Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Where there is no solution, there is no problem"


Two views on the Israel, Palestine and the "Peace Process":


I believe that the Jewish settlements should be allowed to be expanded upon, because that population of Israel is, is going to grow. More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead. And I don't think that the Obama administration has any right to tell Israel that the Jewish settlements cannot expand.

(Sarah Palin to Barbara Walters)



The only thing driving the peace process today is inertia and diplomatic habit....It is now more of a calisthenic, like weight-lifting or sit-ups, something diplomats do to stay in shape, but not because they believe anything is going to happen....It is time for a radically new approach....Take down our “Peace-Processing-Is-Us” sign and just go home....Let’s just get out of the picture. Let all these leaders stand in front of their own people and tell them the truth: “My fellow citizens: Nothing is happening; nothing is going to happen. It’s just you and me and the problem we own.”

“When you’re serious, give us a call: 202-456-1414. Ask for Barack. Otherwise, stay out of our lives. We have our own country to fix.”

It is obvious that this Israeli government believes it can have peace with the Palestinians and keep the West Bank, this Palestinian Authority still can’t decide whether to reconcile with the Jewish state or criminalize it and this Hamas leadership would rather let Palestinians live forever in the hellish squalor that is Gaza than give up its crazy fantasy of an Islamic Republic in Palestine.

If we are still begging Israel to stop building settlements, which is so manifestly idiotic, and the Palestinians to come to negotiations, which is so manifestly in their interest, and the Saudis to just give Israel a wink, which is so manifestly pathetic, we are in the wrong place. It’s time to call a halt to this dysfunctional “peace process"....If the status quo is this tolerable for the parties, then I say, let them enjoy it. I just don’t want to subsidize it or anesthetize it anymore. We need to fix America. If and when they get serious, they’ll find us.

(Thomas Friedman, from November 8th)

10 comments:

margaret said...

I stopped reading Tom Friedman a while back because he had got predictable after the fashion of Mr Limbaugh and Dr Laura. He has a point here though - if they like it let them live with it. If the Israelis can't retrench as far as Jerusalem (divided capitals and lands within lands don't work) and the Palestinians can't let go of the Mein Kampf/Elders of Zion mentality that made their ancestors so unsavoury in the last war then they almost deserve eachother. Mind, in Israel if you happen to be gay or want to go out with someone your father doesn't like or are unlucky enough to be raped by your uncle when you're seven you probably won't be decapitated or left to bleed to death. Crazy as it's got Israel has some definite advantages.

John said...

Margaret, I no longer hang on Tom Friedman's every word either. My beef is not with Israel, exactly, but rather with the role we play in the situation (AIPAC and American Christian Zionists.) That, and our complicity in the ongoing destruction of the Christian populations there.

John said...
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Saba said...

John, I couldn't agree more. We are an arrogant Nation that doesn't seem to remember that it took numerous wars (one civil), 250 years of civil and racial strife to end up in this wonderful mess known at the USA. So obviously we are qualified to promote special interests (AIPAC and American Christian Zionists), ooopppps, I mean fix this problem.

Milton T. Burton said...

A note here on George F. Kennan:

Kennan's historical writings, and his memoirs, lament in great detail the failings of democratic foreign policymakers and those of the United States in particular. According to Kennan, when American policymakers suddenly confronted the Cold War, they had inherited little more than rationale and rhetoric "utopian in expectations, legalistic in concept, moralistic in [the] demand it seemed to place on others, and self-righteous in the degree of high-mindedness and rectitude... to ourselves". The source of the problem, according to Kennan, is the force of public opinion, a force that is inevitably unstable, unserious, subjective, emotional, and simplistic. As a result, Kennan has insisted that the U.S. public can only be united behind a foreign policy goal on the "primitive level of slogans and jingoistic ideological inspiration".

And apt description, is it not?

John said...

Yep, Kennan was usually right on target, both then and now.

margaret said...

I completely agree - America's role in the middle-east, particularly vis-a-vis Israel and Palestine needs rethought. I'm not sure though that it's a big player in destroying the indigenous Christian population in the Holy Land. That destruction is ongoing throughout the region and Christians, who are usually better educated and more mobile are getting out as far and fast as they can. I don't think there's any reason to think that if there wasn't an Israel a Muslim Palestine would be any more tolerant of Christians than anywhere else, Islam is the problem there, not Zionism. Zionism adds an extra layer of misery but it's not the foundation.

John said...

Margaret, yes Islam is clearly the larger problem. But with the Arab Christians in Palestine, they had a critical mass, and always had a seat at the table, so to speak. I am in no way glossing over the centuries of persecution they have undergone, but broadly speaking, they maintained a relatively peaceful coexistence with their Muslim neighbors. Zionism has completely changed the dynamic. Arab Christians were, and are displaced, along with Palestinian Muslims. Israel expropriates Christian lands just as they do Muslim land. Their Wall separates Palestinian Christians, just as it separates Palestinian Muslims (try driving from most anywhere in the West Bank to Bethlehem, for example. It can't be done, if you are Palestinian.) And here's where the U.S. comes in. Our unwavering support for Israeli policies since the very beginning has made us both the perceived and very real accomplices in implementing the take-over. American evangelicals largely support Israel unquestioningly, based on their dispensationalist theology, seeing the establishment of the secular state of Israel as part of the God's eschatalogical end-game, so to speak. In their view, Israelis are the only ones with any "rights" in the dispute, and if Israel does something, it must be supported. And no American administration has seriously engaged this viewpoint. All the while, Palestinian Christians are caught in the squeeze. Israelis don't see the distincitons within the Palestinian community, and the Christian's Muslim neighbors now view them with suspicion, thinking they are at one with American Christians who cheer the Zionists on. The evangelicals here are oblivious to their plight, and if they knew of them at all, would not consider them "real" Christians. Our national hubris knows no bounds, it seems. The Jordanian town I stayed in last year used to be a town of 20,000 or so Orthodox Christians. Now it is a city of over 100,000. The Christians are still there, but now the city is swelled with Palestinian Muslim refugees from the West Bank and Israel. Clearly, the dynamic has changed, and the Christians' position there much more precarious than it would have otherwise have been. You are correct, if Israel were not there, or was there within its 1967 borders, Palestinian Christians would still have problems. But at least it would be a one-front war.

John said...

Margaret, yes Islam is clearly the larger problem. But with the Arab Christians in Palestine, they had a critical mass, and always had a seat at the table, so to speak. I am in no way glossing over the centuries of persecution they have undergone, but broadly speaking, they maintained a relatively peaceful coexistence with their Muslim neighbors. Zionism has completely changed the dynamic. Arab Christians were, and are displaced, along with Palestinian Muslims. Israel expropriates Christian lands just as they do Muslim land. Their Wall separates Palestinian Christians, just as it separates Palestinian Muslims (try driving from most anywhere in the West Bank to Bethlehem, for example. It can't be done, if you are Palestinian.) And here's where the U.S. comes in. Our unwavering support for Israeli policies since the very beginning has made us both the perceived and very real accomplices in implementing the take-over. American evangelicals largely support Israel unquestioningly, based on their dispensationalist theology, seeing the establishment of the secular state of Israel as part of the God's eschatalogical end-game, so to speak. In their view, Israelis are the only ones with any "rights" in the dispute, and if Israel does something, it must be supported. And no American administration has seriously engaged this viewpoint. All the while, Palestinian Christians are caught in the squeeze. Israelis don't see the distincitons within the Palestinian community, and the Christian's Muslim neighbors now view them with suspicion, thinking they are at one with American Christians who cheer the Zionists on. The evangelicals here are oblivious to their plight, and if they knew of them at all, would not consider them "real" Christians. Our national hubris knows no bounds, it seems. The Jordanian town I stayed in last year used to be a town of 20,000 or so Orthodox Christians. Now it is a city of over 100,000. The Christians are still there, but now the city is swelled with Palestinian Muslim refugees from the West Bank and Israel. Clearly, the dynamic has changed, and the Christians' position there much more precarious than it would have otherwise have been. You are correct, if Israel were not there, or was there within its 1967 borders, Palestinian Christians would still have problems. But at least it would be a one-front war.

John said...
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