Protests in Libya
Photo: Reuters
Egyptians rally
Photo: AP

A flower in the desert

Op-ed: Mideast turmoil makes one wonder about world’s focus on tiny Israel, generosity to Arabs

With the world in such turmoil, there is no escaping the need to look at the atlas. This is the time to refresh our geographical knowledge and get up-to-date information about our region.


In order to fully understand the situation in Libya, one has to know that the distance between Tripoli and Benghazi is not like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and not even like Haifa and Beersheba. The distance between the two Libyan cities is about double Israel’s length, so the challenge of imposing order over there is especially difficult.


Libya is a huge country. Should it not be split between Gaddafi’s fans and rivals, it shall continue to take up 1.76 million square kilometers, that is, 63 times larger than the State of Israel (including Judea and Samaria, the Golan, and east Jerusalem.)


A quick Internet search will show that only 6.5 million people live in this huge Libyan territory, fewer than the number of people who live around here. This discovery is supposed to prompt philosophical thoughts in any person who seeks justice: How is it that global attention is focused on our tiny, crowded region, while a handful of Libyans took over such huge chunk of the globe? Why are we being portrayed in the global media as territorially greedy, yet nobody has any colonialist qualms with Colonel Gaddafi?


By the way, most of Libya’s borders are straight as can be, raising the suspicion that they were marked arbitrarily. The generous surveyors who marked these borders in the previous century did not seek historical justice; they wanted geometric convenience and, of course, oil.


Greater Israel a tiny entity

The surveyors were also very generous to the neighboring countries. Egypt takes up some million square kilometers (35 times the size of Israel,) while Algeria takes up 2.4 million square kilometers (precisely 10 times larger than Great Britain!)


Meanwhile, we take up less than 28,000 square kilometers between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea. Indeed, the Greater Land of Israel is a tiny entity. Only Lebanon and a few Gulf emirates are smaller.


Had each Arab state boasted cultural uniqueness, we could have understood their need for such vast territory. A people needs space in order to fully realize its culture. However, as we can see every night on television these days, Arab nations are incredibly similar.


The protestors in Bahrain are chanting “Manama, we shall liberate you with our spirit and blood,” while the protestors in Libya are chanting “Benghazi, we shall liberate you with our spirit and blood.” Even the tyrannical gestures of the rulers are quite similar, not to mention the masses’ affinity for lynching.


Around here, we have a wholly different style and a clearly different national culture, yet nonetheless the world is eager to cram us of all peoples into a tiny area west of Qalqiliya. The world is already starting to understand that the tiny Israel is its only reliable ally at the heart of this disaster zone, yet it still abuses us because of historical habits. Bidding Gaddafi farewell is apparently very difficult.



פרסום ראשון: 02.25.11, 15:06
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