Thursday, September 20, 2007

Since There is Plenty of Room in the Middle-East for Everyone, What’s the Real Problem?


Let’s look to history.

Fifty years ago there were people on this planet who called themselves Rhodesians, Burmese, and Soviets. Not today.

One hundred years ago there were there were people who called themselves Ottomans, Prussians and Siamese. Not anymore.

From the vantage point of one human life span, it is hard to appreciate just how quickly people voluntarily, or by force, change national self-identification.

But today, the combination of political correctness coupled with the fact that international powers benefit from perpetuating, as best they can, the illusion that different nation-state identities are immutable, makes it difficult to expound on the reality that lays one layer beyond the cursory headline understanding of a situation.

Consider the Middle-East.

The Middle-East is comprised of nation-states created from whole cloth. An Israeli Jew may be loyal to Israel, but the Arab citizens of the Arab nation-states created from the remnants of the Ottoman Empire by the British and French at the end of World War I are not paramountly loyal to the created states in which they reside.

This is known to anyone inside or outside of the Middle-East with an appreciation of regional history and Islamic tradition.

What else is known but out of step with political correctness and the will of the international powers?

1) Without international intervention to prop up the Hashemite monarchy, it is likely that Jordanians, in the not-too-distant future, will not be calling themselves Jordanians.

2) Without current U.S. presence (or the initial British invention of their country), most Iraqis would cease calling themselves Iraqis. Some would simply be Kurds. Others groups of former Iraqis would call themselves whatever they choose or whatever name is imposed upon them by a new power regime.

3) Palestinians who self-identify today as Palestinians might call themselves something new in the future? In the strange tangle of history, no entity called Palestine existed until the British created it after World War I, and there was never a culturally unique self-identifying group of Arabs in the area when the British arrived that used any particular nation-state name of its own.

As the world tries to force Gazans and West Bankers back into one politically cohesive group so that the consensus two-state solution can be imposed, the following politically incorrect question must be asked: Are Gazans and West Bankers really a distinct people to the exclusion of all other surrounding Arabs?

And are most Jordanians a different people than West Bankers? Are Jordanians a different people than certain Iraqis? Are Syrians a different people than Lebanese? How many subsets or “peoples” really live in each of these countries whose borders were drawn for the benefit of some outside power.

“A people” is not created by the imposition of borders that are created for the convenience of the international powers of the day.

Because the day will come when individual Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Iraqis and Palestinians no longer honor the internationally imposed nation-state borders, it is counter-productive to internationally impose the creation of a new separate Palestinian state within the confines of Israel and the territories. It is harmful to present-day self-identifying Palestinian people to force them to live "in their own state” that cannot be viable, and it is harmful to the long-term needs of Israel. Non-militant Palestinians (be they Gazan, West Bankers, loyal to this group or that, and by whatever name or names any of them chose to self-identify in the future) must be afforded a better future, and Israel must be larger to thrive into the future as anything other than an eventual failed nuclear state.

So what’s the real problem?

The international community thinks it can attain regional peace by imposing false nation-state borders on people whose paramount loyalty will not be to the state.

But there is a better approach. With proper international interjection and cooperation, there is plenty of room in the Middle East for everyone.

--David Naggar

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Just Ask the Residents of Sderot


“Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday that Israel is nearing a major ground assault in the Gaza Strip, to deal with the ongoing Qassam rocket fire directed at Israeli communities." From Haaretz article entitled, “Barak: Israel nearing major ground assault in Gaza,” by Amos Harel, et al., September 5, 2007.”

* * * *

Nearing a major ground assault? Nearing?

In anticipation of a hoped for permanent peace deal between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and in the wake of the six day war, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff wrote a memorandum to the Secretary of Defense, putting forth the minimum geographic area Israel needed to defend itself. That was June 29, 1967.

This MINIMUM included control the Golan Heights, a substantial part of the West Bank, and part of the Sinai.

With reference to Gaza, the Joint Chiefs concluded that, “Occupation of the Strip by Israel...” was militarily required “to reduce the hostile border by a factor of five and eliminate a source for raids and training of the Palestine Liberation Army.”

Over forty years later, Gaza is used for the same hostile purposes, but more destructively so, by Hamas and others still pursuing the destruction of Israel. What other country would tolerate such a hostile border?

That Ehud Barak talks of NEARING a major ground assault is a testament to Israel’s weak international political standing. Forty years later Israel is still preparing the groundwork to do what needs to be done.

And what needs to be done?

Israel needs to be larger. Just ask the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff of any era. Just ask the residents of Sderot today.

--David Naggar