Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict
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No historical right to Israel or Palestine

Justification of an Israeli state by historical right is sheer nonsense. If Jews have a right to return after two millennia, Arabs even more may return after fifty years. The Jews, moreover, were not forced out of Judea any more than the Arabs from Israel. Facing a hostile regime, both chose to emigrate.

The Israelis need not appeal to a twenty-century-old historical right. Indeed, there is no such thing as a historical right. Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Rome, and Turkey learned that painful lesson about the same land. American Indians don’t rule their country now. Thirty years of occupation since the Six-Day war of 1967, coupled with the indigenous population’s abandonment of the land and de facto Israeli sovereignty, is Israel's much more valid argument.

Israel appeals to some Christians by recalling Israel's biblical right to the land, forgetting that most Christians believe they themselves replace the Jews as the New Israel. In any case, the land is destined for some Israel, whether old or new, and not for Muslims, who make a religious point of oppressing Christians.

Serbs and Bosnians are still enemies after six hundred years. It takes only a few hotheads to stir people up. Palestinian will always remember what they perceive as Israeli injustice. The most expedient solution is to expel the Palestinians, disperse them, and pressure them into assimilation with other Arabs. Jews preserved their national aspirations in diaspora because of Jewish distinctiveness. Palestinians lack a persistent sense of a unique identity. Life in a small remnant of their country contiguous to Israel would remain a continuous humiliation to the Palestinians. The notion of continuing the Islamic terrorist warfare against Israel would be too present, too tempting. If the Palestinians stay where they are now, the war with Israel will go on, not because the people on either side are inherently bad, but because a conflict that involves nationalist ambitions cannot be arbitrated; and even if it could, enough people on both sides would not be satisfied, leaving the fire smoldering, ready to flare up on the slightest pretext.

This book often presents contradictory advice, such as either transferring Haram esh-Sharif to Arab diplomatic jurisdiction or destroying the mosques there. Either option is workable. Which one prefers is a subjective choice. Israel must at last choose a policy and adhere to it and work to bring it to life, instead of floundering about, losing Jewish lives and money and effort and goodwill.

If there is a decision to expand, it should be carried out intelligently and efficiently. If Israelis want a Jewish state, it cannot be an multi-ethnic democracy. If war threatens, Israel should strike first. Evil ends should not be exacerbated by prolonged means. Israel has shied from the problem for decades, only because Israelis uncomfortable with the solution—unwilling to pose clear questions and see clear answers, losing thousands of lives and spending hundreds of billions of dollars.[23] The solution this book suggests is inhumane, but current Israeli policies are cumulatively worse.

[23] In 1994 dollars, including U.S. aid to Israel. Estimates for cumulative losses from 1948 exceed a trillion dollars when accounting for GDP losses from conscription and displacement of economic resources, embargo, and other indirect costs.