A Trap for Fools
IN A classical
American western, the difference is as glaring as the midday sun in
George Bush, who grew up on this myth, sticks to it even now, when he is the leader of the world's only superpower. This week he presented the world with an up-to-date western.
In this western -
or, rather, middle eastern - there are also Good Guys
and Bad Guys. The good ones are the "moderates", who are the allies of
It is a simple script. So simple, indeed, that an 8-year-old can understand it. The conclusions are also simple: the good guys have to be supported, the bad guys have to bite the dust. At the end, the hero - George himself - will ride off into the sunset on his noble steed, while the music reaches a crescendo.
western, of course, does not show us the heroic pioneers stealing the land from
the Indians. Or the United States Cavalry attacking the camps
of the Indians, burning down the tents and killing their inhabitants, men,
women and children. How the
Denial runs through the classical western like a purple thread, as it does through this speech of Bush's. This finds its main expression in a simple fact: the occupation is hardly mentioned at all.
In the Palestinian community, for example, there is a struggle between the "moderates" and the "extremists". The extremists are killers. Why are they killers? There is no why. They are killers because they are killers. It's in their nature. They were just born that way. The moderates are moderates because they are moderates. Some people are just born good.
So the whole problem is a Palestinian problem. They must decide. They must choose between moderates and extremists. If they choose the moderates, they will get everything they can imagine: colorful glass beads and gallons of whisky. If they choose the extremists, their end will be bitter.
Israelis do not have to choose between good and bad. Why? Simply
because there are no Bad Guys among them. They are just good. They must
help the good Palestinians. "Release" the Palestinian tax moneys and
give them to "Prime Minister (
What else is
required from the Israelis? They must understand that their "future lies
in developing areas like the Negev and Galilee - not in continuing occupation
A long time ago,
In the last few years, only one such outpost, Amona, has been dismantled, and this week Ehud Olmert decided to pardon all the fanatics accused of attacking the police during that event. The Israeli government knows that Bush is only paying lip service, and does not take him seriously.
IN MANY classical westerns there appears a crook selling a patent medicine to heal all ills: headaches and hemorrhoids, tuberculosis and syphilis. George Bush has his own patent medicine, which appears in the speech again and again. It will heal all diseases and ensure the final victory of the Sons of Light over the Sons of Darkness.
The label on the bottle says "Building Palestinian Institutions".
How come we didn't think of this until now? Why did we go chasing off after all kinds of solutions, and did not find this one, so simple, lying in front of us for all to see?
It is an egg of
All this under
occupation, behind roadblocks, walls and fences, while the main roads are barred
to Palestinians, while the West Bank is chopped into pieces and cut off from
the rest of the world. By the way, in this matter Bush has another patent
medicine: all Palestinian exports will in future go through
In order to
realize the vision of "building Palestinian institutions", Bush is
sending along his poodle. According to Bush, the sole task of Tony Blair is
indeed this: "to coordinate international efforts to help the Palestinians
establish the institutions of a strong and lasting free society." (Like which example?
Let's hope no one is rude enough to mention the fact that the Palestinians held democratic elections for their Parliament, not so long ago, under the strict supervision of ex-President Jimmy Carter. As far as Bush is concerned, that just did not happen, since the majority of the people voted for Hamas. Therefore, Bush mentions only the elections held before that, when Mahmoud Abbas was elected president, practically without opposition. Everything else has been wiped off the slate.
So this is the up-to-date vision: "democratic Palestinian institutions" will be in place, free of corruption (as in the US and Israel), and "capable security forces" will be functioning, and Hamas will be eliminated, and the armed factions will be dismantled, and all attacks on Israel will be stopped, and the security of Israel ensured, and the incitement against Israel ended, and everybody will recognize Israel's right to exist as "a Jewish state and a homeland for the Jewish people", and all the agreements that were signed in the past will be accepted - then "we can soon begin serious negotiations towards the creation of a Palestinian state." Wow!
What a wonderful
sentence! "Soon" - without a timetable. "Serious negotiations" - without fixing a date for their
conclusion. "A Palestinian state" (again,
without the definite article, which Bush seems to detest) - without specific borders.
But a hint is given: "mutually agreed borders reflecting previous lines
and current realities, and mutually agreed adjustments." Meaning: the
settlement blocs and much else will be annexed by
IT SEEMS as if the speech writers, after finishing the product, noticed that it was pitifully devoid of content. Nothing new, nothing that could cause a self-respecting newspaper to give it a headline.
I imagine the media advisor saying: "Mister President, we must add something that will look new." Thus the "international meeting" was born.
"So I will
call together an international meeting this fall of representatives from
nations that support a two-state solution, reject violence, recognize
Wonderful. A meeting which has no date yet, but has a season of the year. And for which no location has yet been fixed. And no list of participants. And no planned conclusions, except the general statement: "She (Condoleezza) and her counterparts will review the progress that has been made towards building Palestinian institutions. They will look for innovative and effective ways to support further reform. And they will provide diplomatic support for the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations, so that we can move forward on a successful path to a Palestinian state." The meeting will not review the progress made towards the removal of the outposts, for example.
It is not by accident
that Bush omitted to identify the governments he intends to invite. Clearly, he
will try to fulfill one of the most cherished dreams of Olmert:
to meet publicly with a top representative of
It is dubious
whether this wish will be fulfilled. The Saudis are very cautious. They do not
want to quarrel with any party in the Region - not with
THE FINAL objective is a "Palestinian state", the "two-state solution". That is a far-far-off aim. Not for nothing is it called a "political horizon", since a horizon, as is well-known, recedes in the distance as one tries to approach it.
In his poem "If", Rudyard Kipling describes all the tests an Englishman has to endure in order to be considered a "man". One of them is: "If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken / Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools…"
We, the small group of Israelis who raised the banner of the "two-state solution" more than fifty years ago, now have to endure George Bush turning it into a rag to cover his nakedness. In his mouth, it is an empty, deceitful and mendacious slogan. Only a fool will fall into this trap.
As Chaim Weizmann, the prominent Zionist leader and first
And power means first of all: Unity.