Inexact analogies make invalid arguments. Ariel Sharon recently warned against "Appeasing the Arabs" and compared Israel to Czechoslovakia in 1938.  This analogy is perverse. It is Israel which has pursued a policy of "Lebensraum" via its settlements in the occupied territories. It is Israel which by bulldozing family homes punishes the innocent for the crimes of the guilty. Israeli sovereignty over settlements in the occupied territories closely mirrors the relationship between apartheid South Africa and its black "homelands".

Of course, in other ways Israel has redeeming features which Nazi Germany and the apartheid state did not. It is a genuine democracy and many of its people and politicians are thoroughly decent human beings. Nonetheless, the state of Israel was founded in injustice: by means of terrorism, murder and selected ethnic cleansing. The main injustice, which persists to this day, is the assumption by the Israelis that any Jew anywhere in the world has a greater right to live in Palestine than the indigenous population.

Unfortunately, the Western powers at the end of World War two connived at this, and have been appeasing Zionism ever since.  Because of the rôle of the Old Testament in our culture, we implicitly accepted its assertion that the land had been given to the Children of Israel by God. Also, shock and guilt at the appalling crimes committed by the Nazis, meant that sympathy for the surviving victims inhibited the authorities from taking action to prevent a new round of atrocites committed by those victims, now turned oppressors.

Sadly, this is all an illustration of the words of Frank Herbert in Dune Messiah:

Atrocity never balances or rectifies the past.
Atrocity merely arms the future for more atrocity.

.... Whoever commits atrocity also commits those future atrocities thus bred.

 Thus, is a way, the state of Israel and the Middle East conflict has been Hitler's most enduring legacy.

Religion has been indivisible from conflict in this part of the world.  A significant part of the Old Testament is very unpleasant tribal propaganda: including tales of genocide and massacre of infidels and apostates, allegedly by Divine instruction (eg in Deuteronomy).  Subsequent acceptance of all of this as the will of God has poisoned the whole Judaio-Christian-Islamic tradition.  Christ himself may have been peaceful and forgiving, but Christians throughout history have committed appalling crimes in the name of their religion, often using the Old Testament as justification.

The prophet Mohammed was an Ishmaelite Arab, hence also claiming descent from Abraham.  As well as being a pious  man,  he was in many ways a great and enlightened ruler, rather like an Arabic Oliver Cromwell. Nonetheless, unlike Cromwell¹, he believed in and practiced conversion of the infidel by means of war, and in some cases massacre².  Islam was never spread significantly by peaceful proselytising.

Unfortunately, the Western and Arabic world is full of sects and subsects who believe that they have a monopoly of the truth, based on "divinely inspired" and hence infallible texts written hundreds or thousands of years ago - to criticise the texts or their authors is regarded as heresy or blasphemy, both of which have at different times in various societies been punishable by death.  Today we have the evil of the Fatwah, but the western world should not become too complacent in its supposed superiority.  One should remember the millions murdered because of what they believed in the name of the quasi-religion Marxism-Leninism.  Also, within the last century the Catholic Church has made saints of people like Thomas More and Robert Bellarmine, both of whom supervised the torture and burning of heretics.

All such religions exacerbate the difficulties of the modern world.  I am not sure that the good they may do can ever atone for the evil they inspire.  Freedom of thought and speech is still not guaranteed in Britain: laws against blasphemy are still on the statute book.  Instead of repealing them, there are those who want to extend the definition of blasphemy to include other religions.  I want the right to express my opinion that they're ALL wrong and, at least partly, bad!!

¹ Although Cromwell was at times a ruthless military commander, his troops were the best behaved and most disciplined in the civil war.  Even in Ireland, where many imaginary sins have been laid at his door, Cromwell hoped that the Catholics would be enlightened by "God's Grace".

² After the siege of Medina in 627 AD, Muhammad attacked the Jewish clan of Qurayzah. When they surrendered, the men were all executed and the women and children sold as slaves.  Their property and the proceeds were distributed amongst his followers.