17 September 2020

Israel's deal with UAR

The deal with the Gulf states is shrug-worthy. Though technically in a state of war, they were never going to attack Israel. Neither were they going to harness enough influence to hasten the end of the Occupation. Israelis have been going to the Emirates for some time. One of my sons (who is an Israeli citizen), was there once for his company. I've flown with Israelis from Tel Aviv through Dubai to India, on a flight specially arranged to facilitate that. The Gulf states will no doubt continue to support Palestine in the same way as before, through the pocketbook but little else.

Palestinians regard the move as a stab in the back from people they never trusted in the first place, but they have given up believing that Arab states will bring about their salvation. They have almost given up on everyone else too. They continue to be out-maneuvered by Israel on every strategy they use to end their collective suffering, be it violence, non-violence, sanctions or peace-making. Even their archetypal leader was cornered and eventually poisoned by the Israelis, probably. The only thing that may eventually work is sumud. I think if I were a Palestinian... no I'm not going to play that game: if they have been out-foxed, it isn't for lack of "good advice".

Any non-violent strategy, at least, deserves the world's support. Their plight needs to remain in the world's consciousness. When their anger explodes into violence, this should not surprise us; it did not come from nowhere. Oppression, like a form of slow torture that maims but does not kill, is a much greater violence.

A couple more considerations:

Out-maneuvering one's adversary at every turn may seem ingenious, but the only desirable result in this game is a situation in which both sides can prosper and live in peace. Unfortunately that gets forgotten along the way.

Eventually, it's possible that states that have formal diplomatic and trade relations with Israel wield greater influence than those who don't, so the "new relationship" with the Gulf states is not necessarily a bad thing.

Maybe we are all too nation-centric. Nations are a figment of our collective imagination. But unfortunately it is usually those who enjoy the protection offered by nations who make statements like that. Palestinians don't even have a passport they can call their own. Our world is arranged in nations, so naturally they want one too. If Israel were a normal modern state, and did not insist on defining itself in ethnocentric terms, it would be possible eventually to include Palestinians as equal citizens in an entity that conveniently already exists. Because it isn't open to such a revolutionary good idea, Palestinians desire an ethnocentric state too. In an area in which there was formerly a free flow of peoples between what are now neighboring states, Zionism has done more than anything to create a Palestinian national identity. Now we are stuck with yet another national struggle, in an era when national struggles have gone out of fashion.

Cheerful thought for the day: In two or three years, even if I don't completely retire, I'll absolutely stop using any products by Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Zoom, and their ilk.

Afternoon walk: thorny things

Pretty well everything this time of year looks dead, grey-brown and spiny.