- - Sunday, August 16, 2015

Part 3 of 3

So now that we’ve decided that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is completely unsolvable, how could we actually try to do something about it?
Back to 5 things the film “Pirates of the the Caribbean” could teach us.
• Figure out which side you’re on. Here’s a hint, Norrington. Elizabeth, Will and Jack are all on the same side. The international community can support Israeli and Palestinian growth and security at the same time. But the Gaza Strip and Hamas are different, more like Cutler Beckett (the only villain in the films). Hamas is a terrorist group and an obvious threat. Israel largely supports equal rights, freedom and democracy, and we need to recognize this. President Obama should recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in my opinion, because we need to pick a side. America does stand with Israel, as Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned in a speech earlier this year, and it’s time we admitted it.
• Elizabeth could have gone with Jack Sparrow. The internet is full of people who think she should have ended up with Jack and they honestly believe it would have worked out. I frankly think so, too.
Palestinians understandably want a one-state solution where they are equal citizens. Israel would then have a working infrastructure and a working democracy, and it would suddenly be majority Muslim. Without an apartheid-like situation, Muslims would outnumber Jews in the electorate and be the deciding factor in the future of the region. I am not convinced that they would necessarily kill Jews or try to drive them out. It might work out, actually.
• But it’s not the right thing to do. Even if Elizabeth and Jack were perfect, I cannot imagine her hurting Will (the guy who’s been madly in love with her since “Pirates” 1). And since that’s the only way she could end up with Jack, I’d rather she not do it.
Israel needs a state. Jews really, really want a homeland, and Muslims already have plenty. With anti-Semitism on the rise and fears of the Holocaust cropping up, I’m not sure it’s fair to Israeli Jews or Israel to risk a majority Muslim one-state solution that could drive Jews out of the region completely. The lesser of two evils is to not let Palestine – or Jack – win on this one.
Jack can let Elizabeth go and go find a new woman (I believe that’s what “Pirates” 4 is about anyway). But Will cannot. If Israel ends up not being a Jewish state, Jews will just spend the rest of their lives trying to rebuild it, pining for next year in Jerusalem all over again.
• Elizabeth has to stick to her decision for at least 10 years. Once Elizabeth made her choice, she needed to live by it (for 10 years at least). And so do we. Once we decide what we need to do, we need to do it and stick with it.
Settlements, for example, are a major sticking point, but because it was Israel’s fault in the first place, I think Israel should bear the brunt of removing them from Palestine. If we decide the settlements need to be removed, we need to stick to removing them without conceding or renegotiating.
• Finally and most importantly, it’s just a movie anyway. Journalist Matti Friedman talked about the media’s obsession with Israel and it was frightening. There are more AP journalists in Israel than the rest of the Middle East combined.
But why is this conflict so interesting? Jerusalem is safer than many American cities, as is most of Israel and Palestine. Many, many fewer people die from this conflict than from other conflicts in the Middle East that deserve way more of our focus. Friedman even argued that our obsession with Israel was part of the reason we failed to predict the Arab Spring. Israel is the size of New Jersey, and most of its people do not think about peace or war most of the time. They’re more worried about what they’re having for dinner, as are all of us.

Sure, I’m probably going to watch “Pirates” 5 when it comes out and sure, I care about resolving Israel and Palestine’s issue. But it is not the most important thing. It’s just a ship, a Holy Land, a little problem, mate. It’s time to bring the world some new horizons (and movies).

Read the first part on the basics of the conflict and what each side wants.
Read the second part on current issues and how the war is being fought.

Isvari Mohan is the author of the war drama, “The Eyes of Mikra,” a singer, and a Global Law Scholar at Georgetown Law.

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