The leadership of the Palestinian Authority is not held in high regard by most of the population of the West Bank. They’re seen as living relatively high off the hog and certainly not accomplishing anything vis-a-vis the Israelis.
What we have really now is a one-state outcome in which Israel is the one and only state between the Jordan River and the sea. It can do whatever it wants virtually throughout the area. But that’s not the kind of a state that’s going to be a basis for peace and stability in the region.
There is some big thing about the world that produced all these people willing to kill themselves just to hurt us. On 9/11 we learned we’re part of that world, in the same completely crazy, drastic and arbitrary ways it hits other countries.
The disappearance of Israel as a Zionist project, through war, cultural exhaustion or demographic momentum, is… plausible… Many Israelis see the demise of the country as not just possible, but probable.
Do I trust Yasser Arafat? Of course not. Why should I? Why should anyone trust a politician, whether Shimon Peres, Ariel Sharon, Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Benjamin Netanyahu, George W. Bush, or Yasser Arafat?
Most Israelis do want to keep Israel safe. The question is how do you do that.
As long as Hamas needs the support it could conceivably get from the international community through the Palestinian Authority, it has an interest in playing nice with Fatah. And Fatah has an interest in playing nice with Hamas because it needs some source of legitimacy on the West Bank.
Israeli governments cling to the two-state notion because it seems to reflect the sentiments of the Jewish Israeli majority, and it shields the country from international opprobrium even as it camouflages relentless efforts to expand Israel’s territory into the West Bank.
Democracies domesticate religious groups to become political players. That’s how it works.
Peacemaking and democratic state-building require blood and magic.