Saturday, 16 May 2009

Obama And Netanyahu

"The United States is going to deeply engage in this process to see if we can make progress" said Obama last month in a speech on the Israel/Palestine issue. With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visiting the White House for talks on Monday, we should get a good indication of how engaged they are willing to be, including making a welcome u-turn on its policy of not defending Israel when it oversteps the mark.
The comments coming from inside the Administration look good so far, National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones making assurances that Obama would be "forceful" with Israel and Joe Biden saying that "Israel has to work toward a two-state solution. You're not going to like my saying this, but not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts and allow the Palestinians freedom of movement."
For too long we have seen the smiles and handshakes following peace talks only for it all to fizzle out with Israel blaming the Palestinians for not being reasonable as their land is gradually stolen and there land violated and citizens murdered by military raids.
If Obama reviews his history of the one sided conflict, he will see that whoever is in the Israeli seat of power Palestinian homes continue to be bulldozed, settlement construction presses ahead and military incursions claim the lives of innocent Palestinian civilians. These policies inevitably lead to fresh conflict with Israel claiming they have no partner in peace and the vicious circle starts all over again.
Obama has the opportunity to set the parameters in which Israel operates by withholding the five billion dollar handout his country annually shovels towards it if it doesn't begin to work towards a peace settlement.
Obama has to tell them if they do not make peace they will be on their own, no military or financial help, and that will focus minds within the Israeli government more than anything as it knows that the Israeli economy would collapse if it had to fund its own military misadventures.
The thinking is that the Obama master plan will be based upon the Arab peace initiative which has been on the table since 2002 and offers diplomatic recognition of Israel by all Muslim countries in return for an end to Israeli settlement activity and withdrawal from occupied Palestinian territories.
This offer has been shamefully overlooked by successive Israeli Governments and we have to hope that Obama can force Netanyahu and his Lukid Party members to take this opportunity and not just settle for the status quo which Israel seem happy to continue where they demonise, steal and kill with impunity the Palestinians and their land.
The Lukid manifesto states that 'The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river' and the extremist Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, lives on one of the settlements deemed illegal by International Law so Obama will have his work cut out to bring a halt to Israeli's deep rooted and inhumane mistreatment of their neighbour.


Anonymous said...

This writer is either anti-semitic or just plain ignorant of history. The Arab world has not accepted Israel as the realization of Jewish nationality. They refuse to recognize Israel as the Jewish state. Whta they want is for there to be another Arab state in the ancient land of Israel, in addition to Jordan, and thta state is to be "judenrein" just like Jordan. Then there will be another state for Arabs and Jews - but not a Jewish state. What is there to negotiate when one side refuses to recognize the other's right to exist?
The Arab world did not want an Arab state in the Holy land when it was offered to it by the British in 1936 (Peel commision), or in 1947 (the U.N. partition plan), between 1948 and 1967 when Egypt and Jordan ruled in Gaza and the so-called West Bank, or in the year 2000 when then P.M. Ehud Barack offered Arafat a state. Arafat went back to Ramallah to start yet another war against the Jews!

If the Arab world would put down its weapons there would be peace. If Israel did the same - the Arabs would destroy the Jewish state.

The land - belongs to the Jewish people.

Lucy said...

When the comment starts with 'This writer is either anti-semitic', you know that what follows is going to be the same old same old. And it is.

What is there to negotiate when one side refuses to recognize the other's right to exist?From Likud, the Israeli Governing Party's maifesto itself.
The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river. Remind me about who is refusing to recognise the other's right to exist again.

If the Arab world would put down its weapons there would be peace. If Israel did the same - the Arabs would destroy the Jewish state. Last year over 55 people were killed by Israeli armed forces in the West Bank. No rockets being fired into Israel from there yet still they die. Call that peace if they lay down their weapons?

I think the commenter needs to step back and have a good, long, ojective look at what is going on before trying to justify it.

Anonymous said...

1] As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote long ago - anti-Zionism is just another form of anti-semitism. Denying the Jewish people the right to return thier ancient homeland, denying their right to self-recognition and to re-establish there political independence as of old is anti-semitism.

2] There was never an Arab state of Palestine nor historically a Palestinian people. The land was part of the Ottoman empire, before that the Mamaluke empire, etc. Never was there an independant state in the holy land besides the Jewish commonwealths. Therefore - Arabs cannot claim national rights in the holy land, only civil rights. Again - the Arab world turned down the opportunity to establish an additional Arab state in the holy land at least three times, because the goal is not another Arab state but the annihalation of the only (and tiny) Jewish state.

As it is, paradoxically, Israel is the only country in the middle east where Arabs have freedom of speech!

3] When you write 55 people were killed in the West Bank last year without mentioning they were terrorists who plan to kill women and children - you do a disservice to the truth. If indeed they would not plot to indiscriminately kill civilians - if they would lay down their weapons - then they would not have to fear for their lives.

4] I would like to remind the writers - until 1967, under Jordanian rule, the so-called west bank had no colleges, no newspapers, life expectancy was low and infant mortality high. All that changed for the better under Israeli rule. Also remember: the PLO was established in 1964 - before Israel ruled the west bank, before settlements, and the goal was to continue the work of Hitler whom the Arab world had identified with during WWII.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again dwelling in history and even ancient history - The "Ottoman Empire"! Are you kidding me!

It is key to "be here now". Yes, respect the past and try to learn from it but let it go. And yes, have an eye for the future. Be dwell in the present!

The "he started it" and "it was ours first" arguments haven't helped a damn thing in over 4,000 years... let the past go and there is a chance for peace - damn slim but a chance.


Lucy said...

What the commenter seems to be avoiding is recent history, far better to dwell on the safety of biblical and ancient history to avoid the more uncomfortable here and now which involves land grabs, illegal settlements, evictions and unlawful killings.
The line he/she is taking seems to be that Israel can take what they want, how they want, and the Palestinians can go hang.
Not helpful and the sort of arrogant attitude that has dominated for the past 60 years and has stoked bad feelings and deaths on all sides.
The onus is on Israel to make concessions as very much the senior party of the two otherwise this discussion will be continuing for another 60 years. What can the Palestinians offer? As i mentioned before, Fatah in the West Bank has bent over backwards to please Israel and the settlements, incursions and killings of innocents (not terrorists as you say, demonstrators mostly) continue.
Maybe that is what you want, within 60 years all of Palestine will be swallowed up by Israeli settlements and the problem will be no more.

Anonymous said...

(original anonymous)
By the way, Lucy, most of my original messages dwelled on recent history, not ancient history, and certainly not biblical history. Do you have that left wing malaise of not being able to actually read and relate to another's opinion??

Anonymous said...

(original anonymous)
The onus is on the Arab world to accept the existence of Israel as the Jewish state. They are the ones whom for over sixty years have started wars to drive the Jews into the sea. This is not ancient history.

The settlements are not illegal by international law. The land is not "occupied", as it was taken (in self-defense after Jordan opened war against Israel in 1967 - or is that ancient history?) from Jordan who had illegally annexed the west bank. The last legal occupier was the British mandate, which had been established to facilitate the esrablishment of the Jewish homeland.

Ever wonder why even though over 750,000 Jewish refugees fles Arab countries - none live in refugee camps today, whereas there are still Arab refugee camps? Ever wonder (did you know) that the UN had o define who a "palestinian" was for refugee sakes? I mean - if they're a people why the need to define? And did you know that the definition is anyone who had lived in the land for two years prior to 1948?? That means all the Arabs who were drawn to the land by Jewish developement of the land!

Do you really want to help? Pressure Arab states to liquidate the refugee camps and absorb the refugees in their lands. Stop using them as pawns against the only Jewish state.

Anonymous said...

And by the way - most of those killes were terrorists. To say demonstrator is to lie, plain and simple, arrogantly, and lies push off peace because they allow people to avoid the issues.

Anonymous said...

Recent history is just the doorway to ancient history. By the way, the past is as misrepresented and misunderstood as the future.

Having come from a family with 5 lawyers I can assure you that the past is as unknown as the future. Any lawyer can tell you that if you have 10 witnesses to a public event you will have 10 different versions of what happened, there are typically conflicts even when you use abstraction. Imagine what happens to the veiws if an event when people try to inject behind the scene data...

Deal with the moment and go forward. Drop the "recent history" crap too.


Lucy said...

I took your quote 'The land - belongs to the Jewish people' as a biblical reference. Hard to take it any other way really but as much as people with your viewpoint try to make it about religion and try to taint people with my viewpoint as being anti-semitic, it is nothing to do with Jews. It is about Israel as much as it is about England and not the Church of England if i rage against them.

If you see it in religous tones, and your constant use of the term Jews makes me think that you do, then we are on different pages. This is about Israel, a strong and powerful nation with a massive military capability, acting disgracefully and inhumanely towards a sub third world nation. If you cannot see that then i say you haven't been paying attention or your religious or pro-Israel fervour blinds you to what is going on.
I am the first to say that Palestine needs to stop firing the rockets and sending suicide bombers into Israel to kill innocent citizens as i have done many times here, that is equally as abhorrent, but Israel holds the key to stopping the violence. They are the ones controlling the situation, not Palestine.

Anonymous said...

(original anonymous)
Dear Lucy,

A) Take a good look at a globe' or a world map. See the countries in the middle east too small to write their names on their land? One is Lebanon, one is Israel. Do you really think Israel is a superpower? A large country? Compare Israel to the size og the Arab world - what do get? Compare the amount of oil and petrodollars ub the Arab world to Israel - what do you get?

B) Jews are a people who have a distinct culture. These people have a country called Israel. Do you accept or deny the right of political self-determination of the Jewish people? I understand from your words (and I may be mistaken)that you don't think the bible as relevant. But I had been alluding to the San Remo resolution giving "Palestine" to the British in a mandate to establish a Jewish homeland there. Also - the UN resolution calling for partition and establishing a Jewish state. That is what I meant by saying the land belongs to the Jews. The "west bank" (an odd term to use, as it was coined by that colonialist state called Jordan in order to express the illegal annexation of that part of the land) was taken by Israel, the Jewish state, in a war of self-defense in 1967. Not from "Palestine" - since there never was such a state - but from Jordan. Hence - the land belongs to the Jews.

C) Lucy, it seems clear to me that you are lacking knowledge of the facts, both of recent history and on the ground. I invite you to Israel, to the "west bank" settlements, and see exactly how much "land-grabbing" goes on. In Israel, as opposed to most Arab countries, there is an independent High Court of Justice that every NGO or individual even in the west bank can turn to for justice. When privately-owned land has been taken the High Court has in the past ordered demolishing of houses and return of the land. There just aren't many real cases of land grabbing. I live on a hilltop that was empty ownerless land.

D) I wish we were controlling the situation. But we brought the PLO here, gave the land and people to rule, and only more war has come of it. We left Gaza, uprooting our people and dismantling all our settlements, and have thousands of rockets in return. The ball is not in our court.

E) Why don't we first demand to see Arab leaders freeing their people from fear, tyranny, and want, by channeling funds to life instead of buying weapons and explosives?

Lucy said...

I never said Israel was a large country or a superpower. Strong and powerful were my words and it is.

If you live there then you HAVE to be aware of the expansion of settlements in the Palestinian West Bank, I can point you towards a 2006 leaked document from the Israeli Government that states that they plan to take 40 percent of the settlement land in the West Bank.

According to the Haaretz Newspaper quoting a Government report, about 75% of settlement construction has been carried out without the appropriate permits and more than 30 settlements have been built on private land belonging to Palestinian West Bank residents.
The wall was built deep insiode Palestinian land, taking even more land.

Now tell me again with a straight face that Israel is not grabbing land it has no right to grab. As a resident do you just ignore these details or are you not aware of them?

Anonymous said...

(original anonymous)


A) Israel is as strong and powerful as you say because it is a democracy that invests in the welfare of its citizens. When our neighbors do so then there will be peace in the middle east.

B) I will tell you with a straight face that I don't believe everything I read in the newspapers, as Churchill once said - that those who do not read newspapers are uninformed whereas those that do read newspapers are misinformed. I certainly wouldn't believe every spin coming from FoxNews about the left, so I advise you not to believe everything you read in Ha'Aretz, a far left wing newspaper, when they write about settlements.

C) The wall (which I oppose) is being built in order to save lives. Before there were suicide bombers tens of thousands of west bank Arabs worked freely in Israel. Since terrorism graduated from sniping and Molotov cocktails to frequent suicide bombings - most of these people have lost their work, travel is restricted, and the fence (only a very small portion is a wall) is going up. So the land "lost" is the price of crime, of terror. Even then - the High Court deals with every appeal against the fence.

D) I reiterate: your writings are premised on there being no legal right for Israel to settle in Judea and Samaria. This is a common mistake of those unaquinted intimately with international law. So land taken that does have private ownership is not land grabbed, anymore than land taken by Arabs and built upon without permits.

E) Many buildings in both sides off the Green Line lack all the permits. Most of these buildings are Arab built. Some lack a signature - and have kacked them for forty or fifty years, because of beaurocracy. That is our portion of Levantine life. They are not really illegal, unless someone (like Ha'Aretz) has a political agenda to call a club a spade.

F) There are very few cases of privately owned land used by Israel, and these cases - if they are legitimate - reach the High Court. There are many instances of illegal claim to land on the part of Arabs, based on parcelization done by the Jordanian government which was an illegal occupier. And there are the cases where land has been bought by Jews from Arabs, but these Arabs fear the death penalty under Jordanian and PLA law for selling land to Jews, so they suit the buyers to protect themselves.

G) As a resident I just happen to know better both sides to the story. If you want to learn about - you're invited.

Anonymous said...

in D) above it says:

"So land taken that does have private ownership"

Should say:
"So land taken that does not have private ownership"/

Stan said...

Anonymous (the original one) has brilliantly demolished the usual anti-Israeli propaganda arguments put forward by Lucy and her cohorts.

I would only add that land acquired as a result of a defensive war legally belongs to the victim of an invasion. Despite this Israel gave back land to Egypt and Jordan in return for being recognised as a Jewish state and even gave back land in Gaza and the Lebanon without any quid pro quo. Their reward as Anonymous pointed out was to have rockets fired at them from these lands. in these circumstances is it any wonder that the Israelis are reluctant to give back more land in the absence of recognition and demilitarisation.

Incidentally Netanyahu has now accepted a two-state solution, as his predecessors did. So much for that argument. The only party now standing out against such a solution is Hamas.