Wednesday, April 03, 2002

everyone is asking my opinion about Israel. People are invested to varying extents, but many seem genuinely curious at the very least. I have as of yet only engaged half-heartedly, or confusedly. I feel like I am being shaken out of anaesthesia. i have numbed myself for a long time, and now, reengaging, i come out from under the mask with much confusion, disorientation, and nausea, unable to coherently assemble my thoughts. I need to wrestle out my views. I feel no reason to explain this need. It is there, and I must address it.

1) Palestinean state requires infrastructure. Not only does Palestinean state require infrastructure, but any steps toward ending the violent conflict surrounding its potential creation requires infrastructure as well. Part of that is economics. Part of it is public health, social services. All required infrastructure depends upon accountable Palestinean leadership--the best established system of political accountability is DEMOCRACY. Until Palestinean leadership is accountable to the needs and wishes of the Palestinean people, violence will not end, negotiations in the interest of human rights are improbable if not impossible.

2) Israeli and US actions in the name of peace over the past 10 years have supported and fortified a corrupt dictatorship that is not accountable to the Palestinean people, that has ruled by fear and terror, and has not acted in the interest of Palestineans, Israelis, or Americans. This Israeli and US governments bet on the dictatorship horse, revealing an underlying lack of faith in the very ideology to which they owe their existence, the ideology of democracy. Although they claim to make love to Democracy and hoist it to a glorious thrown in their nations, these powers forget the ideology that is their sovereign at home when engaged in dimplomacy with the Palestinean state. Democracy, at that distance, in this context, among these people, at this time, is unstable. It is dangerous. Undelying this fear of democracy is a fear of the will of the people, that the will of people might be against the will of US or Israeli governments, that that will would be harder to mold or control than the will of a single dictator. Such fears are only dispelled when one trusts that common will always supports, when given the choice, life and prosperity over death, personal sacrifice, and poverty.

3) Polls report that the vast majority of Palestineans support suicide bombings. How much of that support for violence is bred by fear of opposing the line of their leadership? How can good oppositional opinions and oppositional leaders rise if no one is bold or comfortable enough to speak their mind, to develop their positions in the public sphere? In a certain way, I agree that imposing democracy suddenly is dangerous. Holding "democratic elections" among a people that have no access to open media and free information, that have no forum for public debate, that have no safety to develop candidates and leaders, will not bring democracy, or accountable government, except in the most distorted way. Clearly democracy must be brought in amidst the Palestinean people on multiple fronts, carefully but immediately. The case of the dictator wily enough to rise to power without accountability, who will upon reaching that position give that power away and establish democratic institutions foreign to him amongst his own people is indeed rare. The past 10 years have failed the state first, democracy later hypothesis.