Monday, August 18, 2014

The Israel-Palestine conflict will go on forever - until it doesn't

I was shocked to read an article published three days ago in the Globe & Mail by Gerald Caplan claiming the Israel-Palestine conflict will never end (find it here). This is the same man who wrote in the same newspaper a mere seven days earlier about the need for Thomas Mulcair and the NDP to "show more courage" when it comes to criticizing Israel's actions (here). One might wonder what the purpose of the first article was given the second article’s conclusion. Apparently over the span of that week, he has now determined that nothing can be done to stop what is going on in Israel-Palestine.

His self-contradictions aside, Caplan does a poor job of defending his claim, sticking to his own subjective interpretations of the situation. What is most surprising, in my view, is that usually those arguing that the Israel-Palestine conflict will go on forever argue that it has been happening from the beginning of time. You know – the Jews and Arabs have always been fighting and will continue fighting until the world ends. But Caplan doesn't make that argument. He, like most informed observers, pegs the beginning as 1947 when Israel was founded (some informed observers will go back as far as the beginnings of the Zionist movement in the 1860s), which makes it even more surprising to me that he can write that the conflict will never end. He then has the gall to conclude that, "This is the future and it cannot be otherwise." Surely Caplan is intelligent enough to know that such grand predictions about the future of the world are always doomed to fail. The first lesson anyone should learn in the history of the world is that the current state of affairs at any given time usually feels like it will go on forever - until it doesn’t. The possible examples to show that are endless and literally fill our history books.

Further, it's incredible that Caplan does not mention once the American support for the Israeli occupation, both political and financial. Nor does he mention that public opinion has significantly shifted in the United States, and indeed around the world, against Israel's occupation. But apparently that has nothing to do with resolving the conflict. That view flies in the face of the opinions of many, many people far more credible than Caplan when it comes to Israel-Palestine. That also doesn’t seem to matter to Caplan. It’s not even worth addressing.

If Caplan is so convinced nothing can be done, it's a wonder he takes the time to write about it at all. The truth is that resolving any conflict is possible. Indeed, the only rule of global history that stands the test of time is that nothing lasts forever. What is significant about articles like Caplan’s is that it becomes more difficult to solve the big global issues like Israel-Palestine when people write drivel like this about how nothing can be done.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed the most frustrating stand point is the, it's been there forever and nothing can be done, why is it such a common one?