Friday, March 19, 2010

Poignant reflection on US MidEast Policy

Biden's Failed Mission -Mitchell Bard

[T]he administration sent Vice President Joseph Biden to Jerusalem to convince Israelis they have a friend in the White House, but Biden couldn't stick to the script and managed to reinforce their fears rather than reassure them.

If Biden really wanted to do something for the Palestinians, he would not feed their latest tantrum. Instead, he should point out to Abbas that the longer he waits to negotiate an agreement with Israel, the more Jews will be living in the areas he wants and the less land he will get in the end.

Had Jimmy Carter said this to Yasser Arafat 30 years ago when 12,000 Jews lived in the West Bank, the conflict might have been resolved. Now, nearly 300,000 Jews live in that same area. Whose side is time really on?
(Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles)

The Settlements Aren't the Problem -Bret Stephens

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn't territorial. It's existential.

Israelis are now broadly prepared to live with a Palestinian state along their borders. Palestinians are not yet willing to live with a Jewish state along theirs. That should help explain why it is that in the past decade, two Israeli prime ministers - Ehud Barak in 2000 and Ehud Olmert in 2008 - have put forward comprehensive peace offers to the Palestinians, and have twice been rebuffed.

Then there is the test case of Gaza. When Israel withdrew all of its settlements from the Strip in 2005, it was supposed to be an opportunity for Palestinians to demonstrate what they would do with a state if they got one. Instead, they quickly turned it into an Iranian-backed Hamas enclave that for nearly three years launched nonstop rocket and mortar barrages against Israeli civilians.

The sad fact is that the most important thing Israel's withdrawal from Gaza accomplished was to expose the fanatical irredentism that still lies at the heart of the Palestinian movement.

Israel withdrew from Gaza with assurances from the Bush administration that the U.S. would not insist on a return to the 1967 borders in brokering any future deal with the Palestinians. But Hillary Clinton reneged on that commitment last year, and now the administration is going out of its way to provoke a diplomatic crisis with Israel over a construction project that is plainly in keeping with past U.S. undertakings.

In the past decade, Israelis have learned that neither Palestinians nor Europeans can be taken at their word. That's a lesson they may soon begin to draw about the U.S. as well.
(Wall Street Journal)


LHwrites said...

Not an unreasonable opinion. While I think construction should be halted at the moment so as not to fuel the flames, I do agree that the settlements are not the issue, and history has shown that so far, the Palestinians are not serious about peace. The building in the settlements just reminds everyone that there are some areas that will not be compromised by Israel, and I think the US would like to keep open the appearance that nothing is completely off the table. I am not saying it is right, but it is the way they want to handle it. I do not think halting the building for a while will harm Israel. It might help continue to expose the real unwillingness of the Palestinians, at this time, to make peace.

Bruce said...

However, halting any construction in Jerusalem has a few other problems:
1. It sets a very bad precedent
2. It's another major concession even before there is a negotiating table
3. There is no reciprocation from the PA.

Generally, negotiation belongs @ a negotiating table. All these political posturings do is move the bar to the Palestinian side before they've done a darn thing.

President Obama appears to be negotiating for the PA. This is very dangerous...and foolish. The Arab riots this past week can be attributed to Obama's pouring fuel on their fire.