Thursday, June 18, 2009

Presidents And The Middle East

The last word on why President Obama can do what none since Eisenhower could--or would.


Y. Ben-David said...

This article is a good summary of all the fallacies that "progressives" are constantly propagating. Here's one:
And there is plenty of evidence--ever since Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser accepted UN Resolution 242 in July 1970--that at least Egypt and Jordan were prepared for a peace deal if the United States could have forced Israel back into its pre-1967 boundaries
Now, there was the pan-Arab resolutions taken at Khartoum in August 1967, right after the Six-Day War which became knows as the famous "Three Noes of Khartoum" peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel and no recognition of Israel.
This all sound pretty clear. However, Dr Avishai tells us that Nasser would have made peace with Israel if only the US had forced Israel out of the territories conquered in 1967. But what about Khartoum? Would Nasser have bucked that? No. But, don't worry, there are now "progressive" historians that say that the West "misunderstood" Khartoum, and that when the Arabs wrote "no", they actually meant "yes". This, of course, is an insult to our intelligence.
According to Dr Avishai, all leaders of the world since Ike were stupid...that peace in the Middle East is easy to achieve, all the US has to do is "force" Israel to withdraw by threatening it.
We can ask many questions about this. For instance, Dr Avishai claims there are numerous "tribes" in Israel that supposedly don't like each other and that if the US would only make it clear to the "progressive", Tel Aviv tribe that their lifestyle is in danger unless
they send the army in and throw out the settlers from Judea/Samaria, they would go along with this, out of some view of "self-interest". Of course, this is a gross over-generalization and a real lack of understanding about Israeli society, which is actually quite cohesive one. A good example was the more than 100% turnout of reserve soldiers for the last three wars fought. The soldiers come from all sectors of Israeli society.
Also, the idea that Obama could now step into Eisenhower's shoes is silly. Eisenhower had been in charge of the war against Germany. Even in the military he had extensive experience in the world of diplomacy having to keep the leaders. Obama has NO EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER and he doesn't have the personal credit that Eisenhower had in order to win the confidence of those involved. So there goes the main thesis of Dr Avishai. We must also remember that in 1957 the US dominated the world. It is not in that situation today. The US has NO leverage to force the Arab side to accept the terms of Dr Avishais "imposed" peace settlement. Dr Avishai and other "progressives" are always telling us that "everyone knows the terms of this settlement", but the Arabs have never agreed to them and Obama can't force them to.
Also the Palestinians are divided. Who is Obama going to talk to on the Palestinian side, HAMAS or FATAH?
And how can Dr Avishai and the "progressives" be sure that everyone is going to react to Obama's plan to "isolate" Israel the way they think they will? I have already said the "Tel Aviv" tribe might not, and American Jews might not either, in spite of the fact that 80% supported Obama in the election. Did they vote for him because they thought he would "isolate" Israel, or because he led them to think he was supportive of Israel and would NOT do such things? What about the solid bedrock of support for Israel among non-Jews in the US? Will they simply be quiet? The average American does not view Obama the same they did Eisenhower in 1957 and will not give him the same credit.
And how will radical Arabs/Muslim act? Will they say "we now have a pro-Arab President, let's let him make peace" or will they carry out attacks on Israel thinking that now that Israel is isolated, a little push might bring collapse?
This is one long example of wishful thinking disconnected from reality.

Anonymous said...

Only six percent of Israelis view the newly elected president as pro-Israel, while 50 percent believe he is pro-Palestinian and 36 percent see him as neutral, according to the poll published in the Jerusalem Post.

sabbasaul said...

The book, if accurate, is an interesting review of history. But no amount of U.S. pressure will force Israel to surrender to a plan which does not adequately address Israel's LONG TERM security, unless there is a clear willingness on the part of all Arab stakeholders to accept Israel as a permanent presence in the Middle East. There is currently no evidence of that. No amount of polite diplomatic windowdressing will provide that security unless the Palestinian state is strictly limited as to import of arms, any significant immigration and an integration of the two economies.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Avashai used same biblical technique throwing certain historical occurrences into his story and thus calling whole story factual. Further from truth! Basic facts are Jews were the latest from "occupiers" of the land. Before them there were Turks, Arabs, Jews again..... They were the first who develop legal nation state concept in that area in modern times. And thus have same or very similar rights to that area like people of Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, all rather recent nation states in that area. All wars since 1948 except the 1956 war, were fought as a responses to outside attack or treat from surrounding states. Therefore to talk about occupied territories is same as to talk Alaska, California or even Manhattan were occupied. Time difference is miniscule.
No question Israel should not be theocratic Jewish state but secular Hebrew republic where all ethnicities would feel at home.
No question that religious Jewish fundamentalist should be criminally prosecuted for their actions against Arabs or others religions. But also they should be also allowed to live in areas which they associate with their private beliefs if they don't trespass on the rights of other ethnicities or religions.
The land was won fair and square and should be part of nation-state Israel. Arabs lost the wars, they should not have right to fight for power control of every square cm of land and demand Jew free land should be given to them on silver platter.
Israeli government as good "weasel" state jumps at every whim of USA, like before the ancient Israelites jumped at every whim of Egypt, Babylon, Greeks, Romans. At the end each time they lost to short sighted self interest policies of super power with religious zealots destroying the rest.

This is Ibn Verga

Potter said...

YBD: False argument ( straw man) Obama does not "step into" Eisenhower's shoes. Obama understands and sees what Eisenhower saw: ie that US interest is peace in the region- moreso now than ever. Obama sees that the US relationship with Israel has not been in either the US interest or Israel's,. The history lesson or review is that this conflict had moments when it could have been resolved if US Presidents had taken stronger actions,not allowed whatever to get in the way so as to help the drift downward to the present deep hole where the number of settlers are so great and deeply rooted that a two state solution looks daunting.

The three no's in Khartoum must have been music to some ears- this excuse has had a good run. Netanyahu also said no.

Anyway thank you Bernard Avishai for an excellent article.

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