The headless torso of this little Palestinian girl says it all.
Israel rules the skies. She can blast any nation around it out of existence with complete impunity, and with political cover from the world's only superpower. She sits on a massive arsenal of state-of-the-art conventional weapons as well as chemical, biological and nuclear warheads. Everyone knows this.
The pig-headed and callous Syrian leadership and its Iranian backers can do no more than engage in political brinkmanship and fight limited battles by proxy, and they know it. Like a wounded beast, the Israelis retaliate with increasing venom, but also with the clinical precision of a nation that knows where it is going, what it wants and how to get it.
Israel simply wants to use the Palestinians as slave labour, keep most of the land she occupied in the 1967 and 1973 wars, control water resources in the region and deter her enemies. She goes about achieving her targets with patience, resolve, hard work and intelligent planning. America is a dumb beast ruled by capitalists and religious evangelists. The Israelis and Jewish organisations have worked hard for decades to win America's support and now work even harder to keep it. But the dumb beast also identifies with hard work and creative zeal.
Am I a closet admirer of Israelis and Jews? You could say so. Most of them are enlightened and determined achievers and they know how to organise themselves. I detest their colonisation of post-1948 Palestinian lands and the Golan Heights, and Nazi-like mistreatment of the Palestinians, but no one can deny that they have contributed a great deal to science and culture in the last two centuries and I want the Arabs to learn from them. I want ordinary Syrians, Lebanese and Palestinians to reject the futile politics of hate, revenge and brinkmanship and think more maturely for themselves and about their future.
The facts on the ground are blindingly obvious to all who want to see:
1) The Arab-Israeli conflict cannot be solved by force unless the Arabs can achieve military and technical superiority over Israel and whoever else might be backing her. This is 2006, not 1967 or 1973. Even if the Arab armies could achieve mere strategic parity, through a combination of technical capabilities and sheer numbers, they would still need to learn how NOT to use force and how to shape superpower policies in the region, build a degree of trust with Israel and negotiate workable and fair solutions. The alternative would be mutual destruction.
2) Whenever the Palestinians resist the Israeli occupation and mistreatment, by violent means, Israel ticks off one more box in her relentless advance towards her national goals. When Palestinians target civilians, the formidable Israeli world-wide propaganda machine wins more hearts and minds. Israeli strategists seize on the opportunity to further widen the security cordons around their illegal settlements and the entire State of Israel. They become even more determined to hold on to occupied lands, suck in more fanatical Jewish immigrants and build more settlements.
3) The Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas and the democratically elected political wing of Hamas want to break the cycle of violence in Palestine (read this for example). They want to protect the lives of Palestinian people and find better ways of dealing with the Israeli occupation. No one is giving them a chance and some regimes, including Israel, Syria and Iran are actively destroying such chances. The oil-exporting and aid-dependent Arab rulers are ignoring them.
4) Young Palestinian men who have been radicalised by the brutal loss of their loved ones, or humiliated in Israeli jails or by appalling social conditions, become easy targets for political extremists, particularly the Jihady type. The Syrian and Iranian rulers use them and the Hizbullah militias in Lebanon as dispensable human fodder in their brinkmanship games with Washington. They know that the usual disproportionate Israeli retaliation (resulting in the senseless killing of innocent civilians and destruction of economic assets) will cause public outcries in the civilised world and encourage Washington and Israel to stop short of destroying their regimes or at least take some of the pressure off. They can always rally some of the people around them, claim victory when the firing stops and tighten their grip on power afterwards. The result is stalemate and effective international complicity with the status quo.
Arab rulers are shaken and fearful about current clashes spiraling out of control and engulfing their own countries and regimes. They still prefer complicity with such games to helping the democratically-elected Hamas government to stabilise and develop the Palestinian territories and their own populations to improve their lives through freedom of expression, religious tolerance, proper education and better employment opportunities. Empowered and enlightened masses are too much of a threat to their rule.
In Syria's case, her masters like to play both Samson and Delilah. Delilah betrays the people and Samson brings down the temple onto everyone’s head.
The headless torso of the little Palestinian girl says it all: stop the cycle of violence.
Here's a related post.
Amarji - A Heretic's Blog: Prelude to War!