March 19, 2008

War, War vs. Jaw, Jaw

I've beat the teakettle about the spineless obsequiousness of American politicians to Israel and its supporters in the U.S. Of course, I've been accused of nefarious motives, which comes with that territory.

It should be said, however, that although the average Palestinian in the streeet has ben well and truly screwed by the nakba, the military defeat of the Arabs who sought to destroy Israel at the inception in 1948, accompanied by the departure, permanent in most cases, of much of he Arab population of what is now Israel; and then by the occupation.

All this is true, and one could produce a long litany of the crimes and misdemeanors of the successive Israeli governments, notably the relentless and unceasing construction of Israeli settlements, often inhabited by fanatics, in the 22% of cisjordanian Palestine potentially available for a Palestinian mini-state under the "two-state solution" favored by the international consensus as a resolution of the conflict.

None of this means it is easy to love the Palestinians, or to respect their leadership. They are either thieves or fanatics, or both; are death-obsessed; incompetent; and rarely follow realistic policies designed to improve life in the territories or to lay the groundwork for a state. If the occupier forcibly evicts its own settlers, and leaves you greenhouses, do you loot and destroy them? If you want a state of your own and you are at a military disadvantage, do you respond to the evacuation not by showing you can provide a peaceful border, but by lobbing ineffectual but annoying homemade rockets at civilians? Do you compete with your political rivals in incendiary rhetoric, rather than work to create a civil society?

Apparently the answer to these questions is "Yes," and accordingly, how anyone expects a two-state solution to work is beyond me.

Part of the problem is that every campaign in the long Arab-Israeli war has ended with an internationally imposed cease-fire. As a result, neither side can claim victory, and the fight is simply postponed. It may be time to let them fight, and let someone really win and the other side really lose.

I got an email from a well-meaning lefty friend, urging support for some petition for a cease-fire in Gaza and talks betweeen Hamas and Israel. Although I have no objection to Israel talking to the people who actually control Gaza as opposed to those who got kicked out, this is not going to cut it.

Unless Palestine gets its Mandela, perhaps in the person of the imprisoned Marwan Barghouti, or one side routs the other and expels most of the population, I don't think there is a solution; and if one comes, it may well be a one-state solution.

But don't hold your breath.

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