June 24, 2012 · 0 Comments
By Philip Weiss:
There is a very smart piece in the New York Times by Nathan Thrall of the International Crisis Group explaining how bleak the status quo is. Israel’s golden opportunity to make a deal with Abbas has passed, Israelis could care less, Palestinians have lost hope of ever getting a state, and armed confrontation, a third intifada, is inevitable. The piece generally elides the nonviolent option– protest and BDS — but it is very good for its tone. It doesn’t blame the Palestinians for thinking about violent resistance. After all, any other people, promised a state 65 years ago and never delivered one, would be thinking about violence.
Yuval Diskin, the recently retired head of Israel’s internal security agency: “When the concentration of gas fumes in the air is so high,” he said, “the question is only when the spark will come to light it.”
The root cause of this instability is that Palestinians have lost all hope that Israel will grant them a state. Each attempt to exert what little leverage Palestinians possess has been thwarted or has proved ineffective…
The second option is armed confrontation. Although there is widespread apathy among Palestinians, and hundreds of thousands are financially dependent on the Palestinian Authority’s continued existence, a substantial number would welcome the prospect of an escalation, especially many supporters of Hamas, who argue that violence has been the most effective tactic in forcing Israel and the international community to act.
THEY believe that rocks, Molotov cocktails and mass protests pushed Israel to sign the Oslo Accords in 1993; that deadly strikes against Israeli troops in Lebanon led Israel to withdraw in 2000; that the bloodshed of the second intifada pressured George W. Bush to declare his support for Palestinian statehood and prodded the international community to produce the Arab Peace Initiative, the Geneva Initiative, and the Road Map for Middle East Peace. They are also convinced that arms pressured Ariel Sharon, then Israel’s prime minister, to evacuate settlers and troops from Gaza in 2005. That pullout also had the effect of freezing the peace process, supplying “the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary,” as a Sharon adviser put it, “so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.”
For more militant Palestinian leaders, who never believed in the peace process, the lesson was clear: “Not an inch of Palestinian land will be liberated,” Mousa Abu Marzook, deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, told me, “while Israelis feel that controlling it exacts few costs.”
Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.