Posted on Friday, September 21st, 2007 at 9:22 pm
Author: Feature Writer
Gc contributor: Egon Cohen
Just as I was beginning to sketch out this column, commissioned as it was by Global Comment, I hit a minor snag: I had no clue what I was talking about. Apparently, the whole situation in the Middle-East has become so depressing that I’ve managed to block it out entirely. I had to go to Wikipedia to make sure Olmert was still the Israeli PM. Then again, given the recent reliability issues with Wiki, I could be entirely wrong on that count. Not that I care.
Without having read anything about Israel in the past two years, I can still make the following statements with absolute certainty: within the last couple weeks, some Palestinian person did something violent, probably involving explosives, in which Israeli Jews were killed. The IDF responded by assassinating the person(s) involved and/or bulldozing their houses. There was considerable collateral damage.
Again, without even reading the editorials, I can also guarantee that Palestinians and their apologists on the left will say that Israel is practicing apartheid. That Israel doesn’t deserve to exist and that if we just opened our minds, smoked some good weed and practiced free love, everything would be peachy. They will whine away with enough histrionic wannabe-martyr fervor that any sane reader will feel the need for a good stiff dose of Compazine. It does make you wonder — for a group of people who ostensibly support human rights and egalitarian social institutions, modern liberals have developed a strange fondness for psychotic whack jobs who feel a compulsive need to force their religion and morality down the throats of others — remind you of anyone (*cough* White House *wheeze*)?
However, Israelis and our apologists on the right are just as bad. We will counter that Jews have always lived in Israel, that the Arab nations persecuted and expelled hundreds of thousands of Jews, mutter something about “six million” and shake our heads in a patronizing manner. After a few more paragraphs of righteous indignation and willful ignorance, the right-leaning columnists will suggest that we should continue to “support democracy” in the Middle-East. Ah yes, spending billions in tax dollars to “help” other people — the Middle-East makes hypocrites of conservatives as well.
The sad thing is that there is an equitable, and obvious, solution here. The ideologues that dominate the debate on both sides love to delve into complex arguments of history, geography, anthropology, moral philosophy, ad nauseam. However, there are two simple facts that everyone involved seems determined to overlook: there are two contiguous territories (the West Bank and Gaza) populated by Palestinians. There is a single contiguous territory populated by Israelis. Contiguous territories populated by a single nationality … hmm … what to do here?
Regrettably, the discourse (on both sides) is so filled with hatred and so obsessed with the wrongs of the past that most participants cannot, or will not, see the reality of the present. Eventually, we’ll live in two independent states. Eventually, we’ll be able to focus on our own lives and our own problems, instead of those of our neighbors. But until then, we’ll keep on killing each other. And you know what? I refuse to take sides and I refuse to care.
Honestly, I think the fact that people like me no longer give a shit about the Arab-Israeli conflict is a good sign. Maybe when enough of the passionate ideologues become as bitter and apathetic as I am, we’ll finally have the strength, or perhaps the indifference, to do the obvious.
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