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Who is accomplishing what?
The recent devastating fighting in Israel has people, friends, communities, faiths, divided; leaders, opinion-makers, nations united. As I try to get my mind around both the violence and the reaction, Moxy Fruvous’s Gulf War Song comes to mind, which starts:
We got a call to write a song about the war in the Gulf
But we shouldn't hurt anyone's feelings
So we tried, then gave up, cause there was no such song
But the trying was very revealing
What makes a person so poisonous righteous
That they'd think less of anyone who just disagreed?
She's just a pacifist, he's just a patriot
If I said you were crazy, would you have to fight me?
As a Bar Mitzvah’d Jew, even if not in any way a practicing one, I am of course expected to come out and stand with Israel. And to be clear, I don't agree with attacking Israel. Nor do I agree with the provocative attack just three days prior by Israeli “settlers” against the Al-Aqsa mosque that western media is curiously silent about.
The whole concept of settlers is itself misleading. A simple google image search for settler maps belies the narrative. Settlers split up the land into small patches, cut off from one-another, and cut off from the outside world. The objective is clearly to ensure there is no viable second state available for the long-awaited two-state solution. As long as there are settlers and settlements outside the recognised borders, peace will never be plausible.
There are three big winners in this conflict. They do not include the general Israeli population, the Palestinian population, the wider Jewish or Muslim communities, or any other common person or population group.
Moreover, it does not in any way advance the cause of preventing yet another mass-murder event against the world’s small Jewish population.
The three big winners are, in no particular order, Hamas, Bibi, and Putin, and all are short term wins.
Israeli PM Netanyahu, currently on trial for fraud and breach of trust, gets to consolidate support for his right wing hawkish government and double down on seeing Palestine as a problem to be managed rather than a neighbour that can one day be neighbourly.
Hamas benefits by rallying support among anti-Israeli communities around the world providing a boon for recruitment and fundraising. They, like Bibi and his ilk, thrive on conflict and war, and have a lot to lose by achieving peace, even if many of their followers believe that is ultimately what they are fighting for.
But the biggest winner of all is Russian dictator Vladimir Putin whose three day military operation to overthrow the leader of Ukraine is on the back half of its second year.
Any international attention and support diverted away from his war of conquest in Ukraine is good for him. Whether countries support Israel or Palestine is materially irrelevant; the world has overwhelmingly rallied around his opponent in Eastern Europe and any country that gives time, energy, manpower, money, or weapons to either side in a different high profile conflict is not providing those resources to his direct opponent.
While the western consensus to unconditionally back Israel is stronger than its internal consensus, one has to ask if it is really a question of support for Israel; what does that even mean? Is there perhaps a question of support for anyone or anything that is looking for an actual viable, long term solution to a deadly age-old conflict. Are we even any closer to a Jewish state with real long term viability?
One thing is for sure. The common people on all sides of this conflict are losing.