Netanyahu and Lieberman cut ‘secret deal’ to finish off the two-state solution

Israel/Palestine
on 35 Comments

Last night President Obama admitted that it wasn't going to be easy to work with the new Israeli government. Today they showed why.

E1MapEng
Ha'aretz
is reporting the Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman have cut a "secret deal" to build 3,000 new illegal housing units between Jerusalem and the illegal Israeli settlement Ma'ale Adumim. These units will be in E-1, a highly contested stretch of land that Israel wants to colonize in order to control the strategic corridor connecting Jerusalem to the Jordan Valley. The map to the right (click to enlarge) from the Israeli organization Ir Amim shows the area.  Israeli control of E-1 would cut the West Bank in half and make a viable Palestinian state impossible. Ha'aretz notes that "For this reason, the United States has strongly
opposed this sort of Israeli construction for more than a decade.
Israeli governments have avoided construction in this area, mostly
because of U.S. pressure." Clearly the incoming Israeli government isn't afraid of US pressure or they feel the endgame is at hand.

Paul Woodward over at War In Context connected this story to the Obama press conference and noted:

If Obama really believes that the status quo is untenable then it’s up to him to demonstrate that he means what he says.

Netanyahu is clearly ready to get straight back to business as usual: talking peace, building settlements.

Obama administration, your move.

35 Responses

  1. Chris S
    March 25, 2009, 10:17 pm

    What's the matter with Avigdor Lieberman?

    This article on salon makes him seem like a decent fellow. The thug pragmatist they say.

    link to salon.com

  2. dance
    March 25, 2009, 10:50 pm

    Paul Woodward hit the nail on the head.

  3. dance
    March 25, 2009, 10:53 pm

    Here's an older article for you Chris S. Similar ideas were put forward at this year's election and before it:

    link to thenation.com

  4. Chris S
    March 25, 2009, 11:09 pm

    thanks dance!

    Someone should write a puff piece about David Duke, for Secretary of State!

    Settlements+Lieberman does not bode well for the propaganda army, the poor devils will be working overtime to put the spin on this stinkfest.

    A little bird told me the dragon has a weak spot.

  5. Andrew
    March 25, 2009, 11:38 pm

    Now it's on the Obama administration to lay down the law and say that a settlement bloc that makes a Palestinian state impossible is impermissible. I'm not holding my breath. I think that in general Obama wants very much to be "reasonable," not in any sense having to do with actual reason but in the sense of being willing to compromise. Faced with a fanatical government in Jerusalem I think he'll always try to meet them halfway, so, to simplify, if they want five hundred of something all they need to do is demand a thousand. On the other hand, if Netanyahu and Lieberman succeed in making a two-state solution untenable they may also succeed in making a one-state solution inevitable in the long run.

  6. Mark Regev
    March 25, 2009, 11:49 pm

    Israelis are actually the victims , Terrorism is forcing Israel to do these despicable acts.

    The best defense against Palestinians is to take their land, piss them off, put housing units next to them and wink at the extremist settlers who claim hilltops and shoot at any arab who comes within firing range.

    /Hasbara victim explanation

  7. Castellio
    March 26, 2009, 12:13 am

    Is anyone taking my wager that Obama and Clinton are quite well informed and have agreed to the deal?

    If they speak but do nothing, and the settlements go ahead, then I win. If the buildings are stopped, and the settlements are rolled back, then you win.

    Takers?

  8. John
    March 26, 2009, 12:44 am

    The policy of land grab, control and domination of another people has been the leitmotiv of sucessive Israeli governments.

    It will continue.

    In "Dark Hope… Working for Peace in Israel and Palestine" David Shulman" writes 'Crime has its own deadly integrity'.
    Israel is singularly cruel in its treatment of the civilian populations in the territories.Its crimes will go on and on unless her American patron calls halt.
    John

  9. Chris S
    March 26, 2009, 12:49 am

    Compromise? You mean like how the Democrats compromised with Bush by giving him everything he wanted? I could see Obama doing that kind of cowardly Democrat capitulating, er, compromising.

  10. asiswhen
    March 26, 2009, 12:50 am

    no takers here, Obama must be getting orders from the right-wing nuts. If he doesn't speak up for palestine soon, palestinian land prospects are in the gutter, literally, and could lead to regional war.

    good point Andrew.. Livni and even Sharon seem more pragmatic than Leiberman/Netanyahu, who can't control their lust for more land, and appear to be inadvertently advancing the one-state solution. Perhaps they think they can just eradicate the arabs completely once enough settlements have been built. The whole game is a resonant oscillation, hawkish, dovish, ever encroaching more into the west bank, and trying to break the unbreakable palestinian will to persist. If Obama let's them keep playing this, he's the one getting played.

    The funny thing about Lieberman how he unifies the ground game with the rhetoric, something that has been largely avoided for tactical reasons. He's like a disfunctional mutation that can't control itself from revealing the blackhearted truths about colonial zionism.

  11. Rowan
    March 26, 2009, 1:58 am

    Also it hath just been revealed that the Israel air force bombed a convoy of trucks in Sudan in January, on the pretext that they were "carrying arms for Hamas", but really, I would propose, to show that plucky little Israel is ready to take over from big nasty USA as imperial asshole of the world.

  12. cogit8
    March 26, 2009, 2:04 am

    On March 15th Judea Pearl wrote an op-ed in the LATimes saying Yes to the question: Is anti-Zionism hate?

    On the front page of today's LATimes is a photo of a Zionist soldier, complete with ridiculous little black box on his head prior to his participation in the assault on Gaza. I hope that Mr. Pearl reads how soldiers such as this were motivated by their rabbis to kill Gazans because they "are the children of darkness".

    Jews did not like being "the children of darkness" in 1940 and being exterminated; they perpetually remind the world that their holocaust was the most evil act ever committed in history.

    Mr. Pearl: Please stop using your holocaust to justify the war-crimes which Jews are committing (and plan to commit) in future. I would also advise to stop using the word 'zionist' because the moral questions on your plate are obviously muddled by this word.

  13. American
    March 26, 2009, 2:36 am

    Israel and the zionist couldn't do what they do without our corrupt congress.
    I suggest we all show up outside the AIPAC conference this year with signs saying 'Watch Your Traitor Politicans Pledge their Alleigence and Our Blood and Treasure to a Foreign country.'
    Someone could film the politicans marching in to pay homage to AIPAC and our protest and spread it around the net.

    Last update – 10:39 25/03/2009

    The pro-Israel lobby – 'alive, well, and bipartisan?'

    By Nathan Guttman, The Forward

    The fight is over. Chas Freeman, the outspoken Israel critic appointed to chair the National Intelligence Council, is out. And now, both sides in the explosive firefight that broke out over his appointment are battling to frame the narrative over what it all meant.

    For some of Freeman's critics, the bottom line is what counts. "This shows the pro-Israel lobby is alive and well, and bipartisan," declared Jonathan Tobin, executive editor of the neoconservative journal Commentary, at a public forum just five days after Freeman's March 10 withdrawal.

    Indeed, with Freeman departing under pressure, pro-Israel activists succeeded in drawing a line in the sand and sending a strong signal to the Obama administration about what is acceptable in Middle East policy. President Obama himself made no effort to defend Freeman. He stressed, as the controversy escalated, that it was his director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, who made the appointment with no White House input.
    Advertisement

    But critics, interestingly, are celebrating the bright light the Freeman issue shone on their own questioning of American policy toward Israel and on their claims that the pro-Israel lobby routinely uses its clout to ensure that dissenters gain no foothold. They say their attempt to discuss the Israel lobby issue won a legitimacy it never had before.

    "Freeman became sort of a martyr," argued Ian Lustick, political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania. "The lobby might have won, but they paid a price."

    The eruption of public debate over the role of pro-Israel activists in shaping American policy toward the Middle East comes nearly three years after two leading scholars, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, published their article about the Israel lobby, which later turned into a book, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy."

    One of the authors' key arguments was that there was a lack of open public debate in the United States over foreign policy issues relating to Israel, because the lobby and its supporters seek to stifle open discussion of the issue.

    Thanks in part to the Internet, the Freeman affair made clear that in one respect, this argument is no longer valid. Walt was among those leading the debate through his daily blog, hosted by the prestigious Web site foreignpolicy.com. He has been joined and supported by bloggers and columnists who are well within the mainstream.

    Still, the mainstream press was slow to pick up on the issue. And the outcome of the episode indicates that strong critics of Israel may be cut off from government positions of real influence. Several incidents in recent years also suggest that untenured faculty at some colleges may want to consider their career prospects before speaking out too boldly.

    Mearsheimer sees the situation as nuanced. "The Freeman issue had a significant influence on how people think; it had some influence on the discourse – and almost none on how policy is made," he told the Forward.

    Mearsheimer praised the Internet as the main force promoting a new sense of openness on this issue. He condemned the mainstream media as "hopeless."

    One of the questions that continues to be debated between pro-Freeman activists and those who oppose Freeman is to what extent the Israel lobby was actually involved in derailing his appointment.

    The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel Washington lobby, issued a statement asserting that it had not lobbied against Freeman. And most large Jewish groups avoided the issue publicly. Still, it is now clear that pro-Israel activists were involved behind the scenes in conveying their displeasure with the choice of Freeman as National Intelligence Council chairman.

    "We made our representation to members of Congress and to people in the administration," said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. "Sometimes we talk publicly and sometimes privately."

    Foxman, who led the fight against Walt and Mearsheimer when their book first came out, and even published a book rebutting them, stressed that there is nothing wrong with Jewish Americans raising their concerns on the Freeman issue.

    "If the Jewish community would not express its views, it would be a victory for the bigots," he said, "I don't think we should let them intimidate us."

    Though Foxman is skeptical of their sincerity, Mearsheimer and Walt themselves say repeatedly that they agree with him, calling pro-Israel advocacy "entirely legitimate."

    They argue instead that some also seek to stifle or penalize those who speak out on the other side. And they insist that the success of the pro-Israel lobby in influencing American policy – though pursued legitimately – has harmed American interests.

    Some Jewish activists say the attention given to the issue by critics of the pro-Israel lobby helped only to amplify the lobby's perceived power.

    Doug Bloomfield, who served in the past as AIPAC's chief lobbyist on Capitol Hill, said that if the lobby would have been really active on this issue, "they could get dozens of signatures on a congressional letter overnight." Instead, he said, AIPAC's detractors created an image of enormous power "without AIPAC lifting a finger."

    AIPAC's former director of foreign policy, Steve Rosen, who used his blog to lead the fight against Freeman's appointment, saw it differently. Rosen, who once famously described the lobby as a night flower that "thrives in the dark and dies in the sun," made clear that the public exposure did not serve the pro-Israel lobby's interests.

    "I'm sure AIPAC was happy when Freeman withdrew, but they might also be worried by the high profile of the Freeman issue," he said.

    Tobin, speaking at a March 15 panel discussion at Queens College, said the lobby's show of force made clear that Obama will not "fall on his sword" to defend appointees perceived as anti-Israel. He said it also suggested that Obama would not spend political capital on fighting with incoming Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Walt agreed. "The worst aspect of the Freeman affair is the likelihood of a chilling effect on discourse in Washington, at precisely the time when we badly need a more open and wide-ranging discussion of our Middle East policy," he blogged at foreignpolicy.com.

    Rosen, who is now awaiting trial on charges of communicating national security information, and at the same time is suing his former bosses at AIPAC for more than $20 million, stressed that the lobby could not have succeeded in blocking Freeman if similar attitudes did not already exist in Congress.

    "I was taught that AIPAC cannot do anything against the will of its friends in Congress," Rosen said, referring to his 23-year experience with the organization.

    Critics respond that through their donations to congressional campaigns, organized Jewish contributors and a network of pro-Israel political action committees do much to help shape that will.

    It was clear that Freeman had few friends in Congress. The anti-Freeman push came from some of Israel's strongest supporters. Democratic New York Senator Charles Schumer personally lobbied White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who is also a strong backer of Israel. After Freeman withdrew his nomination, Schumer stated publicly that he "repeatedly urged the White House to reject him" because Freeman's views on Israel were "way over the top."

    Several other strong supporters of Israel took action on this issue, including Independent Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman and two congressmen – Democrat Steve Israel of New York, and Republican Mark Kirk of Illinois.

    At the same time, several lawmakers, among them House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is a California Democrat, and Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf, came out against Freeman's appointment because of his views on China.

    Washington Post columnist and staunch centrist David Broder deplored the influence of the Israel lobby in this case. He fingered Congress as the critical force that compelled Freeman's departure. The foreign policy analyst, who speaks Mandarin Chinese and Arabic, was set to ride out the storm when Broder met him for breakfast the day he left. "But after another visit to members of Congress, Freeman was gone," Broder reported.

    In his wake, advocates on both sides of the debate about the lobby agree that public discourse is now more receptive to ideas challenging the lobby's positions. But despite the lively debate in the blogosphere and in the press, the political echelons are untouched by this trend.

    "I don't see it happening in the near future," Lustick said. "The last people to change are the politicians." >>>>>>>

  14. Joe
    March 26, 2009, 5:39 am

    The E1 corridor plan is hardly secret. Barak made a point of it just before he was reelected as labour leader a few years ago. It should be build before 'circumstances' prevent it. Since then the E1 plan has been part of the policies of Labour too.

    As Defense minister he has taken various steps, including land confiscation, to
    make progress on it.

    It is no secret settler cabal. It is a a shared policy, from left to right.

  15. samuelburke
    March 26, 2009, 7:22 am

    March 26, 2009
    Turkey's Fallout With Israel Deals Blow to Settlers

    link to antiwar.com

    Ottoman archives show land deeds forged

    by Jonathan Cook

    A legal battle being waged by Palestinian families to stop the takeover of their neighborhood in East Jerusalem by Jewish settlers has received a major fillip from the recent souring of relations between Israel and Turkey.

    After the Israeli army's assault on the Gaza Strip in January, lawyers for the families were given access to Ottoman land registry archives in Ankara for the first time, providing what they say is proof that title deeds produced by the settlers are forged.

    On Monday, Palestinian lawyers presented the Ottoman documents to an Israeli court, which is expected to assess their validity over the next few weeks. The lawyers hope that proceedings to evict about 500 residents from Sheikh Jarrah will be halted.

    The families' unprecedented access to the Turkish archives may mark a watershed, paving the way for successful appeals by other Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank caught in legal disputes with settlers and the Israeli government over land ownership.

    Interest in the plight of Sheikh Jarrah's residents peaked in November when one couple, Fawziya and Mohammed Khurd, were evicted from their home by an Israeli judge. Mr Khurd, who was chronically ill, died days later.

    Meanwhile, Mrs Khurd, 63, has staged a protest by living in a tent on waste ground close to her former home. Israeli police have torn down the tent six times and she is facing a series of fines from the Jerusalem municipality.

    The problems facing Mrs Khurd and the other residents derive from legal claims by the Sephardi Jewry Association that it purchased Sheikh Jarrah's land in the 19th century. Settler groups hope to evict all the residents, demolish their homes and build 200 apartments in their place.

    The location is considered strategic by settler organizations because it is close to the Old City and its Muslim holy places.

    Unusually, foreign diplomats, including from the United States, have protested, saying eviction of the Palestinian families would undermine the basis of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    The help of the Turkish government has been crucial, however, because Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire when the land transactions supposedly took place.

    Israel and Turkey have been close military and political allies for decades and traditionally Ankara has avoided straining ties by becoming involved in land disputes in the occupied territories. But there appears to have been an about-turn in Turkish government policy since a diplomatic falling-out between the two countries over Israel's recent Gaza operatio

  16. Eva Smagacz
    March 26, 2009, 8:23 am

    Independent here in UK has written about the intense behind the scenes diplomatic effort by US and UK, going on right now, to prevent E1 carridor being build up settlements.

    What chances do these "intense diplomatic activities" have if Israel is determined to have one state solution?

  17. Citizen
    March 26, 2009, 9:19 am

    All American taxpayers indirectly fund the settlements by absorbing the negative impact of the myriad of tax-exempt charitable organizations that donate to those settlements. The IRS records reflect the donations, often specifically targeted to named settlements outside Israel–that is lying in the occupied territory.
    This flies in the face of official USA policy which sees the settlements as an obstacle to the two-state solution.

    link to dailystar.com.lb

  18. Suzanne
    March 26, 2009, 9:26 am

    "Someone should write a puff piece about David Duke, for Secretary of State!"

    How about Phil writing that piece? David Duke has quoted Phil extensively and has even reprinted his articles on his website. Phil owes him!

  19. Suzanne
    March 26, 2009, 9:30 am

    I wonder if Netanyahu is edging towards a Jordanian absorption of part of the occupied territories.

    I think a lot of people in that region (not just Israelis) have given up on Palestinian self-rule.

  20. bar_kochba132
    March 26, 2009, 9:31 am

    The "2-state solution" is dead, but not because of "E-1" or even because of the settlements in Judea/Samaria. It is dead because the Palestinians don't want an independent state, the Arabs don't want a Palestinian state, their struggle is not for "national self-determination". They want an unending war of attrition against Israel.

  21. Rowan
    March 26, 2009, 9:54 am

    On the front page of today's LATimes is a photo of a Zionist soldier, complete with ridiculous little black box on his head prior to his participation in the assault on Gaza… Posted by: cogit8 | March 26, 2009 at 02:04 AM

    ahem, look, Mr. cogit8, those "ridiculous little black boxes" are called tefillin, and they are absolutely fundamental to the practice of Jewish ritual prayer. Some people take them so seriously that they have two sets of them, each slightly different inside, owing to a medieval dispute between the followers of Rashi and the followers of Rabbeinu Tam:
    link to en.wikipedia.org

  22. LD
    March 26, 2009, 10:08 am

    Great satire bar_kochba132. I mean really, Israel destroys Palestinian life/society as a matter of policy. Israeli society embraces racism and bigotry as a matter of dogma.

    But it's the Palestinians who are to blame.

    Everyone just irrationally hates Jews? You can't seem to catch a break? Even when you're incinerating Palestinian children. Demolishing their homes. Stealing their land and water.

    It's always about Jews though I guess.

  23. rykart
    March 26, 2009, 11:58 am

    A US president who does not impose a naval blockade on Israel within 20 days of taking office is not serious about peace.

  24. rykart
    March 26, 2009, 12:01 pm

    Only a lunatic would wear a tefillin.

    A psychotic.

  25. rykart
    March 26, 2009, 12:18 pm

    John Stewart should appear in a tefillin. Or David Letterman.

    There should be a crazy tefillin sketch on Saturday Night Live.

    We need to make fun of religious Jews.

    We need to expose them as the dangerous psychotics they are.

    'Death to Judaism and long live the Jews' ought to be our rallying cry.

    What an inspiration to the world it would be to say "Jews are so great, we even managed to get rid of our religion!"

    Next on the agenda, get rid of the hideous Jewish state.

    Let my people GO!

  26. Harry Fenton
    March 26, 2009, 12:55 pm

    Rykart – Nice race baiting. But if you started this racist ridiculing of the Jewish religious tradition – which is just a carryover from your favorite rag Der Sturmer (or from Al Arabiyeh) – you can bet on one thing – you won't get a fatwa or death threats against you. That only comes if you dare to publish a picture of the Prophet (PBUH) or call for Muslims to give up their religion. Why don't you tell the Dalai Lama to stop wearing a dress or Japanese Shinto priests to stop wearing a tefillin-inspired box on their heads?

  27. Woody
    March 26, 2009, 1:06 pm

    The wearing of the tefillin by IDF troopers invading GAZA and its accompanying prayers is akin to WW1 German soldiers wearing belt buckles embossed with "Gott ist mit Uns." The crusaders cross is similar in nature.

    Gotta admit, the tefillin is more comical. At least the belt held up the pants, and the crusader cross
    was functionally mimicked in the actual knight's sword. Perhaps that's where you end up as a people of the book armed by goy Uncle Sam to the max.

  28. ..oo
    March 26, 2009, 1:12 pm

    Er, re Fenton, you might well get death threats; at the very least you will soon be out of a job, especially if you work for the MSM or the USA government or state government. You can also forget about being published or having your art work shown–unless you settle for furnishing same free on the internet. Don't look to Fenton for reality, look to W & M, Carter, Chas Freeman, Phil et al–including former congressmen like Chas Percy & a handful of others who have said, essentially None Dare Call IT Conspiracy.

  29. LD
    March 26, 2009, 1:14 pm

    Fenton apparently fights what he sees as racism, with more racism.

    Arab television is by definition racist to a bottom feeder like Fenton.

    Wait, wasn't there a Jewish SNL-esque television show that ridiculed the Gazans as the White Phosphorus was incinerating children?

    I think so.

    link to youtube.com

  30. Rowan
    March 26, 2009, 1:23 pm

    it isn't "a tefillin" – tefillin is plural.

  31. stevieb
    March 26, 2009, 1:29 pm

    Wouldn't get a death threat? You really think that, Harry?

    It's not religious jews, necessarily, rykart – some of the most committed anti-zionists are religious jews, so one would need to be careful about that.

    The Palestinians want their own state. Only a fucking idiot would say otherwise.

    Are you a fucking idiot bar_kochba132??

    Oh the next few years are going to be quite interesting. But mark my words, I will be joined by an ever growing number of humanists that will be willing to fight against scum like you.

    Count on it.

  32. LD
    March 26, 2009, 1:44 pm

    It's easy to see how Arab kids become radicalized. It's easy to see why they turn to Islam (the religion of choice in that region).

    Zionism is the cause. Terrorism is the effect.

  33. Zainab al-Ashkar
    March 26, 2009, 3:47 pm

    "The "2-state solution" is dead, but not because of "E-1" or even because of the settlements in Judea/Samaria. It is dead because the Palestinians don't want an independent state, the Arabs don't want a Palestinian state, their struggle is not for "national self-determination". They want an unending war of attrition against Israel.

    "
    "bar_kochba132", may I have the pleasure of kicking you in the testicles? I think everyone would enjoy the sight of you folding in half and groaning in pain. I know I would.

    And about Obama, come on guys. I've been saying this from the get-go. He's not the Messiah, or a celebrity, he's just another rent-boy for AIPAC. Does what he's told, not what's right. Maybe everyone will listen next time when I tell them it was wise to vote for Ralph Nader. He was the only one who had his head screwed on straight during the enitre campaign.

  34. Citizen
    March 27, 2009, 1:09 pm

    I liked Nader. I also liked Ron Paul, and I switched from Independent Party to Republican just to vote for him in the primaries. When I had to choose as a practical matter between the lesser of two evils, I took Obama over McCain. Maybe I should've just voted for Nader…

  35. Zainab al-Ashkar
    March 28, 2009, 1:12 pm

    Yes you should have! I did. I'm telling you when I walked out of that booth and out of the courthouse, I knew beyond the shadow of any doubt that my man would be a loser. However I voted my feelings and my values, and I didn't let the corporate "hype" make my decision for me.

    I felt truly American that day.

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