Roger L. Simon

Two cheers for unilateralism

The Israeli election is upon us with the supposed insiders and the real insiders all reporting a blasé attitude from the electorate with the lowest turnout ever predicted (sixty percent – still wildly high by US standards, of course). My view from far-off LA is somewhat different. As a long time follower of Israeli politics – yes, I am one of the thirty or so people who used to watch the Knesset on CSPAN – I think this is one of the more significant Israeli elections. Looking back, it now appears that all the many elections about how much to give the Palestinians in negotiation or whether to negotiate with them at all were meaningless. There was never anyone with whom to negotiate in the first place. Arafat simply walked away from the table when negotiations got serious and now, not that many years later, we have Hamas, who has no interest in going to the table at all.

So enough already. Unilateralism, while not wonderful, is the only sensible answer. The Israelis have no one to negotiate with but themselves and they might as well get it over with. Kadima, Sharon’s old-new party, appears to have the best plan. I hope they win big.