An op-ed by Christiane Schlötzer in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung illustrates once again that the Europeans just don't get it. The analysis is full of clichés and condescending judgments. Perhaps the kicker was Schlötzer's assertion that
Both sides in the conflict are hostages to policies that, one has to say it, ... , are characterized by Old Testament obstinacy. [In dem Konflikt sind beide Seiten Geiseln einer Politik, die – man muss es sagen, ... – von alttestamentarischer Sturköpfigkeit geprägt ist].To the writer, the Israelis (and Palestinians) are like children, abandoned by their irresponsible parents (the US). What they ought to do, she seems to imply, is to talk things out like reasonable adults. Or worse, they are like unconverted Jews, who must open their ears to the New Testament's message of love and kindness.
Although Schlötzer accuses Israel of living in a "dream" (nightmare would be better), her critique seems fundamentally divorced from the realities on the ground. She does not present even a shred of understanding for the responsibility of a state to protect its citizens and borders. Nor does she consider the possibility that a government that allows terrorists to launch an attack across a border ought to be held accountable in some way.
Equally absurd is the writer's patronizing conclusion:
by now at the latest, Israel ought to recognize that it is impossible to separate itself from the Palestinians forever by unilaterally drawing a border. A few terrorists who dig a tunnel to kidnap a soldier could destroy this dream. [... spätestens jetzt muss Israel erkennen, dass es nicht möglich ist, sich mit einer einseitigen Grenzziehung ein für alle Mal von den Palästinensern zu trennen. Schon ein paar Terroristen, die einen Tunnel graben, um einen Soldaten zu entführen, konnten diesen Traum zerstören].The problem is that this was not "just" a few terrorists but a sophisticated, well-planned operation. Furthermore, it is bizarre that the writer turns this into an argument against Israel's "dream" of separating itself from the Palestinians. The terrorists operated from Gaza, which is no longer occupied by Israel. They ventured far beyond the 1967 borders to launch an offensive raid on Israeli troops. This is unacceptable in any scenario; it cannot be regarded as some kind of inevitability that resulted from a policy of unilateral disengagement, unless one argued the right-wing view that no withdrawal should have taken place at all because the Palestinians would be rewarded for terrorism.
It was also annoying to see the writer evade responsibility by attributing to the Palestinians en masse the rhetorical question:
Why should a brutal kidnapping be worse than the daily perceived arbitrariness of the occupation? [Oder dass ein brutales Kidnapping schlimmer sein soll als die alltägliche, als Willkür empfundene Besatzung.]This ignores the fact that the Gaza Strip, from which the terrorists attacked, is no longer under occupation. Indeed the entire analysis sounds like something canned long before the withdrawal took place. Perhaps this is why it sounds so trite.