Preparing for Direct Talks

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As the first direct Israeli-Palestinian talks in two years approach, it seems that enthusiasm and hope for a deal decrease again and again. Years of violence, failed talks, and now uneasy calm punctuated by continued settlement growth in the West Bank and confrontations spurred by this growth have led to an environment of grim, limited determination; it seems increasingly that both sides come to the table knowing what they must do, but unwilling, or unable, to actually do it.
In some ways, the situation is ripe for talks. Israelis seem to be growing increasingly uneasy with the settlement enterprise, there is at least tepid (albeit, very tepid) pressure from the White House for a resolution, and today the New York Times reports on the economic growth and emerging political and security stability in the West Bank long demanded by Israeli leaders as necessary for a peace deal.
And yet all of the structural and political obstacles to a two-state solution remain; an extension of even the partial settlement freeze currently in place past the end of this month is in doubt, the political will of Israel’s current leadership is in doubt, and violence from militant groups, disaffected Palestinians, and Israeli settlers could easily disrupt even a fledgling agreement. As the director of the New America Foundation/American Strategy Program and TWN publisher Steve Clemons, and Middle East Task Force directors Daniel Levy and Amjad Atallah argued in a media call this afternoon, the local, regional and international stakes are desperately high, and a solution will require serious leadership in Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Washington.
Undoubtedly, though, the hard sell will be Israel. Daniel Levy has an excellent piece on the upcoming talks over at the Huffington Post describing his pessimism, optimism, and pessimism over the prospects for a political solution:

On balance, however, Netanyahu’s actions and statements do not suggest a man standing at the precipice of a bold move to peace and de-occupation. Netanyahu formed an extreme right-wing coalition out of choice not necessity, insisted on those settlement expansion exemption clauses, has refused to enter negotiations with the Palestinians or Syrians on the basis of previously achieved advances, and is insisting on security arrangements, timelines, and unreciprocated and unilateral Palestinian acknowledgement of Israeli claims.
The tantalizing thing that Obama will have to deliver here is an Israeli political yes. A solution cannot be imposed on Israel, clear choices can though be presented. If there is an Israeli yes to real de-occupation gestating somewhere in the Israeli public and body politic, then it is not going to emerge on its own, that much is clear today. If the Israeli yes is there, it is going to take a c-section to bring it out into the world, and the only available surgeon is President Barack Obama.
The U.S. will have to be smart in the content of the plan it is proposing, both sides have rights and need to emerge with dignity, de-occupation will have to be real, and Israel’s legitimate security concerns will have to be met–but not more than that. The context in which the plan is proposed is no less important than its content. The administration will need to remove the mist from its eyes on Palestinian political realities and address those shortcomings. The Palestinians can be allowed or even encouraged to rebuild a unified, inclusive, and capacitated national movement. At the same time, the very real asymmetries between representatives of an occupying power and representatives of an occupied people should be built in to the structure of peacemaking–substituting for unreasonable or unreachable demands on Palestinian capacity where this is needed to advance a two-state outcome. And all of this would be helped not hindered by taking a broader, comprehensive approach to peacemaking and advancing a plan that incorporates Israeli-Syrian, Israeli-Lebanese, and overall Israeli-Arab peace.
To deliver that Israeli yes, the right question will need to be asked–one rooted in guaranteeing Israel’s future, that does not avoid real clarity, real de-occupation and hard choices, one that is well-marketed, and that crucially re-calibrates the incentives and disincentives for Israel of the status quo versus the peace option. When President Obama is ready with that plan and with that message, he should get on a plane and take it directly to the Israeli people. This week might just prove to be a milestone in that journey.

– Andrew Lebovich

Comments

62 comments on “Preparing for Direct Talks

  1. Sand says:

    – Legal Challenge to Iraqi Oil Contracts
    “The Supreme Court of Iraq is currently considering the legality of the Rumaila oilfield contract awarded by the Iraqi Ministry of Oil to BP and China National Oil Petroleum Co (SINOPEC) in the first bidding round for oil and gas field development contracts in 2009.
    The lawsuit has been filed by a former Iraqi MP, who argues that the BP contract violates the Iraqi constitution. The outcome of this case is likely to have significant implications concerning the legality of the contracts that were awarded to international oil companies (IOCs) by the Ministry of Oil in 2008-09…”
    http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2010/08/07/legal-challenge-to-iraqi-oil-contracts/
    Wonder where this is going — if anywhere? What leverage is being used and by whom.

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, I’d sure like to get into that kitchen with a few lbs. of strong laxative. By Golly, if any of these guys had the runs, a few trips to the head would render them invisible. I think after they shitted themselves out, all that would be left is a bevy of flappin’ lips flopping around on the floor. And a good pair of workboots, a broom, and a dustpan would make short work of them.
    Stomp.

    Reply

  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Nadine is so full of shit that it has actually become surreal reading the excrement she secretes with every stroke of the key. She must be nuts to be peddling this crap. God help the Jews if the crazy wretched bigot is indicative of Israeli Jewish society.

    Reply

  4. JohnH says:

    Wow. debka. No partisan point of view there…

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “debka is reporting…blablahblah…sputter….spew…burp….lie….”
    Who gives a shit what debka reports???
    Debka. Give me a break. Is your whole world view founded in propaganda?
    You’re gonna drown in your own bullshit Nadine.

    Reply

  6. nadine says:

    debka is reporting that Tehran wants Hizbullah to attack Israel directly after the start of direct peace talks on Sept 2nd. To send their signal. They don’t want to leave the shooting to Hamas.
    Peace talks are not benign. They kill a lot of people.

    Reply

  7. nadine says:

    Dan, jd, But if Netanyahu is sure to refuse the offer as you say, wouldn’t it be a brilliant move for Abbas to put it forward? He would demonstrate to the whole international community that he was the brave peacemaker, and that the lack of progress was Israel’s fault. Pressure on Israel would skyrocket! It would be great for him! No?
    So why has he never done it? Why did Arafat never do it?

    Reply

  8. Don Bacon says:

    Israel’s posture in this matter is similar to Iran’s in theirs — why negotiate away something that is in no danger if you don’t? Or as another example, the USA negotiating with Vietnam to end its disastrous involvement there.
    Now negotiating a surrender (Vietnam again) is different.

    Reply

  9. Dan Kervick says:

    “Because Netanyahu could make that offer himself, but he doesn’t.”
    And Netanyahu is presumably bound politically by the Likud Charter, which flatly rejects a Palestinian state in Palestine.

    Reply

  10. Don Bacon says:

    Candidate Obama’s pledge on I/P has been proven false: “I will take an active role, and make a personal commitment to do all I can to advance the cause of [I/P] peace from the start of my administration.”
    Of course there was a caveat which has been honored: “We must never force Israel to the negotiating table, but neither should we ever block negotiations when Israel’s leaders decide that they may serve Israeli interests.”
    Obama’s blatant partisanship towards Israel makes him a less than an honest broker: “The bond between Israel and the United States is rooted in more than our shared national interests

    Reply

  11. JohnH says:

    Nadine, why should Abbas lay out a proposal when Bibi refuses to? Besides, the Arabs have already laid out broad parameters in the peace initiative, something that Bibi won’t even deign to acknowledge.
    What we are seeing here is the age old Likud policy of “appearing reasonable, conceding nothing.” To give these negotiations any credibility at all, Bibi must concede something. After all, the PA has already recognized the state of Israel. Time for Israel to concede something in return.

    Reply

  12. jdledell says:

    “In short something that would sound fair to most of the world. What would happen next, do you think?”
    Nadine – If Abbas were to make the fair offer you outlined, Netanyahu would reject it. How do I know? Because Netanyahu could make that offer himself, but he doesn’t. Bibi could almost permanently dig Israel out it’s negative world image if he publicly declared such an offer.
    Israel has people like Benny Begin and Boogie Ya’alon running around telling everyone that the Gang of 7 has only authorized Bibi to give up Area B – nothing more. We’ll see but I think that it is Israel’s primary responsibility as the occupying force to step forward with the kind of offer that will put an end to this conflict. Dragging out negotiations to to retain a few extra dunams of land is “penny wise and pound foolish”.

    Reply

  13. Paul Norheim says:

    Hey Nadine, stop telling us that Hamas put Aung San Suu Kyi in
    jail – it was the Burmese generals who did that!

    Reply

  14. Paul Norheim says:

    Nadine, as long as you keep demanding that the Vatican should
    represent the Palestinian side, you know that these direct talks
    will go nowhere!

    Reply

  15. nadine says:

    Dan, nobody expects the talks to go anywhere because they recognize that Abbas is far too weak to agree to anything even if he wanted to. They generally blame Netanyahu for this.
    Let’s try a little thought experiment. Suppose Abbas decided to show that the lack of progress is not due to Palestinian intransigence. Suppose he boldy laid out his conditions for a two state solution: the borders and land swaps of Taba, 80% of Jewish settlements destroyed as in Taba, symbolic “right of return” with limited numbers of returnees, 50,000 a year, full independence, no demiliterization, capital in East Jerusalem, but in return he would recognize Israel as a Jewish state (with full protection for minorities), and declare an end of conflict.
    In short something that would sound fair to most of the world. What would happen next, do you think?

    Reply

  16. John Waring says:

    Carroll,
    Thank you for posting Chas Freeman’s speech.

    Reply

  17. Paul Norheim says:

    The fact that Nadine keeps insisting that the Palestinians must
    speak in Hebrew or Yiddish during the direct talks, is clear and
    shocking evidence that she agrees with Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in his
    calling for the annihilation of Arabs.

    Reply

  18. JohnH says:

    More Palestinian civilian casualties…more Israeli land grab casualties. Internally, Shas competes with Yisrael Beiteinu in praising settler maximalism…the Right ritually condemns terrorism…au contraire, the settlers know exactly what they are doing. They are preventing a settlement so that the settlers can get ALL the land.
    http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=186012

    Reply

  19. Paul Norheim says:

    “Can I call Chas Freeman pro-Hamas, Paul? Will you admit that
    adjective is well deserved?” (Nadine)
    Go ahead, Nadine. With your nasty praxis of routinely inventing
    statements, and randomly attributing them to people who
    never uttered them, never wanted to utter them, never even
    thought in those terms before you formulated them, you’ll
    attribute any adjective to anyone you disagree with anyhow.
    Personally, I consider starting a verbal vendetta against you,
    insisting that you are using the Somalian hawala system to
    finance the Basque separatist group ETA and US survivalist
    militias fighting Big Government. The more I think about it, the
    more I realize that yes, that’s actually what you’ve been doing
    for a long time now.
    But why, Nadine? Why are you so fond of ETA and militant
    survivalist groups?

    Reply

  20. nadine says:

    Another Israeli civilian car was shot up today…more peace process casualties. Internally, Fatah competes with Hamas in praising terrorism…the Left ritually proclaims the terrorism “senseless”…au contraire, the terrorists know exactly what they are doing. They are preventing a settlement.

    Reply

  21. Carroll says:

    Public service announcement.
    To those interested.
    I looked long ago for a translation of Solzhenitsyn’s book that was banned here in the US and then gave up finding one, but viola!…today I saw on another site a poster’s link to a site that is providing a translation.
    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 200 Years Together.
    http://www.ethnopoliticsonline.com/archives/ais/ais%20main.html
    Not all chapters are finished yet but I read part of Chapter 18 below about the Jews in Russia….the reason his book provoked such an uproar among the zionist.
    Very interesting.
    http://www.ethnopoliticsonline.com/archives/ais/ais%20chapter18.html
    What Solzhenitsyn explains in this chapter is how the communist movement in Russia made possible the unshackling of lower class rural jews who then migrated to the cities to take advantage of the new communist ideology and created a “Jewish nepotism” that took over, among other things, the publishing industry in Russia.
    Some might think we have the same problem here….seeing as how his book couldn’t be published in English in the US
    But once again….the net to the rescue.
    Yet another of my “neo nazi forgeries” postings for nadine. LOL
    One thing Solzhenitsyn writes…
    “David Azbel remembers the Nakhamkins, a family of Hasidic Jews from Gomel. (Azbel himself was imprisoned because of snitching by the younger family member, Lev.)
    “The revolution threw the Nakhamkins onto the crest of a wave.
    They thirsted for the revenge on everyone – aristocrats, the wealthy,Russians, few were left out. This was their path to self-realization”…
    ..really reminds me off the atitude of revenge and hatred for the non jewish others we see here from wig and nadine and marcus types….their path to ‘self realization” doesn’t seem to have changed over the century.

    Reply

  22. nadine says:

    “I think Arabs responded in pretty much the way you or I would respond if foreigners began immigrating to our homeland, contrary to the wishes of our people, and if foreign powers assisted them in setting up an independent state on our territory. The responses would include outrage, defiance and resistance.”
    Yeah, like the suicide bombers are motivated by desperation, because that’s the only reason you can think of. Because everybody in the world thinks just like Dan Kervick.
    Who is “our”? If there is one thing manifest from the contemporary accounts of 1948, it is that the Zionists wanted to make a country out of Palestine, but this political idea was entirely missing from the heads of the local Arab masses, who had just moved there for jobs. That’s why their only concern was to get out of the way. A few Arab autocrats had the idea, but not the people.

    Reply

  23. Dan Kervick says:

    “So why are they desperate to avoid the negotiations that would end the occupation?”
    I haven’t read a single commentator so far who expects these negotiations to succeed in ending the occupation, getting Israeli settlers out of the West Bank, or establishing a genuine Palestinian state. Why should the Palestinians walk into this setup. The only offer they are going to get from Israel and the Americans is an offer of a non-state autonomous region or homeland on the territory that the settlers haven’t taken yet.

    Reply

  24. Dan Kervick says:

    Nadine, I have no idea what you are talking about with regard to “authenticity”, “legitimate cultural expressions”, “automatic responses” and whatnot. Please sell your latest fixed ideas elsewhere.
    On the other hand, I believe I did say something about “natural responses”. Far from suggesting that Arabs should be treated or regarded differently, or that they are not responsible for their response to the challenge of the Zionist colonization of Palestine, I suggested that the Arab response was both natural and predictable. I think Arabs responded in pretty much the way you or I would respond if foreigners began immigrating to our homeland, contrary to the wishes of our people, and if foreign powers assisted them in setting up an independent state on our territory. The responses would include outrage, defiance and resistance.

    Reply

  25. nadine says:

    “I am not myself an

    Reply

  26. nadine says:

    Dan Kervick,
    1. Europe did not chose the location for the Zionist project — the Zionists did, because the land of Israel is the Jewish homeland. The Zionists merely lobbied for support from every source they could think of, first the Ottomans, later the British. At a time when the old political structures of the Levant had dissolved, it was natural to apply to the new powers in control.
    2. Europe did not use the Zionist project to ‘solve their Jewish problem’ — Europe exterminated 90% of its Jews. They didn’t have much ‘problem’ left.
    Every time you & Paul refer to the Arabs’ political choices for the last 90 years as a kind of automatic response for which they have no responsibility, you are promulgating the ‘authentic cultural response’ nonsense of today’s academia, in which Westerners make choices, but non-Westerners react automatically in ways they are not responsible for.
    Functionally, this is deadly for Arab moderates, whom you refuse to recognize, let alone support. Functionally, it is pro-extremist, pro-Hamas, pro-Hizbullah.
    Had the Left condemned Hamas for shelling Israel after its coup of 2007, Israel might have been able to destroy the Hamas command and return Gaza to the control of Fatah, which would greatly improve the real chances for peace.
    But nooooo, the Left thinks Hamas’s legitimacy is not dependent on its behavior; far from it, they continually agitate for their official recognition. Hamas took over in a coup, and executed hundreds of Fatah operatives; yet the Left keeps calling them legitimate. What’s legitimate about that? It’s not democracy, that’s for sure.
    The reason people keep saying the Left believes that Hamas is a ‘legitimate cultural expression’ is because of the support the Left gives to Hamas as an authentic cultural expression, and the free pass the Left gives Hamas on their rockets to Israel and internal mass executions and oppression.

    Reply

  27. Paul Norheim says:

    Sorry, forgot to mention that the quote in my last comment was
    from Chas Freeman’s remarks in Oslo today, provided by Carroll.

    Reply

  28. Paul Norheim says:

    “Despite this appalling record of failure, the American monopoly
    on the management of the search for peace in Palestine remains
    unchallenged. (…) China, India, and other Asian powers have
    prudently kept their political and military distance. In the region
    itself, Iran has postured and exploited the Palestinian cause
    without doing anything to advance it. Until recently, Turkey
    remained aloof.”
    As I suggested above, if there is a new government in place in
    Israel a couple of years from now, and Turkey manages to
    improve it’s relations with Israel, Turkey should be encouraged to
    make a serious effort as a mediator – perhaps in cooperation
    with India, Brazil, or another country with a fresh approach – a
    country that doesn’t have it’s hands tied the way the US has.

    Reply

  29. Carroll says:

    O.K….every time Andrew showcases another spin-mister Israeli spokeperson I am going to replace it with a American spokesperson like Freeman.
    America

    Reply

  30. Don Bacon says:

    A paper published in 2001, ‘The Origin of Palestinians and their Genetic Relatedness with other Mediterranean Populations’, involved studying genetic variations in immune system genes among people in the Middle East.
    In common with earlier studies, the team found no data to support the idea that Jewish people were genetically distinct from other people in the region. In doing so, the team’s research challenges claims that Jews are a special, chosen people and that Judaism can only be inherited.
    Jews and Palestinians in the Middle East share a very similar gene pool and must be considered closely related and not genetically separate, the authors state. Rivalry between the two races is therefore based ‘in cultural and religious, but not in genetic differences’, they concluded.

    Reply

  31. Paul Norheim says:

    Ok, Nadine, I guess this is the time to admit my little
    secret. I actually adore the Arabs, every single one of
    them!
    Yes, Dan is correct, both the Israelis and the Palestinians
    are “punks”, but the Israelis are rootless backpackers and
    wannabe’s compared to the authentic Desert Punks -
    especially the hardliners on the Gaza strip.
    I have done some genetical research in the last couple of
    decades, and my conclusion from the DNA analysis so far,
    is that the Palestinians are descendants of the Ur-Punks,
    just like the Vikings and the Hashashins in Persia and Syria
    - in the good old days before this effete, caffe-latte
    phenomenon called Western Civilization came, along with
    the rootless, arty-farty Jewish cosmopolitism, and
    destroyed Real Life.
    And now these Israelis are tired of modern, urban caf

    Reply

  32. samuelburke says:

    phil giraldi and ray mcgovern speak.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-SszJkjy60

    Reply

  33. samuelburke says:

    why dialogue with ziozombies?
    we know that all they do is propagate lies interspersed with
    minor truths…they are a nation within a nation, they are here to
    defend israel.
    america wastes too much energy hating illegal aliens and
    muslims.
    just spread the word as best you can, converting a ziozombie is
    like trying to pull a tick off a dog.

    Reply

  34. Dan Kervick says:

    “Nadine, please stop this bullshit. Where did I, or Dan for that sake, “endorse” ANY cultural or political tendency as “authentic” – as opposed to “in-authentic” tendencies?”
    Precisely, Paul. But I have encountered this kind of weirdness before from Nadine and others I know. I ascribe it to the fact that there is a steady publishing diet in this country of right-wing amateur social science, always with some new diagnosis-of-the-month of the wayward mental derangements of “liberals” or whatnot. I’m guessing Nadine has been reading Andrew Potter’s *The Authenticity Hoax,* or at least its reviews.
    Personally, I have been on something of a campaign lately – which I’m sure many people have noticed – against the predominance of libertarian thought on the left and right, and against libertarianism’s anti-social ethos of self-gratification, self-actualization and permanent rebellion against energetic and effective government. I am also a frequent critic of romantic and identity-based approaches to political problems, and have no truck with “natural rights” and argue for political outcomes on the basis of overall consequences, such as I see them. This business of identifying and finding one’s “true self”, or “authentic” ways of life to achieve some kind of deep freedom doesn’t seem to be any part of my political outlook, or even my approach to everyday life.

    Reply

  35. Paul Norheim says:

    “Endorsing every reactionary cultural and political tendency
    as “authentic” is a spot-on description of Dan Kervick’s
    attitude (Paul Norheim’s too). It’s why I call both of them
    functionally pro-Hamas. Because that’s what they are.”
    Spot on, huh?
    Nadine, please stop this bullshit. Where did I, or Dan for
    that sake, “endorse” ANY cultural or political tendency as
    “authentic” – as opposed to “in-authentic” tendencies? I
    rarely use words like Authentic or Real, as opposed to
    “unreal” or “in-authentic”, because I am, generally
    speaking, skeptical towards these kinds of dichotomies.
    So no, you’ll never find statements documenting that. It is
    empty speculation, pure fiction, contradicted by what I
    actually write here every day. Can’t say for sure, but it
    looks like the logical process in your paranoid braincells
    goes approximately like this when you read something I
    write:
    1) Paul says he doesn’t like Rush Limbaugh. But hey, that
    means that Paul must be a leftie!
    2) Paul is a leftie from the fjords. Aha! That implies that
    Paul is multi-culti!
    3) Paul is multi-culti, thus Paul loves and excuses The
    Other all the time, because that’s what multi-culti lefties
    from the fjords do, don’t they? Barry says so, too.
    4) Paul criticize Israel more often than he criticizes Hamas.
    Who is Hamas? Hamas is – The Other! Aha!
    5) The Other wants to exterminate the Jews, and Paul loves
    the Other. This means -ooops! — that Paul actually loves
    Hamas and is in bed with the terrorists and the Salafists
    and Achmedinejad and the Jew haters. AHA! This confirms
    my weird gut feeling of being existentially threatened
    every time I read Paul’s comments. Got you, goy!
    Something like that…And who on earth learned you this
    nonsense method of reasoning – was it Barry Rubin, or
    Glenn Beck? In any case, it’s crap, it’s a pure product of
    your own imagination, and it goes against my actual
    statements and positions. So please stop this useless and
    distracting distortion of my positions – I’ve had enough of
    it.
    And the next time I write a post, Nadine, stating, say that
    the Arabs were worse then the Westerners in the slave
    traffic business, and that the so called “Other”s have their
    own agendas and are capable of being just as murderous
    and evil as Westerners —– statements I’ve already made
    several times —– well, the next time I say things like
    this – and you don’t trust what you read but reason a la
    Glenn or Barry that Paul is a leftie, ergo a multi-culti, ergo
    he loves the other….etc, and end up concluding that my
    comment was intended as a not-admitted support for, say
    the Salafist faction in Gaza and the SA faction in the
    internal fight within the Nazi Party in 1934 – well then
    shut the hell up and don’t embarrass yourself and distract
    us by publishing them here.

    Reply

  36. Dan Kervick says:

    “Well, excuse us for living! Doubtless it was a crackpot idea for my ancestors to ever move to Europe in the first place. That’s what your logic says.”
    Again, no it doesn’t. The Zionist movement to create an entire Jewish state in Palestine, and the decision of some European powers to back and promote this project, wasn’t just some case of ordinary emigration.
    The response of the people native to the Europe-chosen location for the Jewish national home was both predictable and natural. The immigration was authorized and stupidly promoted by colonial authorities and the League of Nations who should not have been authorized to do anything other than transition the population *who already lived in Palestine* to self-rule. Instead, Balfour’s Folly was written into the mandate. But nowhere in the world are people going to sit still for a mass immigration movement engineered by a foreign power supervising their homeland as a consequence of war, with the express intention of establishing an entire state for the newcomers on their territory – especially such a small territory.
    If Europe had a “Jewish problem”, they should have solved their Jewish problem, and not foisted it upon others. Instead the Europeans – both non-Jewish and Jewish Europeans – promoted among themselves the message that the best way to deal with cultural strife between a majority and a minority is to export the minority somewhere else, and make it someone else’s problem. It’s not surprising that the next generation of Europeans were increasingly captivated by this nifty new idea of exporting Jews.

    Reply

  37. samuelburke says:

    Code Pink aims to stage barbed-wire Gaza outside White House
    tomorrow
    by PHILIP WEISS on AUGUST 31, 2010

    Reply

  38. samuelburke says:

    nobody trusts the israelis as a partner for peace nor the
    americans as the arbiter.
    this is from phil weiss. mondoweiss.net
    “Meshal: Most Palestinians, from elites to regular people, reject
    the talks
    by PHILIP WEISS on AUGUST 31, 2010

    Reply

  39. Paul Norheim says:

    “So what’s in it for Turkey or India?”
    For emerging powers like India, it would be in it’s interest to be
    seen as a responsible stakeholder in global affairs. For Turkey
    this is even more obvious. They openly declare that they want
    to take advantage of their position as a “bridge” – i.e. mediator
    - between east and west. People like Huntington regard nations
    like Russia and Istanbul as “schizophrenic” in this regard (if I
    remember correctly). But Istanbul has stated that this
    “schizophrenia” could be turned to an advantage.
    They have recently proven that they are eager to be mediators
    both in the Syrian-Israeli conflict, and with regard to Iran’s
    nuclear program (the joint effort with Brazil). It is in Turkey’s
    economic interest to help building the commercial
    infrastructure and improving the relations to it’s neighbors -
    similar to the efforts within EU in it’s early stages. To help
    solving the I/P conflict – and even the related
    Syria/Lebanon/Israel/Iran complex of problems – would not
    only increase Turkey’s prestige in the region and beyond, but
    also help stabilizing the region – which will encourage more
    trade.
    So yes, it is in the national interest of Turkey as they
    themselves define them to mediate in this conflict. I think
    Turkey would be more than willing if the tensions in connection
    with Operation Cast Lead and the flotilla event calm down and
    the Israelis allow them – which would of course not happen as
    long as Netanyahu and Lieberman are in charge, but perhaps
    with a different government coalition in Israel.
    I realize that you want to label Turkey under Erdogan as a
    belligerent, fanatical, not to say lunatic Islamist partisan; and I
    don’t want to get bogged down in that discussion again. But I
    think their ambitions go beyond taking a partisan position in
    the Middle East context, and that their rational strategy – to
    take advantage of their “schizophrenic” status or position as a
    “bridge” – could be an asset also for the international
    community, not to mention Turkey’s immediate neighbors.
    If there are any possible losers in this scenario- it could be the
    Arabian autocracies and Iran – who would both lose the
    Palestinian issue as a “cause” and an excuse for domestic
    consumption. And Iran could lose some of it’s influence in Syria
    and Lebanon, which would be a good thing.

    Reply

  40. nadine says:

    Mediators aren’t altruists, Paul. The US keeps doing it because the diplomatic situation pressures them to keep doing it. The US knows (or at least did under more skillful administrations) that the issue is a loser, a black hole of perpetual thankless diplomacy.
    So what’s in it for Turkey or India? Turkey, under the Erdogan government, would leap at the chance to go to bat for its fellow Islamists in Hamas — which is why Israel wouldn’t accept it, and Fatah would find it even less acceptable than Israel. A more moderate, more democratic Turkish government wouldn’t have such an interest in trying to lead Arab affairs, unless they saw some advantage for themselves, which would be what, exactly? And that goes double for India. India has plenty of intractable problems at home with Pakistan, they don’t need to fish for more abroad. So what’s the risk/reward calculation for them?
    This is the kind of thankless task superpowers get stuck with, usually by lesser powers who want to keep them distracted and occupied. Smart countries don’t take on such problems voluntarily.

    Reply

  41. Paul Norheim says:

    I agree with the pessimists with regard to the direct talks -
    and yes, the US is part of the problem.
    To follow up the discussion between Dan Kervick and
    WigWag on who could possible replace America as a
    mediator in the conflict after decades of failure and a sad
    spectacle of political theater – my suggestion would an
    initiative from Istanbul in cooperation with New Delhi.
    There are many reasons why Turkey would be the most
    appropriate mediator, if they manage to repair or improve
    their relations to Israel. Turkey has a historic alliance with
    Israel, and would also be seen as a credible mediator by
    the Palestinians. Istanbul has been involved in attempts to
    solve the conflict between Syria and Israel as well (just
    before Operation Cast Lead) – an issue that should not be
    ignored, because it is a crucial part of the whole complex,
    involving Lebanon, Hizbullah, and Iran; thus also Hamas.
    No, it won’t happen now. But If the upcoming direct talks
    fail (and they will); and if Istanbul plays it’s cards wisely,
    managing to improve the relationship with Jerusalem after
    the flotilla event; and – finally – if we within a foreseeable
    future see a more center-right (or center-left) government
    in Israel – this could be an option worth considering.
    China has been mentioned above. I have my doubts. I
    believe China will be reluctant to announce itself as a
    conflict solver on the world stage – and prefer to increase
    its power in a non-conspicious way in the foreseeable
    future.
    India is probably more interesting. India is not perceived
    as a potential threat to the West, and would have much to
    gain by being seen as a trustworthy mediator.
    Since we’re thinking out of the box here, give it a thought:
    A joint effort by the Israel-friendly India and the
    Palestinian-friendly Turkey (with strong ties to Israel and
    with stakes in the region) as mediators?
    It would -finally – certainly be in America’s and Europe’s
    interest to substantially back up a more credible mediating
    initiative that could help decreasing the tensions in the
    region.

    Reply

  42. nadine says:

    Insightful description of Palestinian refugee camps as “Potemkin villages in reverse” by Prof. Abraham H. Miller:
    “Depending upon whose estimate you read, there are some twenty or thirty thousand

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  43. nadine says:

    Barry Rubin talks about his many fans in the Arab and Persian worlds, who know that the Islamists are their enemies too:
    “During my last speaking trip, which usually focused on the battle between Islamists and nationalists, there were Arabs or Iranians present at each event who enthusiastically endorsed what I said. In one case, a Palestinian wearing a very large kafiyah sat in the front row nodding at my main points. Afterward, he explained that he was a Palestinian Authority supporter who hated Hamas and thought that group was ruining his people’s chance for ever getting their own independent state.
    And don’t even get me started on Iran, where a large majority opposes the current regime, and Turkey, where an even larger majority opposes the current regime. These people, almost all of them Muslims, are anti-Islamist and prefer a democratic state. They may not be “moderate Muslims,” that is religious reformers, but they are Muslims who are moderates. They don’t respect Westerners smug in their “virtues” of being so Islamophilic, tolerant, and “pro-Arab” as to saddle the poor victimized Middle Easterners with horrible, repressive regimes and permanent violence.
    Most of the people who hate and oppose revolutionary Islamism can be most accurately called conservative traditionalists. They prefer Islam as it was practiced before the age of Iran’s revolution and Usama bin Ladin. They don’t like Israel and have plenty of complaints about the West (though there are also things they like about both) but they don’t want to go to war or spend the next century seeking revenge either.
    A minority of them are real democrats, courageous people who know what their countries need to do in order to get out of their current morass. The majority is just fed up with terrorism, ideology, dictatorship, economic impoverishment, social stagnation, and using Zionism or imperialism as excuses for all of the above. The Western “sympathizers” who endorse every reactionary cultural and political tendency as “authentic” do them no favors.”
    http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2010/08/muslim-who-is-moderate-writes-help-us.html
    Endorsing every reactionary cultural and political tendency as “authentic” is a spot-on description of Dan Kervick’s attitude (Paul Norheim’s too). It’s why I call both of them functionally pro-Hamas. Because that’s what they are. It’s the net result of their attitude and the policies they favor.

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  44. nadine says:

    Wasn’t “Zulu” a great movie? Who can forget that song contest?
    Um, you do remember that the British won the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, don’t you? 150 British against 4,500 Zulu?

    Reply

  45. Sand says:

    “…It’s very like the old colonialist attitude. Worse in a way, because the old colonialist types at least thought the natives were capable of improvement if brought under proper management. Whereas the modern liberal answer is to let them stew in victimhood and conspiracy theories forever…”
    Ever watched the film “Zulu”?
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058777/
    At the end of the day if the new colonial ‘jewish’ outpost decides not to conform many in the US ‘will’ have to question the “sacrifice” of their own blood and treasure for your cause. It won’t be pretty.

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  46. nadine says:

    “Attempting to export the European “Jewish problem” to the Middle East a century ago was a crackpot idea whose fatal wrongheadedness has been amply demonstrated by a hundred years of war and disruption” (Dan Kervick)
    Well, excuse us for living! Doubtless it was a crackpot idea for my ancestors to ever move to Europe in the first place. That’s what your logic says.
    What’s really noticeable is your habit of speaking of Arab extremism and violence as if it were some unavoidable and automatic reaction which the Arabs could not possibly have controlled and therefore cannot be held responsible for.
    Naturally, this pattern of thinking does not hold for Jews or Europeans. They do what they have decided to do. But not Arabs. Or other Muslims.
    It’s a curious turn of the dialectic, this blanket absolution of the entire Oriental world from any responsibility for its own behavior (using ‘Oriental’ in the old sense which includes the Mideast). In practice, it’s remarkably racist — what could be more demeaning than telling entire regions of the planets that they are helpless children or victims not responsible for themselves? It’s very like the old colonialist attitude. Worse in a way, because the old colonialist types at least thought the natives were capable of improvement if brought under proper management. Whereas the modern liberal answer is to let them stew in victimhood and conspiracy theories forever.
    BTW, the Chinese have their own problems with the rise of Islamism, in the form of the Uigers. I would bet a large sum that the Chinese don’t regard that problem as “a few ragamuffins,” but a serious security issue.

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  47. Sand says:

    “…The only possibility for a change in that dynamic is the the Indians, Chinese and Russians, joined perhaps by others like the Brazilians and Turks, and possibly even the Brits, will see in the current situation a golden opportunity to elevate their global position and fill a leadership vacuum that has grown yawning from decades of US shirking…”
    But watch for the US/Israeli push-back — e.g. the BP/Libyan blame-game farce.
    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/01/nation/la-na-oil-spill-investigation-20100501

    Reply

  48. JohnH says:

    Wigwag assails the “idiocy” of Levy for his call for strategic restraint, falsely claiming that there is no history of it succeeding. Yet Afrikaners gave in to blacks, LBJ accorded blacks civil rights, earlier generations accorded women the right to vote, Britain reached out to America and conceded its claims under the Monroe Doctrine. And America helped rebuild Europe after WWII instead of pursuing the traditional “punish the loser” approach that had led to the war in the first place.
    History shows that wise powers often make concessions to the weaker party. In the interest of its long term security, Israel could do the same.
    But Wigwag advocates for Israel stick to its failed strategies of the past, which are fast leading it into a strategic dead-end with no accommodation for Palestinians. Either Israel will become a full apartheid state and full international pariah, or it will provoke the final cataclysm, probably with Hezbollah, leading to a substantial destruction of the Jewish state.
    Israel’s choice is clear–continue the wog bashing
    that generates immediate gratification, or make some significant concessions for peace, long term security, and economic integration with the region, leading to long term prosperity.
    Unfortunately, Israeli paranoia has been so well cultivated and its inferiority complex so deeply rooted that I doubt that they can find it within themselves to abandon wog bashing in favor of peace and prosperity.

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  49. Dan Kervick says:

    “The Chinese and the Indians are competitors; the likelihood that they will be cooperating on foreign policy or anything else will be getting dimmer and dimmer as time progresses.”
    True enough. But sometimes competitors cooperate for a time when they see a common interest in displacing the old guard. The Soviets and the Americans, after all, cooperated in the Second World War, defeating the Nazis and displacing the British Empire in one fell swoop, thus clearing the way for their own bipolar global rivalry in the second part of the century.
    The question is how long the world can afford to tolerate American weakness and stupidity in the Middle East. Chasing madly and extravagantly after a smattering of jihadist ragamuffins all over the region; working to turn the oil-providing Gulf into a fraught cold war battle line instead of a stable balance of power arrangement; betting the farm on aging dynasts and despots – these are not the actions of an intelligent superpower with the chief responsibility for global security and prosperity.
    “In my last comment I mentioned that because the Europeans (especially the British and French) did so much to screw up the Middle East that they could help enormously by accepting hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees.”
    Attempting to export the European “Jewish problem” to the Middle East a century ago was a crackpot idea whose fatal wrongheadedness has been amply demonstrated by a hundred years of war and disruption. Attempting to export the Palestinian problem from the Middle East to Europe would be even worse, and we can predict its likely results. But maybe finding more ways to screw up Europe is just Israel’s Final Revenge?

    Reply

  50. Dan Kervick says:

    “The Chinese and the Indians are competitors; the likelihood that they will be cooperating on foreign policy or anything else will be getting dimmer and dimmer as time progresses.”
    True enough. But sometimes competitors cooperate for a time when they see a common interest in displacing the old guard. The Soviets and the Americans, after all, cooperated in the Second World War, defeating the Nazis and displacing the British Empire in one fell swoop, thus clearing the way for their own bipolar global rivalry in the second part of the century.
    The question is how long the world can afford to tolerate American weakness and stupidity in the Middle East. Chasing madly and extravagantly after a smattering of jihadist ragamuffins all over the region; working to turn the oil-providing Gulf into a fraught cold war battle line instead of a stable balance of power arrangement; betting the farm on aging dynasts and despots – these are not the actions of an intelligent superpower with the chief responsibility for global security and prosperity.
    “In my last comment I mentioned that because the Europeans (especially the British and French) did so much to screw up the Middle East that they could help enormously by accepting hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees.”
    Attempting to export the European “Jewish problem” to the Middle East a century ago was a crackpot idea whose fatal wrongheadedness has been amply demonstrated by a hundred years of war and disruption. Attempting to export the Palestinian problem from the Middle East to Europe would be even worse, and we can predict its likely results. But maybe finding more ways to screw up Europe is just Israel’s Final Revenge.

    Reply

  51. WigWag says:

    “I think this is all probably true, WigWag. The only possibility for a change in that dynamic is the the Indians, Chinese and Russians, joined perhaps by others like the Brazilians and Turks, and possibly even the Brits, will see in the current situation a golden opportunity to elevate their global position and fill a leadership vacuum that has grown yawning from decades of US shirking.” (Dan Kervick)
    I’m afraid you are engaging in wishful thinking, Dan. The Chinese and the Indians are competitors; the liklihood that they will be cooperating on foreign policy or anything else will be getting dimmer and dimmer as time progresses. If things develop as many expect, China and India in the late 21st century and early 22nd century are likely to be akin to the United States and the Soviet Union in the 20th century.
    Moreover, security cooperation between the Israelis and Indians is growing dramatically stronger every day. The Indians hate Islamic terrorism as much or more as the Israelis do and the both countries are cooperating on security matters. Israel provides more military hardware to India than any nation in the world and the Indians have permitted the Israelis to test long range missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons off their coast in the Indian ocean. It’s not just Israel that hasn’t signed the NPT; India hasn’t either. One other thing to remember is that both India and China have stakes in the Kashmir issue with China occupying parts of Kashmir that India considers Indian territory.
    I am glad that you mentioned the Turks though. In my last comment I mentioned that because the Europeans (especially the British and French) did so much to screw up the Middle East that they could help enormously by accepting hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees. In fairness to the British and French, no one did more to screw things up in the Middle East than the Ottoman Turks. In light of their horrendous behavior, their enslavement of the Arabs and their dominion over much of the Middle East for centuries, maybe the Turks would like to accept several hundred thousand Palestinian refugees. My guess is that right after Europe, many of these refugees would just love a free pass to settle in Turkey.
    Instead or pretending to help the Palestinians, the Turks could make a real contribution to the creation of a Palestinian state by accepting hundreds of thousands of Palestinians refugees. Along with the British and French, the Turks screwed up the Middle East; let them fix it.

    Reply

  52. PissedOffAmerican says:

    What a crock of shit all this heavy breathing is. Four Jewish Israeli’s, including a pregnant woman, were just slaughtered in a drive by near one of the settlements. Of course, this is horrible. But it is no more horrible than the steady chain of Palestinians that are slaughtered by the Israeli Jews, with far less fanfare than the deaths of these Jews will garner.
    You can bet the American media will go into overdrive on these deaths, far more so than they do when Israel shoots Americans in the head with tear gas cannisters. And who knows, is Israel REALLY beyond killing a few troublesome Jewish settlers, blaming it on the Palestinians, and once again casting themselves as the reasonable ones? False flag attacks are a known Israeli tactic. So how the hell do you trust ANY terrorist event that sways things in Israel’s favor, as these deaths surely will, at least from a propaganda standpoint?
    These talks will go nowhere, if they even get off the ground. Either the Palestinians will be blamed for derailing the talks before they even begin, or, if the talks proceed to any “conclusion”, that “conclusion” will be false concessions from Israel, a publically aired orgasm of adoration from the embarrasment Hillary Clinton, and silence from Obama when Netanyahu fucks the Palestinians out of anything and everything he may promise them.

    Reply

  53. Dan Kervick says:

    The first paragraph in the previous comment was a post from WigWag. Damn, I can never remember that Steve does not have html enabled.

    Reply

  54. Dan Kervick says:

    Despite the fondest dreams of some, the United States will never force the Israelis to relinquish territory that they don’t want to relinquish. The feckless Europeans are powerless to force the Israelis (or anyone else) to do anything. The Indians, the Chinese and the Russians just don’t care that much about the Palestinians one way or the other. They never will.
    I think this is all probably true, WigWag. The only possibility for a change in that dynamic is the the Indians, Chinese and Russians, joined perhaps by others like the Brazilians and Turks, and possibly even the Brits, will see in the current situation a golden opportunity to elevate their global position and fill a leadership vacuum that has grown yawning from decades of US shirking.
    These other powers surely don’t care about Israelis and Palestinians for their own sake. But they presumably do care about who is going to play a major role in writing the rules of the 21st century Middle East security and petroleum-delivery system. If countries have pretensions of global leadership, they need to be willing to take risks to act in ways that are seen as advancing global interests along with their own interests. That’s how they build trust, and acceptance of a more expanded leadership role in future situations and crises.
    All this talk about what the Israelis and Palestinians “can’t” be forced to do shows a lack of imagination, and a lack of appreciation of the capabilities of concerted global action coordinated by powerful countries who are willing to move on to a no-nonsense stage.
    The Israelis are a fascist and eternally belligerent polity lead by popularly elected goons and dangerous religious flakes. The Israeli state is proof positive that democratic institutions are no bulwark against fascism if the population is itself gripped by fascist ideologies. Israel is also a nuclear rogue state that refuses to join the NPT system. The Palestinians are also a terrorist-ridden and deeply dysfunctional political community. They’re both punks, and the world needs to start treating them like the punks they are instead of like mature and reliable political communities.
    When I consider the nature of the US diplomatic role in the Middle East, and our domestic debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I am thoroughly embarrassed. We are a laughing-stock. And our politicians are lowly and brain-curdled weaklings who are incapable of looking out for the interests of their own constituents’ bank accounts, much less global interests.
    If the Democrats lose as badly in the upcoming election as is expected, Obama will be extremely and dangerously weakened. So that might be a time for others in the world to harness some initiative and step up to the plate to deliver.

    Reply

  55. JohnH says:

    Thinking outside the box, why don’t Israelis and Palestinians simply agree to a settlement called “what is good for the goose is good for the gander.”
    If Israel kicks a Palestinian family out of their home, then Palestinians are entitled to kick an Israeli family out of their home.
    If Palestinians fire a rocket against Israel, Israel is entitled to fire a missile with similar capabilities into Palestinian territory.
    If an IDF soldier shoot a Palestinian child in the knee while harvesting tomatoes, then Palestinians are entitled to shoot an Israeli Jewish child in the knee…
    It’s a very simple and effective perversion of the golden rule: do unto others what they did to you. Pretty soon, I think, both sides would learn to finally honor the real golden rule.

    Reply

  56. nadine says:

    The peace process has begun to claim its usual spike in casualties:
    “RAMALLAH, West Bank

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  57. nadine says:

    Um, Daniel Levy, have you noticed how desperate Mahmoud Abbas is to get out of these negotiations? Hillary Clinton tricked him into attending. He’s just waiting until the end of the 10 month settlement freeze to use it as an excuse and bolt.
    Barry Rubin has a few real-world predictions, which you would do far better to read than anything Daniel Levy ever wrote:
    “It is noteworthy that making a deal is always deemed never to pose any greater problems in the future. To set as the two choices: continuation of a long, bloody conflict or its solution bringing about total peace and happiness obviously signals which is the preferred option. In this case, both leaders would love to make a deal, right?
    Of course, this is not the real world. Netanyahu has to worry not so much about domestic reaction (a real but overstated factor) but about making such concessions that Israel would be in a worse, more dangerous situation, faced round two, escalated Arab demands, and a lack of Western support no matter how much he listened to Western advice. Netanyahu has to deal also with the details of borders, most notably pertaining to east Jerusalem, and retaining a limited number of settlements near the frontier.
    Abbas has an even worse problem. First, he himself doesn

    Reply

  58. WigWag says:

    Despite his earnest and presumably well-intentioned views, Daniel Levy is one of the least credible and least interesting commentators to be found anywhere on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Levy does an excellent job editing “The Middle East Channel” over at the Foreign Policy blog site, but when it comes to his own insights, he rarely has anything original or even provocative to say. Unfortunately his colleague Amjad Atallah is even worse; has he ever seen a platitude he couldn’t spout? I’m sure that Levy and Atallah are very fine people but their commentary provides no insight and they simply don’t add anything at all to an already very tired debate.
    Lebovich sites this remark by Levy from the Huffington Post,
    “At the same time, the very real asymmetries between representatives of an occupying power and representatives of an occupied people should be built in to the structure of peacemaking–substituting for unreasonable or unreachable demands on Palestinian capacity where this is needed to advance a two-state outcome. And all of this would be helped not hindered by taking a broader, comprehensive approach to peacemaking and advancing a plan that incorporates Israeli-Syrian, Israeli-Lebanese, and overall Israeli-Arab peace.”
    While rhetoric about “the occupation” causes rumblings in the loins of “faux” progressives and has even crept into the language of left of center Israelis, the “occupation” is a myth and the fact that a majority of the world recklessly uses that language does absolutely nothing to enhance the prospects of the Palestinians for a nation of their own.
    While the Palestinians can achieve a contiguous nation, their State is going to end up being significantly smaller than the territory won by the Israelis in 1967. That’s what happens when you lose a war. If the world doesn’t help the Palestinians acquiesce to this reality and instead encourages them to think they can get more territory for their nation than they will ever achieve (which is what talk about “the occupation” encourages) this only hurts Palestinian prospects.
    Despite the fondest dreams of some, the United States will never force the Israelis to relinquish territory that they don’t want to relinquish. The feckless Europeans are powerless to force the Israelis (or anyone else) to do anything. The Indians, the Chinese and the Russians just don’t care that much about the Palestinians one way or the other. They never will.
    Talking trash about “the occupation” may encourage the Palestinians to expand their expectations but it does absolutely nothing to get the Palestinians a nation of their own. What would really help the Palestinians is for the West to force them to realize that their new nation will be smaller (perhaps by as much as 15 percent) than the entire West Bank; that they will never form a country that includes both the West Bank and Gaza; that the best they can hope for is a sliver of Jerusalem; and that their nation will be demilitarized and their borders will be surrounded by Israelis.
    If this prospect isn’t good enough for the Palestinians (it seems to be good enough for the citizens of Monaco), then they will end up with nothing.
    Getting back to the idiocy of Daniel Levy, he insists that as the stronger power holding most of the cards, the Israelis need to be forced to relent so that the Palestinians and Israelis can come to the negotiating table as equals. Maybe the preternaturally naive Mr. Levy can tell us when a nation that has won territory as a result of a war had acquiesced to approach the losing side to that battle as an equal in discussions about how to divide territory.
    Did the Americans, Soviets, British and French treat the defeated Germans as equals during the discussions about how to divide up Europe after World War I or World War II?
    Did the Ottoman Turks treat the defeated Byzantines as equals in deciding what to do with Constantinople after they won it in battle?
    Did the British acquiesce to the territorial demands of Argentina after the war for the Falklands?
    Did the United States pay any attention to Russia whatsoever before it incorporated Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary into NATO after defeating the Soviets in the Cold War?
    It’s time for some reality; the Palestinians, if they are to get anything at all, are going to end up with dramatically less than they want. Encouraging them to have grander illusions is both cruel and unrealistic.
    If Mr. Levy wants to say something interesting, why doesn’t he think outside of the box? Here are a few ideas he could consider:
    1) Encourage the Europeans to accept up to 50 percent of the Palestinian refugees. Most would surely prefer to go to Europe instead of either Israel or the new Palestinian nation. The Europeans, especially the British and the French, caused many of the problems in the Middle East; let them (along with the Germans) pay the price for fixing them.
    2) Place the Old City under the joint control of the Israelis, the Jordanians and the Americans with the Jordanians serving as the interlocutors for the Palestinians.
    3) Start encouraging the Palestinians to think of their tiny, demilitarized nation like Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Nauru, San Marino, or the Seychelles. The citizens of these countries don

    Reply

  59. samuelburke says:

    I wish i could find a translation but it appears that Fidel believes
    it is imperative to persuade Pres Obama to avoid nuking iran…or
    maybe he believes that an attack on Iran may draw in other
    countries.
    there is a great picture of Castro sitting in front of a painting of
    Marti hung on the wall behind him.
    it just shouldnt be that the u.s would be willing to nuke a nation
    ( Iran) just because poor little Israel thinks it is the right thing to
    do, israel acts like like their rabbid settler community from which
    they spawned.
    ENTREVISTA CON FIDEL CASTRO (I PARTE)

    Reply

  60. Dan Kervick says:

    God, what a bunch of empty blather by Levy. Sometimes that guy just seems to write for the sake of writing, even when he has nothing important to say. His essay sounds like the trite and worthless contents of a fortune cookie.
    The gap between reality and diplomatic theater in this conflict has never been so wide as it is now. You could sail three aircraft carriers through that gap, side by side.
    Levy say, “The tantalizing thing that Obama will have to deliver here is an Israeli political yes.”
    No US government or US President is capable of delivering an Israeli “yes”. No US government or US President is truly interested in delivering an Israeli “yes”. They couldn’t do it even if they wanted to, and they don’t want to do it anyway.
    Andrew Lebovich says a solution, “will require serious leadership in Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Washington.” Why Washington? Why would anyone think the United States can “lead” anyone out of this conflict?
    Do people seriously think it’s still 1956? Or 1973? Or 1978? Are people so dazzled by ridiculous photo ops like the one heading this post that they still imagine a world in which Israeli and Palestinian leaders square off against under the watchful and powerful eye of that sober honest broker, the United States government? The United States is *one of the parties to the conflict*. Why are they posing *between* the Israelis and the Palestinians as though they were some third party? How much reality has to pour over this particular levee before people accept that it broke *decades ago*.
    Through a combination of Palestinian civil war and an Israeli quarantine and divide-and-conquer tactics, there are now two Palestines, not one. The US administration obviously has not the foggiest notion of a deliverable solution that takes this reality into account.
    Mahmoud Abbas is not the leader of the Palestinian people. He’s just not. Why is he standing there? He cannot deliver a solution. Binyamin Netanyahu is a fascist thug just biding his time beyond his ever-present Mussolini smirk with a weak and stupid President whom he has already rolled over twice. Obama still has the tire tracks on his ass.
    You can’t just dress three guys up in monkey suits and say, “Behold, the peace negotiations!” Get real. No politically feasible and implementable solution of any kind can be achieved through face to face negotiations at this time, nor any foreseeable time, and certainly not if these negotiations are guided by the United States.
    If there are people out there in the wider world who sincerely desire a resolution to this conflict, and sincerely think that achieving a solution is a vitally important matter, they had better act promptly to wrest the diplomatic initiative, such as it is, away from the United States government, and push us Americans to the sidelines. When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict we are just too weak, corrupt and stupid to be counted on. We are part of the problem. Our race-to-the bottom political system throws up pathetic and slavish morons who can’t even look after the interests of the American people. They trade away mountains of middle-class wealth for tiny piles of corporate campaign cash every day. So they certainly can’t be expected to deliver a grand diplomatic solution to an extraterritorial conflict. The current US government couldn’t deliver a rocking chair to the national mall with a moving van.
    I hate to mock my own government in this way, but enough is enough with all this play-acting. Several generations of US politicians have reduced the United States to the inept and ridiculous fraud it is today, and people around the world need to stop pretending and face up to that fact.

    Reply

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