Posts Tagged Netanyahu

Five reasons why everything you have heard about the Israeli election results is wrong

This is getting to me.

1. There is an even left-right split

This seems to be a the conventional wisdom, even amongst Israeli publications that should, and do, know better.

Haaretz: “right-wing to take 61 seats, center-left 59.”

Jerusalem Post: “Final election count: Right bloc 61, Center-Left 59 seats.”

Or in graphic form (which is slightly outdated – before the last seat had been properly allocated):

charty3_2

This is a lie, don’t believe it. The real picture looks like this (although I don’t fully agree even with this one):

chartyparty

Courtesy of Shmuel Rosner.

You see, Israel does not simply have ‘left’ and ‘right’ parties like we are used to in two-party system countries like Australia, the US, the UK etc. Israel has a lot of different factions, none of which the media seem to be aware of. I can only pin this down to lazy journalism and/or media groupthink. Below are a few of the incorrect assumptions that are being made in this calculation.

2. The Arab bloc

For starters, it is useless including the Arab parties in the ‘left’. This is because ‘Arab parties’ is not really what they are, a more accurate description would be the ‘anti-Zionist parties’. A lot of the Zionist parties have Arabs on their tickets, and Chadash – the communist party that is normally counted in the ‘Arab bloc’ – has Jewish candidates. Meanwhile, a lot of the Arab voters in Israel actually vote for Zionist parties because, believe it or not, many of them care about domestic economic and social issues, and aren’t just driven to destroy Israel like Arabs are ‘supposed’ to be.

The point here is that at least Balad and Ta’al, and probably Chadash too – which hold 3, 4, and 4 seats respectively – would never join a governing coalition with anyone from the Zionist left. That means that the ‘left bloc’ could win 71 seats and still not be able to form government, as 11 of those seats would refuse to join the coalition.

3. The right-religious bloc

Supposedly, 61 seats went to the right. The breakdown of these were: Likud-Yisrael Beitenu, 31; Habayit Hayehudi, 12; Shas, 11; Yehudat Hatorah, 7.

Once again, this is by no means a cohesive bloc. It is true that, while there is a very significant ideological difference between the secular-nationalist LYB and the national-religious HH, they are both on the right of politics. The other two, however, are not really. Shas and Yehudat Hatorah represent the Haredi (ultra-orthodox) community, the difference between them being that Shas is Sephardi (from Middle Eastern countries) and YH are Ashkenazi (from Eastern Europe).

Both are more accurately described as ‘interest groups’ than ‘right-wing parties’. They are happy to join any coalition so long as their demands are met – which are primarily that they continue be able to study torah instead of having paid work, be exempt from national service, have generous government benefits for having a lot of children, and generally have their lifestyles subsidised by the Israeli taxpayers. In essence, the left could deal with them if they were willing to accept these conditions, which has often been the case in past governments. It is a little dishonest, therefore, to include them in the ‘right’.

4. The centrist bloc

At the moment, there are four parties that are referred to as ‘centrist’: Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid’s party), 19; Avodah (Labour), 15; Hatnuah (Tzippi Livni’s party), 7; and Kadima, 3. The one party I have yet to mention is Meretz, which is unambiguously on the Zionist far-left and won 6 seats.

Here’s the rub: I do not remember any other point in history where Avodah was referred to as a ‘centrist’ party. In fact, looking at their platform coming into these elections, they would be giving Trotsky a run for his money. Shelley Yachimovich’s plan to save Israel seems to be along the lines of ‘put everything under government control, tax successful businesses, and increase the size of every public service department’. I am fairly sure that would make her ‘left wing’.

Meanwhile, Hatnuah is essentially comprised of former Avodah leaders who left Avodah because they weren’t being chosen as leaders anymore. I think that qualifies as ‘left’ too.

5. Israel’s new ‘centre-left’ sensation

Now that is in contrast to Yesh Atid. As explained by Michal Koplow, Yair Lapid was not running on a leftist platform at all. In fact, his platform was more in line with the traditional Likudniks than anything else – that would be the Likudniks like Dan Meridor and Ruben Rivlin, who were purged in the primaries due to heavy branch-stacking by the settlement movement. Lapid is actually much closer ideologically to Netanyahu than most of the current MKs from Netanyahu’s own party. He has also been running this entire time very openly intending to join a Likud-led coalition once elected. Yesh Atid are a centre-right party.

So what really happened?

I think Yossi Klein-Halevi said this one best:

Yair’s ideological challenge will be to clarify the political center and give coherence to the instincts of a majority of Israelis. That centrist majority seeks a politics that isn’t afraid to acknowledge the complexity of Israel’s dilemmas. These voters agree with the left about the dangers of occupation and with the right about the dangers of a delusional peace. Centrists want a two-state solution and are prepared to make almost any territorial compromise for peace. But they also believe that no concessions, at least for now, will win Israel legitimacy and real peace. Centrists want to be doves but are forced by reality to be hawks.

I voted for Yair because, as a centrist Israeli, I have no other political home.

Netanyahu, who accepted a two-state solution in principle and then imposed a 10-month settlement freeze, tried to turn the Likud into a center-right party, more pragmatic than ideological and able to attract voters like me. But the ideological right within the Likud revolted. Today’s Likud appears more hospitable to the far rightist Moshe Feiglin than to centrists like Dan Meridor, denied a safe seat in the Likud primaries.

The Israeli media is speaking relentlessly of an even divide between the left-wing and right-wing blocs. That’s nonsense. Yesh Atid isn’t a left-wing party; half of its voters define themselves as right of center. Instead, the rise of Yesh Atid affirms the vigor of the center. Despite the historic failure of every centrist party—Kadima, the last attempt, virtually disintegrated in this election—centrist Israelis continue to seek a political framework.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Bibi Buries Report

No one saw this coming, right?

Well, that may be a lie.

Netanyahu set to bury Levy report on legalizing illegal West Bank outposts – Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to bury the Levy Report, which recommends legalizing most unauthorized settlement outposts in the West Bank and making it easier for existing settlements to expand, a senior politician who spoke with the premier about the issue told Haaretz yesterday.

I guess this must be awkward for Liam, who said this:

Levy Report, and responses from government ministers, spells bad news for Israel – Liam Getreu.

MK is right: Israel won’t be imploding today. But if the reaction from government ministers is anything to go by there will be action, or at least Netanyahu’s hand may be forced further than he’d like, especially as peace talks might be starting to begin again.

This isn’t something the Right wants to go away. It vindicates what they’ve been saying all along (‘there is no occupation’) and what they’ve been doing all along (treating the West Bank as a de facto extension of Israel itself despite the very different legal status conferred on it).

I guess everything after “Mk is right” really was redundant.

Far be it from me to gloat.

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Israel will never make peace from the corner

 

There are still too many people talking about Israeli intransigence. In the best rebuke that I have seen of Netanyahu’s various statements in the US last week (as in, the only one that didn’t read as if the author had presupposed that Bibi was wrong and then gone about finding reasons why), former mayor of Jerusalem Jeff Barak writes on why Bibi’s statements made negotiations and a peace deal look further off than ever. And to an extent, he’s not wrong.

The limits of rhetoric – JPost – Opinion – Columnists

This is inevitable, and it’s also the right move for those who wish to maintain Israel’s capital as a Jewish city. There is no escaping it.

As Jerusalem’s former mayor, I know this well, and it’s possible. Those who refuse to discuss it terminate the chances for a peace process. One can speak nicely, stir up rightist radicals and draw applause from the settlers, yet this will not bring peace, genuine negotiations or global understanding [of Israel’s position].”

INDEED, NETANYAHU’S remarks on Jerusalem slammed the door shut on any hope that his government had the slightest intention of entering into negotiations with the Palestinians. His stirring phrases might have boosted his standing in the opinion polls, but opinion polls do not change reality.

That said, there have been a lot of events spurring this supposed intransigence – there are some very good reasons why Israelis are giving up on peace. Elliot Abrahams, a prolific Middle East analyst from the Council on Foreign relations, has outlined all these, shedding light on exactly how far weak Palestinian leadership and confused policy from the Obama administration have allowed the situation to deteriorate.

 

The Third Man | The Weekly Standard

The incoherence of U.S. policy is summed up in this passage from Obama’s AIPAC speech: “We know that peace demands a partner​—​which is why I said that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with Palestinians who do not recognize its right to exist. .  .  . 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.” So Israel cannot be expected to negotiate and it must start negotiating.

That is where the president stands after two years of involvement in Middle East peacemaking, and his problems are largely of his own making…We would not be where we are had all three men​—​Abbas, Netanyahu, Obama​—​not given up on each other, a striking failure in American diplomacy.

As Abraham points out, this is causing the Israeli public to feel increasingly isolated and jaded, rallying them around those who seem to be taking a principled stand against the pressure that they are receiving from all sides.

British novelist Howard Jacobson summed this up well on Australian TV recently, observing that everyone points fingers at Israelis without trying to understand exactly how they feel and why they do what they do.

Sydney Writers’ Festival | Q&A | ABC TV.

The Israeli Government has to deal with the problem that the people with whom it must negotiate – some of the people with whom it must negotiate say you’ve got no right to exist. You do not have any. So they’re frightened. Well, blow me the Israelis are frightened. It’s not often understood how frightened Israelis are. They are there surrounded on all sides by people who would like them not to be there.

As Larry Derfner wrote in the the Jerusalem Post, this sense of fear and isolation leads to exactly the policies that then spark further condemnation, which continues the spiral toward further fear.

 

Ours is not to reason why – JPost – Opinion – Columnists

Remember the hysteria over the coriander menace? Until a year ago, we were stopping coriander and God knows how many other edibles from entering Gaza – in the name of national security! Then the Mavi Marmara sails for Gaza, we shoot it up, the pressure’s on again, and suddenly a long list of previously banned foods – yes, even coriander – is moving into Gaza, and suddenly no one wants to remember how mindless and sheep-like they were to take the army’s and government’s word that this insane policy was necessary to keep Israel safe.

This is the problem with all of the pressure on Israel and the relentless condemnation of everything Netanyahu does – ironically, rather than forcing Israel to make concessions and advancing whatever vestige of hope there may be for a resumption of negotiations, it only increases the Israeli public’s sense of helplessness and drives public opinion to the right. As Abrahams points out, Israelis have made concessions in the past not under fierce condemnation, but rather when they feel that whoever is asking for concessions is on their side and that they are not the only side being forced to do so.

All of this makes life harder for Israel and in a way easier for Prime Minister Netanyahu. When a deeply sympathetic American president asks for concessions and compromises and appears able to cajole some from the Palestinians, which was the Clinton/Rabin and Bush/Sharon combination, Israel must respond. When a president most Israelis regard as hostile pushes them while the PLO leadership turns to Hamas, most Israelis will back Netanyahu’s tough response.

It is absurd to suggest that peace is ebbing away because of Netanyahu. He may have been a factor, but there has been a dramatic failure from the Palestinian Authority and the US to do anything conducive to a dialogue or compromise. At the moment, it looks like the best idea would be to top trying to make peace…and rather, start trying to prevent a war from breaking-out.

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Here lies President Barak Obama/Whose word no man relies on…

Who never said a foolish thing,
Or ever did a wise one.

Following a theme that I’ve been seeing of comparing Obama to poetic figures, Walter Russell Meade referenced a poem by the Earl of Rochester, written about King Charles II of England, but ascribed here to Obama and his Middle East policy. This is in the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s astounding speech to a joint session of US Congress, which was met with an almost unbelievable number of standing ovations and a great deal of support. As Meade says:

The Dreamer Goes Down For The Count | Via Meadia

Netanyahu beat Obama like a red-headed stepchild; he played him like a fiddle; he pounded him like a big brass drum.  The Prime Minister of Israel danced rings around his arrogant, professorial opponent.  It was like watching the Harlem Globetrotters go up against the junior squad from Miss Porter’s School; like watching Harvard play Texas A&M, like watching Bambi meet Godzilla — or Bill Clinton run against Bob Dole.

The speech once again showed that whatever you make of his views, methods and stances, Bibi is a very smooth political operator and an outstanding orator. Obama’s speeches have made his career, so the fact that an (albeit US-educated) Israeli can wipe the floor with him in his home turf says a hell of a lot.

Here are the full video and transcript:

Firstly, I would like to draw your attention to his response to the heckler – brilliant and quick, with some of the loudest applause of the whole speech.

You know, I take it as a badge of honor, and so should you, that in our free societies you can have protests. You can’t have these protests in the farcical parliaments in Tehran or in Tripoli. This is real democracy. So as we share the hopes of these young people throughout the Middle East and Iran that they’ll be able to do what that young woman just did — I think she’s young; I couldn’t see quite that far…we must also remember that those hopes could be snuffed out, as they were in Tehran in 1979

It is very difficult to argue with most of Bibi’s stances after watching that in full. He also did make some unprecedented concessions. He not only unequivocally reaffirmed his belief in the two-state solution, but he actually recognised the Palestinian narrative.

No distortion of history could deny the 4,000-year-old bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land. But there is another truth: The Palestinians share this small land with us. We seek a peace in which they’ll be neither Israel’s subjects nor its citizens. They should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people living in their own state. They should enjoy a prosperous economy where their creativity and initiative can flourish. Now, we’ve already seen the beginnings of what is possible. In the last two years, the Palestinians have begun to build a better life for themselves.

And then he argued for his demand that the Palestinian Authority recognise Israel as a Jewish state, with a very strong argument.

And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And, worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy the Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.

My friends, this must come to an end. President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people — and I told you it wasn’t easy for me. I stood before my people, and I said, ‘I will accept a Palestinian state.’ It’s time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say, ‘I will accept a Jewish state.’ Those six words will change history. They’ll make it clear to the Palestinians that this conflict must come to an end, that they’re not building a Palestinian state to continue the conflict with Israel, but to end it. And those six words will convince the people of Israel that they have a true partner for peace

I actually think that he was right on the mark here. If the Israelis are willing to accept the Palestinian narrative, accept their claim to the land, treat them as the nation that they define themselves as and affirm their right to their national homeland, why is it so unreasonable that they reciprocate?

Of course it is difficult for them to accept the Zionist narrative, but if they reject everything that 5 million Israelis – and probably another 10 million Zionist Jews in the Diaspora – define themselves by, how can there ever be a peace agreement? How could they ever compromise on anything pragmatically if they can’t make that ideological concession?

He even addressed the refugee issue very well – and he is absolutely right. In the same way that everyone must recognise that the borders will not be identical to pre-1967, not every descendant of Palestinian refugees will be able to move back to the precise town or village where their ancestors lived; but a just solution can be found through other means.

We recognize that a Palestinian state must be big enough to be viable, to be independent, to be prosperous. All of you, and the president, too, have referred to Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, just as you’ve been talking about a future Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people.

Well, Jews from around the world have a right to immigrate to the one and only Jewish state. And Palestinians from around the world should have a right to immigrate, if they so choose, to a Palestinian state.

And here’s what this means: It means that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel.

The issues that are controversial are the lines he drew on the map – specifically, refusing to leave the Jordan valley or to divide Jerusalem.

But Israel on the 1967 lines would be only nine miles wide. So much for strategic depth. So it’s therefore vital, absolutely vital, that a Palestinian state be fully demilitarized. And it’s vital, absolutely vital, that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River.

Solid security arrangements on the ground are necessary not only to protect the peace, they’re necessary to protect Israel in case the peace unravels. Because in our unstable region, no one can guarantee that our peace partners today will be there tomorrow. And, my friends, when I say “Tomorrow,” I don’t mean some distant time in the future. I mean tomorrow.
…Throughout the millennial history of the Jewish capital, the only time that Jews, Christians and Muslims could worship freely, could have unfettered access to their holy sites, has been during Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem.

Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel. I know this is a difficult issue for Palestinians, but I believe that with creativity and with goodwill, a solution can be found. So this is the peace I plan to forge with a Palestinian partner committed to peace. But you know very well that in the Middle East the only peace that will hold is a peace you can defend. So peace must be anchored in security.

That said, I would like to believe that if negotiations were happening, these issues could be addressed. Bibi is unique at the moment in terms of all parties involved in the negotiations in that he alone has laid-out exactly where his lines are and what he wants. Neither Obama nor Abbas and (definitely not Hamas) have stated what it is exactly that they hope to achieve and what their vision of a solution is. So long as Abbas refuses to sit down at the table, it is hard to see how that will ever happen.

It’s true that Bibi too is now refusing to sit down, as a result of the unity agreement with Hamas, but again, how could he negotiate with Hamas? What hope could there possibly be? Hamas see it their God-given duty to kill Jews, they think that if they kill a Jew they go to heaven and if they are killed by a Jew they go to heaven. They believe that Jews controlling a state on what should be Muslim land is a crime against God and that violence is the only way to address this. And yet Israel is supposed to negotiate with them?

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

The last month in Cut and Paste

Goldstone Report

Judge Richard Goldstone commented in the Washington Post on an 18-month review of the UN-mandated report that he prepared in September 2009 investigating Israel’s Gaza incursion.

He recognised that Israel did not deliberately fire on civilians and condemned Hamas for doing so and then failing to investigate it.

Our main recommendation was for each party to investigate, transparently and in good faith, the incidents referred to in our report…Israel has done this to a significant degree; Hamas has done nothin

At minimum I hoped that in the face of a clear finding that its members were committing serious war crimes, Hamas would curtail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case. Hundreds more rockets and mortar rounds have been directed at civilian targets in southern Israel.

That comparatively few Israelis have been killed by the unlawful rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in no way minimizes the criminality. The U.N. Human Rights Council should condemn these heinous acts in the strongest terms.

Funny thing is, Hamas had promised to investigate it – as Mousa Abu Marzook, the deputy chairman of the Hamas political bureau in Damascus said last year when the report was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council.

We thank our people, all those who support to submit again this report to the human rights committee and all the countries who voted for the report…We will co-operate with this report and we will establish a new committee to investigate.

In fact, take another look at that:

The UN human rights council has endorsed the Goldstone report on Israel’s war on Gaza, which accuses the military of using disproportionate force as well as laying charges of war crimes on Israeli occupation forces and Hamas.

The council’s resolution adopting the report was passed in Geneva by 25 votes to six with 11 countries abstaining and five declining to vote.

Terror attack in Gaza

Apparently, firing on a school bus was in self-defence, so said Hamas spokesman Fauzi Barhum on April 7 while taking responsibility for a rocket attack on a school bus in Southern Israel.

The resistance movement’s response to the enemy’s massacre comes as self-defense, and to protect the citizens. It aims to pressure the occupier to stop committing crimes.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague didn’t quite agree:

This is a despicable and cowardly act that stands in stark contrast to people’s desire for peaceful reform across the region. Violence will never deliver peace. I reiterate that Hamas must halt these strikes immediately, and rein in other militant factions in Gaza.”

Neither did the US State Department:

We condemn the attack on innocent civilians in southern Israel in the strongest possible terms as well as ongoing rocket fire from Gaza. We have reiterated many times there is no justification of the targeting of innocent civilians and those responsible for these terrorist acts should be held accountable…We are particularly concerned about reports that indicate the use of an advanced anti-tank weapon in an attack against …Any attack on innocent civilians is abhorrent but certainly the nature of the attack is particularly so.

Neither did Netanyahu, although he did offer to stop escalating tensions on April 10:

No other country would be willing to countenance the intentional firing of an anti-tank missile at a children’s bus, to say nothing of criminal attacks against civilians, and Israel is certainly not willing to accept it.

Today, the Cabinet instructed the IDF to do whatever is necessary to stop the firing at our people and restore quiet to the south. This is our intention. I hope that this will be Hamas’s intention as well. If this is what it intends, then quiet will return. If it steps up its aggression, it will feel our arm and our response will be much harsher.

According to Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas also wants a ceasefire. Although, he admitted that the military wing is a little out of control.

The Palestinian groups are only defending themselves and our people. We do not intend to inflame the situation but we can not keep quiet when faced with aggression…We didn’t know that the bus was carrying children. It was driving on a road which is often used by Israeli military vehicles, which is often targeted by armed Palestinian group

There is coordination with the political leadership over the bigger picture but on the ground, it is the armed wing which decides the appropriate time to respond to the Israeli aggressions. We give general guidance about what stance to take in response to Israel’s position, but the armed wing has freedom of action and decisions made in the field are not the responsibility of the political leadership.

The military wing, of course, don’t particularly want a ceasefire. They are pretty keen to boast about their terror attacks though:

Al-Qassam Brigades’ operations during the last Forty-Eight hours:

First: Targeting a bus was traveling between the Zionist military sites on the strip border, east of Gaza City, at around three o’clock on Thursday, 07.04.2011, ​​near the so-called “Kfar Saad,” the bus was passing in the way of tanks and artillery.

Second: Al-Qassam Brigades within forty-eight hours pounded the Zionist military sites adjacent to the Gaza Strip with 68 rockets and mortars (28 rockets and 40 mortar shells).

Al-Qassam Brigades emphasize the following:

First: The Zionist enemy is responsible for these crimes and escalation in the Gaza Strip, the Zionist arrogance and aggression will not deter us from doing our duty to respond to aggression.

Second: There is no opportunity to talk about calm between us and the occupation at a time Zionist entity bombs our people and committing massacres, but the blood of our people will not be wasted.

Third: We will continue our revolution and our jihad against the occupiers, rand our entire nation and the free world with us until liberating Palestine.

Meanwhile, Israel continued trying to stop weapons reaching Gaza by capping the guys who are smuggling them in, according to this Hamas spokesman:

”He was in Sudan co-ordinating new smuggling routes for weapons arriving from Iran, which then pass through the border into Egypt, across to the Sinai and into Gaza. No one but Israel could have been responsible for the attack.”

BDS

Bob Brown figures that BDS might have cost them Marrickville:

I think it had an effect on [the election] – that’s my feedback from the electorate and it’s no doubt something that the NSW Greens will be looking at.

Lee Rhiannon, however, reckons that BDS just wasn’t explained well:

Months before the election we needed to explain why the Greens backed BDS and we needed to work closer with our allies on BDS – academics, the Arab community and social justice movements in Sydney and MelbourneCollectively we didn’t do enough to amplify support for BDS and show that this is part of an international movement.

Kevin Rudd, however, doesn’t agree:

Senator-elect Rhiannon’s stand on a boycott of Israel is just plain loopy. But it’s more than just loopy. It verges on the dangerous. It’s dangerous because it reflects no analysis of the complexity of the Middle East peace process, nor of what Israel and the Palestinian Authority are trying to do, nor of what (Palestinian President) Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister (Salam) Fayyad are doing with their own direct engagement with Israel. This is the stuff of foreign policy being made by pre-schoolers. The whole principle of BDS…is unacceptable to Australia and ineffective in driving any real outcome in the peace process.”

Syria and the UN Human Rights Council

Last but not least, it’s ok that Syria is going to be voted onto the UNHRC unopposed, because it really cares about human rights, at least according to its UN ambassador.

The so-called turmoil does not affect our candidacy, these are two different issues… Syria considers that the protection of human dignity and fundamental rights are the base of freedom, justice and peace. Promotion and protection of human rights are of the highest importance to Syria.

Again, the US doesn’t quite see eye-to-eye:

We are deeply concerned by reports that Syrians who have been wounded by their government are being denied access to medical care. The escalating repression by the Syrian government is outrageous, and the United States strongly condemns the continued efforts to suppress peaceful protesters. President Assad and the Syrian government must respect the universal rights of the Syrian people, who are rightly demanding the basic freedoms that they have been denied.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Why a Palestinian state is an awful idea

 

 

I bet you’re all outraged right now, I would be too. For the record, a Palestinian state is not only a very good idea, but a necessity – there is no way this conflict will ever be solved otherwise.

But there’s one little caveat: it has to be reached through some sort of agreement. Not even a bilateral agreement, I woud argue that it has to be an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian authority, as well as the US, the Arab League, the UN and possibly the Hamas and the EU. Without all of those parties agreeing, there won’t truly be a solution. This is why the idea of Palestine unilaterally declaring a state scares me so much, but they keep threatening to do it:

Abbas: Palestinians to ask for UN recognition if peace talks fail – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been dropping hints that he will leave his post in September should negotiations with Israel not resume by then, and should there be no agreement about the establishment of a Palestinian state.

During a meeting in Ramallah with members of the Council for Peace and Security (who include former top IDF officers ), Abbas declared that the PA intends to work toward the establishment of a Palestinian state, and to win Israeli recognition for such a state. However, he indicated, if no accord is reached between the two sides, and if serious talks do not resume, the PA will turn to the UN General Assembly in September and request recognition of an independent Palestinian state.

Let me take you back to 1987. A lot of stuff happened in that year, good stuff. For instance, your humble author was born, meaning that you get to be reading this right now.

One thing that happened in 1987 is that Arafat declared a Palestinian state and had it recognised by a bunch of other UN states and was bringing it to the General Assembly (GA).

The next thing that happened was the first intifada.

You know what’s going to happen when the UN votes on this? If the UN rejects it, the Palestinian people will not be happy. If the UN accepts it, nothing will change on the ground, the Palestinian people will not be happy. What happens when the Palestinian people, en-masse, aren’t happy? An Intifada.

This also kind of means that Israel would no longer be in a grey area and would be actually breaking international law. Except that under international law, when one sovereign nation attacks another, that is mandate for a war of self-defence, which justifies occupying territory until the conflict is no longer a concern. Rocket attacks from Gaza? Hey, now Bibi has a mandate to re-occupy the territory. It’s also a great way to see checkpoints and curfews re-instated and life getting much worse for Palestinians in the West Bank. Plus there will be more terror attacks in Israel, which are never fun.

On the other hand, the GA has passed so many sanctions against Israel by now that if anything the GA ever did actually had an effect, Israel would have been abolished many times over. Regardless of a GA motion recognising Palestine, as long as the US still supports Israel in the Security Council, nothing will come of it.

Remember that every state who cares boycotts Israel anyway – all Islamic states have had official boycotts going back decades, most won’t even permit anyone to enter the country if they have an Israeli stamp in their passport. The only two with any kind of relationship with Israel are Egypt and Jordan.

If the US does stop supporting Israel over this (which is a possibility with Obama), that will make Israel completely isolated, which will make it feel alone and attacked. What do Israelis do when they feel alone and attacked? Vote Likkud – look at 1997, 2003, 2009 etc. What will Likkud do? change nothing. What happens then? Intifada.

This path will lead to war. That will undo all of the progress that the PA has made to get to the point where it could maybe run a state and bring us right back to 1987. It’s a very bad move, I sincerely hope that Abbas and Fayyad are just posturing.

A Palestinian state is necessary, but the way to get there is through cooperation and dialogue, not unilateral moves and certainly not violence.

For a little more background, see: Co-operation, not collision, with Israel is the only route out for the Palestinian Authority – On Line Opinion – 13/1/2011.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Israel: pro-peace, pro-settlements, allied with Saudi Arabia, against Egypt and more…

Chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saed Erekat came out today and said that peace talks are now over. As if this were actually news:

“The talks [with Israel] have ended,” Erekat declared. “The government of Binyamin Netanyahu is trying to scrap all what was agreed upon in previous sessions of negotiations. They want to take us back to point zero.”

He added that the Netanyahu government’s platform was based on settlements, dictates, walls, incursions, assassinations, sieges and closures.

The talks have ended and it’s time for the Palestinians to make decisions, he said without elaborating.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu himself seems to disagree with Mr Erekat – coming out and saying that actually, Israel would have committed to another settlement freeze, but the US wouldn’t promise not to ask for more when (and this is definitely not “if”) the peace talks failed again. He re-iterated that he wants peace and it’s actually Erekat’s camp that’s holding everyone up:

Israel was willing to extend the settlement freeze for another three months but decided not to “because the US said that what would happen is that we’d end up spending a lot of political capital, and on the 91st day, they [the Palestinians] would ask for more,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday during a speech to foreign journalists.

Netanyahu reiterated that “no coalition will prevent me from pursuing a peace that I believe in. If I move forward with a peace agreement, it means I believe in it, and I can get the support of the Israeli public.”

Speaking about the Palestinians, the prime minister said, “I hate to use cliches, but this is a cliche I have to use. The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

He added, “There is no shortcut for negotiations, the only way to get to peace is negotiations.”

On the other side of things, an Iranian newspaper has called Wahhabism, the Saudi Arabian brand of Islam, the “dark side of Islam“. They even had that awesome picture above with the half Saudi and half Israeli keffiyeh, just to show how Saudi Arabia is in league with the Jews. Makes sense, right?

Well probably not for close Saudi ally Egypt. See, Egyptian sensors have stalled their decision on whether to classify upcoming Hollywood flick Fair Game because there is an Israeli actress in the movie, which apparently doesn’t sit well with Israel’s closest ally in the Arab world and one of only two Arab countries to recognise Israel. Seems fair enough to me, those Israelis can’t really act.

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: