Sunday, July 30, 2006

Mulish Western view of West Asia

It is not surprising that some of the liberal-conservative intelligent analysts in the Western media find that Israel has no option but to fight the deadly war with Hezbollah, that if this is not done Hezbollah, and by implication Hamas, Syria and Iran would be emboldened to attack Israel, and also the West. Many in the United States and Britain -- the placid conservatives -- seem to believe that Israel is fighting the war against terror on behalf of the Western world.

Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria, Iran and all the silly bleary-eyed sympathisers of the Palestinian cause in liberal Europe, the Arab world and south Asia are literally walking into the ideological booby-trap set by their Western rivals by defending the right of Hezbollah and Hamas to confront Israel's hardened positions. In their defense, the International Brigade of Friends of Palestine, point to Israel's obdurate refusal to implement the 1994 Oslo Peace Accords, which has resulted in the political emergence of Hamas. They also point to the ceaseless agony of ordinary Palestinians, which goes unreported in the pseudo-liberal Western media. And they are right too.

But the Western advocates of Israel have an advantage over the Friends of Palestine. They are able to argue convincingly in a blinkered way about the real danger posed by Hezbollah to Israel and to Lebanon itself, and the similar threat posed by Hamas to Israel and to Palestine. The reply of the Friends of Palestine that Hezbollah and Hamas were the byproducts of the arrogance and belligerence of Israeli leaders towards the Oslo Accords does not seem to make an impact. The reason is simple: Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran refuse to recognize Israel, and that drives the Israeli and their Western supporters to paranoia.

But nowhere is Western ignorance so stark as in its perception of the clieched East. The Westerners and Zionists do not understand that when Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah say that they do not recognize the state of Israel, they do not really mean what they say. They are not literalists despite their Islamic fundamentalism. They are displaying the centuries-old and superior political cunning of an old Asia.

The Zionists in Israel must give up their naive Western ways and think in terms of an Eastern people, and deal with Hezbollah and Hamas in a strategic way. Israel will have to negotiate with the Islamic fundamentalist political groups. Are these fundamentalists dependable? Will they keep to promises and commitments? Israel has no choice but to deal with them, give due respect to their political acumen.
The West must stop coming to the defense of Israel in the face of threats from the Arabs and the Iranians. Israel is capable of negotiating with its hostile neighbours.

It is clear from the comments made by analysts in The New Republic in the US, and in The Times and The Daily Telegraph in Britain, that the West is using Israel as an outpost of its own interests. Israel can never hope to be safe with Western help. This is something that Mahatma Gandhi advised the Zionists as far back as 1938. He said that you cannot hope to make a home in Palestine in the shadow of British guns. Gandhi advised the Jewish settlers to win over the hearts of the Arabs. The Zionists believed, and which was understandable, that they have to be ruthless with the weak Arabs in order to ensure their freedom and security. It is clear that it is a wrong atttitude. Even the weak cannot be decimated. And the strong cannot remain strong for all time to come. There's need for the Israelis and its Western supporters to read Hobbes once again. In the war of all against all, there is no guarantee that a stronger person will always dominate. The strong can grow weak.

Zionists have returned to the ancestral homeland no doubt. But they have brought hatred and arrogance to the act of return, and gave up humility and piety. Israel is a soulless Jewish society and it cannot hope to survive by waging constant war. The time is now to seek genuine conciliation with the Palestinians, and build bridges of trust instead of walls of fear.

The best that the West can do is to keep out of the mess. It has created enough problems by creating the illegitimte state of Israel. The Jews did not need a state to live in Palestine. That was the first major blunder, which cannot be undone now. The ultimate solution lies in the suggestion made by Libyan leader Mummar Qadhafi, yes, of all people Muammar Qadhafi, some years ago that the real solution to the Palestine problem is not two states -- Israel and Palestine -- but a single state in which Arabs and Jews live together. And he is right.

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