Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

A Kindergarten for Murderers. (Middle East)

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

A Kindergarten for Murderers. (Middle East)

Article excerpt

In the Middle Eastern kindergarten, the Israelis claim that they will not withdraw their tanks, they will not remove or even freeze the settlements, before the Palestinians put an end to terror and incitement. At the same time, the Palestinians say that they cannot put an end to terror and incitement before the occupation is concluded.

Both sides accept, more or less, the ideas of President Bush, which are identical, more or less, with the programme of the former president Bill Clinton, which is similar, more or less, to the European peace plan, which is not very different from the Saudi proposals. So everybody knows that, at the end, there will be two states, roughly according to the 1967 lines, two capital cities in Jerusalem, no Jewish settlements in the heart of Palestine and no large-scale return of Palestinian refugees into Israel.

What are we all waiting for? Is it really just tile kindergarten mentality of "I'll do it if you do it first!"?

Essentially, the patient -- by which I mean both the Israelis and the Palestinians -- is unhappily ready for surgery, while the doctors -- by which I mean Sharon and Arafat -- are too cowardly to operate.

The Israelis and Palestinians must make one more attempt at a simultaneous deal: the removal of a few settlements in return for the dismantling of one terrorist organisation. Then the removal of a few more settlements in return for the dispersion of another Islamic fundamentalist group. …

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