Thursday, November 10, 2005

The president, the pope and the J-blogs

I don't believe for a minute that the protests of Jewish bloggers had any impact whatsoever on the parties to this non-agreement, but I do consider it noteworthy that this is the first time I can remember a mainstream Israeli newspaper even mentioning the J-blogs in a political report.

Katsav won't ink David's Tomb deal next week

Beit Hanassi has issued a statement categorically denying that President Moshe Katsav will sign a land transfer agreement with Pope Benedict XVI when they meet on November 17 giving the Church control over the room of the Last Supper.

The reports, which have appeared in various media outlets in the world and raised a storm among Jewish bloggers on the Internet, claimed that in return the Vatican would cede to Spain's Jewish community the site of what was once an ancient synagogue in Toledo.

Spot that moustache

Match the faces to the descriptions:

a) Newly elected leader of Israel's socialist Labor Party
b) Star of 1970s hit sitcom "Welcome Back Kotter"
c) Former president of Iraq, leader of socialist Ba'ath Party
d) Harvard Law School professor and pro-Israel author

(Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Sharon won't set Israel's borders

While I've been busy catching up on my work, Sharon has reportedly decided that he wants to be reelected to be the prime minister who determines Israel's final borders, whether through negotiations with the Palestinians or, if that fails, unilaterally:
"Sharon thinks that only he can do it because he knows the land and this is his historic mission. He looks around and sees no other potential Israeli leader who can do it. It will be difficult, but it's what the nation wants and it's what the world wants."

Ambitious? Sure. Realistic? Not very.

On the one hand, there is still no indication that there is any conceivable basis for a negotiated agreement between Israel and the Arabs. Where will the border run in the Jerusalem area, for example? Will the Arabs agree to forfeit the Old City? Or will we?

On the other hand, as I wrote a few weeks ago, "it's hopelessly naive to think that Israel has the power to unilaterally determine its permanent border. A border by definition has (at least) two sides. So long as the Arabs refuse to accept our self-declared border, it will remain up for grabs."

Sharon is a man of vision and ambition. But even he can't do the impossible.

There is currently no conceivable solution to the Israel-Arab conflict. No negotiated solution and no unilateral solution. Will our leaders ever stop promising us the impossible?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Cough... Sneeze... Remembering 1995 again

I've been holed up in bed with a cold for most of the last few days, poking my head out occasionally to follow the blogs. I actually wrote a substantial post yesterday, but I foolishly composed it in Blogger and it was promptly swallowed up by the abyss. I'll try to reconstruct it shortly.

Meanwhile, as today is the tenth (secular) anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, it is an appropriate time to link back to my rebuttal of claims that the Rabin murder was responsibility for the collapse of the Oslo peace process. That's not how I remember 1995.