Monday, February 17, 2014

  • Monday, February 17, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Wishful thinking in a NYT op-ed by Seth M. Siegel:

Nuclear proliferation, religious militancy and income inequality are all major threats to Middle East stability. Sadly, a new one is brewing: water scarcity.

The human causes are clear: rapid population growth, antiquated infrastructure, the over-pumping of aquifers, inefficient crop practices and pollution from fertilizer and pesticides. Then there are the factors that climate change is accelerating, like evaporation of lakes and rivers and diminished rainfall.

One country in the region might have a solution to these water woes: Israel. It shares the same problems of climate and desertification as its neighbors, but it has mastered the management of water resources, such that it can endure periodic droughts while supporting a growing population. Its water management can not only be a model but can even reduce regional tensions.

Wasteful farming practices — in particular, flooding a field to irrigate it — are the biggest factor behind the regional water shortage. Starting in the 1960s, Israeli farmers abandoned this technique in favor of drip irrigation, which reduces the loss of water to evaporation, gets water to roots more efficiently and, critically, produces crop yields vastly greater than those with conventional irrigation. Israel also treats household sewage as a precious resource, reusing more than 80 percent of it for agriculture. In Iran and many Arab countries, sewage is dumped, which can threaten public health by contaminating wells and aquifers.

...No one should wish for a water crisis anywhere. But as water problems grow, one hopes that ideology will give way to pragmatism and may open a door to an Arab and Islamic outreach to Israel. A partnership that starts with engineers and extends to farmers could contribute to deal making, even reconciliation, among leaders. Rather than seeing Israel as a problem, Israel’s antagonists would be wise to see it as a solution.
When are people going to wake up?

Arabs don't just hate Israel - they are emotionally invested in maintaining hate for Israel. This includes Israel's "peace partners" in Egypt and Jordan. There may be some tactical cooperation, and some under-the-table relationships blooming based on common interests, but they can never translate into real peace the way normal people define peace.

Every Arab country has organizations dedicated to fighting "normalization" with Israel. Every Arab country routinely insults Israel in international bodies. Practically no Arab media will publicly oppose antisemitism or Holocaust denial (there was a very rare exception last week.)

The atmosphere is toxic, and three generations so far have been raised with this insane hate. Occasionally, some Arabs will notice that Arabs treat each other worse than Jews treat Arabs, but those are not exactly meant as compliments.

Just this morning an idiotic tweeter responded to my pointing out that Arab nations planned to persecute their Jewish population before the UN partition vote in November 1947 by claiming that it was a reaction to Jews kicking Arabs out of their homes. (The only people kicked out of their homes in Palestine before the partition vote were in fact Jews.)

Arab lies about Israel are not only meant to demonize Israel and Jews. They are meant to assuage Arab shame at losing wars to the Jews. Westerners simply cannot understand the centrality of honor/shame in Arab culture. Israel's very existence is shameful and a reminder of Arab impotence (which is why they use over-the-top words like "Naqba" and "Naqsa" to refer to wars lost to Jews, but never for far deadlier intra-Arab wars or wars fought by Western powers in the Arab world.)

This is a problem that cannot be solved short of Israel's destruction.

All Israel can do is to ensure that it offers such technologies to its neighbors where they can relabel them as if they came from Europe  - and keep up their public stance of hating Israel.

Arab governments will privately be happy that Israel exists, because the alternative is another Libya or Syria and no one wants that at their borders. Countries like Morocco will continue to quietly trade with Israel. treaties about specific common topics - including water - will sometimes be drafted under the auspices of third parties.  But Arab nations will not and cannot accept Israel as a permanent nation in their midst.

The only proof you need is that Israel can and does offer, today, far more than water technology, and the Arab world refuses to take advantage of it, even though it would help them immensely. Nothing would thrill Israel more than sending professors to Arab universities to teach or to Arab governments to advise about technical issues like farming and medicine and disaster preparation. To Arabs, publicly accepting help from Israel would be another instance of Arab shame.

Peace is impossible. Détente is the ideal, and to a large extent, is already here. And the only thing that can make it more ideal is Israeli strength where its existence is accepted as a fait accompli, not Israeli concessions that give Arabs hope that they can reverse the "naqba" and avenge their shame.

(h/t Ronald)

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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