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28 November 2007

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Grumpy

Col, It seems to me, we've been here before. When Barak was the Prime Minister of Israel, under a great deal of pressure from the U.S., Israel made concessions. It was thought they could give some land for peace. They thought they had an agreement so they went ahead and drew up the paperwork. Israel was giving back 90-95% of what they wanted. Just before the signing of the agreements, the Palestinians said, "We want one more thing, the Right of Return." This would have meant the ultimate destruction of Israel. I figure Annapolis will be a rerun of this event.

blowback

A very cheap shot but still worth taking:

"With their violent actions and contempt for human life, the extremists are seeking to impose a dark vision on the Palestinian people, a vision that feeds on hopelessness and despair to sow chaos in the Holy Land.

Which extremists is he talking about? I doubt it is this one!

"Settler rabbis decreed that "no leader has the right to give away the Land of Israel", and their hardline chairman, Dov Lior, offered an alternative solution to the conflict. "We must cleanse the country of Arabs and resettle them in the countries where they came from," he said.

Clifford Kiracofe

Was there serious preparation for the meeting? Where do the EU, Russia, China, and the UN fit in? Where do ALL regional powers, including Iran, fit in?

Faux diplomacy is a speciality of this administration (and probably the next one whatever it will be). The US-Israeli "strategic alliance" hinges on faux diplomacy and IMO will until the "pro-Israel lobby" is firmly put into its place...like Ike did in 1956 as a starter...and nullified.

Meanwhile:

1. "WASHINGTON - Two of the Navy's top admirals said Tuesday that China's refusal to let a U.S. aircraft carrier make a Thanksgiving port call at Hong Kong was surprising and troubling."

2. "TOKYO (Reuters) - A Chinese warship arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday on the first such port call since World War Two, the latest sign of warming ties between the Asian neighbors and former foes,"

(long URL)
http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUST22581120071128?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&rpc=22&sp=true

3. "Citing signs of military progress in Iraq, America’s neoconservatives are reasserting their vision of the United States as an imperial power that can reshape the Muslim world in a way favorable to the interests of Washington and Tel Aviv.

"Casting aside the image of the war as a bloody quagmire, the neocons are again selling Iraq as a vital beachhead in the Middle East from which the United States can project power throughout the region and achieve victory over Islamic militants hostile to Israel."
http://www.consortiumnews.com/2007/112707.html


jonst

I stand by my position....this is all about oil. As this author notes; the so called "conspiracy freaks" were correct,

http://themoderatevoice.com/war/iraq/surge/16281/the-conspiracy-freaks-were-right/

we are there to stay in Iraq/ME in exchange (cough cough)some advantageous business opportunities. As far as I can tell from their muted reactions...this suits the big three of the Dems just fine. It was a good time to announce the deal between elements in Iraq and elements in America. The opening of the conf provided cover. As if any were needed. I suspect most Americans are just fine with this.

Mo

Colonel,

The lead up to this was a convoluted but obvious play that took out Hamas so that Abbas would be left in charge. Do you think it perhaps possible that in order to be given the trophy Hamas took at the ballot box, Abbas would have had to agree to certain "terms"? And do you think those "terms" are what will be the eventual outcome of these "negotiations"?

jonst

I stand by my position....this is all about oil. As this author notes; the so called "conspiracy freaks" were correct,

http://themoderatevoice.com/war/iraq/surge/16281/the-conspiracy-freaks-were-right/

we are there to stay in Iraq/ME in exchange (cough cough)some advantageous business opportunities. As far as I can tell from their muted reactions...this suits the big three of the Dems just fine. It was a good time to announce the deal between elements in Iraq and elements in America. The opening of the conf provided cover. As if any were needed. I suspect most Americans are just fine with this.

Jose

Grumpy, you are just regurgitating the standard bs about why the last talks failed.

Check out this links to see how generous that offer really was:

http://www.gush-shalom.org/media/barak_eng.swf

Avi Shlaim's "Iron Wall" lives on.

Will

Grumpy

you have the Likud version of Camp David. Camp David offered Arafat virtually nothing. Later the Taba Accords got to that 95% you're talking about. The right of return was finessed to some 20,000 symbolic number that Israel could control but Barak could not deliver the Taba Accords.

Read the Israeli Gush-Shalom peace activist site for the lowdown.

the bottom line is that historic Israel is the West Bank a.k.a Judea-Samaria. The U.N. recognized Israel of 1948 is historic Philistinia. Ben Gurion's Israel had its eye on the West Bank on the gitgo and cooked up the 67 war to capture it, has colonized it & settled up to the gills, and is scarcely going to let go of any substanial parts of it. Moreover, that's where the water aquifers are. Of course, no one will ever say that. The code words will be, Israel is a narrow country and the West Bank is needed for SECURITY. The indigenous people are just another one of those inconvenient truths.

Abu Sinan

"Facts on the ground" mean that a viable, independent Palestinian state is not possible.

The only real solution is for a one state solution, with Palestinians and Israelis as equal citizens, with equal rights, and an equal vote.

One person, one vote. It is time to see Israel made into a real democracy.

Will

Actually ancient "Israel" is technically Samaria. This was the kingdom made famous by King Ahab and his Tyrian queen Jezebel.

Ancient Judah was the Southern Kingdom. According to the Bible, King David captured the city of the Ya Bus, Jebusites, and united the two kingdoms.

It is an interesting digression why the Zionists called their coastal 1948 Palestinian state "Israel."

SubKommander Dred

Charlottesville, Virginia
28 November 2007

Sir;
These negotiations remind me of the peace talks between Northern and Southern Vietnam. Specifically, the cynical rejoinder often used by many of the average peasants on the streets of Siagon when describing the RVN and NV goverment's lack of progress;
"Talk, Talk.Fight, Fight."
Knowing that George Bush and Condoleeza Rice are involved with the most recent round of (what passes for) diplomacy in that benighted land, I'm convinced that took place in Annapolis in the guise of a constructive dialogue between antangonists was, in actuality, little more than a circlejerk for VIP's.

Your most humble servant,
SubKommander Dred

Cold War Zoomie

Faux diplomacy is a speciality of this administration...

Is it faux diplomacy or just plain incompetence? Maybe this administration is just so incompetent that we must tell ourselves that there is some ulterior, super clever reason for their actions.

I still have a problem believing that politicians who reach the White House can be dumb as a post. Being reared a Catholic, schooled by Calvinists, and spending time in the military tends to heighten one's respect for authority.

But I am brought back to reality every time I hear our President speak for more than 10 seconds.

robt willmann

Yes, indeed. They have agreed to negotiate and argue in the future, starting, apparently, on 12 December 2007.

Since those at the conference are being paid and having their meals provided -- many probably with our tax money -- and I am not, I don't have time right now to go through the thing in detail.

A couple of quick and obvious points.

The "joint understanding" read by pres. Bush jr is here--

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/11/20071127.html

Notice how the conditional statements make this nothing new.

Paragraph 2: "... we agree to immediately launch good-faith bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty, resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues without exception, as specified in previous agreements."

It started out wonderfully, pledging to resolve "all outstanding issues, including all core issues without exception ..."

But no period ends the sentence there. An exception does exist, in that the "issues" are those "as specified in previous agreements".

Which "previous agreements" (plural) are those? What is in the previous agreements?

Paragraph 5: "The parties also commit to immediately implement their respective obligations under the performance-based road map to a permanent two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, issued by the Quartet on 30 April 2003 -- this is called the road map -- and agree to form an American, Palestinian and Israeli mechanism, led by the United States, to follow up on the implementation of the road map."

Paragraph 6: "The parties further commit to continue the implementation of the ongoing obligations of the road map until they reach a peace treaty. The United States will monitor and judge the fulfillment of the commitment of both sides of the road map. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, implementation of the future peace treaty will be subject to the implementation of the road map, as judged by the United States."

I'll leave it to you to find the weak spots in paragraphs 5 and 6, but the obvious ones are--

1) This whole farce is tied to the "road map".

2) Only the United States, without Russia, Britain, and European states, will be part of the as yet un-formed "mechanism" that will "follow up" on the "implementation of the road map" (paragraph 5). And "... implementation of the future peace treaty will be subject to the implementation of the road map, as judged by the United States" (paragraph 6).

So go back and dust off that "road map", which was to have produced a permanent status agreement by 2005, and read every word of it carefully.

The Israeli government is rolling on the floor laughing.

Hamas and Hizbullah are going to say, "I told you so".

But there was a nice Secretary of State's Dinner with the Annapolis Conference participants, again paid for by us, and in attendance also were UN Secretary General Ban, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and others "who have gathered here in the cause of peace".

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/11/20071126-16.html

Which leads me to wonder, what do those Arab countries (especially Syria), and Iran (which has some pretty good lawyers), think now after seeing all this puffery?

And did anyone read or hear the phrase, "sovereign Palestinian state"?

Mo

Forget the Palestinian-Israeli tract. What the hell was said at Annapolis that has seemingly turned the Lebanese situation on its head. 2 days ago, the M14 movement called any amendment to the constitution an abhorration and Jumblat was refering to HA as an Iranian Proxy Army in Lebanon.

Today, Jumblat is talking about it not being necessary to solve the issue of the weapons of the "resistance" (the use of the word is vital) right now. And Beirut is awash with rumours that the Army Chief is about to be made President (a move that requires a constitutional amendment).

The fact that it is M14 players turning things on their heads suggests Syria made some sort of concession to the US and the US gave M14 a green light to agree to him.

See, thats why we Lebanese love conspiracy theories so much. They are fun and so many of them seem aimed at us!

Fred

Clifford, China's naval deployments should not be a surprise. There are some good posts over at the athenaeum that provide very good background and insights into potential for future conflict with China.

JohnH

"If this vision prevails, the future of the region will be endless terror, endless war and endless suffering." The 'defense' industry must be salivating at the prospect, along with their hacks in Congress. How high can the defense budget go? Maybe soon we'll find out.

Homer

jonst: I stand by my position....this is all about oil.

Perhaps that's way too simplistic and centralized?

I tend to think that this is also about the golden opportunity of signing no-bid defense contracts.

Many in the defense industry (i.e. who hate taxes and big govt, but love fat no-bid contracts) are `making a killing' because of the debacle in Iraq.

Among other things, its also about breaking the back of BIG GOVERNMENT and the replacing of it with private corporations.

It can't just be all about oil once we follow the money.


Utah Blaine

Dear Col. Lang,

I would like to reply to the comment made by Grumpy as he repeats the `conventional wisdom' held by most Americans that the Palestinians were offered 90-95% of what they wanted by the Israelis and they rejected it. I challenge anyone who believes this to review, IN DETAIL, what was actually offered to the Palestinians by Clinton and Barak. The Palestinians were offered some level of administrative authority over roughly 90-95% of the territory in the West Bank and Gaza. This is MUCH different though than saying that the Palestinians were offered 90-95% of `what they wanted'. In fact, under this offer, Israel would control the borders, the water resources (this is a key point that is almost totally absent in US media accounts), the foreign policy (e.g. the Palestinians would not be permitted an army, and would not be able to freely sign treaties with other countries without Israeli approval), the West Bank was to be divided by Israeli-only roads, and the Palestinian capital would have been in a suburb of East Jerusalem. The `generous terms' offered by the Israelis were nothing less than an acceptance of total capitulation by the Palestinians. They would have been signing away their national sovereignity in perpetuity. Arafat made the correct decision to reject this. The serious concessions offered by the Israelis amounted to an offer of serfdom. This really wasn't much of a peace process.

The way forward is clear to the rest of the world: full Israeli withdrawal to the '67 borders (including the return of the Golan Heights to Syria in toto) for full recognition of Israel's right to exist (by the Palestinians and all the Arab countries). In regards to right of return, even the Palestinians accept privately that there can be no mass return to Israel proper. There would be a token return of some small number of Palestinians who would choose to live in Israel proper, certainly not enough to upset the demographic balance. All the other Palestinians living in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, etc. would be returned to Palestine. Any such deal would require massive US financial support, plus perhaps an Israeli indemnity to compensate refugees who were dislocated from Israel in 1948. This position (which is the state policy of Saudi Arabia and many of the other Arab nations, and supported by virtually the rest of the world, I believe) should be the official, publicly proclaimed US policy.

Trent

blowback, does Dov Lior's "cleansing" remind you of any similar German statements from 1933-45? Plus que ca change.

b

@jonst - oil is a TOOL for dominance. Global dominance is the openly proclaimed US aim.

A well founded and sourced argument for that is here. (My overview of the discussion here.)
---
On Annapolis and the I/P situation Jeff Halper, an Israeli, has some good insight.

Israel and 90% of its population is just fine with the current state of things.

Why rattle the cage when the palestinian folks inside can't get out anyway.

Unless the Pals and/or someone else puts up a fight again, nothing will change.

No that's wrong: The settlements would grow and the number of road blocks for Pals and Pal prisoners would increase.

Walrus

Bush's use of the term "Holy Land" to refer to Israel is no accident, and it plays to his "Christianist" constitutents.

I think the Bush Administration intentions are now quite plainly visible for all to see.

1. Obtain hegemony over all the oil resources of the Middle East through actual or threatened military action. The agreement with Maliki specifies an "enduring" relationship and preferential treatment for American investors.

2. Disrupt economic growth of any and all Arab states inimical to Israel to deprive Palestinians of any external support. Israel will then "negotiate" a Palestinian state to its advantage.

The "hopelessness" and "despair" of the Palestinian people seems to me to be a product of Israeli actions, but Bush is fitting up the Syrians and the Iranians as the culprits, which leaves the Palestinians with no external support.

So that's the deal Folks. Israel gets security and we get the oil.

I don't think we are going to have to wait very long for military action against Iran.

I don't think we are going to have to wait very long for military action against Sadr and others in Iraq who think Maliki has sold them out.

Martin K

MR. Lang: You should get a job here in Norway. There are trillions of cash roling around.

JohnH

I agree--at lot of nothing at Anapolis.

The text of the "Middle East Peace Statement" is basically a restatement of the US/Israeli position: heavy on peace with security with no mention of peace with prosperity. All sticks for the Palestinians and all carrots for the Israelis.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21993473/

This statement reeks of total capitulation to the US/Israeli security agenda with no mention of basic Palestinian rights and aspirations. It would appear that Palestinians are being given yet another opporutnity to negotiate their total and unconditional surrender and provide ironclad security guarantees to boot.

Does anyone see anything in this statement that suggests anything positive for Palestinians? Maybe they maintain their right to continue to be ethnically cleansed?

Grumpy

Col Lang, It appears like I stirred up a hornets nest. First, I want "Jose", "Will" and "Utah Blaine" to understand I did go to the "Gush-Shalom" website. I took some time I should be sleeping to read the specific listed document, but then to read the rest of the site. I wanted to give your evidence every bit of weight possible. You have every right to you opinion and it is not my place to change it. As tragic as it might be, the normal method of "Nation-Creation" was by war. When the Nation of Israel was created, there was a Palestinian State, It was the Nation of Jordan. As I read the "Gush-Shalom" website, I saw many things. If the Palestinians and Israeli people could work together it would benefit both peoples. The site took great pains to point out the reactionary perceived injustices by the Israelis against the Palestians. But the site is strangely silent about the triggers which caused these responses.

The website talks about equality for both sides.. Would you please tell me, is EQUALITY what the Palestinians really want?

Clifford Kiracofe

Abu Sinan,

The one-state solution would appear to be the future. Demographics, it seems, will inexorably force the issue in the next generation unless the Israelis continue their ethnic cleansing program (or is it pogram?) and "transfer" Arabs out of the so-called "Jewish state." According to the German press, the most popular place for Jewish settlement these days is Germany not Israel. The old "Jewish" district in Berlin is undergoing quite a revival.

CWZoomie,
This administration has told nothing but lies to the American people and to the world since it took power. Its faux diplomacy (which is intentional but perhaps incompetently handled)is an element of the overall National Strategy which is outlined in considerable detail in official documents. The National Strategy itself, IMO, has undermined short, medium, and long-range US national interests.

Fred,
I regard China's military strategy/force posture and pragmatic diplomacy as "normal", and to be expected, from a rising power in the emerging multipolar environment. I know some Americans think Beijing shouldn't dare object to US global hegemony and should, rather, kowtow to the Emperor with no clothes in the White House but...

IMO, irritation over US policy per the Dalai Lama and Taiwan seems to have brought on the port call issue so they have sent a "signal." Last month I had lunch in Washington with a visiting senior PLA official who indicated these concerns. I appreciated his frankness.

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