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29 April 2011

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William R. Cumming

So when Bibi visits to address a Joint Session of Congress (why one may ask?) will this impact his proposals?

Matthew

Col: The problem with Israeli "outrage" is that Israeli cooperation netted few benefits to the Palestinian people (as dictinct from the Ramallah elite).

Oslo has been great for Israel: Merely by allowing the Palestinians the illusion of local "governance" the Israelis off-loaded the cost of the occupation onto the EU/USA.

My hope is that the Palestinians continue to constructively resist, i.e., keep building and trading, so that the Zionists will be forced to claim that fishing, trading, and seminar-attending are acts of "terrorism."

steve

Congratulations to the Palestinians. Never thought Abbas had it in him. Looks like he outfoxed Netanyahu who had really left the Palestinians with no options at all in terms of direct I-P negotiations.

It will be interesting to see what transpires at the UN this fall in terms of recognition of Palestine. I believe it was Lieberman who said that Israel would consider revoking Abbas' travel permits, boxing him in in Ramallah. Will Israel allow Abbas to travel to the UN?

Roy G

I think current events were what 'Securing the Realm' was supposed to prevent. Unfortunately for the Israeli rightwingers, history is outstripping their ratf*ck strategeries. Even funnier, they have burned down their diplomatic channels, and Lieberman is as likely to reach rapport with the Palestinians or other MENA states as John Bolton or Herman Cain would be.

I'm looking forward to the Bibi show on the Hill, wherein he attempts to slap a new coat of paint on the old colonial project. One could only hope that he ends up next to Tony Blair soon, fighting the good fight... against malaria.

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/04/201142212916574903.html

Highlander

Bottom Line: These will be no peace in the Holy Land.

WELL! DUH!

There hasn't been much peace there for the last 3,000 years or so. Why would we reasonably expect it would happen now?

The Jews are realist. Israel will, and should do what is in its own interest,as does any rational nation state.(With the exception, of corporate/imperial Washington of course. The DC geniuses just specialize in blowing our own feet up financially.)

In addition, to not being a nation state, the Palestinians damn sure rank at the bottom, when it comes to rational conduct. They are pathetic!

The world has been kicking their Palestinian butts longer than it has the Jews. It comes with the neighborhood, they all live in. Actually, the Palestians may secretly,down deep, like the floggings.

Tony

And all these dealing happened without the West knowing about it????

confusedponderer

According to the Palestine Papers, the Fatah negotiators Israel dealt with with under so-called US "brokerage" (i.e. complete and overt favouritism towards Israel) were nothing less than supine. They made far reaching, unprecedented offers, even giving up parts of Jerusalem, abdicated the right of return - and the Israelis refused all that as not good enough.

Thinking of it, why should they compromise, they have taken a lot of territory, they want to take more, the Pals can't do anything about it - so why give anything up?

That 'biddable' Fatah is the result of decades of Israeli shaping (through selective killing, arrest, infiltration, subversion) of the movement. I don't see that the Israelis are willing to let all that effort go to waste. And I don't US pressure to dissuade the Israelis from their point of view.

Even biddable is not good enough. The Israelis probably see the unity deal front as a threat and will do what they can to undermine it. What about some air strikes into Gaza, naturally in retaliation for something. There always is something.

steve

Tony:

"And all these dealing happened without the West knowing about it????"

Once confirmed, I'm sure Petraeus will be right on it. j/k

Matthew

Highlander: Your comments are as dumb as they offensive.

If there hasn't been peace for the last 3,000 years, then you are forced to make some non-Hasbara conclusions:

1. If the Palestinians have not existed as a people for 3,000 years, then the "eternal conflict" between Jews and Palestinians could not exist.

2. If there has not been peace for 3,000 years, and Islam has only existed for 1,400 years, then the "eternal conflict" between the Jews and their neighbors (the Jebusites?) clearly does not originate in Islam.

3. The only comon demoninator of the 3,000 year conflict: It appears the Jews are always in conflict with their neighbors...regardless of who those people are.

walrus

Mr. Highlanders comments demonstrate why Israel and America are in so much trouble.

I have a feeling that the Arab world is going to wipe the smirk of Israel's face and also teach the United States a thing or Two.

By way of explanation, I don't think the destabilising effects of new technology, and especially the Internet, have yet been fully understood, especially by conservative authoritarian regimes.

William R. Cumming

Matthew and Highlander! The Jews took over 400 years timeout to vacation in Egypt!

Once again genetic testing will reveal these are all one people. Only languages differ.

As in all internecine warfare the viciousness reflects the arguments over land and water! And essentially between relatives. And foolish since the "MEEK" will inherit all.

steve

Highlander, there's no spot on the planet that's been peaceful for 3000 years. Yet, until the advent of zionism, few of the conflicts in Palestine could be laid at the feet of jews v. muslims, at least to my elementary knowledge of history.

par4

@Highlander; you should have stayed with a safe subject like the Royal Wedding. By the way,speaking of butt kicking, where is that Stone of Scone?

Charles I

And now the Egyptians have announced that the Rafah Crossing will be opened permanently.

". . . interim Foreign Minister, Nabil al-Arabi, said the blockade would be eased over the next few days.

He described the support of the previous Egyptian government for the blockade as disgraceful"
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13240113

Walrus, factor in military nanotechnology as well a connectedness.

Matthew

WRC: Agreed! The only people who believe that the conflict with Jews and Arabs is insoluable basically do not want a solution. George Will pontificated on the "eternal" Troubles in Ulster a while back. How did that turn out?

Fiorangela

J Street's J benAmi email blast this afternoon:

"News that a preliminary agreement on political reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas has been reached poses one of the most important challenges in years to those who hope to see a peaceful two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

J Street’s reaction to events always starts from our guiding principle: an unshakeable belief that Israel’s survival and security as the democratic home of the Jewish people depends on achieving a two-state resolution to the conflict with the Palestinian people – meaning the broadest possible cross-section of Palestinian society. We are guided by our belief that Israel’s long-term security depends on establishing two states with internationally-recognized borders.

Overcoming the split between Fatah and Hamas, and between the West Bank and Gaza, has always been a precondition for final resolution of the conflict. In fact, many who oppose a two-state deal have, in recent years, done so by arguing that divisions among the Palestinians make peace impossible. Obviously, reconciliation reduces that obstacle – but now skeptics of a two-state agreement have immediately stepped forward to say that a deal is impossible with a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas.

We are well aware that there are those in Hamas who are not interested in a two-state solution but who seek the long-term destruction of the state of Israel as a Jewish national home. No one should have any illusions about the dangers and risks ahead.

We also know, however, that the majority of the Palestinian people are willing to accept a two-state deal and all the compromises it entails in order to end the generations-old conflict. So we also believe that no one should doubt that there are still very real opportunities available that should be explored, particularly since the dangers and risks of the status quo are so significant.

If indeed this reconciliation deal is implemented – and history does give reason to question whether it will – there are many questions that the new Palestinian leadership must answer in the coming weeks and months. Is the Palestinian Liberation Organization – as the official representative of the Palestinian people – still committed to a two-state solution? Is it willing to reaffirm its renunciation of the use of violence and terror against Israeli civilians? Will existing security understandings be honored? Will rocket fire from Gaza be stopped?

These questions become all the more important in light of the possibility of United Nations recognition in September of an independent Palestinian state. Yesterday’s news does not change the calculus for both the United States and Israel that the best way to avert a vote in September is for there to be a credible and realistic diplomatic initiative underway that offers a realistic path toward peace and security.

The only way to answer the questions raised by these new developments is through engagement and talks. We urge the United States, Israel and the international community to respond to this new development with caution and questions, but not with hostility. Encouraging movement in the right direction through engagement is more likely to lead to a long-term peaceful resolution than responding, for instance, by automatically cutting off aid to the Palestinian Authority.

There are respected Israelis with impeccable security credentials – such as former Mossad Director Ephraim Halevy – who have argued over the past year that diplomatic engagement even with Israel’s sworn enemies is necessary if there is to be a long-term resolution to the conflict. We believe that, with eyes wide open to the risks, it is imperative not to shut the door to talks with a newly configured Palestinian leadership – perhaps initially through third parties.

Perhaps one place to start is with the negotiations for the release of Gilad Shalit. Reconciliation on the Palestinian side could provide new hope and opportunity for his release. The Israeli government has pursued negotiations for Corporal Shalit’s release indirectly through intermediaries. It should now be willing to explore such a deal with a unity government led by President Abbas. If the newly-unified political leadership of the Palestinian people wishes to signal to Israel that it is serious about achieving a peaceful two-state resolution, nothing would have a greater impact on Israeli and international opinion than his release in the coming weeks.

I leave tomorrow with a delegation of J Street leaders for an 8-day visit to the region. We are scheduled to meet with top Israeli and Palestinian officials including President Peres and President Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad, Deputy Prime Minister Meridor and others across the ideological spectrum.

We will press our message of the need to explore opportunities with eyes wide open to the risks. And we will urge the Palestinian leadership to ensure that any new government affirm that it will maintain a policy of zero tolerance for violence, will abide by prior agreements and will pursue a two-state resolution to the conflict that recognizes the state of Israel.

- Jeremy

Jeremy Ben-Ami
President, J Street
April 29, 2011"

notes: -the last email blast urged Obama to go to Jerusalem; now Jeremy is going instead.

-One of the action items on the J Street website congratulates Congress for maintaining aid to Israel (sotto voce) and to Palestine. In the above letter, benAmi suggests Palestine be punished by cutting aid if "as history shows" a peace deal cannot be reached on Israel's terms. benAmi's suggestion for the comparable threat toward Israel has apparently been inexplicably elided from his letter.

-benAmi suggested that Palestinians show good faith by releasing Shalit.
Will Israel show good faith by releasing the 10,000 or so Palestinians it holds in its jails, extrajudicially?

Chutzpah is no longer a source of good natured jest, is just obnoxious.

Fiorangela

relative to nothing on this topic:
Does anyone here do counterfactual history?

If Adolf Hitler had not arisen and led the German people, would someone else of Hitlerian characteristic done so? Said another way, Did Hitler create Nazism or German people create Hitler -- did the mood of the Germany people require a Hitlerian character to contain their anger and fear? If Jewish bankers had not declared economic war on Germany in 1933, would the situation have been able to be cooled down without violence? Who really wanted violence anyway -- Germans, or English-Americans? US needed the economic boost of war, and they got it.

Just questions.

jdledell

I just returned from 2 weeks in Israel celebrating the Holidays as I always do. During my time there I listened to talks by Danny Ayalon, Benny Begin and Danny Danon, all members of Netanyahu's inner cabinet.

It's still clear from their statements about Netanyahu's position on peace compromises that Israel is still pursuing the Allon Plan from the late 1960's. This would break the West Bank into cantons without any direct contact to the outside world, as Pat mentioned.

The Jordan Valley would go to Israel, for supposed security reasons. Israel would expand Ma'ale Adumim all the way to Jericho cutting the West Bank in half. A new wrinkle has been added to the Allon Plan because the corridor encompassing Ariel is being expanded to include Eli and Shilo thus cutting the northern west bank half into two non-continguous cantons.

Just to add insult to injury I was in Kiryat Arba when municipal authorities were told not to worry since the Gush Etzion block would be expanded all the way out to Hebron to encompass the 10,000 Jews living in Kiryat Arba.

I have been going back and forth to Israel twice a year for more than 5 decades. Over that time I have watched my people and a country I love, slowly but surely losing it's soul. It is stunning how much the people and country have changed since my bar mitzvah in Haifa in 1956.

Netanyahu's coalition merely reflects the emotions and thoughts of the general public. That is why I am pessimistic about the future of peace. If Bibi is replaced, the next coalition will be just as insensitive to the needs of Palestinians or, for that matter, any gentiles. Only a SEVERE shock to the nation will alter its course and ensure its future.

Dan Gackle

jdledell:

What sort of "severe shock" do you have in mind? What do you think is likely to happen if such a shock does not occur?

walter

To All: sry if this post is off topic, but I am puzzled why Saudi Arabia and Iran are enemies....Sunni and Shia live peacefully in many Arab countries....certainly it cannot be this religious difference....what does Iran want from/of Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states? ... why do the Gulf states fear Iran? what does Iran want from them? does Iran have some malevolent intentions toward Arab nations?

different clue

My last two predictions about what an Arab state or people would do were completely wrong, so no more predicting. I could still question, guess, suppose, and observe.

A democratically elected Egyptian government could either abrogate the treaty and sell Israel zero-gas forevermore all at once. Or it could make the peace colder and more hostile in staged degrees while cutting gas exports by set percentages to see if that changes Israeli leadership's policy directions. The wikipage about Egypt's gas pipeline describes a straight line to Jordan and up to Syria. A side spur goes to Israel. The sabateurs blew the line upstream from it's reaching Jordan. That must upset the Egyptian authorities whatever their feelings about gas to Israel.

(By the way, has Egypt considered selling no gas to anyone at all? If money lost its value, that gas would still be worth its weight in gas, and could still turn the wheels of Egypt for a long time to come. Where will Egypt get gas when they have sold all the gas they have? Does anyone think about that?)

rocky

egypt hoping to provoke israel to take act(s) of desperation,for egypt to argue that israel reneged on the israel/egypt peace treaty i agree with lang that israel will not allow a palestinian state in the west bank which could ever remotely threaten israel, israel is factoring in technological changes it thinks might affect it's future security for the next 30 years or more.
this is what rabin envisioned: a statelet, not much different from begin's autonomy plan, huh pat.
it was re-packaged with the oslo label's seeming acceptance of a palestinian state with a living growing list of israeli conditions. in my view it was wasted time and money, the two sides could not get to square one and agree on a definition of peace, ridiculous insanity, thanks mr. clinton, you are a genius.

shanks

An inability to understand the depths of change in the surrounding states is the first of the many issues of Occupied Palestine.

Second, if these revolutions achieves Pan Arabism even in limited form, that's even more trouble for the squatters. Sure, you may have superior weapons but even a rag tag bunch of people can inflict enough to make you think twice about new adventures to teach the 'they understand only force' Arabs a lesson.

The only way out is to play up the Shia/Sunni divide and divide people into Iran/Saudi camps.

The Saudis can be bought and they'd gladly do the work for the Zionists via the USA.

I mean is there any other way to stop these events?

jdledell

Dan - The kind of shock I am thinking about is something like the 73 war. Even though Israel won the war, their losses shocked and sobered up the country. Sadat was right to think that Begin would never give up the Sinai without a "punch to the gut" to Israel.

I don't know what forces, if any, in the region are capable of doing what Egypt did in 1973 but 10,000 Hezballah missiles raining down on Tel Aviv would be an example.

Another shock might be UNSC sponsored boycott against Israel. This might come about if there is another intifada and Israel starts to transfer Palestinians, as many Israelis want.

Another shock might be a settler sponsored massacre against Palestinians, like Baruch Goldstein in Hebron. This is a real possibility. In fact, there were many in Itamar who were ready to march to Awarta to kill any Palestinian they could find. Thankfully, the IDF put a lid on such discussions until cooler heads prevailed.

Fiorangela

jdledell, do you think something went off the rails between 1956 and 2011, or is the project proceeding as conceived by Weizman, or -- is the project proceeding as conceived by Jabotinsky?

You mention that Bibi "reflects the emotions and thoughts of the general public." My understanding, from Haggai Ram ("Iranophobia"), Eyal Weizman ("Hollow Lands"), Avigail Abarbanel ("Israel's Growing Insanity"), and Karin Friedemann ("The Emotional Violence of Jewish Advocacy") is that the psychosis-- Abarbanel's term-- that supports Netanyahu is taught, even indoctrinated into Israelis at every level and crevice of their lives?
Taking it one frightening step further, Robert Aumann's Rational Institute at Hebrew University manages the system of indoctrination with Skinnerian efficiency raised to Nobel laureate degree.

I hold the extremely unpopular opinion that Ahmadinejad understood the psychotic processes that Abarbanel observed, and attempted to deliver that "severe shock" in the form of non-violent "reality therapy" when he convened the holocaust conference. I thought -- and still think -- that Ahmadinejad's attempt to shock Israel was a courageous as well as compassionate move -- he put his country's wellbeing at risk for the sake of setting up an 'intervention' for a neighbor and a people with deep ties to Iran, that had become addicted to a dangerous ideology.

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