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Military, nuclear supremacy breed arrogance
By Dr Musa a Keilani July 24, 2010
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Israeli author and poet Amnon Shamosh has placed his finger dead right on the pulse when he observed that Israel’s troubles are rooted in the belief that Jews are wiser than Arabs and gentiles. This would lead to the collapse of the Jewish state, Shamosh writes in an opinion piece titled “The Tragedy of Arrogance” on Israel’s online Yenta news.

Shamosh writes: “Having pride inflate into arrogance has been an obstacle for individuals, groups, and nations since early history. The ancient Greeks characterised arrogance (or hubris, as they called it) as a sin that would necessarily lead to tragedy. History has proven them right.

“Arrogance is ‘built into’ the people of Israel from its very inception. We are the chosen people. The whole world is against us. God is on our side. God willing. We forget how briefly we enjoyed independence throughout our history, despite our national arrogance and God’s support.”

Well, we Arabs have borne the brunt of Israel’s arrogance, which is reflected in every sphere of its dealings.

Israel invaded and occupied Palestinian territories through  war and blatantly refuses to heed international calls for relinquishing the land, which it says is part of the “promised land.” Its arrogance is evident throughout its response to calls for a negotiated settlement of the conflict.

Shamosh writes:  “In simulations undertaken by our security forces, the false basic assumption that necessarily leads to failure is that the Arab perception is the opposite of our own, that their wisdom is lesser, that their freedom fighters are despicable terrorists wholly different from the Jewish terrorists we admired during British rule, that life is not sanctified by them as it is by us, and that if they won’t get coriander and sweets they would topple Hammers’ rule, which they stupidly elected.”

Well, we Arabs know that Israel, which has a large nuclear arsenal, does have a military superiority that breeds its arrogance.

Israel invaded and occupied Syria’s Golan  Heights and now refuses to return it saying its control of the strategic plateau is vital to its security. The actual reason for Israel seizing the Golan in the 1967 war was that the plateau was and is the source of more than two-third of Israel’s supply of water. That is why it “annexed” the Golan in 1981 as if it was no one’s business when a country seized another’s land through war and then declared the occupied territory as its own.

Israel’s arrogance is further reflected in its position that Syria should not set any preconditions for peace negotiations. Israel has no interest in making peace with Syria and is happy with the status quo, which it believes could be maintained forever through its military might.

Shamosh questions the very core of Israeli behaviour by raising the point that “two of our four matriarchs come from the Aramaic people, that is, Syria and Iraq. King David is a descendent of Ruth the Moabite (in present-day Jordan), and Moses married a Midianite (from north-west Arabia  on the east shore of the Gulf of Aqaba).

He notes: “As long as we fail to understand it and internalise that they (the Arabs) are no better or worse or more just than ours, just like we are no better or worse or more just than them, we shall continue to kill each other and bury the sons of Ishmael, Israel and Rachel, who herded the sheep of Laban, the Aramaic.”

While Shamosh has presented an excellent review of Israel’s arrogance, he has somehow overlooked a key element: Israelis behave like whites in apartheid South Africa. It is reflected nowhere better than the way Israeli soldiers treat Palestinians at the roadblocks that dot the occupied West Bank. Even as they inspect the identify papers of Palestinians, they spit and curse and  call out obscenities in Arabic, feeling secure that they could always use their weapons against anyone who dares to talk back.

Shamosh touches on a highly sensitive issue  when he refers to the divisions within the Israeli society.

“Arrogance gives rise to belittling others,” he writes. “All others, and mostly those we know from up close. The basic assumption is that their human qualities are different, lesser, and inferior to ours. There is no comparison, for example, between an Arab, Persian, or German mother and our own ‘Yiddishe mame.’ Yet from that point, shifting to the assumption that an Ashkanazi Jewish mother should not be compared to a Moroccan or Ethiopian Jewish mother is a natural, necessary step.”

Indeed, the level of arrogance appears to high among “white Jews” — Ashkanazis,  Israelis who came from Europe — who practice apartheid against the Sephardim — Israelis of North African and Middle Eastern backgrounds. The latest example of that came in so-called Emmanuel affair where Ashkanazi parents refused to send their daughters to a school which was ordered to desegregated by Israel’s supreme court.

The Bet Yaakov girls school in the West Bank settlement of Emmanuel was ordered to end the segregation of its Ashkanazi and Mizrachi students.

The school used to teach Ashkanazi and Mizrachi girls in separate classes, had separate entrances for Ashkanazi and Mizrachi students and had a fence in the playground to keep the students apart.

Well, the affair led to some of the Ashkanazi parents serving 10 days in jail because they refused to obey the court order and return their daughters to the school.

We could not agree more with Shamosh when he writes that Israel’s arrogance will lead to its destruction:

“If we fail to get out of this concentric circle of ‘I’m better and more just than anyone else,’ we shall find ourselves facing an irreversible process that will divide us into two peoples in two states — a Jewish state led by God’s rabbis, and a democratic, secular Israeli state with manmade laws. Each state would weaken the other, until we reach the final act in this classic Greek tragedy, whose climax we are now approaching.”

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