Sunday, December 9, 2007

Annapolis - Conventional wisdom finally gets it right.

Because so far, the conventional wisdom all around is that nothing will come of it.

One of those exceedingly lucid writers for Ha'aretz is right that the "experts" on the Middle East, who regale us with their predictions and "analysis" on North American TV sets and in our newspaper oligopoly, tend to get it wrong. I agree. They do tend to get it wrong, mostly because their business is more about telling people what they want to hear than it is about thinking independently about the situation. That, however, is another post.

He is wrong, however, about them on one issue - Annapolis. Everyone knows it's doomed to failure - all the photo-ops of high-level of diplomacy, but no actual diplomacy. As much as everyone wants a negotiated peace, only a complete reversal from one party would make it happen - and it isn't the Palestinians who need to reverse, since no matter what Abbas agrees to give away this time, the fact remains that the Palestinians have nothing left to give and he no longer speaks for them, if he ever did. Hurray. Conventional wisdom finally prevails.

The man who sees most clearly on the Middle East - more clearly than any other British or American journalist I've ever read - is Robert Fisk. He laid Annapolis bare two weeks ago in the UK's The Independent.

Annapolis will not work for all the reason he has laid out and one more: which readers of this blog will have to get used to hearing. Say it with me now, "Two-State Won't Work."

Israel cannot afford to offer the Palestinians a genuine, sovereign, territorially contiguous state, with its own government, own immigration , own trade, own water, own airspace, and own army. Offering the Palestinians any one of those things would completely undermine the economy and security of the entire Zionist enterprise. Offering any two of them would lead to a colonist revolt east of the Green Line, and offering the latter 3 would necessitate moving thousands of them back West of it. And you thought the Gaza withdrawal was hard for the IDF.

On the other hand, not offering all of them means not giving the Palestinians an actual state. Not offering all of them means the occupation goes on; you can't enforce those kinds of restrictions on a nation without resorting to military force. And no matter what Abbas says, they will never accept a trade that has them renounce all moral and legal legitimacy in return for a piece of paper that may as well have been used to buy Manhattan, figuratively speaking.

Olmert sees the writing on the wall, which is what Sharon saw when he made the decision to dismantle the Gaza colonies. Sharon thought, though, that it would give him the excuse to forestall the inevitable in the West Bank, and solidify the zionist position there. Olmert must have known he was wrong, because even Olmert knew what would happen when two-state collapsed:

"If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished. . . The Jewish organizations, which were our power base in America, will be the first to come out against us"

Of course, it IS going to collapse, and so Olmert's challenge is now to make the playing cards look like concrete, just long enough to convince the Western media that the house he builds with them is not going to fall, and let the occupation go on.


Just as a side note:

If I were the sort of responsible person who used his time wisely, I wouldn't read the comments at the bottom of Ha'aretz stories. Sometimes though, something lucid is said. One commentor made the observation (and so I can't take credit for it) that Hamas men could have just sold the drugs, and pocketed the cash. Alternatively, the Hamas government could have sold the drugs, and exchanged the cash for guns. They did neither. Dare we hope that it is because they, unlike anyone else in this world, are trying to provide the Palestinians (who elected them) with a real government?

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: