Israel in Germany?

Former Dutch Prime Minister Dries van Agt (Christian Democrat) recently suggested during a lecture that Israel had been given an unlucky geographical territory and that it would have been a good idea to attribute parts of Germany as the place to create a new state. At first the shocked majority of the Dutch public thought that Van Agt was getting a bit too old to discuss these matters. Some felt angry or sad after hearing so much nonsense. In his weekly column, Dutch comedian and writer Youp van ‘t Hek wrote that it was a nice twist. The columnist, who loves controversies and is a professional teaser, of course, didn’t explain what he really meant. This morning I spoke to a Jewish friend who said that it would have served the post WW II Germans well to have their former enemies as their neighbors. A historical punishment, in a way. A much better idea, he thought, than to move the citizens of Israel to Canada or any other peaceful habitat, with the argument that this was the only way to avoid the Israeli being pushed into the sea.
Moving Israel in order to achieve peace is most probably the basic idea of all these more or less crazy scenario’s. Mr. Van Agt is supposed to know a lot about the Middle East as he is very much interested in the Palestinian cause. He should therefore also know that the main problem is not Israel, but the internal division of the Arab world, where solidarity and loyalty are rare ingredients. In this context it is important to remind ourselves how little sympathy Palestinians enjoy in their own world. Only very few brothers are prepared to fight for them and the most important reason for Lebanon. Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf States to give Palestinians some kind of shelter is because they make good workers. Moving Israel to Germany or to Canada will destroy the only way Palestinians have to ask for the world’s attention. Moving Israel will also undermine the economic basis of almost everyone living in the now occupied territories. Moving Israel will mean moving Jerusalem, which will certainly create a mojar crisis. So, by moving Israel none of the parties involved will become happier, healthier or wealthier. This is not what pro-Palestinian Mr. Van Agt had in mind when he spoke out. He just wanted to say that he is still alive and kicking (indeed). He may becoming a bit old, but he is still young enough to find his way into the spotlight.

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