Leapfrogging Barriers to a Two State Deal

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I’m coming out of the closet as a fan of David Makovsky.
David_Makovsky_press_photo.jpgMakovsky is the Ziegler Distinguished Fellow and Director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy — and for the last couple of years, he has been quietly agitating to get people involved in the Middle East peace business to understand that “sequencing” matters more than anything else right now in the peace process.
Makovsky — with whom I respectfully disagree on his dismissal of linkage between Iran’s growing power and the I/P ulcer — has been arguing for some time that the best way to actually achieve progress in Israel/Palestine negotiations yielding a safe and secure Israel and a viable and hopefully prosperous Palestine is to definitively resolve “borders” and “security” first.
Makovsky’s formula is startling for its simplicity and brilliance — as it subordinates two of the thorniest problems in the peace process: settlement expansion and Hamas. I believe that Hamas eventually must be a part of the equation, but right now a sensible security formula that pushes two states forward can mitigate the threats that come from Hamas.
And as settlers go, once the lines are decided — those on one side of the line will know they are in Israel, and those on the other will know that they’ll be living in Palestine — make their choices now.
What interests me — and gives me some reason for optimism right now — is that in the power DC holiday party circuit ranging from parties thrown both by Hillary Clinton and Joe & Jill Biden respectively last night, or at Politico‘s party at the Corcoran, or at the reception given by Barack and Michelle Obama for White House correspondents — there is side chatter going on about a borders/security portal back into Israel/Palestine negotiations. Admittedly, there is chatter going on about Lady Gaga, the life and impact of Richard Holbrooke, and the snow storm on its way too — but Israel/Palestine has not been neglected in cocktail discussions around Christmas trees and menorahs.
And get this:

1. J Street has also been pushing a borders and security first frame.
2. Daniel Levy of the New America Foundation’s Middle East Task Force is also about to release a new report that emphasizes borders and security.
3. Martin Indyk who is the foreign policy czar at Brookings has written an important op-ed in the Financial Times endorsing this approach for the most part.
4. The so-called “Elders” of Desmond Tut, Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Brundtland, Grace Machel, Ela Bhatt, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, and Mary Robinson have also suggested in point 3 of their recent letter on the Israel/Palestine standoff that “The remaining final status issues can be addressed more effectively once there is an agreement on borders and security.”

AND AND AND AND AND


5. WINEP’s David Makovsky has been calling for the same borders and security first strategy before any of the others.

AND AND AND AND AND


6. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seems to be channeling Richard Holbrooke’s tenacious focus on results — and realizing that the current game is not working and that an approach that involves US-suggested “bridging proposals” that include borders and security may be the way forward.
Clinton recently stated at the 2010 Brookings Saban Forum:

Now, it is no secret that the parties have a long way to go and that they have not yet made the difficult decisions that peace requires. And like many of you, I regret that we have not gotten farther faster in our recent efforts. That is why yesterday and today I met with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators and underscored our seriousness about moving forward with refocused goals and expectations.
It is time to grapple with the core issues of the conflict on borders and security; settlements, water and refugees; and on Jerusalem itself. And starting with my meetings this week, that is exactly what we are doing. We will also deepen our strong commitment to supporting the state-building work of the Palestinian Authority and continue to urge the states of the region to develop the content of the Arab Peace Initiative and to work toward implementing its vision.

There is a consensus brewing among progressives in America, big name foreign policy hands overseas, some neoconservatives, and foreign policy progressive realists that a borders/security strategy is a way to leapfrog over the current impediments to progress.
The formula could be relatively simple – to delineate a border for a Palestinian state that is based on the 67 lines and that allows for landswaps that are equal in size and value to accommodate some of those settlements. A border would of course have to include Jerusalem, but the most sensitive area of the Old City would only be addressed with the other outstanding permanent status issues.
One of the things that really impresses me after a few meetings with Makovsky is his genuine interest in resolving this dispute and getting to two states. Some pretend to be interested in this or that approach to Israel-Palestine negotiations in ways that assure failure. But that is not Makovsky.
The White House should invite David Makovsky and perhaps a few others of the aforementioned in for a talk about sequencing and what it buys for the process. It would be an hour well spent.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

63 comments on “Leapfrogging Barriers to a Two State Deal

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  8. nadine says:

    “Nadine – Let me ask you two simple questions. Do you think that Netanyahu and the current Israeli government is serious about negotiations that would allow a viable, self-supporting, and continguous Palestine?” (jdledell)
    Yes, IF Netanyahu et. al. saw a Palestinian government that could deliver its side of a deal, which they don’t see in Abbas. If, say, Fayyad strengthened his position and looked like he could sign a compromise without an immediate Hamas takeover of the WB, Netanyahu would have to negotiate seriously, whether he liked it or not: the Israeli consensus would force his hand.
    “If the situation were reversed and it was Jews who were occupied, what course of action would you reccomend we take to make a viable, self-supporting and contiguous Jewish homeland?”
    Just what Ben Gurion did do in the 1940s: build the institutions of a state, and accept a compromise (as I’m sure you remember, the November 1947 UN Partition didn’t even include Jerusalem). If the Palestinians were remotely like the Zionists, they would have accepted an Arab Palestine in 1948. They could have been as viable, self-supporting and contiguous as you like. The essential problem is that their ethos is not founded upon building a homeland for themselves, but on destroying the Jewish homeland. Their actions have been entirely consistent with this ethos.

    Reply

  9. jdledell says:

    Nadine – Let me ask you two simple questions. Do you think that Netanyahu and the current Israeli government is serious about negotiations that would allow a viable, self-supporting, and continguous Palestine?
    If the situation were reversed and it was Jews who were occupied, what course of action would you reccomend we take to make a viable, self-supporting and contiguous Jewish homeland?

    Reply

  10. nadine says:

    John Waring, if Andrew Sullivan’s illogical jabber is better than what you can say, I wouldn’t be admitting it in public, if I were you.
    What’s the logic here? Let’s see: Obama is a genius, so if Obama’s super-brilliant Mideast policy is in shambles, then nobody can succeed. So just impose a peace from outside without anybody’s cooperation!
    Hoo boy. What brilliance. Who knew it was so simple? Why did nobody have this great idea before? And whose army does Sullivan think should enforce this imposed peace on all the warring factions? What a maroon.

    Reply

  11. John Waring says:

    Yesterday Andrew Sullivan made my point much better than I can:
    “But here’s the point: it has proven to almost everyone that nothing serious can get done between the current Israeli polity and the promising, if still inchoate, nation-builders in the West Bank. Obama has not asserted this; he has demonstrated it. And this is the key difference between Bush and Obama. Bush constantly declared things to be so. Obama waits until everyone sees it for sure.
    This patience, moreover, does not go nowhere. Failure leads to new terms for success. And what Obama has done is get Netanyahu unwittingly to make the global argument that a peace settlement cannot be won with Israel’s support and cooperation – but can only be imposed somehow from outside. The two years of trying so clearly to make the old model work has … proven the old model is finished. Now watch the U.N.”
    Exactly.

    Reply

  12. samuelburke says:

    there is an excellent exchange by a white house communications
    guy and a member of the press in the clip on the link below.
    Abu Ramah has been imprisoned by Israel for over one year on ?
    charges the EU says are “intended to prevent him and other ?
    Palestinian from exercising their legitimate right to protest
    against ?the existence of the separation barries in a nonviolent
    manner”
    Jimmy Carter: “Israeli military prosecutors want to extend
    Abdallah Abu Rahmah’s sentence as a deterrent to others who
    may follow his example. The Elders believe that his example of
    non-violent resistance against the occupation is a model that
    others should follow”.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/matthew-lee-of-ap-why-is-
    it-beneath-the-united-states-to-come-out-and-say-
    something-about-this-person-who-is-a-practitioner-of-
    nonviolence.html

    Reply

  13. nadine says:

    jdledell, is there anywhere you can find the straight figures for: percent of WB (ex Jerusalem, which was annexed) built-up as settlements, and in municipal boundaries of settlements? I’ve tried to look, and it’s impossible to find because they are always inflated with claims of land Israel “controls” via roads or regional councils or whatever. Nobody wants to give the straight figures.
    I respect that you believe what you believe. However, your beliefs can’t be called “realistic” if you don’t correctly assess what BOTH sides of the conflict believe. I think you’re so afraid of the frying pan, you’re ready to jump into the fire.

    Reply

  14. Neo Controll says:

    OT, just take a look at this video of DOS disgusting cowardice when questioned about Israeli oppression of non violent protest
    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/12/17/video_state_department_trembles_as_journalist_asks/

    Reply

  15. jdledell says:

    Nadine – You asked for an example of settlement growth. I offer Geva Binyamin, probably known to you as Adam. Like numerous settlements, it has broad municipal boundries. They are establishing a new “neighborhood” called Adam East about one kilometer to the west of the main town. This is the same place that was recommended to me when I was exploring Aliyah in 2008.
    While the actual settlements may not cover a great deal of the west bank, the municipal boundries do. For example the new 130 homes for Gilo are down the hill on land that Bethlehem had slated for expansion. Furthermore, access to those settlements via roads eats up a lot more land and makes the viabilty of Palestinian travel onerous.
    The point is since 1967 Israel has taken over X% of the West Bank in settlements and the tripling of Jerusalems boundries from ZERO%. The percentage of land taken over by Israel has increased every year since 1967. The tripling of Jerusalem’s municipal boundries is particularly onerous. That alone has taken 1.5% of the West Bank and done to prevent expansion of Bethlehem and Ramallah toward Jerusalem as well as to eventually cut off all Palestinian direct access to the city.
    Yes I am a dove but I’m old enough to be realistic. I fear for Israel as a homeland for Jews. There is an ugliness growing in society that does not bode well for the future. I have seen tremendous changes, most for the worse, since 1956. Through the eyes of my annual and many times two trips annually, the changes become startling. I was raised religious orthodox, now somewhat tempered, but I fear our attitude and approach will result in once again being tossed out of Israel as we have been in the past. Beware of worshipping the false idols of land to the detriment of our faith and ideals.

    Reply

  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://palestinenote.com/blogs/blogs/archive/2010/12/16/linkage-and-its-discontents-what-wikileaks-reveals-about-israel-palestine.aspx
    an excerpt….
    Consider: a report on a January 2008 meeting between a Congressional delegation and Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman notes, “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the core issue; Suleiman contended a peaceful resolution would be a ‘big blow’ to terrorist organizations that use the conflict as a pretext. For this reason, President Mubarak is committed to ending the Israeli-Arab ‘stalemate.'”
    In a January 2007 meeting, Dubai’s ruler Mohamed bin Rashid Al Makhtoum, told U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns that a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians would be “the best thing” for the region, and would make radical groups like Hamas “everyone’s enemy.”
    A cable from an April 2009 meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Amman reports, “While Jordanian officials doubt dialogue with the U.S. will convince Iran to withdraw its ‘tentacles,’ they believe they can be severed if Iran is deprived of hot-button issues that make it a hero to many on the Arab street, such as its championing of the Palestinian cause.”
    In a July 2009 meeting between Gen. Petraeus and former Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, “Siniora said that Lebanon was encouraged by and supportive of President Obama’s commitment to achieving a comprehensive Middle East Peace.” Siniora “said the U.S. administration’s recognition of the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was an opportunity to push the Arab Peace Initiative forward and to finally achieve a resolution.”
    In a February 2010 meeting between Sen. John Kerry and the Emir of Qatar, “Senator Kerry asked the Emir how the U.S. goes about changing its reputation. The Emir said first and foremost the U.S. must do everything in its power to find a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
    To be sure, these autocrats are far more concerned with shoring up, and drawing attention from, their own dictatorships than they are with some notion of “justice” for their Palestinian cousins. But while none of the foregoing suggests that “the Israeli-Palestinian dispute holds the key to regional peace” it does demonstrate that Arab leaders continue to express concern, in private as well as in public, about the regional impact of the dispute, especially as it relates to Iran’s drive for influence.
    “Iran is taking advantage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to promote its regional interests,” says Israeli defense analyst and retired Colonel Shaul Arieli. “It supports Hamas in the name of Islam, which is the broadest common denominator in the Arab world.”
    According to Arieli, the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative — in which the Arab states offered Israel full recognition and normalization in exchange for an end to the occupation — was an attempt “to arrest this process” by removing a propaganda tool from Iran and other extremists. “So long as the Arab-Israeli conflict continues, Iran can [use it to] recruit.”
    Arieli’s analysis is echoed by Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi. Asked in a recent interview what the U.S. could do to help democracy in Iran, she replied that, in addition to continuing to voice support for human rights, the U.S. should “help make peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”
    “If there’s peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the Iranian government would lose,” Ebadi said. Right now, any leader who stands up for the Palestinian cause “will be a hero” in the Middle East, she said, something Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly exploited.
    It is of course true that hostility toward Israel and its U.S. patron will not simply dissipate upon the end of Israel’s occupation and the creation of a Palestinian state — the completeness of that de-occupation, and the contours of that state, matter greatly. There are also problems and pathologies in the Middle East that have nothing to do with Israelis or Palestinians. Securing a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will, however, make addressing some of those problems easier, by sealing up one well of resentment from which demagogues and extremists have for decades drawn freely and profitably.
    “We don’t have to like it or even believe it makes sense,” wrote Ken Pollack, director of the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy, in his book A Path Out of the Desert, “but linkage is a reality and one we are not likely to be able to change in the near term.”
    continues….

    Reply

  17. nadine says:

    “The Administration offered the Israeli cabinet a horn of plenty the size of Texas, the latest of advanced military hardware, diplomatic protection, the whole bit, in exchange for a paltry ninety day moratorium on settlement construction. This rather uneven trade only makes sense if the offering party is convinced the other side will refuse. The offering party can then say, “OK, have it your way. Our horn of plenty is closed. No military hardware, no diplomatic support.” (John Waring)
    Was it a stroke of genius, then, when the Israelis did not refuse the trade, but merely dared to ask for the deal in writing? You tell me, what kind of deal is collapsed by asking for it in writing? The kind that never really existed, that’s what kind.
    Of course the whole thing was idiotic. The entire “settlements first” diplomatic non-process of the Obama administration was ridiculous, based on a complete misunderstanding of the whole Middle East, and has now come to a well-deserved, ignominious ending.
    As for the Arab countries, reading the Wikileaks cables only confirms that they couldn’t care less about I/P right now. They care about Iran!

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    The argument, for those readers who are open to evidence, is that while looking for Israeli crimes to bemoan, Plitnick is forced to include 35% of the land which HASN’T been taken over and ISN’T in settlements. He calls it a “potential” takeover, failing to note that this land has not been taken over in the past 43 years, and was offered to the PA as part of a settlement in 2000 and 2008.
    In other words, he just admitted that the 42% figure that is flung around is invented. The real figure is 6.8%.
    This is called “an admission against interest.” I merely noted it as such.

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “It’s been over 40 years since 1967, what’s been stopping the Israelis so far?”
    As if they’ve ever stopped???
    What’s your argument, Nadine, that its OK because they haven’t stolen ALL the land yet?
    Steve has decreed that we can’t make your character, or lack of character, the issue. So I’ll skip my usual astute and evidence based evaluation.
    I must say, however, that it is enjoyable watching you consistently being unable to directly and specifically rebut jdledell’s experience based observations about what is actually occurring, and has occurred. It must be extremely difficult for you to be confronted with a Jew that has the guts to actually seek the answers firsthand, and draw conclusions based on ACTUAL experience and close observations. How different than someone who sits at a desk, safely partitioned from actual events, dangers, or proximity to matters that you discuss with carefully scripted hasbara talking points, revisionist history, and, all too often, outright lies.
    The vague nothings and senseless prattlings with which you always respond to jdledell says alot about the lack of substance behind your opinions and arguments. Without a script, you’re nothing but a quiet keyboard and a blank screen.

    Reply

  20. Sand says:

    11/25/09: “…Indyk also failed the president and Mitchell for focusing on trying to freeze building for Jews in Judea and Samaria. The former ambassador said that they violated a basic rule in negotiations in the Middle East: don

    Reply

  21. Sand says:

    POA: “…Note the end-run that Clinton and Ross ran around Mitchell to put together that ridiculous hand job they tried to give to Netanyahu if he’d pretend to halt settlement construction for a blink in the timeline…”
    It looks like Indyk also has his ‘hand’ up Mitchell’s butt.
    “…Indyk currently serves as a senior adviser to Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell…”
    http://www.brookings.edu/experts/indykm.aspx
    Clemons: “…What interests me — and gives me some reason for optimism right now — is that in the power DC holiday party circuit ranging from parties thrown both by Hillary Clinton and Joe & Jill Biden respectively last night, or at Politico’s party at the Corcoran, or at the reception given by Barack and Michelle Obama for White House correspondents — there is side chatter going on about a borders/security portal back into Israel/Palestine negotiations…”
    [eyesroll] — I guess they’ve got to keep the ‘delusional’ talk going to keep the $$$ flowing to sell this bs.

    Reply

  22. nadine says:

    “In fact, the municipal boundaries of the settlements (which, as far as Palestinians are concerned, cover land just as lost to them as that under a settler’s home) cover 6.8% of the West Bank. And the land reserves under the jurisdiction of the various “regional councils” in the West Bank which can always be used for further settlement expansion ”
    “land reserves…which can always be used”? It’s been over 40 years since 1967, what’s been stopping the Israelis so far? What a crock of manure. They can’t point to anything real, so they yelp about unrealized potentialities of what has always been state-owned land, since Ottoman times.
    But thanks for bringing attention to the fact that all the municipal boundaries of all the settlements, not increased since Oslo, only takes up 6.8% of the West Bank. That’s the real figure, which the Palestinians usually try to hide.

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    A day or so ago I noted the dishonest and typically insipid bit of horseshit Danny Ayalon ran on the Los Angeles Times opinion page. Here is a piece from Mitchell Plitnick that rips into the lying sack of shit and the crap he wrote under the guise of a sincere narrative. Really, it says a lot when some Israeli dirtbag like Ayalon feels he can write a piece in one of our nation’s largest newspapers that is comprised of easily discredited blatantly dishonest crap.
    Note, Plitnick also flushes a good part of Nadine’s stew of rancid skunkmeat and dried oleander leaves….
    http://palestinenote.com/blogs/blogs/archive/2010/12/15/danny-ayalon-plays-a-losing-blame-game.aspx
    Excerpt…
    Ayalon-
    “While the Palestinians and their supporters wail that the settlements are eating up more of the land they claim for their future state, the real figures suggest otherwise. Today, 43 years since Israel gained control of the West Bank, the built-up areas of the settlements constitute less than 1.7% of the total area”
    Plitnick-
    “Ayalon pulls another classic sleight of hand with this statement. While it’s true that physical structures cover only 1.7% of the West Bank, this map shows just how much is under Israeli control, a control which includes plans for massive settlement expansion. And that’s just what the Palestinians justifiably fear”
    “In fact, the municipal boundaries of the settlements (which, as far as Palestinians are concerned, cover land just as lost to them as that under a settler’s home) cover 6.8% of the West Bank. And the land reserves under the jurisdiction of the various “regional councils” in the West Bank which can always be used for further settlement expansion constitute an additional 35% of the land, meaning that 42% of the West Bank is under settlement control. It is far from the relatively small chunk of land Ayalon would have us believe is at issue”
    “Ayalon put so many myths and half-truths into his LA Times op-ed that it becomes a handy guide through Israeli hasbara. But I believe he and his cohorts in what is by far the most right-wing government Israel has ever had will only find it increasingly difficult to mislead the rest of the world into the illusion that this government is willing to make peace”

    Reply

  24. nadine says:

    Contrary to Steve’s claim that Martin Indyck supports “borders and security first”, Indyck actually says
    “To jump-start new negotiations, why not have Israel declare that it recognises the Arab state of Palestine, with equal rights for all its citizens, and have the PLO declare that it recognises the Jewish state of Israel, with equal rights for all its citizens?”
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4277892a-03d0-11e0-8c3f-00144feabdc0.html#axzz18ObOspEM
    That’s not borders and security at all. That’s mutual recognition of two states for two peoples — exactly what the Palestinians have repeatedly refused to do and will never do, because they don’t accept either the legitimacy or the permanence of Israel.
    This whole borders and security thing is a fraud. It’s based on the false syllogism that because a settlement will require Israeli territorial concessions, therefore pushing Israel to make the territorial concessions up front brings a settlement closer.
    Just the opposite is true. The Palestinians will never buy the cow (settlement) while they get to drink the milk (concessions) for free. Pushing Israel to make concessions outside the framework of a settlement only pushes the settlement further away. But when Israel balks at giving away its leverage for nothing. or worse than nothing, it gives Steve Clemons and J Street/Soros crowd a great excuse for bashing Israel and blaming it for lack of progress. Hm, I think I may have found the real reason they are so in love with this perfectly stupid idea.
    That and “linkage”. Steve, are you ever going to notice that the Arab potentates whom linkage was designed to please, don’t want any part of it?

    Reply

  25. nadine says:

    paul norheim,
    jdledell is wedded to the idea that the Palestinians must not have gotten a “good enough” offer in 2000 or 2008 because he cannot live without his faith that there exists some offer “good enough” for the Palestinians to accept, which would still leave Israel standing.
    jdledell may be one of the last doves in Israel to believe such a thing exists. The others learned better.

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The resolution, sponsored by Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV) and Gus M. Bilirakis (R-FL), calls for an inquiry of “the role of the IHH in providing financial, logistical, and material support to any entity listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States Department of State.” It also urges an investigation of “the role of any foreign governments, including the Republic of Turkey, which may have aided and abetted the organizers of the recent Gaza Flotilla mission to breach Israeli coastal security and assault the naval defense forces of the State of Israel.” AIPAC strongly supports this resolution.”
    http://www.aipac.org/For_Hill_Staff/LegislativePriorities.asp#37640
    Unfuckin’ believable, is it not? So, now the Freedom Flotilla was on a mission to “assault the naval defense forces of the State of Israel”????
    Here we have two undoubtedly bribed piece of shit scumbags that claim to represent the citizens of this nation, introducing a bill that has the sole purpose of rewriting history in a despicably dishonest manner. And they’re doin’ on YOUR dime.
    And AIPAC’s signature is all over it like a fly on shit. These two spineless and characterless assholes, Titus and Bilirakis, should be put on the first plane to Israel, and told to NEVER come back to our country. If these two scumbags will pull shit like this, how else are they willing to lie to their constituency? What else are they willing to waste our money on? Is there nothing but SCUM in Washington DC these days? Is this really the quality of our “Representatives” that we can now expect as a matter of routine?
    Wanna know why this think tank silliness, as exhibited above at the head of this thread, is so laughably inane? Well, peruse the AIPAC website on a regular basis. Shit like this goes on 24/7, under the radar, ignored by our press, as our so called “Representatives” trip over themselves to turn tricks for AIPAC and Israel.

    Reply

  27. Paul Norheim says:

    “I’ve been trying to make the point that until the I/P portfolio is
    taken from US hands there can be no resolution.”
    Which is correct. Even the formidable optimism of Our Dear
    Leader Steve Clemons cannot move the mountains of
    American bias.

    Reply

  28. Don Bacon says:

    I’ve been trying to make the point that until the I/P portfolio is taken from US hands there can be no resolution. It looks like that may be happening to some degree, with more nations recognizing a Palestine state and possibly the setllement issue going to the UNSC for another potential US veto.
    This might put the US puppet UNSG Ban ki-Moon on the spot.
    The big news — Norway now has a Palestine embassy! (It’s trying to make up for Nobel blunders, I suspect.)

    Reply

  29. Paul Norheim says:

    jdledell: although your point is valid, you know what I know –
    that Wigwag and Nadine will ignore it every time you make
    that point. Because they will just continue to promote their
    central dogma: that “the Muslims” are determined to fullfill
    what Adolf Eichman started.

    Reply

  30. jdledell says:

    “What we do know is what offers the Palestinians have already turned down. If I had to guess, I suspect we would agree about one thing; the Palestinians have already turned down the best offer that they will ever receive.”
    wigwag – I’ll call you on this statement just like I do when Nadine makes it. You have no idea what the specifics of the Camp David and Olmert deals are and neither do I. Israel gives out it’s perception and the Palestinians give out another. I suspect both sides are dressing up their side of the story to enhance their position with their supporters.
    Clearly numerous Israeli politicians have made it clear that Barak during Camp David was not going to turn over the Jordan Valley to Palestinians until some unspcified date with some unspecified conditions until maybe a couple of decades in the future. That in itself is a deal killer since the Palestinians would only get a little over 70% of the West Bank with their lives and commerce still controlled by Israel.
    No one is really sure what Olmert offered. I know there are big percentages thrown around but Livni was very clear that the Jordan Valley was “leased” by Israel as were lands to access settlements as far out as Eli and Shilo as well as the land between Gush Etzion and Kiryat Arba.
    Remember the little Q&A Netanyahu had with one of the settlements where he explained how he torpedoed the positives of the Oslo accords by his definition of military necessity. These kind of candid sessions are very common in Israel and even though their statements cannot be taken as absolute truth (they are politicians after all) their is always a grain of truth that conflicts with ther official line.
    I suspect that when the covers finally come off the Barak and Olmert offers we’ll see that they amounted to about 70% of the land while Netanyahu is being more conservative at about 60%.

    Reply

  31. questions says:

    From NYT — Gaza vaguely doing better, but not well, easing of tensions has led to more rocket fire and a strengthening of Hamas, jobs situation dire, but there’s food and lots of international aid…..
    “But the risks there are real. Ibrahim Abrach, who teaches political science at Al Azhar University here and opposes Hamas, said the easing of the Israeli siege was strengthening Hamas.

    Reply

  32. John Waring says:

    POA,
    “Why bother?” Let me explain. You have heard of the “honey trap” in which you offer blandishments to another party, and, if he accepts, you have the means to compromise him. Let me introduce the concept of the “reverse honey trap” in which you offer blandishments to another party, and, if he refuses, you can use that very refusal to compromise him.
    The Administration offered the Israeli cabinet a horn of plenty the size of Texas, the latest of advanced military hardware, diplomatic protection, the whole bit, in exchange for a paltry ninety day moratorium on settlement construction. This rather uneven trade only makes sense if the offering party is convinced the other side will refuse. The offering party can then say, “OK, have it your way. Our horn of plenty is closed. No military hardware, no diplomatic support.”
    The Arab League foreign ministers are playing the cards they now think are on the table. The time is ripe for the Administration to sit on its hands and do as little as possible in order to let events catch up with Israeli intransigence. Now would be the loveliest of times for the Administration to refrain from casting a veto in the security council. The horn of plenty must remain closed.

    Reply

  33. Steve Clemons says:

    A note to Mark:
    Mark, you posted a number of comments to me a while back and I responded best I could given that i didn’t follow the logic of your notes entirely. In my responses, I also said that I don’t have the time to respond to each person who writes — and that your rather strident demand that I respond to you or else there was an implication that I was wrongly or inappropriately distracted elsewhere was offensive and not something I was going to engage any more. I told you to pick up your game and debate the issues we were discussing on the page — or to ship out.
    Rather than behaving and responding maturely, you began to post inane posts that did nothing to contribute to the kind of discourse I want on this page. I don’t want sycophantic agreement — or unconstructive efforts at hijacking discussion. You seem to oscillate between those extremes.
    But you want attention and want my attention – and this is all I will give you unless you drop your silliness and engage earnestly like others do here.
    I am having my assistant remove all of your posts unless they get back on a mature track and you move away from the self-indulgent, woe is me stuff you have been engaged in. I have zero interest in it.
    I would really like you to be a constructive commenter here. If you move that direction, you are more than welcome. Anything less and you are not. Simple as that. You are not worth my time or attention if you can’t figure out a way to engage in healthy, civil policy discussion.
    All best — and hope you do change track. If not, there are lots of other blogs on which you can find space to post, or better yet, you may want to start your own blog. But I won’t pay for childish rants by anyone here —
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  34. Don Bacon says:

    Mark, I don’t know where you’re coming from, but you’re dead wrong. I won’t go through it lie by lie — but nothing you said about this site was truthful. Goodbye.

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  35. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The ministers also decided “to bring up the issue of Israeli settlements again to the Security Council”, wanting the UN body to adopt a resolution “that confirms… the illegal nature of this activity and that would oblige Israel to stop it”.”
    Why bother????
    The Israel leaders have wiped their asses with the following UN Resolutions concerning settlements, so why wouldn’t they simply do the same with fresh resolutions?
    On second thought, they just shit in our President’s hand, (much to Wiggie’s glee), so they do need fresh toilet paper, after all.
    Resolution 446: “…

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  36. Don Bacon says:

    BBC News report:
    Arab foreign ministers have rejected further Palestinian-Israeli peace talks without a “serious offer” from the US on ending the Middle East conflict.
    The Arab League ministers said they would seek a UN Security Council resolution against settlement building.
    “Resuming the negotiations will be conditioned on receiving a serious offer that guarantees an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict,” the ministers said in a statement read by Arab League chief Amr Moussa.
    The ministers also decided “to bring up the issue of Israeli settlements again to the Security Council”, wanting the UN body to adopt a resolution “that confirms… the illegal nature of this activity and that would oblige Israel to stop it”.
    They called on the US, which has vetoed resolutions against Israel in the past, not to obstruct such a move.

    Reply

  37. non-hater says:

    “There is a consensus brewing among progressives in America, big name foreign policy hands overseas, some neoconservatives, and foreign policy progressive realists that a borders/security strategy is a way to leapfrog over the current impediments to progress.”
    Since delineation of the borders is the essence of the dispute, thinking the issue can be “leapfrogged” makes no sense. It’s like saying that if the North and South could have just leapfrogged the slavery issue, they could have found a way to prevent the Civil War.

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  38. WigWag says:

    You need to read more carefully, jdledell. You’ve obviously mixed me up with Steve Clemons. He’s the one who said,
    “I’m coming out of the closet as a fan of David Makovsky.”
    and
    “Makovsky’s formula is startling for its simplicity and brilliance — as it subordinates two of the thorniest problems in the peace process: settlement expansion and Hamas.”
    and
    “One of the things that really impresses me after a few meetings with Makovsky is his genuine interest in resolving this dispute and getting to two states. Some pretend to be interested in this or that approach to Israel-Palestine negotiations in ways that assure failure. But that is not Makovsky.”
    What I’ve said, is that I think the Makovsky’s strategy is clearly superior to the idiotic approach that the Obama Administration has been pursuing for the past two years.
    Will it bear fruit? Only time will tell.
    But if Steve is right, then there is a developing consensus amongst all but the wacky left that Makovsky’s strategy is the best one to come along. This seems logical to me.
    Although I doubt that they will admit it, it also seems to me like an implicit admission by people as diverse as Daniel Levy and George Mitchell that everything they’ve been telling us about how to solve the dispute has been wrong.
    Their mantra has been “it’s the settlements, stupid.” How has that worked out?
    Why not give the approach advocated by the wiser and more realistic David Makovsky a try?
    By the way, you don

    Reply

  39. jdledell says:

    wigwag – I can’t help noticing your enthusiasm for Makovsky’s approach. My question to you is why will this be any better than all the different approaches various parties have taken over the last 17 years? Clinton, Bush and Obama have all tried every variation on the theme of peace strategies.
    Netanyahu has repeatedly said he will NOT discuss borders until ALL the other aspects of an agreement are worked out – border control, water, airspace, security guarantees etc, etc. I’m sure you are aware that what he offered in the two meetings he had with Abbas was 4 “palestinian reservations” with Israel retaining control of the water and all egress and ingress into Palestinian areas. Israel would keep most of Area C, including the Jordan Valley.
    I was in Israel in September and October and dueing those two months had an opportunity to listen to speeches by Danny Ayalon, Benny Begin, Danny Danon and Ariel Atias about the Security Cabinet’s knowledge of the negotiations and positions. The above position is what I took away from those speeches. This was later confirmed by a discussion I attended at Al Quds University hosted by Sari Nusseibeh with commentary by Saeb Erekat.
    According to people I’ve talked with Netanyahu seems unable to understand why the Palestinians would not be happy with economic freedom – why do they need political freedom. Netanyahu’s vision is really Palestinian autonomy – not a real state. Based on this he probably will never understand why 50%-60% of the West Bank is not good enough. In my view it’s a waste of time to negotiate borders with Netanyahu – the gaps in respective visions is simply unbridgeable.

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  40. John Waring says:

    “A border would of course have to include Jerusalem, but the most sensitive area of the Old City would only be addressed with the other outstanding permanent status issues.”
    I don’t think you can kick this can down the road and say you’ve addressed borders and security. East Jerusalem could still prove to be an insuperable obstacle to a peace agreement.
    I hope this dog will hunt, but forgive my doubts.

    Reply

  41. JamesL says:

    Bubblehead dolls go on sale
    Obama: US on track in Afghanistan, Pakistan

    Reply

  42. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Leapfrogging may be the only way to get there from here, but with yesterday’s House action on an AIPAC sponsored anti-Palestine bill, I’d say it’s going to take a UFO or a deus ex machina to even the scales of justice for Palestine.

    Reply

  43. James says:

    Take a look at following piece by Eric Margolis which says it all!:
    Obama’s beginning of the end (scroll down to comments section as well)
    http://tinyurl.com/Obamasbeginningoftheend

    Reply

  44. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “If nothing else it provides the Obama Administration with an approach that’s domestically feasible and is likely to be embraced by all except the wacky left”
    And the Palestinians, as well as the “the Arab Street” who will, of course reject Israel being allowed to keep all the land they have stolen, and continue to steal, while these shameless co-conspirators like Satloff, Makovsky, Clinton, and Ross keep inventing time eating diversions. But hey, doesn’t matter to Wiggie, we all have seen her unabashed opinion of those “uneducated”, “docile”, and “ignorant” inferiors in the Arab and Palestinian ranks.
    Steve’s piece belongs on DEBKA, not on what is touted as a “progressive” site dealing with foreign policy issues.
    It appears Steve has decided which hat rack he is going to use. Perhaps Hillary has a position opening that he might aspire to assume?
    “Now that Netanyahu has cut Obama down to size…”
    To see such unabashed and blatant delight, (expressed by an American citizen), in seeing the President of the United States humiliated by the leader of a foreign nation, digusts me. As does the recent racist comments that Wig-wag has openly posted here with no shame or regret. It is truly disheartening that Wig-wag’s sentiments are shared by many in the upper echelons of our governing body, as well as the so-called and increasingly discredited “think tank” community. This gloating and racist narrative is obscene and vulgar in its complete and utter lack of loyalty to our nation and its basic tenets of racial and ethnic equality. For an American citizen to express the same kind loyalty to Iran and its leaders would be considered treason, and to express the same kind of derogatory and insulting opinion about the “Jewish Street” would be labeled as the worst kind of anti-semitism.
    (And the post from “ooh aah” digusts me as well. Suspect, as it is the EXACT kind of post that will get the comment section shut down. One wonders if that is the idea, eh?)

    Reply

  45. WigWag says:

    “Greetings Wig — Enjoyed your note, but let me respond cryptically for a moment. I wrote about David Makovsky for a precise reason and not others (yet) for a precise reason. Makovsky, who is very close to Dennis, is not the same as Dennis who I think is working the angles to get the process moved forward. I don’t know if Dennis and David are on same page on this issue…” (Steve Clemons)
    Like most Washington Note readers, Steve, I look forward to hearing what you’ve learned about whether other opinion leaders agree with Makovsky about his approach; there does seem to be a building consensus on both the left and the right that it

    Reply

  46. PissedOffAmerican says:

    David’s little brother, Michael, is a real gem as well…..
    As described by Jim Lobe….
    “…an expert on neocon icon Winston Churchill and the younger brother of David Makovsky, a senior WINEP fellow and former executive editor of pro-Likud Jerusalem Post”
    Lobe was mentionng Michael’s position on Doug Feith’s Office of Special Plans (OSP) and the Pentagon Near East and South Asia (NESA) office.
    http://www.antiwar.com/cole/?articleid=3467
    I wonder, did someone make Steve an offer he can’t refuse?
    David’s mumblings, considering his history, can only be seen as yet one more attempt to take our eyes off Israel’s continued illegal settlement activity. To think this shameless lukidnik, with his connections and history, gives a rat’s ass about an equitable resolution to this conflict is sheer inanity. Google this guy. To read his positions on EVERYTHING Israel, you might as well be reading Nadine’s natterings, because their arguments are almost verbatim in their careful attention to the proscribed narrative.

    Reply

  47. Don Bacon says:

    SC: “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seems to be channeling Richard Holbrooke’s tenacious focus on results”
    I guess Steve is referring to the “fragile and reversible gains” in AfPak being sustained at over $2bn per week seemingly forever, with Afghans’ lives being worsened (IRC), and mounting US troop deaths and injuties? These are “results?”
    I look for similar “results” on I/P — i.e. an ongoing tragedy — it’s the American way. Hey, there’s a lot of money in it.

    Reply

  48. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Heres a dated, although currently apropos, ditty about WINEP, penned by Joel Beinin, who is a professor of history at Stanford…..
    http://activistsreader.org/articles%20folder/thinktankwatch-winep2.html
    And here is an interesting article in which Walt takes on Satloff, and Ross.
    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/04/09/robert_satloff_doth_protest_too_much
    Note the end-run that Clinton and Ross ran around Mitchell to put together that ridiculous hand job they tried to give to Netanyahu if he’d pretend to halt settlement construction for a blink in the timeline.
    Yet these think tank wizards continue to sell the mirage of a REAL effort in DC to do something other than Israel’s bidding.
    As if WINEP and its minions, are willing, capable, or driven to arrive at any sort of equitable or unbiased solution to the Isr/pal conflict? Point of fact, WINEP was FORMED to assure that Washington acts and negotiates in Israel’s favor.

    Reply

  49. DakotabornKansan says:

    Looking at the power DC holiday party circuit

    Reply

  50. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Borders and security are already settled”
    No, Israel hasn’t stolen all the land it wants yet. AFTER it does so, with our support and subsidation, THEN and ONLY THEN, will borders be IMPOSED on a Palestinian State, if there is to be a Palestinian State, (which I highly doubt).

    Reply

  51. Don Bacon says:

    Borders and security are already settled.
    As long as the US remains as the self-appointed I/P “mediator” or “facilitator” or whatever euphemism the US uses to describe what in reality is its diplomatic cover for Israeli expansion and consolidation, there will be no change.
    IOW it’s not that Israel occupies Washington DC, which will never change, it’s that a true I/P mediator won’t be found. The US wants to maintain its position in power against the Palestinians.
    As in this charade: Clinton: “That is why yesterday and today I met with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators and underscored our seriousness about moving forward with refocused goals and expectations.” amusing
    Borders and security —
    “Palestine” is Gaza plus the couple of dozen bantustans on the West Bank, all under Israeli military control.
    “Security” for Israel under UN 242 requires Israel control of the original Palestine borders, according to Israel. Golan Heights too.

    Reply

  52. James says:

    Come on, Steve.. Makovsky is with WINEP (which is an AIPAC spin-off think tank!) as you referenced as well! You might want to take a look at the Mearsheimer/Walt book again!
    Where is discussion of the following?!:
    US House passes AIPAC sponsored anti-Palestine bill
    http://tinyurl.com/HousespassesAIPACresolution

    Reply

  53. JamesL says:

    Israel doesn’t give a shit about any implosions of its perceived enemies (which is everyone outside of Israel).
    Israel threatens Lebanon with war:

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  54. Steven Clemons says:

    Wig — that is a very interesting line of thought. Not sure that that
    scenario will play out — but raising the question about what
    happens if things implode in Palestine is very important. thanks.

    Reply

  55. WigWag says:

    In addition to the issues mentioned in this provocative post, there are actually other recent developments that might promote “leapfrogging barriers to a two state deal.”
    Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution forcefully criticizing the Palestinians for seeking international recognition of their state with the borders based on those that existed in 1967. The point that the House was making is clear and so was the implicit threat; if the Palestinians continue with this attempt, the Congress will cut of all economic aid to the PA.
    The threat is a serious one. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, the incoming chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is a severe critique of the PA and she has said more than once that aid to the Palestinians should be conditional on their behavior. As pro-Israel as Steny Hoyer is, the new House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor is actually to the right of Benjamin Netanyahu on most things pertaining to Israel. The threat to cut aid to the Palestinians is real.
    Without American aid, it is highly doubtful that the PA could survive. In the past few years, aid to the Palestinians from the Sunni Arab nations has plummeted by more than 75 percent. The Europeans are far more generous with their worlds than with their Euros; in fact, the most Pro-Palestinian nations in Europe also happen to be the nations facing an economic cataclysm. The idea that Europe would make up for an American cut in aid to the PA seems highly doubtful.
    Why is this all positive for the peace process?
    My guess is that within a year of the Republicans taking control of the House, AIPAC, with the full support of the Israeli Government will be lobbying Congress to maintain U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority. No one wants to see a collapse of the PA in the West Bank less than the Israelis do. My prediction is tha the threat of a shut off of U.S. assistance to the Palestinians will push the Netanyahu Government and the Abbas Administration closer together as they both implore the Congress to maintain assistance to the PA.
    This could easily serve to build a modicum of trust between the parties that might move negotiations on borders and security a little further along.

    Reply

  56. PissedOffAmerican says:

    ROFLMAO!!!
    Yet another optimistic bit of fluff that completely and utterly ignores the impossibility of ANY progress as long as Israel occupies Washington DC. It IS NOT the occupation of Palestinian land that is the first hurdle. It is the power and control that Israel wields over a majority of those whose “chatter” Steve is hearing over the din of ice cubes tingling and crackers scooping up liver pate.
    By now it should be obvious to even the most casual observer that it doesn’t matter one whit WTF kind of scheme is bandied around DC to feed to the lowly masses in a feckless attempt to hide our complicity in the crimes of Israel. As long as we are shipping billions of our tax dollars to Israel, supplying them with arms, and being their Fairy Godmother at the UN, it is NETANYAHU that will call the shots, NOT this cowardly posturing embarrassment drooling on the desk in the Oval Office while watching a Lakers game.

    Reply

  57. sanitychecker says:

    >> Admittedly, there is chatter going on about Lady Gaga, the life and impact of Richard Holbrooke, and the snow storm on its way too.
    No chatter about Wikileaks?
    >> there is side chatter going on about a borders/security portal back into Israel/Palestine negotiations
    Seriously, in what kind of bubble you guys in DC live in? Israel has won the war and is simply not interested in “borders and security” arrangement. US states have 2 senators but Israel has 100 of them. Hasn’t Bibi told you yet? So how many times must he say “Fuck off” to you guys before you get it? But no, in DC there’s always a new “portal back into I/P negotiations”… I have a new Xmas ditty for you guys: “We’ll always have Annapolis…”

    Reply

  58. Steve Clemons says:

    Greetings Wig — Enjoyed your note, but let me respond cryptically for a moment. I wrote about David Makovsky for a precise reason and not others (yet) for a precise reason. Makovsky, who is very close to Dennis, is not the same as Dennis who I think is working the angles to get the process moved forward. I don’t know if Dennis and David are on same page on this issue — but I am working to learn more about that. But I am not crossing that river til I know there is a bridge that is stable. all best to you for the holidays. Steve

    Reply

  59. WigWag says:

    Maybe David Makovsky should be asked by President Obama to replace George Mitchell. I am sure that there would be many Israelis who would be just fine with that.
    As for Makovsky spending an hour talking to people at the White House; it couldn’t hurt. But somehow I have a feeling that Dennis Ross is very familiar with Makovsky’s point of view. By endorsing the Makovsky approach isn’t Steve endorsing the Dennis Ross approach?
    It seems to me that this is a realization on the part of Steve and perhaps others that Ross and Martin Indyk were right all along.
    I guess the Middle East peace business (of which Makovsky is a card carrying member) is back in business.
    Hooray!

    Reply

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