Friday, December 03, 2010

"Peace process" déjà vu (from Gershon Shafir)

My friend Gershon Shafir ran across these two Oliphant cartoons from 1971 and was struck by some depressing parallels. He asks: “So what's new? Just replace Golda with Netanyahu, Nixon with Obama, William Rogers with Hilary Clinton, and Sadat with Abbas.”

One question, of course, is whether or not Abbas really is a current equivalent to Sadat. According to some serious analysts like Ian Lustick, along with others whose perspectives on the Arab-Israeli conflict range across the whole spectrum from "left" to "right", Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah are politically irrelevant, and the only real political player on the Palestinian side is Hamas. If this is true, the implications are a lot more terrifying than I think Lustick and the others are willing to acknowledge, so I hope they're wrong. But it's clear that if Sadat himself came back and made a serious proposal to Israel, the current Israeli government would stonewall him.

—Jeff Weintraub