Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict
[ Back ] [ Next ]

Israel can win tolerance of foreigners to annexation of Palestine

Israel Defense Forces today can stage a war in order for Israel to annex Palestinian territory, which the superpowers would tolerate for a number of reasons. History shows that American tolerance knows no limits: Dresden and Hiroshima, the Vietnam defoliation campaign, standing by during Rwandan massacres, acquiescence in Russian atrocities in Chechnya and of Iraq in Kurdistan during the Anfal campaign, and disregarding unspeakably brutal suppression of the Muslim Brothers’ insurgency by Syria, as well as many other shameful incidents which would have made Caligula blush. America accords still higher tolerance to its allies, like Israel, brutalizing non-white and ideologically alien population: Japan was virtually acquitted for its WWII crimes, not incomparable with the German variety, and atrocities by anti-communist forces in Guatemala and Nicaragua propped by the United States made few headlines there. In even more relevant example, oil was a major reason for the United States annexation of a chunk of Mexico. No American politician offers now to return the supposedly illegally acquired land, nor does Mexico raise an outcry. The more brutal a regime is--unlike Israel--less morality America demands of it, especially if the regime opposes a larger evil: Maoist China was America’s ally against the U.S.S.R., while the minuscule Tiananmen incident led to sanctions. Acting brutally but efficiently, Israel need not fear Western opposition. European powers are more cynical (or realistic) than the Americans and would not protest Israeli annexation of Palestine if done quickly and cleanly. The West was unconcerned with a short war in irrelevant Afghanistan but protested protracted war in economically viable Iraq. After the occupation of Poland, Britain declared war on Germany but not on the Soviet Union; the powers care about stability, not losers like Poland or Palestine. Victorious Israel can provide such stability.

As recently as in 1972, the United States supported Israel’s rebuff of Sadat’s settlement plan, since after 1967 Israel seemed able to handle a war with Egypt easily. The Americans showed no concern about the Israeli-Palestinian issue until the media made it prominent and Israel stood by. There is no inherent opposition to annexation among Western powers. Israeli schizophrenic indecisiveness provokes their antagonism.

Israel should offer the West cheap oil and gas from the Arab annexed land, perhaps even at cost. At the beginning, Israel could even internationalize some resources to reduce the price of gasoline to one twentieth its present level, winning Israel the goodwill of foreigners who care more about gas than Arabs. Expropriation by Jews can be rationalized: the tribal royalty of a handful of Islamic states should not control a resource so important to all humanity as oil at the expense of the rest of the world by the accident of being established by colonial powers in oil-rich places. Gambling winnings are generally heavily taxed, as are inheritances. Some people are lucky this way and unlucky that, so the odds are even. Many countries have mineral resources, yet they do not internationalize them; but wealth of the magnitude of the Arab oil reserves, which Arabs could not even exploit by themselves without international corporation, should be heavily taxed. Instead, the world like a herd of lambs suffers from O.P.E.C.’s monopoly prices, a collusion illegal in any civilized country. The common explanation of this defeatism, namely that the U.S. feared confrontation with the Soviets, is irrelevant. America clashed with the Soviets in West Berlin, Greece, Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, and many other places—to the extent of nuclear alert. The Kennan doctrine of containment dictated firm opposition to O.P.E.C. policy, at least if it was Soviet-backed. The real reasons behind the West’s acceptance are the Vietnam syndrome, liberal free markets,and the nationalist concept of sovereignty over resources, and the lobbying oil corporations which profited enormously both through the increase in value of their reserves and the Arabs’ ability to pay for their services. But when Israel offers them oil concessions and uninterrupted supplies and profits, they will lobby Western governments to accept Israeli annexation of Arab oifields. Major Western corporations cooperated with fascists and Nazis; they would not care about Arabs dispossessed by Israelis.

A hundred years ago oil extortion would have been a casus belli. If the United States priced some scarce resource that way, there would be an outcry. Not so with the Arabs. Would the world sit silent if someone monopolized fresh water and jacked the price up? The Arabs not only practice extortion but also use oil for political pressure and fund Islamic terrorists and fundamentalists worldwide with the profit. Arabs fund an anti-Western ideological and military campaign, and still have audacity to accept American foreign aid. Natural resources should not belong to a nation only because it owns the geography but rather to those who find them, as the colonial powers reckoned. Socialists do not recognize unearned profit and should oppose Arab wealth. There are abundant grounds to challenge Arab claims to the oil. Islamists think plundering enemies is legitimate; Al Qaeda specifically called for it in a statement of February 1998. Arabs should not complain if Israelis plunder them.

Israel should mobilize ecologists to decry the irresponsible development of oil resources by the Arabs and their corporate partners. The Antarctic is under international control; governments regulate the use of rivers and lakes. Public control over oil is not inconceivable. Oil is one of the last resources that justifies a colonial foreign policy, and Israeli annexation would pay. Even if some oppose Israeli annexation, Israelis would agree to internationalization to devastate the Arab economies, only one percent of which is not oil-related.

If the United States suspended arms shipments to Israel, the Jewish state could still overcome her weak Islamic opponents with Israel's existing arsenal. Yet why should the United States be upset if Israel takes control of the Saudi oilfields? The American government resents Saudi financing of fundamentalist Islam and Islamic terrorism. America supported dictatorial Iraq against Iran and authoritarian Saudi Arabia against Iraq to assure an uninterrupted oil supply. Why not let Israel do the job? The Americans will acquiesce if Israel provides stability, crushing Arab will to fight instead of protracted Middle East conflict and pitiful Jewish moralizing.

The current Saudi crackdown on Islamic fundamentalists is temporary. Saudi monarchy has zero legitimacy with Arab nationalists and democrats. Handing sovereignty over to a royal family undermines nationalism. Westernizers think monarchy is obsolete. Socialists also oppose it. Rank-and-file Arabs expect a bigger share of oil revenues in democracy and have no reason to support the ruling dynasty. The Saudi monarchy cannot disregard the clerics who support autocracy, which alone can shield them from religious competition. The Saudi religious and theological monopoly trust fundamentalism to keep a firm grip on the population. Fundamentalism and monarchy reinforce one another. The crackdown has singled out only clerics who accuse the regime of atheism, insufficient promotion of Wahhabism, or accommodating heathen instead of declaring military jihad, and has not affected the scores of religious extremists preaching hatred of Jews and Christians alike. Claiming to counter the fundamentalists, the Saudi rulers have imprisoned many political liberals to avoid upsetting the clerics. Saudi politics drifts ineluctably to the right as the monarchy refuses to fade into insignificance.

To take over the Arab states, Israel could rely on the fifth column of resident aliens in those countries, people discontent with their low status and longing for Western-style equality and a share of the oil profits which Israel can offer them. Arab states prohibit naturalization even for people who have lived there for generations; compare this with Israel's treatment of her Arabs. Aliens, mostly Indians, but also Filipinos and other Asians, constitute close to one hundred percent of the workforce—not government employees or foreign company sponsors[15]—in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Socialist and nationalist propaganda among them sponsored by Israel would disrupt Arab economies.

[15] Those countries prohibit non-citizen ownership of domestic corporations, creating a bonanza for locals who "sponsor"foreign companies.