Slouching Toward Annapolis

This morning, up the road a ways in Annapolis, MD, the Bush administration is hosting belated Mideast Peace Talks between Israel and Palestine. Maybe this is just a last race to save face for the Bush administration after all it has done to create havoc in the Middle East.  But still we all hope for the best.

Two op-eds in this morning’s Washington Post bring home what is at stake and how hard it is going to be—maybe not in the cushy confines of Annapolis but certainly back home in Palestine and Israel.  Richard Cohen describes the impasse between two mothers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, whose two daughters were killed when one of them set off a suicide bomb.

Beyond the Reach of Annapolis

By Richard Cohen

Tuesday, November 27, 2007; Page A17

On March 29, 2002, an 18-year-old woman walked into a Jerusalem supermarket and blew herself up. One of her victims was a woman just a year younger than herself. The two women looked so much alike, Palestinian and Israeli, and their mortal wounds were so similar, that the pathologist had trouble reassembling the two girls. They had so much in common.

So it was perhaps understandable that the mother of Rachel Levy would try to contact the mother of Ayat al-Akhras because they, too, had so much in common. read more

Also on the Post’s op-ed page
, Maher Najjar, the deputy director of Gaza’s water utility, pleads with the west to help persuade the Israeli military to stop its collective punishment of Palestinians by cutting off electricity, fuel, and clean water whenever militants set of a Qassam rocket.  As the Israelis try to punish the Palestinians into policing themselves, the Palestinian reaction, as anyone would suspect, becomes more defiant.

The majority of the 1.5 million men, women and children living in Gaza do not fire Qassam rockets. Most of us want normal lives, starting with the ability to provide for ourselves. We want to live in peace with our neighbors. We hope that Israel will realize, before it is too late, that in Gaza, playing with water is playing with fire.

It’s going to take more than a couple of days eating crab cakes together in Annapolis for Israelis and Palestinians to get through these impasses and begin to forge some kind of peace.  Still, fingers crossed.

By Noelle McAfee

I am professor of philosophy at Emory University and editor of the Kettering Review. My latest book, Fear of Breakdown: Politics and Psychoanalysis, explores what is behind the upsurge of virulent nationalism and intransigent politics across the world today. My other writings include Democracy and the Political Unconscious; Habermas, Kristeva, and Citizenship; Julia Kristeva; and numerous articles and book chapters. Edited volumes include Standing with the Public: the Humanities and Democratic Practice and a special issue of the philosophy journal Hypatia on feminist engagements in democratic theory. I am also the author of the entry on feminist political philosophy in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and well into my next book project on democratic public life.

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