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View Diary: Breaking:  US/France/Egypt to Present Mideast Peace Plan (154 comments)

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  •  As a daily reader of Haaretz Online (11+ / 0-)

    I consider it a left-of-center paper. Their columnists aren't all from the left, but their editorials are generally left of center - favoring military campaigns they consider necessary for national defense but condemning indiscriminate use of force; consistently in support of moves for peace with Palestine and other Arab neighbors; occupying approximately the same position as the left-wing Meretz party, in standing for a liberal, anti-racist, non-discriminatory brand of Zionism; and also on the secular side of the Orthodox/secular debate (which cuts across the left/right security and economic divides in Israeli politics). They're certainly not a Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) paper, but I would say that they are somewhat to the left of both today's Labor and Kadima.

    I'm not sure why this plan would be likely to succeed, for two obvious reasons:

    (1) Netanyahu and his government are already getting hammered hard by extremist settlers in the West Bank who are violently opposing even the incomplete freeze on construction the government is trying to impose. If you read Haaretz reports on recent actions by violent settlers and change a few words, some of their riots sound like the First Intifada. If Netanyahu goes much further, his coalition will break up and he will have to admit Kadima into the coalition, which will cause him to lose a lot of face and power.

    (2) Mahmoud Abbas and Al Fatah cannot successfully negotiate a peace agreement and enforce it. Either Hamas has to be involved in the negotiations or Israel has to release a potentially unifying radical non-rejectionist - Marwan Barghouti - and produce an agreement he will sign off on and proudly proclaim as a victory for Palestine.

    Haaretz has reported recently that Barghouti is among the prisoners Hamas has demanded Israel release in exchange for the release of the captive Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. I certainly favor his release as potentially beneficial and possibly necessary for a peace agreement but am unsure how quickly he would want to come to an agreement with Israel after a few years' imprisonment and know that he will always drive a hard bargain (as well he should). I think it would be important for Barghouti to win a Presidential election first.

    •  Great comment, counterpoints: (3+ / 0-)
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      pixxer, yaque, MichaelNY
      1.  Internationally, Israel is up shit's creek if they come out as opposing this.  
      1.  The flip side to your comments about Abbas's political situation is that he needs to show results for his nonconfrontational strategy towards Israel.  If he gets legit disengagement from the rest of the west bank plus territorial concessions, he'll have been more of a success than Arafat.
      1.  Why deal Hamas in at all?  They have 100% of Gaza, there's no territory dispute whatsoever, and nobody's in a hurry to start a fight there.  I mean, politically, it makes sense to be seen as making overtures to them to participate.. but if they're totally rejectionist?  What do they have as a stick, more rockets?
      1.  Totally agree RE: Barghouti.
      •  The problem with Hamas is (2+ / 0-)
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        pixxer, yaque

        they have weapons. They will probably go to war immediately if this proposal gets close to having a chance.

        All my IP addresses have been banned from

        by charliehall on Tue Dec 15, 2009 at 11:05:07 PM PST

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        •  Ehhh maybe but it's not quite that easy (2+ / 0-)
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          yaque, MichaelNY

          If they had a chance to derail things without getting into full-out conflict, ok, they'll probably do a couple small things to try and do that.

          Full-on war?  Didn't work out too well for them the last time.  If things can advance to a point where Israel's withdrawing from the West Bank as Hamas is trying to escalate, it really won't work out well for them this time, in terms of politics, the good of their citizenry (which they ARE extremely motivated by) and their own personal hides.  They're smart enough to know that.

        •  Charlie, they aren't using those weapons and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Narrative

          didn't even before Cast Lead.  I mean why not at the very least call their bluff as a policy direction, if that is the way you feel?  Why not explore the effects of encouragement to moderate as opposed to binary, zero-sum opposition and radicalization?  What possible downside is there?

          Is it because they've done bad acts in the past?  Well, so has Israel, and the chicken/egg argument is an obfuscation.  There is opportunity now.

          "I'm mean in the East, mean in the West. Mean to the people that I like best. ... I push folks down, and I cause train wrecks." Woody Guthrie

          by Terra Mystica on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:04:02 AM PST

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      •  Gaza is part of Palestine (2+ / 0-)
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        8ackgr0und N015e, yaque

        I don't see how it's likely that Israel would agree to withdraw from the Jordan Valley, a whole bunch of West Bank settlements, and even most of East Jerusalem, in exchange for only a separate peace with a rump West Bank-only Palestine, especially when there's a significant likelihood that Hamas could win elections, take over Palestine, abrogate the treaty, and start attacking Israel from East Jerusalem and other parts of the territory Jordan used to rocket them from before 1967.

        Another wrinkle is that I believe some recognized Islamic religious authorities will have to bless Jewish rule over part of Jerusalem if there is to be any hope of worldwide Muslim recognition of Israel. And all that is very hard, after all the crap that Israel has done and continues to the Palestinians and even its own Arab citizens, plus the feeling of humiliation many Arabs and Muslims feel from their defeat by Jews.

        One thing that's essential is that any peace agreement be sufficient to restore Arab pride. I'm not sure how the negotiators can get there, and it can't be through more statements like these and others excerpted in this diary.

        Somehow, an agreement that leaves Israel standing has to also restore Arab pride and sufficiently slake both sides' thirst for justice. Can that circle be squared?

    •  Hamas has just made it clear (2+ / 0-)
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      yaque, MichaelNY

      they aren't interested. There is a current diary about this:

      What do we do about these thugs?

      All my IP addresses have been banned from

      by charliehall on Tue Dec 15, 2009 at 11:03:39 PM PST

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      •  Have Abbas negotiate an end to the blockade (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        yaque, MichaelNY

        as part of the negotiations, and give him all the credit.

        Then continue to ignore them unless they go batshit with the rocket launching again.  At that point, it's a declaration of war from a 100% sovereign independent state, and it will come to a brutal, tragic but at least fast conclusion.

        •  Where do you get that Gaza would be (1+ / 0-)
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          a 100% sovereign independent state?

          •  De facto (1+ / 0-)
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            If they control their own borders,  the blockade's ended and Israel's negotiated a final settlement regarding the West Bank, I don't see how they can claim to still be under occupation..  what would be under occupation?

            •  Hamas considers ANY Israel presence any where in (0+ / 0-)

              Mandate Palestine is occupation of it all. except they always term it/them as Zionists – so they can say we are not prejudice against Jews, just those that are Zionist.

              They will allow Jews to live in Hamasustan if they came before 1919.  Of course that doesn't include the 800k + Jews who were stripped of their belongings and expelled from all the Arab countries where most had lived for centuries. (Incidentally, the only neighboring country who did not expel its Jews was Iran. It is a pity that they can't be friendlier.)

              I just hope the most recent bravura performance by Hamas is a prelude to a major change to a saner policy. It sometimes goes that way.

              We are in a time where it is risky NOT to change. Barack Obama 7-30-08

              by samddobermann on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 12:31:05 AM PST

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      •  OK (1+ / 0-)
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        Terra Mystica

        The obvious answer is to concede to some of their moderate demands with relation to the blockade. Hamas's popularity is Israel's problem, addressing that rather than Hamas itself would diminish their effectiveness and would do something to reverse the radicalizing effect of an increasingly desperate Gazan population.

        •  Why not open the border with Egypt? (0+ / 0-)

          What other country is made to open its border to a sworn enemy?  

          You can't just let civilians through and exclude potential troublemakers. Hamas prides itself as being "of the people."

          I feel for the Gazans but they and only they have the power to make changes.

          We are in a time where it is risky NOT to change. Barack Obama 7-30-08

          by samddobermann on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 01:12:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Which is by the way (0+ / 0-)

        Stanley McChristal's approach to Afganistan, or should the U.S. be starving Afghans of basic resources to coerce them into supporting its presence?

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