Israel and Palestine are warring again. Civilians are dying again. Families are losing their homes, and chaos persists. Again. This would not be happening if Israel were located somewhere that makes more sense: in Germany.
No matter where you stand in the "Israelis vs. Palestinians" political arguments—in which both sides are hopelessly entrenched and unmoving—it seems fair to acknowledge that there are some fundamental problems with the location of the nation of Israel. For one thing, it was carved out of land already occupied by someone else. Whether or not you think Israel was justified in carving itself a nation out of Palestine, you must admit that the act of doing so was bound to cause some resentment. And, indeed, it did. It caused a lot of resentment, and anger. Emotions that still exist today. And which have fueled a more or less constant state of war against Israel since Israel was created.
It is just not an ideal situation. Yes, of course, the Jewish people had ample reason to want their own homeland, what with the centuries of vicious persecution and discrimination. And yes, of course, in the wake of WWII, it was perfectly natural for the Jewish people to feel that the time was right to establish their own nation. Let's stipulate that both of these positions, at the time of the founding of modern Israel, were reasonable:
Jewish people: We have been persecuted too long. We want our own state!
Palestinians: Okay, but don't take my stuff to get it, please!
So the establishment of Israel, regarded by many as a towering achievement of historic justice, will forever be tainted by the fact that it was established by taking land from people who had done nothing wrong. That act laid the groundwork for the nonstop conflict that continues to this day.
What if, when it was time to establish Israel, the land had instead been taken from people who did do something wrong? From people who had, in fact, just got finished perpetrating one of history's greatest crimes, against the Jewish people? The Nazis! The Holocaust! At the time Israel was being established, the Nazis had just been defeated. Germany was at the mercy of the Allies. What if—instead of snatching land in the Middle East and setting the stage for perpetual war and hatred—the Jewish people had just been awarded, say, half of Germany? It's not like the Germans would have had a good case against it, after what they just did. Hell, give the Jews the best half of Germany. Give them Berlin. Give them the nice picturesque country villages and the thick forests. It's the least that Germany could do.
An Israel established in Germany would have had several advantages to its current location. It would have been much larger. It would have been richer in natural resources. It would have a strong moral justification for its existence in that place. And, to top it all off, it would not be surrounded by Muslims committed to destroying it. It just makes sense. Half of Germany is certainly worth much more, in an economic sense, than the land of modern Israel. It would have been a better prize. And it would have set the stage not for seven decades of hatred and war, but for a nation of Israel located squarely in the midst of Western Europe, the most stable and economically developed place on earth.
Some will say that Israel had to be located where it is now, because of the "Holy Land" and all that. Well, sorry—a mystical and empirically unjustified belief in the "holiness" of some particular place is not a reason to march in and take it from someone else, by force. Grow up.
It may be a bit late to move Israel to Germany now. But when you consider the prospect of another seven decades of war over that little sliver of land, the idea does not sound so bad. Germany would still acquiesce to it, if the demand was made before the last Nazis die out. It's really the very least that they could do.
[Image by Jim Cooke]