Playing With Fire in the Middle East

Two teenagers from Isfiya have succeeded in bringing international intervention - may it live long - to our shores.

What two decades of intifada, endless meetings of the United Nations Security Council, scores of suicide terrorists and heaven knows how many "low-intensity" conflicts didn't manage to do - two teenagers from Isfiya have apparently succeeded in doing: bringing international intervention to our shores.

As though they hadn't terrified us for decades about the dangers of international inspectors walking among us, of soldiers from foreign armies and of diplomatic personages trying to meddle in "Israel's domestic affairs." As though they hadn't warned us repeatedly that, from the moment a single Frenchman in uniform steps over the border into Israel, the sovereignty of the Jewish state is a goner. And now, its independence in conducting affairs according to its needs, its desires and its map of interests - all has been taken from it, never to return.

fire - Amos Biderman - December 6 2010
Amos Biderman

And everything was fine and sounded very logical until two those two teenagers from Isfiya (so it seems ) reshuffled the deck and played a dangerous game with the precarious fires of the Middle East.

Before a single spark of doubt has flown from the mouths of the likes of National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau and Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, fire-fighting vehicles and personnel from all over Europe are - irreversibly! - whizzing along the dirt roads of the north. And fire-extinguishing planes and helicopters from all corners of the earth are landing and taking off - from Russia, Azerbaijan, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Russia, France and Turkey - all of them landing on Israeli soil and intervening in its domestic affairs as though there were no tomorrow. And as though yesterday weren't yesterday, but rather a nasty rumor of foolishness that someone spread about our affairs.

It is clear to everyone that "international aid" is not the same thing as "international intervention in the conflict," but still, sovereignty is sovereignty is sovereignty! And what shall we tell our children now when they ask us, "Daddy, isn't Israel able to deal with its affairs on its own?" Well, my dear child, the answer is a sweeping "No."

Sovereignty is dead, long live international aid.

How ironic it is to the sensitive ear to hear Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen ) speaking of the dispatch of Palestinian fire trucks to fight the blaze on the Carmel: "When it comes to humanitarian issues, the Palestinians never hesitate to extend aid." And, shall the cucumber arise and thrash the gardener, as the old saying goes? That's what you used to say.

One must admit that the circumstances of our life in this burning region have spawned innumerable fantastic moments. Moments that, if anyone were to have tried to predict them a week earlier, he would most certainly have been sent for psychiatric observation. Yeah, sure - the Palestinian Authority and Cyprus will arrive to rescue Israel in a time of distress?

And, incidentally, this President Shimon Peres of ours, may he live a long life - here he is standing stalwart on his two feet to see his vision coming true: a new Middle East, all of it taking shape around the Israeli "sister" in distress, coming forward before our amazed eyes. And still in the offing, perhaps, as a continuation in this bizarre spirit of events: an Iranian airlift of aid and the blessing of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the peace of Israel.

When those things happen, we will know that truly the fire burning here for 62 years has been extinguished, and it is time for the advent of the waters of life.