Victor Salkowitz

Negotiating with Beligerants

In my first OP, which no one will read, because it is too long, I have buried there a little theory of mine regarding why Israel always eats crow in its military responses to Hamas and Palestinians, no matter how blatantly or viciously attacked. The theory is this: Because Israel is more powerful, an “occupier” (as far as the rest of the world is concerned), it creates a weird relationship with its occupied (and the world).  As there is a real power differential between Israelis and Palestinians, with Palestinians not able to enjoy the same civil rights (no judgement here…they just don’t, for any variety of reasons), an odd “parent child” relationship is set up. Palestinians thus become dependents, wards of the of the state and the world.  For all intents and purposes, they have the same legal and civil rights as children.,  Again, I’m not saying this is right or wrong, it just is.

Now.  Let’s go to Target, Walmart, or whatever the equivalent is in your country.  We suddenly hear a child yelling, thrashing about.  It’s got to have its candy bar, toy, whatever.  The parent tries to reason with it, but the child is beyond reasoning.  A creeping dread begins to run down your spine as the parent begins to yell and the child yells louder.  You know what I am talking about.  We are cringing and hoping against hope that we won’t hear that dreaded slap from the parent.

Now we know the child is out of control, annoying us perhaps just as much as it is annoying the parent.  But where is our attention ultimately riveted?  The parent.  What will he or she do?

I would like to propose that the failure of the peace talks for the past forty plus years is precisely because of this parent child dynamic.  I would also like to suggest that no matter how wildly the child thrashes in that department store, it is never, ever blamed for its out of control behavior as much as the parent, should the parent loose control.

Hence, as long as Israel is in this relationship with the Palestinians, it is doomed to lose all its conflicts and wars on the media stage. Israel will be judged by the world as an abusive parent, even though they haven’t yet heard about my theory..

Which gets to my next point.  Israel has to end the parent child relationship.  And it cannot be done with negotiations, because the parent child relationship will just continue, and that’s where all the mischief starts.

Israel’s last act in this chapter of its history should be as the firm parent ending Palestinian Childhood.  I’m no expert on what that should look like, but I hope it happens soon.

About the Author
Victor Salkowitz is a retired Clinical Social Worker with over 30 years experience in prisons, child welfare, and adult mental health agencies. He received his B.A. in Psychology from UC Davis and an MSW from UC Berkeley, becoming licensed in 1991.