This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Which Two-State Solution?

"Until now, the post-Ottoman order, fashioned by wartime exigency, imperialist ambitions, and ignorance of local identities, has survived a century of independence, revolution, and war. A political map of the region from 1930 looks nearly identical to one from 2013. Middle Eastern borders have become an inviolable and sacrosanct principle of Western international relations. Americans and Europeans have even shed blood to ensure that these borders remain unchanged: in Lebanon in the 1950s and again in the 1980s, Iraq in 1991 and 2003, and Mali in 2013. Western intervention in Syria would likely have the same goal. Even as the ongoing Arab revolt tears at the modern Middle Eastern order, Washington, Paris, London, and Moscow remain committed to defending the status quo."
Gabriel Scheinmann, The Tower Magazine

The Great Powers took it upon themselves after the defeat and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, to create new countries, placing borders wherever they thought they should be without regard to the tribal and clan and ethnic and religious residents of the geography, simply lumping together various peoples who had little in common with one another and plenty of bad feeling between them. A work of foreign nations with little knowledge and zero skills in understanding the ancient antagonisms that would ensure violent unrest would arise within those borders.

And so were born the 'nations' of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Libya and others where tribes viewing one another with competitive contempt would never meld into a nation where fealty to the common weal would supersede clan and tribal aggression. With the end of the First World War, no doubt Britain and France were exhausted and thought the Middle East should feel grateful to them for liberating them from the yolk of Turkey's Islamist Ottoman Empire.

Promised at the time that their heritage status would be officially recognized by those designating powers deigning to carve out a separate country for the largest ethnic group in the world whose nationhood has still not been recognized, the Kurds whose geography was apportioned between Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria are still waiting. And while they're waiting they remain targets of murderous discrimination.
Iraqi Kurds massacred in chemical gas attack in Halabja, 1988. Photo: Sayeed Janbozorgi / Wikimedia
Iraqi Kurds massacred in chemical gas attack in Halabja, 1988. Photo: Sayeed Janbozorgi / Wikimedia

Israel, on the other hand, post-World War II, managed to persuade the governing body of the United Nations that the time was ripe in 1948 to declare themselves a nation. The UN offer of Partition sent Israel into a frenzy of state-building, immediately diverted to military preparedness as it was promptly attacked by a military consortium representing neighbouring states aghast at the prospect of a Jewish state in a monopolistic Muslim geography.

Since their 1920s designation through imposed borders, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya have disintegrated, the competing tribal interests fracturing the 'nations' that the Sykes-Picot agreement had foreordained would represent the future of the Middle East. But the issue of Partition remains alive and well in the minds of the European powers and the UN Security Council. Traditional land which in the Biblical era was Judean and which Israel wrested back from illegal occupation by Egypt and Jordan in self defence, remains aspirationally Palestinian.

The partition which the Palestinians refused outright in 1948 has been held in trust for them since then by the international community. The critical matter of Palestinian 'resistance' to sharing land, any of the land, with Jews has never been addressed, nor yet the decades of violently murderous attacks by Palestinians incited to those acts by their leaders, against Israeli and Jewish targets. Moreover, the same kind of lack of unity that exists within the borders of Syria and Iraq, resonate in Gaza and the West Bank.

With Fatah and Hamas at hatred's edge against one another, both agreeing only on their mutual enmity for Israel, where is the logic in a Palestinian state alongside the Israeli state? No two-state, but a three-state solution, with the West Bank and Gaza remaining separate and apart politically, ideologically, and religiously, since one is Islamist and the other secular, and both are riven by tribal-clannish antipathies. 
"On March 6, 2011, fifteen Syrian fourth-graders in the southern border town of Daraa scribbled, “the people want to bring down the regime” on the walls of their school, echoing slogans shouted across the Arab world for two months. Like their brethren in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, the schoolchildren had a bleak but limited goal: To end the 43-year rule of the totalitarian Assad regime. Their graffiti was so threatening that the Daraa Fifteen, as they became known, were arrested, beaten, and denailed—a medieval form of torture—by the regime. Twenty-eight months later, their goal remains elusive. The regime still stands."   
Gabriel Scheinmann, The Tower Magazine

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