Dr. Zeki Ergas of Switzerland, a peace activist who has spent many years researching in Israel, has just written a short essay, suggesting that only the American administration can make peace between Israel and Palestine. Here’s part of what he writes (by permission of the author):
“Some 2,400 years ago, in Asia Minor, Alexander the Great, with a well-aimed stroke of his sword, untied the Gordian knot. Barack Obama can do the same to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with well-aimed words and action. He must, unequivocally, boldly and clearly, declare that there has been a quantum change in the way that the U.S. government views that conflict. That continuing with the policy of talking about peace while acting in a way that completely contradicts that speech is no longer acceptable. He must declare, in conclusion, that failure is no longer an option; that, in other words, success is a foregone conclusion — ‘foretold’ (like in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s story, The Chronicle of a Death Foretold). That it must happen at the end of a predetermined period of time — which can be one, two or three years – when a solution considered fair by an international panel of wise men, or independent arbiters, will be adopted and implemented.
“The American president must take the initiative to do that because the Israelis and the Palestinians are unable, and/or unwilling, to do it by themselves. The former, as shown by the election results of February 10, 2009, have moved radically to the right; the latter are badly divided.” The full essay can be found here.
Similar, though not identical, in tone are comments of former Meretz chair, Yossi Beilin, to Haaretz, which reports:
“In the wake of the election, Beilin supports a government headed by Netanyahu ‘with Lieberman and the Kahanists.’ He says that only a right wing deprived of a left-wing fig leaf will be compelled to adopt the diplomatic initiatives of U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration.”
It’s understandable why progressives have started to pin their hopes on Barack Obama & Co. Israel’s election results left little room for optimism.
But even if the US gets into the mix, it won’t be able to be effective without there being domestic constituencies in Israel and Palestine to play to, and peace activists doing the “grunt work”. In other words, for American intervention to succeed, there needs to be an Israeli peace camp and a Palestinian peace camp who realize that Obama can’t do it alone.