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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Miller's exclamation point: First, do no harm

Aaron David Miller puts an exclamation point on his abandonment of the religion of peace process with a JTA interview in which he explains why the Obama administration should not be pushing a 'Palestinian state.'
"What I find difficult to reconcile is how you’re going to get to a conflict-ending agreement which addresses the four core issues that have driven the Israelis and the Palestinians and brought each issue to a finality of claims," Miller told JTA. "I just do not see how to do that given the gaps that exist and the inherent constraints on the leaders in the absence also of a real sense of urgency."

The four core issues are borders, security, Jerusalem and refugees.

Miller describes how the situation has worsened since the last major effort at a resolution, the Camp David-Taba talks of 2000-01: The status of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been wounded profoundly by the ouster of his moderate party, Fatah, from Gaza at the gunpoint of Hamas; Netanyahu is bound by a right-wing coalition (of his choosing) that is not ready to countenance a full-fledged settlement freeze, never mind compromise on Jerusalem; and Obama has had 15 months, distracted by the economy and health care, to match Clinton's six full years focused on the issue.

Then there's the region: "Hezbollah and Hamas," Miller says referring to the terrorist groups in Lebanon and Gaza, respectively. "You have two non-state actors, two non-state environments who are not proxies of Iran and or Syria but who clearly reflect their capacity to want to influence events -- and then you have Iran" and its potential nuclear threat.

The prospect that Miller says unnerves him most is that the Obama administration says it will step in with a conflict-ending agreement if the current proximity talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians go nowhere.

"I’m very uneasy because at the end of the day, I don’t see what the game is, I don’t see what the strategy is,” he said. “Even if it’s an initiative, what’s the objective, what’s the strategy?"
Miller's words are having an impact on his former detractors - like Prime Minister Netanyahu - and have put the 'Peace Now - the sky is falling' crowd into a panic.
"It's had an impact, certainly for Netanyahu and his entourage," Steve Rosen, who is close to Netanyahu's advisers, said of Miller’s article in Foreign Policy. "What makes Aaron important is he's not from central casting. He's the man who bit the dog. He has credibility as someone who has been a lifetime proponent of the process."

That's exactly what irks those who advocate deep American involvement.

"We don't have the luxury of time; the tensions on the ground are too high," said Jeremy Ben-Ami, who directs J Street, the liberal pro-Israel lobby. "That's the difference between being an analyst and actually trying to assess outcomes."
Miller still believes peace is possible eventually - I'm doubtful that it is. But at least Miller is falling the basic rule of the physician: First, do no harm. Unfortunately, one cannot say the same for Ben Ami and his ilk.


At 12:00 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

You have ask the Stupid Jews to walk away first from the "proximity talks". Good luck with making that happen.

What could go wrong indeed

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Benyaminov Shamil said...

@ NormanF.....G-d forbid if Israel has to pay the price...but if we do and with Hashem help winning that battle only Israel will dictate how and what happens.


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