Gushing over Bob Simon–but did he let Livni off the hook?

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 23 Comments

Our mail is pouring in on "60 Minutes." Viewers have never seen ANYTHING like this on mainstream television before. They are grateful. We are too. We must honor Bob Simon/CBS for a heroic piece of journalism. Myself I loved seeing his Jewish face trembling with outrage outside the house the Israeli soldiers had occupied. At last here was the outraged moral Jewish face I grew up with and that went away for 20 years. A privileged Jew who has done his part to advance Israel's image in the United States is regarding the horror of Zionism, and not holding back but sharing it with his American audience. Again, too late for the two-state solution, but not too late for the interaction of sober Jews and Arabs in the holy land.

And the thing that I have repeatedly pushed for–treat these religious crazies the way you treat the religious right in the U.S.–it happened!!                                                                             (Phil Weiss)

Now here is some criticism of the piece from David Bloom–"Simon let Livni off the hook"–and Adam Horowitz's rejoinder:

although Simon talked about the fence annexing at least 8% of
Palestinian land, he didn't talk at all about the semi-dormant plan to
make the fence the new border.  in that plan, disengagement, realignment,
whatever they want to call it (i described the realignment plan in
detail here: http://www.icahd.org/eng/news.asp?menu=5&submenu=1&item=304)…


that plan only removes between 40-70,000 settlers (more likely the
smaller #), from the eastern side of the barrier. It leaves in place
400,000 + settlers in the West Bank including East Jerusalem. &
some of the settlers who are removed will be resettled on the western
side of the fence, but still within occupied territory, some in new
settlements Israel will build there, others within existing
settlements. According to JPost (quoted in my article), only 20-30
settlements will be removed out of 252 total.

This plan enjoys
support across a broad spectrum of Israelis.
Veteran diplomatic
correspondent Akiva Eldar, considered a Zionist left stalwart, praises
the idea that only 60,000 settlers would be removed:

http://lists.mcgill.ca/scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind0507c&L=fofognet&P=1871
Israel is even less "ripe" than the Palestinians for a "genuine"
political process, of the kind that will require evacuating 50,000 to
60,000 settlers from their homes….(Ha'aretz, 7/28/09)

Recall that Livni wants the barrier to be the new border (AI,8/15/07 http://www.philipweiss.org/2008/09/israel-wants-to-claim-livni-as-its-obama-good–now-rise-to-the-occasion.html). That
means the realignment plan tacitly endorsed by Eldar would be put into effect. So when Simon asks Livni about removing settlers, crucially, he
misses an opportunity to ask her how many and where will they go (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/23/60minutes/main4749723_page3.shtml):

But
one very important Israeli says she intends to move them out. She's
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, a candidate to become prime minister in
elections next month. She's also Israel's chief negotiator with the
Palestinians, and she told 60 Minutes peace is unthinkable with the
settlers where they are.  [Nonsense; she's only referring to about 10%
of the settlers]

"Can you really imagine evacuating the tens of thousands of settlers who say they will not leave?" Simon asked.

"It's not going to be easy. But this is the only solution," she replied.

A
big irony here is Livni has no intention of evacuating Daniela Weiss,
the settler Simon claims Livni wants to remove. Just before Simon
interviews Livni,  Weiss tells him:

She says the she and the settlers are immovable. "We will stay here forever."

Weiss
lives in Kedumim settlement, which Israel plans to enclose inside its "security barrier" & thus is slated to be annexed to Israel if the fence-as-the-new-border plan
favored by Livni comes into effect:
http://www.economist.com/printedition/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=3850291

Adam Horowitz's response:
I agree, but I also think Livni came off looking like a fool. When she first came on I thought to myself, okay here's the part when the US favorite gets to do her campaign schtick, but it blew up in her face as much as her press conference last week. I thought she came off as out of touch and just offering talking points that were then refuted.

I did think that the piece seemed a bit disjointed and I was surprised when it ended; it almost seemed in mid-sentence. I wish there was a lot more in it. But I think if we sent your comments to Simon he would say he implicitly was referring to the realignment plan when he mentioned apartheid as a possible future. I think that was a takeaway message.

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