I start this in a partly depressed mood. The obvious reason is that the ceasefire with Hamas seems not to have solved anything. I worry about Biden’s support, which is ‘Obama-like’, and that’s bad for Israel and the region. (I’d love him to get rid of 4 in his Party who make up ‘The Squad’ – so blatantly anti-Semitic.
I worry about the many who still see Israel and the Palestinians as ’those 2 who can’t get on with each other’ – ’they’re as bad as each other’. Such blindness. In my opinion, the upheavals and riots in Israel have been grossly exaggerated. They have died down very quickly. And there has been little mention of the many positive demonstrations by the mixed communities.
John Oliver – Yes, I know there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but this guy needs to be pointed out. Oliver has a weekly slot on HBO called ‘Last Week Tonight’. I don’t normally watch it, but I have seen quite a few of his monologues, and usually appreciate them. He says what needs to be said, and throws in a few expletives to create some sort of style and impact. A week ago, his focus was the Israel/Hamas conflict. Now he was on ‘my’ subject; now I was concentrating. Summary: he is anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, blind, stupid, and the rumours that Hamas paid him to say what he said are more than likely true. (And if my words gained him a thousand more viewers, so be it).
Adam Boulton – Sky’s chief political correspondent. His interview of Israel’s Ambassador, Tzipi Hotovely, was a disgrace. He should stick to politics and stay far away from international diplomacy.
Maajid Nawaz – He’s a presenter on the U.K.’s LBC radio call-in programme. He has quite a background: a British-born Pakistani, a former member of an Islamist organisation that got him into an Egyptian jail for 5 years. Since then, he’s an outspoken critic of extremism, especially Islamic. I wanted to call him yesterday, but it’s always tricky to face an experienced presenter; I would have fluffed my lines.
Maajid suggested a solution to the issue with Hamas (there was sometimes confusion as to the identity of Israel’s adversary: Arab, Muslim, Palestinian, Hamas). We needed to include the ‘other players’ in the discussions.
Now he had my ear, for that’s the direction I feel is necessary. However, Maajid was referring to ALL regional players, specifically including Iran! You know, finding any decent solution is like the needle in a haystack, but suggesting that we look for Iran in this haystack is….misguided, to say the least.
Let’s slide on to my suggestion, which is a little more ‘doable’. Hamas – and perhaps Netanyahu, were about to be pushed off the platform by 2 major events:
The incredible step of bringing one of the Israeli-Arab parties, Ra’am into a government-forming coalition. Benefits:
– Ousting of Netanyahu who was seen by many to have outrun his importance.
– A necessary and formal step towards addressing the many needs of the Israeli-Arab community. Ra’am leader, Mansour Abbas (yes, same name as Palestinian President Mahmoud) was willing to support a Jewish government in return for their support for his people.
Wow! that’s what so many Israelis have been crossing their fingers for. There are risks involved, but the step has to be taken.
– That would have brought more vocal Israeli-Arab support for peace with the neighbours.
The continuation of the Abraham Accords (the recent agreements with UAR, Bahrain etc.).
I think I am the first to coin the phrase: The Arab Nouveau-riche. I may not gain many friends by cynically implying this, but I see the oil-rich Arabs as attempting to buy Western ways. They sponsor sports teams, host the World Cup, sponsor the weather channels, create world-leading airport hubs, and of course are attracting millions of tourists to the ‘Disneylands in the desert’. (‘Golf-Saudi’ sponsors CNN’s golf programme, and Dubai has a Louvre).
And this is all OK. It’s game-changing perhaps, it’s superficial perhaps (maybe even immoral to suck all that water out of the desert for golf courses; we still have only one 18-hole course in Israel to support that principle).
Many are seeing the emergence of a new Middle East, with the moderates on one side (the Nouveau-riche, Egypt, Jordan, the Sunnis – and Israel) against the extremists (Iran, Turkey, Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS – the Shiites) on the other. No longer Arabs vs Israel…
The moderate Arabs see Israel as an ally, from many points of view. One of the so many potential benefits of such an alliance would be the isolation of smaller groups such as the Gazans under Hamas. They would see their ex-partners, the Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank (for wont of a better name) abandoning them, taking on a new identity: settled Palestinians, living in peace with their neighbours, the Jews.
The ceasefire may give us the breathing space to put those two issues back online. They are both doable.
Making friends with today’s regime in Iran, or perhaps inviting Erdogan’s Turkey to take UK’s place in Europe, are happenings that are still somewhat down the line.
I repeat, you need Israel to be the decent democracy it claims to be, and leave it alone for a generation or two, so that this famed ‘start-up nation’ can finally become an ‘established nation’. Stop unfairly criticising it, and thereby supporting terror. Suggestion: become a pen-pal with ’an average Israeli Arab’ and discover the sweet truth.
Hey, if you did that, you’d find me to be a much greater critic of everyday Israel. We’re nowhere near perfect, but I am forced into the defensive mode because of all the unfair criticism.