Jeffrey Goldberg, the journalist who broke the ‘chickenshit‘ story, tried to put a good face on the Obama Administration’s pretense of frustration with PM Netanyahu. Let’s see why his — and the administration’s — position doesn’t make sense.
The Israeli government doesn’t seem to understand that the status quo is unsustainable. As I’ve written (over and over again), I am not arguing for an immediate pullout from the West Bank; the times are too dangerous, and the Palestinian Authority too weak and corrupt and cowardly, for such a move.
First of all, exactly what is the ‘status quo’? I would describe it as follows: Israel controls the borders and airspace of Judea and Samaria, and Israel treats all of Jerusalem as its indivisible capital. It does not control the lives of the 95% of the Arab population of Judea and Samaria that are in areas controlled by the PA. It isn’t that this is unsustainable, but rather that the Palestinians and their friends in Washington and Europe would like it to be different.
But as he admits in the next sentence, there is no alternative. The Palestinians won’t and can’t offer an acceptable deal, and anyway it’s too dangerous. So if there’s no alternative, then we’d best find a way to sustain the allegedly ‘unsustainable’.
But in the meantime, Israel could help create conditions so that a Palestinian state could one day be born. What this means is simple: Netanyahu should take no steps that further entangle Israel in the lives of Palestinians.
What makes him think that there will ever be a situation in which a sovereign Palestinian state in Judea/Samaria will be desirable? The geography of the region won’t change. The strategic necessity for Israel to control the high ground above its population centers and airport won’t go away, nor will the steep sides of the Jordan Valley.
And I am convinced that the psychological geography won’t improve either: Palestinian rejectionism and their narrative of dispossession, loss of honor and desire for revenge is continuing to be nurtured by their leadership and becoming stronger rather than weaker. Every generation is less able to compromise than the preceding one.
It also means that Israel should try to negotiate in good faith with President Mahmoud Abbas, who is the best interlocutor Israel is going to have, despite his many obvious flaws.
Abbas’ ‘flaws’ include his publicly stated intention to continue the struggle against the Jewish state regardless of Israeli withdrawals or concessions. They include the continued incitement to murder and the glorification of murderers. They include accusations of genocide and apartheid. If this is indeed the best partner Israel is going to get, then this is still more evidence that a putative Palestinian state will not suddenly become an acceptable neighbor.
If nothing else, Netanyahu should call his bluff.
The ‘call his bluff’ argument always strikes me as so ludicrous as to embarrass its proponents, and yet it keeps coming back. Israel is supposed to make some massive concession to the PLO in order to ‘test’ its seriousness. But we gave them freezes, released murderers, and withdrew from territory, and every single time the Arab side pocketed our gifts and demanded more. The bluff has been called time and time again, but Abbas has never been required to lay down his cards — and he certainly won’t be by this administration.
It also means understanding that while most settlement expansion that is now taking place in the West Bank is happening in areas that will most likely come under Israeli control in the event of a final peace deal, the Palestinians haven’t agreed to this division yet. Unilateral moves do not help. They certainly don’t help Israel’s international standing, which is lower than it has ever been, and they certainly don’t help maintain Israel as a cause that garners bipartisan support in the U.S.
Correct, none of the building that is going on will ‘entangle’ anyone. But the Palestinians haven’t agreed to a Jewish state of any size in the Middle East yet. So of course they haven’t agreed to Israel keeping the settlement blocs! Since the whole idiotic process began in 1993, they have given nothing, honestly agreed to nothing, and didn’t keep any of the commitments they made. And we should note that the Palestinians themselves are going full speed ahead with unilateral actions, like building in the Israeli-controlled parts of Judea and Samaria and asking the UN to grant them statehood.
The possibility of a sovereign Palestinian state has been foreclosed by the triumph of the uncompromising Palestinian narrative over any moderate forces that may have existed. Combined with the rise of Islamism in the region, some form of the status quo looks pretty good — for Palestinian Arabs as well as Jews.
Goldberg is a smart guy, and to read him regurgitating the nonsense the Obama administration cynically peddles in order to justify its support of Israel’s enemies is simply depressing.
Goldberg is trying to justify his own self- serving and damaging behavior in publishing the kind of slur against Israel’s Prime Minister that should not have been published. He is also once again peddling his own view of the situation which as you indicate is delusional.
The real point is that the Americans are not willing to recognize the reality of the situation, the fact that the Palestinians are not willing to live in peace with Israel. The Americans are not willing to admit to what appears to be the hopelessness of any effort for a peace agreement.
On the other hand it seems to me that there is not quite a ‘status quo’. For our position is continually being undermined at least on the diplomatic front. As it is now it not only looks as if no peace agreement is possible with the Palestinians it also looks as if their capacity to disrupt our lives, deteriorate our situation will continue. i.e. The status quo may be the best we can do, but it is not that great for us either.
What is most amazing is this claim by Obama’s mouthpiece that Israel’s standing has ‘never been lower’. What utter b.s.
Israel has normal diplomatic and trade relations with far more countries today than she did 25 years ago; there is no comparison. There have been a few recent losses, but ties with major Asian powers such as India, Russia, China, and Japan have never been better. This past month, Israel beat out the U.S. on an anti-tank missile deal with India worth half a billion dollars. Israel is also set to sell anti-shipping missiles – jointly developed with India – to Poland; this would have been fantasy twenty years ago.
With the two exceptions of: a) the continuing threat of a potentially nuclear-armed Iran, and b) relations between the respective leaders of Israel and the U.S., Israel’s position on the world stage in political, economic, and military terms has never been stronger.
It is as if this denial of reality on the part of Obama is a case of “I’m the POTUS, I say it, so it must be so”. Other presidents have been guilty of this, but Obama is taking this malady to ludicrous heights. He is certainly doing his best to make this happen, that is for sure.
With that in mind, the threat represented by Obama to Israel is very, very real, arguably worse than that of Iran. He is likely to abandon Israel in the UN over the Pali issue. I’m sure Israeli leaders anticipate this, and I hope they are making requisite contingency plans.
As I’ve been saying a lot lately: Elections have consequences!
I”m glad I can say I never voted for the lying fraud that pretends to be POTUS these days, but it doesn’t make it any easier to watch events unfold.
Hang in there, everybody.