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More on `July 16′ entry: `When Tragedy Becomes Farce and Then Tragedy Again’

July 19, 2007

Sarah Roy is a senior research scholar at Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and author of `Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict’. If you google her name you’ll see that a few of her pieces have appeared in `Counterpunch’ and stumble across the fact that among other things, she happens be Jewish (and it seems rather religious). But now she’s made the big time with an op ed in Boulder’s Colorado Daily (Tuesday, July 17) pointed out by Ron Forthofer of Longmont (and also former Green Party candidate both for governor and US Congress). Congratulations Sarah Roy. Actually a number of us were startled to see The Colorado Daily choose to publish this piece. The article is co-authored by Augustus Richard Norton of Boston University.

Entitled `Yes, you can work with Hamas’, it more or less parallels my July 16 entry `When Tragedy Becomes Farce and Then Tragedy Again’ (see below), but is more positive. (I know, I’ll try to work on that).

In one sentence Norton and Roy sum up my thoughts that day `The Bush Administration’s approach to the divided Palestinian territories is inviting disaster’. Agreed.

They then offers three specific concrete steps to correct the present course of the Bush Administration:

1. Announce support for a Hamas-Fateh dialogue to revive a unity government and quietly open diplomatic contacts with Hamas

2. Commit serious diplomatic muscle to restarting substantive Palestinian-Israeli negotiations

3. In cooperation with its Quartet partners – the European Union, Russia and the United Nations – convene a peace conference informed by the US commitment to a two-state solution.

While it is unlikely that the Bush Administration – stone deaf to any humane proposal that might actually end the Occupation and the conflict – will take Roy’s advice, in a few quick brush strokes, she sums up nicely the policy changes needed to turn the mess around. When people ask what can we do? – I’d say that a good starting point would be to argue for these three points. There are some others I would add (end building settlements, dismantle the wall, etc, etc, stop suggesting that somehow Hamas is Al Qaeda’s spiritual twin – which it isn’t) but Roy and Norton’s suggestions would be a fine place to start.

The comments that follow, especially those quoted just below, are worth thinking about

“Meanwhile the defining fact of Palestinian life among Gazans and West Bankers is dispossession and humiliation under the continued Israeli occupation….Despite the dangerous division of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, it is unlikely that Palestinians will cede their desire for a state with East Jerusalem as its capital. Hamas voters overwhelmingly support a two-state solution, and the Hamas leadership has declared it would honor any agreement ratified by popular referendum”.

For the full article or you can simply click here

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