This is the Middle East, Not Star Trek

May 29, 2015

3 min read

Michael Freund

The European Union may be wallowing in debt, with Greece on the verge of default, even as the continent grapples with its worst migrant crisis in decades. But none of this has stopped Europe’s leaders from devoting precious time and energy to one of their favorite pastimes: seeking out new ways to bully Israel. Indeed, all signs indicate that this week’s torrid temperatures will pale in comparison to the diplomatic heat the EU has planned for us this summer.

In a meeting last Wednesday, Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende reportedly warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that international pressure on the Jewish state will recommence once the West signs a nuclear deal with Iran at the end of next month.

That same day, the French newspaper Le Figaro published the text of a draft UN resolution that Paris plans to submit to the Security Council which would call for the immediate renewal of talks between Israel and the Palestinians while imposing an 18-month deadline for reaching a permanent agreement. Failure to finalize a deal, the paper reported, would result in France recognizing a Palestinian state.

It is truly difficult to comprehend the fixation bordering on obsession that seems to drive European diplomacy visà- vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Despite more than two decades of Palestinian obstructionism and obfuscation, violence and terrorism, the EU appears intent on rewarding Ramallah with statehood. They wish to ignore the past 48 years, overlook Israel’s justified war of self-defense in 1967, and disregard its historical, biblical, moral and security rights to settle and develop Judea and Samaria.

Indeed, what Europe is effectively trying to do is to turn back the clock, flip over the hourglass, and pretend that none of it ever happened. They want to compel Israel to pull back to the pre-1967 armistice lines, expel hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes, and create a hostile Palestinian entity straddling the center of the country.

While time travel makes for nice science fiction, it cannot be the basis for policymaking. However much France and others might wish to undo what was done and go back in time, that is the stuff of fantasy, not reality. Israel cannot go back to 1967 any more than it can go back to 586 BCE before the Babylonians invaded and destroyed the First Temple.

Times have changed, the Middle East has undergone vast transformations, and the Jewish state should not have to pay the price for the bad decisions that the Palestinian and Arab leadership have made over the past several decades.

A “state of Palestine” doesn’t exist thanks to the Palestinians’ stellar record of having missed every possible opportunity to establish it, and not because Israel didn’t try repeatedly to make enormous concessions. Now, it is simply too late, as any realistic observer of the region can see. Decades of Palestinian stabbings, shootings, suicide bombings and rocket attacks have cured the Israeli public of any illusions it might have had about the Palestinian desire for peace.

Even prime ministerial candidate Isaac Herzog of the left-wing Zionist Union acknowledged this when he said earlier this year that, “I’m not sure that we have a partner for peace. I am not sure there is a party on the other side that is interested in peace.”

Moreover, the Jewish population of eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, has soared to well over 600,000 strong, or 10 percent of the country’s Jews. No power on earth will ever move them.

Nonetheless, the EU continues to dabble in the world of make-believe, seeking to impose a 1967 solution on a 2015 problem.

In truth, it would appear that Europe’s policymakers have perhaps been overly influenced by Star Trek, the American television show from the late 1960s that became a cult phenomenon.

In particular, they seem to be trying to bring to life the plot line from episode 19 of Star Trek’s first season, which originally aired on January 26, 1967 and was entitled “Tomorrow is Yesterday.”

In the episode, a high-gravity black star slings the starship USS Enterprise, captained by James T. Kirk, back in time to Earth in the 1960s, where it is spotted by American military radar. Unsure of where they are, Kirk’s crew tunes in to a radio frequency, where they hear a reporter discussing the upcoming first manned mission to the Moon.

“Manned moon-shot! That was in the late 1960s,” Kirk muses.

“Apparently, Captain, so are we,” responds Mr. Spock, the ship’s first officer, adding that “whiplash propelled us into a time warp, Captain, backward.”

Much of the rest of the episode is spent trying to clean up the many complications that arise from interfering with the past. It makes for some good television, but its relevance to peacemaking is nil.

Tomorrow is not yesterday, and time warps do not exist, as Captain Kirk and his crew learned the hard way.

When will Europe finally realize this too?

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

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