Monday, June 07, 2004

Sometimes a Good PR Move... a light at the end of the tunnel. Israeli Defense Force sets up a hotline for Palestinians to call for help. Pastorius comments:

There are many cases of Israeli human rights organizations reaching out to help Palestinians, but this is notable because it is actually the Israeli government. One could claim the Hotline is just a good P.R. move. I am disinclined to agree. I believe it is set up to be exactly what the spokesperson said, a "light at the end of the tunnel." I believe Israel believes that the Intifada might be close to being over, and realizes they need to hold out an olive branch, if a lasting peace is to be built.

I agree, but the two aren't mutually contradictory. This is known as a win-win situation. The Palestinians get the help they aren't getting from their "Authority", and the Israelis get to look like the good guys for once.

I have actually been advocating a similar approach for years: If the Israelis had annexed the territories seized in the Six Days War and established Israeli law, they would have been in a position to act more like a government and less like a conquering army. Israeli democracy could gradually have been extended to the "Palestinians" until the point came when they would either be fully integrated citizens or perhaps would have the option to secede and form their own country by mutual consent. Certainly a risky proposition, but no less likely to succeed than any of the other "solutions" that have been tried over the years. If this had been attempted in the 1980s, or even in the 1990s when the Soviet Union could not stir up trouble, the Palestinian people would now be living in a democracy.

Of course, I realize that there are many human and political reasons why this would not have worked. But I am glad to see that the IDF is now adopting (or at least experimenting with) the principle of the thing, if not the scale. Democracies succeed by establishing justice and creating markets, not by military force. Sometimes military intervention is necessary, but only to stop or prevent crises, not as a long-term policy.

No comments: