Monday, December 25, 2023


Christmas got lost in memory and irrelevance. What remains in a large part of the Western world is an overdose of food and bad taste and a shared neurosis fed by the bad news that is more impervious to therapy than COVID. Heads of state receive a slot in the media to mis-entertain with banalities that people undergo like a bad experience during their doctor's appointment.

Bethlehem, where the faithful usually flock, is a no-man's land in between belligerents. The settlers steal from the Palestinians, Israel continues to bomb, hitting the guilty and the innocent alike.

Hamas has shown the world it is more than a rat-pack.  Israel, which deserved support after October 7, is losing its claim to exceptionalism. It can no longer retreat behind the Shoah to pursue perverse intentions.

It will be difficult to arrive at some form of atonement. The people in Gaza will not forget or forgive the carpet-bombing and the humiliations. The Israelis will get back at their P.M., who destroyed their pride and their claim. 

In this geo-political earthquake, only Egypt can act as go-between. It has an extraordinary diplomatic savoir-faire and knowledge of historic precedent. No Gulf state, nor the Saudis, have the sophistication to deal with the layers of discontent that have created such a hatred since the creation of a Jewish state.

The United States can be the enforcer while Egypt can act as the decoder. Netanjahu has to go. The unreceptive hard-liners around him have stolen Israel's sorrow. A new generation, who stood up against their P.M.'s Faustian pact with the ultras earlier this year, should take over.

At all cost the repeat of an Afghan scenario must be avoided. The bomb-and-run scenario is a non-starter. The Palestinian Authority should likewise be reformed so that a new mindset can finally operate without the current taboos. Too many Palestinians died...for what? The hostages have to be free, so do the people in Gaza.

The silence in certain quarters is deafening. The EU is pathetic, the Arab states are torn between their public opinion and their self- interest, Russia and China are voyeurs, Trump is counting. The Biden administration takes everyone's confession but looks stuck between contradictory emotion and reason. The Israelis had better face the reality of just waking up as a state like any other. 

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