Thursday, July 27, 2006

Religion isn't the problem, people are

I don't think religion is the root cause of all Middle East conflict. There are issues of disputed ownership of holy sites and the like, and much of the divisions between peoples there are drawn down religious lines, but that's not the sole issue causing problems.

The Shebaa Farms for instance has no religious significance: its value is in the lands' fertility. In a situation where there are multiple groups (whether those groups are different nations, different religious groups, or groups divided by some other characteristic) competing for a scarce resource, and no clear rules for determining which group has a legitimate claim, then conflict is inevitable.

Follow-on thought: how would one go about implementing clear rules for resolving such disputes which would be fully accepted as legitimate and binding by all involved parties?

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