The complete idiot’s guide to Mideast peace – part 262


The lesson of this summer’s awful war | The Times of Israel     ‘Op-ed: There are no quick fixes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So let’s at least start working toward a slow fix’

Not so, David. Fixing the conflict is just a question of pressing all the right buttons. And those pressed so far have evidently been the wrong ones. Clear proof of this is offered by the latest round of hostilities, part of an ongoing pattern that’s been with us now for 66 years and more.

So, what buttons have been pressed and what ones haven’t?

Button 1. Military measures: These have not stopped the fighting, the fears and the tension. Indeed, they may have easily contributed to the emergence of the status quo as we see it today. In essence, it’s a stand-off interspersed at regular intervals by acts of extreme violence, ranging in scale from major to minor in terms of duration and intensity.

Button 2. Political options: Such stratagems that have been employed are many and varied. But none have registered positive enough to become the basis for any long-term peace settlement.

Button 3. Economic leverage: This has had little or no effect. Although vast expense has long been standard in the situation, the provision of financial support has always come through, even if other areas of expenditure have sometimes had to suffer as a consequence.

Button 4. Religious constraints: With all sides claiming the imprimatur of divine approval, hardly any room remains for questioning the moral legitimacy of a conflict costing the lives of so many thousands to date and one that has been the ruin of countless others before now.

So, is there a button here that hasn’t been pressed yet? If so, then what is it and where can it be found?

As we have seen in Gaza and Israel over the last few months, conflict and tragedy draws people together, stiffens their resolve to prevail against the enemy and this imbues them with an endurance that is so vital in pursuing the business of survival in the face of any external threat.

The question is this: What one thing would persuade both Israelis and Palestinians to stop fighting after decades in an almost continual state of war with each other? The answer, strangely enough, is laughter.


Button 5. The laughter button: Did you know that it’s damn difficult to properly conduct a war when you’re viewed as a source of considerable amusement by one and all? But it’s true. War is such a serious business that any form of levity entering into its mechanism is of so corrosive a nature that all function soon stops and, unless that humour is rapidly expunged, the condition tends to stay permanently in place.  – ‘ for those of us with better things to do.’

Well, this is a ‘fix’ that could be both fast and slow. Either way, it would be most amusing for the world to see how this situation sorts itself out.




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Engineer, Virgo - now retired having worked 30 years in the field of medical diagnostic imaging for a major German multinational. Based in UK .