Thursday, June 27, 2002

Please don't remind me of Oslo
I usually really like Dennis Ross' clear analysis on mideast affairs. In yesterday's NY Times he offers a way to implement what Bush was talking about in his speech.

He suggests that we "test whether any part of the Palestinian Authority is willing to act forcefully against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
If the Palestinian security forces do act, a similar effort could begin in different parts of the West Bank. They could start by taking action, for example, in the Jericho area".

Now, why does this sound familiar? Oh, yes ... "Gaza and Jericho first" ... early Oslo... nausea.

Excuse me if I prefer Michael Kelly's article, I mentioned yesterday, and the Telegraph's editorial calling the Bush speech "the most radical address on the Middle east ever delivered by an American leader." These articles really excite me. I know this is emotional and childish, but somehow they give me hope, instead of "Oh, no! Not Oslo again!"

I know Mr. Ross is really trying to look at this in a way which will make this work. But the nitty gritty of how to do it just makes me sick at the moment. We're not ready for that yet.

The implementation of the ideas set out in the Bush speech are unrealistic, unless the Palestinians can be convinced that in order to survive they have to change radically. For this to happen their life has to be hell. Worse than hell. They have to be completely and utterly convinced that they are not going to be able to destroy the state of Israel or conquer all of Palestine. Ever.

This sounds awfully callous and cruel, I know. But I'm not in favor of violence as a rule. On the contrary, I have long believed that a peaceful solution to a conflict, any conflict, building trust, understanding and empathy between the sides, has a much greater chance of lasting. For a while, I really believed I could be a Buddhist and survive in this region. I still don't eat animals. But they're not out to get me. Are they?

There is evidence that many ordinary Palestinians eagerly await the return of the relatively orderly, efficient and fair-handed Israeli administration to the population centers now ruled by the Palestinian Authority. Of course, they can't say this out loud because it would be the last thing they said.

Most ignoramuses (or is it ignoramusi or am I the ignoramwhatever because I can't spell?) in the West, shouting about Israel's wickedness, choose to ignore the fact that the Palestinians suffering, since Oslo, has been mainly caused by the Palestinians themselves. They are completely blind to the "Tunisian" Palestinian's violent and corrupt reign on one hand, and the results of the Islamic Fundamentalists terrorism on the other. (People seem to forget that terrorist suicide bombing began before the ink on the Oslo Accords' signatures were dry). This terrorism forced Israel to fence off the Palestinians, curbing their freedom of movement and making it virtually impossible for them to live normal lives, let alone make decent livings for themselves and their families.

We're forever hearing about Israel's crimes at the checkpoints. Who made those checkpoints necessary? We thought we were getting peace.

I agree that some of the Jewish settlers treat their Palestinian neighbors with unnecessary cruelty. But if the Palestinians had given the majority of Israelis a reason to trust them, we could have started evacuating settlements long before Arafat turned down the Camp David offers.

Where am I leading with this? I don't know. Nowhere, I guess. I'm really tired. I'm tired of guys like Mr. Ross. Busy, busy, busy. Working things out. Making plans. Trying to fix everything.

Just leave us alone.