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The end of the peace process movie?

11/09/2009

"Current impasse" in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has become a sad cliche. There has been only one "current impasse" and it probably began some time in 1999. Since then, there has been really nothing to show for all the meetings and photo-ops and talk about peace, other than bombed out Palestinians and blown-up Israelis. That is the meaning of "peace process" in this neighborhood. Therefore, the enthusiasm of Mr. Obama for another round of "peace process" was greeted with some apprehension. Many of us have had about as much peace process as we can stand. The apprehension was not unjustified.

Who is to blame for the "current impasse" or rather, the current rerun of the movie called "Current impasse in the peace process?" Who is not to blame?

Both Israeli and Palestinian leaders insist that they want peace. Nir Hefetz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's media advisor, recently repeated another cliche of the "peace process: "Nobody wants peace as much as the Israeli people." And Mahmoud Abbas likewise claimed that the Palestinians want peace, but Israel does not.

Mahmoud Abbas recently added another act to the dog and pony show by insisting that he will not run again for the office of Palestinian President. It is not really clear if he intends to hold elections. If he did hold the promised elections and ran, Abbas, like Arafat before him, would essentially be running unopposed, since the Hamas would boycott the election. His election would no doubt be hailed, like that of Arafat, as a big victory for democracy.

Both Prime Minister Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas in fact took stands that were just "reasonable" enough to assuage Americans, and just impossible enough to ensure that the other side would not consent to renewing peace negotiations. Abbas insisted on a freeze on building settlement housing before beginning negotiations. Netanyahu allowed for a "partial" settlement freeze that may in fact be no freeze at all, since it includes completion of 2,500 units that were already started. The talk about peace, on both sides is part of the dog and pony show that is performed for the benefit of foreign public opinion. The claim that "there is no peace partner" - yet another cliche of the "peace process" - is a convenient cover for internal consumption.

Evidently, both sides are afraid that in in fact there is a peace partner on the other side, or that there might be one. If they ever got around to peace making, both leaders would be in the position of the dog who chased trucks all his life, and finally caught one. They would have to make unpopular concessions (another cliche for those who are counting) and show extraordinary leadership. They can't show abilities they don't have, and they themselves have made the concessions unpopular by constantly insisting on demands and positions that make peace impossible - united Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel, but Palestinians can't have peace until there is a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem, including all of East Jerusalem of course. Time and again, Abbas has said that Right of Return for Palestinian refugees is an absolute demand of the Palestinians. For Israel this is unthinkable, and Abbas knows it. Concessions on any of these issues become more and more unpopular, because leaders and governments ensure that they are unpopular.

If Mr. Abbas really wanted peace, he would sit down at the negotiating table. Whether or not he negotiates, the same number of settlement housing units will be probably be built in the coming months, and whatever is built is nothing compared to what was already built, and what will be built in future years if he does not make peace.

If Mr, Netanyahu wanted peace, and wanted to demonstrate that the Palestinians do not want peace, he would give Mr. Abbas his settlement freeze, and then propose, publicly, a realistic and generous peace plan. He would let Mr. Abbas be the one to say "no."

But it is not only the leaders who are to blame. Their hard line stands were rewarded by broad public support. A recent poll shows that Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah would trounce Hamas and its candidates in elections. Netanyahu's popularity has increased since he was elected as well. Talking tough pays political dividends.

The United States is to blame too. Barack Obama went into the peace process like a bull in a china shop, and things went flying. The United States seemed to promise the Palestinians an Israeli settlement freeze, and they seemed to promise Israel concessions from Arab states as a reward for the settlement freeze, as well as a tough policy on Iranian nuclear development. But Mr. Obama could not deliver on any promise.

Hillary Clinton was next in the China shop. Her remark about "unprecedented" Israeli concessions provoked an inevitable storm of protest from the Palestinians and their Arab backers, whereupon the mighty superpower beat a hasty retreat, with Clinton calling for a permanent end to all Israeli settlement activity. The Palestinian reaction was foreseeable - it "didn't take a rocket scientist." If Hillary Clinton wasn't prepared to defend her remarks about Israel's unprecedented step, why did she make them? If the US was unwilling to force Israel to stop all settlement construction, why did they insist on it so publicly? If they were unwilling to force Arab states to make minimal and nominal concessions concerning recognition of Israel, why did they raise the issue and demonstrate American weakness and the hopelessness of the peace process?

Tom Friedman probably expressed the disgust of Americans with the 15th rerun of the peace process movie:

Yes, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has left the realm of diplomacy. It is now more of a calisthenic, like weight-lifting or sit-ups, something diplomats do to stay in shape, but not because they believe anything is going to happen. And yet, as much as we, the audience, know this to be true, we can never quite abandon hope for peace in the Holy Land. It is our habit. Indeed, as I ranted about this to a Jordanian friend the other day, he said it all reminded him of an old story.

"These two guys are watching a cowboy and Indian movie. And in the opening scene, an Indian is hiding behind a rock about to ambush the handsome cowboy,"he explained. ' bet that Indian is going to kill that cowboy,' one guy says to the other. Never happen, his friend answers. 'The cowboy is not going to be killed in the opening scene.' 'Ill bet you $10 he gets killed,' the guy says. 'Ill take that bet,' says his friend.

"Sure enough, a few minutes later, the cowboy is killed and the friend pays the $10. After the movie is over the guy says to his friend, 'Look, I have to give you back your $10. Id actually seen this movie before. I knew what was going to happen.' His friend answers: No, you can keep the $10. Id seen the movie, too. I just thought it would end differently this time.'"

This peace process movie is not going to end differently just because we keep playing the same reel. It is time for a radically new approach. And I mean radical. I mean something no U.S. administration has ever dared to do: Take down our Peace-Processing-Is-Us sign and just go home.

Obama administration officials may be the only ones who don't understand that they are watching the 15th rerun of the "peace process" movie on a bad cable TV channel. Tom Friedman is not a "neocon" or peace skeptic. He was one of the most stalwart supporters of the peace process. Friedman also helped bring the Saudi Peace initiative into the world. If he has given up, it is significant and indicative. But there are a few problems with Friedman's jocular movie analogy and his recommendation to "just go home." Friedman forgot that there are more scenes to the movie. After the peace process scene, there is generally an outbreak of violence, the seeds of which are already being prepared. What's more, actual people get blown to bits in making the movie. It is not a work of fiction. And most important for Americans, perhaps, the renewal of the conflict may affect the price of oil. While Americans might not be stirred by the melodramatics of Israeli and Palestinian leaders, or even by the drama of suicide bombings and invasions of Gaza, if the price of gasoline is increased by ten or twenty cents per gallon, they might be forced to move their attention from the Rose Bowl and the Super Bowl to the Middle East.

Americans have to recognize that they are not innocent bystanders watching a movie about the peace process. If the Hamas now rules in Gaza, that is a direct result of US intervention to ensure they participated in Palestinian elections, in violation of the Oslo Interim Agreement. The US pays for Israeli army hardware, and it also pays for Palestinian schools to teach that Haifa is a part of Palestine. Mr. Friedman, your tax dollars are at work.

The US government has to stop acting as though they don't know how the movie played out in the past. They have, in fact, a unique opportunity. Suppose the 1938 Munich negotiations had been rerun a dozen times. Wouldn't Mr. Chamberlain, even the stupid Neville Chamberlain, have eventually caught on and said, "I'm not going to stand for this again. I won't be fooled by Hitler this time around."

The United States has a chance to change the peace process movie. They are not part of a passive audience. They are actors. Perhaps they can try a little ad libbing. Instead of smiling and looking for photo opportunities and blaming the sides and giving up, as they usually do about this point, the United States can lay down the principles of a peace agreement right now. They can't force the Israelis and Palestinians to accept the principles, but on the other hand, the Israelis and Palestinians can't force the United States to continue their generous aid programs either. The United States can make it clear that it doesn't have to bankroll the Palestinian Authority, the UNRWA or Israeli defense needs unconditionally and indefinitely. The US is not obliged to prop up the "moderate" Saudi regime either if they won't show a little flexibility on the elusive Arab peace initiative.

We have gotten to the part of the movie where every party points the finger of blame at the other party, and the United States is about to walk out on the mess it helped create, as the Bush administration did. Can we change the movie this time? But who wants to bet that the cowboy will not once again get shot in first scene this time around?

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000777.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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Replies: 7 comments

Quote:
"The United States can lay down the principles of a peace agreement right now. They can't force the Israelis and Palestinians to accept the principles, but on the other hand, the Israelis and Palestinians can't force the United States to continue their generous aid programs either. The United States can make it clear that it doesn't have to bankroll the Palestinian Authority, the UNRWA or Israeli defense needs unconditionally and indefinitely."

That's a position that should have been taken about a decade ago. Since both Israel and the Palestinians have made "red line" demands, let us start there. The USA and the Quartet can say there are NO red lines. No guarantee of a return for displaced Palestinian refugees. There will be no guarantee that Israel will keep all of East Jerusalem or the Golan. At this point, having given both sides more than sufficient time to resolve the issue themselves, the USA and the Quartet should now DICTATE the terms of peace and final status issues.

Frankly, for too long now it has been a free-for-all with the rewards and benifits going to the side with the biggest weapons. If Obama steps into the fray, the USA will be the power which can finally force a solution on these two belligerent groups.

I would suggest the solution should be based on a border that follows the Green Line for 95 percent of it's length. The majority (but not all) of final border excursions from the Green Line would be in and around East Jerusalem. This should produce a contiguous, relatively undivided and uncleaved land mass for a new Palestinian state.

All displaced Palestinians would return to either this land area or Gaza. Like it or not, many Israeli Settlers would have to be removed and settlements dismantled. I am troubled that up until now the US has not demanded more of an effort from Israel to dismantle illegal "unauthorized" settlement outposts. This is a first step that should have been taken by now if Israel was serious about peace.

Aside from land, there must be an arrangement to fairly and amicably share water resources along every border. This arrangement must be monitored and enforced by an outside authority.

I have previously spoken of my crazy liberal dream for a 12 step process for resolving the conflict (see commentary on the last couple of essays). Part of this process is the concept that Israel must purchase from Palestine the parts of the West Bank that it will retain after final border creation. That is the only way to ligitimize the annexation of that land, which would otherwise violate the Geneva Convention.

Finally, if we are going to wager US integrity on bringing about a resolution of this conflict, we may as well go "all in". In for a penny, in for a pound. That would mean not only withholding all direct and indirect financial, economic, and defense support, but if necessary placing a world-wide military embargo on the belligerent parties to this conflict. And as a last resort, it should be clear that direct military intervention by outside forces will result if the two sides do not honor their obligations.

I'd like to think I will live to see an enlightened solution bring about an end to this conflict. Time runs short.

Posted by Kiev500 @ 11/15/2009 09:00 AM CST

Any idea to twist the arms of the Israelis or Palestinians would backfire. The Palestinians, as usual, would balk and would cast themselves as victims, resulting in the US government being pressured from all its allies. Pressuring Israel will only work so far before US Jews get nervous about it. Friedman suggestion is bad too. As you said, the problems that will result will force the US to be involved again. Trying to get the Israelis or Arabs to do anything constructive, as Obama has done, always results in them weaseling out -- stopping terror while preparing to restart, freezing settlements while continuing them. Having a summit wil result in an explosion.

This is what Obama should do to get people off his back temporarily -- it might also help peace, but that's only in the best case:

Obama should give Israelis and Palestinians a deadline of a year for each side to present their preliminary draft of a detailed and comprehensive peace plan, which will serve as an opening position for renewed negotiations. This way, he should say, we will have the issues in front of us, and will be able to try to iron out the differences. During the time given to write the plans, Obama should also say that he intends the consult with other parties -- Arab leaders, the Pope, Tony Blair, AIPAC, opposition leaders, experts, Russians, and whoever else might want to get involved.

This of course will not bring peace, nor will the consultations with said parties be of any use per se either. But it wil accomplish other things:

1) Create the illusion of action without actually asking anybody to do anything that they can't and won't do. This will buy time for Obama but without visibly wasting it.

2) Forcing each side to bring the issues to the surface and argue about them but without forcing on the US the role of a referee (yet) and without it all blowing up in a summit. Each side will deal for a year with its own issues. That won't resolve them, but at least they wil face these issues instead of hiding behind excuses.

3) Obviously both sides will feel a strong pressure to put more and more red lines into their plans. That's inevitable. That is also why it must be presented as a first stage. Getting the red lines upfront so they can be removed. However, there is a counter-pressure, as each side will feel pressured to seem more flexible when the deadline arrives. Moreover, the 'consultations' will cause both sides to fear that if they do not so enough initiative somebody else ideas will gain prominence. The consultations will also create the illusion of action while satisfying egos. It will also force other parties to at least be of some use.

4) Both sides will of course try to weasel out of this too, but it will be more difficult for them and easier for Obama to apply pressure than trying to get either side to do anything actual. Of course, there is a good chance that neither side will meet the deadline, but again, it will be easier to apply pressure on that than trying to get either side to make concessions prior to peace and/or agree to an American imposed plan.

5) It will Buy Obama time to come up with the political capital to apply more pressure later on, or come up with his own plan.

After the year is over (and the midterm elections) Obama will be in a similar position as now, but at least the issues pertaining to peace will not be hidden under excuses and rhetoric. At worst, he can then start negotiations again, but this time with better preparations.

Posted by Micha @ 11/29/2009 02:17 PM CST

Micha:
(Quote)
"Obama should give Israelis and Palestinians a deadline of a year for each side to present their preliminary draft of a detailed and comprehensive peace plan..."

No. No more postponements. No more new deadlines. No more "one year" periods to "prepare" initial peace plan proposals. The proposals and positions are all well known and have existed without any significant changes since Oslo. Bush already gave Israel 8 more years than they deserved, and they have taken full advantage of it to continue criminal settlement activity and eviction of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem. All that another year would do is give Israel additional time to further it's criminal settlements in the Occupied Territories, and you know that.

(Quote)
"Create the illusion of action without actually asking anybody to do anything..."

Yes, Israel would like that. "Creating the illusion" is something Israel is VERY good at.

Look, for decades the world has been waiting for Israel to do the right thing. And it AINT GONNA HAPPEN. Israel is completely unable and unwilling to do what it agreed to do when it signed the Road Map. Therefore, the USA, the Quartet, the UN, and the EU should now agree to act unilaterally.

It should be announced that the Quartet is going to partition the area by unilaterally drawing a final border that -except for the area of East Jerusalem- will follow the Green Line. Inside East Jerusalem, the border will vary from the Green Line sufficiently to allow significant religious sites to fall under appropriate jurisdiction. It should be stipulated that illegal settlements do not qualify as significant religious sites.

Further, the Quartet partition would finalize a plan for fair sharing of border water resources. This sharing would be UN monitored. All Palestinian refugees living in UN-administered camps in Lebanon, Syria, or Jordan would return to either Gaza or the West Bank, and they would be accounted for in the water sharing arrangement.

If Israel does not agree to the partition decision, Israeli settlers and IDF forces should be driven back to the Green Line by force. There is a downside to resistance: If Israel does not agree to the partition plan it risks losing those portions of East Jerusalem that it might have otherwise kept under the Quartet plan.

At this point, a provisional Palestinian state would be created. From that point, Israel may offer to trade with or buy additional lands from the new Palestinian state to make desired adjustments to the border.

This same process will also have to be done for the occupied Golan Heights.

Posted by Kiev500 @ 12/03/2009 01:46 AM CST

"No. No more postponements."

You can waste another year trying to force the Israelis AND THE PALESTINIANS and the other Arabs, and the Americans everybody else, to do things that they are not going to do, and watch the dodge and blame and pass the buck game continue. Or you can change the game.

"he proposals and positions are all well known"

Which is exactly why the Israelis AND THE PALESTINIANS and everybody else keeps dodging the real very complicated issues. It is much easier to pretend that it just the fault of those intransigent Israelis/Palestinians and pass the buck instead of diving in and dealing with the whole complex mess of counter demands and counter pressures. Which is exactly what you're doing. And since it's bullshit and hypocrisy no matter if you're doing it for the Palestinian or the Israeli side, then the result is always a backlash in the opposite direction.

Your plan has no chance in hell of working. Any attempt to force either side to do anything will result in complaints and blames and demands from both sides that would shut the whole thing down before you moved one step -- even if any leader would have even seriously considered actually doing it. Reducing the whole conflict to forcing the Israelis to dismantle settlements by force is naive at best. If you think the Palestinians are going to let the crusaders to enforce on them a border and giving up the right of return, and if you think that US troops are going to go into Gaza and the West Bank unilaterally and act as referees around religious sites then you are still living in a Neo-Con fantasy in which the US can shape the world as it pleases without understanding its intricacies.

"Yes, Israel would like that. "Creating the illusion""

Yes, of course, because the Arabs and the rest of the world are such honest straight talkers. This whole conflict is fantasy inside a fantasy inside a fantasy, and everybody is part of the illusion. By attributing dishonesty only to one side (the side that actually did do more than anybody else and at greater risk) you only reveal your own dishonesty about the conflict.

What I'm trying to do is not waste time on fantasies and what I'd like to happen, but what can realistically be accomplished. In this case what Obama can accomplish in a reality in which the Palestinians are probably unwilling to accept even the most left wing Israeli peace plan (that does not involve dismantling Israel); the Israelis have given up on peace completely after the collapse of both Oslo and the withdrawal from Gaza; the Arab states will not and cannot do anything; the Europeans will certainly do nothing; and Obama has enough problems as it is. He needs to accomplish something in handling, not solving, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instead of becoming stuck as a kindergarten teacher or trying to do something that will blow up in his face (like Camp David did). By shifting the game to actual discussion of the real issues pertaining to peace, he can force both sides to talk about peace without actually talking peace with the other side, which neither side is capable of doing right now. This will also buy him time to better prepare to deal with this complex situation either as a mediator, if negotiations resume, or by applying pressure (more effectively this time).

Posted by Micha @ 12/04/2009 01:57 AM CST

"Look at the last 12 yers if you want to see what can realistically be accomplished. And what do you see? Massive expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied West Bank territory."

The last two decades were dominated by wishful thinkers such as yourself imagining the reality that they want instead of what was -- this is the legacy of both Clinton and Bush, Oslo and the Road Map. This causes people to turn a blind eye to the variables that do not fit the theory. One of this variables is indeed the settlements and settlers, others are the Hamas, the Right of Return, the realities of Palestiian government and many other things on both sides. When people discover that their theories do not work, they then try to force their theories to work or come up with even worse theories. The good part is that armchair theorists usually don't have to deal with the consequences of their failures. However, we the guinea pigs do.

"One does not "attempt" to force."

That's what many people say. The Israeli right says, if we only use more force, we can defeat terrorism and have an easy occupation. The Hamas says, if we try with enough force and persevere, we can rid Palestine of the Jews. Bushies say, if we use enough force we can win in Iraq and Afghanistan. So you are in a good company. Others might prefer to study all the intricate forces and counter-forces at work and see how you can accomplish what you want by applying the right amount of force in the right places at he right times.

"To apply force you must make people hurt and bleed."

They say that too. So what, the American army invades Israel, drags the settlers out of their houses like the Israeli army did in Gaza. Then takes over the area and prevents the Hamas and Fatah from firing missiles into Israel. Does it also invade into Gaza to remove the Hamas, or that's not part of the plan? My wishful thinking plan is more realistic, it involves teleporting the settlements and building a force field around Israel to block rockets. My not wishful thinking plan involves trying to force the Israeli and Palestinian side to deal with concrete issues pertaining to peace while improving the situation on the ground. It's not as bloody, but it has a better chance of actually getting something done.

"Just today the Settlers have announced they will defy their own government in regards to the 10 month cessation in approval of new construction. There is no dealing with them."

That's the settlers or the Palestinians? Or is it just easier to shift everything to the settlers instead of dealing with the whole mess?

Of course the settlers are causing problems. That's why Netanyahu agreed to Obama's demands. Just one tiny step and already anything Obama tries to do gets stuck by the reality of one political faction in one side, and that's before you've asked anything else from anybody else. You have a map but you're going nowhere. Then Netanyahu says: what now? I froze settlements but we are no closer to anything, because, surprise surprise, the settlements are only one part of the complex situation. So you've accomplished little and you can't deliver on anything else. The settlements are still there, and Jerusalem, and the Hamas, and the right of return, and the border issues, etc. So Netanyahu says: you forced me to freeze settlements for what? So Obama presents his peace plan. The Israelis say no. The Palestinians say no. The Arab countries say no. The Europeans say yes, but you didn't consult us,and we are not going to do anything anyway. So now you start throwing blame around. And it is easier to blame Israel and the settlers than anybody else. The Palestinians are happy, they decide to push harder, soon Israel will be crushed. The Israelis are discouraged with peace, they move further to the right, again.

I don't like the settlements. I demonstrated against the settlements.The Peace Now person who tracks settlements is my friend. But the West Bank is not the Wild West, the settlements are not American settlers, and the Palestinians are not Indians. The settlements are not a threat. They are a problem. In order to deal with that problem, you have to look at all the other problems and deal with them too. If you don't, you end up with the Hamas in Gaza, a terrorist supporting barely functional Palestinian authority, and the settlements still where they are, and continuing to be a problem. But Obama can't deal with all these problems. He can't simply force the problems to be solved. So he has to become a chess player making the right moves at the right time to improve the situation. He should pressure Israel about the settlements, but in a smart way and as part of a whole larger view of things.

Posted by Micha @ 12/04/2009 04:12 PM CST

Taking things in approximate order:

"The last two decades were dominated by wishful thinkers such as yourself imagining the reality that they want instead of what was..."

They were dominated by leaders who failed to do *whatever was necessary* to stop the criminal expansion of settlements. The era of wishful thinkers is over.

I am not the only one who believes this. Most of the world has absolutely had enough of this ****. The king of Jordan has suggested that if a peace agreement is not reached very soon, there will be a war coming. Clearly Hezbollah believes this, as they recently affirmed that violent resistance is the only tool that Israel respects. You can safely assume Syria and Lebanon feel the same way. You can add to this list US president Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, Tony Blair, the leaders of the UN, the EU, the Quartet, and the Arab League.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"...This is the legacy of both Clinton and Bush, Oslo and the Road Map."

I would say this is the legacy of waiting for Israel to do the right thing. We are STILL waiting for Israel to do what it promised to do when it signed the Road Map agreement.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"This causes people to turn a blind eye to the variables that do not fit the theory. One of this variables is indeed the settlements and settlers, others are the Hamas, the Right of Return..."

The Settlements and the Palestinian right of return are a wash. The Palestinians will agree that the right of return can be "justly resolved" without repatriation of refugees, -but *ONLY* if the Settlements are removed.

I would add that Hamas would assume a primarily political role in parliment of the new state, just as the leaders of Irgun, the Haganah, and the Palmach did after formation of the state of Israel. We have also seen this transition away from violence in North Ireland.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"When people discover that their theories do not work, they then try to force their theories to work or come up with even worse theories. The good part is that armchair theorists usually don't have to deal with the consequences of their failures. However, we the guinea pigs do."

You have it backwards, it is the Palestinian refugees who do not have a state who have to live with the consequences of Zionist armchair theorists who believe in illegally taking land from the weak because it is free and easy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Then Netanyahu says: what now? I froze settlements but we are no closer to anything, because, surprise surprise, the settlements are only one part of the complex situation."

The settlements are one part of the problem we can actually do something about. Aside from the Settlements, there is virtually no violence. Perhaps with *no* settlements and a permanent border on the Green Line, there would be no more violence in the future. Perhaps. This was the basic offer of the Saudi Peace Proposal. Hamas even stated that they would find that plan acceptable.

Regardless, Israel has proven it is well equipped to deal with sporadic violence. Settlements do not prevent violence. Buffers do not prevent violence. Even walls do not prevent violence. No, what prevents violence is an end to incitement, and settlements *are* the defacto incitement.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The settlements are not a threat. They are a problem."

No, Settlers are the threat. The settlements are just a symptom of the threat. Remember, it was a fanatical nationalist settler named Yigal Amir who assassinated Israeli PM Yitzak Rabin. This fact should make the real threat plain even to you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
***
One does not "attempt" to force.
***

"That's what many people say. The Israeli right says, if we only use more force, we can defeat terrorism and have an easy occupation. The Hamas says, if we try with enough force and persevere, we can rid Palestine of the Jews. Bushies say, if we use enough force we can win in Iraq and Afghanistan."

At this point, force is the *only* thing the West has not tried in order to make Israel remove illegal settlements from occupied territory. Force may not resolve every issue related to the mideast conflict, but it can damn sure remove those settlements.

Let's look back for a moment: President George H Bush (the elder) cut US **** guarantees to Israel in 1991 in an effort to encourage Israel to stop settlement expansion. The Anti-Defamation League, AIPAC, and the pro-Israel lobby called him an anti-Semite. Bush the elder was not re-elected. Israel outlasted him. The settlements remained and grew.

Clearly, Obama does not have the luxury of infinite time. Israel knows this. I know this. In fact, I think you know it too. Let us not kid ourselves that additional deadlines and carefully applied words will stop the settlements.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"My not wishful thinking plan involves trying to force the Israeli and Palestinian side to deal with concrete issues pertaining to peace..."

Apparently you didn't understand the first time. One does not "try" to force. One either does it or does not.

The point is if violent conflict is coming (and a majority of the world now believes it is), it is better for America to pursue this conflict against Israel to force removal of the Settlements -than for Arab states to do it. This decision could prevent Israel from using nuclear weapons and starting World War 3.

In other words, if we do nothing, (1) Israel continues expanding illegal settlements, (2) Arab states WILL react after recognizing the complete failure of US diplomatic efforts, (3) armed conflict will commence, (4) Israel will nuke a couple of Arab states, (5) World War 3 will begin.

These are the tough choices we are now left with after allowing Israel decades to stop it's illegal activity. Israel's own choices have put us in this position.

Posted by Kiev500 @ 12/05/2009 05:52 AM CST

have, and they themselves have made the concessions unpopular by constantly insisting its capital in Jerusalem, including all of East Jerusalem of course.

Posted by strawberry rhubarb crisp @ 04/05/2011 10:58 AM CST


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