Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Clinton-era envoy Dennis Ross appeared on Channel 1 last night and said that Arafat never offered a single constructive idea during the course of the Camp David negotiations. Arafat also claimed there was never a Temple in Jerusalem. Ross supports the Barak proposals and has optimism which doesn't seem to square well with his experiences. (Post report)

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Evelyn Gordon shows the disingenuousness of the EU's responses to European anti-semitism.

Monday, May 13, 2002

On the radio last week, I heard a senior MK from the Likud party (Yisrael Katz) interviewed on why his party's central committee was intent on passing a resolution against a Palestinian state.

He was not calm at all; the main things that he conveyed were: harsh resentment for Sharon, and the message that if Sharon dislikes party interference he can avoid it by hewing better to the party line (which for Katz seems to be 80s Yitzchak-Shamir-type dogma).

I'm not sure to what extent Katz represents what the Likud is like these days, but I can't see indications that his man Netanyahu will really do things much differently.

Netanyahu says that he supports Palestinian self-government without a state - but that's a distinction without a difference. Netanyahu doesn't want to be diplomatically hamstrung any more than Sharon does and in the likely event that he becomes next Prime Minister, he will probably be endorsing formulas similar to the ones that Sharon is promoting now.

I remember speaking to a friend from a right-wing think tank back in the Netanyahu era. There had been a terrorist attack in the Mahane Yehuda market. Bibi's line was that time had come for "reciprocity" and that Israel land concessions had to be answered with action against terror, that he didn't expect 100% results but he did expect 100% effort from Arafat etc. etc.

At the time I thought that Bibi was really starting to get tough, and that he might get results from Arafat. Said friend and Ariel Sharon were against further land concessions. When Netanyahu was in power, Ariel Sharon was his critic from the right. Now that Sharon is in power the roles have been reversed.

Sharon has been more effective that Netanyahu was - primarily due to traditional political virtues that enabled him to maintain a governing coalition and conduct an effective military campaign. Netanyahu is more youthful, suave, and American-style. This makes him a much better spokeman of course, but it hasn't shown him to be a better leader. In his first go-round he exhibited a tendency towards selfish political calculations that lost him most of his allies. The news from the Likud central committee sounds to me like more of the same.

Sunday, May 12, 2002

Glenn Reynolds mentions a great idea for a weblog application. I'm only a little disappointed that he didn't latch on to it when I suggested it.
When I saw banners last week for last night's peacenik demonstration in Tel Aviv, I really didn't think they would get anywhere near the 60,000 estimated by the police.

They seem to be employing constructive ambiguity regarding their message ... their slogan is "to withdraw from the territories. for the sake of Israel" ... the hard core actually wants unilateral withdrawal to the 1967 borders, but others support the various "unilateral separation" schemes, or simply returning to negotiations.

Obviously, these events are monitored closely by the Palestinians. And if they will see any indications that the "full unilateral withdrawal" crowd is gaining momentum, as vindication of their current tactics.

I want to try to ask around to see if I can find someone who went to the demo...

Also interesting was the roster of speakers: Not exactly the "fringe" - but pretty marginal... Yossi Sarid (Meretz party) and Oslo architect Yossi Beilin (Labor) are leftist politicians of the sort who never let reality interfere with their preconceptions or desire for international approval. Dudu Topaz is a TV comedian who I don't know much about.

Speaker Amos Oz is a novelist who was apparently one of the "dove-turned-hawk-of-late" intellectuals. Oz wrote an op-ed for the New York Times blaming Arafat for the failure of Camp David and expressing willingness to fight for Israel's survival. But he's had another change of heart it seems.

Thanks to the readers who emailed with info on Oz and Topaz.

Regarding Oz: I couldn't find the NY Times article that I seem to recall. This article strongly blames Arafat for the failure of Camp David, but still seems to advocate a unilateral-separation-type solution.

Some readers emailed to say that Topaz has for a long time had a leftish stance in his repertoire. [ Was he the one who did a skit on channel one that upset the religious parties around 1996? ]