Pickering, Hills, Sullivan, Beinart, Dobbins, More Ask Obama Administration to Support UN Resolution Condemning Illegal Israeli Settlements

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un-logo.jpgA letter from an array of concerned policy commentators and practitioners, academics, and former government officials about the resolution pending at the United Nations Security Council on illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Territory has just been released and is posted below.
Among those signing the letter are former US Trade Representative and Council on Foreign Relations Chair Carla Hills, journalist and former New Republic editor Peter Beinart, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering, former Assistant Secretary of State James Dobbins, former Assistant Secretary of State Robert Pastor, former New Republic editor and Atlantic Senior Editor and Daily Dish publisher Andrew Sullivan, former US Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci and former US Ambassador to Israel Edward “Ned” Walker, among others.

Letter to the President of the United States

Washington, DC — 18 January 2011
Dear Mr. President,
In light of the impasse reached in efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) moves to consider a resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territory, we are writing to urge you to instruct our Ambassador to the United Nations to vote yes on this initiative.
carla hills.jpgThe time has come for a clear signal from the United States to the parties and to the broader international community that the United States can and will approach the conflict with the objectivity, consistency and respect for international law required if it is to play a constructive role in the conflict’s resolution.
While a UNSC resolution will not resolve the issue of settlements or prevent further Israeli construction activity in the Occupied Territory, it is an appropriate venue for addressing these issues and for putting all sides on notice that the continued flouting of international legality will not be treated with impunity. Nor would such a resolution be incompatible with or challenge the need for future negotiations to resolve all outstanding issues, and it would in no way deviate from our strong commitment to Israel’s security.
If the proposed resolution is consistent with existing and established US policies, then deploying a veto would severely undermine US credibility and interests, placing us firmly outside of the international consensus, and further diminishing our ability to mediate this conflict.
If the U.S. believes that the text of the resolution is imperfect, there is always the opportunity to set forth additional U.S. views on settlements and related issues in an accompanying statement. The alternative to a Resolution – a consensus statement by the President of the UNSC – would have no stature under international law, hence this option should be avoided.
beinart cap.jpgAs you made clear, Mr. President, in your landmark Cairo speech of June 2009, “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.”
There are today over half a million Israelis living beyond the 1967 line – greatly complicating the realization of a two-state solution. That number has grown dramatically in the years since the peace process was launched: in 1993 there were 111,000 settlers in the West Bank alone; in 2010 that number surpassed 300,000.
The settlements are clearly illegal according to article 49 of the Fourth Geneva convention – a status recognized in an opinion issued by the State Department’s legal advisor on April 28, 1978, a position which has never since been revised.
That official US legal opinion describes the settlements as being “inconsistent with international law”. US policy across nine administrations has been to oppose the settlements, with the focus for the last two decades being on the incompatibility of settlement construction with efforts to advance peace. The Quartet Roadmap, for instance, issued during the Bush presidency in 2003, called on Israel to “freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth.”
Andrew_Sullivan_.jpgIndeed, the US has upheld these principles, including their application to East Jerusalem, by allowing the passage of previous relevant UNSC resolutions, including: UNSCRs 446 and 465, determining that the settlements have “no legal validity”; UNSCRs 465 and 476, affirming the applicability of the Fourth Geneva convention to the Occupied Territory; UNSCRs 1397 and1850 stressing the urgency of achieving a comprehensive peace and calling for a two state solution; and UNSCR 1515, endorsing the Quartet Roadmap.
At this critical juncture, how the US chooses to cast its vote on a settlements resolution will have a defining effect on our standing as a broker in Middle East peace. But the impact of this vote will be felt well beyond the arena of Israeli-Palestinian deal-making – our seriousness as a guarantor of international law and international legitimacy is at stake.
America’s credibility in a crucial region of the world is on the line – a region in which hundreds of thousands of our troops are deployed and where we face the greatest threats and challenges to our security. This vote is an American national security interest vote par excellence. We urge you to do the right thing.
Respectfully yours,
The Hon. Edward Abington, former Consul General to Jerusalem
Amjad Atallah, Co-Director, Middle East Task Force, New America Foundation
Bruce Ackerman, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University
Rabbi Leonard I. Beerman, Leo Baeck Temple, Los Angeles
Peter Beinart, Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science, the City University of New York; Schwartz Senior Fellow, New America Foundation
Landrum Bolling, Senior Advisor, Mercy Corps
Hon. Everett Ellis Briggs, former US Ambassador, Portugal, Honduras, Panama; former special advisor to President George H.W. Bush, National Security Council; former President, Americas Society and Council of the Americas
Hon. Richard Burt, former Assistant Secretary of State for Europe; former US Ambassador to Germany; chief US arms control negotiator
Hon. Frank Carlucci, former US Secretary of Defense
Hon. Wendy Chamberlin, President, Middle East Institute; former US Ambassador, Pakistan
Steven Clemons, Founder and Senior Fellow, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation; publisher, The Washington Note
Hon. Walter L. Cutler, former US Ambassador, Saudi Arabia
Hon. John Gunther Dean, former US Ambassador, Cambodia, Lebanon, Thailand, India
Michael C. Desch, Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame; Contributing Editor, The American Conservative
Hon. James Dobbins, former Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs
Hon. Joseph Duffey, former Director, US Information Agency
Hon. Wes Egan, former US Ambassador, Jordan
Hon. Nancy H. Ely-Raphel, former US Ambassador, Slovenia; former Counselor on International Law, Department of State
Dr. John L. Esposito, Professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, Board of Directors, Rabbis for Human Rights – North America
Hon. Chas W. Freeman, Jr, former US Ambassador, Saudi Arabia; former President, Middle East Policy Council
Lt. General Robert G. Gard, Jr. (USA, Ret.) and former President, National Defense University
Hon. Edward W. Gnehm, Jr., Professor of Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Affairs, George Washington University; former US Ambassador, Jordan, Kuwait
Hon. Brandon Grove, former US Ambassador to Zaire; former Consul General, Jerusalem
Hon. William C. Harrop, former US Ambassador, Israel, Guinea, Kenya, Seychelles, Zaire
Hon. Carla Hills, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former US Trade Representative
Hon. Roderick M. Hills, former Chairman, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Hon. H. Allen Holmes, former Assistant Secretary of State, European Affairs; former Assistant Secretary, Political-Military Affairs; former US Ambassador, Portugal
Hon. Arthur Hughes, former Deputy Chief of Mission, Israel; former Deputy Assistant Secretary, Department of Defense; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Near Eastern Affairs
Robert Jervis, Professor of International Affairs, Columbia University; former President, American Political Science Association
Christian A. Johnson, Professor, Hamilton College
Michael Kahn, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz
Hani Masri, Publisher, The Palestine Note
Hon. David Mack, Vice President, Middle East Institute; former US Ambassador, UAE; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Near Eastern Affairs
Hon. Jack F. Matlock, Jr., former US Ambassador, Soviet Union; former Special Assistant to President Reagan
John J. Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago
Hon. Richard Murphy, former Assistant Secretary of State, Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs; former US Ambassador, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Mauritania
William Nitze, former Assistant Administrator for International Activities, Environmental Protection Agency; Trustee, the Aspen Institute
Hon. Robert Pastor, former Senior Director, National Security Council; Professor of International Relations, American University
Hon. Thomas Pickering, former Undersecretary of State, Political Affairs; former US Ambassador, Russia, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, Jordan, United Nations
Paul Pillar, former National Intelligence Officer, Near Eastern Affairs; Director of Graduate Studies, Security Studies program, Georgetown University
Hon. Anthony Quainton, former US Ambassador to Kuwait and Peru; former Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security; former Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counter Terrorism, State Department
William B. Quandt, Professor, Middle East history, University of Virginia; former National Security Council Middle East Assistant, President Carter
George R. Salem, former Solicitor of Labor; Chairman, Arab American Institute
Jerome Segal, President, Jewish Peace Lobby
Hon. Roscoe Suddarth, former US Ambassador, Jordan; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Andrew Sullivan, Senior Editor, The Atlantic; Editor and Publisher, The Daily Dish
Hon. Nicholas Veliotes, former Assistant Secretary of State, Near East and South Asian affairs; former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and Jordan; former Deputy Chief of Mission to Israel
Hon. Frederick Vreeland, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Near East Affairs; former US Ambassador, Morocco
Hon. Edward S. Walker, Jr., former US Ambassador, Israel, Egypt, UAE; former Assistant Secretary of State, Near Eastern Affairs
Stephen Walt, Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs/International Security Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Universty; and blogs at ForeignPolicy.com
Hon. Allan Wendt, former US Ambassador, Slovenia; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, International Energy and Resources Policy
Hon. Philip Wilcox, President, Foundation for Middle East Peace; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Middle Eastern Affairs; former Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counter Terrorism, State Department
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (USA, ret), former Chief of Staff, Department of State; Visiting Professor, College of William & Mary
Jeffrey A. Winters, Professor, Political Economy, Northwestern University
James Zogby, President, Arab American Institute

Comments

84 comments on “Pickering, Hills, Sullivan, Beinart, Dobbins, More Ask Obama Administration to Support UN Resolution Condemning Illegal Israeli Settlements

  1. George Amiantitis says:

    The occupation must be stop . A just solution is
    a must and USA must accept a palestinian state
    in the West bank

    Reply

  2. Albert Munting says:

    Please do something about it Mr. Obama!

    Reply

  3. Wil Burns says:

    Seems like not much has changed. At least the hypocrisy is plain for everybody to see these days. First the AIPAC scandal, then the Harman revelations, then the AIPAC spy’s get a free pass, then Biden goes and gives a we support you chat to AIPAC.
    Can you imagine how much a politician would be trashed for supporting a Chinese lobby group that had close ties to the Chinese government? We need to change.

    Reply

  4. Wil Burns says:

    Seems like not much has changed. At least the hypocrisy is plain for everybody to see these days. First the AIPAC scandal, then the Harman revelations, then the AIPAC spy’s get a free pass, then Biden goes and gives a we support you chat to AIPAC.
    Can you imagine how much a politician would be trashed for supporting a Chinese lobby group that had close ties to the Chinese government? We need to change.

    Reply

  5. James D. Stilwell says:

    It’s interesting to count how many words have been written about the unintended consequences of the necessary restoration of Israel. 63 years after the restoration you will find it perhaps entertaining to consider the proposal that a large US army stationed inside Palestine will stiffen the resolve of moderate Israelis and Palestinians to resolve their dilemma themselves. Before someone else does.

    Reply

  6. Paul Norheim says:

    “Similarly, it doesn’t matter what Israelis believe about the
    moral and intellectual capacities of the Arab inhabitants of
    the Palestinian land the Israelis are confiscating.”
    Beautiful, Dan.

    Reply

  7. Dan Kervick says:

    “Is that your idea, that all intentions are equally worthy of international recognition, whether competent or not, peaceful or murderously aggressive?”
    What the legal inhabitants of those territories should be permitted and encouraged to do with the territories is an important question. But the issue that the world has to deal with first is preventing something that the occupying Israelis clearly should *not* be permitted to do with those territories – and that’s steal them. And yet that is precisely what has been permitted to happen since 1967.
    The slave traders of earlier centuries always tried to change the subject back to their favorite theories about the mental feebleness and moral viciousness of Africans, and about the latter’s alleged incapacity for self-governance, as justification for taking what no one should be permitted to take. But in the end, those theories are not the issue. Similarly, it doesn’t matter what Israelis believe about the moral and intellectual capacities of the Arab inhabitants of the Palestinian land the Israelis are confiscating. No one in our contemporary world should be permitted to steal land. That’s all.
    If the Israelis were simply occupying that land militarily, then one might have some sympathy for their claim that we need to resolve a hundred political and security issues before Israel can feel comfortable relinquishing their hold on the land. But the Israelis are not just occupying the land militarily. They are using the military occupation as a means to the end of stealing the land and converting it to their own permanent use.
    And the reason Americans need to take a special interest in this particular case is that it reflects badly on us and degrades our reputation, and therefore weakens and endangers us. Because the Israelis are thieves, and yet the United States government continues to support, defend and embolden the Israelis at every turn, the people of the United States are thereby also represented by their government to the world as thieves. I strongly resent this state-sponsored damage to my reputation as an American.

    Reply

  8. nadine says:

    “It doesn’t matter whether the people who live on that land are to be called “Palestinians”, or “Arabs in Palestine” or “The Artists Formerly known as Ottoman Subjects” or “Just Some Guys Named Muhammad and Yassir” (Dan Kervick)
    So their intentions and capacity don’t count? It doesn’t matter whether they want to rule themselves peacefully, or are even capable of ruling themselves, or are determined to wage a vendetta to kill all the neighbors, even if they have to die doing it? Is that your idea, that all intentions are equally worthy of international recognition, whether competent or not, peaceful or murderously aggressive?
    Can any two bit county on earth just declare its right to independence at will, or is this a blue light special only for the enemies of Israel?

    Reply

  9. nadine says:

    Dan, when you say “the international community” what you mean is the Arab bloc and its toadies at the UN.
    If you look into actual legal documents, such as the Truce agreement of 1949, you will see that the Green Line was specifically designated a truce line, which was not to prejudice future borders, and Transjordan was also declared as an occupier of the West Bank, not an owner. So who owns it? Nobody since the Brits left. Similarly, Res 242 spoke of withdrawal (but not of the creation of “Palestine”) with borders to established by negotiation – that was why the Arabs rejected Res 242. The Green Line is not a legal border, having never been agreed to by treaty nor respected when it functioned as a de facto border.
    The Arab bloc never wants what it could get today, but always demands to be given what it refused 40 years ago. They control the UN and get people who know neither law nor history to go along with them, because you have oil on side and Israel on the other.
    Your international community is a moral cesspit that has watched tens of millions get slaughtered with UN passivity or even complicity, but loves to spend 90% of its time obsessing over Israel. Sudan on the Human Rights Commission and Iran on the Women’s Rights Commission, that is your international community.

    Reply

  10. Dan Kervick says:

    This business about whose tribe is the most real shouldn’t have any bearing at all on international determinations about Israel in Palestine.
    It doesn’t matter whether the people who live on that land are to be called “Palestinians”, or “Arabs in Palestine” or “The Artists Formerly known as Ottoman Subjects” or “Just Some Guys Named Muhammad and Yassir”.
    The international community has already made its position on the legalities of the case known in 100 different ways. That position is that the lands occupied in the 1967 war are not Israeli lands; that the Israelis are occupiers of that land, not its owners; and that the ongoing attempt to annex that land is a case of the attempted acquisition of territory by force, and so must be opposed.
    The central issue is about Israel, and whether they will be permitted to take what doesn’t belong to them. The only question left then is whether Israelis are going to be required to submit to the law of the larger community, or whether they will be permitted instead to thwart the law and become a law unto themselves.

    Reply

  11. nadine says:

    jd, you know and I know that the Palestinians invented themselves as Palestinians instead of “Arabs of Palestine” after they came under the governance of a single government, which was Israel’s, after 1967.
    If they truly wanted to have autonomy in their own state, they would be legitimate now – though no amount of current legitimacy would excuse their pernicious lying about history. But they are driven to lie precisely because they do not want autonomy in their own state nearly as much as they want the destruction of the Jewish state, which they refuse to recognize, and now claim has not a shred of legitimacy or historical claim on the “lands of the historical Arab state of Palestine”.
    Legitimacy is a two-way street, jd. Crying “Oh, you’re so legitimate! Admire my broad-mindedness in recognizing you!” does not bring peace one step closer when the other side is denying your entire history and renaming your 4000 year old shrines as mosques. It only advertises cravenness, which elevates the radicals and pushes peace further away.

    Reply

  12. Ben says:

    The text provided in Viiit

    Reply

  13. jdledell says:

    Nadine – Your point about no such country as Palestine in the past is irrelevent. 250 years ago there was no such country as the United States either. Yet I don’t think anyone considers us illegitimate. There are almost 100 countries which did not exist 100 years ago but they do today.
    It is the people in the area who define their nationhood. Palestine, by dint of it’s peoples aspirations, is as legitmate as Israel.It was the Jews of Israel who decided they wanted their own country and terrorized the British into leaving. Palestinians have decided they don’t want to be Israeli or Jordanian and they have the right to pursue that goal.
    While all such self-determination efforts have not succeeded in evolving into their own country (the Kurds for example)look at all who have succeded in just the past 50-60 years.

    Reply

  14. nadine says:

    Matthew, there is one thing everybody knew 90 years ago: there was no such Arab country as “Palestine”. The Arabs of the Levant had not ruled themselves since 1500. The Mandate of Palestine was a British colony that was drawn up in the carve-out of the Ottoman Empire expressly to be a homeland for the Jews. It did not follow any Ottoman borders.
    The historical revisionists of today deny this fact, falsely claiming that there is such a thing as a historical Arab country of Palestine.

    Reply

  15. Matthew says:

    Viiit, now that is priceless.
    Ninety years ago, a white man says the Arabs must accept “domination” by the Jews, or the Rights of Arabs should be repudiated.
    And you are not embarrassed to post it.
    Should I expect reprints of Sen. Bilbo’s speeches on civil rights next?

    Reply

  16. Matthew says:

    Viiit, now that is priceless. Ninety years ago, a white man says the Arabs must accept “domination” by the Jews, or the Rights of Arabs should repudiated.
    And are not embarrassed to post it.
    Should I expect reprints of Sen. Bilbo’s speeches on civil rights next?

    Reply

  17. nadine says:

    “Personally, I think Obama was a much better speaker back in the pre-presidential campaign days when he wrote more of his own stuff.” (Dan Kervick)
    He was certainly received more rapturously back then. But what did he say? The only line I remember is “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” which is pretty fatuous. It was all what Mark Steyn characterized as “gaseous uplift”. But I will admit Obama said it really, really well.

    Reply

  18. Dan Kervick says:

    I agree, and have already said many times, that Obama has proven to be a disappointment in the area of public communication. It’s not just the speeches, or lack of them, but the everyday communications operation that has been weak. I’m very happy that Gibbs is gone.
    Personally, I think Obama was a much better speaker back in the pre-presidential campaign days when he wrote more of his own stuff.

    Reply

  19. nadine says:

    “Would you like to wager on whether Bibi or Lieberman will be prime minister by Dec. 31, 2011?”
    Bibi, no question about it. If you care to give me any of your money over the question, I’ll be glad to take it.

    Reply

  20. nadine says:

    “This is an incoherent complaint. Logical content and coherence have to do with connections holding among the different parts of some piece of discourse. Being a “great line” on the other hand is a literary attribute of a single sentence. A speech can be both logically and evidentially coherent without containing a single sparkling line; similarly, a speech can be filled with memorable gems and captivating turns of phrase without the parts of the speech supporting one another logically, or holding together well.” (Dan Kervick)
    Great speeches create and contain great lines, Dan. They do not just appear by themselves in a soup of mealy-mouthed mush, like a diamond thrown into a mud puddle, but as the crescendo of a sustained argument. If we now look just for the quick line and not the argument, that is a function of our sound-bite culture that has forgotten how to make or listen to an argument.
    Obama’s speeches contain no great lines (I agree with Wigwag, the Great Race Speech came the closest, but that was an exercise in diversion more than argument) because they contain no sustained argument, just a series of disconnected postures interspersed with outright lies. He spoke hundreds of times for health care. And what did we hear over and over? If you like your current health care insurance, you can keep it. Doctors are doing unnecessary surgery for the Medicare money. Etc, the same few points over and over.

    Reply

  21. JohnH says:

    Obama simply refuses to use his bully pulpit–the fewest nationally televised addresses of any president in recent history and the fewest televised press conferences.
    Of course, what would Obama talk about? His Republican agenda? Gads, even Dick Cheney has warmed to the Obama agenda.
    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/138341-cheney-obama-has-learned-from-experience-that-bush-moves-were-necessary

    Reply

  22. DonS says:

    “That is an incoherent complaint”. Slow morning Dan? (I should talk). Since when has coherence been the goal. It’s all just a platform for these classic types, like a yenta queen in a tea room, all erudite-acting, spouting hate in honey dripping words, laced with strychnine.

    Reply

  23. Dan Kervick says:

    “his speeches are nearly devoid of logical content and coherence. If you doubt that, please point me to one policy speech that reads well and persuasively without Obama reading it off the teleprompter. Name me the great lines from his speeches.”
    This is an incoherent complaint. Logical content and coherence have to do with connections holding among the different parts of some piece of discourse. Being a “great line” on the other hand is a literary attribute of a single sentence. A speech can be both logically and evidentially coherent without containing a single sparkling line; similarly, a speech can be filled with memorable gems and captivating turns of phrase without the parts of the speech supporting one another logically, or holding together well.
    As to whether one finds Obama’s speeches persuasive, there is no point in engaging in this kind of hunt. Given their likely disagreement over fundamental premises, a far right tea party zealot is not going to find much of anything a liberal politician says persuasive, no matter how much logical coherence or rhetorical pizazz the speech possesses.

    Reply

  24. WigWag says:

    “Name me the great lines from his speeches. (Nadine)
    Sure, Nadine, I’ll name you some memorable lines from Obama speeches. Do you remember when the pastor whose church he attended for decades and whom he called his spiritual leader made incendiary remarks during the campaign?
    Here are some of the lines from Obama’s famous race speech of March, 2008.
    “I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused so much controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.
    But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.”
    It’s an interesting comment don’t you think? He called Israel a stalwart ally when he was running for election and he needed Jewish votes in Florida. Of course shortly after winning election he was pinning the Medal of Freedom on Mary Robinson, the ringmaster of the anti-Semitic hate fest known as the Durban Conference. Just last year, he greeted the Prime Minister of the nation he called a “stalwart ally” in a manner so rude and obnoxious that the leader of America

    Reply

  25. Mark says:

    Posted by nadine, Jan 19 2011, 7:19PM – Link
    “What’s the matter Mark, has Bibi Netanyahu become an unsatisfactory boogeyman for the Left?”
    Nadine,
    Babes, I chose Yitzhak Rabin. You and your pals had other ideas – ideas that, I pray, will never be employed against Mr. Netanyahu.
    “you have to resort to Lieberman?”
    Lieberman and Yisrael Beiteinu call the shots. On the investigation of NGOs. On the loyalty oath to religion and state. On the rabbis’ proposal to ban the sale or rental of homes and/or properties to Gentiles (i.e. non-Jews). On diplomatic relations with Turkey.
    “I would have thought Bibi, who is now more solidly in office than ever, and running Israel-US foreign policy besides, would be your chosen villain.”
    Again, honey, Lieberman has the juice in Israel. Look at the ministers. Look at the Knesset. Look at the rabbis. Look at Judea and Samaria. Look at how few friends we have in the diplomatic world. Look at the UN post-Avigdor declaration of war.
    Would you like to wager on whether Bibi or Lieberman will be prime minister by Dec. 31, 2011?
    Something meaningful, not your usual nickel.
    I didn’t think so.

    Reply

  26. Ben says:

    I agree with WigWag (January 19, 9:12 am) that the Obama Administration could abstain should the settlements resolution come up in the Security Council and that this would be followed by calls in congress to withhold US dues to the UN. After the noise subsided, however, cooler heads would prevail. It will be understood that the value of what we get from the UN far exceeds our monetary contribution and that not vetoing a settlements resolution will have strengthen our international position; and we will continue to pay our UN dues.
    There also is a possibility that Obama will commute Jonathan Pollard

    Reply

  27. nadine says:

    “Obama doesn’t do framing. He lets Republicans frame him, which is why health care reform is in limbo now.
    The Great Communicator simply refuses to consider using his bully pulpit.” (JohnH)
    Bwahahahahahahhahah! Bwahahahahah! ROTFLOL! Obama doesn’t use his bully pulpit????!!!! Obama has spent the most facetime talking of any President, ever! He’s ubiquitous.
    Just not very convincing.
    That’s because, although Obama has the mannerisms of an intellectual down pat, his speeches are nearly devoid of logical content and coherence. If you doubt that, please point me to one policy speech that reads well and persuasively without Obama reading it off the teleprompter. Name me the great lines from his speeches.

    Reply

  28. Paul Norheim says:

    To me, Cohen sounded more like a progressive version of
    the hysterical Glenn Beck than like Sarah Palin.

    Reply

  29. ahem says:

    calling all self righteous zionistas: seems like you’ve got your own ‘tone’ problem; name of Pearlman, right here in river city. Makes the rest of us seem like mother teresa.

    Reply

  30. JohnH says:

    Obama doesn’t do framing. He lets Republicans frame him, which is why health care reform is in limbo now.
    The Great Communicator simply refuses to consider using his bully pulpit.

    Reply

  31. Dan Kervick says:

    If Obama has any intention at all of acting on the recommendations in the letter Steve posted, then he is going to have to do a lot more work in properly framing the issue publicly.

    Reply

  32. WigWag says:

    “Ah, glad to see that NEW TONE is taking hold in Washington. Just so long as Sarah Palin never puts crosshairs on another target map…” (Nadine)
    Yes, I am waiting for the obsessive and vitriolic posts at the Washington Note, the Daily Dish and the Huffington Post excoriating Cohen for remarks far more offensive than Palin’s “blood libel” quote. To be fair to J Street, they have repudiated the comments of Cohen who is one of a small number of their congressional supporters. They may be corrupt and clueless, but they were right to separate themselves from Cohen’s remarks.
    It’s not that what the Congressman said in and of itself was so offensive; it’s the fact that his comments serve as a nearly perfect metaphor for the astounding hypocrisy of the supposedly progressive left.
    One is forced to wonder whether there is any integrity left on the left at all.

    Reply

  33. nadine says:

    “Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) took the debate over health care reform to a new level late Tuesday night, suggesting to a deserted House floor that Republican rhetoric around health care is akin to the Nazi propaganda that fed anti-semitism during World War II.

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  34. nadine says:

    JohnH, I know you don’t actually know or understand history, but this game of snatching little quotes out of context does not undo the facts of major policy initiatives to the contrary. It’s like saying Obama wants to starve the working class in America to death because he called them bitter and clinging to God and guns and hating other people who were unlike them.
    That you should think you have “refuted” anything only goes to show how terminally clueless you are.

    Reply

  35. nadine says:

    And don’t forget about the sharks the Mossad just sent into Egyptian waters. Egyptian officials said so, you can trust their accuracy too.

    Reply

  36. Cee says:

    Paul,
    You missed the fact that Israel sabotaged the undersea cables and disrupted Internet service in Egypt a few years ago.
    I wonder how many have read this
    http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article237021.ece
    Quote:
    RAMALLAH: A senior Fatah official on Monday harshly slammed Jewish rabbis who call for the creation of Palestinian death camps.
    Jamal Nazzal, a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, said in a press statement that Orthodox Jewish rabbis are fueling religious conflicts and racial terrorism in the region.
    Nazzal added that the “racist and bloody tone” of the religious decree signed by major Jewish rabbis implies “actual dangers” to Palestinians.
    On Saturday, the Israeli Ynet news brought to attention a weekly magazine, distributed in synagogues across Israel, which published the religious decree. The diktat, signed by major rabbis, called for the creation of such death camps, citing religious duty.
    The magazine indicated that the creation of these camps would be the duty of all devote Jews.
    The decree strongly criticized Jewish rabbis in opposition, arguing that Palestinians are the giants whom God ordered the Israelites to slaughter 2,000 years ago, including children, women, elderly and even cattle.
    The rabbis claimed that the Torah compels the Jews to erase all trace of this age’s giants, referring to the Palestinians. The signatories insisted that even the rabbis that did not sign the fatwa support it in essence.
    Nazzal warned against spreading these calls among Israeli soldiers, mainly those serving in Palestinian territories, blaming Israeli political leaders for not working to contain these calls.
    The Fatah official urged Europe, which he said fights anti-Semitism and incitement, to take “a decisive position before the atmosphere of hatred and racial incitement that is growing in Israel.”
    Ynet quoted Israeli thinker Udi Aloni as saying that the call for the elimination of the Palestinians in such a widespread and public way, notably in synagogues, arises from a collective acceptance that this is a pragmatic approach.
    Aloni was shocked no one objected to the rabbis who signed the decree, saying that

    Reply

  37. JohnH says:

    Time to correct Nadine’s BS for the umpteenth time. There is no peace because Israel does not want peace–it wants land. The main reason for no Palestinian state is that Israel appears reasonable, seeming to make tangible concessions, while adamantly refusing to make any in actual fact.
    Likud Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir provided the smoking gun, revealing Likud’s intentions and techniques in an interview with Ma’ariv:
    “Moderation should relate to the tactics but not the goal. That is how I acted as prime minister. In my political activity I know how to display the tactics of moderation, but without conceding anything on the goal–the integrity of the Land of Israel. In my eyes, anyone who is not in accord with this, does not belong to the national movement…What is this talk about ‘political settlements’? I would have carried on autonomy talks for ten years, and meanwhile we would have reached half a million people in Judea and Samaria.”
    Then we have Netanyahu, who boasts of having derailed the Oslo accords with political trickery, suggesting that the only way to deal with the Palestinians is to

    Reply

  38. Paul Norheim says:

    Just one klick away:
    http://m.youtube.com/index?
    desktop_uri=%2F&gl=US#/watch?
    xl=xl_blazer&v=puSkP3uym5k

    Reply

  39. nadine says:

    What’s the matter Mark, has Bibi Netanyahu become an unsatisfactory boogeyman for the Left? you have to resort to Lieberman? I would have thought Bibi, who is now more solidly in office than ever, and running Israel-US foreign policy besides, would be your chosen villain.

    Reply

  40. Mark says:

    Yes, nadine.
    And the check is in the mail.
    And your husband and boyfriend love you.
    And Saddam’s WMDs will be here any second.
    Any additional fairy tales you care to tell?

    Reply

  41. nadine says:

    Avigdor Lieberman is not even the de facto leader of Israel’s foreign policy, which is the portfolio he holds.

    Reply

  42. nadine says:

    “That said, the argument that because there are so many bad actors in the world Israel shouldn’t live up to higher standards has always struck me as demeaning to the highest ideals of Judaism which is the de facto code that the state represents.” (DonS)
    Who knew you had such a high opinion of Israel? Does it ever express itself in any form but blistering criticism? Does it not occur to you that demanding the highest standards on one side and NO standards on the other is not likely to succeed as a mediation technique?

    Reply

  43. Mark says:

    Steve,
    All that matters is what Avigdor Lieberman, the de facto leader of Israel and the Most Dangerous Man on the Face of the Earth, says about this resolution.
    And all of us already know the answer.
    Say hello to Jenny “Poo” Rubin for me.

    Reply

  44. John RD Kidd says:

    President Obama risks international isolation and
    a failed presidency if he authorizes a US veto
    against a UNSC resolution demanding the
    dismantling of all Israeli settlements in the West
    Bank and East Jerusalem. The European Union
    (including France and Britain), Russia, China plus
    a majority of the international community – are
    all expected to vote for the resolution and to
    back the establishment of an independent
    Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.
    The American president will have to think very
    carefully indeed before emulating his much-
    ridiculed predecessor, George W Bush, in appeasing
    Israel

    Reply

  45. DonS says:

    Sorry, Mitch S if I offended you. I agree that Israel should reduce the settlement footprint, but I had to disagree with much of what else you said; and it does track those with an agenda. That said, the argument that because there are so many bad actors in the world Israel shouldn’t live up to higher standards has always struck me as demeaning to the highest ideals of Judaism which is the de facto code that the state represents.

    Reply

  46. Mitch S. says:

    DonS: I can’t control how you label my “agenda” other than to reiterate that I think Israel must begin reducing its settlements in the WB. I think it’s vital to Israel’s long-term survival. That’s exactly why I avoid commenting here – express an opinion about how to solve the problem and you get called names like “totally right wing Zionist”.
    Yes, the UN voted to create the state of Israel but since then it has singled out Israel uniquely for intense and repeated condemnation over 50 years. Either Israel has truly been more reprehensible than Stalin’s USSR, Mao’s China, the Khmer Rouge, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Lybia, and every other tyrannical government of the last 50 years, or the UN is not an honest broker. I agree with you that Israel has seriously snubbed Obama, but joining the anti-Israel-resolution-of-the-week crowd at Turtle Bay is not the answer.

    Reply

  47. nadine says:

    DonsBlog, there is a de facto three state solution humming along quite sustainably. Treaties being absent, real life inserts itself. Here’s a good report from on the ground http://yaacovlozowick.blogspot.com/2011/01/israel-palestine-emerging-reality-on.html
    Never confuse Palestinians complaints about how this or that option will soon be impossible with reality. The settler situation is no more spread out or impossible than it was in 2000 or 2008 when Israel made offers that would have delivered a contiguous Jew-free West Bank to be a Palestinian state.
    The main reason for no state is that the Palestinians refuse to take one. They could have had a two state solution a dozen times since 1937 (the Peel commission) but always refused since they want the one state solution – no Israel.
    Since they can’t get that, they are settling for the two-stage solution: demand foreign aid, benefits, recognition from the world community while whining about Israel and refusing to sign anything. In terms of recognizing a two-state solution, they are going out of their way to show bad faith.
    Far from recognizing Israel, the “moderate” PA now officially claims that Jewish history is all a lie, Jews have no business in Palestine which was never, ever Jewish; all of Palestine belongs to the Palestinians. Whenever they teach about Palestine in schools or show it on TV, it is always the whole of Mandatory Palestine, which claim falsely was a historic Arab country since forever, instead of being a British colony since 1918. They have even gone around renaming all the Jewish shrines such as the Western Wall or Rachel’s Tomb with Muslim names and claim they are purely Muslim sites — and gotten UNESCO to certify the new Muslim names!
    Israel gets the message. Maybe someday Obama will too.

    Reply

  48. cheneyourself says:

    wouldn’t want to be reminded of your own disgusting comments along those lines a few months back now, would you, wig wag?
    Pearlman should be removed.

    Reply

  49. WigWag says:

    Bill Pearlman, your comment at 5:13 pm is disgusting and should be removed.

    Reply

  50. DonsBlog says:

    Maybe it’s what they’ve done in the past, but Israel is running out of options. Removing settlers will involve too large a population group and settlers have too much influence in government, there’s won’t be enough contiguous land for a 2 state solution soon, and absorbing an exploding Arab population is a direct threat to the Jewishness of the country.
    I would expect Egypt to be the better target. Controlled by a weakening dictatorship and bordering a trouble spot.

    Reply

  51. nadine says:

    Donsblog, whatever “commentary” you are reading, it’s nonsense. Israel has a history of quietly propping up the Hashemites in Jordan, not trying to destabilize them.

    Reply

  52. nadine says:

    Carroll, sorry to disappoint your hopes to see the world insist on Israel’s dissolution, but the Arabs have much bigger fish to fry, namely the threat from Iran and the Islamists. They never cared about the Palestinians except as a political tar baby and they certainly could care less now.
    Now, does Steve Clemons actually believe that Iran and the Islamists, or Arab regimes who are so afraid of them, would be pacified by Israeli concessions in the West Bank, when they are ideologically committed to Israel’s total destruction? I would hate to think so meanly of Steve’s intelligence as to believe that.

    Reply

  53. DonsBlog says:

    I’m reading more and more commentary that the only way for the Jewish democracy to succeed is to get rid of Arab Palestinians, and hoping a neighboring country will fail allowing that to happen.
    My question is in the instability expanding across Middle Eastern Muslim countries, does Israel have any plans to facilitate that opportunity like the way the CIA overthrew governments and installed the Shah and the Bathe party?

    Reply

  54. Carroll says:

    Posted by Kathleen, Jan 19 2011, 4:15PM – Link
    Yep wondering why there is not much action on the post over at Huff Po about this letter. Not on the front page. Hard to find. Oh Arianna stop being a chicken shit.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Read the very ‘revealing’ article on Huff Po and Huffington in Vanity Fair this month.

    Reply

  55. Carroll says:

    Posted by Kathleen, Jan 19 2011, 4:15PM – Link
    Yep wondering why there is not much action on the post over at Huff Po about this letter. Not on the front page. Hard to find. Oh Arianna stop being a chicken shit.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Read the very ‘revealing’ article on Huff Po and Huffington in Vanity Fair this month.

    Reply

  56. Carroll says:

    I tend to agree with Kathleen, and of course Mearsheimer.
    Israel will continue it’s confiscation and end with an apartheid state…then comes a point where the dissolution of the Jewish state will begin and evolution of a new State with a Jewish minority will be born.
    The numbers and the wearing away of any Israel legitimacy say it can’t be any other way in the long run.
    The US exceptionalist and Israeli actors don’t seems to understand how the world is lining up on this…..which is also a matter of numbers and not the past acceptance of US weight on any issue that the life on Mar’s colony in Washington are use to.

    Reply

  57. DonS says:

    To your specific points Mitch S:
    “For the US do dramatically change course and legitimize the UN as an authority on the Mideast will destroy what little influence the US has over Israel.” (mitch)
    The UN is the legitimate force; it it is Israel which is in defiance of international law, even though you might not like to recognize that fact. Even the US government recognizes that.
    “Better that Obama continue to engage with Israel directly, not through the body that Israelis call “United Nothing.”
    You may not have noticed that Israel has of late done nothing but thumb it’s nose at Obama and the US. Engagement, such as it is has been only and embarrassment and a joke on the US. So you want more of that? What’s changed?
    Do you really have a totally right wing zionist agenda, and are you only trying to couch it politely here?

    Reply

  58. WigWag says:

    Putting aside the merits for a moment, purely from the point of view of entertainment value, it’s hard to decide whether to hope for a veto or not hope for a veto.
    If President Obama decides not to veto the resolution he will encounter the wrath of thousands of Jewish voters in South Florida (a state he desperately needs to win), tens of thousands of Christian Zionist voters (in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and elsewhere) and scores of Democratic mega donors and bundlers whose largess he will need in the very near future. Of course, this doesn’t even count the animus he will inspire in the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, the Majority Leader of the House, the number two ranking Democrat in the Senate (Senator Schumer) and all of the Senate Democrats running for reelection (twice as many Democrats are up for reelection as Republicans).
    If President Obama decides to veto the resolution he will encounter the wrath of the progressive blogosphere, readers of the

    Reply

  59. Kathleen says:

    Yep wondering why there is not much action on the post over at Huff Po about this letter. Not on the front page. Hard to find. Oh Arianna stop being a chicken shit. Put this on your front page instead of the US pressuring China about human rights. Now how absurd is that? The US responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths and injuries and millions displaced in Iraq. Gitmo, Abu Gharib, thousands of innocent people dead due to our drones..and the U.S. has the balls to lecture China on human rights.
    The whole world is laughing with good reason

    Reply

  60. DonS says:

    Mitch S, nothing the US tries, or more accurately does not try, influences Israeli decision making in a constructive [for peace] way. You now seem to be suggesting that the US simply jettison the UN, or working with the UN, because Israel doesn’t like it or trust it.
    My thought: so what? It may not be perfect, but it’s not the ‘United Nations according to Israel’. Israel has more than enough muscle at the UN via US positions. The right wing of American politics doesn’t like the UN either, but as long as it remains a member, the US is obligated to participate and contribute to the body as best it can.
    Haven’t we had about enough of Israeli exceptionalism, and neocon exceptionalism? The mess that US foreign policy has brought us to argues for more cooperation, less hegemony. IMO.

    Reply

  61. Kathleen says:

    http://www.liquida.com/focus/2011/01/19/united-nations-israel-iran-iraq/
    Israeli diplomats boycott U.N. Security Council to protest Tel Aviv’s treatment of its diplomats
    Israeli diplomats boycott U.N. Security Council to protest Tel Aviv’s treatment of its diplomats
    Just as the Palestinians U.N. ambassador, Ryad Mansour, has begun pressing his colleagues at the U.N. to adopt a resolution criticizing Israel

    Reply

  62. Kathleen says:

    Not much action at Huffington Post having to do with this letter
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-clemons/pickering-hills-sullivan_b_810822.html

    Reply

  63. Kathleen says:

    Mitch “they absolutely do not see the UN as an honest broker”
    Israel has even had the U.S. veto sending in UN peace keeping witnesses to the conflict. No agenda there
    That is except when the UN voted for the creation of Israel. After Israel got what they manipulated that was it for the UN. In defiance since then.
    And good for you Steve for signing. A bit of that too little too late but who knows how it may help

    Reply

  64. nadine says:

    Robin Wainwright,
    The real mockery of justice is when you proclaim your support for “international law” but keep three entirely different set of law books: one for democracies, one for dictatorships, and a separate law just for Israel.
    It also helps if you know some history. Basic stuff, like who was the aggressor in the last war? and do you really want to hand him a complete do-over?
    Otherwise, you hand out passes for mass murder and attempted genocide to one set of bad actors, while screaming outrage about moderate self-defense measures in another case. Now, that does make a mockery of justice.

    Reply

  65. Mitch S. says:

    Steve, I rarely comment on your Mideast posts because although you are capable of respectful debate, many of your regular commenters are not. But this has to be said: right policy, wrong forum. The US should absolutely help Israel begin reducing, rather than expanding, West Bank settlements, without toppling its governing coalition and putting an even more right-wing regime in power. Joining the UNSC resolution is not the way to do it because whatever Israelis think of the US, they absolutely do not see the UN as an honest broker. The various UN bodies, including the Security Council, have issued more resolutions condemning Israel than any other issue they have ever considered. To most Israelis, the UN is simply the mouthpiece of the Islamic countries and those seeking their favor. For the US do dramatically change course and legitimize the UN as an authority on the Mideast will destroy what little influence the US has over Israel. Better that Obama continue to engage with Israel directly, not through the body that Israelis call “United Nothing.”

    Reply

  66. Kathleen says:

    David “axis of evil” Frum has responded
    CFR

    Reply

  67. Robin Wainwright says:

    As an Evangelical Christian, I strongly support everything in this
    letter. How can we keep on asking other countries around the world
    to conform to international law and international standards on
    human rights (and tie foreign aid or sanctions to their compliance
    or lack thereof), and at the same time ignore for decades Israel’s
    violations of international law and human rights in the occupied
    territories? We have made a mockery of justice and greatly
    diminished our credibility around the world among ordinary people
    who once held us up as their standard of a just society and their
    reason for hope.

    Reply

  68. Kathleen says:

    Wigwag
    “Obama will commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard to reduce the ensuing domestic outroar.”
    And Rep Anthony Weiner, Barney Frank keep pushing for the American traitor Jonathon Pollacks release
    http://beforeitsnews.com/story/209/985/Message_from_the_OU_re:_Jonathan_Pollard_-_Letter_Circulating_in_House_of_Representatives.html

    Reply

  69. WigWag says:

    The signatories to the letter are a very interesting group; it looks like a case of the good, the bad and the ugly (and the non-descript).
    On the “good” side we have the proprietor of this blog; Steve Clemons. I guess we can place Ambassador Pickering in this column as well, although some might object because he served as President Reagan’s Ambassador to El Salvador at the height of the Administration’s support for the right wing death squads in that country. Carla Hills might count as “good” as well although she was widely criticized for being one of the most incompetent and ineffective U.S. Trade Representatives during the failed Presidency of George H.W. Bush. She

    Reply

  70. Paul Norheim says:

    “UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Arab nations have submitted a draft resolution to the
    U.N. Security Council condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but a vote
    on it is not expected any time soon because of a likely U.S. veto, diplomats said
    Wednesday.
    The point of the resolution, diplomats say, is to highlight Washington’s isolated
    position on the Security Council, show the Palestinian population that the
    Palestinian Authority is taking action, and to pressure Israel and the United States
    on the settlement issue.
    Council diplomats said privately that the 15-nation panel was unlikely to take any
    action on the draft resolution in the near future — if at all — because of the likely
    veto.”
    http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE70I58Q20110119

    Reply

  71. Dan Kervick says:

    When is the resolution supposed to come to a vote?

    Reply

  72. non-hater says:

    The two state solution is dead. This letter will do nothing to change that.
    Also, the letter would have had a bit more authority if Andrew “Fifth Column” Sullivan hadn’t been invited to sign on.

    Reply

  73. Paul Norheim says:

    Daniel Levy, Steve’s colleague, wrote a long, informative article about the implications of Ehud
    Barak’s surprising move, called “A requiem for Israel

    Reply

  74. Kathleen says:

    Questions: I am more with Mearsheimer. Think the two state solution door is closed due to Israel’s persistent illegal expansion of illegal settlements.
    This effort described above is more of the two little two late efforts
    The Apartheid state of Israel will become even more exposed.
    Mearsheimer: There will be no two-state solution, only a greater Israel, and Palestinians will need the int

    Reply

  75. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Of course, I’ve been wrong before…”
    At least on this issue, utterly, completely, and irrevocably.
    Your BP/gulf natterings were remarkably idiotic, and hardly prescient, as well.
    When you’re wrong, you’re reaaaally wrong. But, in my willingness to give credit where credit is due, I must admit that the amount of effort and bandwidth you can devote to being reaaaaally wrong is quite impressive.

    Reply

  76. questions says:

    Well, I’ve been wrong before, so I might as well continue my streak!
    The pressure on the Palestinians to accept a “status” rather than a state would seem to be fairly high right now, save the Jasmine Revolution-style issues. On the other hand, there might be some hope of widening the revolts to include other Arab nations and that might embolden the Palestinians to hold fast.
    I’m not a gambler, nor much of a prognosticator, but if I were a Palestinian, I might actually want a “status” right about now.
    And if I were an Israeli, I might be clinging with all my might to the right wing rather than the left because if I were an Israeli I’d probably be pretty thoroughly zionist, pretty thoroughly concerned about security, pretty thoroughly convinced that I knew what to think.
    The more it is logical for Israelis to cling to their guns and religion, as it were, the more pressure there is on Palestinians to accept a “status.” They’re not going to get a state just yet, and with a “status” they can continue the process of political development. And political development should be everyone’s technocratic goal.
    Of course, no everyone is a technocrat, and passion and technocracy don’t seem to go hand in hand.
    Since when does a voting public say, “Oh, this looks like it could become a prisoners’ dilemma. Oh, shit. I’d better bind myself, cut off options, limit the possibility of escalation, and then negotiate for a social-good-maximizing outcome”?
    Of course, I’ve been wrong before.
    No, the US can’t diss Israel in a public forum, and no, the Pres can’t direct foreign policy without congressional support. And indeed, Obama is in something of a bind here. The good man and the good citizen aren’t always the same. Technocracy has some issues with this.
    The question is whether or not Israel feels like helping Obama save face or saving its own face. Israelis like the settlements, but there might be ways to modify things to make it look a little better. And maybe there’s some room for muddled middle agreements under pressure.
    Who knows……

    Reply

  77. Kathleen says:

    Movement as the Israeli government closes the two state solution door by continuing to build and expand illegal settlements. Is this a case of too little too late?
    Last night Keith Olbermann had David

    Reply

  78. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “there are at least three recent events or developments in the Middle East that I’m sure many of your readers are eager to see your thoughts on”
    Thats comical. Ever since Netanyahu started pissing in Obama’s face, events have been unfolding that have been utterly ignored here. Three??? Try dozens, all passing without comment. Murder and maiming of American citizens. Violent police actions against peaceful protestors. Racist and discrimatory legislations. Huge leaps in settlement expansion. The list goes on and on.
    Even more important is the lack of noise concerning the absolute intransigence of the Democrat whores in DC, who haven’t yet seen an Israeli crime that they can’t ignore or celebrate. Or Clinton’s remarkably ineffective posturing and pseudo-diplomacy.
    And now we have Ros-Lehtinen slithering in. Things aren’t lookin’ up for the Palestinians, at least on THIS front. Pretty pathetic when the Russians show more integrity and concern for human rights than we do.

    Reply

  79. Paul Norheim says:

    Steve,
    there are at least three recent events or developments in the
    Middle East that I’m sure many of your readers are eager to see
    your thoughts on:
    1) Ehud Barak saving the coalition headed by Netanyahu, by
    leaving Labor and starting a new party.
    2) The turmoil in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria etc, and it’s
    implications.
    3) The “stuxnet” computer worm successfully attacking nuclear
    installations in Iran.
    These events are significant and have wider implications – so
    what’s your take?

    Reply

  80. PissedOffAmerican says:

    As if the legion of whores in Congress will stand still for such a thing. About the best we can hope for is a strengthening of semantics from our Secretary of State. Israel’s actions might be escalated to “troubling” instead of “unhelpful” in Clinton’s feeble oral posturings. Or she might reaaaally get on Israel’s case, and snort another “tsk tsk” or two.
    You can rest assured, however, that the decibel level of her protest will be no match for the thundering roar of a Congressional ball point pen signing yet another check for a few billion dollars.

    Reply

  81. nadine says:

    Bad timing, Steve. Didn’t you notice that Obama is playing centrist this week? Wrong time to reward the Palestinians at the UN – which I doubt Obama feels much like doing anyway, since their adamant refusal to negotiate has made his administration look extremely stupid and weak.
    BTW, what do you think of the Labor breakup and Ehud Barak’s new centrist “Independence” party? That’s bound to draw a lot of support away from Kadima, don’t you think? Tsipi Livni is certainly spitting bricks. According to the Jpost, she called it “the dirtiest act” in history. David Hazony thinks Barak will pull the centrists away from Kadima and that Bibi now has an excellent chance of staying in office until his term ends in 2013.

    Reply

  82. DonS says:

    “Within one month of the vote, Obama will commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard to reduce the ensuing domestic outroar.”
    I’ve seen some pretty sick ideas advanced by the Israel Firsters but this is more perverted than most. Twisted actually, and it would undo any possible value of the signal that Obama and the US were shifting agendas.
    I think even an abstention is a stretch, although it’s been floated around for a while, so who knows.

    Reply

  83. DonS says:

    The letter nicely highlights the further erosion of American credibility in saying one thing (settlements illegal) and doing another (thwarting meaningful pressure on continued settlement building). It is also nuanced to address the usual complaints that the UNSC resolutions are ‘too one-sided’. And it avoids some likely signatories that would be red meat to the AIPAC crowd.
    Now all that is required for the administration to recognize the shift that is taking place worldwide in frustration at the Israelis is for the State Department to overcome it’s knee jerk contradictory responses, just the one’s suggested in the letter. Oh yes, and for Obama to receive strong advice from Dennis Ross that being consistent with his Cairo speech is a no brainer. It could be an eye opener on the world stage, something the US sinking prestige could use.
    Even an abstention would send a signal of sorts, but why not go the whole measure? The Israel Firsters and their cohort will never be Obama’s friend on I/P, and would go ballistic which ever route, abstention or approval, is chosen.
    I doubt whether the US could ever bring itself to really be an objective presence in the conflict. But it needs to get out of the way to a solution. Indicating that at the UN would be a step.

    Reply

  84. WigWag says:

    Prediction: The Obama Administration will abstain when the resolution comes up and not veto it. Within one month of the vote, Obama will commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard to reduce the ensuing domestic outroar.
    Additional Prediction: A failure of the Obama Administration to veto the resolution will result in an effort within the House of Representatives to defund both the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority. The effort to defund the PA will ultimately fail as a result of heavy behind the scenes lobbying by AIPAC to keep PA funding intact; the Netanyahu Government will also ask pro-Israel House members not to cut aid to the PA.
    Chairman Ros-Lehtinen will then turn her full attention to defunding the United Nations and she will have the support of almost the entire House Republican caucus and many Democrats as well. By FY 2013 at the latest, the we will be back to where we were 20 years ago with the United Nations on the brink of financial disaster as a result of the refusal of the United States to pay its dues (the U.S. provides 25 percent of the revenue received each year by the UN).
    Of course, time will tell.

    Reply

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