The title in the post is a lyric by Megadeth; a little ironic when you see what’s dominating the headlines of late.
Like most people I, of course, do have an opinion on the Middle East conflict, though more often than not I try to refrain from talking about it as there are much more articulate voices on the subject and I want to avoid any unnecessary heat with plenty of amicable, pro-Israel Jewish people. I also experience plenty of personal curve-balls on the subject. I once sat in the cab of a Palestinian driver here in London who wasn’t particularly resentful of Israel; a rarity maybe but true.
On one hand you could say it’s none of my business as I have no strong religious leaning and I’ve no affiliation with the region, but it’s a topic that’s captured the imagination of a lot of people and I think, having descended ancestrally from a region with parallel experiences, that I can vent something.
The solution: I wish Israel could be a true binational state. Israelis and Palestinians all under one land. Whether this state should still be called Israel, Palestine, Palesrael, Israestine etc. frankly doesn’t matter to me. If Jews and Muslims can get on in other countries (and they do), then they can in this region too. When you have one people favouring themselves over another and helped by a rich pocket you cannot expect the other to just sit there and take it. Many Palestinians, from what I gather, don’t like Hamas but they realise that only they or a successor are willing to stand up to an aggressor. So, yes, I believe, as many do, that Palestinians suffer the real injustice and it is also unfortunate that that boomerang returns and hits Israeli innocents. Kids are kids on both sides.
Do I believe in Jews having a claim to Israel? I find huge problems with Zionism on a religious basis because of biological illogic, and politically I believe the behaviour of Israel has actually fuelled anti-Semitism rather than provide sanctuary from it. Of course, Jews suffered immensely in the Holocaust and there were Jews in the region to begin with, but in today’s climate most Jews do not need their own state. Bar the rare taunts from the far-right, English Jews feel at home here and this is their home. If you want to play the right of return game, all of us could go and claim a stake of Africa right now.
A binational state is very bold, and some may say naive, but the partition of India and Pakistan (who are both warming to each other after many decades of nonsense) wasn’t a solution; it just changed one problem into another. If you carve two states in the Middle East you’ll get border wars, annex attempts, and perhaps a big question mark like Kashmir if the plans aren’t perfectly devised. I don’t think Israelis and Palestinians getting on is such a big hurdle for two quite similar cultures when you remove the blood sniffers on either side. Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, for example, are a lot alike based on pure geographical culture.
I hope Obama is a little more firm in his last four years. Palestine needs to extend a hand, but most people agree that Israel needs to extend the longest. There’s no solution without some compromise, and yet I don’t think one state really is. Israel isn’t really very useful to America any more as is. It was borderline useful in the Cold War era, and the values of Israel actually are incompatible with the US. The US now wouldn’t deport Sudanese refugees for being a ‘demographic threat’. There’s no lack of devils amongst Muslims (and even Christians), but again I think it’s minority power mongers who hunger to be the respective voices of each side.
I think once a few more generations cycle through we’ll see change. The old guard don’t have the same aspirations as their offspring and they’re just sick of things as they are. It will take time but I hope not too much time. If Israel wants to emulate the Nazis then they’ll have to share their fate.