MY TURN-Although I am at best an agnostic, I find the biblical notion of Armageddon a fair explanation for what humanity now faces in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world.
However, I don't see the annihilation of humanity as inevitable, but rather as a choice that G-d has always offered us between making life on earth either heaven or hell. Since I've had a relatively good time on this rare green orb and would like our children to have the option of doing the same, let me make a modest proposal for achieving peace in the Middle East.
While one has heard a great deal about a "two-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that never seems to go anywhere, I think a three-state solution would be more appropriate: one state for crazy Palestinians; one state for crazy Jews; and the third far larger state for the vast majority of Arabs and Jews who can live together in peace, salaam, or shalom.
When the anachronistic interests of Arab monarchies … coupled with Western oil hungry neo-colonists- who remain oblivious to global warming… are taken out of the picture, an equitable solution for all concerned is more than possible.
For those Jews and Arabs that want to continue threatening the majority on both sides that want peace, I would offer a solution suggested by the tongue-in-cheek 1965 Italian film, The 10th Victim, starring Marcello Mastroanni. In it, a bellicose socially destabilizing minority bent on destruction are allowed to make a financially incentivized war game among themselves, where the first to kill 10 others playing the game wins- the rest of their society is left in peace.
Although Israel-Palestine is small, we might set aside a piece of presently desolate land in the Negev desert where these testosterone driven games might take place in a more unobtrusive manner. Clearly the television ratings would be awesome, but at the very least, it might weed out some of the more violent tendencies from the respective Israeli and Palestinian gene pools.
When no longer driven by fear, the remaining majorities of Palestinians and Israelis might finally sit down to assess their common interdependent reality and not the fantasies and hidden agendas that both sides have harbored for so long. The following is my attempt to open a two-sided dialogue where all issues are put on the table to finally create an equitable peace that does justice to both sides:
The Balfour Declaration of 1917, which first put forth the notion of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East, was not signed and implemented by the British because they loved Jews. It was done as yet another example of long successful British foreign policy implemented throughout the empire to create dissension in local populations, so that the British could get rich over centuries on colonial exploitation of other people's wealth.
In India, the Brits played the Hindus and the Muslims off against each other and got rich from 1858-1947. And let's not forget that the English were the first to expel all their Jews in 1290, long before the then newly unified Spain did the same in 1492- could this historical insecurity be why Zionists sought the formation of Israel in the first place?
There is a certain irony about the present Israel-Palestinian conflict in that the only time in recorded Jewish history, since the Diaspora, that Jews have had sustained security was living as people of the book as another Abrahamic monotheist people under Islamic states of the past.
Palestinians are not responsible for the anti-Semitism used to unify Germany in 1870 or the failure of Russian governments under Czars Alexander III and Nicolas II to deal with their people without scapegoating the Jews by sanctioning pogroms, which ultimately created the fertile soil in which Hitler implemented the final solution. This has understandably created the "never again" mantra among Israeli Jews and amplified by AIPAC, which equates questioning anything Israel does as being anti-semitically motivated.
When all is said and done, this serves to sanction Israeli actions that remarkably mirror the denial of civil rights that Jews experienced Russia, where they too were not allowed to own land.
The real reason Israel is terrified in giving Palestinians their right to self-determination and a state of their own, which is never addressed in the war of words, is because of mere demographics. Israeli fears that they would become a minority in their own country, since Palestinian birth rates far outstrip Israel's.
No one has bothered to point out to the Israelis that a high birthrate, whether among Palestinians or their own initially poor and uneducated Oriental Jewish population from North Africa, could be turned around as they did in one generation with these Oriental Jews. When I lived in France during the 1980s and 1990s, France had approximately 400,000 Portuguese immigrants living in the country.
While poor Portugal had one of the highest birthrates in Europe, France actually had a negative population growth and had to offer tax incentives to maintain its population. Within one generation, a fully integrated French-Portuguese population had exactly the same population at indigenous French- it's all about education and social integration. Who is better equipped than Israel to implement this final solution of the Palestinian problem?
To deflect criticism, Israel has always used the old saw, "We won’t negotiate with terrorists," who don't recognize Israel's right to exist. But Israel obfuscation and failure to negotiate in good faith with Palestinians, while continuing to annex Palestinian land in the West Bank and elsewhere is a tangible example to Palestinians of Israeli's failure to recognize Palestinians right to exist. One must not forget that the world would have forgotten Israeli's struggle for independence from the British Mandate, that excluded the entry into Palestine after WWII of holocaust survivors, until the Irgun and the Stern Gang terrorists blew up the King David Hotel and killed 91 people. Has Israel, like the British before them, offered the Palestinians an alternative to terrorism?
There are approximately 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza, which is looking more and more like the Warsaw Ghetto under siege by the Nazis during WWII. One must wonder what the Jews will do when the overstressed aquifer that supplies Gaza ultimately gives out in the next few years.
Enough tit for tat. Let's offer a solution. Two thousand years ago the Romans proposed building a canal from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea Rift (400 meter height differential). If that was implemented today, it might just accomplish some of the following:
● Create hydroelectric power to develop Palisraeli state(s)
● Supply the electricity to desalinate water by reverse osmosis- something the Israelis are already leading the world in this technology
● Eliminate the dependence on over-pumped aquifers that until now have been key to Israel making the desert bloom, but which are rapidly creating a scenario similar to what has already taken place in Tripoli, Libya where contamination with salinity has become highly problematic;
● Clear out the Dead Sea Rift and create a large inland body of water that might significantly change weather to the point of making the Negev desert arable;
● With more arable land, might there be a greater possibility of creating viable and secure Israeli and Palestinian states living in peace?
Maybe the Jewish concept of messiah does not refer to a person, but rather an ah ha moment where after doing the same thing for millennia, humanity finally gets it.
G-d keeps raising the ante by giving us bigger and more destructive weapons with which to annihilate ourselves to see if we will finally learn a simple lesson of peaceful resolution of conflict as a prerequisite for our continued survival.
Earth can either be heaven or hell and man has the free will to determine which it will be.
Vol 12 Issue 22
Pub: Mar 14, 2014