Obama and the peace process
Obama and Israel. On January 5 John Bolton, the former unconfirmed U.S. envoy to the United Nations, advocated in The Washington Post a “three-state solution” to the Palestinian problem.
This “solution” involved returning Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan because the Palestinian state has manifestly failed. A perennial cutter of Gordian knots, Bolton usually misses the complexity of the turns — and the identity of the knot-tiers. In this case, he missed the rather obvious point that the Palestinian Authority’s ailments are connected to the Israeli refusal to allow a viable and contiguous state to exist and its constant undermining of whatever party the Palestinian people elect, first Fatah and now Hamas. In fact, Bolton doesn’t go far enough. Following his line of “reasoning,” Israel should be returned to Britain as a mandate and then quickly turned over to the United States. Obama is turning his back on Zionism. Obama purposely left Netanyahu in the dark on Mideast speech. Obama's speech: The view from Palestine. Obama demolished Palestinian chances for statehood. Obama, Netanyahu, and the Middle East.
Psychobiography in politics is ordinarily a mug’s game.
Sometimes, though, an assessment of inherited traits and ideologies can be telling. For years, Israeli and American commentators have been waiting for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to leave behind the right-wing Revisionist ideology of his father, Benzion, a historian of the Spanish Inquisition, and, like Nixon leaving for China, end the occupation of the Palestinian territories. Just as Nixon set aside decades of Cold War ideology and Red-baiting in the interests of practical global politics, Netanyahu would transcend his own history, and his party’s, to end the suffering of a dispossessed people and regain Israel’s moral standing.
This waiting game is a delusion. The stubborn ideological legacy that, in part, blocks such a transformation runs deep. Netanyahu Humiliates Obama, Misrepresents Israeli Policy. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tried to embarrass his host, President Obama, at the White House on Friday, delivering a pedantic attack on him.
Netanyahu made many false assertions about Israeli policy toward the Palestinian West Bank being driven solely by security concerns, when it is in fact a vast landgrab of the ‘settler-industrial complex.’ Israel’s colonization of territories occupied from the Palestinians in 1967 is illegal in international law and deeply immoral. (Courtesy the BBC) For anyone who wants to know the truth of what is going on, here is some Saturday viewing: Rebecca Collard reports on “Unequal Development in the West Bank,” examining Israeli government support for illegal Israeli colonies on Palestinian land and constraints on Palestinians’ development: On deaf ears: Obama's message to Israel. Late May's extraordinary sequence of speeches and meetings involving US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu - and the commentary surrounding it from official circles in both countries - did not make for an edifying interlude.
The week beginning May 19 will not be remembered for displays of farsighted statecraft, or high moral courage. What we saw instead was brash, unapologetic chauvinism from Netanyahu, an outright refusal of moral leadership from Obama, and acts of political cowardice and opportunism from the US Congress outrageous even by the low standards of that frequently ignominious body. But that is not to say that the week's display was not useful. On the contrary, much of importance was accomplished. Now, more clearly than ever, we can see the future.