Netanyahu has nothing to worry about

Israel/Palestine
on 173 Comments

Israeli PM Netanyahu has expressed dismay about President Obama’s Middle East speech. Bibi supposedly was outraged that Obama mentioned the pre-1967 borders as a starting point for negotiations.

Netanyahu has complained that Mr. Obama has pushed Israel too far – a point driven home during a furious phone call with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday morning, just hours before Mr. Obama’s speech, during which the prime minister reacted angrily to the president’s plan to endorse Israel’s pre-1967 borders for a future Palestinian state. Mr. Obama did not back down.

Another Times article notes Obama’s sharp break from past approaches.

Mr. Obama declared that the prevailing borders before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war – adjusted to some degree to account for Israeli settlements in the West Bank – should be the basis of a deal. While the 1967 borders have long been viewed as the foundation for a peace agreement, Mr. Obama’s formula of land swaps to compensate for disputed territory created a new benchmark for a diplomatic solution.

By the way, was there any communication between these reporters and the Times editorial staff, who more sensibly noted:


There was much hand-wringing in Israel over the president’s call for a two-state solution based on “the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.” The language was new, but it was not a major change in American policy. It must not become another excuse for inaction.

Bibi’s point man in the US, Alan Dershowitz, decried that Obama “insisted that Israel must surrender all of the areas captured in its defensive war of 1967, subject only to land swaps.” Dershowitz added for good measure that in 1967, a unanimous Security Council passed Resolution 242 with the explicit understanding that parts of Jerusalem, including “the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem and the access roads to Hebrew University,” would be retained by Israel “without the need for any land swaps.” He would know, you see, because he “played a very small role in helping to draft” the resolution, and that was at least his understanding even if this provision was somehow omitted from the final text.

Relax, guys. Nothing’s changed. The old formula is still in place.

Of course the 1967 lines have always been the starting point for discussion – they were in Barak’s “generous” 2000 offer at Camp David, the more promising Taba negotiations in 2001 that were cut short due to the impending Israeli election of the rejectionist Sharon, and in Olmert’s 2008 “even more generous” offer.

Why the uproar now? What was Obama supposed to say – that the starting point was complete Israeli control from the river to the sea, and that Israel could expect concessions for each square kilometer that it graciously yielded? Even in our poisoned political atmosphere, that would never fly. The 1967 lines are the only logical starting point. The devil has always been in the details, and Obama explicitly included those devilish details in his speech.

First, there’s the “mutually agreed swaps” of land to determine permanent borders. By definition, such swaps require negotiations, which would be between the elected legitimate government of the only democracy in the Middle East and, and… Uh oh. The Palestinians have reached a unity agreement in which Hamas will be part of any negotiations. The Palestinians themselves and most of the international community applaud this reconciliation as a necessary step to meaningful progress, but to the US and Israel, it spells “DQ”.

Obama: “the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel – how can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist.”

So negotiations are required to determine the “mutually agreed swaps,” and negotiations are impossible with Hamas included in the decision-making process. When Palestinians insist on their right to choose their own leaders and to have a more inclusive group represent them, guess whose fault it is when these land swaps cannot be agreed upon for lack of a legitimate negotiating partner?

And what about Jerusalem and right of return that Obama postpones for future consideration? We don’t even have to get there. The “peace process” will enter its 45th year of hopelessness, with those issues remaining trump cards to be called upon only in the unlikely event that there appears to be real progress toward a settlement.

It used to be that Israel could not negotiate while the threat of Iranian nuclear annihilation was hanging over its head. Before that, Ariel Sharon could not negotiate in the midst of terrorist attacks, and when such attacks were curtailed, he had forgotten about his promise to do so. Now the problem is the inclusion of Hamas in the Palestinian “government.” In September, it will be the confusion and uncertainty brought on by possible UN recognition of a Palestinian State. That’s another future obstacle already identified by Obama as a potential deal-breaker.

The certainty of unresolvable conflict, blamed on the Palestinians, is built in to Obama’s plan. The status quo has served the Israelis well over the past 44 years. Sure, they’ve had to endure various rounds of “terrorism,” that is, a small fraction of the violence they have visited upon the Palestinians and Lebanese. But the land has been theirs to play with. They get to rule over millions of stateless, powerless people, making extrajudicial decisions over every facet of their lives and even whether they have lives at all, and still get to call themselves a “democracy”; only a few people, and none who count, snicker in disgust.

The occupation may be intolerable, but only for its victims. Israel can continue for another 44 years, creating new “facts on the ground.” Such opinions presently are expressed only by its more outspoken politicians (e.g., Avigdor Lieberman, who dismissed peace with the Palestinians as being “decades away”), but they are shared by much of the government and the country as a whole. Netanyahu doesn’t really care where the starting point is. He just wants to make sure there’s no realistic possibility of an end point.

The fear that Obama has grown a spine is greatly exaggerated, though Netanyahu’s pretend “furious” reaction surely is designed to make Obama look and maybe feel tougher than he is. This doesn’t even address the underlying problem of the illegal settlements which make the two-state solution impossible. Obama’s criticism of the settlements was limited to the fact that they are “continuing,” and of course the Palestinians were to blame because they “walked away from talks.”

So Obama has endorsed a blueprint for no progress toward an unachievable outcome, and we are supposed to believe Netanyahu’s howls of outrage over a single reference to the long-standing “starting point” for the road to nowhere. How transparent is this? Even Jeffrey Goldberg doesn’t buy it!

About David Samel

David Samel is an attorney in New York City.

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173 Responses

  1. Bumblebye
    May 20, 2011, 5:08 pm

    I shall simply expect a slew more attempts at legislating against buman rights groups and their funding, delegitimisation of anti-occupation protests, the deportation of anti-occupation foreign activists, prevention of them even getting to the West Bank, as well as international observers. If “we” can’t see or hear about it, it’s deniable. Israel will be a blatantly fascist state, but will still have all the support it needs in US govt. It’s bought and paid for, and who is going to change that? Israel’s land lust is not over, the governing class and their cronies at home and abroad are absolutely determined that they will achieve the “whole”.

  2. Debonnaire
    May 20, 2011, 5:14 pm

    The only thing that’s gonna change anything is when Iran gets nukes. As the Austrailian FM said – more balance would be a good thing.

    • Antidote
      May 21, 2011, 9:11 am

      Israeli military historians Martin van Creveld wrote a few years ago: “Obviously, we don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons and I don’t know if they’re developing them, but if they’re not developing them, they’re crazy.”

      Van Creveld sober view is that Iran, in view of the Israeli threat as well as the threat emanating from the “new Caligula in the WH” (vC on Bush) would be crazy not to develop nuclear weapons as a deterrent, and obviously doesn’t want to end up like Iraq. The US only attacks ‘weak’ countries. Countries they can bomb into submission, at whatever cost to the population, without suffering high military casualties themselves. Van Creveld, in this docu (towards the end somewhere), also ‘half seriously’ suggests that the US should sell nukes to Iran in order to stabilize the region.

  3. Richard Witty
    May 20, 2011, 5:51 pm

    The reasoning for the objection to the 67 borders is some statement that they are indefensible now, but were defensible between 67 and now.

    But, I think you are right that the US policy has not changed. It is a puppet of neither, and a validator of both rational arguments (human rights/sovereignty for Palestine, and security for Israel).

    The path for change is still electoral. Netanyahu is grossly exposed, if someone would articulate an alternative path.

    Hamas is still a wildcard. Its a very big question whether a 10-year hudna with someone that declares that they want your state to dissolve ultimately is a better situation than none.

    • James North
      May 20, 2011, 6:37 pm

      Richard Witty said: ‘My first sentence above means that I still haven’t figured out how to justify Netanyahu’s statement that the 1967 borders are “indefensible.” Once I do, I’ll comment about it endlessly.’

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 21, 2011, 1:52 am

        The funniest part of the “indefensible” line is the fact that the Israelis actually did “defend” those lines in 1967 and have only grown stronger since then (both relatively and absolutely). It is asinine to suggest that which could be defended 40 years ago cannot be defended now. Yet the pro-Israeli Kool-Aide drinkers swallow it up.

      • Hostage
        May 21, 2011, 4:32 pm

        The nonsensical nature of Dore Gold’s hasbara line about “leaving Israel 8 miles wide” can be demonstrated by simply turning it around to illustrate that the borders of a demilitarized State of Palestine would be even more indefensible. They would leave East Jerusalem less than two miles wide and the Gaza strip less than 4 miles wide.” Israel has accepted resolution 242 as the basis of the final settlement and the resolutions emphasis on the inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by war does not contain an exception for defensible borders. Secretary of State Rusk explained to Foreign Minister Eban that US support for secure permanent frontiers doesn’t mean we support territorial changes.

        From the standpoint of the Palestinians, Israel started the Six Day War and is attempting to profit from its own wrongdoing. The Security Council adopted Resolution 228, November 25, 1966 in which the Council condemned the grave Israeli Military action which took place in the southern Hebron area of the West Bank on November 13, 1966. The Council said it “constituted a large scale and carefully planned military action on the territory of Jordan by the armed forces of Israel”. In February Jordan filed a formal complaint because Israel had refused to cooperate with the investigation of the landmining incident that allegedly sparked the Samu raid. On 16 March, Israeli forces again crossed the Armistice Demarcation Line south of Hebron and killed two more Jordanian civilians. Remarkably, on 15 April Israeli authorities once again crossed the Armistice Demarcation Line into the Latrun no-man’s land in order to plough areas situated in Jordan and in the no-man’s land. See Yearbook Of The United Nations 1967, The Situation In The Middle East

        Israel ignored several warnings from the U.S. government that its actions were destabilizing the government of Jordan. Israel had publicly declared the armistice agreements were null and void; launched a series of attacks against Jordan; and then attempted to enlist the US government to pass messages to King Hussein that were intended to undermine Jordan’s commitment to its obligation under a mutual defense agreement with Egypt. In the years before the Six Day War Mossad Chief General Meir Amit simultaneously “negotiated with Egypt for the release of the spies tasked with identifying targets in the canal zone during the Lavon Affair, while conducting a similar espionage operation to identify targets in Syria.

        In “Arab Politics, Palestinian Nationalism and the Six Day War”, Moshe Shemesh explains that Jordan’s military and civilian estimates reached the unequivocal conclusion that Israel’s main design was conquest of the West Bank, and that Israel was striving to drag all of the Arab countries into a general war. He says that after the Samu raid these apprehensions became the deciding factor in Jordan’s decision to participate in the war. King Hussein was convinced Israel would try to occupy the West Bank whether Jordan went to war, or not.

        Israel launched a preventative war against Egypt, which triggered the mutual defense agreement with the Kingdom of Jordan. The UN “Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts”, 2001, Article 25(2) explains that in any case, necessity may not be invoked by a State as a ground for precluding wrongfulness if the State has contributed to the situation of necessity.

        The parallels with the Japan’s rationalizations and xenophobic use of the mass media to justify its own “preemptive defensive attacks” in Manchuria are remarkable, i.e. Manchuria “belonged” to Japan based upon its investments, “sacrifices”, and colonists – therefore Japan had the right to defend it from rebels and outlaws. See for example Nisuke Andō, Kokusaihō Gakkai , Japan and international law: past, present and future; Louise Young, Japan’s total empire: Manchuria and the culture of wartime imperialism; and Sandra Wilson, The Manchurian crisis and Japanese society, 1931-33.

    • Avi
      May 20, 2011, 6:55 pm

      Hamas is still a wildcard. Its a very big question whether a 10-year hudna with someone that declares that they want your state to dissolve ultimately is a better situation than none.

      As opposed to a certain …{cough}…umghhum someone {cough}who not only declared that they want your nation to dissolve, but actually dissolved it, scattered all its members to the four winds and continues to do so after 64 years.

      witty, you are the epitome of everything that is wrong with the Israel lobby, Zionist Jews and Zionist Christians.

      One day the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will include an entry on Zionism and Zionists.

      • Don
        May 22, 2011, 11:04 am

        “One day the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will include an entry on Zionism and Zionists.”

        Avi, good thing you don’t say things like this too often…pretty good chance I would, quite literally, giggle myself to death.

        Of course, since I have now absorbed Richard’s philosophical approach to the conflict, I must point out that is is not helpful to underestimate the defensibilazation of borders, nor is it helpful to overestimate the undefensibilitiation of borderization (vis a vis war crimes, as opposed to warification).

        I have tried to make this crystally obscure. I hope you find it helpful.

        And please consider a small donation to the Etruscan Liberation Organization. We almost have enough funds to purchase another military aircraft (a hot air balloon, unfortunately shaped like Mr. Peanut, but you gotta start somewhere, no?).

    • pabelmont
      May 21, 2011, 8:38 am

      N’yahu’s “form of words” did indeed speak of indefensible borders, but, of course, he had to say something, he couldn’t just say, “Israel don’t wanna and ain’t gonna” (which is probably what he means). But with the advent of longer and longer range rockets. Israel becomes less defensible even with all of WB. With the advent of Iron Domes (assuming they work) it becomes more defensible even restricted to one-square-mile. Modern surveillance (satellites) make Israel far more defensible against surprise mechanical attacks. Etc. In short, he was lying and he was also making a play to USA’s Jewish fears, which are carefully maintained at a low boil by, among others, all the Holocaust memorialization, museums, talk.

      A more interesting question than Israel’s danger or otherwise is the question of what force existing now or in near future could be mobilized to force Israel to accept the May 1967 borders as final. It clearly isn’t the USA. Or the Palestinians (as a military force). It is unlikely to be a military intervention or threat from anywhere.

      When I think about the force which could move Israel to return to its pre-1967 borders as a permanent arrangement, what I come up with is a trade-boycott. That is why I mention nation-state-level BDS so often.

      What mechanisms other than nation-state-level BDS do others see as a way to motivate Israel to make a just and lasting peace? Say before the worst effects of global warming kick in (in Israel’s region)?

      • piotr
        May 21, 2011, 1:52 pm

        I am skeptical about Iron Dome. It boils down to several questions:

        a. how much it would cost to intercept a missile

        b. how much it would cost to make a missile

        c. what are the respective budgets

        If you can intercept 10,000 missiles and the opponent can launch 20,000, you may have a huge success and suffer huge destruction. Then the calculus shift to the destruction suffered by the opponents, and overall goals of both sides.

        One question can be how much destruction can a nation suffer to maintain its integrity as a state? The example of Lebanon 2006 shows that a lot. How much destruction can a nation suffer to maintain a pattern of oppression over another nation? The extreme version of troop protection in both Lebanon 2006 and Gaza 2009/2010 suggest that not much. It is also common sense etc.

        Can a nation be attacked merely because of an oppression that it inflicts on people under their control? Historically, such attacks were made when the attackers enjoy full impunity, like USA or NATO, but “irrational actors” may be “suicidal”. Typically, “irrational actors” are no more irrational than so-called Western Civilization. “The war between the states” may be an example.

        Attacking the South because of slavery clearly had a cost for the North, even if the actual cost happened to vastly exceed the expectations. One can also venture an opinion that the South vastly exagerated the value of slavery in “mantaining their style of life”. One can observe that slave owners had “legitimate security concerns” would slaves become free, as every manor would be in a striking distance from a village of freedmen. They could insist that freedmen villages should be kept weapon-free, surrounded and controlled… I guess that this would be roughly equivalent to the current Netanyahu doctrine.

      • RoHa
        May 23, 2011, 1:44 am

        “Attacking the South because of slavery clearly had a cost for the North, even if the actual cost happened to vastly exceed the expectations.”

        I don’t think many wars come in under budget, though this one probably did.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Sumud
        May 22, 2011, 10:15 am

        Peter ~ isn’t the “sanction” component of BDS equivalent to a nation-level trade boycott?

        I think BDS is the key, just about the only way forward. I don’t know how it could be done but if the US would stop using it’s SC veto to protect Israel from any consequences of continuously ignoring international law, then I think the UN would slap sanctions on Israel fairly fast.

        It is only when Israel is made to understand the seriousness of it’s crimes will it develop an authentic desire to enter a just and lasting piece. And because Israel doesn’t seem to be able to conceive of itself as living in peace with her neighbours, this realisation may just never come…

    • Chaos4700
      May 21, 2011, 5:03 pm

      So now you reject the 1967 borders too? Gee, there’s an utterly shocking display of hypocrisy.

    • Brewer
      May 22, 2011, 1:57 am

      “they are indefensible now”

      Well they had better start behaving themselves now hadn’t they!

      Seriously, what borders are defensible against the new warfare which is largely airborne.
      This is just another ruse. Palestine has zero chance of building a land-based force to threaten the Jewish State in a hundred years. If it were a combined attack Israel fears, Palestine held close is their best defence.

      All smoke and mirrors as usual.

      • Richard Witty
        May 22, 2011, 12:21 pm

        You guys are really wierd to assume that trying to understand someone else’s words is advocacy for them.

      • James North
        May 22, 2011, 1:07 pm

        Richard Witty said:
        ‘When Israelis, even Netanyahu, speak, I try and make the most benign interpretation of their words. When Palestinians speak, my interpretation turns malignant. If I can’t twist their actual words enough, I even make up quotes for them, as when I lied, “Hamas said we will wipe the streets of Gaza with Israeli blood.”‘

  4. Robert Werdine
    May 20, 2011, 6:23 pm

    Iran gets the bomb. That would be a “good thing.”

    Priceless!

    “Of course the 1967 lines have always been the starting point for discussion – they were in Barak’s “generous” 2000 offer at Camp David, the more promising Taba negotiations in 2001 that were cut short due to the impending Israeli election of the rejectionist Sharon, and in Olmert’s 2008 “even more generous” offer. ”

    Oh, and of course we all know that those offers weren’t so generous, don’t we? And the Palestinians were only too happy to parley and compromise and the rejectionist, colonizing, ethnic cleansing Israelis just wouldn’t have it, right David?

    “The Palestinians have reached a unity agreement in which Hamas will be part of any negotiations. The Palestinians themselves and most of the international community applaud this reconciliation as a necessary step to meaningful progress, but to the US and Israel, it spells “DQ”.

    Hamas is a brutal, genocidal terrorist group whose totalitarian regime exists, and whose terrorist actions occur in violation of every conceivable application of international law. The Fatah-Hamas merger resembles nothing so much as a group of rival gangsters who had fought each other before, and might do so again, but for the time being, are working the same racket. It is nothing less than a catastrophe for the Palestinian people, and signifies the death-knell of a peace-process long finished anyway.

    “So negotiations are required to determine the “mutually agreed swaps,” and negotiations are impossible with Hamas included in the decision-making process. When Palestinians insist on their right to choose their own leaders and to have a more inclusive group represent them, guess whose fault it is when these land swaps cannot be agreed upon for lack of a legitimate negotiating partner?”

    Well, David, since Hamas’ argument has never been merely with Israel’s occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem but with Israel’s existence, period, it is not make clear what, between Israel’s existence and its non-existence, there is to negotiate with them.

    Ah, but they support the two-state solution, right?. Well, that depends on your interpretation of “two state solution.”

    The Fatah/Hamas version of the two-state solution would go something like this: First, a clean sweep of all Jews from the WB, second, the flooding of the state of Israel with some several million Palestinian refugees, thus erasing the Jewish majority of the state and transforming into one with an Arab majority.

    This is, in fact, a two-step plan to create a Palestine without an Israel. It grants Israel a cease-fire if it agrees to drown itself in an act of demographic suicide. How generous.

    • David Samel
      May 20, 2011, 7:19 pm

      Robert, you’re a real pest. First of all, quotation marks are supposed to signify a quote, so when you ridicule me for saying that a nuclear Iran would be a “good thing,” you embarrass yourself because I said no such thing. What I did say was that Israel has always used a litany of excuses to delay the “peace process” and one of those lame excuses was that it “could not negotiate while the threat of Iranian nuclear annihilation was hanging over its head. ” How you get from there to “good thing” in quotes is typical of your smug dishonesty.

      As for Hamas being a “brutal, genocidal terrorist group” and a “totalitarian regime,” its corpse count is dwarfed by Israel’s, and it submitted to the electoral process. I know how you feel about Israel’s slaughter of people: Qibya unfortunately “lapsed” into a massacre; the Liberty was a mistake; the deliberate attacks on civilians in your mother’s homeland in 1982 had a death toll under 20,000 and there were other bad guys doing bad things; the death of 118 Lebanese civilians in 1993 could not have been deliberate because Israel could have killed more; Qana 1996 was another accident (damn, I hate it when that happens – I was trying to blow up something else!). Once you excuse every single Israeli crime, I guess Hamas’s record is worse. Since you equally hate Hamas and Fatah and think their representation of Palestinians is a catastrophe (is that the real nakhba, in your view?), maybe you should choose their leaders. After all, you have Arab street cred.

      You know, while I have your attention, Robert, I never pointed out to you that when you defended Qibya by quoting Ben-Gurion’s explanation for the “lapsed” massacre, you picked the very same quote where he lied to the world, claiming it was the act of villagers rather than the IDF. How fitting that you found it credible, decades after the truth came out.

      I had allowed myself to hope you had crawled back to where you came from and decided there was a better forum to peddle your lies. Try frontpagemagazine.com. They’ll believe anything there, and with your pseudo-intellectual presentation and command of “factoids,” you’ll be a hero in no time.

      • annie
        May 20, 2011, 7:48 pm

        a pest? that’s putting it politely. i’m sick of him and his inflammatory lies. i’m amazed an accusation hamas is genocidal passes moderation. he made another comment earlier in the ‘Obama decides to take on Netanyahu’ thread just full of lies. he should be over at little greeen footballs or drudge or something. we shouldn’t have to endure one more of his gruesome comments.

      • Erasmus
        May 21, 2011, 3:16 pm

        Re Robert Vermine

        I had similarly entertained the same hope and am equally surprized about an extreme over-tolerant attitude of the moderation.
        Given the rules of this website which have most obviously been grossly disregarded in the past and here again, I herewith like to make a strong plea for the RED CARD being shown.
        It’ s overdue.

      • Robert Werdine
        May 20, 2011, 7:52 pm

        David,

        I did not address the Iran quote to you, David. Though, in all fairness, I was remiss in not directing it to the commenter who said it.

        As for the rest: Ouch!

        I would crawl back to where I came from but my paymasters at AIPAC and the MFA just won’t have it. They’re so powerful!

      • Chaos4700
        May 21, 2011, 5:04 pm

        I guess everybody looks tall from where you’re standing.

      • Danaa
        May 21, 2011, 7:17 pm

        Your paymasters are too generous. I vote for a pay cut – bad, bad hasbara. And if you got paid nothing for your effort, why – that’s already too much! what with the Lebanese/Christian concoction – you should pay Mondoweiss for letting you troll up and down our little courtyards – scampering hither and thither with feathers all agog – like a cow-bird masquerading as a peacock.

        It’s cringe inducing to even witness David Samel stoop to reply (too gracious, David!) – wasting precious keyboard energy – not to mention time – the most precious commodity of all. Maybe there should be an internet tax – specially deigned for the likes of you……

        Now you were tweeting something about Iran, were you?

      • Donald
        May 20, 2011, 8:33 pm

        It is fascinating to see an alleged Arab referring to a one state solution as an act of demographic suicide for Israeli Jews. The term “self-hating” is overused, but if one takes RW at face value it fits nicely here.

      • RoHa
        May 21, 2011, 12:53 am

        “You know, while I have your attention, Robert”

        What makes you think you have his attention?

      • Theo
        May 21, 2011, 9:47 am

        If you look back in history, you find Hitler and the nazis started in a small number, however with lies and a promise of a “1000 years Reich” they grew in number.
        Eventually the whole german nation, – a great majority of them never really liked Hitler, but still toed the line -, had to pay and still paying for those criminal acts.

        Basically in Israel they have the same system. “Erez Israel” is killing and displacing disliked peoples to create their imagenary “Reich”.
        All american jews, those who although do not care for the zionists, but you still support them, please remember the Holocaust. Not only the nazis, but all germans had to pay for it.
        The days may come when you all have to pay for the Nakba and other crimes, because you allowed it by your looking the other way, by your financial support and your disalliance to your home, the USA!

      • Robert Werdine
        May 21, 2011, 2:03 pm

        Wisdom from the sewer: Israel=Nazis.

        Nice.

        You know, Annie complains about my characterization of Hamas as a genocidal terrorist group (which is what they are, by their own admission, no less) passing moderation here, but the Theo’s odious equation of Israel with Nazi Germany is given free reign. Sweet.

        Of course I have always understood that free speech is sometimes objectionable speech, and that we cannot always control objectionable speech; nor should we try to, except on violence, or violence incitement-related grounds.

        Yet some commentators on this blog are only too happy to hit the “ban” button on those with the temerity to disagree with them. That is, when they are not smearing them with the usual name calling (Zionist/hasbara troll, etc. etc…).

        That is their commissar-like remedy to the hassle of responding to disagreeable assertions by arguing facts and evidence. They remind me of lawyers who, when the facts and the law are against them, simply pound the table.

        As far as I’m concerned, Theo above can say any odious thing he likes and I will defend his right to say it.

        However, let me say this: I believe, genuinely, that both David and Annie (along with many others here) are motivated by their deep concern for the Palestinian people and their perception that Israel is the sole culprit of their suffering and misfortunes. Of course, they would rather drink hemlock than concede that I could even possibly share the same concern for the Palestinians, only that I disagree with them about Israel, and that I think Palestinian leaders have, both recently and historically, bore more of the blame for their past and present plight and sufferings. I believe that many of their criticisms and attacks on Israel are not just unfair, but inaccurate, and I do not hesitate to say so.

        All of this falls within the purview of what most people would consider to be an area of legitimate disagreement. I certainly consider it so. But they do not. They cannot concede the legitimacy or even the sincerity of my views, or my concern for the Palestinians, or the legitimacy of any criticism of their leaders, and instead view me as just another lying, anti-Palestinian, pro-Zionist/hasbara/troll propagandist apologist for genocide, ethnic cleansing, land theft, dispossession, apartheid etc. etc etc….

        Of course, Hamas, whose legitimacy David and Annie so vociferously defend, has its own methods of dealing with dissent that go far beyond banning comments on websites and the like, and are, shall we say, more direct and far more permanent in their application.

        There is, I believe, in all of these sorry attempts to defend Hamas’ legitimacy an element of self-deception, and, frankly, no small degree of useful idiocy. I sometimes wonder how David and Annie would feel if they themselves had to actually live under the brutal jackboot of the Hamas regime, and not just observe it from the safety and comfort of their computers.

        The philosopher Plato could afford to admire Sparta because he did not have to live in it. By the same token, David and Annie can afford to admire Hamas from a comfortable distance, because they don’t have to live under them.

        We’ve seen this phenomenon before, of course. In the 1930′s we had GB Shaw and Walter Duranty going to Stalin’s Russia, receiving their nice, well-prepared Potemkin tours showing happy workers in the happy Communist state and coming back giving their happy accounts of the happy Russia they saw while famine was ravaging whole swaths of the Ukraine killing millions, and state-induced terror were murdering millions and putting millions more into the gulag.

        We saw the same thing in Vietnam.

        The Vietnam war, lest we forget, was fought by America for one reason: to save South Vietnam, and, if possible, the rest of Indochina from the brutal war of terror and aggression being waged by Communist North Vietnam and thus being occupied and subverted by them. Well aware of the genocide that had been inflicted by the North Vietnamese against their own peasants in the late 1950′s (50,000 killed, hundreds of thousands more imprisoned and expelled), American policy makers understood the consequences of their failure to save South Vietnam from the North’s aggression.

        The Peace Movement, however, insisted that it was America who was the aggressor and was thus guilty of waging a genocidal, racist-colonialist-capitalist-imperialist war against the North Vietnamese. Thus, by some weird process of myopia, ignorance, gullibility, and self-delusion, the brutally aggressive and expansionist war aims of the North Vietnamese were somehow linked to the struggles of the American Civil Rights movement, and the war aims of America to Southern racists and segregationists. And what about Communism? Well, you see, that was just some boogy-man that old Joe McCarthy and Dick Nixon used to smear opponents and scare votes out of people. Communists were people just like you and me and only want the same things that we do. The problem is with America and its racist/imperialist war for “American Hegemony.”

        These glib assumptions of the Peace Movement would soon be put to the test. Months after the signing of the Peace Accords in Jan. 1973, Nixon found his ability to enforce the Accords against repeated violations of the North hamstrung by Congressional Democrats who, intent on exploiting Nixon’s self-inflicted embroilment in Watergate, passed the War Powers Act over his veto. It was an astonishing emasculation of American executive power. Now, with anti-war liberal Democrats in Congress controlling American foreign policy, began one of the most shameful episodes in our history as a nation: the slow strangulation of American aid to the peoples of South Vietnam and Cambodia and our utter abandonment of them to the tyranny and genocide that we had sacrificed eight years and 58,000 lives to prevent.

        After the fall in 1975 of the Thieu regime in South Vietnam to the Communist North, and the fall of the Lon Nol regime in Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge earlier in the same year, began an orgy of suffering and death in Indochina that dwarfed everything that had come before it. In South Vietnam, out of a population of 19 million, some 750,000 “boat people” desperate to escape the murderous prison camp their homeland had now become, escaped to the sea on literally anything that would float, and where some 250,000 would perish in a watery grave. Among those who failed to or could not escape were some 1 million “callaborators” who were thrown into “re-education” concentration camps where some 165,000 were killed. In North Vietnam-controlled Laos, some 100,000 of the peaceful Hmong people, accused of complicity with the CIA, were murdered, imprisoned, or expelled into Thailand. But it was in Cambodia where the worst tragedy occured. Somewhere between 1-2 million perished there in one of the worst Communist engineered genocides of the 20th century, only exceeded by those in Mao’s China and Stalin’s Russia.

        While these events were unfolding, President Carter was busy admonishing Americans for their “inordinate fear of Communism” to much media applause. But here, for all to see, was the “peace” that the media, the anti-war crowd and liberal Democrats in Congress like Willaim Fullbright, Ted Kennedy, and George McGovern had struggled so long and hard to bring about.

        The reaction of the Peace Movement to the mass slaughter and oppression now ravaging Indochina was a shameful tangle of self-serving evasion, obfuscation, and tendentious denial. First there was a massive campaign of denial: reports of genocide and oppression were routinely attacked and discounted as fabrications, and witnesses, most of whom had barely escaped with their lives, saw themselves smeared and their motives impugned. By 1979, with the North Vietnamese Communists not only occupying South Vietnam but all of Laos and Cambodia, the imperialist ambitions of the North and the truth about the mass slaughter and oppression in all three countries that had taken place as a result of our liberal, Peace Movement-induced abandonment could no longer be denied.

        These unwelcome facts not only made nonsense of their denials, but exposed and discredited the spurious, hysterical falsehoods upon which all their “peace” endeavors had rested. However, in order to divert attention away from their complicity in our abandonment of the region and the resulting terrors, the Peace Movement, in a characteristically brazen volte face, now fingered the real villain of the Indochina genocide: America. Of course, this completely ignored the fact that it was the North Vietnamese who first violated the neutrality of Laos and Cambodia and set up military sanctuaries there in order to infiltrate and attack South Vietnam. But no; in their retelling, American bombing attacks on those sanctuaries were “war crimes” and acts of “aggression” and it was our bombing that caused the Communist regimes to go crazy and commit mass slaughter. (Since the American bombing ceased over two years before the massacres began, the massacres were apparently a delayed reaction). The Indochina genocides were thus America’s fault, quod erat demonstratum.

        While I believe that only a small minority of the Peace Movement were hardcore Communist ideologues who were only too happy to knowingly overlook the atrocities committed by the North Vietnamese and the Khemer Rouge and blame America at whatever expense to the truth, I believe most people protested the war because they believed it was wrong, and wanted to stop the killing. They genuinely believed that America’s presence in Indochina was dynamic of the conflict, and the source of the all the killing, and that if only we would leave all would be well and peace would reign. It can only be said that the peoples of Indochina would pay a horrific price for their brutally dispelled illusions.

        The anti-war protesters believed the assurances of the North Vietnamese that they would establish democracy and respect human rights. I wonder: do David and Annie and others really believe the same thing about Hamas? Do they really believe that Hamas ever has or ever will respect Palestinians’ human rights? Well, yes; young girls who, through no fault of their own, are raped, will have the right to be killed by their fathers as a point of “honor,” and other women seen in the company of men not their husbands will have the “right” to be left to the tender mercies of Hamas’ “vice and virtue” units.

        Someone, I think, needs to tell them that the fact that Hamas won a plurality of the vote (mostly to protest the failures of Fatah) in the 2006 municipal elections does not make them practitioners of democracy. Like every other totalitarian entity in history, they recognize no law but force and fraud and murder to achieve their barely concealed goals, and mock and deride the ethnic, religious, and cultural pluralism of Israel and the West.

        Hamas is a curse on Palestine, and I truly grieve for what the Fatah-Hamas merger bodes for the Palestinian people and the prospects of peace. Despite the depressing news of the past decade, I had always believed in my heart that the Arafat/Hamas era of violent hatred and maximalist rejection would someday give way to more humane and responsible leaders that would put aside the old atavistic hatreds, and lead the long-suffering Palestinian people to a responsible statehood in which they could harness all of their energies and talents into building a state, rather than destroying another one.

        Recent events do not give me much hope, but I hope they someday prove me wrong. Insha’Allah.

      • Avi
        May 21, 2011, 5:11 pm

        The Vietnam war, lest we forget, was fought by America for one reason: to save South Vietnam, and, if possible, the rest of Indochina from the brutal war of terror and aggression being waged by Communist North Vietnam and thus being occupied and subverted by them. Well aware of the genocide that had been inflicted by the North Vietnamese against their own peasants in the late 1950′s (50,000 killed, hundreds of thousands more imprisoned and expelled), American policy makers understood the consequences of their failure to save South Vietnam from the North’s aggression.

        Your ignorance precedes you. If that is what you believe, then it’s no wonder you have the entire Israeli occupation of Palestine ass backward.

        You need to get yourself an education. A lot of community colleges have good history and political science courses. Take some, you’ll learn a lot.

      • Avi
        May 21, 2011, 5:16 pm

        Robert Werdine May 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm

        Wisdom from the sewer: Israel=Nazis.

        Nice.

        You know, Annie complains about my characterization of Hamas as a genocidal terrorist group (which is what they are, by their own admission, no less) passing moderation here, but the Theo’s odious equation of Israel with Nazi Germany is given free reign. Sweet.

        Since you didn’t serve in the Israeli army, you should not comment on matters you know nothing about.

        Many of the tactics of oppression and dehumanization that the Israeli army uses were invented by the Nazis.

        So, keep your ignorance to yourself. There is no need to spread that ignorance like a cancer that metastasizes.

      • stevelaudig
        May 21, 2011, 8:04 pm

        “Well aware of the genocide that had been inflicted by the North Vietnamese against their own peasants in the late 1950′s (50,000 killed, hundreds of thousands more imprisoned and expelled), American policy makers understood the consequences of their failure to save South Vietnam from the North’s aggression.” Well aware because of a similar U.S. policy towards Native Americans.

      • Donald
        May 21, 2011, 9:39 pm

        Been a long time since I read “Commentary”–this reminds me of the wasted days of my youth, when I thought it was my civic duty to read rightwing drivel as some sort of “balance”. There are too many half-truths here to bother with–I think Robert is here to cause distraction.

      • annie
        May 21, 2011, 10:13 pm

        –I think Robert is here to cause distraction.

        gee, ya think

      • andrew r
        May 22, 2011, 1:23 am

        I sometimes wonder how David and Annie would feel if they themselves had to actually live under the brutal jackboot of the Hamas regime, and not just observe it from the safety and comfort of their computers.

        Once again, Robert wrote a little black book of hypocritical (and recycled) bullshit. As if you don’t support policies and actions that lead to civilian deaths from the safety of your own computer somewhere in North America. As if you don’t side with a political movement that regularly kills to achieve its basic goal while depicting it as something humanistic. I used to think ignore buttons were immature; if you don’t like someone, just don’t read them. Except in your case it would be convenient so one doesn’t have to take the effort to scroll past your claptrap.

      • Theo
        May 22, 2011, 12:40 pm

        RW

        Thanks for your remarks, it seems my comment hit the target right in the middle, where it really hurts!!

        I did not bother to read all your ignorant bending of history, it reminds me of the old soviet propaganda, however I would like to put a few misstatements in a correct order.

        1. I spent with the US military well over 30 years, both in uniform and coat and tie, working mostly at very high headquaters, so I should know what I am talking about. I played tennis and racket ball with 3-4 star generals, if that means anything to you.
        2. The Vietnam war started with a pure lie, there never was a Tomkin Bay incident!! The aim of that war was not “to defend the south, (after all the leaders were bloody military dictators who had nothing to do with democracy), but the insure our influance in the area.
        To achieve that we killed around 3 million people, defoilated the country and now, well over 30 years later, thousands of children are still born with birth defects, thanks for our agent orange.
        3. The tactics of the IDF and Mossad can be easily compared to
        the SS and the Gestapo, all you have to do is to observe and read documents with an open mind. Breaking the hand of stone throwing young boys, shooting peaceful demonstrators, using rockets to kill political leaders of your opponents, sending a “kill team” to a foreign country, etc., etc. is not done by a civilized democratic country.
        The germans had the aryan stuff going for them with a 1,000 years Reich, you, the bloody zionists, have Erez Israel. You are doing exactly the same as the nazis did, replacing and exterminating undesirable characters!!

        And I hope I will live long enough to see you zionists paying for all those hideous crimes against humanity, old chap!

      • annie
        May 22, 2011, 12:53 pm

        not exactly the same theo.

      • American
        May 22, 2011, 3:34 pm

        I’d say it is similar. Just different tactics under a different rational.
        The Nazis said Jews were threat to Germany’s purity and sovereignty.
        The Israelis say Palestines are a threat to Israel’s jeish majority and security.
        Everyone lies ..usually.

      • annie
        May 22, 2011, 3:48 pm

        i should have been clearer. israelis are not shipping palestinians off to be exterminated by the millions. so no, they are not exactly the same.

      • Robert Werdine
        May 22, 2011, 4:40 pm

        “I spent with the US military well over 30 years, both in uniform and coat and tie, working mostly at very high headquaters, so I should know what I am talking about. I played tennis and racket ball with 3-4 star generals, if that means anything to you.”

        Can I have your autograph?

        “The Vietnam war started with a pure lie, there never was a Tonkin Bay incident!!”

        As the Pentagon Papers make clear, on July 31, 1964 the destroyer USS Maddox was attacked by three North Vietnamese patrol boats in broad daylight when the ship was “28 miles from the coast of North Vietnam and heading farther into international waters.” The Pentagon study concludes that the while the North Vietnamese may have attacked because they incorrectly assumed that the Maddox had been involved in a clandestine raid on North Vietnamese islands the previous night, it concludes that the Maddox neither provoked the confrontation with the NV patrol boats nor participated in the raid.

        The second attack, on August 4, was the more controversial one. Decrypted enemy messages indicated that the NV would soon launch an attack, and the Maddox radar operators spotted what appeared to be two NV vessels heading toward them at 35-40 knots. When the radar blips closed to within 7000 yards, the Maddox and the destroyer USS Turner Joy opened fire on them, and were thought to have sunk whatever ships they were. Multiple crewmen testified to seeing enemy ships and the wakes of their torpedos.

        Only years later would the NSA and the CIA conclude the the decrypted messages of the NV probably referred to an August 2 attack on something else, possibly a salvaging operation. But at the time the skippers of both the Maddox and the Turner Joy concluded that an attack had indeed taken place, and President Johnson, Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara, and Mcgeorge Bundy all accepted the verdict of the military. There is not a shred of evidence that the President or anyone else believed that an attack had not taken place. No one to this day has ever proven conclusively that an attack did not take place, but the weight of evidence seems to support that an attack probably did not occur.

        In any event, the Vietnam War did not begin with, and was not fought over, the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

        Though not a formal declaration of war, the Gulf of Tonkin resolution of 1964 was a de facto declaration in that it gave the President full authority for the conduct of the war. When the Vietnam War became unpopular many members of Congress asserted, among other things, that they had not known what they were voting for, that there had been no real debate on it, and that Johnson had misled Congress into voting for the resolution. Thus, members of Congress contended, Johnson had misled the Congress and America into the Vietnam War.

        These arguments will not stand up. Barring the excuse of illiteracy, Congress members could not have been unaware of what they were voting for and the resolution was debated a full eight hours in the Senate. As to being misled, while there has been controversy, yet fully unresolved, over the second attack on the USS Maddox in the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, the controversy itself misses the point. America did not go to war in Vietnam because of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. It had already been involved in the war for several years supporting the government of South Vietnam in resisting the aggression from the North. The Tonkin Resolution merely gave the President the full Congressional authority to use military force in assisting the South Vietnamese as he saw fit whenever it should become necessary, as it did in 1965 when Johnson ordered the first large deployment of troops in Vietnam. If there had been no Gulf of Tonkin incident Johnson would simply have come before Congress in 1965 to ask for a resolution granting him the authority to escalate our involvement and send troops to help support South Vietnam. Given the overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress and the public for the war in 1965, there is not the slightest reason to doubt that Congress would have given Johnson in 1965 everything they had given him in 1964. Bottom line: congress and the American people were not misled into the Vietnam War, and it was not fought for a “pure lie.”

        “The aim of that war was not “to defend the south, (after all the leaders were bloody military dictators who had nothing to do with democracy), but the insure our influence in the area.”

        Do you imagine that we wanted to make South Vietnam our fifty-first state or something? America had absolutely no territorial ambitions in SE Asia, and of course we wanted to emphasize our influence and stem the slime of Communism. Duh!

        The corruption and brutality of the Diem and Thieu regimes were bad but they were mild by the standards of most post-colonial third world dictators of the time. They were positively dwarfed by the brutalities of the North Vietnamese. If you think My Lai was bad, Google “Hue.”

        Also, a few of the half-million Vietnamese refugees who fled the land where their ancestors were buried (a quarter of a million died in the process) might have a thing or two to tell you about the differences in liberty and freedom in Hanoi and Saigon before 1975.

        “The tactics of the IDF and Mossad can be easily compared to
        the SS and the Gestapo, all you have to do is to observe and read documents with an open mind.”

        Yeah, got it.

        “And I hope I will live long enough to see you zionists paying for all those hideous crimes against humanity, old chap!”

        Yeah, got that too. Check.

      • Shingo
        May 22, 2011, 7:29 pm

        Robert (aka Shlomo) Werdine

        As the Pentagon Papers make clear, on July 31, 1964 the destroyer USS Maddox was attacked by three North Vietnamese patrol boats in broad daylight when the ship was “28 miles from the coast of North Vietnam and heading farther into international waters.”

        You can’t even get your dates right. The Gulf of Tonkien was 2 events, one on August 2nd and the second on August 4th.

        There is not a shred of evidence that the President or anyone else believed that an attack had not taken place.

        False. Johnson was eager to cite any excuse for military involvement in Vietnam. Declassified government documents released last year by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee revealed Johnson had deliberately deceived the American public and knew that no such attacks had ever taken place.

        America did not go to war in Vietnam because of the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

        So what? America did not go to war with Iran because of WMD either but like WMD, the Gulf of Tonkin incident was used to sell it to the American public.

        It had already been involved in the war for several years supporting the government of South Vietnam in resisting the aggression from the North.

        In violation of the Geneva Accords.

        I If there had been no Gulf of Tonkin incident Johnson would simply have come before Congress in 1965 to ask for a resolution granting him the authority to escalate our involvement and send troops to help support South Vietnam.

        False. Johnson did not have the political capital to do it, nor the justification. There was no popular support for the war before the Gulf of Tonkin incident so to argue that it existed in 1965, after the US were fully embroiled in the war is to use ass backwards logic – a speciality of yours.

        Bottom line: congress and the American people were absolutely misled into the Vietnam War.

        America had absolutely no territorial ambitions in SE Asia, and of course we wanted to emphasize our influence and stem the slime of Communism. Duh!

        What on earth are you babbling about Robert? The US has never had “ territorial ambitions”, but it has definitely had ambitions to install military bases wherever it could. Just look at South Korea.

        They were positively dwarfed by the brutalities of the North Vietnamese.

        Which in turns was positively dwarfed by the brutalities of the Nixon/Kissinger administration.

      • Shingo
        May 22, 2011, 7:32 pm

        Stand by people. I’m sure Robert’s going to explain to us how there realyl were WMD in Iraq and how there is no evidence that the intllgence was cooked or that Bush lied.

      • Robert Werdine
        May 23, 2011, 7:28 pm

        You know Shingo, you are, if nothing else, a wonderful barometer of the lunatic left’s near-Orwellian rewriting of history and current events.

        Let me also say, in all fairness, that you are correct that the first attack on the Maddox occurred on August 2 and not July 31. I should have caught that; July 31 was the day that the Maddox crossed the 17th parallel on its way into the Gulf of Tonkin.

        That, I regret to say, however, is about all you did get right.

        RW: “There is not a shred of evidence that the President or anyone else believed that an attack had not taken place.”

        Shingo: “False. Johnson was eager to cite any excuse for military involvement in Vietnam. Declassified government documents released last year by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee revealed Johnson had deliberately deceived the American public and knew that no such attacks had ever taken place.”

        There is no evidence that President Johnson believed that the second alleged attack on August 4 had not taken place at the time he addressed the nation about it and when the GOT resolution had been passed. Certainly later he came to realize the possibility that there had not been a second attack, but not in August 1964.
        He did not deliberately mislead the nation to war.

        As to whether Johnson wanted to escalate the war at any time is rather doubtful; Johnson was always a reluctant and uncertain warrior, though he was always at pains to appear otherwise. The war was, from first to last, an albatross around his neck and a curse on his presidency, and he certainly so regarded it. The deteriorating situation in Vietnam, pressure from McNamara and the military, and the fear that the Soviets and the Chinese would smell weakness in American inaction and intensify efforts to spread Communism throughout more of SE Asia, all dictated to him the logic of escalation and its inevitability.

        RW: “I If there had been no Gulf of Tonkin incident Johnson would simply have come before Congress in 1965 to ask for a resolution granting him the authority to escalate our involvement and send troops to help support South Vietnam.”

        Shingo: “False. Johnson did not have the political capital to do it, nor the justification. There was no popular support for the war before the Gulf of Tonkin incident so to argue that it existed in 1965, after the US were fully embroiled in the war is to use ass backwards logic – a speciality of yours.”

        The whole issue of being “misled” into the Vietnam War is utterly preposterous because the US was in fact already in it, and its involvement had been escalating long before the GOT incident. At the beginning of 1961 there were 1000 American military “advisers” in Vietnam. Six months later there were 12,000. By August 1964 there were nearly 17,000. By that time $3.3 billion had been spent, 262 Americans had been killed, 1,196 wounded or injured and 17 missing. The situation was continuing to deteriorate, and the notion that there was “no justification” for escalating our involvement is baseless. South Vietnam was being slowly strangled to death by the North, and there was near-unanimous consensus at the time that if the South fell, much of SE Asia would fall along with it. The first big deployment in 1965 addressed an urgent situation, to say the least.

        As for lacking the political capital, please. In the aftermath of Kennedy’s assassination Johnson was literally loaded with it and he was then in the process of converting it into the busiest and most productive string of legislation ever passed in the history of government.

        On the evening of August 4, Johnson met with Congressional leaders to discuss the limited, surgical strike he had launched on the NV naval bases, and his coming address to the nation about it and the resolution. All present fully supported the retaliation and the resolution. Senator Saltonstall (R-Mass.) even objected to Johnson’s use of the term “limited” and urged him to substitute it with “determined.” The President responded: “We want them to know we are not going to take it lying down, but we are not going to destroy their cities.”

        Said the President to the nation: “Our response, for the present, will be limited and fitting. We Americans know, although others appear to forget, the risks of spreading conflict. We still seek no wider war.”

        The resolution passed overwhelmingly in both houses, and Congress’ action reflected the sentiments of the public and the media. Approval of Johnson’s handling of Vietnam now stood at 72-28 margin and a 50-25 margin for military action against the North. (Washington Post, August 10, 1964). Johnson, however, did not make use of the resolution for another six months.

        What all of this illustrates is not only the reluctance with which Johnson escalated involvement in Vietnam, but the public and Congressional support he had for it. In any event, what is abundantly clear is that America would have fought the Vietnam War with or without the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and that the President had an abundance of public and Congressional support to do so.

        RW: “It had already been involved in the war for several years supporting the government of South Vietnam in resisting the aggression from the North.”

        Shingo: “In violation of the Geneva Accords.”

        The North Vietnamese and Hamas; always innocent.

        You have to be joking. Does it occur to you that The NV, like Hamas, deliberately positioned their military activity and infrastructure in civilian areas, committed acts of mass terrorism against civilians in the South all throughout the war, and that the Vietcong deliberately converted villages into fortified strongholds, all in violation of the GC?

        RW: “America had absolutely no territorial ambitions in SE Asia, and of course we wanted to emphasize our influence and stem the slime of Communism. Duh!”

        Shingo: “What on earth are you babbling about Robert? The US has never had “ territorial ambitions”, but it has definitely had ambitions to install military bases wherever it could. Just look at South Korea.”

        Military bases. Oh! The horror, the horror!

        And yes, by all means, just look at South Korea. Will you just look at them?!! Think of the horrors that the peoples of South Korea have been subject to because of our military presence there compared to their free, happy, prosperous, well-fed brethren to the North.

        RW: “They were positively dwarfed by the brutalities of the North Vietnamese.”

        Shingo: “Which in turns was positively dwarfed by the brutalities of the Nixon/Kissinger administration.”

        Doubtful. Very doubtful. What were these “brutalities?”

        Oh, and yes there were no WMD stockpiles, but the justification for removing Saddam went far beyond just that. I fully supported the Iraq war, still do, and Bush did not “lie” us into war, and there is not shred of evidence that he did. Also, I think Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame both lied far more than Bush or Cheney ever did. Now, how do you like that?

      • Hostage
        May 23, 2011, 10:50 pm

        As to whether Johnson wanted to escalate the war at any time is rather doubtful

        The USAID/CIA/Special Forces people under William Colby and Richard Holbrooke were certainly not killing the insurgents in the Mekong Delta in order to protect the inhabitants of South Vietnam. After all, the insurgents were South Vietnamese. Lt. Bob Kerrey was operating in friendly territory when he rounded-up the inhabitants of Thanh Phong and shot them. Colin Powell approved of burning entire villages to the ground to “drain the swamp” and approved of the procedure of summarily executing “men of military age”. Robert Parry & Norman Solomon wrote about one of Powell’s books:

        “I recall a phrase we used in the field, MAM, for military-age male,” Powell wrote. “If a helo spotted a peasant in black pajamas who looked remotely suspicious, a possible MAM, the pilot would circle and fire in front of him. If he moved, his movement was judged evidence of hostile intent, and the next burst was not in front, but at him. Brutal? Maybe so. But an able battalion commander with whom I had served at Gelnhausen (West Germany), Lt. Col. Walter Pritchard, was killed by enemy sniper fire while observing MAMs from a helicopter. And Pritchard was only one of many. The kill-or-be-killed nature of combat tends to dull fine perceptions of right and wrong.”

        While it’s certainly true that combat is brutal, mowing down unarmed civilians is not combat. It is, in fact, a war crime.”

        In 1954 the international community – except the United States and South Vietnam – concluded agreements in Geneva that precluded the deployment of armed forces in Vietnam. Former President Eisenhower discussed that fact with LBJ in a recorded conversation, and said that the US was responsible for inserting the language about “advisors” that was utilized to circumvent the international undertaking.

        Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson sent thousands of “advisors”. Eventually, there were 500,000 US combatants in Vietnam by 1968. LBJ instituted “area bombing” as a form of collective punishment to force the North Vietnamese into negotiations, while authorizing “pacification” programs that internally displaced the South Vietnamese inhabitants from their ancestral lands and restricted their freedom of movement and other fundamental human rights. So there is more than ample evidence that he made the key decisions to escalate the conflict and that he wasn’t interested in protecting the South Vietnamese people.

        I notice that you artlessly glossed over the fact that President Johnson had authorized clandestine operations against the territory of North Vietnam in violation of the UN Charter and the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty of 1954. Then he deceptively complained about North Vietnamese aggression against the Maddox in his address to the Congress, “as if” it had been an unprovoked attack. So of course he misled the public about “the incident” and a hell of a lot more.

        The declassified Presidential tapes reveal that Johnson claimed the war started when the Kennedy administration caved into Congressional pressure and “went out a got a bunch of goddamned thugs and killed Diem”. Then the Congressional leaders demanded that the US implement the pacification programs and take control of the South Vietnamese economy, e.g.:

        “President Johnson: And Fulbright and [Wayne] Morse both had been out to dinner, and Averell [Harriman] had been to dinner. They had everyone in this town to dinner. I bet they had you to dinner, telling you what they’d do. And they had [McGeorge] Bundy to dinner, and all of them. And by God, we bought it lock, stock, and barrell, and we wound up as the British said about my clothes, with a big, fat hunk, chunk of nothing. That’s the way we wound up.

        But we oughtn’t to be blamed now for warmongers because we did. We tried to extend the peace wand, and we know that the United Nations is not going to resolve anything, at least we don’t think so. But they raised hell about the United Nations, so we’re going to do that. Now, their record of prophecy and success is just about as poor as ours. They started out and said we’ve got to kill [Ngo Dinh] Diem, because he’s no damn good and let’s knock him off. And we did.

        Taylor: That’s where it all started.

        President Johnson: That’s exactly where it started. And I just pled with them at the time, “Please don’t do it.” But that’s where it started. And they knocked him off. And then, by God, they came along and said, “Well, you’ve got to have pacification. You’ve got no economic program,” and so on and so forth. So we did what we could there.”

        You don’t help people by killing them. Even if they are killing each other, it does not remedy the situation to join in and start killing hundreds of thousands more. You can listen to the recorded LBJ conversations with Eugene McCarthy and Maxwell Taylor.

    • Hostage
      May 20, 2011, 8:30 pm

      The Congressional Research Service was even more strict in its appraisal of US policy on the boundaries:

      “The United States has stated that boundaries should be negotiated and mutually recognized, “should not reflect the weight of conquest,” and that adjustments in the pre-1967 boundaries should be “insubstantial.” — See Palestinians and Middle East Peace: Issues for the United States Updated July 17, 2002

      You complain a lot about Hamas Robert, but Israel has always inflicted at least twice as many casualties on the Palestinians decade after decade. The Likud party platform attempts to rule out the possibility of Palestinian self-determination and says that a declaration of their own statehood will result in the immediate adoption of stringent measures. It “flatly rejects” the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river”; any proposal to share Jerusalem; and rules out the removal of Jewish settlements in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

      Obviously, the Congress needs to make funding of Israel dependent on recognition of the right of the Palestinian state to exist.

      • pabelmont
        May 21, 2011, 8:48 am

        Oh horrors, you are slyly suggesting that Hamas is not the only political party in this conflict with an irredentist political platform, but also Likud? Moral parity? (Is Likud still a party? Do the Liebermanites have a platform and what does it say?) (Didn’t Likud have a platform or a song or something that expressed an ambition for a greater Israel reaching from the Nile to the Euphrates? anyone remember?)

      • Erasmus
        May 21, 2011, 3:36 pm

        Re: Likud Platform
        Likud does not even make its platform public.
        I have tried and requested them a number of times for an English version of their Party Statutes and Platform. I never got even a reply from them.
        And the Party Platform, respectively the excerpt of which, referred to by Hostage must be at least 6 years old, but …. still being translated.
        Work in eternal progress. As with the “Peace process”……
        The Likudniks hide behind their Hebrew versions. I wonder what else they so adamantly want to hide away from the non-Hebrew speaking public….???

      • Robert Werdine
        May 21, 2011, 3:41 pm

        Hostage,

        I fully support the establishment of a Palestinian state with minor, mutually-agreed modifications on the ’67 borders, and a removal of the settlements consistent with the Clinton parameters of Dec. 2000. In any event I hardly think there is any need for Congress to coerce the Israelis into supporting the creation of a Palestinian state; most already do. I’m not really sure what % of Palestinians genuinely reject the 2ss; I’ve seen so many polls and they jump around so much over the years. If anyone knows of any I hope they will share it with us.

        I think that we can safely say, however, that Netanyahu does. “In my vision of peace,” said Netanyahu in his June 2009 Bar–Ilan University speech, “in this small land of ours, two peoples live freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect, each with its own flag and national anthem.”

        “Let us meet. Let us speak of peace and let us make peace. I am ready to meet with you anytime. I am willing to go to Damascus, to Riyadh, to Beirut, to any place including Jerusalem,” he said.

        Does the Likud platform really preclude an eventual establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state? I hardly think so. Certainly Netanyahu does not seem to think so. The platform is an expression of general principles; it does not preclude any Likud prime minister from consenting to the mutually agreed establishment of such a state; it objects to the “unilateral” establishment of one. Netanyahu, to the best of my knowledge, has never stated that all the principles of the platform are all set in stone and are non-negotiable.

        Do you really believe that the whole state of Israel is bound to some kind of slavish obeisance to the Likud platform where their negotiations with the Palestinians are concerned? Likud does not rule as dictators of Israel like Hamas does in Gaza. Both Sharon and Netanyahu have openly recognized the inevitability of a Palestinian state.

        Can the same thing even remotely be said of Hamas’ making peace with, or even recognizing Israel?

        No, it cannot. In Hamas, Israel is faced with a terrorist regime wholly and singly dedicated to its destruction, and one who, for over two decades, wages, and has waged war towards this objective in violation of every known law of warfare. As I said before, they are not concerned merely with settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but with Israel’s existence. Period.

        Hamas was founded and exists for one reason: to murder every last Jew upon which they can lay hands, to destroy Israel, and to establish an Islamic totalitarian regime in all of Palestine with themselves as rulers. Israel would have no cause for quarrel with Hamas if this were not Hamas’ ambition, or if Hamas were a peaceful, lawful entity with peaceful, lawful ambitions. But they are what they are: violent, lawless terrorists, and Israel has every right to defend itself and its people against a self-identified terrorist entity openly seeking its destruction whether they are stateless terrorists or rulers of a sovereign nation. All Hamas suicide bombings as well as rocket and mortar attacks on Israel before, during and after the 2005 Gaza withdrawal were and are indiscriminate acts of terrorism and murder against innocent Israeli civilians in the service of their openly stated objectives. The terrorist acts committed by Hamas and the justification of any and all lawful Israeli countermeasures are all so defined according to the following:

        –The International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, which make it a crime to bomb public places with intent to kill civilians and in which Hamas attacks and those culpable for them are considered international terrorists, thus giving Israel criminal jurisdiction over them. All other signatories to the convention (US, Russia, Turkey, France) are all obliged to assist Israel in this capacity.

        –The International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, Article 2 of which defines genocide as an effort “to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethnic, or religious group, as such.”

        –The International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing, Articles 2 (4)-(5) which extends criminal liability to those who “attempt to commit; participate as accomplices; direct or organize terrorist attacks; contribute to acts by terrorist groups with knowledge of the group’s intent to commit terrorist acts or with the aim of furthering their goals.”

        –The International Convention against the Taking of Hostages. (Re: Gilad Shalit).

        –United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 which require all states to “deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts, or provide safe havens.”

        –UNSC Resolution 1566 which similarly requires all states to deny support or safe haven to “any person(s) who supports, facilitates, participates, or attempts to participate in the financing, planning, preparation or commission of terrorist acts or provides safe havens.”

        Both UNSC Resolutions 1373 and 1566 are both filed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, thus giving them the status of binding, international law.

        Like I said Hostage, the entire Hamas regime are criminal terrorists whose regime exists, and whose terrorist actions occur, in total defiance of any and every conceivable application of all international law, and there is simply no serious dispute about any of this.

        Hamas terror now has an open accomplice in Fatah. Tell me Hostage, how do you think the UNSC should address this clear and present danger to the peace of the region?

      • Avi
        May 21, 2011, 5:02 pm

        Robert Werdine May 21, 2011 at 3:41 pm

        No, it cannot. In Hamas, Israel is faced with a terrorist regime wholly and singly dedicated to its destruction, and one who, for over two decades, wages, and has waged war towards this objective in violation of every known law of warfare. As I said before, they are not concerned merely with settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but with Israel’s existence.

        Israel created Hamas. So, Israel has itself to blame for Hamas.
        Your tiny little pea-sized brain seems incapable of grasping the fact that Israel has pissed all over international law and the Geneva Conventions, long before Hamas ever came into being. Besides, Hamas is not recognized by the UN as a state, Israel is recognized.

        Incidentally, you’re a terrible troll for you are an ignorant idiot. But, you already knew that.

      • James
        May 21, 2011, 5:07 pm

        netanyahu comment “In my vision of peace,”……………

        this guy is being fully supportive of expanding settlements… one only has to see his actions and those of his country under him to know, talk is nothing more then talk………… ‘his vision of terror’ is more fully recognized, in spite of all his talk to the contrary..

        all this bullshit about hamas terror from you is pretty laughable… all the palestinians have been given from israel is terror, land grab, murder and razing their land and etc…. to think hamas is the only party to the idea of terror is a joke and everyone knows this, even if some folks talk from a position of only one side all the time…..

      • Hostage
        May 21, 2011, 5:12 pm

        Robert, Netanyahu will not hold talks with the PA until Hamas accepts the Quartet Road map condition that it recognize the State of Israel. The same Road Map required The Quartet and Israel to promote recognition of a Palestinian State by 2003 and cease settlement activity in accordance with the Mitchell report. If the settlements won’t effect the establishment of a Palestinian state, then why has Netanyahu decided to retroactively legalize the outposts he was obligated to remove?

        Gilad Shalit is a member of the IDF, not a hostage. Neither Israel nor Hamas have complied with their obligations under the Geneva Conventions regarding protection of prisoners of war or civilians.

        I don’t really give a damn about the Likud Charter, but I do care when the Israeli government deliberately adopts laws that violate international law. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics says that there are over 7,000 prisoners in Israeli jails. That practice violates the non-deportation provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949. Many High Contracting Parties to the Convention have formally recognized the Green line as an international border.

        The Oslo Agreements only granted Israel criminal jurisdiction “in accordance with international law”. But Israel has formally refused to comply with the provisions of international law in the occupied territories. The Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) recently rejected a petitionto order the State to refrain from holding Palestinian prisoners and detainees in facilities located in Israeli territory within the Green Line. The HCJ held that since national legislation overrides the provisions of international conventions to which Israel is party, including conventions that reflect customary international law, the petition should be rejected. But the Palestinians only agreed that Israeli legislation would not derogate from international law in cases involving in personam jurisdiction over Israeli citizens.

        The notion that national legislation can be employed to sanction grave breaches of international humanitarian law or war crimes is part of the judge-made body of law that the Courts have incorporated into Israel’s unwritten constitution. I think the Congress should condition aid to Israel on the basis of its recognition of the State of Palestine and compliance with international humanitarian law. The US Congress has no responsibility to finance either an Israeli or Palestinian joint criminal enterprise or acts of State-sponsored terror.

      • Shingo
        May 21, 2011, 6:40 pm

         . Does the Likud platform really preclude an eventual establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state? I hardly think so. Certainly Netanyahu does not seem to think so.

        Try reading the charter, it’s pretty unambiguous. As for what Netenyahu thinks, we’ll take Bibbi’s father’s word over yours Robert. He states bluntly that Netenyahu is not serious about a 2ss.

         Netanyahu, to the best of my knowledge, has never stated that all the principles of the platform are all set in stone and are non-negotiable.

        Hitler never explicitly stated that the final solution was non-negotiable.

         Both Sharon and Netanyahu have openly recognized the inevitability of a Palestinian state

        You’re confusing  Sharon and Netenyahu with Barak and Olmert.

         Can the same thing even remotely be said of Hamas’ making peace with, or even recognizing Israel?

        As someone said, you have the facts ass backwards. Hamas have been much more consistent in their support for a 2ss. In fact, in 2008, while Hamas were supporting it, Netenyahu campaigned on a platform of explicitly rejecting it.

         Hamas was founded and exists for one reason: to murder every last Jew upon which they can lay hands, to destroy Israel, and to establish an Islamic totalitarian regime in all of Palestine

        Wrong again. Hamas was created by Israel to offset the political influence of the PLO.

      • alec
        May 21, 2011, 7:36 pm

        Actions speak louder than words. Netanyahu has does nothing to bring about a settlement despite years at the helm. Instead he only provokes.

        A lot of words in your posts in defence of Israel, Robert, but scant little substance.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        May 21, 2011, 10:17 pm

        Robert Werdine writes,
        “I fully support the establishment of a Palestinian state with minor, mutually-agreed modifications on the ’67 borders, and a removal of the settlements consistent with the Clinton parameters of Dec. 2000.”

        I think this is false. I have read a number of your comments here and they are designed to “justify” the policies of the Israeli government, which are in direct opposition to the settlement parameters you mentioned above.

        It seems likely that you are a (possibly paid) troll. But at a minimum, you are a Zionist apologist par excellence; more plausibly, you are an ardent Zionist in full support of the worst abuses and crimes of Israel against the Palestinians and neighboring Arabs. Your right-wing leanings are evident, which means that the fascist type of government and military organization characterizing Israel is much to your liking.

        Have I incorrectly typed you? I don’t think so.

      • jon s
        May 22, 2011, 2:04 am

        Where’s the “report this comment” function when it’s needed?
        Avi’s venom should be dealt with.

      • annie
        May 22, 2011, 3:21 am

        Avi’s venom should be dealt with.

        do tell. i generally find avi quite refreshing, especially after reading thru the genocidal ravings (accusations) of our extremist house troll. so what set you off? this:

        Your tiny little pea-sized brain seems incapable of grasping the fact that Israel has pissed all over international law and the Geneva Conventions, long before Hamas ever came into being. Besides, Hamas is not recognized by the UN as a state, Israel is recognized.

        ouch!

        or was it this:

        Many of the tactics of oppression and dehumanization that the Israeli army uses were invented by the Nazis.

        just this morning i reviewed The Diaries of Yosef Nachmani. i can assure you zionists of conscious (and many without) have shared avi’s sentiment.

      • Chaos4700
        May 22, 2011, 3:24 am

        Oh buzz off, jon. We don’t need Mr. “Bomb the Schools in Gaza!” lecturing us about venom.

      • Sumud
        May 22, 2011, 10:37 am

        Hamas was founded and exists for one reason: to murder every last Jew upon which they can lay hands, to destroy Israel, and to establish an Islamic totalitarian regime in all of Palestine with themselves as rulers.

        Well if that’s the case they’re even more hopeless than we thought. Jews enter Gaza regularly and emerge again, without being murdered by Hamas. Philip Weiss has, Norman Finkelstein has, Antony Loewenstein has, just off the top of my head.

        Hamas, acronym of Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamat al-Islāmiyyah? No:

        H.opeless
        A.t
        M.urdering
        A.merican/Australian
        S.emites

      • Robert Werdine
        May 22, 2011, 8:59 pm

        Hostage,

        Said you: “Robert, Netanyahu will not hold talks with the PA until Hamas accepts the Quartet Road map condition that it recognize the State of Israel. The same Road Map required The Quartet and Israel to promote recognition of a Palestinian State by 2003 and cease settlement activity in accordance with the Mitchell report.”

        It is difficult to understand how meaningful negotiations can ensue between two parties if one party will not even concede the right of the other to even exist. That seems rather elementary, though perhaps not on this blog. The notion that any sovereign state should have to negotiate whether it can exist or not with an entity who openly swears to its determination to destroy it might strike you as reasonable, but to the Israelis, it understandably is not.

        Israel did not become involved in a peace process 18 years ago to negotiate its existence, but to make a workable, yet-to-be-negotiated peace.

        You talk of the Mitchell Report and the Road Map as if they were occurring in an atmosphere of peace and quiet on the Palestinian side. You seem to be forgetting that the Mitchell Report was issued at the height of the second intifada, and the Road Map was performance based and that the Palestinians, to put it mildly, did not “perform” anything, and could barely get their own house in order in the next several years. The Palestinians fulfilled none of their obligations in Phase one to cease terror, and their efforts at political reform were hapless at best. In 2005, after Israel’s full withdrawal from Gaza, Abbas watched as Hamas spread all over the strip like a slime. In 2006, he lost an election to the terrorist group, and was thrown out of Gaza by them altogether in 2007. In 2008 he received an offer of statehood slightly more generous than the one Arafat thumbed his nose at in 2000/2001, and rejected it without making a single counter-offer, just like his predecessor. In 2009 he told the Washington Post that he was through making concessions and would sit back and watch Obama squeeze Israel for them instead. In 2010 he had effectively jettisoned negotiation for UN support for a state. In 2011 he has now reconciled with the violent terrorist group who evicted him from Gaza, brought them into his government, and, in his recent NYT op-ed, has made it perfectly clear that even statehood within the ’67 borders will only serve as a platform for carrying on the conflict against Israel through other venues. His term of office expired more than two years ago.

        The PA were then, and remain today, a wholly dysfunctional polity grievously compromised by corruption, violence, a culture of non-stop hatred and incitement, and a leadership that has now legitimized the very terrorists whose dismantlement was their primary obligation under the RM. Do you think that the merger with, and the legitimization of Hamas constitutes a fulfillment of the PA’s obligations of the RM? As usual, you speak as if these things are somehow irrelevant. They are not. They are real, and they are and have been the primary impediment to a productive peace process. As I said before, I’m all for the removal of the settlements consistent with the Clinton Parameters, and the removal of settlements can be negotiated in a final peace, as they have been in the past in the Sinai and Gaza.

        “Gilad Shalit is a member of the IDF, not a hostage.”

        You have to be joking. Are you really prepared to argue that Shalit is not a hostage, that a member of the IDF kidnapped by Hamas terrorists cannot be a hostage, or that Hamas is not in violation of the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, among other things?

        “I don’t really give a damn about the Likud Charter, but I do care when the Israeli government deliberately adopts laws that violate international law.”

        You earlier cited the Likud platform as an obstacle to peace. Is this still your view? If you really don’t give a damn about it, rather begs the question as to why you would so cite in the first place.

        “The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics says that there are over 7,000 prisoners in Israeli jails. That practice violates the non-deportation provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949. Many High Contracting Parties to the Convention have formally recognized the Green line as an international border.”

        There you go again: interpreting international law as whatever you happen to agree with. The contention is disputable at best, and I think the HCJ ruled correctly. You may feel otherwise.

        “The Oslo Agreements only granted Israel criminal jurisdiction “in accordance with international law”. But Israel has formally refused to comply with the provisions of international law in the occupied territories.”

        Nothing in the Oslo agreements precludes or prejudices the legitimacy of Israel’s criminal jurisdiction over Hamas terrorists consistent with the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, which was implemented several years after the Oslo accords in any event. That Israel has “has formally refused to comply with the provisions of international law in the occupied territories” is your opinion.

        The idea that Israel is employing national legislation to “sanction grave breaches of international humanitarian law or war crimes” is, again, your opinion, based on your highly selective reading of the facts and history.

        You know, I cannot avoid the impression that in all of your attempts to delegitimize the Jewish state by these ponderous and facile readings of international law, you somehow believe that a solution can be imposed outside of a political process. You seem to believe that there is no such thing as Palestinian rejectionism, and if you do, it is not much in evidence.

        If the Palestinians are going to have a have a state unilaterally imposed by the UN without Israel’s consent, it will be an abrogation of both the spirit and letter of Res. 242. It will have effectively discarded negotiation and diplomacy from the peace process. In fact, if a Palestinian state is imposed against Israel’s consent, there will be no peace process left.

        Opportunists always, the Palestinians are doing an end-run around the whole, mutually agreed-upon framework of negotiations and diplomacy in the hope that they can leverage their considerable support in the UN General Assembly into the unilateral establishment of a state for them. Of course, the Palestinians have been making paper airplanes out of Oslo for years worth of violations, so what else is new? As with the Goldstone report and so many other spurious, one-sided condemnations over the years, the UN will have demonstrated yet again just how selectively it will apply international law where Israel is concerned. If the Palestinian Authority and the UN intend to render Res. 242 null and void they need to say so and explain how this can and will be done. We all need clarity on this issue.

      • Shingo
        May 23, 2011, 1:04 am

        The Palestinians fulfilled none of their obligations in Phase one to cease terror, and their efforts at political reform were hapless at best.

        Do you really expect anyone to take your word for this Robert? Why don’t you bother reading about this stuff before making such an idiot of yourself on this forum?
        link to un.org
        So in short what do we know about Phase 1?
        What we see is this:

        “Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.”

        That “Palestinian leadership” is The PLO/PA i.e. it is Abbas And His Bunch. It most definitely is not Hamas, nor it is Islamic Jihad.
        Or, in short: so long as Abbas And His Bunch are committed to non-violence then that provision has been fulfilled.

        Q: Why?

        A: Because the only group recognized as the “Palestinian leadership” is Abbas And His Bunch.

        Abbas has carried out all of his obligations under Phase I of the Road Map. Every last one of them.

        To. The. Letter.

        He has been waiting for Netanyahu to pull his finger out i.e. to do what he has to do in order to join Abbas up on the podium, at which point both Abbas and Bibi procede to Phase II, which is when negotiations take place.

        Netanyahu is having none of it. He has downed his tools without carrying out A Single One Of His Tasks in Phase I and, furthermore, he is insisting that he doesn’t have to carry them out i.e. he is demanding that everyone procede immediately to the final status negotiations.

        In 2005, after Israel’s full withdrawal from Gaza, Abbas watched as Hamas spread all over the strip like a slime.

        And Israeli settlers spread all over the West Bank and East Jerusalem like a slime.

        In 2006, fatah lost an election to Hamas and was thrown out of Gaza after Israel and Washington blackmailed Fatah into launching a coup that failed.

        In 2008 he received an offer of statehood slightly more generous than the one Arafat thumbed his nose at in 2000/2001, and rejected it without making a single counter-offer..

        What’s it going to take to stop you repeating this lie Robert?

        1. Abbas never rejected the offer. He said “We could have peace in two days” if Olmert’s offer could be implemented”, Abbas told a group of Muslim clerics at the tail end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
        ttp://www.israeltoday.co.il/default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=17285

        2. Contrary to your lies, even Tzipi Livni rejectd the suggestion that Abbas rejected the offer. Contrary to the claim made by a New York Times commentator that Abbas rejected Ehud Olmert’s generous proposal, the woman (Livni) who was the foreign minister in his government has said on a number of occasions that the Palestinians did not reject this proposal and that it is sitting on the shelf waiting for an Israeli partner.
        link to haaretz.com

        So tell us Robert, will you continue to repeat this lie about Olmert’s offer or are you waiting for your Hasbara mother ship to send you an update talking point?

        In 2009 he told the Washington Post that he was through making concessions and would sit back and watch Obama squeeze Israel for them instead.

        Absolutely false. The statement from Livni was made in 2010. By agreeing to talks without insisting that Israel meet it’s obligations under the Road Map, Abbas would have been legitimizing Israel’s violation of that agreement and therefore recognizing Israel’s authority to rewrite it.

        In 2011 he has now reconciled with the violent terrorist group who evicted him from Gaza, brought them into his government, and, in his recent NYT op-ed, has made it perfectly clear that even statehood within the ’67 borders will only serve as a platform for carrying on the conflict against Israel through other venues. His term of office expired more than two years ago.

        Nonesense and absolute hypocrisy. One of Netenyahu’s characteristic arguments against negotiating with Abbas was that he did not represent a unified Palestinian leadership. In fact, Zionist trolls like yourself were criticizing Hamas for refusing to talk to Israel. Well, that problem is on it’s way to being solved so Hasbrats like you are flip flopping saying you cannot negotiate with Hamas, even though the majority of Israelis agree that negotiating with Hamas is precisely what is required.

        link to imemc.org
        link to haaretz.com

        The PA were then, and remain today, a wholly dysfunctional polity grievously compromised by corruption, violence, a culture of non-stop hatred and incitement..

        Ironically, the same could be said for Likud, with Bibbi having said on more than one occasion that he cannot impose another freeze or stop building settlements without tearing his government apart. As for corruption, do you really want to go there?

        Israel ranks among Western world’s most corrupt countries
        link to haaretz.com

        Do you think that the merger with, and the legitimization of Hamas constitutes a fulfillment of the PA’s obligations of the RM?

        Do you think that is violates the Road Map in any way, shape or form?

        They are real, and they are and have been the primary impediment to a productive peace process.

        You are seriously deluded.

        The Palestine Papers revealed to the world what the one and only impediment to a productive peace process was, that it has been a sham from the very beginning. The person who released the documents to Al Jazeera explained that his motive was to reveal to the world that negotiations have been nothing but a cynical facade to a process whereby the US imposes the will of the Israelis on the PA behind closed doors.

        Seriously Robert, Mitchell – Mr Impratiality – is there in black and white telling the Palestinians to forget all about Israel’s obligations under the Road Map and settle for anything they could get.

        Are you really prepared to argue that Shalit is not a hostage, that a member of the IDF kidnapped by Hamas terrorists cannot be a hostage, or that Hamas is not in violation of the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, among other things?

        Give up on the faux outrage Robert. Whatever Hamas did to capture Shalit has been done a thousand times by Israel with impunity. In fact, the day before Shalit was captured, the IDF kidnapped 2 brothers from Gaza City, both of whom have never been seen or heard from since.

        Nothing in the Oslo agreements precludes or prejudices the legitimacy of Israel’s criminal jurisdiction over Hamas terrorists consistent with the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, which was implemented several years after the Oslo accords in any event.

        The Olso accords have expired and in any case, but Hostage is right. Israel “has formally refused to comply with the provisions of international law in the occupied territories” not in his opinion but in Israel’s.

        You know, I cannot avoid the impression that in all of your attempts to delegitimize the Jewish state by these ponderous and facile readings of international law, you somehow believe that a solution can be imposed outside of a political process.

        Was the political process used to remove Iraq from Kuwait?

        You seem to believe that there is no such thing as Palestinian rejectionism, and if you do, it is not much in evidence.

        It’s true. There is no such thing. Palestinian rejection is a Zionist inventions, as is the notion of the right to exist.

        If the Palestinians are going to have a have a state unilaterally imposed by the UN without Israel’s consent, it will be an abrogation of both the spirit and letter of Res. 242.

        Israel has been violating and rejected the spirit and letter of Res. 242 since 242 was passed. The UN has the authority and the legal apparatus to terminate 242 and replace it with a newer resolution.

        I In fact, if a Palestinian state is imposed against Israel’s consent, there will be no peace process left.

        Is that supposed to be an attempt at humor Robert? The peace process was dead and buried a decade ago. As a very poignant editorial in the Guardian said, the peace process is dead, but no one is prepared to burry it.
        link to guardian.co.uk

        It truly is astounding to watch Zionist propagandists like yourself spitting on treaties and agreements on one hand, while holding them up as sacrosanct when they look like dying. Israel has shown and declared repeatedly nothing but utter contempt for mutually agreed-upon framework of negotiations and diplomacy , and has long exploited these instruments to stonewall, buy time and change the facts on the ground.

        Israel have no one to blame but themselves for the fact that the PA have been forced to turn to the UN as a last resort. The world sees it, the Middle East sees it and Israel and Washington know it.

      • annie
        May 23, 2011, 1:28 am

        awesome take down shingo. you rock.

        are you waiting for your Hasbara mother ship to send you an update talking point?

        sweet.

        did you say hasbrat? sounds about right.

      • jon s
        May 23, 2011, 6:50 am

        Chaos, I’ve got your debating technique figured out: you attribute to me opinions and statements I never made and don’t believe, and then proceed to take them down. This time you even used quotation marks, implying that you’re quoting me.

      • Hostage
        May 24, 2011, 1:25 am

        Robert, neither the Road Map nor the Mitchell report conditioned the cessation of illegal colonization on Palestinian “performance”. The Mitchell report requirement for Israel to cease settlement activity was based upon its illegality under the terms of the Geneva Convention – and an existing mandate from the Security Council “requiring the Israeli withdrawal from Arab territory acquired by force and the subsequent termination of all states of belligerency”. In the last 18 years Israel managed to more than double the number of illegal settlers and constructed a number of illegal outposts. The atmosphere of terror is not to blame for that illegal behavior.

        The Restatement (Third) of The Foreign Relations Law of the United States §202(2) says that “A state has an obligation not to recognize or treat as a state an entity that has attained the qualifications for statehood as a result of a threat or use of armed force in violation of the United Nations Charter.”

        States do not have an inherent right to exist. One of the things that the International Law Commission decided during its very first session was that there is an essential difference between recognition of the existence of a State, which is a question of fact, and the attribution to any State of “the right of existence” which is a legal matter. A conditional right to exist does not imply that a state is entitled to commit, or is justified in committing unjust acts towards others. A State’s right of existence might end because its population wished to divide the State into further States or because a State was established on the territory of an existing State without the consent of its population. See the many discussions on the Rights and Duties of States in Volume 1 of the Yearbook of the International Law Commission (1949).

        Israel has asserted a number of specific territorial claims and refuses to permit Palestinian refugees to return to the ‘Jewish homeland’. So, the ‘Jewish State’ does not “exist” irrespective of its territory. President Abbas explained, “An independent Palestinian state is a truth recognized by the world, and we are now leading a battle to have its border recognized.” Israel is demanding that the Palestinians recognize territorial and human rights situations that the UN Security Council, General Assembly, and ICJ have determined to be illegal and a violation of the UN Charter, such as the annexation of East Jerusalem and the displacement of Palestinians as a result of the construction of the wall. Yasser Abed Rabbo, an official with the Palestine Liberation Organization, explained in response to the Israeli demand that the Palestinians recognize it as a ‘Jewish state’ or “Jewish homeland”, that Israel must present the map of the state that it wants the Palestinians to recognize, before asking this question. He noted today Israel’s refusal to withdraw to the 1967 lines and its insistence on continuing construction in areas beyond these borders – for example the recent approval of 1,500 new housing units in Jerusalem – proves it this is not a genuine negotiation and that Obama’s criticism against the reconciliation deal with Hamas “is unjustified, especially when the nations of the world are not being asked to deal with the factions but rather with the PLO, which has not changed its previous position or conduct”.

        Israel and the United States seem to be unwilling to recognize the right of Palestinians to quiet enjoyment of their own territory within the 1949 international demarcation lines and their right of return to Israel. Obama’s speech to AIPAC was an illicit agreement to prevent the Palestinians from retaining the occupied territories, despite the fact that the majority of other states have recognized the State of Palestine and the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people over that particular territory.

        Israel did not become involved in a peace process 18 years ago to negotiate its existence

        The United States and Israel both became involved in the current “peace process” because the General Assembly had called for an end to private US-brokered negotiations and demanded that an international peace conference be convened to propose a solution. The General Assembly had been called into a number of Emergency Special Sessions after the US vetoed sanctions against Israel for the illegal annexation of the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. FYI, the Security Council imposed a collective regime of “non-recognition” regarding East Jerusalem that remains in effect to this very day. See for example page 113, of John Dugard’s ‘Recognition and the United Nations’, Grotius Publications (1987). The Assembly called for an end to US arms sales. It also decided that Israel’s continued occupation of Arab territory constituted the crime of aggression. See for example “United Nations Security Council Resolution 478; United Nations Security Council Resolution 500 and A/RES/39/146

        There is no question that Israel has defied numerous decisions of the Security Council, the General Assembly, the other High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, and the ICJ. They all have agreed that the Geneva Conventions are applicable to the Occupied Palestinian Territories and that Israel is in flagrant violation of its international obligations under the terms of the Conventions. As usual, you’ve repeated ad nausem some hasbara talking points that are routinely deployed to obscure the legal facts that Israel and the US government would like to avoid.

        Hersh Lauterpacht, Antonio Cassese, and a host of other Justices serving on international tribunals have repeatedly affirmed that there exists in international law a universally recognized principle that a gap or deficiency in a state’s municipal law or lack of national legislation does not relieve a state of its international obligations. Any attempt to excuse non-fulfilment of an obligation on the basis of municipal law constitutes a breach of those obligations. See for example André Klip, Göran Sluiter, Annotated leading cases of International Criminal Tribunals: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia 1997-1999, Intersentia NV, 2001, ISBN 9050951414, page 134 and The Development of International Law by the International Court, Hersch Lauterpacht (ed), Cambridge University Press, 1982, ISBN 0521463327, page 262 The latter citation is particularly relevant to the recognition of a ‘Jewish state’ that continues to violate UN guarantees and its own agreements regarding the rights of its Palestinian minority population.

        Annex I of the Secretary General’s report to the 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly summarized the legal position of the Government of Israel: Despite the fact that Israel, Egypt, and Jordan had each ratified the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel did not recognize the sovereignty of those other states and has not incorporated the convention into its domestic legislation. “Nor does it agree that the Convention is applicable to the occupied Palestinian territory.” The Court’s findings of fact highlighted Israel’s refusal to administer the territories in accordance with international law; declared its military administrative regime to be “illegal”; and noted that Palestinians had been displaced in violation of Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

        The idea that Israel is employing national legislation to “sanction grave breaches of international humanitarian law or war crimes” is, again, your opinion, based on your highly selective reading of the facts and history.

        The State of Palestine has been recognized by both the majority of its neighboring states and the majority of the contracting parties to the Montevideo Convention. International criminal law distinguishes between internal displacement and cross border transfer. Imprisoning Palestinian civilians outside the occupied territory simply because the state of Israel disputes the statehood of Palestine, does not alter the fact that it constitutes a serious war crime. See for example “The Prosecutor v. Slobodan Milosevic – Case No. IT-02-54-T (Rule 98 bis test – Deportation, forcible transfer and cross border transfer – Definition of a State)”.

        It is difficult to understand how meaningful negotiations can ensue between two parties if one party will not even concede the right of the other to even exist.

        In international boundary agreements “parties” is always a legal term of art for “States”. Only states negotiate borders. In another example, you say that “Hamas’ is in violation of a convention on hostages that was only opened for signature by states (see article 17). Palestine is not listed as a contracting state party. The habit of hasbarists to deny the statehood of Palestine, while treating it “as if” it were a “state party” with obligations to conventions it hasn’t signed usually goes unnoticed (but not at my house).

        In any event, Gilad Shalit is a member of the uniformed armed forces of Israel who manned a main battle tank. According to the High Court of Israel there has been a continuous state of armed conflict between the IDF and the Palestinian militias ever since the first intifada. So, Shalit is a belligerent and a prisoner of war, not a hostage. I already noted that neither Hamas nor Israel has complied with their obligations under the Geneva Conventions on prisoners of war or the protection of civilians.

    • libra
      May 20, 2011, 9:44 pm

      I couldn’t help noticing above that before our very eyes, mild accountant and liberal Zionist Richard Witty, notorious for his tortured syntax, seems to undergo a Captain Israel-style transformation into the assertive, über-Zionist Robert Werdine who states in clear prose, what, I imagine, Richard really wanted to say in his own post of just half an hour earlier.

      Are the initials just a coincidence or is there some sinister connection? Could the fact that Werdine sounds like a wordplay on the German ‘werden’ – ‘to become’,’to turn into’ be a clue? Maybe someone with a black sense of humour at Hasbara Central? Or maybe after all those years of triangulating liberalism and Zionism, Richard has developed an alter ego to express his true thoughts?

      • Richard Witty
        May 21, 2011, 5:52 am

        Did you notice MRW has the same initials as me also? MR Witty

        This is the last day, didn’t you know?

      • libra
        May 21, 2011, 8:33 pm

        Richard,
        I have to confess it never crossed my mind that MRW could be Mr. Witty. But speaking of the original Mr. Witty, didn’t you say his name was bestowed by a reading-challenged immigration inspector on Ellis Island?

        Would I be risking my reputation for impeccable genealogical detective work by speculating that this semi-literate oaf simply shortened Wittgenstein to Witty? After all, one can truncate a person’s name but not their genetic potential. Could you possibly have a distant link with the father of logical positivism? I’ve never read the works of the great man myself (I’ve heard they are hard going for all but the greatest intellect) but I was struck by this phrase in his wikipedia entry “…arguing that language is a kind of motley of language-games in which the meaning of words is derived from their public use.” A sentiment I feel you could only agree with.

        And speaking of the meaning of words Richard, what exactly did you mean by your other sentence: “This is the last day, didn’t you know?”

        No I didn’t know. Last day of what? The world? I thought that was next year. Or have you seen the writing on the Zionist wall and pressed the button on the Samson option? Or cryptic to the end, are you announcing your last post on Mondoweiss? Surely you wouldn’t stop now, not when you are so close to the 10k mark?

        I’m sure everyone would agree that Mondoweiss, just wouldn’t be the same without you. And whilst this may be a minority view, I would say not for the better.

      • Donald
        May 21, 2011, 9:43 pm

        ” Last day of what? The world? ”

        Richard was joking about the rapture prediction of Harold Camping. Actually, it’s one of the few times I’ve read an RW post that I enjoyed.

      • Antidote
        May 21, 2011, 10:45 pm

        I just realized that Camping’s followers, including the ones who sold their houses and quit their jobs, are, sadly, still with us?

      • bijou
        May 21, 2011, 8:08 am

        libra, LOL!. I was trying to think of something funny to say about the fact that they both shared the same initials, but you far outdid whatever I could have come up with.

        Perhaps RW really stands for “rewind” – rewind the hasbara tape and replay, over and over and over. And the various RWs are all just vehicles for accomplishing that…

        Who knows? But it’s terribly tiresome and counterproductive.

      • Robert Werdine
        May 21, 2011, 8:22 am

        Libra,

        My father’s name is Werdine and it was in fact “Werden” at the time when my great, great grandfather emigrated to America from what was then Posen, West Prussia in 1888. My great uncle changed the name to “Werdine” during WW1 because of anti-German prejudice.

      • Avi
        May 21, 2011, 5:05 pm

        Robert Werdine May 21, 2011 at 8:22 am

        Libra,

        My father’s name is Werdine and it was in fact “Werden” at the time when my great, great grandfather emigrated to America from what was then Posen, West Prussia in 1888. My great uncle changed the name to “Werdine” during WW1 because of anti-German prejudice.

        No one gives a crap about your fairy-tale, fabricated, family history.

      • Chaos4700
        May 21, 2011, 5:05 pm

        Oh, so your family name is from Prussia? Where is that in relation to Jerusalem? I forget.

      • Daniel Rich
        May 21, 2011, 6:27 pm

        Q: Werden

        R: German for ‘will.’ Wir werden = We will.

        The state of Israel wants Palestinians to enter ‘peace talks’ [isn't that a whopping contradiction in terms?] without any preconditions, provided that ‘Palestinians’ do recognize Israel’s ‘right’ to exist, because that is a ‘natural condition,’ never a precondition [I fell for this canard when I was a teenager, but a few things have changed over time].

        Does a lie become sheer truth simply because of a nations perpetual repetitiveness of it? Does Iran want to ‘wipe Israel off the map?’

        Nope. A hysterical outpouring of morally insensitive and emotive hasbara does not devalue the input of a host of scholars debunking that myth.

        The truth never needs laws. Lies do.

      • Shingo
        May 21, 2011, 6:55 pm

         . My father’s name is Werdine and it was in fact “Werden” at the time when my great, great grandfather emigrated to America from what was then Posen, West Prussia in 1888. </

        Yes Robert, and we've also established that Avi is really Elvis, Avi being the nickname given to him by his Jewish housekeeper.

         

      • libra
        May 21, 2011, 7:33 pm

        Robert,
        Out of interest I googled Poznan and was struck by what a beautiful city it is with a fascinating history, as it switched back and forth between Prussia/Germany and Poland. And I couldn’t help noticing that two years before your great, great Grandfather left, the Prussian Settlement Commission was founded in the city.
        Now that could almost be the blueprint for what Israel is doing in the West Bank, except I would say Israel is being more ambitious relative to area and population. And of course this earlier Prussian effort was a great influence on the Nazi’s Generalplan Ost for the displacement of Slavs and the settlement of Germans in the conquered territories.
        So once you stop automatically equating the horrors of Nazism with just the genocide of the Jews, it’s surprising what ugly truths gurgle up from the sewers.

      • Taxi
        May 21, 2011, 10:47 pm

        Hahaha Shingo oh yeah I remember the ‘Avi is Elvis’ post!

        Hey Werdine, I bet you can see Bint J’bail (south lebanon) all from your Prussian window. It would certainly explain your ‘intimate’ knowledge of southern Lebanese Shias. NOT!!

      • andrew r
        May 22, 2011, 4:39 am

        I’m telling you Robert, you don’t have any real friends if you think siding with Israel makes you bourgeoisie. There’s a big “stab here” sign hanging off your back. When mischlinge Arabs are deported, all those ADL, AIPAC, StandWithUs people you were hanging out with? They’ll scatter in all directions from you. You’ll be talking to their voicemail. You won’t be worth the hair on their collective asses.

      • kapok
        May 22, 2011, 2:10 pm

        Werden? Doesn’t that mean “would be”? Are you perhaps a figment?

    • Abierno
      May 21, 2011, 3:53 pm

      Actually, if one considers Danny Danon’s recent op ed in the New York
      Times, Israel’s Likud party’s proposal goes something like this:
      Making Israel whole by unilaterally annexing Judea and Samaria
      (the West Bank) while at the same time recovering Gaza. Given
      current policies of land theft, unilaterally appropriating property as
      “closed military” zones and continuing bullying, harassment by
      unchecked settlers and military as well as defacto incarceration of
      Palestinians in village ghettoes – the end result would be a brutally
      apartheid country, but MK Danon feels that this would soon blow over
      and that Israel has stood up to such criticism in the past with no lasting
      negative consequences to Israel. This is a plan to create a “whole Israel”
      without a Palestine or any basic human rights for Palestinians. How generous.

    • Shingo
      May 21, 2011, 9:27 pm

       Hamas is a brutal, genocidal terrorist group whose totalitarian regime exists, and whose terrorist actions occur in violation of every conceivable application of international law. 

      A perfect example of a Zionist comment. All style and no substance. Just cram all the adjectives, adverbs and hyperbole one can fit into a sentence and hope that the audience will be impressed.

      Seriously Robert, you’d be much mote at home over at commentary magazine, where people will swallow this BS without questioning it.

  5. NickJOCW
    May 20, 2011, 6:24 pm

    Might you be being too dismissive of Obama? After all, he is not able to make Israel do this or that, not least because his hands are tied. However, consider what he has not done since the Arab Spring sprung and what he did not say in his address. He might have sent a fleet to the Israeli coast as a gesture of solidarity when Mubarak fell, in his address he might have made consoling reference to Israel’s new levels of insecurity, he might have slanted his remarks to make it clear that any move against Israel would be peremptorily dealt with. He did none of this nor did he make any reference to the conniptions Israeli leaders are enduring, despite fierce anti-Israel protests in Cairo and the significant underlying majority Egyptian attitudes* towards an ally with whom the US shares so many ‘till death do us part values. Instead he uttered an unexceptional phrase that sent Netanyahu into one of his characteristic outbursts. It is inconceivable this was not deliberate since it is as reliable as turning a tap to get water; Ahmadinejad does it frequently, he makes a quiet provocative remark and Netanyahu explodes and starts waving bits of paper all over the place while Ahmadinejad watches quiet as a Persian cat that has just eaten something intended for your dinner.

    It is easy to misinterpret these events, but it seems sometimes that the door is being left ajar for an Egyptian inspired solution to the rehabilitation of Palestine.

    * link to guardian.co.uk

    • Woody Tanaka
      May 21, 2011, 1:55 am

      “After all, he is not able to make Israel do this or that, not least because his hands are tied.”

      His hands are tied by himself. And if he were to decide to act, and make it known to the Israelis that he was cutting off their welfare checks and that we wouldn’t protect them in the UN and otherwise, they would come around.

      • pabelmont
        May 21, 2011, 8:58 am

        Woody: “His hands are tied by himself.” You could so express the corruption of the hope for re-election.

        Obama wants to be re-elected and to have a happier 2014 than 2010 was in electoral terms. Although many Americans would be proud of him for standing up “to” Israel and “for” human rights and American interests (he and others say that peace is in the American interest; maybe someone out there believes them on this), the BIG ZIONIST MONEY (you can ignore the Jewish voters for this purpose, who are largely committed Democrats) would simply move from Ds to Rs. As a politician Obama cannot ignore these real “facts on the ground”. Israel has “enforcers” who “break knees”. Those are the same knees on which all politicians kow-tow to AIPAC.

      • Daniel Rich
        May 21, 2011, 6:32 pm

        Q: Israel has “enforcers” who “break knees”. Those are the same knees on which all politicians kow-tow to AIPAC.

        R: A sad notion, but very well phrased. I’m impressed.

    • Antidote
      May 22, 2011, 10:13 am

      Gideon Levy, I think, got it right in today’s Haaretz:

      link to haaretz.com

      I thought Netanyahu looked scared and was practically sweating bullets during the recent press conference – where he supposedly defied Obamas peace plan with 3-4 ‘no’s’. Look how self-assured Obama looks, flanked by MLK and Lincoln busts. My gut feeling is that Bibi ultimately self-destructed, and I agree with Levy on the prediction of a second term Obama and no more Bibi in 2012. Doesn’t look like the Republicans are able to come up with a serious challenge to Obama. Gingrich, Palin, morons with bad hair – please. Not a chance.
      And you have to hand it to Obama: say what you will about him bending over backwards to accommodate Israel and AIPAC, no other US president has been as successful to reveal to the entire world who and what the real problem is, and which side doesn’t have a partner for peace. Obama’s strategy seems to be: bring your opponents to the point where they will ask you to do what you wanted to do in the first place. And that will be to punish/pressure Israel for its intransigence and arrogance

  6. bob
    May 20, 2011, 6:32 pm

    The two state solution is dead and untenable with the expansion in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Obamas arguments for it wont change that. Netanyahu, on the other hand, is a few steps behind, and worrying about a “solution” that can’t work while the options of apartheid, transfer, or multi ethnic society roll forward..

  7. Avi
    May 20, 2011, 6:34 pm

    David Samel,

    Thanks for writing this article.

  8. ToivoS
    May 20, 2011, 6:44 pm

    I think you are missing the significance of Bibi’s outrage. He is not angling for a negotiating advantage, he is trying to provoke a political crises inside the US. His target is Obama and his weapon is, of course, AIPAC and the US Congress.

    Whatever the reason, Bibi has decided to bring a major political battle here to the US. He has defined this 1967 border thing as the issue. As trivial as it may be, it is now politically significant We may see AIPAC mobilize its forces in Congress to attack Obama. Whatever, we may think of Obama’s policies, we should really be ready to give him support over his statement. Lot’s of letters to Congresscritters, Senators and the President would not hurt.

    If a foreign leader can come to the US and openly humiliate and intimidate our President there is something seriously wrong. Also if we can protect Obama’s political flank on this issue, perhaps he will begin listening to us.

    I know many here have nothing but contempt for Obama, but if AIPAC over plays their hand, there is an opportunity to hand them a major defeat.

    • Bumblebye
      May 20, 2011, 7:16 pm

      Now that I’ve heard Bibi openly diss the speech, yeah, you’re almost certainly right. This is a two prong Zionist and Israeli rightwing war to win the West Bank and oust Obama.

      • straightline
        May 20, 2011, 8:21 pm

        The point is that the Israelis have boxed themselves into a corner and are reacting irrationally. Their greed vis a vis the Occupied Territories (and other parts of historical Palestine) has resulted in them being stuck with the population that goes with it. They know that and so do the Palestinians. They had hopes from the early days of eliminating most of the native population – either by migration or otherwise – but that has not happened. Cast Lead will be difficult to repeat given world reaction to it. So the Palestinians are in the driving seat. Bibi may rant and rave but ultimately he either gives the Palestinians a viable state or they are part of Israel with ultimately one person one vote. Let them have the West Bank – and its consequences. The longer this inaction goes on the weaker Israel’s negotiating position becomes. And Jan 2012 will be a watershed – which means that it should be exercising the minds of the Israeli politicians now. Of course the Republicans might win or Obama turn out to be as weak as we might fear but I would have thought he had had enough of Bibi and rarin’ to go for the jugular.

        In any case America’s clear declining power to project force across the world – due in part to being dragged into wars by Zionists and their apologists – should also worry the Israelis. The Chinese, Indians, and Russians will operate with more self-interest than the US has. There are 325M Arabs in the world and less than 15M Jews, of only 5.6M are in Israel and perhaps not many more giving full support to the Zionist cause.

        Of course if AIPAC boos Obama it will be another defining moment – perhaps that is what Obama wants to happen. The more outrageous the Zionists appear the less they will have the support of the American people. The political crisis that ToivoS posits might just backfire when Americans see their President threatened by a foreign country.

      • NickJOCW
        May 21, 2011, 3:15 am

        I believe you to be absolutely right, straightline, and that is indeed Obama’s concealed agenda. Since he cannot with any impunity harm the Israelis, he allows them time and space to harm themselves and they are doing a good job of it if you consider the relative levels of Israeli support at the end of 2008 and now.

        It is important that the one state solution be introduced in the US because most citizens do not know enough about the conflict even to be aware that it has always been not only the most likely but the peaceable solution. Netanyahu’s outburst attracted much attention in the comment columns and it was illuminating to read contributions innocently asking why the two sides don’t just share the land. Impatience with the conflict in the face of so many more pressing issues plus wider awareness of the dollars flowing to Tel Aviv may well prove to be AIPAC’s Achilles heel.

      • libra
        May 21, 2011, 5:41 pm

        straightline – an excellent analysis, indeed a straight line straight to the point. Would be great to see this expanded to a post to see how our resident Zionists respond without resorting to the tired “it’s all to be negotiated” line (which only goes to prove that the Palestinians are in the driving seat).

      • James
        May 22, 2011, 1:20 am

        good analysis straightline.. thanks..

      • Thomson Rutherford
        May 21, 2011, 12:29 am

        An epic struggle is occurring now between two competing heads of state who detest one another. Netanyahu has invaded Obama’s political turf in a big way, interfering directly in the foreign policy decisions of the President of the United States in a way unprecedented even for arrogant Israeli PM’s. He has escalated his campaign to politically crush Obama, so that it has become a quite visible, quite public spectacle which the American MSM cannot ignore. He and his Lobby have allied themselves with Obama’s Republican opposition to bring the wrath of the American Imperial Establishment down on Obama’s head. The Lobby will consider, then decide whether Obama is permitted a second term or not. The Lobby will decide whether Republicans take control of the Senate in 2012.

        Obama, I believe, sees the extreme threat that Netanyahu poses to the prestige and independence of the office of the POTUS. He knows that he is surrounded at all doors by the omnipotent Lobby with eyes and ears in the very walls. (Who leaked the speech to Netanyahu? Well, of course – Bibi’s mole in the White House, Dennis Ross.)

        Obama, never a strong fighter against his adversaries, must use whatever devices he has available to weaken the domination of the foreign invader. A direct confrontation with the Lobby and the Zionist Power Structure that supports it would be futile and politically disastrous for him and his party. It was unrealistic to expect that in his speech Thursday.

        I agree with those who say that Obama would like to use the Arab Spring as a wedge with which to undermine the strength of Yahu’s rightwing base in Israel and the power of his Lobby in the U.S. But finding a way to do this, with all the political constraints upon him, will be exceedingly difficult to accomplish. It would require the skills of a master statesman and politician. And it would demand a kind of courage under stress, and willingness to take risks for the good of his nation, that Obama has yet to reveal.

        For now, Obama must allow himself to be carried along by forces stronger than he. He must protect himself and the nation as best he can with tactical measures – rear guard actions that will not encounter overwhelming resistance. And he must fight the battle against Yahu the bloviating invader with the pitiful weapons he has at hand.

      • Hostage
        May 21, 2011, 2:15 am

        Thomson,

        Keep the principle of schadenfreude in mind. Even if Obama is defeated in the November 2012 elections, a lame duck President still has the exclusive constitutional authority to recognize a Palestinian state and sovereignty over its territory right up until inauguration day. There would be no reason to reward the Lobby, and every incentive to punish them in any way possible.

    • Keith
      May 20, 2011, 7:52 pm

      TOIVOS- With all due respect, I think you are misinterpreting what I would describe as political theater. How does one create the impression of movement and change when none exists? Easy, have Obama make a characteristic speech for him, eloquently saying nothing in such a way that it can be interpreted to mean almost anything the listener chooses to interpret, followed by Netanyahu’s feigned anger, giving the impression that something of substance is going on. It isn’t. Obama is a spear carrier for Wall Street. He is running for reelection which means he has their support. Netanyahu won’t take on the Street, however, some additional feigned attacks may be used to garner defensive support for Obama.

      • ToivoS
        May 20, 2011, 10:32 pm

        Keith, perhaps it is just political theater. I just find it hard to believe that Obama would play that game when the political risks here at home are so great. This issue is, after all, giving the Republicans an opening to attack him over the Israel issue.

        I agree that Netanyahu’s anger is feigned, but it for his own political purposes. If so, I also think that it is very dangerous for Israel. He is opening up an opportunity for us to expose the weakness of the Israel lobby. That is why we should all write letters to our representatives demanding that they back Obama over the 1967 borders.

    • kapok
      May 21, 2011, 1:12 am

      letters to Congresscritters or, a pilgrimage to Lourdes…would not hurt.

    • NorthOfFortyNine
      May 21, 2011, 1:18 am

      I think you are missing the significance of Bibi’s outrage. He is not angling for a negotiating advantage, he is trying to provoke a political crises inside the US. His target is Obama and his weapon is, of course, AIPAC and the US Congress.

      Exactly. And the prize is Jewish campaign money. Makes you wanna puke.

    • seafoid
      May 21, 2011, 2:33 am

      AIPAC is the modern day late stage Tammany Hall. The uber political machine, utterly corrupt and so far from its original point, deeply anatagonistic to the needs of the American people.

    • American
      May 22, 2011, 3:51 pm

      “I think you are missing the significance of Bibi’s outrage. He is not angling for a negotiating advantage, he is trying to provoke a political crises inside the US. His target is Obama and his weapon is, of course, AIPAC and the US Congress.”

      You are right. Bibi wants to prove his dominance over the US……confiscating Palestine is small apples compared to asserting Zionist ownership of the world’s super power.
      Can you imagine any bigger accomplishment in the history of the Jews and/or Zionist than actually owning and controlling the most powerful (or formerly powerful) country in the world?

      Very dangerous business Bibi is up to. But I hope he keeps it up…the more he throw the weight our Israeli controlled congress around in public the sooner this will to come to a head.

      • hophmi
        May 22, 2011, 4:26 pm

        “You are right. Bibi wants to prove his dominance over the US……confiscating Palestine is small apples compared to asserting Zionist ownership of the world’s super power.”

        So, according to you, if a foreign politician acts like a politician, and takes advantage of the schisms in American politics, it is the same thing as showing “dominance over the US.”

        Wow. You must really think America is a weak place. Maybe for you the best form of government would be a dictatorship, since it wouldn’t be susceptible to the differences of opinion foreign leaders are able to exploit from time to time.

        Indeed, maybe that’s what most of you think, because none of the solutions any of you favor are in any way undergirded by any democratic instinct.

  9. Jim Haygood
    May 20, 2011, 7:20 pm

    Obama’s criticism of the settlements was limited to the fact that they are “continuing,” and of course the Palestinians were to blame because they “walked away from talks.”

    Supposedly it’s been established U.S. policy for the last 44 years that Israel should not build settlements in the West Bank.

    In 1991, Bush Sr. actually took a stand against U.S. loan guarantees for Israel which would be used to subsidize settlement construction. The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations savaged him for blurting out that his lone guy on the Hill was facing a fire-ant army of hundreds of pro-Israel lobbyists. Bush was forced to write a humiliating ‘Dear Shoshana’ climbdown letter to the Conference of Presidents’ Mrs. Cardin. Bush proceeded to lose his re-election bid the following year, with most pro-Israel votes and campaign contributions going to Clinton.

    Now as then, it’s a pre-election year. Evidently, the president of the United States no longer dares to publicly articulate U.S. policy regarding settlements. As if gagged by court order, he can only mildly, cautiously allude to the public knowledge that settlements continue. It’s up to the informed listener to infer that this is objectionable and (presumably) still contrary to U.S. policy.

    What a stunning situation, when a flyspeck country of 7 million can lead a nation of 300 million by the nose! Netanyahu’s ability to demand frequent White House meetings with the president, and to address a joint session of Congress, are privileges extended to no other foreign leader. Annual attendance of hundreds of Members of Congress at the AIPAC convention, and regular addresses to it by the Secretary of State and President, are privileges extended to no other lobby.

    The NYT’s deadpan reporting of these events offers not a hint of observation or analysis about the gross abnormality of Israel’s exorbitant political privilege in the U.S. Like its steadily-advancing illegal settlements which the president can’t bring himself to identify as such, Israel’s flagrant exploitation of the U.S. government represents another variety of ‘facts on the ground’ which steadily encroach on U.S. interests. Whether legal or not, it is distasteful and wrong for a foreign country to exert control over U.S. leaders via the veiled threat of ejecting them from office.

    Can you imagine the prime minister of Britain or France threatening to unseat Obama, or Members of Congress, if they decline to kowtow to his demands? It’s utterly inconceivable.

    Quite aside from the particulars of the I/P conflict, Israel’s excessive political influence, per se, cries out to be confronted and denounced. This is our country, and we’re not obliged to silently tolerate presumptuous foreigners like Netanyahu lecturing our elected representatives about how to run it. The mere fact of his invitation to address Congress is a humiliating national disgrace.

    Put the obnoxious Israeli haranguer on a plane with a one-way ticket home.

    • GalenSword
      May 21, 2011, 3:57 am

      Peace will not be possible in the Conflict over Palestine until American Jewish Zionists begin to suffer a downside from the ongoing stalemate.

  10. Hostage
    May 20, 2011, 9:05 pm

    Obama’s criticism of the settlements was limited to the fact that they are “continuing,” and of course the Palestinians were to blame because they “walked away from talks.”

    The Mitchell report identified the fact that negotiations cannot exist while Israel continues to illegally colonize the territory from which it is ostensibly
    negotiating a withdrawal.

    So, the choice of the term “stalemate” by the President to describe the current situation was completely inappropriate:

    For over two years, my administration has worked with the parties and the international community to end this conflict, building on decades of work by previous administrations. Yet expectations have gone unmet. Israeli settlement activity continues. Palestinians have walked away from talks. The world looks at a conflict that has grinded on and on and on, and sees nothing but stalemate. Indeed, there are those who argue that with all the change and uncertainty in the region, it is simply not possible to move forward now.

    Israel took “bold action” and approved a plan to build 1,550 housing units on annexed land around Jerusalem. So, Netanyahu certainly thinks he has nothing to worry about.

  11. yourstruly
    May 20, 2011, 11:08 pm

    dead

    the two state solution

    palestine

    alive

    & beating

    faintly

    not in the substance of his speech, its style, but, specificlly, in his proposal that the pre-1967 borders be the starting point for negotiations

    what was new in his speech?

    before yesterday had president obama ever said anything about a starting point, let alone put one on the table?

    from never having done so to doing so?

    that’s what’s new

    but pre-1967 war?

    why not pre-nakba?

    right now the details don’t matter

    what matters?

    justice for palestine

    once real negotiations take place

  12. American
    May 20, 2011, 11:15 pm

    O.K….I am confused.

    Is Obama talking PRE 1967 lines or POST 1967 lines?
    It would seem to me that it should be what is referred to as THE GREEN LINE that should be the basis of any swaps.

    Background: Israel’s Pre-1967 Boundaries
    by Chuck Holmes
    NPR
    May 20, 2011 The Green Line. It was the line of demarcation that more than 60 years ago formed the de facto border between the new state of Israel and its Arab neighbors — Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, at the time all enemies of the Jewish state.

    The line was in place for nearly two decades, until June 1967, when Israel and its Arab neighbors fought yet another war — for a brief but pivotal six days — in which Israel captured significant portions of Arab-held territory.

    Those pre-1967 boundaries are a tripwire in the rhetoric and realpolitik over how to achieve peace between Israel, Palestinians and the wider Arab world. In his Thursday speech on the Middle East, President Obama included this statement: “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

    What Obama said wasn’t particularly new in terms of U.S. policy. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out, saying Obama was seeking to determine Israel’s borders in advance of peace negotiations. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney accused Obama of “throwing Israel under the bus.”

    The Green Line was drawn as a result of the 1949 armistice agreements. Those lines changed in 1967 with Israel’s capture of the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan; the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt; and the Golan Heights from Syria.

    Suddenly, Israel occupied areas inhabited by hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs, including refugees of the 1947-49 war who had fled territory that became the state of Israel.

    After the ’67 war, Israel began building settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinians mounted a campaign — violent and otherwise — for an end to occupation. And the status of Jerusalem became a major sticking point — Israel calling it the unified capital, while Palestinians claim it will one day be the capital of their independent state.

    In its peace agreement with Egypt, Israel handed back the Sinai. Peace talks with the Palestinians led Israel to give up the Gaza Strip. Israel’s construction of housing, settlements and roads has asserted its control over other lands it captured. Today, some 500,000 Jews live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

    Israel says its security is paramount in any peace deal. Palestinians want land and sovereignty. In negotiations over the past two decades, leaders from both sides have expressed a willingness to swap land to achieve piece.

    But so far, no lasting peace agreement has been reached and talks are stalled.

    The result: In the long history of Israeli-Arab enmity and the question of Palestinian statehood, the debate over the Green Line — the pre-1967 boundaries — has raged far longer than the lines ever existed

    • Sumud
      May 21, 2011, 12:33 am

      American ~ Obama is talking about the pre-1967 lines, ie. the green line.

      Chuck Holmes is 100% wrong when he states “Peace talks with the Palestinians led Israel to give up the Gaza Strip.” What Israel euphemistically described as “disengagement” from Gaza was entirely unilateral and not the outcome of any negotiated agreement. Israel withdrew permanent forces from Gaza for two reasons:

      1. To freeze the “peace process”, by the oldest trick in the book: divide and conquer. Dov Weisglass (Ariel Sharon’s right hand man) in Haaretz, 2004: Disengagement is formaldehyde for peace process

      2. To rid Israel of the demographic “threat” of 1.5 million Palestinians, should a one-state agenda ever become the main focus for Palestinians. Arnon Sofer said this is a 2004 Jerusalem Post article which has long since been taken down, but is reproduced in full on this blog post (make sure you read the section when Sofer talks about the need for Israel to “kill and kill and kill” in Gaza):
      Israel and Gaza: One Geographer’s Prediction

      Sofer copped much flak for the kill comment, which he responded to in 2007:
      Jerusalem Post: ‘I didn’t suggest we kill Palestinians’

      Israel’s first goal succeeded to a degree, for a time. The Fateh/Hamas reconciliation is bad news for Israel though, hence Bibi’s huffing and puffing. The imminent permanent border opening between Egypt and Gaza is also a bad thing for Israel. Israel’s second goal has been a resolute failure, the UN still considers Gaza to be territory occupied by Israel, and even an open border between Gaza and Egypt won’t change that. Big LOL on Israel.

      *What has become of the “recent comments” section in the sidebar? A very useful feature and I request/vote for it to be re-instated.

      • annie
        May 21, 2011, 1:00 am

        sumud, someone asked about the sidebar the other day and adam explained it had been dismantled because the site had been overwhelmed. i can attest to my own experience of the site intermittently going down both wednesday and thursday morning and again last night. i do not know if it is an outside attack or what. adam said the site had been overwhelmed w/new registrations. that is all i know. i am very much hoping it is a temporary situation because the sidebar w/running comments is essential to the comment section imho. adam also requested anyone having difficulty accessing the site or logging on to contact the site (phil or adam). let’s hope things run smoothly thru the upcoming anti-aipac weekend, lots going on.

      • Sumud
        May 21, 2011, 1:30 am

        Thanks annie. I hope the sidebar being removed is temporary. It’s a useful way to see what’s up, and I also rely on it to see when moderation has started again after a break overnight (my daytime hours) or during the day. If the same posts are still on the recent comments sidebar, I know not to bother clicking on articles because there’ll be no new comments.

        I have noticed that sometimes there are articles that get hundreds of comments, while other important and good ones get just a few. I think the recent comments sidebar plays a part in this (keeping a particular discussion going). Depending on your opinion you could say a negative role even – but at the same time a bit of argumentative banter can be what makes forums enjoyable. A MW sans sidebar might just be a bit limp.

        Anyway, all the best to whoever is doing the back end. Can’t be easy. I notice the “report this comment” function is also gone – not such a concern, I’ve only used it a few times. Perhaps the site is undergoing a bot attack.

      • jon s
        May 21, 2011, 2:38 pm

        For once I agree with Sumud: please restore the sidebar, and the “report” function!

      • RoHa
        May 22, 2011, 1:20 am

        “I also rely on it to see when moderation has started again after a break overnight (my daytime hours) or during the day. ”

        Me too. It is very useful for those on this side of the world.

      • annie
        May 22, 2011, 2:33 am

        yeah, i miss it too. i’m guessing the site is growing. perhaps accommodations need to be made. i’m not a tech person (at all) so i don’t understand the implications but i hope this is just a temporary blurp. i suggest checking the number of comments listed on the threads for the time being.

        crossing fingers it gets fixed soon.

      • bijou
        May 21, 2011, 8:24 am

        Clarification: The phrase “1967 borders” refers to the green line, which is the borders that constituted “Israel” before the 1967 war enabled it to invade and occupy the territories of the Gaza Strip (on the Egyptian side of the country) and the West Bank (on the Jordanian side of the country) including East Jerusalem — two parts of Palestine that had not been included in Israel as it was established in 1948.

        Here is an Arab perspective on this – an analysis written in 2010 by Hasan Abu Nimah, who happens to be the father of Ali Abunimah, as well as being the former permanent representative of Jordan to the United Nations:

        When the United States abandoned its demand that Israel freeze settlement construction as a prelude to restarting stalled Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, the Obama administration urged both sides to move straight into discussions about a future Palestinian state “based on the 1967 borders.” ….

        All this is based on the common, but false notion that the 4 June 1967 demarcation line separating Israel from the West Bank (then administered as part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan), is the legitimate border of Israel and should therefore be the one along which the conflict is settled.

        This assumption is wrong; the 1967 border has no legitimacy and should not be taken for granted.

        UN General Assembly resolution 181 of 29 November 1947 called for the partition of Palestine into two entities: a state for the Jewish minority on 57 percent of the land, and a state for the overwhelming Arab majority on less than half the land. According to the 1947 partition, the population of the Jewish state would still have been 40 percent Arab. Jerusalem would have remained a separate international zone.

        Rather than “resolve” the question of Palestine, partition made it worse: Palestinians rejected a partition they viewed as fundamentally unjust in principle and in practice, and the Zionist movement grudgingly accepted it but as a first step in an ongoing program of expansion and colonization.

        Resolution 181, called for the two states to strictly guarantee equal rights for all their citizens, and to have a currency and customs union, joint railways and other aspects of shared sovereignty, and set out a specific mechanism for the states to come into being.

        The resolution was never implemented, however. Immediately after it was passed, Zionist militias began their campaign to conquer territory beyond that which was allocated by the partition plan. Vastly outgunned Palestinian militias resisted as best as they could, until the belated intervention of Arab armies some six months after the war began. By that time it was too late — as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians had already been ethnically cleansed from their homes. Israel, contrary to myth, was not brought into being by the UN, but by war and conquest.

        The 1949 Rhodes Armistice agreement, which ended the first ever Arab-Israeli war left Israel in control of 78 percent of historic Palestine and established a ceasefire with its neighbors Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Until the second round — in June 1967 — Arabs had been calling for the abolition of the “illegal Zionist entity” planted by colonial powers like a dagger in the heart of the Arab nation. They also waitied for the United Nations to implement its many resolutions redressing the gross injustices inflicted hitherto. The UN never tried to enforce the law or to exert serious efforts to resolve the conflict, which kept escalating.

        Israel’s June 1967 blitzkrieg surprise attack on Egypt, Syria and Jordan led to the devastating Arab defeat and to Israel tripling the area of the land it controlled. The parts of Palestine still controlled by Arabs — the West Bank including eastern Jerusalem and Gaza — as well as Syria’s Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai fell into Israeli hands.

        Defeated, demoralized and humiliated, the Arab states involved in the “setback”, as Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser called it, accepted the painful compromise spelled out by Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967.

        It ruled that the 4 June 1967 border would have to be the recognized border of Israel provided the latter evacuated the Arab lands it had occupied that year. In other words if the Arabs wanted to recover their lands lost in that war they had to end the “state of belligerency” with Israel — a small step short of recognition — and accept Israel’s actual existence within the pre-June 1967 borders. This eventually became the so-called “land for peace” formula.

        Instead of withdrawing from land in exchange for recognition and peace, Israel proceeded to colonize all the newly occupied territories; it continues to do so 43 years later in the West Bank and Golan Heights. Meanwhile it has also become uncontested that Israel has a “right” to everything to the west of the 1967 border. The only question is how much more land will it get to keep to the east.

        Astonishingly, Palestinian leaders, Arab states and the so-called international community have all submitted to the lopsided concept that Israel should have this right unconditionally without evacuating the illegally occupied Arab lands. The legitimacy of the 1967 border was tightly linked to Israeli withdrawal and should remain so.

        An inherent contradiction in resolution 242 is that while it affirmed “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of the territory by war” it in fact legitimized Israel’s conquest of 1948, including the 21 percent of Palestine that was supposed to be part of the Arab state under the partition plan.

        In other words, the UN granted Israel legitimate title to its previous conquests if it would give up its later conquests. This has set a disastrous precedent that aggression can lead to irreversible facts. Encouraged by this, Israel began its settlement project with the express intention of “creating facts” that would make withdrawal impossible and force international recognition of Israeli claims to the land.

        It worked; in April 2004 the United States offered Israel a written guarantee that any peace agreement would have to recognize and accept the settlements as part of Israel. The rest of the “international community” as they always do, quietly followed the American line.

        The Palestinian submission to the common demand that the large settlement blocs be annexed to Israel against a fictitious land swap is another vindication of the Israeli belief that facts created are facts accepted.

        If and only if Israel adheres to all aspects of UN Security Council resolution 242 and others, could the 1967 line have any legitimacy. Until then, if Israel tells the Arabs that the West Bank settlements of Ariel and Maale Adumim are part of Israel, then the Arab position can be that Haifa, Jaffa and Acre are still part of Palestine.

  13. American
    May 20, 2011, 11:58 pm

    This gets more hysterical by the minute.

    Stick Israel in google search and you get 500000 hits of US politicians championing Netanyahu and dennouncing Obama.

    But Europe is defending him and happy with his stance.

    Latest update 16:37 20.05.11

    European officials back Obama on 1967 borders for Palestinian state

    Following Obama’s Middle East speech, German chancellor and EU foreign policy chief express support for basing peace deal on 1967 borders.
    By News Agencies
    Tags: Israel news Benjamin Netanyahu Barack Obama Middle East peace

    The European Union’s top foreign policy official is supporting U.S. President Barack Obama’s call to use the 1967 borders as the basis for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    A spokeswoman said Catherine Ashton “welcomes the important statement delivered by President Obama.”

    European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton at the European Union Delegation offices in New York Sept. 22, 2010
    “We believe [Obama's] actions and objectives find a clear echo in the work the European Union is doing,” Maja Kocijancic said on Friday.
    Obama’s urged that a Palestinian state be based on 1967 borders, from before the Six Day War in which Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel also on Friday expressed support for Obama’s policy speech on the Middle East and said that basing a peace agreement on the 1967 borders could be the way forward

    Germany is a strong backer of Israel but Merkel, during a visit to Israel in February, urged Israel to accommodate Palestinian demands for a halt of settlement construction.

    Merkel said on Friday that the situation with regard to the peace process had changed since this year’s wave of popular uprisings in the Arab world.

    “The peace process in the Middle East and the developments in the Arab area are very closely linked,” she said.

    Ashton’s and Merkel’s words of support for Obama were echoed by the foreign ministers of Poland, Germany and France.

    “We support (Obama’s) courageous message,” said Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski after a meeting with his French and German counterparts. “Barack Obama did what Europe has been trying to convince him to do.”

    AND…then in other news we have Russia expelling an Israeli for spying

    Russia: Israel’s military attaché arrested while receiving secret information
    Colonel Vadim Leiderman was expelled by Russia after he was accused of espionage; IDF says the allegations were ‘completely baseless.’
    By Reuters and Haaretz Service
    link to haaretz.com

    Gawd!….if we could just exterminate congress and the US zionist the world would settle this for us.
    Someone call Orkin.

    • annie
      May 21, 2011, 12:13 am

      great news fro europe!

      personally i wouldn’t advocate ‘exterminating congress and the US zionist’ tho. impeachment for congress perhaps, but no exterminations please!

      • Hostage
        May 21, 2011, 12:52 am

        The State Department is backpedaling and saying that Bibi should not complain because Obama merely mentioned the 1967 lines and agreed swaps as a starting point for negotiations, not a finishing point.

        I’m loving it. Bibi can’t put forward a concrete proposal, because it would topple his government. So, it really is a zero sum game. He can’t publicly agree to “swap” portions of “Greater Israel” for other portions of “Greater Israel” and still have his “Greater Israel”.

      • yourstruly
        May 21, 2011, 12:33 pm

        checkmate?

        if so,

        coincidental?

        or something else?

        like “why don’t i just propose 1967 as the starting time and, through the ensuing turbulence, stay cool, responding to critics with something like – ‘what, me? do something that might alter the status quo, let alone being accused of having proposed the opening move towards who knows what or where?’”

        iif it turns out that obama’s having suggested 1967 as the starting time, indeed, proves to have been the opening move as well?

        what possibly could make this happen?

        us*

        *in the spirit of those eighteen magical days in tahrir square

    • pabelmont
      May 21, 2011, 9:18 am

      As long as EU (or anyone else) talks about “talks”, talks about “negotiation”, they are talking about their own INACTION. Wait and see. If the USA or the EU thinks (even if they really think) that the green line is the proper basis for negotiations intended to lead to a mutually agreed minimal alteration, then they are PIE-IN-THE-SKY. That is approval for more talk. They cannot make Israel agree to a small alteration which teh Palestinians would propose; and vice versa.

      I would suggest that unless the nations are or become ready to use muscle (trade sanctions come to mind), there will be no change to status quo EXCEPT change Israel makes in its own perceived self-interest, not in interest of peace.

      If the US or EU do finally become ready to use muscle, it can only (to my limited imagination) be used for one (or both) of two purposes: [1] making/imposing a peace treaty (independent of any progress on settlements) and/or [2] removing settlers and settlements and wall (independent of any progress on peace).

      What mechanisms for progress do others see?

      • American
        May 21, 2011, 12:01 pm

        None.

        Any other country in the same position as the US would have already stopped Israeli aid long ago and imposed trade sanctions…for a start.

        Anyone can see by the attitude of Israel toward the US, their major benefactor and only protector, that Israel will never understand or react to anything but force.

    • Shingo
      May 21, 2011, 7:33 pm

      European officials back Obama on 1967 borders for Palestinian state

      Which explains why Israel rejected any suggestion of Europe gettign involoved in the peace talks.

  14. Richard Witty
    May 21, 2011, 5:56 am

    I think the headline to this post is accurate.

    That is that Netanyahu has nothing to worry about, with the US commitment to secure existence, and the conspicuous and clear effort to dispel any lust by militant solidarity for its demise by any method.

    And, the lusting Netanyahu (land-lusting) clearly DOES have something to worry about. Although Obama did not overtly warn Netanyahu of consequences of continued annexation, he clearly stated that 67 borders will be the basis of Israel, that there is a separation between settlers’ residence and settlers’ association/annexation within the state of Israel.

    Lets work to identify the lusts (as distinct from the needs), and make that the basis of our political assessments.

    • James North
      May 21, 2011, 9:12 am

      Richard Witty said: ‘I follow my usual one-sided analysis here. First, I attack “militant solidarity, ” implying wrongly that it wants to destroy Israel. Then, I offer only mild criticism of Netanyahu, but add this garbled sentence

      a separation between settlers’ residence and settlers’ association/annexation within the state of Israel.

      ‘What I mean by this tortured formulation is that I really want as many of the 500,000 Israeli settler/colonists as possible to be able to remain in Palestine after any peace agreement. Once again, I’m proving that Jews matter more to me than Palestinians.’

      • Jim Haygood
        May 21, 2011, 1:59 pm

        James,

        Much as Jimmy Carter once admitted to Playboy that he ‘lusts in his heart,’ I fear that our Richard suffers from the same corrosive malady of the soul:

        Lets work to identify the lusts (as distinct from the needs), and make that the basis of our political assessments.

        It’s rumored that on full-moon nights, Richard can be seen running his hands through the rich soil of his garden like a miser fondling his gold coins, whispering ‘My Judea! My Samaria! My precious-s-s-s-s!’

      • Richard Witty
        May 21, 2011, 10:09 pm

        Relative to Obama’s speech, he is offering defense against literally any delegitimization.

        Its a big deal, a confidence builder.

        The consequence of having nothing to worry about, is that “worrying about” ceases to become a compelling argument, but only if it is actually true.

        Is there “nothing to worry about?” or is there something serious to worry about?

      • justicewillprevail
        May 22, 2011, 5:41 am

        Ha ha, love that last sentence, which seems to sum up the RW position of eternally self-tortured prose. You tell us, since Alice in Wonderland would have more chance of following the logic.
        But yes, I would say you do have something to worry about, based on these statements. Although it’s nothing to do with I/P.
        As the dormouse said….

      • James North
        May 22, 2011, 10:07 am

        Richard Witty said: ‘There is a reason I write so incomprehensibly. My gobbledygook means I don’t have to look squarely, for instance, at the Law of Return. It is of course absurd that someone like me, who has only visited Israel twice in my entire life for several weeks (the most recently in 1986), and who faces no danger whatsoever from Cossack pogroms here in western Massachusetts, has the “right” to instant citizenship in a far off part of the world, while actual Palestinians who were born there cannot even visit.
        ‘I do recognize that the Law of Return is indefensible. But if I keep jabbering about someone worrying about something, I don’t have to worry that someone might ask me to justify the Law of Return.’

      • Sumud
        May 22, 2011, 10:42 am

        James ~ I’ve been enjoying your translation service immensely :-)

      • Richard Witty
        May 22, 2011, 12:33 pm

        Complain to Phil for writing a humorously ambiguous headline.

        Again, the same words meant as a slight to Netanyahu are the logic by which Netanyahu’s argument is irrelevant.

        I don’t know if Phil knew that he was presenting an irony, or only thought that he was bitingly presenting propaganda.

      • James North
        May 22, 2011, 1:17 pm

        Richard Witty said:
        ‘More gobbledygook from me. I won’t try and defend the Law of Return, because even I can’t. I just hope noone (sic) notices I’m evading one of the central questions of Israel/Palestine.’

  15. upsidedownism
    May 21, 2011, 6:22 am

    Everything is working is Israel’s favor. The US gives more money to Israel than ever, military/intelligence co-operation is stronger than ever. The colonists steal ever more Arab land, ever more announcements of new colonies are made.

    I bet the private talks between Bibi and Obama were in complete contrast to the public rancor, finalizing all the military/nuclear/intelligence operations that the 2 countries are jointly conducting. Each guy wants to look tough; Obama wants to show the Arab world to show he is not a pushover for Bibi, but of course he is. You can talk and talk and talk but the reality on the ground is what matter: Palestine disappears and Israel grows larger.

  16. petersz
    May 21, 2011, 7:27 am

    Israel is a mafia state! The Don Bibi Netanyahu orders Barak Obama to keep giving him $3billion protection money a year or else and a veto in the UN Security Council to thwart any action against the Don’s criminal operations. Obama meekly obeys the Don! LOL!

  17. VR
    May 21, 2011, 10:05 am

    I am more than sure that Obama and his pro-Israel entourage are having large laughter right now, as everyone rolls over on command to talk about this stupid and defunct “peace process” AGAIN (!), while at the same time turning away from global exposure in the UN. While turning back to the defunct process you succeed in doing two things for these global bodies (UN et al), allowing them to continue in their circular pattern as the instrument of the dominant nations with no exposure and giving legitimacy to the process by participation and UN by quitting and not escalating the suit of the people in this arena.

    Of course, I would be less than honest if I did not say that my goal was to once and for all expose the entire systemic nightmare and encourage its total destruction by the people. Now you can devolve back to your accusations personally against me because it is your only recourse, ask me who do I think I am

    ?

    • American
      May 21, 2011, 12:16 pm

      I can’t figure out what exactly what your political position is.
      I looked at your site “not in his name’…is that a reference to God?
      It appears that you think all institutions, particulary global ones, should be destroyed becuase they suppress the people..or am I misreading that?
      Why don’t you just explain in simple terms why you link the I/P issue to whatever your larger issue is…looks like you have a larger issue.

      • VR
        May 21, 2011, 9:10 pm

        American, my political position is dealing with the whole systemic issue we face, not merely a contingency like “the lobby,” and the reason why people find it so difficult to deal with that contingency is because they refuse to see the entire context of what is transpiring. So, yes, my concern is a bit more than just one faction of the current global debacle.

        No, “not in his name” does not refer to god, it is merely a third party reference to myself. The I/P issue is merely a symptom of a broader issue, it takes its position in interest because this is where imperial interest lies in the region. There is much more than merely the care for Israel which drives the relationship, it is not merely the foothold which the lobby holds in Washington but I really do not want to revisit this point at this time because it would turn into a long dissertation.

        Other factors are involved with the domestic nature of the lobby, not the least being that the US has never been much but a polyarchy since the beginning and that always devolves into a plutocracy with many different players – and results in the peoples will not meaning anything, in some sort of sick game called “representation.” People have very strange views of what the US was from its inception to its present day, so they act like influence by any given group is something alien to this system, when nothing could be further from the truth. Let me make something perfectly clear – whether one talks about the kingdoms or old, feudalism or present day capitalism they all have one specific strain, a small elite which controls whatever contrived form of government that exists and government for the most part likewise is nothing but a franchise of the elite. The global condition is nothing much more than the same, it reflects this reality.

        I hope that clears some issues for you, it was not exhaustive and is subject to misunderstanding, but there you go.

      • American
        May 22, 2011, 2:16 pm

        “American, my political position is dealing with the whole systemic issue we face, not merely a contingency ”

        If you are saying that the I/P situtation reflects the same ‘elite’ and shadow government influence/ corruption as we see in other national and world issues then I agree.
        But I don’t ignore the fact that the “reasons” for the American Revolution, the French Revolution, Castro’s Revolution against Basista, the current Egyptian Revolution and many others actually “stand for” and were and are the “ideals” established for a country–so you can’t treat those with distain and discount them.
        That these ideals got subverted and corrupted is the fault of the people who let it happen all over again. That’s always been the history of the world…..you will always have those who seek and suceed in dominating and corrupting for greed and power.
        But you can ‘t toss the baby out with the bathwater…..you just have to remove the corrupters, over and over.

      • VR
        May 22, 2011, 5:43 pm

        No American, I am saying there has ALWAYS been this influence in said governments, whether of yesterday or today. It is not a matter of “corruption,” it is how it functions – whether it be a dictatorship or a so-called democracy. Actually representation, even here in the USA was a compromise – not an original idea, and the entire system is meant to militate against direct participation to influence the movement of any proposed country. What is said at the inception of any proposed revolutionary process either results or it does not, and it never did in America or in most other countries for that matter – therefore, if you look at any founding documents they are merely the instruments to enrage and use the general populace so another elite cadre can influence the said country (see Shay’s Rebellion).

        One can always use what has been accumulated by the previous entities in power, but never the core of the deception. However, you do not merely remove the “corrupted,” and never over and over again (through some defunct idea of going to the poling booth at various times), you turn the carcass of what is left over to the people for direct participation. Now this is a woefully inadequate response, but it is all I feel like developing right now.

  18. ish
    May 21, 2011, 12:25 pm

    I blogged about the Obama speech today. And I’ve linked to a terrific interview with Omar Barghouti on The Real News.

    link to thecahokian.blogspot.com

  19. hophmi
    May 21, 2011, 2:32 pm

    It’s a simple enough question. If it were your country, would you place your life and lives of your children in the hands of Khaled Meshaal?

    • Chaos4700
      May 21, 2011, 5:08 pm

      As opposed to placing them in the hands of the IDF and the Shin Bet? Or better yet, how about your favorite pet monster, Blackwater, Mr. Right-Winger?

    • Robert Werdine
      May 21, 2011, 6:10 pm

      hophmi,

      I would express what I think is the minority view here: I would not.

      chaos4700 undoubtedly would–from the safety and comfort of his computer, that is.

      As the savage reactions to my three most recent posts up above indicate, Hamas has quite a following here.

      Perhaps we need to stop all this nonsense about Hamas being a brutal terrorist group and just get with the program like everyone else here.

      After all, a group who mourns the passing of Osama bin Laden can’t be all bad, can they?

      • Shingo
        May 21, 2011, 9:32 pm

         After all, a group who mourns the passing of Osama bin Laden can’t be all bad, can they?

        The same could be said for one that supported Mubarak until the bitter end, as well as the murderous tyrants in Bahrain.

      • James
        May 22, 2011, 1:28 am

        i see.. you’re here just for laughs… nothing you say can be taken seriously!

      • Chaos4700
        May 22, 2011, 3:27 am

        As the savage reactions to my three most recent posts up above indicate, Hamas has quite a following here.

        Yes, because obviously it follows that if someone rejects the policy of setting children on fire with white phosphorous, they MUST support Hamas.

      • Hostage
        May 22, 2011, 4:04 am

        After all, a group who mourns the passing of Osama bin Laden can’t be all bad, can they?

        I noticed that right after the German and French media outlets started calling it a murder, the White House started refactoring their account to say it was a kill or capture mission. Those pesky human rights folks still don’t like (a) summarily executing a suspect without benefit of trial; (b) using the armed forces miles away from the nearest battlefield; (c) exercising jurisdiction on the territory of another state without obtaining its consent. See for example, link to humanrightsdoctorate.blogspot.com and link to humanrightsdoctorate.blogspot.com

      • andrew r
        May 22, 2011, 4:49 am

        link to angryarab.blogspot.com

        Before you click on this and read the linked article, what do you think of Hariri?

      • hophmi
        May 22, 2011, 4:19 pm

        I notice that none of you answered the question.

  20. American
    May 21, 2011, 3:01 pm

    Can anyone give me a reason why Dennis Ross has been appointed by successive administrations except for the fact that Ross being there is a condition of the Zionist donors to the parties and presidents?
    It can’t be his expertise in the ME because there are dozens of others far more qualified than Ross.
    I have said this a thousand times….the problem of Israel lies in the US zionist influence in America’s government.
    If you want to end I/P and have any kind of justice for Palestine you are going to have to take on the pro Israel supporters in the US. You are going to have to get over the ‘traitor’, ‘fifth column’, ‘holocaust’ taboos where it concerns the Jews and start calling a spade a spade.
    I am sorry and some people’s feelings might get hurt and there will be a lot of squawking by the zios about anti semitism as they try to claim they are “the Jews’ and by attacking them we are attacking the Jews, and by politicians who don’t want the public to know how corrupt they are on Israel and I/P– but that is where all this is now.
    We can’t go on with a congress acting for a foreign country and condemning it’s own President for trying to act in the US interest.
    We can’t go on with presidential candidates challenging each other and getting campaigning financing on which one is most loyal to Israel.
    We can’t go on shoveling US money to Israel and begging them to behave.
    So if Americans aren’t willing to attack the real source of the problem loud and clear because a bunch of zios will liken it to Nazi Germany anti semitism then we will just have to get use to being a zionist state just like Israel and that is how most of the world sees us already.
    I have no problem calling Ross and those like him traitors to this country, I have no problem calling our politicians, in public or to their face, traitors to this country.
    The only reason these kind of people can walk around in this country is because we haven’t updated or added to our antiquated treason and subversion laws in 200 years and they don’t reflect today’s corrupted political system and political reality.

    Obama’s Peace Tack Contrasts With Key Aide, Friend of Israel

    By HELENE COOPER and MARK LANDLER
    Published: May 21, 2011

    WASHINGTON — Five days ago, during a closed-door meeting with a group of Middle East experts, administration officials, and journalists, King Abdullah II of Jordan gave his assessment of how Arabs view the debate within the Obama administration over how far to push Israel on concessions for peace with the Palestinians.

    From the State Department, “we get good responses,” the Jordanian king said, according to several people who were in the room. And from the Pentagon, too. “But not from the White House, and we know the reason why is because of Dennis Ross” — President Obama’s chief Middle East adviser.

    Mr. Ross, King Abdullah concluded, “is giving wrong advice to the White House.”

    By almost all accounts, Dennis B. Ross — Middle East envoy to three presidents, well-known architect of incremental and painstaking diplomacy in the Middle East that eschews game-changing plays — is Israel’s friend in the Obama White House and one of the most influential behind-the-scenes figures in town.

    His strategy sometimes contrasts sharply with that of a president who has bold instincts and a willingness to elevate the plight of the Palestinians to a status equal to that of the Israelis.

    But now, as the president is embarking on a course that, once again, puts him at odds with Israel’s conservative prime minister, the question is how much of a split the president is willing to make not only with the Israeli leader, but with his own hand-picked Middle East adviser.

    The White House would not say where Mr. Ross, 62, stood on the president’s announcement on Thursday that Israel’s pre-1967 borders — adjusted to account for Israeli security needs and Jewish settlements in the West Bank — should form the basis for a negotiated settlement. Mr. Ross did not respond to requests for comment for this article. His friends and associates say he has long believed that peace negotiations will succeed only if the United States closely coordinates its efforts with the Israelis.

    While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel reacted sharply to the president’s proposal, the reality is that the course Mr. Obama outlined Thursday was much more modest than what some of his advisers initially advocated.

    During the administration’s debates over the past several months, Mr. Ross made clear that he was opposed to having Mr. Obama push Israel by putting forth a comprehensive American plan for a peace deal with the Palestinians, according to officials involved in the debate.

    George J. Mitchell, who was Mr. Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, backed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, argued in favor of a comprehensive American proposal that would include borders, security and the fate of Jerusalem and refugees. But Mr. Ross balked, administration officials said, arguing that it was unwise for the United States to look as if it were publicly breaking with Israel.

    Mr. Netanyahu and Israel’s backers in the United States view Mr. Ross as a key to holding at bay what they see as pro-Palestinian sympathies expressed by Mr. Mitchell; Mr. Obama’s first national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones; and even the president himself.

    “Starting with Mitchell and Jones, there was a preponderance of advisers who were more in tune with the Palestinian narrative than the Israeli narrative,” said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League and a friend of Mr. Ross. “Dennis balanced that.”

    Mr. Ross is the most senior member of a coterie of American diplomats who have advised presidents stretching back to Ronald Reagan. Unlike many of his colleagues, Mr. Ross has thrived in Republican and Democratic administrations.

    “Dennis is viewed as the éminence grise, a sort of Rasputin who casts a spell over secretaries of state and presidents,” said Aaron David Miller, a Middle East expert who has worked with him over several administrations and says he is an admirer. “But in the end, it’s the president who makes the ultimate decisions.”

    Denis R. McDonough, the deputy national security adviser, said: “Dennis brings to the discussion a recognition of the vital importance of peace to the parties, but also to the United States. He’s in many ways dedicated much of his professional life to getting there.”

    Mr. Ross initially began his tenure in the Obama administration as a senior Iran policy maker at the State Department. But in the summer of 2009, just a few months into his job at State, Mr. Ross moved to the White House, where he kept his Iran portfolio and eventually assumed a broader

    His move came as the White House and Mr. Netanyahu were in a standoff over settlement construction. Over time, administration officials say, Mr. Ross took more of a role over Arab-Israeli policy. In September 2009, Mr. Obama abandoned his insistence on a settlement freeze in the face of Israeli recalcitrance.

    “If Dennis Ross was in the inner circle in the early days, this administration would not have made that colossal settlements error,” Mr. Foxman said. “He would have said, ‘Don’t go there.’ ”

    Once at the White House, Mr. Ross became invaluable, administration officials said, because of his close relationship not only with Mr. Netanyahu, but with the Israeli prime minister’s top peace negotiator, Yitzhak Molcho.

    Mr. Ross demonstrated his growing influence last October, when the administration was pressing Mr. Netanyahu to agree to a three-month extension of his moratorium on settlement construction. Mr. Netanyahu balked.

    So Mr. Ross devised a generous package of incentives for Israel that included 20 American fighter jets, other security guarantees, and an American pledge to oppose United Nations resolutions on Palestinian statehood. Many Middle East analysts expressed surprise that the administration would offer so much to Israel in return for a one-time, 90-day extension of a freeze.

    In the end, Mr. Obama abandoned the effort, concluding that even if Mr. Netanyahu persuaded his cabinet to go along with the extension, it was unlikely to produce the kind of progress in talks that the United States hoped for. Direct talks between Mr. Netanyahu and the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, soon petered out, and Mr. Abbas made plans to go to the United Nations in September for a vote on Palestinian statehood.

    In April, Mr. Mitchell, who, one Arab official said, often held up the specter of Mr. Ross to the Palestinians as an example of whom they would end up with if he left, sent Mr. Obama a letter of resignation. By some accounts, one reason was his inability to see eye to eye with Mr. Ross.

    “Mitchell wanted something broader and more forward-leaning, and Dennis seems to be taking a more traditional stance,” said David J. Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration official who has written about the National Security Council.

    But, Mr. Rothkopf said, Mr. Obama must now take into account the emerging realities in the Arab world, including a new populism brought by the democratic movement that may make even governments that were not hostile to Israel, like Egypt and Jordan, more insistent on pushing the case of the Palestinians.
    role that has allowed him to take part in developing Mr. Obama’s response to the upheavals in the Arab world.

    link to nytimes.com

    • Taxi
      May 21, 2011, 8:38 pm

      Re the 1967 borders, Natanyahu says: “It’s not going to happen – everybody knows it’s not going to happen”.

      Well MILLIONS of Arab youth from all over the Arab world heard it loud and clear and thought to themselves: ‘Who the eff are you to tell us ‘what’ will happen?! We survived then defeated cold-blooded tyrants and you think you can turn around now and steal more Arab land and hate on us and we would just let you?! Well you’d better think again, israel: YOUR euro colonial days are numbered and we know that the holy lands were ALWAYS Arab (pagan, jewish, chrsitian and moslem) and will FOREVER remain Arab and no amount of nutcases or nukes can EVER change that FACT’.

      … Okay I got my psychic theatrics outta the way, and now for something just as seriously psychic:
      I reckon Natanyahu’s desperate and seething charge forward to ‘humiliate’ Obama before the eyes of the world with congress backing him against our president, well… LOL… this indeed could just be the slo-mo landing of the proverbial needle that broke the camel’s back.

      Fasten your seatbelts mondo folks, there’s gonna be a heck of lot more questions about our ‘special’ relationship in 2012. Questions by average neutral Americans (there are millions of them) like: Why exactly do we give so much money to israel when apparently israel is a wealthy country? And other such America-centric questions which will only lead them (thank you internet) to aipac and it’s nefarious anti-American activities on Capitol Hill. They will realize then that israel is not only occupying and stealing from the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese, but also from the American taxpayer him/herself – using American laws and loopholes to steal from Americans on American soil! This can only be a good thing, the people’s realizations that is. Because a second aipac layer will indeed be exfoliated by millions of new inquiring minds (the first exfoliation was performed by Stephen Walt and co-author John Mearsheimer – thank you Stephen and John). Regardless of whichever party ends up winning the white house in 2012, this second exfoliation will definitely take place – and what do aipacers FEAR the most? Exposure to sunlight.

      The forecast for the run-up to 2012: Expect the weather to be dirty and stormy with thunderous race issues between the jewish and african american communities rising to the amazed surface of our country.

      Holy shit people: you can’t beat up on and bully the first African-American president over his ‘foreign’ policy (regardless of his incompetency and miscalculations), nay back-stab him repeatedly under the glare of the world cameras, and expect no race-related backlashes to roll.

      Okay why not I’ll just say it: I give our ‘special’ relationship between 5-8 years.

      I look forward to signing the divorce papers.

    • hophmi
      May 22, 2011, 4:21 pm

      “I have no problem calling Ross and those like him traitors to this country”

      Exactly. Which is why I accuse people like you of arguing in bad faith.

  21. alexno
    May 21, 2011, 5:19 pm

    Me, as a mere European, I thought Netanyahu’s reaction to Obama was a big mistake.

    In relation to the US, the strategy may well work, though it’s always a mistake to reveal your real aims. Here, no doubt, the point is to get rid of Obama, but that is a subsidiary aim. The more important point for him is to clear the West Bank of Palestinians.

    The point I wanted to make is that Netanyahu’s reaction is likely to have a bad effect outside the US. OK, Britain has its equivalent of AIPAC, and probably France does too, through Sarkozy, though I don’t know the details. But they are not as dominant as AIPAC. There are limits beyond which AIPAC-clone-influenced politicians can’t take their people. Netanyahu may have broken those limits, through his strident declarations.

    OK, Europe doesn’t matter, but it does mean that the US and Israel are increasingly isolated in their eternal dance. The loser is certainly the US.

    The US has shown itself openly to be subject to Israel. That’s a mistake. Every time in the past that the Jewish community has dominated, it’s been through restraint, and quietly following the paths of power, as in the Ottoman empire.

    Openly declaring your domination implies resistance.

  22. AngelaJerusalem
    May 22, 2011, 12:03 am

    Two pennorth, especially as to Werdine’s terminology, although I don’t have time to read his incredibly loquacious diatribes.

    Hamas’ Rantisi, before he was assassinated “extrajudicially” [illegally under any law, not least IHL] by an IDF helicopter death squad, told Chris Hedges that Hamas took up the strategy of fighting back with suicide bombers only after Baruch Goldstein’s massacre in Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs/ Ibrahimi Mosque, when 29 Moslems [try to count those sheep falling asleep...] were slaughtered while at prayer during Ramadan. Hundreds were injured and Hebron Palestinians put under curfew for many years in reverse revenge. But of course the Rightwing and its apologists never take responsibility for the maniacs (genocidal pyromaniacs or otherwise) among their settler friends. So much tidier that THEY are the genocidal. We’re far too nice. Too normal. Too much like you and me. Heck, we even speak English normally and have white skin.

    Would I put my future in the hands of Meshal? As opposed to what? The likes of Crazy Lieberman and Lying Bibi, Lying Livni, Lying Barak? [Deja vu here, the same arguments once in S Africa as to the risks of political take over by the ANC, when the Afrikaner government was so corrupt even its followers were finally shocked by Muldergate and Rhoodie...] Or as opposed to imperialist colonialists who slaughter first ask questions later, with those warning shots at the head (Cast Lead, the Mavi Marmara or other recent incursions and attacks)? Of arrogant politicians who with impunity continue committing crimes against humanity, not least the crime of war on war, instead of fighting for peace? The suicidal nature of our current leadership is really scary for those of us who have to think of continuing to live in Israel-Palestine. The future in the hands of Yvet and Bibi and Barak is a bleak epic of lemminglike proportions interspersed with silly hope. These are men who can’t make peace (Obama’s assessment spot on there). Which means they espouse killing as the option of choice. And traumatise a nation, willy nilly, by that mad choice. Or, to quote Paul Oestreicher at this WCC peace convocation: “Unless we learn to resolve our conflicts .. without militarised violence, our children’s children may no longer have a future. Love of those who threaten us, care for the welfare of those whom we fear, is not only a sign of spiritual maturity, but also of worldly wisdom. It is enlightened self-interest. [..] If my potential enemy has no reason to fear me, I am safer too.” And yet the Werdine’s would continue to sacrifice we Israelis to a non-future, just so that he can prove himself right.

  23. straightline
    May 22, 2011, 12:16 am

    alexno: “In relation to the US, the strategy may well work, though it’s always a mistake to reveal your real aims. Here, no doubt, the point is to get rid of Obama, but that is a subsidiary aim. The more important point for him is to clear the West Bank of Palestinians.”

    Interesting analysis – by and large agreed.

    The more the Americans are told that, in the words of Sharon, “We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.” the less they will like it, so Bibi’s outburst will have lost him a few more friends in the US. Calling on Jews in the US to choose between their President and a foreign country seems to me to be the strategy of a desperate person. It is only effective (if at all) as a short-term measure. Getting rid of Obama, if by some chance it were to work, would mean that it will not be possible again. Once the card is played it is no longer in his hand. It might be possible for Israel to unseat one president but not two, and then who has the power? Perhaps Obama has to be the sacrificial lamb. It might need a Republican president to repair the damage with the Arab countries and Iran just as it needed a Republican to reconnect to Communist China.

    As to clearing the West Bank, as outrageous as it may seem that anyone would dream of doing that, it is the only rational direction for Zionism, since any other aim will in the end result in its demise. There is no possibility of Israel accepting a reasonable settlement with the Palestinians on territory (at least not one that they could implement – look how hard it was to get the relatively few settlers out of Gaza) and therefore the 1ss looms. What scares Zionists most it the possibility of genuine peace talks since it forces them to face up to the choice. Cast Lead was one more of the many attempts by them to continue the state of “no war – no peace”:

    “The guideline of our policy has always been the idea that a permanent
    situation of no peace and a latent war is the best situation for us, and that
    it must be maintained at all costs. … we are becoming stronger year by year
    in a situation of impending conflict where it is possible that actual fighting
    may break out from time to time. Such wars will usually be short and the
    results guaranteed in advance, since the gap between us and the Arabs is
    increasing. In this way we shall move on from occupation to further
    occupation. … this criminally mischievous policy has led us into the crisis
    we are living through today” (Yeshayahu Leibowitz, 30 November 1973)

    This policy is becoming more difficult to sustain when we are presented with videos and
    twitter feeds of the real situation, of who started the violence and of its true nature. Cast Lead failed as a PR exercise (though it succeeded as a massacre) – go to YouTube and watch Mark Regev squirm – because the world did eventually learn what happened despite Israeli attempts to exclude the world press. Arguing the legal niceties of the use of white phosphorus has nothing like the same impact as the awful images of the children killed and maimed by it.

    Israel is running out of options – its old games do not work any more and it cannot find a new one.

    • annie
      May 22, 2011, 1:14 am

      Calling on Jews in the US to choose between their President and a foreign country seems to me to be the strategy of a desperate person. It is only effective (if at all) as a short-term measure. Getting rid of Obama, if by some chance it were to work, would mean that it will not be possible again. Once the card is played it is no longer in his hand. It might be possible for Israel to unseat one president but not two, and then who has the power?

      you are assuming israel has not already unseated an american president. there is lots of time before the next election. massive attempts will be made towards appearances his downfall (assuming he is not reelected) is not related to israel (economy etc).

      i am thinking it could be beneficial the republicans are inviting him. support for zionism is support for extremism. let’s draw a line in the sand.

      • straightline
        May 22, 2011, 1:51 am

        You’re right Annie, of course the Zionists have attempted and perhaps succeeded in manipulating US Presidential elections before. It is in Obama’s interests to make it overt and Bibi seems to be playing into his hands in that respect.

        The one thing the Zionists surely do not want is a stand-off between the US President and the Israeli Prime Minister in a run-up to an election. That smacks of desperation.

      • annie
        May 22, 2011, 2:50 am

        i completely agree straightline. thanks for your prescient input.

      • Richard Witty
        May 22, 2011, 12:40 pm

        Liberal Zionists ADVOCATE for the green line as basis of border, similar to Obama’s declaration.

        We derive confidence from his statements, confidence that the green line will be the basis of border discussions, and genuinely consented, and that Israel’s and Israeli civilians’ security will be guaranteed (more than supported).

        That is the formula for removing the obstacles to peace. The militant logic of ‘I hope they disappear’ (by some solidarity) and ‘I hope they annex’ (by some Zionists) is an attack on reason and peace.

        Yes, we are Zionists. Live and let live.

      • James North
        May 22, 2011, 1:20 pm

        Richard Witty said:

        Live and let live.

        ‘Somehow my statement here does not apply to Israel’s invasion of Gaza, which killed 1400 people, including 300 children.’

      • seafoid
        May 22, 2011, 3:30 pm

        The one thing the Zionists don’t want is their modus operandi to be exposed to the light. There are only a couple of million Jews in the US and their political influence is out of all proportion to their weight by population.

        Israel and YESHA and the whole messianism shtick is a great joke as long as Israel produces the goods. Economically it’s going nowhere. The rest of the Middle East is where the smart money is going.
        Israel says look at our new deal with Greece. The occupation will cost more and more the deeper Israel goes into apartheid. It’s time to go short on Israel.

      • American
        May 22, 2011, 4:08 pm

        “The one thing the Zionists surely do not want is a stand-off between the US President and the Israeli Prime Minister in a run-up to an election. That smacks of desperation.”

        They may be desperate but I think that is exactly what some of them, in their demented hubris, want to do. They have discounted Americans as stupid sheep for decades..they expect no huge pushback by the electorate to Israeli or zionist control or demands..or even insults to our President or country.
        They count on their 40 years of propagandizing the US population to marginalize too much public uproar.

  24. Robert767
    May 22, 2011, 12:21 am

    Ladies and gentlemen,boys and girls;all this talk about Israel’s “defensible” borders Israel;4th largest military in the world,hundreds of F15 and F16 planes,hundreds of attack helicoptors,artillery,missiles,tanks…and between 200 and 400 nuclear weapons.The USA could not “push Israel into the sea”.This has nothing to do with defending Israel,it is all about the relentless drive to ethnically cleans all of Palestine of it’s native Palestinian people.

    • James
      May 22, 2011, 1:32 am

      “This has nothing to do with defending Israel,it is all about the relentless drive to ethnically cleans all of Palestine of it’s native Palestinian people.”

      robert – i think everyone reading this page, with the exception of 1 or 2, are completely aware of this……

  25. yourstruly
    May 22, 2011, 1:12 am

    significant, president obama’s words about the elite few in the mideast ruling over the masses?

    the negative connotation?

    that after those words, he didn’t pause for a moment, shake his head. and, upon regaining his senses, going on to blurt something like, “come to think of it, don’t those words come awful close to describing the way it is right here in the good ol u. s. of a.?”

    while out in the real world, at the morning coffee break -

    “hey, didn’t he know that the words he used fit the red, white & blue? what it’s come to signify?”

    common knowledge?

    universal experience

    going back at least to the time when our hunter-gatherer forbears took to settling down & raising crops

    and destiny?

    ours for the taking*

    *provided whatever is undertaken be carried out in the spirit of those magical eighteen days in tahrir square

  26. Djinn
    May 22, 2011, 5:26 am

    Also if we can protect Obama’s political flank on this issue, perhaps he will begin listening

    Unionists protected his flank, what happened to EFCA? People supporting actual healthcare protected his flank & they got even bigger & mandated profits for insurance companies. Wall St did nothing but attack him & they got enormous taxpayer largesse to save them from their own incompetence & neglect. No-one gets anywhere near the WH without being a capital first kind of guy & same goes for views on Israel. Anyone who expected any change whatsoever to at least the 50 years of foreign policy from an Obama admin was willfully blind, there was little basis to assume his domestic policy would be much of an improvement but no basis whatsoever on foreign, especially Israel. Even his shiny hope & change website read like Cheney wrote it.

    • yourstruly
      May 22, 2011, 11:04 am

      for those of us who seek a just and peaceful world, no question about it, things sure seem hopeless. Hopeless, but not totally so. Besides, mainly the ongoing popular struggles you discuss are being waged seperately from one another. Solidarity and unity, yes, but nowhere near the scale or magnitude of what we witnessed during those 18 magical days in tahrir square. How to bring the spirit of the miracle of the nile to the u. s. of a.? Isn’t this key? And with the divide and conquer thus relegated to the dustbin of history, what then? – “well wadayaknow, the future racing towards us.” Who’d a thunk it?

      • yourstruly
        May 22, 2011, 1:09 pm

        …..menwhile,

        these traitorous isreal-firsters’ only concern is what affect if any, the miracle of the nile is going to have on the safety and well being of settler-entity israel

        what about the u. s. of a.?

        they couldn’t care less

      • yourstruly
        May 22, 2011, 1:33 pm

        oops, meanwhile, not menwhile

  27. kalithea
    May 22, 2011, 11:28 am

    Here we have the President of the United States professing iron-clad allegiance to a foreign country where the majority of its citizens immigrated from COMMUNIST countries and are now STEALING LAND, and violating the human rights of an entire other nation of people. He’s compromising the values that the U.S. was intended to defend.

    • yourstruly
      May 22, 2011, 1:58 pm

      values the u.s. was intended to defend but which, far more often than not, even worse than not defending them, it tries to undermine them.

  28. Linda J
    May 22, 2011, 1:39 pm

    Anti-occupation Activist Matan Cohen Needs Your Help

    link to israeli-occupation.org

  29. talknic
    May 22, 2011, 2:09 pm

    Alan Dershowitz obviously has his own amazing version of UNSC Res242. LOL. I’d love to read it.

    • Antidote
      May 22, 2011, 4:25 pm

      see also WP Rubin’s deranged version of Obama’s AIPAC speech. The mind boggles. You’d think Obama did NOT repeat the same pro-Israel talking points US presidents have delivered year after year after year to thundering applause. Except for pronouncing the scary 4-number word 1 – 9 – 6 – 7, and telling them that the rest of the world matters, and that the rest of the world is sick of the ‘peace process’ going nowhere.

  30. yourstruly
    May 22, 2011, 3:19 pm

    amazing…

    “GOP sees an opening on Israel” – today’s LA times

    wow!

    right where we’re at,

    obama’s 1967 as the starting point to be main focus of 2012 election?

    israel’s security & well being uber america’s?

    or not?

    hands down

    it’s a win-win

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