Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Juan Cole on "The Situation in Gaza"

Informed Comment:

Palestinians are not intrinsically more violent than anyone else, not essentially less able to administer or govern than anyone else. Few countries have not had civil wars or at least major civil conflicts. The question should be not "Why are Palestinians like that?"-- which is a racist question-- but what social and economic factors are driving the present conflict?...

If Bush and the Israelis couldn't live with a Hamas electoral victory, they should have exluded Hamas from running a year and a half ago. The Egyptians don't let explicitly religious parties contest elections, and a similar rule could have been made in Palestine. Holding an election, having people win it with whom you won't deal, and then overturning the election with militias, is a recipe for violence and instability. That's what happened in Algeria in the early 1990s, and it caused untold suffering.

The Israelis may be sighing a sigh of relief that the Palestinians are busy fighting one another for the moment. But what has happened is not good for Israel in the medium to long term, since I suspect it signals the end of the possibility of a viable Palestinian state. And, if you don't have a two-state solution, ultimately the likelihood is that Israel will be stuck with the Palestinians as citizens. The world is not going to look the other way forever as they are kept stateless, poor, landless and hungry.

Not my views, but worth considering.

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