Some would say the Israelis are being intransigent, and have always been. Of course, if you look at it from the Israeli point of view, their homeland is an area about the size of New Jersey, and all their neighbors would like to annihilate them. When they balk at making any concessions that might erode their ability to defend themselves, one can hardly blame them.
Some would say the Palestinians are being intransigent, and have always been. Of course, if you look at it from the Palestinian point of view, a bunch of foreigners arrived in their homeland carrying this sense of entitlement in their collective breast, stole their property, threw them out of their own country, and continue to squat there with no intention of ever giving it back. When they balk at making any any concessions that amount to institutionalizing and legalizing this perceived crime against their nation, one can hardly blame them.
Barack Obama is the latest American president to plunge into the fray. He must do so because every president before him has done so, at least since the establishment of the State of Israel. American presidents are expected to try to broker an accord; the rest of the world and the American electorate demand that they at least try. It’s part of the job description.
He will probably run up on the rocks, just as every previous president has. When you examine the complexity of the interests, fears and passions that swirl around this conflict, to say that seeking peace for the region is quixotic would be an understatement.
But no matter how monolithic the problem appears, we have to continue chinking away at it. To throw up our hands and walk away would be to repudiate all the hope mankind holds for the future. If we stop striving for a better world, what is the justification for living in this one?