Here's part of the memo with my comments:
From: Jeremy Bowen
To: Editorial Board; Newsg World-Bureaux-Eds; Newsg World Asseds; News Leadership Group; Mark Byford & PA; Simon Wilson-NEWS; Jerusalem Bureau;
Sent: Fri Jan 05 15:16:16 2007
Subject: FW: Mini briefing on the Israeli and Palestinians
2007 has started as unpromisingly as 2006 ended. The outlook is bleak because of fundamental instabilities and weaknesses on both sides.
Israel's major military incursion into Ramallah on Thursday, killing four Palestinians after a botched arrest operation, was a reminder of the non stop pressures of the Israeli occupation. [On the same day, some 9 Palestinian Arabs were killed by each other, but that is not a "reminder" for anything for Bowen. -EoZ]
What is new in the last year, and will be one of the big stories in the coming twelve months, is the way that Palestinian society, which used to draw strength from resistance to the occupation, is now fragmenting. [Notice how he is glamorizing the terrorists as being the unifying hope for Palestinian Arab society. -EoZ]
The reason is the death of hope, caused by a cocktail of Israel's military activities, land expropriation and settlement building – and the financial sanctions imposed on the Hamas led government which are destroying Palestinian institutions that were anyway flawed and fragile.
The result is that internecine violence between Hamas and Fatah is getting worse. On Thursday six people were killed in clashes between them in Gaza. The death of a major figure on either side would spark something much more serious. [Bowen is saying that Palestinian Arabs are unthinking animals who cannot be held responsible for their murderous actions. When they slaughter each other, it is because of Israeli policies - they have no choice, according to Bowen. - EoZ]
Olmert wants to replace Peretz at the defence ministry with Ehud Barak, the former Prime Minister. Barak is a retired general, former head of the Israeli army and its most decorated soldier. (Among his many exploits was disguising himself as a woman during a raid in Beirut to kill various Palestinians). The feeling in Israel is that 2007 will be a year of wars, so aside from coalition politics Olmert wants to have a warrior next to him when they make the tough decisions. The intray could include whether or not to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. [What an interesting example of Barak's experience - that he killed "various Palestinians" in 1973 who happened to be members of the PLO during its heyday of airline hijackings and terrorizing the West. - EoZ]
The political crises in Israel - and violent political disintegration among the Palestinians - are not just internal matters. They make it impossible for the Israelis and the Palestinians to engage in a meaningful political dialogue, assuming that their protestations that they want one are true. (The one meeting that Olmert has had with Mahmoud Abbas can hardly be called a process.) [One would imagine that the fact that the elected leader of the Palestinian Authority has said hundreds of times that he wants to see Israel destroyed is possibly a contributing factor to the lack of "meaningful political dialogue," but Bowen would say that it is only because of Israel's political crises and the PalArab political problems which we've already established were Israel's fault. - EoZ]
Only strong Israeli and Palestinian leaders would be able to make the tough choices necessary to relieve the serious pressures that are building up in the holy land. To persuade their people to make the necessary concessions, they would need a strong political base, which neither Olmert nor Abbas possess.
Because they are weak - many would say lame ducks - don't expect any progress. And since an uneasy status quo cannot hold, no political progress will equal more violence. [Again, worshiping at the altar of useless negotiations when one side has made it abundantly clear that they will never accept living permanently side-by-side with the other. - EoZ]