Some multiple choice questions:
1. Which statement is correct concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
a) In time, and if left to its own devices, the situation will sort itself out.
b) Israelis will come up with a peace plan acceptable to and fully endorsed by all Palestinians.
c) Palestinians will come up with a peace plan acceptable to and fully endorsed by all Israelis.
d) Only a peace plan not attributable to either side, has any chance of being accepted and fully endorsed by both Palestinians and Israelis.
2. What is the core reason for this conflict remaining in being for 64 years?
a) It revolves around which of the two main communities has a better claim on the lands of Israel/Palestine.
b) It is a religious issue and Jehovah/God/Allah have all been invoked to justify its continued presence.
c) It is an existential matter that can only be settled by forcing a conclusion in the time-honoured fashion.
d) It is all of the above.
3. Will any of today’s initiatives ever bring about a viable and long-term peace settlement?
4. Can any force be strong enough to eliminate the violence that has so far been a consistent feature of the dispute?
a) There can be sufficient force and much of this is already present.
b) There will never be enough force to cancel out this type of violence, especially now that it has become so endemic to the area.
c) There may come a time when force, in massive quantities, will prevent all violence but that time is not now; nor will it be soon.
d) Conventional forms of force cannot shift violence from the scene; .only unconventional ones can do this.
5. What unconventional force would prove best suited for such a task?
a) Jehovah, God, Allah – or all three – might demonstrate his/her/their preference for one side or the other; some highly publicised act of divine intervention could then settle the entire matter in double-quick time.
b) A force of nature, demanding continuous and concerted action from every single group in the land, may cause violence to be placed on permanent hold until the danger has passed and reconstruction is well under way.
c) A mind control agent, added to public water supplies or via some such medium, could banish all thoughts of a violent nature from every person having had exposure to it..
d) One very remote possibility remains: we could start using that thing we’ve all got between our ears.
Well, how did you do?
The correct answer was, in every instance, (d).
And what do we learn from this?
Whatever initiative finds success, it must first be acknowledged as an external one; it cannot be home grown. It must also address the question of land sovereignty, encompass the religious dimension and remove the existential threat that is so often quoted as the major stumbling block in this conflict.
There must be universal recognition that measures employed to date have had only minor influence on the course of events and so new ideas, possessed of much greater muscle and transparency, need to be pressed into service at the earliest opportunity.
A tall order to process?
No, this can be quite an easy thing to do – if you can understand and follow the principles involved.
Like most of the problems in this life, the trick is to find the very best method that’s likely to succeed and then act upon it.
After that, the whole thing, more or less, takes care of itself.