Friday, June 26, 2009

Israeli Concessions, American Ones, and no Palestinian Ones

The New York Times has a reasonable article about the steps Israel is taking to improve conditions for the Palestinians on the West Bank. Reasonable, in that at least the article doesn't pretend it all happened because of Obama. No more than reasonable, however, because the article somehow manages not to mention the efforts of the Bush administration, personified by General Dayton, who has been mentoring the PA security forces for quite some time and who must bear at least some credit for their growing abilities; without that happening Israel wouldn't be lifting its own hand.

The part I most liked was this:
But Palestinian officials said that the Israeli measures did not go far enough. The prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad, told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Thursday that they did not meet Palestinian expectations, and that “what is required is a full cessation of military raids in Palestinian Authority areas.”

It was always thus: Israel doesn't meet Palestinian expectations.

At the bottom of the NYT piece is a link to Elliot Abram's op-ed at the Wall Street Journal. According to Abrams, who was there, the Bush administration did reach understandings with Sharon's government recognizing that the largest settlements near the border would remain in Israel (implying there might be land swaps for them). Abrams thereby contradicts Hillary Clinton who says such understandings never happened.

What surprises me about the whole issue is the assumption - nay, certainty - that no-one's keeping track so people, even the American Secretary of State, can say whatever they wish because no-one knows enough to call them on their fibs. I mean, we're talking about 2004-2005, not the twelfth century. The day before yesterday. Some of us are old enough to remember what was happening four years ago, and we don't need Elliot Abrams to write in the newspapers to know that Hillary Clinton is not telling the truth, unless it might be in some lawyerly-hairsplitting meaning.

The funny part, of course, is that Hillary's husband Bill, once President of the United States, had the same position when on December 24th 2000 he dictated his terms of peace to the Palestinians and Israelis: That the large settlements near the border stay put. Buy hey, that was a very very long time ago, almost nine years, and it's too much to expect that anyone know facts that old.

Predictably, the folks from the Palestinians-are-always-right brigade are linking to a rebuttal of Abrams. It's over here, should you be interested. It left me unconvinced, but maybe you'll be swayed. In any case, the key point to remember is the distinction between outposts and far-flung settlements, on the one hand, and large settlements near the line, on the other. The first two ultimately have no future as even Netanyahu's government implicitely admits; the second type will never be dismantled, as even the people of the Geneva Accord recognized in writing. How President Obam and Secretay Clinton, two highly intelligent people, have managed to lose sight of this, I cannot say.


Unknown said...

My friend, as your book so eloquently demonstrates, the lack of peace in Israel is the result of the Palestinian's refusal to recognize the Jews' right to live there. It would seem to me that a Palestinian people truly desirous of living side by side in peace would not mind a few far flung Israeli settlements in their midst. Or to put it another way, the demand that any future Palestinian state be completely judenrein is probably the best indication that the Palestinians are not ready to make peace.

Anonymous said...

how they managed to lose sight?
Easy -
if you are in need of some high fallutin sorry uplfting language you turn the blind eye
other than that I liked the Palestinian coinage "Israel does not meet expectations" and am dreaming of Israel expressing her concerns the same way. Somehow I cannot imagine to hear:
The Palestinians do not meet our expectations

Wouldn't the response be:
For crying out loud who do those affiliated to the"imperialists" think they are that they dare to judge us - us who have acquired eternal victimhood and thus are the only ones entitled to have expectations.
Jon Stewart by the way on June 25 has a nice list of Obama's freshly turned blind eyes.
rgds, Silke

joseph said...

Dr. Lozowick,

I would like to second Maddux314. It seems to me that a reasonable response from the Palestinians would be that inhabitants of the West Bank can pray to whom they want but that they had to pay their taxes and obey the laws.