US desperate to keep futile peace process going a little longer

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 60 Comments
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in New York on Sept. 21, 2011. (Photo by Reuters)

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in New York on Sept. 21, 2011. (Photo by Reuters)

For the first time since the US launched the Middle East peace talks last summer, the Palestinian leadership may be sensing it has a tiny bit of leverage.

Barack Obama met the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Washington last week in what Palestinian officials called a “candid and difficult” meeting. The US president hoped to dissuade Abbas from walking away when the original negotiations’ timetable ends in a month.

The US president and his secretary of state, John Kerry, want their much-delayed “framework agreement” to provide the pretext for spinning out the stalled talks for another year. The US outline for peace is now likely to amount to little more than a set of vague, possibly unwritten principles that both sides can assent to.

The last thing the US president needs is for the negotiations to collapse, after Kerry has repeatedly stressed that finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is imperative.

The US political cycle means Obama’s Democratic party is heading this autumn into the Congressional mid-term elections. A humiliating failure in the peace process would add to perceptions of him as a weak leader in the Middle East, following what has been widely presented as his folding in confrontations with Syria and Iran.

Renewed clashes between Israel and the Palestinians in the international arena would also deepen US diplomatic troubles at a time when Washington needs to conserve its energies for continuing negotiations with Iran and dealing with the fallout from its conflict with Russia over Crimea.

Obama therefore seems committed to keeping the peace process show on the road for a while longer, however aware he is of the ultimate futility of the exercise.

In this regard, US interests overlap with those of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel has been the chief beneficiary of the past eight months: diplomatic pressure has largely lifted; Israeli officials have announced an orgy of settlement building in return for releasing a few dozen Palestinian prisoners; and the White House has gradually shifted ground even further towards Israel’s hardline positions.

The Palestinians, on the other hand, have nothing to show for their participation, and have lost much of the diplomatic momentum gained earlier by winning upgraded status at the United Nations. They have also had to put on hold moves to join dozens of international forums, as well as the threat to bring Israel up on war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court.

Abbas is under mounting pressure at home to put an end to the charade, with four Palestinian factions warning last week that the Kerry plan would be the equivalent of national “suicide”. For this reason, the White House is now focused on preventing Abbas from quitting next month – and that requires a major concession from Israel.

The Palestinians are said to be pushing hard for Israel’s agreement to halt settlement building and free senior prisoners, most notably Marwan Barghouti, who looks the most likely successor to Abbas as Palestinian leader.

Some kind of short-term settlement freeze – though deeply unpopular with Netanyahu’s supporters – may be possible, given the Israeli right’s triumph in advancing settlement-building of late. Abbas reportedly presented Obama with “a very ugly map” of more than 10,000 settler homes Israel has unveiled since the talks began.

Setting Barghouti free, as well as Ahmad Saadat, whose PLO faction assassinated the far-right tourism minister, Rehavam Zeevi, in 2001, would be an even harder pill for the Israeli government to swallow. Cabinet ministers are already threatening a mutiny over the final round of prisoner releases, due at the end of the week. But Israeli reports on Sunday suggested Washington might consider releasing Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, possibly in return for Israel freeing more Palestinians, to keep the talks going.

Simmering tensions between the US and Israel, however, are suggestive of the intense pressure being exerted by the White House behind the scenes.

Those strains exploded into view again last week when Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s defence minister, used a speech to lambast Washington’s foreign policy as “feeble”. In a similar vein, he infuriated the White House in January by labelling Kerry “obsessive” and “messianic” in pursuing the peace process. But unlike the earlier incident, Washington has refused to let the matter drop, angrily demanding an explicit apology.

The pressure from the White House, however, is not chiefly intended to force concessions from Israel on an agreement. After all, the Israeli parliament approved this month the so-called referendum bill, seen by the right as an insurance policy. It gives the Israeli public, raised on the idea of Jerusalem as Israel’s exclusive and “eternal capital”, a vote on whether to share it with the Palestinians.

Washington’s goal is more modest: a few more months of quiet. But even on this reckoning, given Netanyahu’s intransigence, the talks are going to implode sooner or later. What then?

Obama and Kerry have set out a convincing scenario that in the longer term Israel will find itself shunned by the world. The Palestinian leadership will advance its cause at the UN, while conversely grassroots movements inside and outside Palestine will begin clamouring for a single state guaranteeing equality between Israeli Jews and Palestinians. Israel’s vehement and aggressive opposition on both fronts will only serve to damage its image – and its relations with the US.

An unexpected voice backing the one-state solution emerged last week when Tareq Abbas, the Palestinian president’s 48-year-old son, told the New York Times that a struggle for equal rights in a single  state would be the “easier, peaceful way”.

Bolstering Washington’s argument that such pressures cannot be held in check for ever, a poll this month of US public opinion revealed a startling finding. Despite a US political climate committed to a two-state solution, nearly two-thirds of Americans back a single democratic state for Jews and Palestinians should a Palestinian state prove unfeasible. That view is shared by more than half of Israel’s supporters in the US.

That would constitute a paradigm shift, a moment of reckoning that draws nearer by the day as the peace process again splutters into irrelevance.

A version of this article first appeared in The National, Abu Dhabi.

Jonathan Cook
About Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His new website is jonathan-cook.net.

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60 Responses

  1. seafoid
    March 24, 2014, 12:34 pm

    It all reminds me of Hugh Hefner and his Viagra . Sure, those women love him.

    “At around midnight, according to St James, Hef would take his Viagra. ‘After that, he would constantly check his watch to make sure we left at the right time because if we didn’t, or the timing got messed up, he wouldn’t be able to perform later.”

    Zionism is like that now.

    • pabelmont
      March 24, 2014, 1:40 pm

      American I/P-diplomatic effectiveness would maybe be improved by some Viagra. But, seriously, now, there is no way fro America to be effective at doing the stupid do-nothing job which it has taken as its leadership-place-in-the-universe, that is, accepting sh*t from AIPAC and Israel and dishing it out to Palestine, always with a smile. Tastes good, doesn’t it?

      Better for the USA to openly say there is no way Israel will agree to anything close to acceptable to Palestine or acceptable to the world. USA should abandon peace-diplomacy in favor of leading the world on lawfulness-enforcement. The settlements, settlers, wall, and siege of Gaza (for starters, the list is longer) VIOLATE INTERNATIONAL LAW. Think how much relief all the USA diplomats could feel if they said that, with full voice, standing tall. And insisted on enforcement-sanctions to bring Israel into compliance!

      The good feeling would last until the BIG-ZION money men completed the switch to Republicans and the USA became in name what it almost is de facto, a one-party state: the capitalist-one-party-state in contrast to the old USSR’s communist-one-party-state.

      • JeffB
        March 24, 2014, 4:03 pm

        @pabelmont

        Better for the USA to openly say there is no way Israel will agree to anything close to acceptable to Palestine or acceptable to the world.

        The current parties in power in Israel all ran on long standing platforms saying that. Israel has built tons of very expensive infrastructure completely incompatible with 242, that in fact would be worthless for an independent Palestinians state. They’ve chopped up expensive infrastructure that would be useful to build integrated infrastructure. The USA has repeatedly proposed things the Palestinians consider much too far in Israel’s favor.

        What more do you want them to do? They’ve said it.

      • DaBakr
        March 25, 2014, 10:48 am

        Your opinion might make a bit more sense if you had bothered to consider what a world with the US trying to play police while other (growing) power-players like Russia, China with junior partners NK, Iran, Central Asian& ME, continue to violate what you call ‘international law’ with complete impudence (sanctions on a couple Russian officials? what a joke.) Putin will still jet around triumphant, hang with his buds like Berlusconi, Depardieu, and nobody will get too worked up. …oh, unless they find out Putin is really gay. then people will look up!)
        But you and your BDS cult members here live in a world where the primary (actually, the ONLY) violator of so-called ‘international law’ you think worthy of harping on is Israel, of course. And Israel being extremely small with a small population and being the ONLY Jewish nation on earth has absolutely nothing to do with anything because after all-you BDS’rs go after EVERY violator of ‘international law’ be they Arab, Muslim, Christian, etc. (oh…maybe I got that wrong. you here pretty much stick to Israel, Zionism exclusively.)
        One day you may realize that the vast majority of the worlds power players could give 2 sheits about what some former european colonialist masters have to say about the ‘court’ or enforcing ‘international law’-especially since those europeans had the benefit of building their dynasties before there was a concept that one block of nations could impose rule over another block.
        I understand that in your MW minds-Israel is by far the best ‘exception’ to this rule but when the issues truly come down to one team of lawyers arguing against the others Israel almost always comes out on top. Just try starting with the fact that despite the constant droning on of those (here, in media, in gov’t, everywhere) who keep saying “in violation of international law” there actually is no ‘international law’ that can find the WB as truly ‘occupied’ territory. This is well known and the pro-Palestinian groups simply rely on lip service and endless links to many points of ‘international law’ that seem to apply but ignore the fundamental issue of what is actually ‘occupied’ land versus ‘disputed’ boundaries and disputed land.
        If I were a bds’r I would not be licking my chops or salivating at the idea of Israel arguing before the limp and racist court that mainly goes after African warlords becuase why? Because Africa is the only block of nations that doesnt have a strong voice in the U[seless]N[othing]. They threw their lot in with the Arab block which gained them…next to ZERO.
        The Chinese won’t allow NK to be hauled up. Russia wouldn’t allow its friendly satellite dictators to be charged. And an Arab or Muslim war criminal -like Assad, or one of the Saud princes – before a court of ‘infidels’? You must be joking. Which leaves only Israel for the fading leftwing Zionist[and or possiblyJew]hating ideologues to dream their smarmy revenge fantasy dreams of Israel sweating something out at the even lese respected icc

      • Hostage
        March 25, 2014, 12:55 pm

        Your opinion might make a bit more sense if you had bothered to consider what a world with the US trying to play police while other (growing) power-players like Russia, China with junior partners NK, Iran, Central Asian& ME, continue to violate what you call ‘international law’ with complete impudence

        I don’t know what planet you are living on, but all of those countries have been the target of US and international sanctions. Each of them have resorted to their own arguments, based upon international law, to justify their actions. FYI, the sanctions adopted so far against Russia include asset freezes and travel bans for the leaders of its Parliament, and are not merely limited to the measures taken against a few oligarchs. The fact remains that the US and EU leadership have rapidly adopted those measures against Russia, while simultaneously voicing opposition to boycotts, sanctions, or divestment actions against Israel proper.

        So, Israel has been successful in getting US and European officials to prevent the adoption of sanctions that target Israel over its unilateral annexations and occupation of Arab territory, while superpowers, like Russia and China have been targeted with formal sanctions over Tibet, Crimea, Afghanistan & etc. See for example the list of formal US sanctions against China over Tibet here: link to tibetjustice.org

        By way of comparison, President Carter didn’t hesitate to boycott the Moscow Olympics over the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. He sent Secretary Muskie to the UN to prevent the adoption of sanctions over the Basic Law: Jerusalem – and Carter still refuses to endorse boycotts or sanctions that target Israel to this very day.

      • Citizen
        March 25, 2014, 1:01 pm

        @ Hostage
        Why do you think Carter doesn’t hesitate to boycott Russia but won’t endorse any boycott Israel? Is he happy with how he’s been defamed as an anti-semite?

      • American
        March 25, 2014, 3:32 pm

        ”Which leaves only Israel for the fading leftwing Zionist[and or possiblyJew]hating ideologues to dream their smarmy revenge fantasy dreams of Israel sweating something out at the even lese respected icc” …DaBakr

        yawn….another zio troll, another rant.

      • Hostage
        March 27, 2014, 9:20 pm

        ”Which leaves only Israel for the fading leftwing Zionist[and or possiblyJew]hating ideologues to dream their smarmy revenge fantasy dreams of Israel sweating something out at the even lese respected icc” …DaBakr

        No, the ICC’s jurisdiction is strictly limited to natural persons. So the state of Israel can’t be prosecuted in the ICC, just the responsible state or corporate officials.

  2. MHughes976
    March 24, 2014, 1:01 pm

    The message of the headline and of the text seem a bit different. Are the talks definitely futile if the Palestinian side at last has some leverage?
    In the end that leverage goes beyond the predicament of the Obama regime. My thought is that any President, however colourful his (or more likely her) rhetoric, would be told in no uncertain terms by the economists that Iranian oil must be brought back on stream and by the military brass that it cannot be seized by force.

    • Citizen
      March 25, 2014, 1:03 pm

      Aren’t Russia and Iran the two biggest oil producers?

      • James Canning
        March 27, 2014, 1:53 pm

        Iran’s oil production is down considerably since 2006.

  3. Kay24
    March 24, 2014, 1:07 pm

    The US should face reality, and accept what is staring us in the face – Israel has absolutely NO intentions of agreeing to peace, non whatsoever. No party involved in this conflict, will do what is detrimental to those peace talks, the big no-no to proceeding with the peace talks, keep building illegal settlements by the thousands on disputed land, that is condemned by the entire world, like Israel does. They have too much to loose if they lost the status quo, no more occupation, no more land grab, no control over Palestinian water, destruction of homes, no excuses to keep sending precision bombs, blockades, blackouts, and yank little boys out of their beds at night, accusing them of terrorism.
    The Palestinians who have lost too much already, will be the usual losers.
    Time the US realized that we are simply aiding and abetting an arrogant nation, and stop the aid, weapons, and unwavering support at the UN. Let Israel become the isolated, disliked nation, facing the wrath of those they keep inflicting pain on, unmercifully. The world is now getting it – Israel provokes and then whines when
    it’s victims retaliate, pretending it is once again the victim.
    John Kerry is simply wasting his time and our tax money.

    • JeffB
      March 24, 2014, 3:59 pm

      @kay24

      Let Israel become the isolated, disliked nation, facing the wrath of those they keep inflicting pain on, unmercifully. The world is now getting it – Israel provokes and then whines when it’s victims retaliate, pretending it is once again the victim.

      There is a problem with the USA just letting Israel go off on its own. Israel’s natural interests in the Middle East and the USA’s natural interests in the Middle East conflict greatly. Israel would have a much easier time of it if ethnic wars were to break out all over the Arabian peninsula. It is very uncomfortable to be the only Jewish state in a sea of Arab states. It is very comfortable to be the Jewish state with a Copt state, a Marionette Christian state, a Hashemite state, an Alawite state, a Kurdish state. Israel wants Middle East disorder. Israel can likely as a regional power accomplish this if unhindered. The USA doesn’t really have that option of just ignoring Israel.

      Ultimately by threat or by bribe they have to get Israel to go along with their program for Middle East policy. Israel has a long history or responding badly and dangerously to threats and being very cooperative for quite small bribes. Ergo USA policy. The peace talks are a low cost way of keeping the Arab street only semi-engaged in the conflict and not demanding anything suicidal from their governments.

      • RoHa
        March 25, 2014, 6:36 am

        “a Marionette Christian state”

        That is what some Irish Protestants feared an independent Ireland would be, with the Pope pulling the strings.

      • amigo
        March 25, 2014, 11:21 am

        “That is what some Irish Protestants feared an independent Ireland would be, with the Pope pulling the strings.”Roha

        Zionists and Northern Ireland Proddys have much in common.They wanted a “Protestant State for a Protestant People”.

        Who cares what those racist slime feared.

      • James Canning
        March 27, 2014, 1:45 pm

        A majority of Catholics in Northern Ireland favour keeping NI within the UK. You seem unaware of this fact.

      • justicewillprevail
        March 25, 2014, 7:25 am

        Another masterclass in bizarre logic from Jeff. So the US is preventing Israel from fomenting wars in the Middle East by brokering meaningless peace talks? On the contrary, Israel is fomenting wars which it wants the US to do the fighting, peace talks or no. Quite small bribes?? Like the trillions that the US taxpayer has been fleeced for by Israel since its inception? A low cost way of keeping the Arab street only semi-engaged blah blah – this takes the biscuit. Which ‘Arab street’ (a phrase beloved of zionists) would that be? You actually think that the peace talks have any influence upon popular opinion, which has seen these talks for decades produce absolutely nothing? This is nothing but the usual zionist blackmail of the US, threatening to go rogue unless the US and its taxpayers continue to featherbed them. It is an empty and arrogant threat, but it keeps the money tap open.

      • JeffB
        March 25, 2014, 12:23 pm

        @justicewillprevail

        On the contrary, Israel is fomenting wars which it wants the US to do the fighting, peace talks or no.

        The last two middle east wars the USA fought in were with Iraq. Certainly Israel was quite happy about those but it was Saudi Arabia not Israel that led the charge. If Israel had that much pull, Syria would have been attacked.

        Like the trillions that the US taxpayer has been fleeced for by Israel since its inception?

        Trillions? The entire Israel economy isn’t worth 1 trillion. Where do you guys get this nonsense?

        You actually think that the peace talks have any influence upon popular opinion, which has seen these talks for decades produce absolutely nothing?

        Yes I do. Along with the US State Department who gets this opinion from Arab allies.

        This is nothing but the usual zionist blackmail of the US, threatening to go rogue unless the US and its taxpayers continue to featherbed them. It is an empty and arrogant threat, but it keeps the money tap open.

        The sanction method was tried. In 1954 it resulted in Israel going against rogue with the 1956 war. In the 1970s Israel developed an independent nuclear retaliation plan against the Soviets when the USA started pressing. I’d say history is on my side regarding Israel’s reactions.

        ___

        Finally in response to your other post. Polls of the USA show support for Israel vs. the Palestinians coming in around 60/10 and steadily growing from there. Ask the question about a single democratic state using less positive language and see if your 2/3rds numbers hold up. Otherwise you are showing that Americans support good words in poll questions which is a well known result.

      • James Canning
        March 27, 2014, 1:51 pm

        The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia was very sceptical about the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

      • Hostage
        March 27, 2014, 9:32 pm

        The sanction method was tried. In 1954 it resulted in Israel going against rogue with the 1956 war.

        And Ben Gurion backed down after Eisenhower went on national television and said he would not reward Israeli aggression or tolerate its refusal to withdraw from the Sinai in accordance with the resolutions calling for crippling sanctions and the Charter of the UN.

      • Bumblebye
        March 25, 2014, 9:24 am

        ” a Marionette Christian state”

        What, only one puppet state? Didn’t you want *all* of them to be puppet states?

      • JeffB
        March 27, 2014, 10:28 pm

        @James

        The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia was very sceptical about the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

        No he wasn’t. He was thrilled. But lost most Arab leaders he was BSing in public. See wikileaks and diplomats and autobiographies from people who have been involved and….

      • talknic
        March 28, 2014, 6:30 pm

        @ JeffB ” See wikileaks and diplomats and autobiographies from people who have been involved and….”

        So you’ve read ‘em …. OK supply some specific links

        I’ll wait link to talknic.files.wordpress.com .. thx

      • James Canning
        March 28, 2014, 7:11 pm

        You think the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia welcomed civil war in Iraq, and the emergence of an Iraqi central government controlled by the Shia and friendly toward Iran?

      • JeffB
        March 27, 2014, 10:32 pm

        @Hostage

        And Ben Gurion backed down after Eisenhower went on national television and said he would not reward Israeli aggression or tolerate its refusal to withdraw from the Sinai in accordance with the resolutions calling for crippling sanctions and the Charter of the UN.

        Except that Eisenhower was lying. After the aggression Eisenhower reversed Secretary Dulles cut off of arm sales and arm sales to Israel exploded. Between 1956 and 1967 Israel got tremendous aide. They were most certainly were rewarded for their aggression by having a far better relationship with the USA than they had ever had before.

      • Hostage
        March 28, 2014, 4:42 pm

        Except that Eisenhower was lying. After the aggression Eisenhower reversed Secretary Dulles cut off of arm sales and arm sales to Israel exploded.

        Eisenhower wasn’t lying. He was talking about UN sanctions and you are talking about events that occurred after the Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai. FYI, the United States was never a major supplier of arms to Israel, until after the 1967 war. Interestingly enough, the Government of France, which had donated the arms on the Irgun ship, Altalena, and supplied Mirage jets and the Dimona reactor, cut-off arms sales to Israel as a result of the 1967 war, once it became apparent that Israel had initiated the hostilities.

        In a letter to David Ben-Gurion published by Reuters on 9 January 1968, French President De Gaulle explained that he was convinced that Israel had ignored his warnings and overstepped the bounds of moderation by taking possession of Jerusalem, and so much Jordanian, Egyptian, and Syrian territory by force of arms. See Text of de Gaulle’s Answer to Letter From Ben-Gurion link to select.nytimes.com

      • JeffB
        March 28, 2014, 5:29 pm

        @Hostage

        We are talking 1954-1967. Post 1967 the whole situation changes. After the ’56 war you most certainly have Eisenhower cuddling Nasser whom he was courting. But objectives like the opening of Tiran and the end of harassment from Gaza were achieved. In 1954 the USA was imposing an arms embargo as a result of Israeli attacks on Egypt. The French secretly undermined it ’54-56. At the end of ’56 this policy was reversed and Israel could get arms openly from Western powers (still mainly France) 56-60. Kennedy 61-3 starts up large sales in response to Yemen which I suspect was mainly anti-Nasser more than anything else. etc…

        Dulles policy of punishing Israel for the Kinneret raid is discredited. Dulles originally policy of defense but not offensive arms is completely overturned and Israel gets offensive arms including crucially the steps towards a nuclear weapon. Sharett’s peace faction was discredited and Ben-Gurion / Dayan are firmly in charge. USA policy in a few has the USA explicitly selling weapons with Israel / USA involved in an anti-Nassarite alliance.

        I don’t see any evidence at all on the ground that Suez changed Israel’s international position for the better militarily after Kinneret. You can argue that Kinneret was a disaster that Sharett might have made an Arab Israeli peace by 1960 and the entire course of history is different. But once you lock in Kinneret and America’s reaction, Israel’s reaction to the arms embargo was a winner.

        Otherwise explain why Dulles plan of an arms cutoff doesn’t happen and why there are American guarantees designed to keep Israel out of wars rather than to have Israel losing wars to Eisenhower’s good buddy Nasser.

      • LeaNder
        March 28, 2014, 6:04 pm

        the United States was never a major supplier of arms to Israel, until after the 1967 war.

        I thought so too, or I thought that US arms sales only started post 1967. But apparently there already were hardly minor sales before the the Six-Day War. Seems this 1965 arms deal “established a pattern”.

      • James Canning
        March 28, 2014, 7:13 pm

        But Eisenhower did force Israel out of the Sinai.

    • piotr
      March 25, 2014, 6:07 am

      Kerry is a priest of a dead religion. Making such an occupation productive is not possible, so extending it is the most logical goal — if you are getting paid.

      Perhaps the peace process prevents Kerry (and Obama) from even worse things to focus on, like saving Crimeans from the yoke of Russian rule. Or bringing Snowden back to the loving bosom of his Motherland. Or making/supporting coups against elected governments. (Haiti, Honduras, Ukraine, check, Egypt, OK, Venezuela, ah, try again.) Without unproductive efforts on the peace process, USA could do so much more!

  4. American
    March 24, 2014, 1:20 pm

    Either put a gun to Israel’s head or quit wasting US time and money on shuttling Kerry back and forth.

    • James Canning
      March 24, 2014, 4:08 pm

      Does Obama have a gun aimed at his head (by rich and powerful supporters of Israel right or wrong, in his own party)?

      • pabelmont
        March 25, 2014, 9:32 am

        James Canning: Obama has no guns aimed at his head, but acts as if he had.

        Obama is a lame duck, needing no electoral money at all for himself — and no big-money at all unless he dreams of a big-money supported “presidential library” and huge speaking fees after he leaves office.

        He is caught as all presidents recently have been in the trap of deeming his non-Constitutional job as chief legislative director for his “party” more important than other aspects of leadership. Congress needs electoral money, but Obama does not.

        He doesn’t have to do that! Give it up! He DOES direct USA’s diplomacy, and its UN rep. Action on I/P could happen there, but only if Obama can shake loose from the invisible and wholly imaginary chains which (don’t really) bind him to big-money. (Not that he is in any way a “worker of the world”, but truly he has nothing to lose but his chains!)

        Imagine Obama speaking to the nation and the world in a really earth-shaking speech at the UN calling for enforcement of Fourth Geneva Convention and other international laws, agreements, conventions, etc., which Israel has been violating non-stop since 1967 if not since 1948. Imagine him announcing that a just and lasting peace is within reach and apologizing for the USA’s (and his own) role in frustrating it for all these years. A statesman! Maybe be elected for a third term (I know, I know).

        Imagine any politician talking straight talk to the American people about any important issue as to which BIG-MONEY has thwarted good policy over the years!

        Oh!, My heart, my heart!

      • JeffB
        March 25, 2014, 12:31 pm

        @pabelmont

        Imagine Obama speaking to the nation and the world in a really earth-shaking speech at the UN calling for enforcement of Fourth Geneva Convention and other international laws, agreements, conventions, etc., which Israel has been violating non-stop since 1967 if not since 1948. Imagine him announcing that a just and lasting peace is within reach and apologizing for the USA’s (and his own) role in frustrating it for all these years. A statesman! Maybe be elected for a third term (I know, I know).

        Sure I can imagine it. The Congress goes completely ballistic as do both political parties. Resolutions are passed assuring the Israelis that Obama’s position doesn’t reflect the USA. Obama gets attacked from within the administration by his own staff who distance themselves openly from the speech. The media attacks him, across the board including MSNBC. Polls turn wildly against him and his approval rating sinks 5-10 points. People are thrilled internationally.

        Then what?

      • American
        March 27, 2014, 10:36 am

        What then?…..jeffb

        The Word Has Been Uttered on the Senate floor——”Un-American”

        Harry Reid has accused the Koch brothers of being Un-American in a senate floor speech—-for using their money to buy politics.

        Un- American also applies to politicians on the Israel.
        Stay tuned….you’ll see more of the Un American and Traitor accusations from the public added to the already 92% disapproval rate of congress.

      • James Canning
        March 27, 2014, 7:16 pm

        Obama is afraid to talk to Jimmy Carter. Need more be said?

      • James Canning
        March 25, 2014, 6:47 pm

        Obama apparently is concerned the Democrats could lose control of the Senate, later this year.
        Obama is afraid to talk to Jimmy Carter about Israel/Palestine. This speaks volumes.

    • JeffB
      March 28, 2014, 6:45 pm

      @American

      The Word Has Been Uttered on the Senate floor——”Un-American”
      Harry Reid has accused the Koch brothers of being Un-American in a senate floor speech—-for using their money to buy politics.

      Un- American also applies to politicians on the Israel.
      Stay tuned….you’ll see more of the Un American and Traitor accusations from the public added to the already 92% disapproval rate of congress.

      I don’t think that attitude exists yet. If I were going to pick a foreign lobby I hate it would be global finance, all Israel wants under worst case is: a couple billion in weapons, 10k sq miles of land and to push a few natives off it. Global finance is far far worse. Global energy would be up there. And those treaties that drive a lot of the problems originated from the WTO an intergovernmental agency.

      Which gets you to the core problem. You want US sovereignty one of the foreign lobbies that’s most threatening to USA sovereignty is the UN. The idea of an unelected committee of 3rd and 4th world dictatorships believing they can override the elected government of the United States on pretty much whatever they want, that I find repellant. The idea that tens of millions of Americans agree with that I find worrying. And BDS is where you are going to find it.

      So whatever problems you have with the Israeli Lobby. That’s a lobby of Americans, admittedly a minority but Americans which just have an opinion on a foreign policy issue you don’t agree with passionate held. The UN and associated agencies hit so many areas of policy…. I think you are picking the wrong target.

  5. American
    March 24, 2014, 1:30 pm

    And while we’re at it, cut off everybody’s aid—Jordon, Egypt Israel, all of them…let nature take its course.

    There’s also a mad man in Egypt, Gen Sisi —Isr is lobbying for him to be given more US fighter jets.

    Egypt court sentences 529 Morsi supporters to death
    Court charges supporters of ousted Islamist president with murdering a policeman and attacking police.

    By The Associated Press | Mar. 24, 2014 | 10:15 AM | 4
    link to haaretz.com

  6. justicewillprevail
    March 24, 2014, 2:05 pm

    With two thirds of Americans backing a single, democratic state Obama should use that to tell the Israelis that he will consider the two state solution dead if Israel cannot agree to a viable Palestinian state during this round of talks. And thereafter he will commit the US to what its citizens accept – a one state solution. There has not been a single microscopic move to a viable solution from Israel for forty years, what else is going to shift them now, except recognising the reality? Call the lying, evading shysters to book, and end the pretence, bullying and sham statements now. What a relief all round.

    • JeffB
      March 28, 2014, 6:48 pm

      @justice

      Fine with me. Declare Israel the sovereign entity over the West Bank. The Israelis then draw what borders they want and the land problem is over 1-2-3. I’m not going to disagree with you. Yes that makes far more sense!

  7. John Douglas
    March 24, 2014, 2:50 pm

    J. Cook “A humiliating failure in the peace process would add to perceptions of him as a weak leader in the Middle East, following what has been widely presented as his folding in confrontations with Syria and Iran.”

    During his reign, Obama has folded more often than the boys at their Friday night poker game. But I don’t think that not bombing Syria and Iran are either examples of that phenomenon or perceived generally to be so. Excepting for the our own Israel Firsters in and out of goernment, those decisions were met with a collective sigh of relief and for those in the beltway know, Obama showed some backbone in the face of The Lobby.

    • James Canning
      March 24, 2014, 7:47 pm

      I agree Obama showed strength, by not attacking Syria (after deal with Syria re: CW was achieved).

  8. Hostage
    March 24, 2014, 5:27 pm

    The Palestinians, on the other hand, have nothing to show for their participation, and have lost much of the diplomatic momentum gained earlier by winning upgraded status at the United Nations. They have also had to put on hold moves to join dozens of international forums, as well as the threat to bring Israel up on war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court.

    There was no political momentum. UN organs and specialized agencies were faced with defunding if they granted Palestine the rights reserved for a member state. The US and Israel were blocking any chance of UN membership by claiming the only path to statehood was through negotiations under the moribund US-brokered peace process. The Palestinians could have joined the independent treaty organizations, but they had to “be seen” as the victims of fruitless negotiations, and cooperation with the US and Israel, before they could terminate the process and demand support from other states for membership in the UN, pending a final settlement. Israel was admitted as a UN member state prior to the conclusion of negotiations. Simple equity demands that Palestine be granted the same protections afforded by the Charter to UN member states. If the US tries to block the application, the General Assembly should ask for an advisory opinion to see if membership applications are a procedural matter to which the veto does not apply, i.e.

    Article 27
    (2) Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members.
    (3) Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members; provided that, in decisions under Chapter VI, and under paragraph 3 of Article 52, a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting.

    link to yale.edu

    Any state can file a declaration with the ICC prior to accession and accept the Court’s jurisdiction with retroactive effect as of the date the Rome Statute entered into force, in July 2002. So there has been NO loss of momentum on that account. If Palestine joins the ICC, the existing Article 12(3) declaration won’t just “magically” disappear. The Judges will have to rule on its validity inline with the General Assembly resolution on Palestine’s status. It explicitly acknowledged that the PLO Executive has been acting as the provisional government of the State of Palestine since November of 1988 – long before the Rome Statute entered into force.

  9. DaBakr
    March 24, 2014, 8:28 pm

    well, I finally agree with something on mw. Obama is definitely desperate. Though I can npt understand why. He seemed like he understood and learned from ex-potus bush,clinton,bush. Of course when he is through-and still a young-ish man with many books to write and many advances to bank on-I will wager that he will have a very large chip on his shoulder towards Netanyahu and Israel as one of the reasons for his reputation as a weak foreign policy prez. (forget about how Putin has manhandled him and out played him like a master from day one. I’m sure it will be much easier to blame that ‘shitty little nation..’ or that shitty Netan.. and so on and so forth. I still have a lot of respect for Mr. Obama so I will remain open to any possibility and will continue to try and ,make sense out of his foreign policy goals for the US though he is definitely pursuing an unusual path the US strength

    • amigo
      March 25, 2014, 11:11 am

      “I’m sure it will be much easier to blame that ‘shitty little nation..’ or that shitty Netan..” dubakr

      You are far to generous in describing a nation of land grabbing and ethnic cleansing criminals and their war criminal leader.

  10. W.Jones
    March 24, 2014, 9:34 pm

    More PR promoting, this time in Haaretz:
    link to haaretz.com

  11. Taxi
    March 25, 2014, 12:00 am

    The axis of resistance has by far a better chance at winning a peace than… well, anyone else.

  12. Daniel Rich
    March 25, 2014, 1:41 am

    The Apartheid State doe not want peace. Every time it is heading somewhere, bang, new set of demands.

    “Recognize the Israeli State! Did you just say ‘Yes?’ Fuck Oh, I see. Well, in that case we want you to recognize a Jewish Israeli state… What do you mean with ‘That’s OK?'” Fuck Oh, I see. Well, in that case we want you to recognize a Jewish Israeli State for Jews only! What?! Fuck Oh, I see. Well, in that case we want you to recognize a Jewish Israeli State for Jews only, without Arabs! living in it etc., etc.,, etc.” – BB Netanyahoo

  13. Accentitude
    March 25, 2014, 8:54 am

    Here’s the deal:
    The entire time that these talks have been going on, the Israelis have been murdering Palestinians. Most of the prisoners that were released in rounds during the talks have been re-arrested. Settlement housing tenders are at an all-time high, land confiscation is still a daily occurrence, and racist price-tage attacks in WB & EJ are a dime a dozen often under the watchful eye of IDF. On top of that, the entire time that the talks have been going on, the Israelis have been saying that they don’t have a partner for peace, yet despite all of this, security coordination between the PA and Israel is still at its optimum level. Israel has not once presented a map of the disputed region in these talks or any talks before it and has provided no indication whatsoever of their willingness to draw final borders for their undefined gelatinous blob of a nation. They have constantly demanded that Palestinians recognize Israel as “Jewish state” in order for the talks to continue despite constantly demanding “no preconditions.” By the way, the PLO and the PA have already recognized the legitimacy of the Israeli state on several….well-documented….occasions while Israel still stands by the belief that there is no occupation, there never was/is a Palestine (ask the Jews of 1930s to produce a map for these revisionist Zionists), and that the oPt is Judea and Samaria, part of Eretz Israel.

    The talks have been doomed from the start because the United States does not have the capacity on any level whatsoever to be an unbiased mediator between the two sides. Certainly not when it’s providing one side with billions of dollars per year and particularly in which some of those billions are used to buy the drones, warplanes, Iron Dome systems, hellfire, cluster, and white phosphorous munitions and other tools of death used against the Palestinians and while it is invested in the settlement enterprise…and lets not forget M72 Law rockets fired into the face of unarmed protestors in Birzeit. On top of that, Israel has fiddled its thumbs and stuck its nose in the air during the entire length of the talks and has not proposed anything at all. Now when the final bell is about to ring, they’re complaining that more time is needed. Like a student who slacked off all semester and is suddenly faced with the threat of a final exam that may prevent his graduation. Of course more time is needed. More time is needed to enable Israel to kill more Palestinians and to expand deeper into the West Bank (they still want the E1 Corridor and the Jordan Valley and all air, land, and sea borders under their control, and long term military and police presence in Palestine…for “security” or course. This has already been determined before they came to the table) and to develop more facts on the ground that make a 2 state solution thoroughly impossible. Meanwhile, this “no partner for peace”, Abbas is proposing that the Arab League continues to keep the Saudi Peace Initiative on the table. The same one that calls for complete normalization with 22 countries in exchange for the end to the occupation. The same one that has been sitting on Bibi’s desk for several years, completely ignored by the Israeli government.

    There is no reason whatsoever for the PLO to continue talking with Israel and its financier, the United States. Even before the talks began, Israel and the United States dictated the results. They have proven time and time again that they are biased and that they are not interested in resolving the conflict but they two nations in a world of 196 nations. The ONLY solution is for the PLO to treat Bibi and Obama a vow of silence and take this issue to the UN whether they throw a hissy fit or not. If Abbas had any kind of balls, that’s what he would do.

    • Citizen
      March 25, 2014, 11:23 am

      I wonder if Abbas or Obama has read Soros recently posted view of the I-P situation, wherein he names one of three major world crisis:

      “Soros: Recent developments in Egypt have improved the chances of progress in the long-festering Palestinian crisis. The army, with the active support of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, has removed the legally elected president and is engaged in the brutal suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood. This otherwise disturbing development has a potentially benign side effect: it raises the possibility of a peace settlement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, to the exclusion of Hamas. This would have been inconceivable a few months ago. Secretary of State John Kerry became engaged in the Palestinian negotiations well before this window of opportunity opened, so he is ahead of the game. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is very suspicious but, for all his intransigence, cannot openly oppose negotiations because, having openly supported Mitt Romney in the American elections, he holds a relatively weak hand. Negotiations are making progress, but very slowly indeed.”

      Soros’s POV, because he is so rich and influential on the world scene, needs to be factored in–when the USSR was collapsing, the Russian oligarchs came to him to borrow capital–at the time, he refused, as did other Western money bags–too risky.

  14. amigo
    March 25, 2014, 11:08 am

    Not too worry, Israel has a solution and they say it,s legal.

    “Israeli government doc: Population exchange legal under international law “Haaretz

    link to haaretz.com

    It is premium content so you may have to pay.

    While you are there check out the following!!!

    It’s official! The Rolling Stones are coming to Tel Aviv
    Tickets for the legendary rock band’s June 4 show are going on sale on March 30.

    link to haaretz.com

    Get to work Roger and fellow humanists.

    • Hostage
      March 25, 2014, 1:28 pm

      Not too worry, Israel has a solution and they say it’s legal. “Israeli government doc: Population exchange legal under international law “Haaretz

      LOL! Israel always argues that the borders of the disputed territories can only be decided through “negotiations”. But it can’t even support that proposition in its own advisory opinion without citing the example of the ICJ adjudicating a frontier dispute in “Land, Island and Maritime Frontier Dispute (El Salvador/Honduras: Nicaragua intervening)”, i.e.

      THE CHAMBER,
      Unanimously,
      Decides that the boundary line between the Republic of El Salvador and the Republic of Honduras in the first sector of their common frontier not described in Article 16 of the General Treaty of Peace signed by the Parties on 30 October 1980, is as follows: . . . & etc.

      link to icj-cij.org

      I’d pay to watch an ICJ adjudication of the “Land and Maritime Frontier Dispute (Palestine/Israel: Syria and Lebanon intervening)”

      The other two examples cited in support of the proposition are inapposite. They dealt with decolonization in Algeria and Hong Kong and did not relocate the frontiers in order to retain colonies or exclude specific ethnic groups from participating in the political life of the territories concerned. This is really a case of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” in order to retain illegal Israeli colonies, by swapping them for areas in Israel inhabited by Palestinians.

  15. Citizen
    March 25, 2014, 12:08 pm

    Obama may free Pollard to keep the peace process moving: link to jpost.com

    • James Canning
      March 27, 2014, 1:49 pm

      Casper Weinberger said Pollard should have been shot.

      • Ellen
        March 27, 2014, 9:49 pm

        The Israelis would have shot him first if they had the chance. He was already in the Israeli Embassy before they could get to him.

        His original sentence was much less than life, but the presiding judge was presented with evidence by State (that still remains under security) after the initial sentencing that confirmed this guy did a whole lot more than just providing Israel ( for sale ) with highly secure intelligence, but that he was all over the globe. And that the ultimate damage was immense, including the assassinations of US citizens overseas.

        He will never be released, not matter how much Israel and the Zionist cause honors him as a hero.

      • James Canning
        March 28, 2014, 2:11 pm

        Great post, Ellen. I of course hope you are correct (about Pollard’s permanent incarceration).

    • Hostage
      March 27, 2014, 9:34 pm

      Obama may free Pollard to keep the peace process moving: link to jpost.com

      The State Department said those Israeli Army radio rumors were false.

  16. seafoid
    March 25, 2014, 12:15 pm

    link to theguardian.com

    “Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has commissioned a confidential legal opinion that argues it would be “legal” under international law to transfer Arab-Isreali (sic) citizens to a new Palestinian state by shifting the border.

    The internal foreign ministry document, leaked to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, makes clear that the controversial proposal, which the rightwing foreign minister has been promoting for some years, would only be in line with international law if executed with the consent of those being transferred, and if it did not leave any of those transferred without any kind of citizenship.”

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 25, 2014, 12:32 pm

      “would only be in line with international law if executed with the consent of those being transferred, and if it did not leave any of those transferred without any kind of citizenship.”

      Sure, and what are the odds that the Moldovan Mussolini (I got to stop insulting Il Duce like that…) will be less than meticulous in obtaining that “consent.” Oh, and no doubt the zionist entity will create a special third-class citizenship for those who are ejected: technically citizens of israel, without the right to any services or rights whatsoever and specifically barred from entering the country.

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