Show Me the Strategy

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hillary+at+aipac.pngAccording to the Washington Post‘s Glen Kessler, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a surprising comment to the BBC this week. She said that the recent US-Israel confrontation was “paying off”.
This would imply that the public declarations on both sides of the relationship being at historic lows was more John Bolton-like bluster deployed tactically to try and win some leverage rather than a real break. If someone in outer space was feeling really generous toward the Obama administration, one might even consider the tiff a sign of real strategy.
But not on this planet. What has been completely missing from President Obama’s Israel-Palestine efforts is serious, deep engagement in the complex challenges there. He has an envoy, George Mitchell, who seems to be groveling for Israeli and Palestinian support.
We’ve seen systemic irresponsibility on both the Israel and Palestine sides of the equation for a very long time — and it amazes me that Dennis Ross and other well-informed advisers to the President aren’t making it clear that at this point, only a process that actively involves most of the responsible stakeholders in the region will move past the paralysis. That demands an expression of Presidential expectations of what a final status package might look like — and would make clear what the US, Arab neighbors, Europe, the UN, and Russia would expect Israel and Palestine to abide by.
There has been no sign that the administration is willing to deal with the region as it is – rather than as it might fantasize about. The failure of negotiations under George Mitchell, the failure to get Israel to agree to Obama’s cessation of settlement demands, the recent blow up during Biden’s visit — all of these cannot be blamed on the regular pin-up target for problems in the region — Hamas.
Hamas has been mostly quiet despite the assassination, allegedly by the Mossad, of one of its military leaders. Hamas was negotiating directly with Netanyahu’s government over a prisoner exchange, and Hamas has been a credible participant in unity talk efforts brokered by the Egyptians.
The reality behind the scenes with these negotiations is that Netanyahu doesn’t want to achieve Shalit’s release and secure a deal with Hamas — both because it will empower Hamas and put him in an odd spot. The Egyptians are both brokering a unity government peace effort in Palestine with one hand and blocking it with the other.
The Egyptians, the Americans, and Netanyahu are the blocks on dealmaking in the region that might lead to a different equilibrium that could be more productive than the mess we have now.
Has the US even noticed the shift in Hamas’ behavior? Are we doing anything to test the reality of this shift or to take advantage of it?
I think not as George Mitchell is still chasing a “too much, too late” strategy to shower so-called Palestinian moderates with his attention, US resources, and his ‘hopes.’ Mitchell also doesn’t get that Israel-Palestine is a globally significant fault-line unlike Northern Ireland which could have raged a few hundred more years without having the same global consequences of an unresolved Israel-Palestine conflict.
Whether the US is going to punish Israel for its ongoing settlement misbehavior or appease it doesn’t really matter.
What does matter is whether the Secretary of State expresses a sense of vision and direction for the region that rises above Israel’s regrettable behavior and moves beyond the fragmentation and incompetence of the Palestinian government. All eyes and ears will be waiting for some sign that the administration has strategic depth during her speech before the annual AIPAC national policy summit on Monday.
If not, she will be reinforcing the sense much of the world has of Obama’s lack of seriousness about America’s geostrategic position. She will be reinforcing a global profound sense of doubt about America’s ability to achieve the objectives it declares itself committed to.
And as Joe Biden warned appropriately during the campaign, President Obama will continue to be tested and tested and tested — not just by Netanyahu but many other world players who sense lack of resolve, an absence of strategy and weakness on the US side.
It took Kennedy the Cuban Missile Crisis to finally regain his balance and restore American global credibility.
I wonder what crisis Obama will finally have to confront to restore global confidence in him — and what risks that will entail.
This article first appeared at the Middle East issues blog, the Palestine Note.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

87 comments on “Show Me the Strategy

  1. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Sweetness…the point is to cut off aid if they don’t respect the 1967 borders, not to continue to support them, no matter what.

    Reply

  2. Sweetness says:

    It might be pretty complicated in fact.
    How much luck does the US have insisting that its allies do
    anything–even the ones we give money to.
    We give lots of money to Egypt. We’d like them to have free and fair
    elections. Do we have any luck “insisting” on that?
    We give lots of military aid to Saudi Arabia. How much luck do we
    have insisting that they have elections…or let women drive?
    We’re throwing tons of money at Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan.
    How much luck do we have insist that they do XYZ?

    Reply

  3. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    I’m with Steve in his observations of Obama’s lack of strategy in many areas….a fence-straddler from way back, BO would have to chose which side of the fence to land on, so he persists in his “Look Ma, no hands” approach to problems…this is leadership? How about coming down on the side of upholding the law and insisting that Israel respect the 1967 borders? How complicated is that?

    Reply

  4. Mostly Blonde says:

    http://nader.org/index.php?/archives/2179-Israel-Aid.html
    Tuesday, March 23. 2010
    Israel & Aid
    On July 10, 1996, at a Joint Session of the United States Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a standing ovation for these words: “With America’s help, Israel has grown to be a powerful, modern state. …But I believe there can be no greater tribute to America’s long-standing economic aid to Israel than for us to be able to say: we are going to achieve economic independence. We are going to do it. In the next four years, we will begin the long-term process of gradually reducing the level of your generous economic assistance to Israel.”
    Since 1996, the American taxpayers are still sending Israel $3 billion a year and providing assorted loan guarantees, waivers, rich technology transfers and other indirect assistance. Before George W. Bush left office a memorandum of understanding between the U.S. and Israel stipulated an assistance package of $30 billion over the next ten years to be transferred in a lump sum at the beginning of every fiscal year. Israel’s wars and colonies still receive U.S. taxpayer monies.
    What happened to Mr. Netanyahu’s solemn pledge to the Congress? The short answer is that Congress never called in the pledge.
    In the intervening years, Israel has become an economic, technological and military juggernaut. Its GDP is larger than Egypt’s even though Israel’s population is less than one tenth that of the Arab world’s most populous nation. The second largest number of listings on America’s NASDAQ Exchange after U.S. companies are from Israel, exceeding listings of Japan, Korea, China and India combined. Its venture capital investments exceed those in the U.S., Europe and China on a per capita basis.
    Israel is arguably the fifth most powerful military force in the world, and Israel’s claims on the U.S.’s latest weapon systems and research/development breakthroughs are unsurpassed. This combination has helped to make Israel a major arms exporter.
    The Israeli “economic miracle” and technological innovations have spawned articles and a best-selling book in recent months. The country’s average GDP growth rate has exceeded the average rate of most western countries over the past five years. Israel provides universal health insurance, unlike the situation in the U.S., which raises the question of who should be aiding whom?
    Keep in mind, the U.S. economy is mired in a recession, with large rates of growing poverty, unemployment, consumer debt and state and federal deficits. In some states, public schools are shutting, public health services are being slashed, and universities are increasing tuition while also cutting programs. Even state government buildings are being sold off.
    Under U.S. law, military sales to Israel cannot be used for offensive purposes, only for “legitimate self-defense.” Nonetheless, there have been numerous violations of the Arms Export Control Act by Israel. Even the indifferent State Department has found, from time to time, that munitions such as cluster bombs were “likely violations.”
    Violations would lead to a cut-off in aid but with the completely pro-Israel climate in Washington, the White House has never allowed such findings to be definitive.
    The same indifference applies to violations of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act that prohibits aid to countries engaging in consistent international human rights violations. These include the occupation, colonization, blockades and military assaults on civilians in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza, regularly documented by the highly regarded Israeli human rights group B’Tselem as well as by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
    This week, Prime Minister Netanyahu visits President Barack Obama after the recent Israeli announcement of 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem made while Vice President Joe Biden was visiting that country.
    The affront infuriated New York Times columnist, Tom Friedman, who wrote that Mr. Biden should have packed his bags and flown away leaving behind a scribbled note saying “You think you can embarrass your only true ally in the world, to satisfy some domestic political need, with no consequences? You have lost total contact with reality.”
    Friedman, a former Times Middle East correspondent, concluded his rebuke by writing: “Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad are as genuine and serious about working toward a solution as any Israel can hope to find.”
    But until a few days ago, the U.S. government had no levers over the Israeli government. Cutting off aid isn’t even whispered in the halls of Congress. Raising the issue would further galvanize Israel’s allies, including AIPAC.
    The only lever left for the U.S. suddenly erupted into the public media a few days ago. General David Petraeus told the Senate that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has foreign policy and national security ramifications for the United States.
    He said that “The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the Area of Responsibility…Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda and other military groups exploit that anger to mobilize support.”
    A few days earlier, Vice President Joe Biden told Prime Minister Netanyahu in Israel that “what you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
    What Obama’s people are publically starting to say is that regional peace is about U.S. vital interests in that large part of the Middle East and, ultimately, the safety of American soldiers and personnel.
    As one retired diplomat commented “This could be a game-changer.”

    Reply

  5. Sweetness says:

    Nadine: “J Street is not pro-Israel, it just pretends. They don’t
    take any pro-Israel positions.”
    Out of curiosity, what sort of real expertise do you have in IP or
    ME issues? This is from J’s Web site…
    “The United States is Israel’s closest ally and it is always
    important to demonstrate that the US will stand with its allies
    when they are under threat. Ensuring Israel’s security from both
    local and regional threats is in America’s best interest. It is also
    in the interest of both Israel and the United States to honor
    similar values-systems, including the tenets of democracy,
    justice, and equality. America best serves our historic friendship
    with Israel when it is actively working to resolve conflicts and
    advance peace, which ultimately ensures Israel’s existence and
    security in the Middle East. An Israel at peace with its neighbors
    is both a US and Israeli interest. Israel has an interest in a strong
    and reinvigorated American role in the world, and the resolution
    of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is part of securing that.”
    This strikes me as sensible and right.

    Reply

  6. nadine says:

    “J Street was founded by the son of one of
    Israel’s founding members–so he isn’t anti-Israel, anti-Zionist,
    or anti anything except injustice and endless conflict”
    Sweetness, nope, it doesn’t follow. J Street is not pro-Israel, it just pretends. They don’t take any pro-Israel positions. Their polls must also be taken with a grain of salt, like where they touted a question that asked “Is Obama a nice guy?” as proving that Israelis thought Obama was pro-Israel.
    What he can be is one of those left-wingers who earnestly advise Israel to cut its own throat before its enemies decapitate it. Purely out of concern, mind you. Naturally Israel’s enemies are doing everything they can to sell the idea.
    However, Israelis, who unlike the Left, remember what came of their withdrawals and peace offers of the last 17 years, know better than to buy the idea.

    Reply

  7. DonS says:

    And here, Glenn Greenwald, cites a Rasmussen poll that seems to clearly indicate the relationship between information relating the Israeli “insult” to Joe Biden, etc., reaching the American people and a reduction in the percentage of Americans who see Israel as an ally.
    This proves the obvious. Opinion of another country is not a given, as some commenters here would assert, but is fungible based on the information they have and how it is presented. Somewhat more speculatively, it may also indicate that the message is getting through, as General Petreaus and others have finally started to indicate, that the Is/Pal problem detracts from the US being able to pursue important security and foreign policy objectives.
    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/03/23/israel/index.html
    Glenn: ” That’s why the primary objective now of AIPAC and its bipartisan cast of Congressional servants is — as Scherer put it — “to pressure the Obama Administration to avoid airing disagreements publically [sic].” Indeed: you can’t have the American people knowing anything about the U.S./Israel relationship and the ways in which the interests of the two countries diverge.”

    Reply

  8. Sweetness says:

    I’m not a big fan of polls. I don’t understand their inner
    workings very well and they are easily manipulated. Moreover,
    people only cite polls that agree with them.
    But since everyone else is citing polls, I might as well, too. This
    one from J Street. J Street was founded by the son of one of
    Israel’s founding members–so he isn’t anti-Israel, anti-Zionist,
    or anti anything except injustice and endless conflict. Here are
    the highlights I just received. I think they generally speak well of
    my landsmen…
    There is solid support in the Jewish community for J Street’s
    position that peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian
    conflict is a core Israeli and American interest and that the
    United States should take an active leadership role in achieving
    peace.
    American Jews by a four-to-one margin, 82-18 percent,
    support the United States playing an active role in helping the
    parties to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, with 73 percent of
    American Jews supporting this active role even if it means that
    the United States were to publicly state its disagreements with
    both the Israelis and the Arabs.
    * By a 71-29 percent margin, American Jews support the United
    States “exerting pressure” on both the Israelis and the Arabs to
    make the necessary compromises to achieve peace. An earlier J
    Street poll last March found a similar level of support.
    A majority of all American Jews, 52-48 percent, still support an
    active role even if the United States were to publicly state its
    disagreements with only Israel. American Jews are evenly split
    on support for exerting pressure on only Israel, a notion that J
    Street opposes.
    60 percent of American Jews believe Israel’s announcement of
    new housing in East Jerusalem caused damage to U.S.-Israel
    relations, and 55 percent say the United States was right to
    strongly criticize the Israeli announcement of new housing in
    East Jerusalem during Vice President Biden’s visit.
    American Jews agree that the United States should speak out
    publicly when it disagrees with Israel, yet some do show
    discomfort when the United States publicly disagrees only with
    Israel.
    44 percent agree that the United States should publicly express
    our disagreements and request Israel to change certain policies,
    while 40 percent say the U.S. should keep such disagreements
    private.
    42 percent say that ending the conflict requires the United
    States to serve as an honest broker and state our disagreements
    with both Israelis and Palestinians when it is necessary, while 39
    percent say public criticism of Israel sends the wrong message
    to Israel’s enemies.
    53 percent say the relationship between the U.S. and Israel must
    be a two-way street that allows an honest public discussion and
    even criticism, while 47 percent say the Obama administration
    should work closely with Israel, make a conscious effort to move
    away from public demands and unilateral deadlines, and defuse
    tensions.
    Obama’s approval in the Jewish community is holding steady at
    62 percent. Gallup reported a 64 percent approval rating in an
    October 2009 poll. Obama’s approval rating among Jews is 15
    points higher than among all Americans (47 percent) according
    to a Gallup poll conducted during the same period.
    Read the full poll here.
    ———-
    J Street is the political home of the pro-Israel, pro-peace
    movement.

    Reply

  9. Paul Norheim says:

    Spamming time. Copying and pasting randomly from the
    thread…it happens every morning, Norwegian time. This time
    “replica watches for sale” talks about “continued Zionist
    aggression against our people in Jerusalem”.
    I think this is the first time I’ve seen a replica watch selling
    spammer disguised as an anti-Zionist.

    Reply

  10. Carroll says:

    Hamas says rocket attacks are helping Israel
    by Paul Woodward on March 21, 2010
    I don’t remember Ariel Sharon — or any other Israeli leader — being referred to as a “strongman”. I guess it’s a term reserved for men on the other side. Still, it’s funny (yet predictable) that a Hamas leader such as Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar will be referred to as a strongman even when what he is reported as saying is that rocket attacks on Israel do not serve Palestinian interests. It’s not exactly a strongmanish, belligerent observation to make. Be that as it may, this is how his comments are reported by Ynet:
    Hamas strongman Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar on Saturday night slammed the Palestinian groups firing rockets at Israel. Zahar told the Iranian al-Alam television station that the rocket fire was a “suspicious action aimed at allowing the enemy to gain points in its favor in the public opinion and divert the attention from its crimes in the territories.”
    According to Zahar, “The enemy wants to portray itself as defending itself against the rocket fire while being criticized by the Quartet. We are aware of the fact that there are elements wishing to help the enemy divert the attention from what is happening in Jerusalem.
    “We are closely following those firing the rockets and are aware of the real motives behind the fire,” Zahar said, implying that the groups’ main goal was to undermine Hamas’ rule in the Gaza Strip.
    He also slammed the Palestinian Authority for not allowing protests for Jerusalem, and noted that the International Quartet’s decision in Moscow was not serious. “It was more of a media event, and the most important thing is maintaining a popular movement for Jerusalem.”
    Earlier, Al Jazeera reported:
    A previously unknown Gaza group, Ansar al-Sunna, as well as the al-Aqsa Martrys Brigades, a wing of the mainstream Fatah movement, both claimed responsibility for the rocket attack from Gaza that preceded the air raids.
    “The jihadist mission came in response to the Zionist assaults against the Ibrahimi and al-Aqsa mosques and the continued Zionist aggression against our people in Jerusalem,” Ansar al-Sunna said in a statement.
    Matan Vilnai, the Israeli deputy defence minister, said that regardless of any claims of responsibility, Israel blamed the rocket strike on Hamas, the de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip.

    Reply

  11. DonS says:

    Ditto the Haaretz; I accessed it today for the first time in a long time (due to prior bad experiences) and I go a virus warning. I run Firefox.

    Reply

  12. Paul Norheim says:

    Did not happen to me on my Mac – and I’ve visited Haaretz
    several times today and yesterday. I guess it’s us Mac users who
    should inform the rest here of potentially interesting articles in
    the coming days.

    Reply

  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Hey, POS, individual sob stories about racist neighbors don’t add up to genocide, mass graves and crematoria. Not for the sane. Which would exclude you”
    Nadine….
    I think the majority of posters here have made it clear what they think of your “opinions” and racist spew. You are despicably dishonest, predictably on script, and prolific in your offering of the most despicable of the Hasbara talking points and propaganda. You haven’t enjoyed any credibility here for months, and if you expect to be taken seriously here, you’re wasting your time.
    Go screw yourself. In Israel, preferably. Or are you too much the fuckin’ coward to put your own life on the line for your fanatical and racist world view? One thing is for sure, your presence here in the States is not an asset for the rest of us. In fact, its an embarrassment.

    Reply

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “FYI everyone: Stay away from the Haaretz website. I picked up a nasty piece of malware when I visited the site last night, and had to spend a good deal of time killing processes, cleaning out my registry and deleting programs. Then I stupidly got the same thing today when I clicked on a link to the Merkel story without realizing it was from Haaretz, and I just finished cleaning up”
    Same happened to me today. Thats the second time that Haaretz has seriously contaminated my computer. It seems to happen when accessing articles that are less than complimentary to Israel’s policies. Who can doubt that it is purposely done?

    Reply

  15. Dan Kervick says:

    FYI everyone: Stay away from the Haaretz website. I picked up a nasty piece of malware when I visited the site last night, and had to spend a good deal of time killing processes, cleaning out my registry and deleting programs. Then I stupidly got the same thing today when I clicked on a link to the Merkel story without realizing it was from Haaretz, and I just finished cleaning up.

    Reply

  16. nadine says:

    Thank you for the small injection of sanity, Sweetness. Of course, mass murder of the Jews, that might have been regrettable, but nothing in outrage, compared to some Jews building apartments in Jerusalem.

    Reply

  17. nadine says:

    Hey, POS, individual sob stories about racist neighbors don’t add up to genocide, mass graves and crematoria. Not for the sane. Which would exclude you.

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    “What did Oslo say about the disposition of Area C settlements following a final status agreement? Nothing. ” (Dan Kervick)
    And when did the final status agreement happen? Never. It broke down over “right of return” to Israel. Not to Palestine.
    So, who is in charge of Area C right this minute, according to the Oslo Accords? and are they legally binding, or not?

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Yes, and it would be equally impossible for an honest person to look at 1948, 1967, and 1973–and perhaps prior to that–and not conclude that the Arab states intended genocide against the Jews in Palestine and then Israel”
    Yesteryear. Israel is committing genocide TODAY, with our financing and complicity.

    Reply

  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Former Obama Aide New Head of AIPAC
    by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
    Follow Israel news on and .
    (IsraelNN.com) Lee “Rosy” Rosenberg, a jazz recording industry veteran capitalist who accompanied U.S. President Barack Obama on his campaign trip to Israel two years ago, takes over on Sunday as the new president of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Rosenberg also served on the president’s national campaign finance committee.
    The new AIPAC president hails from Chicago, the home state of President Obama, and also is on first-name terms with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, President Obama’s senior advisor.
    continues…..
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/136628

    Reply

  21. Sweetness says:

    Yes, and it would be equally impossible for an honest person to look at 1948, 1967, and 1973–and perhaps prior to that–and not conclude that the Arab states intended genocide against the Jews in Palestine and then Israel.
    At least according this definition and, particularly, this part…
    “Whatever may be the motive for the crime (land expropriation, national security, territorrial integrity, etc.), if the perpetrators commit acts intended to destroy a group, even part of a group, it is genocide.”

    Reply

  22. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Any honest person, reading the definition of genocide as described in the Geneva Conventions, has to admit that Israel has met all the criterias.

    Reply

  23. Carroll says:

    And I do not see how the Goldstone report can be questioned. It would be hard to find a law Israel hasn’t violated. Even before the Gaza assault Israel routinely bombed Palestine water plants, power plants, hospitals, schools, Palestine Police headquarters…. most of which, like the water and power plants had been paid for the US and the World Bank fund. It’s impossible to even imagine the 10’s of trillions of dollars Israel has cost the world between the aid they have received from the US and Germany and the destruction they have caused not only in Palestine and Gaza but in Lebanon.
    General Provisions
    Article 2 states that signatories are bound by the convention both in war, armed conflicts, and “where war has not been declared and in an occupation of another country’s territory.”
    Article 3 states that even where there is not a conflict of international character the parties must as a minimum adhere to minimal protections described as: noncombatants, members of armed forces who have laid down their arms, and combatants who are hors de combat (out of the fight) due to wounds, detention, or any other cause shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, with the following prohibitions:
    (a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, cruel treatment and torture;
    (b) taking of hostages;
    (c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment
    (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
    Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions collective punishments are a war crime.
    By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World Wars I and World War II. In the First World War, Germans killed Belgian villagers in mass retribution for resistance activity.
    In World War II, Nazis carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance. Entire villages or towns or districts were held responsible for any resistance activity that took place there. The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary to the conventions states that parties to a conflict often would resort to “intimidatory measures to terrorize the population” in hopes of preventing hostile acts, but such practices “strike at guilty and innocent alike. They are opposed to all principles based on humanity and justice.”
    Additional Protocol II of 1977 explicitly forbids collective punishment. But as fewer states have ratified this protocol than GCIV, GCIV Article 33. is the one more commonly quoted.
    Section I. Provisions common to the territories of the parties to the conflict and to occupied territories
    Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions collective punishments are a war crime. By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World Wars I and World War II. In the First World War, Germans killed Belgian villagers in mass retribution for resistance activity. In World War II, Nazis carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance.
    Entire villages or towns or districts were held responsible for any resistance activity that took place there. The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary to the conventions states that parties to a conflict often would resort to “intimidatory measures to terrorize the population” in hopes of preventing hostile acts, but such practices “strike at guilty and innocent alike.
    Also under Article II In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to destroy a group includes the deliberate deprivation of resources needed for the group’s physical survival, such as clean water, food, clothing, shelter or medical services. Deprivation of the means to sustain life can be imposed through confiscation of harvests, blockade of foodstuffs, detention in camps, forcible relocation or expulsion into deserts.
    Moreover..
    The crime of genocide has two elements: intent and action. “Intentional means purposeful. Intent can be proven directly from statements or orders.
    But more often, it must be inferred from a “SYSTEMATIC PATTERN” of coordinated acts.
    2)Intent is different from motive.
    Whatever may be the motive for the crime (land expropriation, national security, territorrial integrity, etc.), if the perpetrators commit acts intended to destroy a group, even part of a group, it is genocide.

    Reply

  24. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Any kind of argument about whether or not Israeli settlement expansion is legal is asinine. Its like arguing about whether or not a raindrop is wet.

    Reply

  25. Carroll says:

    I don’t see, if one goes by international law, that there is any question about the Israeli settlements.
    Geneva Conventions
    Section III. Occupied territories
    Articles 47-78 impose substantial obligations on occupying powers. As well as numerous provisions for the general welfare of the inhabitants of an occupied territory,..
    Article 49 ” an occupier may not forcibly deport protected persons, or deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into occupied territory.”

    Reply

  26. Dan Kervick says:

    Everyone: Area C was an temporary administrative division defined as part of the Oslo interim agreement. It was to be gradually transferred to Palestinian jurisdiction in three phases, “except for the issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations.”
    What did Oslo say about the disposition of Area C settlements following a final status agreement? Nothing. Article 31, item 6:
    “Nothing in this Agreement shall prejudice or preempt the outcome of the negotiations on the permanent status to be conducted pursuant to the DOP. Neither Party shall be deemed, by virtue of having entered into this Agreement, to have renounced or waived any of its existing rights, claims or positions. ”

    Reply

  27. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Israel: Arab family denied right to rent home
    Jonathan Cook
    The National, March 21, 2010
    NEVATIM, ISRAEL // The Zakai and Tarabin families should be a picture of happy coexistence across the ethnic divide, a model for others to emulate in Israel.
    But Natalie and Weisman Zakai say the past three years – since the Jewish couple offered to rent their home to Bedouin friends, Ahmed and Khalas Tarabin – have been a living hell.
    “I have always loved Israel,” said Mrs Zakai, 43. “But to see the depth of the racism of our neighbours has made me question why we live in this country.”
    Three of the couple’s six dogs have been mysteriously poisoned; Mrs Zakai’s car has been sprayed with the words “Arab lover” and the windows smashed; her three children in school are regularly taunted and bullied by other pupils; and a collection of vintage cars in the family’s yard has been set on fire in what police say was an arson attack.
    To add to these indignities, the Zakais have spent three years and thousands of dollars battling through the courts against the elected officials of their community of Nevatim, in Israel’s southern Negev desert, who have said they are determined to keep the Tarabins from moving in.
    Last week the Zakais’ legal struggle looked like it had run out of steam. The supreme court told the two families the Tarabins should submit to a vetting committee of local officials to assess their suitability – a requirement that has never been made before by the Negev community in the case of a family seeking to rent a home.
    “The decision of the committee is a foregone conclusion,” Mr Tarabin said.
    Chances for Jews and Arabs to live together – outside of a handful of cities – are all but impossible because Israel’s rural communities are strictly segregated, said Alaa Mahajneh, a lawyer representing the Zakais.
    Israel has nationalised 93 per cent of the country’s territory, confining most of its 1.3 million Arab citizens, one-fifth of the population, to 120 or so communities that existed at the time of the state’s creation in 1948.
    Meanwhile, more than 700 rural communities, including Nevatim, have remained exclusively Jewish by requiring that anyone who wants to buy a home applies to local vetting committees, which have been used to weed out Arab applicants.
    continues….
    http://uruknet.com/index.php?p=m64376&hd=&size=1&l=e
    This is the kind racism that Hillary will be supporting when she gives her “yes you can screw me” speech at the AIPAC Convention tomorrow.

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    So, this sack of shit Netanyahu has just announced building in East Jerusalem will continue unabated.
    We will now see what this eunich Obama and his Queen in charge of AIPAC groveling are made out of. I suspect, it ain’t much.

    Reply

  29. nadine says:

    I’m done, because there is no debating this kind of disingenuousness. Only a fool would think that moving families and children and schools into a hostile territory is a “security measure”.
    Israels are moving into existing towns, or more often, simply being born inside them. No new towns have been built; no new land has been taken. What does “hostile territory” mean? What country does this territory belong to? You cite Oslo to say that the Palestinians have recognized Israel; yet this same Oslo permits Israel to keep “Area C” towns under Israeli control. It certainly doesn’t forbid Israelis to move in or out of them (they are not “being moved” by the government) or to build new buildings in those towns. All this has been true since 1993.
    So do you support the terms of Oslo? Yes or No? It seems you prefer to pick and chose, keeping only what hurts Israel and dropping the rest.

    Reply

  30. DonS says:

    “Personally, I think the Israelis should declare Oslo a dead letter and begin making new settlements again.”
    We already surmised that. And I’m done too. Dan, you are much too kind calling this blather “disingenuousness”. All part of the zionist propaganda machine all the time. Just keeps pouring it out to make it seem as if there is actually another ‘side’ to the recognition of the majority of posters here that Israel has been a bad actor.
    Blaming the victim, the Palestinian people — the big lie — to shout down the rational expectation that Israel must own up to the responsibilities that go along with a civilized nation. Who knows, Nadine may simply represent the storm troops pushing the envelope against the shape of any possible future agreements. In the beginning of the modern era the gleeful, arrogant, Israeli right wingers used to call it ‘facts on the ground’ as these rogue and dispicable ‘settlers’ — as the Nadine ilk prefers to glorify them — bulldozed, shot and intimidated and robbed thousands of Palestinian and set up potemkin villages as, at the very least, bargaining chips against the shape of any future agreements, and in their zealous minds and corroded hearts, permanently stolen land.

    Reply

  31. Paul Norheim says:

    Nadine’s propaganda reminds me of Matthew Duss’
    characterization of Bill Kristol’s and Liz Cheney’s “Keep America
    Safe” in a recent article in The Nation:
    “Like Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army, Keep America
    Safe essentially functions as Kristol’s militia wing, taking a power
    drill to the fear center of the American brain and leaving the
    bloody remains of factual accuracy and good taste in its wake.
    Substantially funded by Mel Sembler, a major GOP donor and
    former chair of the Scooter Libby Defense Trust, Keep America
    Safe’s main goal seems to be to Keep America Scared Shitless.”
    More here:
    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100405/duss

    Reply

  32. PissedOffAmerican says:

    CURRENT KNESSET ‘MOST RACIST IN HISTORY’
    ISRAELI RIGHTS GROUPS HAVE FOUND THIS ISRAELI PARLIAMENT TO BE THE MOST RACIST IN THE NATION’S HISTORY
    The Coalition Against Racism and the Mossawa Center have released a report that finds the sitting Knesset to be the most racist in history, Haaretz reports. The proposed legislation is considered to marginalize Israeli Arab citizens; 11 similar bills passed in 2008 and 12 in 2009.
    In 2010, 21 discriminatory bills stand for ratification – a 75% increase in such bills. Says the report’s authors Lizi Sagi and Nidal Othman:
    “There has never been a Knesset as active in proposing discriminating and racist legislation against the country’s Arab citizens.”
    continues…..
    http://palestinenote.com/cs/blogs/topnews/archive/2010/03/21/current-knesset-most-racist-in-history.aspx

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Dan finally sees the light.
    “I’m done” is a bit belated, by months. It took Dan all this time to finally reject Nadine’s obvious lack of objectivity, honesty, or integrity? You don’t “debate” with mouthpieces like Nadine, you just point out their blatant bigotry and dishonesty, and ignore the hasbarist crap that rolls off their keyboards ad nauseum. She throws shit on the wall in the hope that some of it sticks. And as long as anyone lends her the impression that they might find 1% of her propaganda credible, then she has in fact managed to get some of the shit to stick.

    Reply

  34. Dan Kervick says:

    “What you are calling “land grabs” are security measures in response to suicide bombers that can and have been undone when things calm down, like the Security Fence.”
    I’m done, because there is no debating this kind of disingenuousness. Only a fool would think that moving families and children and schools into a hostile territory is a “security measure”. But perhaps Nadine thinks the best way to protect her home from burglary is to put her most valuable items outside on the street.
    But this kind of talk illustrates the futility of further chit-chat based peace processes with land-lusting Israelis and their endless stalling tactics and barrages of tears and blather, tactics that are just designed to run out the clock.

    Reply

  35. nadine says:

    “Really, Nadine? That *started* it? The Zionist project of moving Palestinian Arabs off much of their land – the land “without a people” – had nothing to do with it?”
    Really, then how come none of them moved out before 1947? Before 1947, half a million Jews moved in, and so did half a million Arabs. Arab population in areas of Jewish settlement rose fivefold between 1922 and 1947. What happened in 1947 -49? A war to drive the Jews into the sea. Wars make refugees of the losers. Three million Germans became refugees at the same time. They were losers too. Ever wonder why they aren’t they generational refugees in UN camps?
    “The PLO signed the letters of mutual recognition as part of the Oslo process, so Palestinians have accepted Israel’s legitimacy. But you know that. ”
    Fatah has officially reneged on that recognition. Hamas never recognized Israel to start with. So explain again who recognizes Israel’s legitimacy now?
    “The Palestinian team at Camp David certainly was willing to entertain a final settlement based on “equal exchange of territories” with the pre-1967 baseline as the starting point. T”
    Entertain maybe, but not agree to. They were offered enough land swaps at Taba in 2000 and in 2007 to make 100% of WB and Gaza. Refused without a counter. If this is really what they want, where is THEIR offer?
    There has never been ONE SINGLE Palestinian offer to end the conflict, and this, as Shlomo ben Ami figured out too late, is the crux of the conflict. This is not a normal negotiation with both sides meeting in the middle, but one where the Israelis make offers and the Palestinians respond with new demands instead of concessions. You don’t mention “the right of return” – of five million Palestinian refugees to Israel, not Palestine – that was the deal breaker, not borders.
    “Israel’s defenders sometimes tend to treat the conflict as one of those televises shopping contests, where they get to fill up their carts with as much land as they can pull off the shelves until somebody sounds the horn, or an or carry out whatever they can hold in their hands. ”
    On the contrary, Israel stopped making new settlements in Oslo. You chose not to notice the difference between building inside an existing Jewish neighborhood or town and making a new town. What you are calling “land grabs” are security measures in response to suicide bombers that can and have been undone when things calm down, like the Security Fence.
    And once more you simply air brush the Jordanian attack on Israel in 1967 out of history. If Jordan hadn’t attacked, it still would own the West Bank. There would be no Palestine, no Palestinian universities, and no Palestinian parties.
    Seriously, if Jordan had won do you think they would give back an inch, or the “international community” would ask them to? Wars are always final arbiters, unless Israel wins them.
    Personally, I think the Israelis should declare Oslo a dead letter and begin making new settlements again. They are already paying the price, so they might as well do what they are accused of. Show the Pals that contrary to their fantasies, time is not on their side. If the Pals want a border, let them sit down and make a deal.
    This would be far more productive for real peace than what Obama is doing.

    Reply

  36. Sweetness says:

    Dan…precisely.

    Reply

  37. Dan Kervick says:

    “What started it and maintains it is Palestinian refusal to accept Israeli legitimacy anywhere, even inside a postage stamp.”
    Really, Nadine? That *started* it? The Zionist project of moving Palestinian Arabs off much of their land – the land “without a people” – had nothing to do with it?
    The PLO signed the letters of mutual recognition as part of the Oslo process, so Palestinians have accepted Israel’s legitimacy. But you know that. The Palestinian team at Camp David certainly was willing to entertain a final settlement based on “equal exchange of territories” with the pre-1967 baseline as the starting point. They could never get Israel and it’s big brother Bill Clinton to agree to that elementary starting point. But you know that too.
    In any case, there is certainly great intransigence and a lot of irreconcilable territorial ambition and fanatical zeal on both sides. That’s why the whole idea of leaving the border issue until the end of some pie-in-the-sky “peace process”, where the two asymmetrically disposed sides are expected to hash something out over a table, and make all sorts of agreements in principle before the rest of the world makes it clear what they will and won’t allow the disputants to get away with, has not worked in the past and will not work again.
    There are a lot of Israelis and a lot of Palestinians who might prefer to keep fighting. Maybe they each think they can win outright. Maybe they are just consumed by hatred and malevolence and want to fight for the sheer joy and spite of it. In any case, Obama was wrong in thinking that other countries can’t want peace more than the parties themselves.
    Israel’s defenders sometimes tend to treat the conflict as one of those televises shopping contests, where they get to fill up their carts with as much land as they can pull off the shelves until somebody sounds the horn, or an or carry out whatever they can hold in their hands. An even better analogy: what is happening now in the West Bank and Jerusalem is the same thing that happens in a large city after a disaster or power outage. The looters come out and steal, taking advantage of the absence of the rule of law.
    That’s the key thing that is missing here: the rule of law. The international community has indeed been weak. That weakness can be laid at the feet of the most powerful country in the world, which has been unwilling to step up and lead – at least in this one area – by helping to define, accept and enforce a mature international legal order.
    We don’t need more chit-chat and peace processes and indulgence. We don’t need more appeasement of the Israeli craving for land and Lebensraum. We don’t need excuses for terrorist attacks by some Palestinians on non-combatants. What we need is law and order. We need the most powerful countries in the world to work with only a few key leaders on each side to establish a border, give consensus definition to that border via codification in international law, and then to force the parties to submit to the rule of law.

    Reply

  38. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Blahblahblah goes Nadine, incessantly, dishonestly, and ad nauseum. Thread after thread after thread.
    Theres another one. If the Jew in question is Nadine, color me anti-semitic. Are people like this just too effin’ stupid to realize the damage they do to Israel’s image, and that of the zionist cause? It is the inflexible hasbarist bullshit that is alienating Israel from the global community, and sowing the seeds of anti-semitism anew. Some Jews, such as Nadine or Wig-wag, on a community level, or these assholes like Dershowitz on a national level, seem determined to undermine any sympathy or alliance the American public holds for Israel’s position. The narrative needs to change not only to bring our nation’s leaders back into a position that can be percieved as unbiased mediation, but it also needs to change for Israel’s own security and survival. The hardline fanaticism and outright bigotry displayed by arguments such as Nadine’s, or the public statements of those such as Dershowitz here, or Lieberman in Israel, are exposing this “conflict” as more than just a territorial dispute, but rather as an issue of blatant and widespread racism, where an entire people are being oppressed and erased because of who and what they are. The hasbarist campaign is no longer capable of disguising the inhumane and racist nature of Israel’s actions. The hasbarist effort now serves only to underscore the lengths Israel is willing to go to to decieve the global community.

    Reply

  39. nadine says:

    “The vital issue here is the border. ” (Dan Kervick)
    You’ve got the cart in front of the horse, Dan. There is no border because there is no acceptance of Israeli permanence or legitimacy. The Arabs never recognized the Green Line when Israel was inside it, before 1967. They only recognized it in retrospect after 1967, when they decided they wanted a do-over on the war they had started. It’s an excuse, not the vital issue at all.
    There will no more be peace for Israel if it withdraws to the Green Line, than there was peace for Israel when it withdrew out of Gaza, which was absolutely to “internationally recognized” borders.
    And did the international community tell Hamas to recognize Israel and stop shooting rockets and missiles? No, they did not. Should we expect anything different if Israel withdraws from the West Bank? No, we should not.

    Reply

  40. nadine says:

    “Once there are two states with a clearly defined border between them, we will have to consider various proposals for protecting the human rights of people who find themselves on one side of the border or another. One possibility will be for Jews in Palestine to choose citizenship in the new State of Palestine, just as many Arabs have chosen citizenship in Israel.” (Dan Kervick)
    If that really were a possibility, Dan, it would be an entirely different conflict, one that could have been resolved by treaty over 50 years ago, or a dozen times since. It is taken as an absolute GIVEN, no negotiations about it, that a million Arabs must remain citizens of Israel while Palestine must be created absolutely Jew-free — every last Jew MUST be deported. The offers that Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert already made would have deported over 50,000 Jews and 0 Arabs. They were refused without a counter offer.
    You are laying down laws for a fantasy conflict, that have nothing to do with the real world. What started it and maintains it is Palestinian refusal to accept Israeli legitimacy anywhere, even inside a postage stamp. That’s why they don’t want a state. They don’t want to declare a border, which would imply that Israel is a legitimate country. They prefer to stay just as they are. And why should they ever have to face reality when they are paid so well by the “international community” to play the helpless victim?

    Reply

  41. Dan Kervick says:

    “Dan, that’s not what Resolution 242 says, that’s not what US policy says, and it’s not what every Israeli government says.”
    Yes, but its what most international jurists and relevant legal decisions have said, and what most of the other governments in the world say. The US needs to stop isolating itself. The world’s most powerful country needs to get its diplomatic position into line with the reasonable international consensus, and should stop hanging out in a dead-ender legal ghetto with a single belligerent country and its colonialist mouthpieces.
    By the way, while I do believe that the colonization of Palestine is illegal, I don’t believe I have ever suggested deporting anyone. Once there are two states with a clearly defined border between them, we will have to consider various proposals for protecting the human rights of people who find themselves on one side of the border or another. One possibility will be for Jews in Palestine to choose citizenship in the new State of Palestine, just as many Arabs have chosen citizenship in Israel.
    Others – Jews and Arabs alike – might see a benefit in relocating to the opposite side of the border, not due to any forced deportations, but just in response to packages of incentives that can be offered by the two states themselves, and by various international funds dedicated to resolving the crisis. And of course, starting with the pre-1967 border as a baseline, the final settlement will include territorial exchanges of equal size and value. With some ingenuity in how the border is drawn, a sweet enough package of relocation incentives for people on both sides, and protections for those who choose to remain, most of the issues can work themselves out.
    The vital issue here is the border. The international community, working with key Arab and Jewish leaders, needs to define a precise border, establish that border as a matter of international law and summon the will to make it stick. No more legal limbo and jungle law on the undefined Israeli frontier.

    Reply

  42. nadine says:

    “Regarding strategy, it’s obvious (to me) that a settlement of I/P instability is the last thing that any of the major players wants – Israel, US and Palestinians. They like the current hostilities just fine. (1) there’s money in military expenditures and (2) It’s better to keep people focused on eternal struggles than on their own miserable lives. ” (Don Bacon)
    Don, you just described the Arab attitude perfectly. Why the heck should Israel or the US want to keep the conflict going? They pay for the conflict, the US with billions given to both sides (Hams-run Gaza is getting 900 million this year alone, more than poor ravaged Haiti, the aid gravy train to the Pal leadership is incredible), and Israel with blood and diplomatic isolation.
    Plus, neither Israel nor the US needs to keep their own people’s attention focused on the I/P conflict; people live fine inside the democratic US and Israel. It’s the Arab countries who need to distract their people from their autocratic misrule. They have made the I/P conflict a pillar of their regimes for 60 years.
    Look how much cooperation Obama got from the Arabs when he offered to solve the problem for them – nothing! not a concession, not a word, not even a gesture! They don’t want it solved. Abu Mazen gave nothing either – he even told the WaPo right up front that his policy was to give nothing and wait for Washington to deliver Israeli concessions for free. Does that sound like someone who wants a deal or could make one? Not at all.
    So who wanted the deal? Only Obama. Why did he think it was possible? Because he is as arrogant as he is incompetent. What did he say in a recent interview? “We didn’t understand how hard this was” or something to that effect? It’s frightening to think this moron is President of the United State. What an affirmative action disaster.

    Reply

  43. nadine says:

    Dan, that’s not what Resolution 242 says, that’s not what US policy says, and it’s not what every Israeli government says. I know it’s YOUR policy that Arabs can live anywhere they like but Jews cannot; but no Israeli government will agree to redivide Jerusalem and ethnically cleanse it again of Jews the way the Jordanians did. Nor will the American people support it. For that matter, neither did candidate Obama, but as usual, he was lying.
    In ANY OTHER conflict you have never suggested deporting only one side and you would never suggest it; but for you, Jews are the only eternally deportable people. All others must be left in place. Such is the modern “liberal.”

    Reply

  44. Dan Kervick says:

    Ban Ki-Moon: “All settlement activity is illegal anywhere in occupied territory and it must stop,”
    Short and sweet. If Clinton’s speech only lasts five seconds, and that’s all she says, it would constitute the most progress the US has made in ten years.

    Reply

  45. DonS says:

    “Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, will use a visit
    to Washington this week to press the US to release sophisticated
    bunker-busting bombs needed for a possible strike on Iran’s
    nuclear sites.” (via Paul N)
    A chutzpah test.
    And a test of whether Obama has learned anything. Best put that request on hold, or simply turn it down. If Obama hasn’t seen by now that he can’t trust Bibi’s proffers it’s time to learn. It would be epic poor judgment to use the request as a triangulated message to Iran.
    But then we may be treated to the spectacle of the cowardly Congress complaining and seeking to intervene in the President prerogative in conducting foreign policy.

    Reply

  46. samuelburke says:

    “U.N. chief arrives in Mideast amid settlement row
    [10:59 p.m.] United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited
    the West Bank and Jerusalem on Saturday and called for an
    immediate end to Israeli settlement building. There was no
    immediate reaction from the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
    “All settlement activity is illegal anywhere in occupied territory and
    it must stop,” he told reporters in Ramallah.”
    http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/03/20/u-n-chief-arrives-in-
    mideast-amid-settlement-row/?hpt=T2

    Reply

  47. nadine says:

    BTW, Steve, Please explain how that “reset” with Russia is going. Putin lectures our SoS in public, having figured out that there is zero risk of affront or reprisal, since he is not a small democratic ally of the USA. This is after Putin announced that Russia will continue building a nuclear reactor in Iran:
    “ABC’s Alexander Marquardt reports: When reporters traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Moscow were informed that a last-minute meeting with Russia’s Prime Minister Valdimir Putin had been added to the schedule, they were told they would only get to see a few seconds of handshakes before being ushered out.
    Instead, with cameras rolling, they watched Putin spend six minutes rattling off a number of complaints he has with the United States.
    Trade with the US has slowed during the financial crisis, he complained, Russian companies have been slapped with US sanctions and Russia is having trouble joining the World Trade Organization…He also singled out the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment, as he has in the past, as evidence that the US is not fully encouraging business with Russia…Reporters were surprised at the length of Putin’s list of issues and the fact that he did it in front of the Russian and American press corps, a pool reporter noted…The other most contentious moment of Clinton’s trip was also thanks to Putin after he announced yesterday that a nuclear power plant Russia is building in Iran will be completed in the next few months.”
    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/03/tense-moments-at-clintonputin-meeting.html
    “Smart diplomacy”? “Doormat diplomacy” is more like it. You won’t catch Russia beating up on their allies to impress us. How Putin must be snickering! He just insulted Hillary and she took it and smiled as if complimented.

    Reply

  48. GDriver says:

    AIPAC RESOLUTION
    March 21, 2010
    AIPAC RESOLUTION
    “To urge members of the House and Senate to call
    upon ISRAEL to reaffirm its relationship with the US
    and to work closely with its primary funder and
    trading partner and not to further treat the
    American presidency with contempt.
    And to adhere to international law in relation to
    illegal settlements and Jerusalem.”

    Reply

  49. nadine says:

    “Whether the US is going to punish Israel for its ongoing settlement misbehavior or appease it doesn’t really matter.
    What does matter is whether the Secretary of State expresses a sense of vision and direction for the region that rises above Israel’s regrettable behavior and moves beyond the fragmentation and incompetence of the Palestinian government. All eyes and ears will be waiting for some sign that the administration has strategic depth during her speech before the annual AIPAC national policy summit on Monday.
    If not, she will be reinforcing the sense much of the world has of Obama’s lack of seriousness about America’s geostrategic position. She will be reinforcing a global profound sense of doubt about America’s ability to achieve the objectives it declares itself committed to.” (Steve Clemons)
    What exactly are you looking for, Steve? How is the US supposed to move “beyond the fragmentation and incompetence of the Palestinian government”? Aren’t they a necessary party to an I/P deal?
    Or do you intend to declare the Palestinians incompetent and negotiate on their behalf? They’ll like that well enough, more freebies for no deal but more violence is exactly what they have in mind. One order of more riots, coming up. They have made an art form out of malign irresponsibility, with the whole international community as their enablers.
    You’ll really have to explain to me how this is supposed to serve US interests, in the Mideast or anywhere else.

    Reply

  50. Paul Norheim says:

    From the British “Sunday Times”:
    “Israel to ask US for bombs in the fight against Iran’s Nuclear
    sites
    Christina Lamb
    Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, will use a visit
    to Washington this week to press the US to release sophisticated
    bunker-busting bombs needed for a possible strike on Iran’s
    nuclear sites.”
    ———————
    This may be the main motives behind Netanyahu’s goodwill
    gestures towards Obama, referred to in the link Dan provided
    above. There is another Ha’aretz article about this here:
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1157844.html
    An excerpt:
    Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, is believed to have
    refused previous Israeli requests for the GBU-28 bombs, as well
    as for upgraded refuelling tanker aircraft that would enable a
    long-range airstrike on Iran.
    But Netanyahu may have a tough task before him in persuading
    Obama to arm Israel for a strike and current U.S. strategy
    appears to favor a diplomatic, rather than a military, solution to
    the Iran’s dispute with the West.
    On Sunday Obama used the occasion of the Persian New Year to
    send a video message to Iranians in which he renewed last
    year’s American offer of engagement to end the nuclear
    standoff.
    (…)
    Reports on Saturday that United States was transporting 387 of
    the high-tech bunker-busting bombs to its air base on the
    island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean appeared to indicate
    that despite his diplomatic efforts, Obama has not ruled out an
    American strike in Iran.”

    Reply

  51. nadine says:

    Hey, Steve, how can Obama be “tested” by Netanyahu when it was Obama himself who chose to make a big row out of a low-level housing announcement, refusing all apologies, magnifying a nit into a crisis?
    Did Obama choose to “test” himself? Is that what you are saying?
    When you say “Show Me The Strategy” aren’t you really saying the whole exercise looks senseless, another US diplomatic own goal from the “smart diplomacy” crowd?

    Reply

  52. nadine says:

    All Obama will achieve in I/P is more riots and maybe a third intifada. If this was what he was after, then congrats. The Pals are big believers in fantasy politics. Because Obama bitch-slapped Bibi, they now think he will force Israel to withdraw to the 67 borders for no concessions on their side. On the contrary, they think he will protect them from any reprisals, so they are readying the suicide bombers even now.
    I rather doubt that even Obama has this in mind. He has other fish to fry and remains constrained by the American political system with its widespread popular support for Israel. But we will the unrest play out and all pretense of negotiations grind to a halt.
    Smart diplomacy, hoo-hah. Go to any street corner, and you can find out the results of kicking your own dog to impress the neighborhood tough guys. It takes a Harvard education to think you know better, I guess.
    Pessimist, you seem to have been under the illusion that Obama’s Chicago ways represented something less corrupt than the DC norm. If anything, it is even more corrupt. Welcome to disillusionment.

    Reply

  53. Carroll says:

    P..
    Hit the archives tab at the top of the page and go back a few weeks and check out the number Steve did on Obama’s staff to try to shake things up. I don’t know though that he will ‘convey’ the public’s attitude he sees here. He’s more concentrated on “policy” than our attitudes.
    I almost voted for Obama and then at the last minute went totally rogue and wrote in a name out of pure frustration with the two party system.
    But yea I am disappointed too that Obama hasn’t been bolder.

    Reply

  54. The Pessimist says:

    Carroll, good evening,
    My attempt to engage Steve on this topic is to press a personally held belief that Obama is predictably being criticized by the Republican’s, but so far has escaped what I feel is a more reasonable degree of criticism from his understandably disappointed supporters.
    I did in fact vote for Obama and have been greatly disappointed since. I would appreciate seeing someone of Steve’s stature and position raise this point publically and respectfully with Obama’s wing men whenever possible in the Georgetown Gin Joint’s where Steve and his crowd enjoy well deserved libations. The results of these conversations could be related to the public through TWN. That is why I lurk here.
    I wholly agree with you that some unfortunately are not open to ever evolving ideological ideas and only seek reinforcement of their own but exempt myself from that category. I am infinitely malleable to the insight of others, but some convictions I hold firmly.
    One of those convictions is that Barak Obama is an unknown quantity to the very people he is responsible for representing. Steve Clemons is uniquely positioned and connected to afford the American public with a degree of access into Team Obama that few of us as private citizens will ever realize.
    My hope is that Steve utilizes this blog as a feedback tool in order for him to form not just his own personal policy desires from the administration but to express some degree of greater American sentiment is his policy formulations as developed from the commentators at this blog.
    Regards

    Reply

  55. Carroll says:

    Posted by The Pessimist, Mar 21 2010, 1:02AM – Link >>>>>>>>>>>>
    With all due respect P, I don’t know how long you have been reading here but Steve hasn’t had a lot of irrational exuberance for Obama. In fact thinking back he spoke more often about Hillary because of her experience which he thought was important to the position of President.
    Most of those taking shots at Steve do so either because they are die hard liberals or die hard conseratives or die hard isolationist or die hard fanatics on something or other and slap Steve whenever a post isn’t 100% representative of their view. Then we have some pro Israelers that when Israel comes up alternate between insulting Steve and asking him to ban all the non pro Israelers.
    Like Steve, Obama can’t win either with everyone.
    And btw, I didn’t vote for Obama…or McCain.
    But I think you need to look at congress, and his own dems in congress, and particulary his WH advisors for additional answers to why he can’t get more done.

    Reply

  56. Paul Norheim says:

    “…a consequence of your seemingly irrational exuberance for
    everything Obama, at least up until the Netanyahu “Bitch Slap”…
    “your new found criticisms”… (The Pessimist)
    When did you start reading the Washington Note? FYI, Steve’s
    criticisms of Barack Obama are not “new found”, he has frequently
    expressed reservation and criticism on his blog since long before
    Obama was elected.

    Reply

  57. The Pessimist says:

    Steve, I notice an uptick (not just the new guy) in the number of commentators now taking direct shots at you in your capacity as the host of this much appreciated blog and comment board. Please accept the following as simply my unsolicited analysis of why this pattern may be developing.
    I would suggest that these shots are a consequence of your seemingly irrational exuberance for everything Obama, at least up until the Netanyahu “Bitch Slap.” You are now finally, and publically, raising legitimate questions about Obama’s true intentions, his political orientations and most importantly, his actual capabilities as president. I would suggest that some will interpret your new found enlightenment as too little, too late, and as a consequence they will take cheap shots at you as a means of promoting their own quicker and more accurate analysis (from the complete anonymity of fake blog names, of course.)
    As to why Obama is deserving of your new found criticisms: To those of you who live and work in DC the day-to-day activities in that den of deceit and corruption are “politics as usual.” To the 300 million plus out here in the Homeland Obama represents an enormous betrayal in trust. He wanted the job, he was awarded it by the majority, and now we helplessly watch as he seemingly allows himself to be completely outmaneuvered and neutralized by the party that he defeated in the election, as well as by a racist lunatic half-way around the world. That is NOT the product that candidate Obama sold to Americans. That is why he is deserving of the criticism. American’s are completely sick of being lied to, except for Murdoch’s Minions.
    Some commentators have raised the prospect of Obama being “tested” by some “event.” That prospect raises an interesting question: The consequences of this “event” actually happening would defer our nation’s actionable response to the nature of Barak Obama’s deeply imbedded psychological profile.
    What do we truly know about that aspect of the Wonder Kid from Chicago?
    Regards

    Reply

  58. ... says:

    carroll, here in canada it was just this past week i saw a picture of palestinians throwing rocks without any storyline to go with it… this is the kind of crap that passes as news here in the local rags in many smaller towns in canada… propaganda by any other name…. not sure how many are stupid enough to swallow it, but probably a few…

    Reply

  59. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Mar 20 2010, 10:20PM – Link >>>>
    I think Israelis is losing the narrative…with the local newspaper reading US public.
    I use a site called newspaper boy to scan headlines of papers, large and small, across the country.
    Israel is taking a beating everywhere and the letters to the editor by local pro Israel people aren’t very convincing, same old stuff.
    The last time Israel made news in small town newspapers was dead Gaza children on their front pages.
    As Hillary would say…not helpful.

    Reply

  60. ... says:

    hillary is a hack for israel firsters… at least she knows who butters her bread, but i hope she chokes up the bread… it isn’t much different for any of the spineless folks in this admin… it is hard for mitchell to do much with a leader – obama- who is afraid to show leadership in any other way then a good speech from time to time…words are cheap… he is going to be judged on his actions and they amount so squat with regard to the ip issue to date.. i wouldn’t blame mitchell though, as this goes back to those at the very top, including hillary..

    Reply

  61. ... says:

    dan k, i wouldn’t get too excited…from the article…….. “While Netanyahu has not agreed to stop building in east Jerusalem, he has promised to suspend it.”
    promises, promises, some more empty then others, but definitely shallow in this example….
    jim fox – you’re a commentator, but you come off sounding like a political writing pro criticizing steve’s writing… what do you have to offer on a regular basis that is 1 – 100th as good as what steve shares here?… from your 1 comment, you don’t even make a grade…. what part of what he said pushed your sensitive little buttons so hard you had to cry uncle?

    Reply

  62. DonsBlog says:

    While I don’t follow the I/P struggle in depth, as
    I try to follow a little bit around the world, it
    has seemed to me Hamas is often a more honest
    broker than Israel.
    It seems like many times when Hamas agrees to a
    negotiated truce, Israel restarts aggressions with
    targeted assassinations.
    When Hamas wanted to extend the truce before the
    last invasion, Israel refused and invaded to show
    strength before the elections.
    I am often curious as to how much money Israel
    receives after violent attacks versus industrial
    income for the country. And that most likely
    pertains to Hamas as well, though the Palestinians
    don’t seem to be particularly liked by Arabs. More
    of a cause célèbre for their hatred of Israel.

    Reply

  63. Carroll says:

    Posted by Don Bacon, Mar 20 2010, 11:53PM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Maybe it didn’t pay off because Tel Aviv wasn’t immediately turned into a smoldering pile of ashes or Obama didn’t slap Netanyahu around in public. LOL
    The natives are on the war path and restless, eager to see some heads roll on something, anything. Made more touchy I imagine by frustration over the bad economy.
    If you go by the comments sections at all the major newspapers that’s about what people expected for the Israeli ‘insult’.
    See the nearly 500 comments on just one of the articles at the Washington Post in the middle of the dust up.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/15/AR2010031502667_Comments.html
    BTW…I followed your link to the Baker site, very interesting work.

    Reply

  64. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I would think that health care is preempting foreign policy in dictating his RCP average.
    The “pay off” in a confrontation with Netanyahu will make itself known if Obama is able to achieve substantive advances on the road to peace in the ISR/Pal conflict.

    Reply

  65. Don Bacon says:

    It looks like the confrontation didn’t “pay off” for Obama. His job approval poll rating (RCP average) just went negative, with disapproval exceeding approval for the first time since his inauguration, when his approval exceeded disapproval by forty points.

    Reply

  66. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Something’s up:”
    That “something”, if the Obama Administration is even moderately competent and opportunistic, is the threat to widely publicize Petraeus’s concerns, and make it clear to the American public that their darling in the military camp considers Israel a threat to the lives and safety of our soldiers in the field.
    And who knows what Mossad ghosts in the closet our own intelligence agencies have on tap, that could be very very embarrassing to the Israelis?

    Reply

  67. JohnH says:

    Sounds like the Israelis are afraid Obama may have decided to stop playing nerf ball with them.
    Of course, Netanyahu will lift any suspension of building in Jerusalem as soon as he gets back to Israel–unless Obama has really decided to stop playing nerf ball.

    Reply

  68. Dan Kervick says:

    Something’s up:
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1157740.html
    Looks like the Netanyahu government was trying to preempt something with this announcement.
    Ambassador Oren seems especially worried about the potential for a move by the US to “impose” a settlement of some kind.

    Reply

  69. ImadK says:

    Somewhat related to this article, I’d like to know what Mr. Clemons would think of US endorsement of Salam Fayyad’s plan to Statehood at 2011? I know that he let Fadi Elsalameen put up an article here on the Washington Note titled the US should support Fayyad’s plan, though i am wondering if Mr. Clemons believe that Obama should certainly follow up on this as part of the strategy that is lacking in his administration?

    Reply

  70. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Berkeley Slammed for ‘Bigoted, Illegal’ Vote on Divestment
    by Maayana Miskin
    Follow Israel news on and .
    (IsraelNN.com) Student politicians from the University of California at Berkeley voted Thursday to divest from Israel. The Student Senate voted 16-4 to call on the university to divest its funds from General Electric and from United Technologies, because both companies produce weapons purchased by the Israeli army. The bill calling for divestment was co-sponsored by students Emiliano Huet-Vaughn and Tom Pessah, the latter an anti-Zionist Israeli citizen.
    The bill noted the “complexity” of the Israel-Arab conflict, but went on to accuse Israel of violating international law with a “prolonged siege” on Gaza and “attacks on Palestinian and Lebanese civilians,” accusations based on statements from radical left NGO’s critical of Israel such as Physicians for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch.
    The vote was met with glee from anti-Israel activists. Radical anti-Israel activist and Tel Aviv University student Omar Barghouti expressed hope that the Berkeley vote would be “the watershed, the crossing of the threshold in the spread of BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – ed.] across the US that many of us have been waiting to see.”
    Prominent American attorney and political commentator Alan Dershowitz slammed the vote as “immoral” and “bigoted.” Divesting from Israel “encourages terrorism and discourages peace,” he said.
    Dershowitz noted that divestment from Israel is illegal if done by a state university.
    “We will fight back against this selective bigotry that hurts the good name of the University of California,” he said. “The misuse of the university’s name does not reflect the views of students… Instead it represents the hijacking of the university for improper ideological purposes.”
    continues…
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/136606
    That didn’t take long, did it? The ISRAEL FIRSTER, Dershowitz, is actually the most despicable kind of American citizen. When Dershowitz is the Jew in question, just call me anti-semitic.

    Reply

  71. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Israel needs another “trifecta”. I’m sure they are aware of that fact. Who doubts that they are capable of concocting one?

    Reply

  72. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hamas: Learning from mistakes
    By Sami Moubayed
    DAMASCUS – Anyone who has watched the performance of Hamas or followed its rhetoric since its founding in Palestine in the late 1980s realizes that the Islamic group has greatly matured over the past 20 years.
    continues…..
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LC20Ak03.html

    Reply

  73. JohnH says:

    Israel has gotten itself into a mighty pickle. They have painted themselves into a corner and are determined not to let Obama or anyone help them out of it.
    Their strategy of maintaining a decisive advantage in destructive force has reached the end of its useful life. Nasrullah expects that Israel will collapse in the next few years. This is because Hezbollah can now inflict enormous physical damage on Israel in the event of war.
    As a result, Hezbollah does not need war to make Israel wither. They only need to make it obvious that they can counterattack forcefully.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LC20Ak01.html
    As this reality finally sets in on ordinary Israelis, they are fortunate to have options unavailable to most Arabs. They can choose to sit tight on their exposed little patch. Or they can join the diaspora. Around 15% of Israelis already have. More are sure to follow as the impossibility of Israel’s security situation becomes obvious to them.
    But Israel’s leaders appear determined to do nothing to alleviate the situation. They seem to prefer taking the neighborhood down with them. The thought of conducting serious negotiations is anathema. Instead, their limited imaginations continue to rely on a balance of terror that no longer exists, except against the Palestinians.
    Even there, Israel policy has reached its limits. The Gaza pogrom disgusted the international community and good chunk of the diaspora as well. Support for Israel is no longer monolithic and AIPAC is fighting desperately to keep it from crumbling altogether. Another pogrom like Gaza would surely exacerbate the problem.
    Israel may not appreciate Nasrullah’s swagger. But you have to admit, he has good reasons for it. Given Israeli denial and stubbornness, the Boycott and Divestment Campaign might not just represent a moral position. It might make good investment sense as well.
    Personally, I hate watching Greek tragedies unfold. Let’s hope Israel’s leaders come to their senses before it’s too late.

    Reply

  74. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Glad to see Hamas mentioned……”
    In the context Steve offered, yes.
    But Hamas is “mentioned” repeatedly by our nation’s media, in a manner that is designed to misinform and distort. One is hard pressed indeed to find mention of Hamas when the mention is not prefaced by “when Hamas gained control of” or “when Hamas took control of…” or “the radical Palestinian group that took control of Gaza…..”….yadayadayada. I believe that the average American man on the street, acquiring his “knowledge” through the mainstream media, is likely to be unaware that the Palestinians actually voted for and ELECTED Hamas through a democratic process.
    Israel, thus far, has controlled the narrative. Until that changes, we are stuck with the status quo. Petraeus has provided a powerful opportunity through which to change the narrative. Undoubtedly, this opportunity will be squandered by Clinton, Obama, and Mitchell.

    Reply

  75. Carroll says:

    Glad to see Hamas mentioned.
    My opinion is that Isr and the US went even harder as a ‘terrier’ group after Hamas when they actually won their election because they know Hamas would be a much tougher negotiator for Palestine land and rights than Abbas ever would be.
    Hamas is the true ‘loyalist’ group for Palestine.
    More dedicated and less corrupted by US ties and I am sure with a clear end game picture of what a final settlement with Israel would look like. They also know Palestine isn’t going to get a fair deal from the US and Israel alone, they have to go to and bring in others to gain support for their visions of the deal.
    I am also disappointed in Mitchell. Said before Jim Baker was the man to send to Israel and the ME.
    And I agree with Steve about lack of stragety. The only possible stragety my devious mind can conceive is that Obama is using events to toss half this hot potatoe to the international community so they will get louder and even more involved so he can say the US is moving in accordance with the world majority opinions.
    And maybe deflect some of the domestic political heat Obama, his adm and party is getting and will get toward any kind of settlement and for a settlement itself if there is one, from jewish donors and lobby groups in the next elections.
    Although really, if he looked at Americans opinions he would know that putting an end to I/P and the Israeli problem would be a positive for him now voter wise

    Reply

  76. samuelburke says:

    yeah sure…why not just let Brazil take over and help the
    palestinians and the israeli’s work out a peace. it ought to be
    clear by now that the united states can not be the sole arbiter on
    I/P.
    Iran is a periphery issue to I/P, if not for the instability of the
    israeli state (existential threat and all of that bunk) there would
    be no concern over iran’s nuclear ambition.
    how many nuclear weapons does a nation the size of israel
    needs to feel stable?
    Pepe Escobar has this on asiatimesonline
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LC18Ak03.html
    “The tropical prophet
    Not even at his Abrahamic best would Lula have been able to
    mollify Zionists and assorted hardliners. Anyway, Lula told the
    Israeli daily Ha’aretz what every serious player in the Middle East
    already knows; the “peace process” is going nowhere, and
    bringing new mediators such as Brazil to the table is the only
    way forward.
    And the same applied to the Iranian dossier: “The [world]
    leaders I spoke to believe that we must act quickly, otherwise
    Israel will attack Iran.” Lula is convinced that further sanctions
    on Iran over its nuclear program are counter-productive. And
    this quote is bound to resonate globally, “We can’t allow to
    happen in Iran what happened in Iraq. Before any sanctions, we
    must undertake all possible efforts to try and build peace in the
    Middle East.”
    The official Brazilian government view – echoed by much of the
    international community (that is, not the exclusive club of
    Washington and the usual European suspects) – is that
    everything is still to be negotiated with Iran over its nuclear
    dossier. Lula is adamant: Iran has a right to develop a peaceful
    nuclear program in terms of the nuclear Non-Proliferation
    Treaty to which it is a signatory. ”

    Reply

  77. samuelburke says:

    Listen to our president address the iranian people, his sincere
    appeal inspires hope. if there were no history then these words
    would be worth more than gold.
    history stands guard.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?
    v=3Fir6M8QBHE&feature=player_embedded#

    Reply

  78. Carroll says:

    Posted by Jim Fox, Mar 20 2010, 6:52PM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    I have to speak up for Steve here. Heavens knows I have some ‘how could you think that moments’ when I disagreed with Steve’s opinion but it’s not for you to criticize his work.
    Frankly, he provides a service to the net public that virtually no one else comes close to. He has no partisanship that I have ever seen and he is allowed to have an opinion.
    Try walking the high wire that Steve walks between his professional position and contacts, his own life, and what he shares on this blog. Very few people could do it.
    You are out of line.

    Reply

  79. samuelburke says:

    Great post Steve. the rest of the world knows that the u.s
    government is in thrall to the zionist american lobby (aipac) and
    that the u.s will be totally incapable on their own to do a damn
    thing as they have shown for decades. Luckily for the
    palestinians the financial tsunami has empowered other players
    such as china and brazil and now it seems that these countries
    will be able to play a pivotal role in the changes that are so
    terribly needed there.
    now that the golden calf (israel) is on the radar screen taking
    flak for speaking up about them ought to be a source of pride.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LC18Ak03.html
    this is about Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil.
    “After being grilled in the Knesset – including by Netanyahu –
    for his policy of non-confrontation and dialogue with Iran, Lula
    did not flinch. He condemned both the Holocaust and terrorism;
    he reminded his hosts of Brazil’s and Latin America’s stand
    against nuclear weapons; he stressed “dialogue” and
    “compassion” to solve the Middle East conflict; he defended a
    viable two-state solution for Israel and Palestine; but he also did
    not refrain from criticizing the expanded colonization of East
    Jerusalem. He received a standing ovation and, according to
    some members of parliament, “more applause than [former US
    president] George W Bush”.
    The tropical prophet
    Not even at his Abrahamic best would Lula have been able to
    mollify Zionists and assorted hardliners. Anyway, Lula told the
    Israeli daily Ha’aretz what every serious player in the Middle East
    already knows; the “peace process” is going nowhere, and
    bringing new mediators such as Brazil to the table is the only
    way forward. ”

    Reply

  80. Don Bacon says:

    Regarding strategy, it’s obvious (to me) that a settlement of I/P instability is the last thing that any of the major players wants – Israel, US and Palestinians. They like the current hostilities just fine. (1) there’s money in military expenditures and (2) It’s better to keep people focused on eternal struggles than on their own miserable lives.
    It’s why the US State Department recently and rudely turned down a North Korea offer to end the Korean War. The Korean War!! US troops will never leave the current battlefields, unless they’re totally defeated — why would the Pentagon want to face the possibility of cuts in a budget that wasn’t needed to “support the troops?” Eternal war — that’s the ticket.
    And so it is, as Steve noted, with Netanyahu on Shalit, and with Egypt. Does Egypt ever want to see an end to the billions that Uncle Sugar has forked over, and is continuing to provide, to keep Egypt out of an unstable I/P? Does Israel want to see an end to the gravy?
    So these people may look weak, but actually they’re playing a different game, one with high financial and political stakes. Clinton probably understands her role in this game, she learned from a master.

    Reply

  81. Dan Kervick says:

    Go light, Jim Fox. Steve quaffs cocktails with Washington bigwigs so that we don’t have to. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. The doyen’s catty comment over a vodka martini is tomorrow’s policy change.

    Reply

  82. Don Bacon says:

    There are some adults in the room.
    For something on “strategic depth” take a look at what former SecState James Baker has been doing on the all-important I/P boundaries issue..
    “The Baker Institute published on Feb. 2, 2010, a report that offers concrete recommendations to U.S. negotiators on the territorial component of an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement. The report, “Getting to the Territorial Endgame of an Israeli-Palestinian Peace Settlement,” draws on nearly two years of discussions between a working group of Israelis and Palestinians convened under the aegis of the institute’s Conflict Resolution Forum and chaired by Baker Institute Founding Director Edward P. Djerejian.” http://tinyurl.com/yzeznmb
    The Report(pdf) which is a link from the above press release includes detailed I/P boundary analyses.

    Reply

  83. PissedOffAmerican says:

    UC Berkeley student senate votes in favor of divestment
    Dina Omar
    March 19 2010
    Early yesterday morning, the University of California Berkeley Student Senate (ASUC) passed a bill to divest from companies that provide military support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Debate began the night before at 9:00pm and ended and six hours later when the vote was held at 3:00am. The session was attended by more than 150 students, educators and concerned community supporters, forcing the meeting to be relocated to a larger room. Never before has the senate chambers been so overcrowded, signifying the importance and interest in the issue of Israel-Palestine on the Berkeley campus. Ultimately, the bill passed with 16 senators in favor and 4 against.
    During the debate, Rahul Patel, a Student Senator and supporter of the bill from the beginning, said that “In the 1980s the Berkeley Student Government was a central actor in demanding that the university divest from South African apartheid. Twenty-five years later, it is a key figure in shaping a nationwide movement against occupation and war crimes around the world.” He added that “Student Government can be a space to mobilize and make decisions that have a significant impact on the international community. We must utilize these spaces to engage each other about issues of justice worldwide.”
    Emiliano Huet-Vaughn, a Ph.D. student in economics, co-author of the bill and a member of Berkeley’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), went to Gaza last July. He explained that the bill was informed by the devastation he witnessed as a result of Israel’s invasion of Gaza last winter, where civilian infrastructure was systematically targeted including schools, mosques, the education and justice ministries, Gaza’s main university, hundreds of factories, livestock, prisons, courts and police stations. Israel’s invasion resulted in the deaths of 1,440 Palestinians, including more than 400 children, and injuring another 5,380 Palestinians in Gaza.
    The bill specifies two companies in particular, United Technologies and General Electric. It draws a direct connection between Berkeley’s investments in these companies and their products, used to indiscriminately attack civilians and infrastructure. Shoaib Kamil, a Ph.D. student in Computer Science explained that “We are not pushing for divestment from Israel. This bill is directed at US companies that enable attacks described as ‘war crimes’ in the Goldstone report.”
    The Goldstone commission and report, led by respected South African judge Richard Goldstone, was authorized by the United Nations to investigate accusations of war crimes during Israel’s invasion of Gaza. The final report, submitted to the UN Human Rights Council last September, found that both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes and called for both to conduct investigations. However, the Goldstone report was particularly critical of Israel’s actions, especially the deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure by the Israeli military.
    The ASUC has control over their $1.7 million budget and the bill calls for a committee to investigate the investments by the ASUC and the University of California Regents to ensure that no monies are invested in companies that are complicit in war crimes. Divestment will likely be implemented first by the ASUC. However, getting the Regents to recognize and implement the students’ call will be a more difficult task because students have little representation in the Regents’ decisions.
    Ibrahim Shikaki, a Visiting Scholar from Palestine, spoke in favor of the bill although he did not feel that it was written from the Palestinian perspective. Shikaki explained that “If this were a Palestinian bill it would have mentioned my grandfather’s land that was stolen from him, or my friend who was shot ten feet in front of me … or my aunt who for weeks was denied travel to Egypt for cancer treatment.”
    Mahaliyah Ayla O, a gender and women’s studies major and Jewish member of SJP, voiced her surprise after the bill was passed. Ayla O said “It is not that complicated, we should not support corporations that manufacture weapons to oppress people.”
    continues…..
    http://uruknet.com/index.php?p=m64335&hd=&size=1&l=e
    Yep, the times they are a-changin’.

    Reply

  84. DonS says:

    Yes, stating that Hillary’s message at AIPAC will be watched, and a significant link in the chain, is important. It calls attention not only to the strategic issues involved, but the possible personal tension.
    We’ve seen in comments here that the zionist supporters are begging Obama not to make headway. For them it represents a significant quandary that Hillary should be carrying the banner of the administration that makes occasional noises that it intends to call out Israel for its part in the roadblocks to peace.
    Ironic in that Hillary has been the darling of the pro-Israel gang and one wonders, with all deference to her ability to swing like a gate, as a pol, whether she can effectively put aside her politicians hat, as well as her history with Obama, to get the job done.

    Reply

  85. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Don’t worry about it Steve.
    Note he offers nothing as an alternative to your alleged “gossip” driven piece. He does natter some nonsense about “results”, but doesn’t bother to cite any such animal. If its “results” that he thinks we should judge this Administration’s foreign policy by, then he’s tapping a dry well.

    Reply

  86. Steven Clemons says:

    so glad you stopped by Jim — I’ve written about 4000 articles here,
    largely on the subject of US foreign policy. I’m pretty transparent
    about my views on strategy and direction — and Obama. How
    about you? You are entitled to your critique — but I am entitled to
    say your comment is uninformed and quite detached from the
    massive amount I have written on this blog about US foreign policy
    and strategy…and yes, by the way, I have always been part of the
    cocktail party scene and pick up a lot there — whether you can
    appreciate that or not. But I put it out front.
    I disagree with you about the need for strategy. without strategy,
    Obama’s moves are reactive and ad hoc.
    best, steve clemons

    Reply

  87. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “She said that the recent US-Israel confrontation was “paying off”.”
    Oh horseshit. A “don’t ask don’t tell” policy on Israeli settlement expansion is a dividend? Talk about an “insult”, this is about as insulting as one can get towards the Palestinians and the very real hardships, oppressions, and loss of real estate that they suffer every damned day at the hands of the Israelis.
    “Paying off” for whom? Certainly not the Palestinians. Nor for our own global character, credibility, or standing. So Hillary is right, it IS paying off, for these racist thieves and bigots running the show in Israel and the United States Congress.
    Its about time you at least hinted about Hillary’s dismal performance, Steve, and it is good to see you doing so, at last. Albiet tepidly, at least you are finally going after the sacred cow, instead of just picking on the minions and messengers. Hillary has been a bigger dissappointment than Obama in regards to foreign policy, and, at times, has actually seemed to be purposely working AGAINST Obama’s policy advocations.
    The media is going full press to paint Israel as the poor misunderstood victim, and with the Petraeus revelations has come a rare opportunity to change the narrative away from the standard Hasbara line of shit. One can’t have much faith, however, that Obama or Hillary will capitalize on the opening that Petraeus has provided them. If one doubts how rattled Israel and the Hasbara machine are rattled by Petraeus recent concerns, one need only read Max Boot’s latest offering on the Los Angeles Times opinion page. Asking “why pick on Israel?”, he mentions Biden’s admonitions to Netanyahu about Israeli intransigence endangering American troops, but he never mentions the main driving factor behind Biden’s admonitions to Netanyahu, that being Petraeus’s alleged concerns. Not once does the neo-con sack of shit mention Petraeus as he whines about Obama “picking on Israel”.
    The times they are a changing. There is a true window of opportunity here. But you can count on Hillary to slam it shut before Obama finds the gonads to exploit it.

    Reply

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