Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Very Dark Place


Gerry Caplan has a sober piece in this morning's Globe and Mail. Its thesis is bleak: "No matter what leaders do, there won't be peace in the Middle East." There will be no two state solution, he writes, because both sides are not prepared to give what would be required for peace:

Whatever outsiders think, in practical terms none of the Middle East disputants are in a position to offer the others anything like an acceptable peace deal. Or, to put it the other way, no one is likely to buy a deal the other offers. If Israel offers a certain set of proposals, both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, not to mention even more radical Palestinian groups, are certain to find it too pro-Israel. And from their perspective they’d be right. For given the politics of Israel, no Israeli government, now or ever, would consider offering anything that wasn’t in the best interests of Israel.

And, so, the region is in perpetual conflict:

The present confrontation, seen in proper perspective, is just another in the endless violent conflicts between Israelis and Arabs that began when Israel was first created as a nation 66 years ago and has never stopped: 1947-49, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 1991, 2006, 2008-9, 2012, 2014. Why should they stop now – or ever?

Over all that time, positions have hardened and hate has exploded:

It was equally predictable that over time Israeli-Palestinian attitudes towards each other would steadily harden. Instead of making good neighbours, virtually all circumstances conspired to turn the two peoples into irreconcilable enemies. Some time back, renowned Israeli Holocaust scholar Yehuda Bauer told me that he believed about 25 per cent of each people held genocidal attitudes towards the other. It seems a safe guess that these shocking figures are now considerably higher on both sides. When you dehumanize the other, the potential for evil knows few boundaries.

If Caplan is right, we are in a very dark place.


Edstock said...

"No matter what leaders do, there won't be peace in the Middle East."

He's entitled to his opinion; mine is that a peace will come about, but not tomorrow, or next month. Let's see what happens in the next Israeli elections.

It all depends on the Israeli voter: has 'Yahu jumped the shark? If they decide it's time for a change, a middle-of-the-road Israeli government that is prepared to put up with the ultra-Orthodox tantrums, could do a deal, probably faster than anyone might suspect.

We'll find out, soon enough.

Owen Gray said...

Perhaps they'll just get tired, Ed. There comes a time when it's just not worth it anymore.

Lorne said...

I fear that Caplan's assessment is depressingly accurate, Owen. While some good but unlikely things have happened in the world, such as the ending of apartheid in South Africa, that achievement palls when compared to the deep-seated and abiding hatreds that seem to prevail in the Middle East and consume so many.

Owen Gray said...

South Africa had Mandela, Lorne. There appears to be no Mandela in the Middle East.

Askingtherightquestions said...

I have to agree with Edstock. Netanyahu is playing a dangerous and duplicitous game and the US (taxpayer) is finally starting to have a problem with his concept of regularly "cutting the grass" using tanks and mortars (with their 3 billion dollar annual contribution). Does Hamas have anything to answer for? Certainly! But how can ANY good come from the captive oppression and killing of people and the regular destruction of civil infrastructure? Israel controls Gaza in every sense of the word and yet seems driven to disregard international law. Hate and racism are on the rise. Have we learned nothing since the Shoah?

Owen Gray said...

Some people refuse to learn anything from history, Asking. And the cycle of violence continues.

Anonymous said...

And then there is Harper who, had taken a planeload with him to visit Israel. Most of us were sure, Harper was up to no good.

Harper fully supports Israel, right to the hilt. Anything even remotely connected to Harper is fouled.

It was requested, the Children of Palestine be brought to Canada and be treated for their, horrific wounds from the war. Harper point blank refused. After all, the dead children of Palestine, are merely collateral damage.

Winston Churchill was concerned, their would be trouble down the road, with this partition of Israel and Palestine. I wonder what Churchill would have to say regarding, Harper using the U.K. as his dumping ground, for his criminal degenerates? After all, we went to war for Britain so, we wouldn't have such as Harper running this country.

Owen Gray said...

Mr. Harper will not do anything which would displease Israel, Anon.

Troy Thomas said...

"There will be no two state solution, he writes, because both sides are not prepared to give what would be required for peace."

Typical 'both sides of the issue' claptrap. It would be far, far easier for Israel to meet Gaza's demands for a ceasefire (ending the siege; lifting the blockade; releasing prisoners taken since this most recent conflict's start), then for Gaza to meet Isreal's demands (demilitarization of Gaza).
Gaza's demands are a ceasefire; Israel's (or rather Egypt's) are for pretty much Gaza's surrender.

Owen Gray said...

I agree that Israel can afford to be far more generous, Troy. After all, they have expanded the country's boundaries and are living on occupied land.

But, as Caplan says, hate is now so deeply entrenched that no one is prepared to give on anything.