Road map from another planet
Posted by aogMonday, 09 June 2003 at 09:58 TrackBack Ping URL
Samer Shehata has written what I consider a seriously delusion article on the Middle East for Slate. I can't hit all of the low points but just a few will give the flavor of it.

The introduction starts off with the concern the US, by putting off the hard decisions until the end, risks losing the good will and "momentum" of the actors in the Middle East. What good will? The good will from the people who cheered in the streets for Saddam Hussein?

Then we go to the nub of the matter:

But to achieve it [peace], the United States and the international community must be willing, from the start, to commit both troops and money to the region. […] Polling data strongly suggests that such a proposal would be deemed acceptable by the vast majority of Palestinians and Israelis
The money part, that I understand. I don't agree, but I understand. For the polling data, perhaps the author might want to look at this other polling data which says that vast majorities of Arabia do not believe in any peace that involves the continued existence of the state of Israel. Given that the proposal here assumes such continued existence, its acceptance by the majority of non-Israelis seems implausible.

What I never see mentioned in any claim like this is what exactly the troops will do. In the case of the international community, will they sit around like the troops currently in Congo? UN troops would be no different than simply removing any border controls. This makes it an odd suggestion in an article that allegdely considers Israeli security a primary issue.

Even for US troops, what could they do that the IDF couldn't? Is this a coded request for some unleashing some serious whup-ass on the Palestinians that the IDF can't bring itself to do? Let's assume for the moment, however, that US troops occupy some sort of DMZ between Israel and Palestine. How, exactly, is this different from the Israeli Wall that so many object to? Will Israel still be required to allow Palestinians in to Israel? What would US troops do? Fire on the Palestinians? Arrest them? Turn them back to try again the next night? None of these issues are new, they've been discussed at great length for years, a discussion Shetata seems unaware of as he addresses none of these issues which make or break the idea in practice.