A Prince of an Idea.

Glenn Greenwald made a definitive statement in Salon in a post he wrote on Tom Friedman:

“Terrorism” is probably the single most elastic and easily manipulated term in our political lexicon. Who the perpetrators and victims are of “terrorism” is almost always a function of who is wielding the term rather than some objective assessment.

Therefore, we are told that Hamas is a “terrorist” organization, and the Arabs in Gaza accuse Israel of Zionist “Terrorism.”

We call Al Qa’ida a “terrorist” organization, yet, from the Taliban’s point-of-view we inflicted “Terrorism” on them, driving them out of their place in Afghanistan. Like beauty, terrorism is in the eye of the beholder. Which is why the article by Prince Hassan of Jordan in Prospect appears to me to strike a chord that might be explored:

Given these dire circumstances, one question should be seriously considered: could a temporary international stabilisation agency take over formal legal jurisdiction in both the Occupied Territories and the disputed areas of Israel?

Such an agency would assume a temporary caretaking role, and would establish and oversee the development of provisional democratic self-governing institutions: institutions potentially able to ensure the conditions for a peaceful and normal life for all inhabitants of Israel and Palestine. It would also meet simultaneously the demand for an end to occupation while minimising fears of being seen to concede on political positions. The Israelis, given their previous record, are unlikely to welcome such an agency; but its primary responsibility would be to undertake effective peace enforcement, inclusive of decisive action against any act of terror or violence. As such, the agency would be an even-handed, international mediating force which could protect Arabs from Israelis, Arabs from Arabs, Israelis from Arabs, and Israelis from Israelis.

This, of course, would be in lieu of the United Nations, which doesn’t seem to be having an effect on the situation.

Prince Hassan may be imagining the positive outcome of such an agency’s creation and operation. He thinks much of the work has already been done:

There is no need to reinvent the wheel; rather the team could build on the positive aspects of Madrid (1991) and of all the plethora of initiatives since. For example, it could draw on the positive experiences resulting from the Jordanian-Israeli Peace Treaty which opened the door to numerous joint Jordanian-Palestinian industrial, commercial and financial ventures which have had a positive impact on the Jordanian labour market for both men and women, inclusive of Palestinian workers living in Jordan.

Such hopefulness, however, does not seem to be well-founded given the politics of both the Hamas and the Israeli groups. If either side could come around to it, and if the United States and the other members of the Quartet could get behind it, perhaps the first step toward a real two-state solution could be found.

Under The LobsterScope