Skip to comments.What's all the fuss about?
Posted on 03/15/2010 5:02:44 PM PDT by SJackson
At most, the newly announced housing plan shows Israel doesn't want to give up all of E. J'lem as part of a peace agreement. Not exactly news.
Theres been much nonsense written about the government announcement that 1,600 apartments would be built in east Jerusalem. The timing was stupid, of course, since US Vice President Joe Biden was in town and didnt like the idea. Moreover, to have such an announcement just when indirect talks with the Palestinian Authority were about to start doesnt make Israel look helpful.
But thats about it. The action, if not the timing, was neither a provocation, the establishment of a new settlement nor proof that Israel doesnt want peace.
Anyone who knows Israel well understands this is what is called locally a fashla, a stupid mess-up as often happens with the government. Israel combines the candor of a First World country with the bureaucratic competence of a Third World one. The relevant office acted with a rosh katan (narrow vision) and neither considered the impact nor consulted those dealing with foreign policy. It was just thrilled to keep its constituency happy by announcing more housing.
The area in question is not some new settlement but a neighborhood about five blocks from the pre-1967 border. The haredim who live there have the highest birth rate in the country and thus desperately need new apartments.
AT MOST, what this announcement shows is that Israel doesnt want or intend to give up all of east Jerusalem as part of a peace agreement. Thats not exactly news.
Would it be better for the countrys international position if the announcement had not been made? Yes. Because it allows the Obama administration (which needs excuses for its own failure to succeed at peacemaking) and the PA and Arab states (which need some rationale for their own policies) to blame Israel. But does it really change the course of a peace process going nowhere due to Palestinian intransigence on the real issues? Or does it make the PA and Arab states, which are supposedly salivating for a peace deal, change their minds and not make peace? In both cases, the answer is no.
So the timing of the announcement was stupid, but it was neither deliberate sabotage nor proof of disinterest in peace.
Lets consider the actual background of these recent events. Israel has announced since 1993, when the Oslo Agreement was signed, that it would continue building on existing settlements. The PLO accepted this framework and during the next 16 years the issue of construction on settlements never had any effect on the negotiations.
In January 2009, the PA stopped negotiations because Hamas attacked Israel from the Gaza Strip and Israel defended itself. Of course, Hamas is also the PAs enemy and the PA would be delighted if Israel destroyed that group. But for public relations purposes, the PA had to pretend inter-Palestinian solidarity.
A few weeks later, the new US president, Barack Obama, demanded that all construction on settlements stop. Israel eventually agreed but announced it would keep building in east Jerusalem. The US accepted that arrangement and even praised Israels policy as a major concession.
But the PA still refused to return to negotiations. Was it because the construction offended it so deeply? No, its because Fatahs radical leaders dont want to make a peace deal since they believe they can win total victory and destroy Israel. At the same time, the more moderate ones are too weak to make a deal because of Hamas and their own radicals.
IN SEPTEMBER 2009, Obama announced that within two months there would be full and final peace negotiations in Washington. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said yes; PA leader Mahmoud Abbas said no. Finally, after more than six additional months of effort, the PA deigned to talk, but only indirectly. Wait a minute! Supposedly, Israel doesnt want a deal and the Palestinians are desperate for one since, in Obamas words, their situation is intolerable. So why is reality the other way around? There must be something wrong with that explanation.
Just as Obama unintentionally set back negotiations by demanding a full freeze, he and Biden have now done the same thing for indirect talks. But isnt it Israels fault in the latter case for a stupid bureaucratic case of bad timing? Absolutely, yes. Yet US handling of the issue turned an annoying problem into an even worse problem for itself.
Why arent Western countries and media saying that the PAs refusal to negotiate for 15 months shows that it doesnt want peace? After all, according to the commonly held view of the conflict, it should be demanding immediate direct negotiations to reach a comprehensive peace and a Palestinian state.
Instead, however, Abbas seized the opportunity of the apartment-building announcement to declare he wouldnt talk. Is he indignant? Is he upset? Does he feel betrayed? No, hes delighted to have an excuse to do what he wants not negotiate with Israel.
And so Abbas gets to close down talks, keep his winnings and blame it on Israel. While Abbas and the PA dont agree with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on much, they do agree on one point: They (wrongly) think the West is abandoning Israel. So why shouldnt they reject peace and try to destroy weakened Israel (in Ahmadinejads case) or merely wait until the West gives the Palestinians a state on a silver platter with no concessions on their part (Abbass case)?
As Obama himself has indicated, there is no real hope for a comprehensive deal. The talks are mainly a PR gesture for everyone involved. Still, as long as much of the West keeps sending the wrong signals its all Israels fault, no real pressure will be put on the PA their policy will delay any progress toward peace despite their best intentions to promote it.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
And apologies for the many pings, but it's better than the days when they were about terror attacks. And a whole bunch of other articles.
Unless there is an Israel-PA agreement, it doesn’t matter. Any agreement involving the real estate in question can always relocate the people. But until then, why bust up the neighborhood?
the most worthless people on the planet are the so-called made-up arabs called palastinians.
Sovereignty is a legitimate issue for negotiation. IMO, apartheid isn't. When the question becomes uprooting Jews from their homes, a Judenrein state being the objective, the US should withold it's support. If that's what Israel and the Arabs agree to, fine, but the US shouldn't legitimize something so opposed to American values. I'd say the same thing about uprooting Muslims and expelling them from Israel, but no one is suggesting that.
Personally I think the Saudi's could give them a run for that title, particularly given their resources.
Easy. They want the appearance of progress with which to tout the efficacy of negotiating for peace, even if it leads to an eventual calamity for which they can always blame somebody else. They know they won't get a thing from the "Palestinians" so they lean on Israel because they need the sound-bite. If they don't get what they're whining for they can just blame Israel for being "unwilling to negotiate," thus exculpating themselves for failure to get the Palis to do anything.
Would it be better for the countrys international position if the announcement had not been made? Yes. Because it allows the Obama administration (which needs excuses for its own failure to succeed at peacemaking) and the PA and Arab states (which need some rationale for their own policies) to blame Israel.
Yeah, but smacking down the Israel-hating US President was well worth it.
exert from title link...
Obama can hardly count on gaining the support of allies, partly because he doesn’t pay much attention to them. The American president doesn’t have a single strong ally among European heads of state. “The president is said to be reluctant to take time to build relationships with foreign leaders,” writes the Washington Post.
This approach has its consequences. When Obama was campaigning for his vision of a nuclear-free world, French President Nicolas Sarkozy put him in his place before the United Nations Security Council. “We live in a real world,” the Frenchman said derisively, “not a virtual world.”
In the Middle East, the irresolute Obama is missing an opportunity to bring about peace that he — and probably a number of his successors — will not be offered in its current form anytime soon. Never before in Israeli history have Jews and Arabs been as united as they are today, in the face of the Iranian nuclear threat. Indeed, the Saudi Arabian foreign minister has spoken openly of the need for a military strike against Iran.
SPIEGEL has learned that Western intelligence services believe that the Saudis would even provide the Israelis with access to their airspace for such a strike. This stands in contrast to the Americans, who — with good reason — are unwilling to allow them to fly over Iraq.
You’re correct, tough I’d suggest it’s not a question of losing allies, rather losing our allies respect. When he’s gone, things will change.
Thank YOU for articulating that in precisely those words, SJackson! I agree with you completely, and you have stated the situation so perfectly.
It's just common sense. But it is not as "common" as it used to be!
It is an insult to Israeli sovereignty to suggest that it must get the Obama administration’s permission to build homes for Israeli Jews. The homes are not the reason peace has been elusive in the Middle East. There is no peace because Israel’s enemies refuse its right to exist at all.
“What is particularly telling is that Pres. Obama has bowed to a Saudi king, who has repeatedly held his hand out to Iran only to have his face slapped in response and who has regularly suffered the slings and arrows of insults from Russia, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, to name a few. For whom does he reserve his anger, toughness and vehemence? For Israel, the only reliable ally we have in the Middle East”.-———Pres.of American Values Chairman-—
Yes Indeed! You said it!
And Israel does not need Zero’s permission to Defend Herself either.
They are NOT the “51st State.”
Come to think of it, even if they WERE, Zero STILL would not have the right to dictate where they built housing for their citizens.
Just WHO does he think he is?
Despite the squabbles going on now...when it comes to Iran the US will always stand with Israel in any war...but it may not be stated openly. Alot of this is political positioning and war rattling...but make no mistake we will assit if Israel strikes Iran. We just might not admit so.
I don’t trust Zero, even in that regard, my FRiend.
Some things simply by pass O until after the fact..tsktsk
mmmmm mmmmm mmmmmm. :-)
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