Monday, June 21, 2010

The Trade-off

It's messy and ugly and cynical but it will also improve the lives of the Palestinians living in Gaza. This is Realpolitik at it's most frustratingly pragmatic.
The contours of the response to the Gaza flotilla fiasco are now coming into sharper public view: the Israeli government will significantly ease the blockade of Gaza in exchange for American support for a whitewash of the investigation of the flotilla incident. As I've said many times on Twitter, this is a good deal. No investigation was ever going to produce anything of any particular value, but easing the blockade of Gaza could have significant positive effects for the people of Gaza, the prospects of Palestinian reconciliation, the peace process, and American credibility in the region. None of those will happen on their own, of course. And nobody is likely to be fully satisfied with the new measures. I've been quite critical of how the Obama team has handled the Israeli-Palestinian track, and particularly the Gaza situation -- and if they had moved strongly to resolve the Gaza blockade a year ago, the issue wouldn't have been there now to exploit. But now, I think they deserve some real credit for nudging Israel towards finally making a move which could over time open up some real new possibilities for progress.
It brings measurable improvements to the lives of the citizens of Gaza in return for a careful averting of the eyes from the bloody, body strewn decks of the Mavi Marama, much as the price of getting a wind down of the worst excesses of the War on Terror appears to have been a careful avoidance of any legal consequences for the architects of the torture chambers and dungeons of the Bush regime.

At what point to we calmly and pragmatically make the purely practical decision to just wipe out the concept of the rule of law at all?

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