David Samuels, who wrote the definitive article on Yasser Arafat in The Atlantic in 2005 entitled “In a Ruined Country,” and a stunning article last year in The Jewish Press entitled “The Silence of the Lambs,” has another essential article in the February 13 issue of The New Republic entitled “The Father of Palestine,” about George W. Bush’s Middle East visit earlier this month:
[I]t is hard to see why the president of the United States believes so strongly in the likelihood of brokering a peace deal between a weak Israeli government and a Palestinian Authority that exists largely on paper and has no obvious means of future support. . . .
It is rude to say that the Palestinian Authority is a fiction and that a peace treaty signed with an imaginary entity would be a joke. It is rude to say that there is no immediate solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Because it is rude to say these things, it becomes difficult -- if not impossible -- for reporters and editors to think about why the president is here. . . . If the occupying Israeli army disappeared from the
A sharp glimmer of understanding penetrates my foggy brain. The Americans and the Israelis speak with such assurance about reaching an agreement by the end of 2008 because they are talking about a paper agreement with a paper partner to create a state that will only exist on paper. . . .
No one believes the badly fractured Palestinian polity is capable of meeting its commitments. Which means that most Israeli troops and settlers will stay more or less exactly where they are today.
All three of Samuels’ articles are worth reading in their entirety.