It's the unthinkable. What nobody wants to imagine or accept. A coalition of Arab states and Iran attacking Israel. Until the downfall of Mubarak nobody would have predicted it. Now the question is whether it is inevitable.
Can there be much doubt what populist opinion is throughout the Muslim nations and what a democratic form of government could produce? Egypt has already begun to change its policies. There is no peace to point to, no compromises being discussed, no real hope given the current government of Israel, which pulls the strings, and nothing happening in the country of a political nature that indicates any changes are possible. If Syria changes hands, the results could be more catastrophic.
Religious fanaticism is rife on all sides and in the US where the Christian fundamentalist movement favors Israel and is intolerant. Their version of "God," whether Islamic, Jewish, or Christian and their "destiny" and identities are at stake. What more volatile potion is there? If human history hasn't taught that, it has taught nothing.
Religious fanaticism is the most lethal ideology known to man since it does not base its authority on the needs of humanity, but on the interpretations of the prophets, scriptures, and soothsayers of those religions. Hopefully Americans at least got a glimpse from Bin Laden. They cannot be refuted. They are matters of belief totally removed from any laws or rules of civility. Nobody can tell 'em nothin'. They never could and never will. The martyrs and fodder for a bloodbath are ready to go and have been for several generations.
Far more unexpected alliances in the face of a common enemy have been made, and the perpetual need for an enemy to distract a people from their real problems never goes away. It happened when the US went to war with Iraq. Scapegoats put the consciences of the masses to rest. They need think no further. It is endemic throughout the ages.
The United States could not, would not, and should not let Israel be destroyed. It has the means, the political motivation, the leadership, and hopefully the objectivity to not contribute to a bloodbath any more than is necessary. The settlements make a mockery of every government in Israel that has condoned them. It says it wants peace, but as long as its been in the driver's seat it hasn't happen, and the wound to Arab/Iranian pride runs deep. The regimes that prevented an alliance have broken down.
Israel has made clear it is not going to yield of its own accord. Its governments keep pressing for more concessions, making the most of any ploy it can to steer opinion in its favor--and finding fewer and fewer takers on the world stage. Would you recognize the right of a nation to exist if it had a rope around your neck?
In the words of another OS subscriber, the "ball is in Israel's court," only I would add that's been the case since the Six Day War and they've used that ball to bludgeon the Palestinians. If the impending UN resolution to grant Palestine statehood passes, it will be as much due to Israeli intransigence as Palestinian efforts and suffering. That is unfortunate, but real.
What choice is Israel giving those nations sympathetic with the Palestinians except war? It's not "waking up"; it is becoming more intractable and obdurate, not less. It says it is not mired in denial, but fully justified in its means and ends. How that happened isn't a discussion, not in the country, and not anyplace else. No reason can be brought to bear to bring it to its senses. The few voices of protest are ignored and rejected. Israel has let its religious right paint it into a corner.
The question now, for the first time since the Six Day War is how much longer can it remain so defiant? I wonder if Sharon had actually started to see that toward the end, and that is how the history books will record it: the last chance at rectification, lost, before the Arab nations awakened and the die was cast.
It could well be the most horrible bloodbath in a lifespan that has already seen far too many. The end of one of the most noble dreams of the 20 and 21st centuries. That a people almost obliterated by fanaticism of one sort are then destroyed by fanaticism of another, even more deadly variety. Perhaps even the Holocaust was only a prelude.
The world may well wake to days, months and years of bloodshed even after the "great wars" are supposedly over, and for what--the sake of "God" and communal ideology? Fifty years of living in fear hasn't been enough. It's still "them" and what they have done--never "us" and the oppression "we" have caused. Israel's own arrogance may one day be seen as its greatest enemy.
How the religious literalists given this history can claim any relationship to anything that can be called "God" is beyond my understanding. Their rabbis, imams, preachers and priests have deceived them. Religion has its place, and always will, but when it's used against the interests of peace it doesn't expand consciousness but retards it.
It 's depravity they have put their faith into, not "God" if that word is to have any meaning in all the languages it is spoken. It is zealotry that leads to war, not piety. History is full of horrors that were far less predictable, and far less inevitable.