Using Bees To Effect Vengeance

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Monday, September 15, 2003
Why don't we reframe the conflict in the Middle East as "two-staters vs. totalizers" -- because that is the salient difference here. Most Israelis and most Palestinians are in favor of a two-state solution. They therefore share a common interest in bringing about an independent Palestinian state and making Israel feel secure about that development.

The two-staters are not the ones blowing up buses in Tel Aviv or deliberately settling occupied West Bank territory. The ones doing the damage and inflaming passions on both sides are the totalizers, for whom any two-state solution is an unacceptable sellout. Israeli and Palestinian totalizers share a common interest in preventing a two-state solution and in perpetuating a winner-take-all conflict.

Statesmen like Abbas and Peres work to make the two-state solution a reality, in the face of suicide bombings, house razings, inflammatory actions by both sides. Of course there is ground that needs to be bridged, but both camps acknowledge the need for two states at peace with one another.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are committed totalizers -- that's why the roadmap was doomed to failure. These organizations have absolutely no incentive to advance the peace process by refraining from terror. Therefore they have no incentive to help Abbas, Qureia or anyone else create the conditions for a two-state solution. I believe the only reason they even agreed to a ceasefire was so that they could wreck it ignominiously, driving more frustrated and angry civilians on both sides into the totalizer camp. Hamas and the Israeli hawks need one another -- they feed off of the other's provocation. Hamas loves it when Israel kills little Palestinian kids while trying to take out a just drives more Palestinians into the totalizer category.

Men like Sharon and Arafat? Both of them claim to be two-staters, but their actions belie that designation. That's the heart of the problem. The Palestinian Authority has to crack down on Hamas, Al-Aqsa and Islamic Jihad. Israel has to empower the PA to do so. Neither Sharon nor Arafat are committed to making these two things happen.


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