Altalena Moments

AltalenaAnatol Lieven writes in the Financial Times:

Thomas Friedman once wrote that for a peace settlement to be reached, both an Israeli and a Palestinian leadership would have to be prepared to fight a civil war against sections of their own populations. The Palestine Liberation Organisation does seem willing to fight such a war against Hamas if it is offered a real state to rule, not some Israeli-dominated Bantustan. Israeli governments, however, have so far stopped short of a real showdown with their settlers, and it does not seem that they are yet close to being willing to face this.

Lievens is describing what Israelis would call an “Altalena moment.” A comparison better known to Western readers is “The Night of the Long Knives.”

Contrary to Lievens’ assertion, Ariel Sharon’s disengagement was a move that certainly marginalized the settler movement. As for the preposterous idea that the PLO — Bantustans notwithstanding — is willing to fight a war against Hamas, Lievens missed the “Palestinian Altalena moment” that took place in June.

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