Double standard?

April 6, 2002

The BBC reports that the Nobel committee would like to take back the Peace prize they awarded to Shimon Peres. But while blasting Peres for not doing enough to stop violence as a member of the Israeli cabinet, they don't say anything about also taking back Arafat's award. That doesn't make all that much sense to me....

What can be done? Unfortunately, Arafat has shown that he is not a partner for peace and that he does not have the capacity to lead an independent state. He's too focused on being a resistance leader and inciting his people to violence against Israelis to have considered what a Palestianian state would look like. By refusing to negiotiate from the Barak plan and supporting violence in Arabic but peace in English, he has thoroughly discredited his desire for two states.

Sharon has shown that he is also not a partner for peace, but just a provacateur with a tendency towards using military force. He is sacrificing whatever moral force Israel should have as a Jewish, democratic state. That said, as a realist, I think Sharon does have a plan for establishing peace through victory-- by making Arafat irrelevant and putting Palestianian moderates in control of a Palestianian state, he hopes to create an independent Palestine (ala the US and postwar Japan.) I see a certain logic in it. But that situation could only suceed with a confluence of circumstances that I don't see happening in this reality.

Could a peace be imposed there by the US/EU/UN? Maybe. Close the settlements, create defensible borders for both sides, and offer compensation in lieu of the "right of return." Arafat steps down, and is replaced thourgh a democratic election. Sharon steps down. Create economic opportunities in Palestine. Have LOTS of co-educational opportunities for Israelis and Palestinians. International peace keepers. Could that situation work? I'm sure both sides would see sticking points in that plan...

I'm tremendously disappointed that a peace treaty seems much further off than it did two years ago.

Posted by Andrew Raff at April 6, 2002 01:18 PM