Finally, the Americans are starting to tire of the Middle East conflict (even if they blame both sides for the impasse, oblivious to the clear power imbalance between Israelis and Palestinians). Here’s Thomas Friedman in the New York Times:
Today, the Arabs, Israel and the Palestinians are clearly not feeling enough pain to do anything hard for peace with each other — a mood best summed up by a phrase making the rounds at the State Department: The Palestinian leadership “wants a deal with Israel without any negotiations” and Israel’s leadership “wants negotiations with the Palestinians without any deal.”
It is obvious that this Israeli government believes it can have peace with the Palestinians and keep the West Bank, this Palestinian Authority still can’t decide whether to reconcile with the Jewish state or criminalize it and this Hamas leadership would rather let Palestinians live forever in the hellish squalor that is Gaza than give up its crazy fantasy of an Islamic Republic in Palestine.
If we are still begging Israel to stop building settlements, which is so manifestly idiotic, and the Palestinians to come to negotiations, which is so manifestly in their interest, and the Saudis to just give Israel a wink, which is so manifestly pathetic, we are in the wrong place. It’s time to call a halt to this dysfunctional “peace process,” which is only damaging the Obama team’s credibility.
In Israel, Zvi Bar’el writes in Haaretz that the West Bank fundamentalists are destroying Israel from within (while most Diaspora Jews carry on like the world hates Israel for no particular reason):
If there is one force that can bring down the continuation of the peace process, it is continued building in the settlements. If the U.S. ultimately chooses to cut Israel off, it will be because of the settlements.
Across the Green Line are two states, Palestinian and Jewish, which do not see eye to eye with the State of Israel. While the Palestinian state has a chance of reaching peace with Israel, the settler state sees Israel as a strategic threat and its leadership as a gang of ditherers, a state threatening to undermine the power of the settler state. In their eyes Israel is the real exile, dancing to the tune of a corrupt overlord.
The roles have reversed. No longer are settlers seeking to settle the hearts of Israelis; they are putting forth an unequivocal demand that Israelis inhabit the settlers’ hearts – or else.