There are glimmers of good news amidst the wreckage; at least in the Israel-Palestine sector. The shape of the eventual settlement has been so clear for so long, and the costs of letting either side’s dimwit maniacs block it are becoming increasingly unbearable. Hopes have been dashed so many times, and I’m as cynical an observer as you’ll find anywhere, but I’m having trouble suppressing little surges of optimism.
It’s not that hard to get a pretty strong feeling for what’s really going on in that part of the world. The BBC has level-headed coverage, and if you want clear voices speaking out of the middle of the maelstrom, there are excellent RSS feeds from Ha’aretz and Al-Jazeera; here are the four I subscribe to: Ha’aretz Opinion, News, and National news; and Al-Jazeera’s main feed.
It is grounds for optimism that the extremist positions are less loudly proclaimed. I scouted around both the Jerusalem Post (AKA Likud Central) and Al-Jazeera looking for expel-the-Palestinians or expel-the-Jews flag-waving, and there’s a lot less than there used to be.
One thing has become painfully obvious: the single worst job in the whole Israel/Palestine mess belongs to the IDF (Israeli army) guys who have to deal with the relations between the settler lunatics and the locals they live among.
Check the coverage of today’s news: Al-Jazeera’s Israel evicts Hebron settlers and Ha’aretz’s At least 15 people hurt as police evacuate Hebron market homes. Ha’aretz has more detail, but Jazeera is stronger on the atmosphere, and has heart-wrenching video (posted via YouTube; maybe the revolution will be televised).
Over at Ha’aretz, Amira Hass, who writes with a raw edge that to me seems appropriate for the subject matter, says in The Hebron tactic that this is part of a larger pattern. Ms Hass’ life is in danger because very bad people on both sides of this game think that what she writes damages them. You want other voices? They’re not hard to find, go look.