Palestinians reject Israeli offer as 'mere propaganda' UPDATE

Out of pure magnanimity, Bibi Netanyahu, the Israeli PM, just offered the Palestinians a 10 month delay in the colonization of their lands in the West Bank. As for their lands in East Jerusalem, they're nonnegotiable. In spite of this alleged offer to delay the colonization, the truth is that the building of 3,000 housing units will continue, settlements in the West Bank will continue to flow onto adjacent Palestinian lands, and East Jerusalem will continue to be off the table.

Delaying a colonization obviously means that it will continue in the future. The Palestinians know this.

From Al Jazeera this morning:

A Palestinian official has described Israel's proposed 10-month suspension of settlement construction in the occupied West Bank as mere "propaganda". Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, said on Thursday that the move does not indicate any progress that would justify the resumption of peace talks.

....temporary settlement suspension offer by Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, was aimed more towards appeasing the Americans than trying to reconcile with the Palestinians.


The suspension excludes building projects already under way as well as areas of the West Bank that Israel annexed to its Jerusalem municipality after occupying the territory in the 1967 Middle East war.

Hannan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian legislative council, said such crucial omissions were tantamount to no freeze at all. "If you analyse the Israeli position you will see that they are building even more settlements," she told Al Jazeera. "They are expanding, they are building in Jerusalem, they are finishing contracts they are building public institutions, they are building infrastructure and then they are saying there is a freeze.

Daniel Engber wrote this piece during the Bush administration about how to be a modern skeptic.

In line to get my badge for this year's skeptics conference in Pasadena, Calif., I recognized the little man standing behind me. He was bald, with a full, white beard, and he looked older than I would have imagined. "Excuse me," he said, "is this the line for the skeptics meeting?" When I nodded, he looked me up and down and replied, "Oh, I doubt that."


Why have the skeptics grown so dreary? Their tactics have changed to reflect a new set of targets. What was once a movement to take down television psychics and fortunetellers now concentrates on mainstream foes like President George W. Bush, Intelligent Design theorists, opponents of stem-cell research, and Israeli peace offers. (last clause added).

Want to become a member of the skeptic's club? Join the Palestinian peace movement, where you will find plenty of reasons to become a skeptic. You will also develop a knack for seeing through subterfuge when it is evident.

Have the Israelis really become that sloppy at hiding their colonialism of Palestine.


This text from a recent article published in Mondoweiss gives credence to the "settlement freeze fallacy" and may enlighten some of the debate seen in the commentary:

It may be too late as the battle lines of the upcoming throw down are coming into focus. In the Israeli corner, neocon Elliott Abrams tries to bring the Netanyahu line to the masses today by arguing for Israel's illegal West Bank settlements in his Washington Post oped "The Settlement Freeze Fallacy." Abrams says:

Settlement activity is not diminishing the territory of a future Palestinian entity. In fact, the emphasis on a "settlement freeze" draws attention from the progress that's needed to lay the foundation for full Palestinian self-rule — building a thriving economy, fighting terrorism through reliable security forces and establishing the rule of law. A "settlement freeze" would not help Palestinians face today's problems or prepare for tomorrow's challenges. The demand for a freeze would have only one quick effect: to create immediate tension between the United States and Israel's new government. That may be precisely why some propose it, but it is also why the Obama administration should reject it.

That in a nutshell is the Netanyahu proposal – continue Israeli colonization of the West Bank while outsourcing Israeli security needs to a Palestinian police force and throwing the Palestinians some economic crumbs. This is what's paternalistically referred to as "[laying] the foundation for full Palestinian self-rule." But interestingly enough, Abrams doesn't seem to think this is convincing enough for American audiences, so his real argument against a settlement freeze echos the Ha'aretz article – Obama should reject this demand because it will only create tension between Israel and the US.


From the mouth of a neocon.

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




This is a 'poke in the eye' from Bibi:

While it is technically true that this "restraint" is a new Israeli commitment, its practical relevance is of very limited significance - building 3000 units in ten months neatly dovetails the regular annual settlement construction rates. Moreover, Netanyahu made sure to assertively mention all these caveats in today's announcement - in effect, poking the Obama administration, the international community, and the Palestinians in the eye.

Daniel Levy - Netanyahu's Stubbornness On Settlements Produces American Call For 1967 Borders Huffington Post 25 Nov 09

The interesting thing is that in spite of a formal statement acknowledging 'progress' the Obama administration is introducing some new language into the discussion by both Clinton and Special Envoy George Mitchell as a consequence :

They did not bless the Israeli non-freeze, explaining it fell short and that they expected more, and that "America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements".

But the new language came in Secretary Clinton's description of what American expects the outcome of negotiations to be - for an "independent and viable [Palestinian] state based on the 1967 lines". Senator Mitchell quoted Clinton in repeating the call for a Palestinian state "based on the 67 lines."

Every conflict and every situation has its own lingua franca. In the Israeli-Palestinian context, a state based on the 67 lines is the dog-whistle for what constitutes a real, no-B.S. two-state outcome. It is also language that the US has conspicuously avoided using - avoided that is until today.

Daniel Levy - Netanyahu's Stubbornness On Settlements Produces American Call For 1967 Borders Huffington Post 25 Nov 09

The Obama administration seems to be hardening its position again.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-27 12:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Agreed

Some might ask: what difference will it make what Obama does. The congress is now owned by the Israel lobby and Obama knows it. Although he could as president hold up further economic and military aid to Israel (the former of which provides $500 to each Israeli citizen), he would never risk it. There's an election just three years away.

I don't think Bibi Netanyahu doesn't know what he is doing. The offer of 10 months delay in the colonization (increased from 6 months, by the way) was just a bone, a small bone, to the administration, nothing more.

by MainStreet 2009-11-27 05:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Agreed

Then what significance do you attach, if any, to these '1967 line' remarks by both Clinton and Mitchell?  If this settlement proposal was a bone it is one that the US doesn't seem very impressed with, especially given the presumption in offering it.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-27 06:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Agreed

It's just a game intended to save Obama's face.

Does anyone know what it will take to convince Israel to remove 130 Israeli towns and cities as large as 35,000 inhabitants located beyond the 67 borders, totalling over 300,000 settlers, in order to achieve peace? Nothing I am aware of.

But have we forgotten: Bush already gave big chunks of the West Bank to Israel when Ariel Sharon visited Washington and accepted it, a gift from America. They don't have to consider the 67 borders. Netanyahu is undoubtedly already laughing at the very idea.

by MainStreet 2009-11-27 07:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Agreed

Well, if there was any indication that the US was even considering supporting a unilateral declaration of independence by Palestine, as was mooted recently by Abbas, the 1967 borders would be very relevant.  I wonder...  And the settlers could be granted Palestinian citizenship and issued passports, I suppose:

Israel can be expected to move quickly to nip this unilateral eventuality in the bud.  Israeli leaders know that if the idea sees the light of day, it may develop a dynamic of its own. But the Palestinian leadership, the Israelis, and to a lesser degree the Americans, have only themselves to blame for allowing a conflict as volatile as that of today's Middle East to unravel. If reaching an independent Palestinian state is in the national interest of the United States, as President Obama has said, then it would be ill advised to deny that inevitability to Palestinians -- whether they achieve it through negotiations or unilateral action.

Doaud Kattab - The Only Hope Left? Foreign Policy 17 Nov 09

I realise that's a pretty unlikely scenario but I'm guessing that the Obama administration is getting pretty pissed off with Netanyahu by now.  And, frankly, even if he did agree to freeze settlements the IDF would probably mutiny before imposing such a freeze.  It's time for a lateral approach.  I thought the '1967 lines' remarks were fairly significant.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-27 07:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Agreed

It's an interesting game that is being played.

Netenyahu, probably responding to too much RW radio, thought he could bully Obama. So far it hasn't worked.

by vecky 2009-11-27 08:49PM | 0 recs
No, It's Still Game On

Consider the EU response to the short-lived Palestinian unilateral declaration of independence:

Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, told reporters "the conditions are not there as of yet" for such a move.

Constant Brand - EU rejects Palestinian statehood appeal Huffington Post 17 Nov 09

Not yet.  But who put Abbas up to it?  There are not many 'accidents' in diplomacy.  Netanyahu is on notice, all the US would have to do is withhold it's Security Council veto.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-27 11:03PM | 0 recs
Re: No, It's Still Game On

Withhold a Security Council veto on a UN motion condemning Israel has never happened. It would put the Congress into an uproar, and even though it made have no legal significance, a Congressional resolution would be immediately offered contradicting a US vote or abstention in the Security Council.

However, since Obama has only a 6% approval rating among the Israeli public, he probably has nothing to lose.

Congress can approve economic and military aid to Israel as it has done for years, but the president has the legal power to withhold that aid. Obama, however, will never use this tool. Consequently, it will be life as usual in the Israeli-US relationship.

My own take is that Obama will call it a day and admit to failure in bringing Middle East peace in his first term; the second term will see another round of going round and round, negotiations to nowhere. By that time, the Israelis will have expanded settlements locking onto 50% of the Palestinians territories and all of Jerusalem, secured the Jordan border, and we will be headed into the next phase, which the next president will have to deal with: Apartheid.

by MainStreet 2009-11-28 05:26AM | 0 recs
I'm Not So Sure

Perhaps there is some 'back channel' linkage between the short-lived unilateral independence notion and these recent '1967 lines' remarks.  The Israelis got fairly panicky over it at the time and there was talk of annexing Judea and Samaria.  Here's one thought from two weeks ago:

But Mahmoud Abbas, Salam Fayyad, and Saeb Erekat appear to be gambling that they can go over the heads of both Israel and Hamas by appealing directly to the United Nations Security Council. If they can present a viable plan for maintaining security and developing effective institutions for a Palestinian state, the Obama administration may yet be convinced not to exercise its veto and bless the declaration of statehood. If the Security Council throws its support behind the plan, Israel would be hard-pressed to kill the new Palestinian state in its infancy.

David Kenner - How to Create a Palestinian State, 101 Foreign Policy 16 Nov 09

Even Yossi Sarid got in on the act:

This week, there were reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finds this possibility very scary, and he expects the Americans to nip it in the bud. But his nightmare is our only chance for an end to the occupation in our time.

When he declares independence, Abbas should call upon the Jews living in the state of Palestine to preserve the peace and to do their part in building up the new country as full and equal citizens, enjoying fair representation in all of its institutions. David Ben-Gurion would not have been upset by such a pretty act of plagiarism from his Declaration of Independence.

And thus, Abbas will become the Palestinian Ben-Gurion. Conditions were no less foggy and circumstances were no more certain when Ben-Gurion declared independence in 1948. But our founding father took the risk, and we are fortunate that he did.

The risk Abbas would be taking is much smaller. Of the 192 member states of the United Nations, over 150 would recognize a free Palestine, and it would soon become the 193rd. Although the American position is an unknown, it is hard to believe that Barack Obama would agree to drag America back into isolation now that it has begun to be part of the world again.

And what would Netanyahu do? Invade and re-conquer the West Bank? Restore the military government in the Muqata in Ramallah?

Yossi Sarid - Abbas must unilaterally declare Palestinian state Haaretz 22 Nov 09

Sure the US and EU both nixed the proposal this time.  But it gave the Israelis something to think about.  And anyone wondering what the bottom line was in response to Israeli intransigence might be forgiven for keeping this solution in mind for the future.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-28 11:43AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Not So Sure

The idea of Abbas appealing to Israeli settlers "Ben-Gurion" style lacks a bit of reality. Given that Palestinians in Israel were expelled from their homes and discriminated following Gurions call for them to be "full and equal citizens", the settlers would know a similar fate would await them in a sovereign Palestine.

I don't think a declaration from the Palestinians will chnage any actual facts on the ground. It's sole benefit will be to give the pals something to rally around. Their inability to get along around a common purpose has done them almost as much harm as Israeli actions.

by vecky 2009-11-28 12:14PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Not So Sure

I agree about the apparent 'lack of reality,' but the Sarid quote was interesting nonetheless.  This notion of granting settlers Palestinian citizenship has been around for awhile.  It solves a few problems but creates, admittedly, a few others.

The whole point of my posts, however, is that in the context of negotiations going nowhere fast I find it hard to accept the Palestinians wouldn't have 'checked in,' at least tacitly, before having floated the idea of unilateral independence.  It's been done before.  That and these '1967 lines' remarks could have some connection, it seems.  That's all.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-28 12:43PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Not So Sure

We can only hope that the Americans are supportive behind the scenes, but somehow, given the history I doubt it. The Palestinians are still being played as the spoilers, while the Israelis are granting a generous offer again to stall the colonization effort for a few days at best.

Sorry to get cynical here, but there in truth was no offer by the Netanyahu government to stop building and expanding settlements, except in appearance. And of course Jerusalem is off the table including the building of hew settlemens there. And of course the Jordan Valley was spoken for already.

And if you listen to Peres, the greatest hypocrit in this show, Israel will not again start a new settlement. However, if the 130 plus settlements already existing are just expanded, there will not actually be room for any more.

Give us a break!

by MainStreet 2009-11-28 01:41PM | 0 recs
Re: No, It's Still Game On

PS: Let's not forget one important point: the Palestinians will be blamed for the stalemate, as usual. And I can hear Obama's saying then as he did recently, the Palestinians need to stop the "incitement."

by MainStreet 2009-11-28 05:34AM | 0 recs
Re: No, It's Still Game On

And yet another PS: By that time, Obama's second term, Rahm Emanuel will be out on the talk show circuit again still claiming the administration supports "two states side by side," BUT

"the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." They had a state in their hands but let it go.

I mean, the bullshit in this area is so heavy it is sometimes hard to fathom how politicians expect people to believe them. But they do.

by MainStreet 2009-11-28 05:39AM | 0 recs
Re: No, It's Still Game On

Would a veto even be necessary? My understanding is that the Palestinian unilateral declaration (like Kosovo) is not dependent on a UNSC resolution. Such a Resolution would not "condemn" Israel anyway, it would merely recognize the state.

That said I agree with the Swedish Ambassador that the conditions are no there yet. Abbas is weak, the PA is weaker. Hamas is intransigent, their is no national unity government, Gaza is still under siege, foreign countries, even some Arab countries are divided. With some oompf on the PA side these can be fixed, but it will take a number of years anyway.

With Netenyahu in charge of Israel there is no real chance of any movements towards peace. That doesn't mean Obama stops trying though. We saw how many years GW Bush wasted...

by vecky 2009-11-28 10:02AM | 0 recs
Re: No, It's Still Game On

Jeff Halper called it "managed conflict," a tactic that Israelis have been pursuing for years, the purpose of which is to silently continue the colonization.

Time does not bother Netanyahu. Time is what these negotiations are all about.

Bush will be remembered for the Road Map in his first term, and the Bush Initiative/Annapolis Conference in his second term...both failures, but to what ends? It gave the Israelis time, and there was probably no better time waster than Olmert, whose teas with Abbas became legendary. He was probably the greater conflict manager of all. In the meantime, settlement building continued, as it does today. We will have to see if Netanyahu can outdue him, given that Obama is now backtracking and giving him the lead.

If only the Palestinians would stop the "incitement."

by MainStreet 2009-11-28 10:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Agreed

I suppose we will have to wait for Netanyahu's response to the 67 lines comment.

Netanyahu has already stated that Israel will never give up the Jordan Valley, which is almost totally ethnically cleansed of Palestinians, and lies on the border with Jordan. In a similar vein, Israel has already annexed parts of the West Bank surrounding Jerusalem beyond the 67 line and have included them in Greater Jerusalem, i.e., parts of Israel. Strangely, Obama has already made unpleasing statements supporting the unification of Jerusalem as the sole capital of Israel. In doing that, he virtually sealed the issue of East Jerusalem as Palestine's capital, something the Palestinians will obviously not agree to.

Israel has been successful for forty years in fending off peace initiatives that had them giving up even parts of Judea and Samaria, and I don't see them failing this time around just because of the Cairo speech. They are the experts, as George Mitchell is finding out.

by MainStreet 2009-11-28 05:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Agreed

Jerusalem became an issue during the campaign. Basically as it now stands in order for it to be capital of both states, but undivided, one needs there to be a "happy peace" rather than the "cold peace" which is the more realistic explanation.

The initial UN plan for Palestine called for Jerusalem to be an open city remember. Curiously enough, the wall that will divide the two Jerusalems will have to be built by Israel, the Pals don't want it.

by vecky 2009-11-28 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Agreed

Open city?

Since when did the Israelis give a damn what the UN, the world of nations, thought about its occupation/colonialism of Palestinian lands, or its ethnic cleansings in and taking of Easts Jerusalem? Nada.

With the Congress under AIPAC's thumb, pretty much I would say that Jerusalem is already lost to the Palestinians. The world is finally seeing into this conflict and seeing it for what it is, but it has not made a bit of difference. Likr Clinton, Netanyahu put Obama down and he will stay in that position for the time being. I know, we thought he was a different kind of president, but....

by MainStreet 2009-11-28 10:41AM | 0 recs
Maybe So

But the unilateral threat had the Israelis in a tailspin for a few days.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-28 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

I may have missed the point, but how does "Annex Territories" help the Israeli position? If that is accepted, the call will then be for Palestinians to be granted voting rights & citizenship....

by vecky 2009-11-28 12:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

You would think so.  Some of the ill-advised comments by Israeli ministers suggested to me that they were caught on the back foot.  The unilateral declaration may have been nixed for now but it seems to have rattled some decision makers in Israel.  Maybe that was the intention.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-28 12:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

You are absolutely correct that the threat of a unilateral declaration indeed had far right ministers such as Lieberman and center right Likudniks such as Shalom spouting nonsense and points to a great anxiety.  It's not clear that they could pull off the counter-move of annexation.  There would be massive opposition.  It could split Kadima or send it into an agreement with Labor to force new elections.  The current political landscape favors Bibi.  He would be loathe to mess with it.  And that is just the internal snapshot.  What it would do to Israel's relations with EU countries, whose markets are of critical importance, is not something many Israelis want to try.  Israeli political sociology entails radical shifts between a self-conception of embattlement and the myth of self-reliance and the fear of isolation.  The latter is quite real.  Israelis realistically fear boycotts and sanctions (though they think resolutions in and of themselves are dismissible).

As for the question of citizenship for WB and Gaza Palestinians, I have long backed a popular campaign of citizenship application.  It would give supporters on the Israeli left and in the international community a tangible outlet that does an end run around the settlement issue.  It would challenge Israeli democracy and force the issue.  Nor would this mean abandoning the cause of Palestinian national expression.  This could be pursued by Palestinians as Israeli citizens together with the Palestinian Citizens who stayed in Israel after the 48 armistice lines were drawn.  It would also need to go hand in hand with East Jerusalem Palestinians ceasing to boycott participation in the municipal political process.  A mass citizenship-civil rights campaign represents a powerful alternative to the divisive and volatile "resistance" that always entails a cost in non-combatant lives and could energize a popular movement that international states-people would find it hard not to support.  It might even force Clinton's and Obama's hands a bit.  Sari Nusseibeh tried to launch something like this in the '80s.  So why don't Palestinians seek enfranchisement in this manner, which would indeed be the Israeli right wing's nightmare scenario?  It would require a cultural sea-change.  Even many "moderate" Palestinians who have good relations with Israelis see Zionist institutions as the embodiment of their enemy.  It's understandable.  To join and work with those institutions seems tantamount to an abdication of identity for many.  So such a campaign would require a particularly charismatic appeal.  If someone like Marwan Barghouti, with the backing of other leaders like Dahlan, and a credible Islamic leader, it might take off.  It would be a game changer, I think.  And given where things are headed, we need one.

by Strummerson 2009-11-28 01:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

You have underestimated the power of a fascist democracy, which Israel is, to counter any moves that would somehow undermine Israel's intent on achieving King David's realm, that all of it belongs to Israel, nothing less.

Do you really believe that even the Golan will ever actually be evacuated?

The debate in Israel is about how to get rid of the Palestinians, not how to accomodate them, let alone how to give them a state on Israeli territory.

by MainStreet 2009-11-28 02:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

This accusatory response seems like under-informed hyperbole.  While I think your diaries present a lot of good information regarding settlements, you seem to have very little grasp on "the debate inside Israel," and what you do grasp is completely second hand.  No cred there, I'm afraid.  Regardless, this post certainly doesn't seem like it can push the conversation in a helpful direction, which is what Shaun is trying to do.

I guess if I am not willing to join your chorus of one proclaiming Israel to be a monolithically evil fascist entity that is going to win no matter what anyone does, which is what your post implies, then you have underestimated both the complexity of the political landscape and overestimated my interest in such sloganeering.

by Strummerson 2009-11-28 02:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

I agree, the whole point of having this discussion is to share ideas, information and analysis.  I enjoy your posts immensely but also recommended Main's diary in the hope of having a worthwhile discussion of these issues.

I find some of the polemics a bit frustrating, frankly, as much as I realise I have much to learn on these issues.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-28 02:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

Keep at it and it will eventually come. Reality in the IP conflict is not hard to fathom in the end as life keeps repeating itself.

And my statement about Israel being a fascist democracy holds. Ethnocracy also applies. And both of these concepts are applied from the leftward viewpoint.

by MainStreet 2009-11-28 06:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

"the debate inside Israel?"

Do you mean among the few leftists that are left in Israel, or the writings of a few decent Haaretz columnists that continually appeal to Israelis to become fair and just concerning their treatment of the Palestinians?

While I thank you for the complement concerning my diaries, I cannot find a basis for doing the same regarding your rare comments as you remain knowledgeable but silent. Silence is what we get from the mainstream media in the US, and to participate in silence is one reason the American public remains so ignorant of the unjust situation their taxes support.

Bantering about the IP conflict is useless unless it elucidates the reality, and that is just what I tried to do, like it or not. If you disagree, however, it is not a problem.

by MainStreet 2009-11-28 02:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

Sigh.  This is an important issue and you are respected for keeping the debate active but it would be so much more edifying for the rest of us if we could keep away from the ad hominem arguments and stick with the good stuff.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-28 03:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

I would let Strummerson carry his own water, Shawn. I assure you he is quite capable of it.

On the other hand, as I have advised before, this is not a good area for you to engage. You have a predilection for seeing a military occupation of a people whose lands are being confiscated, i.e., colonized, on a daily basis, and seeing it as something of just a neighborly squabble among equals.

But feel free. In fact, we look forward to your own diaries on the topic.

by MainStreet 2009-11-28 05:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

You know, you can be very condescending of those who don't share exactly your viewpoint and downright insulting to those who challenge you.

I wish I was a sure about anything as you seem to be about everything.  Good luck to you.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-28 06:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

I do believe Golan will be evacuated... at some point...

Maybe I'm just naive but I don't see it's annexation by Israel ever being recognized by any state (save the US under a Palin pres) nor do I see the current indefinite occupation to continue beyond the Israel-Palestine conflict.

by vecky 2009-11-28 05:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

Well several right-wing blogs/commentators have long advocated annexation. Their plan involved annexing the territories, but not granting citizenship, i.e: solidifying Israels position as an apartheid state. And if the US vetoes a recognition of an independent Palestine, it will probably not veto a condemnation of Israel should it take such a course.

The status-quo is working for Israel while annexation changes the dynamic radically. Which is why I think the Israeli position on it is just a bluff.

by vecky 2009-11-28 01:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

I'm not so sure about an US veto on recognition of an independent Palestine, depending on the circumstances.  And annexation, as Strummerson points out, is a grave step for Israel.  That Landau publicly mooted annexation recently and that we are now still discussing it, instead of Bibi's rather empty settlement offer, is an indication that someone has outmaneuvered the hardliners at least this once.

Obama likes to win and if you have noticed in the Iran negotiations, however unsuccessful to date, he has a knack for making offers which, though refused, reveal the true positions and intentions of his 'opponents.'

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-28 02:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

The US will veto any unilateral declaration by Palestine if it comes to a UNSC vote. Such a dec. would go against everything the West has done since Oslo and would point to the complete failure of the Oslo process (which is evident in Israel/Palestine but not elsewhere). The US and Europe would not swallow that and their position would be a bit like Russias over Kosovo.

I don't think Obamas shtick is to root to "true positions" so much as seek multi-lateral approaches. The US + reluctant Europe going against Iran is a LOT less effective that the US + Russia + China going against Iran.  That has so far been his strategy. We can see it at work in Climate Change as well.

by vecky 2009-11-28 04:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

That said it should be noted that a UNSC res. is not necessary for a state to declare independence. Kosovo being a example.

But the pals need to get their own house in order for such a process to be viable. Both sides are bluffing, but the Pals have to be ready if Israel calls their bluff.

by vecky 2009-11-28 05:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

That's an interesting point although the State Department is on record as considering Kosovo's independence sui generis and not establishing a precedent.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-28 05:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

I agree that the US would veto, but I am not sure that forcing the retaliatory annexation debate inside Israel wouldn't be worth the maneuver.  The problem is the current split government of the PA: HAMAS/Gaza vs. FATAH/WB.  I think that's what you mean when you write that "the pals need to get their own house in order."  Agreed.  This has been the direction of the Abbas/Fayyed administration for the last two years and there are demonstrable yields.  Fayyed is building civic and economic institutions.  He's leading a process of de facto institutional state building.  He's reined in corruption and improved security.  There are fewer road blocks and more economic development.  The Hebron hills are still miserable and the settlers rampage there while the IDF shields them and thus enables them.  They prevent olive harvests under the guise of security.  And life along the wall is fraught, to say the least.  But under these inhospitable conditions, Palestinians in the West Bank are indeed "putting their house in order."  But unless they are willing to cut Gaza loose, which is an unimaginable scenario, the problem of putting together a unified, or even coordinated strategy between the two constituencies/territories remains a great one.    

by Strummerson 2009-11-28 05:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

Cutting Gaza loose is impossible. Israel is waging an economic war - afterall if Palestine can be kept poor and improvised it both reduces their negotiating power (who wants to stick up for the poor except the usual NGOs, etc) and prevents Palestinian refugees from wanting (or being able) to return.

I don't see exactly why the two sides (gaza/WB) can't agree on a co-ordinates strategy. Hamas does need to politically and diplomatically get more in line with Fatah, while Fatah needs to do more to cut corruption & be more democratic. I think there has been progress, but the wounds of their defacto-civil war run deep.

by vecky 2009-11-28 07:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

I agree that a WB-Gaza split is impossible, it's also undesirable.  The factors working against reconciliation between FATAH/WB and HAMAS/Gaza run even deeper than what you describe.  This is more than a conflict between ideologies, constituencies, and personalities.  There are also significant cultural differences between the populations.  FATAH has made great strides against corruption and toward democratization.  I wouldn't underestimate them, nor the economic strides FATAH has made in spite of the often impeding Israeli administration and oversight.  What I would like to see is more analysis of how Israel occasionally good cops the WB to exacerbate the schism.

by Strummerson 2009-11-28 07:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe So

Yeah, I take your point.  I can't help but wonder if ruffling Israel's feathers recently over independence might have been more than just Palestinian frustration.  

I do agree with your assessment of Obama's approach as multi-lateral.  Yet until recently when Iran's 'true position' began to be revealed that multi-lateral approach was less feasible.  I'm thinking of the IAEA's position and the resultant tacit votes of Russia and China as you pointed out.  There are a myriad of other factors influencing Russian and Chinese participation, of course, such as it is.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-28 05:18PM | 0 recs
if the Palestinians would just

give up their BS demand of "right of return," nearly all of the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip would all be theirs, and they'd have their state. Simple. But their philosophy of Islamic Fascism keeps them from such a simple truism.

by Lakrosse 2009-11-29 12:35AM | 0 recs
Re: if the Palestinians would just

You and MainStreet are the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of this debate, aren't you?  It's all yours.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-29 01:22AM | 0 recs
Re: if the Palestinians would just

That's all?

Okay, now we have a negotiating position.  Lakrosse has conceded East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and that the Palestinian state should have full control over their borders, water, and will negotiate treaties independently as a fully sovereign nation.

Or did you forget some of Bibi's non-precondition preconditions...

How did you manage to type this without blaming the holocaust on contemporary Palestinians?

by Strummerson 2009-11-29 04:15AM | 0 recs


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