Israel

“Lamenting lemmings swam they on, from sea to surf with death to spawn…”

 

This was the opening line of a poem penned in 1987 by a collection of Jungle Cruise skippers at Disneyland. Each of us would contribute a couple of lines before going on break; by the end of the night the poem spanned four pages… and was, shall we say… unique. Prophetic, humorous and, yes, even ribald, the poem showed the vast literary talents of us gun-toting skippers and guides through the treacherous jungle rivers of Anaheim. It also was disjointed, contradictory and, at times, completely nonsensical. Much like the 21st century’s U.S. and Europe’s Middle East policy as a whole, and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict on a more granular level.

 

“A camel is a horse that was designed by committee.”

 

Colonel DeVorkin, one of my commanding officers, uttered this phrase during a drill weekend, and it has always stuck with me. A fitting corollary to the subtext of the poem written years earlier, and a more succinct way of describing how we have watched the success of pan-Arabism become consumed by both a return to factionalism, as well as calculated responses by nation-states.

 

Over the last two weeks, there has been a low-intensity war between Hamas and Israel. This has showcased brilliant military strategy, the power of technology, the vapid pontification of talking heads and politicians, the realignment of the Democratic Party in the United States away from Israel, the calculated ascendancy of Iran, and the normalization of anti-Semitism as far away as Los Angeles.

 

There is a way to fix this… and I’ll get into that later. First… a bit of a primer:

 

For hundreds of years Turkey, Central Asia, and North Africa were ruled by the Ottoman Empire. While multiple subcultures existed within the Empire, during its height there was no misconstruing from where power emanated: Istanbul. The Empire would fluctuate throughout its history as alternating between provincial and Turkish-oriented rule, but, in the end, the Turks were at least putatively in control.

 

Then they bet wrong.

 

During WWI, the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany and ended up being consumed by France and England following the armistice. Allies within the Ottoman Empire, who helped England and France prevail, were rewarded with kingdoms and caliphates. The modern map of the Middle East was born, still with European colonialism being present. Then the Brits issued the Balfour Declaration… essentially making a case for a Jewish state.

 

After WWII the British, still holding onto their Palestine Mandate in what is now Israel, were “nudged”. (Meaning Jewish Zionists launched a bombing campaign against the U.K. Thousands of Jews were fleeing postwar Europe and heading to Israel. The British began enforcing immigration mandates, and the Zionists retaliated with explosives. Soon the British would throw up their hands, exit their mandate, and allow for the formation of the modern state of Israel.)

 

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The Modern Problem:

 

Israel has control over the City of Jerusalem (at least they have since they captured it in 1967). The name Jerusalem translates, quite ironically, to “City of Peace”. The Old City of Jerusalem is home to two sacred shrines. For Jews, it is the place where the first and second Jewish temples existed and is home to the Waling Wall, or Western Wall, a remaining foundation from the Second Jewish Temple. For Muslims, it is the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, the third most sacred relic in the Muslim religion.

 

Since the Jewish state has police control over these religious sites, there has been a serious bone of contention between religious pilgrims regarding both access and the affront that they are not completely in control.

 

Add to this the fact that the Palestinians, now living under home-rule in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, still demand the eradication of Israel and that they have allowed themselves to be coopted by foreign-sponsored terrorist organizations, and we have the current powder keg.

 

This is, of course, also compounded by a direct disparity of Palestinian and Israeli outcomes. The Palestinians have massive access to global capital, but that capital does not flow. At the time of this current crisis, there has only been one COVID testing and treatment facility in the Gaza Strip. This is the case, despite literally billions of dollars that have been funneled into the corrupt sieve that is the Palestinian Territories. Their natural resources are identical to that of Israel, yet their infrastructure is paltry at best. Their top intellectuals tend to live not in Gaza, but Paris…there is a reason for that.

 

 

Iran as the Regional Hegemon:

 

At the end of the Bush Administration, a white paper was issued by Stratfor (a private intelligence company and think tank) arguing for a realignment of interests with Iran. Since Iran is a theocracy, and dedicated to the proposition that Israel should not exist, any cozying up to Iran would be at the direct expense of Israeli security. The argument for increasing the power of Iran was a geopolitical one. The unique geographic position of Iran places it as a direct competitor to the Saudis, as well as a check on Russian adventurism in Central Asia. The idea that a strong Iran would create a stable Middle East was an asinine idea from the outset, yet the Stratfor paper gained advocates in the incoming Obama Administration.

 

While geopolitical posturing probably played less into the equation than good, old-fashioned anti-Semitism, coupled with a pro-Palestinian bias, it did become the dominant paradigm.

 

President Trump screwed up the whole plan though. Not only did he not coddle the Iranians as his predecessor did… he actively sought to destroy them.

 

Then we got President Biden.

 

Now, we were “back on track” with our build-up of Iran, but Iran has been seriously bloodied over the last four years. To regain its nuclear program, as well as its warning conventional military capabilities, it needs time… ideally eight to ten years.

 

As the Biden Administration began its overtures towards Iran, the Israelis became more and more concerned. To ascertain the real intention of the Biden Administration, Israel dispatched a few of its envoys to meet with the new Administration in February. They left disheartened, knowing that a clear and persistent shift is back on track to empower Iran… a mortal enemy…to become the dominant player in the Middle East.

 

This left Israel with a choice. Wait for the Iranians to reconstitute their military and potentially develop a nuclear bomb, and then fight them eight years from now when the outcome of that conflict is far from certain, or strike them now when they are weakened from Trump’s sanctions, and potentially destroy their theocracy and replace the government with a liberal pro-democracy, secular government.

 

Iran never gave them the chance to act on their instincts. Knowing that the smart play was to attack now, Iran’s funded terrorist network, Hamas, used the pretext of heavy-handed security in Jerusalem to launch a massive rocket attack against Israel.

 

This prompted Israel to use some fairly brilliant military subterfuge to take out a good chunk of Hamas’s military capabilities. It did not crush Hamas, though.

 

Now, Israel needs to make an incredibly dangerous and calculated decision. Iran’s goal is for Israel to invade Gaza and hold onto the territory for a number of years. This will require an immense amount of blood and treasure to Israel. Hamas will still be funded by Iran, and a large-scale insurgency operation will commence. The only way for Israel to support herself during this time is to enact a fairly draconian security presence in Gaza and the West Bank. With Israel bogged down doing that, they cannot attack Iran, and Iran can slowly begin to reconstitute herself.

 

 

The Swiss Connection:

 

Israeli control of the Old City of Jerusalem is not necessary for the survival of either Judaism or the Jewish State; having access to the Old City of Jerusalem, may theoretically be. The United Nations has proven itself to be utterly worthless and corrupt in so many things, the Middle East particularly. So ceding control to the UN should be a nonstarter.

 

For the Swiss, well… that is a different story.

 

Israel, the Arab nations, and Iran all have strong relationships with Switzerland. The Swiss have a strong historical tradition of providing both mercenaries to protect foreign territory on behalf of third parties, as well as defending the Vatican itself. Israel should seriously consider complete abandonment of the Old City of Jerusalem and turning over control to the Swiss, essentially taking the administration of the Old City off the negotiating table.

 

Then the Israelis should do to Gaza and the West Bank what they should have done long ago… invade.

 

Not with bombs per se… but with capital.

 

The Israelis should begin a process of establishing extra nationality judicial forums for Gaza and the West Bank. (Again, Switzerland may be a good location.) Along with the establishment of a non-corrupt judiciary, they should also begin the process of building infrastructure for the Palestinians. One way is to adopt the Maquiladora Program that exists between Mexico and the United States where lower wages can be taken advantage of by putting Israeli industries in the Palestinian territories. Palestinians complain about the long security lines to come into Israel where they work. They should be working in those same Israeli industries, but in the Palestinian territories themselves.

 

To root out the corruption of the Palestinian government, as well as the ever-present Iranian terrorist proxy, Hamas, Israel should call on the signatories of the Abraham Accords… other Muslim countries to enter, occupy, and provide security for the infrastructure development made possible by the Israelis.

 

Coopting the Palestinians with capitalization, and removing the Jerusalem problem, the Israelis could now focus on their chief concern: Iran.

 

Of course, this could have all been avoided had the Biden Administration abandoned the misguided policies of the Obama Administration. But, oh well… as they say, “elections have consequences”.

Comments (10)

  • Howard Wallace Reply

    You have given this a lot of outside the box thinking, well done.

    05/26/2021 at 08:55
  • Lee Batterman Reply

    This article was an ‘eye-opener’ to the uneducated, concerning Middle East affairs. In making that statement, I assume the information is accurate. I am always amazed when the lights are turned on, and all is made visible to the scrutiny of the outside world. Even with a (limited) understanding of the conflict parameters between Israel and Hamas (Iran), and the implementation of Steve’s, well thought-out solution, there is a long and difficult road ahead for Israel… assuming they would be willing to do what Steve suggests. And don’t forget the good ‘ol USA. No matter what road Israel takes, the current administration of the United States (no matter what party is at the helm) MUST be onboard for the survival of Israel to be assured. I am ashamed of my (USA) government (this does not include the Trump administration… concerning Israel) in the way they had (or have not) supported Israel. Thank you, Steve, for the primmer. Someone beyond this “contact list” should read this document.

    05/26/2021 at 09:28
  • steve rigdon Reply

    as always Steven your right on, however seeing as how Iran want’t the ” Bomb” sooo bad Israel should be a good neighbor and freely give Iran 1 or maby even 2 say 20 Megaton 1 in down town Tehran , the other one the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Base .

    05/26/2021 at 10:14
  • Jim Reply

    Excellent history lesson with an eye for the future. It seems to be a great strategy. Lets hope decision makers or extraordinary folk are like minded in these thoughts!

    PS
    I now know the word “ribald”. My vocabulary always is affected by your posts. Thank you.:)

    05/26/2021 at 10:25
  • Brian Taylor Reply

    Thanks Steven,
    Heavy, appreciate your insight and perspective!
    -bt

    05/26/2021 at 11:37
  • Ray Scott Reply

    I appreciate and agree with your assessment of the situation. I don’t think there is the level of trust between the two parties to inspire Israelis to invest in Gaza. There are good people on both sides but there are sufficient actors like Hamas and the Iranians to spoil any deal like the Maquiladora program. The Swiss would become targets of radicals of both sides. Its a puzzle. I pray for all of good faith there.

    05/26/2021 at 13:32
  • Suze Forshager Reply

    I don’t know how this scenario fits into God’s Prophecy for the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem… just wondering. I agree with your assessment of history, and Trump’s benefit to the Middle East, & Biden’s disastrous plans. The rest bears more thought on my part. Thank you for your succinct intellectual assessments, they are a joy to read & ponder.

    05/26/2021 at 16:19
  • Robert Custer Reply

    Interesting article, though you don’t mention the fact that Iran, Hamas, and the like want ALL Jews dead.
    If all the Jews left Israel and planted themselves in Ontario Canada, the Iranians would STILL want to come over here and bomb them into Lake Superior.

    1 hour ago I saw a “gathering” on the corner in Laguna Niguel, of all places.
    Probably over 100 people with Palestinian flags and signs that said “Free Palistine” and their favorite saying: “from the river to the sea”, which translates “kill every Jew from the river to the sea”

    05/29/2021 at 15:45
  • Paul Lichtenstein Reply

    Excellent summary of a very complex and confusing state of affairs in Israel. What is even more confusing to me is why the liberal Jews on both coasts, after seeing how anti-semetic the Democrats are, still vote for the party that wants to wipe out Israel!! What is their reasoning for voting democrat when they see the Dems supporting Iran and, by proxy, Hamas??

    05/29/2021 at 21:40
  • Susan Anderson Reply

    Great article and summary of events! Thank you

    05/30/2021 at 14:45

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