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July 21, 2006

Palestine, Israel - Defuse The Middle East Powder Keg!

The crisis in the Middle East and its current escalation over the taking of Israeli military prisoners and the resultant bombing of targets in Gaza and Lebanon almost has a mathematical certainty to lead to a wider conflict. Perhaps that is intended - to provide an excuse for a great massacre that involves not only Israel and Palestine but ultimately Syria, Iran and much of the Arab world as well.

Both sides of the fight know they are right, and both are backed in their conviction by international players who do not have a direct stake in the land that is being contested, but see the conflict as an opportunity to gain a foothold in that cradle of civilization - the Middle East.

The US is backing Israel, and no matter how many Palestinians - and now Lebanese - are killed, the response is that Israel has "every right to defend itself". The Palestinians have the sympathies of the Arab world, which sees the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine and the consequent hardship on the people who have lived there since ancient times as an affront on all decency and an unjustified aggression.

wall_and_dove.gif

Image credit: Baha Boukhari

It is of little use to point to the UN resolutions sponsored by the English that led to the establishment of a Jewish state after the Second World War. Those resolutions are part of the problem. They cannot show us a way to a solution. But can there be change at all? Is there a way of solving the dilemma of two peoples' claim to the same piece of land without leaving one or both unsatisfied? Can the powder-keg be defused, in other words.

Perhaps, perhaps ... but such a solution would require a radical change in thinking. The input of the international community to pressure both sides to accept would be indispensable, which means that the hidden designs on controlling the area would have to be abandoned.

The proposal does not come from a high-powered think tank, it comes from a friend in South Africa, someone who does not have a mental block that would prevent change. But let me put this on the table anyway, for all it might be worth. Comments are of course welcome. Here is the idea, sent in by Sebastian.


- - -

The following is an interesting and possibly productive perspective, however far fetched it may seem, keeping in mind how desparate the situation is, with no other workable solutions on the table.

In principle it immediately removes cause for contention by fulfilling the needs of both by equal compromise. -- will appreciate your comment.

THE LOGIC OF THE MIDDLE EAST

An impossible situation has to be resolved:

1. Two nations claim the same piece of land to be theirs to rule supreme.

2. Both have historic claims that make perfect sense to each unto themselves.

3. No argument can change the minds of either.

4. No division of the land will ever satisfy either party.

5. At borders between them they will forever be at loggerheads.


Only an extremely radical solution can work.

Therefore

1. Let there be no borders between them.

2. Let there be no division of the land, to be divided over.

3. Let no argument be moved to change the minds of either.

4. Let what makes historical and religious sense to both be fulfilled for both.

5. Let both nations have the land.

To achieve this, both nations must have national status at once within the same inclusive borderline.

To make that work:

Each nation can have its own exclusive city-state capital.

Israel can, for example, have Tel Aviv as city state and as seat for its own parliament and national administration.

Likewise, Palestine can, for example, have Bethlehem as city state and as seat for its own parliament and national administration.

These two states can then form a confederation to govern their joint assets, consisting of the remainder of the land, their shared capital, and citizens of both, residing in the shared land.

The confederal government of the shared land can be presided over by a senate with equal representation from both nations.

In this way, both otherwise stateless nations can have access to what they need to have for the sake of national identity, for the sake of national destiny, for the sake of national security and for national pride.

In this way prophesy can be fulfilled whereby all the sons of Abram / Abraham will feast around the same tables. (Will be sensible thing to do, prophesy or not)

In this way an example can be set and tested for other areas of the world where plural nations have to find a way of coexisting in peace, especially where minorities have to be accommodated, for example the nations of the Congo.

Equal representation at the highest end, of groups unequal in any way, bring about fair administration of equal rights at the lowest end.

- - - End of message from Sebastian - - -

Will this proposal go anywhere?

Only time can tell.

Certainly it would seem worthwhile to explore creative solutions, in the face of the rather imminent danger of a war that could potentially wipe out much of humanity and leave the rest of us in a stone-age setting, scrambling to find our bearings once again.

About those hidden designs to control the area - Greg Palast has an interesting view on that. Here is how he sees things:

BLOOD IN BEIRUT: $75.05 A BARREL

The failure to stop the bloodletting in the Middle East, Exxon's record second-quarter profits and Iran's nuclear cat-and-mouse game have something in common -- it's the oil.

By Greg Palast
July 26, 2006

I can't tell you how it started -- this is a war that's been fought since the Levites clashed with the Philistines -- but I can tell you why the current mayhem has not been stopped. It's the oil.

I'm not an expert on Palestine nor Lebanon and I'd rather not pretend to be one. If you want to know what's going on, read Robert Fisk. He lives there. He speaks Arabic. Stay away from pundits whose only connection to the Middle East is the local falafel stand.

So why am I writing now? The answer is that, while I don't speak Arabic or Hebrew, I am completely fluent in the language of petroleum.

What? You don't need a degree in geology to know there's no oil in Israel, Palestine or Lebanon. (A few weeks ago, I was joking around with Afif Safieh, the Palestinian Authority's Ambassador to the US, asking him why he was fighting to have a piece of the only place in the Middle East without oil. Well, there's no joking now.)

Let's begin with the facts we can agree on: the berserkers are winning. Crazies discredited only a month ago are now in charge, guys with guns bigger than brains and souls smaller still. Here's a list:

-- Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's approval rating in June was down to a Bush-level of 35%. But today, Olmert's poll numbers among Israeli voters have more than doubled to 78% as he does his bloody John Wayne "cleanin' out the varmints" routine. But let's not forget: Olmert can't pee-pee without George Bush's approval. Bush can stop Olmert tomorrow. He hasn't.

-- Hezbollah, a political party rejected overwhelmingly by Lebanese voters sickened by their support of Syrian occupation, holds a mere 14 seats out of 128 in the nation's parliament. Hezbollah was facing demands by both Lebanon's non-Shia majority and the United Nations to lay down arms. Now, few Lebanese would suggest taking away their rockets. But let's not forget: Without Iran, Hezbollah is just a fundamentalist street gang. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can stop Hezbollah's rockets tomorrow. He hasn't.

-- Hamas, just days before it kidnapped and killed Israeli soldiers, was facing certain political defeat at the hands of the Palestinian majority ready to accept the existence of Israel as proposed in a manifesto for peace talks penned by influential Palestinian prisoners. Now the Hamas rocket brigade is back in charge. But let's not forget: Hamas is broke and a joke without the loot and authority of Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah can stop these guys tomorrow. He hasn't.

Why not? Why haven't what we laughably call "leaders" of the USA, Iran and Saudi Arabia called back their delinquent spawn, cut off their allowances and grounded them for six months?

Maybe because mayhem and murder in the Middle East are very, very profitable to the sponsors of these characters with bombs and rockets. America, Iran and Saudi Arabia share one thing in common: they are run by oil regimes. The higher the price of crude, the higher the profits and the happier the presidents and princelings of these petroleum republics.

This Thursday, Exxon is expected to report the highest second-quarter earnings of any corporation since the days of the Pharaoh, $9.9 billion in pure profit collected in just three months -- courtesy of an oil shortage caused by pipelines on fire in Iraq, warlord attacks in Nigeria, the lingering effects of the sabotage of Venezuela's oil system by a 2002 strike... the list could go on.

Exxon's brobdingnagian profits simply reflect the cold axiom that oil companies and oil states don't make their loot by finding oil but by finding trouble. Finding oil increases supply. Increased supply means decreased price. Whereas finding trouble -- wars, coup d'etats, hurricanes, whatever can disrupt supply -- raises the price of oil.

A couple of examples from today's Bloomberg newswire are:

"Crude oil traded above $75 a barrel in New York as fighting between Israeli and Iranian-backed Hezbollah forces in Lebanon entered its 14th day... Oil prices rose last month on concern for supplies from Iran, the world's fourth largest producer, may be disrupted in its dispute with the United Nations over its uranium enrichment ... [And, said a trader,] 'I still think $85 is likely this summer. I'm really surprised we haven't seen any hurricanes.'''

In Tehran, President Ahmadinejad may or may not have a plan to make a nuclear bomb, but he sure as heck knows that hinting at it raises the price of the one thing he certainly does have -- oil. Every time he barks, 'Mad Mahmoud' knows that he's pumping up the price of crude. Just a $10 a barrel "blow-up-in-the-Mideast" premium brings his regime nearly a quarter of a billion dollars each week (including the little kick to the value of Iran's natural gas). Not a bad pay-off for making a bit of trouble.

Saudi Arabia's rake-in from The Troubles? Assuming just a $10 a barrel boost for Middle Eastern mayhem and you can calculate that the blood in the sand puts an extra $658 million a week in Abdullah's hand.

And in Houston, you can hear the cash registers jing-a-ling as explosions in Kirkuk, Beirut and the Niger River Delta sound like the sleigh-bells on Santa's sled. At $75.05 a barrel, they don't call it "sweet" crude for nothing. That's up 27% from a year ago. The big difference between then and now: the rockets' red glare.

Exxon's second-quarter profits may bust records, but next quarter's should put it to shame, as the "Lebanon premium" and Iraq's insurgency have puffed up prices, up by an average of 11% in the last three months.

So there's not much incentive for the guys who supply the weaponry to tell their wards to put away their murderous toys. This war's just too darn profitable.

We are trained to think of Middle Eastern conflicts as just modern flare-ups of ancient tribal animosities. But to uncover why the flames won't die, the usual rule applies: follow the money.

Am I saying that Tehran, Riyadh and Houston oil chieftains conspired to ignite a war to boost their petroleum profits? I can't imagine it. But I do wonder if Bush would let Olmert have an extra week of bombings, or if the potentates of the Persian Gulf would allow Hamas and Hezbollah to continue their deadly fireworks if it caused the price of crude to crash. You know and I know that if this war took a bite out of Exxon or the House of Saud, a ceasefire would be imposed quicker than you can say, "Let's drill in the Arctic."

Eventually, there will be another ceasefire. But Exxon shareholders need not worry. Global warming has heated the seas sufficiently to make certain that they can look forward to a hellacious -- and profitable -- season of hurricanes.

*****

Greg Palast is the author of the just-released New York Times bestseller, ARMED MADHOUSE: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal '08, No Child's Behind Left and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War. Go to www.GregPalast.com.


- - -


Edgar J. Steele has a different view. He says it's all about Israel, actually all about the Zionists. His proposed solution is more radical than Sebastian's and it's got about the same chances of being adopted.

"Never one simply to complain without offering a better way, I have a modest proposal for fixing things. Not fixed right, but a good start, at any rate:

1. Either take away all of Israel's Weapons of Mass Destruction, including its 400 nuclear warheads, or allow Arabs to acquire an equivalently deadly deterrent. To be perfectly fair, since America armed Israel for free, America should be forced now to provide equivalent arms to the Arabs, also for free.

2. Give Israel a choice: Withdraw immediately to the lines originally drawn for it by the UN after WWII and stay there or move to a new Israel, located elsewhere (there are lots of places possible for this, most of them much nicer than the Middle East). The cost of this is to be borne by Israel and the world's Jewish community. In either case, Israel must pay substantial reparations to Palestine and Lebanon for the death and destruction caused to their nations.

3. Withdraw American forces from the Middle East immediately, in total and forever. America to pay reparations to both Afghanistan and Iraq for the death and destruction caused to their nations.

4. Declare all American Zionists, both Jewish and Christian, to be traitors, strip them of American citizenship and exile them to Israel. Since they love Israel so much as to subvert America to Israeli interests and desires, they should be required to live in Israel. This simultaneously will solve America's massive media disinformation problem, too."

from: Old Whine in New Battles


See also:

The king of fairyland will never grasp the realities of the Middle East
George Monbiot
Of all the curious things that have been written about Israel's assault on Lebanon, surely the oddest is contained in Paddy Ashdown's article on these pages last Saturday. "There is only one solution to this crisis, and it is the same solution we have to find in Iraq: to go for a wider Middle East settlement and to do it urgently. The US cannot do this. But Europe can." The US cannot do this? What on earth does he mean?

Or perhaps we should take the problem on from another angle. Swami Beyondananda has taken a look at it and with his inimitable irony (that means no one is more ironic than him) has made a suggestion - The One Suggestion. I read it and wanted to bring you a link. It is not (yet) available anywhere on the net that I can see. Anyway, if you like his humor and his suggestion, go visit his site - Wake Up Laughing Productions

 


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Friday July 21 2006
updated on Wednesday September 24 2008

URL of this article:
http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/sepp/2006/07/21/palestine_israel_defuse_the_middle_east_powder_keg.htm

 


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Readers' Comments


Hi Sepp,
I think that Sebastian's proposal has merit - but only in the context of the itemised parameters. But unfortunately, those parameters are not representative of the current situation.
The most important parameter that is missing has to do with the Zionist's attitude towards the Palestinians, in that they are regarded as less than human and not to be treated as equals. This is a well documented opinion shared by most of the prominent Zionist leaders, and precludes any ideals of power sharing.

I think the only solution is for:
a) (as you pointed out) all the hidden agendas by world powers (read: "USA") for that region to be set aside, and
b) the international community to pressurise the Israeli government to stop their acts of aggression, and
c) to attend compulsory and binding peaceful settlement talks.

In my opinion, the fact that the Palestinians are willing to recognise the legitimacy of the Israeli state AT ALL is already a huge concession on their part. The Israelis should be happy with any settlement based on that!

All the best, and thanks for a great blog.

Sebastian
(not the same Sebastian)

Posted by: Sebastian on July 23, 2006 10:06 PM

 


(Comment received by email)

Zionism began in the late 19th Century and attained its stated objective with the creation in 1948 of the state of Israel by the United Nations (at the insistence of the United States and without the agreement of existing Middle Eastern states).

Subsequently Israel doubled the amount of territory it controlled by means of its illegal occupation of the West Bank in the 1967 and 1973 wars.

And as a result the whole of American foreign policy ever since - and in particular since Israel acquired nuclear missiles - has been totally dominated by the need to appease Israel at any price. It does not really make the slightest difference in USA whether you vote Democrat or Republican -
You might like to look some more at:

http://www.serendipity.li/zionism.htm

Posted by: geoff sherman on July 26, 2006 06:19 PM

 


If I may embroider a little on the concept of a city state confederal constellation, as proposed in MIDDLE EAST LOGIC, posted on July 23, 2006.

Central to this proposition is the both-give-both-gain idea. If accepted by both, such an agreement should have much the same effect of forgiveness and absolution that confession has, on both sides. It may not resolve all differences instantly. Negative biases are not likely to disappear overnight from all hearts and minds, but something like this should give a fresh quality to the whole scenario and should, in spite of remnant gripes and indelible memories, take care of much of the hatred that has evolved since WW2. Before establishment of the controversial modern Israel after the war, members of both nations lived side by side without too much trouble, in spite of the battles of the very distant past.

Just the stress relief brought by light at the end of a very long and very dark tunnel should mean a lot if only a general awareness of the idea could be brought about.

There is a not often explicitly spoken, but seriously present, doubt lurking in the mind of many an observer, about perhaps hidden agendas that both sides may have that Israel may wish to exercise exclusive rights as a chosen nation, or that imperial Islamists may wish to conquer the whole district, or that other role players may have agendas of their own. So let's have a look at the possible future scenario and the truly fundamental ambitions involved.

What we hope to see, going this way, is two completely independent states, one the state of Israel and the other the state of Palestine, no borders touching.

The remainder of the land, that is currently under dispute, would be open for citizens from both and can be administered either by, as suggested, a con-federal body consisting of representatives from both, or by an international body of sorts.

One of the big advantages of such a layout is that there will be very little place to hide. All citizens living in the shared remainder of the land the commonage belonging to both will fall under confederal jurisdiction. Under the present division of land there are long borders to patrol behind which terrorists and common criminals alike can hide. With the proposed constellation only the city state borders need to be honoured. The many Palestinians working in Israeli districts at present won't have to pass through painful border gates any more. Vice versa, Palestinian markets will be open to Israeli business.

One of the shortcomings of other divisions of land is shortage of land. With the suggested configuration, each of the states will be a little like the Vatican city state of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome, in the sense that each of these states can have citizens loyal to it spread out in separate diasporas all over the world. There should be no need for any more ground than is afforded by the city-state status to have identity and presence amongst the nations of the world.

The citizens of the Vatican are not confined to the physical borders of the Vatican city itself. Neither need the citizens of either Israel or Palestine be confined within the borders of their city states. The prime function of these states would be to represent their citizens at a state level in the international arena - to serve as figureheads giving hope and dignity and security and direction to otherwise insecure and lost souls that are presently forced to resort to crime and terrorism versus military might to have effect.

The way things are now, there will never be forgiveness for whatever is forcefully achieved by either side. Whichever ambitions are fulfilled by force will forever be tainted with blood. A history written in blood is a bad history -- one that will forever haunt its perpetrators, unless some mechanism for redemption is brought about.

From a religious and philosophical point of view, both sides have peace as an ultimate object. And this ideal is not only based on religious prophecies and visions of Messianic intervention from a chosen base. Common sense tells that violence destroys and that harmony is the option for the ultimate in quality of life.

With both nations having independent status of fair and equal design and concession, both will be more free to pursue this shared sacred ambition.

It may then be possible for leadership on the way to world peace to manifest as it should. Only a stress free model of true peace will have the desired effect all over.

Idealistic? What else will really work?

Kindest regards

Sebastian

Posted by: Sebastian on July 30, 2006 10:13 PM

 















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