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Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Left gives up on the 'Palestinians'?

Writing in Haaretz Israel's Hebrew 'Palestinian' daily, Ari Shavit acknowledges that the 'peace process' with the 'Palestinians' is dead.
When the Oslo process was at its height, a right-wing intellectual irked his left-wing friends by comparing Israel's peace movement to a girl trying to seduce a gay man. It caught the Palestinians' eye, but they never responded, they received a phone number but never called, they were invited to the bedroom but never showed up. They're simply not interested. Peace just doesn't do it for them. The two-state solution doesn't turn them on. But the peaceniks still don't get what their non-partner has made clear in a thousand and one ways. They go on stalking someone who has no interest in them. They want to be loved by someone who has no love to give.

A lot of water has flowed down the Yarkon River since our right-winger came up with his metaphor. The peace movement has melted away, several peace-making experiments have failed. But the one-sided-courtship syndrome has endured. Israelis, Europeans and Americans continue to waste precious time trying to get the Palestinians into the bridal bed, even though they don't want to go there. They put on their powder, makeup and perfume to try to arouse the Palestinians' peace-process libido, but there is no such thing. Although this unrequited love is already 20 years old, it won't die down. Paradoxically, it helps perpetuate the occupation.
Unable to acknowledge that the problem may not be capable of resolution, Shavit hits on two solutions. One is to unilaterally give the 'Palestinians' a state in all but name:
After 20 years, there is a clear conclusion: To really partition the country, a new diplomatic strategy is called for. Coordinated unilateral processes must be launched that will constrict the occupation while building a new Palestinian society. It must be understood that only after most Palestinians are living in a free space of their own that offers them a sane existence will the conditions ripen to enable them to choose true peace.
Yes, of course. If the 'Palestinians' have a good life, they will suddenly be willing to make concessions that will allow them to live in peace and harmony alongside us. Funny, that's not what Abu Bluff told Jackson Diehl in May.
In our meeting Wednesday, Abbas acknowledged that Olmert had shown him a map proposing a Palestinian state on 97 percent of the West Bank -- though he complained that the Israeli leader refused to give him a copy of the plan. He confirmed that Olmert "accepted the principle" of the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees -- something no previous Israeli prime minister had done -- and offered to resettle thousands in Israel. In all, Olmert's peace offer was more generous to the Palestinians than either that of Bush or Bill Clinton; it's almost impossible to imagine Obama, or any Israeli government, going further.

Abbas turned it down. "The gaps were wide," he said.

Abbas and his team fully expect that Netanyahu will never agree to the full settlement freeze -- if he did, his center-right coalition would almost certainly collapse. So they plan to sit back and watch while U.S. pressure slowly squeezes the Israeli prime minister from office. "It will take a couple of years," one official breezily predicted. Abbas rejects the notion that he should make any comparable concession -- such as recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, which would imply renunciation of any large-scale resettlement of refugees.

Instead, he says, he will remain passive. "I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements," he said. "Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life."
There is no basis for Shavit's assertion that living a 'good life' will suddenly make the 'Palestinians' magnanimous. If anything, the opposite is likely true.

But like the last of the dying breed of Israeli Leftists, Shavit (who is actually one of the saner writers at Haaretz) can't leave well enough alone. And so, he proposes a second solution to his problem: Giving the Golan Heights to Syria.
But there is also another clear conclusion: There will be no dramatic breakthrough on the Palestinian track in the near future, so a breakthrough on the Syrian track must be initiated [WHY THE URGENCY? CiJ]. Because of the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the only chance for generating change lies in the north. There is no certainty at all that peace is in the offing. But if it is, it is to be found not in Ramallah but in Damascus.
But the Syrians have even less of a constituency for 'peace' than do the 'Palestinians,' as even Shavit acknowledges.
The problem is basically political. Peace with Syria has no party and no leader. And it has no libido. Oddly, the remnants of the Israeli left relate to peace with Syria like some kind of stepchild. Their passion is for the Palestinians, not the Syrians. The ardent courting is all aimed at the disinterested Palestinians. Even today, Israel is expending most of its peace-seeking energy on a useless effort to cajole the wrong neighbor.
Shavit is right about one thing: It is time for a change of course. But not the change he has in mind. It's time to fold up the 'peace tent' and get on with our lives until and unless there is actually someone willing to make real compromises for real peace on the other side. And I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that to happen.


At 2:47 PM, Blogger Channel Surfer said...

I just don't understand why the world doesn't leave you guys alone? Perhaps after a couple more decades, the Palestinians will come to accept living in peace with Israelis (I doubt it but...) I hope that Obama's skipping over this "problem" during the SOFTU speech indicates the administration has other, more pressing issues and no time to waste on this.

At 4:49 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Palestinians are more like that rarest of human creatures: the psychopath. They are slick, manipulative and charming when they want to be but they are incapable of forming true empathy and showing consideration for the viewpoint of others. When angered, they use violence to get them what they want. And they regard Jews not as human beings with real rights but as obstacles to be overcome and eliminated. They are unable to process and feel any real human emotion. And they will never really change. You cannot reform a psychopath - such reform makes them behave even worse than they are. No good will come of dealing with the Palestinians and its high time Israel came to grips with reality.


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