ON THE OTHER HAND ...

By William Markiewicz

This phrase which may be at the core of Jewish philosophy is frequently used by Tevye, the milkman from “Fiddler on the Roof.” Usually I don’t think in terms of ‘on the other hand’; I have rather defended unilateral truth. But life may not be as simple as that; predominant straightforward truth may bury many smaller truths hidden in the details. So, it came to my mind to make a small revolution in my frame of thought, it wouldn't be the first time. When I left Europe I was more rigid and took, for instance, the separatism in Quebec to be treason to Canada. It was awhile before I became a more liberal democrat and realised that those Quebecers may have an argument. So, it took me time to alter a point of view. Previously, I saw Israel on a pathway to suicide, standing against the world in general and the Arab/Muslim world in particular by nibbling at the West Bank territories which Israel had recognized.

As time passed, I, myself, got tired of the stalemate of the situation and of my conclusions. It came to mind: “On the other hand”, do Israeli politicians see something I don’t see?

The unity of world criticism toward Israel’s policy and the open hate and anger of the Muslim/Arab world may be less firm than it appears. We live in the Darwinian Universe and the old saying goes: “the skin is nearer than the shirt.” Is it that nobody wants to risk his life and comfort for others even if the others are brothers? Among the enemies of Zionism only Saddam Hussein was the extremist. In Iran, only Ahmadinejad was defiant, ready for war. His own compatriots, especially among the young generation, reproached him that he is ready to sacrifice Iranian interests for interests abroad. Before them, Hezbollah tried a heavy hand until they realised that they are and will be beaten. So, in this uneasy world situation, Israeli settlers continue to nibble on West Bank territories which make a Palestinian independent state more and more problematic. If it continues, and it’s likely that it will, then the only way to avoid Israeli domination on the Arab population in the Gaza strip and West Bank would be to forget about Palestine. The Gaza Strip should apply to be integrated into Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan. They will hold territorial and civil freedom even if they lose the dream of national identity. And if Israel refuses this move, they can declare: “we are numerous enough to decide our fate. We don’t want to be forced to emigrate who knows where, or to remain under harder and harder foreign control.”

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