Col. Avi Gil of the Israel Defense Forces wanted to show me something: the yellow pages from the West Bank town of Kalkilya.
In recent years they had tripled in thickness, an indication of the expansion of business and decline in violence. "It's in our interest to maintain the peaceful trend in the West Bank," Gil said. "It's fragile, but the fact is nobody wants to fight." "When I go into Kalkilya," Gil told me, "I've stopped using body armor, but I do take my rifle."
That, I think, is not a bad image of Israel today, prepared to relax slightly but mistrustful; feeling burned and misunderstood; seeing the outside world as hostile, including President Barack Obama; unconvinced of the possibility of peace but not prepared to dismiss it entirely; wanting at some level to think Fayyad can forge a reliable Palestine but also persuaded that Arabs are still bent on its destruction; enjoying the quiet but disturbed by what's over the horizon, not least Iran.
An Israel that's shed its body armor for now but still carries a rifle.
(New York Times)