I can't help it, I see in grey scale
Posted by aogFriday, 05 December 2003 at 17:58 TrackBack Ping URL

I’ve been trying to write something about the so-called “Geneva Accord” that is a peace plan negotiated without the involvement of the leaders of either Israel or Palestine. The problems are legion, but another Talking Points Memo post illustrated several problems that seem the most intractable to me.

The first is the idea that this could be negotiated by Palestinians without at least the tacit approval of the Palestinian Authority, i.e. Yassir Arafat. The Isreali side, in contrast, was free to do so (although such an act would be illegal even in the US).

Second is TPM’s main point that

a sea change has been taking place of late in Israeli public opinion

That may or may not be. But I note that TPM makes no mention of any public opinion on the Palestinian side. There’s the difference that I can’t ignore, which makes mock of the kind of equivalency in which TPM indulges. If the Israeli public abandons Prime Minister Sharon, then he’ll be removed from office. If Palestinians don’t like Arafat, they get killed. I suppose that if these seem equivalent to you it’s not much of a stretch to view the Bush Administration as a brutal tyranny.

As for these accords being close to the final terms, there’s just the little matter of the “right of return” which the Israeli side claimsis revoked by the agreement while the Palestinians involved in the negotiations either dispute or refuse to comment on that point, not to mention that the version of the accords printed in Arabic and distributed to Palestinians differed in a number of paragraphs from the English version. That hardly sounds like the “the two sides aren’t really that far apart”.

Finally, TPM says that the accords make Sharon and Arafat “feel threatened”. Of course, Sharon is afraid that it will get hundreds or thousands of his fellow citizens killed while Arafat is afraid that he won’t be able to oppress and steal from the Palestinians. I guess it’s my simplismé but I just can’t view these as the same. And I can’t see any real peace coming from treating these two views as morally equivalent.