Friday, January 11, 2008

Mixed emotions

On the one hand, Bush continues to amaze me with his personal strength and willingness to do things he believes are right no matter what the criticism.

On the other, he continues to amaze me with unexpected abandonments of certain principles, or what I thought were his principles, in favor of concrete compromise.

I suppose I'm just too simple a man. I can't keep up with what it takes to actually change the world.

Bush is demanding concrete change with specific language, and it is impressive. It is also doomed, because too many Palestinians will either never agree and sabotage it with violence, or else they will agree and then violate the agreement violently, happily.

Because for too many Palestinians, the end of Israel is the only acceptable outcome.

Can the people of Gaza, enthused for 'a lasting peace and a nation of Palestine', overthrow Hamas, or even defeat it in elections? Can the people without guns who voted for the people with guns now vote against them? Or was this, as in Stalinist times, "one man, one vote, ONCE"?

I am sure Gazans want peace. I am also sure those Gazans are outnumbered by the ones who want bloodshed and destruction. Perhaps things are different in the West Bank, which enjoys a certain commerce with Israel and thus enjoys being in touch with the free world and free markets.

But Gaza is hell, and the decent human being is a distinct minority.

And even if the people of Gaza can see the light of peace and overthrow Hamas in grasping for it, will the Arab world or the larger Muslim world permit this without interfering?

Bush is in my view not actually pursuing peace, but trying to define more clearly than ever the intransigence of one side and the willingness of the other. He seeks to prove to the world that the Jews are not the problem.

But the world doesn't care. To them, the Jews will ALWAYS be the problem, as they always have been before. No matter what, who, or where, or even when in history, the Jews are the problem. Any simple reading of any historical review of any nation that ever had Jews in it will tell you this. See "the Dreyfus Affair". See "the Pale" of tsarist Russia, and of course all of Axis Europe shortly thereafter. And those are just in the past couple of hundred years.

Bush is a brave man, and will be remembered much the way Reagan is, as a world-changer and a difference-maker. But will a practical and political peace in the land of Israel, the Philistines, the second temple, the Dome of the Rock, the birthplace of Abraham, of Isaac and Jacob and of the Messiah, be on his resume?

God knows I hope so, but it is very hard to believe in it.

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