Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

The last word in the controntation between Israel and the US that has been brewing for weeks was Netanyahu's: "What the hell do they want from me?".

Netanyahu's statement was reportedly said in response Hillary Clinton's repeated demand that Israel stop the settlements. Period. Earlier, Netanyahu had adamantly refused, offering instead to dismantle a few token illegal outposts, while continuing to expand large settlements under the concept of "natural growth," plans that might actually double the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Wink of the eye deception, however, is no longer acceptable in Obama's Washington and apparently, not in the US Congress.

As reported by the New Policy Forum:

Last night, shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told journalists that the Obama administration "wants to see a stop to settlements -- not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a confidante. Referring to Clinton's call for a settlement freeze, Netanyahu groused, "What the hell do they want from me?" according to his associate, who added, "I gathered that he heard some bad vibes in his meetings with [U.S.] congressional delegations this week."

In the 10 days since Netanyahu and President Barack Obama held a meeting at the White House, the Obama administration has made clear in public and private meetings with Israeli officials that it intends to hold a firm line on Obama's call to stop Israeli settlements. According to many observers in Washington and Israel, the Israeli prime minister, looking for loopholes and hidden agreements that have often existed in the past with Washington, has been flummoxed by an unusually united line that has come not just from Obama's White House and the secretary of state, but also from pro-Israel congressmen and women who have come through Israel for meetings with him over Memorial Day recess.

To Netanyahu's dismay, Obama doesn't appear to have a hidden policy. It is what he said it was.

MJ Rosenberg, Washington Director of the Israel Policy Forum, this morning advised that the Washington of old is,

....no more.

Yedioth Achronoth correspondent, Sima Kadmon, reported yesterday that Netanyahu and his aides are rattled by this unexpected American grit.

"Netanyahu arrived only to discover that the United States is no longer the same United States and that the Congress is no longer the same Congress. That he has no other option when confronting Obama and that he has no excuses to give. If Sharon or Olmert could tell Bush that doing one thing or another would cause their governments to fall, and Bush took this seriously-this is no longer the case. Obama will not shed any tears if Netanyahu tells him that his government will fall as a result of removing outposts. He won't be telling him: 'oy, just don't leave me.' What's the worst that can happen? Livni will become prime minister? That certainly doesn't worry Obama."

(snip)

Adding to Netanyahu's problems is the lack of support of the status quo lobby for his hard-line position on settlements. No major Jewish organization, with the exception of the tiny far right Zionist Organization of America (allied with the settlers), is backing his position. AIPAC, which has not spoken out one way or the other, has never explicitly supported the settlement enterprise. The last thing it wants is to do battle with a popular American president over an issue it has never cared about.

In short, this is a battle that Obama can win, and it is one that is worth fighting. "Stopping the settlements" (in Secretary Clinton's words) would both begin a process toward ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and would show the world that the United States is actually trying to play the role of honest broker-and not Israel's lawyer-for the first time in many years.

Finally, we can understand the meaning of Obama's introduction of Netanyahu at their first press conference ten days ago as..."young and experienced." This time around, we are the superpower, not you, if one recalls Bill Clinton's reflection on his experience with Netanyahu over a decade ago.

Tags: Israel, Netanyahu, obama, Palestine (all tags)

Comments

100 Comments

Latest round in the Abbas-US talks

Unfortunately the only partner Obama has to work with on the Palestinian side is Abbas. A man who represents no one, but for someone reason is treated as the 'leader' of the Palestinian people.

And this is how he starts his face-to-face with Obama.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c id=1243346501041&pagename=JPost%2FJP Article%2FShowFull

First by declaring he has no problem wasting the first two years of Obamas term over his preconditions to meet with Israel for negotiations.

Abbas and his leadership expect American pressure to gradually force Netanyahu out of office, the paper reported on Friday. "It will take a couple of years," it quoted one of Abbas's officials as saying.

I'm sure that pleased Obama.

And he reveals a truth that he's suppose to remain silent about...

Abbas intends to remain passive, he told the paper. "I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements... Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life."

Ooops! So much for the genocide talking point. The people of the West Bank are actually well off. Perhaps Abbas really fears peace with Israel because it means unification with Gaza.

by oc 2009-05-29 02:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Abbas-US talks

Abbas was deceived by Olmert for the past two years where it became a joke that a peace settlement was being discussed.

Enough is enough I think.

What point is there for the Palestinians to talk some more if Israel is not interested in the two states solution? That's all there is to talk about.

And why begin talks when the main obstacle to the two states solution is the continuing settlement expansion. In fact, it will be necessary, undoubtedly, that Israel remove many settlements and return the land to its rightful owners (see B'Tselem stats).

And you have a problem with Abbas, do you? Try looking over Netanyahu's sincerity guage. Deception is no longer permitted in this relationship (Obama).

by MainStreet 2009-05-29 03:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Abbas-US talks

It's OK to critisize both sides. The world is not a simple George Bush 'good and evil' paradigm.

Obama does not care about what your opinion is of Olmert. Abbas declared that he does not value half of Obama's term. That is stupid on so many levels. If Abbas is willing to wait another two+ years to begin talks, clearly statehood is not at the top of his agenda. Willing to toss out two+ years of a President who could be a Palestinian advocate of the likes Palestinians have never seen before. As I said this is stupid on many levels. And you can't bring yourself to agree on that point.

Why doesn't Abbas care about wasting precious time? This is the main point, Abbas may not want peace. Because peace with Israel means life with Gazans. He admitted that life is the West Bank under Israeli 'control' is fantastic, so why change it. Why include Gaza.

Abbas at the podium:

Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life."

Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life."

Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life."

The West Palestinians are doing great - and there's Abbas on the international stage speaking the truth. His words. Sorry his words conflict with your talking points.

by oc 2009-05-29 03:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Abbas-US talks

We have heard this line many times before. To avoid seeing the forest, look at the trees, this tree and that one. If anyone is a fault that the Palestinians do not have a state, it is the Palestinians themselves. Stop blaming the Israelis, the incessant military occupation whose sole purpose it is to support the Israeli colonization of the remaining Palestinian territories. Just stop. It is not their fault.

It is the fault of the Palestinian that, except for a few months during the Rabin administration, Israel has been colonizing the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

These are my talking points. That only 25% of Gazans support Hamas, let alone 18% of Palestinians living in the other territories, makes Hamas something less than a red herring. Abbas certainly erred in taking Israeli and US funding in an attempt to throw Hamas out of its base in Gaza. No question about that. He was viewed as a quisling by many, and his popularity suffered. That he fell for the US-Israeli attempt to divide Palestinians is certainly a flaw. But at this time, the Obama government is working with him, and we will have to take their judgment at face value. It knows more than we do, and you as well.

by MainStreet 2009-05-29 04:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Abbas-US talks

Abbas doesn't care about Gaza, he stated clearly that the West Bank is doing great so he is OK with status quo for a couple years.

Here is the forest to pay attention to for Abbas (and you)
-

  • Obama may be the greatest advocate the Palestinians will ever have.
  • Obama will demand that Abbas take his peace plan and directions seriously.
  • Obama may not be interested in a Palestinian state two years from now, if his time is not valued today.

Abbas may be quite comfortable with the West Bank reality today. He clearly is not concerned with the state Gazans. And is not in a rush to mend fences with them either.

I'm just repeating the words of Abbas, if you don't like those words, if they confuse you talking points, take it up with Abbas, not me.

by oc 2009-05-30 02:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Abbas-US talks

It seems worth noting that those statements were made before his meeting with Obama and that his waiting game was directed as much at Hamas as Israel:


Yet on Wednesday afternoon, as he prepared for the White House meeting in a suite at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City, Abbas insisted that his only role was to wait. He will wait for Hamas to capitulate to his demand that any Palestinian unity government recognize Israel and swear off violence. And he will wait for the Obama administration to force a recalcitrant Netanyahu to freeze Israeli settlement construction and publicly accept the two-state formula.

Jackson Diehl - Abbas's Waiting Game Washington Post 29 May 09

And he may have a point.  Obama's not going to meet with Haniyeh, is he?  Abbas is going to have to pull the reconciliation rabbit out of the hat all by himself and making any sign of concession to Israel, at this point, wouldn't necessarily help.  Things, however, seem headed his way:


A survey by Birzeit University, based near the West Bank city of Ramallah, found 58 percent of Palestinians thought a joint coalition of the Western-backed Fatah movement and Hamas Islamists could best resolve their crisis.

[...]

...contrary to past polls, more than 37 percent of Palestinians in Hamas-ruled Gaza would vote for Abbas's Fatah movement if a new parliamentary election were held, and just 23 percent would choose Hamas.

The overall result in such an election would be 31 percent for Fatah and 17 percent for Hamas, the poll showed. Hamas won the last Palestinian parliamentary election held in 2006.

Other poll figures predicted Abbas could defeat Hamas Islamist leader Ismail Haniyeh in a presidential election scheduled to be held next year. A separate survey conducted in March had given Hamas the electoral edge.

Poll: Most Palestinians think Hamas-Fatah unity would help peace efforts Haaretz 27 May 09

Nobody ever said this was going to be easy, or quick.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-29 03:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Abbas-US talks

I agree with you, Abbas should not make any sign of concession at this point, prior to negotiations. No one should. Not Abbas, not Netanyahu. You save those concessions as chips for the negotiations.

Regarding Abbas' statement, hours prior to meeting with Obama does not change the impact. He is standing around, about to meet with the most powerful person on the planet, perhaps an advocate for yout cause and Abbas declares he has no problem wasting half of Obamas term. It's OK for you to agree that is stupid. That is poor judgement on the part of Abbas.

I also agree with you that Abbas has to pull a rabbit out of his hat to gain credibility among his own people. Abbas is more than likely on borrowed time, he is one election away from losing his title as PM. He won't allow an election. We are negotiating with a ghost. Any agreements with Abbas are empty and do not represent the Palestinians, def not the Gazans, and may not be honored by the Palestinians.

Shaun, I respect your comments, can you explain how Abbas can pull a rabbit out of his hat.

by oc 2009-05-29 03:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Abbas-US talks

Well, assuming for a moment that Hamas' victory in Gaza was at least partly due to frustration with the absence of progress on a permanent solution, which I agree is arguable, the 58% result in the poll cited above speaks volumes.  Abbas' remarks my have been stupid but strike me as reflecting an attitude more focused on his domestic situation than negotiations with Israel.  While not representing Gaza he has already made a couple of the preliminary concessions, recognition of Israel and ending immediate terrorist activity.  He must get Hamas to agree with this.  And it seems to me we need to help, somehow.

Netanyahu, on the other hand, the leader of his own government, can't seem to say 'two-state solution' even conditionally, and responded to Obama's position by returning to Israel and defying him openly among his own ministers.  I'm guessing that the Obama administration, whose task is clearly difficult, has reasoned that providing some kind of support for Abbas, or Fatah generally, in their confrontation with Hamas makes sense.  Otherwise, as you point out, this is going nowhere.

Doesn't it make sense to you that before these negotiations commence the issue of Fatah and Hamas has to be resolved?  And that there are equally difficult hurdles to be cleared with the hard-line positions of Likud?  It seems to me like the Obama is tackling both with different approaches.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-29 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Abbas-US talks

There seems little point to proceed with peace negotiations if Israel does not agree to our preconditions: cessation of settlements and readiness to conclude a two states solution, with settlement of all related issues.

What else is there to negotiate that are not just impediments to concluding a peace? As far as I can tell, only Israel has reasons to avoid peace negotiations, considering that its eyes are still on the prize, the Greater Israel.

by MainStreet 2009-05-29 04:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Abbas-US talks

Well, your point about our position on the respective preconditions seems correct:


"And so what I told Prime Minister Netanyahu was that each party has obligations under the road map," Obama continued. "On the Israeli side those obligations include stopping settlements. They include making sure that there is a viable potential Palestinian state. On the Palestinian side it's going to be important and necessary to continue to take the security steps on the West Bank that President Abbas has already begun to take, working with General Dayton. We've seen great progress in terms of security in the West Bank.  Those security steps need to continue because Israel has to have some confidence that security in the West Bank is in place in order for us to advance this process."

Laura Rozen - Netanyahu: "What the hell do they want from me?" Foreign Policy 29 May 09

However there is still the problem of Hamas, which is hardly Netanyahu's, to be fair, and goes a long way to explaining Israeli reluctance and concern.  I would find it a lot easier to agree with the substance of your comments, however, if they avoid the polemic pitfalls of incendiary references to 'Greater Israel,' and so forth.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-29 04:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Abbas-US talks

There seems little point to proceed with peace negotiations if Israel does not agree to our preconditions:

I know what you meant, but I found your exact quote humorous.

"Our preconditions"! Wow, I didn't know you were personally involved in the negotiations. How did Abbas respond when you shared your recommendations with him?

by oc 2009-05-30 04:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Abbas-US talks


Only presidents, editors and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we".

Mark Twain

Still, the framers of the Constitution chose 'We the people...' as their narrative mode which seems a reasonable guide.  But your point is well taken.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-30 06:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Abbas-US talks

"Our" is not included I noticed in Twain's remark. Our position obviously refers to Obama's position, which presently, as far as I can tell, is the US position. Did I mention that I don't live in Canada, but am a US citizen?

Oak is incurable sometimes, by the way. But at this stage in Middle East politics, whatelse can you say?

by MainStreet 2009-05-31 08:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Abbas-US talks

I use the same construction all the time in respect of US positions, which is why I basically came to your defence.  The Twain quote was meant as a light-hearted acknowledgement of our presumption in using the collective 'we' or 'our' in discussion, but I will unrepentently continue to do.  I'm a US citizen but don't live in the States so it confuses my Australian friends when I use the third person discussing US politics, but there it is.  I'll always be a Yank to them, anyhow.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-31 08:42AM | 0 recs
The incurable Oak responds

Other than Obama being favor of a two state solution and settlement freezes nobody knows yet what Obama's official starting position is for peace talks to resume. Quit claiming you know Obamas position. You do not, and I guartantee when Obama does declare the details of a future Palestinian state you will disagree with some of his demands upon the Palestinians.  Such as...
-

  • Recognition of Israels right to exist as a Jewish state
  • Palestine will exist without a military
  • No right of return, resettlement and compensation to refugees instead.

These are only hints of what may be proposed by 'us', 'our' position. But I do not pretend to know the future. Obama himself may not even know at this point what his demands will be.

Your certainty on any topic is your greatest weakness.

by oc 2009-05-31 09:05AM | 0 recs
Indeed

not only should there be no concessions, but the Palestinians would be well-advised to begin suicide bombings and rocket attacks, so they can use those as bargaining chips.

by JJE 2009-05-30 08:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Indeed

How brave & courageous of you.

Considering that you are neither Israeli (who suffer from those attacks) or Palestinian (who suffer the Israeli response to those attacks) I suggest you refrain from such statements which encourage violence. Of which you will not suffer as a result.

You must have been quite gitty while Hamas launched rockets into Israel. Of course you did not have to live through the IDF response.

Abbas may be an empty suit, but as he stated, the West Bank Palestinians are doing quite well, he understands that Palestinian violence would change that reality.

Mainstreets diary deserves more respect, don't clutter it with the garage you posted above.

by oc 2009-05-30 02:25PM | 0 recs
What's the problem?

Again we're in agreement and you're getting all offended for no reason.  I just seconded your point that any rational actor should maximize his advantage in anticipation of negotiations.  The Israelis should increase settlement construction while the Palestinians should renew the intifada with renewed vigor.  Concessions and gestures of good faith are no way to set the table for a negotiation.

The thousands of Israelis and Palestinians who will no doubt read this comment surely understand this, so I think you can rest easy without fear that my blog comment is going to result in more carnage than would otherwise occur.

by JJE 2009-05-30 04:37PM | 0 recs
Re: What's the problem?

I assume you are being polemical.  But either way, suicide bombings do not increase the Palestinians' strategic advantage.  It erodes international support, erodes support for them within Israel, plays into the hands of the Israeli right, and puts them in a worse position vis a vis the US and EU.

If the Palestinians want to increase their strategic advantage, there are other methods, some which include violence (but not bombing of civilians), many of which do not.  One which has not been tried but is bandied about here and there is a mass drive of applications for Israeli citizenship.  This does not need to represent capitulation with regard to two states.  It could function as political pressure to achieve it.  It could also be framed as an attempt to influence the peace process at the Israeli ballot box.

If you are really interested in strategic approaches from a Palestinian perspective, take a look at this document:

http://www.palestinestrategygroup.ps/

by Strummerson 2009-05-31 05:09AM | 0 recs
Re: What's the problem?

"suicide bombings do not increase the Palestinians' strategic advantage."

Of course, and that is why Netanyahu would love a new spate of conflict such as occurred during the second Intifada. But he's not going to see it. And that is the meaning of Abbas' last pronouncement: all is well in the West Bank. Furthermore, the Hamas leadership is also not that stupid to give the Israeli right wing, which these days means everyone, a cause to distract from the peace negotiations begun by Obama.

Fatah and Hamas are not really that far apart (yes, the NYT interview, or even Jimmy Carter's). Mostly, they are beginning to appreciate the divide and conquer strategy being used against them by the US-Israeli propaganda machine of old. No more. We just saw a change in the US State Department recently, and Burns is not longer the robot mouthpiece for antiMuslim, antiArab, and antiPalestinian propaganda.

by MainStreet 2009-05-31 08:39AM | 0 recs
Re: What's the problem?

Suffice it to say that I hope you are right.  We'll see in the next few months.

by Strummerson 2009-05-31 02:42PM | 0 recs
They've been waiting 60 years

for an Israeli government that respected their rights.  What's two more?

The people of the West Bank are actually well off.

If they're so well off then why are you crying about wasting two precious years of Obama's term?

by JJE 2009-05-30 08:31AM | 0 recs
Re: They've been waiting 60 years

"If they're so well off then why are you crying about wasting two precious years of Obama's term?"
Why, because I respect Obama and Obama believes this conflict is important to address today.

But perhaps you and Abbas are correct, the Palestinians are doing just fine, in which case they (Palestinians) should stop asking for the world to pay attention to them.

You and others live under the illusion that the Palestinians are suffering a great deal. Abbas spoke the truth and you do not know how to respond to that truth. It clogs your talking points.

It is important to resolve this conflict not because of Palestinian 'suffering' (many nations have people who suffer to a much greater extent and get little of the worlds attention or money), but because there is an occupation and it needs to be resolved.

So yes, wasting two years matters. But apparently you agree with Abbas that wasting two years is not important, including the risk of losing Obama as an advocate.

by oc 2009-05-30 02:42PM | 0 recs
Re: They've been waiting 60 years

i agree with shaun that abbas' statements were about internal politicking as much as anything else. and about plaestinian suffering - while they certainly is such - i do think that on this point it is best-solved with honesty.

and specifically the 'palestinian suffering' meme is often made with absolutely no facts.

for example,  the "Human Development Index" which measures life expectancy, health, education, environmental quality, and overall living standards ranks all nations from number one (norway) to number 177 (sierra leone). the so-named "occupied palestinian territories" earned a place near the middle of the list, with numerical scores much closer to the privileged nations of north america and western europe than to destitute areas of sub-saharan africa. despite israel's much decried occupation, the palestinians actually ranked above both syria and egypt - the most powerful arab nations of the region.

according to the UN's own rankings, palestinians actually enjoy better living standards than their arab brothers in neighboring states - or, for that matter, than citizens of the most populous muslim countries, indonesia or pakistan.

but be that as it may - this problem must be solved for the futures of both peoples. not matter how high or low the suffering may be on either side.

by canadian gal 2009-05-30 03:10PM | 0 recs
Re: They've been waiting 60 years

Absolutely correct regarding Palestinian suffering. But no matter what 'rank' the Palestinians are listed at, this matter needs to be resolved for moral sake. This we agree on.

I do disagree with you and Shaun re Abbas' statement. Politicians have one eye and ear on internal politics for everything they say. Regardless, Abbas owns what he says. Many people have strong opinions regarding the IP conflict even if they do not follow it closely, have never heard of Netanyahu, Abbas, Likud, Fatah, Hamas, etc. Many who empathise with the Palestinians and cast Israel as evil do so for reasons that they believe the Palestinians are suffering like no one on this planet. I'm glad Abbas spoke the truth. It was dumb politically for much of international Palesinian support is based upon the myth of Palestinian suffering. Abbas' statement punctures that myth and should be repreated. Even on this blog, in this diary, there are those who are ignoring Abbas' statement that Palestinians are well off in the West Bank and continue to talk around it. Losing talking points can ruin ones day, I suppose.

by oc 2009-05-30 03:39PM | 0 recs
Re: They've been waiting 60 years

while i engaged on this above - i kind of think that this fits into the category of 'irrelevant' much as discussing the history of victimology (as indicated in other parts of this thread).

really what's the point?  will this help to bring about a resolution?  does it help both israelis or palestinian achieve any of thir goals?
this answer clearly is no - so rather than focus on abbas' semantics - i think it more constructive to focus on the bigger picture.  namely that he is regarded by all interested parties as relevant.  and that - to me - is a positive development.

by canadian gal 2009-05-30 04:40PM | 0 recs
Re: They've been waiting 60 years

At first thought I agree, it's irrelevant. Yes. this conversation does not help bring resolution to conflict. But what conversation on a blog does? Let's all shut down our notebooks.

"does it help both israelis or palestinian achieve any of thir goals?" Perhaps. If people hava a greater understanding of reality on the ground doesn't that enhance the chances of two parties coming together to negotiate peace. I don't know, but it can't. I know accusing Israeli's of committing genocide and Palestinians of terrorism does not help. These memes increase the chances of fools rising to power and going to their perspective corners.

No, these posts will not change a thing, but obviously we all enjoy conversing with each other here at mydd.

by oc 2009-05-30 06:03PM | 0 recs
Re: They've been waiting 60 years

I hope you don't mind me interjecting at this point but it seems that we are at least doing something.  This discussion of the Israel/Palestine issues here over the last few weeks seems to be headed somewhere and is generally far more comprehensive and sophisticated than many mainstream media treatments.  The importance of raising the conciousness of the American public on foreign affairs cannot be overstated and every little bit helps.  It is hard to estimate the impact of forums such as this one but it can only help advance the aim of improving our collective awareness, disagreements notwithstanding.  I have noticed that these diaries tend to get a lot of comments and a fairly high visibility within this community which is encouraging.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-31 01:20AM | 0 recs
Please interject.

My point was that we could rehash this for hours.  And none of it furthers this discussion moving forward.

and

'We are probably both idiots for engaging in these irrelevant debates because the topic has little to do with where we are today.'  Bingo.

This is where I disagree with you. I would argue that dialogue was more important than the diary.  Here is an excellent comment reviewing some the context of this conflict for your review...

http://www.mydd.com/comments/2009/5/29/1 65735/436/12

Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation (2.00 / 2)

1948: "It was such events that the surrounding Arab countries reacted to and attacked Israel."  There had been a civil war going on which included the blockade of 100,000 Jews in Jerusalem by Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni.  The Jordanians expected to annex the Palestinian portion of the mandate.  Are you suggesting there are any circumstances in which the Arab states wouldn't have attacked?  Don't make me do the due diligience on this.

1956: Eqypt closed the Straits of Tiran and blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba, in contravention of the Constantinople Convention of 1888 a violation of the 1949 Armistice Agreements.  While there is a strong anti-colonial aspect to this conflict involving Britain and France it was, as you noted, an 'act of war' to blockade Israel.

1967: Israel's preemptive air attack was arguably the only factor preventing the mobilised armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, encircling Israel, from invading, which no-one now disputes was their clear intention.  Egypt expelled UNEF observers, crossed UN lines and deployed 100,000 soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula before the Israeli attack.

1973: So it's OK to unilaterally invade after agreeing to an armistace in 1967?  Don't tell the North Koreans.  The 1973 attack was clearly intended to destroy Israel, international agreements notwithstanding, and was preceded by a global diplomatic initiative to create an anti-Israeli coalition.  Not to mention that the preemptive attack rather justifies Israel's position in holding these captured territories as a security buffer, don't you think?  The Sinai agreement came only after Egypt's close-run failure.

We could do this all day.  And whether the Palestinians were involved or not as a combatant power, which was beyond their capabilities at the time though their sympathies were clear, is irrelevant.  We could do this all day and it is an utterly useless waste of time.  Insisting on reviewing this simple catalogue of state aggression against Israel merely argues for their position of requiring territorial security against a history of incessant attack.  The Palestinians may be the bystanders here, Black September notwithstanding, but their future prospects of statehood are inextricably linked to Israel's security which they may want to consider carefully.  Every threat to Isreal's security by Palestine's supposed 'benefactors' in the past have been largely self-motivated and has ultimately compounded their miseries.

by Shaun Appleby on Fri May 29, 2009 at 10:47:37 PM PST
[ Parent | Reply to This |  none0- hide1- troll2- mojo ]

I did not gain any additional knowledge from these comments you provided, but they were very well written and an excellent summary of historical events that are pertantant to any IP discussion.

It may feel like a waste of time, but there are many who are passionate about IP who have little historical context, yet have concrete positions and opinions. Your excellent recaps help in that regard. If all one understands are talking points, then that is a sad state. So as painful as writing those comments may have been, they are valuable. Many (I think) read these little diaries and do not comment, but the comments are read.

So please, keep interjecting.

by oc 2009-05-31 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Please interject.

Thanks for your vote of confidence, I had felt that exchange was tiresome and counter-productive to the purpose of the discussion.  I forget, having lived through much of that history, that some things get lost in the sands of time and assume everyone knows the broad strokes of that stuff.  My point remains, however, that these polemicals would end up arguing the grievances of the Canaanites and the crimes of the Amelekites if they were carried to their logical conclusion.  It seems to detract from discussing pragmatic, collaborative solutions long overdue and for the benefit of all concerned, not least of which the US and it's citizens.  But nice to know it's all for some good cause.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-31 09:07AM | 0 recs
Re: They've been waiting 60 years

I'm not sure Abbas' statement was intended to convey the message 'We're doing fine, thank you very much' but rather to emphasise he wasn't going to get spilled as leader any time soon and that he was prepared to outlast Netanyahu on the preconditions waiting game.  Maybe he is taking his cues from the Obama administration on this point, who knows?

It seems clear, however, that the unstated 'precondition' that Palestinians face is designating a leadership which is in a position to unequivocally negotiate on their behalf, a challenge they and Abbas have failed to meet thus far.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-30 06:53PM | 0 recs
What talking points?

I'm agreeing with you.  Everything is great with the Palestinians - no need to get pissy about it.

Everything with the Palestinians is fine and dandy, so who cares whether this problem is resolved?  The grievances of anyone whose life is so great must be irrational, and Obama is a fool for worrying about this.  Everything is cool except for some whiny Palestinians, audaciously demanding the world's attention and money, that Israel is able to keep in check whenever they get uppity.  Time for everyone to just ignore this situation which is blown way out of proportion because the "Palestinians" are so good at attracting attention.

by JJE 2009-05-30 04:29PM | 0 recs
Re: What talking points?

my apologies, hugs and kisses to you.

by oc 2009-05-30 06:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

There is a fascinating interview with former US Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, recently published in Yediot Achronoth:


Your book, we said, provides one major lesson with regard to US administrations: Your [administrations] are very naïve, make many errors
and frequently fail.  Why should Netanyahu listen to you?

"We are not the only ones who have failed," Indyk said.  "You too have erred and failed.  We failed, among other reasons, because President Clinton did his best to meet the wishes of your prime ministers.  There were other reasons: lack of leadership on Assad's part, errors made by Arafat and opportunities missed by Israel.  There is a lot of failure to go around.  The first lesson is humility, humility for everyone.  We should be more modest, less naïve, less
arrogant.

"Netanyahu should listen to Obama because Obama is telling him, in essence, that resolving the conflict is an American interest.  What is
happening at present is that the Israeli-Arab conflict serves as an instrument in the hands of America's enemies--Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas.
Time is not working in Israel's favor or in favor of peace."

On existential questions, we said, there is a fundamental difference between the United States and Israel, we said.  You Americans are in the
bleachers, and we are on the playing field.  As Golda Meir said, we can't afford to err twice.

"There is no question that Israel is taking a tangible risk," he replied.  "But all these years, the US has been strengthening you precisely for this purpose -- so that you can take the risk of making peace.  How exactly can the Palestinians destroy you?  The real existential danger is that you will not succeed in parting from them."

M J Rosenberg - Ambassador Indyk Tells All: Pretty Amazing Interview Israel Policy Forum 28 May 09

It seems no coincidence that this narrative by a former US official is appearing just now.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-29 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

"in the hands of America's enemies--Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas."

Clearly, these are not America's enemies, only in so far as Israel would like them to be our enemies. Hezbollah and Hamas were created as a consequence of Israeli aggression toward Lebanon and Palestine, respectfully in 1982 and 1987, the Lebanon invasion by Sharon (20,000 mostly civilians killed) and the first Intifada in Palestine (death tolls unavailable). In fact, Israel actually funded Hamas' rise in hope that it would act as a rival to Arafat's PLO, which began to talk peace and recognition of Israel. Iran, of course, is a supporter of these groups, and of the Palestinian cause for statehood in general. Interestingly, in 2003, the Iranians under a moderate PM and presumably with the blessings of the Ayatollahs repeated the 2002 Arab League offer via the Swiss Embassy, but the like the former, it was rebuffed by Israel.

The colonization of the Palestinian territories still going full throttle. Why stop now?

by MainStreet 2009-05-29 04:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

We're parting company here.  Without doubting that Hezbollah and Hamas grew out of the conflict with Israel there seems no point, and a fair degree of oversimplification, in blaming Israel for their existence or growth.  It should be clear that the US, not to mention moderate Arab governments, have genuine enemies who use the Israel/Palestine issue for their own ends and while the resolution of that conflict is essential it doesn't do more than ameliorate opposition on other economic, political or ideological grounds.  And the offer to Israel by Iran, it seems to me, was equally rejected by US neoconservatives with their own geopolitical agendas.

Let's just solve the problem, for now, and leave the post mortem of the whole unfortunate episode for the respective historians.  Blaming Israel for everything strikes me as counter-productive as the opposite.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-29 05:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

Leaving it to the historians is well taken. That is where my views issue from. If you know another history concerning these organizations, I would like to hear about it, so would others.

by MainStreet 2009-05-29 06:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

Is that an invitation to debate the pros and cons of a century-long conflict to determine who's the perpetrator and who's the victim?  Not so fast.  It strikes me, as a US citizen who is neither Jew nor Muslim, that my tax dollar is best spent on resolving this to everyone's mutual benefit, excepting, of course, Ahmadinejad's, Hamas', al-Qaeda's and anyone else who is leveraging this conflict for their own ends.

Starting a negotiation with a catalogue of past greivances seems futile and counter-productive and a game both sides can play endlessly.  I conditionally supported your position on Fatah's metting of the preconditions vis-à-vis Likud's, why try to enlist me in a polemic denuncia of Israel's past performance?  To me, right now, the past performance of neither actor is relevant, only their willingness and ability to move forward.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-29 06:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

This is Indyk's statement: "in the hands of America's enemies--Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas." Indyk is of course director of the Saban Institute, a right wing proZionist organization. He also was part of a debate on the "Israel Lobby" whee he encounter Mearshirmer, and claimed that there was no such thing as an Israel Lobby.

It was his statement I was reacting to, because if anything, he is part of the Israel Lobby, whose intent has been to involve the US in Israel's conflicts, and indeed, succeeded in getting proPalestinian factions labeled as terrorist organizations, and merged with Al Quaeda after 9/11.

See this documentary for an example of the propaganda effort, which the Bush State Department bought into:

Peace, Propaganda, & The Promised Land

Part I:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCL6WdnuN p4

Part II: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo2HW4T7w K4

I have asked before for persons who believe that the cause of the IP conflict is half the fault of the Palestinians to please write diaries making the case for the Israeli side. All I get is silence or silence plus wishes that I would keep silent.

Actually, silence is an expected response. How do you defend a country which keeps another people under military occupation while you steal its lands? Is there really any other reason why this conflict has gone on now for over 40 years? If it is the Palestinians fault that they are losing their country a second time, please have the decency of letting the rest of us know what it is.

by MainStreet 2009-05-29 07:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

I'm not buying into this.  It might be pointed out that Israel was attacked in 1948 by armies of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq, and was forced to fight Egypt in 1956 after the closure of the Straits of Tiran, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Suez canal.  In 1967 in response to the armies of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan mobilising on the border Israel fought again and in 1973 Syria and Egypt once again attacked Israel on Yom Kippur with substantial conventional forces nearly dragging the US and the Soviet Union into the conflict.  What's the point?

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-29 07:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

What's the point?

Israel was attacked in 1948 by armies of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq: two months before Israeli Independence  was declared on May 15, 1948 by the UN, the Zionists implemented Plan Dalet, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population. In those two months appox 250,000 Palestinians were forcably thrown out of their villages by the Haganah, and terrorist gangs like the Irgun, Stern Gang, and others, or fled in terror, streaming into adjacent Arab countries. Massacres of entire villages such as the infamous Deir Yassin massacre by the Irgun occurred, which received international press. It was such events that the surrounding Arab countries reacted to and attacked Israel.

Egypt in 1956: when Egypt nationalized the Suez canal, it was attacked by British, French, and Israeli forces. Egypt attacked no one.

1967 War: the armies of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan attacked Israel, but only after Israel's surprise attack on Egypt. There are reviews on this war suggesting that the conflict may have been avoided through diplomacy, but Egypt did block the Straits to Israeli shipping, an act of war.

1973 War. Syria and Egypt once again attacked Israel. But it was undertaken with the intent to regain sovereign lands that Israel had captured in the 1967 war, like the Sinai, which was occupied by Israel for six years.

What's the point in this? The Palestinians were not involved, even though some of the fighting, 1948, was done on their behalf.

And how does any of this relate to the colonization that has been going on since 1967?

by MainStreet 2009-05-29 08:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

1948: "It was such events that the surrounding Arab countries reacted to and attacked Israel."  There had been a civil war going on which included the blockade of 100,000 Jews in Jerusalem by Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni.  The Jordanians expected to annex the Palestinian portion of the mandate.  Are you suggesting there are any circumstances in which the Arab states wouldn't have attacked?  Don't make me do the due diligience on this.

1956: Eqypt closed the Straits of Tiran and blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba, in contravention of the Constantinople Convention of 1888 a violation of the 1949 Armistice Agreements.  While there is a strong anti-colonial aspect to this conflict involving Britain and France it was, as you noted, an 'act of war' to blockade Israel.

1967: Israel's preemptive air attack was arguably the only factor preventing the mobilised armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, encircling Israel, from invading, which no-one now disputes was their clear intention.  Egypt expelled UNEF observers, crossed UN lines and deployed 100,000 soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula before the Israeli attack.

1973: So it's OK to unilaterally invade after agreeing to an armistace in 1967?  Don't tell the North Koreans.  The 1973 attack was clearly intended to destroy Israel, international agreements notwithstanding, and was preceded by a global diplomatic initiative to create an anti-Israeli coalition.  Not to mention that the preemptive attack rather justifies Israel's position in holding these captured territories as a security buffer, don't you think?  The Sinai agreement came only after Egypt's close-run failure.

We could do this all day.  And whether the Palestinians were involved or not as a combatant power, which was beyond their capabilities at the time though their sympathies were clear, is irrelevant.  We could do this all day and it is an utterly useless waste of time.  Insisting on reviewing this simple catalogue of state aggression against Israel merely argues for their position of requiring territorial security against a history of incessant attack.  The Palestinians may be the bystanders here, Black September notwithstanding, but their future prospects of statehood are inextricably linked to Israel's security which they may want to consider carefully.  Every threat to Isreal's security by Palestine's supposed 'benefactors' in the past have been largely self-motivated and has ultimately compounded their miseries.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-29 09:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

I can't agree with all of your points, but I do agree with one: that rehashing these incidents serves no cause. And one more: that Israel's treatment of the Palestinians is indeed relevant and the primary cause of Israel's sense of insecurity historically.

Nost of Israel's security problems issue from the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948 and the ongoing ocxcupation/colonization after 1967 which was and is still open to view in the Middle East.

As for the security issue, Egypt and Jordan have since almost become allies, Syria maintains its right to sovereignty over the Golan, while in Lebanon, the southern Shi'ites, Hezbollah, has no capacity to invade Israel. Cutting through the propaganda, Iran also has no intention of attacking or invading Israel. To what point? It's propaganda.

The source of the problem today, the active solonization, continues. Hamas and Iran have now become Israel's red herrings to take it further. The US is no longer buying into it, and that is what is important today.

As for Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni (Husseini), he was exiled by the British in 1937. Before that and afterward there were terrorist acts on both sides; but I don't know if it could be called a civil war. Undoubtedly, the Palestinians were reacting to Balfour and the intent of the British to turn their country into a homeland for the Jews, which the immigrations gave proof of.

Today the sum of the history adds up to the need to divide the land and get it over with. The Palestinians are in agreement with this concept.

by MainStreet 2009-05-30 03:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

As well as me and apparently the Obama administration as well.  And I agree that 'rehashing these incidents serves no cause.'  I also tend to agree that the 'existential' threat to Israel, while clearly real, is overstated for political purposes at this point.

But until the Palestinians, and their advocates, are as concerned about Israel's security as they are about achieving statehood it seems they are just making it more difficult.  I support the idea of a 'two-state' solution and the settlement freeze as a precondition to negotiations, as well as the demands to which Abbas has already agreed.  It's now up to the Palestinians to find a collective voice and become a reliable negotiating partner.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-30 06:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

Abbas has already been accepted by the US as a spokesman for the Palestinians, whether the small Hamas faction agrees or not. Actually, Hamas is on board.

It is not reliability that is at issue, in my opinion, but seriousness. How serious can Israel be when it has plans in the fire to double the population of settlers in the West Bank? Settlement building has not stopped, except for a short lull in the 90s, since 1967.

The Israelis last used that "no partner" stuff back in 2000 to blame Arafat, when at Camp David/Taba, Barak knew that he could not dismantle settlements to make way for a Palestinian state. It was a no-go from the start.

by MainStreet 2009-05-30 08:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

That doesn't really answer the issue, however.  Palestinians have to accept Abbas and the Hamas breakaway creates some doubt on that.  I posted the recent poll results above but it still is an area where Palestinians, and their advocates, could focus some worthwhile attention.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-30 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

Still, Shaun, what does any of this have to do with Israel's plans to continue the colonization of the Palestinian territories. Does having Hamas not quite aboard during the peace negotiations somehow justify Israel's colonial plans.

The answer to that question is precisely why Israel today needs Hamas more than ever to serve as a red herring, a distraction to the settlement project, even though Iran is now replacing it as another "security" banana peel. Israel's security is a fake issue, because it too cannot justify the continuing military occupation, which is obviously supporting the takeover of the West Bank by settlers, minimally.

How can any security issue become the rationale for colonialism? That's why I disagree with views that Israel's security is paramount; for Israel, completing the colonialism is paramount.

by MainStreet 2009-05-31 10:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

That it is another critical issue of the solution of which the settlement issue is merely a part, and I would have thought that was obvious.

Your recent responses seem to be mere hectoring of others to accept your clearly polemic position.  I have already, several times, agreed with you on the subject of the settlement freeze as a precondition.  I will not, ever, adopt the simplistic one-sided view you are offering.

As an advocate, clearly, of the Palestinian cause it seems to me you are doing harm by ceaselessly haranguing others to not only accept the merit of your views but join in your polemicisms.  It frustrates those sympathetic to your position and forces them to attempt to argue you down off the ledge or give up in exasperation, especially when you engage in a lengthy, detailed discussion then hit the reset button and start all over again from the beginning as if the conversation never occurred.

If you aren't going to engage in a dialogue which demonstrates that you are prepared to alter your point of view one iota, or even heard the opposing argument with a glimmering of understanding, you might be better advised to let someone else less irritatingly make the case.  You are exhausting my patience, at least, and forcing me to revisit all of the arguments I have in favour of the Israeli position on this.  Not least of which that the Palestinians are unrepentent militants, radicals and agitators with whom a negotiated settlement is unlikely to endure.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-31 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

See below, near the last responses.

by MainStreet 2009-05-31 03:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

MS, I really think Shaun's position in this thread has been thoroughly reasonable throughout.

As to Indyk, I think another relevant point here --- beyond a sensible awareness that re-litigating the entire I-P conflict in every I-P thread can get pretty tedious and counterproductive -- is that Indyk's near-Dennis Ross-like past coziness with establishment "pro-Israel" views only makes his Yediot interview that much more interesting.

Indyk is of course not the first Clinton-era official to unmask Ehud Barak's supposed unmasking of Arafat at Camp David.  Robert Malley led the charge years ago and paid a heavy price (as did, among others, then Israeli FM Shlomo Ben-Ami.)  But to hear it from Martin Indyk -- with his AIPAC ties and his longstanding Syria First skepticism to the Palestinian negotiating track -- I think is a particularly big deal.  And, as Shaun astutely notes, it seems no accident that Indyk is revealing it now.

All in all, I personally read it very optimisticly.

by YuedoTiko 2009-06-01 08:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

Ditto on Indyk, I sense a sea change here.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-01 02:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

Let's just solve the problem, for now, and leave the post mortem of the whole unfortunate episode for the respective historians.  Blaming Israel for everything strikes me as counter-productive as the opposite.

in my humble opinion - you have touched on perhaps one of the greatest stumbling blocks to peace. and this goes both ways - both sides are equally as complicit.

by canadian gal 2009-05-29 08:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

It sure seems that way, if the rhetoric here is any indication, but for once it might be argued the 'pragmatic' point of view is in the ascendance.  I don't see where the current administration is playing favourites at the moment, for example, and the greater good of all concerned seems to weigh in the balance more than ever.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-29 08:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

couldn't agree more. just an aside - did you per chance happen to see this? so wish i could have gone...

by canadian gal 2009-05-29 08:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

Equally complicit.

You are again invited to provide an essay on how the Palestinian people are responsible for their present situation: 5 million living in refugee camps about the Middle East, the military occupation since 1967 of Palestinians living in the territories, the colonization of over 40% of their lands, and so forth.

I'm just not getting it. How are they complicit?

by MainStreet 2009-05-29 09:03PM | 0 recs
here's a suggestion.

do a bit of research.

remember the israeli disengagements from the occupied territories in the mid-1990s? it was initially a hopeful time on both sides. yet back then, hamas was carping from the sidelines, disavowing the oslo peace process as a sellout and sabotaging it with suicide bombers. at that time, top hamas leadership - there was never talk of two-state solutions or one-state solutions. rather, their solution was to send the jews back where they came from.
.
the killing - or much of it - was initially put on hold while the israelis and the palestinian authority held talks in the 1990s. underpinning that dialogue was the israeli "peace camp," which boasted a big tent with a remarkable coalition. later, it even united the dovish shimon peres with the hawkish (and hated) ariel sharon.

but the peace camp has folded its tent in recent years, as the rug has been pulled out from under it. hamas still refuses to recognize israel's right to exist (no mere bargaining tactic). and it remains a vexing interlocutor for other arab partners - notably the palestinian authority, the saudis and egyptians.

see? wasn't that a good waste of time? i just rehashed recent past of which there is nothing to do but start a pissing match and we have achieved nothing...

your continual one-sided approach to this issue and intellectual, ethical and historic gaps work against any positive arguments you make.  

the larger and most important point here is: as vital as it is to engage the palestinians, it is no less crucial to enlist the israelis in a confidence-building process. as the stronger partner, israel needs an incentive to forego the military option or blockades against smuggling.

it's easy to accuse the israelis of war crimes, marshall blistering un resolutions, and call for boycotts. yet amidst all the excoriating and hectoring from israel's critics such as yourself, there has been little analysis of what it would take to return to the status quo ante - when peace was breaking out, with both sides talking, withdrawing and coexisting.

how about that? you provide lots of diaries assailing an issue yet provide v. little in the way of realistic solutions. if as you claim this issue is near and dear to your heart - then why not stop the drumbeat of complaining and start suggesting viable solutions?

by canadian gal 2009-05-29 09:26PM | 0 recs
Re: here's a suggestion.

The solution has been out there for decades: two states, and there is no need for bloggers to present "viable solutions."

THe question is rather: who and what is impeding the implementation of that solution? That is what this diary is about and what most of the others have been about.

Except for a stretch of several months during the Rabin administration (and not that his ideas were acceptable to the Palestinians), the colonization of the Palestinian territories has continued, as has the incessant military occupation, which takes 5-600 Palestinian lives every year (B'Tselem), except for for years Gaza was invaded(2006, 2008) that doubled and tripled those numbers, mostly all civilians and children.

So what is holding up the conclusion of peace? You have my invitation to put it in a diary.

In so doing, you might want to tell everyone how Israel's security is somehow related to the colonization it persists in.

by MainStreet 2009-05-30 04:06AM | 0 recs
its like deja vu.

maybe now the community at large can understand just why it is that you have poisoned this issue here.

according to your previous comment its quite simple that a resolving this lies in a two-state solution.  yet in the next paragrpah continue to do exactly what you do in every comment, repeat talking points without providing any of those details to which this may come about. isn't this the goal - resolution of the problem?

as i said above (and many, many times in the past several months) your intellectual, ethical and historic gaps work against any positive arguments you make. and the fact that you persist in not addressing the crux of moving this debate forward makes me question your motives.

moreover if someone cannot see why israel's security is linked to palestinian statehood - then it would appear that an inherent misunderstanding of history and politics has rendered them incapable of discussing this issue in any sort of progressive way.

by canadian gal 2009-05-30 06:23AM | 0 recs
Re: its like deja vu.

Like many others, I see Israel's security linked to its continuing occupation of the Palestinian people, and its colonization of their lands. Why in the world do you think that there hundreds of peace activist groups, not only in Israel but world wide, that are protesting Israel behavior toward the Palestinians. And it did not start with Gaza.

By contrast, I will again ignore your appeals to the "community" whom you claim to speak for. At least this time you did not appeal to the administration. All you wish is to silence the issue. Well, it is now in front of us and I doubt if most people would like to remain ignorant of what is going on.

by MainStreet 2009-05-30 07:57AM | 0 recs
Re: its like deja vu.

if all else fails - pull out the same old straw-man argument about activists the world over and attempts to censor you huh? my objections stand on note to the gaps i indicated above.

as to the other point - you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone that disagrees with you about the settlements. now again - instead of continuing in this circular logic and unproductive narrative - what is the solution you are proposing?  2-states. great. how do you think  this is realistically achieved?

by canadian gal 2009-05-30 08:21AM | 0 recs
Re: its like deja vu.

I fear you are about to post an IP diary, finally. Go for and ask what ever questions you like.

by MainStreet 2009-05-30 01:22PM | 0 recs
i have posted diaries on this topic.

please feel free to take a look. but your answers (or lack thereof) are quite telling.

by canadian gal 2009-05-30 02:21PM | 0 recs
Re: its like deja vu.

Simple: stop throwing up red herrings and blaming the Palestinians for their military occupation and colonization of their lands.

by MainStreet 2009-05-31 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: here's a suggestion.

"the peace camp has folded its tent in recent years, as the rug has been pulled out from under it."

The peace camp ceased to exist with the assissination of Rabin. Settlement creation and expansion, which he stopped for a few months, resumed, indicating that the right wing colonialism effort was back on track.

What the heck does Hamas, Arafat, anything have to do the continuation of the occupation for the obvious purpose of the colonization, the eventual annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem into Israel. Did I say East Jerusalem? Sorry. It was annexed into Israel some time ago.

Pull out all of the red herrings and excuses you might, nothing, not a thing is more obvious than the intent of the settlement activity to gain the remaining portions of original Palestine. If you read a recent diary about Tanya Reinhart's work, Israeli Apartheid, Inevitable, you would have understood what Israel was up to.

Sadly, you failed to reply to rebuff the reality portrayed in Reinhart's work. Understable. Israel's intents all along, today with the clarity provided by Netanyahu, is to take the Palestinian territories, or at least 50% of them, leaving the Palestinians in internal enclaves, which anyone can see is an Apartheid solution.

SO pump all the excuses you wish, the reality, what is actually happening on the ground, the facts on the ground, say something different.

So Hamas is the reason Israel is colonizing the West Bank? Or is it Iran? Is that what you're saying?

by MainStreet 2009-05-31 09:01AM | 0 recs
a hot histrionic mess.

honestly - the fact that you reply multiple times to a comment with differing types of talking points seems suspect.  and to be honest i have no idea what your previous comment said other than to continue down the road which you (the collective you) have chosen.

by canadian gal 2009-05-31 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: a hot histrionic mess.

The questions were clearly put, but again I see that they are avoided. Not a problem. I suppose it is the same reason you will not post diaries supporting Israel's side of the story, and just what their rationale is for colonizing the West Bank and other territories.

Yes, the same ugly questions.

by MainStreet 2009-05-31 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: a hot histrionic mess.

stop with the strrawman and misappropriating of my position's.  HR's are now coming out.  no one justifies the settlements -TROLL.

by canadian gal 2009-05-31 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

Well, let's see, should we start with the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine or move straight on to Black September, not overlooking the attempt by Palestinians to carve out a homeland by violence within the Kingdom of Jordan.

Do you not see the idiocy of this?  By insisting on your polemic narrative you have invited me, a self-identified neutral in this argument, to spend the last hour or so cataloguing the negatives of one side in this dispute.  Is this really helping?  At all?

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-29 10:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

Yes it is idiocy, Shaun, because such historical realities do not tell us why those developments happened, or even why they somehow support Israel and foist blame on the Palestinians. The Palestinians, led by Husseini under British occupation, were well aware of Balfour, the Zionist quest, and British aquiescence to turn Palestine into a homeland for Jews, even before the Holocaust and world sympathy turned the tide. The British exiled Husseini in 1937.

And yes, the PLO along with other Palestinian organizations were terrorist groups (e.g., Black September, Munich, 1972) intent on getting recognition for the plight of the Palestinians, mainly the ethnic cleansing of 1948.

And the Jordanian-Palestinian strife is well known.

But just how does any of that justify Israel's ongoing military occupation of the Palestinian territories for the purpose of their colonization? Have I missed something?

by MainStreet 2009-05-30 04:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

My point was that we could rehash this for hours.  And none of it furthers this discussion moving forward.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-30 06:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

I meant to say that we are probably both idiots for engaging in these irrelevant debates because the topic has little to do with where we are today. It began with Martin Indyk's claim that Israel's enemies are America's.

If Jimmy Carter can talk to Hamas leaders, then so can this administration, even if it is only with the understanding that it is with your enemies that you make peace.

by MainStreet 2009-05-30 05:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

'We are probably both idiots for engaging in these irrelevant debates because the topic has little to do with where we are today.'  Bingo.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-30 07:01AM | 0 recs
why not throw al-queda in there?

after all - they were only created as a consequence of the US presence in the gulf?

by canadian gal 2009-05-29 07:29PM | 0 recs
They hate us

for our freedom.

Fuck yeah.

by JJE 2009-05-30 04:45PM | 0 recs
awesome!

those victims of world trade center, 9/11, uss cole, spain et al and their governments had no right to meddle with muslim politics and put their infidel bases on arabian soil - i dunno - maybe they deserved it - ya think?

everyone knows that "terrorist" is just a made-up word by neocons and zionsits anyway.

by canadian gal 2009-05-30 05:10PM | 0 recs
Kill 'em all

If they wanna be with Allah so bad let's oblige them!

by JJE 2009-05-31 05:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Kill 'em all

i guess this is not one of those posts shaun was referring to to help elevate the discussion. why not address the first comment's contents rather than your over-the-top polemic, in which the statement was made, and your snark indicates you agree with, that there are no terrorist groups and rather it is a rouse by israel to keep the US involved in war.

by canadian gal 2009-05-31 07:25AM | 0 recs
I guess

I don't know, what on earth you think you're getting at, except, that al-quaeda has something, to do, with hamas, and hezbollah.  Unless, you think it does, in which case, then i doubt, there's much, I can do for ya.

by JJE 2009-05-31 11:34AM | 0 recs
well...

the intricacies of terrorism and how they differ may be above my understanding.  just because some of the cash goes to humanitarism, one cannot ignore that other dollars go to families of suicide bombers. iand understanding the nuance requires one to turn moral and intelligent blind eyes to parts of the philisophical and practical goals of hamas and hezbollah. and if one looks at some of the more distasteful practices of these groups - then they really aren't that different that al-queda after all are they.

by canadian gal 2009-05-31 11:43AM | 0 recs
Re: well...

Once again, you seem to have no shame in attempting to try out old hat Israeli propaganda. Anyone can admit that associating Palestinian militant orgs with 9/11 was probably one of Israel's greatest propaganda coups. Take a look at this documentary. People are not stupid.

Peace, Propaganda, & The Promised Land

Part I:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCL6WdnuN p4

Part II: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo2HW4T7w K4

The suicide bombings during the second Intifada: Facts: 1) Before any suicide bomber entered Israel, Sharon's troops entered the West Bank killed over 300 civilians including 86 children, which provoked the Intifada to begin with (see the data, If Americans Knew). 2) During the Intifada, Palestinian civilians compared to Israeli civilians were killed in a ratio of 5 to 1 (see Rami Khouri's article). 3) During the Intifada, Israeli troops had permission to kill Palestinian children (Lawrence of Cyberia). In the first three months, 159 children lost an eye to Israeli snipers. 4) Sharon's purpose in starting the Intifada was to obliterate the Oslo Accords.

As Jimmy Carter complained some years later, if you are considering terrorism the intentional killing of civilians, then you must consider Israel's state terrorism in their intentional killing of civilians.

Finally, there have been no suicide bombings in Israel in six years. Hezbollah, an organization developed to resist Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon, never engaged in suicide bombings, intentional killing of civilians, except, like the Palestinians, in retaliation for Israel's killing of their civilians, e.g., the rockets during 2006 Lebanon invasion.

And what is at the bottom of it all: Israel's occupations and their colonialism of other people's lands.

Prople are not stupid, CG.

by MainStreet 2009-05-31 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: well...

These are the same stock accusations that you pull out when frustrated that anyone does not accord with your position and presses the point.

1. Accusations of censorship.  They must be against debating the issue, and show this by ... debating the issue.

2. They are pumping propaganda.

3. Implying that one must be stupid to hold this position.

All it serves is to alienate anyone from attending to your arguments.  It certainly does not make them more convincing or provide you a better or more sympathetic hearing.

by Strummerson 2009-05-31 04:04PM | 0 recs
Re: well...

You apparently missed the Gaza massacre, or you would have expanded your notion of distasteful terrorist practices to include state terrorism.

There is still a pending investigation of war crimes in this slaughter of civilians and children that Israel refuses to allow to proceed. I have yet to see a terrorist act in this conflict that was not in retaliation for another terrorist act.

by MainStreet 2009-05-31 05:00PM | 0 recs
word

Hamas and Hezbollah and al quaeda are the same in all relevant aspects.  Since they are permitted to exist in Gaza and Lebanon we need to invade that shit ASAP so they don't 9/11 us again.

Let's roll!

by JJE 2009-05-31 07:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

Right now I can't even see a roadmap to negotiations, much less a road map to peace.  Perhaps this is the beginning of a road map to negotiations, however - the US can't force Israel to engage in good faith negotiations, but with Barack and Hillary the world can see that this administration is holding firm on wanting a viable two-state compromise.  The least Bibi can do is to freeze settlements, and he won't do it, or even give lip service to wanting to.  Bibi is quite a mad-man and far more problematic than Hamas.  If we can try to topple Arafat why not Bibi?    

As usual I can understand the fears of the Palestinians, that giving in on anything at all will embolden Bibi to call it a win. Which is paranoid, strictly speaking, as that's the same reason the Israelis give for not granting any 'concessions' to the Palestinians.  Still, I want the Palestinians to take the high road, and leave the low one to Bibi.  And with the vocal support of the US for their efforts, and the clear message that Israeli is going against Barack's hope, and that he won't give up holding Israel accountable for further expansions that are no doubt planned, that may give the Palestinians, and for the first time, some respect.    Not just for suffering, not just for past unfairness, but for today, for what's happening today.  

Sounds like Barack?  Is it a new tomorrow?  

by anna shane 2009-05-30 02:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Latest round in the Israel-US confrontation

A very sound assessment, 'a road map to negotiations.'  And a framework for moving forward:  


Even one veteran Washington peacemaker who had grown skeptical that Washington can overcome obstacles to get substantive progress on Middle East peace admitted to being impressed by the Obama team's resolve. "What I'm beginning to see is that the Obama administration may be less concerned with actually getting to negotiations and an agreement and more interested in setting new rules and rearranging the furniture," said Aaron David Miller of the Woodrow Wilson Institute. "They may have concluded that they can't get to a real two state solution with this prime minister [Netanyahu]. Maybe they want a new one? And the best way to raise the odds of that is to demonstrate that he can't manage Israel's most important relationship: with the U.S."

Echoing language from the Bush administration's debate about policy to Iran, behavior change vs. regime change, Miller said the Obama administration's stance demanded "behavior change for sure" on the settlements issue.

Laura Rozen - Netanyahu: "What the hell do they want from me?" Foreign Policy 29 May 09

At this point even the appearance of taking a resolute stance with Netanyahu is likely to be regarded positively by moderate Arab states and encourage Palestinians toward solidarity with a chosen leadership.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-30 06:46PM | 0 recs
Response to Shaun Appleby above.

(sorry my computer is hiding posts under the right column.)

Your post above:

That it is another critical issue of the solution of which the settlement issue is merely a part, and I would have thought that was obvious.
Your recent responses seem to be mere hectoring of others to accept your clearly polemic position.  I have already, several times, agreed with you on the subject of the settlement freeze as a precondition.  I will not, ever, adopt the simplistic one-sided view you are offering.
As an advocate, clearly, of the Palestinian cause it seems to me you are doing harm by ceaselessly haranguing others to not only accept the merit of your views but join in your polemicisms.  It frustrates those sympathetic to your position and forces them to attempt to argue you down off the ledge or give up in exasperation, especially when you engage in a lengthy, detailed discussion then hit the reset button and start all over again from the beginning as if the conversation never occurred.
If you aren't going to engage in a dialogue which demonstrates that you are prepared to alter your point of view one iota, or even heard the opposing argument with a glimmering of understanding, you might be better advised to let someone else less irritatingly make the case.  You are exhausting my patience, at least, and forcing me to revisit all of the arguments I have in favour of the Israeli position on this.  Not least of which that the Palestinians are unrepentent militants, radicals and agitators with whom a negotiated settlement is unlikely to endure.

by Shaun Appleby on Sun May 31, 2009 at 05:31:53 PM EST

Shaun, take what ever position you like. My views are not novel notions I created in an attempt to reinforce the plight of the Palestinians. They have been repeated incessantly by experts in the area.

But when I hear propaganda repeated, yours or anyone elses, concerning the justification of the military occupation of the Palestinian territories, whose obvious point, and I said obvious, is their colonization, as related to Israel's security, I can only say, wake up. What the hell do you think the Obama administration's stance is based upon. Iran, Hamas, or some other red herring?

I think you're trying to be a diplomat and not at all realistic. Suit yourself. I'm not here looking for conformance and most of all not friendship.

I posted this diary based on Tanya Reinhart's expose of the Zionist project several days ago, which should explain to anyone just where we are today in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Will you grant her some expertise above our own in this matter? Where were you, by the way? The proZionist group stayed away.

Here it is:

Israeli Apartheid, Inevitable
by MainStreet, Sat May 23, 2009 at 01:16:31 PM EST

Tanya Reinhart, a former Professor at Tel Aviv University, Utrecht University, and New York University, is now dead. But before her death, she established herself as one of the most insightful analyst/writers about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Her capacity to take apart historical agendas, to relate past to the present, and to deconstruct realities was widely appreciated by the public, as in her last book, The Road Map to Nowhere: Israel/Palestine Since 2003.

If I may paraphrase a review, The Road Map to Nowhere is essential reading to understanding the state of the Israel/Palestine crisis since 2003 and the propaganda that infected its coverage. It argued that the Bush Road Map failed to bring real progress and that, under the cover of diplomacy, Israel was using the Road Map to strengthen its grip on the remaining occupied territories. Israel not only failed to give any attention to the required freeze on settlements, but settlement building, as in the 90s, accelerated. Reihart's book was called "an urgent and searing exposé of the "peace process" by a prominent Israeli thinker."

Just what was Israel doing?

The Road Map was supposed to be a road map to peace, but that is believable only if one lacks knowledge of the historical perspective.

It was earlier, in 2001, that Tanya Reinhart blew the lid off of Israel's hidden (in plain sight) agenda for the Palestinian territories, the one that today still drives the grass under the Zionist project to expand Israel's territory and eventually annex major portions if not all Palestinian lands in the territories to attain a Greater Israel. It is not difficult to see how Apartheid is inevitable if millions of Palestinians remained, once the last principle advocate of transfer ala 1948, Ariel Sharon, shifted course.

Tanya Reinhart's article was entitled, The second half of 48: The Sharon-Ya'alon Plan.. The implication of the title already tells us that getting rid of Palestinians is a central feature of this Plan. As I cannot obtain permission to reprint most of the article, I encourage readers to follow the link.

Ever since the 1967 occupation, the military and political elites (which have been always closely intertwined in Israel) deliberated over the question of how to keep maximum land with minimum Palestinian population. The leaders of the '1948 generation' - Alon, Sharon, Dayan, Rabin and Peres - were raised on the myth of redemption of land. But a simple solution of annexation of the occupied territories would have turned the occupied Palestinians into Israeli citizens, and this would have caused what has been labeled the "demographic problem" - the fear that the Jewish majority could not be preserved. Therefore, two basic conceptions were developed.

The Alon plan consisted of annexation of 35-40% of the territories to Israel, and self-rule or partnership in a confederation of the rest, the land on which the Palestinians actually live. In the eyes of its proponents, this plan represented a necessary compromise, because they believed it is impossible to repeat the 1948 'solution' of mass expulsion, either for moral considerations, or because world public opinion would not allow this to happen again.

The second conception, whose primary spokesman was Ariel Sharon, assumed that it is possible to find more acceptable and sophisticated ways to achieve a 1948 style 'solution' - it is only necessary to find another state for the Palestinians. -"Jordan is Palestine" - was the phrase that Sharon coined. So future arrangements should guarantee that as many as possible of the Palestinians in the occupied territories will move there. For Sharon, this was part of a more global world view, by which Israel can establish "new orders" in the region - a view which he experimented with in the Lebanon war of 1982.

That Sharon continued to believe in "transfer" on a par with the ethnic cleansing of 1948 is evident in a quiet policy he instituted as Minister of Agriculture in the 1990s called the "dunam by dunam" policy (a dunam is a quarter acre of land), in which settler-IDF soldier teams would harass Palestinian families out of the territories through house demolition, destruction of farmlands and orchards, violence, and various forms of harassment. This "transfer" policy, however, was mainly directed at West Bank and East Jerusalem residents, as Gaza was too densely populated (half of its residents were actually refugees from their villages in original Palestine), a fact that would later convince Sharon as Prime Minister to abandon Israeli settlements in Gaza in order to concentrate on the other territories.

Reinhart provides further history on how these plans played out. She stated that in Oslo, "the Alon plan triumphed," and that as part of the plan, Arafat would be brought to rule the Palestinian enclaves that could not be colonized, the planned "Palestinian state, "while Israel expanded settlements in the other "Arab free" areas like state lands, security zones, and land reserves for the settlements. Indeed, after Oslo, during the Clinton administration, the rate of settlement and the number of settlements in the West Bank actually doubled. Furthermore, Oslo divided the West Bank into areas, in which two, Areas A and B would be controlled by the Palestinian Authority, but Area C would remain in Israeli hands. Why? That area surrounded Jerusalem where there were plans to expand it and connect it to adjacent settlement cities, effectively cutting the West Bank in half.

Through Oslo, an apartheid configuration was formally made possible. In retrospect Oslo was pure deception. Still, as Reinhart informs, "the victory of the Alon plan wasn't complete and dissatisfaction with Oslo was voiced. Even the little that the Palestinians did get seemed too much to some in the military circles..."

The details are available in Reinhart's article.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that after 30 years of occupation, the two options competing in the Israeli power system are precisely the same as those set by the generation of 1948: Apartheid (the Alon- Oslo plan), or transfer - mass evacuation of the Palestinian residents, as happened in 1948 (the Sharon plan). Those pushing for the destruction of the Oslo infra-structure may still believe that under the appropriate conditions of regional escalation, the transfer plan would become feasible.

In modern times, wars aren't openly started over land and water. In order to attack, you first need to prove that the enemy isn't willing to live in peace and is threatening our mere existence. Barak managed to do that. Now conditions are ripe for executing Sharon's plan, or as Ya'alon put it in November 2000, for "the second half of 1948".

But we know what actually happened just after the Camp David/Taba negotiations predictably failed in 2000 (Barak could not dismantle any settlements): Sharon instigated the second Intifada, the Palestinians revolted, Israel reoccupied the West Bank, over 300 Palestinian civilians were killed including 86 children, Palestinians retaliated with suicide bombing, Sharon announced Oslo dead, killings upon killings occurred, Israel erected the Wall, and then the assassination of Arafat (Uri Avnery). It halted the Oslo peace process in principle. but not in its Apartheid intent.

In the meantime, a bulb apparently went off in Sharon mind: the ethnic cleansing of 1948 will not happen again. He instead chose to create a new political party, Kadima, and proposed his Disengagement plan: Israel's would withdrawal from Gaza and selected settlements outside of the Jerusalem corridor. He essentially adopted the Alon plan. Although the Gaza pullout was achieved, Sharon's stroke intervened, but his replacement, Ehud Olmert, merely offered another version of disengagement called "Convergence."

All of it, the Alon Plan, Oslo, Sharon's Disengagement and Olmert's Convergence never added up to anything more than Apartheid.

As the last word in her article, Tanya Reinhart offered one bit of advise: "Before we reach that dark line, there is one option which was never tried before. Get out of the occupied territories immediately." That was 2001. It never happened.

Israel's trajectory toward Apartheid remains today the inevitable consequence of Israel's colonialism as conceived by the Sharon-Alon Plan. That is why two states remains the only alternative.

by MainStreet 2009-05-31 04:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Response to Shaun Appleby above.

Yes, thanks, I read it when you posted it the first time.  You should be aware, from previous posts by myself and others, of a certain sympathy with Palestinian grievances and frustration with Israeli intransigence which is now, arguably, reflected in US policy on the insistence on the freeze of settlements as a precondition.  But let's leave it at that, previous Israeli positions are not specifically relevant to the current situation, it's bad enough as it is.  Let's see what they come up with this time and be alert based on past experience to attempts to stonewall the process.  On the other hand there are considerable challenges facing the Palestinian, not least of which convincing the Israeli's, and the US for that matter, of their sincerity in meeting Israel's security needs and their ability to insure stability and peaceful behaviour among their citizens and within their territory.  This is a point which cannot be overstated, as Golda Meir said, "Israel can only err once."

I would be uncomfortable, as a US citizen, with a US brokered settlement which resulted in the return to Palestinians of the West Bank but which did not provide Israel with a permanently secure and peaceful neighbour.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-31 09:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Response to Shaun Appleby above.

And your last point is where we differ: the role of Israel's "security needs". I view this notion as just another variation of the "Palestinians are terrorists" theme, that was begun during Sharon first administration. It was an enormously successful propaganda effort by Israel, taken up by the US State Department, and carried out by US and Israeli media. Chomsky, Fisk, Jensen, and others all spoke to this effort in the Peace, Propaganda documentary.

But just what has Israel's security needs to do with its colonization of the Palestinian territories. Are we to believe that Israel, with its massive military, is taking these territories because it fears for its security? If anything, Israel should feel insecure for what it is and has been doing to the Palestinian people. But there is just no one who is going to protest in meaningful terms and threaten Israel's security.

It is all bullshit, Netanyahu's complaints notwithstanding. Israel needs enemies in order to continue the colonization, red herrings.

I can only suggest reading my last post again. Israel has a lot of enemity in the region no doubt since the 1948 ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, but the Palestinians are the least capable of doing harm to Israel under the circumstances or in future circumstances. No Arab or Middle East country is showing interest in attacking Israel, including Iran.

by MainStreet 2009-06-01 02:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Response to Shaun Appleby above.

Well, you've lost me, and I basically agree with Chomsky.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-01 05:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Response to Shaun Appleby above.

Take in the documentary Peace, Propaganda, & The Promised Land (Youtube), in which Chomsky is a participant, and all will all become clear and you will find yourself.

by MainStreet 2009-06-01 12:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Response to Shaun Appleby above.

I'm basing my claim of agreeing with Chomsky on readings from Towards a New Cold War, Deterring Democracy and Power and Terror.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-01 02:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Response to Shaun Appleby above.

PS: I will agree with one thing: Israel can't go around stealing other people's lands and expect to feel secure, whether it is in Lebanon, Syria, or in the Palestinian territories, especially if people are killed along the way.

And by the way, just what is Israel's security needs, and just what is meant by that if it is not just a continuation of the terrorist propaganda effort? Does Israel want a piece of paper from the Palestinians saying we promise never to attack you? They can have it. Is it Hamas and the 10 year truce? Although Hamas will be voted out of office soon, what happens after 10 years? Does Hamas, which represents only 20% of the Palestinian people by poll, attack Israel? Hamas' real concern is engaging in agreements with Israel and then finding out, like Arafat did, or Abbas recently did, that Israel is just being deceiving, again. It started with Oslo, which was used as a pretext to double the settler population in the occupied territories.

Israel has never found a peace agreement it could not refuse. Why? The colonization is not over. Be patient. Stay tuned.

by MainStreet 2009-06-01 02:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Response to Shaun Appleby above.

I was thinking more along the lines of the experience Israel has had with Egypt since 1979, which is far from perfect but it'll do.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-01 05:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Response to Shaun Appleby above.

In some ways it will and in some ways it won't.  Egypt has been the prime source of anti-Semitic mythology in the region in recent decades.  There was an Egyptian film based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and the Egyptian press twisted the old ritual murder accusation to argue that hamentaschen, the pastries eaten by ashkenazi Jews on Purim required gentile blood.

At some point, stable if sometimes tense relations with a neighboring autocratic regime must transform into less mystified and more harmonious relations between peoples.  The occupation certainly feeds animosity and thus the popular purchase of such canards.  But it's naive to think that a Palestinian state will immediately defuse such violent xenophobia.  

Part of the problem in these debates is the intransigence of people to embrace the fact that the rhetorical positioning and even propaganda (can we use ideology for shorthand?) of each side makes use of real phenomena.  The right wing is absolutely correct that the two state solution will not immediately create a new middle eastern utopia of peaceful cooperation.  The left is absolutely correct that regional hostilities are fed by the occupation more than anything else.  I emphasize the latter, but it seems almost juvenile not to be prepared for intermittent violence and continued conflict after a peace agreement.  I simply think it's the best chance we have to jump start a process of normalization leading to peace.  Economic cooperation and ethical division/sharing of resources will prove as pivotal as effective security measures.

by Strummerson 2009-06-01 05:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Response to Shaun Appleby above.

Hence my 'far from perfect' disclaimer.  And it should probably be pointed out that the Sinai affords a degree of isolation from metropolitan Egypt and that the treaty was ratified between established sovereign powers, though it arguably cost Sadat his life.  I tend to agree with your assessment and your leaning toward the claim that hostilities are exacerbated by the occupation.  It is also unclear, as you suggest, what a negotiated settlement might look like in terms of 'intermittent violence and continued conflict after a peace agreement' but I assume there is a nascent economic interdependence between Israel and Palestine which would prove beneficial, ultimately, to both parties.

But I'm also guessing, as you say, there will be a lengthy period of xenophobia, ill-concealed grievances and hostility to be endured.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-01 06:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Response to Shaun Appleby above.

"but it seems almost juvenile not to be prepared for intermittent violence and continued conflict after a peace agreement."

I can't accept Strummerson's prediction, as if law and order would not prevail in a Palestinian state, perhaps because the Palestinians are incapable of it, and as if we have to believe that once a terrorist always a terrorist, some more propaganda this time about the future Palestinian state.

A fair and just two states solution should resolve these issues, the need for more violence. Needless to say, it is not the Israelis who have suffered from the occupation; it is the Palestinians. And needless to say, they are tired of it.

So we "juveniles" do not believe that such violence will occur, but most of all, that creating the expection of such violence is reason to not move forward in spite of those who claim the capability of predicting the future. Even today, the Israelis are looking for some pretext, a violent one, to stop the Obama peace initiative. Pretty much, those who have been around a while expect such occurrances, because if anything, Israel has been the main perpetrator of violence in this conflict (see the death tolls), which makes one wonder if violence after a peace agreement will not actually originate from the Israeli side. I would expect that some crazy religious settlers will try to repeat Goldstein's massacre in Hebron. But we hope not.

by MainStreet 2009-06-01 12:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Response to Shaun Appleby above.

Well we are in pretty dicey territory here, aren't we?  Arguing over events which haven't happened yet?

I tend to think that the possibility of tensions on both sides is quite high and with the past history of activist Palestinian hostility towards Israel I think you are going way out on a limb with an unqualified assertion that 'law and order would prevail in a Palestinian state.'

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-01 02:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Response to Shaun Appleby above.

Actually, I think there is a likelihood of continued violent incidents perpetrated from both sides, and that the responsible authorities and majorities on both sides will need to work together to frustrate rejectionists from both sides and show restraint and steadfastness in the face of those fanatics and extremists on both sides who will want to throw wrenches into the works from both sides.  

It simply reveals your resistance to engaging me and others in good faith when you automatically assume that I suggest either that recognizing and preparing for this contingency is the same as using it as an excuse not to move forward, or that I am suggesting in any sense that only Palestinians are violent.

The point is to move forward with eyes open to all the obstacles and to be prepared to confront them as we proceed.  Otherwise, a few crazies will undermine the will to establish a more sustainable situation quite easily.

And yes, I think that refusing to prepare responsibly for such contingencies is a bit juvenile.  The two state solution we both seek is not going to produce some disnified la la land overnight.  It will be an imperfect but necessary solution to a deeply fraught and complex conflict.  It's not going to replace a bad reality with a shiny new one that emerges pristine out of a box.

by Strummerson 2009-06-02 08:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Response to Shaun Appleby above.

You seem to be conflating Arab countries like Egypt and Iran, with Palestinian responsibilities as if before the Palestinians can have a state, all of these other countries need to recognize Israel and make some kind of peace with Israel.

You are familiar with the Arab League peace proposal of 2002, repeated in 2006, and is still on the table, which Israel refused, aren't you?

Claiming that some Egyptians still believe in the Protocols of Zion, and making that a front issue is like nonAmericans claiming that the KKK still operates in America and calls the shots. The proof: 90% of white guys in southern states voted for the white guy, McCain, in the last presidential election. Ergo, America is antiBlack racist country. Watch out for antiBlack violence.

by MainStreet 2009-06-01 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Response to Shaun Appleby above.

That's not what I'm saying at all, frankly.  I am suggesting that the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty of 1979 is the only reasonably successful model we have involving Israel and her neighbours in a trade of territory for security.

And as I pointed out downthread the proximity of the West Bank to metropolitan Israel and the relative novelty of Palestine as a sovereign power further complicates our best guess at the outcome of settlement and the level of security liable to be achieved in exchange for territory.  The difficulty for Israelis, unlike Palestinians who will largely be able to see the outcome of their successful negotiations on a map, is they are receiving a less tangible commodity.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-01 02:15PM | 0 recs

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