Sunday, December 07, 2003

I'm still not sure what to make of Ehud Olmert's statement in favor of unilateral withdrawal.

This article says that the statement is a "trial balloon" from the Sharon camp - which would be really shocking, and also suggest that the idea was hatched at the same time as the decision to go ahead with the security fence. Obviously, withdrawing without a peace agreement is a form of surrender - noone should pretend otherwise. And it would increase the PA's determination to fight for everything else that they are demanding (ie. Jerusalem, settling millions of Palestinians into pre-1967 Israel, whatever's after that), while in no way reducing international pressure.

The weekend Yediot had an article called "Korbanot Hagader" ("casualties of the fence") - a play on "Korbanot ha-shalom" ("casualties of the peace") which was the term applied by Oslo supporters to the casualties of "first-generation" suicide bombings. The article by Tsadok Yehezkeli is both informative and melodramatic in that it contrasts the initial successes of the fence with the hardships endured by Palestinians in Jayyous, Jabara, and a third village.

Yehezkeli tries to describe the situation from the first-person vantage point of those affected (including the standard baseless bit about how they think malicious land confiscation and "transfer" are in the offing), asserting (mistakenly) that this aspect is lost in the "sterile" language of Israeli discussion of the fence. I actually want more "sterile" information ie. how many people are really going to be substantially affected (the article quotes an untenably large estimate from B'tselem) and what possible alternatives exist.

I will try to write more from this article later, though real-life may well end up taking precedence.

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