Thursday, March 18, 2010

Keep The Heat On, A Translation

My last post, with slight alterations, appeared today in the global edition of the New York Times. Gideon Levy's column in Haaretz today makes the same point, bare-knuckled. So far, the Obama administration seems to be playing things about right, reinforcing a commitment to Israel's security (translation, not to its settlement project), and waiting for answers from the Israeli government that will prove its seriousness regarding peace talks (translation, a public commitment to suspend construction in East Jerusalem). Obama singled out the Shas Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, as responsible for precipitating the "disagreement": "The actions that were taken by the interior minister in Israel weren't helpful to that process. Prime Minister Netanyahu acknowledged as much and apologized for it," he said (translation, America would like to see a new Israeli government, with the more pragmatic, if hard-line Kadima, replacing fanatics and nut-jobs). Obama said that there is no crisis (translation, there is). Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the US, insists that the Netanyahu government is only doing what all previous governments since 1967 have done (translation, this is Israel's internal affair). That's true (translation, it's not, and never was).


Y. Ben-David said...

Note Bernie's characterization of everyone who disagrees with him as "a fanatic and nut-job". As a "progressive", I would assume he we be liberal and not go around throwing epithets at everyone he doesn't like. In reality, those adjectives would better characterize Bernie himself. After all, he has been repeatedly wrong about everything regarding the so-called "peace process" for years. He has been predicting that the "entrepeneurial elites" will "push aside FATAH and HAMAS" and force the Palestinian Authority to carry out the policies that Bernie wants (rather than those of the Arab/Palestinian/Muslim population of the Palestinian territories), that Israeli concessions will bring peace, that "really" the Arabs want peace with Israel, even though their official spokesmen keep denying it.
Sure, Bernie trots out a couple of anecdotal "good" Arabs who claim to want peace, like his pal Sam Bahour, the shopping center magnate (although I assume he is a Christian and does not represent true Palestinian public opinion) but the Palestinians, as seen in the latest riots accompanying the dedication of the Hurva Synagogue (there go those Jewish 'nut-jobs' again, insisting on their right to live in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem!) don't seem to want peace as much as Bernie does.
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results even though the results each time are the same. I guess that would define someone as a "nut-job"----looks like Bernie qualifies.

Y. Ben-David said...

I forgot to mention a good example of the "insanity" I mentioned....the Kadima party was in power before Netanyahu, they had power to themselves, they weren't beholden to the "fanatics and nut-jobs", but they failed to make peace, and in fact, brought Israel two bloody wars. So Bernie keeps insisting that having the 'peace camp' parties in power will supposedly bring peace, but they haven't. If they failed to make peace before, why would bringing them into the government now make any difference?

Potter said...

Michael Oren op-ed in the NYTimes: pathetic.

For how many Jews even, even Brooklyn Jews who voted for Obama like my mother, does this argument still hold sway?

Who can’t see that blindness and stubbornness on the part of Israel's leadership is the real danger to Israel’s “legitimacy”? Now we have it from an authority as some of us have known:

Insufficient progress toward a comprehensive Middle East peace. The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the AOR. Israeli-Palestinian tensions often flare into violence and large-scale armed confrontations. The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hizballah and Hamas……. Gen.David Petraeus, U.S. Central Command:

Israel acts like a spoiled 2 year old but expects normal friendship.

Potter said...

The old dogs don’t hunt so well anymore. For Oren-the refusal to freeze building in Jerusalem is not seen as the incitement (after all hasn't Israel already given so much, including Gaza?)

Oren is selling us the same old excuse that retaining this Jewish neighborhood will surely be a result of any peace negotiations. So since this will SURELY be the outcome, he reasons, why then is it not reasonable to assume it ? That this needs to be formally agreed upon first and that maybe it could be considered that it should not be part of Israel OR it should be at least on the table is unimportant. In other words whatever fact there are already in place prejudges the outcome. This and other such land grabbing have been so many pokes in the eyes to Palestinians, a sabotage of the peace process. And then they are supposed to remain silent and not revere their occupation’s resisters.

We are not supposed to see this? It's so blatant to everyone out here that Oren might as well be wearing a clown hat and tooting a horn.

But Oren goes on and on including about Gaza and Lebanon and the Goldstone Report which, by Israel's reaction, we should believe, threatens Israel’s “legitimacy” ( the word used by defenders of an imaginary status quo). The reaction against Goldstone is way too strong, paranoid, for many to feel that Israel could justify alleged crimes. Paranoia is accusing those who want accountability a threat to the legitimacy of Israel.


Anonymous said...

Potter, well said!

"Who can’t see that blindness and stubbornness on the part of Israel's leadership is the real danger to Israel’s “legitimacy”?"

For a very long time, I was a strong supporter of Israel, had read Wm. L. Shirer as a teenager, considered Moshe Dayan to be the modern David (vs. the Arab Goliath), was astounded at how the desert had bloomed at the hands of Israelis, etc. Now, however, I see more clearly what has happened, and Israel is no longer an object of my sympathy. It long ago became an oppressor and a colonialist state. It is a democracy in which Israeli Arabs are second-class citizens. I often wonder about the judgment and impulse control of its leaders and some of its people. I fear where all this will eventually lead, when the paranoia you mention is backed by nuclear weapons...
I much admire the efforts of Mr. Avishai and others to sound the alarm and tell the truth of the situation, to the best of their ability, from their own perspectives. Honest debate/ discussion is badly needed now.

Joel A. Levitt said...

This is not the time for nuanced elegant prose.

The American citizenry is angry. The American military perceives Israeli policy to be a significant obstacle to American security.

One prominent EU official after another has advocated forcing Israel to obey international law and enter into a just peace.

Many around the world are advocating an embargo of Israeli goods.

Iran is arming Hamas and Hezbollah with more and more accurate missiles.

If the 'greater Israel' religious fanatics continue to have their way, then they had better be right about HaShem, because, then, nothing else will save the state.

pabelmont said...

The self-fulfilling prophecy that "the settlement will become part of the peace deal, so just grab it now" is fallacious if it is assumed (formerly against the weight of evidence, but times seem to be changing today) that there is NO SUCH THING AS INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW.

If IHL is assumed to prevail, then the answer is: you can settle it if and when you sign a peace deal with the Palestinians. Because IHL forbids the seizing of the land and also forbids the transfer of the civilians as settlers into the land if the land in question is occupied territory, as the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem are -- for all Israel's claims to have annexed some of it.

Allowing the settlements in spite of IHL allows Israel to get the land without submitting to the peace deal. Requiring the peace deal first makes it at least possible that Israel will "buy" the land by some concession to the Palestinians.

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