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November 17, 2007

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

By: Bernard Chazelle

In this must-read review of David Shulman's "Dark Hope: Working for Peace in Israel and Palestine," Avishai Margalit reminds us why periods of calm in the Middle East are always a bad time for peace while periods of violence are never a good time for peace.

Raviv Druker, an Israeli TV journalist, recently had access to polls [Ariel] Sharon never published. They reveal that in March 2002, at a moment when the second intifada was particularly violent, 70 percent of the respondents were willing to accept such a settlement [relinquishing 94 percent of the territories to the Palestinians in exchange for peace]; but when the poll was repeated in May 2005, a period of calm (just before Israel's disengagement from Gaza), only 44 percent were willing to settle on those terms.

Meanwhile, when all is not quiet on the eastern front,

[No prominent Israeli leader], whether of the center-right or center-left, is willing to make serious concessions to the Palestinians in times of violence, lest he or she be perceived as weak.

What to do then? Tom Friedman knows:

A nonviolent Palestinian movement appealing to the conscience of the Israeli silent majority would have delivered a Palestinian state 30 years ago.

Again, Avishai Margalit:

At the beginning of the first intifada, in 1988, Israel expelled Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian-American child psychologist who advocated Gandhian tactics for resisting the occupation. The Israeli government understood right away that nonviolent tactics had the potential to embarrass Israel, and was determined to stop him.

Posted at November 17, 2007 02:28 PM | TrackBack

Where are all the Palestinian Mandelas?

Posted by: mathpants at November 17, 2007 06:02 PM

Well, maybe, WE, YOU and I, should just STOP PAYING BOTH SIDES to go out and kill each other. YOU KNOW, quit sending them guns and ammo.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 17, 2007 07:01 PM