January 24, 2011


Palestine papers: Now we know. Israel had a peace partner: The classified documents show Palestinians willing to go to extreme lengths and Israel holding a firm line on any peace deal (Jonathan Freedland, 1/24/11, guardian.co.uk)

Who will be most damaged by this extraordinary glimpse into the reality of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process? Perhaps the first casualty will be Palestinian national pride, their collective sense of dignity in adversity badly wounded by the papers revealed today. [...]

[T]hese texts will do enormous damage to the standing of the Palestinian Authority and to the Fatah party that leads it. Erekat himself may never recover his credibility.

But something even more profound is at stake: these documents could discredit among Palestinians the very notion of negotiation with Israel and the two-state solution that underpins it.

And yet there might also be an unexpected boost here for the Palestinian cause. Surely international opinion will see concrete proof of how far the Palestinians have been willing to go, ready to move up to and beyond their "red lines", conceding ground that would once have been unthinkable – none more so than on Jerusalem.

In the blame game that has long attended Middle East diplomacy, this could see a shift in the Palestinians' favour.

The effect of these papers on Israel will be the reverse.

The Palestinian papers: Pleading for a fig leaf (Guardian.co.uk, Sunday 23 January 2011)
It is hard to tell who appears worst: the Palestinian leaders, who are weak, craven and eager to shower their counterparts with compliments; the Israelis, who are polite in word but contemptuous in deed; or the Americans, whose neutrality consists of bullying the weak and holding the hand of the strong. Together they conspire to build a puppet state in Palestine, at best authoritarian, at worst a surrogate for an occupying force.

The Israelis have at long last gone so far that they make the PLO look reasonable.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 24, 2011 1:23 PM
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