The day before Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Israel — supposedly on a mission to help kick-start peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians — the Netanyahu government made its contempt for the Obama administration clear by approving new settlement construction.
They were quick to take offense — they being the Israelis!
“While we welcome Vice President Biden, a longtime friend and supporter of Israel,” Danny Danon, the deputy speaker of the Knesset, told the Washington Post, “we see it as nothing short of an insult that President Obama himself is not coming.”
Washington on the other hand had no interest in creating a fuss about settlement growth — its impotence on that particular issue has already been amply demonstrated. Pushing for a real settlement freeze is passé. The new game is proximity talks and shuttle diplomacy.
After 17 years of direct talks it’s now time to talk from a distance and have George Mitchell like an Energizer bunny going back and forth between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Irrespective of how much life there might be in his batteries, the Arab League has thankfully imposed a four-month deadline on this charade.
If the latest “initiative” seems like an exercise in atmospherics, an Israeli official was straightforward enough to confirm the fact when he told Ynet that resuming talks with the Palestinians “would create an atmosphere in the Arab world and the international community that would allow the world to focus on the real threat – Iran.”
George Mitchell is going to allow the Israelis to talk to the Palestinians so that the world can focus on Iran.
It’s not a novel idea. It came up three-and-a-half years ago in Washington when Philip Zelikow, Special Counselor to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, caused a stir by making a similar linkage between the threat from Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The controversy in Zelikow’s suggestion was that it hinted that the Bush administration might defy Tel Aviv and remove the peace process from its preservative, but Zelikow’s concern was the same as that of the Israelis now: how to mount pressure on Iran. This depended, he said, on strengthening an anti-Iran coalition.
What would bind that coalition and help keep them together is a sense that the Arab-Israeli issues are being addressed, that they see a common determination to sustain an active policy that tries to deal with the problems of Israel and the Palestinians. We don’t want this issue … [to] have the real corrosive effects that it has, or the symbolic corrosive effects that it causes in undermining some of the friends we need [as] friends to confront some of the serious dangers we must face together.
Note that Zelikow was not pushing for anything so grand as a resolution to the conflict, merely that an effort be made to create “a sense” that the issues were being addressed.
Initiatives, summits, and dark-suited earnestness with a liberal sprinkling of handshakes — we all know the routine. “What will they ask Israel to do? Meet with Abu Mazen? – so you’ll meet with Abu Mazen,” one Washington hand told Haaretz at the time.
That was 2006. Now in 2010 the Israelis don’t even need to inconvenience themselves by sitting in the same room as the Palestinians, even though Netanyahu would be happy to be granted the photo-op of face-to-face talks — talks that he can be confident will be fruitless.
The anti-Iran coalition might still be rather shaky but there is another coalition that has proved to be durable and near universal: the coalition of states who remain content to pay lip-service to the Palestinian issue; the political leaders who gladly shake hands with Mahmoud Abbas as though having Ramallah’s jaded political leaders received in global capitals was all the Palestinians could ever have aspired for.
But when it comes to dealing with the Israelis no one has a better understanding than the Israelis themselves. Jewish settlers in the West Bank insist that if they are uprooted, others will be forced to pay the “price tag.”
President Obama on the other hand insists that for Israel “the status quo is unsustainable” but neither he nor any of the other political leaders who profess some level of concern for the Palestinians have been willing to exact a price for Israeli intransigence. Until a price tag is applied effectively, Israel can remain confident in the durability of the status quo.
ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEM THAT ISRAEL WILL FACE ISN’T SO MUCH FROM
THE ARAB BUT FROM THOSE WHAT ISRAEL THINK THE ARE” FRIEND “EUROPEAN
“SOCIALIST COMMUNIST” THAT 2000 YEARS USE TO KILL JEWS . FROM THE
OTHER HAND ISRAEL THINK THAT UNITED STATE OF AMERICA IS FIEND OF
ISRAEL THE AREN’T FIEND OF ISRAEL .
ISRAEL GOES IN VERY DANGERS PATH ACCEPTING EVERY YEARS 4 OR 5
BILLION DOLLAR . THIS VERY DANGER FOR ISRAEL FUTURE . ITS MUST BE
COME A TIME THAT ISRAEL HAVE TO REJECT AMERICAN HELP . AND BE
INDEPENDENT . AMERICA IS CORRUPTED COUNTRY AS ANY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE
WORLD ,THE WILL TURN THE BACK ON ISRAEL .
WE SEE AT LIKE ISRAELI DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO SETTLE IN WEST BANK .
THAN WHAT IS OUR COUNTRY .?? NO LAND . IN OTHER WORD ISRAEL ISN’T A
WE MUST MAKE AT CLEAR TO OUR “EUROPEAN FRIEND ” AND” AMERICAN FRIEND”
THAT WE HAVE THE RIGHT IN ANY PARTS OF ISRAEL AND THE “GOLAN HEIGHT”
the israeli are naive to think about American support and have to
reject American help . this help is very costly .
we saw that America turn the back on south Africa . that the will do
to Israel to . the same apply about European that help the arab
terrorist and support them
we dont went your peace Mr mitchell .WE DONT WENT TO MAKE A PEACE WITH THE ARAB THE ONLY SOLUTION FOR ISRAEL EXISTENCE IS THE WAR .
OTHER WISE WILL NOT BE ISRAEL . GET OUT AMERICA FROM ISRAEL FIX YOU OWN PROBLEM . 15 MILLION PEOPLE NO JOB .
10 TRILLION $ . DEFICIT .
THIS IS THE EUROPEAN AND USA PUT THE NOISE IN ANY ONE BUSINESS . AT THE TIME THE CANNOT SOLOVE THE OWN PROBLEM . ISAY AT AGAIN UN FOURTHLY . ONLY WAR WITH ARAB .NO OTHER WAY TO SURVIVE .
MR BIDEN TAKE RISK IN USA THE ARE LARGE ISRAEL IS ONLY ONE
MY NAME IS GREENFELD MEIR
Thanks for your comment Greenfeld Meir.
America turned its back on South Africa. Interesting perspective.
Pro-Apartheid. Pro-war. Pro-Israel. Yep, that sounds like a winning combination!
You’re right, Greenfield – Americans and Europeans are fast becoming enemies of Zionism.
As they did Nazism – after initially embracing it, I might add.
There will be a war between the Zionism and the rest of the world at some point. Getting America and Europe to truly reject the fascist impulses of Zionism is coming on fast – as does the day of reckoning when a great number of fanatical Zionists will threaten the entire world with Israel’s nuclear arsenal. I often wonder who much that fact plays on the minds of those within the upper echelons of American power (who aren’t Zionist), who truly know the psychotic nature of pro-Israel support.
I say bring it on. Give me liberty, or….
I’m sure VP Biden knows that while Benjamin Netanyahu may have been born in Philadelphia, it was a long time ago and Netanyahu is no longer a friend of the USA.
Oy vei, Mr Meir! When I came to US (NYC) I was often surrounded by Irish thugs demanding if I’m Jewish. Youthful defiance and outrage caused me to say yes, though not true, fighting an ever losing battle. So I kind of realize why Israelis chose to humiliate Biden. It’s the obsession of some old leaders with all those “anti-Semitic” problems as laid out by Podhoretz’s “Negroe problem– and yours.” As he explained, they had the big mouth but the blacks had the big fists. Still, searching for “mensh-hood” so many years later, so many decades later, by biting the hand that feeds you further supports my diagnosis of obsessive retrospective psychosis that is deliberate to ignite an “American Krystalnaht.” This is criminal Zionazi mentality of Likudniks at work. Likud manifests key symptom: hate America and then take its money so you can laugh at what meshugenahs are these “dumb goyim” giving you cash with no strings attached even when you spit in their faces. Alas for Zionazis, almost all Jews are DIASPORA FIRST, not Zionazi first; in US they’re as American as apple pie. Nut-cases like Foxman make them dress in their all-American culture lest they be identified with the ex-Leninist neocon POLARIZE TO MOBILIZE GANG. American media erroneously assumes that spokesman who has the MOST money speaks for the MOST of ethnic group. Recalling Sharon’s admonition that all Jews not moving to Israel by 2020 “lose their Jewish souls” (coming from that secularist!!!) one sees here a Likud plot to bring back the Irish gang that encircled me and the blacks that so quickly shut-up Podhoretz’s in order to force American Jews onto Great Aliyah emigration. History shows that the plight of the Jews was always exacerbated by reckless self-appointed Zionist leaders who assumed that other Jews will suffer the rage but Zionist movement will eventually collect the “guilt gilt.” This time around, unless Israel soon integrates with its Arab cousins, it will disappear by end of century. The Bidens of America, rather than encircle and beat up Israel, will just chose to disregard it. What will Israel do then? Its economy is phony, dependent on American $ “loans” which are over and over again are quietly forgiven by Congress. Most of the Jews Israel counts on are OURS– the Diaspora’s– because they are bound by same morality of RELIGIOUS Jewish Ethic as Christians– rejecting Zionazi lebensraum psychosis!
I believe SANCTIONS would do the trick, the continuing nlockade of Gaza, the limitations of movement, the Ghettoizing of the Palestinians rings way to similar a song to Apartheid South Africa and dare I say Warsaw! My empathy for Isreal is diminished each day it obstructs the A Single State Contiguous Palestine. Lets stop the billions we send each year and see if sanctions are even needed to end the despicable conditions now plaguing the West Bank and Gaza. End the settlements Now!
An interesting perspective — in the reported commentators and the comments. Israel will not consider peace as long as the price tag for war is bearable. And they don’t bear it.
What happens when the bought and paid for political friends of Israel in Europe and the US feel they’ve been taken to the cleaners long enough? What happens when Israel can no longer bribe or coerce those ‘friends’ into underwriting a winnable war?
I’d suggest that all those who look for peace and justice for both Israel and the Palestinians are hoping that no innocents will be required to pay the price tag that losing will incur.
let them rot in hell and stop three billions dollars support after all remember they killed americans when they bombed america spy ship in m.e.
One step forward and three steps back is also a direction. It just depends on where the Zionists wanted to go in the first place; a pure Jewish state, apart, ethnically cleansed, isolated and permanently threatened, so permanently at war. Only peace and universality of human rights can unmask the myths, lies and hypocrisy of the Zionist delusion. If ever there was peace with the rest of the world the Jews in Israel would have to face their own differences and the lies they feed each other.
Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism by M. Shahid Alam,
A critique on that book: Zionism Laid Bare by Kathleen Christison
The majority of senior Israeli politicians and captains of industry come from the security or armed services. They’re hardly going to make peace and let their little clique be replaced by civilian politicians.