The most obvious and dangerous cause of conflict and instability in the Middle East is the so-called peace process itself r1.
Let me advance an interesting opinion: The most dangerous cause of instability in the
Middle East is the so-called peace process itself. I know this is an unusual point of view. Give me a chance to explain my theory.
By my count, there have been at least 25 major outbursts of violence between Jews and Arab-Palestinians in the
Every one of these conflicts began in a similar way too: with a renewed attack by the Arab side, or else (as in 1956 or 1967) by Arab violations of the terms of the previous armistice or ceasefire and a blockade in
Think for a minute how unusual this is. Wars usually end when one side or the other decides it cannot continue fighting. The losing side accepts terms it had formerly deemed unacceptable because the alternative — continued fighting — seems even worse. Whenever have you heard the vanquished dictating the terms?
I doubt many Hungarians are delighted to have lost more than half their territory to neighbors in
Exactly the opposite has occurred in the Arab-Israeli dispute.
Arab-Palestinians rejected the 1947 partition, resorted to war, lost, and to this day demand compensation for their losses.
It is like a game of roulette where the management stops the game whenever you begin losing too badly, with promises to refund your money as soon as it conveniently can. What gambler could resist returning to the tables?
I understand why Western governments have acted as they have. They have feared that unless they somehow smooth the situation, the world oil market will be upset and radical ideologies will spread through the Islamic world. Just like the Arab oil embargo of 1973. What they do not see is that their efforts to contain the problem have in fact aggravated it, and accelerated the hostilities by the Arabs.
Think of this alternative history: suppose that the Western world had not intervened in 1949. Suppose the Israeli war of independence had been fought to the bitter end: Arab armies breaking apart and fleeing, as they have in the past, commanders laying down their arms, columns of refugees crossing the
The outcome would have squelched any hope that more fighting would have yielded a different result — and the more decisive result might have dissuaded Arab governments from any further attempts to resort to force.
Now Think of another scenario. In the 1990′s, the former
erupted into war. New states with new borders were carved out of the old country. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. Horrific atrocities were committed. Happily, the conflict ended. The displaced adjusted to life in their new homes. Former enemies may still mistrust each other, but violence has faded and seems unlikely to return. Yugoslavia
Suppose instead the world had agreed that one of the combatant ethnic groups — the Serbs, say, but it really does not matter — retained a permanent inextinguishable right to reclaim its former homes with all its new offspring’s. Suppose the world agreed to pay displaced persons from that group billions in foreign aid on condition that they never permanently resettled in the territory to which the ethnic group had moved. Suppose the world tolerated Serbian terrorist attacks on
May the victor be merciful.