Eyeless in Gaza


I had some hopes that the election of Mahmoud Abbas as President of the Palestinian National Authority would lead to a breaking of the deadlock between Israel and Palestine. These hopes were bolstered by the entry into the Israeli government of Shimon Peres and Labour. However, early signs are not favourable. Ariel Sharon is severing ties with Abbas in the aftermath of the latest attack, in which six Israelis died in Gaza.

What needs to be understood about the situation is that both leaders are hostage to their own constituencies. Hamas effectively presented a united front with Fatah for the Palestinian elections, in order to strengthen the negotiating hand of the Palestinians. Sharon has had immense difficulty in persuading both the Knesset and many Israeli citizens to go along with his limited concession of withdrawal of some settlements from the West Bank. Sharon has now reverted to the line used against Arafat – no negotiations until violence ceases. Arafat’s death has therefore not produced the circuit-breaker many hoped for.

Despite Tony Blair’s good intentions, it’s likely that only an intervention by the United States could produce any movement in these frozen postures. It’s in this context that Sharon’s harnessing of the Intifada to the rhetoric of the ‘War on Terror’ has been unhelpful for any hopes of a settlement. Bush also has his own domestic constituency – particularly in this case, Christian Zionists – but is to some degree constrained also by his past actions and statements. Aside from the legitimate aspirations of both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples for peace and security, the other tragedy of this situation is that continuing instability and conflict in Palestine will only fuel the same fires which sparked Al-Qaeda.

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

What is a christian zionist?

Israel main but not only problem is Hamas. This is a stunning success for Israeli intelligence who created the organisation to put Arafat offside with the long term hope of displacing him.

Hamas has gone from having diddly squat support among Palestinian muslims (it has no support from christians) to having substantial minority support there which was evident in the election.
for this we must thank Sharon.

It is very hard to envisage peace in this area.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

On Christian Zionists, Homer see this article for starters:


There’s a lot out there on the web analysing this phenomenon.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

I have commented on these people before.
As has been shown in Christianity today their view has no biblical foundation.
This is another example of the difference between fundamentalists and evangelicals.

At least evangelicals can point out that the Jews have broken every covenant made with God!
Pedantically evangelicals are the true Jews!