Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently characterized the likelihood of a resolution from upcoming U.S.-force-fed peace talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as “difficult but possible.”
He has it exactly backwards—it is easy but impossible.
“Possible” implies that both parties are on the same terrain, respect the other’s interests, and are acting in good faith. “Difficult” implies that the two parties are far apart, but that with creativity and temerity they may be able to trade off competing interests and find win-win solutions.
“Impossible” implies that one party is inherently opposed to the interests of the other, and therefore would not negotiate in the conventional sense even if it left both parties satisfied, because the first party by definition is not satisfied if the second party is. “Easy” implies that the first party’s demands could yield an instant solution if given up, if that party were thinking and acting rationally—or if the second party were willing and able to use overwhelming force to obviate the first party’s demands.
I think it’s safe to say that the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships are not on the same terrain, inasmuch as the preferred outcome of the conflict as expressed by Palestinians is for Jews to literally be driven off of that terrain into the sea. Given that Israel does not wish to voluntarily self-destruct, that’s where “impossible” comes in.
If they haven’t already done so after a half-century of murderous genocidal rhetoric and blood-spattered conflict, I also doubt the Palestinians will charitably give up their demands tomorrow, which rules out “easy.” That leaves only the overwhelming force option. read more »