Rahm Emanuel is sick of Israelis and Palestinians. In an explosion of even-handedness, he stopped just short of calling for a pox on both of our houses:
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel recently told the Israeli consul in Los Angeles that the Obama administration is fed up with both Israel and the Palestinians, Army Radio reported on Wednesday.
Emanuel met with Jacob Dayan, consul general of Israel in Los Angeles, about two weeks ago, after which Dayan briefed the Foreign Ministry. Emanuel told Dayan the U.S. is sick of the Israelis, who adopt suitable ideas months too late, when they are no longer effective, according to Army Radio.
The U.S. is also sick of the Palestinians who never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, Emanuel reportedly said. — Ha’aretz
With respect to Israel,
Emanuel reportedly said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly acknowledged the two-state solution too late, and that the freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank came only after months of U.S. pressure.
Is it reasonable to think that the Palestinian and Israeli positions on Jerusalem borders, refugees, etc. would have been any closer together six months ago than today? After all, Olmert offered much more to the Palestinians in 2008 than Netanyahu will countenance today, without results. So why would it have helped to get Netanyahu to utter the magic words “two-state solution” — words which mean entirely different things to Israelis and Palestinians — or to impose a partial settlement freeze which will never be enough for the Palestinians?
No, what prevents a settlement is that what Israel can give without surrendering its right to exist is less than the minimum that the Palestinian leadership can accept. Welcome to the Middle East, as the old joke goes.
This should have been clear to the Obama Administration from the outset. But they continued to believe that all they needed to do was push a little harder. This backfired when US pushing for a settlement freeze gave the Palestinians an excuse to refuse to talk; of course they know that Israel isn’t ready to roll over yet, so why bother.
It’s a reflection of the shape of the conflict: it is not, as the Obama Administration sees it in the most charitable interpretation, simply a struggle over the territories and Jerusalem. If that were the case, maybe it could succeed in beating the two sides into a two-state compromise in which neither would be entirely happy. Rather, it’s a struggle over whether there will be an Israel at all. The only ‘compromises’ possible in this situation are defined by how long the Jewish state exists before it’s swallowed up.
This is nothing new. Zionists have been saying it since Arafat demonstrated this when he chose war over a Camp David agreement. It’s interesting that US officials are capable of understanding the Israeli position — Israel wants peace within secure borders — but insist on misunderstanding that of the Arabs, who want all of ‘their’ land, from the river to the sea, under their control.
Emanuel added that if there is no progress in the peace process, the Obama administration will reduce its involvement in the conflict, because, as he reportedly said, the U.S. has other matters to deal with.
Does it ever! It’s tough being an empire in decline, dealing with internal and external barbarians every day. It certainly doesn’t need a diplomatic impasse with no positive payoff for US interests even if it did get what it wanted, which it won’t.
Actually, what America needs is a strong ally in the Mideast who can help it hold back Iran, which threatens to push Western influence entirely out of the region, and perhaps ultimately out of an Islamified Europe. It could have such an ally in Israel, which has great incentive to oppose Iran, which is trying to crush it between the pincers of Hamas and Hezbollah.
Nope, instead Obama plays engagement games with Iran while the centrifuges spin. At the same time, he uses the ‘peace process’ as a club to bludgeon Israel, for example by insisting on a pointless settlement freeze that is causing the nation to tear itself apart.
In Plato’s Republic, Polemarchus suggests that Justice is “helping one’s friends and hurting one’s enemies.” This may not be Plato’s favorite definition of Justice, but it certainly is part of successful international relations. Why is the US doing the opposite?