Monday, October 02, 2006

After the summer and the Israeli-Arab war

Yes - I neglected this blog while being distracted by the wonders of summer in the moderate climate of the US Northwest. While so many of us enjoyed ourselves in the warmth of the sun and in cheerful company of people free of religious fanaticism the Jews and Arabs kept killing each other in Palestine.

The state of Israel exists in the Middle East as a result of international support through the United Nations fostered by arrangements begun long time ago between the so-called superpowers. As such Israel exists legally by the mandate of the world. As such Israel has every right to defend its security and its actions to respond with force to violations of its borders are completely justified. Also justified are actions of world powers, UN and military organizations, to help Israel. Yet it is hard to imagine a situation where it will have no mortal enemies bent on its annihilation. Despite the continued support of the world it seems that Israel is destined to be surrounded by enemies.

In prewar Poland Jews constituted around 10% of the population. This was the result of long tradition of tolerance which allowed Jews to practice their traditions and religion with minimal harassment. Unlike in Western Europe where Jews had to appear like everybody else, be assimilated, in order t o advance their life and career. The haven for Jews that existed in Eastern Europe, especially in Poland, became their downfall. Jews were easy to find for their Nazi persecutors, easy to identify and kill.

I cannot escape the thought that the state of Israel similarly concentrates Jews into a global ghetto located amidst their enemies. Of course the world supports the right of Israel to exist and it seems like the right thing. But the right thing at some point may become impossible to carry out. Arab and other Muslim countries around Israel are undergoing a crisis whose depth is hard to predict and may become the source of a violent eruption of unpredictable magnitude. It is hardly doubtful that the Islamic countries will go through significant violence in resolving their crisis. It is also hardly doubtful that much of that violence will be directed at Israel at which point that country will require help from the world led by Europe and America whose powers are waning now in favor of the new powers of Asia. Either Europe and America will involve themselves in a ruinous struggle for survival of Israel or they will abandon it.

I think the second scenario is more likely. The war in Iraq has exposed the limits of American power and exposed the truth that nations should not always do what is right but merely what is possible and in their own interest. Europe and America, former colonial powers, are powerless to get significantly involved in the crisis of the Islamic world. They would risk too much.

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