By Patrick Dele Cole
THE Middle East is the most geopolitically sensitive area of the world, with a population comprising of mostly poor people, and considerable wealth in the hands of few. To meet its demands for workforce, the area engages in the import of poor workers mainly from India, Bangladesh and Nigeria.
Sadat crossed the Red Sea in the Yom Kippur war and shook Israel to its roots. Israel was attacked by a coalition of nearly all Arab States. The Israelis took out the air forces of Egypt, Iraq and Jordan, but not Syria, although Israel expanded its territory to include the Golan Heights.
A central policy plank of Iran is the destruction of Israel. No nation belonging to the United Nations, UN, should be able to say that. To say it, is to reject the very precepts of the UN and such nations should not be in the UN.
The territory of Israel has been growing since its creation in 1948, mainly by land captured in the innumerable wars the Arab and Palestinians fought against Israel. There is no doubt that some land will have to be relinquished by Israel in order to eventuate the two-state solution – a Palestinian State and an Israeli State living peaceably together. It is unconscionable that over 1 million Palestinians have been living in refugee camps in Jordan for the past 40-50 years. There are other refugee camps dotted around Israel.
These camps are a fertile ground for radicalism and steps should be taken to return Palestinians to the State of Palestine in Gaza and the West Bank. But this can only be done if the Palestinians themselves abjure their oft-repeated doctrine of the destruction of the State of Israel. The Oslo Accords was an excellent compromise that even Shimon Peres, the former President of Israel welcomed.
The Arabs must first acknowledge that Israel is here to stay and is going nowhere. The Israelis must equally accept that the Palestine issue is in their interest to solve. The Palestinians are going nowhere else, since the Gaza strip and the West Bank have been generally accepted as Palestinian territory. Let’s start there and build institutions and Government offices that accept this reality.
I know the Palestinians, like the Jews claim, want to return to Israel and Jerusalem. There are claims by the Palestinians especially in the North of Israel, in Haifa, etc. that the land belongs to them. At present, I can see no prospect of return of this land to the Palestinians. Even so, in Haifa there are large sections of the town that is wholly settled by Palestinians as indeed there are parts of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The last movement of millions of people based on religion was the settlement of Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh and the Hindus in India. Millions died, millions lost land, property and there is still the festering question of Kashmir which might one day be the cause of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. Presently, tensions persist and one day may blow over into a no win war for all sides.
But international leaders should be able to wade into these conflicts in India, Pakistan, Israel, Palestine, etc. and work out some solutions. The status quo is no solution and cannot persist.
Americans and Israelis should be wary and careful about walls. The Germans had used walls in their purification and extermination exercise against the Jews and we know the consequences of that. After the war, East and West Germany was divided by walls as was Berlin itself. Two American Presidents made memorable speeches: President John Kennedy and President Reagan. The most famous words of President Kennedy were uttered in Berlin when he declared in front of the Berlin wall: “ich bin ein Berliner”, meaning “I am a Berliner” thus dramatically drawing attention to the divided city.
Twenty years later President Reagan, also in front of the same wall thundered “Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!”. That cry was the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union. We are building a world more interconnected than ever before. If the US is so worried about immigrants why do they not apply modern technique and implant a tracker on every immigrant so they will follow their every movement.
The economic argument of immigration is untenable. Australia, the 13 colonies in the US were prison camps. The US has no claim to the Americas as they too were immigrants who came, according to their stories and value system, to a land of opportunity where anyone can achieve anything. No one came with degrees or competence to help build the United States.
I know Jews do not like anyone being compared with the monstrous Hitler, but events in the States have strong parallel to what Hitler did.
The alt-right were marching and chanting: “The Jews will not replace us”, “Blood and tears;” carrying lights and sticks burning with fire, just like the Ku Klas Klan, KKK, used to do before burning blacks in the South. In Poland, the Germans built a wall to keep the Jews under control though the Jews were the most productive people in the Germany. They made them wear tags regardless of their status. In Israel today, they are building walls to keep the Palestinians behind the walls.
Trump wants to build a wall to stop Mexicans from coming into the US, Mexicans he dubbed as convicts, rapists and murderers, while he called the Haitians “Aid carriers and drug pushers”, then referred to African countries and other third world countries as “Shithole countries”. Now he has blamed nearly all murders and drug pushers on immigrants.
I do not think one should waste ink writing about a clearly unbalanced President, a serial abuser of women, a misogynist, and someone with numerous “Lies of misspeaks” except to say that he and Hitler have one thing in common – they are hateful and would cause war. Trump, however, is the most dangerous man since Hitler.
That immigration is now number 1 topic in countries whose citizens are immigrants in the US, Australia and Canada shows the shallowness of their appreciation of history and their especial lack of humanity. Neither Australia nor the US can teach us about the quality of immigrants when their ancestors had little education and less morality when they first arrived in the US, nor can the French, who landed in Canada do any better.
The only people who have a right in America are the original Red Indians as they were once referred to, but now known correctly as Native Americans, whose population was decimated by pillage, extermination and pogroms and other despicable acts, just as the Spanish did to the indigenous people they met in Mexico, Central and South America.
Let us examine the claim of the new ideologies of managed immigration. They argue that immigrants to their countries should be subjected to severe vetting, should have skills to contribute to their country, should not come with their families under the so called chain immigration and on no account should migrants take over the jobs of US citizens. Mr. Trump has disparaged Mexicans, Africans, and Salvadorians. He wants to build a wall to keep these people out but apparently would welcome Norwegians. All non-Caucasian people believe that when white people talk about immigration, they mean to exclude people of colour. Mr. Trump has struck a deep chord in the White people who are responding with hatred to all non-White. (Perhaps, the last sentence meant to read as follows: – “They are implying that those beautiful words in the US constitution, borrowed from the French, are not meant for non – white”.) I am saying all this because the hotbed of problems in the world – the Middle East – is virally affected by the perception of the United States.
As stated earlier, a nation cannot be in the UN and openly call for the destruction of another nation. If Iran cannot abide by this, it should be ostracised from the UN along with other hate filled proponents who want to destroy Israel.
The progress which led to the two state solutions in Israel and Palestine was achieved through behind the scenes negotiation in Oslo for a long time. Diplomacy to move forward, all the hateful rhetoric of Palestinians, Jews, Persians, and I might add Rohingyas in Myanmar (Burma), Kurds in Turkey and Iraq, Igbo, Hausa, Tiv, Yoruba, Fulani in Nigeria, cannot be solved when these matters are openly shouted daily from rooftop. Quiet diplomacy and leadership can resolve these matters just as Senator Mitchell was able to solve the “Irish Troubles” that is the civil war in Britain between the Irish and the rest of the United Kingdom.
The UN was built on a set of principles – respect for human rights, self-determination and freedom. All the trouble spots of the world can find accommodation if people were willing to extend a little goodwill and to respect the interest and equality of human beings.
We have an abundance of quality people who can reach out in all these hot spots and find accommodation. It will not be easy but there is no other solution except genocide. Israel and Palestine must find the road to peace; Pakistan, India and Kashmir must do likewise. The Rohingyas in Burma must find a place in their homestead. International Law demands no less.
We have seen ethnic cleansing in Serbia. It was beyond inhuman. We have seen it in the Holocaust in Germany, the ethnic cleansing in Nigeria and Rwanda and Southern Sudan. We cannot pretend that it is not happening nor can we believe that it will have any other outcome than disastrous. Should Aung San Suu Kyi not be stripped of her Nobel Prize for Peace considering her actions in Myanmar where Rohingyas are facing ethnic cleaning?
The Pope went to Myanmar and was warned not to speak about the Rohingyas. He agreed. This is in keeping with foreign visitors visiting Saudi Arabia and China who are warned not to speak about human rights. Those countries that choose to rely on this ban, like the Pope, are complicit in the pogrom against the Rohingyas. No more, no less.