The latest turmoil in the Middle East is another set of attacks by Israel on the beleaguered Palestinians in the occupied territory that is Gaza.
The attacks, the worst since 2014, have set off another round of handwringing and tut-tutting. More posturing and postulating from those who think they know better and want to stick their noses in it, from Washington to Moscow. The usual response.
This time around, the environment is even more toxic thanks to Donald Trump’s universally condemned decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The move is inflammatory, giving up any fiction that the U.S. is interested in peace – it has blocked peace attempts for decades, supporting Israeli terrorism against its neighbours.
Much like South African apartheid, Israel continues to violate the rights of Palestinians in the lands it occupies illegally, backed by the U.S.
The decades of intransigence have been met in recent years with a growing shift in support for the Palestinians, who have won the battle for international hearts. The politicians and those who profit from arms deals are another matter, however.
After years and years of summits and bad-faith bargaining by all sides, little seems to change when it comes to the Arab-Israeli struggle.
Stripped of the jingoism, all the adventures there smack of imperialism: control of strategic areas – especially important during the Cold War – and of a strategic resource, oil.
For all the fuss, the reality is that what happens there – who lives, who dies, who does what – matters no more to us than what happens in Africa and other Third World countries. In short, we don’t give a damn.
That applies to recent imperialistic invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the various movements that formed what we called the Arab Spring, though those rallies against dictators and their foreign masters did touch us due to the shared human yearning for freedom, which is increasingly an illusion in the West. Need proof of our indifference? How much attention have we been paying to Syria?
You remember Syria, right? The Baathist regime that carried out atrocities under the autocratic rule of Bashar al-Assad, just as it did under his father for three decades prior to that? The government, aligned with Russia and Iran, that’s no friend of the West? The hundreds of thousands of people who died in the conflict?
For all the military adventurism in the Middle East, only the naive and partisan believe the goal has ever been democracy and freeing people from tyranny. There’s nothing noble in anything we’ve done there.
As it stands, we’re doing more harm than good. That’s especially true of the Americans, who have advanced the cause of radical Islamists. Experts predict more of the region will fall under the sway of Islamist revolutionaries, who’ve been made stronger by American bungling in the region.
Actions in Gaza in recent weeks are an example of things to come. Intervention and occupation by the West and its proxy state has made extremists more popular with the native populations, exactly the opposite of what needs to happen for things to get better.
In reality, it doesn’t really matter what happens internally with those countries: the oil will still flow and people in the West won’t notice a thing.
Other countries, principally the U.S., need to stop meddling. Maybe then we’ll stop hearing about the Middle East.