October 17, 2018

Israel: Making Sense of a Senseless Situation

Where I live (Israel), most everyone I know is busy trying to make sense of an insane situation. It’s not that anyone was surprised that violence has erupted once again in our tormented stretch of earth. It’s also not the mind-boggling cruelty demonstrated by hate-fed 13-15 year old children, or their families’ praise of their odious actions. More than anything, people in Israel are beginning to realize that we have entered a blind alley. When it becomes clear that dividing the land into theirs and ours, or staying put and maintaining military rule will both not work, it’s time to start thinking outside the box.

But first, we should take a look at previous attempts to see what didn’t work. We’ve tried applying military force to crush terrorists both inside and outside Israel. This hasn’t quelled terrorism. In fact, today there are more jihadists willing to give up their lives in order to take ours than in any time in recent history. We’ve tried political maneuvers; we’ve tried peace agreements, actually several of them, and not even one is still actually valid (though not all have been officially denounced by our co-signatories’ heirs). When agreements failed, we tried one-sided withdrawal (from Gaza), with appalling consequences. We’ve even tried developing a New Middle East, relying on technological entrepreneurship and the ample, cheap labor force of Gazans looking for provision. None of these ideas have worked. These days, no one even expects them to work, certainly not permanently.

The one thing that is common to all of the above solutions is that they required—or at least relied on—the other party’s good will. But in the absence of such a will, every agreement you attempt to implement is doomed before it has even started. Therefore, we need not look at the agreements we can or can’t achieve with our neighbors, but rather look at the agreements we can achieve with ourselves!