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Mideast Peace Within a Year?

Posted on Sep 2, 2010
AP / Jason Reed, Pool

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, second from right, along with Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell at the State Department in Washington on Thursday.

The mood in Washington on Thursday, the first day of revived peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, was decidedly optimistic, with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreeing that they could strike a deal within a year.  —KA

The Guardian:

Netanyahu again called Abbas his “partner in peace” and said he was prepared to make “painful concessions” to reach a deal. But the Israeli prime minister said that what he called the “two pillars to peace” must be resolved.

Clinton launched the negotiations by calling for the two leaders to show themselves as bold and courageous statesmen and reach a comprehensive peace agreement within the one year deadline set by Barack Obama. “We understand the suspicion and scepticism that so many feel born out of years of conflict and frustrated hopes,” she said. “But by being here today you each have taken an important step toward freeing your peoples from the shackles of a history we cannot change.”

Netanyahu said Israel was prepared to make sacrifices to reach an agreement. “Together we can lead our people to a historic future that can put an end to claims and to conflict. This will not be easy. A true peace, a lasting peace, will be achieved only with mutual and painful concessions from both sides … from my side and from your side,” he said.

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By Shingo, September 4, 2010 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment

By Peter Knopfler, September 2 at 10:01 pm

“It is wrong to demand that the individual subordinate himself to the collectivity or to merge in it.”

In other words, you’re a big fan of anarchism and oppose the rule fo law.

“It is true that as the individual advances spiritually, he finds himself more and more united with the collectivity.”

Are you speaking from experience?  I never heard that advanceing spiritually means becomming increasingly racist and in favor of apartiehid.

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, September 3, 2010 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

September 3 - 5, 2010

Obama’s Ridiculous Mid-East Summit


It has been impossible to read the agenda for the Oval Office summit between Obama, Netanyahu and Abbas without laughing out loud at the absurdity of its pretensions.  The American plan was that President Obama would inform Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, representing the Palestinian Authority, that this is make-or -break time for a peaceful settlement. The US wants an agreement within a year, with the stipulations in this agreement to be phased in over a decade.

At issue: the illegal Jewish settlements, the status of East Jerusalem, the treatment of Palestinian refugees and final borders between Israel and a Palestinian state.

The man greeting Netanyahu and Abbas was no longer the icon of change who aroused the world with his address to Muslims in Cairo and who tasked former US Senator George Mitchell with setting the stage for a just settlement of issues that have remained unsettled for more than half a century.

Obama is now in poor political shape. The economy is spiraling down. The midterm elections loom as a possible bloodbath for Democrats in which they may lose at least one,  if not both, houses in Congress.  As the Israel lobby knows well, the Democrats crave Jewish money and Jewish votes. When it comes to Israel ‘s interests the US Congress jumps to the Lobby’s commands. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech , laden with honorifics for Netanyahu, could be construed as a fund-raising appeal for her next lunge at the Democratic presidential nomination.

Gone was any notion of twisting Netanyahu’s arm, or trying to, as when the Administration criticized one illegal Jewish settlement four months ago and when vice president Biden relayed in Tel Aviv Gen. Petraeus’ concerns that Israel’s obduracy was imperiling US security interests in the region.

The lobby struck back, with political threats. By July, Dana Milbanke of the Washington Post described with unusual frankness Netanyahu’s next visit to Washington:

  “A blue-and-white Israeli flag hung from Blair House. Across Pennsylvania Avenue, the Stars and Stripes was in its usual place atop the White House. But to capture the real significance of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit with President Obama, White House officials might have instead flown the white flag of surrender.”

And with the September summit Israeli delightedly pointed to Obama’s withdrawal of a demand that Israel freeze Jewish colonies on Palestinian land. Instead he urged “restraint”. “The prime minister is satisfied because his main position that negotiations should be without preconditions was accepted,” Netanyahu’s spokesman Nir Hefetz told Army Radio from New York. Netanyahu himself, who has rejected demands for a settlement freeze, was quoted telling a newspaper: “I understand English—‘restraint’ and ‘freeze’ are two different words.” As for the status of Jerusalem, and the issue of Palestiniamn refugees, Netanyahu adamantly refuses to discuss them.

Simultaneously, hours before the handshakes, Jewish settlers said they were forthwith starting work on buildings in at least 80 settlements, breaking the partial government freeze that ends on September 26.

The tenor of Israeli politics today is one of fanatic rejectionism of any halt to settlements, any serious concession on borders, beyond a Palestinian “state” in small chunks, hemmed in by Israel’s highways and fences, with water diverted and communication between the various fragments of Palestinian territory under rigorous Israeli control and constant harassment. East Jerusalem as the proposed capital of a Palestinisan state is under incessant invasion of new Jewish housing projects.


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By Tesla, September 3, 2010 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment

There can be no two state solution without complete and
total sovereignty for Palestine.  This of course means
a standing army and unfettered access to the sea. As
this will never happen the only humane solution is a
single state solution in which the Jewish theocratic
state is dismantled and replaced by a secular, non
apartheid representative democracy. Barring that, the
only chance of winning peace there is the complete dissolving of the state of Israel and occupation by UN
forces to enforce the peace as a protectorate of the

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By Sodium-Na, September 3, 2010 at 7:56 am Link to this comment


It is nice to have a pleasant dream for a change, instaed of endless nightmares,all the time!

Let us hope so…

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By Robert, September 3, 2010 at 3:26 am Link to this comment

A “Moment Of Reckoning” But For Whom?

By Alan Hart

02 September, 2010

“I never thought a day could come when I would agree with anything stated by Moshe Arens (three times an Israeli minister of defense, a one-time foreign minister, a former ambassador to the U.S. and, in my opinion, Zionism’s in-Israel equivalent of Richard “Prince of Darkness” Perle in America). But the day came.

On 31 August, in article for Ha’aretz with the headline Blame game on the horizon. Arens wrote the following about the nakedness of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as he was making his final preparations for the start of direct negotiations in Washington DC.

“He does not have the backing of all Palestinians, not even of most of them. As far as Hamas is concerned, he has no right to represent the Palestinians in the upcoming negotiations. Even in Judea and Samaria (the occupied West Bank to the rest of the world) the extent of the support he enjoys among Palestinians is questionable. But most important, he does not have the authority to carry out any agreement he might arrive at with Netanyahu. He is fully aware of this, and that is probably the explanation for his reluctance to enter the negotiations, to which he has been dragged, kicking and screaming every inch of the way, by the president of the United States… Abbas may or might not want to conclude a peace with Israel, but he cannot.”

That’s true but there’s much more to it.No Palestinian leader will ever be able to make peace with Israel on terms which do not provide for an end to its occupation of the West Bank (now in its 44th year) plus, of course, the ending of the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

On 30 August, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said he thought the most fundamental question of the moment was, “What kind of state does Mr. Netanyahu have in mind when he says ‘Palestinian state’?”

I assumed that was Fayyad’s way of saying, “We need to know the extent of withdrawal from our occupied land Netanyahu is prepared to make for peace.”

For me the most fundamental question of the coming days, weeks and months is what will President Obama do when it becomes clear that Netanyahu (or any likely successor) is not prepared to withdraw from all of the West Bank?

He, Obama, will have two options.

One will be to do what all American presidents with the exception of Eisenhower have always done and surrender to the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress and the mainstream media. In this event we could expect a statement from him to the effect that America can’t want peace more than the parties themselves. (I would be surprised if Obama did a Clinton and blamed the Palestinian leadership). And that would be game over, leaving Israel free to go on imposing its iron will on the occupied and oppressed Palestinians. In this scenario I think it is more likely than not that Zionism would resort to a final ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

The other option for Obama?

With the mid-term elections out of the way, he could be the first president to put America’s own best interests first and use the leverage he has to cause, or try to cause, Israel to be serious about peace on terms virtually all Palestinians and most other Arabs and Muslims everywhere could accept.

Are there any reasons to believe that, at a point, Obama might repeat might be prepared to confront Zionism?”


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By PatrickHenry, September 3, 2010 at 2:22 am Link to this comment

I believe a war is more likely within a year.

Israel will get its ass kicked in Lebanon….again.

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, September 2, 2010 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment

A History Lesson for Obama

Henry Norr


With President Obama’s Middle East peace plans so completely—and humiliatingly—shipwrecked on the rocks of Israeli intransigence, it’s time for him to consider a new approach, at least if he’s serious about his announced objectives. In the spirit of bipartisanship that he’s so dedicated to, I suggest he look to the way Dwight D. Eisenhower handled a similar predicament a half-century ago.

First, a quick review of the goals Obama staked out last year and how much progress his efforts have produced. In his speech in Cairo last June, he noted that the Palestinian people have “for more than 60 years ... endured the pain of dislocation” and “the daily humiliations—large and small—that come with occupation.”

“Let there be no doubt,” he proclaimed, “the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. And America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.” Israel, he went on, “must live up to its obligation to ensure that Palestinians can live and work and develop their society.”

Specifically, on the key issue of Israeli colonization of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, he reaffirmed the policy Washington has subscribed to, at least on paper, since 1967: “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.”

As to the devastated Gaza Strip, Obama said little in Cairo, observing only that “the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security.” But shortly afterwards the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that his administration had delivered a diplomatic note to the Israeli government protesting its blockade of the 1.5 million Gazans and demanding that Israel open the border crossings to allow in desperately needed food, medical equipment, and reconstruction materials.

Now, thirteen months after Obama took office, and almost nine months since his Cairo speech, how do things look? No one can seriously claim that the Palestinians are any closer to “dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.” The only discernible changes are that Israel has stepped up repression of grassroots, non-violent anti-occupation activists and accelerated its campaign to “Judaize” East Jerusalem.

With regard to settlements, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu promised a 10-month “freeze” on new construction, but his commitment was riddled with loopholes, and in practice, as both Israeli and Palestinian media and human-rights organizations have documented, settlement expansion continues unabated. In the words of the prominent Israeli pundit Akiva Eldar, “Only an idiot would say Israel has frozen settlement activity.”

Netanyahu himself is no idiot: Last month, after Obama’s special envoy George Mitchell once again left the region in failure, the prime minister celebrated by planting trees in several settlements, and just to make sure no one could misunderstand the symbolism, he spelled out his intent: to “send a clear message that we are here. We will stay here. We are planning and we are building.” The major settlements, he declared, are an “indisputable part of Israel forever.”

President Obama sounds equally helpless. “This is just really hard,” he told Time magazine reporter Joe Klein a few weeks ago. “This is as intractable a problem as you get… And I think that we overestimated our ability to persuade” both the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority.

He promised, of course, to keep working on the issue, but if—as he’s shown over the past year—he’s unwilling to stand up to Netanyahu even over core American objectives, what reason is there to think he’ll have any more success in the coming year?”


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By Peter Knopfler, September 2, 2010 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

I watched it All on, very formal, very nice, yet useless, Under the Mushroom cloud of Iran, Terror Hamas attacks, pregnant women slaughtered-couples driving by! Must be hard to talk peace, when there is no agreement to stop violence during peace talks, shows no respect for Abbas, who wrote his masters thesis, The Holocaust MYTH! Did you see how Obama was less than arms length, from the presidents of Egypt,Israel,Palestine, king Of Jordan, OBAMA right on their Butt!, I could feel the Obama pressure, right through the screen! What a huge waste of MONEY!

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By Peter Knopfler, September 2, 2010 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment

It is wrong to demand that the individual subordinate himself to the collectivity or to merge in it. It is true that as the individual advances spiritually, he finds himself more and more united with the collectivity.

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By secretarybird, September 2, 2010 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How many times have we heard Netanyahu say that Israel must make/is prepared to make “painful concessions” to achieve peace? And how many painful concessions (e.g. telling the illegal settlers in the West Bank to return to Israel proper) has he actually made?

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By gerard, September 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

“The time has come,” the Walrun said,
  “to talk of many things,
  “of shoes, and ships, and sealing wax,
  “and whether pigs have wings.”

May the pigs of war on all sides feel a subtle itch between their shoulder blades!

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