Dr. Guy Bechor
I sometimes think of the expression “all roads lead to Rome” (Omnes viae Romam ducunt): Does this only mean the physical stone roads paved by the Romans to the other provinces and cities? The answer is yes, and therefore also no. The important inherent quality of this answer can help us in the future.
Once the Roman Empire completed the conquest of its surrounding enemies, around the year 338 BC, it developed a unique mode of governance. This mode, which the Romans later named “Divide and conquer” (Divide et impera – attributed to Julius Caesar), meant that not treat all the cities and countries around them were treated equally. Some cities were integrated into the Roman Empire and their occupants received full rights as Roman citizens; some lost part of their territory, or received quasi independence, and others stayed under full or partial Roman rule. In none of the cases was a city allowed to stay strong enough to challenge Rome.
The method functioned as follows: Loyalty was rewarded by being allowed to join the Roman Empire, and thus cities fought among themselves for favors to be conferred by Rome. This is why the Romans therefore had to wipe out the Jewish revolt – it broke their world wide domination. And thus, each city or state faced Rome alone, not vis-à-vis the others; its point of reference was the Roman Empire, and there was no time for alliances with others against Rome. This is why all the roads led to Rome. It was the focal point and the center. Separation lead to more separation, and therefore to more control.
Since it could not face it surrounding enemies all at once, Rome chose to break them up into small pieces, and so rule over them for a long time.
Sometimes, when we cannot face the whole, it is best to break it up into its components and confront each one, when the whole is weaker than the sum of the components.
Many years ago, I had to break a low, abandoned cement wall, which interfered with my parking spot. I took a 10 pound hammer, and struck it along its length, but nothing happened. My father saw this. smiled, and said: This not how you do it. You must focus on one point and hit it repeatedly with a chisel, and after it crumbles, continue from that point and enlarge the hole, until the whole wall falls, and this is how I succeeded.
It is important to remember: The great wars were only won due to the psychological element. Once a soldier or a group of soldiers estimates that the battle is lost, they tend to run away or give up. This determines the fate of the campaign. In other words, and for this purpose Gplanet was founded more than 6 years ago, awareness is the most important; not less so than military force and soldiers.
Some people today have the feeling that we are facing a “tsunami” (a word beloved by the Israeli “media”) of foreign opposition, a kind of cement wall, where we have no choice but to give up. There are politician among us who use this for personal gain, while exaggerating the threatening international wall. And what do I do in such a situation? Divide and conquer, which means taking this whole entity, and dividing it into its components, so that ultimately their sum will be weaker than the whole, until the whole itself collapses. Evan Machiavelli in his book about the war mentions the “divide and conquer” method, when he suggests weakening the enemy by using rumors to cause it to withdraw some of its forces.
This article is not meant for outsiders at all; it is meant for Israelis. When they understand, everything will change, in the world as well.
Following are 10 “worms” which eat away at Israeli consciousness, and have a cumulative discouraging effect. When we separate each claim in this pile of worms, and refute it, the whole becomes weaker than the sum of its parts, until it is destroyed.
Israel is the heart of the conflict in the Middle East – not true, and the past 2 years prove this. The French army is fighting the Salafists in Africa; Salafists perform a horrendous act of terrorism in Algiers; the Syrian civil war has cost 60,000 casualties, with no end in site; Islamist extremists burned a courthouse in Egypt, and confronted the police; Egypt itself is on the verge of breakup; Yemen has become an area with no clear sovereignty, as has Libya, and in both countries the local tribes are the ruling factor; in northern Lebanon the fighting between the Allawites and the Sunnis has resumed, and it is only a matter of time before it reaches Beirut and the Hezbollah; Tunisia is no longer as safe country; and in Iraq a “Sunni Intifada” is raging against the Shiite government, while the Kurds continue in their separatist actions, and Iran continues its defiance of the west. In other words, none of the combatants could care less whether or not there will be a Palestinian state.
It is hard to believe, but many people in Israel believed the false claim of Israel’s centrality. Elections will be held in Israel tomorrow, but this is barely mentioned in the Arab media, since they have much more “burning” issues. Therefore Abu Maazen’s approach to the UN (for the declaration of an observer state) was an act of desperation, since he knows that if the conflict with Israel peters out, so too will the concern for the Palestinians. Two years ago I called this process, which was then still in the future, the Colorful Flower Effect.
Once upon a time, the Middle East was seemingly stable, and Israel was problematic; now, Israel is the stable one, and the Middle East is problematic.
Time is running out for Israel – not true. As time passes, the Arab world continues to break up even further. The “Arab armies”, a term which was the ultimate term for a threat throughout our history, no longer exists, as all the armies around us are breaking up, or are no longer fit. This does not mean that the IDF should stop arming itself, not at all, but time does not play against us. The opposite is true, technologically and economically. And if we are talking about time, Syria has regressed 100 years, to the end of the Ottoman Empire, where currently it is tribes and militias who rule. The infrastructures of electricity, water, and energy of what was once a state have collapsed; the Palestinians themselves are fragmented, emigrating out, and lack real achievements. Zionism has always espoused the process of determining facts on the ground, the Arabs in our area have supported conferences, speeches, and more and more resolutions in the UN.
In fact, Israel continues to outline the future map by settlement, as we always have. Times does not play against an Israel which continues to be stronger, while around it everything is going to pieces, and can no longer continue to stand against it.
A political resolution to the conflict is possible – not true. A “political resolution” was always used by Arab governments to manage policies of functional rapprochement to Israel, usually in order to win western or American favors. These days are gone, and nowadays most of the Arab countries have their own channels to Washington, some better than those Israel has. A political resolution was for them a function of management and survival. The Palestinian authority, shamed and ridiculed, which is presented as a collaborator with Israel, cannot manage a negotiation, and for sure not reach an agreement. Therefore, its leaders went to the UN to force an agreement, without negotiation, without recognition, and without peace (like the three nays of the Khartoum conference from 1967). While Hamas is breathing at its tail and threatening its very existence, can the non legitimate PLO reach an agreement with the “conqueror” (This is the term used for Israel in the Arab and Palestinian media)?
“The Palestinian Nation” – this is a term which the Palestinians started using during the 1970s, having been “sold” on it by creative Israelis. In the past one could debate whether there is an Arab nationality, but within the past two years the debate has been settled. Is there a Syrian nation? Lebanese? Or Iraqi? It is all deteriorating into ethnic and religious entities, and nationalism is dissipating. So, a Palestinian nation right now, when the nation states stop functioning? When nationalism gives way to religious and ethnic characteristics? North Africa, for instance, is right now undergoing a fascinating process: A Salafite kingdom is being defined right now in western Libya, south Algiers, Mali, and part of Tunisia, with total disregard for the previous national borders.
And what is the difference between Salafists in Libya, to those in Gaza? In any case, Libyan arms are flowing into Gaza. Is there a Palestinian nationhood here? If UNRWA (a branch of the UN created specifically for this need) had not maintained the “Palestinians” in Syria with their stipends, would they still exist as a cohesive group?
Israel is losing the demographic battle – no longer true. Every Israeli should read the demographic article on Gplanet, and understand that if there is a demographic demon, it is no longer Jewish. The last decade has seen of decline in the birthrate throughout the Middle East, other than in Israel; in fact, the secular Jewish birthrate in Israel has already equaled that of the Israeli Arab birthrate, or the Palestinian one. Conversely, the birthrate of the Jewish mother continues to rise versus the fall in the others. We now also have an opportunity to invite to Israel hundreds of thousands of Olim from Europe, since the economic situation here is better than that in most western European countries, but sadly, the Israeli government does not relate to this as a historical opportunity. It is not too late, it’s time to start, but Israel is not losing in the demographic battle. It is to our credit that the Jewish people have started to multiply, for the first time since WW2.
This site is re issuing a warning: Give the Palestinians a sovereign area in Judea and Samaria – and they will strive to fill it with hundreds of thousands of “refugees” from Syria, and change the demographic reality in the Land of Israel forever. From there, they will strive further, deep into Israel.
The West is interested in the Palestinians and committed to them – not true. The world “did its part” in the UN, exonerated itself with a state on paper, and continued. It has existential issues of its own. In the past the Palestinians presented themselves as poor and downtrodden, but the arrogance of Hamas in Gaza, the cruelty, the missile attacks on Israeli civilians, all these have changed the picture. It is much more even handed than in the past, and this is an insertion point for us, in order to totally break down this wall.
For instance, when millions of Frenchmen watched, horrified, as barbarous Hamas men dragged the bodies of their brethren in the center of Gaza during the last operation there (Paris Match) – many of them understood. It is not that there are no Pro Palestinian organizations, as part of a covert anti-Semitism. These will always be there, but the majority watching from the sidelines can certainly be convinced – you only have to want to do it.
Hamas won in Gaza – not true. As our site objected since 2006 to the claim that Hezbollah “won” the 2nd Lebanon war, so it is in Gaza. The fact is – there are no missiles or rockets coming from Gaza, to the wonderment of all. Why? Because Hamas got its comeuppance, and understood. This is the current method in the Middle East: First you announce that you beat Israel, and then you quietly collapse in the corner. Since our media gladly gives in to the message of defeat, it becomes a fact, and then is exported to the West. One does not have to believe every piece of propaganda and belligerence: Like Nasralla, Hamas is deep into its own existential distress, jailed in the strip which it rules, while the Arab world takes very good care to stay away.
Gaza is a “Large Prison” due to an Israeli “Blockade” – no longer true. Since the Pillar of Defense operation, Gaza has been effectively connected to Egypt, and has to all intents and purposes become an Egyptian protectorate, just like it was before the 1967 six day war. Egypt is providing more and more of its water, electricity, and energy, and enables free passage of people and goods, and also visits of Arab and Moslem heads of state. The prince of Qatar was there, the president of Tunisia is about to visit (running way from his own troubles), and so is the Prime Minister of Malaysia. In my opinion, these visits conform to Israeli interests: Please, let them visit. This proves the fact that there is no blockade, lays the responsibility at the feet of the Egyptians (they did not, for instance, allow the visits of formal Iranian officers), and requires Hamas to act as a national entity – not just an armed entity. Our only interest in Gaza should be to stay away.
Israel is isolated in the Middle East – not true. In addition to the friendly non Arab periphery (especially Kurds, Azzeris, South Sudanese, North African Berbers and others) there are millions of Arab citizens who yearn for any information about Israel, for contact, which they do not currently receive. Sadly, we have not broken the wall of ignorance and disinformation built by the Arab “media”, and we have not reached them directly. When we deal with these details, this wall will crumble as well. It is all a matter of the right approach.
It is interesting that the very same people who for all these years advocated that we give up the Golan and appease Assad, are now advocating that we should grovel to the Turks, who are getting in more and more over their head. On the contrary, it is in out interest to stay as far away as possible form the Turks, so they should not embroil us in their own troubles (Syria, Kurds, Iran, and Iraq).
Israel is isolated in the world – not true. During the past 2 years, Israel’s critical status as an island of stability in the Middle East has skyrocketed. Israel is the only safe country in the whole of the Middle East. The western countries no longer have a hold in the Arab world, and their representatives barely make it there. Who will now visit Algiers? Crumbling Iraq? Exploding Egypt? Even American agents are afraid to go to Arab countries, and so Israel is the only one left. The United States needs Israel as a front line position no less than Israel needs the US; this dependency did not exist to such an extent in the past, but has increased over the past two years. Simply, Washington doesn’t have anyone else. Most of its allies in the Middle East have fallen (caused by the US) and the others, like the kinds of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco, stay away from the US lest it cause them existential damage.
The Israeli trade with Europe is diminishing while growing with the East, which does not have anti-Semitic complexes, first of all because the European market is downsizing – only 20 percent of the total world trade. However, Europe which is beset with unemployment and depression needs the contact with the innovative and inspiring Israel, as Israel needs Europe, but in two to three years Europe will also need Israeli Gas, and its dependence on us will grow. Even for Europe, Israel is the only safe territory in the entire Middle East. Who will give it up, and whom will the trust – Mursi? Maybe the Algerian army?
Israel has been described by many as the “problem” of the Middle East, where in fact it is the “solution”.
“Divide and Conquer” – please, forward this article to friends and recommend it, because the more readers in Israel are exposed to these truths, so will the crumbling of the wall of invented reality in our minds be speeded up; a YouTube video for the reader in Hebrew, which can refute any claims in this invented reality can help, and be used as building blocks for a new wall, built out of the remnants of the old wall of fear. Self awareness is the key. When we separate the claims, we win, when the whole is the enemy, while the details are our allies, because separating them can bring down the strongest psychological threat.
But first of all, us Israelis have to understand the facts, and internalize the need for the change in the game rules: Since, and the Romans used to say: Bene diagnosciture, bene curator, which means: “A good diagnosis bring good healing”, or in other words, the first step to our own health is to know that – we are sick.
(Translation from Hebrew: Achsah Weinberg )