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In the next four years there is going to be a permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it doesn't matter to us at all who is prime minister.

That's Rahm Emanuel, allegedly speaking to an unnamed Jewish leader in Washington. (As the person who supposedly heard this has not identified him- or herself, it's not safe to say yet whether this statement was actually made.) I had hoped that Obama had tapped Emanuel for the purpose of being his pit-bull with regard to the likelihood of a right-wing government emerging in Israel that is opposed to a two-state solution. It appears that he may have done exactly that.

Naturally, the response of the Israeli government and the right wing in particular has been less than positive. Most notable was the reaction of Ya'akov "Ketzele" Katz, head of the ultra-far-right National Union Knesset faction, which is currently sitting in the opposition but has not ruled out in principle the idea of joining Netanyahu's government.

Katz wrote a letter to Emanuel in which he wrote, among other things, this:

For many Israelis, this report [i.e., Emanuel's statement about a two-state solution] is a cause for worry because it reveals a condescending attitude toward our prime minister and Israeli public opinion. This is an attitude that Israel does not expect from a real friend such as the US, and all the more so from an Israeli Jew who has succeeded in being appointed White House chief-of-staff

Katz went on to compare Emanuel to the biblical Esther, who was wife to the King of Persia and, in this position, was able to prevent a genocide against Persian Jews. He also reminded Emanuel that he (Emanuel) is Jewish and has Israeli roots. As if Rahm Emanuel were somehow to forgot either thing.

The word chutzpah comes to mind when considering Katz's letter to Emanuel. Katz's endeavors in the Palestinian Territories (he helped found one of the larger settlements in the northern West Bank and has stated that he would like to see Gaza re-occupied by the Israelis) have been largely funded by the largesse given to Israel by the United States. As can be seen here (PDF file), the only nation to receive more military aid from the U.S. during the period 2000 to 2006 was Iraq, a country in which we have been waging a war. Notably, Afghanistan received less aid that Israel, and the fourth country on the list, El Salvador, received slightly more than half of what Israel received.

Yes, I know: U.S. aid to Israel is a major point of many anti-Semites who cloak their hatred of Jews in anti-Zionism. It doesn't fool me, and I doubt it fools anyone reading this diary. But that anti-Semites focus so heavily on U.S. aid to Israel doesn't mean it doesn't exist and doesn't mean that it shouldn't come with strings attached. When President George H.W. Bush tried to tie $10 billion in aid to Yitzhak Shamir's government in the aftermath of the first Persian Gulf War to a settlement freeze, Shamir had the nerve to accuse President Bush of anti-Semitism, and he was way out of line. Katz hasn't gone so far (yet) to call Emanuel a "self-hating Jew," although I'm sure he or one of his colleagues on the lunatic fringe in Israel has that bullet already in the chamber. But he's just as out of line as Shamir was back in the early '90s.

It is not inherently a problem that the U.S. gives Israel a lot of foreign aid. It is a problem, however, when Israel uses that money and continues to go against American foreign policy in the process. And American foreign policy has been clear on the issue of a two-state solution (even the watered-down, neutered-Palestinian-state solution) since the first George W. Bush administration. The Israelis cannot have expected that the election of a Democrat as President would have made that policy more rather than less conservative. The last two Democrats before Obama brought about Camp David and hosted Oslo.

But I digress. Here's why Katz is wrong to have addressed Emanuel in such a manner.

  1. It's condescending. Katz has a fine military record for a religious Jew in Israel. He headed a commando unit and was wounded permanently in the 1973 war. But Emanuel himself volunteered to assist the IDF as a civilian during the First Persian Gulf War. And Emanuel's father? He helped build the state that Katz currently believes that keeping the Palestinian Territories will protect.
  2. It raises issues that are irrelevant. It is wholly irrelevant that Rahm Emanuel is Jewish. There are plenty of Jewish people that support a two-state solution and oppose the radical-right politics of people like Katz
  3. It tosses out a red herring. This red herring is contained in the Esther comparison, which would suggest that Emanuel has the responsibility to prevent Israel from negotiating a settlement with the Palestinians, or else there will be a genocide against the Jewish people. Now, it's true that (at least in some reports), Emanuel and/or Obama have linked an attack of some kind on Iran to Israel negotiating a final status agreement with the Palestinians. While I don't particularly buy the idea that Iran poses an existential threat to Israel (and other diaries of mine have mentioned this), the Palestinians pose no existential threat to Israel whatsoever. If anything was made abundantly clear by Israel's conflict with Hamas over the winter, it's that Israel could decimate the Palestinians if it so chose.
  4. It ignores that U.S. aid funds Israel. Yeah, I made this point already, but it bears repeating. It is time that our aid to Israel come with real strings attached. Israel will not collapse if the U.S. were to suspend or cease our aid to Israel. Rather, Israel would have to reconsider its policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians and its other neighbors. Obama is offering Israel both: continuing aid and support in exchange for dealing responsibly with the Palestinian issue.

Of course, all of this is academic if an honest broker does not emerge on the Palestinian side. But I think we can surmise with reasonable surety that Obama will push Netanyahu on the two-state solution. There is only so much that Netanyahu can do to push back and not take enormous political risks.

This will be interesting to watch.

Originally posted to aemathisphd on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:59 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Katz is about as relevant as Ron Paul (11+ / 0-)

    As I wrote in the diary about this yesterday, his party has just 3% of the seats in the Knesset.  He's on the far right fringe of Israeli politics; he's not someone to be taken seriously.

  •  Rahm's right. n/t (7+ / 0-)

    "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

    by JNEREBEL on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:10:07 AM PDT

  •  I keep hoping (11+ / 0-)

    For some sort of news out of that conflict that will give me any reason at all for even a shred of optimism.
    We now have one of the most right wing governments in Isreal in years, and the prospects of the palestinians electing Hamas as their official government only increased after the Israeli invasion of Gaza.
    It's hard to see an honest attempt at a workable two state solution from either of the two major parties involved.
    Rahm can make all sorts of statements, but saying there will be a two state solution in place in 4 years won't make it so.
    In other words I'm still waiting for that glimmer of optimism.

  •  This is the best I/P Diary I have read (15+ / 0-)

    I am a strong supporter of Israel remaining a Jewish State.  Many of Israel's policies I believe will harm it.  When a friend is walking of a cliff, you stop him.  You don't cheer him on.

  •  That's the beauty of having a few (6+ / 0-)

    not-so-progressive hard-asses on the team, like Emanuel on Israeli matters or HRC on foreign policy generally.  Someone relatively invulnerable to the "wimpy Dems" meme actually has a bit more room for diplomacy.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:23:31 AM PDT

    •  Why can't progressives be hardasses? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      capelza, DoGooderLawyer, lgmcp, soms

      One is personality; the other is politics. Rahm I think would be Rahm no matter where he was on the political spectrum - it's just a part of who he is.

      This is a lazy stereotype of the Left, and one that we buy into just as often. The people pushing it are the High Broderists and their acolytes who believe in moderatism and compromise for their own sakes, as well as the hard right that would prefer to simply kill everyone who won't submit and think less of us because we don't want to also.

      Domestic politics is civil war continued by other means, and whatever our ultimate goals may be, progressives need to realize that and look to all-hardball-all-the-time people like Rahm as a model for how to get to that point.

      •  Personality vs politics (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza, RobbyMcP, Visceral

        is a good point.  Yet hardasses prosper most with a large coalition behind them no matter how much we decry High Brodersism (great phrase).  Presumbably an Emma Goldman or a Mother Jones was every bit the hardass that a Rahm Emanuel or a Maggie Thatcher can claim.  Operating outside, rather than inside, the halls of power, is the difference.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:53:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  inside & outside the halls of power, yes (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          capelza, lgmcp, soms
          But that's less an issue of coalition than people holding the same views fighting on multiple fronts - gain control of the government but also attack the churches and the corporations directly.

          Working with people who believe as we do on a particular issue but don't on others - a coalition - is a good tactic for winning legislative battles, but to win the war we have to bring them around to our way of thinking.

  •  How long before we have a post (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DoGooderLawyer, Karmafish, volleyboy1

    calling for one-state solution and declaring the two-state dead?

    "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

    by JNEREBEL on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:30:14 AM PDT

    •  Israel would never accept one-state (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dufffbeer, Karmafish, volleyboy1

      let Jews become a minority in their own country?  Doubtful.

      They'd give the occupied territories independence long before that.

      •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

        If Israel annexed the West Bank, and granted full citizenship to all the residents there, Jews would still be a large majority.

        Even if it also annexed Gaza (which even the Israeli right probably doesn't want any more), Jews would STILL be a majority.

        The problem is that still leaves a million Palestinians in Lebanon and Syria with no civil rights. Could we then turn our attention to those countries?

        All my IP addresses have been banned from

        by charliehall on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 12:07:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting that it comes from Rahm (10+ / 0-)

    Who was widely condemned in these parts as being too pro-Israel, as being a tool of AIPAC, etc. etc.  And yet here he is, apparently putting the hammer on Netanyahu and anyone else that thinks stalling is going to be an effective policy.

    In loving memory: Sophie, June 1, 1993-January 17, 2005. My huckleberry friend.

    by Paul in Berkeley on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:32:49 AM PDT

  •  Against many people around me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, soms, volleyboy1

    I have argued since the announcement that Rahm as CoS was a good thing for Obama. He was good for domestic politics, and he's good for the I/P issue. I think this will continue to work well.

    You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

    by FrankCornish on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:57:04 AM PDT

  •  CNN (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BP in NJ
    reports that the mid-east leaders have been invited to a peace conference in Washington.

    Why do we think we can solve this crisis?  We have unemployment going to 10% and higher, our banks in the toilet, and we think we have the bandwidth to solve this crisis?

    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

    by fladem on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:57:57 AM PDT

    •  Yep (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      capelza, RobbyMcP, zemblan, soms

      Obama is not some one trick pony. See unlike the morons in the Bush administration he gets that government is any number of things. His international moves help around here because as the recession / depression possibly goes deeper he won't have to worry about things overseas as much.

      Obama knows that a good president handles numerous issues at once. And guess what - Obama is turning into a great president not just a good one.

    •  Penny wise and pound foolish? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      capelza, corvo, soms, volleyboy1
      The I/P conflict is a driver for massive anti-Americanism throughout the Mid-East, where, as you know, the oil is.  Progress towards peace there could save the USA a bundle of dollars.  

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 12:05:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  awesome diary, thanks (n/t) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    batgirl71, soms, volleyboy1

    It is not upon you to finish the Work, but neither shall you, O child of freedom, refrain from it.

    by DoGooderLawyer on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:58:55 AM PDT

  •  As an American Jew who is a strong supporter (0+ / 0-)

    of Israel...

    I am offended when the leader of a small opposition party uses that kind of language in addressing my fellow religious Jew who holds a high position in the government.

    I am the kind of person who is supposed to be naturally favorable to NU. They lost me on this one -- big time.

    All my IP addresses have been banned from

    by charliehall on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 12:10:21 PM PDT

  •  Now for tonight's errors. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Let's start with the 10$ billion in the early 90's.  It wasn't aid.  It was loan guarantees.  And, since Israel has never defaulted on a loan, not a single penny was ever paid by the US.  Also, the guarantees were conditioned on the money not being spent in the territories, and that stipulation has continued through every President since.  So, Shamir's statements didn't exactly have much effect.

  •  You say Katz is in a small opposition party (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Partially Impartial
    yet treat his extremism as a major issue.

    I wonder if bloggers in Israel are obsessing about the latest outrageous comments by Ron Paul and Ralph Nader.

  •  I'm Jewish. I support the State of Israel. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattman, capelza, BaconNotPork
    That being said, I don't hear the Voice of God commanding me to put Israel's interests before America's.  I am an American first and foremost, and though I strongly support our close ally, when they try to bribe and threaten our legislators I draw the line.  Harman ought to resign because her behavior gives the appearance that she was selling out our country for a couple of AIPAC goons.  

    AIPAC itself ought to go away in order to give Ahmedhitlerjad one less talking point.

    •  Remember that this was not the government (0+ / 0-)

      of Israel but the leader of a small opposition party. If, say, Avigdor Lieberman had said something like this it would be a much bigger deal.

      All my IP addresses have been banned from

      by charliehall on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 12:42:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lieberman feels it... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ... and so does Bibi. They just have more tact.

        Kahane, during his time, represented what many Israeli politicians felt but would never say. That's why he drove them so crazy.

        •  I don't think so (0+ / 0-)

          Katz was basically accusing RE of being insufficiently religious. Lieberman would never do that as he is quite anti-religious. (He will probably make some other kind of offensive comment given his past record, but it won't be like this one.)

          And Kahane was viewed both as an embarrassment and as someone who distorted religious Judaism. IIRC, Menachem Begin publicly called him a racist.

          All my IP addresses have been banned from

          by charliehall on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 12:49:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Begin was an immense racist (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Kahane was just vocal.

            •  You are wrong on this ae (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              capelza, unfounded

              Kahne was a bigoted asshole who actually did not represent mainstream politicians not even Likudniks. Sorry but, that is a fact. I have first hand knowledge. Even Geula Cohen (founder of Tehiya and certainly no progressive) had a distate for Kach. How do I know this: She told me to my face.

              Kahne and his followers are like a pee stain on someones pants - even if you try to hide it, it still smells (I have little kids hence the analogy). They are an embarrasement to Israel, and to Judaism.

              •  OK, I'll take Geula Cohen's word... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                ... over my own assessments.

                •  You should take your assessment above (0+ / 0-)

                  a persons own word or above someone who was there. That makes good sense......

                  I mean what the hell do these people know about their own minds anyway. Holy shit - now that I know you can read minds.....

                  •  I wasn't being smug... (0+ / 0-)

                    ... seriously

                    •  I am just saying (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      I know for a fact that Kahne was not that little voice in people's heads - he disgusted people. Look I mean, Geula Cohen is not my favorite politician in the world (Being very understated here) but even she (and I disagreed with her almost every step of the way) thought the Kach people were over the top.

                      My point (and I worked with Ma'arach and foreign students - since I was a foreign student and chanted "Raq lo Likud" at rallies....) is that even most of the Likudniks were not nearly as vile as the Kach people.

                      Kahne and his group were a bunch of complete losers and the people who follow that are still a bunch of complete losers.

                      •  Gotcha... (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        capelza, volleyboy1

                        ...and one of the NU list is openly a Kahanist and is employing that schmuck Baruch Marzel is an aide.

                        They really need to increase the electoral threshold over there.

                        "Raq lo Likud." I'll have to remember that one. Or at least "Raq lo Bibi."

                        •  Yep (0+ / 0-)

                          Screw Kach.... Let's put it this way, they are just a freakin' embarrasement. I don't mean like from some wimpy "oh they just aren't civilized...." type comment. No I mean they are like the freakin' Klansman of Israel. Just a bunch of low life a- holes out to try to prove how tough they are.

                          They are more an embarrasment though for the human race than just jews.

                          If you can't tell I don't really like or respect them much.

  •  I wonder what would be if Sharon was still there.. (0+ / 0-)

    "Zionism is a single long action of lifesaving, of snatching great masses of people out of the path of sure extinction." Best-selling author, Herman Wouk

    by RussellNewYork on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 12:43:33 PM PDT

  •  Obama plays chess (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, volleyboy1

    Rahm's statement was merely a prelude to today's activities.

    Israel and the Palestinians "have got to make a decision" to move forward, Obama said ...


    "The prospect of peace still exists, but it’s going to require some hard choices," Obama said. "Steps have to be taken so that people can see progress. That will be something that we will expect to take place in the coming months." The U.S. he added, "is going to deeply engage in this process."

    Obama asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to attend meetings on the Middle East peace process, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said later at a briefing. The discussions are expected to take place by the end of next month, Gibbs said.

    King Abdullah’s talks with the president today were part of a series of consultations the Jordanian leader has scheduled in Washington over several days. He is relaying the "united Arab position" on how to achieve peace in the Middle East as agreed to at an Arab League summit in Qatar last month, the king’s Royal Court said in a statement earlier this month.

    The President knows how to include all the players:

    The King of Jordan, representing the Arab League,
    The Prime Minister of Israel, The Egyptian President and The Palestinian Authority President.

    This is masterful.

    I have read that Obama has always been a skillful moderator and negotiator. From his days at Harvard Law Review to his recent European trip Obama has displayed an uncanny ability to bring people with opposing positions together; yet all walk away satisfied.

    I'm very hopeful.

    We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same." Carlos Castaneda

    by BP in NJ on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 12:56:49 PM PDT

    •  FYI (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      capelza, corvo, Gracian
      I'm glad Obama is meeting with the players, but this is simply wrong:

      The King of Jordan, representing the Arab League

      Abdullah does not speak for the Arab League.  He did not sponsor the Saudi Plan that the League is backing, and when the League split sharply over the Israeli Gaza invasion, Jordan was with the minority of states (though the most powerful ones) backing Israel.

      •  Saudi peace plan (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza, BP in NJ

        was agreed upon by all the arab countries and the muslimcountries. The thing with the saudi peace plan is that it has a lot of loose/open ends...Taba was more concrete, in a number of important aspects(limited right of return)

        Obama and Abdullah seemed to have a good connection, so why not... I agree that Abdullah is hardly the one to 'represent' Hamas, but neither is Abbas. A Unified Palestinian authority, and a unified arab front, is something rare, so I'm not complaining.

        •  Yep (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          capelza, Gracian

          Yeah, that's what I said.  The Arab League is backing the Saudi Plan, but Abdullah does not speak for the Arab League.  And, of course, as you point out, no one speaks for Hamas.  

          So it's not accurate to say that Obama has all the parties involved.  

          •  advicers not there yet... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            capelza, BP in NJ, volleyboy1

            If The Palestinians can work out a way to cooperate in a national government, things might just work out. But things aren't looking to good on that front.
   (see the articles on the side to main article)

            If you look at the team advicing Obama, the list of invited "people" makes sense actually. There are just too much people commited to making peace with Abbas, and virtually none with Hamas, at least not untill they have become fully integrated in the PA, and the palestinian democratic process( therefore they would have to stop suicide missions, targeting civillians with missiles, and killing and torturing political opponenents).

            It's ofcourse the task of the palestinians to unite and to find someone who can speak for "all" Palestinians. The biggest mistake going forward is to once again exclude Hamas, for all of their crimes, they represent a certain part of the palestinian people at this stage that can no longer be ignored.

            Reuters) - Barack Obama's Middle East policy advisers say the Democratic U.S. presidential candidate will take a hands-on approach to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking if elected president but without pressuring Israel any more than his rivals for the White House.

            Following are Obama's top advisers on Middle East policy.

            DANIEL SHAPIRO

            Shapiro, a strategist on Middle East issues for Obama, has advised members of Congress, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, and Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat. Shapiro worked on the National Security Council of former President Bill Clinton, husband of Obama's chief rival, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

            ANTHONY LAKE

            Lake, a top foreign policy adviser for Obama, was one of Bill Clinton's senior advisers during his 1992 campaign and later became Clinton's national security adviser.


            Obama foreign policy adviser McDonough previously served as an aide to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

            DANIEL KURTZER

            Kurtzer served under President Bush as ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2005 and was ambassador to Egypt under Bill Clinton. Kurtzer has written a book assessing the peace efforts of the most recent three U.S. presidents. Kurtzer, who teaches at Princeton, is the newest addition to Obama's team of Middle East advisers, having joined only a few weeks ago.

            SUSAN RICE

            Rice, a former assistant secretary of state for Bill Clinton, is Obama's top foreign policy coordinator.

            ROBERT WEXLER

            Known as a staunch supporter of Israel in the U.S. Congress, Wexler, a Florida congressman, is a strong ally of Obama and has been active in outreach for the Obama campaign with Jewish voters. Campaign aides say he and Obama consult frequently on Middle East issues.

            ERIC LYNN

            Lynn, a former foreign policy adviser to Rep. Peter Deutsch of Florida, is a main liaison for the campaign to the Jewish community.

            DENNIS ROSS

            Ross, a former Middle East envoy during the Clinton administration, has given advice to the Obama campaign but is not a formal adviser. He has not endorsed a candidate.

            BEN RHODES

            Rhodes, Obama's foreign policy speechwriter, has worked for former Rep. Lee Hamilton, the 9/11 Commission and the Iraq Study Group. (Reporting by Caren Bohan; Editing by Bill Trott)


      •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        weasel, capelza

        I can only refer to the article.

        He is relaying the "united Arab position" on how to achieve peace in the Middle East as agreed to at an Arab League summit in Qatar last month

        This sounds like he is acting on behalf of the League and representing the final agreement reached, not necessarily his position during the negotiations.

        Hamas may be viewed as a player but does not rise to the level of heads of state, imho. Hamas could be marginalized were a two state solution to be realized.

        This is only my impression. You obviously have been following this more closely than I have.

        We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same." Carlos Castaneda

        by BP in NJ on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 01:42:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Two states" is just a metaphor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, corvo

    since the settlements continue to be built on the land that would become part of a Palestinian state.

    This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

    by Agathena on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 01:02:58 PM PDT

    •  They can be evacuated (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It should be the plan discussed.

      •  Actually, a frequent argument (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza, Aunt Martha

        is that they can't be evacuated.  Too many settlers, too well armed, and too much disinclination to trigger violence between settlers and the IDF.

        •  I think the proper viewpoint is (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nailbanger, volleyboy1

          that it's difficult to evacuate them.  There needs to be a settlement with upside for the Israelis, like a credible promise of no terror, in addition to gifted Israeli and Palestinian leadership in order to pull it off.  Otherwise it's awfully hard to push an angry minority on something that doesn't actually affect the daily life of your typical liberal tel-aviver who'd just as soon see an economic reform or something.

          •  I think the correct viewpoint (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            is that they won't be evacuated.

            •  Well, that's typical for you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              If I said the correct viewpoint was that the Palestinians will never quit attacking Israel, you'd probably call me a racist or something.

              •  No, actually, you're right. (4+ / 0-)

                The Palestinians (well, certain of them) won/t stop attacking Israel, because Israel won't stop taking their land.

                Vicious circle, iteration number 6,423,698.

                •  productive viewpoint, iteration #.. (0+ / 0-)

                  how many comments you written?

                  •  Not sure what your point is (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    beyond the usual personal attacks.

                    •  it's that (0+ / 0-)

                      you seem to be incapable of expressing anything that admits even the possibility of future good acts by Israel -- your bias reeks, and it's stinking up a decent discussion elsewhere in the diary.

                      Of course, my fault for playing into it.  So I'm to blame as well.

                      •  Hate to tell you this, but (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        capelza, callmecassandra, Aunt Martha

                        there's no reason to believe the leadership of any of the sides is interested in a solution that would spread the pain in a manner reasonably fair to all the peoples involved.

                        •  well, abbas/fayyad are ok (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          netanyahu and lieberman are assholes but pliable ones -- the US has a lot of cards to play.

                          Hamas are from all indications damn near irreconciliable but theoretically a deal could happen involving the west bank that left gaza as a separate matter.  Or they could come to the table.

                          Blanket "they're all no good" never achieved anything.  It's funny, after all those years of hating on Olmert I'd think it'd be refreshing for you to have Israeli leadership who are actual assholes, rather than simply well-intentioned incompetents.

                          •  Abbas is a nonentity (4+ / 0-)

                            with no more power than the Israelis let him have -- that is to say, the power to quash internal dissent.  As for Netanyahu and Lieberman, we'll see how pliable they are.  Hamas is a mess, with the usual realos-vs.-fundis split, but it seems to me the fundis are in charge and likely to make few real concessions.

                            Who are these "well-intentioned incompetents" you speak of?  Ariel Sharon, maybe, with whole villages' worth of blood on his hand?  Ehud Olmert, who was blubbering about painful concessions (where have we heard that one before?) while planning an attack on Gaza?  I can at least agree with the "incompetents" part.

                          •  internal dissent? didn't he win an election? (0+ / 0-)

                            silly propaganda.  he's trying to take care of his people, keeping the peace, appointing a nonpartisan economist PM and getting ahold of whatever aid money he can while you stew about his collaboration.

                            you need to quit thinking in black and white.  some people are better than others, it's not just 'good' and 'bad'.

                          •  You seem to think that (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            capelza, Aunt Martha, unspeakable

                            winning an election precludes the possibility of internal dissent.  Was the vote unanimous? is Hamas just joshing?

                            You also seem to forget what a massively corrupt folks Abbas and his party confreres are.  I'm sure you'd notice it more if Abbas weren't such a nice little Pu Yi.  You might even remember his role in the Munich Olympics massacre.  Talk about black-and-white!

                          •  hi (0+ / 0-)

                            my name's "third world democratic government", have we met?  i contain a massive patronage system but should be worked with rather than sidelined in general.

                            Do you reject working with the Iranian government because of corruption?

                          •  It all depends (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            on whether one might reasonably expect positive results.

                            Oh, and considering its rampant corruption, Israel seems to be allowing a bit of that "third world democratic government syndrome" to rub off on it too.  And Lord knows we've been working with Israel.

                          •  so in other words (0+ / 0-)

                            given that abbas is remarkably non-corrupt personally, considering the circumstances, and he's quite often expressed a willingness to work with israel to negotiate settlement removal..

                            so we should work with him?  please consider this blatantly obvious idea in future points.

                          •  umm, if memory serves, (0+ / 0-)

                            Abbas isn't the only leader of the Palestinians right now, like it or not.  And he's expressed extreme frustration with Israeli intransigence in negotiations.  Some negotiating partner. :-)

                          •  also, while i'm at the mythbusting (0+ / 0-)

                            where does the aid money hamas gets go?

                            how are they any less corrupt than fatah, again?

                            by your standards, shouldn't we be encouraging both parties to reconcile so they can be negotiated with as a unity gov't?

                          •  I just want to point out something: (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            capelza, corvo

                            Abbas's son is a millionaire. And he became a millionaire after Oslo. How in Quetzalcoatl's name does the son of a leader of some third-world resistance movement become a millionaire? Do you not find it at all fishy that his riches started coming in after the PLO became legitimate with the West? Also, Abbas's brother isn't doing too shabby either.

                            You can say that Abbas isn't corrupt until we're all dead, but it doesn't make it true. Your search for a good leader among the old guard is a fruitless one. Fayyad is a good guy precisely because he's not an insider.

                          •  you see the news story with abbas's son a day ago (0+ / 0-)

                            he made all his money long before Abbas had much influence.  Abbas, we all remember, didn't get along very well with Arafat, he even quit the government in protest a couple times.

                            Abbas's son is apparently something of a marketing genius and a bit of a monopolist -- graft isn't really necessary for most of that, although I'm sure there was a little involved and the lack of antitrust capabilities on the part of the government matters as far as the monopoly.

                            You read the article?  I liked it, he was like go screw yourself, sure i'll collaborate with Israel, I am a merchant and want to build things, I don't care how.  Hamas fighters are getting Israeli medicare right now, are they collaborators?

                          •  Look, (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            capelza, corvo

                            I'm not interested in having a repeat argument over this, and I'm not interested in having a conversation about the entirely separate issue of collaboration with the occupation.

                            I just wanted to make sure you were aware of evidence of Abbas's own corruption. Just because he didn't get along with another corrupt person, doesn't mean he wasn't corrupt himself.

                          •  well to make myself more clear (0+ / 0-)

                            It does seem that he's markedly less corrupt than the average, which, all else being equal makes him fine by me.

                            The collaboration thing wasn't really my point, just was funny coming from the son.  It does seem most of his income is business, likely involving some corruption, but most of the money seems to have been made before Abbas was particularly influential.  Not to say corruption wasn't involved, but he was competing on an equal footing with the other corruption seekers :)

                          •  Huh (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            capelza, corvo

                            also, while i'm at the mythbusting where does the aid money hamas gets go?

                            What aid money does Hamas get?

                          •  it comes from iran (0+ / 0-)

                            and goes to soldier salaries and weapons

                            how's that different from fatah's patronage?

                          •  Well (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Since we don't know how much it get's from Iran, it's hard to make any claims.  But if the money goes for weapons and salaries (as some almost certainly does), that isn't corruption.  That's not the same as leaders buying million dollar villas.

                          •  woah, it's not? (0+ / 0-)

                            how big do you think that payroll is compared to the villas?

                            what happened to your outrage about the PA salaries?

                            Listen man, the reason Hamas and Palestinians thought that Fatah was corrupt is because there were thousands of soldiers getting paychecks in this patronage system.  That's the same damn thing with Hamas, just the soldiers are better.

                          •  Please stop (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            capelza, corvo

                            what happened to your outrage about the PA salaries?

                            Could you once, just once, accuse me of saying something that I actually said.  When have I ever said that PA workers shouldn't get paid?  That's just insane, even by your standards.

                          •  but that's the actual corruption! (0+ / 0-)

                            patronage machines -- those are the real corruption

                            A couple villas, eh, pretty much all the countries in the world except for the G-7 have a few perks for the leaders.  Like anyone begrudges a couple million in that particular bucket?

                            The real corruption in any democratic, pseudodemocratic or oligarchic state is the patronage -- that's where they get their foot soldiers, their propaganda, shows of support, ballot box stuffers.  That applies to the US too, your county probably has a couple do-nothing elected offices with their own little fiefdoms that do nothing except organize politically for more important offices.  Sherriffs are big in Mass, and the Clerk of Deeds position -- both are irrelevant compared to state and local agencies that do the actual work, but politically they're very relevant.

                          •  That's different (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            You claimed Iranian aid used for salaries and weapons was corruption.  However, one might guess that the Iranian statements that they support resistance against Israel are true, and so some of the money is sent precisely to fund fighters and weapons.

                            In the PA case, corruption takes many forms.  It involves those at the top funnelling off millions (funny how that no long matters to you once its a government you prefer).  It also involves extorting bribes from citizens and claiming perks (like land) for government officials).  It CAN certainly involve salaries for foot-soldiers, but only in the sense that the money was earmarked for something else and was diverted to footsoldiers.

                            No one has ever made the claim Hamas is diverting Iranian money meant for something else (say, clinics) to fund fighters.  That claim is entirely of your own invention.  

                          •  well ok, then since iran (0+ / 0-)

                            and presumably hamas don't pretend to give a crap about hospitals in the first place, that makes it ok?

                            all i'm saying is that most of the fatah corruption was garden variety..  more of it than in many places because of the ridiculously high aid budget, but similar to an oil state, or anywhere where there's a non-economic cash flow.

                            the major difference from hamas is hamas's soldiers are slightly more effective -- in both cases they're funneling a ton of money into a system that only pays off people who are on their team.  you think someone from the wrong family in gaza has a chance at getting onto the hamas payroll?

                            and sure hamas is probably less corrupt.  i'm just saying it's just different levels of the same thing.  hamas's people are out there  shilling for them and taking care of domestic rivals on the public payroll.  

                          •  Well (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Hamas runs and funds a huge social service network, so I'm not sure where you're getting that from.  

                            But as anyone can see, you don't know anything, you're just guessing at random.

                          •  geez louise weez (0+ / 0-)

                            that was such an informative post, damn man, you blew me out of the water

                          •  I've heard estimates of (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            $30-50 million total.  Not annually, but total.

                            Yeah, huge sum there!

                            I'm sure if "unfounded" has better information, (s)he'll provide it. :-)))

          •  Difficult but not impossible (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            capelza, unfounded

            If those a-holes fire on IDF troops, they'd better have said their prayers.

          •  Curious (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            There needs to be a settlement with upside for the Israelis, like a credible promise of no terror,

            Just curious, what would possibly count as credible for you in this regard?

            •  For me? (0+ / 0-)

              Hamas and Fatah leadership in a joint agreement with a lifespan of at least 5 years.

              Of course, to get there, first we need to get Hamas to quit doing stuff like plotting attacks against Fatah in the West Bank.

              What would count as credible for you?

              •  For me? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                capelza, callmecassandra

                Nothing, because there is no power in Palestine strong enough to guarantee that no Israeli is attacked (same as Israel is unable to ensure that no Palestinians are attacked by extremists).

                As to how a joint agreement ends "terror," I admit I'm baffled, though I certainly would like to see such an agreement.

                •  funny, weren't you all hot about (0+ / 0-)

                  how nice hamas was during that truce?

                  •  Baffling (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    I'm not clear what you mean about me being "hot" (thanks, but you're really in the minority on that one), about Hamas being "nice" or about what "truce" you are referring to.

                    Care to try again, but this time make a little sense and address the points we were talking about?

                    •  hamas can enforce a truce if it so chooses nt (0+ / 0-)
                      •  Well (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        capelza, unspeakable

                        I have certainly never said that.  Hamas can call one, and has some ability to restrain other groups, but it certainly can't reduce combat to zero if another group such as IJ (or even a small cell of radicals) choose to launch a mortar or two.  Israel's attacks on Gaza police forces also tend to reduce its ability to fully police Gaza.

                        •  israel doesn't tend to attack gaza police (0+ / 0-)

                          unless they're going for the whole hog, like in december.  when those same police are the ones launching the rockets to the tune of 50 a night or whatever, no real reason not to at that point.

                          anyways, what happened to you, you used to be so reasonable.  are you denying that hamas successfully slowed rocket fire down to damn-near nothing when they were enforcing a truce, then flipped on a switch to 50-60 a night when they decided to end it?

                          what's your larger point, here?  mine is that an agreement with hamas, should they actually be willing to come to the table, could be productive.

                          •  Well (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            capelza, unspeakable

                            You agree with me apparently, that Hamas can reduce but not completely halt combat by other groups.  As for my larger point, I've always been in favor of a untiy agreement between Fatah and Hamas, I'm just curious what standards/prerequisites you are setting for a peace agreement.  It's not an unreasonable question to ask.

                          •  credible guarantee, like i said (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            a couple punks shouldn't derail a peace movement although there needs to be a good faith effort to stop them, not a wink and nod.

                            now all we need is for hamas to say they'd be willing to do that and to cooperate in a unity government.  i mean, their assholery so far has succeeded in putting netanyahu in the PM chair after getting gaza levelled.  past is the past and all that, but i'd like to see a little reason from them going forward.  what on earth do they want?

                          •  Can be determined (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            capelza, callmecassandra

                            what on earth do they want?

                            That can be easily determined.  They've said a number of things (as have all sides), including that they want a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.  If that offer is made, along with moving the settlers out of Palestine, then it will quickly become inescapably clear what they want.  They'll either accept the offer, or else they are fighting for control of both Israel and Palestine.  

                            As long as they aren't invited to the negotiations but are left simply making public statements, no one will really know what they want: what they are willing to offer, to accept, and/or to compromise on.  

    •  No new settlements since 1993 (0+ / 0-)

      Besides, why is it that Jews can live in a Palestinian State but Palestinians can live in a Jewish State?

      All my IP addresses have been banned from

      by charliehall on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 01:10:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If they want to give up Israeli citizenship (0+ / 0-)

        And live as a minority under Palestinian rule, I don't see a problem.

        That's not what's going on, though.

      •  Not sure I understand. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza, Aunt Martha, sortalikenathan

        Where is this Palestinian state you're talking about?

      •  i think (5+ / 0-)

        you mean "Jews can't live in a Palestinian state".

        If they agreed to live with the same rights as Palestinians in a Palestinian state, they should be allowed to. But the fact is they don't want that; they want separate rights for themselves. They are thieves. They steal land and you ask why they cannot live there? I do not think we should be rewarding criminals. When they give back what they have stolen, then ask that question.

        •  Welcome to "What The Jews Are." (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Karmafish, carllaw

          In today's episode we learn more about What The Jews Are:

          But the fact is they don't want that; they want separate rights for themselves. They are thieves.

          Thanks for reading! This has been today's episode of What The Jews Are.

          harps and angels! harps and angels!

          by zemblan on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 01:25:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are the wind beneath my wings (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            But you knew that.

          •  welcome (4+ / 0-)

            to a discussion of reality of what Jews in the West Bank are doing. Do you deny that all the land they have takein in what would be a palestinian state is stolen? Or do you deny that they are Jewish?

            I'm not sure what's controversial about this. Jews in the West Bank (one could say Israelis, but they are Israeli Jews, not Israeli Arabs) have stolen land and live under a different set of laws. They are thieves and criminals. Face reality some day.

            •  Sorta like a jerk (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Is what you are. You didn't limit your talking to the West Bank. I know personally the person who responded to your post with "What the Jews Are." I know that his positions probably aren't very far away from most people here w/r/t the peace process. But you paint with a very broad brush, and when you do that, expect Jewish people (and my friend is Jewish) to react.

          •  What the SETTLERS are. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            capelza, sortalikenathan

            And I agree, the settlers really are murderous thieves. Thanks for your support.

          •  I think (hope) he means (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            capelza, volleyboy1

            The right-wing settler lunatics who have stolen privately-owned Palestinian land (among other things).
            They're the ones that we'll probably have a civil war with eventually :(
            Actually most of the "settler" population lives close to the pre-67 lines and could be accommodated with reasonable territory swaps.
            I do agree that, eventually, after Palestine is well established, there would likely be some Jewish citizens of Palestine (loyal and equal, of course, as you said).
            Most nation-states have some kind of national minorities.

            I think that the best thing that Obama could do that would turn this whole mess around would actually be a technical fix:
            A working small rocket and mortar interception system, such as getting the Nautilus (MTHEL) laser to work.
            Something like this would arguably have prevented the last two wars almost completely.
            The thing that stalled further withdrawals from the West Bank after leaving Gaza were the rockets.
            We on the left said that the occupation was the problem.
            End the occupation and the Palestinians would stop shooting. Didn't work.
            If we left the West Bank under whatever agreement or not, we'll have katyushas on Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem and Ben-Gurion Airport.
            If the Israeli people could be reasonably sure that this couldn't happen, we'd be out of there like a shot, and any sitting Israeli government that would stand in the way would be roadkill. Not to mention the settlers.

            I ought to write a full diary about this ... with links ... eventually ...
            (Now it's midnight here, I'll talk tomorrow)

      •  Why would a freeze be necessary then? (0+ / 0-)

        April 22, 2009
        The United States is interested in promoting the peace process through a series of confidence-building gestures between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Arab states, a senior American official who declined to be named told Haaretz.

        The official said the plan would involve a freeze on construction in settlements in exchange for normalization steps from the Arab states

        This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

        by Agathena on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 08:07:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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