Rockets are firing once again between Israel and Gaza, and the prolonged Arab-Israeli conflict is getting fiercer, with no signs of stopping any time soon. This time, the Western powers, including the United States, seem more sympathetic to the Gazans than Israel, and the pressure for more concessions has never been stronger.
What is the basis for this moral myopia about the Middle
East? Consider the conflicting values raging in the region. Western thought,
including liberal democracy, is founded on the grace that two sides can
disagree agreeably, meaning that aside from views on the proper expanses of
government, or the proper balance between individual liberty and national
security, the two sides in fractious debate recognize at their core the values
of a shared political culture and moral legacies. The modern state of Israel is
a by-product of this secular, Western political mindset, influenced by the
Hamas, Fatah, and the West Bank Palestinian Authorities take their direction from the militant zealotry of Islam, a political and religious amalgam incompatible with Western thought. With a fractured basis in Sharia law, Islamic militants have no regard for any discussion regarding the definitions of the individual and the state. According the uncompromised tenets of Islam, mankind must submit to one government, one rule under Sharia, with a Caliphate demanding total obedience and instituting not just enforcement but the final interpretation of the Koran. Those in the world who do not live within that system must submit to it or die. Without nuances, with no room for disagreement, with fundamental values so stark in their severity, the tolerance and human rights legacy of Western democracy cannot coexist with militant Islam.
With this framework in mind, the world’s frustrating ignorance about the Arab-Israeli conflict takes on a manifold clarity. The two sides can never settle for peace because one side, the terrorists and the Arabs, believe that Israel does not have a right to exist in the region at all, while Israel wants to remain in the region and prosper. There is no reconciling these two diametrically opposed stances. None. Either the Arabs will push the Jews into the sea, or the Islamic terror which animates radical violence will be extinguished for good.
Either Israel will be a Jewish state or a secular state. Either Israel remains or it does not. Either Israel will exist, or it won’t. There is no debating this issue. The Arab-Israeli conflict cannot be resolved with compromise and concessions no more than a College’s Department of Mathematics can honor faculty who differ on whether 2 + 2 = 4 or 2 + 2 = 5, or more flippantly whether we can our cake and eat it, too, or not. Western thinkers must recognize that shared values must precede conflict over interpretation or implementation of those values. Political leaders cannot lead if there is no final stability, and president and prime ministers cannot say they support peace in the Middle East if they believe that Islamic terrorism can coexist in the region with a safe and secure Israel.
|Desecrated Grave |
With Arab Graffitti
What modern liberal academics and unpacificied partisan activists do not understand, what secular progressives can never accept, is that the Arab-Israeli conflict is not a matter of political disagreement, but a fundamental clash of world views, one where tolerance is either accepted or averted, where men and women with diverse backgrounds can share the same standing before one God, or where everyone must submit to the one total conception of God administered by the state.
This conflict is a religious conflict, one which the Marxists had foolishly and incorrectly dismissed decades ago, as they were convinced that material conflicts would dominate future generations. This conflict is an ethnic conflict, more than a mere changing of minds, but driven by the identity and legacy of two different peoples as well as world views. The Arabs claim Palestine for themselves, while the Jews and the Christians who have received the full revelation of the Scriptures recognize that Israel is the land of Promise for all peoples.
This conflict is an eternal conflict, one in which the forces of good, which honor life, not power, which honor God who is Good, not man who wants to make God in his own image. Violence as a limited means is meeting its final end in the battle between Israel and the Islamic militants on her borders, as well as the hostile Arab state surrounding her. While the Western world no struggles to reconcile that its values are not shared by Islamic militants, and while Western leaders seek moral equivalence in the hopes of a vain and fleeting peace, the Jewish State is fighting back, refusing to play by one set of standards which imperil her right to exist.