What is more important, I believe, is a factor identified by Francis Fukuyama–the level of “trust” in a society. Israelis have been willing, when push comes to shove, to pull together for the common good in a way that Palestinians, who have always been riven by clan and political rivalries, have not. Israeli political culture has also been resolutely democratic, and this, I believe, is the ultimate secret of its success–it is inconceivable that the egalitarian Israelis would have tolerated the rule of a strutting authoritarian like Arafat. Israeli political culture demanded that “resistance” fighters like Begin and Shamir put down the gun and compete for votes like normal politicians. The Palestinians have never, even now, demanded this of their leaders–or at least not made the demand stick–and they will continue to pay a heavy price for elevating “resistance” over economic opportunity.Bingo!
Update: Krauthammer blasts the Obama-boosting media for calling truth-telling a gaffe.