November 25, 2012

Spoiler Alert: Why There Can Be No Peace in Palestine.


When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.

Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 65 books with numerous New York Times bestsellers and co-author with Rudolph Tanzi of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony)

During the time last week when Egypt was brokering a truce in Gaza, televised news reports said that the proceedings were going slowly because the two sides – Israel and Hamas – refused to face each other in the same room. Whatever one side said had to be conveyed by messenger to the other. This sort of mutual intolerance more or less symbolizes why there is no peace in Palestine. The most basic requirements for negotiation have not been met.

The conventional wisdom, today as in the past, is that a two-state solution is inevitable, but the road to getting there hasn't been found. The US has been viewed as an honest broker during the entire Palestinian standoff, going back to the Nixon era, until the Iraq War aroused tremendous anti-American hostility on the Arab side. As events swing back and forth, as hostilities rise and fall, conditions on the ground have remained remarkably the same as they were in 1948 when the state of Israel was founded.

At that moment a yawning gulf was established between a new country that sees itself as Western, democratized, and advanced and a dispossessed mass of refugees who are poor, backward, and politically chaotic. The cultural mismatch was extreme, as it remains today. Over time, the possibility for peace was made impossible for one simple reason: Neither side wants it enough.

Peace isn't arrived at when one side has suffered enough pain to give up or has been forced by armed might to surrender. If it were, Israel would have prevailed long ago. The defiance of the Hamas leadership who taunted Israel to invade last week is the same kind of suicidal impulse that drives fanatical jihadis to strap bombs to themselves. Peace isn't arrived at through exhaustion, either; time always brings a new generation ready to rearm and throw themselves into the fray. Peace isn't arrived at because one side owns the moral high ground. In this case, Israel has the moral high ground when it says it wants merely to survive as a state – that's a basic claim no one can deny. But at the same time the rise of the religious right in Israel means that both sides claim that God is on their side. Moral persuasion fades when religious fundamentalism is in force.

The reality on the ground is a state of perpetual non-peace, and the fact that both sides can live that way is testimony to the endless ability of humans to adapt. Israel lives behind a wall, recruits its citizens into universal conscript, acquires advanced military systems, and carries on being a Western -style democracy. The Palestinians carry on as a defiant ghetto culture, perpetually aggrieved, helpless to better their lot until families find a way to emigrate somewhere else. The ghetto could be turned into a prosperous region with a fraction of the oil revenues amassed in the Arab world, but their neighbors have their own differences with the Palestinians and prefer to have a rhetorical weapon that can be used against Israel.

Both sides are so well adapted that they don't want peace enough to pursue it. On television one sees rage, frustration, pain, panic, and intransigence – Israel and the Palestinians pay a price for non-peace. The price is never-ending stress. Since peace is never achieved through pain, the stress level will rise and fall, as it has in the past. Truces will be made and broken. At intervals blood will be shed. The only chance that peace will have, in some far-off tomorrow, depends on a culture of peace arising on both sides. Such a culture is possible. Germany and Japan arrived at one after catastrophic defeat. America has a percentage of the population dedicated to one, and if there is ever a tipping point, peace already has millions of voice to counter militarism, arms dealing, nuclear stockpiles, and a taste for war among the right wing. The culture of peace has yet to prevail anywhere. A shift to peace consciousness is the best hope for the world and the only hope for the Middle East, however long it takes.

Write Your Comment

  1. BrentzT

    Jacob claims Israel is an apartheid state. I don`t think so from all appearances; however, even if it is, it has become so to defend itself from Arab armies and sympathizers who have vowed to destroy the state and its people. From their standpoint, the Palestinians in Gaza and Israel itself are a Fifth Column. Chachadee maintains that the US should move back into isolationism and worry about our own problems, ignoring the lessons of the 1930`s and 40`s. I agree that the people of the region have been in conflict since Biblical days (just as all other regions of the world have been - witness the need for a Great Wall in China). Probably will be until the Second Coming. What`s the answer? I don`t know. But Dr. Chopra at least has started a conversation with a good purpose and a sensible premise that the cultures of the protagonists have to undergo fundamental shifts in their values.

  2. miibiiiiii

    Egypt (assuming internal strife comes to an end) could incorporate families throughout it`s country gradually (as the USA has done for political refugees, relocating them in different areas). That would break up the totalitarian Hamas regime. And why not all the other Middle Eastern countries do similar? We`ve seen Switzerland, and many european as well as the USA do this. In fact, i had a vietanmese friend who left on boat from her burning house leaving everything behind and she was given a new passport, and papers and was given American citizenship with her family early to mid 70s. EU, UN, and different countries, not only arabic ones, could all volunteer to incorporate them. By dividing up into groups of families and relocating the innocent. Then put to trial the insurgents. I mean come on we`re 7Billion ppl and many democratic countries could do this. instead we`re just watching a wound fester. Obviously helping a land which has no oceanic property or air control is not going to make the ppl feel better if everything costs more than israel and following rules of engagement of war is not done (Bible: there must be one exit for innocent ppl and a heads up before war, well if Egypt closes it`s southern doors then isn`t against Geneva Convention? I am btw against war,especially after seeing what misery it leaves as a medic) war is such a sad thing. Maybe my ideas are off the top, but someone has got to intervene who has $ and political neutrality to solve this. It will never be a perfect world, but as Deepak Chopra says, if a critical mass of ppl is reached then we may see a new beginning with a little less world destruction. It`s a good thing the sky doesn`t stain red after all these millenia. find solutions, talk to presidents, do something. turn off the tv and do something. at least pray.PLEASE. PEACE, HARMONY, LOVE

  3. Richard

    Allowing the Zionists to establish a state in Palestine was another imperialistic injustice, another form of colonization that was opposed by the Palestinian Jews not just the Palestinians. The level of anti- Semitism in the western countries preclUded their settlement in the USA, France, England or any other country. The notion of the `right of return` is a farce. If there is such a thing, ther property you presently inhabit belongs to an indigenous group that had it stolen from them at the point of a gun. Israel is worse than an apartheid state. It is a racist, aggressor. If a one state solution is the answer, I favor a free state under Palestinian rule. The arrogance of ther west is an abomination.

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