Monday, July 21, 2008


I tend to be something of an agnostic on the whole Middle East issue. The complexities of the situation are immense, and the intransigence of the participants such that it makes Paisley and Adams look like Liberal Democrats. I sympathise with the plight of the Palestinians, I also think Hamas is a pretty vile organisation and if I thought I was constantly at risk of being bombed I may react irrationally too. I also think that Israeli expansionism has brought much of its problems upon itself.

That being said. Let us be practical. There are always going to be a lot more Arabs in the Middle East than Israelis. With attitudes being as they are, can there ever be peace? Can a two-state solution ever work? And what, ultimately, matters more - peace in the region or the Zionist right of Israel to have their state there?

Reluctantly, it has to be the former. So, I think the mistake being made is not to question the sense of expecting there to be peace whilst Israel still exists. If land was needed for a safe space for Jewish people, then those responsible for their oppression should have provided it (Germany and Russia)- not displacement of another set of people to assuage the guilt of the west. There was a case for a safe space, I think that a quasi-religious claim to land should have been rejected.

I don't think that the continuation of Israel is feasible. Whether it be a good thing or not, is not the point. The point is, or should be, that its existence remains and will always be, a threat to world peace. I rather wish that were not the case, for there is much to admire about Israel - like being the only liberal and reasonably gay-friendly nation in that region, for example. But I simply don't see how the ring of hostile nations around it and ever going to be anything but hostile, and the impact that has on the stability of the region is obvious.

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