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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Two lines of 'Palestinian' thought

David Horowitz had some interesting comments on the 'Palestinian' attitude to the upcoming Annapolis summit mugging in Friday's JPost:
Dig a little deeper on the Palestinian side and you discern two distinct lines of thinking, neither of them yielding much hope for Annapolis - and this among the non-Islamists. Those around Fayad believe the summit is premature. Fatah is not reformed. The PA cannot provide effective security in the West Bank. The Palestinian public is in no mood for concessions, and even raising final-status issues is playing with fire. These voices are not talking about the need for a postponement of a few months, it should be stressed. They are talking about years - about the need to supplant whole generations raised on a diet of hatred and martyrdom.

Which takes us to the second line of thinking - among Palestinians who discern a pattern of unilateral concession from Israel and see no incentive or imperative to compromise at all. Israel has left Gaza. It is talking about leaving all of the West Bank, albeit with settlement bloc adjustments. It is talking about unprecedented concessions in east Jerusalem. It is finding no answer to rocket attacks from Gaza and proved vulnerable to attack from south Lebanon. So why hurry, they ask, to compromise on the refugee issue and other maximalist demands? Why hurry when a two-state solution is so obviously an Israeli interest, and when the single, binational state which inertia might bring spells suicide for Israel?

What would overcome both those mind-sets would be the development on the Palestinian side of a burning sense that they too have an imperative for reconciliation, that time is working against them, that they have much to lose by avoiding compromise and accommodation with Israel. And central to bolstering that way of thinking is the perception of Israel as confident and indestructible - willing to compromise for the cause of peace, but well able to hold firm if there is no genuine opportunity.
Unfortunately, the rest of the article pretends that Israel has a 'demographic problem' and that the dispute with the 'Palestinians' can be solved by giving them territory. I don't believe that. But I thought that the part of the article I just quoted was spot-on.


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