Michael Totten

The Real Barrier to Peace

“Marty Peretz”:http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_spine/archive/2009/04/06/what-s-the-impediment.aspx in The New Republic:

A “two-state solution” is the only possible resolve for the [Arab-Israeli] conflict. And the fact is that, all of the injunctions put before before Jerusalem by the various peace professionals about this solution notwithstanding, the Israeli body politic is itself committed to such a resolve. That has been Israeli policy for at least 16 years. It is a gross lie to deny this. The Greater Israel movement is dead. So is the Peace Now movement that assumed a territorial retreat will resolve everything. This movement died the day after Israel left Gaza.
The outstanding cartographical issues are mostly symbolic and procedural.
So what is the impediment?
It is that Israel cannot assume that any territory from which it withdraws will remain peaceful. What is the evidence that it would? Do you really think that rockets and missiles will not be lobbed into Israel proper on the morning after? And that Palestine’s frontier with its Arab neighbors will not become what Gaza’s frontier with (relatively well-intentioned) Egypt has become. A cease-fire was made, and the cease fire has not held. What’s more, the smuggling of trajectiles and other weapons through the tunnels of the strip goes on unabated. This is despite a United Nations resolution. And in southern Lebanon another cease-fire resolution providing for an end to smuggling from Iran and Syria to Hezbollah is continually violated. One lesson Israel has certainly learned is that U.N. Security Council resolutions are worth less than the paper on which they are printed.

Until this issue is addressed conscientiously and practically there will be no progress on the two-state solution under any borders. And, instead of repeating the two-state shibboleth, it is time for the well-intentioned brokers – President Obama included – to confront the real barrier to peace which is Palestinian and Arab behavior after an Israeli withdrawal. This will be the test, and nothing else.

And here’s “Shlomo Avineri”:http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1076694.html in Haaretz:

According to Hamas, the Jews are responsible for all the ills of modern society – the French Revolution; the Communist revolution; the establishment of secret associations (Freemasons, Rotary and Lions clubs, B’nai B’rith) designed to help them gain control of the world by secret means. They control the economy, press and television; they are responsible for the outbreak of World War I, which they initiated in order to destroy the Muslim caliphates (the Ottoman empire), to get the Balfour Declaration and set up the League of Nations with the aim of establishing their state. They also initiated World War II in order to make a fortune from selling war materials; they use both capitalism and communism as their agents…
But perhaps it is nevertheless worthwhile talking to Hamas – not about its contribution to peace but rather about what is stated in its covenant. Perhaps those who espouse the view that we must talk with Hamas will first talk with it about these subjects? Who knows, perhaps it will change its principles? I do not expect this to happen exactly, but I am certainly curious to know what those who think Hamas is the key to peace in the Middle East will say about these things.
And perhaps they are actually correct, perhaps Hamas is the key. If that’s the case, it’s difficult to expect that peace can be established in our region.