To reach the Israeli settlement of Ma'ale Adumim, you drive due east on a new highway built through the Israeli-occupied West Bank, ignoring, if you can, the occasional Palestinian refugee camp in the distance.
Palestinians recognize the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks for what they are: the mopping-up process following a power struggle that Israel won. The spoils of victory are evident in the satellite photographs Jad Isaac recently projected for a group of visiting journalists.
When Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasir Arafat new borders for a future Palestinian state, he couldn’t show them on a map. There is no such map. But the Palestinians know what Barak offered at Camp David and they didn’t like it then and they don’t like it now.
According to the consensus among American commentators, reflecting the views of the administration and Congress, a peace process that was on the verge of a breakthrough a few months ago has broken down because of the Palestinians’ intransigence.
If you want to correctly interpret the news, stop assuming that the mainstream media know it all; pay attention instead to voices speaking quietly over in the corner. Read, for example, people like Amira Hass, a Jewish reporter who covers the West Bank and Gaza for Ha’aretz, a Jerusalem newspaper.
In Why Religion Matters, Huston Smith argues for the importance of having and articulating a worldview. “Life’s problems press so heavily on us that we seldom take time to reflect on the way our unconscious attitudes and assumptions about the nature of things affect the way we perceive what is directly before us.”
On January 9, 2005, the Palestinians will elect a new leader. Is there any reason to believe that this will lead to a positive result for the Palestinians? Judge for yourself on the basis of recent history. Yasir Arafat is the only modern leader the Palestinians have known.
American Jews and Muslims reflect differently on the life and leadership of Yasir Arafat, but they agree that, following his death, a new era of leadership is needed to unify Palestinians and reinvigorate the peace process.
A popular Middle Eastern joke insists President Bush’s recent speech on a Palestinian state was delayed for a few days, waiting for a translation from the original Hebrew. The joke reflects Arabic anger that U.S. policy is driven by what the current Israeli leadership thinks is good for Israel.
Support the Christian Century
The Century's work relies primarily on subscriptions and donations. Thank you for supporting nonprofit journalism.