Voice from the Commonwealth Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts
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Interesting opinion piece in the Jordan Times. The writer is saying that the major action in a push for peace may have to take place in secret.
Radicals have always fed on partial issues. Taken in isolation, each side can make a strong case against compromise on any single issue, be it the right of return of Palestinian refugees or the dismantling of settlements (need for everyone to accept the facts on the ground exemplified by the existence of Jewish families living in their new housing). If you asked any Palestinian or Israeli on a single issue, their position would be much different than if presented with an entire deal. Ask Palestinians if they support the right of refugees to return to their homes, as stipulated by UN resolutions, and more than 90 per cent will agree on this right. But ask the same group if they are willing to compromise on this right in return for a comprehensive solution and the results will change dramatically. Similarly, ask Israelis about the right of Jews to live in settlements built on Palestinian land and most would agree to that right. But turn the question around and ask them if a comprehensive peace can be reached without the settlements and most would support that.
To reach any package deal, it is important to take a two-prong approach. Public negotiations are unlikely to work if they are not supported by an iron-clad commitment to keep moving no matter what happens. Both sides must keep talking in a public demonstration of defiance to the radicals among them. Any sign of hesitation will be an invitation to carnage.
I think there may be something to this. If everything remains in the open and every issue is under constant media scrutiny it will leave an opening for those who do not want peace. At the same time there needs to be an understanding that nothing agreed to behind those closed doors will be completely unacceptable to either the Israelis or the Palestinians. And it is not to say that Abu Mazen gets a pass on dealing with terrorisim.
Also interesting in this article is the lack of a mention of Arafat. I think has been one of the most brilliant moves Bush has made. Arafat was squealing about not liking the deal laid out in the meeting yesterday but, he looks shrill, out of the loop and irrelevent. And increasingly,t eh only ones who come to pay homage and kiss his ring are..who else...the French.
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