I am more hopeful for the cause of Mideast peace than I have been in at least three years. I am even more thunderstruck at such optimism because two of the three political leaders who carry the hopes of the world on their shoulders are politicians who I deeply & fundamentally mistrust: I speak here of Ariel Sharon & George Bush. But I do have to admit that both men have (at least in the past week) challenged my previous negative views of them.
Ariel Sharon has done the unthinkable by saying the unsayable (at least in right wing Israeli circles): he has acknowledged that Israel’s domination of Palestinians and their lands is a “conquest” (not “occupation” as mistranslated by James Bennet of the New York Times) and not a dispute (the term used by right wing Israelis). He stated clearly that it is not in Israel’s long term interests to rule the Palestinians against their will. This is extraordinary political rhetoric for the godfather of the settler movement. In fact, it is verbatim political rhetoric of Peace Now and the Israeli left. If the right and left in Israel can start to sound similar in their views and rhetoric, then we may yet find a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
I continually feel like pinching myself to make sure all of this good news is real because so much of the conflict has been bleak and bloody for so long. But things look good & one hopes that they will continue to be so.
I never thought I’d hear myself saying this…but I wish Sharon, Abu Mazen & Bush all the best; and great strength and fortitude to overcome the obtacles ahead.