I had intended to write today about the speeches made this afternoon at the UN by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas — the whole Palestinian statehood bid thing — and I just can’t. After a quarter of a century of living, studying, reporting, researching, and writing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, my demoralization has reached a low that I never dreamed possible. I cannot do it.
I will say only this: The Palestinian statehood bid is an entirely legal, nonviolent attempt at a work-around to Israeli and American intransigence. Had we negotiated in good faith at any point since the 1993 Oslo Accords, or taken seriously the not-one-but-two Arab League offers for a comprehensive peace (2002 and 2007), or, I don’t know, treated the signed-and-sealed commitments of the 2003 Road Map to Peace as something more than a scrap of toilet paper — the US and Israel would not today find themselves faced with the Palestinian’s entirely legal, nonviolent attempt at a work-around.
Indeed, had my two countries responded to the threats of the work-around — discussed all over the globe for at least six months — with a serious offer for a renewed, genuine negotiation process (that is: not something that entails Israel saying “Come, talk! We just can’t be bothered to stop stealing your land in the meantime!”), we wouldn’t be dealing with the statehood bid. Abbas has said over and over that he would rather negotiate (“Our first, second and third choice is to return to negotiations”). But we didn’t. So: The entirely legal, nonviolent work-around to our intransigence.
Will it work? No. Because of our intransigence. And how will it all end? I don’t know, but some version of: Badly.
I do understand that there are a LOT of problems on the Palestinian side, not least their divided government, but you’d be surprised how much Israel and the US share the blame even for the Palestinians’ messes. That divided government, for instance: The US and Israel refused to deal with the democratically elected Hamas-led government in 2006, and encouraged the Abbas-led Fatah party to try to seize control violently, going so far as to provide weapons. Civil war ensued, Hamas beat the crap out of Fatah, and voila! Two dueling Palestines. How’s that working for everybody?
So, having already written far more than I had any stomach to write, I’m going to execute a 180, and pivot to a much, much more pleasant fact: The husband and I are going to see New Zealand singer-songwriter-one-man-band Liam Finn (son of Crowded House’s Neil Finn) in concert tonight…! OMG, you have no idea how head-bendingly talented he is! But if you watch the two clips below, you might get some wee idea. The first is a song that feels like a balm to me in times of loss, the other, an indication of just how head-bending the talent really is.