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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Political horizons?

Monday morning's JPost editorial makes some good points about the farce of providing the 'Palestinians' with a 'political horizon':
But why speak of a "political horizon" as if it is something to be provided rather than something that exists? The horizon has been endlessly reiterated: an independent Palestinian state. It has been effectively tabled three times by Israel - in the Oslo Accords, at the 2000 Camp David summit, and via Israel's formal acceptance of the road map. If that were not enough, Olmert recently did so again in his speech at David Ben-Gurion's grave, and Livni has explained why a Palestinian state is something Israel desires for its own interests, not just for those of the Palestinians.

Despite this constant reiteration, there is a tendency to pretend that if the Palestinians are not doing what they must do to obtain a state, it must be because the offer is not clear enough. Does anyone, after a moment's reflection, really believe this?

Though there is no lack of distrust for Israel among Palestinians, it could not be more obvious that if the Palestinians had abandoned terrorism and given up the demand of a "right of return" to Israel, as opposed to the right to immigrate to their own state, they could have been - as Shimon Peres points out - celebrating at least their sixth anniversary of independence.

Before disengagement, one might have believed that Israel would not have the will to dismantle settlements. But after? In exchange for a full peace?

It is clear, then, that the obstacle to peace is not the lack of a political horizon for the Palestinians. That is what Oslo, Camp David, disengagement, and the road map are all about. How many more times will we try and unveil the same horizon and obtain the same - or worse - result?
But the Post falls short of calling the baby by its name.
What is missing is something else. The horizon is there. The problem is that the Palestinians are too weak, divided, and radicalized to walk toward and claim it. They need help - and not so much from Israel as from the Arab world and the international community.

So far, the Arab states, including those formally at peace with Israel, have "helped" the Palestinians by attacking Israel in international forums and refusing to normalize trade and political relations. And the international community has "helped" them by pouring in financial assistance (now by bypassing the Hamas government) and by, in its "honest broker" role, pretending that the onus for the lack of peace is spread roughly evenly between Israeli and Palestinian shoulders.

These policies should be reexamined. They do not help the Palestinians or advance the cause of peace. On the contrary, they are making it more difficult for the Palestinians to break out of their spiral of radicalization.
The Arabs have no interest in helping or advancing the cause of peace. If there were peace with Israel, they would have no issue on which to fixate their own people, and their own people might start to notice the shortcomings of their dictatorial regimes. Much of the 'international community' is only looking to keep the Arab world (and in some cases their own Muslim recidivist populations) happy, and as long as the Arab world does not truly call for peace, they will not do so either. Finally, most of the Arab world will not accept Israel's existence on any terms and for any price. Let's face reality: they still hate us and the odds are quite high that they always will.



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