Commentary Magazine


Choreographing the Synchronicity of Mutually-Reinforcing Couplings

That, my friends, is what Robert Malley and Hussein Agha would like us to understand is the key to peace in the Middle East. In an op-ed in today’s Washington Post, they start with a somewhat reasonable premise:

Nervous about being left out, all three parties are laboring mightily to avert an understanding between the other two. . . . The end result is collective checkmate, a political standstill that hurts all and serves none.

But then the analysis gets buried in so much vague diplomatic twaddle that all of the realities of the conflict become helpfully obscured — which seems to be the point. “Fatah and Hamas will need to reach a new political arrangement, this time not one vigorously opposed by Israel.” Oh, that will be nice. So it was Israel that caused all of that unpleasantness in Gaza over the summer? “Hamas and Israel will need to achieve a cease-fire and prisoner exchange, albeit mediated by Abbas.” Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?

“And Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will need to negotiate a political deal with Abbas, who will have to receive a mandate to do so from Hamas.” Did you catch that? Hamas will grant its rival, Mahmoud Abbas, who Hamas views as a Zionist puppet, a “mandate” to negotiate a peace deal with the country whose annihilation is the premise of Hamas’ existence. There is not the slightest shred of evidence that Hamas would ever even think of doing this — but why should that stop Malley and Agha from predicting it on the Washington Post op-ed page?

They conclude this acid trip by saying:

The current mind-set, in which each side considers dealmaking by the other two to be a mortal threat, could be replaced by one in which all three couplings are viewed as mutually reinforcing. For that, the parties’ allies ought to cast aside their dysfunctional, destructive, ideologically driven policies. Instead, they should encourage a choreography that minimizes violence and promotes a serious diplomatic process.

Translation into plain English: Gosh, peacemaking would be so simple if everyone would just make peace already! And I want a pony for my birthday. I’m going to go huff some lighter fluid and see if I can get a piece in the Post, too.

Meanwhile, take note of who Robert Malley is: the leader of a group of revisionists who are attempting to shift blame for the failure of the 2000 Camp David negotiations onto Israel and America. His co-author was an adviser to Yasser Arafat. Most disturbingly, Malley is also a foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama. See here, here, and here for more.