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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Israel tests

Yesterday, The Obama administration sent out Hillary Clinton to make an unambiguous statement to Israel on the settlements,
"He wants to see a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not 'natural growth' exceptions....

"We think it is in the best interests (of the peace process) that settlement expansion cease."

Today Israel responds again
"Israel ... will abide by its commitments not to build new settlements and to dismantle unauthorized outposts," he said.

"As to existing settlements, their fate will be determined in final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. In the interim period, normal life must be allowed to continue in these communities."


"Normal life must... continue" is a euphemism for continued construction in existing settlements.

This is a very important moment in the Obama/Israel relationship that may determine much of the next eight years' middle east policy. The Israelis are testing the Obama administration, and all relevant eyes are watching.

The only softening bit is that the exchanges are still through "officials" and not the President's/PM's mouths.

Also for context, Obama meets with Palestinian half-PM Abbas today. Abbas is expected to re-propose the 2002 Saudi peace initiative which would include most Sunni regimes in the region.

(PS. Please no Israel hate in the comments. It gets old.)

9 Comments:

  • As long as the US keeps funding the settlement building/expansion it won't stop. Feel free to delete this comment if it qualifies as hate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:51 AM  

  • No. That's not bad at all.

    Some of it comes across as less based on real grievances, though.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 10:29 AM  

  • I think a lot of people are confused about the whole issue. Does criticism of Israel = anti-Semitism? It makes any kind of debate difficult.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:52 AM  

  • I don't really want to argue because
    I'm broadly on your side, but....

    My issue has nothing to do with anti-Semitism, I think I'm subtle enough to separate the actions of one segment of the government from Judaism.

    My issue is usually the vehemence of both sides. Both sides seem so entrenched they're no longer rational, and they tend to speak in an internally contained logic that tends towards a shorthand that skips big counterarguments both ways and tends towards using words, phrases and euphemisms that are inaccurate and sometimes inflammatory.

    Neither side is all good or all bad. Neither side is all right or all wrong.

    (Just so you know, if I got to make the deal, it would be pre-67 borders, split Jerusalem, guaranteed recognition of Palestine and Israel from the regional powers. I think the Palestinians have to give up right of return because it's not practicable, but they should also get open borders and trade as well as development money.)

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 1:12 PM  

  • Bottom line. I just get tired of all the non-productive shouting.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 1:18 PM  

  • The settlers have made it clear, they are not moving. Israel will have to physically, with force, remove those settlements. That would be quite a sight and create a real harsh debate within Israel.

    By Blogger Time, at 3:19 PM  

  • "Bottom line. I just get tired of all the non-productive shouting"I agree. Hey... Let's talk about abortion instead! :) (that's a joke)

    By Blogger -epm, at 3:36 PM  

  • It's OK. It's your blog and you're right about the way discussions invariably deteriorate into slanging matches. I'm not interested in that either. But I don't understand how it got to be such a taboo subject in the MSM. Like it or not it's a major issue that affects everybody and it's going to be center stage.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:37 PM  

  • Time, but the thing is that even if you remove those tiny settlements/outposts, those settlers hardcore enough to set those up will go back at some percentage.

    You could make a real difference on the longer term more permanent settlements, but those tiny hillside jobs, taking them down is more symbolic than anything unless you do something to stop the organizations from sending people back.

    That's one of the reasons the Israeli government is so willing to symbolically give them up, because, quietly after the cameras are gone, settlers will try to move back in.

    ...

    EPM or gun control.

    ...

    Anon, The topic is certainly not taboo here. It's definitely tied into the greater security issues.

    I'd just prefer the comments tie into something, whether it's greater regional issues or US-Israel politics.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 4:14 PM  

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