Here’s a piece from the Guardian on the Israel/Palestine situation that’s well worth reading. It describes a meeting of Israeli and Palestinian journalists. The conclusions were both pessimistic – both the Palestinian and Israeli leaderships are not up to the challenge they face [and no, that does not imply a moral equivalence between the two] – and implicitly optimistic: there was an awareness that matters simply cannot carry on like this.
“No matter what accord the two peoples might grudgingly agree to, it would take leadership to drive it through. Israel and Palestine’s tragedy is that while the peoples themselves now know what has to be done, their leaders refuse to do the job. As the Israeli novelist and peacenik Amos Oz likes to put it, the patients are ready for their operation – the trouble is, the surgeons are cowards.
This leaves only two possible solutions. The men and women of Ramallah and Tel Aviv might have to sit tight and wait for new leadership. Given Sharon’s support among Israelis and Arafat’s grip on Palestinians, that could be a long wait. Or both nations could look to the outside world.”
Anyone who thinks that it is in the interests of the US for the current bloody impasse to endure is fooling himself. Something has to be done, but what? All too often, “the outside world” has shown itself viciously prejudiced against Israel, while the US (which should nevertheless be using the leverage that its generosity to some of the protagonists in the region ought to – but does not – bring) will not be seen as even-handed in a world where conspiracy theory has long since replaced rational discourse.
I hate to say it, but is it time for Tony Blair?