Where we are now in the Mideast

Former Palestinian president Abbas’s term ended in January. Already there was no longer any functioning Palestinian national government, but now there is not even a figleaf.

Whoever tried to sell me as a bill of goods was dealing with damaged merchandise. Where we are now is that the Amerikan public does not accept atheist divorced candidates with no kids. There were going to be enough problems without background fabrications about me.

True, the political temperature in the united $tates is headed for hotter. Newsweek’s cover for February 16 2009 says, “we are all socialists now.” Where there was once 0.1% consideration for socialism, maybe now there is 1% and moving liberal or social-democratic programs through Congress is easier.

My point is that there is not much sense putting me in a trade as is. One can fantasize but one should not conduct trades based purely on fantasies when my enemies are real and backstabbers. The same is true about Mideast deals.

There is a train wreck in the Mideast. Not only is there no moving train, but pieces of the train lie scattered on the ground.

For example, I too thought about why I$rael and the Palestinians do not do the Schalit trade first and let the rockets continue to fly. The idea has some appeal because it leaves matters at the prisoners for prisoners level, no question of legitimate institutions. However, it is to move prisoners from one prison to another called the Gaza Strip, which is like one gigantic prison with borders controlled by I$rael. In addition, Hamas ends up in a position of deprioritizing the economic needs of its own people.

Netanyahu has announced prioritizing economics in the West Bank. In this sense, the current government’s proposal of doing “Schalit minus” or “Schalit first” is also isolating the Gaza Strip economically. It’s another reason Livni or no Livni, I$rael needs sanctions placed on it. Otherwise, it seems that both major I$raeli political constellations feel they are exhanging something for nothing. The Arabs need a chip that the I$raeli people can see. That would relieve pressure on I$raeli leaders and Arab leaders alike.

Where we are now, if I$rael offers proportionate per capita division of the land and a “transfer” of Palestinians, I would support I$rael regardless of what the I$raeli liberals or Abbas would say. That’s an example of going out on a limb, an advance that would rally world opinion toward I$rael’s side. Credit would go where credit is due.

I do not need to say that I would support I$rael on Schalit after the crossings open, because the Palestinians have no self-interest in keeping Schalit. I$rael holds a five digit figure of Palestinian prisoners. Gaza has no reason not to trade for parliamentarians and natural Palestinian leaders among others.

I$rael needs to look at the pieces of the trainwreck on the ground as they are. It’s no good thinking there is still an Abbas figleaf. As it is, the split-Gaza-off-and-wreck-it-economically strategy is too obvious.


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