Saturday, January 12, 2008
2 late 4 2 states?
see titles of pics at the end
The Bush visit is now behind us and the local pundits are stressing that following the schmaltzy welcome, the sterile areas, the hugs and kisses and the grand and empty proclamations, it's time to get back to the gritty reality.
Israel's guru of journalism Nahum Barnea (Yedioth Aharonoth) wrote on Friday that two practical outcomes are likely to emerge from the visit. First, the Israeli leadership received an explicit or implicit message that the US administration would back an Israeli military operation in Gaza (the qassams that fell on the western Negev during the visit also made an impression on Dubbya). Second, out of the 100 or so unauthorised outposts that need to be evacuated, Olmert will evacuate one that appears at the top of the Americans' list - Migron, near Ramallah.
Neither of these actions are likely to help Mahmoud Abbas sufficiently to shake off his image of a weak leader, unable to evince enough concessions from the Israelis to improve the lot of his people. Indeed according to another leading Israeli expert Ehud Ya'ari, writing in a recent edition of the Jerusalem Report , on the Palestinian side , the appetite for a sovereign state is rapidly vanishing. "There's an increasing trend to search for alternatives to what many of them view as the "sovereign cage" of the small Palestinian state. While in Israel a large majority prefers the state over the land, with the Palestinians it's exactly the opposite: maintaining the integrity of the land and freedom of movement throughout are much more important than the statehood that they are being offered."
After decades of demanding sovereignty it might come as a surprise to a lot of people that the Palestinians prefer sharing the space between the Jordan and the Mediterranean with their hated occupiers for the last 40 years.
But I've often noticed how for Palestinians the overriding thing is to be able to move between Acco (in Israel) and Ramallah (in the West Bank) or between Nazareth and Bethlehem. The map of what they call Palestine and what we call Eretz Yisrael (without Green Lines or separation fences) is imprinted in their consciousness just as it is imprinted in the consciousness of so many Israelis. Since neither side seems to be capable of making the concessions necessary to create two separate states, perhaps we are indeed destined to share the same space as some sort of collective entity.
This sounds to me like a recipe for constant friction but, unless a miracle happens, we may have no choice.
Folk dancing on the sea front today
More folk dancers
The bridge between Tel Aviv port and Reading power station
Stealing crumbs at hof ha-tzuk, north Tel Aviv