Unilateralism – not exactly new. (My “regular” Open Zion/Daily Beast column).

Ok, so back when I started my Open Zion/ Daily Beast gig, I was meant to write a column every other week, to be posted on Fridays. These posts were to be commentary, what used to be called “think pieces,” much like my longer posts right here at In My Head.

Then we all decided that I would post shorter, punchier pieces a time or two a week, of a more blog-y nature (quoting outside sources at some length, and framing those quotes briefly with my own take on whatever I had just quoted). While still doing my every-other-Friday column.

And then I filed this week’s every-other-Friday column just after midnight last night (12 hours ahead of my Thursday deadline) — and they decided to go ahead and run it today. Which, you may recall, is not a Friday. IT’S ALL VERY CONFUSING.

But it’s also nice, because it means my stuff is resonating (at least with my editors!), and what writer doesn’t want that? And with all that preamble, here’s the top:

In a speech at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies on Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak floated the idea, as if it were a new one, that if two-state negotiations with the Palestinians fail, Israel “must consider an interim arrangement or even a unilateral move.”

What he forgets, or at least doesn’t mention, is that the entire current arrangement between Israel and the Palestinian people is “interim”; what he further forgets, or doesn’t mention, is that Israel’s tendency toward unilateralism plays an enormous role in the conflict as it stands today.

The 1993 Oslo Accords established an interim governing body called the Palestinian Authority. The PA is not now, nor was it ever, a sovereign government. It was only ever meant to be a stop-gap measure, a mechanism to allow for state building as negotiations continued. (In fact, few people know that by law, the PA is also not the organ with which Israel negotiates. Only the PLO, which was recognized by Yitzhak Rabin as “the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people,” may do that).

According to Oslo, the PA was to be over and done with, and a final status agreement achieved, by 1998. But the entire process fell apart spectacularly, and here everyone remains, in an interim hell that looks frighteningly permanent.

And Israel’s history of unilateral moves doesn’t look much better.

As ever and always, please click here to read the rest! (And this time I’m super-duper asking because I wrote it between 9:30 and 12:30 last night and it felt like I was wrestling a ding-dang bear).

%d bloggers like this: