A people without borders

Little sense on the Middle East
[This is a response to some of the arguments put on Lavartus Prodeo where most of the articles and most of the comments assume that a two state solution is more probable in the Palestine/Israel conflict. The following response was posted there but parts of it have been censored.]

It makes little sense to propose a two-state or a one-state solution without considering the dominant Arab culture of the people who live there. It is Arab culture, not Islamic culture, that influences the people in the middle east.

One important question that no one on Lavartus Prodeo has considered is the political and cultural origins of Arab people in the West part of Syria, Lebanon, the West part of Jordan, Palestine (West Bank and Gaza Strip), Israel, Sinai (Egypt) — the Levant (Al-Shaam).

If you look at a map of the region you will see that this area consists of a dominant Arab culture where the people are bound by language, art, cuisine, geography, economy, and history. Even Israelis are caught inside this culture. Their economy, food, music, art, language and psychology fall heavily under its influence [See the film – ‘The Lemon Tree’].

For example even though Lebanon came under European (mainly French) influence well over a century ago many of its people still look more to Damascus than Beirut. The influence of the Europeans is transitory, weakened by pan-Arab culture described by Edward Said. At one time Britain held control of Palestine, Transjordan, Egypt and Syria. That was swept aside by the events following the Second World War when the US took control of the region.

If the US are forced to give up Israel the Zionist project of a Jewish state is lost. Do not think this is impossible. Look how quickly US government pulled its troops out of Lebanon during the civil war there in the 1980s. They lost over 300 marines in one day and left.

To speak of one-state or two-state solutions makes no sense without understanding how closely Zionist and US interests are aligned. At the present the Israeli government is prepared to accept a 1.2-state-solution with the Israeli Defence Forces in control of everthing and everyone.

But then, much of the discussion above is based on the premise Zionists are Jewish, and religion is at the heart of the conflict. There are Christian Zionists, there are American Zionists, there are Australian Zionists (Bob Hawke was one), there are social democrats who are Zionists, there were even communists who were Zionists. It is these people who are ideologically committed to a settler state. Just ask the Murris and Kooris, they know all about the similarity between their struggle and the Palestinians.

As Margot says: ” Zionism is a philosophy and there are plenty of Christians who are devoted to it. You are also dead right about: ‘Europeans supported the colonisation of Israel by Jewish exiles from Europe because of their guilt over the holocaust’. And include the whole West in that too — U.S., UK etc (AND KEVIN RUDD).”

A people without borders
Forget about the borders imposed by King Richard after the Crusades against Saladin, by French colonisation of Lebanon by British Colonisation of Palestine, by the American outpost in the armed camp of Israel.

Start talking and acting for a secular multicultural state over the entire Levant (Al-Shaam), now there is a project that would end the US hegemony in the Middle East and perhaps bring peace so long sought.

Liam and Paul from Lavartus Prodeo’s censored the poem ‘How Humane and Civilised’ at  Uncommon sense on Israel/Palestine from an interesting source.

This censorship was based upon false accusation of ‘blood libel’ and ‘discrimination’ in this  Palestinian poem.

How humane and civilized!
Stole my land
Burned my trees
Jailed my sun
Killed my children
Drank their blood
Then ground their bones at McDonnell-Douglas
And offered them back to me
As a present
In a flour-sack
To torture me all my life
This is America

—Nasri Hajjaj

[To the editor of Lavartus Prodeo] Can you explain how the poem ‘How humane and civilized!’ by Palestinian poet Nasri Hajjaj is a blood libel?]

It is not as if the poem accuses the butcher of Beirut, Ariel Sharon, of eating babies. It is a good poem, truthful and poetic in the way of  Arab poetry.

It is true the US is behind much of the carnage of Palestinians. After all it is the US that supplies Israel’s guns and money. Many of the soldiers in the Israeli ‘Defence’ Force (IDF) come from the US.

These are facts not superstitious myth. Being true, the words in the poem cannot be a ‘blood libel’ as Liam claims.

Liam, you may have to explain the term you use, when you accuse Nasri Hajjaj of ‘blood libel’.

I, for one, had never heard the term.

Also, Paul, you might like to explain how Hajjaj’s poem can be in breach of Australia’s anti-discrimination laws. Surely it is important that Australia does discriminate against the apartheid state of Israel.

Especially given the bloodletting that Israeli military committed in Gaza little more than a year ago and in Lebanon as recently as 2006.

Ian Curr
March 2010

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