Friday, July 18, 2014

Peace may never be at hand

By Eugene Robinson — July 17 at 8:45 PM WashPost

Eugene Robinson writes a twice-a-week column on politics and culture, contributes to the PostPartisan blog, and hosts a weekly online chat with readers. In a three-decade career at The Post, Robinson has been city hall reporter, city editor, foreign correspondent in Buenos Aires and London, foreign editor, and assistant managing editor in charge of the paper’s Style section.

Israelis and Palestinians may someday make peace. But the assumption should be that it won’t happen soon — perhaps not in our lifetimes.

How often have we seen this movie? Palestinian atrocity, Israeli reaction escalating into overreaction, rocket attacks aimed at civilian targets in Israel, airstrikes targeting Palestinian leadership and infrastructure in Gaza, heartbreaking pictures of mangled young bodies on the beach. Palestinians say: We will never forgive the Israelis for killing our children. Israelis say: We will never forgive the Palestinians for forcing us to kill their children.

I applaud President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for diving in and trying to forge a peace deal, if only because history suggests that anything is better than leaving the parties to their own devices. But the obvious two-state solution seems an ever more distant dream.

Hamas cannot be bombed out of existence. Its leaders — and if some are killed by Israeli missiles, others will take their place — have no interest in recognizing the state of Israel and living side by side in peace. The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, continues expanding settlements into West Bank territory that would have to be part of any viable Palestinian state. And the Palestinian Authority could never win the battle for popular support against Hamas if its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, accepted any deal that Israel is prepared to offer.

(More here.)

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