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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

False friends?

If something like this were written in an Israeli newspaper, we'd be castigated for trying to play one side off against the other in the United States. But in Londonistan, this is considered acceptable.

In an article in London's Financial Times, Simon Schama, a professor at Bir Zeit on the Hudson, tars all Right wing supporters of Israel as 'false friends.' Here are a couple of 'highlights' (Hat Tip: Gary P).

Responding to statements made by Rick Perry:
Just setting aside the fact that no-one in Israel (and in the Jewish community world wide) would deny that Palestinians have suffered tragically over the past half century, Mr Perry’s assertion that president Obama treats rocket attacks by Hamas and Jewish settlement construction on the West Bank as “equivalent” threats to peace is manifestly absurd and unfounded.
Really? To which one does Obama object more frequently and more vociferously? Based on what happened with the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem on Tuesday, I would say construction in the 'settlements' bothers Obama a heck of a lot more. And by the way, when did he request that the 'Palestinian Authority' enforce a moratorium on rocket fire? Answer: He didn't and they won't.
But then Mr Perry – and others among the evangelicals aspiring to the White House like Michelle Bachmann – share the fundamentalist vision of the settlers themselves that they are fulfilling a Biblical covenant on the “Land of Israel” when they evict Palestinian villagers, demolish their houses, bulldoze their olive groves and embitter the possibility of any future co-existence of the two peoples in their own respective states.
When have 'Palestinian villagers' been evicted? There has not been a new Jewish town in Judea or Samaria in the last 18 years, and nearly all the construction that was done was done on state land (i.e. land that was occupied by the Jordanian government until 1967 and has been owned by the Government of Israel since). When have 'Palestinian' homes - other than those of terrorist murderers - been demolished? When have olive groves been bulldozed except when they were used as cover to shoot at passing Israeli motorists? Lies. Simply lies.
Insisting on “direct negotiations” between the parties, he fails to notice that that is exactly what happened at Oslo and at Sharm el-Sheikh. In both cases the Palestine Liberation Organisation formally recognised Israel’s right to exist and to live in peace and security within mutually-agreed borders.
Let's assume that's true (which it's not - it's a distortion): Why won't the 'Palestinians' come to the table now? And notice how he omits Camp David, Taba and Annapolis, all of which were direct negotiations, and at all of which the 'Palestinians' turned down offers that would have given them nearly everything they wanted.
When he upbraids president Obama for saying that the starting point of those frontiers ought to be the Green Line of 1967; that has been exactly the position of Israeli and US governments (including Republican administrations) for a long time; with adjustments made through territorial swaps. That was the basis on which Ehud Olmert - not exactly a pinko peacenik – and Tzipi Livni negotiated with Mahmoud Abbas in 2008.
Olmert is a pinko peacenik, but that's beside the point. No American government until now ever made the 1967 lines the starting point and gave the 'Palestinians' an effective veto on any changes to it.
If not made on the basis of the 1967 frontier, then it is incumbent on the likes of Mr Perry, Mr Romney and Ms Bachmann to say where secure boundaries might lie that would not involve the permanent Israeli occupation of the West Bank, inhabited as it is by a large Palestinian population?
Actually that ought to be a subject for direct negotiations between the parties and not for Perry, Romney or Bachman to say.
No Israeli government with any sense of a secure future – from Menahem Begin to Ariel Sharon to Olmert – has clung to the dangerous fantasy of annexation, involving as it must either the the subjugation of a permanently alienated population or their catastrophic and immoral displacement.
Isn't it funny then that many Israelis are seriously considering annexation as an option? Maybe that's because as between subjugating the 'Palestinians' or dying (God forbid), we have decided that we would rather stay alive?
According to polling done by the Harry Truman Institute of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in May 2010, a clear and growing majority of Israelis are willing to dismantle the majority of West Bank settlements as part of a comprehensive peace policy.
Three answers: Polls like this Truman poll are influencing Israelis to go in a different direction. Dismantling 'the majority of West Bank settlements' isn't the same as dismantling all of them and most Israelis won't accept dismantling all of them while the 'Palestinians' will accept no less than dismantling all of them. When you get to the details of a question like that (which towns yes, and which towns no), the answers tend to fall apart. And by the way, what is a 'comprehensive peace policy' and what do you do about the fact that the 'Palestinians' won't accept one?

Sorry Professor Schama, but those friends on the Right are truer friends than Obama will ever be. Deal with it.

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At 2:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that it has been made clear by this statement from the PLO’s ambassador to Lebanon, Abdullah Abdullah that they have no intention of peace with Israel. “When we have a state accepted as a member of the United Nations, this is not the end of the conflict. This is not a solution to the conflict. This is only a new framework that will change the rules of the game.” --- I think that says it all right there, why wont the 'International Community' take the PA at their word?


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