Plato and others on democracy and anarchy

The lead story in Monday''s Ha''aretz carries the headline, "US pressuring Netanyahu to accept Obama''s peace plan."
Israeli source says Americans frustrated with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for hampering U.S. efforts to stop Palestinians trying UN route to statehood in September."
It is not clear if this is coming from the President, or from underlings who are trying to carry a ball as far as they can, with or without the President''s personal direction. Things like that happen in White House organizations that number in the tens or thousands of people, depending on whether one is talking about those who really are close, or only formally associated with the White House but far from the Oval Office.
A number of other events suggest that the pressure is not coming from the top, or that the top is itself disconnected from other things that impinge on the activity.
The marriage between Fatah and Hamas may be heading for the rocks. Fatah''s nominee for Prime Minister has been vetoed by its ostensible partner.
Things are not happy within Fatah. It expelled one of its most senior people due to accusations of corruption and his working to undermine the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas. However, some members of the Fatah Central Committee are denying the report of an expulsion, so who knows what is happening in that intense little political party.
The disagreement between the American and Israeli governments is said to focus on those borders of 1967. Although President Obama has said they should only be the starting point of negotiations, Palestinians seem to be accepting them with the understanding that they will be the end point, while Prime Minister Netanyahu has indicated that his desired end point will be as far as possible from them. Even he cannot aspire to anything all that far from 1967 borders, insofar as the whole of the West Bank is only about 65 miles from north to south and 25 miles east to west at the farthest points in an outline that twists and turns along mountain ridges and deep valleys.
Chaos or commotion extending outward from the West Bank is not encouraging Israelis to be trusting or generous. If we want any reminder of the madness that reaches high positions in this region, we can turn to the comments expressed by the Vice President of the University of Tripoli in Lebanon. He appeared on Saudi television to proclaim that 9-11 was a fiction produced by Americans and Jews to provide an excuse for their ravishing the Middle East.
Web sites indicate that there is a University of Tripoli with faculties of architecture, arts and human science, business administration, engineering, public health, science and agriculture. It has yet to appear on world rankings of top institutions, but it may be training students to think like its Vice President.
A New York Times item speculates about a scenario that may be worrying Israeli, Americans, and Palestinians associated with Hamas as well as Fatah. That is a spread of unrest to Palestine, and the march of Palestinians seeking freedom toward Jewish settlements and/or those 1967 boundaries. One can see in the item the journalist''s affinity with the romance of Arab Spring. She quotes inspired Palestinians who see a future of enlightenment, democracy, economic development and all else that might be good.
The journalist notes the discomfort of Americans, Hamas, and Fatah that the movement will not be under their control or according to their timetable. She writes about Israel''s "nightmare scenario . . . that Palestinian refugees would simply start walking from their camps toward the border and would try to exercise their right of return . . . a West Bank uprising would . . . be . . . seismic for both Israel and the United States."
Leaving aside the indication that the New York Times journalist buys into the Palestinian narrative that individuals can maintain a status of refugees for six decades and several generations, she may be exaggerating the notion of an Israeli nightmare. Such a march toward Jewish communities will not be pleasant for the IDF and other security personnel, but it would be unwise to doubt the government''s willingness to defend Jewish settlements and Jerusalem, even in the absence of internationally recognized boundaries.
Plato may not have been the first, but he was one of the ancients who recognized that democracy was not all that far from commotion, anarchy, or chaos. It would help if commentators in our time learned about the problem, and if power holders took care not to encourage the people of cultures foreign to them--motivated by who knows what mixture of ideas--to rebel in the hope that all will work out for the best.