I am ganuinely glad to see Gilad Shalit go home, and to see so many Palestinians reunited with their families. In conflict resolution we tend to refer to such events as “confidence building measures”, and there is no doubt that prisoner releases have to be a part of any eventual solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. But this is hardly an unprecedented event – I can remember three or four similar ones, with no long term effect. Still, on balance a good thing.
I find the wall to wall media coverage so laughably one-sided that I am surprisingly relaxed about it. Anybody likely to be paying the slightest attention to a news channel is going to know some background on the Israeli occupation and the plight of the Palestinians, so the ludicrous one-sidedness of the BBC and Sky News is much more likely to provoke derision than to have the desired propaganda effect.
I had the peculiar thought this morning that the crazed extremism of the Netanyahu government, with their walls and accelerated settlement building, may not be a bad thing in the long term. Another year or two of this kind of land grab and a two state solution will become patently impractical, and unacceptable to all Palestinians. As someone who has always favoured a single, secular democratic state in Israel/Palestine, I am hopeful that the two state idea, which is a Zionist trap into which well meaning but despairing liberals fell, will lose support when it becomes clear that the proposed Palestinian state is becoming an ever shrinking, increasingly disconnected series of tiny waterless and resourceless bantustans.