The eastern Mediterranean is entering another dark period as the Gaza tragedy is erupting again. While all eyes focus on the immediate horrors and temporary agreements are sought to stop the fighting the underlying causes of the conflict are easily lost sight of.
Ever since the Israeli nation was created by usurping Arab lands it has been poisoning international relationships. Gross injustice is like that. It can never be accommodated. It leaves open wounds that fester and pollute. It drives others to horrible acts and morality is set awry.
An essential aspect of the Israeli situation is that Israel cannot and could never survive without help from western states notably, USA, UK and France. Israel is bristling with armaments many supplied by these countries and these definitely include nuclear ones with long range delivery capability.
This draws up a fissure between the west and the Arab world and Iran. We are all the poorer for this and there is no end in sight. We will suffer as long as the Palestinians suffer and by estranging the Arab world and Iran we deny them and us the great benefits that would derive from economic and cultural cooperation. We sacrifice all this for the sake of allowing Israel its head.
It was Europeans that forced the exodus of the Jews in the 1940s from many parts of Europe -- not Arabs. And it is no use just blaming Germany. The two world wars stemmed from a competitive imperialism on all sides and the Allies' colossal error of forcing the Germans into penury after 1918 creating a political time bomb and an environment ripe for the emergence of a leader unwilling to accept the humiliations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. The western nations are collectively responsible for the plight of the Jews not the Arabs.
But instead of accepting that responsibility we foisted it onto others who were entirely innocent. The only legal authority for choosing Palestine as the home of the Israeli state was a 3000 years old document of myth and superstition. The Israelis continue the theft of Palestinian lands with their settler policy of occupation and the west does nothing
Christian churches and shrines and other priceless cultural assets in Israel often of great historic value are routinely destroyed or allowed to fall into ruins to seek to impose the myth of this being an exclusively Jewish land. Again the west does nothing.
Meanwhile Israel itself is starting to tear itself apart as the fundamentalist, Haredim group, menaces other Israelis often driving them from their homes. The Haredim are not popular as they do not work and have exemption from the military. They do not practice birth control and families of ten are common creating a demographic time bomb. Will the west support a future Haredim controlled state?
The increasingly dangerous situation with Iran, a nation and a people that have every right to be considered our friends and allies, springs entirely from the poison creating by Israel.
The west has the ultimate hold over Israel as it supplies its armaments, technologies and money. The west must drop all this support and force Israel to negotiate seriously with its neighbours from a position of understanding the new reality -- that we will seek a fair settlement and not continue to automatically take their side.
What is the solution? The only way I can see to begin to resolve the situation is for Israel to lose some independence. This could be by way of a federation of Israel and Palestine under a single government with autonomous regions within. This would have to be guaranteed by the UN with all the western and Arab nations and Iran fully on board. A federation would disadvantage the extremist groups as they would not get much purchase on the centre. Benefit would flow to those who were pragmatic and accommodating of all interests. The new state would as a whole benefit from the advanced manufacturing and technology that Israel already has.
The current state of Israel is that rarity in the modern world -- a phyletist state, that is to say it is founded on a single religion. The Federal state would have to be a secular democracy allowing freedom of worship in all its regions
Minorities in the surrounding countries would also benefit as the new federation became a model for tolerance and progress. The cycle of recrimination and violence could be broken
It would not be easy. The journey would be long and fraught. But at last the, much talked about but never so far drawn up, "road map" would be in place.