SamHenry on Israel and the Current Unrest in the Middle East

Posted on February 23, 2011


SamHenry tries to be a truth-teller. Sam was raised in an area of the US that was heavily Jewish and where the Jews and the Wasps had an unusual degree of cohesion of purpose and values, Rochester, New York.

As with many of her Jewish friends, Sam does not cotton to Zionists.  But Sam takes this one step further.  Of British, Scots and Irish stock and proud of her heritage, she is not proud of British willingness to cede part of Palestine to Jews without a home following WWII.  Surely there was a better way to provide a place for a new Israel or a way of proceeding that did not take land from another area with little agreement.  But Palestine had been  part of England’s League of Nations Mandate [now the UN].  They could almost impose a solution.

The formal objective of the League of Nations Mandate system was to administer parts of the defunct Ottoman Empire, which had been in control of the Middle East since the 16th century, “until such time as they are able to stand alone.” [wikipedia]

The boundaries of the region have changed throughout history, and were first defined in modern times by the Franco-British boundary agreement (1920) and the Transjordan memorandum during the British Mandate for Palestine. Today, the region comprises the country of Israel and the Palestinian territories.[wikipedia]

The fall of the Ottoman Empire is not within the scope of this blog but I encourage you to do more than a wikipedia-level survey of it.  However wikipedia-level is preferable to no level.

The mix of American, European and Middle East cultures in that region has always been uncomfortable.  I like to refer to Europe in its time of imperialism and America in its as having been in a kind of infant state of development.  From the time of the voyages of discovery, they held a view of many cultures (especially those that were nomadic or native) that they were as children in need of teaching and conversion.  Neither was true.

This is not to blame the Europeans and the US but to explain where they and their people were in their development.  Travel and study abroad by Americans and Europeans alike in the boom decades of the 1950s-1970s brought more understanding but too late.

Our meddling in the region has been complicated by a series of moves made primarily to protect our oil interests in the area.  In doing so,  the US government  began to undercut all that we stood for in the support of the regimes whose oil we needed. Our own oil companies kept us dependent on oil with the upshot being we are now held hostage to these Arab states. The idea of green only has come because there is no other way to survive.

Meanwhile our schizophrenic Middle Eastern policies throughout the 20th century and into the 21st and other  complicated  factors that led us to where we are today are such that it almost does not matter what they were any more. The key is to somehow divest ourselves  from the need to be in the region for any reason other than tourism and to help the Israeli people.

Israelis and Palestinians have lived together – even European Israelis – for many years.  A resolution should return them to a civil relationship. If it does not – if it cannot be accomplished, it well may be that the safest place for her people may be in some other place.  They must do more than survive and fortify their state. They must protect their culture and flourish.  They are of the area but in the state of turmoil there, can they really be safe? We can only pray the the Israelis and Palestinians can work together on a solution with the west playing a diminished role.  It is for them to take the lead and work through their difficulties.

And about our other great all-consuming interest, Oil.  It will be impossible for Europe and America to protect all of the oil wells in the region.  Already Gaddafi has sworn to sabotage his own wells.  Can we adequately protect the oil and the Israelis concurrently?

Meanwhile we have been busy extracting it from the region, Muslims from the region have been quietly populating the west – many with the aim of using our own democratic means of toppling western culture and creating a great caliphate.  They see much in us that is amoral and mercenary.  They see us as we used to see them – in need  of rescuing. This view of us gets clouded by the more outspoken among them bent on revenge could trigger massive unrest here.

We must refocus, regroup and intelligently work together here in the US to NOT continue as part of the problem but to become part of the solution. Only in this way can we protect our culture and values effectively.  It will go a long was in this process if the Republican Party can once again become a beacon of cooperation among all factions and the united voice for traditional values and our underlying political system.  We must resolve differences into a single platform. The split can no longer be tolerated or we will surely lose in 2012 and 2010 will have been an anomaly.

Sam hopes civil discussion can result from this post.  This is a preliminary formulation of ideas trying to solve riddles our best heads cannot and perhaps only the sphinx can.  Currently in the Middle East, revolution seems the only accepted means of change.  In the US, vindictive is not winning but splintering.  If we are a split nation, we are a weak nation and ripe for changes we don’t want.