Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Farewell to Arms, Not Likely

The conflict in Gaza seems to be following the usual paradigm. Charges and counter–charges by the principals. Civilians being murdered, armaments stored in hospitals and schools. Who can say with certainty what is true and what is not. As the ancient Greek Aeschylus said, “In war, truth is the first casualty.”

 Another fragile cease fire seems to be holding for the time being. How long will it last? A few days; a few weeks; a few months? All that  can  be said with  certainty is -- it will not last.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a quandary for the ages. Indeed, the whole of the Middle East is a  Rubik’s cube of misery ever since the British and French divided the spoils of the Ottoman Empire into colonial fiefdoms they figured to exploit to enrich the home front with the mother’s milk of industrialization: oil. It was to their advantage to have friendly, and, in some cases, ruthless  autocracies in place to maintain the status quo. But with the Arab spring and its aftermath we are seeing an unraveling of  the region.   The one constant has been the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the latest chapter, the pendulum of support seems to be favoring the Palestinian side. Because of the disproportionate amount of fatalities , world opinion is shifting toward Israel’s enemies for the first time. In Europe and the US, demonstrations against Israel are becoming  more frequent and vociferous. There is palpable  support for the Palestinians and it continues to grow.  

Unfortunately, only more misery lies ahead for them. Their country is non-contiguous, governed(and I use that term loosely) by two ruling factions which  cannot unite in any meaningful way.  Hamas in Gaza has remained strident  in its goal to destroy Israel. The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, more moderate than Hamas but just as intransigent, can only lament the proliferation of more Jewish settlements on their land.

What’s next. Another tenuous truce. More non-productive peace talks; then, if Israel decides  not to re-occupy Gaza, more Hamas rockets will rain down on the Israelis. And they will respond more forcefully again.

General MacArthur had it right when he said,  “War’s very object is victory, not prolonged indecision.” In this war the  object is  more indecision, not victory.

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