Thursday, September 07, 2006

Never failing to miss

Arabs 'never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity', observed Abba Eban, ex-Israeli foreign minister. The latest example came after the Israelis vacated Gaza, giving the Palestinians an opportunity to establish the infrastructure of a working state and a productive economy. Instead, and with unerring precision, Hamas set off in the opposite direction and, proclaiming victory, merely carried the war further into Israel.

All of which merely reinforces the view that it is useless, if not actually retrograde, to concede anything to the Palestinians because they will see it as weakness and encouragement to go for more. And given their conviction and avowed political aim of annihilating Israel, just what they were under pressure to renounce when the latest round of hostilities broke out, this approach does have a certain insane logic. It also reminds me of the mindset of the radical Left for whom Revolution was the strategic sine qua non of every tactical move. There could be no final agreement that did not result in the overthrow of the capitalist order. The perennial improbability of this victory made them incapable of opening their eyes to reality with the result that their policies were invariably guided and sustained more by fantasy than by the observable consequences of their actions. And so the possible improvements in the lives of those they claimed to fight for were squandered, every opportunity that could be missed was missed. It is the logic of the Revolutionary and it looks very much like what is happening in the Palestinian Authority right now, and in Lebanon as well.

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