Saturday, August 21, 2004


Interesting piece in Haaretz today about the increasing isolation and irrelevance of both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, describing both of them as being inside "Muqatas".

The term "Muqata" has long ceased to designate that amputated structure in Ramallah where the ghostly Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat lives. "Muqata" is already a metaphor for an existential state. For example: Yesterday we were free men, young bachelors will say before their marriage, and now we are in the Muqata. Or, the Likud Party has put Prime Minister Ariel Sharon into a Muqata - that is, it has shackled him. It is even possible to illustrate the new use of the term: Sharon in Metzudat Ze'ev, Likud party headquarters in Tel Aviv, as all around him, is besieged like the original Muqata...

The clearest example is Arafat, who with being confined in the Muqata became irrelevant. The reason for this is that no one among the "relevant voices" wants to talk to him any more, neither Sharon nor United States President George W. Bush...[h]is long speech last Wednesday immediately elicited a scornful reaction. In Haaretz it appeared only on page 6 and not at the top of the page. That is, Arafat, too, has become a metaphor for irrelevance.

It is possible that last week Sharon also entered the Muqata of the Likud and he too is beginning to become a metaphor for irrelevance. After all, if a prime minister like him does not manage to convince his party to support him, neither with respect to the disengagement plan nor about bringing the Labor Party into the coalition, that is neither with respect to the new ideology nor to the tactic aimed a accomplishing it, then perhaps, as is said of someone in a different Muqata, "He no longer controls the street."
They also added that Bush is in a different sort of "Muqata", as he cannot interfere in either Sharon or Arafat's fate right now... the election and the Iraqi quagmire make that impossible.

Unfortunately that leaves, well, nobody to deal with the situation. Which is probably as the Likud voters wanted it, but it doesn't do much for regional or Israeli security and stability, does it?

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