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January 04, 2013

Berger's Monochrome View of a Bilateral Conflict

alan berger.jpg
Alan Berger

The narrow-minded refusal to see Palestinians as actors in the Arab-Israeli conflict continues to tempt some pundits. Look through today's Boston Globe, and it's there again: the stubborn, nuance-deprived narrative that fails to see Palestinian leaders as players with responsibilities, who are capable of making decisions that harm peace prospects, or who have and any role whatsoever in perpetuating the conflict.

In his column "Obama ought to meddle in Israeli vote," former Boston Globe editorial writer Alan Berger states:

Israel must choose between occupation of the land conquered in 1967 and a conflict-ending peace that preserves the state of Israel created in 1948.

Never mind that Israeli leaders have made the choice again and again.

Menachem Begin traded land for peace with Egypt. Ehud Barak made a land-for-peace offer that was rejected by Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, and accepted a follow-up peace plan by Bill Clinton that was likewise shunned by Arafat. Ariel Sharon turned over the Gaza Strip to Palestinian control. Ehud Olmert sought to end the occupation in exchange for peace, but was rebuffed by Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat's successor. Abbas, meanwhile, has basically refused to even negotiate with current Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The concept isn't very complicated: Palestinians, too, have choices to make. But apparently it is too complex an idea to make it into Berger's column.

Posted by GI at January 4, 2013 10:42 AM


Since I'd have to subscribe to the Boston Post in order to "interfere" in their comments statement, perhaps another reader could point out that in the 1999 election, James Carvelle was loaned to the Barak's campaign so that he could (and did) defeat Netanyahu. And Mohammed Heykal in his book "Secret Channels" pointed out that laundered Arab money from outside the country had gone to Labour in order to influence election results as well. Thirdly, at least in the 2008 US campaign, there was at least one call centre in Gaza calling Americans and trying to influence their vote in favour of Obama.

The US has been interfering in foreign elections for decades. Nothing new, but still wrong.

Posted by: L. King at January 4, 2013 03:13 PM

The sentence is factual black hole incapable of nuance or complexity. The false choice it presents begs the question: To satisfy you Mr. Berger, or some fictional lot whose conflict with Israel will end in peace only after Israel pulls back to borders that have never before been accepted by any one of them?
Israel has withdrawn from approximately 90% of the land it conquered in 1967 (during a defensive war).
No Arab state has ever accepted the State of Israel as created in 1948. Nor have the Arabs accepted the 1949 Armistice lines as permanent borders, except to the extent that some of those borders were accepted by Egypt and Jordan as part of their treaties with Israel.

Posted by: Ben at January 5, 2013 12:30 PM

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