Wye is worth the wait, Israeli journalist says

For many Israelis, the week following the Wye Summit was filled with confusion and uncertainty, according to veteran Israeli journalist Hirsh Goodman.

"There was a murder in Hebron; immediately afterward, the Palestinians apprehended the murderer," he said in a telephone interview from his Jerusalem home last week. "On the one hand you've got murder. On the other, you've got the Palestinians helping to resolve it."

Goodman, vice chairman of the Jerusalem Post and editorial director of the Jerusalem Report, will be the keynote speaker at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's annual tribute dinner Tuesday, Nov. 10 at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco.

Most Israelis, he said, clearly understand that the closer peace is, the more those who oppose it will try and get in its way.

"We've lived with terror for a long time, and the Hamas terrorist organization is against any accommodation between Israel and Palestinians," he said. "Therefore, they're going to try and derail it. It's just a pragmatic, analytical look at reality."

Israelis accept that reality, he said, "the way you accept mugging in Miami."

Goodman, a native of South Africa, has lived in Israel for 33 years. During that time, he has held positions including defense and political commentator for the Jerusalem Post and editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Report.

Goodman does not expect the Wye Memorandum to be implemented in the prescribed 90 days. But he doesn't see that as a tragedy. "Even it takes longer, if the right is delivering peace, that's what's important."

Overall, Goodman is optimistic about the Oslo Accords, though he believes Israelis and Palestinians will share little more than a cold peace.

"You have to be realistic and realize the Oslo Accords are a divorce. They're not a marriage," he said.

"What we're doing is working out child support, alimony, what's mine and what's yours," he continued. "If you ask me if I'm optimistic about a happy divorce, I'd say `no.' But if you ask me if there can be a civil relationship, I think that's possible.

"A great love affair there isn't going to be."

Since the signing of the memorandum in Washington last month, rumor has it that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's life has been threatened.

Goodman thinks the accounts are exaggerated.

"There's a bit of hysteria in the country," he said. "This is the anniversary of [Rabin's] death. Everyone's really sensitive. "

The Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's annual tribute dinner will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20 at the Ritz-Carlton, 600 Stockton, S.F. A reception begins at 6 p.m. Information: (415) 399-1090.

Leslie Katz
Leslie Katz

Leslie Katz is the former culture editor at CNET and a former J. staff writer. Follow her on Twitter @lesatnews.