There was a chance at a deal
Contrary to the thinking of the Obama people, State Department, The Nation and also many conservatives as well, there had been an option for peace--and after the Hamas-Fatah deal falls apart like the United Arab Republic (of Egypt and Jordan) once did, the opportunity may arise again.
Abbas and the Fatah leadership clearly really, really want a peace deal with Israel. It was not their fault, but Netanyahu’s, that no deal emerged in the past two years, under US pressure. The leaked papers to Al Jazeera make that quite clear.
The West Bank economy has, if one believes two articles now in Newsweek and another, less elegantly done piece in Time, been doing very well, somehow avoiding the global economic crisis. If Israel under Bibi had the courage to make the deal, the game was obvious. Make a peace with Fatah, not with Hamas.
Israel could keep hammering Hamas every time they lob some rockets into a city, school or bus station, while easing up the repression on the West Bank, further helping expand the West Bank economy. Eventually, as the Hamas economy is kept afloat only by international aid, and the West Bank economy becomes more and more self-sufficient and even prosperous, it would become as obvious as the failure of communism was to all what was not working.
The problem of course is that Netanyhu is utterly opposed to any deal that might create a Palestinian state. It is hard to imagine him, given his past history and pronouncements, feeling or being otherwise. So one has to figure any pronouncements by him for a peace deal were hypocritical mouthwash for the US Congress and White House. Now, arguing publicly with President Obama, he has at least told the truth: “no, no and no,” is his position. It is a damn shame, but at least he is telling his truth now, destructive to the hopes of peace as it is.
Instead of pushing for an end to settlements (which would be a good thing but is evidently not likely) Obama could be pressing for an easing of oppression in other ways in the West Bank, while making it clear to Israel he is letting Israel retaliate every time Hamas commits another war crime (and ignoring it when Israel commits the same).
I guess this is just to subtle, to potentially workable, for anyone to support as a program.
Rock Springs, WY
May 29 2011 - 3:30am