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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fear and loathing of Obama

The Financial Times' Gideon Rachman tries to explain why Israel shouldn't fear Obama (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
The Israelis’ furious reaction to the pressure they are under from the Obama administration is reminiscent of the British rage early in the Northern Irish peace process, when it became clear that our American allies were intent on “talking to the terrorists” of the Irish Republican Army. But, as it turned out, the Americans were right to insist that there was a peace deal to be made with the IRA. They are right again on the Middle East peace process. There is still a deal to be had – and if Israel does not take it soon, the long-term survival of the Jewish state will be imperilled.
Rachman goes on to explain in the usual manner why we really must make a deal with the 'Palestinians,' ignoring the fact that there is no deal to be had because the 'Palestinians' have yet to show a willingness to do anything to bring one about.

The other thing Rachman does is to compare Israel to Northern Ireland. As Shmuel Rosner notes, this is the most problematic flaw with Rosner's piece.
Rachman, being a writer for British publication, think everything in the world is just like Britain (my grandmother used to think everything is like Poland).
Israel is nothing like Northern Ireland for reasons I discussed at length here.
Mitchell's main qualification for the position isn't his 'commission.' It's his role as a negotiator in 'resolving' the ethnic dispute in Northern Ireland earlier this decade. That plays into Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair's constant comparisons of the Middle East with Northern Ireland and former Italian foreign minister Massimo D'Alema's desire to see Hamas and Hezbullah metamorphose into from terror groups into political groups like the IRA and ETA. Apparently the Hopenchange administration hopes to turn Israel into Northern Ireland.

This prophetic article from 2004 shows how the British (and Tony Blair in particular) have been trying to bring Northern Ireland-type 'conflict resolution' to the Israeli-Arab 'Palestinian' conflict and why all Israelis had better pray that it not work here. Here's the bottom line with some comments about why it's so bad for Israel interspersed.
The arguments for indulging insurgent, revolutionary movements are wonderfully flexible. In the first phase, the "oppressors" must indulge the "moderates." [That would be Fatah. CiJ] As time goes on, that changes to the "pragmatic hardliners," [Hamas. CiJ] who are the only faction that can deliver. There are vague echoes here of the mission of Alistair Crooke, the former MI6 officer who served in Northern Ireland and who has been seeking to bring Hamas into the fold as the only people who can "deliver" on a settlement. Judging by past form, future British and EU diplomatic efforts may focus increasingly upon influencing the less "ideological" element within Likud [That would be Kadima. This was written a year before Kadima broke off from the Likud. CiJ]. Many British officials see Hamas and Likud as mutually reinforcing "hardliners."

A key theme in this mindset is that there can be no purely military defeat of insurgents [Is this why Israel was pressured not to finish the job in Gaza? CiJ]. If this is true, then one has to make a massive number of political concessions. Some of the more robust elements within the British system believe that the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the police force which was at the cutting edge of the struggle against terrorism, was stopping between 7 and 8, and in some cases even 9 out of 10 IRA operations during the latter years of the Troubles. Indeed, year by year we learn just how riddled the IRA was with British informers [Just like Israel has put an almost total stop to 'Palestinian' terror originating in Judea and Samaria since 2003. CiJ]. But notwithstanding that achievement, the British government decided to give disproportionate political concessions to ensure that the IRA never had "an excuse" to go back to armed struggle. In other words, they believe that the IRA, like the Palestinians, has a great number of very good excuses to go back "to war." That process, of depriving the insurgents of "excuses," inevitably comes at the expense of Unionists and the Israelis.

But what is the definition of victory in Northern Ireland? The British do not define "victory" as the military defeat of the IRA. Firstly, they do not believe it was possible, but even if it was possible, they do not believe in such a defeat as a matter of principle. Victory, as far as they see it in Northern Ireland, is to persuade Sinn Fein/IRA to accept the use of democratic methods. In other words, they have a methodological definition of victory, but have no particular end point of a settlement in mind (which reinforces instability by convincing Republicans that "one last heave," whether politically or militarily, will do the trick).

Indeed, one unique aspect of policy in Northern Ireland is that the British state is well-nigh unique in advertising, quite openly, that it does not really mind if it is dismembered - subject, of course, to the consent principle. All it wants is that the IRA and the Republican movement - in the main - abandon full-scale violence, and then all other roads are open. To ensure that abandonment of violence, the British will maintain the pace of concessions, at least for as long as the Unionists are prepared to tolerate them. And because the British have been working on the Unionist community for so long, they reckon that they have a very good chance of maintaining that grip on events.
This all sounds familiar, doesn't it? If it doesn't, I think I have pointed out enough striking similarities for you. Do we really want Israel dismembered?
Rachman apparently wouldn't mind.


At 10:33 PM, Blogger Broomer said...

Just read very recently that IRA and Ireland is close to exploding.
If it didn't work for Ireland, it's not going to work for Israel.

At 12:39 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Northern Irish Catholics and Protestants are both Christians who both speak English. At least they have same faith in common. The Jews and the Arabs have different faiths, languages and values. Where is there going to be the compromise between them? Israel has done all the compromising. None has been forthcoming from the other side. I don't see a peace deal in the offing in the foreseeable future. Israel is not Northern Ireland and it doesn't exist in Europe.


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