Conditions in the Geopolitical Arena of the Peace Talks
MeanMesa is watching hopefully at this most recent cycle in what seems to be a dismal, endless series of attempts to introduce peace between Palestine and Israel. Similar undertakings have, historically, been as predictable as the journey through the "stations of the cross." In administration after administration, everything from tragically flawed sincerity to irritating, superficial "quick licks" at poll targets for upcoming elections have littered the field so far.
One promising "detour" from the well established milk-run this time around may arise from Barack Obama's entreaty to the Islamic side. That Cairo speech was, in fact, a very new addition to the mix. However, in a rare case where MeanMesa finds itself largely in agreement with the pundits, it has been problematic to move from that speech to a more tangible, credible position of trust between Muslims and the United States.
The constant ranting of the Sunday school crowd hasn't helped matters. The incessant whining of the uninformed and uninterested hill billies along with the Islam-baiting of the insipid bigots may be rich fodder for the cheapest style of trailer park, wing nut talk show numbers, but both undercut the country's policy efforts. Paradoxically, the voices which relentlessly preach the hate and distrust message are precisely the same voices which claim the most "patriotism."
Al Jazeera, also a fairly recent addition to the party, faithfully broadcasts all that knuckle-dragging clap trap to the entire Islamic world daily -- and, they listen.
The Arranged Marriage
Each time new peace talks are announced the American electorate yawns. The repeating calamity has long ago lost any sheen of excitement and collected a deep presumption of being simply "more of the same."
The "arranged marriage" model isn't all that pessimistic. Every four years or so, both recalcitrant parties are dragged off to Washington, in most cases while their corresponding countrymen are still bleeding from the last cross border encounter. The families of the reluctant bride and groom are seated before the President and encouraged to make promises neither can keep.
It is a sterile sort of pre-nuptial meeting devoid of dowry or gifts. Every diplomatic -- and not so diplomatic -- thrust and parry is made, each party searching for some advantage beyond the well lubricated asset transfer proffered up by the host. Outrages are listed and countered. The discussion seldom penetrates very far beyond what can be profitably sold in the newspapers of the respective capitols.
Further, all the power present at the talks seems to be remote -- it's not only the heads of state strutting around so suspiciously, both of them are dragging the public opinion of their constituents along with them. In fact, part of the metric employed to assess the success of the talks always deals with rising or falling support among the folks still at home watching the debacle.
Everything must be adjusted if the outcome is to be changed.
A Serious Dose of MeanMesa Homework
In the past years, MeanMesa has posted three unusual articles on the subject of making peace between Palestine and Israel. In each case the proposal was considered provocative beyond any useful application. However, with this post -- and, very reasonably couched in the seemingly intractable nature of the thing -- the three proposals may be trotted out, dusted off and offered up one last time.
Here we will offer a quick recap of each along with, of course, a link to the original posting.
First, the dowry:
In the Short Current Essay titled A Two State Solution: From Vapor to Concrete (link here ) MeanMesa proposed the construction of a highway from the West Bank to Gaza. The road would be built on a right of way permanently ceded by the Israelis for the purpose. Once constructed -- again by the Israelis -- the security and management of the highway would be permanently transferred to the United Nations.
U.N. peacekeeping forces would be charged with the absolute denial of the highway's use for the transport of any war making materials, troops, weapons and so forth.
The result of such a strategy would be a serious relaxation of the enmity of the Palestinian population toward Israel, a lessening of Gaza's infatuation with Hamas and a strengthening of the public support for the Fatah leadership in the West Bank.
A strengthened Fatah leadership would find two-state style peace talks much more palatable to the constituent residents of the West Bank.
Follow the link, and read the whole posting.
Second, the wedding gifts:
The present state of occupation, settlement building and the security fence cannot be resolved en masse. Each of literally thousands of land ownership conflicts must be settled in a credible, permanent way before the blood stops flowing. Ownership must be established, purchase restitution must be made and all claims and conflicts must be arbitrated to the general satisfaction of all parties.
In the Short Current Essay titled Surveying the Map to Peace (link here ) MeanMesa proposes a UN sponsored land survey which will establish the rightful ownership of all tracts of land -- either Israeli or Palestinian -- which have been caught up in the construction of settlements, illicit title transfer schemes or outright occupation.
Contested property ownership will be settled by the judicial of an uninterested third party and sponsored by the UN Security Council.
Constituent-wise, the Israeli negotiator seems to be the stronger of the two. If he can bring his public to this conclusion, the smouldering fuses of many individual Palestinians may be permanently damped. Imposing a "lasting peace settlement" on parties who are saddled with the prospect of staring at their traditional olive orchard across a barbed wire fence doesn't seem to hold much promise.
Third, the Shotgun Wedding:
If the two previous proposals are still insufficient to move the prospective couple and the talks break down -- a real and present possibility, given the record of the efforts -- MeanMesa has posted yet a third proposal. If this one is the "last one standing," be prepared for plenty of screaming and crying. Further, MeanMesa would propose describing this solution in detail well before the parties throw in the towel.
It is an idea which seems to run counter to all those already presented in this posting's point, yet one which remains quite capable of "changing everything." In fact, the third alternative may inspire significantly more interest in settling the affair than the first two.
Short Current Essays posted an idea to unilaterally arm every citizen of Gaza.
In the article titled The Kalashnikov Paradox and the Gaza Solution MeanMesa suggests that special rifles be airlifted in and openly distributed to Gaza residents. (link here )
This proposal would irrevocably identify which citizens of Gaza were determined to continue the rocket attacks on Israel and which were determined to end the empasse. The Hamas claim of representing the majority of the Gaza residents would be tested. Individuals making either choice would be placed in a position of unmistakable commitment. Any on-going confusion concerning the percentages of Gaza's residents in either camp would be resolved for good.
Too many difficult political decisions from both sides have been hiding behind that confusion for too long.
If strife developed, the ensuing civil war in Gaza would either produce an even stronger Hamas or, alternatively, one so weak that cooperation with the West Bank government would become a necessity. In either case, Israel's course of action would emerge from the clouds of uncertainty into direct action which held the actual possibility of ending the conflict.
Conclusions, after the honeymoon:
The conflict has evolved far beyond the place where mere diplomatic tweeking or talking points can accomplish the goal of lasting peace. The actions taken now must be shocking -- astonishing! Actions of lesser energy have only left more of an equally shocking, endless state of war.
This "homework" posting entails a good bit of reading. However, an outlook for the future which contains only more of the same is bleak, indeed. MeanMesa cannot promise that you will be profoundly impressed with these proposals, but be assured -- you will have spent some time "out of the box."
We don't yet know Obama's limits. He may be the one to pull this operation off and end the blood and mistrust. It falls to us to support his efforts. A few suggestions can't hurt.
MeanMesa's compliments to the President.