Friday, June 15, 2007

The Clearance Sale on Silver Linings

Optimism is a good character trait. Martin Indyk, for instance, writing in the Washington Post, sees the following possibilities in recent events in Gaza:
As chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization and president of the Palestinian Authority, Abbas is empowered to negotiate with Israel over the disposition of the West Bank. Once he controls the territory, he could make a peace deal with Israel that establishes a Palestinian state with provisional borders in the West Bank and the Arab suburbs of East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Palestinians in Gaza could compare their fate under Hamas's rule with the fate of their West Bank cousins under Abbas -- which might then force Hamas to come to terms with Israel, making it eventually possible to reunite Gaza and the West Bank as one political entity living in peace with the Jewish state.
Yehuda Litani, writing at, concludes
. . . the new signals from the Gaza Strip constitute a clear message to all of us; a message that should be examined.

What is almost certain is that Gaza residents are sick and tired of their current leaders of all camps, and maybe, just maybe, they seek to turn a new leaf in their relationship with us.
Another author also sees promise in "decoupling" the West Bank and Gaza. He suggests:
. . . if there is a silver-lining to the current Hamas-Fatah fighting, it is that this conflict has put into the open the reality that the West Bank and Gaza Strip are truly two distinct entities.
We should probably be skeptical of silver linings that involve the idea of clarifying or simplifying victories for the bad guys, realities at long lost coming out into the open. By withdrawing from Lebanon under Barak, Israel was supposed to gain the right to unambiguously fight its enemies from behind recognized borders. We recently saw how much recognition Israel got for its supposedly disambiguated rights. So just as there was no clarifying and simplifying silver lining in the withdrawal from Gaza and the election of Hamas, there is no real reason to look for one here.

Fatah will probably resign itself to a Hamas monopoly on "security" in Gaza and a new "unity government" will probably be declared, accompanied by demands for legitimacy and requests for money. The apologists for the Palestinians will quickly forget the appalling brutality that we all witnessed in recent days, and we will be back to a more dangerous version of business as usual. Optimism is a good character trait anyway, but the buyer should be beware of the current clearance sale on silver linings.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Update: Someone at Daily Kos writes that "The Hamas victory in Gaza represents a victory for Palestinian democracy over the proxy forces of the occupation, the Palestinian Contras."

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