Tuesday October 6, 2015
Israel lacks a national motto. If its leaders are looking for a Latin one, “carpe chaos” would be an apt and honest choice.
“Seize the chaos” is half of Israeli foreign policy in a nutshell (the other half being the instigation of that chaos in the first place). Indeed, even its friends in the media cannot help but put it in such terms. For example, The New York Times recently reported about the:
…many Israeli leaders and thinkers seizing on the chaos in Syria to solidify Israel’s hold on Golan.This refers to the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967 and has occupied ever since. Even the Israel-enabling United Nations considers that occupation and subsequent annexation to be unjust and illegal. Returning Golan to Syria has long been advanced as part of a potential peace deal.
But now, Israel is using the civil war in Syria as an excuse to expand settlements in the Golan Heights; a senior minister wants 100,000 new residents in the next five years. Its potential uses are manifold:
The 400-plus square miles of the Israeli-controlled Golan on the northeast border with Syria is both strategic plateau and lush agricultural terrain yielding prize apples, cherries and beef. It is also a vast playground that drew 3 million tourist visits last year.This is Israel’s usual M.O. in the Palestinian West Bank as well: forging ahead with illicit settlements to establish “realities on the ground” that will be too intractable to reverse, thereby fixing the occupation permanently in place.