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03 October 2011


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Excellent piece, IMO.

I like the parallel with Ireland. After all, who would have expected Martin McGuinness to turn into a deal-making, consensual statesman?



Oh, I thought you meant Obama and Netanyahu. Since when did the Palestinian leaders get to decide anything?

The Two State solution is dead. The creation of a Palestinian Bantustan just cements Israeli cruelty.

William P. Fitzgerald III

Pat Lang,

Mr. Lifton's piece, in the final analysis, advocates re-starting and continuing the negotiating track, which could lead to the agreement he described and, which he maintains, is the only way to resolve the issues. This solution, which is not a solution, presents the Palestinians with a true Hobson's choice. They could continue negotiating while Israel continues to consolidate
its "facts on the ground" or accept the arrangement Mr. Lifton proposes and which would leave them very little of which to make a viable country.

I propose that we all look at successive maps of the British Mandate, the partition plan, the post 1948 war,
and the West Bank today with settlements and the roads connecting them. Can the Palestinians possibly agree to perpetuate this situation?

The truly possible soution would be for the U.S. to make very clear to Israel that agreeing to the 1967 border and withdrawing the occupation and settlements are the only way to insure continued maintenance of this strange relationship we have with them. Futhermore we would lend support to enforcing U.N. Resolution 242. Unfortunately, the President, in his despicable speech before the U.N., made it quite clear that this will never happen.

Negotiations and any expectations of American help are a dead-end for Palestine but not for Israel and that is the reason for the U.N. gambit.



Among people who think that Abbas has always been Israel's poodle, the thought is that this whole Palestinian independence thing (the third or fourth declaration of independence in the last 60 years), is a sham.

Instead, it's designed to bolster Abbas' credibility, so that he could actually do a deal with Palestinian support. In this scenario, he would negotiate significant concessions on paper--ones that Israel would promptly ignore. In return, Abbas would grant Israel immunity from Palestinian claims at the Hague.


If we accept Mr. Lifton's analysis as true, then further negotiations are futile.

The Quartet's new proposal, therefore, is worse than useless. It will permit more discussions about "security" while more facts change on the ground. Secretary of State Clinton has said that an agreement on borders will makes the issue of settlement building moot. Clearly, the Israelis don't want that issue mooted.

18 years is enough. We know what the borders should be. It's time for the alleged Leader of the Free World to act like one.


You want the Palestinians to demiitarize themselves while having to live next tot he Israelis? Too funny. Based on the historical record anyone living next to the Israelis needs to arm themselves to the teeth.

Charlie Wilson

"war between Israel and the Arab states that attacked it" Didn't need to read anymore of this bunkum.



You hit the nail on the head, only thing you need to change is Israeli 'cruelty' with a capital 'C'! Israel's government is this century's 'Schutzstaffel' known to the last century by the hated moniker 'SS'.

Farmer Don

Off topic, but most of you will remember this fellow.

For a CIA operative, Raymond Davis sure has trouble keeping a low profile.


Roy G.

While Mr, Lifton adopts a more conciliatory and understanding tone towards the Palestinians in this piece, it contains significant flaws, mainly that it does not seem contemporary; indeed this piece could have been written at any time during the past decade, but at this point seems to be less than fresh analysis. Which is perhaps fitting, as Mr. Lifton seems to want to follow the status quo ante, and pretend that negotiations can be restarted, even after the so-called 'roadmap' has been thoroughly trashed.

Indeed, how can the 'quartet' have any credibility left whatsoever, after its figurehead, the throughly biased Tony Blair, was rejected early last week for making a totally one-sided offer that effectively outed him as Dennis Ross' mouthpiece?

Also making a mockery of Mr. Lifton's statements are the announcement of more new housing construction in Jerusalem, which Bibi is claiming belongs 100% to the Zionists?

Regarding Abbas, he has already been caught in the Palestine Papers giving away the farm, only to be rejected by an Israeli government totally uninterested in anything but total domination.

It is also strange that Mr. Lifton takes such a sympathetic approach towards the settlers and far right-wing religious nationalists; yes, this is an unfortunate political situation for Israel, but the appeasement of this bloc is what has exacerbated the problem, leading straight in to the current dilemma.

Today, there is no point in trying to prop up the dead horse of Oslo. Negotiations can begin after the UN vote. Indeed, that is the only leverage the Palestinians have, and they would be foolish to give it up, especially since the flop sweat of the Israeli government shows they finally have something to lose.



All this 'empty hype' about 'CAN THEIR LEADERS MAKE THE VERY HARD DECISIONS REQUIRED' and 'PEACEMAKING BETWEEN', is just that empty hyperbole like a dog chasing its tail forever running in a circle accomplishing nothing.

Zionism is attack, attack, and continue to attack the Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, and the greater Mideast in general until all is subjugated under Zionism's iron Totalitarian thumb. Those who have sounded the Shofar of warning regarding Zionism, their words of wisdom and warning have been ignored, and alas Zionism's cruelty has been allowed to continue unabated upon the defenseless Palestinians. The late Rav Yolish warned about Zionism, he warned about Zionism's masked cruelty, its attempted masked 'gentle' propaganda which we're witnessing, and that when it is all said and done, Zionism and its current Israeli state is nothing more than a slap in Heaven's face.

The only resolution exists is the dismantling of the cruel Israeli state, and for it to be maintained in such a dismantled condition until it can be molded by Heaven's hands,and not before.

R Whitman

The only way to get a Two-State
Solution is to have it imposed from
the outside and dictated to both
parties.This needs to be done by a
president of the US with balls, the
EU, the UN and Russia.

Absent that the Israeli and the
Palestinians will never make the
hard choices. We probably can
expect some sort of contentious
One-State solution in reality.



As I understand it RD was not a career CIA employees. he was a contract consultant of some kind. pl


It's simple. Facts tend to have an anti-Zionist bias.


Mr. Lifton writes about a mythical state. The Israeli reality is far sadder. Compare the comments section of this article: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israel-police-beefs-up-security-near-muslim-sites-following-mosque-attack-1.387895

with the statements by Israel's president. See http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/peres-galilee-mosque-arson-shameful-for-the-state-of-israel-1.387874

As the Colonel might say, they sure ain't Paul Newman anymore...

Babak Makkinejad


The only viable - under the circumstances - deal is the HAMAS 99-Year cease-fire idea.

It has the chief virtue of freezing the war in Palestine and enabling Palestinians to have a life not defined by struggle against Israel.

I suppose Gaza and much of the West Bank will revert to Palestinians, the Israelis will keep Jerusalem but there will be no recognition of Israel nor any normalization of relations with the World of Islam.

The two sides will be dis-engaged; sort of like East and West Germany or North and South Korea.

If I were a US leader, I would take that deal (if it is still on the table).

For Israelis, that is the best deal that they will ever get; there will be no peace without Muslims controlling Jerusalem and Jews will not give it up.

The rest - including Mr. Lifton's piece are not even pipedreams.

They are fantasies.



INO, you are correct. a hudna of that length wouldprovide the only hope of an evoulutionary resolution. pl


If Hamas declares a truce with Israel, and even if they somehow hold to it, various splinter groups may well choose to ignore it and keep firing rockets or blowing up buses in Israel.

Israel will then retaliate against these groups, leading to a return to hostilities against a stronger, reorganised Hamas.

Of course I trust our host's judgment much more than my own in these matters, but to this naive observer, this "hudna" looks a lot like a transparent attempt at gaining some time for regrouping, rebuilding and rearming.



So, you want an absolute set of guarantees. there are none and will be none and in that case Israel is doomed. Happy? pl


The only solution is matched violence. When the Israelis feel as threatened as the people in Gaza then the real negotiations will begin. MLK and Gandhi are the anomalies, violence gets results through history.

When the Israelis face a two or three front war then you'll see progress, not before, and certainly not under the current cynical "leadership."

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. The other key member of the coalition is the Shas party, whose religious leader has consistently denigrated the Arabs, calling them “snakes.” Under those circumstances, Netanyahu could well fear not only for his political life but for his safety –witness the fate of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin murdered by a religious zealot for bravely seeking a peace with the Palestinians.

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I trust our host's judgment much more than my own in these matters, but to this naive observer, this "hudna" looks a lot like a transparent attempt at gaining some time for regrouping, rebuilding and rearming.

David Habakkuk

I think this is a very significant post, but perhaps not quite in the way that Robert Lifton intended.

What he has actually done is to set out – very lucidly – some of the main reasons why the idea of a two-state solution is dead. At the conclusion, he is left adducing the example of Ireland as a reason for residual hope for some kind of miracle which will resurrect it. But the Irish situation was simply not comparable. Among salient differences, the leaderships of the outside powers involved – Britain, the Republic of Ireland, and also the United States – had come to share broadly similar conceptions of the appropriate solution. And none of them faced intractable internal opposition.

Crucially, the power of the Ulster lobby in British politics was a shadow of what it once had been. The Irish analogy would be more apt, if one imagined that this lobby still had the kind of influence it had had in 1914 – indeed, far more so, as the influence of the Ulster lobby then and later was heavily concentrated in the Conservative Party, rather than being equally powerful in both major parties.

Liberal Zionism, in the United States and also Britain, more and more reminds me of British socialism in the 1980s. As with Zionism, both a great deal of idealism, and also a large dose of less appealing impulses, went into the creation of the British labour movement. In part precisely because of this element of idealism, it was very hard for many decent people to face up to the accumulating evidence that the intellectual premises of British socialism were simply wrong – and also that the less appealing impulses were increasingly in evidence.

Likewise, it is hard for many decent people, in Britain as in the United States, to face up to the fact that a central premise of liberal Zionism – the possibility of the two-state solution – is no longer sustainable. But the realisation that one cannot any longer be both a liberal and a Zionist is sinking in. A crucial question in both countries will be how Jewish opinion splits, as this realisation is confronted.



no,you don't trust my judgment. if you don't trust the palestinians enough to believe in a truce, then it is war to the death. pl


Col: Since the Pentagon uses game theory, has anyone mentioned that Israel actions are perfectly rational given America's unconditional guarantees?

I heard Panetta this morning again promising unconditional support for Israel's "security." And will he be surprised when more bulldozers head to East Jerusalem?

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