Thursday, November 30, 2006

Gushingly Breathless

Well, "gushingly breathless" is how I describe the type of writing from abroad that (a) praises radical left-wingers in Israel, preferrably the intellectual or literary type; (b) has no idea what the conflict between we Zionists and the Arabs is really all about; and (c) urges upon Israel the dangerous policies of folly and recklessness that, in most instances, they would want practiced in their own backyards.

Writing like this, by one Rory McCarthy

Amos Oz, one of Israel's most prominent novelists, said it might be "the first flicker of light at the edge of the darkness". The ceasefire between the Israeli military and Palestinian fighters is only two days old, it only covers the Gaza Strip, not the still-occupied West Bank, and already it has been breached a number of times.

Yet some in Israel and among the Palestinians are hoping that the end to a particularly brutal round of violence, five months of clashes in Gaza that have claimed at least 380 lives, may be the beginning of a return to peace talks. If so, it would be the first time for major negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in the six years since the start of the second intifada.

"Perhaps a change on both sides is occurring at present," said Oz, writing in yesterday's Yedioth Ahronoth, a popular Israeli newspaper. "The feeling of impasse and the fear of a vicious cycle apparently is shared by both sides." If the ceasefire was followed by other key steps it could be, he said, "the threshold of a new process".

Most Israelis and Palestinians understand, he said, what a future agreement would look like: two states on the 1967 borders with "reciprocal changes", two capitals in Jerusalem, no "right of return" but likewise the end of "most of the settlements" on the West Bank. But leaders on both sides have failed to move convincingly towards that future.

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