There is a true sentence in the Guardian editorial of March 13th – the first one. It’s only five words long, but even that’s something when the rest of the piece is a mish mash of warped analysis based on misunderstood circumstances and peppered by half truths and distortions.
“Instead of embracing Mr Biden, Israel showed him the finger, choosing the very day of his visit to announce the construction of 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem. That counts as an in-your-face insult to a US administration that has demanded Israel freeze all settlement activity in the territories conquered in 1967, which include East Jerusalem. “
In fact when Israel agreed to a ten month freeze on building in Judea & Samaria back in November 2009, it was made perfectly clear at the time that this did not include Jerusalem and yet despite this, the US government welcomed the step.
“Little wonder that President Obama was said to be “incandescent with anger”, spending 90 minutes on the phone to his deputy drafting a statement of condemnation rare for its ferocity.”
The ever astute Akus debunked this ‘incandescence’ when it was used elsewhere in the Guardian but in this classic example of the old saying that a lie gets halfway round the world before the truth has chance to get its pants on, one can positively sense the gleeful lip-licking and hand-rubbing over at Guardian HQ.
“But it is positively reckless to insult the figure widely acknowledged to be Israel’s greatest friend within the entire US administration, a man who proudly calls himself a Zionist.”
Actually, I would imagine that a seasoned politician such as Joe Biden has more than enough experience under his belt to permit him to put this event into the proportion it deserves, which is of course more than can be said for the Guardian’s editors. Certainly Mr Biden had a lot less reason to be taken aback than his countryman President Roosevelt appeared to be when PM Winston Churchill stepped out of his bath in his presence. US – British relations did not seem to suffer because of that incident, but maybe statesmen were made of stronger stuff in those days!
“Above all, Israel’s move came just as the US was set to announce a new round of proximity talks with the Palestinians. Predictably, those have now been jeopardised “
Too few people seem to be asking themselves why that should be the case. After all, if the Palestinians are really interested in negotiating a peace agreement, all they have to do is say so. But if local planning decisions are the factors which endanger peace rather than riots, murders or the naming of a town square after a blood-sodden terrorist then any right-thinking person must conclude that there is a serious problem of perception here and the only logical conclusion can be that as Ehud Barak discovered in 2000 and Ehud Olmert in 2008, there actually may not be a willing partner for peace on the other side.
“By its continued settlement expansion, and its cack-handed treatment of its friends, Israel makes the two-state solution ever harder to realise.”
There’s a big problem of approach here too. By putting the onus of blame for the lack of a solution solely upon Israel and the scapegoat settlements, the Palestinians are absolved of any responsibility whatsoever for the situation, despite their serial rejections of a two-state solution from 1947 right through to 2000, 2008 and up to the present day. In fact every time it looks as though a welcome breakthrough might be in the offing, some terrible ‘slight which cannot be ignored’ seems to fortuitously pop along; Sharon’s (co-ordinated) visit to Temple Mount, the rebuilding of a destroyed synagogue, some building permits; each time the poor Palestinians are dragged away from the negotiating table by forces ‘bigger than themselves’.
This horrifically patronising view of Palestinian agency is held by so many people in the West and propagated by editorials such as this in the Guardian. At the same time, Israel seems to be regarded by many as being superfluous to negotiations and increasingly it is looking as though the ‘grown ups’ in the EU and the US have already decided what form any future agreement should take and that the need for actual nitty-gritty negotiations is becoming a matter of opinion. Obviously, the Palestinians are more than willing to go along with this, and who can blame them for trying their luck if there’s a chance of getting more than they ever realistically thought they would without the accompanying effort?
Naturally, this ridiculously simplistic and patronising approach was also reflected in the comments to this editorial.
13 Mar 2010, 12:09PM
There you are!
Israel has decided how much land to keep unilaterally for the last 40+ (60+ perhaps!) years. That’s the advantage of having the world’s 4th most powerful army sponsored by the world’s 1st most powerful army vs. peasants with rocks and a few home made rockets. How exactly should they fight back? How exactly would YOU feel when your country disappeared, your olive groves run over with tanks, your opponent is given $billions free every year, your brothers and sisters live in basically a concentration camp on the other side of the enemy’s country, you are humiliated in checkpoints when you wish to travel through your own occupied land. Damn right I would be pissed and stubborn.
But don’t let that stop you blaming the Palestinians… please, go ahead…
and to the last poster. Yes, the Israeli’s are masters at playing political tricks. Their mistake this time was they took land while the world was watching. Listen to their apology: “We’re sorry for the bad timing. We promise to do this when nobody’s watching next time.”
13 Mar 2010, 12:46PM
These articles would make a visitor from Mars (or a five minute media watcher) think that all the deals are made between Israel and the USA and that the Palestinians had no hand in it.
Why is this?
Because the Palestinians have no hand in it, Israel does what it wants. For them “talks” are just a reason to give in order for the rest of the world to suspend it’s disbelief at an appropriate moment.
A visitor from Mars, if he/it were to look at Israel, would surely conclude that if Israel is the best our species has to offer then the Earth should either be quarantined or destroyed to save the rest of the universe.
13 Mar 2010, 2:29PM
Upon arrival, Biden made the only declaration that matters, on the absence of any difference between Israel and America about Israeli security. That is all Israel needs. Every one of its policies is based on “security considerations” (like refusing Palestinian sthe same marriage rights as Jews, or making war on Gaza). So the Obama administration automatically backs all such actions including, I suppose, attacking Iran.
The only consolation is that Israel is ever-faster making a two-state solution impossible. Even international (government, not popular) indulgence of Israeli oppression in Palestine cannot survive a fully-blown apartheid system in a single country. Setting up mini-enclaves for voteless Palestinians might work for as long as in South Africa, a few decades, but not longer. Israel will cease to exist. Extermination ? No, but a Palestinian majority will hardly hang on to such a discredited name for their country. Israel will go, Palestine will be reintroduced, and the Israelis will meet reality for the first time in their pampered lives.
13 Mar 2010, 2:50PM
I suppose that’s the nature of democracy, that some blinkered idiot half a world away should be able to dictate your future.
It’s certainly the nature of a vindictive and brutal occupation that some Jewish person from half the world away can come and live on land that a Palestinian has been forcibly evicted from and then dictate his future by voting for a right wing Party which refuses to negotiate a fair settlement from a position of overwhelming military might and with the support of the world’s biggest superpower. If yoy don’t want foreign interference then give back the BILLIONS in aid that Israel receives and and stop pretending to be afair and democratic society. Israel is a racist, colonial nation acting illegally and in a completely unjust and immoral way.
13 Mar 2010, 3:06PM
Yes, a fine example of Jubilation1’s “I suppose that’s the nature of democracy, that some blinkered idiot half a world away should be able to dictate your future” line — is much in evidence during this current “diplomatic fiasco”.
Clinton delivers blunt message to Netanyahu on East Jerusalem
The U.S. based Anti-Defamation League said late Friday that it was “stunned” by Clinton’s “dressing down” of Israel.
“We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States,” said Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in a statement.
The ADL called Clinton’s remarks a “gross overreaction” to a “policy difference among friends.”
“One can only wonder how far the U.S. is prepared to go in distancing itself from Israel in order to placate the Palestinians in the hope they see it is in their interest to return to the negotiating table,” Foxman said.
In fact, it could be said that the ADL, and even more so, AIPAC — have an underlying agenda, which by its very nature, subverts democracy in both the US and Israel.
13 Mar 2010, 5:05PM
Israel wants ALL the land and will not stop until this is the case. The Palestinians that don’t leave to seek a better life will be expelled through various means. Israel need only make their lives a living hell. And who’s’ to stop them? The UN is a worthless institution and the US is in the pocket’s of Israel. The Israelis give the US the finger over and over and it only makes the US love Israel more so not to mention giving them more money.
The Solution is an actual plural democracy encompassing all of Palestine.
13 Mar 2010, 5:34PM
Either s/he wasn’t aware of the history of the region, where Israel gave the whole of the Sinai to Egypt and the Gaza Strip to the PA or it’s just too inconvenient to relate to.
WOW! They gave back a desert and a strip of land with too few jewish settlers to justify the cost of defending… a piece of land which they transformed into a ghetto!
Well, Jubilation certainly seems to have made quite an impression on that thread! Here’s someone else who seems to have had something of a revelation.
13 Mar 2010, 1:17PM
The last US president who attempted to phsyically enforce Israel to do something, in that case end its nuclear weapons programme, was JFK.
Look what happened to him.
Bush snr tried and ended being hounded by the media.
And Clinton, who was hounded by the media and his jewish intern, when he refused to bomb Iraq, initially.
Never thought I’d say this, but maybe those CIFwatch guys have a point.
Going back to the opening sentence of this editorial – “Politics is ultimately about interests” – what is deeply worrying about the attitude of so many in the West today is that they appear not to know any more what their own interests are. When they insist upon wrongly defining the Middle East conflict as territorial (despite all the ample evidence against this argument) rather than existential, as it actually is, they are ultimately undermining their own interests, and that goes for foreign politicians as well as newspaper editors or the general public.
If Israel loses its capital city and focus point of the Jewish religion through Western support for appeasing a regime which employs terror and rioting as a means of achieving its aims rather than negotiation and diplomacy, the Guardianistas will no doubt barely bat an eyelid. What they – and sadly some others of far more consequence – seem to forget is that such methods can and have been used against them too right on their own doorsteps and if they throw Israel under the bus, not only will they not be solving a conflict, or safeguarding their own fate as many seem to believe, they will in fact be capitulating in the much bigger conflict of ideologies which is taking place worldwide. There is an urgent need for many in the international community to grow up and adopt a more realistic attitude towards the very real threats to their own way of life.