Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tactic or Strategy?

Barak Ravid reports that the Obama administration is seeking a 4-month building freeze in East Jerusalem, in return for direct talks between Israel and the PA, rather than the silly proximity talks that had or had not been about to start.

If it's a tactic, I'm in favor. Four months isn't very long, and in real talks it will take less than that to demonstrate that the Palestinians have no interest in reaching an agreement, which is the fundamental fact of the matter. (Though it would also allow them the opportunity of proving us wrong, which would be great).

However, Ravid's report also includes this
Haaretz reported on Monday that the U.S. administration had further demands regarding East Jerusalem including the reopening of a Palestinian commercial office there, as well as an end to both the razing of Palestinian homes and the evacuation of Palestinians from their homes.
No homes have been razed for many months, so that demand smacks of the "when did you last beat your wife" trick, except that municipalities enforcing zoning laws are not quite as pernicious as beating one's wife. The reopening of a Palestinian office in Jerusalem, however, is the exact opposite of a freeze. In a freeze everything stops so as to allow negotiators to examine the issue calmly. Opening Palestinian offices where they currently aren't is precisely the opposite.

This raises the issue of the American agenda. If it's getting talks started once again, so as to see where they lead, that's one thing. If it's to force the Palestinian agenda on Israel, that's another matter.


4infidels said...

Obama and his advisors seem to believe that all land over the '67 border is illegally occupied and that Israel's legal, moral and historic claims are baseless and offensive. They also seem to believe that justice demands all land over the '67 border be turned over to the Palestinians.

Thus in ObamaWorld, a Palestinian home--regardless of where it is built, or in violation of what laws it was constructed--can never be illegal since all of "East" Jerusalem rightfully belongs to the Palestinians anyway. And bringing a Palestinian commercial office into "East" Jerusalem doesn't bias a potential agreement, it is completely consistent with what this administration believes is the outcome that is both just and in the interests of the US, the region and world peace.

That is my psychological assessment of Obama. Of course, I have no training or expertise in psychology. But Obama, Axelrod and company have no training or expertise regarding the Middle East, just platitudes, sentiments and biases passed as accepted wisdom and common sense among their friends and colleagues in every circle in which they have moved.

This Is Hell said...

Obama most likely believes that the existence of Israel at all, is, at best an historical inconvenience that should, in the long run, disappear. He is so rabid on this point because it happens to intersect with his political view that this would be a good thing to happen in light of his embrace of the Muslim world, anyway.

Anonymous said...

and asking the Israelis for yet another concession is not appeasement?

"Event at London Mosque Calls for Third Intifada"

Sylvia said...

"the reopening of a Palestinian commercial office"

He is probably referring to Orient House, which was billed as a cultural center but was in fact Arafat's Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem and was involved hand and foot in the second intifada, and for that reason it was closed by the Israelis.

NormanF said...

Had the Administration asked nicely, most Israelis might have agreed to a 4 month freeze in "east" Jerusalem.

But no one in Israel trusts this Administration to keep any promises to Israel. Where is Israel's benefit if it should make this huge concession on Jerusalem? Israel has not been rewarded for its huge concession on Yesha - just the exact opposite.

Israel needs to say "NO" to land for peace and on dividing Jerusalem which is bound to lead to the beginning of the end of the Jewish State. No good can come of Israel strengthening a virulently anti-Israel American President.

Anonymous said...

Agreeing to a 4 month building freeze in Jerusalem is a profound threat to Israel’s sovereignty and chances of survival since it legitimizes Obama’s implicit assertion that Israel has no legal or moral claim to Jerusalem, not even to neighborhoods like Ramot, Gilo and in the future French Hill, Ramat Eshkol and the like. I very much hope that, given the history of the Jews, Israelis can recognize Obama for who he is, a true believer in the anti-Israel ideologies that are dominant in American academia and which are a significant threat to the Jewish people. He represents a very real and grave danger to Israel and its legitimacy in the eyes of the world. Having worked in academia in the US for many years, I am familiar with Obama’s type of Israel/Jew hatred and the deep and fanatic dedication to the “Palestinian cause” which he will further by any means. For now, I believe, he is trying to delegitimize Israel and prepare the way for his own goals.