Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Damage the Peace Process Wrought

AP has an item about how elderly Gazans remember Israel fondly, while young ones who have never been there and never worked with Israelis have only hate. [I can't say why Haaretz chose to publish this piece from AP - after all, even interns at Haaretz know more about the subject than AP].

The article, predictably, mostly blames Israel, nothing to get worked up about. The reason I'm linking is because the phenomenon is true and important, even if the explanation is wrong. Prior to the First Intifada, between 1967-1987, Palestinians roamed freely throughout Israel, and large numbers of them worked in Israel. It wasn't an idyll, indeed, those 20 years set the stage for the next generation of violence, but at the time most Israelis and most Palestinians personally knew people from the other side. In Jerusalem this is still true, but in many other places on both sides it no longer is. The First Intifada began a process of mutual disengagement, and the so-called Peace Process dramatically accelerated it. Had it succeeded in creating two peaceful states alongside one another, it might not have mattered. The reality, however, has been that Israelis and Palestinians are physically separating, and the result is ever less familiarity, which enables ever more demonization. Talk about unintended consequences.


NormanF said...

The Arabs brought it upon themselves. They can stew in their own hate. Israel should not live a finger for them. If they ever regain their sanity, one day there may be peace.

There is nothing to get worked up about the Arabs today.

AKUS said...

I remember the thousands of Arabs that used to pour into Israel every day from Gaza along the Gaza- Ashkelon road, returning in the evening, earning what was a good wage for the cost of living in Gaza. But there were terrorists even then in Gaza - however, like on the WB today, Israel was able to keep them under control through a combination of working with the locals and employing relatively low levels of force. I used to travel to Jerusalem along the Jordan Valley road, usually stopping for a meal and coffee in Jericho.

Outside meddling by the US, EU and others has a lot to answer for.

Barry Meislin said...

...unintended consequences...

Well, it does sound good, certainly; but I'm not so sure that this is the case.

The question is: Unintended by whom?

Arafat, in his stated (in Arabic) policy of incremental conquest of the Zionist Entity, was quite clear of his strategy and the goals.

Brilliant man that he was.

(Let's wax a bit nostalgiac, shall we?: "Arafat: unwilling or unable to make peace".... Heh!)

And Abbas (clever albeit perhaps less imaginative apparatchik that he is) is nothing less than a better looking version of his master's voice.

(And there goes that familiar refrain: "Abbas: unwilling or unable to make peace".... Heh! Heh!!)

....On the other hand, if by "unintended" you mean, oh, say, Peres, Beilin, Rabin, Clinton, etc., including most Israelis, including yourself (dare I assume), then yes, "unintended consequences" sounds about right.

(Of course, "Haaretz" has the gall to ridicule people such as Benny Begin...., but then "Haaretz" cannot help itself, poor, poor publication....)

Anonymous said...

in this context I "liked" Peres description in his long recent interview on how he got "through" to Arafat, i.e. the desire to win even a wee bit in the contest blinds one to the other's incorrectibility or in a kinder view the victory of hope over experience.

When I read Peres description it reminded me very strongly of all the sound minded and knowledgeable people I have come across in the past months who try to reason it out with the "anti-Zios", and sadly enough it doesn't make any difference whether one stays polite or insults them.
But still one has to try something in the hope that one may find a crack in which one can drive a wedge that makes them at least shut up.
But that I think is the best one can hope for.
Arafat and his equally tuned may lap up getting honoured but their giving something in return doesn't mean that he will not retract it. He'll find a pretext no matter how many honours are bestowed on him.
(at least that is how smart whiners behave in office feuds)


Barry Meislin said...

...the victory of hope over experience....

By Jove, that's it!

Israel is love.

(With the IDEA of peace?)

And her love is playing---shall we say---"hard to get?"

And so she tries harder and harder, and gets more and more frustrated and blames herself and blames her love and blames herself and blames her parents until, until, until....

(This is beginning to sound like a really sordid, godawful romance....)

....until she talks herself to a very loud (if not very proud) desperate, despondent depression. (The author obviously adores alliteration...)

In the sequel, she decides to forego love altogether and join a bizarre Hassidic sect....where she meets....