If you’ve been following world politics at all, you know that Benjamin Netanyahu just won re-election as Prime Minister of Israel. This doesn’t augur well for world peace, or any kind of resolution in the long-simmering Arab-Israeli conflict. The general electorate of Israel seems to be heading rightward. Although Netanyahu was not polling well, looking to be behind his center-left opponent, Isaac Herzog, head of the Zionist Union, Likud received 30 seats, more than the 24 seats received by the Zionist Union. That’s still well short of the number needed to form a government — under Israel’s parliamentary system, you need 61 seats of the 120 total seats — but coalitions with other right-leaning groups are just about guaranteed to return Netanyahu as Prime Minister. Labor isn’t even in the picture anymore.
Shortly before the election, in order to shore up his base, Netanyahu declared that he was no longer willing to negotiate for the “two state” solution, and promised to go on building settlements on occupied land. That stands in contradiction to all of the peace plans that have been proposed essentially since the days of Jimmy Carter. But instead of there being any softening in the Middle East between the Israeli’s and Palestinians, both sides are hardening their positions, marinating as they are in mutual loathing. A day later, Netanyahu was already walking these statements back, but it really doesn’t matter: as long as he’s Prime Minister, the two state solution is not going to happen.
There was a kind of sad episode a few months back during the Miss Universe competition when there was a kerfuffle as a result of Ms. Israel taking a selfie with three other contestants, one of whom happened to be Ms. Lebanon. Apparently the folks back in Lebanon were none too happy with this when the image began circulating on social media. Ms. Lebanon (Saly Greige) tried to say that Ms. Israel (Doron Matalon) just came along, pulled out a smartphone and snapped a selfie with her and Ms. Japan and Ms. Finland, and that it was all a big surprise to Ms. Lebanon. Don’t believe it. The picture itself shows that it wasn’t just a big surprise. What was a surprise to Ms. Lebanon was the blow-back she got from her countrymen, and what was presumably a surprise to Ms. Israel was how quickly Ms. Lebanon beat a retreat from collegiality.
So here we have these two absolutely beautiful young women, they’re at a pageant, and yet they can’t be seen in the same vicinity with each other without causing an international incident. Literally.
How sad is that?
There’s a saying, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and pretty soon we’ll all be blind and toothless.” Northern Ireland, after years and years and years of warfare, eventually found their way to an uneasy truce, which has actually held up so far. It doesn’t look like we’re going to get anything so beneficial in the Middle East with the Israelis and Palestinians. They haven’t inflicted enough punishment upon each other. Apparently.