By Guy Bechor
For more than 70 years the Israeli-Arab (or Jewish-Arab) conflict has been viewed as the focal point of the Mideast crisis, so much so that the term “peace process” is mentioned only in relation to Israel. Western governments and states have invested a lot of attention in this conflict, out of the naïve assumption that when it ends and a Palestinian state is established, a cosmic calm will settle over the entire region.
Many believed in this concept, which placed Israel at the center. Pan-Arabist ideologists claimed this was the “problem” of the Arab world, and western scholars explained why resolving this conflict was so crucial. Countless authors have made a living from the conflict with Israel. Organizations were founded and funds were transferred from hand to hand – and all this out of the understanding that resolving the conflict would give the entire region a boost.
And now, finally, a Palestinian state has been established in the UN (if only on paper), but alas, nothing has changed in the turbulent Middle East, and the manner in which the Arab regimes and media reacted to the Palestinians’ success in the UN is a testament to this.
Syria is being torn apart by an awful civil war and the death toll is quickly approaching 50,000; the ethnic war has already taken control over north Lebanon, and the Shiite Hezbollah is on high alert for fear of a Sunni move; Egypt may also be dragged into a civil war; Tunisia, the hope of the “Arab Spring,” has become an Islamist country that is descending into an abyss of darkness and violence; Libya is no longer a country, but a collection of militias and tribes that battle each other; Iraq is disintegrating, Kurds from four different countries are getting organized and Turkey is on the brink of a possible war with Syria and Iran.
Wait, but the Palestinian state has been recognized by the UN! Where is that calm that we were promised?
The only stable places in the entire Middle East are Israel and the Palestinian Authority, despite the tensions. Operation Pillar of Defense has turned out to be a passing episode launched as part of Israel’s attempt to stabilize the south. It was not necessarily related to the overall collapse in the region.
So why did so many countries vote in favor of a Palestinian state on paper? To turn back time, to the good old days when everyone was dealing with Israel and not with the real problems.
But these days have passed and they shall never return. The Middle East has fallen apart, Europe has been conquered by Islam, and obsessing over Israel won’t change this reality.