“I managed good, but boy did they play bad”

This is the title of a book by Jim Bouton about baseball managers. The quotation is from Rocky Bridges, the legendary ex-major league utility infielder and minor league manager. I thought of Bridges when I read this obscene piece of “analysis” in the Washington Post about the apparent failure of the road map for peace. The article suggests that the road map (at least as drafted by the State Department and its European pals, before the Israels imposed conditions) offered the real prospect of succeeding where past initiatives failed, but came a-cropper because “none of the participants — including the United States — did what was expected of it or accepted responsibilities critical to advancing the peace initiative.”
Actually, this description is a bit misleading. The article doesn’t really contend that the Israelis, the Americans, and the Palestinians all played equally “bad.” It finds Israel and America to be the main culprits (“from the beginning, the plan suffered from a lack of enthusiasm from the United States and Israel”). And it isn’t quite as gushing about the road map as I implied. It argues that the road map probably relied too much on incremental measures — it should have exacted major territorial concessions by Israel, required full dismantling of settlements, and resolved the issues of the final status of Jerusalem and the return of Palestinians to Israel straight-away, before the Palestinians were required to do anything at all.
The article purports to rely on “Israeli and Palestinian officials, diplomats and analysts. But the Israeli sources turn out to be Yossi Beilin and his crowd. Beilin is identified as having “played key roles in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations for the past decade on behalf of Israel.” He might more usefully have been identified as the guy who brought us Oslo.
So the Post offers us an “analysis” that consists only of uncritical reporting of whining by the Israeli “peace” faction and the Palestinians, with the U.S. State Department perhaps in the background. The authors never seem to have asked themselves why the Israelis should have taken the road map seriously, once Mahmoud Abbas announced that he would not take on Hamas and other militants. Or why Israel should have taken seriously the cease fire Abbas offered instead, once the Palestinians killed 21 people in Jerusalem and Abbas still balked at taking action.
HINDROCKET adds: I saw this piece in the Post this morning and meant to link to it as the “Worst Article of the Day,” but didn’t get to it. This sentence sums up the authors’ point of view: “Critics said the plan relied too heavily on incremental measures that avoided forcing tough decisions on the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians: the location of borders, dismantling Jewish settlements, the final status of Jerusalem and the return of Palestinian refugees to homes in Israel.” Well, no: the “core issue” that divides Israelis and Palestinians is that the Arabs keep trying to kill the Jews and destroy Israel. What part of “murder” don’t these people understand?

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