Israel/Palestine: divorcing couple or conjoined twins?

November 27, 2012 at 9:44 am (Guest post, islamism, israel, Middle East, palestine, Pink Prosecco)

Guest post by Pink Prosecco

Matt Hill, writing in the Telegraph, compares Israel and Palestine to a married couple trying to finalise a divorce settlement.

But it might also be possible to see them as conjoined twins, for whom life together is intolerable, but whose separation poses risks.  From one perspective, supporting the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN represents a threat, a unilateral move which leaves the many complex questions which can only be resolved by negotiation dangerously unresolved.  For such commentators, the bid might be compared with cutting the children of my analogy apart with a single fatal stroke rather than embarking on a long, painstaking operation.  This hostile attitude is exemplified by an uncompromising piece in the Jerusalem Post by Moshe Dann:

“Palestinianism, the basis of the Arab/Muslim war against Zionism, the State of Israel as the national historic homeland of the Jewish People, is part of a broad Islamist revolution throughout the world against non-Muslim infidels.

“Understanding the mission of Islamism explains why efforts to impose a Palestinian state, the ‘two-state’ proposal and the ‘peace process’ are doomed to fail. Palestinians don’t want a state alongside Israel, but one that replaces Israel. The primary goal of Palestinian nationalism is to wipe out the State of Israel, not to permit its existence.”

Clearly there is some truth in these assertions.  For some Palestinians only a one state solution is acceptable.  But the Palestine Papers would seem to show that Moshe Dann underplays a genuine willingness to negotiate, even though this readiness to make necessary compromises is viewed askance by many Palestinians – and particularly by their most ardent friends abroad.  Gaza hardly gets a mention in Dann’s article, yet there is a stark difference between the methods of Hamas and those of the PA. This article offers a telling illustration of some of those differences.

Hussein Ibish takes a very different view from Dann’s – and one which seems more balanced.  Now, even BBC Watch couldn’t find much to fault with Ibish’s contemptuous take on Hamas:

“Its recent reckless conflict with Israel cost over 150 Palestinian lives, mostly civilians and many children, and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.”

But he sees the PA in a quite different light, and points out how, because of the need to avoid being seen to lose face, its weak and beleaguered leadership have experienced genuine difficulties in trying to return to the negotiating table. Ibish offers some judicious advice:

“The PLO, if it must go ahead with an initiative at the U.N. in the coming days, should make it as non-confrontational as possible. It should provide reassurances about not seeking, at this stage, to join additional U.N. agencies or the International Criminal Court. And it should seek as much European support as it can muster.”

…and also a real note of hope that the stalled peace process just might be kick started:

“Abbas has said that after the U.N. resolution, he is prepared to return to negotiations with Israel without preconditions. This means, at last, dropping the settlement freeze demand. This is an important potential starting place for the indispensable rapprochement between Ramallah and Washington.”

Abbas clearly needs the cachet of a diplomatic victory before he can start to make concessions – it would be nice to think that the fillip of the dropped settlement freeze demand might, in turn, get Israel back to the negotiating table.  Perhaps, returning to my conjoined twins analogy, the UN statehood bid could be seen, less as a rushed operation doomed to destroy both children, more simply as the journey to the hospital, the first necessary step before the real work can begin.


  1. SteveH said,

    You really are going all out for the title of creative apologists of the year!

    I think I will start writing down every apologist trick in the book and challenge you to come up with more!

    Very impressive.

  2. Babz Badasbab Rahman said,

    I have to say not the greatest selection of articles you’ve picked there. I mean Hamas’ reckless conflict with Israel? Israel started the conflict to take out Hamas’ long range Fajr-5 missiles including the associated infrastructure such as the tunnels.

    And sure some Palestinians do want one state as do some Israelis (Eretz Israel). And please the Palestinian Papers? They were such a terrible compromise and yet were STILL rejected subject to further modifications!

    And let’s not forget, as terrible as the Hamas ideology may be, they were after all elected to power and so really they should be Governing both Gaza and the West Bank until the next elections. The PA with their Israeli and US backers attempted a failed putsch.

    The PA governs the West Bank and it’s been pretty peaceful on that front for sure but at the cost of more settlements and so on. They haven’t really gained anything from it apart from not being attacked and appearing like corrupt weaklings.

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