Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Gone, Gone Gorenberg

Gershom Gorenberg is the author of "The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967–1977" that came out this year (my copy is coming back from N.J. in another two weeks). He has also been a debating partner of mine.

He doesn't hold opinions I agree with.

What is his thinking now?


...does Olmert’s signature policy of convergence have a future? Not likely, unless the Israeli prime minister can make another leap in his thinking. The prime minister should accept not only the need to end Israeli rule over the Palestinians, but also the need to negotiate with them on an agreed future.

Already, political support for unilateralism is cracking. Last week, cabinet ministers from Olmert’s own Kadima Party began publicly criticizing his policy of convergence. “I don’t believe in unilateral disengagement,” said Housing Minister Meir Sheetrit in a recent television interview. Polls show the same shift. Last September, just after the Gaza pullout, the monthly Peace Index survey found that a clear majority of Israelis favored that move. This May, the Peace Index showed a narrow plurality of 47 percent to 44 percent in favor of Olmert’s West Bank pull-out plan. By early July, support was down to 39 percent, with 47 percent opposed.

...Before the Gaza pullout, those on both the right and the left warned of the dangers. The right said terror groups would claim victory and turn Gaza into “Hamastan.” Critics on the left agreed, but added that unilateralism would undermine Palestinian moderates who were willing to negotiate, harming the chances of creating a stable Palestinian state.

...if Olmert wants peace with the Palestinians, he will need to negotiate rather than impose. If Israel is to pull out of the West Bank, it needs a stable Palestinian government there, one that is committed to peace and able to control its territory. The only way Palestinian moderates—either from Abbas’s Fatah movement, or Hamas pragmatists willing to accept Israel’s right to exist—can gain that kind of power is by showing that they alone can deliver what their public wants: full independence. For Israel, therefore, diplomacy is the only way to continue the battle against terror by other means.

...In order to salvage his idea of withdrawal, Olmert would need to go much further than he once intended. He will need to accept a solution close to the Geneva Accord, the unofficial agreement worked out between Israeli and Palestinian moderates in 2003, which means relinquishing nearly all of the West Bank, including most of the settlements.

See what I mean that he and I have opposing opinions?

Oy, Gottenyu.

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