Sunday, November 14, 2004

Israel and Palestine: Peace When They Are Ready

I was reading an article via GM at The Land of the Pharoahs and I have to agree whole heartedly with the writer's thoughts: Peace cannot be imposed from the outside.

Amir Teheri is probably one of the most level headed Arab writers I've ever read. He has written many articles that appear in the paper Arab News which is an english language paper distributed in Saudi Arabia and many gulf states. I have found most of his articles via Crossroads Arabia.

In this case, he makes a very simple statement that "peace" is usually negotiated after victory and initiated by either the victor or the loser depending on circumstances. After giving some history on the subject, he also writes:

A child of war, no peace can ever be just. Every peace bears the mark of its unjust origin in some way. The phrase "the peace of the brave" is also nonsensical. The brave do not make peace; they go on killing one another on their way to Valhalla or wherever it is that fallen heroes assemble. Peace is either imposed by the victor or negotiated by cowards who seek the possible rather than the ideal. In either case there is no place for justice.

On to the inner sanctum for more discussion of the article.

He then echoes exactly what I and many others have been saying for quite sometime. No one has really cared about the Palestinians. Not even their vaunted hero Arafat.

The solution of the Palestinian problem cannot be imposed from the outside or from the above. It must come from the inside and from below.

In fact one reason why this problem has continued for so long is that it has attracted intervention by outsiders from the start. The conflict was adopted by the Arab states as a "national cause" which, in practice, meant outsiders would decide the fate of the Palestinians. This meant that successive generations of Arab despots could play hero at the expense of the Palestinians.

Basically, Israel and Palestinians must first want peace themselves before it can be enacted. Second, by outside interference, it has allowed both sides to depict themselves as something greater than they are: a local battle over land and resources. During the cold war, this conflict was escalated under the proxy battle of the west against the USSR, each vying for a position. The Palestinians have been pawns in the great game and Arafat helped make them something less than they are and, yet, made the conflict more than it was.

I believe that President Bush was correct in disengaging from talks with Arafat and making him less the representative of Palestine and more the aging terrorist that he was. This minimization, I believe, set the stage for more moderates to take over leading the government and working towards the betterment of Palestine and Palestinians.

What we need is a measure of deflation for this Palestine-Israel issue. With respect to Tony Blair, this is not the greatest or even the most urgent issue facing humanity. The whole of historic Palestine covers an area that is one percent of Saudi Arabia. It has no natural resources of any importance, and does not even register on the radars of international trade.(...)

The issue has become complicated because many considerations have little or nothing to do with it have been projected into it. What is needed is de-projecting those considerations, so that we are left with the core of the real issue: A dispute about land, frontiers and statehood, and coexistence.

I agree. He also makes the case that I made previously: bin Laden latching onto their predicament is a day late and a dollar short. It's for political expediency, not for his great love and care for the Palestinans. I also think that the President's statement on Friday contained the right statement: Palestinians should vote and choose to have a democratically elected government that is not headed by old terrorists who have nothing to offer, but "more of the same" as the president's late opponent stated. I continue to support disengagement of this issue.

The author reminds us who is ultimately the benefactors or destroyers of any peace movement:

Right now there is no evidence that a majority of either the Israelis or the Palestinians are ready for peace — a bitter pill to swallow, and an injustice to accept.

I find it rather amusing actually that any western or Arab power thinks it can "resolve" the Israeli/Palestinian issue. It is solely within the realm of these to parties' responsibility and desire. Until then, expect to see more of the same.

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