December 2, 2005


Progress in the Mideast: Peace without treaties (Charles Krauthammer, 12/02/05,

Because we Americans tend to gauge Middle East success by White House signing ceremonies complete with dignitaries, three-way handshakes and pages of treaty provisions, no one seems to have noticed how, in the absence of any of that, there has been amazing recent progress in defusing the Arab-Israeli dispute.

First, the more than four-year-long intifada, which left more than 1,000 Israelis and 3,000 Palestinians dead, is over. And better than that, defeated. There's no great Palestinian constituency for starting another one. In Israel, tourism is back, the economy has recovered to pre-intifada levels, and the coffee shops and malls are full again.

Second, the Gaza withdrawal was a success. On the Israeli side, it was accomplished with remarkable speed and without any of the great social upheaval and civil strife that had been predicted. As for the Palestinians, without any fanfare whatsoever, their first-ever state has just been born. They have political independence for 1.3 million of their people, sovereignty over all of Gaza and, for the first time, a border to the outside world (the Rafah crossing to Egypt) that they control.

Third, on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian line, vigorous electoral campaigns are underway. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has abandoned Likud, established a new centrist party that leads all others in the polls, effectively marginalized those remaining Israelis who want to hold on forever to all the territories, and set Israel on a path to a modest and attainable territorial solution to the century-old conflict.

As a result, Israel's regional isolation is easing, as Islamic countries from Pakistan to Qatar to Morocco openly extend or intensify relations, while anti-Israel rejectionists such as Syria and Hezbollah are isolated and even condemned by name in the U.N. Security Council.

How did this come about? Israeli unilateralism and Palestinian maturation.

Geez, even the neocons have figured out that W and Sharon were right? Remember the Weekly Standard's regular series about how they were betraying Israel by creating a Palestine, or Mr. Krauthammer himself saying they were surrendering?

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 2, 2005 6:16 PM

Substance over form.

Posted by: jdkelly at December 2, 2005 6:51 PM

krauthammer is passe and has no insights to offer anyone interested in what's really happening in the world. cbs should hire him.

Posted by: pickelgruber at December 2, 2005 7:07 PM

While I still agree with Charles more times than not, he does suffer from the standard problem of the entire spectrum of punditoracy, in that even in the era of Google, they treat their past inccorect anaylsis as if it simply vanished down the memory hole, never to be seen or talked about again (Krauthammer in no way reaches the Krugman level of denial of past statements, but the disease is the same, if not the severity).

Posted by: John at December 2, 2005 7:35 PM

I went to high school with Charles.

Posted by: obc at December 2, 2005 11:03 PM

and ?

Posted by: anon at December 3, 2005 7:49 PM