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This question:

What is the historical basis of Israeli and Palestinian claims to the land that is now under Israeli control?

Was phrased as follows when I closed it:

Israel or Palestine, whose land is

I know there is struggle between Israel and Palestine over the land which is now recognized as Israel. Palestinians and their supporters (Arabic countries) and Iran claim the land is for Palestinians and has been occupied by Israelis.

Which side is right? is Palestine occupied by Israelis? Should the land be taken back to the Palestinians if they are right?

Why was this question closed? Is the moderator just that much of jerk?

  • technically speaking, even if the mod who had closed it was not a mod, it would have still passed the threshold of 5 close votes anyway. – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Oct 9 '14 at 19:20
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    Flagging for calling moderator a jerk – user4012 Oct 10 '14 at 1:14
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Glad you asked. The mod who closed it probably is a jerk, but there are structural problems with the question that I think are worth addressing, if only for a general insight into how this capricious jerk thinks. It should also be noted that the current revision is better. If it gets re-opened, I'm not all that sad - but I'm personally not all that interested in casting a reopen vote, because this question type is something I dislike.

This question is what I call "a truth question."

On Christianity.SE, we have a class of questions that seek to understand how God "really works." On Skeptics.SE, there is a warning if you put the words "really" or "actually" in the title. Both of those sites are on to a fundamental misuse of Stack Exchange that I clamp down on hard.

That misuse is when a question is seeking to "resolve once and forever" what the "truth" of a long-running question is.

For example:

  • Did the earth evolve or was it created?
  • Is Global Warming destroying our planet, or is it just a hoax?
  • Should gay people be allowed to get married?
  • Who really should have Kashmir: India or Pakistan?
  • Who really owns the Crimea: Ukraine or Russia?
  • Who really should own the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean?

I could go on and on. I could write books about each of these questions. And in the end, its all going to come down to one question: What do you believe?

There are arguments to be made on both sides. There are nutcases on both sides, there are reasonable people on both sides. And the point of politics is often to marshall the best arguments you can.

But in the end, there is no definitively "right" answer - there is only the one you believe.

Contrast the questions above with these:

  • What evidence do {Creationists | Evolutionists} use when confronting {this hole in their theory?}
  • Historically, how much of a temperature range has there been globally?
  • Why does the State Supreme Court of South Carolina say miscegnation is legal, but not homosexual marriage?
  • What was {India|Pakistan}'s argument for Kasmhir?
  • What guarantees did Russia give the Ukraine over Crimea, and what is Russia's justification for changing the deal?
  • Is there an internationally recognized basis for arbitrating an historical claim on the lands between the Jordan & the Med?

Stack Exchange is not a discussion forum. It is a place for facts, well marshaled, answering the direct question at hand.

If you want a debate, start your own forum. If you an argument, read a book.

But don't expect us to be able to definitively settle issues that haven't been solved for hundreds of years. (And yes, the Palestinian question is hundreds of years old, no matter what you think. It predates even 1948!)

So, why did I close it?

Because I'm enough of a jerk to think that Stack Exchange works best when dealing with answerable questions, not debates.

  • I'm totally on board. But maybe there could be a better distinction than between "facts" and "truth"? A fact is, by simplest definition, something that is true, a truth. I think this will thoroughly confuse those for whom English is a second language. Look at, for example, the first sentence of Wikipedia's "fact" entry: "A fact is something that has really occurred or is actually the case." This immediately trips the really/actually heuristic you mentioned. – galdre Oct 14 '14 at 21:43
  • Perhaps distinguishing between the concrete ("fact") vs. the abstract ("truth"), the directly observed ("fact") vs. the indirectly deduced ("truth"), and the objective ("fact") vs. the subjective ("truth")? These seem to me to be the characteristics we prize at SE sites, and the very fact that I cringe to write "subjective ('truth')" reinforces to me that "fact" vs. "truth" isn't well chosen. – galdre Oct 14 '14 at 21:46
  • @ghaldre I agree with you that "truth" isn't a great term - I use it out of habit. The reason I don't like "fact" is that while people may know it in essence, many people will say things like "It is a fact that ... is stupid!" Let's keep thinking up better terms – Affable Geek Oct 16 '14 at 14:30
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Israel or Palestine, whose land is

I know there is struggle between Israel and Palestine over the land which 
is now recognized as Israel. 
Palestinians and their supporters (Arabic countries) and Iran claim the land is 
for Palestinians and has been occupied by Israelis.

Which side is right? is Palestine occupied by Israelis? Should the land be taken back 
to the Palestinians if they are right?

I am the asker of the question, I should first say English is my second language and it may cause some misunderstandings.

No it doesn't the type of questions Geek addresses even in its original version, its just a misunderstanding and just based on this portion Which side is right?

You should have noted the sentences before and after this sentence, I am asking that Palestinians and Arabs believe the land was occupied by Israelis, Are they correct? is it a fact? is it correct? (I should have used correct) as I continue immediately is Palestine occupied by Israelis? it proves what was my purpose, then I continue Should the land be taken back to the Palestinians if they are right? it again means if the occupation is a fact, should the land be taken back to them?

I guessed maybe Jews where there from the time Arabs were there, or even if they migrated there they didn't expel Arabs from their home (they didn't occupied)

I reworded the question to convey these meaning which was in the original question too, and I expect it be re-opened and if it is going to be closed receive a different reason.

By the way answers I received even based on this misunderstanding gave me a new viewpoint which I wouldn't gain in any other way

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    When you are asking "Which side is right?" you are doing a truth question. That to me seemed the only substantive question, ergo my decision. Likewise "Should the land be taken back?" is just an extension thereof. I'm glad you gained new info, but it is still a truth question. – Affable Geek Oct 10 '14 at 14:08
  • I told you that my English is not good, in our language sometimes right and correct have the same word and when I translate my words it occurs – Ahmad Oct 10 '14 at 14:09
  • I get the language barrier, I do. But whether it is "right" or "correct" or "what should be done" they are all conveying the same sentiment which is "Solve this contentious issue for me" or "Evaluate this evidence for me" or "Tell me what to think with all this conflicting evidence." I have more faith in your critical thinking skills than that. – Affable Geek Oct 10 '14 at 14:11
  • I didn't get what you mean, but I agree 'Should the land be taken back ..' is opinion based which could be removed but others are not. As what I explained these are somethings I didn't know, right? – Ahmad Oct 10 '14 at 14:15
  • "Which Side is right?" = wholly opinion. "Should the land be taken back" = wholly opinion. "Is Palestine occupied by Israelis?" = wholly opinion. – Affable Geek Oct 10 '14 at 14:18
  • "Occupied" is a very loaded term. If you say it is occupied, of course it should be returned. Israel doesn't think it is occupying the land - they think it is theirs by right of history and UN Mandate. Likewise, Palestinians do think it is occupied, and that Israel is an aggressor. This is all too much opinion-based to be answerable. – Affable Geek Oct 10 '14 at 14:18
  • I don't think the main question which is "Is Palestine occupied by Israelis?" is opinion based, I also wrote what I mean by occupation in this answer and could elaborate it, the fact is this that I don't know what happened, who were there before establishment of Israel and where from Jews moved there, and what happened to the inhabitants of there, as I asked in the new version. I could modify it by these questions – Ahmad Oct 10 '14 at 14:23
  • That's a much better question: "What is the historical basis of Israeli and Palestinian claims to the land that is now under Israeli control?" – Affable Geek Oct 10 '14 at 14:25
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    Ok, you are admin, if that fit the current answers and my purpose I don't have complain, I am going to modify it – Ahmad Oct 10 '14 at 14:29
  • @AffableGeek The EU, the UN, the ICJ and the overwhelming majority of countries officially use the term "Israeli-occupied territories". It may be a loaded term, but there's only one entity that doesn't call Israel's presence in some areas of Palestine occupation, and that's Israel themselves. – yannis Oct 20 '14 at 8:46

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