JNEREBEL has a diary reporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's (known in Israel and to people familiar with with him as Bibi) clownish behavior... So I mean this diary to be in conjunction with his found Here (JNEREBEL'S Diary)
Anyway because I contribute to Americans for Peace Now (APN) I was looking at their website and came across something that I thought was very interesting. I have been getting more and more disappointed with Israel regarding what is happening in the West Bank as part of the Israeli Occupation and the fact of the matter is that I am now convinced the Israeli Right is gambling away the existence of the State of Israel.
Needless to say - follow me over the fold to see the latest suggestion from Americans for Peace Now and their sister organization Shalom Achshav in Israel.
Following today's story here (again cross posted at JNEREBEL's diary) is this gem from Bibi -
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel must have a presence in the West Bank to stop rockets from being imported even after a peace agreement is achieved, the first time he has spelled out such a demand.
He said the experience of rocket attacks from the Lebanese and Gaza borders means Israel must be able to prevent such weapons from being brought into any future Palestinian entity in the West Bank.
"We cannot afford to have that across from the center of our country," he told foreign reporters Wednesday in Jerusalem.
"In the case of a future settlement with the Palestinians, this will require an Israeli presence on the eastern side of a prospective Palestinian state," he said, without elaborating.
So in effect, Israel still has to have a military presence in or surrounding a country that it has a peace treaty with... Yeah - right. That is so mind numbingly stupid to think anyone would agree to that it boggles the mind.
It is obvious that Netanyahu now is pushing the Lieberman, and right wing agenda of permanent occupation or unilateral disengagement (based on the model that has worked so well in Gaza).
I had been disparing what to do and then I read from Americans for Peace Now (see link above):
As President Obama embarks on his second year in office, he and his team continue to reiterate their commitment to achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace. Indeed, President Obama's peace team remains actively engaged and for the first time in months there are encouraging signs of progress toward renewing peace talks.
An important lesson from 2009, however, is that it will take more than patience and polite words to make peace. In his first year in office, President Obama articulated a clear vision for Middle East peace, worked tirelessly to make progress toward that goal, and in tangible terms achieved something significant, in the form of Israel's decision to adopt a partial settlement moratorium. His efforts to make further progress, however, were stymied by intransigence on the part of both Israel and the Palestinians, by lack of clear buy-in and support from the Arab world, and by his own resolve to be unfailingly patient and polite, regardless of the behavior of others.
I got a laugh out of that last sentence since this seems to be haunting us Democrats and the President in terms of HCR
APN and Shalom Achshav suggest the following:
- Clarify Expectations: Make it clear to both sides to stop screwing around (my terms) and talk. They say here:
This means making clear that the US expects Israel: to return to negotiations without any preconditions and to negotiate seriously and in good faith; to lift the Gaza closure and permit the movement of goods and people, with appropriate international supervision; to stop playing games on settlement freeze - to stop giving new exceptions to allow more building, to clamp down on illegal construction, and to stop efforts to legalize outposts; and to clamp down on provocative actions in East Jerusalem that prejudge the negotiations and threaten to foment violence that might jeopardize them.
It means making clear that the US expects the Palestinians: to return to negotiations without any preconditions and to negotiate seriously and in good faith; to vigorously fight anti-Israeli violence and incitement; to start real internal Fatah/PLO reform to rebuild credibility; and to work sincerely to address the schism in the Palestinian polity so that a single Palestinian government with the legitimacy and capacity to make peace is established.
- Stand Firm - If we say it than back it up. Simple as that.
The US does Israel no favors by going along with Israeli foot-dragging and actions that create obstacles to peace - whether on settlements, Jerusalem, Gaza, or the terms of reference for negotiations. As Israel's closest ally, the US must not sit by while Israel continues further down a self-destructive path. The frequency and severity of challenges to Israel's legitimacy are on the rise. Credible progress towards a two-state solution is necessary to demonstrate that Israel's existence does not mean the denial of Palestinian rights. Moreover, the status quo - whereby Israel controls the lives of millions of Palestinian in the West Bank and Gaza - jeopardizes Israel's viability as a Jewish and democratic state.
The US does President Abbas and his Fatah allies no favors by yielding to their internal political maneuvering, whether with respect to negotiations, Gaza, national unity, or belligerent rhetoric. President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad are credible partners for peace, but the US does not help their domestic credibility or enhance their ability to deliver the Palestinian side of a peace agreement by getting caught up in the Palestinian internal political struggle.
- Change the Tone -
It is time for the US to adopt a tough tone and to use tough language, in public and private, with all parties. This means stating unambiguously that the achievement of a viable Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is vital to US national security and that actions by any party that undermine the achievement of this goal threaten those interests.
Make U.S. Leverage an issue - reiterate our power to use that -
This is not a call for the US to threaten aid to Israel or the PA. Playing hardball should not and must not mean taking steps that threaten Israel's security or further hurt the Palestinian humanitarian situation. To the contrary: the US must assure both sides that as they move toward peace, America and the international community would work tirelessly to enhance their security, international legitimacy and well-being.
At the same time, the US has other forms of leverage which it can to bring to bear. This includes diplomatic signals of displeasure and shifts in tone on sensitive policy areas. The Obama Administration also has the ability to impose real costs on the parties, without cutting US assistance, both with and without Congressional approval. The Obama Administration should make a comprehensive assessment of its leverage options vis-à-vis all parties, and it should make clear to the parties that it is ready to use this leverage, if required.
The payoff: APN puts it better than I could:
Conversely, if President Obama plays hardball in 2010, he has the chance to launch a process that could do what no other president has succeeded in doing: end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And when Israeli right-wingers and their US allies try to accuse him of being too tough on Israel (which they inevitably will do) President Obama can look them and the world in the eye and proudly stand by a Middle East peace policy that is credible, serious and has a real chance of success.
With Bibi's changing positions faster than Glenn Beck on the subject of President Obama's racism and the Right Wing imposing a whole new internal order on Israel - Unfortunately it is up to the U.S. and Israel's true friends to create a situation where Israel can survive in the long run as the homeland of the Jewish People and the Palestinians can acheive a national homeland to end their 60+ years diaspora.