Shakespeare or Chekhov in the Middle East - Article by Victor Isaak Eliezer Print
Thursday, 10 June 2021 12:22
 Published in the Greek daily “TO VIMA” June 6, 2021

“If the Arabs put their weapons down, then there will be no war- if the Israelis put their weapons down, then there will be no Israel”. This saying is attributed to Golda Meir, Israel’s first female Prime Minister, when the Jewish state was surrounded by the Arab states that pursued its destruction, with a series of wars against it, since the first day of its independence, on May 14th 1948.

Unfortunately, the same phrase continues to be relevant in 2021. It could be seen as a communication ploy by the Israelis in order to gain the sympathy of the public. But let us see if this applies in the field of the long-running confrontation, which today focuses on the conflict between Israel and Hamas on its southern border and with Hezbollah and Syria in the north.

If Hamas was to abandon the attrition war against Israel, does anyone doubt that the blockade of the Gaza Strip would have been lifted the very next day? Israel does not have any territorial claims over this strip of land, on the contrary Israel pulled out in 2005, hoping that the Palestinian Authority would have been able to take control of the region and isolate the Islamic movements of Hamas and Jihad. The disarmament of Gaza would be a breath of fresh air for its afflicted population, a new page of growth and prosperity, a new road that would eventually lead to its union with the West Bank of the Jordan River, and in the establishment of a Palestinian state next to the State of Israel with secure borders. Free distribution and movement of people and goods, investments and improvement of the living standards, the end of the bloodshed – this is what the disarmament of Gaza would mean.

“Free Palestine”, an all-time classic message of the extreme Palestinian movements, which is too easily adopted by political circles and the civil society in Europe generally, and in Greece particularly. What does “Free Palestine” mean? Palestine, as a geographical area, includes the entire area of the State of Israel, the West Bank of the Jordan River and the Gaza Stip. They ask Palestine to be freed from whom? The answer comes from Iran, the Hamas and their supporters: “From the Zionist occupation”. Let us imagine what would happen if the Israelis were disarmed… The very next day, thousands of rockets would be fired against Israel, the Palestinians would invade Israeli homes with triumphing fanfare … and the world would be simply silent… and Israel would simply not exist… The 2021 “Free Palestine”, “solves” the “problem of Israel” exactly as the "Nuremberg Laws" solved the “Jewish Problem” of Europe in 1935, by leading 6,000,000 Jews to their extermination. The 2021 “Free Palestine”, is the Juden Raus” of 1935. The policy of “Free Palestine” leads to the “solution” of a ‘Judenrein’ state.


The Compromise…

The two states for two peoples solution, presupposes first of all the will of the Israelis and the Palestinians to coexist peacefully in this area of high religious sentiment. The Palestinians, including the Hamas and the Jihad, need to realize that as long as they pursue the annihilation of the State of Israel, a Palestinian state will not be created. And the Israelis need to realize that by expanding the settlements of the West Bank of Jordan they move away from the territorial compromise that may lead to the foundation of a Palestinian State next to the State of Israel with safe boarders.

The status quo may serve the political survival of the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but it leads to the aggravation of the problem, making its solution even more painful for everyone. Like the Israeli writer Amos Oz used to say “There are two ways to the epilogue of tragedies: the Shakespearian way and the Chekhovian way. At the end of a Shakespearian tragedy the stage is sown with corpses and maybe somewhere above hovers the spectrum of justice. In a Chekhovian tragedy, on the other hand, the epilogue finds all the heroes psychologically drained, disillusioned, embittered, heartbroken, but nevertheless, alive. So, I prefer the Chekhovian solution and not the Shakespearian one for this Israeli-Palestinian tragedy”.


* Victor Isaak Eliezer is a journalist