Israel/Palestine: the settlements are unsustainable, and Netanyahu knows it

Dave Osler has a good piece on the Israeli government’s latest settlement activities :

ISRAEL’S announcement of plans for 1,600 new settler housing units in illegally occupied Palestinian territory has triggered both stern condemnation from Washington and rioting on the streets of East Jerusalem. And just to highlight their heartfelt regret over these adverse reactions, the Israeli authorities have today confirmed their desire to build 300 more.

It is difficult to interpret such intractable obstinacy as anything other than deliberate provocation, and not just in respect of the timing. As Netanyahu is well aware, substantial withdrawal is the sine qua non for the two-state policy increasingly pressed on his government by the rest of the world.

Yet his evident determination to scupper this outcome is so deep that he is willing quite literally to try and build his way out of his impasse. Not only can he not be allowed to succeed; he cannot succeed, even within his own terms.

Netanyahu’s hardline position puts him directly at odds with majority opinion in his own country. Most Israelis do not regard preservation of settlements in Palestinian territory as a fundamental objective of the state, and do not believe that the interests of settlers take priority over those of the population in general.

Still the administration pushes on with colonisation, either oblivious to – or more likely perfectly conscious of – the consequences. But in either eventuality, it is equally culpable. Yet in the long run, the economic, demographic, diplomatic and political realities that will ultimately culminate in the establishment of a Palestinian state render the practice unsustainable.
The argument is sometimes advanced that any Israeli government calling for the abandonment of even a single settlement would run the risk of civil war. It is indeed the case that some isolated communities are home to potentially terrorist elements inspired by the ideas of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane.

But these groups lack sufficient wider support to mobilise mass backing for any resistance to an order to withdraw. There is also the precedent of Yamit, an Israeli-built town in northeast Sinai, which was evacuated in 1982 under the terms of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty.

Ultimately the settlements are an obstacle in the way of a settlement, and that is why the construction work – tellingly, employing mostly Palestinian labour – is being stepped up. But they are not enough of an obstacle to do anything more than delay the inevitable cave in to reality.

37 Responses to “Israel/Palestine: the settlements are unsustainable, and Netanyahu knows it”

  1. Gil Says:

    Dave Osler is talking nonsense. He seems to be suggesting – from the quote above – that Yamit was evacuated peacefully: I can assure him (from being there at the time) that were mass protests and violence during the evacuation. The Army was sent in to forcibly remove the settlers. There was much violence which I witnessed first hand. I hate to praise Ariel Sharon but he played a vital part in the removal of the settlers from Yamit, thus dashing the hopes of the Right Wing. That same Sharon who withdrew from Gaza, only to be met with a Hamas controlled area.

    Due to Israel’s narrow width, the West Bank presents challenges that were not their at the time of the peace treaty with Egypt. Will the Palestinians allow the equivalent of the MFO on their doorstep? And what safeguards will Israel have if it abdicates its security to an MFO?

  2. Gil Says:

    Sorry, ‘there’ , not ‘their’.

  3. Jonathan Romer Says:

    Richard,

    I have nothing but respect for you and the work you do, but if you’re in agreement with David Osler’s piece quoted here, your understanding of Israel is as simplistic as his. From one end to the other, the Israel and the ‘reality’ it describes are ones invented by others, and the distortions pile up at an alarming rate.

    The opening sentence’s “illegally occupied Palestinian territory” is pure propaganda, in the classic repeat-a-lie-often-enough mold. From there through to the close, which elides Jewish housing in Ramat Shlomo with every isolated, ultra-nationalist provocation in the middle of the West Bank, it doesn’t get any better.

    I don’t have the time, or the energy at the moment, to fisk the piece line by line. There’s enough to criticize in Israel without needing to reduce it to a one-dimensional caricature.

    • Richard Gold Says:

      Hi Jonathan

      I think the piece is a good piece with regard to the policies of the current Israeli government, the problem of settlements and their effect on the peace process. That’s why i put it up.

    • luny Says:

      Can an Arab from, say, Dheisheh Refugee Camp, buy a flat in such “Jewish housing”? A a group of such Arabs go and buy a flat in “Arab housing” in Jaffa? No? Than such Jewish Housing is racist, and hence illegal under every civilized legal code.

      • zkharya Says:

        All nationalism is racist, to some degree. Jewish nationalism or Zionism is no more racist than the Palestinian Muslim or Christian nationalism that sought to exclude, dispossess, eliminate or practise apartheid against Palestinian, Israeli and other Jews.

        Israeli Jews are no more racist than their enemies, nor are they obliged to be closer to perfection than they. They do not have to accede to your gracious offer to perfect them from existence.

      • Inna Says:

        If you are interested in land ownership in Israel please go to:

        http://www.meforum.org/370/can-arabs-buy-land-in-israel

        Regards,

        Inna

  4. JG Campbell Says:

    Sorry but the Osler piece is twaddle.

    Just after Biden left, the PA renamed the main public square in Ramallah after a terrorist, Dalal Mughrabi, who murdered 38 Israeli civilians in 1978 – and there’s not so much as a squeak of protest from the US, EU, or the media. Compared to that, Israel’s building announcement in E Jerusalem while Biden was visiting was a diploma blunder but no more; it seems to me that it’s the US govt that’s making it into a crisis.

    Indeed, much as I would probably have voted for Livni or Barak if I were Israeli, the reality as far as I can see is that no recent Israeli government of left or right has done more to clamp down on settlements than Netanyahu’s coalition.

    Jerusalem is excluded, of course, because all recent Israeli governments view it as Israel’s undivided capital until such time as final negotiations with the Palestinians conclude otherwise. (Indeed, offers to divide Jerusalem were made by Barak in 2000/1 and Olmert in 2008 as part of comprehensive peace deals that were rejected by Arafat and Abbas).

    Nonetheless, by stating that Israel will accept a two-state solution (which inevitably means vacating settlements on the Palestinian side of a future final border), will not allow new settlements to be established, will not allow existing settlements to expand beyond current boundaries, and will freeze settlement building within existing settlements in the WBank for 10 months, Netanyahu has gone further than any previous Israeli PM that I can think of. As Ari Shavit said a while ago in Haaretz, Netanyahu has effectively positioned himself to the left of Rabin (www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1132436.html).

    On Jerusalem more specifically, it’s worth citing a recent post by Barry Rubin:

    “For more than four months the U.S. government has been celebrating Israel agreeing to stop construction on settlements in the West Bank while continuing building in east Jerusalem as a great step forward and Israeli concession deserving a reward. Suddenly, all of this is forgotten to say that Israel building in east Jerusalem is some kind of terrible deed which deserves punishment.

    Israelis are used to this pattern: give a big concession and a few months later that step is forgotten as Israel is portrayed as intransigent and more concessions are demanded with nothing in return…

    Meanwhile, even though the Palestinian Authority has refused to negotiate for 14 months; made President Brack Obama look very foolish after destroying his publicly announced September plan to have negotiations in two months; broke its promise not to sponsor the Goldstone report in the UN; and rejected direct negotiations after months of pleading by the Obama White House, not a single word of criticism has ever been offered by any administration official regarding the PA’s continuous and very public sabotage of peace process efforts.

    Can people please point out that there’s a bit of a contradiction here?”

    (http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-quick-they-forget-short-history-of.html)

    Jonathan

  5. Lynne T Says:

    Richard:

    If you want to criticize Israel’s settlement policies, there are better sources that do not misrepresent Rabat Shlomo and the overblown hyperbole over the “snub to Joe Bidden”.

    U.S. anger over East Jerusalem row is excessive

    By Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel

    Tags: Middle East peace

    A few pointers for the Obama administration on the diplomatic crisis with Israel:

    1. I don’t support Netanyahu. I think his policies on settlements and building in east Jerusalem are wrong. I think he is stalling for time and I would genuinely like to see a comprehensive political settlement with the Palestinians. But America’s response to the government’s approval of 1,600 new housing units in Ramat Shlomo in northeast Jerusalem is excessive.
    Advertisement

    While it extends a hand to Iran, which continues in its effort to acquire a nuclear bomb; and reaches out to Syria as it arms Hezbollah with advanced weapons, it seems the Obama administration has made a conscious decision to aggravate a diplomatic crisis with the Netanyahu government.

    True, Netanyahu may – unintentionally – have caused the crisis, which damaged U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. But now Obama’s aides are refusing to relax their grip, hoping to force Israel into declaring a total freeze on building in east Jerusalem.

    Washington ought to remember one thing, however: The majority of Israelis wholly oppose halting construction in east Jerusalem. They may be angry over the timing of the announcement – but most want building to continue.

    Read it all:
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1156819.html

    http://www.tnr.com/print/article/world/the-crisis

    The Crisis
    Was Obama’s confrontation with Israel premeditated?
    Yossi Klein Halevi March 16, 2010 | 7:13 pm
    http://www.tnr.com/print/article/world/the-crisis

    […]

    The return of menace to Jerusalem is not because a mid-level bureaucrat announced stage four of a seven-stage process in the eventual construction of 1,600 apartments in Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish neighborhood in northeast Jerusalem. Such announcements and building projects have become so routine over the years that Palestinians have scarcely responded, let alone violently. In negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, the permanence of Ramat Shlomo, and other Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, has been a given. Ramat Shlomo, located between the Jewish neighborhoods of French Hill and Ramot, will remain within the boundaries of Israeli Jerusalem according to every peace plan. Unlike the small Jewish enclaves inserted into Arab neighborhoods, on which Israelis are strongly divided, building in the established Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem defines the national consensus.

    Read it all: http://www.tnr.com/print/article/world/the-crisis

  6. Bialik Says:

    Useful contributions from lots of people here. My view is that crashing a nuclear submarine – which may or may not have been carrying nuclear weapons – in the Red Sea should have been a huge diplomatic incident, not false passports in Dubai or expanding a neighbourhood in Israel’s capital. I’d have called the British ambassador in for that!

  7. N. Friedman Says:

    The gist of things here is that each demand from Obama becomes a pre-condition of the PA for negotiations to occur.

    This all leads nowhere because the Palestinians have rather good reason, just now, not to sue for peace because they are watching two things – one, the US getting them more than they would otherwise get by negotiating and, two, watching the influence of the US in the region be undermined. If the policy of picking fights with the Israelis continues, the end result will be the undermining of the US in the Middle East, with Israel being blamed.

    The Obama approach has precedent and I cannot imagine, assuming that the Obama administration doesn’t decide that fighting with Israel is bad politics (which it is, since he is fast losing support among Jewish liberals) that a failed policy will, with a new dress, come to a better conclusion. I would strongly urge anyone contemplating this entire affair to read Islam in the Modern World and Other Studies, by Elie Kedourie – probably the world’s most important scholar on the modern Middle East, pre-1995. In the book, he shows how the British government misinterpreted the view of Arab governments and people regarding the Arab uprising in historic Palestine during the 1930’s. Then, as now, ill-informed officials asserted that the issue of Palestine was foremost in the minds of most Middle East Arabs – as it surely was if one goes by public rhetoric and perfunctory statements by government officials -, even more important than their own interests. In fact, the reality was that most Arabs, like most human beings, cared primarily about their own circumstances. And, Arab governments worried more about their neighbors than the Jews they hated.

    Notwithstanding the reality, the British government set upon a policy based on the view that giving in to Arab talk about Arab demands to influence the resolution of the uprising would be in the interest of the British government. The reality, as Kedorie shows rather convincingly in his book is that Britain permanently undermined its influence throughout the region because, to local Arab governments, it appeared that Britain could not handle its own affairs without Arab assistance.

    The Obama administration evidently has not read Kedorie. And, Obama knows nothing about the Middle East. Clearly, they confuse the rhetoric of the region with the reality of how the world works. So, rather than advancing US interests, they are allowing Arab rhetoric to decide how the US interacts with its actual allies in the region. This, if it continues, will harm the US, the UK and, most importantly, Israel because the US will not be seen as guarantor of the region’s peace but under the influence of various Arab states.

    As for the question of building in Jerusalem, the bottom line here is that a question for negotiations has been turned into a pre-condition for negotiating. The Israelis would be fools to give in on Jerusalem. It is almost surely to be one of a series of demands which, in due course, will lead to a rupture with the US or, if the Israelis are lucky, in the demise of the Obama administration. Fortunately, there are some sane and extremely influential members of Congress (e.g. California Senator Diane Feinstein) who have told the President to back off. That is why, contrary to what one might read in The Guardian and in the propaganda planted by Mrs. Clinton with the BBC, the US is actually starting to back down. Note: the issue which The Guardian said the US could not back down on – i.e. Jerusalem -, the US is now quietly ignoring. As was reported in well-informed (unlike The Guardian) Washington Post, the US and Israel are talking about a form of a don’t ask, don’t tell policy.

  8. Absolute Observer Says:

    “The Obama administration evidently has not read Kedorie. And, Obama knows nothing about the Middle East.”

    Unlike the erudite George W. Bush, who, along with his advisors and their “Israel right or wrong” policy, did so much to bring peace and stability to the region.

    I mean what does Rahm know about Israel?? Now, where was his dad born? and what political and military organisation was he a member of?

    “In the book, he shows how the British government misinterpreted the view of Arab governments and people regarding the Arab uprising in historic Palestine during the 1930’s”

    Well, nothing much has changed in the region – or the world – since then.

    “the propaganda planted by Mrs. Clinton with the BBC,”
    Now you’re just getting hysterical.

    “Fortunately, there are some sane and extremely influential members of Congress (e.g. California Senator Diane Feinstein) who have told the President to back off.”

    The charge of the “Israel Lobby” calvary. Now, where have I heard that before?

    Just because the Guardian gets it wrong does not mean Fox News gets it right!

  9. N. Friedman Says:

    Absolute Observer,

    Disagreeing with the Obama approach does not mean that I agreed with the Bush approach. And, disagreeing with the Obama approach does not mean that I watch Fox, although that would not be a mortal sin. In fact, I hardly ever watch TV at all, much less Fox news. The only time I see Fox news is at the gym, where it is on TV on the screen next to CNN. So, I cannot deny having seen it at the gym but that does not say much.

    And, the fact that times have changed does not alter the value of history as teacher. In this case, there is no possibility that the Obama approach will do anything for the Arab Israeli dispute other than up demands by the Arab side. And, there is little doubt that allowing the Arab side to dictate the US position on resolving the dispute undermines US authority in the region over the long term.

    As for the propaganda from Mrs. Clinton … What is it – and I refer to her crowing victory on the BBC but not in the US, by the way – that she won from the Israelis? Nothing regarding Jerusalem, it turns out. Nothing about bringing the Arab side to agree to direct, face to face, negotiations. So, what has pressure on Israel brought? Nothing.

    In reality, what we have is an administration which has set back the chances of resolving the dispute to less than they were under Bush where, at least, face to face discussions occurred. So, while Bush may have been a disaster – and I do not defend Bush either -, that does not make Obama an improvement. Rather, his approach is stupid but for different reasons.

    Again, since you do not seem to get it: prior to Sadat, no Arabs would negotiate face to face with Israel. Obama, while barking at Israel, has returned the situation to the pre-Sadat era. Some achievement, that – actually, not an achievement at all but a major step backwards.

    Pooh-poohing a giant in the field is not an argument. How about reading his book and considering its implications?

  10. Inna Says:

    The whole thing is ridiculous. Look, Netanyahu can’t get Labor into his government so he had to get together with Shas. That’s the same Shas that blasted him as the devil incarnate (or some such) .. together with the Arab parties, I might add.. when he came out with a budget where the child subsidy would end if you have more than 6 or 8 kids. (I can’t remember the number sorry)

    That was the Budget Shas and the Arab parties in what had to be one of the more colorful alliances in ME politics called anti-religious and discriminatory. Back then of course Sharon was PM and Israel’s economy wasn’t doing too well.

    Fast forward a few years. Now this same Netanyahu is the PM and he had to make a deal with Shas. Shas wants his hide (and then some). In this instant they want at least as much housing going for religious families as for secular ones. In short, this is a secular vs. religious dispute. Netanyahu agrees to the housing for the religious but doesn’t agree on where.

    So with Biden coming, Yishai makes the announcement on TV (and Netanyahu gets to watch the announcement for the first time on TV like everyone else.) The rest–Biden and Clinton landing both feet in the secular vs. religious dispute, etc–is history. The probable outcome: I am guessing that Shas (which if you will recall used to be called the king-maker) will resume its former role.

    Something Sharon and Netanyahu have been trying to avoid and something I cannot see being in our (US’) interests in the least.

    Regards,

    Inna

  11. Absolutely Observer Says:

    “Rather, his approach is stupid but for different reasons.”

    Ah, the language of the tea party.

  12. Absolutely Observer Says:

    SO, the IL brigade say Israel “dictates” policy, and now you say, Arabs “dictates” policy.

    Sharp, real, sharp!

  13. N. Friedman Says:

    Absolutely Observer,

    Have you an argument or do you really believe that labeling an argument “tea party” addresses any points I have made?

    You write, perhaps addressed to me, that “SO, the IL brigade say Israel “dictates” policy, and now you say, Arabs “dictates” policy.” I note that the US position sounds nearly identical to the position of the Arab League. Of course, it is not quite as bad as the EU, which has been known to copy, changing only the name of the issuing party, Arab League statements regarding Israel.

    Returning to the matter at hand, do you actually have a substantive point that addresses what I wrote?

  14. Absolutely Observer Says:

    Well, N. Friedman, when you have a substantive point to offer I’ll coment.
    Because at the moment, all we have got is some crap about how the US and EU is a front for the thinking of the Arab League.

    Perhaps you can tell me how much trade goes on between the countries of the Arab League and Israel as compared to the USA and Israel and the EU and Israel? Perhaps you can tell me how much financial aid and other transactions exist between Israel and the USA and Israel and the EU.? Perhaps you can tell me about the Arab League’s boycott of Israel and the USA’s and EU’s boycott of Israel? Perhaps you can tell me exactly how the Arab League “dictates” policy?

    Because, at the moment, the word “banal” does not even begin to cover your “substantive points”. Enjoy your tea.

  15. N. Friedman Says:

    Absolutely Observer,

    How do any of your questions or statements relate to anything I wrote?

    Again, some facts …

    Prior to Obama’s insistence that Israel freeze all settlement activities, Palestinian Arab leaders, apart from Hamas, would meet directly with Israel and negotiate. That is a fact. In fact, during that time, the Palestinian Arab side rejected proposals to settle the dispute including proposals by President Clinton and, recently, by Ehud Olmert. Whether or not the proposals ought or ought not to have been accepted or rejected by the Palestinian Arab side, the proposals were the product of face to face activity.

    Now, Obama has insisted that Israel freeze all settlements. The Palestinian Arab leadership has taken the position – one that mirrors the Arab position that existed prior to Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem – of not negotiating face to face with Israelis. The reason for this is that Israel has not complied fully with Obama’s demand – namely, that all settlement activity freeze, even in Jerusalem -, there will be no direct negotiations. That, too, is a fact.

    Again: my overall view is that the US has made a substantial mistake, adopting the Arab League line regarding how Israel acts and allowing Arab states to have too much say and control in how the US relates to Israel. My view is that such will harm US interests and Israeli interests over the long term, just as a similar approach, back in the 1930’s, substantially harmed British interests and influence in the Arab regions.

    Moreover, my view is that Obama has set the clock back on negotiations, doing a great injustice to efforts by others, including President Clinton, to resolve the dispute. In fact, face to face negotiations are not occurring and, in my view, they are preferable to negotiations only through a mediator. This is because a dispute between peoples cannot be settled if the parties are unwilling to speak with each other directly. And, I think, as a result, Obama has substantially dimmed the unlikely prospect that the dispute will be resolved anytime in our lifetime.

  16. Absolutely Observer Says:

    Oh, and perhaps you can tell me how many Arab League countries recognise Israel and how many countries in Europe recognise Israel. And, do remind me, does the USA recognise Israel?
    But apart from all this, I am sure you are right when you say the US is “dictated” to by “Arabs”.

    For some Americans today, the USA is now a Stalinist state. For others, it is an Arab outpost. You couldn’t make it up!

  17. N. Friedman Says:

    Absolutely Observer,

    Again, please read my arguments and address them. (1) that Obama is hurting the US and Israel over the long term by allowing Arab states to dictate US policy for resolving the dispute and (2) that it has made it so that there are no direct negotiations, something which was, prior to Obama, an assumed fact of life.

    What does Arab League recognition or lack thereof matter to the fact that the tends to be an echo chamber for the Arab League position on Israel? I have no idea what your point even is.

  18. Absolutely Observer Says:

    “I have no idea what your point even is.”

    Exactly

  19. Absolutely Observer Says:

    I see that the attitude of British Imperialism is alive and well over at the Guardian Editorial desk,

    “Both events in London and Washington are the marks of an arrogant nation that has overreached itself”

    Woof woof.

  20. NIMN Says:

    AO,
    Whilst the Guardian editorial is living in the days where it thinks the Brits have the right to call small nations, “arrogant”, its Parliamentary Sketch writer has a far more realistic take on the Empire,

    “It is a myth clung to by most MPs that our moral authority is immense and the lightest criticism from a British parliamentarian blows like an icy wind through the chancelleries of the world.”

    Bow wow.

  21. N. Friedman Says:

    Absolutely Observer,

    Asking me which Arab League countries Israel has relations with has nothing to do with my comment in any way. It is, to be blunt, a means to deflect.

    Anyway, as I noted: the up-tick of the Obama approach is that there are no face to face negotiations and, quite likely, no indirect negotiations. Brilliant. And, the long term prospects for the region point to the diminishment of US influence in the region, as it becomes apparent that the US cannot force the Israelis to do what the Israelis do not think it in the country’s existential interest. In that Israel’s Labor party is supporting Netanyahu’s approach and Kadima is known to side with him on the issue, we can only assume that the Israelis are not going to bend on the matter.

    And, it is not, as The Guardian has it, that Netanyahu is saying that the issue is off the table for negotiations so that there is no possible deal. What is being said is that the Israelis will not cede the issue up front and will likely push hard for the issue were there negotiations. And, the Israelis will certainly not give in on the issue for the privilege of indirect negotiations – which are an insult and something the Obama administration, were it really trying to foster peace, would throw back in the face of the Palestinian Arabs, reminding them that they need to sit down with their enemies if they are to make peace.

  22. le caniche Says:

    Perhaps, the Guardian needs to come to terms with its Gaullist tendencies,
    “In a televised news conference on 27 November 1967, de Gaulle described the Jewish people as “this elite people, sure of themselves and domineering.”

    Vivre le Difference

  23. Absolute Observer Says:

    Gosh, an outburst of rationality by N. Friedman. No more talk of the “Arabs” “dictating” US policies, of the “relevance” of the 1930’s, of the “stupidity” of Obama; merely a realisation that prior to negotiations, no negotiator will give away that which is to be negotiated; including, of course, the Palestinians. And, as to the US administration, they have called for Israel not to build in East Jerusalem (a fair point, since it is in the OT) and has not said anything about the final status of Jerusalem.

    But, of course, for N. Friedman, such a call is tantamount to the end of US influence in the ME, to a betryal of Israel and to the US being the poodle of the Arab League.

    Hmmm. maybe not so rational after all, come to think of it!

    Rather than the American throwing anything in the “face of Palestinian Arabs” (what an undignified and crude comment), perhaps, it would be better to call for the Israeli government not to pander to some very nasty right-wing elements for northing other than the desire to cling to power at any cost. Nothing existential here, just a right-wing government behaving, well, like a right-wing government.

  24. N. Friedman Says:

    Absolute Observer,

    I gave my reason for noting that the US is following Arab League dictation and its likely consequences. You merely brush it aside. That is your privilege but you have stated no argument for that view.

    Your point about Jerusalem is not well taken. It is not akin to the West Bank. Occupied territory assumes that there was a party rightfully entitled to the land. In the case of Jerusalem, we have UN 181 which makes the city International for the short term and to be assigned later. And, we have UN 242, which provides that the parties to the dispute are entitled to secure and recognized boundaries – meaning, in simple terms, that the Israelis have a claim both to land occupied and to land that, as a matter of law (e.g. Jerusalem) cannot be considered occupied. So, on what basis, if we accept UN 181 as applicable to the dispute, do Palestinian Arabs have the right to claim it is their city occupied by Israelis?

  25. Absolutely Observer Says:

    A letter in today’s Guardian,

    “”The mark of an arrogant nation that has overreached itself” sounds more like an irritated imperial satrap of a bygone era than a reasoned Guardian editorial about the Mossad (24 March). Why nation and not government? Everybody? Does this include the Israeli peace camp, as well as those Israelis who held doctored British passports? Since many Israeli Arabs consider themselves to be members of the Palestinian nation, does this arrogance really only apply to Israeli Jews? What about those British Jews who define their Jewishness by their ethnicity? Would this attribution of collective responsibility have been applied to any other national group? Exuding patriotic indignation and resorting to spitting imagery about Jews per se aligns the Guardian with reactionaries.

    Professor Colin Shindler”

    And, on a related issue, this is also worth a read,
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/25/mandated-history-britain-middle-east

  26. Curious Says:

    “I gave my reason for noting that the US is following Arab League dictation and its likely consequences”

    But, how? Does the AL phone up Rahm? Do they go straign through to Obama? How exactly does that “dictation” work? I am interested to know.

  27. Absolute Observer Says:

    I’m sorry, I must have missed the bit where Bibi or his delighful Foreign Secretary said that they accept UN reslution 181. Can you point me in that direction.
    Thanks,
    AO

  28. N. Friedman Says:

    Curious,

    You ask how the Obama administration takes orders from the Arab League. While mine was a not intended quite literally that way you state it, I shall note the following from an item reported in today’s Jerusalem Post: “According to officials, the US wants these commitments by Saturday so it can take them to the Arab League meeting in Libya and receive that organization’s backing for starting proximity talks.”

    So, the US is reporting to the Arab League and, if Israel meet’s the minimal demands of that organization – which presumably President Obama knows – he will receive Arab League backing of some sort for “proximity” talks. That sounds a lot like the US doing the bidding of the Arab League to the point of adopting its demands against Israel.

  29. N. Friedman Says:

    Absolute Observer,

    Israel did not exist when UN 181 came into being. However, for your information, it was accepted by ben Gurion and most of the Jewish world at the time it was announced. On the other hand, the Arab side was unanimous in rejecting it. The UK did not vote for it. The US and the USSR did

  30. Curious Says:

    “So, the US is reporting to the Arab League”.

    Dear N. Friedman.
    Thank you for your response.
    I note the shift from “dictate” to “resport”. This is a bit of difference, is it not?
    I note also that the US administration “reports” back to its Israeli counterpart. Does this mean that the US is “dictated” to by Israel. I need not link you to the books and articles that make such a claim.
    Thanks,
    Curious

  31. N. Friedman Says:

    Curious,

    You did not note that I also stated – and I quote – “… mine was a not intended quite literally that way you state it …” Which is to say, I think that the US is doing the bidding of the Arab League. I think that is how the US could, if the report is true, giving what amounts to ultimatums to the Israelis.

  32. Absolute Observer Says:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/28/obama-israel-us-netanyahu

    Maybe N. Friedman should drop a line to Bibi. He evidently needs educating about who Obama’s real puppet-masters are.


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