Israeli newspapers say, “we’ve achieved what we wanted” while Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, boasts about a great victory. One is reminded of the old cartoon in which the last two people left on Earth are brandishing weapons and boasting about defeating their enemies and “winning.” Israel, for the moment, has been able to reduce rocket attacks, and Hamas, for the moment, is able to boast they are still alive and kicking. The people of Gaza are back at restoring their facilities, and destroyed tunnels are being rebuilt along with the return of smugglers who will make use of them. Hamas believes it is engaged in a long struggle which, ironically is the same attitude held by the Israelis.
The major problem confronting peace in the Middle East is the view now being held by more and more Israelis and Palestinians that compromise is not part of the story of “victory.” Logic suggests if two nations will not budge, there is no compromise. If two nations refuse to accept a positive view of the future, the present will become the future.
The other day in The New York Times a letter writer exclaimed that George Bush was the “greatest friend Israel ever had.” Is Israel today in a safer and more secure position than it was in 2001? The only American president who ever brought together Arabs and Jews in a treaty of peace that has endured was Jimmy Carter, the one president most Israelis hate. No wonder there is no peace in the Middle East.