Perspectives of Peace in the Middle East

It is well known that for years Israel did not respect the UN resolutions including key resolution 242, which calls for the pre-established 1948 borders. Yet boarding a humanitarian ship in international waters, defined a new and dangerous situation.
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It is well known that for years Israel did not respect the UN resolutions including key resolution 242, which calls for the pre-established 1948 borders. Yet boarding a humanitarian ship in international waters, and "reacting" by opening fire thereby provoking casualties defined a new and dangerous situation. The question that automatically comes up is: Can a constituted State with UN recognition permit itself not to acknowledge the legality of international treaties and the treaties themselves? At this point even though Israel has not been complying with international inquiries, the Israeli government itself has called for an internal one.

Israel sees the emergence of the following -- Erdogan's politics based on a neo-ottoman inclination, the growing hostility coming from the Arab-Islamic masses and the opposition coming from the international community. Besides, there is the constant non-homogeneity problem of the Israeli population, which could resurface as united in the face of an external threat. So, among other problems there is also the fear of losing the Hebrew majority in light of the growing Israeli-Arab population. Yet all this can not explain the Israeli actions of these weeks.

Behind the Israeli action there is a fundamental geo-political reason. In fact on May 28 during the NPT's (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) review conference, 189 countries (including the US of President Obama), called for the Israeli government to comply with the treaty, favoring the creation of a denuclearized zone in the ME. For Israel, an unofficial nuclear power, this would mean losing its absolute military supremacy forcing it to become an ordinary State.

As early as 2003, a proposal for a denuclearized ME supported by Egypt and Jordan was to be presented to the UN by Khatami's reformist government on Iran's behalf. But this plan was withdrawn in light of the Bush administration's threat to veto it. Now the Obama administration has given its consent to such a plan. So today the basic reason for Israel's recent action is to be viewed in relationship to the position of the Obama administration. With this move Israel has sought to compel Obama to change position on ME matters. Furthermore, Israel would like the Obama administration continue to support Israel as past administrations did.

Thus far with its unofficial atomic capacity and through the support of the past US administrations, Israel has operated by resorting to force. In previous (classical, symmetrical) wars Israel was once able to sweep away several Arab armies put together. However, as demonstrated in the asymmetrical Libanese War of 2006, Israel had to face many difficulties put forth by a small militia.

Besides, it is necessary to keep in mind that whether the lethal weapon is conventional or nuclear makes very little difference to a suicide warrior. Furthermore, Washington's more balanced position has been perceived by the Israeli establishment The US of President Obama has taken a stance, which seeks global security and aspires to act in a more impartial manner if not in a politically equidistant one.

Israel was accused of being a State with no constitution and no recognized geographical borders and of having intentions to go forth on the basis of an idea that conjugates sacred texts and arms. But Israel's labor and culture worlds and overall the most democratic political faction are trying to make every effort to confute these accusations.

Some analysts have said that present day Israel does not represent all the Jews. More precisely, it is perceived to be the representation of a Zionist ideology. Even if Israel were to represent all the Jews, that would not be less critical, because this State model could set the justifying grounds for other confessional States (Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindi...). Similar States could be placed in the logical framework of al Qaeda, which calls for humanity to be divided into confessional tribes.

This would be a dangerous return to the past for the whole of human civilization. This situation would be equivalent to the end of the law-centered modern State based on citizen responsibility regardless of ethnic origins, religion and culture. At the same time one should remember that Israel declares itself to be a democracy; this assumption needs to be continuously proven by Israel.

The Palestinian drama with its divisions and fratricidal wars between Abu Mazen's al-Fatah which controls the West Bank and Hamas are all very well known. It is also widely known that the Gaza Strip is one of the largest open-air prisons in the world today. Additionally, while Israel has transformed Gaza into a prison with sanctions, the local authorities of Hamas in an unwritten agreement with Israel have tried to close the area to non profit organizations (NPO).

Khaled Mashal, one of the Hamas leaders says: How can one deal with a State which has no borders, but then he does not state how he would deal with Israel that does not recognize its authority. It is in this scenario that Hamas dangerously continues not to recognize the state of Israel and vice-versa.

It is well known to the Israelis that the establishment supported the formation of fundamentalist Hamas as a political movement. For years Israel has favored the formation of confessional forces in order to weaken and wipe out Arafat's al-Fatah and the PLO (according to: Robert Dreyfuss' The Devil's Game). Today Israel finds itself trying to eliminate Hamas.

The question that automatically comes up is: Can a constituted state solve its own problems while aiming at the elimination of its counterparts? While Israel has weakened Arafat's Al-Fatah national movement, it has succeeded in inventing Hamas and its warriors who seek "martyrdom." So which interlocutor could Israel eventually face with the weakening or elimination of Hamas?

The Israeli-Palestinian problem has global implications too. Since this issue involves everyone, it should then be the US, European chancelleries, Asian heads and everyone around the world to address the problem of -- what to do? Taking history into consideration, Israel has the comprehensible need for better security, but is it possible to secure a State while it is causing insecurity to its own neighbors? Ada Ahurani, the Israeli poet says "our security and that of our neighbours" is similar to that of "Siamese twins." The Israeli establishment should be aware of the fact that it is the Israelis who must cohabitate with the Arabs and not the Americans or Chinese.

From the Arab world, which is divided between the absolute monarchies and presidents for life, there are no visibly sustainable solutions. Likewise, the world of culture and labor, the outspoken Israeli political sphere and the fervent Jewish community from around the world have not come up with even a proposal which would not leave it all to the use of arms. Figures like Yitzhak Rabin seem to belong to history. The Kadima of Zivi Livni seems to be the de facto surrogate of Netanyahu's government, which identifies itself with use of force. Personalities like Uri Avnery, the founder of Gush Shalom are ever more marginalized.

Israel needs to become an ordinary State in order to live in security. The international community should help Israel to achieve this. There is no other imaginable solution other than that of "two people and two States." Considering the fact that there is an atmosphere of distrust between the two sides, it is necessary for the global players like the US, Europe and regional players like the China, Russia... to work under the aegis of international institutions like the UN, which are able to intervene in order to impose peace.

In the preliminary phase it could be possible to place Israel and the National Palestinian Authority (NPA) under European authority and entrust the UE to administer the area according to the founding EU principles, which are based on citizenship rights, law-centeredness and individual responsibility in front of the law regardless of ethnic-religious origins. This situation should pave the way to guarantee security for all. In this way the Jews could live in security in a state were they hold the majority while living in peace with their neighbors and acquiring greater cohesion with the Middle Eastern reality where Jews have already lived in prosperity for thousands of years.

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