Some of you were a bit taken aback by the tone of yesterday's missives. Sorry about that. It will pass.
It's odd, in a way. We have now had 30 months or so of violence, murder and general mayhem and I have to say that I was not flustered during much of the period. Don' take this the wrong way - it was scary and confusing, I took risks into consideration (for example, in February 2002 I stopped riding the bus and bought a second car) and was generally frustrated. At the same time I kept telling myself and nearly anyone who would listen: when the chance comes, Israel won't miss it. Israel has never, really, blinked when real opportunities for imporving the situation existed. Arik Sharon won't either. When the chance comes, Sharon will stand up and be counted. And if he doesn't, Israelis will show him the door.
Well, here we are in mid-May 2003. This is the test, I think. What will happen next week in Washington? Will GWB say words like: "you've got to close those outposts, now"; "all settlement activity must be frozen"? What will Arik do? There is no opposition to Sharon in Israel. The Labor and Meretz parties are both leaderless and have no real message. Thus, I don't think that (other then vis a vis the Americans) Sharon feels any domestic pull to compromise. What would he gain? He could lose the security of his still new coalition. Why risk it? If he doesn't say those words (or other such things) what message will Arik internalize?
So is the call of America and the international community enough? I'm doubtful. At the same time, what makes all of this so difficult is that there is a light here, now. It won't stay for long. The next terrorist attack; the next targeting of a Hamas leader; the developments around the arrests of a number of Arab Israeli leaders yesterday; the Americans getting bogged down in Iraq. This moment will pass. There will certainly be other moments but ...
Here is a very thoughtful comment from Yossi Klein Halevi regarding settlement compromise iin today's Jerusalem Post.
By the way, I'm still on strike. That is the fourth day this week and sixth in the last month. Should bed an interesting salary at the end of the month. If you want to, you could always email me $1,000,000 via paypal. That would work.