Thursday 8 January 2009

Thought Picnic: Palestine

Cannot stand the spin

The news junkie in me has started a news Lent very early; I have completely starved myself of news and completely switched off the news channels because they are all camped out on the matter of Gaza.

I have channel-hopped between Cartoon Network and Boomerang keeping my mind away from the misery, the suffering and the lies.

The news has been spun off the realms of information and it has become atrocious propaganda peddling of the most absurd kind, we are expected to believe all sorts of convoluted opinions rather than address the basic facts on the ground.

Addressing legitimacies

The legitimate needs for the nationhood of Israel in some place of approximation derived from some adherence to a holy writ that asserts the promise of Canaan to Abraham and his seed in Biblical times cannot be disputed for all sorts of reasons.

However, the legitimate rights of the people of Palestine who were displaced 60 years ago by the writ of the United Nations where 55% of the land was given to the Jews for the land of Israel and the contemporaneous occupiers then shunted into the remaining 45% without adequate redress cannot be ignored.

This constitutes the powder keg that the Middle East has become and represents how peace would almost be impossible in the Middle East until a man or woman properly weighs those different and critical legitimate concerns and brings an unambiguous, even-handed, visionary and accommodating deal to both sides.

The rhetoric within the history

The whole idea that Israel can be completely wiped off the map by any force or nation is hogwash. It just feeds the rhetoric necessary to run untrammelled through the disputed lands with matchless force in the unattainable quest for peace.

We cannot divorce the creation of the state of Israel from the deep contrition of Europe and the United States for allowing the Holocaust and the compelling expiatory exercise that expedited the creation of Israel without properly negotiated terms for the people of Palestine with respect to the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

It sometimes gives weight to the thought that President Ahmedinejad suggested at one time that a land for the Jews which would probably not be called Israel should really have been created somewhere in Europe rather than in the Middle East.

Is there a new Biblical captivity about?

At the back of my mind I remember the Biblical histories of Jews that suggest that Israel and Judea has always been a nation in flux depending on the relationship of their leaders and the people with God. They were mostly in conflict with the neighbouring tribes and sometimes overrun and taken into captivity until they re-established their relationship with God.

It makes one wonder if the nation is kicking against the goads for another wave of the cycle of Biblical events since the all claims derive from those historical links. It would send a shudder down the spines of all protagonists if the natural ebb and flow of the Jewish nation is interfered with by belligerence that simply exacerbates an untenable situation.

Getting to solutions

This is where the United States has not been a useful broker for peace, brow-beating Palestine into terms they would just have to accept because of the status quo will not kill the aspirations of a people for a land to a call theirs and it would not obliterate the claims of dispossession that others have made for over 60 years.

Be it the 1948 lines, the 1967 lines or the new lines drawn by the wall as a demarcation boundary between Israel and Palestine; some force for good has to be dispassionate about this issue regardless of old allegiances and deliver a plan that all can gather round and all can accommodate with compromise and negotiated for all the people in the dispute.

The Middle East conflict is no more a matter of who is right or who is wrong; the issue of defence and/or revenge is simply symptomatic of a deeper conflict that needs bold and courageous unravelling.

It cannot be assuaged by inaccurate missiles or precision guided missiles – just imagine if Palestine were just as formidably armed as Israel and matched Israel bomb for bomb and missile for missile – I am sure the guarantee of mutual self-destruction would have yielded a kind of peace settlement a long time ago. There are uneven hands in this game.

Between genocide or peace

The implacable extremists (be they settlers, fundamentalists or terrorists, they are all undesirable for peace in the Middle East ) on both sides have to be made to see the futility of efforts for better offers to the majority of the people on sides of the conflict.

In the end, tanks and amazing military force can destroy buildings, institutions and kill people but if anyone thinks the bullets and bombs of one mighty nation seeking peaceful co-existence can subjugate a cause just as passionate as it draws support and the compassion from humanity and deny the legitimate yearnings of a people for land, peace, justice and fairness – you will need a genocide worse than the Holocaust to achieve that.

The war must stop.


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