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In his speeches last week at the State Department and to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), President Obama made clear his belief that the status quo in the Israel-Palestine conflict is "unsustainable."

At the State Department:

[I]t is important that we tell the truth: the status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace.

To AIPAC:

And yet, no matter how hard it may be to start meaningful negotiations under current circumstances, we must acknowledge that a failure to try is not an option.  The status quo is unsustainable.

The President also made clear the basic outline of the goal: "two states for two peoples."  As he said at the State Department:

[W]hat America and the international community can do is state frankly what everyone knows: a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples. Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.

President Obama also made clear, rightly in my opinion, the need to recognize that the important territorial aspect of peace negotiations will start on the basis of the 1949 armistice 'Green Line,' which formed the pre-1967 'border,' and then involve swaps of land between Israel and Palestine.  This principle has formed the basis of American policy at least since President Clinton (and emphatically including the G.W. Bush).  At the end of the day (this is my opinion), the result will be that major settlement blocks (containing the majority of the settlers), such as Gush Etzion, and Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem will be part of Israel, and Palestine will gain an equal amount of territory.

But President Obama has a problem, and its name is Hamas.  And so do we.

In his State Department speech, President Obama rightly observed the difficulty of asking a country--Israel--to "negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist."  Imporantly, the President did not rule out peace negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization or the Palestinian Authority simply because Hamas may play a role in the governance of the PA or may join the PLO.  Here's the relevant paragraph from President Obama (my emphasis):

In particular, the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel – how can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist. In the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question. Meanwhile, the United States, our Quartet partners, and the Arab states will need to continue every effort to get beyond the current impasse.

The President made the same points to AIPAC (my emphasis):

I indicated on Thursday that the recent agreement between Fatah and Hamas poses an enormous obstacle to peace.  No country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction.  And we will continue to demand that Hamas accept the basic responsibilities of peace, including recognizing Israel’s right to exist and rejecting violence and adhering to all existing agreements.  And we once again call on Hamas to release Gilad Shalit, who has been kept from his family for five long years.

But there is a deal-breaker: If, as the President said in his State Department speech, Hamas "insists on a path of terror and rejection."  I quote again the relevant paragraph from that speech:

For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won't create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.


So, President Obama held out to Hamas the opportunity to participate in the effort to achieve a Palestinian state alongside Israel.  In effect, he offered Hamas a choice between the olive branch and the gun.  Unfortunately (but consistently with its antisemitic founding covenant and historic practices), Hamas so far seems unable to put down the gun and pick up the olive branch.

Osama Hamdan, identified by the Guardian newspaper as "the head of the Hamas international relations department," and by Wikipedia as "the top representative of Hamas in Lebanon and . . . a member of the organization's politburo," recently said in an interview on Al-Jadid/New TV that, as a result of the reconciliation, or unity, agreement, "all the Palestinian forces" now would engage in "an armed confrontation" against Israel (the "Zionist entity," as Hamdan calls it), with the objective of "the return of the Israelis to the countries from which they came."

Osama Hamdan: Instead of one party negotiating and another conducting resistance, both parties – or rather, all the Palestinian forces – will operate within the single framework of confronting the Zionist entity, and this will not be an easy battle.

Interviewer: Will this be an armed confrontation?

Osama Hamdan: Yes, it will be an armed confrontation, as well as all other forms of struggle, including civil Intifdada against the occupation, against the wall, and against the Judaization of Jerusalem. There is no doubt, however, that the armed confrontation will continue to be the main effort and the backbone of the resistance, until the liberation of Palestine.

          * * *

[W]e are entering the phase of the liberation of Palestine. When we talk about the liberation of Palestine, we are talking about the notion of Return: the return of the refugees to their homeland, and the return of the Israelis to the countries from which they came.



Hamdan's interview was broadcast on May 4, 2011, so it is still possible that Hamas may respond favorably to President Obama's plea for peace.  But the more support there is for delegitimizing Israel, for seeking to put end--whether through violence or 'peaceful coercion'--to Israel as, in President Obama's words, "as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people." the less likely Hamas is to change course, and the less likely, therefore, Palestinians and Israelis are to realize the imperative of a lasting peace based, as the the President rightly recognizes it must be, on "two states for two peoples."

Hamas soon may be put to the test.  Haaretz reports today that "[s]ources close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that he will seek to form a government of technocrats by mid-June which will accept the demands of the Quartet, including recognition of Israel."  The Haaretz news story continues:

The sources said that Abbas also appears determined to see Salam Fayyad appointed as prime minister on the unity government, despite widespread objection, as he believes that without Fayyad, the international criticism he has received because of the reconciliation agreement with Hamas cannot be countered.  The sources believe that Hamas will ultimately agree to the appointment.

I hope Haaretz's sources are correct on all counts.



So what's our problem with Hamas?  To begin with, it's not just with Hamas.

Our problem is that we are gearing up for what threatens to be an presidential election characterized by vicious, extremely well-funded attacks on President Obama, in particular, and Democrats, generally.  Just as a Hamas that stays the course for armed conflict threatens President Obama's vision of peace between Israel and Palestine, guilt-by-association attacks on the President and other Democratic candidates threaten their prospects for electoral success.  And if Hamas agrees to the formation of a Palestinian government verbally committed to recognizing Israel and negotiating along the lines set out by President Obama, for which I hope, the President's supporters will need to be able to defend him against the charge--foreshadowed, for example, by Mitt Romney's scurrilous charge that President Obama "threw Israel under the bus"--that encouraging peace negotiations between Israel and a PLO or PA supported by Hamas is itself anti-Israel.  They key is to refuse to tolerate the delegitimization of Israel or Palestine.

I am not saying that President Obama should be immune from criticism regarding Israel or any other issue.  I myself wish he were taking a more active role to bridge the gaps between Israeli and Palestinians.  Without such American efforts, I fear the principals themselves may not succeed.  Nor would I forbid criticism of Israel, Palestine, Prime Minister Netanyahu, or President Abbas.  My distrust of Netanyahu, for example, is great, nor would I give Abbas a free ride.

But I do think that DKos should not tolerate attempts to delegitimize either Israel or Palestine, to deny the right to exist, again in President Obama's words at the State Department, of "Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace."  (Emphasis added).

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips & recs for President Obama's vision of (15+ / 0-)
    two states for two peoples. Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace,

    and for DKos dedication to his re-election.

    Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

    by another American on Fri May 27, 2011 at 08:07:31 AM PDT

  •  Snort (15+ / 0-)

    Obama calls for peace. Netanyahu denounces peace based along 1967 lines. Senate Democrats applaud Netanyahu and denounce Obama. aA's conclusion: Hamas is the problem.

    "How did you go bankrupt?" "Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly." - Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises.

    by weasel on Fri May 27, 2011 at 08:42:43 AM PDT

    •  Hamas is a problem for President Obama. (10+ / 0-)

      Netanyahu's obstinacy and Abbas's refusal to return to peace negotiations are problems for Israelis, Palestinians, and prospects for peace.

      This diary is about the former.  Please don't hijack it.

      Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

      by another American on Fri May 27, 2011 at 08:45:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He can't help it.. you said something bad about (9+ / 0-)

        someone other than Israel. It's Pavlovian... Anything that distracts from the meme gets a "snort" or "so?".

        But here is the kicker: You never said that Hamas was "THE" problem as weasel accuses you here:

        Senate Democrats applaud Netanyahu and denounce Obama. aA's conclusion: Hamas is the problem.

        You said Hamas was "A" problem. Which they are.

        But I wouldn't expect weasel to be able to tell the difference in his quest to propagandize and distort the truth.

        DK4: For those times when pissing in the hummus isn't enough

        by volleyboy1 on Fri May 27, 2011 at 09:04:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The "Hamas problem" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Q, Florida Democrat

        is an Israeli creation to avoid negotiations.

        Create a real Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, and you'll find that the "problem" suddenly disappears.

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

        by Ptah the Great on Fri May 27, 2011 at 12:45:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Because? nt (5+ / 0-)

          Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

          by another American on Fri May 27, 2011 at 01:05:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Because it is the occupation (0+ / 0-)

            and the settlements that have so radicalized the Palestinians.

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

            by Ptah the Great on Fri May 27, 2011 at 01:17:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Even after the Good Friday Agreement, (7+ / 0-)

              some Irish Republican elements remained unreconciled.  Your useof the words "suddenly disappears" suggested to me that you were claiming that the mere creation of a Palestinian state, etc., etc., would produce the sudden disappearance of Hamas.  This is what I don't understand, especially because such a settlement will limit realization of any Palestinian righ tof return to the State of Palestine.  While I'm inclined to think, or at least hope, that such a deal can be sold to a sufficient majority of Palstinians (and of israelis), I don't understand why at least a substantial section of Hamas won't fight against acceptance of such a settlement in advance and refuse to abide by it after-the-fact.

              Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

              by another American on Fri May 27, 2011 at 01:23:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No. It's the problem (0+ / 0-)

                that will disappear. Hamas will shrivel, but not disappear.

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

                by Ptah the Great on Fri May 27, 2011 at 01:39:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Or rather, I should say (0+ / 0-)

                  Hamas will either change its ways or shrivel. But it will not disappear.

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

                  by Ptah the Great on Fri May 27, 2011 at 01:41:09 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I hope you're right. Of course, (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  volleyboy1, VClib, Mets102, Corwin Weber

                  that would mean that advocates on DKos of a Palestinian "right of return" to Israel either are using that issue as a bargaining/advocacy chip that, in fact, they're prepared to see given up, or, in your estimation, achieving a real Palestinian state, next to Israel, based on the 1949 armistice lines plus swaps will either change their minds or render them politically irrelevant.

                  Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

                  by another American on Fri May 27, 2011 at 01:44:10 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I can't speak for others (0+ / 0-)

                    but I suspect there are ways to resolve right of return. But to demand Palestinians renounce it a priori with nothing in return is a non-starter.

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

                    by Ptah the Great on Fri May 27, 2011 at 01:53:57 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Not according to people that advocate here (6+ / 0-)

                      Their contention is that it is each persons right to either accept or give it up for something else.

                      DK4: For those times when pissing in the hummus isn't enough

                      by volleyboy1 on Fri May 27, 2011 at 01:57:13 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Seems totally (0+ / 0-)

                        resolvable to me. But the Palestinians have to be assured there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

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

                        by Ptah the Great on Fri May 27, 2011 at 02:46:35 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  That's to you... but that is not to everyone (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Mets102, JNEREBEL, Corwin Weber

                          and certainly not to majorities on both sides.

                          I think both sides need to know there is a "light at the end of the tunnel"... that's the problem here. For the Israelis it is that Israel will continue to exist and live in peace with its neighbors as a Jewish State. For Palestinians it is that they need a homeland and a solution to the refugee issue.

                          This is what has to be resolved. If you have a solution to it, please let us all know. I know what I think would do it but I don't think you would think it is acceptable and what you propose to me about 1967 borders straight up is not acceptable as well as Palestinian right of return. Of course neither of us negotiating this so it is just as well.

                          DK4: For those times when pissing in the hummus isn't enough

                          by volleyboy1 on Fri May 27, 2011 at 02:58:23 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Excuse me? (0+ / 0-)

                            What did I propose to you "about 1967 borders straight up ... as well as Palestinian right of return"???

                            You are forever projecting, and usually not even tongue in cheek.

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

                            by Ptah the Great on Sat May 28, 2011 at 12:11:59 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  I wasn't making a demand, merely (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      VClib, volleyboy1, Mets102, Corwin Weber

                      trying to understand your contention that, as I now understand your modification of it, creation of a real Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 war lines would result in Hamas either "changing its ways," I take it you mean accepting the peace settlement, or "shrivel[ing]."

                      No imaginable Israeli government will agree to Palestinians having a right to move to Israel.  At most, as part of an end-of-conflict peace settlement, a token number might be allowed in as a matter of discretion.   So any 'ways to resolve [the] right of return" claim will have to involve a climb-down by the Palestinian side, i.e., limiting it to the new State of Palestine plus compensation, etc.

                      How and when Palestinian representatives trade the claimed right of return for achievable elements of a peace settlement is not my present concern.  For all I know, they've secretly told President Obama than, in the context of getting a "real Palestinian state," they'll give it up.

                      My comment instead focused on how DKos members who advocate a right of return relate to that issue and how they may relate to it in the context of an impendingt or accomplished peace settlement.

                      Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

                      by another American on Fri May 27, 2011 at 02:12:22 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

      •  The Key to the Agreement (0+ / 0-)

        In diplomacy it's always about finding the right words. For example, the Quartet said Hamas must accept Israel's right to exist which was relatively easy. What's difficult and why Netanyahu exacerbates Obama's Hamas problem is an insistence of a Jewish nation has a right to exist. To Jewish ears both terms mean the same thing and so being against the latter implies that the intent is wipe out all the Jews. To Arab ears a Jewish nation implies the 20% of non-Jews in Israel don't have rights. The solution is to call Israel by its proper name and you will get an agreement and even if you don't the Palestinian people will get tired with the extremists and not vote for them in the coming elections. Asking Hamas to eschew violence and accept Israel's right to exist is reasonable while asking them to accept a Jewish state is not.

        Note what the Arab League said they were against in 1948:

        When the General Assembly made its recommendations on 29 November 1947 for the solution of the Palestine problem on the basis of partition providing for the establishment of two States, one Arab and one Jewish, with an international regime of trusteeship for the City of Jerusalem, the Arab States expressed the warning that such a solution was prejudicial to the rights of the Arab inhabitants of Palestine to independence and was contradictory to democratic principles and to the League of Nations as well as the United Nations Charter. The Arabs then rejected such a scheme declaring that it was not susceptible of execution by peaceful means and that its imposition by force constituted a threat to peace and security in this area.

        This is what they were for:

        The only fair and just solution to the problem of Palestine is the creation of United State of Palestine based upon the democratic principles which will enable all its inhabitants to enjoy equality before the law, and which would guarantee to all minorities the safeguards provided for in all democratic constitutional States affording at the same time full protection and free access to Holy Places.

        Because the Arabs saw a Jewish state blocks the goals above -- and I believe history proved them right -- then a solution based upon the principle above -- whether one state or two is a way forward. So, have Hamas affirm the following:

        We support the right of a state of Israel which is based upon the democratic principles which will enable all its inhabitants to enjoy equality before the law, and which would guarantee to all minorities the safeguards provided for in all democratic constitutional States affording at the same time full protection and free access to Holy Places.

        We also support the right of a state of Palestine based upon the democratic principles which will enable all its inhabitants to enjoy equality before the law, and which would guarantee to all minorities the safeguards provided for in all democratic constitutional States affording at the same time full protection and free access to Holy Places.

        Finally, we affirm the right of both states to have its respective citizens live in security free of violence within both of their secure borders.

        For Hamas their sine qua non is the armed struggle. That is being politically eroded as we speak. Polling the Palestinian people has shown support for armed struggle has gone from a majority to opposition to armed struggle is now a majority in two short years. The real reason we have a unity agreement is both Fatah and Hamas sense they have or will soon lost the support of the Palestinian people which wants above all unity of the various factions.

        Now for the real Hamas problem. They've lost control of Gaza. The recent rocket attacks were by out-of-control Salafists who also murdered the Italian peace activist. So, even if you get Hamas to magically accept a Jewish state it means very little. This is because what we all want -- the killing to stop -- won't happen.

        •  Do you take the 1948 Arab League statement (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mets102

          at face value?  It begins:

          On the occasion of the intervention of Arab States in Palestine to restore law and order . . .

          I find this language Orwellian:  An invasion of a state created under the auspices of the United Nations is described as an "intervention" "to restore law and order."

          Also, while I would not condition entry into negotiations on Palestinian acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state, all concerned need to recognize that President Obama has accurately stated the objective of a peace settlement, something he rightly said "everybody knows":

          lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples. Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.

          Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

          by another American on Sat May 28, 2011 at 12:03:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Are they really mutually exclusive? (11+ / 0-)

      Netanyahu and Hamas can both be obstacles to peace. Despite the peculiar desire of some to cast Hamas as an insignificant bit player to the I/P conflict, reality dictates that they are anything but, and they are indeed a problem. Not an insurmountable one, and not one that in and of itself absolves Jerusalem of its responsibility to make the difficult decisions for peace, but significant nonetheless.

      These are the demands and sayings of Lee!

      by Red Sox on Fri May 27, 2011 at 08:49:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another American - this is much too rational (9+ / 0-)

    in tone and substance for publication here at DKOS on the I/P issue. Well done, and I will be interested in how it is received.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Fri May 27, 2011 at 08:45:16 AM PDT

  •  Osama Hamdan (5+ / 0-)

    is in Lebanon. That means he's outside the circle of decision-making.

    The two centers of Hamas power are in Gaza and Damascus. What Hamdan says (and he has a history of declarations that come to nothing) is non-operational until it's repeated by officials in either of those two places.

    As far as I'm concerned, Hamas's refusal to recognize the so-called right of Israel to exist is a non-issue. The Republican Party, for example, does not recognize the right of Canada to exist, for example. As long as the Palestinians, with a mandate from their people, enter into negotiations with Israel, this isn't a problem at all.

    If the people one day wish to live / destiny cannot but respond / And the night cannot but disappear / and the bonds cannot but break. -- Abu'l-Qasim al-Shabbi

    by unspeakable on Fri May 27, 2011 at 08:57:44 AM PDT

  •  The President is working hard (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Q

    http://www.haaretz.com/...

    'Obama trying to head off train wreck at UN in September'
    U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell tells Charlie Rose that the UN recognizing a Palestinian state would be 'very harmful for Israel, for the U.S., and not good for the peace process.'

    To avoid the looming september deadline.  The consequences of   the establishment and recognition of a Palestinian state without Israel's particpation would place the US in a very difficult position due to our close alliance with Israel.  The US would need to expend tremendous amounts of ever diminishing international capital to prevent or deter a sanctions and isolation regime on an Israel that does not withdraw from the OPT.  More horrific is the prospect of military conflict.

    However, I don't see how Netanyahu can make even symbolic moves towards negotiations without his government coalition collapsing.  

    It would take a crisis and establishment of a new government for there to be meaningful negotiations.  

    Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

    by Eiron on Fri May 27, 2011 at 09:17:22 AM PDT

  •  So, when does Obama demand that Yisrael (11+ / 0-)

    Beiteinu, Shas, etc leave the Israeli coalition government?

    When does he demand that Israel recognize the inherent right of Palestinians for a real state that controls its own treaty-making, borders, airspace, and ground water?

    Come on.  Obama couldn't even get Israel to stop settlement expansion.  He's not a credible mediator in this conflict.  He's an advocate for Israel, with a range of options between being 100% on Israel's side and being 110% on Israel side.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Fri May 27, 2011 at 09:18:18 AM PDT

  •  It's a shock that Hamas' "let's kill (6+ / 0-)

    all the jews" policy might create a bit of a problem with lasting peace.

    Hillary Clinton's Liberal Ranking http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/8/10/122232/619

    by tigercourse on Fri May 27, 2011 at 10:00:55 AM PDT

  •  For anyone who hasn't read it yet, (0+ / 0-)

    I recommend The Troubador's most recent diary, currently at the top of the rec list

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Fri May 27, 2011 at 10:05:25 AM PDT

  •  Hamas can't recognize Israel (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TakeMeOutOfMyMissouri

    because of their Islamic Fundamentalist belief that no non-Muslim country can be tolerated in a formerly Muslim land. It's a bigoted and stupid belief, but it's what they think.

  •  Don't you realize that: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul in Berkeley, Corwin Weber

    1.  Hamas already has accepted a Palestinian two-state solution (you know, we've said we'd accept a Palestinian state on the '67 lines).  We don't accept the zionist entity, but we'd consider a two-state solution and even accepting a state called Israel, which we'd accept as long as there are no Jews in it.

    2.  I'm sure Hamdan was misquoted or mistranslated.  Seems like some people on this site are always arguing that Hamas was mistranslated when a Hamas spokesperson says something anti-Israel (oops, I mean pro-Palestinian) or anti-semetic (oops, I mean anti-Jewish --- remember that Palestinians are semites too).

    3.  What's all this silly ballyhoo about a "unity" agreement between Hamas and the PA?  Hamas is not going to even have any influence on the Palestinian government.  Haven't you heard that it's just going to be a bunch of "technocrats."

    4.  Don't worry, those rockets that will start flying from Gaza into israel once the UN General Assembly approves a Palestinian state won't be authorized by the new Palestinian government, but we just don't have the resources to stop people from launching them!

  •  U.S. wasting time trying to restart peace talks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elliott

    The Obama Administration is getting sidetracked by focusing on who does or doesn't support Israel's right to exist.   The reason is that, regardless of what Hamas, Fatah or any of the other Palestinian parties proclaim, no nation or political group in the Arab world supports the Jewish state.  This reality was obscured during the years when the U.S. controlled the newly ousted Arab dictators.  But just months after the fall of Mubarak in Egypt, Pew Center polls are already showing that 54% of the Egyptian public wants to annul the peace agreement with Israel.  In addition, the Egyptians have now opened their border with Gaza.  

    The Arab-Israeli peace talks that Pres. Obama is trying to initiate is merely wasting precious time.  What the Palestinians may have been willing to accept from Israel before democracy swept through the Arab world was the two-state solution.   The Palestinian state would have been set up on Israel's borders.  But an emboldened Arab world will no longer tolerate a de-militarized Palestinian state, for which Israel controls borders, water rights, roads and other elements of infrastructue.  

    Sadly, I suppose that the Arab-Israeli situation will have to deterioriate further, with greater loss of life,  before the U.S. wakes up to the politically-unpalatable reality.  Israel  will either evolve into a multi-ethnic state of all its people, or fade into history.

    Constance Hilliard is a professor, who blogs at Soul Wisdom: http://soul-wisdom.blogspot.com

    by Constance Hilliard on Fri May 27, 2011 at 11:37:50 AM PDT

    •  One need not "support" a state to make peace (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Corwin Weber, Mets102, RedPencil

      with it.

      I realize that you have written a book arguing "The Case for a Post-Zionist State."  Unfortunately, I've not read it.  Nor have I found a review of it in a peer-reviewed academic journal.  (I confess, I only searched JSTOR.)  But the review in CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries does not inspire confidence in your judgment:

      Underlying her provocative title is Hilliard's deep concern for the victims of Western anti-Semitism "trapped" in Israel, a country promoted by the US and its allies because they were unwilling to admit adequate numbers of Jewish refugees into their respective countries before, during, or after the Holocaust. As hopes fade for a just peace between an Israeli and a Palestinian state, Hilliard urges the creation of a post-Zionist state along lines once advocated by Albert Einstein, Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt, and many other liberal Jewish intellectuals. Based largely on Israeli and other Jewish sources, Hilliard (Univ. of North Texas) portrays Israel as an economically viable society on the verge of emotional collapse, suffering post-traumatic stress disorder caused by Palestinian suicide bombings and other Arab attacks brought on by its aggressive expansion and colonization policies. Much of its educated elite are leaving the country, and Palestinians will soon outnumber Jews in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank.

      Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

      by another American on Fri May 27, 2011 at 11:59:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How do you explain (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Corwin Weber, VClib, Mets102, RedPencil

      the fact that, under the Displaced Persons Act, between January 1, 1949, and December 31, 1952, of the 400,000 displaced persons who entered the U.S. under the DP Act, approximately 68,000 were Jews?  Source  This seems inconsistent with your thesis of Jews being "trapped" in Israel and that Americans "supported Jewish aspirations so long as most Holocaust survivors were being shipped to a former British colony, populated by resentful and riotous Arabs."  An additional 252,000 Jews immigrated to the United States from the Former Soviet Union since 1970.  Source

      Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

      by another American on Fri May 27, 2011 at 12:17:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this careful, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    callmecassandra

    thoughtful analysis of Hamas's position within Palestinian politics, and the implications of this for both a potential future "peace process" with Israel (necessarily speculative, since as you rightly point out, given current Israeli rejectionism bankrolled by the US no such "peace process" is likely in the near future, whatever Hamas does) and for President Obama's policy towards the conflict.

    Particularly useful was the way you incorporated into your analysis Hamas's significant political evolution since its 1988 Charter, and your explanation of its shift since 2005 away from violence and towards a political process under the framework of Oslo. Also helpful was the way you explained the fact that Hamas's top leadership has all but come out in favour of a two-state settlement, and has agreed to give Abbas - who rejects violence against Israelis - a veto over armed resistance, in terms of its assumption of governance duties in Gaza, its fundamental pragmatism, and internal political struggles within the movement, making reference to the divisions that have reportedly been exacerbated by the "Arab spring", specifically the overthrow of Mubarak and the weakening of the regime in Damascus.

    Overall, then, a very thought provoking contribution, as usual. Thanks.

    •  You're welcome. I appreciate your customary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mets102

      attention to what I actually wrote, rather than projecting on to my diary a tendentious, uncharitable reading.  I also appreciate your refusal to overlook statements by Hamas leaders that reasonably prompt concern on the part of both those dedicated to achieving a two states for two peoples peace settlement and those simply concerned that Israel's longterm security not be degraded.

      Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

      by another American on Sat May 28, 2011 at 12:08:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A worthy response (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        callmecassandra

        and another testament to your willingness to engage seriously with views that differ from your own. Many would have been tempted to respond to a claim that Hamas's politics have "developed" and that there are "internal political struggles within the movement" by crudely caricaturing it as ignoring those aspects of Hamas that remain troubling, but the sophisticated grasp of nuance and complexity demonstrated in the diary above thankfully grace your comment as well.

        What is commendable above all about both your diary and this comment is your insistence that we not lose perspective. Refusing to privilege the rights and needs of one "side" of the conflict over the other, on the principled grounds that neither Israelis nor Palestinians are more or less than human beings, you proceed from the obvious point that the balance of military, economic and political power lies overwhelmingly with Israel and will continue to do so whether or not Palestinians acquire statehood. Your discussion of the security needs of both parties reflects this fundamental and vast asymmetry, and I applaud you for rejecting the at best parochial and at worst racist bias present in so much commentary on this matter, which accords Israel's alleged security needs a far more central place in commentators' concerns than the far greater (as you point out) security needs of the Palestinians. Moreover, while acknowledging that Hamas is far from perfect, and exploring both its internal and external dynamics in the sophisticated manner I have already paid tribute to, you nonetheless show a clear grasp of its relative (lack of) influence on the broader political process in the region, and refuse, unlike other, lesser commentators, to focus myopically on the grammar of the situation even as you lose the plot.

        •  It's been fun, but (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mets102

          having shown I can play the game, I don't choose to.  I have better things to do.

          Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

          by another American on Sat May 28, 2011 at 02:58:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Reading about Hamas (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            callmecassandra

            beyond the tabloid headlines, evidently, not being one of them.

            Blogs can be useful. They can explore avenues of inquiry not already covered by the mainstream press. They can expose superficial and misleading reportage by drawing on scholarly, eye-witness and other marginalised sources. Or they can synthesise material in the mainstream press in novel ways.

            But all this diary does is repeat that standard cliches about Hamas that one can read in any trashy broadsheet. One, that isn't useful, since everyone here is familiar with them already; and two, it's misleading, for the same reasons the articles they echo are misleading. So this diary was a bit of a wasted opportunity, is all.

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