25 May 2007

The six-day war is not over? True.

I've read with great interest Jonathan Freedland's last article. And (to bring on my head all the right-wingers around the Jewish blogosphere), I have to agree with the main statement: yes, victory in 1967 was as much curse as blessing.

Unfortunately, this is probably the only point I could agree with. I'm not refering to the important omissions (on purpose or not) I have found in the article, such as the Arab nations' amazing response to the results of the 6 days war. We all remember the Three Nos of Khartoum conference, that took place a few months after the war and declared, against all reason: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it. I do not mean Jonathan's doubtful statement on "the hints from Hamas of possible compromise" - we get about 10 to 15 flying hints a day lately, starting with the day when Hamas decided that this is the only way to avoid escalation of the in-fighting with Fatah it's facing with a good chance of losing.

What I really mean is that according to Jonathan, in his description of the mortal, political and moral disasters we are facing, he misses the most important and, frankly, insoluble in my eyes, problem that Israel is facing.

The forty years that have passed since the war have given birth to two generations of Israelis that are used to our control of the West Bank and Gaza. I am not going currently into the rights or wrongs of the occupation or, alternatively, into the rights or wrongs of the victors vs. the vanquished - this is not the purpose of this post.

Simply enough, we have a very significant and growing slice of the population that considers the occupied territories to be a rightful part of Israel - whether because of historical / religious links or due to the right of the victor or, for some, due to considerations of security - valid or not.

The short, roughly half of Israel's population (probably more, if Arab-Israeli citizens are not counted) are against any far-reaching territorial compromise with Palestinians. This part of the nation is growing steadily since the withdrawal from Gaza and its so-far disastrous consequences. We can decry the fact that Hamas, instead of winning a resounding battle in the propaganda war by pushing for a peaceful and prosperous Gaza that could become not only a good neighbor, but a palpable proof of possibility of further steps on the way to a two state solution, decided to choose the way they know best - terror and war. But the sad fact is that this withdrawal was far from a success in any possible roadmap to the peace.

I fail to see the Al-Qaida threat that Jonathan describs as mortal danger. Aside of a possible Iranian nuke, Israel is not in any danger of military defeat, no matter how much succor Hezbollah and its ilk get from their imaginary military exploits. Whether the foe that calls for the destruction of Israel is named Hamas or Al-Qaida is not really that important.

The nation is divided, and this is the most important and tragic result of the six-day war. The price of this division is the political stalemate, exacerbated by poor leadership. Of course, Hamas is making a big mistake, assuming that the weak leadership extends to military response to provocation, but this is a different issue.

As long as the nation is divided, as long as we cannot empower our leaders in their decision making process, as long as our only possible partner in negotiation - the Palestinian people - continue with self-destructive violence, which is as was, and is consistently proven, there will be no peace.

Unfortunately, this is the main point the article missed. .