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Statement on Developments in Gaza

Today has been a day of reflection and policy thinking and a fair bit of media too. I hope to be able to share with you some fleshed out thoughts tomorrow on the situation in the region. A lot of people will be talking about driving home a policy separating the West Bank from Gaza, and even of creating a model Fatah-land in the West Bank, and its unattractive contra of Hamastan in Gaza. I think that approach is wrong-headed and doomed to failure and I will explain why in a future post as well as suggest some alternatives. For now, here is a very short media statement I put out earlier:

In light of the dramatic escalation of violence in Gaza and President Abbas’ move to disband the Palestinian government, the U.S. needs to urgently re-think its failed policy in the Middle East. Palestinians, and Israelis too, have much blame to shoulder, but American disengagement from the Israeli-Palestinian peace process for six and half years and its pursuit of regime change in Palestine have contributed significantly to the new developments.

In its failed effort to prevent Palestinians from embracing Hamas, the U.S. is driving them instead into the arms of Al-Qaeda.

America should resist calls to play off the West Bank against Gaza and Fatah against Hamas. Instead, allow Palestinian politics to take its course, prepare to re-launch a serious Israeli-Palestinian political process as soon as any opening exists, and work where possible to create such an opening.

 

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Comments (5)

How Palestinian infighting has emerged to undercut the Palestinian people’s long struggle for independence from Israeli colonization is an issue that complexity theory can illuminate. Complexity theory (http://shadowedforest.blogspot.com/2007/06/complexity-and-dynamics-of-global.html) sensitizes us to questions that might otherwise be overlooked.

· The interdependence of the parts of a complex system (think of the difference between giving drugs to a sick person and repairing a car) warns one to expect “side” effects. Thus, if a problem in ties between two ethnic groups appears, from the complexity perspective, one would automatically ask how that would ripple through the whole system, with implications for system stability.
· The expectation that the way the parts of a complex system interact will be affected by the context in which the system exists focus attention on how external pressures modify the behavior of actors within the system.
· The assumption of complexity theory that variation exists among individuals cautions one to pay strict attention to details.
· The concept of “emergence” sensitizes us to anticipate rather than be surprised by new forms of behavior that violate cultural norms (the rise of narco-paramilitaries, revenge destruction of holy sites, intifadas, ethnic cleansing, massacres of civilians, bombing of cities, threats of nuclear war against non-nuclear states).

To understand developments such as the infighting among Palestinians, we need an analytical framework that incorporates new ways of thinking, such as complexity theory.

RB Renfro:

I think we can see where Palestine is going..exactly where Israel and the US are pushing it.

I am not a politican or political stragetist, I look at this in terms of human nature and what I would do if I were Palestine or AQ or Hamas or Hezbollah or Iraqi, Sunni or Shia...how I and probably most Americans would react to the same agression and minipulation in our own county.

We would spend every day of our lives wiping out our invaders and enemies...and we think they should be any different?

The so called terriers WILL eventually get their hands on a nuke...that you can count on...and then everyone will end up with nothing.

The US doesn't have a policy, isn't capable of formulating a policy, because those in charge are ideologues with terminal insanity.
For anything to change for the better they have to be eliminated, first and foremost.

jonathan:

So America is supposed to sit and let Palestinian politics play out, but work to create an opening? How exactly is that supposed to work? If that "opening" is dealing with groups in the West Bank only, would that be productive or wrong-headed in your theology?

Maybe the US policy was correct, that the peace which Clinton tried to broker, was the best America could offer and that as long as the key problem of the Right of Return is untouchable by the Palestinian side (which seems more true every day), then any policy is merely pissing into a strong wind. In that regard, one can argue the US has tried to force movement toward the same kind of arrangement Clinton pushed, so perhaps the failure of US policy is that it pretends to have any hope that peace is actually possible until and unless the real issue is addressed.

yasmin:

could you also address the idea that this was not a blow for Israel but exactly what it wanted: no interlocuter for the US to pressure them to talk to, and an excuse to attack, invade and occupy Gaza again.

thanks

yasmin:

this is the best thing i've read here so far, your statement i mean.

but i differ in that i don't believe it is possible to negotiate with a zionist state - it has not at any time in its history shown a sincere desire for peace (just furiously building settlements). imo, the zionist ideological infrastructure must be dismantled.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 14, 2007 5:32 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Going for the Middle East Civil War Trifecta.

The next post in this blog is What Next on Palestine: Time to Get Real.

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