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When arrogance is the strategy

When arrogance is the strategy
It takes a lot of study to grasp the crux of the issue – yet those, a lot of them actually, who have done it with some honesty, can offer realistic solutions. Whether politicians would buy that or not is a different issue all together because dishonesty is pervasive among the politicians on both the sides, especially the on the part of the militarily stronger side – Israel.

Gaza has almost been leveled now. It looks like a German city ruin at the end of Second World War after the RAF bombing campaign. Or, like Hiroshima after the nuclear strike.

This is not even to mention the thousand-plus deaths in the Strip, half of them being of children and women, in about two weeks of conflict. As usual, the Israel-US narrative starts from the middle of the story. It depicts Israel – the only country established in modern time with unprecedented scriptural claims paraded as history and through hounding out of indigenous population with sheer brute force – as the victim, despite its unquestionable military supremacy in the region. By similar ludicrous logic, dalits, tribals  and Dravidians  can claim entire India including  Aryabartya and ask the upper caste Hindus and Ashraf Muslims to leave or vacate large parts of India or even South Asia.

Charokee, Four Nation  and other Amerindians, who are still alive but in tiny numbers, may ask (some of them are actually doing so) European and African-origin American and Canadians to do the same. Same could be the case in Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. Celtic communities in Britain and France may ask the Anglo-Saxon (English) and Franks (northern French) to go back to their ancient land in Germany. This can go on and on. Large part of human history could be demanded insanely to be reversed by the same token.

 Present developments, history and political geography of the region are well known these days. The core issue, at this instance, is the hugely disproportionate Israeli reaction to the active resistance of Gazaites under the leadership of Hamas. However, there are strongly held belief systems at work too.

Judeo-Christian links, especially between orthodox Jewish and American Christians, is an important facet of this conflict, especially now, with conservative elements from both religions projecting an open agreement on this issue. The Christians believe returning of Jews to Palestine is a precursor to the ‘reappearance of Christ’. It has been going on for quite some now. Moreover, there’s nowadays an increased interest in Christian religious sites located in the Middle East. Obviously, the Palestinians will have to keep them open for Christian pilgrims, but they also seek to widen chances of receiving international support to reconstitute a Palestinian state.

Interestingly, Bethlehem is located in PA territory and PA has started celebrating Christmas in a sort of globally recognised way by receiving Christians from different parts of the world. PA President Mahmoud Abbas and all senior leaders attend the main congregation at the Church of Nativity.

The political part is also complex. There is a long protracted fight of arrogance, patience and perseverance going on between Israel and Hamas. Both want to see themselves as the winner in a game of outwitting and demoralising the other in the longer run, instead of reconciling and striking an immediate compromise. Israel wants to break down all Arab resistance that questions (mostly for bargaining, hardly for any realistic possibility) Israel’s legitimacy.

It wants to have a perpetual upper hand in the final bargain, if any, and beyond. IDF and its precursors like Haganah and Irgun terrorist outfits have hounded out about 7,00,000 Palestinians, who are now about 3 million strong, from their home. They have established a state, in a most unprecedented way in a historically contentious region, by bringing Jews from all over the world and settling them there. Now, Israel wants peace and security for the settler Jews without addressing the issues of the Arab oppressed.

Liberal Jews like Albert Einstein, Hannah Ardent and many more protested these Zionist terror acts during 1948 and beyond. Unless the Hamas stop reminding the world about Palestine, the whole issue will fall off the memory horizon, as per the grand Israeli design. They perhaps have learned a lesson from Fatah in the West Bank , whose non-pursuance of resistance (as per Israeli condition)  in favour of calm has paid them hardly any solid dividend.

Palestinians, by and large, would have accepted a demilitarised fair deal sovereign territory under the aegis of PA leadership. However, it suits opportunistic and megalomaniac politicians like Benjamin Netanyahu to keep selling the ‘doomsday for Israel’ hogwash to add fuel to the raging fire of Zionist jingoism.

If the issues like the Palestinian refugee’s right to return have the potential to dilute Jewishness, then it speaks poorly of the foundational story itself. Looks like patrons like the US and other erstwhile European oppressors such as Nazi Germany during Third Reich, are trying to overcompensate the historic wrongs by condoning Israel’s current actions. They are already in possession of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount yet they want the whole of the Al-Aqsa mosque under their jurisdiction. The Jewish orthodox sect wants all the pride of possession. What about the rights of Palestinians and the Muslims for the Islamic sites in Jerusalem?

Of course, this is not to say that the Hamas isn’t a doubtful right wing entity in the measure of moderate ideas – but that will have to be dealt with after doing justice to the Palestinians. Even Saudis, America’s best Arab friend, are more right wing than the Hamas. Can Hamas really be called a ‘terrorist outfit’ when they are fighting for the cause of such a vividly oppressed community? Were the indigenous Indian heroes of colonial era, such as Bhagat Singh, Khudiram and other freedom fighters, terrorists in the final count?

In the Israel-Palestine crisis , not talking to Hamas or not involving them in the peace initiative is impractical. Hamas has its root deep inside Gazaite society and even wider Palestinian society to some reasonable degree, which has grown out of decades of popular resistance.  It appears that Netanyahu and associates don’t want to give peace a chance, rather continue to make up excuses to be in power riding on chauvinistic arrogance. They know Israel will always have the option of reverting with a heavy hand, as it is doing now.

 It’s difficult to foresee how a permanent solution now can be reached. Israeli conservatives have fallen in their own trap of impracticable conditions. Or, it’s more likely that this is a conscious yet mindless and habitual strategy of arrogance that they want to pursue. Only a powerful external thrust might have the potential to change the scenario. But who can do that?

The author is the Head of Operations, BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University, Dhaka
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