Regular readers will have noted that I tend to steer well clear of the Arab-Israeli imbroglio. There is absolutely no chance of a peace settlement despite 'Hillbilly Obama's' almost frantic efforts to ram one down everyone's throats - but especially Israeli throats! I am only drawn to the subject today by an unusually intelligent piece - 'unusually' because most essays on the subject are anything but intelligent - by P. David Hornick in The American Spectator. Hornick is an Israeli and he draws my attention to a speech at the Centre for International Murder and Thievery the United Nations by the Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman. I must admit this had passed me by but I gather it caused a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth in various quarters. The reason, according to Mr. Horlick, was that Lieberman spelled out a few truths and in that hall of hypocrites it was the equivalent of saying bollocks to the Bishop! I should stress, as does Mr. Horlick, that some of the squeals of distress emanated from Left-wing circles inside Israel, so even that usually intelligent country is beset with its own collection of 'soppies'.
Lieberman asked, not unreasonably, why it was that Israel, having signed the Oslo accords 17 years ago still had no peace treaty with the Palestinians? He shot down the fashionable opinion that the Palestine/Israeli dispute is at the very heart of instability in the Middle East. He reminded everyone of some inconvenient facts - they don't care for that sort of thing at the UN - by pointing out that:
More than ninety percent of the wars and war victims of the [region] since the Second World War did not result from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and are in no way connected to Israel, stemming rather, from conflicts involving Muslims or conflicts between Arab states. The Iran-Iraq war, the Gulf war, the wars between North and South Yemen, the Hamma atrocities in Syria, and the wars in Algeria and Lebanon, are just a few examples of a list that goes on and on.
Well, bless my soul, you would never know that from reading The Guardian, or the NYT! Something else you would never learn from those bastions of intellectual rigour is the Palestinian humbug over settlements and nationhood:
Firstly, all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza were under Arab control for 19 years, between 1948 and 1967. During these 19 years, no one tried to create a Palestinian state.
Peace agreements were achieved with Egypt and Jordan despite the presence of settlements. And the opposite is also true: we evacuated twenty-one flourishing settlements in Gush Katif [in Gaza], and we transferred more than 10,000 Jews and in return, we have Hamas in power and thousands of missiles on Sderot and southern Israel.
Well, who'da thunk it?! 19 years and no-one was bothered about organising a Palestinian state. It simply confirms what I have suspected which is that the conflict is entirely 'got-up' by the Arab governments as a means of keeping the hearts and minds of their people on an external enemy whilst their very own murderous tyrants can carry on in time-honoured custom. This was unsustainable for some of them, not only because it was obvious that they would never beat the Israelis in a war but also because their own economies, wretched in comparison to wealthy Israel, could not support the military effort needed. Incidentally, the Israeli wealth and the by-and-large contentment of the Palestinians within Israel, did not totally escape the more thoughtful occupants of 'the Arab street'. The results of that dawning realisation were the eventual deals cut with both Egypt and Jordan.
Lieberman also scotched another prevalent theory:
The other misguided argument is the claim that the Palestinian issue prevents a determined international front against Iran…. In truth, the connection between Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is precisely reversed. Iran can exist without Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah, but the terrorist organizations cannot exist without Iran ...
Exactly so, and that confirms my inclination to believe that the threat posed by Iran will eventually pressure the Arab states to side with Israel, albeit, surreptitiously. Finally, Lieberman spells out his solution to the settlement problem. He suggests:
Thus, the guiding principle for a final status agreement must not be land-for-peace but rather, exchange of populated territory. Let me be very clear: I am not speaking about moving populations, but rather about moving borders to better reflect demographic realities. …This is not an extraordinary insight [nor] a controversial political policy. It is an empirical truth.
To me, that sounds exceedingly intelligent, so there is almost certainly no chance of it happening! Incidentally, if anyone, on either side, wishes to leave a comment explaining why their side is right and the other wrong, please don't bother. It is as tedious as listening to the Fenians and the Proddies arguing about Ulster. I'd rather listen to a Labour party election broadcast, than which ... etc, etc!