In my country, an athlete quitting half-way through the game would be off the team for good. – Which makes me think the rules are different in the Middle East.
Sticking with the baseball analogy, you’d think any squabble (conflict between Israel and the PA) would mean the coaches need to figure out a solution. But last game, you saw what I saw: One of the coaches just took his team and walked off the field.
In 1937, Britain acted as umpire. Players fought over Palestine—then under British mandate—and Britain handed down a solution. Since Arabs and Jews both claimed Palestine as their homeland, Britain gave almost 1/3 of the land to Jewish refugees and the rest to the Arabs.
Impressively, Jewish people agreed. Unfortunately for both sides though, the Arabs didn’t. Not willing to share, they launched an all-out attack on Jews that was a little less … sportsman-like. The game ended badly.
Our teams met again in 1948, this time with the UN ump-ing. When the innings got rough, the UN ordered a 50/50 land split and Jewish people danced for joy, likely anticipating a less violent baseball season going forward … until yet another attack suggested the Arabs had another kind of home-run in mind.
By 1967 Westbank and the Gaza were in Arab hands, which only proves they were never the issue to begin with. Not content holding such strategic land parcels, the Arabs upped the ante by calling 5 other Arabic “teams” to join the next anti-Israel game and annihilate the Jews. Literally. Israel shocked everyone then by playing a strong game, pushing back the opposition and conquering Westbank, Gaza, Egypt, the Golan and east Jerusalem at the same time.
Surprisingly, no one remembers that Israel NEXT offered to trade the land back, in exchange for peace.Not so surprisingly, the Arab response was … well, you get it. No peace. No negotiations. No recognition of Israel. In other words, no game.
During the 2000 game, Barak believed Yasser Arafat meant what he said about wanting to resolve team differences. At Camp David, the PM offered Westbank, Gaza and east Jerusalem and even, in a show of good faith, pulled most Israeli troops out of Westbank to keep the game going.
Can you guess what Arafat’s next move was? Yup. Game over.
Fast-forward to 2008. By then Israel had forced some of its own citizens to vacate their homes so Gaza could be given to the Palestinians. That initiative was followed by Hamas, a terrorist organization, seizing Gaza as their launching-pad for countless missiles, bombs and rockets aimed at Israeli towns and citizens. And yet, in spite of all that, PM Olmert still offered the Palestinian coach 93% of Westbank too — to keep the game going peacefully.
Abbas pulled his team off the field that year, big surprise. We saw him do it again last week, only worse. This time he refuses to even talk to the Israeli coach.
Not knowing all the Mid-East rules, I’m wondering how many games will be cancelled before the series is over.