Quote found here at Jeffrey Goldberg’s site at The Atlantic:
“A great sage once taught: He who claims to know the answer to the Middle East dispute doesn’t even know the question.”
My limited experience in looking at this problem has led to ever greater complexity and confusion: an ancient history of settlement, displacement, conflict, relative peace, religious and other wars…religious (and highly abstract) deductions to land…lots of Western involvement from the Romans to the British…etc. It goes on and on.
I believe there has been a current American shift (mostly left) in opinion on Israel, and which Israel is foolish to ignore. By focusing on the inequities of the current Israseli military actions, this conventional wisdom hasn’t fully recognized the dangers evident in the Hamas charter, or the deep wellspring of Arab hatred toward the Israelis (Israel doesn’t have a right to exist).
As much as it may claim for itself, this viewpoint just seems to focus its lens on another part of the problem.
Of course, some of that Arab sentiment is also aimed at the West in general, based on genuine and legitimate grievance where mutual interest may lie…but also largely on a violent, ideological, and religiously extreme projection of the Arab world’s current failures (at least economic, social and educational) onto everyone else. It has become Bin Laden’s raison d-etre.
As idealistic (especially politically so) as this is, I should also say that any foreign policy we make in the region should strive to recognize the Palestinians as subjects, and not objects in service of our own legitimate self-interest (which is a problem I have all too often with the American right). We will reap what we sow, and so will Israel.
So, what was that question again?
Addition: 01/25/09 60 Minutes piece on one potential obstacle for the 2 state solution: Israeli settlers. Link here from Andrew Sullivan.
Another Addition: Aaron David Miller on Bloggingheads discusses his book ‘The Much Too Promised Land.’ So what about practical policies, lobbyists, mutual interests, American politics, etc…? This guy knows his stuff.
Also On This Site: From Bloggingheads: Anne Marie Slaughter And Stephen Walt discuss American Foreign policy and Obama’s options. More On The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Western/Non-Western Forms Of Government?…A Few Thoughts On The Current Israeli Military Operation Into Gaza: A Shift In U.S. Attitudes?