June 04, 2009
"In the next four years there is going to be a permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it doesn't matter to us at all who is prime minister"
White House chief of staff Emanuel Rahm, source
On the two-state solution Obama's speech today was pretty clear:
That is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest. That is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires. The obligations that the parties have agreed to under the Road Map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them - and all of us - to live up to our responsibilities.
Obama can hardly retreat from that and from his demand to stop all settlement construction. At least if does not want to end as Bush III.
Netanyahu's brand new cabinet seemed shocked and held an emergency meeting. He had hopped to somehow wiggle out of the dilemma Obama put him in. He had been given time until July to formulate a new policy. But the speech is a too public commitment by Obama. The "audience cost" to back away from that is too high. Now there is no wiggle room left for Netanyahu.
Netanyahu's coalition depends on radical settler parties that will likely leave should he really stop settlement construction and commit to a two-state-solution. If he does not Obama will turn the screws on him. The outcome will be similar to his period as prime minister 1996-99 when he had to leave in disgrace.
So what is he to do? Well, if the game is against you, toss up the chess board.
The simplest way to do that is to start a war or at least some conflagration that changes the picture. The usual 'enemies' are always available. Another round with Lebanon is possible and could be justified when Hizbullah and its coalition partners win the Lebanese elections next week.
Another round with Syria is unlikely. Syria does not fall for Israeli provocations as last years attack on the 'box at the Euphrates' demonstrated. A new round on Gaza will not change the picture. A direct massive attack on Iran is too difficult. But if the Iranians could be provoked to 'attack' Israel in response to some provocation?
The media field is well prepared to report an 'Iranian aggression' even when it would not be one. The Washington Post editors still write of how "Russian forces poured across Georgia's borders" when indeed Georgia started the war.
Now what could Netanyahu believe would provoke Iran to a violent response? Would a cruise missile fired from an Israeli sub do? Maybe two? What to hit? Or is Lebanon the better target?
You can be sure that Netanyahu is pondering these questions. The alternative is his downfall.
Posted by b on June 4, 2009 at 01:22 PM | Permalink
I would have highlighted 'with all the patience that the task requires.' The US will give Israel all the time it needs to absorb what it wants and destroy what it doesn't. A couple of half-steps back from time to time will run the clock forever. This is just the Clinton II regime. Since the Zionists are so intransigent, why not demand some real concessions from them? They will howl just as much as they will about these small demands.
Posted by: biklett | Jun 4, 2009 1:59:39 PM | 1
I don't think that there's much mileage in the option of military action to, er, provoke military action - the sequencing gets a tad too transparent when the belligerents don't actually share a common border.
My best guess is that Netanyahu will do whatever he can to stall the process out for as long as possible, and hope that either "events" come to his rescue, or the "political" landscape tilts more favourably towards him after the 2010 US election cycle.
Posted by: dan | Jun 4, 2009 2:05:15 PM | 2
Netanyahu just 'happened' to be in central London, during 7/7.
Command and control, you know.
Posted by: Jerry | Jun 4, 2009 2:15:20 PM | 3
Dan, I agree with you, the Israelis are going to stall like mad in the hope that the spirit of the prophet Moses intervenes on their behalf and saves the day.
Posted by: Parviz | Jun 4, 2009 2:53:57 PM | 4
The game is over. See Wallerstein 2006
Posted by: Peter Hofmann | Jun 4, 2009 3:18:30 PM | 5
This is pretty much a message to Bibi and Israel: "Become good faith negotiating partners with Hamas/Fatah a.la Downing Street Declaration of Major/Reynolds to DUP/UUP. Thing is DUP/UUP was stateless and had thugs as private armies/thugs; Isreal has nukes and core support of the US Right. (and the war machine).
Obama's Limo might need a Patriot Missile system (uncompromised one at that).
Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jun 4, 2009 3:19:15 PM | 6
b, your sardonic advice, ironically, is exactly what Hillary's NeoCon's did with Afghanistan, throw up the chess board, (and secretly lock down all the natural resources lease contracts before the national elections).
Now you have Pakistan accusing India of using Afghanistan to attack Pakistan with Israeli help. You have India in Afghanistan helping perform tasks the US:ISAF could not, as already Iran, Russia and China are moving to take part, nobody can find a clear policy line anymore, 22,000 weapons are missing, let's bring in the Special Forces Rangers, 30 civies per 1 'Tango' kill ratio, K-mafia murdering journalists and killing off any potential contenders, oh, it's a right fine turkey shoot now!
Saudi Arabia's central bank has ordered the kingdom's banks to freeze the accounts of Maan al-Sanea, the infamous Saudi billionaire who owns a stake in HSBC Holdings, Bloomberg has reported, citing people familiar with the instructions. The central bank sent notices to the legal departments of Saudi-based banks on May 28 and May 30 telling the lenders to freeze the accounts, including credit cards, of al-Sanea, his wife and four family members. It did not say why it took the action against al-Sanea.
Posted by: Chance Malone | Jun 4, 2009 3:40:03 PM | 7
5 hours, 4 minutes ago
When it emerged that a wholly-owned subsidiary of one of Saudi Arabia’s oldest and most respected family companies, the Algosaibi group, had defaulted, Gulf bankers were astonished.
Liquidity problems at Saudi conglomerate Saad Group spilled into neighbouring Bahrain on Tuesday after the Bahrain-based bank it controls, Awal Bank, signalled through regulators that it wished to renegotiate its obligations.
“Recent events, specifically affecting the Bahraini banking sector, have led to a short-term liquidity squeeze."
Maan al-Sanea's SAAD Group also holds a stake of 28.8 percent in British housebuilding company Berkeley Group, according to a May 19 regulatory filing.
May 11, 2008
British property developer Berkeley Group is ready to buy land from distressed sellers as it builds up a 1 billion pound ($2 billion) venture with a Saudi billionaire, Maan al-Sanea.
Posted by: Kill Bill | Jun 4, 2009 4:07:59 PM | 9
Maybe the US is thinking: this Netanyahu govt was always going to be short-lived, so why drag it out. Apart from anything else, Lieberman came into office with the money laundering accusations hanging over him, and police said last week they have enough for a serious indictment, so even without his intransigence on the Palestinians what use is he anyway? US wouldn't mind at all if Netanyahu dumped him for a national unity govt with Kadima and the odious Barak. Netanyahu gets to stay in office, US gets to deal with a broad-based Israeli govt that includes Livni, whom they reportedly want back in office and have already been trying to persuade to enter a coalition with Bibi.
None of which matters if Bibi is so ideologically committed that he's willing to throw up the chessboard. But maybe he's more motivated by the desire to stay in power than we give him credit for.
Posted by: Diane | Jun 4, 2009 5:20:00 PM | 11
barak is a really, really odious figure who is mostly more famous for crossdressing than he is for his barbarism & his incompetence. their leaders are full of lard in as obscene a way as sharon full figure revealed not satieté but instead a kind of living putrefaction. & it seems from here the gideon levy's & the amira haas are getting fewer in number when we need many. the so called peace camp has dissapeared somewhere up the comoatose sharon's ass
bibi is a brute & he knows we know it & there is a hint of a pika botha about him with a touch of hs ayran hero de klerk
it is impossible today to think of israel as anything other than another apartheid south africa only bloodier - & given the history as empirically stupid with the added sin of dishouring centuries of jewish struggle & resistance whose mantle has been picked up by the palestinians of the occupied territories
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 4, 2009 5:38:04 PM | 12
I really found myself dwelling on your Georgia reference. I was in Algeria visiting my in-laws during that time. I wasn't reading MOA but Greenwald, LewRockwell, Counterpunch and Paul Craig Roberts.
I have no idea how that was really covered over here, but that incident was really scaring me--especially with Bush wanting perhaps to void the election...
Anyhow, I saw the last 6 Secretaries of State on C-Span all agree that Georgia was the aggressor, though no politician nor talking head, these same Secs. of State included in any other setting admit the Georgia incident for what it was.
We would all agree the Israeli myth has been similarly perpetuated by the mass media. There are chinks in this armor though I don't think we amount to much of anything. It is amazing how well we are propagandized.
It shocks me I get news stories often weeks, months even years before they break. I know many of you are in the same boat. This is weirder to me than my most extreme experimentation with 60's culture. You know, it's even conceivable that this country could go to war for, (brace yourself) illusory reasons.
Posted by: scott | Jun 4, 2009 9:02:32 PM | 13
It will be interesting to see how Obama's speech plays before its real audience: the American People. Because it is among them that the real heart of Netanyahu's support is to be found. And it is at the US audience, rather than to the muslim world, that it is aimed.
Any Arab can tell you that the speech was empty and in some parts downright offensive. But that doesn't matter.
The next move is up to the PLO, which must insist on retiring the (term expired) Abbas and calling for an election to strengthen the hand of the negotiators, if they are needed.
Posted by: ellis | Jun 4, 2009 10:03:37 PM | 14
As pretty as Obama's rhetoric sounds, if it turns out to be another Oslo then i can't see it going anywhere.
So far, the agreements between Israel and Palestine have only resulted in plans for a Palestinian state divided into separate cantonments, unlinked, none of which have control over their own water or electricity, nor control their own ingress-egress.
So what would be the big advance if these cantonments were suddenly renamed a "state"?
Unless the wall is eliminated -- which i'm sure it won't be -- and unless water rights are guaranteed -- which i'm sure they won't be -- and unless free control of their borders is granted -- which almost certainly won't happen -- then i can't see this rhetoric of Obama's going anywhere.
It's still early in the process, but i don't see that Obama has promised much beyond slowing down the settlement process, again. I agree with Biklett: so far, it's Clinton II.
But to see the issues so overtly tabled this early in the Presidency is enheartening. It suggests Obama's determined to make headway.
But nothing so far that indicates much change.
Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 5, 2009 1:49:39 AM | 15
Just accepting the narrative of the new administration, as a work of fiction, offers one possibility for dealing with the brutal contradictions of these few months of Democratic power. On the other hand, the Obama speech in Cairo offers itself as an act of courage, which touches a fatalistic part of my mind. I feel with some sadness that there is a shadow that stretches over any president who has the balls to talk about peace, or dares to express the notion that vilified people deserve a homeland, people like the Palestinians; and the president's thought, only appearing in earnest now, suggests that there is truly such a place called Palestine.
I worry about what the political wind will stir up here at home, when people take in the nearly heretical thought that Israel is not entitled to keep expanding its new settlements in occupied land. One clear point in the president's speech, is when he says that people have needlessly suffered. Yet others also speak a painful truth, of a president who ardently advises against violence, and even holds up the history of black activists in the US, as a model for Palestinian progress. And yet at the same time he puts up with the needless suffering in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and does not similarly cry out in pangs of conscience.
But even those crying out in scorn, who may point to this president, his people, and his policies for blame, must realize that any meaningful change of political direction, any serious veering toward peace, or questioning of the vicious stereotypes of presumed "enemy", or questioning the debt we all owe our military, might put the president in the cross-hairs of the crazies. The raw fascism that has now become the litmus test of republicans,and seems essential to belonging to their party. is a matter of real concern to me. Even a Nixonian republican, like Arlen Specter, who is honorable only in the classic sense of an American politician who "stays bought", can no longer stand the stench that emanates from that side of the aisle.
Posted by: Copeland | Jun 5, 2009 2:33:05 AM | 16
The fact remains that Israel is bankrolled by the US taxpayers at the tune of $15 million a day! On top of that, Israel has now elbowing out the US arms industry from the lucrative export market. The recent purchase of AWACS aircrafts from Israel is an ample proof of that. The bottom line is; for how long the US host can allow its Israeli parasites to drain it financially, politically and diplomatically. The success of Barack Obama and his administration’s Middle East policy depends on whether the American majority recognises the extent of their continuing sacrifices in playing sugar daddy to Israel.
Posted by: TutuG | Jun 5, 2009 8:48:26 AM | 17
Netanyahu just 'happened' to be in central London, during 7/7.
Giuliani was there as well.
Superviors, interested persons, nothing like being on the spot. Gotta keep an eye out, management dontcha know.
Posted by: Tangerine | Jun 5, 2009 1:15:21 PM | 18