Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Juan Cole comments on the Fayyad Plan

Juan Cole at his Informed Comment blog has shared his initial reaction to the announcement of Fayyad's unilateral plan for Palestinian statehood. Cole's comments are short and less than cohesive (he seems to just list the major challenges that will complicate Fayyad's goals), but he does provide a good quote:

"If there is going to be a two-state solution, as Obama insists and toward which the Fatah government in the West Bank is now moving quickly, it will depend on level-headed Israelis who recognize that the occupation of the Palestinians is actually a threat to Israel."

Cole, like myself, is skeptical that such a plan is even possible without major Israeli assistance (or at least a pledge not to torpedo it at the first possible opportunity. The rightist Likud party in Israel is in charge now and is openly against any such plan that allows the Palestinians to have even marginal control over their own political or economic development.

I like Juan Cole; he doesn't mince words. Maybe it is time more pro-peace commentators strongly voiced their opposition to the Netanyahu government on the grounds that it is simply not interested in a real, comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and openly wished for the collapse of the Likud-led administration.

As the sole voice of this blog, I am not at this point ready to take the same stance as Cole. I am not convinced that the Israeli leftist pro-peace camp even has enough support to play a major role in any government or that the centrist Kadima party will pursue good-faith negotiations any more than Likud. The Israeli left (and the pro-peace camp that is the backbone of the movement) seems to be in semi-permanent hibernation at the moment and I refuse to wish in vain for the impossible. Obama pressuring an unfriendly Netanyahu regime may actually be better for the peace process than a friendly relationship between Obama and Kadima - which will lead to nothing. There's probably no real support for pressuring Tzipi Livni or Ehud Barak, kinder, gentler Israeli politicians. Support does exist to lean hard on Netanyahu, whose character was summed up perfectly in the immortal lyrics of Dr. Seuss:

You really are a heel.
You're as cuddly as a cactus,
You're as charming as an eel.

Your heart's an empty hole.
Your brain is full of spiders,
You've got garlic in your soul.

You have termites in your smile.
You have all the tender sweetness
Of a seasick crocodile.

Given the choice between the two of you
I'd take the seasick crocodile.

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