Thursday, December 30, 2004

Broad coalition to take office in Israel, if only they had someone to negotiate with

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Sharon seals new Israel coalition:
"Israeli PM Ariel Sharon and opposition leader Shimon Peres have agreed a compromise deal which paves the way for a new coalition government."

Today's news brings Labor into the current minority government led by Likud. This is good news for those who see the withdrawal of 8,000 settlers from Gaza as an important step in resolving the Palestinian question. This is an Israeli government uniquely empowered to make bold moves to acheive peace. It remains to be seen whether the post-Arafat Palestinian leadership will have either the desire or the will to bargain in good faith. I doubt it.

The withdrawal from Gaza will be a benefit to Israel in any event. But, if it goes through now without an acknowledgement from the Palestinian side that it is a part of the quid pro quo, it may not enhance Israel's bargaining position. Such is the unfortunate dynamic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that it often actually delays policies tending toward peace until they can be incorporated in a new bargain, by which time the opportunity may be lost.


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