TF (NYT): When I reported from
If by these remarks Friedman means that the settlements and their infrastructure (roads, expropriated land, security barriers, settler-only roads, military closures and checkpoints, lost farmland) has so fractured and fragmented the West Bank that a truly viable, let alone vibrant and autonomous, Palestinian economy is impossible, I agree.
TF (NYT): The West Bank today is an ugly quilt of high walls, Israeli checkpoints, “legal” and “illegal” Jewish settlements, Arab villages, Jewish roads that only Israeli settlers use, Arab roads and roadblocks. This hard and heavy reality on the ground is not going to be reversed by any conventional peace process. “The two-state solution is disappearing,” said Mansour Tahboub, senior editor, at the
Once again, I agree: the two-state solution may well be dead. If so, Israeli expansionism has killed it. Friedman’s drive-by assessment of Palestinian “reality,” however, does not begin to describe the grind of life under Occupation. To us outsiders, a “checkpoint” is but an unobtrusive circle on a map. Even for those who enter the
Two further bleats. First, why are Palestinian communities so often called “Arab villages”? There are, of course, many villages in the
Second, why “Arab villages”? Why not “Palestinian”? Do we really grant too much when we embrace the term that these indigenous Arabic speakers have chosen for themselves? True: there is currently no autonomous state of
TF (NYT): Indeed, we are at a point now where the only thing that might work is what I would call “radical pragmatism” — a pragmatism that is as radical and energetic as the extremism that it hopes to nullify. Without that, I fear,
Not sure about the pregnancy metaphor, but I’m listening..
TF (NYT): Why we need a radical departure is obvious: the business-as-usual course that Israelis and Palestinians are on right now does not have enough energy or authority to produce a solution. With the encouragement of the Bush administration,
The Israeli-Palestinian energy shortage today is on three levels: First is the level of hope and trust. Ever since the breakdown of the
Hmmm. Israelis build settlements and Palestinians cultivate hatred. When I walk the streets of old
Yes, there is cultivated hatred among Palestinians. A hatred that comes in many varieties. Palestinians hate checkpoints, like Huwarra outside of
Moreover, most people don’t understand that the settlement industry requires a vast and intrusive infrastructure: security, roads, reallocated water, checkpoints, barriers, stolen land, all of which severely compromises Palestinian life. To outsiders, a settlement would seem modest, unobtrusive, innocuous. A few wagons drawn up in a circle, perhaps. Don’t settlers live on the uncharted frontier and know how to chop wood and use an outhouse? How many people know that the area east of
TF (NYT): The trust deficit is exacerbated by the fact that after
Hamas’ practice of lobbing Qassam rockets at Israeli communities is evil. Qassams may be primitive and unsophisticated but they are killing innocent people. Moreover, they do little to advance Palestinian wellbeing. On the contrary, they help the IDF justify its siege of
But did the residents of
TF (NYT): The second energy shortage comes from the fact that Israel, with the wall that it has erected around the West Bank, has so effectively shut down Palestinian suicide bombers that the Israeli public right now feels no sense of urgency, especially with the Israeli economy booming. The West Bank behind the wall might as well be in
“Today, you have neither the romanticism of the peace process before
Mr. Friedman makes an important point here; many Israelis are profoundly ignorant of what goes on behind the Wall. Most never go there. Of those who do, most travel on ethnically cleansed bypass roads to reach subsidized commuter settlements—settlements many don’t even know are built across the “Green Line” on land Israel occupied in 1967 (41 years ago today).
There is, however, some debate about the cause of the decline in suicide bombings. Not everyone agrees that the Wall is principally responsible. I shall leave that to others to sort out. But it does not take a senior analyst to see that the serpentine route of the Wall is mostly about acquiring land, not about insuring security. Security concerns cannot explain, for example, why some Palestinian towns now find themselves on the Israeli side of the Wall, cut off from the rest of
TF (NYT): The third energy shortage is the fact that the political system in both
Radical pragmatism would say that the only way to balance the Palestinians’ need for sovereignty now with Israel’s need for a withdrawal now, but without creating a security vacuum, is to enlist a trusted third party — Jordan — to help the Palestinians control whatever West Bank land is ceded to them.
Without a radically pragmatic new approach — one that gets Israel moving out of the West Bank, gets the Palestinian Authority real control and sovereignty, but one which also addresses the deep mistrust by bringing in Jordan as a Palestinian partner — any draft treaty will be dead on arrival.
I agree that a third party is desperately needed to resolve this intractable stand-off, but I don’t think
Only Washington, not
The question I asked my Palestinian students today, as news broke of