Saturday, November 24, 2007

Israeli Delusion

The lethal delusion

Friday, 23rd November 2007

As the Annapolis tragic farce approaches, Natan Sharansky as ever tells it how it is:

I have never understood this strange reasoning: First strengthen the weak leader, by giving legitimization to anti-Israeli actions that he allows (or encourages, and sometimes even operates) and then, once the anti-Israeli positions have made him popular, expect that he will suddenly change his spots and lead his people determinedly toward the desired peace.

This distorted approach has become a kind of sacred cow. 'We must strengthen Abu Mazen,' say Israel's leaders as a kind of mantra. It is of no importance that along the way they are educating another generation of Palestinians to hatred, violence and the aspiration to destroy Israel. It is of no importance that the way to the strengthening is the diametric opposite of peace and dialogue. The main thing is that we are strengthening Abu Mazen.

The old argument of President Shimon Peres and Meretz MK Yossi Beilin and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on 'with whom to make peace, a strong leader or a weak leader' is no longer relevant. A look back over the years since the Oslo Accords shows clearly that the direction in which Palestinian society has marched is not the direction of peace. It was all in all just a hudna (truce) before another intifada. And when the society is becoming more extreme, what difference is it to us if the leader is strong or weak?

So many of Israel's leaders — no less than the west but for different reasons — inhabit a fantasy world in which they ignore the reality that is directly confronting them, because it is just too difficult and terrifying, in favour of wishful thinking. It is a particular feature of politicians on the left. That is why so many innocents tend to die on their watch, because they insist on believing that they can tame the men of violence even while such men continue to kill. As Sharansky says, it is not the absence of sufficient concessions that will doom Annapolis to failure — it is the fact that its whole premise is a piece of grossly distorted reasoning.

For Annapolis, read the entire Middle East tragedy -- and the west's key role in ensuring that it goes on and on.

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