Thursday 12 November 2009

The Last Best Hope?

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, has had enough, and who can blame him, with Hamas on one side and Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Likud Prime Minister, on the other. The ‘Two State Solution’, the one genuine hope for a peace in the Middle East, is very likely to go with him. Barak Obama, for all of his overripe rhetoric, has been totally unable to stop the advance of Israeli settlements on the West Bank. But the final straw for Abbas was Secretary Clinton’s shift from demanding a complete freeze on settlements to praising Netanyahu’s ‘restraint’, though I personally am not at all sure in what fashion this alleged ‘restraint’ has expressed itself.

Showing herself to be the true stateswoman she clearly is, she then flew to Cairo to urge President Mubarak to put pressure on Abbas to re-enter negotiations with Israel unconditionally. Already unpopular because of his delay in endorsing the Goldstone Report accusing Israel of war crimes, already thrown into the ‘dust-heap of history’ by Hamas, the wretched President of a non-existent state had little real choice but to announce his departure. It really is such a pity, for those too blind to see, as Nader Said-Foqhhaa, a Palestinian political analyst put it, that “He is the best president that the Americans and Israelis can have. He is ready and willing to go the distance. But what did he receive? Nothing.” Now turn to the Book of Jeremiah;

They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.

Will there ever be peace? It does not seem very likely. Mahmoud Abbas was probably the last best hope, a moderate man surrounded by fanatics and dogmatists; secular ideologues and Bible literalists. Oh, wait, I’m being far too pessimistic; there is a man whom all realms obey, dost sometimes counsel take…and sometimes tea. There is Tony Blair. :-))


  1. Hehe, I lurve ye Popean pun - 'There will be no peace.'

    "God, Thou Must Divinely care
    For Thy servant, Tony Blaire."

    (Tony Harrison. 'Holy Tony's Prayer.')

  2. The only solution is a fully integrated, fully disarmed, fully democratic(though with anti-sectarian discrimination constitutional provisions) one state solution. So long as the Levant is divided up on a sectarian basis, someone will always feel they've got the thin end of the wedge--and since the Israelis and Palestinians are both a hoard of hot tempered lunatics(prove me wrong), this will only lead to blood.
    Perhaps too, in order to satisfy the religious aspects of the place a neo-Ottoman style Millet system might be of use, whereby the leading religious figures from the three major religions would be able to adjudicate intra-communal grievances. Only a strong UN will be able to deliver such a state, the US and Arab League are both too tainted with the blood of innocents to deliver any workable solution. I was once told to blog about this, but frankly the subject puts me off, as the debate is always soiled either by crazed Zionists or Jihading maniacs, within moments. Perhaps then one ought to make Tony Blair Lord Protector of the place--that would unite everyone, in complete disgust.

  3. A strong UN seems to me to be a contradiction in terms, rather like a democratic EU.

  4. I'm actually rather in two minds about a strong UN, but the older I get the more I'm inclined to believe a powerful UN could just become a WU(world union), with Mugabe like figure playing the role of a flaming rag with the charisma of Pol Pot--that of course cannot and must not occur. Still though, a global talk shop isn't all bad...unless you're Carey Grant in North by Northwest...

  5. The UN will never be more than the sum of its parts. It's just as bad in its own way as the old League.

  6. That's very true, and they don't even know the polite way to pay their own bills, something we both find appalling.