July 2008 Archives
[In my last contribution to the preceding round, I said I'd now turn to the Israeli Arab question. But that is, obviously, an ongoing issue, whereas rescue of Corporal Glad Shalit is an immediately urgent question. Accordingly, I turn here to that matter, postponing consideration of the Arab question for another time.]
Negotiations between Israel and Hamas (via Egypt) regarding the freeing of Corporal Gilad Shalit, now a Hamas prisoner for more than two years, continue. It is difficult to know whether a resolution is close or even whether it is likely. There are considerations that point in different directions, and even thinking about the matter is complicated by the anguished debate that surrounds the recent negotiations with Hezbollah that led to the return of the bodies of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser and the freeing of Samir Kuntar and others.
Now and again, I step aside to enable someone else to take the lead in our conversation. This time, I do so with both pleasure and trepidation. Our guest is Bernard Chazelle, whose essay is a very dark and at the same time enlightening essay on Israel/Palestine. It appeared in Counterpunch last month; I am happy that Professor Chazelle has enabled us to reprint it here.
Why Israel Won't Accept a Two-State Solution
By BERNARD CHAZELLE
How to summarize a 16-day visit to Israel that was half political and half personal?
1. As I have been writing with ever-greater emphasis, political conversation is at the barest minimum. Save for the political class itself and the passionate few on either side of the spectrum, people are not tuned in at all. And the reason for that, I am convinced, is that there is nothing new to say. Nothing. Everything that can be said has been said, over and over. Does it really matter whether there are 550 check-points and barriers or 600? Even the announcement of thousands of new building permits elicits no more than a yawn. Sarkozy makes a very bold speech to the Knesset, affirming France's enduring friendship towards Israel, denouncing Iran, and stating, quite emphatically, that there must be no more expansion of the settlements - and beyond taking vague notice that he has come and he has gone, little of substance is reported, less registers. (The splash of his drop-dead gorgeous wife is another matter.) The newspapers continue to scream their headlines, outrages of corruption here, new threats to Israel's safety there, but it is as if they are trying to rouse a somnolent public. And who can say the public is wrong to display such massive indifference to daily events? News of corruption and threats is anything but new, hence not really news, Peace with Syria? Let's wait to see whether the spastic talks go anywhere before we let ourselves get excited, before we become emotionally invested. Four members of the Knesset go to Hebron to assert the right to witness the indecency of Jewish settlement in the city's heart, and very hot water is poured on them. The event is not regarded as worth reporting at all.