Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Time for U.S. Boldness on Israel and Palestine?

Another article reviewing the situation in the Middle East and concluding that Israel should be more sensitive to the problems of the Palestinians and:

That means an end to uncritical American support of Israel, a real push to persuade Olmert to engage with Abbas, enough boldness to reach beyond the details to a vision of what is needed to bring a Palestinian state into being.

How glib and how dishonest. Factually, Abbas alone does not represent the Palestinians. Abbas and Hamas represent the Palestinians.

If Cohen wants to offer advice (as opposed to demonizing Israel) his recommendation should be: " . . .a real push to persuade Olmert to engage with Abbas and Hamas."

However, before making that recommendation, Cohen should look up the requirements for negotiation:

Negotiating is trying to reach agreement with another party when the two parties share an objective, but have a conflict about other matters.

If you have a conflict with another party and do not share any objectives with them, the correct strategy choices are avoidance or self-defense.

If Cohen were honest, he would answer these two questions:

1. What objectives do Israel and Hamas share?

2. What conflicting objectives do Israel and Hamas have?

I do not know the answer to the first question.

The answer to the second question is that Israel wants to continue to exist and Hamas wants Israel destroyed, wiped off the map. What compromise does Cohen envision? Israel half-destroyed?

Frankly, I believe that Cohen is intelligent enough to understand this. Then, why does he not explicitly recognize that it is impossible to negotiate with someone who is committed to destroying you?

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