While John Kerry was putting on a show in the Mideast, Congress was showing where the US really stands. I elaborate at Lobelog.
A fundamental plank of any peace plan has to be universal rights and full equality for all, and that is true whether the solution is one state, two states, twelve states or no states in Israel-Palestine. I elaborate at Souciant.
In this week’s piece at Souciant, I look at the lessons Bill Clinton’s mistakes at Camp David II hold for Barack Obama today. Many of the conditions have changed, of course, but Clinton’s mis-steps, as well as what he did right, hold general lessons that Obama must keep in mind if he ever decides to seriously re-engage in this issue.
In my latest piece for Souciant, I look at the opportunity for change that exists right now. In the attempt to change US Mideast policy, we get opportunities from time to time, though they are rarely great opportunities. This one isn’t that dramatic, but it is the sort of starting point we have regularly bypassed. If we had taken one such years ago, we would be in a very different place today.
As the likelihood of an attack on Iran continues to diminish, and on the 45th anniversary of Egypt’s closing the Straits of Tiran to Israeli traffic, I use my weekly column at Souciant to look at some parallels and differences between the lead-up to the 1967 war and the current situation with Iran. It’s a history we need to remember, even re-learn, lest history repeat itself with consequences that, as we’ve seen with the ’67 war, can evolve over decades into things we can’t imagine at the time.
A video from 2001 is making the internet rounds these days, one that shows current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talking to a settler widow who had just lost her husband to a Palestinian attack at the beginning of the second intifada.
In the video, Bibi says (in Hebrew, translation by Dena Shunra, with a few corrections of my own): “ I know what America is. America is something that can easily be moved. Moved in the right direction…80% of theAmericanssupport us. It’s absurd. We have that kind of support and we say “what will we do with the…” look. That administration was extremely pro-Palestinian. I wasn’t afraid to maneuver there. I was not afraid to clash with Clinton. I was not afraid to clash with the United Nations. I was paying the price anyway, I preferred to receive the value. Value for the price.”
Well, the wifi and fiber optic networks were abuzz. Here is Bibi with his guard supposedly down. The video is said to have been taken without his knowledge, so we’re supposedly getting the unvarnished Bibi.
I’m not so sure. The takeaway seems to have been “Here is the real Bibi, don’t you see he never wants to make peace?” I think the video shows something else, that Bibi is just a huckster, a politician who is always playing to the crowd. And that he is afraid of a negotiated peace—just like his fellows.
Just because he didn’t know there was a camera running doesn’t mean Bibi wasn’t still performing. He knows well that the settlement communities are very tight-knit, and what he says in the home of a settler who just lost her husband almost certainly would be repeated, making its way quickly throughout the West Bank. At the time of that meeting, Bibi was trying to consolidate a hard right opposition to then-Likud leader and Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. I’m not at all convinced he was being any more sincere with this woman than he was with the Israeli and global public when he accepted a “two-state solution” last year. Continue reading