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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Israelis to Obama: 'No we can't'

For those who have been reading my comment section that thought that NormanF made this up, he didn't (sorry Norman).
President Obama’s push for peace in the Middle East has provoked the ire of right-wing Israelis, who have launched a campaign against his initiative with the slogan “No you can’t”.

The words are a play on the “Yes we can” campaign that propelled Mr Obama into the White House.

As George Mitchell, the US President’s special envoy to the Middle East, arrived in Jerusalem yesterday he was confronted by a growing campaign against Mr Obama’s push for a halt to the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. One poster depicted Mr Obama in a Palestinian keffiyeh headscarf; others made sure his full name — Barack Hussein Obama — was highlighted. One activist condemned Mr Obama as America’s most anti-Semitic president.
But it's not just right-wing Israelis. In their meetings with Obama envoy George Mitchell on Tuesday, the government's representatives told him that Israel will not agree to a 'settlement freeze.' Mitchell is in Ramallah on Wednesday (something tells me he'll come back to Jerusalem to sleep) and then Beirut on Thursday and Damascus Friday and Saturday. Even the often delusional Shimon Peres stuck with the party line and told Mitchell there would be no freeze:
Peres, however, did use the term [natural growth] after meeting Mitchell, saying, "There is agreement in Israel regarding the evacuation of illegal outposts and not to build new settlements. However, the issue of natural growth in the settlement blocs must continue to be discussed intensively in order to reach agreement. In my experience, focusing on a single issue ill serves the wider diplomatic process, which is supposed to set the agenda for Israel and its neighbors."
Hope and change, Israeli style.

On the other hand, Haaretz believes that Mitchell broke the Israeli leadership on Tuesday.
It was not the American spirit that was present in the corridors of the Foreign Ministry during U.S. envoy George Mitchell's visit, but a massive iron wrecking ball manufactured by the new U.S. administration.

Whenever it headed in his direction, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman managed to dodge the ball - some might even say skillfully. Yet to do so, he had to leave his political beliefs behind. The wrecking ball did not spare them. It crushed them time and again.

But in one respect, the American wrecking ball was merciful toward Lieberman's views: It did not leave them lying there alone. It laid them to rest in a mass grave together with the rest of Israel's traditional policies and its leaders' aspirations.

Anyone could tell from one look at Mitchell's face that the old game was up. We are at the start of a new game, in which Israel can no longer bend the rules at will; it can no longer let its players pass the ball among themselves and run out the clock indefinitely.

Rather, this is a game where the man in black now acts as a true referee, instead of as if he were a player of one of the teams.
Let's see what Netanyahu says on Sunday.

More on this story here (where you can see Netanyahu called 'hawkish' yet again). And I thought the American media didn't editorialize except on the Opinion pages. Silly me.


At 6:31 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl, thanks.

I don't think Haaretz is correct. The US can express a viewpoint of course but it cannot get Israel to do anything it doesn't want to do.

And in that context, "no, you can't" used by Israeli demonstrators shows there is a growing and significant pushback in Israel to what is perceived as America's attempts to dictate Israel's policies. They are likely to have an effect on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's response this weekend to US President Obama's address in Cairo last week.

The international media's use of modifiers to describe Israeli politicians betrays their lack of understanding about where Israel's political parties stand on the so-called two state solution and their expectation that Israel will not even discuss it.

Now I don't think Israel should but if the country does - its still not something that should be given as a reward or entitlement to the Palestinians. They are quite simply not ready for statehood today and to maintain anything more is tantamount to taking a complete flight from reality.

That's why saying no we can't is entirely appropriate given the situation Israel has to deal with for the next generation and perhaps a lot longer.

At 7:19 PM, Blogger R-MEW Editors said...

"The man in black"???!!!


And then there's this gem:

"They [the Arabs] will have to get rid of the anti-Israel incitement in their schools, the Jewish stereotypes, the political passivity, the variants of anti-Semitism, the various shapes and forms of Holocaust denial."

Not a chance.

Yossi Sucary... has published three novels

No doubt.


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