Sunday, November 13, 2005
A few more remarks on yesterday evening's rally in Tel Aviv. Amir Peretz implied that all violence that threatens Israeli society from within is a result of the occupation ( "Had we stopped the violence in the territories, we would have stopped violence among us." ). I think that is exaggerated and untrue, although I am convinced that at least some of the violence and the apparent 'loss of values' that have been an integral part of life in Israel for many years can be traced to our presence in the occupied territories.
Bill Clinton insisted to be on stage when the "Song for Peace" and Israel's national anthem were sung, something which provided those responsible for security at the event with additional headaches. You could see him and Mrs Clinton trying to mumble the lyrics of the songs, loudly singing the word "Yerushalayim" at the end of HaTikvah.
When I say that we miss him and Yitzhak Rabin I am not saying that Oslo was perfect, far from that. I studied with one of the process's original architects, Yair Hirschfeld. While I admire the intellectual qualities, courage and optimism of people like him and like Peres, they are in many respects what I would call "Luftmenschen", or 'astronautim' as they are called in Hebrew. I do not believe at all that any solution will be reached by military means alone, but politicians and academics who conduct the negotiations and make the deals that affect our lives should have at least a clue about the - physical, military - realities on the ground, and - believe me - Hirschfeld does not have such a clue. There were many faults in the process's planning and implementation, faults for which not only Arafat but also the Israeli and American governments were to blame. Still, it is obvious that the best way out of the mess that Palestinians and Israelis find themselves in will be through some sort of agreement.
Whatever agreement will be reached one day, without Oslo it would never have been possible. As for American involvement, what we miss today - in contrast to the Clinton days - is an honest and inspired commitment to help us and the Palestinians achieve some modus vivendi. For too long the Bush administration has let Sharon and Arafat and Abu Mazen bungle on, never did either of the parties involved get the feeling that somehow ending the conflict was a national priority for the Americans, even though such an end would probably contribute significantly to a victory for the West in its war on terror.
Posted by Bert at 9:31 AM