Gaza: The Peace of the Clumsy

Gershom Gorenberg

Maybe there will be quiet in and around Gaza on Thursday morning. This is not something to bet your savings on, or even your lunch money. According to this report , a Palestinian official says – as long as he can’t be quoted by name – that the fix is in for a ceasefire, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry says yes. Defense Minister Ehud Barak (whose politics appear to have moved rightward since 2000 even more quickly than Joe Lieberman’s) says there’s no agreement, nope, we’re just checking the details.

If it does happen, it will certainly be a positive development: people on both sides of the Gaza line will have a higher chance of getting through the day without being blown up. It will show that with the America gone AWOL from diplomacy, other actors are moving into the vacuum: Egypt mediating between Israel and Hamas; Turkey between Israel and Syria. It will prove again the sad principle that when all else fails, sometimes people are willing to try talking instead of shooting.

But it will also be worth examining the potential political impact in light of the latest poll by top Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki.

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