This is simply depressing. The degree to which hatred and intolerance is ingrained in the palestinians and the extreme myopia that has seemingly infected even the most moderate Arabs, gives us cause to move toward peace only with the utmost caution. Ghassan Khatib writing in this week's BitterLemon about Incitement, opens my eyes and depresses me with the thought of how wide the gap is between the two sides. There is a very, very long road ahead before any kind of common understanding is reached, and until Arab society modernizes, I don't hold much hope for real peace.
Khatib explains that much of what Israelis call incitement was simply propaganda used to inspire palestinian nationhood. According to him it was a good thing but it's all been changed as a result of Oslo. IN his words:
But with the start of the peace process, in particular the Oslo agreement that marked the first codified peace between Palestinians and Israelis, both parties agreed that it was now time to move from the culture of incitement to the culture of peace. That required educating both peoples in the values of tolerance and reconciliation in order to gradually reduce the levels of hostility and hatred and revenge. On the Palestinian side, a great deal of progress was made in this regard, to the extent that the next Palestinian generation--those in their late teens before the Aqsa intifada--had grown up in an environment nearly free of the accumulation of hatred and hostility. We were truly on our way to a generation that was prepared to accept coexistence with Israel under the terms of reference specified in the Oslo accords and assuming the need to end the occupation.
Methinks Khatib is wearing his rose colored glasses.
Go read what he says as well as the other 3 essays on Incitement with viewpoints from both sides. Maybe you'll find more reason for hope than I do.