Time for new ideas in the Middle East
Everything that was tried has been a litany of failure
There are moments in history when existing paradigms collapse, and great change becomes possible. Such moments gave us the end of colonialism, slavery, empires, and communism. Often they follow great calamities, like the two World Wars, of the one we are currently enduring in the Middle East.
Until now, many considered it self-evident that the two-state solution is the only way forward on Palestine. They believed that Israel cannot absorb millions of Arabs – and also bet that the Palestinians will responsibly govern themselves, which has to date not occurred. But after the shockingly barbaric massacre of 1,400 Israelis by Hamas terrorists from Gaza (the Mediterranean coastal strip from which Israel had totally pulled out in 2005), even a moderate future Israeli government will balk at a similar complete handover of the other Palestinian territory, the West Bank (which could put the next potential swarm of marauders on the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv).
Essentially everything tried so far to end the Middle East conflict has failed: The total Arab rejection of the early years; Palestinian uprisings; the starry-eyed Oslo peace process with its Nobel Prizes; unilateral pullouts; Arab boycotts of Israel and Israeli blockades and bombardments of Gaza. It is a litany of failure that has brought us to this point.
I still favor a partition of the Holy Land; it remains the least-bad option. But it seems that new ideas are needed to get there. Instead, we get the ossified routine.
For example, that Israel must invade and reoccupy Gaza (despite the mass casualties that will result and the obvious absence of a day-after plan). Or that peace with Saudi Arabia must now be put on hold (even though Riyadh’s rulers still desire it). Or that if the the criminals of Hezbollah drag poor Lebanon again into the fray, they can be supported with impunity by Iran and other than urging restraint on Israel there’s not much to be done.
I’d like to propose an alternative approach: To critically examine the old ideas and blow up routinely applied assumptions. Here’s a sampling.