Knowledge and wisdom, don’t confuse them…

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein, born of Jewish parents, but rejecting the popular Judaic interpretation of G-d, is attributed as having once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over, and expecting different results.” I am pretty sure I am not alone when I experience feelings of deja voux when we look at the conflict in Gaza. As a friend said to me, this is like Gaza Op Version 3.0, my friend being a gaming nut. Personally, it seems to me, more like Version 1.2. A key difference in this version is Iron Dome, the blessed protector of Israeli civilian areas. Otherwise, it is pretty much the same tit for tat, door to door, inch by inch advance of ground troops into a rabbit warren of hostile situations. Along with that comes loss of troops and civilians, although it does appear that the Palestinian Authority can’t tell the difference between a Hamas terrorist and a civilian.

Knowledge is something we learn. It is a process of imprinting information into the chemical structure of our brains. Some people have incredible capacity for knowledge, and yet they live mediocre lives. Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing that you don’t add tomatoes to a fruit salad. Wisdom is developed over a period of time, by exposure to situations, environments and challenges, that force us to combine our knowledge, with experience, with logic – the practical application of knowledge for the advancement through any given situation. Wisdom is the intellectual capacity that can make men great.

As I read newspaper opinions, watch interviews on TV, read books of great authors about our history, it amazes me when I see how the often we humans can complicate simple situations by deviating from the basics of knowledge and wisdom. If one paraphrases the Einstein quote from earlier in this post, we come up with the derivative of “If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it “. Which brings me to what seems to missing from the debate threads that abound on social media sites, and in the media.

Knowledge tells us that by separating two hostile nations into their own countries, may bring a modicum of peace, after all separation is better than mixing hostiles?. India and Pakistan is an application of the “two state policy”.  Since the partition of India, by the British in 1947 and creation of modern republics of India and Pakistan, the two countries have been involved in four wars, including one undeclared war, as well as many border skirmishes and military stand-offs.The dispute around Kashmir has been the cause, whether direct or indirect, of the wars of 1947, 1965  and 1999, between the two countries with the exception of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, where conflict started due to upheavals in what was then known as East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). So our knowledge tells us that a “two state solution” does not always bring peace, especially when the countries separation is largely based on religious faith.

It is interesting to note that the modern split in Czechoslovakia has been peaceful, yet it did not have the support of the majority of the populace. In a September 1992 poll, only 37% of Slovaks and 36% of Czechs favoured dissolution of the country, formed after World War 1, which split in 1939 under pressure from Hitler, and rejoined under the Soviets in 1945. At the end of 1992, under solid leadership, the country split into the Czech Republic and the Republic of Slovakia.

I have not included breakups of once existing countries such as the USSR and Yugoslavia, as these were not voluntary separations and were at times violent.

So armed with a bit of knowledge on successful, and less successful two state solutions, we need to factor in that various factions in the Palestinian fold base their existence on their sworn (and written) commitment to the eradicate of the State of Israel and the Jewish Nation. It doesn’t require a high degree of wisdom to realise that with all the knowledge at hand, a two state solution for the Arab/Israeli conflict cannot possibly be on the table at this time.

One would not want to sit around a table negotiating giving full autonomy and land to an enemy who seeks your demise. In fact to do so, would be an exercise in absolute stupidity. This then raises the conundrum of the proposed negotiations in Egypt.Such negotiation, whilst seeking a short term resolution to the current conflict, must result in a medium term peace, with a view to a full term settlement of this Arab/Israeli issue.

It would be a frivolous process to embark upon, if it were just to give Hamas and the other terror groupings in the region, time to re-arm, and try again. The West Bank needs to be included in any such negotiation, especially in light of recent calls from Iran seeking to encourage a Hezbollah intifada type scenario in that region.

Any cessation of military activity in Gaza, prior to the elimination, or vast reduction, of weapons in terror groups hands, will only lead to a repeat of this conflict in a few years.  One needs to always ensure, that in the strides made for peace, we acknowlegde a bad peace peace is NOT better than a good war. Being aware of this ensures one doesn’t feed the crocodile. I do believe that the complexity of the way forward would have had King Solomon pull at his hair in frustration.

In closing, I pray that HaShem will extended his protective hands over the IDF men and women who place their lives in harms way, to ensure the safety and freedom of their families and friends at home in Israel, and also that HaShem take care of the innocents who will find themselves in the middle of this war. I pray for the families of the fallen warriors of the IDF, and for the family of Hadar Goldin, and for his safe return.

About the Author
A trained Electrical Engineer (retired), student of philosophy, avid reader, News channel surfer, adherent of Sun-Tzu's "Art of War" as applicable to life in the 21st century. Resident in Southern Africa. World traveler. A supporter of the State of Israel, Christian believer of the Jews as G-ds Chosen People.
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