Sunday, June 13, 2010


One of the real joys in following Watching America is that there is usually at least one article posted from the world press that captures an issue so well that I've had to shift my perspective to one more in touch with reality. This week there was such an article, this one from Spain.

“Israel will be the victim of geography and demography,” prophesied De Gaulle, indicating that Israel would not be able to resist the pressure of the surrounding Arab world, which has a much superior birth rate to its own. However, Israel has not only resisted both pressures but has accumulated victory after victory until it has converted itself into the premier power of the Middle East. No country in its surroundings, or all of them put together, can stand up to it.

That could carry Israel, paradoxically, to destruction. In order to continue using its power in all its forms and in occasions where it appears challenged, that same strength will turn against it. It is already happening. It is true that it would only take Israel’s enemies one battle to annihilate it, whereas Israel would have to eliminate all of them in order not to disappear. But in the global world in which we live, he who minds only his particular interests without keeping in mind those of the community will inevitably end up condemned to ostracism. Remember South Africa under apartheid. It is what Israel’s most sensitive spirits are warning against.
[Emphasis added.]

While the logic is a bit murky, the essence of the portion cited is that if Israel is not reined in, either by cooler heads in Israel or by pressure bought to bear by the rest of the world (in particular, by the US), it will indeed have to stand alone if the Arab world should finally decide that enough is enough. South Africa managed to avert violence in the overthrow of the apartheid government, in part because the burden of economic and social sanctions simply became too much to bear. The question now, however, is whether that kind of universal sanctioning can be accomplished with Israel, given the history of US subversion of any attempt to punish Israel for its egregious behavior.

José María Carrascal, the author of this opinion piece, offers a tentative answer to that question, one that both sides of the conflict should take hope from:

In a global world, there are no individual solutions, and the Palestinian problem has been poisoning international relations since the division of that territory. It is this that is impeding the rapprochement of the West and the spread of moderate Islam, this that makes it impossible for the Palestinian Authority to control its people and this that has converted Gaza into a small fort controlled by Hamas, a terrorist organization. “The flotilla was aiming to break the Gaza blockade,” claimed the Israeli government in order to justify its commandos’ assault of it. But the problem comes precisely from having Gaza blockaded. In the 21st century, a million and a half people cannot be locked inside a ghetto. Today, Gaza is a powder keg ready to explode, to the satisfaction of extremists.

Israel believed that, with the backing of the United States, it could resist the harassment coming not only from the Arab world but also from the entire world. Until now it has achieved that, thanks to the carte blanche offered by all American presidents to defend itself. But the United States has other priorities than the defense of Israel, and Obama has already shown interest in a more well-balanced Middle East foreign policy. ...

Without that carte blanche, Israel would have to come to terms with its neighbors and would have to cease the collective punishment of the Palestinians for the murderous behavior of the extremists. That collective punishment, whether in the form of the blockade (see this LA Times article on the impact of the blockade on all of the Palestinians in Gaza) or in the simple day-to-day harassment of Palestinians at the border (see this post at Dohiyi Mir for evidence of just how petty, yet violent, the IDF can be), is only pushing the Palestinians into the camp of the violent and the neighboring nations into the camp of the hotheaded war makers.

Mr. Carrascal's concluding remarks summarize just what kind of balance has to be struck:

I would say that the first party interested in finding a just and balanced solution to the Palestinian problem is Israel. Then, we are. The Jews can never return to being a wandering people without rights or a homeland in the world. Neither can the Palestinians.

From you lips, Mr. Carrascal, to the world's ears.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home