Yesterday’s Boston Globe featured an editorial that discussed their latest idea for resolving the Israel/Palestine question. In a nutshell (always a good tem to have handy when discussing the Glob, which is owned by the New York Times), they see the recent failures of both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority as good opportunities for both sides to make a break from the past and forge a new peace.
Nice, pretty, thoughts, filled with warm fuzzies and hapless idealism. Naturally, it’s the sort of thing that’s doomed to failure, and will take a lot of innocent lives (most likely starting with numerous Israelis) with it. That’s the usual pattern.
I have another idea. Why not start with something truly new and innovative, something that truly represents a radical break with the failed patterns of the past? Why not open this latest round of struggles for peace with something that’s never been tried before?
I speak of having the Palestinians make the first move, taking their very first action that speaks loudly of their determination for peace and represents a serious commitment in that direction.
I don’t have anything specific in mind. Perhaps they could declare that suicide bombers will no longer be honored, and their families rewarded. Perhaps they could very publicly round up and destroy a bunch of Qassam rockets. Perhaps they could say that those who plan terrorist attacks will be arrested and jailed for a very long time. Perhaps they could rename the Wafa Idris UNICEF Summer Camp For Children after someone besides a suicide bomber.
I’m not too fussy. I just want to see them do SOMETHING substantial.
The usual pattern of “peace talks” goes something like this: both sides make an agreement in principle. Israel takes several steps towards complying (often involving giving up land). The Palestinians make many promises. The Palestinians then say that their promises are too impractical to implement, and they can’t do it — but Israel has to continue with its commitments. Israel starts balking. Then there’s a big terrorist attack, Israel demands the Palestinians do something about it, the Palestinians say they can’t, and then the whole thing is off — but the concessions Israel made are demanded to be made permanent, and the Palestinians gain a bit more without having to give up a single thing.
Much of the world seems to insist that the Palestinian people want peace as much as anyone, and the Palestinian leaders echo that sentiment. It’s long past time for them to put up or shut up.