Not to turn this into the Middle East Blog, but I’ve had a few more thoughts, thanks to the comments and email of the past few days.
1) I don’t think we have any idea what’s really going on at any given moment. The leaders playing this out are working on a level we just don’t have access to. The ‘capture’ of the latest Palestinian Fatah leader, Marwan Barghouthi, for example. He’s the guy that Israel wants to replace Arafat. They’ve said this for years. Why take him prisoner? It increases his credibility. This is the way deals are made. But it has nothing to do with the story in the news: “Israel takes Barghouthi prisoner.” They could be beating him, tonight. They could just as easily be drinking champagne with him, and toasting Arafat’s fall.
2) The game that’s going on between Israel and Palestinian’s leaders may actually look something like this:
Everyone knows that Israel has to go back to 1967 borders. And everyone knows that the insane (Israeli) settlers of the West Bank would rather die than leave. For Israel to get them out of the settlements, the Israeli army will have to kill a few Israeli Jews. There’s just no other way. These people demonstrated their intentions by killing Rabin when he tried to make peace offerings.
But before Israel is going to go ahead and kill Israelis, they want Palestine to go ahead and kill a few Palestinians, first. It sounds a bit mad, at first, but follow the logic. Israel needs to know that Palestine will take care of their crazies – the suicide bombers and angry terrorists who will never ever agree to an Israeli state. And, in return, Israel will remove and, in the process, kill a few of its own crazies.
Some of the disputed territory is basically Jerusalem suburbs. No biggie to let Israel hang on to some of that in return for something else. It’s the completely inappropriate and antagonist fortresses in the West Bank that have to go. But whoever it is on the Israeli side that finally agrees to make the full and necessary concessions will have to take some steps against his/her own people. And whoever it is on the Palestinian side that agrees to an Israeli state will have to do the same.
I also want to acknowledge the thoughtful post of a Palestinian to the comments section. It really does mean a lot to me to participate in a forum where you feel welcome to express your views.