MHughes, thanks for the logic and reason. gamal seems proud of having a closed mind. He reminds me of my Jewish friend who looked up from my letter to SFRC Chairman Chuck Percy asking for even-handedness and said, “Look, we have the right to do what we are doing and we are going to do it even if this whole goddammed world comes apart.”
You are likely correct, Abbas's response resonated. It was expensive. Seldom is rebuke effective and especially with an egomaniac who occupies a big chair. That was a gamble with the well being of his people. Let's hope it pays a dividend. I appreciated Kim's savvy with Trump.
I think Trump knows Jerusalem is a world issue and some measure of justice there is essential to his own success at making an agreement. He clearly said he'd be good, 'if both sides agree'.
Also, I've discussed the Question of Palestine enough with Members of Congress over the years to know many resent that bit in their mouth but feel trapped by the victim narrative Israel is able to advance as the result of lone wolf violence that gets celebrated by the community and goes uncriticized by leadership. And the uncertainty about future intentions re co-existence. (from the river to the sea).
Arafat once, under pressure, hired a PR firm. The head guy said to me about Arafat, "He won't listen to a thing I say". Arrogance and pride carry a price, something gamal hasn't learned.
Good article, remember reading it back then. Can we stipulate Netanyahu has no interest in an agreement? That is central to why greater diplomatic sophistication is necessary. That Trump knows it too is central and highly relevant to all I've written.
We disagree as to whether there is tension between them, carefully hidden for sure. I fear that it not being understood, especially by Abbas, will result in Netanyahu being able to milk more from Trump who likely feels compelled to continue to prove his friendship and keep his ability at leverage for when he determines he needs to employ it. Hence time is not to be wasted, nor unnecessary mistakes made.
As to Trump'sconsequence threat. In my judgment, a Jewish State in most important to Netanyahu. Trump's speaking about a 1SS as an acceptable outcome rattled Netanyahu, as I reason.... and because there would be no defense against equality, he put the nation/state proposition on the table. So, in effect, if Abbas can not agree to the 2SS Trump puts down, the secular state could take center stage.... and gain resonance in the political arena worldwide, even ou Congress. Abbas has said he may shift to the one state (I hope he uses a good PR advisor). Let's hope those with the most to gain recognize how it could unfold to their advantage. Here we come back to Trump's ego and how he's cornered/positioned Netanyahu. That he's spoken so much about making an agreement, I find somewhat encouraging.
Of course, this is speculation, I'd like to think informed speculation. The entire world has been trying to figure/speculate on Trump so I don't see the upside of insisting on who is correct. Identifying logic and reason, yes.
I believe those who zero in on notions of fair play may arrive at different approaches to those actively seeking to influence political leaders and the prevailing narrative. That does not mean they are blind to fair play. We have witnessed a very sophisticated double game for many years. I think in terms of exposing it to stop it. That will take sophistication and savvy.
annie, I found it noteworthy when Trump, about 9 months back, out of the blue said he questioned if Netanyahu was serious about working out a deal. Found it relevant,at his first meeting with Netanyahu, he surprised him with, one state or two, so long as both agree, he'd be good with it. He put the big consequence to Netanyahu's refusal to agree to a respectable 2SS on the big table. I suspect the nation/state law was a defense to the one state getting traction. It's long been recognized any deal would require Presidential pressure on the GOI and that's why I note Trump has positioned himself, if he determines he needs to, to apply pressure. Note how Obama's ability to apply pressure was defended against, by making him an adversary. Note also that Clinton used his final days at Taba trying unsuccesfully to use the political capital he'd tried to gain by Dennis Ross type decisions throughout his Presidency.
You asked how I would have advised Abbas to respond to Trump's embassy declaration. I'll give a shot expecting it will bring more ridicule. First, I would have avoided reinforcing the longtime charge of always saying "No". Tried to avoid reinforcing the idea that Jewish interests would not be respected in the endgame. (Yes, I'm fully aware of the longtime disrespect toward Palestinians.) Tried to come across as willing to find the way to a deal while identifying what cannot be agreed to. Perhaps asking for clarifications about which Jerusalem, what were the boundaries, what about Arab East Jerusalem, Silwan? Let Israel be the belligerent one.
I wasn't trying to short Palestinian activists by referring to Al Lilienthal and Elmer Berger, but to say they both told me Palestinian leaders could play a better hand. However, a couple days ago, a Lebanese friend bemoaned the minimal role of the "thousands of Palestinian millionaires". That I don't know. However, most Palestinians I've met in America aren't looking back.
Clearly, there is widespread support for justice for Palestinians from all over the world. Why has that support not translated to political gains is important to get a handle on. I've tried to address that in this thread and am puzzled that hasn't been commented upon.
My central concern is not for Palestine or Israel but for a more peaceful world and the rule of law threatened by America and Israel. I think its more the case Israel takes from America more than America gives. We are pushed into fighting Israel's wars largely because of hashbara successes at portraying Israel the victim, hence the imperative of coming to terms with that. That's PR work.
Perhaps I'd been better to say I'm not a Hatfield or a McCoy, instead of not a tribalist, meaning not a partisan without a commitment to the common good.
I've met many people who dedicated their lives to IP peace. Al Lilienthal, Elmer Berger come to mind. Its possible you and I will suffer the same lack of success. How to make lemonade is our challenge, not only for Israelis and Palestinians but all humankind.
Savvy and sophistication do not equate to kowtowing or surrender to a master. Exactly the opposite. They entail, especially with a worldwide audience, being calculating, not being belligerent or blinded by anger.... trying to occupy the high ground and exposing the flaws for all to see. Yes, Kim has nuclear weapons but he's brought Trump to the point of saying, "We fell in love". That's savvy, regardless of how matters play out. An example of the art of diplomacy
Your take on Trump seems set. I'm not so sure. When it comes to his ego, everyone can get sacrificed. Having Netanyahu in a position he can't say no has advantages.
I didn't' intend to say Palestinians were too uppity or didn't know their place. Instead, I see things have not gone well for them for a very long time and that is the heart of my concern. Not only for them but the region and the world. We see the dominant narrative, "Israel has the right to defend itself'', has undermined Palestinian fortunes, undermined the safe political ground we would like our politicians to move to. I believe a nsuccessful narrative could be the original PLO position, one Abbas has also mentioned, a secular democratic state with equality for all. This entails angling toward positive neighborly relations while knowing that is a great threat and will be attacked.
Annie, thanks again,
I see your sense of fairplay and indignation with Trump. Probably "no respect" should apply to most Americans, all Administrations, all Congresses and media organizations for the last 70 years as well. Trump has not earned the respect of Europe, China, Russia, Canada, etc. but that has not translated in overt rebukes. Sophistication influences how anger is shown. It saddened me to see Abbas and Erekat, lacked the savvy and sophistication to contend with the circumstances.
My tendency is to analyze based on the political landscape and psychological dynamics.
involved. All Presidents I remember kissed up to Israel to position themselves to make a difference later on. That has been determined by the landscape not a sense of fairness. Is it your opinion Netanyahu is confident in Trump? Perhaps you know what Trump has in mind, I'm not sure I do.
Having spent much of my adult life trying to make a difference with Congress and the media, I'm keenly aware how the issue of violence/non-violence plays out. Probably thats was my main point. Wondering if you've had much time on Capitol Hill offices or have an opinion on how violence has played into the cultivated narrative. And yes I know very well who perveys the great majority of violence. If Palestinian violence dies down, Israel incites for more of it. The "security " argument is a successful double game.
In short, I'm uncomfortable moving forward on the necessity to bring America down and see it more reasonable to manipulate it to a better endgame. Abbas has said, he'll go one state if he's disrespected in negotiations. If he plays a good hand, Netanyahu could have to confront our Congress along with the whole world on equality.
My Senator, Tim Kaine, understood my suggestion to him that the key to the Palestine Question was "equality". He asked David Friedman during his confirmation hearing if he thought in a one state arrangment, Palestinians would settle for less than full equality. After a long pause, Friedman said, "No, I don't think they would". Later when I thanked Kaine for that, he, with some excitement said, "Did you notice he gave me the right answer?" This is what I mean by "safe political ground" for a politician to stand on.
Annie, thanks for taking your time to offer an analysis.
Refusing to meetTrump's VP envoy was taken as a sharp rebuke and in front of the world. What he did on the embassy was not something I'd advised but it was done. Dealing with Trump requires savvy.... note, Kim. You don't wrestle with a hog so to speak. Trump is a bully with a bizarre style of leadership. Not the mad dog style Moshe Dyan favored, more like breaking eggs to make an omelet. He's said its more difficult than being "presidential". I would have characterized Pence's coming for talks, not negotiations. They needed to talk, among things, about which Jerusalem was envisioned, the status of East Jerusalem, The Old City?What was in it for them, etc. Generally, when negotiations are public, its best to not jump to "No", to be diplomatic almost regardless.
Muscle was not a good choice of words for me. A better way of making that point, a top Palestinian academic says privately, stones and rockets are counter-productive, but would not say so in public. All violence (muscle) is Netanyahu's game. Only civil rights intimidate him. Not the best example, but it would have been counter-productive for those working for justice in Ferguson to tolerate violence toward police. As things are now every Member of Congress, even Keith Ellison, will have to say Israel has the right to defend itself.... politics, media narrative, hasbara, etc. Thousands attending the funeral of the killer of young parents undercuts our efforts to make headway with Congress. Anger consumes.
We are on page about non-violence being what intimidates most effectively. And we agree Israel has never sought peace, not even honored a ceasefire. My hunch is Netanyahu is the one most intimidated by Trump whose ego is greater than friendship and has positioned himself where Netanyahu can't say no to him.
I believe uncondemned, lone wolf violence has spoiled the greater non-violence stew. Hence the headway of anti bds legislation and the lack of safe political ground to persuade our Members to.
Trump said he wants a deal in his first term and it won't happen if Palestinians don't get respect. He explained his logic saying it was a given Jews would have a capital in Jerusalem and Palestinians would get something good in return. He says a greater ME peace will be an objective in a second term. To me this justifies some benefit of the doubt. Victory can go to those who figure Trump out.