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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Nonsense in a book review in WaPo

Sari Nusseibeh reviews Jeremy Ben-Ami's book in the Washington Post. (Don't bother buying the book. You can read some excerpts at Israel Matzav, get the gist of the book and save yourself the money.)

I just wanted to point out a laughable part of the review - or it would be laughable if so many people didn't actually believe it:

Given the recent rapprochement between Fatah and Hamas, and the radical changes in the Arab world, there has never been a moment in the history of the conflict when the Arab side has been more ready for a settlement — and the Israelis less willing to agree to one.

Say what?

  • Fatah and Hamas didn't agree on anything. Hamas still controls Gaza completely. And if they did unify, that would make peace even less likely. Or does Nusseibeh really believe that Hamas has moderated in its daily demands for Israel to be destroyed? Perhaps he should read what Hamas was saying just last week.
  • How exactly are the changes in the Arab world helping peace? Perhaps in a decade or so, if democracy and freedom really takes hold, we can think about the Arab world accepting Israel. But in case Nusseibeh hasn't noticed, the demonstrators are even less willing to accept Israel than their old leaders.
  • A settlement involves compromise. The Arab world has not offered any concrete compromises to Israel, and neither has the PLO. If they are so "ready for a settlement" then why are they acting so intransigently?
  • Israel's position under Netanyahu is pretty much the same as it was under Olmert and under Barak. Netanyahu may be more adamant about some specifics but the outline has not changed much, and that outline has been continuously rejected out of hand by Palestinian Arab leaders.
That's a lot of nonsense packed into a single sentence.