Thursday, September 28, 2006

Precious clarity

An Excellent Article By
Azmi Bishara

Al-Ahram Weekly

"Israel's invasion of Lebanon ushered in a new regional situation that has made the choice between war and peace extremely clear. This clarity is troublesome for Israel, which is unwilling to pay the price of either choice. As a result, the US, Israel and a number of Arab governments are feverishly trying to cloud that clarity and their instrument for doing so, at least at the PR level, is the Palestinian settlement industry: that inexhaustible source of quasi-initiatives, pseudo- dialogues, confidence-building "processes" and efforts to find a way back to the roadmap. Meanwhile Palestinians wake up every morning to find that they need a new map just to get to work, so frequently does the terrain change with all the additions to the separation wall and the barricades and checkpoints that appear and prevent from one day to the next.

I am unable to recall an occasion in which Israel was so bereft of a political alternative as it is now. This has come at a time when Israel has come face to face with the most crucial decisions ever. Until now, the Israeli leadership has never asked its citizens to choose between a just and lasting peace or lasting warfare. If it were to put the choice before them so succinctly, I have no doubt that the government would be surprised by the numbers of people who voted in favour of peace and would be willing to pay the necessary price. Sadly, there is no leadership in Israel capable of rising to such a historic moment. Sadder yet are the many Arabs who are denying the results of the war against Lebanon, calling for the resurrection of a dead roadmap and doing whatever else they can to extricate Israel from one of the toughest spots it has ever been in."

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