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Jon Phillips Comments on an Op-Ed by Fareed Zakaria on the Israeli - Palestinian Conflict.

Posted on the 23 May 2021 by Rvbadalam @Nimasema

In a Washington Post opinion piece, Fareed Zakaria argues that, "Israel doesn’t have any practical reasons to make a deal with the Palestinians." It doesn’t fear for its security. Israel’s economy is too strong, diversified and advanced to fear economic boycotts. According to Zakaria, "What is left is morality. Israel — a powerful, rich and secure nation — is ruling over nearly 5 million people [the Palestinians] without giving them political rights. This is an almost unique situation in a post-colonial world.”


Jon Phillips comments on an Op-Ed by Fareed Zakaria on the Israeli - Palestinian conflict.

The Gaza Strip is a 32 by 7 mile strip of land containing 1.8 million people,
one of the densest populated areas in the world.

Jon Phillips

Entirely true. But the logic of “morality” tends to be defined much more strongly along the lines of tribal and ethnic groupings — not by legal Nation State boundaries (Nationalism). The word “morality” comes from the same root as Mores — the ethno-cultural beliefs, practices, and behaviors of particular groups in societies. The mix of Mores vary from sub-culture to sub-culture depending on the degree plurality within a larger culture and society. To find the key to unlock a cultural door, one must find the overlap in Mores to generate empathy between two dissimilar cultures.
To be effective, those overlaps have to be resilient, potent, and exercised over considerable time to build confidence. Perhaps with the exception of assured total annihilation, if the only empathetic overlaps between groups are “breathing the same air and cherishing their children’s futures”, that is likely not enough to generate sufficient empathy between ethnic groups to achieve a nonviolent resolution. Of course, it’s always a place to start, but more than the notion of ultimate existence is necessary to create good will. There must be room for all sides to have significant hope in ongoing “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.
History suggests that the only way to achieve an equitable outcome in such a circumstance will be through principles of “nonviolence”, e.g., Gandhi’s nonviolent campaign in India, that over several decades ended British colonial occupation of a country of well over a billion people — without war. Martin Luther King and the US Civil Rights Movement in the US is another example — which still continues to this day in fits and starts since “structural racism” is more difficult to root out than overt racism in laws and regulation.
But the circumstances in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, plus the large diaspora of Palestinians as refugees in surrounding countries and elsewhere, that occurred with the Partition of Israel and later conflicts, is unique and complex. That uniqueness and complexity has created entrenched difficulties. Millions of indigenous people that are effectively Stateless and dramatic inequities that breed extraordinary hostility.
Hindu Indian culture is not like Palestinian Islamic (or Christian or Druze minorities — Druze is a unique monotheistic religion (circa 11th century) that claims Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, as it’s prophet) culture or Israeli Jewish nationalist or Jewish orthodox religious cultures. The violent protests by Arab Israelis (Palestinians that didn’t leave Israel in the Partition or thereafter) that erupted within Israel during this military conflict is a tell. The Arab Israeli culture is not the same as the Jewish Israeli cultures (nationalist or religious). Arab Israelis are a minority in Israel, but have their own political Parties and alliances within the Israeli government and society. There are also significant cultural breeches between Jewish Israeli groups, so Israel is far from culturally monolithic. The specifics of these sub-cultures define their Mores and thus, their innate and emotive empathies.
Territorial positions are fully hardened in groups on both sides after many decades of conflict. Those positions now have the potency of cultural mythology added to them — they are part of the system of Mores and thus define ethnic moral positions. At this point, Israel has no where to go and no intent to surrender. SO... no peaceful solution is indefinitely viable that doesn’t result in two States or in a single State that has free and fair universal adult suffrage.
When one looks at the demographics and how they’re changing, it seems entirely implausible that a single State is possible — hence the underlying interest in the old concept of the “Two State Solution”. Other than this, the outcome seems to be an indefinite and chronic continuation of the status quo (Israeli nationalist’s concept of “mowing the grass” — which is an incredibly dehumanizing metaphor) or outright genocide, god forbid. Genocide is always a deal breaker unless powerful authoritarian governments, with few concerns about human rights, proliferate in some very unfortunate future and Israel became one of them. Again, god forbid.
In fact, the stability of the Israeli State may be in question, at some point in the future, if it remains a State dedicated to a specific ethnicity as opposed to ethnic pluralism. The current national concept is ethnically defined while including certain minority groups that are not part of that ethnicity. Hence, there’s a tendency toward an increasing implementation of apartheid government with respect to those non-Jewish minorities. If that tendency cannot be countered and it grows worse over time, then how can a true liberal democracy exist since mass violations of Civil Rights could eventually become inevitable? A potentially growing conundrum.
All of these difficulties taken together still doesn’t suggest that there is any other humane path to resolution except those achieved through nonviolence. Nonviolence ultimately relies on moral persuasion.

Jon Phillips comments on an Op-Ed by Fareed Zakaria on the Israeli - Palestinian conflict.

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