Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Should Israel have accepted the bribe from Obama?

Among real supporters of Israel in the U.S. (J-Street members are hereby excluded), there is serious debate on the wisdom of Israel agreeing to an additional three month freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank, in order to allow "peace talks" with the PA to continue. A bribe of sorts has been promised to Israel- delivery of 20 F-35 fighters, and a U.S veto of Security Council resolutions (for a year anyway) of any attempts to establish a Palestinian state through the U.N, rather than through negotiations. The PA for its part has already received a bribe of $150 million in additional U.S aid, and a promise that the U.S will attempt to push the negotiations during the 3 month freeze extension to a point where borders can be established for a future Palestinian state. Given that Israel's most important card in negotiations is land, such a process seem to suggest that Israel would give away much of the the store early in the process, receive nothing substantive from the Palestinians in return, and open itself to be pressured later for concessions on Jerusalem, refugees, water, air space, and so on. Then again, the Palestinians, whose idea of a Palestinian state has never meant just Gaza and the West Bank, but a replacement state for Israel, are balking at returning to the negotiation even if Israel accepts the 3 month freeze extension, because the eastern sector of Jerusalem is not included in the building freeze zone. It is a bit scary to realize that the Obama administration and the professional peace processors seem to be the only people left in the world who believe there is some kind of magic moment (window of opportunity) upon us, where all the issues that have , over a century, prevented a settlement of the conflict, are now going to be resolvable in a few months.
Caroline Glick on what the P.A buys with U.S aid: http://tinyurl.com/36e863l
Benjamin Kerstein on Obama's Lloyd Bentson moment- "Barack, I knew Bill Clinton, and you are no Bill Clinton: http://tinyurl.com/39xeaz7
Jonathan Tobin: http://tinyurl.com/32yr3oy
Benny Avni: http://tinyurl.com/3xrzkaf

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