Politics is Emotionless

As the conflict in Palestine comes to a halt one must ask questions. Where are the human rights that the US preaches?

The US claims Israel is correct in its attacks, as Obama said “No country on Earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders”, yet rockets fell on the civilian populations of Iraq in the name of “collateral damage” and when they strike back it was labelled as “disproportional return of fire”.

“Collateral damage” does not justify killing. No term, statement or word can justify deaths and it is the same in Israel. It is along these lines, though, that the Turkish government bases their case against the Armenian Genocide, claiming that it was merely collateral damage in the First World War. It is disheartening to see the same excuses being used around the world today.

Turkey recently called Israel a “terrorist state” – a strong accusation coming from a country with high rates of oppression against minorities and against the concept of free speech. In any case, it seems Israeli-Turkish relations are deteriorating (unless, like Davos, it’s all a show) and this leads to uncertain territory. Both are regional superpowers and allies of the United States, yet their interests conflict: Turkey wishes to be the influential power amongst the Middle East and Israel wishes to “send Gaza to the middle ages”. As the idea of a long-term solution between Palestine and Israel disappears it seems that Israel will ultimately dominate in accordance to the pattern since 1948, going from victory to victory.

The West seems to apply little pressure to create a long-term solution with the aim of avoiding more death and destruction by war or blockade. This is yet another item in the long list of examples that illustrate how the idea of morality in politics only applies to the West when the result appeals to them. Israel is in a position of strength and, due to this, concessions are unimaginable for them. Additionally, threats of Israel’s national security are necessary to their prosperity – to avoid internal problems amplifying they keep the people unified by facing them with foreign threats. This scene is reminiscent of Azerbaijan.

Ilham Aliyev continues to make absurd comments; the most recent being that Armenia is a foreign colony on “ancient Azeri lands”. Aliyev would certainly like to see Armenia be sent back to the middle ages if not to a state of extinction. By forcing Aliyev’s stance on Armenia on the rest of the country the government instils nationalism in its people, a nationalism which results in their detestation of Armenians – keeping the internal problems out of focus.

Another similarity between the situation in Israel and Palestine and Armenia is the idea of blockade. Currently Turkey’s closing of their border with Armenia may be hindering their plans more than they think. Turkey’s economy can engulf Armenia’s and with economic control comes political control. Already hints of Turkish economy are coming to surface in Armenia suggesting that an open border will result in a very large Turkish influence in Armenia’s economy, but Armenians must be ready to boycott and refuse Turkish goods however good a deal it may be. If Israel’s blockade of Gaza was lifted one could be sure Israel’s economy would not infiltrate Gaza’s due to the stern refusal of Gaza to do business with Israel.

Israel’s alleged “cultural genocide”, or “ethnocide”, of Palestine reminds us of Turkey’s and Azerbaijan’s attempt to remove the foundations of Armenian identity. In 1948 the UN General Assembly endorsed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to ensure that another Holocaust would not happen. The footage of bulldozers destroying Armenian cross-stones (khatchars) is within recent memory for most of us, and the act aimed to similarly to 1915 erase the existence of Armenia. However, the situation in Palestine, which does not give them autonomy, pushes Palestinians further to resist Israeli attempts to destroy their culture.

This is not to say that Israel should not be a state or that Israel should not be allowed to defend itself, as Israel did respond in self-defence. It is also noteworthy that, unlike Azerbaijan, Israel exercises democracy instead of a corrupt oppressive leadership as Aliyev does. But a disproportional response leads to more deaths and does not take the region towards a solution where Palestine can have a state alongside Israel.

One thing we can learn from the recent Gaza war is the nature of ones enemies. There is no such thing as feeling in politics; there is no such thing as emotion in politics. There is only interest and to win in the political game. It is self-interest we must appeal to: one should not rely on sympathy to achieve aims as shown in the recent events. Palestine may have the hearts of many people worldwide but it is unfortunately not the hearts of the people that make political decisions.

— Vahe Boghosian

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