Tuesday, May 29, 2018
If You Are a Palestinian Supporter Read This.
I remember asking myself how could a war last so long, with generation after generation taking up arms in a conflict that seemed to have no end.
Then I reminded myself that the war between the Palestinians and the Israelis is now into its eighth decade with no end in sight. It's unbelievable.
The war started with the British mandate in Palestinian being partitioned into Jewish and Arab sections and the subsequent declaration of the Nation of Israel which was duly recognized in a vote of the United Nations. Arab neighbouring countries of the new Jewish state objected and launched what is now known as the Israel war of Independence. At the cessation of hostilities, after Israel beat back the invading Arab armies, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians left Israel, either driven out by the victorious Jews or convinced to leave by the defeated Arab forces.
And so was born the 'Palestinian problem' where the refugees were kept in displaced person camps in the various Arab countries surrounding Israel which refused to absorb them into the general population for political reasons.
Sadly, this war has not ended and like the Hundred Years War, it has seen lulls punctuated with periods of intense warfare, but sadly never peace.
The defacto war continues to this day and to pretend otherwise is self-delusion.
In this context, we can understand the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the Palestinians rocket and terror attacks against Israel.
It is a continuing war, plain and simple.
Palestinians use the meagre means at its disposal like rockets, terrorism, bombs and underground tunnels in a somewhat futile attempt to continue the fight. In order to win international support for its cause, the Hamas rulers send children to confront Israeli soldiers and accept the casualties as part of the war effort.
Israel for its part has no problem in inflicting collective punishment upon its enemies.
It is a war.
Blocade, bombing, terrorism, murder, death and destruction.
Over the various battles fought between Israel and the various Arab states, Israel defeated its opponents and expanded its borders in consequence, seizing land from Egypt, Jordan and Syria, growing more and more powerful over the decades
Weary of the battle that has lasted so long and more importantly, recognizing that Israel is just too powerful to oppose militarily, Egypt sued for peace and regained lost territory, abandoning the Palestinian cause in the bargain.
Jordan did so as well, ceding Jerusalem and the West Bank to Israeli control, ridding itself of its own Palestinian problem in the bargain.
While Syria never conceded the loss of its sovereign territory to Israel in the Golan Heights, it did, however, accept the ceasefire and has ceased from engaging in battle or terrorism with Israel ever since.
Just recently Syria has made a secret agreement with Israel to retake its land lost in its civil war abutting this ceasefire line under the condition that Iranian or Hizbollah forces are to be kept away and out of the fight and that the ceasefire line be respected.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are cautiously calling for the recognition of Israel. There is, of course, no love loss between these states and Israel, but because of the threat of Iranian encroachment, the Sunni States are choosing to side with Israel and its army which to them, represents the most powerful weapon against Iranian expansion.
Egypt has accepted clandestine Israel military help in combating its war against Sinai desert rebels and Israel has allowed Egypt to re-militarize the zone. Cooperation.
Egypt has also imposed a blockade and embargo on Gaza, sealing the border crossing and limiting travel and imports because of the Hamas regime's support of Sinai rebels.
It's pretty clear that most of the Sunni Arab world has or is in the process of abandoning the Palestinian cause, for practical political reasons.
And so the Palestinians are left to carry on the war against Israel by itself, a David and Goliath scenario that won't finish well for them. Resistance is futile.
It is perhaps moot to discuss who is right or wrong in the Palestinian/Israeli war. A resolution to the conflict won't be based on right or wrong, it will be based on power and if you are a Palestinian supporter and believe that their cause is just, I won't argue the point.
But reality dictates that the ongoing staus quo of war between Israel and Palestine is more acceptable to the Israelis, given that the Palestinians demands to end the war are totally unacceptable to the Israeli side, especially considering the power imbalance.
And so the Israelis accept that a limited outburst of fighting must take place every few years with the disproportionate harm done to the Palestinian side.
The Israelis cynically call this process "Mowing the Lawn"
Palestinians and their supporters must understand that the two major demands they make won't be ever met by Israelis, preferring instead the prolongation of the war that they are winning at a minimal cost.
Jerusalem will never be divided and ceded to the Palestinians and the so-called right of return whereby millions of the descendants of the displaced Arabs now living in diaspora will be allowed to return to their ancestral homes in Israel will never happen.
Those who support the Right of Return are dangerous fantasists. There isn't a country in the world that would allow a massive hostile element to be re-settled. It's would be like Canada accepting 25 million penniless and hostile refugees.
As long as Palestinians assert their right to over-run Israel with the millions of descendants of refugees who fled seventy years ago, the war will continue. In fact the Right of Return is so ridiculous that it serves Israel's purpose notwithstanding that most experts believe it is an ambit claim.
Israel has persevered, expanded and become a powerfully successful society that has built an extraordinary economy based on science and technology. It is more powerful and entrenched than ever with the Palestinian cause abandoned by its allies and opposed by its enemies.
War, terrorism, BDS, sanctions, humiliating anti-Israel UN motions has not shaken Israel a whit. Israel is stronger today than ever.
So for the Palestinians, the question remains, is continuing the war really a viable option?
Sometimes you have to lose in order to win and it is time for the Palestinians to put aside their dreams of grandeur and make the best deal it can.
It is time to accept defeat and sue for peace. Even Ayatollah Khomeini accepted to drink the metaphorical glass of poison to end hostilities.
No, the Palestinians won't have the right to return and it won't have Jerusalem as its capital. Some limited land transfers to Israel around Jerusalem will be painful but not fatal.
In exchange, Palestine can finally become a country with borders and a capital in Ramallah. the embargo and blockade would be lifted and life could finally proceed on a normalized basis. Israel could help indemnify the nascent Palestinian state financially in part by the savings in military spending.
Investment could pour in from around the world and from Israel itself which faces a stark labour shortage. Gaza, which has some of the most beautiful beaches as I remember, can develop a viable tourist industry and restart farming`with Israeli know-how and investment. Gaza would be able to sell produce to Israel and southern Europe.
Concrete investment could be made in hospitals and infrastructure without fear of destruction by Israeli forces. In other words, Palestine could become a viable country.
Those who support the Palestinian cause need to re-assess the situation. While calling for resistance and war, given the military imbalance, how many more decades can the Palestinians endure, and are they as a people condemned to fight another futile and painful Hundred Years War.
Sometimes you have to accept defeat and its consequences in order to move forward.
For westerners who encourage Palestinians to fight this futile battle, they are not the ones paying the price.
Posted by Philip Berlach on 5/29/2018 04:56:00 PM