Friday, August 03, 2007

Political horizon

The term "political horizon" has been bandied around for the past year or so, since it was introduced by Israeli FM Tzipi Livni. She coined this term to imply an eventual solution to the Israel-Palestinian problem, as a way of supposedly giving the Palestinians hope that in the long term there would be a political agreement. In a way it was intended as a PR term ("spin") to oppose the high hopes that were invested in the Road Map and the Saudi Plans that emphasise immediate concessions from Israel. Israel is always the one to give "goodwill gestures" as a means to placate the Arabs. Ths idea of a "political horizon" was to take the pressure off Israel due to the fear that the schism between Hamas and Fatah would irretrievably delay any chance of an agreement.
But, now that Hamas is isolated in Gaza, and their cadres in the West Bank have been decimated, the idea of a political horizon for an agreement between Israel and the Fatah-dominated West Bank fiefdom of Pres. Abbas masquerading as the head of the PA, is more feasible. It does seem true that both Abbas and his PM, Salaam Fayyad, are committed to stopping terrorist attacks against Israel.
The term has also been used by Condoleeza Rice in relation to the planned Conference on the Middle East to be held in the Fall sponsored by the US. If there is a "political horizon" based on a two state solution, Palestine and Israel "living side-by-side in peace," then the initial concessions demanded of Israel by the Saudis and others do not seem as drastic as they really are. As long as a "process" exists and an eventual outcome is mutually acceptable, then it follows that the steps in that direction, without the pressure of Palestinian terroism and suicide bombings, will be more practicable. At the very least such a conference will draw attention away from the fiasco in Iraq, even if it does not affect that conflict in any significant way.


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