Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Screw-up, Second Round

Jackson Diehl at the Washington Post describes how Obama is running his Israel-Palestine act all wrong. Worse: he's refusing to learn from his mistakes, preferring to repeat them.

The facts of the case are not complicated. When Obama was elected there was a significant Israeli proposal on the table, which the Palestinians were studiously averting their faces from, pretending not to see. 15 months into Obama's term, the animosity on all sides is stratospheric, and the Palestinians and Israelis can't even find their way into the same room. Not all of this is because of American missteps - but most of it is.

Way to go!


Anonymous said...

Jackson Diehl's take on the Europeans might be wrong (I hope)
Merkel is about to visit Turkey and wants a privileged partnership while Erdogan insists on membership. Erdogan's most recent gaffe getting all up in a tiffy about two Swedish MPs with Turkish sounding names who enabled an Armenian Genocide vote along the line of once a Turk always a Turk have reinforced the "favourable" impression he created with his talk in Westfalenhalle in Germany which Marty Peretz at TNR is currently blogging about.

I guess that the Americans want the EU to take in Turkey - I also guess that the EU is less inclined to do it than ever - this might, it just might, create some solidarity with another country finding itself being pressured by the US into something it doesn't want to do because it isn't in its interest.

Silke (hoping that hoping is not a sin)

4infidels said...

If Obama was serious about seeing if the "peace-process" could be advanced, he would tell the Palestinians the following:

"Ok, you've rejected Israeli offers of a Palestinian state in 2000, 2001 and 2008. It is your turn to offer a peace plan that doesn't include flooding Israel with so-called refugees or any other proposal that would mean the end of Israel if they accepted."

But Obama's main goal is to keep the illusion alive that he can bring peace to the Middle East through his own wonderfulness. If the Palestinians are never given the opportunity to openly shoot down the American president, then the peace-process lives and Obama can preen in front of the world as the man with the "good intentions" of solving the "world's most intractable conflict" that would shrink Israel, bring justice to the Palestinians and allow the whole world to live in peace...or some such nonsense.

The Palestinians are Obama's mythical victims of the highest rank and he won't do anything that would call that status into question by giving the Palestinians an opportunity to take accountability for their own destiny. In order to remain victims, they have to be perceived as living at the mercy of more powerful actors. So it will always fall on Israel to make the concessions and take the blame. Because in ObamaWorld, the script is already written and both sides have already been put in their roles, and the Palestinian role is never that of bad guy.

Obama has several times made the Orwellian, but what I see as highly-offensive comment that "I (Obama) believe there are those in Israel who genuinely want peace," as though Israel hasn't given up land, made peace treaties with its neighbors and elected several governments that were committed to negotiating an end to the conflict and a Palestinian state. Only someone hostile to Israel could make such a comment. Obama can't be openly anti-semitic or anti-Israel, so the problem is redefined as "settlements" or "Lukid" or "right-wing fanatics" or those that think "Israel can do no wrong." Meanwhile, Abbas is a wonderful man-of-peace who would live side-by-side in harmony with Israel if only he didn't "have Hamas looking over his shoulder."

4infidels said...

If Obama had an ounce of human decency, if he really cared about being a "peacemaker," he would have spoken out after the Palestinians began rioting, saying that no one should take his condemnation of Israel as an excuse for violence, and if the Palestinians continue this, they will get no help from the U.S.

If he was against "settlements" and Israel building in "East" Jerusalem, but really meant the words his subordinates occasionally mouth about our unbreakable friendship with Israel, he would have appeared publicly with Bibi yesterday, stepped to the microphone and said that while we disagree over "East" Jerusalem, our alliance is as strong as ever. He didn't because it isn't and he doesn't want it to be. He hates Israel, as we've know for years.

During the transition, when Israel was fighting in Gaza and anti-Semitism was on display throughout Europe and even at pro-Hamas demonstrations in the U.S., Obama--as an internationally popular President-elect--could have made a statement encouraging some of his supporters in the media and on the left to back off from the vile atmosphere they were helping to inflame. Instead, he took the coward way out and said that the U.S. has only one President and he supports him.

Yet he did make a comment about concern for civilian casualties on both sides, which everyone could read between the lines to know that meant concern about people in Gaza, not support for an ally who was fighting to protect its civilians from rocket attack.

NormanF said...

Obama should have accepted the Israeli apology two weeks ago, said we have a disagreement about Jerusalem and moved on. Instead, he's acted like a child with a bad temper tantrum who is enraged Israel didn't give into his demands.

What has followed his entirely his fault and he's unable to accept responsibility for his actions. Israel can't resuscitate peace talks all on its own and in that respect the absence of American pressure on the Palestinians to sit down and talk to Israel ensures they will remain stillborn.

That's why we won't hear talk of "testing" Abu Bluff's commitment to peace.

Sergio said...

In a ridiculous "doha-debate" on BBC last week, between 2 PLO and 2 Hamas gangsters, there was a question adressed to the old guard PLO-guy (don't remember his name, a bald glass wearing fellow which appears frequently on the media). It complained that the PLO had achieved nothing in the last 40 years or so (implying that the Hamas way was better). The fellow angrily replied that they did achieve something: they convinced the world that the "palestian issue" is the most important conflict in the world!

He's quite correct, an amazing feat of propaganda, swallowed wholesale by a pusilanimous europe and, so it seems, by the Obamites too.



Anonymous said...

Noah Pollack has Andrew Sullivan's comment on Jackson Diehl - how fast it gets ugly - frightens me

I have some hope that Palestinian strutting combined with Obama's "snubbing" will return Israel to its rightful status of besieged and thus lovable UnderDog
Also all those wo were indoctrinated by the SU to find fault with everything the US does might, just might, forget their hostile Israel feelings for a while and side with her.

“Israel is digging itself into a hole that it will have to climb out of if it is serious about peace,” Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said.

Shalom, Cherry Hill said...

I can't decide if I should take any comfort from how Obama has also screwed Honduras over their election, failed to support the UK regarding the Falklands, rebuffed the Eastern Europeans re the missiles, and continued to insult Colombia and South Korea by not pushing to ratify our trade agreements with them? At least it isn't JUST us that his ignorant, shallow, petulent, egocentric narcissistic incompetence is harming.