Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Edelstein on Israel/Palestine

Jonathan Edelstein is back from traveling.
Yesterday's message about the slow process of reconcilliation between Israel and Palestine is hopeful.

I'd prefer that Hamas didn't exist, but it does, and in practical terms, Israel doesn't have the capacity to eliminate it or prevent it from being influential. Given those facts, the realistic thing for the Israeli government to do is to talk to Hamas, and put Hamas in a position where it has to moderate its positions. Talking to Hamas officials as members of government - but only as members of government - seems like a way to do this; Hamas will have to join the PA government in order to have a say in national affairs, and it will have to acknowledge the two-state solution in order to join the government. The elections may, ironically, be the first step in defanging Hamas even as it makes political gains.

Most people I know could not explain the difference between the PLO and the PA, even though they read and hear the terms used all the time. The media tosses around terms like Hamas, Hizbollah, Baath, PLO and Insurgent as though readers know exactly what those terms mean. Most readers, unfortunately, skim over such terms and regard them as a string of synonyms. We haven't progressed too far from the day when a critical mass of our population spoke of a Yellow Peril as carelessly as they might talk about the hurricane season.

The face of peace is not a pretty sight. The face of peace is covered with blood and scar tissue. As it peeks out from the ruins of a conflict, the face of peace is not a kissable visage. People turn away in disgust because they don't want to look at the twisted and broken image they see. After all, it felt so good to be at war. So right. So satisfying. This peace thing is hard to endure.

I hate to say it but the death of Arafat was the beginning of peace.
Somebody has to worry about taking away the garbage and stewarding everyday affairs of running the country. This is the hard lesson that Hamas seems to be learning.

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