Where I stand two rivers meet
Close to a sea of tranquillity
And there I am, quietly gazing
A man alone
Charlie Loftus 1986.
If one could imagine for a moment how astronauts might view the Planet Earth, as they twirl in space, it might be with awe and perhaps with some respect for the majesty, and the simplicity of this our world. Most astronauts usually have some kind of religious experience, because of the enormity of time and space, a place where it is easy for them to get their true perspective, and to find a way to relate to creation, whatever their religious beliefs might be.
Further down on earth, it doesn’t seem so easy, and the semantics of regional conflict, inevitably overtake the beauty of our existence. This is very true of Israel, their ongoing tryst with the Palestinian authorities, and the constant politicking which seems to have been going on forever.
Both parties play the American card, then the Jewish American card, and in the past, I even saw Prime Minister Netanyahu on American TV, being interviewed on a Catholic channel, where I honestly came to believe that butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. His then interviewer; open mouthed with admiration, and enveloped in that oddly casual American smiley ignorance, I could hardly believe that I was living on the same planet. He has always played with the media with such ease that, and at the time – it was then 1998 – he seemed to have demoted President Clinton into a junior press attaché. But then, what about the opposition?
The Palestinians have always had great loyalty to the late Yasser Arafat – despite the many and various factions, which he had to deal with. But, with the help of the late King of Jordan – help which continues to this day – he was not only a truly visible leader in Palestine, but a virtual spokesman for Arab unity itself.
One river is as old as time itself
Wanders afar through hostile plains
And foreign lands of uncertain virtue
There was also the Blair initiative. Well thought out – definitely no obfuscation intended – it was skilfully conducted together with the late Robin Cook, who was British Foreign Secretary at the time. On good form in Gaza, and apparently so well fed by the Arab’s, that he forgot to attend a dinner with Netanyahu, it seemed then, that a peaceful solution might have been possible, but once more the violence erupted.
Although, Tony Blair was reported as saying that he supported Palestinian claims, he also said that it was fundamentally an American show, and that he continued to believe it was up to the then President Clinton to sort it all out. This was certainly true during the 2000 Camp David discussions between Ehud Barak and Arafat, and finally the Oslo Accord.
The other follows a rising star
Quick to stir the waters flood
Through thundering chasms of the night
Twenty years on, and little has changed.The body pile is mounting, the same cliches are being bandied about, promises continue to be kept and then broken, and like two naughty children who return to their destructive games, when your back is turned, the violence continues. Reasons are given new light by skilled PR pundits, and the familier rhetoric rolls on like an old 78 rpm cracked gramophone recording.
And there I saw the waters mingle
Deep so deep, so naturally blend
With God’s last gift as one they fell
No longer alone
But feeling at one with God.
The trouble is, we now have the whole of the Middle East at each other’s throats, and the scale of violence has escalated beyond the comprehension of even the aforementioned, and past redoubtable political Doyon’s, or any feasible intervention by the west.
Recent media attention has been monopolized by President Trump’s antics in Helsinki – his love affair with President Putin – but, the very catalyst which started all this middle eastern chaos, which he apparently discussed with Putin, has once more been put on the back burner, and replaced by cheap TV and absurd Trump tomfoolery. When will they stop insulting our intelligence?