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March 16, 2010


"The first step should be the lifting of the insidious blockade of humanitarian aid to Gaza. If anything, as Daniel Levy counsels, the Obama team should substitute that for the settlement freeze as its primary focus."

Obama should demand both. There shouldn't be haggling over human rights violations. There are some things neither side should be doing at all--stealing land or punishing an entire civilian population with a blockade (as the Israelis do) or shooting at civilian targets (as both do).

Sure DJ. I'll take both and then some. But if it has to be one, or if their is a priority, Gaza first and foremost.

I don't think Israel is not going to take compromise more seriously. I have been watching this for a long time, and I think that the right has control of Israel now and the moderates have been silenced by sixty years of violence. The long term goal of the Israeli right is control of all of Israel and what is left of Palestine. They will never agree to a Palestinian state, and have patiently put more and more settlements across what was Palestine. They won't retreat on a large scale, and it is just going to be constant hell there for as long as I can see into the future.

The U.S. needs to seriously start working on getting its head around the idea that, as suggested above, at least for now and barring some major changes in Israeli public attitudes, Israeli policy simply doesn't consider the establishment of a state on terms that the Palestinians will accept as a redress to the cause of their grievance a viable, or even a thinkable outcome. In fact, the strongest sector of the Israeli policymaking community seems to regard the status quo as perhaps the most desirable state of affairs. Even if we ourselves would regard indefinite de facto Israeli military control of the West Bank to amount to apartheid if the residents there were not given the vote, the Israeli right will always find the neutralization of that territory by military means a necessary imperative, and yet will always deny that this amounts to annexation and hence apartheid. They will claim that the inability to enforce a renunciation of the use of (illegitimate) violence by Palestinians groups will justify this policy. The question is whether, how, or when this policy attitude is rejected (with some finality if that is possible) by the Israeli polity. Until that happens, the U.S. should be reconciling itself to the fact that efforts to bring peace to a situation in which at least one party has no desire for it will be fruitless, and begin to formulate policy options around that understanding (not, of course, foreclosing the possibility of a better outcome resulting in a best-case scenario from Israeli public impatience with seeing absolutely no progress. That, however, depends on a critical mass of Israelis coming to express a voting concern with a resolution to the conflict that is perceived by Palestinians to be minimally just in order to be sustainable.)

One problem seems to be that, given the Weimar like conditions in the Knesseth, every coalition government has to include at least one party that holds it hostage to extreme demands. There is also the http://www.alternet.org/world/146042/israel_crackdown_puts_liberal_jews_on_the_spot>new move to silence any critical voice even within Israel. Until now Israelis had much more freedom to publicly dissent from the RW orthodoxy and say things that would instantly destroy their careers (and possibly lifes) in the US. Iirc comparisions to apartheid came originally from Israel itself (including high ranking politicians).

the US needs to get out of the Israel business.

I just think the U.S. has to, um, stand up to its ally and let the ally know that our support is conditional. And the conditions are really not that onerous: you can't keep violating international law and building in occupied territories, nor can you continue to commit grievous war crimes, while you're receiving 3 BILLION dollars in US military aid - and other aid to boot.

Is that so wrong?

I just think the U.S. has to, um, stand up to its ally and let the ally know that our support is conditional.

the US [government] first needs to convince itself that the support is conditional - instead of frantically trying to see how many times and ways it can loudly declaim otherwise.

The chief difficulty would seem (from a distance, admittedly) to be this. There is lots of opinion within Israel that the current government's approach to the settlements is wrong. Not to mention dangerous to Israel's long-term interests.

But the current government is supported by the insistence of a highly influential lobby in the US, which would make any statement of similar beliefs here to be equivalent to Nazi-style anti-Semitism. If the US actually moves to effective support the saner stream of Israeli opinion, there is a chance to make progress, If there is no change in US policy, there is no hope for anything but a total melt-down in the Middle East. With all the damage to the US economy, geopolitical influence, etc. that would go with it. Not to mention the actual destruction of Israel.

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