Obama missed the point about ‘endless delay’

In case you haven’t seen it, I find Pepe Escobar’s analysis of Obama’s Middle East speech in Asia Times the most clear-eyed, convincing and on the money: “What Obama could not possibly say.” I bring one quote to your attention:


And when Obama stressed that “endless delay” won’t “make the problem go away” he totally missed the point; it’s by employing “endless delay” tactics that every Israeli government has kept settlement-building on overdrive and totally encircled East Jerusalem, while relentlessly applying a “divide and rule” strategy (pitting Fatah against Hamas) to crush Palestinian morale.

About Bruce Wolman

Bruce Wolman is a citizen journalist who has lived in Norway and the Washington area.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

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

  1. MRW says:

    Bruce, I just mentioned this on another MW thread as an OT, but it’s apropos here: go and listen to Jeff Blankfort’s interview with Dr. Geoffrey Wawro on pulsemedia.com. He takes Pepe Escobar’s statement and gives it a solid 20th C foundation, from the time of Wilson.

  2. Livni spoke at AIPAC describing the negative consequences to Israeli supporters of endless delay, that it is against Israel’s interest to delay in sincerely forming a confident peace.

    • mig says:

      And Livni also spoke about how Bibi hasnt been able to stop palestinian UN vote procedurefor a state.

      Livni today that, and tomorrow other.

  3. Merav Michaeli writes in Ha’aretz:

    The Israeli Reality That Obama Doesn’t Understand

    “President Obama doesn’t understand the reality,” according to “associates” of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke after the meeting between the two leaders. And when that is the headline of the daily Yisrael Hayom, it is clearly Netanyahu’s headline: “President Obama doesn’t understand the reality.”

    You can’t blame him: It really is impossible to understand this reality. It’s impossible to understand why a country and a people continue to refuse to do the right thing, something that could have been done a long while back, and prefer to continue to bang their heads against the wall until blood flows, with absolutely no logic, literally amok, like someone who has gone insane. It’s hard to understand a reality in which a prime minister sits and, contrary to all logic and every code of conduct, arrogantly lectures his host, the president of the United States. It’s hard to understand a reality in which a day before their scheduled meeting, a prime minister responds to the speech of the U.S. president, who is about to host him, with an announcement that is as good as spitting in his face.
    Netanyahu Obama – GPO – 20.5.11

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama at their meeting at the White House on May 20, 2011.
    Photo by: GPO

    So President Obama, here is the reality: The reality is that in the prime minister’s own reality show, he is “the leader of a persecuted people” and he likes being “the leader of a persecuted people.” That is why no reality in the world has ever convinced our leaders to stop being a persecuted nation. Even Abe Foxman, the chairman of the Anti-Defamation League, who can’t be accused of being a leftist, says that Obama’s speech is not against Israel and is not bad for Israel and that it includes many things that are good for Israel, but that doesn’t make any impression on Bibi Netanyahu and his friends.

    But it’s not only you, Mr. President. Nine years ago, the 22 Arab League countries submitted a proposal for ending the conflict with the Palestinians and for full normalization with them. The leaders of the people that insist on being persecuted chose not to confuse themselves with the fact that 22 Arab countries were recognizing Israel and accepting its right to exist in peace alongside them. That is why our leaders simply ignored it. To the point where barely 15 percent of the Israeli public is even aware of the existence of the Arab initiative. That is why on Thursday, when we, members of the Israeli peace initiative delegation, presented the Egyptian foreign minister with the initiative that for the first time responds to the Arab peace initiative, he rightly said: For nine years the initiative has been on the table. Now you remembered?

    The reality, Mr. President, is that change – thanks to which you were elected, and in which you believe – is the thing that Israel in general and Netanyahu in particular fear most. The reality is that the State of Israel has become accustomed to the present situation and does not recognize itself without it. Israel has existed longer with the occupation than without it; it has existed for most of its years with no border and is deathly afraid of change.

    The reality is that Netanyahu never wanted or thought to initiate change. When he was elected two years ago, he understood that in order not to initiate change, he would have to play at negotiations that lead nowhere. But alas, there was nobody in the White House who would play this nice little game with him, and his true colors were exposed: He wants settlements, he wants occupation, he wants the situation as it is and sees no problem with it. And now, Netanyahu prefers confrontation. Confrontation with you, confrontation with the Palestinians, confrontation with anyone he sees as coming out against the persecuted people. The reality is simply that confrontation we already know, Mr. President, but peace we do not know at all.

  4. Jack Kroury writes in Ha’aretz:

    Palestinian Source to Ha’aretz: Abbas Deeply Disappointed with Obama

    The Palestinian Authority is deeply disappointed with U.S. President Barack Obama and feels the peace process is unlikely to move ahead in the next few months or even in the remaining two years of his term, unofficial Palestinian sources told Haaretz yesterday

    Obama is a constant disappointment to the Palestinians and does not appear likely to pressure Netanyahu to make progress toward peace on the basis of the principles he himself stipulated when he spoke of a Palestinian state in 1967 borders with land swaps, the sources said.

    Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday praised the reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, a deal that Obama called an “enormous obstacle” to peace in the Middle East.

    A Hamas official said Lavrov, who hosted rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas in Moscow yesterday, repeated Moscow’s support for a Palestinian declaration of statehood in the United Nations in September.

    The Palestinian leaders arrived in Moscow a few days ago to continue their talks to reach a reconciliation deal and sort out the elections for Palestinian president and legislative council.

    Palestinian officials told Haaretz the meeting in Moscow under President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s auspices was extremely important.

    “The Russian support for the reconciliation agreement is very important to the Palestinians due to Russia’s international status and its membership in the Middle East quartet,” a Palestinian official said.

    Obama’s speech about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not mentioned directly at the meeting but Palestinian officials said they hoped Russia would support the agreement as well as act for the Palestinians in the international arena.

    “We very much value your agreement,” Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov told members of Fatah, Hamas and other parties to the deal signed early this month in Cairo.

    “All peoples need unity, not least the Palestinian people, who are justly seeking a solution to their task of creating a state,” Lavrov said.

    Obama said on Sunday the agreement “poses an enormous obstacle to peace. No country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction.”

    Moscow has made a point of calling for the inclusion of Hamas in diplomacy, hosting its leaders and saying that isolating it is counterproductive.

    Lavrov also welcomed the Palestinian plans for elections in October. The PA recently postponed the local balloting, which had been scheduled for July, gaining more time to organize voting in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

    Senior Palestinian officials are continuing their consultations with Arab officials following Obama’s speech to AIPAC. However Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is visiting Amman, did not issue an official statement about it.

    A senior Palestinian official said Abbas chose not to confront Obama in public, despite his dissatisfaction with the president’s speech.

    The Palestine news agency Wafa stressed parts of Obama’s speech supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders.

    PA leaders Saeb Erekat and Nabil Shaath were conducting intensive talks with Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa ahead of the Arab Initiative Committee, which is scheduled to meet in Qatar on May 28, Palestinian sources said.

    Moussa yesterday promised Shaath to take a firm stand against Netanyahu and what he called the groveling American stance vis-a-vis Israel.