Israel's Tragedy: Even If She Wins She Loses - Spectator Blogs

21 November 2012

5:10 PM

21 November 2012

5:10 PM

Next time someone bores on about the so-called decline of the British literary novel you might consider pointing out to your dinner-party companion that this is not such a bad thing. It suggests, if the thesis is true, that there aren’t too many problems in this realm that are still worth exploring, far less solving.

Consider, by contrast, the twin and warring agonies of Israel and Palestine. Is there a better, bigger, subject for any novelist working today than this? I suspect not which is one reason why the likes of Amos Oz and David Grossman (and, doubtless, others too) are vital in every sense of the word. These dual tragedies evoke terror and pity in equal measure. There are few innocents and many guilty parties. Injustice is met by injustice, abomination by abomination and perhaps the only certainty is that though things cannot continue as they are they probably will anyway. Hopeless in Gaza, indeed.

This should not be confused with a soppy sense of hand-wringing moral equivalence. The point is that asking questions as natural as Who Started It? is, in the end, pointless. They all started it and none of them are minded to end it. Perhaps because none of them can end it.

A famous detective once suggested that when everything that is impossible has been eliminated whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Except that in this case whatever remains is just as impossible as everything that has been eliminated. Absent an entire series of improbabilities the Two State Solution has perished. Yet no other so-called solution is possible either. A One State Endgame is impossible. At least, it is impossible if Israel is to remain a democratic, Jewish state. And if Israel cannot remain that then Israel, as it is both known and imagined, cannot remain at all.

I dare say this would not trouble some. But it troubles many of us nonetheless. We are where we are and relitigating 1947 does no-one any good. In that limited respect there is a comparison with Ulster: even an imperfect peace process could not begin without admitting that Northern Ireland existed and arguing that it should not have been born in the first place was both pointless and counter-productive.

But if rockets fired from Gaza can hit Tel Aviv you need to be a bear of little brain not to appreciate why Israelis might wonder what would happen if it relinquished the Occupied Territories on the West Bank. The Occupation  – it deserves capitalisation, incidentally – is both impossible to sustain and impossible to relinquish. It is both killing Israel yet also sustaining Israel.

No wonder that, in general, Israel does not receive a good press at the best of times but the sense that the western press is inveterately prejudiced against Israel has become something close to a self-fulfilling prophecy that in turn justifies any Israeli action. It sometimes seems that Israel’s staunchest defenders judge Israel not on the merits of its policies but on the extent to which those policies outrage wrong-thinking pundits and papers in Great Britain or the United States. The more they howl the more this is proof Israel is taking the only course open to it! I can appreciate the appeal of this kind of confirmation-bias but I doubt it does Israel much good.


And the truth is that none of the sides in this multi-faceted fuck-up have a monopoly on truth. Each, in their way, is a victim. Israel really is surrounded by hostile forces, many of whom would welcome its obliteration. Gaza really is a ghastly place and, if you like, some kind of unofficial internment camp. There really are few grounds for hope. On all sides there is a Lutheran conviction that here we stand, we can do no other.

The peace process – such as it is – has not emboldened Fatah. The more moderate Palestinian factions have been – or are in the process of being – supplanted by Hamas. Israel’s disinclination to talk about settlements in the Occupied Territories has contributed to this but it is also true that quasi-state-building on the West Bank has neither done enough for the Palestinians in an economic sense nor yet offered a plausible path to real statehood.

And yet from an Israeli perspective you can see how this makes a ghastly kind of sense. Mahmoud Abbas has been marginalised and, frankly, this suits both Netanyahu and Hamas. Negotiation and compromise are not Netanyahu’s strengths. Talking demands a certain level of trust and good faith and a willingness to concede that the other side might occasionally have a point. This is not Netanyahu’s style. He is psychologically ill-equipped for this role. So, of course, is Hamas. Suggesting that Netanyahu and Hamas need one another is too simplistic; nevertheless they understand one another. Their relationship has a certain grim clarity. (This does not make them equals: I suspect Netanyahu is often mistaken; Hamas is invariably wicked.)

If Israel could crush Hamas prospects for some kind of solution might be bonnier. The PLO might then have space to make concessions themselves. But since, at best, it seems probable that Israel can only contain Hamas (until the next conflagration) this too remains a moot point. As Aaron David Miller says, Hamas won’t make peace with Israel, and Abbas can’t.

So, from Israel’s perspective, this is not about “moving forward” or anything as ambitious as that. On the contrary, it’s about preserving the status quo. If that status quo is unsatisfactory it is at least comparatively tolerable. A known known if you will.  Israel can only tolerate the rain of rockets landing on Sderot and other towns for so long. At some point it needs to respond even if it knows that doing so will only kick the problem down the road.

Reminding Hamas that their provocations come at a price comes at a price too.  Professor Alan Johnson correctly points out that a “proportional” response is not the same as a “symmetrical” response. This is true. Yet it is typical of the lose-lose situation in which Israel finds itself that any response is immediately taken to be “disproportionate” and that this further undermines Israel’s “legitimacy” in the “court” of international public opinion. Sometimes, you can only win if you do not play the game. Military weakness is a political strength and military strength a political weakness. It is easy to wonder if Israel is being rope-a-doped.

Even so, Israeli complaints that Israel is held to a higher standard than its enemies are not groundless. It is! But it is held to that higher standard at least in part because Israel invites the world to hold Israel to a higher standard. When you set such store about being the only democracy in the region you should not be surprised when the inhabitants of other democracies respond by thinking your actions might be governed by the norms that dictate the actions of other democracies. Of course this is also unfair: other democracies do not face the wretched choices Israel must contemplate. Nevertheless, the double standards by which Israel is measured are, at least in part, a consequence of Israel’s own choices and preferences.

This too is a problem of legitimacy. Israel insist upon its democratic legitimacy even as it undermines its claims to that legitimacy. That it may be forced to act in such a fashion does little to assist its future. There is a heavy risk here: at some point the outside world may give up on Israel, concluding that the combination of Israel’s actions and the cost of supporting the Jewish state make that support more costly than it is worth. To hell with them and their problems. And that would jeopardise Israel’s future just as much as it is threatened by Hamas and other Palestinian irredentists. What might be good for Likud domestically is not necessarily good for Israel as a whole.

This is not a battle between unambiguous good and evil. Those of us instinctively sympathetic to Israel’s plight must also appreciate that a different Israeli government would face just choices no less unattractive as those endured by the present Israeli government. Those of us – you – instinctively sympathetic to the Palestinians might pause to wonder whether killing Jews bolsters the Palestinian cause.

Alas, each side is imprisoned by the fear of selling out. This helps persuade all parties to the conflict to love their positions not wisely but all too well. And so we carry on, pretending there are grounds for hope even as events should persuade us that there’s next to no prospect that all passion will be spent soon or that any of the sides to this will find grounds for hope. Political will is not enough and there are some problems that cannot be solved by hoping for greater and more heroic dollops of political will or the suggestion that if only everyone came to their senses everything might be different and better. The problem here is not that the participants are acting rationally but that they are all too bloody rational. When the costs of peace are greater than can be supported are you surprised when peace is not on the agenda?




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Show comments
  • T.Botham

    Mind your metaphors. The conflict is not a novel.

    The “agonies” of Palestinians and Israelis are not “twin.”

    The poverty, unemployment, intermittent shortages and social pathologies which immiserate the Arabs living in Gaza, the West Bank and, even more intensely, as refugees or even citizens in Arab states are very much worse than anything the Israelis suffer. It is all entirely self-induced, thanks to despotic government, which is the heart of tribal and sectarian culture. Arabs have nowhere mastered good governance, or free economy. Were Israel not to exist, the Arabs would still be in social distress, whatever national arrangement imposed on that population. The nation is not an organic – for want of a better term – political unit for them. All Arab nations have a ruling tribe, sect, or clan living in fear of insurrection from other tribes, sects or clans. The Palestinian agony of not having a state for “self-determination,” is a fraud perpetrated on the poor to give form to their desperation and an enemy to blame it on. The agonies of death and injury are invited and exploited to prove the cause. Their agony is public street theatre. As Charles Krauthammer calls it, the “pornography of grief.” There is, one assumes (hopes?), personal sorrow behind the Palestinian public pride – and personal profit – in their children’s martyrdom.

    Looking at Israeli “agony”: it is the pain of death of its soldiers and civilians felt as a personal sorrow; it is the deep injustice of being condemned as genocidal murderers while their explicitly genocidal enemies are exonerated; it is the outrage of historical, moral or political equivalency; it is the bitter understanding that reality must be suppressed to compromise with lies because – as you say, their choice is either death or moral condemnation and the eliminationist incitement it brings (followed by death or exile). As with medieval witch-hunts: confession to a lie saves you for hanging.

    The two sets of “agonies” are not “warring.” Agony is used on one side only. It is the propaganda equivalent of the rockets (no longer called “homemade,” I notice): valuable symbolically. Israel is at war where its citizens and Arab enemies are really killed. The Arabs are at metaphor, where real blood writes their narrative.

    • neemat

      there is no need to differentiate between which sorrow is genuine, injustice and loss is pitiful in the name of all humanity. It disgusting to claim that the Palestinians obtain ‘personel profit’ for the loss of their children. Even if it is true, we can’t dismiss their genuine despair and a mother’s plight. We have no right to judge which despair is genuine. Only they know, but we can sympathize.

  • John

    Can anyone explain why it was perfectly all right for Turkey to occupy and then annex Eastern Thrace, expelling or killing all the Greeks from this territory, after she had thrashed the Greeks in the Greco-Turkish war, shortly after the end of the Great War and yet viewed as anathema for Israel to do exactly the same thing under exactly the same circumstances in the so-called “occupied territories”?. Eastern Thrace remains part of Turkey to this day and no one says one word about it – not even the unfortunate Greeks. Yet the newspapers and the broadcast news never cease moaning about Israeli “occupation” of land that was already theirs by right, even before it had been grabbed by Jordan – illegally – and still so presumably, after they had marched in and taken it over after yet another unprovoked attack on the part of the Muslims..

  • Beefeater

    What are the “costs of peace” to Hamas – or to Fatah?
    What are the costs of supporting Israel as the Jewish state to the rest of the world?
    Are these measured in the same currency as the costs to Israel of being forced by the world to concede to a mortal enemy?

    Ceterum censeo Hamas esse delendam.

  • Yuval Sterling

    Exactly. Except for what would happen in a one state “solution” – that’s obvious – there will be civil war and after Arab countries would interfere, there would be a territory with a Jewish majority and a territory with an Arab majority and we could split 🙂

  • andagain

    Absent an entire series of improbabilities the Two State Solution has perished. Yet no other so-called solution is possible either. A One State Endgame is impossible. At least, it is impossible if Israel is to remain a democratic, Jewish state.

    By that argument, the Israelis should be aiming, in the long term, for the Two State solution. So why did they put all those settlements on the West Bank? There cannot be a two state solution as long as they are there.

    They make sense only if the long term goal is an apartheid Jewish state. Or ethnic cleansing.

    Of course, it may be doing the Israelis an injustice to assume that they are sensible.

    • Barry

      There were settlements in Gaza, Sinai etc and they have all been removed for the chance of real peace. The Hamas response to this were missiles into Israel and the PLO response prior to the security Barrier was the 2000 intifada including suicide bombers. By contrast Egypt under Sadat after the 1973 war forbad any violence against Israel and Jordan the same for longer.Contrast Palestinian conduct and Hezbollah in the North. Remember too that the much vaunted 1967 lines exist between Lebanon and yet Hezbollah will not allow peace with Lebanon.

    • Augustus

      You will, of course, agree that while Israel and Western democracies cherish life, Hamas and the PLO consecrate martyrdom, suicide bombings and the virulent use of human shields. Also, unlike Western democracies, Hamas, the PLO and the Arab Middle East enshrine hate-education and fanatic bigotry toward the “infidel” Christian, Jew, Buddhist or Muslim of different persuasion. Contrary to the ideal of peaceful coexistence, Hamas and Islam at-large intend to bring Muslims and all “infidels” to total spiritual and physical submission (the word ‘Islam’ means submission, or surrender). Therefore, Middle East Arab/Muslim regimes consider the lifeline of democracy – freedom of expression/criticism, religion, press and political association – a lethal threat. The Middle East has never experienced Muslim democracy during the last 1,400 years.

      What is ‘sensible’ is for Israel to remain strong amongst this sea of undemocratic
      violent political and social upheaval. A strong Israel extends the strategic hand of the U.S. in
      the Middle East, at a time when Arab allies of the U.S. are increasingly
      threatened by Hamas-like terrorists. On the other hand, a stronger Hamas or PLO
      would deepen the penetration of Russia, China and North Korea into the Middle

      • andagain

        What is ‘sensible’ is for Israel to remain strong amongst this sea of undemocratic violent political and social upheaval.

        The IDF keeps Israel strong. The settlements just justify attacks on it. As I said, settling the West Bank makes no sense unless they plan to get rid of the existing inhabitants.

        • T. Botham

          ?? The settlements are a pretext for attacks on Israel. The attacks cannot be justified. Removal of the settlements – Jews have every legal right to settle on that land – is an act of raw governmental power and illegitimate. The removal of Jews from Gaza was an illegal act.
          As has been pointed out many, many times: should – heaven forfend – there be territory ceded by Israel to a Palestinian state, that state takes the territory with the inhabitants. The new state may do what it will with them – subject to world opinion only and the willingness of other powers to support or constrain them. No doubt world opinion would support kicking the Jews back to Israel; not allowing them the vote; allowing them dhimmi status; razing their houses; confiscating the businesses; distributing property to favoured politicians; setting up arsenals against Israel on that land, too sacred to allow Jews on it.

      • neemat

        hi, first of all, I am currently studying the conflict myself, I honestly think the situation has gone out of hand. Being a british muslim myself I agree that both sides have some blames and their needs to be some reconciliation that adresses both needs. I thinks it is entirely wrong to criticise Islam, Islam has nothing to do with it. Islam has been used for many wrong things but I dont think its right being Muslim myself to criticise the teachings of the religion. I am opened minded british individual that is not critical of the jewish religion. In fact, according to our religion we are brothers and sisters. So, its not about the religion at all. My religion has taught me democratic values such as equality, justice and tolerance not the country itself. As for the term ‘submission’, ‘submission’ is accompanied with will. if you choose to practice another religion or build a place of worship different from Islam, then thats fine. So, I think its important to take away religion as being negative. There are many elements of Islam that are a democracy but it really depends on how it is exercised. So if Hamas chooses to use violence then that’s nothing to do with the religion itself. I’m not the first to advocate this.

  • Okey

    The author is not well-informed about Netanyahu.
    Netanyahu’s image is utterly inconsistent with his actions and inaction.
    He has made enormous, dangerous concessions.
    He allowed Hamas years of a free hand in building up its stockpiles and infrastructure.
    He has declared his support for a “Palestinian” state, knowing that such a state would become a terrorists’ nest.

  • Augustus

    “Injustice is met by injustice”

    What a pretentious remark! During the long days of the Diaspora, Jewish vision and national horizons were either short-lived or closed. Transience characterized Jewish life. After 2,000 years they finally returned home to change this pattern, instead of settling for temporary solutions that only increased the
    appetites for conflict of the desert tribes who place little value on human life. But the return to Zion was not just for dreamers, it was also for fighters because even a ladder to the heavens needs to be placed on the ground of reality. Israel must be serious and determined in any decision to eradicate terrorism in
    Gaza and send clear signals to Iran. For many decades Israeli leaders have struggled to explain to their neighbours that Jews in Israel are not Crusaders from Europe on a religious mission, and they
    are certainly not tourists who, upon receiving travel warnings, go back to their
    ‘home countries’. Unfortunatey, the many agreements and understandings that have been signed between Israel, Arab states,
    and the Palestinian leadership, are not worth the price of the paper on which
    they were written.The IDF has the operational and military capability to completely stop rocket fire from the Gaza Strip for good. The sooner the better, because no nation pays the price for some of its parts as Israel does.

  • Fergal F Davis

    “On all sides there is a Lutheran conviction that here we stand, we can do no other.”

    V. nice. Is it an intentional invocation/subversion of (Former Irish Min for Foreign Affairs) Gerry Collins “Israel & the Palestinians? why can’ they get along in the spiriti of Christian understanding?”

  • FF42

    A One State Endgame is impossible… if Israel is to remain a democratic, Jewish state.

    You then mention Northern Ireland. Exactly so. No-one now promotes Northern Ireland as a democratic Protestant state. I would welcome Israel as a democratic, inclusive state for all its citizens. We would be relitigating 2012, not 1947.

    • andagain

      According to wikipedia there are 10 million Palestinians and 5 million Jewish Israelis.

      A one state solution would be undemocratic, or dominated by Palestinians, or both. Israel cannot be a democratic, inclusive state if it includes the West Bank.

      • FF42

        Why not? Democratic, inclusive states are good states, I suggest. You either have one of them where Jewish and Arab populations are roughly balanced. Or you have two where one is mostly Jewish with a sizeable Arab minority and one that is mostly Arab with a sizeable Jewish minority. The one state idea assumes most people, including most Jews, would prefer the first, in principle.

        Even if you accept the idea of one state, there’s a lot of confidence building to go through first. Jews would want to be confident that their rights and lifestyles will be maintained in the new state. Concrete progress depends on buying into the idea first. We’re not even at that stage yet. But that’s where we can start.

        • andagain

          Jews would want to be confident that their rights and lifestyles will be maintained in the new state.

          They would be outnumbered two to one by Palestinians, and would be entirely dependent on the hope that the people who floated to the top in Palestinian politics felt like being nice to them. Which is not something that I personally would bet my livelihood on.

          In any event, a country in which the Jews can be destroyed whenever the non-Jews turn against them can have nothing common with Israel but the name. The whole point of Israel, from an Israeli point of view, is that it is a country in which that can not happen, whether or not the non-Jews want it to be.

          That “new state” would put Jewish Israelis in exactly the same position they would face if they were conquered outright by the Palestinians. Such a country would not be an inclusive Israel. It would be an independent Greater Palestine, with the Jews in whatever position the Palestians cared to put them in.

          • FF42

            I do understand your point of view. Jews are in control of their destiny in Israel and nothing will change unless they want it. But the implication is that Israel has choices and I am speculating that at some point, not now, Israel will change its mind.

            Israel is comfortable with its current choice, which includes having to deal with those that it refuses to share its space with. At some point it may get tired of this. Unlike Israel with its powerful and prosperous state, Palestinians have had no successes, except for two things: They have hung on and are not going to disappear, so that Israel has to deal with them, somehow. They have convinced the overwhelming part of the region that the situation is an iniquity that needs to be addressed. I doubt, for example, the US will see Israel’s problems as its own forever. In its own national interest it will seek to engage with the majority of the region that wants change.

            In South Africa and Northern Ireland, the lot in charge eventually threw its lot in with the other lot, for the kind of reasons I have mentioned. I wonder whether the same may happen in Israel, unlikely as it seems now.

            By the way, this conversation has been very enlightening to me. Many thanks.

            • andagain

              Nice to be in a thoughtful conversation for a change. To follow up on your South Africa analogy, a “one-state solution” means creating a state very like South Africa,with the Israeli Jews in the same position as South African whites.

              How could that make them any more secure than they are in their current position? If such a state was run undemocratically by them, they could no longer describe Israel as a democratic state when trying to drum up support, so they would be in a weaker position than they are now. On the other hand, if such as state was run by majority rule, they would have delivered themselves into the hands of their enemies.

              Either way, they would be worse off than they are with the current arrangement.

              As for Ulster, note that neither side really needs to trust the other. They only really need to trust London to enforce an agreement that it cannot, in any event, run away from.

  • hateignoramus

    Fantastic article. well thought through, was a pleasure to read.

    Remember it isnt only Netanyahu that has failed, indeed if he was dictator in chief then your point of both sides (He and Hamas) psychologically unable to make peace would hold more credence. Not one Prime Minister from the Left, Centre or the Right have been able to make peace.

    The arabs suckle their children on the tits of hatred in their schools and mosques. .YOU CANT EXPECT 2 GENERATIONS OF PEOPLE TO MAKE PEACE WITH THOSE THEY HAVE BEEN TOLD AND INDOCTRINATED AS MONSTERS,AND MONKEYS… surely??????!

    You cant expect children to be brought up watching on mainstream TV, mickey Mouse cartoons of Jews drinking the blood of Muslim kids. to then make peace with those same people in their adulthood.

    someone tell me how peace can be possible. this is not an environment conducive to peace makers. period.

  • Andy Wightman

    This is a welcome reflection on the future that avoids attempting to play the blame game. What struck me was the following.

    “Absent an entire series of improbabilities the Two State Solution has perished. Yet no other so-called solution is possible either. A One State Endgame is impossible. At least, it is impossible if Israel is to remain a democratic, Jewish state. And if Israel cannot remain that then Israel, as it is both known and imagined, cannot remain at all.”

    In here lies I think the eventual solution. I too think the 2 state solution has perished. A cursory examination of the current map suggests that. Plus the Palestinians hold on to the right of return – a right which is hard to argue against in law but which in practice looks impossible. that leaves us with the one state solution. You dismiss this on the basis that this is impossible “if Israel is to remain a democratic, Jewish state”. The problem is that Israel is not this at the moment. Not only is is an oxymoron but already the Arab population of Israel is over 20% and growing. If we are speculating about an endgame it is hard to see anything other than a one state solution being the eventual outcome. Difficult though that may seem for Israel’s current leaders, a new generation of younger Israelis are increasingly tired and frustrated with hard-line politics.

    • Augustus

      Israel is not the bad guy here. Israel needs to be defended from Muslim aggression and lies. Reality is not a ‘shades-of-gray’ concept.There is right and there is wrong. People who want to come up with ‘shades-of-gray’ hairsplitting are trying to force through rationalization the square peg of reality into the round hole of self-justification for their own preferred behaviour or perceptions. War is a terrible thing, but refusing to fight for what is right against evil is always a far worse thing.

    • Daniel Maris

      It’s v. easy to argue against the right to return in law because the UN specifically approved the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state out of the Palestine Mandate territory.

      I do however think there is scope for a kind of federal solution, if there were good will on both sides (which there isn’t at the moment). One can imagine a solution composed of:

      1. Current Arab residents in Israel becoming Palestinian citizens with special status.

      2. A limited number of Arabs allowed to “return” to Israel, but linked to Jews being allowed to returned to Arab countries i.e. probably wouldn’t happen.

      3. Jewish settlements on West Bank allowed to stay. The residents become or remain Israeli citizens.

      4. Jerusalem becomes a dual capital for both states, and the central area acquires international status as originally envisaged, recognising that there is also a role for Christian communities.

  • Daniel Maris

    There is too much equivalence here. The Arabs could have had their separate state decades ago, if they had been prepared to accept a Jewish state.

    The problem now is that only one side has a genocidal intent – and time is on their side. It seems to me the chances of Israel surviving diminish by the day. I know some numskulls here think that because Israel can turn Mecca to glass, they have the trump hand. But that is not the case. Hamas and Hezbollah can do what they are doing, chipping away, testing, drawing back, propagandising, chipping away, testing…they can carry on for years. Gaza exists on its grievances.

  • Augustus

    This article seems to be travelling down a stale, crotchety and malignant road. A road for people who are out to save Israel from itself and despite itself; a
    road that is paved with self-serving distortions and a great deal of faux pas
    moralizing. It’s the postulation of a world where Israel is always radicalizing
    the situation; where Israel is eroding the middle ground; where Israel is making
    agreements impossible; where Israel is stuck in the patterns of the past. Of course, it is always much easier to prevail on the one who consistently takes the high road to turn the other
    cheek. But this is not the path to durable resolution. Constructive resolution –
    short and long term – will not come by indulging Hamas. Rather it will be the
    result of holding Hamas and its supporters accountable; getting them to accept
    responsibility for both the immediate confrontation and the chronic conflicts to come.

  • victor67

    During Oslo even under the supposed dove Rabin settlements doubled. Palestinians were disallusioned with the corrupt Arafat and Fatah and saw more and more of their land colonized. This is the reasons for the growth in popularity for Hamas not some primitive jew hatred that is so often parroted here.
    Hamas is demonized today as Arafat was 30 years ago. One wonders what the next generation of Palestinian resistance will look like as Israel slides towards being l a quasi fascist state that operates Apartheid policies.

    • vix

      Actually I thought this article much more balanced than the previous few we’ve had from the Spectator. Apart from the fact that it lets Netanyahu well off the hook – negotiation and compromise are ‘not his strengths’ and ‘psychologically ill-equipped’? Nonsense. He is the perfect Jabotinsky for the moment protecting his Iron Wall.
      Yes Oslo was a huge mistake – tied the Palestinians into a subservient economic position. As they laboured for Israel’s industries their ‘unoccupied’ farms were appropriated as ‘abandoned’. When the first intifada produced real cohesion and a reasonable Palestinian internal voice, the Israelis suddenly brought back the bankrupt PLO from Tunis and Arafat duly destroyed his own.

    • Daniel Maris

      Why is there so much primitive Jew hatred in Egypt today then, given they got all their land back.

  • WetherspoonThree

    Well, thanK goodness Tony Blair is at hand to sort out this mess. Or is he, as some fear, the ‘Fernando Torres’ of the Middle East peace process?

    • Adam Nixon

      Yes indeed, his renowned peacemaking skills are bearing fruit, as ever.