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A Few Facts wouldn't hurt
This Green and Surprisingly Pleasant Land - Israel and Palestine
Unlikely as it may seem, buried among the rhetoric there are some hard to deny facts about the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. That’s not to say that they won’t be challenged but those doing so should, as a minimum, be able to come up with a response that rises beyond accusations of bias.
Fact number one is that the most dangerous place on earth for a Jewish or Palestinian person to be is in Israel/Palestine. Yet the original premise of the Zionist plan for a Jewish state was that it would provide a safe haven for the Jewish people. The Palestinian national movement, for its part, asserts that security for their people can only be achieved by statehood.
Fact two is that Israel is increasingly becoming a theocratic state which is far less welcoming to the majority of diaspora Jews. Even before the current Gaza conflict the overwhelming bulk of immigration or Aliyah (going up) to Israel came from orthodox Jews, not the secular and liberal majority.
Fact three is that Palestinians are now well established and thriving in a number of other Arab states, notably Jordan and the Gulf. They may well pay lip service to the concept of returning to Palestine but few seem inclined to move.
Fact four is that not a single war in the region and not a single skirmish has produced a sustainably peaceful outcome.
Fact five is that the Palestinians have every right to be sceptical over the concept of Arab solidarity. Every treaty and agreement between Israel and the Arab states has been negotiated in the absence of Palestinian participation and with scant regard to their interests.
Fact six, is that in the wake of the 1967 war Egypt was offered a chance to reoccupy Gaza, an offer that was rapidly declined.
Fact seven – we are now entering less sure footed territory on the factual front – is that Israelis and Palestinians have never before been so badly governed by tainted leaders. Israel’s egotistical prime minister faces no less than three criminal convictions, sitting in his unprecedentedly hardline cabinet are convicted criminals and racists. The Palestinian Authority, which sort of rules the West Bank, has increasingly become corrupt and out of touch with its people. Hamas in Gaza has presided over a reign of terror for its own people, never mind the barbarism on Israelis unleashed on 7 October.
Fact eight is that the Israel Defence Forces are the most powerful fighting force in the Middle East. They have prevailed in every war and certainly cannot be defeated by what are essentially militias. If the solution to the conflict was purely a matter of military might everything would have been settled long ago.
Fact nine is that in the likely event of a militarily defeat for Hamas, it will almost certainly be replaced by another form of militia, possibly even more barbarous than its predecessor.
Fact ten is that the main international backers on both sides will become weary of offering endless political and material support. Every nation on the planet looks first to its own interests and has political considerations at home which trump overseas concerns. Self-interests will always prevail over those of even close allies, even though for much of the time these interests will coincide.
That’s probably enough of facts, grim as they are.
There is always a glimmer of a chance that these realities will change or that the people who created them will seek another course of action. Should they wish to do so, I can recommend looking at a clip from a most unexpected source. It is the BBC comedy news show, Have I Got News For You
It comes from the Irish punk singer Feargal Sharkey, who brought the jollifications to a stunned halt by talking about the aftermath of the Northern Irish peace agreement. He said in part, ‘I do wish the people of Gaza, and Palestine and Israel get to discover what 25 years of peace, prosperity and diplomacy and democracy looks like and that those people can blossom.’
No one pretends this is going to be easy, a blood drenched history is hard to overcome.
Idiot of the week
Suella Braverman is a serial contender for this dubious accolade but her latest plan for solving the dire problem of homelessness hits a new low. She plans to ban the homeless people from erecting tents to provide shelter on the streets and to fine charities that supply the tents. Most terrifyingly she said that people using these tents were making ‘a lifestyle choice’. It’s terrifying because Ms Braverman is mainly engaged in saying things that will appeal to members of her party when, as they soon will, they come to elect a new leader. Her judgment is that given the state of the Tory Party, remarks of this nature will propel her closer to this goal.