Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Right To Exist

There was a fascinating commentary by John Whitbeck published about 2 weeks ago in the Christian Science Monitor regarding the issue of the Quartet's demand that the Palestinians "accept Israel's right to exist." It is interesting to read the commentary and then listen to Eric Westervelt's report yesterday on ATC.

Westervelt's report is not the worst, in fact the drift of the report is that there really needs to be some movement by the EU and the United States to lift some sanctions on the Palestinians if there is any hope for "progress." But the report, as usual, treats the demands of the Quartet - and the collective punishment of US/EU sanctions - as the reasonable starting point for discussion of the current conflict in Palestine. Furthermore, Westervelt also uses the term "recognize Israel" versus the actual demand of "accept...right to exist" which as Whitbeck's commentary points out is a significant confusion.

Sadly, what is not touched on at all, is the way in which the current Quartet position of demanding complete submission and capitulation on the part of the Palestinians reveals the Bush administration's lack of interest in a real peace settlement in Palestine. So it is that Westervelt can say - without irony - of Secretary of State Rice's upcoming trip to Jerusalem, "Rice hopes to foster new dialogue on final status peace issues." I hope he's right, and I hope I'm surprised.

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