Monday 16 September 2013

A New Year Message to my Friends in Israel

First let us be less arrogant and stop thinking that anybody who thinks differently from us is stupid. Let us assume that Obama and some of the entourage from the ultra Right Tea Party and from the ultra Left Liberal Democrats have something brewing but undefined as yet towards isolationism that eventually will affect American policies in the Middle East. I remember in the fifties a book on the ME (by Spicer ?) saying that we did not know what the United States’ interests in the Middle East were, but that that they were  growing! The reverse appears to be happening today. Policies are not defined first and applied later. They get slowly applied by force of circumstances and are defined at a later stage
With this in mind  let us proceed:-

America and Soviet Russia fought each other in an ebb and flow fashion from the two sides of the Iron Curtain. Roosevelt and Stalin met in Teheran during World War 2  to define their spheres of influence in that region by dividing Iran itself, between the Russian North and the American South. The background for all that is well known and over documented, culminating in the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

All that was guided in the main by America and the West’s need for oil and therefore the fortunes of Aramco and IPC. However, the latest development of fracking and other measures are forecast to make America self-sufficient in energy by 2020.

America and Russia supported the creation of Israel, the first out of religious and humanitarian motives moved by the Holocaust and the Russians by long term calculations of sheer self-interest.   The Americans continued their support in a merely humanitarian way, helped by NY Jewish community. The Suez War alienated the American establishment but Israel's triumph in the Six Day War proved to be a great land mark signalling change of direction. By that time Soviet Russia had penetrated Syria, Egypt, and Ethiopia, threatening Saudi oil supplies and challenging American interests. It is then that America realised that victorious Israel could provide a counter balance to neutralise this acute threat. Slowly the 6th Fleet took residence in the Mediterranean, and Israel became for the Americans a sort of an American aircraft carrier on land.

The same Anwar Sadat (a super conspirator!) who together with General Masri met Rommel during the second world war, woke up to see that Russia could supply arms but not bread. Wily crafty Kissinger recognised all that and exploited it to the full, and the Israel Egyptian peace treaty ensued following the Yom Kippur War.

With Soviet Russia economically disintegrating, American hegemony became supreme both in Europe and the Middle East. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were superfluous and only served Russia indirectly by weakening America economically at the time when Russia's fortunes were reviving. This rendered the United States impotent in a startling way. Even more so recently with its hesitant moves both in Libya and recently in Syria. The international wheel turned complete circle round.

Russia was emboldened and the new Tsar Putin saw that his growing interest in pushing America was bearing  fruit. The new situation has created a new mood in Teheran. The two world powers have to accept sharing their spheres of influence again. Conveniently America backing the Sunnis and the Russians, the Shiaa. And where is Israel in all this?

This drama is being enacted before our eyes, but we are so obsessed with the latest 24 hour news headlines that our evaluation and understanding of the finality of these events is still based on the past. We need to wake up to the new realities that will dictate the future impact on the American public and therefore policy towards Israel. We have to think now and take the long view well before facing new realities.

Israel needs to speed up the setting up of the Palestine State out of sheer self interest. The solutions are well known and documented At best is to revive the Bush/Sharon agreement. If not then to agree to a new situation where Jews live in Palestine the way that Arabs live in Israel. That will be beneficial to both sides and the world will acclaim such a move by Israel. Time is against us. The public in the West (may be not the Governments) resent Israel and will not be sorry if it is hurt.

I know and accept that Israel's military power today can prevail and defeat the combined armies of all the Arab countries and Turkey together. That is not the issue. The existential danger for us comes from the sheer number of the Arab millions surrounding us.  Leaving our borders undefined stalks vulnerability. The danger does not need to come from attacks or intifadas. What will we do if one million of them decide one morning to walk unarmed, children first followed by women and then by their men folk. Just literally walk towards and through the check points claiming what they believe is the repossession of their lands? How many of them are we prepared to kill? A devilish nightmare plan but not unthinkable.

In all this one thing remains a mystery. The most potent weapon in our hands vis a vis the world and the Arabs is the fact that as many Jewish refugees from Arab countries found refuge in Israel as the number of Arab refugees who left Israel. Arab lands are now Judenrein. Why are our leaders shy and intimidated from shouting these facts from the rooftops. Irrespective who pushed and who pulled before or after 1948 the facts of the present are staring us and the world in the eye. The realities on the ground today confirms the validity of our position and constitutes a powerful argument that the public of hostile or friendly countries would understand and accept far better than invoking King David Temple or King Solomon Palace or for that matter whether Abraham paid or did not pay for Sarah's Tomb in Hebron 3500 years ago! Let us cast aside messianic dreams and face re-al politics.   

Aharon Nathan
16 Sept 2013