I confess that my thinking on the Israeli-Arab conflict has gone through a major revolution in the last 24 hours. In the past, I felt great moral revulsion at the use by Arabs of tactics that clearly qualify as war crimes. I thought that no one had an excuse to intentionally target civilians for no other purpose than killing them. I thought that the very purest instance of a war crime. However, after reading many blogs and comments I learned something that completely altered my thinking. I understand that my thinking lacked sophistication and nuance. Now I understand what the Israelis did to the Arabs that was so incredibly unjust that it justifies any response no matter how horrible it might appear to unsophisticated eyes.
Here it is: It seems that, sixty-odd years ago, The Israelis, in connivance with the rest of the free world, stole some land from the Arabs!
I know! Shocking, isn’t it? Don’t you feel like an idiot for supporting Israel all these years? I know I do.
Of course, land is so fantastically important that its loss justifies any response in the attempt to get it back. Land is after all…well I mean it’s…..it’s….
Okay, so land is just basically dirt.
But I bet the land that Israel stole must be super-special dirt! That is the only thing that makes sense! That stolen dirt must be composed of chromium ore alternating with gold! I bet sweet, sweet crude oozes out from every rock! It must be such fertile dirt that you can grow a rainforest in a just a pot or bowl full of it, before breakfast every morning!
And dirt is so fantastically importantly in the 21st Century. A nation is only as rich as its dirt. That is why South Korea is so much better off than North Korea. South Korea got all the good dirt. Hong Kong is famed for its dirt. The rest of the dirt in China sucks, although apparently it’s been improving of late. Heck, look at historical Holland. The Dutch basically invented the institutions of the modern world because that had vast tracts of great dirt. They felt so proud of their dirt that they decorated it with canals, dikes and windmills for no apparent reason. (Of course, this was hundreds of years ago when people didn’t have modern technology. Its not like today when you can just push back the sea a bit and make more dirt.) Yep, the Arabs have to get that dirt back if they have any hope of peace and prosperity.
I mean, look at the present war in Lebanon. Hezballah demands that Israel turn over to them a piece of Syrian land called the Shebaa Farms, a no doubt verdant swath of land over 1 mile deep and nearly 9 miles wide. I mean, jeebus! What were the Israelis thinking? That’s a probably gold-plated, oil-bearing chunk of land nearly the size of a rather small American suburb! What sane person wouldn’t blindly fire artillery into a populated city in an attempt to get it back?
The Israelis brought all this on themselves by stealing the Arabs’ precious, precious dirt. What? Speak up, I can’t hear you! You say that…the…land…in…Israel…is…mostly…dessert. You mean like Apple Pie?
Oh, you said “desert.”
What? Salt encrusted! How the hell does dirt get salt encrusted? … Wow, you don’t say.
Still, even if it is desert it must have large deposits of natural resources like oil or ores or….
Nothing? You have got to be %$#@! me! Who the hell goes on a sixty-year killing spree for utterly worthless land?
The Israelis must have done something else. I know! They must have dissed the Arabs! Man, you have to respond to that. You let an insult stand and the next thing you know your woman is talking back to you, kids laugh at you in the street and the guys down at the bar make kissy-kissy faces at you and imply you’re a homosexual. The only reasonable and moral solution is to track down the bastard who insulted you and pop a cap in him. And, if you can’t find him, you can morally kill his kids. No, really! All the great moral philosophers (on death row) agree with me on this.
After all. isn’t that what the Jews themselves did? Back in WWII tens of thousands of Jewish partisans operated in Eastern Europe. Most had watched their entire families die horribly and whenever they could, they exacted payback on the German people. They avoiding attacking the powerful German military and its economic assets and instead targeted German civilians whenever possible. They even attacked German school children and broke into German homes and shot little girls to death in their beds. To this day, Germans live in daily fear that Jewish extremists will wreak bloody vengeance on any random German in payback for the mass-murder of their grandparents’ generation.
No! Don’t go look it up! Trust me! I mean, think about it. If anyone in the last hundred years possessed a clear justification for a perpetual war of revenge, it’s the Jews. Hell, if the Jews could come to some kind of accommodation with the Germans then anyone could make peace with anyone else. The Arabs would look like complete psychos if, over nearly 60 years, they couldn’t negotiate some kind of settlement with the Jews over dirt when the Jews had learned to live on the same planet with the people who made a strong run at wiping them out completely.
Besides, Israel is a liberal democracy, and as anyone with an advanced degree in the humanities can tell you, liberal democracies cause the lion’s share of the troubles in the world. The multiple political parties, competitive elections, independent judiciary, rule of law, a free press and the rest of all that crap lead to a kind of frenzied madness that spells nothing but trouble for the just, honest and above all reasonable autocracies of the world. (I mean look how peaceful Cambodia became after the “peace” movement let the communists take over. I am told that vast stretches of the country are now natural wonders, places of calm and quiet where you can hear the birds sing. It’s like there’s not a human soul around. You don’t see liberal democracies pulling off things like that.) Besides I am sure the Arab autocracies have a proven track record of humane governance and economic success that throws the hell the citizens of Israel, both jewish and non-jewish alike, must live in into stark contrast. You certainly don’t see autocracies provoking wars to distract their populations from their own shortcomings.
Israel brought this horror upon itself by stealing the Arabs’ precious, precious dirt. One can almost hear the poor traumatized wretches, crouching in the bunkers their benevolent autocrats built for them, muttering to themselves about the infamy perpetrated upon them, “They took our preciousssssss…dirt. Wants it back we do. Our preciousssssss! Our dirt! Dirty Jewbits took it and we wants it back! Our preciousssssss….” Then they fire a missile at a school and who can blame them? How can you negotiate with someone who stole your dirt? Dirt is everything in the modern world. What amount of money could compensate you for your valuable and beloved stretches of utterly worthless desert? If someone offered me a huge pile of cash in exchange for my dirt I know I would rather suffer generations of poverty, oppression and pointless bloody warfare rather than surrender my claim to my utterly useless dirt.
It’s terribly sad but, frankly, the Arabs are perfectly justified in killing, by any means necessary, any Israelis, their children, oh, and their little dog too.
It’s all so clear now.