Sunday, April 9, 2006

Change, and staying the same

by Lydia Pfaff, DI columnist

The recent election of the centrist Kadima Party in Israel is not likely to placate the decades-long conflict in the area. This dispute is primarily about territory and, of course, power. The fact has not changed.

The discourse regarding the creation of a Palestinian state often focuses on the responsibilities of the Palestinians — for example, ensuring security and tempering the militancy of Hamas. These are obviously legitimate concerns. A less-discussed aspect of the question, however, is that a viable territory for a nation-state does not exist. Despite Israeli withdrawals from the Gaza Strip, the territory proposed for such a state is wrought with discontinuity and not economically productive. The system of Israeli roads and checkpoints makes movement nearly impossible, and, subsequently, the options for economic development are meager.

Furthermore, the infrastructure in Palestinian society is a long way from being developed enough. A good discussion of this can be found in Glenn E. Robinson's Building a Palestinian State: The Incomplete Revolution. Robinson discusses the attempts made at creating state institutions and why most of these attempts have been thwarted. The creation of Hamas, a product of this phenomenon, is discussed, also.

Despite excited talk following the Gaza pullouts, unfortunately, a resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not any closer. Not until there are acceptable terms for each party we will see peace.

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