Left wing views: Bibi chumped Obama
by MainStreet, Sat Sep 26, 2009 at 04:50:40 AM EDT
They have been here before, the Palestinians, that is. They have seen and heard it all. They understand the tactics of Israeli PMs like Bibi Netanyahu, as following an old Israeli strategy to stall, divert, and stonewall any movement that would curb the colonization of Palestine. This is just what happened at the UN the other day during Obama's meeting with Netanyahu and Abbas. About this, left wing observers of the conflict agree.
Here are some conclusions.
Ali Abunimah, the Palestinian editor of The Electronic Intifada, on 24 September 2009 wrote these words about Obama's presentation at the UN.
Obama's peace effort has failed but our struggle continues
The meeting hosted by US President Barack Obama with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas at New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel on 22 September signaled the complete and terminal failure of Obama's much vaunted push to bring about a two-state solution to the Palestine/Israel conflict.
....consider what the US is really saying to the Palestinians in the wake of Mitchell's failure: "We, the greatest superpower on Earth, are unable to convince Israel -- which is dependent on us militarily, economically and diplomatically -- to abide by even a temporary settlement freeze. Now, you Palestinians, who are a dispossessed, occupied people whose leaders cannot move without an Israeli permit, go and negotiate on much bigger issues like borders, refugees, Jerusalem and settlements, and do better than we did. Good luck to you."
Then we have the venerable Uri Avnery, an Israeli peace activist, chiming in:
The Drama and the Farce
NO POINT denying it: in the first round of the match between Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu, Obama was beaten.
Obama had demanded a freeze of all settlement activity, including East Jerusalem, as a condition for convening a tripartite summit meeting, in the wake of which accelerated peace negotiations were to start, leading to peace between two states - Israel and Palestine.
In the words of the ancient proverb, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Netanyahu has tripped Obama on his first step. The President of the United States has stumbled.
THE THREEFOLD summit did indeed take place. But instead of a shining achievement for the new American administration, we witnessed a humbling demonstration of weakness. After Obama was compelled to give up his demand for a settlement freeze, the meeting no longer had any content.
The Israeli peace movement has been dealt another painful blow. It had pinned its hopes on the steadfastness of the American president. Obama's victory and the settlement freeze were to show the Israeli public that the refusal policy of Netanyahu was leading to disaster.
For Netanyahu, the threat of peace has passed. At least for the time being.
And lastly, we have Steven L. Spiegel and David Halperin, left wing Jewish Americans, writing apologetically for the Israel Policy Forum:
Obama Pivots and Re-loads on Mideast Peace
Much of the analysis following this week's tripartite meeting in New York reported a victory for Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a failure for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and a blow to President Obama's efforts to advance Mideast peace and security. But the process is just beginning; it's far from over.
The United States came to a pragmatic realization that the expectations for a complete settlement freeze had become too high. The issue was becoming the main focus, in essence hijacking the agenda and keeping the broader strategic objectives at bay.
President Obama used his remarks at the United Nations General Assembly to express the strongest endorsement yet by an American president for a "viable, independent" Palestinian state, one "with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and realizes the potential of the Palestinian people." He said "the United States does Israel no favors when we fail to couple an unwavering commitment to its security with an insistence that Israel respect the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians."
Of course, Obama also made similarly strong statements for Israel, declaring America's "unwavering commitment to its security" and stating that "nations within this body do the Palestinians no favors when they choose vitriolic attacks against Israel over constructive willingness to recognize Israel's legitimacy and its right to exist in peace and security." And, Netanyahu was delighted after the speech that the president had endorsed the concept of Israel as a Jewish state, a key demand of his administration in any future talks.
And so didn't George Bush fail at the same thing at Annapolis just a year ago?
So what are we to believe? Nine months into the peace process, if one can call it that, after the grand Cairo speech signaling a new beginning, Netanyahu blew Obama off. Netanyahu avoided any movement toward a two state solution, while gaining advocacy, from Obama, to continue Israel's colonization of the Palestinian territories.
Not only did Netanyahu win the status quo, he got Obama to do his Iran saber rattling (see yesterday's headlines). And the tail wags the dog once again.