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Catfish and Cod
Monday, May 24, 2004
And whose fault is this?
(Link path: CNN)

Headline: Sharon proposes revised withdrawal plan

Palestinian response: "Palestinians opposed Sharon's withdrawal plan, saying it is unilateral and leaves out Palestinian interests."

To which I say: why should Sharon negotiate with Arafat? Why shouldn't he act unilaterally?

* You don't carry out your agreements. Why do Palestinian schools still deny the existence of Israel?

* You're not capable of enforcing a cease-fire. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah are independent players from you and make their own decisions.

* You kept rejecting proposed peace plans, even when they were in your favor, because it still wasn't enough.

* You continue to hold to impossible "red line" demands, such as a full "right of return", long past the time when holding them became diplomatically counterproductive.

* You walked away from the negotiating table and restarted conflict rather than compromise, or even rather than presenting an alternate plan.

* You undercut the authority of Palestinian prime ministers empowered to make further deals to secure your own power.

So what good is negotiation? It can't be enforced anyway, and as long as the Palestinian people don't rise up against Hamas et al. Palestinian good will won't stop the attacks. (Besides which, Israeli policy is not much geared towards encouraging Palestinian good will at this time.)

At this point, I don't have any problem with Sharon acting unilaterally at all. I do criticize him, but it's because I don't think is government is acting in Israel's best interests. It would make far more sense to abandon all the isolated settlements, pull in behind one single wall, and defend their borders rigorously. That means, for example, paying damages to the villagers whose olive groves were dozed to build the wall, so they don't try coming through, and so forth. It also means leaving fool settlers who insist on staying in Palestinian territory without the protection of the Israeli army. If Israel really means to relinquish sovereignty over the Palestinian territories, if it really means to leave Palestinian problems to the Palestinians, then it had best do so.

That means Palestinian civil war; everyone knows that. I doubt there's any way to stop that war now. But 'twere best done quickly -- and with as many Israelis out of the crossfire as possible.