Technorati Tag: Israel and Middle East.
Israel has the same problem. The combination of Yasir Arafat’s foolhardy decision to start a second intifada rather than embrace President Bill Clinton’s two-state peace plan, followed by the rise of Bin Laden, which diverted the U.S. from energetically pursuing the peace process, gave the Israeli right a free hand to expand West Bank settlements. There are now some 500,000 settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Absent some amazing Palestinian peace overture, and maybe even with one, I do not see any Israeli leader with enough authority today to pull Israel out of the West Bank. So, for now, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Bin Laden both win: In the short run, Bibi gets to keep the West Bank, with 300,000 Jews occupying 2.4 million Palestinians. And in the long run, Bin Laden helps to destroy Israel as a Jewish democracy.
All governments do bad things, and Middle East dictatorships do more than most. But the Syrian government is one of the world’s genuinely depraved regimes. Yet for all these years, Israel has been asked to negotiate with this regime, compromise with this regime and trust that this regime will someday occupy the heights over it in peace.For 30 years, the Middle East peace process has been predicated on moral obtuseness, an unwillingness to face the true nature of certain governments. World leaders have tried sweet-talking Syria, calling Bashar al-Assad a friend (Nancy Pelosi) or a reformer (Hillary Clinton). In 2008, Nicolas Sarkozy invited Assad to be the guest of honor at France’s Bastille Day ceremonies — a ruthless jailer celebrating the storming of a jail.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in short, is the third rail of New York Times journalism. Touch it and burn.Ms. Chira defends The Times’s journalism strenuously but is reconciled to the fact that the subject will be a constant source of protest from readers. “I have just come to the conclusion that we are always going to have really, really angry people,” she said.In her view, some readers who take sides in the conflict view the other side not just as wrong, but as monstrously wrong on a historical scale. The usual journalistic practice of assuming a neutral posture simply won’t suffice for these readers, she believes. “To not call Side A or Side B wrong is like not calling Hitler wrong,” she said, drawing a parallel that appears often in the reader e-mail I get on this topic.
If the Palestinians want to take this whole problem back to where it started — the U.N. — I say let’s do it. But let’s think much bigger and with more imagination.On Nov. 29, 1947, the U.N. passed General Assembly Resolution 181, partitioning Palestine into two homes for two peoples — described as “Independent Arab and Jewish States.” This is important. That is exactly how Resolution 181 described the desired outcome of partition: an “Arab” state next to a “Jewish” state.
When did the Middle East make us happiest in the last few decades? That’s easy: ... 8) when Israel unilaterally withdrew from South Lebanon and Gaza.
For the great majority of Syrians, the forgotten Syria meant a police state, a country governed with an iron fist. It meant a concerted international effort to keep a dictatorial regime in power in the name of regional stability — preserving the security of Israel and maintaining a cold peace on the Golan Heights, like the snow that covers Mount Hermon.
Israel wants acceptance as a Jewish state with its recognized capital in Jerusalem. It needs assurances regarding the nature and priorities of future negotiations, with the truly intractable issues postponed to a later phase. It needs solid security arrangements, understandings regarding Hamas rule in Gaza, and a viable incentive from an Arab world that has long offered to reward it for moving forward with the Palestinians.
In October 1986, President Ronald Reagan met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland, and made a radical proposal that both superpowers eliminate all of their ballistic missiles, in order to focus their energies on developing missile defenses alone. The idea didn't work, Reagan's proposal was not accepted, and the arms control negotiations took a totally different direction. But what if today Russian president Dmitry Medvedev asked President Obama to implement Reagan's proposals? Would the U.S. have any obligation to diplomatic ideas that did not lead to a finalized treaty?
In a long-awaited move which threatens to reawaken sectarian discord throughout the country, the Shia group was blamed by a United Nations Special Tribunal for the car-bomb attack on its leading Sunni opponent.Lebanon's state prosecutor, Saeed Mirza, confirmed the tribunal handed over the first indictment in its long investigation into the crime, which at the time seemed likely to lead to a major realignment in regional politics.Its contents were not formally released but judicial sources told The Daily Telegraph that Hizbollah's senior military commander, Mustapha Badreddine, was accused of masterminding Mr Hariri's killing.
In a much-anticipated televised speech, Hizbullah head Hassan Nasrallah on Monday night presented what he called proof that Israel was behind the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.
There have been some changes and now Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati has announced his cabinet. And guess what? Hizballah has 70 percent of the ministries! Does the Obama Administration have any serious policy reaction to Lebanon being controlled by a radical Islamist terrorist organization that is a client of Iran? You know, those people who killed 242 American soldiers a few years back, kidnapped and at times murdered other Americans, and waged a war against Israel in 2006 after which the United States and UN promised to help disarm them, block their arms’ imports, and keep them out of southern Lebanon?
Friday, July 01, 2011
Mideast Media Sampler 07/01/2011