Upon Tony Blair’s departure from his post as prime minister of the United Kingdom, he was immediately given another assignment. He is charged with the responsibility of straightening out the bellicose situation between Israel and Palestine.
A quick glance back at the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict suggests that Blair has been assigned to one of the toughest tasks ever undertaken by any statesman in modern and ancient times.
The story begins with Noah who built an ark and preserved life on earth. He had three sons — Ham, Shem and Japheth. On one occasion, Noah got real drunk and was found by his son Ham. Ham called to his brothers to come see the state of the old man. They were embarrassed. They put on Noah’s clothes and laid him to sleep.
The next morning they told Noah the whole story. Noah swore a curse on Ham and his descendants. They would be eternally condemned to servitude under the command of the descendants of Shem and Japheth.
We don’t know what happened to the descendants of Japheth, but we do know what happened to the descendants of Shem — the Semites. Under the leadership of Joshua, the Semites assailed the walled city of Jericho. And, as the Negro spiritual says, “And the walls came tumbling down.”
From those days to the present, the conflict continued in the clash between Israel and Palestine.
After the Six Day War, Israel annexed territory on the theory that to the “victor belong the spoils.”
Blair’s task won’t be easy. Even if he persuades the governments of Israel and Palestine to work out a two-state solution, he will still have to deal with the armed terrorists of Gaza who wish to continue a war started thousands of years ago.