Israel Palestine Infos
December 18, 2010
Ship of Fools 2
THE EXPRESSION “Ship of Fools” was used by a Swiss theologian 515 years ago as the title of a book harshly criticizing the Catholic church of his day. Its licentiousness, he foresaw, would lead to disaster. And indeed, shortly afterwards a monk named Martin Luther split the church and set in motion the great Reformation.
I used this phrase in the 70s to define the era between the two wars – the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973, six years spent by Israel in a state of foolish euphoria. “We never had it so good”.
The present era deserves
the title “Ship of Fools
THE DEFINING slogan of
“Ship of Fools
Dayan, then the idol of
In retrospect, that sounds like sheer madness. Who, today, remembers Ophira, as we called Sharm at the time? Only the Israelis who go there to idle on hammocks in the sun, pampered by the staff of Egyptian hotels. And, of course, the families of the soldiers who died on Yom Kippur.
“Ship of Fools
The intoxication did not
spare academic luminaries or army generals. Ariel
For those who were not
here, or were too young to remember: In the country there was an atmosphere of
supreme self-confidence, which led to complete carelessness. “Everything will be
OK”. The economy was flourishing. The first settlements were taking root. There
was no pressure on
This week, Aluf Ben of Haaretz drew our attention to a recording just released by the President Nixon Library. The president used to have all his conversations secretly taped, and much of this material has now been released. This includes a recording of his meeting with Golda Meir in the first half of 1973 – a few months before the Yom Kippur War.
Richard Nixon and Henry
Kissinger revealed to Golda that the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, was ready
to make peace with
(I found that
particularly striking, because at the same time I told the Knesset that the
Egyptians would start a war even if they had no chance of winning. I had reached
this conclusion after meeting a number of important Egyptians, who thoroughly
convinced me that
Golda did not understand that. She was a tough but primitive woman, insensitive to the feelings of others, and did not dream of returning territory for peace. About the Palestinians she did not waste much thought (“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people!”) Moshe Dayan laid the foundations for an eternal occupation. In the middle of 1973 the two looked around them and could detect no cloud – not event the tiniest one – on the horizon.
Aluf Ben sees similarities between the Golda-Nixon meeting and the Netanyahu-Obama talks. I agree.
TODAY WE are in a very similar situation. Here we are sailing again on a Ship of Fools, jolly and light-hearted.
We never had it so good. Out economic situation is splendid. So is our security situation. So is our political situation.
The world-wide economic
crisis has not touched us. In several areas, our exports are booming. Just now
we were told that our commerce with
As far as security is
concerned, our situation has never been better, The suicide attacks have ceased
altogether. The Palestinian security services are cooperating to prevent attacks
on us. The Northern border is almost quiet. The occasional incidents on the
On the political level, the sky is the limit for our achievements. In several rounds we have thrown Barack Obama on the boards. The frantic scurrying around of Hillary Clinton and George Mitchel is simply pathetic. The settlement construction, which has not really stopped for a moment, is gathering even more momentum, with the help of thousands of Palestinian workers who have no other means of subsistence.
The Israeli government
Obama can say what he
wants: in a real test he will have to veto any Security Council resolution which
is distasteful to the Israeli government. He will have no choice. And he will
THOSE WHO had illusions about Netanyahu – Israelis and others – seem to have sobered up by now. He does not want peace, nor a “peace process”, nor any movement at all towards peace.
For Netanyahu, peace is a four-letter word (as it indeed is in Hebrew). And not only because he has an extreme right-wing coalition, full of racists and ultra-nationalists, who are happy to play host to fascists from all over the world. And not only from fear of the settlers, whose political clout is growing by the day. But also because Netanyahu himself does not want to enter the history books as the man who gave up parts of the Jewish homeland and turned them over to the Arabs.
With all the differences, there are a lot of similarities between Netanyahu and Golda Meir. True, there is no second Moshe Dayan – Ehud Barak looks like a piece of wood compared to his one-eyed predecessor with his overflowing charisma. Avigdor Lieberman would be only too happy to fill the vacuum - if he could.
Everything is alright,
nothing to worry about. This time, the euphoria is not producing a harvest of
victory albums and songs of glory, but a deluge of racist laws that apartheid
This euphoria leads to acts whose sole aim – so it seems – is to provoke and humiliate. An outstanding example: this week it became known that Israel is about to enlarge the “Seven Arches” hotel on the top of the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem – a hotel that belongs to the Jordanian royal family and was expropriated by the Custodian of Enemy Property. That is like the act of a child smashing a precious vase on the ground and shouting: “Ha-ha-ha, what can you do to me?”
“SHIP OF FOOLS
“Ship of Fools
There is one important
difference between Ship 1 and Ship 2: then the whole world loved us, now many
around the world detest us. The manifesto of the 26 leading European elder
statesmen, who demand that their successors change the European policy towards
Somebody wrote this week
Those whom the Gods want to destroy, they first make mad. Let’s hope we recover our senses before it is too late.