OK, I keep promising to put the whole matter to rest and be done with it once and for all, so let’s begin, for there’s no time to waste.
First, let’s consider the question of why the Palestinians don’t just leave the Israelis alone to live in peace, for clearly, without continued provocations from the Palestinians there would be no need for Israel to expend so much of its precious munitions to suppress them, and thereby get such a bad press.
Mind you, if I had taken over another man’s house and land and successfully retained large parts of it for 70 or 80 years, that’s exactly the position I would take on the issue, too: let’s just stop all the arguing and live together in peace.
Of course the Israelis want to maintain the status quo! They’ve grabbed their piece of land and want to hang on to it, and as it turns out, to another and another.
Of course the Palestinians are making trouble! So would you if someone had pushed his way into your neighbourhood and then by stealth and thuggery taken over part of your home and then another, pushing you finally into a corner of your backyard and resisting all attempts to enforce the law because his Pappy happened to be the big man in town.
Perhaps a potted history of the situation is in order here, just to get us started. I’ll try to keep it brief, because we have a lot to cover in this session.
A long, long time ago, the Palestinians and the Jews lived happily side-by-side in the Middle East and, generally speaking, everything was hunky dory. (As I start out, let’s first agree on some terminology, lest I be thought a bigot. Rather than calling them the Jews, which can be an emotive term, let me refer to them less controversially as “the Jewish People”, because while the Jewish People can refer to themselves as Jews, it can be dangerous for others to do so, just as a black person can refer to himself and his friends as “niggas”, while a white man doing so – no matter how affectionately – had better have his Nikes on and tied up tight.)
Among all this hunky-doryness, first the Babylonians and then the Romans came along and, to cut a long story short, they both sent the Jewish People packing, which is how they came to be living in squalid ghettos in Warsaw and London a millennium or so later. Then along came the late 1800s, in correct chronological order, and some of the Jewish People thought it would be nice to go home again, and started talking about it among themselves and even around the neighbourhood a bit. Fair enough, too. After a while along comes World War 1, right on schedule, and the Goodies are stuck in a mud wrestle with the Baddies. They can’t get at them from the front and they can’t get around them, because the Baddies have their backs covered by some other guys wearing tassled hats and slippers down in some nice beach country in the Eastern Med. Problem is, how do they shift those hookah-smokers out of the way so the Goodies can sneak in the back door? Well, they send this short white guy down there with his smooth-talking ways and socks full of cash and a whole lot of what he called tulips, but I don’t think they were flowers, and they promise the Arabs that if they cause a bit of a ruckus in the neighbourhood, they’ll get to keep the place all for themselves after the war. Good deal, hey? So that’s what happens – the first part, that is. The Arabs keep their end of the deal, but ……
Now, cut back to London, where some of the Jewish People have by now done very nicely for themselves in the banking business, thank you, and have a bit of spare cash lying around. So those dastardly, two-faced Brits in the FO make a deal with them on the side, saying if you help us out with the readies, we’ll push over to your side of the table that bit of real estate you’ve had your eye on. So another deal is cut, and once again the other party keeps its end of the bargain and starts packing their sun hats and beach towels. They’ve just struck the deal of a lifetime.
Well, you’ve probably guessed what happens next. Sure enough, the Brits win the war with a bit of help from a few late comers who arrive just in time to share the glory without actually having to do much in the way of real fighting. And when they all get together to divvie up the spoils by drawing red and blue lines on the map, who should show up but both the bankers’ boys and the camel drivers, bearing their IOUs. This leaves the Brits in rather a tight spot. The Froggies have helped themselves to Syria and Lebanon, where nothing much is scheduled to happen for another 60 years or so, while the Brits are left holding Palestine, Jordan and Iraq. This is where things start to get interesting, because the bankers’ boys start slipping more and more of their cousins into beachside villas, and the camel drivers start wondering where all this is heading. So there’s periodic squabbles, as you’d expect if both gangs are hanging out around the same ice cream parlour. Things start to get a bit heated, and the occasional unpleasantness occurs. It’s not all one-sided, by any means, but suffice it to say that the bankers’ boys are clever little rascals, and soon they’re patrolling the neighbourhood with a couple of private armies (whom I will call the Militant Representatives of the Jewish People).
By now, the International squad from the newly-formed UN is taking an interest in all this, and whaddya know, before you can say Bombs Away!, the Militant Representatives of the Jewish People have blown up a hotel with people inside it, and when the internationals try to settle things by sending into town a mediator (who, by the way, had negotiated the freedom of more than 30,000 prisoners from German concentration camps during the war), the Militant Representatives of the Jewish People showed their gratitude and respect by letting some light into him through a few holes that weren’t there in the morning.
Now of course, the Brits are never ones for any overt displays of emotion one way or the other, and would much prefer that everyone just try to get along with each other and not make a fuss. So, as you might imagine, they’re beginning to feel a tad awkward over all this, what with their house guests (as they see them) starting to get on each other’s nerves a bit, and presently they start thinking that it really would be jolly nice to be home playing cricket this time of year, wouldn’t it, dear?, and they announce to management their intention to vacate the premises and head home. But no sooner do they do this than the bankers’ boys – with the generous assistance of the Militant Representatives of the Jewish People – decide to take over the place for themselves, before anyone else makes a booking. Now, this reminds me that I forgot to mention that the internationals, desperately trying to find a way to accommodate all the new arrivals from the land of tasty sausages, had by now decided to give half the place to the bankers’ boys and half to the camel drivers, much like a latter day King Solomon offering to cut the baby in two so as to leave both parties happy with the compromise.
Oh, I also forgot to mention that in the Second Late Unpleasantness, the Baddies (OK, let’s be honest and call them the Krauts) had again been up to no good, and most regrettably (but without meaning to do any harm, and without anyone even knowing about it, really) had evidently caused the rolls of the bankers’ boys to be reduced more than somewhat, which caused a good deal of ill feeling toward the Krauts and also earned the bankers’ boys some measure of sympathy, to the extent that those people across the water, who once again had come into the fight when the best part was over, started to think what a grand idea it would be to give the bankers’ boys a place of their own to call home, and where better to do it than New Mexico. No, just kidding. Of course they wouldn’t give away part of their own back yard, so they scratched their heads and pondered until finally someone in the back row says “I’ve got an idea! Let’s give them a place that no one else wants.” And everyone said yes, yes, what a wonderful idea, that will solve everything.
OK, so now we’re all sort of caught up with the story up to 1948, and by now there are a good few future prime ministers of Israel who have already earned their Boy Scout badges for Murder and Mayhem, or are getting ready to do so. Now, that terrible scourge Terrorism hadn’t been invented yet – at least the word hadn’t – and so naturally it wasn’t called terrorism then, but freedom fighting, and the bankers’ boys were clever enough to do all theirs before electronic media came on the scene to transmit the realities of it in full technicolour to homes around the world. By the time the camel drivers thought of doing some freedom fighting of their own, it had a new name. But, as any marketing exec will tell you, timing is everything in establishing a successful brand, and the bankers’ boys had the deal all stitched up before the camel drivers got a look in.
So that sort of sets the scene, give or take a few wars between then and now, and any of you out there who would like to earn some extra credit can continue your research outside the classroom. Just make sure you use DuckDuckGo for your searches and not Google, because if Google gets wind of you reading up on the facts, you may be getting a night time visit from Seal Team 6.
Whew! Well, we’ve covered a lot of ground there in a short time, and I’m all out of breath, so let’s go to the little boy’s room for a break and on the way back stop by the fridge and pop a can…..