COLUMN - THINKING OTHERWISE:
Part 5 - The Shift from an Industrial to a Planetary Civilization - The New Jerusalem
"We Irish think otherwise" Bishop Berkeley
One of the spin-offs of the Council of Islamic Civilization that I have proposed in this column could be a new UN approach to the Holy Land. Since the UN created this problem by not orchestrating a two state solution for the Mandate of Palestine in 1948, but simply recognizing Israel in Palestine and then ducking for cover, the UN should solve this problem.
As an Irish-American, I do wish to point out, however, that most of the world's problem-solutions do seem to come from the lines the British Empire drew--in Northern Ireland, Palestine, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. So depending on Empires-- whether Ottoman, British, or American--to solve cultural problems of identity through military suppression and imperial domination does not seem to work in the long run.
The American Empire at the beginning of the twentieth century absorbed the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii, and then let go of the Philippines to focus on Hawaii as the more pacifiable base in which to maintain the Pacific Ocean as Mare Nostrum. In the middle of that century, China absorbed Tibet to turn the Himalayas into a new Great Wall. The military politics, and the triumphant economy to support ethnically volatile satellites usually determine how long these satellites remain within the gravitational field of empire. Many Hawaiians would like to return to a non-tourist Polynesian culture and kick the hotel haolies out. And much the same can be said for the traditional Hopi in the Hopi Nation who would like to kick Peabody Coal out as, literally, the scourge of the earth. Whether Tibet can regain its autonomy, or Taiwan can keeps its, will depend as much on the future condition of China as on the protests of the Tibetans and the Taiwanese.
It was the presence of so many Irish in the USA that made it difficult for Lloyd George and Winston Churchill to subdue Ireland with the Black and Tans in the Troubles. Churchill threatened "unending war" to Michael Collins during the negotiations for the Treaty of 1921 in the hope of keeping the British Empire together, but he knew as a former head of the Admiralty that the Irish they had transported to Van Diemen's Land or the famine peasants Secretary of the Exchequer Trevelyan had starved out of Ireland were now distributed world-wide and had the capacity to attack British ships in harbors from New York to Sydney. Lloyd George and Winston Churchill both knew that the kind of military suppression that worked to put down the Indian Mutiny of 1857 would not work in a nearby Ireland that was so accessible to the twentieth century cameras of the journalists of the world.
And so it would seem that military solutions for Jerusalem--whether, Ottoman, British, or Israeli--do not end military and paramilitary conflict--as we have seen over the last sixty years. As the first step toward a new planetary civilization, I suggest both Palestine and Israel come together to make their first act of mutual recognition the granting of Old Jerusalem to the UN so that it may become the world's First City, to be policed by the Blue Helmets of the UN. No national administrative centers of Israel or Palestine should be allowed there and it should function solely as the Holy City of the three Abrahamic religions.
Whether Israel becomes a secular republic with its capital in Tel Aviv, or a Jewish State with its capital in West Jerusalem; and whether Palestine has its capital in Ramallah or East Jerusalem should be up to plebiscites of the Israelis and Palestinians. What clearly should not be up to the Israelis is the Sharon and Netanyahu policy to confiscate enough land and water resources in the West Bank and East Jerusalem through Jewish settlements so that no viable Palestinian state can ever come forth, but only territories transformed by little steps into American-like Indian reservations with a depressed people turned into an industrial proletariat for an Israeli nuclear technological great power. We need to think otherwise on Jerusalem if it is to become other than a perpetual casus belli. One small step for Man that could become one giant leap for mankind would be to make Old Jerusalem the New Jerusalem of a planetary civilization and not ground zero for the war of the civilizations.