The world has been transfixed by events in Egypt and Syria, with the West's moral conscience missing over the former but resurfacing on the latter thanks to the use of chemical weapons. It's OK to blow people to kingdom come using conventional explosives – we'll even sell you the weapons to do it – but don't use chemical weapons, even though we'll also sell you the ingredients to make them. No wonder we are confused.
So let's get back to basics. Palestine, as John Pilger said a few years ago, is still the issue. It's the real thing. Everything else happening in the Middle East is linked to Palestine in one way or another. Egypt and Syria are tragic sideshows; this is not to undermine their importance but the West's responses to events in both countries are driven by Israel's interests and the need to maintain Israeli hegemony in the region.
It is accepted generally that US foreign policy is driven by the pro-Israel Lobby; America can do nothing in the Middle East which the lobby regards as anti-Israel or likely to damage Israeli interests. Britain's main political party leaders go on bended knee before the lobby groups pledging support for Israel almost as a matter of course when they take office. Once we have grasped that fact it is relatively easy to see how and why Washington and its allies have ditched their professed enthusiasm for democracy by their rejection of the Hamas election victory in 2006 and the acceptance of a military-coup-that-can't-be-called-a-coup in Egypt which ousted a democratically-elected president. It also explains why Obama's now infamous "red line" was the use of chemical weapons; no matter what happens, such weapons must not be available for use by a victorious Syrian opposition which might include bad guys ready to use them against Israel. Cue panic in Israeli cities as gas masks are distributed, just in case.
Ever since Israel was planted in the Middle East by European anti-Semites keen to get rid of Europe's "Jewish problem" using the Zionist movement as a peg, Israel's founding ideology has thrived on conflict and racism. It is ironic but Zionism depends on anti-Semitism, which produces the immigrants necessary for the illegitimate state to grow on somebody else's land through ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population; which in turn produces anger at this "Jewish state" claiming to act in the name of all Jews around the world; which produces more anti-Semitism; it's a self-fulfilling prophetic cycle which suits Zionism down to the ground. As Palestinian academic Dr Azzam Tamimi said at a conference last week on the failure of the Oslo Accords, Zionism is the problem; Muslims, Christians and Jews lived side-by-side for centuries and trouble only started when Zionism raised its ugly head.
Another academic, Israeli historian Dr Ilan Pappe has written that the solution to the Israel-Palestine issue is to "de-Zionise" the state of Israel. Get rid of the expansionist racism of Zionism and it will be possible to have a multi-faceted democratic state where people of all three of the monotheistic faiths, and none, can live together. Zionism, however, has an ideological fixation on the creation of "Greater Israel" for which it needs ever more land with ever fewer and fewer Palestinians on it. In short, Zionism is the core of the problem; it is the cause of the problem and its eradication will solve the problem.
If only it was that easy, we might see some progress towards a peaceful solution, but it's not quite so black and white. Zionists are now found in key positions across East and West, in governments and the media which backs them and promotes their causes. Politicians in Western capitals condone Israel's criminal activities and contempt for international laws and conventions only partly out of guilt for the European Holocaust. The truth is that Israel is indeed the "bastion of European civilisation" that its creators sold it as and in Israel Western governments see a state ready to protect their interests in the volatile Middle East. It is probably true to say that the region is only volatile because of Israel but it's debatable. Nevertheless, Israel and the West serve each other's purposes very nicely, thank you very much, in a complex case of you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.
That, of course, doesn't help the people of Egypt and Syria, and Palestine, whose lives are used and abused in the "Game of Nations"; if the Palestinians are paying the price for Europe's Holocaust guilt-trip then those in Egypt and Syria arethe pawns being shoved around and discarded at will in order to keep things that way. Israel has to be top-dog in the region; the election of Islamists in Egypt and the potential for an Islamist government in Damascus has necessitated foreign intervention in very different ways because they both threaten Israeli exclusivity. The aims and objectives of foreign interventions of all kinds are much the same, though: protect Israel.
As long as Zionist Israel is there and able to get act with impunity, breaking international laws on a daily basis, the potential for regional conflict, even world war, is always there. The fanatical Zionists and Christian Zionists in particular may relish this possibility (indeed, it's what they are pushing for), but the rest of us shouldn't be fooled into thinking that Western intervention is in any way done for humanitarian purposes or the good of the people on the ground. It is there to help Israel to achieve its nefarious aims and put a Zionist government at the top of the world's political pyramid. We ignore this at our peril. No matter how difficult things get for ordinary Egyptians and Syrians, we must never lose sight of the fact that Palestine is still the real issue and the struggle against Zionism must go on until its ability to cause chaos and war is no more. It's that serious.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.