Bibi buries Barack’s Pax Americana

Tony Karon, one of the few journalists in the mainstream media who writes sensibly and intelligently about Palestine/Israel, has an interesting article on the “peace process” over at Time. According to Karon, Abbas believes that one of Netanyahu’s demands will be that the “… ‘framework agreement’ reached in the current process … [be] … implemented over a 20-year period [!]” Not surprisingly, Mahmoud Abbas, who is already reeling from Obama’s el foldo on the settlement freeze, is not amused by this ploy.

Rumors are that Abbas will make a declaration about the negotiations this week at the upcoming Arab Summit in Libya. Since the Palestinian president’s only source of authority derives from U.S. and European political, financial and military support, he rarely, if ever, contradicts American policy. Thus it is assumed that the only relevant independent statement he is able to make is to announce his own resignation, and mean it this time.

Karon uses the term “framework agreement” as synonymous with “peace treaty.” This is a mistake which is common among both journalists and politicians, one that is usually not discouraged by members of the president’s peace team. However, Special Envoy George Mitchell stated explicitly in a news conference at the start of the present round of talks in early September that a framework agreement is not a treaty. Actually, according to Mitchell, it is a long way between a framework agreement and anything meaningful. Answering a question from Major Garrett, Mitchell volunteered this startling definition:

And as I said – and I think this ought to be made clear because there has been a good bit of misunderstanding or not a full meeting of minds publicly regarding a framework agreement – a framework agreement is not an interim agreement. It’s more detailed than a declaration of principles, but is less than a full-fledged treaty. Its purpose is to establish the fundamental compromises necessary to enable the parties to then flesh out and complete a comprehensive agreement that will end the conflict and establish a lasting peace.

Did he say it is more detailed than a declaration of principles? What a meaningful comparison! That is what the Oslo Agreement was called and look how that worked out. Maybe someone should have yelled out at this point, “Shut off the peace processor, please.” Mitchell’s definition of a framework agreement is what is called in diplomacy, “creative ambiguity.” In other words, we can mean anything we say we mean, at any time, with no limits on how often what we say changes – so can the Israelis, so can the Palestinians. But in the end who cares what the Palestinians think?

Karon writes that

Still, it’s unlikely that any U.S. offer to Netanyahu on that issue [supporting an Israeli military presence in the future Palestinian state] was cleared with the Palestinians, who bring no leverage to the table except their ability to walk away [see Abbas’ possible resignation, above] and shatter the illusion of progress in a peace process that Obama has defined as a U.S. national security priority.

I wonder if Karon means that Obama has defined the peace process as a U.S. national security priority; or does he mean the President aspires to the illusion of a peace process. I personally believe that Dennis “Israel’s Lawyer” Ross has convinced the president that a negotiated two-state solution which creates a Bantustan for the Palestinians can be forced upon Abbas and Prime Minister Salam “America’s Man” Fayyad, and the Americans have the muscle to help the Palestinians enforce Obama’s Pax Americana. After all, why build an empire if you can’t use it?

The surprise is that even the idea of a Palestinian mini-state, with limited sovereignty and ability for self-defense, which has been the goal of many “enlightened” Israeli politicians from such divergent camps as Yossi Beilin and Ariel Sharon (in his final years in office), may now be actually off the table.

In other peace processor news coverage: When an Obama supporter like M.J. Rosenberg is critical of the President’s attempt at getting the Israelis and Palestinians into meaningful negotiations, you know that the process has gone seriously awry. M.J.’s calling Netanyahu’s treatment of our president “humiliating” will irritate and surprise the JStreeters who consider M.J. to be in their pro-Israel, peace, Obama corner.

About Ira Glunts

Ira Glunts is a retired college librarian who lives in Madison, NY.
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

{ 20 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Kathleen says:

    Does not sound like much is changing. Palestinians still being short changed

  2. CTuttle says:

    Thus it is assumed that the only relevant independent statement he is able to make is to announce his own resignation, and mean it this time.

    It’s the only ‘honorable’ course of action left for Abu Mazen…! 8-(

    Especially, considering he’s ruling only by executive fiat, and, the Palestinians, collectively, tell him to not only walk away from the table, but, to run…! 8-(

  3. No surprise here that Israel is not serious about Palestinian statehood.

    But I am surprised at the sheer effrontery of their terms–20 years of more haggling while this interim agreement would fix in place the continued occupation and dispossession of the Palestinians. This time, of course, the occupation would have the patina of international legal recognition.

    Add to this the chutzpah of Bibi’s offer of a 2 month settlement freeze with the obscene US security guarantees, and Bibi’s really on a roll.

    Good point about Abbas potentially resigning. He should. And as a parting gesture hopefully he will tell Obama where to go. Abbas should have enough money socked away to be honest.

    Obama–and his successors in office–are absolutely hopeless. Unless the EU takes up the slack, the only hope is non-state action–BDS.

    • Citizen says:

      I wonder what the German newspapes are saying about this subject? My understanding is that Germany and most of Europe fully realize that an I-P peace is absolutely the first priority in the current grand geopolitical situation. Is LeaNder around?

      • Citizen says:

        Germany’s legitmacy is based on responsibility for the Shoah. This has resulted in Germany rubber-stamping whatever Israel does (and continuing its reparations). However, there are signs that Germany’s grassroots imagination is begining to think about the less specific and more universal implication of “Never Again.” link to

        • Colin Murray says:

          Here is some additional evidence Germany is trying to ween the 62 year old psychopathic baby.

          Germany and Israel fail to agree on submarine sale

          The U.S. journal Defense News reported this week that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had turned down Israel’s request for a discount of up to one-third on the price of a $1.6 billion package including two other warships and torpedoes.

          It also appears that German subsidization of the rogue state is crimping relations with its more civilized neighbors.
          Israel-bound submarines banned from testing in Norway’s waters

          Israel-bound submarines will no longer be allowed to undergo tests in Norwegian territory, as part of the country’s ban on security exports to Israel, Norway has informed a German shipbuilder.

        • Don’t know about the German public’s attitude toward Palestinians specifically, but Europe in general has been ginning up Islamophobia for quite awhile. What role this plays in any public pressure on European states to intervene in I-P affairs I just don’t know.

          On the domestic front, recent domestic protests against the neo-liberalization of Europe’s economy and social programs may indicate that the public is focused on other matters than foreign affairs. Not that those protests are a bad thing at all. Wish the US middle class would react to economic conditions as massively.

  4. morris says:

    If you recall the two wars on Iraq – on both occasions much was made of the imperative for peace with the Palestinians. In this video Israel Shamir says a peace agreement with the Palestinians will open the gates to war against Iran, by neutralising the Arab world – he says it better:

    Israeli Peace agreement will mean big war – Shamir

    • Izzy also seems to be saying that this “peace processing” is probably tailspinning, and that this is good, implying that time is on the side of militant expansionist Zionism being doomed.

  5. potsherd says:

    Why is anyone still listening to Mitchell? It’s obvious that he’s a liar, that he’ll say anything to make it seem as if this “peace process” is anything but a failure.

    The three meetings held so far between Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the current round of peace talks have addressed nothing of substance, diplomatic sources say.
    Mahmoud Abbas, Hosni Mubarak, Benjamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama

    Mahmoud Abbas, Hosni Mubarak and Benjamin Netanyahu with Barack Obama in the White House/
    Photo by: White House

    American mediators are still trying to save the talks from collapsing in the crisis following the resumption of construction in settlements.

    Netanyahu refused to hold a serious discussion on any of the core issues apart from security, Abbas reportedly told diplomats he met at the UN General Assembly. Israeli and foreign sources say the main problem is that Netanyahu refuses to present fundamental positions or discuss the borders of the Palestinian state.

    “I heard nothing from Netanyahu but niceties,” Abbas reportedly told foreign diplomats.

    U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell presented the talks as very successful, saying they were moving more rapidly than those in Northern Ireland, where he also served as mediator. He said Abbas and Netanyahu were dealing with all the tough issues and not leaving them to the end of the discussions.

    But both Israeli and Palestinian sources said Mitchell’s statement was “inaccurate” at best. A European diplomat who met the Palestinian negotiating team in New York about a week ago told Haaretz the Palestinians were furious with Mitchell. “He gave a false presentation of progress,” the diplomat said a Palestinian official had told him.

    link to

  6. Avi says:

    If Abbas is going to resign, then surely Obama has already learned about it. Is there some backroom wheeling and dealing going on at the moment, a last ditch attempt to save whatever is left of this oh-so-glorious 20 year peace process?

    Abbas should have resigned a long time ago, certainly after voting AGAINST the Goldstone Report at the UN.

    At this stage I’m not sure who’s more pathetic, Abbas or Obama who asked yahoo for a two month extension. Some superpower, eh?

  7. annie says:

    i loved this line in the time piece

    Despite the upbeat talk of U.S. envoy and ex-Senator George Mitchell about the progress of the negotiations, the Israeli media reports that Palestinian leaders have privately accused Netanyahu of stonewalling.

    gee, ya think!!! lol. it’s just stonewall stonewall stonewall all the way. here’s what i’d like: obama , after the election in nov, to fucking hand it to netanyahu. cut off aid, just sock it to him. yes, it would probably require him forfeiting his second term. but jesus we need to wake up and ask ourselves who’s running this show and if it isn’t us why are we funding it?

    i’m so over this ‘friendship’ the way it stands. israel will be better off w/a deal, any deal. people are mistaken thinking it’s mostly palestine that needs a deal, in the short (history wise) term yes, but in the long term..there will be no long term for israel without fixed borders. israel has never existed w/out expanding. states that continually expand are dangerous and we all know it.

    it’s long overdue and without it we’re on a fast track towards a decline. we’re already on a decline but do we really need the ugliness ahead? i would be oh so happy w/a happy israel/palestine. i really don’t want it to go up in an explosion of extinction. these people need eachother on some fundamental level. imagine if thru all these years if it had been israeli extremist who had been eliminated. but no, they thrive. somethings gotta give and it won’t be palestine because you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip. they’ve evolved over these decades and proved themselves as an immovable force.

    genocide by stonewalling? not going to work. give it up israel and be a player otherwise your ass is on the line.

  8. I like that both Barack Obama and George Mitchell (77 years old) are tryers rather than complainers.

    • Before I would compliment either one on their “tryer-ness”, I would first ask what they are trying to accomplish?

      Is their goal to breathe life into the twenty-year old “peace process” and keep it going another twenty years? Or is their goal an actual peace agreement?

      Since I suspect both Obama and Mitchell are intelligent enough to realize Israel’s intransigence–yet too cowardly politically to seriously pressure Israel–I have to believe the fig leaf of “process” and not the endgame, peace, is their goal.

      Do you also laud BDS proponents for their “tryer-ness”? After all, they don’t complain, they just “do”.

    • eljay says:

      >> I like that both Barack Obama and George Mitchell (77 years old) are tryers rather than complainers.

      Well of course you do. You like the fact that Palestinians suffering aggression, occupation, colonialism, theft and murder are “resilient and energetic”, and Obama and Mitchell are doing their best to ensure that they remain that way. What’s not to like?!

    • Shingo says:

      “I like that both Barack Obama and George Mitchell (77 years old) are tryers rather than complainers.”

      Yes Wiity, they’re both trying very hard to give legitacy to illegal settlements, rather than complaining about them.

      Very “humanist”

  9. pabelmont says:

    Maybe someone should have yelled out at this point, “Shut off the peace processor, please.” YES, INDEED. And the principle (not the only) honorable course for Abbas is to resign.

    I suggest another course for Abbas (or, more accurately, for the PLO): here. The PLO should say out loud, and definitively, what many of us have been saying, that the USA and Israel are not dependable “partners” for negotiation and will not be dependable until Israel complies with past agreements (especially the Fourth Geneva Convention and other international law); otherwise there is no reason for the PLO to assume that Israel would keep (or the USA enforce or defend) any agreement reached with the PLO.