Although it comes as no surprise, it IS worth noting that, last week, in front of 100,000 cheering people in the centre of Gaza, Ismael Haniyeh declared that the ultimate solution for Hamas was not the total liberation of the Gaza strip or a Palestinian state. It was the liberation of all of Palestine.
Ari Shavit from Haaretz wrote a sobering but clear account of Haniyeh’s speech and its implications – which is worth reading here.
Twelve years ago, Shavit had an interesting perspective on the Peace Now movement and its wild antagonism against Benjamin Netanyahu during his first stint as Israeli Prime Minister. Richard Levin praises Shavit in his book “The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a people under siege” (p404). Levin writes .. “In December 1997, Ariv Shavit … broke rank with his colleagues in the peace camp to critique their vilifying of Netanyahu. In his irony-laden piece (which is reproduced here) Shavit contrasts the Israeli left’s hatred of Netanyahu with its enthusiasm for Rabin and Peres’s governments. That enthusiasm, Shavit notes, ignored those governments’ undemocratic and heavy-handed methods, which the Left ought to have abhorred, because Rabin and Peres had wielded such method in the service of “peace”. Of the peace camp, Shavit stated “We fooled ourselves with illusions” however Levin added that “Shavit’s was a rare voice of self-criticism and moderation among Israel’s Oslo enthusiasts, especially among those cadres of enthusiasts that comprised the largest part of the nation’s elites”
Twelve years on from Shavit’s 1997 article, one would hope that less Israelis and their supporters “fool themselves”. However, Israel is still a country under siege, and ideas that concessions and withdrawals are all that is required for peace remain delusions.
And for anyone who needs a reminder, Haniyeh has just provided one in his speech. Of course, if a newspaper editor doesn’t want people to be reminded of Hamas’s intentions, he/she won’t print it! For those who are deluded that peace will come if only Israel makes more concessions, it doesn’t matter what is printed.
So what are Delusions? They are irrational beliefs, held with a high level of conviction, that are highly resistant to change even when the delusional person is exposed to forms of proof that contradict the belief. Treatment is not always successful. Medication may work and cognitive therapy has shown promise where “the therapist tries to capitalise on any doubt the individual has about the delusions; then attempts to develop a joint effort with the sufferer to generate alternative explanations, assisting the client in checking the evidence… Prognosis is related to the level of conviction regarding the delusions and the openness the person has for allowing information that contradicts the delusion.
Shavit is certainly worth reading, and also worth listening to, in this wide-ranging interview.