Home Ed: 30: July/2005
Ed: 30: July/2005
The wishful thinking that has long characterised European diplomacy in the Middle East has made one of its periodic ocean crossings and regained a foothold in Washington. Reflecting their eagerness to see "progress" in relations between Palestinians and Israelis, some American officials have adopted the myth of Hamas moderation.
During Soviet times, the story was told of a young man who opted to become a futurologist rather than meet his family'?s expectations of becoming a historian. His argument was that, under Communism, it was not too hard to predict the future but it was almost impossible to predict the past.
The presidential elections in Iran have been about as fairly played as a crooked hand of blackjack. The deck was stacked through an edict of the unelected Council of Guardians that disqualified the candidacy of anyone who did not toe the line of the ruling Islamic theocracy in Teheran. And bottom dealing appeared in the form of ballot stuffing and graveyard voting incidents that were rampant throughout the country.
Virtually everyone agrees that Israel?s evacuation of settlements in Gaza and the northern West Bank, scheduled to begin in early September, is going to be physically difficult, emotionally fraught and that a real risk of armed violence will be present. While majority Israeli opinion has generally favoured the move as part of PM Ariel Sharon?s policy of disengagment, opponents are vehemently against the move on religious, strategic, and ethical grounds, and have made it very clear that they will do everything in their power to make the process as difficult as possible. To understand exactly how difficult things are likely to get in coming months, The Review spoke to a number of leaders of the anti-disengagement movement in an effort to gauge both their worldview and their tactical intentions.
Under Israel?s disengagement plan, set to begin in early September, four Jewish settlements in the northern West Bank are to be evacuated, after the withdrawal of 21 agricultural communities and one regional town in the Gaza Strip has been completed by the Jewish New Year, October 3, 2005.
You may have read about the discouraging news that Israel captured a female suicide bomber trying to cross into Israel from Gaza on June 20. This is discouraging because the current "period of quiet" is fragile, and because no one (except some violent extremists) wants to see the renewal of violence just as moves toward disengagement kick into high gear.
The crux of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resides in the form of a simple question: does attempted genocide warrant reward or retribution?