Monday, January 16, 2006

Guest Blog: The Times, They Are a-Changin'!

Country Bumpkin reports in on a small but most encouraging development:
The Israeli English-language daily Ha'aretz takes a left-of-centre position on Middle Eastern questions, and has for years provided a counter-point to the more right-of-centre Jerusalem Post. Ha'aretz has been the voice of the Israeli Peace Now movement, one among many who have favoured negotiation and compromise with the Palestinians, rather than the more hawkish policy which has in recent years found favour with the Israeli electorate following the disappointments of the Oslo Accords and the regime of the ghastly but now mercifully dead Arafat.

Imagine then my surprise when I read an article in Ha'aretz (hat tip: Tim Blair) by one Bradley Burston.

Burston argues that the unrelenting refusal of the Palestinians to strike a peaceful accord with Israel, and their use of suicide bombers to drive home their refusal, has actually helped to strengthen and unite Israel against them. The mood among Israelis, says Burston, is more resolute than it ever was in the days of Arafat, Clinton, Solana and all those others who urged Israel to make peace at almost any price -- a price which for a while Israel was prepared to pay.

But now the ball is in the Palestinians' court, as the saying goes, and by even the most modest standards they are not measuring up. Sooner or later they will have to admit that Israel will not go away, and that they need to live with the Jews in peace, because there is no choice. Because the Palestinian population is suffering more -- and unnecessarily -- than they would if they could manage now, after a hundred years, to bite the bullet and move forward at last.

So far, so conventional. But the prize we are bequeathed by Ha'aretz comes at the end of the article. They link by a button click to an argument over Burston's views, Palestinian vs. Jew; Palestinian vs. Palestinian; Jew vs. Jew; a total of more than 400 posts at the time I'm drafting this!

What, then, have we here? Dialogue! In a Jewish newspaper! Among enemies who could otherwise never hope to gather in the same room to carry on an argument!

Beats UN diplomacy by a country mile, I say!!! (And I know a country mile when I see one.)

Verily, the times they are a-changing'!

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