Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, said, in Arabic to a Palestinian audience:
In the past, they said: “Under no circumstances will we accept a state, unless it includes all of Palestine, because Palestine is a land of Islamic endowment.” Fine. This doesn’t work. I can say: “We demand all of the land,” and you will applaud me. This doesn’t work. This doesn’t work. This doesn’t work. There is a reality — either you acknowledge it, or you will get crushed.
This doesn’t work. Powerful words in almost any context. Accepting that the old ways haven’t succeeded and that new paths are necessary isn’t easy, but it’s the first step toward finding ways that do work.
This speech comes as a coalition of groups forms to move American policy toward Israel in a new direction. And it sounds like even the Israeli government would welcome the latitude that will give them. Gregory Levey writes:
Once, when I was still a speechwriter for the Israeli government at the U.N., I sat in on a meeting with a group of right-leaning American Jewish lobbyists who were discussing how harshly to react to the International Court of Justice’s ruling that Israel’s separation barrier was illegal.
Afterward, a senior strategist for the Israeli government said to me, “See, people inside the Israeli government who are sincerely looking for peace have no choice but to wait. This prime minister is not going to bring peace. This ambassador is not going to bring peace.” He added, “And those people that we just met are sure as hell not going to bring peace.”
This doesn’t work.
It’s hard not to see the settlement in the Cobb County creationist stickers lawsuit in exactly the same light. Cobb County saw that pushing those stickers didn’t work.
I’m hopeful that the last elections in the US were a signal that the American public is ready for policies based on what works.
For what it’s worth, sending more troops to Iraq would be repeating a mistake we made in 2003, and have been repeating ever since. We can only hope Congress stands up for the public and the generals on that matter.