(…as common sense efforts for peace fade away)

For nearly three quarters of a century now the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has defied all attempts at resolving it. The primary cause for that failure being neither party to the conflict has ever acted in good faith while supposedly negotiating to achieve a peaceful resolution. The harsh reality is…neither really wants “peace”, and both have always managed to find ways and means to sabotage any moments when they were on the verge of achieving peace between themselves.

So their feud endures…as common sense efforts for peace fade away because of that mutual bad faith with each other, and because both have apparently come to the conclusion that it can only be achieved if it’s a …winner takes all…result, leaving only one of them standing as a nation state. As far as both are concerned the two-state solution is deader than a Dodo.

To that end the Israelis have adopted the salami slice technique with their steady expansion of settlements encroaching into Palestinian held land. A form of stealth conquest until the whole country is in their hands. How such an approach is expected to achieve a truly peaceful resolution defies common sense. Do they expect the Palestinians to react differently to that than the way they do so now? Does anyone in Israel really believe that they would peacefully accept becoming even more ghetto-ized within an all encompassing Israeli state than they are already?

Israeli absolute determination to resurrect a long defunct “erhetz Israel” from some twenty five hundred years ago is one of the driving forces for their actions today. Ironically, they ignore the fact that doing so is simply replicating their ancient conquest of the hill territory from the Canaanite/Philistine state…only in reverse. That is, Israel now holds the ancient Canaanite coastal plains, while the Palestinians are now mostly up in the hill country which the early Hebrew tribes occupied. Perhaps the real resolution is for them to swap, with each going back to that ancient division of the territory.

For their part the Palestinians see no reason to abandon their long presence in the same land, just to accommodate Israeli fixations about it. They’ve been there under some regime’s rule or another for as far back as anyone can recall. Thus their claim to territory has as much historical validity as the Israeli one, which they emphasize with obdurate “death to Israel” rhetoric and intifada guerilla counter punches.

Both thus demonstrate the validity of that old Latin aphorism…assinus assinum fricat…like two donkeys braying at each other over the same pile of hay. None of which is conducive to achieving an equitable and peaceful resolution to their mutual problem.

For its part the international community hasn’t been much help either to find ways to end the never-ending feud. For one thing, the UN initially screwed things up by partitioning the land laterally instead of vertically, thereby by creating a very hard core issue almost impossible to resolve…Jerusalem…with its multiplicity of claims and counterclaims about who really has the right to it.

In some respects it “belongs” to no one because it has always had a variety of stakeholders with vested interest in it…Judaic, Islamic, Coptic, Orthodox, Catholic religious interests, not to mention a varied assortment of secular overlords and rulers such as the ancient Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greek-Macedonians, Ptolemic, Seleucids, Romans, Crusaders, Templars, Byzantines, Ottomans, and ultimately the British. Who can thus truly lay exclusive claim to it? With such a historical mélange of claims for it who can say which one is right? Meanwhile, the Israeli solution to this thorny question about whose right it is…has been to simply apply the principle of possession as nine-tenths of the law, and are acting accordingly. Which may be true and work for the short term, but it certainly isn’t the basis for establishing a long term hold on that right.

Well, somewhere, somehow, in that unhappy troubled land, saner minds may yet prevail and create some kind of equitable and lasting peaceful co-existence for both their peoples. We can only hope that will eventually come to pass.