The Trim Tab in the Middle East

Today is the 95th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.  On November 2, 1917, the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom sent a letter to Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, promising a homeland for the Jews in Palestine.  The Middle East has been stuck in this intractable quagmire ever since.

Lord Arthur James Balfour

This “conflict” is so ingrained in the psyches of everyone on both sides,  I wonder if there is any hope for change.  Both the occupier (Israel) and the occupied (Palestine) appear locked together in this unholy dance, each taking predictable steps in response to the other.  Someone needs to change the music.   Soon.   For the sake of both sides.

I bet 99% of Palestinians and Israelis believe moving this “conflict” in a different direction, one with a brighter future, is impossible.  Too many obstacles exist — the United States being one of the biggest.

And I fear the occupation is becoming normalized.   Everyone I speak with in Gaza says the bombs are “normal”.

So I’m reminded of the Trim Tab.  Here’s a brief description.  Every ocean liner has a rudder, but the rudder can’t change the direction of the huge ocean liner on its own.  The small piece on the rudder – the Trim Tab – must shift first, and then the rudder, and eventually the entire ship changes course.

If we changed just a little piece of the conflict, could we change the entire Middle East?    If yes, what piece is strategically important?  Where do we find it?

I don’t know the answers, just asking the questions, and searching in Gaza.



Filed under Gaza, Israel, People, Video

3 responses to “The Trim Tab in the Middle East

  1. Check out Miko Peled, Iris Katz’s intro to his book General’s son is here:

    I heard him speak at the Taos Jewish Center some time ago, with Iris.

    An hour long video of a recent San Diego talk is here:

  2. Linda Moscarella

    Margaret Mead would have said that the trim tab is. ” a small committed group of people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that every has.” It’s probably going to have to be a small committed group of Israelis and Palestinians and maybe a truly devoted outsider such as yourself, and from time to time I’ve read about such groups. Have you discovered any groups working from both sides of the isle?

    • I have heard about many groups that are working to resolve the “conflict” — some include Israelis, Palestinians and internationals. I plan to write a post for the blog on that topic.

      I’m not connected with any of those groups, and can only share my observations as an outsider. But my gut tells me that there is an inherent flaw in all of them. They are working in a world they WISH existed, not in the world as it exists TODAY.

      Have to give it alot more thought, but one thing is pretty clear. If the leaders in Israel and Palestine keep doing BAU (business as usual), the future is going to be much more grim for both. Do they want that future for their children? It appears they do.

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