Saturday, February 12, 2011

Obama, The Plan, And The Politics: A Coda

Abbas's Palestinian Authority has just announced elections for the fall. If Obama has any hope that the leadership circle around Abbas, including Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, will make a strong showing in this vote, he had better come forth with a plan very soon. And the administration should quietly (but firmly) urge Israeli leaders to release Marwan Barghouti from prison and restart informal discussions with him about the outlines of a plan, using the Olmert-Abbas talks as a starting point. If we have learned anything from Egypt, it is that when people say "things cannot go on like this," things eventually don't.


Y. Ben-David said...

Marwan Barghouti was convicted of FIVE counts of First Degree Murder. One of his victims was a girl who had attended my synagogue.

I'll tell you what, if you want to release Barghouti, why don't you suggest releasing Yigal Amir for balance? After all, don't they keep telling us "murder is murder"?

Acuumyst said...

Problem is the difference in the vision of two state solution between Israeli and Palestinians. Israelis see the solution as a total separation of the two countries, while Palestinians see it as a "ethnic" separation with total economic incorporation. They as I had been saying for years, know that as a totally separated country they would not have chance to survive. With their independence probably the majority of financial support would disappear, huge intellectual emigration would happen and the so called "independent" country would move back to the 7th century with all the "tribal religious benefits". We have many examples from Africa and South America and those countries were not so much geographically disadvantaged as Palestine. On Israeli side they have both economic, religious and social problem. First, their is a misconception that Israel is a rich country, again once you take away the "welfare benefits" from outside - government and private, Israel would be standing on the bottom of economic scale. The high tech industry feeds from billions supplied by USA, once that disappear, there is not benefit for them to stay. The intellectual base would leave with them. Even writer of this blog has one foot in USA all the time. The country would revert to 2000 years old theocracy with very narrow tribal vision. I see it in attitudes of average Israelis, they are slowly drifting away from attitudes of Spinoza, Hillel, Maimonides, Fraud, Marx and new other past and present Jewish thinkers and even away from world Jewish population. They are becoming more and more narrow tribal in their attitudes. They turned to the Torah as a literal explanation of their insecurities and problems. In my humble opinion, if the Israeli concept of two state solution wins, it will mean end for both countries. What we can expect a "just" tribal wars with "their god" on each side. The world will just look until they kill each other. After that we will need a new Herzl. To save the Israel we need a one country maybe with federated sections to accommodate different ethnic aspirations.

Potter said...

"If we have learned anything from Egypt, it is that when people say "things cannot go on like this," things eventually don't."

The lessons of Egypt are also that the people have to bring about change and that it can be done wisely and relatively non-violently. It had to come from within.

Egypt shows us a mature citizenry, ripe, ready to create a better future. This is not something that can be imposed. Even without an Obama plan, there would be enough for citizens to act on, to work with if there were the will and maturity.

I don't believe that things will go on like this regardless of what Obama does or does not do.

Acuumyst said...

almost 400 deaths and over 16 years of undercover operations. They tried in 2005, it did not work. Now it did. The process had been highly organized, RT were saying USA organized it, maybe there is some truth in it. All the Egyptian Army brass had been in Pentagon just before it started. I personally think the Russians had something to do with it. They had still connections from Nasser era. I would really like to know, maybe in 50 years someone will write the book disclosing the truth.

Potter said...

in 2005 we did not have the social media and world attention so riveted ( nor Al Jazeera English, nor Wikileaks). In 2005 we did not have the Tunisian revolution. In 2005 the US and world attention was on the violence, the mess, in Iraq and the US had yet to process the inability "to win". In 2005 there was a Bush administration a lot more willing to buy into fear of chaos, fear of an Islamist revolution. In 2011 we have Obama, and as Tom Friedman says, a president indecisive enough to have stayed out of this. So though we may find out that the US Military read some riot act to the Egyptian Army, that could only be a part of the whole story. I would not take ANY credit away from the Egyptian people... as if they were incapable and we were behind this???

Y. Ben-David said...

It seems Bernie and I read totally different things in his article. This is not a plan for peace, it is a recipe for endless war. The genius of using "creative" solutions which fudge the issues are a guaranteed plan for endless violent conflict.

Let's look at Jerusalem, for example. Either 5 or 7 nations will administer it. Three or four Arab countries, Israel, the US and maybe the Vatican. For example, what will be the situation of Jewish holy sites like the Western Wall? The Muslims will insist that the situation that existed before 1948 be restored. That means recognition of the Western Wall as a MUSLIM HOLY SITE that Jews are allowed, UNDER RESTRICTED CONDITIONS to pray at. This was the situation the British set up after the 1929 riots which were started after the Jews set up a partition between men and women.
SO, in the era of "peace" the Muslims will demand this. They will also demand that the Western Wall Plaza, which had Arab homes in it prior to 1967 be rebuilt, as part of the "right of return". How will the international committee deal with this? Well, we have 3 or 4 automatic votes for the Arab side (Jordan, the Palestinians, Saudi Arabia), one vote for the Jewish side (Israel) and the US vote will be neutral. SO the Arabs get their way and there goes the Jews main holy site.
Who will guarantee what little access the Jews have at the site? A "neutral" international force . What countries will man this force? When the inevitable Arab assualts on Jew's at the Wall or on their way to and from the Wall or Jewish Quarter begin, how will it be decided to deploy the force in their defense? Will the Saudis, Jordanians and Palestinians demand that security be provided for the Jews? If the security situation collapses completely, would Israel be willing to go to war in order to guarantee access? After most of the people who go to the wall are what Bernie calls "Judeans", not what he considers to be "real Israelis" so people of his views aren't going to think a war is worth defend something they don't care about anyway.

Obviously this is a plan, a CREATIVE plan designed to drive the Jews completely out of their holy places.
This is merely one example of the myriad catastrophes that would come out of Olmert's plan. Did he really think he could impose this fraud on the people of Israel? Does Bernie think Obama can do it?

Potter said...

Again, Ben-David, you demonstrate that in your world view nothing ever moves forward only backward or in spirals downward. That is the prescription for endless war: the principles and their children and their children's children never ever conceding, never ever saying "enough!". All keep doing thinking saying the same things over and over and teaching this to their progeny. What hell.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to know what's new in Avishai's piece. We've been aware of the negotiations bewteen Olmert and Abbas for quite awhile now.

Acuumyst said...

You guys just reinforce my idea of single state with both side tribal fundamentalists be thrown out. That way Jewish national cultural ethnicity would be preserved and both Israelis both Jewish, Cristian and Muslim, would go about their life in peace. I agree with BA about concept of Hebrew republic, although I am populist and he is elitist.

Potter said...

What's new is that it makes those who say that Abbas gave nothing wrong. What is new is that it is specific about just where the gaps are IF the process begins where Olmert and Abbas left off.

That is a big IF- since Netanyahu is the blockage unwilling to start at that point.

It appears that Obama might also be a blockage in his pre-2012 election mode. Apparently,according to an AFP report, Obama plans to have his representative vote against a UN Res condemning the settlements.


The map that accompanies the NYTimes/BA article is very instructive. You can see all the land that Israel claims still in the West Bank ( yellow). You can also see the areas from the Palestinian POV (red) that would destroy their ability to have a coherent state- areas that can't be that vital to Israel's security either but are so settled it would be difficult for Israel to remove. Looking at these yellow areas that predominate and the two red areas( one is Ariel) on the map makes plain just how much harm the settlements have done to the peace process, how they have tied Israel's hands and made Palestinians so insistant on an absolute freeze lest they give up on the peace process. That latter may very well happen- and soon because Abbas is about to give up.

Perhaps then Israel will be desperate enough to let Barghouti out. But then the Israeli government would have to be very serious about peace because I don't think Barghouti will be a pacifist if there is no serious partner.

Anonymous said...

Like I said Potter, everything you refer to has been in the public domain since in or about June of 2009, when Olmert, out of office and disgraced, began to tell people about the post-Annapolis negotiations. I guess Bernie wants people to accept Abbas' claim that Olmert's domestic problems stalled the negotiating process. Olmert, however, originally stated that the talks broke off in September of 2008, three months before Gaza, with a pledge by Abbas that he would get back to Olmert that was not kept. Check out Sol Stern, who has earned a reply from Bernie with this powerful piece:

humanist said...

Acuumyst referred to Freud as a Jewish thinker. He was a Jew in the Nazi sense in that he had Jewish ancestry. He was converted to Lutheranism as a 6 year old when his yuppie father converted. Marx received a Lutheran education with apparently a dose of Jew hatred which he expressed in his essay 'One the Jewish Question.' He was a bigot with Jewish ancestry. Marx was still writing voluminously when the Kishinev pogram happened. He had nothing to say about that or other pogroms. Having Jewish ancestry along with an ignorance of Jewish tradition, philosophy and history does not make a person a Jewish thinker. He was just another Jew hater. Feh!

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