09 September 2013

A Coffee Shop in a Slaughterhouse

How could I fail to draw this piece to your attention? Titled "A coffee shop in a slaughterhouse" and subtitled "Stable amid the Middle East chaos, Israel is watching the collapse of Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, a deepening intra-Sunni war, and the revival of an old ally, Egypt", it's a shoo-in for posting here! When, on top of that, the opening sentence of Avi Issacharoff's article is "The neighborhood in which Israelis live has changed completely", the temptation to post it becomes irresistible.

The "coffee shop in a slaughterhouse" title comes from an unnamed Israeli official, cited by the Washington Institute’s David Makovsky. The intent is clearly to create a picture of (relative) peace and stability in the middle of a madhouse. Not that Israel, within its original de facto 1948 borders has ever, really, been anything else. It is however a pleasant change, from the point of view of Israelis and their friends, to see what's happening outside the peace and quiet of the coffee shop and to see that, rather than the behaviour of those inside the coffee shop, as the focus of attention.

Of course, given that we're talking about Israel and the Middle East, nothing is allowed to be that simple (as I'm sure Snoopy and/or Gideon will make clear in short order): Issacharoff notes that Israeli doomsayers are only too willing to predict chaos and worse for Israeli as a result of anything that happens outside Israel's borders. Rather, he divides the situation up. To the north, Lebanon is in danger of falling apart, as Syria is already doing; Iraq is in chaos...and this bodes no good for Israel, especially if the trouble spills over into Jordan, fragile at the best of times. However, given that "...after years of turning a blind eye, the Egyptian army is also fighting Hamas, and has brought smuggling between Gaza and Sinai through tunnels to an almost complete halt", at least there there is a sense of stability.

It's a long article, but well worth the trouble.

By Brian Goldfarb.


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Whatever you're trying to do with your layout, it isn't working. The posts are sliding under the right-hand column. Trifle hard to read that way.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I know, it started this morning without any assistance on my side. Check it, and apparently I am not alone, lots of bloggers report same.