The Palestinians desperately need a new leadership that is not softened by privilege the way the Fatah old guard is. They need one which is pragmatic, and understands that pragmatism in terms that recognize Israel as the occupying power and the United States as the country that has a “special relationship” with that occupying power. They need to be visionary enough to realize that they have to work with the US and Israel, but also strong enough to bear in mind that they, as the Palestinian leadership, cannot agree to put Israeli or American interests ahead of their own. That’s where Fatah has failed.I've read the whole thing three or four times, and don't know what he's talking about, nor how he proposes getting there. Platitudes, he's good at them, but what is he advocating? How will it make things better? In the real world, I mean, the one the Israelis and Palestinians live in, not the one imagined in liberal talk shoppes in Washington. I get the feeling he sees himself superior, morally and diplomatically, to us benighted folks over here, blinded as we are by our parochial inability to see stuff, but what might give him that feeling I cannot say.
Their pragmatism must also recognize that the Palestinians are never going to win their independence by force of arms, and that they need to build up sympathy not only for their people’s suffering but also for their own political agenda. Those are the places where Hamas failed.
If such a leadership coalesces, perhaps from the seeds of the current popular movement against the Security Barrier, a completely new dynamic would emerge. The response to such a new dynamic in Europe, the Arab world, the US and, perhaps most importantly, in Israel could well lead to the evolution of new, creative solutions that deal with the current realities on the ground, realities which include the Israeli consensus for a state of Jewish character, the Palestinian need for independence and a viable political entity, and the need to deal with the millions of Palestinian refugees...
We need to press the point that Palestinians are due their rights even if the conflict remains unresolved. Palestinians and Israelis must come to be seen as equally human, equally deserving of their opportunities at a better life, and this recognition must be practical, not just empty words.
In one sense, then, the failure of the Obama Administration’s efforts opens an opportunity. If we acknowledge that these talks cannot succeed, and the eventual solution, because of the massive expansion of settlements and ongoing split in the Palestinian polity, is going to necessarily be different from the one we have previously envisioned, then we have the time to change the political landscape here.
And, happily, that effort comes about by arguing, incrementally, consistently and continuously, for the rights of all people, Jewish, Arab and anyone else, living in the “Holy Land.” We can work to make things a little better in the short term, and that effort, if undertaken properly and with good strategy, can also be building a new political reality in the long term.
It's very puzzling.