Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Right-Wing Extremist in the Heart of the Left

Peace between Israel and Palestine is universally agreed to be the cornerstone to stability and security in the entire Middle East region. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is universally seen as the source and fuel for all other mideast crises - crises so bad many feel they could, or inevitably will, lead to Armageddon...

And yet no reasonable, logical, or even compassionate path to that peace is ever considered. Seriously. By the people that count. By the players.

According to polls, people in both Israel and Palestine want peace. They are ready to compromise to reach it. A majority feel a 2-state solution is the best under the circumstances to resolve the demands of both sides.

When someone says "two states" you think of two contiguous entities. You do not think of one powerful, homogeneous and contiguous entity, and another set of archipelagoes connected by "corridors" and "checkpoints". Who would want that? Who wants their country, be it Israel or Palestine, to forever take on the color and flavor of occupation? Who wants that "war zone feel" or "checkpoint atmosphere" forever in his backyard?

When one thinks of "solution", one thinks of something people can live with realistically for the long term. Then there has to be some human element taken into account. It can't be based on fantasy alone. It must have something to do with people and families on the ground.

It can't work when Palestinians are exclusively called "terrorists". When Israelis are given a carte blanche to do whatever they want with the "terrorists". Because "terrorists" are never human beings. Note the label "enemy combatants". The purpose of this label is to dehumanize the labelees. It makes them non-human. They're not "one of us" in any shape or form, and so we can do anything to them. Torture can be redefined. In the same way, calling Hamas or Palestinians in general "terrorists" precludes having to think about their side of issues. They are, in that case, not really people at all, but an "enemy" to be "combatted". And in the world of "combat", anything goes.

Top former U.S. officials have sent a letter to President Bush strongly urging that the U.S. have "genuine dialogue" with Hamas, the democratically-elected government of the Palestinian Authority. Of course, we all know the official U.S. position is that Hamas is "technically" a "terrorist" organization, and therefore, we cannot talk to them.

This is extremely stupid, and will do absolutely nothing good. Hamas is not the sort of organization pictured in such films as "Air Force One". But people are acting as if it is. They are not trying to kill children or threatening our way of life. They simply want to represent their people, and their people's dignity, humanity, and freedom - and ability to actually live. That is really being called into question. Not talking to people means we don't consider their humanity at all. We consider them as non-entities.

You can't make peace with non-entities.

So the Israeli and Palestinian people will never get what they want, as long as the right-wing Israeli in our foreign policy is King of the Hill. Democrats also have this right-wing thing in their hearts - they fear the spear. Saying in any way, shape or form "no" to Childe Israel, that petulant kid who always gets his way, is a sure way to political death in the U.S. So what drives U.S. policy is not the American, Israeli or Palestinian people, their desires or needs. No. It's what some Zionist right-wing Israelis want to be truth by fantasy. And that means getting their way.

Logic, reason, and compassion be damned.

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