Showing posts from September, 2012

Pulling back to the wall. Israel's next withdrawal?

In the early twentieth century, when France and Britain took over the Middle East, there were two types of Imperialism.  One was slash-and-burn imperialism which strove to take what could be taken from the region and disregarded "native" rights.  The other was a paternalistic imperialism which strove to help the natives and prepare them for independence. Ultimately both were part of the same phenomena, they both considered Europeans had a right to determine and control local affairs, just one did it in a nice way and the other did not.

There were similar trends in US controlled Iraq.  There were those who worked to extract as much oil as possible and get fat contracts for US companies and those that saw their mission as establishing Iraqi democracy and getting out of Iraq as soon as possible.

A similar situation exists now over Israeli control of the West-Bank.  There are the settler, slash-and-burn tacticians who want to take as much territory as they can and the paternalis…

Why Israel is (almost) an Arab state

The modern Middle-East was largely created by the French and the British, who occupied most of it in the First World War and then drew the maps according to how they understood the local politics. The two communities which had contributed to their war effort were the Jews and the Arabs, and they were represented at the Treaty of Versaille, where the newly formed League of Nations rubber stamped the boundaries the British and French had agreed.

Major groups like the Kurds had no representation, had yet to develop a nationalist movement and were not players.

In the years that followed, a notion developed that the Middle East was an Arab area and anyone who spoke Arabic was deemed to be an Arab.  This generally worked well for Christians and Moslems but the status of Jews was unclear for a variety of reasons.

One well worn argument says that Jews aren't Arabs because they lived in the Middle East (outside Arabia) before the Arabs conquered it. But that just raises more problems, bec…