The Middle East: One More Look
EDITORIAL, 27 Dec 2010
#144 | Johan Galtung
Cairo-Sharm El-Sheikh-Taba-Eilat-Tel Aviv-Haifa-Nazareth-Jericho-Hebron-Bethlehem-Jerusalem-Tel Aviv, by bus: vast stretches of uninhabited, uncultivated land, more than enough to house the “settlers” with swimming pools and spacious housing inside pre-67 Israel rather than using them to establish “facts on the ground”. And Egypt has enormous tracts now being used for the well-to-do, the military and tourism; could be cultivated with water from parabolic mirror desalination. The Jews have made some desert bloom and there is much work waiting inside Israel. And look at Jericho, at 9,000 the oldest city in the world, the arch-neolithic place, and the deepest down place, 1,300 meters below sea level. An attractive green oasis capital for fully recognized Palestine, as opposed to the uninteresting Ramallah. What potentials!
We pass the huge mainly underground prison for Palestinians.
Yes, there is teeming life in Tel Aviv, cafes-restaurants-music-beaches, but organic, or a Google-Microsoft etc. transplant? The cities on the West Bank are so unmistakably rooted in the Middle East, even if Jews throw garbage and excrements on Arabs shopping in the soukhs in Hebron. Even if a Baruch Goldstein on Purim Day 1994, 25 February, fires his gun on the worshippers in the mosque of the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, re-enacting a part of Purim, killing 29 and wounding 150 before they killed him. Even if on Purim day this year some Jews chant in front of Arabs, “Dr Goldstein, we all love you–he aimed at terrorists’ heads squeezed the trigger hard and shot bullets and shot, and shot–“.
There are suicide bombs and snipers and what not, as happens when someone occupies one’s land. Norwegians know how it feels. We did the same even if the occupation included none of the above.
Richard Falk sees prolonged occupation as crime against humanity.
We open Haaretz for some daily tastes of Israeli life:
“Dangerous radicalization within the Arab population”. Cabinet members in a democratic country are discussing the lives of 20 percent of the citizenry as though they are a bunch of potential criminals, while in the background loom a slew of racist laws, rabbis’ letters and demonstrations calling on Jews not to rent apartments to the Arabs who trying to seduce your sister–”
“Pathetic results on international examinations, fewer than half of our students are eligible for a matriculation certificate”
“Just as the occupation corrupts–the religious establishment corrupts the fabric of the state, while the state corrupts the fabric of religion–separate church from state”.
“Did you look at the demonstrators’ smiling faces in Tel Aviv and the calls to burn down the house of foreigners? “pure society” “guarding the “character” of certain communities–the spread of diseases or threats to young women; isn’t this racism? It sounds like it, looks like it, acts like it”. “Proof? Israel absorbed hundreds of thousands of non-Jewish Russian blue-eyed blonds and nobody protested, nobody muttered a word of complaint.”
“The people who preach hatred–the municipal rabbis and the Kahanist MK–are openly leading the racist wave and the political establishment is openly backing them by its actions and silence.”
“What’s the link between the attorney general’s wife and the defense minister’s wife?” (aliens used illegally as housekeepers).
“Residents decry campaign to keep Haredim out of small town”.
“Most Israelis say (former president) Katsav guilty of rape”.
And, the Palestine Authority kills Hamas who kill each other.
And, The Egyptian Gazette: “Aggressive vote-rigging left an atmosphere of bitterness-like-the setback suffered in 1967”. Coptic “Cleric to launch anti-Islam film.” Once the Arab world’s center.
Diagnosis? Yes, Israel-USA vs. Palestine-Arab world-Muslim world is related to intra-Israel and intra-Palestine-Arab world-Muslim world conflict in a two-way causation; beyond externalizing inner conflict and internalizing outer conflict. All three in circular causation.
Prognosis? Yes, it will get worse, like more pressure on Israel:
-the shoah moral high ground is lost with moral deficits increasing;
-the delegitimation of present, not of pre-67, Israel is increasing;
-countries will downgrade their diplomatic relations with Israel;
-countries will recognize Palestine and upgrade their relations;
-US clout decreases quickly as the US Empire decline accelerates;
-SCO support for Iran becomes more credible with the rise of China;
-US search for scapegoat will lead to tail-wagging-dog anti-zionism;
-USA view of Israel as a liability increases the worse it becomes;
-economic boycott with moral if not economic impact will increase;
-non-working population–Arab women-Haredim-Orthodox–increases;
-nonviolence by the 20% Arab population will have increasing impact;
-nonviolent Palestinian+ intifadah will have increasing impact.
The synergy of the 12 is awesome, and will drive Israel further out of Weimar along the 1930 axis in Germany (Uri Avnery). Germany:Jews = Israel:Palestinians?, copying the Warsaw ghetto in Gaza, and Nazi legislation in Lieberman? No gas chambers, though. The threshold.
Sharon is a metaphor for Israel: autistic, sustained artificially. Therapy? Yes, but today not through a two-state solution for Israel-Palestine with USA as mediator freezing the untenable (states for First Americans and for Hawaiians would be more interesting). A Middle East community modeled on 1958 Treaty of Rome EC with EU as mediator is much better. Not on today’s agenda, but could be a soft landing for the Israeli regional empire when decline comes to fall.
Taming all Arabs with Jesaiah 2:1-5 geopolitics? Impossible, forget about it. No, change has to come from inside Israel, already in Ibn Khaldun stage 4: from kibbutzim idealism via ritualism via moral torpitude to all fighting all. But who are the new Bedouins knocking down the gates, shouting “your time is up”? My best bet and hope: young Israeli women, enraged by (ultra)-orthodoxy, wedded to a state with a Jewish character, but not to zionist geopolitics. You are there, somewhere. The clock of history is ticking for you.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 27 Dec 2010.
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