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A cruel fantasy: ‘NYT’ sets hopes on US principles for a peace deal

on 23 Comments

Qalandiya Checkpoint, the Occupied Territories, Feb. 19, 2010. (Photo by Anees of Jerusalem)

On Sunday, the NY Times’ ran an editorial about a fantastical “set of American principles that point the way to a peace deal if the two sides ever muster the will to agree on one:”

Mr. Obama showed leadership in empowering Secretary of State John Kerry to undertake a nine-month negotiation on an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal after fumbling badly with his first peacemaking overture in 2009. The second effort, which seemed better prepared, is now in tatters and seems unlikely to be revived soon. But it demonstrated a serious American commitment and was still worth it, especially if it results in a set of American principles that point the way to a peace deal if the two sides ever muster the will to agree on one.

Here’s the letter I dashed off to the Times:

Just when I was beginning to see signs in recent months that there might be hope that the New York Times might provide a little more insight into the realities on the ground in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, along comes the segment on “Israel and the Palestinians” in the Editors’ Sunday May 4 “President Obama and the World” editorial that omits what’s actually going on and instead implies that the so-called negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is one between two parties that can equally decide on peace.

The provable reality is, of course, that Israel has almost complete control over Palestinian land and lives.

Israel is the world’s fourth largest military power backed by the world’s only superpower, while the Palestinians are a mostly-unarmed civilian population living for decades under military occupation, and in recent years, saddled with an impotent, illegitimate government kept in office by Israel and the United States. Such a power imbalance doesn’t bode well for anything but the more powerful party dictating an outcome to the weaker party.

I find cruel the editors’ fantastical declaration that if only Palestinians and Israelis “muster the will to agree on” a peace deal we would have one. How can that be done when Israel, abetted by the United States, has made it clear that the only acceptable outcome is a p-i-e-c-e deal that will relegate Palestinians to a few disconnected bantustans of land subject to perpetual Israeli occupation?

The editors may let America off the hook, but I and many others refuse to ignore that more than three billion of US taxpayer dollars are sent to Israel every year. Those dollars that could be better used at home not only help Israel to maintain its occupation, but they are sent in violation to US law, and if its anything I’d expect my government to honor as a basic commitment to protecting the people of the US it’s upholding law.

Since Palestinians cannot will in a peace, and the US government refuses to uphold both domestic law, and the international laws that deem Israel’s settlements, occupation, wall, ethnic cleansing and current apartheid system of separate laws illegal, it’s up to the citizens of the world to respond to the 2005 call of Palestinian civil society to help bring an end to Israel’s dispossession and other crimes through BDS, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

Linda Frank

Linda Frank is a member of the Tacoma chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace and The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

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23 Responses

  1. amigo on May 6, 2014, 3:48 pm

    Do these people really believe all the BS they print or are they so deep in the Zionists pockets they print what they are handed and the hell with the facts.

    So the hell with these incorrigible deviants and on with BDS.It is the only way to bury these enemies of all that is just and fair and never let them see the light of day again.

  2. Susie Kneedler on May 6, 2014, 4:11 pm

    Wow, thanks, Linda Frank, for a perfect argument about Israel’s crimes, U.S. complicity, NYT’s cover-up–and why BDS is our best response. What beautiful reasoning about stopping such ugliness.

  3. eGuard on May 6, 2014, 4:31 pm

    Apart from this, the parts about Iran and “Arab turmoil”(Egypt!) are childish too. As if the editor cannot add two plus two. Glad I can.

  4. Kay24 on May 6, 2014, 4:41 pm

    Well said Linda Frank, I think you speak for many here. Time the NYT pretended it is short sighted, and make an effort to get out of AIPAC control. It seems the NYT is under occupation too.

  5. MHughes976 on May 6, 2014, 4:47 pm

    All right then, Editorial Board, tell us what are the terms of the peace deal that American principles would imply.

  6. Citizen on May 6, 2014, 5:03 pm

    Beneath it, the discrepancy between liberal zionism and authentic democracy, the subject of Phil Weiss’s interview here, back in November of 2012:

    What’s changed?

    • Ecru on May 7, 2014, 2:42 am

      “Liberal” Zionism is just Jewish Supremacism with a “happy face.” It doesn’t believe in anything, not democracy, human rights, the rule of law or morality – ALL it cares about is the supremacy of Jews over others.

  7. Boomer on May 6, 2014, 5:04 pm

    Good letter. Has NYT published it?

  8. DaBakr on May 6, 2014, 7:07 pm

    What a lie. 4th largest military? Israel doesn’t even make the top 10. Talk about ridiculous hyperbole…sheesh.

    Rank Country Army Personnel
    1. China 1600000
    2. India 1100000
    3. North Korea 950000
    4. South Korea 560000
    5. Pakistan 550000
    6. USA 477800
    7. Vietnam 412000
    8. Turkey 402000
    9. Iraq 375000
    10. Russia 321000

    • Citizen on May 8, 2014, 1:07 pm

      @ DaBakr

      There are a lot of variant lists of “the most powerful military in the world.” The highest I’ve seen Israel ranked is #13. Usually, much lower. However, Israel has been ranked fourth as to some aspects of the criteria I’ve read. There’s no question Israel’s military weapons are very highly ranked. As you likely know, the US has kept it’s promise to Israel to maintain a cutting edge, absolutely first class arms–at US expense. Further, Israel’s whole Jewish population can be mustered to take up arms in less time than most countries can get their military in ready stage. One drawback for Israel is that, precisely because of its dependence on its ready reserves fora major war fling, it can only maintain such a war for a few months or else the economy tanks as most of the Jewish population is engaged in their military jobs.

      • Citizen on May 8, 2014, 1:44 pm

        You can compare 2014 comparative conventional military power criteria in great detail here:
        A few samples of Israel’s rankings:
        Aircraft power: # 17
        Naval power: #23
        Available man power #80
        Reserve man power #19
        Active man power # 34

    • Citizen on May 8, 2014, 2:36 pm

      When comparing military power, number of active soldiers is a small piece of the military power pie that must be looked at. This is not the mid-20th Century anymore. Even way back in that WW2 era, if Germany had the ME262 in large quantities, say in 1940, we’d be living in a different world now. And, there’s the doomsday card: nukes. Israel has over 300 stockpiled:

      What one should fear is the Samson Option. Doctor Strangelove in real life.

  9. anthonybellchambers on May 6, 2014, 9:16 pm

    Given the anti-democratic, political headlock that the US Congress is in from the powerful Israel lobby / AIPAC, the only definitive way to obtain a paradigm shift is for the EU parliament to abrogate the EU-Israel Association Agreement (the Human Rights provisions of which Israel has been in serious breach for some years). Only when Israel’s primary market is closed for bilateral trade will the international community be able to bring that coalition government to heel.

    Without the massive trading profits from its non-member, discretionary access to the EU single market, vital economic considerations would force the recalcitrant, expansionist occupier to conform to international law and the Geneva Conventions. This would appear to be the only real option that is both valid and possible and it would be helpful if the NYT afforded some input into this solution. Then it would be on the right side of history.

  10. wondering jew on May 6, 2014, 11:09 pm

    I don’t see how American principles (to be enunciated by Kerry or Obama) could make any difference, insofar as the Clinton principles of December 2000 did not expedite the arrival of peace and are only referred to by pundits and not statesmen.. Unless Kerry and Obama state explicitly that unlike the Clinton principles which were self destructing (if the two sides don’t agree while I’m still in office, then we will pretend that these principles were never enunciated, wrote Clinton, more or less), these new Obama Kerry principles would become the new official foreign policy of the United States. There is little chance that Obama would tie the hands of an incoming President Hillary Clinton and there is little chance that a Republican would feel bound by Obama principles, so I don’t see that such a statement of principles would make any difference.

    • MHughes976 on May 7, 2014, 2:53 pm

      Mind you, Yonah, principles last longer, one hopes, than governments and if it is the case that certain principles have traditionally guided American policy it would be interesting to know what would happen in the ME were those principles followed.

  11. Nevada Ned on May 7, 2014, 12:38 am

    Off-topic, but did you see that Hollywood is now boycotting the Hollywood hotel, because the hotel owner is the Sultan of Brunei, who is phasing in the Sharia Islamic law, including harsh punishment (e.g., stoning) as punishment for “crimes” like abortion, homosexuality, etc.
    This in a Hollywood where gay rights and gay marriage are respectable causes.

    Some some boycotts are good, right?

    I wonder if we’ll hear from the opponents of the boycott of Israel, voicing the same objections to boycotting Israel, e.g, claiming that the boycott “will only hurt the people we’re trying to help,” etc.

    Also, boycotting the Hollywood Hotel is “anti-Sultanism”.

  12. Ecru on May 7, 2014, 1:36 am

    The US is completely incapable of ushering in any peace deal that involves Israel – the machinery of state, academic government and the MSM is just too compromised by Zionist infiltrators and those who fund them.

  13. saramus on May 7, 2014, 9:05 am

    Great work, Linda, as always!

  14. American on May 7, 2014, 9:49 am

    What American principles?
    We dont have any _____ American or any other kind of principles in our government any more.

  15. NickJOCW on May 7, 2014, 9:55 am

    Whatever Obama may be up to counter AIPAC (Matthew Taylor two days ago ) one cannot seriously expect him to do it on the White House lawn in a pink tutu. Does anyone believe anonymous leaks to Newsweek exposing Israel’s spying on US commercial interests caused him great astonishment.

  16. American on May 7, 2014, 11:13 am

    BTW…..Related —-for those who were interested in the NC 3rd district primary between Congressman Walter Jones and the Emergency Committee for Israel candidate Taylor Griffin…..Jones won—-ECI lost.

    The amount of ads attacking Jones were really astounding–tired to paint him as a liberal, a phony conservative , un American, isolationist, weak, etc etc. But it didnt work even in this conservative leaning area.
    This vote clearly said anti war, anti foreign entanglements, anti interventionalist , America first, among the conservative base here.
    Local comments heard most often—Griffin is a ‘transplanted’ insider from DC, dont want any DC insiders…and who the hell these ‘outsiders’ coming into our district and attacking one of our own…..and Jones is right, no more blood and money for foreign adventures.

    • just on May 7, 2014, 2:35 pm

      That’s good news. Jones’ evolution is interesting — from Freedom Fries to antiwar.

      Nice defeat for the lobby, et al.

  17. piotr on May 7, 2014, 12:53 pm

    “The second effort, which seemed better prepared, is now in tatters and seems unlikely to be revived soon.”

    Something is obviously wrong here. In what sense “the second effort” could seem “better prepared”? It is not even an attempt at analysis but perfunctory blather that provides information only if deconstructed with “unreliable narrator” assumption.

    There is only one aspect that distinguishes the “second effort” from “2009 attempt”, namely that at least initially the government of Israel complained less. After all, there was no settlement freeze this time. But as before, GoI refused to put ANY offer on the table concerning eventual boundaries, and it was increasingly hard to continue the farce. The reason for that reluctance are not secret, because they were elucidated by the members of GoI: many of them reject any form of “concessions”, to put down an offer would at the very least require that they loose face. Hence, only significant pressure on GoI could change that.

    The only pressure that I could discern was that Kerry was forcing members of GoI into meetings that they did not like at all and complained bitterly (mostly Ya’alon), but that meant only that they used the first opportunity to interrupt the process. Repeating the farce again would lead to the same results.

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