Israeli Land Concessions: Wrong Answer to the Wrong Problem
Dr. Stephen Covey compares leadership to management as follows: if workers are chopping their way through a jungle, managers figure out how to help them to chop faster. A leader climbs a tree, looks around, and realizes, "We're in the wrong jungle!" Every discussion of how much land Israel must give up to have peace exemplifies this principle because the Islamic Middle East cannot tolerate the nearby presence of even one acre under Judeo-Christian control.
The issue is therefore not, nor has it ever been, "Israeli occupation of Arab land." It has always been what China calls the Mandate of Heaven, or what Gordon R. Dickson in None but Man calls the Aspect of Respectability. The aliens in the story are effectively ancient Chinese or feudal Japanese with space ships, and the text provides outstanding elaboration of the concept.
To be Respectable among the Moldaug is to be in proper accord with the leaders of the race, that ensure and maintain the survival of the race. To be connected in any way with an action that leads to a plague or an unsuccessful war-any symptom of countersurvival developments-is to lose some part of your Respectability.
China would call this "loss of the Mandate of Heaven." A leader who delivers prosperity and service to his stakeholders holds the Mandate, while one whose incompetent or self-serving activities impoverish his people loses it.
"Countersurvival developments" are a matter of comparative perception. A devout Muslim whose parents and grandparents eked out a subsistence living would never imagine doing otherwise -- until he sees a neighboring land with gleaming towers, prosperous citizens, and luxuries unimaginable in his own society. He begins to ask questions like "Why are we faithful servants of Allah poor while the infidels over there are rich?" No mullah, imam, or ayatollah can answer these questions. They can't even tolerate them because questions of this nature lead to loss of the Mandate of Heaven, along with the power and privileges that such religious leaders have enjoyed for most of their lives.
Israel's per-capita gross domestic product (GDP, International Monetary Fund values) is $28.7 thousand. Only the Islamic nations of Qatar, Brunei, and the United Arab Emirates have a higher per-capita GDP than Israel, and for the same reason the Beverly Hillbillies can afford a mansion: they have the good luck to be sitting on top of a lot of oil. Even oil-rich nations like Saudi Arabia ($17.0K) and Iran ($4.7K) are less affluent, while those with fewer natural resources range from Turkey's $10.4K down to $1.5K for the Palestinians, and even less for Pakistan.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can't offer the Iranian people Israel's standard of living, so he must offer them nuclear bombs instead -- weapons that, if he ever uses them as he has threatened, will almost certainly result in his nation's extinction. Afghanistan, with a per-capita GDP of $517, cannot aspire to build jumbo jets or towers that reach the sky. This is why al-Qaeda has to hijack the airplanes and crash them into the towers. It's "my bully with failing grades can beat up your straight-A honor student" on an international scale, at least until the bullies meet military science such as Predator drones and thermobaric bombs that only the world's honor students can produce.
God, or more precisely the Mandate of Heaven, has not been on the side of Islam since around 1453 (the fall of Constantinople). Examples include:
(1) Lepanto (1572), in which Venetian galleasses, of which only four could come into action, blew Turkish galleys into matchwood. The Venetian Arsenal was in fact the world's first approximation of a modern factory.
(2) Vienna (1683), where King Jan Sobieski crushed a Turkish army. September 12, the day after 9/11, is worth remembering as the anniversary.
(3) Russo-Turkish wars (late 18th century), in which infidels under the command of Aleksandr V. Suvorov made mincemeat of the sultan's troops. "Suwarrow now was conqueror," wrote Lord Byron of the storm of Ismail, where God (or at least the Mandate of Heaven) was unequivocally on the side of "the Christian Empress, Catherine."
(4) Omdurman (1898), where Anglo-Egyptian machine guns and the 21st Lancers (earned three Victoria Crosses) made short work of a much larger Islamic army.
(5) The Arab invasion of Israel (1948), in which numerically inferior Jews with a motley array of weapons defeated British-trained and British-armed Muslims.
Ernest Volkman's Science Goes to War (p. 60) explains why the Mandate is on our side and not theirs (emphasis added):
At the very moment [Thomas] Aquinas was telling his fellow Europeans how faith and reason could coexist, his Iranian counterpart, the leading Arab philosopher Ghazzali, concluded that the treasure of ancient texts represented social dynamite. The study of science and philosophy, he wrote, was harmful because it would shake man's faith in God and undermine the Muslim religion. Accordingly, the ruling caliph of Baghdad, to demonstrate his piety, ordered the burning of all manuscripts in the city's great library. ...The ancient Greek scientific idea of logical argument and syllogistic reasoning was foreclosed to Muslim science because it challenged the immutable word of the Koran.
People who read books tend to be far more advanced than those who burn books, and that is why our country is the Great Satan. Israel is the Little Satan because it is a neighboring instead of distant model of the superiority of Judeo-Christian culture over what the Middle East calls Islam. Israel did not occupy a single square foot of Arab land when the Arabs invaded it in 1948. The Arabs directed multiple acts of terroristic violence against Israel even before Israel occupied Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian land after the 1967 war, thus proving yet again that the so-called occupation is not and never was the problem's root cause.
This t-shirt from the New Jersey chapter of the International Solidarity Movement, meanwhile, includes an Israel-free map of the region that proclaims, "From the [Jordan] River to the sea, Palestine will be free." This calls not for Israel to surrender land in exchange for peace, but instead for Israel to cease to exist. This is far from the only Israel-free map we have seen from organizations that claim to seek only "justice" for the Palestinians.
Discussions of the Middle East therefore need to break away from the false and fraudulent premise that Israel can obtain peace through the surrender of any occupied territories. We must instead speak openly and unapologetically the politically incorrect truth nobody on the left wants to hear: Israel's mere existence exposes as frauds and charlatans militant "Islamic" leaders who can offer their followers nothing but poverty, squalor, state-mandated ignorance, violence, and hatred under color of religion. Only when rank-and-file Muslims wake up to this fact and transfer the Mandate of Heaven accordingly will the region enjoy peace and prosperity.
William A. Levinson, P.E. is the author of several books on business management, including content on organizational psychology as well as manufacturing productivity and quality.