Piece in the Middle East

December 14, 1999

© Jordan White Enterprises


            No, that wasn’t a misprint.


            As Israel and Syria sit down for yet another go-around concerning “peace” resolutions, much is being made of the “optimistic” attitude of (Syrian Foreign Minister) Farouk al-Sharaa.  That in and of itself is strange enough, but what I find most peculiar of all is that “peace talks” are supposed to be about ending conflict; that is, finding ways to work out differences so that each side has a chance to be heard and their national interests respected.


            That’s not what this is all about.


            Israel does not give a fig about hearing out Syria’s grievances.

            Israel does not care about Syria’s national interests.

            Israel is not seeking a “peace” deal with Syria.  Syria and Israel are not at war!

            And I’d venture to say that the idea of “peace”, using the word the way any one of us would, has never even entered their minds.  These talks are not about “peace”.  “Peace” is just a buzzword that Israel tosses around, because it makes world opinion go easier on them.  It gives the impression that Israel really wishes to bring about an end to injustice and conflict in the Middle East.  This is not true.


            Israel simply wishes to find a way to keep the “piece”.  The piece of Syria (the Golan Heights), the piece of Palestine (the West Bank and yes, Gaza), and the piece of Lebanon (the occupied southern section). 


            Israel is not interested in peace with its neighbors.  Israel is interested in furthering its land-and-power grab.  Israel is expanding exponentially (Barak has built more settlements in five months than Netanyahu did in a whole year), and, in order to pull this off it needs: (1) water.  The Golan Heights is a natural watershed due to the high mountain range immediately to its north. (2) Firm control of the settlement lands.  If Israel is going to build expensive settlements in Gaza and the West Bank, it sure as heck does not want these improvements defaulted to the Palestinians and thus enriching them at Israeli expense. (3) Domination of the area; economically, militarily, and psychologically. 


            All these three objectives could be achieved through armed struggle.  There is just one problem.  Israel knows it cannot get away with this.  Israel is losing the conflict in Lebanon, and surely it knows it could not once again flout world opinion and begin invading elsewhere.  Even inside of Israel itself, it is doubtful that the people would be behind such a venture.


            So Israel engages in these “piece talks”, hoping it can gain through what it calls “negotiation” what it cannot gain through armed struggle.  It hopes it can play enough games, including clever manipulation of international law, the wearing down of its opponents by dragging out talks until everyone is exhausted, and then pretending to walk away at the eleventh hour in order to force an agreement favorable only to Israel.  It hopes it can get the world’s only superpower, the United States, to apply pressure to Israel’s enemies, forcing them to relinquish what is fairly and honestly theirs, for some ethereal “promise” somewhere down the road.  Often this takes the form of “final status negotiations”, which we now know is a meaningless phrase designed to deceive and manipulate the process to achieve still more of Israel’s gains.


            This technique has worked perfectly for Israel for more than fifty years.  And it will probably work perfectly for another fifty.


            Only one thing gives me hope.


            Last evening, I was listening to a wonderful talk (via videotape) given by the American Muslim scholar J.D. Hall.  Hall was addressing the issue of the laws of God which govern the Universe.  I was so blessed by his observance of the way all nature, gravity, the rotation of the earth and planets, the miraculous working of the human body where our organs and systems work together in harmony to keep us fit and healthy.


            How great is God (Allah), the God of the Universe, yet the God of all so minute!


            Only one element of His creation seems to escape the perfect and divinely instituted orchestration and working out of His governing laws.


            And that is the heart of man.


              Magnificent Jupiter obeys Him, turning on its axis exactly as He has ordained.  The sun warms the earth with its rays, bringing life and sustenance to all.  And each of us rises each morning, never thinking of the way our heart kept beating, our lungs kept breathing, even as we lay asleep, all due to the marvelous way God designed and maintains our physical selves.  But the heart of man, not his physical heart, but the heart that is the core of his being, his intellect, his choices, his decisions about how to treat his fellow man, his needs for control and domination, this seems to be the only aspect of God’s creation to slip through His grasp. 


            Or so it would seem.


            “The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; who can understand it?  I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.  As a partridge that hatches eggs which it has not laid, so is he who makes a fortune, but unjustly; in the midst of his days it will forsake him, and in the end he will be a fool.”

                        Jeremiah 17: 10,11 (NAS)