Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lower Case "peace" vs. Upper Case "Peace"

According to Haaretz, there are fewer IDF troops currently patrolling the West Bank than at any moment since 1987. 1987! That's 23 years, meaning that all the enlisted troops were born since then. The Berlin Wall was still standing in 1987, and Ronald Reagan was in the White House.

How did this happen? Well, so far as one can tell by following media, not archives, it's a combination of the Israelis forcefully beating the 2nd Intifada, the Palestinian weariness of violence which always hurts them more than us, the American involvement in creating functioning PA security forces, Salam Fayyad's policy to build a Palestinian State even before Israel is gone, the PA's fear of Hamas, and probably various other considerations. The important point however is that when the Palestinians tone down the violence, the Israelis return the favor. There isn't and never has been a cycle of violence.

All of which is great. Less convincing are the positions currently being re-affirmed by Fatah: The Palestinians will never accept a Jewish state in any form or formula, because it would be racist; no land swaps because Israel must disband everything it constructed over the 1967 line, including in Jerusalem; full right of return for (descendants of) Palestinian refugees of 1948. One gets the impression the Palestinians regard the Israelis as supplicants for peace, while they, holding all the good cards, are refusing.

Fatah is of course the main group in control of the PA. Once again we are reminded that Peace (upper case) is not likely to happen in our lifetimes. Still, the longer the peace (lowercase) continues, the better for everyone.


Anonymous said...

"One gets the impression the Palestinians regard the Israelis as supplicants for peace, while they, holding all the good cards, are refusing."

They have most of the world behind them, so they are under no pressure to do otherwise. Such is the folly of both America's current president and the EU.

Anonymous said...

here is Abbas lauding the Mufti -
who cares? it is their culture and they are moderate and they are finally finally truly viable partnrs and Israel must take risks ... and so on and so on

and if Sayyad says something then nobody demands he'd be more unambiguous -
I just heard a feature on the Oracle of Delphi - the ancients also tended to interprete the Oracle's saying in a way which made them synch with their wishes (BBC-In Our Time - 30.09.2010)

For some reason, that part of his speech wasn't translated in the English version of the Ma'an article.

If any Western politician would publicly praise a Nazi sympathizer who supported genocide, their careers would be over. When the so-called "moderate" PA leaders do exactly that, no one says a word.


Sérgio said...

Of course, pals think their the overlords to which Israelis should pay tribute, as good dhimmis.

Barry Meislin said...

One gets the impression the Palestinians regard the Israelis as supplicants for peace, while they, holding all the good cards, are refusing.

Which echoes Abba Eban's sardonic remark in the aftermath of the Six-Day War (1967) "...that this is the first war in history that on the morrow the victors sued for peace and the vanquished called for unconditional surrender."

( )

It is also the reasons why during the War of Independence (1948-49), all those carefully brokered cease-fires were broken, until the total exhaustion and humiliation of those pledged to drive the Jews into the sea enabled Israel to conquer the territory it did.

Then, as subsequently, Israel had to defend itself or be destroyed. Alas, it is no different now. (Now matter what Shimon Peres may have wished, or may still wish to wish.)

Curiously (or perhaps not), Israel's thus far successful defense of her existence is perceived---as a result of the sheer frustration at not having yet succeeded in destroying her--- as brutal aggression.

And portrayed, ad nauseum, as such.

Even curiouser (or perhaps not), the Arabs have become both the arbiters and purveyors of Morality and Truth.

What may have caused this (in a more perfect world, absolutely comic) turn of events?

Barry Meislin said...

And which, in a souk (bargaining, market) culture is why there will be no peace.

For what, in fact is the price of that particular carpet (i.e., "peace"). What is its value?

How much is it worth to you?

A thousand dollars? 10 thousand? A million? A billion (milliard)?

(After all, it is a priceless carpet. It is so beautiful. No where could you find another like it. No where.)

So what about giving me your car? Your house? Your wife? This makes you a little uneasy? Please, I understand. I understand that you are not really serious. No, you really don't want it that much, do you?

OK, a billion dollars. Yes, well, all very nice; but look at this carpet? Look at it. Can one honestly say that a billion dollars does it justice. How could one even put a price on such a carpet?

Such a priceless carpet....

Such a beautiful carpet....

This carpet that I know you want so much.

Do you think you can actually put a price on it? Really, what is it worth? No, no, I really do want you to have it. I do, I really do. Nothing in this world would make me happier. But I know its worth.

So how much is it worth to you? You have given me your car, your house, your wife (my friend, you and I both realize that in this latest matter it is I who have done you the favor....). But do you think that is enough? Really?

A carpet of this supreme quality.

Look at it again. Look again at its superb weave, at its beautiful design, at its unique workmanship. This is an indescribable, an extraordinary, a miraculous carpet.

Look again. Look carefully. It is yours. It is surely yours....

But only if you really want it. Seriously. You must decide. It would be my greatest pleasure that you should have it....

This extraordinary carpet....


Etc., ad nauseum, ad infinitum....

(Loosely based on Genesis 23:1-16)

Lee Ratner said...

I'd argue that any peace deal between Israel and a Arab and/or Muslim state or proto-state would be lower case rather than higher case. Thats because it never really results in any substantial change among Arab and/or Muslim opinion regarding Zionism and Israel. Until they accept the legitimate of the Jewish State, their can't be an uppercase peace.

Anonymous said...

the lower case peace is what there is now

why risk it for nothing in return?


Lee Ratner said...

Silke, I'd argue that there is a difference between informal lower case peace and formal lower case peace, with the latter being preferable. The peace between Egypt and Israel or Jordan and Israel is a formal lower case peace, its backed up by formal treaties. Again, the peace is more of a cold peace type but Egypt and Jordan don't really do anything too outrageous against Israel. Formal lower case peace is also more likely to have exchanges that lead to upper case peace.

The peace between Israel and the West Bank is informal. Upgrading it to formal status would be an improvement.

Anonymous said...

if my hobby were the assembling of Qassam rockets I'd also be eager on getting unsupervised access to that ridge over Tel-Aviv and probably a lot of other places also.

1979 the Americans in Iran gave this advice - I think it is stil very veryl good advice and it probably always has been and always will be


in other words there is no chance to a lower case formal peace if that means signing anything without fingers crossed behind one's back. (Christians do that when they want to invalidate an oath and evade the wrath of God - swear in front, keep fingers of the other hand secretly)