Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Is there a problem in the Middle East?

In another needless, wasteful demonstration of "might is right", there is fierce fighting again in the Middle East.

For more than a week now, Israel and Hamas have been shelling each other. And now, the latest news is that Israel has rolled into Gaza, a ground invasion, intent on ridding Hamas from the face of the earth. But it is impossible for Israel to annihilate Hamas or any of the other militant groups from any where on earth but especially over there, just as it is impossible for the militants to win. They may chip away at the Israeli state but they cannot hope to achieve anything. On the contrary, both sides are just sowing the seeds for more fighting and destruction in the Middle East where animosity, revenge, mistrust and conflict are the order of the day. Why can't they ever live as non-warring neighbours, let alone as good neighbours?

Here's a little anecdote I heard. Like all anecdotes, this is an interesting story but whether or not it really happened as narrated, you may need to investigate it further yourself:
During the Six Day War in 1967, Israel was fighting with Egypt, Syria and Jordan. In the midst of the war, a reporter asked former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan for his thoughts on the problem in the Middle East.

Without hesitation, Macmillan answered: "There is no problem in the Middle East."

Stunned, the reporter demanded: "What do you mean, 'There is no problem in the Middle East'? Don't you know there's a vicious war going on? Don't you realise that as we are speaking, bombs are falling from the sky, tanks are blowing each other up, and soldiers are being sprayed with bullets? Many people are dead or wounded. What do you mean, 'There is no problem in the Middle East'?"

Explained the experienced statesman: "Sir, a problem is something with a solution. There is no solution to the Middle East. Therefore it can't be a problem."

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