The complete idiot’s guide to Mideast peace – part 263


In lame-duck period, Obama administration retreats from peace endeavors | The Times of Israel  ‘Russia, Iran and the Islamic State take precedence over pressing for another round of talks between Israel and the Palestinians’

US open to new Gaza resolution if it helps truce..US envoy to the UN says resolution must ‘do no harm’ to ceasefire and should’ play a positive role in supporting a durable solution.’  Ynet

All this would tend to suggest a certain distancing of the US from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a conviction that Americans have exhausted whatever political capital they are prepared to invest in peace initiatives and are now willing to take a back seat as interested observers rather than as active players.

And this may be no bad thing for the outcome of future negotiations.

The world has long been accustomed to America’s participation in Middle Eastern affairs. It has strategic interests in the region and its superpower status has consistently earned it a hearing if not always agreement whenever its contributions have been made.

So it may now be up to the rest of us to advance a solution, a framework of proposed intent as to how we should all go forward in these matters.

What buttons do we press? What ones have already been pressed and found ineffective or, worse still, harmful to the prospects for peace?

Let’s see:

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 then 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, turns out to be quite unexpected:  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 that way forever.  – ‘ for those of us with better things to do.’

Well, after 66 years of conflict and all that has transpired, some small measure of wry amusement at the new predicament of others might not go too far amiss.

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