[OPE] Punchy article in Ha'aretz on the bigger picture: Israeli "toddlers in world society"

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Tue May 26 2009 - 12:32:03 EDT

Over the years, Washington and the world have coddled both Israel and the
Palestinians, whose behavior has come to resemble that of spoiled children.

Are they not deserving of sympathy? Of course they are. Never since the
events of 1948 has the region seen a decade of such consistent violence, an
extraordinarily high ratio of civilian casualties, and a universality of
despair, as in the Second Intifada (2000-2004), the Second Lebanon War
(2006) and the Gaza War (2008-9).

As with parents who become more and more indulgent the more clueless they
realize they actually are - and the more out of control their kids get -
Washington and the world have allowed Israel and the Palestinians both to
run off the rails in whatever direction they happen to see fit at the

Why? For the same reason that bad parents spoil their children:

They're afraid of them.

For generations, both Israelis and Palestinians have been snowing their
respective allies, who have been afraid, either electorally or physically,
of being perceived as not loving them enough.

In the case of Israel, the White House has stood often on the sidelines,
politically neutralized, as the Jewish state undertook initiatives, in
particular, settlement construction, which have proven painfully costly,
morally dubious, and otherwise harmful - first of all, to Israel itself.

As the peace process unraveled in the late 1990s and then-prime minister
Netanyahu burned through political capital in visits to Washington, senior
Clinton administration Mideast official Aaron David Miller famously recalled
that "all of us saw Bibi as a kind of speed bump that would have to be
negotiated along the way until a new Israeli prime minister came along who
was more serious about peace."

In the case of the Palestine that has yet to arise, global donors who
lavished hundreds of millions of dollars and euros in aid, failed to require
that the funds be spent on the needs of the needy, and the phantasmagoria of
corruption that ensued led directly to the rise of Hamas, the crippling of
Fatah, and the collapse of the peace process.

As in the case with spoiled children, as Israel and the Palestinians
received more and more attention, they focused more completely on
themselves, cataloguing, memorizing, publicizing and, frequently,
exaggerating, every real and imagined injury, dismissing and ignoring damage
and injustice done to the other.

People say we got it made
Don't they know we're so afraid?
We're afraid to be alone
Everybody got to have a home

Just a boy and a little girl
Trying to change the whole wide world
The world is just a little town
Everybody trying to put us down

I don't expect you to understand
After you've caused so much pain
But then again, you're not to blame
You're just a human, a victim of the insane

We're afraid of everyone
Afraid of the sun
The sun will never disappear
But the world may not have many years

- John Lennon, "Isolation"

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Received on Tue May 26 12:36:48 2009

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