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So I'll probably be proved a fool, but I'm actually optimistic about the chances for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.  Obama's proximity talks between the two just started, but already there are rumors, courtesy of the WSJthat

Palestinian negotiators have surprised Washington with a bold opening offer...Palestinians told Mr. Mitchell they are prepared to match offers that they made to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during peace negotiations in 2008, and may be willing to double the amount of West Bank land to be included in a land swap, according to the officials briefed on the negotiations.

This is a refreshing change from the usual dynamic of Israeli offers, Palestinian rejections, and then sweetened Israeli offers. Regardless of who was wrong in the past, Palestinian initiative can only mean that the two sides are closer then ever before to a deal.

Of course, most experts remain skeptical.  Aaron Miller, once a major proponent of negotiations, recently wrote The False Religion of Mideast Peace arguing against an American role in negotiations

The painful truth is that faith in America's capacity to fix the Arab-Israeli issue has always been overrated. It's certainly no coincidence that every breakthrough from the Egypt-Israel treaty to the Oslo accords to the Israel-Jordan peace agreement came initially as a consequence of secret meetings about which the United States was the last to know. Only then, once there was local ownership or some regional crisis that the United States could exploit, were we able to move things forward.

I hate to disagree with Miller, but at least I'll do so through praise.  If American negotiators did not produce peace treaties out of thin air, it created a balance of power and trust between the two sides that made peace possible.

So I know its rare, but lets take a moment to look at all that American diplomacy has accomplished since 1948. Then a weak Israel was willing to accept refugees in return for negotiations, and the ceasefire line as a permanent border.  The Arab world refused to even consider such terms.

Flash-forward to 2010: Israel has peace treaties with both Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco.  And the Palestinian negotiators are offering more land then Israel demanded in 1948, and to discuss refugees as a perquisite for negotiations.  The sides' positions have crossed!

So to a large extent the trick is for America to manage Israeli expectations down, while simultaneously stopping Palestinian demands from rising.  This will require the ability to pressure and reward both sides without falling back to inflammatory rhetoric about good guys and bad guys.  

So I hope partisans on both sides can put aside their differences and support the President during negotiations. And if they have a connection to the countries involved, urge those leaders to make the heroic concessions needed for peace.  If need be, I'll even pay the postage.

Originally posted to Earl of Sandwich on Sat May 22, 2010 at 06:46 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  i admire... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Paul in Berkeley, livosh1, volleyboy1

      your optimism although as noted below - i'll believe when i see it. that said, i suspect it won't go over well here as it doesn't subscribe to the manichean view of the middle east.

      "You can make a profound intellectual statement just by basing your efforts on silliness." -- Donald Roller Wilson

      by canadian gal on Sat May 22, 2010 at 10:07:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You know, (10+ / 0-)

        some of us are allowed to think this is a bad move by Abbas without having a manichean view of anything.

        Some of us, for example, may view the current Israeli government as being insincere in its alleged commitment to and that a divided Palestinian leadership cannot advocate effectively for anything approaching a sovereign and independent Palestinian state.

        Some of us may disagree that negotiations between corrupt Palestinian leaders and oily Israeli ones are the best method to go about ending this conflict.

        Some of us may even prefer a grassroots approach, such as the protests in Sheikh Jarrah and Nabi Saleh and Bil'in, in which Palestinian and Israeli activists are standing together to defeat the occupation.

        None of those perspectives are manichean, yet a many of us hold them. So it baffles the mind why this overly broad brush is used to tar those of us who do not like Abbas's latest concession.

        Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice. -- Clark's Law

        by unspeakable on Sat May 22, 2010 at 10:20:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i'm not sure... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          livosh1, volleyboy1

          that i directed my comment to anyone in particular, including persons whom share all the concerns you noted. but surely, after participating in this community's diaries on the topic, one can't help but notice it.

          "You can make a profound intellectual statement just by basing your efforts on silliness." -- Donald Roller Wilson

          by canadian gal on Sat May 22, 2010 at 10:24:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  you maybe having problems understanding where (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zannie, borkitekt, General Choomin

          this idea came from:

          Friday, May 21, 2010
          The Palestinians and the Nazis

          ...

          Anti-Israel activists on the left-liberal blogs live in a manichean, black-and-white world in which the Jews are entirely at fault and the Arabs, particularly the bunny-like Palestinians, are entirely innocent ...   I saw it over and over again on Daily Kos.

          http://karmafishies.blogspot.com/...

          you may want to discuss the issue with the actual author of the idea.

          Previously I posted under the user name palestinian professor, which is now deprecated. I now post under my late grandfather's name simone daud.

          by simone daud on Sun May 23, 2010 at 12:18:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  and hopefully over there in Trollville. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            litho, simone daud

            Listen to Noam Chomsky's Necessary Illusions. (mp3!)

            by borkitekt on Sun May 23, 2010 at 03:36:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The source of the quote (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            borkitekt

            you posted was banned for a reason. I have no idea where the references to "manichaeism" is coming from and why this accusation is being leveled by people who have no standing to level it.

            But if you are correct, I have absolutely no interest in discussing anything with that internet user. In fact, I think it's best if we forgot his existence altogether.

            Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice. -- Clark's Law

            by unspeakable on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:58:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  actually... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              livosh1

              it was brought it up a couple weeks ago in a comment you recced here. but i do agree that following around and continually referencing a banned user isn't helpful.

              why are you so touchy about this - do you see things in black and white? good vs/ evil? no? then its no being leveled at you.

              "You can make a profound intellectual statement just by basing your efforts on silliness." -- Donald Roller Wilson

              by canadian gal on Sun May 23, 2010 at 08:15:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not "touchy" about it. (2+ / 0-)

                I simply didn't like the broad brush used to tar anyone who didn't think that giving up more Palestinian land to the government of Netanyahu and Liberman was a good thing, so I simply set the record straight.

                And in the link you provide, it's clear that that was a characterization of a single comment, not the entirety of all conversations on this issue.

                Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice. -- Clark's Law

                by unspeakable on Sun May 23, 2010 at 08:35:13 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  The Middle East has a manichean (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zannie, unspeakable, simone daud

        world view? Perhaps you'd care to elaborate who shares this worldview because 'the Middle East' is a rather broad brush.

        By placing yourself in the non-manichean camp it comes across that you are implying that those who don't agree with you are manichean. That, however, is merely my interpretation and I would prefer that you clarify what you meant.

        Buffy: "Your logic does not resemble our earth logic" Xander: "Mine is much more advanced". BtVS, The Wish.

        by Fire bad tree pretty on Sun May 23, 2010 at 06:12:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i repeat. (0+ / 0-)

          i suspect it won't go over well here as it doesn't subscribe to the manichean view of the middle east.

          agree with me on what? that things aren't black and white in the middle east or complicated? isn't that the definition of manichean?

          "You can make a profound intellectual statement just by basing your efforts on silliness." -- Donald Roller Wilson

          by canadian gal on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:48:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  what? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            simone daud

            agree with me on what? that things aren't black and white in the middle east or complicated? isn't that the definition of manichean?

            no, the definition of manchean is not "that things aren't black and white" it is the opposite, that they are black and white. don't think because you ascribe to a 'both sides do it' form of defense for israels crimes that makes you more 'complicated' or less manchean than anyone commenting here, it only makes your explanations more transparently evasive.

            fyi, wordsmith:

            USAGE:
            "The most crucial feature of neoconservatism is its Manichean worldview, wherein the Earth is pitted in an urgent struggle between purely good and purely evil nations. As George W. Bush famously told then Sen. Joe Biden: 'I don't do nuance.'"
            Jacob Bronsther; What Do Neocons Have to Do With Obama?; The Christian Science Monitor (Boston, Massachusetts); Sep 29, 2009.

            you're so slippery.

            •  dkos FAQ. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              livosh1

              http://www.dkosopedia.com/...

              Thread stalking is defined as having three requirements:
              On multiple occasions, one or more commenters follow a community member into diary threads; and,

              The commenter(s) posts comments that include false information, personal attacks, lies, or implied/express disclosure of private information; and
              The commenter(s) engages in this conduct with the intent to harass, harm, humiliate, frighten or intimidate another poster. This intent may be inferred from the number of times that the commenter follows a community member into threads and/or the nature of the comments posted.
              Stalking does not include the mere expression of disagreement, seeking out diaries or comments of favorite diarists or simply frequent interaction on the boards.

              Before calling someone a stalker or tossing HRs at a person thought to be a stalker, community members should post a comment explaining what conduct and/or statements constitute the stalking with a link to relevant evidence so that adminstrators and the community have a record to review.

              Admin Moderation: Warning, suspension, banning.

              1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

              "You can make a profound intellectual statement just by basing your efforts on silliness." -- Donald Roller Wilson

              by canadian gal on Sun May 23, 2010 at 12:25:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think that the links (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                zannie

                your provided show that you are being stalked. I guess you could always try your luck to see if Meteor Blades agrees with you.

                Buffy: "Your logic does not resemble our earth logic" Xander: "Mine is much more advanced". BtVS, The Wish.

                by Fire bad tree pretty on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:04:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  interesting. (0+ / 0-)

                  in the past 6 months, zannie has referenced cg 31 times and canadian gal 8 times. considering i asked her about 8 months or so ago not to respond to me any further, and have not - save for once, albeit mistakenly, responded to her incessant chasing and hounding of me in these threads. i think that's a pretty good indicator of at a minimum harassment...  i provided 10 examples (1 of the 2 in this thread alone) and 39 more that spell it out quite clearly. of course there are far more, but i have provided ample evidence to support this already.

                  and if you read the rules as cited above:

                  Before calling someone a stalker or tossing HRs at a person thought to be a stalker, community members should post a comment explaining what conduct and/or statements constitute the stalking with a link to relevant evidence so that adminstrators and the community have a record to review.

                  no need to try my luck with anyone - i did as instructed. thanks for your opinion though.

                  "You can make a profound intellectual statement just by basing your efforts on silliness." -- Donald Roller Wilson

                  by canadian gal on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:54:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Ok (0+ / 0-)

                    I'd be interested to see what Meteor Blades would do with this. I think that the stalking rule is a rather slippery one and I'm not convinced zannie has met all the 3 criteria of the stalking rule. Let me know what MB says.
                     

                    Buffy: "Your logic does not resemble our earth logic" Xander: "Mine is much more advanced". BtVS, The Wish.

                    by Fire bad tree pretty on Sun May 23, 2010 at 08:37:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  hmmm (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    zannie

                    Previously I posted under the user name palestinian professor, which is now deprecated. I now post under my late grandfather's name simone daud.

                    by simone daud on Sun May 23, 2010 at 09:07:49 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  this is not intended as a jury decision. (0+ / 0-)

                      but i suppose a couple of key differences are that one, sadly i regularly interact with you (and vb quite often) and two that your search terms are one year - not six months like the one i provided. when you adjust this this becomes3 times including a request to stop addressing me.

                      in any case - i think it best for the admins here to assess this rather than anyone else. i don't intend to spend anymore time on it.

                      "You can make a profound intellectual statement just by basing your efforts on silliness." -- Donald Roller Wilson

                      by canadian gal on Sun May 23, 2010 at 09:18:41 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  A manichean worldview is a dualist one. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zannie, canadian gal

            The manicheans believed in a spiritual (good) world and an evil (material) world and the struggle between the two. So the definition is that things are black and white, good/bad etc.

            The point that I have been unable to get across to you is that you do not make clear the subjects/objects of your sentence. Who holds the manichean views? And with whom will this diary's views not go over well?

            Buffy: "Your logic does not resemble our earth logic" Xander: "Mine is much more advanced". BtVS, The Wish.

            by Fire bad tree pretty on Sun May 23, 2010 at 05:02:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  i am aware... (0+ / 0-)

              of the meaning of a manichean world-view and i do indeed believe that many here subscribe to this thinking, which is noted above a characteristic of neo-conservative thinking.

              nuance of understanding the complexities of the history of israel, palestine and its peoples is a moral imperative. not to mention the other countries involved.

              as to the who - like naming names? i don't think that this is helpful as it would contribute more to this terrible cult of personality that permeates these threads. but we just saw this in a comment above where "don't think because you ascribe to a 'both sides do it' form of defense for israels crimes that makes you more 'complicated' or less manchean than anyone commenting here, it only makes your explanations more transparently evasive."

              i hear these shrieks for dismissing context as supporting the occupation, terrorism amongst a variety of other accusations at others whom choose to not see the situation in black and white.

              so simply this diary will not go over well with those who see the situation in the middle east in a manichean way - who that is shall be left up to your own opinion.

              "You can make a profound intellectual statement just by basing your efforts on silliness." -- Donald Roller Wilson

              by canadian gal on Sun May 23, 2010 at 05:37:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Once again (0+ / 0-)

                it goes over well with you because you don't have a manichean view of the Middle East? And it goes over badly with those who do have a manichean view of the Middle East?

                If that is indeed your position then you may not have named names but you have certainly left none of us in doubt of whom you meant is manichean. Your evasiveness has not been helpful but rather the opposite. You make your framing and accusations quite clear. I think this method you are choosing is quite ugly. You smear by broad brush, reserving to yourself the high moral ground and dismissing those who disagree with you as 'shrieking' or engaging in a 'cult of personality'. You may not see this but that's how this comes across. I think it would be better if you didn't engage in these sorts of smears, particularly if you value productive exchanges in this community.

                The sad thing is, as weasel has pointed out, this diary is not presenting an alternative to a manichean world view. So we have the illogic of you saying you are non-manichean, supporting a diary that is manichean.

                Buffy: "Your logic does not resemble our earth logic" Xander: "Mine is much more advanced". BtVS, The Wish.

                by Fire bad tree pretty on Sun May 23, 2010 at 05:57:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  alright. (0+ / 0-)

                  but you have certainly left none of us in doubt of whom you meant is manichean

                  you (or others) disagree with me on what exactly? that this situation is not balck and white? i attempted to explain myself and you call it ugly and a smear - i'm done here.

                  "You can make a profound intellectual statement just by basing your efforts on silliness." -- Donald Roller Wilson

                  by canadian gal on Sun May 23, 2010 at 06:20:21 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Okay (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm left here still not knowing what you mean. But you're right we might be better off leaving it here. I will just repeat that I'm not sure that you see just how your comments are coming across.  

                    Buffy: "Your logic does not resemble our earth logic" Xander: "Mine is much more advanced". BtVS, The Wish.

                    by Fire bad tree pretty on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:15:52 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  You caught me (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        canadian gal

        I'm an economist.  The part of my brain normally devoted to morality was lobotomized and replaced with game theory.

        I'm just don't see why Manchiesm is irrelevant.  There weren't many good guys in Yugaslavia and Sudan but we managed to move closer to solutions over there. Just such diplomacy requires a combo of carrots and sticks to achieve, which requires being nice to "good guys" and bad to "bad guys."

        Obviously, ends don't justify the means.  But if the means is giving Israelis money they don't deserve, or moving a ceasefire line a few miles and the ends are to allow refugees to live a normal life after 60 years...I'm okay with it.

        In any case, as an economist I'm incapable of communicating ideas in writing, so I'll shut up now.

        •  well earl of sandwich (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          borkitekt

          Manchiesm aside, such an odd juxtaposition mixing the new 'hopeful message' w/the idea of rejecting american involvement in the process. the latter segueing smoothly with the popular position for may rightwing zionists both here and israel, ain't gonna happen tho.

          thought i'd drag in a little gossip from the hebrew press just to spice things up. Nahum Barnea: Haim Ramon advised Dan Shapiro to wait with negotiations for Livni

          This week, my Washington sources insist, special envoy George Mitchell is going to start talking about the core issues. Netanyahu is going to have to discuss Jerusalem and borders. If not to talk, to listen. His space for maneuver is diminishing. The right wing in his party is breathing down his neck.

          Will he do what Sharon did, split his party and replace his coalition with a different one? For Sharon, the decision to splinter the party was born of a scheme, a plan. He was absolutely not willing to give the diplomatic initiative to the Americans. Netanyahu has no plan for the moment, and is less troubled than Sharon by losing the initiative. He is happy with his present coalition.

          Does Tzipi Livni hold the keys? Recently, Dan Shapiro, the head of the Israel desk at the National Security Council, met Haim Ramon, head of the Kadima council. The meeting was at the "206" restaurant in north Tel Aviv, opposite Kiryat Shaul. Ramon told Shapiro: wait for Tzipi. She will be much more amenable to you.

          Shapiro understood that was the advice Ramon was also giving the Palestinians. Don’t make progress in the negotiations. Wait for Tzipi. As far as I know, Ramon did not receive Tzipi’s blessing for the advice he gave — neither to the Palestinians nor to the Americans.

          As far as the American negotiating team is concerned, that conversation was not a coordination attempt between friends, but an intelligence gathering mission. Now they know who is undermining their negotiations.

        •  i don't disagree. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          livosh1

          but did you mean irrelevant or relevant? and i think you are communicating just fine.

          "You can make a profound intellectual statement just by basing your efforts on silliness." -- Donald Roller Wilson

          by canadian gal on Sun May 23, 2010 at 11:56:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm an economist too (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zannie, soysauce, simone daud

          The part of my brain normally devoted to morality was lobotomized and replaced with game theory.

          No, that part of your brain was replaced by the delusion, carefully nourished by neoclassical economics, that you actually engage in a positive, non-normative science that is value-free. On that, I call bullshit. Economics reeks of premises that are heavily value-laden about markets, human economic behavior, social welfare, individual utility and so on. The world cannot be considered independently of our beliefs about world. Go read Rationality in Econmics by Shaun Hargreaves Heap or on Ethics and Economics by Amartya Sen.

          Buffy: "Your logic does not resemble our earth logic" Xander: "Mine is much more advanced". BtVS, The Wish.

          by Fire bad tree pretty on Sun May 23, 2010 at 05:11:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Manichean (5+ / 0-)

        This is a refreshing change from the usual dynamic of Israeli offers, Palestinian rejections, and then sweetened Israeli offers.

        whatever this diary offers, it is certainly not an alternative to manicheanism.

  •  Yes, everything is going so well here at home (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tom J, Joe Johnson

    that we have nothing else to do but try and make peace between two societies that have been at war for 62 years ... longer if you count Jewish-Palestinian violence prior to the founding of the State of Israel.

    Surely the American people are going to be so thrilled that Obama brought peace to the Middle East that they'll forget all about the death of the American Dream.

    Let's cut off all aid to Israel instead and invest that money in giving jobs and homes to Americans instead of a bunch of lunatic settlers.

    •  Congress has to understand that sending aid (8+ / 0-)

      to Israel is not helpful.
      Israel will not be able to defend itself as it continues to take the land of Palestinians, continues their dispossession of their homes and farms.

      indeed, we have seen US aid used many times that Israel uses its military in the commission of war crimes against the Palestinian people and its neighbors, thereby hurting the prestige of the United States.

      sending aid to Israel is worse than flushing money down the toilet.

      Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. -MLK

      by Tom J on Sat May 22, 2010 at 07:14:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree about the aid to Israel (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zannie, borkitekt, unspeakable

      However, the talk that the US shouldn't get involved in Mideast peace negotiations always seems to flair when the US looks like it is about to place some unpleasant demands on the Israelis.

      First defeat, then deceit, then you're totally in denial (old Fellahin proverb)

      by Ptah the Great on Sat May 22, 2010 at 11:21:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll believe it when it happens. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    canadian gal

    "Philosophy is useless; theology is worse"--Dire Straits

    by Bush Bites on Sat May 22, 2010 at 06:59:44 PM PDT

  •  Can you document your "usual dynamic" assertion? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weasel, zannie, borkitekt, unspeakable

    Bibi and his coalition aren't capable of heroic concessions needed for peace. They prefer provocations to derail peace.    

    "These old Wall Street boys are putting up an awful fight to keep the government from putting a cop on their corner." - Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat May 22, 2010 at 08:44:22 PM PDT

    •  I did not mean to imply that Israeli offers were (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      livosh1

      necessarily reasonable.  Just that the usual dynamic was that they offer say 80% of the West Bank, the Palestinians refuse and don't change their offer.  
      Say if the Palestinians and Israelis were negotiating to buy an etch-a-sketch at a garage sale.  And it went like

      Begin : $1000      Arafat: $.1
      Rabin : $800       Arafat: $.1
      Bibi  : nevermind  Arafat: I hate you
      Barak : $500       Arafat: $.1
      Barak : $200       Arafat: I'll kill you!
      Sharon: I kill you Arafat: Done
      Olmert: $60        Abbas:  $.1
      Bibi  : nevermind  Abbas:  $5
      Livni : $10        Abbas:  $10

      Obviously the Israelis overvalued the etch-a-sketch and all the Palestinian offers were closer to the true value, yet it was an increase in the Palestinian offer that presaged a deal.
      And if you actually care about details, I'd read an insider account.  

  •  Is Israel becoming a country of equal rights? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, borkitekt, General Choomin

    No!   Then there will be no peace.

    All Israeli peace plans have been schemes to get rid of their unwanted minority.   Israel is a country that denies people their rights based on their religion and their ethnic origins.   Israel is a country that oppresses Arabs while situated in the middle of the Arab world.   Until that ugly fact changes there will be no peace!

  •  In other news (4+ / 0-)

    peace broke out in Afghanistan after intense negotiations between the US and the Afghani leader Hamid Karzai.  After a gruelling    15 minutes of negotiations at the white house Hamid Karzai conceded to the Americans a hundred year lease on four military basis in Afghanistan.

    This comes on the heals of intense negotiations between the US government and   Lincoln Diaz-Balart over the fate of Guantanamo bay in Cuba. Lincoln Diaz-Balart extended the American lease over that part of the island for a further thousand years.

    Previously I posted under the user name palestinian professor, which is now deprecated. I now post under my late grandfather's name simone daud.

    by simone daud on Sat May 22, 2010 at 11:58:32 PM PDT

  •  This part right here (6+ / 0-)

    of your "analysis":

    So I know its rare, but lets take a moment to look at all that American diplomacy has accomplished since 1948. Then a weak Israel was willing to accept refugees in return for negotiations, and the ceasefire line as a permanent border.  The Arab world refused to even consider such terms.

    I'm just wondering where it comes from.  See, I tried to follow your link ... but there wasn't one!  And it so happens I know a little bit about what happened in 1948.  For example, I know the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 194, Article 11 of which reads:

    Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible;

    Instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations;

    Now, Israel never implemented UNGAR 194, for reasons this contemporary Zionist sums up well:

    Some [Palestinian] refugees ... were, in modern parlance, ethnically cleansed. The nascent State of Israel was fighting a war of existential survival. It owes no apologies for its behavior in 1948.

    UNGAR 194 was adopted in 1949 with the aim of ending the new refugee problem quickly by means of return and compensation. When you go back and read it, it invokes a degree of moderation: if refugees agree to "live at peace with their [Israeli] neighbors", then they "should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date". There is plenty of qualifying language here that has enabled Israel, over the years, to insist that UNGAR 194 is not feasible because we are still effectively at war.

    Israeli rejected a UN mandate that it allow the refugees it had ethnically cleansed return to their homes.  Instead, it expropriated their property, turning it over to the Jewish state and to Jewish settlers who had made aliyah.

    Israel continues to refuse to acknowledge formally its own role in creating the Palestinian refugee problem, even though its own historians unanimously agree most refugees were produced through a coherent policy of ethnic cleansing.  Even today, when the Palestinian demand is simply for an apology and compensation, Israel refuses to come to the table with a meaningful offer.

    •  Not sure if this is what the diarist is (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, zannie, unspeakable

      referring to - perhaps the Lausanne Conference of 1949? But you're right - the paragraph you quote from the diary is vague, imprecise and conflates quote a few separate issues.

      Buffy: "Your logic does not resemble our earth logic" Xander: "Mine is much more advanced". BtVS, The Wish.

      by Fire bad tree pretty on Sun May 23, 2010 at 06:01:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Looks to me like the diarist (3+ / 0-)

        is simply trying to whitewash Israel's horrendous record in peace negotiations, shifting responsibility for all of Israel's failures onto the Palestinians (who have plenty of failures of their own, obviously).

        •  Agreed. He made that pretty clear upfront: (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litho, zannie, unspeakable, simone daud

          This is a refreshing change from the usual dynamic of Israeli offers, Palestinian rejections, and then sweetened Israeli offers.

          I was more taken aback by the naivete and 'aw-shucks' approach to negotiation and American mediation:

          Flash-forward to 2010...So to a large extent the trick is for America to manage Israeli expectations down, while simultaneously stopping Palestinian demands from rising.  This will require the ability to pressure and reward both sides without falling back to inflammatory rhetoric about good guys and bad guys.  

          Seriously that's all it's gonna take to get Peace In The Middle East!!!

          Buffy: "Your logic does not resemble our earth logic" Xander: "Mine is much more advanced". BtVS, The Wish.

          by Fire bad tree pretty on Sun May 23, 2010 at 06:31:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My life is too short (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            livosh1, unspeakable, canadian gal

            to rehash the history of negotiations in gory detail.  Personally I think the Israeli proposal

            http://middleeastprogress.org/...

            was absurd, and the Palestinian one was far more reasonable

            http://middleeastprogress.org/...

            (even if I dislike file extensions in all caps)

            And I think Abbas was right not to reach a deal with Olmert, Olmert was too unpopular to deliver anything anyways.

            But it doesn't matter who I think is right, I'm just saying if the direction of Palestinian offers reversed, it means people are getting closer to an agreement.  And obviously a process of negotiating implies people will say they want things more extreme than what they want.

            I also think if you look at Palestinian rhetoric they are far more likely to unilaterally declare statehood than Israeli citizenship.  And when they do I'd rather have a framework in place for handling the refugees and monitoring security concerns then another repeat of Lebanon/Gaza.

            And that type of American might be naive, and often fails, but sometimes it succeeds too.  And if Obama pushes seriously for negotiations, he will need public support.

            •  Hey Earl. Thx for your thoughts. (0+ / 0-)

              While I generally support the President's initiative, I don't think the current Israeli government is constitutionally capable of agreeing to anything other than continuing the status quo. But maybe the current initiative will (somehow) contribute to the collapse of this coalition.

              •  I agree, Bibi is a politician in every negative (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                livosh1, canadian gal

                sense of the word.  But if Sharon can withdraw from Gaza, nothing will surprise me.  And luckily, the average Israeli PM seems to be in power for only 1-3 years.

                And thanks for saying thanks.  Snarky comments do hurt, maybe I'm not cut out for the internet.

                •  Try not to worry too much about (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  canadian gal

                  those snarky comments. They're not very persuasive. Know that your participation here is appreciated.

                •  I think, generally speaking, (3+ / 0-)

                  the veterans of this issue rush to identify new users who weigh in because of the dynamics of the debate on this website. The particular part of your diary that fire bad tree pretty quoted seemed to indicate that you placed the blame solely on the intransigent and rejectionist Palestinians who were refusing generous offers from the peace-seeking Israelis.

                  I'm glad that you clarified what you meant and that your view is much more nuanced than that.

                  Having said that, many people recognize that Sharon didn't withdraw from Gaza in the interests of peace. He withdrew because he wanted to strengthen the hold on the West Bank, which strategically is more important. The entire unilateral withdrawal has proven to have been a disaster, not progress, in terms of ending this conflict.

                  I think we need to stop looking to the worst elements in both societies to find peace. Peace won't come from the rejectionists that populate so much of the current Israeli political class, and it won't come from the snake oil salesmen in the Palestinian Authority and de facto Gaza rulers.

                  Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice. -- Clark's Law

                  by unspeakable on Sun May 23, 2010 at 09:52:49 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  We'll never know why Sharon withdrew from Gaza (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    canadian gal

                    but even if his intentions were not pure, it still shows that the pro-settler lobby can be defeated.  Sharon managed to split Likud on the issue without the support of the Israeli left and without American pressure.  And for what? His main argument was just based on cost.

                    If Sharon can be that successful at challenging the settler lobby without any domestic/international support on the basis of a few cents maybe the support for the settlers isn't that deep.

                    •  It's not clear to me (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      litho, Fire bad tree pretty

                      that Sharon was challenging the settler lobby. He never intended to remove any settlements in the West Bank, whose numbers there dwarfed those in Gaza.

                      I'm not arguing that support for the settlers is deep, by the way. I do think that they are sufficiently powerful in the structures of Israeli politics that they have what amounts to final say on what happens to the settlements.

                      Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice. -- Clark's Law

                      by unspeakable on Sun May 23, 2010 at 10:33:11 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I've always found pretty persuasive the arguments (4+ / 0-)

                        that Sharon's fundamental intention was to derail the Oslo process and relieve US pressure under Bush's roadmap.

                        See for example Tony Karon's analysis from 2005, before the withdrawal was completed:

                        It must be remembered that Sharon adopted the "disengagement" plan when Yasser Arafat was still in charge of the Palestinian Authority. It was conceived as a way of bypassing any international pressure to resume political negotiations with the Palestinians, redrawing the political map in ways calculated to neutralize U.S. pressure to continue any version of the Oslo process, and most importantly, to create a security, political and diplomatic environment favorable to reinforcing Israel’s long-term occupation of East Jerusalem and its most prized settlements in the West Bank.

                        Sharon described his plan as "a harsh blow to Palestinian dreams" and aspirations, rather than any movement towards fulfilling them. And his top political aide Dov Weisglass fleshed out the strategic rationale in an an interview with Haaretz, in which he explained that the "disengagement" was designed to "freeze," rather than activate, the roadmap. The plan, said Weissglass, "supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians." By pulling out of Gaza and unilaterally redrawing the boundaries, Weisglass said, "you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem." From the horse’s mouth.

                        •  Perhaps it was sold on multiple rationales (0+ / 0-)

                          but you are ignoring the larger idea that the settlement council didn't buy any of the rationales, defeated Sharon in an internal party vote, and still lost on the issue.  And lets be honest, I do not see most of the settlement council buying the argument that withdrawing from Gaza somehow makes a Palestinian state impossible.

      •  I don't know what "side" this puts me on (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        unspeakable

        but I don't have much interest in things that happened in the 40s/50s and regret mentioning it.  My only point is that Israeli demands are much higher than they were before and Arab demands much lower and in some dimensions they have crossed.
        The only narrow lesson is that Palestinians were badly mistreated and any peace agreement needs to generously compensate them for any violation of "the right of return."
        And the larger lesson is that whenever the international community creates a state without building up the institutions needed for independence things end badly.  Look at the fate of the Western Sahara and East Timor.
        Walter Russeal Mead makes this argument in the Council of Foreign Relations.  He argues that the best way to frame the issue is to recognize that both sides were betrayed by an international community more interested in unloading the Jews and maintaining their colonial possessions then creating stable conditions on the ground.  So both the international community and Israel should accept guilt for what happened. And the international community should also offer to open its doors to Palestanian immigration w/o prejudicing the right of return.
        But if you can explain to me why knowing the history in more detail and assigning blame on that basis can further the cause of peace please tell me and if I ever have time I'll do more research.

  •  Now where has Earl buggered off to? (3+ / 0-)

    Hmmm.

    A guilty conscience never feels secure.

    by Flyswatterbanjo on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:42:35 AM PDT

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