Exit Strategies

Eyeless in Gaza

I hate Israel just as much as any other fan of geopolitical Feng Shui. Yes, there’s no denying the fact that when it came to giving planning permission for a revived Jewish state smack bang at the crossroads of an antagonistic civilization, a major circumcised cock-up occurred and now we are stuck with the consequences – the drip…drip…drip... of carnage big enough to suck up the oxygen of the Western media but far too trivial to actually change anything.

It’s also big enough to generate a signal to get all the various groups of irritable, internet-enslaved Westerners yakking away about it as if it actually meant something to them, while meanwhile their countries go down the toilet. Whether pro-Jew or pro-Arab, concerned yakkity-yakkity Westerner gets the payoff of actually seeming to know a bit of geography and history and give a fuck. Gold star from teacher!

But once again, we are in the realm of the eternal shell-and-pea trick (or BP and Shell trick as it’s known when oil is involved) as Whitey, frothing with moralism about the rights and wrongs of people who wouldn't give him the time of day unless they were trying to sell him a rug, loses sight of the bigger picture and starts to empathize with his poor provoked IDF avatar or heroic rock-throwing Palestinian doppelganger. Yes, he’s effectively playing a rolling news version of one of his pointless computer games, trying to get back to his atavistic state from the soft, stultifying Twinkiesphere.

We all know Israel is in the wrong place. We all know the Palestinians have had it hard for too long, and that perhaps they deserve it. There is casus belli to spare and plenty to bellyache about on both sides, but all the outrage and emotion is for show because the people who are causing it are not the ones suffering. They are taking calculated risks in their cold, calm, bean-counting way to rise within the power structures that will reward them.

The latest outbreak in this eternal ding-dong match was not, as it seems, a mere accident caused by the Dali Lama or Jimmy Carter being otherwise engaged, but was intimately connected to events and agendas elsewhere. No, I don’t mean some sort of Machiavellian Uncle Sam figure expertly surfing the winds of chaos. That’s a mythical figure that I stopped believing in soon after Santa Claus. Geopolitically the US is so high on its own supply of moronic propaganda that it is effectively playing a chess game with checker pieces.

What’s really going on is revealed by events in Egypt, where President Mohamed Morsi, with Jesuit cunning, is now finishing off a coup to consolidate power for the fundamentalist Islamic Brotherhood. A day after Gazans celebrated their ceasefire agreement with Israel as a victory, Mursi issued a decree stating that the president’s decisions cannot be revoked by any authority, including the judiciary. Yes, the Brothers are wasting no time squeezing their big fat Fellaheen feet firmly into Pharaoh’s slippers.

How handy then that Hamas, who, incidentally, are an offshoot of the Brotherhood, just happened to drag Gaza into a lopsided fist fight with the Eternal Enemy a few days before this piece of constitutional tinkering. Stoking up feelings of Islamic solidarity and bringing the endemic hatred of Israel to boiling point is the ideal way to distract the Egyptian masses from something as minor as the centralization of power in the Presidency. And if too many people start to complain, it’ll be easy enough to get the Gazan fires burning again.

As for those of us in the rest of the world, we should let them get on with it, and stop outsourcing our political concerns to somewhere where they’ll flail in ignorance and be wasted in irrelevance. Being eyeless in Gaza should teach us to appreciate the virtue of positive ignorance in turning our finite attention and knowledge to the problems which directly concern us.