Thursday, May 29, 2003

The Road Map is not really the point, is it?
So it's another suggestion of an agreement. You do this, they do that. They do that, you do this. Expected result: everyone loves each other.

But the problem is more than what to do, when and how. The problem is one of substance, and not just of details. We can argue about the nuances, or about this step or that measure, outlined in the map, there is certainly plenty to argue about, but we'd just be chasing our own tails because these particulars are not the real issue.

As a plan, as an idea, Oslo was excellent. Better than this Road Map. It didn't work not because it was a bad plan, it didn't work because, besides quite a few Israelis finding it difficult to swallow, the Palestinians seem to have seen it from the outset as a means to an end other than reconciliation and peace with Israel. And that is why in the long run it turned out to be such a disaster and that's why the Road Map is also probably doomed.

If we could see a change in the Palestinians, beyond the appearance of an unpopular Prime Minister without the necessary influence or political power to make a real difference, I would maybe be more hopeful.

Make no mistake. I do want it to happen. As in the past, I personally support concessions, painful and risky as they may be. But, as the Hebrew saying goes (slightly amended by yours truly), having been burnt in the past, I now use an oven glove even when I take something out of the fridge. Failing, as I do, to see a change on the other side, I ask myself why we should trust them now, after what they did with the last agreement, and, in fact, continue to do?

This does not mean that I think we should not try to do something with this Road Map and make use of this opportunity. It just means I am very doubtful, hopeful but doubtful, eager for someone to prove me wrong.