Of all the many extraordinary sites and sounds from the Israel trip from which I have just returned, the view from the high point of Kibbutz Misgav Am, in the extreme north, down into Lebanon is the one I am unable to get out of my mind.

You look in the Israel direction and see richly cultivated farmland running across the Hula Valley for miles and miles almost to the horizon. You look into Lebanon and you see sporadic small olive groves, abandoned homes interspersed with inhabited ones and uncultivated hard-scrabble land running on forever.

The difference is almost surreal since the land itself is the same on both sides of the border. Anyone could farm it. You just have to have the will to do it. (Much of that land, I was told, was riddled with underground tunnels through which to attack Israel.)

You notice a similar disparity between Israel and the Palestinian Authority areas on the West Bank.

Of course the soi-disant “progressive” explanation for the dramatic difference is the Israeli occupation. Never mind the Israelis are not occupying Lebanon – they must be doing it in some spiritual manner.

But only the likes of UN rapporteur and UCSB professor Richard Falk could actually believe that nonsense.

When I say “the likes of” I am acknowledging there are many similar (though few as bad as Falk), but I will get back to them in a second.

Imagine for a moment the Arab standing on his land whether in Lebanon or the West Bank and looking down or across into Israel. What must he be thinking? (This would also include, to varying degrees, those living inside Israel.)

Their first reaction would most likely be a form of shame – why can’t we do that? But shame is a difficult emotion to “contain” in the psychoanalytic sense. In order to quiet it, you have to do something about it, improve your situation yourself to gain self-respect.

An easier reaction, a quick amelioration of shame, is a combination of rage and blame – and that is what we have seen all over the Arab Middle East for decades. And, as we know, this unremitting anger is justified and exacerbated — and, to a great degree, caused — by religious fundamentalism.