Recently I argued that an Israeli-Palestinian settlement will be impossible until the Palestinians are prepared to take on– with force, if necessary– the terrorists and rejectionists on their side. Now Amos Oz makes the equally important point that the Israelis need to be willing to confront their own fanatics by, among other things, dismantling illegal settlements. (Israeli authorities have acted against these settlements, but very sporadically and half-heartedly.)
As Oz writes:
…Both Ariel Sharon and Abu Mazen realise that there can be no progress before the extremists are contained and overruled. Yet each of these leaders wants the other to launch a little internal civil war while he can just sit and watch. Each one of these leaders wants the internal battle to take place inside the other family.
This is not going to work. If we have to negotiate under fire let us do so, but it will have to be under fire from both sides. If we have to break the backbone of the enemies of peace, it will have to be done simultaneously on both sides.
Simultaneity is the key word. Palestine has to disarm the rejectionists’ terror organisations at the same time as Israel removes by force, if necessary, all the unauthorised settlements. Palestine and Israel will have to suppress simultaneously Mr Hyde so that Dr Jekyll can finally prevail…
Fair enough. If both Palestinians and Israelis need to do difficult things on their own sides, let them do it at the same time. Even if it doesn’t work, at least we’ll get a clearer understanding of who’s serious about making peace and who isn’t.
(Via Norman Geras.)