Sunday, February 27, 2005

Krauthammer: A fence to enforce peace

Charles Krauthammer has a very solid piece analyzing the state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, notably the two unilateral actions that Israel has undertaken, and how they fit into a general defensive strategy: 1. unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, and 2. building of the security fence (mostly) along the Green Line. Krauthammer is more neocon-esque than I and paints the security fence as essential to circumventing the perception that the Gaza withdrawal is a "reward" for terror; I personally think that the fence's merit stands on its own (pun unintended), and that the Gaza withdrawal was essentially an untenable over-exposure of the Israeli security posture to begin with.

His point about the efficacy of the Gaza fence is well-taken, however. I have been convinced for some time that the fence is an essential step for peace, not as punishment of the Palestinians but rather as a means to thwart the "bomber's veto". Most Palestinian sympathizers will argue the fence is unjust; I refer them to Jonathan Edelstein's excellent comments about the various diplomatic and economic pressures at work that have largely kept the fence from being an overt land-grab. Most Israeli sympathizes will dismiss my fear that there will be no West Bank withdrawal, however. I am not yet as convinced as Krauthammer that the Israeli Right has matured and truly "chosen two". Still, this is a hopeful sign, especially with the real reforms that Mahmoud Abbas has been undertaking on the Palestinian side.

Full text of the article posted at Dean Nation below the fold.


  1. You're right, this is a surprisingly reasonable position Krauthammer is taking, as is the Israeli government's as a whole (Sharon+Supreme Court). I confess I hadn't followed the details of the Fence, and am encouraged that meaningful adjustments to its location have been made; how nice it must be to have a Supreme Court that's willing to really take on its executive branch!

    I also thought you were pushing a "one nation" a while back, so I was a little surprised to see you greet these developments fairly warmly. But then you're a pragmatist, so it makes sense.

  2. I was indeed pushing the binational state, but Head Heeb pointed out very real challenges and obstacles to it in the short term. It needs to be shelved as any kind of goal to plan for in the near-to-intermediate term.

    super long term, I think that ultimately, re-unification is a desirable end goal, but theres no reason that two independent states cant be an intermediate step. On the decade timescales.

    This is all premature though. I am still not convinced that Israel has truly "chosen two", and if it has not, then the discussion is moot.