers to go to Paradise. Answer: yesterday, maybe today!
One does not need an equal number of "Palestinians" to discuss present day Arab-Israeli relations, merely to read history. Arab leaders in 1948 encouraged some 800,000 Arabs to leave the new State of Israel, promising them not just the right of return but to the land and possessions of the Jews. What did the Arab leaders then do? They kicked some 800,000 Jews out of their native (since about 70AD) countries. What did Israeli leaders do? They took in those 800,000 expelled Jews AND made citizens of those Arabls who remained in Israel!
Fly over the Middle East (or Google Earth it). As you apporach you will see brown desert from the North, East or South, then nothing but green that is Israel. The Israelis have made the desert bloom. The Arabs have done nothing much with their oil wealth but become hedonists and rich promoters of Jihad. The Israelis do not march with placards saying Kill the Jews, Kill Americans, or Kill Non-believers. The Israelis neither hoist their children upon fences as shields, nor fire 3500 rockets into Gazan neighborhoods, nor set up military installations under schools, hospitals or Synagogues, nor dig tunnels into Gaza to kill Arabs. The Israelis provide, water, natural gas, electricity and cement to Gaza to this day. What did Hamas do with the cement? They built some 45, concrete, formed-section tunnels instead of houses, etc.
No, Joe, with respect, you don't need "Palestinians" to be part of any discussion. There is no dealing with Hamas or Islam except with force.
Let me leave you with this joke: "To whom does the land of Israel belong?
An Israeli sense of humor at the UN set the record straight....A representative from Israel began: 'Before beginning my talk, I want to tell you something about Moses. When he struck the rock and it brought forth water, he thought, "What a good opportunity to have a bath!" Moses removed his clothes, put them aside on the rock and entered the water. When he got out and wanted to dress, his clothes had vanished. A Palestinian had stolen them!
A Palestnian representative jumped up and furiously shouted, "What are you talking about? The Palestinians weren't there then!"
The Israeli representative smiled and said, "And now that we have made that clear, I will begin my talk."