Monday, May 23, 2011

Decoding 'The Speech'

Encrypted: [T]he bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable and the commitment of the United States to the security of Israel is ironclad.

Unencrypted: "Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae, et in Iesum Christum, Filium Eius unicum, Dominum nostrum..." and so forth.

Encrypted: As two vibrant democracies, we recognize that the liberties and freedoms we cherish must be constantly nurtured. And as the nation that recognized the State of Israel moments after its independence, we have a profound commitment to its survival as a strong, secure homeland for the Jewish people.

Unencrypted: "I know very well that I'm going to lose some Jewish donors, and even some voters; but if I cannot get the 78% I got last time, I know how to fight for the 65% or more who want a two-state solution and will take Jon Stewart's send-up of Joe Lieberman over the real Lieberman any day of the week? Do you really want to fight me as a Foxy Republican, Bibi? Have you noticed what's going on on American campuses?"

Encrypted: ...homeland for the Jewish people.

Unencrypted: "This is not quite the same thing as a 'Jewish state,' which some of your coalition partners think of as a Jewish theocracy, so I am qualifying the phrase as 'democratic and Jewish' (see my speech continuing below). Anyway, given Israel's 20 percent Arab minority, better get used to American and European diplomats defaulting to this vaguer but truer formulation."

Encrypted: And that includes additional support–-beyond regular military aid-–for the Iron Dome anti-rocket system.

Unencrypted: "Okay, let's talk about what long-term technologies will reassure you, or even about close military cooperation as part of a deal. But let's stop hearing about how Israel is 8 miles wide. The real problem, as everyone knows, is the settlers you put in around mile 9, and then mile 20. Besides, the crudest missiles travel 40 miles, but I'm getting ahead of myself."

Encrypted: When an effort was made to insert the United Nations into matters that should be resolved through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, we vetoed it.

Unencrypted: "I made myself look ridiculous vetoing the Security Council's condemnation of settlements, which was formulated in my own Cairo speech's language. I gave Dennis this victory to reinforce the idea that bilateral negotiations are the only way to peace; though you destroyed the chance to resume bilateral talks by refusing to stop the building, and the rest of the world is calling on me to impose a plan."

Encrypted: First, the number of Palestinians living west of the Jordan River is growing rapidly...This will make it harder and harder -- without a peace deal -- to maintain Israel as both a Jewish state and a democratic state.

Unencrypted: "Oh, by the way, I know how to speak the language of the Israeli opposition, Kadima, Labor, etc., and play to it, whatever I really think of it. Two can play this game, Bibi. You have an election coming up, too. Do you want to run as the leader who screwed up relations with Washington, while Livni and others run as the saviors of our common language?"

Encrypted: Second, technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself in the absence of a genuine peace."

Unencrypted: " Look, AIPAC, can you please tell your Bibi to stop pandering to his nutjobs and try forming a coalition that will, say, take us back to where Olmert and Abbas got stuck before the region explodes? Israel is fit to repel any invasion; no more wars like 1973. But can't you see Israel is prepared for the last big war, not the next one? It is facing 40,000 missiles that cost a few thousand dollars each with anti-missiles that cost over a million each. Its air force and smart bombs can level the apartment buildings from which the missiles are launched, but then what happens when CNN and Al Jazeera start running 24/7 videos of children's bodies pulled from the rubble? Which brings me to..."

Encrypted: Third, a new generation of Arabs is reshaping the region. A just and lasting peace can no longer be forged with one or two Arab leaders. Going forward, millions of Arab citizens have to see that peace is possible for that peace to be sustained.

Unencrypted: "The Arab street is rising and hates Israel. I'm doing my damnedest to help young Arabs see that I, as the poster child for democratic globalization, can still be their friend. Does your Bibi really expect Western powers to defend Israel, which means his occupation just now, at the cost of alienating a whole new generation that's shown an almost unimaginable courage to face dictators' guns? What will Israel do when thousands more march on Israel? Mow them down like Qaddafi?"

Encrypted: And just as the context has changed in the Middle East, so too has it been changing in the international community over the last several years. There’s a reason why the Palestinians are pursuing their interests at the United Nations. They recognize that there is an impatience with the peace process, or the absence of one, not just in the Arab World -- in Latin America, in Asia, and in Europe. And that impatience is growing, and it’s already manifesting itself in capitals around the world.

Unencrypted: "Actually, I mean every word here. And I could rally the rest of the world to put the screws to Bibi in a heartbeat. My trip to Europe, starting tomorrow, will prove this. Have you noticed who are Israel's most important trading partners? Have you noticed how Israel's debt structure looks like Greece? What do you think will happen to Israel's hyper-globalized, start-up economy if Palestine is recognized by most of the world, and Israel is considered in breach of international law? Wake up: I'm the best, if not the only, friend you've got."

Encrypted: No vote at the United Nations will ever create an independent Palestinian state. And the United States will stand up against efforts to single Israel out at the United Nations or in any international forum.

Unencrypted: "I know Israel can make statehood merely symbolic--at first. How can the Palestinian state grow while the Israeli army sits in Area C to protect the settlements? And I can withhold recognition and maybe even get away with this in the Arab world until the 2012 election--if, that is, I keep encouraging the youth and sending aid packages to Egypt. But can you not all see the writing on the wall?"

Encrypted: ...Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with Palestinians who do not recognize its right to exist. And we will hold the Palestinians accountable for their actions and for their rhetoric. But the march to isolate Israel internationally -- and the impulse of the Palestinians to abandon negotiations –- will continue to gain momentum in the absence of a credible peace process and alternative.

Unencrypted: "I can help Abbas & Co. to pressure Hamas to get real. But, Jesus, can you really not see how Bibi is the best friend Hamas has? Are you actually trying to bring Abbas down by making his past concessions to Olmert seem ludicrous?"

Encrypted: There was nothing particularly original in my proposal; this basic framework for negotiations has long been the basis for discussions among the parties, including previous U.S. administrations. Since questions have been raised, let me repeat what I actually said on Thursday--not what I was reported to have said.

Unencrypted: "Condi Rice set this formula to get Olmert and Abbas going. Bush adopted the framework, too. Bibi wants you to think Israel has some new threat in me because he is counting on you to panic like Pavlov's dog salivating at the sound of a bell."

Encrypted: The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

Unencrypted: "Forget Ariel and probably also Maale Adumim. Abbas offered a 1.9 percent swap, with 62 percent of the settlers staying in place. Olmert offered 5.something percent. And Jerusalem is part of the deal, as Olmert agreed. It's time to get used to the fact that Abbas's offer is the best one Israel will ever get."

Encrypted: As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself –- by itself -– against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism, to stop the infiltration of weapons, and to provide effective border security.

Unencrypted: "I'm willing to put troops on the Jordan. But forget about a permanent presence in the Jordan Valley."

Encrypted: The ultimate goal is two states for two people: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the State of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people--each state in joined self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.

Unencrypted: "Your most winnable fight is over the number of Palestinian refugees who'll be repatriated to Israel proper under the "Right of Return" provision, UN 194, of the Arab League initiative. Who knows how integrated Israel and Palestine will eventually become. But if you want to keep the number of returnees low, the US and most of the world will back you. Then again, the longer you keep the settlement project going, and/or complain about disrupting settlers' lives, the more you turn every Palestinian's attention back to 1948, and strengthen the logic of a bi-national state. Notice Abbas's oped from last week?"