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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Annapolis: Willing Suspension of Disbelief

Willing Suspension of Disbelief. Its a term I learned in the theater. When you go to a play or a movie, or watch something on TV you know its fake but you allow yourself suspend that knowledge so you can enjoy.

The Annapolis conference also uses Willing Suspension of Disbelief. The Palestinians are still trying to destroy Israel, as witnessed by their failure to recognized Israel as a Jewish State and the fact that Fatah which is run by President Abbas is still conducting terrorist activities. Olmert is pushing an agenda which goes against the wishes of the Israeli people, and doesn't have the "juice" to get it through. And almost all of the attendees think it is premature to have the conference. Yet they are all there, they know the conference is a fraud, but they are all attending and I promise you the result will NOT be entertaining.

The Annapolis Predicament


November 26, 2007

Talk about your willing suspension of disbelief. The international parley on the Israel-Palestine peace at Annapolis tomorrow is being presented as a "meeting" — less than a conference but more than a photo opportunity. The best that can be expected of Annapolis is that, while there will be no breakthrough, there will also be no breakdown.

The Bush administration's predicament is not only the absence of sufficient grounds for agreement on an Israeli-Palestinian deal. For the maximum Israel is prepared to give falls short of the Palestinian minimum — the least they are willing to accept.

It has been said already that the real force driving the American demarche is fear of Iran. The administration is pushing for a display of progress on the Israel-Palestinian track to bolster the case that the Sunni Arab regimes should work with America against Iran, notwithstanding their historic antagonism toward Israel and the larger Arab grievance against America for supporting Israel.

The wider context is fraught with improbabilities. In the conflict between Iran and the Arabs, the Arab regimes, generally a sclerotic dysfunctional lot, deserve to lose, but Iran doesn't deserve to win.

It is still possible for Prime Minister Olmert and the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, to use the Annapolis conference as a platform from which to shatter the political impasse into which their respective constituencies have fallen. But it is difficult to see how either can move forward given the current political balance of forces in both camps.

It is not politically viable for Israel to continue giving without receiving. Even were it viable, there must be someone capable of providing security to whom one hands over 90% to 100% of the West Bank.

Like Pius XII, Mr. Abbas and even the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayad, which is independent of Fatah, don't have the divisions. At least the greatest of the popes could bring moral and spiritual authority to the table, as Stalin's successors learned at Gdansk. A strong consensus has emerged — American envoy General Payton, the Palestinian Authority, and the Israel Defense Forces — that the Palestinian Authority cannot assume responsibility for security in the West Bank anytime soon.

The same Israeli voters who backed the Gaza disengagement plan in August 2005 simply will not agree to a repeat performance — leaving the West Bank in a security vacuum and proceeding on blind faith that the circumstances will turn out differently than in Gaza, a risk that is compounded by the fear of rockets landing in central Israel.

The recent security steps by the Palestinian Authority are either for show or represent important baby steps in the right direction. But the era of forgiving the Palestinians for their inability or unwillingness to curtail terrorism is long gone. Certainly the demand made of the Palestinians that they stand up to the terrorist militias, including Fatah's own, is not an obstacle to progress but a precondition.

The assertion that Israeli fears stem from a fatal combination of Palestinian weakness and nihilism is not as obvious as one might think. Denying it is almost inherent in the oft repeated diplomatic bromide that the solution lies in a situation that provides "security for Israelis and a state for Palestinians." There are those who believe that Israel is a national basket case that requires compassionate treatment. Zbigniew Brzezinski, who is advising one of the Israeli presidential hopefuls, said recently that Israel had a "legitimately felt sense of national insecurity" which was understandable for a "people traumatized by the Holocaust." In other words, Israeli security concerns are not the result of direct experience with the Palestinians in this century but rather the scars of a direct experience with the Germans in the middle of the last one.

Even for those who believe that ending the occupation is a moral duty, they must understand that it cannot be, in the words of Justice Jackson, a "suicide pact." Arguing that if the court majority adopted the view that "all local attempts to maintain order are impairments of the liberty of the citizen," it ran the risk that it would "convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact."

"The choice is not between order and liberty," he warned. "It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either."

Israel's choices cannot be reduced to a trade giving Israel the pledge of some peace and quiet at the cost of a chaotic west bank. The alternatives are Palestinian liberty with Palestinian order and security for Israelis or Palestinian anarchy without either.

Mr. Twersky is a contributing editor of The New York Sun.

For a brilliant commentary on Annapolis visit my friend Chaim's post Realpolitik and the Bumper Sticker

1 comment:

Pastorius said...

Fatah's charter (which is to be found on the PA's United Nations website, believe it or not) calls for the destruction of Israel:

Hamas is, of course, the Democratically elected government of Gaza. Hamas' Charter calls explicitly for death to the Jews:

As you say, one needs to be willing to suspend disbelief. There is no compromise with a government whose stated goal is your destruction.