The revelations and document drop from the Al Jazeera on Israel-Palestinian negotiations are more substantial than the recent hoard of wikileaks documents, and we don’t have to get into a discussion of Julian Assange’s sex life. (On that, Katha Pollit is certainly correct—whatever his contributions to prying open government secretiveness might be, if he did the crime, he should do the time.) And Ben Roethlisberger too. (Go, Packers. Boo hoo, Jets. )
But the Al Jazeera documents are truly depressing, showing a Palestinian Authority abjectly offering everything Israel could possibly want—on the settlements, on Jerusalem, on Palestinian return, on demilitarization—and Israel, sensing the weakness of the PA, just wanting more and more concessions. Here’s the current situation—Israel has no interest in making peace with the Palestinians. It will involve too many difficult internal debates, and most Israelis simply think its not worth whatever compromises Israel will have to make. All Israel really wants is “legitimacy”, or to translate, to be left alone, but it knows this will never happen as long as they control the Occupied Territories, directly and indirectly, so they make a pretense of negotiating, and blame their failure on everyone else. The PA desperately want a settlement, but Israel increasingly sees it as a mere puppet of its financial supporters in the EU and the US, and too weak to carry though on any agreement. And Hamas wants its legitimacy, which they see as inclusion in negotiations, but knows that, save some super-dramatic turn of events, Israel and the US will never let this happen, so it does what it can to destabilize the possibility of talks further, which ain’t too difficult to begin with. Perhaps its always darkest before the dawn, but if you ask me, we have never been farther from a genuine peace settlement between Israel and Palestine. In a land that is lousy with Gods, its time for a deus ex machina.