As Condoleeza Rice, like her many predecessors, scurries around on yet another mission to bring "peace to the Middle East, peace between Israel and the Arabs" one is reminded of the popular definition of insanity--doing the same thing again and again and again but expecting different results.
Not gonna happen. While Ms. Rice is not insane she
is operating on a straightforward assumption: Palestinians are not embracing peace because they don't believe it is possible, or that it is attractive enough. The West's task, then, is to draw with increasingly vivid colors the "political horizon" that is the Palestinians' for the asking.
From Rice's point of view, the situation must seem quite absurd. She must ask herself, don't the Palestinians realize that if they just stop "struggling" they can have the state they are struggling for? Perhaps she wonders: why don't Israelis see that, if they just put their cards on the table, the Palestinians are exhausted and ready for a deal?
Ah but that is based on
The assumption is that both sides want the same thing, yet are too hampered by historical baggage to take the other side's yes for an answer. But what if this assumption is wrong?
This reigning hypothesis is unconsciously based on a misunderstanding of the Arab side. As hard as it is for us to comprehend, we must accept that in the Arab mind, peace with Israel - far from success - still represents capitulation, humiliation and defeat.
And in the family, clan system capitulation to the Jews is totally shameful, causing loss of honor. It is vital to remember this because
What makes no sense is to forget that the Arab-Israeli peace that is a shining prize in Western eyes would be a source of shame and mourning for much of the Muslim world.
.....In Western eyes, peace is so obviously desirable that the idea that it could be seen negatively is rarely considered. But try, for a moment, to look at the situation through Arab eyes. Peace would be the ultimate ratification of Israel's existence. It would be seen as an abject surrender to the West's bid to dominate the Arabs.
So, is the situation totally hopeless? Probably as both Hamas and Fatah and most of the Arab/Moslem world will consider nothing less than the elimination of Israel; Israel, understandably is not about to commit national suicide.
But what might change some of their minds, even ever so slightly so there might be some hope in the long, long term?
The most pro-peace policy is the one that most convinces the Arabs of Israel's permanence. Even the US is far from such a policy, since it will not routinely reject the currently favored back-door means to Israel's destruction, the Palestinian demand for a "right of return" to Israel.
Perhaps once the Arabs are convinced Israel is there to stay
The Arab world will settle for a Palestinian state only when it is convinced of the permanence of Israel.
It might take some doing but a different way of thinking just might get them started on the long, real road to peace.