Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Moderate Palestinian

Here's an interview made last week with a moderate Palestinian. Yassr Aded Rabbo despises the Hamas, recognizes that the one-state solution currently becoming faddish will never work, and is probably as committed to a partitioning of this land into two peaceful states as anyone is, and he's in favour of reaching that goal through civil negotiations. The kind of Palestinian Israel should be able to make peace with in minutes, you'd think.

Or not. First, note that he just barely got elected the last time the Palestinians had an election, in 2006. This is not a man who commands a large following, and it's legitimate to wonder if the problem is the man or his moderate ideas.

Second, note that while he's obviously right in identifying the core issues, he doesn't do anything to reassure us that his positions on them can be accepted by anyone in Israel, and I mean Jerusalem and of course the Right of Return issues.

Third, and by far the most significant, as carefully as you may read the interview, I dare you to find any statement in which he says something along the lines of "We Palestinians need to get our act together and start behaving like a society that's about to be responsible for itself". At the end of the day, the most he can muster is that while Olmert may be sincere in seeking peace, Israel is to blame.

Finally, the never-ending theme about the window of opportunity that will soon close forever is, what can I say, worn out and should be dropped. Partly because we've been hearing this refrain for decades. And partly because it's anti-historical. At every juncture of history, the people who are at that juncture are free to make the best of the situation they face. That they rarely do is obvious, but the option is still there.

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