Galtung report from: Cairo-Sharm El-Sheikh-Taba-Eilat-Tel Aviv-Haifa-Nazareth-Jericho-Hebron-Bethlehem-Jerusalem-Tel Aviv

Having travelled the Middle East extensively to work – among other things – on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict formation, I returned this month for what should be my fortieth visit to the region, before the end of 2010.

This time, I travelled the route Cairo-Sharm El-Sheikh-Taba-Eilat-Tel Aviv-Haifa-Nazareth-Jericho-Hebron-Bethlehem-Jerusalem-Tel Aviv, by bus: vast stretches of uninhabited, uncultivated land, more than enough to house the “settlers” with swimming pools and spacious housing inside pre-67 Israel, rather than using them to establish “facts on the ground”. 

And Egypt has enormous tracts now being used for the well-to-do, for the military as well as tourism. On the other hand, they could be cultivated with water from parabolic mirror-desalination. The Jews have made some formerly arid desert landscapes bloom and there is much work waiting inside Israel.  And look at Jericho, at 9,000 the oldest city in the world, the arch-neolithic place, and the deepest down place considering that it is located at 1,300 meters below sea level.  I envision an attractive green oasis capital for a fully recognized Palestine, as opposed to the uninteresting Ramallah.  What potentials!

We pass the huge, mainly underground prison for Palestinians.

Yes, there is teeming life in Tel Aviv, cafes-restaurants-music-beaches, but organic, or rather Google-Microsoft etc. transplants? The cities on the West Bank are so unmistakably rooted in the Middle East, even as Jews throw garbage and excrements on Arabs shopping in the soukhs in Hebron. Even as a Baruch Goldstein on Purim Day 1994, 25 February, fires his gun on the worshippers in the mosque of the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, re-enacting a part of Purim, killing 29 and wounding 150 before they killed him.  Even if, as on Purim day this year, some Jews chant in front of Arabs: “Dr. Goldstein, we all love you-he aimed at terrorists’ heads, squeezed the trigger hard and shot bullets and shot, and shot-“.

There are suicide bombs and snipers and what not, as happens when someone occupies one’s land.  Norwegians know how it feels. We did the same even if the occupation included none of the above. See my brief elaboration of this matter in my interview with Amy Goodman.

Richard Falk -a member of TRANSCEND International- sees prolonged occupation as crime against humanity.

We open Haaretz for some daily tastes of Israeli life:

“Dangerous radicalization within the Arab population”. Cabinet members in a democratic country are discussing the lives of 20 percent of the citizenry as though they are a bunch of potential criminals, while in the background loom a slew of racist laws, rabbis’ letters and demonstrations calling on Jews not to rent apartments to the Arabs who are trying to seduce your sister-“

“Pathetic results on international examinations, fewer than half of our students are eligible for a matriculation certificate”

“Just as the occupation corrupts-the religious establishment corrupts the fabric of the state, while the state corrupts the fabric of religion-separate church from state”.

“Did you look at the demonstrators’ smiling faces in Tel Aviv and the calls to burn down the house of foreigners? “pure society” “guarding the “character” of certain communities-the spread of diseases or threats to young women; isn’t this racism?  It sounds like it, looks like it, acts like it”.  “Proof?  Israel absorbed hundreds of thousands of non-Jewish Russian blue-eyed blonds and nobody protested, nobody muttered a word of complaint.”

“The people who preach hatred-the municipal rabbis and the Kahanist MK-are openly leading the racist wave and the political establishment is openly backing them by its actions and silence.”

“What’s the link between the attorney general’s wife and the defense minister’s wife?” (aliens used illegally as housekeepers).

“Residents decry campaign to keep Haredim out of small town”.

“Most Israelis say (former president) Katsav guilty of rape”.

And, the Palestine Authority kills Hamas who kill each other.

And, The Egyptian Gazette: “Aggressive vote-rigging left an    atmosphere of bitterness-like-the setback suffered in 1967″. Coptic “Cleric to launch anti-Islam film.”  Once the Arab world’s center.

My Diagnosis?  Yes, “IsraelUSA vs. PalestineArab worldMuslim world” is related to “intra-Israel” and “intra-PalestineArab worldMuslim world” conflict in a two-way causation; beyond externalizing the inner conflict and internalizing the outer conflict.  Intellectually, the difficult part for some is to see clearly that all three perspectives are related through circular causation.

My Prognosis?  Yes, it will get worse, in the shape of more pressure on Israel:

1-the shoah moral high ground is lost as the world witnesses the moral deficits increasing;

2-the delegitimation of present (Nota Bene: not of pre-67 Israel) Israel is increasing;

3-countries will downgrade their diplomatic relations with Israel;

4-more countries will recognize Palestine and upgrade their relations;

5-US clout decreases quickly as the US Empire decline accelerates;

6-SCO support for Iran becomes more credible with the rise of China;

7-US search for scapegoat will lead to tail-wagging-dog anti-zionism;

8-USA view of Israel as a liability increases the worse it becomes;

9-economic boycott with moral if not economic impact will increase;

10-non-working population-Arab women-Haredim-Orthodox-increases;

11-nonviolence by the 20% Arab population will have increasing impact;

12-nonviolent Palestinian+ intifadah will have increasing impact.

The synergy of the 12 elements of my prognosis is awesome, and will drive Israel further out of Weimar along the 1930 axis in Germany (Uri Avnery). Germany:Jews = Israel:Palestinians?, copying the Warsaw ghetto in Gaza, and Nazi legislation in Lieberman? No gas chambers, though. The threshold.

Sharon is a metaphor for Israel: autistic, sustained artificially.

Whether I suggest a Therapy?  Yes, but today not through a two-state solution for Israel-Palestine with USA as mediator freezing the untenable. (More importantly for the U.S, it should turn it’s focus to the issue of states for First Americans and for Hawaiians. That would be more interesting).

1-A Middle East community modeled on 1958 Treaty of Rome EC with EU as mediator is much better.  It may not be on today’s agenda, but it could be a soft landing for the Israeli regional empire when decline becomes fall.

2: Taming all Arabs with Jesaiah 2:1-5 geopolitics?  Impossible, forget about it. No! Quite simply, change has to come from inside Israel. Israel is already in Ibn Khaldun’s stage 4, as it has moved from the kibbutzim idealism via ritualism via moral torpitude to an “all fighting all” modus operandi. But, one familiar with Ibn Khaldoun’s epistemes may ask, who are the new Bedouins knocking down the gates, shouting “your time is up”? My best bet and hope: young Israeli women, enraged by (ultra)-orthodoxy, wedded to a state with a Jewish character, but not to zionist geopolitics.

You are there, somewhere.  The clock of history is ticking for you.

Born in 1930 in Oslo Norway, Prof. Johan Galtung holds a PhD in mathematics from 1956 and a PhD in sociology from 1957. He is widely known as the pioneering founder of the academic discipline of peace studies. He has served as a professor for peace studies and peace research at the universities of Olso, Berlin, Belgrad, Paris and Hawaii, just to name a few, and has mediated in about 50 conflicts between states and nations since 1957.

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Professor Johan Galtung is the founder and director of TRANSCEND-International. A non-profit network for Mediation and Conflict Resolution by non violent means. The network was founded in 1993. He has mediated in about 50 conflicts between and within states in conflict for over 50 years. Transcend connects over 400 experts in peace and reconciliation work. He currently teaches at the World Peace Academy at the University of Basel.