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My despairing fantasy of war

Nothing else has ended the occupation, nothing else is about to, so I’ve begun imagining that an Israeli attack on Iran will do it.

Thinking rationally, I’m against an Israeli attack on Iran 100%, always have been. But over the last several months, a fantasy has been creeping into my mind – a desire that we start the war, and that it go horribly wrong – for Israel, for Iran, for the Middle East, for America, for Europe – directly or indirectly, for the whole world. Something like World War III, just without nuclear weapons, without doomsday; this fantasy has a happy ending, which, after what I’ve described, seems irrational, but that’s the attraction of fantasies – you don’t have to be rational.

So what put this crazy, perverse daydream about runaway war in my head? Despair. Despair that nothing anybody’s tried, and nothing anybody’s thinking of, will end the occupation and change Israel from the oppressive country it’s become into a relatively decent country, which it used to be.

Everything that I, and not just I, once thought would end the occupation, or at least generate momentum toward that goal, has failed. I used to think a hunger strike would be a really effective tactic for the Palestinians; it was recently employed against a universally condemned Israeli practice – detention without possibility of trial – and it barely coaxed a sympathetic comment out of Catherine Ashton.

Before that it was the Palestinians going to the UN – that failed last September. Before that it was the popular resistance, unarmed protest – nobody cares. Before that it was the Goldstone Report – an in-depth condemnation of the occupation at its worst by an internationally respected judge who is even a Zionist Jew – but Israel and organized Jewry defeated it.

Before that, it was Obama and “tough love.” Before that, and continuing to this day, it was the Palestinian Authority’s crackdown on terrorism. Before that, it was Israeli unilateral withdrawal. Before that, it was the Labor-Meretz peace camp. Before that, it was the Oslo Accord.

What’s left to hope for now? A third intifada, Palestinian “people power”? Ultimately, the only way the Palestinians can throw off the occupation is by getting the West to pressure Israel into giving it up – and the West, as should be clear by now, doesn’t give a shit. Against that monolith of indifference, all this BDS stuff is marginal; the Western world will not do what’s necessary to force Israel to get off the Palestinians’ necks. I truly believe the Palestinians could begin starving themselves to death en masse in protest against a half-century of Israeli tyranny, and the powers-that-be in the West, the only part of the world with any power over Israel, would let it happen.

So if the Palestinians want to throw off the occupation, the only way is to defeat Israel militarily. That seems unlikely (and anyway it’s not my idea of a solution). Or they have to convince Israel to give them citizenship and the vote, which seems no less unlikely (and which I don’t think would work out, either).

Did I miss anything? Any arguably realistic path to justice for the Palestinians and decency for Israel that hasn’t been tried? I’m at a loss. So what I’m left with is despair. And in that despair, I imagine the one thing that would get the West to force Israel into line, to force it to let the Palestinians be free and, additionally, to stop attacking foreign countries in the name of self-defense – and that one thing is for Israel to do something that severely hurts the West, like starting a war with Iran that draws in the U.S. and maybe Europe, that gets American and NATO soldiers killed, that disrupts the world oil market, that sets off global Islamic terrorism, that destabilizes the Middle East.

If such a set of consequences were put in motion by an Israeli attack on Iran, which everyone in the world opposes, that might do it. How many people would die, whether the world backlash against Israel (and Diaspora Jews) would suffice with an end to the occupation, whether Israel would survive the war and its aftermath as a place Jews want to live in – none of that is part of the fantasy I entertain. Those are all rational considerations. No, I indulge strictly in the irrational – Israel attacks Iran, the world goes dark, the world glares at Israel, Israel realizes it’s done terrible things that it must undo, Israel finally learns the meaning of humility and respect. The End.

And so much for fantasy. In reality, I think Israel will attack Iran soon, and while the war probably won’t go as apocalyptically as I describe above, it’ll almost certainly go badly enough, and not only won’t it end happily, it won’t really end at all. I think a war initiated by Israel will crank up the hatred and violence in the Middle East to a significantly higher level, and the time between wars will get even shorter.

By ruling the Palestinians and enforcing its military superiority by attacking other countries, Israel is not acting in self-defense, but in aggression. This is no future for a Jewish state in the Middle East, but that’s the future it’s chosen. Sooner or later Israel is going to start one war too many – maybe against Iran, maybe against Lebanon, or Gaza, or Egypt, or who knows who. And then it will no longer be a country where Jews want to live, and the occupation will end, together with the rest of the Jewish state.

Again, this one is not a fantasy – there’s no happy ending, and nothing about it is irrational.

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    1. aristeides

      My fantasy is speculating how great an atrocity it would take for the world to turn on Israel and disarm it. But reality always overtakes me.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Richard Witty

      I don’t despair, as in motivation to be desparate.

      Even limited war is a difficult fantasy. The deterrent comments by the Northern Tier IDF towards Hezbollah will probably succeed in reducing or eliminating their response to an attack on Iran. (Warning them not to take cues from Iran and unleash an onslaught on Israeli civilians, in response to a limited strike on Iranian solely military targets).

      The one effort that hasn’t been tried by the left and convention, is of the nature of “as if” actions.

      A decision has to be made by the left, beyond what to complain about, to an actual unified proposal.

      Assuming that that will be the green line two-state (noting the impossibility of a multi-cultural/national single-state), the steps are:

      1. Mark the green line. Don’t let it be forgotten. I prefer a green thread, present but thin and fragile, requiring human restoration of its relevance (not relying on bigger powers)

      2. NEVER cross the green line without permission of the PA. Get the equivalent of a visa. Authorize a dummy ngo in Israel, a quasi embassy, to issue the visas or whatever form of permission they regard as relevant. If the PA is worried that that would be too provocative, then have an Israeli NGO issue the permits, with communication to the PA (the web works).

      3. Whenever one buys products from across the green line, by whomever, voluntarily pay a sales tax of 6% to the PA or designated NGO.

      4. For those leftists planning to build east of the green line (yes), seek a building permit from the PA (or equivent NGO), in addition to the Israeli state. And, if the PA refuses permission, then don’t build. Actually, some dissenter should make a request in a form that could only be denied, then make a scene about it, so that the simulated requirement for PA permission is widely known.

      The green line is disappearing. It takes concerted effort to keep it relevant.

      Even if it only stays “as if”, that is further than the green line ignored by left and right, which they both do currently.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Zohar

      “Become into a relatively decent country, which it used to be.” Do you mean, e.g., “decent” as in the Kefar-Quasem massacre? Or in Sharon’s 50s Gaza murders? Or… (you name it))
      (P.S.: I don’t suggest that Palestinians are any better – each of these two savage tribes would gladly eat the other’s liver any time of day or night).

      Reply to Comment
    4. Kolumn9

      Larry, I am starting to think that you are actually capable of seeing reality but are sometimes overwhelmed by fantasies driven by pointless righteous anger (righteous according to your ideology, not that it really is Righteous). Have you ever stopped to wonder whether your assumptions are fundamentally flawed given the terrible track record you have in believing in the power of things that have had no impact whatsoever?

      Also, let me point out, that it is highly unlikely that Israel ‘will no longer be a country where Jews want to live’, though it is very possible that it is a country where people that think like you will choose not to live. It is also possible that Israel will no longer be a country where anyone *can* live, along with the surrounding countries. The occupation will certainly end in that scenario. It is however altogether unlikely that the Jewish state will end while the Palestinians will get anything that they have self-righteously defined as justice. That is the tragedy for people that follow your line of reasoning.

      But there is hope. Once the Palestinians embrace reality and pragmatism they too can achieve their own state which may or may not be prosperous based entirely on their own capabilities. They would however in this scenario be making some compromises from their current rejectionist stance which all reasonable people should be encouraging them to make.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Kolumn9

      Richard, and what effect do you think the adoption of your ideas by 2% of the Israeli population will have on the situation?

      Reply to Comment
    6. Richard Witty

      “Richard, and what effect do you think the adoption of your ideas by 2% of the Israeli population will have on the situation?”

      Simply that the green line will remain relevant, that everyone that crosses will be aware that they are crossing a border, and not take it for granted.

      As I said, both the left and the right currently take it for granted.

      A change is needed.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Ah, Richard… the tangled web of politics, even within the “same camp” seems to elude you. If you go through the PA in that fashion, you’ll alienate a good proportion of the activist community on both sides. 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    8. AMIR.BK

      This article’s conclusions is a demonstration of the futility of ‘historicist’ political analysis, in the level of 972 articles and journalism in general you shouldn’t bother appealing to grand historical movements but rather to motivate to immediate personal action.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Kolumn9

      Richard, 2% being aware that they are crossing a ‘border’ doesn’t translate to ‘everyone that crosses will be aware that they are crossing a border’. Nowhere in your list of items is there anything that would cause the other 98% to think so. This is especially the case when that 2% barely crosses the green line in the first place while the people that do cross it on a regular basis couldn’t give a little rodent’s posterior about symbolic green thread.

      I would say though that an idea of having the left persistently carrying out protests at the green line with posters saying something like ‘welcome to palestine’ on one side and ‘welcome to israel’ on the other in itself might achieve some passing media attention. However, the left activists would actually first have to agree among themselves that the green line is a symbolic border between israel and palestine and not a border between 1967 palestine and 1948 palestine. That is why such a protest probably isn’t going to take place. 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    10. Yaron

      There are a lot of holes in this story, just like there should be in any opinionated article. But this does not mean that the full story has been covered. The clearest thing missing out in every opinion about Israel in place op the West Bank is the unlimited hatred of Muslims against Jews, which does not end in the West Bank, on the contrary, it continues in a tenfold factor a couple of thousands of miles to the east. If an atom bomb is being build there to cause a serious thread for the Jews is not just a question of perception, it is a logical thing. Wether or not Israel should attack is a second thing, but it makes sense.
      But another thing is what could be done to end the hate. This hate sits deep and it has not so much to do with the Israeli control as the critics think. Israeli control only makes hate worse, but it was already there from the beginning. The hate caused terrorism. The hate caused war. The hate caused intifadah, the hate caused separation. Looking at how history developed, there was not so much choice in the way Israel could act.
      The Arab hate is not mirrored by a Jewish hate. Jews simply mistrust Arabs, but they don’t hate. They are scared. That is why they build walls and attack before others attack. That is what scared people do. But the angst is not unrealistic. It is real. If your dog keeps biting, after you took it to a training five times, what can you do? If you are humane, you don’t kill it; you put a fence around it. You try to be as good as possible. Despite all the incidents and reports, Israel is doing its best to be as humane as possible to the Palestinians. This does not imply it is humane enough.
      In order to act, we have to take every single issue into the picture. That is our human obligation.
      I love if everything would work out, but it will not, and I don’t think Israel is the only key-element in any effort to make that happen. Israel is not an angel and to survive it cannot be. There are basically two words that should reflect its stand: strict and just. If Israel would only keep to these words, it would help a lot. But without an opponent that also obeys these rules, it is hard to keep playing fair.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Love the Arab=dog metaphor, Yaron. Fit perfectly.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Larry,
      The Picasso you chose as article cover is a good warning to yourself. I think Noam at one point has suggested just letting the occupation expansion happen (as though there is any choice in the matter). I came across a maxim, shortly after the re-election of Bush, which seems to apply to the Israeli non-right and, maybe, 972 itself: “We cannot defeat you; so we prepare the ground for after your defeat.”
      You, I, may well be gone before real change comes. Looking at what the Palestinians endure in the Bank (I have said elsewhere here that I think Gaza is doomed to absorption into Egypt), I am amazed by their life responses at times. Just as the underground tunnels into Gaza, some able to convey cars, are a marvel of endurance and inginutity, I see small marvels in the Bank. Humans are trying to do something slightly new there; not all there, but some. All I can see is supporting them, contributing what one can. I do not think what is new will endure indefintely; much of American civil rights organization collapsed after the Civil Rights Act really took effect. But as marvels did appear in that movement, marvels are happening in the Bank, and more will come. This is a Gandhian faith. Not of mass fasting unto death. Whatever happens will not be of the outside to say. It will only be of that lived, generationally lived, experience.
      As to people like you, I quote this:
      “From the heat of their first blaze to its battered dying down, our glowing words shall have set bounds to the abyss.” Last sentence of Edmond Jabes’ “The Book of Shares.”
      Thank you for giving this dull life a little reason to think–including that Picasso.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Richard Witty

      Right now the green line is invisible, not there.

      If there is even a green thread, it will be there, seen, understood even if a mystery to those that were born after 1987 or so.

      Try it and see what happens. Are the police going to break up conspicuously marking the green line? Maybe.

      My sense is that Israel will undertake a limited attack on probably three sites, to prove that they can, not an all out attempt to destroy the program.

      Iran will then have the decision of whether to undertake the MAD option, or a limited response and where.

      If in response, they undertake the MAD option (raining Hezbollah rockets), then Iran and Lebanon will be destroyed, and with the world’s blessing. If they respond with any terror on civilians in other places, they will similarly lose the credibility that they have. They will start to lose China, Russia (especially if they hit in a locale where China and Russia also consider important to their relations. Even a US target or even Israeli embassy target, the US will get to say to China and Russia, “now choose”, us or Iran.)

      Their only possible military response will be more of what they are already doing.

      You’ve state and others have postulated that Iran is not nutty, not committed to the MAD thesis, as a basis of trust.

      I now believe that Israel will undertake a limited strike.

      The messaging now to Hezbollah, is preliminary to that, maybe a couple weeks away.

      They may choose that a bark is sufficient for their purposes hopefully.

      The best that the left can do is to not encourage Iran to respond militarily, to regard every action as a first action, not as a conditioned response.

      Anger does not serve anyone in this.

      This is similar to the Cuban missile crisis, though not nearly as dangerous immediately to anyone.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Jack

      Just wait, the occupation will end, when Israel annex the West Bank the apartheid is a fact Israel will eventually succumb to a one state solution. Another indication is the demographic “threat” that will give rise to apartheid which in turn will give rise to one state for jews/palestinians.

      Reply to Comment
    15. aristeides

      Posting the “Guernica” image may not be sending the message Derfner intends.

      In 1937, the world was outraged by the atrocity. By the end of WWII, bombing of civilian populations was business as usual. After the war, Franco was allowed to continue in power, despite his history.

      Outrage is fleeting, intervention is too much trouble. And atrocities go on.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Palestinian

      “diaspora Jews” ! as if all the Jews belong there but they resettled somewhere else ….

      Reply to Comment
    17. Maor

      Larry, the majoy flaw of everything you could think of that didn’t work and might work (though you seem to forget a few thousands of missiles and suicide attacks but ok..) is that these are all means that are all unilateral means to achieve a political outcome (not 100% sure what it is in your opinion) that do not involve the perhaps only relevant political actor that can make it happen. How about creating a real process that includes giving up the “destroying Israel” and “returning to Haifa” crap and making peace? This is the only way the dominant world would accept.

      In addition, it’s a bit weird to see someone who can’t imagine anything worst in the world than the continuation of an Israeli control over a few hundreds km2.

      Reply to Comment
    18. chet380

      On various sites, several posters with military-technology knowledge have indicated that Iran possesses anti-ship missiles for which the US Navy has limited defence and if that is correct, then the US shipping in the Persian Gulf is under serious threat if the Israelis bomb Iran unilaterally. After the loss of the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of USN servicemen, questions would be asked about why Americans had to die to preserve Israeli hegemony and there would be a severe backlash against the “special relationship”.

      This, as is Mr. Derfner’s, a fantasy since precisely because of the previously-mentioned consequences, Israel would never attack Iran without explicit US support.

      For anyone denigrating the deadliness of anti-ship missiles, please be reminded of the necessity of the British navy having to withdraw from the coast of Argentina when they were struck by missiles for which they had no defence – the Argentinians sank two ships with a limited number of missiles – the Iranians have thousands.

      As this appears to be the definitive article re the Iranian anti-ship missile capability, I recommend it for its careful analysis:


      Reply to Comment
    19. Piotr Berman

      There are a Russian anti-ship missiles with no known countermeasures. There is a story that American purchased a few from “second hand” at they could not figure out what can be done about them. In the vicinity of the target they accelerate to supersonic speed and made turns. Anti-missile technologies works nicely with slowly flying Qassams and such. And ships do not make evasive manouvers against supersonic missiles.

      There is a big ambiguity of Iran got them or not. Hezbollah used an anti-ship missile once, and that was one fewer operational Israeli navy ship. So one can guess that a salvo of several such missiles can overwhelm anti-missiles and disable, or worse, an American ship. And tankers are like ducks. Although tankers are much hardier than navy ship: huge and crude oil is not easy to explode. While navy ships are full of explosives, a good hit starts a chain reaction.

      The real dangers are in reactions in Pakistan, China and Russia that may focus on Afghanistan.

      Reply to Comment
    20. aristeides

      The problem, Chet, is that this outcome has already been anticipated and the spin is already underway to blame Iran, not Israel, the way the wifebeater insists it was his wife’s fault for getting her face in the way of his fist.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Richard Witty

      My understanding is that the counter-measures are built into the ships themselves, in the form of redundant hull systems.

      There is no “super-weapon”.

      Reply to Comment
    22. John Yorke

      Larry, it’s time to stop thinking in such a two-dimensional fashion.

      The present (and past) conflict has always been one between Israelis and Palestinians, Arab and Jew, them over there and us here where we are. It has remained like this for well over six decades; the matter staying undecided in all that time.

      What do you notice about this arrangement?

      There is no third dimension to it. It’s an all or nothing, devil-take-the-hindmost situation; neither side giving in or emerging with any sort of credit after years of constant struggle.

      Then why has no one ever thought to introduce a third dimension? After all, just how difficult can it be?

      Think of it like this.

      In virtually every example of the’Western’film genre, there is that final shoot-out between the good guys in the white hats and the somewhat less than good in the black ones.

      There has only ever been one well-known ‘western’ where a three-cornered duel to the death has taken place, thereby departing significantly from the customary formula.

      This the famous shoot-out scene near the end of ‘The Good, the Bad and The Ugly.’ with Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef.

      And that only works out because ‘The Good’ has engineered that it should be so.

      So why not give both parties in the 64 year-old gunfight something to distract them, a third target that diverts their attention from each other and onto a much more immediate danger?


      Reply to Comment
    23. XYZ

      John Yorke-
      What you are suggesting actually happened in the First Gulf War of 1991. Egypt, Syria, Saudia Arabia and Israel were all allies in the war against Saddam Hussein. There was a cartoon published right after the war in which a Jew and an Arab are hugging each other and saying “Hurray….Saddam is defeated!” but in the next panel, each one pushes the other away and they are glaring at each other.
      We have a similar situation today in which Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni forces are allied against Iran, Syria and other Shi’ite elements.
      As you can see, your proposals do not make for permanent changes in perception. It is merely an example of the old Arab adages “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” and “me against my brother; me and my brother against my cousin; me, my brother and my cousin against the outsider”. It’s an old story.

      Reply to Comment
    24. @XYZ,

      I agree with your analysis and it, in a conventional sense, you are correct.

      But what if this third entity cannot be defeated, is always there, takes up permanent residence in the whole affair, what then?

      In such an arrangement, the net result is a total stalemate; nothing moves, no further aggressive actions can be taken by either side; to do so would invite this third party to play havoc with the other two.

      Then a form of what might be termed ‘peace’comes into being. And, when you have ‘peace’ or, more correctly, a type of lasting non-violence, much more can be accomplished in such an atmosphere than has hitherto been the case.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Doreen Said

      I completely agree; I always believed that a 3 party occupation (in my mind it has always been aliens) would be the only solution, get the Palestinians and Israelis to fight side by side. Then realistically I realized I can’t count on aliens.
      Sadly this is the only realistic and available action that would forward the conflict to end now, and not in another 60 years of fruitless negotiations, endless boycotts, and increasing indifference.

      Reply to Comment
    26. @Doreen.

      I love your analogy of aliens getting in on the act and forcing unity between any warring factions that happen to be around.
      But as XYZ says, once we defeat the aliens, (humans, microbes or whatever always defeat them, don’t they), what then?

      Anyway, we don’t need aliens. What I have in mind is more along the lines of Frankenstein’s monster. We can so easily create our very own ‘aliens’ from stuff that been lying around in serious quantity since forever. The human mind has so much capacity for imagination and thought that summoning up such simulacra is virtually child’s play to beings such as ourselves.

      The solution is SO EASY that I’m amazed no one has every thought of it before.

      You have an enemy and you want to vanquish him.
      Simple – you create another enemy of even greater power, power impervious to even your own and your enemy’s combined. Then let him loose.

      End of story, finis, termination, problem all gone away.

      Reply to Comment
    27. @XYZ, Additional.

      It is merely an example of the old Arab adages “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”

      I would refer to to my blog on The Times of Israel ‘Ops and blogs’ section where you will find my own ‘interpretation’ of that very pertinent saying.


      Reply to Comment
    28. Chepsky

      What’s this I read?
      Palestinians hate Jews??? Terrorists/Suicide Bombers??? So they just suddenly hated Jews out of the evil of their hearts? For no reason coming from a total Vaccum? They must be evil to the core.

      Of course 65 years of Israeli Murder, demolitions and evictions of Palestinians have nothing to do with this “hate”. Incinerating Palestinian children with white phosphorous means nothing to them. Palestinians are animals after all. (Isn’t that how Nazis killed Jews by first de-humanizing them?)
      I just love they way Arabs are given the tag of quasi Nazis. Far easier to view Arabs as born evil than deal with the cause of that “hate” – Namely the Zionist Project of Jewish Supremicism.

      Incase some Jews from Russian have forgotten, Arabic is based on Hebrew language and culture.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Yaron

      I wish it was not true, but why is it that there are a considerable number of Muslims living in Israel and next to none in the Arab states? There used to be. Most of them and their offspring live in Israel now.
      In the 19th century, Ahad Ha’am already reported to the Zionists that if they would decide on the Levant as the future home of the Jews, they would meet a hostile environment. Despite the fact that Jewish settlers bought land in a fair way, not by conquering, they had to cope with this by protecting themselves.
      The hate grew out of the situation and is not just a Ismail-Isaac thing (although this should not be neglected, but underneath religious matters, there is always another more important reason). When someone hates, it is not necessarily his fault. It is also not something to be angry about. It is an emotion, just like love. Why acknowledge love and not acknowledge hate? It is a rightful emotion and a means to come to answers, because if you acknowledge hate, you can ask ‘why’ and look for a solution.
      The Jews founded a society that was a threat to the existing population. Jews were modern: they introduced modern farming and industrialization. They were educated. (Try not to look at this as ‘better things.’) The local Arab population were mostly tribal, uneducated, cattle people. The contrast between these two worlds was too big, besides the cultural differences: language, religion, habits.
      Some Jews reacted to that by trying to seek common ground and create a dual society, like Weizman and Faisal tried unsuccessfully. Others were more ‘practical’ and simply wanted to chase away ‘the others,’ that were threatening their lives and land.
      I don’t think it is easy to act on hate, especially not by fighting.
      Your statement about qualifying Arabs as quasi Nazis, completely misses the point, just like attacking Zionism misses the point, but a lot of people love to stress these extremes in order to silence the discussion. But in this way, we will never find a way to meet these distant ends meet.
      And we have to, there is no other way. The only way to do that is to look at each others weaknesses (and strengths). Basically, if the hate from the Arab side stops, the violence from Israeli side should stop. So whose turn is it to act, you think?
      I am the last one to defend Israel’s malignant side but a lot of protesters only focus on that. They do rightfully so from the point of view that Israel is the stronger party here. But that disregards a lot of other factors.
      Israel could learn a lot from South Africa and Northern Ireland in bringing different cultures together. My concern is that Israelis are fed up with the ‘leftists’ trying to bring people together because it did not help. Like I stated before, they are scared and they want to live in a safe country, just like anyone else, just like the Arabs…
      I just want to be proud of this great country. Of its Zionists that came home and its Arabs that stayed home to receive us back. If they had only acted accordingly…but is never too late to correct history. That is my vision.

      Reply to Comment
    30. sh

      I think the solution has to come from inside, from Israelis no matter from what “sector”. Palestinians are demonstrating on their side of the wall, skunk, tasers and bullets notwithstanding. More of the silent majority, watching and waiting for salvation either from the outside world or the heavens above has to join them on our side of the wall. Masses and masses of living bodies, wherever the injustice occurs. Palestinians living under military rule are completely defenseless not only against an army that is there only to protect the settlers and the real estate interests of successive governments, but also, with ever-increasing virulence, vigilante settlers. Soldiers and police – agents of so called law-enforcement – stand back with arms folded while attacks, thieving, lynching and wanton destruction of nature and property takes place. The question really is how long more are we willing to sit and whine while every principle we ever stood for is being smashed to bits under our noses? The world will probably take a stand when we do.
      Yaron, for your information the Jews who arrived in Israel in the first aliya (unlike the second one, these stayed) were not that educated and modern; those financing their arrival from abroad were. The great cultural gulf between Palestinians and Jews is just another of the many myths useful to ideologies.

      Reply to Comment
    31. John Yorke

      @ SH,

      After more than three generations of conflict and the terrible events that have taken place and those that may yet come to pass, do you think an internal solution is still a possibility?

      Let’s get real. This struggle has gone on for far too long and even though there may be many on both sides who would wish it otherwise, things cannot be patched up between them if all they have to work with is idealism and some very fragile hopes for forbearance by all concerned.

      Mankind does not function in such a manner; it never has. One day, maybe it will ; but that day cannot be today, nor will it be tomorrow.

      There has to be good solid reasons for this type of conflict to come to a halt. It cannot be ended by altruistic motives nor can its termination be reached through force of arms or political dealing.

      The situation will not go away on its own; it must be given a good hard shove in the right direction. Only then can the momentum thus imparted start to move matters along towards a peaceful and permanent settlement.

      This confrontation is stuck so axle-deep in the history of a decades-old past that it will need everyone’s shoulder put to the wheel in order to free it from such a mire of bad memories and a multitude of fears for the future.


      If this doesn’t shift it, then nothing ever will.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Yaron

      I fanatically agree that the devision between Jews and Arabs is a fabricated one which serves ideology as you say. But who fabricated it and why? And aknowledging that fact, we are still left with this rather gigantic ideology right in place on the road towards a solution.
      Islam and its leaders preach that the Jews can not have their own state. In the Muslim world it is only accepted that Jews live as second grade civilians under Muslim rule with limited human rights. Ironically, more or less like the Palestinians live now. If the Islam leaders were not so fanatical, they could accept some of ‘their’ people living under Jewish rule, just like a lot of Muslims all over the world live under ‘Christian’ rule. But of course, from a humanitarian point of view, living under ones rule is secondary as long as your (human) rights are respected. But that is not the case in countries ruled by Islam-devoted political leaders. Maybe not Islam is to blame, but the lack of seperation between state and religion. Maybe…

      Just like deciding on violence, you can decide to do something else. Because Israel is the ruling party here, this is exactly what they should do. And I do not mean just building walls.

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    33. sh

      Hold on a second, Yaron. Which country was the first to welcome Jewish fugitives from Spain when most of the others weren’t, to put it gently, mad keen? Islamic Turkey, right? Sure there were occasions when they got a bit shirty, particularly over Shabbetai Tzvi, but apart from that the Jews lived better and less dangerously in the Ottoman lands than they did in Europe. How come we have totally forgiven Christianity for all the iniquities we suffered at their hand and we see Muslims as the greatest monsters of all time? Might it be just another one of those fabricated divisions?

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    34. Kolumn9

      Sh, speak for yourself. I have not forgiven Christianity or Christians or Europeans. They consistently treated Jews worse than the Muslims. Yet Yaron’s description of the status of Jews in the Muslims countries is historically accurate – ‘second grade civilians under Muslim rule with limited human rights’. I would also add with occasional periods of violent persecution.

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    35. Jack

      Your hatred and bigotry for europeans, christians is despicable.

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