Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Impossible to Read

For the life of me, I cannot read the current Israeli/Palestinian situation. Yesterday, we hear that Palestinian militants have kidnapped an Israeli soldier, today we read that Hamas and Fatah have completed an agreement over a plan that implicitly recognizes Israel.

All right, let's see what they say -
"We have an agreement over the document," said Ibrahim Abu Naja, who coordinated the "national dialogue" over the proposal. He said negotiators would present the document to President Mahmoud Abbas, who leads Fatah, and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas.

"There is no complicated issue left because everyone signed and everyone approved the document," he said.
All right, Ibrahim Abu Naja is a name that doesn't strike me as familiar, let's Google him. Let's see, an old listing of PLO Legislative Council members. Great. I'm old enough that just hearing the letters "PLO" all in a row makes me nervous. Why do all of these groups need to keep the same names they've been using while trying to blow people up? It really eliminates any kind of comfort factor for the average American Jew.

I do believe that it all boils down to trust. It seems to me that the rival Palestinian factions don't trust each other to take care of common interests. I cannot blame them, because any steps towards peace always include the recognition of Israel, which, of course, is the exact opposite of their goals.

Israel, on the other hand, cannot trust the Palestinian authorities because none of them seem to actually have complete authority. Was the return of land on the Gaza Strip not proof enough? As soon as it was relinquished by Israel, missiles started flying out of there. Within minutes, I'm sure. Was this the aim of the government? Of course not. Are the people listening to their government? Well...
Acceptance of the plan marks a significant concession by Hamas, which is committed to Israel's destruction and has killed scores of Israelis in suicide bombings. Still, it falls short of demands by Israel and the international community that Hamas renounce violence and give full recognition to Israel.
I do not see how this will play out. Will Hamas actually acknowledge Israel? And even if they do, will the people who make up the party go along with it? And what about other factions? Fatah and Hamas are not alone in this venture.
The agreement also was marred by opposition to the deal by Islamic Jihad, a small militant group that has carried out numerous attacks against Israel.

"In today's meeting, we announced we reject some of the articles of this document and we have reservations about other articles," said Khaled al-Batch, spokesman for Islamic Jihad.
Ah, Islamic Jihad, of course.

So you see what I'm saying about these names, here? How can anyone feel comfortable having peace talks with a group that has "Jihad" right in their name?

As I read the news today, I find that I just cannot trust it. This agreement seems way too tenuous to hold up against onslaught, and in this region, onslaught always comes.

I do hope for peace someday, but I still don't think that we're far enough away (in years) from the original disagreement to actually begin solving it. Opinions there are so very different, and run so very deep that they cannot yet be talked away.

So that's what we have. We have multiple groups all trying to agree with Israel on something that is the opposite of their stated goals - the elimination of Israel. We have a militant group kidnapping a soldier, which if you ask me, seems like the kind of stunt that people pull when they're trying to start full-blown wars.

There's a complete disconnect of the news coming from the leaders from the news coming from the people themselves. This, to me, makes a situation that's impossible to read.

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