Third Intifada Inevitable?
The New York Times has an important article entitled "Third Intifada Inevitable". It is important not so much for its headline prediction - after all predicting things in the Middle East is a notoriously imprecise art, and predictions without time lines are really no predictions at all (will this intifada start this summer, or next year, or next decade?) Rather it is important, and completely accurate, in describing the complete standstill that has come of the "Oslo Process", the "Peace Process", or any move toward justice, peace and reconciliation of the Israel / Palestine front.
Mr. Abbas’s political strategy was premised on the notion that security cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government would make Israel feel safer and remove its primary justification for continuing to occupy the West Bank, thereby clearing the way for a Palestinian state. Ironically, owing to the success of his efforts, many Israelis have had the luxury of forgetting that there is an occupation at all.
Thanks to the American- and European-financed peace that Mr. Abbas’s government has been keeping in the West Bank, Israelis have come to believe they can eat their cake and have it, too. A majority of citizens polled earlier this year said their state could remain Jewish and democratic without relinquishing any of the West Bank. Years of peace and quiet in Tel Aviv allowed hundreds of thousands of Israelis to take to the streets last summer to protest the high price of cottage cheese, rent and day care without uttering a word about Palestinians in the West Bank. The issue has ceased to be one of Israel’s primary security concerns. Mr. Netanyahu would have to be either politically suicidal or exceptionally forward-thinking to abandon a status quo with which a vast majority appears satisfied.
By contrast, Palestinians today see their leadership banging its head against a wall, hoping against reason that a bit more good behavior will bring about an independent state. As a result, longstanding debates over how to achieve national liberation — by comforting Israel or confronting it — have now been resolved. Palestinians of all political stripes are no longer arguing about whether to make Israel’s occupation more costly, but how.
... Palestinians have lost all hope that Israel will grant them a state. Each attempt to exert what little leverage Palestinians possess has been thwarted or has proved ineffective.
...For more militant Palestinian leaders, who never believed in the peace process, the lesson was clear: “Not an inch of Palestinian land will be liberated,” Mousa Abu Marzook, deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, told me, “while Israelis feel that controlling it exacts few costs.” Matti Steinberg, a former senior adviser to Israeli security chiefs, described Mr. Abbas as the most obliging, nonviolent Palestinian leader Israel has encountered and warned of taking him for granted. “The Israeli center is caught in a vicious cycle,” he said. “It argues that it cannot make peace while there is violence, and when there is no violence it sees little reason to make peace.”
Read the full article here.